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wearied and disgusted by the intrigues and broils which perpetually
disturbed his council, while subject to the interference of the Queen
Mother, determined to leave Paris; and accordingly he quitted that city
in June, 1654, and went to reside at Cologne, Sir Edward Hyde and the
rest of his court still following his humble fortunes. Upon the
execution of the treaty with Spain, Charles removed from Cologne to
Bruges in 1657, and in the course of that year bestowed upon Sir Edward
Hyde the then empty dignity of Lord High Chancellor of England. Soon
after this event the prospects of the Royalists began to brighten. The
government of Cromwell had been for some time growing infirm, in
consequence of domestic dissensions, the exhausted state of the revenue,
and the distrust entertained towards the Protector, who had successively
deceived and disappointed all parties. These seeds of discord were
sedulously cultivated by the English royalists; and at last the death of
that extraordinary man led to a series of events which introduced the
restoration of Charles II.

At the Restoration Sir Edward Hyde was continued as Lord Chancellor; and
notwithstanding the constant hostility of the Queen Mother and her
faction at court, he maintained for some time a paramount influence with
the King, who treated him with the confidence and friendship which his
great industry and talents for business, and his faithful attachment to
himself and his father so well deserved. In November, 1660, he was
raised to the peerage, by the title of Baron Hyde of Hindon in the
county of Wilts, and in the spring of the following year he was created
Viscount Cornbury and Earl of Clarendon. He was also about this time
elected Chancellor of the University of Oxford. Among the tribes of
expectant cavaliers who now flocked to the court of the restored
monarch, all impatient to obtain something in recompense for their
alleged services and sufferings in the royal cause, these honours and
distinctions bestowed upon the Earl of Clarendon raised a storm of envy
and malice which eventually caused his ruin. The King’s easiness of
access, and, as Lord Clarendon calls it, that “_imbecillitas frontis_,
which kept him from denying,” together with the moral cowardice which
induced him to escape from the most troublesome importunities, by
sending petitioners to the Chancellor for their answers, necessarily
increased the dislike with which he was regarded. The discovery of the
marriage of his daughter to the Duke of York, afterwards James II.,
though it probably took place without the knowledge of the Chancellor,
gave ample opportunity to the malice of his enemies. The King, however,
behaved on this occasion in a manner which did him credit. He not only
required the Duke to acknowledge his wife, on being certified that the
ceremony had been duly performed, but refused with passion the proffered
resignation of the Chancellor, who offered to reside in future beyond
seas, and conjured him “never more to think of those unreasonable
things, but to attend and prosecute his business with his usual
alacrity, since his kindness should never fail him.”

The first open act of hostility against Lord Clarendon was undertaken by
the Earl of Bristol, who, in 1663, exhibited articles of high treason
and other misdemeanors against him in the House of Lords. These
articles, which contained a great variety of vague and inconsistent
charges, were forwarded by the House of Lords to the King, who informed
them, that “he found several matters of fact charged, which upon his own
certain knowledge were untrue; and that the articles contained many
scandalous reflections upon himself and his family, which he looked upon
as libels against his person and government.” Upon a reference by the
House of Lords to the judges, they reported that “the whole charge did
not amount to treason though it were all true;” and upon this the
proceedings were abandoned.

But it was at last the fate of Lord Clarendon to experience the
proverbial ingratitude of princes. From the period of the Restoration a
powerful union of discontented parties had gradually combined against
him. All hated him—the old cavaliers, because they thought he neglected
their just claims upon the bounty of the King; the papists and the
dissenters, because they found him an uncompromising opponent of all
concessions to those whom he regarded as enemies of the established
church; the licentious adherents of an unprincipled court, because his
honest endeavours to withdraw the King from his levity and profligacy to
serious considerations, thwarted their intentions and interrupted their
pleasures. Their united efforts erased from Charles’s mind the
recollection of services of no common value, and caused him to abandon
his best and most faithful counsellor, without having even the
appearance of a reason for his conduct, beyond what he called “the
Chancellor’s intolerable temper.”

