Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

ORIGINAL LETTERS OF BURKE.

The early history of Mr. Burke is but little known. We are, however, acquainted with the circumstance of his coming into possession of a small paternal estate on the death of his elder brother, Garret Burke, in 1765, and that the name of his mother's family was Nagle, settled near Castletown Roche, in the South of Ireland. The first six letters of this collection are addressed to his maternal uncle, Garret Nagle, Esq. the grandfather, we presume, of the present Admiral Sir Edmund Nagle, who is alluded to frequently in them. The Garret mentioned in the postscript of the fourth letter was his deceased elder brother, Garret Burke, who, it appears, died upon the estate before mentioned. The 7th letter, written to his cousin Garret, details the death of the relative to whom the preceding six are addressed, and whom he honours with high encomiums. To this cousin Garret the remainder are superscribed, and we regret that we cannot add to the illustration of their contents any thing which the reader himself may not glean from the shelves of his library. The character of Mr. Burke in private life was kind and exemplary; and while the present epistles will be deemed by the superficial reader to afford little display of the powers and talents, for which their writer was so distinguished, he who is accustomed to value evidence and truth of character in private life, on authority which cannot be disputed, will know how to read them to his pleasure and improvement-to his pleasure in discovering that great talents are often joined with great virtues, and to his improvement in the example held out for his imitation. For agricultural pursuits, Mr. Burke appears, through life, to have cherished a strong regard; and what is more, to have understood thoroughly how to till his own farm to the best advantage, a qualification, which few men so distinguished in lofty pursuits have possessed, when they have shewn a taste for it.

VIII. MY DEAR GARRET,- I was very much hurried, more so than I have ever been in my life, when I received your letter; and I continued in the same course of full employment for some time, or I should have given you a more immediate answer. I am sorry, that with regard to the business it contained, the speediness of my answer would have been the only thing very pleasing in it, as unluckily I have no acquaintance with Mr. Madden; I do not remember so much as to have seen him.

Ned Nagle is gone off in very good health; with good hopes, and fair prospects before him. I loved his father very much; and the boy himself has gained upon me exceedingly. He has a spirited and pleasing simplicity in his manner, which has got him the affection of as many as have seen him, and in particular recommended him to the owner of the ship in which he has sailed, who is a man of great fortune and good-natured, and will in future be very useful to him. My brother has taken care that he should in all respects be provided for as well as if he had been his own son. It gave me a good impression of the poor fellow, that he seemed anxious about his nurse, whom he represented as not in the best circumstances. I told him I would order a gown for her as a present from him ; you will be so good to give her a guinea for that purpose, and put it to my account. He wrote from some port into which the vessel put; and I send you his letter that you may see in what spirits he is.

About two months ago, your brother James called upon me. Until then I knew nothing of his haring been in London. He was extremely poor, in a very bad state of health, and with a wife to all appearance as wretched and as sickly as he, and big with child into the bargain. It was evident enough that, with his epileptic distemper, he was very unft to get his bread by hard labour. To maintain them here would be very heavy to me ; more indeed than I could bear, with the very many other calls I have upon me, of the same, as well as of other kinds. So I thought the beiter way would be to send them back to their own cousty, where, by allowing them a small matter, we might enable them to live. My brother was of the same opinion ; so we provided them for the journey homewards; and nothing but the hurry I mentioned, prevented my desiring you to give him, on my account, wherewithal to buy some liule furniture, and a couple of cows. I then thought to have allowed him ten pounds a year. His wife told me, that with a little assistance she could earn something ; and thus it might be possible for them to subsist. This day I got a letter from him, in which the poor man tells me that he is more distressed than ever; and that you showed great resentment to him, so far as even to refuse to give him any thing that I should appoint for him. I can readily excuse the first effect of warmth in an affair that must touch you so nearly. But you must naturally recollect, that his indigent circumstances, bis unfortunate marriage, and the weakness of his mind, which was in a great measure the cause of botli, make him a just object of pity, and not of anger; and that his relation to us neither consers upon you nor me any right whatsoever to add to his affliction and punishment_but rather calls upon us to do him all the little good offices in our power to alleviate liis misfortunes. A little reflection will make you sensible of this; I therefore wish you would not only give him now six or seven guineas on my account, but that you would, by yourself, or some friend, take care that it should be laid out in the manner most beneficial for him, and not entrusted to his own management. If you are not near him, I dare say Dav. Crotly or Jack Nagle, would look to his settlement. I can have no improper view in this ; no more than in the other affair, which I earnestly recommended to you, and offered my assistance to conclude.-But you, very justly, I suppose, paid no regard to my opinions or wishes; I hope you will have no reason to be dissatisfied with what you have resolved on that occasion.

