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graphy, requires much higher powers: yet the lower exertions are beneficial, in affording materials.

As no age has produced a greater number of eminent men than the present, should any future Johnson arise to write the history of Genius, it would not only be useful but necessary, in order to give his biography the full effect, that he should have an accurate account from those who lived at the time. No one individual can know all the facts which may form the materials of an entertaining, and useful life. Diversity of narratives, if authentic, impartial, and not trivial, will tend to the great ends of biography. Although there be no such life of Johnson, as Johnson himself could have written on a similar subject, yet much advantage has accrued to society from different writers having undertaken an account of his life. From several writers, a much greater quantity and variety of important information is transmitted to posterity, than would have reached them from

the talents and industry of any one of his biographers. From the result of their labours, there are now sufficient materials to employ the pen of a man, possessing the requisite talents for biography:-a thorough knowledge of human nature, an acquaintance with that kind of situation in which the subject acted, and that species of talents which he exerted. From these only, combined with a detail of facts, such as can be had from none but cotemporaries, may a just view be formed of individual character."

Biography derives its principal advantage from the minute knowledge it affords of moral causes, their operation and effects; by enabling us to trace action to mind; the modifications, habits, and affections of mind to their sources, whether original or factitious; and thence deducing lessons of moral conduct. It is interesting, from displaying situations and passions which we can, by a small effort of the imagination, approximate to ourselves, the feelings of the father, son, husband, wife, and friend.

[6] The interest arising from the view of the qualities, situation, feelings, actions, conduct, and characters of our species is often enhanced by circumstances peculiar to individuals, by individual powers, affections, and exertions, intellectual and moral; their direction, their effects on the happiness of the subject himself, of others, and particularly on our own. We admire extraordinary talents or qualities, we are interested in the history of such talents or qualities, producing important consequences to the welfare or hurt of mankind. We are most deeply affected by the history of men, the consequences of whose powers and conduct have extended to our own times and country. The lives of soldiers who have fought for us, of scholars who have informed, instructed, or delighted us, of statesmen whose measures and conduct are felt in our society, we read with peculiar delight. We wish to know every minute circumstance that can illustrate their characters, and are even pleased with those that are not in themselves material, because belonging to an interesting object.

Whether we consider genius, talents, knowledge, or their direction and effects on human affairs, and especially on those affairs in which we of this country are most particularly concerned, no man of modern times stands more eminently distinguished than EDMUND BURKE. It is not his genius only,a genius of which we perceive the vast expanse, but cannot see the bounds ;-a genius which, though it had not been cultivated by erudition, enlightened by knowledge, formed by philosophy, must by its own natural force have rendered its possessor infinitely superior to ordinary men, even with the advantages of education ;-a genius not only grasping, but comprehending; not only comprehending, but appropriating almost every subject of human learning ;-whatever it saw, occupying; whatever it occupied, possessing; whatever it possessed, employing;—which has rendered the character and history of this personage interesting and momentous. A very great part of its importance comes from the direction which his inclination, together with the circumstances

of the times, have given to his talents, and the consequences which they have produced, and are producing, to mankind The effects could not have proceeded but from great efficacy: the efficacy might have existed without the effects.

Whether the effects are salutary or pernicious, it would be premature in me to assert, until, after a narrative of facts, I have adduced the reasons on which I may have formed an opinion. But those, who contend either the one or the other, concur in admitting that few or none have had, and still have, more influence on the welfare of mankind than EDMUND BURKE.

According to the censurers of this great manhis recent writings and eloquence afford the most extraordinary instance of powers of the first magnitude misapplied to the most hurtful purposes, and producing the most lamentable effects. He repressed the increasing spirit of liberty, which, if allowed to operate, whould have produced in these

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