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charges that are against me. I do not here Resolved, That this resolution be copied stand before you accused of venality, or of neg- out, and signed by the chairman, and be by lect of duty. It is not said, that, in the long him presented to Mr. Burke, as the fullest period of my service, I have, in a single in- expression of the respectful and grateful sense stance, sacrificed the slightest of your interests we entertain of his merits and services, public to my ambition, or to my fortune. It is not and private, to the citizens of Bristol, as a man alleged, that to gratify any anger, or revenge of and a representative. my own, or of my party, I have had a share Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting in wronging or oppressing any description of be given to the right worshipful the Mayor, men, or any one man in any description. No! who so ably and worthily presided in this the charges against me, are all of one kind, that meeting. I have pushed the principles of general justice Resolved, That it is the earnest request of and benevolence too far; further than a cauti- this meeting to Mr. Burke, that he should ous policy would warrant; and further than the again offer himself a candidate to represent opinions of many would go along with me.- this city in parliament; assuring him of thai In every accident which may happen through full and strenuous support which is due to the life, ip pain, in sorrow, in depression, and merits of so excellent a representative. distress--I 'will call to mind this accusation; This business being over, Mr. Burke went and be comforted.
to the Exchange, and offered himself as a cur Gentlemen, I submit the whole to your judg. didate in the usual manner. He was acconiment. Mr. Mayor, I thank you for the trou- panied to the Council-house, and from thence ble you have taken on this occasion. In
your to the Exchange, by a large body of most state of health, it is particularly obliging. If respectable gentlemen, among whom were this company should think it adviseable for me the following members of the corporation, viz. to withdraw, I shall respectfully retire; if you Mr. Mayor, Mr. Alderman Smith, Mr. Althink otherwise, I shall go directly to the derman Deane, Mr. Alderman Gordon, Wil. Council-house and to the Change, and without liam Weare, Samuel Munckley, John Merlot, a moment's delay, begin my canvass.
John Crofts, Levy Ames, John Fisher Weare, Benjamin Loscombe, Philip Protheroe, Samuel Span, Joseph Smith, Richard Bright,
and John Noble, Esquires. BRISTOL, September 6, 1780. At a great and respectable meeting of the friends of EDMUND BURKE, Esq. held at the Guildhall this day;
MR. BURKE'S SPEECH, AT BRISThe Right Worshipful the Mayer in the TOL, ON DECLINING THE POLL. Chair
1780. Resolved, That Mr. Burke, as a represen
BRISTOL, Saturday, 9th Sept. 1780. tative for this city, has done all possible ho- This morning the sheriff and candidates asnour to himself as a senator and a man, and that sembled as usual, at the Council-house, and we do heartily and honestly approve of his con- from thence proceeded to Guildhall. Product, as the result of an enlightened loyalty to clamation being made for the electors to nis sovereign; a warm and zealous love to his appear and give their votes, Mr. BURKE country, through its widely-extended empire ; stood forward on the hustings, surrounded a jealous and watchful care of the libarties of by a great number of the corporation aux his fellow-subjects; an enlarged and liberal other principal citizens, and addressed him understanding of our commercial interest; a self lo the whole assembly as follows: humane attention to the circumstances of even GENTLEMEN, the lowest ranks of the community; and a truly I DECLINE the Election. It has erer been wise, politic, and tolerant spirit, in supporting my rule through life, to observe a proportion the national church, with a reasonable indul- between my efforts and my objects. I have gence to all who dissent from it; and we wish never been remarkable for a bold, active, and to express the most marked abhorrence of the sanguine pursuit of advantages that are perbase arts which have been employed, without sonal to myself. regard to truth and reason, to misrepresent his I have not canvassed the whole of this city ominent services to his country.
