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all things calculated to the honour or advantage of one man, who is often the worst, or governed by the worst; honours, riches, commands, and dignities disposed by his will, and his favour gained only by a most obsequious respect, or a pretended affection to his person, together with a servile obedience to his commands--all application to virtuous actions will cease ; and no man caring to render himself or his children worthy of great employments, such as desire to liave them will, by little intrigues, corruption, scurrility, and flattery, endeavour to make way to them; by which means true merit in a short time comes to be abolished, as fell out in Rome as soon as the Cæsars began to reign.
As a writer, the following high character is given of him by the earl of Orrery :-“ Harrington has his admirers; he may possibly have his merits, but they flow not in his style. A later writer, of the same republican principles, has far excelled him ; I mean Algernon Sidney, whose Discourses concerning Government are admirably written, and contain great historical knowledge, and a remarkable propriety of diction ; so that his name, in my opinion, onght to be much higher established in the temple of literature than I have hitherto found it placed.”
His character as a man is thus drawn by bishop Burnet.--He was “a man of most extraordinary courage; a steady man even to obstinacy; sincere, but of a rough and boisterous temper, that could not bear contradiction. He seemed to be a christian, but in a particular form of his own. He thought it was to be like a divine philosophy in the mind; but he was against all public worship, and every thing that looked like a church. He was stiff to all republican principles; and such an enemy to every thing that looked like a monarchy, that he set himself in a high opposition against. Cromwell, when he was made protector. He had studied the history of government in all its branches beyond any man I ever knew. He had a particular way of insinuating himself into people that would hearken to his notions and not contradict him.”