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that all the offence they had committed was, that they were accustomed to allemble before day-light, to fing an hymn to Christ as to a God, and to bind themselves by an oath not to be guilty of theft, adultery, deceit, treachery, or any other crimes ?" Was there any thing in this conduct in the New-Englanders so inconsistent with subjection to civil authority, and destructive of the order of society, that the bold innovators must be ridiculed as men “ above all ordinances,” who “ despised the authority of the laws of England, as inapplicable to fo godly a people." In judging for themselves, and choosing their own form of religion, what did they more, than follow the example of those who first established the Church of England, which every one knows was a separation or diffent from the Church of Rome, and which would never have been accomplished had the reformers suffered themselves to be governed by that “ laudable spirit of attachment to the usages of their fathers," which Mr. Chalmers appears so much to admire? If it would have been so agreeable to “ the admirable spirit of Christianity for these new settlers to allow the liberty of choice and act” to the Episcopalians, surely it could not be very contrary to the spirit of Christianity, or to its great law of equity, that we ought to do to others as we would that they hould do to us, that they should be permitted to enjoy that liberty themselves.
The code of regulations instituted for Carolina by John Locke, and that framed for Pensylvania by William Penn, as might be expected, are treated by our Author with contempt. Concerning the latter he says; “ Though it Aattered the vanities of men, it was too theoretical to be practicable, too flimsy to prove lasting, too complicated to ensure continual harmony, and too wild to be useful." Yet he acknowledges in another place, that in executing this plan, Penn at once “ promoted his own designs, and the happiness of the people ;" and that “ Pensylvania flourished exceedingly, and increased so fast in population, industry, and wealth, that the foon outstripped her neighbours, and in a short period became perhaps the most commercial, rich, and powerful of all the plantations. Could all this good arise in the state, and no share of the merit long to the legislator? Or had a system which (though “ too wild to be useful"] “ promoted the happinels of the people," no claim to“ praise from philofophers?”
Our Author's political principles are fully explained in the last chapter of this volume, in which he attempts to lay open the grounds on which the Colonies were first settled, and on these grounds, to maintain the right of the British Parliament to tax America. In the course of these observations, Mr. Chalmers, by a kind of political legerdemain, metamorphoses
Whigs into Tories, and Tories into Whigs, in the following very ingenious paragraph :
Few doctrines are too absurd or destructive not to have been propagated and defended by the leaders of faction at all times, and in every country. We ought not to be surprised, therefore, that even the juit authority of the legislalore has been impugned by different men, with different views, in other times objection was only formed agaitist one part of its authority. And it was formerly contended, with a greater hare of plaulibility ihan force, “ that insufficient was the power of parliament to change or regulate the descent of the crown.' When we consider, bowever, the various indiances in which this elsential right had been exerted from the accellion of Henry IV. to that of Elizabeth, it must appear fingular that any doubt mould have been entertained of the extent of parliamentary power. We must attribute it to the extreme pertinacity of mankind, when influenced by party motives, that, norwithtanding the vigorous declarations of the Parliament during the reign of that Princess, the same objections were continued throughout the subsequent age. And the year 1680 is remarkable in English anna's, not only for being the epoch of the justly exploded party names of Whig and Tory, but for those pro. jects for excluding the Duke of York from the throne, which created so great a ferment towards the conclusion of the reign of his brother. But it was apparent to every one, that, were the authority of parliainent incompetent to alter the succession, an act of exclusion would pass to little purpose. The two great parties of the nation prepared, The one to impeach, the other to defend, ihe power of the legislature. When the bill was debated by the Commons, the Whigs very properly contended in its favour: Thai, government being founded by accident rather than in natural right, the rules of mere positive inftitution must be subject to the legislature, since they derived their energy from its will; that there must be lodged consequently somewhere, in every state, an authority absolute and supreine, the great fountain of the laws, which all mult revere and obey ; that, in the English conftitution, this transcendent power is happily placed where it is most fafe, in the Parliament, which, compaled of every order of the fate, mult necessarily poflets the will, the energy of the fate; that whatsoever determination receives the powerful approbation of its sanction cancot af:erwards admit of any dispute or controul, fince there would be no end to alteration, and the whole might be undone. Buc against reasonings, which, during those days, it was so difficult io answer, because they were popular, because they proceeded from the voice of the laws and the people, the courtiers and Tories in. fifted : That it was ridiculous to speak of an authority altogether absolute, fince such was to be found under no form of government, and omcipo:erce itself can do nothing inconalent or imposible; far Jess could such a power be inverted in judicatories, composed of men subject to human infirmities, fince every exertion muit partake of their weaknels; and, confequently, acts of parlia:nent may easily be figured, which mult neceifarily be deemed void, either from the defeci of their formation, or from the impoflibility of executior, The faic of the bill; the confiquent accellion of James II, the fol3
lowing resolution: all have been related by writers of the greatest talents, and are universally known. Upon the before mentioned principles of the Whigs was founded the interesting event which placed William on the throne ; upon those principles has the prefent happy establishment been defended by the belt and ablelt friends of the Constitution ; upon no o: her can che rectitude of bo:h be possibly supported. The maxims of the law of England will be found too Hubborn to give way to the speculations of theorists, however ingenious or respectable.
