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he foresees from this measure, and without regard to the total, at least temporary, alienation of those people (the Irish Opposition, Messrs Grattan, Ponsonby, &c.) from his confidence, his connexion, and his principles. I plainly perceive that if he was consulted, he would advise to throw everything into their own hands. If I am asked what I would myself advise in such a case, I should certainly advise the same, but with this temperament and express previous condition, that they renewed their confidence in ****, whom I hold to be the only person to settle Ireland; and that they give him some assurance as a man, å gentleman, and a friend, that they will be practicable about their schemes of changing the constitution of the House of Commons; and that they will desist from the scheme of an absentee tax, which in its principle goes more to the disconnexion of the two kingdoms than anything which is proposed by the United Irishmen. As to Mr Grattan's other project, of laying new taxes upon English commodities, and the principle upon which he proposes it,-namely, that England is a foreign and a hostile kingdom, and adverse in interest, (it) is, I think, a measure he would hardly persevere in. I think the difficulty of the case is extreme, when you consider the military government established on the one hand, and the wild democratic representation proposed as its cure (on) the other.' . We have marked his dislike of Mr Pitt; it was grounded both on what he terms an incurable suspicion of his sincerity, which he ascribes to others, insinuating that he partook of it; and on a contempt for his views of government.
• The declaration, though it has not astonished me, has not given me great defection of spirits. There is a sort of staggering and irresolution in the cowardice of others, but there is a sort of unconquerable firmness, a kind of boldness, in the pusillanimity of Mr Pitt. His madness is of the moping kind, but it is not the less phrenzy for being fixed in lowness and dejection. He is actually taking every means to divest this country of any alliance, or possibility of alliance; and he is determined that no spirit shall arise within this country, not knowing what course that spirit might take.'
And what is the ground of so much vituperation ? Simply Mr Pitt's attempting to avoid the miseries and the dangers of war, by negotiating for peace. We shall not be charged with too great admiration of that minister's policy in conducting the war; but this might have been forgiven by Mr Burke, had he only done nothing to escape from its dreadful calamities. He sees the minister's proceedings, however, always in the same light, whether at home or abroad. The mutiny in the Flect draws forth the following remark, in the last letter he wrote before his death :-—' As to the state of this kingdom, it does not appear to me to be a great deal better than that of Ireland. Perhaps in some points of view it is worse. To see the Thames itself boldly blocked up by a rebellious British Flect,
is such a thing as in the worst of our dreams we could scarce
ly have imagined. The lenitive electuary of Mr Pitt's bill is * perfectly of the old woman's dispensatory. The only thing
which he spoke of, and which has any degree of common • sense,' &c.-Nor had his friend and correspondent failed to imbibe the same sentiments. He thus expresses himself in one letter to Lord Fitzwilliam, stating his principles on all the great questions of the day, previous to coming into Parliament under the patronage of that truly venerable and patriot statesman.
With the power of Mr Pitt, I never wish to have any connexion. So far from it, my Lord, that I some little time since voluntarily resolved (and signified my resolution) to forego my claims to the first rank in my profession, should a vacancy happen. My motives, not material here, were in part private, in part public. I should endeavour to maintain him in power, merely from a conviction, that in consequence of the ground taken by Opposition, and the distemper of the times, the cause of Government in the abstract, and our excellont Con: stitution in particular, cannot be supported but by supporting the actual Minister. Happy, I believe, would it have been for Europe, if the breaking out of the French Revolution had found Mr Fox in the situation of Mr Pitt !' : Of Mr Fox, Mr Burke's language also is always respectful nor is it deficient in kindness, unless when he has been irritated by a personal attack. : The speeches in the House of Lords in Ireland were in the same strain ; and in the House of Commons, the Ministers put forward a wretched brawler, one Duigenan of your profession, to attack Mr Fox, though they knew, that as a British Member of Parliament, he was by them invulnerable ; but their great object was, to get him to rail at the whole body of Catholics and Dissenters in Ireland, in the most foul and unmeasured language. This brought on, as they might well have expected from Mr Grattan, one of the most animated philippics which he ever yet delivered, against their Government and Parliament.
