Being some Thoughts on the End and Design of Civil Government; also the inherent Power of the People asserted and maintained; that it is not given up to their Representatives; this confirm'd and acknowledged by Kings or Emperors, and prov'd from Scripture and Reason.

LIBERTY it so precious in the Eye of the Law, it is of so tender a Regard, that it has reserv'd the whole Dispose thereof to its own immediate Direction, and left no Part of it to the Dis­cretion of the Judges, and what the Law will not suffer to be done directly, it does forbid that it be done indirectly, or by a Side-Wind. Case of William Earl of Devonshire.
Dion says, That the People held the Helm of Government in their own Power. And another very good Authority says, That the Saxons were a free People, govern'd by Laws made by the People, and therefore call'd a free People, because they are a Law to themselves.
As great a Lawyer as Judge Hale was, he would never suffer the Strictness of Law to prevail against Conscience; as great a Chancellor as he was, he would make use of all the Niceties and Subtilties in Law when it tended to support Right and Equity.—He governed himself indeed by the Law of the Gospel, of "doing to others what he would have others do to him."—See his LIFE.

BOSTON: Printed 1756.


THE following Appendix was prepar'd for the Press immediately after the Publication of my sufferings, and was design'd to have been made public then, but by the Advice of Friends, I was persuaded to defist for a while, to see how my Affair would operate: Having now delay'd it above nine Months, I venture it abroad, considering, That the different Capacities and Relishes of Persons makes a Va­riety useful, if not necessary—And often gives a meaner Performance the Advantage with some, as to usefulness above others that are more sprightly and elaborate—not that I am fond of appearing in Publick, Obscurity and Retirement being much more agreeable to me:—And tho' I thought at first this bold Attack upon Liberty concern'd the Peo­ple in general as well as myself and I had no Reason to think but there was a laudable Resentment enkindled in almost every Breast, yet no one feeling the Effects in so sensible a Manner as Mr. Tyler and myself, it form'd by Degrees to cool off a little, and made good that old Sayings, What is every Body's Business is no Body's Busi­nese, and no Doubt some Politicians have taken the Advantage of this, and put off the Evil Day, by the Stifles of Conscience, imagining a late Repentance will made Atanement at last, without considering a great Injustice was done, as is almost universally acknowledged, which "seems to be one of those Crimes that are never forgives in this World, nor in the next.—Indeed a Man may repent, but the Con­ditions an so hard, so mortifying, that not one of a thousand will sign them—For an Injustice (especially in such a Case) is not pardoned, without a full Reflitution, and Reparation of Damages, and these run often high" says an excellent Author—Notwithstanding all I have said, some who hope I shall succeed, yet are amused with a Notion then I set myself in Opposition to Government, when I am only endeavouring that good Government, and the real Design of it be supported against the Invaders of our Liberties and Privileges; and do not pretend to kick against the Pricks, as some have said—No Man is oblig'd to sacrifice his own Reputation, to preserve other Peoples, says the moderate Dr. Tillotson.—

Let it be remember'd that it is not degrading any particular Per­son, to speak highly of the Body of the People; neither would it be improper to say, I will take Care, and give no just Cause of Of­fence, I had almost said, against the Majesty of the People: Their Privileges and Liberties I will be as tender of as the Apple of my Eye, and will not persist in their Destruction, to the Ruin of myself—

If I can be favour'd in the same Manner, as Criminals of all Sorts are, that is, by a Jury of twelve Men, I think I shall enjoy the Privilege of an Englishman, and this is all I desire; and to their Judgment I shall willingly submit—

D. F.


AS I promised in my late Piece, entitled, A TOTAL ECLIPSE or LIBERTY, &c. to give the Publick some Thoughts on the Original of Civil Government, The Rights of the People, &c. I shall now proceed ac­cording to my Engagement: although I am sensible there is a large Field opens, I must be Very short upon each Particular, divesting my self of all Partia­lity as I go along, continually keeping in my Eye these Maxims—Justice is justly represented blind; because she sees no Difference in the Parties concern­ed—She has but one Scale and Weight, for Rich and Poor, Great and Small—Her Sentence is not guided by the Person, but the Cause—Impartiality is the Life of Justice, as that is of Government—But to proceed—

