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ing at once to the head of the connexion over superior talents and longer services, though without private weight himself, without any strong hold on public confidence, and, as was generally believed, without the diligence necessary to conduct public business. After their disagreement, it was remarked, that he always sat silent in private company, when Mr. Burke was a theme of praise with every one else; in Parliament he spoke of him more than once, “as one for whose talents and personal virtue he entertained the highest esteem, veneration, and regard ;” a compliment which did not prevent him from making frequent pointed and personal attacks on the object of it, but whịch Mr. Burke rarely deigned to regard. To his councils, also, it has always been said, that the subsequent quarrel of the former with Mr. Fox was owing.
The next avowed difference of opinion with Opposition was on the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts, moved by Mr. Fox on the 2d of March. Mr. Burke declared, that had it been brought forward 10 years sooner, he would have conceived himself bound to vote in the affirmative; but such doubts had since arisen in his mind, that when the same question was moved by Mr. Beaufoy in 1787 and 1789, unwilling to vote against it, yet not satisfied that he was right in voting for it, he had withdrawn from the House without voting at all.
At present he thought the repeal more particularly inexpedient there was a wild spirit of innovation abroad, which required to be checked
the avowed leaders of the dissenters, alluding to Drs. Price, Priestley, Kippis, Towers, and others had in their speeches, writings, resolutions, and even sermons, given countenance not only to the very questionable spirit of the day, but one or two of them had openly threatened a direct attack on the Church Establishment. Such he believed was not the intention of the respectable body with whom those persons were connected; he had ever entertained for that body the highest esteem and respect; but while they permitted such persons to take the lead in their affairs, their pretensions would be received with suspicion; and after all, as some test, he believed, would be required by the country if these acts were repealed, he had brought the draught of one in his pocket ;--this, however, he did not produce, neither did he remain to give his vote. Whatever was the cause, whether from the effect of his speech, the exertions of Mr. Pitt, or the general alarm in the country, this question, which in the preceding session received a faint negative from no more than 20, was now smothered by a majority of 189.
The other chief subjects of the session in which he took part, were in opposing a motion for Parliamentary Reform by Mr. Flood (Mr. Fox honestly confessing, that though he thought such a measure necessary the people did not seem to be of the same opinion);- in supporting the address on the quarrel with Spain ;-and on matters connected with the impeachment.
A proposition, through the medium of some common friends, was made to Mr. Burke about this period, by his former acquaintance Gerrard Hamilton, to renew that intimacy which had so long suffered estrangement, but this offer he declined. He had told Mr. Flood at the time, there was “ an eternal separation" between them,—that “ he would not keep a memorial of such a person about him," and possibly the recollection of some random sarcasms, which Hamilton, though he always did full justice to his uncommon powers had occasionally let off against his party and him. self, might have tended to make him keep his word. The reply made to the communication was, that without entertaining the slighest resentful or unfriendly feeling toward Mr. Hamilton, there were several circumstances in their connexion and separation, particularly the obloquy thrown upon his character without cause, which would prevent his enjoying the same pleasure as formerly in his society. It is said, that had Lord Temple ever become Minister, it was his intention to make Mr. Hamilton his Chancellor of the Ex. chequer; and it must ever be considered an enigma, that any one looking to such a post, should not have made himself of more importance in Parliament than he did by frequently speaking. No explanation has ever been given of his taciturnity, except the illiberal one, that he already enjoyed in a rich sinecure all the substantial return he could expect for much talking.
Publication of Reflections on the Revolution in France. Thomas Paine.-Letter to a Member of the National Assembly.-Rupture with Mr. Fox.-Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs.--Jury Bill of 1791.-Anecdotes.
From the moment of the rupture with Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Burke, perceiving that his opinions on the French Revolution were misrepresented, and willing also to state them more fully and forcibly to the world, as well as to enable the reflecting part of it to think more justly, as he believed, of the event itself, decided to call in the aid of the press,
This task was begun and carried on during the summer with his wonted ardour and disregard of labour, and alluding to the anxious emotions to which it gave rise, says, in a letter to Lord Charlemont, of the 25th May, “ I have been at once much occupied and much agitated with my employment.” The elements of the work, however, had been for some months floating in his mind, and in fact no inconsiderable portion of it, or at least matter nearly similar, already in various forms committed to paper. These were collected, re-written, enlarged, amended, and re-modelled to the form in which he had determined to publish, that of a letter to the French gentleman who had before consulted him on the subject; the whole was polished with extraordinary care, more than a dozen of proofs being worked off and destroyed before he could please himself; it was set off with every attraction of the highest style of eloquence of which the English language is susceptible ; it was impressed on the judgment by acute reasoning, by great penetration into the motives of human action, by maxims of the most sound and practical wisdom: nothing, indeed, which his genius, hiş knowledge, or his observation could supply, was omitted to give popularity to the “ Reflections on the Revolution in France."
In the beginning of November 1790, this celebrated work made its appearance, and a French translation, by his friend M. Dupont, quickly spread its reputation over all Europe. The publication proved one of the remarkable events of the year, perhaps of the century; for it may be doubted whether any previous production ever excited so much attention, so much discussion, so much praise, so much animadversion, and ultimately, among the great majority of persons, such general conviction, having fully succeeded in turning the stream of public opinion to the direction he wished, from the channel in which it had hitherto flowed. The circu. lation of the book corresponded with its fame; about 30,000 copies were sold when there was not a third of the demand for books of any kind that there is at present-a greater sale, it is said, than that of any preceding work whatever of the same price. The interest excited by it did not cease with the moment; for it was sought after by
* A letter to this gentleman from Mr. Burke appeared soon afterwards in the newspapers, on the character of · Henry IV. of France.