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THE NEW TO THE OLD WHIGS,
IN CONSEQUENCE OF
SOME LATE DISCUSSIONS IN PARLIAMENT,
RELATIVE TO THE
REFLECTIONS ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND EDITION.
THERE are some corrections in this Edition, which tend to render the sense less obscure in one or two places. The order of the two last members is also changed, and I believe for the better. This change was made on the suggestion of a very learned person, to the partiality of whose friendship I owe much; to the severity of whose judgment I owe more.
At Mr. Burke's time of life, and in his dispositions, petere honestam missionem was all he had to do with his political associates. This boon they have not chosen to grant him. With many expressions of good-will, in effect they tell him he has loaded the stage too long. They conceive it, though a harsh yet a necessary office, in full parliament to declare to the present age, and to as late a posterity, as shall take any concern in the proceedings of our day, that by one book he has disgraced the whole tenor of his life.—Thus they dismiss their old partner of the war. He is advised to retire, whilst they continue to serve the public upon wiser principles, and under better auspices.
Whether Diogenes the Cynic was a true philosopher, cannot easily be determined. He has written nothing. But the sayings of his which are handed down by others, are lively; and may be easily and aptly applied on many occasions by those whose wit is not so perfect as their memory. This Diogenes (as every one will recollect) was citizen of a little bleak town situated on the coast of the Euxine, and exposed to all the buffets of that in hospitable sea. He lived at a great distance from those weather-beaten walls, in ease and indolence, and in the midst of literary leisure, when he was informed that his townsmen had condemned him to be banished from Sinope; he answered coolly, “And I condemn them to live in Sinope.”
The gentlemen of the party in which Mr. Burke has always acted, in passing upon him the sentence of retirement,* have
Newspaper intelligence ought always to be received with some degree of caution. I do not know that the following paragraph is founded on any author
done nothing more than to confirm the sentence which he had long before passed upon himself. When that retreat was choice, which the tribunal of his peers inflict as punishment, it is plain he does not think their sentence intolerably severe. Whether they who are to continue in the Sinope which shortly he is to leave, will spend the long years which, I hope, remain to them, in a manner more to their satisfaction, than he shall slide down, in silence and obscurity, the slope of his declining days, is best known to him who measures out years, and days, and fortunes.
The quality of the sentence does not however decide on the justice of it. Angry friendship is sometimes as bad as calm enmity. For this reason the cold neutrality of abstract justice, is, to a good and clear cause, a more desirable thing than an affection liable to be any way disturbed. When the trial is by friends, if the decision should happen to be favorable, the honor of the acquittal is lessened; if adverse, the condemnation is exceedingly embittered. It is aggravated by coming from lips professing friendship, and pronouncing judgment with sorrow and reluctance. Taking in the whole view of life, it is more safe to live under the jurisdiction of severe but steady reason, than under the empire of indulgent, but capricious passion. It is certainly well for Mr. Burke
. that there are impartial men in the world. To them I address myself, pending the appeal which on his part is made
ity; but it comes with an air of authority. The paper is professedly in the interest of the modern Whigs, and under their direction. The paragraph is not disclaimed on their part. It professes to be the decision of those whom its author calls “ the great and firm body of the Whigs of England.” Who are the Whigs of a different composition, which the promulgator of the sentence considers as composed of fleeting and unsettled particles, I know not, nor whether there be any of that description. The definitive sentence of the great and firm body of the Whigs of England” (as this paper gives it out) is as follows :
“ The great and firm body of the Whigs of England, true to their principles, have decided on the dispute between Mr. Fox and Mr. Burke; and the former is declared to have maintained the pure doctrines by which they are bound together, and upon which they have invariably acted. The consequence is, that Mr. Burke retires from parliament."- Morning Chronicle, May 12, 1791.