Imágenes de página

as is sure enough they do, then doth the king represent only himself; and if a king without his kingdom be in a civil sense nothing, then without or against the representative of his whole kingdom, he himself represents nothing; and by consequence his judgment and his negative is as good as nothing. And though we should allow him to be something, yet not equal or comparable to the whole kingdom, and so neither to them who represent it; much less that one syllable of his breath put into the scales should be more ponderous than the joint voice and efficacy of a whole parliament, assembled by election, and endued with the plenipotence of a free nation, to make laws, not to be denied laws; and with no more but“ no !” a sleeveless reason, in the most pressing times of danger and disturbance to be sent home frustrate and remediless.

99. Yet here he maintains, “ to be no further bound to agree with the votes of both houses, than he sees them to agree with the will of God, with his just rights as a king, and the general good of bis people.” As to the freedom of his agreeing or not agreeing, limited with due bounds, no man reprehends it; this is the question here, or the miracle rather, why his only not agreeing should lay a negative bar and inhibition upon that which is agreed to by a whole parliament, though never so conducing to the public good or safety ? To know the will of God better than his whole kingdom, whence should he have it ? Certainly courtbreeding and his perpetual conversation with flat


[ocr errors]

terers (43) was but a bad school. To judge of his own rights could not belong to him, who had no right by law in any court to judge of so much as

(43) To declaim against the vices of courtiers, when those brought up among them, and who share their failings, describe and condemn them as the worst of mankind, were a pure waste of indignation, which should be reserved for those on whom contempt cannot fall. The sons of Clarendon, who touched as gingerly as their father on the faults of princes, and even in treating of courtiers seemed to fear the consequences of plainspeaking, dwell, nevertheless, in general terms, upon the base flattery and compliance by which monarchs are too commonly surrounded. “ Suadere principi quod oporteat, magni laboris ; assentatio erga principem quemcunque sine affectu peragitur, was a saying of Tacitus, and one of those that is perpetually verified. For we see, in all times, how compliance and flattery gets the better of honesty and plain-dealing. All men indeed love best those that dispute not with them; a misfortune, whilst it is among private persons, that is not so much taken notice of; but it becomes remurkable and grows a public calamity, when this uncomely obsequiousness is practised towards great princes, who are apt to mistake it for duty, and to prefer it before such advice as is really good for their service.(Preface to Clarendon's History, i. p. 14.) Here the reader will perceive that “ great princes” does not mean princes with great qualities, but who happen to govern great nations ; for, were they truly great, the pitiful creatures that buzz about a court would never, by their “ uncomely obsequiousness," be able to impose upon their intellects. In the above passage the court glanced at is that of Charles I., of which Warburton says—“Every now and then a story comes out” (in Clarendon's History,) “which shows the court to have been exceedingly tyrannical, and abates all our wonder at the rage and malice of those that had been oppressed by it. It is a moot point which did the king most mischief, his court servants, whom he unreasonably indulged, or his country subjects, whom he as unreasonably oppressed. Gratitude had not the same influence on the affections of his servants, which thirst of revenge had on those who had been oppressed by their master.” (Clarendon's History, vii. 579.)

felony or treason, being held a party in both these cases, much more in this; and his rights however should give place to the general good, for which end all his rights were given him.

100. Lastly, to suppose a clearer insight and discerning of the general good, allotted to his own singular judgment, than to the parliament and all the people, and from that self-opinion of discerning, to deny them that good which they, being all freemen, seek earnestly and call for, is an arrogance and iniquity beyond imagination rude and unreasonable; they undoubtedly having most authority to judge of the public good, who for that purpose are chosen out and sent by the people to advise him. And if it may be in him to see oft “ the major part of them not in the right,” had it not been more bis modesty, to bave doubted their seeing him more often in the wrong ?

101. He passes to another reason of his denials, “ because of some men's hydropic unsatiableness, and thirst of asking, the more they drank, whom no fountain of regal bounty (44) was able to over

(44) This cant about the bounty of despots is sure to be found in the mouth of every advocate for arbitrary power. Hume, (History of England, i. 262.) speaking of the insurrection of the Norman barons, observes that those foreigners owed every thing they possessed to the king's bounty ; meaning evidently to tax them with ingratitude. But who put it into the Bastard's power to be bountiful ? Or how can that be called bounty which is earned by toil and long services? It was the valour and fidelity of those barons that had enabled the Conqueror to distribute the wealth of England, and they had a right to share in the distribution. The king, therefore, gave them but their due; and they consequently owed him no obligation, or the obligation

come.” A comparison more properly bestowed on those that came to guzzle in his wine-cellar, than on a freeborn people that came to claim in parliament their rights and liberties, which a king ought therefore to grant, because of right demanded ; not to deny them for fear his bounty should be exhausted, which in these demands (to continue the same metaphor) was not so much as broached ; it being his duty, not his bounty, to grant these things. He who thus refuses to give us law, in that refusal gives us another law, which is his will, another name also, and another condition ; of freemen to become his vassals.

102. Putting off the courtier, he now puts on the philosopher, and sententiously disputes to this effect, “ That reason ought to be used to men, force and terror to beasts; (45) that he deserves to be a slave, who captivates the rational sovereignty of his soul and liberty of his will to compulsion; that he would not forfeit that freedom, which cannot be denied him as a king, because it belongs to him as a man and a Christian, though to preserve his kingdom; but rather die enjoying the empire of his

was mutual. In fact, the historian himself immediately proceeds to show how the tyrannical conduct of the king had alienated the affections of his companions in arms.

(15) This is good reasoning ; but, as Milton observes, would have been more proper in the mouth of any man than in his, whose constant practice it had been to oppose force to reason. But Dr. Gauden, when getting up this imposture, was by no means nice in adapting sentiments to characters : it was enough for him if he could string together a number of sentences calculated by their speciousness to take with the vulgar.

soul, than live in such a vassalage, as not to use his reason and conscience, to like or dislike as a king.” Which words, of themselves, as far as they are sense, good and philosophical, yet in the mouth of him, who, to engross this common liberty to himself would tread down all other men into the condition of slaves and beasts, they quite lose their commendation. He confesses a rational sovereignty of soul and freedom of will in every man, and yet with an implicit repugnancy would have his reason the sovereign of that sovereignty, and would captivate and make useless that natural free-. dom of will in all other men but himself.

103. But them that yield him this obedience he so well rewards, as to pronounce them worthy to be slaves. They who have lost all to be his subjects, may stoop and take up the reward. What that freedom is, which “cannot be denied him as a king, because it belongs to him as a man and a Christian,” I understand not. If it be his nega

ive voice, it concludes all men, who have not such a negative as his against a whole parliament, to be neither men nor Christians: and what was he himself then, all this while that we denied it him as a king? Will he say, that he enjoyed within himself the less freedom for that? Might not he, both as a man and as a Christian, have reigned within bimself in full sovereignty of soul, no man repining, but that his outward and imperious will must invade the civil liberties of a nation ? (16) Did we

(46) In the midst of his declamation on the pretended felicity

« AnteriorContinuar »