Andrew Roberts

He Told Us So

The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke Vol VIII: The French Revolution 1790–94

By Edmund Burke (edited by L G Mitchell)

OUP 552pp £65 order from our bookshop

This is the first edition of Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France for twenty years. No edition of his other writings on the subject – Hints for a Memorial to be delivered to Monsieur de M M (1791), Preface to Brissot’s Address to his Constituents (1794), and others – have appeared for over a century. Oxford is therefore doing a service, albeit for £65 per unillustrated, dull-jacketed copy.

For all the impeccable scholarship of this edition, which places Burke’s work in its exact historical context, the overriding fact quickly emerges that Burke was not primarily interested either in France or its Revolution. He made relatively few speeches on the subject, preferring to concentrate on the (for him) far more absorbing impeachment of Warren Hastings.

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