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LETTERS OF TIMOTHY TICKLER, EBQ. TO EMINENT LITERARY CHA-
RACTERS. No. XIX.
SRINTED BY JAMES BALLANTYNE & CO. EDINBURAN.
We have been under the necessity of giving an extra sheet this month, and of omitting the usual lists of Books, Deaths, &c.
Mr Prior's book contains many in- scendent powers and services to the teresting particulars respecting Burke, gaze of the world. His mighty genot given by his other biographers ; it nius soared far above these, for the exhibits much just sentiment and means of benefiting his country, and good feeling, and it displays suffi- the most important of its triumphs, cient evidence that much careful in- were too vast, complex, and exalted in quiry has been employed in its pro- their nature, to be judged of by the duction. Of the diction we cannot ordinary modes of definition and vaspeak very favourably: it is generally luation. In consequence, much of the perspicuous and spirited, but it is too glory which belongs to him has been often inaccurate and faulty, and it given to others. The nation annualsometimes makes attempts at eleva- ly heaps new honours on the tomb of tion and effect which are by no means Pitt, while that of Burke~of the man successful. Notwithstanding these and who smote, divided, and paralysed a other drawbacks, the work is a sen- mighty revolutionary Oppositionsible and a valuable one. If Mr Prior crushed an almost irresistible multihave not accomplished all that the tude of revolutionary teachers-stayed fame of Burke demanded, some excuse the frenzy of the community-co may be found for him in the difficul- verted apostacy and terror into imties which beset his undertaking. He passioned fidelity and chivalrous dacould not have chosen one less capable ring-in a word, who formed the areof successful execution.
na for Pitt, and created the host by Perhaps the empire stands more which he conquered—is forgotten. deeply indebted to Burke, looking at Nothing could well be more unnewhat it has been preserved from, at cessary than to add to the legitimate what has been preserved to it, and fame of Pitt the fame belonging to at what it has obtained, than to any another ; but, nevertheless, those who other individual—perhaps no other in- adopt his name, and revere his medividual ever equalled him in great mory, will not suffer any portion that and extraordinary achievements, ac- has been assigned to him to be taken complished by the mere force of intel- away. In addition to this, those who lect--butnomartial victories, no splen- call themselves his followers, have did series of ministerial labours, scarce- lately embraced principles and policy ly any of the things which generally which clash greatly with those which give shape and perpetuity to the high- Burke recommended in similar cirest kind of fame, embody his tran- cumstances. Our other political par
* Memoir of the Life and Character of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke, with Speci. mens of his Poetry and Letters, and an Estimate of his Genius and Talents, compared with those of his great Contemporaries. By James Prior, Esq. London: Baldwin and Co. 1824. VOL. XVII.
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 the 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 therehold 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 toencounter 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