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The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 06 (of 12)

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PRELIMINARY CORRESPONDENCE. Letter from the Right Honorable the Lord Auckland to the Lord Bishop of Rochester.

EDEN FARM, KENT, July 18th, 1812.

My dear Lord,—Mr. Burke's fourth letter to Lord Fitzwilliam is personally interesting to me: I have perused it with a respectful attention.

When I communicated to Mr. Burke, in 1795, the printed work which he arraigns and discusses, I was aware that he would differ from me.

Some light is thrown on the transaction by my note which gave rise to it, and by his answer, which exhibits the admirable powers of his great and good mind, deeply suffering at the time under a domestic calamity.

I have selected these two papers from my manuscript collection, and now transmit them to your Lordship with a wish that they may be annexed to the publication in question.

I have the honor to be, my dear Lord,

Yours most sincerely,



Letter from Lord Auckland to the Right Honorable Edmund Burke.

EDEN FARM, KENT, October 28th, 1795.

My dear Sir,—

Though in the stormy ocean of the last twenty-three years we have seldom sailed on the same tack, there has been nothing hostile in our signals or manoeuvres, and, on my part at least, there has been a cordial disposition towards friendly and respectful sentiments. Under that influence, I now send to you a small work which exhibits my fair and full opinions on the arduous circumstances of the moment, "as far as the cautions necessary to be observed will permit me to go beyond general ideas."

Three or four of those friends with whom I am most connected in public and private life are pleased to think that the statement in question (which at first made part of a confidential paper) may do good, and accordingly a very large impression will be published to-day. I neither seek to avow the publication nor do I wish to disavow it. I have no anxiety in that respect, but to contribute my mite to do service, at a moment when service is much wanted.

I am, my dear Sir,

Most sincerely yours,



Letter from the Right Honorable Edmund Burke to Lord Auckland.

My dear Lord,—

I am perfectly sensible of the very flattering honor you have done me in turning any part of your attention towards a dejected old man, buried in the anticipated grave of a feeble old age, forgetting and forgotten in an obscure and melancholy retreat.

In this retreat I have nothing relative to this world to do, but to study all the tranquillity that in the state of my mind I am capable of. To that end I find it but too necessary to call to my aid an oblivion of most of the circumstances, pleasant and unpleasant, of my life,—to think as little and indeed to know as little as I can of everything that is doing about me,—and, above all, to divert my mind from all presagings and prognostications of what I must (if I let my speculations loose) consider as of absolute necessity to happen after my death, and possibly even before it. Your address to the public, which you have been so good as to send to me, obliges me to break in upon that plan, and to look a little on what is behind, and very much on what is before me....