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passed him, and which all found irresistible, was his wit: this relieved the weary; this calmed the resentful, and animated the drowsy; this drew smiles even from such as were the objects of it, scattered flowers over a desert; and, like sunbeams sparkling on a lake, gave spirit and vivacity to the dullest and least interesting cause. Not that his accomplishments, as an advocate, consisted principally in volubility of speech, or liveliness of raillery: he was endued with an intellect sedate, yet penetrating; clear, yet profound; subtle, yet strong. His knowledge too was equal to his imagination, and his memory to his knowledge. He was not less deeply learned in the sublime principles of jurisprudence, and the particular laws of his country, than accurately skilled in the minute but useful practice of all our different courts. In the nice conduct of a complicated cause, no particle of evidence could escape his vigilant attention, no shade of argument could elude his comprehensive reason: perhaps the vivacity of his imagination sometimes prompted him to sport where it would have been wiser to argue; and, perhaps, the exactness of his memory sometimes induced him to answer such remarks as hardly deserved notice, and to enlarge on small circumstances, which added little weight to his argument; but those only who have experienced can in any degree conceive the difficulty of exerting all the mental faculties in one instant, when the least deliberation might lose the tide of action irrecoverably. The people seldom err in appreciating the character of speakers; and those clients who were too late to engage Dunning on their side never thought themselves secure of success, while those against whom he was engaged were always apprehensive of a defeat.
As a lawyer, he knew that Britain could only be happily governed on the principles of her constitutional or public law; that the regal power was limited, and popular rights ascertained by it; but that aristocracy had no other power than that which too naturally results from property, and which laws ought rather to weaken than to fortify; he was therefore an equal supporter of just prerogative and of national freedom, weighing both in the noble balance of our recorded constitution. An able and aspiring statesman, who professed the same principles, had wisdom to solicit, and the merit to obtain the friendship of this great man; and a connexion, planted originally on the firm ground of familiarity in political sentiments, ripened into personal affection, which nothing but death could have dissolved or impaired. Whether in his ministerial station he might not suffer a few prejudices insensibly to creep on his mind, as the best men have suffered, because they were men, may admit of a doubt; but, if even prejudiced, he was never uncandid; and, though pertinacious in all his opinions, he had great indulgence for such as differed from him.
His sense of honour was lofty and heroic, his integrity stern and inflexible; and though he had a strong inclination to splendour of life, with a taste for the elegancies of society, yet no love of dignity, of wealth, or of pleasure, could have tempted him to deviate, in a single instance, from the straight line of truth and honesty.
He carried his democratical principles even into social life, where he claimed no more of the conversation than his just share; and was candidly attentive when it was his turn to be a hearer. His enmities were strong, yet placable; but his friendships were eternal: and if his affections ever subdued his judgment, it must have been in cases where the fame and interest of a friend were nearly concerned. The veneration with which he constantly treated his father, whom his success and reputation had made the happiest of mortals, could be equalled only by the amiable tenderness which he showed as a parent. He used to speak with wonder and abhorrence of Swift, who was not ashamed to leave a declaration, that he could not be fond of children; and with pleasure of the Caliph, who, on the eve of a decisive battle, which was won by his valour and wisdom, amused himself in his tent with seeing his children ride on his scimitar and play with his turban, and dismissed a general, as unlikely to treat the army with lenity, who durst reprove him for so natural and innocent a recreation.
For some months before his death the nursery had been his chief delight, and gave him more pleasure than the cabinet could have afforded him: but this parental affection, which had been a source of so much felicity, was probably a cause of his fatal illness. He had lost one son, and expected to lose another, when the author of this painful tribute to his memory parted from him, with tears in his eyes, little hoping to see him again in a perishable state. As he perceives, without affectation, that his tears now steal from
him, and begin to moisten the paper on which he writes, he reluctantly leaves a subject which he could not so soon have exhausted; and when he also should resign his life to the great Giver of it, he desires no other decoration of his humble gravestone than this honourable truth:— With none to flatter, none to recommend, Dunning approved and marked him as a friend.
SIR W. JonES.
LORD CHIEF BARON BURGH.
Walter Hcssey, who afterwards took the name of Burgh, and was advanced to the station of lord chief baron of the exchequer, came, at this time, into parliament, under the auspices of James, Duke of Leinsler. He immediately joined the great opposition then formed against the administration of Lord Townshend. His speeches, when he first entered the House of Commons, were very brilliant, very figurative, and far more remarkable for that elegant poetic taste which had highly distinguished him when a member of the university, than any logical illustration or depth of argument. But as he was blessed with great endowments, every session took away somewhat from the unnecessary splendour and redundancy of his harangues. To make use of a phrase of Cicero, in speaking of his own improvements in eloquence, his orations were gradually deprived of all fever. Clearness of intellect, a subtile, refined, and polished wit; a gay, fertile, uncommonly fine imagination; very classical taste,
superior harmony and elegance of diction, peculiarly characterized this justly celebrated man. Though without beauty, his countenance was manly, engaging, and expressive; his figure agreeable and interesting; his deportment graceful.
To those who never heard him, as the fashion of this world in eloquence, as in all things, soon passes away, it may be no easy matter to convey a just idea of his style of speaking; it differed totally from the models which have been presented to us by some of the great masters of rhetoric in latter days. His eloquence was by no means gaudy, tumid, nor approaching to that species of oratory which the Roman critics denominated Asiatic; but it was always decorated as the occasion required: it was often compressed and pointed, though that could not be said to have been its general feature. It was sustained with great ingenuity, and great rapidity of intellect, luminous and piercing satire; in refinement abundant, in simplicity sterile. The classical allusions of this orator, for he was most truly one, were so apposite, they followed each other in such bright and varied succession, and at times spread such an unexpected and triumphant blaze round his subject, that all persons who were in the least tinged with literature could never be tired of listening to him. The Irish are a people of quick sensibility, and perfectly alive to every display of ingenuity or illustrative wit. Never did the spirit of the nation soar higher than during the splendid days of the volunteer institution; and when Hussey Burgh, alluding to some coercive English laws, and that