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Answer; You are not bound to impoffibili- i
ties ; neither does the oath require it, whereas it expresses, " to the utmost of my power."
Second : " I am bound to take the oath in'
" -the plain and ordinary sense of the 'words : con- .
" sequently, though untrained to arms, and a unskilled in military discipline, I must run to " the field of battle, in case of invasion or re" bellion : otherwise, I do not exert myself to " the utmost of my power?
Answer. You serve your king to " the ut" most of your power," by remaining at home' You would only cause disorder : and an army in disorder flies tot'he slaughter-house, not to victory: "Non ad victoriam, sed ad lanienam.* " The magistrate supports his king, " to the ut" most*of his power," in maintaining the pub
lic peace : the surgeon, in' d'reffing the soldiers *
wounds: the clergyman, in preaching loyalty andsubordinatfion, regularity and good morals,. fraternal love and mutual benevolence; The king requires ,no more .: and, as you' write a great deal, under the fignat'ure of " An old " Derryman," all hismajesty expects from' one' of your age, is-to, light' the fire,_. and' to'behospitable, when his soldiers are quartered on you."
Third; " In' fweari'ng that I cannot beab-v i* solved of this allegiance, h'y any' authority3' Ve'gse'titis'de're Militarisi ,
...', '- i- * what/bearen,
"' whatsoever, I deny the supremacy 'o'f the
" lords and cornmons."
' Answer. Your 'objection i's grounded on er
ror. The supre'me power of the state is 'vested' in the parliament, composed of king, lords, and
Fourth : " What happened once mayhap". pen again. If the king attempts 'to ovverturrsit " the constitution, Imust help him, if Ipay " any regard to my oath, and 'thus betray my ** country : 'or perjure myself, if Irefuse as" fistance."
Answer. Lest it what hath happened *'once,
" may happen again," say with the royal prqphet, " Domine' salvum fac regemfl; " God
** save the king." However, to allay your *
anxieties, remember that subjects do not sweat to'kings, as robbers or pirates ,swear to their leaders. You are not bound to help a king in his attempts against the laws of God and na
ture, 'when you have clear evidence that his at- _
tempts tend to the subversion of both ; neither doth the test require, whereas, 9" true alle" giance" is 'expresly mentioned, But in a
doubt you are bound to obey; because in a,
doubt concerning 'the rectitude'of their inten-
tions, or the justice of their cause, presumption is in favour of your superiors:
What a kingdom I If all the inhabitants were astronomers, metaphyficians, and casuists, who would neither obey nor promise to be loyal to their sovereigns, until they would have read in the stars the fate of the Constitution, and explored the remote regions of metaphyfics in search of the essential and demonstrative relations of unalterable truth to Magna Charta;
Gulliver's floating iiland would be the fittest '
kingdom for such aerial inhabitants.
Further : If the' remote and poffible danger of the constitution's overthrow, or the subver
'sion of the fundamental laws of any realm, '
were a sufficient objection against' oaths of alle-'
giance, either all the distinguished subjects of the world are perjured, or no king is entitled to their allegiance. For in swearing to their respective sovereigns, l do nor believe that British peers, French nobles, or Spanish grandees, with all the delicacy of honour, Catholic or Protestant bishops, 'with all their divinity, use the following form of words': T I will bear alle" giance to your majesty, if you behave as an' " honest man, and do not overtum the con" stitution." i
Before the royal head is encircI'ed with the' diadem, the monarch obtests the awful name OF si '' ' ss the
'the Divinity; and swears that he will govern his fsubjects in " justice and mercy." They acknowledge their so'vereignand sweat to be*loyal. His 'future conduct, and th'e ineonstancy of his will, are left to him who holds'in' his hands the
hearts oskings; with, by th'e- l'aws 'o'f'Englan'a _
" can do no wrong." The le'gifia'tive power retains a right, and-has the means of examining in what manner vthe laws areeiecuted or i_t_1_-* 'fringed, by bringing the king's corunsello'rs to a strict account,_ " vBut whatever 'r'riay be the a issue of this ei'tamin'at'ion," says Montesquieu, *t the king's person is sa'cred, the moment he " is arraigned or tried, there is an end of liberf " ty." The Constitution then is equally in danF ger, of being overturned 'by a resusal of allegi
ance, " applicable not only to the regal office l
V of the king, but to his natural person and 4* blood royal."T
objections from 'the Hihernian Magazine.
First ; " No man can safely sweat to a thing " of which he is not certain. Now the test " obliges the Catholics to decide by oath, that '" they have positive and clear 'reasons not " to believe that any foreign prince ought to V have any civil pre-eminence within this:
* Spirit of Laws, Vol. t. p. 181.
Blackstone's COm. Vol. 1. p. zft. t . . \_ ff maw
*_* realm. Now, what individual can pretend? " to so deep an insight into the much debated "rights of princes as to determine with cer" tainty on so difficult and so abstruse a ques" tion; especially as the words aught and right, " extend to any kind of right, whether natural, " i. e. by right of blood, or acquired."
Answer. The test obliges the Cathoiics to no
'such thing. All it requires is a negative belief,
or a suspence of belief, concerning the rights of foreign princes, (and I do declare 'that I do not helieve) The paragraph is worded in a negative stile. But in a negative oath, ignorance of another man's right exculpates the person who swea'rsfrom perj'ury. A familiar example will set the matter in a clear *light. Paul is in posseffion of afarm from time immemorial; this posseffion, a'n'd several other strong reasons in_cline me to believe, that he is the only rightful and._lawful' owner. Peter revives a dormant claim, which in my opinion is but a shadow. A magishate interrogates me in this manner: Do you helieve that Peter ought to have a right to Paul's farm P Ianswer, I do declare that I do hot helieve it. In the name of goodness, whatever Peter's title 'may be, do I perjure myself in swearing to what is really my opinion ?
The word rzght is not mentioned in the oath, in case it were, the objector's diltinction, bexwie