Some REMARKS upon GOVERNMENT, And particularly upon the ESTABLISHMENT Of the English MONARCHY Relating to this present Juncture.
In Two LETTERS, Written by, and to a Member of the Great CONVENTION, holden at Westminster the 22d. of January, 1688/9.


YOU have been highly Obliging in the frequent Accounts you sent me of Affairs, in this Great and Extraordinary Revolu­tion. I was once very diffident, and could scarcely conceive that the States of Holland, or Prince of Orange, could have attempted so Expensive, and so Hazardous an Undertaking out of pure Generosity, meerly for our Sakes, and for the Re-establishment of our Laws and Religion, which did both equally Labour under the Pressures of an Ill Administration, and seem'd to draw towards their last Periods. I knew the States had the Character of preferring their own, before any other In­terest whatsoever, and the Prince had the Reputation of setting a duo Va­lue upon That which creates and proportions the Value of all things else. The Enterprize I lookt upon, as very Expensive in its Methods, and Un­certain in its Accomplishment, which made me proue to believe that some­thing more lay coucht in this Vast Undertaking, than was exprest in the Prince's Declaration; But since His arrival and coming to London, I [Page 2]perceive He has, upon all Occasions, carry'd Himself with that wonderful Modesty, with such an unparallel'd Care and Tenderness of our Laws, Li­berties, and Religion, and adheres so Resolutely to every Particular in His Declaration, that I cannot but esteem these to be His Noblest Trophies: And that which crowns those Successes which have crown'd His Generous and Pious Undertakings. His persisting to referr all to the Impartial Deci­sions of a Free Parliament, to Do and Establish such Matters, either in His, their Own, or the Kings behalf, as they shall think fit, even then, when Honor and Power spread their Perswasives before Him to do otherwise, is so great a Thing that it exceeds all His other Glories, and strikes the Be­holders with nothing less than Amazement. I do more rejoyce than wonder at the Unanimous Concurrence which has hitherto been maintain'd between the Lords and Commons Assembled in Councel, and indeed in the Wishes & Desires of all the People in General: It is what this Juncture does highly require, and what the Prince's Conduct does Oblige. We are very busie here in the Countrey in Electing Members for the Great Convention which is to sit in January, and I think the Lot will fall on me to serve for my Neighbouring Borough. You know I was never fond of Business or Trouble, and truly Age seems now to have sign'd my Writ of Ease. I also always cherisht some Cynical Notions, which made me very much slight and dis­regard the Honours and Flatulencies of a giddy World: But the thoughts of being one of the Great Planters of a Government which shall last for Ages, and perhaps till Time has run out its last Minutes, is no Ordinary thing. This thought alone has envigorated my Age and baffled my Philosophy, so that you may expect to see me in London about the 22d. of January next; and in the mean time, if you will favour me with your Thoughts and Opi­nion of Affairs, and what Understanding Men do think will, or ought to be the Issue and Consequence of this great Revolution, you will very considerably add to the many Kindnesse conferred upon

SIR, Your assured Friend and humble Servant A. B.

The Answer.

YOurs (thô it bore and early Date, yet) came not to my hands till last Friday. I am very glad that my slender Services have prov'd upon any account acceptable to you. I never thought my self qualified to pry into the Recesses of Government, or the privacies of a King: What I acquainted you with, was little more than what was publickly discours'd of in Coffee-Houses: But indeed such was the Management of Affairs during our late King's Supremacy, That his most private Councels prov'd generally the next days Table-talk, for as they were shallow, so was the bottom of them discoverable to every common Eye. The Prince has per­haps, with more Courage than Caution, and a great Zeal for the Protestant Interest, then Care of His own particular Concerns, under­taken mighty Things for us, and run such Risques in the Accom­plishing of them, which Story can scarcely parallel. But what the sequel of this will be, I must leave to Astrology. 'Tis true, the peo­ple seem to be Unanimous to a wonder, and yet there are a Sett of Men in this Nation whom nothing will satisfie but to Lord it over their Brethren: These do still labour under some Discomposures, and al­though, in no respect disoblig'd, yet fearing they may receive a Crush in this great Turn, do by their Sourness and Discontent rather assist and further their fate, than anticipate and prevent it. The Prote­stant Dissenters are not esteem'd, by Computations which have been formerly made, to amount to more than a 25th. part of the Nation, the Church of England receiving all the rest: This I do believe to be true, if the Church of England be taken in the most large and com­prehensive Sense, by including all such as frequent the publick Ser­vice: But if we might suppose them in the same Circumstances that Dissenters were in, at the time of this Computation made, under the Frowns of the Court, and the power of the Laws, which like so many Billows, beat in against them; if thus we might be admitted to view them in Reverse, I do believe their Numbers would not ex­ceed, or Scarcely equal those of the Dissenting party. There are but very few in the Nation would undergo Fines and Imprisonment for the sake of the Surplice or Common-Prayer. The prevailing Opinion [Page 4]now in England is, Latitudinarian: Most Men are so far improv'd in their Judgments, as to believe, that Heaven is not entail'd upon any particular Opinion, and that either an Episcopal, or Presbyterial way of Worship, together with a due observation of the Rules of Morality, may serve well enough to carry them to Heaven, the on­ly Byass which enclines them to the one side or the other, being the Laws. Be subject to the Higher Powers, not for Wrath, but Conscience, sways the Scale and gives the casting Vote in such Things as are thought indifferent: This is it which crowds the Church, otherwise the Sarsnet Hood and Lawn Sleeves might be as destitute of Votaries, as the Long Cloak and Collar Band.

Which may the succeeding Government will lean, I dare not deter­mine, but it is more than probable, That Episcopacy, in that strictness in which it has of late Years excercis'd, ow'd its Continuance, as well as Originally its Being, to the King: His power and His purse, has been liberally imploy'd in favour of the Church, and they as plentifully requited His Kindness, by their Doctrines of Jure Divino­ship, and Passive Obedience: So long as the King continued thus their Servant, He was in all Causes Civil and Ecclesiastical, their Supreme Head and Governour: But when the King became of another Inter­est, and they themselves were likely to be squeez'd by the pressures of their own Weighty Doctrines, then the Case Was immediately al­ter'd and Plowdens Hogs could be no longer Trespassers: They instantly chang'd their Note, and rang their Bells backward, for they were all on fire, and likely to be reduc'd to their original Dust in a mo­ment. Fears of Popery was first the pretence of their dissatisfactions: This way very plausible, and seem'd once to give them an interest in the people: But surely now these Dangers are Remov'd; the Prote­stant Interest is likely to settle upon firm Foundations, and the Prince seems well affected to their way of Worship, and signalizes His Ap­probations by Communicating with them according to the Rights and Ceremonies of the Church, and yet they seem dissatisfied, and are still apprehensive of Danger.