I will suppose in the first Place, That all Men are so just, that not any one individual would do any Thing he imagin'd injurious to his Neighbour, but that they were only liable to some Mistakes about their own and others Rights, and that this would oc­casion Disputes among them.—And I will further suppose, that these honest Men, are too suspicious to leave their Disputes to the Arbitration of others, each fearing the Interest his Adversary has with the Person they leave their Affairs to—Now it seems necessary from these Considerations, that there should [Page 4] be CIVIL GOVERNMENT, a State of civil Society, of Freemen united under Government for the com­mon Interest. If any should say, How must this Government be formed, and by whom? I answer, certainly by these very Men whose Interest and Liber­ty are to be preserved;—"As the common Interest of the whole Body is the End of all Civil Polity, is owned by all. This, all Subjects insist upon, and all Governors glory in, as their Dignity, except some vain Monsters, who forgetting their mortal State, ar­rogate to themselves the Rights of Almighty GOD."

As to the Internal Structure of States, and the se­veral Parts of the supreme Power, 'tis observed, "No Governors are the natural Parents or Progenitors of their People,—Nor has GOD by any Revelation no­minated Magistrates, shewed the Nature, or Extent of their Power, or given a Plan of Civil Polity for Mankind."—'Tis also allow'd, "To constitute a State or Civil Polity in a regular Manner, these three Deeds are necessary: First, A Contract of each one for all, that they should unite into one Society to be govern'd by one Counsel. And next a Decree or Ordinance of the People concerning the Plan of Go­vernment; and the Nomination of the Governors. And lastly, another Covenant or Contract between these Governors and the People, binding the Rulers to a faithful Administration of their Trust, and the People to Obedience."

Some may talk of a peculiarly divine Right; which is only a meer Dream of Court Flatterers; 'Tis true, in a Sense every Right is divine; but then it cannot be meant in any other Sense than as it is constituted by the Law of GOD and Nature.—The [Page 5] Rights of the People are certainly divine as well as the Rights of Magistrates; and I hope no one will dispute, but that the Rights of the People the more divine than the Rights of their Representatives, as the latter has no more than a delegated Power from the Fountain, chose for the Defence and Protection of the People; and they receive and hold that Power only from them, and by them—So that it's natural, nay a Duty, when the common Rights of this Community is trampled upon, or only the Liberty of one is attempted against, and that made a Precedent of, then they are perfidious to their Trust, and that Moment forfeit all the Power committed to them; the Alarm then ought to be given, but with Prudence and Moderation; for if but one Member suffers un­justly, the whole Community is wounded through his Sides, and the Body Politick really suffers as much as the Body natural does by loosing a Limb.—

It is observed by an excellent and approved Wri­ter, "That in all Ages there has been too much Patience in the Body of the People, and too stupid a Veneration for their Rulers, which has produced many monstrous Herds of miserable abject Slaves or Beasts of Burden, rather than civil Polities of rational Creatures, under the most inhuman and worthless Masters, trampling upon all Things human and di­vine with the utmost Effrontery.—A People enjoy Liberty, when each one is allowed to act as he in­clines, within the Bounds of Civil Law, and not sub­jected to the Caprice of any other."—The Romans, in speaking of a free People, generally mean a De­mocratical State, a Form of Government, where the supreme or legislative Power is lodged in the Common [Page 6] People, and have their Turns of Commanding as well as Obeying—

And though I might say much upon the Downfall of Tyranny and show wherein the Liberty and Power of the People has been vindicated and acknowledged even by their chief Rulers; but as I am in Hopes it will never be suffered to arrive at any great Heighth here, without a noble Stand and Check, shall only bring a few Instances to the present Purpose, viz.

Augustus Caesar, one that had the Empire of the World, would not suffer the People to call him Lord.

Tiberius Caesar, who succeeded him in the Em­pire, in an Oration he made to his People, useth these Words, "I have often, and do still affirm, that a good and virtuous Prince, whom you have intrusted with so great and large Authority, ought to serve the Senate, and all the Citizens often, and many Times particular Persons, neither do I repent of what I have said; and I have acknowledged you for my very good and favourable Lords, and do still acknowledge the same."—

Trajan the Emperor confess'd, that he was inferior to the People; for when the Praetor delivered him the Sword at his Inauguration, he returned it to him again with these Words, "Take this Sword, use it for me; and that so much the more, because it is the more wicked for one that rules over all, to transgress the Law himself."—

Theseus, in like Manner, a most wise and valiant King of the Albenians acknowledged the People's Power to be above his; and affirmed, yea, gloried in it, That in Albens the People Reigned."

