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services performed for the one should never have been forgotten by the other.
To confer dignity and useful elegance on the hours of social pleasure and relaxation, is a talent of peculiar value, and one of which an highly educated prince is in more complete possession than any other human being. He may turn even the passing topics of the day to good account, by collecting the general opinion; and may gain clearer views of ordinary events and opinions, by hearing them faithfully related, and fairly canvassed. Instead of falling in with the prevailing taste for levity and trifles, he may, without the smallest diminution of cheerfulness or wit in the conversation, insensibly divert its current into the purest channels. The standard of society may be gracefully, and almost imperceptibly raised by exciting the attention to questions of taste, morals, ingenuity, and literature. Under such auspicious influence, every talent will not only be elicited, but directed to its true end. Every taste for what is excellent will be awakened; every mental faculty, and moral feeling will be quickened; and the royal person by the urbanity and condescension with which he thus calls forth abilities to their best exercise, will seem to have infused new powers into his honoured and delighted guests.
A prince is the maker of manners;' and as he is the model of the court, so is the court the model of the metropolis, and the metropolis of the rest of the kingdom. He should carefully avail himself of the rare advantage which his station affords, of giving through this widely extended sphere, the tone to virtue as well as to manners. He should bear in mind, that high authority becomes a most pernicious power, when, either by example or countenance, it is made the instrument of extending and establishing corruptions.
We have given an instance of the powerful effect of example in princes, in the influence which the sincerity of Henry IV. of France had on those about him.. An instance equally strik. ing may be adduced of the eagerness with which the same monarch was imitated in his vices. Henry was passionately addicted to gaming, and the contagion of the king's example unhappily
Anne of Austria has been flattered by histo rians, for having introduced a more refined politeness into the court of France, and for having multiplied its amusements. We hardly know whether this remark is meant to convey praise or censure. It is certain that her cardinal, and his able predecessor, had address enough to discover, that the most effectual method of establishing a despotic government, was to amuse the people, by encouraging a spirit of dissipation, and sedulously providing objects for its gratification. These dexterous politicians knew, that to promote a general passion for pleasure and idleness, would by engaging the minds of the people, render them less dangerous observers, both of the ministers and of their sovereigns This project, which had perhaps only a temporary view, had lasting consequences. The national character was so far changed by its suc cess, that the country seems to have been brought to the unanimous conclusion, that it was pleasanter to amuse than to defend themselves.
It is also worth remarking, that even where the grossest licentiousness may not be pursued, an unbounded passion for exquisite refinement in pleasure, and for the luxurious gratification of taste, is attended with more deep and serious mischiefs than are perhaps intended. It stagnates higher energies; it becomes itself the paramount principle, and gradually by debasing the heart, both disinclines and disqualifies it for nobler pursuits. The court of Louis XIV. exhibited a striking proof of this degrading perfection. The princes of the blood were so enchanted with its fascinating splendours, that they ignominiously submitted to the loss of all power, importance, and influence in the state, because with a view to estrange them from situations of real usefulness and dignity, they were graciously permitted to preside in matters of taste and fashion, and to become the supreme arbiters in dress, spectacles, and decoration.*
spread with the utmost rapidity, not only through On the art of moral calculation, and making a the whole court, but the whole kingdom.
And when, not gaming only, but other irregularities; when whatever is notoriously wrong, by being thus countenanced and protected, becomes thoroughly established and fashionable, few will be ashamed of doing wrong. Every thing, indeed, which the court reprobates will continue to be stigmatized; but unhappily, every thing which it countenances will cease to be disreputable. And that which was accounted in famous under a virtuous, would cease to be dishonourable under a corrupt reign. For, while vice is discouraged by the highest authority, notwithstanding it may be practised, it will still be accounted disgraceful; but when that discountenance is withdrawn, shame and dishonour will no longer attend it. The contamination will spread wider, and descend lower, and purity will insensibly lose ground, when even notorious deviations from it are no longer attended with disgrace.
true estimate of things and persons.
