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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 upon me. 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 defines, 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 the 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
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.
How 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,
may I hope for the honor of your support ?- Well !
come, we shall see you at the Council-House.”
If I were then to deliver them to my managers, pack them into tallies, vote them off in court, and when I heard from the bar, -"Such a one only! and such a one forever!-he's my man!”. 66 Thank you, good Sir, — Hah! my worthy friend! thank you kindly, - that's an honest fellow,— how is your good family?" — Whilst these words were hardly out of my mouth, if I should have wheeled round at once, and told them, — “Get you gone, you pack of worthless fellows ! you have no votes, - you are usurpers ! you are intruders on the rights of real freemen! I will have nothing to do with you! you ought never to have been produced at this election, and the sheriffs ought not to have admitted you to poll!”
Gentlemen, I should make a strange figure, if my conduct had been of this sort. I am not so old an acquaintance of yours as the worthy gentleman. Indeed, I could not have ventured on such kind of freedoms with you. But I am bound, and I will endeavor, to have justice done to the rights of freemen,
even though I should at the same time be obliged to vindicate the former * part of my antagonist's conduct against his own present inclinations.
I owe myself, in all things, to all the freemen of this city. My particular friends have a demand on me that I should not deceive their expectations. Never was cause or man supported with more constancy, more activity, more spirit. I have been supported with a zeal, indeed, and heartiness in my friends, which (if their object had been at all propor
* Mr. Brickdale opened his poll, it seems, with a tally of those very kind of freemen, and voted many hundreds of them.
tioned to their endeavors could never be sufficiently commended. They supported me upon the most liberal principles. They wished that the members for Bristol should be chosen for the city, and for their country at large, and not for themselves.
So far they are not disappointed. If I possess nothing else, I am sure I possess the temper that is fit for your service. I know nothing of Bristol, but by the favors I have received, and the virtues I have seen exerted in it.
I shall ever retain, what I now feel, the most perfect and grateful attachment to my friends, and I have no enmities, no resentments. I never can consider fidelity to engagements and constancy in friendships but with the highest approbation, even when those noble qualities are employed against my own pretensions. The gentleman who is not so fortunate as I have been in this contest enjoys, in this respect, a consolation full of honor both to himself and to his friends. They have certainly left nothing undone for his service,
As for the trifling petulance which the rage of party stirs up in little minds, though it should show itself even in this court, it has not made the slightest impression on me. The highest flight of such clamorous birds is winged in an inferior region of the air. We hear them, and we look upon them, just as you, Gentlemen, when you enjoy the serene air on your lofty rocks, look down upon the gulls that skim the mud of your river, when it is exhausted of its tide.
I am sorry I cannot conclude without saying a word on a topic touched upon by my worthy colleague. I wish that topic had been passed by at a time when I have so little leisure to discuss it. But