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Between them there might be said to be a monopoly of this branch of information. With Burke also he participated in the error, if any error can ever be proved to have been committed, of being the original accuser of Mr. Hastings. Some useful and important alterations connected with the administration of the government of India owe their origin to him. Among these was that extension of power to the Governor General of that country, which, while it left less room for those bickerings and contentions between Governor and Council, which had formerly prevailed to so great a degree, exacted from the former in return for such confidence, a proportionate personal responsibility. At the commencement of the war with France, the volunteer system received an impulse from his judicious measures, which tended materially to rouse the spirit of the country. He planned and conducted, in opposition it is said to several dissentient voices in the Cabinet, the expedition to Egypt which expelled the French from that country. On his accession to the Admiralty, the same active spirit of improvement accompanied him thither, and many judicious measures were devised for the comforts of the seamen, and the improvement of the situation of more than one class of the subordinate officers, until, to the unfeigned regret of all the other classes of that service over which he presided, the unexpected charge alluded to, interrupted his career.
During nearly the whole of his political life, his influence in his native country was extensive, perhaps of late years unexampled; and it implies no ordinary merit on his part to find the quiet, the
external prosperity, and the domestic improvement of the country to have kept pace with his tenure of power. No murmurings during this long period were heard; no dissatisfaction expressed against him for the exercise of this power, at undue partiality on the one hand, or unmerited disfavour on the other. In England it was his lot to be almost equally fortunate; and it must ever be considered a proof of singular exemption from great faults, or of a moderation of conduct which deprived popular prejudice of its favourite food, that in a period of the most envenomed political warfare, nothing more serious could be urged against him than a few harmless jests of Peter Pindar.
In Parliament, he never pretended to, and never sought, the character of a finished and imposing orator; for his manner was ungraceful, and his dialect provincial: content with grasping directly and forcibly the substance of his argument, he appeared little solicitous about the elegance of the manner in which it should be handled. But there was a boldness and decision in his mode of address that always commanded attention, and a solidity and acuteness in the matter it conveyed which seldom failed to perform their office of convincing. No ministry could have possessed a more useful member. He was not so much cut out for brilliant and overpowering efforts on special occasions, as for the necessary and laborious duties, the expositions and defences of measures, which he had daily to undertake in carrying on the actual business of the state. He was rarely to be taken unawares, but ready as it seemed, every day, and every hour of the day, for debate.
Constantly opposed as he and Mr. Burke were to
each other in the great theatre of national eloquence, neither the conflicting opinion, the biting sarcasm, nor the vehement reprehension with which a minister is often gratuitously saluted by a leader of Opposition, produced between them any thing like feelings of hostility. They first became more personally familiar in the session 1780-81, in consequence of serving on East India Committees; and saw in each other kindred qualities which subsequently served to soften something of the acerbity of party. From about the year 1790 until the death of Burke, occasional communication on public matters took place between them. There was in Mr. Dundas a goodness of heart that claimed esteem; he was continually called upon by persons of whom he knew little to do kind offices, and he did them in the kindest, often in the most generous manner; he was frank, sociable, careless of money, and affectionate in his attachments,-qualities which acquired him nearly as many friends as he possessed acquaintance. Other and more imposing characteristics may belong to the statesman, but these call upon us to love, to distinguish, and unaffectedly to respect the memory of the man.
Mr. Burke, though a warm supporter of the war, as the only means of saving the country, differed frequently with Ministry on its details, more particularly the mode of carrying it on, which was scarcely ever to his satisfaction; and looking only to the results, his objections would seem to have been well grounded. One of the chief papers on the subject was "Remarks on the Policy of the Allies with respect to France," begun in October 1793, a
passage of which displays such an instinctive knowledge of France and of Frenchmen, that the cause of the ill-success of the Bourbons in conciliating the public mind of that country in 1814, will become immediately obvious, while it exhibits another instance of the sagacity which could teach that family, twenty-one years before the event, the only mode of securing their kingdom in case they should again acquire it.
"Whoever claims a right by birth to govern there, must find in his breast, or conjure up in it an energy not to be expected, not always to be wished for, in well ordered states. The lawful prince must have in every thing but crime the character of an usurper. He is gone if he imagines himself the quiet possessor of a throne. He is to contend for it as much after an apparent conquest as before. His task is to win it; he must leave posterity to enjoy and to adorn it. No velvet cushions for him. He is to be always (I speak nearly to the letter) on horseback. This opinion is the result of much patient thinking on the subject, which I conceive no event is likely to alter." The terms and spirit of the declaration or manifesto issued by the British Government, under date of October 29th (1793), he highly approved of, but thought its promulgation ill-timed and imprudent at a moment when, from the successes of the enemy, and the reverses of our own arms, hostile manifestoes appear more petulant than formidable.
In another passage he specifically points out, in express terms, as if futurity was open to his view, that no settlement of France could be hoped to be immediate, and that a military government, or some
thing tantamount to it, must precede the formation
of a regular government.
"What difficulties will be met with in a country exhausted by the taking of its capital (in money) and among a people in a manner new-principled, trained, and actually disciplined to anarchy, rebellion, disorder, and impiety, may be conceived by those who know what jacobin France is, and who may have occupied themselves by revolving in their thoughts what they were to do if it fell to their lot to re-establish the affairs of France. What support or what limitations the restored Monarchy must have, may be a doubt, or how it will pitch or settle at last; but one thing I conceive to be far beyond a doubt; that the settlement cannot be immediate; but that it must be preceded by some sort of power, equal at least in vigour, vigilance, promptitude and decision to a military government. For such a preparatory government no slow-paced, methodical, formal, lawyerlike system, still less that of a showy, superficial, trifling, intriguing court, guided by cabals of ladies, or of men like ladies; least of all a philosophic, theoretic, disputatious school of sophistry-none of these ever will, or ever can lay the foundations of an order that will last."
Toulon being now in our possession, he wrote the following letter in favour of a deserving officer, to the commandant of that place, Lieutenant-General O'Hara, who was an old acquaintance :
"MY DEAR SIR,
"Some very pleasant things have happened to me lately, because they connect the public advantage