I must tell you in particular, Mr. Harding, that you are much to blame. Several hundred persons have enquired at your house for my Letter to the Shop-keepers, etc., and you had none to sell them. Pray keep yourself provided with that letter and with this; you have got very well by the former, but I did not then write for your sake, any more than I do now. Pray advertise both in every news-paper, and let it not be your fault or mine if our countrymen will not take warning. I desire you likewise to sell them as cheap as you can.—I am your Servant, M.B.
Aug. 4, 1724.
IV.—’SECOND LETTER ON A REGICIDE PEACE’
BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE EDMUND BURKE
(I have found the selection of a suitable sample of Burke to be my most difficult task in this volume. All his writings, as I have pointed out in the general introduction, are, after a sort, pamphlets; and this of itself was an embarrassment. It was partly complicated and partly lessened by the fact that the form of his speeches naturally excluded them. Many of his other works—notably the Thoughts on the Present Discontents_, the immortal Reflections on the French Revolution, and the Appeal from the New Whigs to the Old—were much too long for a scheme in which I have made it a rule to give in each case entire works or divisions of works. I at last reduced the suitable candidates to three—the Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe, that To a Noble Lord, and the present number of the Letters on a Regicide Peace. The first went as being to some extent identical in subject with the examples of another writer, Sydney Smith, which I had already resolved on giving; the second as being too much in the nature of a personal apologia. With the third, which I looked on at first with least favour, I have become increasingly well satisfied. It has not the gorgeous rhetoric of The Letter to a Noble Lord, the Reflections, and others. It has nothing so lively as the contrast between France and Algiers in its immediate predecessor. It may even seem, to those who have accustomed themselves to think of Burke wholly or mainly as a gorgeous rhetorician, rather tame as a whole. But if it does not soar, it never droops; it is admirably proportioned, admirably written, and admirably argued throughout, and it shows great knowledge and mastery of foreign politics—the point in which English statesmen have always been weakest. I may add that it seems to me a triumphant refutation of the charge—constantly brought against Burke not merely by extreme democrats, but by the usual advocate of the juste milieu,—that in his later years, and especially in these very Letters, he became a mere raving Gallophobe, with no sense of proportion or circumstance. For my part, I have read scores, probably hundreds, of books—English, French, and German—on the French Revolution;