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land, hath been so frequently exerted in many parts of the world, that the most formidable kingdoms have been constrained to yield to the superior force of their arms: fo that Great Britain, at this time, by their courage and prudence, gives liberty to Europe, and has acquired an extent of territory equal to the Roman empire when in its meridian of power, and infinitely more useful to the mother country.

The wonen, beside their natural beauty, which is such as not to need the assistance of paint, fo common in other countries, are still more to be valued for their prudent behaviour, thorough cleanli. nefs, and a tender affection for their husbands and children. As to the faults of the English ; foreigners have remarked that they are somewhat passionate, inelancholy, fickle and unsteady; one moment applauding, what they deteft in the next; and that the lower fort of people have too contemptible an idea of other nations; and are thence apt to treat stran. gers with rudeness. But this latter accufation seems rather to have been founded on particular instances, which a great relish for, and propensity to humour, so observable among the common people, may sometimes betray them into ; than to belong to them as a national character.

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Of the GOVERNMENT and Civil Policy of

BRITAI N.

In all states there is an absolute supreme power, to which the right of legislation belongs; and which, by the fingular conftitution of thele kingdoms, is vested in the king, lords, and commons.

Of the King. The supreme executive power of Great Britain, ard Ireland, is vested by our constitucion in a fingle person, king or queen; for it is indifferent 10. which sex the crown descends: the person entitled to it, whether male or female, is immediately invested with all the ensigns, rights, and prerogatives of lo vereign power.

The grand fundamental maxim upon which the . right of succesion to the throne of these kingdoms depends, is: 6 that the crown, by common law and conftitutional custom, is bereditary; and this in a manner peculiar to itself: but that the right of inheritance may from time to time be changed or limited by act of parliament: under which limitations the crown still continues hereditary.”

King Egbert, king Canute, and king William I. have been successively constituted the common stocks, or ancestors, of this descent.

On the death of queen Elizabeth, without iffue, the line of Henry VIII. became extinct. It therefore became necessary to recur to the other issue of Henry VII. by Elizabeth of York his queen: whose eldest daughter Margaret having married James IV. king of Scotland, king James the Sixth of Scotlan', and of England the First, was the lineal descendant from that alliance. So that in his person, as clearly as in Henry VIII. centered all the claims of the different competitors from the conquest downward; he being indisput:bly the lineal heir of the conqueror. And, what is still more remarkable, in his person also centered the right of the Saxon monarchs, which had been suspended from the conquest till his accession. For, Margaret the filter of Edgar Atheling, the daughter of Edward the Outlaw, and granddaughter of king Edmund Ironside, was the person in whom the hereditary right of the Saxon kings, fuppofing it not abolithed by the conqueft, resided. She married Malcolin king of Scotland; and Henry II. by a descent from Matilda their daughter, is generally alled the restorer of the Saxon line. But it must be remembered, that Malcolm by his Saxon queen had fons as well as daughters, and that the B 3

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royal family of Scotland, from that time downward, were the offspring of Malcolm and Margaret. Of this roval family king James I. was the direct lineal descendant, and therefore united in his person every pollible claim, by hereditary right, to the English as well as Scottish throne, being the heir both of Egbert and Williari) the Conqueror.

At the roy larion, the convention of estatęs, or repres starive body of the natin, declared, that the miconduct of king Janies II. amounted to an abdiçatin of the governinent, and that the throne was Doc'hy vacant.

Licongine C of his vacancy, and from a regrand in the unint line, the convention appointed

x t Protestant heirs of the blood royal or king (ha.es I. to fill the vacant throne, in the cli order Üt i creion ; with a temporary excep'icn, or prefer nce, to the person of king William ill.

un the impending failure of the Protestant line of King Charles I. (whereby the throne might again have become vacant) the king and parliament extended the fetilement of the crown to the Protestant line of King James I. viz. to the princess Sophia of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants : and she is now the common stock, from whom the heirs of the crown must descend.

The true ground and principle, upon which the revolution proceeded, was an entirely new case in politics, which had never before happened in our history; the abdication of the reigning monarch, and the vacancy of the throne thereupon. It was not a defeazance of the right of succession, and a new limitation of the crown, by the king and both houses of parliament: it was the act of the nation alone, upon a conviction that there was no king in being. For in a full asembly of the lords and commons, met in convention upon the supposition of this vacancy, both houses came to this resolution ;

" that " that king James II. having endeavoured to subvert the constitution of the kingdom, by breaking the original contract between king and people; and, by. che advice of jesuits and other wicked persons, having violated the fundamental laws; and having withdrawn himself out of this kingdom; has abdicated the government, and that the throne is thereby vacant.” Thus ended at once, by this sudden and unexpected vacancy of the throne, the old line of succeffion; which from the conquest had lasted above 600 years, and from the union of the hepCarchy in king Egbert, almost 900.

Though in some points (owing to the peculiar circumstances of things and persons) the revolution was not alcogether so perfect as might have been wished; yet from thence a new æra commenced, in which the bounds of prerogative and liberty have been better defined, the principles of government more thoroughly examined and understood, and the rights of the subject more explicitly guarded by legal provisions, than in any other period of the EngTish history. In particular, it is worthy observation, that the convention, in this their judgment, avoided with great wisdom the wild extreams into which the visionary theories of some zealous republicans would have led them. They held that this misconduct of king James amounted to an endeavour to suby rt the constitution, and not to an actual subversion, or. total dissolution of the government. They therefore very prudently voted it to amount to no more than an abdication of the government, and a consequent vacancy of the throne; whereby the government was allowed to subsist, though the executive magistrate was gone ; and the kingly office to remain, though king James was no longer king And thus the constitution was kept intire; which upon every sound principle of government must otherwise have fallen to pieces, 'had so principal and constitut nu a

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part as the royal authority been abolished, or even suspended *..

Hence it is easy to collect, that the title to the crown is at present hereditary, though not quite so absolutely hereditary as formerly; and the common stock or ancestor, from whom the descent must be derived, is also different. Formerly the common stock was king Egbert; then Williain the Conqueror; afterward in James the First's time the two common stocks united, and so continued till the vacancy of the throne in 1688: now it is the princess Sophia, in whom the inheritance was vested by the new king and parliament. Formerly the descent was absolute, and the crown went to the next heir without any re

• The conftitution of England, says Dr, Smollet, had now af. sumed a new aspect. The maxim of hereditary, indefeasible 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 sights in behalf of their constituents ; and William III. ascended the throne in conse quence of an express capitulation with the people. Yet, on this occasion, the parliament, toward their deliverer, seems to have over thot their attachment to their own liberty and privileges ; or, at lealt, they neglected che faireft opportunity that ever occurred, 10 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 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 chusing his own council ; of nominating all the great officers of the ftate, and of the houshold, of the army, the navy, and the church. He reserved the absolute command of the militia : so that he res mained 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 fettlement 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 op. position.

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