And the world listened; Edmund Burke: Conciliation with America
It is a nation which still I hope respects your freedom. This spirit of liberty is stronger economies probably than any other people of the earth but that the Americans ought not to be free we are not obliged to depreciate the value of freedom itself. We cannot falsify the pedigree of this people. Is they are not of interest. Edmund Burke spoke and the world listened.
And the world listen. Program six in a series dramatizing. The man and the age that created them. These programs are produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. In cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters consulting for the series is Frederick W. Habermann chairman of the department of speech at the University of Wisconsin. Here is Professor Habermann Edmund Burke was one of the greatest orators of all time. He had intellect. He had knowledge. He had imagination. He had the power to generalize. He had artistry and speechmaking but Burke suffered some disabilities. He sometimes lectured rather than persuaded his exuberant fancy led him to excessive ornamentation his eyeglasses destroyed in some measure that direct contact with an audience that orators prize his gestures were said to be
awkward and the probabilities are that he had no music in his ear for despite his long residence in England he never lost his Irish accent. For Edmund Burke was an Irishman during his climb to fame he was referred to in the great houses of London as an Irish adventurer. He was born in 1730 and he died in 1797. He took his bachelor's degree at Trinity College in Dublin and at the age of 21 went to London to study law at 36. Burke entered the House of Commons where he stayed until his death at the age of 67. He spoke often and on many subjects but his greatest speeches were on the governing of America the governing of India and the revolution in France. He himself published only six of his speeches one of them a splendid specimen of the orators art is the speech on conciliation with America the great men of any age in a given nation seem always to know the other
great man. It was inevitable then that Burke should become an intimate of writers such as Dr. Johnson and all of a goldsmith of actors such as David Garrick of painters such as Joshua Reynolds all of these men were members of the club whose doings are so marvelously recorded by James Boswell. Another in Dr. Johnson's circle. It is fitting then that we call upon James Boswell to be our guide to Burke's career as seen by his friends. I am delighted to tell this story. I first came to London in 1765 the year George there took the crown. I was a Scottish lad but just turned 20 and came all the way from Edinburgh to see the wonders of London town the streets the theatres the coffee houses and the palaces. If you wish to have a just notion of this city you must not be satisfied with its great streets and squares but must survey the
innumerable court that is Dr. Johnson Dr. Samuels. It is not in the evolutions of buildings but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together. Dr. Johnson always has much to contribute to any story or conversation. Tis a pity you were born a Scotchman but much baby made of a Scotsman. If he be caught young as I was saying about London I soon had to leave and return to my homeland with regrets. You find no man of intellectual who is willing to believe what a man is tired of London he is tired of life in London all that life. Yes sir. Pray continue your narrative. Thank you sir. Nobody missed me but the City of London buzzed with talk of another young man's leaving not leaving. The word is
departure of course a departure. This city talked of his departure this young man was Edmund Burke the hero of my story. And then a brilliant youth late of Grub Street Grub Street the name of a street in London much inhabited by writers of history dictionaries and we are indebted for the definition Dr. Johnson. At the age of 26 Edmund Burke had written a treatise on the sublime and beautiful. I regard it as a philosophical criticism. I hand the young Irishman was healed with applause by all the literary giants of London. He next published an account of the settlements in America and began his great interest in the British colonies there. Yes. And the following year I undertook what he called the Annual Register and enormous task of summarizing each year the debates in Parliament to world events and happenings in politics in progress in literature and science. A brilliant digest of our times and one which
prepared him for his future as a statesman. Then he set sail for Ireland. It is the first place where I should wish to travel. Should you not like to see Dublin sir. Dublin is only a worse capital. It's not the Giant's Causeway worth seeing. Worth reading yes but not worth going to see. Then by your leave I return to a house story and do the important matter of the club that famous literary club which attracted the best and most brilliant minds of London and circulating like planets of the intellectual universe around yourself. Who was the blazing sun. The club began among old friends meeting at Turk's Head Tavern in Girard Street in Soho. Sir Joshua Reynolds the painter Goldsmith poet and playwright Dr. Johnson of course and his friends go player can Langton among others. It was while they were a dinner there one night in late winter that another bottle of wine.
