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Lord Chesterfield's second Speech on the gin act, Feb.
Of all the studies which can engage industry, or allure genius, perhaps that of eloquence is the most enchanting. To this delightful occupation the Editor has devoted some of his time, and all his zeal. The result of his labours is now laid before the publick, and though he may receive but limited applause for the execution, yet, he hopes that the design may escape censure.
He presumes, but not vainly, that he has not been forestalled in this literary undertaking. Notwithstanding the choice and variety of materials, the enterprise and judgment of booksellers, and the liberal curiosity of enlightened readers; notwithstanding national pride and individual vanity, no ample specimen of forensick and parliamentary eloquence has ever appeared even in the metropolis of the British Empire.
Distinguished as Ireland certainly is, by glorious efforts of the most impassioned oratory, she has been supinely negligent of her fairest fame, and the busy curiosity of Dublin, and the more judicious inquisitiveness of her University, have been satisfied with the garbled and meagre reports of the speeches of Malone, of Flood, of Burgh, and of Grattan.
Scotland, a region abounding with acute and eloquent speakers, and conspicuous alike for her Faculty of Advocates, and her General Assembly, has also been careless to preserve the monuments of her eloquence.
Even in France, so memorable for the vivacity and copiousness of her rhetorick, we might inquire in vain for some of the most brilliant effusions of her Parliament and her Convention.
In short, though in many sections of Europe, single speeches in fugitive pamphlets may have been accidentally, gratuitously, or venally preserved, nothing like a collection has hitherto been compiled by Industry, or selected by Taste.
The Editor, trusting to diligence alone, hopes, not without anxiety, that by the publication of this work he is rendering an acceptable service to the republick of letters. With the volumes now presented to the publick, he completes that portion of the work which is appropriated to the eloquence of Europe. He may, at a future period, not too remote, add to the collection a volume of American