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.
Unfair as this denunciation was to France, we sympathise in its effects on the malcontents in England. The tone of the book was well suited to the occasion. A loud and bitter cry was to be raised—the revolutionary propaganda was to be stayed—and to this end all that could be said against it was to be clearly, sharply, emphatically, and uncompromisingly put forth. With Hannibal at the gates, it was no time for half-opinions, for qualification, and for temporisation.
No wise man could hesitate to do his best to discredit the Jacobins, without any very scrupulous regard to absolute justice. They were unjust and unscrupulous, and it was perhaps pardonable to attack them with their own weapons. The book is not history, nor philosophy, but a polemic.
It is a polemic against Jacobinism, particularly English Jacobinism. What is, or rather was, Jacobinism? In the usage of the day, Edition: orig; Page: [ xvi ] it was a vituperative term applied summarily to all opposition to the dominant party. He who doubted Mr. Pitt was set down as a Jacobin, much as he who doubted the Bishops was set down as an infidel.
But the Jacobin proper is the revolter against the established order of society. This creed will never lack exponents. It is founded on an ancient tale, and in a certain sense, a tale of wrong; but whilst the human species maintains its vantage above the lower animals, it is a wrong that will never be completely righted. Degree is inseparable from the maintenance of the artificial structure of civilisation.
The last phrase leads us to note the fundamental fallacy of the doctrine in its next stage Edition: current; Page: [  ] of philosophical or speculative Jacobinism. Civilisation, social happiness, the comfortable arts of life, are no gift of nature to man. They are, in the strictest sense, artificial.
The French philosophers, by a gross assumption, took them to be natural, and therefore a matter of common right to all. We notice here a fundamental antagonism alleged by Burke to exist between the Revolutionists and the English school of politicians. The former base their claims upon Right; Burke, following the traditions of English statesmanship, claims to base his upon Law.
It is not that Law has no basis in natural Right: it is rather that Law, having occupied as a basis a portion of Edition: orig; Page: [ xvii ] the space naturally covered by Right, all outside it ceases to be right in the same sense in which it was so before. In other words, realised Right, in the shape of tangible and enforceable Law, is understood to be so material an advance upon abstract Right, that your acceptance of the former amounts to a renunciation of the latter. You cannot have both at once. Now Jacobinism may be regarded as the sentiment which leads man to repudiate Law and take his stand upon natural Right.
The difficulty is that in so doing he limits himself, and seeks to reduce his fellow-men, to the right of the naked savage, for natural right cannot extend beyond the state of nature. As Jacobinism is the repudiation of Law, Burke takes his stand upon the Law; and one of the defects of the present work is that he carries this too far. It has been said of his attitude in this work that he begins like a pettifogger and ends like a statesman. Hallam has proved it untenable at many points: and the refutation may, it is believed, be completely made out by reference to the notes at the end of this volume.
A British statesman may, however, plead a closer relation between law and liberty than Edition: current; Page: [  ] is usual in most countries, and claim to be leniently criticised for defending himself on the standpoint of the lawyer. Men of the law were the statesmen under whom the British Constitution grew into shape. Men of the law defended it from Papal aggression, a circumstance to which Burke complacently alludes p.
Magna Charta, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights, and the Act of Settlement, were his undoubted chain of English constitutional securities, and he declined to admit any further modification of them. So far he was in harmony with popular ideas. When he went beyond this, and declared that the Act of Settlement bound the English nation for ever, his reasoning was obviously false. The whole procedure of Burke throughout this book is, as has been observed, Edition: orig; Page: [ xviii ] avowedly that of an advocate.
He is not to embarrass the minds of his hearers, or to incumber or overlay his speech, by bringing into view at once as if he were reading an academic lecture all that may and ought, when a just occasion presents itself, be said in favour of the other members. At that time they are out of court; there is no question concerning them. Whilst he opposes his defence on the part where the attack is made, he presumes that for his regard to the just rights of all the rest, he has credit in every candid mind.
But Burke demanded something positive—something to which men could bind themselves by covenant. In the apology from which we have just quoted, he proclaims the speeches of the managers of the impeachment of Sacheverel, as representing those who brought about the English Revolution, to be the fountains of true constitutional doctrine. After this epoch he seems to have distrusted all political creeds. There is hardly one notable political work of the day immediately preceding him to which he makes allusion, and then only in terms of censure.
That of France was in a still worse case. Scandalous as were the delays, the useless and cumbrous processes, and the exaction which attended the management of the English law, those who administered it were at least able men, and men who had honestly risen to their places, in virtue of their native and acquired qualifications. It was not so in France. In France judges purchased their places and suitors purchased justice.
It is enough to say of it that it exhibited the worst characteristics of English law before the time of Edition: orig; Page: [ xx ] Richard II. The general system of English law he thought entitled a qualified commendation. His views on the subject were however very different from those of his contemporary, Lord Eldon. He did not systematically discountenance all enquiry, and scout all proposed reform.
He had taken the lead in , in advocating reforms dealing with the Royal Edition: current; Page: [  ] property, which have since been carried out with general approval. He had commenced, early in his career, a treatise advocating that reform of the Irish Penal Laws which, when carried through by his friends Savile and Dunning, produced the awful riots of His judgment on the question of how far reform was admissible, and at what point it degenerated into innovation, coincides with that of Bacon and Hale, rather than with that of Coke and Eldon.
