Selections from the Speeches and Writings of Edmund Burke.
by Edmund Burke
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There has not been in this century any foreign peace or war, in its origin, the fruit of popular desire; except the war that was made with Spain in 1739. Sir Robert Walpole was forced into the war by the people, who were inflamed to this measure by the most leading politicians, by the first orators, and the greatest poets, of the time. For that war, Pope sung his dying notes. For that war, Johnson, in more energetic strains, employed the voice of his early genius. For that war, Glover distinguished himself in the way in which his muse was the most natural and happy. The crowd readily followed the politicians in the cry for a war, which threatened little bloodshed, and which promised victories that were attended with something more solid than glory. A war with Spain was a war of plunder. In the present conflict with regicide, Mr. Pitt has not hitherto had, nor will, perhaps, for a few days have, many prizes to hold out in the lottery of war, to attempt the lower part of our character. He can only maintain it by an appeal to the higher; and to those, in whom that higher part is the most predominant, he must look the most for his support. Whilst he holds out no inducements to the wise, nor bribes to the avaricious, he may be forced by a vulgar cry into a peace ten times more ruinous than the most disastrous war. The weaker he is in the fund of motives which apply to our avarice, to our laziness, and to our lassitude, if he means to carry the war to any end at all, the stronger he ought to be in his addresses to our magnanimity and to our reason.

In stating that Walpole was driven by a popular clamour into a measure not to be justified, I do not mean wholly to excuse his conduct. My time of observation did not exactly coincide with that event: but I read much of the controversies then carried on. Several years after the contests of parties had ceased, the people were amused, and in a degree warmed, with them. The events of that era seemed then of magnitude, which the revolutions of our time have reduced to parochial importance; and the debates, which then shook the nation, now appear of no higher moment than a discussion in a vestry. When I was very young, a general fashion told me I was to admire some of the writings against that minister; a little more maturity taught me as much to despise them. I observed one fault in his general proceeding. He never manfully put forward the entire strength of his cause. He temporised, he managed, and, adopting very nearly the sentiments of his adversaries, he opposed their inferences. This, for a political commander, is the choice of a weak post. His adversaries had the better of the argument, as he handled it, not as the reason and justice of his cause enabled him to manage it. I say this, after having seen, and with some care examined, the original documents concerning certain important transactions of those times. They perfectly satisfied me of the extreme injustice of that war, and of the falsehood of the colours which, to his own ruin, and guided by a mistaken policy, he suffered to be daubed over that measure. Some years after, it was my fortune to converse with many of the principal actors against that minister, and with those who principally excited that clamour. None of them, no not one, did in the least defend the measure, or attempt to justify their conduct. They condemned it as freely as they would have done in commenting upon any proceeding in history, in which they were totally unconcerned. Thus it will be. They who stir up the people to improper desires, whether of peace or war, will be condemned by themselves. They who weakly yield to them will be condemned by history.


How a question of peace can be discussed without having them in view, I cannot imagine. If you or others see a way out of these difficulties, I am happy. I see, indeed, a fund from whence equivalents will be proposed. I see it, but I cannot just now touch it. It is a question of high moment. It opens another Iliad of woes to Europe.

Such is the time proposed for making A COMMON POLITICAL PEACE; to which no one circumstance is propitious. As to the grand principle of the peace, it is left, as if by common consent, wholly out of the question.

Viewing things in this light, I have frequently sunk into a degree of despondency and dejection hardly to be described; yet out of the profoundest depths of this despair, an impulse, which I have in vain endeavoured to resist, has urged me to raise one feeble cry against this unfortunate coalition which is formed at home, in order to make a coalition with France, subversive of the whole ancient order of the world. No disaster of war, no calamity of season, could ever strike me with half the horror which I felt from what is introduced to us by this junction of parties, under the soothing name of peace. We are apt to speak of a low and pusillanimous spirit as the ordinary cause by which dubious wars terminated in humiliating treaties. It is here the direct contrary. I am perfectly astonished at the boldness of character, at the intrepidity of mind, the firmness of nerve, in those who are able with deliberation to face the perils of Jacobin fraternity.

This fraternity is indeed so terrible in its nature, and in its manifest consequences, that there is no way of quieting our apprehensions about it, but by totally putting it out of sight, by substituting for it, through a sort of periphrasis, something of an ambiguous quality, and describing such a connection under the terms of "THE USUAL RELATIONS OF PEACE AND AMITY." By this means the proposed fraternity is hustled in the crowd of those treaties, which imply no change in the public law of Europe, and which do not upon system affect the interior condition of nations. It is confounded with those conventions in which matters of dispute among sovereign powers are compromised, by the taking off a duty more or less, by the surrender of a frontier town, or a disputed district, on the one side or the other; by pactions in which the pretensions of families are settled (as by a conveyancer, making family substitutions and successions), without any alterations in the laws, manners, religion, privileges, and customs, of the cities, or territories, which are the subject of such arrangements.

All this body of old conventions, composing the vast and voluminous collection called the corps diplomatique, forms the code or statute law, as the methodised reasonings of the great publicists and jurists form the digest and jurisprudence of the Christian world. In these treasures are to be found the USUAL relations of peace and amity in civilized Europe; and there the relations of ancient France were to be found amongst the rest.

The present system in France is not the ancient France. It is not the ancient France with ordinary ambition and ordinary means. It is not a new power of an old kind. It is a new power of a new species. When such a questionable shape is to be admitted for the first time into the brotherhood of Christendom, it is not a mere matter of idle curiosity to consider how far it is in its nature alliable with the rest, or whether "the relations of peace and amity" with this new state are likely to be of the same nature with the USUAL relations of the states of Europe.


It is never, therefore, wise to quarrel with the interested views of men, whilst they are combined with the public interest and promote it: it is our business to tie the knot, if possible, closer. Resources that are derived from extraordinary virtues, as such virtues are rare, so they must be unproductive. It is a good thing for a monied man to pledge his property on the welfare of his country; he shows that he places his treasure where his heart is; and, revolving in this circle, we know that "wherever a man's treasure is, there his heart will be also." For these reasons, and on these principles, I have been sorry to see the attempts which have been made, with more good meaning than foresight and consideration, towards raising the annual interest of this loan by private contributions. Wherever a regular revenue is established, there voluntary contribution can answer no purpose, but to disorder and disturb it in its course. To recur to such aids is, for so much, to dissolve the community, and to return to a state of unconnected nature. And even if such a supply should be productive, in a degree commensurate to its object, it must also be productive of much vexation, and much oppression. Either the citizens, by the proposed duties, pay their proportion according to some rate made by public authority, or they do not. If the law be well made, and the contributions founded on just proportions, everything superadded by something that is not as regular as law, and as uniform in its operation, will become more or less out of proportion. If, on the contrary, the law be not made upon proper calculation, it is a disgrace to the public wisdom, which fails in skill to assess the citizen in just measure, and according to his means. But the hand of authority is not always the most heavy hand. It is obvious, that men may be oppressed by many ways, besides those which take their course from the supreme power of the state. Suppose the payment to be wholly discretionary. Whatever has its origin in caprice, is sure not to improve in its progress, nor to end in reason. It is impossible for each private individual to have any measure conformable to the particular condition of each of his fellow-citizens, or to the general exigencies of his country. 'Tis a random shot at best.

When men proceed in this irregular mode, the first contributor is apt to grow peevish with his neighbours. He is but too well disposed to measure their means by his own envy, and not by the real state of their fortunes, which he can rarely know, and which it may in them be an act of the grossest imprudence to reveal. Hence the odium and lassitude, with which people will look upon a provision for the public, which is bought by discord at the expense of social quiet. Hence the bitter heart-burnings, and the war of tongues, which is so often the prelude to other wars. Nor is it every contribution, called voluntary, which is according to the free will of the giver. A false shame, or a false glory, against his feelings and his judgment, may tax an individual to the detriment of his family, and in wrong of his creditors. A pretence of public spirit may disable him from the performance of his private duties. It may disable him even from paying the legitimate contributions which he is to furnish according to the prescript of the law; but what is the most dangerous of all is, that malignant disposition to which this mode of contribution evidently tends, and which at length leaves the comparatively indigent to judge of the wealth, and to prescribe to the opulent, or those whom they conceive to be such, the use they are to make of their fortunes. From thence it is but one step to the subversion of all property.


The author does not confine the benefit of the regicide lesson to kings alone. He has a diffusive bounty. Nobles, and men of property, will likewise be greatly reformed. They too will be led to a review of their social situation and duties; "and will reflect, that their large allotment of worldly advantages is for the aid and benefit of the whole." Is it then from the fate of Juignie, archbishop of Paris, or of the cardinal de Rochefoucault, and of so many others, who gave their fortunes, and, I may say, their very beings, to the poor, that the rich are to learn, that their "fortunes are for the aid and benefit of the whole?" I say nothing of the liberal persons of great rank and property, lay and ecclesiastic, men and women, to whom we have had the honour and happiness of affording an asylum,—I pass by these, lest I should never have done, or lest I should omit some as deserving as any I might mention. Why will the author then suppose, that the nobles and men of property in France have been banished, confiscated, and murdered, on account of the savageness and ferocity of their character, and their being tainted with vices beyond those of the same order and description in other countries? No judge of a revolutionary tribunal, with his hands dipped in their blood, and his maw gorged with their property, has yet dared to assert what this author has been pleased, by way of a moral lesson, to insinuate.

