A Letter To A MEMBER Of The CONVENTION of STATES In SCOTLAND

By a Lover of His Religion and Country.

Printed in the Year MDCLXXXIX.

A LETTER to a Member of the Convention of States In SCOTLAND

SIR,

I Had fully Determined not to encrease the number of these Scrib­lers, who now a dayes fill the Press, with every little Product of their Empty Brain: And lov'd better to please my self with Reading other Mens Opinions; than hazard my own to the Cen­sure of the World. But when I consider the great Heats and Ani­mosities, among all sorts of People, and the Vast Pains that some Violent Men are at, to throw us back into a Thousand worse miseries, than these from which GOD has most Graciously delivered us: The Duty I owe to my Religion, to my Country, and the particular Freindship I bear to you, will not suf­fer me any more to be silent.

You are now called together, Sir, by his Highness the Prince of Orange, to Consult and Deliberate, what Methods will be most pro­per to secure Our Religion, Laws and Liberties; in order to which, the first thing that will fall under your consideration, is the setling the Soveraign power.

I take for granted, that you are fully convinced, that K: Iames the 7th: by his many Violations of the Fundamental Laws, by his endeavouring to establish a Despotick and Arbitrary povver, and introduce Popery, (tho he himself had confirmed all the Laws that were enacted in Favours of the Protestant Religion,) has thereby sub­verted the Constitution, and that our Miseries might have no Redress from him, has left us in a time when we needed his Protection most. The Eyes of all Europe are upon you, and it is in your Power to make your Selves and your Posterity either Happy or Miserable; by making a choise either to call back the same King Iames, and hazard once more all that Men account Dear, To his Mercy, or to settle the Government on some other, under whom you may live [Page 4] Quiet and Peaceable Lives, without the perpetual Terror of being swallowed up by Popery and Arbitrary Government, which all good men hoped were now quite banished, and yet behold a new Off spring is sprung up, which plead Eagerly for both, tho' under the mistaken Names of Duty and Allegiance; It's strange that any Man can so far Degenerate, as to prefer Slavery to Liberty, and that they should be so much in Love with Chains, that when they were Fairly shaken off, they should run Furiously to be Fettered again; as if the Ottoman and French Government were so charming in our Countrey that we cannot not live without it, tho' we have so lately groaned under the Dismal Burden of it: And it might have been supposed that even these who had been Instrumental in Enslaving their Fellow-Brethren, and were grown Fat with sucking in the Nations Blood; would have taken another Method to Reconcile themselves, than by perswading us to purchase their Safety, at so vast an ex­pence as the Ruine of more than three parts of the Nation will ne­cessarly Amount to.

Do but a little Reflect Sir, on the Motives which these Men (blind­ed by self Interest) make use of, to Delude the Nation into a security, that wanted very little of proving Fatal to it, and compare them with the Strong Reasons, we have to disswade us from being so im­posed on, and they will be found so Weak, and Impertinent, that you must Judge it next to Impossibility, to suffer our Selves to be Twice De­ceived. But if the Experience of our former Miseries, so lately hang­ing over our Heads, (the very thoughts of renewing which make all good Men to tremble) has not made us Wiser, and be not of Efficacy enough, to deterr us from venturing another Shipwrack, and exposing all again to the Discretion of a Roman Catholick; It's more than probable that GOD has abandoned us, and given us up to believe strong Delusions.

First, Sir, they will endeavour to perswade You, that Kings are Eximed from Punishments here on Earth, and nothing they do can be Quarrelled by their Subjects; which indeed might with some Reason be urged among the Turks, who reserve nothing from the Power of their Sultans and where its Death to Dispute his Commands, tho' never so Arbitrary and Tyrranical: But with what Impudence [Page 5] can such Stuff be imposed on us, who never admit our Kings to the Government, till they swear to Rule us according to Lavv and no otherways? The Lavvs are the only Security we have for our Lives and Properties, which if our Soveraign subvert, Sub­jects cannot be blamed, for making use of the Ordinary Means to preserve them, and since that cannot be done without withdrawing Obedience from such a Magistrate as goes about to destroy them, such an Act cannot properly be said to punish him, (because we take nothing from him to which he has a just Claim) but do only shun the occasion of making our selves Miserable. The Speculative Doctrine of passive Obedience, has done too much Mischief among us, and what has befallen the King may be justly imputed to it, for the believing that without Opposition he might do what he pleas­ed, encouraged him to take such Measures as have drawn all these Misfortunes on him.

Secondly, Others are so Fond as to believe, that we may be secure in calling the King back, providing they so Limit him, that it will not be in his Power to hurt us: These Men do not Consider, how small a Complement this is to a Man of the Kings Temper, from an Absolute Prince as he was pleased to Fancy himself, to Content himself with the bare Title of a King, and how insupportable the Change must be, if from being Master of all, he must force himself to comply with a Thousand Masters and see his Throne become his prison. But how Airy is it to fancy, that any Restrictions of our Contrivance can bind the King. For 1st. It's most certain they can never be Voluntary, and what is constrained and done by Force, is by Lavv declared to be Void and Null; to whose Assistance the popes Dispensing Power being joined, would quickly blow off these Samson-Cords, and the Royal Power would again revive with all its Vigour and Lustre.

