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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
THE LORD VISCOUNT MILTON,
One of the Representatives in the Commons House of Parliament
for the County of York.
MY DEAR LORD, I Am persuaded, that your lordship will not be displeased to see your name inscribed, at the beginning of an introduction to the fourth volume of Mr. Burke's posthumous works. The hereditary interest, which you possess, in whatever regards the publick labours of that great man and distinguished statesman, will form, I trust, but a small part of your claim to such a distinction.
Your father, and your greatuncle the late Marquess of Rockingham, in addition to the happiness, which they enjoyed, of his personal intimacy and friendship, had also the gratification of being in a high degree instrumental in the direction of those labours to the service of their country. I well remember, that Mr. Burke manifested no ordinary sensation of joy at your birth ; an event, which he considered to be intimately connected with the essential interests of the nation. The heir to veying the right to a seat in the legislative councils of the nation, and to a landed property, among the first in value and amplitude ; the future head of a family, whose alliances and connexions spread its influence through a wide range of social and political intercourse, and gave it a sensible and permanent weight in all matters of state, could not be regarded by him with indifference. Nor will this appear extraordinary, when it is considered, that the principles of the party, VOL. VII.
of which he knew, you would almost necessarily become a distinguished member, and probably an eminent support; principles founded upon the basis of political liberty, and calculated, in their practical application, to promote its security in this nation-had been more philosophically developed, and more accurately defined, more systematically arranged, and applied with more profound wisdom to their practical object, by him, than by any other person; principles too, not less warmly cherished in his heart, than firmly embraced by his understanding. Disinterested patriotism, he knew, you would imbibe from the lessons of your virtuous parents, and a whig patriot alone was to be expected from the house of Wentworth. When he was taken from us, you had not attained an age, that enabled you to profit, as your immediate predecessors had done, by his friendship in private, and cooperation in publick life. But hereditary veneration for his character, and the studious perusal of his writings, have, in a great degree, supplied that loss. Had he lived to know how firmly and zealously you are attached to the principles which he had invariably maintained, and how steadily and manfully you come forward, upon all occasions, to their support, he would have derived from that knowledge, in the present inauspicious state of publick affairs, some consolation at least, perhaps some hope of better times ; notwithstanding the triumphant career, which lies open to the enemies of whiggism, in consequence of divisions within itself, and the apathy of the people from without.
In the mind of Mr. Burke political principles were not objects of barren speculation. Wisdom in him was always practical. Whatever his understanding adopted as truth, made its way to his heart, and sunk deep into it; and his ardent and generous feelings seized with promptitude and eagerness every occasion of applying it to the use of man. kind. How large a portion of an active and laborious life was thus employed, will be seen in our future history of it. Where shall we find recorded exertions of active benevolence, at once so numerous, so varied, and so important, made by one man? Amongst these, the redress of wrongs and the