What then can be the reason that this bright Hemisphere should thus be wrapt up in Clouds and Darkness? It must needs be this, That they have lost, or are likely to lose the King and Courts good Service employ'd in all or most of the former Parliaments so freely in their behalf. This in truth was the chief Pillar of their Church: That which first built, and afterwards supported it. Thô the Prince does sufficiently approved of this Establishment in His own [Page 5]Judgment, yet He is resolved to call a Free Parliament, being the purport of His Declaration, backt with many subsequent Promises and Assurances in which the People shall have freedom to Elect such Persons as are for the True Interest of the Nation, and not for the upholding a particular Interest or Faction There shall be no Elections either forc'd by Power, or brib'd by Treats; No false Returns, no Com­mittee of Affections to determine according to the Court or Ch. of Eng­land Interest; No Parliamentary Pensions, nor Treats with Guinea's laid under their Plates to seduce them from their honest Principles and the Interest of their Country. The Prince abhors such irregula­rities: He desires such an Assembly may meet, as may truly repre­sent the People, to Enact and Establish such Laws and such a Go­vernment as may secure their Religion, Liberties and Properties, with the best advantage and security to the Nation that can be proposed: And although the Church of England is hereby left destitute of that unfair and irregular advantage it firmly had from the King's power and assistance, yet I doubt not but this and succeeding Parliaments will Enact such an Establishment in the Church, as may very well agree with the honest desires of the more moderate and pious Church-men.

What the Civil Government will be, is more difficult to guess at, but I can tell you what it has been, and wherein it seems defective and requires some touches of your Legislative Skill to help it [...]ut. This I am confident of, That if the Consultations of this great Coun­cel does but produce what the Necessities of the People, and the Conveniencies which a well-setled State does require, the Alterations will be very considerable. 'Tis true, there is a Notion generally re­ceiv'd by the Nobility and Gentry of Eng. that a Mixt Monarchy (just such a one as ours is, and no other) must needs be the best of Govern­ments, and that amongst all others, none could boast of those ad­vantages as that of England. This fancy is so rivetted in the minds of the People (spread abroad and preacht up, only to keep the people in peace, and from endeavouring an Alteration, which could not be effected without the Inconveniencies of the Sword) that I do believe All things will again settle upon its old Basis, and the Go­vernment be rebuilt with all its irregularies. However, because I understand you are in election to be one of Those, from whom suc­ceeding Ages must derive their Happiness or Misery, I will make use of the Liberty you have given me, to express my Sentiments in this mighty Affair, in order to which I will in the first place acquaint you with my Notions of Government in general, and afterwards will [Page 6]descend to Particulars; And to our present Case as it now lies:

Government is a Power whereby a Community of Men are kept in Or­der, disposed to act conformably to their Natures, and to the common advantage of the whole Body Politick. This Power is sometimes plac'd in one single Person, and then it is Monarchy: Sometimes in a select number of the Chiefs, when it assumes the name of Aristocracy; And sometimes in the whole Body of the People, which is called Demo­cracy. But of these three Primatives, there are several Derivatives, Compounds, and Variations.

The first, Magestracy, I do allow to be grounded in Nature, and the first Magistrate to be a Genarcha, or Patriarch, who rul'd over Families of his own Extraction, and Citties of his natural Generation. It was in this sense that the Fifth Commandment was given; and it was from hence that Men grew up into Citties, Kingdoms, and Em­pires, and therefore the Laws to regulate them ought to be such as are apt and fit to govern Families, for the preservation of their Peace, Libertys and Properties, not to bind them to perpetual Slavery and Vassalage. So also, the Submissions due from the People to the Su­pream Power, are in their nature filial, not servile, as proceeding rather from Love and Gratitude, for protection given, than for fear of the Rod hanging over their Backs, which ought to be ex­ercised only to prevent a common Inconveniency. But this Patriar­chal Government, continues no longer than the Patriarch holds a power over his Family, to punish such offences in particular persons, as might otherwise (if allowed of) obstruct the common Interest; and to protect the whole Body and every individual in their natu­ral and acquir'd Rights, both from Domestick and Forreign Inva­ders: For when the natural power of one or more in Conjunction shall exceed that of the Patriarch, or Father of the Family, this for of Government is so far dissolved, that if they please and find it con­venient, they may reassume their natural Freedom, or again engag [...] in the same Family, by Pact or promise, or else leave it, and h [...] compact with others, submit to what Laws or Measures of Livin [...] together in a Comunity they think fit. He that will make t [...] natural Magistrate more Sacred than this, may at last commit Idol [...] ­try, and fall down to worship.

But this is not the State of any Nation or People now under Heaven. We are all shufled and blended together, so that we stand not Ori [...] ­nally associated to any Magistrate out of natural Duty, but out [...] mutual fear of each other, which to avoid, produc'd, these civil Co [...] ­pacts [Page 7]by which the World is now Governed. Thus being separated from our Families, each Man has a right by nature to defend him­self, which supposes his primary Allegeance now due to himself: He has farther an equal right with all others to all things necessary for su­stentation, & an absolute right in his own person; & having thus a mutu­um jus in both, he is fitted for mutual Compact with others. 'Tis cer­tain that Nature, thô She did provide for Mankind in its tender help­less and unexperienced years, a natural Governour and Protector, yet being withdrawn from that Power and Subjection, it falls into a state of War, which was the Condition of the World in those Times, which Historians call Heroical: When Nimrod obtained the Cha­racter of the stoutest Hunter, and Hercules travelled to tame Mon­sters and Usurpers.

The Patriarchal Government being at an end, and the People being now left in a state of War, occasioned by the Universal Right that every man had to every thing, the Government that succeeded was accordingly Martial and Warlike, and their Governours were ra­ther Generals than Kings, and like them, Arbitrary and Unlimited. In this state the Chief Magistrate was properly and Originally called Tyrannus; but Lust, Ambition, and Avarice being the usual atten­dants of absolute power, did too far prevail, to the prejudice of those in Subjection, that both the Person and Title of such Gover­nours in time became odious and contemptible. It was for this rea­son that Plutarch in his life of Timoleon, affirms that over a Tyrant, every man is a Judge, and may be an Executioner; and Plato in his Common-wealth, delineates a Tyrant amongst his Subjects by a Woolf amongst the Flock, plac'd there rather to devour than pre­serve them.

But the World soon grew weary of this Course of Life, and by ex­perience found that Compact was more apt for the Coalition of So­cieties than mere Power; which is the cause, That in the more civi­liz'd and cultivated parts of the Earth, this sort of Government is very rare and unusual, unless sent by the Supream Power of Heaven and Earth for the punishment of a People for some Sins committed, that thereby they may be compell'd like the mute Fish in the Gospel, to bring their Penny unto Caesar, and after pay their Lives for Con­tribution: And it is observable that it prevails principally, and is no where else willingly allowed of, but where Idolatry and Invincible Ignorance are the National Sins.

