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brought to the senate the same resources of moral science which even the failures of Bolingbroke as a professed author on these subjects prove him to have possessed; and it is hardly necessary to remark how vast an accession of force to his eloquence, whether in its argumentative, its pathetic, or its declamatory department, would have been gained by even far less skill, capacity, or practice, than he had as a moral philosopher, a student of the nature of the mind, or an expert logician.

Accordingly, when all these accomplishments, joined to his strong natural sagacity, his penetrating acuteness, his extraordinary quickness of apprehension, a clearness of understanding against which sophistry set itself up in vain, as the difficulties of the most complicated subject in vain opposed his industry and his courage; with a fancy rich, lively, various beyond that of most men, a wit exuberant and sparkling, a vehemence of passion belonging to his whole temperament, even to his physical powers-came to be displayed before the assembly which he was to address; and when the mighty "Armamentaria Cali" were found under the command of one whose rich endowments of mind, and whose ample stores of acquired virtue, resided in a person of singular grace, animated a countenance at once beautiful and expressive, and made themselves heard in the strains of an unrivalled voice,-it is easy to comprehend how vast, how irresistible must have been their impression. That is easy; but unhappily all we can now obtain is the apprehension that it must have been prodigious, without being able ourselves to penetrate the veil that hides it, or to form any very distinct notion of its peculiar kind. For the purpose of approximating to this knowledge, it is necessary that we should now consider the style of his written discourse; because, although in general the difference is great between the same man's writings and his oratory (witness the memorable example of Mr. Fox, who, however, increased the diversity by writing on a system, and a bad one)-yet in some this difference is much less than in others, and there seems abundant reason to believe that in Bolingbroke's case it was as inconsiderable as in any other.

If we inquire on what models Bolingbroke formed his style; the result will be, the case of all other great men

and original writers, that he was rather imbued with the general taste and relish of former authors than imitated any of them. That he had filled his mind with the mighty exemplars of antiquity is certain-for, though of Greek he had small store, with the Latin classics he was familiar, and habitually so, as his allusions and his quotations constantly show. As might be supposed in one of his strong sense, knowledge of man and of men, as well as free habits, Horace seems to have been his favourite; but the historians also are plainly of his intimate society. Among modern authors he appears to have had Dryden's prose, and the admirable composition of Shaftesbury, most in his mind. The resemblance of manner may indeed be frequently found with these excellent models-of whom the former, with Bolingbroke himself, may perhaps be admitted to stand at the head of all our great masters of But though in vigour, in freedom, occasionally in rhythm also, in variety that never palls nor ever distracts from the subject, in copiousness that speaks an exhaustless fountain for its source, nothing can surpass Dryden; yet must it be confessed that Bolingbroke is more terse, more condensed where closeness is required, more epigrammatic, and of the highest order of epigram, which has its point not in the words but the thoughts; and when, even in the thoughts, it is so subdued as to be minister of the composer, and not his master-helping the explication, or the argument, or the invective, without appearing to be the main purpose of the composition. In another and a material respect he also greatly excels Dryden; there is nothing slovenly in any part of his writings; he always respects his reader, his subject, and himself, too much to throw out matter in a crude and half-finished form, at least as far as diction is concerned: for the structure of his works is anything rather than finished and systematic, Even his tract On Parties,' which he calls a Dissertation, though certainly his most elaborate work, perhaps also the most admirably written, has as little of an orderly methodical exposition of principles, or statement of reasonings, as can well be imagined. It is a series of letters addressed to a political paper, abounding in acute, sagacious, often profound reflections, with forcible arguments, much happy

