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“Rockingham Whigs,” than he could have done as a subordinate official. But I do not see that any justification can be alleged for the hostility with wbich he and his party embarrassed the measures of Lord Chatham, and played into the hands of the Opposition.

In the new Parliament, which met in May, 1768, Burke again took his seat as member for Wendover. At the same time he purchased, for a sum of £20,000, part of which was advanced by the Marquis of Rockingham, the agreeable residence and small estate of the Gregories, near Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire. After a painful interregnum, caused by his bodily infirmities, which had temporarily enfeebled bis intellectual powers, Chatham resigned office in October, 1768, and was succeeded by the Duke of Grafton, with the support of the Duke of Bedford's party. The new Cabinet plunged Parliament into a contest with the country on the question of Wilkes's election for Middlesex. Burke united with George Grenville in resisting the illegal and unconstitutional votes by which Wilkes was expelled from the House, and the electors of Middlesex deprived of their legal rights. On other points he was generally opposed to Grenville, who was a reactionist of the sternest type, and in a remarkable pamphlet he exposed the fallacies, and replied to the attacks of Grenville's diatribe, “ On the Present State of the Nation." Such was the cogency of Burke's argument, and such the strength and eloquence of his language, that many began to suspect him as the author of those celebrated “Letters of Junius,” which had just begun to make their appearance. But neither the style of these “ Letters," nor the spirit, is the style or spirit of Burke. They fall infinitely below the standard of his genius and his public virtue. He would never have stooped to their coarse personalities; he would never have condescended to their misrepresentations. He was no midnight murderer, to stab a reputation with a secret dagger. I am not called upon to discuss in these pages the vexed question of the authorship of the “Letters,” but it has sometimes occurred to us that, in all probability, and in spite of some vapouring expressions in his private correspondence with his printer, the writer may have been some less distinguished person than is supposed. Certainly the evidence adduced to connect them with Sir Philip Francis is not without a flaw. At all events, their renown is wholly out of proportion to their real merits. They are conspicuously deficient in political sagacity and knowledge ; their strength lies in their deliberate and envenomed attacks upon individuals, and much of their former influence and present reputation is due to the mystery with which they were artfully surrounded.

Having to some extent recovered his physical and mental faculties, Chatham reappeared on the political stage in 1770. He found the Dukes of Grafton and Bedford in office, with Lord North as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He found the country convulsed with anger at the persecution of Wilkes, pushed on by the Court and the House of Commons. He found the American colonies in stern revolt against the measures of taxation projected by the Government. Wherever he looked, he saw the horizon black with clouds. His first care was to attempt the reconciliation of the two sections of the Opposition, the Grenville and the Rockingham, which had so long been at open feud, in order that a combined attack might be made upon the Government. He declared that a new ministry must be formed upon Whig principles, with the Rockinghams, and Cavendishes, and other old Whig families to be represented in its combination. Earl Temple adopted the same opinion, and, in an interview which he had with Burke, urged that the past should be forgotten. We have done each other,” he said, "a thousand acts of unkindness ; let us make amends by a thousand acts of friendship.” Rockingham and Burke did not at first show any great willingness to accept these overtures; but the two parties in the House of Commons adopted to some extent a common plan of action, and were rapidly beginning to understand and draw nearer each other, when the death of Chatham convulsed the political world. A new order of things dated from that calamity; new combinations sprang into existence; old traditions were broken up by new prejudices and animosities; and for the next twelve years the political history of England was a history of disaster and intrigue, selfishness, incapacity, and ignorance.

But we are proceeding too rapidly.

In the session of 1770, Burke spoke frequently. On the 1st of May be introduced eight resolutions in condemnation of the folly and indecency with which Ministers had mismanaged the contention between the mother-country and the colonies. A few days later he supported George Grenville's bill for the regulation of controverted elections. It was about this time that he published his famous pamphlet, “On the Cause of the Present Discontents,” which has been justly described as unequalled for the variety and depth of its political knowledge, and the ornate yet vigorous beauty of its style. It has, not inaptly, been characterised as “a text-book of Whig principles.” A philosophical moder

ation permeates every page, and while a severe invective is delivered against Court influences and intrigues, not less severe is the censure bestowed on the revolutionary schemes of democratic agitators. A felicitous defence of party ties, as essential to the security of a constitutional system, is counterbalanced by an ingenious, though certainly not a successful, argument against Parliamentary reform. Burke once said that he pitched his Whiggism low, that he might not be tempted to deviate from it; and in this celebrated essay, unquestionably it never rises very high. It is the Whiggism of the practical statesman rather than of a philosophical theorist; of a statesman who recognised the disorders of the time, and was prepared to apply the necessary remedies, but felt no inclination to deal with hypothetical maladies. He had not as yet adopted those strong unmonarchical opinions, which in some of his later writings are so disagreeably prominent, colouring the whole of his political system. Nor had he yet fallen into the vice of his later style, that extravagance of imagery and luxuriance of verbiage which embarrass and oppress it. Thoughts luminous and deep are embodied in language refined and elevated, are impressed upon the reader by terse and apposite illustration. We venture to quote a few isolated sentences, marked by a curiosa felicitas of expression :

“We have not relegated Religion to obscure municipalities or rustic villages. No! we will have her to exalt her mitred front in Courts and Parliaments."

A great deal of the furniture of ancient tyranny is worn to rags; the rest is entirely out of fashion.”

“No lines can be laid down for civil or political wisdom. They are a matter incapable of exact definition.”

“ The king is the representative of the people ; so are the lords ; so are the judges ; they are all trustees for the people, as well as the commons, because no power is given for the sole sake of the holder; and although government is certainly an institution of divine authority, yet its forms, and the persons who administer it, all originate from the people.”

“It is no inconsiderable part of wisdom to know how much of an evil ought to be tolerated ; lest by attempting a degree of purity impracticable in degenerate times and manners, instead of cutting off the subsisting ill practices, new conceptions might be produced for the concealment and security of the old.”

Burke's pamphlet was answered from the Tory standpoint by Dr. Johnson, and from the Republican by Mrs. Macaulay; but while their compositions are forgotten, Burke's is still read and admired. As Lord Brougham says “It is the best weighed and most deliberately pronounced, the calmest of all his productions, and the most fully considered.”

In the session of 1770-71, Burke delivered one of bis finest speeches in denunciation of the power then possessed by the Attorney-General of filing ex-officio informations ; a power which had been employed against Almon, the bookseller, for publishing the “ Letters of Junius to the King." In this speech runs a fine reference to Junius, which seems to us a fair example of Burke's earlier and chaster style :

“How comes this Junius to have broke through the cobwebs of the law, and to range uncontrolled, unpunished, through the land? The myrmidons of the court have been long, and are still pursuing him in vain. They will not spend their time upon me or upon you, when the mighty boar of the forest that has broke through all their toils is before them. But what will all their efforts avail ? No sooner has he wounded one, than he

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