Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

then, in a hopeful state? which must be purged and reformed into jacobite principles, and by a jacobite spirit.

These are all very sensible proofs (as far as we can reason about such matters) how little good is to be expected from the return of the late king with a French power : he must return the same man he went, and then popery and arbitrary power must return with him; nay, he must return much worse than he went, because he must return more a vassal to France; which, I suppose, will not mund the condition of English subjects, during his reign.

These things ought to be well considered; for, if his government was so uneasy before, and gave us such a frightful prospect, as made the nation very willing to part with him, when he thought. fit to leave them, it would seem very strange to by-standers, should they now grow fond of his return, when it is certain, if he does return, and returns by the methods now intended, popery and arbitrary power must be more triumphant than ever.

He wanted nothing but power to make himself absolute, and to make us all papists, or martyrs, or refugees; and that he will now have: for, if a French power can conquer us, it will make him as absolute as the French king will let him be; or, to speak properly, it will make him, though not an absolute prince, yet an absolute viceroy, and minister of France: he will administer an absolute power and government, under the influence and direction of French counsels; and then we know not what will become of the liberties and religion of England. And have we so long disdained the thoughts of subjection to France ? has a French league been thought such a national grievance? has the pretence of a war with France been found such an excellent expedient to get money of English parliaments? has the expectation of it fired English spirits, and, upon occasion, filled our armies and navies, without need of pressing, or beat of drum? have we so detested the French cruelties to protestants? and shall we now so willingly stoop to the yoke, and think it a great favour that they will vouchsafe to conquer us? let us never complain hereafter, that our chains pinch and gall us, when we ourselves are ready with so much joy and thankfulness to put them on. And, whatever some fancy, they will find it a very easy and natural thing for the late king, if he return by force and power, to make himself absolute by law : princes always gain new powers by the ineffectual opposition of subjects: if they lose their crowns and recover them again, they receive them with an addition of some brighter jewels, and turn disputed prerogatives into legal and undoubted rights. Thus we know it was when King Charles the Second returned from a long exile, all the new acts and declarations were made in favour of the crown, and subjects bound to their good behaviour, as fast as laws could bind them; for, in all such revolutions, those who suffered, with or for their prince, return with zeal and resentment; and take care, in the first place, to establish all such prerogatives of the crown, as were disputed before, and to grant such new powers as they think are wanting. And others there are always forward to make their fortunes by

complimenting the returning prince; and to expiate their former crimes by a forward and flaming loyalty; and the rest are over-awed and frighted into a compliance; and thus it is commonly seen, that between zeal and flattery, and fear, the king increases in power, and the people forfeit their liberties; and we must not expect that it should be otherwise now, should the late king return.

The first compliment that must be made to him is a jacobite parliament, and God knows what such a parliament will do! Will they deny him a toleration for papists, the repeal of the test, the forfeitures, or surrenders of charters, and a new regulation of corporations ? Will they dispute, nay, will they not declare his dispensing power, and approve his ecclesiastical commissions ? Will they make any scruple to declare the legitimacy of the Prince of Wales, or to leave the manner of his education to those who will certainly breed him up in popery? Will they not take care for new jacobite tests to renounce and abhor all the several hypotheses and principles of government, which have been urged to justify our submission and allegiance to their present majesties? And, when they have done this, how easy will it be for a downright popish parliament, which will be the next step that will be made, to do all the rest ?

It is very evident what advantages the priests and jesuits will have, in such a juncture, to make proselytes, while the people are in a fright, and grown giddy with such frequent revolutions; and those, who, in the late reign, were the great advocates of the protestant cause, are disgraced at court, threatened into silence, their authority weakened, and their persons reproached both hy papists and jacobites. Numbers of converts was their great want before, and the press and the pulpit their great hinderance; but jacobites will, by natural instinct, learn more loyalty, and others will be taught it, as Gideon once taught the men of Succoth, with briars and thorns. And there never was such an opportunity since the reformation for a plentiful harvest of converts, as this would be like to prove.

And who can bear the thoughts of this, who has any compassion for the souls of men, any zeal for the church of England, or any concern to preserve and propagate the true faith and worship of Christ to posterity ?

All this is, upon a supposition of the late king's return, which I declare to you

I am not afraid of, though it is fit to mind those men who are so fond of it, what they may reasonably expect, if he should return; which possibly may abate their zeal in this cause, and that may prevent the mischiefs of an attempt ; for, without a hopeful conspiracy in England, the French king is too wary to make such an attempt.

