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may, upon some account, be called reasonable hopes, because there is great reason it should be so; but yet they so often fail, that there is no reason to rely upon them. The repentance of dying sinners, and of undone prodigals, who return to their old sins again, if they recover their health, or find new treasures to waste, confutes such expectations. Sufferings rarely cure a vehement love and fond passion for any thing, which is the case of old habitual sinners; and no man can be fonder of any vice, than some princes are of unlimited and arbitrary power.
And, when this is joined with a resolved and inflexible temper, which scorns to yield, and had rather be undone a thousand times, than own,, retract, or amend a fault: such misfortunes do but whet revenge, and make them swell, as a river does when its current is stopped, which flows with a more rapid and foaming stream, when it has once forced its way.
Especially when superstition is the prevailing ingredient, which fires the spirits, and raises imaginary scenes of glory out of the loss of crowns and kingdoms: and what will such a prince, if he ever recover his throne and power, forfeit the glory of losing his kingdoms again, by deserting the cause for which he lost them before? No man can certainly tell, how superstition will act, nor how it will reason; especially, when the consciences of princes are under such directors, as will venture their crowns for them over and over, to carry on their own designs, and know how to expound providence to flatter superstition. And then the recovery of his throne aiay be made a better argument, and a stronger obligation to revive and prosecute his old designs, than the fear of losing it again can be to make him desist.
And, to make this yet more demonstrative, with reference to the late king, we ought to consider, that this is not the first trial he has had, and that this consideration has done him no good.
He saw before what his father King Charles the First suffered, only for some attempts towards arbitrary power, and for mere jealousies and suspicions of his favouring popery. He lost his kingdoms and his life, and his sons suffered a long and hard exile. Charles the second, indeed, took warning by this, and, though possibly he might be big with the same designs, yet would he not ven. ture too far, nor discover himself too openly, for fear of travelling again, as he used to speak. But King James had not patience to conceal bis inclinations, till he came to the crown; and that had like to bave cost him his crown before he had it; and, yet, this was not sufficient to caution him against those violent methods he afterwards used to advance popery, which were so seasonably defeated hy the happy arrival of our present sovereign, whom God long preserve: and those who are so desirous to try bim again in England, as they have lately done in Ireland, to their full satisfaction, if they could try only for themselves, should have my free consent to make the experiment.
Have not the poor Irish protestants made it to their cost, even since this very revolution, from whence, and from the wisdom he
must needs have learned by it, this miraculous change in him is now expected ? and did they find any such change in him, unless for the worse? And yet, if ever, then he was upon his good behaviour, when he wanted their assistance to secure bis possession of that kingdom, and to recuver bis other dominions, and when, in reason, it might have been expected, that, wbatever resentments he had, he would have thought it his interest to have treated protestants with greater tenderness and respect. But, if the necessity of his own affairs could not obtain this from him, what must protestants expect, if he return with power? And, though some protestants here in England seem not to be all affected with this experiment, yet it hath made such an impression upon the protestants in Ireland, that they are for ever cured of their fondness, and have not the least curiosity left to make any further trials.
It is pretended, indeed, in excuse of this, that he was then under the government of French ministers and counsels, and under the power of Irish priests and papists, and so was not at liberty to follow his own inclinations: I should be very glad of a good argument to prove, that he had better inclinations. But however, what comfort is this to protestants, that he has better inclinations, but is not his own master ? For, if he must never shew any kind. ness to protestants, it is no matter what his inclinations are: and can any man imagine, that, if the French king, by force and power, place him on the throne, he will be less under his government than he was in Ireland? The French king, among many other wise maxims, has this, I am sure, for one, never to make a king, without making him his own vassal ; and the power,
that can make a king, can make him his slave: so that it is to no purpose to enquire what king James will do; but what king Lewis will do, if king James returns ?
