« PreviousContinue »
In consequence hereof he entertained high
Thus Edward the first succeeded his father Henry the third; but his father Henry the third, and his grandfather John, had both been raised to the throne, in. plain defiance of hereditary right: the right of Arthur, nephew to John, and the right of Arthur's
sister, cousin-german to Henry. Edward the
second succeeded his father Edward the first; but Edward the third deposed Edward the second; the parliament renounced all allegiance to him ; and Edward the third held the crown by a parliamentary
title, as much as William the third. If we go
up higher than this æra, or descend lower, we shall find the examples uniform. Examples, sufficient to countenance this pretension of hereditary right to the crown of England, are no where to be found. The Britijh race began in Henry the seventh; and from him alone king James derived that right, which he asserted in such pompous terms. Now surely, if ever any prince came to the crown without the least colour of hereditary right, it was Henry the seventh. He had no pretence to it, even as heir to the house of Lancajler. His wise might have some as heir of the house of York; but the title of his wise had no regard paid to it either by him or the parliament, in making this new settlement. He gained the crown by the good will of the people. He kept it by the confirmation of parliament, and by his own ability. The notional union of the two roses was a much better expedient for quiet than foundation of right. It took place in Henry the eighth; it was continued in his successors; and this nation was willing it should continue in James and his family. But neither Henry the eighth, nor his son Edward the sixth, who might have done so with much better grace, laid the fame stress on hereditary right, as king James did. One of them had recourse to parliament on every occasion, where the succession to the crown was concerned j and the other made no scruple of giving N 4 *' the;
notions of the prerogative, and, carried the
the crown by will to his cousin, in prejudice of his sisters right. This right however, such as it was, prevailed; but the authority of parliament was called in aid by Mary, to remove the objection of illegitimacy, which lay against it. Elizabeth had so little concern about hereditary right, that she neither held, nor desired to hold her crown by any other tenure than the statute of the 35 of her father's reign. In the 13th of her own reign (he declared it by law high treason, during her lise, and a Pramnnire, after her decease, to deny the power of parliament, in limiting and binding the descent and inheritance of the crown, or the claims to it; and whatever private motives there were for'putting to death Mary, queen of Scotland, her claiming a right, in opposition to an act of parliament, was the foundation of the public proceedings against her.
Such examples as we have quoted, ought to have some weight with king James. A prince who had worn the crown of Scotland, under so many restraints, and in so great penury, might have contented himself, one would think, to hold that of England, whose pensioner he had been, by the fame tenure, and to establish his authority on the fame principles, as had contented the best and greatest of his Predecessors; but his designs were as bad as those of the very worst princes, who went before him."(<.) The good' sense and unanswerable reasoning in this quotation will make ample amends for the length of it, and therefore needs no apology. But 'tis amazing to consider that notwithstanding such facts and reasonings there should yet be found people weak enough to hold this doctrine of hereditary right, a doctrine absurd in itself, and big with mischief. Did men but think and consider, did they weigh and examine, were they honest and impartial, they soon would see its folly and ridicule it. But such is the laziness of mankind, that they are
W Oldcastle's Remarks, p. 241.
See also the tries history of the succeffion, in the State tracts, relating to the times of Charles the »d. and Sir John Hawles's speech »t the tryal of Sache.
doctrine of the regal power, [sss] to a pitch
at all times inclined more to believe on trust, than to take the pains to consider; and therefore run into the most whimsical and ridiculous opinions. Princes may think it their interest to have such a doctrine as this inculcated; but the teachers of it ought to be looked upon as the foes of mankind, and had in abhorrence-by those to whom liberty and virtue are amiable;
[sss] He entertained high notions of the prerogative, and carried the doctrine of the regal power to a very great pitch.] James, as I have observed, was bred up under Buchanan, whose hatred of tyranny is well known, and who, like a very honest man, endeavoured to inspire his pupil with a detestation of it; and he seemed to have had some hopes, that his labours would not have been wholly vain. For in the conclusion of his short ded ication to James, of bis Baptijlcs, five calumn'i trogœdia, among his poetical works, there are the following expressions: "Uluda utem peculiarius ad te videri po
test fpectare, quod tyrannorum cruciatus, & cum "florere maxime videntur, miserias dilucide exponat. "Quod te nunc intelligere non conducibile modo, sed "etiam necessariam existimo : ut mature odisse incipias, ** quod tibi semper est sugiendum. Volo etiam hunc '' libellum apud posteros testem fore, si quid aliquando "pravis confultoribus impulsus vel regni licentia rectam "educationem superante secus committas, non præcep"toribus, sed tibi, qui eis recte monentibus non sis "obsecutus, id vitio vertendum esie. Det dominus *c meliora, h quod est apud. tuum Salustium, tibibene "facere ex consuetudine in naturam vertat. Quod e"quidem cum multis & spero, & opto. Sterlino, ad "Calend. Novembris, 1576." i. e. " But this more "especially seems to belong to you, which explains the "torments and miseries of tyrants, even when they "seem to be in the most flourishing state, which I "esteem not only advantageous, but even necessary for
was amazingly great, and bordering on impiety.
