A LETTER Humbly addrest To the most Excellent Father of his Country, THE Wise and Victorious Prince, King William III.

By a dutiful and well-meaning Subject.

LONDON, Printed by J. Darby in Bartholomew-Close. 1698.

SIR,

A Well-meaning and dutiful Subject hum­bly begs your Majesty to read this Let­ter, which is written with no other design but only to set before you,

  • I. What was the antient Foundation of the English Monarchy.
  • II. How it was remov'd from off its natural Foundation.
  • III. By what Expedients it has bin supported since that Removal.
  • IV. By what Expedient your Majesty may support the Monarchy during your Reign (which I pray God may be long and hap­py) and also raise it to as high a degree of Glory as ever it has attain'd heretofore.

I. The Monarchy of England was setled upon an over balance of Lands vested in the King, the Nobility, and the Church, who antiently possess'd above two thirds of the whole English Territory: But the Noble-men held their Lands [Page 4] upon condition, that they should assist the King upon all his Occasions with certain Quotas of Men well arm'd and paid: And then these No­blemen let out their Lands to their Tenants upon condition that they should always be ready to follow their respective Lords to the War as often as the King should have any occasion for their Service. So that very small Rents were de­manded by the Lord from the Tenants, be­cause he had contracted for their Personal Service.

'Twas this disposition of Lands which ena­bled our former Kings to raise great Armies when they pleas'd, and to invade France (their natural Enemy) with success: and hereby it was that the Nobility upheld the Grandure of the King at home as well as abroad; and at the same time they were a shelter and defence to the common People, if the King were inclin'd to make any Incroachments upon them. For the over-balance of Propriety (and conse­quently their greatest natural Power) was vested in the middle state of Nobility; who were therefore able to preserve both King and People in their due bounds.

[Page 5] Thus the English Monarchy stood upon a natural Foundation, the King being the great Landlord of his People, who were all bound by their Tenures (in subordination to one ano­ther) to support his Crown and Dignity.

II. This antient Foundation of the English Monarchy was sap'd and undermined by K. Hen­ry the Seventh, who (having seen the Imperial Crown of England dispos'd of at the pleasure of the Lords who had maintain'd a War against the Crown for near 400 years) could not but be much concern'd at the over-grown Power of the Peers, who sometimes would pull down and set up what King they pleas'd; and this Consideration made K. Henry the Seventh seek after ways and means how to lessen the Power of the Lords, which had bin so prejudicial to the Crown: and seeing that their over grown Power was supported by the great Territo­ries of Land of which they were possess'd, and which they could not alienate from their Heirs, He by the help of his Parliament found out a way to change the Tenure of Lands in such a manner that the Tenant should be oblig'd only to pay a Rent instead of Personal Service [Page 6] to his Landlord: and also a way was found out for the Lords to alienate their Lands from their Posterity. This was done to the end that the Lords might be encourag'd by an expensive way of living to sell their Lands, and that the Commons who liv'd thristily might be enabled to purchase them. Hereby it came to pass that at the end of King Henry the Eighth's Reign (in whose time most part of the Church-Lands were also sold to the People) the common People of England had near two thirds of the Lands of England in their proper Possession, and the King, Lords, and Church little more than one third part; whereby the Balance was turn'd on the side of the Commons, who were therefore able to make War upon the King, Lords and Church together, as appeard after­wards in the Reign of King Charles the First.

Thus it appears that the antient Foundation of the English Monarchy was remov'd in the Reign of K. Henry the Seventh; and the over-balance of Lands falling from the Lords to the Commons, 'tis evident that the Monarchy has ever since stood, not upon an Aristocratical, but a Popular Foundation; and such a Foun­dation dos naturally support none but Com­monwealth [Page 7] Forms of Government. Where­fore a Monarchy supported on such a Founda­tion may properly be call'd a Government of Expedients, because it is by Expedients and Inventions, and not upon any bottom of its own that it subsists. Now what Expedients our Kings have us'd to support the Monarchy is the next thing to be consider'd. Where­fore

