Select Works of Edmund Burke (vol. 4), E.J. Payne's edition
Автор(и) : Edmund Burke
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 1999
ISBN : 978-0-86597-168-4
Брой страници : 289
Език : английски
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In the companion volume,Miscellaneous Writings, Canavan has collected seven of Burke's major contributions to English political thinking on representation in Parliament, on economics, on the political oppression of the peoples of India and Ireland, and on the enslavement of African blacks. The volume concludes with a select bibliography on Edmund Burke. The volumes complement the Liberty Fund editions of Burke's A Vindication of Natural Society, edited by Frank N. Pagano, and Further Reflections on the Revolution in France, edited by Daniel E. Ritchie.
"SPEECH TO THE ELECTORS OF BRISTOL
[November 3, 1774]
Burke was elected in 1765 to the House of Commons from the borough of Wendover, which was “owned” by Lord Verney (its voters were his tenants and did his bidding). But in 1774, Lord Verney told Burke that financial difficulties prevented him from renominating the impecunious Burke in that year’s election. At the last moment, however, after the public poll (which went on for days) had already begun in Bristol, Britain’s second most important port, Joseph Harford and Richard Champion, merchants of that city, nominated Burke for one of Bristol’s two seats. Burke rushed to Bristol and delivered a speech on his arrival there. What is printed here, however, is Burke’s speech at the conclusion of the poll, after he had been elected. It has become the classic exposition of a certain view of the role of an elected representative.
To understand some of the things that Burke says in this speech, one will need a bit of historical background. In those days, each parliamentary constituency elected two members of Parliament. Bristol’s previous incumbents had been Lord Clare (a courtesy title, since, if he had been a nobleman, he could not have sat in the Commons), a Whig, and Matthew Brickdale, a Tory. But the Whigs were dissatisfied with Lord Clare, who had gone over to the court party, and thought they could take Brickdale’s seat as well in the 1774 election. Their first nominee was Henry Cruger, Jr., who came of a prominent commercial family. Some of the Crugers had emigrated to New York, and Henry’s uncle, John Cruger, was the Speaker of the New York Assembly when that body elected Edmund Burke in 1770 as the colony’s agent at the British royal court. Burke was acquainted with him through official correspondence, and he was still the Speaker at the time of the election in Bristol.
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.