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wit and understanding, in no common de
how different soever from the opinions he was of before; and he was very easy to change hands, when those he employed seemed to have engaged him in any difficulties: so as nothing looked steady in the conduct of his affairs, nor aimed at any certain enda.”— -Lord Halifax [Saville), who was no stranger to him, says, " that he had a mechanical head, which appeared in his inclination to shipping and fortification, &c. This would make one conclude, that his thoughts would naturally have been more fixed to business, if his pleasures had not drawn them away from it. He had a very good memory, though he would not always make equal good use of it. So that if he had accustomed himself to direct his faculties to his business, I see no reason why he might not have been a good deal master of it. His chain of memory was longer than his chain of thought: the first could bear any burden, the other was tired by being carried on too long : it was fit to ride a heat, but it had not wind enough for a long course b.” Lord Clarendon owns, and attempts to account for, the indolence of his master, by “the unhappy temper and constitution of the royal party--and other perplexities (soon after the Restoration], which did so break his mind, and had that operation on his spirits, that, finding he could not propose any such method to himself, by which he might extricate himself out of the many difficulties and labyrinths in which he was involved, he grew more disposed to leave all things to their natural course, and God's providence; and, by degrees, unbent his mind from the
Character of King
* Buckingham's Works, p. 408. Svo edition. Charles II. 8vo. p. 40. Lond. 1750.
proper employment of a
nisters had work for him a.”.
* Burnet, vol. I. p. 93. immo Lond. 1753.
orthy persons, inquisitive into natural philosoi other parts of human learning: and particuwhat hath been called the New Philosophy, or antal Philosophy. We did, by agreement,
us meet weekly in London, on a certain day, ... discourse of such affairs. Of such num
Dr. John Wilkins, afterwards Bishop of Pr. Jonathan Goddard, Dr. George Ent, ', Dr. Merret, doctors in physick; Mr. er, then Professor of Astronomy at Gres; Jr. Theodore Haak, a German of the I then resident in London (who, I think, ccasion, and first suggested these meet
These meetings we held 1. Goddard's lodgings, in Wood-street, rent place near, on occasion of his
or for grinding glasses for telescopes ; and sometimes at a convenient place
cetimes at Gresham College, or some ig. Our business was, precluding i and state affairs, to discourse and
hical enquiries, and such as related ck, anatomy, geometry, astronomy, magneticks, chemicks, mechanicks, 7 nts; with the state of these stu.cd, at home and abroad. About
, some of us being removed to ilkins, then I, and, soon after, Dr. any divided. Those in London ere, as before; and we with them, in to be there. And those of us Ward, since Bishop of Salisbury;
* Trinity College,
Petty ; Dr. .nin
now Pre ity, si
gree, he was subject to much weakness and
knotty and ungrateful part of his business, grew more Teniss in his application to it, and indulged to his youth and appetite, that license and satisfaction that it desired, and for which he had opportunity enough, and could not be without ministers abundant for any such negociations; the time itself, and the young people thereof, of either sex, having been educated in all the liberty of vice, without reprehension or restraint "." I suppose the reader, by these authorities, will be fully satisfied of the genius and indolence, of Charles; an indolence, contracted whilst abroad, and confirmed by indulgence from bis Restoration to his death: which damped his understanding, and made it in a manner useless to those over whom he bare rule. For “ when once the aversion to bear uneasiness taketh place in a mans mind, it doth so check all the passions, that they are dampt into a kind of indifference; they grow faint and languishing, and come to be subordinate to that fundamental maxim, of not purchasing any thing at the price of a difficulty. This made that he had as little eagerness to oblige as he had to hurt men; the motive of his giving bounties, was, rather to make men less uneasy to him, than more easy to themselves; and yet no ill-nature all this while. He would slide from an asking face, and could guess very well. It was throwing a man off from his shoulders, that leaned upon them with his whole weight;-so that the party was not gladder to receive, than he was to give. It was a kind of inplied bargain; though men seldom kept it, being so apt to forget the advantage they had received, that they would presume the king would as little remember the good he had done them, so as to make it an argument against their next request. This principle, of making the love of ease exercise an entire sovereignty in his thoughts, would have been less censured in a private man, than might be in a prince. The consequence of it to the publick, changeth the nature of that quality; or else a philosopher, in his private capacity, might say a great deal to justify it. The truth is, a king is to be such a distinct creature from a man, that their thoughts are to be put in quite a differing shape; and it is such a disquieting task to reconcile them, that princes might rather expect to be lamented than to be envied, for being in a station that exposeth them, if they do not do more to answer men's expectations than human nature will allow The love of ease is an opiate: it is pleasing for the time, quieteth the spirits; but it hath its effects, that seldom fail to be most fatal. The immoderate love of easė, maketh à man's mind pay a passive obedience to any thing that happeneth: it reduceth the thoughts, from having desire, to be contenta. Some of these reflexions are extremely just; and I doubt not of the reader's being pleased with them, especially as they tend to illustrate the character of the monarch under consideration.---It would be injustice to Charles to omit Dr. Sprat's account of his encourageinent of the Royal Society; as it confirms what Burnet has related in the passage above cited. “When the society," says the writer, “first addressed themselves to his maještý, he was pleased to express much satisfaction, that this enterprize was begun in his reign. He then represented to them the gravity and difficulty of their work; and assured them of all the kind influence of
* Clarendon's Continuation, vol. II. p. 38.