Their nobility, and their men of property, in a mass, had the very same virtues and the very same vices, and in the very same proportions, with the same description of men in this and in other nations. I must do justice to suffering honour, generosity, and integrity. I do not know, that any time, or any country, has furnished more splendid examples of every virtue, domestic and public. I do not enter into the councils of Providence: but, humanly speaking, many of these nobles and men of property, from whose disastrous fate we are, it seems, to learn a general softening of character, and a revision of our social situations and duties, appear to me full as little deserving of that fate, as the author, whoever he is, can be. Many of them, I am sure, were such, as I should be proud indeed to be able to compare myself with, in knowledge, in integrity, and in every other virtue. My feeble nature might shrink, though theirs did not, from the proof; but my reason and my ambition tell me, that it would be a good bargain to purchase their merits with their fate.

For which of his vices did that great magistrate, D'Espremenil, lose his fortune and his head? What were the abominations of Malesherbes, that other excellent magistrate, whose sixty years of uniform virtue was acknowledged, in the very act of his murder, by the judicial butchers, who condemned him? On account of what misdemeanors was he robbed of his property, and slaughtered with two generations of his offspring; and the remains of the third race, with a refinement of cruelty, and lest they should appear to reclaim the property forfeited by the virtues of their ancestor, confounded in an hospital with the thousands of those unhappy foundling infants, who are abandoned, without relation, and without name, by the wretchedness or by the profligacy of their parents?

Is the fate of the queen of France to produce this softening of character? Was she a person so very ferocious and cruel as, by the example of her death, to frighten us into common humanity? Is there no way to teach the emperor a softening of character, and a review of his social situation and duty, but his consent, by an infamous accord with regicide, to drive a second coach with the Austrian arms through the streets of Paris, along which, after a series of preparatory horrors, exceeding the atrocities of the bloody execution itself, the glory of the imperial race had been carried to an ignominious death? Is this a lesson of MODERATION to a descendant of Maria Theresa, drawn from the fate of the daughter of that incomparable woman and sovereign? If he learns this lesson from such an object, and from such teachers, the man may remain, but the king is deposed. If he does not carry quite another memory of that transaction in the inmost recesses of his heart, he is unworthy to reign; he is unworthy to live. In the chronicle of disgrace he will have but this short tale told of him, "he was the first emperor of his house that embraced a regicide: he was the last that wore the imperial purple."—Far am I from thinking so ill of this august sovereign, who is at the head of the monarchies of Europe, and who is the trustee of their dignities and his own. What ferocity of character drew on the fate of Elizabeth, the sister of King Louis the Sixteenth? For which of the vices of that pattern of benevolence, of piety, and of all the virtues, did they put her to death? For which of her vices did they put to death the mildest of all human creatures, the duchess of Biron? What were the crimes of those crowds of matrons and virgins of condition, whom they massacred, with their juries of blood, in prisons and on scaffolds? What were the enormities of the infant king, whom they caused, by lingering tortures, to perish in their dungeon, and whom, if at last they despatched by poison, it was in that detestable crime the only act of mercy they have ever shown?

What softening of character is to be had, what review of their social situations and duties is to be taught, by these examples, to kings, to nobles, to men of property, to women, and to infants? The royal family perished, because it was royal. The nobles perished, because they were noble. The men, women, and children, who had property, because they had property to be robbed of. The priests were punished, after they had been robbed of their all, not for their vices, but for their virtues and their piety, which made them an honour to their sacred profession, and to that nature, of which we ought to be proud, since they belong to it. My Lord, nothing can be learned from such examples, except the danger of being kings, queens, nobles, priests, and children, to be butchered on account of their inheritance. These are things, at which not vice, not crime, not folly, but wisdom, goodness, learning, justice, probity, beneficence, stand aghast. By these examples our reason and our moral sense are not enlightened, but confounded; and there is no refuge for astonished and affrighted virtue, but being annihilated in humility and submission, sinking into a silent adoration of the inscrutable dispensations of Providence, and flying, with trembling wings, from this world of daring crimes, and feeble, pusillanimous, half-bred, bastard justice, to the asylum of another order of things, in an unknown form, but in a better life.

Whatever the politician or preacher of September or of October may think of the matter, it is a most comfortless, disheartening, desolating example. Dreadful is the example of ruined innocence and virtue, and the completest triumph of the completest villainy, that ever vexed and disgraced mankind! The example is ruinous in every point of view, religious, moral, civil, political. It establishes that dreadful maxim of Machiavel, that in great affairs men are not to be wicked by halves. This maxim is not made for a middle sort of beings, who, because they cannot be angels, ought to thwart their ambition, and not endeavour to become infernal spirits. It is too well exemplified in the present time, where the faults and errors of humanity, checked by the imperfect timorous virtues, have been overpowered by those who have stopped at no crime. It is a dreadful part of the example, that infernal malevolence has had pious apologists, who read their lectures on frailties in favour of crimes; who abandon the weak, and court the friendship of the wicked. To root out these maxims, and the examples that support them, is a wise object of years of war. This is that war. This is that moral war. It was said by old Trivulzio, that the battle of Marignan was the battle of the giants, that all the rest of the many he had seen were those of the cranes and pigmies. This is true of the objects, at least, of the contest. For the greater part of those, which we have hitherto contended for, in comparison, were the toys of children.

The October politician is so full of charity and good nature, that he supposes, that these very robbers and murderers themselves are in a course of melioration; on what ground I cannot conceive, except on the long practice of every crime, and by its complete success. He is an Origenist, and believes in the conversion of the devil. All that runs in the place of blood in his veins is nothing but the milk of human kindness. He is as soft as a curd, though, as a politician, he might be supposed to be made of sterner stuff. He supposes (to use his own expression) "that the salutary truths, which he inculcates, are making their way into their bosoms." Their bosom is a rock of granite, on which falsehood has long since built her stronghold. Poor truth has had a hard work of it with her little pickaxe. Nothing but gunpowder will do. As a proof, however, of the progress of this sap of Truth, he gives us a confession they had made not long before he wrote. "Their fraternity" (as was lately stated by themselves in a solemn report) "has been the brotherhood of Cain and Abel, and they have organized nothing but Bankruptcy and Famine." A very honest confession, truly; and much in the spirit of their oracle, Rousseau. Yet, what is still more marvellous than the confession, this is the very fraternity to which our author gives us such an obliging invitation to accede. There is, indeed, a vacancy in the fraternal corps; a brother and a partner is wanted. If we please, we may fill up the place of the butchered Abel; and, whilst we wait the destiny of the departed brother, we may enjoy the advantages of the partnership, by entering, without delay, into a shop of ready-made bankruptcy and famine. These are the douceurs, by which we are invited to regicide fraternity and friendship. But still our author considers the confession as a proof, that "truth is making its way into their bosoms." No! It is not making its way into their bosoms. It has forced its way into their mouths! The evil spirit, by which they are possessed, though essentially a liar, is forced, by the tortures of conscience, to confess the truth: to confess enough for their condemnation, but not for their amendment. Shakspeare very aptly expresses this kind of confession, devoid of repentance, from the mouth of a usurper, a murderer, and a regicide—

"We are ourselves compelled, Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults, To give in evidence."

Whence is their amendment? Why, the author writes, that, on their murderous insurrectionary system, their own lives are not sure for an hour; nor has their power a greater stability. True. They are convinced of it; and accordingly the wretches have done all they can to preserve their lives, and to secure their power; but not one step have they taken to amend the one, or to make a more just use of the other.


