4 January 176864

    Messieurs EDES & GILL,

    Please to insert the following.

    IF to differ ever hereafter with an upstart Minister, is to be construed as a Crimen laesae Majestatis;65 if the Giant Prerogative is to be let loose, and stalk about, to create unusual Terror, and inflict unpractised Punishment; if the fiercest thunderbolts of Jupiter are to be launched by a low Miscreant against the slightest Offence, and even against Innocence itself; if the favourite Motto of the North, the Nemo me impune lacessit,66 is to be adopted as the future Rule of Government in our once happier Land, we may then boast as much as we please of our invaluable Liberties, purchased with the Blood of our heroic Ancestors;—but let us watch narrowly, lest, before we are aware, they should depende upon too slight a Thread.

    READER! Make thine own Comment ___ Permit me also to make my own Application. If the preceeding Quotation excite Sentiments in thy Mind, different from those Sensations which affect my Breast, I will not pluck out thine Eyes, or tear out thy Heart. My Creed will not condemn thee, neither will thy Faith obtain my Salvation. Theoretic Opinions are of but little Consequence to Mankind: It is the practical Deportment which is of Importance to the Community. For let a Man’s Thoughts in Religion and Politicks, be what they may, they are of inconsiderable Moment to his Fellowmen: but when once the Principles of a Man prompt him to prostitute his Office, or neglect the sacred Duties of his Station, the State has an undoubted Right to demand the Infliction of due Punishment; and it is incumbent upon every Individual of Society to forward a rigourous Execution of Justice. And when it happens, that any one Man has obtained, by a general Amassment of Power, such an unlimited Sway, in the State, as to be able with Impunity, to condemn the Innocent as a Judge, and destroy the Constitution as a Statesman, deplorable indeed is the fate of that Nation. But there is Hope, that the Case is not desperate, unless this rapacious Grasper of Sovereignty, elated with a Plenitude of Power, has had the Effrontery to make an open Avowal of his Designs, and Hardiness sufficient to proclaim his Resolution to fulfill their Accomplishment. When such is the Object, such the Determination, such the Boldness of only one single Tyrant, irremediable indeed, in all human Probability, is the Malady of the Common-wealth. For when despotic Views of this Complection are form’d and executed, tis Demonstration, that the Minds of the People are sunk in Submission; and should some dauntless Champion of the Cause of Freedom, providentially arise for their Defence, they would fly, like a timid Herd, and leave the virtuous Hero to be sacrific’d as a Victim. Never indeed was there a Wolf of the State, who did not think the People were but Sheep:—Strange Infatuation of Mankind! They bow the Knee to the Image they themselves have form’d, and tremble before the Bug-bear of their own Creation.—Strip yon gorgeous Monarch of his Regalia, take from that despised Tyrant, the Powers with which a despotic Rabble have invested him;—the one sinks, a weak, pusillanimous Mortal, the other hides, a wretched, contemptible and execrated Monster.

    It is almost incredible, that one, who had enjoy’d the Felicity of living under a British Government, should be endued with so insatiable a “Lust for Power” as to wish the Subversion of it’s Constitution.—It is equally incredible, that any Man, who knew the characteristic Bravery of freemen, should dare make the Attempt.—Quid non mortalia Peclora cogis Imperii sacra Fames?67 An exorbitant Thirst of Dominion, united with a desperate Mind, will do Wonders. Restless Ambition will be unwearied in the Race for the Prize of Power; an intrepid Spirit will, at all Hazards, win the Palm. With a Wish to Command, and Ability to Execute, Conquest is inevitable.—The Thirst of Rule renders the Plan of Empire obvious to the Aspirer; a Determination to accomplish, facilitates the Progress of Attainment.—Happy for Americans, their wise and venerable Ancestors, conscious of the predominant Vices of Mankind, have been eminently careful in guarding every Avenue, where it was probable, the ambitious and intrepid Enemy would labour to enter, by Stratagem and Force, in order to destroy that noble Fabrick, the complicated Work of Heroes, Saints and Ages, the British Constitution.

    A short Attention to the following Extracts will abundantly convince every intelligent Mind, that, while the first Principles of our Constitution, the Fundamentals of all our Liberties, are adher’d to, no Subject, however great and powerful, is beyond the Reach of a strict Examination into his Conduct, or out of Danger of a Scourge for his Crimes.

    A Peer of the Realm may be impeached in Parliament by Articles exhibited at the Suit of the King, by the Attorney General, as against the Earl of Bristol. Rush. 249.68

    By Articles exhibited by another Peer. Rush. 254.

