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ment-if he wish for a seat in Parlia- and had merely the common feelings ment, a post in the service of his coun- and occurrences of the world to deal try, and the legitimate rewards of with, he was only one of the greatest public services let him tug in our of men; but when he was desertedlaw courts at the intricacies and chi- when Europe was a scene of passion, canery of Nisi Prius let him become convulsion, and chaos—when precea cotton-spinner — let him open a dent failed him—when everything shawl shop in Fleet Street-let him around him in feeling and deed was do anything rather than become a novelty-when every tongue was eipublic writer. An author may rea- ther silent or espousing
cause of lize a fair fortune by poetry and no- error and ruin-he then became a vels; but if he pass from these to sub- guardian angel : the man shook off the jects which are of far greater impor- infirmities and disabilities of human tance to the interests of the commu- nature, and seemed to grasp the wisnity, he must resign all hope of fortune dom, the omniscience, and the power and preferment. To him the gate of of Heaven. emolument and dignity is closed, while A mind so perfectly constituted as it constantly stands open to the mem- his, rarely indeed illuminates this bers of almost every other profession.
wretched world. He was a man of Burke, however, was raised above surpassing genius, without the eccenall obstacles; his mighty powers were tricities and frailties of genius. The brought into their proper sphere of prodigious power of his imagination action almost by miracle. The mock only rendered his judgment more comphilosophers of the day ascribe such prehensive and unerring. His pasthings to chance and accident, but sions only strengthened his virtue and , true philosophy sees an agency guide wisdom. His mighty intellect scornthe fortunes of men and nations, which ed slumber, enemy, and boundary, commands it to reason differently. and yet it scarcely ever wandered from
Burke was fashioned by nature for the pure, the true, the expedient, and a statesman of the first class. Com- the beneficial-it excelled alike in mon men follow politics as a profes- the most dissimilar employments-it sion, he followed them from the irre- would make no division in the science sistible impulses of political genius. of government, and it possessed itself Ambition, emolument, dignities, fame with equal ease of the bewildering calitself, had with him but secondary in- culations of finance, the perplexing fluence;
he was led by a mind which details of commerce and agriculture, was only in its natural element when the widely-spread mysteries of general amidst the profound, the stupendous, policy, and the abstruse, complicated, and the magnificent, which could only and numberless principles and feelings, find enjoyment in investigating the which form the foundations of society, condition of the universe, the history and the primary rulers of mankind. of human nature, and the vast crea- In these glorious days of gorgeous tion of principle and experiment-and names and wonderful systems, it is which was only labouring in its des- the fashion to mark the distinctions tined occupation when solving what between truth and error, wisdom and was incomprehensible, and performing folly, by the terms, practical and theowhat was impossible, to ordinary po- retic. The man who propagates false liticians-when regulating kingdoms, opinions, and labours to introduce perand guiding mankind. In politics, as nicious changes, is called, not a fool, in the arts, common minds may rise or a knave, but a theorist. Burke is to respectable mediocrity, but none called a practical statesman, while save men like Burke may reach truth, those whom he opposed are named nature, originality, grandeur, and su- theoretic ones. This is, we think, alike blimity. That which formed the li- erroneous and mischievous. Burke mit of the labours of others, was but was as much a theorist, in the proper the commencement of his—his eye was sense of the term, as Fox, or the
most powerful in the regions to French revolutionists. They differed which the eyes of others could not in this—his theory was, in the highascend — his gigantic powers never est degree, true, scientific, philosofully unfolded themselves, until they phic, magnificent, and practicable, and were left without path, copy, and ally. theirs was directly the contrary, Men, While he was supported by a party, and bodies of men, were the ob
jects, and he, like a true philosopher, they rose, and to perceive what they thoroughly examined their nature and called for; therefore, he was frequent. properties, their relations and condi. ly the first to give legitimate impulse tion, and the experiments which had to party and public opinion, and he been made upon them, for materials was almost incapable of being bewilfor his system. He laid nothing down dered or seduced by them whenever for a principle, without first proving they took an erroneous direction. This it to be truth; he made no calculation ability and industry filled him with which he could not shew to be cor- that dauntless and sublime courage, rect by demonstration; he analized the want of which is a positive disand tested everything before he used qualification in a Parliamentary leader. it. Their conduct was just the reverse. He saw his way distinctly—he satisThey assumed men, and bodies of men, fied himself that his own opinions were to be just the contrary of what they true, and those of his opponents were notoriously were ; that which history false, by analysis and demonstration and experience had proved to be false, -and whether the nation was with they made the corner-stone of their him or against him, whether he was structure; and as to examination and supported by a party or withstood by calculation, these were the things all, whatever storms and convulsions which they avoided above all others. raged around him—he commencedand A theory is, of course, practicable in fought the battle as though he knew proportion to its truth, and vice versa; defeat to be impossible. and therefore, while he formed a theory An Opposition leader rarely retains of liberty alike perfect, splendid, and long any portion of patriotism. He practicable, they formed one which fights for emolument and power rather was but a mass of falsehoods, a thing than the good of the state ; the triequally filthy and frightful, and which umphs and losses of the latter are, to produced a greater portion of slavery a considerable extent, triumphs and than anything else could have brought losses to his opponents, and injuries upon the civilized world. They were and gains to himself; and, therefore, the people who could only vociferate his hostility to the ministry very often the name of liberty, and destroy the becomes hostility to the benefit of his substance ; he was the man who could country likewise: Few things operate create it, and make it eternal.