There is one topic upon which I hope I shall be excused in going a little beyond my design. The factions, now so busy amongst us, in order to divest men of all love for their country, and to remove from their minds all duty with regard to the state, endeavour to propagate an opinion, that the PEOPLE, in forming their commonwealth, have by no means parted with their power over it. This is an impregnable citadel, to which these gentlemen retreat whenever they are pushed by the battery of laws and usages, and positive conventions. Indeed, it is such and of so great force, that all they have done, in defending their outworks, is so much time and labour thrown away. Discuss any of their schemes—their answer is—It is the act of the PEOPLE, and that is sufficient. Are we to deny to a MAJORITY of the people the right of altering even the whole frame of their society, if such should be their pleasure? They may change it, say they, from a monarchy to a republic to?day, and to-morrow back again from a republic to a monarchy, and so backward and forward as often as they like. They are masters of the commonwealth; because in substance they are themselves the commonwealth. The French revolution, say they, was the act of the majority of the people; and if the majority of any other people, the people of England for instance, wish to make the same change, they have the same right. Just the same, undoubtedly. That is, none at all. Neither the few nor the many have a right to act merely by their will, in any matter connected with duty, trust, engagement, or obligation. The constitution of a country being once settled upon some compact, tacit or expressed, there is no power existing of force to alter it, without the breach of the covenant, or the consent of all the parties. Such is the nature of a contract. And the votes of a majority of the people, whatever their infamous flatterers may teach in order to corrupt their minds, cannot alter the moral any more than they can alter the physical essence of things. The people are not to be taught to think lightly of their engagements to their governors; else they teach governors to think lightly of their engagements towards them. In that kind of game in the end the people are sure to be losers. To flatter them into a contempt of faith, truth, and justice, is to ruin them; for in these virtues consist their whole safety. To flatter any man, or any part of mankind, in any description, by asserting, that in engagements he or they are free whilst any other human creature is bound, is ultimately to vest the rule of morality in the pleasure of those who ought to be rigidly submitted to it; to subject the sovereign reason of the world to the caprices of weak and giddy men.

But, as no one of us men can dispense with public or private faith, or with any other tie of moral obligation, so neither can any number of us. The number engaged in crimes, instead of turning them into laudable acts, only augments the quantity and intensity of the guilt. I am well aware that men love to hear of their power, but have an extreme disrelish to be told of their duty. This is of course, because every duty is a limitation of some power. Indeed arbitrary power is so much to the depraved taste of the vulgar, of the vulgar of every description, that almost all the dissensions, which lacerate the commonwealth, are not concerning the manner in which it is to be exercised, but concerning the hands in which it is to be placed. Somewhere they are resolved to have it. Whether they desire it to be vested in the many or the few, depends with most men upon the chance which they imagine they themselves may have of partaking in the exercise of that arbitrary sway, in the one mode or in the other.

It is not necessary to teach men to thirst after power. But it is very expedient that by moral instruction, they should be taught, and by their civil constitutions they should be compelled, to put many restrictions upon the immoderate exercise of it, and the inordinate desire. The best method of obtaining these two great points forms the important, but at the same time the difficult, problem to the true statesman. He thinks of the place in which political power is to be lodged, with no other attention, than as it may render the more or the less practicable, its salutary restraint, and its prudent direction. For this reason no legislator, at any period of the world, has willingly placed the seat of active power in the hands of the multitude: because there it admits of no control no regulation, no steady direction whatsoever. The people are the natural control on authority; but to exercise and to control together is contradictory and impossible.

As the exorbitant exercise of power cannot, under popular sway, be effectually restrained, the other great object of political arrangement, the means of abating an excessive desire of it, is in such a state still worse provided for. The democratic commonwealth is the foodful nurse of ambition. Under the other forms it meets with many restraints. Whenever, in states which have had a democratic basis, the legislators have endeavoured to put restraints upon ambition, their methods were as violent, as in the end they were ineffectual: as violent indeed as any the most jealous despotism could invent. The ostracism could not very long save itself, and much less the state which it was meant to guard, from the attempts of ambition, one of the natural, inbred, incurable distempers of a powerful democracy.


Great lights they say are lately obtained in the world; and Mr. Burke, instead of shrouding himself in exploded ignorance, ought to have taken advantage of the blaze of illumination which has been spread about him. It may be so. The enthusiasts of this time, it seems, like their predecessors in another faction of fanaticism, deal in lights.—Hudibras pleasantly says to them, they

"Have LIGHTS, where better eyes are blind, As pigs are said to see the wind." The author of the Reflections has HEARD a great deal concerning the modern lights; but he has not yet had the good fortune to SEE much of them. He has read more than he can justify to anything but the spirit of curiosity, of the works of these illuminators of the world. He has learned nothing from the far greater number of them, than a full certainty of their shallowness, levity, pride, petulance, presumption, and ignorance. Where the old authors whom he has read, and the old men whom he has conversed with, have left him in the dark, he is in the dark still. If others, however, have obtained any of this extraordinary light, they will use it to guide them in their researches and their conduct. I have only to wish, that the nation may be as happy and as prosperous under the influence of the new light, as it has been in the sober shade of the old obscurity.


In the same debate, Mr. Burke was represented by Mr. Fox as arguing in a manner which implied that the British constitution could not be defended, but by abusing all republics ancient and modern. He said nothing to give the least ground for such a censure. He never abused all republics. He has never professed himself a friend or an enemy to republics or to monarchies in the abstract. He thought that the circumstances and habits of every country, which it is always perilous and productive of the greatest calamities to force, are to decide upon the form of its government. There is nothing in his nature, his temper, or his faculties, which should make him an enemy to any republic modern or ancient. Far from it. He has studied the form and spirit of republics very early in life; he has studied them with great attention; and with a mind undisturbed by affection or prejudice. He is indeed convinced that the science of government would be poorly cultivated without that study. But the result in his mind from that investigation has been, and is, that neither England nor France, without infinite detriment to them, as well in the event as in the experiment, could be brought into a republican form; but that everything republican which can be introduced with safety into either of them, must be built upon a monarchy; built upon a real, not a nominal, monarchy, AS ITS ESSENTIAL BASIS; that all such institutions, whether aristocratic or democratic, must originate from the crown, and in all their proceedings must refer to it; that by the energy of that main spring alone those republican parts must be set in action, and from thence must derive their whole legal effect (as amongst us they actually do), or the whole will fall into confusion. These republican members have no other point but the crown in which they can possibly unite.

This is the opinion expressed in Mr. Burke's book. He has never varied in that opinion since he came to years of discretion. But surely, if it any time of his life he had entertained other notions (which however he has never held or professed to hold), the horrible calamities brought upon a great people, by the wild attempt to force their country into a republic, might be more than sufficient to undeceive his understanding, and to free it for ever from such destructive fancies. He is certain, that many, even in France, have been made sick of their theories by their very success in realizing them.


He is a real king, and not an executive officer. If he will not trouble himself with contemptible details, nor wish to degrade himself by becoming a party in little squabbles, I am far from sure, that a king of Great Britain, in whatever concerns him as a king, or indeed as a rational man, who combines his public interest with his personal satisfaction, does not possess a more real, solid, extensive power, than the king of France was possessed of before this miserable revolution. The direct power of the king of England is considerable. His indirect, and far more certain power, is great indeed. He stands in need of nothing towards dignity; of nothing towards splendour; of nothing towards authority; of nothing at all towards consideration abroad. When was it that a king of England wanted wherewithal to make him respected, courted, or perhaps even feared, in every state of Europe?


The PHYSIOGNOMY has a considerable share in beauty, especially in that of our own species. The manners give a certain determination to the countenance; which, being observed to correspond pretty regularly with them, is capable of joining the effect of certain agreeable qualities of the mind to those of the body. So that to form a finished human beauty, and to give it its full influence, the face must be expressive of such gentle and amiable qualities, as correspond with the softness, smoothness, and delicacy of the outward form.


I have hitherto purposely omitted to speak of the EYE, which has so great a share in the beauty of the animal creation, as it did not fall so easily under the foregoing heads, though in fact it is reducible to the same principles. I think then, that the beauty of the eye consists, first, in its CLEARNESS; what COLOURED eye shall please most, depends a good deal on particular fancies; but none are pleased with an eye whose water (to use that term) is dull and muddy. We are pleased with the eye in this view, on the principle upon which we like diamonds, clear water, glass, and such-like transparent substances. Secondly, the motion of the eye contributes to its beauty, by continually shifting its direction; but a slow and languid motion is more beautiful than a brisk one; the latter is enlivening; the former lovely. Thirdly, with regard to the union of the eye with the neighbouring parts, it is to hold the same rule that is given of other beautiful ones; it is not to make a strong deviation from the line of the neighbouring parts; nor to verge into any exact geometrical figure. Besides all this, the eye affects, as it is expressive of some qualities of the mind, and its principal power generally arises from this; so that what we have just said of the physiognomy is applicable here.