This Tyranical Government, or State of War, being found un­easie [Page 8]in many places, and more intollerable than the Patriarchal Government in which they were first engaged, and also finding that there is now no Father of the Country, in a natural Sense: The Peo­ple as becoming Orphans, choose One or More to be their Guardi­an, which in several Countries goes under several Denominations. Thus the People are in the state of Pupillage, and as a Minor cannot make a Contract to his prejudice, so we may conclude, that the People may meliorate their Condition by Compact, but cannot make it worse; and therefore it may with much more reason be allowed, that such Concessions which are made by them, and which infringe or derogate from their natural Rights should be void, than that what a Prince grants to his People out of his Prerogative (tho' for their better Government and well Being, for which alone Prerogative was first given and intended) should be null and of no validity, which some Presidents in our present Establishment seem to countenance and abet. Thus all Governments in the same degrees that they dif­fer from Patriarchal and Tyrannical must derive their Originals from Compact, and the Governour must necessarily derive his Power from and by, the mutual Consent of the People he governs; unless God does himself immediately appoint a Magistrate, and even then the People have usually confirm'd, as in the case of Saul. 1. Sam. 10. So of David, 1 Sam. 16. 2 Sam. 2.

I cannot but with Grotius believe, that Salus populi est Suprema Lex. Nor did Junius Brutus err in affirming that, Imperii finis unicus est po­puli Utilitas. But on the contrary to imagine the People to be made for their King, and that a Million of Souls should be Born Slaves and Vassals to the Lust and Tyrrany of one Man, who by nature is no more than their fellow Creature, made of the same mold, and stan­ding upon the same level with themselves, is nonsense and directly contradictory to the true notion of Government it self. In all States and Kingdoms whose Government is by Compact, the King cannot be supposed to be any thing more than an Officer, elected and ap­pointed by the People to preserve the Government, and therefore the People must necessarily be supposed to have still a Reserve of Pow­er in extraordinary Exigences above the King. Quicquid efficit Tale est magis tale. Their Concessions cannot extend farther than for their own preservation, and when that ceases, the Grant determines Our General and Original Rights cannot totally be swallowed up by any Compact that can be made to settle Liberty and Property, nei­ther is all that was Natural now made Civil; wherefore that old Law [Page 9]was but old Reason. Quod populus postremum jubet id ratum esto. Upon this Account the People in notorious cases, do themselves become the Accuser, Judge, and Executioner; it being but reason that in such Cases they should be allowed this priviledge; for as every man is the best Judge of his own health, and how such and such Meats and Medicines assists and helps the health and vigor of his Body; so in the Body Politick, the People must be Judge how this or that Gover­nour or Law agrees with their Constitution, and Contributes to their Health, Peace, and Welfare. In the 17th. of Deut. and the 14th. v. God leaves the Election of a King absolutely to the People, and puts it into their choice whether they will have a King or not, and who­soever they pleased to set over them (provided he were chosen from among their Brethren) should be their King. Thus before Davids Inauguration, The People made a league with him, 2. Sam. 5.3. v. And by this they restrained and bound him up as they thought fit: And he who in any settled legal Government, arrogates to him­self and other Supremacy over all or any part of his Brethren, other than what is immediately appointed by God, or claimed from the People, breaks those Bonds and Limits which they have set; and is as Civilians distinguish, Tyrannus exercitio, though not Titulo.

A Supream, Absolute, and Arbitrary Power, is essentially neces­sary in all Governments whatsoever, whether Monarchial, Aristo-critical, or Democritical, in respect of which, these three distinct Spe­cies differ no otherwise than as a Guinea from twenty Shillings, or forty Sixpences, which put together are equivalent one to the other: Thus the Supream Acts of all Governments are the same, for no State can go higher (nor ought to descend lower) than 1st. to be able to redress a grievance, by making or repealing a Law. 2ly. to have the power of War and Peace, 3ly. to judge of Life and Death, and 4ly. to fix and Appeals in it self. So also if a mixture be made of these three Governments, yet it makes no change as to the pro­duct of a Supream Act; for they who limit one another, are yet Copartners and do the same thing together which one alone doth Legislatively: And as the prudence and foresight of the first Foun­ders of these various Constitutions, saw any advantage or inconve­niency peculiar to the people, place, or time they liv'd in, so they accordingly made various and suitable provisions and Laws, to assist the Good and to divert the Evil. Upon this account there are few Governments but have some things woven into their Constitution pe­culiar to themselves. In Poland where the Monarchy is Elective, and [Page 10]the Prince bound to observe the Laws, any Gentleman may safely and freely accuse his Prince. In Arragon the Chief Justice has a Tri­bunition power. In Venice the Duke stirs not out of the City with­out leave, and is made so much greater then any of the rest, only to allay the growth of Ambition in any one besides. In the form of Transactions, Most do follow the Plurality of Sufferage, but in several ways: In the Senate of Venice in many Cases there must be a Con­currence of three parts of four. In the Conclave of Rome at the Election of the Pope, two parts of three must concur: In the Consi­story the Pope alone carries it against all the Council of Cardinals. In the Convention in Poland, Potior est Conditio Negantis, One Ne­gative hinders all proceedings in the most important Affairs. In Holland the States General of the Provinces have but seven Votes in all, and these obliging according to the Plurality of Sufferage, but the number of States sent to manage the Interest of their single and Provincial Votes are unlimitted; and as the respective Provinces please to Delegate; wherefore their Votes may be more properly termed local than personal; but with us in England Votes are merely personal; for as we represent not Provinces or Places distinctly Su­pream, but mixtly together; so the odd Vote carries all; by which it may happen that one man may make or destroy the best Law that ever was. From these particulars you may collect the varie­ties that are in Government, instituted according to the different No­tions of the first Founders, and the Circumstances and Temper of the People Govern'd.

Monarchy vested with the most absolute powers that either Con­cession or Conquest can create I esteem the best of Governments, but that only happens when it represents God more in his Justice than Singularity; and when Mercy is the Ornament as well as Power the supporters of his Throne: In such a Government under a Prince whose Goodness and Wisdom runs in equal paralells with his power and greatness, the people are happy and secure, whilst their Neigh­bours live in fear and subjection, His Councils are private, and the Execution of them suddain, without which no great enterprise can be successful: To such a King is applicable the Answer which was made to this Question upon Pasquill in Rome, Quid est Prerogativa Regis: The Reply being in optimo Rege nihil nimis, in Malo Omne Ni­mum. But to take a view of this Government in its dark side, un­der a Child, Fool, or vitious Prince, nothing carries such an aspect of Horror and Misery to the poor Wretches who live under it: Where­fore, [Page 11]if we consider that the generality of Men, when let loose to their natural, or rather corrupted Inclinations, are much more apt to lean towards Tyranny and Oppression, than to such Methods as may promote their Peoples Happiness, I think this sort of Govern­ment by no means desirable. It does at the best but keep the State which is directed by it, in a fluctuating and unsetled condition. It some­times in the Reign of a Warlike and Ambitious Prince, like the Sea in a Storm, rowls in with rage, and Fury upon a Neighbouring Shoar, and again under the Tuition of another who is of a weak and pusillanimous spirit, it moulders and gives way to the loss of all its former Acquisitions, so that the Ballance of the Kingdom is never at a stand, the Scale moving sometimes upwards, and anon down again, and the People consequently kept in a rowling, unsetled condition, poor, miserable, and uneasie.

