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the inclination of their minds, that ministers will be brought, if ever, to give us peace.
I conclude, sir, with repeating what I said before: I ask for no gentleman's vote who would have reprobated the compliance of ministers with the proposition of the French Government. I ask for no gentleman's support tonight who would have voted against ministers, if they had come down and proposed to enter into a negotiation with the French. But I have a right to ask, and in honor, in consistency, in conscience, I have a right to expect, the vote of every honorable gentleman who would have voted with ministers in an address to his Majesty, diametrically opposite to the motion of this night.
This speech of Fox is said to have made a deep impression on the House ; but it appears scarcely to have weakened the opposition to Napoleon's measures as set forth in the speech of Pitt. The address approving of the Government's course was carried by the overwhelming majority of 265 to 64. It was the reasoning of Pitt and the vote which followed the debate that determined the general line of English policy till Napoleon was landed at St. Helena. The speech of Fox, though not successful in defeating the governmental policy, was the ablest presentation ever made of the Opposition view.
SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH.
BORN on the 24th of October, 1765, James Mackintosh was fifteen
years younger than Erskine, and thirty-five younger than Burke. He early showed a remarkable fondness for reading, and when he was ten years of age was regarded in the locality of his birth near Inverness, in Scotland, as "a prodigy of learning." His favorite amusement at this period of his life appears to have been to gather his schoolfellows about him and entertain them by delivering speeches in imitation of Fox and North, on the American war,—then the great question of the day. At fifteen, he entered King's College, Aberdeen, where he soon established a friendship with Robert Hall, which continued through life. Their tastes similar, and they devoted themselves with
great earnestness to the study of the classics, and to the more abstruse forms of philosophical reasoning. They were in the habit of studying together and discussing the works of Berkeley, Butler, and Edwards, as well as those of Plato and Herodotus. This exercise, kept up during a large part of their collegiate course, appears to have exerted a great influence on the formation of their minds and tastes. Mackintosh afterward declared that he learned more from those discussions “than from all the books he ever read”; and Hall testified to the great ability of his companion, by saying that “he had an intellect more like that of Bacon than any other person of modern times.”
After spending four years at Edinburgh in the study of medicine, Mackintosh repaired to London with a view to the practice of his profession. His heart seems, however, not to have been very fully enlisted in the work, and he was soon driven to the public press as a means of support. His first great work, published in 1791, commanded immediate attention, not
only for its elegant and expressive as well as keen and trenchant style, but also for the enthusiastic daring with which a young man of twenty-six grappled with the most powerful and accomplished writer of the day. The volume was nothing less than a “Defence of the French Revolution against the Accusations of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke." In point of style the work is certainly not equal to that of his great antagonist; and no more than four years later, Mackintosh himself was so frank as to say to some Frenchmen who complimented him : “Ah, gentlemen, since that time you have entirely refuted me." But, in spite of its obvious faults, its great qualities as a piece of literary workmanship made a prodigious impression. Fox quoted it with enthusiastic approbation in the House of Commons; and Canning, who ridiculed the Revolution, is said to have told a friend that he read the book “ with as much admiration as he had ever felt.” Three editions were immediately called for; and it may be doubted whether even to
the present day it is not the most successful as well as the most powerful argument that has ever been made in opposition to the more celebrated treatise,
The publication of this masterly review showed plainly enough that another great writer had appeared. The reception the work received encouraged Mackintosh in the gratification of his tastes; and, finding himself irresistibly inclining to questions of political philosophy, he now abandoned the profession he had already entered, and turned his attention to the study of law. In 1795 he was admitted to the bar. Four years later he produced the second great literary impression of his life in the publication of the “Introduction to a Course of Lectures on the Law of Nature and of Nations." The remarkable impression made by this single lecture was expressed by Campbell, when he said: “Even supposing that essay had been recovered only imperfect and mutilated—if but
score of consecutive sentences could be shown, they would bear a testimony to his