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with so very
tiality, however, was not to be expected from the ablest of men,
violent passions, in a situation tending so much to inflame passion. Unconnected with party politics, in the calm investigation of the closet, liis extraordinary genius must have been a more constant agent of wisdom than when so often biassed by party contentions.
A question not occurred, not of ministerial conduct, but of national policy, on a subject that had been partly discussed the preceding session, respecting the trade of Ireland. Here it was Burke's province to take the lead; he took a very active part
in endeavouring to procure to his native country that relief which she wanted, and which it was just and politic she should receive. The Minister for some tiine did not interfere in the business, but finding a great clamour excited against the propositions by the British traders and manufacturers whose particular interests they would affect, he at last opposed them, and they were negatived by a small majority.
About this period Burke was defendant in a Chancery suit, in which Lord Verney was plaintiff. It was alledged by Lord Verney, that Burke, his brother, and cousin, had been engaged with him in a stock-jobbing speculation, by which very great loss had been incurred; that Lord Verney was the Ostensible man, and had been obliged to make out the engagements; that Edmund Burke being the only one of the rest, who had any property, Verney had applied to him to defray his share of the debt. On refusal, he filed a bill against him in Chancery, claiming Burke as his partner. Burke making affidavit that he was not, the matter was, of course, concluded in Burke's favour. A great clamour arose against Burke for clearing himself in this manner : but a positive oath of a man of character is certainly better evidence than vague rumour.
The Roman Catholic bill, which had passed during the preceding session, had excited great alarms in Scotland, as it was supposed to be the intention of Parliament to extend
the relief to Scotch Catholics. Not the common people alone, but many of the gentry and clergy, and of the latter not the ignorant enthusiastic only, but some of the liberal and learned, considered the
proposed relief as an introduction to popery. The press teemed with publications describing the errors of popery, and imputing to that mode of faith, even at that time, all the hurtful principles which it in the days of ignorance. Associations were formed to oppose popery, by mechanics and manufacturers, in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and other towns; the weavers of Renfrew and Paisley displaying a peculiar zeal against the doctrines of Antichrist. The puritanical papaphobia was again becoming epidemical. The populace was inflamed, and rose to tumult and riot in various places. At Edinburgh, a party of those enlightened theologians, the Leith sailors, took the lead in stirring up vengeance against the enemies of that religion, for the knowledge and practice of which they were themselves so eminently distinguished. Assisted by many
other divines, they set fire to chapels, and houses of the Papists. The Roman Catholic sufferers applied to Burke to present a petition to Parliament, praying for a compensation on account of the losses they had sustained. Some of the Scotch had been absurd enough to approve of the fanatical outrages, on the ground that it was proper for the people spiritedly to manifest their hatred of Popery. That Burke ridiculed with great humour, considering so despicable reasoning as unworthy of a serious refutation. He also attacked very strongly the supineness of Government, to which he imputed the mad violence of the populace.
It happened, at that time, that the Prime Minister was indulging himself in a profound
nap. I hope,' said Burke, · Government is not dead but asleep: pointing to Lord North, · Brother Lazarus is not dead, , only sleepeth. The laugh upon this occasion was not more loud on one side of the house, than it appeared to be relished on the other. Even the noble Lord, alluded to on the 0.
casion, seemed to enjoy the allusion as heartily as the rest of the house, as soon as he was sufficiently awake to conceive the cause of the universal joke.
Fox took the lead, ably supported by Burke, in a motion made for the removal of Lord Sandwich. Great dissensions had taken place in the navy, in consequence
of the resignation of Lord Howe and Admiral Keppel, both of which were imputed to the want of capacity, negligence, or improper partiality of the first Lord of the Admiralty. He, it was said, had neglected to reinforce the fleet of Lord Howe, when the fate of our navy and army in America depended on the command of the seas. He had furnished Keppel with an inadequate force for the object of his cruise. After the Admiral had distinguished himself by his conduct in the engagement with the French, he had patronized and supported the Vice-Admiral in his attack; an attack that was declared by a court-martial false, slanderous, and malicious. Fox assuming these grounds of