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any right to secure itself by excluding from offices such as they judge unqualified, for no goverment can have a right to an unjust security. If his lordship can find any thing in his own writings inconsistent with this doctrine, (as much as there is to be found,) that is his concern, and not mine.

Among all the capacities of this sort known in our constitution, those which are hereditary are the strongest and most favored by the law: among these the capacity of succeeding to the crown is the most sacred. This his lordship and others have taken pains to prove subject to limitations; and it is well known that his Majesty enjoys the crown in virtue of such limitations. I would only ask his lordship whether the royal family be the only one in the kingdom liable to such restrictions ? whether it be highly reasonable, for the sake of public good, to limit the capacity of succeeding to the crown, and highly unreasonable, though there be the like occasion for it, to limit the capacity of private men to be captains or colonels?

To me this case is so very plain, that I will not so far sus; pect any reader's -judgment as to dwell longer on it, but will go on to consider in what manner this right, which the state has over the capacity of all its subjects, is to be exercised.

They who in any nation have the legislative power intrusted with them, are bound to take care of the welfare and preservation of the community over which they are placed. Men ought not to be punished for any offence against the public without plain proof that they have offended ; for all punishments must follow the strict rules of justice : but all governments have a right (and all wise governments will make use of it) to provide against probable dangers to the state; in consequence of which they have a right to provide that all power in the state shall be lodged in such hands only as they reasonably judge to be well affected; and, here the rules of prudence must govern. And this may help bis lordship to see what he seems to be at a great loss to understand), how consistent it is in me to declare against punishing men in their lives or fortunes for those reasons, which, nevertheless, I think to be good reasons for excluding them from places of power and trust. It would be very unreasonable to beat a man because he has an infectious distemper; yet it is very reasonable to deny him a place in the family on this account ; for in one case I should injure him, in the other I only take care of myself. The exercise then of this right is matter of prudence in the government: it may be abused by wantonness and partiality, as every thing else may that ever I heard of; but it will not follow, because this right may be abused, that therefore there is nor ought to be no such right in the community.

But the right of the state to limit the subject's capacity of holding places of power and trust being supposed, it still remains to be considered whether they had sufficient reason for what they did in the case before us.

The government of England is in the hands of Christians ; and so far, I hope, there is no fault. When they, in whom this power was

dged, found it necessary to forsake the errors of the church of Rome, and to throw off the heavy yoke of popish power under which they had been long oppressed, they saw at the same time that religion could not be preserved without some settled order and discipline; and though the Reformation claimed the use of the Scriptures as the undoubted right of every Christian who was capable of using them, yet they had sense enough to know that to leave every man to make the best of his Bible, without any farther direction or restraint, would naturally tend to confusion, and fill the kingdom with all the wild conceits that ignorance and enthusiasm could produce. They considered farther, that it was the will of Christ that there should be a visible church ; and though they had withdrawn from the church of Rome as being corrupt, yet they were obliged to visible communion; for these reasons they continued the national church freed from the errors and the corruptions of Rome, under a government and discipline formed on the platform of primitive Christianity. This church was established by law; and the people of England were bound to communion with it as Christian subjects; so bound, I mean, that nothing but a persuasion of errors and corruptions in the church could excuse a separation from it.

On these principles the reformation here proceeded; the crown and the people found it necessary to reject the papal power together with the corruptions of the Romish church;

but they found it necessary too to preserve an authority in church matters; and to settle an ecclesiastical government even for the better reformation of religion. Some indeed there were in the early days of the Reformation, who pleaded for Christian liberty in such manner as to leave no room for Christian discipline ; but these made no great figure, and were esteemed then as mere fanatics. Had they who conducted the Reformation set out on these prejudices, (for I desire to be excused from calling them principles,) by this time I verily believe Christianity itself had been lost among us; and the supremacy vested in every man in his own behalf had long since established a consummate stupidity and ignorance; but who would have been the happier for it, I profess myself at a loss to imagine.*

The protestant church of England has enjoyed but little peace from its first establishment. In the days of Edward VI. the controversy about vestments, &c. began, though it was managed with another kind of spirit than what afterwards appeared in that cause. In Queen Mary's time this church was destroyed, and suffered not only in the ruin of its establishment and in the members lost by persecution, but in those also who fled from home, and brought back those notions which have given this church and nation so much trouble ever since. These were one great occasion of the disturbances in Queen Elizabeth's reign: to what height they were carried, and how they affected the peace of those times, the reader may see in Archbishop Whitgift's life, just published by our diligent and learned historian, the Rev. Mr. Strype. Under the management of James I. the disaffection to the established church grew strong; and in the days of his unfortunate son, a prince who deserved a better fate, it prevailed as well against the crown as the mitre.

