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and oppression, 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 by the cruel murder of her brothers, was the undoubted heiress, not only of the illustrious house of York, but also of the Conqueror, the common royal stock.
Henry VIII. the issue of this auspicious marriage, therefore became king by a clear and indisputable hereditary right, and to him his three children succeeded in regular order. Edward VI. following his father, dying young, was succeeded by his two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. The parliament, ever obsequious at that time to the reigning monarch, passed various acts respecting the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the birth of Henry's two daughters.
On the death of queen Elizabeth, the of Henry VIII. became extinct; and the crown of course devolved on James VI. of Scotland and I. of England, who was the lineal descendant of Henry VII. and Elizabeth of York, whose eldest daughter, the lady Margaret, married James IV. of Scotland, so that James their grandson united in his own person an undoubted title to both the Scottish and English 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 remarkable, in him, also, the ancient Saxon line was restored: he being lineally descended from Margaret Atheling, the sister of Edgar, the true heir of the throne at the conquest by William the Norman. The parliament of England, 1 James I. c. i., in recognising James' title, acknowledg ed his majesty," as being lineally, justly, and lawfully, next and sole heir of the blood-royal of this nation."
James was succeeded by his only surviving son, the unfortunate Charles I., whose lawless judges had the effrontery and folly to tell 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 deduce an undeniable hereditary title for more than eight hundred years, and was unquestionably the real heir of Egbert, the first king of England. To be sure, it was very natural that men who were about to strike off the king's head, not by the sentence of the law, but with the arm of violence, should deny the constitutional inviolability of his person. Nor is it surprising, that in the commission of such a traitorous act, as putting his majesty to death, they should tell him that he was an elective, and not an hereditary king. For, with all their folly, they had discernment enough to foresee that the murder of the king would only make way for his son, if they admitted the ancient doctrine of the hereditary succession to the crown. They probably kept in mind the certainty that an hereditary successor would call them to a se
vere account for the murder of his father. Their notions, therefore, were just as reasonable as the scepticism of those who deny the divine authority of the Bible, because they perceive that its holy doctrines condemn their ungodly practices.
The sacrilegious murder of king Charles, made way for Cromwell's usurpation, who assumed the title of Lord Protector.
After an usurpation of eleven years, a solemn parliamentary convention of the estates restored the crown to the right heir, king Charles II. In their proclamation to restore the king, the convention declared that "immediately on the death of king Charles I. his majesty Charles II. was the lineal, just, and lawful next heir of the blood-royal of this realm; and to him they most humbly and faithfully submit and oblige themselves, their heirs and posterity for ever."
During this 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 was rejected by the lords, and the king himself declared that he would never consent to it; so that on the death of Charles, the duke succeeded by the name of James II. It was on account of his religion alone that this attempt of the commons to set aside James' just right was made; it should be remembered, that there was no law in existence at that time, which limited the entail of the crown to the protestant succession. The confession of faith of the established church of Scotland says expressly, that "infidelity or difference in religion doth not make void the magistrate's just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to him."-Con. of faith, ch. xxiii. § iv.
The infatuated king James, after various and notorious attempts to change the established religion, and to set up an arbitrary government, independent on the law, voluntarily vacated the throne by abdication. But our ancestors very prudently voted in both houses of parliament, that king James' misconduct amounted only to an endeavour to subvert the constitution. Thus by simply declaring the throne vacant, it was filled by the nearest in proximity of blood to the late king, which was his eldest daughter Mary, with whom was associated her husband the prince of Orange, by the title of William III. and Mary II. Both houses of the convention parliament issued the following declaration, dated 12th Feb. 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."
Towards the end of the reign of William, the duke of Gloucester, the
son of the princess Anne, dying, and with him all hopes of a protestant succession in the right line failed; William, by the advice of parliament, had previously enacted, that no person professing the faith of the Latin church should ever be capable of inheriting, possessing, or enjoying the crown of these realms. In this dilemma, therefore, the entail of the crown expectant on the death of William and queen Anne without issue, was settled by statute 12 and 13 William III. c. ii., on the princess Sophia, dowager Electress of Hanover, and grand-daughter of king James I., and on the heirs of her body, being protestants.
On the death of the prince of Orange, queen Anne succeeded to the imperial crown, who died without issue, but surviving the princess Sophia of Hanover, the crown descended to her son and heir George I.; to him succeeded his son George II.; on whose demise, George III. succeeded in right of his father Frederic, prince of Wales: after a long and glorious reign, he was succeeded by his son George IV., who dying without issue, transmitted the crown to his second brother the duke of Clarence, our present sovereign, whom may God long preserve. The heiress presumptive is the princess Victoria, daughter of his late royal highness the duke of Kent, fourth son of George III.
Upon the whole view of this subject, it may be clearly seen, that the title to the crown is hereditary, though not altogether so absolutely so as formerly; because previous to the Revolution, the crown descended to the next heir, without any restriction; but since that event the descent is conditional, being limited to such heirs only of the body of the princess Sophia, as are protestant members of the church of England, and are married to none but protestants. From several changes in the line of succession, different common stocks have been thereby created. The first common royal stock was that of king Egbert; after him was William the Conqueror; afterwards these two common stocks were united in the person of James I., which continued till the death of queen Anne; and now the common stock is the princess Sophia of Hanover.
