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has seldom been seen), observed, that he was that speaker, who, in his support of government, had always something to say which gratified the house. "He can go out in all weathers," continued Mr. Hamilton, "and as a debater is therefore inestimable."
He had attended much to the stage, and acquired a clearness and propriety of intonation, that gave, what he said, great impression. In his younger days he lived in great habits of intimacy with Quin, who admired his talents, and improved his elocution.
From some of his coadjutors he differed in one respect particularly; he never recommended a bad measure, that he might display an obtrusive and vulgar zeal for government, nor appeared a champion for British interest in preference to that of his own country. He always spoke of it with respect and affection; and as, in the course of time, questions came forward, which, when he first engaged in business, Parliament would have shrunk from, he was not awed into silence, but supported them all. The Octennial bill, the Free Trade, the Catholic bill, in which he was followed with hereditary talents and spirit; and latterly the parliamentary reform. On the lastmentioned subject he spoke with no diminished powers: time had, indeed, changed his manner, but it was the placid manner of dignified age; and the house seemed to listen to him with peculiar and grateful satisfaction. His acceptance of the provostship of Trinity College was an unwise step; injurious to his peace, and almost clouding every prospect in his profession; the highest honours of which he would, in all probability, have otherwise obtained. After a long enjoyment of parliamentary fame, it was then said that he was no speaker; and, after the most lucrative practice at the bar, that he was no lawyer. But the public ultimately decides with propriety and candour. And all the force of wit and talents arrayed against him in his academical quarrels could not authenticate these supposed discoveries of his want of knowledge and ability; his country thought far otherwise, and his reputation as a man of genius, and an active and well informed statesman, remained undiminished to the last.
He was a man of high spirit; when he left opposition, in 1760, and took the prime serjeantcy, some of his enemies attempted to attack him in the House of Commons; but he asserted himself with such a lofty and firm tone, that it was thought prudent to attack him no more. In private life he was amiable, and in the several duties of father and husband most exemplary.
Lord North possesses great natural acuteness, which he has improved by art and experience. With considerable dignity, he unites those powers of wit which are both agreeable in adorning a narration, and particularly fertile and happy in exciting ridicule. His memory is rich in the knowledge of antiquity, and happy in applying it to his purpose. His speeches distinguish him as an individual most amiably resolved to bear with the infirmities and follies of mankind; and often has his polished urbanity restrained the ill humour and asperity of others. His style, though not much ornamented, is certainly not mean; he comprehends a subject readily, and explains it with success. It is not his smallest praise, that he not only says all that is necessary to his purpose, but that he never says more. Upon all occasions he discerns the proper limit, and would rather conclude to avoid exciting tediousness, than hazard the failure of obtaining attention by speaking too long. Considering him as a civilian, we cannot think him deficient in any one quality necessary to form the politician. To these accomplishments of the orator, possessed from nature or acquired by diligence, is added the genuine and the greatest love of his country, whose ancient forms and discipline he not only understands to admiration, but defends, whenever they become subject matter of dispute, with vigour and with firmness.
If we investigate more minutely the character of his mind, we shall have occasion to observe that when in possession of the highest dignity, and opposed by a powerful competitor, he conducted himself with the extremest moderation. We shall find him steady in his attachments, placable when offended, successful in inspiring that confidence which he never disappointed; never using his power to the depression of the weak; without the very appearance of criminality, unless it be imputed to him, that, in the prosecution of the American war, he did not keep
pace with the ardour of public expectation.— That war, originally occasioned by measures in which he had no concern, was undertaken by him with hesitation and reluctance. All resistance being ineffectual, he was impelled to arms— to arms already stained with unexpiated blood— by the combined efforts of the sovereign, the senate, and the people.
He has left us an impressive but melancholy example how little the remembrance of past liberality benefits the generous donor; but how essentially noble minds may be injured by incautious credulity, and the imputation of imagined criminality. He possesses, however, in the sacred recesses of his heart, what enables him to support with complacency the heaviest oppressions of calamity. Whenever, with conscious rectitude, his memory dwells on that acrimony of reproach which has pursued his character; whenever he calls to mind the faithlessness, the ingratitude, of that gaudy tribe, whom he led by the hand to honours and to wealth: he will remember also, and exclaim in the language of Lycurgus, " What manner of citizen do you suppose me to be, who, having so long conducted public affairs, have perhaps given money for the prevention of injustice, but never received any thing to promote it?"
* One of the three books of Bellendenus " De Statu" is also inscribed by Dr. Parr to Lord North, in the following animated panegyric:—" In testimony of the profoundest reverence, attachment, and admiration, this book is dedicated to the most honourable Frederic Lord North, who, in that species of eloquence steady to its object, whilst temperate in » • • *
He was a man of admirable parts; of general knowledge; of a versatile understanding fitted for every sort of business; of infinite wit and pleasantry; of a delightful temper; and with a mind most perfectly disinterested. But it would be only to degrade myself by a weak adulation, and not to honour the memory of a great man, to deny that he wanted something of the vigilance, and spirit of command, that the time required.
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When in process of time I saw and knew Lord North in his retirement from all public affairs, patient, collected, resigned to an afflicting visitation of the severest sort, when all but his illuminated mind was dark around him, I contemplated an affecting and an edifying object that claimed my admiration and esteem; a man who, when divested of that incidental greatness which high office for a time can give, self dignified and independent, rose to real greatness of his own creating, which no time can take away ; whose genius gave
its means, is confessedly unrivaled; who, in every social intercourse of life, preserves the truest dignity, neither tinged with gloom, nor debased by severity, but marked by affability and the sweetest humour; who, possessing claims to the partial regards of the first both of men and citizens, with simple and unaffected candour has shown himself able to forget enmities ; who, when deserted by the faithless train of c ungrateful followers, suffered no resentment to pursue them; who, in defending the laws and constitution of his country, was uniformly vigilant; who, in times replete with danger, and involving his own security, rested unappalled on the noble consciousness of virtue."