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proper you should all know what infamy we es- | matched turpitude, be a crime, I am guilty among caped by refusing that repeal, for a refusal of the foremost; but indeed, whatever the faults of which, it seems, I, among others, stand some that House may have been, no one member was where or other accused. When we took away, found hardy enough to propose so infamous a on the motives which I had the honor of stating thing; and, on full debate, we passed the resolu to you, a few of the innumerable penalties upon tion against the petitions with as much unanin an oppressed and injured people, the relief was ity as we had formerly passed the law of wh.ch act absolute, but given on a stipulation and com- these petitions demanded the repeal. fact between them and us; for we bound down. There was a circumstance (justice will not the Roman Catholics with the most solemn oaths suffer me to pass it over) which, if Ereme
Exemplars Je. to bear true allegiance to this government; to any thing could enforce the reasons I portment of the
Roman Catho abjare all sort of temporal power in any other; have given, would fully justify the lics during the ald ic renounce, under the same solemn obliga- act of relief, and render a repeal, or !!ons, the doctrines of systematic perfidy with any thing like a repeal, unnatural, impossible. which they stood (I conceive very unjustly) It was the behavior of the persecuted Roman charged. Now our modest petitioners came up Catholics under the acts of violence and brutal o us, most humbly praying nothing more than insolence which they suffered. I suppose there that we should break our faith, without any one are not in London less than four or five thousand cause whatsoever of forfeiture assigned ; and of that persuasion from my country, who do a when the subjects of this kingdom had on their great deal of the most laborious works in the part fully performed their engagement, we should metropolis, and they chiefly inhabit those quarrefuse on our part the benefit we had stipulated ters which were the principal theater of the fury on the performance of those very conditions that of the bigoted multitude. They are known to were prescribed by our own authority, and taken be men of strong arms and quick feelings, and on the sanction of our public faith, that is to more remarkable for a determined resolution than say, when we had inveigled them with fair prom- clear ideas or much foresight, but though proises within our door, we were to shut it en them, voked by every thing that can stir the blood of and, adding mockery to outrage, to tell them men, their houses and chapels in flames, and with **Now we have got you fast; your consciences the most atrocious profanations of every thing are bound to a power resolved on your destruc- which they hold sacred before their eyes, not a ion. We have made you swear that your re- hand was moved to retaliate, or even to defend. ligion obliges you to keep your faith. Fools, as Had a conflict once begun, the rage of their peryou are! we will now let you see that our relig- secutors would have redoubled. Thus, fury inion enjoins us to keep no faith with you." They creasing by the reverberation of outrages, house who would advisedly call upon us to do such being fired for house, and church for chapel, I am ibings mast certainly have thought us not only convinced that no power under heaven could have & convention of treacherous tyrants, but a gang prevented a general conflagration, and at this day of the lowest and dirtiest wretches that ever dis London would have been a tale ; but I am well graced humanity. Had we done this, we should informed, and the thing speaks it, ihat their clergy have indeed proved that there were some in the exerted their whole influence to keep their people world whom no faith could bind; and we should | in such a state of forbearance and quiet, as, when have convicted ourselves of that odious principle I look back, fills me with astonishment; but not of which Papists stood accused by those very sav- with astonishment only. Their merits on that oc. ages, who wished us, on that accusation, to de. casion ought not to be forgotten; nor will they, liver them over to their sury.
