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could not be produced as doctrines worthy to be recognised by, and to be a part of, the constitution of England.

The next question that remains is, what reply was made to the Whig managers by the defenders of Sacheverell ? How were the doctrines of resistance, thus stated and limited, received ? were they controverted ? Far from it; when thus modified, they were at once admitted. And therefore when thus modified, they may be considered as the constitutional doctrines of the realm.

But the interest of the trial does not cease here, for Dr. Sacheverell, having fortified his own doctrines of passive obedience, by the authority of the Church of England and the most able divines and prelates from the time of the Reformation, a very large field of disquisition was opened, and the question was very solemnly considered, whether passive obedience had, or had not, been the doctrine of the Church of England and of its most able and learned divines.

The grounds to be taken by the reasoners on the Tory side were obvious: quotations were to be produced from the proper authorities, to show that the doctrines of passive obedience had been laid down, and without any exception; that such had been the ordinary practice of our divines, and that the doctor only followed their example. This was done.

But the Whig prelates and lawyers contended, that rules of duty, like those of civil obedience, could only be taught by the Scriptures (and therefore by the church and its divines) in general terms, and that exceptions in extreme cases, like those of the Revolution, were necessarily implied from the very nature and common reason of the case.

And what was now the ground taken by the doctor's counsel ? The propriety of this reasoning, and of this view of the case, was admitted by the doctor's counsel.

Now as this solution of the difficulty, however reasonable, and however acted upon by the divines of the Church of England themselves, had never before been publicly stated and admitted, as the proper theory on the subject, some advance must be considered as having been made on this occasion (and one favourable to the general principles of civil liberty), and in a quarter, where of all others, it is most desirable to find it.

There was another very important topic started on this memorable occasion. The doctor was accused of maintaining, that the toleration granted by law was unreasonable, and its allowance unwarrantable.

This led to an assertion of the doctrine of toleration by the Whig managers.

The defence of the doctor's counsel, the very able Sir S. Harcourt and others, was such an admission of the principle in theory, and such a mere quibbling and special pleading with respect to the point of fact, that the general doctrine of toleration must be considered as having become, on this occasion, like the qualified doctrine of resistance, the regular and constitutional doctrine of the land.

I have mentioned these particulars from a hope of inducing my hearers to believe, that this trial will afford them abundant matter for amusement and instruction, even though the particular question of the doctor's criminality be, or be not, considered.

The circumstance, also, which I have just adverted to, of the reference made by the great political moralist of our own times, Mr. Burke, to this very trial, in one of his celebrated productions, and that at the distance of a century, may serve, I think, to remind you of the importance of history and of historical documents, and the necessity there is, that those who would wish to be statesmen, should in the first place be conversant with the occurrences that have taken place in our own country, the reasonings to which they have given rise, the principles which they seem to have established.

The speeches, as they are reported in the trial, appear probably in a much more concise and condensed form than that, in which they were delivered ; and though they have thus gained something in manliness and strength, they have no doubt lost much in eloquence and grace ; yet they are, on the whole, very creditable to the talents of the speakers, particularly the reply of Sir Joseph Jekyl.

I must make one observation more to recommend these remarkable proceedings to your examination.

The great characteristic distinction of this period of our history is the Revolution, is the interest our ancestors took in it, the manner in which it was understood, the chances of its success or failure. And the Revolution is still the great characteristic feature of our constitution and government-it must ever remain so.

And when the inhabitants of this country are indifferent to the subject, they will probably soon arrive at a state of permanent political degradation; sooner or later at a total loss of those honourable English feelings, that love of freedom, and that jealousy of power, by which they were before so happily distinguished.

But to conclude the subject. From this celebrated impeachment of Sacheverell, two good effects followed; first, that there now exists upon record a full assertion of the great principles of civil and religious liberty, made in the presence of all the authority, dignity, and wisdom of the realm, and to every practical purpose, an admission and acknowledgment.

Secondly, that though the impeachment in this important respect answered the purposes of the Whigs, as patriots and lovers of the constitution of their country, and as far as posterity was concerned, it by no means answered their purposes as leaders of a party.

The doctor became the object of the most ridiculous idolatry, and they themselves and their politics were precipitated to their decline and fall.