• How amuling is it to contempla:e the vicisitudes of those parties, which, under different forms, mult ever exist, while freedom animales the whole. How frequently do they infenfibly change their principles, and imperceptibly take the place of each other. All in their turns have employed force to support their fentiinents, when they have found their reasonings and intrigues unsuccesful. Hence the various insurrections, whether denominated rebellion or resistance, which have disturbed the repose of the State, froin the Revolution to the present day, have been uniformly directed again it the confitutional authority of the Legislature before-mentioned, against the principles of the Whigs of 1680. Meanwhile, a new set of men have arisen, who, adopting the sentiments of the Tories, though with very different views, have inferred : That, though a King of England may be bound, though the descent of the crown may be limited by Parliament, yet, that English subjets, living within the boundaries of the empire, claiming rights from Englit laws, are exempted from the authority of the Englih legiflature.'
Had the Author condescended to consult the writings of the Whigs, either of the period of which he is here treating, or of the present times, he would have found them incapable of the inconsistencies with which he charges them; he would have found it to be their invariable principle, that the original source of all power, and all law, resides in the Majesty of the People; and that all governors, by whatever names they are distinguished, are in reality the delegates, and (craving pardon of those courtly gentlemen who have of late been so much offended by the word) we will add, the servants of the People, and ACCOUNTABLE to their masters for the important trust committed to them. It is solely on this principle of the Supremacy of the People, and on the supposition that their pleasure was expressed in the voice of the Parliament which changed the succession of the Crown at the Revolution, that this great transaction can be justified. However trite the maxim, while there is on earth a prince, minister, or senator, who forgets it, let not the friends of mankind cease to repeat, Salus Populi ejt
[To be concluded in our next ]
Art. XII. Speculation ; or, a Defence of Mankind: A Poem. 4to. 2 s. 6 d. Prioted for the Author, and sold by Dodsley. 1780. T a time when the rancour of party animosity seems in a
great measure to have nionopolized the pen of satire, it is with no flight degree of satisfaction that we find this sportive bard once more invoking the Muse of Humour to laugh the vices and foibles of mankind out of countenance. And yet, if we may judge from the opening of his poem, he does not appear to have met, in his own estimation at least, with that treatment from the world to which his inoffensive reprehension of its vices ought to have entitled him :
Ah me! what spleen, revenge, and hate
Howe'er by nature they're ioclin'd
And wilt thou then, dear Muse, once more
But if some man for taste renown'd,
Some devious path thou should't explore,
Like this poor word, call d SPECULATION.' After giving a definition of the term according to its primisime acceptation, he proceeds to point out its present misapplication and abuse :
• Whatever wild fantastic dreams
Assumes the name of SPECULATION.' Of these speculators, who form, under the pencil of this admirable artist, a groupe truly grotesque, the Bull is not the least humorous:
• Oh! how PYTHAGORAS would wonder!