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a measure which he had formerly supported with all his powers. It is likewise remarkable that nearly as many pages wereemployed to defend him from this charge, on the ground that the dissenters of 1790 being busy meddling politicians, whose aim was the possession of political power rather than religious freedom, he was justified in denying to them what he had wished to concede to the conscientious body who solicited his support in 1772.
This attack, like many others made upon him, arose from misinformation; and the defence therefore though well-meant was unnecessary. He did not advocate the repeal of the test act in 1772, for the simple reason that no such repeal was proposed. The facts of the matter were these. At the period in question the dissenting ministers applied for an enlargement of the toleration act, or for a repeal of the clause which required subscription to the articles as a condition of enjoying the benefits of that act. This claim and this alone—he supported ; as he continued to do in 1773, and again in 1779 when it was conceded; but at neither of these periods was there an application made for the repeal of the test act.
The other chief measures in which he took part were in voting an increase of income to the Speaker of the House of Commons, paying, in the course of his speech, several compliments to Mr. Addington, who then filled the chair, for his “ * impartiality, attention, and diligence, which had not only answered the expectations of his own friends, but satisfied the House in general ; ” on the claim of the Duke of Athol for certain rights in the Isle of Man, which he stigmatized as a job, and which from
the sense of the House appearing against it, was put off; on the quarrel with Spain respecting Nootka Sound, his opinion being strongly in favour of accommodation, for that “ as we never ought to go to war for a profitable wrong, so we ought never to go to war for an unprofitable right; and therefore he hoped that the intended armament would be consi. dered not as a measure calculated to terminate the war happily, but to enable Ministers to carry on the negociation vigorously ;” on a censure passed on Major Scott for a libel on the House; and on two resolutions of the managers of the impeachment moved by himself, which were to persevere in the trial generally ; while, for the sake of expedition in deciding it, they were to select only the more important charges for adjudication.
In addition to these exertions, he opposed a motion by Mr. Flood for parliamentary reform, which produced a very candid confession from Mr. Fox, that though he thought such a measure advisable, the country at large did not seem to be of the same opinion. A jest of Burke on this question, widely disseminated in private society, threw much ridicule upon the enthusiasts in this cause. A new party of Reformers, he said, had arisen still more pure in their creed than the rest, who deemed annual parliaments not sufficiently frequent, and quoted, in support of their doctrine, the latter words of the Statute of Edward III., that " a parliament shall be holden every year once and more often if need be.” How to designate these gentlemen from their less orthodox associates he knew not, except indeed their tenets furnished the hint, and they be known as the Oftener-if-need-be's! A proposition, through the medium of some common friends, was made to Mr. Burke about this period, by his former acquaintance Gerrard Hamilton, to renew that intimacy which had so long suffered estrangement, but this offer he declined. He had told Mr. Flood at the time, there was “an eternal separation” between them,—that “ he would not keep a memorial of such a person about him," and possibly the recollection of some random sarcasms, which Hamilton, though he always did full justice to his uncommon powers, had occasionally let off against his party and himself, might have tended to make him keep his word. The reply made to the communication was, that without entertaining the slightest resentful or unfriendly feeling toward Mr. Hamilton, there were several circumstances in their connexion and separation, and long subsequent alienation, which would prevent his enjoying the same pleasure as formerly in his society, and therefore a renewal of intimacy might not be very satisfactory to either. It is said, that had Lord Temple ever become Minister, it was his intention to make Mr. Hamilton his Chancellor of the Exchequer; and it must ever be considered an enigma, that any one looking forward to such a post, should not have made himself of more importance in Parliament than he did, by frequently speaking. No explanation has ever been given of his taciturnity, except the illiberal one be surmised, that he already enjoyed in a rich sinecure all the substantial return he could expect for much talking.
Publication of Reflections on the Revolution in France.—Testi
monies in its favour.-Repùy of Burke to the Universities of Dublin and Oxford, and to Mr. Cumberland. Thomas Paine. -Character of Henry IV. of France.—Letter to a Member of the National Assembly.-Rupture with Mr. Fox.–Jury Bill of 1791.-Parliamentary business.-Anecdotes.
FROM the moment of the rupture with Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Burke, perceiving that his opinions on the French Revolution were very generally misunderstood or misrepresented, and willing also to state them more fully and forcibly to the world than even parliamentary speaking would allow, as well as to enable the reflecting part of mankind to think more justly, as he believed, of the event itself, decided to call in the aid of the press.
This task was begun and carried on during the summer with his wonted ardour and disregard of labour, and, alluding to the anxious emotions to which it gave rise, he says, in a letter to Lord Charlemont, of the 25th May, “ I have been at once much occupied and much agitated with my employment.” The elements of the work, however, had been for some months floating in his mind, and in fact no inconsiderable portion of it, or at least matter nearly similar, were already in various forms committed to paper. These were collected, re-written, enlarged, amended, and re-modelled to the form in which he had determined to publish-that of a letter to the French
gentleman who had before consulted him on the subject. The whole was polished with extraordinary care, more than a dozen of proofs being worked off and destroyed according to Dodsley's account, before he could please himself; it was set off with every attraction of the highest style of eloquence of which the English language is susceptible, and the most vivid and striking imagery in the whole compass of English prose; it was impressed on the judgment by acute reasoning, by great penetration into the motives of human action, by maxims of the most sound and practical wisdom; by expositions of the impracticable nature of the new government, and the evil designs of its framers; nothing, indeed, which his genius, his knowledge, or his observation could supply, was omitted to give popularity to the “ Reflections on the Revolution in France."
In the beginning of November, 1790, this celebrated work made its appearance, and a French translation, by his friend M. Dupont, an advocate formerly in Paris, quickly spread its reputation over all Europe. Thepublication proved one of the remarkable events of the year, perhaps of the century; for it may be doubted whether any previous political production ever excited so much attention, so much discussion, so much praise from one party, so much animadversion from another, but ultimately, among the great majority of persons, such general conviction of the correctness of his views, as to have fully succeeded in turning the stream of public opinion to the direction he wished, froin the channel in which it had hitherto flowed. The circulation of the book corresponded with its fame; within the first year