In the Saxon times, there was more of this balance, and therefore, through the Wittena-gemots, but still more their Folk-motes, the different powers of the government, more particularly in matters of civil jurisdiction, police, and self-defence, had more of their just equilibrium, than in any other period of our history. From the time of the conquest, there has been less of this balance, and the people's liberties have, in proportion, had less security. William, though bound by ari oath, yet how soon did he burst that feeble restraint! How soon his successors, William Rufus, Henry I., Stephen, and Richard! And though John was forced to his recollections, and we got Magna Charta; yet, did not both he and his successor, Henry III., easily violate charters, and cancel all obligations? When there was so little political liberty, whence was there to be expected security? In all contentions, from those times to the present, when we complain that our liberties are gone, this defect, if we examine the matter to the bottom, will be found the real cause : a defect altogether irremediable, I fear, to any great extent, but by a more proper representation of the people than we have ever yet had.

Johnson (I allude to his Dictionary) is often as futile in his definitions, as he is erroneous in his etymologies; and here his definition, whether bungling or artful let others determine, leaves no provision for a grain of political liberty. Princes, circumstanced as those just mentioned, will be always ready with their “ lingua juravi, mentem injuratam teneo ;" and the most mortifying part of the story is, that the citizens themselves are usually made the instruments of their own oppressions : for, as Machiavel well observes,—" A town that has been anciently free, cannot be more easily kept in subjection than by employing its own citizens." With “ the blessed name of liberty” in their mouths, they lose sight of the reality. But let us proceed to another article.

Some of the Eastern nations addressed their monarchs with the titles of divinity, and approached them with adoration; and Robert Barclay, a person much attached to the English limited monarchy, as was also William Penn-in the name of a religious, Voltaire calls them a philosophical sect-observes, as to “that title of majesty, usually ascribed to princes, we do not find it given to any such in the Holy Scriptures, but that it is specially and peculiarly given to God.” He adds, “therefore, in all the old con pellations used to princes in the Old Testament, it is not to be found, nor yet in the New.”? He might have said, also, in the writings of the most enlightened nations of antiquity, the Greeks and Romans. Among the latter, their princes and magistrates were

? The Prince, ch. 5.


Barclay's Apology for the Quakers,

content in the best days of their empire with titles appropriate to their offices; in a degenerate period, they became gods; in the same manner as in the rise, and amidst the glories of their empire, their coins were of the most exquisite workmanship, but became base, and badly executed, in its decline and fall.

The title of Sacred Majesty, which the Quakers used to object to so much, might be suffered to pass, in these enlightened times, as a mere title of courtesy, and unconnected with any constitutional claim, had it not been much abused, and not merely to the

purposes of superstition, but of arbitrary power, -I mean by such writers as Filmer and others, who assert for the kings of Evgland a divine right; and, considering them as the Lord's anointed, and the vicegerents of heaven, claimed for them unlawful privileges, pernicious exemptions, and unconstitutional authorities.

Who can help smiling to see such a man as Sir Robert Cotton (a great advocate for the commons, in opposition to the unconstitutional claims of the lords), asserting the precedency of the kings of England over those of Spain, write such a passage as this : "The kings of England are anointed as the kings of France, who only have their pretensions over other kingdoms derived from miracles, in the cure of the regius morbus, which they can effect only, and that of antiquity; for Edward the Confessor healed Who, without a smile, can see such a man as Lord Bacon placing James the First only next to Jesus Christ, whom he would have spoken of as a deity, and conceiving, or rather affecting to con, ceive, something occult in magic and witchcraft, because his majesty had written a treatise on witchcraft? The unconstitutional doctrine of divine right was the talisman which was to effect the dormant state of passive obedience; and who knows not what an abuse of our constitution that introduced, by placing the king above law, and what a struggle it occasioned to break the delusion? This base language, these slavish practices, breathe the spirit of eastern governments, all tyrannies, yet all claiming to be emana, tions from the Divinity. But all this by the bye.

In the kingly office, as exercised in the English constitution, are still united, directly or indirectly, the whole executive government, and one-third of the legislative. This was shown in the last essay : and to some this appears its prime excellence; to others it may seem a radical defect, or perhaps, rather its excess. How is this, they may ask, to be reconciled to that admired maxim of our civil polity, that the executive and legislative should be distinct ?


many ?"

A Brief Extract of the Question of Precedency between England and Spain, in Cottoni Posthuma.

2 Lord Bacon's Advancement of Learning, in the Introduction; and in the course of his work, he speaks of witchcraft,

Politicians have perceived the difficulty ; and they have provided, as they suppose, against it, by saying that the important negative, the essential to a third estate, is seldom enforced. True; it would be dangerous to enforce it: might not this circumstance create a suspicion in some minds, that it ought not to exist ?

But does not the supreme magistrate know he has a constitutional claim to this negative ? And while perceiving the expediency, even the necessity, of conceding a claim given him by the constitution, may he not be tempted to use a power which the constitution gives him not, that of controlling or of influencing the other estates of the legislature? May he not, even with some plausibility, plead conscience for using this influence ? Some perhaps may be prepared, though unwillingly, to think, that in this power thus exercised, they have a key to the solution of that well-known maxim, “ that corruption is essential to the English constitution." And those who know the nature and extent of the executive power, need not be told how immense its resources are for recovering by influence what it relinquishes from prudence.

We have been witnesses in our own time of two remarkable instances, in which the union of the executive and legislative power has been felt as a difficulty almost insuperable. I allude to the suspension, through the unfortunate malady of the king, of the executive power, as it was said, -but, in fact, was it not a suspension of the whole legislative power too? Could a single law. be made? The government, as one forcibly expresses it, was paralysed : what contradictory opinions were advanced! what vague, uncertain conclusions drawn ! and, after all, what unconstitutional means devised to keep the machine of the constitution in any sort of motion !

A man may perceive, or think he perceives, something incongruous in this system, without any thing resembling dislike to the mixture of the three powers,—even with a hearty approbation of the kingly office.

But what he thinks not necessary for any just purpose of favor, aggrandisement, or self-protection, may appear an excess of power, and therefore a defect in a constitution. I know what is accustomed to be said on this subject. I know how dextrous some are in managing the balance.

Those who object to the union of the executive and legislative power in the person of the supreme magistrate, would have similar, if not stronger, objections to the admission of his ministers into parliament. They are part of the executive power. They are the channels through which corruption must flow, if it has a tendency to flow, from the fons potestatis, the supreme magistrate : they may be responsible, but with their influence responsibility

will be but a name; it comports not with the principle openly avowed in Magna Charta, which provides, that certain officers should hold no pleas of the crown ;-evidently, because they are supposed to be necessarily under influence.

The supreme magistracy of the Saxons, like that of the ancient Germans,' rested ultimately on elective principles, though suffered often to be hereditary in practice. Thus it continued till the Conquest. Without dwelling on any particular period, suffice it to say, that the supreme magistracy in this country is now hereditary in a particular family, but still subject to stipulations, and conducted on elective principles. The old doctrine of divine indefeasible right is gone by, to the bats and moles; and an hereditary government, thus circumstanced, is uuderstood to be the strength and stay of the English government.

But it has been doubted by some, whether what may be the strength and stay of the supreme magistracy, may be required in any other part of the state, either for the purpose of office or dignity, or for the interest and stay of particular families. Sufficient provision seems to be inade for all these-in office itself,-in the means of distinction and favor, always in the hands of a vast executive powers in the power of amassing property by men in offices,-and in the influence which high office always affords for promoting the interests of particular families throughout the country. Great evils may perhaps be conceived by some in this hereditary part of our system. It is said, however, by others, amidst some acknowledged evils, to be the Corinthian capital of our political system ; and, admired as this provision seems to be by the practice of all Europe, I shall, with due submission and respect, pass it; just observing, that among our Saxon ancestors, the ealdorman and earl, that is, the tirst officers in the kingdom, were liable to lose their dignity, both civil and military, and a ceori might arrive at it. The greater kings or thanes, indeed, might be born so, and the title was attached to landed property : (there were greater and esser thanes) but the

ink of thane was not exclusive: the most humble person might attain it, and the highest dignitary might lose it. The adelings, or æthelings,” were nobles of royal race, but even these, so high in rank, were liable to be set aside.

It has been already observed, in reference to some definitions of the English constitution, that the church also is a part. The church is interwoven with it in all our Saxon laws; the councils


Principes ex nobilitate sumunt. Tacitus de Mor. Germ. The word sumo,occurs in Tacitus in the sense of to 'choose.

? See Spelman. Glossar. sub voce Adelingus. VOL. XII. Pam. NO. XXIV: 2 D

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of the church and the sovereign's power go hand in hand ;' and, as Sir Robert Cotton bas observed, “ there is a successive record of councils, or convocations, less interrupted than of parliaments ;" and its civil rights, though not its doctrines, were provided for by Magna Charta.

The same theory also occurs in Hywel Dda's laws; the king, and laics, and scholastics, who, as appears from another place, were clergy, met in one place to frame laws or constitutions; the latter, the scholastics, for the express purpose, “that nothing should be established that was contrary to the Sacred Scriptures." The same theory also occurs in the “ Lawes and Actes of Parliament maid by King James I. and his Successours Kinges of Scotland :” according to which, not only were the prelates to appear personally in parliament, but the “ aulde privileges and freedome of halie kirk was preserved, and the civil power and halie kirk united auent (against) hereticques, and to support and help halie kirk.”

At the Reformation, through our separation from the church of Rome, the union of church and state became more close : under the Roman pontiff, as Nathaniel Bacon or Selden expresses it, “ the foundation was neither on the rock nor on good ground, but by a gin screwed to the Roman Consistory.” • By our separation from the Roman church, this gin was actually screwed to the state. The king became, in regard to the church, the seigneur souverain ; and if we consider the origin and progress of our national church, it will be found to rest partly on the authority of princes, and partly on our parliaments; and that the whole constitution of the church may now, in fact, be considered as so many acts of parliaments, or rather, perbaps, as one great act of parliament.

There are those who consider this union of church and state as a most excellent part of our constitution. Others consider it as one of our greatest defects. You cannot form this union, say they, without disuniting all parties : you cannot form it, without something of a spirit of persecution : and the history of all Nonconformists, whether Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, or Jews, they say, affords proof of it. It

See an Answer to certain Arguments, raised from supposed antiquity, and urged by some Members of the Lower House of Parliament, to prove that Ecclesiastical Laws ought to be enacted by temporal men. Cottoni Posthuma.

2 Leges Wallicæ, p. 7. 3 Third parliament, p. 52.

4 First parliament, p. 1. 5 Second parliament, p. 28. 6 Hist, and Political Discourse of the Laws and Government of England, part I. ch. xv.

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