What were Edmund Burke's sources for predicting the failure of the French Revolution?

What were Edmund Burke’s sources for predicting the failure of the French Revolution? He must have had a good understanding of what was happening in France prior to the Revolution to understand the character of the future Jacobin leaders and what lay in store for France under the Jacobin boot. Did he follow the foreign press closely? There were also plenty of disaffected members of the French nobility living in England at the time. Were they some of his sources?
I look forward to your feedback.

Maybe he had access to unskewed polls demonstrating Louis XVI’s surging popular appeal.

(I got nothin’)

I don’t think there was much of an indication beforehand that the Jacobins would emerge on top. Danton & Robespierre were both unknowns.

He knew about the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution.

He might have been lucky. Every revolution has people who think it will fail and others who think it will succeed so somebody has to be right.

I took a look at the Wikipedia article on Burke and the following would seem to be a starting point:

Clark, J. C. D. (2001). Edmund Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France: a Critical Edition. Stanford. p. 25. ISBN 0-8047-3923-4.

I take it less that Burke predicted the failure of the revolution and more that he saw it’s failure in action, as “freedom” became mob rule.

He was still rather early in predicting the Revolution’s failure. It was not just the failure he predicted but it’s descent.

Wiki’s article on his Reflections on the Revolution contains some interesting reading:


I’m looking at his Reflections now, and his objection to the Revolution is that, first, it’s without precedence, second, it upsets the constitutional order, third, is that it puts ultimate sovereignty in the people, and fourth, is dominated by idealists, who have theories of government but no practical experience in governing.

My recollection is that the fourth point was one of particular significance. He believed that constitutions have to be “organic”;
that is, they have to be based on the customs and practices of the country. The British and the US Constitution met these requirements, even though the latter was a revolutionary break, because it was firmly based in the history and traditions of the colonies, including inheritance from Britain.

By contrast, he saw the French constitution writers as all theory and air, divorced from French experience, and doomed to fail.