The Great Seal was taken from Lord Clarendon in August, 1667; and in the
month of November following, after an angry debate, he was impeached by
the Commons, in general terms, of high treason and other crimes and
misdemeanors; but the Lords, upon the impeachment being carried up,
refused to commit him, or to sequester him from parliament, on the
ground of the generality of the charge. Before the formal articles of
impeachment were prepared, Lord Clarendon left England, in consequence
of repeated messages from the King advising him to take that course,
having previously addressed to the Lords a vindication of his conduct.
Immediately after his departure a bill was introduced into the House of
Lords, and rapidly passed, by which he was condemned to perpetual
banishment, and declared to be for ever incapable of bearing any public
office or employment in England.

The charges made against Lord Clarendon at this time were scarcely less
multifarious and inconsistent than those which were instituted by Lord
Bristol a few years before. He was accused of designing to govern by a
standing army,—of accusing the King of popery,—of receiving bribes for
patents,—of selling offices,—of _acquiring a greater estate than he
could lawfully have gained in a short time_,—of advising the sale of
Dunkirk to the French,—of causing Quo Warrantos to be issued against
corporations in order that he might receive fines on renewals of
charters, and many other particulars of alleged corruption. From most of
these accusations Lord Clarendon vindicated himself in an address
delivered to the House of Lords upon his departure; but during his
retirement at Montpellier, he prepared, and transmitted to his children
in England a fuller apology, in which he answered each article of the
charges objected to him by the Commons.

After some hesitation, Lord Clarendon determined to reside at
Montpellier, where he arrived in July, 1668. He was treated with much
courtesy and respect by the governor of the city, as well as the French
and English inhabitants of all ranks. His first task was to write the
vindication of his conduct above-mentioned. During his retirement he
made himself master of French and Italian, and read the works of the
most eminent writers in both those languages. He also completed his
History of the Rebellion, and wrote an answer to Hobbes’s Leviathan, an
Historical Discourse on Papal Jurisdiction, a volume of Essays, divine,
moral, and political, and also those fragments of his Life, which were
first published by the University of Oxford in 1759. Engaged in these
pursuits he passed nearly three years at Montpellier in great
tranquillity and cheerfulness. He left that city in 1672, and went first
to Moulins, then to Rouen, where he died, December 9, 1673. His remains
were brought to England and interred in Westminster Abbey.

The political conduct of Lord Clarendon, though variously described by
writers of opposite parties, appears to have been generally as
consistent and upright as can reasonably be expected from men of warm
tempers, deeply interested in the most violent civil dissensions. His
earliest impressions were decidedly in favour of the popular party; and
even after he had become familiar with Archbishop Laud, and was
favourably noticed by Charles I., he strenuously supported that party in
the removal of actual grievances, and resisted with zeal and energy the
encroachments of prerogative. That he afterwards refused to join in the
wild and intemperate actions committed by the Parliament, and supported
the royal cause against the continually increasing demands of those with
whom he had previously acted, is not to be ascribed to inconsistency in
his conduct, but to the development of designs and measures at all times
repugnant to his principles. His advice to Charles I. and to Laud was
always temperate and wise, and was given with boldness and candour.
After the Restoration, in the height of his power and influence, he
displayed the same moderation in his opinions and conduct, and acted
upon the same principles of dislike to fundamental changes, which had
influenced him as a member of the Long Parliament. It has been imputed
to Lord Clarendon that he neglected to exert himself for the relief of
those unfortunate cavaliers whose attachment to the King had involved
them in penury and ruin. It is difficult to ascertain the exact truth of
this charge; but, whether true or false, such an accusation was sure to
be made in a case where the applicants for compensation were numerous,
and the means of satisfying them inconsiderable.

