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to this outline must appear more like a col. lection of detatched remarks, than a tissue of well-connected occurrences. It could not therefore be perused with satisfaction, or advantage by the generality of readers, if they had not at the same time several other books to refer to for the detail of events, as well as for a variety of authentic documents, fome of which were here only glanced at, and others passed over in total silence,

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In order to remove these inconveniencies, and to render the work as complete as possible within itself, the Editor has not only supplied all the necessary links of the historical chain, but has thrown into the notes every other article of new, or useful information, which he met with in the best publications on the same subject. He has also prefixed a {ketch of the preceding period from the acceffion of James I. and afterwards taking up the narrative, where it is suddenly broken off by the original writer, towards the close of Charles the second's reign, he has continued it, though in a summary manner, to the Revolution. The value of such a work, if well executed, is sufficiently obvious. But it

would

would ill become the Editor to enlarge on its utility, or importance. He despises alike the insinuating arts of affected modesty, and the authoritative language of presumptuous confidence. The merit of his labours will soon be decided upon by the candid and discerning, to whose judgment he chearfully submits; and whose approbation, or censure, must have more weight with the public than

any

frivolous attempt on his part, either to court the one, or to elude the severity of the other.

VOL. I.

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SKETCHES

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SKETCHES

OF THE

CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY OF ENGLAND,

FROM THE

ACCESSION OF THE STEWART FAMILY

TILL THE

RESTORATION.

JAMES I.

O

English throne with a more favourable opportunity of rendering himself popular, his reign glorious, and his subjects happy than James I. The brilliant successes of the late administration had not fo completely disguised the cenfurable parts of Elizabeth's conduct as to reconcile the people to her frequent encroachments upon their rights. Divesting themselves, therefore, of all their old prejudices against the Scotch, they received with open arms, and with the warmest teftimonies of joy, their new king, of whose liberal sentiments in religious matters, and of whose

great

abilities for civil

government, they had conceived very flattering ideas. But Nature had never designed James for any higher office than to superintend a school, or,

at most, to rule a college in the country that gave him birth; not to preside over a great, independent, and aspiring nation. Full of the most extravagant notions of the royal prerogative, and bloated with a still more ridiculous conceit of his own learning, judgment, and even infallibility, he expected froin passive subjects a tame submission to all his sovereign dictates; and looked upon public councils, or parliamentary assemblies merely as the ornaments, not the effentials of the conftitu, tion *.

Happily for this country, James was too much the dupe of his own absurd system to think dislimulation, policy, or forçe necessary for its support. He regarded as indisputable his title to the exercise of the powers, however arbitrary, which had been occasionally aflụmed by his predecessors of the House of Tudor. He never reflected, that the non-resistance of the people in those reigns was owing to a variety of causes which now ceafed to operate. Upon the advancement of Henry VII. | to the throne, most of the ancient nobility had been cut off in the long and bloody contests between the families of York and Lancaster ; and

* In a book written by James on what he calls the True Law of free Monarchy, he expressly afferts, that “the parliament is nothing elfe but the head-court of the king and his vassals; that the laws are but craved by his subjects; and that, in short, he is above the law."

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