« ForrigeFortsæt »
not to prophecy, nor to demonstration in such cases; but what I have said, has all the appearances of probability, all the degrees of moral certainty, that any thing of this nature can have: and that is the only rule in these matters by which wise men aré to judge and act.
And this has prepared a plain and easy answer to your second question, What English subjects are bound in conscieuce to do, in case the late king should land in England with French forces to demand his crown?
Now there are two sorts of persons concerned in this question :. 1. Those who have not sworn allegiance to King William and Queen Mary, but account the late King James as much their king, as he was when he sat upon the throne ; and that their obligations to him are the same now that ever they were. 2. Those who have sworn allegiance to King William and Queen Mary: and there are two parts of this question ; 1. Whether they are bound in conscience to assist the late king, if he return ? 2. Whether it be lawful for them to oppose him, and fight against him ?
As for the first part of this question, and as far as it concerns the non-swearers, I shall ask them two or three questions, and leave them to answer them themselves.
1. The first question is, whether they can think themselves bound in conscience, upon any pretence whatever, to fight for popery against the protestant faith and worship; that is (as they must confess, if they are protestants) to fight for heresy and idolatry against the true faith and worship of Christ; or to fight for Antichrist, and against Christ? Can any consideration make this lawful If nothing can (as I will venture to take it for granted, that nothing can) then whatever duty they may fancy they still owe to their abdicated prince, it cannot be their duty to fight for him, when they cannot fight for him, without fighting against Christ and his religion: though they must not fight against their prince for Christ, because Christ in such cases requires his disciples to suffer, not to fight for bim; yet it does not follow, that they must fight for their prince against Christ, to bring a persecution upon his faithful disciples, and to contribute what they can to extirpate the name and the religion of protestants out of Europe.
Do they think theinselves bound in conscience to fight for their prince, against the laws and liberties of their country, as well as against the faith and worship of Christ ? Let the rights of princes be never so sacred, have the rest of mankind no rights, but only princes? Is there no such thing as justice due to ourselves, nor to our fellow-subjects? Have the free-born subjects of England no natural, no legal rights? And is there any law of God or man, to fight for our prince, against the laws and liberties of our country, which are the measures and boundaries of that duty which we owe to princes? That is, to fight for our prince, against the rule of our duty and obedience to princes ; when our prince and the laws and liberties of our country are on contrary sides, though we should grant them (according to their own principles) that we must not
fight against our prince for our laws and liberties, yet no more must we fight for our prince against our laws and liberties. It is abundantly enough to be passive in such cases ; but a nation, which fights against its own laws and liberties, is Felo de se, guilty of the worst kind of self-murder. Can any Englishman, whatever opinion he has of the late king's right, think himself bound in conscience to maintain his right, by giving up his country to France? To make him king, and all his subjects French slaves ? For can any prince have more right to be king of England than the kingdom of Eng. Jand has to be England ?
Is it not an unaccountable tenderness and scrupulosity of conscience, to be so concerned for any one prince's right, as to sacri. fice the rights and liberties of all the princes in Europe to his ? To set him upon the throne, to drive all other princes from theirs ? We are citizens of the world, as well as subjects of England, and have our obligations to mankind, and to other princes as well as to our own; and though our obligation to no one other prince is so great, as to our own, yet the publick good of mankind, or of a great part of the world, is a more sacred obligation, than the particular interest of our own prince or country ; much less then can the right of any particular prince, be it what it will, stand in competition with the rights and liberties of our own country, and of all Europe besides.
It is to no more purpose to dispute with men who do not feel the force of this argument at the first hearing, than to reason with blind men about colours; they have no sense left, nothing but a stupid and slavish loyalty : all things, though never so sacred, must give place to this; the care of religion, the love of their country, their justice and charity to all mankind, must vail to their senseless mistake of the true meaning of this word Loyalty ; by which they will needs understand an absolute obedience, without limitation or reserve; when, most certainly, it signifies no more than obedience according to law.
2. I would ask, what they would think themselves bound to do in such cases, were the late king upon the throne again? Unless they have changed their minds (and then they are not so steady to principles, as they pretend to be) we may very reasonably guess, what they would do, by what they did while he was upon the throne. It is certain, they so much disliked his open designs of popery and arbitrary power, that they opposed him as far as they durst, and would not fight for him, to keep him on the throne ; nay, by their examples and counsels, they had so influenced the army, that they would not fight for him neither; and so possessed the country, that the nobility and gentry took arms, and declared for the Prince of Orange, which they thought they might very well do, when the bishops would not declare against him. This was then thought consistent enough with the High-Tory loyalty; and yet, if they were not then bound to fight for him to keep him on his throne, I am at a great loss to kuow, how it comes to be their duty now to fight for him, to restore him to it. He was certainly their king
then, and yet they would not fight for him, no, not to defend his person, crown, and dignity. And, though they call him their king still, it is certain he is not king of England, whatever right they may think he has to be so; and, therefore, to fight for him now, is not to fight for the king, but to fight to make him king again. But, to let that pass, suppose him to be their king, since they will have him so, how do they come to be more obliged to fight for him now he is out of the throne, than they were to fight for him while he was in it? If they think it their duty to fight for their king, against the religion, the laws, and the liberties of their country, it was their duty to have fought for him then ; if they do not think this, it cannot be their duty to fight for him now.
But they did not expect what followed; they desired to have their laws and liberties secured, but not that he should lose his crown: I believe very few did then expect what followed, no more than they do now consider what will follow : But, since he would leave his crown, who could help it ? For no body took it from him.
