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Character of Mary Queen of Scots.

To all the charms of beauty and the utinost elegance of external form, she added those accomplishments which render their impression irresistible. Polite, affable, insinuating, sprightly, and capable of speaking and of writing with equal ease and dignity. Sudden, however, and violent in all her attachments, because her heart was warm and unsuspicious. Impatient of contradiction, because she had been accustomed from her infancy to be treated as a queen. No stranger, on some occasions, to dissimulation, which, in that perfidious court where she received her education, was reckoned among the necessary arts of government. Not insensible of flattery, or unconscious of that pleasure with which almost every woman beholds the influence of her own beauty. Formed with the qualities which we love, not with the talents that we admire, she was an agreeable woman rather than an illustrious queen. The vivacity of her spirit, not sufficiently tempered with sound judgment, and the warmth of her heart, which was not at all times under the restraint of discretion, betrayed her both into errors and into crimes. To say that she was always unfortunate will not account for that long and almost uninterrupted succession of calamities which befel her: we must likewise add that she was often imprudent. Her passion for Darnley was rash, youthful, and excessive. And though the sudden transition to the opposite extreme was the natural effect of her ill-requited love, and of his ingratitude, insolence, and brutality, yet neither these nor Bothwell's artful address and important services can justify her attachment to that nobleman. Even the manners of the age, licentious as they were, are no apology for this unhappy passion; nor can they induce us to look on that tragical and infamous scene which followed upon it with less abhorrence. Humanity will draw a veil over this part of her character which it cannot approve, and, may, perhaps, prompt some to impute her actions to her situation more than to her dispositions, and to lament the unhappiness of the former rather than accuse the perverseness of the latter. Mary's sufferings exceed, both in degree and in duration, those tragical distresses which fancy has feigned to excite sorrow and commiseration: and while we survive them, we are apt altogether to forget their frailties; we think of her faults with less indignation, and approve of our tears as if they were shed for a person who had attained much nearer to pure virtue.

With regard to the queen's person, a circumstance not to be omitted in writing the history of a female reign, all contemporary authors agree in ascribing to Mary the utmost beauty of countenance and elegance of shape of which the human form is capable. Her hair was black, though according to the fashion of that age she frequently wore borrowed locks, and of different colours. Her eyes were a dark gray, her complexion was exquisitely fine, and her hands and arms remarkably delicate, both as to shape and colour. Her stature was of a height that rose to the majestic. She danced, she walked, and rode with equal grace. Her taste for music was just, and she both sung and played upon the lute with uncommon skill. Towards the end of her life she began to grow fat, and her long confinement, and the coldness of the houses in which she had been imprisoned, brought on a rheumatism, which deprived her of the use of her limbs. No man,' says Brantome, ever beheld her person without admiration and love, or will read her history without sorrow.'


Martin Luther-From the History of Charles V.'

While appearances of danger daily increased, and the tempest which had been so long a-gathering was ready to break forth in all its violence against the Protestant church, Luther was saved, by a seasonable death, from feeling or beholding its destructive rage. Having gone, though in a declining state of health, and during a rigorous season, to his native city of Eysleben, in order to compcse, by his authority, a dissension among the counts of Mansfield, he was seized with a violent inflammation in his stomach, which in a few days put an end to his life in the sixty-third year of his age As he was raised up by Providence to be the author of one of the greatest and most interesting revolutions recorded in history, there is not any person, perhaps, whose character has been drawn with such opposite colours. In his own age, one party, struck with horror and inflamed with rage, when they saw with what a daring hand he overturned everything which they held to be sacred, or valued as beneficial, imputed to him not only all the defects and vices

