« ZurückWeiter »
every liberal accomplishment, would not have shewn himself inferior to the Duke of Bedford, or to any of those whom he traces in his. line. His Grace very soon would have wanted all plausibility in his attack upon that provision which belonged more to mine than to me.
He would soon have supplied every deficiency, and symmetrized every disproportion. It would not have been for that successor to resort to any stagnant wasting reservoir of merit in me, or in any ancestry. He had in himself a salient, living spring of generous and manly action. Every day he lived he would have
repurchased the bounty of the crown, and ten times more, if ten times more he had received. He was made a public creature; and had no enjoyment whatever, but in the performance of some duty. At this exigent moment, the loss of a finished man is not easily supplied.
• But a Disposer, whose power we are little able to resist, and whose wisdom it behoves us not at all to dispute, has ordained
it in another manner, and (whatever my querulous weakness might suggest) a far better. The storm has gone over me; and I lie like one of those old oaks which the late hurricane has scattered about me. I am stripped of all my honours; I am torn up by the roots, and lie prostrate on the earth! There, and prostrate there, I most unfeignedly recognize the Divine justice, and in some degree submit to it.
In the letter to the Duke of Bedford he
alludes to the efforts of that nobleman, and other. illustrious characters, to stir up an opposition to the treason and seditiousmeeting bills. These bills he thought highly expedient, and the last absolutely necessary. Seditious meetings, he had been long aware, had become very prevalent, especially those for the purpose
hearing demagogues abuse the constitution, in what they called lectures. Weak and ignorant as these lecturers were, he does not, therefore, think them harmless, and recommends to Government effectually to shut up such schools of
rebellion and Jacobinism. Wisdom neglects no agent of mischief, however personally contemptible. Edmund Burke advises Ministry to guard against the machinations of John Thelwall.
Burke now spent his time almost entirely in the country. In his literary studies, in the soothing company of his wife and friends, in the pleasing prospect of being able to satisfy every just demand, and to leave a competent provision for the faithful and affectionate partner of his cares, in the exercise of active benevolence, and in the consciousness of having done his duty, he received all the consolation, for the irreparable loss he had sustained, of which he was susceptible. While he had employed every effort which a philanthropic heart could prompt, and the wisest head.could direct, for stimulating civilized governments to combat irreligion, impiety, immorality, inhumanity, cruelty, and anarchy, he in a narrower sphere relieved, to the utmost of his power, those who had suffered exile and
proscription from the direful system. His heart, his house, his purse, were open to the distressed emigrants. Through his beneficent contribution and influence, a school was instituted in his neighbourhood, for the education of those whose parents, from adherence to principle, were unable to afford to their children useful tuition. This school still continues to flourish, and, by the judicious choice of teachers, to answer the wise and humane purposes of the institution.
While thus promoting the advantage of foreign sufferers, he did not relax in his attention to the humble and industrious of his own countrymen. He continued to encourage and superintend benefit clubs
among the labourers and mechanics of Beaconsfield, and was himself a subscriber, for their advantage. The object was to encourage industry, to cherish affection, to establish a fund of provision for the sick and aged, which should not be merely eleemosynary, where frugality and activity should be the
means, in some degree, of independence, and to cheer parents with the prospect of having their children instructed in religion, virtue, and the knowledge useful for their stations. The institution flourished under the auspices of its founder. I conversed, at Beaconsfield, with several of its members, soon after the author was no more, and from their plain unlettered sense received the strongest conviction of the goodness of the plan and the wisdom of the regulations ; and in the emotion of their hearts, the expression of their countenances, the flowing of their tears, saw much more than I could have perceived from words,—their adoring gratitude and admiration.
These exercises of private beneficence did not withdraw his mind from the consideration of the public interest. When the appearance of melioration in the principles and government of France induced our Sovereign, desirous if possible to restore to his people the blessings of peace, to make overtures for conciliation with the French