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Pocket Guide to Political and Civic Rights

The Pocket Guide to Political and Civic Rights: The English, American, and French Traditions, 1215-1830.

Introduction

This collection of key documents in the history of the evolution of our political and civic rights has been drawn from the collection of Key Documents at the Online Library of Liberty. It is modelled on the French Civil Code and the Cato Institute's The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States (The Pocket Constitution), the idea of which was to enable every citizen to carry in their pocket a summary of the rights which they enjoyed under the law. When challenged by an overly officious government employee, the citizen could pull out the pocket book and recite the constitutional chapter and verse to defend their rights. This collection takes a longer term view than the above mentioned pocket guides, stretching back to the English Magna Carta (1215), and a more international perspective, in which our modern understanding of rights encompasses the historical experience of England, the American colonies and early republic, and France during and immediately after its revolution.

Content

The Pocket Guide contains the following documents:

  1. Magna Carta (Latin and English) (1215)
  2. The Petition of Right (1628)
  3. The Habeas Corpus Act (1679)
  4. The English Bill of Rights (1689)
  5. The Declaration of Independence (1776)
  6. The Virginia Bill of Rights (1776)
  7. The Articles of Confederation (1778)
  8. The United States Constitution (1787)
  9. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789)
  10. The U.S. Bill of Rights (1791)
  11. The Constitution of the French Republic (1793)
  12. The French Charter (1830)

Sources


 

The Pocket Guide to Political and Civic Rights

1. Magna Carta (Latin and English) (1215)

 

Source: The Roots of Liberty: Magna Carta, Ancient Constitution, and the Anglo-American Tradition of Rule of Law, edited and with an Introduction by Ellis Sandoz (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008). Appendix: Text and Translation of Magna Carta

Copyright: The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Appendix: Text and Translation of Magna Carta*

There follows the text in Latin and in English translation of Magna Carta of 1225, the third Great Charter of Henry III. This is the definitive version that received statutory confirmation by Edward I in 1297, thereby entering the Statutes of the Realm as the first English statute. Thus, it is the Great Charter ultimately relied upon by Sir Edward Coke, John Selden, and the other great common lawyers of the seventeenth century. By then, according to Coke, it had been confirmed at least thirty-two times.

THE GREAT CHARTER OF HENRY III

(Third Revision, Issued February 11, 1225)

Henricus Dei gratia rex Anglie, dominus Hibernie, dux Normannie, Aquitanie, et comes Andegavie, archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, prioribus, comitibus, baronibus, vicecomitibus, prepositis, ministris et omnibus ballivis et fidelibus suis presentem cartam inspecturis, salutem. Sciatis quod nos, intuitu Dei et pro salute anime nostre et animarum antecessorum et successorum nostrorum, ad exaltationem sancte ecclesie et emendationem regni nostri, spontanea et bona voluntate nostra, dedimus et concessimus archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, prioribus, comitibus, baronibus et omnibus de regno nostro has libertates subscriptas tenendas in regno nostro Anglie in perpetuum.

1 (1). In primis concessimus Deo et hac presenti carta nostra confirmavimus pro nobis et heredibus nostris in perpetuum quod anglicana ecclesia libera sit, et habeat omnia jura sua integra et libertates suas illesas. Concessimus etiam omnibus liberis hominibus regni nostri pro nobis et heredibus nostris in perpetuum omnes libertates subscriptas, habendas et tenendas eis et heredibus suis de nobis et heredibus nostris in perpetuum.

2 (2). Si quis comitum vel baronum nostrorum sive aliorum tenencium de nobis in capite per servicium militare mortuus fuerit, et, cum decesserit, heres ejus plene etatis fuerit et relevium debeat, habeat hereditatem suam per antiquum relevium, scilicet heres vel heredes comitis de baronia comitis integra per centum libras, heres vel heredes baronis de baronia integra per centum libras, heres vel heredes militis de feodo militis integro per centum solidos ad plus; et qui minus debuerit minus det secundum antiquam consuetudinem feodorum.

3 (3). Si autem heres alicujus talium fuerit infra etatem, dominus ejus non habeat custodiam ejus nec terre sue antequam homagium ejus ceperit; et, postquam talis heres fuerit in custodia, cum ad etatem pervenerit, scilicet viginti et unius anni, habeat hereditatem suam sine relevio et sine fine, ita tamen quod, si ipse, dum infra etatem fuerit, fiat miles, nichilominus terra remaneat in custodia dominorum suorum usque ad terminum predictum.

4 (4). Custos terre hujusmodi heredis qui infra etatem fuerit non capiat de terra heredis nisi rationabiles exitus et rationabiles consuetudines et rationabilia servicia, et hoc sine destructione et vasto hominum vel rerum; et si nos commiserimus custodiam alicujus talis terre vicecomiti vel alicui alii qui de exitibus terre illius nobis debeat respondere, et ille destructionem de custodia fecerit vel vastum, nos ab illo capiemus emendam, et terra committetur duobus legalibus et discretis hominibus de feodo illo qui de exitibus nobis respondeant vel ei cui eos assignaverimus; et si dederimus vel vendiderimus alicui custodiam alicujus talis terre, et ille destructionem inde fecerit vel vastum, amittat ipsam custodiam et tradatur duobus legalibus et discretis hominibus de feodo illo qui similiter nobis respondeant, sicut predictum est.

5 (5). Custos autem, quamdiu custodiam terre habuerit, sustentet domos, parcos, vivaria, stagna, molendina et cetera ad terram illam pertinencia de exitibus terre ejusdem, et reddat heredi, cum ad plenam etatem pervenerit, terram suam totam instauratam de carucis et omnibus aliis rebus, ad minus secundum quod illam recepit. Hec omnia observentur de custodiis archiepiscopatuum, episcopatuum, abbatiarum, prioratuum,ecclesiarum et dignitatum vacancium que ad nos pertinent, excepto quod hujusmodi custodie vendi non debent.

6 (6). Heredes maritentur absque disparagatione.

7 (7). Vidua post mortem mariti sui statim et sine difficultate aliqua habeat maritagium suum et hereditatem suam, nec aliquid det pro dote sua vel pro maritagio suo vel pro hereditate sua, quam hereditatum maritus suus et ipsa tenuerunt die obitus ipsius mariti, et maneat in capitali mesagio mariti sui per quadranginta dies post obitum ipsius mariti sui, infra quos assignetur ei dos sua, nisi prius et fuerit assignata, vel nisi domus illa sit castrum; et si de castro recesserit, statim provideatur ei domus competens in qua possit honeste morari, quousque doe sua ei assignetur secundum quod predictum est, et habeat rationabile estoverium suum interim de communi. Assignetur autem ei pro dote sua tercia pars tocius terre mariti sui que sua fuit in vita sua, nisi de minori dotata fuerit ad hostium ecclesie.

(8). Nulla vidua distringatur ad se maritandam, dum vivere voluerit sine marito, ita tamen quod securitatem faciet quod se non maritabit sine assensu nostro, si de nobis tenuerit, vel sine assensu domini sui, si de aliquo tenuerit.

8 (9). Nos vero vel ballivi nostri non seisiemus terram aliquam nec redditum pro debito aliquo quamdiu catalla debitoris presencia sufficiant ad debitum reddendum et ipse debitor paratus sit inde satisfacere; nec plegii ipsius debitoris distringantur quamdiu ipse capitalis debitor sufficiat ad solutionem debiti; et, si capitalis debitor defecerit in solutione debiti, non habens unde reddat aut reddere rolit cum possit, plegii respondeant pro debito; et, si voluerint, habeant terras et redditus debitoris quousque sit eis satisfactum de debito quod ante pro eo solverunt, nisi capitalis debitor monstraverit se inde esse quietum versus eosdem plegios.

9 (13). Civitas Londonie habeat omnes antiquas libertates et liberas consuetudines suas. Preterea volumus et concedimus quod omnes alie civitates, et burgi, et ville, et barones de quinque portubus, et omnes portus, habeant omnes libertates et liberas consuetudines suas.

10 (16). Nullus distringatur ad faciendum majus servicium de feodo militis nec de alio libero tenemento quam inde debetur.

11 (17). Communia placita non sequantur curiam nostram, set teneantur in aliquo loco certo.

12 (18). Recognitiones de nova disseisina et de morte antecessoris non capiantur nisi in suis comitatibus, et hoc modo: nos, vel si extra regnum fuerimus, capitalis justiciarius noster, mittemus justiciarios per unumquemque comitatum semel in anno, qui cum militibus comitatuum capiant in comitatibus assisas predictas. Et ea que in illo adventu suo in comitatu per justiciarios predictos ad dictas assisas capiendas missos terminari non possunt, per eosdem terminentur alibi in itinere suo; et ea que per eosem propter difficultatem aliquorum articulorum terminari non possunt, refer-antur ad justiciarios, nostros de banco, et ibi terminentur.

13. Assise de ultima presentatione semper capiantur coram justiciariis nostris de banco et ibi terminentur.

14 (20). Liber homo non amercietur pro parvo delicto nisi secundum modum ipsius delicti, et pro magno delicto, secundum magnitudinem delicti, salvo contenemento suo; et mercator eodem modo salva mercandisa sua; et villanus alterius quam noster eodem modo amercietur salvo wainagio suo, si inciderit in misericordiam nostram; et nulla predictarum misericordiarum ponatur nisi per sacramentum proborum et legalium hominum de visneto.

(21). Comites et barones non amercientur nisi per pares suos, et non nisi secundum modum delicti.

(22). Nulla ecclesiastica persona amercietur secundum quantitatem beneficii sui ecclesiastici, set secundum laicum tenementum suum, et secundum quantitatem delicti.

15 (23). Nec villa, nec homo, distringatur facere pontes ad riparias nisi que ex antiquo et de jure facere debet.

16. Nulla riparia decetero defendatur, nisi ille que fuerunt in defenso tempore regis Henrici avi nostri, per eadem loca et eosdem terminos sicut esse consueverunt tempore suo.

17 (24). Nullus vicecomes, constabularius, coronatores vel alii ballivi nostri teneant placita corone nostre.

18 (26). Si aliquis tenens de nobis laicum feodum moriatur, et vice-comes vel ballivus noster ostendat litteras nostras patentes de summonitione nostra de debito quod defunctus nobis debuit, liceat vicecomiti vel ballivo nostro attachiare et inbreviare catalla defuncti inventa in laico feodo ad valenciam illius debiti per visum legalium hominum, ita tamen quod nichil inde amoveatur donec persolvatur nobis debitum quod clarum fuerit, et residuum relinquatur executoribus ad faciendum testamentum defuncti; et si nichil nobis debeatur ab ipso, omnia catalla cedant defuncto, salvis uxori ipsius et pueris suis rationabilibus partibus suis.

19 (28). Nullus constabularius vel ejus ballivus capiat blada vel alia catalla alicujus qui non sit de villa ubi castrum situm est, nisi statim inde reddat denarios aut respectum inde habere possit de voluntate venditoris; si autem de villa ipsa fuerit, infra quadraginta dies precium reddat.

20 (29). Nullus constabularius distringat aliquem militem ad dandum denarios pro custodia castri, si ipse eam facere voluerit in propria persona sua, vel per alium probum hominem, si ipse eam facere non possit propter rationabilem causam, et, si nos duxerimus eum vel miserimus in exercitum, erit quietus de custodia secundum quantitatem temporis quo per nos fuerit in exercitu de feodo pro quo fecit servicium in exercitu.

21 (30). Nullus vicecomes, vel ballivus noster, vel alius capiat equos vel carettas alicujus pro cariagio faciendo, nisi reddat liberationem antiquitus statutam, scilicet pro caretta ad duos equos decem denarios per diem, et pro caretta ad tres equos quatuordecim denarios per diem. Nulla caretta dominica alicujus ecclesiastice persone vel militis vel alicujus domine capiatur per ballivos predictos.

(31). Nec nos nec ballivi nostri nec alii capiemus alienum boscum ad castra vel alia agenda nostra, nisi per voluntatem illius cujus boscus ille fuerit.

22 (32). Nos non tenebimus terras eorum qui convicti fuerint de felonia, nisi per unum annum et unum diem; et tunc reddantur terre dominis feodorum.

23 (33). Omnes kidelli decetero deponantur penitus per Tamisiam et Medeweiam et per totam Angliam, nisi per costeram maris.

24 (34). Breve quod vocatur Precipe decetero non fiat alicui de aliquo tenamento, unde liber homo perdat curiam suam.

25 (35). Una mensura vini sit per totum regnum nostrum, et una mensura cervisie, et una mensura bladi, scilicet quarterium London, et una latitudo pannorum tinctorum et russettorum et haubergettorum, scilicet due ulne infra listas; de ponderibus vero sit ut de mensuris.

26 (36). Nichil detur de cetero pro brevi inquisitionis ab eo qui inquisitionem petit de vita vel membris, set gratis concedatur et non negetur.

27 (37). Si aliquis teneat de nobis per feodifirmam vel soccagium, vel per burgagium, et de alio terram teneat per servicium militare, nos non habebimus custodiam heredis nec terre sue que est de feodo alterius, occasione illius feodifirme, vel soccagii, vel burgagii, nec habebimus custodiam illius feodifirme vel soccagii vel burgagii, nisi ipsa feodifirma debeat servicium militare. Nos non habebimus custodiam heredis nec terre alicujus quam tenet de alio per servicium militare, occasione alicujus parve serjanterie quam tenet de nobis per servicium reddendi nobis cultellos, vel sagittas, vel hujusmodi.

28 (38). Nullus ballivus ponat decetero aliquem ad legem manifestam vel ad juramentum simplici loquela sua, sine testibus fidelibus ad hoc inductis.

29 (39). Nullus liber homo decetero capiatur vel imprisonetur aut disseisiatur de aliquo libero tenemento suo vel libertatibus vel liberis consuetudinibus suis, aut utlagetur, aut exuletur aut aliquo alio modo destruatur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum, vel per legem terre.

(40). Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus aut differemus rectum vel justiciam.

30 (41). Omnes mercatores, nisi publice antea prohibiti fuerint, habeant salvum et securum exire de Anglia, et venire in Angliam, et morari, et ire per Angliam tam per terram quam per aquam ad emendum vel vendendum sine omnibus toltis malis per antiquas et rectas consuetudines, preterquam in tempore gwerre, et si sint de terra contra nos gwerrina; et si tales inveniantur in terra nostra in principio gwerre, attachientur sine dampno corporum vel rerum, donec sciatur a nobis vel a capitali justiciario nostro quomodo mercatores terre nostre tractentur, qui tunc invenientur in terra contra nos gwerrina; et, si nostri salvi sint ibi, alii salvi sint in terra nostra.

31 (43). Si quis tenuerit de aliqua escaeta, sicut de honore Wallingefordie, Bolonie, Notingeham, Lancastrie, vel de aliis que sunt in manu nostra, et sint baronie, et obierit, heres ejus non det aliud relevium nec fiat nobis aliud servicium quam faceret baroni, si ipsa esset in manu baronis; et nos eodem modo eam tenebimus quo baro eam tenuit, nec nos, occasione talis baronie vel escaete, habebimus aliquam escaetam vel custodiam aliquorum hominum nostrorum, nisi alibi tenuerit de nobis in capite ille qui tenuit baroniam vel escaetam.

32. Nullus liber homo decetero det amplius alicui vel vendat de terra sua quam ut de residuo terre sue possit sufficienter fieri domino feodi servicium ei debitum quod pertinet ad feodum illud.

33 (46). Omnes patroni abbatiarum qui habent cartas regum Anglie de advocatione, vel antiquam tenuram vel possessionem, habeant earum custodiam cum vacaverint, sicut habere debent, et sicut supra declaratum est.

34 (54). Nullus capiatur vel imprisonetur propter appellum femine de morte alterius quam viri sui.

35. Nullus comitatus decetero teneatur, nisi de mense in mensem; et, ubi major terminus esse solebat, major sit. Nec aliquis vicecomes vel ballivus faciat turnum suum per hundredum nisi bis in anno et non nisi in loco debito et consueto, videlicet semel post Pascha et iterum post festum sancti Michaelis. Et visus de franco plegio tunc fiat ad illum terminum sancti Michalis sine occasione, ita scilicet quod quilibet habeat libertates suas quas habuit et habere consuevit tempore regis Henrici avi nostri, vel quas postea perquisivit. Fiat autem visus de franco plegio sic, videlicet quod pax nostra teneatur, et quod tethinga integra sit sicut esse consuevit, et quod vicecomes non querat occasiones, et quod contintus sit eo quod vicecomes habere consuevit de visu suo faciendo tempore regis Henrici avi nostri.

36. Non liceat alicui decetero dare terram suam alicui domui religiose, ita quod eam resumat tenendam de eadem domo, nec liceat alicui domui religiose terram alicujus sic accipere quod tradat illam ei a quo ipsam recepit tenendam. Si quis autem de cetero terram suam alicui domui religiose sic dederit, et super hoc convincatur, donum suum penitus cassetur, et terra illa domino suo illius feodi incurratur.

37. Scutagium decetero capiatur sicut capi solebat tempore regis Henrici avi nostri. Et salve sint archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, prioribus, templariis, hospitalariis, comitibus, baronibus et omnibus aliis tam ecclesiasticis quam secularibus personis libertates et libere consuetudines quas prius habuerunt.

(60). Omnes autem istas consuetudines predictas et libertates quas concessimus in regno nostro tenendas quantum ad nos pertinet erga nostros, omnes de regno nostro tam clerici quam laici observent quantum ad se pertinet erga suos. Pro hac autem concessione et donatione libertatum istarum et aliarum libertatum contentarum in carta nostra de libertatibus foreste, archiepiscopi, episcopi, abbates, priores, comites, barones, milites,libere tenentes, et omnes de regno nostro dederunt nobis quintam decimam partem omnium mobilium suorum. Concessimus etiam eisdem pro nobis et heredibus nostris quod nec nos nec heredes nostri aliquid perquiremus per quod libertates in hac carta contente infringantur vel infirmentur; et, si de aliquo aliquid contra hoc perquisitum fuerit, nichil valeat et pro nullo habeatur.