more perniciously on public interests No man, we think, was ever so well than the lack of patriotism, or the anqualified, in all the higher points of ti-patriotism of an Opposition. Burke, qualification, to be a party leader in notwithstanding every temptation to the House of Commons as Burke. In the contrary, was a true patriot-he very many of these points the differ- was in feeling a sterling Englishman. ence between him and Fox was high- He regarded his country, not as an inly striking: In ability to range through strument of profit and fame to himevery circle of instruction without self, not as a thing to be valued or being misled by names or dates--to scorned in proportion as it gave or separate truth and wisdom frorn false, withheld from him money and dignity; hood and folly in whatever came be- but as an object of impassioned and fore him—to wield the vast experience chivalrous idolatry; as an object for of past ages-to grasp every property which everything ought to be hazardand relation of his subject--to distin- ed and sacrificed. This ardent paguish, class, connect, and harmonize triotism bound him to fact, reason, the multifarious interests and feelings merits, and expediency in debate, and of men and nations—and to keep the made him loathe the vile and hateful whole of these constantly before him means to which Fox and his succeswhenever he was called on to rectify sors so constantly resorted. His elothe disorders, or administer to the quence was irresistible ; and yet, needs of a part-he was, perhaps, ne- amidst its daring flights and astonishver equalled by any man. His indus- ing triumphs, it never remembered try in the exercise of this ability knew that it could influence the baser feelneither fatigue nor slumber. He, in ings, or gain the populace. If he could consequence, had never to seek coun- not obtain followers among the knowsel from a party or the multitude. He ing and the talented, he was content was the first to mark the changes in to stand alone-however feeble his the nation's character and interests as party might be, he could only seek ree Vol. XVII.
cruits among the honest and honour- path, but the moment they separated, able-he could not utter the slang that he plunged himself and his party into the rabble loves, and he could neither ruin. In doing this, his opinions were follow nor head the rabble. No mobs all second-hand and borrowed. Eman. for him. He never dreamed of trans- cipated from individual and party conmuting ploughmen and weavers into trol, he could not think for himself, statesmen. He saw in the multitude a or advance a step without a guide; thing to be protected and benefitted, and in obedience to the general infirto be instructed and guided, but not mity of his judgment, he became a to be formed into a political faction, humble follower of the refuse politiand exalted into a teacher and a mas- cians and the populace. Until these ter.
spoke, he was speechless ; until they In all these points Fox ranked im- chalked out a path, he was motionless; measurably below, and, in some of until they saw, he was blind; and them, formed a perfect contrast to their wretched vociferations formed him. To repeat the common obser- the only truth and wisdom that he vation, that the former was not a prac- could find in the nation. He, no tical statesman, is, in truth, to say he doubt, fed their folly and madness, and was no statesman at all. A man inay quickened their speed, but still they possess much knowledge and experi- led, and he was but the follower. ence; he may be a powerful writer or With regard to patriotism, no man speaker; he may even be an able rea- could be more thoroughly destitute of soner; and, still, defective powers of it than Fox. He never seemned to convision, and an erring judgment, may sider that his country existed for any incapacitate him for being anything purpose save to administer to the bebut à pest to his species. The lead- nefit of himself and his party ; in ing quality of a great man is an under- truth, his whole career, after he shook standing which can only err by acci- off the influence of Burke, was little dent, which sees, at the first glance, else than a blushless and desperate the right side of a question, and which struggle, first, to put this benefit in bottoms all its labours on truth, rea- direct opposition to his country's highson, wisdom, and expediency. Fox est interests, and then to sacrifice them was a powerful orator, he was even to it. While Burke fought for office mighty in argumentation ; but when like a patriot, Fox fought for it like an we pass from his eloquence to that incendiary and an assassin. He patrowhich called it forth, we find general- nised sedition-fanned rebellion-nouly false principles, mistaken views, and rished public dangers--assaulted the erroneous calculations. Burke's mind constitution--shielded avowed traitors naturally espoused the just side, and -allied himself with the nation's fothat of Fox naturally espoused the er. reign enemies—and left nothing unroneous one, of every great and novel done that could produce public injury, subject. The errors and transgressions merely to obtain power for himself and of the former were but occasional de his party. National interests and viations from his general course, and possessions—the constitution, liberty, they were generally caused by his bet- weal, and even existence of Britain, ter judgment being overpowered by were all nothing when they clashed his colleagues ; but the latter rarely with the selfishness and ambition of deviated from error and transgression, Fox and the Foxites. Allowing as except when he was compelled to it by largely as we please for the natural imwiser men. The French Revolution, becility of his perception and judgand the consequences which it produ- ment, we cannot look at his nauseous ced throughout Europe, comprehend- and revolting speeches to the dregs of ed every matter which could put a the community at the preposterous statesman's ability to the test, and the doctrines which he put forth, touchdifferent views which they took of ing the constitution and liberty-and these, abundantly prove the truth of at the atrocious publications which he our distinctions.
countenanced-without being convinSo far was Fox from being qualified ced that a very large share of the worst for a leader, that he could not himself parts of his conduct resulted from his walk without one. So long as Burke unprincipled and insatiable covetouswas at his side, and possessed influence ness and ambition as a public man. over him, he was kept in the proper Perhaps a considerable part of Burke's superiority in ability and prin promulgated it. We have only to look ciple as a public man, arose from his at what Fox taught the Whigs, both great superiority in respect of purity in Parliament and out of it, to believe of private life. The distinction which and support, to see how blindly and the “ liberality” of the age draws be- slavishly subservient parties are to tween a man's private and his public their Parliamentary leaders, when conduct, is equally absurd and perni- these are men of great powers. In a cious. What he is as a private indivi- free country like this, public feeling dual, that he will be as a legislator or and opinion hold the sovereign authoa minister; his public actions will evein rity; and those who guide this feeltake their colour from his private ones. ing and opinion, in effect exercise this Burke's private virtues incapacitated authority. The character of the House him for public profligacy; his habi- for knowledge, wisdom, talent, and tual reverence for the better regula- virtue; its general conduct, and the tions and feelings of society as a pri- course which public affairs must take, vate gentleman, could not be laid aside depend, in a very great degree, on the when he assumed the character of the individuals who form its different senator. Although no one could have leaders. They give to it feeling, opiwielded with more tremendous effect nion, and action; they virtually form the common weapons of unprincipled the House of Commons. The great demagogues, he disdained to touch body of the other members are but in them. He scorned to speak to any but ert machines, or they can only speak the intelligent, the wise, the virtuous, and move, without a guide, to blunder and the honourable ; and he scorned and do mischief. to address them in a manner unworthy Liable as this influence is to be of a gentleman and a statesman. He abused, it is nevertheless essential that could only win stipend and office by it should be possessed by leaders of winning the favour of those who dis- the House of Commons. The bulk pense character and fame. This inci- of Parliament, and the bulk of the ted him to the incessant cultivation of nation, are, and for ever will be, uthis great powers, and the unwearied terly incapable of judging properly of pursuit of knowledge and wisdom ; it great state questions, and of walking made him an upright and virtuous without a political guide. If they do public man, as well as one unequalled not follow the regularly appointed in ability.
