Puslapio vaizdai

Liberty never had a more weak and feeble advocate! The truth is, that throughout this whole chapter, whenever Mr. Locke argues clearly, ably, and fatisfactorily, he argues in defence of the fyftem of Neceflity, or of thofe principles which have an intimate and infeparable connection with it: whenever, on the other hand, he argues loofely, obfcurely, and inconfiftently, it is in defence of Liberty and his embarrassment is fo apparent, that it leads to an irrefiftible fufpicion that he was not unconscious of the futility of his own reasonings; and his conduct can be accounted for, only by fuppofing that he had himself imbibed a great fhare of the popular dread and abhorrence of the fyftem of Neceffity, on account of its fuppofed dangerous and pernicious confequences, or that he refolved to facrifice in this inftance to popular prejudice, in order to render his work more generally acceptable and useful. Perhaps both motives might concur to influence him, but neither of them were worthy of fo great a man; for truth ought not to be facrificed to any views of temporary utility: and in this cafe, I am of opinion that the truth is highly beneficial, and that it deferves a very favourable and welcome reception. The dangerous confequences which many refpectable perfons are fo apprehensive of, I regard as entirely chimerical: It is evident that the doctrine of Neceffity cannot, like the doctrine of Predeftination or Fatalism, have any dangerous influence upon the bulk of mankind, for it is perfectly confiftent with the popular

ideas of Liberty, with the use of human endea vours, of promises, threatenings, exhortations, rewards, and punishments. The Liberty of doing as they please, is the only Liberty which mankind in general can ever be brought to comprehend; fo that the doctrine of Philofophical Liberty, if true, as to them, is useless; and it must be allowed likewise upon the fame grounds, that the doctrine of Philofophical Neceffity, if true, is as to them perfectly harmless but to thofe who are capable of investigating the question, and who are induced by arguments of which they really comprehend the force, to embrace this opinion, it is not only harmless but highly beneficial: it opens new and extensive views of the divine government and administration; it enforces reverence to God, and benevolence to man, by motives far more powerful than any other fyftem can poffibly supply; and it excites the most animating expectations of a happy termination of all thofe mournful and calamitous fcenes with which we are at prefent furrounded; and exhibits to our intellectual view a glorious, however diftant, profpect of a ftate in which, to use the beautiful language of holy writ, "God fhall wipe away all tears from our eyes: and there fhall be no more death, neither forrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain for the former things are paffed away, and behold all things are become new."




N a former Effay I have endeavoured to exhibit a juft, however general, view of the means by which a great and magnanimous Princess, who acceded to the crown in a crifis of peculiar difficulty and danger, extricated herself from her political embarrassments, and attained to the fummit of temporal fame and profperity. It may not, perhaps, be entirely useless to reverse the picture, and fhew how a Monarch, who was placed in a fituation beyond all comparison more favourable at the commencement of his reign, became an object of scorn and deteftation long before the clofe of it. Charles II. was endowed by nature with qualities which gave him a juft title to popularity; and his wonderful restoration to the crown of his ancestors, amidst the univerfal acclamations of his fubjects, after twenty years of calamity and confufion, feemed to prognofticate a reign of unexampled felicity and glory. Adverfity has been styled the School of Princes; and he poffeffed a capacity which might have enabled him to derive the most effential benefits from its difcipline. His knowledge, though not extenfive, or profound,


[ocr errors]

was of that species which in public life is of the highest importance; and which, if it had been rightly applied, would have conferred an honourable diftinction upon his character. He was well acquainted with history and politics; he understood the interests of his country, and well knew the rank fhe was entitled to hold amongst the powers of Europe. He was poffeffed of the most infinuating and graceful addrefs; and without departing from the dignity of his ftation, he knew how to charm all who approached his perfon, by the unaffected condefcenfion and engaging affability of his manners. Notwithstanding, however, the flattering appearances which raised fo high the hopes of his fubjects, and the expectations of the world, without being chargeable with or even fufpected of thofe enormous crimes which blacken the character of a Nero or a Caligula, or in modern times of a Chriftian II. an Alexander VI. or a Richard III. he incurred before the conclufion of his reign the indignation, the odium, and con tempt of every friend of liberty and of virtue.

The declaration from Breda, the appointment of the Earl of Clarendon to the poft of Prime Minister, the admiffion of Annefley, Afhley-Cooper, Hollis, Robarts, and Manchester, the leaders of the Presbyterian party, to the Royal Counfels, and the act of indemnity which was paffed by the convention-parliament, were all measures of government well calculated to conciliate the affections of the nation, and to restore peace, order, and

and general harmony: nay, the behaviour of the King, refpecting the act of indemnity, feemed to exhibit a degree of generofity, to which the whole courfe of his future reign furnishes no fimilar inftance. When the Earl of Bristol moved an exception to the proposed indemnity, of such a nature as in a great measure to defeat the defign of it, the King came to the Houfe of Peers, and, in very explicit terms, expreffed his disapprobation of this step; and, in confequence of the royal interpofition, the act paffed without any farther delay or alteration. During the fitting of the Convention Parliament, in which the prefbyterian interest predominated, and which regarded the proceedings of the government with a watchful and jealous eye, affairs were conducted with prudence and moderation. That affembly was dif folved in December 1660; and in May 1661, a new parliament was convened, which quickly appeared to be of a complexion very different from the preceding one, and from which the perfidy of the King, and the violent and wretched bigotry of the Earl of Clarendon, might expect the highest encouragement and applaufe. That celebrated minister was certainly poffeffed of very fhining virtues, both in public and private life: his capacity, if not of the firft rate, was however not inadequate to his elevated ftation; and his integrity and probity are universally acknowledged: he had the interefts, not only of the King, but of the kingdom, really at heart; and though the meafures



« AnkstesnisTęsti »