« AnteriorContinuar »
with a gene
us leave that sort of company which, if it does not to another day. Accordingly, on the Monday destroy our innocence, pollutes our honour; let following, viz. February 14, leave was given, on us free ourselves at once from every thing that the motion of Mr. Burke, without opposition, to can encrease their suspicions, and inflame their just bring in, resentment; let us cast away from us,
Ist, A bill for the sale of the forest and other rous scorn, all the love-tokens and symbols that crown lands, rents, and hereditaments, with we have been vain and light enough to accept ;- “ certain exceptions; and for applying the proall the bracelets, and snuff-boxes, and miniature “ duce thereof to the publick service ; and for pictures, and hair devices, and all the other adul- “ securing, ascertaining, and satisfying, tenantterous trinkets that are the pledges of our aliena- rights, and common and other rights.” tion, and the monuments of our shame. Let us 2d, “ A bill for the more perfectly uniting to return to our legitimate home, and all jars and all “ the crown the principality of Wales, and the quarrels will be lost in embraces. Let the com- county palatine of Chester, and for the more mons in parliament assembled be one and the commodious administration of justice within the same thing with the commons at large. The dis- same ; as also for abolishing certain offices now tinctions that are made to separate us are unnatu- appertaining thereto; for quieting dormant ral and wicked contrivances. Let us identify, let “ claims, ascertaining and securing tenantus incorporate, ourselves with the people. Let us rights ; and for the sale of all the forest lands, cut all the cables and snap the chains which tie us " and other lands, tenements, and hereditaments, to an unfaithful shore, and enter the friendly har- “ held by his majesty in right of the said princibour, that shoots far out into the main its moles pality, or county palatine of Chester, and for and jettees to receive us.—“War with the world, applying the produce thereof to the publick and peace with our constituents.” Be this our service." motto, and our principle. Then, indeed, we shall 3d, “ A bill for uniting to the crown the duchy be truly great. Respecting ourselves we shall be “ and county palatine of Lancaster; for the suprespected by the world. At present all is troubled, pression of unnecessary offices now belonging and cloudy, and distracted, and full of anger and “ thereto; for the ascertainment and security of turbulence, both abroad and at home; but the air “ tenant and other rights ; and for the sale of all may be cleared by this storm, and light and fer- rents, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, and tility may follow it. Let us give a faithful pledge “ forests, within the said duchy, and county palato the people, that we honour, indeed, the crown; “ tine, or either of them; and for applying the but that we belong to them ; that we are their produce thereof to the publick service.”- And auxiliaries, and not their task-masters ; the fellow- it was ordered that Mr. Burke, Mr. Fox, Lord labourers in the same vineyard, not lording over John Cavendish, Sir George Savile, Colonel their rights, but helpers of their joy: that to tax Barrè, Mr. Thomas Townshend, Mr. Byng, Mr. them is a grievance to ourselves; but to cut off Dunning, Sir Joseph Mawbey, Mr. Recorder of from our enjoyments to forward theirs, is the London, Sir Robert Clayton, Mr. Frederick Monhighest gratification we are capable of receiving tagu, the Earl of Upper Ossory, Sir William I feel with comfort, that we are all warmed with Guise, and Mr. Gilbert, do prepare and bring in these sentiments, and while we are thus warm, I the same. wish we may go directly and with a cheerful heart At the same time, Mr. Burke moved for leave to this salutary work.
to bring in-4th, “A bill for uniting the duchy Sir, I move for leave to bring in a bill, “ For “ of Cornwall to the crown; for the suppression
“ the better regulation of his majesty's civil “ of certain unnecessary offices now belonging “establishments, and of certain publick of- “ thereto ; for the ascertainment and security of
fices; for the limitation of pensions, and the “ tenant and other rights ; and for the sale of " suppression of sundry useless, expensive, “ certain rents, lands, and tenements, within or * , “ " and inconvenient places; and for applying “ belonging to the said duchy; and for ap“ the monies saved thereby to the publick “plying the produce thereof to the publick service.”
“ service.” Lord North stated, that there was a difference But some objections being made by the surbetween this bill for regulating the establishments, veyor general of the duchy, concerning the rights and some of the others, as they affected the ancient of the prince of Wales, now in his minority, and patrimony of the crown; and therefore wished Lord North remaining perfectly silent, Mr. Burke, them to be postponed, till the king's consent could at length, though he strongly contended against be obtained. This distinction was strongly con- the principle of the objection, consented to withtroverted; but when it was insisted on as a point draw this last motion for the present, to be reof decorum only, it was agreed to postpone them newed upon an early occasion.
