Page:Letters of Junius, volume 1 (Woodfall, 1772).djvu/19
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is not an arbitrary power. They are the trustees, not the owners of the estate. The fee-simple is in US. They cannot alienate, they cannot waste. When we say that the legislature is supreme,
- This positive denial of an arbitrary power being vested in the legislature, is not, in fact, a new doctrine. When the Earl of Lindsay, in the year 1675, brought a bill into the house of lords, To prevent the dangers which might arise from persons disaffected to the governments, by which an oath and penalty was to be imposed upon the members of both houses, it was affirmed in a protest, signed by twenty-three lay peers (my lords the bishops were not accustomed to protest), "That the privilege of sitting and voting in parliament, was an honour they had by birth, and a right so inherent in them, and inseparable from them, that nothing could take it away, but what by the law of the land must withal take away their lives, and corrupt their blood."—These noble peers, whose names are a reproach to their posterity, have, in this instance, solemnly denied the power of parliament to alter the constitution. Under a particular proposition, they have asserted a general truth, in which every man in England is concerned.