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famous epistles, was sufficient to convince an exuberance of wit and an irresistiblo every unbiassed reader, that blighted am- body of closely connected arguments. bition and deep resentment alone gave Soon after this, came out a pamphlet, them birth. The ascription of them, there intituled “Thoughts on the Cause of the fore, to some member of the Rockingham present Discontents,” in which Mr.BURKE party, was extremely natural; and upon attempted to show, that for several years whom, could the suspicion of being Ju- there had existed a design to establish a nius fall with so much weight of proba- double cabinet, one interior, and the other bility as on BURKE ? His abilities were exterior; the former consisting of a secret undoubted, his address in varying his cabal behind the throne, and the latter a style to suit the object he had in view was servile set of ministers, subservient to well known, his habit of writing anony- their councils and disposable at their pleamously in periodical works was no secret, sure. To this cause were boldly ascribed and that the disappointment which he had the frequent changes that had taken place, experienced, should have soured his tem- and the consequent distractions which per against those by whom it was occa- prevailed throughout the empire. sioned, was perfectly reasonable. On all There was, however, more rhetoric than these accounts and some others, little less truth in this statement, but the writer's plausible, many scrupled not to aver that aim was to urge the combination of an the letters of Junius came from the pen open aristocracy of power, property, and of BURKE, and we know that even the talents, on popular principles, as a check acute and penetrating mind of Johnson, upon the crown. Tbis plan was nothing actually hung in suspense upon the point, more, indeed, than a recurrence to the old until Burke himself spontaneously disać system of governing the national councils vowed them with some degree of warmth. by the weight of party, which, in the estiNotwithstanding this, such is the obsti- mation of many good friends to the constinacy of credulity, attempts have been re tutional liberty, was to the full
, as objecpeatedly, made to establish the charge, tionable as that of pretended favouritism. though the persons thus uselessly employ- Though this performance of Mr. BURKE ed, had no more light to throw upon the is beautifully fascinating as a composition, subject, than their predecessors in this it is now read only as an elegant declaidle inquiry. That BURKE was not the mation, founded upon a visionary basis, author of the letters, we ought to believe and calculated to serve the purposes of a upon his own authority; but if that be political junto, who were exasperated by not deemed sufficient, there is internal the loss of place, and wished to make the evidence, more than abundant to satisfy world believe, that the disgrace they bad every unbiassed observer, that JUNIUS suffered arose from the machinations of a must be sought for in some other quar- secret faction behind the throne. ter:
Mr.Burke, however, lived long enough In 1769, Mr. BURKE published, without to see and acknowledge that the cause to his name, which as we have already ob- which he had ascribed the public discon. served was his usual practice, an elabo- tents, was
the mere creature of the imag; rate reply to a pamphlet written by Mr. nation; and that no such private council Goorge Grenville, entitled “The Present as the one described by him ever had an State of the Nation.” That gentleman existence. The great earl of Chatham drew a dismal picture of the finances of often made the same declaration, though this country, and as extravagant a one he too, for political reasons, at one period of the resources of France, with a view gave countenance to the current report. of justifying his own measures, when in About the time when Mr. BURKE'S office, particularly in regard to America, pamphlet came out, the duke of Grafton, and of depreciating those of the succeed- unable to resist the combination of talent ing administrations.
that was made against his administration, Mr.BURKE's reply, therefore, was rather retired from office, and was succeeded by a defence of his own party, than an attack lord North, whose measures gave as littlo upon others; though in the treatment of satisfaction as those of his predecessor. his subject, which he managed with con- Notwithstanding this, that nobleman consummate ability, he overwhelmed the hos- tinued to hold the helm for several years, tile ranks to which he was opposed, by amidst a conflict of the most tremendous
magnitude. As BURKE was the most gative of his nature, that of being a relipowerful of his assailants, so the brightest gious animal. of his speeches were those which he de- It is somewhat remarkable, that Dr. livered in the house of commons, on the Priestley made a similar observation on disputes with América. He ridiculed lord the state of France; for when he was North for his propositions of conciliation, there about the same time with Mr.Burke, and attacked him with unwearied ardour the members of the Academy of Sciences for pursuing a contest founded on the very to whom he was introduced, wondered right, which had been asserted in the deo how a man of his free sentiments could claratory act of lord Rockingham's ad- believe in a Deity. ministration, and of which there can be no Having mentioned Priestley, it may be doubt that Mr. Burke was himself the proper to remark, that he and Burke were author. Much, therefore, as we may ad- at this time on terms of intimacy, having mit the brilliant genius of this eloquent, contracted an acquaintance at the table and accomplished statesman, truth com- of lord Shelburne with whom the doctor pels the admission that he was here, as then lived as an amanuensis. The folin some other cases, palpably inconsis- lowing anecdote, related by the doctor is
worth inserting in this place.—"On the It has often excited surprise, how a morning of the day, January 29, 1774, minister, of the easy and indolent temper when the cause of Dr. Franklin was to be of lord Nortb, could stem the torrent heard before the privy council, in regard which ran impetuously against him for so to the complaints of the province of Maslong a period. Mr. Burke, once partly sachusetts against their governor, I met answered this question, by saying, on Mr. Burke in Parliament Street, accomleaving the house after a loud and stormy panied by Dr. Douglas, afterwards bishop debate, in which the minister preserved his of Salisbury. After introducing us to equanimity and humour to the last,“Well, each other as men of letters, he asked me there's no denying it, gentlemen, this man wbither I was going? I said I could tell has certainly more wit and good nature in him whither I wished to go. He then im, than all of us put together."
