Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF

the king's political person, considered merely by itself, without reference to any other extrinsic circumstancs; as, the right of sending ambassadors, of creating peers, and of making war or peace. But such prerogatives as are incidental bear arways a relation to something else, distinct from the king's person; and are, indeed, only exceptions, in favor of the crown, to those general rules that are established for the rest of the community: such as, that no costs shall be recovered against the king; and that the king can never be a joint tenant; and that his debt shall be preferred before a debt to any of his subjects. 1. The law ascribes to the king the attribute of sovereignty, or pre-eminency. See Sovereignty. 2. “The law also, says Sir William Blackstone, ‘ascribes to the king, in his political capacity, absolute perfection; ‘The king can do no wrong." Which ancient and fundamental maxim is not to be understood as if every thing transacted by the government was of course just and lawful; but means only that whatever is exceptionable in the conduct of public affairs is not to be imputed to the king, nor is he answerable for it personally to his people: for this doctrine would totally destroy that constitutional independence of the crown which is necessary for the balance of power in our free and active, and therefore compounded, constitution. And therefore, if the crown should be induced to grant any franchise or privilege to a subject contrary to reason, or in any wise prejudicial to the commonwealth or a private person, the law will not suppose the king to have meant either an unwise or an injurious action, but declares that the king was deceived in his grant; and thereupon such grant is rendered void, merely upon the foundation of fraud and deception, either by or upon those agents whom the crown has thought proper to employ.’ The law determines that in the king can be no negligence or laches;. and therefore no delay will bar his right. Nullum tempus occurrit regi is the standing maxim upon all occasions: for the law intends that the king is always busied for the public good, and therefore has not leisure to assert his right within the times limited to subjects. In the king also can be no stain or corruption of blood; for if the heir to the crown were attainted of treason or felony, and afterwards the crown should descend to him, this would purge the attainder ipso facto. This happened in the case of Henry VII. who, as earl of Richmond, stood attainted, but his assumption of the crown cleared the attainders. Neither can the king, in judgment of law, as king, ever be a minor or under age; and therefore his royal grants and assents to acts of parliament are good, though he has not in his natural capacity attained the legal age of twenty-one. By a statute, indeed, 28 Hen. VIII. c. 17, power was given to future kings to rescind all acts of parliament that should be made while they were under the age of twenty-four: but this was repealed by the stat. 1 Edw. VI. c. 11, so far as related to that prince, and both statutes are declared to be determined by 24 Geo. II. c. 24. It has also been usually thought prudent, when the heir apparent has been very young, to appoint a protector, guardian, or regent, for a

limited time : but the very necessity of such extraordinary provision is sufficient to demonstrate the truth of that maxim of common law, that in the king is no minority; and therefore he has no legal guardian. 3. A third attribute of the king's majesty is his perpetuity. The law ascribes to him, in his political capacity, an absolute immortality. The king never dies; Henry, Edward, or George, may die; but the king survives them all. For, immediately upon the decease of the reigning prince in his natural capacity, his kingship or imperial dignity, by act of law. without any interregnum or interval, is vested at once in his heir ; who is, eo-instanti, king to all intents and purposes. The royal prerogative invests the king with a number of authorities and powers; in the exertion whereof consists the executive part of government. This is wisely placed in a single hand by the British constitution, for the sake of unanimity, strength, and despatch. Were it placed in many hands, it would be subject to many wills: which, if disunited and drawing different ways, create weakness in a government; and to unite these and reduce them to one is a work of more time and delay than the exigencies of state will afford. The king of England is therefore not only the chief, but properly the sole magistrate of the nation; all others acting by commission from, and in due subordination to him. In the exertion of lawful prerogative the king is held to be absolute; that is so far absolute that there is no legal authority that can either delay or resist him. He may reject what bills, may make what treaties, may coin what money, may create what peers, may pardon what offences he pleases: unless where the constitution has expressly, or by evident conse|. laid down some exception or boundary;

