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INTRODUCTORY

CONSIDERATION S.

tance of the

T HEN I profess to have undertaken The impor

the arduous task of discussing the subject. Rights of Englishmen, I shudder at every view, which presents itself, in the vast variety of difficulties, that threaten me in the execution of the design. The magnitude and importance of the subject call aloud for the exertions of every man, who makes his country's cause his own. No subject so deeply affects us as citizens; no subject, in fo short a period, ever produced such a variety of discussions, differ'tations, and arguments; and I fear, that I am but too fully warranted in asserting, that no subject has ever been more misconceived, more misrepresented, more misapplied.

When we see men of the most enlightened minds differ fo widely upon principles apparently clear and uncontrovertible; when we read works of great erudition and strength of argument written upon these principles, to . inculcate doctrines the most repugnant and

con

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Misconception, misrepresentation, and misaplication of the principles.

contradictory; when, in the various revolutions of empires, we see the most opposite effects produced by these very principles, what other conclusion can be drawn, than that the principles themselves have been mifconceived, misrepresented, and misapplied ?

It would derogate from the dignity of the subject under our consideration, were I to descend into personal altercation or controversy with the different persons, who have already, by their publications, taken a decifive part in the agitation of the question: a question the most elevated, dignified, and important, that can employ the mind of man, as it most essentially affects his happiness, welfare, and existence, in this state of mortality. An eloquent writer has afforded me a most consolatory apology for offering to the public my humble efforts, after the exertion of so many others of superior talents, information, and experience *. « Too many “ minds cannot be employed on a contro“ verfy fo immense, as to present the most « various aspects to different understandings,

and so important, that the more correct « statement of one fact, or the more success“ ful illustration of one argument, will at

Apology for this publication.

* Mr. Macintosh's Advertisement to his Vindiciæ Gallicze:

© leaft

t least rescue a book from the imputation of « having been written in vain."

In the combination of the political circumstances of the present day, I know not how I can render a more effential service to my country, than by endeavouring faithfully to represent, and strongly to impress the minds of my countrymen with the true genuine principles of the Rights of Man; for upon this bafis hath been raised the most brilliant and stupendous work of human ceconomy, the blessed and glorious constitution of the British empire. The great Chan

Chancellor cellor Fortescue entertained so fublime an Fortefcue's exa

alted ideas of idea of it, as early as in the fourteenth century, that he said *: “ And for the same « reason it is, that St. Thomas is supposed « to wish, that all the kingdoms and nations rs in the world were governed, in the politi6 cal way, as we are.And the same learned Chancellor, in the instructions, which he gave to his royal pupil Prince Edward, the eldest son of King Henry the Sixth, carries his encomium of our laws and constitution to the very highest possible hyperbole I: “ Rejoice, therefore, my good Prince, that

* De Laud. Leg. Ang. c. xxxvii. p. 86:

+ This idea of St. Thomas Aquinas is taken from his book De Regimine Principum. De Laud, Leg. Ang. c. ix. p. 18. B 2

6 such

. our laws.

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