Page:Armatafragment00ersk.djvu/49

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( 39 )

¬" The consummate wisdom of those earliest re- formers appears further in the public councils which they preserved. — From the most ancient times the people might be said to have had a protecting council in the government, but its jurisdiction was overborne. — They had only therefore to guard against the recurrence of that abuse, and as the power over the public purse had been the most destructive engine of their arbitrary sovereigns, they retained in their own hands by the most positive charters that palla- dium of independence, re-enacting them upon every invasion, aiming at nothing new, but securing what they had acquired. ¬" To have gone farther in improvement, at that period, would not only have been useless, but mischievous, even if the bulk of the people could have redeemed themselves by force from many intermediate oppressors ; because, having most of all to fear from the power of their mo- narchs, the privileges of their superiors were in- dispensible supports ; invested for many ages ¬d 4 with ¬