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tinguished their constitutional provisions and barriers against tyranny.
To pass over the lesser States, not only Marius, and Sylla, and Cesjart but Augustus and Tiberius, those able tyrants, who systematically ruined the Roman Empire and her liberties, atchieved it by troops raised to maintain the Roman Sovereignty over their provinces. They did, indeed, subdue those provinces; and their project reached still farther than they expected; for it stopped not till the Military Power, established by them for that end, overturned the Imperial Power itself.— In less than fifty years from the death of Jugujlus, those armies raised to keep the provinces in awe, had no less than three Emperors on foot at the fame time; and thenceforward the Military Power dispose of the Empire, and gave to whom it pleased the throne of the Cæsars. Whoever will calmly examine those precedents, it is impossible but they must be convinced, that the like causes must have similar effects. Oppressed by an overgrown army, the Liberty of America, and Ireland, (for that stands next in the ministerial plan) and afterwards that of Great-Britain, will follow of course;—the Monster of Despotism will only grant even to the latter the favour intended for UfyffeSy that of being last devoured.
Lord Irnham, Feb. 6, 1775.
The cruel and persecuting means devised for enforcing our measures against America, exactly resemble the mode adopted by Marjhal Rozen, King James the Second'6 French General in Ireland, in order to reduce the rebellious citizens, and other defenders of Londonderry. They, brave men, as the Americans are now, were styled traitors and rebels; and they, as well as our rebellious subjects in America, were to be starved into compliance; that is, the means employed were to be justified by the goodness of the cause. An order was sent by Rozen, obliging the garrison of Derry to submit; which was to collect the wives, children, and aged parents of the gar
E 3 rison, rison, to drive them under the walls of the town, there to perish in the presence of their parents, husbands, and other relations; and if they offered to return, to fire on them, and massacre them. But weak, infatuated, and bigoted as that prince was, his heart revolted at such a horrid expedient of subduing his enemies; for as soon as it reached his knowledge, he immediately countermanded the barbarous order, and left, the innocent and unoffending to their liberty.
, Marquis of Rockingham, March 16, 1775.
Of thirty-three Sovereigns of England, since William the Conqueror, thirteen only have ascended the Throne by divine hereditary Right; the rest owe their Royalty to the zeal and vigour of the People of England, In the maintenance of Constitutional Freedom.
The Will of the People, superseding an hereditary Claim to Succession, at the commencement of the twelfth century, placed Henry the 1st on the Throne of this Kingdom, with condition that he would abrogate the vigorous laws made since the Norman Invasion, restore the Government as in the days of Edward the Confessor, and abolish all unjust and arbitrary Taxes.
King Stephen obtained the Crown, and Henry the Hd kept it, on the fame express terms: yet, Sir, in the days of King John, it was judged expedient, no longer to trust to mere oral declarations, which State chicane and sophistry had of late years occasionally explained away, but to compel that Prince solemnly to register an affirmance of the antient Rights of the People in a formal manner; and this necessary work was accomplished by the Congress at Runnemede, in the year ,1115: an Assembly which ought never to be spoken of by the Representatives of the Commons of England, but with the profoundest veneration.
