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sessed every accomplishment, both of body and mind, which makes a man estimable or amiable. He was of a middle stature, strong, and well-proportioned; his countenance was lively and engaging, his conversation affable and entertaining; his elocution easy, persuasive, and ever at command. He loved peace, but possessed both con. duct and bravery in war; was provident without timidity; severe in the execution of justice without rigour; and temperate without austerity. He preserved health, and kept himself from corpulency, to which he was somewhat inclined, by an abstemious diet, and by frequent exercise, particularly by hunting. When he could enjoy leisure, he recreated himself in learned conversation, or in reading; and he cultivated bis natural talents by study, above any prince of his time. His affections, as well as his enmities, were warm and durable ; and his long experience of the ingratitude and infidelity of men never destroyed the natural sensibility of his temper, which disposed him to friendship and society. His character has been transmitted to us by many writers who were his contemporaries; and it resembles extremely, in its most remarkable strokes, that of his maternal grandfather, Henry I excepting only, that ambition, which was a ruling passion in both, found not in the first Henry such unexceptionable means of ex. erting itself, and pushed that prince into measures which were both criminal in themselves, and were the cause of further crimes, from which his grandson's conduct was happily exempted.
CHARACTER OF RICHARD I.
The most shining part of this prince's character was his military talents; no man ever in that romantic age carried courage and intrepidity to a greater height; and this quality gained him the appellation of the lion-hearted, cour de lion. He passionately loved glory; and as his conduct in the field was not inferior to his vaiour, he seems to have possessed every talent necessary for acquiring it: his resentments also were high, his pride unconquerable, and his subjects, as well as his neighbours, had therefore reason to apprehend, from the continuance of his reign, a perpetual scene of blood and violence. Ofan impetuous and vehement spirit, he was distinguished by all the good as well as the bad qualities which are incident to that character. He was open, frank, generous, sincere, and brave; he was revengeful, domineering, ambitious, haughty, and cruel, and was thus better calculated to dazzle men by the splendour of his enterprises, than either to promote their happiness, or his own grandeur by a sound and well-regulated policy. As military talents make great impression on the people, he seems to bave been much beloved by his English subjects; and he is remarked to have been the first prince of the Norman line who bore a sincere affection and regard for them. He passed, however, only four months of his reign in that kingdom: the crusade employed him near three years: he was detained about four months in captivity; the rest of his reign was spent either in war, or preparations for war against France: and he was so pleased with the fame which he had acquired in the east, that he seemed determined, notwithstanding all his past misfortunes, to have further exhausted his kingdom, and to have exposed himself to new hazards, by conducting another expedition against the infidels.
CHARACTER OF JOHN.
The character of this prince is nothing but a complication of vices, equally mean and odious, ruinous to himself, and destructive to his people: cowardice, inactivity, folly, levity, licentiousness, ingratitude, treachery, tyranny, and cruelty; all these qualities too evidently appear in the several incidents of his life, to give us room to suspect that the disagreeable picture has been anywise overcharged by the prejudice of the ancient historians. It is hard to say, whether his conduct to his father, bis brother, his nephew, or his subjects, was most culpable ; or whether his crimes in these respects were not even exceeded by the baseness which appeared in his transactions with the king of France, the pope, and the barons. His dominions, when they devolved to him by the death of his brother, were more extensive than have ever since his time been ruled by any English monarch. But he first lost, by his misconduct, the flourishing provinces in France; the ancient patrimony of his family. He subjected his kingdom to a shameful vassalage under the see of Rome; he saw the prerogatives of his crown diminished by law, and still more reduced by faction; and he died at last
when in danger of being totally expelled by a foreign power, and of either ending his life miserably in a prison, or seeking shelter as a fugitive from the pursuit of his enemies.
The prejudices against this prince were so violent, that he was believed to have sent an embassy to the emperor of Morocco, and to have offered to change his religion and become Mahometan, in order to purchase the protection of that monarch; but, though that story is told us on plansible authority, it is in itself utterly improbable, except that there is nothing so incredible as may not become likely from the folly and wickedness of John.
CHARACTER OF HENRY III,
The most obvious circumstance of Henry the Third's character, is his incapacity for govern. ment, which rendered him as much a prisoner in the hands of his own ministers and favourites, and as little at his own disposal, as when detained a captive in the hands of his enemies. From this source, rather than from insincerity and treachery, arose bis negligence in observing his promises ; and he was too easily induced for the sake of present convenience, to sacrifice the lasting ad. vantages arising from the trust and confidence of his people. Hence were derived his profusion to favourites, his attachment to strangers, the variableness of his conduct, his hasty resentments, and his sudden forgiveness and return of affection. Instead of reducing the dangerous power of his nobles, by obliging them to observe the laws to wards their inferiors, and setting them the salutary example in his own government, he was seduced to imitate their conduct, and to make his arbitrary will, or rather that of his ministers, the rule of his actions.
Instead of accommodating himself, by a strict frugality, to the embarrassed situation to which his revenue had been left, by the military expedition of his uncle, the dissipations of his father, and the usurpations of the barons; he was tempted to levy money by irregular exactions, which, without enriching himself, impoverished, or at least disgusted, his people. Of all men, nature seemed least te have fitted him for being a tyrant; yet are there instances of oppression in his reign, which, though derived from the precedents left him by his predecessors, had been carefully guarded against by the great charter; and are inconsistent with all rules of good government; and, on the whole, we may say, that greater abilities, with his good dispositions, would have prevented him from falling into his faults; or, with worse dispositions, would have enabled him to maintain and defend them.
CHARACTER OF EDWARD I.
The enterprizes finished by this prince, and the projects which he formed, and brought very near to a conclusion, were more prudent, and more regularly conducted, and more advantageous to the solid interest of this kingdom, than those which