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"Popery so much as to make us run into such "an extreme. We are assured there can be "no danger during His Majesty's life; so, upon "an impartial examination, we shall find there «* can be no great reason for apprehension "after his death, though the Duke should "outlive and succeed him, and be of that "religion. Have we not had great experience "of his love for this nation? Hath he not al"ways squared his actions by the exactest rules "of justice and moderation? Is there not a pos"sibility of being of the Church, and not of the "Court, of Rome? Hath he not bred up his "children in the Protestant religion; and showed "a great respect for all persons of that pro"fession? Would it not be a dangerous thing "for him (I mean in point of interest) to offer "at any alteration of the religion established by "law? Can any man imagine that it can be "attempted without great hazard of utterly "destroying both himself and family? And "can so indiscreet an attempt be expected from "a Prince so abounding in prudence and wis"dom? But though we should resolve to have "no moderation in our proceedings against "Papists, yet I hope we shall have some for "ourselves. It cannot be imagined that such rt a law will bind all here in England, or *« any in Scotland; and it is disputed whether "it will be binding in Ireland: so that, in all "probability, it will not only divide us amongst "ourselves, but the three kingdoms, one from ** the other, and occasion a miserable civil war. "For it cannot be imagined that the Duke will "submit to it; and to disinherit him for his ** religion, is not only to act according to the «« Popish principles, but to give cause for a war «* with all the Catholic princes in Europe; and "that must occasion a standing army, from «« whom there will be more danger of Popery "and arbitrary government, than from a Popish «« successor, or a Popish king."
The Bill was agreed to be brought in, and was read a first time on November 4th. On this day, SirLeoline Jenkins objected to the Bill, on the grounds that it was unjust to condemn a man unheard; that it was contrary to the principles of our religion to dispossess any one of his right, because he differed in point of faith; that the Kings of England have their right from God alone, and that no power on earth could deprive them of it; that this Bill would alter the law of the land, and make the Crown elective; and that Parliament, as well as all the King's subjects, were bound by the oath of allegiance, and could not disinherit the heir of the Crown. These arguments of the Secretary of State were fully answered by Mr. Hampden, and by Mr. Booth, afterwards Lord Delamere. Mr. Hampden said, "Sir, I do not understand how it can be con"strued, because we are about to disinherit the "Duke, that therefore it must be for his re"ligion. For my part, I do approve of the "Bill; but it is because the opinions and prin«« ciples of the Papists tend to the alteration of "the government and religion of this nation, «« and the introducing, instead thereof, of su"perstition and idolatry, and a foreign arbitrary "power. If it were not for that, I am apt to "think the Duke's being a Papist would not be "thought a sufficient cause for the House to "spend time about this Bill." *
Mr. Booth said, "If the Duke be excluded, "you are told how unjust it is to take away his "right from him; that the crown is his inhe"ritance, if he survive the King; and besides, "you provoke him, and all the Papists in Eng"land, to rise and cut our throats. On the "other hand, it is plain, that when we shall
* This was the best ground upon which the Bill of Exclusion could be placed; and every reader of the history of these times, who may be disposed to accuse the Whigs of intolerance towards the Papists, aught to recollect that their principles tended to the alteration of the government and religion of the nation. In our days, however, there k no more danger of the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic feitb than of another invasion from the Romans.
"have a Popish King, our religion and laws "are not secure one moment, but are in con"tinual danger. So that the case, in short, is "this: whether we shall sit still, and put it to "the venture of having a Popish successor; "and in that case we must either submit our ** heads to the block, or fight and be rebels; "or else to have a law that will justify us in "defending our religion and laws: in plain "English, whether we would fight for or against <« the law. I think I have put it right; and ** now let every man make his choice that loves "either his God or his country. As to the "Duke's right to the crown, I wish it were clearly known what sort of right it is he ** claims, and whence he derives it; he is not "heir apparent, neither do I think that our law "knows any such thing as an heir to the crown, ** but only as a successor: and therefore neither "the Duke, nor any other whatsoever, can "pretend the same title to the crown as the "son of a subject can to his father's estate after "his decease: for, with subjects, they do not "succeed but inherit. It is not so as to the "crown; for there they succeed: and it is from "a not rightly considering the word heir, as it "is a synonymous term with that of successor, "that has made so many to be deceived in the f* Duke's title to the crown: for this word heir "to the crown was not heard of till arbitrary "power began to put forth. Before William "the Conqueror's time, it would have been a "senseless word, when the people set up and "pulled down as they saw cause: and till "Queen Elizabeth it was not much in fashion, "when the crown was so frequently settled by. "act of parliament, and the next of blood so "often set aside; when the son seldom followed "his father into the throne, but either by elec«* tion in the lifetime of his father, or else by "act of parliament. So that, to make the "Duke either heir apparent or presumptive to "the crown, it must be proved either by the "constitution of the government, or by some "law or act of parliament. If, therefore, he "has a title to the crown, it is necessary to "know what it is, and whence he has it; but "if he has none, it is not unjust to pass the "Bill, or any other where he shall be particu"larly named; but I will say no more of this, "lest I may seem to be against kingly govern"ment, which I am not."