It was a speech the best calculated that could be conceived further to inflame the irritation which the Castle-brawler's long harangue must. necessarily have produced. As to Mr Fox, he had all the honour of the day, because the invective against him was stupid, and from a man of no authority or weight whatsoever; and the panegyric which was opposed to it was full of eloquence, and from a great name. The Attorney-General, in wishing the motion withdrawn, as I understand, did by no means discountenance the principle upon which it was made, nor disown the attack, which was made in a manner upon the whole people of Ireland. The Solicitor-General went the full length of supporting it. Instead of endeavouring to widen the narrow bottom upon which they stand, they make it their policy to render it every day more narrow.'
We cannot resist the temptation of adding to these extracts a singular testimony in favour of Law Reform, and from a quarter the least liable to the suspicion of desiring reckless innovation, or underrating our ancient institutions. They who have heard Mr Burke so often cited as the solemn and eloquent panegyrist of the existing system of our laws, must be amused when they contrast with his speculative declamations on their perfection, the following groans uttered by him in his capacity of a suitor, suffering under their practical effects.
• But no wonder that such villains as Owen should proceed as they do, when our courts of justice seem by their proceedings to be in league with every kind of fraud and injustice. They proceed as if they had an intricate settlement of 10,0001. a-year to discuss in an af. fair that might as well be decided in three weeks as in three hundred years. They let people die while they are looking for redress, and then all the proceedings are to begin over again by those who may think they have an interest in them. While one suit is pending, they give knaves an opportunity of repeating their offences, and of laughing at them and their justice, as well they may. I wish heartily that, if the lawyers are of opinion that they may spin out this mockery a year or two longer, I may not vex my dying hours in fruitless chicane, but let the villany, which their maxims countenance, take its course. As to any relief in the other courts, I have been in them, and would not trust the fame and fortune of any human creature to them, if I could possibly help it. I have tried their justice in two cases of my own, and in one, in which I was concerned with others in a public prosecution, where they suffered the House of Commons in effect to have the tables turned on them, and under colour of a defendant to be criminated for a malicious prosecution. I know them of old, and am only sorry at my present departure, that I have not had an opportunity of painting them in their proper colours. Why should not the Court of Chancery be able to know, whether an author gives an imperfect copy to a printer to be published whether he will or no, and has not left himself master of his own thoughts and reflections ? This is the very case made by the wretch himself, but a court can't decide in years whether this thing ought to be done or not. In the meantime he enjoys the profits of his villany, and defies them by villanies of the same kind and to the same person. But I allow that it is better that even this kind of justice should exist in the country, than none at all.'
It gives us sincere pleasure to adduce a testimony against West India Slavery, from a quarter as little likely to be charged with fanaticism, as the last authority was open to the suspicion of restless discontent.
• On Mr Ellis's late motion, (Dr Laurence writes,) Windham paid your name some very just and handsome compliments, very honourable both to the subject and the panegyrist. The planters will not take the essential part of your regulations in the colonies; the connexion of the slave with the soil; his consequent right to the spot, once assigned him, around his hut; and his right to purchase his freedom at a certain fixed price, with the fruits of his own industry. Their pretences are weak, as I heard them privately discussed; but that last point, which is most important for the gradual abolition of slavery as well as the slave trade, will I trust hereafter follow.'
