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CONCLUSION.

FROM the period of Mr. Burges's entrance into Rhode-Island College, until the present time, he has been an unwearied and habitual student. Eminence in his profession, and in a public capacity, was among his earliest resolutions; and to the attainment of this end, his thoughts, habits, and purposes have been directed. Few men have been more assiduous in the various departments of study; ancient and modern history, poetry, philosophy, and the sciences. This judicious application of time and opportunities has moulded his mind into beautiful proportions, and imparted to his speeches and discourses, an imaginative, classical, and eloquent character. He affords a practical illustration of that admirable truth maintained by Cicero that eminent success in the Cabinet, in the Hall of Legislation, at the Bar, in the Pulpit, can be secured only by continued, patient study. The great Roman justly thought that the art of eloquence, to the acquisition of which his best days were devoted, could be gained in no other manner. To soar on its loftiest pinion, man must learn the deep springs of human passion, and feel that great interests are in peril; and then he will move, persuade, or pacify. It is by study, that the book of philosophy is adorned with the sublime truths of Newton; that in poetry breathes the living soul of Milton; that in government is seen the radiant light of Bacon. All the leading names of past ages, are eloquent teachers of this truth. The most ennobling forms of thought, the accumulated wisdom of other times, like present time, illustrate the same lesson; and it is written in characters of light on every page, and on every great mind.

Exquisite powers, says an old and quaint writer, have their root in exquisite sensibility. Feeling, is a predominant quality with Mr. Burges. It is exhibited on almost every occasion; in the circle of friendship where are the most hallowed and cherished associations, and in his discourses and speeches. Whatever opinions he entertains, he feels an inward conviction of their valuable tendency. Hence, when at the Bar, the cause of a client was as precious to him as if it were his own. In the defence of a criminal, it seemed as if he were pleading that his own life might be prolonged, and that the penalties of law might visit some other head. On these occasions, his eloquence was irresistible; because it struck the fine chord of human passion. It was by this rare union of thought and feeling, that crowds assembled to hear; that the spirit of eloquence irradiated his legal arguments, communicating its influence to other

minds and other hearts.

By the operation of strong feelings, however, he is often betrayed into errors. In the contending triumph and defeat of parliamentary life, he utters sentiments which are the offspring of strong emotions, rather than calm reflection. When opinions are enforced, detrimental to the public weal, in the ardor of reply, his language may be too severe, and his feelings too vehement.

It is a remark of Burke, and he seems to have made it as referring indirectly to himself "that a vigorous mind is as necessarily accompanied with violent passions, as a great fire with great heat." Oracle as he was, neither past experience nor the constitution of human nature will admit its justice. A vigorous mind, all will acknowledge, is often accompanied with violent passion; but it is not its necessary companion. On the contrary, such a mind is guarded by judgment, prudence, and collected action. Occasions and circumstances may arise, when passion vanquishes its silent, yet powerful operations. The fate of a great cause is often involved in the debate of an hour. A vigorous mind then, will necessarily be accompanied with violent passions; for, in the pending controversy, are life, liberty, and property. It is excitement, deep and impassioned feeling,

arising from conflicting interests, which agitates the vigorous mind. Mr. Burges, in this qualified sense, is a remarkable illustration of Burke's sentiment.

But leaving his private, let us delineate the features of his political character. When the old party distinctions of federal, and republican existed, he belonged, as before intimated, to the former party, and was ardently engaged in the contests of that period. The opinions he then entertained, of the powers and influence of the State and United States Governments, have not been changed. The Constitution he maintains, was the act of the People of the United States in the aggregate; not of the several States; or of the States as sovereign communities; but the act, as its language speaks, of "The People of the United States." It is their Government; its powers were granted by them, for their own use and benefit. In all its operations, it is responsible to them. The control exercised over it, must be exercised by the People. It is their creature, their agent, for specific purposes. The States, therefore, possess all powers, except those granted by the Constitution to the United States; for that instrument, is the supreme law. All powers not vested by the people in Congress, nor prohibited by the Constitution to the States, are reserved to the States. It is ordained and established by "The People of the United States, to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty." It is then, a popular government; because it emanates from the people, and is maintained by the people.

