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CHA P. uncontrouled afcendant over her people; and while the
XLV. merited all their esteem by her real viriues, she also en-

gaged their affection by her pretended ones. Few love-
2603. reigns of England succeeded to the throne in more difficult

circumstances; and none ever conducted the government
with such uniform success and felicity. Though unac-
quainted with the practice of toleration, the true secret
for managing religious factions, the preserved her peo-
ple, by her superior prudence, from those confusions,
in which theological controversy had involved all the
neighbouring nations: And though her enemies were the
most powerful princes of Europe, the most active, the
molt enterprising, the least scrupulous, she was able, by
her vigour, to make deep impressions on their fate : Her
own greatness, mean while, remained untouched and

The wife ministers and brave warriors, who flou-
rished under her reign, thare the praise of her fuccess;
but instead of lessening the applause due to her, they
make great addition to it. They owed, all of them,
their advancement to her choice; they were supported
by her conftancy; and, with all their ability, they
were never able to acquire any undue ascendant over
her. In her family, in her court, in her kingdom,
the remained equally mistress : The force of the ten-
der passions was great over her, but the force of her
mind was still superior; and the combat, which her
vi&ory visibly cost her, serves only to display the firm-
ness of her resolution, and the loftiness of her ambitious

THE fame of this princess, though it has surmounted the prejudices both of fa&tion and bigotry, yet lies ftill exposed to another prejudice, which is more durable because more natural, and which, according to the different views in which we survey her, is capable either of exalting beyond measure, or diminishing the lustre of her character. This prejudice is founded on the conhderation of her sex. When we contemplate her as a woman, we are apt to be struck with the highest admiration of her great qualities and extensive capacity ; but we are also apt to require some more softness of disposition, some greater lenity of temper, some of those amiable weaknefles by which her


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sex is distinguished. But the true method of estimating CHAP.
her merit, is to lay aside all these considerations, and XLV.
consider her merely as a rational being, placed in autho-
rity, and entrusted with the government of mankind. 1603.
We may find it difficult to reconcile our fancy to her as
a wife or a mistress; but her qualities as a sovereign,
though with some considerable exceptions, are the object
of undisputed applause and approbation.

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Government of England - Revenues. Commerce

Military force - Manufactures Learning.

Appendix HE party amongst us, who have distinguished III.

themielves by their adhering to liberty and a po

pular government, have long indulged their prejudices Govern

against the succeeding race of princes, by beltowing ment of

unbounded panegyrics on the virtue and wisdom of EliEngland. zabeth. They have even been so extremely ignorant of

the transactions of this reign, as to extol her for a quaJiry, which, of all others, the was the least poffeffed of; a tender regard for the conititution, and a concern for the liberties and privileges of her people. But as it is scarcely possible for the prepoffeilions of party to throw a veil much longer over facts so palpable and undeniable, there is danger left the public should run into the opposite extreme, and should entertain an averfior to the memory of a princess, who exercised the royal authority in a manner su contrary to all the ideas, which we at present entertain of a legal constitution. But Elizabeth only supported the prerogatives, transmitted to her by her iminediate predeceflors : She believed that her subjects were entitled to no more liberty than their ancestors had enjoyed : She found that they entirely acquiesced in her arbitrary administration : And it was not natural for her to find fault with a form of government, by which the herself was invested with such unlimited authority. In the particular exertions of power, the question ought never to be forgot, What is best? But in the general distribution of power among the several members of a constitution, there can seldoin be admitted any other question, than, What is usual? Few examples occur of prince, who have willingly resigned their power :. None of those who have, without struggle and reluctance, allowed it to be extorted from them. If any other rule than esta



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blished practice be followed, factions and diffentions must Appendix
multiply without end : And though many constitutions, III.
and none more than the British, have been improved
even by violent innovations, the praise bestowed on those
patriots, to whom the nation was indebted for its privi-
leges, ought to be given with some relerve, and surely
without the least rancour against those who adhered to the
aprient constitution.

In order to understand the antient constitution of Eng-
land, there is not a period which deserves more to be
ftudied than the reign of Elizabeth. The prerogatives
of this princess were scarcely ever disputed, and the
therefore employed them without scruple. Her imperious
temper, a circumstance in which she went far beyond
her fucceffors, rendered her exertions of power violent
and frequent, and discovered the full extent of her autho-
rity: The great popularity which she enjoyed, proves,
that she did not infringe any established liberties of the
people : There remain monuments numerous enough to
ascertain the most noted acts of her adminiftration : And
though these monuments must be derived from a source
wide of the ordinary historians, they become only the
more authentic on that account, and serve as a stronger
proof, that the particular exertions of her power were
conceived to be nothing but the ordinary course of ad-
ministration, since they were not thought remarkable
enough to be recorded even by contemporary writers. If
there was any difference in this particular, the people, in
foriner reigns, seem rather to have been more submissive
than even during the age of Elizabeth M. It

here By the antient constitution, is here meant that which prevailed before the settlement of our pretent plan of liberty. There was a more antient constitution, where, though the people had perhaps less liberty than under the Tudors, yet the king had also less authority : The power of the barons was a great check

upon him, and exercised great tyranny over them. But there was ftill a more antient constitucion, viz. that before the figning of the charters, where neither the people nor the barons had any regular privileges, and the power of the go. vernment, during the reign of an able prince, was almost wholly in the king. The English conftitution, like all others, has been in a flate of continual Auctuation.

In a memorial of the state of the realm, drawn by secretary Cecil, in 1569, there is this paffage: “ Then followeth

may not


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Appendix here be improper to recount some of the antient preroga-

tives of the crown, and lay open the sources of that
great power, which the English monarchs formerly en-

ONE of the most antient and most established inftru-
ments of power was the court of star-chamber, which
poffeffed an unlimited discretionary authority of fining,
imprisoning, and infli&ing corporal punishment, and
whose jurisdiction extended to all sorts of offences, con-
tempts, and disorders, that lay not within reach of the
common law. The members of this court consisted of
the privy council and the judges; men, who all of them
enjoyed their offices during pleasure : And when the
prince himself was present, he was the sole judge, and all
the others could only interpose with their advice. There
needed but this one court, in any government, to put an
end to all regular, legal, and exact plans of liberty. For
who durst set himself in opposition to the crown and mi-
nistry, or aspire to the character of being a patron of
freedom, while exposed to so arbitrary a jurifdiâion? I
much question, whether any of the absolute monarchies
in Europe contain, at present, fo illegal and despotic a

The court of High Commission was another jurisdiction still more terrible; both because the crime of heresy, of which it took cognizance, was more undefinable than any civil offence, and because its methods of inquisition, and of adminiftering oaths, were more contrary to all the most simple ideas of justice and equity. The fines and imprisonments imposed by this court were frequent : The deprivations and suspensions of the clergy for nonconformity were also numerous, and comprehended at one time the third of all the ecclefiaftics of England N. The queen, in a letter to the archbishop of Canterbury, said expressly, that she was resolved, “ That no man 66 should be suffered to decline, either on the left or on

66 the

“ the decay of obedience in civil policy, which being com

pared with the fearfulness and reverence of all inferior ef“ tates to their superiors in times palt, will attonith any wile “ and confiderate person, to behold the desperation of refor- mation.” Haynes, p. 586. Again, p. 588.

N Neal, vol. i. p. 479.

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