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views of the French Revolution, (in the main correct,) betrayed him into extravagances on subordinate points. But at present we shall say no more on this subject: suffice it to observe, that if it were abstractedly just for dissenters to be indulged with the repeal of the obnoxious acts, Mr. Burke was bound, even on his own system of politics, to vote for it, since he himself was often the foremost to maintain, that the most infallible method of extinguishing the flame of faction, is to remove the fuel which feeds it—the well-founded but neglected complaints of a discontented people.

In the same session he opposed the measure of parliamentary reform introduced by Mr. Flood.

Mr. Burke was now soon to send forth to the world that work, which, as a literary performance at least, was to eclipse the fame of all his previous productions, -his “ Reflections.” It appears that, immediately after the rupture with Mr. Sheridan, he had resolved to record his deliberate opinion of the stupendous changes which had taken place in France. He determined to do this from a twofold motive; to secure for himself an authentic account of his opinions, and to furnish the people with (what, in his opinion, they much needed) an elaborate work on the subject. Throughout the greater part of the year 1790 he was perpetually employed upon this celebrated performance, and he worked at it with his accustomed ardour and diligence. It was, however, by no means a hasty performance, either as regards the matter or the composition. As respects the principal topics with which it is occupied, he had been incessantly revolving them during the whole of a long political life; and the whole work was, in fact, little more than an application of great principles, repeatedly asserted in his previous works, to a particular series of events. Even before he began to write the work in form, many isolated papers and scattered thoughts had been already committed to paper. These he expanded, carefully revised, and then wrought into the body of the work. It was published in the month of November 1790. Of the literary merits of this work we shall speak more particularly hereafter. We are now merely giving its history. No sooner was it published than it was eagerly devoured by all classes, and in truth it spread a banquet so rich and curious as to suit all diversities of taste and appetite. Those who coincided in his views, and those who differed from him, of course read it; while those who eschewed politics altogether, found, in the splendour of the imagery and the beauty of the style, attractions little inferior to those of poetry and romance. Not less than thirty thousand copies were sold within a year of its publication. Nor was its celebrity confined to England. M. Dupont, the friend of Burke, translated it into French, and thus extended its fame to the larger part of civilized Europe. The admiration and applause it excited was most intoxicating. Even crowned heads condescended to read and patronize a book, which promised to be a more effectual safeguard to their thrones than all the hosts of despotism. The Emperor of Germany, the Princes of the House of Bourbon, Catherine of Russia, Stanislaus of Poland, George the Third, all gave the author the most flattering marks of their approbation, or presents still more flattering. “ For some time,” as Sir Robert Walpole said in reference to Lord Chatham in the height of that minister's popularity, “it rained gold snuff-boxes.” Trinity College, Dublin, the University of Oxford, and numberless distinguished individuals both at home and abroad, were equally loud in their praises. The most remarkable testimonies to the immense literary merits of this work are those of Gibbon and Lord Erskine; and, as coming from men who in many respects differed so widely from him in opinion, are worth citing. “ Burke's book,” said Gibbon, “ is a most admirable medicine against the French disease. I admire his eloquence; I approve his politics; I adore his chivalry; and I can almost forgive his reverence for church establishments.” “I shall take care,” says Erskine, "to put Mr. Burke's work on the French Revolution into the hands of those whose principles are left to my

formation. I shall take care that they have the advantage of doing, in the regular progression of youthful studies, what I have done even in the short intervals of laborious life; that they shall transcribe, with their own hands, from all the works of this most extraordinary

person, and from the last among the rest, the soundest truths of religion; the justest principles of morals, inculcated and rendered delightful by the most sublime eloquence; the highest reach of philosophy, brought down to the level of common minds, by the most captivating taste; the most enlightened observations on history, and the most copious collection of useful maxims from the experience of common life.”

The “ Reflections” of course provoked innumerable replies. The most celebrated of these were the “ Vindiciæ Gallicæ ” of Sir James Macintosh, by far the most able of them all. It was sober and argumentative. Tom Paine also replied in “ The Rights of Man.” Some of Mr. Burke's more careless positions were also taken up with great power in Robert Hall's “Apology for the Freedom of the Press.”

