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BOOK former sovereigns never possessed. Affable, indulgent, ingenious, and communicative, polite without affectation, facetious and witty without malignity, alike exempt from his father's reserve and his grandfather's buffoonery, he was blessed with all the external and specious qualities of an accomplished prince; and when restored to his subjects, he appeared to be born for the delight of the human race. But though adversity be the school of princes, it is seldom that they return from exile amended or improved. His sense of misfortunes had been lost in dissipation, and although his judgment was sound and correct, his mind, engrossed with frivolous pursuits and unworthy pleasures, was incapable or impatient of application to serious affairs. His indolence has been frequently employed to extenuate his vices, by those authors with whom history is an apology for the crimes or the misconduct of kings. He was insincere in his promises, to avoid importunity; ungrateful, to escape obligations which he was unable to discharge. But these vices had a deeper root, in the distrust and habitual dissimulation acquired in exile. The unfriendly reception which he experienced abroad, and perhaps the difficulties which he met with after his return, had inspired a settled distrust, not only of all parties, but of all mankind. His intrigues and intercourse with every party, with the presbyterians, the cavaliers, and the papists, had inured him early
to a perfidious duplicity; his easy insinuating ad- BOOK dress was conducive to the most artful dissimulation; and his systematical disregard of morals is betrayed in the favourite and uniform maxim of his whole life; that men were never honest nor sincere from principle, nor women ever chaste but from humour or caprice. With the manners, taste, and refinement, he had imbibed the licentious gallantry of the French court; and to his habitual dependence while a fugitive, we must ascribe the venal and prostitute spirit with which, in his secret treaties with Louis, he sold the nation and himself when king. From the dangerous effects of his popular talents, and desire of absolute power, which his education among the cavaliers abroad had confirmed, the English found a temporary resource in his indolence and profusion; and till the last years of his reign, his government, however unconstitutional, was comparatively mild. But his mind was alike adverse to the liberties, and irreconcileable to the religion of the nation, and ever ready to sacrifice its glory and its interests to his own criminal pursuits and pleasures; and hence a reign, auspicious and popular at its commencement, became, as might naturally be expected, disgraceful and odious before its conclusion.
His person was tall and graceful; and his countenance an assemblage of harsh, but majestic features. Historians, struck with his resemblance to
BOOK the busts of Tiberius, have indulged a comparison of their characters, and the events of their lives; their invariable choice of unprincipled favourites, whom they successively trusted, hated, and destroyed; the profound dissimulation with which they concealed their designs; their indolence and love of pleasure; their early banishment, unexpected succession, and suspicious death 68. Neither in the social, though licentious pleasures of his court, nor in the government of England, disquieted and therefore controlled by the most op
posite factions, did Charles resemble the solitary Character and suspicious tyrant of Capreæ; but the various
of his rea
inscotland, and enormous oppressions of his reign in Scotland, may be compared with the tyranny of the worst Cæsars. The only difference is, that instead of cruelties inflicted chiefly on the first ranks of the nobility, whom Tiberius extinguished, a more diffusive, and to the people a more insupportable tyranny, extended over the community at large. The only apology for Charles is, that he was not present to superintend or to restrain his ministers; to witness the tortures, the groans, or the murder of his subjects; and to compute the sums that were wrung from their misery, or the blood in discriminately shed by his judges and guards. But the crimes of his ministers, and the outcrics of the people, were repeatedly, yet ineffectually, conveyed to his car; the orders for a massacre were certainly
68 Burnet. Welwood.
executed with his approbation, if not subscribed BOOK with his hand; and his refusal to alleviate the calamities of his subjects, bespeaks a cruel, unfor. giving, and obdurate heart; irreconcilcable to the presbyterians from former indignities, and though exempt from religious bigotry, secretly gratified with religious persecution.
1685. Accession of James.
Accession, and Parliament of James.-Argyle's Invasion and Execution.-Opposition to the repeal of the Penal Laws and the Test.—Dispensing powers exerted.-Origin and progress of the Revolution in England-in Scotland.-Convention of Estates. Forfeiture of the Crown by James,-its settlement on the Prince and Princess of Orange.
HATEVER opposition had been made to a popish successor, in the preceding reign, there was no party now to resist or to disturb the accession of James. The administration of the three kingdoms had been placed in his hands; and when the alarm of the popish, was succeeded by the detection of the Ryehouse plot, the English, apparently, were not averse from a tacit compromisc for the surrender of their liberties, if their religion were preserved. The first ambiguous declaration of James, that he would neither de