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Family and Birth of Mr. Burke.-Studies and Poetical

Exercises.--Entry at the Middle Temple.

EDMUND BURKE, the most extraordinary man perhaps of his age, and certainly so of his country, was descended from a respectable family, long settled in the county of Limerick, in Ireland, and enjoying a considerable estate there, but forfeited during one of those civil convulsions which have so often caused property to change possessors in that country. This took place about 1641.

His great grandfather retired to a small estate which still remained to him, adjoining to the village of Castletown Roche, in the county of Cork, about four miles from Donneraile, five or six from Mallow, and something more from the old castle of Killmacleny, once the residence, though now in ruins, of the poet Spenser; and where he wrote part of his Fairy Queen; the superstitions, scenery, and romantic traditions of that part of the country supplying him unquestionably with numberless hints for that great work. This property continuing in the Burke family, came into the possession of Edmund in 1765, on the death of his elder brother Garrett, who died on the 27th of April in that year, and lies buried on the spot ; it was sold by him in 1792 or 1793, for something less than 40001.; the annual value at that period


was under 3001. but of late it has produced above 700l. per annum.

His father, Richard Burke, or Bourke, as the name was originally spelt, and as many families, particularly that of the Earl of Mayo (the founder of which was also a Richard Bourke, LLD. who died in 1727) still spell it, was a protestant, and educated for an attorney. Removing to Dublin, he took a house on Arran-Quay, then a fashionable part of the town, and soon obtaining extensive practice, continued for several years at the head of his profession in that city. He had become attached at an early period to a juvenile acquaintance, a Miss Nagle, of the respectable family of that name still existing, near Castletown Roche; one member of which, the present admiral, Sir Edmund Nagle, enjoyed, in his naval career, the active patronage and friendship of his celebrated kinsman, spending much of his time when not on service at Beaconsfield, and frequently calling forth his praise by his gallantry, particularly on occasion, when Edmund-said he deserved ia civic crown for jumping overboard, from a ship at sea, to save a friend from the jaws of a shark.* i jfitt

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* This circumstance being much talked of at the time, his late Majesty heard of it, and Sir Edmund, then Captain Nagle, being pointed out, he entered into conversation, complimenting him upon his gallantry: :" It was a hazardous attempt, Captain Nagle,” observed the King "I never thought of the hazard, please your Majesty."

Ta think you would run such a risk again, Captain Nagle?” « Please your Majesty, I would go to h—11 at any time to serve a friend !” replied the gallant seaman.

« But do you


By this lady, to whom he was married, at Mallow, about 1726, Mr. Burke had 14 or 15 children, all of whom died young, except Garrett, Edmund, Richard, and a sister named Julia, baptized 1728, afterwards married to a gentleman of consideration, named French. Garrett, who followed his father's profession, and was well known in Dublin as a man of wit and drollery, died unmarried. Richard, who became equally distinguished in London as a wit, a politician, a writer, and a lawyer, in which latter capacity. Lord Mansfield had formed and expressed to several members of the bar now living the highest opinion of him, and of whom some notices will hereafter occur, also died unmarried. The issue of Mrs. French alone survive; Thomas Haviland Burke, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn, her grandson, being the lineal representative of the family. The integrity and reputation of their father enabled him, after living in affluence, and educating his children in a suitable manner, to leave behind at his death a competent provision for them. It is a fact, ascertained by the writer, from the most unquestionable authority, that Edmund acquired from his family, at various times, a sum little short of 20,0001.; which is more than Mr. Pitt derived from his father; though it has been industriously circulated that the patrimony of the former amounted to little or nothing, and that in early life he supported himself in London wholly by his pen.

He was born in the house on Arran Quay, January 1st, O. S. 1730: those who are fond of


looking to coincidences will not fail to remark from what has been already said, that, like his great contemporaries, Mr. Fox and Mr. Pitt, he was a younger son. Scarcely any thing is remembered of his early years, except being of a delicate con. stitution, tending, as was believed, to consumption. On this account he was kept longer than usual under the paternal roof; and it is traditionally related as something remarkable and even ludicrous, that the first instructor in the rudiments of learn, ing of this great master of the powers of the English language, was an elderly woman residing in the neighbourhood, who, entertaining a partiality for the boy, found amusement in the business of forming his infant mind.

The air of the metropolis being deemed detrimental to his constitution from not improving in strength, he was removed to his grandfather's, at Castletown Roche. Here for the first time he was put to school ; and the ruins of the school, room, or what is believed to have been such, may be still traditionally pointed out to those who take an interest in prying into those early haunts which subsequent great genius elevates into immortality, At this place he spent a considerable time, so much, it is said, as five years, acquiring all that the village school-master could teach; and the partiality which he always entertained for the spot, in addi, tion to his long residence in it, and familiarity with the neighbouring objects, particularly Spenser's ruined castle, gave rise to the belief of his having been born there. In Ireland this report is par

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