« AnteriorContinuar »
he said, was the first experiment of complete transmission of conversation ; delivering the wisdom without hiding the weak
The guest told me, that some of his fellow guests were children, whom the host. entertained as much to their mind as he did others to their mind. He rolled with them on the carpet, played at te-totum and pushpin. • He,' says his guest, ' under infirmity, and the expectation of death, though far advanced in years, had all the vigour of manhood and playfulness of childhood.' This is the substance of the memorandums which I made of what passed at Beaconsfield during the visit in question, except the intercourse between Paine and Mr. Burke, before the French revolution, and in its first stages, which the reader will have seen in its
proper place. The opinion which I entertain of the guest leads me to believe that many valuable remarks must have been made on his side, which his modesty has forborne to mention, and that just praise must have been bestowed by such a host to such a guest, which, from the same motive, was not cominunicated. Soon after that time Burke went to Bath, as his health was in a bad state ; but in the course of the Spring he recovered.
Mr. M‘Cormick, in mentioning an advertisement published by Mr. Owen, relatively to him and Mr. Burke, * conceives that the severity of the advertisement hastened the death of Burke. If it would have been any glory to have accelerated to the world the loss of Edmund Burke, the framer of the advertisement must rest his fame on some other grounds. The advertisement was in November 1796, and Mr. Burke was in good
The reader, no doubt, remembers a surreptitious copy of the • Regicide Peace' being offered to the public by Mr. Owen, but stopped by an injunction of Chancery, preventing this invasion of literary property. Mr. Owen's own account was, that he had been desired to account for the profits of the Letter concerning the Duke of Bedford, though not compelled to refund; that therefore he published what did not belong to him. His own reasoning is sufficient to enable us to form a just judgment.
health four months after. The petty attempts of malignity, during his life, to disturb his peace were as unavailing as the petty attempts of malignity after his death are to blacken his character. On his return to Beaconsfield, he proceeded in the plan of which the • Regicide Peace' was a part; and, although Heaven was not pleased to permit him to finish his task, there is in this, the last of his works, * the same accuracy, minuteness, and extent of knowledge; the same sportiveness of humour; the same brilliancy of fancy, vigour, and variety of argument; the same grand comprehensiveness of view, that had for forty years distinguished the productions of Edmund Burke. Having, in the former letters on the same subject, established the necessity (at least in the existing circumstances) of perseverance in the war with France, and stated the sufficiency of our resources, he in this part gives a complete enumeration of our means of carrying on the contest, in
* And hitherto the last of his posthumous publications.
the richness of the country and the spirit of its inhabitants. He anxiously wishes that other nations might so awaken to a sense of their real interests, as to combine in the most vigorous opposition to a system carried on on the avowed maxims of robbery ; but his chief object was to rouse his own country. His last advice is, succumb not under difficulties: unite vigilance and courage; guard against your ambitious and insolent foe, who will, if he can, enslave you, his most detested, as most dreaded enemies, as he has done others; but he cannot enslave you,
if you are stedfastly determined to defend yourselves. His health, from the beginning of June, rapidly declined; but his body only, not his mind, was affected. His understanding operated with undiminished force and uncontracted range: his dispo. sitions retained their sweetness and amiable
He continued regularly and strenuously to perform the duties of religion and benevolence : his concern for the happiness of his friends and the welfare of mankind was equally vivid.
His goodness even ex
tended to uneasiness on account of the fatigue and trouble of attending his sick-bed, occasioned to the inmates of his house. When his favourite domestics, confidential friends, and nearest connections, were eager to bestow the nightly attendance of nurses, he solicitously importuned them not to deprive themselves of rest. Although his body was in a state of constant and perceptible decay, yet was it without pain. The lamp of life was consuming fast, but was not violently extinguished. The week in which he died he conversed with literary and political friends, on various subjects of knowledge, and especially on the awful posture of affairs. He repeatedly requested their forgiveness, if ever he had offended them, and conjured them to make the same request in his name to those of his friends that were absent. Friday, July the 7th, he spent the morning in a recapitulation of the most important acts of his life, the circumstances in which he acted, and the motives by which he was prompted ; shewed that his comprehensive inind retained the whole