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before our justiciaries of the forest, on a common summons, unless they be parties in a plea, or sureties for some person or persons who are attached for the forest.
45. We will not make men justiciaries, constables, sheriffs, or bailiffs, unless they understand the law of the land, and are well disposed to observe it. 46. All barons who have founded abbeys, of which they have charters of the kings of England, or ancient tenure, shall have the custody of them when they become vacant, as they ought to have.
47. All forests which have been made in our time shall be immediately disforested; and it shall be so done with water-banks, which have been made in our time in defiance.
48. All evil customs of forests and warrens, and of foresters and warreners, sheriffs and their officers, water-banks and their keepers, shall immediately be inquired into by twelve knights of the same county, upon oath, who shall be chosen by the good men of the same county; and within forty days after the inquisition is made, they shall be quite de stroyed by them, never to be restored; provided that this be notified to us before it be done, or to our justiciary if we are not in England.
49. We will immediately restore all hostages and charters which have been delivered to us by the English, in security of the peace, and of their faithful service.
50. We will remove from their offices the relations of Gerard de Athyes, that for the future they shall have no office in England; Englard de Cygony, Andrew, Peter, and Gyone de Chaucell, Gyone de Cygony, Geoffrey de Martin and his brothers; Philip Mark and his brothers; and Geoffrey his grandson, and all their followers.
51. And immediately after the conclusion of the peace, we will remove out of the kingdom all foreign knights, cross-bowmen and stipendiary soldiers, who have come with horses and arms to the molestation of the kingdom.
52. If any have been disseized or dispossessed by us, without a legal verdict of their peers, of their lands, castles, liberties or rights, we will immediately restore these things to them; and if a question shall arise on this head, it shall be determined by the verdict of the twenty-five barons, who shall be mentioned below, for the security of the peace. But as to all those things of which any one hath been disseized or dispossessed without a legal verdict of his peers, by King Henry our father, or King Richard our brother, which we have in our hand, or others hold with our war rants, we shall have respite until the common term of the Croisaders, except those concerning which a plea had been moved, or an inquisition taken, by our precept, before our taking the cross. But as soon as we shall return from our expedition, or if by chance we shall not go upon our expedition, we shall immediately do complete justice therein.
53. But we shall have the same respite, and in the same manner, con
cerning the justice to be done about disforesting or continuing the forests which Henry our father or Richard our brother had made; and about the wardship of lands which are of the fee of some other person, but the wardship of which we have hitherto had, on account of a fee which some one held of us by military service; and about abbeys which had been founded in the fee of another, and not in ours, in which abbeys the lord of the fee hath claimed a right. And when we shall have returned, or if we shall stay from our expedition, we shall immediately do complete justice in all these pleas.
54. No man shall be apprehended or imprisoned, on the appeal of a woman, for the death of any other man than her husband.
55. All fines that have been made by us unjustly, or contrary to the law of the land, and all amercements that have been imposed unjustly or contrary to the law of the land, shall be remitted or disposed of by the verdict of the twenty-five barons, of whom mention is made below, for the security of the peace, or by the verdict of the major part of them, together with the aforesaid Stephen Archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be present, and others whom he may think fit to bring with him; and if he cannot be present, the business shall proceed notwithstanding without him ; but so, that if any one more of the aforesaid twenty-five barons have a similar plea, let them be removed from that particular trial, and others elected and sworn by the residue of the same twenty-five, be substituted in their room, only for that trial.
56. If we have disseized or dispossessed any Welshmen of their lands, liberties, or other things, without a legal verdict of their peers, in England or Wales, they shall be immediately restored to them; and if any question shall arise about it, then let it be determined in the marches by the verdict of their peers; if the tenement be in England, according to the law of England; if the tenement be in Wales, according to the law of Wales; if the tenement be in the marches, according to the law of the marches. The Welsh shall do the same to us and our subjects.
57. But concerning those things of which any Welshman hath been disseized or dispossessed without a legal verdict of his peers, by king Henry our father or king Richard our brother, which we have in our hand, or others hold with our warranty, we shall have respite until the common term of the Croisaders, except those concerning which a plea had been moved or an inquisition taken, by our precept, before our taking the cross. But as soon as we shall return from our expedition, we shall immediately do complete justice therein, according to the laws of Wales and the parts aforesaid.
58. We will immediately deliver up the son of Lewellyn, and all the hostages of Wales, and charters which have been given to us for security of the peace.
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 hath 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; 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 ac count 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 discharged," 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.