eclaring, that thus far the prerogative shall go and no farther. For otherwise the power of the crown would indeed be but a name and a shadow, insufficient for the ends of government, if, where its jurisdiction is clearly established and allowed, any man or body of men were permitted to disobey it, in the ordinary course of law : we do not now speak of those extraordinary recources to the first principles which are necessary when the contracts of society are in danger of dissolution, and the law proves too weak a defence against the violence of fraud or oppression. And yet the want of attending to this obvious distinction has occasioned these doctrines of absolute power in the prince and of national resistance by the people, to be much misunderstood and perverted by the advocates for slavery on the one hand, and the demagogues of faction on the other. In the exertion, therefore, of these prerogatives which the law has given him, the king is irresistible and absolute, according to the forms of the constitution. And yet, if the consequence of that exertion be manifestly to the grievance or dishonor of the kingdom, the parliament will call his advisers to a just and severe account. For prerogative consisting (as Mr. Locke has well defined it) in the discretionary power of acting for the public good where the positive laws are silent, if that discretionary power be abused to the public detriment, such prerogative is exerted in an unconstitutional manner. The king's ministers in all such cases are amenable to parliament. Thus the king may make a treaty with a foreign state, which shall irrevocably bind the nation; and yet, when such treaties have been judged pernicious, impeachments have pursued those ministers by whose agency or advice they were concluded. With regard to all foreign concerns, the king is the delegate or representative of his people. What is done by the royal authority, with regard to foreign powers, is the act of the whole nation: what is done without the king's concurrence is the act only of private men. And, by the statute 2 Hen. V. c. 6, any subject committing acts of hostility upon any nation in league with the king, was declared to be guilty of high-treason: and, though that act was repealed by the stat. 20 Hen. VI. c. 11, so far as relates to the making this offence high-treason, yet it still remains a very great offence against the law of nations, and punishable by our laws, either capitally or otherwise, according to the circumstances of the case. 1. The king, therefore, considered as the representative of his people, has the sole power of sending * to foreign states, and receiving ambassadors at home. 2. It is also the king's prerogative to make treaties, leagues, and alliances, with foreign states and princes; though in this, as in all other cases, ministers are amenable to parliamentary impeachment for advising the king to conclude any such treaties that are found to be derogatory from the honor and interest of the nation. 3. The king has also the sole prerogative of making war and peace. And therefore, to make a war completely legal and constitutional, it must be publicly proclaimed by the king's authority. In pursuance of which principle, it is with us declared by the statute 4 Hen. V. c. 7, that, if any subjects of the realm are oppressed in the time of truce by any foreigners, the king will grant letters of marque in due form to all that feel themselves aggrieved. 5. Upon exactly the same reason stands the prerogative of granting safe conducts; without which, by the law of nations, no member of one society has a right to intrude into another. Great tenderness is shown by our laws, not only to foreigners in distress (see WReck), but with regard also to the admission of strangers who come spontaneously: for so long as their nation continues at peace with ours, and they themselves behave peaceably, they are under the king's protection, though liable to be sent home whenever the king sees occasion. But no subject of a nation at war with us can, by the law of nations, come into the realm, or can travel himself upon the high seas, or send his goods and merchandise from one place to another, without danger of being seized by our subjects, unless he has letters of safe conduct; which, by divers ancient statutes, must be granted under the king's great seal, and enrolled in chancery, or else they are of no effect; the king being supposed the best judge of such emergencies as may deserve exception from the general law of arms. But pass}. under the king's sign-manual, or licenses rom his ambassadors abroad, are now more usually obtained, and are allowed to be of equal validity. These are the principal prerogatives

of the king respecting this nation's intercourse with foreign nations. In domestic affairs the king is considered in a great variety of characters; and thence there arises a number of other prerogatives. 1. He is a constituent part of the supreme legislative power; and, as such, has the prerogative of rejeeting such provisions in parliament as he judges improper to be passed. 2. The king has the sole power of raising and regulating fleets and armies. The sole prerogative, also, of erecting, manning, and governing of castles and forts, belongs to the king in his capacity of general of the kingdom; and all lands were formerly subject to a tax, for building castles wherever the king thought proper: in consequence of which their number was increased most enormously. The greater part of them being demolished in the wars with the barons, succeeding kings were cautious of suffering them to be rebuilt: and Sir Edward Coke lays it down, that no subject can build a castle, or house of strength embattled, or other fortress defensible, without the license of the king; for the danger which might ensue, if every man at his pleasure might do it. The king has also the prerogative of appointing ports and havens, for persons and merchandise to pass into and out of the realm, as he in his wisdom sees proper. By the feudal law, all navigable rivers and havens were computed among the regalia, and were subject to the sovereign of the state. And in England it has always been held that the king is lord of the whole shore, and particularly is the guardian of the ports and havens, which are the inlets and gates of the realm : and therefore, so early as the reign of John, we find ships seized by the king's officers for putting in at a place that was not a legal port. These legal ports were undoubtedly at first assigned by the crown; since to each of them a court of portmote is incident, the jurisdiction of which must flow from the royal authority: the great ports of the sea are also referred to as well-known and established, by stat. 4 Hen. IV. c. 20, which prohibits the landing elsewhere, under pain of confiscation; and the stat. 1 Eliz. c. 11, recites, that the franchise of lading and discharging had been frequently granted by the crown. But, though the king had a power of granting the franchise of havens and ports, yet he had not the power of resumption, or of narrowing and confining their limits when once established; but any person had a right to load or discharge his merchandise in any part of the haven; whereby the revenue of the custom was much impaired and diminished, by fraudulent landings in obscure and privăte corners. This occasioned the statutes of 1 Eliz. c. 11, and 13 and 14 Car. II. c. 11, sec. 14, which enable the crown, by commission, to ascertain the limits of all ports, and to assign proper wharfs and quays in each port, for the exclusive landing and loading of merchandise. 3. Another capacity in which the king is considered in domestic affairs is as the fountain of justice, and general conservator of the peace of the kingdom. 4. The king is likewise the fountain of honor, office, and privilege; and this in a different sense from that wherein he is styled the fountain of justice; for here he is really the parent of them. The king is, lastly considered by the laws of England as the held and supreme governor of the national church. This prerogative was fixed by stat. 26 Hen. VIII. c. 1 and 1 Eliz. c. 1. In virtue of this authority, the king convenes, prorogues, restrains, regulates, and dissolves, all ecclesiastical synods or convocations. From this prerogative, aiso, of being the head of the church, arises the king's right of nomination to vacant bishoprics, and other ecclesiastical preferments. As head of the church the king is likewise the dernier resort in all ecclesiastical causes; an appeal lying ultimately to him in chancery from the sentence of every ecclesiastical judge: which right was restored to the crown by stat. 25 Hen. VIII. c. 9. PRESAGE, n. s. & v. a. Fr. presage; PRESAGE'MENT. ! Latin praesagium. Prognostic; presension of futurity; to forebode; foretell: presagement is synonymous with presage noun-substantive, Henry's late presaging prophecy Did glad my heart with hope. Shakspeare. Henry VI. If I may trust the flattering ruth of sleep, My dreams presage some joyful news at hand. Shakspeare. I have spent much inquiry, whether he had any ominous presagement before his end. Wotton. This contagion might have been presaged upon consideration of its precursors. Harvey on Consumption. That cloud, that hangs upon thy brow, presages A greater storm than all the Turkish power Can throw upon us. Denham's Sophy. What power of mind Foreseeing, or presaging from the depth Of knowledge past or present, could have feared How such united force of gods, how such As stood like these, could ever know repulse. Milton. The falling of salt is an authentick presagement of ill luck, from whence notwithstanding nothing can be naturally feared. Browne. When others fell, this standing did presage The clown should triumph over popular rage. Waller. Wished freedom I presage you soon will find, If heaven be just, and if to virtue kind. Dryden. That by certain signs we may presage Of heats and rains, and wind's impetuous rage, The sovereign of the heavens has set on high The moon to mark the changes of the sky. Id. Dreams have generally been considered by authors only as revelations of what has already happened, or as presages of what is to happen. Addison. PRESBURG, or Poso NY I-V ARMEGYE, an important palatinate of Hungary, lying in an angle formed by the March and Danube. Its area is 1740 square miles. The Carpathians traverse the whole length of this district; but in general the elevations are not great, and they are commonly covered with vineyards. Of the wine produced, that called the Szent George Ausbruck is inferior only to Tokay. Corn and fruit are produced in the south-east part, particularly in the district called the isle of Schutt. The chief towns are Presburg and Tyrnau ; the latter the seat of the court of appeal for the circle to the north of the Danube. Population of the palatinate 200,000, a mixture of Hungarians, Germans, Bohemians, Croats, and Jews.