[Page 7] Thus the greatest Emperors have taken Pleasure, and no doubt thought it a great Honour, to acknow­ledge themselves the People's Servants; and the People their Lords or Masters; and in short, when they behave well, and act agreeable to the Laws, they are worthy of double Honour, and gain the Affections of the People, in whom lies their Safety, and enkin­dles in them Love and Unity, as much as a Clergy­man does, when he preaches up, and inculcates the Truths of the Christian Religion, and sets a bright Example of Virtue, and adorns his Profession with Humility, a meek and quiet Spirit: but whenever he leaves the Standard, and begins to Lord it over his People's Faith, and broach unsound Doctrines, and endeavours to establish them as Precedents for Truth, the People to prevent his overthrowing the Christian Constitution, exert their Right, and take away his Power, not withstanding his Pretensions of being a Messenger of the Lord of Hosts:—So it is in a poli­tical Sense agre [...] to the English Constitution for the People to act [...] of the best in the World to make them happy [...] the Prince great and ho­nourable, as it is [...] more honourable to reign over a free People than over Slaves.—And thus, (be it spoken with the greatest Reverence) the DIVINE BEING himself, when he speaks of his Power, says, My People shall be willing in the Day of my Power: Here is no Force, for by our Make and Constitution we are free Agents; if we are miserable, it is our own Faults; Liberty, is as it were interwoven into our very Natures, and we can no more shake it off, without doing Violence to ourselves, than we can e­rase out ot our Minds the Law of Self Preservation; [Page 8] neither does GOD, Nature, Law or Reason oblige us to it—And though he is Independant and Almigh­ty, and accountable to none, he ever acts agreable to the eternal Reason and Nature of Things, and even sometimes, as it were disrobes himself of his Majesty, and appeals to his People to testify against him, whe­ther he has not done them Justice: so great is his Condescention to his rational Creatures; and then, after having set Life and Death before them, advises them to chuse Life, but leaves them to their own Choice—

And though I could produce many more Instances and Testimonies of this Nature, from Philosophers, Orators, and others, some may say the Judgment of Man is not sufficient Proof, therefore I shall mention a few from Scripture and Reason, to show that the Power is not inherent, as some imagine, in the Officers chose, but remains in the People—In the Old Testa­ment indeed, we read, that GOD called Moses to the Government, and gave him a Commission; GOD himself also by his own Voice, appointed Joshua to his Office: those immediate Calls were easily known by some particular Signs or Tokens, whereby the Lord made known his Mind to his People—Gideon was called by an Angel sent from Heaven, and per­haps many other Judges were called in the same Manner; but whoever had this Call, there always was something or other in the Manner of it, or the Excellency of the Spirit, which sufficiently convinced the People, that they were appointed by GOD to govern them, and then they with Pleasure hearken'd to, and obey'd them, provided they did what was just. [Page 9] GOD calls a Man to the Government, by and with the Consent of the People. But not to mention any Thing that might be tedious; how the Kings of Israel were called by the Consent of the People, and went to make Saul, David, Solomon and Josiah Kings, as it will be sufficient to say, that in former Times it appears the Right of making Kings was in the People.—Then it is Idle and Trifling for any to pretend that the Power is not inherent in the People, and that they are such Fools as to give it away when they chuse Representatives and other Officers to rule them; or to speak more properly, to assist them in maintaining their just Rights and Privileges.

It is said,§§ ‘Judges and Officers shalt thou make thee in all thy Gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee throughout thy Tribes, and they shall judge the People with just Judgment.’

"To chuse Men as Representatives and Protectors of the Public Good, and then suppose they have a Right to act contrary to the Interest of their Con­stituents, is to imagine, that Physicians, chosen to superintend and cure the Sick in Hospitals, have a Right to kill their Patients, if they please," says a late Author.

