Front Page Titles (by Subject) Deo, Patriae, Tibi. - Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, vol. II
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Deo, Patriae, Tibi. - Sir Edward Coke, Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, vol. II 
The Selected Writings and Speeches of Sir Edward Coke, ed. Steve Sheppard (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003). Vol. 2.
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Deo, Patriae, Tibi.
A Proeme to the second Part of the Institutes.
In the first Part of the Institutes, following Littleton our Guide, we have treated of such parts of the Common Laws, Statutes, and Customes, as he in his three Books hath left unto us. We are in this second Part of the Institutes to speak of Magna Charta, and many ancient and other Statutes, as in the Table precedent doe appeare.
It is called Magna Charta, not that it is great in quantity, for there be many voluminous Charters commonly passed,1 specially in these later times, longer then this is; nor comparatively in respect that it is greater then Charta de Foresta, but in respect of the great importance, and weightinesse of the matter, as hereafter shall appeare: And likewise for the same cause Charta de Foresta, is called, Magna Charta de Foresta, and both of them are called Magnae Chartae libertatum Angliae.2
King Alexander was called Alexander Magnus, not in respect of the largenesse of his body, for he was a little man, but in respect of the greatnesse of his heroicall spirit, of whom it might be truly said,
Mens tamen in parvo corpore magna fuit;3
So as of this Great Charter it may be truly said, that it is Magnum in parvo.4 And it is also called Charta libertatum Regni;5 and upon great reason it is so called of the effect, Quia liberos facit:6 Sometime for the same cause, Communis libertas,7 and le Chartre des franchises.8
The Ends. Sapiens incipit a fine.9There be four ends of this Great Charter, mentioned in the Preface, viz. 1. The honour of Almighty God, &c. 2. The safety of the Kings Soule; 3. The advancement of holy Church; and 4. The amendment of the Realme: foure most excellent ends, whereof more shall be said hereafter.
By Charter bearing date the 11. day of February, in the 9. yeare of King Henry the third and secondly, by that Charter established by Authority of Parliament then sitting,By what Authority, and when. and so entered into the Parliament Roll; the Witnesses to the said Charter were 31. Lords Spirituall, viz. Stephen Langton Archbishop of Canterbury, E. Bishop of London, I. B. of Bath, P. of Winchester, H. of Lincoln, Robert of Salisbury, W. of Rochester, W. of Worcester, I. of Ely, H. of Hereford, R. of Chicester, William of Exeter, Bishops. The Abbot of S. Edes, the Abbot of S. Albons, the Abbot of Battaile, the Abbot of S. Augustines in Canterbury, the Abbot of Evesham, the Abbot of Westminster, the Abbot of Burghe S. Peter, the Abbot of Reading, the Abbot of Abindon, the Abbot of Malmesbury, the Abbot of Winchcombe, the Abbot of Hyde, the Abbot of Certefey, the Abbot of Shernborn, the Abbot of Cerne, the Abbot of Abbotebury, the Abbot of Middleton, the Abbot of Selbie, the Abbot of Cirencester; And 33. of the Nobility, viz. Hubert de Burgo Chiefe Justice of England, and 32. Earles and Barons, viz. Randall Earle of Chester and Lincoln, William Earle of Salisbury, William Earle Warren, Gilbert of Clare Earle of Glocester and Hertford, William de Ferrars Earle of Derby, William Mandevile Earle of Essex, H. de Bigod Earle of Norffolk, William Earle of Albemarle, H. Earle of Hereford, John Constable of Chester, Robert de Ros, R. Fitzwalter, Robert de Vipount, William de Bruer, R. de Mountfitchet, P. Fitzherbert, William de Aubeine, Robert Gresly, Reignald de Brehus, John de Movenne, J. Fitz-Alen, Hugh de Mortimer, Walter de Beauchamp, William de S. John, Peter de Mololacu, Brian de Lisle, T. de Multon, Richard de Argentein, Jeffrey de Nevill, William Maudint, John de Baalim, and others.
