Page images
PDF
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

extravagant powers, nor to deny the people those rights, - - which

which by ancient usage they are entitled to; but to preserve the just and equal balance, from which they will both derive mutual security, and which, if duly observed, will render our constitution the envy and admiration of all the world. Ki N G CHARLEs the Second naturally took a surfeit of Parliaments in his father’s time, and was therefore extremely desirous to lay them aside. But this was a scheme impracticacle. However, in effect, he did so : for he obtaired a Parliament, which, by its long duration, like an army of veterans, became so exactly disciplined to his own measures, that they knew no other command but from that

person who gave them their pay. TH is was a safe and most ingenious way of enslaving a nation. It was very well known, that arbitrary power, if it was open and avowed, would never prevaii here. The people were therefore amused with this specious form of their ancient constitution : it existed, indeed, in their fancy; but like a mere phantom, had no substance nor reality in it; for the power, the authority, the dignity of Parliaments were wholly lost. This was that remarkable Parliament which so justly obtained the opprobrious name of the Pe Nsion PA R L I AM E N T ; and was the model from which, I blieve, some later Parliaments have been exačtly copied. At the time of the revolution, the people made a fresh claim of their ancient privileges; and as they had so lately experienced the misfortune of long and servile Parliaments, it was then declared, that they should be held frequently. But, it seems, their full meaning was not understood by this declaration; and therefore, as in every new settlement the intention of all parties should be specifically manifested, the Parliament never ceased struggling with the crown, till the triennial law was obtained: the preamble of it is extremely - - full

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

always to grow more impure the greater distance they run

from the fountain head. I am aware, it may be said, that frequent new Parliaments. will produce frequent new expences, but I think quite the contrary; I am really of opinion, that it will be a proper re- - medy

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »