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years before, will not accept satire in the place of history. These pages contain more of Burke's personal manner, and have a character less declamatory, more minute, and more to the immediate purpose, than what precedes. They evidently represent a great intellectual effort, and contrast strongly with the previous almost spontaneous ebullition of sentiment and doctrine. Yet they are marked, and by no means sparingly, with striking literary beauties, which the student will do well to search out for himself. The historical value of this part of the work is still considerable, though its interest is diminished by the fact that much of the constitution which it attacks speedily disappeared, and that Burke's knowledge of it was not altogether correct or complete. As an instance we may take the ludicrous error at pp. 204-5, where it is assumed that the Departments and Communes were to be portioned out by straight lines with the aid of the theodolite. Burke was fond of a certain ponderous style of repartee, and something of this is traceable in his endeavours to show that the Liberty boasted by the Assembly was a mere semblance, and that they treated France “exactly like a conquered country.' Nothing can be more admirable that his applying to them the saying attributed to Louis XIV, 'C'est mon plaisir-c'est pour ma gloire' (p. 136). Burke always had two favourite images, derived from the art of the house-builder, by which to illustrate the labours of the politician. One of these is the Buttress, the other the Cement, or Cementing principle! Both of these he applies unsparingly in his vigorous condemnation of the details of the novelties of French polity. The buttresses were shams, and the cement had no binding in it. The criticism on the reformed Office of the King, and on the new Judicature, is brief, but to the purpose; but the most remarkable is that which relates to the army, containing as it does a forecast of the condition of a military democracy, and an anticipation of the future despotism of Napoleon (p. 260). Only one Frenchman, Rivarol, appears to have expressed a similar foreboding. The value of the remarks on the financial system, which conclude the work, is clouded by the perturbation of the question which came with the lengthened

? The substantive cement,' by the way, unlike the verb “to cement, should be accented on the first syllable. This trifle is essential to the harmony of more than one of Burke's sentences. See vol. i. p. 231.

wars, and the Republic early took care to avoid bankruptcy by enormous contributions levied on the countries which fell under its yoke. The main predictions of Burke, however, were literally fulfilled. “The Assignats, after having poured millions into the coffers of the ruling rebellion, suddenly sank into the value of the paper of which they were made. Thousands and tens of thousands were ruined. The nation was bankrupt, but the Jacobin Government was rich; and the operation had thus all the results it was ever made for 1! On the appearance of M. Calonne's work, ‘De l'Etat de France, Burke considerably altered this Second Part of the work, and the text of the first edition differs, therefore, in many places, from the subsequent


Burke's Tract provoked, in reply, as is well known, a whole literature of its own, no single representative of which is now held in any account, if we except the · Vindiciae Gallicae,' the early work of Sir James Mackintosh. It had, of course, its replies in French literature; but its general influence on France is best traced in De Bonaldo, De Maistre, Chateaubriand, and other littérateurs of the reaction. The same kind of influence is traceable in German thought in the works of Goerres, Stolberg, Frederick Schlegel, and others. Burke's true value was early appreciated in Germany, and A. M. von Müller, lecturing at Dresden in 1806, even remarked on the circumstance that Burke only met with his due honours from strangers. "His country but half understands him, and feels only half his glory, considering him chiefly as a brilliant orator, as a partisan, and a patriot. He is acknowledged in Germany as the real and successful mediator between liberty and law, between union and division of power, and between the republican and aristocratic principles.' Burke certainly has not been without his effect on the political notions of the non-theological philosophers, as Schelling, Steffens, Reinhold, &c.; and if the student should wish to set by the side of Burke for purposes of contrast the views of a competent professor of scientific theory, he should turn to the pages of Ancillons. He


Croly, Memoir of Burke, vol. ii. p. 134. 2 The connexion, however, is rather conventional. There was little in common between Burke and De Bonald, who recommended despotism as the primitive and normal form of legislation, and objected to toleration,

3 · Ueber die Staats-wissenschaft, von Friedrich Ancillon, Berlin, 1820.' must, however, be prepared to encounter a vast army of desperate commonplaces. Gentz, the translator of Burke, himself a considerable politician, is well imbued with his model ; and at home the school of Burke is represented by the names of Coleridge, Wordsworth, Southey, Macaulay, Arnold, and Whately? These few names will suffice to indicate approximately Burke's peculiar place in general literature ; but his influence in every way extends far more widely than any line which could be usefully drawn.

