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is left free, though not left unrivalled. The greater its freedom, the greater must be your advantage. If you
should lose in one way, you will gain in twenty. Whilft I remain under this unalterable and
powerful conviction, you will not wonder at the decided part I take. It is my custom so to do, when I see my way clearly before me; and when I know, that I am not milled by any passion, or any personal intereft; which in this case, I am very fure, I am not. I find that disagreeable things are circulated among my conftituents; and I wish my sentiments, which form my juftification, may be equally general with the circulation against me. I have the honour to be, with the greatest regard and esteem,
MR. BURKE's SPEECH,
ON PRESENTING TO
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS,
(ON THE 11th FEBRUARY, 1780,)
FOR THE BETTER SECURITY OF
THE INDEPENDENCE OF PARLIAMENT,
THE ECONOMICAL REFORMATION
house, in obedience to the strong and just requisition of my constituents, and, I am persuaded, in conformity to the unanimous wishes of the whole nation, to submit to the wisdom of parliament, “ A plan of reform in the conftitution of “ several parts of the publick economy.”
I have endeavoured, that this plan should include in its execution, a considerable reduction of im. proper expence; that, it should effect a conversion of unprofitable titles into a productive estate; that, it should lead to, and indeed almoft compel, a provident administration of such sums of publick mo. ney as must remain under discretionary trusts; that, it should render the incurring debts on the civil establishment (which must ultimately affect national strength and national credit) so very
dif. ficult, as to become next to impracticable.
But what, I confefs, was uppermost with me, what I bent the whole force of my mind to, was the reduction of that corrupt influence, which is 24
itself the perennial spring of all prodigality, and of all disorder; which loads us, more than millions of debt; which takes away vigour from our arms, wisdom from our councils, and every shadow of authority and credit from the most venerable parts of our conftitution.
Sir, I assure you, very folemnly, and with a very clear conscience, that nothing in the world has led me to such an undertaking, but my zeal for the honour of this house, and the settled, habitual, systematick affection I bear to the cause, and to the principles of government.
I enter perfectly into the nature and consequences of
my attempt; and I advance to it with a tremour that shakes me to the inmoft fibre of
frame. I feel, that I engage in a business, in itself most ungracious, totally wide of the course of prudent conduct; and I really think, the most completely adverse that can be imagined to the natural turn and temper of my own mind. I know, that all parsimony is of a quality approaching to unkindness; and that (on fome person or other) every reform must operate as a sort of punishment, Indeed the whole class of the severe and restrictive virtues, are at a market almost too high for humanity. What is worse, there are very few of those virtues which are not capable of being imitated, and even outdone in many of their most striking effects, by the worst of vices. Malignity and envy