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of Berlin and Paris for the lips of the every sort of virtue was foreign and people. It was to the honour of unnatural to the mind of man. Burke, that in his youth, and in the “ The first accounts which we have midst of a general delusion of all of mankind are but so many accounts who constituted the leaders of pub- of their butcheries. All empires have lic taste, he should sacredly discern been cemented in blood; and in these where the truth lay, and manfully early ages, when the race of mancome forth armed in its cause. No- kind began first to form themselves minally adopting the tenets of Bo- into parties and combinations, the lingbroke, he pushed them on to first effects of the combination, and practical absurdity. Applying to so- indeed the end for which it seems ciety the modes of argument which purposely formed and best calculathe infidel had applied to religion, ied, was their mutual destruction. he shewed that it justified absurdi. All ancient history is dark and unties against which common sense re. certain. One thing, however, is volts, and crimes against which the clear: There were conquerors and common safety arms itself; that the conquests in those days, and conseplea which might serve to overthrow quently all that devastation by which religion, would be equally forcible they are formed, and all that oppresagainst the existence of all order, and sion by which they are maintained. that the perfection of the infidel sys- We know little of Sesostris, but that tem would reason mankind into the he led out of Egypt an army of above uselessness of a government, as ra- 700,000 men ; that he overran the pidly as into the burden of a reli- Mediterranean coast as far as Colgion.
chis; that in some places he met but In a passage, which seems to come little resistance, and of course shed glowing from the pen of Boling- not a great deal of blood, but that he broke in his hour of triumph, his found in others a people who knew young antagonist thus happily at the value of their liberties, and sold once seizes the sounding amplifica- them dear. Whoever considers the tion of his style, and ridicules the army which this conqueror headed, philosophical folly of his argument: the space he traversed, and the oppo
“In looking over any state, to form sition he frequently met, with the a judgment on it, it presents itself in natural accidents of sickness, and the two lights, the external and the in- dearth and badness of provision to ternal. The first, that relation which which he must have been subject in it bears in point of enmity or friend the variety of climates and countries ship to other states. The second, his march lay through—if he knows that relation which its component any thing, he must know that even parts, the governors and the govern- the conqueror's army must have sufed, bear to each other.
fered greatly. It will be far from The glaring side of all national his- excess to suppose that one-half was tory is enmity. The only actions on lost in the expedition. If this was which we have seen, and always will the state of the victorious, the vansee all of them intent, are such as quished must have had a much heatend to the destruction of one an- vier loss, as the greatest slaughter is other. "War,' says Machiavel,'ought always in the fight; and great carto be the only study of a prince;' nage did in those times and countries and by a prince he means every sort ever attend the first rage of conquest. of state, however constituted. He it will therefore be very reasonable ought,' says this great political doc- to allow on their account as much tor, to consider peace only as a as, added to the losses of the conbreathing time, wbich gives him lei- querors, may amount to a million of sure to contrive, and furnishes ability deaths. And then we shall see this to execute military plans. A medi- conqueror, the oldest whom we have tation on the conduct of political so- on record, opening the scene by the cieties made old Hobbes imagine that destruction of at least one million of war was the state of nature; and his species, unprovoked but by bis truly, if a man judged of the indivi- ambition, without any motives but duals of our race by their conduct pride, cruelty, and madness, and when united and packed into nations without any benefit to himself, (for and kingdoms, he might imagine that Justin expressly tells us he did not
maintain his conquest,) but solely to many ages of continual war. make so many people in so distant I go upon a naked and modecountries feel experimentally how rate calculation, just enough, without severe a scourge Providence intends a pedantical exactness, to give your for the human race, when it gives lordship some feeling of the effects one man the power over many, and of political society. I charge the arms his naturally impotent and whole of those effects upon political feeble rage with the bands of mil. society. The numbers I particularizlions, who know no common princi- ed amount to about thirty-six milple of action but a blind obedience lions. *
In a state of to the passions of their ruler." nature, it had been impossible to
