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of public opinion upon public measures; nor to dis courage any honest and lawful endeavour to obtain redress of notorious abuses. They are designed to mark with strong disapprobation the intemperate expression of hasty opinions upon acts of the ruling power, for the purpose of creating a spirit of discontent; they would gladly restrain the unreasonable expectations of those, who seek in the frame of government itself, and in the characters of those who direct it, a degree of perfection, incompatible with the condition and unattainable by the powers of man. They are intended to condemn the recourse, which is sometimes had to unlawful means in the pursuit even of legitimate ends. They apply still more to that designing and interested conduct which, under the cloke of sympathy with the general good, hides selfish and ambitious views; which creates imaginary, or aggravates real, grievances for the sake of profiting by the confusion attendant upon the dissolution of social order.

Such unhappily appears to have been the disposition of Cromwell. Taking advantage of the discontent prevailing throughout the nation, and of the encroachments already made upon the sovereign power, he veiled inordinate views of personal aggrandizement under the mask of patriotism and religion. At length betraying his first confederates, the Presbyterians and Independents; and then, the sworn companions of his arms and counsels, he reached the height. from which he had instigated them to hurl their unfortunate and misguided sovereign.

Far different was the character of Russell; whose

opposition to the measures of a corrupt court originated in the purest principles of patriotism; and whose condemnation stamps an indelible mark of infamy upon the reign under which he suffered. Far different also were the views, which prompted Hampden and his illustrious associates to make a stand against the dangerous claims and tyrannical maxims of passive obedience and unlimited prerogative. Yet even of these generous and undoubted patriots we might ask in the words of a late constitutional statesman and historian: "Did they sufficiently attend to that great dictum of Tully in questions of civil dissension, wherein he declares his preference of even an unfair peace to the most just war? Did they sufficiently weigh the dangers that might ensue even from victory; dangers, in such cases, little less formidable to the cause of liberty, than those which might follow a defeat? Did they consider that it is not peculiar to the followers of Pompey and the civil wars of Rome, that the event to be looked for is, as the same Tully describes it, in case of defeat, proscription; in that of victory, servitude?"a

To draw the line with precision, where obedience may justly cease and resistance begin, is indeed a matter of the greatest delicacy and greatest difficulty. Thus much however may be safely and properly stated; That all, who are prompted to have recourse to violence against the ruling power, should conscientiously and maturely weigh, whether they have not mistaken the case, which produced the supposed

a Fox's Historical Work, Introductory Chapter, pag. 11. :

propriety of resistance; whether they are actuated by no secret feelings of interest, ambition, or revenge; or whether they are not induced, by some enthusiastic fancy for a scheme of visionary excellence, to concur in an attempt to overthrow actual good for possible improvement. Above all, it behoves them, as men and as Christians, seriously to reflect, that what begins in justice may conclude in iniquity; that the evils of popular convulsion are certain, while the advantages must be doubtful; and that scarcely any problematic benefit can compensate for the misery and bloodshed, which march in the train, and swell the triumph, of the Demon of civil discord.

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Besides all this, supposing a gross abuse of power, which happily is most unlikely to occur in our own country; yet even upon such an occasion, violence may defeat the very object for which the contest is begun. It provokes hostility from those, who are friendly to the cause, but enemies to the temper in which it is maintained. It excites sympathy with the power opposed, and revives that loyalty, which drooped in the contemplation of indiscreet assumptions or criminal projects. It prevents, what every man conscious of his own infirmity ought ever to regard as the most precious opportunity and necessary privilege, the power of retracing the steps of error, and pursuing the forsaken path of wisdom and of duty. Lastly, hasty resolutions and intemperate measures, on the part of those who begin with good intentions, are the surest method of promoting the purpose of those, who use their liberty as a cloke of maliciousness; because they impede the unanimity, which calm,

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dignified, and persevering remonstrance is calculated to produce; and which, while it claims the concurrence of all by the moderation of its language, and the justice of its views, is the best preservative against the horrors that ensue from the conflicts of a divided people.

*

While however the melancholy event, impressed upon our remembrance by the return of this day, furnishes important and seasonable lessons for every one who is subjected to power, it ought at the same time to awaken solemn and suitable reflections in the mind of every ruler. Happily for us of this nation, the violence and misery, which prevailed in the times of which we are speaking, terminated in a revolution, which was truly glorious, because it was unstained with blood; and which at once defined the power of the crown, while it recognized the rights of the people. Scarcely then would it be possible for a monarch of these realms to invade the liberties of his subjects; still less to provoke such a spirit of resistance, as in times of yore deprived the father of his life and the son of his crown. Nor have we a less safeguard in the personal character of the sovereign, than in the restraints which law has imposed. Nevertheless, we should take but a partial view of the subject thus forced upon our attention, if we failed to observe, that the calamitous reign of Charles I. should serve as a lesson of prudence and justice to a king, while it prescribes fidelity and obedience to his subjects. The disposition to overstep the bounds of lawful authority, the violence to which he had recourse, the insincerity by which there is too much reason to believe he was ac

tuated, brought upon the unhappy Charles that fate, which we are this day called upon to deplore. Yet was the example, however awful; the lesson, however severe; lost upon his infatuated sons. The elder of them indeed did not, like his father or his brother, lose either life or crown. But from the odious and impolitic measures which he pursued, it was more the fear of his successor, than attachment to the reigning prince, that caused his subjects to regret his loss; and, had he lived some few years longer, he might perhaps himself have felt the punishment, which at length overtook the superstitious and despotic James for his iniquitous attempts against the liberty and religion of his people.

Little did their unhappy father foresee, that the advice he so earnestly and so affectingly imparted under circumstances calculated, as they surely were, to call forth all the feelings of a son and a prince, would be completely disregarded. Let it not however be effaced from our recollection; since it illustrates, by the sanction of incontestable experience, the truth and importance of the two positions, which I have been endeavouring to impress upon your attention. "Give belief to my experience," said the unfortunate Monarch, "never to affect more greatness and prerogative, than what is really and intrinsically for the good of the subjects, not for the satisfaction of favourites. If you thus use it, you will never want means to be a father to all, and a bountiful prince to any, whom you incline to be extraordinarily gracious to. These considerations may make you as great a

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