His testibus domino Stephano Cantuariensi archiepiscopo, Eustachio Lundoniensi, Jocelino Bathoniensi, Petro Wintoniensi, Hugoni Lincolniensi, Ricardo Sarrisberiensi, Benedicto Roffensi, Willelmo Wigorniensi, Johanne Eliensi, Hugone Herefordiensi, Radulpho Cicestriensi, Willelmo Exoniensi episcopis, abbate sancti Albani, abbate sancti Edmundi, abbate de Bello, abbate sancti Augustini Cantuariensis, abbate de Evashamia, abbate de Westmonasterio, abbate de Burgo sancti Petri, abbate Radingensi, abbate Abbendoniensi, abbate de Maumeburia, abbate de Winchecomba, abbate de Hida, abbate de Certeseia, abbate de Sire-burnia, abbate de Cerne, abbate de Abbotebiria, abbate de Middletonia, abbate de Seleby, abbate de Wyteby, abbate de Cirencestria, Huberto de Burgo justiciario, Ranulfo comite Cestrie et Lincolnie, Willelmo comite Sarrisberie, Willelmo comite Warennie, Gilberto de Clara comite Gloucestrie et Hertfordie, Willelmo de Ferrariis comite Derbeie, Willelmo de Mandevilla comite Essexie, Hugone Le Bigod comite Norfolcie, Willelmo comite Aubemarle, Hunfrido comite Herefordie, Johanne constabulario Cestrie, Roberto de Ros, Roberto filio Walteri, Roberto de Veteri ponte, Willielmo Brigwerre, Ricardo de Munfichet, Petro filio Herberti, Matheo filio Herberti, Willielmo de Albiniaco, Roberto Gresley, Reginaldo de Brahus, Johanne de Munemutha, Johanne filio Alani, Hugone de Mortuomari, Waltero de Bellocampo, Willielmo de sancto Johanne, Petro de Malalacu, Briano de Insula, Thoma de Muletonia, Ricardo de Argentein., Gaulfrido de Nevilla, Willielmo Mauduit, Johanne de Baalun.

Datum apud Westmonasterium undecimo die februarii anno regni nostri nono.

THE THIRD GREAT CHARTER OF KING HENRY THE THIRD;*

Grantedad1224–25,

In the Ninth Year of His Reign. Translated from the Original, Preserved in the Archives of Durham Cathedral.

Henry, by the Grace Of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, Sheriffs, Governors, Officers, and all Bailiffs, and his faithful subjects, who see this present Charter,—Greeting. Know ye, that in the presence of God, and for the salvation of our own soul, and of the souls of our ancestors, and of our successors, to the exaltation of the Holy Church, and the amendment of our kingdom, that we spontaneously and of our own free will, do give and grant to the Archbishops, the Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, and all of our kingdom, —these under-written liberties to be held in our realm of England for ever.—(I.) In the first place we grant unto God, and by this our present Charter we have confirmed for us, and for our heirs for ever, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have her whole rights and her liberties inviolable. We have also granted to all the free-men of our kingdom, for us and for our heirs for ever, all the under-written liberties to be had and held by them and by their heirs, of us and of our heirs.—(II.) If any of our Earls or Barons, or others who hold of us in chief by Military Service, shall die, and at his death his heir shall be of full age, and shall owe a relief, he shall have his inheritance by the ancient relief; that is to say, the heir or heirs of an Earl, a whole Earl’s Barony for one hundred pounds: the heir or heirs of a Baron, a whole Barony, for one hundred pounds; the heir or heirs of a Knight, a whole Knight’s Fee, for one hundred shillings at the most: and he who owes less, shall give less, according to the ancient customs of fees.—(III.) But if the heir of any such be under age, his Lord shall not have the Wardship of him nor of his land, before he shall have received his homage, and afterward such heir shall be in ward; and when he shall come to age, that is to say, to twenty and one years, he shall have his inheritance without relief and without fine: yet so, that if he be made a Knight, whilst he is under age, his lands shall nevertheless remain in custody of his Lords, until the term aforesaid.—(IV.) The warden of the land of such heir who shall be under age, shall not take from the lands of the heir any but reasonable issues, and reasonable customs, and reasonable services, and that without destruction and waste of the men or goods. And if we commit the custody of any such lands to a Sheriff, or to any other person who is bound to us for the issues of them, and he shall make destruction or waste upon the ward-lands, we will recover damages from him, and the lands shall be committed to two lawful and discreet men of the same fee, who shall answer for the issues to us, or to him to whom we have assigned them: and if we shall give or sell to any one the custody of any such lands, and he shall make destruction or waste upon them, he shall lose the custody; and it shall be committed to two lawful and discreet men of the same fee, who shall answer to us in like manner as it is said before.—(V.) But the warden, as long as he hath the custody of the lands, shall keep up and maintain the houses, parks, warrens, ponds, mills, and other things belonging to them, out of their issues; and shall restore to the heir, when he comes of full age, his whole estate, provided with carriages and all other things at the least as such as he received it. All these things shall be observed in the custodies of vacant Archbishoprics, Bishoprics, Abbies, Priories, Churches, and Dignities, which appertain to us; excepting that these wardships are not to be sold.—(VI.) Heirs shall be married without disparagement.—(VII.) A widow, after the death of her husband, shall immediately, and without difficulty, have her freedom of marriage and her inheritance; nor shall she give any thing for her dower, or for her freedom of marriage, or for her inheritance, which her husband and she held at the day of his death; and she may remain in the principal messuage of her husband, for forty days after husband’s death, within which time her dower shall be assigned; unless it shall have been assigned before, or excepting his house shall be a Castle; and if she depart from the Castle, there shall be provided for her a complete house in which she may decently dwell, until her dower shall be assigned to her as aforesaid: and she shall have her reasonable Estover within a common term. And for her dower, shall be assigned to her the third part of all the lands of her husband, which were his during his life, except she were endowed with less at the church door.—No widow shall be distrained to marry herself, whilst she is willing to live without a husband; but yet she shall give security that she will not marry herself, without our consent, if she hold of us, or without the consent of her lord if she hold of another.—(VIII.) We nor our Bailiffs, will not seize any land or rent for any debt, whilst the chattels of the debtor present sufficient for the payment of the debt, and the debtor shall be ready to make satisfaction: nor shall the sureties of the debtor be distrained, whilst the principal debtor is able to pay the debt; and if the principal debtor fail in payment of the debt, not having wherewith to discharge it, or will not discharge it when he is able, then the sureties shall answer for the debt; and if they be willing, they shall have the lands and rents of the debtor, until satisfaction be made to them for the debt which they had before paid for him, unless the principal debtor can shew himself acquitted thereof against the said sureties.—(IX.) The City of London shall have all its ancient liberties, and its free customs, as well by land as by water.—Furthermore, we will and grant that all other Cities, and Burghs, and Towns, and the Barons of the Cinque Ports, and all Ports, should have all their liberties and free customs.—(X.) None shall be distrained to do more service for a Knight’s-Fee, nor for any other free tenement, than what is due from thence.—(XI.) Common Pleas shall not follow our court, but shall be held in any certain place.—(XII.) Trials upon the Writs of Novel Disseisin and of Mort d’Ancestre, shall not be taken but in their proper counties, and in this manner:—We, or our Chief Justiciary, if we should be out of the kingdom, will send Justiciaries into every county, once in the year; who, with the knights of each county, shall hold in the county, the aforesaid assizes.—And those things, which at the coming of the aforesaid Justiciaries being sent to take the said assizes, cannot be determined, shall be ended by them in some other place in their circuit; and those things which for difficulty of some of the articles cannot be determined by them, shall be determined by our Justiciaries of the Bench, and there shall be ended.—(XIII.) Assizes of Last Presentation shall always be taken before our Justiciaries of the Bench, and there shall be determined.—(XIV.) A Free-man shall not be amerced for a small offence, but only according to the degree of the offence; and for a great delinquency, according to the magnitude of the delinquency, saving his contentment: and a Merchant in the same manner, saving his merchandise, and a villain, if he belong to another, shall be amerced after the same manner, saving to him his Wainage, if he shall fall into our mercy; and none of the aforesaid amerciaments shall be assessed, but by the oath of honest and lawful men of the vicinage.—Earls and Barons shall not be amerced but by their Peers, and that only according to the degree of their delinquency.—No Ecclesiastical person shall be amerced according to the quantity of his ecclesiastical benefice, but according to the quantity of his lay-fee, and the extent of his crime.—(XV.) Neither a town nor any person shall be distrained to build bridges or embankments, excepting those which anciently, and of right, are bound to do it.—(XVI.) No embankments shall from henceforth be defended, but such as were in defence in the time of King Henry our grandfather; by the same places, and the same bounds as they were accustomed to be in his time.—(XVII.) No Sheriff, Constable, Coroners, nor other of our Bailiffs, shall hold pleas of our crown.—(XVIII.) If any one holding of us a lay-fee die, and the Sheriff or our Bailiff shall shew our letters-patent of summons concerning the debt, which the defunct owed to us, it shall be lawful for the Sheriff, or for our Bailiff to attach and register all the goods and chattels of the defunct found on that lay-fee, to the amount of that debt by the view of lawful men. So that nothing shall be removed from thence until our debt be paid to us; and the rest shall be left to the executors to fulfil the will of the defunct; and if nothing be owing to us by him, all the chattels shall fall to the defunct, saving to his wife and children their reasonable shares.—(XIX.) No Constable, nor his Bailiff, shall take the corn or other goods of any one, who is not of that town where his Castle is, without instantly paying money for them, unless he can obtain a respite from the free will of the seller; but if he be of that town wherein the Castle is, he shall give him the price within forty days.—(XX.) No Constable shall distrain any Knight to give him money for Castle-guard, if he be willing to perform it in his own person, or by another able man, if he cannot perform it himself, for a reasonable cause: and if we do lead or send him into the army, he shall be excused from Castle-guard, according to the time that he shall be with us in the army, on account of the fee for which he hath done service in the host.—(XXI.) No Sheriff nor Bailiff of ours, nor of any other person, shall take the horses or carts of any, for the purpose of carriage, without paying according to the rate anciently appointed; that is to say, for a cart with two horses, ten-pence by the day, and for a cart with three horses, fourteen-pence by the day.—No demesne cart of any ecclesiastical person, or knight, or of any lord, shall be taken by the aforesaid Bailiffs.—Neither we, nor our Bailiffs, nor those of another, shall take another man’s wood, for our Castles or for other uses, unless by the consent of him to whom the wood belongs.—(XXII.) We will not retain the lands of those who have been convicted of felony, excepting for one year and one day, and then they shall be given up to the Lords of the fees.—(XXIII.) All Kydells (weirs) for the future, shall be quite removed out of the Thames and the Medway, and through all England, excepting upon the sea coast.—(XXIV.) The Writ which is called Præcipe, for the future shall not be granted to any one of any tenement, by which a Free-man loses his court.—(XXV.) There shall be one Measure of Wine throughout all our kingdom, and one Measure of Ale, and one Measure of Corn, namely, the Quarter of London; and one breadth of Dyed Cloth, of Russets, and of Halberjects, namely, Two Ells within the lists. Also it shall be the same with Weights as with Measures.—(XXVI.) Nothing shall for the future be given or taken for a Writ of Inquisition, nor taken of him that prayeth Inquisition of life or limb; but it shall be given without charge, and not denied.—(XXVII.) If any hold of us by Fee-Farm, or Socage, or Burgage, and hold land of another by Military Service, we will not have the custody of the heir, nor of his lands, which are of the fee of another, on account of that Fee-Farm, or Socage, or Burgage; nor will we have the custody of the Fee-Farm, Socage, or Burgage, unless the Fee-Farm owe Military Service. We will not have the custody of the heir, nor of the lands of any one, which he holds of another by Military Service, on account of any Petty-Sergeantry which he holds of us, by the service of giving us daggers, or arrows, or the like.—(XXVIII.) No Bailiff, for the future, shall put any man to his open law, nor to an oath, upon his own simple affirmation, without faithful witnesses produced for that purpose.—(XXIX.) No Free-man shall be taken, or imprisoned, or dispossessed, of his free tenement, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in anyway destroyed; nor will we condemn him, nor will we commit him to prison, excepting by the legal judgment of his peers, or by the laws of the land.—To none will we sell, to none will we deny, to none will we delay right or justice.—(XXX.) All Merchants, unless they have before been publicly prohibited, shall have safety and security in going out of England, and in coming into England, and in staying and in travelling through England, as well by land as by water, to buy and sell, without any unjust exactions, according to ancient and right customs, excepting in the time of war, and if they be of a country at war against us: and if such are found in our land at the beginning of a war, they shall be apprehended, without injury of their bodies or goods, until it be known to us, or to our Chief Justiciary, how the Merchants of our country are treated who are found in the country at war against us: and if ours be in safety there, the others shall be in safety in our land.—(XXXI.) If any hold of any Escheat, as of the Honour of Wallingford, Boulogne, Nottingham, Lancaster, or of other Escheats which are in our hand, and are Baronies, and shall die, his heir shall not give any other relief, nor do any other service to us, than he should have done to the Baron, if those lands had been in the hands of the Baron; and we will bold it in the same manner that the Baron held it. Neither will we have, by occasion of any Barony or Escheat, any Escheat, or the custody of any of our men, unless he who held the Barony or Escheat, held otherwise of us in chief.—(XXXII.) No Free-man shall, from henceforth, give or sell any more of his land, but so that of the residue of his lands, the Lord of the fee may have the service due to him which belongeth to the fee.—(XXXIII.) All Patrons of Abbies, which are held by Charters of Advowson from the Kings of England, or by ancient tenure or possession of the same, shall have the custody of them when they become vacant, as they ought to have, and such as it hath been declared above.—(XXXIV.) No man shall be apprehended or imprisoned on the appeal of a woman, for the death of any other man than her husband.—(XXXV.) No County Court shall, from henceforth, be holden but from month to month; and where a greater term hath been used, it shall be greater. Neither shall any Sheriff or his Bailiff, keep his turn in the hundred but twice in the year; and no where but in due and accustomed place; that is to say, once after Easter, and again after the Feast of Saint Michael. And the view of Frank-pledge, shall be likewise at Saint Michael’s term, without occasion; so that every man may have his liberties, which he had and was accustomed to have, in the time of King Henry our grandfather, or which he hath since procured him. Also the view of Frank-pledge shall be so done, that our peace may be kept, and that the tything may be wholly kept, as it hath been accustomed; and that the Sheriff seek no occasions, and that he be content with so much as the Sheriff was wont to have for his view-making, in the time of King Henry our grandfather.—(XXXVI.) It shall not from henceforth, be lawful for any to give his lands to any Religious House, and to take the same land again to hold of the same House. Nor shall it be lawful to any House of Religion to take the lands of any, and to lease the same to him from whom they were received. Therefore, if any from henceforth do give his land to any Religious House, and thereupon be convict, his gift shall be utterly void, and the land shall accrue to the Lord of the fee.—(XXXVII.) Scutage from henceforth shall be taken as it was accustomed to be taken in the time of King Henry our grandfather.—Saving to the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Templars, Hospitallers, Earls, Barons, and all others, as well ecclesiastical as secular persons, the liberties and free customs which they have formerly had.—Also all those customs and liberties aforesaid, which we have granted to be held in our kingdom, for so much of it as belongs to us, all our subjects, as well clergy as laity, shall observe towards their tenants as far as concerns them. And for this our grant and gift of these Liberties, and of the others contained in our Charter of Liberties of our Forest, the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, Knights, Free Tenants, and all others of our Kingdom, have given unto us the fifteenth part of all their move-ables. And we have granted to them for us and our heirs, that neither we nor our heirs shall procure or do any thing, whereby the Liberties in this Charter contained shall be infringed or broken; and if any thing shall be procured by any person contrary to the premises, it shall be had of no force nor effect. These being witnesses, the Lord Stephen Archbishop of Canterbury, Roger of London, Joceline of Bath, Peter of Winchester, Hugh of Lincoln, Richard of Salisbury, Benedict of Rochester, William of Worcester, John of Ely, Hugh of Hereford, Ralph of Chi-chester, William of Exeter, for the Bishops: the Abbot of Saint Edmund’s, the Abbot of Saint Alban’s, the Abbot of Battle Abbey, the Abbot of Saint Augustine’s Canterbury, the Abbot of Evesham, the Abbot of Westminster, the Abbot of Peterborough, the Abbot of Reading, the Abbot of Abingdon, the Abbot of Malmsbury, the Abbotof Winchcomb, the Abbot of Hyde, the Abbot of Chertsey, the Abbot of Sherburn, the Abbot of Cerne, the Abbot of Abbotsbury, the Abbot of Middleton, the Abbot of Selby, the Abbot of Whitby, the Abbot of Cirencester, Hubert de Burgh, the King’s Justiciary, Randolph Earl of Chester and Lincoln, William Earl of Salisbury, William Earl of Warren, Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, William de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, Hugh le Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, William Earl of Albemarle, Humphrey Earl of Hereford, John Constable of Chester, Robert de Ros, Robert Fitz Walter, Robert de Vipont, William de Brewer, Richard de Montfichet, Peter Fitz Herbert, Matthew Fitz Herbert, William de Albiniac, Robert Gresley, Reginald de Bruce, John de Monmouth, John Fitz Alan, Hugh de Mortimer, Walter de Beauchamp, William de Saint John, Peter de Mauley, Brian de Lisle, Thomas de Muleton, Richard de Argentine, Walter de Neville, William Mauduit, John de Baalun.—Given at Westminster, the Eleventh day of February, in the Ninth Year of our Reign.

[* ] The text given here is that of Statutes of the Realm (London: Record Commission, 1810–1828), 1:22–25, as reprinted in Faith Thompson, Magna Carta: Its Role in the Making of the English Constitution, 1300–1629 (Minneapolis, 1948), 377–82. Italicized words indicate those passages not found in the original 1215 Magna Carta of King John which were introduced in 1216, 1217, or 1225; numbers in parentheses refer to articles in the 1215 document.

[* ] Source: Richard Thomson, An Historical Essay on the Magna Charta of King John: To which are added, the Great Charter in Latin and English; The Charters of Liberties and Confirmations, Granted by Henry III. and Edward I.; The Original Charter of the Forests; and Various Authentic Instruments Connected with Them; etc. (London, 1829), 131–44.

 


 

2. The Petition of Right (1628)

 

Source: The American Republic: Primary Sources, ed. Bruce Frohnen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).