    So the Commons may by Parol, charge a Peer before the King & Lords. Seld. Jud. Parl. 24.69 (3 Vol. 2 p. 1596. 1598, 9)

    Or a Commoner. Vide Seld. 3 Vol. 2 p. 1598, 9.

    So before the Lords at a Conference. Seld. Jud. Parl. 30, 31, 32, (3 Vol. 2 p. 1598, 1599)

    The Right of Impeachment by the Commons was allowed by the Lords, 20 June 1701.

    In the Proceedings upon an Impeachment by the Commons, a Member stands with others at the Bar of the Lords, there, in the name of all the Commons of England, impeaches such an one, and acquaints the House, that the Commons in due Time will exhibit Articles against him, and maintain them. Lord Journ. 1. 15. Ap. 1751. 1701.

    Though the Commons impeach only for a particular Grievance, they may afterwards exhibit other Articles against him. Seld. Jud. Parl. 21. (3 Vol. 2. p. 1595.)

    And the Delivery of such Articles is not necessary till the Party appears. Seld. Jud. Parl. 23. (3 Vol. 2. p. 1596)

    If Articles are not exhibited against against the Lords impeached, the Lords, by Message remind the Commons of it. Lords Journ. 5 May 1701. 15 May 1701. 4 June 1701.

    But the Commons are Judges of the proper Time for exhibiting them. 31 May 1701. Yet the Lords claimed a Power to limit the Time. 4 June 1701.

    Articles of Impeachment need not pursue the strict Forms of Law. Seld. Jud. Parl. 22, 27 (3 Vol. 2 p. 1595, 7)

    Where an Impeachment is for a capital Offence, he shall be committed to Custody. Seld. Jud. Parl. 97. (3 Vols. 2 p. 1624.)

    Yet the Commitment will sometimes be omitted, at the Discretion of the Lords, Raym. 382.70

    And when an Impeachment is for High Treason, generally, without special Matter, it is usually omitted. It was omitted in the Case of Ld. Clarendon, though the Commons complained of it. Life of Clar. 251. & 302.71

    After Answer by a Lord impeached, a Copy is made, and sent to the Commons. Lords Journ. 14.24.

    After Answer, the Commons join Issue by Replication. 23 May 1701.

    And may consider whether they will reply or not. Seld. Jud. Parl. 199. (3 Vol. 2. p. 1628.)


    The Duke of Norfolk was impeached for high Treason. 28. H. 6. Art. 1,2,3. Seld. Jud. Parl. 27 3 Vol. 2. p. 1597.

    For high Treason in subverting the fundamental Laws, and introducing arbitrary Power. Lord Finch, Sir Robert Berkley. Lord Strafford. 2 Rush. 606. 3 Rush. 1365. (Vid. Rush. Pt. 3. Vol. 1. 136.)

    Michael de la Pool was impeached, 10 R. 2. That he excited the King to act against the Advice of Parliament. Seld. Jud. Parl. 25. (3 Vol. 2 p. 1596.)

    The Spencers, that they gave bad Counsel to the King. 4 Inst. 54.72

    Michael de la Pool was Impeached, that he, being Chancellor, acted contrary to his Duty. Seld. Jud. Parl. 26. (3 Vol. 2. p. 1596.)

    The Duke of Buckingham was Impeached for a Plurality of Offices. 2 Car. Rush. 306.

    The Earl of Oxford for exercising incompatible Offices. 8 May 1701.

    So Lord Halifax. 9 June 1701.

    The Spencers, Father and Son, were Impeached, for that they prevented the great Men of the Realm from giving their Counsel to the King, except in their Presence. 4 Inst. 53.

    That they put good Magistrates out of Office, and advanced bad, 4 Inst. 53.

    Lord Finch was Impeached for threatning the other Judges to subscribe to his Opinion. Art. 4, 5, 6. Vide Rush. Part 3 Vol. 1. 137.

    For delivering Opinions which he knew to be contrary to Law. Art. 7. Vid. Rush. Pt. 3. Vol. 1. 137.

    Is the Sword of Justice become pointless, that the Wicked go unpunish’d? Why is the Sabre of the Law sheathed, when the exhorbitant Crimes of the peerless Man demand the Arm of the Executioner?—Woe unto the Land, when the Greatness of the Criminal shall dismay his Accusers, and his Authority shall make the righteous Man to tremble; when the enormous Power of Guilt shall exalt itself above the Judgment-Seat, and bid Defiance to the Tribunal of Justice!