Imágenes de páginas

tive guide was experience; and was, therefore, like his friend, an enemy to speculative innovations. His speeches are less those of an orator that wishes to impress your feelings, than of a philosopher, who seeks to inform, convince, and expand your understanding His orations were less frequent than those of many very inferior speakers, (at least very inferior reasoners) he seldom spoke much, unless on important subjects; but the knowledge, the argumentation, the philosophy exhibited by him when he did speak, had rendered his character very high; as also the estimation in which he was held by the party of which he was a member, and by those of the opposite side. From his own rules of reasoning he had judged unfavourably of the French system, proceeding on 'principles so very contrary. The expanded philosophy of his friend confirmed the conclusions of his own mind. He reprobated the new order of France, and dreaded it when practically held up as a model for Britain. Then did his powers fully unfold themselves. In the discussions on the internal state of the country, as affected by the dissemination of levelling doctrines, animated by the momentous subject, he displayed an energetic eloquence that few could equal; but that he himself has since equalled, when occasions arose to call forth his MIND.

On the same subject, the internal state of the country, Mr. Dundas had very fully displayed his intellectual powers : powers, which those who confound principals and adjuncts do not justly estimate; but those who can, in their operations, appreciate the qualities of mind, highly value. Official habits of business so easily master common details, that it is not reckoned a proof of great talents to be distinguished as a man of business. To transact affairs in the precedented routine is certainly a matter of no ingenuity or ability ; but that is no proof that

great ability may not be shewn in the transaction of affairs. Mr. Dundas is distinguished not merely for business, but for the ready comprehension of the most com

plicated details and intricate relations, for instantaneous perception of the case, application of the principle, decision of resolution, and promptness of dispatch. Both in the senate and in office lie is most peculiarly eminent for immediately taking off the husk, and finding the kernel. An understanding naturally strong, had been exerted in his profession long enough to invigorate * his faculties without contracting their exertion. He too, for a long period of his parliamentary life, rarely spoke, unless on great occasions. On these he shewed the readiness of his penetration, the extent of appropriate knowledge, and the masculine strength of his intellect. One proof of his penetration was, that he first perceived the nature of a very great mind, and its fitness even in early youth for that situation which generally requires maturity of years to be united with genius.

When Mr. Burke retired from the senate, his only son Richard was destined to be his

* See Burke's character of Mr. Grenville, ,

[ocr errors]

age. Even

successor as member for the borough of Malton. That gentleman had given proofs of considerable abilities. Those who were most intimate with him give him the praise of a clear, acute, and vigorous understanding; and affirm that, if his health had

permitted the close and intense application which he was disposed to bestow, he would have equalled most men of his with the interrupted attention which he was able to give, he had acquired the high opinion of men of rank and talents ; an opinion which his conduct as agent for the Roman Catholics of Ireland confirmed.

He was deeply conversant in the history and constitution both of Ireland and Britain. He is said to have ministered to the genius of his father in collating some of the instances of speeches and opinions by old Whigs, to whóm his father appeals from the new.

The father looked on the son thus really able, as a prodigy of genius, and even regarded him as his own superior. With great delight he committed him to the patronage

of Earl Fitzwilliam, who, now nominated Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, appointed him his Secretary. With great delight he introduced him to his own constituents, the friends of his valued friends, the Marquis of Rockingham and Earl Fitzwilliam. Mr. Burke, during that excursion to Yorkshire, was in very high spirits, and returned to town in the same state. He had, at that time, a town-house in Duke-street, St. James's. There his son and he arrived on or about July 25th. The next day a party of intimate friends dined with them, and found him exulting in the appointment of his son to situations, which he conceived him so admirably fitted to fill. His guests never saw him more animated, or more delightful company. When, however, they beheld the sallow and emaciated looks of the son, they regretted that the father's joy did not allow him to see the young gentleman's dangerous state of health. Mr. Richard Burke now went to lodge at Cromwellhouse, Brompton, while his father spent his time partly with him and partly in town, or at Beaconsfield. Mr. Burke, the younger,

« AnteriorContinuar »