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from a very long acquaintance with, and observa. tion of, the original. Nay, I have rather softened than heightened the colouring. Chesterfield.
CHARACTER OF LORD HARDWICKE.
LORD Hardwicke was, perhaps, the greatest ma. gistrate that this country ever had. He presided in the court of chancery above twenty years, and in all that time none of his decrees were reversed, nor the justness of them ever questioned. Though avarice was his ruling passion, he was never in the teast suspected of any kind of corruption: a rare and meritorious instance of virtue and self-denial, under the influence of such a craving, insatiable, and increasing passion.
He had great and clear parts ; understood, loved, and cultivated the belles lettres. He was an agreeable, eloquent speaker in parliament, but not without some little tincture of the pleader.
Men are apt to mistake, or at least to seem to mistake, their own talents, in hopes, perhaps, of misleading others to allow them that which they are conscious they do not possess.
Thus lord Hardwické valued himself more upon being a great minister of state, which he certainly was not, than upon being a great magistrate, which he certainly was.
All his notions were clear, but none of them great. Good order and domestic details were hiş proper department. The great and shining parts of government, though not above his parts to conceive, were above his timidity to undertakes
By great and lucrative employments, during the course of thirty years, and by still greater parsimony, he acquired an immense fortune, and established his numerous family in advantageous posts and profitable alliances.
Though he had been solicitor and attorney-general, he was by no means what is called a prerogative lawyer. He loved the constitution, and maintained the just prerogative of the crown, but without stretching it to the oppression of the people.
He was naturally humane, moderate, and decent; and when, by his former employments, he was obliged to prosecute state-criminals, he discharged that duty in a very different manner from most of his predecessors, who were too justly called the blood-bounds of the crown,'
He was a cheerful and instructive companion, humane in his nature, decent in his manners, unstained with any vice (avarice excepted), a very great magistrate, but by no means a great mipister.
CHARACTER OF MR. GRENVILLE.
HERE began to dawn the first glimmerings of this new colony system. It appeared more distinctly afterwards, when it was devolved upon a person, to whom on other accounts this country owes very great obligations. I do believe that he had a very serious desire to benefit the public. But with no small study of the detail, he did not seem to have
his view, at least equally, carried to the total cirs cuit of our affairs. He generally considered his objects in lights that were rather too detached. No man can believe, that at this time of day I mean to lean on the venerable memory of a great man, whose loss we deplore in common. Our little party-differences have been long ago composed ; and I have acted more with him, and certainly with more pleasure with him, than ever I acted against him. Undoubtedly Mr. Grenville was a first-rate figure in this country. With a masculine understanding, and a stout and resolute heart, he had an application undissipated and unwearied. He took public business, not as a duty which he was to fulfil, but as a pleasure he was to enjoy; and he seemed to have no delight out of this house, except in such things as some way related to the business that was to be done in it. If he was ambitious, I will say this for him, his ambition was of a noble and generous strain. It was to raise himself, not by the low pimping politics of a court, but to win his way to power, through the laborious gradations of public service; and to secure to himself a well-earned rank in parliament, by a thorough knowledge of its constitution, and a perfect practice in all its business.
Sir, if such a man fell into errours, it must be from defects not intrinsical : they must be rather sought in the particular habits of his life; which, though they do not alter the groundwork of cha racter, yet tinge it with their own hue. bred in a profession. He was bred to the law, which is, in my opinion, oue of the first and noblest
of human sciences; a science, which does more to quicken and invigorate the understanding, than all other kinds of human learning put together: but it is not apt, except in persons very happily born, to open and liberalize the mind exactly in the same proportion. Passing from that study, he did not go very largely into the world, but plunged into business; I mean into the business of office, and the limited and fixed methods and forms established there. Much knowledge is undoubtedly to be had in that line; and there is no knowledge which is not valuable. But it may be truly said, that men too much conversant in office, are rarely minds of remarkable enlargement. Their habits are apt to give them a turn to think the substance of business not to be much more important than the forms in which it is conducted. These formis are adapted to ordinary occasions; and therefore persons who are nurtured in office do admirably well, as long as things go on in their coinmon order; but when the high roads are broken up, and the waters out, when a new and troubled scene is opened, and the file affords no precedent, then it is that a far greater knowledge of mankind, and a more extensive comprehension of things, is requisite than ever office gave, or than office can ever give. Mr. Grenville thought better of the wisdom and power of legislation than in truth it deserves. He conceived, and many conceived along with him, that the flourishing trade of this couptry was greatly owing to law and institution, and not quite so much to liberty; for but too many are apt to believe regulation to be commerce, and taxes to be revenue.
Burke. VOL. IV.
CHARACTERS OF LORD CHATHAM AND MR. C.
I have done with the third period of your policy; the return to your ancient system, and your ancient tranquillity and concord. Sir, this period was not as long as it was happy. Another scene was opened, and other actors appeared on the stage. The state, in the condition I have described it, was delivered into the hands of lord Chatham-à great and celebrated name; a name that keeps the name of this country respectable in every other on the globe. It may be truly called,
Clarum et venerabile nomen
Sir, the venerable age of this great man, rited rank, his superior eloquence, his splendid qualities, his eminent services, the vast space he fills in the eye of mankind; and more than all the rest, his fall from power, which, like death, canonizes and sanctifies a great character, will not suffer me to censure any part of his conduct. I am afraid to flatter him; I am sure I am not disposed to blame him. Let those who have betrayed him by their adulation, insult him with their malevolence. But what I do not presume to censure, I may have leave to lament. For a wise man, he seemed to me at that time to be governed too much by general maxims. I speak with the freedom of history, and I hope without offence. One or two of