Secondly, as for the great merits of the non-swearing clergy and laity, I greatly suspect, that neither the late king James, nor king Lewis, will think them so great as they themselves do. Their merit must consist either in their principles, or in their practices. And we will briefly consider both :
Their meritorious principle is this, that the rights of princes, especially of hereditary princes, to their thrones, are so sacred and inviolable, that, as they cannot forfeit them to their own subjects by any male-administration, so neither can they, by any provocations, or by any success of war, forfeit them to any other princes : that, while such a prince, or any legal heir is living, no other prince can have any right to bis throne, nor must his subjects own and submit to any other prince, as their sovereign Lord.
Now, as much as this principle seems to flatter princes, and to make their thrones eternal, I am apt to suspect, that no prince, who considers the just consequence of things, can think it so very meritorious; for it is a very dangerous principle to weak and unfortunate princes, and an intolerable restraint upon the aspiring and ambitious. It is dangerous to the unfortunate, because it lays a necessity upon the conqueror to take away his life, if he can, as
well as his throne, since he cannot lose his throne without losing his life, though most princes would rather chuse to have them parted, than lose both together: and bow do they think king Lewis will like this principle, which stands in the way of his glory, and preaches restitution to him of all those dominions, whose legal heirs are living; which teaches the subjects of other princes to deny him fealty and obedience, and to conspire with their legal princes against him? I doubt not but he likes the principle as little as he would like the practice, and that our non-swearers would quickly understand, were they the subjects of his new conquests, which God grant England niay never be.
Indeed, how great a compliment soever this principle may be thought to princes, it can have no merit, because though it may in some junctures do them hurt, it never did, and never can do them any service. It never yet hindered a revolution, and never can make one; and the reason is plain, because no princes, and very few subjects, do believe it and practise upon it. If a prince have a just cause of war against another prince, he makes no scruple, if he conquers, to take his crown; and the subjects of such a conquered prince make no scruple of conscience to submit to the conqueror; though sometimes a personal kindness for a just and indulgent prince, and a concernment for their own liberties and fortunes, may make them uneasy under it, and glad of the first opportunity to do themselves and their prince right.
The truth is, princes have no reason to like this principle; for, were it true, they could have no remedies against the injuries of neighbour princes; they might, indeed, fight and conquer, but they had better let it alone, and if they must not take the throne, which their sword has won ; for it is only the fear of conquest, and losing their crowns when they are conquered, that can keep princes in awe, and bring them to just and equal terms; and if no prince must lose his crown, because no prince must take it, it will be impossible to beat an injurious and obstinate prince into good terms; and, I believe, princes will as soon be persuaded, that it is as unlawful to make war, as that it is unlawful to seize á conquered crown, and will think one as meritorious a principle as the other.
And it is certain, subjects have less reason to like this principle, because it makes them sacrifices, even to the misfortunes of their prince. A prince, when he is conquered, or sees that he must be conquered, may escape by flight, but a whole nation cannot run away; and, if they could, have no reason to leave their country and their fortunes behind them ; and yet, according to this principle, they must not submit, nor swear allegiance to the conqueror, while the prince who has forsaken them lives, though they cannot secure the r lives and fortunes without it. But nature and common sense is too powerful for the sophistry of such principles, and those, who cannot reason, can feel what they are to do in such cases. The loyalest subjects, when no personal obligations, or secret interests determine them otherwise, will save themselves by
submission, when they cannot defend their prince by their arms; and do not think they do ill in it; and I suppose princes do not think so neither, because they expect the same from the subjects of other princes, in the like circumstances; and such an universal consent, both of princes and subjects, when there is no law of God or nature against it, makes it a standing law in all revolutions, which both princes and subjects must submit to. So that this principle, were it never so true, can do no service, and therefore can have no merit in this world, because there are so few that believe it, that they are not hands enough, either to keep a prince on his throne, or to restore him to it. All our non-swearers could not hinder the late revolution, nor can they make another: they are enough to make a noise, especially if the loud and zealous ladies of that side be reckoned in; but other hands and other pretences must do their work, if ever they hope to see it done; and then no thanks to their principles for it. Whatever reward their future services may deserve, princes themselves will not think, that their principles deserve any.