There were many of the great Charters, and Charta de Foresta, put under the Great Seale, and sent to Archbishops, Bishops, and other men of the Clergie,The great providence and policy for preservation of it. to be safely kept, whereof one of them remain at this day at Lambeth, with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Also the same was entred of Record in a Parliament Roll.
And after King Edward the first by Act of Parliament10 did ordain that both the said Charters should be sent under the Great Seale, as well to the Justices of the Forest, as to others, and to all Sheriffes, and to all other the Kings Officers, and to all the Cities through the Realme, and that the same Charters should be sent to all the Cathedrall Churches, and that they should be read and published in every County four times in the yeare in full County,11viz. the next County day after the feast of S. Michael, and the next County day after Christmas, and the next County day after Easter, and the next County day after the Feast of S. John.
It was for the most part declaratory of the principall grounds of the fundamentall Laws of England,The quality. and for the residue it is additionall to supply some defects of the Common Law; and it was no new declaration: for King John in the 17. yeare of his raigne had granted the like, which also was called Magna Charta, as appeareth by a Record before this Great Charter made by King Hen. 3.12
How, and upon what grounds it hath been impugned.Soon after the making of this Great Charter, the young King by evill Counsell fell into great mislike with it, which Hubert de Burgo summus Justiciarius Anglia17 perceiving (who in former times had been a great lover, and well deserving Patriot of his Country, and learned in the Laws (for Rot. claus. II. Hen. 3. membr. 44. I finde that he, and many others were Justices Itinerant in 5 Hen. 3.18 and I have seen a fine levied before him, and sixe other Judges, between Stephen de Wamcesle, and the Abbot of Hales) yet meaning to make this a step to his ambition (which ever rideth without reines) perswaded and humored the King that he might avoid the Charter of his Father King John by duresse, and his own great Charter, and Charta de Foresta also, for that he was within age when he granted the same, whereupon the King in the 11. yeare of his raign, being then of full age, got one of the great Charters, and of the Forest into his hands, and by the counsell principally of this Hubert his Chiefe Justice, at a Councell holden at Oxford, unjustly cancelled both the said Charters, (notwithstanding the said Hubert de Burgo was the primier Witnesse of all the temporall Lords to both the said Charters) whereupon he became in high favour with the King, insomuch as he was soon after (viz. the 10. of December, in the 13. yeare of that King, created to the highest dignity that in those times any Subject had) to be an Earle, viz. of Kent. But soon after (for flatterers and humorists have no sure foundation) he fell into the Kings heavy indignation, and after many fearfull and miserable troubles, he was justly, and according to Law sentenced by his Peeres in open Parliament, and justly degraded of that dignity which he unjustly had obtained by his counsell for cancelling of Magna Charta, and Charta de Foresta.19 And the King by his Charter granted, Quod nos firmiter & integre tenebimus judicium de Huberto de Burgo per Barones dictum;20 he was buried in the Frier predicants where Whitehall is now built, so as no Monument remains of him at this day.
In this advice Hubert de Burgo either dissembled his opinion, or grosly erred (as ever ambitious flattery bedazles the eye, even of them, that be learned) first, for that a King cannot avoid his Charter, albeit he make it when he is within age, for in respect of his royall and politique capacity as King, the Law adjudgeth him of full age. Secondly, it being done by Authority of Parliament, and enrolled of Record, it was strange that any man should think that the King could avoid them in respect he was within age. Thirdly, it was to no end to cancell one where there were so many, or to have cancelled all, when they were of Record in the Parliament Roll, or to have cancelled Roll and all, when they were, for the most part, but declaratories of the ancient Common Laws of England, to the observation, and keeping whereof, the Kingwasbound and sworn. What successe those potent and opulent Subjects, Hugh Spencer the Father, and Son had, for giving rash and evill counsell to King Edward the second enconter la forme de la grand Chartre,21 I had rather you should read then I should declare.Exilium turgonis la Spencer patris & filii.22
After the making of Magna Charta, and Charta de Foresta, divers learned men in the Laws,23 that I may use the words of the Record, kept Schooles of the Law in the City of London, and taught such as resorted to them, the Laws of the Realme, taking their foundation of Magna Charta, and Chartade Foresta, which as you have heard, the King by ill advice sought to impeach.