asked me where that was, I said to the At the close of the year 1772,
Mr. BURKE privy council, but that I was afraid I could visited the French capital, where he was not get admission. He then desired me introduced to most of the men of letters, to go along with him. Accordingly I did; and some of the highest persons in the but when we got to the anti-room, we church and state, who all vied with each found it quite filled with persons as deother in showing their respects to the sirous of getting adidission as ourselves. talents of the illustrious stranger. During Seeing this, I said, we should never get his stay at Paris, this acute observer who through the crowd. He said, Give me made human nature his study, could not your arm; and locking it fast in his, he help seeing that an extensive confederacy soon made his way to the door of the was going on against religion, and he knew privy council. I then said, "Mr. BURKE that if it succeeded, the most fearful con- you are an excellent leader. He replied, 'I sequences would result to the injury of wish other persons thought so too. After society. On his return home, he revolved waiting a short time, the door of the privy the subject in his mind, and the more he council opened, and we entered the first, considered it, the more alarmed were his when Mr. BURKE took his stand behind fears; on which account he took an op- the first chair next to the president, and I portunity of pointing out the progress of behind that the next to his,” What folAtheism to his countrymen, and particu- lows is a narrative of the proceedings, and larly the government, as a matter calling no way relative to the subject of this mefor the most vigilant watchfulness. Mr. moir. Burke in addressing the house, observed, At the close of the session of parliathat he was not over-fond of calling in the ment this year, a dissolution took place, aid of the secular arm, to suppress doc- in which Mr. Burke, who had hitherto trines and opinions; but he thought that sat for Wendover, was now proposed to if ever it were to be raised, it should be the freemen of Malton, in Yorkshiro, against those enemies of their kind, who upon the interest of the marquis of Rockwould take from man the noblest prera. ingham. The election bad but just finish
ed when a deputation of merchants came BURKE, when it came to his turn to speak, from Bristol to invite Mr. Burke to be manfully refused to admit, and for so come a candidate for the representation doing he assigned reasons, which the of that opulent city. This was an unex- writer of this sketch happens to know, pected offer, but one that was too honor- carried conviction home to znany of his able and important to be slighted. hearers, though they were before of a
Courtesy, however, required an atten- different opinion. The substance of his tion to forms, and Mr. Burke went to argument was this: “Government and consult his friends, who were then sat legislation are matters of reason and judge down to dinner, upon the line of conduct ment, and not of inclination; but what he should pursue. There was but one sort of reason is that, in which the deteropinion on the matter, for all present were mination precedes the discussion, in which attached to lord Rockingham, and the one set of men deliberate and another de present was an opportunity of strength- cide? and where those who form the conening the common cause in which they clusion are perhaps three hundred miles were all concerned. Accordingly a com- distant from those who hear the argupliance with the Whigs of Bristol was ments? Parliament” said Mr. BURKE, unanimously recommended, and Mr. “is not a congress of ambassadors from BURKE, after taking a short repast, threw different and hostile interests; which inhimself into a post chaise, and travelling terests each must maintain, as an agent night and day, reached the place of bis and advocate, against other agents and destination on the 13th of October, which advocates; but parliament is a deliberawas the sixth day of the poll. The can- tive assembly of one nation, with one indidates were lord Clare, (afterwards earlierest, that of the whole; where not local Nugent) and Mr. Brickdale on the Tory purposes, not local prejudices ought to or High Church interest, and Mr. Cruger guide, but the general good, resulting from and Mr. BURKE supported by the dissen- the general reason of the whole.". ters who then formed, as they ever have To this sound, constitutional doctrine, done, a commanding influence in the cor
Mr. Burke invariably adhered through poration and representation of that great the whole of his parliamentary history, city. The contest on this occasion was though some perhaps will be inclined to unusually severe, but it terminated after a think that in submitting to be a partizan scrutiny, in the complete triumph of the he deviated nearly as much on the other popular candidates.
hand from the true principle of patriotism, Mr. Burke's speeches to the electors which ought to distinguish all the memwere very much and deservedly admired, bers of a national council
. It is a quesso, that though he was the second in the Lion not easily answered, whether the man return, he entirely eclipsed his colleague. who enlists in the trammels of a party, has Cruger was an American merchant, who more claim to public respect, than he who by running away with the daughter of an takes the dictum of bis constituents for the eminent banker, had acquired considera- absolute rule of his conduct. Certain it ble property at Bristol, which with his is, however, that though the one has more being a native of New York, procured scope for the display of his powers than him an interest that he was far from being the other, it is with an ill grace he profesentitled to, either on the score of princi- ses to be independent, while to use the ple or of ability. Of the extent of his language of Goldsmith concerning his talent he gave a curious specimen, when friend BURKE, “He gives up to party what after an eloquent harangue made on the was meant for mankind.” Exchange, by his associate, finding that a One of the first acts of this great man speech was called for from himself, he afçer taking his seat in the ensuing sessaid, “Gentlemen, I say ditto to Mr. sions, was to bring forward a plan of conBURKE, again I say, ditto." This was at ciliation with America; the basis of which the beginning of the election, but at the was a renunciation of the right of parlia. close of it he was somewhat better pre ment, to lay a tax upon the colonies, and pared, and told his constituents that their allowing to the provincial assemblies the will should be his rule, and that in all privilege of making such grants as should things he should vote accordi to their suit their respective circumstances. This directions. This slavish principle Mr. scheme, feasible as it might appear to the projector and his friends, failed, however, particularly those of Bristol, that they set io make an impression upon the house every engine at work to prevent a mea and therefore all the propositions founded sure, which was called for by the exigency upon it, were rejected by a great majority. of the times, as much as by the principle When, in the course of the same session, of natural justice. BURKE was instructed the measure of introducing German troops by the electors of Bristol to oppose the was adopted without the consent of par- bill, but he had the manliness to venture liament, Mr. Burke lifted up his voice upon risking their displeasure, rather than with powerful eloquence against the un- pursue, out of mere policy, a line of conconstitutional proceeding, and in answer duct which his conscience disapproved. to Wedderburne, the solicitor general, He wrote two letters on the subject, one to who defended it in an elaborate speech, the beads of a private commercial house, which he concluded by moving the pre- and the other to the master of the coinpavious question ; he observed, that the ny of merchant adventurers, in both which learned gentleman had ransacked history, he laid down the most solid maxims of statutes and journals, and had taken a trade, and advanced the most satisfactory very long journey, as was usual with him, reasons in support of the legislative grant, through which he did not wish to follow which they reprobated. him, but he was always glad to meet him Thescarguments, however, were thrown on his return home. “Let us” said Burke, away upon minds that viewed every object “strip off this learned foliage entirely from through the discoloured medium of prejuhis argument; let us unswathe this Egyp- dice and self-interest. Two other steps tian corpse, and bereave it of its salt, gum, of Mr. Burke, which while they did him and
murmy, and see what sort of a dry honour, gave great offence to the good skeleton it is underneath-nothing but à people of Bristol; where the part he took precedent! The gentleman asserts, that in regard to lord Beauchamp's bill for the å bill only can declare the consent of par- Relief of Debtors, and his vigorous supliament—not an address—not a resolution port of sir George Savile's act in behalf of the house;-yet he thinks that a reso- of the Roman Catholics. This last mea lution of the house would, in this case, be sure, though nothing more than what had better than a bill of indemnity: so that been long called for by every principle of we find a bill is nothing, a resolution is humanity, policy, and right, produced in nothing—nay, I fear our liberty is nothing: England and Scotland, that shameful and that ere long, our rights, freedom, and combination of sectarian bigotry, which, spirit, nay this house itself will vanish, in under the specious name of the Protesa previous question."
