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mainder 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 sufficiently 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 measure giving quiet to private property, and private conscience; ii 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 good will of his countrymen ;-ifI have thus taken my part with the best of men in the best of their actions, I can shut the book. I 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, let me 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 you think otherwise, I shall go directly to the council-house and to the change, and without a moment's delay, begin my canvass.

MR. BURKE'S SPEECH

AT BRISTOL, ON DECLINING THE POLL, 1780.

Proclamation being made, as usual, for the electors to appear

and give their votes, Mr. Burke on the morning of the second day of the election, stood forward on the hustings, surrounded by a great number of the corporation and other principal citizens, and addressed himself to the whole assembly as follows:

GENTLEMEN,

I DECLINE the election. It has ever been my rule through life, to observe a proportion between my efforts and my objects. I have never been remarkable for a bold, active, and sanguine pursuit of advantages that are personal to myself

. I have not canvassed the whole of this city in form. But I have taken such a view of it, as satisfies my own mind, that your choice will not ultimately fall upon me. Your city, gentlemen, is in a state of miserable distraction; and I am resolved to withdraw whatever share my pretensions may have had in its unhappy divisions. I have not been in haste. I have tried all prudent means. I have waited for the effect

of all contingencies. If I were fond of a contest, by the partiality of my numerous friends (whom you know to be among the most weighty and respectable people of the city) I have the means of a sharp one in my hands. But I thought it far better with my strength unspent, and my reputation unimpaired, to do, early and from foresight, that which I might be obliged to do from necessity at last.

I am not in the least surprised, nor in the least angry at this view of things. I have read the book of life for a long time, and I have read other books a little. Nothing has happened to me, but what has happened to men much better than me, and in times and in nations

full as good as the age and country that we live in. To say that I am no way concerned, would be neither decent nor true. The representation of Bristol was an object on many accounts dear to me; and I certainly should very far prefer it to any other in the kingdom. My habits are made to it; and it is in general more unpleasant to be rejected after long trial, than not to be chosen at all.

But, gentlemen, 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 me. 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. I have served the publick for fifteen years. I have served you in particular for six.

What is passed is well stored. It is safe and out of the power of fortune. What is to come, is in wiser hands than ours; and he, in whose hands it is, best knows, whether it is best for you and me, that I should be in parliament, or even in the world.

Gentlemen, the melancholy event of yesterday reads to us an awful lesson against being too much troubled, about

any of the objects of ordinary ambition. The

worthy gentleman,* 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.

It has been usual for a candidate who declines, to take his leave by a letter to the sheriffs : but 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 have presumed 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 1 pray

that whomever you chuse to succeed me, he may resemble me exactly in all things, except in my abilities to serve, and my fortune to please you.

* Mr. Coombe.

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