A ROYAL person should early be taught to act on that maxim of one of the ancients that the chief misfortunes of men arise from their never being learned the true art of calculation. This moral art should be employed to teach him how
It is humiliating to the dignity of a prince when his subjects believe that they can recommend themselves to his favour by such low qualifications as a nice attention to personal appearance, and modish attire. Of this we shall produce an instance from another passage of Lord Thomas Howard's Letters to Sir John Harrington. "The king.' says he, doth admire good fashion in cloaths. I pray you give good heed hereunto. I would wish you to be well trimmed; get a good jerkin well bordered, and not too short: The king saith, he liketh a flowing garment. Be sure it be not all of one sort, but diversely coloured; the collar falling somewhat down, and your ruff well stiffened and bushy. We have lately had many gallants who have failed in their suit for want
of due observance in these matters. The king is nicely
needful of such points, and dwelleth on good looks and handsome accoutrements.'-Nugæ Antiquæ.
to pay the comparative value of things; and to adjust their respective claims; assigning to each that due proportion of time and thought to which each will, on a fair valuation, be found to be entitled. It will also teach the habit of setting the concerns of time, in contrast with those of eternity. This last is not one of those speculative points on which persons may differ with out danger, but one in which an erroneous calculation involves inextricable misfortunes.
It is prudent to have a continual reference not only to the value of the object, but also to the probability there is of attaining it; not only to see that it is of sufficient importance to justify our solicitude; but also to take care, that designs of remote issue, and projects of distant execu. tion, do not supersede present and actual duties. Providence, by setting so narrow limits to life itself, in which these objects are to be pursued, has clearly suggested to us, the impropriety of forming schemes, so disproportionate in their dimensions, to our contracted sphere of action. Nothing but this doctrine of moral calculation, will keep up in the mind a constant sense of that future reckoning, which, even to a private individual, is of unspeakable moment; but, which to a prince, whose responsibility is so infinitely greater, increases to a magnitude, the full sum of which, the human mind would in vain attempt to estimate. This principle will afford the most salutary check to those projects of remote vain glory, and posthumous ambition, of which in almost every instance, it is difficult to pronounce, whether they have been more idle, or more calamitous.
History, fertile as it is in similar lessons, does not furnish a more striking instance of the mischiefs of erroneous calculation, than in the character of Alexander. How falsely did he estimate the possible exertions of one man, and the extent of human life, when, in the course of his reign, which eventually proved a short one, he resolved to change the face of the world; to conquer its kingdoms, to enlighten its ignorance, and to redress its wrongs! a chimera, indeed, but a glorious chimera, had he not, at the same time, and to the last hour of his life, indulged passions inconsistent with his own resolutions, and subversive of his own schemes. His thirtythird year put a period to projects, for which many ages would have been insufficient! and the vanity of his ambition forms a forcible con. trast to the grandeur of his designs. His gi gantic empire, acquired by unequalled courage, ambition, and success, did not gradually decay by the lapse of time; it did not yield to the im. perious control of strange events and extraordi. nary circumstances, which it was beyond the wisdom of man to foresee, or the power of man to resist; but naturally, but instantly, on the death of the conqueror, it was at once broken in pieces, all his schemes were in a moment abolished, and even the dissolution of his own paternal inheritance was speedily accomplished, by the contests of his immediate successors.
But we need not look back to ancient Greece for proofs of the danger of erroneous calculation, while Louis XIV. occupies the page of history. This descendant of fifty kings, after a triumphant reign of sixty years, having, like Alexander, VOL II. 6*
been flattered with the name of the great, and having, doubtless, like him, projected to reign after his decease, was not dead an hour before his will was cancelled; a will not made in secret, and like some of his former acts, annulled by its own inherent injustice, but publicly known and generally approved by princes of the blood, counsellors, and parliaments. This royal will was set aside with less ceremony, than would have been shown, in this country, to the testament of the meanest individual. All formalities were forgotten; all decencies trodden under foot. This decree of the new executive power became, in a moment, as absolute as that of the monarch, now so contemptuously treated, had lately been. No explanation was given, no arguments were heard, no objections examined. That sovereign was totally and instantly forgotten
Might yesterday have stood against the world; And none so poor to do him reverence.
