Billeder på siden
[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

: In the evening of that day I saw the Lord Chancellor. With him, too, I had much discourse. You know that he is intelligent, sagacious, systematick and determined.' At first he seemed of opinion, that the relief contained in the Bill was so inadequate to the mass of oppression it was intended to remove, that it would be better to let it stand over, until a more perfect and better digested plan could be settled. This seemed to possess him very strongly. In order to combat this notion, and to show that the Bill, all things considered, was a very great acquisition, and that it was rather a preliminary, than an obstruction, to relief, I ventured to show him your Letter. It had its effect. He declared himself roundly against giving any thing to a confederacy, real or apparent, to distress Government :- that if any thing was done for Catholicks or Dissenters, it should be done on its own separate merits, and not by way of bargain and compromise that they should be each of them obliged to Government, not each to the other :that this would be a perpetual nursery of faction. In a word, he seemed so determined on not uniting these plans, that all I could say, and I said every thing I could think of, was to no purpose. But when I insisted on the disgrace to Government, which must arise from their rejecting a proposition recommended by themselves, because their opposer had made a mixture, separable too by themselves,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


I was better heard. On the whole, I found him well disposed.

As soon as I had returned to the country, this affair lay so much on my mind, and the absolute necessity of Government's making a sericus business of it, agreeably to the seriousness they professed, and the object required ; that I wrote to Sir G. Cooper, to remind him of the principles, H upon which we went in our conversation, and to press the plan, which was suggested for carrying them into execution. He wrote to me on the 20th, and assured me " that Lord North had given all “ due attention and respect to what you said to him

on Friday, and will pay the same respect to the “ sentiments conveyed in your Letter; every thing

you say or write on the subject undoubtedly de

mands it." Whether this was mere civility, or showed any thing effectual in their intentions, time, and the success of this measure, will show. It is wholly with them; and if it should fail, you are a witness, that nothing on our part has been wanting to free so large a part of our fellow-subjects and fellow-citizens from slavery; and to free Government from the weakness and danger of ruling them by force. As to my own particular part, the desire of doing this has betrayed me into a step, which I cannot perfectly reconcile to myself. You are to judge how far, on the circumstances, it be excused. I think it had a good effect. You may


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

be assured, that I made this communication in a manner effectually to exclude so false and groundless an idea, as that I confer with you, any more than I confer with them, on any party principle whatsoever ; or that in this affair we look further than the measure, which is in profession, and, I am sure, ought to be in reason, theirs. I am ever, with the sincerest affection and esteem,

My dear Sir,

Your most faithful
and obedient humble Servant,

EDMUND BURKE. Beaconsfield, 18th July 1778

I intended to have written sooner, but it has not been in my power.

To the Speaker of the House of Commons of Ireland.


[ocr errors]






My dear Sir,
DO not know in what manner I am to thank

you properly for the very friendly solicitude you have been so good as to express for my reputation. The concern you have done me the honour to take in

my affairs will be an ample indemnity from all, that I may suffer from the rapid judgments of those, who choose to form their opinions of men, not from the life, but from their portraits in a newspaper. · I confess to you, that my frame of mind is so constructed, I have in me so little of the constitution of a great man, that I am more gratified with a very moderate share of approbation from those few, who know me, than I should be with the most clamorous applause from those multitudes, who love to admire at a due distance.

• Mr. Thomas Burgh, of Old Town, was a member of the House of Commons in Ireland,

It appears from a Letter written by this gentleman to Mr. Burke, 24 December, 1779, and to which the following is an answer, that the part Mr. Burke had taken in the discussion, which the affairs of Ireland had undergone in the preceding, Sessions of Parliament in England, had been grossly misrepresented, and much ceasured in Ireland,


I am not however, stoick enough to be able to affirm with truth, or hypocrite enough affectedly to pretend, that I am wholly unmoved at the difficulty, which you, and others of my friends in Ireland, have found in vindicating my conduct towards my native country. It undoubtedly hurts me in some degree; but the wound is not very deep. If I had sought popularity in Ireland, when, in the cause of that country, I was ready to sacrifice, and did sacrifice, a much nearer, a much more immediate, and a much more advantageous, popularity here, I should find myself perfectly unhappy; because I should be totally disappointed in my expectations; because I should discover, when it was too late, what common sense might have told me very early, that I risked the capital of my fame in the most disadvantageous lottery in the world. But I acted then, as I act now, and as I hope I shall act always, from a strong impulse of right, and from motives, in which popularity, either here or there,


part. With the support of that consciousness I can bear a good deal of the coquetry of publick opinion, which has her caprices, and must have her way--Miseri, quibus intentata nitet! I too have had my holiday of popularity in Ireland, I have even


has but a very

Q 2

« ForrigeFortsæt »