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The dignity of every occupation wholly depends upon the quantity and the kind of virtue that may be exerted in it.—Reflections on the Revolution in France.
As soon as a nation compels a creditor to take paper currency in discharge of his debt, there is a bankruptcy.-Thoughts on French Affairs.
Republicanism repressed may have its use in the composition of a state.-— Remarks on the Policy of the Allies.
Mercy is not a thing opposed to justice. It is an essential part of it; as necessary in criminal cases, as in civil affairs equity is to law.—Remarks on the Policy of the Allies.
If we have deserved this kind of evil fame from anything we have done in a state of prosperity, I am sure that it is not an abject conduct in adversity that can clear our reputation. Well is it known that ambition can creep as well as soar. The pride of no person in a flourishing condition is more justly to be dreaded, than that of him who is mean and cringing under a doubtful and unprosperous fortune-Letters on a Regicide Peace.
Fraud and prevarication are servile vices. They sometimes grow out of the necessities, always out of the habits, of slavish and degenerate spirits; and on the theatre of the world, it is not by assuming the mask of a Davus or a Geta that an actor will obtain credit for manly simplicity and a liberal openness of proceeding. It is an erect countenance, it is a firm adherence to principle, it is a power of resisting false shame and frivolous fear, that assert our good faith and honour, and assure to us the confidence of mankind.—Letters on a Regicide Peace.
Contempt is not a thing to be despised. It may be borne with a calm and equal mind, but no man by lifting his head high can pretend that he does not perceive the scorns that are poured down upon him from above.—Letters on a Regicide Peace.
Necessity, as it has no law, so it has no shame : but moral necessity is not like metaphysical, or even physical. In that category it is a word of loose signification, and conveys different ideas to different minds. To the low-minded, the slightest necessity becomes an invincible necessity. “The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way, and I shall be devoured in the streets." But when the necessity pleaded is not in the nature of things, but in the vices of him who alleges it, the whining tones of commonplace beggarly rhetoric produce nothing but indignation; because they indicate a desire of keeping up a dishonourable existence, without utility to others, and without dignity to itself; because they aim at obtaining the dues of labour without industry; and by frauds would draw from the compassion of others, what men ought to owe to their own spirit and their own exertions.
I am thoroughly satisfied that if we degrade ourselves, it is the degradation which will subject us to the yoke of necessity, and not that it is necessity which has brought on our degradation.—Letters on a Regicide Peace.
It is no strange thing to those, who look into the nature of corrupted man, to find a violent persecutor a perfect unbeliever of his own creed.--Letters on a Regicide Peace.
Mercy, as we conceive, consists not in the weakness of the means, but in the benignity of the ends. We apprehend, that mild measures may
powerfully enforced: and that acts of extreme rigour and
injustice may be attended with as much feebleness in the execution, as severity in the formation.Address to the King.
Charity is the only virtue that I ever heard of, that derived from its retirement any part of its lustre; the others require to be spread abroad in the face of day. Such candles should not be hid under a bushel, and like the illuminations which men light up when they mean to express great joy and great magnificence for a great event, their very splendour is a part of their excellence.-Speech against Warren Hastings.
Guilt was never a rational thing; it distorts all the faculties of the mind, it perverts them, it leaves a man no longer in the free use of his reason; it puts him into confusion. .... Men that are greatly guilty are never wise. In their defence of one crime they are sure to meet the ghost of some former defence, which, like the spectre in Virgil, drives them back.--Speech against Warren Hastings.
That discretion, which, in judicature, is well said by Lord Coke to be a crooked cord, in legislature is a golden rule.—Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe.
As to the right of men to act anywhere according to their pleasure, without any moral tie, no such right exists. Men are never in a state of total independence of each other. It is not the condition of our nature: nor is it conceivable how any man can pursue a considerable course of action without its having some effect upon others; or, of course, without producing some degree of responsibility for his conduct. The situations in which men relatively stand produce the rules and principles of that responsibility, and afford directions to prudence in exacting it.-Letters on a Regicide Peace.
EPITAPHS WRITTEN BY EDMUND BURKE.
EPITAPH ON THE MONUMENT OF THE RIGHT HON. WILLIAM
DOWDESWELL, IN BUSHLEY CHURCH, WORCESTERSHIRE.
To the memory of William Dowdeswell : representative in parliament for the county of Worcester, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the years 1765 and 1766, and a member of the King's privy council : a senator for twenty years; a minister for one ; a virtuous citizen for his whole life ; a man of unshaken constancy, inflexible integrity, unremitted industry.
His mind was generous, open, sincere: his manners plain, simple, and noble; rejecting all sorts of duplicity and disguise, as useless to his designs and odious to his nature.
His understanding was comprehensive, steady, vigorous-made for the practical business of the state. In debate he was clear, natural, and convincing. His knowledge, in all things which concerned his duty, profound: he understood, beyond any man of his time, the revenues of his country which he preferred to everything-except its liberties.
He was a perfect master of the law of parliament ; and attached to its privileges, until they were set up against the rights of the people.
All the proceedings which have weakened government, endangered freedom, and distracted the British empire, were by him strenuously opposed ; and his last efforts, under which his health sunk, were to preserve his country from a civil war, which, being unable to prevent, he had not the misfortune to see.
He was not more respectable on the public scene, than amiable in private life. Immersed in the greatest affairs, he never lost the ancient, native, genuine English character of a country gentleman.
Disdaining and neglecting no office in life, he was an ancient municipal magistrate; with great care and clear judgment administering justice, maintaining the police, relieving the distresses, and regulating the manners, of the people in his neighbourhood.
A husband and father—the kindest, gentlest, most indulgent: he was everything in his family, except what he gave up to his country.
His widow, who labours with life in order to form the minds of his eleven children to the resemblance of their father, erects this monument.
INSCRIPTION ON THE PEDESTAL OF THE STATUE OF SIR GEORGE
SAVILLE, IN YORK CATHEDRAL.
To the memory of Sir George Saville, Bart., who, in five successive parliaments, represented the county of York; the public love and esteem of his fellowcitizens have decreed this monument.
His life was an ornament and blessing to the age in which he lived ; and after his death his memory will continue to be beneficial to mankind, by holding forth an example of pure and unaffected virtue, most worthy of imitation, to the latest posterity.
He departed this life January the 9th, 1784, in the 58th year of his age, beloved and lamented.
In private life he was benevolent and sincere ; his charities were extensive and secret; his whole heart was formed on principles of generosity, mildness, justness, and universal candour. In public, the