Further Reflections on the French Revolution
Автор(и) : Edmund Burke
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 1992
ISBN : 978-0-86597-098-4 CL
Брой страници : 343
Език : английски
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In his famous Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), Edmund Burke excoriated French revolutionary leaders for recklessly destroying France's venerable institutions and way of life. But his war against the French intelligentsia did not end there, and Burke continued to take pen in hand against the Jacobins until his death in 1797.
This new collection brings together for the first time Burke's most important essays and letters on the French Revolution. There are seven items in the collection. Taken together, they anticipate, refine, and embellish Burke's Reflections. Included are Burke's ""Letter to a Member of the National Assembly,"" in which he assails Jean Jacques Rousseau, the patron saint of the French Revolution; Burke's ""Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs,"" in which he presents his classic defense of the Glorious Revolution of 1688; and his ""A Letter to a Noble Lord,"" in which he defends his life and career against his detractors and, according to John Morley, writes ""the most splendid repartee in the English language.""
A foreword and headnotes to each selection point the reader to some of the key issues.
Burke never believed that the achievement of liberty, in historical time, could enable men somehow to transcend their human nature. The sort of liberty he envisioned enables men to realize their nature to the imperfect degree that it is possible on earth, but not to overcome their natural limitations. The paradoxical truth is that those fleshly limitations, especially as they are mediated by the artificial institutions of society, are the very means by which men achieve such liberty as they can. “Art is man’s nature,” writes Burke in An Appeal. In contrast to the sentimental French citizen, who saw art as opposed to nature, Burke writes:
The state of civil society . . . is a state of nature; and much more truly so than a savage and incoherent mode of life. For man is by nature reasonable; and he is never perfectly in his natural state, but when he is placed where reason may be best cultivated, and most predominates. Art is man’s nature. We are as much, at least, in a state of nature in formed manhood, as in immature and helpless infancy. [p. 168]
Burke had argued against the revolutionary notion of a “natural society”—a society constructed with reference to an immediate “nature” and without reference to the actual practices of government—ever since his first published work, the satirical Vindication of Natural Society (1756).
Edmund Burke (1729-1797) - British parliamentarian, orator, and political philosopher. The son of a lawyer, he began legal studies but lost interest, became estranged from his father, and spent some time wandering about England and France. Essays he published in 1757-58 gained the attention of Denis Diderot, Immanuel Kant, and Gotthold Lessing, and he was hired to edit a yearly survey of world affairs (1758- 88). He entered politics (1765) as secretary to a Whig leader and soon became involved in the controversy over whether Parliament or the monarch controlled the executive. He argued (1770) that George III's efforts to reassert a more active role for the crown violated the constitution's spirit. Elected to Parliament (1774-80), he contended that its members should exercise judgment rather than merely follow their constituents' desires. Although a strong constitutionalist, he was not a supporter of pure democracy; although a conservative, he eloquently championed the cause of the American colonists, whom he regarded as badly governed, and he supported the abolition of the international slave trade. He tried unsuccessfully to legislate relief for Ireland and to reform the governance of India. He disapproved of the French Revolution for its leaders' precipitous actions and its antiaristocratic bloodshed. He is often regarded as the founder of modern conservatism.