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1. 24. state of all the arts. France in the last century was at the head of all Europe in the arts-painting, architecture, decorative design, and music.
1. 25. men she has bred, &c. It would take up too much space to trace this out in its details, and compare France in this respect with the rest of Europe. It would be an easy and interesting task for the student. See Dr. Bridges' Colbert and Richelieu,' where, however, the worth of French intellect is overrated.
P. 155, 1. 8. Whoever has examined, &c. But the character of the monarch was against what Burke assumes to be the spirit of the monarchy. ' Il commençait toutes les reformes par justice, et n'en achevant aucune par indolence, et par abandon de lui-même, irritant la passion d'innover sans la satisfaire, faisant entrevoir le bien sans l'opérer. Roi populaire dans les rues, il redevenait Roi gentilhomme à Versailles—reformateur auprès de Turgot et de Necker, honteux de ses reformes dans la société brillante et legère de Marie Antoinette ; Roi constitutional par goût, Roi absolu par habitude,' &c.—De Sacy.
1. 11. earnest endeavour towards the prosperity, &c. In spite, however, not in consequence, of the institutions Burke was defending. After the peace of 1763 (See Vol. i. ‘Present Discontents') a spirit of reformation had sprung up and spread over all parts of Europe, even to Constantinople. Agriculture and trade had been the special objects of this movement in France. •Another no less laudable characteristic (of the present times) is, that spirit of reform and improvement, under the several heads of legislation, of the administration of justice, the mitigation of penal laws, the affording some greater attention to the ease and security of the lower orders of the people, with the cultivation of those acts most generally useful to mankind, and particularly the public encouragement given to agriculture as an art, which is becoming prevalent in every part of Europe.' Annual Register, 1786.
1. 20. censurable degree of facility. “If in many respects the force of received opinions has in the present times been too much impaired, and perhaps too wide and indiscriminate a scope given to speculation on the domains of antiquity and practice, it is, however, a just cause of triumph, that prejudice and bigotry were the earliest victims. Happy will it be, if the blows which were aimed at the foundations and the buttresses, shall only shake off the useless incumbrances of the edifice. And this, we are to hope, will be the case.' Ibid.
1. 26. trespassed more by levity and want of judgment, &c. For instance, the attempt suddenly to relieve the working classes from the disadvantages imposed on them by the system of industrial corporations. Rash and highsounding promises on many other points were issued in the name of the King, which stimulated the opposition of the privileged classes. In the quarrel of 1772 between the King and the Parliament of Toulouse, the latter body accused the government of endangering the people's means of subsist
ence by its rash measures. The King retorted that public distress was caused by the ambition of the Parliament and the covetousness of the wealthy classes. In this way the idea was thoroughly worked into the people, that all their troubles were caused by the interests of one or other of the powers above them.
P. 156, 1. 2. dwell perpetually on the donation to favourites, &c. Burke alludes in the note to the publication of extracts from the famous Livre Rouge. Calonne shows that of the 228 millions of livres included in the accounts of this book for sixteen years, under different ministers, 209 millions were accountable for on other scores (foreign subsidies and secret service money, expenses of administration, personal expenses of the King and Queen, payment of the debts of the King's brothers, indemnities, &c.). The pamphlet circulated with so much industry is chiefly made up of scandalous reflections on the persons pensioned, and accounts of their lives and services. We find in it under the account of Mirabeau, 5000 liv. in 1776 for the · MS. of a work composed by him, entitled Des Lettres de Cachet'; and 195,000 liv. in 1789, upon his word of honour [!] to counteract the plans of the National Assembly.'
1. 10. told=counted. So 'tale,' l. 25.
1. 18. considerable emigrations. This was before the beginning of the great tide of emigration, which occasioned the decree against leaving the country, in 1791, pronouncing a sentence of civil death, and confiscation of goods, against the emigrant.
1. 20. Circean liberty. See Hom. Od. Lib. x. &c.
1. 27. learned Academicians of Laputa, &c. The satire of both Butler and Swift was much employed against what was called “virtuosodom,' or the cultivation of the minute philosophy and natural science, in the infancy of those pursuits. Swift anticipates with curious foresight the situation of a country under the exclusive dominion of philosophers.