Aristocracy is composed by a select number of the Chiefs of the People to Govern the Rest, and stands like a Moderatour between the Excesses of Kingly and Popular Power: But this Mixture often produces Monsters, and as as the greatest Storms are form'd in the Middle Religion, so the Bloodiest Commotions are rais'd in this State, though most Temperate.

Democracy does properly and naturally reduce all to equality, and most carefully consults the Peoples Liberty and Property, but with­all, it obliges every Man to hold his Neighbours hand, and when it falls, it does with great difficulty recover its feet again. 'Tis true, that Monarchies are more Quick and Expeditious in their Attempts, but Common-Wealths, as they are more slow, so they are more sure, and in regard that their Councils are more publick, so are they ge­nerally more Honest and justifiable. Common-wealths are not like Monarchies, subject to the inconveniencies of Evil Council or Cor­ruption where the Prince's personal folly or ambition, the Commands of an Imperious Wife, or the Flatteries of a Fawning Courtezan, may in a minute overthrow a People and Kingdom. We have found it by sad Experience, practised at home, where a Chamber-Maid has prevail'd with her Mistress, and she again by a Kiss or Smile with the Monarch; and we also owe all our present Discom­posures to the Directions of a Zealous Priest, manag'd by the Me­diation of a Commanding Queen. We are also sufficiently sensible of the great Unhappiness that befalls a people living under a Mo­narchy, in having their Prince of a Religion different from them­selves: But this Inconvenience can never befall a Common-wealth, [Page 12]it being impossible to change, alter, or introduce any new Religion by such a Government, but such as the greater part of the people embrace, and are willing to receive. But in Monarchies the King being but one person, may in that respect be more easily and proba­bly seduc'd, both to his own and his peoples irreparable Injury.

The Eastern Countries which lye under the Course of the Sun, as Persia, Turky, Africa, Peru, and Mexico, are most dispos'd to Mo­narchies, in which latter Quarter of the World the people are bet­ter Govern'd by the Spaniard, who are by fits in the Excesses of Kind­ness and Cruelty, than by the Dutch, whose Government is of a more even Temper. But in Europe and nearer the Pole, the people are dispos'd more to Republicks, temper'd by fundamental Laws. Nec totam servitutem pati possunt nec, totam Libertatem. Sir William Temple, whose insight in the Constitutions of States and Kingdoms, may deservedly give him a decisive Vote, tells, us, That Monarchies do indeed seem most Natural, but Common-Wealths the more Artificial sorts of Government; which was but a modest way of giving his suf­frage for the last, for Art always corrects the defects of Nature, and pollishes it up to a greater Lustre: But when all is done, we find it experimentally true, that all Government's like all sublunary things besides, have their Defects: Nature in every part is sick, and there­fore can find rest in no posture: Humane Laws grow out of Vices, which gives to every Government a tincture of Corruption.

That the Government of England was originally and always un­der the same constitution that now, or of late it did appear to be, I cannot conceive, though Sir Edward Coke, and some others, do seem with much earnestness to contend for it. I am of opinion, that like Epicurus his World, it is grown by Chance and Time to what it now is or lately was, by various Concussions and Confluence of People, Interests, Factions, and Laws, like so many Attoms of different shapes and disposures, springing from meer Accident in several Ages; for where there are Men, there will be also Interests, which creates Factions and Parties, and these, as they prevail, or are supprest, produce Laws for or against them, which so far alters the former Government, as new Laws are introduc'd in the room and place of old ones which were thought fit to be Repealed and Abrogated.

Althô some Governments seem to be built upon firmer and more unalterable Foundations than others, yet there is none but ought to adapt it self to the Circumstances and Disposition of the People Go­vern'd, and as these do daily change, so ought the Government to [Page 13]shift and tack with them, that it may the better hit with the Necessi­ties and changing Circumstance of those for whom it was first in­stituted.

That Property is founded in Dominion, I look upon to be a most un­deniable Truth, for Naturally in the same degree that a Man has a Right and possession in a thing, he must necessarily have the Power and Dominion over it; To argue or defend the contrary, is as great an absurdity in Nature, as to say the Fire must be hot, and yet not burn such Cumbustibles as are cast into it. It is upon this account that the Grand Seignior is so Despotick in his Government, for by the Constitutions of that State all Lands are in the Crown, none hold longer than during pleasure, or for Life, and then their Lands revert to him that gave them. For the same reason, in the days of Eng­lands Ignorance and Poverty, when Arts and Learning were strangers to the Land, and the people were scarcely removed from their pri­mitive estate of Nature and War, when every man had a universal Right to all things, and no man could by a peculiar property pre­tend to a Possession longer then his Sword and Bow could maintain it; Then I say were our Governours like Generals, absolure and unli­mitted. 'Tis true indeed, we have some dark shadows of Laws and Councils, then in use, which our Governours thought fit, as they saw occasion to make use of; and we also find the People sometimes dissatisfied, treating their Magistrate with much Roughness and ill Usage upon his Male Administration; yet this does not at all argue that their Governours were limitted and bound up by Laws, as now they are: These things are all practiz'd in France, Turky, and the most Arbitrary Monarchies in the World. Without Laws and Methods, such as these, one Man is not able to govern Millions, and therefore Moses, who under God, was Absolute and Arbitrary, was necessi­tated to appoint certain Rules and Methods, and to admit of others into the Government with him, as Assistants, by their Councel and Advice, the Work being too great for one Man to discharge. It was from the King's absolute Property in the Lands of England (which in those Times none could pretend to but by and through him who held the Sword) as well as from his power over the Laws that our old Tenures sprung of Knight service, Serjeantry, Escuage, Socage, Villenage, &c. Then were all Tenures servile, and all Persons held mediately or immediately from the King, which our Law-Books tell us, we still do; but there was a vast difference between our then, and present Holdings, the first being by actual Services paid; these [Page 14]now being only Nominal and Titular: To hold in Socage, is by the service of the Plow, (as almost all persons are said to do) The Te­nant was in old Times actually bound to Plow the Lords Lands, in consideration of which Service, he granted to his Plow-man, instead of Wages, to hold another piece of Land to his own proper use; but now, though the Tenure does nominally remain, yet the Ser­vice is absolute; every Man being now become, by the circular motions of Chance or Providence, his own Lord, and his own Plow-man: His Property and Possession makes him the Lord over those Glebes which his Necessity (derived from his Ancestor Adams Trans­gression) makes him Till.

