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present, was almost out, and proposed that Johnson should write for another, in such ambiguity of expression, as might have a chance of procuring it also as a gift. One of the company said Dr. Johnson shall be our dictator. "Were I, said Johnson, your dictator, you should have no wine ; it would be my business cavere nequid detrimenti respublica caperet :-wine is dangerous ; Rome was ruined by luxury.' Burke replied, “ If you allow no wine as dictator, you shall not have me for master of the horse.'
Johnson, although he attributed every high species of intellectual excellence to Burke, would not allow that he possessed wit. From his speeches and writings, I trust I shall be able to shew many instances of wit, according to Johnson's definition of that term, which agrees with its received acceptation: • A combination of dissimilar images, or discovery of occult resemblances in things apparently unlike. At the same time, although it may appear from Burke's works, that he abounded in wit much more
than ordinary writers and speakers, yet the proportion of that quality in his mind to his other qualities was less than in many inferior minds. He was endued with a quick and delicate perception of humour and ridi. cule, and could paint with the happiest effect. His humour was versatile, either playful or sarcàstical, poignant or strong, as best suited his purpose. He most frequently cut with a razor ; but could fell with a hatchet; and not rarely united the keenness of the one with the force of the other.
That portion of his reply, which I have lately quoted, is a very sarcastic picture of the unsettled state of the executive government, and the fluctuation of counsels during the first part of the present reign. The following passage, from the same letter, concerning Lord Chatham and his new Ministry, is also very humorous : ' He has, once more, deigned to take the reins of government in his own hand, and will, no doubt, drive with his wonted speed, and raise a deal of dust around him. His horses
Although a friend to an aristocracy of property, talents, and virtue, he was not a very profound admirer of many of the nobility, not conceiving them eminent for the two last. Speaking one day on the debauchery of high life and its consequences : • It is no wonder," he said, the issue of the marriage-bed should be puny and degenerate, when children are formed out of the rinsing of bottles.
The influence of Lord Chatham, even with the Ministry of his own choice, was of no long continuance. A want of union among
them was apparent during the succeeding session. It was a great, an irreparable misfortune to the country, that there was not a good understanding between the Earl of Chatham and the Rockingham party.; between the favourite of the people and the Whig aristocracy, between the personal authority and the combined powers of the friends of freedom. Lord Chatham soon perceived that there was an influence behind the throne which counteracted his exertions. He made overtures to a coalition with the Rockingham party, which might liave been effectual sooner, but were then too late. Lord Rockingham conceiving Lord Chatham to have been instrumental in the dismission of him and his friends, (a dismission really arising from their own precipitate acceptance of office without sufficient force to controul the cabal) refused to have any intercourse with him. Private resentment appears here to have predominated over public spirit, most unfortunately for the nation. Talents, property, and patriotism, if conjoined, might have overturned favouritism; especially as
the system of favouritisin had then ncither a large proportion of splendid talents for its supporters, nor of GREAT PROPRIETORS for its DUPES. Burke, however, and the other friends of the Marquis, in the early part of the succeeding Administration, were not very violent in their opposition. Lord Chatham was thwarted chiefly by the interior cabinet. Measures believed to originate from favouritism were proposed by Mr. Charles Townshend, which blew the discontents of America into a violent flame. Instead of the mode of internal taxation proposed by the stamp-act, and afterwards discontinued by its repeal, an external was adopted :-a tax was laid on various articles of the import trade of America. The principle of this new act was reprobated through the colonies. It was represented as a branch of the same plan of taxing America without its own consent. Its operation was violently opposed, and even successfully obstructed. The officers appointed to collect the new imposts were beaten and abused. In parliament, the succeeding session, the party