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regem, will enable us to form our mind very satisfactorily upon this great event. I shall take for granted, what I presume no one will undertake to deny, viz. the right and poslibility of a king's relinquishing, abandoning, or giving up that power, and those rights, which had been given or deputed to him by the community. Without, therefore, taking into consideration the reasons, motives, or inducements, which brought over the prince of Orange with an armed force into this country, we are to consider, and form our minds upon the conduct and actions of king James the Second, after that prince had once landed. It will not suffice to say, that king James, at that time, and under all circumstances, found himself in a very embarrassed situation ; that Personal views he had reason to apprehend a general defec- king James not tion of his subjects, and to fear for the per- dereva sonal safety of hinself and his family, and that consequently his flight, and abandonment of
were to be looked upon, not as the acts of a free agent, but as the compulsive measures of the most dire necessity; and therefore that his fight out of the kingdom never can be construed into an actual abdication or renunciation of his fovereignty. It A confiderable
part of the nais immaterial also to consider, what part of his subjects were ready and willing to adhere
to be confi.
tion with him.
to him and obey his commands. History tells us, that the whole navy of England were likely to remain staunch unto him; nor is there any reafon to imagine, that the army, which was commanded by lord Feversham, would have deserted from him; and it is more than probable, that had king James the Second, even at this time, shewn the smallest degree of energy, fpirit, or rectitude in governing, he would have prevented the greateft part of the nation from joining with the
prince of Orange. The rights and
No sort of comparison can be drawn beduties of the king and people tween the rights and duties of a sovereign in seciprocal.
his political capacity, and those of a subject in the natural capacity of an individual; for, as I have before observed, the rights of the fovereign are, in fact, the duties of the subject, and the duties of the sovereign are the rights and liberties of the subject. Now no one can deny that the community have in themfelves an indefeasible right of preserving their own rights and liberties, and these in our community chiesly consist in the advantages of a limited and efficient monarchy; and if that be by any means done away or abolished, it necessarily induces an actual dissolution of that government, by which the community had agreed to be governed.
Anarchy is allowed by all writers to be the principle the greatest political misfortune, which can vation fupplies befal a state, and the first principle of self- the means
of preservation supplies every community with archy. the right and the means of preventing and avoiding it. Attention to this last principle will at one glance develop the necessity, and justify the adoption of the revolution ; for at that time the nation was in a state of the most dreadful fermentation, and there could not be a stronger necessity for efficient energy in the executive
in order to allay and counteract the ferment, which threatened the very subversion of the nation. In this critical posture of affairs, every action of the sovereign will be perceived to draw with it the most important consequences; nor can we in passing judg
upon them make any allowances for personal prejudice, or want of judgment, knowledge, resolution, or courage.
I shall not resume the question, whether England or Scotland expressed with more propriety the actual cessation of king James's reign, when the former used the term abdication, and the latter forfeiture of the crown. The actual exercise of the executive powers The ceffation of of the supreme magistrate is absolutely necef- the executive Lary for the actual subsistence of the English ditiolution of
monarchy; if, therefore, king James the Second did, as far as he could, annihilate or even suspend the operation of the supreme executive powers, it must be allowed that he did all that he could to annihilate, for the time at least, the very existence of the English monarchy. We need therefore only to consider in what state this nation would have been, had it been left but for the space of one month in the situation, in which king James endeavoured to leave it; and we shall from thence be able to form a satisfactory judgment of the rights, which the nation fo abandoned had in them to secure their own preservation. He withdrew, in the person of the king, the whole executive
government; he called in his writs, which were about to be issued for convening a parliament; he dismissed his judges; he threw the great seal of England into the river; he disbanded the army without pay; and let
loose a lawless armed force upon the nation. The actions of Now if a supreme executive magistrate, upon king James an absolute aban. whom all subordinate magistrates depend, sovereignty. if the administration of justice, if armed force
on certain occasions be requisite for preserying our present constitutional form of government, it is felf-evident, that a king who has by overt and unequivocal acts attempted to
donment of his
deprive the community of these necessary
which our constitution requires the king to be. The actual duration of these
effects could not by possibility be known to the nation; and therefore as a community, upon the common principle of self-preservation, they had the indefeafible right of adopting such measures, as they thought most conducive to attain that end.
For if a government be actually dif- Right of the nasolved for one hour, by the act of the go- model the governor, the primeval rights of the governed whol'y at the to chuse, square, and model their own government, revive in the same extent, as they enjoyed them before the formation of the government so diffolved. And upon these principles we must at this day candidly allow, that our ancestors, in 1688, did actually possess the right to make a new limitation of the crown, and to annex a new condition to the tenure of it.