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portant respect. He had less prudence.

He had less prudence. Hence, when he came to the exercise of power, he began to put in practice, those maxims of government about which James had only talked, for it is a remarkable characteristic of the latter, that he was always retreating the quicker when he was blustering and threatening the most. We are willing to admit, that Charles possessed many amiable qualities, that he was an affectionate husband, that he displayed many estimable virtues in domestic life, and that if his lot had been cast in a more private station, his erudition, his taste for the arts, and his general accomplishments, would have shone with lustre, and commanded universal admiration. He had, however, two particular defects in his character, which rendered him singularly unfit to fulfil the duties of so exalted a position as that of royalty, particularly at a period when men had ceased to regard kings as infallible agents, or as beings accountable for their actions to God alone. First, he betrayed such a haughtiness of demeanour towards even those who were well-disposed to his cause, that rather alienated than engaged their affections, and hindered them from feeling that devotion to his person of which he stood so much in need. He could not even bestow a favour

a with grace, but accompanied the gift with such a coldness of manner, that the receiver lost half the pleasure of accepting it. This failing followed him into public life, and, like a dark cloud, cast gloomy shadows wherever he appeared : thus, in his intercourse with the Parliaments, it was particularly observed and lamented: “The most that aggrieved the Parliament,



was the king's concessions for the good of his people came not off cheerfully; he wanted a way indeed to

; give a gift, and inake it thank worthy in the manner of bestowing it.” Carte, who loses no opportunity of eulogising his virtues and apologising for his errors, is obliged to confess that “ he was stiff and formal, and received people with such an air of coldness, that it looked like contempt. He was ungracious even in conferring favours upon those whom he loved and intended most to oblige. Few persons with all the vices of nature in their composition have ever created to themselves so many personal enemies as King Charles, with all the graces of a man, and all the graces of a Christian, raised to himself through the coldness of his reception of persons, and the harshness of his behaviour to them on particular occasions.” Secondly, he was guilty of such insincerity in his conduct as a public man, that even his warmest friends began at length to receive his word with suspicion and distrust. Indeed, this duplicity eventually worked his ruin ; for it is impossible not to perceive but that there were many occasions, even after the strife and dissensions of civil war had been kindled, when if he had shown an honest determination to act up to his promises and declarations, such a majority of the nation would have been drawn over to his standard, that all farther opposition must have ceased. So constantly did Charles resort to this practice of dissimulation, that it became at length an habitual vice, which seriously prejudiced him in the estimation of those who were devotedly attached to his interests, and favourably inclined to support his pretensions. Even those advocates who have shown the greatest zeal in attempting to vindicate his cause, appear to be so convinced of his failings in this respect, that they seek rather to put forward some plausible apology than to attempt any direct disproof of the accusation. Thus, the defence they usually set up, is that the king's enemies having conducted themselves in a very unjustifiable manner, he was warranted in resorting to subterfuge and deceit, when attacked by such unscrupulous adversaries. “He was driven,” say they, “to violate his word by the necessities of the moment; he was persecuted and pursued by remorseless foes, who took advantage of his misfortunes to extort unjust concessions. He only did evil that good might follow.” Such pleas cannot, however, be allowed to carry much weight in absolving him from the charge of perfidy, when we consider that many instances of the darkest treachery may be proved against him before the dispute with the Commons had occurred; and that prior to the opening of the Long Parliament, the great leaders of the Opposition had scarcely committed a single act which could possibly be construed into aggression or injustice. In reality, Charles began to show examples of bad faith from a very early period of his life. When only heir apparent to the throne he was guilty of a most signal breach of confidence towards his tutor, Dr. Hakewill, who, in a moment of generous kindness, had shown him a letter, containing many arguments to dissuade him from consenting to the Spanish match-a subject then under the consideration of the Court. Although Charles received the letter expressly as a private paper, and solemnly promised Hakewill “that it should go no farther than the cabinet of his own breast,” yet in defiance of this pledge, the document was given to James for perusal, who upon reading the contents deprived Hakewill of all his preferments, and committed him to prison. The conduct of Charles towards the Spanish Court, in reference to his proposed marriage with the Infanta, was equally reprehensible. Thus, before quitting Madrid he swore to observe the terms of the marriage treaty, and left his proxy in the hands of the Earl of Bristol to deliver; but no sooner had he embarked at St. Andero, than he sent private instructions to the Earl to withhold it altogether. Many of the accusations he preferred against this nobleman at the instigation of that worthless favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, must have been to his knowledge scandalously false; yet lie persisted in pressing for the impeachment. He gave a most solemn assent to the Petition of Right, yet when the Houses of Parlianient required his answer to be printed he cancelled the real impression and caused a false one, invalidating all the leading provisions of the bill, to be issued-an expedient by which, says Hume, he endeavoured to persuade the people “ that he had nowise receded from his former claims and pretensions.” When so many instances of a breach of faith could be substantiated and proved against him, his word naturally came to be regarded as a bond of no value whatever, for what could be the worth of promises and concessions which were only granted to be withdrawn or caucelled the moment

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a favourable occasion offered. Surely, the Commons were justified in requiring actual deeds, instead of mere promissory declarations, from a Prince with whom evasion and deceit appeared to be almost the daily business of life. To sum up the character of Charles in a few words, we may say that having originally imbibed most erroneous and exaggerated opinions respecting the nature of his royal prerogative, he continued from a love of arbitrary power to maintain these opinions, although convinced in his conscience of their falsity; that he secretly shaped his actions and designs so as to carry out these opinions, after having solemnly renounced them in public, and declared them as untenable and illegal; that he did not scruple to commit various acts of persecution and injustice, where he thought his authority strengthened and enlarged by such a policy; and, finally, that he was ready to sacrifice his warmest friend or most faithful adherent, if he imagined their fall would conduce either to fortify his position, or to confirm his power.

If he had come forth a successful victor from the contest, he provoked with his people; if he had been cut off in the day of his might and the meridian of his power, History would have branded him as one of the worst of kings- but the martyrdom he suffered has thrown a veil over his errors; while the heroism, the magnanimity, and the fortitude he displayed amidst the adversities of the prison and the scaffold, have, in the eye of posterity, atoned for an ambition that was criminal in its aim, unscrupulous in its designs, and stained by treacheries of the deepest dye.

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