By Ian Crowe
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Additional resources for An Imaginative Whig: Reassessing the Life and Thought of Edmund Burke
But since there is no standard by which their “truth” can be ascertained, “peace” (about which we can be sure) is preferable. In Britain, not only is private opinion unfettered, but anyone is at liberty to set up a church according to his own particular doctrines. The State, however, is not obliged to support such a church from a tax levied on the people at large. Burke was sympathetic to Dissent, where it was based on conscience. ” The petitioners sought the material advantages attached to membership of the Established Church, without subscribing to its doctrines and practices.
With the Catholic Nagles, his mother’s family, Burke spent some years of his childhood, and he remained in touch with them, making theirs the more powerful family influence. From 1741 to 1744, Burke attended a school at Ballitore, under the aegis of Abraham Shackleton, a Quaker. Shackleton served as a kind of surrogate father for Burke, and his son Richard was the closest of Burke’s early friends. Burke’s religious convictions were thus informed by direct observation of different faiths, as well as by ratiocination and personal experience.
Could he accept Hinduism as on a par with Christianity? In this instance, Jones’s rationality may have proved a hindrance to cross-cultural understanding. ” Burke was certainly more flexible in his attitude to the Bible. 37 In the preface, Halhed hints cautiously at the kind of attitude to Hinduism that 34. Jones to Earl Spencer, September 1–11, August 25, 1787, in Letters, ed. Garland Cannon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970), 2:764–6, 758. 35. Burke, Writings, 6:301–3, 346. 36. , 2:362. 37.