This article explores the portrayal of Camelot as a sanctuary in Alfred Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. Like many of the medieval sources that inspired him, and reflecting his own beliefs about Victorian England’s role in the modern world, Tennyson presents Camelot as a haven from the violence and disorder that surround it. He makes the elaborate petitioning ceremonies of the late Middle Ages, by which supplicants could ask for protection from a powerful ruler, the centerpiece ritual of Arthur’s court. The Idylls thus reveal much about Tennyson’s traditional conservatism in response to nineteenth-century debates over immigration and the proper treatment of refugees.


Throughout the 1960s and 70s, scores of refugees from such disparate places as Vietnam and Poland found a temporary haven in the most unlikely of places: Mecosta, MI, a tiny, former logging town buried deep in the state’s central, swampy wastes. They were there not at the behest of the US government, but of one of Mecosta’s most prominent citizens, the conservative historian and social critic, Russell Kirk. Together with his wife Annette, Kirk played host to dozens of asylum seekers, ex-convicts, and unwed mothers over the years, inviting many to settle in the same ramshackle Italianate mansion, “Piety Hill,” in which the Kirks themselves lived with their four children, and installing others in various properties they owned around town, which had been purchased and refurbished with such a purpose in mind.[1] Some of these visitors stayed for years, depending for that whole time on the Kirks’ largesse.[2] As a Roman Catholic, Kirk took his responsibilities to treat foreigners in accordance with Scripture seriously; he often quotes from the Bible in his own books and essays, and must have taken to heart some of the passages in which Christians are exhorted to show strangers justice and mercy (Deut. 27:19, Exo. 22:21). And, as a traditional conservative, he also believed in the limited suitability of the government to solve problems that could be better addressed at the level of the individual citizen, family, or local community. As proof of his faith in these principles, Kirk was willing to spend his own, hard-earned money and turn his home into a “safe house” and “place of refuge.”[3] A visitor once dubbed the place “The Last Homely House,” after J.R.R. Tolkien’s Rivendell, but perhaps in its role as sanctuary it more closely resembles Camelot, that bright and “many-tower’d” citadel in which the legendary British ruler, King Arthur, met with his knights around their famous Table Round.[4] [5]

Indeed, the depiction of Camelot as a safe haven is remarkably consistent across literary treatments of the Matter of Britain, including those by Chrétien de Troyes and Sir Thomas Malory. And yet, few have emphasized its sheltering, protective nature as much as Alfred Tennyson, who served as Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria’s reign, and has come to be regarded as a kind of spokesman for the era due to the broad and enduring popularity of his work.[6] His interest in the subject spanned nearly the whole of his long career, and culminated in the Idylls of the King, a magisterial cycle of blank verse poems composed over several decades, which were conceived of from the start as a “big national work which reflected, or expressed metaphorically, the aspirations of the age and the forces driving it.”[7] Tennyson’s use of Camelot as a symbol for Victorian England enabled him to explore the manners and morals of his contemporaries through the nostalgic lens of the past, as even contemporary readers noted.[8] This paper will focus on two issues that are as pressing today as they were for the Victorians: Camelot’s role as a sanctuary and Arthur’s response to the desperate or unfortunate souls trapped outside of its walls. Inspired as much by his Christian beliefs as by his regard for the medieval chivalric code, Arthur attempts to care for these suppliants by eschewing the massive resources available to him as head of state, instead assuming personal responsibility for their well-being. Like Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, and other traditional conservatives, Tennyson argues that it is not, primarily, in some faceless bureaucracy that suppliants ought to place their trust, but in the private virtue of outstanding men and women, such as Arthur and his knights aspired to be. Today, as countries from North America to Europe struggle with their own migrant crises, Tennyson’s message is worthy of consideration.


