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CONTENTS OF WOL. VI.
LETTER on THE AFFAIRs of IRELAND, 1797 . -
Y DEAR SIR,-As some prefatory account of the materials which compose this second posthumous volume of the Works of Mr. Burke, and of the causes which have prevented its earlier appearance, will be expected from me, I hope I may be indulged in the inclination I feel to run over these matters in a letter to you, rather than in a formal address to the public. Of the delay that has intervened since the publication of the former volume I shall first say a few words. Having undertaken, in conjunction with the late Dr. Laurence, to examine the manuscript papers of Mr. Burke, and to select and prepare for the press such of them as should be thought proper for publication, the difficulties attending our coöperation were soon experienced by us. The remoteness of our places of residence in summer, and our professional and other avocations in winter, opposed perpetual obstacles to the progress of our undertaking. Soon after the publication of the fourth volume, I was rendered incapable of attending to any business by a severe and tedious illness. And it was not long after my recovery before the health of our invaluable friend began gradually to decline, and soon became unequal to the increasing labors of his profession and the discharge of his Parliamentary duties. At length we lost a man, of whom, as I shall have occasion to speak more particularly in another part of this undertaking, I will now content myself with saying, that in my humble opinion he merited, and certainly obtained with those best acquainted with his extensive learning and information, a considerable rank amongst the eminent persons who have adorned the age in which we have lived, and of whose services the public have been deprived by a premature death. From these causes little progress had been made in our work when I was deprived of my coadjutor. But from that time you can testify of me that I have not been idle. You can bear witness to the confused state in which the materials that compose the present volume came into my hands. The difficulty of reading many of the manuscripts, obscured by innumerable erasures, corrections, interlineations, and marginal insertions, would perhaps have been insuperable
* Works, Vol. V., quarto edition, (London, F., C., & J. Rivington, 1812,) — Vol. IV. of that edition (London, F. & C. Rivington, 1802) being the first posthumous volume, –and Wols. I., II, and III. (London, J. Dodsley, 1792) comprising the collection published during the lifetime of Mr. Burke.