Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

1/ one could be a mere Spectator of their Pranks, (without any Concern for the Reputation of our Country) they have been exhibiting a Farce to us, ridiculous enough in Conscience; they have by Mistake sallen upon their best Friend the Spanijh Ambasiador, as Sir Martin Mar-all often does upon his trusty Servant Warner. They little know how devoted the Don is to their Party. There are also great Numbers among them who rise to pillage, and would be glad to plunder the Rich of both Parties.

It is wonderful, that those who are most deeply concerned, were the last in the Kingdom to foresee these Calamities. Surely Men are infatuated on these Occasions. We hardly find in History a weak Prince who foresees his own Ruin a Month beforehand: Nay, they are generally more secure near the Crisis of their Fate than ever they were before, as if Solomon's Observation were constantly to be verified, Pride cometh before Destruction^ and an haughty Spirit be/ore a Fall.

LETTER VII.

February 9. 1688-9,

f^fdcta est Alea, We have drawn the Sword, J and thrown away the Scabbard: We have put it out of our Power to retreat. Some thought, that in Consequence of laying aside the King, the Birth of the Young Gentleman would naturally have been the next Enquiry; and indeed if he had been left in the Kingdom, it could not easily have been avoided. But I suppose his Friends thought the Air of London bad for his Health ., for

if you look into the Bills of Mortality^ you will find, that abundance of Children drop off under two Years of Age. Now since he is gone,. if the late King's Abdication (I think that is the Word) be right, it will be also right to reject the Youth, tho' his Birth should be ever so Royal; for will not he have Education and * Advice from Priefis and Jesuits, and ether wicked Persons of tire Church of Rome? Not that the History of the Warn*ing-Pan is wholly to be lost; Men of different Complexions are capable of different Reasonings and different Faiths. One Man may renounce him for being the Son of King James, and another for not being so,

This new Word Abdicate has occasioned a great Display of Learning on the Debate of the Vote, It seems our own Law (which fays, the King can do no Wrong) Was too modest to supply a Word proper for the present Purpose, so that the Civilianswere so kind as to lend us this Term of Art. -1 believe I shall be able to fend you. the whole Debate in a little Time.; I shall therefore for the present only obviate a Mistake,- which: feme Gentlemen have fallen into; as if by the Word, Abdicate, the King's Flight were only intended. It would have been too severe to deprive him of his Crown for flying, when it was not safe for him to stay: And I am well informed that it stands in the Vote neither to mean his Flight, nor any express Declaration of his; but it will be best understood by comparing Mr. Scmers's Explanation of it with the Vote itself. A Man, says he, may Abdicate a Thing when he does an Act tuhich is inconsistent with the retaining it, tho' there be not an express Re~

• The Words in the Vote of Abdicaiioa

nunciation.

nunciation. Calvin'* Lexic. Juridic. (Generum Abdicate qui sponsam Repudiat) be that divorces bis Wife, abdicates bis Son-in-Law. I transcribe the Vote for you, lest you should not have it by you.

Resolved, That King James the Second, having endeavoured to subvert the Constitution of the Kingdom,- by breaking the Original Contrail between King and People; and by the Advice of Jesuits and ether wicked Persons, having violated the Fundamental Law, and withdrawn himself out of the Kingdom, hatb Abdicated the Government, and that the Throne is thereby Vacant. c- A"

The other Vote for filling the Throne (which sets the Prince on it as well as the Princess, the executive Power to be in him) is something. like Harry the Seventh's Accession, or rather stronger and more explicite; for his Pretensions to an Hereditary Right were well known; but he thought it prudent to leave the Matter complicated.

There is nothing new in this whole Transaction, nor more wondersul than what has happened heretofore in many other Kingdoms. On such violent Concussions, new Families have sometimes sprung up, and sometimes Democracies. Great Earthquakes change the Courses of Rivers, level Mountains, and raise the Vallies.

LETTER VIII.

I"* HEY tell us Wonders here of the Englijh *. Colony of Londonderry in Ireland, they fight and starve like the ancient Saguntines. They deserve our early Care of them; for if we have done right, I am sure they cannot be in the Wrong: Their Grievances and their Dangers were much more importunate than our own. I thought every Thing degenerated which was carried into that Country: It seems I am mistaken; or perhaps Oppression, which makes a wise Man Mad, can also make a Coward Valiant. I sear we are generally too partial to our own Home, and injuriously so with Regard to our Neighbours. A truebred Englijh 'Squire believes his Countrymen to be more powersul, more valiant, more wealthy, more numerous, more polite, more learned, more wise, not only than any other Nation, but than all the Nations on the Face of the Earth put together: If we could look on other Countries with an impartial Eye, we might see, that they have Numbers of People, and Sources of Wealth, and that they can either think or fight as well as ourselves. The old Aldermen in all our CountryBoroughs, have learned from Baker's Chronicle the Successes of our Edwards and our Henries against France: They also know enough of our Story, to tell us that Scotland was not with us in those Days, and that Ireland was of no Benefit to us; but they forget, that the best Provinces of modern France were then under Princes of their own, mortal Enemies to that Crown ; they do not perceive the intestine Disorders which made Way for the Englijh Arms; nor how easy it was for a Neighbouring Prince, who had their Royal Blood in his Veins, to make Parties among a People of his own Religion, and how impossible that Piece of Policy has been rendered by the Reformation: Modern France has at least twenty Millions of People, and the whole Britijh Empire not half that Number. The like Alteration has

been been produced in Spain, long since our Black Prince made a Figure on that Part of the Continent. That Country, of many Kingdoms, is become one. So that tho' our ancient Kings in the Holy War may have been as great and powersul as any of their Neighbours; yet we have Reason to suspect, that not even the Access of Scotland under the fame Allegiance with us, nor the Growth of Ireland in People, in Civility, and in Wealth, have been able to make us keep Pace with the vast Increase of Power in the Crowns of France and Spain, since the Times I mentioned. And Heaven only knows what Scotland will do now.

If we expect to be of Importance in Europe, ought we not to make a Coalition with those who are both of our own Blood and our own Religion, and not force them by Hardships into a Spirit of Faction? Cromwell, in one of his Parliaments, rejected many Boroughs, and increased the Number of Representatives for Counties : I have been told the late Lord Clarendon used to fay, That this was. an Amendment to be tvijhed for in better Times. Oliver brought the Representatives of the Three Kingdoms to sit in one Parliament: Is not this also an Alteration to be wished for at all Times? It is a Proposition which indeed ought to be an Axiom in our Politicks, that these Kingdoms can never make a great and happy Empire, whilst the constituent Parts envy the Prosperity of each other, whilst the Stronger oppresses the Weaker, and the Weaker is tempted to wish for an Opportunity to chuse a milder Lord, or even to set up for an Independency; which we must never think a Thing impossible, because in the last Century our Great-Grandfathers saw Seven little Districts break loose from the other Ten, B '(the

« ZurückWeiter »