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of Great Britain. nation : * Summa imperii bellique administrandi communi concilio permissa est Casivellano. Upon this principle, and in exercise of the indefeasable right and power, upon which it is grounded, did our ancestors continue this form of elective monarchy, till they became a province under the Romans; the dissolution The govern.
ment diffolved then of that government was effected, as Mr. by force of Locke expresses, † “ by the inroad of a foreign force making a conquest upon them. For in that case, not being able to maintain and support themselves as one entire and independent body, the union belonging to that body, which consisted therein, must necessarily cease.” I In execution of the
fame • Cæsar's Commentaries. + Locke of Civil Government, c. xix. p. 227.
I No free exercise of a people's right can be sup. posed to exist under the compulsive controul of a foreign eremy. Thus Mr. Locke (ibid, p. 217), “ Though governments can originally have no other rise, than that before mentioned, nor policies be founded on any thing, but the consent of the people ; yet such have been the disorders ambition has filled the world with, that, in the noise of war, which makes so great a part of the history of mankind, this confent is little taken notice of; and therefore many have mistaken the force of arms for consent of the people, and reckon conquest as one of the originals of government. But conquest is as far from setting up any government, as demolishing a house is from building 2 new one in the place; indeed, it often makes way for a new frame of commonwealth, by de
fame rights and power, when they were left to themselves by their Roman conquerors, did
they divide themselves into an heptarchy, or Saxon Heptar
seven distinct kingdoms, under the Saxons ; and when they had experienced the inconveniences of these divergent sovereignties, they reconcentered the supremacy in one monarch, as it has ever since continued. In this fame Spirit, and in the exercise of these same rights,
did the Saxon conquerors of our British an. cestors, *« when they had subdued the
Britons, chuse to themselves kings, and required an oath of them to submit to the judg.
ment of the law, as much as any of their subGeneral view jects.” So when the Saxons, as masters of
the vanquished Bricons, began to look upon themselves as the political community of this iNand, they + " established a form of administration, which limited the prince, and required that public affairs should be settled by assemblies of the chief men of the nation. · The privileges of the people were afterwards enlarged by the alterations, which the wife and virtuous Alfred introduced ; and this confir
Our mona limited in its
of our government.
stroying the former; but, without the consent of the people, can never ercet a new one.”
* Mirror of Justice, c. i. fect. 2.
+ Dr. Kippis’ Sermon, preached at the Old Jewry, on the 4th Nov. 1788, p. 14.
mation of the mode of trial by juries was one of the noblest advantages ever conferred on human society. Nor did the Norman conquest destroy our conftitution, though it hindered its operation for a time, and gave occasion to the exercise of much tyranny. On the contrary, the English laws gradually recovered their vigour, and became the basis of the charter of Henry the First; of the celebrated Magna Charta, in the reign of King John; and of other charters. How strong a sense Englishmen had of their legal right to liberty, is manifest from the numerous instances, in which they demanded, that the great charter should be solemnly confirmed. Even the feudal policy, however defective it may
be justly esteemed, compared with the bene. fits we now enjoy, was formed on the princi
ples of freedom, with respect to those perfons, who were possessed of landed property. There was, likewise, in that system, a spirit of improvement; so that it gradually gave way, and naturally brought in a better state of things, as society advanced towards perfection.” In short, to the exercise of these indefeasible rights of the community is to be attributed every legal alteration or improvement of the constitution and government of
this kingdom, since the establishment of the English monarchy, in the person of king Egbert, to the present reign of his majesty King George the Third; the particulars of which we shall proceed to consider.
C H A P.
CH A P. IV.
OF THE CIVIL ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION.
I Have already observed, that one of the Choice of our
relirion an in. i natural rights, which each individual re- defeasible na. tains, even independently of the society, of which he is a member, is the uninterrupted communication and intercourse of the soul with its Creator; and Mr. Payne says, that amongst the natural rights, which he retains, are all the intelle&tual rights, or rights of the mind; confequently religion is one of those rights.
We need not recur to schoolmen to understand or admit this universal maxim of religion, that our dependance upon our creafor binds us indispensibly to a grateful acknowledgment of our existence, and a sincere and unreserved tender of our minds and hearts, to think and act as he shall require ; for I conclude with all those, who are neither atheists nor deists, that the light and grace, which Almighty God communicates to his creature, in consequence of this offering, are personally binding upon the individual, to whom they are communicated, and consequently cannot be controuled by other