The King in the 19 year of his raign,24 by his Writ, commanded the Maior and Sheriffes of London, Quod per totam Civitatem London clamari faciant & firmiter prohiberi, ne aliquis scholas tenens de legibus in eadem Civitate de caetero ibidem leges doceat, & si aliquis ibidem fuerit hujusmodi scholas tenens, ipsum sine dilatione cessare fac’; Teste Rege, &c. 11. die Decembris, Anno Regni sui decimo nono.25 But this Writ took no better effect then it deserved, for evill counsell being removed from the King, he in the next yeare, viz. in the 20. yeare of his raigne compleat, and in the one and twentieth yeare current, did by his Charter under his great Seale confirme both Magna Charta, and Charta de Foresta, he being then 29. years old. And after in the 52. yeare of his raigne established and confirmed both the same by Act of Parliament,26 with the clause, Quod contravenientes per Dominum Regem, cum convicti fuerint, graviter puniantur.27 Hereby shall some opinions and resolutions in our Books be the better understood, which speak of alienations without license before or after 20 Hen. 3.28 which yeare was named for that the King then confirmed the said great Charter, and in like manner did King Edward the first by Act of Parliament in the 25. year of his raign: and the said two Charters have been confirmed, established, and commanded to be put in execution by 32. severall Acts of Parliament in all.
This appeareth partly by that which hath been said, for that it hath so often been confirmed by the wise providence of so many Acts of Parliament.Of what high estimation it hath been.
And albeit judgements in the Kings Courts are of high regard in Law, and Judicia29 are accounted as Juris dicta,30 yet it is provided by Act of Parliament, that if any judgement be given contrary to any of the points of the great Charter, or Charta de Foresta, by the Justices, or by any other of the Kings Ministers, &c. it shall be undone, and holden for nought.31
And that both the said Charters shall be sent under the great Seale to all Cathedrall Churches throughout the Realm there to remain, and shall be read to the people twice every yeare.32
The highest and most binding Laws are the Statutes which are established by Parliament;33 and by Authority of that highest Court it is enacted (onely to shew their tender care of Magna Charta, and Charta de Foresta) That if any Statute be made contrary to the great Charter, or the Charter of the Forest, that shall be holden for none: By which words all former Statutes made againsteither of those Charters are now repealed; And the Nobles and great Officers were to be sworn to the observation of Magna Charta, and Charta de Foresta.
Magna fuit quondam Magnae reverentia Chartae.34
We in this second Part of the Institutes, treating of the ancient and other Statutes have been inforced almost of necessity to cite our ancient Authors, Bracton, Britton, the Mirror, Fleta, and many Records, never before published in print, to the end the prudent Reader may discerne what the Common Law was before the making of every of those Statutes, which we handle in this work, and thereby know whether the Statute be introductory of a new Law, or declaratory of the old, which will conduce much to the true understanding of the Text it selfe. We have also sometime in this and other Parts of the Institutes, cited the Grand Custumier de Normandy, where it agreeth with the Laws of England, and sometime where they disagree, ex diametro,35 being a Book compounded as well of the Laws of England, which King Edward the Confessor gave them, as he that Commenteth upon that Book testifieth (as elswhere we have noted) as of divers Customes of the Duchie of Normandie, which book was composed in the raign of King Henry the third viz. about 40. yeares after the Coronation of King Richard the first, 3. Septembris, Anno 1. of his raign, Anno Dom. 1189. about 138. yeares after the Conquest. See that Book cap. 22. fo. 29. a. and the Comment upon the same, & cap. 112. In which Custumier a great number of the Courts of Justice, of the originall Writs, and of many other of the titles of the Laws of England, are not so much as named or mentioned. And seeing we