1. Magna Charta Libertatum, 1215
2. The Petition of Right,1628
3. Commonwealth Instrument of Government, 1653
4. English Bill of Rights,1689
5. The Treaty (or Act) of Union, 1707
6. The Act of Union, 2 July 1800 (40 Geo. III c. 67)
7. Parliament Act, 1911
8. The Statute of Westminster, 1931
In appendice :
a–Cronologia delle riforme britanniche dal 1802 al 1918
b–Selezione ampia di documenti relativi alla storia costituzionale inglese e britannica
1-Magna Charta Libertatum  
JOHN, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his officials and loyal subjects, Greeting.
KNOW THAT BEFORE GOD, for the health of our soul and those of our ancestors and heirs, to the honour of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom, at the advice of our reverend fathers Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and cardinal of the holy Roman Church, Henry archbishop of Dublin, William bishop of London, Peter bishop of Winchester, Jocelin bishop of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh bishop of Lincoln, Walter Bishop of Worcester, William bishop of Coventry, Benedict bishop of Rochester, Master Pandulf subdeacon and member of the papal household, Brother Aymeric master of the knighthood of the Temple in England, William Marshal earl of Pembroke, William earl of Salisbury, William earl of Warren, William earl of Arundel, Alan de Galloway constable of Scotland, Warin Fitz Gerald, Peter Fitz Herbert, Hubert de Burgh seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew Fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip Daubeny, Robert de Roppeley, John Marshal, John Fitz Hugh, and other loyal subjects:
+ (1) FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church´s elections – a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it – and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity.
TO ALL FREE MEN OF OUR KINGDOM we have also granted, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs:
(2) If any earl, baron, or other person that holds lands directly of the Crown, for military service, shall die, and at his death his heir shall be of full age and owe a `relief´, the heir shall have his inheritance on payment of the ancient scale of `relief´. That is to say, the heir or heirs of an earl shall pay £100 for the entire earl´s barony, the heir or heirs of a knight l00s. at most for the entire knight´s `fee´, and any man that owes less shall pay less, in accordance with the ancient usage of `fees´
(3) But if the heir of such a person is under age and a ward, when he comes of age he shall have his inheritance without `relief´ or fine.
(4) The guardian of the land of an heir who is under age shall take from it only reasonable revenues, customary dues, and feudal services. He shall do this without destruction or damage to men or property. If we have given the guardianship of the land to a sheriff, or to any person answerable to us for the revenues, and he commits destruction or damage, we will exact compensation from him, and the land shall be entrusted to two worthy and prudent men of the same `fee´, who shall be answerable to us for the revenues, or to the person to whom we have assigned them. If we have given or sold to anyone the guardianship of such land, and he causes destruction or damage, he shall lose the guardianship of it, and it shall be handed over to two worthy and prudent men of the same `fee´, who shall be similarly answerable to us.
(5) For so long as a guardian has guardianship of such land, he shall maintain the houses, parks, fish preserves, ponds, mills, and everything else pertaining to it, from the revenues of the land itself. When the heir comes of age, he shall restore the whole land to him, stocked with plough teams and such implements of husbandry as the season demands and the revenues from the land can reasonably bear.
(6) Heirs may be given in marriage, but not to someone of lower social standing. Before a marriage takes place, it shall be´ made known to the heir´s next-of-kin.
(7) At her husband´s death, a widow may have her marriage portion and inheritance at once and without trouble. She shall pay nothing for her dower, marriage portion, or any inheritance that she and her husband held jointly on the day of his death. She may remain in her husband´s house for forty days after his death, and within this period her dower shall be assigned to her.
(8) No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long as she wishes to remain without a husband. But she must give security that she will not marry without royal consent, if she holds her lands of the Crown, or without the consent of whatever other lord she may hold them of.
(9) Neither we nor our officials will seize any land or rent in payment of a debt, so long as the debtor has movable goods sufficient to discharge the debt. A debtor´s sureties shall not be distrained upon so long as the debtor himself can discharge his debt. If, for lack of means, the debtor is unable to discharge his debt, his sureties shall be answerable for it. If they so desire, they may have the debtor´s lands and rents until they have received satisfaction for the debt that they paid for him, unless the debtor can show that he has settled his obligations to them.
* (10) If anyone who has borrowed a sum of money from Jews dies before the debt has been repaid, his heir shall pay no interest on the debt for so long as he remains under age, irrespective of whom he holds his lands. If such a debt falls into the hands of the Crown, it will take nothing except the principal sum specified in the bond.