when Englishmen come to recollect themselves. In this audacious tumult, when our very name I am sure it were far more proper to have called and character, as gentlemen, was to be canceled them forth and given them the thanks of both forever, along with the faith and honor of the na- houses of Parliament, than to have suffered those tion, I, who had exerted myself very little on the worthy clergymen and excellent citizens to be quiet passing of the bill, thought it necessary hunted into holes and corners, while we are makthen to come forward. I was not alone; but ing low-minded inquisitions into the number of though some distinguished members on all sides, their people; as if a tolerating principle was and particularly on ours, added much to their never to prevail, unless we were very sure that high reputation by the part they took on that only a few could possibly take advantage of it. day (a part which will be remembered as long But indeed we are not yet well recovered of our as honor, spirit, and eloquence have estimation fright. Our reason, I trust, will return with our in the world), I may and will value myself so security, and this unfortunate temper will pass far, that, yielding in abilities to many, I yielded over like a cloud.22 in zeal to none. With warmth and with vigor, Gentlemen, I have now laid before you a few and animated with a just and natural indigna- of the reasons for taking away the pen- Obiections to tion, I called forth every faculty that I possessed, alties of the act of 1699, and for re- the repeal ex and I directed it in every way which I could pos- fusing to establish them on the riotous sibly employ it. I labored night and day. I la requisition of 1780. Because I would not suf bored in Parliament. I labored out of Parliament. 11, therefore, the resolution of the House 22 Tape2.Deiv UOTIP veoós. Demosthenee, da of Commons. refusing to commit this act of un-i Corona.
fer any thing which may be for your satisfaction. The tenderness of the executive power is the in escape, permit me just to touch on the objec-natural asylum of those upon whom the laws tions urged against our act and our resolves, and have declared war; and to complain that meu intended as a justification of the violence offered are inclined to favor the means of their own
to both houses. “Parliament," they safety, is so absurd that one forgets the injustice (a) That Par. liament acted assert," was too hasty, and they ought, in the ridicule.
in so essential and alarming a change, I must fairly tell you, that, so far as my printo have proceeded with a far greater degree of ciples are concerned (principles that pernicions dig deliberation." The direct contrary. Parliament I hope will only depart with my last postanowie was too slow. They took fourscore years to de- breath), I have no idea of a liberty others. liberate on the repeal of an act which ought not unconnected with honesty and justico. Nor du to have survived a second session. When at I believe that any good constitutions of govern. length, after a procrastination of near a century, ment or of freedom, can find it necessary for the business was laken up, it proceeded in the their security to doom any part of the people to most public manner, by the ordinary stages, and a permanent slavery. Such a constitution of as slowly as a law, so evidently right as to be freedom, if such can be, is in effect no more than resisted by none, would naturally advance. Had another name for the tyranny of the strongest fac. it been read three times in one day, we should tion; and factions in republics have been, and have shown only a becoming readiness to recog. are, full as capable as monarcbs, of the mos! nize by protection the undoubted dutiful behavior cruel oppression and injustice. It is but too true of those whom we had but too long punished for that the love, and even the very idea, of genuine offenses of presumption or conjecture. But for liberty is extremely rare. It is but too true that what end was that bill to linger beyond the usual there are many whose whole scheme of freedom period of an unopposed measure? Was it to be is made up of pride perverseness, and insolence. delayed until a rabble in Edinburgh should dic- They feel themselvos in a state of thraldom; tate to the Church of England what measure of they imagine that their souls are cooped and persecution was fitting for her safety ?23 Was it cabined in, unless they have some man, or some to be adjourned until a fanatical force could be body of men, dependent on their mercy. This collected in London, sufficient to frighten us out desire of having some one below them descends of all our ideas of policy and justice? Were to those who are the very lowest of all—and a we to wait for the profound lectures on the rea- Protestant cobbler, debased by his poverty, but son of state, ecclesiastical and political, which exalted by his share of the ruling Church, feels the Protestant Association have since conde- a pride in knowing it is by his generosity alone scended to read to us? Or were we, seven hund that the peer, whose footman's instep he measred peers and commoners, the only persons ig- ures, is able to keep his chaplain from a jail. norant of the ribald invectives which occupy the Tbis disposition is the true source of the passion place of argument in those remonstrances, which which many men in very humble life have taken every man of common observation had heard a to the American war. Our subjects in America! thousand times over, and a thousand times over our colonies ! our dependants! This lust of par. had despised ? All men had before heard what ty power is the liberty they hunger and thirst they have to say; and all men at this day know for, and this siren song of ambition has charmed what they dare to do; and I trust, all bonest ears that one would have thought were never men are equally influenced by the one and by organized to that sort of music. 24 the other.