III. The Balance of Lands being chang'd by the end of K. Henry the Eighth's Reign, from the Lords and Church to the Commons of England, 'tis past all doubt but that Queen Elizabeth discover'd the popular bottom of the Monarchy, because she found out the only wise Expedient by which the Monarchy upon its new Foundation was capable of being sup­ported in its antient Lustre and Glory. Her Expedient was her Popularity, by which she accommodated her personal Administration to the true Genius of the Monarchical Consti­tution, as it then stood. For the whole Reign of that Queen (of Glorious Memory) tho long (but not tedious) was past over in a constant Courtship to her People, in which [Page 8] not only all her Actions, but sometimes her very Words expressed her knowledg, that the Monar­chy was then founded on their Affections. In what Glory she supported her self and the Eng­lish Monarchy by that Expedient of Popularity, notwithstanding very great Oppositions from the preeminent Powers of Europe, her History do's sufficiently explain.

King James the First was not in his nature in­clin'd to persue this honourable and proper Ex­pedient, but his thoughts seem'd to be set upon his own Power more than upon his Peoples Good; whereby it came to pass that the Flattery of the Court was more pleasing to him than the general Interest of his Kingdom. And having gotten some superficial skill in the Arts and Sciences, and a profound knowledg (as he thought) in Theology, he made his Court to the Divines of the Church of England, that they being appriz'd of his great Learning might in their Writings celebrate his Fame, and insi­nuate to the People his great Knowledg in all sorts of Divine and Human Learning. Here­upon at his first coming to the Crown of Eng­land he industriously assisted the Bishops and Church-Party against the Puritans; whom the [Page 9] Church look'd upon as no less than her Ene­mies, because tho they could endure, yet they did not admire her Bishops and Ceremonies. And in this manner that King found out his Expedient in the Church-party, which admir'd and almost ador'd his deep Learning, often­times comparing him to King Solomon for Wis­dom, and indeed omitted no opportunity which might gain him an extraordinary Reverence among the People.

'Tis not then to be wonder'd at that King Charles the First trod in the steps of his Father, and persued the same Expedient which had been successful to his Father, especially having de­rived from him the same Temper of Mind, and being well pleas'd to have for his Flatterers the gravest of Divines; whose Courtship ever tended to aggrandize the King by enlarging the Royal Prerogative, and to set it above the Laws of the Realm, by virtue of some politi­cal Doctrines which they drew from the Word of God. From hence sprang the Divine Right by which those Kings were said to reign over us, and a Divine Right of Succession to the Crown of England was derived to their Poste­rity. But yet King Charles the First laid too [Page 10] great a weight upon his Expedient, and en­couraged it too much, even when the People began to be sensible that the Pulpit-Law did build the Kings Prerogative upon the Ruins of the People's Liberty: And herewith began the quarrel of the People against that King, in which he lost his Life; and the Monarchy, losing its Expedient of the Church party, was likewise overthrown.

After this an Essay was made to introduce a Commonwealth-form of Government, but it was interrupted by a Standing Army, which with their arbitrary and uncertain ways of Ad­ministration at last tir'd out the People, that they restor'd the Monarchy in the Person of King Charles the Second; who being the Son of the Royal Martyr, was intitled to all that Assis­tance which the Church was capable of giving: and there was one thing more which made the Church-men exert all their Powers with the greatest vigor in favour of their restor'd King, which was this.

The Clergy and their Party having bin ill treated since the downfal of King Charles the First, and being again restor'd with Charles the Second to their former Dignities, they were high­ly [Page 11] animated against the Presbyterians, by whom they had bin provoked in the late Interregnum, so that nothing was more in their Desires than to be avenged of their Enemies; and this Master-passion of theirs was so well gratified by their King, who granted severe Laws a­gainst all Dissenters from the Church, that no Prince ever gain'd the Hearts of the Clergy and their whole Party more entirely to his Inte­rest than Charles the Second. No Vice or Lewd­ness could stain the Reputation of the Martyr's Son; but tho he were the greatest Encourager of all Profaneness and Immorality in the most open manner, yet still he was our most Religious and Gracious King. In his time all Atheists, De­bauchees and loose Persons own'd the Church of England for their Mother; which numerous Party enlarging the Pale of the Church, assisted very much to advance the Power of the King upon the foundation of a Divine Right, which it was said God had given him: so that the universal Acclamation was, viz. Great is Diana of the Ephesians, and great is the Jure divino King, the Image which fell down from Jupiter!

