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the colonies. Burke never exerted his mind with more energy during the vigour of his age, than now that he had attained his grand climacteric. But as he had considered the questions agitated as of infinitely greater moment, he was still more anxious to have other members, whose talents he admired and venerated, of the same sentiments and opinion with himself. He was peculiarly desisous to impress Fox with his own notion of the pernicious materials of which the French system was composed ; the direful effects that had proceeded, and were likely to proceed from it; the necessity of the most vigorous efforts to repress its extension, and even to crush its existence. Entertaining the very highest opinion of his extraordinary talents, he urged his co-operation, and was disappointed to displeasure when he failed of success, In these opinions and sentiments we see the origin of his Letter
and the causes of the war, contain most important information concerning that momentous period; as do those of their opponents very great ingenuity,
to the Duke of Portland, on the Conduct of Domestic Parties.' The letter was never intended to be made public. It was designed for the perusal of his Grace and Lord Fitzwilliam only, to account to these noblemen for his disapprobation of the most active members of that party, with which they still continued in some degree to act; and deposited with the Duke, not to be read by him and his friend until a separation from Mr. Fox, which he perceived must take place, should ensue. A rough draft of the letter had been copied by the amanuensis whom he employed. From that a surreptitious copy was printed in the beginning of 1797, in which the title was falsified; and it was represented to be • fifty-four articles of impeachment against the Right Hon. Charles James Fox.' An injunction from Chancery was applied for immediately by the friends of Burke; but too late; the mischief was done. By the treachery of a confidential agent, a paper was given to the public which was intended for the private perusal of two friends. On hearing of the
publication, Burke, then at Bath, wrote Dr. Lawrence the letter which he quotes. * There he says, "Wherever this matter comes into discussion, I authorize
to contradict the infainous reports, which (1 am informed) have been given out, that this paper had been circulated through the Ministry, and was intended gradually to slide into the press. But I beg you and my friends to be cautious how
let it be understood that I disclaim any thing but the mere act and intention of publication. I do not retract any one of the sentiments contained in that memorial, which was and is my justification, addressed to the friends, for whose use alone I intended it. Had I designed it for the public I should have been more exact and full. It was written in a tone of indig. nation, in consequence of the resolutions of the Whig Club, f which were directly
Preface to Burke's Posthumous Works, + In the Whig Club, at their meeting in February 1793, Lord William Russell proposed a resolution approving of the conduct of Mr. Fox, and expressed in such a manner as
pointed against myself and others, and occasioned our secession from that club; which is the last act of my life that I shall under any circumstances repent. Many temperaments and explanations there would have been, if ever I had a notion that it should meet the public eye.'
Burke had in 1792 privately used every effort in his power to bring Fox to join in what he considered as the salvation of his country. Alarmed as he was at the progress
of French principles in this country, rapidly accelerated by the success of its power on the continent, he conceived the preservation of the constitution, of the country, of every thing dear to Britons, to be in the power of Fox. - With Mr. Fox,' said he, we may save the country; even without him we ought to attempt it. His
to convey a censure on those members who had of late diftered with hiin in political sentiments and conduct. Burke, Windham, and other eminent men, who considered themselves as implicated in the censure, desired to withdraw their names from the club.
regret and displcasure at the failure of his attempts
probably led him to an asperity in his strictures upon Fox in this letter to the Duke of Portland, which many, who agree with Burke's sentiments and opinions on the general questions, will think unjust. Every measure of the Minority during that period, every opposition to the plans of Government respecting internal or external politics, he censures, and charges them all
on Mr. Fox. Even societies to which he ` gave no countenance, the Friends of the
People, the Friends of the Freedom of the Press,' are presumed by him to be objects of reprobation, and Fox to be principally blameable, because he supposes he might have prevented their formation. *
In summer, 1795, the political labours of Burke had an agreeable relaxation in his visit to Oxford, when his friend, the Duke
* Mr. Fox's conduct on this occasion shall be fully discussed in a future work; it appears to me to afford a very striking illustration of a prominent feature in his character.