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tional freedom, but to all the rules and principles of morality itself. On the contrary, from them alone can I trace a principle of coercion and The foregoing
rinciples procoaction over the multitude. But before I duce coercion
over the people. enter minutely upon each separate branch of the legislature, it will be requisite to form a just and precise idea of the nature and general effects of this commission, or gift of power to them all jointly: we have, I hope, proved, that it was done by the consent and approbation of the community; and I have not as yet met with any writer, who has attempted to prove, that the hereditary peers of this realm, or a given number of elected commoners possess any particle of legislative authority, independently of the community. Many indeed have, by deducing the royal power and prerogative immediately from Almighty God, attempted to place the king above and wholly independent of the community. The proper place for examining this doctrine will be, in considering the rights, powers, and prerogatives of the king : I shall, however, for the present presume, what I hope hereafter to prove, that as the law makes and qualifies the king, and the nation or community makes the laws, so the king cannot be wholly above nor independent of the laws or the community;
When I say, that all the political power, which is possessed by the king, lords, and commons in this nation, is the free gift of the people, in the same breath I admit, that by this gift the constitution and government of this country are brought to the highest possible degree of perfection, of which any human institution of this nature is capable. Superficially, indeed, must they view this investiture of power, who fancy, because the
power is a trust, that magistrates therefore have The delegation duties, but no rights. The perfection of a gift Fights, as well depends not only upon the excellency of the as duties;
boon, but also upon the efficacy of the means, by which the receiver is enabled to defend, preserve, and improve the enjoyment of it. I have before faid, that the community can only act for its welfare and preservation ; and it is truly admirable to contemplate the wifdom and fagacity, with which, by our constitution, each branch of the legislature is enabled to defend and preserve the rights and powers, which have been respectively delegated to them. The object of this delegation of
power was, to render the diffolution of the government as difficult as possible; and the perfection of its execution is that stupendous equipoise of power, that renders it almost morally impossible, that one branch of
and prevents the diffolution of government.
of our constitute
the legislature should out-balance another, Thus do we observe, from experience, that whatever be their derangement in a temporary convulsion of the state, they are fure to return, with peace and order, to their ancient level, And as in nature, the ferene funthine, which immediately succeeds a storm, adds peculiar lustre to the objects, which it irradiates, lo most disturbances in our state have terminated in adding light and vigor to our constitutional rights and liberties. This is the halcyon view of our political constitution, which Dr. Kippis represents immediately after the revolution of 1688: *“ To Pleafing view be favoured with a form of government, of tion, by Dr.
Kippis. which liberty is the basis, is the greatest of all temporal blessings ; and the nations, on which so noble a gift has been bestowed, appear with peculiar glory in the history of the world. It has been the happiness of Britain to possess this benefit in a high degree of perfection. The system of our government is not singly a democracy, an aristocracy; or a monarchy ; but an excellent composition of the three. It adopts the advantages of these several schemes, and rejects their inconveniencies; it assumes the equality of a de
• Dr. Kippis’s Sermon preached at the Old Jury en the 4th of Nov. 1788, p. 24, 25.
mocracy, without its confusion; the wisdom and moderation of an aristocracy, in fome respects, without its severity in cthers; and the vigour of a monarchy without its tyranny; and it admirably provides for the distinct exercise of the judicial authority. Hence, it presents a plan of power, which produces more true freedom, than perhaps has yet been enjoyed by any community, in any pe
The rights, which attended this donation or investiture of power, I shall endeavour more particularly to illustrate, when I separately consider each branch of the legiflature, I shall first however, beg leave to premise fome leading observations, concerning the revolution and its principles and effects. As a member of the contented majority of this community or nation, I must from henceforth view and consider the supreme legislative power completely vested in our parliament, and in them am I to seek
the unalienable rights of the people, whom The right of
they completely represent; for in them the to alter the 50- sovereignty of power to alter, change, amend,
and improve the constitution and government of the community indefeasibly resides. Whatever mental objections I may conceive against the truth of this proposition, as 2
member of the community I am bounden, under the penalties of high treason (and the community have a right to bind me) to keep my opinion to myself: for *“ if any person High treason to shall, by writing or printing, maintain and deny it. affirm, that the kings or queens of this realm, with and by the authority of parliament, are not able to make laws and statutes of fufficient validity to limit the crown, and the descent, inheritance, and government thereof, every such person shall be guilty of high treason.” This act is as coercive upon me at this moment, as it was binding upon all my predecessors, who were living at the time of its passing into a law. The act neither gives nor declares any new rights, but emphatically imports such a reverential and awful conviction, that the supreme or sovereign right and power of forming and changing our government, ever did and ever must refide in the people, that makes it treasonable (not to think) but to express a thought to the con
4th Ann, C. viü. and 6th Ann, c. vii.
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