that he thought he had put himself out of the The plans of Cæsar Borgia were so ably laid, reach of Providence. It was the boast of this execrable politician, that he had, by the infalli ble rules of a wise and foreseeing policy, so surely laid the immutable foundations of his own lasting greatness, that of the several possibilities which he had calculated, not one could shake the stability of his fortune. If the pope, his father, should live, his grandeur was secure; if he died, he had, by his interest secured the next election. But this deep schemer had forgotten not calculate on that sickness, which would reto take his own mortality into account. He did move him from the scene where his presence not foresee, that when his father died, his mortal was necessary to secure these events; he did and by succeeding, would defeat every thing. enemy, and not his creature, would succeed, Above all he did not calculate, that, when he invited to his palace nine cardinals, for whose supper he had prepared a deadly poison, in order to get their wealth into his own hands he did not, I say, foresee, that
he but taught Bloody instructions, which being taught, returned To plague the inventor
He did not think that literally
He had left out of his calculation, that the pope, his father, would perish by the very plot which was employed to enrich him; while he, Borgia himself, with the mortal venom in his veins, should only escape to drag on a life of meanness, and misery, in want, and in prison; with the loss of his boundless wealth and power, losing all those adherents which that wealth and power had attracted.
It is of the last importance, that persons of high condition should be preserved from entering on their brilliant career with false princi. ples, false views, and false maxims. It is of the last importance, to teach them not to confound
splendour with dignity, justice with success, merit with prosperity, voluptuousness with happiness, refinement in luxury with pure taste, deceit with sagacity, suspicion with penetration, prodigality with a liberal spirit, honour with christian principle, christian principle with fanaticism, or conscientious strictness with hypocrisy.
Young persons possess so little clearness in their views, so little distinctness in their perceptions, and are so much inclined to prefer the suggestions of a warm fancy to the sober deductions of reason, that, in their pursuit of glory and celebrity, they are perpetually liable to take up with false way-marks; and where they have some general good intentions respecting the end, to defeat their own purposes by a misapplication of means; so that, very often, they do not so much err through the seduction of the senses, as by accumulating false maxims into a sort of system, on which they afterwards act through life.
their liberty, and of those privileges in defence of which their ancestors had shed their best blood, was a prodigy of disinterested generosity, because he had left them permission to walk in his pleasure-grounds! the bequest of a few drachms to each, was sufficient to convince these shallow reasoners, that their deceased benefactor, was the most disinterested, and least selfish, of mankind. In this popular act they forgot, that he had ravaged Greece, depopulated Gaul, plundered Asia, and subverted the common. wealth!
The same class of ardent and indiscriminating judges will pass over, in the popular character of our fifth Henry, the profligacy of his morals, and the ambition of his temper, and think only of his personal bravery, and his splendid success. They will forget, in the conqueror of Agincourt, the abettor of superstition and cruelty, and the unfeeling persecutor of the illustrious lord Cobham.
But, in no instance has a false judgment been One of the first lessons that should be incul- more frequently made, than in the admired and eated on the great is, that God has not sent us attractive character of Henry IV. of France. into this world to give us consummate happi-The frankness of his manners, the gallantry of ness, but to train us to those habits which lead his spirit, and the generosity of his temper, have to it. High rank lays the mind open to strong concurred to unite the public judgment in his temptations; the highest rank to the strongest. favour, and to obtain too much indulgence to The seducing images of luxury and pleasure, of his unsteady principles, and his libertine consplendour and of homage, of power and inde- duct. But the qualities which insure popularity pendence, are too seldom counteracted by the too seldom stand the scrutiny of truth. Born only adequate preservative, a religious educa- with talents and dispositions to engage all hearts, tion. The world is too generally entered upon Henry was defective in that radical principle of as a scene of pleasure, instead of trial; as a thea- conscience, which is the only foundation of all tre of amusement, not of action. The high born true virtue. The renunciation of his religion are taught to enjoy the world at an age when for the crown of France, which was thought a they should be learning to know it; and to grasp master-stroke of policy, which was recommendthe prize when they should be exercising them-ed by statesmen, justified by divines, and even selves for the combat. They consequently look approved by Sully, was probably, as most acts for the sweets of victory, when they should be of mere worldly policy, often eventually prove enduring the hardness of the conflict. to be, the source of his subsequent misfortunes. From some of these early corruptions, a young-Had he preferred his religion to the crown of princess will be preserved, by that very super. eminent greatness, which, in other respects, has its dangers. Her exalted station, by separating her from miscellaneous society, becomes her protection from many of its maxims and practices. From the dangers of her own peculiar situation she should be guarded by being early taught to consider power and influence, not as exempting her from the difficulties of life or insuring to her a large portion of pleasures, but as engaging her in a peculiarly extended sphere of duties, and infinitely increasing the demands on her fortitude and vigilance.
