Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents and the Two Speeches on America

Burke, Edmund
(1729-1797)
BIO
Display paragraphs in this book containing:
Editor/Trans.
E. J. Payne, ed.
First Pub. Date
1770
Publisher/Edition
Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, Inc.
Pub. Date
1990
Comments
Foreword and notes by Francis Canavan.

1. Edmund Burke: A Bibliography of Secondary Studies to 1982 (New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1983), no. 916.

2. Second Supplement (1912), 3:85.

3. Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe, in Miscellaneous Writings, the companion volume to Select Works of Edmund Burke (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999), p. 202.

4. Greek Political Theory: Plato and His Predecessors (New York: Barnes and Noble, 4th ed., 1951), p. 75.

5. The Parliamentary History of England (London: Hansard, 1806-1820), 29:365-66.

6. Ibid., 22:230.

7. First Letter on a Regicide Peace, in Select Works of Edmund Burke, vol. 3 (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999), p. 127.

8. Political Thought in England from Locke to Bentham (London: Thornton Butterworth, 1920), pp. 15, 26, 172.

Vol. 1, Biographical Note by Francis Canavan

9. P. 7 below.

Vol. 1, Introduction by E. J. Payne
All Notes below written by Payne.

10. Hazlitt.

11. The coalition should be judged, not by the better standard of political morality which dates its prevalence from the younger Pitt, but by that of the early part of the century, to which it properly belongs. The fruits of a long and honourable opposition were far more prodigally cast away, by the selfishness of a few, on the occasion of the fall of Walpole, and that by the hands of such men as Pulteney and Carteret.

12. See the remark on Lord Chatham, post, p. 63. Burke, in a letter to a private friend, calls Lord Shelburne, who was Chatham's lieutenant and the link between the elder and the younger Pitt, "weak, wicked, stupid, false, and hypocritical," in one breath, and exults at having at length "demolished" and "destroyed" him. Time has placed things in another light. Chatham and Shelburne founded the modern school of independent statesmen.

13. Volito vivu' per ora virom.

14. Burke's father was a Protestant and his mother a Catholic. The girls of the family were brought up in the faith of the mother, the boys in that of the father. Mrs. Burke was born in a family similarly circumstanced.

15. "1793 and 1853," Works, vol. i.

16. Hazlitt says with great truth, that those who looked upon him as a man of disordered intellect, did so "because he reasoned in a style to which they had not been used, and which confounded their dim perceptions."

17. From the Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs, written to vindicate himself from this charge.

18. Contained in vol. ii. of these Select Works.

19. Littleton.

20. Oldham, Second Satire on the Jesuits:

    Think Tories loyal, or Scotch Covenanters;
    Robbed tigers gentle; courteous, fasting bears.

21. A friendly critic has called this (which is borrowed from Hallam) a "hard saying." What can be more of the essence of Whiggism than the fundamental doctrine of the pamphlet that the title of Kinds merely descends, and is not in any way strengthened by its descent?

22. Boswell, Life of Johnson, p. 509, ed. Croker.

23. Speech on the Jews' Naturalization Bill, 1750. Eloquence of the British Senate, i. 521. Lord Egmont published in 1742 a capital pamphlet called "Faction Detected." On his character and abilities see Walpole's Memoirs of George III, vol. i.

24. p. 76.

25. Ibid.

26. p. 99.

27. p. 101.

28. p. 105.

29. Hazlitt borrows his argument from Bishop Taylor's Discourse on Friendship.

30. Eloquence of the British Senate, vol. ii. The student is also recommended to the Section on the "Use and Abuse of General Principles in Politics," in Dugald Stewart's Philosophy of the Human Mind, Part i. ch. iv.

31. A. H. Müller, Verm. Schr. Th. i.

32. It can be read in the German translation, "Conservatismus und Reform, eine Abhandlung über E. Burke's Politik," Utrecht, 1852.

33. Variously termed Greek, Greek, or Greek.

34. Notes for Speech on the Amendment on the Address, Nov. 30, 1774.

35. See the chapters in Mr. Morley's "Edmund Burke, A Historical Study."

36. See note to p. 116, l. 34, inf.

37. Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs.

38. Page 89, l. 26.

39. Edinburgh Review, vol. xlviii. p. 519.

40. "Il ne faut pas tout corriger." So Erasmus: "Scio quidvis esse ferendum potius quam ut publicus orbis status turbetur in pejus."

41. Liv. ii. c. 2

42. Ed. Croker, p. 336.

43. See his letter to Murphy, upon his Translation of Tacitus.

44. See, for instance, the Letter to W. Elliott, Esq., 1795. "There may be sometimes too much even of a good thing. A toast is good, and a bumper is not bad; but the best toast may be so often repeated as to disgust the palate; and ceaseless rounds of bumpers may nauseate and overload the stomach. The ears of the most steady-voting politicians may at last be stunned with 'Three times three.' ";

45. "Is erit eloquens," says Cicero, "qui poterit parva summisse, modica temperate, magna graviter dicere. ... Qui ad id, quodcunque decebit, poterit accommodare orationem. Quod quum statuerit, tum, ut quidque erit dicendum, ita dicet, nec satura jejune nec grandia minute nec item contra, sed erit rebus ipsis par et aequalis oratio" (Orat. c. 29, 36).

46. There is a product of his pen which is raised by the nature of the subject from that description, but which is altogether a lawyer's work, full of patient research and mature judgment, the Report of the Committee to examine the Lords' Journals in relation to proceedings on the same occasion. Charles Butler, the eminent conveyancer, considered this an ample refutation of the notion that he was not equal to the sbtleties of abstract jurisprudence. "It is one of the most valuable productions of his pen. It abounds in learning and profound observation, and embraces the whole of the subject" (Reminiscences, vol. 1 p. 139).

