Imatges de pÓgina
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establishment of these two points, I do not
conceive how, in a political society, the sub-
stance of fovereignty can be extended; for I
will not suppose even one of my readers to
entertain a serious idea of a pure regal or
arbitrary government on the one hand, or of
an absolutely equalized anarchy on the other.
There is always much delicacy, and often
much danger, in arguing upon the extremes
of any proposition.

* “ From the foregoing reasoning then To rise up a. the conclusion is evident; that if any one or Lature, the

gainst the legirany number of individuals, set up his or their greatest of all

civil
wills in opposition to the will of the legislator,
he or they are guilty of the greatest of all
crimes they can possibly commit; because it
is a crime, which dissolves, at once, the whole
cement of society, and snaps asunder by vio-
lence all the bonds of government, which
tend to secure the whole peace and tran-
quillity; for opposition to the will of the
legisator tends to drive them back to that
miserable state of nature, from which they
gladly fled to government, as to a refuge
and an asylum.”

The right order of reasoning would here

• Cooper's first Principles of Civil and Ecclefiaftical Government, p. 78.

direct

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direct me to investigate and discuss the variety and nature of different political establishments, by which communities have carried into execution their inherent rights of modelling their own forms of government. But my intention is not to lay before the public a full and elaborate essay upon government, but to submit to the consideration and judgment of my countrymen, such principles, grounds, and reasons, as will evince the political necessity of submitting to, and supporting our present constitutional establishment, and of counteracting the wishes, efforts, and attempts of our secret and open enemies to discredit, weaken, and subvert it.

I have before faid, and I again repeat, that our constitution is founded upon the Rights of Man. I have attempted to trace their nature and origin, as well as our right to exercise them ; it remains for me to consider, how

2 we are affected by the actual execution or exercise of these rights in our own community, which brings me to the consideration of the conftitution and government of Greaç Britain.

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OF THE GENERAL CONSTITUTION AND GO.

VERNMENT OF GREAT BRITAIN.

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FTER the adoption of the principles, our constitu

which I have already endeavoured to upon principic. establish, it would evidently exceed the intent and purport of this publication, to enter into historical researches, in order to trace the antiquity, and delineate the gradual and progressive improvements of our constitution; for it is not to be supposed, that the community of this island pafled, uno faltu, from their first agreement to enter into society, immediately into a constitution and government of that perfection, which distinguishes the constitution and government, that we now happily enjoy. Could we even clear the dark pages of those remote histories from doubt and uncertainty, the information might gratify the curiosity of the mind, but would bring no conviction to the understanding. Principle alone is the true compass, by which we can steer steadily and safely through the treacherous perils of this fea of politics.

If any of my countrymen have been deluded, by these modern pseudo-evangelists, into their practical lessons, * « to consider the world as new to them, as to the first man, that existed, and their natural rights in it of the same kind; + that there is no political Adam, who has a power or right to bind all posterity for ever ; # that the rights of the living cannot be willed away, and controuled, and contracted for by the manuscript assumed au, thority of the dead, there being no authority in the dead over the freedom and rights of the living; and that, therefore, || we are not to refer to musty records and mouldy parchments for the rights of the living; and consequently, that they are in error, who reason by precedent drawn from antiquity respecting the Rights of Man," I shall certainly make little impression upon them by the quotation of any written, historical, philosophical, or even legislative authority whatever. I must, however, in justice, remind these docile disciples of modern liberty of the lenient palliative, which their demagogue has thrown into his inftructions, left they may swallow the envenomed

+ p. 13.

• Payne's Rights of Man, p. 46. p, 10.

3

Hp. 15.

$ p. 44

draught

to laws.

draught too hastily, without the application What gives

binding effect of the corrective solvent.

* “ It requires but a very small glance of thought to perceive, that although laws made in one generation often continue in force through fucceeding generations, yet that they continue to derive their force from the consent of the liv, ing. A law not repealed continues in force, not because it cannot be repealed, but because it is not repealed, and the non-repealing passes for confent.”

These written authorities, or, in the fashionable phrase, these asumed ufurpations of the dead over the living, may be referred to by those, who will derive from them the satisfaction of example, illustration, and reason. In order to humour these neophites to The truth of

principles not modern liberty, I shall follow and argue upon to be proved their own avowed principles and doctrines ; quity. and I certainly so far go with them, that I do not admit, that the truth of any principle can be proved merely from its antiquity, or that every right can be established merely by its length of poffeffion. +

« For as time can make nothing lawful or juft, that is not so of itself (though men are unwilling to change,

from its anti

• Payne's Rights of Man, p. 13.

† Algernoon Sydney's Discourses concerning Government, 380..

that

.

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