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tate, which afterwards descended to Edmund from an elder brother, and was far from being opulent. By this remittance, and the sale of his book, he was relieved from some pecuniary embarrassments, which pressed him at the time.
He began now to be known as a man of great genius and erudition. The publication of the Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful is a GRAND EPOCH in the literary history of Burke, as from it we may date the commencement of his eminence as a writer. This treatise was, therefore, not only an important accession to philosophy, an exertion of extraordinary genius, but a ground-work of extraordinary fame.
In consequence of the manifestation of his intellectual powers, men of distinguished talents courted his acquaintance.
In reviewing the life of any man, it is often necessary to attend to those with whom he had most frequent intercourse, whether
private, literary, or political. Respecting the literary friends of Burke, the public is indebted for much valuable information to . Mr. Boswell's Life of Johnson ; a book which, though it contains materials that might have been as well, for the reputation of the au. thor and of his subject, omitted, certainly is replete with useful and entertaining facts and observations.* The history of Boswell himself, and of the family of Auchinleck, does not diminish the value of the many faithful transcripts of the mind and conversation of Johnson and his companions, of whom Burke was, beyond all others, the most highly admired. At this time his fellowstudent, Mr. Goldsmith, was in London, and was commencing his literary, career. Goldsmith from Dublin had gone to Edinburgh, and studied physic. Afterwards he set out for the continent, and pursued his travels on foot, somewhat in the manner of George,
What an addition it would have been to the materials of biography, if any person of equal minuteness and accuracy of observation, vigilance of attention, powers of recollection and communication, had employed his talents on the private life and conversation of Edmund Burke!
in his novel of the Vicar of' Wakefield, partly by demanding at universities to enter the lists as disputant, by which, according to the custom of many, if he acquitted himself well, he was entitled to a dinner, a bed, and a crown in money. He returned to England, and was employed successively as an usher to an academy, a corrector to the press, a reviewer, and a writer for newspapers. He assiduously cultivated the acquaintance of Johnson, and his faculties were gradually enlarged by the contemplation of that great man. “His mind (says Boswell, probably expressing from recollec- · tion the opinion of Johnson) resembled a fertile but thin soil: there was a quick, but not a strong, vegetation of whatever chanced to be sown. No deep root could be struck. The oak of the forest did not grow there, but the elegant shrubbery and the fragrant parterre.'
In Johnson's commendation of Goldsmith, prefatory to the Life of Parnell, there is nothing inconsistent with this opinion. He
praises him for doing well whatever he attempted, which does not imply that he either attempted or performed any very great or difficult work.
Mr.(Sir Joshua) Reynolds and the Colossus of English literature sought the acquaintance of the Author of the Sublime. Intimate friendship soon succeeded his acquaintance with both. Mr. Reynolds's house was the favourite resort of men of talents. Among the ingenious and wise of his own countrymen, Johnson stood • like Saul among the people. Indeed, among many eminent for literary talents, the three kingdoms afforded each a man exalted above the rest :-Johnson, Hume, and Burke. Johnson, from the commencement of their acquaintance, discovered in Burke that extraordinary genius and knowledge which the world afterwards saw. · He declared he was the greatest man living, and that if you were to be driven to seek shelter from a shower of rain under the same gateway with him, you must in a few minutes perceive his superiority over
common men. This observation shewed not only Johnson's exalted idea of Burke's treasures, but also of his powers of communication. He saw there was in him not only a surprising general facility of communicating and applying his intellectual stores, but a wonderful versatility in adapting his explanations and discourses to the subject, and to the capacity of the hearers. - If (said he) Burke were to go into a stable, and talk for a short time with the ostlers, they would venerate him as the wisest man they had ever seen.' Indeed, in every company, of whatever rank or capacity, he poured out his mind; but it was not the display of pedantry, it was the effusion of fulness..
Mr. Murphy informed me, that Christmas Day, 1758, he dined in company with Dr. Johnson and Mr. Burke. He then, for the first time, observed that Dr. Johnson would from Edmund bear contradiction, which he would tolerate from no other person. The principal subject of conversation was Bengal; concerning which, though then just beginning to be particularly known by our coun