Графични страници
PDF файл

Soon after he had finished his education at the university, a vacancy happening in the logic chair at Glaf. gow, Mr. Burke applied for the professorship. In this application he was disappointed; and disappointment wafted him to a fhore more auspicious to genius. He arrived in London, and entered himself a member of the honourable fociety of the Middle Temple, with a view of being called to the bar. Fired by the first examples of antiquity, he bent all the powers of his capacious mind to the acquisition of knowledge. But his health could not contend with this intense application ; and a dangerous illness threatened to deprive himself, his friends, and the world, of the fruits of such unparalleled industry and talents.

On being attacked in fo alarming a manner, he sent for Dr. Nugent, a man of great skill, and still greater goodness of heart ; who, perceiving that the noise and other inconveniences, to which his patient was exposed in chambers at an inn of court, must greatly obitruct his recovery, persuaded him to accept of apartments at the house of his benevolent physician. Here he was treated with all the care which an only fon could experience under the roof of the fondeft parent. His recovery was not a little accelerated by the attentions of Miss Nugent, the doctor's only daughter, who was constantly at his bed-side, relieving, with the tenderest affiduities, the hours of fickness and folitude. Sickness, especially in the young, is a fiveet and lenient corrector. While it humbles the mind, it intenders the heart. The throbbings of vanity are at rest, and we are only alive to sensibility and gratitude. Is it then surprising that one, in every respect worthy of his esteem, and who had now such a claim to his regard, should be confessed the mistress of his heart; and that he found in the daughter of his friend, the partner of his future life? He was soon after married to Miss Nugent; and he has, repeatedly, been heard to say, that he no logier


entered his house, than the very remembrance of his cares vanished.

Returning health restored him to the prosecution of his studies; and the first efforts of his genius were made known in an enquiry into the nature and origin of our ideas respecting the SUBLIME and BEAUTIFUL. On this work, now universally admired, and permanently eitablished, it is unneceffary to descant. But it is a work that has employed the last experience of its author, and we may hope to review it" with confiderable additions and improvements. Before this time, there had been no regular chronicle of events. Mr. Burke contemplated this deficiency; and he allo contemplated a remedy for it. He proposed the plan of the Annual Register, which was immediately adopted by Mr. Dodley, and which has continued through a series of years to experience the best patronage of the public. He now became a member of that literary-club which produced the famous RETALIATION of GOLDSMITH; a poem where, though ludicrously, the poet fo juftlý describes the qualities of his quondam friends. He thus peaks of Burke

« Here lies our good Edmund, whose genius was such,
We scarcely can praise it, or blame it too much;
Who, born for the universe, narrow'd his mind,
And to party gave up what was meant for mankind.
Though fraught with all learning, yet ftraining his throat,
To persuade Tommy Townshend to lend him a vote;
Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining,
And thought of convincing, while they thought of dining;
Though equal to all things, for all things unfit,
Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit;
For a patriot too cool; for a drudge, disobedient;
And too fond of the right to pursue the expedient.
In fhort, 'twas his fate, unemploy'd or in place, fir,
To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a razor.”
The extending reputation of Mr. Burke, and his


conneétions with men of letters, introduced him, about this period, to the notice of Mr. Fitzherbert, a Derbythire gentleman, who, having great influence with that nobleman, soon after introduced Mr. Burke to the friendfip of the Marquis of Rockingham.

(To be continued.)

[ocr errors]


[No. VI.) Every exertion of despair, if unsuccessful, is considered as an

act of lunacy, but attended with success, we then acknowledge is the sublime invention of no ordinary genius.

VAURIEN, OR SKETCHES OF THE TIMES O him who contemplates with an even mind, the be more productive of thought, than the readiness with which most people decide on subjects to which they are iucompetent.

In the common intercourse, and among the casual occurrences of life, there are many things to perplex and amaze us. We see accidents for which no man can account, and emoluments unexpected by all. One friend, who appeared prosperous and happy, is overthrown by a fudden gust of adversity; while another, unsolicitous of greatness, becomes eminent beyond fancy or 'conjecture. These are difficulties which frequently arise, and which every one is so active to discuss, that a person, unread in the world, might be curious to know in what manner they are decided. From the immediate decifion which they obtain, he must either imagine that his tellow-beings are uncommonly wise, or uncommonly presumptuous.

If all the strange experiments of ambition, which have terminated unsuccessfully to their authors, could de enumerated to our view, and all the difficulties to


which an unboastful fortitude has been steadily, though rainly opposed, we should rather wonder that any have been perinanently great, than that so many have been disappointed in their projects. A daring and unconquerable spirit is certainly requisite to fame ; but a daring and unconquerable spirit may never succeed. “ Proud as the world is," says Dr. Young, “ there is more fuperiority in it given than assuined.” We are ever disposed to give way to him who is prepared to make way for himself, and the inferior is Thortly the superior. This transaction is not without a similie, in concerns of less importance. I have seen a boy who wished to ascend a garden-wall, in order to reach the fruit it enclosed. He tries his ingenuity, and he is thwarted. In this instant arrive a number of his companions. He represents his intention to them ; and promises to divide the spoil, provided they will allist him to obtain it. Not one of them has strength enough to attempt the task, but they frame, with their backs, a ladder for his ascent. He gains the prize, laughs at their credulity, and eats it himself. This is what we every day meet with. When the triumvirate divided Rome, what was become of the Roman people? and when Cromwell first entered the house of commons, can it be thought that he aspired to the protectorate? Circumstances were favourable to each, though both Cromwell and the triumvirate were indefatigable and ambitious.

Of all descriptions of men, perhaps the truly honest and diligent are the least calcalated to rise. Unincited by the elevation of their neighbours, and concerned only with justice and propriety, they pursue, in one equal pace, the regular duties of their station. Those events which alike irritate or overwhelm the adventurous and designing, are neither ominous or depreffing to these. They are noteless and calm, temperate and at rest. It would be difficult to entice them from the 1phere in which they move, and impollible to fix them


in another. From such characters there is little to apprehend. Though subject to misfortune, misfortune is half subject to them; and they have the credit of passing wisely through time, without the follies too often attendant on wildom. To a class of beings more fanciful and sublime, animadversion is indebted for her office.

And how is that office performed By what crite. rion do we jucige of human actions ? The head that is insolent and assuming, as well as that which is enterprising and successful, will bear away the palm of renown, while astonishment thall create admiration. When effects are better learnt than causes, and where actions are more attended to than motives, virtue mutt be unfairly appreciated. Imperfect are our best decifions; our rath ones are not unfrequently impious, because we judge without reason and information. And this is the judgment which we natten to pass on moftthings that come under our notice!

Surely, then, forbearance is a virtue. We never know too much on any subject, and we often know but littie- sometimes nothing, of many things that are offered to our confideration. Before we add to the general vote,

let us examine the general report. Frequently we shall find it injudicious; not leldom unfounded. The continual changes of opinion, which cannot justly be attributed to an inconstancy in the public mind, should teach us this falutary caution. Their information is contracted or erroneous, and they tremble with the breach of rumour. They think according to the knowledge they may possess, and they change as occasion seems to dictate. Neither bodies, nor individuals of men, are contented to appear igno

If they have not, they will affect consequence ; and that consequence is evinced in a tecming acquaintance with every object that is presented to their vicw. And thus an error which is formed by negligence, is VQL, II.



« ПредишнаНапред »