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Pitt continued at the head of affairs, there is no doubt that his powers might have, at a much earlier period of this reign, overwhelmed any faction associated on the principle of governing by a junto; but circumstanced as things were, the perfect establishment of the principle that government should be carried on by the ablest, wisest, and most patriotically disposed men, whether Whigs or Tories, was reserved for William Pitt the younger.
To oppose this comprehensive scheme of policy, and to restore to themselves the monopoly of government, was the great object of the Whig junto; to facilitate the attainment of their purpose, they contended, that there was a junto of court favourites= who had acquired that direction of affairs which they themselves sought, had for a'certain time attained, even in the present reign, and had·lost through their own inefficiency. Mr. Burke, in his · Thoughts on the Disar contents,' is the advocate of the Whig combination ; but though no one was more
thoroughly acquainted with government in general, with the history and government of this country in particular, yet he does not prove that the perfection of a polity/ consists in being directed by such a combination as he proposes, nor that when the connection in question held the chief offices of state, it manifested such qualifications as to render its return to office desireable by the country.'
Burke thought the Whig connection more powerful opposers of the Court project, than the personal talents and popularity of individuals. His reasoning is directed to recommend the Rockingham party to have the management of affairs, rather than Lord Chatham. Although endued with talents that needed no patronage to render him great, Burke had been brought forward by the Whig interest; and endeavours to shew that the wisest policy was to entrust government to those with whom he himselfs was connected. He tries to conciliate the King to that party, by intimating, that by
it the means of royal magnificence would be much more amply supplied than by the Court junto. •Suppose,' he says, ' we were to
ask, whether the King has been richer since w the establishment of court favouritism, I be
lieve it will be found, that the picture of royal'indigence, which our Court has presented, lias been truly humiliating. If the royal treasury had been exhausted by splendour : and magnificence, bis distress would have been accounted for; and in some measure justified :
He contends less for change of measuresh than change of men. Indeed he proposes no material change of measures.
A much less degree of political knowledge and ability than he possessed would, if ima partially exerted, have seen, that such a . government as he proposes would be here after ineffectual, as it had hitherto been ; = but so ductile was the fancy, so ardent were: the passions of Burke, that he often deviated.. from reason much farther than men of very inferior talents, with cooler imaginations and
tempers. Whatever side he embraced, he embraced eagerly. When his affections were once engaged, whatever tliey stimulated he frequently conceived to be true and right. It is evidently not peculiar to Burke that his passions often warped his reason ; but an attentive observer of his life must see that effect produced in him in so great a degree, as to form a peculiar characteristic of his mind. His genius is often employed in inventing arguments for propositions not true; or devising means for ends not salutary :in counteracting wisdom.
In many of Burke's writings we meet rather with an abundance of important facts, profound observations, brilliant images, and able arguments, adding to the general amusement, pleasure, information, and instruction, than with a chain of proofs, tending to confirm a specific proposition. In this pamphlet, the evident object is to evince the necessity of calling Lord Rockingham's party into power. Excellent as it is in many parts, it does not evince the necessity,
or even the expediency, of that change. Some of his premises tend to establish conclusions contrary to those which he has deduced. While he has drawn a most glowing picture of the corruption of the House of Commons, he is inimical to parliamentary reforın. If the House of Commons was so perverted from its original purpose, as to become a mere engine of the Court, a reform would not only be expedient but necessary. A mere dissolution of that parliament would not be sufficient, as the corruption did not arise from causes peculiar to that parliament. If secret influence existed, and existed with the alarming and destructive corruption of the House of Commons, which he states, a radical change was necessary. It must be admitted by the friends of Burke, that though he declares himself an enemy to parliamentary reform, his statement of the corruption would, if true, be as strong an argument in favour of reform as its supporters could adduce. Either the disease was not so virulent as he represented, or the remedy which he proposed was inadequate to the