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Identifying Rousseau’s ruling passion as vanity, not virtue, Burke ‘needs address himself neither to the substance of Rousseau’s thought nor to the quality and sincerity of his intentions’ (Duffy 41), a strategy successfully employed by all subsequent counterrevolutionary writers. Rousseau had revolutionized philosophy by placing domestic and sexual critiques at the centre of philosophical enquiry, using sentimental and confessional genres. Writing novels like La Nouvelle Héloïse, the autobiographical Confessions, and essays like Social Contract, he located philosophical authority in the impassioned domestic dialogues of Julie, the interiority of Jean-Jacques, and the dispassionate analytical voice of the male law-giver.

Government, Nation and Individual are three distinct entities with distinct duties, the latter’s being to exercise rational ethical judgment on the nation and its government. Barbauld contends that war is equivalent to mass murder, and that this ought to be the true subject for repentance on this fast day. Given the gravity of the situation, even the least powerful citizens, women included implicitly, are required to consider either consenting or remonstrating: 20 Introduction the more strictly we are bound to acquiesce, the more it is incumbent on us to remonstrate.

Perhaps in the distant future, imagines Barbauld’s poet, ‘England, the seat of arts, be only known/ By the grey ruin and the mouldering stone’, a ruined landscape visited by North American tourists on a new Grand Tour (Selected Poetry 165). Always forward-thinking, Barbauld had welcomed the French Revolution with a Introduction 23 regenerative optimism that by 1811 was nearly extinguished by the expanding Napoleonic wars. As she wrote to her brother in 1791, I cannot help thinking that the revolution in France will introduce there an entire revolution in education; and particularly be the ruin of classical learning, the importance of which must be lessening every day; while other sciences, particularly that of politics and government, must rise in value, afford an immediate introduction to active life, and be necessary in some degree to everybody.

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