some hope of his reduction, even when they had given over offering farther reasons to him to that purpose. Bụt this charity towards them was much lessened, and any correspondence with them quite declined, when, by sinister arts, they had corrupted his two younger brothers, being both children, and stolen them from his house, and transported themi beyond seas, and perverted his sisters; upon which occasion he writ two large discourses against the principal positions of that religion, with that sharpness of style, and full weight of reason, that the church is deprived of great jewels in the concealment of them, and that they were not published to the world.

He was superior to all those passions and affections which attend vulgar minds, and was guilty of no other ambition than of knowledge, and to be reputed a lover of all good men; and that made him too much a contemner of those arts, which must be indulged in the transactions of human affairs. In the last short parliament he was a burgess in the House of Commons; and from the debates, which were there managed with all imaginable gravity and sobriety, he contracted such a reverence to parliainents, that he thought it really impossible they could ever produce' mischief or inconvenience to the kingdom; or that the kingdom could be tolerably happy in the intermission of them. And from the VOL. III.


[ocr errors]

unhappy and unseasonable dissolution of that convention, he harboured, it may be, some jealousy and prejudice to the court, towards which he was not before immoderately inclined; his father having wasted a full fortune there, in those offices and employments by which other men use to obtain a greater. He was chosen again this parliament to serve in the same place, and, in the beginning of it, declared himself very sharply and severely against those exorbitances, which had been most grievous to the state; for he was so rigid an observer of established laws and rules, that he could not endure the Jeast breach or deviation from them; and thought no mischief so intolerable as the presumption of ministers of state to break positive rules, for reasons of state; or judges to transgress known laws, upon the title of conveniency or necessity; which made him so severe against the earl of Strafford, and the lord Finch, contrary to his natural gentleness and temper: insomuch as they who did not know his composition to be as free from revenge as it was from pride, thought that the sharpness to the former, might proceed from the memory of some unkindnesses, not without a mixture of injustice, from him towards his father. But without doubt he was free from those temptations, and in both cases was only misled by the authority of those who, he believed, understood the laws perfectly; of which himself was

utterly ignorant; and if the assumption, which was then scarce controverted, had been true, That

an endeavour to overthrow the fundamental laws of the kingdom was treason," a strict understanding might make reasonable conclusions to satisfy his own judgment, from the exorbitant parts of their several charges.

The great opinion he had of the uprightness and integrity of those persons who appeared most active, especially of Mr. Hampden, kept him longer from suspecting any design against the peace of the kingdom; and though he differed from them commonly in conclusion, he believed long their purposes were honest. When he grew better informed what was law, and discerned in them a desire to control that law by a vote of one or both houses, no man more opposed those attempts, and gave the adverse party more trouble by reason and argumentation; insomuch as he was, by degrees, looked upon as an advocate for the court; to which he contributed so little, that he declined those addresses, and even those invitations which he was obliged almost by civility to entertain. And he was so jealous of the least imagination that he should incline to preferment, that he affected even a moroseness to the court, and to the tourtiers; and left nothing undone wbich might prevent and divert the king's or queen's favour towards him, but the deserving it. For when the king sent

for him once or twice to speak with him, and to give him thanks for his excellent comportment in those councils, which his majesty graciously termed “Don îng him service,” his answers, were more negligent, and less satisfactory, than might be expected; as if he cared only that his actions should be just, not that they should be acceptable; and that his majesty should think that they proceeded only from the impulsion of conscience, without any sympathy in his affections; which from a stoical and sullen nature might not have been misinterpreted; yet, from a person of so perfect a habit of generous and obsequious compliance with all good men, might very well have been interpreted by the king as more than an ordinary averseness to his service: so that he took more pains, and more forced his nature to actions unagreeable and unpleasant to it, that he might not be thought to incline to the court, than most men have done to procure an office there. thing but not doing his duty could have kept him from receiving a testimony of the king's grace and trust, at that time, he had not been called to his council; not that he was in truth averse from receiving public employments, for he had a great devotion to the king's person, and had before used soine small endeavour to be recommended to him for a foreign negociation, and had once a desire to be sent ambassador into France; but he abhorred an ima

And if any

gination or doubt should sink into the thoughts of any man, that in the discharge of his trust and duty in parliament, he had any bias to the court, or that the king himself should apprehend that he looked for a reward for being honest.

For this reason, when he heard it first whispered, “ That the king had a purpose to make him a privy counsellor," for which there was in the beginning no other ground but because he was known sufficient, Chaud semper errat fama, aliquando et eligit) he resolved to decline it; and at last suffered himself only to be overruled by the advice and persuasions of his friends, to submit to it. Afterwards, when he found that the king intended to make him secretary of state, he was positive to refuse it; declaring to his friends, “That he was most unfit for it, and that he must either do that which would be great disquiet to his own nature, or leave that undone which was most necessary to be done by one that was honoured with that place; for the most just and honest men did, every day, that which he could not give himself leave to do. And indeed he was so exact and strict an observer of justice and truth, that he believed those necessary condescensions and applications to the weakness of other men, and those arts and insinuations which are necessary for discoveries, and prevention of ill, would be in him a declension from his own rules

« ElőzőTovább »