Copyright: The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Petition of Right (1628)

The Petition exhibited to his Majesty by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, concerning divers Rights and Lib-erties of the Subjects, with the King’s Majesty’s royal answer thereunto in full Parliament

To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty,

Humbly show unto our Sovereign Lord the King, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in Parliament assembled, that whereas it is declared and enacted by a statute made in the time of the reign of King Edward I., commonly called Statutum de Tallagio non concedendo, that no tallage or aid shall be laid or levied by the king or his heirs in this realm, without the good will and assent of the archbishops, bishops, earls, barons, knights, burgesses, and other the freemen of the commonalty of this realm; and by authority of Parliament holden in the five-and-twentieth year of the reign of King Edward III., it is declared and enacted, that from thenceforth no person shall be compelled to make any loans to the king against his will, because such loans were against reason and the franchise of the land; and by other laws of this realm it is provided, that none should be charged by any charge or imposition, called a benevolence, nor by such like charge; by which the statutes before mentioned, and other the good laws and statutes of this realm, your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax, tallage, aid, or other like charge not set by common consent, in Parliament:

  • II. Yet nevertheless of late divers commissions directed to sundry commissioners in several counties, with instructions, have issued; by means whereof your people have been in divers places assembled, and required to lend certain sums of money unto your Majesty, and many of them, upon their refusal so to do, have had an oath administered unto them not warrantable by the laws or statutes of this realm, and have been constrained to become bound and make appearance and give utterance before your Privy Council, and in other places, and others of them have been therefore imprisoned, confined, and sundry other ways molested and disquieted; and divers other charges have been laid and levied upon your people in several counties by lord lieutenants, deputy lieutenants, commissioners for musters, justices of peace and others, by command or direction from your Majesty or your Privy Council, against the laws and free customs of the realm.
  • III. And whereas also by the statute called “The Great Charter of the liberties of England,” it is declared and enacted that no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be disseised of his freeholds or liberties, or his free customs, or be outlawed or exiled, or in any manner destroyed, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.
  • IV. And in the eight-and-twentieth year of the reign of King Edward III., it was declared and enacted by authority of Parliament, that no man, of what estate or condition that he be, should be put out of his lands or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disherited, nor put to death without being brought to answer by due process of law.
  • V. Nevertheless, against the tenor of the said statutes, and other the good laws and statutes of your realm to that end provided, divers of your subjects have of late been imprisoned without any cause showed; and when for their deliverance they were brought before your justices, by your Majesty’s writs of habeas corpus, there to undergo and receive as the court should order, and their keepers commanded to certify the causes of their detainer, no cause was certified, but that they were detained by your Majesty’s special command, signified by the lords of your Privy Council, and yet were returned back to several prisons, without being charged with anything to which they might make answer according to the law.
  • VI. And whereas of late great companies of soldiers and mariners have been dispersed into divers counties of the realm, and the inhabitants against their wills have been compelled to receive them into their houses, and there to suffer them to sojourn against the laws and customs of this realm, and to the great grievance and vexation of the people.
  • VII. And whereas also by authority of Parliament, in the five-and-twentieth year of the reign of King Edward III, it is declared and enacted, that no man shall be forejudged of life or limb against the form of the Great Charter and the law of the land; and by the said Great Charter, and other the laws and statutes of this your realm, no man ought to be adjudged to death but by the laws established in this your realm, either by the customs of the same realm or by acts of Parliament: and whereas no offender of what kind soever is exempted from the proceedings to be used, and punishments to be inflicted by the laws and statutes of this your realm; nevertheless of late time divers commissions under your Majesty’s great seal have issued forth, by which certain persons have been assigned and appointed commissioners with power and authority to proceed within the land, according to the justice of martial law, against such soldiers or mariners, or other dissolute persons joining with them, as should commit any murder, robbery, felony, mutiny, or other outrage or misdemeanour whatsoever, and by such summary course and order as is agreeable to martial law, and as is used in armies in time of war, to proceed to the trial and condemnation of such offenders, and them to cause to be executed and put to death according to the law martial.
  • VIII. By pretext whereof some of your Majesty’s subjects have been by some of the said commissioners put to death, when and where, if by the laws and statutes of the land they had deserved death, by the same laws and statutes also they might, and by no other ought to have been, judged and executed.
  • IX. And also sundry grievous offenders, by colour thereof claiming an exemption, have escaped the punishments due to them by the laws and statutes of this your realm, by reason that divers of your officers and ministers of justice have unjustly refused or forborne to proceed against such offenders according to the same laws and statutes, upon pretence that the said offenders were punishable only by martial law, and by authority of such commissions as aforesaid; which commissioners, and all other of like nature, are wholly and directly contrary to the said laws and statutes of this your realm.
  • X. They do therefore humbly pray your most excellent Majesty, that no man hereafter be compelled to make or yield any gift, loan, benevolence, tax, or such like charge, without common consent by act of Parliament; and that none be called to make, answer, or take such oath, or to give attendance, or be confined, or otherwise molested or disquieted concerning the same or for refusal thereof; and that no freeman, in any such manner as is before mentioned, be imprisoned or detained; and that your Majesty would be pleased to remove the said soldiers and mariners, and that your people may not be so burdened in time to come; and that the foresaid commissions, for proceeding by martial law, may be revoked and annulled; and that hereafter no commissions of like nature may issue forth to any person or persons whatsoever to be executed as aforesaid, lest by colour of them any of your Majesty’s subjects be destroyed or put to death contrary to the laws and franchise of the land.
  • XI. All which they most humbly pray of your most excellent Majesty as their rights and liberties, according to the laws and statutes of this realm; and that your Majesty would also vouchsafe to declare, that the awards, doings, and proceedings, to the prejudice of your people in any of the premises, shall not be drawn hereafter into consequence or example; and that your Majesty would be also graciously pleased, for the further comfort and safety of your people, to declare your royal will and pleasure, that in the things aforesaid all your officers and ministers shall serve you according to the laws and statutes of this realm, as they tender the honour of your Majesty, and the prosperity of this kingdom.

[Which Petition being read the 2nd of June, 1628, the King’s answer was thus delivered unto it.

The King willeth that right be done according to the laws and customs of the realm; and that the statutes be put in due execution, that his subjects may have no cause to complain of any wrong or oppressions, contrary to their just rights and liberties, to the preservation whereof he holds himself as well obliged as of his prerogative.

This form was unusual and was therefore thought to be an evasion; therefore on June 7 the King gave a second answer in the formula usual for approving bills: Soit droit fait comme il est désire.]

 


 

3. The Habeas Corpus Act ((1679)

 

Source: Appendix to Francis Lieber, On Civil Liberty and Self-Government, 3rd revised edition, ed. Theodore D. Woolsey (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1883).

Copyright: The text is in the public domain.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

APPENDIX VI. an act for the better securing the liberty of the subject, and for prevention of imprisonments beyond the seas, commonly called “the habeas corpus act.”1 31 ch. ii., Ch. 2, may, 1679.

Whereas great delays have been used by sheriffs, gaolers and other officers, to whose custody any of the king's subjects have been committed, for criminal or supposed criminal matters, in making returns of writs of habeas corpus, to them directed, by standing out on alias or pluries habeas corpus, and sometimes more, and by other shifts to avoid their yielding obedience to such writs, contrary to their duty and the known laws of the land, whereby many of the king's subjects have been, and hereafter may be, long detained in prison, in such cases where by law they are bailable, to their great charge and vexation:

II. For the prevention whereof, and the more speedy relief of all persons imprisoned for any such criminal or supposed criminal matters; (2) Be it enacted, by the king's most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority thereof, That whensoever any person or persons shall bring any habeas corpus directed unto any sheriff or sheriffs, gaoler, minister, or other person whatsoever, for any person in his or their custody, and the said writ shall be served upon the said officer, or left at the gaol or prison with any of the under-officers, under-keepers, or deputy of the said officers or keepers, that the said officer or officers, his or their under-officers, under-keepers or deputies, shall within three days after the service thereof, as aforesaid (unless the commitment aforesaid were for treason or felony plainly and especially expressed in the warrant of commitment), upon payment or tender of the charges of bringing the said prisoner, to be ascertained by the judge or court that awarded the same, and endorsed upon the said writ, not exceeding 12 pence per mile, and upon security given by his own bond to pay the charges of carrying back the prisoner, if he shall be remanded by the court or judge to which he shall be brought, according to the true intent of this present act, and that he will not make any escape by the way, make return of such writ; (3) and bring, or cause to be brought, the body of the party so committed or restrained, unto or before the lord chancellor, or lord keeper of the great seal of England, for the time being, or the judges or barons of the said court, from whence the said writ shall issue, or unto and before such other person or persons before whom the said writ is made returnable, according to the command thereof; (4) and shall then likewise certify the true causes of his detainer or imprisonment, unless the commitment of the said party be in any place beyond the distance of twenty miles from the place or places where such court or person is, or shall be residing; and if beyond the distance of 20 miles, and not above 100 miles, then within the space of ten days, and if beyond the distance of 100 miles, then within the space of 20 days after such delivery aforesaid, and not longer.

III. And to the intent that no sheriff, gaoler or other officer may pretend ignorance of the import of any such writ; (2) Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all such writs shall be marked in this manner: “Per statutum, tricesimo primo Caroli secundi Regis,” and shall be signed by the person that awards the same; (3) and if any person or persons shall be or stand committed or detained as aforesaid, for any crime, unless for felony or treason, plainly expressed in the warrant of commitment, in the vacation time and out of term it shall and may be lawful to and for the person or persons so committed or detained (other than persons convict or in execution by legal process), or any one in his or their behalf, to appeal or complain to the lord chancellor or lord keeper, or any one of his majesty's justices, either of the one bench or of the other, or the barons of the exchequer of the degree of the coif; (4) and the said lord chancellor, lord keeper, justices or barons, or any of them, upon view of the copy or copies of the warrant or warrants of commitment and detainer, or otherwise upon oath made that such copy or copies were denied to be given by such person or persons in whose custody the prisoner or prisoners is or are detained, are hereby authorized and required, upon request made in writing by such person or persons, or any on his, her, or their behalf, attested and subscribed by two witnesses who were present at the delivery of the same, to award and grant an habeas corpus, under the seal of such court whereof he shall then be one of the judges, (5) to be directed to the officer or officers in whose custody the party so committed or detained shall be, returnable immediate before the said lord chancellor or lord keeper, or such justice, baron, or any other justice or baron of the degree of the coif, of any of the said courts; (6) and upon service thereof as aforesaid, the officer or officers, his or their under-officer or under-officers, under-keeper or under-keepers, or their deputy, in whose custody the party is so committed or detained, shall within the time respectively before limited, bring such prisoner or prisoners before the said lord chancellor, or lord keeper, or such justices, barons, or one of them, before whom the said writ is made returnable, and in case of his absence, before any other of them, with the return of such writ and the true causes of the commitment or detainer; (7) and thereupon, within two days after the party shall be brought before them, the said lord chancellor or lord keeper, or such justice or baron before whom the prisoner shall be brought as aforesaid, shall discharge the said prisoner from his imprisonment, taking his or their recognizance, with one or more surety or sureties, in any sum according to their discretions, having regard to the quality of the prisoner and the nature of the offence, for his or their appearance in the court of king's bench the term following, or at the next assizes, sessions, or general gaol delivery, of or for such county, city or place where the commitment was, or where the offence was committed, or in such other court where the said offence is properly cognizable, as the case shall require, and then shall certify the said writ with the return thereof, and the said recognizance or recognizances into the said court where such appearance is to be made; (8) unless it shall appear to the said lord chancellor, or lord keeper, or justice or justices, or baron or barons, that the party so committed is detained upon a legal process, order or warrant, out of some court that hath jurisdiction of criminal matters, or by some warrant signed and sealed with the hand and seal of any of the said justices or barons, or some justice or justices of the peace, for such matters or offences for the which by the law the prisoner is not bailable.

IV. Provided always, and be it enacted, That if any person shall have wilfully neglected, by the space of two whole terms after his imprisonment, to pray a habeas corpus for his enlargement, such person so wilfully neglecting shall not have any habeas corpus to be granted in vacation time, in pursuance of this act.

V. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That if any officer or officers, his or their under-officer or under-officers, under-keeper or under-keepers, or deputy, shall neglect or refuse to make the returns aforesaid, or to bring the body or bodies of the prisoner or prisoners according to the command of the said writ, within the respective times aforesaid, or upon demand made by the prisoner or person in his behalf, shall refuse to deliver, or within the space of six hours after demand, shall not deliver to the person so demanding, a true copy of the warrant or warrants of commitment and detainer of such prisoner, which he and they are hereby required to deliver accordingly; all and every the head gaolers and keepers of such person, and such other person in whose custody the prisoner shall be detained, shall for the first offence forfeit to the prisoner or party grieved the sum of £100; (2) and for the second offence the sum of £200, and shall and is hereby made incapable to hold or execute his said office; (3) the said penalties to be recovered by the prisoner or party grieved, his executors and administrators, against such offender, his executors or administrators, by any action of debt, suit, bill, plaint or information, in any of the king's courts at Westminster, wherein no essoin, protection, privilege, injunction, wager of law, or stay of prosecution by “Non vult ulterius prosequi,” or otherwise, shall be admitted or allowed, or any more than one imparlance; (4) and any recovery or judgment at the suit of any party grieved, shall be a sufficient conviction for the first offence; and any after recovery or judgment at the suit of a party grieved, for any offence after the first judgment, shall be a sufficient conviction to bring the officers or person within the said penalty for the second offence.

VI. And for the prevention of unjust vexation by reiterated commitments for the same offence; (2) Be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That no person or persons, which shall be delivered or set at large upon any habeas corpus, shall at any time hereafter be again imprisoned or committed for the same offence, by any person or persons whatsoever, other than by the legal order and process of such court wherein he or they shall be bound by recognizance to appear, or other court having jurisdiction of the cause; (3) and if any other person or persons shall knowingly, contrary to this act, recommit or imprison, or knowingly procure or cause to be recommitted or imprisoned, for the same offence or pretended offence, any person or persons delivered or set at large as aforesaid, or be knowingly aiding or assisting therein, then he or they shall forfeit to the prisoner or party grieved, the sum of £500; any colorable pretence or variation in the warrant or warrants of commitment notwithstanding, to be recovered as aforesaid.

VII. Provided always, and be it further enacted, That if any person or persons shall be committed for high treason or felony, plainly and specially expressed in the warrant of commitment, upon his prayer or petition in open court, the first week of the term, or first day of the sessions of oyer and terminer or general gaol delivery, to be brought to his trial, shall not be indicted some time in the next term, sessions of oyer and terminer or general gaol delivery, after such commitment; it shall and may be lawful to and for the judges of the court of king's bench, and justices of oyer and terminer or general gaol delivery, and they are hereby required, upon motion to them made in open court the last day of the term, sessions or gaol delivery, either by the prisoner or any one in his behalf, to set at liberty the prisoner upon bail, unless it appear to the judges and justices, upon oath made, that the witnesses for the king could not be produced the same term, sessions or general gaol delivery; (2) and if any person or persons committed as aforesaid, upon his prayer or petition in open court the first week of the term or the first day of the sessions of oyer and terminer and general gaol delivery, to be brought to his trial, shall not be indicted and tried the second term, sessions of oyer and terminer or general gaol delivery, after his commitment, or upon his trial shall be acquitted, he shall be discharged from his imprisonment.

VIII. Provided always, That nothing in this act shall extend to discharge out of prison any person charged in debt, or other action, or with process in any civil cause, but that after he shall be discharged of his imprisonment for such his criminal offence, he shall be kept in custody according to the law for such other suit.

IX. Provided always, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons, subjects of this realm, shall be committed to any prison, or in custody of any officer or officers whatsoever, for any criminal or supposed criminal matter, that the said person shall not be removed from the said prison and custody, into the custody of any other officer or officers; (2) unless it be by habeas corpus or some other legal writ; or where the prisoner is delivered to the constable or other inferior officer, to carry such prisoner to some common gaol; (3) or where any person is sent by order of any judge of assize, or justice of the peace, to any common workhouse or house of correction; (4) or where the prisoner is removed from one place or prison to another within the same county, in order to his or her trial or discharge in due course of law; (5) or in case of sudden fire or infection, or other necessity; (6) and if any person or persons shall, after such commitment aforesaid, make out and sign or countersign any warrant or warrants for such removal aforesaid, contrary to this act; as well he that makes or signs or countersigns such warrant or warrants, as the officer or officers that obey or execute the same, shall suffer and incur the pains and forfeitures in this act before mentioned, both for the first and second offence respectively, to be recovered in manner aforesaid by the party grieved.

X. Provided also, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for any prisoner and prisoners as aforesaid, to move and obtain his or their habeas corpus, as well out of the high court of chancery or court of exchequer as out of the courts of king's bench or common pleas, or either of them; (2) and if the said lord chancellor or lord keeper, or any judge or judges, baron or barons, for the time being, of the degree of the coif, of any of the courts aforesaid, in the vacation time, upon view of the copy or copies of the warrant or warrants of commitment or detainer, upon oath made that such copy or copies were denied as aforesaid, shall deny any writ of habeas corpus, by this act required to be granted, being moved for as aforesaid, they shall severally forfeit to the prisoner or party grieved, the sum of £500, to be recovered in manner aforesaid.

XI. And be it declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid, That an habeas corpus, according to the true intent and meaning of this act, may be directed and run into any county Palatine, the Cinque Ports, or other privileged places within the kingdom of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick upon Tweed, and the islands of Jersey or Guernsey; any law or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.

XII. And for preventing illegal imprisonments in prisons beyond the seas; (2) Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no subject of this realm, that now is or hereafter shall be an inhabitant or resiant of this kingdom of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick upon Tweed, shall or may be sent prisoner into Scotland, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, Tangier, or into parts, garrisons, islands, or places, beyond the seas, which are or at any time hereafter shall be within or without the dominions of his majesty, his heirs or successors; (3) and that every such imprisonment is hereby enacted and adjudged to be illegal; (4) and that if any of the said subjects now is or hereafter shall be so imprisoned, every such person and persons so imprisoned, shall and may for every such imprisonment maintain, by virtue of this act, an action or actions of false imprisonment, in any of his majesty's courts of record, against the person or persons by whom he or she shall be so committed, detained, imprisoned, sent prisoner or transported, contrary to the true meaning of this act, and against all or any person or persons that shall frame, contrive, write, seal or countersign any warrant or writing for such commitment, detainer, imprisonment, or transportation, or shall be advising, aiding, or assisting in the same, or any of them; (5) and the plaintiff in every such action shall have judgment to recover his treble costs, besides damages, which damages so to be given shall not be less than £500; (6) in which action no delay, stay or stop of proceeding by rule, order or command, nor no injunction, protection or privilege whatsoever, nor any other than one imparlance, shall be allowed, excepting such rule of the court wherein such action shall depend, made in open court, as shall be thought in justice necessary for special cause to be expressed in said rule; (7) and the person or persons who shall knowingly frame, contrive, write, seal or countersign any warrant for such commitment, detainer, or transportation, or shall so commit, detain, imprison, or transport any person or persons, contrary to this act, or be any ways advising, aiding or assisting therein, being lawfully convicted thereof, shall be disabled from thenceforth to bear any office of trust or profit within the said realm of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick upon Tweed, or any of the islands, territories or dominions thereuntc belonging; (8) and shall incur and sustain the pains, penalties and forfeitures limited, ordained and provided in and by the statute of provision and præmunire, made in the sixteenth year of king Richard the Second; (9) and be incapable of any pardon from the king, his heirs or successors, of the said forfeitures, losses or disabilities, or any of them.

XIII. Provided always, That nothing in this act shall extend to give benefit to any person who shall by contract in writing agree with any merchant or owner of any plantation, or other person whatsoever, to be transported to any parts beyond the seas, and receive earnest upon such agreement, although that afterwards such person shall renounce such contract.

XIV. Provided always, and be it enacted, That if any person or persons lawfully convicted of any felony, shall in open court pray to be transported beyond the seas, and the court shall think fit to leave him or them in prison for that purpose, such person or persons may be transported into any parts beyond the seas; this act, or anything herein contained, to the contrary notwithstanding.

