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ties have a direct interest in employ- but few traces of them in the discusing every effort to destroy Burke's re- sions. Amidst the gigantic events putation altogether.
If he were a which concluded the war, and the substatesman and a patriot, Fox was a sequent revolutionary convulsions of driveller and a demagogue--if his Europe, the late Marquis of Lonprinciples were truth and wisdom, donderry--we name it to his eternal ihe Whigs are the most blind and honour ---seemed to take Burke for his dishonoured body of men that the guide, but with his death the influworld ever contained. The Bentham- ence of Burke appeared to terminate. ites have equal cause with the Whigs We regret this deeply. Setting aside to detest him. Though his ashes slum- other matters, we are convinced that ber in the tomb, his voice is still heard Burke's theory for constructing and to confound them-his spirit still governing society-for creating and walks the earth to scatter their dog- preserving general liberty and happimas and schemes to the winds, and to ness-can never be shaken ; and there hold them up to the derision of man- fore we are convinced that every dekind.
parture from it is a departure into Of course, a biographer, to do full justice to the fame of Burke, should be Allowing as liberally as we please able to sketch, distinctly and vividly, for the infirmities of mankind, there the effects which his speeches and is something in this not a little extrawritings produced, both to his own ordinary. The compositions of Burke country and to Europe—he should be are inimitable in literary beauty, and able to draw the line between the tri- this, if they had possessed no other umphs of his hero and those of Pitt recommendation, ought to have ob
- he should be able to pourtray the tained for them constant perusal and mighty influence and prodigious er- powerful influence. But, in addition, rors, follies, and guilt, of Fox and the they treat of the highest interests of Whigs-he should be able to paint the individuals and nations ; they give the tremendous and appalling array of ene- most profound and magnificent views mies, difficulties, and sorrows, which of those things on which the tongue Burke had to encounter when he gained of the Englishman dwells for ever ; the most glorious of his victories, and the splendours of the diction only serve which would have crushed and de- to pourtray the most astonishing, tristroyed any spirit but his own—and umphs of genius, knowledge, wisdom, he should be able to cope with, not and philosophy. Moreover, that poronly the delusions, but the prejudices tion of them which, when they were and the wickedness of parties. He written, appeared to be but opinion should possess a mind equally daunt- and speculation, has been proved by less and impartial-determined to be time to have been sublime truth and alike just and unsparing, and to deal unerring prophesy. Burke died the as liberally in condemnation as pane- greatest of sages-a man gifted with gyric-aware that, as it had espoused even superhuman wisdom--and the the cause of one whom almost all con- grave has made him a wonderful prospired to wrong, it could only do jus- phet. One of the most striking pecutice to him by treating every enemy liarities of his late works is—they form with due severity.
a chain of predictions, respecting some We wish, not more for the sake of of the most momentous, novel, and Burke than for the sake of the coun- complicated of human events, which try, that his memory was held in due have been accomplished to the letter. estimation. If a nation expect to pos- Finally, the history of Europe for the sess great men, it must consecrate their last seven years has been of a descripashes and preserve from stain their tion to compel the nation to study the glory-if it expect to have wise rulers, topics on which he wrote, and to drive it must teach its children to revere its it to the stores of instruction which departed sages. We think the writings he provided. of this great and wonderful man have When those who boast so eternally lately lost no inconsiderable portion of the increased knowledge and wisof their influence. Although they dom of the world, shall explain to our were so strikingly applicable to some satisfaction why the writings of Burke, of the leading topics of the last two which treat of the form and regulasessions of Parliament, we could find tions of society, are not in every man's hands—why they are not quoted and what various forms in Heaven's broad acted upon by our statesmen—why
belt appear, they are not incorporated with public Whose limits bound the circle of the opinion-why the nation does not year, make them its test in judging of revo- Or, spread around, in glittering order lie, lutionists, revolutionary creeds, and Or roll in mystic numbers through the revolutions—and why Fox is still wor
sky! shipped, while the ashes of Burke What dims the midnight lustre of the slumber almost without notice, we will
moon? then cease to treat their boasts with What cause obstructs the sun's bright derision.
rays at noon? Edmund Burke was born at Dublin, Why baste his fiery steeds so long to lave January 1st, 0. S. 1730. His father Their splendid chariot in the wintry wave? was a respectable attorney. After being What love detains them in the realms
Or why bring on the lazy moon so slow? some time at the Dublin University, he removed to London in 1750, with
below?" the intention of becoming a member
From reasons which do not appear, of the bar.
