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582 House of COMMONS CANNOT SUSPEND Laws! [., Mayefon.
having public blasphemers and impudent deniers of the Divinity of our Saviour among you ; and suffering them unreproved and unpunished to the infinite regret of all good Christians, and the just abhorrence of the whole nation.
Herefore, in the said prospect of the impending ruin of our native country; while Parliaments, which ought to be the security and defence of our
Laws and Constitution, betray their Trust, and abuse the people whom they should protect; and no other way being left us but that Force which we are very loth to make use of: that Posterity may know we did not insensibly fall under the tyranny of a prevailing Party; We do hereby
Claim and Declare,
1. That it is the undoubted Right of the People of England, in case their Representatives in Parliament do not proceed according to their Duty, and the People's Interest; to inform of their dislike, disown their actions, and to direct them to such things as they think fit, either by Petition, Address, Proposal, Memorial, or any other peaceable way.
2. That the House of Commons, separately, and otherwise than by Bill legally passed into an Act, have no Legal Power to suspend or dispense with the Laws of the land; any more than the King has, by his Prerogative.
3. That the House of Commons have no Legal Power to imprison any person, or commit them to the custody of Serjeants or otherwise, their only Members excepted; but ought to address the King, to cause any person, on good grounds, to be apprehended : which person, so apprehended, ought to have the benefit of the Habeas Corpus Act; and be fairly brought to trial by due course of Law.
4. That if the House of Commons, in breach of the Laws
1. Mapefor) LEGION's ORDERS TO the House. 583
and Liberties of the people, do betray the Trust reposed in them; and act negligently or arbitrarily and illegally: it is the undoubted Right of the People of England to call them to an account for the same; and by Convention, Assembly, or Force, may proceed against them, as traitors and betrayers of their country.
These things we think proper to Declare, as the Unquestioned Right of the People of England, whom you serve.
And in pursuance of that Right; avoiding the ceremony of Petitioning our inferiors (for such you are by your present circumstances, as the person sent is less than the sender) : We do publicly Protest against all your foresaid Illegal Actions; and, in the name of our Selves, and of all the good People of England, do
Require and Demand,
1. That all the Public just Debts of the nation be forthwith paid and discharged.
2. That all persons illegally imprisoned as aforesaid, be either immediately discharged, or admitted to bail, as by Law they ought to be: and the Liberty of the Subject recognized and restored.
3. That J[OH]N Hw[e] aforesaid, be obliged to ask His Majesty pardon for his vile reflections; or be immediately expelled the House.
4. That the growing power of France be taken into consideration, the Succession of the Emperor to the Crown of Spain supported, our Protestant neighbours protected, as the true Interest of England and the Protestant Religion require.
5. That the French King be obliged to quit Flanders, or that His Majesty be addressed to declare war against him.
6. That suitable Supplies be granted to His Majesty, for the putting all these necessary things in execution; and that
584 WE-WILL NOT BE SLAVES TO PARLIAMENTS! [., Maybefoss
care be taken that such taxes as are raised, may be more equally assessed and collected, and scandalous deficiencies prevented.
7. That the Thanks of the House may be given to those Gentlemen, who so gallantly appeared in the behalf of their country, with the Kentish Petition; and have been so scandalously used for it.
Thus, Gentlemen, you have your Duty laid before you ! which it is hoped you will think of! But if you continue to neglect it, you may expect to be treated according to the resentments of an injured Nation! For Englishmen are no more to be Slaves to Parliaments, than to a King !
Our name is LEGION, and we are Many.
SHOR TEST.W A Y
Printed in the Year MDCCII.
[This most famous piece of irony was directed against Religious Intolerance per se, chiefly of that of the High Flyers or Non-Jurors in the English Church toward Dissenters; but also felicitously bringing at p. 593, a like intolerance on the part of the Kirk towards the Episcopalian Dissenters in Scotland. The shortest Way is a master-piece of intentionally unconnected Assertion, and inconsequential and heated Invective working itself gradually up into the foaming fury, expressed by the words
NOW, LET US CRUCIFY THE THIEVES! There can be no better explanation of its drift, than what DEFOE himself has told us, see opposite page.]