XV. Provided also, and be it enacted, That nothing herein contained shall be deemed, construed or taken to extend to the imprisonment of any person before the first day of June, one thousand six hundred and seventy-nine, or to anything advised, procured or otherwise done relating to such imprisonment; anything herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

XVI. Provided also, That if any person or persons at any time resiant in this realm, shall have committed any capital offence in Scotland or in Ireland, or in any of the islands or foreign plantations of the king, his heirs or successors, where he or she ought to be tried for such offence, such person or persons may be sent to such place, there to receive such trial in such manner as the same might have been used before the making of this act; anything herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

XVII. Provided also, and be it enacted, That no person or persons shall be sued, impleaded, molested or troubled for any offence against this act, unless the party offending be sued or impleaded for the same within two years at the most, after such time wherein the offence shall be committed, in case the party grieved shall not be then in prison; and if he shall be in prison, then within the space of two years after the decease of the person imprisoned, or his or her delivery out of prison, which shall first happen.

XVIII. And to the intent no person may avoid his trial at the assizes or general gaol delivery, by procuring his removal before the assizes, at such time as he cannot be brought back to receive his trial there; (2) Be it enacted, that after the assizes proclaimed for that county where the prisoner is detained, no person shall be removed from the common gaol upon any habeas corpus granted in pursuance of this act, but upon any such habeas corpus shall be brought before the judge of assize in open court, who is thereupon to do what to justice shall appertain.

XIX. Provided nevertheless, That after the assizes are ended, any person or persons detained may have his or her habeas corpus according to the direction and intention of this act.

XX. And be it also enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any information, suit or action shall be brought or exhibited against any person or persons for any offence committed or to be committed against the form of this law, it shall be lawful for such defendants to plead the general issue, that they are not guilty or that they owe nothing, and to give such special matter in evidence to the jury that shall try the same, which matter being pleaded had been good and sufficient matter in law to have discharged the said defendant or defendants against the said information, suit or action, and the same matter shall be then as available to him or them, to all intents and purposes, as if he or they had sufficiently pleaded, set forth or alleged the same matter in bar, or discharge of such information, suit or action.

XXI. And because many times persons charged with petty treason or felony, or accessories thereunto, are committed upon suspicion only, whereupon they are bailable or not, according as the circumstances making out that suspicion are more or less weighty, which are best known to the justices of the peace that committed the persons, and have the examination before them, or to other justices of the peace in the county; (2) Be it therefore enacted, That where any person shall appear to be committed by any judge or justice of the peace, and charged as accessory before the fact to any petty treason or felony, or upon suspicion thereof, or with suspicion of petty treason or felony, which petty treason or felony shall be plainly and specially expressed in the warrant of commitment, that such person shall not be removed or bailed by virtue of this act, or in any other manner than they might have been before the making of this act.

[1.]Copied from the Statute at Large, by Danby Pickering, Esq., edit. 1763, vol. 8, p. 432.

 


 

4. The English Bill of Rights (1689)

 

Source: James McClellan's Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd ed.) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).

Copyright: The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

The English Bill of Rights (1689)

AN ACT FOR DECLARING THE RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES OF THE SUBJECT, AND SETTLING THE SUCCESSION OF 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 Thirteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-eight, 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, in the words following, viz.:—

“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 the laws and liberties of this kingdom:—

(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 and to 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 this 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 causes.

(9.) And whereas of late years, partial, corrupt, and unqualified persons have been returned, and served on juries in trials, and particularly diverse 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 subjects.

(11.) And excessive fines have been imposed; and illegal and cruel punishments 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 Almighty 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 diverse 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, universities, 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 two-and-twentieth day of January, in this year one thousand six hundred eighty and eight, in order to such an establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties might not again be in danger of being subverted; upon which letters elections have 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 laws, 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 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 against law.

(7.) That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law.

(8.) That 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 and unusual punishments inflicted.

(11.) That jurors ought to be duly impanelled 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 the amending, strengthening, and preserving of the laws, Parliament ought to be held frequently.

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 any wise to be drawn hereafter into consequence or example.

To which demand of their rights they are particularly encouraged by the declaration of his Highness the Prince of Orange, as being the only means for obtaining a full redress and remedy therein.

Having therefore an entire confidence that his said Highness the Prince of Orange will perfect the deliverance so far advanced by him, and will still preserve them from the violation of their rights, which they have here asserted, and from all other attempts upon their religion, rights, and liberties,

II. The said Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, assembled at Westminster, do resolve, that William and Mary, Prince and Princess of Orange, be, and be declared, King and Queen of England, France, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, to hold the crown and royal dignity of the said kingdoms and dominions to them the said Prince and Princess during their lives, and the life of the survivor of them; and that the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in, and executed by, the said Crown and royal dignity of the said kingdoms and dominions to be to the heirs of the body of the said Princess; and for default of such issue to the Princess Anne of Denmark, and the heirs of her body; and for default of such issue to the heirs of the body of the said Prince of Orange. And the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, do pray the said Prince and Princess to accept the same accordingly.

III. And that the oaths hereafter mentioned be taken by all persons of whom the oaths of allegiance and supremacy might be required by law, instead of them; and that the said oaths of allegiance and supremacy be abrogated.

“I, A. B., do sincerely promise and swear, That I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to their Majesties King William and Queen Mary:

“So help me God.”

“I, A. B., do swear, That I do from my heart abhor, detest, and abjure as impious and heretical that damnable doctrine and position, that Princes excommunicated or deprived by the Pope, or any authority of the See of Rome, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects, or any other whatsoever. And I do declare, that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, preeminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm:

“So help me God!”

IV. Upon which their said Majesties did accept the Crown and royal dignity of the kingdoms of England, France, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, according to the resolution and desire of the said Lords and Commons contained in the said declaration.

V. And thereupon their Majesties were pleased, that the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, being the two Houses of Parliament, should continue to sit, and with their Majesties’ royal concurrence make effectual provision for the settlement of the religion, laws and liberties of this kingdom, so that the same for the future might not be in danger again of being subverted, to which the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, did agree and proceed to act accordingly.

VI. Now in pursuance of the premises, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in Parliament assembled, for the ratifying, confirming, and establishing the said declaration, and the articles, clauses, matters, and things therein contained, by the force of a law made in due form by authority of Parliament, do pray that it may be declared and enacted, That all and singular the rights and liberties asserted and claimed in the said declaration are the true, ancient, and indubitable rights and liberties of the people of this kingdom, and so shall be esteemed, allowed, adjudged, deemed, and taken to be, and that all and every of the particulars aforesaid shall be firmly and strictly holden and observed, as they are expressed in the said declaration; and all officers and ministers whatsoever shall serve their Majesties and their successors according to the same in all times to come.

VII. And the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, seriously considering how it hath pleased Almighty God, in his marvellous providence, and merciful goodness to this nation, to provide and preserve their said Majesties’ royal persons most happily to reign over us upon the throne of their ancestors, for which they render unto Him from the bottom of their hearts their humblest thanks and praises, do truly, firmly, assuredly, and in the sincerity of their hearts, think, and do hereby recognize, acknowledge, and declare, that King James II, having abdicated the Government, and their Majesties having accepted the Crown and royal dignity aforesaid, their said Majesties did become, were, are, and of right ought to be, by the laws of this realm, our sovereign liege Lord and Lady, King and Queen of England, France, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, in and to whose princely persons the royal state, crown, and dignity of the same realms, with all honours, styles, titles, regalties, prerogatives, powers, jurisdictions, and authorities to the same belonging and appertaining, are most fully, rightfully, and entirely invested and incorporated, united, and annexed.

VIII. And for preventing all questions and divisions in this realm, by reason of any pretended titles to the Crown, and for preserving a certainty in the succession thereof, in and upon which the unity, peace, tranquility, and safety of this nation doth, under God, wholly consist and depend, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, do beseech their Majesties that it may be enacted, established, and declared, that the Crown and regal government of the said kingdoms and dominions, with all and singular the premises thereunto belonging and appertaining, shall be and continue to their said Majesties, and the survivor of them, during their lives, and the life of the survivor of them. And that the entire, perfect, and full exercise of the regal power and government be only in, and executed by, his Majesty, in the names of both their Majesties, during their joint lives; and after their deceases the said Crown and premises shall be and remain to the heirs of the body of her Majesty: and for default of such issue, to her Royal Highness the Princess Anne of Denmark, and the heirs of her body; and for default of such issue, to the heirs of the body of his said Majesty: And thereunto the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, do, in the name of all the people aforesaid, most humbly and faithfully submit themselves, their heirs and posterities, forever: and do faithfully promise, that they will stand to, maintain, and defend their said Majesties, and also the limitation and succession of the Crown herein specified and contained, to the utmost of their powers, with their lives and estates, against all persons whatsoever that shall attempt anything to the contrary.

IX. And whereas it hath been found by experience, that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom, to be governed by a Popish prince, or by any king or queen marrying a Papist, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, do further pray that it may be enacted, That all and every person and persons that is, are, or shall be reconciled to, or shall hold communion with, the See or Church of Rome, or shall profess the Popish religion, or shall marry a Papist, shall be excluded, and be for ever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the Crown and Government of this realm, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, or any part of the same, or to have, use, or exercise any regal power, authority, or jurisdiction within the same; and in all and every such case or cases the people of these realms shall be and are hereby absolved of their allegiance; and the said Crown and Government shall from time to time descend to, and be enjoyed by, such person or persons, being Protestants, as should have inherited and enjoyed the same, in case the said person or persons so reconciled, holding communion, or professing, or marrying, as aforesaid, were naturally dead.

X. And that every King and Queen of this realm, who at any time hereafter shall come to and succeed in the Imperial Crown of this kingdom, shall, on the first day of the meeting of the first Parliament, next after his or her coming to the Crown, sitting in his or her throne in the House of Peers, in the presence of the Lords and Commons therein assembled, or at his or her coronation, before such person or persons who shall administer the coronation oath to him or her, at the time of his or her taking the said oath (which shall first happen), make, subscribe, and audibly repeat the declaration mentioned in the statute made in the thirteenth year of the reign of King Charles II., intituled “An act for the more effectual preserving the King’s person and Government, by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament.” But if it shall happen, that such King or Queen, upon his or her succession to the Crown of this realm, shall be under the age of twelve years, then every such King or Queen shall make, subscribe, and audibly repeat the said declaration at his or her coronation, or the first day of meeting of the first Parliament as aforesaid, which shall first happen after such King or Queen shall have attained the said age of twelve years.

XI. All which their Majesties are contented and pleased shall be declared, enacted, and established by authority of this present Parliament, and shall stand, remain, and be the law of this realm for ever; and the same are by their said Majesties, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, declared, enacted, or established accordingly.

XII. And be it further declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after this present session of Parliament, no dispensation by non obstante of or to any statute, or any part thereof, shall be allowed, but that the same shall be held void and of no effect, except a dispensation be allowed of in such statute, and except in such cases as shall be specially provided for by one or more bill or bills to be passed during this present session of Parliament.

XIII. Provided that no charter, or grant, or pardon granted before the three-and-twentieth day of October, in the year of our Lord One thousand six hundred eighty-nine, shall be any ways impeached or invalidated by this Act, by that the same shall be and remain of the same force and effect in law, and no other, than as if this Act had never been made.

The institutions of America, which were a subject only of curiosity to monarchical France, ought to be a subject of study for republican France. Though it is no longer a question whether we shall have a monarchy or a republic in France, we are yet to learn … whether it shall be … pacific or warlike, liberal or oppressive, a republic that menaces the sacred rights of property and family, or one that honors and protects them both. … Let us look to America … less to find examples than instruction; let us borrow from her principles, rather than the details, of her laws. The laws of the French republic may be, and ought to be in many cases, different from those which govern the United States; but the principles on which the American constitutions rest, those principles of order, of the balance of powers, of true liberty, of deep and sincere respect for right, are indispensable to all republics.

 


 

5. The Declaration of Independence (1776)

 

Source:A chapter in Becker's The Declaration of Independence: A Study on the History of Political Ideas (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1922).

Copyright: The text is in the public domain.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

CHAPTER IV. DRAFTING THE DECLARATION

The committee appointed June 11, 1776, to prepare a declaration of independence consisted of Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston. In his Autobiography,1 written in 1805, and again in a letter to Pickering, written in 1822, Adams says that the Committee of Five decided upon “the articles of which the declaration was to consist,” and it then appointed Jefferson and himself a subcommittee to “draw them up in form.” When the sub-committee met, he says,

Jefferson proposed to me to make the draught, I said I will not; You shall do it. Oh no! Why will you not? You ought to do it. I will not. Why? Reasons enough. What can be your reasons? Reason 1st. You are a Virginian and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason 2nd. I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular; you are very much otherwise. Reason 3rd. You can write ten times better than I can. ‘Well,’ said Jefferson, ‘if you are decided I will do as well as I can.’ Very well, when you have drawn it up we will have a meeting.2

Jefferson’s account is different. Writing to Madison in 1823, he says:

Mr. Adams memory has led him into unquestionable error. At the age of 88 and 47 years after the transactions,….this is not wonderful. Nor should I….venture to oppose my memory to his, were it not supported by written notes, taken by myself at the moment and on the spot…. The Committee of 5 met, no such thing as a sub-committee was proposed, but they unanimously pressed on myself alone to undertake the draught. I consented; I drew it; but before I reported it to the committee I communicated it separately to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams requesting their corrections;….and you have seen the original paper now in my hands, with the corrections of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams interlined in their own handwriting. Their alterations were two or three only, and merely verbal. I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the committee, and from them, unaltered to the Congress.1

This ‘original paper’ of which Jefferson speaks, ‘with the corrections of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams interlined in their own handwriting,’ is commonly known as the Rough Draft. It has been preserved, and may now be seen in the Library of Congress in Washington, or, in excellent facsimile, in Mr. Hazelton’s indispensable work on the Declaration of Independence.1 A more interesting paper, for those who are curious about such things, is scarcely to be found in the literature of American history. But the inquiring student, coming to it for the first time, would be astonished, perhaps disappointed, if he expected to find in it nothing more than the ‘original paper….with the corrections of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams interlined in their own handwriting.’ He would find, for example, on the first page alone nineteen corrections, additions, or erasures besides those in the handwriting of Adams and Franklin. It would probably seem to him at first sight a bewildering document, with many phrases crossed out, numerous interlineations, and whole paragraphs enclosed in brackets. Can this be the ‘original paper’ which Jefferson refers to? Can this be the Rough Draft which Jefferson submitted to Franklin and Adams?

Yes and no. Jefferson seemed not to be aware that future students of history would wish to see the ‘original paper’ just as he wrote it; on the contrary, this precious sheet was to him a rough draft indeed, upon which he could conveniently indicate whatever changes might be made in the process of getting the Declaration through the Committee of Five, and afterward through Congress. The Rough Draft in its present form is thus the ‘original paper,’ together with all, or nearly all, the corrections, additions, and erasures made between the day on which Jefferson submitted it to Franklin and Adams and the 4 of July when Congress adopted the Declaration in its final form. The inquiring student, if he has the right kind of curiosity, will not after all be disappointed to learn this; on the contrary, he will be delighted at the prospect of reading, in this single document, with some difficulty it is true, the whole history of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

In this history there are obviously three stages of importance: the Declaration as originally written by Jefferson; the Declaration as submitted by the Committee of Five to Congress; the Declaration as finally adopted. The Declaration as finally adopted is to be found in the Journals of Congress; but that ‘fair copy’ which Jefferson speaks of as the report of the Committee of Five has not been preserved;1 while the original Rough Draft, as we have seen, seems to have been used by Jefferson as a memorandum upon which to note the later changes. How then can we reconstruct the text of the Declaration as it read when Jefferson first submitted it to Franklin and Adams? For example, Jefferson first wrote “we hold these truths to be sacred &undeniable.” In the Rough Draft as it now reads, the words “sacred &undeniable” are crossed out, and “self-evident” is written in above the line. Was this correction made by Jefferson in process of composition? Or by the Committee of Five? Or by Congress? There is nothing in the Rough Draft itself to tell us. As it happens, John Adams made a copy of the Declaration which still exists.1 Comparing this copy with the corrected Rough Draft, we find that it incorporates only a very few of the corrections: one of the two corrections which Adams himself wrote into the Rough Draft; one, or possibly two, of the five corrections which Franklin wrote in; and eight verbal changes apparently in Jefferson’s hand. This indicates that Adams must have made his copy from the Rough Draft when it was first submitted to him; and we may assume that the eight verbal changes, if in Jefferson’s hand, which we find incorporated in Adams’ copy, were there when Jefferson first submitted the Draft to Adams — that is, they were corrections which Jefferson made in process of composing the Rough Draft in the first instance. With Adams’ copy in hand it is therefore possible to reconstruct the Rough Draft as it probably read when first submitted to Franklin.

THE ROUGH DRAFT
(as it probably read when Jefferson first submitted it to Franklin.)1

A Declaration by the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress Assembled.

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto remained, & to assume among the powers of the earth the equal & independent station to which the laws of nature & of nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the change.

We hold these truths to be self-evident;1 that all men are created equal & independent; that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable,1 among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these ends, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government shall become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, & to institute new government, laying it’s foundation on such principles & organizing it’s powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety & happiness. prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light & transient causes:1 and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. but when a long train of abuses & usurpations, begun at a distinguished period, & pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them to arbitrary power, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government & to provide new guards for their future security. such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; & such is now the necessity which constrains them to expunge their former systems of government. the history of his present majesty is a history of unremitting injuries and usurpations, among which no one fact stands single or solitary to contradict the uniform tenor of the rest, all of which have in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. to prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world, for the truth of which we pledge a faith yet unsullied1 by falsehood.

he has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good:

he has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate1 & pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has neglected utterly to attend to them.

he has refused to pass other laws for the accomodation of large districts of people unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them & formidable to tyrants only:

he has dissolved Representative houses repeatedly & continually, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people:

he has refused for a long space of time to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise, the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, & convulsions within:

he has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither; & raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands:

he has suffered the administration of justice totally to cease in some of these colonies, refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers:

he has made our judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and amount of their salaries:

he has erected a multitude of new offices by a self-assumed power, & sent hither swarms of officers to harrass our people & eat out their substance:

he has kept among us in times of peace standing armies & ships of war:

he has affected to render the military, independent of & superior to the civil power:

he has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions1 and unacknoleged by our laws; giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation, for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

for protecting them by a mock-trial from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

for imposing taxes on us without our consent;

for depriving us of the benefits of trial by jury;

for transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses;

for taking away our charters, & altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;

for suspending our own legislatures & declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever:

he has abdicated government here, withdrawing his governors, & declaring us out of his allegiance & protection:

he has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns & destroyed the lives of our people:

he is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation & tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty & perfidy unworthy the head of a civilized nation:

he has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, & conditions of existence:

he has incited treasonable insurrections of our fellow citizens, with the allurements1 of forfeiture & confiscation of our property:

he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights2 of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. [determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold,] he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce determining to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold:3 : and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

in every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered by repeated injury.1 a prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a people who mean to be free. future ages will scarce believe that the hardiness of one man, adventured within the short compass of twelve years only, on so many acts of tyranny without a mask, over a people fostered & fixed in principles2 of liberty.

Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. we have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend a jurisdiction over these our states. we have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration & settlement here, no one of which could warrant so strange a pretension: that these were effected at the expence of our own blood & treasure, unassisted by the wealth or the strength of Great Britain: that in constituting indeed our several forms of government, we had adopted one common king, thereby laying a foundation for perpetual league & amity with them: but that submission to their parliament was no part of our constitution, nor ever in idea, if history may be credited: and we appealed to their native justice & magnanimity, as well as to the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations which were likely to interrupt our correspondence & connection. they too have been deaf to the voice of justice & of consanguinity, & when occasions have been given them, by the regular course of their laws, of removing from their councils the disturbers of our harmony, they have by their free election re-established them in power. at this very time too they are permitting their chief magistrate to send over not only soldiers of our common blood, but Scotch & foreign mercenaries to invade & deluge us in blood. these facts have given the last stab to agonizing affection, and manly spirit bids us to renounce forever these unfeeling brethren. we must endeavor to forget our former love for them, and to hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends. we might have been a free & a great people together; but a communication of grandeur & of freedom it seems is below their dignity. be it so, since they will have it: the road to happiness & to glory is open to us too; we will climb it apart from them, and acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our eternal separation!

We therefore the representatives of the United States of America in General Congress assembled do, in the name & by authority1 of the good people of these states, reject and renounce all allegiance & subjection to the kings of Great Britain & all others who may hereafter claim by, through, or under them; we utterly dissolve and break off all political connection which may have heretofore subsisted between us & the people or parliament of Great Britain; and finally we do assert and declare these colonies to be free and independent states, and that as free & independent states they shall hereafter have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, & to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, &our sacred honour.

Such, substantially, must have been the form of the Rough Draft when Jefferson first submitted it to Franklin. Between that day, whenever it was, and the 28 of June when the report of the Committee of Five was presented to Congress (it will presently appear how the report of the Committee can be approximately reconstructed), a total of twenty-six alterations were made in the Rough Draft. Twenty-three of these were changes in phraseology — two in Adams’ hand, five in Franklin’s, and sixteen apparently in Jefferson’s. Besides these verbal changes, three entirely new paragraphs were added. If this be true, what are we to make of Jefferson’s account of the matter in his letter to Madison? In this letter, quoted above, Jefferson says that having prepared the Draft he submitted it to “Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams requesting their corrections;….their alterations were two or three only, and merely verbal. I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the committee, and from them, unaltered to the Congress.” Jefferson here asserts that no changes were made in the Committee, and he implies that none except those in the handwriting of Franklin and Adams were made before the ‘fair copy’ was presented to the Committee. Either in the assertion or in the implication Jefferson’s statement must be inaccurate.

Jefferson was probably right in the assertion that no changes were made in the Committee. He tells us that he submitted the Draft to Franklin and Adams first because they were the men whose corrections he most wished to have the benefit of. Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams were themselves a majority of the Committee; and if the draft was satisfactory to them it is quite likely that it would pass the Committee without change. Besides, there is no evidence to contradict Jefferson’s statement on this point. What I suppose then is that the twenty-six alterations were all made before the ‘fair copy’ (or the Rough Draft, if Jefferson was mistaken in thinking there was a ‘fair copy’) was submitted to the Committee, and that these changes were the result of at least two, perhaps more, consultations between Jefferson and Franklin, and between Jefferson and Adams. Jefferson must have submitted the Draft to both Franklin and Adams at least twice, because the copy which Adams took contains only two of the five corrections which Franklin wrote into the Draft, and only one of the two which Adams himself wrote in. It was after Adams made his copy that he wrote in the second of his own corrections, that Franklin wrote in three of his corrections, and that Jefferson wrote in the three new paragraphs and sixteen verbal changes. Now there is nothing to show whether the corrections in Jefferson’s hand were made before or after the later corrections by Franklin and Adams. I think we may assume that Jefferson, having written in three new paragraphs and sixteen verbal changes, would scarcely venture to make a ‘fair copy’ for the Committee, or, if there was no fair copy, would he be likely to present the Rough Draft thus corrected to the Committee, without having first submitted the Draft thus amended to Franklin and Adams for their final approval. Is it not then likely that it was on the occasion of this final submission of the corrected Draft to Franklin and Adams that they wrote in the corrections which appear in their hands but are not in the copy which Adams made?

The order of events in correcting the Rough Draft cannot in most respects be known; but I should guess that it was somewhat as follows. Having prepared the Draft, in which were eight slight verbal corrections made in process of composition, Jefferson first submitted it to Franklin. Franklin then wrote in one, and probably two, of the five corrections that appear in his hand. Where the Draft read, “and amount of their salaries,” Franklin changed it to read, “and the amount & payment of their salaries.” A second correction by Franklin was probably made at this time also. Jefferson originally wrote “reduce them to arbitrary power.” Franklin’s correction reads “reduce them under absolute Despotism.” But Adams’ copy reads “reduce them under absolute power,” which is neither the original nor the corrected reading, but a combination of both. Adams may of course have made a mistake in copying (he made a number of slight errors in copying); or it may be that at this time Franklin wrote in “under absolute” in place of “to arbitrary,” and that not until later, after Adams made his copy, was “power” crossed out and “Despotism” written in. In the original manuscript, “Despotism” appears to have been written with a different pen, or with heavier ink, than “under Absolute,” as if written at a different time. At all events, not more than two of Franklin’s five corrections had been made when Jefferson submitted the Draft to Adams. Adams then wrote in one of his two corrections: where Jefferson had written “for a long space of time,” Adams added “after such dissolutions.” Having made this correction, Adams made his copy of the Draft as it then read, and, we may suppose, returned the Draft to Jefferson.

After receiving the Draft from Adams, Jefferson wrote in, at least the greater part of the sixteen verbal changes, and three new paragraphs. The verbal changes he probably made on his own initiative; they were mere improvements in phraseology, such as would be likely to occur to him upon rereading. He may likewise have added the three new paragraphs on his own initiative; but I think it extremely likely that Adams suggested the addition of the paragraph about calling legislative bodies at places remote from their public records. This had actually occurred in Massachusetts, and who more likely than Adams to remember it, or to wish to have it included in the list of grievances? This at least we know, that Jefferson wrote out on a slip of paper the following paragraph:

he has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, & distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

The slip was then pasted at one end to the Rough Draft at the place where occurs the paragraph beginning, “he has dissolved Representative houses repeatedly and continually.”1 The two other paragraphs which Jefferson added after Adams returned the Draft are the one beginning, “for abolishing the free system of English laws,”2 and the one beginning, “he has constrained others taken captives on the high seas.”3

In whatever order these changes were made, and whether after only one or after several conferences with Franklin or Adams, it may I think be assumed that Jefferson would submit the Rough Draft, after these changes were incorporated, to Franklin and Adams for their final approval before presenting the ‘fair copy’ (or the Rough Draft, if it was the Rough Draft) to the Committee. Now it may well have been at the time of this last inspection, after all other changes had been made, that Adams wrote in the second, and Franklin the last three of the corrections that appear in their handwriting. If this was in fact the order of events, it is not difficult to understand that Jefferson should have recalled the affair as he related it to Madison in 1823: “their alterations were two or three only, and merely verbal. I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the Committee, & from them, unaltered to the Congress.”

So far we have assumed that the three new paragraphs and the sixteen verbal changes in Jefferson’s hand were written into the Rough Draft before it was submitted to the Committee of Five. But how do we know this, since Jefferson’s ‘fair copy’ has not been preserved? How do we know these changes were not made by Congress? Fortunately, it is possible to reconstruct the report of the Committee of Five substantially as it must have read. We have a copy of the Declaration which Jefferson made and sent to Richard H. Lee on the 8 of July, 1776, and which, in a letter to Lee of that date, he says is the Declaration “as originally framed.”1 This copy, now possessed by the American Philosophical Society, and printed in facsimile in the Proceedings of the society,2 is quite obviously not the Declaration ‘as originally framed’ — that is, as Jefferson framed it before submitting it to Franklin and Adams for the first time — because it differs strikingly from the copy which Adams made. It was probably made from the Rough Draft at about the time that the Committee of Five submitted its report to Congress; and if that report was made, as Jefferson says, in the form of a ‘fair copy,’ it is safe to assume that it was intended to be a duplicate of the fair copy.3 What Jefferson meant by the phrase “as originally framed” was “as originally reported.” This is confirmed by the fact that Jefferson described another copy of the Declaration, and practically identical with the Lee copy, by saying that it is the Declaration “as originally reported.” This latter copy is the one which he wrote into his “Notes,” later printed as part of his Autobiography.1 Finally, during the debates in Congress or afterward, Jefferson indicated on the Rough Draft the changes made by Congress by bracketing the parts omitted. Thus the Lee copy, the copy in Jefferson’s “Notes,” and the Rough Draft exclusive of the corrections made in connection with the bracketed parts, furnish us with three texts which were intended to conform to the report of the Committee of Five. The most reliable of these texts is probably the Lee copy. The text given below is made by reproducing the Rough Draft exclusive of all corrections that do not appear in the Lee copy; that is, it is the Rough Draft as it must have read when Jefferson made the Lee copy, assuming that he made the Lee copy from the Rough Draft, and made no errors in copying. If Jefferson made a ‘fair copy’ for the Committee, he may of course have made the Lee copy from that fair copy instead of from the Rough Draft. In either case it can hardly be supposed that he made any changes deliberately; and if he made any errors (he apparently made at least one),2 they were probably slight. The corrections printed in roman are those which, being incorporated in Adams’ copy, I have assumed were made by Jefferson in the process of composition before he first submitted the Draft to Franklin. All other corrections and additions are printed in italics. Where the reading of the Lee copy differs from that of the copy in the “Notes,” excepting differences in punctuation and capitalization, I have noted the difference in footnotes.

THE ROUGH DRAFT

as it probably read when Jefferson made the ‘fair copy’ which was presented to Congress as the report of the Committee of Five.

A Declaration by the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress Assembled.

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political hands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature & of nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their creator with inherent & inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, & to institute new government, laying it’s foundation on such principles & organizing it’s powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety & happiness. prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light & transient causes: and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. but when a long train of abuses & usurpations, begun at a distinguished period, & pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them*under absolute Despotism it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government & to provide new guards for their future security. such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; & such is now the necessity which constrains them to expunge their former systems of government. the history of*the present king of Great Britain is a history of unremitting injuries and usurpations, among which appears no solitary fact to contradict the uniform tenor of the rest, but all have in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. to prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world, for the truth of which we pledge a faith yet unsullied by falsehood.

he has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good:

he has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate & pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has neglected utterly1 to6 attend to them.

he has refused to pass other laws for the accomodation of large districts of people unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them & formidable to tyrants only:

he has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable distant from the depository of their public records for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures:

he has dissolved, Representative houses repeatedly & continually, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people:

he has refused for a long*time after such dissolutions to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise, the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, & convulsions within:

he has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither; & raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands:

he has suffered the administration of justice totally to cease in some of these states refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers:

he has made our judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, andthe amount and payment of their salaries:

he has erected a multitude of new offices by a self-assumed power, & sent hither swarms of officers to harrass our people & eat out their substance:

he has kept among us in times of peace standing armies & ships of war without the consent. of our legislatures:

he has effected to render the military, independent of & superior to the civil power:

he has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions and unacknoleged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation,

for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

for protecting them by a mock-trial from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

for imposing taxes on us without our consent;

for depriving us of the benefits of trial by jury;

for transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses;

for abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging it’s boundaries so as to render it at once an example fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these states;

for taking away our charters,*abolishing our most valuable laws & altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;

for suspending our own legislatures & declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever:

he has abdicated government here, withdrawing his governors, & declaring us out of his allegiance & protection:

he has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns & destroyed the lives of our people:

he is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation & tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty & perfidy unworthy the head of a civilized nation:

he has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, & conditions of existence:

he has incited1 treasonable insurrections of our fellow-citizens, with the allurements of forfeiture & confiscation of our property:

he has constrained others2 taken captives on the high seas to bear arms against their country to become the executioners of their friends brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

The pusillanimous idea that we had friends in England worth keeping terms with, still haunted the minds of many. For this reason those passages which conveyed censures on the people of England were struck out, lest they should give them offense. The clause too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa, was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who on the contrary still wished to continue it. Our Northern brethren also I believe felt a little tender under those censures; for tho’ their people have very few slaves themselves yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others.1

In a letter to Robert Walsh, December 4, 1818, Jefferson wrote as follows:

The words ’scotch and other foreign auxillaries’ excited the ire of a gentleman or two of that country. Severe strictures on the British king, in negativing our repeated repeals of the law which permitted the importation of slaves, were disapproved by some Southern gentlemen, whose reflections were not yet matured to the full abhorrence of that traffic. Although the offensive expressions were immediately yielded, these gentlemen continued their depredations on other parts of the instrument.2

The Journal of Congress gives only the form of the Declaration as finally adopted. In what is called the ‘rough Journal’ the entry for July 4 is as follows:

Mr. Harrison reported that the Committee of the Whole Congress have agreed to a Declaration which he delivered in. The Declaration being read was agreed to as follows.3

What follows in the ‘rough Journal’ is a printed copy of the Declaration — a copy printed by Dunlap by order of Congress and under the supervision of the Committee of Five. In what is known as the ‘corrected Journal’ the Declaration is written in.1 The copy in the corrected Journal should, one would suppose, be the more authoritative text. Such seems, however, not to be the case. Apart from differences in punctuation and capitalization, in which the corrected Journal follows more closely the practice of Jefferson, the only differences in the two texts are the following: where the rough Journal reads, “for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us,” the corrected Journal reads, “for quartering large bodies of troops among us”; and where the rough Journal reads, “they too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity,” the corrected Journal reads, “they too have been deaf to the voice of justice &consanguinity.” The reading of the rough Journal in these two cases is the same as that of every other text we have, including the engrossed parchment copy. It seems clear, therefore, that these changes in the corrected Journal were not ‘corrections’ but simply inadvertent omissions. The copy in the rough Journal should thus be taken as the most authoritative text. If then, as I have assumed, the copy which Jefferson sent to Richard H. Lee is the nearest we can come to the ‘fair copy’ which was the report of the Committee of Five, a comparison of the Lee copy with the copy in the rough Journal will give us the changes made by Congress as accurately as it is possible to determine them. The text given below is the Lee copy, except for one reading in the last paragraph where Jefferson probably made an error in copying, with the parts omitted by Congress crossed out and the parts added interlined in italics.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
(as it reads in the Lee copy, which is probably the same as the report of the Committee of Five, with parts omitted by Congress crossed out and the parts added interlined in italics.)

In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. a prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people

Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. we have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. we have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here, we have appealed to their native justice & magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the tyes of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections & correspondence. they too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity1 ; we must therefore acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.!

We therefore the Representatives of the United states of America in General Congress assembled, appealing to the supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions do, in the name & by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is ought to be totally dissolved;;1 & that as free & independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, & to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

Contrary to a tradition early established and long held, the Declaration was not signed by the members of Congress on July 4. Neither the rough nor the corrected Journal shows any signatures, except that the printed copy in the rough Journal closes with these words, of course in print: “Signed by order and in behalf of the Congress, John Hancock, President.” The secret domestic Journal for July 19 contains the following entry: “Resolved that the Declaration passed on the 4th be fairly engrossed.” And in the margin there is added: “Engrossed on parchment with the title and stile of “The Unanimous Declaration of the 13 United States of America,” and that the same when engrossed be signed by every member of Congress.” On August 2 occurs the following entry: “The Declaration of Independence being engrossed and compared at the table was signed by the members.” Certain members, being absent on the 2 of August, signed the engrossed copy at a later date.1 The engrossed parchment copy, carefully preserved at Washington, is identical in phraseology with the copy in the rough Journal.1 The paragraphing, except in one instance, is indicated by dashes; the capitalization and punctuation, following neither previous copies, nor reason, nor the custom of any age known to man, is one of the irremediable evils of life to be accepted with becoming resignation. Two slight errors in engrossing have been corrected by interlineation.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
(as it reads in the parchment copy.)

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands, which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. — We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. — He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. — He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. — He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. — He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. — He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. — He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. — He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. — He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. — He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. — He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. — He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. — He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. — He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation. — For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: — For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: — For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: — For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: — For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: — For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses: — For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: — For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: — For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. — He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. — He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. — He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty &perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. — He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. — He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren.We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends. —

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signatures on the parchment copy, of which only a few are now legible, are given below.

John Hancock. Fran.s Lewis.
Samuel Chase. Lewis Morris.
Wm Paca. Rich.d. Stockton.
Tho.s Stone. Jn.oWitherspoon.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Fra.s Hopkinson.
George Wythe. John Hart.
Richard Henry Lee. Abra Clark.
Th Jefferson. Josiah Bartlett.
Benja Harrison. Wm Whipple.
Tho.s Nelson jr. SamlAdams.
Francis Lightfoot Lee. John Adams.
Carter Braxton. Robt Treat Paine.
Robt Morris. Elbridge Gerry.

Benjamin Rush. Step Hopkins.
Benj.a Franklin. William Ellery.
John Morton. Roger Sherman.
Geo Clymer. Sam1Huntington.
JasSmith. WmWilliams.
Geo. Taylor. Oliver Wolcott.
James Wilson. Matthew Thornton.
Geo. Ross. WmHooper.
Caesar Rodney. Joseph Hewes.
Geo Read. John Penn.
Tho M: Kean. Edward Rutledge.
Wm Floyd. Thos Heyward Junr.
Phil. Livingston. Thomas Lynch Junr.
Arthur Middleton. Lyman Hall.
Button Gwinnett. Geo Walton.

[1]Ibid., 512.

[2]Ibid., 514.

[1]Writings of Thomas Jefferson (ed. 1869), VII, 304.

[1]The Declaration of Independence: Its History. New York. 1906. Whether the Rough Draft which Jefferson refers to in his letter to Madison was the first draft which he made for the Declaration is not known. But it appears that he used, in preparing the Declaration, a manuscript now in the Library of Congress, which is in Jefferson’s hand, and is endorsed by him as follows: “Constitution of Virginia first ideas of Th: J. communicated to a member of the Convention.” The first page of this manuscript is in the form of a series of reasons why Virginia repudiates her allegiance to George III. The charges against the king which appear in the Rough Draft seem to have been copied, in many cases verbatim, from this manuscript. Cf. Fitzpatrick, J. C. “The Manuscript from which Jefferson Wrote the Declaration of Independence”; in Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, LV, 363.