Burke forsook the study of the law, It does not appear that he gave any
and was never called to the bar. He very striking indications of superior
became an author by profession, at talent during the period of his educa
least he followed no other profession tion. He was, after all
, a puet, and for several years, and there is no evi-. the following extracts from a transla
dence that he sought any other, if we tion of the conclusion of the second except his attempt to obtain the ProGeorgic of Virgil, made when he was fessorship of Logic in the University only sixteen, will be regarded as a cu
of Glasgow. Mr Dugald Stewart riosity :
doubts whether this attempt was ever “Oh! happy swains ! did they know how made. to prize
Mr Prior controverts the common The many bicssings rural life supplies,
opinion, that his pen, at this period of Where in safe huts from clattering arms his life, furnished him with his sole afar,
means of subsistence, and asserts, The pomp of cities, and the din of war, though be does not say on what auIndulgent earth, to pay his Jabouring thority, that his father allowed hiin hand,
two hundred pounds per annum. After Pours in his arms the blessings of the labouring assiduously in his literary land;
vocation for several years, he, in 1761, Calm through the valleys flows along his accompanied Mr Hamilton, better
known by the name Single-speech He knows no danger, as he knows no Hamilton, who was made the Irish strife.
secretary, to Ireland, partly in the caWhat! though no marble portals, rooms pacity of friend, and partly in that of of state,
private secretary. His connexion with Vomit the cringing torrent from his gate, this gentleman was not of long conThough no proud purple hang bis stately tinuance. In 1765 he was made prihalls,
vate secretary to the Marquis of RockNor lives the breathing brass along his ingham, and obtained a seat in Parlia
walls; Though the sheep clothe him without orator, rose to the office of Whig leader
ment. He speedily became a brilliant colours' aid, Nor seeks he foreign luxury from trade; in the House of Commons, and, after Yet peace and honesty adorn his days
a long and laborious public life, spent With rural riches and a life of ease.”
chiefly in opposition, in which he proved himself to be one of the greatest men of the age, he died in 1797.
We must now, in justice to Mr “Celestial Nine! my only joy and care,
Prior, give some extracts from his book. Wbose love inflames me, and whose rites Speaking of Burke's conduct in the I bear,
years which followed his arrival in Lead me, oh lead me! from the vulgar London, he states, throng,
“ His more sedentary pursuits were Clothe nature's myst'ries in thy rapturous followed with a degree of assiduity, which song.
vivacious men commonly term plodding i
but which more sober judgments know to tion, who own his superior talents, can be a good substitute for all other talents, find nothing to say against him, but that and in fact the only surety for their excel- he is an impudent fellow." lence. His application was unwearied.
Of the eloquence displayed by Burke Unlike most persons of vivid fancy, he on the impeachment of Hastings, Mr had good sense enough to recollect, that Prior thus speaks :the most brilliant imaginations ought not
“ But above them all, (Fox, Sheridan, only to have wings to fly, but also legs to &c.) beyond dispute stood Mr Burke.stand upon ; in other words, that genius, The greatest amazement, even to those unpropped by knowledge, may serve to
who knew him best, was excited by the amuse, but will rarely be useful in the opening speech or speeches of the immore important concerns of mankind.”
peachment, which a modern writer, ad“ His excesses were not in dissipation,
verse to the impeachment itself, thus but in study. He gave way to no licen- characterizes in the general terms emtious inclinations. It is asserted that he ployed at the time : Never were the did not then know a single game at cards; powers of that wonderful man displayed and that wine was no further a favourite
to such advantage as on this occasion; than as it contributed to social inter
and he astonished even those who were course, of wbich he was at every period most intimately acquainted with him by of his life, particularly with literary and the vast extent of his reading, the variety scientific men, extremely fond, so far as
of his resources, the minuteness of his in. the pleasures of conviviality could be en
formation, and the lucid order in which joyed without its excesses.
he arranged the whole for the support of Burke became a first-rate in Parlia- his object, and to make a deep impresment almost immediately on bis en
sion on the minds of his hearers.'" tering it. Mr Prior gives the follow
“ Nothing, certainly, in the way of fact, ing account of his debut.
