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so much with any view towards fame or emolument, as for the private ends and satisfaction of the writers themselves. Not being professedly an author, he is divested of that formality and constraint, which mostly characterize those, who, writing avowedly for the world's eye, think it necessary, before they appear in public, to compose their features into an aspect of studied dignity. Easy and concise, simple and unaffected, in language such as a well-educated gentleman of the day might be supposed to use without effort or study, he relates the history of the times, as a man might tell his story to a friend. As no person is a hero by his own fire-side, we are spared all those elaborate encomiums on the author's self and friends—those eloquent complaints of unrewarded services and the world's ingratitude—that studied abuse of political adversaries, and those fulsome panegyrics on people in power, which, like the exterior decorations of dress, are laid aside, as tending to make a man look ridiculous in private, and are only assumed when an author has to appear upon the stage of the world. Though both from interest and prejudice attached to the court, he does not appear to have entertained for it that religious devotion, which thinks it impiety to see any thing but rectitude in its measures, or aught but malice in those of its opponents. It being, therefore, no article of his creed, that a man is to deliver over his judgement and intellect into the hands of his party, he has not thought it a crime occasionally to make use of his discernment, but shewn considerable penetration in detecting the real, though not always apparent motives, which dictated the measures of government. For example, when in 1677 Charles II. was playing that deep game with his parliament, through which he hoped to have extorted supplies, by flattering them with the prospect of a war with France, our author was not to be deceived by the specious argument of the court. “ How can I,” reasoned his majesty,“ depend on my parliament to furnish me with regular and equal supplies to carry on a war, which they will not so much as enable me to prepare for?” “ But I easily saw through this,” observes Sir John, “ I plainly perceived it was all artifice to get the fingering of the money.” Thus sharp-sighted enough in reading the sentiments of men, through the disguise which they generally assume, his summary view of the events of the time and the complicated intrigues of faction, both in parliament and at court, is much more consistent and unembarrassed than contemporary writers have always been able to transmit. No dupe to hollow professions, nor taking men, on their words, to be what they represented themselves--apparently rather chusing not to perceive than actually blind to the faults of one party--and sometimes not so much believing as seeming to

believe what was said against the other, he was of the number of those politicians, who see clearly to a certain extent, without being able, or, perhaps, willing to look beyond. His natural sagacity, sharpened by interest, made him a quick observer of the movements of parties and the course of intrigues, whilst prejudice, combined with a certain degree of interest also, rendered him unfit to take any large or patriotic view of the nature, consequences, and tendency of the various measures and proceedings which fell under his observation. It was thus that without any peculiar dereliction of political principle, (for though a courtier, and in a profligate court, we believe him to have been reasonably honest, he was enabled to persevere, through good report and bad report, the constant supporter of two successive governments, among the very worst by which the affairs of the nation have ever been conducted. Sir John Reresby was one of that race of men, formerly so numerous in this country, but now, thank heaven, nearly extinct, who had their principles, like their estates, transmitted to them by inheritance, and were loyal because their fathers were. That kings could not be fickle and unprincipled-courts entertain improper yiews, nor ministers act with tyranny and injustice, he did not feel himself bound to believe; but farther than this, his spirit of opposition never appears to have led him—to resist what was injurious and despotic, or even to forbear lending himself as an agent, would have seemed to him nothing short of actual treason against the crown. Right or wrong, the court was to be obeyed and served -the opposition weakened and resisted. :: It was in the year 1659, when our anthor, a gay young man, just returned from his travels, and, as we have observed, a loyalist by birth, not relishing the grave severity of the English court, betook himself to Paris, where he got an introduction to the queen mother, then residing at the Palais Royal. He had only once been near the person of the Protector, at the audience of an ambassador at Whitehall; so he " can only say, that his figure did not come up to his character: he was, indeed, a likely person, but not handsome, nor had he a very bold look with him. He was plain in his apparel, and rather negligent than not.” Sir John, who was all his life through a quick observer of those little natural signs that portend a change in the tide of opinion, and pretty clearly indicate in what direction the current is about to set, now perceived that a way was paved to facilitate the king's return, though “ the Rump still kept up some face of state.” This reason, probably, as much as any other, influenced his departure : and on his arrival at Paris, he found the aspect of things there very different from that which they had worn a year or two before, when

the restoration had seemed of all events the most improbable. There was now a greater resort to the queen mother's palace, than to the French court itself-balls were given- fêtes celebrated-and a grand mask danced at the Louvre, in which the king and the princess. Henrietta of England performed to admiration. Himself speaking the language of the country, and dancing pretty well, the young princess, then about fifteen years of age, behaved towards him with all the civil freedom that might be; she made him dance with her, played on the harpsicord to him in her chamber, suffered him to wait on her as she walked in the garden, and sometimes to toss her in a swing between two trees; in fine, to be present at all her innocent diversions. The queen mother was a woman of considerable wit and humour, and had a great affection for England, notwithstanding the severe usage she and her's had met with there. “ With the great men and ladies of France she discoursed much in praise of the people and country, of their courage, their generosity, their good nature; and would excuse all the late misfortunes, as brought about by some desperate enthusiast, rather than proceeding from the genius and temper of the nation.” Had she looked nearer home for the cause of her misfortunes, she probably would not have been farther from the truth. Lord Essex used to say, “ He was amazed to see that a woman, who in the drawing-room was the liveliest of the age, and had a vivacity of imagination which surprised all who came near her, yet after all her practice in affairs, had so

