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consider whether that danger was greater than the inconvenience of deviating from-the established course.
In carrying on the ordinary government of the country, their chief aim and endeavour was to preserve unimpaired the rights and liberties of the people. If, to obtain these objects, they sometimes asked for the confirmation of privileges which were doubtful, and even the establishment of some that were new, these were only natural steps in the progress of civilisation. For the same rights which, fenced by uncertain boundaries, are, in barbarous times, the occasion of discord and civil war, become, when accurately defined, the safeguard of national tranquillity. A law to be really efficient, must not only be good in itself, but must be easy of execution, and unassailable on every side. A statute enacting the liberty of the press would be of no use, if the administration of justice were not pure; the responsibility of ministers would be a phantom, if the King could grant a pardon previous to impeachment. The Act of Magna Charta itself, as was stated at the end of the last chapter, was frequently violated, and became the cause of the most destructive wars. But its purpose having been completed by the Act of Habeas Corpus and the Bill of Rights, personal liberty and public tranquillity are undisturbed.
To the necessity which exists of thus filling up the outline sketched by rude hands, we must attribute many of the pretensions which Mr. Hume has pointed out as innovations. With respect to religious distinctions, the Whigs, it must be owned, had generally a leaning towards the dissenters. Nor did this arise only from the love of freedom remarkable in those sectaries. It was connected with a laudable desire for toleration to every sect but one, which was active in its endeavours to alter the government.
The Tories, on the other hand, were attached to the laws as well as the Whigs, but were for leaving entirely to the King, whether or not they should be executed. They considered the crown as a sacred and unalienable inheritance. They held that the rights of the successor to the throne were paramount and indefeasible. And as the Whigs wished to allow liberty as far as could be consistent with monarchy, the Tories desired to give to monarchy every thing that was compatible with safety. Their attachment to the established religion alone was stronger than to the established government. At the time of which we are .treating, these two principles of theirs were perfectly consistent. Whilst the Tories professed that they never would abandon the Church, the Church declared that no circumstance whatever could alter their allegiance to the King.
It must not be supposed, however, that the Tories, though loud in their professions of unlimited submission, ever seriously meant that they would not resist in an extreme case. They sincerely venerated the laws, and dreaded the subversion of our ancient constitution. Thus whilst they spoke with abhorrence of resistance to their sovereign, their conduct had a direct tendency to produce it. For their silent acquiescence in acts of petty tyranny encouraged the King to proceed to still greater outrages, till at last no remedy was to be found but in a revolution.
The Whigs, on the other hand, by their persevering opposition, acted in a manner to prevent the necessity of the resistance of which they spoke so much.
These parties, it must be owned, have their foundation^ deep in the opinions of the country. As long as there is a body of men in this country attached to Church and King, more than to the constitution, the Tory party will subsist; and as long as there is a large portion of the people who consider monarchy only as the best protection for liberty, the Whig party will flourish.
CHARGE AGAINST THE POPULAR PARTY, OF RECEIVINO MONEY FROM FRANCE. ALGERNON SYDNEY.
We have now come to the period at which it is said that the chief members of Opposition were bribed by the French court. I need not inform my readers, that in the dispatches of Barillon, which have been published, there is an account of the sums given to each person. In looking over these lists, which have been so triumphantly brought forward by Dalrymple, the first doubt which arises respects the integrity of Barillon. "When we see the characters of Sydney and of Hampden, whose names will always live in the hearts of Englishmen, depreciated upon the authority of a French minister, we naturally enquire whether the witness has any interest in concealing the truth, and whether his character stands equally high with that of the English patriots. In order to answer the first question, we must recollect, that the diplomatic agents of Lewis were permitted, nay almost authorised, to pay themselves out of the money entrusted to their care.
But if such peculation was ever permitted, it was in no case more likely to happen than in that of Barillon. He had great interest in representing to his master, that the measures of Opposition were guided by him. He saw them resolved to refuse the supplies, and nothing was more easy than to say, that their conduct was the result of his own intrigues. His connections with the popular party were necessarily secret, and he might put the money in his own pocket, without any fear of detection.
Some passages in Madame de Sevigne's letters give a strong colour to these suspicions. By the first of these he appears to have had a share in the subsidies granted to Charles. In April, 1672 *, Madame de Sevigne writes, "Barillon a fait ici un grand sejour; il s'en va, &c. — son emploi est admirable cette annee; il mangera cinquante mille francs, mais il sait bien ou les prendre." After his final return, she says, "Monsieur de Barillon est riche," t &c.
The first person who seems to have received money from Barillon I for members of parliament is Coleman. Sir John Dalrymple notices this, and refers us to the "Journals of the House of Commons, Nov. 7th, 1678, where
* 22d April; 1672. t 21st March, 1689.
% I omit Colbert's transactions, which were quite distinct.