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he had insinuated into the populace, a suspicion of the bastardy of the two young Princes, and of their sister Elizabeth, to whom the Crown by right belonged, on the death of her brothers. But the wretched, and unnatural uncle, usurped the Government, under the name of Richard III. He enjoyed, however, the fruits of his villainy a little more than two years, when his tyranny excited Henry, Earl of Richmond, to assert his title to the Crown. Richard being slain in the battle of Bosworth, Richmond took possession of the Crown, by the style of Henry VII., although nothing could be more preposterous than his claim, for he was descended from a natural son of John of Gaunt, whose own title had been exploded. Henry was, however, confirmed in the throne, by an Act of Parliament, in the first year of his reign. But the right of the Crown was undoubtedly in Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward IV. This Princess, the heiress of the house of York, Henry married in 1486, and thus settled the fierce and bloody contests between the two families. How mysterious are the ways of Heaven! Often does it over-rule the wickedness of man for the accomplishment of the greatest benefits to the world. Had it not been for the atrocity of Richard, his nephews, and their heirs, would have reigned, and probably, the horrors of a civil war, been much longer protracted. Or had he conducted the aifairs of Government, with justice and moderation, instead of wearying out the people with oppression and tyranny; so monstrous a title as that of the Earl of Richmond, would never have been asserted But having succeeded in his pretensions, as the heir of the house of Lancaster, Henry married Elizabeth, who after the murder of her brothers, became the 'undoubted hieiress, not only of the house of York, but also of the Conqueror, the common roval stock.
Henry VIII., the issue of this marriage, became, therefore, King, by a clear and indisputable hereditary right, and to him, his three children succeeded in regular order. Edward VI., following his father, was succeeded by his two sisters. Yet the Parliament exercised its constitutional right of regulating
the succession, by passing various acts, respecting the legitimacy, or illegitimacy, of King Henry's two daughters, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth.
On the death of Queen Elizabeth, the line of Henry III. became extinct, and the Crown devolved of course on James VI. of Scotland, and first of England, who was the lineal descendant of Henry VII., whose eldest daughter by Elizabeth of York, married James IV. of Scotland. So that King James had an undoubted hereditary right to both the English and Scottish Crowns, and was the heir both of Egbert, and William the Conqueror. In James, therefore, centered all the claims of the houses of York and Lancaster, and what is more reinarkable in him, also, the whole Saxon line was restored.
James firmly believed in the doctrine of the divine right of Kings, but the Parliament in recognizing his succession by Statute I., James I., ch. I., mentioned not a word about our right, immediately derived from God, but simply acknowledged his Majesty, as being lineally, justly, and lawfully, next and sole heir of the blood royal of this realm.
James was succeeded by his eldest son, the unfortunate King Charles I., whose Consitutional Judges, told that unhappy Monarch, that he was an elective Prince, and as such accountable to his people, in his own proper person, although nothing could be more absurd, and false, than such a doctrine, since Charles could produce an undeniable hereditary right, for more than 800 years, and was unquestionably the real heir of Egbert the first King of England. It was, indeed, very natural that men, who were about to strike off the head of the King, not by the just sentence of the law, but with the arm of violence, should deny the constitutional inviolability of his person. Nor is it surprizing that in the commission of such an act, as putting his Majestyto death, they should tell him he was an elective, and not an hereditary King. For they could not but foresee that the demise of the King would only make way for his son, if they admitted the ancient doctrine of hereditary succession to the Crown. That such a
call them to an account for the death of his father, they naturally kept in mind, when they talked about an elective Prince, to the exclusion of an hereditary monarch.
The violent death of King Charles made way for the usurpation of Cromwell, who assumed the title of Lord Protector.
After an interregnum of about eleven years, a solemn Parliamentary Convocation of the States, restored the Crown to the right heir, King Charles II., during whose reign, a Bill passed the Commons to exclude the King's brother, the Duke of York from the succession, on the ground of his being a Papist; but it was rejected by the Lords, and the King also declared that he would never consent to it; so that on the death of Charles, the Duke succeeded by the name of James II. But from this attempt of the Commons to exclude James from the succession, it was clearly and universally acknowledged that the Crown was an inheritance, indefeasible, unless by Parliament, and also that the Parliament had the power of defeating the inheritance.