In the discharge of the legal functions of his office of Lord
Chancellor, as presiding in the Court of Chancery, he was by no means
distinguished; he promoted some reforms in the practice of his court,
and continued the judicious improvements effected during the
Commonwealth; but Evelyn says “he was no considerable lawyer,” and the
circumstance that he never decided a case without requiring the presence
of two judges is, if true, a sufficient acknowledgment of his judicial

For his judicial appointments Lord Clarendon is entitled to unqualified
praise. Hale, Bridgeman, and other judges of the highest eminence for
learning and independence, were appointed by him immediately after the
Restoration, and contributed in a great degree to give stability and
moral strength to the new government, by the confidence which their
characters inspired in the due administration of the law.

As an historian Lord Clarendon was unquestionably careless and inexact
to a surprising degree, which may in some measure be excused by the
necessity of writing very much from recollection; and he was a perpetual
advocate and partisan of the Royal cause, though by no means of most of
its supporters. But though his narration constantly betrays the bias of
party, and cannot therefore be safely relied upon for our historical
conclusions, his misrepresentations arise from the avowed partiality and
intense concern he feels for the cause he is advocating, and not from
any design to suppress or distort facts. His style is luxuriant and
undisciplined, and his expression in the narrative parts of his history
is diffuse and inaccurate; but his fervent loyalty and the warmth of his
attachment to his political friends have infused a richness of eloquence
into his delineations of character, which has perhaps never been
surpassed in any language.


[Medal of Clarendon.] [Medal in Commemoration of the


_Engraved by J. Posselwhite._


_From a Picture by himself in his Majesty’s Collection._

Under the Superintendance of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful

_London, Published by Charles Knight, Ludgate Street._



“Sir Joshua Reynolds,” says Burke, “was the first Englishman who added
the praise of the elegant arts to the other glories of his country.”
Without staying to inquire how far the literal truth of this assertion
may be affected by the priority in date of Wilson and Hogarth, not to
mention their less illustrious predecessors, it may safely be affirmed,
not only that Reynolds was the founder of the English school, but that
the most valuable qualities in the art of painting were almost lost
sight of throughout Europe when he began his career. In Holland, the
rich manner of Rembrandt, feebly sustained by his imitators, had been
succeeded by no less opposite a style than that of Vanderwerf; the still
more laboured finish of Denner, a native of Hamburgh, followed; while
the minute perfection which was in vogue found a more legitimate
application in the flower-pieces of Van Huysum. Reynolds was twenty-four
years old at the decease of Denner, who had twice visited London, and
had been much employed there. The French school about the middle of the
last century took its tone from Boucher, a name now almost forgotten,
and if remembered, synonymous with the extreme of affectation; he was
principal painter to Louis XV. The native country of Claude and Poussin
was indeed more illustrious during this time in the department of
landscape, as Vernet produced his views of sea-ports about the period
alluded to; but this example, however respectable, was itself indicative
of a declining taste, and the style of view-painting in the hands of the
foreign artists who practised it in Italy, with the Prussian Hackert at
their head, had the effect of extinguishing for a time all invention in
landscape. The academy at Berlin was under the direction of a Frenchman;
Oeser was the greatest name at Leipzic and Dresden; and the south of
Germany still imported imitations of the latest Italian styles in
fashion. The state of the arts in Spain may be judged of by the fact,
that when, in 1761, Mengs, who was himself a native of Germany, repaired
to Madrid in the service of Charles III., the chief painters established
there were a Venetian and a Neapolitan, Tiepolo and Corrado Giaquinto.
The Venetian school, sometimes entirely losing its original character,
seemed at least to maintain a consistent degeneracy in the styles of
Sebastian Ricci and the above-named Giambattista Tiepolo, both weak and
mannered imitators of Paul Veronese, but still preserving, at least the
latter, some brilliancy of colour and pleasing execution. With Tiepolo
the characteristic merits of the school seem however to have ceased
altogether: towards the latter part of the century, the chief employment
of the Venetian painters was the restoration of old pictures.[2] A
particular school was established in 1778 for this purpose, and a
description of the extraordinary labours of the artists is preserved in
the thirty-eighth volume of Goëthe’s works. In Rome, the talents of
Maratta and Sacchi, and “the great but abused powers of Pietro da
Cortona,” had been succeeded by feebler efforts, descending or
fluctuating through the styles of Cignani, Trevisani, and others, till
the time of Sebastian Conca, and Pompeo Battoni. The last-named was
approaching the zenith of his short-lived reputation, and almost without
a rival (for Mengs was as yet young, and Conca already aged), when
Reynolds visited Rome.

