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Edmund Burke, Volume I1730-1784$
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F.P. Lock

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199226634

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226634.001.0001

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America and Bristol, 1774–1776

America and Bristol, 1774–1776

(p.349) 10 America and Bristol, 1774–1776
Edmund Burke, Volume I

F.P. Lock

Oxford University Press

Difficult as these years were for those in opposition, they brought out the best in Burke. In 1774, he was elected member for Bristol, at the time ‘England's second city’ and a large constituency with a genuine electoral contest. His speech at the end of the polls was noted for its defence of the principles of representative democracy against the notion that elected officials should be delegates. Again in each of the following two sessions, he delivered lengthy speeches on American policy, advocating conciliation and concession. Two of them were polished for publication and, in their printed form, achieved unprecedented diffusion. While such oratory is now less highly valued, and statesmanship commonly regarded as a cloak for cynical self-interest, these speeches remain classics of parliamentary eloquence. Burke's connection with Bristol dominated the next six years of his life.

Keywords:   Bristol, America, concession, American policy, speeches

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