According to their invariable course, the framers of your constitution have begun with the outer abolition of the parliaments. These venerable bodies, like the rest of the old government, stood in need of reform, even though there should be no change made in the monarchy. They required several more alterations to adapt them to the system of a free constitution. But they had particulars in their constitution, and those not a few, which deserved approbation from the wise. They possessed one fundamental excellence,—they were independent. The most doubtful circumstance attendant on their office, that of its being vendible, contributed however to this independency of character. They held for life. Indeed they may be said to have held by inheritance. Appointed by the monarch, they were considered as nearly out of his power. The most determined exertions of that authority against them only showed their radical independence. They composed permanent bodies politic, constituted to resist arbitrary innovation; and from that corporate constitution, and from most of their forms, they were well calculated to afford both certainty and stability to the laws. They had been a safe asylum to secure these laws, in all the revolutions of humour and opinion. They had saved that sacred deposit of the country during the reigns of arbitrary princes, and the struggles of arbitrary factions. They kept alive the memory and record of the constitution. They were the great security to private property; which might be said (when personal liberty had no existence) to be, in fact, as well guarded in France as in any other country. Whatever is supreme in a state, ought to have, as much as possible, its judicial authority so constituted as not only not to depend upon it, but in some sort to balance it. It ought to give a security to its justice against its power. It ought to make its judicature, as it were, something exterior to the state. These parliaments had furnished, not the best certainly, but some considerable corrective to the excesses and vices of the monarchy. Such an independent judicature was ten times more necessary when a democracy became the absolute power of the country. In that constitution, elective, temporary, local judges, such as you have contrived, exercising their dependent functions in a narrow society, must be the worst of all tribunals. In them it will be vain to look for any appearance of justice towards strangers, towards the obnoxious rich, towards the minority of routed parties, towards all those who in the election have supported unsuccessful candidates. It will be impossible to keep the new tribunals clear of the worst spirit of faction. All contrivances by ballot we know experimentally to be vain and childish to prevent a discovery of inclinations. Where they may the best answer the purposes of concealment, they answer to produce suspicion; and this is a still more mischievous cause of partiality.

If the parliaments had been preserved, instead of being dissolved at so ruinous a change to the nation, they might have served in this new commonwealth, perhaps not precisely the same (I do not mean an exact parallel), but nearly the same, purposes as the court and senate of Areopagus did in Athens; that is, as one of the balances and correctives to the evils of a light and unjust democracy. Every one knows that this tribunal was the great stay of that state; every one knows with what a care it was upheld, and with what a religious awe it was consecrated. The parliaments were not wholly free from faction, I admit; but this evil was exterior and accidental, and not so much the vice of their constitution itself, as it must be in your new contrivance of sexennial elective judicatories. Several English commend the abolition of the old tribunals, as supposing that they determined everything by bribery and corruption. But they have stood the test of monarchic and republican scrutiny. The court was well disposed to prove corruption on those bodies when they were dissolved in 1771.—Those who have again dissolved them would have done the same if they could—but both inquisitions having failed, I conclude, that gross pecuniary corruption must have been rather rare amongst them.

It would have been prudent, along with the parliaments, to preserve their ancient power of registering, and of remonstrating at least, upon all the decrees of the National Assembly, as they did upon those which passed in the time of the monarchy. It would be a means of squaring the occasional decrees of a democracy to some principles of general jurisprudence. The vice of the ancient democracies, and one cause of their ruin, was, that they ruled, as you do, by occasional decrees,—psephismata. This practice soon broke in upon the tenor and consistency of the laws; it abated the respect of the people towards them; and totally destroyed them in the end.

Your vesting the power of remonstrance, which, in the time of the monarchy, existed in the parliament of Paris, in your principal executive officer, whom, in spite of common sense, you persevere in calling king, is the height of absurdity. You ought never to suffer remonstrance from him who is to execute. This is to understand neither counsel nor execution; neither authority nor obedience. The person whom you call king, ought not to have this power, or he ought to have more.


Cromwell, when he attempted to legalize his power, and to settle his conquered country in a state of order, did not look for dispensers of justice in the instruments of his usurpation. Quite the contrary. He sought out, with great solicitude and selection, and even from the party most opposite to his designs, men of weight and decorum of character; men unstained with the violence of the times, and with hands not fouled with confiscation and sacrilege: for he chose an HALE for his chief justice, though he absolutely refused to take his civic oaths, or to make any acknowledgment whatsoever of the legality of his government. Cromwell told this great lawyer, that since he did not approve his title, all he required of him was, to administer, in a manner agreeable to his pure sentiments and unspotted character, that justice without which human society cannot subsist: that it was not his particular government, but civil order itself, which, as a judge, he wished him to support. Cromwell knew how to separate the institutions expedient to his usurpation from the administration of the public justice of his country. For Cromwell was a man in whom ambition had not wholly suppressed, but only suspended, the sentiments of religion, and the love (as far as it could consist with his designs) of fair and honourable reputation. Accordingly, we are indebted to this act of his for the preservation of our laws, which some senseless assertors of the rights of men were then on the point of entirely erasing, as relics of feudality and barbarism. Besides, he gave in the appointment of that man, to that age, and to all posterity, the most brilliant example of sincere and fervent piety, exact justice, and profound jurisprudence. (See Burnet's Life of Hale.) But these are not the things in which your philosophic usurpers choose to follow Cromwell.

One would think, that after an honest and necessary revolution (if they had a mind that theirs should pass for such) your masters would have imitated the virtuous policy of those who have been at the head of revolutions of that glorious character. Burnet tells us, that nothing tended to reconcile the English nation to the government of King William so much as the care he took to fill the vacant bishoprics with men who had attracted the public esteem by their learning, eloquence, and piety, and, above all, by their known moderation in the state. With you, in your purifying revolution, whom have you chosen to regulate the church? Mr. Mirabeau is a fine speaker—and a fine writer,—and a fine—a very fine man;—but really nothing gave more surprise to everybody here, than to find him the supreme head of your ecclesiastical affairs. The rest is of course. Your Assembly addresses a manifesto to France, in which they tell the people, with an insulting irony, that they have brought the church to its primitive condition. In one respect their declaration is undoubtedly true; for they have brought it to a state of poverty and persecution. What can be hoped for after this? Have not men (if they deserve the name), under this new hope and head of the church, been made bishops for no other merit than having acted as instruments of atheists; for no other merit than having thrown the children's bread to dogs; and in order to gorge the whole gang of usurers, pedlars, and itinerant Jew-discounters at the corners of streets, starved the poor of their Christian flocks, and their own brother pastors? Have not such men been made bishops to administer in temples, in which (if the patriotic donations have not already stripped them of their vessels) the churchwardens ought to take security for the altar-plate, and not so much as to trust the chalice in their sacrilegious hands, so long as Jews have assignats on ecclesiastic plunder, to exchange for the silver stolen from churches?


An air of robustness and strength is very prejudicial to beauty. An appearance of DELICACY, and even of fragility, is almost essential to it. Whoever examines the vegetable or animal creation will find this observation to be founded in nature. It is not the oak, the ash, or the elm, or any of the robust trees of the forest, which we consider as beautiful; they are awful and majestic; their inspire a sort of reverence. It is the delicate myrtle, it is the orange, it is the almond, it is the jasmine, it is the vine, which we look on as vegetable beauties. It is the flowery species, so remarkable for its weakness and momentary duration, that gives us the liveliest idea of beauty and elegance. Among animals, the greyhound is more beautiful than the mastiff; and the delicacy of a gennet, a barb, or an Arabian horse, is much more amiable than the strength and stability of some horses of war or carriage. I need here say little of the fair sex, where I believe the point will be easily allowed me. The beauty of women is considerably owing to their weakness or delicacy, and is even enhanced by their timidity, a quality of mind analogous to it. I would not here be understood to say, that weakness betraying very bad health has any share in beauty; but the ill effect of this is not because it is weakness, but because the ill state of health, which produces such weakness, alters the other conditions of beauty; the parts in such a case collapse; the bright colour,—the lumen purpureum juventae, is gone; and the fine variation is lost in wrinkles, sudden breaks, and right lines.


As to the operation of the first (the confiscation and paper currency) merely as a cement, I cannot deny that these, the one depending on the other, may for some time compose some sort of cement, if their madness and folly in the management, and in the tempering of the parts together, does not produce a repulsion in the very outset. But allowing to the scheme some coherence and some duration, it appears to me, that if, after a while, the confiscation should not be found sufficient to support the paper coinage (as I am morally certain it will not), then, instead of cementing, it will add infinitely to the dissociation, distraction, and confusion of these confederate republics, both with relation to each other, and to the several parts within themselves. But if the confiscation should so far succeed as to sink the paper currency, the cement is gone with the circulation. In the mean time its binding force will be very uncertain, and it will straiten or relax with every variation in the credit of the paper.

One thing only is certain in this scheme, which is an effect seemingly collateral, but direct, I have no doubt, in the minds of those who conduct this business, that is, its effect in producing an OLIGARCHY in every one of the republics. A paper circulation, not founded on any real money deposited or engaged for, amounting already to four-and-forty millions of English money, and this currency by force substituted in the place of the coin of the kingdom, becoming thereby the substance of its revenue, as well as the medium of all its commercial and civil intercourse, must put the whole of what power, authority, and influence, is left, in any form whatsoever it may assume, into the hands of the managers and conductors of this circulation.

