Reflections on the Revolution in France: Volume 2 Paperback (Select Works of Edmund Burke)

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The sentiment proper to the sublime, rather maladroitly designated as Burke himself notes as delight, is precisely the counterpart of grief. But while Eagleton and others associate the sublimity of sovereign power with the person of the monarch, Reflections outlines a different source of sovereign power, one opposed to the monarchy, in the hands of the revolutionaries. To appreciate the conceptual work of the sublime within Reflections , it is necessary to trace the relations between Enquiry and Reflections more precisely, especially the fact that both texts rely on the same fundamental division between love and terror.

In his discussion of the necessity of religion for the state, the sublime has less of a pejorative connotation but nonetheless needs a concrete manifestation to be effective. Such sublime principles ought to be infused into persons of exalted situations. Reflections presents a very specific vision of revolutionary terror: it is the destruction of political space, which leaves the mere animal life of the multitude in its wake.

Revolutionary violence cannot be, properly speaking, a collective or political phenomenon. This conclusion, too, has been borrowed from the work on aesthetics. As noted above, Enquiry does not present a theory of pure aesthetics uncontaminated by politics. On the contrary, in his aesthetic treatise the young Burke insists on the absolute heterogeneity of the beautiful and the sublime, but not simply because the beautiful and the sublime have entirely separate affective registers.

More than this, the difference between the two categories is absolute because they exist in entirely distinct domains. The sublime, by contrast, is always associated with the terror of a violent death and therefore is always a terror experienced in isolation. In undergoing the experience of the sublime, the individual is stripped of every relation, torn from every societal or political connection.

In Reflections , therefore, the French Revolution is necessarily linked to the question of terror precisely because the revolutionaries have, in the process of the Revolution itself, torn the fabric of the political sphere to shreds, leaving everyone stripped bare, abandoned to his or her apolitical nature.

Terror, by this definition, is the destruction of the political sphere mediating between law and its application. It is, therefore, the abstract law applied immediately to the apolitical multitude, functioning without any recourse to political or juridical mediation. Well before the Reign of Terror, Burke makes his case for a widespread terror in rather obvious ways, especially with the hyperbolic representations of violence of the march on Versailles, at the same time macabre and ridiculous.

What is made patently clear here is that this sovereign power—or, quite literally, the constituent power—belongs not to the monarch, not even to the people, but to the multitude. The identification of terror and the sublime in Reflections and in contemporary Burke criticism is possible only through an active forgetfulness of the notion of delight. Terror, as Enquiry makes clear, can never be in itself sublime. Properly speaking, the sublime experience of delight i. Love and terror are the extreme forms of positive pleasure and pain respectively, while grief and delight, the latter of which is the properly sublime experience, are the negative forms of each.

To this extent, it is clear that there is a direct and consistent connection between Enquiry and Reflections insofar as both texts rely on a fundamental opposition between love and terror. But what has been transformed in the transposition from one text to another is that the sublime, which in the early text is the delight negative pain at the cessation of terror positive pain , in Reflections is immediately identified with terror. As the sublime cannot be reduced to mere terror, its inclusion within Reflections opens another way of reading the opposition between beauty and sublimity: the opposition between image and text.

Indeed, according to Enquiry , the sublime is associated with language especially poetry , while the beautiful is associated with visual arts painting most importantly. Nor is it a short experience that can instruct us in that practical science. Who, then, shall make the practical judgments of politics? The question cannot be answered by appealing to the rights of men. Burke was undoubtedly what today is called an elitist and, in his own terminology, an aristocrat in principle. He had a very low estimation of the political capacity of the mass of the population, and when he agreed that the people had a role in government, he meant only a fairly well-educated and prosperous segment of the people.

But the main object of his attack on the democratic theory of his day was not so much the idea that the populace at large was capable of exercising political power as the principle that it had an inherent right to do its own will. I reprobate no form of government merely upon abstract principles. There may be situations in which the purely democratic form will become necessary. There may be some very few, and very particularly circumstanced where it would be clearly desirable. This I do not take to be the case of France, or of any other great country.

