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the latter unless it be unusually splendid, is of too common occurrence to affect the mind. On the same principle he makes dusky colours, or at least those which are very strong, causes of the Sublime in preference to those which are light and brilXiant.
We are next called to the other senses, the principal of which is Hearing; and here, conformable to the general doctrine, great loudness is stated to be grand in the highest degree, while intermitting sounds, the cries of animals, and sudden silence are considered, according to circumstances, as accessory causes of the Sublime. The fourth part of the Inquiry treats of the connexion which subsists between certain qualities in bodies, and particular emotions of the human mind, in order to discover the efficient cause of the Sublime and Beautiful. In the course of this abstruse disquisition, the bodily effects of Pain and Terror are described, from whence arises a question, how anything allied to such impressions can be productive of delight. In answer to this, the author observes, that inaction is a very noxious principle, and the cause of many dangerous distempers by the languor it occasions; that exercise which resembles labor and pain, in being an exertion of the contracting power of the muscles, is the best cure for dejection and spleen, and that therefore it is accompanied with a degree of pleasure.
After this the nature of Vision comes under examination, in order to shew how bodies of vast dimensions, are capable of exciting the contraction or tension of the nerves; which property is attributed to the impressions made on the eye, by the rays reflected back upon it from those objects.
The Inquiry is next directed to the nature of Succession, and the uniformity of Sounds in order to explain their effects, and the analogy between them and visible things. Our author now enters into contact with Locke on the subject of Darkness, which that great writer says, does not naturally convey an idea of terror. Mr. BURKE, on the contrary, maintains that there is an association which makes obscurity terrible, and he supports his opinion by an appeal to experience; for in utter darkness, it is impossible to know in what degree of safety we stand; we are ignorant of the objects that surround
us; we may every moment strike against some dangerous obstructions; we may fall down a precipice, the first step we take ; and if an enemy approach, we know not in what quarter to defend ourselves; in such a case, strength is no sure protection; wisdom can only act by guess; the boldest are staggered; and he who would pray for nothing else is forced to pray for light.
Having largely explicated the physical cause of the passion, in which the principle of sublimity originates, the inquirer proceeds to a consideration of Love, as the passion naturally produced by Beauty: and here among various remarks of uncommon force and elegance, is one on the contrast between small and vast objects, which cannot easily be paralleled by anything in the writings of ancient or modern philosophers.
The fifth part on the influence of Words, is no less argumentative and original than the rest of the Inquiry. In this part, words are divided into three clases.-The first class comprehends those which are aggregates, or such as represent many simple ideas united by nature to form one determinate composition, as man, horse, tree, &c. The second class consists of words, which stand for one simple idea of such compounds and no more, as red, blue, round, square, and the like; these are called simple abstract words. The third class is formed by an arbitrary union of both the others, and of the various rela tions between them, in greater or less degrees of complexity; as virtue, honor, persuasion, magistrate, and the like. These last are the compound abstract words, of which the author says, that not being real essences, they hardly cause any real ideas. This, however, is a doubtful position, and somewhat paradoxical, for surely, though determinate images cannot be raised in the mind by such terms, simply expressed, it seems too far from a just conclusion, that no ideas whatever are suggested by them. Virtue for instance is a word that cannot excite an image, or be embodied, as it were, to the mind's eye, yet where is the person of understanding, who is destitute of an idea of what is meant by the expression, though it is out of his power to give a precise definition of it.
There is another questionable assertion in this part, and that is where the inge
nious author says, "So little does Poetry depend for its effect on the power of raising sensible images, that I am convinced it would lose a very considerable part of its energy, if this were the necessary result of all description-because that union of affecting words, which is the most powerful of all poetical instruments, would frequently lose its force along with its propriety, and consistency, if the sensible images were always excited."
In opposition to this doctrine, it is sufficient to adduce the authority of Longinus, to whom alone, as a philosophical critic, is BURKE inferior. That elegant writer in his section on imagery, says, "Visions, which by some are called images, contribute very much to the weight, magnificence, and force of composition. The name of an image is generally given to any idea, however represented to the mind, which is communicable to others by discourse: but a more particular sense of it has now become prevalent: when for instance, the imagination is so warmed and affected, that you seem to behold yourself, the very things you are describing, and to display them to the life, before the eyes of an audience. Rhetorical and poetical images, however, have a different object; the design of the latter is surprise, that of the former is perspicuity."