In these letters appear two painful circumstances: the dreadful, nay, almost diseased irritation of his mind, not merely upon the subject of his severe affliction, but on all matters that interested him; and the pressure of pecuniary embarrassment. Such expressions, as the following portion of a letter from Dr Laurence to the Duke of Portland contains, are only to be explained by supposing, that the writer felt an uncommon anxiety about his friend's mental health, and considered his mind as more affected by the subjects of discussion than it ought to have been. • MY DEAR LORD,
Beaconsfield, Oct. 20th, 1794. • When your Grace did me the honour of a long and confidential conversation on Saturday evening, I mentioned to you the anxiety, agitation, dismay, and horror, which afflicted the mind of our unhappy friend here on the subject of publick affairs. On my return yesterday, I did not find him more tranquil; neither did anything which thought myself at liberty to communicate, give him much relief. It is true, he felt a considerable degree of pleasure in finding your Grace's sentiments so fully agree with his as to the principle and mode of opposing the Jobbing of the College, by taking up the person, who alone is regularly qualified under the statutes, and who seems designated for the Provostship by his present situation : He was also gratified to be told of your firmness in resisting the improper disposal of the late Mr Hutchinson's other office; and above all he conceived some little hope from learning, that the great mischief which he dreaded has not yet actually taken place. Yet his mind is still overwhelmed by the contemplation of the terrible prospect before us; at this moment too, immediately before the meeting of Parliament, when they, who alone feel no terror of French principles in this country, are perplexed and confounded, but will derive new hopes and therefore new activity from the destruction of a Ministry formed for the very purpose of eradicating those principles; when abroad, all the old Governments of Europe are shaken to their very centre, and are every day more and more showing their own internal debility and the insufficiency and indecision of their rulers; when they can only be confirmed and strengthened by the unanimity of all good men in this country, if even that will effect it, and consequently must be wholly lost, if there be an appearance of weakness and distraction here. Still, terrible as this prospect truly is, he would not sacrifice the honour and characters of yourself and Lord Fitzwilliam to a false appearance of unanimity; because your country and all Europe have an interest in your honour and characters. Were you deprived of them, every reasonable hope of the permanent security of this country, and through VOL. XLVI. NO. 92.
this country, of all Europe, would just in that proportion be lessened and impaired.'
The passages which follow relate evidently to difficulties of another kind, the first apparently to his expected pension. • MY DEAR LAURENCE,
22d May, 1795. • It was indeed a very considerable time since we heard from you : But we considered your silence as a proof that you had remembered us, not that you had forgot us. You know that we are not stout enough for bad news; and there was nothing good to be told. You visited us, however, with the lark and the first peep of day: God knows it is a poor crepusculum—a small advantage, very dearly bought, and not promising, I think, the consequences which some accounts led us to expect. But we must take what God gives. As to me, I believe my affair is out of the question. He has delayed it so long, that he is partly ashamed, partly afraid, and partly unwilling to bring it on. -But in that, too, submission is my duty and my policy. It signifies little how these last days are spent—and on my death—I think they will pay my debts. The best is, that we are soon to see you and the Kings. Adieu, God Almighty bless you !
Your unhappy friend,
E. BURKE.' • But it signifies nothing : what I wrote was to discharge a debt I thought to my own and my Son's memory, and to those who ought not to be considered as guilty of prodigality in giving me what is beyond my merits, but not beyond my debts, as you know. The public -I won't dispute longer about it-has overpaid me—I wish I could overpay my creditors. They eat deep on what was designed to maintain me.'
It is possible, that men in their sympathy for the fate of genius, as they will phrase it, may lament over the sight of a man like Mr Burke thus feeling the ordinary inconvenience of straitened circumstances. We do not allow of any feelings of this caste, unless they be the very same which the spectacle of imprudence and its result excites towards other men. Genius, so far from having any claim to favour when it neglects the ordinary precautions or exertions for securing independence, is in truth doubly inexcusable, and far less deserving of pity than of blame. Mr Burke ought to have earned his income in an honest calling. Every man of right feeling will prefer this to the degrading obligations of private friendship, or the precarious supplies, to virtue so perilous, of public munificence. It is certain that he chose rather to eat the bitter* bread of both these bakings, than
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