The motion was seconded by Mr. Fox.
MR. MAYOR, AND GENTLEMEN, I am extremely pleased at the appearance of been broken by my rashness, presumption, or fond this large and respectable meeting. The steps I conceit of my own merit. may be obliged to take will want the sanction of I am not come, by a false and counterfeit show a considerable authority; and in explaining any of deference to your judgment, to seduce it in my thing which may appear doubtful in my publick favour. I ask it seriously and unaffectedly. If conduct, I must naturally desire a very full audi- you wish that I should retire, I shall not consider ence.
ihat advice as a censure upon my conduct, or an I have been backward to begin my canvass.
:- alteration in your sentiments ; but as a rational The dissolution of the parliament was uncertain ; submission to the circumstances of affairs. If, on and it did not become me, by an unseasonable the contrary, you should think it proper for me importunity, to appear diffident of the fact of my to proceed on my canvass, if you will risk the six years' endeavours to please you. I had served trouble on your part, I will risk it on mine. Mv the city of Bristol honourably'; and the city of pretensions are such as you cannot be ashamed of, Bristol had no reason to think, that the means of whether they succeed or fail. honourable service to the publick were become If you
call upon me, I shall solicit the favour indifferent to me.
of the city upon manly ground. I come before I found on my arrival here, that three gentle- you with the plain confidence of an honest servant men had been long in eager pursuit of an object in the equity of a candid and discerning master. which but two of us can obtain. I found, that I come to claim your approbation, not to amuse they had all met with encouragement. A con- you with vain apologies, or with professions still tested election, in such a city as this, is no light more vain and senseless. I have lived too long thing. I paused on the brink of the precipice. to be served by apologies, or to stand in need of These three gentlemen, by various merits, and on them. The part I have acted has been in open various titles, I made no doubt were worthy of day: and to hold out to a conduct, which stands your favour. I shall never attempt to raise myself in that clear and steady light for all its good and by depreciating the merits of my competitors. In all its evil, to hold out to that conduct the paltry the complexity and confusion of these cross pur- winking tapers of excuses and promises- I never suits, I wished to take the authentick publick will do it-They may obscure it with their smoke; sense of my friends upon a business of so much but they never can illumine sunshine by such a delicacy. I wished to take your opinion along fame as theirs. with me; that if I should give up the contest at I am sensible that no endeavours have been left the very beginning, my surrender of my post may untried to injure me in your opinion. But the not seem the effect of inconstancy, or timidity, or use of character is to be a shield against calumny. anger, or disgust, or indolence, or any other tem- I could wish, undoubtedly, (if idle wishes were not per unbecoming a man who has engaged in the the most idle of all things,) to make every part of publick service. If, on the contrary, I should my conduct agreeable to every one of my conundertake the election, and fail of success, I was stituents. But in so great a city, and so greatly full as anxious, that it should be manifest to the divided as this, it is weak to expect it. whole world, that the peace of the city had not In such a discordancy of sentiments, it is better
to look to the nature of things than to the hu- please us, in order afterwards to discharge that mours of men. The very attempt towards pleas-conscience, which they have violated, by doing us
, ing every body discovers a temper always flashy, faithful and affectionate service. If we degrade and often false and insincere. Therefore, as I have and deprave their minds by servility, it will be proceeded straight onward in my conduct, so I absurd to expect, that they who are creeping and will proceed in my account of those parts of it abject towards us, will ever be bold and incorwhich have been most excepted to.
