Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

THERE are fome corrections in this Edition, which tend to render the sense less obscure in one or two places. The order of the two last members is also changed, and I believe for the better. This change was made on the juggestion of a very learned person, to the partiality of whose friendship I owe much; to the severity of whose judgrent I owe more.


T Mr. Burke's time of life, and in his dispo

fitions, petere honestam milionem was all he had to do with his political associates. This boon they have not chosen to grant him. With many expreffions of good-will, in effect they tell him he has loaded the stage too long. They conceive it, though an harsh, yet a necessary office, in full parliament to de. clare to the present age, and to as late a poiterity, as shall take any concern in the proceedings of our day, that by one bock he has disgraced the whole tenour of his life. Thus they dismiss their old partner of the war. He is advised to retire, whilst they continue to serve the public upon wiser principles, and under better auspiccs.

Whether Diogenes the Cynic was a true philosopher, cannot easily be determined. He has written nothing. But the sayings of his which are handed down by others, are lively; and may be easily and aptly afplied on many occasions by those whose wit is not fo perfect as their memory. This Diogenes (as CVCry one will recolleat) was citizen of a little bleak town situated on the coast of the Euxine, and exposed to all the buffets of that inhospitable sea. He lived at a great distance from those weather-beaten valls, in ease and indolence, and in the midst of litcrary leisure, when he was informed that his townsmen lad condemned him to be banished from Sinope; le answered coolly, “And I condemn them to live in S


The gentlemen of the party in which Mr. Burke has always acted, in pailing upon him the sentence of




retirement t, have done nothing more than to confirm the sentence which he had long before passed upon himself. When that retreat was choice, which the tribunal of his peers inflict as punishment, it is plain he. does not think their sentence intolerably severe. When ther they who are to continue in the Sinope which Thortly he is to leave, will spend the long years which, I hope, remain to them, in a manner more to their fatisfaction, than he fall slide down, in silence and obscurity, the slope of his declining days, is best known to him who measures out years, and days, and fortunes.

The quality of the sentence does not however decide on ihe justice of it. Angry friendship is sometimes as bad as calm enmity. For this reason the cold neutrality of abstract justice, is, to a good and clear cause, a more desirable thing than an affection liable to be any way disturbed. When the trial is by friends, if the decision should happen to be favourable, the honour of the acquittal is leffened; if adverse, the condemnation is exceedingly embittered. It is aggravated by coming from lips prosesling friendship, and pro


+ News-paper intelligence ought always to be received with some degree of caution. I do not know that the following paragraph is founded on any authority ; but it comes with an air of authority, The paper is professeuly in the interest of the modern Whigs, and under their direction. The paragraph is not disclaimed on their part. It prosesses to be the decision of those whom its author calls “ The

great and firm body of the Whigs of England.” Who are the Whigs of a different compofitior, Wich the promulgator of the fenrence considers as composed of ficuti: g and urreliled particles, I know not, nor whether there be any of that description. The de. finitive sentence of “ the great and hirin bdy of the Whigs of England', (as this paper gives it out)is as te wys.

“ The great and firm body of the Whigs of England, true to their

principles, have decided on the difpuie beiween Mr. Fox and Mr. “ Burke ; and the former is declared to have maintained the pure • doctrines by which they are bound together, and upon which they “ have invariably acted. The consequence is, that Mrr Burke res tires from parliament." Morning Chronicle, May 12, 1791.

ing judynient with sorrow and reluctance. Taking in the whole view of life, it is more safe to live under the jurisdiction of severe but steady reason, than under ille empire of indulgent, but capricious paflion. It is certainly well for Mr. Burke that there are impartial men in the world. To them I address myself, pending the appeal which on his part is made from the living to the dead, from the modern Whigs to the antient.

The gentlemen, who, in the name of the party, have passed sentence on Mr. Burke's book, in the light of literary criticism are judges above all challenge. He did not indeed flatter himself, that as a writer, he could claim the approbation of men whose talents, in his judgment and in the public judgment, approach to prodigies; if ever such persons should be disposed to estimate the merit of a compofition upon the standard of their own ability.

In their critical censure, though Mr. Burke may find himself humbled by it as a writer, as a man and as an Englishman, he finds matter not only of consolation, but of pride. He proposed to convey to a foreign people, not his own ideas, but the prevalent opinions and sentiments of a nation, renowned for wisdom, and celebrated in all ages for a well understood and well regulated love of freedoni.. This was the avowed purpose of the far greater part of his work. As that work has not been ill receive ed, and as his critics will not only admit but contend, that this reception could not be owing to any excellence in the compofition capable of perverting the public judgment, it is clear that he is not disa avowed by the nation whose sentiments he had undertaken to describe. His representation is authenticated by the verdict of his country. Had bis piece, as a work of skill, been thought worthy of commendation, fome doubt might have been enteitained of the cause of his success. But the matter


« AnteriorContinuar »