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LIFE OF EDMUND BURKE.

are in danger of losing ourselves amidst the regulation of their conduct in perilous the various beauties with which it is en- times, were driven about by every wind forced and embellished. The same cha- that blew, having no point of certain disracteristics distinguished the oratory of tinction, nor any principles upon which Mr. Burke, that are still perceived in his they could depend for their guidance and compositions; but though he rarely, if security, amidst the sea of revolutionary ever, failed to delight his hearers by his strife, from which, as they and others manner and his matter, he too frequently vainly flattered themselves, a new world weakened the effect of his elocution by of perfection was about to arise. Most not stopping at the right period of his ar- of ihese visionaries have dropped into gument; the consequence of which was, oblivion, and the few that remain are so that those who had been charmed and little known, that their very names will convinced by the former part of the speech, in a short space be forgotten. BURKE, became, at the close of it, languid, tired, on the contrary, has left an imperishable and indifferent.

memorial ; every day increases its value, In domestic life Mr. BURKE exhibited and future ages will have recourse to it such a striking contrast to his associates, for the maxims of political wisdom in the that it is a matter of some surprise how a government and direction of life. Whatperson of his philosophical principles and ever may be thought of those infirmities temperate habits could endure a connexion which he possessed in common with the with men, most of whose time was dissi. rest of mankind, or of the errors into pated, to use no worse term, in midnight which he occasionally fell, he had the revelry over the bottle, or at the gaming- singular merit of dissolving the links of table. To reconcile private vice with party, at a critical period, when that party public virtue is a task which no casuist began to assume the dangerous part of has yet ventured to undertake in a free a faction, under a leader whose ambition, and impartial spirit; nor would any one admitting no restraint, engage in the proof that the union is

“ Sprung upwards, like a pyramid of fire consistent, were it not from a desire to Into the wild expanse, and through the shock justify particular characters, whose morals of fighting elements, on all sides round

Environ'u, won his way.” have been at variance with the professions which they set up in the face of the world.

Taking, therefore, a retrospective glance Dr. Price was well aware of this, and

at that part of our national history, and therefore, in one of his political sermons,

looking steadfastly upon the opposite conhe took occasion, sharply, to reprobate duct of the men who distinguished themthe pernicious maxim, that patriotism and selves when the horrors of the Revolution profligacy could exist in the same person.

had nearly broken in upon the shores of He did this in reference to the leaders of Britain, one cannot help admiring the inthe party to which he belonged, and he trepid spirit that first and last opposed lamented most devoutly and sincerely, the torrent, and for so doing brought upon that while, by their oratorical powers, in the least intimidated by their taunts and

himself the hatred of his compeers. Not these great men were upholding and pagating the same doctrines with himself, reproaches, he pursued his course, and as being essential to human happiness, by that firmness became a main instruthey rendered them altogether nugatoryment of rousing the nation to that resistby the most scandalous conduct in the ance against anarchy, which ultimately ordinary transactions of life.

gave peace to the world. Like the faithWhen the French Revolution broke ful seraph, so admirably painted by the out, it was seen that public and private poet, he stood virtue cannot be separated, without en

* Among innumerable false, unmov'd,

Unshaken, unseduc'd, unterrified ; dangering the fundamental principles His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal ; upon which all social order must stand, Nor number, nor example, with him wrought and by the consummation of which thé To swerve from Truth, or change his constant

mind, rights of individuals can alone be secured.

(pass'd

Though single. From amidst them, forth ho In that storm, BURKE appeared im- Long way through hostile scorn, which he sus. pregnable, like the rock whose basis is tain.d infixerl in the foundation of eternal mora

Superior, nor of insolence reared aught;

And with retorted scorn his back he turn'd lity, while the political sophists of the day,

On those proud towns to swift desti uction having nothing stable in their minds for hurl'd.

pro

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE READER.

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The late Mr. Burke, from a principle of disposed in chronological order, with the exunaffected humility, which they, who were the ception of the Preface to Brissot's Address, most intimately acquainted with his character, which having appeared in the Author's lifebest know to have been in his estimation one time, and from delicacy not being avowed by of the most important moral duties, never him him, did not come within the plan of this self made any collection of the various publi- edition, but has been placed at the end of the cations with which, during a period of forty last volume, on its being found deficient in just years, he adorned and enriched the literature bulk. of this country. When, however, the rapid The several posthumous publications, as and unexampled demand for his “Reflections they from time to time made their appearance, on the Revolution of France,” had unequivo- were accompanied by appropriate prefaces. cally testified his celebrity as a writer, some These, however, as they were principally of his friends so far prevailed upon him, that intended for temporary purposes, have been he permitted them to put forth a regular edition omitted. Some few explanations only, which of his works. Accordingly, three volumes in they contained, seem here to be necessary. quarto appeared under that title in 1792, print- The “Observations on the Conduct of the ed for the late Mr. Dodsley. That edition, Minority in the Session of 1793,” had been therefore, has been made the foundation of the written and sent by Mr. Burke as a paper present, for which a form has been chosen' entirely and strictly confidential; but it crept better adapted to public convenience. Such surreptitiously into the world, through the fraud errours of the press as have been discovered and treachery of the man whom he had emin it are here rectified; in other respects it is ployed to transcribe it, and, as usually happens faithfully followed, except that in one instance, in such cases, came forth in a very mangled an accident of little moment has occasioned a state, under a false title, and without the inslight deviation from the strict chronological troductory letter. The friends of the Author, arrangement; and that, on the other hand, a without waiting to consult him, instantly obspeech of conspicuous excellence, on his de- tained an injunction from the Court of Chanclining the poll at Bristol, in 1780, is here, for cery to stop the sale. What he himself felt, the first time, inserted in its proper place. on receiving intelligence of the injury done