Conceiving the English nation as a four-square fabric supported on the four bases of the Church, the Crown, the Nobility, and the People, it is natural to find the author insisting most on the excellences of those elements which were then assailed in France. The People, of course, needed no defence, nor was the Crown as yet overthrown. The dream of the moment was a constitutional monarchy, based on elements similar to those of the English Constitution. On this subject, independently of constitutional law and of theory, Burke cherished prejudices early formed and never shaken.
He had lived on terms of intimacy with, and was bound by ties of mutual obligation to some of the worthiest members of the British aristocracy. It is mainly to them personally that his panegyric is applicable. Nobility, however, possessed claims which he was as eager to recognise, as an important establishment of the common law of the country, and as justified by universal analogy and supported by the best general theories of society. Because it operated as an instinct to secure property, Edition: current; Page: [  ] Edition: orig; Page: [ xxi ] and to preserve communities in a settled state p.
It is pervaded by his own conception of an aristocracy, derived from his own personal friends and fellow-workers. The aristocracy of France differed from that of England as substance differs from shadow. In England, nobility had long implied privileges which are merely honorary; in France it implied privileges substantial in themselves, and grievous to those who were excluded from them.
Practically, though Burke in the duties of his advocacy denies the fact, the nobility were untaxed. To use a sufficiently accurate expression, the feudal system was still in operation in France. If not aggravated by natural growth during successive centuries, it exhibited a growing incompatibility with what surrounded it. In England it had practically been extinct for two centuries, and it was now absolutely out of mind. Barons and Commons had long made up but one People; the old families were mostly extinct, and the existing Peers were chiefly commoners with coronets on their coats of arms.
At the present moment not a single seat in the House of Peers is occupied in virtue of tenure, 1 and the Peerage, saving heraldic vanities and some legal and social courtesies, practically confers nothing but a descendible personal magistracy, exercised at considerable expense and inconvenience. The status of a Peer generally involves, in addition, the maintenance of the bulk of a fortune not always large in the least remunerative of investments. The qualification for a Peerage has long been limited to a long-continued course of service to the State. Every one of these conditions was reversed in France.
The nobleman was a member of a decaying privileged class, who clung to their unjust and oppressive privileges with the most obstinate tenacity. It was the idle noble who spent the hard earnings of the peasant. Taxation Edition: current; Page: [  ] in England fell lightly in the extreme upon the poorer classes; in France they bore almost the whole burden of the national expenses.
Society in France thus rested on a tottering and artificial frame: while in England the frame had gradually and safely accommodated itself to the change of social force. But in the method of Burke every argument in favour of a Edition: orig; Page: [ xxii ] particular element of the State, based upon the special excellence of that element, is subordinate to his general doctrine of the nature of the State as a grand working machine. A machine, he thought, to attain the end for which it was devised, must be allowed to work fairly and continuously.
To be perpetually stopping its system for the purpose of trying experiments, was an error venial only in a child. To destroy it, in order to use its parts in the construction of some other ideal machine, which might never be got to work at all, was criminal madness. The strictures of Burke with reference to this great and central point in his political philosophy are only partially applicable to the French Reformers of his day; nor are they at any time unexceptionably appropriate.
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Yet they constitute a profound and necessary substructure in every intelligent conception of civil matters, and as such they will never cease to be worthy of the remembrance of the most practised statesmen, as well as an indispensable part of the education of the beginner in politics. Every student must begin, if he does not end, with Conservatism; and every Reformer must bear in mind that without a certain established base, secured by a large degree of this often-forgotten principle, his best devised scheme cannot fail to fall to the ground.
The present work is the best text-book of Conservatism which has ever appeared. Burke claims for his views the support of the English nation. Political events and the popularity of his book alike proved that this was no idle boast: but it necessarily indicated nothing more than that the party of progress was in England in the minority, while in France it was in the ascendant.
To examine the justice of this claim would involve the whole political and religious history of the stirring century between the Spanish Armada and the Revolution of This is far beyond our present purpose, which may be equally well served on ground merely literary. Taking English literature as our guide, we shall find that, two hundred years before, conclusions very similar to those of Burke were formed in the minds of philosophical Edition: orig; Page: [ xxiii ] observers.
The significance of those conclusions is not impaired by the historical results of the contest. They throw no shade upon the glorious victories of the spirit of English liberty. They rather illustrate and complement them. They rather tend to justify the partial adoption, by sober and reasonable men, when the substance of English liberty began to be attacked under the Scotch kings, of ideas which were previously limited to intemperate and half-educated minds.
But these ideas never penetrated the mass of English contemporary thinkers. Milton, in his proposed organisation of the republic, followed Italian, not English ideas: and the honour due to Milton will not prevent our recognising the beauty and propriety of doctrines from which, under other circumstances, even he might have drawn his practical deductions. That Conservatism is compatible with philosophical statesmanship can be illustrated in a remarkable degree from the great work of Hooker.
Hooker and Grotius allow a view of the general rights and obligations of civil society, which goes far beyond what Burke, in the present work, will admit. In the state, Hooker saw distinctly reflected the order and discipline which he believed to have been impressed upon the natural face of the universe by an all-wise and beneficent Creator. The reign of law on earth reflected the reign of law in heaven. Hooker ridicules the turbulent wits of old, to whom, in the words of the Roman historian, quieta movere magna merces videbatur.
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Both point out the value of what the English nation regards as an everlasting possession; both lay bare the deep foundations of law, order, and temporal polity; and seek, by the united force of truth and reason, to display and vindicate in the eye of the world the gradations, the dignities, and the majesty of a well-balanced state. The limits of the application of general principles in politics are Edition: orig; Page: [ xxiv ] admirably sketched out by Hooker. Following Aristotle, he remarks the fallacies which occur from disregarding the nature of the stuff which the politician has to work upon.