of a man, but the qualities of a demon. The other, warmed with the admiration and gratitude which they thought he merited as the restorer of light and liberty to the Christian Church, ascribed to him perfections above the condition of humanity, and viewed all his actions with a veneration bordering on that which should be paid only to those who are guided by the immediate inspiration of Heaven. It is his own conduct, not the undistinguishing censure or the exaggerated praise of his contemporaries, that ought to regulate the opinion of the present age concerning him. Zeal for what he regarded as truth, undaunted intrepidity to maintain his own system, abilities, both natural and acquired, to defend his principles, and unwearied industry in propagating them, are virtues which shine so conspicuously in every part of his behaviour, that even his enemies must allow him to have possessed them in an eminent degree. To these may be added, with equal justice, such purity and even austerity of manners as became one who assumed the charac ter of a reformer; such sanctity of life as suited the doctrine which he delivered; and such perfect disinterestedness as affords no slight presumption of his sincerity. Superior to all selfish considerations, a stranger to the elegancies of life, and de spising its pleasures, he left the honours and emoluments of the church to his disciples, remaining satisfied hims If in his original state of professor in the university, and pastor of the town of Wittemberg, with the moderate appointments annexed to these offices. His extraordinary qualities were alloyed with 1.0 inconsiderable n ixture of human frailty and human passions. These, however, were of such a nature, that they cannot be imputed to malevolence or corruption of heart, but seem to have taken their rise from the same source with many of his virtues. His mind, forcible and vehement in all its operations, roused by great cbjects or agitated by violent passions, broke out, on many occasions, with an impetuosity which astonishes men of feebler spirits, or such as are placed in a more tranquil situation. By carrying some praiseworthy dispositions to excess, he bordered sometimes on what was culpable, and was often betrayed into actions which exposed him to censure. confidence that his own opinions were well founded, approached to arrogance; his courage in asserting them, to rashness; his firmness in adhering to them, to cbstinacy; and his zeal in confuting his adversaries, to rage and scurrility. Accustomed himself to consider everything as subordinate to truth, he expected the same deference for it from other men; and without making any allowances for their tin idity or prejudices, he poured forth against such as disappointed him, in this particular, a torrent of invective mingled with contempt. Regardless of any distinction of rank or character when his doctrines were attacked, he chastised all his adversarios indiscriminately with the same rough hand; neither the royal dignity of Henry VIII. nor the eminent learning and abilities of Erasmus, screened them from the same gross abuse with which he treated Tetzel or Eccius.


But these indecencies, of which Luther was guilty, must not be imputed wholly to the violence of his temper. They ought to be charged in part on the manners of the age. Among a rude people, unacquainted with those maxims which, by putting continual restraint on the passions of individuals, have polished society and rendered it agreeable, disputes of every kind were managed with heat, and strong emotions were uttered in their natural language without reserve or delicacy. At the same time, the works of learned men were all composed in Latin, and they were not only authorised by the example of eminent writers in that language, to use their antago nists with the most liberal scurrility; but in a dead tongue, indecencies of every kind appear less shocking than in a living language, whose idicms and phrases seem gross because they are familiar.

In passing judgment upon the characters of men, we ought to try them by the principles and maxims of their own age, not by those of another; for though virtue and vice are at all times the same, manners and customs vary continually. Some parts of Luther's behaviour, which appear to us most culpable, gave no disgust to his contemporaries. It was even by some of those qualities, which we are now apt to blame, that he was fitted for accomplishing the great work which he undertook. To rouse mankind, when sunk in ignorance or superstition, and to encounter the rage of bigotry armed with power, required the utmost vehemence of zeal, as well as a temper daring to excess. A gentle call would neither have reached nor have excited those to whom it was addressed. A spirit more amiable, but less vigorous than Luther's would have shrunk back from the dangers which he braved and surmounted.

Discovery of America.

Next morning, being Friday, the third day of August, in the year 1192, Columbus set sail, a little before sunrise, in presence of a vast crowd of spectators, who sent up their supplications to Heaven for the prosperous issue of the voyage, which they wished rather than expected. Columbus steered directly for the Canary Islands. and arrived there without any occurrence that would have deserved notice on any other occasion. But in a voyage of such expectation and importance, every circumstance was the object of attention.

Upon the 1st of October they were, according to the admiral's reckoning, seven hundred and seventy leagues to the west of the Canaries; but, lest his men should be intimidated by the prodigious length of the navigation, he gave out that they had proceeded only five hundred and eighty-four leagues; and, fortunately for Columbus, neither his own pilot nor those of the other ships had skill sufficient to correct this error and discover the deceit. They had now been above three weeks at sea; they had proceeded far beyond what former navigators had attempted or deemed possible; all their prognostics of discovery, drawn from the flight of birds and other circumstances, had proved fallacious; the appearances of land, with which their own credulity or the artifice of their commander had from time to time flattered and amused them, had been altogether illusive, and their prospect of success seemed now to be as distant as ever. These reflections occurred often to men who had no other object or occupation than to reason and discourse concerning the intention and circumstances of their expedition. They made impression at first upon the ignorant and timid, and extending by degrees to such as were better informed or more resolute, the contagion spread at length from ship to ship. From secret whispers or murmurings they proceeeed to open cabals and public complaints. They taxed their sovereign with inconsiderate credulity, in paying such regard to the vain promises and rash conjectures of an indigent foreigner, as to hazard the lives of so many of her own subjects in prosecuting a chimerical scheme. They affirmed that they had fully performed their duty by venturing so far in an unknown and hopeless course, and could incur no blame for refusing to follow any longer a desperate adventurer to certain destruction.