Inconveniencies of Government often lies in the Excess of the Magistrates Power; but certainly they are not to have any Power which is for the People's Hurt, which would be contrary to the very End for which is was design'd, The People's Good.‡‡ The Apostle Peter bids us to submit to every Ordi­nance [Page 10] of Man for the Lord's sake,"—but if they treat us contrary to the Law, we are to do as Da­niel did, who would not obey Darius's wicked Com­mand, but pray or speak boldly and openly against them—

It was said to King WILLIAM* in a famous Ad­dress, "That as you are King of your People, so you are the People's King; this Title, as it is most glorious, so is it the most indisputable in the World.—Your Majesty, among all the Blessings of your Reign, has restored this, as the best of all our En­joyments, the full Liberty of Original Right in its Actings and Exercise—Your Majesty knows too well the Nature of Government, to think it at all less honourable, or the more precarious, for being de­volved from, and center'd in the Consent of your People—That the chiefest Felicity of a Crown con­sists in the Affections, as the first Authority of it de­rives from the Consent of the People"

It may seem vain in me to pretend to write upon the Nature of Civil Government, and that I had much better leave it to those who are more capa­ble.—This I am very willing to do; but as I have lately suffer'd so much in a free Country, and where Liberty is actually establish'd by the Laws, I think no one can blame me, if I give my Opinion, though very imperfect, as the Injur'd have a natural Right to complain—In order to prove this Right of the People, "The Nature of the Thing, says one, is the [Page 11] Reason of the Thing: It was vested in them, i. e. The Representatives, by the People, because the People were the only original of their Power, be­ing the only Power prior to the Constitution,—And if they invert the Grand End of their Institu­tion, the Publick Good cease to be in the same publick Capacity,

And POWER retreats to its ORIGINAL—"

And consequently the Injur'd have a Right to Satis­faction—I would not have any imagine from what I have already wrote, that I have a Disposition to be at Varience with Gentlemen who are annually chose to Represent this People, or that I am not a Friend to good Government;—no, on the con­trary, I almost adore it; but especially the English Constitution, as establish'd by Law, the only one in the World, to make the People happy, and the Prince great; as I intimated before; and here, to use the Words of one, "Currat Lex, Fiat Justitia, is the Life and End of our Government, and when the Law has not its Course, and Justice is not done, then there is a Dissolution of it; and he that will pursue my Lord Coke's Exposition of Magna Charta shall find that it is a Fundamental and ancient Right of the Subject that Justice is not to be delayed or denyed.—

In the second Part of my Lord Coke's Institutes, Chap. xi. on Magna Charta, he tells us, least any Party that hath a Right, should be without Reme­dy, or that there should be a Failure of Justice, therefore Statutes are always so to be expounded, that there should be no Failure of Justice, but ra­ther than that should fall out, that Case, (by Con­struction) should be excepted out of the Statute."

[Page 12] In the 29th Chap. on Magna Charta, Nulli nega­bimus aut defferemus Justitiam vel rectum, and that by no means common Right, or common Law should be disturbed, or delayed, no, though it be com­manded under the Great Seal, or by any Command whatsoever, either from the King, or any other: and this is backt or seconded by a Statute made the second of Edward III. Chap. 8. which says thus, That it shall not be commanded by the Great Seal, nor the Little Seal, to disturb or delay common Right: And though such Commandments do come, the Justices shall not therefore leave to do Right in any Point."

I must make this Remark, That if any one breaks the Laws, even a Murderer, he has all the Com­passion that is possible for any one to desire, allow­ed him; he is not oblig'd even in this Case to ac­cuse himself; but every Thing is fair and open; Circumstances in the first Place, must give just Cause of Suspicion; the Grand Jury of 24 Men must find a Bill against the Criminal; then tried in open Court, and allowed the Privilege of Lawyers to save him if they can, Arguments for and against him; the Opinion of impartial Judges to sum up the Evidences to a Jury of 12 Men upon Oath, to give their Opinion, whether the Criminal is guilty or no, and after that is done, the chief Judge in a solemn Manner, puts it to the Criminal, Whe­ther he has any Thing to say why Sentence should not be pass'd upon him? After some Time (the Criminal having nothing to say in his own Justifica­tion) the Judge pronounces upon him, and declares him guilty:—Here is Beauty and Order, Justice and Righteousness meets together, Mercy and Truth embrace each other—"We ought ever to [Page 13] regard, honour, and preserve our original Consti­tution, which of all regal States is the bed fram'd in the Universe. The Balance of our Government is hung indeed in the nicest manner imaginable: a single hair will turn it; but when it is exactly even, there cannot be a finer system wider Heaven."