Considering that Burke stands unapproachably the first of our political orators, and indeed in the very first rank as a writer and a thinker, it seems strange that so few express and formal tributes have been paid to his memory. Had Burke been a Frenchman, nearly every French critic, great or small, would have tried his hand on such a subject, not in parenthetical allusion, or in a few brief words of ardent praise, but in regular essays and notices without number. Where we have placed a stone, they would have piled a cairn. Thus have the Cousins, Saint-Beuves, Guizots, and Pontmartins taken every opportunity for long disquisition upon their Montaigne, Pascal, Bossuet, Molière, La Fontaine, and the other great authors of France. With us, moreover, the editions of Burke have been few, considering his fame; and his direct praises have been for the most part confined, here to a page, there to a paragraph. It is necessary for an Englishman to know Burke's writings well if he would be enabled to judge of the extent of his influence on the leading minds of this country. Only know Political theory, like everything else, has its uses as well as its abuses. The successful progress of reforms depends in a great measure on the political maxims which prevail among governors and governed, and on the advances of political science. False doctrines lead to erratic wishes, destructive misconceptions, and dangerous misinterpretations. Theory must combat and clear away the errors of theories, indicate the general direction of the right way, and establish the true goal; it will thus be easier for practical politics, conducted by experience, to construct every portion of the road with a sure hand and firm footsteps.' Ancillon, Preface, p. xxxi.

* It would be unjust to pass over the name of Mathias, the author of the • Pursuits of Literature,' a clever satire, illustrated with instructive and amusing original notes. No one should omit to read it who would comprehend the direct effect of Burke on his own generation. At this distance of time, however, we do not tolerate idle panegyrics. Johnson once said, somewhat pettishly, 'Where is all the wonder? Burke is, to be sure, a man of uncommon abilities; with a great quantity of matter in his mind, and a great fluency of language in his mouth; but we are not to be stunned and astonished by him!' Boswell, ed. Croker, p. 681.

Burke, and you will find his thoughts and expressions gleaming like golden threads in the pages of distinguished men of the generations which have succeeded his own. This is the form in which Burke has chiefly received his honours, and exercised his authority 1.

The art of speaking and of writing in that grand old style, of which Burke was so great a master, is now wellnigh unknown. As in the case of the English dramatists, and of the Italian painters, it is the fault of a broken tradition, of a forgotten training, and of changed habits of life. That which was once the treasure of the few has somewhat suffered in the general diffusion. Arts appear to languish in an atmosphere of contagious mediocrity. There is no one to teach, either by word or by example, the perfect design of Correggio, or the powerful brush-play of Tintoret. When we glance over the treasures of those great English masters of prose, among whom Burke stands almost last, our hearts may well sink within us. We have to study as well as we can, and strive to pick up piece by piece the fragments of a lost mystery. It may be said that we have developed qualities which are more real, more enduring, and more valuable. Cuyp and Hals were doubtless greater masters in certain departments of their art than Rubens; and Hallam presents us with a variety of political method which contrasts in many respects advantageously with that of Burke. It is an interesting task to represent faithfully and minutely the features of a distant scene, to magnify it and artificially to approximate it to the eye of the observer, to blend its shadows carefully and easily with a mild and uniform light, to balance the composition without the appearance of artifice, and so nearly to lose and discard the effects of perspective that the picture shall almost assume the proportions of a geometrical elevation. A sense of repose and of completeness mingles perceptibly with our satisfaction at these works half of art, half of antiquarianism. Burke is a Rubens rather than a Cuyp. The objects are distinct and near at hand: the canvas is large, the composition almost coarse in its boldness and strength, and the colours are audaciously contrasted and dashed with a sort of gallant carelessness. The human face is exaggerated in its proportions, and we attribute more to the

See footnote, p. lx, ante.


quick imagination of the artist than to the mere influence of the objects which he proposes to himself to delineate. More than all, however, in the writing of Burke, is the effect due to a certain firm and uniformly large method of manipulation. His thoughts run naturally, as it were, into large type out of the quick forge and working-house of his thought. Profound as they are, they never appear as the forced and unmellowed fruit of study. Objective as they are, they come nearer to the lively impress of the man who thinks, than to the mere portraiture of the thing he is contemplating. We feel that we are in the presence of une âme à double et triple étage. Such is, in great measure, the general characteristic of what De Quincey has denominated the Literature of Power, the stimulating, fructifying, and if its seed should fall on a fit soil, the self-reproducing. On looking at a picture of Velasquez, said Northcote, you almost lose the powerlessness of the undisciplined and unassisted hand.

You feel as if you could take up the brush and do anything.' It is in like wise with the fine living and speaking performances of Cicero and Burke, of Virgil and Dryden. It is in writers such as these that we find the self-continuing impulse, the lost power of school and tradition, the communication of a precious secret, the touch of the coal from off the altar. But as in the case of a rapidly-touched work of a great painter, we see the genius, though we trace little or nothing of the intellectual and manual toil which has developed it. Let it never be forgotten that the greatest masters have been the most patient, anxious, and assiduous students, and he who aspires to be of their number must be prepared to accept the conditions. The nature and extent of the studies of Cicero and Burke can only be adequately estimated from their writings. They aimed at a close contact with realities, at uniting in themselves literature, philosophy, and a high standard of practical life, at facilitating this happy combination in others, and at justifying their position as statesmen by being the wisest as well as the cleverest men of their day. The conception of such aims is rarely found with power of mind and body to accomplish them, nevertheless 'So toil the workmen that repair a world.'


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