Democracy as a mere form of government, then, would be sometimes, if only rarely, acceptable to Burke. The phrase concerning the place of the people in the order of delegation is interesting because it may refer to a Edition: current; Page: [ [xxiii] ] theory of the origin of political authority which was generally accepted in Late Scholasticism and was most elaborately presented by the sixteenth-century Jesuit Francisco Suarez. This authority consequently inheres in the first instance in the body politic or whole community.

But the community can and, for its own common good, normally will transfer its authority to a king or a body of men smaller than the whole. For Paine, once God had given man his original rights at the creation, His work was done. Men then were able to create political authority out of their own wills. But for Burke, the authority of even the people was a trust held from God. In God, however, will is always rational because His will is identical with His reason. The people, for their part, must make their will rational by keeping it in subordination to and conformity with the law of God.

The law of God that Burke has in mind is not only or primarily His revealed law but the natural moral law, because it is a law that follows from the nature of man as created by God. The Creator is. He who gave our nature to be perfected by our virtue, willed also the necessary means of its perfection—He willed therefore the state—He willed its connection with the source and original archetype of all perfection. There is an entire metaphysics implicit in this passage. God, as Creator, is the source of all being. The infinite fullness of His being, therefore, is the archetype of all finite being and becoming.

All created beings reflect the goodness of their primary cause and tend toward their own full development or perfection by approaching His perfection, each in its own mode and within the limits of its potentialities. The state, as the necessary means of human perfection, must be connected to that original archetype.

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The end of the state, for Burke, is divinely set and in its highest reach is nothing less than the perfection of human nature by its virtue. The constitution of civil society was a convention whose shape and form was not a necessary conclusion Edition: current; Page: [ [xxv] ] drawn from principles of natural law. Nonetheless, society was natural in the sense of being the necessary and divinely willed means to achieve the perfection of human nature.

Houses are undeniably artificial works of human hands, but they are a natural habitat for men because they more adequately satisfy the needs of human nature than caves can do. Society, then, is indeed a contract, but not one to be regarded in the same light as a commercial contract that is entered into for a limited and self-interested purpose and can be dissolved at the will of the contracting parties.

Paine could look upon human society as rather like a vast commercial concern, potentially worldwide in scope, that was held together by reciprocal interest and mutual consent. Burke could not share this utilitarian view of society:. It is to be looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary Edition: current; Page: [ [xxvi] ] and perishable nature.

It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. Because of the nature of its purposes, the contract of society has a character and a binding force that are different from those of ordinary contracts. In a literal sense he was, of course, quite right. Men achieve their natural social goals only in history. The structures inherited from the past, if they have served and still serve those goals, are binding upon those who are born into them. These persons are not morally free to dismantle the structures at pleasure and to begin anew from the foundations.

For the goals in question are not those alone of the collection of individuals now present on earth, but also those of human nature and of God. The constitution of a society, conventional and historically conditioned though it is, becomes a part of the natural moral order because of the ends that it serves. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primaeval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by the inviolable oath which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place.

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This law is not subject to the will of those, who by an obligation above them, and infinitely superior, are bound to submit their will to that law. That moral order furnishes a law to which civil societies as well as individuals are obliged to conform. But are people never free to change the constitution and their government? Burke does not quite say that. Included in his concept of constitution was the whole corporate society to which he was devoted. Nonetheless, he could not and did not deny that a revolution was sometimes necessary. He only insisted that it could not be justified but by reasons that were so obvious and so compelling that they were themselves part of the moral order:.

It is the first and supreme necessity only, a necessity that is not chosen but chooses, a necessity paramount to deliberation, that admits no discussion, and demands no evidence, which alone can justify a resort to anarchy.

