Those who think that the French were likely to show a moderation and practical reasonableness in success, such as they had never shown in the hour of imminent ruin, will find Burke's judgment full of error and mischief. Those, on the contrary, who think that the nation which was on the very eve of surrendering itself to the Napoleonic absolutism was not in a hopeful humour for peace and the European order, will believe that Burke's protests were as perspicacious as they were powerful, and that anything which chilled the energy of the war was as fatal as he declared it to be.
When the third and most impressive of these astonishing productions came into the hands of the public, the writer was no more. Burke died on the 8th of July 1797. Fox, who with all his faults was never wanting in a fine and generous sensibility, proposed that there should be a public funeral, and that the body should lie among the illustrious dead in Westminster Abbey. Burke, however, had left strict injunctions that his burial should be private; and he was laid in the little church at Beaconsfield. It was the year of Campo Formio. So a black whirl and torment of rapine, violence and fraud was encircling the Western world, as a life went out which, notwithstanding some eccentricities and some aberrations, had made great tides in human destiny very luminous.
Of the Collected Works, there are two main editions - the quarto and the octavo. (1) Quarto, in eight volumes, begun in 1792, under the editorship of Dr F. Lawrence; vols. i.-iii. were published in 1792; vols. iv.-viii., edited by Dr Walter King, sometime bishop of Rochester, were completed in 1827. (2) Octavo in sixteen volumes. This was begun at Burke's death, also by Drs Lawrence and King; vols. i.-viii. were published in 1803 and reissued in 1808, when Dr Lawrence died; vols. ix.-xii. were published in 1813 and the remaining four vols. in 1827. A new edition of vols. i.-viii. was published in 1823 and the contents of vols. i.-xii. in 2 vols. octavo in 1834. An edition in nine volumes was published in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1839. This contains the whole of the English edition in sixteen volumes, with a reprint of the Account of the European Settlements in America which is not in the English edition.
Among the numerous editions published later may be mentioned that in Bohn's British Classics, published in 1853. This contains the fifth edition of Sir James Prior's life; also an edition in twelve volumes, octavo, published by J.C. Nimmo, 1898. There is an edition of the Select Works of Burke with introduction and notes by E.J. Payne in the Clarendon Press series, new edition, 3 vols., 1897. The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, edited by Earl Fitzwilliam and Sir R. Bourke, with appendix, detached papers and notes for speeches, was published in 4 vols., 1844. The Speeches of Edmund Burke, in the House of Commons and Westminster Hall, were published in 4 vols., 1816. Other editions of the speeches are those On Irish Affairs, collected and arranged by Matthew Arnold, with a preface (1881), On American Taxation, On Conciliation with America, together with the Letter to the Sheriff of Bristol, edited with introduction and notes by F.G. Selby (1895).
The standard life of Burke is that by Sir James Prior, Memoir of the Life and Character of Edmund Burke with Specimens of his Poetry and Letters (1824). The lives by C. MacCormick (1798) by R. Bisset (1798, 1800) are of little value. Other lives are those by the Rev. George Croly (2 vols., 1847), and by T. MacKnight (3 vols., 1898). Of critical estimates of Burke's life the Edmund Burke of John Morley, "English Men of Letters" series (1879), is an elaboration of the above article; see also his Burke, a Historical Study (1867); "Three Essays on Burke," by Sir James Fitzjames Stephen in Horae Sabbaticae, series iii. (1892); and Peptographia Dublinensis, Memorial Discourses preached in the Chapel of Trinity College, Dublin, 1895-1902; Edmund Burke, by G. Chadwick, bishop of Derry (1902).