The gentleman to whom the “ Reflections” were addressed having written a short letter in reply, Mr. Burke was induced to publish his “ Letter to a Member of the National Assembly,"in which he enforces and illustrates the great arguments contained in the “Reflections.” This was soon followed by a pamphlet, entitled “ Hints for a Memorial to M. de Montmorin.” The object of it was to urge the mediation of the British government between the French monarch and his people. The negociation was to proceed on the concession of a free constitution to the French.

A complete alienation between Mr. Fox and Mr. Burke was now at hand. The former still continued to declare his unsuspecting confidence in the principles of the Revolution, and to augur from that event the most auspicious results. This was the case in the debate on the Russian armament, when Mr. Burke was prevented from replying by the lateness of the hour, and the loud cries of question with which he was assailed. In the debate on the Bill for providing a constitution for Canada, Mr. Fox indulged in a still more full expression of his opinions. On the sixth of May, in the discussion on the same bill, Mr. Burke took the opportunity of rising to reply. When, however, he alluded to the French Revolution, he was vehemently called to order by the opposition. Even Mr. Fox, who had himself been so explicit in the previous debate, assailed him. Mr. Burke, in spite of their interruptions, resumed his argument, but the violent cries of order at length compelled him to desist. The termination of the affair was a striking evidence of the dissolution of all the ties of party; for while Lord Sheffield and Mr. Fox severally moved and seconded a vote of censure on Mr. Burke, for adverting to French affairs, Mr. Pitt undertook his defence !

Mr. Fox followed Mr. Pitt in a speech, in which recent animosity and the remains of ancient friendship seemed struggling for the mastery. He now soothed, now exasperated his old associate. His whole speech was an alternation of sarcasm and compliment. As pain, however, always produces a more vivid impression than pleasure, the sarcasms were better remembered than the compliments, and Mr. Burke declared that Mr. Fox's conduct had wounded his feelings more deeply than any occurrence of his whole life. In his reply he complained most poignantly of the severity of the attack which had been made upon him, and especially of the elaborate mention of light and trifling things, uttered, as he declared, at the distance of many years and in the confidence of private friendship. He concluded by declaring, that if he must purchase his adherence to his present principles by the sacrifice of ancient friendship, he was prepared even for such an alternative. * Fly,” said he, “ from the French constitution !" Mr. Fox—“ There is no loss of friendship.” “I regret to say, there is,” replied Burke—“ I know the value of my line of conduct; I have, indeed, made a great sacrifice; I have done my duty though I have lost my friend, for there is something in the detested French constitution that envenoms every thing it touches.” Mr. Fox, shocked at this melancholy termination of a long and tender friendship, showed at once the depth of his sorrow and the nobleness of his disposition, by bursting into tears. Each party has been severally charged with having premeditated an attack on the other ; but neither justly. The whole quarrel shows the contrary. Its gradual progress from warmth to animosity, and from animosity to rancour, is just what might be expected from a series of mutual

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provocations, which afforded no pause in which the judgment might resume its right; not to mention that the whole took place in the presence of third parties. As the dispute was public, pride rendered retreat impossible.

After this it is not to be wondered at, that the breach became wider and wider. The topics on which the two statesmen differed were not of a transitory nature or of secondary importance; the introduction of those topics into debate did not depend on a specific discussion; they came in contact with almost every point of the wide field of politics.

As Mr. Burke was now openly accused of treason to his former principles and party, he deemed it right to attempt to justify his opinions, and to show that he was still in all essential points unchanged; that he had not apostatized from his former principles, but that his friends had gone beyond them. For this purpose he published his “ Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs," in which he endeavours to show that the Whigs of the era of the Revolution held the same doctrines as those of the Reflections. The defects of this work, which in our opinion are serious, will come hereafter into consideration.

In the close of the year 1791, Mr. Burke put forth a paper, under the title of “ Thoughts on French Affairs." The principles it was designed to enforce, are these,—that no internal causes would produce a counter-revolution in France; that the system would strengthen the longer it continued; and that so long as it existed, it would be the interest of France to disturb and distract all foreign governments.

About the same period, he once more exerted himself on behalf of the Irish Catholics, against the severity of the penal laws. It was on this occasion that he wrote the letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe. The Bill soon after introduced into the Irish parliament, conferred upon the catholics the privileges of practising law; intermarrying with protestants; together with several other important advantages, in connexion with education and commerce; and, at length, the elective franchise.

