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352

SPEECH ON THE ECONOMICAL REFORM.

“ certain rents, lands, and tenements, within or

belonging to the said duchy; and for applying the produce thereof to the publick so service.

But some objections being made by the surveyor general of the duchy, concerning the rights of the prince of Wales, now in his minority, and Lord North remaining perfectly silent, Mr. Burke, at length, though he strongly contended against the principle of the objection, consented to withdraw this last motion for the present, to be renewed upon an early occasion.

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SPEECH, 8c.

MR. MAYOR, AND GENTLEMEN,

I

AM extremely pleased at the appearance of this

large and respectable meeting. The steps I may be obliged to take will want the sanction of a considerable authority; and in explaining any thing which may appear doubtful in my publick conduct, I must naturally desire a very full audience.

I have been backward to begin my canvass.The dissolution of the parliament was uncertain; and it did not become me, by an unseasonable importunity, to appear diffident of the fact of

my six years' endeavours to please you. I had served the city of Bristol honourably; and the city of Bristol had no reason to think, that the means of honourable service to the publick were become indifferent to me.

I found on my arrival here, that three gentlemen had been long in eager pursuit of an object which but two of us can obtain. I found, that they had all met with encouragement. A contested election, in such a city as this, is no light thing. I paused on the brink of the precipice. These three gentlemen, by various merits, and on various titles,

A a 2

I made

I made no doubt were worthy of your favour. I shall never attempt to raise myself by depreciating the merits of my competitors. In the complexity and confusion of these cross pursuits, I wished to take the authentick publick sense of my friends upon a business of so much delicacy. I wished to take your opinion along with me; that if I should give up the contest at the very beginning, my surrender of my post may not seem the effect of inconstancy, or timidity, or anger, or disgust, or indolence, or any other temper unbecoming a man who has engaged in the publick service. If, on the contrary, I should undertake the election, and fail of success, I was full as anxious, that it should be manifest to the whole world, that the

peace

of the city had not been broken by my rashness, presumption, or fond conceit of my own merit.

I am not come, by a false and counterfeit show of deference to your judgment, to seduce it in my favour. I ask it seriously and unaffectedly. If you wish that I should retire, I shall not consider that advice as a censure upon my conduct, or an alteration in your sentiments; but as a rational submission to the circumstances of affairs. If, on the contrary, you should think it proper for me to proceed on my canvass, if you will risk the trouble on your part, I will risk it on mine. My pretensions are such as you cannot be ashamed of, whether they succeed or fail.

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