1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Johnson

Anna Seward to Helen Maria Williams, 12 December 1790; Letters, ed. Scott (1811) 3:45.



This publication of Mr. Burke's [Reflections on the Revolution in France], by what I can learn of it, seems the twin-brother of Johnson's "Taxation no Tyranny;" — the same apparent strength of reasoning, the same splendour of style. I hope time will prove the predictions of this statesman groundless, as it has already proved that of the literary and moral despot. Heaven forbid it should produce equal mischief. His boasted code of pure morality will never, by all the good it has done, or may yet produce, balance to his country the evils to which he was accessory, by vindicating the absurd and ruinous attempt to conquer America. Fatal was his eloquence, which "could make the worse appear the better reason."