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Jones, who attributed that remarkable structure to the Romans. His most popular work, however, is A Brief Discourse concerning the Different Wits of Men, published in 1675. It is interesting, both on account of the lively sketches of character it contains, and because the author attributes the varieties of talent found among men to the differences in the form, size, and quality of their brains. The following are, perhaps, the two happiest of his sketches :
THE READY AND NIMBLE WIT.
Such as are endowed wherewith have a certain extemporary acuteness of conceit, accompanied with a quick delivery of their thoughts, so as they can at pleasure entertain their auditors with facetious passages and fluent discourses even upon slight occasions ; but being generally impatient of second thoughts and deliberations, they seem fitter for pleasant colloquies and drollery than for counsel and design; like fly-boats, good only in fair weather and shallow waters, and then, too, more for pleasure than traffic. If they be, as for the most part they are, narrow in the hold, and destitute of ballast sufficient to counterpoise their large sails, they reel with every blast of argument, and are often driven upon the sands of a 'nonplus ;' but where favoured with the breath of common applause, they sail smoothly and proudly, and like the city pageants, discharge whole volleys of squibs and crackers, and skirmish most furiously. But take them from their familiar and private conversation into grave and severe assemblies, whence all extemporary flashes of wit, all fantastic allusions, all personal reflections are excluded, and there engage them in an encounter with solid wisdom, not in light skirmishes, but a pitched field of long and serious debate concerning any important question, and there you shall soon discover their weakness, and contemn that barrenness of understanding which is incapable of struggling with the difficulties of apodictical knowledge, and the deduction of truth from a long series of reasons. Again, if those very concise sayings and lucky repartees, wherein they are so happy, and which at first hearing were entertained with so much of pleasure and admiration, be written down, and brought to a strict examination of their pertinency, coherence, and verity, how shallow, how frothy, how forced will they be found ! how much will they lose of that applause which their tickling of the ear and present flight through the imagination had gained! In the greatest part, therefore, of such men, you ought to expect no deep or continued river of wit, but only a few plashes, and those, too, not altogether free from mud and putrefaction.
THE SLOW BUT SURE WIT.
Some heads there are of a certain close and reserved constitution, which makes them at first sight to promise as little of the virtue wherewith they are endowed, as the former appear to be above the imperfections to which they are subject. Some what slow they are, indeed, of both conception and expression; yet no whit the less provided with solid prudence. When they are engaged to speak, their tongue doth not readily interpret the dictates of their mind, so that their language comes, as it were, dropping from their lips, even where they are encouraged by familiar entreaties, or provoked by the smartness of jests which sudden and nimble wits have newly darted at them. Costive they are also in invention; so that when they would deliver somewhat solid and remarkable, they are long in seeking what is fit, and as long in determining in what manner and words to utter it. But, after a little consideration, they penetrate deeply into the substance of things and marrow of business, and conceive proper and emphatic words by which to express their sentiments. Barren they are not, but a little heavy and retentive. Their gifts lie deep and concealed; but being furnished with notions, not airy and umbratil ones borrowed from the pedantism of the schools, but true and useful—and if they have been manured with good learning, and the habit of exercising their pen—oftentimes they produce many excellent conceptions, worthy to be transmitted to posterity. Having, however, an aspect very like to narrow and dull capacities, at first sight most men take them to be really such, and strangers look upon them with the eyes of neglect and contempt. Hence, it comes, that excellent parts remaining unknown, often want the favour and patronage of great persons, whereby they might be redeemed from obscurity, and raised to employments answerable to their faculties, and crowned with honours proportionate to their merits. The best course, therefore, for these to overcome that eclipse which prejudice usually brings upon them, is to contend against their own modesty, and either, by frequent converse with noble and discerning spirits, to enlarge the windows of their minds, and dispel those clouds of reservedness that darken the lustre of their faculties; or by writing on some new and useful subject, to lay open their talent, so that the world may be convinced of their intense value.
In 1670 Dr. Charleton published a vigorous translation of Epicurus's Morals,' prefaced by an earnest vindication of that philosopher.
John Evelyn, a gentleman of easy fortune, and the most amiable personal character, was descended from a very ancient and honorable family, and was born at the seat of his ancestors, in Surry, on the thirty-first of October, 1620. Having prepared for the university at Lewes, in Sussex, he entered, in 1637, as a gentleman commoner, Baliol College, Oxford; whence, after having for three years prosecuted his studies with the greatest diligence, he removed to the Middle Temple, London, in order to add a competent knowledge of the laws of his country to his philological and philosophical acquisitions.
