1791 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Burke

Anna Seward to Miss Taylor, 10 January 1791; Letters, ed. Scott (1811) 3:52.



I took up Mr. Burke's pamphlet, assured that I should detest it; yet, as I never allow my reason to be wholly blinded by my wishes, I could not resist his statement of facts, nor his luminous reasoning upon them. They shew me the national assembly as a band of hot-brained enthusiasts, who are ruining their country, under the pretence of delivering it. I see that discipline, and reasonable compliance with the exigencies of the state, are fallen with the wreck of subordination, never, in all probability, to rise again — but I still dislike Mr. Burke's Quixoticism about the Queen of France, and his vindication of hereditary honours. They are much more likely to make a man repose, with slumbering virtue upon them, for the distinction he is to receive in society, than to inspire the effort of rendering himself worthy of them.