Imágenes de páginas

flexions, together with Mr. Burke's answer. You are probably aware, that the Masters who signed the address, proposed to the heads of houses that a diploma degree of LL.D. might be conferred on Burke; and that the proposal was rejected, from an apprehension, as it has been said, that the degree would not have met with the unanimous votes of the members of convocation. However that might be, the degree was certainly not opposed by the heads of houses, from any disaffection to the cause which Mr. Burke had so nobly and patriotically defended. It was rejected by seven heads against six. For much the greater part of the rest of the University the following address will speak.



We whose names are subscribed, resident graduates in the University of Oxford, request you to accept this respectful declaration of our sentiments, as a tribute which we are desirous of paying to splendid ta

[ocr errors]

lents employed in the advancement ef public good. We think it fit and becoming the friends of our church and state, to avow openly their obligations to those who distinguish themselves in the support of our approved establishments; and we judge it to be our especial duty to do this in seasons. peculiarly marked by a spirit of rash and dangerous innovation. As members of an University, whose institutions embrace every useful and ornamental part of learning, we should esteem ourselves justified in making this address, if we had only to offer Our you thanks for the valuable accession which the stock of our national literature has received by the publication of your important " Reflexions." But we have higher objects of consideration, and nobler motives to gratitude: we are persuaded, that we consult the real and permanent interests of this place, when we acknowledge the eminent service rendered, both to our civil and religious constitution, by your able and disInterested vindication of their true principles; and we obey the yet more sacred obligation

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to promote the cause of religion and norality, when we give this proof, that we honour the advocate by whom they are so eloquently and effectually defended."

This address was conveyed to Mr. Burke by Mr. Windham, of Norfolk; through whom Mr. Burke returned his answer:



The valuable present I received from the resident graduates in the University of Oxford becomes doubly acceptable by passing through your hands. Gentlemen so eminent for science, erudition, and virtue, and who possess the uncommon art of doing kind things in the kindest manner, would naturally choose a person qualified like themselves to convey their favours and distinctions to those whom they are inclined to honour. Be pleased to assure those learned gentlemen, that I am beyond measure happy in finding my well-meant endeavours wel received by them; and I think my satis


faction does not arise from motives merely selfish, because their declared approbation must be of the greatest importance in giving an effect (which without that sanction might well be wanting) to an humble attempt in favour of the cause of freedom, virtue, and order, united. This cause it is our common wish and our common interest to maintain; and it can hardly be maintained without securing on a solid foundation, and preserving in an uncorrupted purity, the noble establishments which the wisdom of our ancestors has formed, for giving permanency to those blessings which they have left to us as our best inheritance. We have all a concern in maintaining them all: but if all those, who are more particularly engaged in some of those establishments, and who have a peculiar trust in maintaining them, were wholly to decline all marks of their concurrence in opinion, it might give occasion to malicious people to suggest doubts, whether the representation I had given was really expressive of the sentiments of the people on those subjects. I am obliged to

[ocr errors]

those gentlemen for having removed the ground of those doubts.

I have the honour to be, &c.


Of those who, from talents and knowledge, were competent judges of literary and political discussions, the Ministry and their friends, the greater number of the nobility and landed gentry, a considerable portion of monied men, some of the leaders of Opposition, most of the members of the Universities, most of the clergy, most gentlemen of the navy and army, a few of the professed men of letters, rather the smaller part of two of the learned professions, admirers of the constitution, for its experienced blessings, conceived the highest opinion of the reasoning and wisdom of Burke's book. Of those who were NOT competent judges, great numbers praised it upon trust:-common courtiers, household troops, underlings of office, and many other servants or retainers of Government, whose employment and situation did not require ability and

« AnteriorContinuar »