P. 158, 1. 27. those of Germany, at the period, &c.-i.e. after the death of Frederick II, in 1250. “Every nobleman exercised round his castle a licentious independence; the cities were obliged to seek protection from their walls and confederacies; and from the Rhine and Danube to the Baltic, the names of peace and justice were unknown.'-Gibbon.
1. 30. Orsini and Vitelli. Perhaps these particular names were put down without sufficient reflection. The Orsini were indeed distinguished in the twelfth century at Rome; but the Vitelli were first known as condottieri in the fifteenth, and the Orsini derive their chief celebrity in the same way. The two families were associated in resisting Pope Alexander VI. This was long after the period when robber knights 'used to sally from their fortified dens,' &c.
Burke apparently, like his translator Gentz, thought they were famous in the wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines.
1. 32. Mamalukes. Who constituted a military republic in Egypt and Syria.
Nayres on the coast of Malabar. The Nairs are the military caste who long had the ruling power on this coast, and are still numerous and influential. They are not strictly a noble caste, as Burke implies, but, like some other low castes, have assumed the functions and rights of a noble caste. They were reduced in 1763 by Hyder Ali, by the fall of whose son and successor, Tippoo Sultan, before the English arms, the Malabar coast came to the East India Company.
P. 159, 1. 2. Equity and Mercy. Both were personified as coast deities in ancient Rome.
1. 10. civil war between the vices. Cp. infra, p. 188, 1. 12, p. 199, 1. 11, &c.
1. 23. breathe the spirit of liberty as warmly, &c. Not universally true, though not unjustifiable as a general statement.
1. 34. principles of a British constitution. Which was proposed as a model by Maury, Lally.Tollendal, Mounier, &c. The hostility of the victorious party to anything like the English constitution seemed a bond of union between them and the English Jacobins, at whom the present work is mainly levelled.
P. 160, 23. never abandoning for a moment, &c. M. Dupont, to whom the work was addressed, objected to the severity of this part of the character of Henry IV, and Burke in a letter to him on the subject, justifies his view. The scaffold' (1. 26) alludes to the execution of the Maréchal de Biron. “If he thought that M. de Biron was capable of bringing on such scenes as we have lately beheld, and of producing the same anarchy, confusion, and distress in his kingdom, as preliminary to the establishment of that humiliating as well as vexatious tyranny, we now see on the point of being settled, under the name of a constitution, in France, he did well, very well, to cut him off in the crude and immature infancy of his treasons. He would not have deserved the crown which he wore, and wore with so much glory, if he had scrupled, by all the preventive mercy of rigorous law, to punish those traitors and enemies of their country and of mankind. For, believe me, there is no virtue where there is no wisdom. A great, enlarged, protecting and preserving benevolence has it, not in its incidents and circumstances, but in its very essence, to exterminate vice, and disorder, and oppression from the world. Correspondence, iii. 160. The letter is printed at the end of Dupont's Translation,
1. 28. merited = earned. Lat. mereor.
P. 161, 1. 18. beyond what is common in other countries. The contrast especially applies to England, where the noblesse, as a body, did not exist, the greater part the nobility being of middle class origin, and really commoners with coronets on their coats of arms.
1. 19. officious—i.e. disposed to do kind services. So Dr. Johnson's Epitaph on Levett;
Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of every friendless name the friend.' 1. 30. to strike any person. A form of outrage never very uncommon in this country.
1. 33. attacks upon the property, &c. To this it may be said that it was well understood that the nobility possessed already so much unjust advantage, that such attacks were out of the question, in the existing state of feeling and intelligence among the lower classes.
P. 162, 1. 6. When the letting of the land was by rent. It would even appear that the tenant enjoyed a security in this respect unknown to English law. •Pareillement de même que la bonne foi ne permet pas au vendeur de vendre au-delà du juste prix, elle ne permet pas aussi au bailleur d'imposer par le bail la charge d'une rente trop forte qui excéde le juste prix de l'héritage.' Pothier, Traité du Contrat de Bail à Rente, p. 34. In addition, the rent reserved on a lease was commonly made redeemable, by a special clause, at a specified sum, or, in default, at a valuation.