PRESBURG, or Posony, a large town of Hungary, on the north bank of the Danube, declared, by a royal decree of 1536, the capital of Hungary. The kings are still crowned here, but the viceroy and the higher officers of government reside at Buda; and the diets and supreme courts of justice meet at Pesth. Presburg contains at present little that is interesting. Its castle, which lately served as a barrack, was burned down in the early part of the present century; and its walls form only a ruinous square pile, with a tower at each corner. This town stands on a hill of moderate elevation, overlooking a vast plain; and the horizon is open in all directions except in the north-west, where, for nearly a third of its circumference, it is intercepted by the distant mountains. The Danube, here nearly half a mile wide, is crossed by a flying bridge. The fortifications have been demolished; and no distinction is now made between the town and suburbs. The suburbs bear marks of improvement: there are here two squares, adorned with statues. The principal church of Presburg is an old Gothic edifice, said to have been built in 1090; the other public buildings are the palace of the palatine, the barracks, corn-market, and town-house. Presburg has an academy, a school for the children of nobility, two or three monasteries, a Catholic and a Lutheran gymnasium. The manufactures, though on a small scale, comprise woollens, silk, oil, tobacco, and snuff. The trade in corn and linen is considerable. It was here that a treaty was concluded between France and Austria, after the campaign of 1805. Thirty-eight miles east by south of Vienna, and 107 W.N. W. of Pesth. PRES'BYTER, n.s. PRESBYTE’RIAL, adj. PRESBYTE'RIAN, adj. &n.s. (A priest; an elder: PRES BYTERY, n.s. both the adjectives mean consisting of elders or presbyters; or according to the presbyterian form of church government: presbyterian, as a noun substantive, one who holds with that form: presbytery, a body of elders or priests. See below.

They cannot delegate the episcopal power, properly so called, to presbyters, without giving them episcopal consecration. Lesley. Presbyters absent through infirmity from their churches, might be said to preach by those deputies who in their stead did but read homilies. Hooker. Those which stood for the presbytery, thought their cause had more sympathy with the discipline of Scotland than the hierarchy of England. Bacon. Chiefly was urged the abolition of episcopal, and the establishing of presbyterian government. King Charles. Flea-bitten synod, an assembly brewed Of clerks and elders ana, like the rude Chaos of presbyteru, where laymen guide With the tame woolpack clergy by their side. Cleaveland. Who should exclude him from an interest, and so unhappily a more unavoidable sway in presbyterial determinations? Holyday. And presbyters have their jackpuddings too. Hudibras. Swift.

PREsbyter, or elder, is a word borrowed from the Greek translation of the Old Testament,

[ocr errors]

One of the more rigid presbyterians.

where it commonly signifies ruler or governor; it being a note of office and dignity, not of age: and in this sense bishops are sometimes called presbyters in the New Testament. The grand dispute between the followers of the Geneva and Roman discipline is about the sameness or difference of presbyters and bishops in the time of the apostles. Presbyteri ANs, PRotestANT, so called from their maintaining that the government of the church appointed in the New Testament was by presbyteries, that is, by associations of ministers and ruling elders, possessed all of equal powers, without any superiority among them either in office or in order. The Presbyterians believe that the authority of their ministers to preach the gospel, to administer the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, and to feed the flock of Christ, is derived from the Holy Ghost by the imposition of the hands of the presbytery. They affirm that there is no order in the church as established by Christ and his apostles superior to that of the presbyters; that all ministers, being ambassadors of Christ, are equal by their commission; that presbyter and bishop, though different words, are of the same import; and that prelacy was gradually established upon the primitive practice of making the moderator or speaker of the presbytery a permanent officer. §. Bishop. In the Scottish church, every regulation of public worship, every act of discipline, and every ecclesiastical censure, which in other churches flows from the authority of a diocesan bishop, or from a convocation of the clergy, is the joint work of a certain number of clergymen and laymen acting together with equal authority, and deciding every question by a plurality of voices. The laymen, who thus form an essential part of the ecclesiastical courts of Scotland, are called ruling elders. Every parish has two or three of these lay-elders, who are grave and serious persons chosen from among the heads of families, of known orthodoxy, and steady adherence to the worship, discipline, and government of the church. : Being solemnly engaged to use their utmost endeavours for the suppression of vice, and the cherishing of piety and virtue, and to exercise discipline faithfully and diligently, the minister, in the presence of the congregation, sets them apart to their office by solemn prayer; and concludes the ceremony, which is sometimes called ordination, with exhorting both elders and people to their respective duties. The kirksession, which is the lowest ecclesiastical judicatory, consists of the minister and those elders of the congregation. The minister is ex officio mo– derator, but has no negative voice over the decision of the session; nor indeed has he a right to vote at all, unless when the voices of the elders are equal and opposite. He may indeed enter his protest against their sentence, if he think it improper, and appeal to the judgment of the presbytery; but this privilege belongs equally to every elder, as well as to every person who may believe himself agrieved by the proceedings of the session. The deacons, whose proper office it is to take care of the poor, may be present in every session, and offer their counsel on