An honourable and learned Member over the way mentioned, a few evenings ago, the introduction of foreign troops into this Island in the Reign of Henry the Md, as a precedent to warrant the present stretch of Regal Prerogative in the case of the Hanoverian Mercenaries: as that Member is not now in the House, I shall be more concise in treating of the events he alluded to, than I otherwise intended. Sir, in the Reign of Henry the Hid, (about the year 1233) the Barons, Clergy, and Freeholders, resused two distinct Summonses to Parliament; and understanding that the King, as Earl of Priclou, had landed some of his Continental Troops in the Western ports of England, with a design to strengthen a most odious and arbitrary set of Ministers, they assembled in a Convtntion, or Congress, from whence they dispatched Deputies to King Hen/y; declaring, that if he did not immediately send back those Poiffouvians, and remove from his Person and Councils evil advisers, they would place on the Throne a Prince who should better observe the Laws of the Land.—Sir, the King not only hearkened to that Congress, but shortly after complied with every article of their demands, and publickly notified his reformation. Now, Sir, what are we to call that Assembly which dethroned Edward the lid, when the Archbishop of Canterbury preached a sermon on this text, The voice of the People is the voice of God. And when a learned Judge, in the character of Procurator for the mass of the Freemen, surrendered the homage and fealty of the People of England, alledging that the original compact, through which they were bound to Allegiance, was dissolved, by the use and aggrandizement of ill Counsellors; by the Administration of Government, which agreed not with the ancient Laws of the Land, and by a total disregard to the advice and supplications of his Majesty's faithsul but afflicted subjects, Richard the Hd (like the unhappy Edward) fell a victim to despotic obstinacy and favouritism: and to this King, in the fame manner, was surrendered, by Commilfioners (or Proctors) the allegiance of his subjects ; 'aad a Prince of the House of Lancaster (founder* of our present Most Gracipus Majesty's royal
E 4 'Jine) line) was invited over from banishment, and elected by the People to the Throne. But, Sir, before I dismiss this Reign, it may be proper to observe, that Richard entirely subverted the Constitution of the Upper House of Parliament; for he made it an appendage to the Crown, introducing Peers by Creation in prejudice to the territorial Baronies: and with respect to the other House, he sent orders to the Sheriffs of the several Counties throughout England, to return only ftich Representatives to Parliament, as should, on every occasion, implicitly obey the royal mandate. Nay, Sir, both Houses coil/ jointly went at last so far, as to commit their whole parliamentary power into the hands of a Cabinet Junto of Ministers, having, however, first obtained the Pope's leave for so doing. I wish Gentlemen, who contend for supreme Sovereignty in the Crown and Parliament, denying any Rights of the People in pre-eminence to their joint authority^ would apply such argument to the State of King, Lords, and Commons at that æra. I shall next proceed to the genera\ Convention and Congress, which, in 1461, enthroned the Earl of March in Westminster-Hall, by the name of Edward the IVth, the Primate of all England collecting the Suffrages of the People; and at that period, even the Lancastrian Historians date the commencement of his Reign.
• But to come to modern occurrences: in 1659, a Convention, or Congress, restored legal Monarchy in the person of King Charles the lid, who was then no farther distant from this Island than the town of Breda; and being pressed by many of the Royal Partizans to issue his Writs for a lawsul Parliament, he made answer, that he would rather be indebted for his Restoration to the uninfluenced fense of the People of England, taken in a free Assembly.
On the 26th of December, 1688, was held a Convention, or Congress, at St. James's, where the Prince of Orange presided; and there were present most of the surviving Members who had served in any one of the Parliaments of King Charles
the Second, the Lord Mayor, the Aldermen, and about fifty of the Common-Council, &c. and on the 22d of January following, by virtue of notices issued on the aforefaid 26th of December, at St. James's, the memorable Convention Parliament assembled in th;s House, and perfected the glorious work of the Revolution.
I mean, Sir, from these examples and arguments, to deduce for aii'uniontrovertible truth, that al! the subjects of the British empire have a right to be governed according to the spirit of our ancient constitution, by which no freeman could be taxed without his consent, either in person, or by his substitute: and notwithstanding the infringement of this right under some of our Norman Kings and their successors, yet we sind William the Conqueror himself confirming it in his code of laws, the year bafore his decease. And the fame explicit declaration in it* favour from our English Justinian, King Edward the First, in the charter of the 25th, and statutes of the 34th of his reign, admitted to be among the earliest authentic records of Parliament extant, according to the present mode of summons.
I have, I think, shewn, that our Kings, in former days, have not scrupled to treat with a Congress; that many of the best of them owe their Crowns to such national meetings; and that this nation has, on the one hand, been faved from despotism, and, on the other hand, from anarchy, by a Convention or Congress; which surely possesses some advantages over a Parliament: for being free from ministerial management, having neither placemen, pensioners, nor dependent retainers on their list, are more likely to hear the sincere dictates of conscience, and the unpolluted sense of those they represent. But, Sir, however inadmissible the voice of a Congress might be deemed as acts of legislation, yet I conceive that their plea, in the character of Advocates for the constituent body by whom they are commif. sioned, ought in justice, as well as sound policy, to be listened to. A punctilious delicacy now in fashion, which we style the dignity of the Crown and Parliament, will, if madly persisted in, r '".' cost