Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

actions, as there are in the Irish, and in all languages; but denied that there was any evidence to prove that a regular epic poem had ever appeared in that tongue; and denied also that the poems, asserted by Mr. Macpherson to be translated from it, in whatever language they had been originally composed, possessed that excellence which Scotch critics ascribed to them. He thought that these, in their strictures upon Ossian, were guided more by national prejudice than by that vigorous investigating genius by which they were generally distinguished.

Mr. M'Cormick, in speaking of the tria! of Hastings, endeavours to shew that Burke made a job of it for the benefit of his own particular friends. That Burke exerted hiinself to serve those whom he loved and regarded, no one will deny. He procured for his brother, Richard, the Collectorship of Grenada, during the first administration of Lord Rockingham, and the appointment of Secretary to the Treasury in the last. Wha member for Bristol, his influence got


Recordership of that city for his brother also. Richard Burke was a man of very considerable abilities : he was engaged in several publications, and liad even by some persons been deemed one of the authors of Junius. Letters that appeared in the Public Advertiser, signed Valens, during the American war, were supposed to be written by Richard, with the assistance of William, who afterwards went to India. Meanwhile Richard was studying law, and was called to the bar the same year with Mr. Erskine. He was acquiring reputation, and was highly thought of by Lord Mansfield. His rising character, and the opinion of that eminent man, began to procure him considerable business, when he was appointed Secretary to the Treasury. The duties of his new office interrupted that close application to the law, which might in time have raised him to a high rank in his profession. But, as from his acceptance of that employment, it was presumed that political exertions more than juridical were his object, after his loss of office he did not recover his former busi


ness as a Counsellor. Still, however, he was esteemed by

by professional men as a lawyer of great knowledge and talents. As such he was entitled to employment. On the impeachment of Hastings he was recommended by his brother to be one of tive Counsel. Is a man blanieable for endeavouring to promote a person to an employment, for which he is fit, because that person is his brother? If he is, Burke deserves cen

Burke also proposed Dr. Lawrence to be one of the Counsellors. Dr. Lawrence had displayed great literary talents, both in humorous and serious productions. In addition to his general talents, he was known to be a man of professional industry and ability. Was it a reason, that a person should not be proposed by another to fill an office for which he was fit, because he was the proposer's friend ? If that was the case, Burke was to blame. Speaking farther of the Counsel in the prosecution of Hastings, Mr. M.Cormick

Mr. Burke also took care to introduce his own son into this prufitable j:b, as soon as he was called to the bar.' The answer to this assertion is


very short :-Mr. Burke's son was not introduced to this profitable job. The proof that he was not is the RECORD OF THE TRIAL.

Mr. M.Cormick mentions a report that Burke was a marriage-broker, and received a considerable sum of money for effecting an union between the Earl of Inchiquin and Miss Paliner, the niece and heiress of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Although he declares his disbclief of this rumour, he speaks of it in such a way as tends rather to accredit it, to thoses at least, who should take assertion or insi.. nuation for proof. A report (if such a report existed, which I do not know, as I never heard of it) totally inconsistent with the character of its subject, and supported by no evidence, requires no discussion. Most of these reports and insinuations are associated with the straitened circumstances of Burke; as if it were a necessary consequence, that, because a man is not rich, he will therefore be guilty of roguery.

Burke certainly was far from being attentive to pecuniary concerns : although totally free from the extravagance of profligacy, he was habitually liable to the waste of inattention. He neither gamed, nor indulged in debauchery ; yet he spent a great deal of money, and was often embarrassed. His great mind did not value riches, which he saw could be acquired by the meanest talents and qualities. Judging rightly in not considering money as a constituent of excellence, he acted wrongly in not sufficiently valuing it as an article of use. As a wise man, thinking the possession of money to be no proof of merit, he too much neglected it as an instrument of convenience. He had not a practical impression of the very plain and obvious truth, that, though a weak and ignorant man is not one whit less weak and ignorant for his possessions, a wise and learned man may render his wisdom and learning still more pleasing and useful to others, and himself, with, than without a competent fortune; that although, wealth

« ZurückWeiter »