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This necessity is no exception to the rule; because this necessity itself is a part too of that moral and physical disposition of things to which man must be obedient by consent or force. But if that which is only submission to necessity should be made the object of choice, the law is broken, nature is disobeyed, and the rebellious are outlawed, cast forth, and exiled, from this world of reason, and order, and peace, and virtue, and fruitful penitence, into the antagonist world of madness, discord, vice, confusion, and unavailing sorrow.

One may think that here Burke has gone beyond rhetoric into rhapsody. Yet the lines of his argument are clear enough. Burke was, indeed, uninterested in the workings of the Divine power. He was, it is true, a practicing politician, not a philosopher, and in these two works he wrote Edition: current; Page: [ [xxix] ] a polemic, not a dispassionate treatise on political theory. But his polemic included the presentation of a countertheory to the theory he was attacking. The countertheory depended in turn on explicitly stated premises of a moral and metaphysical nature.

The premises are expounded, one must admit, in rhetorical language, especially in the Reflections. They assume the superiority of reason or intellect to will in both God and man. Part of this universe is the natural moral order based on the nature of man as created by God. Since civil society is necessary to the attainment of that perfection, it too is natural and willed by God. The authority of the state derives from the rational and moral ends that it is intended by nature to serve. Consent plays a role in the formation of the state and the conferral of its authority on government, since both involve human acts of choice.

But the obligation to form a civil society is prior to consent, and, for those born under a constitution, consent to the constitution is commanded by the previous obligation to obey a government that is adequately serving the natural goals of society. But the basic political right is the right to be governed well, not the right to govern oneself. In this volume, the pagination of E. Cross references have been changed to reflect the pagination of the current edition. The use of double punctuation e. Moves to London to study law in Inns of Court, abandons it for a literary career.

Publishes A Vindication of Natural Society, a satire on Enlightenment political and religious reasoning. Rockingham dismissed as Prime Minister after achieving repeal of Stamp Act that inflamed the American colonies. Elected Member of Parliament for city of Bristol, delivers classic speech on the independence of a representative.

Delivers Speech on American Taxation, criticizing British policy of taxing the colonies. Delivers Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies. Because of opposition, withdraws from election at Bristol. Is elected M. In November, publishes Reflections on the Revolution in France.

Burke criticizes failure to prosecute the war vigorously in Observations on the Conduct of the Ministry and Remarks on the Policy of the Allies. Burke defends his public life in A Letter to a Noble Lord. The famous letter or pamphlet contained in this volume represents the workings of an extraordinary mind at an extraordinary crisis: and can therefore be compared with few things that have ever been spoken or written. Composed in a literary age, it scarcely belongs to literature; yet it is one of the greatest of literary masterpieces.

It embodies nothing of history save fragments which have mostly lost their interest, yet no book in the world has more historical significance. It scorns and defies philosophy, but it discloses a compact and unique system of its own. It tramples on logic, yet carries home to the most logical reader a conviction that its ill-reasoning is substantially correct.

No one would think of agreeing with it in the mass, yet there are parts to which every candid mind will assent. Its many true and wise sayings are mixed up with extravagant and barefaced sophistry: its argument, with every semblance of legal exactness, is disturbed by hasty gusts of anger, and broken by chasms which yawn in the face of the least observant reader. It is an intellectual puzzle, not too abstruse for solution: and hence few books are better adapted to stimulate the attention and judgment, and to generate the invaluable habit of mental vigilance. To discover its defects is easy enough.

After a time, this impression disappears; eloquence and deep conviction have done their work, and the wisdom of a few pages, mostly dealing in generalities, is constructively extended to the whole. But the reader now vacillates again: and this perpetual alternation of judgment on the part of a reader not thoroughly in earnest constitutes a main part of that fascination which Burke universally exercises.