1. 8. partnership with the farmer. Known as métairie, the farmer being called métayer. The usual form was that the landowner advanced the necessary stock, seed, &c., for carrying on the cultivation, and received as his share one half of the produce. This primitive contract is largely in use in India, Brazil, and other backward agricultural countries.
1. 18. much of the civil government, &c. See De Tocqueville, De l'Ancien Régime. The civil government had passed almost entirely out of the hands of the nobility into that of the central power; and the feudal dues and privileges which in former times had been cheerfully yielded to them when they had the responsibility of administration and police, were consequently grudged and resisted.
1. 30. A foolish imitation, &c. “Anglomanie,' which had been increasing in vogue all through the century. See the amusing description of it at the beginning of Mr. Carlyle's Hist. of the French Revolution. Previously the cry was against our following the example of the French,
Whose manners still our tardy apish nation
Shakespeare, Rich. II. P. 163, 1. 7. Those of the commons, &c. Cp. ante, note to p. 129, 1. 26.
1. 13. less than in Germany. Where the prejudice still subsists in all its force. The first question asked of a stranger in that country is, 'Sind Sie von Adel ?'
The saying there goes that there are three bodies whose strength lies in their corporate cohesion, the Jews, the Jesuits, and the Nobility.
1. 33. The strong struggle, &c. See Chalmer's Bridgewater Treatise, Chapter on · The Affections which conduce to the well-being of Society.'
P. 164, 1. 5. civil order. A double meaning perhaps here flashed through Burke's mind—'order' signifying an architectural combination, as well as a state of political regulation.
Corinthian capital. The Corinthian is the most graceful and ornamental of the orders of architecture.
1. 6. Omnes boni, &c. Cic. pro P. Sextio, ix. 21.
1. u. giving a body to opinion, &c. Whether the system of such an institution ought not to be revised, in a totally different state of society, is of course, another question. C'est une terrible chose que la Qualité,' says Pascal—'elle donne à un enfant qui vient de naitre une considération que n'obtiendraient pas cinquante ans de travaux et de virtus.' nothing of the tendency, inherent in descended nobility, to sink below the level of its source. Young, Sat. I:
• Men should press forward in fame's glorious chase ;
Nobles look backward, and so lose the race.' 1. 24. It was with the same satisfaction, &c. Throughout these pages Burke purposely confounds two distinct questions. • Mr. Burke has grounded his eloquent apology purely on their (the clergy) individual and moral character. This, however, is totally irrelative to the question ; for we are not discussing what place they ought to occupy in society as individuals, but as a body. We are not considering the demerit of citizens whom it is fit to punish, but the spirit of a body which it is politic to dissolve. We are not contending that the Nobility and Clergy were in their private capacity bad citizens, but that they were members of corporations which could not be preserved with security to civil freedom.'— Mackintosh.
P. 166, 1. 10. without care it may be used, &c. History ought not to be written without a strong moral bias. Burke elsewhere censures the cold manner of Tacitus and Machiavelli in narrating crime and oppression. Macaulay is in this respect a good model. 1. 23. troublous storms, &c.
'Long were to tell the troublous storms that toss
Spenser, Faery Queene, Book ii. c. 7, st. 14. 25. Religion, &c., the pretexts. 'If men would say they took up arms for anything but religion, they might be beaten out of it by reason; out of that they never can, for they will not believe you whatever you say. The very arcanum of pretending religion in all wars is, that something may be found out in which all men may have interest. In this the groom has as much interest as the lord. Were it for lands, one has a thousand acres,
and the other but one; he would not venture so far, as he that has a thousand. But religion is equal to both. Had all men land alike, by a lex agraria, then all men would say they fought for land.'-Selden, Table-talk,
P. 167, 1. 8. Wise men will apply, &c. Cp. vol. i. p. 8 seqq.
P. 169, 1. 26. If your clergy, &c. One of those passages so common in Burke, which strike by their very temperance, and arrest attention by their mild and tolerant spirit.
1. 34. through all their divisions. Not of rank, but of sect and country.
P. 170, 1. 8. I must bear with infirmities, &c. Notice the epigram, which appears also in Burke's Tracts on the Popery Laws. The law punishes delinquents, not because they are not good men, but because they are