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our best friends. Thus persons of great importance may be made to turn the whole of their influence to the destruction of their principles.
I now make it my humble request to your Grace, that you will not give any sort of answer to the paper I send, or to this letter, except barely to let me know that you have received them. I even wish that at present you may not read the paper which I transmit; lock it up in the drawer of your library table; and when a day of compulsory reflection comes, then be pleased to turn it. Then remember that your Grace had a true friend, who had, comparatively with men of your description, a very small interest in opposing the modern system of morality and policy; but who, under every discouragement, was faithful to publick duty and to private friendship. I shall then probably be dead. I am sure I do not wish to live to see such things. But whilst I do live, I shall pursue the same course; although my merits should be taken for unpardonable faults, and such avenged, not only on myself, but on my posterity.
Adieu, my dear Lord; and do me the justice to believe me ever, with most sincere respect, veneration and affectionate attachment,
Your Grace's most faithful friend,
EDMUND BURKE. Beaconsfield, Sept. 29, 1793.
period of publick service, it is natural I should be desirous to stand well (I hope I do stand tolerably well) with that publick, which, with whatever fortune, I have endeavoured faithfully and zealously to serve.
I am also not a little anxious for some place in the estimation of the two persons to whom I address this
paper. I have always acted with them, and with those whom they represent. To my knowledge I have not deviated, no not in the minutest point, from their opinions and principles. Of late, without any alteration in their sentiments, or in mine, a difference of a very unusual nature, and which, under the circumstances, it is not easy to describe, has arisen between us.
In my journey with them through life, I met Mr. Fox in my road; and I travelled with him very cheerfully as long as he appeared to me to pursue the same direction with those in whose company I set oịt. In the latter stage of our progress, a new scheme of liberty and equality was produced in the world, which either dazzled his
imagination, imagination, or was suited to some new walks of ambition, which were then opened to his view. The whole frame and fashion of his politicks appear to have suffered about that time a very material alteration. It is about three years since, in consequence of that extraordinary change, that, after a pretty long preceding period of distance, coolness, and want of confidence, if not total alienation on his part, a complete publick separation has been made between that gentleman and me. Until lately the breach between us appeared reparable. I trusted that time and reflection, and a decisive experience of the mischiefs which have flowed from the proceedings and the system of France, on which our difference had arisen, as well as the known sentiments of the best and wisest of our common friends upon that subject, would have brought him to a safer way of thinking. Several of his friends saw no security for keeping things in a proper train after this excursion of his, but in the re-union of the party on its old grounds, under the Duke of Portland. Mr. Fox, if he pleased, might have been comprehended in that system, with the rank and consideration to which his great talents entitle him, and indeed must secure to him in any party arrangement that could be made. The Duke of Portland knows how much I wished for, and how earnestly I laboured that re-union, and upon terms that might every
way be honourable and advantageous to Mr. Fox. His conduct in the last session has extinguished these hopes for ever.
Mr. Fox has lately published in print a defence of his conduct. On taking into consideration that defence, a society of gentlemen, called the Whig Club, thought proper to come to the following resolution—66 That their confidence in Mr. Fox is confirmed, strengthened, and encreased, by the calumnies against him.”
To that resolution my two noble friends, the Duke of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam, have given their concurrence.
The calumnies supposed in that resolution can be nothing else than the objections taken to Mr. Fox's conduct in this session of Parliament; for to them, and to them alone, the resolution refers. I am one of those who have publickly and strongly urged those objections. I hope I shall be thought only to do what is necessary to my justification, thus publickly, solemnly, and heavily censured by those whom I most value and esteem, when I firmly contend that the objections which I, with many others of the friends to the Duke of Portland, have made to Mr. Fox's conduct, are not calumnies, but founded on truth; that they are not few, but
many ; and that they are not light and trivial, but, in a very high degree, serious and important. That I may avoid the imputation of throwing
out, even privately, any loose, random imputations against the publick conduct of a gentleman, for whom I once entertained a very warm affection, and whose abilities I regard with the greatest admiration, I will put down, distinctly, and articulately, some of the matters of objection which I feel to his late doctrines and proceedings, trusting that I shall be able to demonstrate to the friends whose good opinion I would still cultivate, that not levity, nor caprice, nor less defensible motives, but that very grave reasons, influenced my judgment. I think that the spirit of his late proceedings is wholly alien to our national policy, and to the peace, to the prosperity, and to the legal liberties, of this nation, according to our ancient domestick and appropriated mode of holding them.
Viewing things in that light, my confidence in him is not encreased, but totally destroyed by those proceedings. I cannot conceive it a matter of honour or duty (but the direct contrary) in any member of parliament to continue systematick opposition for the purpose of putting government under difficulties, until Mr. Fox (with all his present ideas) shall have the principal direction of affairs placed in his hands; and until the present body of administration (with their ideas and measures) is of course overturned and dissolved.
To come to particulars :