have in these, and other parts of our Institutes, cited the Laws and Statutes of divers Kings before the Conquest, and in the Conquerors time, we have thought good for the ease of the Reader, to set down the times wherein those Kings lived, and deceased. Inas began to raign Anno Dom. 689. and deceased 726. Aluredus, alias Alfredus, alias Elfredus, began to raign Anno Dom. 872. and deceased 901.36 Of this Alured it is thus written,37Aluredus acerrimi ingenii princeps per Grimbaldum & Johannem doctissimos Monachos tantum instructus est, ut in brevi librorum omnium notitiam haberet, totumque novum & vetus Testamentum in eulogiam Anglicae gentis transmutaret (cujus translationis pars nobis feliciter accidit.)38 This learned King in advancement of Divine and humane knowledge, by the perswasion of those two Monks founded the famous University of Cambridge. Edwardus, sonofthesaid Alured, began to raign Anno Dom. 901. and deceased 924.aa Fortis, sapiens, & fortunatus: Danos expuli: & Angliam in Monarchiam reduxit.Ethelstanus, alias, Adelstane eldest son of the said Edward began to raign Anno Dom. 924. and deceased 940.bEdmundus began to raign Anno Dom. 940. and deceased 946.cEdgarus began to raign Anno Dom. 959. and deceased 975.dEtheldredus began to raign Anno Dom. 979. and deceased 1016.eCanutus began to raign Anno Dom. 1016.b Martir apud Hoxon̄ olim Hegilsdon. and deceased 1035.fEdwardus began to raign Anno Dom. 1042. and deceased 1066.gc Pacificus, Rex excellentissimus.Willielmus Bastardus began to raign Anno Dom. 1066. and deceased 1087.d Named in Domesday. Glouc’ Ecclesia de Evesham. Adelredus.
Some fragments of the Statutes in the raigns of the abovesaid Kings doe yet remain, but not onely many of the Statutes, and Acts of Parliament, but also the Books and Treatises of the Common Laws both in these and other Kings times,e In Domesday he is ever written Cnut’ Rex. and specially in the times of the ancient Brittons (an inestimable losse) are not to be found.f He is ever called in Domesd. Episcopus S. Edw. Cestr: Rex Edwardus dedit Regi Griffino terram quae jaccbat trans aquam quae De vocatur.
It is to be observed that in Domesday Haroldus, who usurped the Crown of England, after the decease of King Edward the Confessor, is never named per nomen Regis, sed per nomen Comitis Haroldi, seu Heraldi;39 And therefore we have omitted him.
In citing of the abovesaid Laws originally written in the Saxon tongue, we have referred you to M. Lambard,g He is in Domes. written Willielmus Rex, vel Willielmus, vel W. Rex. who accurately and faithfully translated the same into Latin, one page containing the Saxon, and the next the Latin, and is in print (for our manner is not to cite anything, but so to referre the Reader, as he may easily finde it;) Sed ut unicuique suus tribuatur honos,40 all those Statutes in the raigns of all the abovesaid Kings were of ancient time plainly and truly translated into Latin, (whereof we have a very ancient, if not the first Manuscript) which no doubt did not a little abbreviate M. Lambards pains.
Upon the Text of the Civill Law, there be so many glosses and interpretations, and again upon those so many Commentaries, and all these written by Doctors of equall degree and authority, and therein so many diversities of opinions, as they do rather increase then resolve doubts, and incertainties, and the professors of that noble Science say, That it is like a Sea full of waves. The difference then between those glosses and Commentaries, and this which we publish, is, that their glosses and Commentaries are written by Doctors, which be Advocates, and so in a manner private interpretations: And our Expositions or Commentaries upon Magna Charta, and other Statutes, are the resolutions of Judges in Courts of Justice in judiciall courses of proceeding, either related and reported in our Books, or extant in judiciall Records, or in both, and therefore being collected together, shall (as we conceive) produce certainty, the Mother and Nurse of repose and quietnesse, and are not like to the waves of the Sea,Regula. but Statio bene fida peritis:41 for Judicia sunt tanquam Juris dicta.42
But now let us peruse the Texit selfe.