* (11) If a man dies owing money to Jews, his wife may have her dower and pay nothing towards the debt from it. If he leaves children that are under age, their needs may also be provided for on a scale appropriate to the size of his holding of lands. The debt is to be paid out of the residue, reserving the service due to his feudal lords. Debts owed to persons other than Jews are to be dealt with similarly.
* (12) No `scutage´ or `aid´ may be levied in our kingdom without its general consent, unless it is for the ransom of our person, to make our eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry our eldest daughter. For these purposes ouly a reasonable `aid´ may be levied. `Aids´ from the city of London are to be treated similarly.
+ (13) The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.
* (14) To obtain the general consent of the realm for the assessment of an `aid´ – except in the three cases specified above – or a `scutage´, we will cause the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons to be summoned individually by letter. To those who hold lands directly of us we will cause a general summons to be issued, through the sheriffs and other officials, to come together on a fixed day (of which at least forty days notice shall be given) and at a fixed place. In all letters of summons, the cause of the summons will be stated. When a summons has been issued, the business appointed for the day shall go forward in accordance with the resolution of those present, even if not all those who were summoned have appeared.
* (15) In future we will allow no one to levy an `aid´ from his free men, except to ransom his person, to make his eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry his eldest daughter. For these purposes only a reasonable `aid´ may be levied.
(16) No man shall be forced to perform more service for a knight´s `fee´, or other free holding of land, than is due from it.
(17) Ordinary lawsuits shall not follow the royal court around, but shall be held in a fixed place.
(18) Inquests of novel disseisin, mort d´ancestor, and darrein presentment shall be taken only in their proper county court. We ourselves, or in our absence abroad our chief justice, will send two justices to each county four times a year, and these justices, with four knights of the county elected by the county itself, shall hold the assizes in the county court, on the day and in the place where the court meets.
(19) If any assizes cannot be taken on the day of the county court, as many knights and freeholders shall afterwards remain behind, of those who have attended the court, as will suffice for the administration of justice, having regard to the volume of business to be done.
(20) For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. In the same way, a merchant shall be spared his merchandise, and a husbandman the implements of his husbandry, if they fall upon the mercy of a royal court. None of these fines shall be imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the neighbourhood.
(21) Earls and barons shall be fined only by their equals, and in proportion to the gravity of their offence.
(22) A fine imposed upon the lay property of a clerk in holy orders shall be assessed upon the same principles, without reference to the value of his ecclesiastical benefice.
(23) No town or person shall be forced to build bridges over rivers except those with an ancient obligation to do so.
(24) No sheriff, constable, coroners, or other royal officials are to hold lawsuits that should be held by the royal justices.
* (25) Every county, hundred, wapentake, and tithing shall remain at its ancient rent, without increase, except the royal demesne manors.
(26) If at the death of a man who holds a lay `fee´ of the Crown, a sheriff or royal official produces royal letters patent of summons for a debt due to the Crown, it shall be lawful for them to seize and list movable goods found in the lay `fee´ of the dead man to the value of the debt, as assessed by worthy men. Nothing shall be removed until the whole debt is paid, when the residue shall be given over to the executors to carry out the dead man s will. If no debt is due to the Crown, all the movable goods shall be regarded as the property of the dead man, except the reasonable shares of his wife and children.
* (27) If a free man dies intestate, his movable goods are to be distributed by his next-of-kin and friends, under the supervision of the Church. The rights of his debtors are to be preserved.
(28) No constable or other royal official shall take corn or other movable goods from any man without immediate payment, unless the seller voluntarily offers postponement of this.
(29) No constable may compel a knight to pay money for castle-guard if the knight is willing to undertake the guard in person, or with reasonable excuse to supply some other fit man to do it. A knight taken or sent on military service shall be excused from castle-guard for the period of this servlce.
(30) No sheriff, royal official, or other person shall take horses or carts for transport from any free man, without his consent.
(31) Neither we nor any royal official will take wood for our castle, or for any other purpose, without the consent of the owner.
(32) We will not keep the lands of people convicted of felony in our hand for longer than a year and a day, after which they shall be returned to the lords of the `fees´ concerned.
(33) All fish-weirs shall be removed from the Thames, the Medway, and throughout the whole of England, except on the sea coast.
(34) The writ called precipe shall not in future be issued to anyone in respect of any holding of land, if a free man could thereby be deprived of the right of trial in his own lord´s court.