But notwithstanding this loud Acclamation, the cautious King, who in his Youth had bin [Page 12] forc'd to travel into foreign Countries, and was unwilling to take such another Journey, did not think fit to rely wholly upon this Church-Expedient, but to give it greater strength he twisted into it a Court-party, who by their Places and Pensions were oblig'd to assist his Royal Pleasure by their Votes in both Houses of Parliament: and thus the Monarchy had its Foundation laid in Place and Pension, which by angry People is call'd BRIBERY. But let that be as it will, 'tis certain that Men can never act so vigorously for a Bribe, as out of mere Inclination. Besides this, mercenary Men are soon discover'd in their Designs, and the disco­very of their Principle forfeits all their Credit with the People. So that a small steady Coun­try Party in Parliament were a great clog upon the Projects of Church and Court, which, tho so closely united together, prov'd but a lame Expedient to support the Monarchy in the Per­son of King Charles the Second; so that between these two stools he fell at last to the ground, but not without thoughts of the only Expedient by which he might (had he liv'd) have esta­blish'd himself upon the foundation of the Peo­ple of England.

[Page 13] King James the Second would not trust to any of the fore-mention'd Expedients, because none of them could be sufficient to carry him thro all his Designs, especially thro that of introducing Popery. Nothing less than a standing Army could support his Tyranny, but Popery was too great a weight for the Army to stand under: So that whilst he was subduing the people to Popery by a Protestant Army, he lost both Peo­ple and Army; in consequence whereof he was lost himself. And that the loss of him may by means of your Majesty's happy Reign be a Gain to England, it is to be consider'd,

IV. By what Expedient your Majesty may support the English Monarchy during your Reign, and by which you may raise it to as eminent a degree of Glory as it hath ever at­tain'd heretofore.

Your Majesty may remember that the original foundation of the Monarchy was the great Territory of Land possessed by the King: but your Majesty is also sensible that there are but very small Remainders of this Territory in your present Possession; even the very accidental additions of Lands to the Crown have bin alie­nated [Page 14] to the Favorites of the Scotish Line: So that there is need of an Expedient now as much as ever for the support of the Monarchy.

Be pleas'd therefore to review the Expedients of former Princes, and see if any of them be sutable to your particular Circumstances, or proper for your Majesty to depend upon for the Support and Glory of your Throne. And,

As for the Church-party, which was the dar­ling Support of the Scotish Line, it is so much worn out by a Succession of three Kings, that 'tis very weak and [...] at present. The Craft of the Priest, [...] in framing such Interpretations of holy Scripture as serve an indirect Interest, was never discover'd so much as of late; and no Person has so much contributed to the discovery hereof as your own self; who by the Revolution you have lately made have revers'd all the Political Divinity which the Clergy have bin propagating since the Reign of King James the First. 'Twas the Church-Clergy and Party who by their preach­ing and voting oppos'd the Bill for excluding James D. of York, a known Papist: 'Twas this Party who impos'd upon the Nation the Doc­trine of Passive Obedience to a Tyrannical [Page 15] King upon pain of eternal Damnation: They always avow'd the divine right of a Lineal Succession to the Crown (by which yout Ma­jesty is excluded) and that all Kings are of God's (not the Peoples) making. From these Principles some of 'em openly refus'd to swear Allegiance to your Majesty; and those of 'em who yield a passive Conformity to your Title and Government, have bin found in several differing stories about the ways and means whereby they satisfy their Consciences in this matter. Some have alledg'd, that your Ma­jesty having conquer'd us, they may lawfully submit to a Usurpation which cannot be avoid­ed, and is setled by Success: but all of 'em know that your Majesty can make Bishops and Deans de facto, and therefore they will not question the Defactoship of your Prerogative Royal. But it cannot be expected that the Clergy, who have usually requir'd the Peoples submission to their Sentiments under the pain of Damnation, should upon this Revolution be contented to cry peccavi, and openly recant all their former Doctrines of divine Polity by a hearty active conformity to your Majesty's rightful Title and Government. For this reason it is you have [Page 16] receiv'd so little respect from the body of the Clergy, altho we have receiv'd all that we en­joy from you.