Those Governments which succeeded the Patriarchal, were all Mi­litary; all people being then left by Nature in a state of War; but some Countries ripening into Prudence and Knowledge sooner than others, they also sooner betook themselves to Compact, and to such Methods of living, as might be for their Common Advantage. A­mongst these, England was none of the earliest Reformers, but con­tinued long after Greece and Rome, in that Natural state that the first Fathers of Families lest it: and there was reason for it in respect it was an Island, and (in those Times, when Navigation was in a great degree a stranger to the World) not so apt for Commerce or Cor­respondence with other Countries which were more civilized; they had then no Government but what conduc'd to War, and no other King but a General. Caesar in his Commentaries, telis us, that he found the Brittains, poor, ignorant, and destitute of Laws, but he also gives them the Character of a People dispos'd to War, Brittannnos in Bello promptos & in Armis expertes: All things (as in the state of Nature) were in Common, even to their Wives and Children: But the Romans having given them a taste of the sweetness and advantage of Government, they soon after began (as Tacitus in his Annals ac­quaints us) to make Application to their General, to protect and defend them, by his Power and Strength, in the peaceable enjoyment of certain proportions and allotments of Land, against all Invaders; In lieu of which Protection to them and their Heirs, they promise and swear to him and his Heirs, certain Services, together with Homage and Fealty. With this Notion of Tacitus, Bide seems to concur in the 4th. Book of his History, where he says, That Generals and Kings were amongst the Brittains as Terms Univocal, for Kings went al­ways out to Battle in times of War, and in Peace, exercis'd the Le­gislative power at home: And Ammianus in his 15th. Book, is more [Page 15]plain and positive, for he tells us, That Brittanni nulla separali frueban­tur possessione, nisi Principis concessu & potestate defendantur.

From hence it may be reasonably allowed, that England was first Governed by an absolute Power, not from the Election of the Peo­ple, nor by Conquest, but from the Temper, Disposition, and Cir­cumstances of that Age of the World in which most Countries lay under the same sort of Government, and more especially by their Ignorance of better methods, which continued longer in Islands by reason of the difficulty of Commerce, than in Continents where a Correspondence was then more easily maintained. It is undoubtedly from this bottom, that the People of England are still supposed to hold all their Lands mediately or immediately from the King, and 'tis perhaps from hence that so many Commons and Wasts still re­main uninclosed, and that Waiss, Strays, Wrecks, Wasts, and all o­ther things, in which no man can lay a particular propriety, are re­puted to be in the Crown.

Upon these reasons I conclude, that the property of all the Lands here in England being originally in no particular person, must necessa­rily (as the Law still is in such Cases) rest in the King, and those that held from or by his power, neither had or could have any right against that power by which they held, but only against others that were in a level with themselves.

How many these Landed Men Originally were, or what seperate proportions were alloted to them, whether the quantity of a County, Hundred, or Tything, or whether their Allotments were according to the largness of their respective Families, or their Princes favour, I cannot say: But these Proprietors were probably the Pares Regni, or such as afterwards, by the growth of Laws and the remo­val of Ignorance, became by a settled and uncontroulable right, the Peers and Nobles of the Land; and having by their Princes permissive favour long enjoyed their Dignities and Possessions, they at last wrought them up to an Establishment by Law, insomuch that what was held before ad voluntatem Domini, is now made hereditary, per­forming only some small Services and Acknowledgments to their King of General, some whereof were payable in times of War, as Knight Service, Escuage, petty Serjeanty, and grand Serjeanty, o­thers in times of Peace, such were Burgage, Villenage, Socage, Ho­mage, and Fealty.

Thus did a part of the People first twist themselves into a real Pro­perty in part of the Lands of the Kingdom, and as the Prince pro­ved [Page 16]kind and liberal, so did the numbers of these Proprietors increase, and their Properties grew more strong and indefeasable, and so con­sequently their Power and Dominions; but the Prince on the other hand grows proportionably poorer and weaker, Both resembling a Boat which rises and falls with the flowing Element that bears it up. After this manner the Lords grew daily richer and stronger, till they had in a great measure, by their acquisitions strip'd the Crown of its chiefest Embellishments, and invested themselves in much the better share of the Lands of England: And their Power grew with their Property to that degree, that they who were Originally but Servants to the Prince, became now Masters of the Nation. This, King John to his sorrow, was sufficiently sensible of in his Barons War; and it was from the Power of the Nobility alone that King Henry the Seventh did receive his Chaplet as well as Crown. He was a wise Prince, and from hence took an occasion of Jealously, that the same Powers which rais'd and plac'd him in the Throne, might pull him down again and lay his Glories in the Dust. To prevent therefore all Dangers which might arise from their growing Greatness, he first procures a Statute to be Enacted against Retain­ers, that the number of the Followers and Attendants of Noblemen might be retrench'd, for they did so far indulge the Vanity of a large Retinue in those times, that their respective Trains were sufficient for a Soveraign Prince's Guard. In the next place he procures the Statute of Fines to pass both Houses, whereby the Nobility got a power (which by the Common Law they had not) to cut of Entails, and thereby to sell their Estates to the best Purchaser. Before this Statute, and Estate in a Noblemans hand, might in some respect be said to be in Mortmain, for by the Intail it was so bound up in the Fa­mily, that it grew almost irremoveable; and thus having a power to purchase but not to fell, their Possessions, and consequently their Power grew daily greater, without a possibility of Diminution. But these Entails, as they were injurious to Trade and Industry, so by their Consequences they were dangerous to Regall Authority, and therefore this Device was contriv'd to prevent both these Inconveni­encies: and it did indeed prove very effectual in divesting the Nobi­lity both of their Property and Power, but at the same time it open'd a Door to the Commonalty, and gave them free access to that Pro­perty and Dominion which the Nobility did by degrees part with: Nor did they neglect to improve this advantage they had got by Di­ligence, Industry and Frugality, for in process of Time they wound [Page 17]themselves into the better share of those Possessions which were first derived from the King to his Nobles, and from them thus to the Commons of the Nation.

The Effect and Consequence of these Acquisitions, made by the Commonalty, were discover'd and fear'd by King James, but not felt till the Reign of King Charles the First, who by an imprudent Contest with This Superior Power, was first depriv'd of his Crown, and afterwards of his Life. The yearly Rents of England (besides the accrewing benefit of Trade, which is altogether in the hands of the Commonalty) amounts to 14 Millions per annum. Of this the King and Nobility both together hold not above one Million at the most, the King's Revenue being principally made up by the Excise and Customs, not by the Rents of Crown Lands; so that there re­mains 13. shares of 14. of the Lands of England, and consequently a proportionable share of the Power in the Commons. But the Con­stitutions of our Government, as it now stands, placing the Domi­nion in the King, whilst the Property is in the People, does in this commit a sort of Violence upon Nature, [...] seperating thus the Soul from the Body, the Power from the Possession: This it is which causes these frequent Distempers and Convulsions in the Body Politick; for Power is a sort of Volatile Spirit which cannot subsist without a proper Vehicle to give in Body, and this must be Possession, from which if it be once separated, it immediately evaporates and dis­appears.

