Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/96

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invaded England in the Parliament’s quarrel. But this was a year or two after.

B. Before you go any further, I desire to know the ground and original of that right, which either the House of Lords, or House of Commons, or both together, now pretend to.

A. It is a question of things so long past, that they are now forgotten. Nor have we anything to conjecture by, but the records of our own nation, and some small and obscure fragments of Roman histories: and for the records, seeing they are of things done only, sometimes justly, sometimes unjustly, you can never by them know what right they had, but only what right they pretended.

B. Howsoever, let me know what light we have in this matter from the Roman histories.

A. It would be too long, and an useless digression, to cite all the ancient authors that speak of the forms of those commonwealths, which were amongst our first ancestors the Saxons and other Germans, and of other nations, from whom we derive the titles of honour now in use in England; nor will it be possible to derive from them any argument of right, but only examples of fact, which, by the ambition of potent subjects, have been oftener unjust than otherwise. And for those Saxons or Angles, that in ancient times by several invasions made themselves masters of this nation, they were not in themselves one body of a commonwealth, but only a league of divers petty German lords and states, such as was the Grecian army in the Trojan war, without other obligation than that which proceeded from their own fear and weakness. Nor were those lords, for the most part, the sovereigns at home in their own country, but chosen by the people for captains of the forces they brought with them. And therefore it was not without equity, when they had conquered any part of the land, and made some one of them king thereof, that the rest should have greater privileges than the common people and soldiers: amongst which privileges, a man may easily conjecture this