But, if they have any love to their country, any pity left in them for the lives and fortunes of English protestants, I beseech them to consider, what the calamities and desolations of civil war will be; for that it must end in, if there be an invasion from abroad, strengthened with a powerful conspiracy at home. King William, as I said before, will not desert or abdicate ; for I never heard of a prince who had ventured so much to rescue a kingdom out of so great a

[ocr errors]

danger, that would so easily expose it again to the same, or a greater danger. And surely the late king does not expect he should, for he knows him too well: so that, if they look for such another revolution, to turn King William out, as brought him in, they will, in all probability, be mistaken. There are too many persons of honour and fortune engaged in this cause, who know the late king too well to take his word ; and, were it possible to wheedle men of fore, tune and sense, the genius and spirit of the nation is against them : and that, which could make the late revolution, will probably be able to prevent this.

It must then come to blows, if an attempt be made ; and the fortune of one battle may not decide it; and those who are too young to remember the desolations which the late civil wars in England made, let them look into Ireland, and see to what a heap of rubbish a flourishing and fruitful country is reduced by being the scene of a three years war.

It is made a popular pretence to raise discontents, and to make people disaffected to the present government, that the taxes for maintaining this war are grown so intolerable, and there is no prospect of an end of them. Now, I must confess, that the taxes fall very heavy upon some, and I am sorry that the present posture of our affairs does require it, and that there can be no easier

ways

found to supply the plain and pressing necessities of the state: but we ought to consider, that still all this is infinitely easier than popery and French slavery, if we regard only our estates. The annual exactions of the church of Rome (besides all the cheating ways their priests had to get money) while popery was the religion of England, used to be complained of as a national grievance, and a heavier tax upon the subject, than all the king's revenues : and, if those who complain of our taxes, were but one month in France, 'to see the poverty and misery which the French government has brought upon them, they would come home very well contented to pay taxes, and to fight against the French too. We are free subjects, not slaves; we are taxed by our own representatives, who tax themselves as well as us; and this not by the arbitrary will of the prince. We pay for our own defence and preservation as all people ought to do; and, while we do not pay near so much as our religion, and lives, and liberties are worth, and have left where-withal to maintain ourselves, we have no such great reason to complain.

But how heavy soever taxes are, are they like a civil war? Like the dread and terrors of an enemy's army, or of our own? Are they like having our houses filled with soldiers; or, which is worse, burnt or plundered? Are they like losing our friends, our fathers, husbands, or children, by whose kindness or labours we subsisted In a word, are they like the spoils of harvest, or the desolation of a whole country?

And can we he contented to see England again the seat of war? It is certain, in our present circumstances, it cannot be made so, unless we ourselves please. France has too many enemies, to think of conquering England without factions at home; and, were it not for them, we need not fear its united force; and I hope considering

men, of what persuasion soever they be, will not think it worth the while to ruin their country by a civil war, to purchase a French slavery and popery; two very dear things, could we purchase them never so cheap.

What I have said, hitherto, concerns only England; but it becomes us to look a little abroad, and consider, what a fatal influence a French conquest of England will have upon the affairs of all Europe. That it is not mere justice and honour that makes the French king espouse the cause of the late King James, his incroachments and usurpations on his neighbours will witness.

He has no scruples of conscience about the rights of other princes; all be can get is his own. But England was formerly a friend and confederate, at least, not an enemy; and now the power of England (which the French have never had reason to despise) is in the hands of a king who owes the French king a good turn, and will not, I hope, die in his debt. This checks his ambitious designs; gives life and spirit to the confederacy; threatens to make him restore what he has taken, and what he keeps by mere force and violence, and to reduce him within his ancient bounds, and to the ancient constitution of the French government; and he knows, while King William possesses t'e English throne, and keeps up the confederacy, he must not expect to get much more, and may be in constant danger of losing what he has gotten.

This makes the French king so concerned to restore the late King James to the throne of England, to get rid of a formidable enemy, and to strengthen himself with the alliance of a powerful friend; for England will probably turn the scales, on which side soever it happens to be : and there is no doubt, but the arms of England must be devoted to the service of France, if a French power should place the late king in his throne again ; and let any English protestant, who can think coolly of things, consider what a malignant aspect this would have upon the liberties of Europe, and on the whole protestant interest, : The arms, or the money of France, has, hitherto, been an equal match, at least, for all the confederates; while he has found other employment for the imperial and English forces ; but, thanks be to God, the king of England, and the English forces, are now at leisure to attend his motions; those forces which beat him at the Boyne, at Athlone, at Agrim, at Limerick; in a word, which beat him out of Ireland, and have now got a habit of beating the French : and it is no wonder that he is not fond of such company in Flanders, but endeavours to find some new work for them at home. - And, if he can but send them home again, and embroil us in a civil war, that is one great point gained; but, if he proves successful in his attempt, he makes England his own, and will turn their arms upon the confederates: and what can then stand in his way? What should hinder him from being the sole and absolute monarch of the west ? and then it is easy to read the fate of protestants.

Thus, sir, I have freely told you, what I apprehend will be the necessary and unavoidable effects of a French conquest, I pretend not to prophecy, nor to demonstration in such cases; bul'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 are 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 ihern 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 bim, 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 him; 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 thal 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

« ForrigeFortsæt »