But how contrary to this was the Proceeding of a late extraordinary House of Representatives, who arraign'd the Author of the foregoing Re­marks before them, examin'd, judg'd and condemn'd by their own sovereign, independant Power, with­out any Accusers, except the very Persons who look'd upon themselves as injur'd—

I wish the Advice of the Town-Clerk of Ephesus relating to St. Paul, had been thought of at that Time, then perhaps I should have been dismiss'd;—If there's a Matter against any Man, the Law is open, and there are Deputies; let them implead one another—Then said Paul, sittest thou to judge me after the Law, and commandest to be smitten contrary to the Law?—Is it lawful to scourge a Man that is uncondemn'd?

What was the Consequence of the rash Procedure of that House?—The Author of this Piece was thrown, or hurried at Midnight into a Stone Goal, which stunk to that Degree, that it almost suffo­cated him, where he lay ten Hours before his Friends or Relations knew it:—Upon their hearing of this, his Wife was seiz'd with the most violent Fits; but I shall not here give a particular Account of the bad Consequences with which this was attended—and the Death of the poor little Infant, who even anticipated its Birthright, by beginning its Lamenta­tion before it was capable of seeing the Light,—as [Page 14] it would be too melancholy for me to relate, and per­haps not so proper for some to hear;—which must be defer'd to the Time of Trial here, or hereafter.

When we consider the Transactions of the pre­sent Scene of Things will be strictly examin'd into in the future State, how does it become us to recti­fy in this State of Trial, either the wilful or mis­taken Affairs of Life, and make all the Satisfaction and Restitution we can, which goes into the very Nature of true Repentance?—Whatever the Great, and Mighty may think, and however they may boast of their pretended Power, and justify their illegal Actions, they will all be very soon and fairly Scan'd, when they are oblig'd to appear before the supreme Judge of All, when the condemn'd would be glad to Shrink into their primitive Nothing—If any should say, there is no Occasion for thefe Re­ligious Reflections—I answer, they would have been of another Mind could they have had but a true Idea of this unheard of Scene—

Must not these Things be enquir'd into? Must they, can they sleep; no, Justice cries aloud, let no indirect Methods be taken to stop the free Course thereof,—I had by laying in that cold Place, so impaired my Health, that for five Months I could not say I was a well Man as before—Had I been one of the Off-scouring of the Earth, and gone on in a constant Course of Wickedness, this Treatment would have been unjust; but I have lived almost 40 Years in the World, above 20 of it in this Town, a peaceable Member of Society, my Companion brought up in the most tender manner, unacquainted with such rough Treatment, till this sudden, unex­pected, and melancholy Affair happen'd—

[Page 15] These Considerations all put together, and the little Provocation for it, I leave to the World, nay, to my greatest Enemies, whether, take it, in all its Circumstances, there ever was such a Trans­action justified in all Christendom?—But the Ad­miration must rise to a prodigious Heighth, when it is done by Men, who would take it very ill, should any say, they were not Men of Religion, in whom Mercy and Compassion, Justice, and Ho­nesty reigns; who look upon themselves as the Pa­trons and Friends of the Country.—

Should any now pretend I have magnified Things, and have not set them in their true Light; I beg leave to say, I think I have even diminish'd, and come far short of the Idea a present Spectator must have had; and so must leave it—

I shall here insert the Words of a Writer among ourselves, "The English Constitution is originally and essentially free,—The Character which J. Caesar and Tacitus both give of the ancient Britain so long ago, is, That they were extreamly jealous of their Liberties, as well as a People of a martial Spirit. Nor have there been wanting frequent Instances and Proofs of the same glorious Spirit (in both Re­spects) remaining in their Posterity ever since,—in the Struggles they have made for Liberty, both against foreign and domestick Tyrants—The Pre­rogative and Rights of the Crown are stated, de­fined and limited by Law; and that as truly and strictly as the Rights of any inferior Officer in the state; or indeed of any private Subjects—It does not appear, but that Mankind, in general, have a Disposition to be as submissive and passive and came under Government as they ought to be—"