These varieties [the phases of human will and sentiment] are not known but by much experience, from whence to draw the true bounds of all principles, to discern how far forth they take effect, to see where and why they fail, to apprehend by what degrees and means they lead to the practice of things in shew, though not indeed repugnant and contrary one to another, requireth more sharpness of wit, more intricate circuitions of discourse, more industry and depth of judgment than common opinion doth yield.
They that walk in darkness, know not whither they go. Such conceptions are naturally generated in a comprehensive mind, as soon as the world is stirred by the impulse Edition: current; Page: [  ] to shake off old evils. Wisdom consists in no inconsiderable degree, says Burke, in knowing what amount of evil is to be tolerated. The science of politics, unlike most other sciences, is too often regarded as having reached its final stage: many a specious conclusion is vitiated by this assumption.
The defect of such aphorisms as that of Montesquieu obviously lies in their extreme liability to abuse: and Burke cannot be absolved from the charge of abusing the principle which the aphorism embodies. But it cannot be denied that Hooker and many another Englishman whose authority English people held in high respect, had done the same thing before him.
The following passage of Hooker strikingly reminds the reader of a mode of argument frequently employed by Burke:. For first, the ground whereupon they build, is not certainly their own, but with special limitations. Few things are so restrained to any one end or purpose, that the same being extinct Edition: orig; Page: [ xxv ] they should forthwith utterly become frustrate.
Wisdom may have framed one and the same thing to serve commodiously for divers ends, and of those ends any one be sufficient cause for continuance, though the rest have ceased, even as the tongue, which nature hath given us for an instrument of speech, is not idle in dumb persons, because it also serveth for taste. Again, if time have worn out, or any other mean altogether taken away, what was first intended, uses not thought upon before may afterwards spring up, and be reasonable causes of retaining that which other considerations did formerly procure to be instituted.
And it cometh sometime to pass, that a thing unnecessary in itself as touching the whole direct purpose whereto it was meant or can be applied, doth notwithstanding appear convenient to be still held even without use, lest by reason of that coherence which it hath with somewhat Edition: current; Page: [  ] more necessary, the removal of the one should indamage the other; and therefore men which have clean lost the possibility of sight, keep still their eyes nevertheless in the place where nature set them.
The ground of this philosophical or rational conservatism mainly consists in seeking to contemplate things with reference to their dependency on an entire system, and to have regard to the coherence and significance of the system. It is liable to abuse: and many may think that the whole conception belongs to the domain of poetry rather than to that of philosophy. The poetry of the time, indeed, reflects it in more than one place. It reminds us something of the bodings of the Greek chorus, when they sing that the founts of the sacred rivers are turned backward, and that justice and the universe are suffering a revolution.
Such notions are unquestionably more than the over-wrought dreams of poets. They have their key in the defective moral tone of their age: but it by no means follows that the moral defect which this implies covers the whole ground to which they extend. Slumber seems natural to certain stages of human history: and a slumbering nation always resents the first signs of Edition: orig; Page: [ xxvi ] its awakenment. The faculty Edition: current; Page: [  ] of looking on an institution on many sides enabled Daniel to point out.
Daniel had trained himself in an instructive school, in the preparation and composition of his History of the Civil Wars. The statesman must study. The English nation is emphatically an old nation: it proceeds on the assumption that there is nothing new under the sun. It is always disposed to criticise severely any one who labours, as Warburton says, under that epidemic distemper of idle men, the idea of instructing and informing the world.
The heart of men, and the greater heart of associated bodies of men, has been radically the same in all ages. In the laws of life we cannot hope for much additional illumination: new lights in general turn out to be old illusions. There is no unexplored terra australis, whether of morality or political science. Englishmen have in all times affected a taste for public matters and for scholarship: and this affectation is not ill exemplified in one who was a man of letters, with the superadded qualities of the philosopher and the politician. Philocosmus taunts Musophilus with his empty and purposeless pursuits, to which Musophilus replies by a spirited defence of learning.
Philocosmus changes his ground, and lays to the charge of the professors of learning, who overswarm and infest the English world, a general spirit of discontent, amounting to sedition. See how a retired observer in the time of the first Stuart anticipates the effects of the same misplaced activity. Action, Philocosmus goes on to say, differs materially from what is read of in books:. Men of letters, in the indulgence of the tastes which their pursuits have fostered, lose those faculties which are necessary to the conduct of affairs.
Beware of the philosopher who pretends to statesmanship. The Scholar replies, that the Statesman, with all his boasted skill, cannot anticipate the perils of the time, or see. Giddy innovations would overthrow the whole fabric of society. But what is the Edition: current; Page: [  ] remedy?
This might end in bringing men more astray, and destroy the faith in the unity and continuity of civil life, which is. He does not task his characters to utter his private sentiments and convictions. His characters are realities, not masks.
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A book might be made up by illustrating the political conceptions of Shakspere out of his plays: but it will be enough for our purpose to consider one or two specimens. The following extract from the speech in which Ulysses demonstrates the ills arising from the feuds of the Greek champions is alike remarkable for the compass of its thought and for the accuracy with which it reflects a feeling which has always been common among Englishmen.
No passage in literature reflects more faithfully the general spirit of the present work. The grave tone of mingled doctrine and portent, and the two contrasted moral effects, are in each exactly similar. Jack Cade and his rout, and the mob in Coriolanus, will doubtless occur to the student as instances of sharp satire against Democracy. Shakspere always conceives political action, especially in England, as proceeding from a lawful monarch, wielding Edition: orig; Page: [ xxxi ] real power under the guidance of wise counsellors: and this does not differ greatly from the Whig theory to which Burke always adhered.