in form. But I have taken such a view of it 29 satishes my own mind, that your choice wasted by my use. I have served the public for will not ultimately fall upon me. Your city, fifteen years. I have served you in particular gentlemen, is in a state of miserable distrac- for six. What is passed is well stored. It is tion: and I am resolved to withdraw whatever safe, and out of the power of fortune. What share my pretensions may have had in its is to come, is in wiser hands than ours; and unhappy divisions. I have not been in haste, he, in whose hands it is, best knows whether I have tried all prudent means; I have waited it is best for you and me that I should be in for the effect of all contingencies. If I were parliament, or even in the world. fond of a contest, by the partiality of my Gentlemen, the melancholy event of yester. numerous friends (whom you know to be day reads to us an awful lesson against being among the most weighty and respectable peo- too much troubled about any of the objects of ple of the city) I have the means of a sharp ordinary ambition. The worthy gentleman, * one in my hands. But I thought it far better who has been snatched from us at the moment with my strength unspent, and my reputation of the election, and in the middle of the conunimpaired, to do, early and from foresight, test, whilst his desires were as warm, and his that which I might be obliged to do from hopes as eager as ours, has feelingly told us, necessity at last.
what shadows we are, and what shadows we I am not in the least surprised, nor in the pursue. least angry at this view of things. I have read It has been usual for a candidate who the book of life for a long time, and I have declines, to take his leave by a letter to the read other books a little. Nothing has hap- sheriffs ; but I received your trust in the face pened to me, but what has happened to men of day; and the face of day I accept your much better than me, and in times and in dismission. I am not,- I am not at ali nations full as good as the age and country ashamed to look upon you; nor can my prethat we live in. To say that I am no way sence discompose the order of business here. concerned, would be neither decent nor true. I humbly and respectfully take my leave of the The representation of Bristol was an object on sheriffs, the candidates, and the electors ; many accounts dear to me; and I certainly wishing heartily that the choice may be for should very far prefer it to any other in the the best, at a time which calls, if ever time kingdom. My habits are made to it; and it did call, for service that is not nominal. It is is in general more unpleasant to be rejected no plaything you are about. I tremble when I after long trial, than not to be chosen at all. consider the trust I have presumed to ask. I
But, gentlemtli, I will see nothing except confided perhaps too much in my intentions. your former kindness, and I will give way to They were really fair and upright; and I am no other sentiments than those of gratitude. bold to say, that I ask no ill thing for you, From the bottom of my heart I thank you for when on parting from this place I pray that what you have done for me. You have given whomever you choose to succeed me, he may me a long term, which is now expired. I resemble me exactly in all things, except in have performed the conditions, and enjoyed my abilities to serve, and my fortune to all the profits to the full; and I now surren- please you. der your estate into your hands without being in a single tile or a single stone impaired or
MR. BURKE’S SPEECH, ON THE FIRST OF DECEMBER, 1783, UPON THE QUESTION FOR THE SPEAKER'S LEAVING THE CHAIR, IN ORDER FOR THE HOUSE TO RESOLVE ITSELF INTO A COMMITTEE ON MR. FOX'S EAST INDIA BILL.
franchise ; by others it is regarded as the petty I THANK you for pointing to me. I really intrigue 'of a faction at court, and argued wished much to engage your attention in an merely as it tends to set this man a little early stage of the debate. I have been long higher, or that a little lower in situation and very deeply, though perhaps ineffectually, power. All the void has been filled up with engaged in the pre.iminary enquiries, which invectives against coalition ; with allusions to have continued without intermission for some the loss of America with the activity and years. Though I have felt, with some degree inactivity of ministers. The total silence of of sensibility, the natural and inevitable im- these gentlemen concerning the interest and pressions of the several matters of fact, as they well-being of the people of India, and conhave been successively disclosed, I have not at cerning the interest which this nation has in any time attempted to trouble you on the the commerce and revenues of that country, is merits of the subject; and very little on any a strong indication of the value which they set of the points which incidentally arose in the upon these objects. course of our proceedings. But I should be It has been a little painful to me to observe sorry to be found totally silent upon this day, the intrusion into this important debate of such Our inquiries are now come to their final company as quo warranto, and mandamus, and issue :-It is now to be determined whether certiorari; as if we were on a trial about mayors the three years of laborious parliamentary and aldermen, and capital burgesses; or enresearch, whether the twenty years of patient gaged in a suit concerning the borough of Indian suffering, are to produce a substantial Penryn, or Saltash, or St. Ives, or St. Mawes. reform in our eastern administration ; or Gentlemen have argued with as much beat whether our knowledge of the grievances has and passion, as if the first things in the world abated our zeal for the correction of them, and were at stake; and their topics are such, as our very inquiry into the evil was only a pre belong only to matter of the lowest and meanest text to elude the remedy which is demanded litigation. It is not right, it is not worthy of from us by humanity, by justice, and by every us in this manner to depreciate the value, to principle of true policy. Depend upon it, this degrade the majesty, of this grave deliberation business cannot be indifferent to our fame. It of policy and empire. will turn out a matter of great disgrace or For my part, I have thought myself bound, great glory to the whole British nation. We when a matter of this extraordinary weight are on a conspicuous stage, and the world came before me, not to consider, (as some marks our demeanour.