[1. ]Marlb. cap. 5. Inspex. 25. Edw. 1. 12. Hen. 3. Sententia lata super Chartas. Bract. lib. 3. fol. 291. & lib. 5. fol. 414. Mirror. cap. § Registr. 8 Edw. 3. Itin Pick. Rot. 43. Atons Case. Rot. Pat. 20. Marcii I Edw. 3. de perambulatione for̃ in Coũ Essex Rot. Parl. 22. Edw. 3. nu. 36.
[2. ][Ed.: Great charters of the liberties of England.]
[3. ][Ed.: Nevertheless, great was the mind in the little body;]
[4. ][Ed.: A great thing in a small package.]
[5. ][Ed.: The charter of the liberties of the realm.]
[6. ][Ed.: Because it makes men free.]
[7. ][Ed.: Common liberty.]
[8. ][Ed.: the Charter of liberties.]
[10. ]25 Edw. 1. cap. 1.
[11. ]25. Edw. I. cap. 3. 28. Edw. I. ca. 2. & 17.
[12. ]Mat. Par. fo. 246, 247, 248.
[13. ][Ed.: One shall not sue a mort d’ancestor at Westminster for lands in another County, for that would be against the statute of Magna Carta, unless the assize was at the time undetermined before the justices.]
[14. ]Pasch. 5 Hen. 3. tit. Mordaunc’ f. 53.
[15. ]Stat. 25. Edw. 1. Confirm. Chart.
[16. ][Ed.: Confirmation of the charters.]
[17. ][Ed.: Hubert de Burgo, Chief Justice of England.]
[18. ]Rot. claus. 11 Hen. 3 membr. 44. 5 Hen. 3.
[19. ]Rot. claus. 17 Hen. 3. m. 1. & 2. Rot. Pat. 17 Hen. 2. m. I. à tergo & 12.
[20. ][Ed.: That we shall firmly and wholly keep the judgment given by the barons concerning Hubert de Burgh.]
[21. ][Ed.: against the form of the great charter.]
[23. ]Rot. claus. Anno 19 Hen. 3. m. 22.
[24. ]19 Hen. 3. ubi supra.
[25. ][Ed.: That they cause to be proclaimed and firmly prohibited throughout the city of London that no one holding a law school in the same city should from thenceforth teach laws there, and if anyone should keep such schools there, make him stop without delay. Witness the king, etc., on the eleventh day of December in the nineteenth year of his reign.]
[26. ]Marlb. cap. 5. 15 Edw. 4. 13.
[27. ][Ed.: That those contravening, if convicted, shall be grievously punished by the lord king.]
[28. ]20 Ass. p. 17. 14 Hen. 4. 2, & 3. Bro. Alien. sans license. 10.
[29. ][Ed.: Judgments.]
[30. ][Ed.: Statements of the law.]
[31. ]Confirm. Chart. 25 Edw. 1. ca. 1. & 2. Vet. Mag. Chart. 2. part, fol. 35.
[32. ]25 Edw. I. ubi supra.
[33. ]42 Edw. 3. cap. 1. 25 Edw. 1. ubi supra.
[34. ][Ed.: Great was once the reverence of the great charter.]
[35. ][Ed.: from the opposite side,]
[36. ]In Historia Eliensi fol. 38. lib. 2.
[37. ]Cl. Caius D. m. Cant.
[38. ][Ed.: Alfred, a ruler of the sharpest ingenuity, was so educated by the two most learned monks Grimbald and John that he had brief notes of all books, and translated the whole of the Old and New Testament into English speech (part of which translation happily remains to us).]
[39. ][Ed.: By the name of king, but by the name of Earl Harold, or Herald.]
[40. ][Ed.: But in order to do each of them his honour,]
[41. ][Ed.: A trusty harbor for the learned:]
[42. ][Ed.: Judgments are like statements of the law.]
[43. ][Ed.: The end of the Preface.]
[9. ][Ed.: Reason begins with the ends.]
[22. ][Ed.: The Banishment of Hugh de Spencer, father and son.]