Mr. Doran of Liverpool has informed me, that he could not send the bull to Cork, but that he has shipped him for Dublin, where by this time he has arrived. Mrs. Burke of the Mall is to take care of him. The great point now is to have a safe person to convey him to the county of Cork.

You remember the usual allowance I have made for these two or three years to some poor persons in your county. You will be so obliging to continue it to them according to my plan of last year, which you can refer to, or remember. You will not scruple to advance this for me; and I do not doubt but your good nature will prevail on you to take the trouble.

As to my farming-I go on pretty well. All my wheat is in the ground this month past; which is more than some of my neighbours have been able to compass, on account of the wetness of the season. Remember us all most affectionately to Moily, the young gentlemen, and the ladies, and believe me, my dear Garret, most sincerely yours, Gregories, December 27, 1768.

EDM. BURKE.

IX. MY DEAR GARRET, I am much obliged to you for your letter, which I wish I had time to answer as fully as it deserves. But it came to me in the opening of a very hot and active session ; our minority gets strength daily; and uses it hitherto with spirit. If there was any event which could be particularly pleasing or interesting to you, I would acquaint you with it; but at present nothing is decided. Lord Chatham has appeared again, and with as much splendour as ever. All the parts of the opposition are well united, and go on in concert.

Poor Terry and his wife have been here for some time past ; but there are little or no signs of the recovery of the former. My accounts from Dublin tell me that my mother is falling into her old disorder and is very weak and declining.

I send you the bill upon Poole, protested. If you can, it were better now, and in general, to get the bills upon some good house in London. As to the potatoes, I am sorry you have thought of cutting them; for this will rot them, so that many will probably fail ; this was unnecessary ; for we understand and practice this method here ; I sent to you for seed merely as a change ; indeed that which I bought last season answered so very well, that I now begin to think it needless ; so that if you have not ordered the potatoes, you had perhaps better not trouble yourself about them. All our friends here, thank God, are well. Give our love to cousin Molly and all your family, and all our friends that are near you. Adieu, and believe me, my dear Garret, with great truth, your affectionate kinsman and humble servant, Fludyer Street, Feb. 8, 1770.

EDM. BURKE. All things very cheap. Wheat from 28 to 32 the quarter, 8 gallons to the bushel. Barley from 10 to 16 the quarter.

X. MY DEAR GARRET,- It gives me great pain to find that I must renew a correspondence which had been too long intermitted, on a subject of so much sorrow to you. I assure you, I feel very much for the occasion. We are, my dear friend, coming fast to that time of life when we must, in the natural course of things, either cause or suffer much grief. But the duties which we owe to those who have a claim to more happiness in life, will, as it ought, moderate an uneasiness, which, by lamenting overmuch those we have lost, will make us the less useful to those that are left to us. I say this on a presumption that the worst has already happened. If any thing better than could be expected should arise, there are very few to whom it could give more satisfaction.

I am obliged to you for your draft of thirty-six pounds, &c. which I received, and for the attention you are so kind to bestow on my little affairs.

We have had accounts from Ned Nagle, which are very pleasing to me, and will be to all his friends. He has behaved incomparably

well; is much master of his business for the time, and they do not doubt, will make a very good officer. He comes home a midshipman; and it is not impossible, that on his next voyage he may go out a mate. The command of one of these ships is an assured fortune. If he continues to go on as he has done hitherto, in some years we shall be rather unlucky if such a command cannot be procured for him.

I have not heard as yet from my brother. In your present situation I ought not to be further troublesome to you. I wish all happiness to you and to all our friends about you. I am with great truth and afiection, dear Garret, your most obedient servant, and sincere friend and kinsman,

Edm. BURKE. Beconsfield, Sept. 11, 1770.

