Biography of Edmund Burke


Burke, Edmund. Born in 1729. Statesman and orator. An Irishman by birth. Graduated at Trinity College, Dublin. Going to London, he attracted attention by his essays on the "Sublime and Beautiful," and devoted himself to literature founding, in 1759, "The Annual Register." In 1761 he became private secretary to Hamilton, the new chief secretary for Ireland, and served Lord Rockingham in the same capacity when that nobleman became prime minister. He was returned to Parliament for Wendover, and his speeches on American affairs created a great sensation in the House of Commons. His position in political life was raised still higher by the pamphlets which he wrote on current questions. Returned for Malton, he produced in 1780 his great plan of economical reform, and in 1782 he became paymaster under Lord Rockingham's government. He again took office in the Duke of Portland's coalition ministry, when he made his famous speech on the India bill. In the impeachment of Warren Hastings, Burke played a leading part, his opening speech extending over four days. The outbreak of the French Revolution was the occasion of one of his finest efforts of oratory, with Fox, and he seceded from the Whig Party. In 1794 he retired from parliamentary life, though he continued to produce his pamphlets on political affairs. Died 1797.