'' you now to understand: that you may begin early to "hate, what you should always avoid. 1 desire also "that this book may be a witness to posterity, that if "at any time you act otherwise, by the influence of "wicked counsellors, or the wantonness of power *' getting the better of education, you may impute it "not to your preceptors, but to yourself that slighted
"their good advice. God grant you a better fate,
"and (as your favourite Sallust has it) render benefi"cence natural to you by custom. Which I sincerely "wish, and hope with many others."
James was little more than ten years of age when this was written to him. Two years afterwards Buchanan dedicated his celebrated piece, intitled, De jure Regni apud Scatos, to James, in which he tells him, " that "he thought good to publish it, that it might be a "standing witness of his afsection towards him, and "admonish him of his duty towards his subjects. Now "many things, adds he, persuaded me that this my en"deavour should not be in vain: especially your age "not yet corrupted by prave opinions, and inclina"tion far above your years for undertaking all heroi'' cal and noble attempts, spontaneously making haste "thereunto; and not only your promptitude in obey"ing your instructors and governors, but all such as "give you sound admonition; and your judgment and ** diligence in examining affairs, so that no man's "authority can have much weight with you, unless it '" be confirmed by probable reason. I do perceive also *' that you by a certain natural instinct do so much ab"hor flattery, which is the nurse of tyranny, and a "most grievous plague of a kingdom j so as you do hate "the court solecisms and barbarisms, no less than those "that seem to censure all elegancy, do love and affect "such things, and every where in discourse spread '' abroad, as the fauce thereof those titles of majesty, M highness, and many other unfavoury compellations. '. "Nov?
jbiety. Nor could he with any patience bear
*c Now albeit your good natural disposition, and sound '* instructions, wherein you have been principled, may "at present draw you away from falling into this error, "yet I am forced to be something jealous of you, lest "bad company, the fawning foster-mother of all vices, "draw aside your soft and tender mind into the worst "part; especially seeing I am not ignorant, how easily "our other senses yield to seduction. This book there"fore I have sent unto you, to be not only your moni"tor, but also an importunate and bold exactor which, "in this your flexible and tender years, may conduct "you in fasety from the rocks of flattery, and not only "may admonish you, but also keep you in the way you '* are once entered into: and if at any time you deviate, f it may reprehend and draw you back, the which if "you obey, you shall for yourself and for all your sub"jects, acquire tranquillity and peace in this lise, and "eternal glory in the lise to come. Farewel, from «' Sterveling, Jan. 10, 1579." (a) (a)j}eau
I have been forced to give this in the words of a trans- "t10" rf lation, for want of an opportunity of turning to theiejunngnl original; which the good-natured reader, I hope, will ajmdScotos, pardon. In these dedications we may see the endeavorsln E«gl'*» and hopes of .Buchanan, which I have just mentioned, ,gg„on * of inspiring his pupilwith a detestation of tyranny. But his hopes were ill-founded, his endeavours were ineffectual, "james hated the man who counselled him, and spoke a doctrine directly contrary unto that taught by him. (b) What he writ on this subject when in (i) See note (Scotland, we have before mentioned, (c) He there in- [»] culcated the doctrine of tyranny, and in England he & r,n note continued to avow it, and that even before the parliament itself. In his speech to the lords and commons at Whitehall, Anno 1609, we have the following passage: "Kings are justly called Gods, for that they exercise "a manner or resemblance of divine power upon earth: V for if you will consider the attributes of God, you