The popular party of the Commonwealth and the Revolution were the true conservatives of their age. They fought, as Burke had pointed out in a previous work, for a liberty that had been consecrated by long usage and tradition; and outside Edition: current; Page: [  ] this memorable strife the greatest of English minds, with a few exceptions, surrendered themselves to the general tide of anti-revolutionary opinion. Dryden, always a favourite authority with Burke, is an obvious instance.
One passage from his prose works may be adduced to show that the worst arguments employed by Burke in the present treatise do not lack the authority of great and popular English names:. For the preservation of his right destroys not our propriety, but maintains us in it. He has tied himself by law not to invade our possessions, and we have obliged ourselves as subjects to him and all his lawful successors: by which irrevocable act of ours, both for ourselves and our posterity, we can no more exclude the successor than we can depose the present king. It may be truly objected that the course of English political events destroys the authority of these Tory formulas.
But it is well known that the Whig policy of England since the Revolution had not been supported by a majority of the English people. The majority of English people, told by the head, would down to the beginning of the reign of George III have been found to be Tory: and Burke was in a strong position when he averred that such was the disposition of the English nation as a whole. Phocion and Socrates are satirically instanced as examples of popular justice.
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Then follows a remarkable forecast of an opinion first elaborated and given to the world by the French philosophers in the next century:. It would be easy to pursue the same track in Butler and Swift, in the vast field of the Essayists, and in English theological and historical writers, among whom most of the popular names will be found on the same side. The Whigs and Tories of the century, if we except a few clerical politicians, alike avoid professing extremes.
English poetry, from Spenser and Drayton to Scott and Tennyson, has in fact always been largely pervaded by this idea, and a retrospective tendency, tinged with something of pride and admiration, has generally accompanied literary taste in the Englishman. Milton and Spenser revelled in the antique fables which then formed the bulk of what was called the History of England. Shakespeare dramatised the history of the ages preceding his own, with even more felicity than the remote legends of Lear and Cymbeline. Little of this is to be noticed in the taste of any foreign nation, and the literature of France has always been eminently the offspring of the moment.
French minds have never dwelt with the interest derived from a sense of identity upon the events or products of the past. Continental critics have, as might be expected, traced the love of the English for the English past to a narrow insularity. They ought also to point out how intense was the contrast, down to the French Revolution, of insular and Edition: current; Page: [  ] continental institutions. National greatness was a conception common to both the Englishman and the Frenchman: but England had of late repeatedly humbled that of France, and the Frenchman was just beginning to enquire into the causes which had given the smaller country its superiority.
There was a contrast, and a Edition: orig; Page: [ xxxiv ] disposition to enquire into it: the English and French people, during the eighteenth century, observed the social and political tendencies of their neighbours with curious watchfulness. The antagonism was heightened by the commencement of social intercourse between them in the intervals of war. We may learn something of the contrast which was believed to subsist between the normal tendencies of the English and the French mind from the criticism of a thoroughly English man of letters upon De Vertot, whose works during the last century were so eagerly read by the French people.
De Vertot had put together in a popular style the story of those violent changes which had taken place in ancient Rome, and in modern Sweden and Portugal. His sensationalism had secured him an extraordinary success. That this form should wonderfully allure common readers, is no way strange.
The busy active catastrophe of revolutions gives a tumultuous kind of pleasure to those vulgar minds that remain unaffected Edition: current; Page: [  ] with the calm scenes that the still and steady advances of a well-balanced state, to secure its peace, power, and durability, present before them. Add to this that the revolution part is the great repository of all the stores for admiration, whose power and fascination on the fancy we have at large examined; whereas the steady part affords entertainment only for the understanding, by its sober lessons on public utility.
For fifty years and more, when Burke was writing, the French people had been coming to believe in Revolutions, and to look to their neighbours on the other side of the water for authentic revolutionary methods. The facts on which this belief was based were ill selected and ill understood. But the craving for change had developed into a social necessity.
The Frenchman still turned in his desperation to England, and the Englishman at once repulsed him as an enemy and despised him as a slave. But that which was a novelty in had become inveterate in The sense of historical and political truth had become more and more obscured, and the morbid demand for change had grown little by little into a Edition: current; Page: [  ] madness. Practical political life, the soul and school of true political doctrine, was extinct. The old fabric of the state was decayed, and none knew how to repair it.
But this, fact as it was, was hardly within the comprehension of Englishmen. To this day it may be said that the mutual criticisms which Englishmen and Frenchmen have bandied at each other are generally based on some misunderstanding. It was far more so a century ago. In more than one topic of the present work Burke transfers to French matters ideas which were really only proper to England. Those parts of the work which are best calculated to their end are the arguments which are to be found scattered up and down the book which deduce from English society the higher laws which ought to govern civil life in general.
On this ground we have Burke at his strongest. To the cherished tradition of the English philosophy of the State, the incidents of the French Revolution administered an unexpected and powerful impulse. Burke conceived the English Edition: orig; Page: [ xxxvi ] political creed to be threatened and misunderstood: his ready intellect at once traced this creed to its most imposing deductions, and his fiery and poetical fancy moulded it into new and more striking forms. We have in the present work, for the first time, a deliberate retrospect of what European society in its old-fashioned and normal shape has done for the human race, heightened by all that passion and rhetoric can do to recommend it.
