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are perhaps three hundred miles distant from those who hear the arguments ?

“ To deliver an opinion is the right of all men ; that of constituents is a weighty and respectable opinion, which à representative ought always to rejoice to hear; and which he ought always most seriously to consider. But authoritative instructions, mandates issued which the member is bound blindly and implicitly to obey, to vote, and to argue for, though contrary to the clearest conviction of his judgment and conscience; these are things utterly unknown to the laws of this land, and which arise from a fundamental mistake of the whole order and tenour of our constitution.

“ Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile states, which interests each musi maintain as an agent and advocate against other agents and advocates ; but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation with one interest, that of the whole; where not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament. If the local constituent should have an interest, or should form an hasty opinion, evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the member for that place ought to be as far as any other from any endeavour to give it effect.”

On another occasion (1780), he told them—"I did not ebey your instructions: No. I conformed

to the instructions of truth and nature, and maintained your interest, against your opinions, with a constancy that became me. A representative worthy of you ought to be a person of stability. I am to look indeed to your opinions ; but to such opinions as you and I must look to five years hence. I was not to look at the flash of the day. I knew that you chose me, in my place, along with others, to be a pillar of the state, and not a weathercock on the top of the edifice, exalted for my levity and versatility, and of no use but to indicate the shiftings of every popular gale.”

These speeches being circulated through the country, an unusual thing with election speeches of that day, met with general applause.

A ludicrous anecdote is recorded of his brother candidate, Mr. Cruger, a merchant chiefly concerned in the American trade, who, at the conclusion of one of Mr. Burke's eloquent harangues, finding nothing to add, or perhaps as he thought to add with effect, exclaimed earnestly in the language of the," I say ditto to Mr. Burke say

ditto to Mr. Burke." With such an example before him, however, he must have improved, for in the succeeding session he spoke on American business several times with sufficient spirit.

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CHAPTER VI. Parliamentary Business. Anecdotes of Drs. Franklin,

Priestley, and Mr. Hartley.- Epitaph on Mr. Dowdeswell. -Letters to the Sheriffs and two Gentlemen of Bristol, To Lord Charlemont, Barry, Mr. Francis, Dr. Robertson. -Statue proposed in Dublin.--Admiral Keppel.


It was the common lot of Mr. Burke, during much of his political life, to see fulfilled in the recess the predictions he had made during the preceding session. So was it with the scheme for shutting up the port of Boston, which more than realized his worst anticipations, by giving birth to that concentration of the most turbulent spirits of the colonies into a congress, where almost at their first meeting, and wholly unknown to their constituents, was laid the plan of total separation from the mother-country.

A variety of petitions from the merchants and manufacturers, deprecating hostilities, flowed into the House of Commons, which were strenuously though ineffectually seconded by the Member for Bristol; being referred, not to a political committee, as he wished, but to a commercial one, which was wittily called by him, and afterwards generally known, as the Committee of Oblivion. For his exertions on these occasions, a handsome letter of thanks was forwarded to him, signed by 15 of the principal merchants of Birmingham.

Two more important, though indirect, tributes to his public wisdom appeared soon afterwards in the proceedings of the House of Lords : one in the declaratory act of 1766, said to be chiefly his, and censured then by Lord Chatham, was now adopted by his Lordship as the groundwork of a plan which he brought forward to conciliate America. The other respected the taxation of that country which Mr. Burke had so long ineffectually reprobated, when, on an incidental allusion to that measure, Lords North, Mansfield, Camden, the Duke of Grafton, and others, all advisers of the Crown at the time it was adopted, now, to the surprise of the nation, utterly and angrily disclaimed having taken any part in advising it. The subsequent evidence of Mr. Penn, at the bar of the House of Lords, also seemed to imply, that America would have been quiet had things remained on the footing left by the Rockingham Administration.

Undeterred by the failure of Lord Chatham, Mr. Burke introduced, on the 22d March, 1775, his thirteen celebrated propositions for conciliating America ; of the moral and physical character of which he had gained so perfect an acquaintance, that the sketch he then drew both of country and people, though 50 years have elapsed, is as fresh and accurate as any of the present day. It had been, as we have seen, an early subject for his pen; his opinions had been formed respecting it, he expressly tells us, before he entered Parliament; it had been a constant subject of deliberation while he was there; and its importance induced him, favoured by his connexion with the country as colonial agent, to consult every source of information, written and oral, in order to become master of the points in dispute, and guided by circumstances, to point out the wisest policy for England to pursue. The case was different with the Ministry, or rather the succession of Ministries, of the day, who, flitting into and out of the Cabinet like the transient and shadowy figures of a magic lantern, had little time for maturing a plan, and scarcely for continuity of thought on the subject.

His views at this time may be stated in a few words, as by some who even profess to write his. tory, they are misrepresented or misunderstood.

America was imperceptibly become a great country without aiming at, or scarcely seeming to know it; formed for strength as some men are born to honours, by a decree beyond their own control; that it was unwise to irritate her to exertion of this strength when her natural inclination was for peace and trade; that she might be influenced by mildness and persuasion, but would probably resist command.

He contended for the general supremacy of Parliament and the imperial rights of the Crown as undoubted, though these should be exercised with great reserve over, not a colony, but a nation, situated at a great distance, and difficult, if at all possible, to coerce: that in compliance with the unanimous feeling of the people, all the internal details, especially that of taxation, should remain as

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