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β€˜ [292] clerk,’ and had been so successful, that Bacon,1 with
Chap. VIII.} 1603.
equivocal flattery, pronounced him incomparable for learning among kings, and Sully, who knew him well, esteemed him the wisest fool in Europe.β€”The man of letters, who possesses wealth without the capacity for active virtue, often learns to indulge in the vacancy of contemplative enjoyments, and, slumbering on his post, abandons himself to pleasant dreams. This is the euthanasia of his honor. The reputation of King James was lost more ignobly. At the mature age of thirtysix he ascended the throne of England; and, for the first time acquiring the opportunity of displaying the worthlessness of his character, he exulted in the freedom of self-indulgence; in idleness and gluttony. The French ambassador despised him for his frivolous amusements;2 gross licentiousness in his vicinity was unreproved; and the manners of the palace became so coarsely profligate, that even the women of his court reeled in his presence in a state of disgusting inebriety.3

The life of James, as a monarch, was full of meannesses. Personal beauty became the qualification of a minister of state. The interests of England were sacrificed, that his son might marry the daughter of a powerful king. His passions were as feeble as his will. His egregious vanity desired perpetual flattery; and no hyperboles excited his distrust. He boasted that England, even in the days of Elizabeth, had been governed by his influence; by proclamation, he forbad the people to talk of state affairs;4 and in reply to the complaints of his commons, he insisted

1 Bacon's Works, IV. 436.

2 Lingard's England, IX. 107.

3 Harrington's Nuga Antique, i. 348β€”350.

4 Rapin's England, II. 202. Sully's Memoirs, l. XV.

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