The chivalry from which Burke drew his ideas was, so far as it existed at all, the product of a far later age.
The Rohillas were defeated by Colonel Champion in April 1774, and the majority of them fled across the Ganges; but the charges of destroying a nation, brought against Hastings by Burke and Macaulay, were greatly exaggerated.
Yet Burke threw such breadth and generality over all he wrote that even these propositions, relative as they were, form a short manual of statesmanship.
And yet Burke is among the greatest of those who have wrought marvels in the prose of our English tongue.
The duke of Grafton went out, and Lord North became the head of a government, which lasted twelve years (1770-1782), and brought about more than all the disasters that Burke had foretold as the inevitable issue of the royal policy.
Arthur Young, with whom he had corresponded years before on the mysteries of deep ploughing and fattening hogs, added a cogent polemical chapter to that ever admirable work, in which he showed that he knew as much more than Burke about the old system of France as he knew more than Burke about soils and roots.
Meanwhile, in the province of Victoria, by means of a fund subscribed among the colonists and a grant by the legislature, the ill-fated expedition of Messrs Burke and Wills was started.
George Grenville, whom the Rockinghams had displaced, and who was bitterly incensed at their formal reversal of his policy, printed a pamphlet to demonstrate his own wisdom and statesmanship. Burke replied in his Observations on a late Publication on the Present State of the Nation (1769), in which he showed for the first time that he had not only as much knowledge of commerce and finance, and as firm a hand, in dealing with figures as Grenville himself, but also a broad, general and luminous way of conceiving and treating politics, in which neither then nor since has he had any rival among English publicists.
The Quebec Bill was recommitted, and Burke at once rose and soon began to talk his usual language against the Revolution, the rights of man, and Jacobinism whether English or French.
A few months afterwards Burke published the Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs, a grave, calm and most cogent vindication of the perfect consistency of his criticisms upon the English Revolution of 1688 and upon the French Revolution of 1789, with the doctrines of the great Whigs who conducted and afterwards defended in Anne's reign the transfer of the crown from James to William and Mary.