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therefore not permit him to use his reason or his conscience, not permitting him to bereave us the use of ours ? And might not he have enjoyed both as a king, governing us as freemen by what laws we ourselves would be governed ? It was not the inward use of his reason and of his conscience, that would content him, but to use them both as a law over all his subjects, “in whatever he declared as a king to like or dislike.” Which use of reason, most reasonless and unconscionable, is the utmost that any tyrant ever pretended over bis vassals.
of the country, Clarendon admits the wickedness of the court, and the violation of the constitution; and, while ostensibly reprehending the discontents of the people, shows they were a necessary consequence, springing from the profligate tyranny of their rulers. “The court,” he says, “ was full of excess, idleness, and luxury; and the country, in consequence, full of pride, mutiny, and discontent.” Strange picture of a happy people! However, to show that profound knowledge of human nature, with which he is complimented by Warburton, the historian, or, as the bishop is fond of saying, “the noble historian,” proceeds to insinuate his wonder that every man should be more troubled and perplexed at that they called the violation of one law, than delighted or pleased with the observation of all the rest of the charter.” “And with reason,” says Warburton. “The historian confesses that the violation of this one law was supported in the courts of justice by a logic, (as he phrases it,) which left no man any thing which he might call his own. (vol. i. p. 122.) So how could they be pleased with what was left, not by observation of the rest of the charter, as he represents it, but by a precarious suspension of the violation ?” (History, &c. i. 136, vii. 518.) Bishop Burnet, a less prejudiced writer than Clarendon, represents bad government as the passion of Charles the First's mind :
_“He hated all prudent counsel, and even when compelled by his necessities to follow it, yet hated its originators.”—(History of his own Times, i. 30.)
104. In all wise nations the legislative power, and the judicial execution of that power, have been most commonly distinct, and in several hands; but yet the former supreme, the other subordinate. If then the king be only set up to execute the law, which is indeed the highest of his office, he ought no more to make or forbid the making of any law, agreed upon in parliament, than other inferior judges, who are his deputies. Neither can he more reject a law offered him by the commons, than he can new make a law, which they reject. And yet the more to credit and uphold his cause, he would seem to have philosophy on his side; straining her wise dictates to unphilosophical purposes. But when kings come so low, as to fawn upon philosophy, which before they neither valued nor understood, it is a sign that fails not, they are then put to their last trump. (07) And philosophy as well requites them, by not suffering her golden sayings either to become their lips, or to be used as masks and colours of injurious and violent deeds. So that what they presume to borrow from her
(47) All philosophers deserving of the name are objects of hatred to despotic princes, because they are both versed in the rights of mankind, and impart their knowledge to others. For this reason, in order to ingratiate himself at court, Hobbes, the advocate of tyranny, declaims against the great philosophical politicians of antiquity. But in distress, philosophy is to all men grateful and consolatory; and princes, whether despotic or not, may then, like other persons, be happy to invoke its aid, which, with that of religion, may enable them, without sinking, to bear their misfortunes, merited or unmerited.
sage and virtuous rules, like the riddle of the Sphinx not understood, breaks the neck of their own cause.
105. But now again to politics : “He cannot think the majesty of the crown of England to be bound by any coronation oath in a blind and brutish formality, (48) to consent to whatever its subjects in parliament shall require.” What tyrant could presume to say more, when he meant to kick down all law, government, and bond of oath ? But why he so desires to absolve himself the oath of his coronation would be worth the knowing. It cannot but be yielded, that the oath, which binds him to the performance of his trust, ought in reason to contain the sum of what his chief trust and office
(18) Despots in all ages have made very free with oaths. With them perjury is among the arts of state.
“Nam, si violandum est jus, regnandi gratiâ
Cicero, Off: iii. 21. Upon this passage, translated from Euripides, Bayle has the following acute remarks :-“Je ne sai si tous ceux qui citent cette sentence d'Euripide, en comprennant toute l'énergie ; on y voit l'esprit, et de ceux qui acquiérent des Royaumes, et de ceux qui gouvernent les Etats ; ils vont quelquefois jusqu'à la superstition. Regardez la conduite particuliere d’Agesilaus : tout y est dans l'ordre, aliis rebus pietatem colas : il ne sorte de l'équité, qu'en tant qu'il regne, regnandi gratiâ violandum est. En tant que homme, il vous dira sincerement, comme un autre, amicus usque ad aras : mais, en tant que Souverain, s'il parle selon sa pensée, il vous dira, “Je observerai le traité de paix, pendant que le bien de mon Royaume le demandera ; je me moquerai de mon serment, dès que la maxime de l'Etat le voudra.'”—(Dictionaire Historiquæ et Critique, art. Agesilaus, rem. H.)
is. But if it neither do enjoin, nor mention to him, as a part of his duty, the making or the marring of any law, or scrap of law, but requires only his assent to those laws which the people have already chosen, or shall choose ; (for so both the Latin of that oath, and the old English ; and all reason admits, that the people should not lose under a new king what freedom they had before ;) then that negative voice so contended for, to deny the passing of any law, which the commons choose, is both against the oath of his coronation, and his kingly office.
106. And if the king may deny to pass what the parliament hath chosen to be a law, then doth the king make himself superior to his whole kingdom; which not only the general maxims of policy gainsay, but even our own standing laws, as hath been cited to him in remonstrances heretofore, that “the king bath two superiors, the law, and his court of parliament.” But this he counts to be a blind and brutish formality, whether it be law, or oath, or his duty, and thinks to turn it off with wholesome words and phrases, which he then first learnt of the honest people, when they were so often compelled to use them against those more truly blind and brutish formalities thrust upon us by his own command, not in civil matters only, but in spiritual. And if his oath to perform what the people require, when they crown him, be in his esteem a brutish formality, then doubtless those other oaths of allegiance and supremacy, taken absolute on our part, may most justly appear to us in all re
spects as brutish and as formal; and so by his own sentence no more binding to us, than his oath to him.
107. As for his instance, in case “he and the House of Peers attempted to enjoin the House of Commons,” it bears no equality; for he and the Peers represent but themselves, the Commons are the whole kingdom. Thus he concludes“ his oath to be fully discharged in governing by laws already made,” as being not bound to pass any new, “ if his reason bids him deny.” And so may infinite mischiefs grow, and he with a pernicious negative may deny us all things good, or just, or safe, whereof our ancestors, in times much differing from ours, had either no foresight, or no occasion to foresee; while our general good and safety shall depend upon the private and overweening reason of one obstinate man, who against all the kingdom, if he list, will interpret both the law and his oath of coronation by the tenor of his own will. Which he himself confesses to be an arbitrary power, yet doubts not in his argument to imply, as if he thought it more fit the parliament should be subject to his will, than he to their advice; a man neither by nature nor by nurture wise. How is it possible, that he, in whom such principles as these were so deep rooted, could ever, though restored again, have reigned otherwise than tyrannically ?
108. He objects, “ That force was but a slavish method to dispel his error.” But how often shall it be answered him, that no force was used to dis