and nothing, perhaps, even in theatrical “ The session opened for business on
representation, ever exceeded the effects the 14th January, 1766, when Mr Burke produced among the auditory, by the deseized the first opportunity of taking an tail of the cruelties of Debi Sing, which active part in the discussion concerning he gave on the third day, from the reAmerica. The details are not otherwise ports of Mr Paterson, who had been sent known than from a few notes taken by as commissioner to inquire into the cirLord Charlemont. Mr Pitt, who profess- cumstances. The whole statement is aped to have no specific objection to the palling and heart-sickening in the exministry, though he would not give them treme; a convulsive sensation of horror, his confidence, immediately followed Mr affright, and smothered execration, perBurke in the debate, and complimented vaded all the male part of his hearers, him by observing, that the young mem- and audible sobbings and screams, atber had proved a very able advocate; he tended with tears and faintings, the fehad himself intended to enter at length male. His own feelings were scarcely into the details, but he had been antici- less overpowering; he dropped his head pated with so much ingenuity and elo- upon his hands, and for some minutes quence, there was little left for him to
was unable to proceed. --Alluding to the say; he congratulated him on his success, close of this day, the writer of the his. and his friends on the value of the acqui- tory of the Trial says—' In this part of sition they had made.'— After this he his speech, Mr Burke's descriptions were spoke frequently, and at length, and again more vivid, more harrowing, and more received some unusual compliments, the horrific, than human utterance, on either highest estimates being formed of his fact or fancy, perhaps, ever forined bepowers as a speaker."
fore. The agitation of most people was In the following session, Lord very apparent.
Mrs Sheridan was so Charlemont stated, in a letter to Mr overpowered that she fainted ; several Flood
others were as powerfully affected.'” “ I some time ago sent to Leland an “ • His powers,' says a political adveraccount of our friend Burke's unparallel- sary,* were never more conspicuous than ed success, which I suppose he commu- on that memorable day, on which he ex. nicated to you. His character daily rises, posed the enormities of a subaltern agent and Barré is totally eclipsed by him ; his of oriental despotism-the tortures in. praise is universal; and even the Opposi- ficted by his orders--the flagrant injus
• Dr Glennie,
tice committed by his authority—the pol- preceding work whatever of the same lution that ensued in consequence of his price." sanction—when he painted agonizing na- The particulars of Burke's rupture ture vibrating in horrid suspense, between with Fox are too well known for us to Jife and destruction—when he described, transcribe them. Mr Prior thus vinin the climax of crimes, death introdu- dicates Burke's fame from the asperced into the very sources of life,' the bo- sions which the Whigs have cast upon soms of his auditors became convulsed it, touching the matter :with passion, and those of more delicate
“ Opposition soon saw in it the loss organs, or weaker frame, actually swoon- of much of that consequence they had ed away.'"
hitherto enjoyed as a body in the state, "The testimony of the accused party and were thunderstruck at the consehimself is perhaps the strongest ever quences; uttering the harshest animadborne to the powers of any orator of any versions upon Mr Burke, not only at the country. For half an hour,' said Mr breaking up of the house, but on all occaHastings, • I looked up at the orator in sions afterwards during his life, and even a reverie of wonder; and during that since his death, as well as by writers of space, I actually felt myself the most
the same political partialities, not one of culpable man on earth ;' adding, how- whom but misrepresents the circumstanever— But I recurred to my own bosom, ces of the quarrel, or attributes it, on the and there found a consciousness that con- part of that gentleman, to a preconcertsoled me under all I heard and all I suf- ed scheme, or spleen at not being perfered.'”
mitted to dictate the conduct of the body We give the following extract re- of which he was a member. specting the famous “ Reflections on “ These assertions are now known to the Revolution in France :"
be wholly false. If design can be attri“ The whole was polished with extra- buted to either party, it would seem to ordinary care, more than a dozen of proofs have rested rather with Mr Fox and his being worked off and destroyed before friends than with Mr Burke, for though he could please himself; it was set off they probably did not desire an open rupwith every attraction of the highest style ture with him, they went the straight of eloquence of which the English lan- way to work to effect it; for there is not guage is susceptible ; it was impressed a stronger instance than this in Parliaon the judgment by acute reasoning, by mentary history, of what may be termed great penetration into the motives of hu- a dead set being made upon a member to man action, by maxims of the most sound prevent his delivering his sentiments on and practical wisdom: nothing, indeed, an extraordinary and questionable event, which bis genius, his knowledge, or his and this upon the trifling pretext of being observation could supply, was omitted to out of order. Admitting him to have give popularity
to the Reflections on the been out of order, which he was not, as Revolution in France.”
