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have ensued from some of his subjects; and whatever might have been the fate of the arms of the prince of Orange, king James might have died in the field king of England, or been expelled by his rebellious subjects; but he never could have been said to have abdicated, or forfeited, or abandoned his own or his peoples rights.

C H A P. CH A P. IX.


The executive power.

I Am now come to speak of the first branch 1 of the legislative power of this realm, which the constitution has made the supreme executive power of the state, and which it has vested in a single perfon, that is to say, in that person, male or female, to whom the crown by the rule of hereditary succession shall descend. * It rarely happens, that we have the fatisfaction of finding a legislative exposition of any part of our constitution; whenever that happens, I feel myself emphatically bounden to submit it to my readers; for by the principles already laid down and established, the act of the majority of the community concludes every individual of the community; the act of the representatives of the nation is the aê of the nation itself; the


* I have already fully shewn the very effential aiteration made in the rule of {ucceflion at the revolution; the old line was diicontinued, and the condition of being prodoftant was annexed to the capicity of succeeding. Subject to this deviation and condition, the present rule of descent remains the fame, as it was originally settled by the conflitution.



three estates or branches of the legislature, which complete the parliament, make the full representation of the nation; and, therefore, it can be nothing short of high-treason against the state, to disavow, contradict, or resist this legislative authority, expressed in an act of parliament. A new fact in the events. of kingdoms often draws forth an explicit declaration from the legislature of certain fundamental principles, rules, and rights, which before had subsisted upon no other authority, than the universal unqualified admission and submission of the community. So upon the accession of queen Mary to the crown of England, in the year 1553, it was thought proper to make a full, clear, and explicit declaration of the rule and nature of the hereditary descent of the crown of England, as established by the constitution of the realm.

*“ Forasmuch as the imperial crown of The crown of this realm, with all dignities, honours, pre- fcendible to ierogatives, authorities, jurisdictions, and preheminences thereunto annexed, united, and belonging, by the divine providence of Almighty God is moft lawfully, justly, and rightly descended and come unto the queen's

England de


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. highness that now is, being the very truc and undoubted heir and inheritrix thereof, and invested in her most royal person, according unto the laws of this realm; and by force and virtue of the fame, all regal power, dignity, honour, authority, prerogative, preheminence, and jurisdictions doth appertain, and of right ought to appertain and belong unto her highness, as unto the sovereign fupreme governor and queen of this realm, and of the dominions thereof, in as full, large, and ample manner as it hath done heretofore to any other her most noble progenitors, kings of this realm; nevertheless, the most ancient statutes of this realm, being made by kings then reigning, do not only attribute and refer all prerogative, prcheininence, power, and jurisdiction royal unto the name of king, but also give, assign, and appoint the correction and punishment of all offenders against the regality and dignity of the crown, and the laws of this realm, unto the king; by occasion whereof the malicious and ignorant persons may be hereafter induced and persuaded unto this error and folly, to think that her highness could ne should have, enjoy, and use such like authority, power, preheminence, prerogative, and jurisdiction, nor do ne execute and use all things con




cerning the said statutes, and take the benefit and privilege of the same, nor correct and punish offenders against her moit royal perfon, and the regality and dignity of the crown of this realm, and the dominions thereof, as the kings of this realm, her most noble progenitors, have heretofore done, enjoyed, used, and exercised.

« For the avoiding and clear extinguish- . ment of which said error or doubt, and for a plain declaration of the laws of this realm in that behalf;

“ Be it declared and enacted by the authority of this present parliament, that the law of this realm is, and ever hath been, and ought to be understood, that the kingly or regal office of this realm, and all dignities, prerogative royal, power, preheminences, privileges, authorities, and jurisdictions thereunto annexed, united, or belonging, being vested either in male or female, are and be, and ought to be as fully, wholly, absolutely, and entirely deemed, judged, accepted, invested, and taken in the one as in the other.”

I blush to overcharge such plain matter with arguments and proofs ; but I trust, that the liberality of those, who themselves stand not in need of them, will countenance and

P3 encourage

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