This way of proscribing the citizens by denom But they tell us, that those our fellow.citi. inations and general descriptions, dig...
Pune, "5 Proscriptiou of zens, whose chains we have a little nified by the name of reason of state, men byClasere () That the Ro. man Catholico relaxed, are enemies to liberty and and security for constitutions and cruelly Eagles vere hostile to the w our free constitution--not enemies, I commonwealths. is nothing better at hotto
commonwealths, is nothing better at bottom than ought to be held I presume, to their own liberty; and the miserable invention of an ungenerous ambi
as to the constitution, until we give tion, which would fain hold the sacred trust of them some share in it, I do not know on what power without any of the virtues, or any of the pretense we can examine into their opinions about energies, that give a title to it; a receipt of i business in which they have no interest or policy made up of a detestable compound of malconcern. But after all, are we equally sure that ice, cowardice, and sloth. They would govern they are adverse to our constitution, as that our men against their will; but in that government statutes are hostile and destructive to them ? they would be discharged from the exercise of For my part, I have reason to believe their opin. vigilance, providence, and fortitude; and thereions and inclinations in that respect are various, fore, that they may sleep on their watch, they exactly like those of other men; and if they lean consent to take some one dirision of the society more to the Crown than I, and than many of you
24 No man ever touched with such force that proud think we ought, we must remember that he who
and cruel spirit which actuates a people who bola airas at another's life is not to be surprised if
others in subjection. It was just the spirit of the he flies into any sanctuary that will receive him.
Athenian mob toward their colonies, and of every
Roman toward the provinces of the empire, Rad it 31 The Protestant Association originated at Ed. was no doubt : ne principal cause of the American mburgh.
into partnership of the tyranny over the rest. prejudices, whatever they might be, of a large part Bnt let government, in what form it may be, of the people, ought not to have „cen shocked ; comprehend the whole in its justice, and restraintbat their opinions ought to have been previously the suspicions by its vigilance ; let it keep watch taken, and much attended to; and that thereby the and ward; let it discover by its sagacity, and late horrid scenes might have been prevented. panish by its firmness, all delinquency against I confess my notions are widely different; and its power, whenever delinquency exists in the I never was less sorry for any action of my life overt acts; and then it will be as safe as ever I like the bill the better on account of the events God and nature intended it should be. Crimes of all kinds that followed it. It relieved the real are the acts of individuals, and not of denomina-sufferers; it strengthened the state ; and by the tions; and, therefore, arbitrarily to class, men un- disorders that ensued, we had clear evidence that der general descriptions, in order 10 proscribe there lurked a temper somewhere, which ought and punish them in the lamp for a presumed de- not to be fostered by the laws. No ill conselinquency, of which perhaps but a part, perhaps quences whatever could be attributed to the Act none at all, are guilty, is indeed a compendious itself. We knew beforehand, or we were poormethod, and saves a world of trouble about ly instructed, that toleration is odious to the inproof; but such a method, instead of being law, tolerant; freedom to oppressors; property to robis an act of annatural rebellion against the legal bers; and all kinds and degrees of prosperity to dominion of reason and justice; and this vice, in the envious. We knew that all these kinds of any constitution that entertains it, at one time or men would gladly gratify their evil dispositions other will certainly bring on its ruin.
