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conncil. This mixed assembly, which was regarded as the most equal representation of the people that could be obtained in the present emergency, unanimously voted an address, the same in substance with that of the lords; and the prince, supported by so great a part of the nation, dispatched his circular letters to the various boroughs, counties and corporations in England, for a general election of representatives 68.

While the revolution thus approached to maturity in England, the people of Scotland were not idle spectators. The presbyterians in that kingdom, who had long been persecuted and oppressed, composed the bulk of the nation: and as the prince of Orange was of their persuasion, the most fervent prayers were offered for his success, as soon as his designs were known. He had undertaken to deliver Scotland as well as England; and in order to facilitate his views, the popular party, on receiving his declaration, dissolved the few regular troops that remained in the kingdom, and asA. D. 1689. sumed the reins of government. Thirty nobleJAN. 7. men, and about eighty gentlemen, repaired to London; and forming themselves into a kind of convention, requested the prince to take into his hands the administration of Scotland. He thanked them for the trust they had reposed in him, and summoned a general convention to meet at Edinburgh. This assembly being regarded as illegal by the more zealous royalists, they took little share in the elections; so that the popular party, or the whigs, were returned for most places. The proceedings of the members of the Scottish convention were accordingly bold and decisive. They ordered, by proclamation, all persons between the age of sixteen and sixty to be ready to take arms; they gave the command of the militia to sir Patrick Hume, one of their most active leaders: they raised eight hundred men for a guard, under the earl of Leven : they empowered the duke of Hamilton, their president, to secure all disaffected and sus

68. Burnet, ubi sup. Echard, vol. iii.


pected persons; and without amusing themselves with nice distinctions, and the latent meaning of the words, they resolved, "that king James, by male-administration, and by his "abuse of power, had forfeited his right to the crown." They therefore declared the throne vacant, and invited the prince and princess of Orange to take possession of it, though not without due attention to their civil and religious rights.

In the meantime, the English convention had met; and after a long debate, the commons came to the following memorable resolution:-" That king James II. having en"deavoured to subvert the constitution, by breaking the "original contract between king and people; and having "violated the fundamental laws, and withdrawn himself "from the kingdom, has abdicated the government; and that "the throne is thereby become vacant." This resolution was carried up to the house of peers, where it met with much opposition, and many warm debates ensued. The most curious of these was, "Whether any original contract "subsisted between the king and the people?"-a question more fit for the schools than a national assembly, but which the vote of the commons had rendered necessary. Arguments may surely be produced from reason, to prove a kind of tacit compact between the sovereign and the subject; but such a compact has seldom had any actual existence. The English national charters, however, seem to realize such a compact: and these charters had all been recognised and confirmed by the bill of rights, a solemn and recent transaction between the king, the nobles, and the representatives of the people. The majority of the lords, therefore, declared for an original contract; and the house almost instantly resolved, that James had broken that con


The opposition, however, did not end here. The lords proceeded to take into consideration the word abdicated,

69. Balcarras's Minutes of the Convention. Burnet, book iv. v.
70. Journals, Jan. 28, 1689.

71. Journals of the Lords, Jan. 30.

contained in the vote of the commons; and, after some debate, agreed that deserted was more proper. The next and concluding question was, " Whether king James, having broken the original contract, and deserted the government, the throne is thereby vacant ?" The question was debated with more warmth than any of the former; and, on a division, it was carried by eleven voices against a vacancy. The vote of the commons was sent back with these amendments; and as they continued obstinate, a free conference was appointed between the two houses, in order to settle the controversy.