[Page 16] Our natural Parents have not a Right over their Children, either to command them to do any Thing that is inconsistent with Reason or Religion, or even to treat them in such a Manner as to provoke them; much more have they any Right to abuse them; should they do thus, they cease to be, or at least do not deserve that endearing Character of Father and Mother, but justly forfeit it, and may be look'd upon as Monsters in human Shape.—Now to apply this to the Political Parents of a Country; when ever they act inconsistent with the high Character they have confer'd upon them by the People, the Glory immediately departs from them; Obedience of the Subject to them; ceases to be a Duty. It is quite a wrong Notion which some have of Government: Even the Deed of Gift made to David and his Seed, was not absolute, but conditional,; and they were to hold it in no other Sense, but upon Condition of keeping the Law of God, and executing his Judgment.*

It is plain, even to a Demonstration, that the Peoples Good and Happiness, is the End and De­sign of Civil Government; and they have the Pow­er, and if they give it up, or which is the same Thing, allow so much Power as to hurt themselves, they neglect their Duty, which the Law of GOD requires, and undervalue their Birthright, and it is a Resignation of their Laws, Lives, Liberties, and Estates, to their Wills, which King James knew to be an eminent Expedient, when he used to say, "Let me make what Judges and Bishops I will, and I will have nothing to be Law or Gospel but what I please" A pretty Speech for a King.

[Page 17] "The Law is the surest Sanctuary that a Man can take, and the strongest Fortress to protect the weak­est of all—And that which is called common Right, is called common Law—The Law is also called Rec­tum, because it discovereth that which is crooked or wrong—For as Right signifieth Law, so crook­ed signifieth Injuries—Which are the Words of that Oracle of the Law, the Sage and Learned Coke." And in the English Liberties, P. 198. where speak­ing of the Star-Chamber Court, I find these Words, "There were three Things in the very Nature of this Court, which were destructive to the origi­nal Constitution of our English Government and Li­berties, 1. They proceeded without Juries. 2. They pretended to a Power to examine Men upon their Oaths, touching Crimes by them supposed to be committed, which is contrary to all Law or Rea­son; for no Man is bound to accuse himself. 3. The Judges of this Court proceeded by no known Laws or Rules, but were left at Liberty to act Ar­bitrarily, and according to their own Pleasures;" and in that of Trials by Juries, it is said, "De­servedly therefore is this Trial by Juries rank'd amongst the choicest of our fundamental Laws, which whosoever shall go about openly to suppress or craftily to undermine, and render only a Formali­ty, does Ipso Facto attack the Government, and brings in an Arbitrary Power, and is an Enemy and Traitor to his King and Country; for which Rea­son English Parliaments have all along been most zealous for preserving this great Jewel of Liberty, Trials by Juries having no less than 58 several Times since the Norman Conquest, been established and confirmed by the Legislative Power, no one [Page 18] Privilege besides having been ever so often remem­bred in Parliament." "If we are plac'd as Criminals at the Bar of Judgment, says one,* we may rea­sonably expect that all the favourable Circumstances which attend our Accusation should be well weigh'd, and all the kind Allowances made, which the Na­ture of the Charge or Crime will admit; for our Consciences would think it reasonable to allow so much to any Criminal."—

If he that offends in one Point of the Law of God, is guilty of all, what must we say or what must we think of those who act directly contrary to plain Statutes, which expresly says, "That from hence­forth no Court, Council, or Place of Judicature shall be erected, ordained, constituted, or appointed within the Realm of England, or Dominion of Wales, which shall have, use, or exercise the same, or the like Jurisdiction, as is, or hath been used, practised, or exercised, in the Court of Starcham­ber."—What can be more strongly express'd than this? Is there any Possibility of giving these Words a different Meaning—But what was it that was so dreadful in this Court of Starchamber? Why it was an intollerable Burden to the Subject, and directly tended to introduce an Arbitrary Power and Government, as that Statute recites—The Pu­nishments inflicted by that Court were, Fines, Im­prisonments, Pillory, Cutting off Ears. &c. and there were three Things in the very Nature of this Court, which were destructive to the original Con­stitution of our English Government and Liberties," as before mention'd.

