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The people of England will not ape the fashions they have never tried : nor go back to those which they have found mischievous on trial They look upon the legal hereditary succession of their crown as among their rights, not as among their wrongs; as a benefit, not as a grievance; as a security for their liberty, not as a badge of servitude. They look on the frame of their common. wealth, such as it stands, to be of inestimable value; and they conceive the undisturbed succession of the crown to be a pledge of the stability and perpetuity of all the other members of our constitution.
I shall beg leave, before I go any further, to take notice of some paltry artifices, which the abettors of election, as the only lawful title to the crown, are ready to employ, in order to render the support of the just principles of our constitution a task somewhat invidious. These sophisters substitute a fictitious cause, and feigned personages, in whose favour they suppose you engaged, whenever you defend the inheritable nature of the 'crown. It is common with them to dispute as if they were in a conflict with some of those exploded fanaticks of slavery, who formerly maintained, what I believe no creature now maintains, " that the crown is held by divine, hereditary,
and indefeasible right.”—These old fanaticks of single arbitrary power dogmatized as if hereditary
royalty was the only lawful government in the world, just as our new fanaticks of popular arbitrary power, maintain that a popular election is the sole lawful source of authority. The old prerogative enthusiasts, it is true, did speculate foolisbly, and perhaps impiously too, as if monarchy had more of a divine sanction than any other mode of government; and as if a right to govern by inheritance were in strictness indefeasible in every person, who should be found in the succession to a throne, and under every circumstance, which no civil or political right can be. But an absurd opinion concerning the king's hereditary right to the crowa does not prejudice one that is rational, and bottomed upon solid principles of law and policy. If all the absurd theories of lawyers and divines were to vitiate the objects in which they are conversant, we should have no law, and no religion, left in the world. But an absurd theory on one side of a question forms no justification for alleging a false fact, or promulgating mischievous maxims on the other.
The second claim of the revolution society is
a right of cashiering their governours for miscon" duct." Perhaps the apprehensions our ancestors entertained of forming such a precedent as that “s of cashiering for misconduct," was the cause that the declaration of the act wbicb implied the abdication of King James, was, if it had F 2
any fault, rather too guarded, and too circumstan tial*. But all this guard, and all this accumulation of circumstances, serves to shew the spirit of caution which predominated in the national councils, in a situation in which men irritated by oppression, and elevated by a triumph over it, are apt to abandon themselves to violent and extreme courses: it shews the anxiety of the great men who influenced the conduct of affairs at that great event, to make the revolution a parent of settle. ment, and not a nursery of future revolutions.
No government could stand a moment, if it could be blown down with any thing so loose and indefinite as an opinion of " misconduct.” They who led at the revolution, grounded their virtual abdication of King James upon no such light and uncertain principle. They charged him with nothing less than a design, confirmed by a multitude of illegal overt acts, to subvert the Protestant church and state and their fundamental, unquestionable laws and liberties : they charged him with having broken the original contract between king and people. This was more than misconduct. A grave
* “ That king James thic Second, having endeavoured to “ subvert the constitution of the kingdom, by breaking the " original contract between king and people, and by the advice " of jesuits, and other wicked persons, having violated the “ fundamental laws, and having withdrawn himself out of the “ kingdom hath abdicated the government, and the throne is thereby vacant.”
and overruling neccssity obliged them to take the step they took, and took with infinitc reluctance, as under that most rigorous of all laws. Their trust for the future preservation of the constitution was not in future revolutions. The grand policy of all their regulations was to render it almost impracticable for any future sovereign to compel the states of the kingdom to have again recourse to those violent remedies. They left the crown what, in the eye and estimation of law, it had ever been, perfectly irresponsible. In order to lighten the crown still further, they aggravated responsibility on ministers of state. By the statute of the 1st of King William, sess. 2d, called “the act for declar"ing the rights and liberties of the subject, and for
settling the succession of the crown,” they enacted, that the ministers should serve the crown on the terms of that declaration. They secured soon after the frequent meetings of parliament, by which the whole government would be under the constant inspection and active control of the popular representative and of the magnates of the kingdom, In the next great constitutional act, that of the 12th and 13th of King William, for the further limitation of the crown, and better securing the rights and liberties of the subject, they provided, “ that
no pardon under the great seal of England " should be pleadable to an impeachment by the commons in parliament," ". The rule laid down
for government in the declaration of right, the constant inspection of parliament, the practical claim of impeachment, they thought infinitely a better security not only for their constitutional liberty, but against the vices of administration, than the reservation of a right so difficult in the practice, so uncertain in the issue, and often so mischievous in the consequences, as that of “ cashiering their governours.”
Dr. Price, in this sermon*, condemns very prou perly the practice of gross, adulatory addresses to kings. Instead of this fulsome style, he proposes that his majesty should be told, on occasions of eongratulation, that " he is to consider himself as
more properly the servant than the sovereign of " his people.” For a compliment, this new form of address does not seem to be very soothing. Those who are servants, in name, as well as in effect, do not like to be told of their situation, their duty, and their obligations. The slave, in the old play, tells his master, “ Hæc commemoratio est quasi
exprobatio.” It is not pleasant as compliment; it is not wholesome as instruction. After all, if the king were to bring himself to echo this new kind of address, to adopt it in terms, and even to take the appellation of Servant of the People as his royal style, how either he or we should be much
# P. 22, 23, 24.