The statute 6 Anne made it penal to dispute the constitutional power of the king with the advice of parliament to alter the succession: it is enacted" that if any person, maliciously, advisedly, and directly shall maintain by writing or printing, that the kings of this realm, with the authority of parliament, are not able to make laws to bind the crown and the descent thereof, he shall be guilty of high treason; or if he maintain the same by only preaching, teaching, or advised speaking, he shall incur the penalties of a præmunire.”
It is not to be imagined that king James II. destroyed the monarchy when he abdicated the throne, and thus dissolved the constitution; for although a king may abdicate for his own person, he cannot abdicate for the monarchy, any more than the house of lords or house of commons can
renounce each its share of legislative authority. Neither was the placing of the prince of Orange upon the throne, making the monarchy elective. The necessity of the case obliged the convention to fix the crown somewhere: but they adhered to old constitutional principles, and enacted the succession of the crown; so that they did not change the substance, but regulated the mode of succession, and described the persons who should inherit the crown for ever. The monarchy, therefore, is as purely heredi
tary now as it ever was.
The real fact, then, with regard to the constitution, both in its settled course and in all its revolutions, has ever been, and still is this; that whoever came into possession of the crown, or however he came by it, whether by law or by force, the hereditary succession invariably continued.
It is worthy of observation, how carefully and delicately the convention parliament in 1688 disclaimed the assumption of any such abstract right as the people of England electing their sovereign, although the preamble to the Bill of Rights expressly declares, "that the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully, and freely represent all the estates of this realm." In the statute of W. and M., the parliament prays the king and queen, "that it may be declared and enacted, that all and singular the rights and liberties, asserted and declared, are the true, ancient, and indubitable rights and liberties of the people of this kingdom."
And in all the various changes of the succession to the crown, it has been the uniform policy of our legislators, to claim and assert our liberties as an entailed inheritance derived to us from our forefathers, and to be transmitted to our posterity. By this means, our constitution preserves a unity in so great a diversity of its parts. We have an hereditary crown, an hereditary peerage, and a house of commons, and a people inheriting privileges, franchises, and liberties, from a long line of ancestors. And the chief excellency of the hereditary right of the kings of England is, that it is closely interwoven with those liberties that are equally the inheritance of the subject.*
ORIGIN AND DESCENT OF THE ROYAL FAMILY OF SCOTLAND.
HAVING given an historical account of the descent of the crown in England, from the consolidation of the heptarchy into one monarchy, under
* Blackstone's Commentaries,-Custance on the Constitution.
Egbert; it may be interesting to many of our readers to know something of that illustrious house which swayed the sceptre of Scotland during its independence as a separate kingdom, which gave a sovereign to her more - powerful rival, and the blood of whose stock circulates at this moment in the veins of almost every crowned head in Europe.
I shall not attempt to explore the regions of romance to trace the origin of the royal family of Scotland, which is said by Buchanan to have existed three hundred years before the incarnation of our blessed Saviour, the first of whom was Fergus the son of Ferquhard, a king of Ireland. There is a tradition, that a king named Hiber came from Egypt and settled in Spain; from thence he passed over into Ireland. This monarch brought from Egypt a marble stone on which he was accustomed to sit; which stone has ever since been used at the coronation of the Scottish sovereigns, from the time of Fergus to the time of John Baliol, when Edward I. of England carried it off among the spolia opima of the kingdom, being influenced by an old traditionary legend engraven on the stone itself:
Ni fallat fatum, Scoti quocunque locatum
Fergus assumed the rampant lion as his arms, and which has been the royal arms ever since. From this courageous prince, historians enumerate twenty-five kings, who were idolaters, previous to Donald I., who was the first Christian prince in Scotland. From Donald to Achaius there were thirty-seven kings successively. In the year 809, Achaius entered into "league and alliance offensive and defensive, towards all and against all kings and princes, not excepting any, with king Charlemagne and the most Christian kings of France his successors to perpetuity." From Achaius to Malcolm Canmore there were a succession of twenty kings. Malcolm III. began his reign in the year 1061. He married Margaret, daughter of Edgar Atheling, the true heir in the Saxon line to the crown of England, a princess of great beauty and many accomplishments; by this happy marriage the foundation was laid for the present consolidation of the three kingdoms under one crown; and through a long and illustrious posterity, their descendants succeeded by right of blood to the crown, of which saint Margaret's father was dispossessed by the Norman Conqueror, and restored to England the true line of her Saxon monarchs. Malcolm III. with his eldest son Edward, were slain before Alnwick castle. He was succeeded successively by his three sons, Edgar, Alexander I. and David I. His eldest daughter Matilda, commonly called Maud, married Henry I. or Beauclerc, of England; from whom descended the kings of England. Malcolm was succeeded immediately by his brother Donald VI. who usurped the crown on account of his nephew's youth. Duncan, bastard of the late king, dethroned him and seized the crown. Donald fled to the Hebrides; but contriving to murder Duncan, resumed the reins of government. He reigned