Burke had caught inspiration from his opponents. Just as the Revolutionist in his dogmatism displays all the bitterness and the intractability of an ecclesiastic, so Burke communicates to his philosophy of society something of the depth and fervour of religion. The state, according to his solemn figure, which reflects alike the mode of thought of the great statesman and philosopher of Edition: current; Page: [  ] Rome, and of our English philosophical divines, is an emanation of the Divine Will.
The political philosophy of Burke, though in itself systematic and complete, makes no pretence to the character of what is understood by a scientific theory. It rests on ignorance, and, in technical language, may be described as sceptical. Its motive force is as incomprehensible as that of the individual man. All analysis is evaded by those ties which bind together the obligations and affections of the individual into an intelligible and operative whole; and it is exactly so with those which bind together the system of the State. Society, to repeat a trite formula, is an organism, not a mechanism.
Society is not made, it grows; and by ways as dark and mysterious as those which from its earliest germ conduct and limit the destination of life in the individual. The elementary nature expressed in each word of this profound expression of Aristotle, is involved in an equal degree Edition: orig; Page: [ xxxvii ] of obscurity. Neither Man nor the State can escape from the character of original mystery impressed upon them by the life and the nature in and by which they are generated. Frankly admitting this, and drawing our conclusions only from the positive character which the moral and political man in his several aspects actually reveals, we shall be Edition: current; Page: [  ] safe; but in the fruitless effort to lift the veil we cannot but err.
The true method of politics, as of all branches of practical knowledge, is that of experiment. Examine the face of society. Observe, as Newton did in the planetary system, the strong gravitating forces which draw its particles into congruous living shapes; but with the wisdom of Newton, discard all tempting hypotheses, and penetrate no further. Trust and cherish whatever you find to be a motive power, or a cementing principle, knowing that, like the wind that blows as it lists, it is a power over which you have no control, save to regulate and to correct.
Deal reverently, as one that has learnt to fear himself, 1 and to love and respect his kind, even with the errors, the prejudices, the unreasoned habits, that are mixed in those powers and principles. You cannot understand them, you cannot disregard or defy them; you cannot get rid of them. You must take the frame of man and of society as a Power above you has made them.
To guide you in dealing with them, you have the experience of many who have gone before you, presumably not your inferiors in qualifications for the task, and who may have been free from special difficulties which stand in your own way. More than one of the uses which help to keep society together have in theory been adopted as its possible origin, but these uses all germinate from the instinct of congregation. Aristotle and Cicero had each in their time maintained, against contemporary theorists, that in this instinct is to be traced the true germ of social organisation; and their view was revived, at the revival of letters, in the remarkable tract of Buchanan, De Jure Regni.
According to this view, the uses and advantages of social life are entirely an aftergrowth upon the results of the unreasoned tendency, operating through the rude channels of Edition: current; Page: [  ] the feelings, of individual human animals to Edition: orig; Page: [ xxxviii ] gravitate together.
In his mind these duties invested him with something of the character of a religious teacher, and it was natural that this conception should be heightened by his belief that the theorists whom he was opposing were principled atheists. It is enough for us to observe that this theory of the State, though reflecting in a great degree doctrines which seem to belong chiefly to theology, is neither inconsistent nor improbable. While he despises, as Buchanan had done, the beggarly theory which would make society exclusively dependent upon the utilities which attend it, and rests it upon the simpler and higher basis of nature, he does not go beyond the lines of evidence and of legitimate presumption, and he makes the domain of political philosophy a wider and a more interesting field.
Burke thus followed the pagan philosopher Cicero in fortifying his political creed by Edition: current; Page: [  ] reference to that religious sentiment which is so nearly akin to it. Religion, according to Burke, is a necessary buttress to the social fabric. It is more than this: it pervades and cements the whole. It is the basis of education: it attends the citizen in every act of life from the cradle to the grave. The exact form of religion which the State should authorise was believed by Burke to be an entirely secondary matter.
Edition: orig; Page: [ xxxix ] It is probable that he would have had the Roman Catholic Church established in Ireland, as the Anglican Church was established in England. In common with many English churchmen of his age he had thus entirely abandoned the position of a century ago. For religion in some positive form Burke always argued strongly, in opposition to the contrary opinion which was then fast spreading both in France and England.
Philosopher though he was, the arguments of the Freethinkers were to him entirely inconclusive. When we find any more or less dubious doctrine tenaciously cherished by reasonable and civilised men, it will mark us for true politicians, perhaps for true philosophers, not uselessly to denounce it as a ridiculous fancy, but to treat the apparent error, to borrow a beautiful expression of Coleridge, as the uncertain reflection of some truth that has not yet risen above the horizon. It should be enough to secure our respect, if not our total approval and our sincere enthusiasm, that any element has so inwrought and domesticated itself in the human mind, as to become an inseparable part of the heritage of successive generations.
Something of this kind, uniting our civil and social instincts with a faith in some Divine order of things, can certainly be recognised in the highest as well as in the lowest order of minds. How it enters into the present argument may be summarily expressed in the words of Hooker, as taken down by an anecdotist from the mouth of Burke himself.
A man asked Grotius what was the best book on Politics. The best, Edition: orig; Page: [ xl ] said Grotius, is a blank book. Look around you, and write what you see. The first thing which a man sees is, that men do not in general reason upon Politics. Their reason seems to exhaust itself upon other subjects.
Their best reasoned conclusions are often forced to give way to instincts and sentiments for which they have no rational account to give. Even so it is with reason and instinct in matters of religion. It is a paradox, but when we speak of things above ourselves, what is not paradox? Resolved into their elements, the mainspring both of rational religion and of rational politics seems to be the sentiment of dependence.