It is like the Edition: orig; Page: [ vi ] fascination of jugglery: now you believe your eyes, now you distrust them: the brilliancy of the spectacle first dazzles, and then satisfies: and you care little for what lies behind. This is what the author intended: the critical faculty is disarmed, the imagination is enthralled. What did Burke propose to himself when he sat down to write this book? The letter to Depont is obviously a mere peg upon which to hang his argument: the book is written for the British public. He believed himself to foresee whither the revolutionary movement in France was tending: he saw one party in England regarding it with favour, the other with indifference: he saw clear revolutionary tendencies on all sides among the people: and not a single arm was as yet raised to avert the impending catastrophe.

Burke aimed at recalling the English nation to its ancient principles, and at showing the folly and imprudence of the French political movement.

Editor’s Foreword

The great historical Whig party, the party of Somers, of Walpole, and of Chatham, was slowly passing through a painful transformation, which many observers mistook for dissolution. Burke found himself constrained to desert it, and that upon an occasion which afforded an opportunity of rendering it material support. From that time forward he became a marked man.

Even for Burke the act of thinking for himself was stigmatised as a crime. While the events of the French Revolution commended themselves to the leaders of his party, he ought not to have allowed Edition: current; Page: [ [5] ] it to be seen that they aroused in him nothing but anger and scorn; nor ought he to have appealed to the nation at large to support him in his opposition. Such an appeal to the general public was characteristic of definite change of allegiance. Hence the obloquy which overwhelmed the last years of his life, raised by those who had been his associates during a career of a quarter of a century.

They are, however, but few; they are obvious, and lie upon the surface. It is hard for those who live a hundred years after the time to say whether such discrepancies were or were not justifiable. Scrutiny will discover that they turn mainly upon words. The House of Lords, for instance, in the first volume of these Select Works, is asserted to be a form of popular representation; in the present, the Peers are said to hold their share in the government by original and indefeasible right. Twenty years before, Burke had said that the tithes were merely a portion of the taxation, set apart by the national will for the support of a national institution.

In the present work, he argues that Church property possesses the qualities of private property. In the former volume it is asserted that all governments depend on public opinion: in the present, Burke urges that public opinion acts within much narrower limits.

Abstract truths, when embodied in the form of popular opinion, sometimes prove to be moral falsehoods. And popular opinion in the majority of cases proves to be a deceptive and variable force. Institutions stand or fall by their material strength and cohesion; and though these are by no means unconnected with the arguments which are advanced for or against them, the names and qualities with which they are invested in argument are altogether a secondary consideration.

The position of the Church, for instance, or the Peerage, has not been materially influenced by either way of regarding them. They have stood, as they continue to stand, because they are connected by many ties which are strong, though subtle and complicated, with the national being. They stand, in some degree, because it is probable that the stronger half of the nation would fight for them.

Edition: orig; Page: [ viii ] It is not to such obvious discrepancies that we owe the fact that the connexion between the present treatise and those contained in the former volume is less easily traced by points of resemblance than by points of contrast. The differencing causes lie deeper and spread wider. In the first place, Burke in the present volume is appealing to a larger public. He is appealing directly to the whole English Nation, and indirectly to every citizen of the civilised world.

In his early denunciations of the French Revolution, Burke stood almost alone. At first sight he appeared to have the most cherished of English traditions against him. If there was one word which for a century had been sacred to Englishmen, it was the word Revolution. The King, around whom the discontented Whigs and the remnant of the Tories had rallied, was himself the creature of the Revolution.


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Now the party of Fox recognised a lawful relation between the Revolution of , and that which was entering daily on some new stage of its mighty development in France. There was really but little connexion between the two. Pent in their own narrow circle, they could form no idea of a political movement on a bigger scale than a coalition: to them the French Revolution seemed merely an ordinary Whiggish rearrangement of affairs which would soon settle down into their places, the King, as in England, accepting a position subordinate to his ministers.

