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seriously complicated, and confusion and trouble would inevitably follow.
Therefore, I would say in conclusion, let our demand for the closing of our surplus stock of public-houses be clamant and insistent, for I think we may regard it as by far the most important item in our external policy. Let us also continue to press for the other legal enactments already listed on our programme, and referred to by our Reverend President in his opening address.1
Let the watchword of our internal policy be organize and educate, above all organize and educate the young, till and cultivate with zealous and persistent care the virgin soul of the nation. I for one hold fast to this faiththat, if on the one hand we could permanently close the doors of eight thousand of our beer-shops, and if on the other we organized and educated the children of our land in a fashion and measure quite within the limits of our power-we may fairly hope, with the blessing of Heaven, and through the intercession of Our Lady and of the Irish saints, in due time to get a salutary stranglehold on the pernicious drink evil, which militates so mightily against the glory of God and the well-being and honour of Erin.
1 These reforms are (1) extension of Sunday closing to the five exempted cities; (2) abolition of the bona fide traveller scandal by total prohibition of the sale of intoxicants on Sunday and Holyday; (3) permanent prohibition of the creation of new licenses; and (4) automatic endorsement of convictions on licenses combined with the right of appeal from dismissals.
BY JOSEPH J. MACSWEENEY, M.A.
THE trial of Warren Hastings occupied Burke down to almost the close of his life. He had been for long a close observer of Indian affairs, and he was led to believe that Hastings was culpable of all the high crimes and misdemeanours with which he indicted him at the famous trial. He sprang tiger-like upon the late governor, as the embodiment of all the evil that scourged the unhappy land, forgetting that Hastings inherited a system which engendered anarchy, and to which he, in some measure, fell, in his own person, as a victim. The historic Hastings is somewhat different from the Hastings of Burke and Lord Macaulay, but the acquittal of the Indian governor (in whole or in part) by no means indicts his accuser. So ne, indeed, have sought to find in the vehement opposition of Burke to the Indian governor a personal antagonism. It is the last of reasons: Burke aimed not at a personal triumph but to end a bad system of oppression, and as Macaulay finely said, 'Oppression in Bengal was to hin the same thing as oppression in the streets of London.'
What really lay at the root of the trouble in India was that the Company had all the powers of government without its responsibility, and that at home the public conscience was not awakened to the true state of affairs. People thought of India as a land almost of romance, and Parliament treated of its affairs in their relation to party tactics, rather than as serious imperial concerns. It nust be remembered that neither Pitt nor Grenville replied to the Speech on the Nabob of Arcot's Debts, and that Parliament would never have proceeded with the impeach nent of Hastings were it not that Burke's persistence won at last Pitt's tardy consent. The charges were formulated against Hastings in 1786, and two years later Burke opened the case for the prosecution, with a speech the power of
which is adequately testified to by Frances Burney in a memorable passage of her diary. But if the main facts of the trial, by reason of their familiarity, hardly need recounting, it must be remarked that, though in 1795 Hastings was acquitted, Burke had won a victory. He laid an old and evil system in its grave, and established the principles which should guide Europeans when governing native races. But the moral attitude so enunciated is capable of development, and Burke's theories were obviously in advance of the ethics of the time. Yet we cannot even now boast a final solution to this ethnological problem. Far from it: a distinguished folk-lorist wrote, not indeed a long time ago, the following significant words :
The forces of civilized society, at present, are destroying on all sides, not saving that which is precious in primitive people. Civilized society supposes that man, in an early degree of development, should be stripped of all that he owns, both material and mental, and then be refashioned to serve the society that stripped him. If he will not yield to the stripping and training then slay him.
The years Burke gave to the impeachment were years given to what he believed to be a genuine defence of the oppressed, and later, when his pension was attacked, he wrote:
If I were to call for a reward (which I have never done) it should be for those (labours) in which, for fourteen years, without intermission, I showed the most industry and had least success: I mean the affairs of India. They are those on which I value myself most, most for the importance, most for the labour, most for the judgment, most for the constancy and perseverance in the pursuit. Others may value them most for the intention. In that surely they are not mistaken.
The trial had thus occupied many of the most valuable years of his life, but between its opening and close much had happened. In 1788 the King had again become insane, and the influence of Carlton House was once more invoked to place the Whigs in power. Fox, however, did not invite Burke to consultation in forming the abortive Cabinet and, stranger still, he was not thought acceptable as a possible Chancellor of the Exchequer. Once more he was to be given the subordinate post of Paymaster, a place not equal to his talents and the services he had rendered to his party. Conjecture has been fruitful in giving reasons for his exclusion from high Cabinet rank.1 Perhaps it was
1 Gladstone in the Nineteenth Century, June, 1896, p. 1041, in an article on Sheridan, gave his views on this subject and also a traditional interpretation of it as derived from Lord Lansdowne.
due to the exclusiveness of the Whig oligarchs, perhaps to defects in his own character. He had been intemperate in his speeches on the Regency Bill, he had irritated his friends in conversation, he had lacked, at times, sufficient self-control, and even once told the Commons that he 'could teach a pack of hounds to yelp with greater melody and more comprehension.' Add to this, the social disabilities he suffered from his own household and his own finance, the hunt of obloquy that pursued him through life, and the fact that, as Windham said, 'half the kingdom considered him little better than an ingenious madman,' and some reasons may not unnaturally be discerned for his exclusion from high office. But though such facts be taken into account, it must be conceded that Fox, whose gambling propensities were well known, was the last man who should have pointed a condemning finger at the brilliant statesman, who lacked the smooth placidness of mediocrity, and whose defects and errors were derived for the most part from an excess of virtue.
But the Whigs did not return to power, and an event happened which raised Burke higher than Cabinet rankthe fall of the Bastille and its sequel.
A review in the Athenæum (December, 1918), entitled 'England and the French Revolution,' naturally involved Burke's attitude towards the revolt. The French Revolution was not an event that merely shook the foundations of thrones, but altered the attitude of mankind towards the idea of government. Being, therefore, an occurrence which bears upon the structure of society, it is also an event for all time. What the reviewer in the Athenæum has, therefore, to say, in regard to Burke's attitude towards the revolt, is of importance :-
Burke is a bad guide to the Revolution, which he never understood. But in his saner moments he had the supreme merit of realizing that it was something tremendous and unprecedented, and that it was not the blind and bloody band of sans-culottists,' but an armed theory.' He was in agonies of horror and indignation, because he knew that after 1789 the world could never be the same again.
This quotation reflects, it seems to me, an attitude of mind towards Burke which is not uncommon. Burke is regarded by some, in relation to the French Revolution,
as an obscurantist of a political kind. His critics consists of two types, those who praise the Speech on Conciliation with America, and disparage his Reflections on the French Revolution, and those who disparage the Speech on Conciliation with America and praise without reserve the Reflections on the French Revolution. It is well, therefore, to understand what exactly is the merit of the Reflections.
The French Revolution has many aspects, and Burke's work probes the basis of the revolt on one side, at least. It is not, as sometimes conceived, a florid and picturesque attempt to idealize the ancien régime, but a real attempt at the solution of some basic principles involved in the event. If, at times, he appears more oratorical than scientifically inquisitive, it is because he wished that action might be taken against those who desired to spread the philosophical tenets of the Revolution. He brought to the consideration of the Revolution a mind accustomed to watch the course of great events that mould human destinies, and having observed the movement closely, and having perceived its trend, he brought a great part of the nation to think about it as he thought. His Reflections might be said to have tuned the reaction up to concert pitch, and, if I may be permitted to juggle with words, the Concert of Europe was not at all unwilling to respond. 'Burke had,' as the reviewer in the Athenæum wrote, supplied the reaction with a body of philosophical doctrines, which were none the less powerful, because it is extremely improbable that they were understood by ninetenths of those who applauded them.'
Despite, however, ignorant applause, Burke's attitude had an intellectual basis. He had a high regard for prescriptive right, and hence for the rights of vested interests and property. He could not brook to see the religious superseded in its lawful domain by the secular idea. What he most feared was the type of mind possessed by those who desired reform, and wished to see it achieved precipitately and in their own day; the type of mind that always opposes authority, because it presses forward truth and measures at inopportune times. What, as a consequence, roused his ire was not so much the Revolution itself, as its philosophy, which seemed to him to oppose an ordered liberty and the existence of religion.
His work was, in a sense, prophetic; it foretold the