As the activity of the Author's mind, and him by one, from whom his kindness deserved the lively interest which he took in the welfare a very different turn, will be best conveyed in of his country, ceased only with his life, many his own words. The following is an extract subsequent productions issued from his pen, of a letter to a friend, which he dictated on which were received in a manner corresponde this subject from a sick bed: ing with his distinguished reputation. He wrote also various tracts, of a less popular

Bah, 15th Feb. 1797. description, which he designed for private “MY DEAR LAURENCE, -On the appearcirculation, in quarters where he supposed ance of the advertisement, all newspapers, and they might produce most benefit to the com- all letters have been kept back from me till munity; but which, with some other papers, this time. Mrs. Burke opened your's, and have been printed since his death, from copies finding that all the measures in the power of which he left behind him fairly transcribed, Dr. King, yourself, and Mr. Woodford, had and most of them corrected as for the press. been taken to suppress the publication, she All these, now first collected together, form ventured to deliver me the letters to-day, which the contents of the last volume. They are were read to me in my bed, about two o'clock • Vol. 1.-1

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" This affair does vex me; but I am not in it, might have seemed an abandonment of the a state of health at present to be deeply vexed principles which it contained. The Author, at any thing. Whenever this matter comes therefore, discovering that, with the exception into discussion, I authorize you to contradict of the introductory letter, he had not in fact the infamous reports, which (I am informed) kept any clean copy, as he had supposed, corhave been given out ; that this paper had been rected one of the pamphlets with his own hand. circulated through the Ministry, and was in. From this, which was found preserved with his tended gradually to slide into the press. To other papers, his friends afterwards thought it the best of my recollection, I never had a clean their duty to give an authentic edition. copy of it but one, which is now in my posses- The “ Thoughts and Details on Scarcity" sion; I never communicated that, but to the were originally presented in the form of a Duke of Portland, from whom I had it back Memorial to Mr. Pitt. The Author proposed again. But the Duke will set this matter to afterwards to recast the same matter in a new rights, if in reality there were two copies, and shape. He even advertised the intended work he has one. I never shewed it, as they know, under the title of “ Letters on Rural Econo to any one of the Ministry. If the Duke has mics, addressed to Mr. Arthur Young;" but really a copy, I believe his and mine are the he seems to have finished only two or three only ones that exist, except what was taken detached fragments of the first letter. These by fraud from loose and incorrect papers by being too imperfect to be printed alone, bis S- to whom I gave the letter to copy. friends inserted them in the Memorial, where As soon as I began to suspect him capable of they seemed best to cohere. The Memorial any such scandalous breach of trust, you know had been fairly copied, but did not appear to with what anxiety I got the loose papers out have been examined or corrected, as some of his hands, not having reason to think that trifling errours of the transcriber were percephe kept any other. Neither do I believe in tible in it. The manuscript of the fragments fact (unless he meditated this villainy long was a rough draft from the Author's own hand, ago) that he did or does now possess any clean much blotted and very confused. copy. I never communicated that paper to any The “Third Letter on the Proposals for one out of the very small circle of those private Peace " was in its progress through the press friends, from whom I concealed nothing. when Mr. Burke died. About one half of it

“But I beg you and my friends to be cautious was actually revised in print by himself, though how you let it be understood, that I disclaim any not in the exact order of the pages

as they now thing but the mere act and intention of publica- stand. He enlarged his first draft, and sepation. I do not retract any one of the sentiments rated one great member of his subject, for the contained in that Memorial, which was and is purpose of introducing some other matter bemy justification, addressed to the friends, for tween. The different parcels of manuscript, whose use alone I intended it. Had I designed designed to intervene, were discovered. One it for the public, I should have been more exact of them he seemed to have gone over himself, and full. It was written in a tone of indignation, and to have improved and augmented. The in consequence of the resolutions of the Whig other, (fortunately the smaller,) was much more Club, which were direetly pointed against my- imperfect, just as it was taken from his mouth self and others, and occasioned our secession by dictation. No important change, none at from that club; whjeh is the last act of my all affecting the meaning of any passage, has life that I shall under any circumstances repent. been made in either, though in the more Many temperaments and explanations there imperfect parcel, some latitude of discretion would have been, if I had ever had a notion in subordinate points was necessarily used. that it should meet the public eye.”