tunes, a their good health and countrFrance she

at the miscarriage of the late king's counsels, since she had such a share in them.” It was on her kindness for him, and the influence she had over the king, her son, that Sir John Reresby chiefly relied for the promotion of his views at court. But this pleasing superstructure soon fell to the ground, in consequence of the queen's departure from England for the French court, where she died not many years after. “ She was a great princess, and my very good mistress.” Such is Sir John's short and emphatic eulogy. · That our author ever obtained any adequate recompense for his assiduous attendance at court, and uniform support in parliament, does not appear from the Memoirs he has left us. Though evidently a useful man to the party whose interests he espoused, his services, perhaps, were not of that marked nature to entitle him to demand a reward, with the authority necessary in a court, where a man was obliged to cry loud, indeed, if he hoped to be heard -when there were many to petition, and where there was but little to give. Without any of the evil qualities generally attached to the character, he discharged the functions of an useful go-between to the successive ministers, the Lords Danby and Halifax. Added to this, that he was a pleasant companion may be gathered, we think, from the style of his Memoirs :-that he was an accomplished man, we are told, though not ostentatiously, by himself. He .could converse in Italian and French, and both the king and the dukes “ were great lovers of the French tongue, and kind to those who spoke it.” He had travelled, and could tell in an agreeable manner what he had seen; a great collector of news, he had the art of retailing it pleasantly, and Charles was as great a gossip as his grandfather James. Above all, he could lean on the back of the king's chair as he sat at supper, and—what we have the authority of these Memoirs for believing, he would do passing well-relate all that had been done and said in the house that night. In return for this-he was liberally rewarded with gracious looks and kind promises, that meant little or nothing, and were forgotten as soon as he had with

desire for some appointment in stronger terms than ordinary, Charles would lay his hand upon his shoulder, and say, “ he was very sensible of his services, and that they should be rewarded.” If put in mind of some former promise—" he remembered it particularly well, and upon the very first occasion would be as good as his word.” But that occasion never arrived; so that when Lord Halifax one day, during the violent debates on the Exclusion bill, observed to him, “ well, if it comes to a war, you and I must go together;" I told his lordship,” says Sir John," I should be ready to follow happen what would ; but if the king expected his friends to be hearty in his cause, and steady to his person, he should consider with himself, and encourage them a little ; and thereupon I acquainted him with some of my disappointments at court, notwithstanding the most solemn reiterated promises.” That this was not for want of duly shewing himself there, and a proper regard to his interest, is clear from his own confession. In the year 1683, when the king was taking new measures with regard to affairs in general, and officers in particular, we find him posting up to town, thinking it necessary, as he himself owns, that at such a critical juncture, he should be near his majesty's person. All, however, that he obtained, during a life spent at court, was an appointment to be high sheriff of his county, to .which his rank alone entitled him, the government of a city, that had no garrison, and the command of a fort, which never appears to have been built. What the emolument, arising from these two sinecure places is likely to have been, may be inferred from the following deplorable statement. • “Meanwhile the kingdom in general had a very melancholy aspect; the king was poor; the officers of the crown and of the

household were clamorous for their salaries and dues, which had not of a long time been paid, and no wonder, when Sir Robert Howard, one of the chief officers of the exchequer, declared in the House of Commons, that there was not money sufficient for bread for the king's family; there were no stores any where, either for the sea service or the land ; the garrisons were all out of repair, the platforms decayed, and the cannon dismounted; the army divided for the Duke of York and against him, the officers of state the same; the parliament, for the most part, in a ferment, and glad of these public misunderstandings, as favouring their design of clipping the wings of prerogative, &c."

When it is recollected, that parliament 'had originally granted Charles a revenue, three times more than had been enjoyed by any King of England before, so that, to use Reresby's own words, “ the country groaned under the pressure,” it is not the parsimony of the Commons we shall be disposed to blame for all this, but the extravagant profuseness of the courts And those, who censure the House for dealing out their grants with such a cautious and frugal hand, ought, in justice, to remember the suspicions which were generally and, as appears, not unreasonably entertained, that the very money, which they furnished, might be employed to effect the ruin of those who gave it. For it is clear from Danby's correspondence with the French court, laid before the House of Commons by the ambassador Montague, that at the very time Charles was soliciting parliament for money to raise an army for the war, he was in actual treaty with France for money to make a peace; “ which," as Sir John confesses, “ looked as if a standing army was designed to humble England, and not France.”

But whoever was to blame for the notorious poverty of his household, so he had but money for his own expensive pleasures—and his brother Louis took care 'he should not want that at least-Charles cared very little what became of his dependants. The history of Sir John Reresby certainly is not calculated to inspire the reader with any very strong passion for the life and profession of a courtier ; but rather to make him wonder, that a sensible man, like the author, of good birth and respectable fortune, should have chosen to wear out the prime of his life in a hopeless attendance upon court, when he might have spent it with so much more honour and profit to himself in almost any other situation. The licentiousness which reigned in it could not have many charms for one, who, besides being married, appears also to have been a virtuous man; we can only suppose, therefore, that there is a pleasure in the obsequiousness and humility of that mode of life, which we wot not of, and that, contrary to the vulgar belief on

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