In England we feel the influence of the bank; though it is only the centre of a voluntary dealing. He knows little indeed of the influence of money upon mankind, who does not see the force of the management of a monied concern, which is so much more extensive, and in its nature so much more depending on the managers than any of ours. But this is not merely a money concern. There is another member in the system inseparably connected with this money management. It consists in the means of drawing out at discretion portions of the confiscated lands for sale; and carrying on a process of continual transmutation of paper into land, and of land into paper. When we follow this process in its effects, we may conceive something of the intensity of the force with which this system must operate. By this means the spirit of money-jobbing and speculation goes into the mass of land itself, and incorporates with it. By this kind of operation, that species of property becomes (as it were) volatilized; it assumes an unnatural and monstrous activity, and thereby throws into the hands of the several managers, principal and subordinate, Parisian and provincial, all the representative of money, and perhaps a full tenth part of all the land in France, which has now acquired the worst and most pernicious part of the evil of a paper circulation,—the greatest possible uncertainty in its value. They have reversed the Latonian kindness to the landed property of Delos. They have sent theirs to be blown about, like the light fragments of a wreck, oras et littora circum.

The new dealers, being all habitually adventurers, and without any fixed habits or local predilections, will purchase to job out again, as the market of paper, or of money, or of land, shall present an advantage. For though a holy bishop thinks that agriculture will derive great advantage from the "ENLIGHTENED" usurers who are to purchase the church confiscations, I, who am not a good, but an old farmer, with great humility beg leave to tell his late lordship, that usury is not tutor of agriculture; and if the word "enlightened" be understood according to the new dictionary, as it always is in your new schools, I cannot conceive how a man's not believing in God can teach him to cultivate the earth with the least of any additional skill or encouragement. "Diis immortalibus sero," said an old Roman, when he held one handle of the plough, whilst Death held the other. Though you were to join in the commission all the directors of the two academies to the directors of the Caisse d'Escompte, an old experienced peasant is worth them all. I have got more information upon a curious and interesting branch of husbandry, in one short conversation with an old Carthusian monk, than I have derived from all the Bank directors that I have ever conversed with. However, there is no cause for apprehension from the meddling of money-dealers with rural economy. These gentlemen are too wise in their generation. At first, perhaps, their tender and susceptible imaginations may be captivated with the innocent and unprofitable delights of a pastoral life; but in a little time they will find that agriculture is a trade much more laborious, and much less lucrative, than that which they had left. After making its panegyric, they will turn their backs on it like their great precursor and prototype. They may, like him, begin by singing "Beatus ille"—but what will be the end?

"Haec ubi locutus foenerator Alphius, Jamjam futurus rusticus Omnem relegit Idibus pecuniam; Quaerit Calendis ponere."

They will cultivate the Caisse d'Eglise, under the sacred auspices of this prelate, with much more profit than its vineyards and its corn-fields. They will employ their talents according to their habits and their interests. They will not follow the plough whilst they can direct treasuries, and govern provinces.

Your legislators, in everything new, are the very first who have founded a commonwealth upon gaming, and infused this spirit into it, as its vital breath. The great object in these politics is to metamorphose France from a great kingdom into one great play-table: to turn its inhabitants into a nation of gamesters; to make speculation as extensive as life; to mix it with all its concerns; and to divert the whole of the hopes and fears of the people from their usual channels into the impulses, passions, and superstitions of those who live on chances. They loudly proclaim their opinion, that this their present system of a republic cannot possibly exist without this kind of gaming fund; and that the very thread of its life is spun out of the staple of these speculations. The old gaming in funds was mischievous enough undoubtedly; but it was so only to individuals. Even when it had its greatest extent in the Mississippi and South Sea, it affected but few, comparatively; where it extends further, as in lotteries, the spirit has but a single object. But where the law, which in most circumstances forbids, and in none countenances, gaming, is itself debauched, so as to reverse its nature and policy, and expressly to force the subject to this destructive table, by bringing the spirit and symbols of gaming into the minutest matters, and engaging everybody in it, and in everything, a more dreadful epidemic distemper of that kind is spread than yet has appeared in the world. With you a man can neither earn nor buy his dinner without a speculation. What he receives in the morning will not have the same value at night. What he is compelled to take as pay for an old debt will not be received as the same when he comes to pay a debt contracted by himself; nor will it be the same when by prompt payment he would avoid contracting any debt at all. Industry must wither away. Economy must be driven from your country. Careful provision will have no existence. Who will labour without knowing the amount of his pay? Who will study to increase what none can estimate? Who will accumulate, when he does not know the value of what he saves? If you abstract it from its uses in gaming, to accumulate your paper wealth, would be not the providence of a man, but the distempered instinct of a jackdaw.


Their fanatical confidence in the omnipotence of church plunder has induced these philosophers to overlook all care of the public estate, just as the dream of the philosopher's stone induces dupes, under the more plausible delusion of the hermetic art, to neglect all rational means of improving their fortunes. With these philosophic financiers, this universal medicine made of church mummy is to cure all the evils of the state. These gentlemen, perhaps, do not believe a great deal in the miracles of piety; but it cannot be questioned, that they have an undoubting faith in the prodigies of sacrilege. Is there a debt which presses them?—Issue assignats. Are compensations to be made, or a maintenance decreed to those whom they have robbed of their freehold in their office, or expelled from their profession?—Assignats. Is a fleet to be fitted out?—Assignats. If sixteen millions sterling of these assignats, forced on the people, leave the wants of the state as urgent as ever—issue, says one, thirty millions sterling of assignats—says another, issue fourscore millions more of assignats. The only difference among their financial factions is on the greater or the lesser quantity of assignats to be imposed on the public sufferance. They are all professors of assignats. Even those, whose natural good sense and knowledge of commerce, not obliterated by philosophy, furnish decisive arguments against this delusion conclude their arguments by proposing the emission of assignats. I suppose they must talk of assignats, as no other language would be understood. All experience of their inefficacy does not in the least discourage them. Are the old assignats depreciated at market? What is the remedy? Issue new assignats.—Mais si maladia opiniatria, non vult se garire, quid illi facere? assignare—postea assignare; ensuita assignare. The word is a trifle altered. The Latin of your present doctors may be better than that of your old comedy; their wisdom and the variety of their resources are the same. They have not more notes in their song than the cuckoo; though, far from the softness of that harbinger of summer and plenty, their voice is as harsh and as ominous as that of the raven.


It may, perhaps, appear like a sort of repetition of what we have before said, to insist here upon the nature of UGLINESS; as I imagine it to be in all respects the opposite to those qualities which we have laid down for the constituents of beauty. But though ugliness be the opposite to beauty, it is not the opposite to proportion and fitness. For it is possible that a thing may be very ugly with any proportions, and with a perfect fitness to any uses. Ugliness I imagine likewise to be consistent enough with an idea of the sublime. But I would by no means insinuate that ugliness of itself is a sublime idea, unless united with such qualities as excite a strong terror.


GRACEFULNESS is an idea not very different from beauty; it consists in much the same things. Gracefulness is an idea belonging to POSTURE and MOTION. In both these, to be graceful, it is requisite that there be no appearance of difficulty; there is required a small inflection of the body; and a composure of the parts in such a manner, as not to encumber each other, not to appear divided by sharp and sudden angles. In this ease, this roundness, this delicacy of attitude and motion, it is that all the magic of grace consists, and what is called its je ne sais quoi; as will be obvious to any observer, who considers attentively the Venus de Medicis, the Antinous, or any statue generally allowed to be graceful in a high degree.


When any body is composed of parts smooth and polished, without pressing upon each other, without showing any ruggedness or confusion, and at the same time affecting some REGULAR SHAPE, I call it ELEGANT. It is closely allied to the beautiful, differing from it only in this REGULARITY; which, however, as it makes a very material difference in the affection produced, may very well constitute another species. Under this head I rank those delicate and regular works of art, that imitate no determinate object in nature, as elegant buildings, and pieces of furniture. When any object partakes of the above-mentioned qualities, are of those of beautiful bodies, and is withal of great dimensions, it is full as remote from the idea of mere beauty: I call it FINE or SPECIOUS.


