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probating the licentiousness of the press on both sides, and complaining (1764) that “ character no longer depended on the tenor of a man's life and actions; it was entirely determined by the party he had taken.”

Previous to this time, it has been said, and never denied, that he had disciplined himself in public speaking at the famous debating society, known by the name of the “ Robin Hood.” Such was then the custom among law-students, and others intended for public life; and a story is told of the future orator having commonly to encounter an opponent whom nobody else could overcome; this person, it seems, was discovered to be a baker, whom Goldsmith, who had heard him several times speak, once characterized as being " meant by nature for a lord chancellor.” Mr. Murphy had some faint récollection of the anecdote. Trades. men form no inconsiderable part of such assemblies; and as unlettered minds often think originally, though crudely, it may not be useless to one better informed, thus to seek exercise by beating down their errors. A circumstance almost precisely similar occurred to the late celebrated Mr: Curran, when keeping his terms in London.

A suggestion of Mr. Reynolds to Mr. Burke, between whom a close friendship existed, cemented by admiration of each other's talents and private virtues, gave birth in 1764 to the famous Literary Club, in imitation of the social meetings of the wits of the preceding age. No class of persons, perhaps, require them more than those who hav. ing little to enliven the solitary drudgery of the day, gladly fly to familiar converse in the evening with congenial minds. Here the wise may mix with the wise, not indeed to preach up wisdom, but to forget the follies of others in displaying some of their own.

Here also were performed, without venting the undue personal animosity and unmeasured abuse of the criticism of our day, those offices to literature now undertaken by the leading reviews, in settling the claims of new books and authors. Literary enmities were then less general, perhaps, in consequence of men of jarring opinions and principles being brought more frequently together, and finding in the amenities of social intercourse something to soften the asperities of controversy. Authors, at present, associate more with the world and less with each other; but it may be doubted whether they or the public have gained by the exchange.

Among those of the club whom Mr. Burke much esteemed, and whose genius and foibles were alternately sources of admiration and amusement, was Goldsmith. They had entered Trinity College within two months of each other; the former, as related, in April, the latter in June, 1744; and though not then particularly acquainted, remembered each other afterwards as being known to possess talents, rather than for exerting them. Occasional meetings at Dodsley's renewed the acquaintance, about 1758; and in the Annual Register for the following year, his Inquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe, is

noticed with approbation, as were all his subsequent writings.

Barring a little vanity, and a little jealousy, which however from the manner they were shown excited rather laughter than anger, it was difficult to know Goldsmith without liking him, even if the warm regards of Burke, Johnson, and Reynolds were not alone a sufficient stamp of the sterling value of any man. Humane in disposition, generous to imprudence, careless of his own interests, a chaste and elegant writer, who advocated the interests of religion and morals, and who combined with his exhortations as much of practical benevolence as falls to the lot of most men, he was worthy of such friends ; at once a rival of their fame and of their virtues. An author by profession, he was characterized by the imprudences often attendant upon genius. He thought not of the morrow; the “ heaviest of metals” was so light in his estimation as to be carelessly parted with, though laboriously earned. He and poverty had been so long acquainted, that even when an opportunity offered for casting her off by the success of his pen, they knew not how to separate. He lived too much in pecuniary difficulties, and he died so.

During the term of his literary life, which comprised no more than 16 years, he wrote much and always well, but chiefly of that class of productions intended rather as sacrifices to necessity than to inclination. There is enough indeed for fame, but much less than for our national glory

and individual pleasure, every reader of taste will wish. His plays are good; his poems, novel, and essays, admirable: his histories, as far as they go, infinitely superior to any others of the same description. Some persons, on account of the small number of his original works, have been inclined to attribute to him poverty of genius, forgetting the shortness of his career; in fact, no writer of the age displayed more fertility and variety on any subject to which he chose to apply the powers of his mind. And it should also be remembered that he had constantly to write for present bread before he could think of contingent reputation; for, alas! of what use are the brains when not backed by the belly ? He died too at 46; an age at which Johnson was little more than beginning to become known to the public, and after which that great writer completed several of those works which render him the pride of our nation. Had poor

Goldsmith lived to attain an equally venerable term of years, there is no doubt, both from his necessities and thirst for distinction, that the national literature would be enriched much more than it is, by the labours of his pen.

CHAPTER IV.

Appointed Private Secretary to the Marquis of Rockingham

-Success in Parliament-Gregories-Pamphlet in Reply to Mr. Grenville-Junius-Letters to Barry.!

The moment at length arrived when Mr. Burke gained that opening into public life, which nature and the train of his studies had so eminently qualified him to fill.

Mr. George Grenville's Administration had become unpopular by the proceedings against Mr. Wilkes, by the means resorted to for increasing the revenue, and the supposed secret influence of Lord Bute, when the omission of the Princess Dowager of Wales's name in the Regency Bill then framed on the first paroxysm of that malady which subsequently so much afflicted the king, threw it out, as Mr. Burke, in the letter already quoted, had clearly predicted two months before. Mr. Pitt was then applied to in vain ; that imperious, though able minister, scarcely permitting his Majesty to have a voice in the formation of his own councils. The Duke of Cumberland, esteemed for good sense and popular deportment, now undertook the formation of a ministry; and, by his express command, and through him the direct desire of the King, a division of the Whigs entered into office under the Marquis of Rockingham.

The body, among whom this nobleman now

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