Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle

Published: 1913
Language: English
Wordcount: 52,143 / 161 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 46.4
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 312
Added to site: 2009.09.14
mnybks.net#: 25271
Origin: gutenberg.org
Genres: History, Biography
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Excerpt

To rouse Burke's genius to its noblest utterance, there must needs be a suffering which he could personify and dramatise. He saw nothing of the dull peasant misery which in truth explained the Revolution. He ignored those catalogues of injustice and wrong that composed the mandates (the cahiers) which the Deputies carried with them to the National Assembly. He forgot the famines, the exactions, the oppressive privileges which made revolt, and saw only the pathos of the Queen's helplessness before it. In Paine's immortal epigram, he "pitied the plumage and forgot the dying bird." But it is paradoxically true that while he pursued the friends of humanity, his real impulse was the hatred of cruelty which modern men call humanitarian. To that hatred he was always true. No abstract principle, but always this dominating passion, covers his inconsistencies, and bridges the gulf between his earlier Whiggery and his later Toryism. In the French Revolution he saw only cruelty, and he opposed it as he had oppos

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