and one step at a time. Burke’s analysis is the morenremarkable when it is remembered that, at the first appearancenof the Reflections, France was still a constitutionalnmonarchy and intent, as some Englishmen believed, onnfollowing the English example after a century of delay.nWhen twenty-year-old William Wordsworth walked acrossnFrance in the summer of 1790 with another Cambridgenundergraduate, he saw and applauded in his heart whatnlooked like an outcome dear to all Englishmen, or deservingnto be so. He did not then visit Paris, being on a walking-tournto Switzerland. But the news from the capital was all good:nLouis XVI enthroned in the Champ de Mars among hisnsubjects to celebrate the first anniversary of the fall ofntyranny, land distributed to the peasants, a Declaration ofnthe Rights of Man to match the British Bill of Rights, and anland at peace and in liberty.nWhat Burke sniffed in the last months of 1789, andnintemperately condemned, was a spirit of absolute change.nHe had cautiously conceded the case of Washington and hisnfriends some 15 years earlier, in a pragmatic if not in anprincipled sense. The American rebels of 1775-6 might benmorally and legally wrong, he held, to claim that Englandnhad no right to tax them while their defense was paid for bynEngland, but it might be more sensible to concede the pointnon magnanimous grounds: “Great empires and little mindsngo ill together.” But then Washington and his friends, in thencommon judgment of the 1770’s, were not making anrevolution, and it was a rare Englishman or American whonused or knew the phrase “the American Revolution” beforenthe 19th century. To English ears down to the 1790’s therenwas only one revolution that counted — the English Revolutionnof 1689; and it represented the greatest event in thensecular history of all mankind. Ironic, then, that France inn1989 seems likely to celebrate her revolution only with ansour, or, at best, appraising glance; odder still that thenEnglish seem unlikely to celebrate theirs at all, in their heartnof hearts, though formal tributes are afoot. But then if therenbreathes a single Englishman who thinks of himself as livingnin a revolutionary state, I have yet to meet him.nIt is striking that Burke, the. elderly Whig, and Wordsworth,nthe young radical, though separated in birth bynover 40 years, hardly differed in their view of what Francenneeded in 1789. She needed an English revolution—a turnnof events, that is, to produce a constitutional state much likenthe English one. Every Englishman knew the French byntradition to be slaves: “We shall soon be landed in France,”nsays an ardent young man to his bride in Goldsmith’s ShenStoops to Conquer (1773), “where even among slaves thenlaws of marriage are respected.” Goldsmith was a Tory, butnhe wholly accepted what has since come to be called thenWhig Interpretation of History, which was the view of allnbut a few 18th-century Englishmen. The Glorious Revolutionnof 1689 was an example of liberty to all the wodd. Atnthe opening of his Reflections, Burke remarks that henbelonged to “more clubs than one in which the constitutionnof this kingdom and the principles of the Glorious Revolutionnare held in high reverence,” and such reverence wasnhighly competitive. Even David Hume, a skeptical ScottishnTory, did not deny in his History of Great Britain (1754-6)nthat 1689 was a great and singular event. It is not that henthought much of revolutions in general: “It is seldom thatnthe people gain anything by revolutions in government,” henremarks cooly, meaning violent changes. But 1689 was annexception, and the British people profited by it in life,nliberty, and property. By 1789 there was no view availablenexcept that the French should strive to follow the glories ofnthe British example. Richard Price, a radical dissenter andnfriend of Benjamin Franklin, praised the fall of the Bastille inna notorious tract because ensuing events — the recall of thenEstates General by Louis XVI and its enactments^—ndemonstrated, in his view, that France was following anBritish example. How could freeborn Englishmen reasonablynfail to welcome the spread of British ideas of governmentnlike constitutional monarchy and the rule of law?nWhen Burke replied in November 1790, in his Reflectionsnon the Revolution in France, he had no cause tondisagree with Price that the Brihsh system was best. Hisndisagreement was factual: he denied that the French werenbent on anything as cautious as the British example. Yearsnlater, and no longer a radical, Wordsworth was to describenhis early convictions in The Prelude, where he does notnrepresent himself as doubting that France was following anBritish path.nBliss seemed it in that dawn to be alive.nAnd to be young was very heaven,nwas the cry of a young Englishman who believed thatnFrance was emulating the tried success of the EnglishnRevolution. By 1800 both Wordsworth and Coleridge hadnabandoned their French enthusiasm. But though thosenenthusiasms were called “democratical,” at least by others,nthere is no reason to suppose that universal suffrage was innthe mind of either of them. By 1793 their views werendangerous, as they knew, because France and England werenat war: two revolutions had been tragically sundered bynpower politics and the refusal of the British Pariiament tonrecognize its own children. To their bitter regret, a dream ofnrevolution had turned them into traitors. But like thenpro-Soviet traitors of the 1930’s, they still believed themselvesnfor a time to be justified by a loftier law.nEnlightened opinion in France probably shared an enthusiasmnfor the English Revolution, though royal censorshipnbefore 1789 now makes it difficult to discern how far thatnadmiration went. Voltaire occasionally praised William III,nthough always in cautious terms and sometimes in writingsnnot meant for publication. His Lettres anglaises (1734),nmuch his most radical book, is full of praise for the tolerancenshown to dissenting opinion by Hanoverian England, wherenhe had spent the years 1726-9, among an abundance ofnimplied contrasts with a France that still burned heretics ornbroke them in public on the wheel. Montesquieu, whonsettled in England in 1729 — the very year Voltaire left it, asnit happens, and the very year of Burke’s birth — praised thenconstitution of England as the wodd’s finest in a passagenBurke was later to applaud. England was the enlightenednstate of all Europe. With one or two small exceptions, likenHolland and Switzeriand, it stood alone, a pathfinder amongnnations. Monarchs studied it too, in prosperity and misery.nLouis XVI read Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion inncaptivity, marveling at the nation that could suffer andisastrous civil war in the 1640’s and yet achieve sustainednnnJUNE 1989/15n