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liberties? We deprecate this last of evils. We deprecate the effect of the doctrines, which must support and countenance the government over conquered Englishmen.
As it will be impossible long to resist the powerful and equitable arguments in favour of the freedom of these unhappy people, that are to be drawn from the principle of our own liberty; attempts will be made, attempts have been made, to ridicule and to argue away this principle; and to inculcate into the minds of your people other maxims of government and other grounds of obedience, than those, which have prevailed at and since the glorious Revolution. By degrees, these doctrines, by being convenient, may grow prevalent. The consequence is not certain ; but a general change of principles rarely happens among a people without leading to a change of Government.
Sir, your Throne cannot stand secure upon the principles of unconditional submission and passive obedience ; on powers exercised without the conkurrence of the people to be governed ; on Acts made in defiance of their prejudices and habits; on acquiescence procured by foreign mercenary troops, and secured b standing armies. These may possibly be the foundation of other Thrones : they must be the subversion of yours. It was not to passive principles in our ancestors, that we owe the honour of appearing before a Sovereign, who cannot
feel, that he is a Prince,' without knowing, that we ought to be free. The Revolution is a departure from the ancient course of the descent of this Monarchy. The people, at that time, re-entered into their original rights; and it was not because a positive Law authorized what was then done, but because the freedom and safety of the Subject, the origin and cause of all Laws, required a proceeding paramount and superiour to them. At that ever memorable and instructive period, the letter of the Law was superseded in favour of the substance of Liberty. To the free choice, therefore, of the people, without either King or Parliament, we owe that happy Establishment, out of which both King and Parliament were regenerated. · From that great principle of Liberty have originated the Statutes, confirming and ratifying the Establishment, from which your Majesty derives your right to rule over us.
Those Statutes have not given us our Liberties; our Liberties have produced them. Every hour of your Majesty's reign your title stands upon the very same foundation, on which it was at first laid; and we do not know a better, on which it can possibly be placed.
Convinced, Sir, that you cannot have different rights, and a different security in different parts of your dominions, we wish to lay an even platform for your Throne ; and to give it an unmovable stability, by laying it on the general freedom of
people ; and by securing to your Majesty that confidence and affection, in all parts of your
dominions which makes your best security and dearest title in this the chief seat of your Empire.
Such, Sir, being, amongst us, the foundation of Monarchy itself, much more clearly and much more peculiarly is it the ground of all Parliamentary power. Parliament is a security, provided for the protection of Freedom, and not a subtile fiction, contrived to amuse the people in its place. The authority of both Houses can, still less than that of the Crown, be supported upon different principles in different places ; so as to be, for one part of your Subjects, a protector of Liberty and for another a fund of despotism, through which prerogative is extended by occasional powers, whenever an arbitrary will finds itself straitened by the restrictions of Law. Had it seemed good to Parliament to consider itself as the indulgent guardian and strong protector of the freedom of the subordinate popular Assemblies, instead of exercising its powers to their annihilation, there is no doubt, that it never could have been their inclination, because not their interest, to raise questions on the extent of Parliamentary Rights; or to enfeeble privileges, which were the security of their own. Powers, evident from necessity, and not suspicious from an alarming mode or purpose in the exertion, would, as formerly they were, be cheerfully submitted to; and these would have been fully sufficient for conservation of unity in the Empire, and for directing its wealth to one common centre. Another use has produced other consequences; and a power which refuses to be limited by moderation, must either be lost, or find other more distinct and satisfactory limitations. As for us, a supposed, or, if it could be, a real
, participation in arbitrary power would never reconcile our minds to its establishment. We should be ashamed to stand before your Majesty, boldly asserting, in our own favour, inherent rights, which þind and regulate the Crown itself, and yet insisting on the exercise, in our own persons, of a more arbitrary sway over our fellow citizens and fellow freemen,
These, gracious Sovereign, are the sentiments, which we consider ourselves as bound, in justifi
, cation of our present conduct, in the most serious and solemn manner, to lay at your Majesty's feet, We have been called by your Majesty's writs and proclamations, and we have been authorized, either by hereditary privilege, or the choice of your pegple, to confer and treat with your Majesty, in your highest Councils, upon the arduous affairs of your Kingdom. We are sensible of the whole importance of the duty, which this constitutional summons implies. We know the religious punctuality of attendance, which, in the ordinary course, it der a mands. It is no light causè, which, even for a 1 time, tould persuade us to relax in any part of that
attendance. The British Empire is in convulsions,
which threaten its dissolution. Those particular i proceedings, which cause and inflame this disorders :: after many years incessant struggle, we find our
selves wholly unable to oppose, and unwilling te :behold. All our endeavours having proved fruits
less, we are fearful, at this time, of irritating, by
contention, those passions, which we have found it by impracticable to compose by reason. We cannot
permit ourselves to countenance, by the appearance of a silent assent, proceedings fatal to the Liberty and Unity of the Empire; proceedings, which exhaust the strength of all your Majesty's dominions, destroy all trust and dependence of our Allies, and leave
us, both at home and abroad, exposed to the á suspicious mercy and uncertain inclinations of our
neighbour and rival powers ; to whom, by this desperate course, we are driving our Countrymen for
protection, and with whom we have forced them á into connections, and may bind them by habits and by interests :--an evil, which no victories, that
may be obtained, no severities, which may be exercised, ever will or can remove.
If but the smallest hope should from any circumstances appear of a return to the ancient maxims and true policy of this Kingdom, we shall with joy and readiness return to our attendance, in