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watching over legislation, might be called the law-giver, and Mr. Fox, over executive measures and conduct, the statesman of Opposition. This is a difference of department which I am convinced a careful studier of the history of these two great men, during the Administration of Lord North, will find to have actually obtained.
Although Burke adhered closely to a party, he by no means went every length with its most violent members. Mr. Wilkes made a motion for a Reform in Parliament, which Burke did not think seasonable in time of war. Lord North treated the subject with an'unbecoming levity.
Burke proposed this session a very humane bill, 'to prevent the inhuman custom of plundering ships wrecked on the coast of Great Britain, and for the farther relief of ships in distress on the said coast.' At first Ministry did not seem averse to it, but at last it was thrown out by a considerable majority
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Although the American war had been demonstrated by the ablest reasoners, both in and oựt of Parliament, to be unjust and inexpedient; and although its effects were severely felt by the manufacturing and trading towns, in many parts of the country it was extremely popular. No pains were spared by Ministers to make it pass for a war to maintain the just rights, and the most momentous interests of Britain. It was inculcated by the Court, that if we should succeed in coercing America, we should receive so great a revenue from that country, as to make an important diminution of taxes. The belief, that the coercion of the colonies tended to lessen the burthens at home, made numbers well affected to the war. The grandees connected with the Court contributed their efforts to spread this spirit. Many of the inferior gentry took it for granted, especially in those parts in which the remains of feudal notions gave more than the constitutional . weight to the nobility, adopted the opinions which they found embraced by Lords and
Dukes, and concurred in stigmatizing as rebels every one who opposed the plans of Administration. A considerable part of the trading interest saw the prospect of contracts and other profits of war. The pulpits, too often the vehicles of popular delusion, mindless of the meek and peaceful doctrines, precepts, and examples of him whom they professed to obey and follow, thundered out imprecations of vengeance against the defenders of their liberties. If any of the number, instead of calling upon God to hurl down destruction, instead of beseeching infinite Goodness to become the agent of malignity, in the true spirit of morality, piety, and Christianity, prayed for peace between the mother country and her colonies, 'to turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the children to the parents,' he was sure to be reviled as a rebel. The BEST INFORMED AND ABLEST men, however, in all parts of the country (except those by possession or expectation linked with the Court or courtiers) reprobated the
war with America. But if the informed and the able could reason, the ignorant and the weak could rail. Those who could not refute the arguments of a Chatham, a Fox, and a Burke, were at no loss for opprobrious names. They styled the supporters of liberty, and the enemies of war, Yankees, Republicans, Cromwellians, and Levellers. Burke was peculiarly obnoxious, because he had been (of very able men) the longest, most constant, and persevering opposer of American taxation and coercion.
The common talk among courtiers and their dependents in town, the nobility and their retainers in the country, was, that the Americans were rebels, and that the rebellion was owing to Opposition leaders. Burke was not moved, by the attacks of servility and selfishness, from the road of patriotism; : nor, by the frivolous defamation of ignorance and folly, from the measures of wisdom; measures unhappily not adopted by his country.
His enlarged mind did not enter into all the narrow views even of his own party. When Mr. Thomas Townshend, a zealous Whig, expressed his disapprobation of pensions given to Tory writers, and among others even that of Johnson, Burke defended the propriety of that pension as a tribute to merit of the highest kind, not a purchase of mean service.
Burke was also very liberal in his encomiums on Lord North’s general abilities and dispositions, however he disliked his political measures. He used to say he possessed one of the best heads and one of the best hearts in the world; he thought that, in point of sterling wit, he excelled all men. This regard was reciprocal ; there was no man whom Lord North so greatly admired, and very few whom he was privately more desirous to oblige. Burke often applied to him in behalf of his friends, and never in vain, if no political interest interfered: • There is, my Lord, he would say, ' an office vacant that would just suit a very able