I say what's become of the orange juice. There was a bull for a moment ago. Is there a monkey. I really see a lot for the disappearing oranges. They were last seen in front of Dr. Johnson three into my drink. Very beneficial Yes but even the peelings are gone there's no sign of the peelings. Look underneath the table sign of the true Dr Johnson. You'll put the feelings in your pockets and carry them home with you. Ah Sir George. With our great love for the field. Was all planned in or around this table. I say no. Why should we not to meet regularly organize ourselves as a club. Now we here tonight to be members of course with such others of our friends as we may propose
from time to time not to become to lug Goldsmith but neither must may become static. Should keep his friendships in constant repair. Your man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life he will find himself alone never find himself alone. Greetings my friend want to know. Thank you I've already done so then join us in a glass of. Brandy for Mr complimented Mr Burke talked of values for wine. Yeah he recommends Claridge ballboy porch for man and brandy for hero and I love to be a poet have a boy's careless drink if it would give me that. But it does not. It neither makes boys men I know men who would be drawn by it before it has any effect on you. Right then you drink the hero's brandy then I dare say Mr. Burke said ventures in
Ireland and Irish politics have made a hero of you. Tell me sir when you do searches all together and give up writing for public affair so I am being given up. Talk about England. I have quarrelled with my superior and resigned from his office. Go on to greater things order in your pens underneath me. I shall not go back to grub streets if I can. I should like to stand for part of parliament here he was. You do not mean do not wish me well Dr. Johnson. I do wish you would comment and I say sir the first twig was that I believe we must maintain a balance against the Crone was not enough. I would turn out every man who dared oppose it. You're a Tory All right all right and I'm
quite willing to be in the minority. I believe in any body of men in England I should have been in the minority. Still I shall speak my base. But how how seldom. How seldom is any man convinced by anothers argument. Can I get a single vote by speaking yet. But you just can't vote them out argue there. But he's a man of uncommon ability with a great quantity of matter in his mind and a great fluency in language and his mouth. Yes well we know Mr. Burke you know that he will be one of the first men in the country. I said I corrected. I was under the impression you see a Whig Tory this dispute. Well I thought you were at swords points should have been of one opinion if we had no idea. Oh thank you thank you. But you know let him
come to me when I am the fellow Cause if he debates with me when I'm sick it would kill me. Then I must warn you sir. Another subject which made the question of tax from the Americans Americans are they are a race of convicts and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of a pact must be repealed. It is the purpose of a party that I can live with you my love your knowledge your genius affluence of conversation but I will not talk to you of the rocking a part of you. They are always late. We meet again next week. This place in the book we've formed a club you must be one of us. Tell him why you would be one of us. Burke makes a goodly company as often as I can. But if I
succeed in public affairs it may be difficult. You will succeed Dr Johnson has prophesied it with the Tories. But why did you not say more tonight I wanted your views on America. Another time you could have put Johnson quite below table. Why did you not speak out. He's too dear to me. It is enough that I have rung the bell too and he delights in you for all the pure politics or the hated Whig Heaven bless him. He's so good to me as though he hates politics much as he loves literature. He's often said he'd He just have a man break his bones just talk to him of public affairs. Well then spare him and inflict my views instead upon the house of God speed. The years passed and I'm happy to announce. I too was elected a member of the
club on Friday April 30th 1773 and was greeted there by three strays from matters of importance. Goldsmith wrote. Joshua Reynolds had become the first president of the Royal Academy. Yes David Goetic was on his way to make a hundred thousand. Yes I think your way straight through the problem. It is your duty to deal only with matters of importance. The years passed and our distinguished Mr. Burke made his mark his very first speech in Common's made him famous repeal the stamp. He argued brilliantly against taxation of America. The Boston barbarians through the tears. I myself wrote to you that I thought the king was too severe against the Bostonians. I said there was a danger in future Consequently he said so
too. Burke is a great teacher has no want of inherent right disturbance. What we did at the Revolution was necessary broken our Constitution. Yes but if it please you sir Burke's way would have been in conciliation with America. It does not strike your straight. Yes I will only reports the great speech on conciliation by Edmund Burke as he delivered it in the House of Commons on March 22nd 1775 one month before Lexington and Concord. The war which the Tories won. I did say future consequences Mr. Edmund Burke.
Mr. Speaker we are called upon as it were by a warning voice again to return to America to attend to the whole of it together and to review the subject with an unusual degree of care and calmness. The proposition is peace not peace through the medium of war not peace to be hunted through the labyrinth of intricate and endless negotiations not peace to arise out of Universal discord fomenting from principle in all parts of the Empire. It is simply peace sought in its natural course and its ordinary hall. It is peace in the spirit of peace and laid in principles purity Pacific. I propose by removing the ground of the difference by restoring the unsuspected
confidence of the colonies in the mother country to give satisfaction to your people and to reconcile them to British government. The first thing we have to consider is the number of people in the colonies. Millions of inhabitants of our own European blood and color. This sir is I believe about the truth not theirs. There's no need to exaggerate and why should we spend our time in deliberating on the mode of government to millions. We still find we have two millions more to marriage. You ought not to try for some larger mass of the interests and feelings of the human race. You could in no time do so without guilt and be assured you will not be able to do it along with impunity. The commerce of the collar here is out of all proportion to the numbers of the people
within this century. It has increased twelve fold from five hundred thousand to six million their annual export of green hair some years ago exceeded the million value. Look at the manner in which the people of New England have carried on the communal fishery. No see but what no new climate research is not witness to their toils. When I write when I contemplate these things when I know that the economy is only one or nothing to any care of ours but that their generous nature has been we suffer to take its own way to perfection. When I see how profitable they have been to us. I powered them something to the spirit of liberty America. The gentleman say is an object. It is an object well worth fighting for. Certainly it is. If I can the people be the best way we didn't. But I confess my opinion is much more in favor of prudent management than of
course considering force of feeble instrument for preserving the people so numerous so so active so grown so spirit it is this in a profitable and subordinate connection with us. The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again. And a nation is not covered which is perpetually to be conquered. My my next objection is it's uncertain if you do not succeed. You are without resource for conciliation will fail and force remains by force. No further hope of reconciliation is left. A further objections are forces that you impair the object by your very endeavors to preserve the scene you want for is not the thing with your car but depreciated somewhat wasted and consumed in the context.
