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representatives. There were violent riots in London, provoked by the sympathy of the mob with Wilkes, and by general detestation of the arbitrary conduct of the House of Commons. Burke's view of the period, his explanation of the disorders, and the remedies which he proposed, are set forth in his pamphlet on The Cause of the Present Discontents, published in 1770.
Burke sat in the Parliament of 1774 as member for Bristol, of which city he continued to be the representative for six years. He made himself unpopular with his constituents by the support which he gave to the abolition of restrictions on Irish trade, and to the removal of unreasonable disabilities on Catholics. In this year he made his speech on American taxation, and in 1775 the speech on conciliation with America. In 1777 appeared his letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol on the affairs of America. It contains a characteristic defence of freedom. It is a plea for generosity and self-respect in national policy. Above all, it urges a preference of moral and utilitarian considerations to assertions of abstract rights. In 1780 matters were complicated at home by the anti-popery Gordon riots. Burke was endangered because he, as a Whig, had advocated a milder treatment of Catholics. It was in this year that he presented to the House his scheme of Economic Reform. His object was to abolish all the lucrative sinecures, by means of which the Court could corrupt the House of Commons, and turn it into a mere tool of despotism. This was Burke's substitute for those schemes of organic reform which he always opposed. In this year he lost his seat for Bristol, but was returned as member for the borough of Malton. When Lord North's government came to an end in 1782, the Rockingham party again came into power. Notwithstanding the services which Burke had rendered to the party, he was not admitted into the Cabinet, Lord Rockingham died after three months of office. The ministry was split up. Some of them supported the claims of Shelburne, others those of Fox, who was now the head of the Rockingham section of the Whigs, to the vacant premiership. The king preferred Shelburne. It was unfortunate that the whole Whig party could not act together. We must regret that Burke rendered the party powerless by aiding to split it into two halves, and that he offered a violent and factious opposition to the ministry. The Shelburne administration fell in the spring of 1783, and Fox and Burke, to their disgrace, went over to their old enemy Lord North. A Coalition Ministry was formed, but was dismissed in December, 1783, on the rejection of Fox's India Bill. Pitt was made prime minister, and the power of the Whigs was at an end for half a century. Burke began by opposing a measure brought forward by Pitt, which was practically a proposal to give to Ireland complete commercial freedom, on condition that she paid a contribution from her surplus revenue to the Imperial Treasury. Mr. Morley points out that Burke's conduct can only be justified on the ground that Pitt's proposals "amounted to an attempt to extract revenue from Ireland, identical in purpose, principle, and probable effect with the ever memorable attempt to extract revenue from the American colonies." In 1787 he opposed Pitt's proposed treaty of commerce with France, "which enabled the subjects of both countries to reside and travel in either without license or passport, did away with all prohibitions
of trade on either side, and reduced every import duty.''' But, so far as Burke was concerned, the most remarkable * event of the session was, of course, the impeachment of Warren Hastings. He opened the case in 1788, and the verdict was delivered in 1795. To the affairs of India, generally, Burke really devoted the labour of fourteen years, from 1781 to 1795.t Burke next opposed Pitt's Regency Bill, the principle of which was that the Prince of Wales could not claim to act as Regent, but that it lay with the Parliament to appoint the Regent and to define the terms on which he held office. During this period, Burke appears, by his unreasonableness, to have lost his influence in the country, and the confidence of his party and his friends. But with the French Revolution all this was changed. On this subject he was at variance with Fox from the first. In 1790 he supported the bill for the increase of the English army, and he took occasion to declare that he would not remain on terms of friendship with any one who should in any way further the introduction of a democracy like that of France. Fox expressed in the House his high sense of the value of Burke's friendship. When Sheridan dissented from the
* Green's Short History of the English People, p. 772.
+ " If I were to call for a reward, which I have never done, it should be for those services in which for fourteen years, without intermission, I showed the meat industry, and had the least success, I mean in the affairs of India. They are those on which I value myself the most; most for the importance; most for the labour; most for the judgment; most for constancy and perseverance in the pursuit. Others may value them most for the intention. In that surely they are not mistaken."—Letter to a Noble Lord.
views expressed in Burke's speech, Burke openly broke with him. In the same year, when Fox proposed, what Burke had before advocated, namely, a repeal of the Test and Corporation Act, Burke turned round and opposed it, declaring that Dissenters were disaffected citizens. It was in November, 1790, that he published his Reflections on the Revolution in France. It was hailed with delight by the Crown and the Tories. In 1791 Burke openly broke with Fox on the subject of the French Revolution. In August of the same year he published his Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs, in which he explained and defended his views on the French Revolution, and vindicated himself against the charge of having abandoned, in his criticisms on that event, the Whig principles which he had professed through life. A few months after the publication of the Reflections, he had issued his Letter to a Member of the National Assembly, which was full of violent abuse of the Revolution and its authors. In the same letter he hinted that a European intervention in favour of the French king might become necessary. By the end of the year 1791 he had himself become convinced that it was necessary. Henceforth he devoted himself to the advocacy of war against the French, and of repressive measures at home to stop the spread of Jacobin opinions. It was the murder of the French king which roused opinion in England to sympathy with Burke. In 1794 he retired from Parliament. Arrangements were being made for creating him a peer, but, in August of that year, he was completely broken by the death of his son. The question of the peerage was dropped, and a pension was granted to him. His Letter to a Noble Lord is a vindication, at once spirited and pathetic, of his right to a pension on the score of his political services. In 1795 he wrote the Letters on a Regicide Peace, which are, like the rest of his writings on the subject, characterized by violent hatred of all that was being done in France. The death of his son threw a profound melancholy over his closing years, and he died July 9th, 1797.
Never again, perhaps, will whatever is good in Conservatism be so thoughtfully or so attractively set forth, as it is in the pages of Burke. His Reflections is, at the same time, a criticism of the French Revolution and a ^ Philosophy of Politics. There are many reasons why he failed as a critic. He did not know what the political and social system of France was. He did not know what the state of the country was. In his calmer moods
i/he could see, quite well, that peoples do not rebel without cause, and that, in quarrels between a people and a government, the people is as likely to be right as the government. But his judgment was paralyzed by the events in France. It seemed to him that in an inexplicable fit of delirium the French had wantonly overthrown whatever good men hold sacred, whatever can make a
_country loveable, and a people prosperous. To Burke, who loved his land " with love far brought from out the storied past," whose love of order was so deep rooted,
^ who looked with such awe upon all that is old and great, who had such a hatred of change, whenever change could, by any means, be avoided, the Revolution appeared to be a hideous crime and a gigantic folly. Forgetting that leaders derive what power they possess from the sympathy of those whom they lead, he regards the Revolution as the work of a few self-seeking agitators,