« PreviousContinue »
to his attempt to establish his own upon the . subversion or extirpation of the protestant. religion. And if we are to judge of the peccant part, by the application of the remedy, we clearly fee, that the only innovations or changes, that were then introduced into the constitution and government, were directly calculated to prevent the future possibility of that happening, against which the constitution and laws had not then provided a security. The first of these changes was the limi. Change in the remainders or limitations over, to the absolute exclusion of the late King James Second and his heirs, which was the line of succession fixt and sanctioned by the conftitution of this realm, ever since it had made the crown hereditary. So determinately cautious were the nation, that the crown should never more devolve upon a Roman catholic, that in the largest stretch of the power, which they certainly did possess, they for ever excluded the old legal and constitutional heirs to the crown, whether they should profess that religion or not. Thus making this abdication or forfeiture of James more than personal, by extending it to the unoffending issue of his body begotten and to be begotten.
limitation of tation of the crown to the Prince of Orange the and the Princess Mary his wife, with divers
mission under the great seal, for erecting a court, called the court of commisioners for ecclefiaftical causes.
4th, By levying money for and to the use of the crown, by pretence of prerogative, for other time, and in other manner, than the same was granted by parliament. '
5th, By raising and keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, without consent of par. liament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law.
6th, By causing several good subjects, being proteftants, to be disarmed, at the fame time when papists were both armed and employed, contrary to law.
7th, By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in parliament.
8th, By, prosecutions in the court of King's Bench, for matters and causes cognizable only in parliament, and by diverş other arbitrary and illegal courses. Vid. Bill of Rights, 1 W & M. feff. 2. C. 2.
The second change was the tenure of the crown of England : for the act expressly enacts, “And whereas it hath been found by experience, that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this protestant kingdom to be governed by a popish prince, or by any king or queen marrying a papist, the said lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, do further pray, that it may be enacted, that all and every person and persons that is, are, or shall be reconciled to, or shall hold communion with the fee or church of Rome, or shall profess the popish religion, or shallo marry a papist, shall be excluded, and be for ever incapable to inherit, poffefs, or enjoy the crown and government of this realm and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, or any part of the same, or to have, use, or exercise any regal power, authority, or jurisdiction within the same; and in all and every such case or cases, the people of thele realms shall be, and are hereby absolved of their allegiance; and the said crown and government shall from time to time descut, and be enjoyed by such person or salons, being protestants, as should have inicrired and enjoyed the same, in case the faid person or persons so reconciled, holding communion, or profelling or marrying as aforesaid, were naturally dead.” By this act we see, that the community rights, but of every statute, that has been passed in this nation since the revolution.
Change in the tenure of the
nity exercise. not only asserted, but exercised their right their to alter and change the constitution and go- ftitution and on vernment of this country, as they chose; gov for to pretend that this alteration in the fuccefsion and tenure of the crown were not absolute innovations and effential changes in the constitution, would be to prove the futility or incompetency, not only of this bill of
As to all the other complaints, which by that act the nation makes of former abuses or encroachments made or attempted by the crown, they do not bring home the charges particularly to king James; but affert generally, that they were made or attempted in open and direct violation of the ancient indefeasible rights and liberties of the people. And therefore the operative part of that statute, which relates to those rights and liberties, does not enact any thing new by way of grant, or even confirmation of those rights and liberties to the people, but it consists of these singular words : They do claim, demand, and infist upon all and singular the premises as their undoubted rights and liberties. From hence, I think, I am fully justified in concluding, that the immediate cause of the revolution in 1688, was the disike, which the nation had to the religion of their sovereign; as in fact the only innovations or changes, then introduced into the constitution and government, were the immediate means adopted by the nation of preventing their future subjection to a Roman catholic sovereign. The inherent rights and
The only al. terations at the revolution were made to prevent the defcent of the crown upon a Roman catho.
incumbent duties of individuals and of the community, of which I have before spoken, will when candidly viewed, I hope, sufficiently justify, and for ever establish the principles, upon which our ancestors effected the revolution, and their posterity to this day cherish and support it in its consequences and effects.
I shall close this preliminary digression by à reflection, that arises .naturally out of the combination of what I have already said. All those of the present diffenting minority, who have hitherto avowed their fentiments either by word or writing, acknowledge the necessity of some civil or political government, though they may wish the government of this country very different from what at present it is. Now no civil nor political government can subsist without some efficient and coercive civil or political authority; but Eficient coer. '
cive power of all civil or political authority is proporti, government. onably efficient and coercive, as the members of the society are compellable to submit to it; and the members of any society will be more or less amenable and submis. sive to their magistrates, according to the degree of right, which they allow to their jurisdiction. If the power or authority of the magistracy has been imposed upon the