Compared to the Victorian era, let alone the present, the Middle Ages were dangerous and desperate times. This was true for the poor and wealthy alike, and for people of all ages, races, and creeds. Not for nothing does Johan Huizinga begin his celebrated study of The Waning of the Middle Ages with a chapter on “The Violent Tenor of Life.” In the second paragraph, he paints an indelible picture of some of the characteristics that distinguished the medieval world from our own:

Calamities and indigence were more afflicting than at present; it was more difficult to guard against them, and to find solace. Illness and health presented a more striking contrast; the cold and darkness of winter were more real evils. Honours and riches were relished with greater avidity and contrasted more vividly with surrounding misery. We, at the present day, can hardly understand the keenness with which a fur coat, a good fire on the hearth, a soft bed, a glass of wine, were formerly enjoyed.[9]

The treacherous, unpredictable nature of everyday life crystallized in the famous symbol of Fortune’s Wheel, to which, as C.S. Lewis notes, medieval allusions “are exceptional in their frequency and seriousness.”[10] Lying down to bed at night, one simply never knew what change for better or worse the morning sun would reveal: perhaps a barbarian invasion, or the latest contagion from which the primitive medical techniques of the time could offer little relief. Throughout Europe, thousands flocked to fortified towns and castles, which promised some measure of protection from the former threat, at least, but introduced new dangers in their complicated legal systems and higher costs of living.

According to English common law, fugitives from justice could take refuge in a church or other religious site, in which they were supposed to be left unmolested for a certain length of time. Hence the word sanctuary is derived from the Latin sanctus, for “holy.”[11] It was used to refer to the physical location in which such a privilege was granted, or to the privilege itself, as in Shakespeare’s Richard III: “You break not sanctuary in seizing [the Duke of York],” Buckingham argues, not very convincingly.[12] The use of “refuge,” meanwhile, as “shelter or protection from danger or trouble” dates to the Norman conquest of 1066, but signified the same in French for much longer than that.[13] Over time, the meaning of both words expanded to include non-religious sites of a more general, protective nature, such as the great mead-halls of Norse mythology. Perhaps the most famous of these, Heorot, is depicted in terms that would anticipate later descriptions of Camelot: it is both “an actual and a symbolic refuge. Here is heat and light, rank and ceremony, human solidarity and culture . . . ”[14] Already, in Beowulf, there is evidence of the close association between rights and responsibilities, manners and holiness that so characterize sanctuaries in medieval literature.

Tennyson’s depiction of Camelot as a sanctuary draws from these traditions, but it also reflects his conviction that England had come to represent a modern refuge in the increasingly variable and volatile nineteenth century. Despite his country’s involvement in a series of wars spanning almost every continent of the globe, from North America to East Asia, no blood had actually been spilled in battle on British soil since the Jacobite Uprising of 1745  —  more than half a century before Tennyson’s birth in 1809.[15] Indeed, during Queen Victoria’s long reign, there were few major rebellions or invasions throughout the whole of Great Britain (i.e., England, Scotland, and Wales), though of course living conditions for the vast majority of her subjects remained dire. Still, in “Ode on the Death of Wellington,” Tennyson’s gratitude at having been born English must have reflected widespread sentiment:

A people’s voice! we are a people yet.

Tho’ all men else their nobler dreams forget.

Confused by brainless mobs and lawless Powers;

Thank Him who isled us here, and roughly set

His Briton in blown seas and storming showers.[16]

The material advantages of England’s far-flung Empire certainly contributed to feelings of confidence and security at home. They also complicate attempts to portray England as a sanctuary or refuge, since the latter seems incongruous with massive military expenditures or the subjugation of foreign powers.

Tennyson reconciles this contrast in the Idylls by emphasizing the noble intentions and undeniable early successes of Arthur’s civilizing mission. The opening lines of the poem highlight the dangerous conditions under which the Britons had suffered before the king’s arrival: the land “wasted,” covered in “great tracts of wilderness,” with child-devouring wolves roaming the lanes at will.[17] The poet emphasizes the inherent conflict between man “and the idea of his beasthood,” the “destabilizing possibility of his ‘reversion’ to the state against which he has defined himself.”[18] Further, less existential, threats are posed by enemy forces within and beyond the borders of the realm: the “heathen host” swarming overseas, Roman legions, and even other British kings who refuse to submit to Uther’s rule. Leodogran’s plea for help is that of a people entire: “Arise, and help us thou! / For here between the man and beast we die” (CA, 44-45). Much criticism has been levied against the Victorian belief, evident in these opening pages of the Idylls, that they had the right and duty to “conquer, rule, and attempt to civilize all of the inferior, nonwhite races of the world” — what has been referred to as their civilizing or “divine” mission.[19] But for Tennyson, there is nothing ambivalent about either Arthur’s actions or their fruits: the imposition of order on the land and, just as important, the conversion of her people to the one true faith. It is all a necessary prelude to the formal establishment of the court at Camelot, which is to serve as a potent symbol of refuge for the rest of Arthur’s rule.

