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deputy teller of the exchequer) was on his death-bed at the date of the last of Junius's private letters, an essay which has sufficient proof of having been written in the possession of full health and spirits. While as to Roberts and Dyer, they had both been dead for many months anterior to this period.”
A quick and final negative is put on any pretensions of Dr. Butler, Mr. Rosenhagen, and Wilkes. Indeed it was the idlest absurdity ever to mention the name of this last personage in this relation. The very positive declaration reported by an American friend of General Lee to have been made by that officer that he was the author of the Letters, leads the editor into some length and particularity of examination, the result of which perfectly falsifies the pretension. It is proved by a comparison of the dates of some of Lee's letters, published in a memoir of him, with those of the letters of Junius, that Lee was precisely no further from Woodfall's press than Poland, during the months in which some of the first of Junius's letters, though under a different signature, were appearing in the Public Advertiser. And it appears that he was rambling, with a peculiarly restless haste, somewhere on the Continent, during the time that those with the signature of Junius were appearing, sometimes at very short intervals, and accompanied by the underplot of a private correspondence with the printer, of a kind which indicates the interchange of notices, sometimes within a few hours, by conveyances to and from the bar of this or the other coffee-house. It is proved besides, from letters of Lee, that he was of opinions directly opposite to those of Junius, relative to some of the leading political men and measures of the times.
Mr. Single-Speech Hamilton has not hitherto, we believe, been absolutely and totally dismissed from all surmise of relationship to Junius; though, it seems, he constantly and even warmly disclaimed it himself, and though some of his most partial friends have disclaimed it for him. But is it not mightily curious and amusing, to hear both him and them sincerely protesting that the letters of Junius are of inferior ability and elegance to what Single-Speech would have written! Should there be any persons, since the decease of Mr. Malone, still surviving to resent, for Hamilton's sake, a suspicion so disparaging to bis talents, they may have the satisfaction of a full assurance that he was not Junius. In addition to arguments drawn by Mr. Malone from Hamilton's having never been a zealous censurer of any political party or individual statesman—from his not having Junius's “minute commissarial knowledge of petty military matters”—from the dissimilarity of his style and figures to those of the mysterious lette-writer, &c.--it is observed,
that Hamilton filled the office of chancellor of the exchequer in Ireland, from September, 1763, to April, 1787, during the very period in which all the letters of Junius appeared, and it will not very readily be credited by any one that this is likely to have been the exact quarter from which the writer of the letters in question fulminated his severe criminations against government. T'he subject moreover, of parliamentary reform, for which Junius was so zealous an advocate, Mr. Malone expressly tells us was considered by Hamilton to be of so dangerous a tendency, that he once said to a friend, now living, that he would sooner suffer his right hand to be cut off than vote for it.""
The only thing that fixed the suspicion on Hamilton, Mr. Woodfall observes, was his having on a certain morning told the Duke of Richmond the substance of a letter of Junius, which he pretended to have just read in the Public Advertiser, but which, on consulting the Public Advertiser, was found not to appear there, an apology instead being offered for its postponement till the next day, when the letter thus previously adverted to by Hamilton, did actually make its appearance." This fact, the editor informs us, was told him by the late Duke of Richmond himself; and he considers it as explained with a perfect probability, by supposing that, as Hamilton was acquainted with the late Mr. Woodfall, and used to call sometimes at his office, the letter in question had been read to him, or its substance recited, by Mr. W. It is worth adding, that the fac-similes show not the slightest resemblance between the handwriting of Hamilton and of Junius.
What is humiliation to one man is matter of ambition to another. If the vanity of Mr. Single-Speech, and the folly of some of his friends, bad so bubbled the estimate of his talents, as to make it almost a condescension as well as disingenuousness to have accepted the imputation of being Junius, it should seem that Mr. Hugh Boyd was, by the same imputation, flattered out of all power of maintaining an honest and firm disavowal. Though very few could be persuaded of his identity with Junius, and though scarcely one professed to perceive in his acknowledged writings the indications of any such measure of talent as that habitually displayed by Junius; yet this identity has been so confidently maintained by at least three writers, that Mr. Woodfall has been induced to employ as many as twenty pages in disposing of the claim; and he has disposed of it for ever. Indeed it proves to have rested on the most trivial presumptive circumstances, and to be capable of being invalidated in a greater variety of ways than the pretensions of almost any other of the claimants. We think this examination, perhaps, the best written part of the preliminary essay. It is impossible, however, to
abridge it; and we shall content ourselves with transcribing one page which recapitulates a considerable part of the argument, in the form of showing what answer could have been made by the late Mr. Woodfall if he had chosen, to an impertinent personal address of Almon, one of the assertors of Boyd's claims, assuming that Mr. Woodfall could produce no negative evidence. To a challenge made in so uncivil a manner no reply was made.