Having completed his studies at home, Evelyn, in 1644, left England for the purpose of acquiring abroad, those accomplishments which foreign travel alone can impart. Wherever he went he carefully inquired into the state of the arts and sciences, and thus rendered his journeyings on the continent as advantageous as they were pleasant. He passed much of his time at Rome, and in other parts of Italy; and having, in 1647, returned to Paris, he was there introduced to Sir Richard Browne, the English minister at the French court, whose daughter Mary he soon after married. In 1651 he returned to England, and immediately afterwards retired to an estate which he had obtained through his wife, at Sayes-Court, near Deptford, and where he continued to reside during the greater part of the remainder of his long life. His death occurred on the twenty-seventh of February, 1706, and he was buried at Wotton, under a white marble monument, upon which inscribed the following significant epitaph :
All is vanity, which is not honest; and there is no solid wisdom but in real piety.
Evelyn was the author of several scientific works, all of which were written in an easy and popular style. His Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest
Trees, and the Propagation of Timber in his Majesty's Dominions, published in 1664, was written in consequence of an application to the Royal Society by the commissioners of the navy, who dreaded a scarcity of timber in the country. This work, aided by the king's example, stimulated the land-holders to plant an immense number of oaks, which, a century after, proved of the greatest service to the nation in the construction of ships of
Terra, a Discourse of the Earth, relating to the Culture and Improvement of it, for Vegetation and the Propagation of Plants, appeared in 1675; and a treatise on medals, another production, soon followed. He also published a volume of Miscellanies, including a treatise in praise of • Public Employment, and an Active Life,' which he wrote in reply to Sir George Mackenzie's “Essay on Solitude.' Evelyn was one of the first in England to treat gardening and planting scientifically; and his grounds at Sayes-Court attracted much admiration, on account of the number of foreign plants which he reared in them, and the fine order in which they were kept.
In 1669, Evelyn visited the university of Oxford, and that venerable institution, through admiration of his genius and learning, bestowed upon him the degree of doctor of laws. About the same time he commenced keeping a diary, in which he entered every remarkable event with which he was in any way concerned. This work was published in 1818, in two volumes quarto, and forms a most valuable addition to the store of historical materials respecting the latter half of the seventeenth century. He chronicles familiar as well as important circumstances; but he does it without losing his dignity, everywhere preserving the tone of an educated and reflecting man. It is curious to read, in this work, of great men going after dinner to attend a council of state, or the business of their particular offices, or the bowlinggreen, or even the church ; of an hour's sermon being of moderate length; of ladies painting their faces being a novelty; or of their receiving visits from gentlemen while dressing, after having just risen out of bed; of the female attendant of a lady of fashion travelling on a pillion behind one of the footmen, and the footmen riding with swords. The impression conveyed of the reign of Charles the Second is, upon the whole, unexpected, leading to the conviction, that the dissoluteness of manners attributed to it affected a narrower circle of society than is generally supposed; and that even in the court itself there were many bright exceptions to it. From this important Diary we select two passages—the first, a description of Sir Stephen Fox, the founder of the noble house of Holland, so remarkable for the line of distinguished statesmen it has given to England--and the second, an account of his daughter Mary, who, in March, 1685, and in the twentieth year of her age, died of small-pox.
A FORTUNATE COURTIER NOT ENVIED.
Sept. 6, (1680.)- I dined with Sir Stephen Fox, now one of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. This gentleman came first a poor boy from the quire of Salisbury, then was taken notice of by Bishop Duppa, and afterward waited on my Lord Percy (brother to Algernon, Earl of Northumberland), who procured for him an inferior place amongst the clerks of the kitchen and green cloth side, where he was found so humble, diligent, industrious, and prudent in his behaviour, that his majesiy being in exile, and Mr. Fox waiting, both the king and lords about him frequently employed him about their affairs ; trusted him both with receiving and paying the little money they had. Returning with his majesty to England after great wants and great sufferings, his majesty found him so honest and industrious, and withal so capable and ready, that being advanced from Clerk of the Kitchen to that of the Green Cloth, he procured to be paymaster to the whole army; and by his dexterity and punctual dealing, he obtained such credit among the bankers, that he was in a short time able to borrow vast sums of them upon any exigence. The continual turning thus of money, and the soldiers' moderate allowance to him for his keeping touch with them, did so enrich him, that he is believed to be worth at least £200,000, honestly gotten and unenvied, which is next to a miracle. With all this, he continues as humble and ready to do a courtesy as ever he was. He is generous, and lives very honorably; of a sweet nature, well spoken, well bred, and is so highly in his majesty's esteem, and so useful, that, being long since made a knight, he is also advanced to be one of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, and has the reversion of the Cofferer's place after Harry Brounker. He has married his eldest daughter to my Lord Cornwallis, and gave her £12,000, and restored that entangled family besides. He matched his eldest son to Mrs. Trollope, who brings with her (besides a great sum) near, if not altogether, £2000 per annum. Sir Stephen's lady, an excellent woman, is sister to Mr. Whittle, one of the king's chirurgeons. In a word, never was man more fortunate than Sir Stephen; he is a handsome person, virtuous, and very religious.