For as violent and chaotic as the medieval world (as imagined by Tennyson) could be, it is remarkable how perfectly inviolable Camelot, herself, remains throughout the Idylls. No acts of violence are ever committed within her walls, and even wicked characters such as Mordred or Vivian feel compelled to stay on their best behavior there. All visitors to the court, especially those of noble birth, are expected to adhere to the lofty ideals of chivalry, that celebrated ideology of the Middle Ages which was supposed to govern “knightly behavior, clearly in romance and to varying extents in reality,” encompassing in both “the quality of physical prowess, courtesy in interactions with others, and religious piety.”[20] Until open dissent finally breaks out at the end of “Pelleas and Ettarre,” there is scarcely any hint of conflict or disagreement between members of Arthur’s court. Even the whitest lies will not be tolerated there. Our first glimpse of Camelot is through the eyes of the young and impressionable Gareth of Orkney, who agrees not to reveal his true identity in exchange for his mother’s blessing to depart from home. At the gates of the city, he is challenged by an old warden, a riddling seer who knows that Gareth is lying, and warns him against attempting to do so in Arthur’s presence (“Gareth and Lynette [GL],” 279-287). Gareth’s is but one of many deceptions that subtly work to undermine the purity of Camelot over the long run.

The city also serves as a refuge in a more traditional sense, offering the masses an opportunity to appeal directly to the ruler for emergency assistance. In ancient Greece, foreigners, refugees, and others could seek protection from a powerful ruler. In exchange, these suppliants would agree to recognize his authority.[21] The tradition was memorably recorded in surviving plays by Aeschylus, Euripides, and others, and was practiced throughout the late classical and early medieval periods, flourishing, especially, in the ritual-obsessed latter. By the late Middle Ages, a sophisticated system of petitioning had developed, which governed the formal process through which anyone could apply to royal or church officials for aid.[22] Tennyson restores the practice to its classical roots, and makes it one of the central rituals of Arthur’s court. “Gareth and Linette,” “Merlin and Vivien,” “Pelleas and Ettarre,” and “The Last Tournament” all feature dramatic scenes of supplication at Camelot. In “Gareth and Linette,” the first idyll after “The Coming of Arthur,” a number of these scenes are presented, reinforcing their importance for Tennyson’s conception of Camelot as a sanctuary. In response to these petitioners, Arthur insists that it is his personal duty to see that they receive justice: “We sit King, to help the wrong’d / Thro’ all our realm” (GL, 363-64). The form of that justice reflects Tennyson’s faith as a Christian and his conservative beliefs about the respective responsibilities of the individual and the government, as I shall discuss in the next section.


That Tennyson should address the plight of suppliants in the Idylls is no surprise, since immigration and refugees featured prominently in the political and literary debates of late Victorian England. By 1851, there were over 100,000 Irish-born people living in London alone, most of whom were forced to live in the dirtiest and most dangerous slums of the city; by 1891, the total number of Irish in England and Wales had climbed to about 653,000.[23] Between 1880 and 1914, meanwhile, London’s population of Jews increased from 40,000 to 200,000, driven by repression and pogroms in other parts of Europe.[24] As Paul Knepper notes, the growing numbers of foreigners in England prompted a lively discussion in the national press and in Parliament. The latter eventually responded by passing the Aliens Act of 1905, which attempted to restrict and control future arrivals, thereby making Britain “the first state in Europe to enact discriminatory legislation against immigrants.”[25] A more nuanced response to the crisis is evident in some corners of the mid-to-late Victorian literary scene. For instance, Israel Zangwill’s popular 1892 novel, Children of the Ghetto, proved a powerful corrective to the emphasis on “exoticized poverty” featured in previous books by established authors such as William Thackery and Watt Phillips.[26] Bram Stoker and Charles Dickens are other Victorian authors who explored the topic of immigration through fiction.