This impeachment, therefore, became in this manner an example, which never has nor can be forgotten, to show the risk that is always run, of exalting into importance an author and his writings by public prosecutions; of giving fame and. popularity to the one, and circulation and influence to the other.

Now this effect thus produced is a good effect, for the restraint, that ministers and attorney generals are thus laid under, on the mere point of prudence and policy, operates most favourably for the liberty of the press. That liberty would be soon destroyed, and entirely at an end, if every writing or pamphlet that must necessarily appear a libel in a court of law, was to be instantly seized upon, and dragged to judgment, by those who are bound from their office to defend the established order of the community. Such men are always tempted, from their situation, however amiable they may individually be, to urge the rights and extend the limits

of authority too far. It is very happy, that from the experience of this and other similar prosecutions, the wisdom of leaving publications, if possible, unnoticed, has become a sort of maxim which is seldom departed from, but by petulant, narrow-minded men-men who are mere lawyers, and who, it is to be hoped, on such occasions, mean well, for this is the only merit they can plead.

But in the next place, the scenes that ensued during and after the impeachment are mortifying, but instructive lessons, to show the nature of what is called a popular cry; more especially when the interests of religion can be made to form a part of it. The great mass of the nation, always right in their sentiments, but not so in their opinions-never, when the slightest patience or precision is necessary, meant, no doubt, when they were patronising Dr. Sacheverell, to support the church and the monarchy, and so indeed they every where declared, with the most persevering vociferations'; and for this purpose, they made bonfires and addresses, plundered the residences and pulled down the meeting-houses of the Dissenters: but instead of supporting all this time the church and the monarchy, it is but too plain that they were only endeavouring, however unintentionally, to vilify and destroy those sacred principles of civil and religious liberty, without which the church would scarcely deserve the attribute of Christianity, or the monarchy, of government.

A few years afterwards, Dr. Fleetwood, the more enlightened and civilized Sacheverell of the Whigs, published four sermons, and prefixed a sort of political dissertation.

“ I have never failed,” said this divine, “on proper occasions, to recommend, urge, and insist upon the loving, honouring, and the reverencing the prince's person, and holding it, according to the laws, inviolable and sacred; and paying all obedience and submission to the laws, though never so hard and inconvenient to private people; yet did I never think myself at liberty, or authorized to tell the people, that either Christ, St. Peter, or St. Paul, or any other holy writer, had, by any doctrine delivered by them, subverted the laws and constitutions of the country in which they lived, or put them in a worse condition with respect to their civil liberties, than they would have been had they not been Christians.”

Of the different constitutional questions that arose in this reign, the next that I shall select, as fit more particularly to engage your attention, is that of the Protestant Succession.

On this subject of the Protestant succession, there is a very curious essay in Hume. You will see a reference and some account of it in the note book on the table.

Somerville has given a dissertation upon it at the end of bis history, which seems reasonable and satisfactory.

His conclusion is this: that there was no plan to defeat the succession, either concerted or agreed to by the Tory ministers collectively."

It was, however, most happy for the civil and religious liberties of England, that the opinions of the majority of the nation were, on the whole, at the time sound, and particularly on the question of Protestantism. No Tory minister could therefore depend upon the popularity of any measure in favour of the Stuarts; and could still less depend upon the favour and assistance of the queen, who very fortunately (though she loved her brother, and wished the restoration of her house) had no taste for political enterprise, and was most sincerely attached to the Protestant faith.

After all, the queen died most opportunely. The cause of the Revolution was of such importance to England, I had almost said to human nature, that it is not possible to survey these very critical times without something of anxiety, approaching to a sort of terror; certainly not without being struck with that remarkable good fortune which has so often distinguished this country with respect to its civil and religious liberties.

In appreciating the danger to which the Revolution and the Protestant succession were exposed, we naturally think of the intrigues of the exiled family, and of the court of St. Germains. We turn therefore to the second volume of Macpherson's original papers; but though they must be looked at, and though they occasionally present matter of importance, on the whole they disappoint expectation. There is so much that appears difficult to understand, and so inuch that appears not worth understanding, that a reader labours on with renewed disappointment, and continued weariness.*

But we may now look at the Life of James II., lately published ; and the Stuart Papers, now at Carlton House, no doubt, would exhibit sufficient

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