under the sanction of law and religion, if they We are told that this is not a religious perse- could ; if they could not, yet, to make way to nation, and its abettors are loud in disclaiming their objects, they would do their utmost to suball severities on account of conscience. Very vert all religion and all law. This we certainly fine, indeed! Then let it be so. They are not knew; but knowing this, is there any reason bepersecutors; they are only tyrants. With all my cause thieves break in and steal, and thus bring heart. I am perfectly indifferent concerning the detriment to you and draw ruin on themselves, pretexts upon which we torment one another; that I am to be sorry that you are in possession or whether it be for the constitution of the Church of shops, and of warehouses, and of wholesome of England, or for the constitution of the state laws to protect them? Are you to build no of England, that people choose to make their houses because desperate men may pull them fellow-creatures wretched. When we were sent down upon their own heads ? Or, if a malignant into a place of authority, you that sent us had wretch will cut his own throat because he sees Fourselves but one commission to give. You you give alms to the necessitous and deserving, could give us none to wrong or oppress, or even shall his destruction be attributed to your char. to suffer any kind of oppression or wrong, on any ity, and not to his own deplorable madness? If grounds whatsoever; not on political, as in the we repent of our good actions, what, I pray you, atfairs of America; not on commercial, as in is lest for our faults and follies? It is not the those of Ireland; not in civil, as in the laws for beneficence of the laws, it is the unnatural temdebt; not in religious, as in the statutes against per which beneficence can fret and sour, that is Protestant or Catholic dissenters. The divers to be lamented. It is this temper which, by all ified but connected fabric of universal justice rational means, ought to be sweetened and coris well cramped and bolted together in all its rected. If froward men should refuse this cure, parts; and, depend upon it, I never have em- can they vitiate any thing but themselves? Does plored, and I never shall employ, any engine of evil so react upon good, as not only to retard its power which may come into my hands to wrench motion, but to change its nature? If it can so it asunder. All shall stand if I can help it, and operate, then good men will always be in the all shall stand connected. After all, to complete power of the bad; and virtue, by a dreadful rethis work much remains to be done; much in verse of order, must lie under perpetual subjec. the cast, much in the west. But great as the tion and bondage to vice. work is, if our will be ready, our powers are not As to the opinion of the people, which some
think, in such cases, is to be implicitly obeyed; Since you have suffered me to trouble you so near two years' tranquillity, which followed the le) That the much on this subject, permit me, gen Act, and its instant imitation in Ireland, proved racorience tlemen, to detain you a little longer. abundantly that the late horrible spirit was, in a had been ulo I am, indeed, most solicitous to give great measure, the effect of insidious art, and
you perfect satisfaction. I find there perverse industry, and gross misrepresentation. are some of a better and softer nature than the But suppose that the dislike had been much more persons with whom I have supposed myself in de- deliberate, and much more general than I am bate, who neither think ill of the act of relief, nor persuaded it was. When we know that the by any means desire the repeal; not accusing but opinions of even the greatest multitudes are the lamenting what was done, on account of the con- standard of rectitude, I shall think myself obliged sequencos, have frequently expressed their wish to make those opinions the masters of my con. that the late Act had never been made. Some science. But if it may be doubted whether om. of this description, and persons of worth, I have nipotence itself is competent to alter the esseu. met with in this city. They conceive that the tial constitution of right and wrong, sure I am
s! the reseal
ment, he 19