What I am pleading for is of general Concern; we have ever since the first Settlement of New-England, [Page 19] been taught that we have great Privileges, let us learn to be wise, and know what they arefor Time to come, and not be frightned out of our Right and Reason at once, by those who would make us believe they have a Right to do as they please—The People of Israel were wiser than to be frighted out of their Birthrights, by Rehoboam's great Words—

It has been the Wisdom of the English Nation heretofore, not to allow too much Power to any particular Sett of Men, especially in one Branch: For this Reason it is not suppos'd a Right in the Le­gislature to oppress the Subject: was this once al­low'd, it would then be establish'd as a Rule—So that when they could agree, might not only ar­raign, judge and condemn whom they please, but also execute all who dar'd to oppose their Measures; after this, they might in their Wisdom think it but reasonable, not only to take away Life, but Estate too, as justly forfeited, and perhaps a numerous Family become Beggars at once.—And would any then dare to be so bold and presumptuous as to complain? No surely, the very Persons who were served in this Manner might justly be retorted upon, as they gave that Power which they might have kept in their Hands—

This is one Consequence that might follow, and no doubt would, when for Political Reasons, a Point was strain'd, and strongly urg'd, that it would be for the publick Good; but should not this be the Case, and no Man was immediately depriv'd of Life; but were so moderate as only to put him into Goal, and to remain there during Pleasure; this might actually be worse than Death itfelf; for it [Page 20] it certainly better not to have Life than to be pretty well assur'd we must remain in Misery du­ring the Pleasure of those Persons whose tender Mer­cies, are evidently so very cruel—and all upon SUS­PICION—"If unsupported Suspicions are to have Weight at the Bar of Justice, no Innocence can be safe—Why must we suffer the Penalty of Guilt, when even the Charge could admit of no Proof!—and confin'd in the Mansions of Infamy, under Locks and Bolts?"

"If the Prerogative be set above the Law, it will quickly devour it.—God will not authorize that which he has declared to be unjust, for just and righteous are his Ways: Oppression will make a wise Man mad, which shews that Subjects have a Right in their Properties, as well as Kings have to their Crowns: If there were not some such Right, there could be no Oppression or Injustice, for Oppression or Injustice, is when that which is another's Right is detained or taken from him against his Consent. If Naboth had not had a Right in his Vineyard, Ahab need not to have capitulated with him to have it for a Garden of Herbs, neither would God have visited Ahab's Family for the Blood of Naboth," says a true Patriot.—

I endeavoured with Honesty and Truth to con­vince them Gentlemen, that I knew not the Au­thors of that Pamphlet, thinking it would be most to my Advantage to be open and free in declar­ing my Mind, well knowing that Tricking never answers with honest Men, and will hardly bear with Rogues—

"The Rights of Magna Charta depend not on the Will of the Prince or the Will of the Legisla­ture; but they are the inherent natural Rights of [Page 21] Englishmen: secured and confirmed they may be by the Legislature, but not derived from nor depen­dent on their Will. It has commonly been the Case, that Civil Liberty as well as Christian, has been lost by little and little; and Experience has taught, that it is not easy to recover it again.

If it be allowed, That the Representatives have an independent Power, and can imprison the Sub­ject when they please, I think, with Submission, there is no middle State betwixt Slavery, and Free­dom. The Point in Hand is very short, either they were limited in their Power, or they were not—If they were not limited, we were as much under the Subjection of their Passions as their Reason; but if they were limited, then certainly it was, the Law that sat their Bounds; and the Exercise of any Power beyond what that allows, is unlawful, accord­ing to my Understanding. "Neither can it be supposed that God would subject the World to the Will and Passions of particular Men, because it is inconsistent with his Mercy and Justice—The Will of Man is a wild uncertain Thing, and a very false Guide to follow in governing People; but to make the Law the Measure of all his Actions, and the Welfare of the People the End of all public Designs, is that alone which will make a Man safe, easy and powerful."

