• Includes original illustrations • The book has been proof-read and corrected for spelling and grammatical errors • A table of contents with working links to chapters is included The constitution of England had now assumed a new aspect. The maxim of hereditary indefeisible right was at length renounced by a free parliament. The power of the crown was acknowledged to flow from no other fountain than that of a contract with the people. Allegiance and protection were declared reciprocal ties depending upon each ...
• Includes original illustrations
• The book has been proof-read and corrected for spelling and grammatical errors
• A table of contents with working links to chapters is included
The constitution of England had now assumed a new aspect. The maxim of hereditary indefeisible right was at length renounced by a free parliament. The power of the crown was acknowledged to flow from no other fountain than that of a contract with the people. Allegiance and protection were declared reciprocal ties depending upon each other. The representatives of the nation made a regular claim of rights in behalf of their constituents; and William III. ascended the throne in consequence of an express capitulation with the people. Yet, on this occasion, the zeal of the parliament towards their deliverer seems to have overshot their attachment to their own liberty and privileges: or at least they neglected the fairest opportunity that ever occurred, to retrench those prerogatives of the crown to which they imputed all the late and former calamities of the kingdom. Their new monarch retained the old regal power over parliaments in its full extent. He was left at liberty to convoke, adjourn, prorogue, and dissolve them at his pleasure. He was enabled to influence elections, and oppress corporations. He possessed the right of choosing his own council; of nominating all the great officers of the state, and of the household, of the army, the navy, and the church. He reserved the absolute command of the militia: so that lie remained master of all the instruments and engines of corruption and violence, without any other restraint than his own moderation, and prudent regard to the claim of rights, and principle of resistance on which the revolution was founded. In a word, the settlement was finished with some precipitation, before the plan had been properly digested and matured; and this will be the case in every establishment formed upon a sudden emergency in the face of opposition. It was observed, that the king, who was made by the people, had it in his power to rule without them; to govern jure divino though he was created jure humano: and that, though the change proceeded from a republican spirit, the settlement was built upon tory maxims; for the execution of his government continued still independent of his commission, while his own person remained sacred and inviolable. The prince of Orange had been invited to England by a coalition of parties, united by a common sense of danger; but this tie was no sooner broken than they flew asunder and each resumed its original bias. Their mutual jealousy and rancour revived, and was heated by dispute into intemperate zeal and enthusiasm. Those who at first acted from principles of patriotism were insensibly warmed into partizans; and king William soon found himself at the head of a faction. As he had been bred, a Calvinist, and always expressed an abhorrence of spiritual persecution, the presbyter-ians, and other protestant dissenters, considered him as their peculiar protector, and entered into his interests with the most zealous fervour and assiduity. For the same reasons the friends of the church became jealous of his proceedings, and employed all their influence, first in opposing his elevation to the throne, and afterwards in thwarting his measures. Their party was espoused by all the friends of the lineal succession; by the Roman catholics; by those who were personally attached to the late king; and by such as were disgusted by the conduct and personal deportment of William since his arrival in England. They observed, That, contrary to his declaration, he had plainly aspired to the crown; and treated his father-in-law with insolence and rigour; that his army contained a number of foreign papists, almost equal to that of the English Roman catholics whom James had employed; that the reports so industriously circulated about the birth of the prince of Wales, the treaty with France for enslaving England, and the murder of the earl of Essex-reports countenanced by the prince of Orange-now appeared to be without foundation; that the Dutch troops remained in London, while the English forces were distributed in remote quarters; that the prince declared the first should be kept about his person, and the latter sent to Ireland; that the two houses out of complaisance to William, had denied their late sovereign the justice of being heard in his own defence; and that the Dutch had lately interfered with the trade of London, which was already sensibly diminished. These were the sources of discontent, swelled up by the resentment of some noblemen and other individuals, disappointed in their hopes of profit and preferment.