Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 6.djvu/178

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there did not exist in England a liege man entitled to the privileges of the Constitution before the time of Henry the Eighth; for till then all acknowledged the spiritual supremacy of the pope. Magna Charta was established by outlaws from the State. Those gallant barons, whose descendants have been so feelingly alluded to by my noble friend, tho they were indeed permitted to achieve, yet were not entitled to share the liberties of their country. They might not dare to open the great charter which had been won by their hardihood and patriotism. Nay, more; if this principle be true, there is not, at this moment, a liege subject in any Catholic country in Europe. Sir, such trash as this shocks our common sense, and sets all argument at defiance.

I speak in the presence of enlightened constitutional lawyers and statesmen, and I do not fear a contradiction when I assert that the doctrine of exclusion is not to be found in the principles, or in the analogies of our Constitution, or in the history of our country, or in the opinion of any statesman whose name or memory has reached us. It is at once inconsistent with the subject's rights and with the king's prerogatives. Ours is a free monarchy, and it is of the essence of such a government that the king should be entitled to call for the services of all his liege subjects, otherwise it is not a monarchy; and that no class of his subjects should be excluded from franchise, otherwise it is not a free monarchy. I use the word franchise, not in the lawyers' tech-