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the feeling, it is certain that his admiration of the Speech was real and unbounded. He is said to have exclaimed to Mr. Fox, during the delivery of some passages of it, “There ,-that is the true style ;—something between poetry and prose, and better than either.” The severer taste of Mr. Fox dissenlèd , as might be expected, from this remark. He replied, that “he thought such a mixture was for the advantage of neither—as producing poetic prose, or, still worse, prosaic poetry.” It was, indeed, the opinion of Mr. Fox, that the impression made upon Burke by these somewhat too theatrical tirades is observable in the change that subsequently took place in his own style of writing, and that the florid and less chastened taste, which some persons discover in his later productions, may all be traced to the example of this speech. However this may be, or whether there is really much difference, as to taste, between the youthful and sparkling vision of the Queen of France in 1792, and the interview between the Angel and Lord Bathurst in 1775, it is surely a most unjust disparagement of the eloquence of Burke, to apply to it, at any time of his life , the epithet “flowery,”-a designation only applicable to that ordinary ambition of style, whose chief display, by necessity, consists of ornament without thought, and pomp without substance. A succession of bright images, clothed in simple, transparent language, -even when , as in Burke, they “ crowd upon the aching sense” too dazzlingly,--should never be confounded with that mere verbal opulence of style, which mistakes the glare of words for the glitler of ideas, and, like the Helen of the sculptor Lysippus , makes finery supply the place of beauty. The figurative definition of eloquence in the Book of Proverbs-Apples of gold in a net-work of silver"-is peculiarly applicable to that enshrinement of rich, solid thoughts in clear and shining language, which is the triumph of the imaginative class of writers and orators, - while, perhaps, the network, without the gold inclosed, is a type equally significant of what is called “flowery" eloquence.

It is also, I think, a mistake, however flattering to my country, to call the School of Oratory, to which Burke belongs, Irish. That Irishmen are naturally more gifted with those stores of fancy, from which the illumination of this high order of the art must be supplied, the names of Burke, Grattan , Sheridan, Curran, Canning, and Plunkett, abundantly testify. Yet had Lord Chatham, before any of these great speakers were heard, led the way, in the same animated and figured strain of oratory '; while another Englishman,

· His few noble sentences on the privilege of the poor man's cottage are uni. versally known. There is also his fancifal allusion to the confluence of the Saone and the Rhone, the traditional reports of which vary, both as to the exact terms Lord Bacon, by making Fancy the handmaid of Philosophy, had long since set an example of that union of the imaginative and the solid, which, both in writing and in speaking , forms the characteristic distinction of this school.

The Speech of Mr. Sheridan in Westminster Hall, though so much inferior, in the opinion of Mr. Fox and others, to that which he had delivered on the same subject in the House of Commons, seems to have produced, at the time, even a more lively and general sensation ;-—possibly from the nature and numerousness of the assembly before which it was spoken, and which counted among its multitude a number of that sex, whose lips are in general found to be the most rapid conductors of fame. But there was one of this sex, more immediately interested in his glory, who seems to have felt it, as women alone can feel. “ I have delayed writing, says Mrs. Sheridan, in a letter to her sister-in-law, dated four days after the termination of the Speech, “till I could gratify myself and you by sending you the news of our dear Dick's triumph! - of our triumph I may call it; for, surely, no one, in the slightest degree connected with him, but must feel proud and happy. It is impossible , my dear woman, to convey to you the delight, the astonishment, the adoration, he has excited in the breasts of every class of people! Every party-prejudice has been overcome by a display of genius, eloquence, and goodness, which no one, with any thing like a heart about them, could have listened to, without being the wiser and the better for the rest of their lives. What must my feelings be?---you only can imagine. To tell you the truth, it is with some difficulty that I can ‘let down my mind,' as Mr. Burke said afterwards, to talk or think on any other subject. But pleasure, too exquisite, becomes pain, and I am at this moment suffering for the delightful anxieties of last week.”

It is a most happy combination when the wife of a man of genius unites intellect enough to appreciate the talents of her husband , with the quick, feminine sensibility that can thus passionately feel his success. Pliny tells us, that his Calpurnia, whenever he pleaded an important cause, had messengers ready to report to her every murmur of applause that he received ; and the poet Statius , in alluding to his own victories at the Albanian Games, mentions the

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in which it was expressed, and the persons to whom he applied it. Even Lord Orford does not seem to have ascertained the latter point. To these may be added the following specimen :-“I don't inquire from what quarter the wind cometh, but whither it goeth; and, if any measure that comes from the Right Honourable Gentleman tends to the public good, my bark is ready.” Of a different kind is that grand passage,-“ America, they tell me, has resisted -I rejoice to hear it," - which Mr. Grattan used to pronounce finer ihan any thing in Demosthenes.

“breathless kisses” with which his wife, Claudia, used to cover the triumphal garlands he brought home. Mrs. Sheridan may well take her place beside these Roman wives ;-and she had another resemblance to one of them, which was no less womanly and attractive. Not only did Calpurnia sympathise with the glory of her husband abroad, but she could also, like Mrs. Sheridan, add a charm to his talents at home, by setting his verses to music and singing them to her harp ,-“ with no instructor,” adds Pliny,

but Love, who is, after all, the best master.”

This letter of Mrs. Sheridan thus proceeds :

“ You were perhaps alarmed by the accounts of S.'s illness in the papers : but I have the pleasure to assure you he is now perfectly well, and I hope by next week we shall be quietly settled in the country, and suffered to repose, in every sense of the word; for indeed we have, both of us, been in a constant state of agitation, of one kind or another, for some time back.

