Sivut kuvina

the throne

despotism abhorred by all respectable other class admitted that a revolution Tories. How men live under such in- was necessary, but regarded it as a famy it is not easy to understand: but necessary evil, and wished to disguise even such infamy was not enough it, as much as possible, under the show for Williams. He was not ashamed to of legitimacy. The former class deattack the fallen master to whom he manded a distinct recognition of the had hired himself out for work which right of subjects to dethrone bad princes. no honest man in the Inns of Court The latter class desired to rid the would undertake, and from whom he country of one bad prince, without prohad, within six months, accepted a .mulgating any doctrine which might baronetcy as the reward of servility. be abused for the purpose of weakening

Only three members ventured to op- the just and salutary authority of future pose themselves to what was evidently monarchs. The former class dwelt the general sense of the assembly. Sir chiefly on the King's misgovernment; Christopher Musgrave, a Tory gentle- the latter on his flight. The former man of great weight and ability, hinted class considered him as having forfeited some doubts. Heneage Finch let fall his crown; the latter as having resome expressions which were under- signed it. It was not easy to draw up stood to mean that he wished a nego- any form of words which would please tiation to be opened with the King. all whose assent it was important to This suggestion was so ill received that obtain; but at length, out of many sughe made haste to explain it away. He gestions offered from different quarprotested that he had been misappre- ters, a resolution was framed which hended. He was convinced that, under gave general satisfaction. It was moved such a prince, there could be no security that King James the Second, Resolution for religion, liberty, or property. To having endeavoured to subvert declaring recall King James, or to treat with the constitution of the king- vacant. him, would be a fatal course ; but many dom by breaking the original contract who would never consent that he should between King and people, and, by the exercise the regal power had conscien- advice of Jesuits and other wicked tious scruples about depriving him of persons, having violated the fundathe royal title. There was one expe- mental laws, and having withdrawn dient which would remove all difficul- himself out of the kingdom, had abdities, a Regency. This proposition cated the government, and that the found so little favour that Finch did throne had thereby become vacant. not venture to demand a division. This resolution has been many times Richard Fanshaw, Viscount Fanshaw subjected to criticism as minute and of the kingdom of Ireland, said a few severe as was ever applied to any words in behalf of James, and recom- sentence written by man: and permended an adjournment; but the re- haps there never was a sentence commendation was met by a general written by man which would bear outery. Member after member stood up such criticism less. That a King by to represent the importance of despatch. grossly abusing his power may forfeit it Every moment, it was said, was precious: is true. That a King, who absconds the public anxiety was intense: trade without making any provision for the was suspended. The minority sullenly administration, and leaves his people submitted, and suffered the predomi- in a state of anarchy, may, without nant party to take its own course. any violent straining of language, be

What that course would be was not said to have abdicated his functions is perfectly clear. For the majority was also true. But no accurate writer would made up of two classes. One class con- affirm that long continued misgovernsisted of eager and vehement Whigs, ment and desertion, added together, who, if they had been able to take their make up an act of abdication. It is own course, would have given to the evident too that the mention of the proceedings of the Convention a de- Jesuits and other evil advisers of James cidedly revolutionary character. The weakens, instead of strengthening, the

