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IN order to avoid confufion in the most variegated landscape> the painter need only fix upon one striking point of view, and, by the magic of his pencil and colours, make every surrounding object tend, as it were, to that center of unity. But the rich. fcenery of genius will by no means admit of the like artifice or method. Its branches are often fo luxuriant and expansive, that each of them completely fills the eye, and precludes the idea of fecondary importance. There are few characters to which this remark is more justly applicable than to that of Mr. Burke. The liveliness of his fancy, and the accuracy of his judgment ;---the grafp of his memory, and the fertility of his invention ;---the vigor of his native powers, and his immenfe acquirements by learning and study;---seem almoft equally to attract our notice, and to excite our admiration. Poffeffing as great a command of the pen as of the tongue, he is one of the rare instances to be met with, either in ancient or modern times, of men who have united the talents of speaking and writing with irresistible force and elegance. He has risen to no lefs diftinction in the literary than in the political world, and may be faid to have fhone with



extraordinary luftre in two different hemifpheres. Inftead, therefore, of vainly attempting to embrace, at a fingle glance, fuch a diffufion of light, we must be content to follow it in all its revolutions, in all the whirling changes of its eccentric courfe: we muft remark with ftrict attention the moments of its dimness and obfcurity, as well as thofe of its brighest effulgence; and, after defcribing with heart-felt rapture the beauties of its meridian fplendor, let us not be blamed for fhedding a tear at its finking under a total and irremovable eclipfe.

It would be trifling not only with our readers, but with the fubject, to dwell on circumstances of little importance, or of general notoriety, fuch as the birth-place and family of Mr. Burke. All that we need obferve concerning these matters is, that he was born in the year 1729, near the town of Carlow in Ireland, a country on which it was fondly hoped by his friends that he would reflect immortal honour, while he elevated the dignity of human nature. His parents lived in a state of decent mediocrity, equally removed from penury and opulence. It was his good fortune to be placed at a very early period under the inftruction of a Mr. SHUCKLETON, an amiable and enlightened quaker, who kept a school at Ballytore, in the county of Kildare, and who, foon difcovering the abilities of his pupil, cherished his ardor and affifted his exertions in the pursuit of every valuable attainment. PHILIP of Macedon thanked the Gods, at the birth of ALEXANDER, not fo much for their having blessed him with a fon, as for that fon's being born at a time when an ARISTOTLE was living to fuperintend his education. Mr. Burke's father muft have felt fimilar emotions on finding a SHUCKLETON in his neighbourhood, to train up the young orator.

We may also very cafily conceive how much the natural pride of the tutor must have been flattered and gratified by the rapidity


of his scholar's progrefs. Yet, that pleasure was not wholly unmixt with mortification at perceiving the early dawn of genius obfcured by fome marks of an overbearing and intolerant fpirit. The old quaker often related the following anecdote with tears.. A pamphlet had just been published, written with great virulence, though in a masterly ftyle, against the Roman catholics of Ireland. Mr. SHUCKLETON put it into the hands of young BURKE, and defired to know his opinion of it. He thus expressed himself, after reading the work :---" The only fault I find in it is its being too concife, and not fevere enough. Inftead of a little duodecimo, were I to write on the subject, I should make it a large quarto, and should give a keener edge to every argument; for I really think that our establishments both in church and ftate will never be fecure, without an abfolute extermination of the papifts." He has fince fhewn greater kindness for the Roman catholic part of his countrymen: he has even pleaded their caufe in a strain of the most perfuafive eloquence: yet they do not in general believe that this proceeds from any real change in his original principles,---but from an affectation of liberality towards them, while he wished to direct the whole tide of perfecution: against another party. A few of their leaders, who are in the fecret, ascribe his zeal to a bribe of two thousand pounds which they gave him for his fervices, and to the appointment of his fon as their agent. All these motives may, indeed, have concurred to operate very powerfully on his perfeverance; but it is candid. to fuppofe that a correction of early prejudices, and a more enlightened policy, gave the first impulfe to his laudable exertions..

An opinion prevails in England, chiefly from the boldnefs with: which the thing has been afferted by fome of Mr. BURKE's political adversaries, that he was rocked in the cradle of popery ;---that beads and rofaries were the playthings of his childhood

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that he received his first leffons, or rudiments of learning, from one of the holy fathers, and completed his ftudies at the Jesuits' College at St. Omer's. To thefe calumnies, though tot lly unfounded in fact, fome colouring has been given by his funeral lamentations on the downfall of the French clergy; by his writings in favour of the catholics of Ireland; and by his permitting a wife of that perfuafion fometimes to keep a priest in the house. But, as civil and spiritual tyranny had been infeparably united in the old French fyftem, he could not propose the re-establishment of the one, without endeavouring to prop up the rotten pillars of the other: his views in becoming an advocate for the Irish catholics have been already hinted at, and will be farther explained and with regard to his allowing Mrs. BURKE a domestic chaplain, it should be confidered as a proof of his affectionate indulgence, though he has also been known to derive another pleafure from it, like that of VOLTAIRE in admitting Father ADAM to his table, merely to make the poor prieft the butt of deistical raillery.---This digreffion feemed neceffary to correct a popular mistake on the subject of Mr. BURKE's religious principles. We shall now resume the thread of our biographical narrative.

After a regular course of study under the good quaker, the pride of the fchool, for fo young EDMUND was called, was removed at the age of fixteen to Trinity College, Dublin, where the prefages already formed of his genius were more and more confirmed. In the fecond year of his refidence there, he obtained a scholarship, which is fomewhat fimilar in point of honour and emolument to the rank of a student at Christ Church, Oxford. As foon as he took his batchelor's degree in 1749, he came over to 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 examples of DEMOSTHENES and CI


CERO, he bent all the powers of his capacious mind to the acquifition of knowledge. He left no region of fcience unexplored, no path of learning untrodden, which could lead him to profeffional eminence. But his health was gradually impaired by this intense application to study; and a dangerous illness threatened to deprive himself, his friends, and the world, of the fruits of fuch unparalleled industry and talents.

Mr. BURKE, on being attacked in fo alarming a manner, fent for Doctor 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 obftruct his recovery, perfuaded him to accept of apartments at the house of his liberal and benevolent phyfician. Here he was treated with all the care which an only fon could experience under the roof of the fondest parent. The return of his health was not more promoted by the effect of falutary medicines than by the tender attention of the whole family, and particularly of the daughter, Mifs NUGENT, who was almost conftantly at his bedfide, affording him every affistance in her power, and cheering the languid hours of fickness by her sweet and lively converfation. Gratitude on his part foon grew into love; and the only adequate return he could make to his endearing nurse was an offer of his heart. It was accepted; and in all the chequered scenes of his life fince that period, he has never had any cause to repent his having fixed his affections on fo worthy an object.

But Mr. BURKE's attachment to his intended bride did not prevent him from renewing his addreffes to nine other ladies, of whom he had before been the zealous votary. The Muses heard him with gracious finiles; and though he wrote in profe, yet it was profe adorned with the choiceft gifts of thofe deities that prefide

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