What did the Poet Laureate make of all this? It is true, first of all, that some of Tennyson’s early poems contain rather offensive remarks about foreigners. The rejected suitor who serves as the narrator of “Locksley Hall,” for instance, imagines traveling to a far-away land, with plans to take “some savage woman” who will rear his “dusky race” of children.[27] Of course, the narrator is represented as more than a little unhinged, so one must be careful about assuming that he speaks for Tennyson. In fact, his social and political views are far more nuanced than they are sometimes made out to be. The son of a clergyman, Tennyson struggled throughout his life to reconcile the latest discoveries in psychology or natural science with the faith he had inherited from his father — what Matthew Margini characterizes as the poet’s “cosmological ambivalence,” which is especially evident in his masterpiece, In Memoriam.[28] In Maud, published in 1855, Tennyson expresses clear doubts about the “liberal impulse towards democratic reform” then sweeping the nation.[29] And yet, a few years earlier, he had felt the need to revise The Princess (first published in 1847) several times in order to clarify his sympathies towards his proto-feminist heroine.[30] He was a patriot, but not a blind one, as is clear from some of the lyrics in “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” in which those heroic, doomed soldiers cannot help but feel as if “Someone had blundered” in sending them to their deaths.[31] Perhaps it would be fair to say that, like William Wordsworth or Evelyn Waugh, Tennyson simply became more pious and conservative as he grew older.

The Idylls confirm that his sympathies as an adult, at least, lay firmly with “the Anglican Church and the authority of the Protestant monarchy.”[32] And the treatment of suppliants in the same work further suggests that he agreed with Russell Kirk and many traditional conservatives about the limited role of the government in resolving certain problems, such as poor living conditions or the treatment of refugees. “A prudent statesman,” Kirk writes, “is one who looks before he leaps; who takes long views; who knows that politics is the art of the possible.”[33] In practical terms, this “politics of prudence” dictates that rulers must pursue fiscally sound policies and not lose sight of their primary responsibilities over a specific territory and people. A Christian king such as Arthur has the additional duty of defending and promoting the faith, which, though important, does not supersede all others. That is, one can easily imagine a ruler getting so caught up in attending to his own spiritual concerns that he neglects the temporal needs of his subjects — a conflict dramatized by Tennyson through a key episode of the Idylls. After some of Arthur’s knights experience a vision of the Holy Grail, they set off on a disastrous search for it, from which many do not return. Arthur recognizes that, though nobly intended, the quest is unsuitable for most, and therefore represents a dereliction of their duty. They are “but men,” Arthur warns, “With strength and will to right the wronged, of power / To lay the sudden heads of violence flat . . .” (“The Holy Grail,” 308-309). They cannot all be like Galahad, who alone possesses the necessary degree of personal holiness appropriate for those who would seek the Grail. The king insists that, had he been present at its initial appearance, he would not have sworn the same vow: “Not easily, seeing that the King must guard / That which he rules, and is but as the hind / To whom a space of land is given to plow” (“The Holy Grail,” 899-905). Though highly devout, Arthur knows that his primary, God-given responsibility is to his people.

The elaborate petition rituals of the Middle Ages provide Tennyson with an opportunity to reflect upon the much-debated British policy towards refugees and asylum-seekers. Should it be decided along monolithic lines, the purview of inscrutable laws and a massive, indifferent bureaucracy? Or do the individual ruler and his representatives (i.e., the noble and wealthy) bear personal responsibility for assisting those seeking sanctuary in the realm? However impractical the latter may seem, it is the policy endorsed by Tennyson for Camelot, and put to unquestionably good use by his king, Arthur. No written requests or applications need be submitted in advance by those who would ask relief of the court; like the wise king Solomon, Arthur simply hears them speak, and makes his judgment, which goes into effect immediately. When feasible, he resolves problems through his own royal prerogative. To the widow who requests the return of her land, stolen by Uther, he grants it all back to her, as well as the promised rent, tripled to cover interest (GL, 326-41). But the king, with his thousands of subjects, can hardly expect to satisfy, personally, the demands of each of his petitioners. When needed, he calls upon his knights to represent him:

And many another suppliant crying came

With noise of ravage wrought by beast and man,

And evermore a knight would ride away. (GL, 428-30)

So long as Arthur and his knights hold true to their beliefs, the system works as an inexpensive and efficient way to maintain justice throughout the land. The latter eventually fail, of course, leading to the downfall of Camelot. But this does not reveal much about Tennyson’s views regarding the practicality of private philanthropy as a response to crisis in Victorian England. If anything, it implies a fear that his contemporaries had already declined so far from the time of Arthur’s day that they had little recourse but to place their trust in government, until the great king (or one like him) come again.


The example of Piety Hill, however, suggests that there is still room for the conservative Christian approach to philanthropy even in the present. Kirk may have been encouraged to open his doors to the needy after reading about the similar treatment of refugees by one of his personal heroes, Edmund Burke.[34] After the French Revolution had begun, a number of clergy and royalists fled across the channel to England, where, though destitute, they would at least be safe from the guillotine. Burke was instrumental in securing support for their welfare, writing and speaking about their plight on countless occasions, and petitioning the government for money to start a school for refugee children. Burke selflessly “spent some of his own money in helping to get things started,” Stanley Ayling notes, and was occupied through much of 1796 with “such unaccustomed tasks” as finding supplies for the classroom and kitchen, “as well as giving himself the occasional pleasure of entertaining new arrivals at his own home.”[35] Burke and Kirk prove that, whatever bureaucracy or the law may be able to accomplish, we all have the power to help alleviate the suffering of others through simple, Christian charity. The latter can often be just as successful and cost-effective as the former, and it certainly entails more benefits for both parties. If Tennyson did not follow suit in welcoming others into his own home, one must not assume that he lacked their convictions or disagreed with their policies. After all, Tennyson was not a social critic or a politician, but an artist. It is to his art, therefore, that we should turn for evidence of his beliefs. His traditional conservatism and Christian piety come through quite clearly in the Idylls, especially when it comes to his imaginative treatment of England’s role as a sanctuary, and what that means for both those who rule, and those who would be ruled.

Citation Information

Camilo Peralta, “To Help the Wrong’d,” An Unexpected Journal: King Arthur Legendarium 6, no. 2. (Summer 2023), 53-65.


[1] Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Kirk: American Conservative (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2018), 387-89.

[2] Russell Kirk to Ross J. S. Hoffman, 19 January 1979, in Imaginative Conservative: The Letters of Russell Kirk, ed. James E. Person (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2018), 211. Kirk mentions that his “extended family” of guests has recently included as many as thirty-five individuals, ranging from “eleven Vietnamese . . . one aged aunt, one schoolmistress, one novelist acting as my assistant, [and] two young Ethiopians.”

[3] Russell Kirk, The Sword of Imagination: Memoirs of a Half-Century of Literary Conflict (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002), 343. After quitting a teaching position at Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science (now Michigan State University) in 1953, Kirk never again held steady employment, but earned his living through his pen and frequent lecturing.

[4] Kirk, The Sword of Imagination, 344.

[5] Alfred Tennyson, “The Lady of Shalott,” in The Major Works, ed. Adam Roberts (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2009), 21-25, 21, 5. Subsequent references to Tennyson’s poems (excluding the Idylls) are from this book and will be cited by page range, page, and line number in an endnote. In the Idylls, Tennyson frequently refers to the Round Table by reversing the order of those words, as suits his meter.

[6] For Tennyson as a spokesman of Victorian England, see, e.g., Daniel S. Burt, The Literary 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Novelists, Playwrights, and Poets of All Time (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009), 303.

[7] John Batchelor, Tennyson: To Strive, To Seek, To Find (New York: Pegasus Books, 2013), 309. The first of the Idylls was published in 1859 and the last in 1885.