Footnote 2:

It is worthy of remark that about the same time the sculptors in Rome
were as exclusively employed in restoring antique statues.

Laborious detail on the one hand, and empty facility on the other,
formed the distinguishing characteristics of these different schools;
but however opposite in execution, mind was alike wanting in both.
Denner may be considered the representative of the microscopic style; a
style, if it deserves the name, which he applied even to heads the size
of life; and as mere finish never was, and probably never will be
carried to a more absurd length, his name, though comparatively obscure,
marks an epoch in the art. The same scrupulous minuteness obtained about
the same time in landscape; among the view-painters, Hendrick Van Lint,
surnamed Studio, may be named as the most remarkable of his class.
Reynolds alludes to him in one of his discourses, as noted, when he knew
him in Rome, for copying every leaf of a tree. The opposite style, which
aimed at quantity and rapidity, was derived from the expert painters of
galleries and ceilings, called “Machinisti,” and more immediately from
Luca Giordano. Facility and despatch, at the expense of every solid
quality of art, were the characteristics of the school which was
represented in the earlier part of Reynolds’s career, principally by
Sebastian Conca in Italy, and by Corrado Giaquinto in Spain.

The changes which took place in this state of things, towards the latter
part of the century, may be traced partly to the renewed appreciation of
the antique statues (a taste which, however beneficial to sculpture, had
an unfortunate influence on the sister art), and subsequently to
political circumstances. The fluctuations of taste, however deliberately
estimated by retrospective criticism, are indeed generally the result of
accident, and depend on causes but seldom derived from a just definition
of the nature and object of art. It appears, however, that Reynolds,
alone as he was, the founder rather than the follower of a school,
enjoyed the rare privilege of making the taste of his time instead of
being made by it; and although it would be absurd to suppose that he
could be independent of the accidents with which he was brought in
contact, it will not appear, upon a candid inquiry, that this great
artist was in any respect directly influenced by the practice of his

Joshua Reynolds was born at Plympton, near Plymouth, in Devonshire, July
16, 1723; he was the son of the Rev. Samuel Reynolds, who taught the
grammar school of Plympton. The young artist’s fondness for drawing
manifested itself early, and at eight years of age he had become so well
acquainted with the “Jesuits’ Perspective,” as to apply its principles
with some effect in a drawing of his father’s school, a building
elevated on stone pillars. Among other books connected with art to which
he had access, Richardson’s ‘Treatise on Painting’ had a powerful effect
in exciting his ambition. The earliest known picture he attempted is a
portrait of the Rev. Thomas Smart, who was the vicar of Maker, the
parish in which Mount Edgecumbe is situated. Reynolds, then a schoolboy
about twelve years of age, sketched the portrait of the vicar at church,
and afterwards copied it on canvass. This picture is now in the
possession of John Boger, Esq., of East Stonehouse near Plymouth. The
taste of the young painter becoming every day more decided, his father,
urged by the advice of some friends, placed him at the age of seventeen
as a pupil with Hudson, who had at that time the chief business in
portrait painting, although a very indifferent artist. In 1743 Reynolds
returned to Devonshire, in consequence of a disagreement with his
master, and set up as a portrait painter in the town of Plymouth Dock,
since called Devonport. He here painted various portraits, chiefly of
naval officers. One of these works, containing the portraits of Mr. and
Mrs. Eliot and family, is in the possession of the Earl of St. Germains.
The composition of this picture, the artist’s first attempt at a group,
approaches the pyramidal form, and Reynolds, after contemplating it when
finished, observed, ‘I see I must have read something about a pyramid,
for there it is.’ Six other pictures of the artist are preserved in the
same collection, at Port Eliot in Cornwall. An admirable picture of a
boy reading by a reflected light was also executed about this time. Many
interesting works of Reynolds, some of them belonging to his earlier
practice, are preserved in the immediate neighbourhood of Plymouth, in
the collections of the Earl of Morley, Mr. Pole Carew of Antony, Mr.
Rosdew of Beechwood, Mr. Lane of Coffleet, and others. The artist’s
early works, although sometimes carelessly drawn, are distinguished by
breadth of colour, by freedom of handling, and not unfrequently by great
truth of expression: in short, he seems to have contracted none of the
defects of Hudson, except, according to some of his biographers, a
certain stiffness and sameness in the attitudes of his portraits;
defects which he afterwards exchanged for such grace, spirit, and, above
all, endless variety, that it was said “his inventions will be the
future grammar of portrait painters.” The earliest portrait he painted
of himself is in the collection of Mr. Gwatkin of Plymouth, who married
a niece of Reynolds: the same gentleman also possesses the last portrait
of the artist by himself, together with many other interesting specimens
of his pencil. In 1747 Reynolds repaired again to London, and took
lodgings in St. Martin’s Lane, then and long afterwards the favourite
residence of artists. In 1749 he sailed to the Mediterranean, by the
invitation, and in the company of Captain (afterwards Lord) Keppel.
Reynolds spent two months in Minorca, where he painted several portraits
of military and naval officers, and proceeded thence, by way of Leghorn,
to Rome.