in many

illustration, constant references to history, many attacks upon existing parties; but nothing can be less like what we commonly term a Dissertation. The same remark applies to almost all his writings. He is clear, strong, copious; he is never methodical; the subject is attacked in various ways; it is taken up by the first end that presents itself, and it is handled skilfully, earnestly, and strikingly, of its parts; it cannot be said to be thoroughly gone through, though it be powerfully gone into; in short, it is discussed as if a speaker of great power rather than a writer, were engaged upon it; and accordingly nothing can be more clear than that Bolingbroke's works convey to us the idea of a prodigious orator rather than of a very great and regular writer. When Mr. Burke asked, “Who now reads Bolingbroke?" he paved the way for another equally natural exclamation, "What would we not give to hear him ?" and this was Mr. Pitt's opinion, when, as has already been observed, the question being raised in conversation about the desiderata most to be lamented, and one said the lost books of Livy, another those of Tacitus, a third a Latin tragedy-he at once declared for "A Speech of Bolingbroke." Nor is it the method-rather the want of method—the easy and natural order in which the topics follow one another, not taken up on a plan, but each, as it were, growing out of its immediate predecessor, that makes his writings so closely resemble spoken compositions. The diction is most eminently that of oratorical works. It is bold, rapid, animated, natural, and racy, yet pointed and correct, bearing the closest scrutiny of the critic, when submitted to the eye in the hour of calm judgment; but admirably calculated to fill the ear, and carry away the feelings in the moment of excitement. If Bolingbroke spoke as he wrote, he must have been the greatest of modern orators, as far as composition goes; for he has the raciness and spirit, occasionally even the fire, perhaps not the vehemence of Fox, with richer imagery, and far more correct diction; the accurate composition of Pitt, with infinitely more grace and variety; the copiousness, almost the learning, and occasionally the depth of Burke, without his wearily elaborate air; for his speech never degenerates for an instant into dissertation, which Burke scarcely ever avoids.

To characterize his manner of speaking from his writings would be difficult and tedious, if possible. There are in these, however, passages which plainly bear the impress of his extraordinary oratorical powers, and which, if spoken, must have produced an indescribable effect. Take a noble passage from the 'Dissertation on Parties :'

"If King Charles had found the nation plunged in corruption; the people choosing their representatives for money, without any other regard; and these representatives of the people, as well as the nobility, reduced by luxury to beg the unhallowed alms of a court, or to receive, like miserable hirelings, the wages of iniquity from a minister; if he had found the nation, I say, in this condition (which extravagant supposition one cannot make without horror), he might have dishonoured her abroad, and impoverished and oppressed her at home, though he had been the weakest prince on earth, and his ministers the most odious and contemptible men that ever presumed to be ambitious. Our fathers might have fallen into circumstances which compose the quintessence of political misery. They might have sold their birthright for porridge which was their own. They might have been bubbled by the foolish, bullied by the fearful, and insulted by those whom they despised. They would have deserved to be slaves, and they might have been treated as such. When a free people crouch, like camels, to be loaded, the next at hand, no matter who, mounts them, and they soon feel the whip and the spur of their tyrant, whether prince or minister, who resembles the devil in many respects; particularly in this-he is often both the tempter and the tormentor. He makes the criminal, and he punishes the crime."

Another fine passage, admirably fitted for spoken eloquence by its rapidity, its point, its fulness of matter, each hit rising above the last, may be taken from the celebrated Dedication to Sir Robert Walpole :


"Should a minister govern, in various instances of domestic and foreign management, ignorantly, weakly, or even wickedly, and yet pay this reverence and bear this regard to the constitution, he would deserve certainly much better quarter, and would meet with it too from every man of sense and honour, than a minister who should conduct the

administration with great ability and success, and should at the same time procure and abet, or even connive at, such indirect violations of the rules of the constitution, as tend to the destruction of it, or even at such evasions as tend to render it useless. A minister who had the ill qualities of both these, and the good ones of neither; who made his administration hateful in some respects, and despicable in others; who sought that security by ruining the constitution, which he had forfeited by dishonouring the government; who encouraged the profligate and seduced the unwary to concur with him in this design, by affecting to explode all public spirit, and to ridicule every form of our constitution; such a minister would be looked upon most justly as the shame and scourge of his country; sooner or later he would fall without pity, and it is hard to say what punishment would be proportionable to his crimes.""

Lastly, take this instance of another kind, but alike fitted for the senate :

"The flowers they gather at Billingsgate to adorn and entwine their productions, shall be passed over by me without any explication. They assume the privilege of watermen and oysterwomen: let them enjoy it in that good company, and exclusively of all other persons. They cause no scandal; they give no offence; they raise no sentiment but contempt in the breasts of those they attack: and it is to be hoped, for the honour of those whom they would be thought to defend, that they raise, by their low and dirty practice, no other sentiment in them. But there is another part of their proceedings which may be attributed by malicious people to you, and which deserves, for that reason alone, some place in this Dedication, as it might be some motive to the writing of it. When such authors grow scurrilous, it would be highly unjust to impute their scurrility to any prompter, because they have in themselves all that is necessary to constitute a scold-ill-manners, impudence, a foul mouth, and a fouler heart. But when they menace, they rise a note higher. They cannot do this in their own names. Men may be apt to conclude, therefore, that they do it in the name, as they affect to do it on the behalf, of the person in whose cause they desire to be thought retained."

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