Thus pursuing his way through find a number of men sufficient for ancient history, and still designating such slaughters, agreed in the same it as one common display of misery bloody purpose. Society and politics, and massacre, the whole resulting which have given us such destrucfrom the facts that society exists, and tive views, have given us also the that it has rulers at its head, he means of satisfying them. * comes to the scene which Europe How far mere nature would have exhibited on the fall of the great carried us, we may judge by the extyrant dynasty of Rome. “ There ample of those animals which still have been periods when no less than follow her laws, and even of those to universal destruction to the race of which she has given dispositions mankind seems to have been threat- more fierce, and arms more terrible ened. Such was that, when the than any ever she intended we should Goths, the Vandals, and the Huns, use. It is an incontestible truth, that poured into Gaul, Italy, Spain, Greece, there is more havoc made in one and Africa, carrying destruction with year by men of men, than has been them as they advanced, and leaving made by all the lions, tigers, panthers, horrid deserts everywhere behind ounces, leopards, hyænas, rhinocethem. Vastum ubique silentium, roses, elephants, bears, and wolves, secreti colles, fumantia procul tecta, upon their sereral species, since the nemo exploratoribus obvius, is what beginning of the world, though those Tacitus calls facies victoriæ.' It agree ill enough with each other, and was always so; but here it was em- have a much greater proportion of phatically so. From the north pro- rage and fury in their composition ceeded the swarms of Goths, Van- than we have. But with respect to dals, Huns, Ostrogoths, who ran to- you, ye legislators, ye civilizers of wards the south into Africa itself, mankind, ye Orpheuses, Minoses, which suffered as all to the north Solons, Theseuses, Lycurguses, Nuhad done. About this time, another mas, your regulations have done more torrent of barbarians, animated by mischief in cold blood, than all the the same fury, and encouraged by rage of the fiercest animals in their the same success, poured out of the greatest terrors or furies has ever south, and ravaged all to the north- done or ever could do." east and west, to the remotest parts He then, from a long and detailed exof Persia on one hand, and to the amination of the chief provisions and banks of the Loire on the other, de orders of society, draws the conclustroying all the proud and curious sion, that man is a loser by association monuments of human art, that not with his kind, by government, by jueven the memory of the former in- risprudence, by commerce, by every habitants might survive. *
shape and step of civilisation. But the I shall only, in one word, mention wildest declaimer against religion the horrid effects of bigotry and ava- will protest against thus sending man rice in the conquest of Spanish Ame- back to the forest, and stripping him rica; a conquest, on a low estimation, of all the advantages of society on effected by the murder of ten millions account of the disadvantages. He of the species. *
* * * I need will protest against arguing from the not enlarge on the torrents of silent abuse of society in the hands of a and inglorious blood which have certain number of violent men, to its glutted the thirsty sands of Afric, or vast, general, and beneficial uses to discoloured the polar snow, or fed the infinite multitude. But the same the savage forests of America for so protest is as directly applicable to
the sceptic, who rejects religion on are withdrawn, one after another, account of the casual evils connected and the cool light of reason, at the with its progress, the religious wars setting of our life, shews us what a fomented by human passions, the cor- false splendour played upon those rupted practices of venal priests, the objects of our more sanguine seatyranny of jealous persecutors, the sons.” guilty artifice, or the blinding super- This tract is remarkable for its destition. If the essential good is to be claration of opinions on the right rejected for the sake of the accidental side, when it was the pride of every evil, then must civilisation be cast man who pretended to literature, to away as well as religion; but if the be in the wrong. But it is scarcely great stock of human good which re- less remarkable, as actually forming ligion bequeaths to mankind, the im- the model of much of that rerolumeasurable consolations, the high tionary writing, which so recklessly motives, the pure guides, the noble laboured to inflame the popular and perpetual stimulants reaching passions, on the first burst of the through all the depths of the human French insurgency. Burke, in his race, and reaching through them all ridicule, had prepared an armoury undebased by human guilt, and main- for Paine in his profligate serioustaining the connexion of man through ness. The contemptuous flights of all his grades with Deity, are to the great orator had pointed the way weigh heavier in the balance than for the Jacobin to ascend to the asthe mere abuses of religion by man, sault of all that we were accustomed then let us acknowledge that the in- to reverence and value. The evils fidel is not simply weak, but criminal, brought upon man by feeble govern. that he shuts his eyes against argu- ment, misjudging law, ministerial ment, and that he is convicted of folly weaknesses, and national prejudices, by all that remains to him of reason. were eagerly adopted by the cham
The concluding fragment of this pions of overthrow, as irrefragable essay is curious, as an evidence of arguments against the altar and the the early period at which Burke had throne; and Burke must bave seen matured his pen. The style is no with surprise, or increased ridicule, longer the flowing and figurative de- the arrows which he had shot out in clamation of Bolingbroke, it is Burke, sport, and for the mere trial of his as he stood before the world in the boyish strength, gravely gathered up, latest days of his triumph over the and fitted to the Jacobin string, to atheistic and revolutionary impulsesbe used against the noblest and most of Europe; calm and dignified, cloth. essential institutions of the empire. ed in the garb of that philosophic The essay attracted considerable melancholy which impressed his notice. Chesterfield and Warburton practical wisdom so powerfully upon were said to have regarded it for a ihe general heart.
