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TO THE READER.*
\HE late Mr. Burke, from a principle of unaffect
ed humility, which they who were the most intimately acquainted with his character best know to have been in his estimation one of the most important moral duties, never himself made any collection of the various publications with which, during a period of forty years, he adorned and enriched the literature of this country. When, however, the rapid and unexampled demand for his “Reflections on the Revolution in France” had unequivocally testified his celebrity as a writer, some of his friends so far prevailed upon him, that he permitted them to put forth a regular edition of his works. Accordingly, three volumes in quarto appeared under that title in 1792, printed for the late Mr. Dodsley. That edition, therefore, has been made the foundation of the present, for which a form has been chosen better adapted to public convenience. Such errors of the press as have been discovered in it are here rectified : in other
* Prefixed to the first octavo edition : London, F. and C. Rivington, 1801 : comprising Vols. I. – VIII. of the edition in sixteen volumes issued by these publishers at intervals between the years 1801 and 1827. * Comprising the last four papers of the fourth volume, and the whole of the fifth volume, of the present edition,
respects it is faithfully followed, except that in one instance an accident of little moment has occasioned a slight deviation from the strict chronological arrangement, and that, on the other hand, a speech of conspicuous excellence, on his declining the poll at Bristol, in 1780, is here, for the first time, inserted in its proper place.
As the activity of the author's mind, and the lively interest which he took in the welfare of his country, ceased only with his life, many subsequent productions issued from his pen, which were received in a manner corresponding with his distinguished reputation. He wrote also various tracts, of a less popular description, which he designed for private circulation in quarters where he supposed they might produce most benefit to the community, but which, with some other papers, have been printed since his death, from copies which he left behind him fairly transcribed, and most of them corrected as for the press. All these, now first collected together, form the contents of the last two volumes.* They are disposed in chronological order, with the exception of the “ Preface to Brissot’s Address,” which having appeared in the author's lifetime, and from delicacy not being avowed by him, did not come within the plan of this edition, but has been placed at the end of the last volume, on its being found deficient in its just bulk.