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CHARACTER OF FRANCIS I.
RANCIS died at Rambouillet, on the laft day of March, in the fifty-third year of his age, and the thirty-third of his reign.-During twentyeight years of that time, an avowed rivalship fubfifted between him and the Emperor; which involved, not only their own dominions, but the greater part of Europe, in wars, profecuted with more violent animofity, and drawn out to a greater length, than had been known in any former period. Many circumstances contributed to both. Their animofity was founded in oppofition of intereft, heightened by perfonal emulation, and exasperated, not only by mutual injuries, but by reciprocal infults. At the fame time, whatever advantage one feemed to poffefs towards gaining the afcendant, was wonderfully balanced by fome favourable circumftance peculiar to the other. The Emperor's dominions were of great extent; the French King's lay more compact: Francis governed his kingdom with abfolute power; that of Charles was limited, but he fupplied the want of authority by address: the troops of the former were more impetuous and enterprifing; those of the latter, better difciplined, and more patient of fatigue.
THE talents and abilities of the two monarchs, were as different as the advantages which they poffeffed, and contributed no lefs to prolong the contest between them. Francis took his refolutions fuddenly; profecuted them, at firft, with warmth; and pushed them into execution, with a most ad
venturous courage: but, being deftitute of the perfeverance neceffary to furmount difficulties, he often abandoned his defigns, or relaxed the vigour of purfuit, from impatience, and fometimes from levity. Charles deliberated long, and determined with coolnefs: but, having once fixed his plan, he adhered to it with inflexible obftinacy; and neither danger, nor difcouragement, could turn him afide from the execution of it.
THE fuccefs of their enterprises, was as different as their characters, and was uniformly influenced by them. Francis, by his impetuous activity, often difconcerted the Emperor's beft-laid fchemes; Charles, by a more clam, but fteady profecution of his defigns, checked the rapidity of his rival's career, and baffled or repulfed his moft vigorous efforts. The former, at the opening of a war, or of a campaign, broke in upon his enemy with the violence of a torrent, and carried all before him; the latter, waiting until he faw the force of his rival begin to abate, recovered, in the end, not only all that he had loft, but made new acquifitions. Few of the French monarch's attempts towards conqueft, whatever promifing afpect they might wear at firft, were conducted to an happy iffue; many of the Emperor's enterprises, even after they appeared defperate and impracticable, terminated in the moft profperous
THE degree, however, of their comparative merit and reputation, has not been fixed, either by a strict fcrutiny into their abilities for government, or by an impartial confideration of the greatnefs and fuccefs of their undertakings; and Francis is one of thofe monarchs, who occupies a higher rank in the temple of fame, than either his talents or performances entitle
him to hold. This pre-eminence he owed to many different circumftances. The fuperiority which Charles acquired by the victory of Pavia, and which, from that period, he preferved through the remainder of his reign, was so manifeft, that Francis's struggle against his exorbitant and growing dominion, was viewed by moft of the other powers, not only with the partiality which naturally arifes for thofe who gallantly maintain an unequal conteft, but with the favour due to one, who was refifting a common enemy, and endeavouring to fet bounds to a monarch equally formidable to them all. ́ 'The characters of princes, too, efpecially among their contemporaries, depend, not only upon their talents for government, but upon their qualities as men. Francis notwithstanding the many errors confpicuous in his foreign policy and domeftic administration, was, nevertheless, humane, beneficent, generous. He poffeffed dignity, without pride; affability, free from meannefs; and courtesy, exempt from deceit. All who had accefs to know him, and no man of merit was ever denied that privilege, refpected and loved him. Captivated with his perfonal qualities, his fubjects forgot his defects as a monarch; and, admiring him as the moft accomplifhed and amiable gentleman in his dominions, they never murmured at acts of mal-adminiftration, which, in a prince of lefs, engaging difpofitions, would have been deemed unpardonable.
THIS admiration, however, must have been temporary only, and would have died away with the courtiers who bestowed it; the illufion arifing from his private virtues, must have ceased; and pofterity would have judged of his public conduct, with its ufual impartiality: but another circumftance prevented this; and his name hath been tranfmitted to pofterity,
pofterity, with increafing reputation. Science, and the arts, had, at that time, made little progrefs in France. They were just beginning to advance beyond the limits of Italy, where they had revived, and which had hitherto been their only feat. Francis took them immediately under his protection; and vied with Leo himself, in the zeal and munificence with which he encouraged them. He invited learned men to his court; he converfed with them familiarly; he employed them in business; he raised them to offices of dignity; and honoured them with his confidence. That race of men, not more prone to complain, when denied the refpect to which they fancy themfelves entitled, than apt to be pleased, when treated with the diftinction which they confider as their due, tho' they could not exceed in gratitude to fuch a benefactor, ftrained their invention, and employed all their ingenuity, in panegyric.
- SUCCEEDING authors, warmed with their descriptions of Francis's bounty, adopted their encomiums, and refined upon them. The appellation of Father of letters, bestowed upon Francis, hath rendered his memory facred among hiftorians; and they seem to have regarded it as a fort of impiety, to uncover his infirmities, or to point out his defects. Thus Francis, notwithstanding his inferior abilities, and want of fuccefs, hath more than equalled the fame of Charles. The virtues which he poffeffed as have entitled him to greater admiration and praise, than have been bestowed upon the extenfive genius, and fortunate arts, of a more capable, but lefs amiable rival.
JOURNAL OF THE LIFE OF THE EMPEROR ALEXANDER SEVERUS.
LEXANDER rofe early. The first moments of the day were confecrated to private devotion: but, as he deemed the service of mankind the most acceptable worship of the Gods, the greatest part of his morning hours was employed in council; where he difcuffed public affairs, and determined private caufes, with a patience and discretion above his years. The drynefs of bufinefs was enlivened by the charms of literature; and a portion of time was always fet apart, for his favourite studies of poetry, hiftory, and philofophy. The works of Virgil and Horace, the republics of Plato and Cicero, formed his tafte, enlarged his understanding, and gave him the noblest ideas of man and of government. The exercises of the body, fucceeded to thofe of the mind; and Alexander, who was tall, active, and robuft, furpaffed most of his equals in the gymanftic arts. Refreshed by the ufe of the bath, and a flight dinner, he resumed, with new vigour, the business of the day; and, till the hour of fupper, the principal meal of the Romans, he was attended by his fecretaries, with whom he read and anfwered the multitude of letters, memorials, and petitions, that must have been addreffed to the mafter of the greatest part of the world, His table was ferved with the moft frugal fimplicity; and, whenever he was at liberty to confult his own inclination, the company confifted of a few felect friends, men of learning and virtue. His drefs