while as an authentic work of the He speaks in the person of Boling- infidel lord. The opinion prevailed so broke. “You are, my lord, but just far, tbat Mallet, who, as the residuary entering into the world. I am going legatee of his blasphemies, thought out of it
. I bave played long enough himself the legitimate defender of his to be heartily sick of the drama. fame, volunteered a public disclaimer Whether I have acted my part in it on the subject, and the critics were well or ill, posterity will judge with thenceforth left to wonder on whose more candour than Í, or than the pre- shoulders the mantle of the noble sent age, with our present passions, personage bad fallen. Still Burke can possibly pretend to.
was unheard of, but his second perpart, I quit it without a sigh, and formance was destined to do justice submit to the sovereigo order without to his ability. In the same year was murmuring: The nearer we approach published the Treatise on the Subto the goal of life, the better we lime and Beautiful. No work of its begin to understand the true value period so suddenly sprang into poof our existence, and the real weight pularity. The purity, vigour, and of our opinions. We set out, much grace of its language, the clearness in love with both, but we leave much of its conceptions, and its bold soarbehind us as we advance. But the ings into the metaphysic clouds, passions which press our opinions which, dark and confused as they had
rendered all former efforts, were, by for shelter but for five minutes, he'd the flashes of Burke's fine imagina. talk to you in such a manner, that tion, turned into brightness and gran. when you parted, you would say,– deur, attracted universal praise. Its that is an extraordinary man. Now, author was looked for among the you may be long enough with me leading veterans of literature. To without finding anything extraordithe public astonishment, he was found to be an obscure student of A portion of this fortunate quality 26, utterly unknown, or known only must be attributed to his fondness by having attempted a canvass for å for general study, and the vigorous Scotch professorship, and having memory by which he retained all failed. He now began to be felt in that he had acquired. But a much society. The reputation of bis book larger portion must be due to that sapreceded him, and he gradually be- lient and glowing power of thought, came on a footing of acquaintance, if that vivid mental seizure, by which not altogether of intimacy, with the all his knowledge became a member more remarkable names of the day of his mind; by which every new connected with life and literature; acquisition resolved itself into an Pulteney, Earl of Bath, Markham, increase, not of his intellectual bursoon after Archbishop of York, Rey- den, but of the essential activity and nolds, Soame Jenyns, Lord Little- strength of his faculties. He had a ton, Warburton, Hume, and John- great assimilating mind. Johnson's
This was a distinction which ofteň-recorded expression, “that no implied very striking merits in so man of sense would meet Mr Burke young a man, unassisted by rank or by accident under a gateway, to avoid opulence, and with the original sin of a shower, without being convinced being an Irishman, a formidable dis- that he was the first man in Engqualification in the higher circles of land,” found a striking illustration, England fifty years ago. This trea- a few years after, in the testimony of tise had been the pioneer to his storm- an utter stranger. Burke, in passing ing of the sullen rampart of English through Litchfield, had gone with a formality. But to have not only friend to look at the cathedral, while climbed there, but made good bis his horses were changing. One of lodgment, evidently implies personal the clergy, seeing, two gentlemen merits of no ordinary kind. Togood- somewhat at a loss in this vast buildhumoured and cordial manners, to ing, politely volunteered as their cisingular extent and variety of know
The conversation flowed, ledge, he added great force and ele- and he was speedily struck with surgance of conversation. Johnson's, prise at the knowledge and brilliancy even the fastidious Johnson's, opi- of one of the strangers. In his subnion of him, is well known, as pla- sequent account of the adventure to cing him already in the very highest of some friends, who met him hastening intellectual companionship.--"Burke along the street, “I have been conis an extraordivary man, his stream versing,” said he, "for this half hour, of talk is perpetual.” Another of his with a man of the most extraordinary dicta was, “ Burke's talk is the ebul- powers of mind, and extent of inforlition of his mind; he does not talk mation, which it has ever been my from a desire of distinction, but be- fortune to meet, and I am now going cause his mind is full.”—“ Burke is to the inn to ascertain, if possible, the only man whose common conver- who the stranger is.” That stranger sation corresponds with the general had completely overlaid the cicefame which he has in the world. rone, even in his local knowledge. Take up whatever topic you please, On every topic which came before he is ready to meet you.” In another them, whether the architecture, bisinstance, where some one had been tory, remains, income, learning of paying himself the tribute due to his the ancient ornaments of the chapmemorable powers, he again gave ter, persecutions, lives, and achievethe palm to his friend. “Burke, sir, ments, the stranger was boundless is such a man, that if you met him for in anecdote and illustration. The the first time in the street, where clergyman's surprise was fully acyou were stopped by a drove of counted for, by being told at the inn oxen, and you and he stepped aside that this singular companion was Mr
Burke, and the general regret of all rature, the head of the chief literary to whoin he mentioned the circum- institution of Ireland, and of every -stance, was, that the name had not other institution tending to promote been known in time for them to have the good of the country. Though taken advantage of so high a grati- living much on the Continent, and fication.
