Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/117

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the policy of the nation and not on the religious opinions of the citizens. While I had the honor of occupying a seat in the House, when questions were raised which touched upon religious matters I abstained from uttering one word. I did not desire to say one word which might hurt the feelings of even the most tender.

But it is said, Why not have taken the oath quietly? I did not take it then, because I thought I had the right to do something else, and I have paid the penalty. I have been plunged in litigation fostered by men who had not the courage to put themselves forward. I, a penniless man, should have been ruined if it had not been that the men in workshop, pit, and factory had enabled me to fight this battle. [An interruption.]

I am sorry that honorable members can not have patience with one pleading as I plead here. It is no light task, even if you put it on the lowest personal grounds, to risk the ambition of a life on such an issue. It is a right ambition to desire to take part in the councils of the nation if you bring no store of wisdom with you and can only learn from the great intellects that we have. What will you inquire into? The right honorable baronet would inquire into my opinions. Will you inquire into my conduct, or is it only my opinions you will try here?

The honorable member for Plymouth frankly puts it, opinions. If opinions, why not conduct? Why not examine into members' con-