The effect traceable to this no other theory of life or of society will account for. The sum-total of rational metaphysics has been held to consist of but two propositions. But our dependence on what is outside us, is not limited to our contemporaries. It passes on from generation to generation: it binds us to the past and to Edition: current; Page: [  ] the future. Society, says Burke, in his grand Socratic exposure of the imbecile logic which confounded two meanings of one word, 1 is a partnership in all science, in all art, in every virtue, and in all perfection: a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.
There is, says a poet who had fed upon this sublime thought,. The fair mansion of civilisation which we enjoy was not built with our hands, and our hands must refrain from polluting it. Being mere life-tenants, we have no business to cut off the entail, or to commit waste on the inheritance. Millions as we may be, we stand as a small and insignificant band between the incalculable mass of those who have gone before us, and the infinite army of those who follow us, and are even now treading on our heels. Our relation to the great structure in which we are privileged to Edition: orig; Page: [ xli ] occupy a niche for a while, is as that of the worm and the mollusc to the mysterious and infinite totality of universal life.
We stand there as the undertakers of an awful trust. Like the torch-players in the stadium, it is our business to transmit the precious fire which we bear, unquenched and undimmed, to those who succeed us. It is an observation of Hume that one generation does not go off the stage at once, and another succeed, as is the case with silkworms and butterflies.
There is a perpetually Edition: current; Page: [  ] varying margin, into which the men of one age and those of that which succeed are blended. In this everlasting continuity, which secures that the human race shall never be wholly old or wholly new, lies the guarantee for the existence of civilisation. No break in this continuity is possible without the lapse of mankind into its primitive grossness.
Imagine for a moment such an intermission. The shortest blank would be enough to ensure the disappearance of every pillar, buttress, and vault, which helps to sustain the lofty and intricate structure of civilised society. We can hardly figure to ourselves the horrible drama of a new generation of utter savages succeeding to the ruins of all that we enjoy. Yet so soon as the work of moral and political education flags, this result is immediately hazarded. In the imagination of Burke, France was well on the highroad to this awful situation: to a solution of moral continuity as disastrous in its effects as a geological catastrophe.
All the facts of history prove that civilisation is destructible. It is an essence that is ever tending to evaporate: and though the appreciation of all that is precious in the world depends on the feeling of its perishability, it is seldom that this fact is realised.
We come to regard our social life as a perpetual and indestructible possession, destined, like the earth on which we move, to devolve, without any trouble or care on our part, upon our posterity. But the whole tenour of history is against us. The Greeks little dreamed of the day when their broken relics, once more understood, would repair a decayed world, and to those who come after us, things which to us are almost as valuable, and quite as little valued as the air we breathe, may be the Edition: orig; Page: [ xlii ] objects of curious conjecture, or of contemptuous neglect.
Regard our inheritance in its true light, as a precious thing that we should fear to lose, and we begin to estimate it at its true value. Regard our own title to it as a solemn trust for the benefit of our descendants, and we shall understand how foolishly and immorally we act in tampering with it. This conception of great intersecular duties devolving upon humanity, generation after generation, reflects on a large scale an instinct which has undoubtedly been strong in the English people.
The disposition rather to recur in thought upon the value of the social life and social character which we inherit, than to strain discontentedly for some imaginary ideal, has largely entered into the temperament of those races which have been chiefly instrumental in superinducing civilised society over the face of the earth. So says Burke, in effect, of the civilised life which the English race have now spread over the four quarters of the globe.
With the English race have universally gone the old English ideas on religion, on politics, and on education; America and the rest of the new world have taken them from us and are giving them a new and fruitful development. After the lapse of nearly a century, America and England still exhibit on the whole the highest political and social ideals. The English type, during the present century, has been more widely imitated than the Greek or the Roman at the height of their fame.
Our social ideas, poor as they may be by comparison with the creations of ingenious speculation, clearly have some very remarkable value of their own. One element of this value is that effect upon the individual which is attributed to them by Burke. They include a moral code which fits all times and seasons, all ranks and conditions of life; which hardens a man where it is good that he should be hardened, and softens him where it is good that he should be softened. The same may perhaps be said, in a less degree, of some moral codes of the ancient world; but it certainly cannot be said of those of modern paganism.
The lives of some of the best and most earnest of modern Englishmen may not be fairly comparable with that of Socrates; but we may justly boast of a standard far transcending that of Rousseau and of Goethe.
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A high standard of character cannot be independent of some corresponding standard of politics; and every name which keeps the name of England respected throughout the world, will be found, in a greater or less degree, to confirm that aspect of English character, private and public, which Burke puts forward. Burke is at his best when enlarging thus on the general philosophy of society: he breaks down when he proceeds to its application.
There are few topics in the present volume of which this is not true: and, as has been already noticed, it is conspicuously true of the opening argument on the British Constitution. Pitiful as it is to see the fine mind of Burke self-devoted to the drudgery of Tory casuistry, it is even more so to find his usually ready and generous sympathies, as the work advances, remorselessly denied to the cause of the French people. It was not for any liberal-minded Englishman, rich in the inheritance of constitutional wisdom and liberty, to greet the dawn of representative institutions in France with nothing but a burst of contempt and sarcasm.