The right formation of her judgment will much assist in her acquisition of right practical habits; and the art of making a just estimate of men and things, will be one of the most useful lessons she will have to learn. Young persons, in their views of the world, are apt to make a false estimate of character, something in the way in which the Roman mob decided on that of Cæsar. They are dazzled with the glitter of a shining action, without scrutinizing the character, or suspecting the motive of the actor. From the scene which followed Cæsar's death, they may learn a salutary lesson. How easily did the insinuating Antony persuade the people, that the man who had actually robbed them of
France, he had not fallen the victim of a fanatical assassin. Had he limited his desires to the kingdom of Navarre, when that of France could only be obtained by the sacrifice of his conscience, the heroism of his character would then have been unequivocal, and his usefulness to mankind might have been infinitely extended. Nor is it impossible, that those who urged the condition might by the steady perseverance of his refusal, have been induced to relinquish it; and French protestantism, from his conscientious adherence to its principles, might have derived such a strength, as soon to have made it paramount in the state: an event which would pro bably have saved Europe from those horrors and agitations, with which the late century closed, and the present has commenced, the termination of which remains awfully concealed in the yet unrolled volume of eternal Providence.
How much more solid, though neither sung by the poet nor immortalized by the sculptor,* was the virtue of his illustrious mother, honourably introducing, with infinite labour and hazard, the reformation into her small territory!
* Henry IV. was chosen by Voltaire for the hero of his Epic Poem, and his statue was for a long time re
spected in France, when those of other kings were de stroyed.
Nothing, says her warm eulogist, bishop Bur- I was in his power to have granted them, from the net, was wanting to make the queen of Navarre miseries of war. In a prince, to love peace, perfect, but a larger dominion. She not only is to be charitable on a grand scale.-The evils reformed her court, but her whole principality, which he personally relieves, in consequence of to such a degree, that the golden age seems to their presenting themselves to his senses, highly have returned under her, or rather Christianity, as that species of bounty should be rated, must appeared again, with its pristine purity and be out of all proportion few, compared, with lustre. Nor is there one single abatement to those which never meet his eyes. If, by combe made her. Only her sphere was narrow.' passionating the one, he soothes his own feelBut is not this to make greatness depend too ings, while he forgets the other, only because much on extrinsic accident? That sphere is they are too remote to come in contact with large enough which is rounded with perfection. these feelings, his charity is little better than A Christian queen during her troubled life! A self-love. martyr in her exemplary death, hastened, as is too probable, by the black devices of one, as much the opprobrium, as she herself was the glory of queens; the execrable plotter of the massacre of St. Bartholomew! Happy for Catherine di Medici, and for France, of which she was regent during the minority of three kings, had her sphere been as contracted as was that of Jane of Navarre !*
For want of having learned to make a just estimate of the relative value of actions, Louis XIV. while he was laying Flanders waste, and depopulating whole provinces, probably persuaded himself, that he was actuated by pure charity and love of the people, because he car. ried in his military caleche some bags of bread and money, which he distributed, as he passed, to the famished peasantry; beings, whose hunger was caused by his ambition: hunger which the ostentatious distribution of a few loaves and livres could relieve but for a moment. He might have given them peace, and saved his bread. He should have reflected, that the most munificent charities of a prince, commendable as they are in themselves, can be only local and partial; and are almost nothing, in the way of benefit, compared with a deliverance, which it
* Nature, perhaps, never produced a more perfect contrast, than these two contemporary queens. The intellectual subtilty of Catharine's vices more resembled those of an infernal spirit, than of a corrupt woman. She had an exquisite genius for crimes. The arts she employed against those, whose destruction she medita ted, were varied and applied with the nicest appropriation to their case and character: and her success was proportioned to her skill. Power, riches, pleasures,
On erroneous judgment.-Character of queen Christina of Sweden.-Comparison of Christina with Alfred.
