counter create hit Speech on a Motion Made in the House of Commons by the Right Hon. C.J. Fox, May 11, 1793, for Leave To Bring in a Bill To Repeal and Alter Certain Acts Respecting Religious Opinions, upon the Occasion of a Petition of the Unitarian Society - Download Free eBook
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Speech on a Motion Made in the House of Commons by the Right Hon. C.J. Fox, May 11, 1793, for Leave To Bring in a Bill To Repeal and Alter Certain Acts Respecting Religious Opinions, upon the Occasion of a Petition of the Unitarian Society

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2 review for Speech on a Motion Made in the House of Commons by the Right Hon. C.J. Fox, May 11, 1793, for Leave To Bring in a Bill To Repeal and Alter Certain Acts Respecting Religious Opinions, upon the Occasion of a Petition of the Unitarian Society

  1. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    An interesting read; Burke's normal position was nearly always in favor of toleration, but he was convinced the Unitarians were an existential threat to the Church of England and the very State and Constitution themselves. Perhaps this is why he begins his speech with an enormous caveat against principles and in favor of specific circumstances, at least as concerns practical policy: I never govern myself, no rational man ever did govern himself, by abstractions and universals. I do not put abstra An interesting read; Burke's normal position was nearly always in favor of toleration, but he was convinced the Unitarians were an existential threat to the Church of England and the very State and Constitution themselves. Perhaps this is why he begins his speech with an enormous caveat against principles and in favor of specific circumstances, at least as concerns practical policy: I never govern myself, no rational man ever did govern himself, by abstractions and universals. I do not put abstract ideas wholly out of any question; because I well know that under that name I should dismiss principles, and that without the guide and light of sound, well-understood principles, all reasonings in politics, as in everything else, would be only a confused jumble of particular facts and details, without the means of drawing out any sort of theoretical or practical conclusion. A statesman differs from a professor in an university: the latter has only the general view of society; the former, the statesman, has a number of circumstances to combine with those general ideas, and to take into his consideration. (location 55511-55515) Burke adds later, "no moral questions are ever abstract questions." (location 55703) Burke draws the limits of religion as such: "As religion is one of the bonds of society, he ought not to suffer it to be made the pretext of destroying its peace, order, liberty, and its security." (55548-55549) So Burke goes to show that Unitarians in England 1) were associated for the purpose of gaining followers 2) in order to overthrow the Anglican Church by force and violence 3) the plan to overthrow the Church was part of a larger plan to overthrow the State, and 5) it was working in sympathy with the French Revolution and its advocates in England. Burke cites Joseph Priestley, Unitarianism's founder, as his source for these points. Burke underscores the point by noting, "One robbery is an alarm to all property." (location 55671) Presaging Vladimir Lenin and Fidel Castro, Burke notes a determined, active minority can overcome a much larger mass of people: To say that in all contests the decision will of course be in favor of the greater number is by no means true in fact. For, first, the greater number is generally composed of men of sluggish tempers, slow to act, and unwilling to attempt, and, by being in possession, are so disposed to peace that they are unwilling to take early and vigorous measures for their defense, and they are almost always caught unprepared...A smaller number, more expedite, awakened, active, vigorous, and courageous, who make amends for what they want in weight by their superabundance of velocity, will create an acting power of the greatest possible strength. (location 55679-55688) Burke ends by reinforcing the idea every person is entitled to self defense, but at the same time, a person need not arm someone else they perceive to be a threat, even in the name of the other's self defense: "A man desires a sword: why should he be refused? A sword is a means of defense, and defense is the natural right of man,--nay, the first of all his rights, and which comprehends them all." (location 55707-55710) Therefore, Burke comes out opposed to the emancipation of Unitarians. A somewhat surprising departure from Burke's usual defense of toleration for non-Anglicans, but things become clear once Burke accuses the Unitarians of alliance with French Revolutionaries, Burke's ultimate bugbear. Worth reading. I read this as part of Collected Works of Edmund Burke, which is too large for me to review in under Goodreads' 20,000 character limit; the above location references are to the work I read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

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