all questions that come before it; but, exeept in what relates to the distribution of alms, they have no decisive vote with the minister and elders. The next judicatory is the presbytery, properly so called, which consists of all the pastors within a certain district, and one ruling elder from each parish, commissioned by his brethren to represent, in conjunction with the minister, the session of that parish. The presbytery treats of such matters as concern the particular churches within its limits; as the examination, admission, ordination, and censuring of ministers; the licensing of probationers, rebuking of gross or contumacious sinners, the directing of the sentence of excommunication, the deciding upon references and appeals from kirk-sessions, resolving cases of conscience, explaining difficulties in doctrine or discipline, and censuring, according to the word of God, any heresy or erroneous doctrine which hath been either publicly or privately maintained within the bounds of its jurisdiction. In presbyteries, the only prerogatives which the pastors have over the ruling elders, are, the power of ordination by imposition of hands, and the privilege of having the moderator chosen from their body. From the judgment of the presbytery there lies an appeal to the provincial synod, which ordinarily meets twice in the year, and exercises over the presbyteries within the province a jurisdiction similar to that which is vested in each presbytery over the several kirk-sessions within its bounds. These synods are composed of the members of the several presbyteries within the respective o which give names to the synods. The highest authority in the church of Scotland is the general assembly, which consists of a certain number of ministers and ruling elders, delegated from each presbytery, and of commissioners from the universities and royal boroughs. A presbytery in which there are fewer than twelve parishes sends to the general assembly two ministers and one ruling elder: if it contains between twelve and eighteen ministers, it sends three of these, and one ruling elder: if it contains between eighteen and twenty-four ministers, it sends four ministers and two ruling elders; and of twenty-four ministers, when it contains so many, it sends five with two ruling elders. Every royal borough sends one ruling elder, whose election must be attested by the kirksessions of their respective boroughs. Every university sends one commissioner from its own body. The commissioners are chosen annually, six weeks before the meeting of the assembly; and the ruling elders are often men of the first eminence in the kingdom for rank and talents. In this assembly, which meets once a year, the king presides by his commissioner, who is always a nobleman; but he has no voice in their deliberations, unless he be a member of assembly, which is sometimes the case. Appeals are brought from all the other ecclesiastical courts in Scotland to the general assembly; and, in questions purely religious, no appeal lies from its determinations. In the subordination of these assemblies, parochial, presbyterial, provincial, and national, the less unto the greater, consists the external order of the church of Scotland.

