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tion before me, I used other arguments; but
when a private subject took upon him pub-
licly to oppose the right of the legislator to
enact any such law, to represent this power as
unjust and tyrannical, and under these charac-
ters to dissuade all submission to it, these I
think actions inconsistent with the obligations
of a subject, and that the execution of our
laws may justly be called for in restraint of
them. The truth of a religion depends on
its proper grounds. If it was false before
it was established, the establishment will
not make it true; and he, who from the
evidence of the thing is convinced it is
false, cannot upon any authority believe it



force as any other civil law.

From what has been said in this and the Civil establish

ment of reliforegoing chapter, I hope it will sufficiently gion of the came appear, that the sanction, which the laws give oth to the establishment of the church of England throughout England, and to presbytery throughout Scotland, is in its tendency and effects merely of a civil nature; consequently, that the obligation of submitting to it, is the very same as the obligation of submitting to any other civil law whatever. Now, every external and public disavowal of, or opposition to the civil exactions of the legif



lature, must be criminal in an individual subject to the power of that legislature: But I shall hereafter have occasion to speak more fully upon the nature of crimes against the state.

C H A P,

C H A P. VI.



Principle the true source and origin of our conftitution

TT has been usual for most writers both an

I cient and modern, in discussing the subject of our constitution, to endeavour to trace its origin from the earliest antiquity, and to identify its form and substance through all the various modifications, changes, reformations, and revolutions, which it has undergone since the first establishment of society, or of a community in this country. I beg the liberty of following a very different course. I establish a principle, which, if it ever existed, must now exist, and if it now exist, must have always existed; for what gives existence to a principle, is its universal and invariable truth, which, if it exist in one moment, must essentially have existed from all eternity ; I need not, therefore, seek for its importation into this isand by the Trojan prince Brutus ; nor enquire whether it were borrowed by our British ancestors from their Gallic neighbours; nor whether it were the peculiar growth of our nacive foil ; whether it grew out of the hedge-rowed towns or encampments of our warlike ances





from all eternity.

tors, or issued out of the sanctuaries of their mysterious Druids; whether it were imposed upon them by heathen Rome, or infused into them by Christian Rome; whether it were transplanted from Germany with ou Saxon conquerors and progenitors, nor whether it attended the despotism of the Norman conqueror; nor, in a word, whether it fou• rished with vigour and luxuriancy, or withered in apparent decay, under the several houses

of Tudor, Stuart, Nassau, and Brunswick. Principles true At this moment, this principle, the fovee

reignty of power ever did, and now does, unalienably reside in the people, exists, because it is universally and invariably true; and it must for ever have existed with the same force and efficacy, that it now does; for universal truth excludes all degrees. From this invariable and ever operative principle have arisen all the various changes, innovations, and improvements, which have at different times been effected in our constitution and government, by the means of reformation and revolution. The coercive introduction or imposition of new laws by the force of arms, can never make a part of the constitution and government of a free people, till they have been voluntarily submitted to, recognized, accepted, or confirmed by the act of the commu


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nity.* I shall hereafter have occasion, and, indeed, be under the necessity of considering more minutely the application of this principle to what we commonly call the reformation and the revolution.

Unfortunately for this country, the different occurrences, which have from time to time brought these political topics into discussion, have been productive of so much acrimony, venom, and heat, that the cool voice of rea- Heat of party, son has been seldom heard by either party, cool dit and consequently, conviction of the mind has rarely followed the discussion. For it is very certain, that few or none of the political writers of those days of animosity, either could or would separate, on one side, the principle, “ that a supreme power resides in the people” from rebellion and treason; or, on the other side, distinguish between the legal prerogative of a lawful monarch, and the unwarrantable despotism of an usurping tyrant. Ic is the frequent boast of most modern writers, and of all modern theorists, that we live in an age enlightened beyond all others; and consequently, that our present existence exalts us, in ability and information, far above the level

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* “ Laws they are not, therefore, which public approbation hath not made fo.” Hooker's Eccl. Po!. l. i. fect. 1.

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