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a grace to every thing he said, and whose benignity shed a lustre upon every thing he did; so richly was his memory stored, and so lively was his imagination in applying what he remembered, that after the great source of information was shut against himself, he still possessed a boundless fund of information for the instruction and delight of others. Cumberland.
THE RIGHT HON. C. J. FOX.
Mr. Fox united in a most remarkable degree the seemingly repugnant characters of the mildest of men and the most vehement of orators. In private life he was gentle, modest, placable, kind, of simple manners, and so averse from dogmatism, as to be not only unostentatious, but even something inactive in conversation. His superiority was never felt but in the instruction which he imposed, or in the attention which his generous preference usually directed to the more obscure members of the company. The simplicity of his manners was far from excluding that perfect urbanity and amenity which flowed still more from the mildness of his nature, than from familiar intercourse with the most polished society of Europe. The pleasantry, perhaps, of no man of wit had so unlaboured an appearance. It seemed rather to escape from his mind than to be produced by it. He had lived on the most intimate terms with all his contemporaries distinguished for politeness, or philosophy, or learning, or the talents of public life. In the course of thirty
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years he had known almost every man in Europe whose intercourse could strengthen, or enrich, or polish the mind. His own literature was various and elegant. In classical erudition, which by the custom of England is more peculiarly called learning, he was inferior to few professed scholars. Like all men of genius, he delighted to take refuge in poetry from the vulgarity and irritation of business. His own verses were easy and pleasant, and might have claimed no low place among those which the French call vers de socMti. The poetical character of his mind was displayed by his extraordinary partiality for the poetry of the two most poetical nations, or, at least, languages of the West, those of the Greeks and of the Italians. He disliked political conversation, and never willingly took any part in it. To speak of him justly as an orator would require a long essay. Every where natural, he carried into public something of that simple and negligent exterior which belonged to him in private. When he began to speak, a common observer might have thought him awkward; and even a consummate judge could only have been struck with the exquisite justness of his ideas, and the transparent simplicity of his manners. But no sooner had he spoken for some time than he was changed into another being: he forgot himself and every thing around him: he thought only of his subject: his genius warmed and kindled as he went on. He darted fire into his audience. Torrents of impetuous and irresistible eloquence swept along their feelings and conviction. He certainly possessed above all moderns that union of reason, simplicity, and vehemence which formed the prince of orators. He was the most Demosthenean speaker since the days of Demosthenes. "I knew him," says Mr. Burke, in a pamphlet written after their unhappy difference, "when he was nineteen; since which time he has risen by slow degrees to be the most brilliant and accomplished debater that the world ever saw." The quiet dignity of a mind roused only to great objects, but the absence of petty bustle, the contempt of show, the abhorrence of intrigue, the plainness and downrightness, and the thorough good nature which distinguished Mr. Fox, seem to render him no unfit representative of the old English character, which, if it ever changed, we should be sanguine indeed to expect to see it succeeded by a better. The simplicity of his character inspired confidence, the ardour of his eloquence roused enthusiasm, and the gentleness of his manners invited friendship. "I admired," says Mr. Gibbon, "the powers of a superior man, as they are blended, in his attractive character, with all the softness and simplicity of a child: no human being ever was more free from any taint of malignity, vanity, or falsehood." From these qualities of his public and private character it probably arose, that no English statesman ever preserved, during so long a period of adverse fortune, so many affectionate friends, and so many zealous adherents. The union of ardour in public sentiment, with mildness in social manners, was in Mr. Fox an hereditary quality. The same fascinating power over the attachment of all who came within his sphere is said to have belonged to his father; and those who know the survivors of another generation will feel this delightful quality is not yet extinct in the race.
Perhaps nothing can more strongly prove the deep impression made by this part of Mr. Fox's character than the words of Mr. Burke, who, in January, one thousand seven hundred and ninetyseven, six years after all intercourse between them had ceased, speaking to a person honoured with some degree of Mr. Fox's friendship, said, "To be sure he is a man made to be loved!" And these emphatical words were uttered with a fervour of manner which left no doubt of their heart-felt sincerity.
These few hasty and honest sentiments are sketched in a temper too sober and serious for intentional exaggeration, and with too pious an affection for the memory of Mr. Fox to profane it with any intermixture with the factious brawls and wrangles of the day. His political conduct belongs to history. The measures which he supported or opposed may divide the opinion of posterity, as they have divided those of the present age. But he will most certainly command the unanimous reverence of future generations by his pure sentiments toward the commonwealth, by his zeal for the civil and religious rights of all men, by his liberal principles favourable to mild government, to the unfettered exercise of the human faculties, and the progressive civilization of mankind; by his ardent love for a country of which the well being and greatness were, indeed, inseparable from his own glory;
and by his profound reverence for that free constitution which he was universally admitted to understand better than any other man of his age," - both in an exactly legal and in a comprehensively philosophical sense.
SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH. • * * *
My third illustrious character possesses a mind great and lofty, and at the same time full of candour and simplicity; who alone claims the singular merit of excelling in every species of eloquence.
But on this subject there are a variety of sentiments, both amongst the vulgar and amongst men who have obtained some small tincture of learning; I shall discuss it somewhat more at large, and with all the perspicuity I am able.
I have seen many orators discomposed and distracted from their extreme solicitude in the choice of words*. But the mind of Mr. Fox is so continually exercised in the contemplation of various subjects, that the expressions most appropriate to each seem to present themselves spontaneously. He well knows that there is no word without its own peculiar force and propriety; so that many which, abstractedly considered, may seem mean and vulgar, acquire from his application of them consequence and beauty. If the occasion demand it, he can at pleasure adopt ornament, or energy, with every variety of modulation. He has the faculty of expressing the most difficult things with a certain ease and * Quint, lib. xii. cap. 10.