The foregoing description of beauty, so far as it is taken in by the eye, may be greatly illustrated by describing the nature of objects which produce a similar effect through the touch. This I call the beautiful in FEELING. It corresponds wonderfully with what causes the same species of pleasure to the sight. There is a chain in all our sensations; they are all but different sorts of feelings calculated to be affected by various sorts of objects, but all to be affected after the same manner. All bodies that are pleasant to the touch, are so by the slightness of the resistance they make. Resistance is either to motion along the surface, or to the pressure of the parts on one another: if the former be slight, we call the body smooth; if the latter, soft. The chief pleasure we receive by feeling, is in the one or the other of these qualities; and if there be a combination of both, our pleasure is greatly increased. This is so plain, that it is rather more fit to illustrate other things, than to be illustrated itself by an example. The next source of pleasure in this sense, as in every other, is the continually presenting somewhat new; and we find that bodies which continually vary their surface, are much the most pleasant or beautiful to the feeling, as any one that pleases may experience. The third property in such objects is, that though the surface continually varies its direction, it never varies it suddenly. The application of anything sudden, even though the impression itself have little or nothing of violence, is disagreeable. The quick application of a finger a little warmer or colder than usual, without notice, makes us start; a slight tap on the shoulder, not expected, has the same effect. Hence it is that angular bodies, bodies that suddenly vary the direction of the outline, afford so little pleasure to the feeling. Every such change is a sort of climbing or falling in miniature; so that squares, triangles, and other angular figures, are neither beautiful to the sight nor feeling. Whoever compares his state of mind, on feeling soft, smooth, variated, unangular bodies, with that in which he finds himself on the view of a beautiful object, will perceive a very striking analogy in the effects of both; and which may go a good way towards discovering their common cause. Feeling and sight, in this respect, differ in but a few points. The touch takes in the pleasure of softness, which is not primarily an object of sight; the sight, on the other hand, comprehends colour, which can hardly be made perceptible to the touch: the touch again has the advantage in a new idea of pleasure resulting from a moderate degree of warmth; but the eye triumphs in the infinite extent and multiplicity of its objects. But there is such a similitude in the pleasures of these senses, that I am apt to fancy, if it were possible that one might discern colour by feeling (as it is said some blind men have done), that the same colours, and the same disposition of colouring, which are found beautiful to the sight, would be found likewise most grateful to the touch. But, setting aside conjectures, let us pass to the other sense: of Hearing.


In this sense we find an equal aptitude to be affected in a soft and delicate manner; and how far sweet or beautiful sounds agree with our descriptions of beauty in other senses, the experience of every one must decide. Milton has described this species of music in one of his juvenile poems. (L'Allegro.) I need not say that Milton was perfectly well versed in that art; and that no man had a finer ear, with a happier manner of expressing the affections of one sense by metaphors taken from another. The description is as follows:— —"And ever against eating cares, Lap me in SOFT Lydian airs: In notes with many a WINDING bout Of LINKED SWEETNESS LONG DRAWN out; With wanton heed, and giddy cunning, The MELTING voice through MAZES running; UNTWISTING all the chains that tie The hidden soul of harmony."

Let us parallel this with the softness, the winding surface, the unbroken continuance, the easy gradation of the beautiful in other things; and all the diversities of the several senses, with all their several affections; will rather help to throw lights from one another to finish one clear, consistent idea of the whole, than to obscure it by their intricacy and variety.

To the above-mentioned description I shall add one or two remarks. The first is; that the beautiful in music will not bear that loudness and strength of sounds, which may be used to raise other passions; nor notes which are shrill or harsh, or deep; it agrees best with such as are clear, even, smooth, and weak. The second is: that great variety, and quick transitions from one measure or tone to another, are contrary to the genius of the beautiful in music. Such transitions often excite mirth, or other sudden or tumultuous passions; but not that sinking, that melting, that languor, which is the characteristical effect of the beautiful as it regards every sense. (I ne'er am merry when I hear sweet music.—Shakspeare.) The passion excited by beauty is in fact nearer to a species of melancholy, than to jollity and mirth. I do not here mean to confine music to any one species of notes, or tones, neither is it an art in which I can say I have any great skill. My sole design in this remark is, to settle a consistent idea of beauty. The infinite variety of the affections of the soul will suggest to a good head, and skilful ear, a variety of such sounds as are fitted to raise them. It can be no prejudice to this, to clear and distinguish some few particulars, that belong to the same class, and are consistent with each other, from the immense crowd of different, and sometimes contradictory, ideas, that rank vulgarly under the standard of beauty. And of these it is my intention to mark such only of the leading points as show the conformity of the sense of hearing with the other senses, in the article of their pleasures.


It is something extraordinary, that the only symptom of alarm in the Church of England should appear in the petition of some dissenters; with whom, I believe, very few in this house are yet acquainted; and of whom you know no more than that you are assured by the honourable gentleman, that they are not Mahometans. Of the Church we know they are not, by the name that they assume. They are then dissenters. The first symptom of an alarm comes from some dissenters assembled round the lines of Chatham; these lines become the security of the Church of England! The honourable gentleman, in speaking of the lines of Chatham, tells us that they serve not only for the security of the wooden walls of England, but for the defence of the Church of England. I suspect the wooden walls of England secure the lines of Chatham, rather than the lines of Chatham secure the wooden walls of England.

Sir, the Church of England, if only defended by this miserable petition upon your table, must, I am afraid, upon the principles of true fortification, be soon destroyed. But fortunately her walls, bulwarks, and bastions, are constructed of other materials than of stubble and straw; are built up with the strong and stable matter of the gospel of liberty, and founded on a true, constitutional, legal establishment. But, Sir, she has other securities; she has the security of her own doctrines; she has the security of the piety, the sanctity of her own professors; their learning is a bulwark to defend her; she has the security of the two universities, not shook in any single battlement, in any single pinnacle. ...

But if, after all, this danger is to be apprehended, if you are really fearful that Christianity will indirectly suffer by this liberty, you have my free consent; go directly, and by the straight way, and not by a circuit, in which in your road you may destroy your friends, point your arms against these men who do the mischief you fear promoting; point your arms against men, who, not contented with endeavouring to turn your eyes from the blaze and effulgence of light, by which life and immortality is so gloriously demonstrated by the Gospel, would even extinguish that faint glimmering of nature, that only comfort supplied to ignorant man before this great illumination—them who, by attacking even the possibility of all revelation, arraign all the dispensations of Providence to man. These are the wicked dissenters you ought to fear; these are the people against whom you ought to aim the shafts of law; these are the men to whom, arrayed in all the terrors of government, I would say, You shall not degrade us into brutes; these men, these factious men, as the honourable gentleman properly called them, are the just objects of vengeance, not the conscientious dissenter; these men, who would take away whatever ennobles the rank or consoles the misfortunes of human nature, by breaking off that connection of observations, of affections, of hopes and fears, which bind us to the Divinity, and constitute the glorious and distinguishing prerogative of humanity, that of being a religious creature; against these I would have the laws rise in all their majesty of terrors, to fulminate such vain and impious wretches, and to awe them into impotence by the only dread they can fear or believe, to learn that eternal lesson—Discite justitiam moniti, et non temnere Divos.

At the same time that I would cut up the very root of atheism, I would respect all conscience; all conscience, that is really such, and which perhaps its very tenderness proves to be sincere. I wish to see the established Church of England great and powerful; I wish to see her foundations laid low and deep, that she may crush the giant powers of rebellious darkness; I would have her head raised up to that heaven to which she conducts us. I would have her open wide her hospitable gates by a noble and liberal comprehension; but I would have no breaches in her wall; I would have her cherish all those who are within, and pity all those who are without; I would have her a common blessing to the world, an example, if not an instructor, to those who have not the happiness to belong to her; I would have her give a lesson of peace to mankind, that a vexed and wandering generation might be taught to seek for repose and toleration in the maternal bosom of Christian charity, and not in the harlot lap of infidelity and indifference.


Abstract views, on the danger of.

Abstract words, effects of.

Accumulation a state principle.

Administration and legislation, on the due balance of.

Age, our own, on the injustice paid to.

Alfred the Great, political genius of. —the promoter of learning. —his religious character.

Ambassadors of infamy, their tyranny.

Ambition, incentives of. —disappointed, picture of.

America, great national progress of. —on her resistance to taxation. —on her early colonization, and the greatness of her future. —on the Protestantism of. —on the embassy of England to.

Analogy, on the pleasures of.

Anarchy contrasted and compared with reformation.

Architecture, influence of.

Armed discipline, necessity of.

Art, on correct judgment in.

"Articles" of the Church, necessity of the.

Atheism, atrocious principles of. —incapable of repentance.

Atheists, literary, their proselytism and bigotry.

Attraction, Newton's discovery of the property of.

Authority, abuses of, dangerous.

Axioms, political.

Barons, English, on the restraints imposed upon the.

Bathurst, Lord, on his recollections of American colonization.

Beautiful, what constitutes the. —in feeling, Burke's ideas of. —in sounds, on our general ideas of.

Beauty, delicacy essential to. —female, on the influence of.

Bedford, duke of, on the royal grants to. —on his attacks on Mr. Burke. —reply to "his Grace."

Bribery, objects and evils of.

Britain, her war with France vindicated. —state of, at the time of the Saxon conquest. —the ancient inhabitants of.

British dominion in the East Indies, on the extent of.

British stability, on the principles and duration of.

Building, on magnitude in, necessary to sublimity.

Burke, Edmund, his defence of his political principles. —the design of, in his greatest work.

Cabal, on the tactics of.

Candid policy, on the advantages of, to a government.

Carnatic, dreadful scenes in the. —war and desolation of the.

Carnot, the sanguinary tyranny of.

Character, private, a basis for public confidence.

Charlemagne, on the conquests of.

Chatham, Lord, his great qualities. —his political errors.

