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so quick, that it seemed rather a flight than a growth; and he was such a darling of fortune, that he was at the top before he was well seen at the bottom; and, as if he had been born a favourite, he was supreme the first month he came to court; and it was want of confidence, not of credit, that he had not all at first which he obtained afterwards; never meeting with the least obstruction from his setting out, till he was as great as he could be: so that he wanted dependants before he thought he could want coadjutors. Nor was he very fortunate in the election of those dependants, very few of his servants having been ever qualified enough to assist or advise him; and they were intent only upon growing rich under him, not upon their master's growing good as well as great: insomuch as he was throughout his fortune a much wiser man than any servant or friend he had.
Let the fault or misfortune be what or whence it will, it may reasonably be believed, that, if he had been blessed with one faithful friend, who had been qualified with wisdom and integrity, that great person would have committed as few faults, and done as transcendent worthy actions, as. any man who shined in such a sphere in that age in Europe. For he was of an excellent disposition, and of a' mind very capable of advice and counsel. He was in his nature just and candid, liberal, generous, and bountiful; nor was it ever known, that the temptation of money swayed him to do an unjust or unkind thing. ...
If he had an immoderate ambition, with which he was charged, and is a weed (if it be a weed) apt to grow in the best soils; it doth not appear that it was in his nature, or that he brought it with him to the court, but rather found it there, and was a garment necessary for that air. Nor was it more in his power to be without promotion, and titles, and wealth, than for a healthy man to sit in the sun in the brightest dog-days, and remain without any warmth. He needed no ambition, who was so seated in the hearts of two such masters.
He wanted no pomp of funeral when he was dead, Cromwell causing him to be brought up by land to London in all the state that could be; and to encourage his officers to venture their lives, that they might be pompously buried, he was, with all the solemnity possible, and at the charge of the public, interred in Harry the Seventh's chapel, among the monuments of the kings. He was a man of a private extraction; yet had enough left him by his father to give him a good education; which his own inclination disposed him to receive in the university of Oxford; where he took the degree of a master of arts; and was enough versed in books for a man who intended not to be of any profession, having sufficient of his own to maintain him in the plenty he affected, and having then no appearance of ambition to be a greater man than he was. He was of a melancholic and a sullen nature, and spent his time most with good-fellows, who liked his moroseness, and a freedom he used in inveighing against the licence of the time, and the power of the court. They who knew him inwardly, discovered that he had an anti-monarchical spirit, when few men thought the government in any danger. When the troubles begun, he quickly declared himself against the king; and having some command in Bristol, when it was first taken by prince Rupert and the marquis of Hertford, being trusted with the command of a little fort upon the line, he refused to give it up, after the governor had signed the articles of surrender, and kept it some hours after the prince was in the town, and killed some of the soldiers; for which the prince resolved to hang him, if some friends had not interposed for him, upon his want of experience in war; and prevailed with him to quit the place by very great importunity, and with much difficulty. After this, having done eminent service to the parliament, especially at Taunton, at land, he then betook himself wholly to the sea; and quickly made himself signal there. He was the first man that declined the old track, and made it manifest that the science might be obtained in less time than was imagined; and despised those rules which had been long in practice, to keep his ship and his men out of danger; which had been held in former times a point of great ability and circumspection; as if the principal art requisite in the captain of a ship had been to be sure to come home safe again. He was the first man who brought the ships to contemn castles on shore, which had been thought ever very formidable, and were discovered by him to make a noise only, and to fright those who could rarely be hurt by them. He was the first that infused that proportion of courage into the seamen, by making them see by experience, what mighty things they could do, if they were resolved; and taught them to fight in fire as well as upon water: and though he had been very well imitated and followed, he was the first that gave the example of that kind of naval courage, and bold and resolute achievements.
3. Lord Falkland's Home.
As soon as he had finished all those transactions, which the death of his father had made necessary to be done, he retired again to his country life, and to his severe course of study, which was very delightful to him, as soon as he was engaged in it: but he was wont to say, that he never found reluctancy in any thing he resolved to do, but in his quitting London, and departing from the conversation of those he enjoyed there; which was in some degree preserved and continued by frequent letters, and often visits, which were made by his friends from thence, whilst he continued wedded to the country; and which were so grateful to him, that during their stay with him, he looked upon no book, except their very conversation made an appeal to some book; and truly his whole conversation was one continued convivium philosophicum, or convivium theologicum, enlivened and refreshed with all the facetiousness of wit, and good humour, and pleasantness of discourse, which made the gravity of the argument itself (whatever it was) very delectable. His house where he usually resided, (Tew, or Burford, in Oxfordshire,) being within ten or twelve miles of the university, looked like the university itself, by the company that was always found there. There were Dr. Sheldon, Dr. Morley, Dr. Hammond, Dr. Earles, Mr. Chillingworth, and indeed all men of eminent parts and faculties in Oxford, besides those who resorted thither from London; who all found their lodgings there, as ready as in the colleges; nor did the lord of the house know of their coming or going, nor who were in his house, till he came to dinner, or supper, where all still met; otherwise, there was no troublesome ceremony or constraint, to forbid men to come to the house, or to make them weary of staying there; so that many came thither to study in a better air, finding all the books they could desire in his library, and all the persons together, whose company they could wish, and not find in any other society.
Clarendon's Letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford.
For Mr. Vicechancellor of Oxford, Good Mr. Vicechancellor, HAVING found it necessary to transport myselfe out of England, and not knowing when it will please God that I shall returne againe; it becomes me to take care that the University may not be without the service of a person better able to be of use to them, then I am like to be; and I doe therefore hereby surrender the office of Chancellor into the hands of the said University, to the end that they make choyce of some other person better qualifyed to assist and protect them then I am, I am sure he can never be more affectionate to it. I desire you, as the last suite I am like to make to you, to believe that I doe not fly my Country for guilt, and how passionately soever I am pursued, that I have not done any thing to make the University ashamed of me, or to repent the good opinion they had once of me, and though I must have noe farther mention in your publique devotions (which I have alwayes exceedingly valued) I hope I shall be alwayes remembered in your private prayers as
Good Mr. Vicechancellor,
CLARENDON. Calice, this , Dec. 1667.