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sufficient for the pupil to attempt to follow the outline mentally, without writing it out. To do that much is, so far, good; but to construct it in detail, preserving the relative rank of the thought in the manner indicated, will force the pupil, as he sees it growing under his hand, to apprehend the truth that this great literary work is wrought out in accordance with steady, consistent purpose, with definite plan and method, - a truth that will appear more clearly in the carefully constructed analysis than it can possibly appear from a mere reading of the Speech, however careful. Let the pupil apprehend that truth and he will have made a great, practical gain. Purpose, plan, method, are the foundations of all good composition.
With the reading of the Speech, and the construction of the analysis, there should go as much synthetic work composition - as possible. The study of Burke's theme; of his paragraph structure ; of his outline, or plan, will naturally suggest that the pupil be given practice in finding definite themes under general subjects; in writing paragraphs upon narrowly limited themes ; in making skeleton outlines of compositions on these themes. The importance of this work cannot be overrated : it is in the highest degree formative: to require it of the pupil is to help him to value and attain the power of direct and definite thought. Help in this work is given occasionally at the foot of the page, where, under the general term Exercise, the editor has grouped a variety of suggestions, which may, according to the teacher's opportunity, prove valuable. It is well to have the exercises, as far as possible, written, so as to guard against the looseness that sometimes occurs in oral recitations. Such constructive work may, of course, take the place of the ordinary class compositions. The exercises are intended to be suggestive only: the teacher who is in sympathy with the purpose of the present study may make his own exercises.
THE EPISCOPAL ACADEMY, PHILADELPHIA, June 12, 1896.
EDMUND BURKE was born in Dublin, probably in January, 1729, although the precise date is in question. At fifteen he entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he remained five years, and in 1750 went to London to study law, — the profession for which his father, an attorney, had destined him. Finding the law dry and irksome, he abandoned its pursuit, and was compelled, by the withdrawal of his father's allowance, to devote himself to literature and politics. His two works, “ A Vindication of Natural Society” and “ A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas on the Sublime and Beautiful,” soon gained him marked distinction as a writer. In 1765 he was elected to Parliament, holding his seat throughout the exciting and critical times that culminated in the American Revolution and the recognition of American independence. From 1765 till 1794, when he retired from Parliament, his extraordinary genius and political wisdom made him one of the most conspicuous of the able men with whom he was associated. He died at Beaconsfield, England, July 9, 1797.
His appointment as private secretary to Lord Rockingham, and his election to Parliament a few months after, brought him into immediate touch with the mightiest problems of the day. He became the active opponent of the king's policy, which was to concentrate all power in the king's hands; the ministers were to be nominees of the court, carrying out his plans and answerable to him alone. Backed up by Parliament, the king had determined to force America into submission. They contended, inasmuch as English law was supreme in the colonies as well as in
England itself, that Parliament had a right to tax America. Establishing themselves in the notion of their right, they proceeded to enforce the right by the Stamp Act and other acts of taxation, regardless of the claims and petitions of the colonies. America could be kept in subjection only by the employment of an army. To silence the demand for constitutional rights by the employment of the military was, in Burke's judgment, a most serious menace to the cause of liberty in England itself. Since the struggle between America and Parliament was on a demand for a constitutional right, the victory of the army over the Americans might in the end be the downfall of liberty in England itself. To him this was a real fear: the idea runs through several of his speeches and writings. His efforts, however, were unavailing, — king and Parliament persisted. Fortunately for England, the colonies were successful, and the royal policy of coercing the people in their demand for a constitutional right received its death-blow.
Shortly after the conclusion of the American Revolution, Burke was stirred up by what he believed to be the cruel and unjust policy of Warren Hastings in India, and by the fact that he believed the East India Com to be exerting a corrupt influence among members of Parliament. Acting upon this belief, he made probably the most strenuous effort of his life, the impeachment of Hastings. During the proceedings — which lasted for fourteen years — Burke labored incessantly. At the end of this period Hastings was acquitted, the question of his guilt being viewed in different lights. The probability is that the policy of the East India Company was blamable for much that was charged upon Hastings. “Never," says Lord John Russell, “ has the great object of punishment - the prevention of crime — been attained more completely than by this trial. Hastings was acquitted, but tyranny, deceit, and injustice were condemned.” To Burke more than to any other belongs the credit of this achievement.
His views on the French Revolution have brought against
him the charge of inconsistency. As was said, he had been the boldest, the most generous advocate of liberty in 1776, and yet thirteen years after, he had nothing but execration for those miserable subjects who in France were suffering from far greater wrongs than the Americans. It was charged that he had no sympathy but for the misery of kings or queens, and that he forgot the suffering millions of the wretched common people. Whatever the explanation, his passionate denunciation of revolutionary leaders and principles became in the end a sort of frenzy. As the horrors of the Revolution increased, they excited him to such a degree as to render him incapable of judging the case dispassionately. The Revolution was a “foul, monstrous thing, wholly out of the course of moral nature,” “ generated in treachery, frauds and falsehood, hypocrisy, and unprovoked murder ;” the revolutionists were "quacks and impostors," a nation of murderers," derous atheists,” etc. All this may have been more or less true, but the fact remains that his denunciation was onesided and intemperate. His temper in this exciting crisis was quite unlike the calm wisdom of his treatment of the American question. His violence has been attributed by some of his biographers, in part, to the effect on his mind of the death of his only son, a youth for whom he had a most passionate affection, — and in part to the fact that his intense love for the established order of things was shocked beyond measure by the utter license into which the revolutionists were betrayed. It is probable, too, that he had not formed an adequate notion of the corruption and incompetency of the French government and society. His pamphlet, “Reflections on the Revolution in France," made him the most popular man of his day among the sovereigns of Europe, although it was the occasion of his losing many of his friends in Parliament.
His sense of right and justice made him careless of results to himself. He accompanied William Gerard Hamilton when the latter was made Secretary to Ireland, and on
his return received through the influence of Hamilton a pension of three hundred pounds. It soon appeared, how- . ever, that the pension was intended as a bribe to bind him to a slavish devotion to the will of his patron. Burke indignantly resigned the pension. In those days no man might oppose the king and hope for preferment. And yet, knowing this, Burke was for years the head and front of opposition to the king's policy; so that in spite of his acknowledged ability he was never in the ministry, nor indeed in any other considerable office. When, in 1778, it was proposed in Parliament to relax some of the trade restrictions imposed upon Ireland, Bristol, the city for which Burke was at that time sitting in Parliament, with other trading cities, raised a violent opposition. Burke, however, had the courage to speak and vote in favor of the bill. His action in this particular, together with his advocacy of Catholic toleration, gave offence to his constituents. Two years after, he lost his seat in Parliament.
Literature and literary men had always been his delight: it was this love that had turned him aside from the study of the law; it was this that, in the midst of the most engrossing parliamentary responsibilities, made him seek the companionship of that famous club that included Reynolds, Garrick, Goldsmith, Gibbon, Johnson, and Boswell. His speeches have become of greater influence in the literary world than they ever were in the political. His intensity of purpose, bis high sense of justice, impressed him profoundly with the responsibility of his work as a pleader : bence the whole of his genius, his enthusiasm, energy, imagination, were poured into the volume of his eloquence.
The best recent accounts of Burke are by Mr. John Morley, “Edmund Burke: 'English Men of Letters;" and “Edmund Burke, A Historical Study.” The student will also find an excellent sketch by the same author, article “Burke,” in the “Encyclopædia Britannica;" and he may profitably consult Leslie Stephen's “English Thought in the Eighteenth Century,” volume ii., chapter ix.