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Select Works, Vol. 1

Select Works, Vol. 1

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Excerpt from Select Works, Vol. 1: Thoughts on the Present Discontents; The Two Speeches on America

This view has descended from Whig politicians of Burke's time to the Philosophical writers of our own day. This inconsistency was accounted for easily enough - in the last decade of his life he W88 alleged to be mad. The French Revolution at any rate, if it did not turn his brain, was said to have turned the current of his Opinions: and made him a Conservative, as the horrors of M iinster made More and Erasmus persecutors. Even Mr. Cobden echoed this 6171 He admitted, however, a certain method in this madness Burke's strictures on the Revolution,' he says, 'began with criticism, grew into menace, and ended in a cry for W313, The story of his madness is stated in its most absurd form P7 Mr. Buckle. Burke lent support to this silly notion, by speaking of the decay of his powers in his last years, while he was Preaching his crusade against the Republic with a force that seemfd Superhuman, and with a spirit that bordered on fanaticism. But ll: was reserved for Mr. Buckle to clothe this with the dignity of history,' and to make lamentation over the 'ruins of that mlghty intellect.' It is su?'icient in this place to say that the Whole Story is utterly without foundation. Burke's intellect was never more firmly settled, never exerted more widely its magical in?uence: and never expressed itself in sager utterances, than in these 1351: years. Let the student examine the Letters on a Regimde Peace,' and he will find Burke's folly wiser than the wisdom, and his madness saner than the reason, of his critics 2.

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