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pearances, that might naturally drive any other than a most resolute minister from his measure or from his station. The household, troops openly revolted. The allies of ministry (those I mean who supported some of thrir measures, but refused responsibility for any) endeavoured to undermine their credit, and to take ground that must be fatal to the success of the very cause which they would be thought to countenance. The question of the repeal was brought on by ministry in the committee of this House, in the very instant when it was known that more than one court negociation was carrying on with the heads of the opposition. Every thing upon every side was full of traps and mines. Earth below shook, heaven above menaced ; all the elements of ministerial safety were dissolved. It was in the midst of this chaos of plots and counter-plots; it was in the midst of this complicated warfare against public opposition, and private treachery, that the firmness of that noble person was put to the proof. He never stirred from his ground, no not an inch. He remained fixed and determined, in principle, in measure, and in conduct-He practised no management-he secured no retreat - he sought no apology.”
A very handsome compliment is also paid to general Conway, then secretary of state, who moved the repeal of the stamp act, and whose subsequent desertion of his friends Mr. Burke laments in very affecting language. “ I remember” says he, “ with a melancholy pleasure the situation of the honorable gentleman who made the motion for the repeal : in that crisis, when the whole trading interest of this empire crammed into your lobbies, with a trembling and anxious expectation, waited, almost to a winter's return of light, their fate from your resolutions. When at length you had determined in their
favour, and your doors, thrown open, shewed them the figure of their deliverer in the well-earned triumph of his important victory, from the whole of that grave multitude there arose an involuntary burst of gratitude and transport. They jumped upon him like children on a long absent father. They clung about him as captives around their redeemer. All England, all America joined in his applause. Nor did he seem insensible to the best of all earthly rewards, the love and admiration of his fellow citizens-Hope elevated and joy brightened his crest. I stood near him; and his face, to use the expression of the
; scripture of the first martyr, his face was as if it had been the face of an angel. I do not know how others feel ; but if I had stood in that situation, I never would have exchanged it for all that kings in their profusion could bestow. I did hope that that day's danger and honor would have been a bond to hold us all together for ever. But, alas ! that, with other pleasing visions, is long since vanished.”
From the marquis of RocKINGHAM and general ConWAY, Mr. BURKE proceeds to take a view of the earl of CHATHAM's administration. “ Tranquillity and concord,” he tells us, “ were restored by the repeal of the stamp act: but did not continue long. Another scene was opened, and other actors appeared on the stage. The state, in the condition I have described it, was delivered into the hands of lord CHATHAM-a great and celebrated namea name that keeps the name of this country respectable in every other country on the globe-It may be truly called
Clarum et venerabile nomen “ Gentibus, et multum nostr& quod proderat urbi. " The venerable age of this great man, his merited rank, his superior eloquence, his splendid qualities, his eminent services, the vast space he fills in the eye of makird, and, more than all the rest, his fall from power, which, like death, canonizes and sanctifies a great character, will not suffer me to censure any part of his conduct. I am afraid to flatter him ; I am sure I am not disposed to blame him. Let those who have betrayed him by their adulation, insult him with their malevolence. But what I do not presume to censure, I may have leave to lament. For a wise man, he seemed to me at that time to be governed too much by general maxims. I speak with the freedom of history, and I hope without offence--one, or two of these maxims, flowing from an opinion not the most indulgent to our unhappy species, and surely a little too general, led him into measures which were greatly mischevious to himself, and for that reason, among others perhaps, fatal to his country measures, the effects of which, I am afraid, are for ever incurable."
Here Mr. BURKE introduces his curious description of the checkered and speckled ministry formed by the earl of CHATHAM, and then goes on thus to trace the effects :
« In consequence of this arrangement, having put so much the larger part of his enemies and opposers into power, the confusion was such that his own principles could not possibly have any effect or influence in the conduct of affairs. If ever he fell into a fit of the gout, or if any other cause withdrew him from public cares, principles directly the contrary were sure to predominate. When he had executed his plan, he had not an inch of ground to stand upon. When he had accomplished his scheme of administration, he was no longer a minister, When his face was hid but for a monent, his whole system was on a wide sea, without chart or compass. The
hi gentlemen, his political friends, who, with the names
of various departments of ministry, were admitted, to seem, as if they acted a part under him, with a modesty that becomes all men, and with a confidence in hima which was justified even in its extravagance by-his superior abilities, had never in any instance, presumed upon any opinion of their own. Deprived of his guiding influence, they were whirled about, the sport of
every gust, and easily driven into any port; and as those who joined with them in manning the vessel were the most directly opposite to his opinions, measures, and character, and far the most artful and most powerful of the set, they easily prevailed so as to seize upon the vacant, unoccupied, and derelict minds of his friends; and instantly they turned the vessel wholly out of the course of his policy. As if it were to insult as well as to betray him, even long before the close of the first session of his administration, when every thing was publicly transacted, and with great parade, in his name, they made an act declaring it highly just and expedient to raise a revenue in America."
At that period of the earl of CHATHAM's evening de. clination, Mr. BURKE discovers from his political observatory another luminary, rising in the opposite quarter of the heavens, and becoming for his hour, lord of the ascendant. « This light too," says the orator, " is
” passed and set forever.
You understand, to be sure, that I speak of CHARLES TOWNSHEND, officially the tea producer of this fatal scheme, whom I cannot even now remember without some degree of sensibility. In truth he was the delight and ornament of this House, and the charm of every private society which he honored with his presence. Perhaps there never arose in this country, nor in any country, a man of a more pointed and finished wit; and (where his passions were not concerned) of
more refined, exquisite, and penetrating judgment. If he had not so great a stock, as some have had who flou. rished formerly, of knowledge long treasured up, he knew better by far than any man I ever was acquainted with, how to bring together in a short time all that was necessary to establish, to illustrate, and to decorate that side of the question he supported. He stated his matter skilfully and powerfully. He particularly excelled in a most luminous explanation and display of his subject. His style of argument was neither trite nor vulgar, nor subtle, and abstruse. He hit the House just between wind and water-And not being troubled with too anxious a zeal for any matter in question, he was never more tedious, or more earnest, than the pre-conceived opinions, and present temper of his hearers required ; to whom he was always in perfect unison. He conformed exactly to the temper of the House, and he seemed to guide, because he was always sure to follow it."
Lest Mr. BURKB might be supposed to lose sighe of the main subject in these minute delineations of character, he stops short in his career, and makes an artful apology to shew their just connection, and at the same time to rouse the attention of his hearers from any accidental languor. “ I beg pardon,” says he, “ if when I speak of this and of other great men, I
appear to digress in saying something of their characters. In this eventful history of the revolutions of America, the characters of such men are of much importance. Great men are the guide-posts and land marks in the state. The credit of such men at court, or in the nation, is the sole cause of all the public measures. It would be an invi. dious thing (most foreign I trust to what you think my disposition) to remark the errors into which the authority of great names has brought the nation, without do