Nor were Pitt and his party, with the strength of Parliament and the nation at their back, disposed to censure it. There was a double reason for favouring it, on the part of the English Premier. On the other, Mr. Pitt conceived that the new Government would naturally be favourable to those liberal principles of commercial intercourse which he had with so much difficulty forced on the old one. Neither side saw, as Edition: orig; Page: [ ix ] Burke saw it, the real magnitude of the political movement in France, and how deep and extensive were the interests it involved.

Burke, in the unfavourable impression which he conceived of the Revolution, was outside of both parties. He could find no audience in the House of Commons, where leading politicians had long looked askance upon him. He had in his portfolio the commencement of a letter to a young Frenchman who had solicited from him an expression of opinion, and this letter he resolved to enlarge and give to the world. He thus appealed from the narrow tribunal of the House of Commons to the Nation at large. It was the first important instance of the recognition, on the part of a great statesman, of the power of public opinion in England in its modern form.

Burke here addresses his arguments to a much wider public than of old. He recognises, what is now obvious enough, that English policy rests on the opinion of a reasonable democracy. The reader, in comparing the two volumes, will notice this difference in the tribunal to which the appeal is made. Public opinion in the last twenty years had gone through rapid changes. The difference between the condition of public opinion in and in was greater than between and In it was necessary to rouse it into life: in it was already living, watching, and speaking for itself.

The immorality of the politicians of the day had awakened the distrust of the people: and the people and the King were united in supporting a popular minister. There was more activity, more public spirit, and more organisation. In England, as in France, communication with the capital from the remotest parts of the kingdom had become frequent and regular. London had in no less than fourteen daily newspapers; and many others appeared once or twice a week. No one can look over the files of these newspapers without perceiving the magnitude of the space which France at this time occupied in the eye of the English world.

The rivalry of the two nations was already at its height. The Bourbon kingdoms summed up, for the Englishman, the idea of foreign Powers: and disturbances in France told on England Edition: orig; Page: [ x ] with Edition: current; Page: [ [9] ] much greater effect than now.

In England there prevailed a deceptive tranquillity. Burke and many others knew that the England of was not the England of The results of the American War were slowly convincing people that something more was possible than had hitherto been practised in modern English policy. Democracy had grown from a possibility into a power. Whiggism, as a principle, had long been distrusted and discredited. With its decline had begun the discredit of all that it had idolised. The English Constitution, against which in hardly a breath had been raised, was in the succeeding twenty years exposed to general ridicule.

Under a minister who proclaimed himself a Reformer, the newly awakened sentiment for political change was extending in all directions. Seats in Parliament had always been bought and sold; but, owing to the increased wealth of the community, prices had now undergone a preposterous advance.

Five thousand pounds was the average figure at which a wealthy merchant or rising lawyer had to purchase his seat from the patron of a borough. The disgraceful history of the Coalition made people call for reform in the Executive as well as the Legislative. Montesquieu had said that England must perish as soon as the Legislative power became more corrupt than the Executive; but it now seemed as if both branches of the government were competing in a race for degradation.


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Corrupt as the Legislative was in its making, its material, drawn from the body of the nation, and not from a corps of professed intriguers, saved it from the moral disgrace which attended the Executive. Many were in favour of restoring soundness to the Executive as a preliminary reform; and many were the schemes proposed for effecting it. One very shrewd thinker, who sat in the House, proposed an annual Ministry, chosen by lot. Others proposed an elective Ministry: others wished to develop the House of Lords into something like the Grand Council of Venice.

No political scheme was too absurd to lack an advocate. Universal suffrage, Edition: current; Page: [ [10] ] annual parliaments, and electoral districts were loudly demanded, and Dukes were counted among their warmest supporters. The Edition: orig; Page: [ xi ] lawyers demonstrated how greatly the liberties of the nation had fallen off, and how grossly their nature was misunderstood.

