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abilities as to be rendered insignificant in the eyes of a great trading city; or whether you choose to give a weight to humble abilities, for the sake of the honest exertions with which they are accompanied. This is my trial to-day. My industry is not on trial. Of my industry I am sure, as far as my constitution of mind and body admitted.
When I was invited by many respectable merchants, freeholders, and freemen of this city to offer them my services, I had just received the honor of an election at another place, at a very great distance from this. I immediately opened the matter to those of my worthy constituents who were with me, and they unanimously advised me not to decline it. They told me that they had elected me with a view to the public service; and as great questions relative to our commerce and colonies were imminent, that in such matters I might derive authority and support from the representation of this great commercial city: they desired me, therefore, to set off without delay, very well persuaded that I never could forget my obligations to them or to my friends, for the choice they had made of me. From that time to this instant I have not slept; and if I should have the honor of being freely chosen by you, I hope I shall be as far from slumbering or sleeping, when your service requires me to be awake, as I have been in coming to offer myself a candidate for your favor.
ELECTORS OF BRISTOL,
ON HIS BEING DECLARED BY THE SHERIFFS DULY ELECTED ONE OF THE REPRESENTATIVES
IN PARLIAMENT FOR THAT CITY,
ON THURSDAY, THE 3D OF NOVEMBER, 1774.
G strongly with the feelings of the gentleman
who has received the same honor that you have conferred on me. If he, who was bred and passed his whole life amongst you,- if he, who, through the easy gradations of acquaintance, friendship, and esteem, has obtained the honor which seems of itself, naturally and almost insensibly, to meet with those who, by the even tenor of pleasing manners and social virtues, slide into the love and confidence of their fellow-citizens,- if he cannot speak but with great emotion on this subject, surrounded as he is on all sides with his old friends,— you will have the goodness to excuse me, if my real, unaffected embarrassment prevents me from expressing my gratitude to you as I ought.
I was brought hither under the disadvantage of being unknown, even by sight, to any of you. No previous canvass was made for me. I was put in nomination after the poll was opened. I did not ap
pear until it was far advanced. If, under all these accumulated disadvantages, your good opinion has carried me to this happy point of success, you will pardon me, if I can only say to you collectively, as I said to you individually, simply and plainly, I thank you, -I am obliged to you, I am not insensible of your kindness.
This is all that I am able to say for the inestimable favor you have conferred
But I cannot be satisfied without saying a little more in defence of the right you have to confer such a favor. The person that appeared here as counsel for the candidate who so long and so earnestly solicited your votes thinks proper to deny that a very great part of you have any votes to give. He fixes a standard period of time in his own imagination, (not what the law definés, but merely what the convenience of his client suggests,) by which he would cut off at one stroke all those freedoms which are the dearest privileges of your corporation, - which the Common Law authorizes, — which your magistrates are compelled to grant, - which come duly authenticated into this court, — and are saved in the clearest words, and with the most religious care and tenderness, in that very act of Parliament which was made to regulate the elections by freemen, and to prevent all possible abuses in making them.
I do not intend to argue the matter here. My learned counsel has supported your cause with his usual ability; the worthy sheriffs have acted with their usual equity; and I have no doubt that the same equity which dictates the return will guide tho final determination. I had the honor, in conjunction with many far wiser men, to contribute a
very small assistance, but, however, some assistance, to the forming the judicature which is to try such questions. It would be unnatural in me to doubt the justice of that court, in the trial of my own cause, to which I have been so active to give jurisdiction over
I assure the worthy freemen, and this corporation, that, if the gentleman perseveres in the intentions which his present warmth dictates to him, I will attend their cause with diligence, and I hope with effect. For, if I know anything of myself, it is not my own interest in it, but my full conviction, that induces me to tell you, I think there is not a shadow of doubt in the case.
I do not imagine that you find me rash in declaring myself, or very forward in troubling you. From the beginning to the end of the election, I have kept silence in all matters of discussion. I have never asked a question of a voter on the other side, or supported a doubtful vote on my own. I respected the abilities of my managers ; I relied on the candor of the court. I think the worthy sheriffs will bear me witness that I have never once made an attempt to impose upon their reason, to surprise their justice, or to ruffle their temper. I stood on the hustings (except when I gave my thanks to those who favored me with their votes) less like a candidate than an unconcerned spectator of a public proceeding. But here the face of things is altered. Here is an attempt for a general massacre of suffrages,- an attempt, by a promiscuous carnage of friends and foes, to exterminate above two thousand votes, including seven hundred polled for the gentleman himself who now complains, and who would destroy the friends whom he has obtained, only
because he cannot obtain as many of them as he wishes.
Hyw he will be permitted, in another place, to stultify and disable himself, and to plead against his own acts, is another question. The law will decide it. I shall only speak of it as it concerns the propriety of public conduct in this city. I do not pretend to lay down rules of decorum for other gentlemen. They are best judges of the mode of proceeding that will recommend them to the favor of their fellow-citizens. But I confess I should look rather awkward, if I had been the very first to produce the new copies of freedom, - if I had persisted in producing them to the last, if I had ransacked, with the most unremitting industry and the most penetrating research, the remotest corners of the kingdom to discover them, - if I were then, all at once, to turn short, and declare that I had been sporting all this while with the right of election, and that I had been drawing out a poll, upon no sort of rational grounds, which disturbed the peace of my fellow-citizens for a month together; - I really, for my part, should appear awkward under such circumstances.
It would be still more awkward in me, if I were gravely to look the sheriffs in the face, and to tell them they were not to determine my cause on my own principles, nor to make the return upon those votes upon which I had rested my election. Such would be my appearance to the court and magistrates.
But how should I appear to the voters themselves ? If I had gone round to the citizens entitled to freedom, and squeezed them by the hand, — “Sir, I humbly beg your vote, - I shall be eternally thankful,