He was fully alive to the sources of inspiration which this city of the
arts contained. In the midst of his enthusiasm, however, he was secretly
humiliated by discovering in himself an absence of all relish for the
grand works of Raffaelle in the Vatican. Richardson had inspired him
with the most exalted admiration of Raffaelle; and whatever may be
supposed, Reynolds could not be entirely unacquainted with the subjects
and designs of the works alluded to. Indeed, in some notes of his own
that have been preserved, he only confesses a feeling of disappointment,
and afterwards says, “In justice to myself, however, I must add, that
though disappointed and mortified at not finding myself enraptured with
the works of this great master, I did not for a moment conceive or
suppose that the name of Raffaelle, and these admirable paintings in
particular, owed their reputation to the ignorance and prejudice of
mankind: on the contrary, my not relishing them, as I was conscious I
ought to have done, was one of the most humiliating circumstances that
ever happened to me. I found myself in the midst of works executed upon
principles with which I was unacquainted; I felt my ignorance, and stood
abashed; all the indigested notions of painting which I had brought with
me from England, where art was in the lowest state it had ever been in
(indeed it could not be lower), were to be totally done away and
eradicated from my mind.” The union of candour and docility with good
sense, which the above account evinces, was the means of emancipating
Reynolds from the taste or fashion of the day. Instead of enrolling
himself among the scholars of Pompeo Battoni, as he was strongly
recommended to do before his departure from England by his kind patron
Lord Edgecumbe, he endeavoured during the practice of his art to
penetrate the principles on which the great works around him,
particularly those of Michael Angelo and Raffaelle, were produced. His
general theory will be found embodied in his writings, and if his
principles sometimes appear to be pushed too far, we may perhaps
attribute it to the wish to counteract certain prevailing errors among
his contemporaries. It is a general notion that, considering the
difference in style between the paintings of Reynolds and those of the
great models he professes to admire (Michael Angelo received his more
especial homage), he could not have been sincere in acknowledging so
thorough a conviction of their excellence. To decide fairly on this
difficult and often-discussed point, it is necessary to remember the
state of the arts when Reynolds formed his style. The great vice of the
age was a routine practice, seldom informed by any reference to the
general nature of the art, and as little remarkable for a just
discrimination of its various styles. In such a state of things it
cannot excite surprise that a sagacious and unprejudiced mind, in
endeavouring to retrace the leading principles of the art, should at the
same time see the necessity of modifying them in their application to a
particular, and in some respects a limited, department. As portrait
painting, the imitation of individuals, was to be Reynolds’s chief
occupation, it certainly did not occur to him that the abstract
representations of Michael Angelo, or even of Raffaelle, could be fit

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