Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/114

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free votes of a free constituency. My return is untainted. There is no charge of bribery, no charge of corruption, nor of inducing men to come drunken to the polling-booth. I come here with a pure, untainted return—not won by accident. For thirteen long years have I fought for this right—through five contested elections, including this.[1] It is now proposed to prevent me from fulfilling the duty my constituents have forced upon me. You have force: on my side is the law.

The honorable and learned member for Plymouth [Mr., and afterward Sir, Edward Clarke] spoke the truth when he said he did not ask the House to treat the matter as a question of law; but the constituencies ask me to treat it as a question of law. I, for them, ask you to treat it as a question of law. I could understand the feeling that seems to have been manifested were I some great and powerful personage. I could understand it had I a large influence behind me. I am only one of the people, and you propose to teach them that, on a mere technical question, you will put a barrier in the way of my doing my duty which you have never put in the way of anybody else.

The question is, Has my return on the ninth day of April, 1881, anything whatever to impeach it? There is no legal disqualification involved. If there were, it could be raised by

petition. The honorable member for Plymouth

  1. His first attempt to eater Parliament was made in 1888.