in England in early life, and long asBut, for three years more, this me- sociated with all that was eminent morable man was confined to the in rank and talents in Great Britain, struggles of private life. He was he generously and honestly fixed his still actively, though obscurely, em- residence on his native soil, turbulent ployed in writing or editing a His- as it was, remote from all the scenes tory of the European Settlements in congenial to his habits, perplexed America, in seven heary volumes, with furious party, and beggared by which obtained but slight public no- long misrule. For this determinatice; laying the foundations for a tion, he seems to have had no other History of England, which never ground than a sense of duty. And reached beyond a few sheets; and he had his reward. No man in Ireestablishing and editing, in 1758, in land was reverenced with such true conjunction with Dodsley, the An- and unequivocal public honour. In nual Register. In this work, the all the warfare of party, no shaft ever genius of the author is in disguise. struck his pure and lofty crest. Old We look in vain for the fire, the fan- connexions, and the custom of the cy, which seemed to be constituent time, which made every man of infeatures of his authorship. And one dependent fortune enter public life of the most remarkable features of on the side of opposition, designated the whole performance, is the strong him a Whig. But no man less bowed self-denial to which the philosopher to partisanship, no man more clearly and the orator had already learned washed the stains of faction from to tame down the ardour and anima- his hands, no man was farther from tion of his mind. But the work was the insanity of revolution. With genjudiciously conceived : it came forth tle, but manly firmness, he repelled at a time
en the public required popularity, from the moment when something more than a chronicler of it demanded his principles as its purthe passing day; and, like all works chase. With generous, but indignant which fill up a chasm in public cu- scorn, he raised up his voice equally riosity, it succeeded to a remarkable against the insidious zeal which extent. Five or six editions of the would substitute an affected love of earlier volumes were rapidly recei- country for a sense of duty; and the ved. But income from such sources insurrectionary rage which would must be precarious. He had mar- cast off the mild dominion of Engried, had a son; he had bitberto made land, for the lust of democracy at no advance in an actual provision for home. He finally experienced the life; and a few years more of the fate of all men of honour thrown into natural toils which beset a man left the midst of factions. His directness to his own exertions for the support was a tacit reproach on their obliof a family, would probably have quity; his simple honour was felt to driven him to America, his old and be a libel on their ostentatious hypofavourite speculation against the crisy. He had been elected by the frowns of fortune in Europe. At national acclamation, to the comlength the life for which he was mand of the Irish Volunteers, a selfmade, the stirring and elevated in- raised army of 50,000 men. He had terests of political and parliamentary conducted this powerful and perildistinction, appeared to open before ous force through an anxious time, him. He owed this change to an without collision with the governIrishman, the Earl of Charlemont. ment, or with the people. But, when Ireland still remembers the name of French principles began to infest its that estimable person with gratitude. ranks, he remonstrated; the remonA narrow fortune, and humble ta- strance was retorted in a threat of lents, did not prevent him from being the loss of his popularity. He ema great public benefactor. He was braced the alternative of a man of the encourager of every scheme for honour, and resigned. But the resignational advantage, the patron of lite- nation was fatal to the success of his