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visible to the most scrutinizing eye, in any part of his conduct or discourse.
· His talents of every kind, powerful from nature, and not meanly cultivated by letters, his social virtues in all the relations and all the habitudes of life, rendered him the centre of a very great and unparalleled variety of societies, which will be dissipated by his death. He had too much merit not to excite some jealousy, too much innocence to pro voke any enmity. The loss of no man of his time can be felt with more sincere, general, and unmixed sorrow.” Perhaps the history of eloquence does not afford a more masterly instance of panegyric than this which I have just quoted ; at once general and appropriate, compressed and complete ; exhibiting, in a few words, the constituents, operations, and effects of its subject's characteristic excellence.
Not long before Burke was deprived of his friend Sir Joshua Reynolds, another gentleman, who had once been very intimate with him, endeavoured to renew their intercourse. Mr. Gerrard Hamilton had always retained a very warm regard for Mr. Burke. He fully admitted his reasons for discontinuing their political connection, and uniformly praised the letter that Burke wrote on the occasion, as one of the finest compositions he had ever perused. He venerated the disinterestedness that had resigned the pension. His admirątion of the talents of his late friend rose higher and higher as they more fully unfolded themselves, and many of his exhibitions he contemplated with astonishment. When theabilities of Fox, more exclusively parliamentary, raised him to be the leader of Opposition, Hamilton said, “In Parliament only would Mr. Fox be the first man; in Parliament only would Mr. Burke not be the first. man.' The discriminating mind of Hamilton distinguished between that combination of cognitive and active powers that fits the possessor for leading men, and those intellectual powers and attainments which fit the
crates, a Demosthenes and a Homer, a Cecil
of the political parties during the American war, nor afterwards. He was, indeed, supposed to have been the author of some, at least of one of the letters of Junius, from the well known circumstance of his having, one morning, very accurately discussed to a nobleman the merits of a letter that he conceived to be that day in the Public Advertiser, which he had not then seen ; and that it was found afterwards that the insertion of the letter had been that day neglected, but the next morning appeared in it, and was exactly whạt he had described. His knowledge of it antecedent to publication proves that he either wrote it himself, or had been informed of it by the author. This inference, however, applies to that letter only; and if he embraced any party, he did not publicly embrace it with ardour. As an impartial observer, he perceived the tendency of measures more accurately than those who were actively engaged. When Mr. Fox brought forward his East-India bill, Hamil,
ton immediately saw that the project of administering the commercial and territorial affairs of the Company by a junto, (however individually respectable) appointed by the proposer, would alarm the court, and turn the supporters of the bill out of office. He advised some of the members of the coalition party to dissuade the leaders from persisting in their plan. Mr.Sheridan, Mr. Courtenay, and several other men of high rank in the party, are understood to have privately signified their apprehensions of the consequences; and recommended to the Ministers to leave the management of their commercial concerns to the Company, as some of the Directors had, on that condition, intimated an acquiescence in the rest of the scheme. The advice of Hamilton, and the representation of those members, had not the desired effect. The consequence was as Hamilton had predicted. Soon after the Regency, he expressed an eager desire that Burke and he should return to the footing of former times. Mr. Courtenay, who was
very intimate with both, was one of those who signified to Burke the wish of Hamilton. Burke said that there were several circumstances which would render it impossible for him to have the same pleasure in the company of Hamilton that he had formerly felt; and that he thought, without that, their meeting would not answer any purpose to either. It does not appear that Burke meant to throw any blame on Hamilton himself: but their separation had caused much obloquy, (tho' very unjustly) that made a great impression on the sensibility of Burke, in so much, that though he knew it not to proceed from Hamilton, he could not help associating that gentleman with a subject of uneasiness and displeasure.
I have carried the private history of Mr. Burke somewhat farther than his public, as I am now coming to a momentous subject of his inquiry and portion of his conduct, the series of which I did not wish to interrupt.