Having hitherto trac'd the Government of England in its Originals and Procedures, I will farther take the liberty to advert some Par­ticulars as they seem now to stand in its present Constitution; and in the first place, I cannot think it so happy and well compos'd a Go­vernment, and so aptly suited to the present condition to the People, as most Men endeavour to represent it, for it seems in its Frame and Nature to be sett to Factious Interests and Dissentions, and thus it has been ever since the disunion between Property and Power; the Court and Country Interests are no new nor unknown Terms to us, and have been managed and upheld by their respective Votaries (tho in some Kings Reigns with greater Spirit and Animosity than in others) ever since, and for some time before the Barons Wars. The people have got the Possession, and the King is entrusted with a power and prerogative over it, or at least with so much, as may prove prejudicial to it. This Naturally creates Fears and Jealousies, least at any time the Prince by his power, should invaded their Properties and abridge [Page 18]their Liberties, upon which account his Prerogative is the White they level at, esteeming it rather their Terror than their Security for which it was at first given and intended; and therefore when the people find an opportunity, either by their Prince's weakness, folly, or other unhappy circumstances, they have usually made breaches upon this Bulwark of the Crown, and by such Sallies and Incursions have got ground and advantage towards the farther securing of those Liberties and Properties they with so much Diligence and Reason endeavoured to provide for. So on the other side is the Prince jea­lous of his people, and is always fearful that they should snatch this Rod which he holds over their Backs out of his hand; and to obviate this Evil, he is not without his Counter-designs also, and therefore spares neither Money nor Power in the Elections of Parliaments and Juries, to obtain such persons to be return'd, as for a Mess of Por­ridge will sell their Birth-right, and by advancing his Prerogative and lengthening his Scourge, are willing to ruine and undo their Country: And so it generally falls out, that when this power happens to fall into the management of an haughty daring Spirit, it breaks in upon the people, and endeavours to get again by Force, what his Ancestors had given away by Flattery. Thus there is always a Tide of Ebb or Flow, the Scales rarely or never standing even between the King and his People; and indeed the Constitution of our Go­vernment is such, That Murmuring and Dissention do naturally spring from it: the Ground is dispos'd to produce such Weeds, we are always engag'd in a sort of Civil War, and in this respect con­tinue still in the same state in which Nature left us. An House di­vided against it self cannot stand, every Man has enough to do to defend his own from Domestick Invaders, and whilst this Root of Di­vision is suffer'd to grow at Home, its impossible to do any thing that's Great abroad; every Design is poyson'd with a Jealousie in its Cradle, and it is enough to make the people suspect it a Snake (thô the Skin and Flowers in which it lies be never so plausible and plea­sing) if the King does but hand it to them. From hence it is that our Government always totter'd, twice fell down, and now lies in its primitve undigested Chaos, and he must be a greater Architect, than Perhaps our Nation can afford, to warrant its standing above three ordinary Reigns, if it be rebuilt upon its old Foundations. An Expedient to prevent this Inconvenience, will be a proper Subject for this Great Convention.

Another thing not well consistent with the Policy and Government of England, is the exceeding largeness of the Revenue of the Crown. In France indeed it is six times greater, that King being reputed to have 12. Millions, and the King of England but two: But we see the miserable Effects of it, in the extreme Poverty and Vassallage of his people. 'Tis true, the Kings of England once had more, for they had in effect all, but then the people were but one remove from the state of Nature, and the possessions are now got into the hands of the people, which they will be loath to part from, so that the Case is much alter'd; Whatsoever the Government of Heaven may be, yet on Earth in one State there cannot be two Equals, One must submit and the other must Govern, or else there will be a constant War; and while the King has so great a Revenue as to be able to maintain a Standing Army, there still remains so much of this Equality as will promote and maintain such Differences as ought by no means to be allow'd of in a well constituted Government: But moreover, the peo­ple by the present Constitution, are Sharers with the Prince in the Supreme and Legislative Power in Parliament, and 'tis by them that Grievances must be redrest. It ought therefore in every Well-Con­stituted Government to be provided for, that this Supreme and Le­gislative Power may frequently, if not always, be in a capacity to Enact and Order such things as tend to the Peoples Benefit and Secu­rity; but in this, our Government is defective, it being in the Prince's power (as our Lawyers have generally determin'd) to keep off Parliaments as long as he pleases. And how is this defect remedied? Only by another, which on the other side they subject the Prince to, which is, by keeping him poor, that so his poverty may necessitate him to call frequent Parliaments. Thus by a mutual lameness or in­firmity on both sides, the Prince and People are become equal Matches, Both Cripples, not able to go forward in any great En­terprizes abroad, but to lie struggling with each other at home. King Henry the Fifth, had but 56000 l. per annum, and Queen Elizabeth's whole Revenue was but 160000 l. but some kind Parliaments (and such they usually are to excess, upon the first accession of a King to the Throne) either brib'd by Smiles, or flatter'd by Hopes of private Gain, have thought fit to setter the Nation by advancing the Revenue to about two Millions per annum; so that now there is little hopes of meeting with those advantages and opportunities of tacking their Grievances to a Money Bill, which formerly they use to do; though in truth, even then the State was in a dangerous con­dition, [Page 20]that could not have a Remedy at hand upon every Disturb­ance and Malady which should happen. This I think may not im­properly be esteem'd a thing worthy of Your Thoughts to find a proper Expedient to redress it.

Another Particular which I take to be one of the greatest Silecisms in Government imaginable is where the most Absolute and Supreme power is yet without a Power to Remedy and Redress the Peoples Grievances: Thus it has been for many years adjudged to be by the Interpreters of our Laws and Government, the Judges. And to il­lustrate this by an Instance. Suppose the people are agriev'd, and want a law to set them Right; The King has no power to make it of himself, and till he thinks fit to call a Parliament, the people must still continue subject to their Government: But perhaps the Kings Interest (which is unhappily divided from the peoples) forbids this Expedient; What shall be done? Why then let them stay and be ruin'd, till the King wants Money, which as the present Eestablish­ment is, will never be. But suppose a Parliament is called, and they in their proceedings happen to fret upon the Kings Prerogative, a Favourite evil Councellor, or some other Interest that the King has a mind to promote and protect, though never so opposite to that of the Nations, why then their Supreme and Legislative power is not worth a Rush, for the King, though he has no absolute power him­self, yet has a power above this, to destroy it by a Dissolution or Prorogation when he pleases, and so like the Cat in the Manger, can neither eat Hay himself, nor suffer the Horse to eat to whom it be­longs. This seems contrary to all the Rules of Art and Nature, and more Unintelligible than the Doctrine of the Trinity, or Transubstan­tiation, for here the Supreme power is subject to an Inferior, and the King who is Minor Universis, yet is also Major and Superior to them; That Power which was given for the Protection of the People is their Destroyer, and the great and weighty Affairs of the Nation be­comes subject to the passions and humours of a single Person. This I think I may safely affirm, That all Governments are built upon wrong bottoms, where there is not a Supreme and Absolute Power, which may without Controll, and upon any suddain Occasion or Emergency, alter, create, or repeal such Laws as shall be thought by them necessary for the Peoples Good.