Columbus was fully sensible of his perilous situation. He had observed, with great uneasiness, the fatal operation of ignorance and of fear in producing disaffection among his crew, and saw that it was now ready to burst out into open mutiny. He retained, however, perfect presence of mind. He affected to seem ignorant of their machinations. Notwithstanding the agitation and solicitude of his own mind, he appeared with a cheerful countenance, like a man satisfied with the progress he had made, and confident of success. Sometimes he employed all the arts of insinuation to soothe his men. Sometimes he endeavoured to work upon their ambition or avarice by magnificent descriptions of the fame and wealth which they were about to acquire. On other occasions he assumed a tone of authority, and threatened them with vengeance from their sovereign if, by their dastardly behaviour, they should defeat this noble effort to promote the glory of God and to exalt the Spanish name above that of every other nation. Even with seditious sailors, the words of a man whom they had been accustomed to reverence, were weighty and persuasive, and not only restrained them from those violent excesses which they meditated, but prevailed with them to accompany their admiral for some time longer.

As they proceeded the indications of approaching land seemed to be more certain, and excited hope in proportion. The birds began to appear in flocks, making towards the south-west. Columbus, in imitation of the Portuguese navigators, who had been guided in several of their discoveries by the motion of birds, altered his course from due west towards that quarter whither they pointed their flight. But, after holding on for several days in this new direction, without any better success than formerly, having seen no object during thirty days but the sea and the sky, the hopes of his companions subsided faster than they had risen: their fears revived with additional force; impatience, rage, and despair appeared in every countenance; all sense of subordination was lost. The officers, who had hitherto concurred with Columbus in opinion, and supported his authority, now took part with the private men; they assembled tumultuously on the deck, expostulated with their com

mander, mingled threats with their expostulations, and required him instantly to tack about and return to Europe. Columbus perceived that it would be of no avail to have recourse to any of his former arts, which, having been tried so often, had lost their effect, and that it was impossible to rekindle any zeal for the success of the expedition among men in whose breasts fear had extinguished every generous sentiment. He saw that it was no less vain to think of employing either gentle or severe measures to quell a mutiny so general and so violent. It was necessary, ou all these accounts, to soothe passions which he could no longer command, and to give way to a torrent too impetuous to be checked. He promised solemnly to his men that he would comply with their request, provided they would accompany him and obey his command for three days longer, and if, during that time, land were not discovered, he would then abandon the enterprise, and direct his course towards Spain.

Enraged as the sailors were, and impatient to turn their faces again towards their native country, this proposition did not appear to them unreasonable; nor did Columbus hazard much in confining himself to a term so short. The presages of discovering land were now so numerous and promising that he deemed them infallible. For some days the sounding-line reached the bottom, and the soil which it brought up indicated land to be at no great distance. The flocks of birds increased, and were composed not only of sea-fowl, but of such land-birds as could not be supposed to fly far from the shore. The crew of the Pinta observed a cane floating, which seemed to have been newly cut, and likewise a piece of timber artificially carved. The sailors aboard the Nigna took up the branch of a tree with red berries perfectly fresh. The clouds around the setting sun assumed a new appearance; the air was more mild and warm, and during night the wind became unequal and varia ble. From all these symptoms, Columbus was so confident of being near land, that on the evening of the eleventh of October, after public prayers for success, he ordered the sails to be furled, and the ships to lie to, keeping strict watch lest they should be driven ashore in the night. During this interval of suspense and expectation, no man shut his eyes, a!: kept upon deck, gazing intently towards that quarter where they expected to discover the land, which had so long been the object of their wishes.

About two hours before midnight, Columbus, standing on the forecastle, observed a light at a distance, and privately pointed it out to Pedro Guttierez, a page of the queen's wardrobe. Guttierez perceived it, and calling to Salcedo, comptroller of the fleet, all three saw it in motion, as it were carried from place to place. A little after midnight the joyful sound of 'Land! Land!' was heard from the Pinta, which kept always ahead of the other ships. But having been so often deceived by fallacious appearances, every man was now become slow of belief, and waited in all the anguish of uncertainty and impatience for the return of day. As soon as morning dawned, all doubts and fears were dispeiled. From every ship an island was seen about two leagues to the north, whose flat and verdant fields, well stored with wood, and watered with many rivulets, presented the aspect of a delightful country. The crew of the Pinta instantly began the 'Te Deum,' as a hymn of thanksgiving to God, and were joined by those of the other ships, with tears of joy and transports of congratuiation. This office of gratitude to Heaven was followed by an act of justice to their commander. They threw themselves at the feet of Columbus, with feelings of self-condemnation, mingled with reverence, They implored him to pardon their ignorance, incredulity, and insolence, which had created him so much unnecessary disquiet, and had so often obstructed the prosecu tion of his well-concerted plan; and passing, in the warmth of their admiration, from one extreme to another, they now pronounced the man whom they had so lately reviled and threatened, to to be a person inspired by Heaven with sagacity and fortitude more than human, in order to accomplish a design so far beyond the ideas and conception of all former ages.

