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him; and there is a respect, which it would

be criminal to withold from him." Treason to deny Since it would be treasonable for any Brithe king's prerogative. tish subject openly to maintain, that the con

stitution of this kingdom does not vest the
supreme executive power in the single per-
fon, who by the fixed rule of hereditary de-
[cent, shall have succeeded to the throne ; it
is equally true and certain, that the constitu-
tion has affixed a certain limitation of prero-
gative or power to this person so in possession
of the throne, which it would also be trea-
sonable in any subject or member of the
community to question or deny. I do not
think it very material to canvass the motives,
which draw from fubjects that respect and
reverence to the king's majesty, which Dr.
Price says it would be criminal to withhold,
Those, who derive the king's sovereignty im-
mediately from Almighty God, can scarcely

be conceived limited in their reverence and The absolute homage to his vicegerent upon earth; those, king is the who trace it from the immediate appointef ile people. ment of the community, undervalue and

contemn the people, in proportion as they fubftract from the majesty of their appointee; for the refusal of the absolute honours to the prince, is the disavcwal of the relative honour to the people. I shall, therefore, here,


honour of the

relative honour

after consider the submission and respect due from the subject to the sovereign, as a civil duty and obligation, which every member of the community is indispensably obliged to perform, under the penalties, which the state has annexed to the crime of high treason.

The most vehement opponents of kingly power admit, after Milton, * that “there is no power but of God; that is, no form, no lawful constitution of any government”. For Almighty God + " is equally the original of it, whether he first lodged it more in common, and left the communication of it to particular persons, to be the result of reason and deliberation, or himself immediately gave it to those particular persons,” And thus clearly all power from are to be understood those words of our meditly or blessed Redeemer to Pilate, &“Thou wouldj} imracciately, not have any power over me, unless it were given thee from above ;” unless it be contended that Pontius Pilate, or Tiberius Cæfar, whose lieutenant he was, had like Joshua, Saul, or David received an immediate appointment or commission from God, to rule over the people of Israel. I have cited this

Milton's Defence, p. 64. † Hoadley's Defence of Mr. Hooker's Judgment, p. 199. | Joan, c. xix. 2. 11.


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one quotation from scripture, that both parties may draw from it the satisfactory inference, that the submissive deference of any subject to an acknowledged sovereign will ever be regarded as a moral duty to Al

mighty God. Little will it avail me to atThe scriptures tempt to prove or confirm my reasoning by tenderen Pelicant the application of passages from the holy every inter

writ, where most men interpret it by their own private judgment; and in this very controversy, I firmly believe, that there is not a passage relating to kingly or magiftratical power, from the beginning of Ge. nesis to the end of the Revelations, which has not been tortured by the supporters of

the opposite parties into contrary meanings. Snare many po

The liberty, with which the ecclesiastical and theological writers upon this controversy have accommodated the authority of the scriptures to their respective doctrines, has been closely followed by most historical, political, and legal writers; for we find, through their writings, the very same texts quoted from the old approved authors, Bracton, Briton, Fleta, Fortescue, and others, to prove and support their opposite doctrines. It is neither incumbent upon me, nor is it competent for me to discuss the propriety of accommodating the sense of the holy fcrip



litical writers.

tures to opposite purposes ; but I feel it an
indispensible duty to endeavour to affix a de-
termined meaning to those civil authorities,
which affect the question under our conside-

The king (or queen) * of this realm, in The king to be
whom the constitution places the supreme ther in his na-
executive power, is to be considered either political capa-
in the natural capacity of a human indivi- city.
dual, or in his political capacity as an in-
tegral component part of the legislature.
Some things are faid of the king, which are
true only as applicable to his natural ca-
pacity, and false, if pretended to be applied
to his political capacity; and so vice versa.
It will be my endeavour to keep my readers
attention to the difference. His natural ca-
pacity he receives immediately from Al-
mighty God; his political capacity imme-
diately from the people or community ; but
not without the permission of Almighty God,
from whom the people receive immediately

power and right to confer it: thus are
reconciled the words of St. Peter, calling
kings a human ordinance, or buman appoint-
ment, with the words of St. Paul, styling ma-
gistrates the ordinance of God.


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• Whenever I shall in future speak generally of the king, I beg also to be understood of a queen regnant, such as were Mary, Elizabeth, and Anne.


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The king is a corporation in his political capacity.

But as

The king, in his political capacity, is a corporation fole: now *“ corporations fole consist of one person only and his successors in some particular station, who are incorporated by law, in order to give them some legal capacities and advantages, particularly that of perpetuity, which in their natural persons they could not have had. all personal rights die with the person, and as the necessary forms of investing a series of individuals, one after another, with the same identical rights, would be very inconvenient, if not impracticable, it has been found necessary, when it is for the advantage of the public to have any particular rights kept on foot and continued, to constitute artificial perfons, who


maintain a perpetual fuccession, and enjoy a kind of legal immortality.” So in this sense is it said, that the king never dies : and those, who are his heirs in his natural capacity, are called his successors in his political capacity; for a corpcration can have no heirs, as nemo eft beres viventis, and a corporation never dies.

* Blak. Com. b. i. c. xviii.


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