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the said Thomas Denton, &c. Answer be fore our Lord and Lady for the said. Comtempt.
To this Edmund Plowden who was in the Information pleaded, that he was present in that Parliament in which it was alledg'd that he was absent.
Sir Edward Cokes Observation upon this Matter was thus. " You may Obferve that the
Observe that the poor Commons, Members of Parliament in Diebus illis had no great Joy to continue in Parliament.
Sir Robert Filmer observes, that the Parliament in Ancient Times were Maintain'd by the King, and Fed at his Table.
An Old Whig who pav’d the Way for the il Notions which have prevaild in this King dom, in his Book calld, Plato Redivivus, has given but a very mean Account of an House, of Commons Original ; He says most of the Members thought it an Honour to retain to some Great Lord, and to wear his Blue Coat, and when they had made up their Lord's Train, ard Waited upong him from his own House to the Lord's House, and made a Lane for him to Enter, they departed to Sit in the Lower House of Parliament ; see. Antidotum Britannicum, P: 77:
The Antiquity of the House of Peers is beyond dispute. The Saxon King's in their Laws mention them by the Name of Sapientum & Magnatum Concilium. But as to
any real Authority, I cannot see that they enjoy'd the leaft Jhadow thereof; the Saxons came over with their Swords in their Hands, their Chief Commanders made themselves Kings, and if they Constituted Guardians and
Confervators over themselves, they were little better than Fools.
But however, we must Date our Constitution from William the Conquerour, from him we receiv'd our Laws and Model of Gov. vernment, but he made the Kingdom a perfe&t Property, he gave it by Will to the Younger Son, and Excluded. the Elder with: out any Intervention of the States, nor was his Title ever Question'd by the People, nor can any Instance be given till very lately, of any popular Election, Ufurpers have thrust themselves into a Throne, but they have alwaies bad the pretence of Hereditary Right, none ever cared for a Title which they ow" to the Election of a Multitude.
'Tis the Unhappyness of Mankind, that ever fince the Creation of the World they have been led into Errour by not setting a right Signification upon Words: They have not yet settled an absolute Agreement between Ideas and Words, which are, and ever will be, engag'd in an Eternal War. I believe Mankind wou'd not be a little Improv'd with a Treatise of that Nature, to sew what confusion that Diffention has made amongst them.
For Example, the Word King has set this Nation together by the Ears, from the very Time that the Word has been known within the Realm, because we have not adjusted our Idea with the Word, if we mean by King, one that has the Supream Power of the Nation, we Reduce a large Ocean of Dispute into a very narrow compass, viz. Whether the Supream Power can be Refilted or no, if the Supream Power may be Resisted, confequently, any Inferiour Power may be Refifted in Society; and therefore, no Magistrates are secur'd from having their 'Brains regularly knock'd out by the People.
If the King is only a Branch of the Supream Power, we must find out the other
Branches, and set them all in a fair Light ; are they the House of Lords or Commons, or both together? #fo, let any Man fheve me
If Yo the Suprean Power after the Diffolution of the Houses. Let them shew nie one Mark of Superiour Power which the King does not then Enjoy, and I will new twenty which they cou'd never pretend to.
But granting even this, the Question receives a new turn, Whether England is a Monarchy, or not Whether it is distinguish'd by any signal Criterion from the Commonwealth of Sparta.
How much we have the Advantage from Law and History I need not here fay.
Our Kings ever shind with peculiar Prerogatives which manifestly distinguish'd them from the States of the Realm, and plac'd 'em in an higher Sphere; the Neighbouring Princes who fell under their Power, did Homage to them alone, without any mention of the States of the Realm, or the Parliament; particularly, Robert Count of Flanders, did Homage both for Life and Limb to Henry the ist, only with a Reservation to the right of Lewis of France, to whom he was immediately Subje&t. The Words are, Robertus Comes Flandriæ fide & facramento assecuravit Regi Henrico Vitam fuam & Membra, & Membra quæ Corpori suo pertinent & captionem Corporis sui. See Rymer's Fædera. Vol. s. p. I.
From this Confideration, Naturally arise these following Questions; which may give Sonce light into the Dispute.
ift, If a Foreign Country falls under the Subjection of an English Power, to whom does the Property of that Country belong, to the King, or to the States, or to both? If it belongs to the King, as his intire Proper-: ty, he cannot forfeit the same for Male Administration, to the Parliament of England, nor can their Afts bind such Subjects. We must consider therefore, both Countries under different Allegiances; the one to a Monarch, and the other to a Commonwealth; for I can:
tall England no better, if our Kings are not here the Supream Power.
But if they Forfeit to tbe Parliament with the King, the Reason must arise from hence, that the States, with the King, have an equal share in the War, as being ColleGively the Supream Power, in that Nation which Carries on the War, and all the Instruments for pursuiug the same, are procurd by the States with the King. But then it must appear by our publick Records, that the Parliament of England in Ancient Times were so much Concern'd, either in pročuring the Conquests, or pretending a Right to them afterwards, they were kept and Transfer'd, according as the Exigence of the Times requird, without any Intervention of the States, all was perform'd by the King's fole Authority.
Lastly, If such Conquests fell to the States, without the King, he is no more concern'd than Scipio or“ an Aemilius, to act as a Servant to the Supream Power, and to put them in Polression of his Conquests. But I am very Confident, if the case was so, we should have found some shadow of this amongst the voluminous Collections of Mr. Rymer.
I Conclude therefore, that all such Cona quests belong intirely to the King, as his Property; which leads me on to the second Quere, Whether a King, upon Supposition, that he forfeits his Regalities in England