leaders of Parliament, they are pretty It cannot be necessary for us to en- sure to follow other leaders of a far large on the tremendous influence worse character. When the Pitts and which the leaders of the House of the Foxes lose their influence, it geCommons possess in the state, when nerally passes to the Burdetts and the they are men of great powers. They Hunts. If the regular leaders of the not only guide, but they virtually hold House of Commons do not possess this despotic sway over the great mass of influence, they can do little for their the community, as well as over their country, either positively or negativerespective parties. A vast portion of ly, however great may be their merit. the nation embraces an opinion, or The Opposition becomes divided, insupports a measure upon trust, and for subordinate, unmanageable,and worthno earthly reason but because these less; or the Ministry is rendered feeemanate from the Pitt or Fox of the ble and inefficient; parties are so disday. Until the leader speaks, his party united and divided, that it is scarcely is silent; what he promulgates his possible to form a Ministry of any party implicitly adopts ; it passes from kind ; a narrow, timid, ignorant, vahis party in the House to his party out cillating, compromising, imbecile spi. of it; his newspapers eagerly embrace rit takes the direction of public af it, and, of course, the millions who fairs : the people are emancipated from read them eagerly embrace it likewise. that moral control to which they ought Of the whole of those who hold it to ever to be subject, and nothing is to be infallible, perhaps not one in ten be seen but discord, discontent, and has the least knowledge or comprehen- distraction. The abuse of this influsion of the subject; and, perhaps, of ence on the part of the party leader, those who are capable of judging, nine- is less to be dreaded both by his par tenths would have embraced the re- ty and the country, than his want of verse, if the Parliamentary leader had it.
The proper portion of this influence knowledge, wisdom, and virtue of the can only be obtained by great powers, nation, and whether it shall do this and more especially by powerful ora- or not, depends mainly on its leaders. tory; it cannot be given by office or These can make it at their pleasure a authority; a party cannot bestow it, source of national error, delusion, and and a party cannot divide it among mischief. As the influence of the them ; it must belong to the indivi- leader depends chiefly on his own dual, and the individual must acquire powers, and his exercise of them, if it by his talents and exertions; inte- his eloquence be not allied with very grity, knowledge, and wisdom, will great political ability and integrity, he not gain it without eloquence. The will never make much impression on Opposition could make Mr Tierney that part of the community which deits leader in the House of Commons, cides between parties. He may marbut it could not give him this influ- shal around him the lower classes,
Mr Canning derives his influ- and the shallow and wicked portion ence, not from his ministerial or par- of the middling and upper ones, he liamentary office, not from any supe- may make his party, mighty for evil
, riority over his colleagues in know- he may convulse the empire to its ledge and wisdom, but from his elo- centre, and still he will only lead those quence. A party, whether it forms who follow him to what parties ever the Ministry or the Opposition, must seek to avoid. It is idle to say that prosper even more by its words than creeds govern party leaders. The its deeds. However wise the conduct creed of the present Whigs, as Burke of a Ministry may be, it will be scarce- incontrovertibly proved, is directly ly possible for it to stand, if it be opposed to the Whiggism of 1688. overpowered by the Opposition in ora- The Toryism which flourished forty tory. The individuals who plead the or fifty years since has vanished from cause, hold in their hands the fortunes the land, and that which was then of parties. A parliamentary leader Whiggism is now Toryism; in truth, may be unprincipled, he
gross- our present Tories have embraced no ly ignorant and imbecile as a states- small portion of that new Whiggism man, and yet he may by eloquence which that genuine Whig Burke so alone control half the nation; he may loudly reprobated. Fox embraced a be virtuous, he may be an accom- new creed when he separated from plished minister, and yet he may, from Burke, yet he continued to call himthe want of eloquence, be unable to self a Whig ; the Ministers hold opobtain any but the most inadequate posite opinions on more than one importion of interest with Parliament portant question, yet they are all calland the country:
ed Tories. Creeds are but words, the It is necessarily of the first import- meaning of which party men change ance, both to his party and his coun- at pleasure ; they are the tools of such try, that the mighty influence of an men, but not the guides. eloquent parliamentary leader should Burke and Fox at different periods be properly employed'; and, of course, led the Whigs in the House of Comit is of the first importance that he, mons, and the different consequences should be a finished statesman in ta- which resulted from the difference in lents and acquirements, and a man of character and conduct between the two the most incorruptible and chivalrous leaders, will illustrate the truth of our honour. If the House of Commons observations. We will look, in the ought to represent the feelings and first place, at the consequences to the wishes of the country, it ought always country. to be able to give to the country cor- Burke raised the character, capacirect feelings and wishes. Things are ty, qualifications, and power of the in a bad state when the House and House of Commons, in a wonderful the country are at variance, but they degree. By arguing questions upon are in a ruinous one when the latter their merits, and by addressing himis the guide, and the former is the self solely to the intelligence, reason, follower. That which is the centre and virtue of the State, he gave the of information and discussion, ought most exalted tone to the debates. He ever to be the leader of public feelings filled the House with knowledge of and wishes. The House ought ever the interests of the nation, and the to stand at the head of the ability, science of government-with intellect