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deed, remarkably grave and sober in his whole behaviour, free from intemperance,
and consequently that in this matter he was blameless. There is a letter published lately, in Cibber's Lives of the Poets, said once to have belonged to archbishop Sancroft, which is thought to evidence Charles's being engaged in one intrigue in his youth. It is addressed to the duke of Buckingham, in the terms following: i “stenny,
“I have nothing now to write to you, but to give you thanks both for the good counsel ye gave me, and for the event of it. The king gave me a good sharp portion; but you took away the working of it, by the well-relished comfites ye sent after it. I have met with the party, that must not be named, once already; and the culler of writing this letter, shall make me meet with her on Saturday, altho' it is written the day being Thursday. So, assuring you that the business goes safely on, I rest your constant friend,
“CHARLES." “ I hope you will not shew the king this letter; but
put it in the safe custody of Mr. Vulcan a.” That this letter relates to some intrigue is certain ; whether it was of the amorous, or whether of the political kind, may be pretty hard certainly to say. Possibly the business related in note 5 may help to explain it.
I proceed now to give the direct proofs of Charles's chastity, that no suspicion may be left in the mind of the reader. : · Lord Clarendon tells us, that "he was so great an
* Cibber's Lives of the Poets, vol. II. p. 202. Lond. 1753. 1200.
and but little addicted to the foolish custom of swearing, though he kept not wholly free from it on particular occasions, or great
example of conjugal affection, that they who did not imitate him in that particular, durst not brag of their liberty: and he did not only permit, but direct his bishops to prosecute those scandalous vices, in the ecclesiastical courts, against persons of eminence, and near relation to his service a.” And the day before his death he bade “ his daughter Elizabeth tell her mother, that his thoughts had never strayed from her, and that his love should be the same to the last b.” To these testimonies I will add that of May, a writer professedly on the side of the parliament, and secretary for it, as he stiles himself. “ The same affections [of love and esteem] followed him [Charles] to the throne: says he, the same hopes and fair presages of his future government, whilst they considered the temperance of his youth, how clear he had lived from personal vice, being growne to the age of twenty-three; how untainted of those licentious extravagancies, which unto that age and fortune are not only incident, but alınost thought excuseable." And in another place he observes, “ that Charles lived more conformably to the rules of the protestant religion, than any of his contemporary princes in Europe d.” And the earl of Leicester speaks of this “king’s life as profitable to all christians, by the exemplariness thereof." I think here is such sufficient evidence of Charles's chastity, that he cannot, with the least shadow of reason, be deemed guilty of incontinence, and consequently in this respect that he was praiseworthy.
* Clarendon, vol. V. p. 257. • King Charles's Works, p. 206. " May's History of the Parliament of England, p. 7. fol. Lond. 1647.
May's History, p. 11. Sidney's State-papers, vol. II. p. 418.
provocations. He was diligent and exact in the performance of the external acts of religion ", and is said to have been regular
For chastity, even in a prince, is a virtue, and productive of many happy effects. Vice, though not extirpated by the royal example, will skulk into corners, and be afraid to show her head : infamy and dishonour will attend those who are known publicly to practise it; the marriage-bed will be reverenced and honoured, and peace, harınony, and concord in families prevail. Whereas, if the prince is lewd and debauched, if he roams abroad and violates the virgin, or adulterously invades the matron’s bed b, and fears not to proclaim his unchaste deeds; no wonder those around him are emboldened by his example, and openly practise every act of uncleanness.
13 He was diligent and exact in the performance of the external acts of religion ] As this part of Charles's character, has not been denied, a few testimonies will be sufficient to confirm it." He was," says lord Clarendon, “ very punctual and regular in his devotions: he was never known to enter upon his recreations or sports, though never so early in the morning, before he had been at publick prayers ; so that, on hunting-days, his chaplains were bound to a very early attendance. He was
Clarendon, vol. II. p. 451. Princes, addicted to this practice, should ask themselves, how they would like to be addressed in Butler's lines to Charles II.
Thy great example prompts each spouse
To imitate thy princely follies,
and constant in the private exercise of devotion, setting a pattern to others in what
likewise, very strict in observing the hours of his private cabinet-devotion; and was so severe an exactor of gravity and reverence, in all mention of religion, that he could never endure any light or profane word, with what sharpness of wit soever it was covered; and though he was well pleased and delighted with reading verses made upon any occasion, no man durst bring before hiin any thing that was profane or uncleana,” “Laud,” says Heylin, “humbly moved his majesty, that he would be present at the Liturgy, as well as the sermon every Lord's-day; and that at whatsoever part of prayers he came, the priest, who ministered, should proceed to the end of the service. To which his majesty most readily and religiously condescended, and gave him thanks for that his seasonable and pious motion b.” Let us add hereunto Dr. Perinchief's testimony, concerning this king's devotion, that we, may see it in its full extent "His majesty's constant. diligence in those duties [of religion] did demonstrate, that nothing but a principle of holiness, which is always uniform, both moved and assisted him in those sacred performances, to which he was observed to go with an exceeding alacrity as to a ravishing pleasure, from which no lesser pleasures nor business were strong enough for a diversion. In the morning, before he went to hunting, his beloved sport, the chaplains were before day called to their ministry: and when he was at Brainford, among the noise of arms, and near the assaults of his enemies, he caused the divine, that then waited, to perform his accustomed service, before he provided for safety, or attempted at victory; and would
related to the worship and service of Almighty God: so that it would be hardly
first gain upon the love of heaven, and then afterwards repel the malice of men.-At sermons he carried himself with such a reverence and attention, (that his enemies which hated, yet did even admire him in it) as if he were expecting new instructions for government from that God whose deputy he was, or a new charter for a larger empire : and he was so careful not to neglect any of those exercises, that if on Tuesday mornings, on which days there used to be sermons at court, he were at any distance from thence, he would ride hard to be present at the beginnings of them a.” Though we make some allowances for what these writers panegyrically have written, concerning the devotion of this prince, we shall be forced to own, that his behaviour in matters of religion was indeed exemplary, and that he was at a great distance from the character of the scorner.-It is true, a man's character is not to be determined by these external acts of piety; it being very possible that men may, with respect to these, be blameless, though the weightier matters of the law be neglected. For which reason, Milton, without disputing the fact, observes, “ that he who from such kind of psalmistry, or any other verbal devotion, without the pledge and earnest of suitable deeds, can be persuaded of a zeal and true righteousness in the person, hath much yet to learn, and knows not that the deepest policy of a tyrant háth been ever to counterfeit religious. And Aristotle, in his politics, hath mentioned that special craft, among twelve other tyrannical sophisms. Neither want we examples : Andronicus Comnenus, the Byzantine emperor, though a most cruel tyrant, is reported, by Nicetas, to have been
* Perinchief's Life of King Charles, p. 60.