The infatuated King James, after various and notorious attempts to establish an arbitrary government, independently of the law, voluntarily vacated the throne by abdication. But our ancestors very prudently voted in both Houses of Parliament, that the conduct of King James amounted only to an endeavour to subvert the Constitution. The Scotch Convention, however, declared, “ that King James VII. being a professed Papist, had not taken the oath required by law, but had by the advice of evil and wicked counsellors, invaded the fundamental Constitution of the kingdoni, and altered it from a legal and limited monarchy to an arbitrary, despotic power, whereby he had forefaulted the Crown, and the throne was become vacant;" thus by simply declaring the throne vacant, it followed of course, that the two Houses of Parliament had the sole right and power of filling it up in such a manner as they should judge proper. This right they exercised by the following declaration, dated February 12, 1688, “ That William and Mary, Prince and Princess of Orange, be, and be
declared King and Queen, to hold the Crown and royal dignity during their lives, and the life of the survivor of them, and after their deceases, the said Crown and royal dignity to be to the heirs of the body of the said Princess; and for default of such issue to the Princess Anne of Denmark, and the heirs of her body, and for default of such issue to the heirs of the body of the said Prince of Orange.” From this important transaction, justified clearly from the necessity of the case, some have inferred the inherent right of the people of England to cashier their Kings. Yet nothing can be more fallacious than such reasoning; it being the indispensable duty of every Christian to submit himself to the lawful authority established in this country. So long then as the King of England governs his conduct by the law of the realm, he cannot be resisted nor dethroned by his subjects, without their being guilty of open rebellion against God.
Towards the end of the reign of King William, the Duke of Gloucester, the son of Anne (afterwards Queen,) dying, with him all hopes of a Protestant succession failed; and, the Parliament had previously enacted, that no person possessing the Popish faith, should ever be capable of inheriting, possessing, or enjoying the Crown of these realms.
In this dilemma, therefore, the remainder of the Crown expectant, on the death of King William and Queen Ann, without issue, was settled by Statutes 12 and 13, Wm. III. ch. 2, on the Princess Sophia, Dowager Electress of Hanover, and grand-daughter of King James I., and on the heirs of her body, being Protestants.
Queen Anne succeeded to the throne on the death of King William; she died without issue, but surviving the Princess Sophia of Hanover, transmitted the Crown to her son and heir, King George I. To him succeeded his son, King George II., on whose demise, King George III. ascended the throne of his ancestors. Few monarchs reigned so long, and none during so important a period as George III.; and, it may be confidently added, that there is no reign marked with such disastrous events to this country. His love of war lost
him America, the most important jewel in his Crown, and by the reprehensible policy of a high aristocratic minister, increased the national debt to an amount, to pay the interest of which, a system of taxation must be adopted, which paralyzes the best energies of the country. The pension list of Pitt is still an oppressive incubus on the finances of the country; a dead weight, which, if the representatives of the people were true to the trust reposed in them, would have been long since removed, leaving the Arabellas and Matildas, the Johns and Richards of our pauper nobility, to earn their livelihood by honest industry, and not live at the nation's expence, contemning those who labour to support them, and flaunting about in the character of titled paupers, as the vilest excresences on the body politic of a nation.
To George III. succeeded his libertine son, George IV. who in the annals of the country stands recorded as one of the most profligate and extravagant Princes, that ever swayed the sceptre of these realms. If his father squandered the treasures of the country, and beggar'd us and our posterity as long as there may be a King on the throne of England by his quixotic wars, so did his son contribute to the utmost of bis power to drain the resources of the country, by his continual demand upon them to support his reckless extravagance and his habits of profligacy. In the investigation of the character of our Princes, we enter not upon the disquisition of Royalty in an abstract sense, but we judge of them as individuals, as they display themselves to the nation, and the influence which their conduct has had upon its general interests. Still in the spirit of liberality it must be admitted, that the sons of the King of England are by the rigour and unjustness of the laws, placed in a situation worse than any other Princes of a civilized country. The laws by which they are exclusively governed, forces them to be debauchees, and this should have been taken into the consideration of the moral, and the pious George III. before he put his sign manual to the Royal Marriage Act, by which he constrained his sons to be either fornicators or adulterers. In this respect, we are bound to look upon the actions