« 上一頁繼續 »
ed humour about the receiving and acknowledging your majesty to be the only head, that must give life to the present maimed body of this kingdom, which is so happy as with an universal consent to have received one sole, uniform, and constant impression of bright blood, as next of kin to our sovereign deceased, and consequently by the laws of this realm, true and next heir to her kingdoms and dominions. And rest assured, that our tender and loyal affections towards you our gracious sovereign, shall be ever hereafter seconded with all faith, obedience, and humble service, which shall be in our power to perform, for maintaining that which we have begun with the sacrifice of our lives, lands, and goods, which we with all our other means do here humbly present at your majesty's feet."
His daughter Elizabeth, born 19th August, 1596, married at London on the 14th February, 1613, Frederick, elector palatine, and king of Bohemia, by whom he had a numerous family. Her youngest daughter Sophia married Earnest Augustus, duke of Brunswick and Hanover, of whom are descended the present royal family of Great Britain.
THE KING'S DUTIES AND PREROGATIVES.
"THE king's name is a tower of strength;" and an apostle who wrote by inspiration, informs us, not only of the obedience due by subjects to their princes, but of the duties incumbent on princes towards their subjects; so that protection and allegiance are reciprocal duties incumbent on both the governors and the governed. "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore, ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God's ministers, attending continually on this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." (Romans xiii.)
It is a maxim in law that protection and subjection are reciprocal. The subject owes the duties of obedience "for conscience sake :" and the king's principal duty in return is to govern the people whom God has committed to his charge, according to the known laws of the land, and to
the utmost of his power to cause law and justice to be executed in mercy. In the claim of Right, the coronation oath was ordained to be taken by the king or queen in the presence of all the people, who on their part, reciprocally take the oath of allegiance to the sovereign. The following is the oath as taken at the king's coronation.
The archbishop or bishop shall say: Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the people of this kingdom of England, and the dominions thereunto belonging, according to the statutes in parliament agreed on and the laws and customs of the same? The king or queen shall say: I solemnly promise so to do.
Archbishop or bishop: Will you to your power cause law and justice, in merey, to be executed in all your judgments? King or queen: I will. Archbishop or bishop. Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the gospel, and the protestant reformed religion established by the law? And will you preserve unto the bishops and clergy of this realm, and to the churches committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do, or shall appertain unto them or any of them? King or queen: All this I promise to do.
After this the king or queen, laying his or her hand on the holy gospels shall say: The things which I have here before promised I will perform and keep: SO HELP ME GOD, and then shall kiss the book.
At his coronation the king does not swear to protect the establishment of Scotland, because he had done so as his very first act after his accession. The twenty-fifth article of the union expressly provides "that the sovereign in the royal government of Great Britain, shall in all time coming, at his or her accession to the throne, swear and subscribe that they shall inviolably maintain and preserve the aforesaid settlement of the true protestant religion, with the government, worship, discipline, rights, and privileges of this church of Scotland, as above established by the laws of this kingdom in prosecution of the claim of right."
The king of England is very highly exalted above his subjects; and the constitution regards his person as so sacred, that no jurisprudence upon earth has power to coerce him. No suit even in civil matters can be brought against the king, for no court can have authority over him. The king being above the law, is not the effect of mere visionary theory or of idle superstition and folly, as many absurdly imagine. For, as already mentioned, it is the king's fiat that makes the laws by the advice of the great council of the nation, and consequently the creator must be superior to the thing created; besides, the liberty and safety of the meanest subject is better secured by the free agency of the executive, than if the king was a mere public servant, like the president of the United States of America, The king is declared to be the supreme head of the realm in matters both civil and ecclesiastical, and of consequence inferior to no man upon
earth, dependent on no man, accountable to no man. Judge Bracton says, "Rex est vicarius, et minister Dei in terra: omnis quidem sub eo est, et ipse sub nullo, nisi tantum sub Deọ."
The king is called the father of the country, not that he begat his people, or that he must be an older man than all his subjects; but because Adam, the first king as well as the first man, begat his own subjects, and when the eldest son succeeded to his father's authority he succeeded also to his title of father, and hence the style of father is given to this day to all kings, which points remarkably to the original of government or kingship in the time of man's innocency in Eden, which God first instituted there, both in nature and by positive command. And therefore we owe to our sovereign the same obedience which Adam's children or subjects paid to him; for God's commands and institutions descend through all ages to the end of time, and government is of the same necessity and obligation now, as it was when it was first imposed by God himself, and it is equally "his ordinance" now, as it was then.
If government and its succession was ordained by God, then it is as natural that it should succeed in the same track, as for the sun to proceed in his diurnal course; and consequently, when elective monarchies and republics usurp the place of "God's ordinance”—that is an hereditary monarchy or fathership-they are eccentric from, and breaches of the primitive institution; nevertheless, obedience is due to such when a better right cannot be established, as a bastard is a man, although he be unlawfully begotten, and it would be as much murder to kill a bastard, as to kill one lawfully born; so a republic is a government though a bastard one, and is to be obeyed till a better right to the government is established.