But I must ruptible assertors of our freedom, against the first beg leave just to hint to you, that we may most seducing and the most formidable of all powsuffer very great detriment by being open to every
No! human nature is not so formed; nor talker. It is not to be imagined, how much of shall we improve the faculties or better the morals service is lost from spirits full of activity, and of publick men, by our possession of the most full of energy, who are pressing, who are rushing infallible receipt in the world for making cheats forward, to great and capital objects, when you and hypocrites. oblige them to be continually looking back. Let me say with plainness, I who am no longer Whilst they are defending one service, they de- in a publick character, that if by a fair, by an fraud
you of an hundred. Applaud us when we indulgent, by a gentlemanly behaviour to our rerun; console us when we fall; cheer us when we presentatives, we do not give confidence to their recover; but let us pass on- —for God's sake let minds, and a liberal scope to their understandings; us pass on.
if we do not permit our members to act upon a Do you think, gentlemen, that every publick very enlarged view of things ; we shall at length act in the six years since I stood in this place be infallibly degrade our national representation into fore you—that all the arduous things which have a confused and scuffling bustle of local agency. been done in this eventful period, which has When the popular member is narrowed in his crowded into a few years' space the revolutions of ideas, and rendered timid in his proceedings, the an age, can be opened to you on their fair grounds service of the crown will be the sole nursery of in half an hour's conversation.
statesmen. Among the frolicks of the court, it may But it is no reason, because there is a bad mode at length take that of attending to its business. of inquiry, that there should be no examination Then the monopoly of mental power will be added at all. Most certainly it is our duty to examine; to the power of all other kinds it possesses.
On it is our interest too-
But it must be with discre- the side of the people there will be nothing but tion ; with an attention to all the circumstances, impotence : for ignorance is impotence; narrowand to all the motives : like sound judges, and not ness of mind is impotence ; timidity is itself impolike cavilling pettyfoggers and quibbling pleaders, tence, and makes all other qualities that go along prying into flaws and hunting for exceptions.- with it, impotent and useless. Look,
gentlemen, to the whole tenour of your mem- At present it is the plan of the court to make ber's conduct. Try whether his ambition or his its servants insignificant. If the people should fall avarice have justled him out of the straight line of into the same humour, and should choose their duty; or whether that grand foe of the offices of servants on the same principles of inere obsequiactive life, that master-vice in men of business, a ousness, and flexibility, and total vacancy or indegenerate and inglorious sloth, has made him flag difference of opinion in all publick matters, then and languish in his course? This is the object of no part of the state will be sound; and it will be our enquiry. If our member's conduct can bear in vain to think of saving it. this touch, mark it for sterling. He may have I thought it very expedient at this time to give fallen into errours; he must have faults; but our
this candid counsel; and with this counsel I errour is greater, and our fault is radically ruinous would willingly close, if the matters which at to ourselves, if we do not bear, if we do not even various times have been objected to me in this applaud, the whole compound and mixed mass of city concerned only myself, and my own election. such a character. Not to act thus is folly; I had These charges, I think, are four in number ;--my almost said it is impiety. He censures God, who neglect of a due attention to my constituents, the quarrels with the imperfections of man.
not paying more frequent visits here ;-my conGentlemen, we must not be peevish with those duct on the affairs of the first Irish trade acts ;who serve the people. For none will serve us my opinion and mode of proceeding on Lord Beauwhilst there is a court to serve, but those who are champ's debtors bills; and my votes on the late of a nice and jealous honour. They who think affairs of the Roman Catholicks. All of these (exevery thing, in comparison of that honour, to be cept perhaps the first) relate to matters of very dust and ashes, will not bear to have it soiled and considerable publick concern; and it is not lest you impaired by those, for whose sake they make a should censure me improperly, but lest
should thousand sacrifices to preserve it immaculate and form improper opinions on matters of some mowhole. We shall either drive such men from the ment to you, that I trouble you at all upon the publick stage, or we shall send them to the court subject. My conduct is of small importance. for protection : where, if they must sacrifice their With regard to the first charge, my friends have reputation, they will at least secure their interest.spoken to me of it in the style of amicable exDepend upon it, that the lovers of freedom will postulation ; not so much blaming the thing, as be free.
None will violate their conscience to lamenting the effects.--Others, less partial to me,
were less kind in assigning the motives. I admit, sweated in the house of commons-by the most there is a decorum and propriety in a member of easy and ordinary arts of election, by dinners and parliament's paying a respectful court to his con- visits, by“ How do you do's,” and “My worthy stituents. If I were conscious to myself that plea- friends,” I was to be quietly moved out of my sure or dissipation, or low unworthy occupations, seat-and promises were made, and engagements had detained me from personal attendance on you, entered into, without any exception or reserve, as I would readily admit my fault, and quietly sub- if my laborious zeal in my duty had been a regular mit to the penalty. But, gentlemen, I live at an abdication of my trust. hundred miles distance from Bristol; and at the To open my whole heart to you on this subject, end of a session I come to my own house, fatigued | I do confess, however, that there were other times in body and in mind, to a little repose, and to a besides the two years in which I did visit you, very little attention to my family and my private when I was not wholly without leisure for repeat
A visit to Bristol is always a sort of ing that mark of my respect. But I could not canvass ; else it will do more harm than good. To bring my mind to see you. You remember, that pass from the toils of a session to the toils of a in the beginning of this American war (that æra canvass, is the furthest thing in the world from of calamity, disgrace, and downfall, an æra which repose. I could hardly serve you as I have done, no feeling mind will ever mention without a tear and court you too.
