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assume the Viceroyalty of Ireland, who would doubtless take care to provide for a man of merit.
Lord Halifax was in turn solicited, and in turn, like his brother peers, he could do nothing—all the departments were unluckily filled up one vacancy indeed remained, that of secretary to Mr. Hamilton, the public secretary, which, if it suited Mr. Burke, might probably be procured ; and this appointment finally was given and accepted.
So far report. Truth and error, however, are so jumbled in the story as to occasion some difficulty in detaching the one from the other ; for though some of the circumstances are in themselves true, they are, in the connexion in which they stand here, certainly not true. For instance, it is true that at this time Mr. Burke knew Lord Bath, Lord Halifax, and probably Lord Bute, and might have been recommended to them in the earlier part of his career, as he subsequently was to the Marquis of Rockingham. But nobody intimately acquainted with Mr. Burke's spirit or character, can for a moment believe he would submit to be bandied about from one nobleman to another in the manner here stated, begging
a There is besides a glaring anachronism which destroys the credit of the whole. Lord Halifax became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1761, Lord Bute did not resign his employments until the 8th April, 1763, so that the former peer, instead of being on the point of proceeding to his government as Lord Bute is made to say, had in fact returned, or was just about to return, from it. If no other proof were at hand, however, the statement of Lord Charlemont that he introduced Burke to Hamilton, would be sufficient evidence of the fact.
for a place.
In March, 1671, the appointments of Lord Halifax and his friends were arranged, though the chief persons did not reach the seat of government until the ensuing October. His Lordship displayed so much skill in his administration, as to disarm and neutralize to any purposes of discord, the contending factions by which that country was then, and has been since, often kept in a flame. What share Mr. Burke had in giving private advice, cannot now be known. He himself, it will be seen, speaks of “a long and laborious attendance;" but whatever his suggestions might have been, Hamilton, as his chief, would naturally take the credit of them to himself.
It has been suggested to the writer from very high political authority intimately conversant with the politics and private history of Ireland at this period, that the principal employment of Mr. Burke was, as deputy to Hamilton, to manage the Irish House of Commons; and for this belief there is some ground in the friendship shown him by Primate Stone, then one of the most active “ Undertakers,” as they were termed, for ruling that country; and from an expression in a letter written at this time, or shortly afterward, and still in existence, by a man in power in Dublin, which, in allusion to Mr. Burke's activity, coarsely and untruly calls him “ Hamilton's jackall.”
No doubt whatever exists, that his services were put in requisition on all the chief measures brought forward or recommended by government. Of one of these he is believed to have been the author, in conjunction with Lord Kenmare ; namely, the project for raising, during a period of great distress
almost amounting to famine, among the peasantry of the west of Ireland, six regiments of Roman Catholics officered by persons of the same persuasion, for the service of Portugal, which however failed through the adverse influence of the great landed proprietors in that quarter of the country. One of his literary productions, or rather state-papers, which at a late period of life was acknowledged either by himself or by Hamilton, it is not clearly remembered which, was the reply of Lord Halifax to the Irish parliament, refusing an augmentation, voted almost unanimously, 26th Feb. 1762, of 40001. per annum to his salary. Of the consideration which he enjoyed, and the esteem which his talents commanded, no better proof need be afforded than the intimate friendships now formed, or renewed, with Mr. Henry Flood, Sir Hercules Langrishe, Mr. Monk Mason, Mr. Pery, afterward Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, and ultimately created a peer, besides the friendship of the Primate and others, men of leading talents and influence in both Houses of Parliament.
The opportunity afforded by this trip of renewing literary, as well as political connexions, which had been interrupted by his stay in England, was not neglected. With Doctor Thomas Wilson, Senior Fellow of the University, Doctor Blundell, Doctor M.Kearney, and others, formerly the directors, or partners, of his studies, it is recorded that he spent an evening or two every week, conversing chiefly on topics connected with letters. Discussing the merits of the Latin historians one evening, the former gentleman is said to have proposed to join him in translating Livy, but this, Mr. Burke, who probably
found he had quite business enough on his hands in the bustle of politics and his other literary occupations, declined. “Good translators,” he said, “ of Latin authors were rare; and yet, unlike most other rarities, they were not valued as they deserved.”
To the south of Ireland, particularly Cork, and its vicinity, he made several excursions in company with his brother, Mr. Garrett Burke ; neither were their old and esteemed friends at Ballitore forgotten. Mr. and Mrs. Shackleton, in return, calling at his apartments in Dublin Castle, surprised him on the carpet busily occupied in romping with his two boys, and used to mention the affectionate interest he took in their infantile amusements as a proof of an amiable mind, joined to what the world knew to be a great mind.
Even to a late period of life he delighted in children, amusing himself with what he called “ his men in miniature,” frequently participating in their juvenile sports, and, while playing with them, perhaps at the same moment instructing their grandfathers, by turning from one to the other to throw out some forcible truth upon human nature, from the scene which their little liabits, passions, and contentions afforded. It was no unfrequent thing to see Mr. Burke spinning a top or a tee-totum with the boys who occasionally visited him at Beaconsfield; and the following is an instance of a similar playful and amiable spirit.
A gentleman well known in the literary and political world, who when young amused himself by taking long walks in the vicinity of London, once directed his steps to Harrow, about the time of the
coalition ministry, when on a green in front of a small cottage, he espied an assemblage of such men as are rarely seen together; Mr. Burke, Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, (the owner of the cottage,) Lord John Townshend, Lord William Russel, and four or five others the most eminent of the Whig party, diverting themselves after what was then customary, 'an early dinner. Mr. Burke's employment was the most conspicuous; it was in rapidly wheeling a boy (the late Mr. Thomas Sheridan) round the sward in a child's hand-chaise, with an alertness and vivacity that indicated an almost equal enjoyment in the sport with his young companion; who in fact was so much pleased with his adult play-fellow, that he would not let him desist, nor did the orator seem much to desire it, till a summons to horse announced the separation of the party.
In the intervals of business in Dublin, he occa. sionally visited England on matters connected with his literary pursuits, which were not neglected. In March, 1763, when in Queen Anne Street, he received the reward of his services in his native country in a pension of 300l. per annum on the Irish establishment, through the interest, as he said, in writing to a friend in Ireland shortly after, “ of Mr. Hamilton and my Lord Primate.”
A curious error occurred in the grant of this pension, as appears by the following extract of a letter from Mr. Secretary Hamilton to Sir Robert Wilmot, dated April 14, 1763, for which, and some other documents I am indebted to a gentleman of high political and official rank and admired talents
“ There is a mistake in one of the pensions which VOL. I.