The king" is the minister of God for good" to his people, and consequently he is as much bound to exercise his high authority agreeably to the divine will for the benefit of his people, as they are to obey him "in all godly fear, knowing whose authority he hath," namely God's. But whilst the king is a minister for good, he is also " a revenger, to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil;" therefore if we compare the benefits, which an obedient people derive from their governors, with the evils which a few turbulent men may suffer from the worst governors, we shall find that the general good far outweighs the particular evils beyond all comparison. For if the government is deranged, then every man's hand is let loose upon his neighbour, the strong oppress the weak, and a more general tyranny will follow, than by the greatest severity of any king. It frequently happens, that the most rigid governors are the strictest justiciaries ; and, on the other hand, kings may be so gentle and easy, as to let factions rise and distract the country, which generally occasions more mischief than the worst administration. The evil of too great clemency was exemplified in Charles I. who suffered factions to get beyond control; and rebellious
people always denominate those princes tyrants, whom they destroy, as the ruin and bloodshed of the people always accompanies the destruction of the sovereign, whose reign is consequently called bloody and tyrannical. Hence the severe reigns of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth have been called glorious, because their severity kept down faction and preserved peace. Throughout all history, the mildest and best kings have been always most rebelled against by their subjects. But let kings be as bad as they are often called, still their tyranny must end some time; in them "life's copy's not eterne;" and to change our governors at the caprice of the mob, is not worth the expense of blood and treasure which rebellion and usurpation has always cost the nation. The usurpation of Henry IV. cost England a hundred years of carnage and civil war, and which was not composed till the royal line of York regained their inheritance. The usurpation of Cromwell cost the three kingdoms more blood and treasure than all her foreign wars from the Conquest to his time.
It is a wise maxim in English law, that "the king can do no wrong:" not that he is personally impeccable, but because he derives his authority from God alone, as the laws of England acknowledge; and, therefore, that excellent maxim means only that he is not accountable to his subjects for his public actions; but his ministers or counsellors are responsible for the advice they may give him: and under God, this is our greatest security; for if the king could be controlled or coerced, then he would be no longer sovereign, for whoever had the power to coerce or control him would be! in fact the sovereign; but his councillors being responsible with their lives and fortunes, are put under the necessity of giving good and just counsel Judge Bracton says, "that the king does no wrong, neither will he amend that wrong either on petition or remonstrance;" and he decides that "sufficit ei pro poena, that it is sufficient punishment to him (the king,) that he is to expect God to be an avenger, for he has no superior on earth," which was Bracton's opinion of this maxim. The maladministration of the king cannot be of such mischievous effects to the people as their own anarchy; and in the case of a personal incapacity in the prince to administer the government, such as infancy, lunacy, or any other cause, the three estates of parliament appoint a regent, who governs in his name and by the authority of the incapable prince. When Uzziah was struck with leprosy, so that he was cut off from all society and lived in a several house," his eldest son Jotham "was over the king's house, judging the people of the land," but did not succeed to the crown till his father's death, (2 Chron. xxvi. 21, 23.) And after Nebuchadnezzar had been turned into a beast for seven years, when his reason was restored, "his lords and his councillors sought unto him, and he was established in his kingdom," (Dan. iv. 36.) The line of succession was not broken, nor the people discharged from their allegiance, on account of the madness of
their prince, and it is the general supposition that the case of Nebuchadnezzar was madness. The confession of Faith of the legal church of Scotland, asserts" that difference of religion, or even infidelity, does not take away the right of a king to his crown."
The king's prerogatives are of three kinds, such as regard his royal character, his royal authority, and his royal income or revenue. The term royal dignity implies, not only those powers and emoluments which he possesses jure coronæ, but likewise other attributes of a transcendent nature, which elevate him above all other men, so that he has no superior upon earth. Some of these prerogatives, especially those that relate to justice and peace, are so essential to sovereignty that they are for ever inherent in the crown, and are equally inseparable from it as the sun-beams from the sun. And every British king, as he is Debitor justitiæ to his people, so is he in conscience, obliged to defend and maintain all the rights of the crown in possession, and to endeavour the recovery of those, of which the crown may have been stript. On the other side, it is equally his duty to protect the just liberties of his subjects, according to the golden rule of the pious Charles I. that "The king's prerogative is to defend the people's liberties, and the people's liberties to strengthen the king's prerogative."
As sovereign, he is "the Lord's anointed," "the minister of God," and as such, inferior to no man, dependent on no man, and accountable to no man on earth, as the laws fully recognise: the crown belongs to him alone, without any partners, and is under no subjection to any one. The statute of 16th Rich. II. c. 25, asserts "that the crown of England hath been so free at all times, that it hath been in no earthly subjection, but immediately subject to God, in all things touching the regality of the same crown, and to none other ;"-" whereas by sundry divers old authentie histories and chronicles, it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of England, is an empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one supreme head and king, having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial crown of the same:" 24th Hen. VIII. also 1 Eliz., then surely, to neither a foreign nor domestic tribunal; for if the pope, as he formerly claimed, had any supremacy, then the king would not be "supreme," and so there would be an end of British independence, equally as if a domestic tribunal could try, or coerce him, which would immediately put an end to the government. "Such," says an excellent writer, *was the effect of the mock trial of king Charles I. That unhappy prince, firmly, consistently, and constitutionally denied the authority of the court that condemned him. But in vain did he plead his own rights and the rights of his people, before a tribunal erected by domestic violence, which, trampling upon all laws, human and Divine, completely overturned the constitution. If, indeed, the king invade the rights of the subject, either by private