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sive that. further resistance on the part of the Colonies was thought to be impossible.
Page 98, 3. wounds yet green; i.e., fresh — a Shake spearian touch.
9. state statement; a frequent use in Burke's time.
20 ff. For a full account of Irish affairs as touched upon in this section, consult Lecky's England in the Eighteenth Century. chapter xvii. The following sketch, adapted from Professor Goodrich, will serve to supplement and explain what is said in the speech :
Ireland at this time had a parliament of her own, but not Home Rule, since all legislation was really dictated by the British Ministry. Under the Navigation Laws almost no foreign trade was allowed her, save with England, and that was greatly restricted in order to protect English industries. At last the country was reduced to such distress that in 1778, and again in 1779, it was proposed to remove the restrictions, and allow her a considerable participation in the commerce of the world. Though this was vehemently opposed by Bristol, in common with other great commercial towns, Burke felt himself bound to support the meas
The ministry, however, became alarmed at the general outcry, and no effectual relief was secured in either session. The Irish, indignant at this treatment, copied the example of the Americans, and formed associations pledged to abstain from the use of all English manufactures. In August, 1779, the French and Spanish fleets swept the Channel without resistance, and threatened
Ireland. England, with her own coasts in danger, and her armies engaged in America and India, could spare no more troops. The Irish people flew to arms. With no commission or authority whatever, save that of the necessity of national defence, the celebrated corps of Irish Volunteers, consisting of over forty thousand men, was organized, armed, and officered within a few weeks. The Irish Parliament, meeting shortly after, approved the conduct of the Volunteers by a unanimous vote of thanks. With these troops at their command, they sent a significant Address to the King, declaring that “it was not by temporary expedients, but by a free trade that the nation was
to be saved from impending ruin.” To enforce this Address, they limited the “supply” they granted the Crown to the period of six months instead of the customary two years.
It was now clear that Ireland would follow the American Colonies in rebellion, unless the Ministry yielded at once. Hence the instantaneous concessions so graphically described on page 100. Even the woollen trade, — the “ sacred fleece,” — which the English had guarded with such jealous care, was thrown open to the Irish.
PAGE 100, 1. It was the Irish House of Commons which refused to make any new grant to the English Crown.
27, ff. After their experiences during the seventeenth century, Englishmen came to regard a standing army in the hands of the King as a standing menace to their liberties. By the Bill of Rights (1679) it was declared illegal to raise and maintain such an army except by consent of Parliament. Ever since that time the maintenance and discipline of the English army has been authorized each year anew - and for a single year — by a special Act of Parliament called, somewhat oddly, the Mutiny Act. In the flush of success and of national enthusiasm at this time, the Irish denied the validity in Ireland of all Acts of the English Parliament, though they did not abate in the least their loyalty to the King of England, who was also their King. English Acts being thus inoperative, and the civil law alone being in force, it became impossible to maintain military discipline — not among the Volunteers, for their conduct was a matter of national pride — but among the royal troops in Ireland. The Irish Parliament with great spirit seized the opportunity to prepare a Mutiny Act for Ireland, backed it by an overwhelming vote, and, in accordance with the regular procedure, sent it to the English Ministry for approval — a challenge to acknowledge their independence. The Bill came back with no other change save the loss of those words which limited its action to a single year. At this counterchallenge a panic seized Parliament. It could not be rallied to restore the expunged words, and the Act passed in that form. The maintenance of royal troops in Ireland was thus to be made perpetual, and independent of control by either Parliament; a state of affairs fraught with danger to the liberties of both countries.
Page 101, 14–16. Burke withstood English pride by urging measures for the relief of Ireland in spite of the selfish opposition of his constituents. The humiliation of Great Britain, in being terrified into making concessions, and in the passage of the Perpetual Mutiny Act.
21, ff. The special point of this reference to American affairs comes out on page 103. The news of the loss of Burgoyne's army reached England at the end of the session, December, 1777. After the holiday recess Lord North amazed all parties alike by taking this “ well-chosen hour of defeat” to offer to the Americans in effect the very measures of conciliation which Burke had urged, and which Lord North had refused, three years before. At the same time was sent out the Commission described below.
Page 103, 27. Beauchamp — pronounced Beecham. The student should make sure of the pronunciation of unfamiliar names encountered in his study.
PAGE 104, 27. For the frantic tumult about Popery, see the next section of this speech (p. 108 ff.) and the notes.
