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kold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties, which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron./ Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government; they will cling and grapple to you, and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood, that your govern. ment may be one thing and their privileges another; that these two things may exist without any mutual relation; the cement is gone; the cohesion is loosened ; and every thing hastens to decay and dissolution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply the more friends you will have; the more ardently they love liberty the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price of which you have the monopoly. This is the true act of navigation which binds to you the commerce of the colonies, and through them secures to you the wealth of the world. Deny them this participation of freedom, and you break that sole bond which originally made, and must still preserve, the unity of the empire. Do not entertain so weak an imagination, as that your registers and your bonds, your affidavits and your sufferances, your cockets and your clearances, are what form the great securities of your com
Do not dream that your letters of office, and your instructions, and your suspending clauses, are the things that hold together the great contexture of this mysterious whole. These things do not make your government. Dead instruments, passive tools as they are, it is the spirit of the English communion that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It is the spirit of the English constitution, which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, unites, invigorates, vivifies, every part of the empire, even down to the minutest member.
Is it not the same virtue which does everything for us here in England? Do you imagine then that it is the land tax act which raises your revenue ? that is the annual vote in the committee of supply which gives you your army? or that it is the mutiny bill which in
spires it with bravery and discipline ? No! surely no! It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your návy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience, without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten tin
All this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians, who have no place among us; a sort of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material ; and who therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and master principles, which, in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned, have no substantial existence, are in truth every thing and all in all. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together. If we are conscious of our situation, and glow with zeal to fill our place as becomes our station and ourselves, we ought to auspicate all our public proceedings on America with the old warning of the church, Sursum corda ! We ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of that trust to which the order of Providence has called
By adverting to the dignity of this high calling, our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire; and have made the most extensive, and the only honourable conquests; not by destroying, but by promoting, the wealth, the number, the happiness, of the human race. Let us get an American revenue as we have got an American empire. English privileges have made it all that it is: English privileges alone will make it all it can be.
In full confidence of this unalterable truth, I now (quod felix faustumque sit) lay the first stone of the temple of peace; and I move you,
“ That the colonies and plantations of Great Britain in North America, consisting of fourteen separate governments, and containing two millions and upwards of free inhabitants, have not had the liberty and privilege of electing and sending any knights and burgesses, or others, to represent them in the high court of parliament.”
SPEECHES AT BRISTOL.
SPEECH ON ARRIVAL AT BRISTOL AT THE ELECTION OF 1774.
[WHEN parliament was dissolved in 1774, Burke, who had sat for Wendover, was obliged to look for another seat, as Lord Verney, whose influence returned the Wendover member, had to make " arrangements” for sending another party into the House of Commons.
Burke addressed the borough of Malton, in Yorkshire, and was elected. Immediately after the close of the poll, a deputation arrived from Bristal (then second only to London in commercial importance), for the purpose of requesting Burke to stand for that city. After consulting with the electors of Malton, who requested him to avail himself of the proffered honour, Burke started for Bristol, and immediately on his arrival (the poll having then gone on for six days) he proceeded to the Bristol Guildhall, and addressed the electors in the following language.]
GENTLEMEN,-I am come hither to solicit in person that favour which my friends have hitherto endeavoured to procure for me, by the most obliging, and to me the most honourable, exertions.
I have so high an opinion of the great trust which you have to confer on this occasion; and, by long experience, so just a diffidence in my abilities, to fill it in a manner adequate even to my own ideas, that I should never have ventured of myself to intrude into that awful situation. But since I am called upon by the desire of several respectable fellow-subjects, as I have done at other times, I give up my fears to their wishes. Whatever my other deficiencies may be, I do not know what it is to be wanting to my
friends. I am not fond of attempting to raise public expectation by great promises. At this time, there is much cause to consider,
very little to presume. We seem to be approaching to a great crisis in our affairs, which calls for the whole wisdom of the wisest among us, without being able to assure ourselves that any wisdom can preserve
many and great inconveniencies. You know I speak of our unhappy contest with America. I confess, it is a matter on which I look down as from a precipice. It is difficult in itself, and it is rendered more intricate by a great variety of plans of conduct. I do not mean to enter into them. I will not suspect a want of good intention in framing them. But however pure the intentions of their authors may have been, we all know that the event has been unfortunate. The means of recovering our affairs are not obvious. So many great questions of commerce, of finance, of constitution, and of policy, are involved in this American deliberation, that I dare engage for nothing, but that I shall give it, without any predilection to former opinions, or any sinister bias whatsoever, the most honest and impartial consideration of which I am capable. The public has a full right to it, and this great city, a main pillar in the commercial interest of Great Britain, must totter on its base by the slightest mistake with regard to our American measures.
[NOTE. --The Editor has placed the four Bristol speeches together, though the first two were delivered six years before the second two. They have all a close affinity, as they contain Burke's views on the important subject of the reciprocal rights and duties of electors and representatives.]
Thus much, however, I think it not amiss to lay before you: that I am not, I hope, apt to take up or lay down my opinions lightly. I have held, and ever shall maintain, to the best of my power, unimpaired and undiminished, the just, wise, and necessary constitutional superiority of Great Britain. This is necessary for America, as well as for us. I never mean to depart from it. Whatever may be lost by it, I avow it. The forfeiture even of your favour, if by such a declaration I could forfeit it, though the first object of my ambition, never will make me disguise my sentiments on this subject.
But, I have ever had a clear opinion, and have ever held a constant correspondent conduct, that this superiority is consistent with all the liberties a sober and spirited American ought to desire. I never mean to put any colonist, or any human creature, in a situation not becoming a freeman. To reconcile British superiority with American liberty shall be my great object, as far as my little faculties extend. I am far from thinking that both, even yet, may not be preserved.
When I first devoted myself to the public service, I considered how I should render myself fit for it; and this I did by endeavouring to discover what it was that gave this country the rank it holds in the world. I found that our prosperity and dignity arose principally, if not solely, from two sources; our constitution and commerce. Both these I have spared no study to understand, and no endeavour to support.
The distinguishing part of our constitution is its liberty. To pre. serve that liberty inviolate, seems the particular duty and proper trust of a member of the House of Commons. But the liberty, the only liberty I mean, is a liberty connected with order; that not only exists along with order and virtue, but which cannot exist at all
without them. It inheres in good and steady government, as in its substance and vital principle.
The other source of our power is commerce, of which you are so large a part, and which cannot exist no more than your liberty, without a connection with many virtues. It has ever been a very particular and a very favourite object of my study, in its principles, and in its details. I think many here are acquainted with the truth of what I say. This I know, that I have ever had my
my poor services ready, for traders and manufacturers of every denomination. My favourite ambition is to have those services acknowledged. I now appear before you to make trial, whether my earnest endeavours have been so wholly oppressed by the weakness of my
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 honour 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 honour 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 favour.
SPEECH ON BEING ELECTED FOR BRISTOL IN 1774.
[BURKE was elected one of the representatives for Bristol, in company with a merchant named Cruger, the former members, Lord Clare and Mr. Brickdale, having been defeated. After the sheriff had declared the new members duly elected, they addressed the constituency, or rather Mr.