Should any now flatter themselves, that the Re­presentatives have an inherent Power, pray what should we get by establishing this Principle? Why certainly, in the space of one Year, which Time they have to exercise this Power in, they might build a Number of Goals, and fill them with the People, who were so stupid as to give them this [Page 22] unlimited Power, and they may all be put in upon Suspicion; and I think even the Clergy would then stand but a poor Chance; for if in their Prayers or Preaching they said any Thing, that was suspected, against Persons in Government, away they must go to the Place appointed, and there remain during Pleasure—The People must now all set down easy in their Slavery; there is no Help for it—Well this Principle being fully establish'd, I will suppose, for Instance, the Pretender should again land in Eng­land, and he should give out that they might have all the Privileges of Freeborn Subjects, and this mighty Piece of Slavery, should be wholly destroy­ed; nothing would give so great a Shock, to the English Constitution; and therefore for the Security of our selves and Families, let us constantly proclaim the Liberties of Englishmen, as it were upon the House-Tops; and let no Man, or Number of Men take this Crown from us, but stand to our just Rights.

If there is any Thing in the foregoing, that is inconsistent with Truth, or that I have been unfair in any of my Quotations, and wrong'd the Authors from whom I extracted any Thoughts, I shall take it friendly, to have them pointed out to me; and can assure them I will thank them in a publick Manner, but should any incline to keep behind the Curtain, and act the Part of ill natur'd Criticks, I shall take no Notice of them, which will be Con­tempt sufficient, and Punishment enough.—

I have endeavour'd with Truth and Sincerity to impress the Mind with a due Sense, and the great Necessity of good Government, and the proper Respect which is due to all in Authority; and shown wherein the absolute Power is lodg'd, and [Page 23] from whence all delegated Power flows—If I am Mistaken, shall always lay open to Conviction—I have also shown that the People, the whole Body of them, who have the inherent Power must them­selves submit to the Standard, i. e. the Law; and I can truly say, I with they were as well observed, as the Laws were in the Days of Alfred the Great, King of England, who reigned above 800 Years ago; and was as History informs us, "a comely Prince, of graceful Behaviour, ready Wit and Me­mory, a Lover of good Men, very careful in pro­viding good Laws, most of which are extant. In short, Justice did not only flourish, but even triumph'd in his Days; insomuch that he caused Chains of Gold to be hung in the high Roads, daring, as it were, the boldest Thieves to take them away. He was a great Soldier, and may be justly stiled, The Founder of our Laws and Liberties."—

I heartily rejoice, amidst my Grief, that this Af­fair cannot be charg'd upon the Government, as his Excellency, whose Knowledge in the Law, and Acquaintance with human Nature, as well as their Honours, the Council, and many of the Represen­tatives, I have Reason to think, abhor'd the Thing in their Hearts; and had not an Opportunity of shewing it any other Way; and therefore shall conclude the whole with my hearty Wishes, that every one may enjoy that Liberty only, which is agreable to Law, Reason, and the true Principles of Christianity; but at the same Time have as "high an Esteem for it as the ancient Romans had, that they made it one of their Goddesses; and in­deed all sorts of Men are so averse to Slavery, and so tenacious of their Freedom, that they will under­go [Page 24] the greatest Hardships, expend all their Trea­sure, and expose their Lives to the most imminent Dangers, in order to preserve it; nay, when all these Means were like to prove ineffectual, we have Instances of People who have voluntarily destroyed themselves, rather than submit to a Yoke, which they had not been used to bear;" but this was car­rying the Matter too far; but at the same Time shews as the natural Aversion we have to Slavery; For let us only compare the Courage of an English­man, who has always been bred up in the Principles of Freedom, with the Courage of a Frenchman, who has been used to the contrary, and we shall find the former as superior to the latter, as Light is to Darkness, or Freedom to Bondage.

We are not under a Necessity of giving up our Privileges, considering His MAJESTY has ever made the Laws of the Land the Rule of his Actions, and exercised the Prerogatives of the Crown with that Mildness, Justice, and Propriety, as on all Occasions to make them, what they were by our excellent Constitution of Government intended for a Blessing to the People," says a late Writer.—

"The House of Commons are our Sanctuary a­gainst the Oppression of Princes, the Nation's Trea­surers, and the Defenders of their Liberties.—

The House of Commons also are mortal, as a House; a King may dissolve them, they may die, and be extinct; but the Power of the People has a kind of Eternity with respect to Politick Duration: Parliaments may cease, but the People remain; for them they were originally made, by them they are continued and renew'd, from them they receive their Power.—


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.