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the opinions of these great men too implicitly. Reynolds,' said he to Boswell, ' is too much under the influence of the Foxstar and Irish constellation.' .There is, replied Boswell, 'no Fox-star; but, Sir, there is a dog-star. Johnson here must have meant a play of words, as he had the very highest opinion of the abilities of Fox. Johnson, about this time, in order to ascertain whether his mental powers were impaired, determined to try to learn a new language, and fixed upon the Low Dutch. Finding he learned it with facility, he desisted, thinking the experiment had been sufficiently tried. Burke's ready discernment perceived, instantaneously, that it was not a fair trial, as the Low Dutch is a language so near our own; had it been one of the languages entirely different, he might, he said, be soon satisfied. Dining one day at Sir Joshua's, Johnson repeated his gradation of liquors-claret for boys, port for men, brandy for heroes. Then,' said Burke, let me have claret: I love to be a boy, and to have the careless gaiety of
boyish days.' Though Burke relished a cheerful glass, he did not exceed; and did not prefer strong wine. As the Ministry had been active in procuring a separate establishment for the Prince, the leading men of them were frequently with his Royal Highness. One day, after dinner, the Prince, about to propose a bumper toast, asked Burke, if a toast-master was not absolute? He instantly answered, yes, Sir, JURE DE VINO.' That is the only way,' replied his Royal Highness, in which I
should wish to be absolute.'
Burke, in speaking of any person, could
very happily assume his style. A gentleman in company observing, that the language of Young resembled that of Johnson, Burke replied, it may have the appearance, but has not the reality; it possesses the nodosities of the oak, without its strength.'
Burke for some time had been devoting his attention to the affairs of India, to the commerce, territorial possessions, and ge
neral state of the Company's affairs, and also to the conduct of their servants in India. He had maintained a constant correspondence with his valued friend, Mr. Francis, who had, with the most, benevolent intentions, employed his penetrating and vigorous mind in enquiring into the actual state of Indostan, and its causes, either in intrinsic circumstances, or the conduct of the Company's servants, in order to devise plans for at once meliorating the condition of the natives, and promoting the prosperity of British India.
Mr. Francis, after having been several years in India, had made himself so much. master of the situation of the Zemindars, or landholders of that country, that he wrote a paper on the subject, which, both as a statement and a dissertation, does vey high honour to his talents, for both research and philosophy. A copy of this paper was. sent by the author to Mr. John Burke, and by him communicated to Edmund, whose answer contains the opinion he always held
respecting property, concerning India landholders, as far as he then knew their securities and condition, and respecting European affairs.
MY DEAR SON,
Beaconsfield, Wednesday, Nov. 1777
I give you a thousand thanks for the papers you have been so good as to put into my hands. I wished to keep them a little longer, but I husbanded my time as well as I could, and, when my company went to bed, spent the greatest part of the night in reading them. This morning I went through the whole. I don't know that I ever read any state paper. drawn with more ability, and, indeed, I have seldom read a paper of any kind with more pleasure.
In general, I perfectly agree with Mr. Francis, that a nice scrutiny into the property and tenures of an whole nation is almost always more alarming to the people than advantageous to Government. It is never undertaken without some suspicion at least of an attempt to impose some new
Mr. Francis is a
burthen upon them.