[8] Prince Albert to Alfred Tennyson, 17 May 1860, in The Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson, ed. Cecil Y. Lang and Edgard F. Shannon, vol. 2: 1851-1870 (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1987), 257. The Idylls, Prince Albert graciously writes, “quite rekindle the feelings with which the legends of King Arthur must have inspired the chivalry of old, whilst the graceful form in which they are presented blends those feelings with the softer tone of our present age.”

[9] Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (Mineola: Dover Publications, 1999), 1. This book was originally published as Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen in 1919, and has also been translated into English as The Autumn of the Middle Ages.

[10] C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 82.

[11] OED Online, s.v. “Sanctuary (n.),” accessed June 14, 2022,

[12] William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Richard III, in The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997), 748-804, III.i.47.

[13] OED Online, s.v. “Refuge (n.),” accessed June 14, 2022,

[14] Seamus Heaney, introduction to Beowulf (New York: Norton, 2000), ix-xxx, xv.

[15] John R. Gold, “‘The Graves of the Gallant Highlanders’: Memory, Interpretation and Narratives of Culloden,” History & Memory: Studies in Representations of the Past 19, 1 (2007): 5-38, 6.

[16] Tennyson, “Ode on the Death of Wellington,” in Major Works, 294-301, 298, 151-55.

[17] Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the King, ed. J. M. Gray (London: Penguin Books, 1983), “The Coming of Arthur [CA],” 5-33. Subsequent references to Idylls of the King are from this edition and will appear parenthetically in the text by name of book and line numbers.

[18] Matthew Margini, “The Beast with the Broken Lance: Humanism and Posthumanism in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King,” Victorian Poetry 53, 2 (2015): 171-192, 176.

[19] Patrick Brantlinger, Taming Cannibals: Race and the Victorians (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011), 203.

[20] Sarah Lindsay, “The Courteous Monster: Chivalry, Violence, and Social Control in The Carl of Carlisle,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 114, 3 (July 2015): 401-418, 403.

[21] Geoffrey W. Bakewell, Aeschylus’s Suppliant Women: The Tragedy of Immigration (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), 21.

[22] Gwilym Dodd, “Writing Wrongs: The Drafting of Supplications to the Crown in Later Fourteenth-Century England,” Medium Aevum 80, 2 (2011): 217-246, 219.

[23] Donald M. MacRaild, Culture, Conflict and Migration: The Irish in Victorian Cumbria (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1998), 6-8. The total population of England in 1901 (when Queen Victoria died) was 41 million.

[24] Paul Knepper, “British Jews and the Racialisation of Crime in the Age of Empire,” British Journal of Criminology 47, 1 (January 2007): 61-79, 62.

[25] Paul Knepper, “British Jews,” 61.

[26] Heidi Kaufman, “Borders of Intimacy in Israel Zangwill’s Children of the Ghetto,” Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas 13, 1 (2015): 91-110, 96-99.

[27] Tennyson, “Locksley Hall,” in The Major Works, 102-109, 108, 168.

[28] Margini, “The Beast with the Broken Lance,” 172.

[29] Michelle Geric, “Tennyson’s Maud (1855) and the ‘unmeaning of names’: Geology, Language Theory, and Dialogics,” Victorian Poetry 51, 1 (2013): 37-62, 55.

[30] Alisa Clapp-Itnyre, “Marginalized Musical Interludes: Tennyson’s Critique of Conventionality in The Princess,” Victorian Poetry 38, 2 (2000): 227-248, 229.

[31] Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” in Major Works, 302-303, 302, 12.

[32] Noelle Bowles, “Tennyson’s ‘Idylls of the King’ and Anglican Authority,” Christianity & Literature 56, 4 (2007): 573-94, 576. For Tennyson’s religious doubts, see Batchelor, 46, 111-12 and 362.

[33] Russell Kirk, “The Errors of Ideology,” in The Essential Russell Kirk, ed. George A. Pinachas (Wilmington: ISI Books, 2007), 365-372, 369.

[34] See, e.g., Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, seventh rev. ed. (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2016), 65. Kirk regarded Burke as the founder of modern conservatism, arguing that his “reverence for the wisdom of our ancestors, through which works the design of Providence, is the first principle of all conservative thought.”

[35] Stanley Ayling, Edmund Burke: His Life & Opinions (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988), 274-75.