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The Bond of Liberty : Britain’s ‘empire’ owed its existence not to her armies or politicians but to her merchants and her unique brand of liberty.
The Bond of Liberty

From Speech on Conciliation with America (March 22nd, 1775) by Edmund Burke MP (1729-1797).

Edmund Burke reminded the House of Commons that her enviable international influence did not depend on government bureacracy or complex trade deals or military might. It arose from Britain’s ‘unique selling point’, a love of liberty her colonies could find nowhere else.

AS long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience.

Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil.* They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But, until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. It is the spirit of the English constitution, which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, unites, invigorates, vivifies every part of the empire, even down to the minutest member.

* This phrase and indeed the substance of Burke’s argument was recalled in his final speech to the Commons by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in 1937. The speech can be read and heard online at The British Library.

From Speech on Conciliation with America (March 22nd, 1775) by Edmund Burke MP (1729-1797).

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