Another thing that has been very incongruous and disagreeable in our Establishment is, That the Election of the Judges, and conse­quently the pronouncing of the Law, should be in the Kings Power▪ [Page 21]If indeed he were a Third Person unconcern'd in point of Interest, this Method would be more tolerable; but being One that so often sets up an Interest different from that of his People, and is subject to be seduc'd by the evil Councels of a Confessor, Miss or Favourite, and the Peoples Rights hanging wholly upon the Lips of these twelve men in Scarlet, it is most fit they should be chosen by Them who are chiefly concern'd, and for whose benefit and protection both the King and Laws were first made and intended, otherwise that very Prerogative, which was given to the King only for the better ena­bling him to act for the benefit of the People, may be (and often is) set up against them. It is contrary to all Rule, that in any Contro­versie a Man should be Judge in his own Case, But he in effect is so who has power to make or unmake the Judge at pleasure: nor can this defect be well remedyed by granting their Commissions quam diu se bene gesserint. This will only oblige a greater care in the first choice, that they may be such as in their Principles will stand firm to the Kings Interest. The Honour and Income of a Judge to one that knows not how otherways to live is a violent Provocative; it is a sort of lawful Bribery upon him to pursue his Maker and Destroyers Commands tho against all the Rules of Justice and Equity; self Pre­servation is his Warrant, binds him to a Complyance, and makes him think it more allowable to break his Oath then to destroy his Honour and the Interest of a young Favourite who makes hay with great diligence whilst his Sun shines.

I have often wondered at the unjust Censures of some in saying that our late King so often and so notoriously broke his word and promises to his People in not Governing them according to Law. For Instances, they urge His Dispensing with Statutes, and his hard Usage of the Gentlemen in Maudlin Colledge, in both which I con­ceive he committed no breach of his Word or Promises if they be ta­ken strictly and in a literal sense. This I think may easily be gran­ted if it be consider'd, That the present Laws and Constitutions of England are such as do undoubtedly give the King a Power to make the Judge, and to the Judge a power to pronounce the Law. What he does judicially affirm is Law, and becomes from thenceforth the strongest President, the last Judgment being always esteem'd the surest and best Rule to go by: Now the King in both these transacti­ons neither made or turnd out any Judges but in such methods that former Judges had pronounc'd Lawful, nor did he do afterwards a­ny [Page 22]thing either in the case of Maudlin Colledge or the Dispensing Power, but with the Opinion and Concurrence of his Judges being the Method that our Establishment and Laws in such Cases does direct.

There is also a great Cry against the late Judges, for giving their Opinions, and pronouncing Judgments contrary to the Laws of the Land, and no other Fate must be their reward, but that of Tresilian and Belknap. It does, I must confess, seem very reasonable, that Men, who by their Honour, Oaths and Rewards, were bound in­distinguishably to administer Justice, should smart for those Delin­quencies by which so many Hundreds have been ruin'd and undone. But in the first place, let me know how a Judge can give his Opinion contrary to Law, whose very Opinion judicially given, by the Con­stitutions of our Government, is Law it self, and shall be deem'd a stronger President in the point, than any other formerly given. And Secondly, If Judges must suffer for giving Sentence contrary to former Judgments, there is scarcely a Term passes even in the best of Times, but there are Offences committed by them of this kind. How ordinary is it for a Judge to give his Opinion in common Cases contrary to his Brethren on the same Bench, and for one Court to reverse the Judgments of another? And how full are the Law Books of Judgments and Opinions directly contrary to each other? The Law is not Mathematically demonstrable, it is a Science which de­pends upon the Judgment and Opinion only of those that are Learn­ed therein, which we often find various and uncertain. Is not a Judge Sworn to act and determine according to his Opinion only, and who can pretend a power to direct and rectifie it, or to judge whether the Sentence given, was not according to his real judgment, since none can know his heart and thoughts but God: And suppose it could be prov'd by Demonstration, that his Sentence or Opinion was not Law, this may proceed as well from his want of Knowledge as Ho­nesty, and what Law is there to punish a Judges ignorance or mi­stake? 'Tis hard that Men should be deem'd guilty of a Transgres­sion where there is no Law, or condemn'd to punishment where there is no Transgression. No, no, Thô our King was misguided, and our Judges were corrupt, yet it is not at their doors, we must lay our Misfortunes but to the weakness of our Government, which gives a Loose to these Inconveniencies, and which pins the Justice of the Nation upon the Frailties of a single Man in so Arbitrary a man­ner. Opportunity makes a Thief, and these Meshes in the Govern­ment, [Page 23]tempts the Ministers thereof to slip through some­times when a Bait lies on the other side to invite them to it. It is from this Root that all our late Miscarriages sprung; We suffer'd much, and yet it was all but little, if compar'd to that which was likely to befall us, had not Providence snatcht us by a Miracle from the Jaws of Misery; and as it has deliver'd us from the Evil Administration of Law, so in some things I wish it would rescue us from the Law it self, and so far change it, that for the future it may be no more subject to such Shams and Delusions, nor in a capacity thus to become an Accessory to its own Death.

It seems farther very incongruous, That where Govern­ment is made up of two different Interests, as here it is, the absolute power of Peace and War should be only in the King, whilst the power of maintaining it, continues in the People: For if the King should be led aside by a private Interest, and should refuse to make War in a time when per­haps the Safety and Honour of the Nation did wholly de­pend upon it; What a condition must the People then be in? Put the case, that before this our late but seasonable De­liverance, the King, in whom this Power did reside, should have open'd the Gates of the Kingdom, our Harbours and Strengths (which are to protect us from Forreign Invaders) to a French, or Irish Army; Who durst lift a hand to stop this inundation of Tyranny, without incurring the penalty of a Traytor: Nay they must farther be call'd Friends and Allies, even whilst they pillage our Houses, and hold their Knives to our Throats. This Branch of our Laws serves to cover the Landing of a Forreign Power, and so long to cherish and keep it warm, till like the Serpent in the Fable, it at last stings the improvident Benefactor to death.

