ments. I therefore told him, that, for my own part, I should not have ventured to talk in such a peremptory strain, unless I had made the tour of Europe, and examined the manners of the several nations with great care and accuracy; that, perhaps a more impartial judge would not scruple to affirm, that the Dutch were more frugal and industrious, the French more temperate and polite, the Germans more hardy and patient of labour and fatigue, and the Spaniards more staid and sedate, than the English; who, though undoubtedly brave and generous, were at the same time rash, headstrong, and impetuous, too apt to be elated with prosperity, and to despond in adversity. . . .

Did these prejudices prevail only among the meanest and lowest of the people, perhaps they might be excused, as they have few, if any opportunities of correcting them. by reading, travelling, or conversing with foreigners; but the misfortune is, that they infect the minds, and influence the conduct even of our gentlemen; of those, I mean, who have every title to this appellation but an exemption from prejudice, which, however, in my opinion, ought to be regarded as the characteristical mark of a gentleman: for let a man's birth be ever so high, his station ever so exalted, or his fortune ever so large, yet, if he is not free from the national and all other prejudices, I should make bold to tell him, that he had a low and vulgar mind, and had no just claim to the character of a gentleman. And, in fact, you will always find, that those are most apt to boast of national merit, who have little or no merit of their own to depend on, than which, to be sure, nothing is more natural: the slender vine twists around the sturdy oak for no other reason in the world, but because it has not strength sufficient to support itself.

Should it be alleged in defence of national prejudice, that it is the natural and necessary growth of love to our country, and that therefore the former cannot be destroyed without hurting the latter; I answer that this is a gross fallacy and delusion. That it is the growth of love to our country, I will allow; but that it is the natural and necessary growth of it, I absolutely deny. Superstition and enthusiasm too are the growth of religion; but who ever took it in his head to affirm, that they are the necessary growth of this noble principle? They are, if you will, the bastard sprouts of this heavenly plant; but not its natural and genuine branches, and may safely enough be lopt off, without doing any harm to the parent stock: nay, perhaps, till once they are lopt off, this goodly tree can never flourish in perfect health and vigour.

Is it not very possible that I may love my own country, without hating the natives of other countries? That I may exert the most heroic bravery, the most undaunted resolution, in defending its laws and liberty, without despising all the rest of the world as cowards and poltroons? Most certainly it is: and if it were not-but what need I suppose what is absolutely impossible?—but if it were not, I must own I should prefer the title of the ancient philosopher, namely, a citizen of the world, to that of an Englishman, a Frenchman, an European, or to any other appellation whatever.-Essays.




EDMUND BURKE was born in Dublin, Jan. 12, 1729. His first official connection with English politics was as Private Secretary to the Marquis of Rockingham, in 1765. His first speech in the House of Commons was delivered early in that year on the too memorable Stamp Act, which Lord Rockingham had brought in a Bill to repeal. Of this celebrated debate Macaulay says, 'Two great orators and statesmen, belonging to two different generations, put forth all their powers in defence of the Bill. The House of Commons heard Pitt for the last time, and Burke for the first time, and was in doubt to which of them the palm of eloquence should be assigned. It was, indeed, a splendid sunset and a splendid dawn.' Macaulay's description of Burke as an orator is worth quoting. He speaks of him as 'ignorant, indeed, or negligent of the art of adapting his reasonings and his style to the capacity and taste of his hearers, but in amplitude of comprehension and richness of imagination, superior to every orator, ancient or modern.'

From 1765 to 1797, Burke was one of the chief moving forces in English politics. His views on domestic politics may best be gathered from his Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, 1770, and from his two admirable speeches at Bristol, 1774 and 1780.

The three great external 'questions' with which his name is imperishably linked, are the American War, the Government of India, and the French Revolution. Two of his greatest speeches are those on 'American Taxation,' 1774, and on 'Conciliation

with America,' in 1775. The peroration of this latter oration is, perhaps, the noblest specimen of his most elevated style. It is there that his celebrated aphorism occurs: 'Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together.' In the former speech are found his famous portraits of his most eminent contemporaries-the great Earl of Chatham, that clarum et venerabile nomen; the brilliant but flashy Charles Townshend; the laborious but pedantic George Grenville. The passages containing these personal sketches are models of ironical and yet genuinely respectful eulogy.

The government of India had a special fascination for Burke's large and humane spirit. His chief utterances on the subject are his speeches on 'Mr. Fox's East India Bill,' 1783; on 'the Nabob of Arcot's Debts,' 1785 (regarded by Lord Brougham as his very greatest oration); and the numerous speeches connected with the impeachment of Warren Hastings. Burke's whole heart, as well as his imagination, was with the natives of India. He felt their wrongs as an outrage on England and on himself.

The French Revolution, 1789-1797, called forth all his energies during the closing years of his life. His celebrated Reflections, published in 1790, filled all Europe with admiration. Perhaps the chief permanent power of this great work lies in its eloquent testimony to the value of sentiment in politics as opposed to naked reason;—of settled institutions as opposed to experiments based on abstract principles;—of slow and cautious development as the sole practical guarantee of well ordered liberty. The beneficent side of the French Revolution was hid from Burke. He could see neither the necessity of its consequence upon the hopeless corruptions of the old system, nor yet the promise which it held out for the future. Indeed, the idea of human progress, with or without revolution, was not one which coloured his life. He had a profound sense of individual weakness. The checks and the compromises of the English Constitution he had come to venerate almost as fundamental principles of nature.

The Reflections were followed by numerous other pamphlets on

the same absorbing subject, including his Letters on a Regicide

Peace, 1796.

Burke died, in death of his son.

1797, at Beaconsfield, broken-hearted by the The passage referring to this bereavement in his Letter to a Noble Lord, 1796, is perhaps the most pathetic utterance that ever fell from a statesman.

We have no space to speak of Burke as the friend of Johnson and Goldsmith, or as the generous patron of Crabbe. It is to his character as a writer and speaker on politics that the foregoing brief remarks are addressed. In this there is a oneness and a genuineness which make him by far the most interesting politician (if we except the elder Pitt) of the eighteenth century. In all that he has written or spoken we discern the same earnest spirit: often intemperate in expression, but always sound at the core; always elevated and magnanimous, detesting everything sordid, penetrating into the principles of things, of human society and civil institutions; carrying into public life that intense admiration of everything lofty and noble, which few public men have ardour to feel or courage to express; ever calling upon this great nation (to apply his own eloquent words) ‘to auspicate all her public proceedings with the old warning of the Church, Sursum corda.

1. Peroration of the Speech on Conciliation with


FOR that service, for all service, whether of revenue, trade, or empire, my trust is in her interest in the British constitution. My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties, which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government;—they will cling and grapple to you; and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them

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