But yet suppose the Church were willing to exert it self in your Service, its Influence is not at present so powerful as it has bin: for by medling so much in State-Affairs she has lost (in great measure) her former Reputation: Nor has she ne're so numerous a Party as for­merly she had: for all the Deists, Socinians, and Latitudinarians own no such Church-power at all. The Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, and Quakers, tho they have their several forms of Church-Government, yet are no friends to that publickly establish'd, but they are unfeigned lovers of your Majesty. Bigotry likewise has lately suffer'd a great diminution, and Incredu­lity is strangely increas'd, and almost become fashionable. Thus the Authority of the Church is forc'd to submit to the Reason of Mankind; and all those who are dutiful to your Majesty are averse to the Homilies of the Church, be­cause they exclude you from all pretence of Right to the Crown you wear: So that the Toleration granted by your Majesty has done you more Service than Uniformity can ever do.

[Page 17] As for the Court-party 'twas never esteem'd to be any more than an Auxiliary to the Church for the support of K. Charles II. in whose Reign too it was discover'd, that after a Cata­logue of Court-Pensioners was publish'd from the Press, the Complexion of his Parliaments was very much changed. And if at any time such a List should be printed, the People of England would refuse to give their Votes for them in the next Election of a Parliament, and in their stead will elect Members of a contrary temper: People commonly run out of one Extreme into another; and when they reject a Courtier, they will probably choose a morose-humour'd Man in his place.

It must be allow'd that it has the face of a politic Expedient to adopt Men of known In­tegrity and Love to their Country into the Court-party; for hereby the Hearts of the People will be for the present gain'd to the Court: tho these Patriots being endued with a ductile temper, will soon become conformable to the nature of the Court. This very Expedient has for a time done good Service to your Majesty's Affairs both at home and abroad. But I think it ought to be considered only as a Cordial which for a short [Page 18] time may revive a languishing Man's Spirit, but yet ought not to be depended upon as a constant support of Life. And as for these new Whig-Courtiers, they will raise the Expectations of all Men to hope for a steady virtuous Admi­nistration. But when this reputed Patriot shall accommodate his Discourse to the old style of the Court; when he shall insinuate such Notions to his old Acquaintance, the baseness and un­worthiness whereof his old Friends had heard him frequently detest all his days in which he was unprefer'd; this new Courtier soon loses all his Credit and Interest with his old Friends, who refuse to follow the Decoy Duck into the Net.

But this is not all the mischief which attends this Project of a Whig-Courtier, but a personal loss of your own Reputation is actually the Con­sequence hereof: for as long as the Court was made up of Tories, the People were willing to excuse your Majesty, and lay the faults of Male-administration upon the Tory-Court, saying, That the old Tools would still do no other than the old Work. But when a Man of known Ho­nour, Integrity and Love to his Country, upon getting a Preferment shall change his former [Page 19] Note, do Violence to himself by changing his avowed Principle, and thereby losing all the Reputation which his former Virtue had gain'd him, every Man will be apt to conclude that this new Courtier is encourag'd to do this by some higher Power, if not engag'd thereto by the fear of losing his Place or Pension. And when the People of England shall come to know that as surely as a Land-man who is imploy'd at Sea will turn Seaman, so certainly will a Pa­triot imploy'd in the Administration turn Cour­tier, they will begin in earnest to think of such a Form of Government which can subsist without a Court.

And having said this, I cannot forbear telling your Majesty my Thoughts concerning a Com­monwealth Party which has bin much talk'd of in England during the Reign of K. Charles the Second, and has not quite bin forgotten at any time since that Reign.

