Letters On A Regicide Peace "Example Is The School Of Mankind"

Edmund Burke

"Example Is The School Of Mankind"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: As Burke's life approached its end so did the life of the French Revolution. In Paris horror succeeded horror, culminating in the execution of the king and queen; the Army moved in, and under the command of Napoleon, protected what was of permanent value in the increasing shambles of the disintegrating Revolution. To the astonishment of many, France, wracked by violent internal conflicts and collapsing credit, was able to break up the European coalition arrayed against her. In England a movement was afoot to make peace with the Revolutionary government, and peace talks were actually opened at one point. Burke, ever a firm and stanch enemy of the French Revolution, was equally firmly opposed to this peace movement. In a series of four open letters he argued his case for France as a menace to all of Europe. Near the end of this first letter he insisted that those led to accept a French monarch's overthrow would soon accept the overthrow of other monarchs:

And is, then example nothing? It is everything. Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other. This war is a war against that example. It is not a war for Louis the Eighteenth, or even for the property, virtue, fidelity of France. It is a war for George the Third, for Francis the Second, and for all the dignity, property, honor, virtue, and religion of England, of Germany, and of all nations.