Never perhaps was there a national debate of more importance, or managed by more able speakers. The leaders of the commons contended, that although the word deserted might be more significant and intelligible, as applied to the king's withdrawing himself, it could not, with any propriety, be extended to his violation of the fundamental laws. The managers for the lords, changing their ground, insisted, that, admitting the king's abuse of power to be equivalent to an abdication, it could not operate otherwise than his voluntary resignation, or natural death, and could only make way for the next heir; who, though they did not name him, they insinuated, being yet an infant in the cradle, could have committed no crime: and no just reason, they thought, could be assigned, why, without any default of his own, he should lose a crown to which he was entitled by his birth. The leaders of the commons replied, that the oath of allegiance, which binds the subject to the heirs of the king as well as to himself, regarded only a natural demise, and that there was no provision in law for a civil demise, which seemed equivalent to an attainder; that although upon the death of a king, whose administration had been agreeable to the laws, many and great inconveniences would be endured,rather than exclude the lineal successor; yet when, as in the present case, the people, on the principle of self-preservation, had been obliged to have recourse to arms, in order to dethrone a prince who had violated the constitution, that the government reverted, in some measure, to its first principles, and


the community acquired a right of providing for the public welfare by the most rational expedients.

The members of the convention might surely establish a new precedent, as well as their ancestors. Never could á more fair representation of the people be obtained; and the people, it must be allowed, though they cannot deliberate in a body, have a right, on every revolution, and whenever their constitutional liberties are invaded, to chuse their own governors, as well as the form of government under which they desire to live, unless the monstrous doctrine of MANY made for ONE should be revived. The two houses, however, parted without coming to any conclusion; but as it was impossible for the nation to remain long in its present state, the majority of the lords, in consequence of the desertion of some tories to the whig party, at last agreed to pass the vote of the commons, without any alteration or amendment72.

This grand controversy being got over, the next question was, "Who should fill the vacant throne73?" The marquis of Halifax, in order to recommend himself to the future sovereign, moved that the crown should be immediately conferred upon the prince of Orange. The earl of Danby, his political rival, proposed to confer it solely on the princess; and others contended for a regency. William, who had hitherto behaved with great moderation and magnanimity, avoided to interfere in the debate of either house, and disdaining even to bestow caresses on those members whose in

72. Journals of the Lords, Feb.

73. During all these debates, it seems somewhat extraordinary, that no enquiry was made concerning the birth of the prince of Wales; more especially as such an enquiry had been expressly mentioned by the prince of Orange in his declaration. The reasons assigned by Burnet for this neglect, though plausible, are by no means conclusive. (Hist. Own Times, book iv.) The only substantial reason for such omission seems to be, that the whigs, finding it impracticable to prove an imposture even by presumptive evidence, judged it prudent to let the matter rest in obscurity.


Auence might be useful to him, now perceiving that he was likely to lose the great object of his ambition, broke through that mysterious reserve, and seeming apathy, in which he had been so long wrapt. He called together Halifax, Shrewsbury, Danby, and some other leading men, and told them, that he had heard some were for placing the government in the hands of a regent. He would not, he said, oppose the measure; but he thought it necessary to inform them, that he would not be THAT regent. Others, he added, seemed disposed to place the princess singly on the throne, and that he should reign by her courtesy. This he also declined: declaring, that he could not accept of an authority, which should depend on the will or the life of another; that no man could esteem a woman more than he did the princess Mary, but he could not "think of holding any thing by apron"strings" and therefore, if they did not think fit to make a different settlement, that he would return to Holland, and concern himself no more in their affairs74.

This threat, though not deemed to be altogether sincere, had its weight. Both houses voted, "That the prince and princess of Orange should be declared king and queen "of England:" and a bill was brought in for that purpose. In this bill, or instrument of settlement, it was provided, That the prince and princess should enjoy the crown of England during their natural lives and the life of the survivor, the sole administration to be in the prince; that, after the death of both, the throne should be filled by the heirs of the body of the princess; and that, in default of such issue, Anne, princess of Denmark, and the heirs of her body should succeed, before those of the prince of Orange, by any other wife but the princess Mary75. The instrument of

74. Burnet, book iv.

75. Journals of the Lords, Feb. 7, 1689. See also the instrument, or act itself. In this act was inserted a clause, disabling all papists, or such as should marry papists, from succeeding to the crown; and another, absolving the subject, in that case, from his allegiance.


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