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by a tragical detail of the dreadful consequences that must flow from the absence of it.
In page 78, Mr. Burke allows that the intentions of Mr. Fox and his associates may be pure, though they were in great error.”
Under the impression however that their perseverance in error was not grossly improbable, in page 83, Mr. Burke says, that “the declared opinions and uniform line of conduct conformable to those opinions pursued by Mr. Fox, must become a matter of serious alarm if he should obtain a power at court, or in parliament, or in the nation at large, because he must be the most active and efficient member of any administration, and Mr. Burke adds, that a man or a set of men guided by such not dubious but delivered and avowed systems, principles, and maxims of politics, as to need a watch and check on them in the exercise of the highest power, ought, in Mr. Burke's opinion, to make every man who is not of the same principles a little cautious how he helps a man or a set of men to climb up to the highest authority. In page 89, he
that if “ Mr. Fox be wedded, they who have been little satisfied with the proceedings of Mr. Pitt in the beginning of his administration, must be sensible that Mr. Fox's opinions and principles must be taken as his portion. That in Mr. Fox's train must also be taken the whole body of gentlemen who are pledged to him and to each other, and to their common politics and principles. That Mr. Burke believes that no king of Great Britain will ever adopt for his confidential servants that body of gentlemen holding that body of principles.
Mr. Burke goes on to say, that if the present king or his successor should think fit to take that step, he apprehends a general discontent of those who, wish that this nation and Europe should continue in their present state, would ensue. A discontent which combined with the principles and progress of the new men in power, would shake this kingdom to its foundations."
Are these expressions qualified by occasional suppositions that Mr. Fox would in all probability change his opinions upon coming into office? Are they not rather accompanied by very intelligible intimations that we had little reason to look for such a change? Do they show merely the propriety and comparative expediency of excluding Mr. Fox from power in the whole reign of our present sovereign, and the whole reign of his successor? Do they not imply that Mr. Fox was utterly unworthy of any favour from his sovereign, any support from the aristocracy, or any confidence from the people? That if any sovereign should ever vouchsafe to employ Mr. Fox, men who wish things to continue as they are would be provoked to take up arms against the king and his servants ? That Mr. Fox was likely to pursue such measures as would shake this kingdom to its foundations ?
Let me not be told that such representations were mere effusions of anger, or mere flourishes of rhetoric-No: they were not spoken-but they were written--they issued from the press, and to
the press they were sent after much deliberation and in a very offensive form, though while they were in the press they might undergo many corrections. Did the editor forge the whole? Did he interpolate any part ? Did he suppress any thing kind? Did he aggravate any thing severe? In the book itself all excuses of precipitation are excluded by the words of the author himself. In page 88, he ushers in his opinion of the consequences that were to flow from the admission of Mr. Fox to power, by telling us that “ on a cool and dispassionate view of affairs in this time and country Mr. Pitt or Mr. Fox must be minister, and that to his sorrow they are irreconcileable.” The succeeding parts of this paragraph seem to be written in the same cool and dispassionate view. The conclusion tells us explicitly and positively that, in “ Mr. Burke's belief, no political conjecture can be more certain than this, that if the king or his successor should think fit to employ Mr. Fox and his partizans, such dis. content among the well-wishers to the present state of this nation and of Europe would ensue, as, combined with the principles and progress of the new men in power, would shake this kingdom to its foundations."
I do not ask what portion of the public approved of Mr. Burke's letter, or how many persons may now remember it. But thus much I know, it was once read eagerly, it will be read hereafter, and with indifference no man of any party can read it. But that Mr. Burke wrote it, that he meant to publish it, that he suffered it to be published, that he
himself republished it, that he retracted it not, that he softened it not, were sufficient reasons for Mr. Fox to separate himself entirely from Mr. Burke. They are sufficient reasons with me too, for expressing as I have done to you my opinions upon the comparative merits of Mr. Burke and Mr. Fox, and they are sufficient also to justify me in setting very little value upon Mr. Burke's concession, that Mr. Fox was “a man born to be loved, and that he became by slow degrees the most brilliant and accomplished debater Mr. Burke had ever seen."
You and I, dear Sir, should not retain much love for the constitutional good nature, or the private virtues of any man, if we were convinced that his ambition was unscrupulous, that he felt no horror at the massacre of the tenth of August, that he had been almost a traitor, and that upon coming into office he would pursue such measures as must terminate in rebellion and revolution.
To Mr. Burke's political conjecture, so approaching to certainty as he describes it, we may oppose some plain facts.
Mr. Fox neither in parliament nor out of it, retracted any of the principles which he had really entertained and avowed upon the politics of France; and from opinions that were distinct from principles little danger could be apprehended.
Now Mr. Pitt within these four or five years entered into something like a negociation for coalescing with Mr. Fox; and whatsoever compromise they might have made from motives of prudence to avoid all discussions upon the causes of the late
war, neither of them was supposed to surrender his principles; nor can it be seriously believed by any man that Mr. Pitt viewed Mr. Fox's political judgments in the same odious light in which Mr. Burke represents them, or that Mr. Fox had bargained for not acting upon them so far as he thought them right, or that Mr. Pitt if he thought them incorrigibly and dangerously wrong, would have been weak enough to be a party in such a bargain.
Mr. Adair, a self-appointed ambassador to Petersburgh, and the reputed accomplice of Mr. Fox in “ a high treasonable misdemeanour," was sent by one ministry as envoy to Vienna, and we may suppose that he has expiated his offences, or at least that like a sincere penitent he has not repeated them, because he continues in that important character with the approbation of his sovereign, and with the acquiescence it should seem of another ministry, whose general system of politics he would not support.
I have long had the happiness and the honour to call Mr. Adair my friend, and well do I remember the pangs which he suffered and the tears which he shed, when persons whom he had been accustomed to love and respect were torn asunder at the commencement of the late war. I know Mr. Adair's literary attainments, his various information, his constitutional principles, 42 his exquisite and amiable sensibility, his sincerity in private friendship, and his firmness in political attachment; and to his fiercest accusers I should say with confidence,
“ However Heaven or fortune may cast his lot, VOL. IV.