PAGE 106, 2, 3. The Act of 1780 merely allowed an insolvent debtor to establish the fact of his insolvency before a proper court, and left the court to decide whether he should or should not be imprisoned. Moreover, release from imprisonment was not release from the debt, for the payment of which his future earnings were liable. Imprisonment for debt was not.finally abolished in England until 1869.
12. mistaken, in its original and natural meaning of taken wrongly, misunderstood. By a singular shift this word, strictly a passive participle, has come at last to be practically active in meaning, as though it were mistaking. It has, in fact, displaced this last in all attributive uses.
PAGE 108, 14, 15. News of the tragic end of Captain Cook's famous voyage had but lately reached England, and the general interest awakened in the matter gave point to Burke's expression.
22. This section of the speech is worthy of the closest study, whether we regard its theme, its broad statesmanship and humanity, its clear and cogent argument, or the courage and skill displayed in defending an unpopular cause.
For a long time the legal position of Roman Catholics in England had been exceedingly precarious. Outrageous laws against them had been enacted in the passion and intolerance of a previous age. Although these laws had, in large part, been allowed to drop out of actual use, with characteristic English conservatism they were allowed to stand on the Statute Book. They thus became ready weapons in the hands of private avarice or revenge, as is shown in the speech (pp. 111-115). In 1778 the injustice and disgrace of this state of things became intolerable to fairminded men; and a Relief Bill, annulling the worst of the penal acts, was passed without even a call for a division in either House, so unanimous was the conviction concerning it (p. 118). But the old-time fanaticism of the masses had only been slumbering. At the passage of the Relief Bill it suddenly flashed again into flame. The “ Protestant Association " was formed, an organization pledged to bring about the reenactment of the annulled law and to prevent any further measures of relief. Under such stimulus madness spread far and fast. Rioting soon began in Edinburgh and Glasgow, where furious mobs destroyed the houses and property of Catholics and of those suspected of sympathizing with them. After months of fitful disorder in various parts of the realm, matters culminated in June, 1780, in an attempt which recalls a very recent chapter in our own history but with results more immediately tragic than in our case. A monster petition, calling for immediate repeal of the Relief Bill, was prepared; and Lord George Gordon, a leader in the agitation, undertook to lay it before Parliament in person, and at the head of an army of his followers. On the afternoon of June 2, three great bodies of men, wearing blue cockades and marching by different roads, met in front of the Parliament building just as the Houses were assembling. The petition was presented as planned. The roaring mob surged in, filled all the courts, stairways, and lobbies, insulted and outraged members, and for many hours held the Houses in a state of siege. At nightfall it dispersed to begin its work of pillage and destruction elsewhere. The five days and nights that followed were a veritable reign of terror. All authority was paralyzed. The city was completely at the mercy of the mob. For an admirable picture of the scenes in London, the student is referred to Dickens's Barnaby Rudge. The history of the whole matter may be read in Lecky's England in the Eighteenth Century, chapter xiii.
Page 109. Bristol had sympathized with the “No Popery’ movement, and had had its share of disorder as well. There is grave irony, therefore, in Burke's remarks here and on page 116.
Page 111, 16. pious, in the old Roman sense of reverent attitude toward all natural claims, whether from above, or around, or beneath us; — here used with special reference to the claims of humanity and justice. Students of Latin should look up in this connection the various connotations of Virgil's pius Æneas. 20, 21.
the saying mass. The student will notice the change in this idiom since Burke's time. Wherever the gerund has become so nearly like a common noun as to take an adjective modifier, the noun-construction is now commonly extended to its object as well — “saying mass,” or else “ the saying of mass.”
PAGE 112, 18. Revolution. See note to p. 42, 1. 33–35.
Page 113, 27–30. The children of Catholic families were commonly educated in France, under circumstances not at all calculated to inspire in them patriotism and a love for free government.
Page 114, 9. For the Talbots, consult an Encyclopædia or Biographical Dictionary.
PAGE 116, 21 ff. Writers and speakers of the last century had a notable fashion of diversifying their compositions with what they called “ characters,” — elaborate and rhetorical descriptions of persons, an example of which we have already encountered in this speech. An academic flavor and fulsomeness almost always characterize these passages, and in this instance these qualities are the more conspicuous because of the general simplicity and directness of the context.
PAGE 117, 4. peculium — “ a special fund for private and personal uses.” The student will be interested to trace the origin of this word from the Latin pecus, and the development of meaning in its English cognates and derivatives, peculiar, pecuniary, peculate, and fee. Consult the Latin Lexicon and the Etymological Dictionary.