« ForrigeFortsæt »
who are either to crown them with unfading Honours, or brand them with indelible Ignominy.
It is prefum'd that most of these Reflections are relative to fuch Writings as give us an Account of the Lives of particular great Men, who have been remarkable for the high Stations they have fill'd, and the great Scenes of publick, extraordinary Affairs, in which they have been engaged: And therefore we shall make this Application, That when Perfons, who prefide in any Nation at the Head of publick Bufinefs, read the Tranfactions of those who have moved before them in the like Sphere,they must make a proportionably ftronger Impreffion on their Minds, as they have a more immediate Relation to their Conducts. The Character of a bad Minifter, ftigmatiz'd in Hiftory for giving fuch Counfels, and purfuing fuch Measures, as were moft injurious to the publick Good, must have a Tendency in it to deter all that are in the same high Trusts, from a shameful Mifapplication
application of their Talents, and a vile Perverfion and Abuse of their Power: Because the fame corrupt Principles and Practices must confequently in time render the Lives of fuch Men equally detestable and reproachful. As, on the contrary, the Life of a good Minister, who was ever heartily zealous in seeking the Welfare of his Country, and ever as active in promoting it, and who had attain'd a Portion of Glory adequate to the Merits of his Services, will help to infufe into the Hearts of others fuch an Emulation to follow his great Example, as may make their Characters hereafter meet with the fame Efteem, and shine with the fame Luftre.
The Time Cardinal Wolfey lived in was very remarkable for many great and extraordinary Events; fo that, to form a true Judgment of the deep Schemes and extenfive Views of fo penetrating a Genius, especially when he arrived to be Prime Minifter, we are not only to confider his Conduct, with regard to Affairs at Home, but alfo to the Situation of Things Abroad, which a
Minister certainly fhould be well acquainted with, and have a strict Eye to; because the Welfare of one Nation can never be rightly establish'd independent of the Felicity of others,
But, to return to our prefent Undertaking, no Care has been wanting to collect from antient Records, Manufcripts, and Hiftorians, the Materials to compose a full Hiftory of this high Prelate and moft illuftrious Minifter, and of the Times in which he lived.
It is probable fome may object, that the Infertion of that antient and curious History of the Cardinal, wrote by Mr. Cavendish, will make many Parts of this Hiftory of him a needlefs Repetition: To which we Anfwer, that his is inferted by itself, by way of Notes, and not intermixed with this in the Body of the Text: So that, by giving Mr. Cavendifh's Hiftory intire, the Reader may fee, in the Course of this Work, the new Discoveries that have been made fince his Time, both in refpect to the Cardinal's Publick and Private Capacity.
Nor did we think it neceffary to confine ourselves fo entirely to the Hiftory of the Life and Times of the Cardinal, as not to introduce, here and there, a foort Account of the Lives of feveral eminent Men, his Cotemporaries; for these we conceived, as they were no unnatural, would confequently be no unpleafing Digreffions; but rather prove fo many Reliefs to the Attention of the Reader, which tires when it is conftantly pursuing the fame Tract; but, by making now and then an Excurfion, is refreshed and entertain'd with fome new, unexpected Profpect; and therefore returns with fo much the more Pleasure to the Path, from which it had been diverted.
Tho' the general Affairs of Europe are interfperfed with those of England, Scotland and Ireland; yet, as we have kept ftri&ly to Order of Time, and placed the Date of the Year in the Margin, the Reader will not be at a lofs for the particular Period treated of.
If it should be asked, why we write the Hiftory of the Life and Times of this
memorable Statesman, after the former