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election. Upon this account, they brought
into the House of Commons *" the famous
biil of exclusion, which raised such a ferment
in the latter end of the reign of king Charles
the Second. It is well known, that the pur-
port of this bill was to have set aside the
king's brother, and presumptive heir, the
duke of York, from the succession, on the
score of his being a papist; that it passed the
house of commons, but was rejected by the The bill of ex.
lords; the king having also declared before out of the Lorda
hand, that he never would be brought to con-
sent to it.” From this tranfaction we clearly
see, that our ancestors were decidedly of opi-
nion, that the community, by the act of their
representatives, had a right to alter and change
the constitution and government, as they
should think proper ; for the lords did not re-
ject the bill, because they wanted the power of
concurring in it, but because they thought itin-
expedient, that it should then pass into a law.
Hence also may we learn a most practical
leffon upon the supereminent excellency of
our constitution, which, though it has invest-
ed the whole legislative body with such a
transcendency of power, that it is now pro-
verbially called omnipotent, yet has it fo judi-

• Blackstone's Cominentary, b. i. c. 3.


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ciously counterbalanced the rights, powers, and interests of each component part of that body, that it is never presumed probable, that any act should pass the three branches of the legislature, which does not appear evidently

for the advantage of the community, whom Safety in the

they collectively represent. *“ Like three 'three distinct powers of the distinct powers in mechanics, they jointly Legiflature.

impel the machine of government in a direction, different from what either, acting by itself, would have done; but at the same time, in a direction partaking of each, and formed out of all; a direction, which constitutes the true line of the liberty and happiness of the community.” However, as the bill took no effect, no alteration nor change was then introduced into the old constitutional rule of succeslion, and king James the Second succeeded to the throne of his ancertors by the common law of the land.

It would be useless, and, perhaps, very impolitic to attempt (although it might be now done impartially) an historical examination of the acts, by which king James the Second provoked the community to declare, that he had abdicated the crown, as they declared in England, or that he had forfeited it,

• Blackstone's Commentary, b. i. c. 2.


for the Abdioda tion.

Blackstone's Commentary, b. i. c. 3. form of lectures, as Vinerian prosesor in the university

as they declared in Scotland. Suffice it to say, that such was the sense of the majority of the community, by which the minority was certainly concluded. *“ For, in a full The majority assembly of the Lords and Commons met in convention, upon the supposition of this vacancy, both houses came to this resolution, That king James the Second, having endeavoured to subvert the constitution of the kingdom, by breaking the original contraît between king and people, and, by the advice of jesuits and other wicked perfons, kaving violated the fundamental laws; and having withdrawn himself out of this kingdom, bas abdicated the government, and that the throne is thereby vacant.” This learned commentator upon our laws continues thus : † « The facts themselves thus appealed to, the king's endeavours to subvert the constitution by breaking the original contract, his violation of the fundamental laws, and his withdrawing himself out of the kingdom, were evident and notorious; and the consequences drawn from these facts, namely, that they amounted to an abdication of the

I am happy in quoting the authority of Mr. ). Blackstone, who delivered these commentaries in the

of Oxford.


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government, which abdication did not affect
only the person of the king himself, but also
all his heirs, and rendered the throne abso-
lutely and completely vacant, it belonged to
our ancestors to determine. For, whenever
à question arises between the society at large,
and any magistrate vested with powers ori-
ginally delegated by that fociety, it must be
decided by the voice of the society itself;
there is not upon earth any other tribunal
to resort to.

And that these consequences
were fairly deduced from these facts, our an-
cestors have fully determined in a full par-
liamentary convention, representing the
whole society. I, therefore, (continues he)
rather chuse to consider this great political
measure, upon the solid footing of authority,
than to reason in its favor from its justice, mo-
deration, and experience; because that might
imply a right of dissenting or revolting from
it, in case we should think it to have been
unjust, oppressive, or inexpedient. Whereas
our ancestors having most indisputably a com-
petent jurisdiction to decide this great and im-
portant question, and having in fact decided
it, it is now become our duty, at this dif.
tance of time, to acquiesce in their determina-
tion, being born under that establishment,
which was built upon this foundation, and


obliged by every tie, religious as well as civil, to maintain it." When this learned Judge Black

itonc waves the commentator declines to consider the justice, examination of moderation, and expedience of the revolution, it is occafioned the

revolution ; clearly waving the examination of the facts, which occasioned it; and when he admits, that our ancestors had indisputably a competent jurisdiction to decide this great and important question, it is an unequivocal avowal of the aid avows the

principles uport pre-existence of those principles, upon which which it was

effected. it was effected; for if those principles had originated out of the revolution, they could not be said to have justified the revolution of 1688, although they would justify a future revolution, under all similar circumstances, which is scarcely to be presumed within the possibility of human occurences.

More than a whole century has now The jacobites, as elapsed, since this memorable event was concinded by

the acts of the brought about by the majority of the nation, majoriy. and that concludes the whole; and whatever feeble efforts have during that period of time, been attempted by the jacobite party, to counteract and fubvert the establishment made at the revolution, it can never be

pretended, that that party made more, than a very insignificant minority of the community, who consequently were concluded by the acts of the majority, and constitution



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