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ing danger, a brilliant career of service in that country, although the guests viewed his hectic and disordered countenance with very different emotions. None of these, notwithstanding their intimacy, ventured to express their fears. Neither did the physicians think it prudent to alarm him by premature disclosure, in case of the disease, which was judged to be a decline, proving gradual and lingering; Dr. Brocklesby giving it as his opinion, from perfect acquaintance with the strong paternal affection and sensitive feelings of Mr. Burke, that a knowledge of the real nature of the disease and of the danger attending it, would probably prove fatal to him sooner than to his son. Cromwell House at Brompton was however taken for him by their advice, to be in the air, and yet near to town preparatory to his journey to Ireland. Here he became rapidly worse; and concealment being no longer possible, the melancholy truth was at length communicated, just a week before the fatal event occurred, to the father; who, from this time till the fate of his offspring was decided, slept not, scarcely tasted food, or ceased from the most affecting lamentations; seeming to justify the prediction of the physician, that had it been communicated to him sooner his own death might have been the result.
In the closing scene itself there were some circumstances sufficiently affecting; but of these Dr. French Laurence, the civilian, and afterwards well known in Parliament, the intimate friend of Mr. Burke, and a constant visitor at his house, must be the historian. A series of his letters, addressed to the senior Mrs. Haviland, descriptive of the melancholy
scenes now passing in the family, exists, which I have great pleasure in submitting to the reader. They are not merely well, but pathetically written; evincing all that feeling and commiseration which one generous mind suffers in witnessing the affliction of another, and that other a great and admired man, as well as an esteemed friend.
"MY DEAR MADAM,
"August 1st, 1794.
"As Dr. King undoubtedly communicated to you the melancholy contents of my yesterday's letter, you will certainly be anxious to know whether another day has brought any new hope. There is a little, feeble and faint. The sentence is at least respited for a time. A second letter from Mr. Burke yester day in the evening, informed me that the physicians forbade him to despair. At the same time I received a note from Dr. Brocklesby, at whose house I had called, and this morning I have seen him. He says there is no such immediate danger as his father apprehends, but he fears the ultimate event.
"The disorder is a consumption, which has however not yet actually reached the substance of the lungs, but has spread to the lower part of the trachea, as it is technically called, or the wind-pipe. It is supposed to have extended as far as the point where the tube divides itself into two branches. The family are with poor Richard in country lodgings a little beyond Brompton. It is a house of mourning indeed, a scene of affliction, Dr. Brocklesby says, almost too much for him, who, as a physician, is inured to these sights, and in some degree callous to them. Mrs. Burke, he says, sustains herself nobly, to keep up the fortitude of her husband.
Mr. Burke writes to me that she seeks tranquillity in prayer; he is himself (as he tells me) almost dried up; there is however, in his last letter, plainly a gleam of hope, and a tone of comparative calmness of spirit. The conclusion of his first letter was highly affecting. He ended with an abrupt exclamation, "Oh! my brother died in time."Some of them wrote to William Burke yesterday; I should otherwise have written. The letter was franked I suppose by poor Richard.-Present my best compliments to all your society. I write in great haste. Adieu.
"When I shortly informed you of the melancholy event on Saturday, I was acquainted with the event, and nothing more, from the mouth of Dr. Brocklesby. Some of the particulars I have since collected, as well as I could; and as every little circumstance must be interesting to you, who had known him from his infancy, I shall faithfully relate to you what I have heard. It may afflict you, but there is a pleasure in such sorrow, which he who cannot taste, deserves to be pitied.
"From my former letters to Dr. King and yourself, you know every thing till the night previous to his death. During that night he was restless and discomposed. In the morning his lips were observed to have become black. His voice, however, was better, and for the first time since his attack on the
preceding Monday, some asses' milk and some other little sustenance which he took, remained quietly on his stomach. But his father and mother did not suffer themselves to be too much flattered by these favourable symptoms, which might be, what they too surely proved to be in the event. Their lamentations reached him where he lay. He instantly arose from his bed, and to make his emaciated appearance less shocking to his parents, changed his linen and washed himself; he then desired Mr. and Mrs. Webster,* whose tender care of him was unremitting, to support him towards the door of the room where his father and mother were sitting in tears. As soon as he arrived at the door, he exerted himself to spring forward alone, and treading firmly, (as you remember was his usual mode of walking, but then treading so more studiously for the purpose of convincing his father how little his strength was diminished) he crossed the room to the window, and afterwards to the quarter where they were. He endeavoured to enter into conversation with his father, but grief keeping the latter silent, he said, after some observations on his own condition, "Why, Sir, do you not chide me for these unmanly feelings? I am under no terror; I feel myself better and in spirits, yet my heart flutters I know not why. Pray talk to me, Sir; talk of religion, talk of morality, talk if you will on indifferent subjects." Then turning round, he asked, "What noise is that? Does it rain? Oh! no; it is the rustling of the wind through the trees;" and immediately with a voice as clear as ever in his life, with
* Old and faithful servants in the family.
the most correct and impressive delivery, and a more than common ease and grace of action, he repeated three beautiful lines from Adam's morning hymn in Milton. You will certainly anticipate me in the lines; they are favourite lines of his father's, and were so, as I recollect, of his poor uncle, to whom he was then going with these very lines on his tongue.
"His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
He began again, and again pronounced the verses with the same happiness of elocution and gesture, waved his head in sign of worship, and worshipping, sunk into the arms of his parents as in a profound and sweet sleep.
"Afflicted as I have been for this year past with the apprehension of this calamity, I now, on calm consideration, thank God for all the circumstances of his end; since his departure was fixed in the inscrutable purposes of Providence. I thank God, that his father and mother did not seriously feel his danger till the last week of his life; I thank him that they had some short time of preparation; and I thank Him also that they were not doomed for whole months, as the physician had expected, to languish and consume themselves with unavailing sorrow over a beloved, and justly beloved son, dying by inches before their eyes.
"The behaviour of our two poor remaining friends is such as might be expected from them by those who rightly knew both their sensibility and strength of reason: though perhaps for the exertion of the latter under so severe a dispensation, we hardly