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testant doctrine: and thus unhappily arose in the church of England, that pernicious system of divine indefeasible right of kings, broached indeed by the clergy, but not from those corrupt and temporizing views, to which it has been imputed. The authority of those venerable men, from whom it was derived, gave it a firm and lasting hold on the minds of the clergy; and being thought to receive a countenance from the general terms, in which obedience to the civil magiftrate is ordained in fcripture, it has continued to our days, and may, it is feared, Itill continue to perplex and mislead the judgment of too many amongst us.” particularly happy in being able to adduce the high and unbiased authority of fo respectable a prelate, in support of my own reasoning.
Not being warped by any party prejudice or principle, I am free to own my astonishment, that so many learned and respectable personages of every profeffion and description should so long have shut their eyes, or stopped their ears, or steeled their hearts against the truth of first principles. This respectable prelate has endeavoured to account for it; though he is very far from justifying it.
* « The growth of puritanism, and the re-
Dr. Priestley has said, with' much truth, what I hope he will allow me to apply to my readers. F" I make no apology for the Proper apology freedom, with which I have written. The freely upon in
teresting suba subject is, in the highest degree, interesting jets. to humanity; it is open to philosophical discussion, and I have taken no greater liberties, than becomes a philosopher, a man, and an Englishman. Having no other views, than to promote a thorough knowledge of thiş im
* Dr. Hurd's Moral and Political Dialogues, vol. ii. p. 303.
† Preface to Dr. Priestley's Elays on the First Principles of Government, p. xiii.
portant subject; not being sensible of any biass to mislead me in my inquiries, and conscious of the uprightness of my intentions, I freely submit my thoughts to the examination of all impartial judges, and the friends of their country and of mankind. They, who know the fervour of generous feelings, will be sensible, that I have expressed myself with no more warmth, than the importance of the subject' necessarily prompted, in a breast not naturally the coldest; and thať to have appeared more indifferent, I could not have been sincere.”
I am sensible, that I have undertaken a very perilous task ; periculofæ plenum opus aleæ. From the open and boasted wishes, and the actual attempts of many individuals to alter or subvert the present form of our government, I have found it incumbent upon me to examine and regulate my subordinate civil duties
upon some fixt principles of immutable policy. I entered upon the task with much earnestness, and perfectly unbiassed by any party; in my progress I have seen and trembled at many rocks, against which whole parties have appeared to me blindly and voluntarily to have run; by varying my course, I Hatter myself I have avoided them; and if my discoveries be just, I know of no
Necefsity of forming our principles of policy.
consideration, that can dispense with my
submitting to my countrymen a new chart of that coast, upon which so many of them have unfortunately perished,
Whatever divisions of parties have existed in our country for these three last centuries, whether between the retainers and reformers of the old religion, between the church and the presbytery, the round heads and the royalists, the whigs and the tories, the nonjurors and the revolutionists, the original efficient causes of the several divisions into party have ceased or nearly disappeared in the variety and change of circumstances, which the kingdom has since experienced. Such (if any) of these parties as still subsist, Little remains seem rather to have received a mere nominal of different parexistence by hereditary descent, than to retain any of their constituent parts or fundamental properties. The nation, in fact, at pre- Present parties sent appears to me to be divided into two non-contents. parties only, which have absorbed all the other; the contents with the present establishment, and the non-contents. The former far exceed the latter in numbers; and from the pature of the division, the majority must be actuated by a more uniform principle, than the minority. For the approbation of the particular constitution and government, which
motives of the malcontents.
the nation has received from their ancestors, retains the majority in one body; whereas, the dinike of the whole, or part of the fame constitution and government; the preference
of any other, than the established religion and Principles and government; the aversion from any church
or state establishment whatever; the wishes and expectancies of the indigent and distressed to profit by a system of equalization; the allurements of a scramble to luft, avarice, and ambition; the personal envy, jealousy, hatred, insult, injury, disappointment, or losses of individuals, are amongst the multifarious motives, reasons, and inducements, which bring together a set of discordant individuals, who, from the moment, and by the terins of their engagement, facrifice their several heterogeneous principles to the common erected standard of discontent; for in the political, as well as in the physical system, the moft opposite ingredients may, like vinegar and oil, be fo incorporated as to bear the appearance of a perfect coalition. When, therefore, I shall in future consider or speak of this opposite party, which I shall in general call the minority, I shall drop every idea of the nature of their original component parts, and distinguish them only from their opponents by that common quality, which consti