XI. MY DEAR GARRET, I am so heavily in your debt on account of correspondence, that I must trust more to your good-oature, than to any means of payment which I have for my acquittal. I am now at Beconsfield, in order to enjoy a little leisure in rural amusements and occupations, after a sitting of some fatigue, though of no very long duration. I imagine that our business will be full as heavy upon us at our next meeting ; in the mean time, we are indulged with a recess full as ample as could in reason be expected. We are all, thank God, well. Mrs. Burke perfectly recovered in every respect but flesh, some of which, however, she could well enough spare. Little Richard, after the holidays, goes to Westminster school ; so that I believe we shall all take our leave of the country, until the approach of summer. Diek sometimes hears from our young seaman at Portsmouth; and Mrs. Burke had a letter from Captain Stolt yesterday, in which he mentivos him, as he has always done, in terms of the highest approbation. The captain and his wife attend to him with a sort of parental affection. I shall give you what Stolt says of him in his own words, “ Nagle's things are come down safe, and he thanks you for them. I assure you, upon my word, that he is the best and briskest that I have upon my quarterdeck. He will make a fine officer. Now the ship is at Spithead he is at his books.” I think it must give you pleasure to hear of the good opinion which his commander entertains of your nephew. He has in the same manner endeared himself to his shipmates while he was in the Company's service. Indeed he seems to be a lad of great good-nature and of most excellent principles.

I had letters from my uncle at Ballylegan and from Mr. Archdeacon of Cork, wishing me to undertake the guardianship of young Kerry; I deferred taking my resolution upon the subject until I had consulted Mr. Ridge. It was a long time before he gave me an answer; and though he is not quite clear whether it may not bring me into some difficulties, I will (and so let my uncle know) accept it, wishing him and Mr. Archdeacon to consult Mr. Ridge upon ihe steps which are proper to be taken.

We have had the most rainy and stormy season that has been known. I have got my wheat into ground better than some others; that is about four and twenty acres : I proposed having about ten more, but, considering the season, this is tolerable. Wheat bears a tolerable price, though a good deal fallen: it is forty-two shillings the quarter, that is, two of your barrels. Barley twenty-four shillings. Peas very high,

twenty-seven to thirty shillings the quarter ; so that our bacon will come dear to us this season. I have put up four hogs. I killed one yesterday, which weighed a little more than twelve score. Of the other three, one is now near fifteen score, the other about twelve. I shall put up seven now for pickled pork; these weigh, when fit to kill, near seven score a-piece. To what weight do you generally feed bacon hogs in your part of the country ? Here they generally fat them to about fourteen or fifteen score. In Berkshire, near us, they carry them to twenty-five or thirty score. lam now going into some new method, having contracted with a London seedsman for early white peas at a guinea a barrel.

These I shall sow in drills in February, dunging the ground for them. They will be off early enough to sow turnips. Thus I shall save a fallow without, I think, in the least injuring my ground, and get a good return besides. 'A crop of such peas will be nearly as valuable as a crop of wheat; and they do not exhaust the soil; so little, that as far as my experience goes, they are not much inferior to a fallow. I will let you know my success in due time. Remember me most cordially to your family, and to all our friends on your rivers. Believe me most affectionately yours, Beconsfield, 2d Jan. 1771.

EDM. BURKE. I heard not long since from my brother, who was, thank God, very well. Let me hear from you as soon as you can.

Whenever I wrote, I forgot to desire you to give a guinea from Lare to ber father at Killivellen-for my delay, be so good to give him half a guinea more.

XII. MY DEAR GARRET.-Our business in parliament is in a good measure at an end. One of the most satisfactory circumstances to me in this time of repose, is, that it gives me an opportunity of thanking you for your kind remembrance of me and my affairs, and renewing again our correspondence, that has been but too long interrupted. First give me leave to mention the subject of your last letter and my uncle's, the provision for his son Walter. I wonder he could doubt so far of my readiness in doing any services in my power, without any pressing or additional recommendations. It looks as if you both thought that the thing was easy to me to do, but that the difficulty lay in persuading me to do it, which is by no means the case. The direction of the East India Company is changed, in some degree, every year; at one time I am able to do some trifling services to my friends; at others, I am wholly at a loss for means of obliging them. This year I have scarce any acquaintance in the direction. However, my endeavours shall not be wanting towards procuring an establishment of some kind for Wat. Nagle. I do not know that the East Indiamen carry out any persons of his trade ; or if they do, I rather incline to think the business very poor in its advantages. In general, the East Indies is no place for an European handicraftsman; as the natives of the country, who work for a trifle, are skilful enough in almost all sorts of manual trades. But, as I told you, I will inquire whether any thing can be done for him ; though really the manner does not now occur to me. Let my uncle know this ; and from me, wish him joy of his sound constitution, activity, and good spirits ; may they long continue! Now I will say a word or too on your own business, concerning the agency you mentioned. Lord Sh. has been for many years very polite to me; and Vol. X. No. 59.-1625.

58

« НазадПродовжити »