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4 JAMES II. A. D. 1688. manner. Those evil Counsellors, for the advancing and colouring this with some plausible THE PRINCE OF ORANGE'S FIRST DECLARA- pretexts, did invent and set on foot the king's TION.] October 10, 1688. While James the Dispensing Power; by virtue of which they Second was labouring under great difficulties pretend, that, according to law, he can suspend and distractions, providing for his security, and and dispense with the execution of the laws, endeavouring to remove the fears and jealou- that have been enacted by the authority of the sies of his Protestant subjects, the Prince of king and parliament, for the security and hapOrange was embarking his troops with extra-piness of the subject; and so have rendered ordinary diligence; and, to justify his under- those laws of no effect: though there is nothing taking to the world, he, this day, set forth the more certain, than that, as no laws can be following Declaration: made but by the joint concurrence of king and parliament, so likewise laws so enacted, which secure the public peace and safety of the nation, and the Lives and Liberties of every subjcct in it, cannot be repealed or suspended but
"It is both certain and evident to all men, that the public peace and happiness of any state or kingdom cannot be preserved, where the Laws, Liberties, and Customs, established by the lawful authority in it, are openly trans-by gressed and annulled; more especially where the alteration of Religion is endeavoured, and that a religion, which is contrary to law, is endeavoured to be introduced; upon which those who are most immediately concerned in it are indispensably bound to endeavour to preserve and maintain the established Laws, Liberties and Customs, and, above all, the Religion and Worship of God, that is established among them; and to take such an effectual care, that the inhabitants of the said state or kingdom may neither be deprived of their Religion, nor of their Civil Rights: which is so much the more necessary, because the greatness and security both of kings, royal families, and of all such as are in authority, as well as the happiness of their subjects and people, depend in a most especial manner upon the exact observation and maintenance of these their Laws, Liberties and Customs.-Upon these Grounds it is that we cannot any longer forbear to declare, that, to our great regret, we see, that those Counsellors, who have now the chief credit with the king, have overturned the Religion, Laws and Liberties of those realms, and subjected them, in all things relating to their Consciences, Liberties and Properties, to arbitrary Government; and that, not only by secret and indirect ways, but in an open and undisguised VOL. V.
the same authority.-For though the king may pardon the punishment that a transgressor has incurred, and to which he is condemned; as in cases of treason or felony; yet it cannot be, with any colour of reason, inferred from thence, that the king can entirely suspend the execution of those Laws relating to Treason or Felony, unless it is pretended, that he is cloathed with a despotic and arbitrary power, and that the Lives, Liberties, Honours, and Estates of the subjects, depend wholly on his good-will and pleasure, and are entirely subject to him; which must infallibly follow on the king's having a Power to suspend the execution of laws, and to dispense with them.Those evil Counsellors, in order to the giving some credit to this strange and execrable maxim, have so conducted the matter, that they have obtained a Sentence from the Judges, declaring, that this Dispensing Power is a Right belonging to the crown; as if it were in the power of the Twelve Judges to offer up the Laws, Rights, and Liberties of the whole nation to the king, to be disposed of by him arbitrarily, and at his pleasure, and expressly contrary to laws enacted for the security of the subjects. In order to the obtaining this judg ment, those evil Counsellors did, beforehand, examine secretly the opinion of the Judges, and procured such of them, as could not in
conscience concur in so pernicious a Sentence, ligion, and that now hide their unconcernedto be turned out, and others to be substituted ness for it under the specious pretence of moin their rooms, till, by the changes which were deration. The said Commissioners have susmade in the courts of judicature, they at last pended the bishop of London, only because he obtained that judgment. And they have raised refused to obey an order, that was sent him to some to those trusts, who make open profession suspend a worthy divine, without so mach as of the Popish Religion, though those are by citing him before him to make his own defence, law rendered uncapable of all such employ- or observing the common forms of process. ments. It is also manifest and notorious, that, They have turned out a President chosen by as his majesty was, upon his coming to the the Fellows of Magdalen College, and aftercrown, received and acknowledged by all the wards all the fellows of that college, without so subjects