They proved it to be the duty of the People to reclaim them, and that no obstacle stood in the way. In this cry many Whigs and Tories, members of both Houses of Parliament, were found to join. This liberal movement was not confined to England. It spread, in a greater or less degree, all over Europe, even to St.

Petersburg and Constantinople. In England, Reform was rather a cry than a political movement; but in France and Austria it was a movement as well as a cry. In the latter country, indeed, the Reform was supplied before the demand, and the Emperor Joseph was forced by an ignorant people to reverse projects in which he had vainly tried to precede his age. But the demands abroad were for organic reforms, such as had long been effected in England. England, after the reign of Charles II, is a completely modern nation; society is reorganised on the basis which still subsists.

But France and Germany in were still what they had been in the Middle Ages. The icy fetters which England had long ago broken up had on the Continent hardened until nothing would break them up but a convulsion. In France this had been demonstrated by the failures of Turgot. The body of oppressive interests which time and usage had legalised was too strong to give way to a moderate pressure. A convulsion, a mighty shock, a disturbance of normal forces, was necessary: and the French people had long been collecting themselves for the task. Forty years a Revolution had been foreseen, and ten years at least it had been despaired of.

But it came at Edition: current; Page: [ [11] ] last, and came unexpectedly; the Revolution shook down the feudalism of France, and the great general of the Revolution trampled to dust the tottering relics of it in the rest of Western Europe. Conspicuous among the agencies which effected it was the new power of public opinion, which wrought an obvious effect, by means of the Gazettes of Paris, throughout the western world. Burke saw this, and to public opinion he appealed against the movement, and so far as this country was concerned, successfully.

It was hard, at such a crisis, to sever general ideas from the Edition: orig; Page: [ xii ] immediate occasion. Burke tells us less about the French Revolution than about English thought and feeling on the subject of Revolutions in general. On the applicability of these general views to the occasion of their enunciation, it is not necessary for the reader to form any definite judgment. Properly speaking, indeed, the question depends only in a small degree on grounds which demand or justify such a mode of treatment.

To condemn all Revolutions is monstrous. To say categorically that the French Revolution was absolutely a good thing or a bad thing conveys no useful idea. Either may be said with some degree of truth, but neither can be said without qualifications which almost neutralise the primary thesis. No student of history by this time needs to be told that the French Revolution was, in a more or less extended sense, a very good thing. No one was better qualified than Burke to compose an apologetic for the final appeal of a people against tyranny: but nunc non erat his locus.

Burke appears here in the character of an advocate: like all advocates, he says less than he knows. It was his cue to represent the Revolution as a piece of voluntary and malicious folly; he could not well admit that it was the result of deep-seated and irresistible causes. Not that the Revolution could not have been avoided—every one knew that it might; but it could only have been avoided by an equally sweeping Revolution from above.

In default of this there came to pass a Revolution from below. Though the Revolution brought with it mistakes in policy, crimes, and injuries, it involved no more of each than the fair average of human affairs will allow, if we consider its character and magnitude; and we must pay less than usual heed to Burke when he insists that these were produced wholly by the ignorance and wickedness of the Revolutionary leaders. The sufferers in a large measure brought them on themselves by ill-timed resistance and vacillating counsels. Edition: orig; Page: [ xiii ] From the present work the student will learn little of the history of the Revolution.

It had barely begun: only two incidents of importance, the capture of the Bastille and the transportation from Versailles to Paris, had taken place: of that coalition of hostile elements which first gave the Revolution force and self-consciousness, there was as yet not a trace. It was not only in its beginnings, but even these beginnings were imperfectly understood.

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School-boys now know more of the facts of the matter than was known to Burke, and thanks to the pen of De Tocqueville, most persons of moderate literary pretensions can claim a closer familiarity with its fundamental nature. Wherein, then, consists the value of the book? How came this virulent and intemperate attack to have the wide and beneficial effect which attended it? What was the Edition: current; Page: [ [13] ] nature of its potent magic, which disarmed the Revolutionists of England, and exorcised from the thinking classes of Europe the mischievous desire of political change?