gentlemen are so fond of doing,) whether the I am therefore a little concerned to perceive bill originated from a secretary of state for the the spirit and temper in which the debate has home department, or from a secretary for the been all along pursued upon one side of the foreign ; from a minister of influence or a house. The declamation of the gentlemen minister of the people ; from Jacob or from who oppose the bill has been abundant and Esau.* I asked myself, and I asked myself vehement; but they have been reserved and nothing else, what part it was fit for a member even silent about the fitness or unfitness of the of parliament, who has supplied a mediocrity plan to attain the direct object it has in view. of talents by the extreme of diligence, and By some gentlemen it is taken up (by way of who has thought himself obliged, by the ro exercise I presume) as a point of law on a cuestion of private property, and corporate * An allusion made by Mr. Powis
search of years, to wind himself into the effectual to preserve India from oppression, is inmost recesses and labyrinths of the Indian a guard to preserve the British constitution detail, what part, I say, it became such a from its worst corruption. To shew this, I member of parliament to take, when a mi- will consider the objections, which I think are nister of state, in conformity to a recommen- four. dation from the throne, has brought before us a Ist. That the bill is an attack on the charsystem for the better government of the terri- tered rights of men. tory and commerce of the east. In this light, 2lly. That it increases the influence of the und in this only, I will trouble you with my sentiments.
3dly. That it does not increase, but dimiIt is not only agreed but demanded, by the nishes, the influence of the crown, in ght honourable gentleman,* and by those order to promote the interests of certain ho act with him, that a whole system ought ministers and their party. to be produced; that it ought not to be an half 4thly. That it deeply affects the nationa Treasure; that it ought to be no palliative; but credit. a legislative provision, vigorous, substantial, As to the first of these objections; I must and effective. I believe that no man who observe that the phrase of "the chartered rights understands the subject can doubt for a mo- of men," is full of affectation; and very unument, that those must be the conditions of sual in the discussion of privileges conferred any thing deserving the name of a reform in by charters of the present description. But it the Indian government; that any thing short is not difficult to discover what end that amof them would not only be delusive, but, in this biguous mode of expression, so often reitematter which admits no medium, noxious in rated, is meant to answer. the extreme.
The rights of men, that is to say, the natural To all the conditions proposed by his ad- rights of mankind, are indeed sacred things versaries, the mover of the bill perfectly and if any public measure is proved mischieagrees; and on his performance of them he vously to affect them, the objection ought to be rests his cause. On the other hand, not the fatal to that measure, even if no charter at all least objection has been taken, with regard to could be set up against it. If these natural the efficiency, the vigour, or the completeness rights are further affirmed and declared by exof the scheme. I am therefore warranted to press covenants, if they are clearly defined and assume, as a thing admitted, that the bills secured against chichane, against power, and accomplish what both sides of the house de authority, by written instruments and positive mand as essential. The end is completely engagements, they are in a still better condianswered, so far as the direct and immediate tion: they partake not only of the sanctity of object is concerned.
the object so secured, but of that solemn public But though there are no direct, yet there faith itself, which secures an object of such are various collateral objections made ; ob- importance. Indeed this formal recognition, jections from the effects which this plan of by the sovereign power, of an original right in reform for Indian administration may have on the subject, can never be subverted, but by the privileges of great public bodies in Eng- rooting up the holding radical principles of land; from its probable influence on the con- government, and even of society itself. The stitutional rights, or on the freedom and charters, which we call by distinction great, integrity of the several branches of the legis- are public instruments of this nature; I mean lature.