VR. BURKE ON LECLINING THE ELECTION AT BRISTOL. 11786 that such things as they and I are possessed of the good-will of his countrymen; if I have trou no such power. No man carries farther than I taken my part with the best of men in the best do the policy of making government pleasing to of their actions, I can sout the book. I might ile people; but the widest range of this politic wish to read a page or two more ; but this is complaisance is confined within the limits of jus- enough for my measure. I have not lived in vain. tice. I would not only consult the interests of And now, gentlemen, on this serious day, wheu the people, but I would cheerfully gratify their I come, as it were, to make up my account with humors. We are all a sort of children that must you, let me take to myself some degree of konest be soothed and managed. I think I am not aus. pride on the nature of the charges that are agaiast tere or formal in my nature. I would bear-I me. I do not here stand before you accused of would even myself play my part in any innocent venality, or of neglect of duty. It is not said buffooneries to divert them; but I never will act that, in the long period of my service, I have, in the tyrant for their amusement. If they will mix a single instance, sacrificed the slightest of your malice in their sports, I shall never consent to interests to my ambition, or to my fortune. It throw them any living, sentient creature what is not alleged that, to gratify any anger, or resoever : no, not so much as a kitling, to torment. venge of my own, or of my party, I have had a
“But if I profess all this impolitic stubborn. share in wronging or oppressing any description If such views ness, I may chance never to be elect- of men, or any one man in any description. No! must exclude ed into Parliament." It is certainly The charges against me are all of one kind, the speaker from Parlia not pleasing to be put out of the public that I have pushed the principles of general juswilling to re- service. But I wish to be a member of tice and benevolence too far, farther than a cau main out. Parliament, to have my share of doing tious policy would warrant, and farther than the good, and resisting evil. It would therefore be opinions of many would go along with me. In absurd to renounce my objects in order to obtain every accident which may happen through life my seat. I deceive myself, indeed, most grossly, in pain, in sorrow, in depression, and distress if I had not much rather pass the remainder of -1 will call to mind this accusation, and be my life hidden in the recesses of the deepest ob- comforted. :curity, feeding my mind even with the visions Gentlemen, I submit the whole to your judg. ind imaginations of such things, than to be placed ment. Mr. Mayor, I thank you for the trouble on the most splendid throne of the universe, tan- you have taken on this occasion. In your state talized with the denial of the practice of all which of health, it is particularly obliging. If this comcan make the greatest situation any other than pany should think it advisable for me to withthe greatest curse. Gentlemen, I have had my draw, I shall respectfully retire. I you think day. I can never sufficiently express my grat- otherwise, I shall go directly to the council. itude to you for having set me in a place where. house and to the 'change, and, without a moin I could lend the slightest help to great and ment's delay, begin my canvass. laudable designs. If I have had my share in any measure giving quiet to private property, and private conscience; if, by my vote, I have aided At the close of this speech Mr. Burke was enin securing to families the best possession, peace; couraged by his friends to proceed with the canif I have joined in reconciling kings to their vass; but it was soon apparent that the opposubjects, and subjects to their prince; if I have sition he had to encounter could not be concil. assisted to loosen the foreign holdings of the cit. iated or resisted. He therefore, on the second izen, and taught him to look for his protection day of the election, declined the poll in the speech to the laws of his country, and for his comfort to which follows:
SPEECH OF MR. BURKE ON DECLINING THE ELECTION AT BRISTOL, DELIVERED SEPTEMBER 3, 1720.
GENTLEMEN,- I decline the election. It has know to be among the most weighty and re ever been my rule through life to observe a pro- spectable people of the city) I have the means portion between my efforts and my objects. I of a sharp one in my hands; but I thought it lar have never been remarkable for a bold, active, better, with my strength unspent, and my reru. and sanguine pursuit of advantages that are per- tation unimpaired, to do early and from foresonal to myself.
