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cure. Mere change of physicians could not expel distemper, without a change of either regimen or medicine. This treatise tends rather to recommend the members of his own college to’employment than to restore the patient to health.
In perusing this, or any of the works of Burke, on the politics of the time, the astonishing abilities and knowledge employed lead a reader to regret that they were not directed either to more permanent objects, or to objects, to the attainment of which they might have been more effectual. Though in point of genius and learning even Johnson or Hume were not superior to him, the direction of both these men's powers to objects of more permanent importance has rendered their efforts of greater advantage to mankind than Burke's. The effect of exertions so directed as their's de-. pended on their intrinsic ability and skill; the effect of Burke's, in a great degree, on extrinsic circumstances. He might reason, he might write, he might speak; but unless
he coincided with the notions and views of Government, his reasoning, literature, and oratory, could not effectuate his purposes. There was no subject of moral or political history, or science, of which he was not master. Had he devoted those powers and exertions to the illustration of the noblest study of mankind,'-of man, in his faculties, in his social and civil relations--which he applied to the propagation of party creeds, his utility to society must have been much greater than it was at that time. The accession of delight and instruction, from the labours of Burke, investigating and elucidating general truths, must have been much more important than from his labours in supporting particular notions.
-- To party he gave what was meant for mankind.'
The brilliant eloquence and ingenious reasoning of this work produced a powerful effect on the public mind; though, perhaps, its influence was considerably less than that of Junius in rendering the Grafton Administration unpopular. Burke may be rather
said, on this occasion, to have co-operated with that anonymous assailant, than Junius to have co-operated with Burke. If, however, Burke's • Thoughts on the Discontents’ may have contributed to the change of Ministry, it did not serve to introduce any of the members of the Whig connection which he with such powers of genius recommended...
Two sets of writers attacked this pamphlet :—the friends of the Court, who denied dthe existence of the secret cabinet ; and the republicans, who inveighed against its aristocratical tendency and opposition to reform. The celebrated Mrs. Macaulay answered this tract, and descanted with much speculative ingenuity on the just ends of government, the Usurpations of Establishments," the Rights of Man,' : complete Reform in Parliament and Government,' • Political Justice,' and many other topics that have since been hackneyed in democratical writings, from the bold, energetic, acute, dangerous sophistry of Paine,
and the ingenious, but impraclicable, theories of Godwin, to the ignorant declamation of Thelwall. The aristocratic Burke of those days was assailed, by the republica!)s of that period, with as much violence as the aristocratic Burke of latter times by the re. publicans of this period. The author of a Biographical Préface to Burke's Posthumous Works asserts that the Thoughts on the Disa contents mark the political tenets of Burke to have been congenial to those recently attacked by democratic writers. To me some of the opinions appear coincident, some opposite. 'That government ought to be in v the hands of an aristocracy of rank and property is consistent with his late doctrines. The importance ascribed by him to the voice of the people, his encouragement of their petitions, his opinion that the House of Commons ought to be an image of popular opinion and an organ of popular will, may be apparently, but is not really inconsistent, as, I trust, will be found when these come to be discussed, with his doctrines brought forward on the French revolution.
This was the first subject on which Burke and Johnson published opposite opinions. The Alarm, which Johnson calls false, and the Discontents, which Burke supposes well founded, were nearly the same. On considering these performances, not as consisting of true or false reasoning, but as indicative of knowledge and talents, it must appear to an impartial reader, that though Johnson displays equal acuteness, equal strength, and more poignancy, Burke shews much more of expansion and of profound investigation ; and that from his treatise a much greater accession of political knowledge and principle may be derived than from Johnson's. It may be said that attack is more expatiatory than defence; but Johnson, in his False Alarm, attacks as well as defends. His subject admitted of great expansion: he might have taken as wide a range through the effects of popular licentiousness as Burke did through those of court favouritism. In fact, with a memory as retentive, with a judgment as strong and discriminating as Burke's, equal to any man