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For new materials I have been indebted to various gentlemen. To Mr. Francis I
obliged for original letters and other valuable communications. The polite and handsome manner in which he honoured me with his acquaintance, greatly enhances the favour conferred by his contributions. Liberal in sentiment as well as vigorous in understanding, he did not refuse to promote the work, though containing some opinions and sentiments contrary to his own.
I here cannot forbear mentioning the fate of an application which I made to him, whom I ever must consider as one of the first men of this or any other age. In terms of the utmost respect I wrote to that gentleman, requesting that, from the vast stores of materials his long intimacy with Mr. Burke must have afforded him, he would have the goodness to communicate such as could have no reference to political sentiment. I received no answer.
[x] From inferior retainers to Opposition such conduct would not have surprized me. It was natural for such, not having understanding sufficiently comprehensive to view the whole conduct and character of Mr. Burke, to confine themselves to a part, and to feel sore at his political separation from their party; but from the generous, magnanimous, expanded mind of him whom I addressed I expected a different reception.
To the conversation of Mr. Murphy I
various anecdotes concerning Mr. Burke, and especially his early life, in the knowledge of which' my first edition was confessedly deficient.
I was promised by an anonymous writer some important particulars concerning Mr. Burke's connection with Mr. Hamilton, and the causes of its dissolution; but though I attended repeatedly to the writer's appointment, I was never favoured with an inter
view, nor the proffered communications. Should he read this Preface, I beg leave to inforin him, that, though too late for this edition, I should still highly prize the information.
Many other gentlemen have favoured me with interesting materials.
But what I esteem most peculiarly important, has come from him who was, when a youth and à political theorist, by far the most ingenious and ablest of Mr. Burke's literary opponents, though now, when a man and a political philosopher, he has adopted opinions more consistent with those of the man whose character, able to comprehend and appreciate, he so much admires. The opportunities that gentleman had of being with Mr. Burke were but few, but of these he did avail himself to the
From a gentleman equally eminerit for investigating the understanding and affections of the mind, as he whom I have just mentioned is for exhibiting man's various duties in private and public relations, I was favoured with important materials.
I have to apologize to the public for the lateness of the present edition, as, indeed, to supply the demand it ought to have been out in the beginning of last year; but the desire of procuring variety of intelligence induced me to postpone the publication.
Fresh communications will be most thankfully received for a future impression.