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Empire, for in discussing the future of the army and the evil of a fluctuating authority, he wrote:

In the weakness of one kind of authority, and in the fluctuation of all, the officers of an army will remain for some time mutinous and full of faction, until some popular general, who understands the art of command, shall draw the eyes of all men upon himself. Armies will obey him on his personal account. There is no other way of securing military obedience in this state of things. But the moment in which that event shall happen the person who really commands the army is your master; the master (that is little) of your king, the master of your assembly, the master of your republic.

Besides being prophetic, the work founded conservatism, not on social prejudice, but on a reasoned intellectual basis. It gave Louis XVI a tongue; but Louis XVI did not avail himself of it to become a constitutional monarch the civil constitution of the clergy, and the flight to Varennes made that impossible; and, by a strange irony of fate, the levelling and centralizing process of the Revolution prepared the way for a new absolutism. Political theorizing applied to the body politic availed more than the methods of Louis Quatorze.

The main defect in Burke's work was that in defending historic institutions he ignored their defects and their victims. It was vain to ask a mob seeking for bread to consider their life in the light of a greater justice than is here. The time was one not for investigating causes, or preaching a philosophic calm, but for applying remedies. Burke's weakness lay chiefly in considering a practical issue in the light of a conservatism inspired by political mysticism. But in a greater sense his work was practical, and exhibited only a superficial want of consistency with the writings on Warren Hastings and the speeches and works on the American Colonies. A principle of high importance underlay his attitude to all these three events, namely, that circumstance is a discriminant in determining the evil or good of a measure without regarding it abstractly as either right or wrong. What he really was concerned with was the question of law and order-peace, tranquillity. Why trouble if peace reigned-why probe the foundations when the house is safe, and the people all sleeping soundly? He threw his influence as a consequence on the side of the law and order man, even though he were a dullard, rather than on the side of the intellectual who was a revolutionary; and he did not feel the exultation of the young

poet (later to become an opponent of the first Reform Bill) who saw in the changing state of affairs a new dawn. Burke suspected intellectual unrest, particularly in the form of a cheap radicalism, and he saw in the aristocracy a guarantee for social stability and continuity. The foxhunting of Lord John Cavendish, together with the ancient reserve and simplicity of manner that distinguished, or was supposed to distinguish, his kind, were preferable to the development of the type of mind that seeks in the town the increased activities of modern life, and for which culture, race, tradition, have but little significance. It was thus that Burke's opposition to the revolutionary philosophy, derived from his conservatism, and the intellectual aspect of Jacobinism became to him abhorrent. 'Nothing, he wrote in a memorable passage, 'nothing can be conceived more hard than the heart of a thoroughbred metaphysician.' It is the expression in prose of the repugnance felt by Wordsworth, in his later conservative years :

Philosopher! a fingering slave,

One that would peep and botanize
Upon his mother's grave.

But, though his philosophy was tinctured with political mysticism, he was a conservative in touch with actual life. He was the agent of conservatism and not its embodiment; its reserve, its detachment, and its unhasting course were not wholly his; he was only in a sense a reactionary against action. In the domain of political thought his work bears vastly upon problems as yet unsolved.

The Reflections focus for us an intellectual strife, and the struggle between the two forces with which it dealt has continued, for it is the same movement that, encouraging individualistic rationalism in the past, tends to seek an end in internationalizing finance, politics, culture. But local and patriotic attachment to the native soil seems to have engendered a reaction. A French poet has even said somewhat triumphantly :


Elle est la terre en nous malgré nous incarnée

Par l'immémorial et sevère hyménée

D'une race et d'un champ qui se sont faits tous deux.1

1 Quoted by J. Texte in a similar sense as regards comparative literaLamartine wrote in 1841 verses which express a tendency in literature

Such natural forces tend to breed-by, as it were, a device of nature-a type which acts through sentiment and instinct, and in which the resultant of such forces engenders a conservatism that makes it guard the homeland. It is when this instinct fails to act successfully that there is a tendency towards the democratization of national institutions, and that there is a bias set in the direction of internationalism. But even an international aspect tends to cause reaction, for it is when one cultivates a comparative aspect in any domain that the sense for what is local becomes most acute. The idea of cultural autonomy has, for instance, become precious because the comparative sense has made it so. But if, in the natural order of things, finance, politics, culture, tend to internationalize, if this local sense is only a temporary recrudescence of a departing phase, a temporary winding back of the river of progress upon itself, then a main function of conservatism must be to act as a brake upon the evolutionary wheel. But should it try to stop the course of nature, its forces may be for a time pent up, but they will assuredly burst forth again in a cruel flood. The French Revolution was a ganglion in the political nervous system of Europe, the recurrence of which depends largely on how we reconcile our homing instincts with a broader world humanity.

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Burke's opposition to the French Revolution led to his breach with Fox; a breach which culminated in his intemperate speech on the Canada Bill of 1792. But in the split among the Whigs that ensued, the public were as yet unprepared to follow him in his vehement denunciation of what he once termed the cannibal philosophy of France.' In his Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs he tried to vindicate himself against the charge of inconsistency made that is greatly opposed to the local national note of the lines quoted above (p. 304) :

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by Fox. Vituperation, excessive abuse, ill-considered statements, marred this anti-revolutionary pamphlet, which otherwise contained a skilful defence of prescriptive rights, and of government-' a power out of themselves by which the will of individuals may be controlled.' It would seem indeed that Burke's previous intellectual opposition to the Revolution was developing into mere unreasoning prejudice, and the letter he wrote in 1791 to a member of the National Assembly would have wrecked any reputation but his. Reason therein gave way to passion, and a stately indictment to an abusive intellectual Billingsgate. Though in the Thoughts on French Affairs he seemed to have retained a proper balance of judgment, yet his opposition went so far as to call for war. He found Pitt and Grenville obdurate, but the tide of events was with him: the flight to Varennes, the invasion of the Netherlands, the Prussian and Austrian coalition to aid the Bourbon, and the identification, as a consequence, for the first time, of Republicanism with French patriotism in defence of the native soil. The change was kaleidoscopic, and when finally the head of a king was thrown down in challenge, all England stood for war. The scene in the House when, in denouncing the Revolution, he cast a dagger on the floor, had almost brought him into ridicule; the last happening in France made the dagger a symbol.

A war coalition was formed, and Windham voiced in the Cabinet the opinions of Burke. The latter desired to conduct the war as a crusade, but Pitt only regarded it as an opportunity to further colonial expansion. Burke's one difficulty was to ward off the danger of an imminent peace, and any compromise being arrived at with the regicides. To this end all his efforts were bent, and he kept in touch, through the medium of his son, with the emigrant nobles at Coblenz. His attitude towards events in Europe increased his power and fame, and Pitt, with extreme astuteness, was led to propose a peerage for him. His influence with the Portland Whigs counted for much in Pitt's taking this course of action, but the proposal to bestow the title of Earl of Beaconsfield on Burke fell through with the death of his only son, Richard. A pension was substituted for the peerage; but, just as he had not received his first preferment unassailed, neither did he receive this last gift unquestioned. The Duke of Bedford was, however, the last who should have attacked the gifts of the crown. The house of Russell had inherited its great

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wealth from the dubious patronage of Henry VIII, and Burke used the circumstance as a weapon of defence. The Duke charged him with acting inconsistently with his scheme of economical reform. Economy,' wrote Burke ' is a distributive virtue, and consists not in saving, but in selection. . . . Had the economy of selection and proportion been at all times observed, we should not now have had an overgrown Duke of Bedford, to oppress the industry of humble men, and to limit, by the standard of his own conceptions, the justice, the bounty, or, if he pleases, the charity of the Crown.'

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In the Letters on a Regicide Peace, and not in the Thoughts and Details on Scarcity, is to be found the final phase of his mind. They were his last effort against the French Revolution and its consequences, and have been praised and blamed mainly on a dubious reading of history. What they lack most in insight is, that in them Burke failed to give evidence that he perceived that he had no longer to deal with the former spirit of the Revolution, but with a government settling down to a somewhat ordered and progressive state, and reviving some of the old ambitions of France. Ever since the Convention, afraid of the growing Royalist reaction, stifled electoral freedom with the aid of the military genius of Bonaparte, in the Rue Honoré, that reaction had grown in power. The question was, therefore, not to urge on the dogs of war, but to await the psychological moment for the opening of peace negotiations. The imminence of a Royalist reaction was apparent, and a Restoration would have been better secured by a peace which, preventing the coup d'etat of Fructidor, 1797, would have possibly placed, by constitutional means, Louis XVIII on the throne. It is vain, therefore, that one tries to close one's eyes to the fact that perhaps these letters were among the whips that drove Europe through the relentless campaign that ended at Waterloo.

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In 1797, before the third Letter on a Regicide Peace appeared, when clouds were gathering over Europe, and a long agony was at hand, George Canning wrote to Ellis, a member of Malmesbury's abortive peace embassy: There is but one event, but that is an event for the worldBurke is dead. . . . He is the man that will mark this age, marked as it is in itself, by events, to all time.' JOSEPH J. MACSWEENEY.

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