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upon the same foundation. This declaration by a MINER was a sufficient reason and prudence for keeping him and his connections at such a distance from our fabric as to prevent the intended explosion.* From their recent conduct and declarations, Burke saw a danger in encouraging the Dissenters, which he could not have seen at a former period, because it did not exist.
Pitt, although he, from the philosophical enlargement of an enlightened mind, had been friendly to the Dissenters, when he
The sanguineness of Priestley's temper here prevailed over his wisdom. It was certainly very unwise to tell the supporters of the Church, who were by far the more powerful body, that he designed to subdue them; he could not hope thereby to intimidate them to submission, but might expect to put them on their guard. The loquacious exultation of anticipated success is often a most powerful obstacle to its attainment. Conspiracies, that would have eluded the penetration of wisdom, have been exposed by the premature triumph of ringleaders and accomplices; no doubt such exposure, though even by the most ingenious and learned man, is foolish. Hence we may learn how absurd their reasoning is, who in any case infer innocence, merely because the alledged operation of guilt would imply folly.
considered the differences between them and the Church as being merely about speculative points, yet, when he saw proceedings intended to subvert so important a part of our polity, thought circumspection and vigilance absolutely necessary. When there was an avowed design to sap the fortress, it became the duty of the garrison to secure the out-posts. Lord North, in opposing the appeal, besides the consideration of general expediency, by which men of such minds as Burke and Pitt are influenced in political conduct, had the additional motives of particular notions. He was, though not a bigotted,* a strenuous high churchman, had uniformly opposed the Dissenters merely when maintaining articles contrary to his belief, without cherishing designs subversive of the constitution, which he supported.
As Lord North and Burke were both men of great classical erudition, and very frequently introduced quotations from ancient
He was too mild and benevolent for a bigot.
authors, they sometimes had friendly disputes concerning some of the passages. Burke had studied ancient language merely as a vehicle of ancient ideas. Lord North, besides studying it for the purpose which. GENERAL REASON DICTATES, was thoroughly acquainted with it in the way which local usage prescribes: having been taught at Eton, he was perfectly instructed in the metrical parts. He was, however, by far too able a man to value himself on so easy and mechanical an acquirement as versification. One day, Burke having occasion to use the Latin word vectigal, pronounced it vectigal: Lord North told him it should be vectigal. Burke proposed a bet of a guinea: Lord North agreed, and of course gained. In the prosody of the language, both the Scotch and Irish are, no doubt, much inferior to the English; and we hear mistakes as to quantity from some of the ablest and most learned men among them which an English boy would detect. I remember
once to have heard some Latin conversation between a very respectable master of an
academy near London, esteemed among the best scholars in the profession, and one of the first literary Scotchmen of the age; both spoke the language with fluency and propriety in other respects, but the latter not in point of prosody. It was with difficulty that the master of the academy convinced the learned Doctor that he was not erroneous in pronouncing confero, confēro. Although he has manifested himself to the world to be most intimately and profoundly conversant in the history, character, genius, customs, manners, laws, and politics of the Romans, yet was he inaccurate in their sounds; although few men in England could equal him writing sense prose, yet many boys might surpass him in writing nonsense
Little, except the impeachment of Hastings, engaged the political attention of Burke, until the time of the REGENCY.
To dwell upon the melancholy event that rendered a plan of Regency necessary, would
be extremely absurd, indecorous, and unfeeling. It, however, in the alarm during the calamity and the joy at the recovery of the personage whom it had pleased Heaven to afflict, manifested how highly he was prized by his people.
On its being ascertained that a temporary incapacity existed for exercising the functions of Government, Mr. Fox's idea was, that during this incapacity there was virtually a demise of the Crown; that therefore the next heir should assume the powers of government whilst the incapacity continued. Mr. Pitt's opinion was, that in such a case it rested with Parliament to supply the deficiency, as in other circumstances not before provided for by the existing laws.* Great ability was displayed on both sides; but as the necessity for its exertion on that subject soon ceased, I shall not enter into its details. An in
This subject is discussed in a Life of Fox. See Historical Magazine for October, 1799.