Most of you have heard, that for England) you were greatly divided; and a very I do not very remarkably spare myself in publick strong body, if not the strongest, opposed itself to business; and in the private business of my con- the madness which every art and every power stituents I have done very nearly as much as those were employed to render popular in order that who have nothing else to do. My canvass of you the errours of the rulers might be lost in the was not on the 'change, nor in the county meetings, general blindness of the nation. This opposition nor in the clubs of this city : It was in the house continued until after our great, but most unfortuof commons; it was at the custom-house; it was nate, victory at Long Island. Then all the mounds at the council; it was at the treasury; it was at the and banks of our constancy were borne down at admiralty. I canvassed you through your affairs, once; and the phrensy of the American war broke and not your persons. I was not only your repre- in upon us like a deluge. This victory, which sentative as a body; I was the agent, the solicitor seemed to put an immediate end to all difficulties, of individuals ; I ran about wherever your affairs perfected us in that spirit of domination, which could call me; and in acting for you, I often ap- our unparalleled prosperity had but too long peared rather as a ship broker, than as a member nurtured. We had been so very powerful, and so of parliament. There was nothing too laborious very prosperous, that even the humblest of us were or too low for me to undertake. The meanness degraded into the vices and follies of kings. We of the business was raised by the dignity of the lost all measure between means and ends; and our object. If some lesser matters have slipped through headlong desires became our politicks and our my fingers, it was because I filled my hands too morals. All men who wished for peace, or retained full; and, in my eagerness to serve you, took in any sentiments of moderation, were overborne more than
grasp. Several gentle- or silenced ; and this city was led by every artifice men stand round me who are my willing witnesses; (and probably with the more management, because and there are others who, if they were here, I was one of your members) to distinguish itself would be still better; because they would be by its zeal for that fatal cause. unwilling witnesses to the same truth. It was in of your and of my mind, I should have sooner the middle of a summer residence in London, and fled to the extremities of the earth, than have in the middle of a negociation at the admiralty shewn myself here. I, who saw in every
American for your trade, that I was called to Bristol ; and victory (for you have had a long series of these this late visit, at this late day, has been possibly misfortunes) the germ and seed of the naval power in prejudice to your affairs.
of France and Spain, which all our heat and Since I have touched upon this matter, let me warmth against America was only hatching into say, gentlemen, that if I had a disposition or a right life, I should not have been a welcome visitant to complain, I have some cause of complaint on with the brow and the language of such feelings. my side. With a petition of the city in my hand, When, afterwards, the other face of your calamity passed through the corporation without a dissent was turned upon you, and shewed itself in defeat ing voice, a petition in unison with almost the and distress, I shunned you full as much. I felt whole voice of the kingdom, (with whose formal sorely this variety in our wretchedness; and I did thanks I was covered over,) while I laboured on no not wish to have the least appearance of insulting less than five bills for a publick reform, and fought you with that show of superiority, which, though against the opposition of great abilities, and of the it may not be assumed, is generally suspected in a greatest power, every clause, and every word of time of calamity, from those whose previous warnthe largest of those bills, almost to the very last ings have been despised. I could not bear to shew day of a very long session ; all this time a canvass you a representative whose face did not reflect that in Bristol was as calmly carried on as if I were of his constituents; a face that could not joy in dead. I was considered as a man wholly out of your joys, and sorrow in your sorrows. But time the question. Whilst I watched, and fasted, and at length has made us all of one opinion; and we
In this temper
have all opened our eyes on the true nature of the uneasiness, was, after a considerable progress American war, to the true nature of all its suc- through the house, thrown out by him. cesses and all its failures.
