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experience, it is not surprising that the conclusions of this great man have been entirely contradicted by the event. The changes which he vindicates are too rapid FOR THE PROGRESSION of the human character, * and evidently very unsuitable to the actual character of the French. +
Of the works which Mr. Burke wrote after his • Appeal from the New to the Old
* The reader will find this sulject ably explained from a view of the operations of mind, and beautifully illustrated from the analogy of nature, in Dr. William Thomson's Letter to Dr.'Parr, annexed to Dr. Parr's Statement of his Dispute with Curtis.
+ The erroneous conclusions of this forcible and profound writer appear to have arisen from two sources: first, he argued from a supposition of an attainable perfection in the human character, instead of an accurate estimate of the degree of perfection which it had actually attained : secondly, he appears to have been misinformed concerning the principles, spirit, and character of the French revo. lutionists. As the genius of this great man became matured by experience, he rejected hypothesis, and reasoned from history and human nature as it actually exists. He saw the revolutionary character in the true colours, and now concurs with loyal and patriotic Britons in reprobating the jaco
system, which the French revolution has generated. His blossom was brilliant theory, his mature fruit is the most valuable wisdom.
Whigs,' all were not published in the order of time in which they were written. Severalperformances of the greatest importance were not communicated to the world till after the author's death, I shall consider them in the order in which they were written, instead of that in which they were published.
Connected with his · Appeal from the Old to the New Whigs, which was the third of the series commencing with his book on the French Revolution, including his · Letter to a Noble Lord on the Subject in Discussion with the Duke of Bedford,' and his work on the · Regicide Peace,' they exhibit the whole of Edmund Burke's opinions on the French revolution, and its effects, from the outset to the year of his death; they present a most profound view of principles, with a most complete summary of the situation and circumstances in which they had to operate ; and of the means which would promote and accelerate their progress, or might retard or impede their general diffusion.
When it was announced in 1791, by the French Ambassador, that the King had accepted of the new constitution, Burke wrote • Hints for a Memorial,' to be delivered to Monsieur Montmorin, which production makes a part of one of the Posthumous Publications. It contains an application tothe existing circumstances of his general principles on the French revolution. He describes its nature and effects, and its
partizans in different countries. He marks the probable progress of its spirit, he details circumstances in adjacent countries likely to promote its operation. He combats the opinion of those who thought that it would be dissolved from its own violence. It is, he thinks, invulnerable by internal attacks solely. Its resources, he alledges, are not in its credit, in its national finances, or any of the usual constituents; but in its wicked, ness, which makes all property subservient to its use. He sums up his arguments into three propositions :—first, that no counterrevolution is to be expected in France from internal causes solely. Secondly, That 'the jonger the present system exists, the greater
will be its strength. Thirdly, That as long as it exists in France, it would be the intem rest of the revolutionists to distract and revolutionize other countries.
In 1792, the operations of French principles in this country became very extensive and very dangerous. Paine had published his second part of the Rights of Man, which may be considered as an exhortation to the subjects of existing governments, especially of Britain, TO A PRACTICAL AP. PLICATION of the theory of his first part. The purport of it was simply this : • I have before told you that your government is a very bad one: I now earnestly recommend to you to get rid of it; pull down your monarchy, aristocracy, all your establishments, level every distinction; so only can you enjoy the Rights of Man. This second part was by the societies spread with still more indefatigable industry and ardent zeal than the first. Productions connecting the speculations and precepts of Paine with the example of France, as lessons and models
for this country, were widely dispersed. Thomas Paine was represented as the Minister of God dispensing light to a darkened world. * Government finding attempts to reduce these wild theories to practice, issued a proclamation recommending to individuals to discourage such writings and their probable effects; and enjoining the magistrates to employ means for preserving the public tranquillity, which these attempts tended so much to disturb. An association, as the reader must remember, had been formed by Messrs. Sheridan, Mackintosh, Erskine, Francis, Courtenay, Lord Lauderdale, Major Maitland, Messrs. Grey, Whitbread, and Lambton, comprising great talents, property, and respectability, under the name of the · Friends of the People,' to procure a reform in Parliament. Although the character of the individuals who composed this
Especially in a very daring daily paper of that time, the object of which was to abuse the constitution of this country. In the Argus there were two verses in imitation of the praise of Newton :
• The world was hid in universal night.'