It is very true that religion was not the whole of that unhappy rupture between the king and his people ; occasion there was for complaint with respect to civil rights; nor is it my intention to dissemble here what the noble historian of those times has

* “I am fully satisfied, that till a consummate stupidity and ignorance can be happily established,” &c.—Bishop's Answer.

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so freely and so impartially disclosed : but then it is. evident to all that those disputes had ended in the happy confirmation of the subject's rights, had not the pretences of religion and enthusiasm mixed themselves in the quarrel, and put the nation into such a fever that nothing but the loss of blood could recover them again to their cool senses.

It is with reluctance that I enter into this part of the argument; and I wish I could draw a curtain before the oppressions. and calamities which the nation suffered under in that long hour of darkness. But should I be silent, yet almost every: gentleman's family wears still the scars of that frenzy, and can name the ancestor who lost his life, the estate that was seques-, tered, the house that was pillaged or pulled down; and this too was acted under the pretence of making way for the free profession of the gospel; of which however there was hardly any visible sign in the kingdom except only this, that our kings were bound in chains, and our nobles with links of iron.

After more than twelve years of continual night the day: began to break, and the sound of liberty was heard throughout the nation : in a word, the king who was expelled, the nobles and the gentry who were driven into banishment, or lived at: home sequestered or imprisoned, were restored to their ancient rights; and England became England again. What now was the consequence? Why the cruelties, the oppressions, and devastations, of many years were all buried in silence and oblivion ; private resentments and private injuries were given: up to the public good; the rich sequestrator and the harassed gentleman lived like neighbors, and friends, and the prophecy seemed fulfilled, that the lion and the lambs should play. together. The only redress which the king and his people sought for all their wrongs, was to guard themselves from falling into the same mischiefs again; for this purpose expressly the corporation act was made," for prevention," as the words of the act are,

“ of the like mischief for the time to come, and for preservation of the public peace both in church and state :" that act which his lordship now thinks to be an invasion of the subject's right, and contrary to the maxims of Christ Jesus. And yet, in the name of all that, ever was called Christian charity, what less could be done? Was it so extremely wicked

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to guard against injury and oppression ? Was it so irreligious to defend that religion which the nation received as delivered by Christ, from force and violence, and to suppress the many kinds of injustice practised on this people: and which would sound too harshly should they be distinctly enumerated ? Selfdefence is a darling topic with his lordship, and I desire him to show that in this act any thing was done by the gentlemen of the church of England, which they had not found by woful experience to be necessary for their preservation. The general pardon was so far from producing the desired effect, that it is declared by the legislature as the ground of the corporation act, “that notwithstanding all his Majesty's endeavors and unparalleled indulgence in pardoning all that is past, nevertheless many evil spirits are still working." ”

This then was the case in fact : the crown, the nobility, the gentry, and the clergy of England had suffered for above twelve years under such oppression and cruelty as will be easily called to mind by the reader, and which I have no inclination to aggravate or to describe : and when the government returned to its natural channel again, all was forgiven, and Christian charity triumphed over every thing but the restless spirit of some among us; which since the mercy and good nature of the nation could not subdue, it became necessary that their wisdom and prudence should prevent; for these reasons the corporation act was made, to keep the power out of those hands which had used it so very ill. This I say was the case : and let heaven and earth judge of the equity of the proceedings; and let his lordship make out his charge that this was invading the subject's right, and acting contrary to the maxims of Christ.

But, however justifiable this might be on the close of the troubles, and wbilst things continued to be in agitation, yet perhaps it will be said that now the case is altered; the disaffection to the church is abated ; and we have nothing to fear from dissenters, though places of power and trust in the government should be lodged in their hands. I wish this were all true, and am willing to allow that there are many among them who are sincere in their professions of moderation. But, alas! it is one thing to say how we would use power if we had it, and another to know how to use it when we have it. But to

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