Thus the greatest critic of antiquity, held imagery to be the highest effect of mental exertion; whereas our illustrious modern will not allow that Poetry can with any propriety be called an art of imitation; in which opinion, we believe, he has had but few if any followers. Nor indeed has the principal doctrine of his admirable work, that of making Terror the great cause of the Sublime, been suffered to pass without contradiction, and some writers of late, have held it up to ridicule in a manner, which shows more malignity than acumen. To the second edition of the Inquiry, the author prefixed an excellent discourse concerning Taste, which faculty he does not presume to describe by a formal definition, though he ascribes to it the general power of forming a judgment on works of imagination and the arts.
In the same year with this original Treatise, came out, a compilation in two volumes, entitled, "An Account of the
European Settlements in America ;" which the public voice long concurred in ascribing to Mr. BURKE, without any contradiction of it on his part; nor was it till sometime after his demise, that his right to the work was called in question. That the performance was worthy of his pen, few persons who have read it carefully will venture to deny; and certain it is that the ablest judges of literary composition, and those the most intimate with Mr. BURKE, very readily acquiesced in the general opinion of its origin. The Abbe Raynal, in particular, was so sensible of the value of this history of the European Colonies in America, as to incorporate almost the whole of it in his own elaborate and philosophical work on the Indies. Another publication, but of a more permanent character, which at this period did credit to the fertile genius and indefatigable industry of BURKE, was the Annual Register. There is reason to believe, that the idea of this valuable compilation, suggested itself during the progress of the preceding history, occasioned by the difficulties which the author found in his research, after the facts necessary for the elucidation of his subject. Upon this he drew up the plan of a yearly volume, to contain a digested record of foreign and domestic events; an arrangement of public papers with other documentary matter; and extracts from new books of importance, illustrative of the literary, scientific, and political history of the times. The plan being submitted to Dodsley, was readily adopted by that active publisher, and in the month of June 1759, the first volume made its appearance, all the original matter of which was furnished by Mr. BURKE, who continued to write the historical part, and to superintend the whole collection for many years afterwards.
These laborious exertions, which had for their object, the attainment of an honorable independence, produced a debility in the frame of Mr. BURKE, that gave great alarm to his friends. Among these was Dr. Christopher Nugent, a physician, and brother to Dr. Thomas Nugent, an author by profession, but chiefly known to the literary world by his excellent translations. Both these gentlemen were the countrymen of BURKE, great admirers of his talents, and zealous in promoting his interests. On perceiving
the inroad which an incessant application to study had made in his constitution, the benevolent physician earnestly intreated him to quit his chambers in the Temple, and take apartments in his house. This proposition was complied with, and the good effects of it soon appeared in the renovation of health and strength. But another consequence resulted from it, and that was a sympathetic affection between the invalid, and the daughter of Dr. Nugent; which, within a short space, terminated in a marriage; and though the young lady had not a shilling of portion, a happier couple never existed, insomuch that to the end of his days, Mr. BURKE was wont to say to his friends, that "In all the anxious moments of his public life, every care vanished when he entered his own house."
But though this alliance was not lucra tive, it was extremely fortunate, by bring ing our author into an extensive circle of acquaintance, consisting of persons in the highest stations, and others of established credit in the world of letters. The benefit of these connexions was quickly felt, and when the earl of Halifax was appoint ed at the beginning of October, 1761, to the viceroyalty of Ireland, Mr. BURKE obtained a situation in his suite as one of his secretaries. The government of lord Halifax lasted only a few months, he being recalled the following summer to take an active part in the administration at home: and Mr. BURKE returned with him, having previously secured a pension of two hundred a year, on the Irish establishment. It does not appear that he enjoyed any preferment in England, at this time, though his friend William Gerard Hamilton continued in favour with Lord Halifax, and was appointed his under secretary of state. That gentleman is said to have soon after wards quarrelled with BURKE; who in consequence threw up his pension, and once more had recourse to his pen for support. The feelings of the public, were at this period much agitated by the ascendency of lord Bute, and the prospect of a peace, so that the field of politics presented an abundance of matter for the exercise of a mind stored with reading, inured to writing, and fertile in argument.