[1]It is possible that Jefferson was mistaken in thinking that he made a ‘fair copy’ for the Committee. If he made such a copy, and if it was handed in as the report of the Committee, it seems odd that it was not preserved among the papers of Congress. If there was such a copy, it was undoubtedly that copy as amended by Congress that was used by Dunlap for printing the text that was pasted into the ‘rough’ Journal; and it is at least conceivable that it was inadvertently left with the printer, and so lost. On the other hand, if there was no ‘fair copy,’ we must suppose that the corrected Rough Draft was itself the report of the Committee. I find it difficult to suppose that Jefferson would have presented, as the formal report of the Committee, a paper so filled with erasures and interlineations that in certain parts no one but the author could have read it without a reading glass. Besides, if the Rough Draft was handed in as the report of the Committee it should bear the endorsement of the Secretary of Congress, Charles Thompson. No such endorsement appears on the Rough Draft. Again, if the Rough Draft was used as the report of the Committee, one would suppose that the amendments made by Congress would be indicated on it in the hand of Charles Thompson; whereas they are in fact in the hand of Jefferson. On the whole, the reasons for supposing that Jefferson made a ‘fair copy,’ which was used as the report of the Committee and afterward lost, seem to me more convincing than the reasons for supposing that the Rough Draft itself was used as the report of the Committee.

[1]This copy is in the possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society. It is printed in Hazelton, op. cit., 306 ff; in Journals of Congress (Ford ed.), V, 491; and in Writings of Jefferson (Ford ed.), II, 42. For a brief discussion of the document, see Hazelton, 346.

[1]The text here given is identical with the Adams copy except, (1) the corrections of Franklin and Adams appearing on the Rough Draft and incorporated by Adams in his copy are omitted, (2) the spelling, capitalization, and punctuation of the Rough Draft have been followed, (3) in a number of instances where Adams obviously made slips in copying, the Rough Draft is followed. These slips, in each case, are indicated in the footnotes.

[1]It is not clear that this change was made by Jefferson. The handwriting of “self-evident” resembles Franklin’s.

[1]Adams’ copy reads “unalienable.” This is the reading of the Declaration as finally adopted; but as the change is not indicated on the Rough Draft, Adams must have deliberately or inadvertently made the change in copying. See below, p. 175, note 1.

[1]Adams’ copy reads “or transient.”

[1]Adams’ copy reads “as yet unsullied.”

[1]Adams’ copy reads “an immediate.”

[1]Adams’ copy reads “constitution.”

[1]Adams’ copy reads “allurement.”

[2]Adams’ copy reads “right.”

[3]Adams’ copy reads “an execrable.”

[1]The Rough Draft reads “injuries.” But it is clear that the original form was “injury.” The “y” has been erased and “ies” written in. All of the official texts read “injury,” and all of Jefferson’s own copies of the Declaration read “injury” except the one which he copied into his “Notes.” It seems that Jefferson must have made this change after the Declaration was adopted, since it is unlikely that it would have been rejected by Congress if it had been in the report of the Committee of Five.

[2]Adams’ copy reads “the principles.”

[1]Adams’ copy reads “the authority.”

[1]In the course of time a part of this slip was torn out and lost; but the rest of it, which is in two parts, was pasted down throughout, over, and largely concealing, the paragraph which reads: “he has dissolved Representative houses repeatedly &continually, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people:” Of this paragraph, therefore, only a few words can now be seen on the Rough Draft; and of the paragraph written on the slip, only about two thirds can be seen. At this point the Rough Draft now reads as follows:

he has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncolly for opposing t from the depository of their public records for the sole purpose of fatiguieople: nce with his measures.

The word “continually,” of which only the letters “lly” can now be seen, has the bracket because it was omitted by Congress, and Jefferson bracketed on the Rough Draft those parts omitted by Congress.

[2]This paragraph is written in at the bottom of page 2 of the Rough Draft; there was margin enough there to insert it by writing a very small hand and crowding the lines.

[3]This paragraph is written in on page 3 of the Rough Draft, between the paragraph beginning, “he has incited treasonable insurrections,” and the paragraph beginning, “he has waged cruel war.” Jefferson was able to crowd the new paragraph in because he left a pretty wide space between the lines when he wrote the Rough Draft; but the new paragraph had to be written so close and small that, even apart from the fact that this paragraph does not appear in Adams’s copy, we should know it to be a later Insertion.

[1]Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Ford ed.), II, 59.

[2]Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, XXXVII, 103–106.

[3]Hazelton, op. cit., 306, 344.

[1]Ibid., 171. Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Ford ed.), I, 29.

[2]See Page 170, Note 1.

[*]Dr. Franklin’s handwriting

[*]Mr. Adams’ handwriting

[1]The Rough Draft reads, “he has utterly neglected.” The copy in the “Notes” reads “utterly neglected.” My belief is that this was one of the corrections made by Congress which Jefferson neglected to indicate as he commonly did such corrections, by bracketing the omitted word.

[*]Mr. Adams

[dagger]Dr. Franklin

[*]Dr. Franklin

[1]The copy in the “Notes” reads “excited.”

[2]The copy in the “Notes” reads “our fellow citizens” in place of “others.” This is the reading of the text as adopted by Congress; but as the change does not appear on the Rough Draft, I have assumed that this was a change made by Congress. The paragraph is written in the Rough Draft as here shown, following the paragraph beginning, “he has incited.” Congress changed the order, placing the paragraph beginning “he has constrained” immediately following the one beginning “he is at this time transporting.” The copy in the “Notes” follows the order adopted by Congress.

[1]Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Ford ed.), 1, 28.

[2]Ibid., X, 119–120, note.

[3]Hazelton, op. cit., 170, 306.

[1]Ibid.

[1]The text in the corrected Journal reads “and consanguinity.”

[1]The reading here is not precisely that of the Lee copy. See p. 170, note 1.

[1]For a discussion of this question, see Hazelton, op. cit., Ch. 9.

[1]Ibid., 208, 306

 


 

6. The Virginia Bill of Rights (1776)

 

Source: James McClellan's Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd ed.) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).

Copyright: The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Virginia Bill of Rights

A Declaration of Rights (June 12th, 1776)

Made by the Representatives of the good People of Virginia, assembled in full and free Convention, which rights to pertain to them and their posterity as the basis and foundation of government.

I. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

II. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amendable to them.

III. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration; and that, when a government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.

IV. That no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community but in consideration of public services, which not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator, or judge to be hereditary.

V. That the legislative, executive and judicial powers should be separate and distinct; and that the members thereof may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the burdens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be supplied by frequent, certain and regular elections, in which all, or any part of the former members to be again eligible or ineligible, as the laws shall direct.

VI. That all elections ought to be free, and that all men having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to the community have the right of suffrage, and cannot be taxed, or deprived of their property for public uses, without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not in like manner assented, for the public good.

VII. That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.

VIII. That in all capital or criminal prosecutions, a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favor, and to speedy trial by an impartial jury of twelve men of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty; nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; that no man be deprived of his liberty, except by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers.

IX. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

X. That general warrants, whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offence is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.

XI. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by jury of twelve men is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred.

XII. That the freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.

XIII. That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that standing armies in time of peace should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

XIV. That the people have a right to uniform government; and therefore, that no government separate from or independent of the government of Virginia, ought to be erected or established within the limits thereof.

XV. That no free government, or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.

XVI. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each other.

 


 

7. The Articles of Confederation (1778)

 

Source: James McClellan's Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd ed.) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).

Copyright: The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Articles of Confederation (1778)

To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our names send greeting. Whereas the Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did on the fifteenth day of November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy seven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of America agree to certain articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia in the Words following, viz. “Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia.

Art. I. The Stile of this confederacy shall be “The United States of America.”

Art. II. Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

Art. III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defence, the security of their Liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever.

Art. IV. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds and fugitives from Justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restriction shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.

If any Person guilty of, or charged with treason, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall flee from Justice, and be found in any of the United States, he shall upon demand of the Governor or executive power, of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offence.

Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these States to the records, acts and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates to every other State.

Art. V. For the more convenient management of the general interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislature of each State shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power reserved to each State, to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead, for the remainder of the Year.

No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor by more than seven Members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.

Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the States, and while they act as members of the committee of the States.

In determining questions in the United States, in Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote.

Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not be impeached or questioned in any Court, or place out of Congress, and the members of Congress shall be protected in their persons from arrests and imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from, and attendance of Congress, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace.

Art. VI. No State without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into any conference, agreement, or alliance or treaty with any King, Prince or State; nor shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, or any of them, accept of any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince or foreign State; nor shall the United States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility.

No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.

No State shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interfere with any stipulations in treaties, entered into by the United States in Congress assembled, with any King, Prince or State, in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France and Spain.

No vessels of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defence of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgment of the United States, in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defence of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

No State shall engage in any war without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation of Indians to invade such State, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay, till the United States in Congress assembled can be consulted: nor shall any State grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the United States in Congress assembled, and then only against the kingdom or State and the subjects thereof, against which war has been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be infested by pirates, in which case vessels of war may be fitted out for that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall continue, or until the United States in Congress assembled shall determine otherwise.

Art. VII. When land-forces are raised by any State for the common defence, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each State respectively by whom such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment.

Art. VIII. All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defence or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several States, in proportion to the value of all land within each State, granted to or surveyed for any person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated according to such mode as the United States in Congress assembled, shall from time to time direct and appoint. The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the several States within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled.

Art. IX. The United States in Congress assembled shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except in the cases mentioned in the sixth article—of sending and receiving ambassadors—entering into treaties and alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective States shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners, as their own people are subjected to, or from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever—of establishing rules for deciding in all cases, what captures on land or water shall be legal, and in what manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service of the United States shall be divided or appropriated—of granting letters of marque and reprisal in times of peace—appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas and establishing courts for receiving and determining finally appeals in all cases of captures, provided that no member of Congress shall be appointed a judge of any of the said courts.

The United States in congress assembled shall also be the last resort on appeal in all disputes and differences now subsisting or that hereafter may arise between two or more States concerning boundary, jurisdiction or any other cause whatever; which authority shall always be exercised in the manner following: Whenever the legislative or executive authority or lawful agent of any State in controversy with another shall present a petition to Congress, stating the matter in question and praying for a hearing, notice thereof shall be given by order of Congress to the legislative or executive authority of the other State in controversy, and a day assigned for the appearance of the parties by their lawful agents, who shall then be directed to appoint, by joint consent, commissioners or judges to constitute a court for hearing and determining the matter in question; but if they cannot agree, Congress shall name three persons out of each of the United States, and from the list of such persons each party shall alternately strike out one, the petitioners beginning, until the number shall be reduced to thirteen; and from that number not less than seven, nor more than nine names as Congress shall direct, shall in the presence of Congress be drawn out by lot, and the persons whose names shall be so drawn or any five of them, shall be commissioners or judges, to hear and finally determine the controversy, so always as a major part of the judges who shall hear the cause shall agree in the determination; and if either party shall neglect to attend at the day appointed, without showing reasons which Congress shall judge sufficient, or being present shall refuse to strike, the Congress shall proceed to nominate three persons out of each State, and the secretary of Congress shall strike in behalf of such party absent or refusing; and the judgment and sentence of the court to be appointed, in the manner before prescribed, shall be final and conclusive; and if any of the parties shall refuse to submit to the authority of such court, or to appear to defend their claim or cause, the court shall nevertheless proceed to pronounce sentence, or judgment, which shall in like manner be final and decisive, the judgment or sentence and other proceedings being in either case transmitted to Congress, and lodged among the Acts of Congress for the security of the parties concerned: provided that every commissioner, before he sits in judgment, shall take an oath to be administered by one of the judges of the supreme or superior court of the State, where the cause shall be tried, “well and truly to hear and determine the matter in question, according to the best of his judgment, without favor, affection or hope of reward”: provided also that no State shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United States.

All controversies concerning the private right of soil claimed under different grants of two or more States, whose jurisdictions as they may respect such lands, and the States which passed such grants are adjusted, the said grants or either of them being at the same time claimed to have originated antecedent to such settlement of jurisdiction, shall on the petition of either party to the Congress of the United States, be finally determined as near as may be in the same manner as is before prescribed for deciding disputes respecting territorial jurisdiction between different States.

The United States in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective States—fixing the standard of weights and measures throughout the United States.— regulating the trade and managing all affairs with the Indians, not members of any of the States, provided that the legislative right of any State within its own limits be not infringed or violated—establishing and regulating post-offices from one State to another, throughout all the United States, and exacting such postage on the papers passing thro’ the same as may be requisite to defray the expenses of the said office— appointing all officers of the land forces, in the service of the United States, excepting regimental officers—appointing all the officers of the naval forces, and commissioning all officers whatever in the service of the United States—making rules for the government and regulation of the said land and naval forces, and directing their operations.

The United States in Congress assembled shall have authority to appoint a committee, to sit in the recess of Congress, to be denominated “A Committee of the States,” and to consist of one delegate from each State; and to appoint such other committees and civil officers as may be necessary for managing the general affairs of the United States under their direction—to appoint one of their number to preside, provided that no person be allowed to serve in the office of president more than one year in any term of three years; to ascertain the necessary sums of money to be raised for the service of the United States, and to appropriate and apply the same for defraying the public expenses—to borrow money, or emit bills on the credit of the United States, transmitting every half year to the respective States an account of the sums of money so borrowed or emitted—to build and equip a navy—to agree upon the number of land forces, and to make requisitions from each State for its quota, in proportion to the number of white inhabitants in such State; which requisition shall be binding, and thereupon the legislature of each State shall appoint the regimental officers, raise the men and cloath, arm and equip them in a soldier like manner, at the expense of the United States, and the officers and men so cloathed, armed and equipped shall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled. But if the United States in Congress assembled shall, on consideration of circumstances, judge proper that any State should not raise men, or should raise a smaller number than its quota, and that any other State should raise a greater number of men than the quota thereof, such extra number shall be raised, officered, cloathed, armed and equipped in the same manner as the quota of such State, unless the legislature of such State shall judge that such extra number cannot be safely spared out of the same, in which case they shall raise officers, cloath, arm and equip as many of such extra number as they judge can be safely spared. And the officers and men so cloathed, armed and equipped, shall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled.

The United States in Congress assembled shall never engage in a war, nor grant letters of marque and reprisal in time of peace, nor enter into any treaties or alliances, nor coin money, nor regulate the value thereof, nor ascertain the sums and expenses necessary for the defence and welfare of the United States, or any of them, nor emit bills, nor borrow money on the credit of the United States, nor appropriate money, nor agree upon the number of vessels of war, to be built or purchased, or the number of land or sea forces to be raised, nor appoint a commander in chief of the army or navy, unless nine States assent to the same; nor shall a question on any other point, except for adjourning from day to day be determined, unless by the votes of a majority of the United States in Congress assembled.

The Congress of the United States shall have power to adjourn to any time within the year, and to any place within the United States, so that no period of adjournment be for a longer duration than the space of six months, and shall publish the Journal of their proceedings monthly, except such parts thereof relating to treaties, alliances or military operations as in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the delegates of each State on any question shall be entered on the Journal, when it is desired by any delegate; and the delegates of a State, or any of them, at his or their request shall be furnished with a transcript of the said Journal, except such parts as are above excepted, to lay before the legislatures of the several States.

Art. X. The Committee of the States, or any nine of them, shall be authorized to execute, in the recess of Congress, such of the powers of Congress as the United States in Congress assembled, by the consent of nine States, shall from time to time think expedient to vest them with; provided that no power be delegated to the said committee, for the exercises of which, by the articles of confederation, the voice of nine States in the Congress of the United States assembled is requisite.

Art. XI. Canada acceding to this confederation, and joining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.

Art. XII. All bills of credit emitted, monies borrowed and debts contracted by, or under the authority of Congress, before the assembling of the United States, in pursuance of the present confederation, shall be deemed and considered as a charge against the United States, for payment and satisfaction whereof the said United States, and the public faith are hereby solemnly pledged.

Art. XIII. Every State shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.

and whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said articles of confederation and perpetual union. know ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said articles of confederation and perpetual union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained. And we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions, which by the said confederation are submitted to them. And that the articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the States we respectively represent, and that the union shall be perpetual. In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania the ninth Day of July in the Year of our Lord one Thousand seven Hundred and Seventy-eight, and in the third year of the independence of America.

It was a provision in the charters of the Virginia settlers granted by James I in 1606 and 1609, and in the charter to the colonists of Massachusetts in 1629; of the Province of Maine in 1639; of Connecticut in 1662; of Rhode Island in 1663; of Maryland in 1632; of Carolina in 1663; and of Georgia in 1732; that they and their posterity should enjoy the same rights and liberties which Englishmen were entitled to at home. Such privileges were implied by the law, without any express reservation.

Formal declarations of rights, drawn from the common law, were incorporated in the earliest colonial legislation. Plymouth Colony, in the first of these, enumerated, among other privileges, that justice should be impartially and promptly administered, with trial by jury, and that no person should suffer in life, limb, liberty, good name, or estate, but by due process of law. Connecticut, in 1639, adopted an act closely similar. New York enacted, in 1691, that no freeman should be deprived of any rights, or liberties, or condemned, save by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land; that no tax should be levied except by act of the legislature in which the colonists were represented. … Massachusetts, in 1641, promulgated a Body of Liberties. … In like manner, declaration of rights was made by the legislature of Virginia in 1624 and 1676; by the legislature of Pennsylvania in 1682; of Maryland in 1639 and 1650; and of Rhode Island in 1663; and also by the proprietaries of Carolina in 1667, and of New Jersey in 1664, 1683, and at other dates. The assembly of Maryland of 1638–1639 declared Magna Carta to be the measure of their liberties.

 


 

8. The United States Constitution (1787)

 

Source: The American Republic: Primary Sources, ed. Bruce Frohnen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).

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The Constitution of the United States of America (1787)

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article I

Section 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the Second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year; so that one-third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualifica-tion to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust, or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment, and Punishment, according to Law.

Section 4. The Time, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section 5. Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;—And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section 9. The Migration or Importation of Such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Section 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Control of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article II

Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four years, and, together with the Vice-President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two-thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice-President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice-President.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—“I do solemly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Section 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law; but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article III

Section 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section 2. The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;—between a State and Citizens of another State;—between Citizens of different States;—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article IV

Section 1. Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section 2. The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Section 3. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory of other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Article V

The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article, and that no State without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article VI

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land, and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article VII

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same. Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In witness whereof We have here unto subscribed our Names,

Go WASHINGTON Presidt. and deputy from Virginia.

  • New Hampshire
  • John Langdon,
  • Nicholas Gilman.

  • Massachusetts
  • Nathaniel Gorham,
  • Rufus King.

  • Connecticut
  • Wm. Saml. Johnson,
  • Roger Sherman.

  • New York
  • Alexander Hamilton.

  • New Jersey
  • Wil: Livingston,
  • David Brearley,
  • Wm. Paterson,
  • Jona. Dayton.

  • Pennsylvania
  • B. Franklin,
  • Robt. Morris,
  • Tho: Fitzsimons,
  • James Wilson,
  • Thomas Mifflin,
  • Geo: Clymer,
  • Jared Ingersoll,
  • Gouv: Morris.

  • Delaware
  • Geo: Read,
  • John Dickinson,
  • Jaco: Broom,
  • Gunning Bedford, Jun’r,
  • Richard Bassett.

  • Maryland
  • James M’Henry,
  • Danl Carroll,
  • Dan: of St. Thos. Jenifer.
  • Virginia
  • John Blair,
  • James Madison, Jr.

  • North Carolina
  • Wm. Blount,
  • Hu. Williamson,
  • Rich’d Dobbs Spaight.

