ABSTRACT

Throughout this study of the classical and Scholastic Natural Law in Burke’s political philosophy, as revealed in his reflections and actions in the practical affairs of Ireland, Colonial America, Britain, India, and revolutionary France, no attempt has been made to describe the “development” of the Natural Law in Burke’s thought and statesmanship. What was most remarkable in Burke was the sustained consistency of the Natural Law in his thought and career. However much John Morley failed to perceive the Natural Law in Burke, his famous remark that Burke “changed his front but he never changed his ground” is literally true. Morley’s insight was applied merely to Burke’s fundamental political consistency between the American and French revolutions, and not to his early and habitual adherence to the primary principles of the Natural Law. Even as an undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin, Burke indicated in his private correspondence his full acceptance of primary Natural Law principles. Undoubtedly, his inherited High Church Anglican religious principles and his early wide reading in the classics, particularly in Cicero, were instrumental in shaping the Natural Law as the foundation of his political philosophy.