Let us then now consider the merit of their actions, and what opinion the late king is like to have of that, if he should return.
I suppose they will be contented he should forget their merits towards him, while he was on the throne, especially about reading his declaration ; as likewise their Tower and their Westminsterhall merits ; which were indeed great, and did deserve, and would have had a better reward from a better hand, bad they not rendered themselves incapable of it. But, sure, they do not expect the late king should reward them for such services. He knew, that this raised that general discontent, which occasioned that general revolt, which cost him three crowns. And, if all their merits can expiate this guilt, they come off well; and they had need be very extraordinary merits, which have first so great a guilt to expiate, before they can pretend to merit, Could their non-swearing restore him to his throne again, it would but just undo what they had done, which is no more than their duty, and therefore cannot merit, no, not so much as a pardon, though it may make them capable of it, if they fall into merciful hands. But still there are four years exile, and the loss of three crowns, and the expence of so much blood and treasure; the dishonour of so many defeats, and the ruin of Ireland to be accounted for : and how can they make restitution for all this? which yet they must do, before they can lay claim to merit,
Let all this then be forgot, for it is their interest it should ; but they are very sanguine men, if they hope it will: whence, then, will they date their merits?
When it was certainly known, that the Prince of Orange, now our gracious sovereign, was ready to land, they seemed as well pleased with it, as other men, and refused, when they were pressed to it by the late king, to declare their abhorrence of it; but, instead of that, took upon them to give him advice, and to publish it when they had done: in which advice they recommended almost every
particular of the prince's declaration, complained of the same abuses, and advised the calling of a parliament to redress them; as if the prince's declaration and their advice had been drawn by the same pen, and the advice had been published on purpose to second the declaration. This, I suppose, they will not reckon among their merits neither; and, if they can excuse what was so hastily done at Guildhall, before the late king was gone out of the land, they may very well be contented no more should be said of that.
The only merit, then, they have to pretend, is their refusing the oath of allegiance to King William and Queen Mary, and forfeiting their ecclesiastical, civil, or military preferments for it: but what is this to the late king? is this done out of kindness to him, or his government? Would they not have been contented to have lived peaceably and quietly, as they themselves professed, could they have kept their preferments, and have been excused from the new oathis? And how do they merit of him, by refusing the oaths with the loss of their preferments, if they did it not for his sake, but for another and better reason, for fear of being damned? God may reward this, but King James is not beholden to them. Will they be better subjects hereafter? will they read his declaration, when he returns will they make his will their law? will they submit to his next ecclesiastical commission, and give up their colleges and churches to priests and jesuits? will they be content to take him the very same man that he went away, and to serve him in his own way? will they no more fill the nation with the noise and fears of popery and arbitrary power? will they turn papists themselves? or stand by patiently, and give leave to bis priests to pervert protestants as fast as they can? will they promise to demean themselves with more respect towards the king's religion, and to leave off their old sauciness of printing and preaching against popery? This, indeed, would bid fair for merit; but, if they oppose his methods of government, and his glorious designs, as much as they do King William's right; if it be only a Įitle they boggle at, if this be all that makes them uneasy at the change, their not swearing does him no service: he could have kept his kingdoms upon these terms before, but he scorned it; and so he will those, who, to save their consciences, or their honours, and to recover their preferments, would have him apon these terms again.
As much as some men glory in their steadiness to principles (which is certainly a very honourable thing, and an excellent degree of virtue, when the principles are plain and certain) yet few princes (to be sure, not the late king) like such a steadiness to principles, as opposes their designs; a stubborn, inflexible conscience is a very unruly thing, and kings do not like such subjects, as dare oppose a king upon the throne, whatever the cause be : so that, I suspect, their very boldness and resolution, in opposing their present majesties, upon a mere point of law, will be thought