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i675                          JOHN EVELYN

Amsterdam. There is not a better Latin poet living, when
he gives himself that diversion; nor is his excellence less
in Council and prudent matters of state; but he is so
exceedingly nice in sifting and examining all possible
contingencies, that he adventures at nothing which is
not demonstration. There was not in the whole world
his equal for a superintendent of manufacture and im-
provement of trade, or to govern a plantation. If I were
a Prince, I should make him my second Counsellor, at
least. There is nothing difficult to him. He is, besides,
courageous; on which account, I cannot but note a true
story of him, that when Sir Aleyn Brodrick sent him a
challenge upon a difference between them in Ireland,
Sir William, though exceedingly purblind, accepted the
challenge, and it being his part to propound the weapon,
desired his antagonist to meet him with a hatchet, or
axe, in a dark cellar; which the other, of course, re-
fused.

Sir William was, with all this, facetious and of easy
conversation, friendly and courteous, and had such a
faculty of imitating others, that lie would take a text
and preach, now like a grave orthodox divine, then fall-
ing into the Presbyterian way, then to the fanatical, the
Quaker, the monk and friar, the Popish priest, with such
admirable action, and alteration of voice and tone, as it
was not possible to abstain from wonder, and one would
swear to hear several persons, or forbear to think he
was not in good earnest an enthusiast and almost beside
himself; then, he would fall out of it into a serious dis-
course; but it was very rarely he would be prevailed on
to oblige the company with this faculty, and that only
among most intimate friends. My Lord Duke of Ormond
once obtained it of him, and was almost ravished with
admiration; but by and by, he fell upon a serious repri-
mand of the faults and miscarriages of some Princes and
Governors, which, though he named none, did so sensi-
bly touch the Duke, who was then Lieutenant of Ireland,
that he began to be very uneasy, and wished the spirit
laid which he had raised, for he was neither able to
endure such truths, nor could he but be delighted. At
last, he melted his discourse to a ridiculous subject, and
came down from the joint stool on which he had stood; but
my lord would not have him preach any more. He neverais-