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palliate a loss irreparable-yet, searching with affectionate diligence how best to do so,-to have been the object of your deliberate selection would, I feel, have been to me an inspiring motive, beyond all ordinary encouragement, to have shewn myself not unworthy of the proud preference you had bestowed upon me. I fear not but that my friends at Stafford would have fully entered into this feeling, and not have considered my elevation by you as a desertion of them.
"Having thus avowed my ambition, or my presumption, as some have been heard to call it, I have now to speak of my pretensions. Egotism is always offensive; and I am happy that my learned friend * has left me little or nothing to say on this head. He has stated and I avow and adopt his statement, that my claim to your favor rests on the fact, that I have step by step followed Mr. Fox through the whole course of his political career, and, to the best of my poor abilities, supported him in every one of those measures and in the maintenance of every one of those principles which originally recommended him to, and so long continued him in, your confidence and esteem. It is true there have been occasions upon which I have differed with him-painful recollection of the most painful moments of my political life! Nor were there wanting those who endeavoured to represent those differences as a departure from the homage, to which, though unclaimed by him, his superior mind was entitled, and from the allegiance of friendship which our hearts all swore to him; but never was the genuine and confiding texture of his soul more manifest than on such occasions. He knew that nothing on earth could separate or detach me from him; and he resented insinuations against the sin
*Mr. COCKER, who had proposed Mr. SHERIDAN as the most eligible person to succeed Mr. Fox.
cerity and integrity of a friend, which he would not have noticed had they been pointed against himself. With such a man to have battled in the cause of genuine liberty
with such a man to have struggled against the inroads of oppression and corruption-with such an example before me, to have to boast that I never in my life gave one vote in Parliament that was not on the side of freedom, is the congratulation that attends the retrospect of my public life. His friendship was the pride and honor of my days. I never, for one moment, regretted to share with him the difficulties, the calumnies, and sometimes even the dangers that attended an honorable course. And now reviewing my past political life, were the option possible, that I should retread the path, I solemnly and deliberately declare, that I would prefer to pursue the same course-to bear up under the same pressure-to abide by the same principles-and remain by his side, an exile from power, distinction and emolument, rather than be, at this moment, a splendid example of successful servility, or prosperous apostacy-though clothed with powers, honors, titles, and gorged with sinecures and wealth obtained from the plunder of the people.
"Grateful as I am for the manner in which you are pleased to receive my sentiments, and to espouse my I think it must have been obvious that I have in
mind an eager desire that contest and dissension should be avoided on the occasion of the present vacancy. How is this to be effected but by one of the candidates retiring? A man's pride may be piqued without his mind being induced to swerve from the cause in which he ought to persevere. Illiberal warnings have been held out-most unauthoritatively I know-that by persevering in the present contest I may risk my official situation; and if I retire, I am aware that minds as coarse and illiberal may
assign the dread of that as my motive. To such insinuations I shall scorn to make any other reply than a reference to the whole of my past political life. I consider it as no boast to say, that any one who has struggled through such a portion of life as I have, without acquiring an office, is not likely to abandon his principles to retain one when acquired. To be at all capable of acting upon principle, it is necessary that a man shall be independent; and to independence, the next best thing to that of being very rich, is to have been used to be very poor. Independence, however, is not allied to wealth, to birth, to rank, or power, to titles, or to honors. Independence is in the mind of a man, or it is no where. On this ground were I to decline the contest, I should scorn the imputation, that should bring the purity of my purpose into doubt. No Minister can expect to find in me a servile vassal. No Minister can expect from me the abandonment of any principle I have avowed, or any pledge I have given. I know not that I have hitherto shrunk in place from opinions that I have maintained while in opposition. Did there appear a Minister of different cast from any I know existing were he to attempt to exact from me a different conduct, my office should be at his service to-morrow. Such a Minister might strip me of a situation, in some respect of considerable emolument-but he could not strip me of the proud conviction that I was right-he could not strip me of my own self-esteem-he could not strip me, I think, of some portion of the confidence and good opinion of the people. But I am noticing the calumnious threat I have alluded to, more than it deserves. There can be no peril, I venture to assert, under the present Government, in the free exercise of a discretion such as belongs to the present question: I therefore disclaim the merit of putting any thing to hazard. If I have missed
the opportunity of obtaining all the support I might, perhaps, have had on the present occasion, from a very scrupulous delicacy, which I think became, and was incumbent upon me, but which I by no means conceive to have been a fit rule for others, I cannot repent it. While the slightest aspiration of breath remained on those lips, so often the channel of eloquence and virtue-while one drop of life's blood beat in that noble heart, which is now no more, I would not suffer any friend of mine, in anticipation of the melancholy event that has occurred, to institute a canvas. I could not, I ought not to have acted otherwise than as I have done.
"Now, Gentlemen, I come with a very embarrassed feeling, to that declaration which I yet think you must have expected from me, but which I make with reluctance, because, from the marked approbation I experienced from you, I fear with reluctance you will receive it. I feel myself under the necessity of retiring from this contest." [Here Mr. SHERIDAN was for some minutes interrupted by loud cries of No-No-No.] "I beseech you," resumed he, "to hear me with patience, and in the temper with which I address you. There is in true friendship this advantage. The inferior mind looks to the presiding intellect as its guide and landmark while living, and to the engraven memory of its principles, as a rule of conduct, after its death. Yet further, still unmixed with idle superstition, there may be gained a salutary lesson from contemplating what would be grateful to the mind of the departed, were he conscious of what is passing here. I solemnly believe, that could such a consideration have entered into Mr. Fox's last moments, there is nothing his wasted spirits would so have deprecated, as a contest of the nature which I now disclaim and relinquish. It was never ascertained to me until Monday last, after this meeting had
been fixed, that Lord PERCY would certainly be a candidate. My friends hesitated in the hope, that it might be left to arbitration which candidate should withdraw. That
hope has failed. I claim the privilege of nearest and dearest friendship to set the example of a sacrifice-comparatively how small to what it demands !-Nothing could ever have induced me to have proceeded to a disputed poll on this occasion.-The hour is not far distant when an awful knell shall tell you that the unburied remains of your revered patriot are passing through the streets to that sepulchral home, where your kings-your heroes-your sages and your poets lie, and where they are to be honored by the association of his noble remains-that hour, when, however the splendid gaudiness of public pageantry may be avoided, you-you-all of you will be selfmarshalled in reverential sorrow, mute, and reflecting on your mighty loss.-At that moment, shall the disgusting contest of an election-wrangle break the solemnity of the scene?—Is it fitting that any man should overlook the crisis, and risk the rude and monstrous contest ?—Is it fitting that I should be that man?-Allow me to hope, from the manner in which you have received the little I have said on this subject, that I need add no more.
"Yet still would my purpose be incomplete, and my remonstrance inconsistent, if I did not, at the same time that I withdraw myself, urge you to take the measures most propitious to prevent the tranquillity we propose from being destroyed by others. To me there seems no mode so obvious and decisive as adding your suffrages to the countenance given to the noble Earl, who has the support of those Ministers with whom your late illustrious representative lived and died in the most perfect confidence and amity. I turn to him, rejoicing that I shall not be his antagonist-I turn to him with the respect due