« PreviousContinue »
ment to aaothexz were he even a faint; and Of all. mQrtah the Stuarts are the bait entitled to the sacrifice ef our acknowledgmem.
Yet, as the frowardnessof 's'uperiors does not avert their authority, and as the descendatltq
- of bad princes may have a rzþbtfid claim, one
point more remains to be discussed, viz.' Whel, ther we can in conscience renounce all allegianceunto the grandson of James the Second, vizhose abdication of the throne has been the effect of fear and compussan? Has not the son 'a right to the estate of which his 'father has been prived by force ? And in opposing this mgffi do I not commit a flagrant iniufiiqe'Z
This important question is' as be solved' by the fimdamental laws of the realm, general principles, grounded on impartial reason, and
the ordinary difpenfation of Providence, di-v
recting the revolutions and viciffitudes of human affairs. ' ct
From the earliest times, thev lawe haztedq; creed, that although the crown Þehereditarysi yet the' right of succeffion is..not indefeaflhlcz. The English have defeated, and' altered th? succeffion as early as the time of Edward the Confessor, who was chosen king during the
life of; the lawful heir. The history of England e The law both in present and past times, is, and has been, " That the crown is heredi" tary in the wearer: that the king and both " 'houses of parliament can defeat this hereditary a right, and by particular limitations exclude the "immediate heir, and vest the inheritance in f* any one else." Thus not only the Pretender, but even the present prince of Wales can be excluded from the throne, with the consent of the king, lords, and commons.
affords several instances of the kind,,a long time
before the aeceffion of the Stuarts to the throne. ' The
' .Grotius, a learned and sanguine stickler for indefeafihlc right, tho' he cannot agree that the
' son of a dethroned king, can be lawsully ex-=
eluded, Ybt is forced to acknowledge, that the same son, if not born whilst his father was in posseffion, can be deprived of his right to the throne with the consent of the people, hcmtg/Z_: sucb a prince, says he, bar no acquired figþz. " Illud interefi inter natos et nascituros, quod " nascituris nondum quazsitum sit jus, atque " adeo iis auferri poffit populi voluntate." Grot._ de jure belli. lib. a. e. 7. 26. _Th_is decides for 'ever the fate of Charles the Third, who was_ born a long time after his grandfather-'s expulT fion. It is moreover grounded on the elearesj principles'of reason.
In effect, does reason allow that subjects should be distracted, between kings in actual . posseffion
Lo Y A L 'ir Y- A s's'a' it''r'u 'DS '23 'posseffion ofthe throne, and the' grandsons'and great grandsons of kings who had'formerly'e'njoyed it? Bound by the law of God to pay tribute to, and obey the king, whose image is ssstampt on' 'his coin: Cujus est haec imago?
' 'Bound by the dictates of conscience to assert
the claims of 'his riva'l : to pull down their king with one handgto support him on the throne
' with'the other. Carrying within themselves
two opposite laws, which mixing and encoun
- 'tering like certain chymical liquors, raise a fer
'mentation' that' cannot be allayed to the end of time. r '
Let 'us suppose that Charles Stuart had a right _
to the throne; his posterity (if ever he chance to 'have any) to the last generation will claim the t'ame. Let _us suppose the Hanoverian 'line posseflion to the end of time. Lo, a curious fight! The' frame of government _turning'on two hinges, without being supported by feither ;
_ two mathematical lines alway's approaching.
without ever touching, and all future genera
'tions balanced and suspended between 'bothi,
without knowing'which of the two' to ihcline'td. Good sense, the "law of nature, or the generdl good of mankind,'' to which the 'claims and in? zterest of one man' should be subor'dinat'e,':'do they admit such rigorous enquiry P' i ' J
obiicfition of civilians, can'With'flxfid Z-t-H-I' '
a Time. is, no active principle. Every thing is"
St donei'n' time, but: nothing by it. ; and a long fifipr=e'scription, without, a:lawfiil title, is no leni..t* tive't'o aiqrxnedconshieneq of the POssCs? 59 rim, not bar'tothe Qlairnsof the dispossessed." The civil decided so..L_. 3. 11. 3. ff. ds ass. vel'&Wit.. twist *' N'Pn. capit lonaa Posr 5" qui scit alienumelsel' And the canon law, Cap. dereg. in. 6. V Possesa " sor make fidei ullo tempore non prazscribit."
Anstasd ':,,If:a;=lana pr.cscxiatiasa. without an original title, cannot secure the, consciences of and subjects, God: help theworld ! For Wax kinsdomsa it tra-seed bark. to their originare great robberies; V, Sine justitialmagna reg"nasunt magua latrocinia-"ffi By this rule, the Stuarts hadlno right, to,the. throne of England c for their original. "title was defective, as derived
fiom William the, conqueror, an. usurper, or
from the ancient who plundered and dispossefledthe, Britpnsr How can we calm the lconsciences of the Dutch, Portuguese, &e. formet-ly the of Spain ? I believe the most serupulous amongst them are unconcerned for zhe'rights of their former masters, '
v 4' Augustine. ' However,
However, I acknowledge that time alone, without some concurrent cause, cannot legali'ze a prescription. But in regard to kings and the allegiance due from their' subjects, a great numz ber of reasons supply the deficiency of the original title requisite to commence a prescription, viz. the consent of the greatest and wisesi vpart of a nationr-the acquiescence of the whole community,-the peace of the public, disturbed by factions and civil wars, ever' andalways attendant on changes in government,-the general good mankind, inconfistent with the revival of old
claims,-in fine, the-dispensation of a just God, '
who visited' on Saul's posterity, their father's cruel treatment of the Gibeonites, and who positively declares, that * he wrests the sceptre 5 from one family, to lodge it in the hands of 5 another, in punishrnent of former crimes) ** Transfert sceptrum de regne'et de gente, ad " populum alterurn." " When the political " law has obliged a family to renounce the suc" ceffion," says the president Montesquieu, ", it' " is absurd to insist on the restitutions drawn " from the civil law. It is ridiculous to pretend V to decide the rightsv of kingdoms, of nations, " and of the whole globe, by the same maxims V on which we should determine the right of a, 5* gutter between individuals." *
ill Montcsquieu's Spirit of Laws, Vol. IL page '93.