An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs
At Mr. Burke’s time of life, and in his dispositions, petere honestam dimissionem1 was all he had to do with his political associates. This boon they have not chosen to grant him. With many expressions of good-will, in effect they tell him he has loaded the stage too long. They conceive it, tho’ an harsh yet a necessary office, in full parliament to declare to the present age, and to as late a posterity, as shall take any concern in the proceedings of our day, that by one book he has disgraced the whole tenour of his life. Thus they dismiss their old partner of the war. He is advised to retire, whilst they continue to serve the public upon wiser principles, and under better auspices.
Whether Diogenes the Cynic was a true philosopher, cannot easily be determined. He has written nothing. But the sayings of his which are handed down by others, are lively; and may be easily and aptly applied on many occasions by those whose wit is not so perfect as their memory. This Diogenes (as every one will recollect) was citizen of a little bleak town situated on the coast of the Euxine, and exposed to all the buffets of that unhospitable sea. He lived at a great distance from those weather-beaten walls, in ease and indolence, and in the midst of literary leisure, when he was informed that his townsmen had condemned him to be banished from Sinope; he answered coolly, “And I condemn them to live in Sinope.”
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.