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59. We shall do to Alexander king of Scotland, concerning the restoration of his sisters and hostages, and his liberties and rights, according to the form in which we act to our other barons of England, unless it ought to be otherwise by charters which we have from his father William, late king of Scotland, and that by the verdict of his peers in our court.
60. But all these foresaid customs and liberties which we have granted in our kingdom, to be held by our tenants, as far as concerns us, all our clergy and laity shall observe towards their tenants, as far as concerns them.
61. But since we have granted all these things aforesaid, for God, and for the amendment of our kingdom, and for the better extinguishing the discord arisen between us and our barons, being desirous that these things should possess entire and unshaken stability for ever, we give and grant to them the security underwritten, viz. That the barons may elect twentyfour barons of the kingdom, whom they please, who shall with their whole power observe and keep, and cause to be observed the peace and liberties which we have granted to them, and have confirmed by this our present charter in this manner: That if we, or our justiciary, or our bailiffs, or any of our officers, shall have injured any one in any thing, or shall have violated any article of the peace or security, and the injury shall have been shewn to four of the aforesaid twenty-five barons, these four shall come to us, or to our justiciary, if we are out of the kingdom, and making known to us the excess committed, require that we cause that excess to be redressed without delay; and if we shall not have redressed the excess, or, if we have been out of the kingdom, and our justiciary shall not have redesssed it, within the term of forty days, computing from the time in which it shall have been made known to us, or to our justiciary, if we have been out of the kingdom, the aforesaid four barons shall lay that cause before the residue of the twenty-five barons; and these twenty-five barons, with the community of the whole land, shall distress and harass us by all the ways in which they can, that is to say, by the taking of our castles, lands, and possessions, and by other means in their power, until the excess shall have been redressed, according to their verdict ; saving our person, and the persons of our queen and children ; and when it bath been redressed, they shall behave to us as they had done before ; and whoever of our land pleaseth, may swear that he will obey the commands of the aforesaid twenty-five barons in accomplishing all the things aforesaid, and that with them he will harass us to the utmost of his power ; and we publicly and freely give leave to every one to swear, who is willing to swear, and we will never forbid any one to swear ; but all those of our land, who of themselves and their own accord, are unwilling to swear to the twenty-five barons to distress and harass us together with them, we will compel them by our command to swear as aforesaid : And if any one
of the twenty-five barons shall die, or remove out of the land, or in any other way shall be prevented from executing the things above said, those who remain of the twenty-five barons shall elect another in his place, according to their pleasure, who shall be sworn in the same manner as the rest. But in all those things which are appointed to be done by these twenty-five barons, if it happen that all the twenty-five barons have been present, and have differed in their opinions about any thing, or if some of them who had been summoned would not or could not be present, that which the major part of those who were present shall have provided and decreed shall be held as firm and valid as if all the twenty-five had agreed to it. And the aforesaid twenty-five shall swear that they will faithfully observe, and to the utmost of their power cause to be observed, all the things mentioned above. And we will obtain nothing from any one, by ourselves or by another, by which any of these concessions and liberties may be revoked or diminished. And if any such thing hath been obtained, let it be void and null; and we will never use it, either by ourselves or by another.
62. And if we have fully remitted and pardoned all men, all the ill-will, rancour, and resentments which have arisen between us and our subjects, both clergy and laity, from the commencement of the discord. Besides, we have fully remitted to all the clergy and laity, and, as far as belongs to us, we have fully pardoned all transgressions committed on occasion of the said discord, from Easter, in the sixteenth year of our reign, to the conclusion of the peace.
And, moreover, we have caused to be made to them testimonial letters-patent of my Lord Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury, my Lord Henry, Archbishop of Dublin, and of the foresaid Bishops, and of Mr Pandulf, concerning this security and the aforesaid concessions. Wherefore our will is, and we firmly command, that the Church of England be free, and that the men in our kingdom have and hold all the aforesaid liberties, rights, and concessions, well and in peace, freely and quietly, fully and entirely, to them and their heirs, in all things and places as aforesaid. An oath hath been taken, as well on our part as on the part of the barons, that all these things mentioned above shall be observed in good faith, and without any evil intention, before the abovenamed witnesses, and many others.
Given by our hand, in the meadow which is called Runningmede, between Windsor and Staines, this fifteenth day of June, in the seventeenth year of our reign.*
• Statutes at Large.
BILL OF RIGHTS.