As soon as the sun arose, all their boats were manned and armed. They rowed towards the island with their colours displayed, with warlike music, and other martial pomp. As they approached the coast, they saw it covered with a multitude of people, whom the novelty of the spectacle had drawn together, whose attitudes and gestures expressed wonder and astonishment at the strange objects which presented themselves to their view. Columbus was the first European who set foot on the new world which he had discovered. He landed in a rich dress, and with a naked sword in his hand, His men followed, and, kneeling down, they all kissed the ground

which they had no long desired to see. They next erected a crucifix, and prostrating themselves before it, returned thanks to God for conducting their voyage to such a happy issue. They then took solemn possession of the country for the crown of Castile and Leon, with all the formalities which the Portuguese were accustomed to observe in acts of this kind in their new discoveries.

The Spaniards, while thus employed, were surrounded by many of the natives, who gazed in silent admiration upon actions which they could not comprehend, and of which they did not foresee the consequences. The dress of the Spaniards, the whiteness of their skins, their beards, their arms, appeared strange and surprising. The vast machines in which they had traversed the ocean that seemed to move upon the waters with wings, and uttered a dreadful sound resembling thunder, accompanied with lightning and smoke, struck them with such terror that they began to respect their new guests as a superior order of beings, and concluded that they were children of the sun, who had descended to visit the earth.

The Europeans were hardly less amazed at the scene now before them. Every herb and shrub and tree was different from those that flourished in Europe. The soil seemed to be rich, but bore few marks of cultivation. The climate, even to the Spaniards, felt warm, though extremely delightful. The inhabitants appeared in the simple innocence of nature, entirely naked. Their black hair, long and uncurled, floated upon their shoulders, or was bound in tresses on their heads. They had no beards, and every part of their bodies was perfectly smooth. Their complexion was of a dusky copper colour, their features singular rather than disagreeable, their aspect gentle and timid. Though not tall, they were well shaped and active. Their faces, and several parts of their bodies, were fantastically painted with glaring colours. They were shy at first through fear, but soon became familiar with the Spaniards, and with transports of joy received from them haw-bells, glass beads, or other baubles; in return for which they gave such provisions as they had, and some cotton yarn, the only commodity of value which they could produce. Towards evening, Columbus returned to his ship, accompanied by many of the islanders in their boats, which they called canoes, and though rudely formed out of the trunk of a single tree, they rode them with surprising dexterity. Thus, in the first interview between the inhabitants of the old and new worlds, everything was conducted amicably and to their mutual satisfaction. The former, enlightened and ambitious, formed already vast ideas with respect to the advantages which they might derive from the regions that began to open to their view. The latter, simple and undiscerning, had no foresight of the calamities and desolation which were approaching their country.


The feudal state was a state of almost perpetual war, rapine, and anarchy; during which the weak and unarmed were exposed to insults or injuries. The power of the sovereign was too limited to prevent these wrongs, and the administration of justice too feeble to redress them. The most effectual protection against violence and oppression was often found to be that which the valour and generosity of private persons afforded. The same spirit of enterprise which had prompted so many gentlemen to take arms in defence of the oppressed pilgrims of Palestine, incited others to declare themselves the patrons and avengers of injured innocence at home. When the final reduction of the Holy Land, under the dominion of infidels, put an end to these foreign expeditions, the latter was the only employment left for the activity and courage of adventurers. To check the insolence of overgrown oppressors; to rescue the helpless from captivity; to protect or to avenge women, orphans, and ecclesiastics, who could not bear arms in their own defence; to redress wrongs and remove grievances; were deemed acts of the highest prowess and merit. Valour, humanity, courtesy, justice, honour, were the characteristic qualities of chivalry. To these were added religion, which mingled itself with every passion and institution during the middle ages, and by infusing a large proportion of enthusiastic zeal, gave them such force as carried them to romantic excess. Men were trained to knighthood by a long previous discipline; they were admitted into the Order by solemnities no less devout than pompous: every person of noble birth courted that honour; it was deemed a distinction superior to royalty; and monarchs were proud to receive it from the hands of private gentlemen.

This singular institution, in which valour, gallantry, and religion were so strange

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