47. xvi. 26.

48. See South's sermon, "The Scribe Instructed."

49. Bishop Hurd well says: "The more generally the best models are understood, the greater danger of running into that worst of literary faults—affectation."

50. Green, Diary of a Lover of Literature.

51. "I ask pardon for my blots (i.e. erasures and corrections). It is not proper, I am sensible, to send you a paper in that fashion; but I am utterly incapable of writing without them." Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 196.

52. St. Luke xii. 27, 28.

53. The student must beware of abusing this useful figure, as in the following passage: "No individual can be happy unless the circumstances of those around him be so adjusted as to conspire with his interest. For, in human society, no happiness or misery stands unconnected and independent. Our fortunes are interwoven by threads innumerable. We touch one another on all sides. One man's misfortune or success, his wisdom of his folly, often by its consequences reaches through multitudes." Blair, Sermon VIII. Here the same proposition is repeated five times, without any material addition or illustration, the impression left being that of great poverty of thought. See note to p. 116, l. 34, infra.

54. Speech on the Petition of the Unitarians, 1792.

55. This remark belongs, of course, only to prose.

56. See Argument, p. 221.

57. Hazlitt, Conversations of Northcote.

58. It may be useful to subjoin the opinions of two authorities well qualified to pronounce upon this point. In the first extract, Crassus is criticising the systems of "debating societies."

    "In quo fallit eos, quod audierunt, dicendo homines, ut dicant, efficere solere. Vere enim illud dicitur, PERVERSE DICERE HOMINES PERVERSE DICENDO FACILLIME CONSEQUI. Quamobrem in istis ipsis exercitationibus, etsi utile est, etiam subito saepe dicere, tamen illud utilius, sumpto spatio ad cogitandum, paratius atque accuratius dicere. Caput autem est, quod (ut vere dicam) minime facimus; (est enim magni laboris, quem plerique fugimus:) quam plurimum scribere, STILUS OPTIMUS ET PRAESTANTISSIMUS DICENDI EFFECTOR AC MAGISTER." Cic. De Orat. Lib. i. cap. 33.

    "I should lay it down as a rule, admitting of no exception, that a man will speak well in proportion as he has written much; and that with equal talents he will be the finest extempore speaker, when no time for preparing is allowed, who has prepared himself the most sedulously when he had an opportunity of delivering a premeditated speech. All the exceptions which I have ever heard cited to this principle are apparent ones only." Brougham, Address to the Glasgow Students, 1825.

59. Speech on a Bill for shortening the Duration of Parliaments.

60. "There is now an elegance of style universally diffused." Again, on the Divines: "All the latter preachers have a good style; every body composes pretty well." Boswell, April 7, 1778.

61. "Sublime" and "Beautiful."

62. HISTORY. The Histories if Bisset, Belsham, Adolphus, Massey, Phillimore, Bancroft, and Stanhope; Wraxall's Historical and Posthumous Memoirs; Walpole's Memoirs; Jesse's Memoirs of George III; Rockingham Memoirs; Bedford Correspondence; Grenville Papers; The Annual Register; Almon's Biographical Anecdotes; Letters of Junius; Chesterfield's Letters; Macaulay's Essays; May's Constitutional History.

BIOGRAPHY. Boswell's Life of Johnson; Butler's Reminiscences; The Lives of Burke by M'Cormick, Bisset, Prior, and the recent work of Mr. Macknight, which, however, does not supplant the work of Sir James Prior as the standard biography; the brief Life of Mr. Burke by Mr. Sergeant Burke; Mr. Morely's Edmund Burke, a Historical Study; the admirable Lecture on the Life of Burke to the Dublin Young Men's Christian Association, 1862, by Sir Joseph Napier; Professor Robertson's Lectures on Burke.

GENERALLY. Professor Goodrich's Select British Eloquence; Hazlitt's Political Essays and Eloquence of the British Senate; Roger's Biographical and Critical Introduction to Holdsworth and Ball's Edition of Burke's Works, 1834; Allibone's Critical Dictionary, art. Burke; De Quincy on Style and Conversation; Mackintosh's Memoirs and Works; Winkelmann's (German) edition of the two Speeches in this volume; Müller's Lectures, and Miscellaneous Writings (German).

63. Addresses were sent in the early part of the year from the counties of Essex, Kent, Surrey and Salop, the towns of Bristol, Liverpool, Leicester, Coventry, &c., and from almost every part of Scotland. The county of Middlesex led the way in petitions on May 24: and was followed by the livery of London, the electors of Westminster, and the freeholders of Surrey, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wilts, Gloucester, Hereford, Northumberland, and the most important cities and boroughs.

64. "More difficult ... than to produce something altogether new." Letter to Rockingham, July 30.

65. Burke's brother Richard, and distant kinsman William Burke.

66. Burke to Rockingham, Nov. 6, 1769.

67. Rock. Mem. ii. 145.

68. The King.

69. Burke's Correspondence, i. 229.

70. "No heroine in Billingsgate can go beyond the patriotic scolding of our republican virago. You see I have been afraid to answer her." Burke to Shackleton, Aug. 15, 1770.

71. Milton (Par. Lost, iv. 121) names Satan "Artificer of Fraud."

72. Select British Eloquence, by Chauncey A. Goodrich, D.D., Professor in Yale College.

73. See also Peel's Speeches on the East Retford Franchise, May 5, 1829, and on New Zealand, June 17, 1845.

End of Notes to Vol. 1 Front Matter

Top Vol. 1 Vol. 1
(cont.)
Vol. 1
(cont.)
Vol. 1
(cont.)
Vol. 2 Vol. 2
(cont.)
Vol. 3 Vol. 3
(cont.)
Vol. 4

Return to top