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ber that I am addressing you as my countrymen, as Irishmen, whose characters as jurors, as gentlemen, must find either honour or degradation in the result of your decison. Small as must be the distributive share of that national estimation, that can belong to so unimportant an individual as myself, yet do I own I am tremblingly solicitous for its fate. Perhaps it appears of more value to me, because it is embarked on the same bottom with yours; perhaps the community of peril, of common safety, or common wreck gives a consequence to my share of the risk, which I could not be vain enough to give it, if it were not raised to it by that mutuality. But why stoop to think at all of myself, when I know that you, gentlemen of the jury, when I know that our country itself are my clients on this day, and must abide the alternative of honour, 'or of infamy as you shall decide. But I will not despond: I will not dare to despond. I have every trust, and hope, and confidence in you. And to that hope I will add my most fervent prayer to the God of all truth and justice, so to raise and enlighten, and fortify your minds, that you may so decide, as to preserve to yourselves while you live, the most delightful of all recollections, that of acting justly, and to transmit to your children the most precious of all inheritances, the memory of your virtue.
MR. FOX'S SPEECH
IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, JUNE 8, 1784, ON THE SCRU TINY OF THE WESTMINSTER ELECTION.
AT the close of the warmly contested election of Westminster in the year 1784, Mr. Fox had on the face of the poll a majority of two hundred and thirtyfive votes over his opponent, sir Cecil Wray. Notwithstanding this majority, the high bailiff refused to make a return in favour of Mr. Fox, alleging that he had reasons to suspect the validity of many of his votes; and therefore, he could not conscientiously do it without a scrutiny.
As soon as parliament met, Mr. Lee, late attorney general, moved, "That the high bailiff of Westminster, on the day upon which the writ of election expired, ought to have returned two citizens to serve in parliament for that city." This resolution being disposed of by ministers moving the previous question, it was succeeded by one which was carried, commanding the attendance of the high bailiff at the bar of the house. After an elaborate discussion by counsel in behalf of each party, the motion was renewed, "That the high bailiff be directed forthwith to make his return." On this motion Mr. Fox delivered the annexed speech. The motion, however, was negatived, and then it was moved and carried, "That the high
bailiff do proceed in the scrutiny with all possible de spatch." Thus the matter rested during the session. Mr. Fox did not in consequence lose his seat in parliament. He came in through the kindness of a friend for a small borough in the Orkneys; which gave occasion to Mr. Pitt to remark with the causticity of sarcasm he sometimes indulged, "that his great antagonist had undergone a sort of banishment; being driven by the impulse of patriotick indignation, as an exile from his native clime, to seek refuge in the stormy and desolate shores of the ultima Thule."
Early in the next session, the subject of the elec tion was revived, by a motion similar to the one of the preceding session, commanding the bailiff to make a return. It too was rejected. But the friends of Mr. Fox were not discouraged by these repeated defeats. They renewed the same motion several times afterwards, and ultimately prevailed. Mr. Fox took his seat for Westminster.
BEFORE I enter upon the consideration of this question, I cannot help expressing my surprise, that those who sit over against me [the ministry] should have been hitherto silent in this debate. Common candour might have taught them to have urged what ever objections they have to urge, against the motion of my honourable friend before this time; because in that case I should have had an opportunity of replying to their arguments, and sure it would have been fair to allow me the slight favour of being the last speaker upon such a subject. But, sir, I have no reason to expect indulgence, nor do I know that I shall meet with bare justice in this house.* Sir, I that I have no reason to expect indulgence, nor do I
Expression of disapprobation from the ministerial side of the house.
know that I shall meet with bare justice in this house.t
Mr. Speaker, there is a regular mode of checking any member of this house, for using improper words in a debate, and it is to move, to have the improper words taken down by the clerk, for the purpose of censuring the person who has spoken them. If I have said any thing unfit for this house to hear, or for me to utter-If any gentleman is offended by any thing that fell from me, and has sense enough to point out, and spirit to correct that offence, he will adopt that parliamentary and gentleman-like mode of conduct; and that he may have an opportunity of doing so, I again repeat, That I have no reason to expect INDULGENCE, nor do I know that I shall meet with BARE JUSTICE in this house.
Sir, I am warranted in the use of these words, by events and authorities that leave little to be doubted, and little to be questioned. The treatment this business has received within these walls, the extraordinary proceedings which have sprung from it, the dispositions which have been manifested in particular classes of men, all concur to justify the terms I have adopted, and to establish the truth of what I have asserted.
If the declaration I have made, had happened not to have been supported by the occurrences I allude to, the very consideration of Mr. Grenville's bill is of itself sufficient to vindicate what I have said. That bill, sir, originated in a belief, that this house in the aggregate was an unfit tribunal to decide upon contested elections. It viewed this house, as every popular assembly should be viewed, as a mass of men capable of political dislike and personal aversion; capable of too much attachment and too much animosity; capable of being biassed by weak and by wicked motives; liable to be governed by ministerial influence, by caprice, and by corruption. Mr. Grenville's bill viewed this house as endued with these
+ Expression of disapprobation repeated.