« ForrigeFortsett »
or to Christianity, deserved well to be considered by those who have rendered their names immortal by thus civilizing mankind.
As the world by degrees grew more popnlous, it daily became more difficult to find out new spots to inbabit, without encroaching npon former occupants; and, by constantly occupying the same individual spot, the fruits of the earth were consumed, and its spontaneous produce destroyed, without any provision for a future supply or suc. cession. It therefore became necessary to pursue some regular method of providing a constant subsistence; and this necessity produced, or at least promoted and encouraged, the art of agriculture. And the art of agriculture, by a regular connection and consequence, introduced and established the idea of a more permanent property in the soil, than had hitherto been received and adopted. It was clear, that the earth would not produce her fruits in sufficient quantities, without the assistance of tillage: but who would be at the pains of tilling it, if another might watch an opportunity to seize upon and enjoy the product of his industry, art, and labour? Had not therefore a separate property in lands, as moveables, been vested in some individuals, the world must have continued a forest, and men have been mere animals of prey; whichi, according to some philosophers, is the genuine state of nature. Whereas now (so gra ciously has Providence interwoven our duty and our happiness together) the result of this very necessity has been the ennobling of the human species, by giving it opportunities of improving its rational faculties, as well as of exerting its natural. Necessity begat property; and, in order to insure that property, recourse was had to civil society, which brought along with it a long train of inseparable concomitants; states, governments, laws, punishment, and the public exercise of religious duties. Thus connected together, it was found that a part only of society was sufficient to provide, by their manual labour, for the necessary subsistence of all; and leisure was given to others to cultivate the human mind, to invent useful arts, and to lay the foundations of science.
The only question remaining is, How this property became actually vested; or what it is that gave a man an exclusive right to retain, in a permanent manner, that specific land, which before belonged generally to every body, but particularly to nobody? And, as we before observed that occupancy gave the right to the temporary use of the soil, so it is agreed upon all hands that occupancy also gave the original right to the permanent property in the substance of the earth itself; which excludes every one else but the owner from the use of it. There is indeed some difference among the writers on natural law, concerning the reason why occupancy should convey this right, and invest one with this absolute property : Grotius and Puffendorf insisting that this right of occupancy is founded upon a tacit and iinplied assent of all mankind, that the first occupant shonld become the owner: and Barbeyrac, Titius, Mr. Locke, and others, holding, that there is no such implied assent, neither is it necessary that there should be; for that the very act of occupancy alone, being a degree of bodily labour, is, from a
principle of natural justice, without any consent or compact, sufficient of itself to gain a title. A dispute that savours too much of nice and scholastic refinement! However, both sides agree in this, that occupancy is the thing by which the title was in fact originally gained; every man seizing to his own continued use, such'spots of ground as he found most agreeable to his own convenience, provided he found them unoccupied by any one else.
OF THE CONSTITUTION OF ENGLAND. The supreme executive power of Great Britain and Ireland is vested by our constitution in a single person, king or queen; for it is indifferent to which sex the crown descends; and the person entitled to it, whether male or fepiale, is immediately intrusted with all the ensigns, rights, and prerogatives, of sovereign power.
The principal duties of the king are expressed in his oath at the coronation, which is administered by one of the archbishops or bishops of the realm, in the presence of the people. This coronation oath is conceived in the following terms :
The archbishop, or bishop, shall say—'Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the people of this kingdom of England, and the dominions thereunto belonging, according to the statutes in parliament agreed on, and the laws and customs of the same ?' — The king or queen shall say, 'I solemnly promise so to do.'
Archbishop, or bishop.-- Will you, to your power, cause law and justice, in mercy, to be executed in all your judgments ?'-King or queen. I will.
Archbishop, or bishop.—'Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the Gospel, and the protestant reformed religion established by the law? And will you preserve unto the bishops and clergy of this realm, and to the churches comniitted to their charges, all such rights and privileges as by the law do or shall appertain unto them, or any of them i-King or queen. “All this I promise to do.'
After this, the king or queen, laying his or her band upon the holy Gospel, shall say, “The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep : so help me God! and then kiss the book.
This is the form of the coronation oath, as it is now prescribed by our laws: and we may observe, that in the king's part in this original contract are expressed all the duties that a monarch can owe his people; viz. to govern according to law; to execute judgment in mercy; and to maintain the established religion.
The laws are made by the joint concurrence of the king, the lords, and the commons; and without their joint concurrence cannot be altered or dispensed with
The house of lords consists of the lords spiritual, that is to say, of two archbishops and twenty-four bishops, with four bishops from Ireland. The lords temporal consist of all the peers of the realm ; the bishops not being in strictness held to be such, but merely lords of parliament. Some of the
peers sit by descent, as do all ancient peers; some by creation, as do all the new-made ones; others, since the unions with Scotland and Ireland, by election, which is the case of the sixteen peers who represent the body of the Scotch nobility, and the twenty-eight Irish peers who represent the Irish nobility. The number of peers is indefi. nite, and may be increased at will by the power of the crown.
The house of commons consists of the representatives of the people chosen every seven years, or on a dissolution by the crown.
The counties are represented by knights, elected by the proprietors of lands; the cities and boroughs are represented by citizens and burgesses, chosen by the mercantile part, or supposed trading interest, of the nation. The number of English representatives is 513, of Scotch 15, and of Irish 100; in all 658.
These are the constituent parts of parliament: the king, the lords spiritual and temporal, and the commons; parts, of which each is so necessary, that the consent of all three is required to make any new law that shall bind the subject. Whatever is enacted for law by one, or by two only, of the three, is no statute ; and no regard is due to it unless in matters relating to their own privileges.
WHAT IS LIBERTY? Dors liberty consist in the power of doing what we please? No: for if every body had this power, there could be no liberty at all; because our life