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science. But if it be doubted whether Omnipotence its self is competent to alter the essential constitution of right and wrong, sure I am, that such things, as they and I, are possessed of ro such power. No man carries farther than I do the policy of making government pleasing to the people. But the widest range of this politic complaisance is confined within the limits of justice. I would not only consult the interest of the people, but I would cheerfully gratify their humors. We are all a sort of children that must be soothed and managed. I think I am not austere or formal in my nature. I would bear, I would even myself play my part in, any innocent buffooneries, to divert them. But I never will act the tyrant for their amusement. If they will mix malice in their sports, I shall never consent to throw them any living, sentient, creature whatsoever, no, not so much as a kitling to torment,
“ But, if I profess all this impolitic stubborness, “ I may chance never to be elected into parliament.” It is certainly not pleasing to be put out of the public service. But I wish to be a member of parliament, to have my share of doing good and resisting evil. It would therefore be absurd to renounce my objects, in order to obtain my seat. I deceive myself indeed most grossly, if I had not much rather pass the remainder of my life, hidden in the recesses of the deepest obscurity, feeding my mind even with the visions and imaginations of such things, than to be placed on the most splendid throne of the universe, tantalized with a denial of the practice of all which can make the greatest situation any other than the greatest curse. Gentlemen, I have had my day. I can never suficiently express my gratitude to you for having set me in a place, wherein I could lend the slightest help to great and laudable designs. If I have had my share in any 5
measure giving quiet to private property, and private conscience; if by my vote I have aided in securing to families the best possession, peace ; if I have joined in reconciling Kings to their subjects, and subjects to their prince'; if I have assisted to loosen the foreign holdings of the citizen, and taught him to look for his protection to the laws of his country, and for his comfort to the goodwill of his countrymen ; if I have thus taken my part with the best of men in the best of their actions, I can shut the bookI might wish to read a page or two more-but this is enough for my measure I have not lived in vain.
“And now, gentlemen, on this serious day, when I come, as it were, to make up my account with you, take to myself some degree of honest pride on the nature of the charges that are against me. I do not here stand before you accused of venality, or of neglect of duty. It is not said, that, in the long period of my service, I have, in a single instance, sacrificed the slightest of your interests to my ambition, or to my fortune. It is not alleged, that to gratify any anger, or revenge of my own, or of my party, I have had a share in wronging or oppressing any description of men, or any one man in any description. No! the charges against me are all of one kind, that I have pushed the principles of general justice and benevolence too far; further than a cautious policy would warrant; and further than the opinions of many would go along with me.--In every accident which may happen through life, in pain, in sorrow, in depression, and distress-I will call to mind this accusation, and be comforted.
- Gentlemen, I submit the whole to your judgment. Mr. Mayor, I thank you for the trouble you have taken on this occasion. In your state of health it is particularly
obliging. If this company should think it advisable for me to withdraw, I shall respectfully retire : if
think otherwise, I shall go directly to the Council-house and to the 'Change, and, without a moment's delay, begin my canvass."
The company, whose zeal for Mr. BURKE was not a little increased by this candid and eloquent vindication of his conduct, inmediately came to the following resolu
1. “ That Mr. BURKE, as a representative for this city, has done all possible honor to himself as a senator and a man, and that we do heartily and honestly approve of his conduct, as the result of an enlightened loyalty to his sovereign; a warm and zealous love to his country, through its widely-extended empire ; a jealous and watchful care of the liberties of his fellow-subjects; an enlarged and liberal understanding of our commercial interest; a humane attention to the circumstances of even the lowest ranks of the community; and a truly wise, politic, and tolerant spirit in supporting the national church, with a reasonable indulgence to all who differ'from it; and we wish to express the most marked abhorrence of the base arts which have been employed without regard to truth and reason, to misrepresent his eminent services to his country.
II.« That this resolution be copied out, and signed by the chairman, and be by him presented to Mr. BURKE, as the fullest expression of the respectful and grateful sense we entertain of his merits and services, public and private, to the citizens of Bristol, as a man and a representative.
IV. That it is the carnest request of this meeting to Mr. BURKE, that he should again offer himself 'a candidate to represent this city in parliament ; assuring him of that full and strenuous support which is due to the merits of so excellent a representative.”
The third resolution was a vote of thanks in the usual form to the Mayor, who had presided at the meeting.
This business being ended, Mr. BURKE, accompanied by a great number of respectable citizens, went to the Council-house, and thence to the Exchange, where he offered himself as a candidate, according to established custom, and entered upon a contest, which was vigorously supported by his friends on that and the two following days. But finding the tide of prejudice too strong against him, he declined on Saturday morning the oth of September a continuance of the poll, thinking it far better, as he declared, “ with his strength unspent, and his reputation unimpaired, to do, early and from foresight, that which he might be obliged to do from necessity at last.” His farewel speech was very short, but impressive. He did not affect to conceal his uneasiness at the disappointment, very candidly remarking, that it was in general more unpleasant to be rejected after long trial, than not to be chosen at all. “. But, gentlemen," added he, “ I will see nothing except your former kindness, and I will give way to no other sentiments than those of gratitude. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for what you have done for You have given me a long term which is now expired. I have performed the conditions and enjoyed all the profits to the full ; and I now surrender your estate into your hands without being in a single tile or a single stone impaired or wasted by my use."
From a glance at the past, and a sentiment of perfect resignation with respect to the future, Mr. BURKE was naturally led to notice the sudden death of Mr. COOMBE,
one of the candidates, the day before, a melancholy event, which, he said, “ read to them an awful lesson against being too much troubled about any of the objects of ordinary ambition. The worthy gentleman," continued the orator, “ who has been snatched from us at the moment of the election, and in the middle of the contest, whilst his desires were as warm, and his hopes as eager as ours, has feelingly told us, what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue.”
Towards the close of his speech, Mr. BURKE observed, that it had been usual for a candidate who declined, to take his leave, by a letter to the sheriffs; “ but,” said he," I
“ received your trust in the face of day; and in the face of day I accept your dismission. I am not, I am not at all ashamed to look upon you ; nor can my presence discompose the order of business here. I humbly and respectfully take my leave of the sheriffs, the candidates, and the electors; wishing heartily that the choice may be for the best, at a time which calls, if ever time did call, for service that is not nominal. It is no plaything you are about. I tremble when I consider the trust I presume to ask. I confided perhaps too much in my intentions. They were really fair and upright; and I am bold to say, that I ask no ill thing for you, when, on parting from this place, I pray that whomever you choose to succeed me, , he may resemble me exactly in all things, except in my abilities to serve, and my fortune to please you.”