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changes in it, might have seemed an abandonment of the principles which it contained. The author, therefore, discovering, that, with the exception of the introductory letter, he had not in fact kept any clean copy, as he had supposed, corrected one of the pamphlets with his own hand. From this, which was found preserved with his other papers, his friends afterwards thought it their duty to give an authentic edition.
The "Thoughts and Details on Scarcity" were originally presented in the form of a memorial to Mr. Pitt. The author proposed afterwards to recast the same matter in a new shape. He even advertised the intended work under the title of "Letters on Rural Economics, addressed to Mr. Arthur Young"; but he seems to have finished only two or three detached fragments of the first letter. These being too imperfect to be printed alone, his friends inserted them in the memorial, where they seemed best to cohere. The memorial had been fairly copied, but did not appear to have been examined or corrected, as some trifling errors of the transcriber were perceptible in it. The manuscript of the fragments was a rough draft from the author's own hand, much blotted and very confused.
The Third Letter on the Proposals for Peace was in its progress through the press when the author 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 stand. He enlarged his first draft, and separated one great member of his subject, for the purpose of introducing some other matter between. The different parcels of manuscript designed to intervene were discovered. One of them he seemed to have gone over himself, and to have improved and augmented. The other (fortunately the smaller) was much more imperfect, just as it was taken from his mouth by dictation. The former reaches from the two hundred and forty-sixth to near the end of the two hundred and sixty-second page; the latter nearly occupies the twelve pages which follow.* No important change, none at all affecting the meaning of any passage, has been made in either, though in the more imperfect parcel some latitude of discretion in subordinate points was necessarily used.
There is, however, a considerable member for the greater part of which Mr. Burke's reputation is not responsible: this is the inquiry into the condition of the higher classes, which commences in the two hundred and ninety-fifth page.† The summary of the whole topic, indeed, nearly as it stands in the three hundred and seventy-third and fourth pages, was
* The former comprising the matter included between the paragraph commencing, "I hear it has been said," &c., and that ending with the words, "there were little or no materials"; and the latter extending through the paragraph concluding with the words, "disgraced and plagued mankind."
† At the paragraph commencing with the words, "In turning our view from the lower to the higher classes," &c.
In the first half of the paragraph commencing, "If, then, the real state of this nation," &c.
found, together with a marginal reference to the Bankrupt List, in his own handwriting; and the actual conclusion of the Letter was dictated by him, but never received his subsequent correction. He had also preserved, as materials for this branch of his subject, some scattered hints, documents, and parts of a correspondence on the state of the country. He was, however, prevented from working on them by the want of some authentic and official information, for which he had been long anxiously waiting, in order to ascertain, to the satisfaction of the public, 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 anything 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 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 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 at least to complete the larger public 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 question of the facilities possessed by the French Republic, 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 negotiate for 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 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 negotiation, which gave rise to the series of printed letters. Afterwards, he began to rewrite 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 public 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, 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