Least of all was this attitude towards the National Assembly becoming to Burke. His opening address to the French politicians 1 is more than ungenerous: it is unjust. Burke then ceased to call the leaders of the Revolution fools, and declared them to be fiends. This herd of country clowns and pettifoggers, as he declares it to have been, certainly forms an effective contrast by the side of the British Parliament in the days of Pitt and Fox. We trace here the beginning of a secondary thread of sentiment which runs quite through the book.
A sense of triumphant hostility to the French as a nation had been produced by a century of international relations: and Burke could hardly avoid displaying it on the present occasion. His purpose was not merely to instruct the French nation, but to humiliate, if not to insult it. Englishmen had long looked on the French as a nation of slaves: he now strove to show that a nation of slaves could produce nothing worthy of the serious attention or sympathy of a nation of freemen.
Burke might have taken the opportunity of exhibiting that keen sympathy for freedom by which most of his political career, as he himself declares in a moment of compunction, 2 had been guided. He knew that France was peopled by a race as oppressed and down-trodden as Ireland or India. Was freedom to be the monopoly of England?
Had Burke no sympathy for any sufferings but those of royalty? Here we touch another point of some interest. That picturesque incident had inspired the jubilations of Dr. Price: 2 and Burke naturally invested it at once with the very opposite character. But his description was borrowed from prejudiced witnesses. The people still trusted the King, however much they may have distrusted the Queen: and there was nothing extraordinary in their insisting on the abandonment of Versailles.
Burke frankly admits that this gloomy foretaste of the change in the royal fortunes coloured his whole conception. Endowed with the imagination and sensibility of the poet, this melodramatic spectacle sank deeply into his mind; and the consciousness that it yet remained undenounced was too much for one ever swayed, as Burke was, by. He averred that in writing this famous passage tears actually dropped from his eyes, and wetted the paper.
It is likely enough. But it was in vain to beguile Burke from his chosen attitude. There was the tyranny of the despot, and the tyranny of the mob: and he declared that it was his business to denounce the one as well as the other. If the champion of Ireland and of India had to choose between the French people and the French queen, he would choose the latter: and he declared that history would confirm his decision. The Church question, which in different shapes has ever since the French Revolution vexed the whole Christian world, had been suddenly raised from the level of speculation to that of policy by the attempted reforms of Joseph in Austria.
It needed no great sagacity to foresee the impending storm, when the ancient principle of ecclesiastical establishments was repudiated in its very stronghold. Burke here carries to the extreme his principle of saying all that could be said in favour of whichever side of a doubtful question is most in need of support. But no logical mystification could avert the impending ruin: and Burke committed a mistake in parading before an English public arguments which were so little likely to impose upon it.
A cotton-mill, in the eyes of a French economical theorist, might be an institution as unproductive to the state as a Edition: current; Page: [  ] monastery: 1 but no Englishman could treat such an argument with respect. The French ecclesiastic might fairly claim as private property the estates on which his order had thriven unchallenged ever since France had been a nation: no reader of Selden could think the argument applicable to the Church of England.
There is not one in which lawfulness of the secularization of Church property has not by this time been practically admitted. Burke was the son of an Irish Catholic and an Irish Protestant. He was educated by a Quaker: and by trustworthy testimony 2 he valued no Christian sect above another, and believed in his heart that no one then existing represented Christianity in its normal or final shape.
Stoutly as he had opposed the famous Latitudinarian petition a few years before, Burke was in all religious matters liberal to a degree which trespassed on what would now be called rationalism. Burke is here an advocate and a rhetorician. Though an attitude of discursiveness and informality, admitting of striking and rapid change, is of the essence of his method, there are many isolated passages in which this is less apparent than usual, and these passages have historical value.
Armed with the twofold knowledge of history and of human nature, it was impossible for Burke not to hit the mark in many of his minor observations on the course of events in France. His description of the growth of the monied interest, of the hostility of the Paris literary cabal to the Church, and of the coalition of these two elements for its destruction, 1 stands forth as a bold and accurate outline of an actual process. His retrospect of the past glories of France 2 is no mere exercise in declamation: and his observations on the government of Louis XVI 3 prove that he had studied antecedent events perhaps as accurately as to an Englishman was possible.
Those observations are illustrated by the circumstances which attended the Revolutions of and No monarch has a harder part to play than a king of France. But few would now draw from the fact the conclusion which was drawn by Burke. Burke was equally correct in auguring an alteration in the internal balance of power in France from the changes introduced into the army. The substitution of a popular for a merely mercenary force has always been a measure necessary to secure great political reforms: and it leads, as Burke pointed out, to the ascendancy of popular generals.
There is nothing astonishing in this. Hayti asserted its right to a constitution and free trade: and as the colonists rose against the Government, the negroes rose on the colonists. Ten years later, and Burke might have written a telling conclusion to the tale which he sketched out: for when Republican France had defeated the whole of Europe, she was herself beaten by the despised negroes of the plantations.
Thirty years more, and the world rang with the alarm.
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It was by the aid of these secret organisations that Mexico and South America threw off the yoke of the Edition: current; Page: [  ] priesthood. We know the history of similar clubs in Spain, Italy, and Switzerland between and and the great power for attack provided by these means justifies the hostility with which the Catholic Church still regards all secret organisations.
He was right in supposing that revolutionised France would become the centre of a revolutionary propaganda, and that success would transform the representatives of French liberty into the tyrants of Europe. Burke knew well how often vanity and ambition become leading motives in national action. He rightly guessed that their appetite would not be satiated by mere internal successes, and that the conquest of France by its own ambitious citizens would be only the first Edition: orig; Page: [ l ] in a series of revolutionary triumphs.