Before noticing the absolute rights of individuals, or giving any account of the two Houses of Parliament, we lay before our readers the Bill of Rights, granted by William and Mary at the Revolution in 1688. Magna Charta was forceably obtained from King John, a weak and pusillanimous prince, by the barons of England ; but that which consolidated the freedom which we now enjoy, was the voluntary concession of Charles II. in the twelfth year of his reign, but only the first of his actual possession of the crown. By this famous act, (12 Car. II.) he removed for ever the grievous and ignoble yoke of the Norman Conqueror, by enacting that all tenures by homage, escuage, &c. “ shall for ever hereafter stand and be disch arged,” whereby he restored to Englishmen those rights and liberties of which their Saxon ancestors had been deprived by the Norman dynasty, but which they had never ceased to demand as their undoubted birthright.
At the Revolution, the Convention Parliament drew up the Bill of Rights, in which they protest against the prerogative assumed by the late King James, of dispensing with the laws themselves, and also with their execution, as dangerous and unconstitutional; and assert that the things therein demanded “are the true, ancient, and indubitable rights and liberties of the people of this kingdom.”
Act declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, and settling the
Succession to the Crown.
Whereas the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully, and freely representing all the Estates of the people of this realm, did, upon the 13th day of February 1688, present unto their Majesties, then called and known by the names and style of William and Mary, Prince and Princess of Orange, being present in their proper persons, a certain declaration in writing, made by the said Lords and Commons, &c.
Whereas the late King James II., by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges, and ministers, employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion, and laws and liberties of this realm,
1. By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws, and the execution of laws without consent of parliament.
2. By committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates, for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed power.
3. By issuing and causing to be executed a commission under the great seal for erecting a court called The Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes.
4. By levying money for the use of the crown by pretence of prerogative, for other time and in other manner than the same was granted by parliament.
5. By raising and keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, without consent of parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law.
6. By causing several good subjects, being protestants, to be disarmed, at the same time when papists were both armed and employed, contrary to law.
7. By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in parliament.
8. By prosecutions in the court of king's bench, for matters and causes cognizable only in parliament ; and by divers other arbitrary and illegal courses.
9. And whereas, of late years, partial, corrupt, and unqualified persons have been returned and served on juries and trials, and particularly divers jurors in trials for high treason which were not freeholders.
10. And excessive bail hath been required of persons committed in criminal cases, to elude the benefit of the laws made for the liberty of the subject.
11. And excessive fines have been imposed, and illegal and cruel punislıments have been inflicted.
12. And several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures, before any conviction or judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied.
All which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws and statutes and freedom of this realm.
And whereas the said late King James II. having abdicated the government, and the throne being thereby vacant, his Highness the Prince of Orange, whom it hath pleased God to make the glorious instrument of delivering this kingdom from popery and arbitrary power, did (by the advice of the lords spiritual and temporal, and divers principal persons of the commons,) cause letters to be written to the lords spiritual and temporal, being protestants ; and other letters to the several counties, cities, universi: ties, boroughs, and cinque-ports, for the choosing of such persons to represent them as were of right to be sent to parliament, to meet and sit at Westminster upon the 22d day of January of this year 1689, in order to such an establishment as that their religion, laws, and liberties miglit not again
be in danger of being subverted; upon which letters, elections having been accordingly made :
And thereupon the said lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representation of this nation, taking into their most serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid, do, in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually done), for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties, declare
1. That the pretended power of suspending of laws, or the execution of lawn, by regal authority, without consent of parliament, is illegal.
2. That the pretended power of dispensing with laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal.
3. That the commission for erecting the late court of commissioners for ecclesiastical causes, and all other commissions and courts of like nature are illegal and pernicious.
4. That levying money for or to the use of the crown, by pretence of prerogative, without grant of parliament for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal.
5. That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning, are illegal
6. That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of parliament, is illegal.
7. That the subjects that are protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law.
8. That the election of members of parliament ought to be free.
9. That the freedom of speech, and debates or proceedings in parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of parliament.
10. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel nor unusual punishments inflicted.
11. That jurors ought to be duly impanneled and returned ; and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high-treason ought to be freeholders.
12. That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void.
13. And that for redress of all grievances, and for amending, strengthening, and preserving of the laws, parliaments ought to be held frequently.
I. And they do claim, demand, and insist upon all and singular the premises, as their undoubted rights and liberties; and that no declarations, judgments, doings, or proceedings, to the prejudice of the people in any of the said premises, ought in anywise to be drawn hereafter into consequence or example..
II. Having entire confidence, &c. The said Lords spiritual and tem