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the laws an in
ment is known by its energy, and that is
magistrates, whose duty it is to execute them. Contempt of The law is the unanimous will of the whole jury to the na- community; for the conclusion of the whole by cion.
the act of the majority does away the pre-
cause every one
and governed; yet the subsistence of the go- Our laws bind
ing upon each vernment depends not only upon the conti- individual, benuation of that original contract, but in this arents to their mutual and reciprocal covenant, engagement, or contract of every individual to abide by and enforce his own voluntary act and deed; for it is a first principle of our constitutional policy, that every law of England is the free, unbiaffed, and deliberate act of every English
It is but to such a political government as This reason apours, that these, I may almost say, metaphy- bitrary gofical truths can be applied; they have no foundation in the first principle of the civil law, quod principi placuit, legis babet vigorem. As the will of the prince is not under the controul of the people, they have no participation in the act imposed upon them; and its coercive obligation can be urged against the people upon no other ground, than that of a fervile, timid, or compulsive acquiescence in the arbitrary dictates of an uncontroulable power. The operative coercion and energy of a British act of parliament can never be so clearly seen, as when viewed in antithesis to the despotic mandates of an arbitrary monarch. If we could bring ourselves even to conceive a contract or compact between a people and an absolute despotic fovereign,
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yet as the whole legislative power rests solely in him, it neceffarily and essentially precludes the very possibility of any mutual and reciprocal covenane, engagement, or contract of the individuals with each other; and this is the vivifying sap, that pervades every fibre of our constitution.
Into what an extravagant error do not they fall, who attempt to justify by the spirit of the English constitution the opposition and resistance of individuals to the establish
ment of its government? For if there can tion of England exist upon earth a government of human force fubordi- institution, that emphatically and effentially nation.
condemns and precludes such anomalous efforts of the discontented members of a community to disturb or subvert the establishment of the whole fociety, it is the conftitution of Great Britain. In arbitrary regal governments, where the will of the fovereign makes the law, the aggrieved subject is immediately challenged by the oppressive mandate of his sovereign to protect his own natural rights by personal resistance. There is no intervening lenitive between his judgment and his feelings; the mental condemnation of an unreasonable command is as quickly suc.ceeded by the impulse to resist it, as the report succeeds the Aash of a discharged mus.
quet. Nothing short of the strictest passive obedience and non-resistance can ensure to an arbitrary sovereign the universal submission of his subjects. In regal governments was the doctrine of this doctrine engendered, foftered, and reared ; and non-ref.j.ince and when our kings wished or attempted to in arbitrary 80erect themselves into regal arbitrary fove- vernments. reigns, they attempted at the same time to transplant it into this country; but the soil and climate of a political government, such as ours happily is, were little congenial with the nature of the plant. In the unnatural heat of exceffive prerogative under the Tudors and Stuarts it was forced into a puny exotic Thoot, that drooped, withered, and decayed, when exposed to the natural foil and open free air of the English constitution,
Few or none of my readers are ignorant The fatal effe as of the fatal effects, which have proceeded establim there
of attempting to from the rancorous differences and disputes upon this doctrine, that formerly divided and disgraced our unhappy country. It has stained with blood and infamy the field, the judicature, the senate, and the church. Of this, as of most other party differences in this country, it
may most truly be said, * « The heat of honeft men being once raised, and the cooler
* Yorke's Confid. on the Law of Forfeiture, p. 3.
passions of artful men dissembled by a fpe-
mour, which for a time has ever been too The impoffibi- strong for argument.” Thus if we consider obedience and . but coolly and impartially what is and ever in our govern- was the real doctrine of paffive obedience
and non-refiftance, we shall find, that it could
+ Mr. Lechmere's first Speech in Dr. Sacheverel's Taal.