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bond of oath? But why he so desires to absolve himself the oath of his coronation, would be worth the knowing. It cannot but be yielded that the oath which binds him to performance of his trust, ought in reason to contain the sum of what his chief trust and office is. But if it neither do enjoin; nor mention to him, as a part of his duty, the making or the marring of any law, or scrap of law, but requires only his assent to those laws which the people have already chosen, or shall choose (for so both the Latin of that oath, and the old English, and all reason admits, that the people should not lose under a new king what freedom they had before), then that negative voice so contended for, to deny the passing of any law, which the commons choose, is both against the oath of his coronation, and his kingly office. And if the king may deny to pass what the parliament hath chosen to be a law, then doth the king make himself superior to his whole kingdom; which not only the general maxims of policy gainsay, but even our own standing laws, as hath been cited to him in remonstrances heretofore, that the king hath two superiors, the law, and his court of parliament.' But this he counts to be a blind and brutish formality, whether it be law, or oath, or his duty, and thinks to turn it off with wholesome words and phrases, which he then first learned of the honest people, when they were so often compelled to use them against those more truly blind and brutish formalities thrust upon us by his own command, not in civil matters only, but in spiritual. And if his oath to perform what the people require, when they crown him, be in his esteem a brutish formality, then doubtless those other oaths of allegiance and supremacy, taken absolute on our part, may most justly appear to us in all respects as brutish and as formal, and so by his own sentence no more binding to us than his oath to him.
As for his instance, in case he and the House of Peers attempted to enjoin the House of Commons,' it bears no equality, for he and the peers represent but themselves, the commons are the whole kingdom.
Thus he concludes his oath to be fully discharged in governing by laws already made, as being not bound to pass any new, 'if his reason bids him deny.' And so may infinite mischiefs grow, and he with a pernicious negative may deny us all things good, or just, or safe, whereof our ancestors in times much differing from ours, had either no foresight, or no occasion to foresee ; while our general good and safety shall depend upon the private and overweening reason of one obstinate man, who, against all the kingdom, if he list, will interpret both the law and his oath of coronation by the tenor of his own will ; which he himself confesses to be an arbitrary power, yet doubts not in his argument to imply, as if he thought it more fit the parliament should be subject to his will, than he to their advice; a man neither by nature nor by nurture wise. How is it possible that he in whom such principles as these were so deep rooted, could ever, though restored again, have reigned otherwise than tyrannically?
X. UPON THEIR SEIZING THE MAGAZINES, FORTS, &c.
He counts it an injury not to have the sole power in himself to help or hurt any, and that the militia, which he holds to be his undoubted right, should be disposed as the parliament thinks fit, and yet confesses that if he had it in his actual disposing, he would defend those whom he calls his good subjects from those men's violence and fraud, who would persuade the world that none but wolves are fit to be trusted with the custody of the shepherd and his flock. Surely, if we may guess whom he means here, by knowing whom he hath ever most opposed in this controversy, we may then assure ourselves that by violence and fraud he means that which the parliament hath done in settling the militia, and those the wolves, into whose hands it was by them intrusted ; which draws a clear confession from his own mouth, that if the parliament had left him sole power of the militia, he would have used it to the destruction of them and their friends.
As for sole power of the militia, which he claims as a right no less undoubted than the crown, it hath been oft enough told him, that he hath no more authority over the sword than over the law; over the law he hath none, either to establish or to abrogate, to interpret or to execute, but only by his courts and in his courts, whereof the parliament is highest ; no more therefore hath he power of the militia, which is the sword, either to use or to dispose, but with consent of parliament ; give him but that, and as good give him in a lump all our laws and liberties. For if the power of the sword were any where separate and undepending from the power of law, which is originally seated in the highest court, then would that power of the sword be soon master of the law, and being at one man’s disposal, might, when he pleased, control the law, and in derision of our Magna Charta, which were but weak resistance against an armed tyrant, might absolutely enslave us. And not to have in ourselves, though vaunting to be freeborn, the power of our own freedom, and the public safety, is a degree lower than not to have the property of our own goods. For liberty of person and the right of self preservation, is much nearer, much more natural, and more worth
to all men, than the propriety of their goods and wealth. Yet such power as all this did the king in open terms challenge to have over us, and brought thousands to help him win it; so much more good at fighting than at understanding, as to persuade themselves that they fought then for the subject's liberty.
XII. UPON THE REBELLION IN IRELAND.
He was not the author, because he hath the greatest share of loss and dishonor by what is committed.' Who is there that offends God, or his neighbour, on whom the greatest share of loss and dishonor lights not in the end ? . But in the act of doing evil, men use not to consider the event of their evil doing; or if they do, have then no power to curb the sway of their own wickedness; so that the greatest share of loss and dishonor to happen upon themselves, is no argument that they were not guilty. This other is as weak, that 'a king's interest above that of any other man, lies chiefly in the common welfare of his subjects, therefore no king will do aught against the common welfare; for by this evasion any tyrant might as well purge himself from the guilt of raising troubles or commotions among the people, because undoubtedly his chief interest lies in their sitting still.
XIII. UPON THE CALLING IN OF THE SCOTS, AND
It must needs seem strange, where men accustom themselves to ponder and contemplate things in their first original and institution, that kings, who, as all other officers of the public, were at first chosen and installed only by consent and suffrage of the people, to govern them as freemen by laws of their own making, and to be, in consideration of that dignity and riches bestowed upon them, the intrusted servants of the commonwealth, should notwithstanding grow up to that dishonest encroachment, as to esteem themselves masters, both of that great trust which they serve, and of the people that betrusted them ; counting what they ought to do, both in discharge of their public duty, and for the great reward of honor and revenue which they receive, as done all of mere grace and favor; as if their power over us were by nature, and from themselves, or that God had sold us into their hands. Indeed, if the race of kings were eminently the best of men, as the breed at Tutbury is
. of horses, it would in reason then be their part only to command, ours always to obey. But kings by generation no way excelling others, and most commonly not being the wisest or the worthiest by far of whom they claim to have the governing; that we should yield them subjection to our own ruin, or hold of them the right of our common safety, and our natural freedom by mere gift, * * from the superfluity of their royal grace and beneficence, we may be sure was never the intent of God, whose ways are just and equal ; never the intent of nature, whose works are also regular ; never of any people not wholly barbarous, whom prudence, or no more but human sense, would have better guided when they first created kings, than so to nullify and tread to dirt the rest of mankind, by exalting one person and his lineage without other merit looked after, but the mere contingency of a begetting, into an absolute and unaccountable dominion over them and their posterity. Yet this ignorant or