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quently have conceived a better, and might have set up a right more plausible in those days, in quality of Christ's vice-gerents upon earth, to dispose of rights holden by this fpiritual jure divino tenure, than of such as were merely of a secular or temporal nature. For the popes have always been allowed, by all Roman catholics, a power to dispense, in certain cases, with spiritual obligations, such as vows or promises made by individuals immediately to Almighty God; but never to dispense with, or annul a civil or moral obligation of one individual to another, so as to weaken or defeat the rights of a third person. The learned prelate, however, very fairly accounts for the former prevalence of the opposite doctrine throughout this nation. *“ The protestant The maintedivines went into the other extreme ; and to principles attrisave the person of their sovereign, preached dable motive. up the doctrine of divine right. Hooker, superior to every prejudice, followed the truth; but the rest of the reforming and reformed divines ftuck to the other opinion, which, as appears from the homilies, the Institution of a Christian Man, and the general stream of writings in those days, became the opinion of the church, and was, indeed, the received pro

• Dr. Hurd's Moral and Political Dialogues, vol. ii.

nance of false

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P. 301.

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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 thofe 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 magistrate is ordained in scripture, it has continued to our days, and may, it is feared, still continue to perplex and mislead the judgment of too many amongst us.” I am particularly happy in being able to adduce the high and unbiassed authority of so 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 profession 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.


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the enemy

** The growth of puritanism, and the republican spirit, in order to justify its attack on the legal constitutional rights of the crown, adopted the very fame principles with the jesuited party. And, under these circum- True principles stances, it is not to be thought strange, that a caute urged by principle, however true, which was disgraced by coming through such hands, should be generally condemned and execrated. The crown and mitre had reason to look upon both these forts of men as their mortal enemies. What wonder then, that they should unite in reprobating the political tenets, on which their common enmity was justified and supported?”

Dr. Priestley has said, with much truth, what I hope he will allow me to apply to my readers. “ I make no apology for the Proper apology freedom, with which I have written. The freely upon in

teresting subsubject is, in the highest degree, interesting jects. to humanity; it is open to philosophical difcussion, and I have taken no greater liberties, than becomes a philofopher, a man, and an Englishman. Having no other views, than

promote a thorough knowledge of this im


• Dr. Hurd's Moral and Political Dialogues, vol. ii.

P. 303

† Preface to Dr. Pricfley's Effays on the First Principles of Government, p. xiji.

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portant subject; not being sensible of any
biass to mislead me in my inquiries, and con-
fcious of the uprightness of my intentions, I
freely submit my thoughts to the examination
of all impartial judges, and the friends of their

and of mankind. They, who know
the fervour of generous feelings, will be sen-
sible, 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 that to have ap-
peared 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 flatter myself I have avoided them; and if my discoveries be just, I know of no


Neceflity of forming our principles of policy.

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particular constitucion and government, which

consideration, that can dispense with my sub-
mitting 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 oļd religion, between the church and
the presbytery, the round heads and the
royalists, the whigs and the tories, the non-
jurors 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 fubfift, Little remains
seem rather to have received a mere nominal of different par-
existence by hereditary descent, than to retain
any of their constituent parts or fundamen-
tal 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 establish-
ment, and the non-contents. The former far
exceed the latter in numbers; and from the
nature of the division, the majority must be
actuated by a more uniform principle, than
the minority. For the approbation of the



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