AN ACCOUNT OF HIS DAUGHTER MARY. March 10.—She received the blessed sacrament; after which, disposing herself to suffer what God should determine to inflict, she bore the remainder of her sickness with extraordinary patience and piety, and more than ordinary resignation and blessed frame of mind. She died the 14th, to our unspeakable sorrow and affiction; and not to ours only, but that of all who knew her, who were many of the best quality, greatest and most virtuous persons. The justness of her stature, comeliness of countenance, gracefulness of motion, unaffected, though more than ordinarily beautiful, were the least of her ornaments, compared with those of her mind. Of early piety, singularly religious, spending a part of every day in private devotion, reading, and other virtuous exercises; she had collected and written out many of the most useful and judicious periods of the books she read in a kifid of common-place, as out of Dr. Hammond on the New Testament, and most of the best practical treatises. She had read and digested a considerable deal of history and of places (geography). The French tongue was as familiar to her as English; she understood Italian, and was able to render a laudable account of what she read and observed, to which assisted a most faithful memory and discernment; and she did make very prudent and discreet reflections upon what she had observed of the conversations among which she had at any time been, which being continually of persons of the best quality, she thereby improved. She had an excellent voice, to which she played a thorough base on the harpsichord, in both which she arrived to that perfection, that of the scholars of those famous two masters, Signors Pietro and Bartholomeo, she was esteemed the best; for the sweetness of her voice and management of it added such an agreeableness to her countenance, without any constraint or concern, that when she sung, it was as charming to the eye as to the ear; this I rather note because it was a universal remark, and for which so many noble and judicious persons in music desired to hear her, the last being at Lord Arundel of Wardour's. What shall I say, or rather not say, of the cheerfulness and agreea.
bleness of her humour ? Condescending to the meanest servant in the family, or others, she still kept up respect, without the least pride. She would often read to them, examine, instruct, and pray with them if they were sick, so as she was exceedingly beloved of every body. Piety was so prevalent an ingredient in her constitution (as I may say), that even among equals and superiors, she no sooner became intimately acquainted, but she would endeavour to improve them by insinuating something of religions, and that tended to bring them to a love of devotion. She had one or two confidants, with whom she used to pass whole days in fasting, reading, and prayers, especially before the monthly communion and other solemn occasions. She abhorred flattery, and though she had abundance of wit, the raillery was so innocent and ingenious, that it was most agreeable; she sometimes would see a play, but since the stage grew licentious, expressed herself weary of them; and the time spent at the theatre was an unaccountable vanity. She never played at cards without extreme importunity, and for the company; but this was so very seldom, that I can not number it among any thing she could name a fault. No one could read prose or verse better or with more judgment; and as she read, so she writ, not only most correct orthography, [but] with that maturity of judgment and exactness of the periods, choice of expressions, and familiarity of style, that some letters of hers have astonished me and others to whom she has occasionally written. She had a talent of rehearsing any comical part or poem, as, to them she might be decently free with, was more pleasing than heard on the theatre. She danced with the greatest grace I have ever seen, and so would her master say, who was Monsieur Isaac; but she seldom showed that perfection, save in gracefulness of her carriage, which was with an air of sprightly modesty not easily to be described. Nothing affected, but natural and easy in her deportment as in her discourse, which was always material, not trifling, and to which the extraordinary sweetness of her tone, 'even in familiar speaking, was very charming. Nothing was so pretty as her descending to play with little children, whom she would caress and humour with great delight. But she was most affected to be with grave and sober men, of whom she might learn something and improve herself. I have been assisted by her in reading and praying by me; comprehensive of uncommon notions, curious of knowing every thing to some excess, had I not sometimes repressed it. Nothing was so delightful to her as to go into my study, where she would willingly have spent whole days, for, as I said, she had read abundance of history, and all the best poets; even Terence, Plautus, Homer, Virgil, Horace, Ovid; all the best romances and modern poems; she could compose happily, as in the Mundus Muliebris, wherein is an enumeration of the immense variety of the modes and ornaments belonging to her ser; but all these are vain trifles to the virtues that adorned her soul; she was sincerely religious, most dutiful to her parents, whom she loved with an affection tempered with great esteem, so as we were easy and free, and never were so well pleased as when she was with us, nor needed we other conversation. She was kind to her sisters, and was still improving them by her constant course of piety. Oh dear, sweet, desirable child! how shall I part with all this goodness and virtue without the bitterness of sorrow and reluctancy of a tender parent! Thy affection, duty, and love to me, was that of a friend as well as a child. Nor less dear to thy mother, whose example and tender care of thee was unparalleled; nor was thy returu to her less conspicuous. Oh, how she mourns thy loss! how desolate hast thou left us! to the grave shall we both carry thy memory.