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sive tyranny and oppression must act in opposition to one or other of these rights, having no other object, upon which it can pofsibly be employed. To preserve these from violation it is necessary, that the constitution of parliaments be supported in its full vigour, and limits certainly known be set to the royal prerogative. And lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated or attacked, the subjects of England are entitled in the first place to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and lastly to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence. And all these rights and liberties it is our birthright to enjoy entire, unless where the laws of our country have laid them under necefsary restraints ; restraints in themselves fó gentle and moderate, as will appear uponi farther enquiry, that no man of sense or probity would wish to see them Nackened. For all of us have it in our choice to do every thing, that a good man would desire to do; and are restrained from nothing, but what would be pernicious either to ourselves or our fellow citizens. So that this review of our situation may fully justify the obser: Hh
vation of a learned French author, * who indeed generally both thought and wrote in the spirit of genuine freedom; and who hath not scrupled to profess, even in the very bosom of his native country, that the English is the only nation in the world, where political or civil liberty is the direct end of its
constitution.” Our duties to My object hitherto has chiefly been the and theirs to us. investigation and discussion of our civil rights;
but as these rights are in many senses relative in respect to the community at large, and the magistrates appointed by them, so they necessarily involve certain relative duties to them, which it will be my remaining talk to consider ; for the whole society collectively, and each member of it individually, have both rights and duties mutual and reciprocal. The rights of the community are the submissive duties of its members; the rights of the members are the protecting duties of the community.
• Mont. Spir. of Laws, 9. 5.
CH A P. XVI.
OF OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE
TT may appear singular, that I should Reasons for
considering I attempt to explain and enforce the duties these offences. of individuals towards the society, by considering their breach and violation of them. Were this the point, from which I had originally started the subject, I should certainly have pursued another course; but as what has been already offered will I hope satisfy that class of my readers, who admit of the obligation to observe and comply with these duties virtutis amore, so I feel it incumbent upon me to throw this obligation into a new light, for the conviction of those, who cannot otherwise than formidine pænæ be induced to submit unto it.
Nothing is more true, than that the basis and whole superstructure of our constitution is formed of true liberty; which consists in the preservation of order for the protection of society, not in the abandoned licentiousness of confusion and anarchy. The liberty of a The liberty of a nation is ever proportioned to the perfection tiofred for the
energy of its of its government; the perfection of govern- government. Hh2
conten the laws an inpory to the na**10.1.
ment is known by its energy, and that is nothing more, than the efficacy and facility, with which the executive power can enforce the laws. The laws are the direct emanations of the sovereignty of the whole; the consent of every individual of the community is formally included in each of the laws ; and the contempt and violation of them is therefore more properly insulting to the nation, who have made the laws, than to the magistrates, whose duty it is to execute them. The law is the unanimous will of the whole community; for the conclusion of the whole by the act of the majority does away the prefumptive possibility of a diffenting individual. In this great truth is engendered the peculiar vigour of our constitution. Because our laws are framed, totius regni assensu, as Fortescue obferves; therefore is the whole kingdom indispensably bound to the observance of them. From this affent of each individual arises a right and interest, which the communicy poffeffes collectively and individually, in the actual performance of the covenant and engagement, which at the passing of every law each individual enters into for the performance and observance of it. Although the government itself is said to be founded in the original compact between the governors
ing upon each
cause every one
plies not to ar
and governed; yet the subsistence of the go- Our laws bindvernment depends not only upon the conti- individual, benuation of that original contract, but in this arents to their
paffing. mutual and reciprocal covenant, engagement, or contract of every individual to abide by and enforce his own voluntary act and deed; for it is a first principle of our constitutional policy, that every law of England is the free, unbiassed, and deliberate act of every Englishman, a
It is but to such a political government as This reason apours, that these, I may almost say, metaphy. bitrary gosical truths can be applied; they have no foundation in the first principle of the civil law, quod principi placuit, legis habet vigorem. As the will of the prince is not under the controul of the people, they have no participation in the act imposed upon them; and its coercive obligation can be urged against the people upon no other ground, than that of a servile, timid, or compulsive acquiescence in the arbitrary dictates of an uncontroulable power. The operative coercion and energy of a British act of parliament can never be so clearly seen, as when viewed in antithesis to the despotic mandates of an arbitrary monarch. If we could bring ourselves even to conceive a contract or compact between a people and an absolute despotic fovereign,