It is sent

case against him. For it is a well made. Powle returned to the chair: known maxim of English law that, the mace was laid on the table: Hampwhen a king is misled by pernicious den brought up the resolution: the counsel, his counsellors, and not himself, House instantly agreed to it, and orought to be held accountable for his dered him to carry it to the Lords.* errors. It is idle, however, to examine On the following morning the Lords these memorable words as we should assembled early. The benches Telecom examine a chapter of Aristotle or of both of the spiritual and of the up to the Hobbes. Such words are to be consi- temporal peers were dered, not as words, but as deeds. If Hampden appeared at the bar, and they effect that which they are intended put the resolution of the Commons to effect, they are rational though they into the hands of Halifax. The Upper may be contradictory. If they fail of House then resolved itself into a Com. attaining their end, they are absurd, mittee; and Danby took the chair. though they carry demonstration with The discussion was soon interrupted them. Logic admits of no compromise. by the reappearance of Hampden with The essence of politics is compromise. another message. The House resumed It is therefore not strange that some of and was informed that the Commons the most important and most useful had just voted it inconsistent with the political instruments in the world safety and welfare of this Protestant should be among the most illogical nation to be governed by a Popish compositions that ever were penned. King. To this resolution, irreconcilThe object of Somers, of Maynard, and able as it obviously was with the doctrine of the other eminent men who shaped of indefeasible hereditary right, the this celebrated motion was, not to leave Peers gave an immediate and unanito posterity a model of definition and mous assent. The principle which was partition, but to make the restoration thus affirmed has always, down to our of a tyrant impossible, and to place on own time, been held sacred by all Prothe throne a sovereign under whom law testant statesmen, and has never been and liberty might be secure. This object considered by any reasonable Roman they attained by using language which, Catholic as objectionable. If, indeed, in a philosophical treatise, would justly our sovereigns were, like the Presidents be reprehended as inexact and confused. of the United States, mere civil funcThey cared little whether their major tionaries, it would not be easy to agreed with their conclusion, if the vindicate such a restriction. But the major secured two hundred votes, and Headship of the English Church is the conclusion two hundred more. In annexed to the English Crown; and fact the one beauty of the resolution is there is no intolerance in saying that a its inconsistency. There was a phrase Church ought not to be subjected to a for every subdivision of the majority. head who regards her as schismatical The mention of the original contract and heretical.t gratified the disciples of Sidney. The After this short interlude the Lords word abdication conciliated politicians again went into committee. Debate in of a more timid school. There were The Tories insisted that their the Laris doubtless many fervent Protestants who plan should be discussed before plan of were pleased with the censure cast on the vote of the Commons which Regency. the Jesuits. To the real statesman the declared the throne vacant was con: single important clause was that which sidered. This was conceded to them; declared the throne vacant; and, if that and the question was put whether & clause could be carried, he cared little by what preamble it might be intro

* Commons' Journals, Jan. 28. 1688; Grey's duced. The force which was thus Debates ; Van Citters, "fel. s. If the report united made all resistance hopeless. in Grey's Debates be correct, Van Citters The motion was adopted by the Com

must have been misinformed as to Sawyers

speech. mittee without a division. It was ordered † Lords' and Commons' Journals, Jan. 29. that the report should be instantly 1689.

on the

Regency, exercisingkingly power during name cut on a seal which was to be the life of James, in his name, would daily employed in despite of him for be the best expedient for preserving the purpose of commissioning his enethe laws and liberties of the nation? mies to levy war on him, and of send

The contest was long and animated. ing his friends to the gallows for The chief speakers in favour of a Re- obeying him ? Did the whole duty of gency were Rochester and Nottingham, a good subject consist in using the Halifax and Danby led the other side. word King? If so, Fairfax and CromThe Primate, strange to say, did not well at Naseby had performed all the make his appearance, though earnestly duty of good subjects. For Charles importuned by the Tory peers to place had been designated as King even by himself at their head. His absence the generals who commanded against drew on him many contumelious cen- him. Nothing in the conduct of the sures; nor have even his eulogists been Long Parliament had been more seable to find any explanation of it which verely blamed by the Church than the raises his character.* The plan of Re- ingenious device of using his name gency was his own. He had, a few against himself. Every one of her days before, in a paper written with his ministers had been required to sign a own hand, pronounced that plan to be declaration condemning as traitorous clearly the best that could be adopted. the fiction by which the authority of The deliberations of the Lords who the sovereign had been separated from supported that plan had been carried his person.* Yet this traitorous fiction on under his roof. His situation made was now considered by the Primate it his clear duty to declare publicly and by many of his suffragans as the what he thought. Nobody can suspect only basis on which they could, in strict him of personal cowardice or of vulgar conformity with Christian principles, cupidity. It was probably from a erect a government. nervous fear of doing wrong that, at The distinction which Sancroft had this great conjuncture, he did nothing: borrowed from the Roundheads of the but he should have known that, situ- 1 preceding generation subverted from ated as he was, to do nothing was to the foundation that system of politics do wrong. A man who is too scrupu- which the Church and the Universities lous to take on himself a grave respon- pretended to have learned from Saint sibility at an important crisis ought to Paul. The Holy Spirit, it had been a be too scrupulous to accept the place of thousand times repeated, had comfirst minister of the Church and first manded the Romans to be subject to peer of the Parliament.

