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immediate inspection. Afterwards, when he was immersed in active politics, it was conducted under his general superintendence, with only occasional exertions of his own talents. To ascertain what parts of the Annual Register were executed by Burke himself requires no very great degree of penetration in a reader. Although several writers for this publication were men of learning, it is easy to distinguish between the effects of mere lettered industry and of extraordinary powers.
He had, at an early period of his life, become connected in intimate friendship with Mr. Hamilton, known by the name of Singlespeech Hamilton, from an uncommonly excellent speech which he once delivered in the House of Commons. As he never distinguished himself by any other display of eloquence in the British senate, his friend, Mr. Burke, has been supposed the author of that oration. What has served to confirm the public in this opinion is, that afterwards, when Mr. Hamilton went over as Secretary
to Lord Halifax, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he prevailed on this Mentor to accompany him, and procured for him a pension on the Irish establishment of three hundred pounds a year. Mr. Hamilton distinguished himself by a second speech in the Irish parliament, on a motion of Administration for suffering popish regiments to be raised in Ireland, for assisting Portugal against Spain. Burke was also supposed to be the composer of this speech. From being believed to have written in favour of employing papists as soldiers, a fiction arose that he was a papist. himself. To give consistency to this fiction, it was reported that he had received his edu. cation and principles at St. Omers.
Those who were best acquainted with Hamilton and Lurke do not think that the latter composed any of the speeches spoken by the former. The talents of Hamilton and his literary attainments were very great, and fully adequate to the production of the speeches which he spoke. An ample fortune, however, precluding the necessity of forming
habits of industry, and affording the means of pleasurable indulgence, to which he was prone, encouraged an indolence which kept his great talents from being vigorously exércised. At no period of his life was Burke addicted to dissipation. Of gaming he is said to have been so completely ignorant, that we are informed by an eminent countryman of his, that he hardly knew a single game at cards. To such a mind the resources were so abundant as to render unnecessary the aid of pictured pasteboard.
The time was now approaching when his talents, were to be displayed on the great political theatre. He returned to England. His pension exempted him from the constant necessity of frittering his genius in ephemerous productions. He employed himself in collecting treasures of wisdom, especially moral and political knowledge and philosophy, attending at once to detail and generalization, fact and principle, usage and law. He still occasionally wrote political essays in periodical publications. The Public Advertiser was
then the paper to which men of literature and genius most frequently contributed their efforts. Burke's writings in that journal attracted the notice of that worthy nobleman, the Marquis of Rockingham, who remarked their uncommon ability, and soon sought the acquaintance of the author. He was in-. troduced to the Marquis by Mr. Fitzherbert, father of Lord St. Helens. "This may be considered as a grand epoch in the life of Burke, as from it commenced his political career. ,
. As he is soon to make his appearance in a different situation from what he has hitherto occupied, it may not be improper to take a view of his intellectual and moral character during a life solely literary, and which could not yet be called political. As a man of genius and learning he had established his reputation, and was ranked in a very high class. His Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful had displayed extraordinary powers, both of invention and research. His periodical performances marked at once accuracy and multiplicity of knowledge, extent of views, and variety and appropriation of language. His conversation was equally instructive, pleasing, and entertaining. His moral character was as amiable and respectable as his intellectual was admirable. His integrity was unimpeached. Every action appeared to flow from benevolence. To render those with whom he consorted happy was the leading object of his conduct. His behaviour was delicate, insinuating, and engaging. The softness of his manners tempered the lustre of his genius. His temper was mild, sweetness and sensibility marked his countenance. There had not yet appeared that excessive irritability, that phrenzy of passion, which the contentions of the senate afterwards drew forth. The sparks were latent previous to the collision of party contest. The inflammable particles caught not fire antecedent to parliamentary concussion. In the thinner atmosphere of literary seclusion, those combustibles evaporated, which, in the denser medium of active politics, burst