« ZurückWeiter »
excited, not that a collection of these invalu. able specimens of modern popular eloquence should be now made, but that twenty years should have been suffered to elapse before such a collection was undertaken.
The speeches prepared for the public eye, by Mr. Burke himself, and printed during his lifetime, were, 1. The speech in April 1774, on American taxation. 2. The speech in March 1775, on moving certain resolutions for concili. ation with the Colonies. 3. The speech on presenting his plan of economical reform in February 1780. 4. The speech on Mr. Fox's East India
5. The speech on the Nabob of Arcot's debts.
And 6. The speech on the army estimates in February 1790. To these may be added, the fragments and notes of nine speeches, which have been published by Mr. Burke's executors, and which, as they confirm, in several instances, the general correctness of the published reports of the proceedings in parliament, are here introduced.
For the errors or imperfections -- if any-in the above recited speeches, Mr. Burke can only be considered responsible. The rest - upwards of
Vol. ii. p. 160.
* See Vol. i. p. 73. 80. 101. 113. 151. 277. Vol. iii. p. 43. Vol. iv. p. 55.
two hundred in number -- have been selected, with great care and strict impartiality, from the most esteemed records of parliamentary proceedings. Delivered as these speeches were, upon great and comprehensive questions, and containing Mr. Burke's opinions upon a variety of subjects that come home to the business and bosoms of men,” it is confidently hoped that they will, in their present collected form, be alike conducive to the reputation of the orator and the best interests of society.
That many of these speeches were prepared, or at least corrected, for the press by Mr. Burke himself, there is strong internal evidence. Amongst the number may be reckoned the speech in No. vember 1775, on presenting the bill for composing the troubles in America - the speech in February 1778, relative to the military employment of Indians in the civil war with America — the speech in May 1778, on the Irish trade bills — the speech in December 1779, on Mr. Burke's opening the outlines of his celebrated plan of economical reform — the speech in February 1781, on Mr. Burke's moving a second time for leave to bring in a bill for the regulation of the civil list establishment— the speech in May 1781, on moving for an inquiry into the seizure and confiscation of private property in the Island of St. Eustatius the speech in December 1781, on the case of Mr.
Laurens and the exchange of prisoners with America — and the speech in June 1784, on moving a representation to the king respecting the speech from the throne at the opening of the session.
To the speeches of Mr. Burke in the House of Commons are added reports of his three great speeches in Westminster-hall on the impeachment of Warren Hastings, Esq. They will be found very imperfect; but as they present at least an outline of the various topics and arguments introduced into those stupendous efforts of the human mind, and are much more copious than any reports that have hitherto appeared, the Editor did not think himself justified in omitting them.
Mr. Burke retired from parliament in July 1794, immediately after the impeachment of Mr. Hastings had been brought to a close. Before, however,
he took his final leave of the House of Commons, as it had been repeatedly asserted by the friends of Mr. Hastings, that there had been designed delay on the part of the Commons, Mr. Burke moved, that a committee should be appointed to inquire into the causes of the dura, ation of Mr. Hastings's trial. The House acceded to the proposition, and the managers of the impeachment were appointed to be the said committee. On the 30th of April that committee,
of which Mr. Burke was chairman, made their report to the House — a report which, for depth of historical knowledge, perspicuity of reasoning, and elegance of diction, is not surpassed by any of the numerous and able reports that have, from time to time, been made by committees of both Houses. As this report is not included in Mr. Burke's Works, it has been thought necessary to give it a place in this collection. This valuable document may be considered as Mr. Burke's last parliamentary labour. On the 20th of June, the thanks of the House of Commons were conveyed to the managers of the impeach. ment by the Speaker, Mr. Addington. On this occasion Mr. Burke appeared in the House for the last time. He accepted, a few days after, the chiltern hundreds; and, on the roth of July, a new writ was moved for the borough of Malton, and his son Richard was chosen in his room.
LONDON, June 1. 1816.