Nero. The meaning of the precept It is not strange, however, that now appeared to be only that the RoSancroft's mind should have been ill at mans were to call Nero Augustus. ease; for he could hardly be blind to They were perfectly at liberty to chase the obvious truth that the scheme him beyond the Euphrates, to leave which he had recommended to his him a pensioner on the bounty of the friends was utterly inconsistent with Parthians, to withstand him by force all that he and his brethren had been if he attempted to return, to punish teaching during many years. That all who aided him or corresponded the King had a divine and indefeasible with him, and to transfer the Tribuniright to the regal power, and that the tian power and the Consular power, regal power, even when most grossly the Presidency of the Senate and the abused, could not, without sin, be re- command of the Legions, to Galba or sisted, was the doctrine in which the Vespasian. Anglican Church had long gloried. The analogy which the Archbishop Did this doctrine, then, really mean imagined that he had discovered beonly that the King had a divine and tween the case of a wrongheaded king indefeasible right to have his effigy and and the case of a lunatic king will not * Clarendon's Diary, Jan. 21. 1689; Burnet,

bear a moment's examination. It was i. 810.; Doyly's Life of Sancroft.

* Ses the Act of Uniformity, VOL. II.

plain that James was not in that state Commons there could be no dispute as of mind in which, if he had been as to the question of right. All that recountry gentleman or a merchant, any mained was a question of expediency. tribunal would have held him incapa- And would any statesman seriously ble of executing a contract or a will. contend that it was expedient to conHe was of unsound mind only as all stitute a government with two heads, bad kings are of unsound mind; as and to give to one of those heads regal Charles the First had been of unsound power without regal dignity, and to mind when he went to seize the five the other regal dignity without regal members; as Charles the Second had power? It was notorious that such an been of unsound mind when he con- arrangement, even when made necessary cluded the treaty of Dover. If this sort by the infancy or insanity of a prince, of mental unsoundness did not justify had serious disadvantages. That times subjects in withdrawing their obedience of Regency were times of weakness, of from princes, the plan of a Regency was trouble, and of disaster, was a truth evidently indefensible. If this sort of proved by the whole history of Engmental unsoundness did justify subjects , 'land, of France, and of Scotland, and in withdrawing their obedience from had almost become a proverb. Yet, in princes, the doctrine of nonresistance a case of infancy or of insanity, the was completely given up; and all that King was at least passive. He could any moderate Whig had ever contended not actively counterwork the Regent. for was fully admitted.

What was now proposed was that EngAs to the oath of allegiance about land should have two first magistrates, which Sancroft and his disciples were of ripe age and sound mind, waging so anxious, one thing at least is clear, with each other an irreconcilable war. that, whoever might be right, they were It was absurd to talk of leaving James wrong. The Whigs held that, in the merely the kingly name, and depriving oath of allegiance, certain conditions him of all the kingly power. For the were implied, that the King had vio- name was a part of the power. The lated these conditions, and that the oath word King was a word of conjuration. had therefore lost its force. But, if the It was associated in the minds of many Whig doctrine were false, if the oath Englishmen with the idea of a mystewere still binding, could men of sense rious character derived from above, and really believe that they escaped the in the minds of almost all Englishmen guilt of perjury by voting for a Re- with the idea of legitimate and venegency? Could they affirm that they rable authority. Surely, if the title bore true allegiance to James, while carried with it such power, those who they were, in defiance of his protesta- maintained that James ought to be de tions made before all Europe, autho- prived of all power could not deny that rising another person to receive the be ought to be deprived of the title. royal revenues, to summon and pro- And how long was the anomalous rogue Parliaments, to create Dukes and government planned by the genius of Earls, to name Bishops and Judges, to Sancroft to last ? Every argument pardon offenders, to command the forces which could be urged for setting it up of the state, and to conclude treaties at all might be urged with equal force with foreign powers ? Had Pascal been for retaining it to the end of time. If able to find, in all the folios of the the boy who had been carried into Jesuitical casuists, a sophism more con- France was really born of the Queen, temptible than that which now, as it he would hereafter inherit the divine seemed, sufficed to quiet the consciences and indefeasible right to be called of the fathers of the Anglican Church ? | King. The same right would rery