BURKE, however, had the good sense and magnanimity, notwithstanding the neglect which he had experienced, to avoid the vulgar topic of the day, and con
fined himself to a subject of general in terest. He entered into the question of peace with ardour, and in some able pamphlets, endeavoured to impress upon the minds of ministers, the necessity of adding to our colonial strength in the West Indies, by extending our possessions in the vicinity. Most of the tracts which he published on this occasion are now lost, or forgotten; since up to this period, and beyond it, he never affixed his name to any of his publications. But the performances of which we are speaking, were known to Johnson, through whom the author became introduced to Mr. William Fitzherbert, the father of lord St. Helens. This gentleman who was member of parliament for the town of Derby, brought Mr. BURKE acquainted with the marquis of Rockingham and lord Verney, at the very time when the former of those noblemen became the head of a party, which in a short time effected a change in the administration. The measures of Mr. George Grenville, particularly in regard to the imposition of a Stamp Duty in America, giving general offence, occasioned his dismissal from office at the beginning of 1765; and in the new arrangement which took place, the marquis of Rockingham was made first lord of the treasury. This was a brilliant prospect to Mr. BURKE, for he was immediately appointed private secretary to the prime minister, as his brother William was to general Conway, one of the secretaries of state. The same year, Mr. EDMUND BURKE was elected into parliament for the borough of Wendover, in Buckinghamshire, on the interest of lord Verney. This administration was formed under the mediation of the duke of Cumberland, with the co-operation of the duke of Newcastle, who it was expected would have taken the lead in the new cabinet. But the old statesman declined the distinction, when the honour was offered to him, and the report went current at the time, that during the settlement, he plainly told the marquis of Rockingham, that he must be first lord of the treasury, and that when his lordship objected to the appointment, on the ground of inexperience, his grace facetiously answered: "It does not signify, marquis, first lord of the treasury you must be care shall be taken to appoint proper per. sons to assist your lordship in the business
of your department; and as to the disposal of the places in your lordship's power, if you are not qualified there, I am ready to undertake that part of your office myself."
But though this administration was formed on broad principles, and comprised men whose integrity could not be called in question, it was far from giving satisfaction to the people, who were then, as they had been indeed for the space of four years prior, in a state of high political fever. Much scurrility was thrown out at the expense of some of the members, and among the rest the two BURKES came in for their share of abuse. It was roundly averred that EDMUND was a concealed jesuit, and that William had borne arms in the rebellion of 1745; though it was well known that the former was educated first in a Protestant seminary, and next in the college of Dublin, and that his brother was not more than twelve years old at the period when he was said to have joined the standard of the Pretender. This miserable calumny arose from the circumstance of the marriage of EDMUND BURKE into a Roman Catholic family, but all the branches of his own, as well as himself, were members of the Established Church.
The proceedings of this administration belong properly to history, and could not well be compressed into a narrative of this brief description. It was soon obvious, however, that the fabric, whatever might be the intentions of those who projected, or of the persons who composed it, was too feeble to last long; and the death of the duke of Cumberland within four months after its formation, gave it a shock that could not be repaired. During its existence much vigour was manifested, and many designs were laid for the correction of abuses, the encouragement of trade, and above all for the conciliation of the American colonies. But in pursuing the last measure the new ministers were very unfortunate. The Grenville party were for enforcing the Stamp Duty by coercion, not so much perhaps in regard to the lucrative advantages of that particular branch of revenue, as from a desire to carry forward a general system of colonial taxation. Mr. Pitt, and his numerous adherents, on the contrary denied the right of the British parliament to tax the colonies at all, and this conflict,
upon principle, reduced the question to a serious dilemma. The administration to which Mr. BURKE belonged, were there fore involved in difficulties, out of which it was scarcely possible to escape, without giving offence at home or abroad. Something, however, was to be done, and the method adopted appeared no doubt in the minds of the projectors best calculated to allay the ferment that had been excited, and to pacify all parties on both sides of the Atlantic. But they were mistaken, for though the repeal of the Stamp Act was conciliatory, the act which accompa nied it, asserting the right of parliament to legislate for the colonies in everything, only added fresh fuel to the fi c. There was certainly much inconsistency in this proceeding, in which light it was viewed by the Americans, who had sense enough to perceive that it was in fact nothing more than a temporary piece of policy, intended to last just as long and no longer than as it suited the purposes of the contrivers. There were various opinions as to the direct author of this goodly scheme, but the common one hitherto has been, that it emanated from the active mind of Mr. BURKE, who certainly considered it one of the beneficial acts of the party with whom he was connected. Others, however, entertained a different opinion of its merits, and the administration from whence it proceeded became so unpopular, that within the space of twelve months it was compelled to give place to a set of men formed under the auspices of Mr. Pitt, who became a peer, and keeper of the privy seal. This change was a great blow to Mr. BURKE, who retired from office without having secured a pension; but in this disinterested conduct he did not stand alone, for the whole body of his colleagues threw up their places on the same independent principle. The new cabinet gave as little satisfaction to the nation as that which had been so ungraciously dismissed; and the earl of Chatham, who had been so long the popular favourite, was now made the object of continual abuse in pamphlets and news papers. Even his brother-in-law, carl Temple, not only refused to take a part in this motley administration, but publish ed a severe diatribe on the conduct of his noble relative, who was charged by him in plain terms with aining at a perpetual dictatorship.