It was obvious that the movement in France was accompanied by a general distrust of the existing framework of society. Something of the same kind was prevalent in England; but it belonged to a narrower class, with narrower motives and meaner ends. From his earliest years Burke had been familiar with the idea of a nation of human savages rising in revolt against law, religion, and social order, and he believed the impulse to such a revolt to exist in human nature as a specific moral disease.

The thing which he greatly feared now seemed to have come suddenly upon him. Burke manifestly erred in representing such an element as the sole aliment and motive force of the French Revolution. Distrust of society was widely disseminated in England, though less widely than Burke believed, and far less widely than in France; but Burke had no means of verifying his bodings. Jacobinism had prevailed in France, and a Revolution had followed—it was coming to prevail in England, and a Revolution might be expected. England had in France the highest reputation for political progress, liberty, and good government.

It was represented in France that the French Revolution was proceeding on English principles. It was further understood that England sympathised with and intended to benefit by the broader and more enlightened Revolution which was being accomplished in France. This Burke takes all pains to refute. He shows that this famous English Revolution was, in truth, a Revolution not made, but prevented. He aims to prove by conclusive evidence that English policy, though not averse from reform, is stubbornly opposed to revolution.

He shows that the main body of the British nation, from its historical Edition: current; Page: [ [14] ] traditions, from the opinions and doctrines transmitted to it from the earliest times, from its constitution and essence, was utterly hostile to these dangerous novelties, and bound to eschew and reprobate them. Though mainly sound and homogeneous, the body politic had rotten members, and it is the utterances of these, by which the intelligent Frenchman might otherwise be pardonably misled, that Burke in the first instance applies himself to confute.

The earliest title of the work see Notes, p. Knowing little of Europe in general, by comparison with his intimate knowledge of England, Burke can have been little disposed or prepared to rush into print, in the midst of absorbing state business at home, with a general discussion of the changes which had taken place in a foreign nation. This was not the habit of the time. In our day a man must be able to sustain an argument on the internal politics of all nations of the earth: in that day, Englishmen chiefly regarded their own business. But the Revolutionists had aiders and abettors on this side of the Channel, and they openly avowed their purpose of bringing about a catastrophe similar to that which had been brought about in France.

Hence that strong tincture of party virulence which is perceptible throughout the work. Burke writes not as a Hallam—not as a philosophical critic or a temperate judge, but in his accustomed character as an impassioned advocate and an angry debater. Indeed anything like a reserved and observant Edition: orig; Page: [ xv ] attitude, on the part of his countrymen, irritates him to fury. His real aim is less to attack the French than the English Revolutionists: not so much to asperse Sieyes and Mirabeau, as Dr.

Price and Lord Stanhope. The work, then, professes to be a general statement, confessedly hasty and fragmentary, of the political doctrines and sentiments of the English people. It was, on the whole, recognised as true. The body of the nation agreed in this fierce and eloquent denunciation. The Jacobins steadily went down in public estimation from the day of its publication. But it is the moral power of the argument, and the brilliancy with which it is enforced, which give the work its value.

The topics themselves are of slighter significance. Half awed by the tones of the preacher, half by his evident earnestness and self-conviction, we are predisposed to submit to his general doctrines, although we cannot feel sure of their applicability to the occasion. Lynn M. Sanders - - Political Theory 25 3 Some Reflections on the Debate so Far. Miller - - Journal of International Political Theory 12 2 Martin Beckstein - -. Christine Sypnowich - - Journal of Philosophy of Education 52 4 Solidarity: A Motivational Conception.

Mariam Thalos - - Philosophical Papers 41 1 Reflections on the Revolution at Stanford. Muller - - Synthese 1 Rousseau, Burke and Revolution in France, Mark C. Carnes - - Pearson Longman. Further Reflections on the French Revolution. Edmund Burke - unknown.



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