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to any person less conversant in the manuscripts of Mr. Burke than myself. To this difficulty succeeded that of selecting from several detached papers, written upon the same subject and the same topics, such as appeared to contain the author's last thoughts and emendations. When these difficulties were overcome, there still remained, in many instances, that of assigning its proper place to many detached members of the same piece, where no direct note of connection had been made. These circumstances, whilst they will lead the reader not to expect, in the cases to which they apply, the finished productions of Mr. Burke, imposed upon me a task of great delicacy and difficulty, — namely, that of deciding upon the publication of any, and which, of these unfinished pieces. I must here beg permission of you, and Lord Fitzwilliam, to inform the public, that in the execution of this part of my duty I requested and obtained your assistance.
Our first care was to ascertain, from such evidence, internal and external, as the manuscripts themselves afforded, what pieces appeared to have been at any time intended by the author for publication. Our next was to select such as, though not originally intended for publication, yet appeared to contain matter that might contribute to the gratification and instruction of the public. Our last object was to de termine what degree of imperfection and incorrect ness in papers of either of these classes ought or
ought not to exclude them from a place in the present volume. This was, doubtless, the most nice and arduous part of our undertaking. The difficulty, however, was, in our minds, greatly diminished by our conviction that the reputation of our author stood far beyond the reach of injury from any injudicious conduct of ours in making this selection. On the other hand, we were desirous that nothing should be withheld, from which the public might derive any possible benefit.
Nothing more is now necessary than that I should give a short account of the writings which compose the present volume.
I. Fourth Letter on a Regicide Peace.
Some account has already been given of this Letter in the Advertisement to the fourth quarto volume.* That part of it which is contained between the first and the middle of the page 67 † is taken from a manuscript which, nearly to the conclusion, had received the author's last corrections: the subsequent part, to the middle of the page 71,f is taken from some loose manuscripts, that were dictated by the author, but do not appear to have been revised by him; and though they, as well as what follows to the conclusion, were evidently designed to make a part of this Letter, the editor alone is responsible for the order in which they are here placed. The last part, from the middle of the page 71, had been printed as a part of the Letter which was originally intended to be the third on Regicide Peace, as in the preface to the fourth volume has already been noticed.
* Prefixed to the first volume, in the other editions. For the ac count referred to, see, in the present edition, Vol. I., pp. xiii., xiv. 1 Page 86 of the present edition.
In this edition, p. 91, near the top.
It was thought proper to communicate this Letter before its publication to Lord Auckland, the author of the pamphlet so frequently alluded to in it. His Lordship, in consequence of this communication, was pleased to put into my hands a letter with which he had sent his pamphlet to Mr. Burke at the time of its publication, and Mr. Burke's answer to that letter. These pieces, together with the note with which his Lordship transmitted them to me, are prefixed to the Letter on Regicide Peace.
II. Letter to the Empress of Russia.
Of these Letters it will be sufficient to remark, that they come under the second of those classes into which, as I before observed, we divided the papers that presented themselves to our consideration.
V. Letter to the Marquis of Rockingham. VI. An Address to the King. VII. An Address to the British Colonists in North
These pieces relate to a most important period in
the present reign; and I hope no apology will be
X, Letter to John Merlott, Esq. The reader will find, in a note annexed to each of these Letters, an account of the occasions on which they were written. The Letter to T. Burgh, Esq., had found its way into some of the periodical prints of the time in Dublin.
XI. Reflections on the Approaching Executions. It may not, perhaps, now be generally known that Mr. Burke was a marked object of the rioters in this disgraceful commotion, from whose fury he narrowly escaped. The Reflections will be found to contain maxims of the soundest judicial policy, and do equal honor to the head and heart of their illustrious writer.
XII. Letter to the Right Honorable Henry Dun
das; with the Sketch of a Negro Code. Mr. Burke, in the Letter to Mr. Dundas, has entered fully into his own views of the Slave Trade, and has thereby rendered any further explanation on that subject at present unnecessary. With respect to the Code itself, an unsuccessful attempt was made to procure the copy of it transmitted to Mr. Dundas. It was not to be found amongst his papers. The Editor has therefore been obliged to have recourse to a rough draft of it in Mr. Burke's own handwriting; from which he hopes he has succeeded in making a pretty correct transcript of it, as well as in the attempt he has made to supply the marginal references alluded to in Mr. Burke's Letter to Mr. Dundas.
XIII. Letter to the Chairman of the Bucking
hamshire Meeting. Of the occasion of this Letter an account is given in the note subjoined (prefixed] to it. XIV. Tracts and Letters relative to the Laws
against Popery in Ireland. These pieces consist of, 1. An unfinished Tract on the Popery Laws. Of
this Tract the reader will find an account in
the note prefixed to it. 2. A Letter to William Smith, Esq. Several cop
ies of this letter having got abroad, it was printed and published in Dublin without the permission of Mr. Burke, or of the gentleman
to whom it was addressed. 3. Second Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe. This
may be considered as supplementary to the first letter, addressed to the same person in January, 1792, which was published in the
third volume. 4. Letter to Richard Burke, Esq. Of this letter
* In the fourth volume of the present edition.