The writings of Mr. Burges, betray striking peculiarities of thought and diction. When he discourses on topics connected with literature and taste, he displays a rare union of imaginative and classical beauties. His compositions on government and political economy, are replete with historical illustrations, strong, and practical. Metaphorical expressions give great energy to language; and as a general remark, they occur often in his writings, and add to their strength and elegance. In many instances, however, they are extravagant, and do not satisfy a

refined taste. But for a union of these qualities, coupled with an emphatic meaning to every word, his speeches excel his writings. The latter are formed in the closet, removed from the inspiring presence of a crowded assembly, and, therefore, not so eloquent. The place where a multitude is gathered, is the place to judge of the excellencies of his mind. There, all the energies of his soul are aroused, by conflict with other intellects. The greater the occasion, the more powerful the adversary, the more commanding is his oratory.

Mr. Burges's style of speaking is often too vehement; occasionally, he deals in nice refinements of language: yet his style is formed on no one model, and, therefore, it resembles the speaking of no other man. It is his own, with its faults and beauties. If one word could convey a just idea of the whole, we should term it captivating. His voice is not remarkable for its sweetness; but it is strong, and in its deepest intonations, melodious. It is capable too, of an exquisite variety of tones. It will speak the calm reasonings of philosophy, and the exciting passions of the soul, with inimitable power. His cadences fall upon the ear, with a prolonged beauty; and his emphasis and pauses are admirably managed. His gestures are frequent, yet employed only when the thought requires them. They are always emphatic. A wave of the hand expresses sentiments. and emotions which others convey only by words. His articulation is remarkably distinct; every sentence is pronounced with a full, deliberate enunciation. One cause of Mr. Burges's success in oratory may be attributed to his knowledge of human nature. Much of that knowledge was acquired in the beginning of life. The variety of his occupations led him into frequent conflict with men; and their dispositions, pursuits, and general rules of conduct, he made a study. His profession, also, was a tributary stream, continually flowing onward, and gathering new volume, as his practice increased. The Bar is a theatre, where human nature is displayed in its darkest and finest expressions. Accustomed to watch the springs of passion, he soon acquired the art to move and enkindle the feelings of popular assemblies. Hence, few have been more successful in

directing the movements of such assemblies. A general silence, an interest that never falters, attend all his efforts.

To live in human memory, and to place on the roll of time some memorial of himself, has evidently ever been one of his cherished desires. He is ambitious; and, therefore, participates in that infirmity, as it is denominated, of great minds; the same which heaved in the breast of Washington; which has breathed in the lines of poetry; which has set in our political firmament those living stars, shining with undimmed lustre and guiding to Union and Independence. In mechanical and agricultural employments he was ambitious. The first honors of the University, his professional accomplishments, and present distinction, all were attained by its influence. "When we feel ourselves," as he once beautifully remarked, "borne along the current of time; when we see ourselves hourly approach that cloud, impenetrable to the human eye, which terminates the last visible portion of this moving estuary; who of us, although he may hope when he reaches it, to shoot through that dark barren, into a more bright and peaceful region, yet who can feel himself receding from the eye of all human sympathy, leaving the vision of all human monuments; and not wish as he passes by, to place on those monuments, some little memorial of himself; some volume of a book; or, perhaps but a single page, that it may be remembered,

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'When we are not, that we have been.'"

The mind of Mr. Burges, in all its shades and peculiarities, cannot be precisely delineated. It is difficult to balance the opposing elements of any mind, or to convey an accurate idea of all its resources and attainments. The most correct inferences may be drawn from works. We think, as before intimated, that upon them he has established a permanent and just renown. Intellectual greatness must be more conclusively defined, the true nature of genius solved, before a place can be selected in the temple of Fame, for all noble and far-reaching minds.

Whatever may be the philosophical definition of genius,when united with application, it furnishes the richest productions of intellect. In Mr. Burges, the combination of these qualities has directed his efforts to practical results.

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