He was not only admirable in active life as a sol-
dier; he was an accomplished scholar.
No statesman in retirement ever expressed the charms of tranquil leisure more beautifully than Raleigh
; and it was not entirely with the language of grateful friendship, that Spenser
described his ‘sweet verse as sprinkled with nectar,’ and rivaling the melodies of ‘the summer's nightingale.’1
When an unjust verdict, contrary to probability and the evidence, ‘against law and against equity,’ on a charge which seems to have been a pure invention, left him to languish for years in prison, with the sentence of death suspended over his head, his active genius plunged into the depths of erudition; and he who had been a soldier, a courtier, and a seaman, now became the elaborate author of a learned History of the World.
His career as a statesman was honorable to the pupil of Coligny
and the contemporary of L'Hopital.
In his public policy, he was thoroughly an English patriot; jealous of the honor, the prosperity, and the advancement of his country; the inexorable antagonist of the pretensions of Spain
In parliament, he defended the freedom of domestic industry.
When, by the operation of unequal laws, taxation was a burden upon industry rather than wealth, he argued for a change:2
himself possessed of a lucrative monopoly, he gave his voice for the repeal of all monopolies;3
and, while he pertinaciously used his influence with his sovereign to mitigate the severity of the judgments against the nonconformists,4
as a legislator he resisted the sweeping enactment of persecuting laws.5