« ПредишнаНапред »
the:*: He could not be ‘Straightforward and unadorned. He carried his wealth with him and displayed it on all occasions. Mr. Matthew Arnold has very happily characterized this feature of his mind as “Asiatic.” “He is the only man,” said Johnson, “whose common conversation corresponds with the general fame which he has in the world. No man of sense could meet Burke by accident under a gateway to avoid a shower without being convinced that he was the first man in England.”
It is not singular that these characteristics were often thought to be oppressive. In the House of Commons he sometimes poured forth the wealth of his knowledge for hour after hour till the members were burdened and driven out of the House in sheer self-defence. This peculiarity was well described by the satirist who said:
“Pie Went on refining, And thought of convincing when they thought of dining."
Erskine, during the delivery-of-the-spoch on “Conciliation with ica,” crept out and knee rward wrote mor. most remarkable one of ancient or modern times. But this vast superabundance, this superfluity of riches, so oppressive to the ear of the hearer, must ever be a source of pleasure and profit to the thoughtful reader. It is safe to say that there is no other oratory of any language or time that yields Soich a return—to the thoughtful efforts of the genuine student. What Fox said to members of Parliament in regard to the speech on the “Nabob of Arcot's debts,” may be appropriately said with perhaps even greater emphasis to American students in regard to either of the speeches on American affairs: “Let gentlemen read this speech by day and meditate on it by night: let them peruse it again and again, study it, imprint it on their minds, impress it on their hearts.” After all that has been written, the student can nowhere find a more correct and comprehensive account of the causes of the American Revolution than in the speeches on Taxation and Conciliation. Burke's education had given him peculiar qualifications for discussing American affairs. These qualifications were both general and special. At the age of fourteen he entered Trinity College in his native city of Dublin, where he remained six years, performing not only his regular college duties, but carrying on a very elaborate course of study of his own devising. He not only read a greater part of the poets and orators of antiquity, but he also devoted himself to philosophy in such a way that his mind took that peculiar bent which made
him ultimately what TESTEEETeamer, the *— *9 £&ilosoft/loa/Orator" of the language. In 1750, when he was twenty, he began the study of law at the Middle Temple, in London. But his law studies were not congenial to him; and his great energies, therefore, were chiefly devoted to the study of what would now be called Political Science. It was at this period that he acquired that habit which never deserted him of following out trains of thought to their end, and framing his views on every subject he investigated into an organized system. He was a very careful student of Bolingbroke's works; and such an impression had this writer's methods of reasoning made upon him, that when his first pamphlet, “The Vindication of Natural Society " appeared in 1756, it was thought by many to be a posthumous work of Bolingbroke himself. In the same year he astonished the reading world by publishing at the age of twenty-six, his celebrated philosophical treatise on the “Sublime and Beautiful.” But the best of his thoughts were given to a contemplation of the forms and principles of civil society. In 1757 he prepared and published two volumes on the “European Settlements in America,” in the course of which, he showed that he had already traced the character of the Colonial institutions to the spirit of their ancestors, and to an indomitable love of liberty. While preparing these volumes his prophetic intelligence came to see the boundless resources and the irresistible strength that the colonies were soon destined to attain. Thus more than ten years before the troubles with America began, Burke had filled his mind with stores of knowledge in regard to American affairs, and had qualified himself for those mar: vellous trains of reasoning with which he came forward when the Stamp Act was proposed. The very next year after the publication of his treatise on the American Colonies, he projected the Annual Register; a work which even down to the present day has continued to give a yearly account of the most important occurrences in all parts of the globe. The undertaking could hardly have been successful except in the hands of a man of extraordinary powers. The first volumes were written almost exclusively by Burke, and the topics discussed as well as the events described, offered the best of opportunities for the exercise of his peculiar gifts. So great was the demand for the work that the early volumes rapidly passed through several editions. The first article in the first