“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
This famous quote was from British statesman Edmund Burke, who was born Jan. 12, 1729. He was considered the most influential orator in the House of Commons. Edmund Burke stands out in history for, as a member of the British Parliament, he defended the rights of the American colonies and strongly opposed the slave trade.
Edmund Burke wrote in his will: “First, according to the ancient, good, and laudable custom, of which my heart and understanding recognize the propriety, I bequeath my soul to God, hoping for His mercy through the only merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
When America’s Revolutionary War began, Edmund Burke addressed Parliament with “A Second Speech on the Conciliation with America,” March 22, 1775: “The people are Protestants; and of that kind which is the most adverse to all implicit submission of mind and opinion. This is a persuasion not only favorable to liberty, but built upon it. …”
Edmund Burke continued: “All Protestantism … is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our Northern Colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance; it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion.”
Edmund Burke is quoted in “The Works and Correspondence of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke,” Volume VI: “The Scripture … is a most remarkable, but most multifarious, collection of the records of the Divine economy; a collection of an infinite variety of theology, history, prophecy, psalmody, morality, allegory, legislation, carried through different books, by different authors, at different ages, for different ends and purposes.”
In 1789, the French Revolution started with the motto “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.”
Robespierre, who led France’s “Committee of Public Safety,” gave a speech to the National Convention, Feb. 5, 1794, titled “Terror Justified”: “Lead the people by means of reason and … by terror. … Terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice; it flows, then, from virtue.”
The seeds of casting off moral restraint planted a generation earlier by Voltaire came to fruition. Robespierre’s Reign of Terror resulted in over 40,000 being beheaded in Paris and over 300,000 massacred in the Vendée, a Catholic area of northwest France, and:
- all churches were closed
- crosses were forbidden
- religious monuments were destroyed
- graves were desecrated, including Ste. Genevieve’s, who had called Paris to pray to avert an attack of Attila the Hun in 451 A.D.
- public and private worship and religious education were outlawed
- treaties were broken resulting in the capture of 300 American ships headed to British ports
Talleyrand, the French minister of foreign affairs, demanded the U.S. pay millions in bribes to stop France from raiding American ships. He stated: “We were given speech to hide our thoughts.”
There was an intentional campaign to de-christianize French society, replacing it with a civic religion of state worship. Robespierre placed a prostitute in Notre Dame Cathedral, clothed her with a sheet, and called her “the goddess of reason.”
Not wanting a constitution “Done in the year of the Lord,” they made 1791 the new “Year One.” They did not want a seven-day week with a sabbath day rest, so they came up with a 10-day week, with 10 hours in a day, 10 minutes in an hour, and 100 seconds in a minute. Considering “10” the number of man, as man had 10 fingers and 10 toes, they created the metric system with all measurements divisible by 10.
The first to be beheaded was King Louis XVI, followed by Marie Antoinette, but when the country’s situation did not improve, Robespierre accused all the royalty, who were then beheaded. When the situation did not improve, the next to be beheaded were the wealthy, followed by business owners, farmers and those who hoarded food.
When the situation did not improve, the religious clergy were beheaded, being accused of holding the nation back from achieving a secular utopian society. Priests and ministers, along with those who harbored them, were executed on sight, similar to what happened in Mexico in 1917.
When the situation did not improve, they beheaded those who had grown tired of the beheadings, accusing them of becoming “disloyal” to the revolution. Finally, Robespierre himself was accused, arrested and beheaded.
Amid the domestic instability and social confusion, Napoleon began to rise toward dictatorship.
As the bloody French Revolution progressed, Edmund Burke wrote in “A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly,” 1791: “What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without restraint. Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as they are disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good in preference to the flattery of knaves. …”
Edmund Burke continued: “Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
In “Reflections on the Revolution in France,” 1790, Edmund Burke wrote: “People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.”
On Jan. 9, 1795, in a letter to William Smith, Edmund Burke stated: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
On the eve of the French Revolution, the first U.S. Minister to France, Gouverneur Morris, wrote April 29, 1789: “The materials for a revolution in France are very indifferent. … There is an utter prostration of morals … depravity … extreme rottenness of every member. … The great masses of the common people have no religion … no law but their superiors, no morals but their interest. … In the high road a la liberte … the first use they make of it is to form insurrections everywhere.”
Gouverneur Morris wrote “Observation on Government, Applicable to the Political State of France,” 1792: “Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God. … Provision should be made for maintaining divine worship as well as education. … Religion is the relation between God and man; therefore it is not within the reach of human authority.”
Gouverneur Morris, who died Nov. 6, 1816, had spoken 173 times during the Constitutional Convention, more than any other delegate. As head of the Committee on Style, it was Gouverneur Morris who penned the final draft of the Constitution and originated the phrase: “We the people of the United States …”
Gouverneur Morris helped write New York’s Constitution, was elected U.S. Senator and pioneered the Erie Canal.
He stated: “To minimize potential for corruption, power had to be divided between the president and the Senate. As the president was to nominate … and as the Senate was to concur, there would be security.”
In 1785, Gouverneur Morris addressed the Pennsylvania Assembly regarding the Bank of North America: “How can we hope for public peace and national prosperity, if the faith of governments so solemnly pledged can be so lightly infringed? … This hour of distress will come. It comes to all, and the moment of affliction is known to Him alone, whose Divine Providence exalts or depresses States and Kingdoms … in proportion to their obedience or disobedience of His just and holy laws.”
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