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had been difperfed over the country. To recall these was impoffible; to have expected that any acknowledged production of Mr. Burke, full of matter likely to intereft the future hiftorian, could remain for ever in obfcurity, would have been folly; and to have paffed it over in filent neglect, on the one hand, or, on the other, to have then made any confiderable changes in it, might have feemed an abandonment of the principles which it contained. The Author, therefore, difcovering that, with the exception of the introductory letter, he had not in fact kept any clean copy, as he had fuppofed, corrected one of the pamphlets with his own hand. From this, which was found preferved with his other papers, his friends afterwards thought it their duty to give an authentick edition.
The "Thoughts and Details on Scarcity" were originally prefented in the form of a Memorial to Mr. Pitt. The Author propofed afterwards
terwards to recaft the fame matter in a new fhape. He even advertised the intended work under the title of "Letters on Rural Economicks, addreffed to Mr. Arthur Young;" but he feems to have finifhed only two or three detached fragments of the first letter. These being too imperfect to be printed alone, his friends inferted them in the Memorial where they seemed beft to cohere. The Memorial had been fairly copied, but did not appear to have been examined or corrected, as fome trifling errors of the tranfcriber were perceptible in it. The manufcript of the fragments was a rough draft from the Author's own hand, much blotted and very confused.
The Third Letter on the Propofals for Peace," was in its progrefs through the prefs when Mr. Burke died. About one half of it was actually revised in print by himself, though not in the exact order of the pages as they now ftand. He enlarged his firft draft, and feparated
rated one great member of his fubject, for the purpose of introducing fome other matter between. The different parcels of manufcript, defigned to intervene, were discovered. One of them he seemed to have gone over himself, and to have improved and augmented. The other (fortunately the fmaller), was much more imperfect, just as it was taken from his mouth by dictation. The former reaches from the two hundred and forty-fixth, to near the end of the two hundred and fixty-fecond page; the latter nearly occupies the twelve pages which follow. No important change, none at all affecting the meaning of any paffage, has been made in either, though in the more imperfect parcel, fome latitude of difcretion in fubordinate points was neceffarily ufed.
There is, however, a confiderable member, for the greater part of which, Mr. Burke's re*In the prefent edition it extends from page 320 to page 336.
putation is not refponfible: this is the inquiry into the condition of the higher claffes, which commences in the two hundred and ninety-fifth page. The fummary of the whole topick indeed, nearly as it ftands in the three hundred and feventy third and fourth pages, † was found, together with a marginal reference to the bankrupt-lift, in his own hand-writing; and the actual conclufion of the letter was dictated by him, but never received his fubfequent correction. He had also preserved, as materials for this branch of his subject, some scattered hints, documents, and parts of a correfpondence on the ftate of the country. He was, however, prevented from working on them, by the want of fome authentick and official information, for which he had been long anxiously waiting, in order to ascertain, to the fatisfaction of the publick, what with his usual fagacity he had fully anticipated from his own personal observation, to
Page 369 of the prefent edition.
† Pages 417, 418 of the present edition.
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 confidered them with attention; but for any thing beyond this the feason was now past. The Supreme Disposer of all, against whose infcrutable 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 refolved, 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 infufficiency of our refources for the continuance of the war was understood to have been the principal 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 fenti