It was at this time death robbed him of as dear a friend in Sir Joshua Reynolds, as politics had snatched from him in Charles Fox. This celebrated man, and not more celebrated for his genius than his worth, died in February, 1792, leaving Mr. Burke one of his executors; he also left him the sum of £2000, and a cancelled bond to the same amount. Never was friendship more pure or ardent than that which subsisted between these two gentlemen. Mr. Burke drew up the following eulogy for him, which a competent judge emphatically pronounced the eulogium of Parrhasius, spoken by Pericles. “It is," said a political opponent, "as fine a portrait as Sir Joshua Reynolds ever painted.”


“ His illness was long, but borne with a mild and cheerful fortitude, without the least mixture of any thing irritable or querulous, agreeably to the placid and even tenor of his whole life. He had, from the beginning of his malady, a distinct view of his dissolution ; and he contemplated it with that entire composure, which nothing but the innocence, integrity, and usefulness of his life, and an unaffected submission to the will of Providence, could bestow. In this situation he had every consolation from family tenderness, which his own kindness to his family had indeed well deserved.

“ Sir Joshua Reynolds was, on very many accounts, one of the most memorable men of his time. He was the first Englishman who added the praise of the elegant arts to the other glories of his country. In taste, in grace, in facility, in happy invention, and in the richness and harmony of colouring, he was equal to the great masters of the renowned ages. In portrait he went beyond them; for he communicated to that department of the art in which English artists are the most engaged, a variety, a fancy, and a dignity derived from the higher branches, which even those who professed them in a superior manner did not always preserve when they delineated individual nature. His portraits remind the spectator of the invention of history and of the amenity of landscape. In painting portraits he appears not to be raised upon that platform, but to descend to it from a higher sphere. His paintings illustrate his lessons, and his lessons seem to have been derived from his paintings. He possessed the theory as perfectly as the practice of his art. To be such a painter, he was a profound and penetrating philosopher.


“ In full happiness of foreign and domestic fame, admired by the expert in art and by the learned in science, courted by the great, caressed by sovereign powers, and celebrated by distinguished poets, his native humility, modesty, and candour never forsook him, even on surprise or provocation; nor was the least degree of arrogance or assumption visible to the most scrutinizing eye in any part of his conduct or discourse.

“ His talents of every kind-powerful from nature, and not meanly cultivated by letters—his social virtues in all the relations and in all the habitudes of life, rendered him the centre of a very great and unparalleled variety of agreeable societies, which will be dissipated by his death. He had too much merit not to provoke some jealousy, too much innocence to provoke any enmity. The loss of no man of his time can be felt with more sincere, general, and unmixed sorrow.

“ Hail! and farewell !"

During this session, Burke opposed Mr. Grey's motion for Parliamentary Reform, and the Unitarians' Petition introduced by Mr. Fox. But the most important event of the session was the complete schism which took place in the Whig party on the question of the proclamation against seditious doctrines and writings. At this point the Duke of Portland's friends, forming the more moderate party, left Mr. Fox. In the mean time changes not less important had been taking place on the ministerial side. Mr. Pitt, finding the chancellor, who had so long and so quietly borne the yoke, suddenly refractory, sought to strengthen himself by a junction with the Portland party. In this arrangement efforts were made to include Mr. Fox; but as he persisted in refusing, unless Mr. Pitt would resign the office of premier, they proved futile.

In the midst of parliamentary duties, Mr. Burke did not forget France for an instant. It absorbed his time and his thoughts. In November he drew up “ Heads for Consideration on the Present State of Affairs.” Its object was to excite war, and to show that no country in Europe could successfully wage war with France unaided by England. He was still as diligent as ever in obtaining information of the state of France. He even sent his son to the French princes, staying at Coblentz. On his return, he brought over M. Cazales, a member of the National Assembly, and distinguished as the opponent of Mirabeau. By his son's efforts be also opened a correspondence with some of the ministers of Austria and Prussia.

No sooner did parliament meet than he again came into collision with Mr. Fox. Indeed, they had some words on the very first day of the session, as well as on the two following days, more especially on Mr. Fox's motion to send an ambassador to Paris to treat with the republican government. But their final quarrel was on the 28th December, on the second reading of the Alien Bill. On this occasion Mr. Burke's conduct showed the influence which his horror of the French Revolution had exerted on his imagination, and into what egregious acts of injudicious violence and bad taste it could sometimes force him. After mentioning that he understood that 3000 daggers had been ordered from Birmingham, he drew one from under his coat, and exclaiming, “This is what you are to gain by an alliance with France, this is your fraternization,” he threw it on the floor. At the close of his speech, addressing himself to Mr. Fox, he exclaimed, “ My Right Honourable friend no more.” No sooner had he said this, than he darted across the house and seated himself by the side of Mr. Pitt, on the ministerial benches.