PRESCIENT, adj. \ k

PREscience, 72. s. nowing; prophetic : PRE'scious, adj. $ prescious is of the same signification: prescience is foreknowledge; knowledge of the future. They tax our policy, and call it cowardice, Forestall our prescience, and esteem no act But that of hand. - Shakspeare. Troilus and Cressida. Prescience, or foreknowledge, considered in order and nature, if we may speak of God after the manner of men, goeth before providence; for God foreknew all things before he had created them, or before they had being to be cared for; and prescience, is no other than an infallible foreknowledge. Raleigh. Henry, upon the deliberation concerning the marriage of his eldest daughter into Scotland, had shewed himself sensible and almost prescient of this event. Bacon. God's prescience, from all eternity, being but the seeing every thing that ever exists as it is, contingents as contingents, necessary as necessary, can neither work any change in the object, by thus seeing it, nor itself be deceived in what it sees. Hammond. If certain prescience of uncertain events imply a contradiction, it seems it may be struck out | the omnisciency of God, and leave noblemish behind. - More. Freedom was first bestowed on human race, And prescience only held the second place.

Lat. prescians. Fore

- Dryden. Thrice happy thou, dear partner of my bed, Whose holy soul the stroke of fortune fled; Prescious of ills, and leaving me behind, To drink the dregs of life. Id. Æneis. Of things of the most accidental and mutable nature God's prescience is certain. South. Who taught the nations of the field and wood, Prescient, the tides or tempests to withstand? - Pope. PREscience, in theology, prevision, or foreknowledge; that knowledge which God has of things to come. The doctrine of predestination is founded on the prescience of God, and on the supposition of all futurity being present to him. The apostle Peter, in his celebrated sermon at Jerusalem, asserts both doctrines, of prescience and accountability, in one sentence, Acts i. 23. “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.' PRESCIND", v. a. Lat. praescindo. To PREscINDENT, adj. ła off; to abstract: abstracting. A bare act of obliquity does not only prescind from, but positively deny such a special dependence. Norris. We may, for one single act, abstract from a reward, which nobody who knows the prescindent faculties of the soul can deny. Cheyne. PRESCOT, a market town of Lancashire, with a market on Tuesday for corn, provisions, and cattle. It has considerable manufactures of sail-cloth, watches, &c. The church is a handsome building, having a steeple fifty-two yards high, allowed to be the most complete in the county. There is also a dissenters meetinghouse, a free-school, and several alms-houses. At St. Helen's, near this town, is an extensive plate glass manufactory, in which 300 persons are employed; and near it is another for smelting and refining copper ore. Near this town lics

Knowlesly, the seat of the earl of Derby. Prescot lies eight miles east of Liverpool, and 198 N. N.W. of London. PRESCRIBE', v. a. & v. n. Lat. praescribo. PREscR1'pt, adj. & n.s. }: set down auPREscRIP'tion, n.s. thoritatively; order; direct; influence: prescript is directed; laid down formally: prescript, noun substantive, and prescription, direction; model; medical recipe; long used custom. Doth the strength of some negative arguments prove this kind of negative argument strong, by force whereof all things are denied which scripture affirmeth not, or all things which scripture prescribeth not condemned 2 Hooker. Those very laws so added, they themselves do not judge unlawful; as they plainly confess both in matter of prescript attire, and of rites wronuni’s to burial. d.

[blocks in formation]

By his prescript, a sanctuary is framed Of cedar, overlaid with gold. Id. A reserve of puerility we have not shaken off from school, where, being seasoned with minor sentences, they prescribe upon our riper years, and never are worn out but with our memories. Browne. Nor did he ever with so much regret submit unto any prescript. Fell. Approving of my obstinacy against all common prescriptions, he asked me whether I had never heard of the Indian way of curing the gout by moxa. Temple. There's joy, when to wild will you laws prescribe, When you bid fortune carry back her bribe. The extremest ways they first ordain, Prescribing such intolerable pain, As none but Caesar could sustain. Our poet bade us hope this grace to find, To whom by long prescription you are kind. Id. The assuming an authority of dictating to others, and a forwardness to prescribe to their opinions, is a constant concomitant of this bias of our judgments. - Locke. It will be found a work of no small difficulty to dispossess a vice from that heart where long possession begins to plead prescription. South. The Lucquese plead prescription for hunting in one of the duke's forests that lies upon their frontiers. Addison. That obligation upon the lands did not prescribe or come into disuse, but by fifty consecutive years of exemption. Arbuthnot. Iodern 'pothecaries taught the art By doctors’ bills to play the doctor's part, Bold in the practice of mistaken rules, Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools: Pope. Should any man argue that a physician understands his own art best; and therefore, although ho

[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »