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and atrocious measures by which it was proposed to crush their resistance, viz., to execute the leaders for high treason. The rebellion may be characterized as having first originated in the blind greediness of the English merchants, and as having then been precipitated by the arbitrary ideas of the patricians in the first instance, and afterwards of the King and the least educated of the common people.” The Ministry of the day were determined to enforce the right of taxation without allowing the colonies to have any voice in the matter. They were backed up by the nation, spoiled by power, and glutted with prosperity. Burke tore in pieces the flimsy sophistry of the right of the mother country to tax.
"The question with me is, not whether you have a right to render your people miserable, but whether it is not your interest to make them happy?" Then, turning to the people who cheered on the Ministry, he says :-" I know, and have long felt, the difficulty of reconciling the unwieldy haughtiness of a great ruling nation, habituated to command, pampered by enormous wealth, and confident, from a long course of prosperity and victory, to the high spirit of free dependencies, animated with the first glow and activity of juvenile heat, and assuming to themselves, as their birthright, some part of that very pride which oppresses them."
And so it was reserved for the son of an Irish attorney to vindicate in that hostile House of Commons the eternal principles of right above might, and of liberty above legalised oppression. But his vindication was unheeded; the voice of pride and passion drowned the voice of reason and justice. The Ministry was obstinate—the Colonists became rebels.3
" It was urged that the dignity of the nation would be compromised by yielding to the demands of the Colonists. -See Burke's rejoinder, Extracts from Speeches, PP; 33-37 (Duffy).
American Colonies and Taxation.—“ Again, and again, revert to your old principles. Seek peace and pursue it. Leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax herself. I am not here going into the distinction of rights, nor attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these metaphysical distinctions. I hate the very sound of them. Be content to bind America by laws of trade; you have always done it. Let this be your reason for binding their trade. Do not burden them by taxes. You were not used to do so from the beginning: Let this be your reason for not taxing. These are the arguments of states and kingdoms. Leave the rest to the schools; for there only they may be discussed with safety. But if intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and poison the very source of government, by urging subtle distinctions and consequences odious to those you govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sovereignty, you will teach them, by these means, to call that sovereignty itself into question. When you drive him hard, the boar will surely turn upon the hunters. If that sovereignty and their freedom cannot be reconciled, which will they take? They will cast your sovereignty in your face. Nobody will be argued into slavery.”—(Éxtract from Burke's Speech, vol. i., pp. 57, 65).
3 Furke, writing to his friend, Richard Shackleton, in 1776, says of the American war, then raging :-“We are deeply in blood. God knows how it will be. I 1 Fox hailed the French Revolution with acclamation. He denounced privately and publicly the “Reflections on the French Revolution." Sir James Mackintosh wrote against that work—so did Thomas Paine, in a powerful style, like that of Swift, for directness of statement and homeliness of expression. Fox and Sheridan spoke in the House of Commons in favour of the French Revolution.
“When rebellion prospers, 'tis no longer treason.” All the world knows the rest, and if we be asleep or unmindful, the Geneva award of £3,100,000 paid by free England to free America might serve to show us, as a little specimen, what England lost by the disruption of her American colonies, because she was too haughty to profit by the wisdom of Burke.
“Rebellion ! foul, dishonoring word,
Whose wrongful blight so oft has stain'd
Of mortal ever lost or gain'd-
Has sunk beneath that withering name,
Had wasted to eternal fame !
And turn to sun-bright glories there."-Lalla Rookh. The next great question that forced itself on the astonished gaze of bewildered Europe was the French Revolution of 1789. As the action of Burke in the American contest was founded upon a love of rational liberty—a sympathy with those struggling for freedom-so in the war declared by the French Revolutionists, Burke vehemently opposed them, because, with the foresight of political genius, he saw 'twas not liberty, but licence-not freedom, well-ordered and enlightened, but heartless all-levelling despotism that was sought by the unprincipled leaders in that stormy struggle. “I flatter myself," he truly observed, "that I love a manly. moral, regulated liberty—the liberty, the only liberty I mean, is a liberty connected with order."; do not know how to wish success to those whose victory is to separate from us a large and noble part of our empire. Still less do I wish success to injustice, oppression. and absurdity. Things are in a bad train, and in more ways than one. No good can come of any event in this war to any virtuous interest. We have forgot or thrown away all our ancient principles. This view sometimes sinks my spirits.”—Leadbeater Papers, vol. ii., p. 126.