the charters of king John and king Henry Before I answer these objections, I must the third. The things secured by these inbeg leave to observe, that if we are not able struments may, without any deceitful ambi to contrive some method of governing India guity, be very fitly called the chartered rights well, which will not of necessity become the of men. means of governing Great Britain ill, a These charters have made the very name ground is laid for their eternal separation; of a charter dear to the heart of every Englishbut none for sacrificing the people of that man.—But, Sir, there may be, and there are country to our constitution. I am however far charters, not only different in nature, but from being persuaded that any such incom- formed on principles the very reverse of those patibility of interest does at all exist. On of the great charter. Of this kind is the charthe contrary I am certain that every means, ter of the East India company. Magna charta
is a charter to restrain power, and to destroy * Mr. Pitt.
monopoly. The East India charter is a char ser to establish monopoly, and to create power. choose to call them, are all in the strictes Political power and commercial monopoly are sense a trust; and it is of the very essence of not the rights of men; and the rights of them every trust to be rendered accountable ; and derived from charters, it is fallacious and even totally to ceuse, when it substantially sophistical to call "the chartered rights of varies from the purposes for which alone it men." These chartered rights, (to speak of could have a lawful existence. such charters and of their effects in terms of This I conceive, Sir, to be truc of trusts the greatest possible moderation,) do at least of power vested in the highest hands, and of suspend the natural rights of mankind at large; such as seem to hold of no human creature. and in their very frame and constitution are But about the application of this principle to liable to fall into a direct violation of them. subordinate derivative trusts, I do not see how
It is a charter of this latter description (that a controversy can be maintained. To whom is to say a charter of power and monopoly) then would I make the East India company which is affected by the bill before you. The accountable? Why, to parliament, to be sure; bill, Sir, does, without question, affect it; it to parliament, from whom their trust was de does affect it essentially and substantially. rived; to parliament, which alone is capable But having stated to you of what description of comprehending the magnitude of its object, the chartered rights are which this bill touches, and its abuse; and alone capable of an effectual I feel no difficulty at all in acknowledging the legislative remedy. The very charter, which existence of those chartered rights, in their is held out to exclude parliament from correcfullest extent. They belong to the company in ting malversation with regard to the high trust the surest manner; and they are secured to vested in the company, is the very thing that body by every sort of public sanction which at once gives a title and imposes a duty They are stamped by the faith of the king; on us to interfere with effect, wherever power they are stamped by the faith of parliament; and authority originating from ourselves are they have been bought for money, for money perverted from their purposes, and become honestly and fairly paid ; thoy have been bought instruments of wrong and violence. for valuable consideration, over and over again. If parliament, Sir, had nothing to do with
I therefore freely admit to the East India this charter, we might have some sort of Epicompany their claim to exclude their fellow- curean excuse to stand aloof, indifferent spec subjects from the commerce of half the globe. tators of what passes in the company's name in [ admit their claim to administer an annual India and in London. But if we are the very territorial revenue of seven millions sterling; cause of the evil, we are in a special manner to command an army of sixty thousand men; engaged to the redress; and for us passively to and to dispose (under the control of a sove- bear with oppressions committed under the reign imperial discretion, and with the due sanction of our own authority, is in truth and observance of the natural and local law) of the reason for this house to be an active accomlives and fortunes of thirty millions of their fel- plice in the abuse. low-creatures. All this they possess by char- That the power notoriously, grossly abused ter and by acts of parliament, (in my opinion,) has been bought from us is very certain. But without a shadow of controversy.
this circumstance, which is urged against the Those who carry the rights and claims of the bill, becomes an additional motive for our incompany the furthest do not contend for more terference ; lest we should be thought to have than this; and all this I freely grant. But sold the blood of millions of men, for the base granting all this, they must grant to me in my consideration of money. We sold, I admit, turn, that all political power which is set over all that we had to sell; that is, our authority, men, and that all privilege claimed or exer- not our controul. We had not a right to make cised in exclusion of them, being wholly arti- a market of our duties. ficial, and for so much a derogation from the I ground myself therefore on this principle natural equality of mankind at large, ought to that if the abuse is proved, the contract is be some way or other exercised ultimately for broken; and we re-enter into all our rights ; their benefit.
that is, into the exercise of all our duties : If this is true with regard to every species Our own authority is indeed as much a trust of political dominion, and every description of originally, as the company's authority is a trust commercial privilege, none of which can be derivatively; and it is the use we make of the original self-derived rights, or grants for the resumed power that must justify or condemn more private benefit of the holders, then such us in the resumption of it. When we have rights, or privileges, or whatever else you perfected the plan laid before us by the right