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THE Speeches of Mr. Fox contain such a
various fund of political information, that however imperfect the reports of them may be, it would have been a great public loss if any
of them had been suffered to perish, or if, by being scattered through the parliamentary history of the country, for the long space of nearly forty years, they could not, without difficulty, have been brought under one view, or be readily referred to, as the subjects of them might occur hereafter.
With these impressions, the Editor was induced to set about a collection of Mr. Fox's Speeches, from his entrance into Parliament in 1768, to the period of his death in 1806; prefixing to each Speech, as he went along, such
an historical sketch as, while it rendered the subject of the Speech intelligible, should, at the same time, present the reader with a correct and undisguised view of the parliamentary conduct, on all great questions, not only of Mr. Fox, but of the party of which he was, for so many years, the leader.
When the Speeches were at length collected together, the Editor, before he resolved to publish them, requested permission of Lord Erskine to send them to his Lordship, that he might judge whether, with all their imperfections, they were worthy of publication. Lord Erskine, after obligingly saying in answer, that at his earliest leisure he would look at them, wrote the following Letter to the Editor, which he has obtained his Lordship’s permission to publish, and which renders any further preface unnecessary.
May 10. 1815.
HAVE received your letter with the Speeches I
of Mr. Fox, which you have sent for my consideration.
In proposing me as the arbiter of their publication, after the great trouble which must have attended the collection and arrangement of them, you abundantly manifest the good faith of the application ; because, having lived in the most affectionate friendship with that truly great man, having the utmost reverence for his memory, and having heard from his own lips many of the speeches, the notes of which sent me, you must have supposed I should be likely, above most others, to lament, that the utmost care and attention could give but a very faint representation of their merits. The expression of this regret is, however, no preface to my wishing they should be suppressed. - Far