“ Woodfall well knew the handwritings of both Junius and Boyd, and was in possession of many copies of both; and knowing them he well knew they were different. He well knew that Junius was a man directly implicated in the circle of the court, and immediately privy to its most secret intrigues: and that Boyd was very differently situated, and that whatever information he col. lected was by circuitous channels alone; Junius he knew to be a man of affluence considerably superior to his own wants, refusing remunerations to which he was entitled, and offering reimbursements to those who suffered on his account; Boyd to be labouring under great pecuniary difficulties, and ready to accept whatever was offered him;* or, in the language of Mr. Almon, a broken gentleman without a guinea in his pocket.' Junius he knew to be a man of considerably more than his own age, who, from a long and matured experience of the world, was entitled to read him lessons in moral and prudential philosophy; Boyd to be at the same time a very young man, who had not even reached his majority, totally without plan, and almost without experience of any kind, who, in the prospect of divulging himself to Woodfall, could not possibly have written to him, . After a long experience of the world, I affirm before God, I never knew a rogue who was not unhappy.' Boyd he knew to be an imitator and copyist of Junius; Junius to be no copyist of any man, and least of all of himself. Junius he knew to be a decided mixt-monarchy man, who opposed the ministry upon constitutional principles; Boyd to be a wild, random republican, who opposed them upon revolutionary views; Junius to be a writer who could not have adopted the signature of Democrates or Democraticus; Boyd a writer who could, and, we are told, did so, in perfect uniformity with his political creed. Woodfall, it is true, did not pretend to know Junius personally; but from his handwriting, his style of composition, age, politics, rank in life, and pecuniary aflluence, he was perfectly assured that Junius could not be Boyd.”. Preliminary Essay, p. 152.
The imputation of the letters to Mr. Dunning is very briefly discussed and dismissed. It is readily admitted there is a greater
• It appears that Boyd was in a kind of retreat in Ireland, in consequence of pecuniary distress and the fear of being arrested, at the very time that Junius refused to receive any share of the profits which had arisen from the sale of his collected letters.
aggregate of presumptions in his favour. “ His age, and rank in lise, his talents and learning, his brilliant wit, and sarcastic habit, his common residence during the period in question, his political principles, attachments, and antipathies,” would concur to mark him as the man. But the editor is of opinion a few opposing facts are decisive. He thinks credit is due to the veracity of such a person as Junius must have been, when he almost gratuitously made the positive declaration, in his preface to the letters, “ I am no lawyer by profession.” And this declaration is corroborated by several passages in his correspondence with Woodfall and Wilkes. To the latter he complains of the heavy disadvantage, imposed by the secret of his personality, of being debarred from consulting the learned," on legal or constitu. tional points. In another letter he says,
“The constitutional argument is obvious; I wish you to point out to me where you think the force of the formal legal argument lies. In pursuing such inquiries I lie under a singular disadvantage. Not venturing to consult those who are qualified to inform me, I am forced to collect every thing from books, or common conversation. The pains I took with that paper upon privilege, were greater than I can express to you. Yet, after I had blinded myself with poring over journals, debates, and parliamentary history, I was at last obliged to hazard a bold assertion, which I am now convinced is true, (as I really then thought it), because it has not been disproved or disputed."
Toward the conclusion of the same long letter, there is a re, markable passage, which has the appearance of being prompted by truth and feeling; which at any rate seems, where it occurs, too little called for to be, with any sort of fairness, accounted falsehood and affectation. Having employed a particular word in the technical sense of law, he says, “ Though I use the terms of art, do not injure me so much as to suspect I am a lawyer I had as lief be a Scotchman."
And then, too, when it is recollected that Dunning, who was solicitor-general at the time when these letters first appeared, had the character of “high unblemished honour, and high independent principles,” the editor very reasonably pronounces that it cannot be supposed he would have vilified the king while one of the king's confidential servants and counsellors." He might have added, that if the letters of Junius, both public and private, can be admitted to bear decisive evidence to any one quality in the moral temperament of the writer, it is an utter detestation of meanness and self-interested duplicity. We should think, besides, if it were allowable to hazard a judgment from VOL. II. 2D ED.
the very slight specimens we may have seen of Dunning's style, (so brilliantly described by Sir William Jones), that a very considerable difference would have been apparent between compositions from his pen and these famous letters. We should have expected in a work from him more labour of subtle refinementmore artifice, and perhaps we may say quaint peculiarity of expression—a greater frequency of ingenious sparkles-less of what may be at least comparatively denominated a plain direct style of writing—a less sparingness, as if in disdain, of rhetorical device and ornament~a less uniformly sustained tone of bold austerity, and a much less decided clearness, in topics and phraseology, of any cast and colour of his profession.-It may be noticed here also that there is no sort of resemblance between the handwritings of Dunning and Junius.
But little having been attempted in support of any pretensions of Mr. Flood, the celebrated Irish orator, it is enough to say that the editor's argument of negation is equally brief and conclusive.
It is probable that but few of the persons inquisitive about this secret have now any suspicion of Burke. This suspicion, however, appears to have prevailed very extensively at the time the letters appeared; and the editor very properly entertains and examines the question. We think he proves the suspicion to be entirely devoid of probability,
6 Burke could not have written in the style of Junius, which was precisely the reverse of his own; nor could he have consented to have disparaged his own talents in the manner in which Junis has disparaged them, in his letter to the printer of the Public Adver. tiser, Oct. 5, 1771.* Independently of which, he denied that he was the author of these letters, expressly and satisfactorily to Sir William Draper, who purposely interrogated him upon the subject; the truth of which denial is, moreover, corroborated by the testimony of the late Mr. Woodfall, who repeatedly declared that neither Hamilton nor Burke was the writer of these compositions.”
"If, however, there should be readers so inflexible as still to believe that Mr. Burke was the real writer of the letters, and that his denial of the fact to Sir W. Draper was only wrung from him
* The passage here referred to is comprised in one line. Junius has been representing, in a tone of moderation somewhat unusual to him, how very desirable it is that the disagreement and mutual repulsion of political men should not have the effect of depriving a good cause of the services which they might separately contribute to it, each in his own way; and having spe, cified a few of the services which might be obtained, and should be accepted from several individuals of that time, he says, “I willingly accept a sarcasm from Colonel Barre, and a simile from Mr. Burke.” To any reader of Junius it is quite unnecessary to observe that from him this was an expression of very pointed depreciation.