Page images
PDF
EPUB

man.

piece is an Essay on the History of England, from the earliest period 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 states

This alone, as far as can be conjectured, will form more than one volume. Another entire volume also, at least, will be filled with his letters to public men on public affairs, especially those of France. This supplement will be sent to the press without delay.

Mr. Burke's more familiar correspondence will be reserved as authorities to accompany a narrative of his life, which will conclude the whole. The period during which he flourished was one of the most memorable of our annals. It comprehended the acquisition of one empire in the East, the loss of another in the West, and the total subversion of the ancient system of Europe by the French Revolution, with all which events the history of his life is necessarily and intimately connected, -as indeed it also is, much more than is generally known, with the state of literature and the elegant arts. Such a subject of biography cannot be dismissed with a slight and rapid touch; nor can it be treated in a manner worthy of it, from the information, however authentic and extensive, which the industry of any one man may have accumulated. Many important communications have been received; but some materials, which relate to the pursuits of his early years, and which are known to be in existence, have been hitherto kept back, notwithstanding repeated inquiries and applications. It is, therefore, once more earnestly requested, that all persons who call themselves the friends or admirers of the late Edmund Burke will have the goodness to transmit, without delay, any notices of that or of any other kind which may happen to be in their possession or within their reach, to Messrs. Rivingtons, -a respect and kindness to his memory which will be thankfully acknowledged by those friends to whom, in dying, he committed the sacred trust of his reputation.

ADVERTISEMENT

TO THE SECOND OCTAVO EDITION.*

A

NEW edition of the works of Mr. Burke having

been called for by the public, the opportunity has been taken to make some slight changes, it is hoped for the better.

A different distribution of the contents, while it has made the volumes, with the exception of the first and sixth, more nearly equal in their respective bulk, has, at the same time, been fortunately found to produce a more methodical arrangement of the whole. The first and second volumes, as before, severally contain those literary and philosophical works by which Mr. Burke was known previous to the commencement of his public life as a statesman, and the political pieces which were written by him between the time of his first becoming connected with the Marquis of Rockingham and his being chosen member for Bristol. In the third are comprehended all his speeches and pamphlets from his first arrival at Bristol, as a candidate, in the year 1774, to his farewell address from the hustings of that city, in the year 1780.

* London, F. and C. Rivington, 1803.

8 vols.

VOL. 1.

B

What he himself published relative to the affairs of India occupies the fourth volume. The remaining four comprise his works since the French Revolution, with the exception of the Letter to Lord Kenmare on the Penal Laws against Irish Catholics, which was probably inserted where it stands from its relation to the subject of the Letter addressed by him, at a later period, to Sir Hercules Langrishe. With the same exception, too, strict regard has been paid to chronological order, which, in the last edition, was in some instances broken, to insert pieces that were not discovered till it was too late to introduce them in their proper places.

In the Appendix to the Speech on the Nabob of Arcot's Debts the references were found to be confused, and, in many places, erroneous. This probably had arisen from the circumstance that a larger and differently constructed appendix seems to have been originally designed by Mr. Burke, which, however, he afterwards abridged and altered, while the speech and the notes upon it remained as they were. The text and the documents that support it have throughout been accommodated to each other.

The orthography has been in many cases altered, and an attempt made to reduce it to some certain standard. The rule laid down for the discharge of this task was, that, whenever Mr. Burke could be perceived to have been uniform in his mode of spelling, that was considered as decisive; but where he varied, (and as he was in the habit of writing by dictation, and leaving to others the superintendence of the press, he was peculiarly liable to variations of this sort) the best received authorities were directed to be followed. The reader, it is trusted, will find this object, too much disregarded in modern books, has here been kept in view throughout. The quotations which are interspersed through the works of Mr Burke, and which were frequently made by him from memory, have been generally compared with the original authors. Several mistakes in printing, of one word for another, by which the sense was either perverted or obscured, are now rectified. Two or three small insertions have also been made from a quarto copy corrected by Mr. Burke himself. From the same source something more has been drawn in the shape of notes, to which are subscribed his initials. Of this number is the explanation of that celebrated phrase, “ the swinish multitude”: an explanation which was uniformly given by him to his friends, in conversation on the subject. But another note will probably interest the reader still more, as being strongly expressive of that parental affection which formed so amiable a feature in the character of Mr. Burke. It is in page 208 of Vol. V., where he points out a considerable passage as having been supplied by his “lost son.” * Several other parts, possibly amounting altogether to

* In “Reflections on the Revolution in France,” – indicated by foot-note in loco.

« PreviousContinue »