Nothing less will content me then. Who are America. I would not choose to consume its strength along with our own because in all parks it is the British streaming that I consume. Lastly we we have NO NO will sort of experience in favor of force as an instrument in the rule of our colonists our ancient indulgence has been said to be pursued to a fault. It may be slow but we know that our fault was more tolerable than our attempt to maintain it and our sin far more salutary than our alternatives. There is still a third general consideration for conciliation these people. I mean their temper and character in this character of the Americans. I love her freedom is the predominate in feature and your colleagues become
suspicious race team and intractable whenever they see the least attempt to wrest from them by force or suffering from them by to carry what they think the only advantage worth living for. This fierce spirit of liberty is strong in the English colonies probably than any other people of the earth. And this from a variety of powerful cause. First the people the people of the colonies are descendants of Englishness even itself there is a nation which still I hope respects and for money I don't know Lord Humphrey the colonists emigrated from here when this is part of your character was most predominant and they took this by recent direction the moment they parted from your hands. They are therefore now totally devoted to liberty but devoted to Liberty according to English ideas and English principles. Three houses miles of ocean lie between you and them.
No contrivance can prevent the effect of this distance in weakening government sees room for any. Months passed between the order and the execution and the want of a speedy explanation of a single point is enough to defeat the whole system. I feel spirit of liberty has grown up a spirited unhappy meeting with an exercise of power in England in which however lawful is not reconcilable to any ideas of liberty much less as there has killed this plane that's ready to consume us. I really I do not mean to comment either the spirit in this excess or the moral cause which produced the question is not whether their spirit deserves praise or blame. What in the name of God shall we do with it. James the Spirit by removing the cause was prosecuted as criminal or comply with it as necessary. The first of these plans to change the spirit by removing the causes is attended with great difficulty.
We can't falsify the pedigree of this fearful people and persuade them that they are not sprung from a nation whose being used the blood of freedom circulators an Englishman is the unfitness person on earth to argue another Englishman into slavery. But let us just let us suppose all these moral difficulties got hold of. The ocean. You cannot pump this dry and as long as it continues in its present so low all the causes which we can authority by distance will continue. The second mode under consideration is to prosecute the American spirit is criminal. I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people I cannot insult and ridicule the feelings of millions of my fellow creatures. What may yet remain no way is open but the third and last to comply with the American spirit is necessary or if you please to submit to
it as a necessary evil if we adopt this moment if we mean to conciliate and can see we must look at their complaint. We must admit the people of our colonies into an interest in the Constitution. Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government. They will cling and grab onto you. And no force under heaven will be your power to tear them from their lips. But but let it let it once be understood that your government may be one thing and and their privileges are numbered. But these two things may exist without any mutual relation. Then the semi has got the cohesion is loosened and everything hastens to decay and dissolution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority in this country is the sanctuary of Liberty the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith. Wherever the Chosen Race and sons of England worship freedom they will turn their faces toward you.
Do not dream. Do not dream that our letters of office and your instructions are the things that hold together the greater context of this mysterious Kor. These things do not make your government their instruments passive tools as they are it is the spirit of the English community that gives all their life and never to see to that it is the spirit of the English Constitution. We infused through the mighty last feeds your knots in regularly vilifies every part of the Empire even down to the minute this member is it is it not the same bird which does everything for us here in England. It is the law of the people it is their attachment to the government from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution which should give you your arm and your name and infuse into both a liberal obedience without which you're on
you're out of your base rabble. You're maybe nothing but rotten to me. Politics is not the truest wisdom and the great go together. We ought we ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of that trust which is the order of provinces coss by us to the dignity of a High Court and our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire and made the most extensive and the only honorable conquest not destroyed but by promoting the happiness of the human race and American revenue as we have gotten American English privileges have it. All of that city's English privileges alone will make it home. It can't
be me. Here again is Professor Habermann Burke followed these words with a motion asking the House to accept measures of conciliation. The motion lost two hundred and seventy 278 28 Days Later on April 19 1775 early in the morning. Eight Minutemen lay dead on the village green at Lexington. A war had begun but since then the world has many times paused to listen. Hearing a voice say The proposition is peace.
- And the world listened
- Producing Organization
- University of Wisconsin
- WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- A dramatization of Edmund Burke's speech asserting that taxation and representation are inseparably conjoined.
- Other Description
- This series presents dramatizations of famous speeches.
- Broadcast Date
- Media type
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Speaker: Haberman, Frederick W. (Frederick William), 1908-1995
Writer: Stanley, J. Helen
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-5-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “And the world listened; Edmund Burke: Conciliation with America,” 1959-02-08, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-z892df36.
- MLA: “And the world listened; Edmund Burke: Conciliation with America.” 1959-02-08. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 19, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-z892df36>.
- APA: And the world listened; Edmund Burke: Conciliation with America. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-z892df36