NOTHING leads more to false estimates than our suffering that natural desire of happiness, congenial to the human heart, to mislead us by its eagerness. The object in itself is not only natural, but laudable; but the steps which are supposed to lead to it, when ill regulated, never attain the end. Vice, of whatever kind, leads to inevitable misery; yet, through a false calculation, even while happiness is intended, vice is pursued. The voluptuous will not be persuaded to set bounds to their indulgencies. Thus they commonly destroy both health of body, and peace of mind; yet the most voluptuous never intend to be miserable. What a necessity hence arises, for early infusing right principles, and training to safe and temperate habits, when even the very desire of happiness, if left merely to its instinctive movement, is almost certain to plunge its votary into final and irremediable wretchedness!
But in no instance is the defective judgment which leads to false estimates, more to be regrotted, than in the case of those who apply themselves to pursuits, and affect habits foreign from their station; who spend their season of improvement in cultivating talents, which they can rarely bring into exercise, to the neglect of those which they are peculiarly called to acquire; who run out of their proper road in pursuit of false fame, while they renounce the solid glory of a real, an attainable, and an appropriate
were the baits which she held out, with exact discrimination, to different men, according as their tempers in clined them to either. Her deep knowledge of mankind she converted to the purpose of alluring, betraying, and destroying all, against whom she had designs: and she had the ingenuity to ruin every one in his own way. She not only watched the vices and weaknesses, but the very virtues of men, in order to work with them to their destruction.-The excess of a good quality, the The danger of a prince often becomes, in elevation of a virtue, was in her hands a better imple- this respect, the greater, because, while he sees ment for working the ruin of its possessor than even his a path open before him, suppose in the case of faults. Her dissimulation was so exquisite, her patience in evil so persevering, that no time appeared too long the fine arts, by which he beholds others rising for nourishing impious projects, and ripening them to into universal notice and celebrity, he feels, perperfection. Aware, at length, that that rare combination of deceit and cruelty which met in her character haps, a natural propensity to the same pursuits, was detected; in order to complete the destruction of and a consciousness of being able to excel in the protestants more signally, her son, a puppet in her them. Meanwhile, even his weakest efforts are hands, was taught to foster and caress them. Two flattered by those around him, as the sure preyears did this pernicious Italian brood over this plot.f Its dire catastrophe who does not know? Queen Jane sages of excellence; and he is easily led to bewas poisoned, as a prologue to this bloody tragedy, a so-lieve, that if he will condescend to enter the lists, vereign to whom even the bigotted historians of the popish communion concur in ascribing all that was ele gant, accomplished, and pure in woman, with all that was wise, heroic, learned, and intrepid in man!
he is certain to attain the palm of victory. When we consider the amount of the temptation, we should be almost ready to forgive the em
For a more detailed character of Catharine, see the peror Nero, had it been only in displaying his Life of Agrippa D'Aubigne. musical or theatrical talents, that he had de
parted from the line of rectitude. But to see a It led her, to read almost all books, without Roman emperor travelling through Greece in digesting any; to make them the theme of her character of an artist, in order to extort the ap- discourse, but not the ground of her conduct. plause of a people eminent for their taste, was It led her, fond as she was of magnificence, to an indication of farther evils. The infatuation reduce herself to such a state of indigence, as remained to his last hour; for, in his dying mo- robbed her of the power of enjoying it. And ments, instead of thinking how Rome must re- it was the same inconsistency which made her joice to be rid of such a master, he only won-court the applause of men, eminent for their redered how the world could submit to the loss of such a performer.