Therefore, he was not one of those many Whigs who, in the House of Commons, welcomed the uprising as the dawn of a new era of political and social happiness for the human race! For several years Burke had worked with the Whigs, because they represented progress-now he cut himself adrift from them, because his wisdom foreshadowed the awful crimes to which unbridled passions lead. He foretold that the Revolutionists would deluge Paris with innocent blood. We have lately had a new theory about the causes of the great Revolution broached by Judge Keogh in Galway. Let us examine it for a moment or two, and we shall see that it is in keeping with some other historical pronouncements of that learned ornament of the Irish bench.
I quote from the official report, p. 14:
“ Talk of the parrot cry of 'Revolutionists ;' talk of religion being lost if the influence of the priest is interfered with ; talk of the French Revolution having led to its unmentionable horrors, because they neglected the advice of the priests ! That is not historically true. .. There were profligate priests ; there were profligatecurés; there were profligate abbés; aye, and there were profligate bishops." Therefore, the Judge insinuates, the horrors came because of this profligacy of the ministers of the religion to which Judge Keogh does the honour to belong
I suppose many here have read Edmund Burke's "Reflections on the French Revolution,” published in 1790. It is a production of splendid genius, characterised by profound thought, far-seeing wisdom, and wondrous power of language.
When Burke wrote it, the French clergy were plundered, persecuted, driven into exile-many of them murdered. The murderers and robbers justified their conduct towards them in the very terms used by Mr. Justice Keogh. Burke Sheridan charged Burke" as a deserter from his former principles, as an assailant of the basis of freedom itself, as the advocate and apologist of despotism, and the libeller of men struggling in the most glorious of all causes. The reply to these unmeasured terms was calm but decided. Such terms,” Mr. Burke said, “might have been spared. if for nothing more than as a sacrifice to the ghost of departed friendship ; they were but a repetition of what was said by the reforming clubs and societies with which the honourable gentleman had lately become entangled, and for whose applause he had chosen to sacrifice bis friend ; though he might in time find that it was not worth the price at which it was purchased. Henceforward,” he added, "they were separated in politics for ever.” — Prior's Life of Burke, p. 358.
1“Behold,” says Taine, in his History of English Literature, “what Burke wrote in 1790, at the dawning of the French Revolution :--France will be governed by the agitators in corporations, by societies in the towns formed of directors of assignats
attorneys, money-jobbers, speculators, and adventurers, composing an ignoble oligarchy founded on the destruction of the Crown, the Church, the nobility, and the people.'” Every word of this solemn warning was verified with terrific results. - Histoire de la Litterature Anglaise. Tome iii., p. 104.
examined those sweeping charges personally, and on the soil of France. I give his opinions at some length :
“When my occasions took me into France, towards the close of the late reign, the clergy under all their forms engaged a considerable part of my curiosity. So far from finding (except from one set of men, not then very numerous, but very active) the complaints and discontents against that body, which some publications had given me reason to expect, I perceived little or no public or private uneasiness on their account. On further examination, I found the clergy in general persons of moderate minds and decorous manners. I include the seculars and the regulars of both sexes. I had not the good fortune to know a great many of the parochial clergy, but in general I received a perfectly good account of their morals, and of their attention to their duties.