  • South Carolina
  • J. Rutledge,
  • Charles Pinckney,
  • Charles Cotesworth Pinckney,
  • Pierce Butler.

  • Georgia
  • William Few,
  • William Jackson, Secretary.

  • Attest:
  • Abr. Baldwin.

 


 

9. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789)

 

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens: A Contribution to Modern Constitutional History by Georg Jellinek, Dr. Phil. et Jur. , Professor of Law in the University of Heidelberg. Authorized translation from the German by Max Farrand, Ph.D.. Revised by the Author (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1901). Chapter V. Comparison with American Bills of Rights.

Copyright: The text is in the public domain.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Georg Jellinek compares, section by section, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen with similar sections from American state Bills of Rights, in order to show how the latter influenced the former.

CHAPTER V. COMPARISON OF THE FRENCH AND AMERICAN DECLARATIONS.

DÉCLARATION DES DROITS DE L'HOMME ET DU CITOYEN.
AMERICAN BILLS OF RIGHTS.

ART. I. Les homes naissent et demeurent libres et égaux en droits. Les distinctions sociales ne peuvent être fondées que sur l'utilité commune.

2. Le but de toute association politique est la conservation des droits naturels et imprescriptibles de l'homme. Ces droits sont la liberté, la propriété, la s?reté et la résistance à l'oppression.

VIRGINIA, I. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

VIRGINIA, IV. That no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services.

MASSACHUSETTS, Preamble to the Constitution. The end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of government is to secure the existence of the bodypolitic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it with the power of enjoying, in safety and tranquillity, their natural rights and the blessings of life.

MARYLAND, IV. The doctrine of nonresistance, against arbitrary power and oppression, is absurd, slavish and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

3. Le principe de toute souveraineté réside essentiellement dans la nation. Nul corps, nul individu ne peut exercer d'autorité qui n'en émane expréssement. VIRGINIA, II. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.
4. La liberté consiste à pouvoir faire tout ce qui ne nuit pas à autrui; aussi l'exercise des droits naturels de chaque homme n'a de bornes que celles qui assurent aux autres membres de la société la jouissance de ces mêmes droits. Ces bornes ne peuvent étre déterminées que par la loi.

MASSACHUSETTS, Preamble. The bodypolitic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals; it is a social compact by which the whole people covenants with each citizen and each citizen with the whole people that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good.

MASSACHUSETTS, X. Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws.

5. La loi n'a le droit de défendre que les actions nuisibles à la société. Tout ce qui n'est pas défendu par la loi ne peut être empêtre contraint à faire ce qu'elle n'ordonne pas.

MASSACHUSETTS, XI. Every subject of the commonwealth ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property, or character.

NORTH CAROLINA XIII. That every freeman, restrained of his liberty, is entitled to a remedy, to inquire into the lawfulness thereof, and to remove the same, if unlawful; and that such remedy ought not to be denied or delayed.

VIRGINIA, VII. That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.1

6. La loi est l'expression de la volonté générale. Tous les citoyens ont le droit de concourir personnellement ou par leurs représentants à sa formation. Elle doit être la même pour tous, soit qu'elle protège, soit qu'elle punisse. Tous les citoyens étant égaux à ses yeux, sont également admissibles à toutes dignités, places et emplois publics, selon leur capacité, et sans autre distinction que celle de leurs vertus et leurs talents.

MARYLAND, V. That the right in the people to participate in the Legislature, is the best security of liberty, and the foundation of all free government.

MASSACHUSETTS, IX. All elections ought to be free;2 and all the inhabitants of this commonwealth, having such qualifications as they shall establish by their frame of government, have an equal right to elect officers, and to be elected, for public employments.

NEW HAMPSHIRE, XII. Nor are the inhabitants of this State controllable by any other laws than those to which they or their representative body have given their consent.

7. Nul homme ne peut être accusé, arrêté, ni détenu que dans les cas déterminés par la loi et selon les formes qu'elle a prescrites. Ceux qui sollicitent, expédient, exécutent ou font exécuter des ordres arbitraires, doivent être punis; mais tout citoyen appelé ou saisi en vertu de la loi doit obéir à l'instant; il se rend coupable par sa résistance.

MASSACHUSETTS, XII. No subject shall be held to answer for any crimes or no offence until the same is fully and plainly, substantially and formally, described to him; or be compelled to accuse, or furnish evidence against himself; and every subject shall have a right to produce all proofs that may be favorable to him; to meet the witnesses against him face to face, and to be fully heard in his defence by himself, or his counsel at his election. And no subject shall be arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived of his property, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection of the law, exiled or deprived of his life, liberty, or estate, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land.3

VIRGINIA, X. That general warrants, whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offence is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.

8. La loi ne doit établir que des peines strictement nécessaires et nul ne peut être puni qu'en vertu d'une loi établie et promulguée antérieurement au délit et légalement appliquée.

NEW HAMPSHIRE, XVIII. All penalties ought to be proportioned to the nature of the offence.4

MARYLAND, XIV. That sanguinary laws ought to be avoided, as far as is consistent with the safety of the State; and no law, to inflict cruel and unusual pains and penalties, ought to be made in any case, or at any time hereafter.5

MARYLAND, XV. That retrospective laws, punishing facts committed before the existence of such laws, and by them only declared criminal, are oppressive, unjust, and incompatible with liberty; wherefore no ex post facto law ought to be made.

9. Tout homme étant présumé innocent jusqu' à ce qu'il ait été déclaré coupable, s'il est jugé indispensable de l'arrêter, toute rigueur qui ne serait pas nécessaire pour s'assurer de sa personne doit être sévèrement réprimée par la loi.

Cf. above, Massachusetts, XII; further

MASSACHUSETTS, XIV. Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions.

MASSACHUSETTS, XXVI. No magistrate or court of law shall demand excessive bail or sureties, impose excessive fines6. . .

10. Nul doit étre inquiété pour ses opinions, même religieuses, pourvu que leur manifestation ne trouble pas l'ordre public établi par la loi. NEW HAMPSHIRE, V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship GOD according to the dictates of his own conscience, and reason; and no subject shall be hurt, molested or restrained in his person, liberty or estate for worshipping GOD, in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or disturb others, in their religious worship.
11. La libre communication des pensées et des opinions est un des droits les plus précieux de l'homme; tout citoyen peut donc parler, écrire, imprimer librement sauf à répondre de l'abus de cette liberté dans les cas determinés par la loi.

VIRGINIA, XII. That the freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.

PENNSYLVANIA, XII. That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing, and publishing their sentiments

12. La garantie des droits de l'homme et du citoyen nécessité une force publique. Cette force est donc instituée pour l'avantage de tous, et non pour l'utilité particulière de ceux auxquels elle est confiée. PENNSYLVANIA, V. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation or community; and not for the particular emolument or advantage of any single man, family, or sett of men, who are a part only of that community.
13. Pour l'entretien de la force publique et pour les dépenses d'administration, une contribution commune est indispensable; elle doit ére également répartie entre tous les citoyens en raison de leurs facultés. MASSACHUSETTS, X. Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary.
14. Tous les citoyens ont le droit de constater, par eux mêmes ou par leur représentants, la nécessité de la contribution publique, de la consentir librement, d' en suivre l'emploi, et d'en déterminer la qualité, l'assiette, le recouvrement et la durée. MASSACHUSETTS, XXIII. No subsidy, charge, tax, impost, or duties, ought to be established, fixed, laid or levied, under any pretext whatsoever, without the consent of the people, or their representatives in the legislature.
15. La société a le droit de demander compte à tout agent public de son administration.

See above, VIRGINIA, II; further

MASSACHUSETTS V. All power residing originally in the people, and being derived from them, the several magistrates and officers of government vested with authority, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, are the substitutes and agents, and are at all times accountable to them.

16. Toute société, dans laquelle la garantie des droits n'est pas assurée, ni la séparation des pouvoirs déterminée, n'a point de constitution.

NEW HAMPSHIRE, III. When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to insure the protection of others; and without such an equivalent, the surrender is void.

MASSACHUSETTS, XXX. In the government of this commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them; the executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them; the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them; to the end it may be a government of laws, and not of men.

17. La propriété étant un droit inviolable et sacré, nul ne peut en être privé, si ce n'est lors que la nécessité publique, légalement constatée, l'exige évidemment, et sous la condition d'une juste et préalable indemnité.

MASSACHUSETTS, X. . . . But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. . .. And whenever the public exigencies require that the property of any individual should be appropriated to public uses, he shall receive a reasonable compensation therefor.

VERMONT, II. That private property ought to be subservient to public uses, when necessity requires it; nevertheless, whenever any particular man's property is taken for the use of the public, the owner ought to receive an equivalent in money.

Endnotes

[1.]Cf. English Bill of Rights, I.

[2.]English Bill of Rights, 8

[3.]Magna Charta, 39.

[4.]Magna Charta, 20.

[5.]English Bill of Rights, 10.

[6.]English Bill of Rights, 10.

 


 

10. The U.S. Bill of Rights (1791)

 

Source: James McClellan's Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd ed.) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).

Copyright: The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

C. The Bill Of Rights

The first ten amendments were proposed by Congress in 1789, at their first session; and, having received the ratification of the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, they became a part of the Constitution December 15, 1791, and are known as the Bill of Rights.

[Amendment I.]

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

[Amendment II.]

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

[Amendment III.]

No Soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

[Amendment IV.]

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

[Amendment V.]

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject, for the same offense, to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

[Amendment VI.]

In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

[Amendment VII.]

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

[Amendment VIII.]

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

[Amendment IX.]

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

[Amendment X.]

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.

 


 

11. The Consitution of the French Republic (1793)

 

Source: Appendix to Francis Lieber, On Civil Liberty and Self-Government, 3rd revised edition, ed. Theodore D. Woolsey (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1883).

Copyright: The text is in the public domain.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

FRENCH CONSTITUTION of the twenty-fourth of June, 1793.

of the republic.

1. The French Republic is one and indivisible.

of the division of the people.

2. The French people is, for the purpose of exercising its sovereignty, divided into primary assemblies according to cantons.

3. For the purpose of administration and justice, it is divided into departments, districts, and municipalities.

of the right of citizenship.

4. Every man born and living in France, of twenty-one years of age, and every alien, who has attained the age of twenty-one, and has been domiciled in France one year, and lives from his labor;

  • or has acquired property;
  • or has married a French woman;
  • or has adopted a child;
  • or supports an aged man;

and finally every alien whom the legislative body has declared as one well deserving of the human race, are admitted to exercise the rights of a French citizen.

5. The right of exercising the rights of citizen is lost:

  • by being naturalized in a foreign state;
  • by accepting offices of state, or favors which do not proceed from a democratic government;
  • by being sentenced to dishonorable or corporal punishments, till reinstated in the former state.

6. The exercise of the rights of citizen is suspended:

  • by being in a state of accusation;
  • by a sentence in contumaciam, so long as this sentence has not been rescinded.

of the sovereignty of the people.

7. The sovereign people embraces the whole of French citizens.

8. It chooses its deputies directly.

9. It delegates to electors the choice of administrators, public civil judges, penal judges, and judges of cassation.

10. It deliberates on laws.

of the primary assemblies.

11. The primary assemblies are formed of the citizens who have resided six months in a canton.

12. They consist of no less than 200 and no more than 600 citizens, called together for the purpose of voting.

13. They are organized, after a president, secretaries and collectors of votes have been appointed.

14. They exercise their own police.

15. No one is allowed to appear there with arms.

16. The elections are made either by secret or loud voting, at the pleasure of each voter.

17. A primary meeting can in no case prescribe more than one manner of voting.

18. The collectors of votes note down the votes of those citizens who cannot write, and yet prefer to vote secretly.

19. The votes on laws are given by “Yes,” and “No.”

20. The elections of primary assemblies are published in the following manner:

The united citizens in the primary assembly at—, numbering—votes, vote for, or vote against, by a majority of—.

of the national representation.

21. Population is the only basis of national representation.

22. For every 40,000 individuals, one deputy is chosen.

23. Every primary assembly which is formed of from 39,000 to 41,000 individuals, chooses directly a deputy.

24. The choice is effected by an absolute majority of votes.

25. Every assembly makes an abstract of the votes, and sends a commissioner to the appointed central place of general record.

26. If at the first voting, no absolute majority be effected, a second meeting shall be held, and those two citizens who had the most votes, shall be voted for again.

27. In case of an equal division of votes, the oldest person has the preference, no matter whether he was voted for, or whether he was chosen without it. In case of an equality of age, the casting of lots shall decide.

28. Every Frenchman, who enjoys the rights of a citizen, is eligible throughout the whole republic.

29. Every deputy belongs to the whole nation.

30. In case of non-acceptance, of abdication, or expiration of office, or of the death of a deputy, the primary assembly which had chosen him shall choose a substitute.

31. A deputy who hands in his resignation, cannot leave his post till his successor shall have been appointed.

32. The French people assembles every year on the 1st of May for election.

33. It proceeds thereto, whatever the number of citizens [present] may be, who have a right to vote.

34. Extraordinary primary meetings are held at the demand of one-fifth of the eligible citizens.

35. The meeting is, in this case, called by the municipal authority of the usual place of assembly.

36. These extraordinary meetings can transact business only when at least more than one-half of the qualified voters are present.

of the electoral assemblies.

37. The citizens, united in primary assemblies, nominate in proportion of 200 citizens, (they may be present or not,) one elector; two, for from 301 to 400;three, for from 501 to 600.

38. The holding of election meetings, and the manner of election, are the same as in the primary meetings.

of the legislative body.

39. The legislative body is one, indivisible and continual.

40. Its session lasts one year.

41. It assembles on the 1st of July.

42. The national assembly cannot be organized, unless at least one more than one-half of the deputies are present.

43. The deputies can, at no time, be held answerable, accused or condemned on account of opinions uttered within the legislative body.

44. In criminal cases, they may be arrested if caught in the act;but the warrant of arrest and the warrant of committal can be issued only by the legislative body.

mode of procedure of the legislative body.

45. The sessions of the national assembly are public.

46. The debates in their sessions shall be printed.

47. It cannot deliberate, unless it consist of 200 members.

48. It cannot refuse to members the floor, in the order in which they demand the same.

49. It decides by a majority of those present.

50. Fifty members have the right to demand a call by names.

51. It has the right of censorship on the conduct of the members in its midst.

52. It exercises the power of police at the place of its sessions, and within the whole extent of its environs.

of the functions of the legislative body.

53. The legislative body proposes laws, and issues decrees.

54. By the general name of law, are understood the provisions of the legislative body which concern:

  • the civil and penal legislation;
  • the general administration of revenues and of the ordinary expenditures of the republic;
  • the national domains;
  • the inscription, alloy, stamp and names of coins; declaration of war;
  • every new general division of the French territory; public instruction;
  • public demonstrations of honor to the memory of great men.

55. By the particular name of decrees are understood those enactments of the legislative body, which concern:

  • the annual establishment of the land and marine forces; the permission or refusal of the marching of foreign troops
  • through the French territory; the admission of foreign vessels of war into the ports of the republic;
  • the measures for the common peace and safety; the distribution of annual and momentary relief and of public works;
  • the orders for the stamping of coins of every description; the unforeseen and extraordinary expenses;
  • the local and particular orders for an administration, a commune, and any kind of public works;
  • the defence of the territory;
  • the ratification of treaties;
  • the nomination and removal of the commander-in-chief of the army;
  • the carrying into effect the responsibility of members of the executive council, and of public officers;
  • the accusation of discovered conspiracies against the common safety of the republic;
  • every alteration in the division of the French territory; the national rewards.

of the making of laws.

56. A notice must precede the introduction of a bill.

57. Not till after a fortnight from the giving of notice can the debate begin, and the law be temporarily accepted.

58. The proposed law is printed and sent to all the communes of the republic, under the address of, Proposed law.

59. If, forty days after the sending in of the proposed law, of the absolute majority of departments, one-tenth of all the primary meetings, legally assembled by the departments, have not protested, the bill is accepted and becomes a law.

60. If protest be made, the legislative body calls together the primary meetings.

of the superscription of laws and decrees.

61. The laws, decrees, sentences, and all public transactions are superscribed:

In the name of the French people, in the—year of the French Republic.

of the executive power.

62. There shall be an executive council, consisting of twenty-four members.

63. The electoral assembly of each department nominates a candidate. The legislative body chooses from this general list the members of the executive council.

64. It shall be renewed each half session of every legislature, in the last months of its session.

65. The executive council has the management and supervision of the general administration. Its activity is limited to the execution of laws and decrees of the legislative body.

66. It appoints, but not out of its midst, the highest agents of the general administration of the republic.

67. The legislative body establishes the number of these agents, and their business.

68. These agents form no council. They are separated one from the other, and have no relation among themselves. They exercise no personal power.

69. The executive council chooses, but not from its midst, the foreign agents of the republic.

70. It negotiates treaties.

71. The members of the executive council are, in case of violation of duties, accused by the legislative body.

72. The executive council is responsible for the non-execution of the laws and decrees, and the abuses, of which it does not give notice.

73. It recalls and substitutes the agents at pleasure.

74. It is obliged, if possible, to inform the judicial authorities regarding them.

of the mutual relations between the executive council, and the legislative body.

75. The executive council shall have its seat near the legislative body. It shall have admittance to, and a special seat at the place of session.

76. It shall every time be heard, when it shall have to give account.

77. The legislative body shall call it into its midst, in whole or in part, when it is thought necessary.

of the administrative authorities and the municipalities.

78. There shall be a municipal authority in each commune of the republic; and in each district an intermediate administration; and in each department a central administration.

79. The municipal officers are chosen by the assemblies of the commune.

80. The administrators are chosen by the electoral assemblies of the departments and of the district.

81. The municipalities and the administrative authorities are annually renewed one-half.

82. The administrative authorities and municipal officers have not a representative character. They can, in no case, limit the resolves of the legislative body, nor the execution of them.

83. The legislative body assigns the business of the municipal officers and of the administrative authorities, the rules regarding their subordination, and the punishments to which they may become liable.

84. The sessions of the municipalities and of the administrative authorities are held in public.

of civil justice.

85. The civil and penal code is the same for the whole republic.

86. No encroachment can be made upon the right of citizens to have their matters in dispute decided on by arbitrators of their own choice.

87. The decision of these arbitrators is final, unless the citizens have reserved the right of protesting.

88. There shall be justices of the peace, chosen by the citizens of the districts, appointed by law.

89. They shall conciliate and hold court without fees.

90. Their number and extent of power shall be established by the legislative body.

91. There shall be public judges of arbitration, who are chosen by electoral assemblies.

92. Their number and districts are fixed by the legislative body.

93. They shall decide on matters in controversy, which have not been brought to a final decision by private arbitrators or by the justices of the peace.

94. They shall deliberate publicly. They shall vote with loud voice.

They shall decide in the last resort on oral pleadings, or on a simple petition, without legal forms and without cost. They shall assign the reasons of their decisions.

95. The justices of the peace and the public arbitrators are chosen annually.

of criminal justice.

