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LETTERS BY THE SAME WRITER
UNDER OTHER SIGNATURES;
TO WHICH ARE ADDED
HIS CONFIDENTIAL CORRESPONDENCE WITH MR. WILKES,
LONDON: GEORGE BELL & SONS, YORK STREET,
The present Volume comprises all the Letters known to be written by the Author of Junius under other signatures, or which have hitherto been ascribed to him. Several of these are now considered spurious; but it has been deemed ad visable to republish every letter given in Woodfall's edition, rather than exercise any discretion in expunging what may have acquired interest with many, and, with some, is still matter of controversy.
THE PRIVATE LETTERS OF JUNIUS, addressed to Woodfall, as printer of the Public Advertiser, are valuable not only for the light they throw on the progress of this remarkable correspondence, but also for the glimpses they afford of the movements and character of their long inscrutable author. The terseness and force with which these brief notes are penned, are strikingly significant of the energy and resolute purpose of the writer.
THE LETTERS OF JUNIUS TO WILKES merit careful perusal. They are recommended by clearness and vigour of style, as well as excellent sense and a sound appreciation of constitutional principles. The replies of Wilkes place him in a favourable light, and evince a power of reasoning and a regard for enlightened principles of government, greater than might have been inferred from his giddy and dissolute career.
THE MISCELLANEOUS LETTERS possess several claims to notice. In them may be discerned the first agitation of public questions which Junius subsequently discussed more effectively, and in more elaborate and polished diction, They are not all, however, believed to be from the pen of Junius; and in the notes it has been attempted to distinguish such as are indisputably his from those which cannot be affiliated with certainty.
Newspaper correspondence had an authority and interest in the time of Junius which it no longer possesses, and the Miscellaneous Letters derive a value from the illustration they afford of this antecedent phase of journalism At this period existed none of those leading articles or elaborate commentaries on public questions, which now occupy so prominent a place in our daily papers. The correspondents of the press were then the only writers of political communications which bore the character of leaders; and, as reports of the debates were not permitted, members of either house suffered equally with the people in possessing no common channel by which the one could learn, and the other convey
their sentiments. In consequence of this restrictive system, the correspondence of newspapers formed the most talented portion of their contents, influential men of all parties adopting this medium as the best for giving publicity to their opinions.
In the APPENDIX, with other elucidatory papers, will be found the letters privately addressed to the Earl of Chatham by Junius, and recently brought to light in the Chatham Correspondence.
But the subject, in which the reader is likely to feel most interested is the identification of the author. The editor has pursued this inquiry to considerable length, under favourable auspices; he has not only been aided by the labours of numerous preceding investigators, but has conversed on the subject with several distinguished living individuals who were intimately acquainted with the remarkable person whom it seems now fair to acknowledge as Junius. He has also had the advantage of receiving much valuable information from the members and descendants of Sir Philip's family. From the courtesy and readiness with which his inquiries have been met, the impression appears to have become general, even among those most nearly concerned, that all motives for concealment have ceased, and that the time has arrived when a full disclosure may be made, without the compromise of any feeling, interest, or obligation.
In our Preface to the first volume, we promised to include, in the second, an Analysis drawn up by Sir Harris Nicolas; it therefore becomes necessary to explain why this is now omitted. It has been found, after a careful and minute examination of a mass of papers, greater in bulk than even the letters they are intended to illustrate, that no deductions are made, no conclusions drawn. They are mere materials, without any direct tendency, and could only be useful, or in the least degree interesting, in the event of further investigation, should any one still think the question not finally disposed of.
Sir Harris, some time before his death, told the Publisher, that he was engaged in posting up, ledger fashion, the pros and cons in the Junius Papers as given in Woodfall's edition, convinced that this was the likeliest mode of arriving at a satisfactory result. These postings, however, were never com pleted, and no dénouement is attempted. Indeed, Sir Harris tonfessed that I had not been able to arrive at any conclu
sion, but that less objection seemed to exist against the claims of Sir Philip Francis than those of any other can didate. He found, like some other astute critics, so happily bantered in Byron's stanzas *, that it was easier to prove that nobody wrote Junius, than to find a writer against whom there was no plausible objection. At that time Sir Harris was not in possession of some of the evidence which has since transpired. Bearing in mind that Archbishop Whately has ingeniously (and, were there any doubt on the subject, we might say successfully) proved that Napoleon never existed; we cannot wonder at the scepticism of those who, having once taken their stand, are determined that Sir Philip Francis shall not be the author.
The Analysis, we may here observe, was to have appeared in several successive papers in the Athenæum; and some of the preliminary remarks were there printed, Feb. 10, 1844, but were never continued. These, which form the introductory portion of our manuscript, together with a few extracts from the analysis itself, are annexed, that the reader may have a fair sample of Sir Harris's mode of treatment. We have not room for more, and even if we had, should hesitate to load our volume with what can have but little attraction for the general reader. The Index, however, has derived considerable advantage from Sir Harris's labours, and is in consequence much enlarged; the research occasioned by the operation of blending his materials with our own, has led us to discover the curious fact, that in the previous edition of Junius, published by Woodfall, the name of Sir Philip Francis is entirely excluded from the Index, which is the more remarkable, as in other respects it is singularly minute.
It shows how completely the author had succeeded in blinding all parties, preserving himself entirely free even from suspicion up to the comparatively recent period of 1812; not only from the general public, but his latest and ablest commentator (Mason), and his earliest and most confidential friend, the first printer and publisher of the Letters.
Vision of Judgment, canto 74, &c,