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wrong direction of talents.

Besides, the speeches of the great orators contain a very uncommon portion of the wisest general observations. The opening speech of Burke on the modes of bringing a public delinquent to justice, on the character and situation of the accuser, and the motives by which he ought to be actuated, exhibit at once a most extensive knowledge of the crown law of this kingdom, of the science of jurisprudence, and of ethics in general ; and in that view, without considering its reference to Mr. Hastings, it combines legal information and moral instruction. His speech on the Rohilla war unites a most complete acquaintance with the Roman policy in the management of distant provinces, and that of modern Europe, to the wisest and most liberal principles respecting that department of government. His eloquence, if it did not prove the points he wished to establish concerning Hastings, and was in that view a waste of genius, yet contains facts, images, sentiments, and philosophy, that render it delightful and estimable.

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That mind which could itself produce such astonishing intellectual efforts, paid the just tribute of praise to extraordinary exhibitions of genius in others. On the celebrated speech of Sheridan on the Begum charge, he bestowed the following very high, but not exaggerated panegyric.

• He has this day surprised the thousands, who hung with rapture on his accents, by such an array of talents, such an exhibition of capacity, such a display of powers, as are unparalleled in the annals of oratory; a display that reflected the highest honour upon

himself-Instre upon letters-renown upon Parliament-glory upon the country. Of all species of rhetoric, of every kind of eloquence that has been witnessed or recorded, either in ancient or modern times; whatever the acuteness of the bar, the dignity of the Senate, the solidity of the judgment-seat, and the sacred morality of the pulpit, have hitherto furnished, nothing has surpassed, nothing has equalled what we have heard this day in Westmi

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Hall. No holy seer of religion, no sage, no statesman, no orator, no man of any literary description whatever, has come up, in the one instance, to the pure sentiments of morality, or in the other, to that variety of knowledge, force of imagination, propriety and vivacity of allusion, beauty and elegance of diction, strength and copiousness of style, pathos and sublimity of conception, to which we have this day listened with ardour and admiration. From poetry, up to eloquence, there is not a species of composition, of which a complete and perfect specimen might not, from that - single speech, be culled and collected.

After quoting this encomium, Mr. M'Cormick makes the following observations, which require animadversion. « How sweet is praise, when uttered by the lips of eloquence! Yet sweeter still, when it flows from the heart of sincerity! But Mr. Burke's language on this occasion was dictated by artifice. The near observers of his sentiments and emotions could perceive that he

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had gnawed

felt himself surpassed by Mr. Sheridan in all the favourite walks of his own genius ; that the canker-worm of

envy its way into his bosom ; and that he strove to conceal its sharp corrosion under the shew of the most zealous and liberal applause.'

There is nothing easier than to assign bad motives, but their existence is to be proved by something more convincing than mere assertion. Is there any evidence that Sheridan was the object of envy to Burke? Mr. M*Cormick adduces none.

There is, therefore, only his affirmation, to which a negative is an equivalent. But, as a matter of verisimilitude, what is, there in the relative talents, character, and situation of both, that could render it probable? Sheridan is, no doubt, a man of great genius and great eloquence; but is there any thing in his genius or eloquence, the superiority of which could gnaw the mind of Burke? Let an impartial reader peruse the speeches and consider the efforts of both, and answer this question : let him read the most admired

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VOL, II.

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productions of that very admirable orator,
and let him compare them with the speeches
of Burke on American taxation, on recon-
cilement, on economy, on the India-bill,
on the opening of the charges against
Hastings, and let him shew in Burke that
inferiority which only can be the cause of
envy. From the manner in which Mr.
M*Cormick expresses himself, it would ap-
pear, that it was parliamentary eloquence in: *
which Sheridan displayed such powers as to
mortify Burke. But could he be supposed
to be so ignorant of his own extraordinary
talents, as to be mortified by the exhibition
of very great talents in any one? If the
perception of very great parliamentary abi-
lities in another was to fill the breast of
Burke with jealousy and rage, that cause
must have existed respecting another

person of his own party certainly as much as cons çerning Sheridan. No man can admire the force and versatility of Sheridan's genius more than I ; but certain I am that I do not under-rate it, when I think, that a man could not envy his senatorial powers, who

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