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The difficulty of reading many of the manuscripts, , obscured by innumerable erasures, corrections, interlineations, and marginal insertions, would perhaps have been insuperable to any person less conversant in the manuscripts of Mr. Burke than myself. To this difficulty succeeded that of selecting from several detăched papers, written upon the same subject, and the same topicks, 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 connexion 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 Publick, that in the execution of this part of my duty I requested and obtained your assistance. O first care was to ascertain from such evib 2
dence, 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 Publick. Our last object was to determine what degree of imperfection and incorrectness 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 Publick 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.
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, 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 4th Volume has already been noticed.
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.
Fox. 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.
North America. These pieces relate to a most important period in the present Reign; and I hope no apology will be necessary for giving them to the Publick. VIII. Letter to the Right Honourable Ed
X, Letter to John Merlott, Esq. The Reader will find, in a Note amexed to each of these Letters, an account of the occasions, an
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 Execu
tions. 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 honour to the head and heart of their illustrious writer.
XII. Letter to the Right Honourable Henry
Dundas ; with the Sketch of a Negro
Cade. 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 draught of it in Mr.