Chivalry, on the moralizing charm of.

Christian religion, the idea of divinity humanized by the. —state of, at the time of the Saxon conquest.

Christianity, on the profession of. —means adopted for its early establishment.

Church of England, its outward dignity defended. —the state consecrated by the. —on the "Articles" of the. —eulogy on the.

Church and State, on the unity between. —one and the same in a Christian commonwealth.

"Church plunder, omnipotence of!"

Church property, on the existence and preservation of.

Circumstances, on the nature of.

Civil freedom a blessing, and not an abstract speculation.

Civil list, advantages of reform in the.

Civil rights, on the nature of.

Civil society, on the true basis of.

Claims, personal and ancestral.

Coalitions, false, instability of.

Colonies, on the art of cementing the ties of. —on their right to the advantages of the British constitution. —on their progress.

Combination, distinct from faction.

Commerce, one of the great sources of our power. —on the philosophy of.

Common law, on its ancient constitution.

Common Pleas, on the early establishment of.

Commons. See "House of."

Commonwealth, on the science of constructing a.

Comparison, utility and advantages of.

Concession, on the wisdom of, on the part of a government.

Confidence of the people, necessity of the. —political, dangers of. —public, private character a basis for. —reciprocal, on the necessity of.

Confiscation, arising from the paper currency.

Conservation, progress and principles of.

Constituents, on the power and control of.

Constitution of England, liberty its distinguishing feature. —on the right of the colonies to its advantages. —not fabricated but inherited. —majesty of the. —not the slave of the people.

Consumption and produce, the balance between settles the price of.

Contact, on the assimilating power of.

Contracted views, on the pettiness of. Conway, General, eulogy on.

Corporate reform, on the difficulty and wisdom of.

Correction, on the principle of, in connection with conservation.

Corruption, public, evil consequences of. —cannot be self-reformed.

Cowardice, political, contemptibility of.

Credit, national, on the advantages of.

Cromwell, the government of, contrasted with that of the French revolution.

Crown, its influence. —on pensions from the. —its prerogative. —on the hereditary succession of the.

Cruelty, political, reckless oppression of.

Curiosity, the most superficial of all the affections.

Danes, their early dominion.

"Declaration of 1793," against France.

Deity, contemplation of his attributes.

Delicacy essential to beauty.

Democracy, a perfect one the most shameless thing in the world. —its resemblance to tyranny.

Democrats, inconsistency of.

Despotism courts obscurity, and shuns the light. —on the defective policy of. —of the age of Louis XIV., a mere gilded tyranny. —monarchical, preferable to republican.

D'Espremenil, sacrifice of.

Difficulty, on contentions with.

Directory of France, its insolent assumption.

Dissent, on Dr. Price's preaching the democracy of.

Dissenters, animadversions on the.

Distraction, on the evils of.

Divine power, its influences on the human idea.

Divinity, our idea of the, humanized by the Christian religion.

Druids, their knowledge and influence.

Duty, not based on will.

East-India Company, on the bill for controlling the political power of. —See "India."

Ecclesiastical confiscation, on the injustice of.

Economy, on the state principles of. —does not consist of parsimony. —and public spirit, advantage of.

Election, on Wilkes's right of.

Elections, frequent, on the evil tendency of. —expenses of.

Electors, on the conduct and duties of.

Elegance, Burke's ideas of.

Elizabeth, Princess, of France, sanguinary treatment of.

England, on the magnanimity of her people.

English character, on French ignorance of.

Establishments, ancient, on the advantages of.

Eternity little understood.

Etiquette, on its ancient and modern application.

Europe, on the state of, in 1789. —at the time of the Norman invasion.

European community, on the principles of.

Exaggeration, evils of.

Extremes, on the fallacy of.

Eye, the, its characteristics of beauty.

Faction, combination distinct from. —what it ought to teach.

Falkland Island, fisheries extended to.

False regret, to be lamented.

Favouritism of government the cause of popular ferment.

Female beauty, on the influence of.

Feudal baronage, the root of our primitive constitution. —principles, their history and application to modern times. —changes effected in. —law, principles of the.

Fisheries of New England; on the hardy spirit with which they are conducted.

Flattery, the reverse of instruction.

Fox, Right Hon. Charles, eulogy on. —Burke's confidence in.

France, on the dangers arising from. —her revolution of 1789. —frightful scenes of the. —founded on regicide, Jacobinism, and atheism. —war with, vindicated. —reflections on her revolution. —the existing state of things in, productive of the worst evils. —on the political and intellectual greatness of. —the great political changes of. —revolution of, a complete one. —early conquests and dominion of. —declaration of England against, in 1793. —false policy in our war with. —historical strictures on. —atrocities perpetrated in.

Freedom, a blessing and not an abstract speculation. —character of just freedom. —on the conservative progress of.

French, natural self-destruction of the. Gaul, the ancient inhabitants of.

Gentleman, our civilization dependent on the spirit of a.

Glory, difficulty the path to.

God, contemplations of His attributes; —on the adorable wisdom of.

Government, on the evils of weakness in. —on the influence of place in. —on the advantages of candid policy in. —virtue and wisdom qualify for. —not made in virtue of natural rights. —not to be rashly censured. —on the duties of. —principles of, not absolute but relative. —general views of the foundations of. —and legislation, matters of reason and judgment. —favouritism, the cause of popular ferment.

Gracefulness, on our ideas of.

Grant, on Burke's acceptance of a.

Great men, the guide-posts and landmarks of the State.

Green Cloth, origin of the ancient Court of.

Grenville, Right Hon. Mr., his great political qualities and character.

Grievance and opinion, on the different qualities of.

Grievances by law, on the different views of.

Henry IV. of France, sovereign qualities of.

Heroism, moral, on the virtues of.

"His Grace," Burke's reply to.

History, on the moral of. —on the use of defects in. —on the perversion of. —speculations on. —strictures on, as connected with France.

House of Commons, its nature and functions. —on the control of the constituency over. —Mr. Burke's preparation for the. —its constitution. —privilege of the. —contrasted with the National Assembly of France.

Howard, the philanthropist, his genius and humanity.

Human ideas, on the influence of divine power on.

Human nature, on the libellers of.

Humiliation, on the diplomacy of.

Hyder Ali, on his formidable military operations in the Carnatic.

Ideal, definition of the.

Imagination, unity of.

Imitation an instructive law.

Impartiality, appeal to.

Imperial power, its establishment in Western Europe. Impracticable, the, not to be desired.

India, East, on the territorial extent of British dominion in. —on its opulence and importance. —necessity of reforming the government of. —Hyder Ali's formidable military resistance. —on the British government in.

Individual good and public benefit, a comparison of.

Induction, on the process of.

Infidels, on the policy of.

Infinity, little understood.

Injustice, economy of.

Innovation, on the madness of.

Investigation, the best method of teaching.

Ireland, on the legislation of.

Ireland and Magna Charta, historical notices of.

Jacobin peace, on the perils of.

Jacobin war, on the true nature of a.

Jacobinism, atrocious principles of. —ferocity of.

Jealousy, political, different under different circumstances.

John, King, on his difficulties with the pope.

Jurisprudence, on the science of.

Justice, early reform in the administration of.

Keppel, Lord, one of the greatest and best men of his age. —his exalted virtues.

Kings, the power of, not based on popular choice.

Labour, on the necessity of. —on the importance of. —rises or falls according to the demand.

Labouring classes poor, because they are numerous. —on the moral happiness of the.

"Labouring poor," on the puling jargon respecting the. —on the canting phraseology of. —on the melioration of their condition.

Language, on the moral effects of.

Laws, when bad, are productive of base subserviency.

Legislation, on the due balance of, with the administration. —on the problem of.

Legislation and government, matters of reason and judgment.

Legislative capacity, on the limits of.

Legislators of the ancient republics.

Legislature of France, regicidal character of the.

Levellers, moral, the representatives of a servile principle.

Libellers of human nature, falsity of the term. Liberty, its preservation the duty of a member of the House of Commons. —in what it consists; —character of just liberty. —on the abstract theory of. —on fictitious liberty.

"Lights," modern, on the petulance and ignorance of.

Loans, public, on the policy of.

Louis XVI., on his cruel treatment. —historical estimate of. —his mistaken views of society. —on the fate of.

Love, a mixed passion.

Love and dread, their union in religion.

Low aims and low instruments, the baseness of.

Magistracy, religious duties of the.

Magna Charta, Ireland a partaker of. —the oldest reformation of England. —on the early constitutions of.

Magnanimity, on its superiority.

Malesherbes, atrocious treatment of.

Man, Nature anticipates the desires of.

Mankind, ancient state of.

Manners and morals, correspondent systems of. —more important than laws.

Maria Antoinette, her beauty and misfortunes. —sanguinary treatment of.

Maria Theresa, her high-minded principles.

Marriage, feudal restraints on.

Maxims, false, evils of, when assumed as first principles.