Another thing which highly requires Your Regulation, is the Elections for Parliament. 'Tis a great Blemish to our Government, that such whose Place gives them the Title of Founders of our Laws, and Preservers of our Liberties; [Page 24]and whose Reputation for Principles of Honour, Honesty & Prudence should be beyond assault or censure, must yet be expos'd to a Necessity of doing such things as are really mean and scandalous as well as expensive, before they can get into a Capacity of doing their Country service: for if such things be not done, some Pensioner from Court bids higher, jostles him our and gets thereby into a Power to put to Sale both the Laws and Liberties of his Country which he is willing to barter for the hopes of some Court Preferment, and the Euge of his great Master. In old times no person had an E­lecting Vote in the Shire, who had not a Freehold of 40 s. per Ann. but I could easily demonstrate 40 s. then, to be E­quivolent in value to 40 l. now, for by the discovery of the Western World, Gold and Silver is to that degree increas'd. Now if the number of Electors were reduc'd to those only having Freeholds of 40 l. per An. these lavish Expences would certainly cease, and the Electors, though fewer in number, would be less apt to be led aside by such low and indirect means. There are also great irregularities in the Corporati­ons and Burroughs Electing as well as in the Electors: I can see no reason why Cornwall a poor and barren County should return 43 Members for Parliament, and yet Cheshire together with the City of Chester should return in all but 3, and why old Sarum which has but 2 Houses, and those un­der the Commands of one Landlord, should send 2 Repre­sentatives to Parliament, whilst many other Towns which might deserve the Title and Priviledges of Cities send no Re­presentatives at all. I can scarcely think a Parliament thus Constituted can truly and fairly represent the People, the Majority and Richest of them being by such inequallities excluded from an Electing Vote. The same inconvenience springs from the Constitutions of the Boroughs which Elect, not by vertue of their Wealth, Dignity, or Number of In­habitants, but by the Burrough Houses in which they live, These only, (which perhaps are the most inconsiderable [Page 25]part of the Burrough) having in them the Electing power exclusive of the rest. This Qualification makes such Hou­ses sell better to a purchaser then any others in the Town, and it is customary for Gentlemen who are desirous of a Seat in Parliament, to lay out their Mony in such Bargains, and tho' it costs them dear, yet if it be possible, they will be Landlords of a sufficient number of these Borough Houses, (in the purchase whereof some Friends Name is mostly made use of in Trust) that thereby they may Command an Election either for themselves or their Assigns at pleasure. What is this less than buying of Votes with Money? A Crime which has been always lookt upon with a severe brow, and yet Licens'd by this old Usage. Nor can I discern why this Electing power should be thus fixt to the Freehold in being, restrained to a small and inconsiderable number of Houses, as if Wood and Stone had a Rational faculty, and must be made use of to build and repair the Government.

The Methods of Electing in these Boroughs are various, Titles to Elect are also different, and very often dubious and uncertain. This necessitates double Elections, and counte­nances false Returns, which are often made ill use of; for the King having a power to nominate the Sheriff, and he to make a Return, it may happen that the true and right­ful Members shall continue Petitioners only, whilst such as came in by unjust Returns, pass an Act to give the King Mo­ney for the maintainance of a Stranding Army. This Ar­tifice was of much use in the last Parliament at Westminster, and became so notorious from the great Number of Peti­tioners, that a Gentleman being ask'd, whether the House of Commons sate that day in the Parliament; No, (reply'd he) It stood in the Lobby.

It is Customary in the Borough of Limmington in Hamp­shire, to Elect by the Ballot: The manner is to give to eve­ry Electing Burgess (their number being limitted and known) a different Colour'd Ball for every Competitor, each [Page 26]Colour being respectively appropriated to the several Competitors: As suppose there should be three Candidates, each Elector has three several Balls given him, which he so manages as to keep only that in his hand, which by its Co­lour belongs to the person he intends to chuse; this being inclos'd in his hand, he puts it into a close Box made for that purpose, leaving no possibility to any one to detect what colour'd Ball he put into it. Thus each having put in his Ball according to his Vote, the Balls of one Colour are se­parated from those of another colour, and so according to the Majority of Balls of one Colour, the Return is made. This Method I know to be of great advantage where it is made use of; It prevents Animosities and Distast, and very much assists that freedom which ought to be in Elections. No man in this way need fear the disobliging of his Land­lord, Customer, or Benefactor; for it can by no means be discovered how he gave his Vote, if he will but keep his own counsel. If this or some such Device were appointed to be made use of in every Borough over all the Kingdom, I am perswaded it would abundantly answer expectation, in the many Advantages which would attend it: And perhaps it would be of equal Benefit in all other Elections, as well as in those, for Members of Parliament, if the Go­vernment were so dispos'd as to fill up all Vacancies, whe­ther in Church or State, by the plurality of Votes appointed to elect: And I am apt to believe that succeeding Ages may reduce it into a Law, that Privy Councellors shall be chosen by the Lords, Judges by the Gentlemen at the Bar, Bishops by their Dean and Chapters, Ministers by their Parishioners, Fellows and Masters of Colledges by the Graduates of the same Colledge, Sheriffs by the Gentry of the Country, Of­ficers of Trust in the State and in the Army by the Parlia­ment, the Parliament by Freeholders of 40 l. per annum, and all by the Ballott.

'Tis much e [...]sier (I know) to find Faults than to mend them; and I could mention many other things of the same nature, the Redress whereof, I hope will be thought of in this great Convention, before They proceed to dispose of the Crown. 'Tis an easier matter for a People to make ten Kings, than to unmake One, and to deck a Crown with the highest Prero­gatives, than to deprive it, when they are Confer'd, of the least of them. If the Crown be given again with the same Qualifications that Other Heads wore it, It will then be exalted above the Peoples reach, without some such assisting Miracle as was lately shewn in favour of them. Now, to reform its Redundancies is natural, easie, and prudent, the Government being escheated to the People by the Kings de­serting it; But to offer at any such Attempts afterwards, will be both unkind and imprudent, and will signifie no more than the chatterings of a parcel of Magpies about an Owl in her Majesty.

Some Men have espous'd an odd and unwarrantable No­tion, that the Kings Desertion of the Government amounts to a Demise, or Civil Death. If this be so, the next Heir ought immediately to be Proclaim'd, and must Inherit the Crown with the same inseperable Prerogatives that heretofore belong'd to it, and all Laws or Acts of Parliament made to limit and abridge them, (if Lawyers speak truth) are void and null. But if the Departure of the King amounts to such a desertion as dissolves the Government, then the Power must necessarily revert and vest in the People, who may Erect a new One, either according to the old Modell, if they like it so well, or any other that they like and approve of better.

Were such a mighty Thing to be determin'd by my sin­gle Vote, the Government should be Monarchy, and this Mo­narchy should be Absolute and Arbitrary, and the Prince should be my King. 'Tis He alone who is The Man in Chri­stendom in respect of Courage and an innate Disposition to delight in the Happiness of his People, with whom I could [Page 28]freely and securely intrust my All: But the Honour I have for Him, runs not to His Posterity, for as a good Man may notwithstanding, get a Profligate Son, so I should be loath to Repose such a Trust at a venture in the hands of any one whom I do not know. You have a great Work to do, and 'tis from Your Councels, that after Ages must date their Hap­piness or Misery, and it therefore Obliges Your most Seri­ous Thoughts.

I hope, Sir, you will excuse the Liberties I have taken, in giving you so large a Diversion from better Notions of your own, which I know are of an higher flight and swifter wing than what I can pretend to: Mine I do not impose, but submit, as becomes

SIR, Your Obliged humble Servant N. T.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.