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Discuffion favourable to the
denomination has been borrowed from the effect, and not from the origin or cause. No fovereign in fact from King Egbert to his present majesty, has ever owed his crown to any other, than these identical principles.
It would be very unwarrantable in me to submit to this sentiment, * " that it has been our misfortune, and not the glory of this age, that
every thing is to be discussed. Wherever misrecause of truth. presentation of truth has existed, and that mif
representation has been attended with pernicious consequences, discussion alone can cure the evil. I openly avow this to be the intent of my making this publication ; and with this view am I induced to make the most public and unequivocal profession of those principles, which have engendered, nurtured, and maturated our constitution; and which, if strictly adhered to, must ever preserve it in full vigour, and so perpetuate it to the latest pos terity. I am very far from wishing to draw a veil over the principles, which justified the alterations in the constitution of our government at the revolution; for if that great event had never taken place, and any circumstance had provoked the discussion of the principles, upon which it was formed, I should
* Burke, ubi supra,
have explained and professed them in the fame manner, in which I now do.
As well might it be denied, that a revolution in this kingdom existed in the year 1638, as that very essential alterations were at that time introduced into the constitution. It is immaterial to the subject under our present confideration, whether these alterations were prudent to be made, or whether they could be, or were, recommended by each individual of the community. The effential altera- Alterations in tions were two: the first was, the alteration effected by the
the constitution in the succession of the crown; the second
revolution. was the alteration in the tenure of the crown. As for all the other rights, liberties, and privileges, which are commonly said to have been acquired, secured, or confirmed unto us at that period by the bill of rights, or otherwise, it appears evident, from the reflections already offered, that nothing more was in fact gained by the people at the revolution, than an express acknowledgment or recogni, tion by the fovereign, that the people were entitled unto, and might for ever enjoy those rights, to which without any such acknowledgment or recognition, they ever had an indefeasible title, not coeval and co-equal with, but prior to, the sovereign's title to the right of the crown; for the rights of the people pre- tobuse of time
ceded the original compact, upon which society was formed; and the rights of the sovereign were granted by the community
for their better prefervation. Few writers Few writers appear to me to have treated have fairly represented the
the revolution of 1688 with fair unbiassed candor. Most of them seem to have been checked by a delicate timidity from speaking the whole truth, or avowing the real fpirit of the revolution ; some of them appear to have been impelled by a restless discontented difposition, to go far beyond the real spirit of the revolution, by facilitating the means, and inventing necessities for a repetition of the scene. None of them appear ever to have sufficiently distinguished between the facts, which occafioned, and the principles, which justified the revolution.
As to the principles, I hope I have evinced my readers, that they are prior to the constitution itself, and fully adequate to every purpose of preserving and improving it, as
the exigencies of circumstances and the wishes The facts which of the community may require. The facts, revolution ne which gave rise to the revolution were such, ver again likely
as in all human probability never can again recur in that combination, as to occasion another such revolution upon the strength of precedent. I shall therefore consider a
repetition of such an event, as amongst the moral impossibilities. In speaking with freedom of this great event, I mean not to difplease nor offend those, who have viewed and treated it in a light and manner very different from that, in which I shall take the liberty of representing it.
* “ The constituent parts of a state are obliged to hold their public faith with each other, and with all those, who derive any serious interest under their engagements, as much as the whole state is bound to keep its faith with separate communities.” And this same great man, speaking of the common law and the statute law, says, + “ both these descriptions of law are of the fame force, and are derived from an equal authority, emanating from the common agreement and original compact of the state, communi Sponfione reipublicæ, and such as are equally binding on king and people too, as long as the terms are observed, and they continue the
same body politic.”
Upon the same principles, upon which the revolution was effected, very important alterations have been formerly made in the
* Mr. Burke's Reflections on the Revolution of
France, p. 28.
constitution and government of this kingThe reforma, dom, before that event took place. The tion in the con- most material of these alterations was the zhe revolution. reformation, or change of the national religi
on. For upwards of goo years, the church establishment of this nation was of the Roman catholic persuasion or doctrine; and during that period, it as certainly made a part
of our constitution, as the protestant religion makes a part of our constitution at this day, and as it did also in the year 1688; for, as I have endeavoured to prove before, the community must ever retain an indefeasible right of making a civil establishment of that religion, which the majority shall have thought it their duty to adopt; for this duty lies upon each individual independently of the community. King James the Second had adopted the Roman catholic religion,
whilft he was duke of York and the presumpApprehenfiors tive heir to the crown: the apprehensions of their religious the nation were upon this account much under a Roman alarmed, left, if the crown should devolve Catholic prince.
upon a person of that persuasion, some alteration or change would be attempted, and, perhaps effected in their religious establishment, which they esteemed their first and dearest constitutional right and liberty, as being the immediate effect of their own free
of the nation for