« السابقةمتابعة »
inimitable pen, we shall bere present the reader with a letter written by Sir William Temple to his father, Sir John, then in Ire- land, dated at Brussels, on the sixth of Sep-. tember, 1665
SIR, THOUGH I was forced, by the king's command, not only to leave you and my family at very short warning, and in a very me. lancholy season, but without so much as telling, you whither I was sent, yet I would not fail making you this amends, by giving you anaccount of my journey and negotiations thus far, so soon as I thought it might be fit for me to do it.
When my lord Arlington fent for me to: Sheen, it was to let me know, that the king, had received an overture from the bishop of Munfter, to enter into an alliance with his majetty against the Dutch, from whom he pretended many injuries; to bring an army into the field, and fall upon them by land, while his majesty continued the war by sea : but,, at the same time, to demand certain fums of money, that would be necessary to bring him into the field, and to continue the war : and, that, if his majesty would either treat with the baron of Wreden, (who was the minister he fent over in the greatest privacy that could be). or send a minister of his own to treat with him; he doubted not an eafy agreement upon
this matter, but desired it might be with all the secrecy imaginable.
My lord Arlington told me, the main arti. cles were already agreed on here, and the money adjutted ; but, that it was necessary for the king to send over fome person privately to finish the treaty at Munster, and to see the payme: ts made at Antwerp, where the bishop seemed to desire them. That I must
if I undertook it, without train or character, and pass for a Frenchman or a Spaniard in my journey; and made me the compliment to fay, he had been perplexed, three or four days together, to think of a person that was not only capable of the affair and of the secret, but that was to be trusted with such a sum of money ; but, that when he had thought of me, and proposed me to the king and to my lord chan, cellor, they had both approved it, and I must suddenly resolve upon my answer to the proposal he made me : but, whether I accepted it or no, I must keep it secret from my nearest friends.
I told him upon the place, I would serve his majesty the best I could in it; though, being a new man, I couid not proniife much for myself; that there was only one point I could by no means digest, which was the business of the money; having ever been averse from charging myself with any body's but my own. This made, at first, fome difficulty between us; but, at last, his lordship was content to
endeavour the engaging alderman Backwėl, who furnished it, to go over himself with it into Flanders ; and there, by my order, to make the payment to the bishop's agent; and faid, he believed, at such a time of infection in London, 'the alderman might easily take an occasion of such a journey.
After my inftructions were dispatched, I came away in hafte, and with the secrecy you faw; and, without more than one day's stop at Brussels, went ftrait with the baron of Wreden to Coefvelt, where the bishop then was. I ftay'd there but three days, was brought to him only by night, agreed all points with him, perfected and signed the treaty, and returned to Antwerp, where the alderman pera formed his part, in making the first and great
payment to the bishop's refident there. All this has been performed on all fides with so great secrecy, that the bishop has not only received his money, but raised his troops to about eighteen thousand men, without the least umbrage given, that I can hear of, to the Dutch-; and, by all the assurances I receive from him, I conclude, that, before this letter comes to your hands, he will be in the field ; tho' some unexpected disappointments about a general officer he reckoned upon has a little discomposed the meafurės he ad. taken ; and may, I doubt, not a little maim the progress of them: but that will be governed by time and accidents ; my business was to bring him
into the field, and I have had the good fortune to do it sooner than either they expected at court, or the bishop had promifed upon our figning of the treaty.
He is a man of wit-and, which is more, of sense; of great ambition, and properly, Un Esprit remuant : but the vigour of his body does not exceed that of his mind, being, as I guess, about fix or seven and fifty years old, and pursued by the gout, which he is * not like to cure by his manner of life. He
was a soldier in his youth, and seems, in his naturals, rather made for the Sword than the Cross. He has a mortal hatred to the Dutch for their supporting his city of Munfter againft him ; and is bridling those citizens by a very strong citadel he is building there. He seems bold and resolute, and like to go through with what he has undertaken, or break his head in the attempt; and says he will perform all he has engaged, Fide fincerâ & Germanica, which is a word he affects. He speaks the only good Latin that I have yet met with in, Germany, and more like a man of court and business than a scholar. He says, if he fails in his enterprize, and should lose his country, he. shall esteem his condition not at all the worse; for, in that case, he will go into Italy, and has money enough in the bank of Venice to buy a cardinal's cap, which
become him better than his general's ftaff, though he has a mind ito try this first, and make some noise in the world before he-retires.
This is the best character I can give of the bishop; and, for myself, I can say nothing but what you know ; finding no change at all by this fally into a new scene of life and busi. ness as well as climate ; my health, I thank God, is the same; my kindness so too, to my friends and to home, only my concernment for them in this miserable time among them, much greater while I am here than when I was with chem; which makes nie very im. patient after every post that comes in, and yet very apprehensive of every letter I open,The length of this, I doubt, is too much for once; and therefore shall end with the affurances of being,
But one of the most famous circumstances in Sir William Temple’s life, was his skilful and dexterous bringing about the triple-league between England, Holland, and Sweden, in the latter end of the year 1967, so much to the peace of Europe and to the diminution of the threatning power
of France. This was mamaged with so much secrecy and uncommon industry, together with so much unexpected success, that the great statesman De Wit; too much leaning to the French party, could not