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authors, they sometimes had friendly disputes concerning some of the passages. Burke had studied ancient language merely as a vehicle of ancient ideas. Lord North, besides studying it for the purpose which GENERAL REASON DICTATES, was thoroughly acquainted with it in the
which local usage prescribes : having been taught at Eton, he was perfectly instructed in the metrical parts. He was, however, by far too able a man to value himself on so easy and mechanical an acquirement as versification. One day, Burke having occasion to use the Latin word vectigal, pronounced it vectigal : Lord North told him it should be vectīgal. Burke proposed a bet of a guinea: Lord North agreed, and of course gained. In the prosody of the language, both the Scotch and Irish are, no doubt, much inferior to the English; and we hear mistakes as to quantity from some of the ablest and most learned men among them which an English boy. would deiect. I remember once to have heard some Latin conversation between a very respectable inaster of an
academy near London, esteemed among the best scholars in the profession, and one of the first literary Scotchmen of the spoke the language with fluency and propriety in other respects, but the latter not in point of prosody. It was with difficulty that the master of the academy convinced the learned Doctor that he was not erroneous in pronouncing conféro, confēro. Although he has manifested himself to the world to be most intimately and profoundly conversant in the history, character, genius, customs, manners, laws, and politics of the Romans, yet was he inaccurate in their sounds ; although few men in England could equal him writing sense prose, yet many boys might surpass him in writing nonsense
Little, except the impeachment of Hastings, engaged the political attention of Burke until the time of the REGENCY.
upon the melancholy event that rendered a plan of Regency necessary, would be extremely absurd, indecorous, and unfeeling. It, however, in the alarm during the calamity and the joy at the recovery of the
personage whom it had pleased Heaven to afflict, manifested how highly he was prized by his people.
On its being ascertained that a temporary incapacity existed for exercising the functions of Government, Mr. Fox's idea was, that during this incapacity there was virtually a demise of the Crown; that therefore the next heir should assume the
powers of government whilst the incapacity continued. Mr. Pitt's opinion was, that in such a case it rested with Parliament to supply the deficiency, as in other circumstances not before provided for by the existing laws. * Great ability was displayed on both sides ; but as the necessity for its exertion on that subject soon ceased, I shall not enter into its details. An ingenious gentleman compared Burke's efforts on this and other occasions. He was a true Procrastes; whatever argument came in his way, he forced, by cutting and stretching, to his instant purpose. The proposal of making the Heir Apparent assume the Government without consent of Parliament, was, doubtless, a very long stretch of inference from the Act of Settlement. Much obloquy was attached to Burke on account of the violence of his conduct, and still more, of his expressions. Impartial truth obliges me to acknowledge that his language was very intemperate; it was indeed so much so as to excite the blame of his friends and associates. In estimating character, however, we must take THE WHOLE of action, not PART of expression. Burke conceived that it was the intention of Ministry to make the Regent dependent on a party, of which they were the heads; and certainly displayed very extraordinary abilities in opposing their plans, whether they were selfish or patriotic. There was,' . he said, ' a partition of power, in which
* This subject is discussed in a Life of Fox, See Historical Magazine for October, 1799.
the Prince was destined to have an official, a mere nominal character ; while all the places and real dignities were given to another. This partition was more odious and offensive than the famous Partition Treaty, relative to the succession, on the death of the last Prince of the house of Austria. It was a partition founded on the most wicked and malicious principle : every thing that was degrading and restrictive, every thing that could stamp suspicion and indignity on the Prince's character, was implied in what the bill withheld from him ; while, on the other hand, all that was graceful, all that was calculated to hold up a character as great, as virtuous, and meritorious, was given where an opposition was set up to counteract the Executive Government. Burke's intemperance in debate appeared, perhaps, more during the Regency discussion than at any other time. Once, when he was called to order, he made the following reply: • Order is an admirable thing, perfest in all its limbs, only unfortunately it squints, and wants the aid of some expert oculist to enable it to see