A great Veneration for Monarchy has bin fre­quently made use of by Men to recommend themselves to the particular favor of our Kings of England; and when real occasions have bin wanting to recommend their Affection for Mo­narchy to the notice of the King, a mere fan­tastical [Page 20] imaginary fear of a Common wealth has bin made use of: and hence they have bin perswading our Soverign Princes that a great number of their Subjects have form'd them­selves upon Commonwealth Principles, and are still waiting an opportunity to extirpate the Mo­narchy, and to introduce into its place a Re­publican form of Government. But your Ma­jesty has seen this fantastical Opinion sufficiently confuted: For those who were the suspected Commonwealths-men join'd heartily together in preserving the Monarchy, by voting your Majesty (then P. of Orange) into the English Throne, in opposition to those Adorers of Mo­narchy who were setting up a Regency; who had they put the Kingly Power into the hands of a Committee, had founded a Common­wealth, or something very hardly to be distin­guished from it. But to proceed from matter of Fact, to reason freely upon this matter. I can­not suppose that any Man who has the use of his Reason, and liveth under a Monarchy, should be fond of a Commonwealth, if all the ends of Government are answer'd by the settled Monarchy. So in Holland he would be thought to have lost the use of his Reason who [Page 21] should hazard his Life by endeavouring to intro­duce a Monarchy there, where all the ends of Government are perfectly answer'd by the establish'd form of a Commonwealth. The end of all Governments is the common good of the People; and if that great End be attained under any establish'd Form, he is fit only for a Mad-house who will endeavour to pull down the established form only to intro­duce a new one: And a party of such mad men as these can never be sufficient to raise a jealousy in any Government which is under an upright Administration. Tho it must also be acknowledged, that as corrupt Prelats make way for a Presbyterian Government into the Church, so a corrupt Court-party may occa­sionally introduce a Republican form of Go­vernment into the State. But to return from this Digression, since Priest-craft and Court-craft have bin (of late) so much discover'd; since Bigotry of late days is grown out of request; since the unbigotted People are more dutiful to your Majesty than the Bigots are; and since the common People of England are more firm and trusty than a Court-party, I cannot but think that

[Page 22] A Real Popularity would be a better Expe­dient than a Church and Court-party join'd together can be: for as to the Expedient of a Standing Army, 'tis certain, that besides its own intrinsic insufficiency, Lewis the present French King, and James the last of England, have render'd it odious. It stinks in the Nostrils of all free­born Men, and can only be an Expedient to set up a Commonwealth. But 'tis plain that

A professed regard to the Common-weal of the People of England steddily persu'd did raise the English Monarchy under the Administration of Q. Elizabeth (of blessed memory) to as high a degree of Glory as it did ever attain to when it stood upon its natural Foundation. Nor is any Expedient so proper for your Majesty to use as this. For,

1. Upon this Foundation the Glory of your Illustrious Ancestors was built. And,

2. Hereby your Majesty was recommended to the just and rightful possession of the Crown which at present you adorn. Party-taking, Party-making, or Partiality of all sorts over­threw King Charles the First, shook the Throne of King Charles the Second, and overturn'd the Monarchy under the Administration of the late [Page 23] King James, which by your Majesty's Affection to the People of England was restor'd, and by the same means is still preserv'd, and may be advanc'd to as high a pitch of Glory as ever heretofore it had gain'd. For hereby,

1. All the true ends of Government will be fully answered.

2. All Factions and Parties will be sunk and forgotten: there will be no Whig nor Tory, no Jacobite, no Church-party, Court-party, nor Country-party: for the Interest of Court and Country will be one and the same, which has not been known since the death of Queen Elizabeth, and therefore will be won­derfully pleasing for its Novelty, as well as for its Profitableness.

3. Virtue and Honesty (which have bin much decay'd of late years) will be encourag'd and restor'd. For no Man can pretend to re­commend himself to your Royal Favour but by advancing the Design which your Majesty openly does encourage.

4. Hereby your Majesty will gain such a Credit with your People, as by virtue thereof very much to increase the Wealth and Strength of the Nation in a short time. And your [Page 24] Majesty's Revenue must necessarily bear a su­table proportion to the Trade of your Subjects; so that he who commands the Trade of the World, will consequently command the Wealth of the World. And,

5. Hereby you may be able to follow the two great Maxims of Queen Elizabeth's Reign, which were,

  • 1st. To be the Head of the Protestants all over the World. And,
  • 2dly. To keep the Balance of Europe equal and steddy.

And thus the Glory of the English Monar­chy under your Majesty's gracious Administra­tion will be the Terror of others, and the Delight of all English People, which is the sincere desire of

Your Majesty's most faithful, dutiful, and humble Subject and Servant.
THE END.

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