tant Association, brought an indelible After opposing.in vain, the measures stain upon the country, in the riots of the taken by government for the subjugation year 1780. Just before the occurrence of the colonies, Mr. Burke began to relax of those dreadful outrages, Mr. BURKE in his efforts, and even to be less regular brought forward, and carried his motion in his attendance in the house; in justifi- for leave to bring in a bill “For the better cation of which conduct, and at the same regulation of his majesty's civil establishtime to express his entire sense of the ments, and of certain public offices; for question then at issue, he wrote at the the limitation of pensions, and the supbeginning of 1777, a letter to the sheriffs pression of sundry useless, expensive, and of Bristol, which was soon afterwards inconvenient places, and for applying the printed with the consent, and most proba- monies saved thereby for the public serbly at the desire of the author. Hitherto vice.” perfect harmony had subsisted between But though successful in this popular him and his constituents
, but within a objec, it had not the effect of securing short time after this, a serious difference his return for Bristol at the election which arose, which instead of being healed, be took place in the same year. On bis arricame wider by the attempts made at ex- val in that city after the dissolution of par. planation. The first occasion of dislike liament, he found an opposition raised given by Burke to the citizens of Bristol, against him, which, neither the power of was his voting in favour of the act for ex- his eloquence nor the interest of his friends tending the Irish trade.
ich was the nar- could overcome. The speech of Mr. row spirit of the English merchants, but BURKE on the bustings, in vindication of
bis parliamentary conduct, was indeed a America, I trust, as not the enemy of. masterly piece of declamation, but it made England, I am sure, as the friend of manso little impression upon the hearers, that kind, on the resolution of the house of after a short struggle he deemed it pru- commons, carried by a majority of nine dent to retire from the contest. A scat, teen at two o'clock this morning, in a very however, was already provided for him by full house. It was the declaration of two his great patron, and Malton, which he hundred and thirty-four; I think it was had originally quitted for Bristol
, now re- the opinion of the whole. I trust it will turned him without any difficulty. It lead to a speedy peace between the two merits observation in this place, that not- branches of the English nation, perhaps withstanding the rejection of Mr. BURKE to a general peace; and that our happiby the electors, the corporate body of Bris- ness may be an introduction to that of the tôl, for the most part, adhered inflexibly world at large. I most sincerely congrato him, and of this attachment they gave tulate you on the event. I wish I could a striking, proof not long afterwards, in say, that I had accomplished my commigchoosing his brother Richard to be their sion. Difficulties remain. But as Mr. Recorder on the death of Dunning, lord Laurens is released from his confinement, Ashburton.
and has recovered his health tolerably, he The American War, after seven years may wait
, I hope, without a great deal of unsuccessful struggle, was now drawing inconvenience, for the final adjustment to that point which many sagacious per- of his troublesome business. He is an sons had foreseen and predicted. exceedingly agreeable and honourable
On the 27th of February, 1782, gene man. I am much obliged to you for the ral Conway moved in the commons, a honour of his acquaintance. He speaks resolution "That it is the opinion of this of you as I do, and is perfectly sensible house, that a further continuance of an of your warm and friendly interposition offensive war in America, for the purpose in his favour. of subduing by force, the revolted colo “I have the honour to he, pies, is totally impracticable, inasmuch as With the highest possible it weakens that force which we ought to
esteem and regard, dear sır, employ.against our European enemies, Your most faithful and and which is contrary to his majesty's de
obedient humble servant, claration in his most gracious speech from
EDMUND BURKE." the throne, where he expresses a wish to restore peace and tranquillity." This re
“ London, Charles Street, solution, after a long and warm debate,
Feb. 28, 1782. was carried by a majority of two hundred “General Burgoyne presents his best and thirty-four, against two hundred and compliments to you with his thanks for fifteen; and the next day, Mr. BURKE your obliging attentions towards him." communicated the intelligence to Dr. Franklin, who had a little before request- Encouraged by the advantage which ed his interest in negociating the exchange they had gained in carrying this resoluof Mr. Henry Laurens, then in the Tower, tion, the opposition renewed their attacks for general Burgoyne, who had been taken upon the ministry with such vigour, that prisoner at Saratoga. In answer to the on the 20th of March, lord North andoctor, then at Paris, Mr. Burke wrote nounced his own resignation, and that of the following letter:
his colleagues in the presence of an ex
ceedingly full house. During the ad“DEAR SIR,
journment which followed this notificaYour most obliging letter demanded tion, the marquis of Rockingham was an early answer. It has not received intrusted with the arrangement of a new the acknowledgment which was 80 justly administration, in which Mr. BURKE took due to it. But Providence has well sup. his part as pay-master of the forces, with plied my deficiencies; and the delay of the a seat in the privy council. answer has made it much more satisfac- The first measure that occupied the tory than at the time of my receipt of your attention of parliament after the recess, letter, I dared to promise myself it could was the passing of an act in favour of Ire oe. 1 congratulate you, as the friend of land, which was followed by a bill to dis.