Secondly, The King is of a Religion that has in a Famous Coun­cil decreed, that no Faith is to be kept with Hereticks, much less with Subjects whom he looks upon as so many Rebels, and will not miss to treat them as such, when ever they give him the Opportuni­ty of doing it, for his greatest Admirers do not runn to that height [Page 6] of Idolatry, to imagine him so much Angel, as not to take all Methods to Revenge so great an Affront, and secure himself at our Cost from such a Treatment for the future, the Apprehension of which Resentment, will strike such Terror in Mens minds, that nothing will be capable to divert them, from offering up all for an Atonement, and popery and Slavery will be thought a good Bargain, if they can but save their Lives: Then We may Lament Our Miseries, But it will not be in our power to help them, for a Prince of Orange is not alwayes ready to rescue us, with such vast ex­pence and so great hazard to his person, and if our madness hurry us so far, we deserve rather his pity than his resentment.

Thirdly, What Argument has the King given since he left us, to perswade us he will be more faithful in observing his Words and Oaths, than hitherto he has been? Does he not in a Letter lately Printed here, expresly say he has ruled so, as to give no occasion of Complaint to any of his Subjects? Is not the same Letter signed by one, who Sacrificed both Conscience and Honour to Interest, whose Pernicious and Head-strong Councils has Posted him to his ruine, tho all that has been done cannot make Him sensible of it? Sure the reducing Hereticks to the See of Rome, is not less Meretorious than before, nor King Iames the 7th. by breathing the French Air a little become less Bigot, It were a Dream to fancy it; For so long as the Vatican Thunders Excommunications, against all such as do not use their outmost Endeavour to Extirpate Heresie; a Roman Catholick must have no Religion at all if they be not Terrible to him.

The Third Argument they make use of to perswade such as are, and shall be chosen Members of the Convention, that it's their Interest to call back the King, Is that the Peace and Happiness of the Na­tion, cannot be otherways secured, nor Factions or Divisions extin­guished; But what Factions Sir do you Observe, but such as they themselves do Foment on Purpose, to disturb our Harmony? All which would Immediately die, If the Government were once setled on these who deserved it best, for then if these fopps continued still fond of Popery and Tyranny, they would be Chastised, as Distur­bers of the Publick Peace. The Argument may very justly be retorted, for if the King return wee will burst out into a Flame, [Page 7] and England which has already declared, will quickly be on our Top, an Enemy too Potent and too Numerous for us, tho we were all united, besides the Danger to which such a Procedure will expose us, we cut off all Hopes of an Union with that Nation, and there­by Deprive our selves of an unspeakable Advantage, which would redound to all sorts of People, and would be the only means to sup­port an Impoverish'd and sinking Nation. Neither is this the only Inconveniencie, tho it be a very Great one, for if we state our selves in Opposition to England, by Restoring the King whom they Re­jected, it is not to be doubted but he will use his outmost endeavour to Recover that Kingdom the loss of which is so considerable. Now seeing it were vain to suppose that the Scots alone were able to se­cond his Desires, he must needs have recourse to the French and Irish, whose Religion will procure a more entire Confidence, than his Majesty can repose in any Others. These therefore must be re­ceived into our Bosome, and because Scotland is the most proper place, for Invading England, it must be the Scene of all the Blood and Confusion that this Melancholly thought gives us a Prospect of.

The happy Success the PRINCE his Enterprise has met with, has made a considerable Alteration in the Affairs of Europe, for that great Enemy of the protestants and even of Christianity it self, who had propos'd nothing less to himself than an Vniversal Monarchy, whom the Strictest Leagues and Contracts cannot bind, but without regard to GOD or Man, threatens all his Neighbours with utter Desolation; By the Scen's being changed among us, is so far humbled that from a Proud and Insulting Enemy, he is become a Sup­plicant for Peace, well fore-seeing that if Britain Join with those other Princes, whom his Insolence, Cruelty, and Avarice, has so justly Armed against him, his Ruine is Inevitable; So that if we have not Soul enough to enjoy this great Blessing, and can easily part with the Glory of being once more the Arbiters of Europe, let us at least have so much Christian Love and Charity, for the Neighbouring Na­tions of our own Perswasion, as not to expose them to a necessary Par­ticipation of these Plagues, which our Common Enemies are pre­praing for us, and which will certainly Terminat in all our Destru­ctions.

[Page 8] Lastly, Sir, I beseech you to consider what Persons they are who would Instill this Poyson in You, and you will find them of three kinds, First those who Postponeing the Common Good of the Nation, are wholly Acted by Self Interest, considering that in a Government where Iustice and Mercy equally Flourish, vertue and merit, not Villany will be rewarded. 2dly. They who are Ignorant of the Nature of Go­vernment, and were never at the pains to Inform themselves what measures the Lavv of Nature, and Nations, have set to Mens Obedience, but are Angry at every thing that thwarts their wild No­tions, and will admit of nothing tho' never so reasonable and con­vincing, if their dull Capacities cannot reach it. The 3d. Sort are such as have been Instrumental in Enslaving their Countrey, and are a­fraid if they be called to an Account, they may be brought to suffer Condign Punishment, if such cannot Succeed in their Design they at least hope to be overlookt in a General Confusion, so they leave nothing un­essayed that may tend to their own safety; and if Heaven fail them, they Summond Hell to their Aid, not that Love to their Prince but meer Ambition and Interest, drives these Criminals to such Attempts, neither are they much to blame, if they are at such pains to sow Divisions among us: But no Person of your Witt and Iudgement nor any Good Man that is truly Protestant and Minds the good of his Country, Will suffer himself to be so grosly Imposed on by such Fire-brands, who would Build their Future Imaginary Greatness, on the Ruine of Our Religion, Laws and Countrey.

Sir,
Your Humble Servant.

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