On the French Revolution


2 August 2006, 12.43 CET

When France began its reformation and limited its monarch and stipended its clergy, I thought I saw philosophy at last in its proper station on the globe providing by its wisdom and goodness for the happiness of mankind. But alas—our philosophers only open’d the gates of the police to let in a band of ruffians to cut their throats, and now in the levity and savageness of the French character, in their rigour and folly, my judgment is quite bewilder’d.

—George Dempster (northern Whig), January 1794.
Quoted in W.L. Renwick, English Literature 1789–1815, p. 2