What was the consequence? The whole kingIn that publick storm too I had my private feel- dom of Ireland was instantly in a flame. Threatings. I had seen blown down and prostrate on ened by foreigners, and, as they thought, insulted the ground several of those houses to whom I was by England, they resolved at once to resist the chiefly indebted for the honour this city has done power of France, and to cast off yours. As for me. I confess, that, whilst the wounds of those I us, we were able neither to protect nor to restrain loved were yet green, I could not bear to shew them. Forty thousand men were raised and dismyself in pride and triumph in that place into ciplined without commission from the crown. which their partiality had brought me, and to Two illegal armies were seen with banners disappear at feasts and rejoicings, in the midst of the played at the same time and in the same country. grief and calamity of my warm friends, my zealous No executive magistrate, no judicature in Iresupporters, my generous benefactors. This is a land, would acknowledge the legality of the army true, unvarnished, undisguised state of the affair. which bore the king's commission; and no law, You will judge of it.
or appearance of law, authorized the army comThis is the only one of the charges in which I missioned by itself. In this unexampled state of am personally concerned. As to the other mat-things, which the least errour, the least trespass on ters objected against me, which in their turn the right or left, would have hurried down the shall mention to you, remember once more I do precipice into an abyss of blood and confusion, the not mean to extenuate or excuse. Why should I, people of Ireland demand a freedom of trade with when the things charged are among those upon arms in their hands. They interdict all commerce which I found all my reputation? What would be between the two nations. They deny all new supleft to me, if I myself was the man, who softened, ply in the house of commons, although in time and blended, and diluted, and weakened, all the of war. They stint the trust of the old revenue, distinguishing colours of my life, so as to leave given for two years to all the king's predecessors, nothing distinct and determinate in my whole to six months. The British parliament, in a forconduct?
mer session, frightened into a limited concession It has been said, and it is the second charge, by the menaces of Ireland, frightened out of it by that in the questions of the Irish trade, I did not the menaces of England, were now frightened consult the interest of my constituents; or, to back again, and made an universal surrender of all speak out strongly, that I rather acted as a native that had been thought the peculiar, reserved, unof Ireland, than as an English member of parlia- communicable rights of England ;- the exclusive ment.
commerce of America, of Africa, of the West I certainly have very warm, good wishes for the Indies—all the enumerations of the acts of naviplace of my birth. But the sphere of my duties gation-all the manufactures-iron, glass, even the is my true country: It was, as a man attached to last pledge of jealousy and pride, the interest hid your interests, and zealous for the conservation of in the secret of our hearts, the inveterate prejuyour power and dignity, that I acted on that dice moulded into the constitution of our frame, occasion, and on all occasions. You were in- even the sacred fleece itself, all went together. No volved in the American war. A new world of reserve; no exception; no debate; no discussion. policy was opened, to which it was necessary we A sudden light broke in upon us all. It broke in, should conform, whether we would or not; and not through well-contrived and well-disposed winmy only thought was how to conform to our situa-dows, but through flaws and breaches; through tion in such a manner as to unite to this kingdom, the yawning chasms of our ruin. We were taught in prosperity and in affection, whatever remained wisdom by humiliation. No town in England of the empire. I was true to my old, standing, presumed to have a prejudice; or dared to mutter invariable principle, that all things, which came a petition. What was worse, the whole parliafrom Great Britain, should issue as a gift of her ment of England, which retained authority for bounty and beneficence, rather than as claims re- nothing but surrenders, was despoiled of every covered against a struggling litigant; or at least, shadow of its superintendence. It was, without that if your beneficence obtained no credit in your any qualification, denied in theory, as it had been concessions, yet that they should appear the salu-trampled upon in practice. This scene of shame tary provisions of your wisdom and foresight; not and disgrace has, in a manner whilst I am speakas things wrung from you with your blood by the ing, ended by the perpetual establishment of a cruel gripe of a rigid necessity. The first con military power in the dominions of this crown, cessions, by being (much against my will) mangled without consent of the British legislature,* conand stripped of the parts which were necessary to trary to the policy of the constitution, contrary make out their just correspondence and connexion to the declaration of right : and by this your in trade, were of no use. The next year a feeble liberties are swept away along with your supreme attempt was made to bring the thing into better authority-and both, linked together from the beshape. This attempt (countenanced by the minis- ginning, have, I am afraid, both together perished, ter) on the very first appearance of some poprilar for ever.
* Irish perpetual mutiny act.