Nothing could be more evident than probably be transmitted from Papist to that the plan of Regency could be Papist through the whole of the eighdefended only on Whig principles. teenth and nineteenth centuries. Both Between the rational supporters of that the Houses had unanimously resolved plan and the majority of the House of that England should not be governed

by a Papist, It might well be, there-1 It should seem that these arguments fore, that, from generation to genera- admit of no reply; and they were doubttion, Regents would continue to ad- less urged with force by Danby, who minister the government in the name of had a wonderful power of making every vagrant and mendicant Kings. There subject which he treated clear to the was no doubt that the Regents must dullest mind, and by Halifax, who, in be appointed by Parliament. The effect fertility of thought and brilliancy of therefore, of this contrivance, a con- diction, had no rival among the orators trivance intended to preserve unim- of that age. Yet so numerous and paired the sacred principle of hereditary powerful were the Tories in the Upper monarchy, would be that the monarchy House that, notwithstanding the weakwould become really elective.

ness of their case, the defection of their Another unanswerable reason was leader, and the ability of their oppourged against Sancroft's plan. There nents, they very nearly carried the day. was in the statute book à law which A hundred Lords divided. Forty nine had been passed soon after the close of voted for a Regency, fifty one against the long and bloody contest between it. In the minority were the natural the Houses of York and Lancaster, and children of Charles, the brothers in law which had been framed for the purpose of James, the Dukes of Somerset and of averting calamities such as the al-Ormond, the Archbishop of York and ternate victories of those Houses had eleven Bishops. No prelate voted in brought on the nobility and gentry of the majority except Compton and Trethe realm. By this law it was provided lawney.* that no person should, by adhering to It was near nine in the evening bea King in possession, incur the penal-fore the House rose. The following ties of treason. When the regicides day was the thirtieth of January, the were brought to trial after the Restora- | anniversary of the death of Charles the tion, some of them insisted that their First. The great body of the Anglican case lay within the equity of this act. clergy had, during many years, thought They had obeyed, they said, the go- it a sacred duty to inculcate on that vernment which was in possession, and day the doctrines of nonresistance and were therefore not traitors. The Judges passive obedience. Their old sermons admitted that this would have been a were now of little use; and many digood defence if the prisoners had acted vines were even in doubt whether they under the authority of an usurper who, I could venture to read the whole Liturgy. like Henry the Fourth and Richard the The Lower House had declared that the Third, bore the regal title, but declared throne was vacant. The Upper had not that such a defence could not avail men yet expressed any opinion. It was therewho had indicted, sentenced, and exe-fore not easy to decide whether the cuted one who, in the indictment, in prayers for the sovereign ought to be the sentence, and in the death warrant, used. Every officiating minister took was designated as King. It followed, his own course. In most of the churches therefore, that whoever should support of the capital the petitions for James a Regent in opposition to James would were omitted: but at Saint Margaret's, run great risk of being hanged, drawn, Sharp, Dean of Norwich, who had been and quartered, if ever James should requested to preach before the Commons, recover supreme power; but that no person could, without such a violation

high treason, in the Collection of State Trials;

Burnet, i. 813. and Swift's note. of law as Jeffreys himself would hardly

* Lords' Journals, January 29. 1689 ; Claventure to commit, be punished for rendon's Diary; Evelyn's Diary ; Van Čitters; siding with a King who was reigning, Eachard's History of the Revol though wrongfully, at Whitehall, against i

i. 813.; History of the Reestablishment of the

Government, 1689. The numbers of the Cona rightful King who was in exile at

tents and Not Contents are not given in the Saint Germains.*

journals, and are differently reported by dif

ferent writers. I have followed Clarendon, * Stat. 2 Hen. 7. c. 1.: Lord Coke's Insti- / who took the trouble to make out lists of the tutes, part iii. chap. i.; Trial of Cook for majority and minority.

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