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says Judge Blackstone, “ that the consciences of posterity were concerned in the rectitude of their ancestors decisions gave birth to those dangerous political herefies, which so long distracted the state, but at length are all happily extinguished.” This judgment was the natural result of the associated ideas of
popery and tyranny; and it is notorious, though The nation for- singular, that the majority of the nation at merly in the
that time had been educated in the habits separating the idea of a popith (as may be judged from the language of the that of a tyrant. statutes) of never separating the idea of a
popish prince, from that of an arbitrary, unjust, and wicked monarch.
The bill of rights being uncontrovertibly the act of the nation, specifies the charges, which the nation had found against King James the Second *, which are all reducible
habit of never
Whereas the late king James the Second, by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges, and ministers employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the protestant religion, and the laws and liberties of this kingdom:
ift, By affuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and fufpending of laws, and the execution of laws, without consent of parliament.
2d, By committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates, for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed power. 3d, By issuing and causing to be executed a com
liament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law.
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 see, 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 tation of the crown to the Prince of Orange the crown. and the Princess Mary his wife, with divers misfion under the great seal, for erecting a court, called
Court of commissioners 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 par
5th, By raising and keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, without consent of par
6th, By causing several good fubje&s, being pro. tekants, to be disarmed, at the same time when papists
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 divers other arbitrary and illegal courses. Vid. Bill of Rights, 1 W & M. feff. 2. c. 2.
remainders or limitations over, to the abis solute exclusion of the late King James Second and his heirs, which was the line of succession fixt and fanctioned by the constitution of this realm, ever since it had made the crown hereditary. So determinately cau. tious 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 poffess, 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. .
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 faid lords fpiritual and temporal, and commons, do further pray, that it may be enacted, that all and every person and perfons that is, are, or shall be reconciled to, or shall hold communion with the see or
Change in the tenure of the
church of-Rome, or shall profess the popish religion, or shall marry a papist, shall be excluded, and be for ever incapable to inherit, poffess, or enjoy the crown and government of this realm and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, or any part of the fame, 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 these realms shall be, and are hereby absolved of their allegiance; and the said crown and government shall from time to time descend to, and be enjoyed by such person or persons, being protestants, as should have inherited and enjoyed the same, in case the said person or persons lo reconciled, holding communion, or profesfing or marrying as aforesaid, were naturally dead.”
By this act we fee, that the community The commu. not only asserted, but exercised their right their right to to alter and change the constitution and go- Ritution and vernment of this country, as they chose;
governacak for to pretend that this alteration in the suc. ceffion and tenure of the crown were not absolute innovations and essential changes in the constitution, would be to prove the futility or incompetency, not only of this bill of
change the conce
rights, but of every statute, that has been passed in this nation since the revolution.
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 assert 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 fingular the premises as their undoubted rights and liberlies. From hence, I think, I am fully justified in concluding, that the immediate cause of the revolution in 1688, was the dinike, 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 alterations at the revolution were made to prevent the defcent of the crown upon a Roman Catho bc.