96. In criminal cases, no citizen can be put on trial, except a true bill of complaint be found by a jury, or by the legislative body.

The accused shall have advocates, either chosen by themselves, or appointed officially. The proceedings are in public. The state of facts and the intention are passed upon by a jury. The punishment is executed by a criminal authority.

97. The criminal judges are chosen annually by the electoral assemblies.

of the court of cassation.

98. There is a court of cassation for the whole republic.

99. This court takes no cognizance of the state of facts.

It decides on the violation of matters of form, and on transgressions expressed by law.

100. The members of this court are appointed annually through the electoral assemblies.

of the general taxes.

101. No citizen is excluded from the honorable obligation to contribute towards the public expenses.

of the national treasury.

102. The national treasury is the central point of the revenues and expenses of the republic.

103. It is managed by public accountants, whom the legislative body shall elect.

104. These agents are supervised by officers of account, whom the legislative body shall elect, but who cannot be taken from their own body: they are responsible for abuses of which they do not give legal notice to the courts.

of the rendition of accounts.

105. The accounts of the agents of the national treasury, and those of the administrators of public moneys are taken annually, by responsible commissioners appointed by the executive council.

106. Those persons appointed to revise the accounts are under the supervision of commissioners, who are elected by the legislative body, not out of their own number; and they are responsible for the frauds and mistakes of accounts, of which they do not give notice.

The legislative body preserves the accounts.

of the military forces of the republic.

107. The general military power of the republic consists of the whole people.

108. The republic supports, also, in times of peace, a paid land and marine force.

109. All Frenchmen are soldiers; all shall be exercised in the use of arms.

110. There is no generalissimo.

111. The distinction of grade, the military marks of distinction and subordination, exist only in service and in time of its duration.

112. The general military force is used for the preservation of order and peace in the interior; it acts only on a written requisition of the constituted authorities.

113. The general military force against foreign enemies is under the command of the executive council.

114. No armed body can deliberate.

of the national convention.

115. If of the absolute majority of departments, the tenth part of their regularly formed primary assemblies demand a revision of the constitution, or an alteration of some of its articles; the legislative body is obliged to call together all primary assemblies of the republic, in order to ascertain whether a national convention shall be called.

116. The national convention is formed in like manner as the legislatures, and unites in itself the highest power.

117. It is occupied, as regards the constitution, only with those subjects which caused its being called together.

of the relations of the french republic towards foreign nations.

118. The French nation is the friend and natural ally of free nations.

119. It does not interfere with the affairs of government of other nations. It suffers no interference of other nations with its own.

120. It serves as a place of refuge for all who, on account of liberty, are banished from their native country.

These it refuses to deliver up to tyrants.

121. It concludes no peace with an enemy that holds possession of its territory.

of the guaranty of rights.

122. The constitution guarantees to all Frenchmen equality, liberty, security, property, the public debt, free exercise of religion, general instruction, public assistance, absolute liberty of the press, the right of petition, the right to hold popular assemblies, and the enjoyment of all the rights of man.

123. The French republic respects loyalty, courage, age, filial love, misfortune. It places the constitution under the guaranty of all virtues.

124. The declaration of the rights of man and the constitution shall be engraven on tables, to be placed in the midst of the legislative body, and in public places.

(Signed) COLLOT D'HERBOIS, President.
Durand-Maillane, Ducos, Meaulle,
Charles
de laCroix Gossuin, P. A. Laloy,
Secretary

 


 

12. The French Charter (1830)

 

Source: Appendix to Francis Lieber, On Civil Liberty and Self-Government, 3rd revised edition, ed. Theodore D. Woolsey (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1883).

Copyright: The text is in the public domain.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

APPENDIX XII.

french charter of louis xviii. and that adopted in the year 1830.

The following is the charter of 1830, as I translated it in that year, for a work published in Boston, under the title of “Events in Paris during the 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th of July: translated from the French.”

This charter of August 8, 1830, is in substance the charter of Louis XVIII. with such changes as the chambers adopted in favor of liberty. The new articles, or the amendments of the old ones, are printed in italics, and the old readings or suppressed articles are given in notes: so that the paper exhibits both the charters.

FRENCH CHARTER OF 1830.

The whole preamble of the ancient charter was suppressed, as containing the principle of concession and octroi (grant), incompatible with that of the acknowledgment of national sovereignty.

The following is the substitution of the preamble:

declaration of the chamber of deputies.

The chamber of deputies, taking into consideration the imperious necessity which results from the events of the 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th of July, and the following days; and from the situation in which France is placed in consequence of the violation of the constitutional charter:

Considering, moreover, that by this violation, and the heroic resistance of the citizens of Paris, his majesty Charles X., his royal highness Louis Antoine, dauphin, and all the members of the senior branch of the royal house, are leaving, at this moment, the French territory—

Declares that the throne is vacant de facto et de jure, and that it is necessary to fill it.

The chamber of deputies declares secondly, that according to the wish, and for the interest of the French people, the preamble of the constitutional charter is suppressed, as wounding the national dignity in appearing to grant to the French rights which essentially belong to them; and that the following articles of the same charter ought to be suppressed or modified in the following manner.

Louis Philippe, King of the French, to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting:

We have ordained and ordain, that the constitutional charter of 1814, as amended by the two chambers on the 7th August, and adopted by us on the 9th, be published anew in the following terms:

public law of the french.

Art. 1. Frenchmen are equal before the law, whatever otherwise may be their titles or their rank.

Art 2. They contribute in proportion to their fortunes to the charges of the state.

Art. 3. They are all equally admissible to civil and military employments.

Art. 4. Their individual liberty is equally guaranteed. No person can be either prosecuted or arrested, except in cases provided for by the law, and in the form which it prescribes.

Art. 5. Each one may profess his religion with equal liberty, and shall receive for his religious worship the same protection.

Art. 6. The ministers of the catholic, apostolic and Roman religion, professed by the majority of the French, and those of other Christian worship, receive stipends from the public treasury.1

Art. 7. Frenchmen have the right of publishing and causing to be printed their opinions, provided they conform themselves to the laws.

The censorship can never be re-established.1

Art. 8. All property is inviolable, without exception of that which is called national, the law making no difference between them.

Art. 9. The state can exact the sacrifice of property for the good of the public, legally proved, but with a previous indemnity.

Art. 10. All examination into the opinions and votes given before the restoration is interdicted, and the same oblivion is commanded to be adopted by the tribunals and by the citizens.

Art. 11. The conscription is abolished. The method of recruiting the army for land and sea is to be determined by the law

forms of the king's government.

Art. 12. The person of the king is inviolable and sacred. His ministers are responsible. To the king alone belongs executive power.

Art. 13. The king is the supreme head of the state; commands the forces by sea and by land; declares war, makes treaties of peace and alliance and of commerce; he appoints to all offices in public administration, and makes all regulations necessary for the execution of the laws, without ever having power either to suspend the laws themselves, or dispense with their execution.

Nevertheless, no foreign troops can be admitted into the service of the state without an express law.2

Art. 14. The legislative power is to be exercised collectively by the king, the chamber of peers, and the chamber of deputies.3

Art. 15. The proposition of the laws belongs to the king, to the chamber of peers, and to the chamber of deputies.

Nevertheless, all the laws of taxes are to be first voted by the chamber of deputies.1

Art. 16. Every law is to be discussed and freely voted by the majority of each of the two chambers.

Art. 17. If a proposed law be rejected by one of the three powers, it cannot be brought forward again in the same session.2

Art. 18. The king alone sanctions and promulgates the laws.

Art. 19. The civil list is to be fixed for the duration of the reign of the legislative assembly after the accession of the king.

of the chamber of peers.

Art. 20. The chamber of peers is to form an essential portion of the legislative power.

Art. 21. It is convoked by the king at the same time as the chamber of deputies. The session of one begins and ends at the same time as that of the other.

Art. 22. Any assembly of the chamber of peers, which should be held at a time which is not that of the session of the chamber of deputies, is illicit, and null of full right, except only the case in which it is assembled as a court of justice, and then it can only exercise judicial functions.3

Art. 23. The nomination of the peers of France belongs to the king. Their number is unlimited; he can vary their dignities, and name them peers for life, or make them hereditary at his pleasure.

Art. 24. Peers can enter the chamber at twenty-five years of age, but have only a deliberative voice at the age of thirty years.

Art. 25. The chamber of peers is to be presided over by the chancellor of France; and in his absence, by a peer named by the king.

Art. 26. The princes of blood are to be peers by right of birth. They are to take their seats immediately behind the president.1

Art. 27. The sittings of the chamber of peers are public as that of the chamber of deputies.2

Art. 28. The chamber of peers takes cognizance of high treason, and of attempts against the security of the state, which is to be defined by the law.

Art. 29. No peer can be arrested but by the authority of the chamber, or judged but by it in a criminal matter.

of the chamber of deputies.

Art. 30. The chamber of deputies will be composed of deputies elected by the electoral colleges; the organization of which is to be determined by law.3

Art. 31. The deputies are to be elected for five years.4

Art. 32. No deputy can be admitted into the chamber till he has attained the age of thirty years, and if he does not possess the other conditions prescribed by the law.1

Art. 33. If, however, there should not be in the department fifty persons of the age specified paying the amount of taxes fixed by law, their number shall be completed from the persons who pay the greatest amount of taxes under the amount fixed by law.2

Art. 34. No person can be an elector if he is under twenty-five years of age; and if he does not possess all the other conditions determined by the law.3

Art. 35. The presidents of the electoral colleges are elected by the electors.4

Art. 36. The half at least of the deputies are to be chosen from those who have their political residence in the departments.

Art. 37. The president of the ohamber of deputies is to be elected by the chamber itself at the opening of each session.5

Art. 38. The sittings of the chamber are to be public, but the request of five members will be sufficient that it forms itself into a secret committee.

Art. 39. The chamber divides itself into bureaux (committees) to discuss the projects of laws, which may have been presented from the king.6

Art. 40. No tax can be established nor imposed, if it has not been consented to by the two chambers, and sanctioned by the king.

Art. 41. The land and house tax can only be voted for one year. The indirect taxes may be voted for many years.

Art. 42. The king convokes every year the two chambers, he prorogues them, and may dissolve that of the deputies; but in this case he must convoke a new one within the period of three months.

Art. 43. No bodily restraint can be exercised against a member of the chamber during the session, nor for six weeks which precede or follow the session.

Art. 44. No member of the chamber can be, during the session, prosecuted or arrested in a criminal matter, except taken in the act, till after the chamber has permitted his arrest.

Art. 45. Every petition to either of the chambers must be made in writing. The law interdicts its being carried in person to the bar.

of the ministers.

Art. 46. The ministers can be members of the chamber of peers or the chamber of deputies.

They have, moreover, their entrance into either chamber, and are entitled to be heard when they demand it.

Art. 47. The chamber of deputies has the right of impeaching the ministers, or of transferring them before the chamber of peers, which alone has the right to judge them.1

judicial regulations.

Art. 48. All justice emanates from the king; it is administered in his name by the judges, whom he nominates, and whom he institutes.

Art. 49. The judges named by the king are immovable.

Art. 50. The ordinary courts and tribunals existing are to be maintained, and there is to be no change but by virtue of a law.

Art. 51. The actual institution of the judges of commerce is preserved.

Art. 52. The office of justice of peace is equally preserved. The justices of peace, though named by the king, are not immovable.

Art. 53. No one can be deprived of his natural judges.

Art. 54. There cannot, in consequence, be extraordinary com mittees and tribunals created, under whatever title or denomination this ever might be.1

Art. 55. The debates will be public in criminal matters, at least when the publicity will not be dangerous to order and decency, and in that case the tribunal is to declare so by a distinct judgment.

Art. 56. The institution of juries is to be preserved; the changes which a longer experience may render necessary can only be effected by a law.

Art. 57. The punishment of confiscation of goods is abolished, and cannot be re-established.

Art. 58. The king has the right to pardon and to commute the punishment.

Art. 59. The civil code, and the actual laws existing that are not contrary to the present charter, will remain in full force until they shall be legally abrogated.

particular rights guaranteed by the state.

Art. 60. The military in actual service, retired officers and soldiers, widows, officers and soldiers on pension, are to preserve their grades, honors and pensions.

Art. 61. The public debt is guaranteed. Every sort of engagement made by the state with its creditors is to be inviolable.

Art. 62. The old nobility retake their titles. The new preserve theirs. The king creates nobles at his pleasure; but he only grants to them rank and honors, without any exemption from the charges and duties of society.

Art. 63. The legion of honor is to be maintained. The king shall determine its internal regulations and the decorations.

Art. 64. The colonies are to be governed by particular laws.1

Art. 65. The king and his successors shall swear, at their accession, in presence of the two chambers, to observe faithfully the present constitutional charter.2

Art. 66. The present charter, and the rights it consecrates, shall be intrusted to the patriotism and courage of the national guard and all the citizens.

Art. 67. France resumes her colors. For the future there will be no other cockade than the tri-colored cockade.3

Art. 68. All the creations of peers during the reign of Charles X. are declared null and void.

Article 23 of the charter will undergo a fresh examination during the session of 1831.

Art. 69. There will be provided successively by separate laws, and that with the shortest possible delay, for the following subjects:

1. The extension of the trial by jury to offences of the press, and political offences.

2. The responsibility of ministers and the secondary agents of government.

3. The re-election of deputies appointed to public functions with salaries.

4. The annual voting of the army estimates.

5. The organization of the national guards with the intervention of the national guards in the choice of their officers.

6. Provisions which insure, in a legal manner, the state of officers of each grade, by land and sea.

7. Departmental and municipal institutions founded upon an elective system.

8. Public instruction and the liberty of instruction.

9. The abolition of the double vote; the settling of the electoral conditions, and that of eligibility.

Art. 70. All laws and ordinances, inasmuch as they are contrary to the provisions adopted by the reform of the charter, are from this moment annulled and abrogated.

We give it in command to our courts and tribunals, administrative bodies, and all others, that they observe and maintain the present constitutional charter, cause it to be observed, followed and maintained, and in order to render it more known to all, they cause it to be published in all municipalities of the kingdom and every-where, where it will be necessary, and in order that this be firm and stable forever, we have caused our seal to be put to it.

Done at the Palais-Royal, at Paris, the 14th day of the month of August, in the year 1830.

Signed
LOUIS PHILIPPE.

By the king:

The Minister Secretary of the State for the department of the Interior.

Signed
Guizot.

Examined and sealed with the great seal:

The keeper of the seals, Minister Secretary of the State for the department of Justice.

Signed
Dupont (de l'Eure)

[1.]This article 6 is substituted for the articles 6 and 7 of the old charter, which ran thus:

6. However, the catholic, apostolic and Roman religion, is the religion of the state.

7. The ministers of the catholic, apostolic and Roman religion, and those of other Christian confessions, alone receive stipends from the public treasury.

[1.]Article 8 of the old charter:

The French have the right to publish and to cause to be published their opinions, conforming themselves to the laws, which shall prevent the abuse of this liberty.

[2.]Article 14 of the old charter:

The king is the supreme head of the state, commands the forces by land and sea, declares war, makes treaties of peace, alliance and commerce, appoints to all offices of public administration, and makes rules and orders necessary for the execution of the laws and the safety of the state.

[3.]There was in article 15 of the old charter: and the chamber of deputies of the departments. These last three words have been suppressed.

[1.]Art. 15 is in the place of art. 16 and 17 of the old charter, which were thus:

Art. 16. The king proposes the law.

Art. 17. The proposition of the law is carried, at the pleasure of the king, to the chamber of peers or that of the deputies, except the law of taxes, which is to be directed to the chamber of deputies.

[2.]Art. 17 is substituted for articles 19, 20 and 21, suppressed as useless, after the preceding provisions. They were the following:

Art. 19. The chambers have the right to petition the king to propose a law on any subject whatever, and to indicate what seems to them proper the law ought to contain.

Art. 20. This request may be made by each of the chambers; but, after having been discussed in secret committee, it is not to be sent to the other chamber, by that which proposes, until after the lapse of ten days.

Art. 21. If the proposition is adopted by the other chamber, it is to be laid before the king; if it is rejected, it cannot be presented again in the same session.

[3.]This is article 26 of the old charter, augmented by this provision, which was not in the former, and the words following have been suppressed: or that it should be ordained by the king.

[1.]Art. 30 of the old charter:

The members of the royal family and the princes of the blood are peers by the right of birth; they sit immediately behind the president; but they have no deliberative voice before their twenty-fifth year.

Art. 31 was thus:

The princes cannot take their seat in the chamber, but by order of the king, expressed for each session by a message, under penalty of rendering everything null which has been done in their presence. Suppressed.

[2.]All deliberations of the chamber of peers are secret. Art. 32 of the old charter.

[3.]Art. 36 was thus:

Every department shall have the same number of deputies which it has previously had. Suppressed.

[4.]Art. 37 of the old charter:

The deputies shall be elected for five years, and in such a way that the chamber is renewed each year by a fifth.

[1.]Art. 38 of the old charter:

No deputy can be admitted into the chamber if he is not forty years old, and if he does not pay direct taxes of 1000 francs.

[2.]Article 39 of the old charter:

If, nevertheless, there should not be in the department fifty persons of the indicated age, paying at least 1000 francs direct taxes, their number will be completed by those who pay the highest taxes under 1000 francs; and these may be elected concurrently with the others.

[3.]Art. 40 of the old charter:

The electors who concur in electing the deputy cannot have the right of suffrage, if they do not pay a direct tax of 300 francs; and if they are less than thirty years of age.

[4.]Art. 41 of the old charter:

The presidents of the electoral colleges shall be nominated by the king, and be, by right, members of the college.

[5.]Art. 43 of the old charter:

The president of the chamber of deputies is nominated by the king, from a list of five members, presented by the chamber.

[6.]In consequence of the initiative, art. 46 and 47 are suppressed, which were thus:

46. No amendment can be made to a law, if it has not been proposed or consented to by the king, and if it has not been sent back and discussed by the bureaux.

47. The chamber of deputies receives all propositions of taxes; only after these laws have been consented to, they may be carried to the chamber of peers.

[1.]Article 56 of the old charter is suppressed; it ran thus:

They cannot be accused except for treason or peculation. Particular laws will specify this kind of offences, and will determine how they are to be prosecuted.

[1.]Art. 63 of the old charter:

In consequence there cannot be created extraordinary committees and tribunals. The jurisdictions prévôtales, if their re-establishment should be found necessary, are not comprised under this denomination.

[1.]Art. 73 of the old charter:

The colonies will be governed by particular laws and regulations.

[2.]Art. 74 of the old charter:

The king and his successors shall swear at the coronation, to observe faithfully the present constitutional charter.

[3.]Arts. 75 and 76 of the old charter are suppressed; they ran thus:

75. The deputies of the departments of France who sat in the legislative body, at the last adjournment, will continue to sit in the chamber of deputies, until replaced.

76. The first renewal of the fifth of the chamber of deputies will take place the latest in the year 1816, according to the order established.

 


 

Last modified April 10, 2014