« ПредишнаНапред »
NW 15 ' The Bill now passed the Commons, 168°- and Lord Russell was ordered to carry
it up to the House of Lords for their concurrence. He did so four days afterwards. We are told in the Life of James that many members wished the Bill to be kept back for a short time longer, not thinking the Lords sulficiently prepared; but that Lord Russell, carried on by his exceeding ardour on this occasion, and having the Bill in his hand, ran away with it in spite of all opposition. Finding they could not withhold him, many members accompanied him, and, when it was delivered, gave a mighty
* It is more conformable to the character of Lord Halifax to suppose him swayed by the motive I have assigned to him, than by personal animosity against Shaftesbury. Yet he no doubt viewed with apprehension the prospect of Monmouth succeeding to the throne. It would appear, both from Burnet and Temple, that his quarrel with Shaftesbury was rather an effect of his opposition to the Exclusion Bill. than the cause of it '
1- Life, vol. i. p. 635.
VOL. L Q
merits of the Bill of Exclusion and the plan of limitations. ,
“ To those who acted with good faith, and “ meant that the restrictions should really take “ place and be effectual, surely it ought to have “ occurred, (and to those who most prized the “ prerogatives of the Crown, it ought most “ forcibly to have occurred,) that in consenting " to curtail the powers of the Crown, rather “ than to alter the succession, they were adopt“ ting the greater, in order to avoid the lesser “ evil. The question of what [are to be the “ powers of the Crown, is surely of superior im“ portance to that of who shall wear it ? Those, “ at least, who consider the royal prerogative as “ vested in the King,not for his sake, but for that “ of his subjects, must consider the one of these “ questions as much above‘the other in dignity, “ as the rights of the public are more valuable “ than‘those of an individual. In this Viv, the r‘ prerogatives of the Crown are in substance “ and effect the rights of the people; and these " rights of the people were not to be sacrificed “ to the purpose of preserving the succession to “ the most favoured prince, much less to one “ who, on account of his religious persuasion, “was justly feared and suspected. In ‘truth, “ the question between the exclusion and “ restrictions seems peculiarily calculated to
ascertain the different views in which the different parties in this country have seen, and perhaps' ever will see, the prerogatives of the Crown. The Whigs, who consider them as a trust for the people, — a doctrine which the Tories themselves, when pushed in argument, will sometimes admit, --—naturally think it their duty rather to change the manager of the trust, than to - impair the subject ofit; while others, who consider them as the right or property of the King, will as naturally act as they would do in the case of any other property, and‘ consent to the loss or annihilation of any part of it, for the purpose of preserving the remainder to him whom they style the rightful owner. If the people be the sovereign, and the King the delegate, it is better to change the bailiff, than to injure the farm ; but if the King he the proprietor, it is better the farm
should be impaired, nay, part of it destroyed,
than that the whole should pass over to an usurper.”
A doctrine, entirely similar in its scope and