“I am very glad to hear your father continues so well. Surely he must feel happy and proud of such a son. I take it for granted you see the newspapers : I assure you the accounts in them are not exaggerated, and only echo the exclamation of admiration that is in every body's mouth. I make no excuse for dwelling on this subject :-I know you will not find it tedious. God bless you :-I am an invalid at present, and not able to write long letters.”

The agitation and want of repose, which Mrs. Sheridan here complains of , arose not only from the anxiety which she so deeply felt, for the success of this great public effort of her husband, but from the share which she herself had taken, in the labour and attention necessary to prepare him for it. The mind of Sheridan being , from the circumstances of his education and life, but scantily informed upon all subjects for which reading is necessary, required , of course, considerable training and feeding, before it could venture to grapple with any new or important task. He has been known to say frankly to his political friends, when invited to take part in some question that depended upon authorities, “ You know I'm an ignoramus—but here I am-instruct me, and I'll do my best.” It is said, that the stock of numerical lore, upon which he ventured to set up as the Aristarchus of Mr. Pitt's financial plans, was the result of three weeks' hard study of arithmetic, to which he doomed himself, in the early part of his Parliamentary career, on the chance of being appointed, some time or other, Chancellor of the Exchequer. For financial display it must be owned that this was rather a crude preparation. But there are other subjects of oratory, on which the outpourings of information , newly acquired , may have a freshness and vivacity which it would be vain to expect, in the communication of knowledge that has lain long in the mind, and lost in circumstantial


spirit what it has gained in general mellowness. They, indeed, who have been regularly disciplined in learning, may be not only too familiar with what they know to communicate it with much liveliness to others, but too apt also to rely upon the resources of the memory, and upon those cold outlines which it retains of knowledge whose details are faded. The natural consequence of all this is that persons, the best furnished with general information, are often the most vague and unimpressive on particular subjects; while , on the contrary, an uninstructed man of genius, like Sheridan, who approaches a topic of importance for the first time, has not only the stimulus of ambition and curiosity to aid him in mastering its details, but the novelty of first impressions to brighten bis general views of it—and, with a fancy thus freshly excited, himself, is most sure to touch and rouse the imaginations of others.

This was particularly the situation of Mr. Sheridan with respect to the history of Indian affairs; and there remain among his papers numerous proofs of the labour which his preparation for this arduous task cost not only himself but Mrs. Sheridan. Among others, there is a large pamphlet of Mr. Hastings, consisting of more than two hundred pages, copied out neatly in her writing, with some assistance from another female hand. The industry, indeed, of all around him was put in requisition for this great occasion-some, busy with the pen and scissors, making extracts--some, pasting and stitching his scattered memorandums in their places. So that there was hardly a single member of the family that could not boast of having contributed his share , to the mechanical construction of this speech. The pride of its success was, of course, equally participated ; and Edwards, a favourite servant of Mr. Sheridan, who lived with him many years, was long celebrated for his professed imitation of the manner in which his master delivered (what seems to have struck Edwards as the finest part of the speech) his closing words, “My Lords, I have done!”

The Impeachment of Warren Hastings is one of those pageants in the drama of public life, which show how fleeting are the labours and triumphs of politicians" what shadows they are, and what shadows they pursue." When we consider the importance which the great actors in that scene attached to it,--the grandeur with which their eloquence invested the cause, as one in which the liberties and rights of the whole human race were interested ,-and then think how all that splendid array of Law and of talent has dwindled away, in the view of most persons at present, into an unworthy and harassing persecution of a meritorious and successful statesman ;-how those passionate appeals to justice, those vehement denunciations of crime, which made the halls of Westminster and St. Stephen's ring



with their echoes, are now coldly judged, through the medium of disfiguring Reports, and regarded, at the best, but as rhetorical effusions , indebted lo temper for their warmth, and to fancy for their details ;—while so little was the reputation of the delinquent himself even scorched by the bolts of eloquence thus launched at him, that a subsequent House of Commons thought themselves honoured by his presence, and welcomed him with such cheers' as should reward only the friends and benefactors of freedom ;—when we reflect on this thankless result of so much labour and talent, it seems wonderful that there should still be found high and gifted spirits, to waste themselves away in such temporary struggles, and, like that spendthrift of genius, Sheridan, to discount their immortality, for the payment of fame in hand which these triumphs of the day secure to them.

For this direction, however, which the current of opinion has taken , with regard to Mr. Hastings and his eloquent accusers, there are many very obvious reasons to be assigned. Success, as I have already remarked, was the dazzling talisman, which he waved in the eyes of his adversaries from the first, and which his friends have made use of to throw a splendour over his tyranny and injustice ever since ?. Too often, in the moral logic of this world, it matters but little what the premises of conduct may be, so the conclusion turns out showy and prosperous. There is also , it must be owned , among the English (as perhaps, among all free people), a strong taste for the arbitrary, when they themselves are not to be the victims of it, which invariably secures to such accomplished despotisms as thal of Lord Strafford in Ireland, and Hastings in India, even larger share of their admiration than they are, themselves, always willing to allow.

The rhetorical exaggerations, in which the Managers of the prosecution indulged ,-Mr. Sheridan, from imagination, luxuriating in its own display, and Burke from the same cause, added to his overpowering autocracy of temper-were but too much calculated to throw suspicion on the cause in which they were employed, and

" When called as a witness before the House, in 1813, on the subject of the renewal of the East India Company's Charter.

? In the important article of finance, however, for which he wade so many sacrifices of humanity, even the justification of success was wanting to his measures. The following is the account given by the Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1810, of the state in which India was left by his adıninistration :—“The revenues had been absorbed; the pay and allowances of both the civil and military branches of the service were greatly in arrear; the credit of the Company was extremely depressed; and, added to all, the whole system had fallen into such irregularity and confusion, that ihe real state of affairs could not be ascertained till the conclusion of the year 1785-6.”Third Repurt.

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