« PreviousContinue »
biographers, was incredible; and that a full investigation of the literature of the controversy would probably disclose by internal evidence what were Burke's actual contributions to it. I accordingly read through the mass of pamphlets on the “Lucasian Controversy," which are collected in Trinity College, the King's Inns Library, and the Royal Irish Academy, and have come to the conclusion, which I submit with some confidence, that Burke's part in it has been completely misrepresented, and that he was not the opponent but the supporter of the views advocated by Lucas. I have ventured to print in a supplement full extracts from the pamphlets which seem to me to bear unmistakably the impress of Burke's literary style, and to anticipate his method of political reasoning.
Such imperfections as are in this work are mine, if it has any merits they are entirely my son's.
Perhaps I may be pardoned for adding some personal details about him who was the author of this work. After graduating in Trinity College, Dublin, he was called to the Irish Bar in Trinity Term, 1910. He joined the North-West Circuit, and had begun to get into practice. On 16th December, 1913, he married Dorothy Gage, only daughter of George Young, D.L., of Culdaff, Co. Donegal. There was no issue of the marriage. After his death she served as a nurse in France until the end of the War. She has put at my disposal all the materials that were in her hands relating to this work.
What sort of man its author proved under the test of War may be gathered from those with whom he served. They universally speak of him as an officer of outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty, fearless, cool-headed, and a thinker, who had developed into a really fine soldier, worshipped by all his young officers and idolised by his men, of great capacity and intellect and destined to high command.
After all he was but one of the Innumerable—but one, too, of the many, many of his class-fellows and companions in Trinity College who fell in the Great War. The devoted generation of young Irishmen, such as he, trained and educated like him, and with aspirations such as his, has been almost exterminated. Whether there was to be left any longer a place for such as they in their native land—is a question they have not had to solve. Perhaps this volume may
be taken as some surviving service to his Country by one of them, who had tried in his time to serve her, and had hoped to serve her more.
ARTHUR WARREN SAMUELS.
23rd September, 1922.
EMBERS of the College Historical Society of Trinity College,
Dublin, have frequently expressed the wish that the Minute Book of the original Debating Club, founded by Edmund Burke in 1747, which lies amongst the records of the Society, should be published. The biographers of Burke give but little information about his early life; none of them had access to this manuscript, which throws important light on the period of his career when he was an undergraduate. His surroundings—how he thought—what he thought—the influences which acted upon him—and the impulses which inspired him—in those assimilative years, when the character of the great philosopher-statesman was being moulded, are matters of absorbing interest; and in the précis of the College debates contained in the Minute Book of the Club, and kept mainly in his own hand-writing, will be found the germ of many of the ideas and the utterances of Burke, which afterwards impressed the world.
I have thought it desirable to prefix to the transcript a narrative of Burke's early life and school and college days. The main source of our information for these periods is contained in the Leadbeater Papers1 published in 1862; volumes which are difficult now to obtain and which deal only in a subsidiary way with Edmund Burke. No attempt has hitherto been made to edit the correspondence between Burke and Richard Shackleton contained in them. It throws much light on Burke's pursuits, life and ideas when a student in Trinity College, and frequently refers to the intended formation of the Debating Society, the minutes of which are reproduced in the following pages. A few additional letters dealing with the period covered by Burke's college career are printed in the Fitzwilliam Edition of his correspondence; and Prior, in the fifth edition of his Life of Burke, gives excerpts from some correspondence between Shackleton and other college friends of Burke which I have made use of. I have also incorporated a few letters printed in now forgotten magazines, and have had access to some hitherto unpublished material.
Frequent reference has been made to Gilbert's History of Dublin, and to contemporary Dublin newspapers, pamphlet literature and
The Leadbeater Papers: a Selection from the MSS. and Correspondence of Mary Leadbeater. 2 vols. London. Bell and Daldy. 1862.