of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as much as citing them before any court that their king, without the least opposition, though could take legal cognisance of that affair, or he made then open profession of the Popish obtaining any Sentence against them by a comReligion, so he did then promise and solemnly petent judge: and the only reason that was swear at his coronation, that he would main- given for turning them out, was, their refusing tain his subjects in the free enjoyment of to choose for their President a person that was their laws, rights, and liberties; and in par- recommended to them by the instigation of ticular, that he would maintain the Church those evil Counsellors, though the right of a of England, as it was established by law. free election belonged undoubtedly to them; is likewise certain, that there have been, at but they were turned out of their Freeholds, divers and sundry times, several laws enacted contrary to law, and to that express provision for the preservation of those Rights and Li- in Magua Charta, That no man shall lose life berties, and of the Protestant Religion; and, or goods but by the law of the land: and now among other Securities, it has been enacted, these evil Counsellors have put the said ColThat all persons whatsoever, that are ad- lege wholly into the hands of the Papists; vanced to any Ecclesiastical dignity, or to though, as is above said, they are incapable of bear office in either University, as likewise all such employments, both by the law of the all others that should be put in any em- land, and the statutes of the college. These ployment civil or military, should declare, commissioners have also cited before them all that they were not Papists, but were of the the chancellors and archdeacons of England, Protestant Religion, and that, by their taking requiring them to certify to them the names of of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and all such clergymen as have read the king's the Test: yet these evil Counsellors have, in Declaration for Liberty of Conscience, and of effect, annulled and abolished all those laws, such as have not read it, without considering both with relation to Ecclesiastical and Civil that the reading of it was not injoined the Employments. In order to Ecclesiastical Dig- Clergy by the Bishops, who are their Ordinaries. nities and Offices, they have, not only without The illegality and incompetency of the said any colour of law, but against most express court of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners was laws to the contrary, set up a Commission of a so notoriously known, did so evidently appear, certain number of persons, to whom they have that it tended to the subversion of the Procommitted the cognisance and direction of all testant Religion, that the most reverend father Ecclesiastical matters; in the which commis- in God William archbishop of Canterbury, prision there has been, and still is, one of his ma- mate and metropolitan of England, seeing that jesty's ministers of state, who makes now pub-it was raised for no other end but to oppress lic profession of the Popish Religion; and who, such persons who were of eminent virtue, at the time of his first professing it, declared, learning and piety, refused to sit or to concur that for a great while before he had believed in it.-And, though there are many express that to be the only true Religion. By all this, laws against all Churches or Chapels for the the deplorable state to which the Protestant exercise of the Popish Religion, and also against Religion is reduced is apparent, since the all Monasteries and Convents, and more paraffairs of the Church of England are now put ticularly against the Order of the Jesuits; yet into the hands of persons, who have accepted those evil Counsellors have procured Orders of a Commission that is manifestly illegal, aud for the Building of several Churches and who have executed it contrary to all law; and Chapels for the exercise of that Religion : that now one of their chief members has ab- they have also procured divers Monasteries to jured the Protestant Religion, and declared be erected; and, in contempt of the law, they himself a Papist; by which he is become in- have not only set up several Colleges of Jesuits capable of holding any public employment. in divers places, for corrupting of the youth, The said Commissioners have hitherto given but have raised up one of the Order to be a such proof of their submission to the directions privy counsellor, and a minister of state by given them, that there is no reason to doubt, all which they do evidently shew, that they but they will still continue to promote all such are restrained by no rules or law whatsoever; designs, as will be most agreeable to them. but that they have subjected the honours and And those evil Counsellors take care to raise estates of the subjects, and the Established none to any Ecclesiastical Dignities but per- Religion, to a despotick power, and to arbitrary sons, that have no zeal for the Protestant Re- government: in all which they are served and