« PreviousContinue »
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS,
IN FOUR VOLUMES.
PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN,
A DESIRE having been pretty generally ex
pressed, that Mr. Burke's Speeches in the House of Commons should be collected into a se. parate publication, on the plan adopted last year with regard to those of Mr. Fox, the Editor of that work has been induced to undertake the present compilation.
In presenting this collection to the public, it will be necessary, in justice to the memory of Mr. Burke, to point out distinctly the authorities from which the materials have been derived.
Fortunately, the reports that have been handed down to us, of Mr. Burke's speeches in parliament, are, generally speaking, of a more genuine cast, and less liable to suspicion, than those of any of our other great orators. So much is this the case, that in looking over those reports, a surprize is
excited, not that a collection of these invaluable 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 bill. 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 him. self, 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. .