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iously waiting; in order to ascertain, to the satisfaction of the publick, what, with his usual sagacity, he had fully anticipated from his own personal observation, to his own private conviction. At length the reports of the different Committees, which had been appointed by the two Houses of Parliament, amply furnished him with evidence for this purpose. Accordingly he read and considered them with attention; but for any thing beyond this the season was now past. The Supreme Disposer of all, against whose inscrutable counsels it is vain as well as impious to murmur, did not permit him to enter on the execution of the task which he meditated. It was resolved, therefore, by one of his friends, after much hesitation, and under a very painful responsibility, to make such an attempt as he could at supplying the void; especially because the insufficiency of our resources for the continuanceof the war was understood to have been the prin
cipal objection urged against the two former "Letters on the Proposals for Peace.' In performing with reverential diffidence this duty of friendship, care has been taken not to attribute to Mr. Burke any sentiment which is not most explicitly known, from repeated conversations, and from much correspondence, to have been decidedly entertained by that illustrious man. One passage of nearly three pages, containing a censure of our defensive system, is borrowed from a private letter, which he began to dictate, with an intention of comprising in it the short result of his opinions, but which he afterwards abandoned, when, a little time before his death, his health appeared in some degree to amend, and he hoped that Providence might have spared him to complete the larger publick letter, which he then proposed to resume.
In the preface to the former edition of
this letter, a fourth was mentioned as being in possession of Mr. Burke's friends. It was in fact announced by the Author himself, in the conclusion of the second, which it was then designed to follow. He intended, he said, "to proceed next on the ques"tion of the facilities possessed by the "French Republick, from the internal "state of other nations, and particularly of
this, for obtaining her ends; and, as his "notions were controverted, to take notice "of what, in that way, had been recommended to him." The vehicle which he had chosen for this part of his plan was an answer to a pamphlet which was supposed to come from high authority, and was circulated by Ministers with great industry, at the time of its appearance in October 1795, immediately previous to that Session of Parliament when His Majesty for the first time declared, that the appearance of any disposition in the enemy to negociate for general
general peace, should not fail to be met with an earnest desire to give it the fullest and speediest effect. In truth, the answer, which is full of spirit and vivacity, was written in the latter end of the same year; but was laid aside when the question assumed a more serious aspect, from the commencement of an actual negociation, which gave rise to the series of printed letters. Afterwards, he began to re-write it, with a view of accommodating it to his new purpose. The greater part, however, still remained in its original state; and several heroes of the Revolution, who are there celebrated, having in the interval passed off the publick stage, a greater liberty of insertion, and alteration, than his friends on consideration have thought allowable, would be necessary to adapt it to that place in the series for which it was ultimately designed by the Author. This piece, therefore, addressed, as the title originally stood, to his noble friend, b 2 Earl
Earl Fitzwilliam, will be given the first in the supplemental volumes, which will be hereafter added to complete this edition of the Author's Works.
The tracts, most of them in manuscript, which have been already selected as fit for this purpose, will probably furnish four or five volumes more, to be printed uniformly with this edition. The principal piece is entitled "An Essay towards an abridgement of the English History;" and reaches from the earliest period down to the conclusion of the reign of King John. It is written with much depth of antiquarian research, directed by the mind of an intelligent statesman. This alone, as far as can be conjectured, will form more than one volume. Another entire volume will be filled with his letters to publick men on publick affairs, especially those of France. This supplement will be sent to the press without delay.