It was soon seen, and pretty generally admitted, that whatever errors might have been committed by the former ministers, little, if anything was gained by their removal; and though the talents of the prime mover of the machine were unquestionably great, they were rendered in a considerable degree inefficient, by the confessed imbecility of several of his as sociates. The description which Mr. BURKE, some years afterwards in a famous speech gave of this heterogeneous composition, though highly ludicrous, was perfectly correct. Having defended the phalanx to which he belonged, and bestowed some encomiums upon the sonal character of the venerable lord Chatham, he proceeded to animadvert upon his public conduct at the period in question. "For a wise man, he seemed to me at the time," says Mr. BURKE, "to be governed too much by general maxims. I speak with the freedom of history, and I hope without offence. One or two of these maxims, flowing from an opinion, not the most indulgent to our unhappy species, and surely a little too general, led him into measures, that were greatly mischievous to himself; and, for that reason among others, perhaps fatal to his country; measures, the effects of which, I am afraid, are for ever incurable. He made an administration so chequered and speckled; he put together a piece of joinery, so crossly indented and whimsically dove-tailed; a cabinet so variously inlaid; such a piece of diversified mosaic; such a tessellated pavement without cement, hore a bit of black stone, and there a bit of white; patriots and courtiers; king's friends and republicans; whigs and tories; treacherous friends and open enemies; that it was indeed a very curious show, but utterly unsafe to touch, and unsure to stand on. The colleagues, whom he had assorted at the same boards, stared at each other, and were obliged to ask, 'Sir, your name?-Sir, you have the advantage of me; Mr. Such-a-oneI beg a thousand pardons.'-I venture to say, it did so happen, that persons had a single office divided between them, who had never spoke to each in their lives until they found themselves, they knew not how, pigging together, heads and points, in the same truckle bed."
Against this administration while it lasted, Mr. BURKE directed the artillery
of his eloquence, with unceasing vigour in the house of commons, and at the same time followed up his attacks with equal power through the medium of the press.
Immediately after his dismissal from office, he published "A Short History of a late Short Administration," which was printed on a broad sheet, and very widely distributed throughout the empire, in order to make the nation sensible of the great loss it had sustained, by the extinction of measures, which had been partially commenced for the encouragement of trade, and the restoration of tranquillity.
On the rising of parliament this year, Mr. BURKE finding himself disengaged from public business, visited his native island, where he renewed many of those agreeable connexions, which he had formed in his earlier years, and which, to his honor, he cherished through life, with sincere and warm affection, even when his friends became opposed to him in political sentiments.
On the dissolution of parliament, in 1768, Mr. BURKE was again returned for Wendover, and it is not a little remarkable, that Mr. Fox, who now came into the house of commons for the first time, began his oratorical career by encountering the formidable powers of the man, with whom he not long afterwards formed an alliance, Mr. Fox was now an adherent of the ministers, and an opponent of those doctrines which he at a maturer age zealously defended. The great question which then divided the public, was the right of parliament to expel Wilkes for his libels. BURKE took the popular side of the argument, and Fox as strenuously maintained, that the voice of the people was only to be heard in the house of commons. nation was thrown into a violent ferment by this impolitic, though perfectly legal, measure, and while it engrossed the thoughts of all parties, a writer made his appearance, who through the medium of a newspaper, and covered with a mask that has never been removed, blew up the flame to the utmost daring of sedition.
It was very evident that the letters of JUNIUS proceeded from one, who was well acquainted with the members of administration, and owed them a grudge for injuries, either real or imagined, which the author had received from them. The asperity he felt running through these