Monday, March 08, 2004

An answer to a discussion

Between Ron and me, Macauley is very difficult to exerpt, but this strengthens both our points I think:

Just at this conjuncture James died. Charles the First succeeded
to the throne. He had received from nature a far better
understanding, a far stronger will, and a far keener and firmer
temper than his father's. He had inherited his father's political
theories, and was much more disposed than his father to carry
them into practice. He was, like his father, a zealous
Episcopalian. He was, moreover, what his father had never been, a
zealous Arminian, and, though no Papist, liked a Papist much
better than a Puritan. It would be unjust to deny that Charles
had some of the qualities of a good, and even of a great prince.
He wrote and spoke, not, like his father, with the exactness of a
professor, but after the fashion of intelligent and well educated
gentlemen. His taste in literature and art was excellent, his
manner dignified, though not gracious, his domestic life without
blemish. Faithlessness was the chief cause of his disasters, and
is the chief stain on his memory. He was, in truth, impelled by
an incurable propensity to dark and crooked ways. It may seem
strange that his conscience, which, on occasions of little
moment, was sufficiently sensitive, should never have reproached
him with this great vice. But there is reason to believe that he
was perfidious, not only from constitution and from habit, but
also on principle. He seems to have learned from the theologians
whom he most esteemed that between him and his subjects there
could be nothing of the nature of mutual contract; that he could
not, even if he would, divest himself of his despotic authority;
and that, in every promise which he made, there was an implied
reservation that such promise might be broken in case of
necessity, and that of the necessity he was the sole judge.

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