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the king's capacity and attainments, is indisputable. And the consideration of his being also a papist, will not suffer us to suppose, that his encomiums have any mixture of party prejudice in this prince's favour. Moreover, Cardan wrote and published his testimony in a country, and at a time, which rendered it (n) impossible for him to have any sinister interest in view. “All the Graces,” says he, “ were apparent in king Edward; and, for the tongues, he was not only exact in the English, French, and Latin; but understood the Greek, Italian, and Spanish. Nor was he ignorant of logic, the principles of natural philosophy, or music: being apt to learn every thing. The sweetness of his temper was such as became a mortal; his gravity becoming the majesty of a king; and his disposition suitable to his high degree. In short, that child was so bred, had such parts, and was of such expectation, that he looked like a miracle of a man. These things are not spoken rhetorically, and beyond the truth; but are indeed short of it. He began to love the liberal arts, before he knew them; to know them, before he could use them. And in him there was such an effort of nature, that not only England, but the world, has reason to lament his being so early snatched away. How truly was it said, of such extraordinary persons, that their lives are short! He gave us an essay of virtue, though he did not live to give us a pattern of it. When the gravity of a king
(n) Cardan refused to offer the incense of (what he thought would have been) adulation to king Edward, even in the prince's life-time, and during his (Cardan's) residence at the English court.“ Much less would he be induced to fawn upon his memory. The philosopher's conduct on that occasion, though it resulted from a mistaken principle, reflects some honour on his integrity and disinterestedness. “ I refused (says he), a purse of five hundred pieces (some tell me, it was a thousand ; but I cannot ascertain the precise sum), because I would not acknowledge one of the king's titles, in prejudice of the pope's authority," See Bayle's Dict. vol. ii. p. 316. note (d).
was needful, he carried himself like a man in years : and yet was always affable and gentle, as became his youth. In bounty he emulated his father, who in some cases may appear to have been bad; but there was no ground for suspecting any such thing in the son, whose mind was cultivated by the study of phi. losophy (o)."
Mr. Guthrie's character of him is far from being excessive. The outlines of Edward's portrait, as drawn by the masterly hand of that able historian, shall terminate our present review of this great prince. “Henry VIII. was the Romulus, and Edward VI. the Numa Pompilius, of English Reformation. The former laid its foundation in blood and rapine; the latter reared its fabric, by justice and moderation. Learning is the most trifling part of Edward's character. The rod may make a scholar; but nature must form a genius. Edward had genius. His learning, indeed, was extraordinary ; but in that he was equalled, if not excelled, by others of equal years, and of a different sex. Perhaps his sister Elizabeth, and his designed successor, the lady Jane Gray, at his age, knew the languages better than he did. But Edward discovered a genius for government, beyond what, perhaps, ever was known in so early a bloom of life. He soon fell in with those walks of knowledge, which lead to the glory and happiness both of prince and people. He understood the principles of trade, and the true maxims which the English ought to pursue with foreign countries, to much greater perfection than any author who wrote at that time on those subjects. The papers which remain in his writing, concerning a. mart, and the reformation of abuses, might be suspected not to be of his composition, did we know of any person, in those days, who could write so clearly and intelligibly, and, by consequence, so elegantly.
(o) See the Acta Regia, p. 439. Edit. 1734.
His journal contains, so far as it goes, an account of all the important transactions falling within it; penned in such a manner, as amply proves its author to have known the bottom of every subject he touches. His perpetual attention to commerce gave him, towards the end of his reign, a true notion of that conduct which England ought to pursue, in those disputes upon the continent, which endanger the balance of power there. It helped him to form great schemes for the improvement of his maritime force, for the security of his coasts, for the protection of his ships; and, in his project of opening free marts in England, there is somewhat that points towards introducing a new and a better system of mercantile affairs, than has yet, perhaps, been pursued. He acquired a taste for elegant magnificence; and, in this, he seems to have been single in his court. His appearances, on public occasions, were sometimes, perhaps, too Eastern: but he seems to have corrected this extravagance, by striking off a great deal of useless expence. Had providence been so well reconciled to England, as to have indulged Edward in a longer reign, he had private virtue sufficient to have brought private virtue once more into reputation : while his judgment was so strong, as at once to reanimate, and employ the public spirit of his people. The application of this royal youth laid the corner stones on which the commerce of England is founded, and which alone gives her the rank of a queen among nations. It was his piety that purged her religion from superstition; it was his good sense, getting the better of his prejudices, that saved her possessions from ruin, and rescued her clergy from contempt. It was his example which fired the young nobility and gentry of his own years, with that generous emulation which pushed them into every glorious pursuit, when their manly qualities, in a following reign (viz. in the reign of Elizabeth), raised their drooping country to glory and
to empire. It is owing to Edward's compassion, that, at this day, in England's capital, the helpless orphan finds a father; that erring youth are provided with instruction; and that heaven receives the sounds of praise and gratitude from the mouth of the infant. His wisdom prepared a check for the intemperate, and correction for the idle. His cares make grey hairs go down, without sorrow, to the grave. His bounty embellishes those places, which his charity endowed. And his own person was the habitation where love and learning, the graces and the virtues, delighted to dwell (p).”
Let me just add, that whoever has read king Edward's Treatise against the Supremacy of the Bishops of Rome (published at London, in 1682), will cease to be surprised at that admiration, with which the English historians celebrate the parts and piety of the royal author. The merits of that performance, in particular, are so transcendent, that a most ingenious acquaintance of mine once doubted, whether it was possible for so young a prince to be the composer of so learned and masterly a work. But my friend (eminent for possessing one of the finest collections of natural and artificial curiosities, that ever fell to the lot of a private person) has been so happy as to add to his treasures the original manuscript, in Edward's own hand writing; which places the authenticity of the book above dispute.
Judge now, whether Edward, thus endued with the whole circle of princely qualifications, could be that weak, supple, facile, waxen image of a king, which Mr. Wesley's malice and Mr. Sellon's ignorance combine to represent. In trying at which, they not only violate all historic truth, but labour also to blacken the church of England; by defaming the protestant monarch who was, under God, its father and visible head : a monarch, who, like Alfred,
(p) Guthrie's Hist. of England, vol. iii. p. 1. 121-123.
was born for the good of mankind; and the lustre of whose crown was eclipsed by the virtues of him that wore it. King Edward's being a Calvinist, is the unpardonable crime for which Arminian Methodism seeks to lay his memory in the dust. Under him it was, that the English liturgy was compiled, reformed, and perfected; the homilies composed; the articles of religion framed; and Ponet's catechism drawn up: which two latter, viz. the articles and the said catechism, “ were in general received and subscribed to, all over the kingdom (9).” These were the crimes of Edward and his reforming bishops; for which, Peter Heylin, John Wesley, and Walter Sellon, labour to heap odium on the best of princes and the best of prelates.
Arminianism charged and proved on the Church
MR. Sellon acknowledges his absolute inequality to the task he has undertaken. “ I know nothing at all,” says he, “ how to fence or push (r):" i. e. he can neither attack, nor defend.
A very proper person to set up for a champion, and to style himself a vindicator! But there was no need of such an explicit confession. His production sufficiently demonstrates, that its producer can neither fence nor push. Witness the opening of his very first assault, in page 3. where I am presented with a tierce, not of blunderbusses, but of blunders. “ In that point,” says the blunderer, “which you stickle so mightily for, viz. the doctrine of absolute, irrespec
(9) Guthrie, u. s. p. 114. VOL. I.
(r) Page 123.