With some of the higher clergy I had a personal acquaintance, and of the rest in that class very good means of information. They were, almost all of them, persons
of noble birth. They resembled others of their own rank, and where there was any difference, it was in their favour. They were more fully educated than the military noblesse, so as by no means to disgrace their profession by ignorance, or by want of fitness for the exercise of their authority. They seemed
me beyond the clerical character, liberal and open, with the hearts of gentlemen and men of honour, neither insolent nor servile in their inanners and conduct. They seemed to me rather a superior class ; a set of men amongst whom you would not be surprised to find a Fenelon. I saw among the clergy in Paris (many of the description are not to be met with anywhere) men of great learning and candour, and I had reason to believe that this description was not confined to Paris. What I found in other places I know was accidental, and therefore to be presumed a fair sample. I spent a few days in a provincial town, where, in the absence of the bishop, I passed my evenings with three clergymen, his vicars-general, persons who would have done honour to any church. They were all well-informed ; two of them of deep, general, and extensive erudition, ancient and modern, oriental and western, particularly in their own profession. They had a more extensive knowledge of our English divines than I expected, and they entered into the genius of those writers with a critical accuracy. One of these gentlemen is since dead, the Abbé Morangis. I pay this tribute without reluctance to the memory of that noble, reverend, learned, and excellent person; and I should do the same, with equal cheerfulness, to the merits of the others, who I believe are still living, if I did not fear to hurt those whom I am unable to serve.
“Some of these ecclesiastics of rank are, by all titles, persons deserving of general respect. They are deserving of gratittde from me, and from many English. If this letter should ever come into their hands, I hope they will believe there are those of our nation who feel for their unmerited fall, and for the cruel confiscation of their fortunes, with no common sensibility. What I say of them is a testimony, as far as one feeble voice can go, which I owe to truth. Whenever the question of this unnatural persecution is concerned, I will pay it. No one shall prevent me from being just and grateful. The time is fitted for the duty; and it is particularly becoming to show our justice and gratitude when those who have deserved well of us and of mankind are labouring under popular obloquy and the persecutions of oppressive power.”1
And upon this authority of Edmund Burke, the highminded Protestant, we dismiss the Galway Judgment on the French clergy. That tribute of Burke constitutes another claim upon our admiration and reverence for his unsullied memory
Burke and Warren Hastings.—It is impossible, in any outline of Burke's career and character, to omit his Indian policy; that the cause of people at our doors, like the
1 From Mr. Justice Keogh's ironical exclamation—" Talk of the parrot-cry of revolutionists," he seems to admire and adopt as a model the career of these worthies. It is interesting to observe in what way Burke regarded those wretches whose cause Mr. Keogh has made his own. En passant, we should like to ask is the solemn denunciation by Burke of their villany to be regarded as a "parrotcry?" Burke writes :- "Our present danger from the example of a people, whose character knows no medium, is, with regard to government, a danger from anarchy --a danger of being led, through an admiration of successtul fraud and violence, and an imitation of the excesses of an irrational, unprincipled, proscribing, confiscating, plundering, ferocious, bloody, and tyrannical democracy. On the side of religion the danger of their example is no longer from intolerance, but from atheism, a foul unnatural vice, foe to all the dignity and consolation of mankind. which seems in France, for a long time, to have been embodied into a faction, accredited and almost avowed
In all that we do, whether in the struggle or after it, it is necessary that we should have constantly in our eye the nature and character of the enemy we have to contend with. The Jacobin Revolution is carried on by men of no rank, of no consideration, of wild, savage minds, full of levity, arrogance, and presumption, without morals, without probity, without prudence. What have they, then, to supply their innumerable defects, and to make them terrible even to the firmest minds? One thing, and one thing only; but that one thing is worth a thousand-they have energy. In France all things being put into an universal ferment, in the decomposition of society, no man comes forward but by his spirit of enterprise, and the vigour of his mind. If we meet this dreadful and portentous energy, restrained by no consideration of God or man, that is always vigilant, always on the attack, that allows itself ny repose and suffers none to rest an hour with impunity-if we meet this energy with poor commonplace proceeding, with trivial maxims, paltry old saws, with doubts, fears, and suspicions, with a languid, uncertain hesitation, with a formal official spirit which is turned a side by every obstacle from its purpose, and which never sees a difficulty but to yield to it, or, at best, to evade it, down we go to the bottom of tie abyss.'