Chapter

Shears or Hatchets, 1779–1781

F.P. Lock

in Edmund Burke, Volume I

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199226634
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191696244 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226634.003.0012
Shears or Hatchets, 1779–1781

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In October 1779, Burke looked forward to the approaching session of Parliament with an uneasy mixture of hope and dread, expectation and despair. The American colonies were as far as ever from being coerced into submission. Burke's own county was divided between moderate and radical reformers, a division which cut across some longer-standing local rivalries. Unlike Fox, he was immune to the temptation of popularity. Nor was his willingness to incur odium by speaking out against popular prejudice confined to political issues. His Guildhall speech, delivered on September 6, 1780, is Burke's most eloquent exposition of the duties and responsibilities of a Member of Parliament. However, he was marred by the Gordon riots in June, and his humiliating withdrawal from the Bristol election in September. Meanwhile, India provided a subject on which Burke could co-operate with the ministry and play a constructive role in the framing of legislation.

Keywords: Parliament; Fox; India; Bristol election; Guildhall; Gordon riots

Chapter.  25201 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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