sight that which I might be obliged to do from I have not canvassed the whole of this city in necessity at last. form; but I have taken such a view of it as sat I am not in the least surprised, nor in the least isfies my own mind that your choice will not ul- angry at this view of chings. I have read the timately fall upon me. Your city, gentlemen, book of life for a long time, and I have read is in a state of miserable distraction; and I and other books a little. Nothing has happened to resolved to withdraw whatever share riy preten- me but what has happened to men much better sions may have had in its unhappy divisions. I than me, and in times and in nations full as good have not been in haste. I have tried all prudent as the age and country that we live in. To say means. I have waited for the effect of all con- that I am no way concerned would be neither tingencies. If I were fond of a contest, by the decent nor true. The representation of Bristo partiality of my numerous friends (whom you was an object on many accounts dear to me, and I certainly should very far prefer it to any other been snatched from us at the moment of the elecin the kingdom. My habits are made to it; and tion, and in the middle of the contest, while his it is in general more unpleasant to be rejected desires were as warm and his hopes as eager as after a long trial than not to be chosen at all. ours, has feelingly told us what shadows we are,
But, gentlemen, I will see nothing except and what shadows we pursue.' your former kindness, and I will give way to no It has been usual for a candidate who declines, cther sentiments than those of gratitude. From to take his leave by a letter to the sherifls; but the bottom of my heart I thank you for what you I received your trust in the face of day, and in have done for me. You have given in a long the face of day I accept your dismission. I am term, which is now expired. I have performed not-I am not at all ashamed to look upon you, the conditions, and enjoyed all the profits to the nor can my presence discompose the order of bu. full; and I now surrender your estate into your siness here. I humbly and respectfully take my hands without being in a singlo tile or a single Jeave of the sheriffs, the candidates, and the elect stone impaired or wasted by my use. I have ors, wishing heartily that the choice may be for served the public for fifteen years. I have the best at a time which calls, if ever time did served you, in particular, for six. What is past call, for service that is not nominal. It is no is well stored. It is safe, and out of the power plaything you are about. I tremble when I conof fortune. What is to come is in wiser hands sider the trust I have presumed to ask. I con than ours, and He in whose hands it is, best fided perhaps too much in my intentions. They knows whether it is best for you and me that I were really fair and upright; and I am bold to should be in Parliament, or even in the world. say that I ask no ill thing for you when, on part
Gentlemen, the melancholy event of yesterday ing from this place, I pray that whomever you reads to us an awful lesson against being too choose to succeed me, he may resemble me ex. much troubled about any of the objects of ordi- actly in all things except in my abilities to serve nary ambition. The worthy gentleman who has I and my fortune to please you.
SPEECH OF MR. BURKE ON THE EAST INDJA BILL OF MR. FOX, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
DECEMBER 1, 1783.
INTRODUCTION. 30 enorinous were the abuses of the British power in India, that men of all parties demanded strony measores to secure an effectual remedy. Those embraced in the East India bill of Mr. Fox, as matured between bim and Mr. Burke, were certainly of this character. All the concerns of the Company were taken into the hands of the English government. Seven commissioners, to be appointed for four years by Parliament, were intrusted with the civil and military government of the country; wbile the commercial concerns of the Company were committed to the hands of nine assistant directors, to be chosen out of the proprietors of East India stock. A second bill provided for the correction of numerous abuses in the ad. ministration of Indian affairs.
The first bill was brought into the House of Commons by Mr. Fox, on the 18th of November, 1783, and was strenuously opposed at every stage of its progress. The principal objections were, that it set aside the charter of the East India Company, threw too much patronage into the bands of the ministry, and might operate injuriously to the national credit. Mr. Fox's coalition with Lord North, which had brought the ministry into power, was also a subject of the severest animadversion. When the question came up, on the 1st of December, for going into a committee on the bill, Mr. Powys, a former friend and adherent of Mr. Fox, opposed it with all his strength. He had great authority in the House, as a country gentleman representing an extensive county, and sustained by a reputation for strong sense and unimpeachable integrity. He denounced the measure in the strongest terms, as a violation of chartered rights, and as designed to make Mr. Fox minister for life, by giving him an amount of patronage which would render it impossible for the King to remove him.
Mr. Wraxall, who was then a member of the House, and who was equally opposed with Mr. Powys to the passing of the bill, observes, in his Historical Memoirs, vol. iv., p. 566, “Burke, unable longer to observe silence after such reflections, then rose; and, in a dissertation rather than a speech, which lasted more than three hours, exhausted all the powers of his mighty mind in the justification of his friend's measure. The most ignorant member of the House, who had attended to the mass of information, his torical, political, and financial, which fell from the lips of Burke on that occasion, must bave departed ricb in knowledge of Hindostan. It seemed impossible to crowd a greater variety of matter applicable to the subject into a smaller compass; and those who differed most widely from him in opinion did not render the less justice to his gigantic range of ideas, bis lacid exposition of events, and the harmonic flow of his
* Mr. Barke here refers to Mr. Coombe, one of his exhaustion of the contest, bad died suddenly the competitors who, overcome by the excitement and evening before.