Burke rightly judged that the spirits of the old despotism and of the new liberty were quite capable of coalescing. Under the Revolution and the Empire, France was as much a prey to the lust of empire as in the days of Louis the Fourteenth. The illusions of the days of the Grand Monarque have subsisted indeed down to our own times, not only undiminished, but vastly heightened by the events of the period which was just opening.
France has not increased in physical resources so fast as her neighbours: and her comparative weight in Europe has therefore been diminishing. In proportion as this fact has been made plain, the French people have resented it: and until very recently the mass of the people probably believed themselves to be a nation as powerful in the world for good or evil as in the days of the First Empire.
In England, the country of all the world, whatever else may be alleged against it, where illusions are fewest, this attitude on the part of her near neighbour has always been conspicuous. On the general question of the great political principle involved in the present volume the reader may safely take it for granted that it was neither true in itself nor natural to Burke, who was employing it merely for purposes of what he believed to be legitimate advocacy. The people, at that time, entered into their original rights; and it was not because a positive law authorized what was then done, but because the freedom and safety of the subject, the origin and cause of all laws, required a proceeding paramount and superior to them.
At that ever remarkable and instructive period, the letter of the law was suspended in favour of the substance of liberty. Those statutes have not given us our liberties; our liberties have produced them. Burke was always Conservative in his instincts: Edition: orig; Page: [ li ] but it is undeniable that he thought the present a legitimate occasion for shifting his ground. In characterising English political instinct and doctrine, it falls back on a vanishing past; it repudiates that which possessed life and growth.
Burke, in a higher degree than any other Englishman, transferred to his writings the force and vigour which Edition: current; Page: [  ] properly belong to speeches; and there is scarcely a single rhetorical device which may not be learned from his pages. Burke wrote as he talked, and as he spoke in the senate: we have here the man himself accurately reflected, with all his excellencies and all his imperfections. We cannot wonder at the keenness and profusion of the sentiments which they first generated and then forced out trumpet-tongued to the world.
Few books reflect more completely the picture of European thought as it existed a century ago. Nor is there any in which the literary expression of the age is better exemplified. Burke is careful to maintain a mode of expression which is untechnical. The performer had undergone hip surgery some years earlier, and was believed to have endured recurring discomfort while giving concerts.
Kornfeld's son had reportedly flown to Prince's compound to initiate the recovery process and was among those who found him dead. While Prince's state of health at the time of his death is unknown, attorney William Mauzy said the artist "was dealing with a grave medical emergency" when Kornfeld was called, as reported by The Minneapolis Star Tribune. Tributes to a profoundly unique artist poured in from fans across the globe, as evidenced by impromptu memorials and celebrations of his work.
With love especially hailing from the city where Prince was born and continued to live, thousands of mourners sang "Purple Rain" in downtown Minneapolis on the night of his death. The following month, his first posthumous song, "Moonbeam Levels," was released. On April 19, , Carver County concluded its two-year investigation with the announcement that no criminal charges would be filed in Prince's death. Prince became interested in music at a young age and taught himself how to play the piano, guitar and drums.
He eventually ran away and moved in with neighbors, the Anderson family. In , Prince was signed to Warner Bros. In a interview with Tavis Smiley, Prince revealed that when he was a child, he suffered from epileptic seizures and that he was teased in school. He told Smiley, "Early in my career I tried to compensate by being as flashy and as noisy as I could.
In , Prince dropped his debut album, For You , which was followed by Prince He played practically all of the instruments on the albums, and the sophomore release contained his first Top 20 pop hit, the easygoing "I Wanna Be Your Lover. Controversy continued playing with the themes of its predecessor, as seen with the dance-oriented title track, which reached No.
The singer found international success with the release of his album, , which included the Top 20 title track, an exquisite synth-funk ode about nuclear doomsday, as well as the Top 10 hits "Little Red Corvette" and "Delirious. Its melancholy title track reached No. While "Crazy" readily joined the pantheon of wild, electrifying rock songs, "Doves Cry" had one-of-a-kind signatures, displaying an otherworldly meld of electronic and funk elements without a traditional chorus.
After senator Al Gore 's wife Tipper Gore bought the album for their daughter and listened to the track, she eventually pushed for albums to sport labels that warned parents of graphic lyrics. Sign was easily among Prince's most critically acclaimed albums, yet its sales lagged in the U. Batman offered up the No. Prince's work with the NPG continued to unashamedly toy with ideas around sexuality, gender norms and the body.
Provocative performances aside, Prince had well established himself as an in-demand collaborator and behind-the-scenes player whose songs were remade by other artists. Over the ensuing years, the singer's career went through a roller coaster of ups and downs. During that time, he was more frequently referred to as "the artist formerly known as Prince," and his new symbol was not embraced by most fans. He also started making appearances with the word "SLAVE" drawn on the side of his face, meant to convey the great disdain he had for his label.
Once he was released from all contractual obligations to Warner Bros. That spring, he released Musicology with a tour that became the top concert draw in the United States. His next album, , was released in In he performed during the Super Bowl XLI halftime show on a massive stage shaped as his famous symbol amid pouring rain. The event was watched by million fans. He not only was lauded by Billboard. With the advent of the internet as the primary force for distributing music, Prince was against the trend of having songs shared at will on the web.
He railed against the idea of providing his songs to online music platforms without proper upfront compensation and profit sharing, with his tracks eventually only found on the Jay-Z backed streaming service Tidal. One of the few pop artists to have full ownership of his masters, he was diligent via Web Sheriff in erasing examples of his music, including videos and live performances, from the internet.
He was thus behind the Lenz v.