« PreviousContinue »
I fatter my self, that if the Paffages 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 same Disasters, were fairly ftated and laid in one View, all indire& Arts and mean Subileties praaised to weaken our Securities would be frufrated, and vanish before the glaring Light of Law and Reason.
I fhall not govern my self on this Occafion by 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 different State of Things, the Condition of the Kingdom, by those who had the greatest Stakes in it, has been from time to time, plainly, im. partially, and pathetically expressed..
I shall begin with the A&t of Parliament made in England in the second Session of the first Year of the late King William and Queen Mary, entituled, An Ad declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, and settling the Succellion of the Crown.
It carries in it the noble Resentment of a People that had been juft gescued from Tyranby; and yet, that they inight justify their A&tions to Posterity, it recites, all the particus lar Instances of the Tyrannical Reign in a plain and difpaflionate Simplicity. The A& runs as follows. . .
'W Hereas the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in and Commons assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully, and freely representing all the
• Efates of the People of this Realm, did up
on the 13th Day of February, in the Year of our Lord 1688, present unto their Majesties, then called and known by the Names and Stile of William and Mary, Prince and Prin
cess of Orange, being present in their proper • Persons, a certain Declaration in Writing, made by the faid Lords and Commons in the Words following, viz.
• Whereas the late King James the Second, « by the Affistance of divers evil Counsellors, • Judges, and Ministers employed by him, did
endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Prote: < ftant Religion, and the Laws and Liberties of • this Kingdom ;
• By assuming and exercising a Power of dirspensing with and suspending of Laws, and
the Execution of Laws, without Consent of • Parliament; : By committing and prosecuting divers wor. othy Prelates, for humbly petitioning to be ex
cosed from concurring to the said assumed « Power ; .... By issuing, and causing to be executed, a • Commission under the Great Seal for erecting sa Court called the Court of Commissioners · for Ecclefiaftical Causes;
By levying Money for, and to the Use of 6 the Crown, by Pretence of Prerogative, for
other Time, and in other Manner, than the 6 fame was granted by Parliament ;
By raising and keeping a Standing Army within this Kingdom in Time of Peace without 6. Consent of Parliament, and quartering Sol
diers contrary to Law;'
. By causing several good Subje&s, being • Protestants, to be disarmed, at the same time
when Papists were both armed and employed, o contrary to Law;
• By violating the Freedom of Election of • Members to serve in Parliament;
• By Prosecutions in the Court of King's Bench • for Matters and Causes cognizable only in • Parliament, and by divers other arbitrary and illegal Courses:
And whereas of late Years partial, corrapt, 6 and unqualified Persons have been returned s and served on Juries, in Trials, and particu<larly divers Jurors in Trials for High Trea
fon which were not Free-holders;
o And exceffive Bail hath been required of • Persons committed in criminal Cases, to e • lude the Benefit of the Laws made for the · Liberty of the Subje&s;
• And exceflive Fines have been imposed,
or judgment against the Persons upon whom • the same were to be levied:
All which are utterly and directly contrary to the knowa Laws, and Stacutes, and • Freedom of this Realm.
And whereas the said late King James the « Ild having abdicated the Government, and • the Throne being thereby vacant, . His Highness the Prince of Orange (whom
it hath pleased Almighty God to make the • glorious Instrument of delivering this KingIdom from Popery and Arbitrary Power) did • (by the Advice of the Lords Spiritual and
: Temporal, and divers principal Persons of "the Commons) caufe Letters to be written
to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, being - Protestants, and other Letters to“the several
Counties, Cities, Universities, Boroughs, s and Cinque-Ports, for the chusing of such
Persons to represent them as were of Right "to be sent to Parliament, to meet and fit at
Weftminster upon the two and twentieth Day i of Fanuary, in this Year One thousand fix
hundred eighty and eight, in order to such an
Eltablishment, as that their Religion, Laws, 6 and Liberties might not-again be in Danger s of being subverted, upon which Letters E
le&tions having been accordingly made..
• And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and "Temporal, and Commons, pursuant to their < respective Letters and Elections, being now sallembled in a full and free Representative ? of ihis Nation, taking into their most serious . Consideration the best Means for attaining the 6 Ends aforesaid, do, in the first place, astbeir
Arceftors in like Cafe bave ufually done for the vindicating and asserting their ancient Rights and Liberties, declare, ,. That the pretended Power of suspending 6 of Laws, or the Execution of Laws, by Re
gal Authority, without Consent of Parlia* meni, is illegal... ....!!!
. That the pretended Power of dispensing with Laws, or the Execution of Laws by i Regal Authority, as it hath been assumed and is exercised of late, is illegal. . :That the Commiffion for erecting the late
Court of Commissioners for Ecclefiaftical * Causes, and all other Commiftions and
• Courts of like Nature, are illegal and per. • nicious.
· That levying Money for, or to the Use
of the Crown, by Pretence of Prerogative, • without Grant of Parliament, for longer ! Time or in other Manner than the same isor • shall be granted, is illegal.
• That it is the Right of the Subjects to petition the King, and all Commitments and • Prosecutions for such Petitioning are illegal,
That the railing or keeping a Standing Ar" my within the Kingdom in Time of Peace,
unless it be with Consent of Parliament, is againlt Law.
That the Subjects which are Protestants, " may have Arms for their Defence suicable to • their Conditions, and as allowed by Law.
" That Ele&tions of Members ought to be free, • That the Freedom of Speech and Debates, or Proceedings in Parliament, ought not to be impeached or queftioned in any Court or Place out of Parliament.
• That exceflive Bail ought not to be requio red, nor excessive Fines imposed, nor cruel s and unusual Punishments inflicted.
• That Jurors ought to be duly impannel'd, • and returned, and Jurors which pass upon • Men in Trials for High-Treason ought to be • Freeholders.
· That all Grants, and Promises of Fines, and Forfeitures of particular Persons before Conviaion, are illegal and void.
. And that for Redress of all Grievances, and • for she amending, strengthning, and prefer
ving of the Laws, Parliaments ought to be • keld frequently.