There is, however, a considerable member,

for the greater part of which, Mr. Burke's In the mean time a large impression, amount- reputation is not responsible: this is the ining, it is believed, to three thousand copies, had quiry into the condition of the higher classes. been dispersed over the country. To recall the summary of the whole topic indeed, nearly these was impossible ; to have expected that as it stands, was found, together with a margiany acknowledged production of Mr. Burke, nal reference to the bankrupt-list, in his own full of matter likely to interest the future histow hand-writing; and the actual conclusion of the rian, could remain for ever in obscurity, would letter was dictated by him, but never received have been folly; and to have passed it over in his subsequent correction. He had also presilent neglect, on the one hand, or, on the other, served, as materials for this branch of the to have then made any considerable changes in subject, some scattered hints, documents, and

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parts of a correspondence on the state of the pamphlet which was supposed to come from country. He was, however, prevented from high authority, and was circulated by Ministers working on them, by the want of some authen- with great industry, at the time of its appeartic and official information, for which he had ance in October, 1795, immediately previous to been long anxiously waiting, in order to ascer- that Session of Parliament when his Majesty tain, to the satisfaction of the public, what for the first time declared, that the appearanco with his usual sagacity he had fully antici- of any disposition in the enemy to negotiate pated from his own personal observation, to his for general peace, should not fail to be met own private conviction. At length the reports with an earnest desire to give it the fullest and of the different Committees, which had been speediest effect. In truth, the answer, which appointed by the two Houses of Parliament, is full of spirit and vivacity, was written in the amply furnished him with evidence for this latter end of the same year, but was laid aside purpose. Accordingly he read and considered when the question assumed a more serious them with attention; but for any thing beyond aspect, from the commencement of an actual this the season was now past. The Supreme negotiation, which gave rise to the series of Disposer of all, against whose inscrutable coun printed letters. Afterwards, he began to resels it is vain as well as impious to murmur, write it, with a view of accommodating it to did not permit him to enter on the execution of his new purpose. The greater part, however, the task which he meditated. It was resolved, still remained in its original state ; and several therefore, by one of his friends, after much heroes of the Revolution, who are there cele. hesitation, and under a very painful responsi- brated, having in the interval passed off the bility, to make such an attempt as he could public stage, a greater liberty of insertion and at supplying the void ; especially because the alteration than his friends, on consideration, insufficiency of our resources for the continu- have thought allowable, would be necessary to ance of the war was understood to have been adapt it to that place in the series for which it the principal objection urged against the two was ultimately designed by the Author. This former“ Letters on the Proposals for Peace.” piece, therefore, addressed, as the title origiIn performing with reverential diffidence this nally stood, to his noble friend, Earl Fitzduty of friendship, care has been taken not to william, will be given the first in the supe attribute to Mr. Burke any sentiment which is plemental volumes, which will be hereafter not most explicity known, from repeated con- added to complete this edition of the Author's versations, and from much correspondence, to works. have been decidedly entertained by that illustri- The tracts, most of them in manuscript, ous man. One passage of nearly three pages, which have been already selected as fit for containing a censure of our defensive system, this purpose, will probably furnish four or five is borrowed from a private letter, which he volumes more, to be printed uniformly with began to dictate, with an intention of compris. this edition. The principal piece is entitled ing in it the short result of his opinions, but “An Essay towards an Abridgment of the which he afterwards abandoned, when, a little English History;" and reaches from the earliest time before his death, his health appeared in period down to the conclusion of the reign of some degree to amend, and he hoped that King John. It is written with much depth Providence might have spared him at least to of antiquarian research, directed by the mind complete the larger public letter, which he of an intelligent statesman. This alone, as then proposed to resume.

far as can be conjectured, will form more than In the preface to the former edition of this one volume. Another entire volume also, at letter, a fourth was mentioned as being in least, will be filled with his letters to public possession of Mr. Burke's friends. It was in men on public affairs, especially those of fact announced by the Author himself, in the France. This supplement will be sent to the conclusion of the second, which it was then press without delay. designed to follow. He intended, he said, "

“to Mr. Burke's more familiar correspondence proceed next on the question of the facilities will be reserved, as authorities to accompany possessed by the French Republic, from the a narrative of his life, which will conclude the internal state of other nations, and particularly whole. The period during which he flourished of this, for obtaining her ends; and, as his was one of the most memorable of our annals. notions were controverted, to take notice of It comprehended the acquisition of one empire what, in that way, had been recommended to in the east, the loss of another in the west, and him.” The vehicle which he had chosen the total subversion of the ancient system of for this part of his plan was an answer to a Europe by the French Revolution ; with all

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