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[302] intimate friend Edmund Burke, who had recently es-
chap. XV.} 1765. July.
caped from the service of one of the opposite party, and from a pension bestowed by Halifax. It was characteristic of that period for a man like Rockingham to hold for life a retainer like Edmund Burke; and never did a true-hearted, kindly and generous patron find a more faithful adherent. He brought to his employer, and gave up to his party, all that he had—boundless stores of knowledge, especially respecting the colonies, wit, philosophy, imagination, gorgeous eloquence, unwearied industry, mastery of the English tongue, and, as some think, the most accomplished intellect which the nation had produced for centuries. His ambition was fervid, yet content with the applause of the aristocracy. His political training had brought him in contact with the Board of Trade, and afterwards with the government of Ireland, the country of his birth. His writings are a brilliant picture of the British constitution, as it existed in the best days of the eighteenth century; and his genius threw lustre over the decline of the party which he served. No man had a better heart, or more thoroughly hated oppression; but he possessed neither experience in affairs, nor tranquil judgment, nor the rule over his own spirit; so that his genius, under the impulse of his bewildering passions, wrought much evil to his country and to Europe, even while he rendered noble service to the cause of commercial freedom, to Ireland, and to America.

The seals of the Northern department of state were conferred on the duke of Grafton, a young man of respectable abilities, yet impaired by fondness for pleasure, a ready speaker, honest and upright, naturally

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