صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني




As it is a manifest token, or rather a substantial effect, of the wrath and indignation of God, when

gdoms are rent and divided, which have formerly been entire and united under one monarch and governor; so, on the contrary part, when it shall please the Almighty, by whom kings reign as his deputies and lieutenants, to enlarge his commissions of empire and sovereignty, and to commit those nations to one king to govern, which he hath formerly committed to several kings, it is an evident argument of his great favour both upon king and upon people; upon the king, inasmuch as he may with comfort conceive that he is one of those servants to whom it was said, Thou hast been faithful in the less, I will make thee lord of more;" upon the people, because the greatness of kingdoms and dominions, especially not being scattered, but adjacent and compact, doth ever bring with it greater security from outward enemies, and greater freedom from inward burdens, unto both which people under petty and weak estates are more exposed; which so happy fruit of the union of kingdoms is chiefly to be understood, when such conjunction or augmentation is not wrought by conquest

and violence, or by pact and submission, but by the law of nature and hereditary descent. For in conquest it is commonly seen, although the bulk and quantity of territory be increased, yet the strength of kingdoms is diminished, as well by the wasting of the forces of both parts in the conflict, as by the evil coherence of the nation conquering and conquered, the one being apt to be insolent, and the other discontent; and so both full of jealousies and discord. And where countries are annexed only by act of estates and submissions, such submissions are commonly grounded upon fear, which is no good author of continuance, besides the quarrels and revolts which do ensue upon conditional and articulate subjections: but when the lines of two kingdoms do meet in the person of one monarch, as in a true point or perfect angle; and that from marriage, which is the first conjunction in human society, there shall proceed one inheritor in blood to several kingdoms, whereby they are actually united and incorporate under one head; it is the work of God and nature, whereunto the works of force and policy cannot attain; and it is that which hath not in itself

any manner of seeds of discord or disunion, other than such as envy and malignity shall sow, and which groundeth an union, not only indissoluble, but also most comfortable and happy amongst the people.

We therefore in all humbleness acknowledge, that it is the great and blessed work of Almighty God, that these two ancient and mighty realms of England and Scotland, which by nature have no

true but an imaginary separation, being both situate and comprehended in one most famous and renowned island of Great-Britany, compassed by the ocean, without any mountains, seas, or other boundaries of nature, to make any partition, wall, or trench, between them, and being also exempted from the first curse of disunion, which was the confusion of tongues, and being people of a like constitution of mind and body, especially in warlike prowess and disposition : and yet nevertheless have in so many ages been disjoined under several kings and governors, are now at the last, by right inherent in the commixture of our blood, united in our person and generation ; wherein it hath pleased God to anoint us with the oil of gladness and gratulation above our progenitors, kings of either nation. Neither can we sufficiently contemplate and behold the passages, degrees, and insinuations, whereby it hath pleased the eternal God, to whom all his works are from the beginning known and present, to open and prepare a way to this excellent work ; having first ordained that both nations should be knit in one true and reformed religion, which is the perfectest band of all unity and union; and secondly, that there should precede so long a peace continued between the nations for so many years last past, whereby all seeds and sparks of ancient discord have been laid asleep, and grown to an obliteration and oblivion ; and lastly, that ourselves, in the true measure of our affections, should have so just cause to embrace both nations with equal and indifferent love and inclination, inasmuch as our

birth and the passing of the first part of our age hath been in the one nation, and our principal seat and mansion, and the passing of the latter part of our days is like to be in the other. Which our equal and upright holding of the balance between both nations, being the highest point of all others in our distributive justice, we give the world to know, that we are constantly resolved to preserve inviolate against all emulations and partialities, not making any difference at all between the subjects of either nation, in affection, honours, favours, gifts, employments, confidences, or the like ; but only such as the true distinctions of the persons, being capable or not capable, fit or not fit, acquainted with affairs or not acquainted with affairs, needing our princely bounty or not needing the same, approved to us by our experience or not approved, meriting or not meriting, and the several degrees of these and the like conditions, shall in right reason tie us unto, without any manner of regard to the country in itself; to the end that they may well perceive, that in our mind and apprehension they are all one and the same nation : and that our heart is truly placed in the centre of government, from whence all lines to the circumference are equal and of one space and distance.

But for the further advancing and perfecting of this work, we have taken into our princely care and cogitations, what it is that may appertain to our own imperial power, right, and authority : and what requireth votes and assents of our parliaments or estates; and again, what may presently be done,

and what must be left to further time, that our proceeding may be void of all inconvenience and informality ; wherein by the example of Almighty God, who is accustomed to begin all his great works and designments by alterations or impositions of names, as the fittest means to imprint in the hearts of people a character and expectation of that which is to follow ; we have thought good to withdraw and discontinue the divided names of England and Scotland out of our regal stile and title, and to use in place of them the common and contracted name of Great Britany: not upon any vain-glory, whereof, we persuade ourselves, our actions do sufficiently free us in the judgment of all the world ; and if any such humour should reign in us, it were better satisfied by length of stile and enumeration of kingdoms : but only as a fit signification of that which is already done, and a significant prefiguration of that which we further intend. For as in giving names to natural persons, it is used to impose them in infancy, and not to stay till fulness of growth; so it seemed to us not unseasonable to bring in further use this name at the first, and to proceed to the more substantial points of the union after, as fast and as far as the common good of both the realms should permit, especially considering the name of Britany was no coined, or new-devised, or affected name at pleasure, but the true and ancient name which God and time hath imposed, extant, and received in histories, in cards, and in ordinary speech and writing, where the whole island is meant to be denominate; so as it

« السابقةمتابعة »