All this, admirers as we are of Mr. Burke, we are constrained to pronounce in very bad taste. The very idea of deliberately procuring a dagger, concealing it under his coat, drawing it out just at the critical moment, and hurling it on the floor with such theatrical violence of gesture, betrayed a coolness and premeditation which may do very well for stageeffect, but is utterly irreconcileable with genuine natural emotion. It must have been, and could but be felt to be a-scene.

The “Traitorous Correspondence Bill,” and some other measures, drew from him several eloquent speeches. This was the last parliament in which he sat.

The war,—that war which was destined to rage, with pauses few and transient, for more


than twenty years, was now at hand, accelerated by the execution of Louis XVI. and the violence of the National Assembly. Mr. Burke, as is well known, was one of the most vehement and strenuous advocates of the war, much more so in fact than Mr. Pitt, who, indeed, never carried it on vigorously enough to please him. That Mr. Burke was wrong in this conduct we have no doubt. It was another proof of the excess to which his terrors could urge on his imagination. But on this matter we reserve further observations till a subsequent page. It is worth remarking, that during the war special messengers were frequently sent off to Mr. Burke, as to a minister of state, upon the arrival of any important intelligence.

It was about the same time that he wrote his pamphlet, entitled “ Observations on the Conduct of the Minority ;” one of the greatest stains on his character. It was addressed to the Duke of Portland. Postponing, as usual, all further remarks, it will suffice to say here that it was written in the form of a strictly private letter, that it was published without Mr. Burke's consent by his amanuensis, who had surreptitiously obtained a copy. About the same time he wrote another on the “ Affairs of the Catholics.” It was addressed to his son, and will be found in these volumes.

In November 1793, he published another piece on that exhaustless theme-French affairs. It was entitled, “Remarks on the Policy of the Allies.” It attributed the disasters of the war to want of combination and energy on the part of the allies—to mutual jealousies —to cowardice in some, and secret love of revolutionary principles in others. He also wrote a very able preface to Mr. William Bourke's Translation of Brissot's Address to his Constituents, which contains a brilliant and masterly sketch of the Brissotin and Robespierre faction. In parliament, Mr. Burke scarcely spoke at all till quite towards the close of the session.

The parliament broke up in July 1794. Soon after, the Duke of Portland's party joined the ministry, a step which was strongly urged by Mr. Burke, and mainly effected by his mediation.

The darkest hour of Mr. Burke's life was now drawing on; a calamity awaited him which did more to paralyze his energies and to hasten his death than all the agitating conflicts and labours of his past life put together. We allude, of course, to the death of that only, that beloved son, from whom he had hoped so much-to whom he looked as the stay and solace of his declining age, and as the heir not only of his fame, but of a fame still brighter than his own. That young Burke possessed almost all to justify a father's affections is well known. He was distinguished by excellent talents, and these talents had been most assiduously cultivated. That his knowledge was extensive who can hesitate to believe, when it is considered that his studies were directed, and his mind formed, under such a father--a man himself of boundless knowledge—a man whose most casual conversation was rich with instruction-a man, too, who believed that almost every thing might be accomplished by industry, and who was such an enemy to those great allies of ignorance,--sloth and dissipation? To all this the youth added, what was still more delightful, the utmost amiability of disposition and the most entire devotedness of affection to his parents. These real accomplishments, and real excellences, the father's ardent imagination had decked out in celestial colours and ideal graces, and on this picture of imaginary perfection his fancy had been accustomed to feast itself for years; who can wonder then that he should have watched with anxiety so intense the opening of this fair flower, or that he should have felt with overwhelming anguish the rude stroke that laid its young beauty in the dust?

This calamity was felt to be the greater, as indeed must always be the case, because it fell just when the father's fairy visions seemed on the very eve of being realized. The harvest was blighted just when the joyous husbandman was putting in his sickle.

It appears that exactly when the fatal symptoms of his son's last illness disclosed themselves, Mr. Burke had relinquished to him his seat for Malton, and had even procured for him the appointment of secretary to Lord Fitzwilliam, lord lieutenant of Ireland. Dazzled by the

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