the house decided, was it the business of “ In the beginning of November 1790, his friends to attack him on that head ? this celebrated work made its appear
-of the men with whom he had been so ance, and a French translation, by his long associated, whose career he had 50 friend M. Dapont, quickly spread its re- long directed, whose battles he had putation over all Europe. The publica- fought, whose credit he had been the first tion proved one of the most remarkable to raise in public esteem-to assail him events of the year, perhaps of the cen- with vehement disapprobation, persevetury; for it may be doubted whether any ring interruptions, and votes of censure ?" previous production ever excited so much * There are a variety of other reasons attention, so much discussion, so much which tell strongly in favour of Mr praise, so much animadversion, and ulti- Burke. Far from broaching it as a promately, among the great majority of per- vocative to quarrel, he had, on the consons, such general conviction ; having trary, studiously avoided it in this and the fully succeeded in turning the stream of preceding sessions, until introduced by public opinion to the direction he wish- the very persons who now professed to ed, from the channel in which it had hi- wish to avoid the subject. It was obtherto flowed. The circulation of the viously his interest not to disagree with book corresponded with its fame; about those with whom he had been so long 30,000 copies were sold when there was connected; and more especially at this not a third of the demand for books of moment, when it was believed, in conseany kind that there is at presenta quence of words which fell from the greater sale, it is said, than that of any King in the dispute with Russia, that they were coming into power. He had ings in France, wished him nevertheless already explicitly declared his intention to pass over the opinions and the challento separate from the dearest friends, who ges of Mr Fox and Mr Sheridan in silence. should give countenance to the revolu. This, he urged, was impossible. He bad tionary doctrines then afloat, and the been personally alluded to; and though breach with Mr Sheridan proved that this treated without the least consideration or was no idle threat. He doubtless felt respect, this he would willingly forget ; displeased that his general principles but without giving any cause for such a should be, if not misrepresented, at least proceeding, he had been thrice within a so far misapplied, as to become the means week pointedly dared to the discussion; of charging him with dereliction of prin- and standing as he did, pledged to the ciple. He might be angry that this house and to the country upon the subshould be done by one who had so long ject, which no other member was, it would been his friend, and who made it his look like political cowardice to shrink chief boast, even at the moment, that he from the contest. He thought Mr Fox's was his disciple. He could not be well opinions of great weight in the country, pleased that this disciple should condemn and should not be permitted to circulate his book without ceremony, as an attack through it uncontradicted. He was furon all free governments.”
ther impelled by an imperious sense of “ The, dispute was not about a private public duty, which lie considered paraor trivial, but a great constitutional mat- mount to all other considerations. These ter, which superseded all minor consi- reasons were deemed scarcely sufficient; derations, not a hackneyed or specula- he further heard that the adherents of Mr tive topic on which they might amicably Fox had determined to interrupt him on differ, and pass on to the consideration the point of order; and that gentleman of others on which they agreed, but one himself, in company with a friend, waited in its consequences involving the very upon him to ask that the discussion might existence of the state. It was a question be postponed till another opportunity, wholly new; it was one which agitated which, Mr Burke pointed out, was not almost every man in the kingdom ; it likely to occur again during the Session. was constantly and progressively before To convince Mr Fox, bowever, that nothe eyes of Parliament; it met the lead. thing personal or offensive was intended, ers at every turn in debate, and in some he stated explicitly what he meant to say, form or other mingled in every discus. all the heads of his arguments, and the sion of fact or principle. It was in itself limitations he designed to impose on himfull of difficulties, of jagged points and self; an instance of candour which Mr sharp angles, against which neither of Fox returned by relating the favourable them could rub without feeling some de expressions of bimself just alluded to, regree of irritation; and it was one on cently uttered by the king. The interwhich, from the first, each seemed to view, therefore, though not quite satishave staked his whole reputation for po- factory, excited no hostile feelings; on litical wisdom against the other." the contrary, they walked to the house
“ From the moment, indeed, that Mr together, but found that Mr Sheridan had Fox pronounced such decided panegyrics moved to postpone the re-commitment upon the French Constitution, and par- of the bill until after the Easter holidays, ticularly after the 15th April, when Mr when, as already stated, the discussion Burke, as related, was prevented from re- came on on the 6th of May. Something plying by the clamour of his own party, like premeditated hostility on the part of a rupture between them appeared at hand. the minority towards Mr Burke appeared The very next morning, a general alarm in the abuse heaped upon him during the at the consequences spread through the interval by the newspapers in their inteparty. Several conciliatory explanations rest." were offered to Mr Burke, and some apo- We give Mr Prior's account of logies; many even who agreed with Mr Burke's last moments. Fox's opinions, did not hesitate to con- “ To his own increasing weakness, demn him for imprudence in expressing submitted with the same placid and Chris them, though in fact he had been urged tian-like resignation, undisturbed by to do it; and for having already done so, murmur; hoping, as he said, to obtain two or three of the number had been the Divine mercy through the intercestempted to say he was deficient in firm- sion of a blessed Redeemer, which, in his ness. On the other hand, some of Mr own words, he had long sought with unBurke's personal friends, and the con- feigned humiliation, and to which he looknexions of the Duke of Portland, who ed with a trembling hope.'” thought nearly as lic did of the proceed- “A presentiment almost of the moment