The New Student's Reference Work/Burke, Edmund
Burke, Edmund, a British statesman and
author, was born at Dublin, Ireland, in 1729.
EDMUND BURKE He graduated at Dublin University, and proceeded to London to study law, but abandoned it for literary work. He wrote two works in 1756, the most famous of which is a study of the origin of our ideas of The Sublime and the Beautiful. Soon after he became acquainted with the celebrated Dr. Samuel Johnson, who said of him that “no man of sense could meet Mr. Burke by accident under a gateway, to avoid a shower, without being convinced that he was the first man in England.” In 1765 he entered parliament, and at once became prominent because of his wide knowledge and learned speeches. In 1769 and 1770 he published two pamphlets which were widely read, called The Present State of the Nation and Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontent. He was a great student of American affairs, and his papers and speeches during the Revolutionary War made him unpopular with many people in England. At the same time he was greatly interested in English affairs in India, and led the trial of Warren Hastings for corrupt government in India. When the French Revolution broke out, Burke at first favored it; but when he saw the leaders were becoming lawless and violent, he opposed it. His Reflections on the French Revolution was the most popular paper on the subject written in England; but it separated him from his former political friends, who were strongly in favor of the Revolutionary party. He wrote many other papers, but left Parliament in 1794. He died in 1797. Burke was one of the most famous orators England ever had, and his writings are wonderful examples of beautiful English.