Measures of government, on judging of the.

Member of Parliament, difficulties of becoming a good one.

Metaphysical depravity, on the dangers of.

Migrations of ancient history.

Minister of state, what he ought to attempt.

Ministers, on the responsibility of.

Missionaries, their early zeal in propagating Christianity.

Monarch of England, on the sovereign power of the.

Monastic institutions, on the results of.

Money and science.

Monks, their early zeal in the cause of Christianity.

Montesquieu, on the genius of.

Moral debasement, a progressive principle.

Moral diet, on the use of. Moral distinctions defined.

Moral effects resulting from language.

Moral essence constitutes a nation.

Moral heroism, on the virtues of.

Moral instincts, on the sacredness of.

Moral levelling, a servile principle.

Nation, moral essence constitutes a.

National Assembly of France, the House of Commons contrasted with.

National Assembly, on its philosophic vanity.

National dignity, importance of, in all treaties.

Nature, Sir I. Newton's discoveries of the phenomena of. —anticipates the desires of man.

Necessity, a relative term.

Neighbourhood, on the law of.

Neutrality, on the uncertainty and contemptibility of.

New England, fisheries of, on the hardy spirit of the.

Newton, Sir Isaac, his discoveries of the phenomena of nature.

Nobility a graceful ornament to the civil order.

Norman invasion, state of Europe and of England at the time of the.

"Not so bad as we seem," justificatory remarks on.

Novelty, its effects on the mind.

Obscure, powerful influence of the.

Obscurity, courted by despotism and all false religions.

Office, on the emoluments of.

Officers, English, on the admirable qualifications of.

Opinion, on acting from, against the government.

Opinions, power survives the shock of.

Oppression, on the voice of.

Order, the foundation of all things.

Outcasts, political, on the usual treatment of.

Painting, influence of.

Paper currency, confiscation arising from.

Parental experience, reflections on.

Paris, on the boasted superiority of.

Parliament, difficulties of becoming a good member of. —Mr. Burke's preparation for. —a deliberative assembly. —on its identity with the people. —on the privilege of. —property more than ability represented in. —on the "omnipotence" of.

Parliamentary prerogative, on the principles of.

Parliamentary retrospect.

Parliaments, on the proper period of their duration. —on the abolition and use of.

Parsimony is not economy.

Party, on decorum in. —character and objects of. —political connections of.

Party divisions, inseparable from a free government.

Party man, character of a, vindicated.

Patriotic distinction.

Patriotic services, on the justice of public salary for.

Patriotism, the true source of public income. —on the true characteristics of. —local, on the extinction of.

Peace, political, on the difficulties of.

Peers, privileges of the.

Pensions from the crown the obligations of gratitude, and not the fetters of servility.

People, on their disputes with their rulers. —voice of the, to be consulted. —necessity of securing their confidence. —on their identity with parliament. —kingly power not based on their choice. —on the true meaning of the term. —war, and will of the. —the constitution not the slave of the.

Perplexity, on the political state of.

Persecution, theory of, its falsity.

Petty interests, against being influenced by.

Philosophic vanity of the French National Assembly.

Physiognomy, on the influence of.

Pictures represented by words.

Pilgrimages advantageous to the cause of literature.

Pius VII., territories of, assailed by France.

Place the object of party. —on the influence of, in government.

Poetry, its dominion over the passions.

Policy, genuine sentiment not discordant with. —national.

Polish revolution, reflections on the.

Political axioms.

Political charity, characteristics of.

Political connections, on the nature of.

Political empiricism, its character.

Political outcasts, on the usual treatment of.

Politicians, theorizing, on the follies of.

Politics, without principle. —remarks on. —on the state of feeling with regard to. —in connection with the pulpit.

Poor, on the folly of their overthrowing the rich.

Pope, his exactions from King John.

Popular discontent, on the general prevalence of, in all times.

Popular opinion, on the fallacy of, as a standard.

Power, on the tendencies of. —survives the shock of opinions.

Practice more certain than theory.

Prerogative of the crown. —parliamentary and regal.

Prescriptive rights, on the justice and necessity of.

Prevention, principle of, necessary for every political institution.

Price, Dr., on his preaching the democracy of Dissent.

"Priests of the Rights of Man."

Principle, on the absence of, in politics.

Privilege of Parliament.

Proscription, the miserable invention of ungenerous ambition.

Prosecutions, public, little better than schools of treason.

Protestantism of America. —English, on the distinctive character of.

Provisions, danger of tampering with the trade of. —rate of wages no direct relation to.

Prudence of timely reform. —rules and definitions of.

Public benefit, as compared with individual good.

Public corruption, evil consequences of.

Public income, patriotism the true source of.

Public men, on the libellers of.

Public spirit united with economy, advantages of. —a part of our national character.

Pulpit, politics in the.

Real and ideal, definition of the.

Reason and taste, on the standard of.

Reform, timely, on the prudence of. —false, on the prudery of.

Reformation, English, a time of trouble and confusion. —contrasted and compared with anarchy. Reformations in England, principles of the.

Reformers, on the difficulties of.

Refusal, productive of a revenue.

Regal prerogative, on the principles of.

Regicidal legislature of France.

Regicide, atrocious principles of. —the sanguinary ante-chamber of.

Reliefs, on the ancient customs of.

Religion, on the union of love and dread in. —our civilization dependent on the spirit of. —within the province of a Christian magistrate. —false, courts obscurity. —negative, a nullity.

Remedy, on the distemper of.

Representatives, on the conduct and duty of.

Republicanism, on the jargon of.

Republicans, on the legislation of.

Republics, on the character of, in the abstract.

Resignation of the mind.

Restrictive virtues too high for humanity.

Retrospect of the memory. —parliamentary.

Revenue, refusal productive of a. —the state its own. —necessity of its payment. —on the best mode of raising the.

Revolution of France, horrors of the. —Burke's idea of. —its frightful scenes. —founded on regicide, Jacobinism, and atheism. —reflections on. —causes of the. —evils of. —on the politics of the. —specious justification of.

Revolution, the Glorious, of England in 1688. —its objects. —principles of the.

Revolution Society, dangerous objects of the.

Revolutions of France and England compared.

"Right, Declaration of," its objects.

"Right, Petition of," on the famous law of.

Rights, natural and civil. —prescriptive, on the justice and necessity of.

Robespierre, on the instruments of his tyranny.

Rockingham, Lord, vindication of his measures.

Rome, the great centre of early Christianity in the western world. —assailed by France. Rousseau, philosophic vanity of. —paradoxical writings of.

Rulers, on the disputes of the people with.

Salaries, public, on the justice of, for particular service.

Santerre, the regicide atrocity of.

Saracens, irruptions of the.

Saville, Sir George, his intellectual and moral character.

Saxon conquests, state of Britain at the time of. —religious conversion of the Saxons.

Self-inspection tends to concentrate the forces of the soul.

Sentiment, genuine, not discordant with sound policy.

Silence, prudential advantages of.

Simon, the son of Onias, scriptural panegyric on.

Smith, Sir Sidney, on his treatment as a French prisoner.

Social contract, definition of the.

Society and solitude, on the balance between.

Solitude a positive pain.

Sound of words, its effect.

Sovereign jurisdictions, on the advantage of.

Speciousness, ideas of.

Speculation and history, general disquisition on.

State, the, on the union of the Church with. —consecrated by the Church. —the revenue of, its own.

State-consecration, on the principles of.

Style, on clearness and strength in.

Sublime, sources of, and what constitutes the.

Subserviency, base, bad laws productive of.

Subsistence, means of, should be certain.

Superstition, monastic and philosophic.

Sympathy, on the bond of. —extensions of. —its influences.

Tallien, the regicide atrocity of.

Taste, philosophy of. —principles of. —standard of.

Taxation, on the principle involved in. —on the right of.

Test Acts, Burke's proposed oath on the.

Theodorus, archbishop of Canterbury, the great promoter of English literature.

Theory, liability to error in. —on the proper use of.

Toleration, on the intolerancy of.

Townshend, Right Hon. Charles, his character and great acquirements.

Truth, on the security of.

Ugliness, on the nature of.

Vanity, philosophic, ethics of.

Venality, dangers of.

Virtues, the restrictive, almost too high for humanity.

Visionary, character of the.

Voice of the people to be consulted.

Vulgar, conceptions of the.

Wages, on their connection with labour.

Walpole, Sir Robert, on the policy of.

War, on the tremendous consequences of.

War and will of the people.

Warning for a nation, founded on the state of public affairs.

Weakness in government, on the evils of.

Wealth, on the relation of, to national dignity.

Wilkes, John, on his right of election to Parliament.

William the Conqueror, on the sovereign qualities of; —his policy.

William III., on his succession to the English crown. —his vigorous policy against France.

Words, their power and influence. —effect of. —various qualities of.

End of PG's Selections from the Speeches and Writings of Edmund Burke

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