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The Works of Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke

This page is the gateway to our inventory of the works of the great Edmund Burke and the opponents of his writings and speeches on controversial subjects, most notably the American and French Revolutions. Burke was an early opponent of the taxing and trade policies of the British government which helped cause the American Revolution and he was an opponent of British attempts to suppress the Revolution by force of arms. Those were highly unpopular positions from 1765 when he joined the House of Commons until he was proven right in 1781 with the British defeat at Yorktown.

Burke was an early and forceful opponent of the French Revolution when much of the world, including America, was entranced by the dawn of the reign of liberty and justice that they believed was occurring in France. His 1790 "Reflections on the Revolution in France" was the first warning that the French Revolution may be fatally flawed and would lead to anarchy, mob rule and dictatorship to quell the disorder. That work also set out the intellectual foundation of the conservative political movement which has continued with vigor to the present day.

While Burke's modern acclaim seems to be as a founding conservative he does not fit the mold of a backward looking politician upholding the status quo. During his life he fought for more religious and political freedom in Ireland, he was an opponent of many political and trade restrictions on the American colonies, he fought the patronage machine and royal prerogatives of King George III and he argued forcefully against the tide of public opinion for better treatment for the residents of the colony of India. And while he was the single most important opponent of the French Revolution for many good conservative reasons, he believed rich and poor suffered under the yolk of arbitrary revolutionary power and the predicted dictator who would clean up the chaos.

This page provides links to the major works of Burke and the Annual Register which he founded and eloquently wrote and/or edited for thirty years. While that work contains some interesting original writing by Burke, especially in the early years, it also has independent value as the source of early publication of many documents and accounts of political, scientific and literary history. Highlights include the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and maps of North America and the British empire in 1763. Our Annual Register inventory includes both individual volumes and complete sets of first editions. We probably have the largest inventory of Annual Registers in the world.

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Show above is a full leather set of Annual Registers for the years 1758 through 1773, the years of Burke's greatest contributions to the journal. We have other sets of the Annual Registers, including one owned by Earl Verney who gave Burke his first seat in the House of Commons and very rare first edition sets from the 1700s that cover the Revolutionary War and French Revolution years. We also have individual years of the Annual Register available in the time period 1758-1823. See our inventory of Annual Registers here,  which includes both individual volumes and first edition and other multi-volume sets

 "Memoir of the Life and Character of Edmund Burke" by James Prior, published in Philadelphia in 1825


We also have Burke's best single work, Reflections on the Revolution in France,  bound by itself. This copy was owned by and has the armorial bookmark of James Hatch, Esq. a peer whose Craybury Hall was built the year of Burke's publication in 1790, with landscaping done by the great Sir Humphry Repton.

This is the Earl of Abingdon's Thoughts on the Letter of Edmund Burke, Esq; to the Sheriffs of Bristol, on the Affairs of America, in which he criticized Edmund Burke for not opposing anti-American legislation more vigorously, including suspension of habeas corpus. A strong advocate of the American colonies, he explains why Parliament cannot violate the British constitution to suppress the American Revolution. We have first and second edition copies both published in 1777 in London.

This is James Mackintosh's famous 1791 "Vindiciae Gallicae, Defence of The French Revolution and Its English Admirers." It is recognized by many, including Burke himself, as the best rebuttal to Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France." After the guillotining of the French King and the Reign of Terror Macintosh had the good manners to concede that Burke was right about the French Revolution and became one of Burke's admirers.

This was one of Edmund Burke's last significant works, written and published in 1796 the year before his death. In Burke's  "Letter to a Noble Lord" he skewers the Duke of Bedford for hypocrisy in questioning the King's grant of a pension to Burke compared to the Duke's own royal grant and explains Burke's opposition to the French Revolution and why he was helping to save the lands and lives of aristocrats like Bedford from the perverse "Frenchified" doctrines. It is one of Burke's more entertaining works.

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