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lose his right, though the people perish; I answer, first, that whatsover belongs to kings, as kings, belongs to all kings: this power of judging cannot belong to all, for the reasons above mentioned it cannot therefore belong to any, as king, nor, without madness, be granted to any, till he has given testimony of such wisdom, experience, diligence, and goodness, as is required for so great a work. It imports not what his ancestors were; virtues are not intailed: and it were less improper for the heirs of Hales and Harvey to pretend, that the clients and patients of their ancestors should depend upon their advice, in matters of law and physic, than for the heirs of a great and wise prince, to pretend to powers given on account of virtue, if they have not the same talents for the performance of the works required.

Common sense declares, that governments are instituted, and judicatures erected, for the obtaining of justice. The king's bench was not established, that the chief justice should have a great office, but that the oppressed should be relieved, and right done. The honour and profit he receives, come in as it were by accident, as the rewards of his service, if he rightly perform his duty: but he may as well pretend he is there for his own sake, as the king. God did not set up Moses or Joshua, that they might glory in having six hundred thousand men under their command, but that they might lead the people into the land they were to possess; that is, that they were not for themselves, but for the people; and the glory they acquired was, by rightly

performing the end of their institution. Even our author is obliged to confess this, when he says, that the king's prerogative is instituted for the good of those that are under it. It is, therefore, for them that he enjoys it, and it can no otherwise subsist, than in concurrence with that end. He also yields, that "the safety of the people is the supreme law." The right, therefore, that the king has, must be conformable and subordinate to it. If any one, therefore, set up an interest in himself, that is not so, he breaks this supreme law; he doth not live and reign for his people, but for himself, and, by departing from the end of his institution, destroys it; and, if Aristotle* (to whom our author seems to have a great deference) deserves credit, such a one ceases to be a king, and becomes a tyrant; he who ought to have been the best of men, is turned into the worst; and he who is recommended to us under the name of a father, becomes a public enemy to the people. The question, therefore, is not, what is good for the king, but what is good for the people; and he can have no right repugnant to them.

"The king," says he,

Bracton is not more gentle. " is obliged by his oath, to the utmost of his power to preserve the church, and the christian world, in peace; to hinder rapine, and all manner of iniquity; to cause justice and mercy to be observed: he has no power but from the law: that only is to be taken

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for law, quod recte fuerit definitum :" he is, therefore, to cause justice to be done according to that rule, and not to pervert it for his own pleasure, profit, or glory. He may choose judges also, not such as will be subservient to his will, but “viros sapientes, timentes Deum, in quibus est veritas eloquiorum, & qui oderunt avaritiam."* Which proves that kings, and their officers, do not possess their places for themselves, but for the people, and must be such as are fit and able to perform the duties they undertake. The mischievous fury of those who assume a power above their abilities, is well represented by the known fable of Phaeton: they think they desire fine things for themselves, when they seek their own ruin. In conformity to this, the same Bracton says, that

"If any man who is unskilful, assume the seat of justice, he falls as from a precipice, &c. and it is the same thing, as if a sword be put into the hand of a madman ;" which cannot but affect the king, as well as those who are chosen by him. If he neglect the functions of his office, "he does unjustly, and becomes the vicegerent of the devil; for he is the minister of him whose works he does." This is Bracton's opinion: but, desiring to be a more gentle interpreter of the law, I only wish, that princes would consider the end of their institution; endeavour to perform it; measure their own abilities; content themselves with that power which the laws allow;

Bract. 1. iii. c. 10.

† Si quis minus sapiens & indoctus sedem judicandi & honestatem judicandi sibi præsumserit, ex alto corruit, &c. & perinde erit ac si gladium poneret in manu furentis. Ibid.

and abhor those wretches, who, by flattery and lies, endeavour to work upon the frailest passions, by which means they draw upon them that hatred of the people, which frequently brings them to destruction.

Though Ulpian's words, "Princeps legibus nor tenetur," be granted to have been true in fact, with relation to the Roman empire, in the time when he lived; yet they can conclude nothing against us. The liberty of Rome had been overthrown long before, by the power of the sword, and the law rendered subservient to the will of the usurpers. They were not Englishmen, but Romans, who lost the battles of Pharsalia and Philippi: the carcases of their senators, not ours, were exposed to the wolves and vultures: Pompeius, Scipio, Lentulus, Afranius, Petreius, Cato, Cassius, and Brutus, were defenders of the Roman, not the English, liberty; and that of their country, not ours, could only be lost by their defeat. Those who were destroyed by the proscriptions, left Rome, not England, to be enslaved. If the best had gained the victory, it could have been no advantage to us, and their overthrow can be no prejudice. Every nation is to take care of its own laws; and whether any one has had the wisdom, virtue, fortune, and power, to defend them or not, concerns only themselves. The examples of great and good men, acting freely, deserve consideration; but they only perish by the ill success of their designs; and whatsoever is afterwards done by their subdued posterity, ought to have no other effect

upon the rest of the world, than to admonish them so to join in the defence of their liberties, as never to be brought under the necessity of acting by the command of one, to the prejudice of themselves, and their country. If the Roman greatness persuade us to put an extraordinary value upon what passed among them, we ought rather to examine what they did, said, or thought, when they enjoyed that liberty, which was the mother and nurse of their virtue, than what they suffered, or were forced to say, when they were fallen under that slavery which produced all manner of corruption, and made them the most base and miserable people of the world.

For what concerns us, the actions of our ancestors resemble those of the ancient rather than the later Romans: though our government be not the same with theirs in form, yet it is in principle; and if we are not degenerated, we shall rather desire to imitate the Romans in the time of their virtue, glory, and felicity, than what they were in that of their slavery, vice, shame, and misery. In the best times, when "the laws were more powerful than the commands of men," fraud was accounted a crime so detestable as not to be imptuted to any but slaves; and he who had sought a power above the law under colour of interpreting it, would have been exposed to scorn or greater punishments, if any can be greater than the just scorn of the best men. And as neither the Romans, nor any people of the world, have better defended their liberties than the English nation, when any attempt has been made to oppress them by force,

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