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culation, in quarters where he supposed they might produce moft benefit to the community; but which, with fome other papers, have been printed fince his death, from copies which he left behind him fairly transcribed, and most of them corrected as for the prefs. All thefe, now firft collected together, form the contents of the last two volumes. They are disposed in chronological order, with the exception of the Preface to Briffot's Addrefs, 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 just bulk.
The feveral pofthumous publications, as they from time to time made their appearance, were accompanied by appropriate prefaces. Thefe, however, as they were principally intended for temporary purposes, have been
been omitted. Some few explanations only, which they contained, feem here to be neceffary.
The "Obfervations on the Conduct of the
Minority in the Seffion of 1793," had been written and sent by Mr. Burke as a paper entirely and ftrictly confidential; but it crept furreptitiously into the world, through the fraud and treachery of the man whom he had employed to transcribe it, and, as usually happens in such cases, came forth in a very mangled ftate, under a falfe title, and without the introductory letter. The friends of the Author, without waiting to confult him, inftantly obtained an injunction from the Court of Chancery to ftop the fale. What he himself felt, on receiving intelligence of the injury done him by one, from whom his kindness deferved a very different return, will be best conveyed in his own words. The following is an extract of a letter to a friend, which he dictated on this fubject from a fick bed.
"MY DEAR LAURENCE,
Bath, 15th Feb. 1797.
"ON the appearance of the ad
"vertisement, all newfpapers, and all letters "have been kept back from me till this time. "Mrs. Burke opened your's, and finding that “all the measures in the power of Dr. King,
yourfelf, and Mr. Woodford, had been taken "to fupprefs the publication, the ventured to "deliver me the letters to-day, which were "read to me in my bed, about two o'clock.
This affair does vex me; but I am not "in a ftate of health at prefent to be deeply "vexed at any thing. Whenever this matter "comes into difcuffion, I authorize you to "contradict the infamous reports, which (I "am informed) have been given out; that "this paper had been circulated through the
Ministry, and was intended gradually to "flide into the prefs. To the best of my re"collection, I never had a clean copy of it
"but one, which is now in my poffeffion; I
never communicated that, but to the Duke
"of Portland, from whom I had it back again. But the Duke will fet this matter "to rights, if in reality there were two copies, " and he has one. I never fhewed it, as they
know, to any one of the Miniftry. If the "Duke has really a copy, I believe his and "mine are the only ones that exift, except "what was taken by fraud from loose and "incorrect papers by Sto whom I gave "the letter to copy. As foon as I began to
fufpect him capable of any such scandalous "breach of truft, you know with what an"xiety I got the loofe papers out of his hands, "not having reason to think that he kept any "other. Neither do I believe in fact (unless "he meditated this villainy long ago) that he "did or does now possess any clean copy. I "never communicated that paper to any one "out of the very small circle of those private "friends, from whom I concealed nothing.
"But I beg you and my
friends to be cau
"tiou how you let it be understood, that I " disclaim any thing but the mere act and in"tention of publication. I do not retract any "one of the fentiments contained in that Me"morial, which was and is my juftification, "addreffed to the friends, for whose use alone "I intended it. Had I defigned it for the publick, I fhould have been more exact and "full. It was written in a tone of indigna"tion, in confequence of the refolutions of the
Whig Club, which were directly pointed
against myself and others, and occafioned our "feceffion from that Club; which is the last "act of my life that I fhall under any circumstances repent. Many temperaments and
explanations there would have been, if I had ever had a notion that it fhould meet the publick eye."
In the mean time a large impreffion, amounting, it is believed, to three thousand copies,