It is one of the many evils which result from indulging such misplaced propensities, that it produces a fatal forgetfulness of all the proper duties of a sovereign, and of his legitimate sphere of emulation. Having once eaten of the forbidden fruit of this meretricious praise, he becomes fonder of the relish, his taste is corrupted, his views are lowered,-his ambition is contracted; and indolence conspires with vanity, in perpetuating his delusion, and in making him take up with pursuits, and gratifications, far below the level of his high original. For a prince, who has formed a just estimate of his own exalted station, will ever bear in mind, that as its rank, its rights, and its privileges, are all of a kind peculiar to itself, so also must be its honours. Providence has laid open to a prince an elevated and capacious field of glory, from which subjects must be ever excluded, by the very circumstances of their civil condition. A prince will but degrade himself, when he descends from his vantage ground, which he naturally occupies, to mix in the competitions of ordinary men. He engages in a contest in which, though failure may disgrace, success cannot do him honour. Monarchs, therefore, would do well to remember, and to improve upon the principle of the dignified reply of Alexander, who being asked whether he would not engage in the competition for the prize at the Olympic games, answered, 'Yes, if KINGS are to be my competitors.' Nor perhaps would the high-minded answer of Alci- | biades be unbecoming in a prince,-'It is not for me to give, but to receive delight.'
ligious character, while she valued herself on being an avowed infidel.
This royal wanderer roamed from country to country, and from court to court, for the poor purpose of entering the lists with wits, or of discussing knotty points with philosophers: proud of aiming to be the rival of Vossius, when her true merit would have consisted in being his protector. Absurdly renouncing the solid glory of governing well, for the sake of hunting after an empty phantom of liberty, which she never enjoyed, and vainly grasping at the shadow of fame, which she never attained.
Nothing is right, which is not in its right place.-Disorderly wit, even disorderly virtues, lose much of their natural value. There is an exquisite symmetry and proportion in the qualities of a well-ordered mind. An ill-regulated desire of that knowledge, the best part of which she might have acquired with dignity, at her leisure hours: an unbounded vanity, eager to exhibit to foreign countries those attainments which ought to have been exercised in governing her own;-to be thought a philosopher by wits, and a wit by philosophers ;-this was the preposterous ambition of a queen born to rule a brave people, and naturally possessed of talents, which might have made that people happy. Thus it wasthat the daughter of the great Gustavus, who might have adorned that throne for which he so bravely fought, for want of the discretion of a well-balanced mind, and the virtues of a well-disciplined heart, became the scorn of those, whose admiration she might have commanded. Her ungoverned tastes were, as is not unusual, connected with passions equally ungovernable; and there is too much Ever therefore, let those whose important duty ground for suspecting that the mistress of Moit is, to superintend the education of a royal naldeschi ended with being his murderer.-It person, labour to fix in him a just conception of is not surprising that she who abdicated her the proprieties of his princely character. Let throne should abjure her religion. Having rethem teach him how to regulate all his judg-nounced every thing else which was worth ments and pursuits, by the rule of reason, by a preserving, she ended by renouncing the prosound and serious estimate of his own condition, testant faith. and of the peculiar duties, excellencies, and honours, which belong to it, on grounds no less of wisdom than of virtue.
We know not how better to illustrate the nature and confirm the truth of these remarks, than by adducing, as an eminent instance of a contrary kind, the character of queen Christina of Sweden, the memorable tale of her false judgment, and perverted ambition-Christina, a woman whose whole character was one mass of contradictions! That same defect in judg. ment, which, after she had, with vast cost and care, collected some of the finest pictures in Rome, led her to spoil their proportions, by clipping them with sheers, till they fitted her apartment, appeared in all she did. It led her, while she thirsted for adulation, to renounce, in abdicating her crown, the means of exacting it. I
It may not be without its uses to the royal pupil, to compare the conduct of Christina with that of Alfred, in those points in which they agreed, and those in which they exhibited so striking an opposition. To contrast the Swede, who with the advantage of a lettered education, descended from the throne, abandoned the noblest and wisest sphere of action in which the instructed mind could desire to employ its store, and renounced the highest social duties which a human being can be called to perform, with Alfred, one of the few happy instances in which genius and virtue surmounted the disadvantages of an education so totally neglected, that at twelve years old he did not even know the letters of the alphabet. He did not abdicate his crown, in order to cultivate his own talents, or to gratify his fancy