Page images
PDF
EPUB

The CRISIS, &c.

IT is every Man's Doty to correct the Extravagances of his Will, in order to enjoy Life as becomes a rational Being ; but we cannot possess our Souls with Pleasure and Satisfaction, except we preserve to our selves that inestimable Blessing which we call Liberty. By Liberty 1 desire to be understood to mean, the Happiness of Mens living under Laws of their own making by their personal Consent, or that of their Representatives.

Without this, the Distinctions amongst Mankind are but gentler Degrees of Misery; for at the true Life of Man consists in conducting it according to his own just Sentiments and innocent Inclinations, his Being is degraded below that of a free Agent, which Heaven has made him, when his Affections and Passions are no longer governed by the Dictates of his own Mind, and the Interests of Humane Society, but by the arbitrary unrestrained Will of another.

Without Liberty, even Health, and Strength, and all the Advantages bestowed on us by Nature and Providence, may at the Will of a Tyrant be employed to our own Ruin, and that of oar Fellow Creatures.

Li

Liberty is essential to our Happiness, and they who resign Life it self rather than part with it, do only a prudent Action; but those who lay it down, and voluntarily expose themselves to Death, in behalf of their Friends and Country, do an heroick One. The more exalted Part of our Species are moved by such generous Im

Sulses as these; but even the Community, the lass of Mankind, when convinced of the Danger of their Civil Rights, are anxious of preserving to themselves that dearest of all Possessions, Liberty.

The late Kingdoms of England and Scotland have contended for it from Age to Age, with too great a Price of Blood and Treasure to be given for the Purchase of any other Blessing but laid out Parsimoniously, when we consider they have transmitted this to their Posterity.

But since, by 1 know nor what Fatality, we ire of late grown supine, and our Anxiety for it is abated, in Proportion to the Danger to which it is every Day more exposed, by the artful and open Attacks of the Enemies of our Constitution; it is a seasonable and honest Office to look into our Circumstances, and let the Enemies of our present Establishment behold the Securities which the Laws of our Country have given those Who dare assert their Liberties, and the Terrors which they have pronounced against those who dare undermine ihem. For, whatever is the Prospect before our Eyes, it is the Business of every honest Man to look up with a Spirit that becomes Honesty, and to do what in him lies for the Improvement of our present Condition, which nothing but our own Pusillanimity can make desperate.

The molt destructive Circumstance in our Affairs seems to be, that by the long and repeated Insinuations of our Enemies, many are worn into a kind of Doubt of their own Cause, and think with Patience of what is suggested in favour of contrary Pretensions. The most obvious Method of reviving theprope&Sentiments in the Minds of Men for what they ought to esteem most dear, is to shew, That our Cause has in it all the Sanctions of Honour, Truth, and Justice, and that we are, by all the Laws of God and Man, enstated in a Condition of enjoying Religion, Life, Liberty, and Property, rescued from the most imminent Danger of having them all for ever depend upon the Arbitrary Power of a Popish Prince.

We should have been chained down in this abject Condition in the Reign of the late King James, had not God Almighty in Mercy given os the late happy Revolution, by that glorious Instrument of his Providence the great and memorable King Wl LLIAM. But though this wonderful Deliverance happened as it were but • Yesterday, yet such is the inadvertency or Ingratitude of some amongst us, that they seem not only to have forgotten the Deliverer, bu* even the Deliverance it self. Old Men act t& if they believed the Danger which then hun' over their Heads was only a Dream, the wil Effects of ill-grounded imaginary Fears ; an' young Men, as if they had never heard from their Fathers, nor read of what passed in thin Kingdom, at a Period no sarther backward than the Space of Five and Twenty Years.

I flatter my self, that if the Passages which happened in those Days, the Resolutions of the Nation thereupon, and the just Provisions made from Time to Time against our falling into the fame Disasters, were fairly stated and laid in one View, all indirect Arts and mean Subtleties practised to weaken our Securities would be frustrated, and vanish before the glaring Light of Law and Reason.

I shall not govern my self on this Occasion b.y the partial Relation of particular Persons or Parties, but by the Sense of the whole People, by the Sense of the Houses of Lords and Commons, the representative Body of the whole Nation; in whose Resolutions, according to the disferent State of Things, the Condition of the Kingdom, by those who had the greatest Stakes in it, has been from time to time, plainly, impartially, and pathetically expressed.

I shall begin with the Act of Parliament made in England in the second Session of the first Year of the late King William and Queen Mary, entituled, An Act declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, and fettling theSuctejfisn of the Crown.

it carries in it the noble Resentment of a People that had been just rescued from Tyranny; and yet, that they might justify their Actions to Posterity, it recites all the particular Instances of the Tyrannical Reign in a plain and dispassionate Simplicity. The Act runs as follows.

'TT7Here»s the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, « » * and Commons assembled at Westminster, * lawfully, fully, and freely representing all the

tEstates • Estates of the People of this Realm, did up

• on the 13th Day of February, in the Year of 4 our Lord 1688, present unto their Majesties, 4 then called and known by the Names and 4 Stile of WiU'tam and Mary, Prince and Prin

• cess of ,Orapge, being present in their proper

• Persons, a certain Declaration in Writing,

• made by the said Lords and Commons in the 4 Words following, viz,

4 Whereas the late King James the Second,

• by the Assistance of divers evil Counsellors,

• Judges, and Ministers employed by him, did 4 endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Prote'slant Religion, and the Laws and Liberties of

• this Kingdom;

4 By assuming and exercising a Power of dis4 pensing with and suspending of Laws, and

• the Execution of Laws, without Consent of 4 Parliament;

4 By committing and prosecuting divers wor

• thy Prelates, for humbly petitioning to be ex4 cased from concurring to the said assumed 4 Power;

., 4 By issuing, and causing to be executed, a 4 Commission under the Great Seal for erecting 4 a Court called the Court of Commissioners 4 for Ecclesiastical Causes;

4 By levying Money for, and to the Use of 4 the Crown, by Pretence of Prerogative, for

• other Time, and in other Manner, than the 4 same was granted by Parliament 5

* By raising and keepingaStanding Army with4 in this Kfngdom in Time of Peace without 4 Consent of Parliament, and quartering Sol4 diers contrary to Law,

4By

« PreviousContinue »