3. Let me then ask them another question : whether they would think themselves bound in conscience to fight for him, did they verily believe, that if he recovered his throne, he would as zealously promote popery and arbitrary power, as he did before? If they say they would not, they have been at their non putaram once already ; a second oversight, in the same kind, would be worse than the first. If they say they would, I give them over, as professed enemies to the true religion, and the liberties of mankind.
This, I hope, may satisfy the non-swearers, if they will coolly and seriously consider it, that they are not bound in conscience to fight for the late king; nay, that they are as much bound in conscience not to fight for him, as they are bound not to fight against the protestant religion, and civil liberties, not only of England, but of all Europe.
2. As for those who have sworn allegiance to King William and Queen Mary ; besides all the former considerations, they are under the obligations of an oath, not to fight against their present majesties, whose sworn subjects and liegemen they are. For let them expound faith and true allegiance, to as low a sense as possibly they can, the least, that they ever could make of it, is to live quietly and peaceably under their government; not to attempt any thing against their persons, or crowns; not to hold any correspondence with, nor to give any assistance to their enemies; and, therefore, to countenance a French invasion, or to assist the late king in recovering the throne, which their majesties so well fill, and which they have sworn not to dispossess them of, must be downright perjury. If they be sure that their oaths to the late king still oblige them, that, indeed, would make void the obligation of this second oath but then they must be guilty of perjury in taking it, and by the breaking of it will declare to all the world, that they deliberately and wilfully perjured themselves when they took it; and let them remember this, when they take arms against their majesties, and let them expect that recompence which they deserve.
Those who took this, only as a temporary oath, which obliged them no longer than till the late king should return into England again to demand his crown, are guilty of perjury, if they keep it no longer than till they have a promising opportunity to break it : for this is to mock God, and to deceive the government by their oaths: for no man can think that the meaning of the oath was no more but this; “I do promise and swear to bear faith and true allegiance to • King William and Queen Mary, till I have power and opportunity,
by the return of King James with a French army, to join his forces, • and to assist him to recover his throne.' Those, who will take and keep oaths at this rate, we must leave to God: but nothing is more plain and certain, than that the new oath of allegiance obliges all, who have taken it, under the guilt of perjury, at least not to fight for the late king, against King William and Queen Mary.
And here I may very fairly conclude, without entering into a longer dispute about the lawfulness of fighting against a foreign army, though the late king were at the head of it; for were those, who scruple this, satisfied, that they ought not to fight for him, their present majesties have friends enough, who are very well satisfied to fight against him; especially bringing along with him the greatest enemies both to the protestant religion, and to the civil liberties, not only of the English nation, but of all the kingdoms and states of Europe, France itself not excepted.
However, this letter is large enough already, and if I find you desire farther satisfaction in this matter, especially about the late King James's declaration, which is lately come to my hands, you may expect a speedy account of it in a second letter, from,
DIARY OF THE SIEGE
SURRENDER OF LIMERICK,
Published by Authority.
Quarto, containing Thirty-six Pages.
The Publisher to the Reader.
THE following series, being a faithful diary of every day's mo.
tions and measures, throughout the siege of Limerick, to th last finishing articles, both civil and military, past upon the sur render of it, I hope this narrative will make my reader no unac, ceptable present.
The time, I confess, has been, when this treatise would have been a more popular theme; the articles of the surrender of Limerick being, not long since, the subject of no common longings and curiosity. Upon perusal of which, the reader, I am certain, will join with me in this one just remark, that, in all the glories of our deservingly great monarch, mercy is one of his most shining titles : his enemies have met that both unexpected and unmerited clemency, in his majesty's most gracious concessions towards them, that plainly tells the world, the whole business of his arms was to reclaim, not vanquish; he infringes not liberty, even where he makes subjection.
There is one farther recommendation to our short, but glorious history, viz. That what I here present you, is the work of English hands; and that, without vanity, the whole progress of the late English arms, in Ireland, has as much signalised the true British valour, as any of the antiquer monuments of our remoter recorded predecessors. And, indeed, to crown all these glorious successes, there seems to be a continued chain of providences attending that whole expedition ; for, not to instance his majesty's prodigious victory at the Boyne, with which all tongues are already filled ; together with that famous battle at Aghrim, where fortune, for some hours, stood dubious; and, indeed, the whole conduct and zeal of the renowned general, Ginckle, who challenges our no common applause and veneration : perhaps, nothing was more remarkably signal, than the siege of Athlone, affording, possibly, one of the fairest laurels through that whole scene of British glory. For when, after our possession of the hither part of the town, the enemy, who had broken down the bridge, had so often burnt our fascines, and so resolutely opposed our passage that way; insomuch that the general, despairing of approaching on that side, had resolved to draw off, and to pass the Shannon higher above the town, though so late in the year, and the summer so far advanced, to begin a new siege on the other side, in the face of the Irish army that lay incamped there : it was, I say, major, now lieutenant general Talmache's proposal, at a council of war (in which he very hardly prevailed) to head, as a voluntier, a select party of 1500, and wade the river, to enter the breach : which he executed with that celerity and courage, that the storming and taking of that important place was an action unprecedented, and inimitable; with so poor a handful, to push so bold a sword, and carry so intire a victory, against so great a strength within, and the whole Irish army but an hour's march without, was an enterprise so hardy, and that so purely and wholly his own, that posterity will read it with wonder; and which, to bis lasting fame, will supply as gallant a memorial, as ever adorned the English annals.
And as the early conquest of that garison was the key, that, soon after, opened the gates of Galway and Limerick ; and, consequently, the expeditious reduction of Ireland, so highly both to the English glory, his majesty's interest, and the advantage of christendom, was so much owing to that memorable action ; I may justly say,