(35) There shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn (the London quarter), throughout the kingdom. There shall also be a standard width of dyed cloth, russett, and haberject, namely two ells within the selvedges. Weights are to be standardised similarly.
(36) In future nothing shall be paid or accepted for the issue of a writ of inquisition of life or limbs. It shall be given gratis, and not refused.
(37) If a man holds land of the Crown by `fee-farm´, `socage´, or `burgage´, and also holds land of someone else for knight´s service, we will not have guardianship of his heir, nor of the land that belongs to the other person´s `fee´, by virtue of the `fee-farm´, `socage´, or `burgage´, unless the `fee-farm´ owes knight´s service. We will not have the guardianship of a man´s heir, or of land that he holds of someone else, by reason of any small property that he may hold of the Crown for a service of knives, arrows, or the like.
(38) In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.
+ (39) No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.
+ (40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.
(41) All merchants may enter or leave England unharmed and without fear, and may stay or travel within it, by land or water, for purposes of trade, free from all illegal exactions, in accordance with ancient and lawful customs. This, however, does not apply in time of war to merchants from a country that is at war with us. Any such merchants found in our country at the outbreak of war shall be detained without injury to their persons or property, until we or our chief justice have discovered how our own merchants are being treated in the country at war with us. If our own merchants are safe they shall be safe too.
* (42) In future it shall be lawful for any man to leave and return to our kingdom unharmed and without fear, by land or water, preserving his allegiance to us, except in time of war, for some short period, for the common benefit of the realm. People that have been imprisoned or outlawed in accordance with the law of the land, people from a country that is at war with us, and merchants – who shall be dealt with as stated above – are excepted from this provision.
(43) If a man holds lands of any `escheat´ such as the `honour´ of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster, or of other `escheats´ in our hand that are baronies, at his death his heir shall give us only the `relief´ and service that he would have made to the baron, had the barony been in the baron´s hand. We will hold the `escheat´ in the same manner as the baron held it.
(44) People who live outside the forest need not in future appear before the royal justices of the forest in answer to general summonses, unless they are actually involved in proceedings or are sureties for someone who has been seized for a forest offence.
* (45) We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs, or other officials, only men that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well.
(46) All barons who have founded abbeys, and have charters of English kings or ancient tenure as evidence of this, may have guardianship of them when there is no abbot, as is their due.
(47) All forests that have been created in our reign shall at once be disafforested. River-banks that have been enclosed in our reign shall be treated similarly.
* (48) All evil customs relating to forests and warrens, foresters, warreners, sheriffs and their servants, or river-banks and their wardens, are at once to be investigated in every county by twelve sworn knights of the county, and within forty days of their enquiry the evil customs are to be abolished completely and irrevocably. But we, or our chief justice if we are not in England, are first to be informed.
* (49) We will at once return all hostages and charters delivered up to us by Englishmen as security for peace or for loyal service.
* (50) We will remove completely from their offices the kinsmen of Gerard de Athée, and in future they shall hold no offices in England. The people in question are Engelard de Cigogné´, Peter, Guy, and Andrew de Chanceaux, Guy de Cigogné, Geoffrey de Martigny and his brothers, Philip Marc and his brothers, with Geoffrey his nephew, and all their followers.
* (51) As soon as peace is restored, we will remove from the kingdom all the foreign knights, bowmen, their attendants, and the mercenaries that have come to it, to its harm, with horses and arms.
* (52) To any man whom we have deprived or dispossessed of lands, castles, liberties, or rights, without the lawful judgement of his equals, we will at once restore these. In cases of dispute the matter shall be resolved by the judgement of the twenty-five barons referred to below in the clause for securing the peace (§ 61). In cases, however, where a man was deprived or dispossessed of something without the lawful judgement of his equals by our father King Henry or our brother King Richard, and it remains in our hands or is held by others under our warranty, we shall have respite for the period commonly allowed to Crusaders, unless a lawsuit had been begun, or an enquiry had been made at our order, before we took the Cross as a Crusader. On our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once render justice in full.
* (53) We shall have similar respite in rendering justice in connexion with forests that are to be disafforested, or to remain forests, when these were first a-orested by our father Henry or our brother Richard; with the guardianship of lands in another person´s `fee´, when we have hitherto had this by virtue of a `fee´ held of us for knight´s service by a third party; and with abbeys founded in another person´s `fee´, in which the lord of the `fee´ claims to own a right. On our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once do full justice to complaints about these matters.
(54) No one shall be arrested or imprisoned on the appeal of a woman for the death of any person except her husband.
* (55) All fines that have been given to us unjustiy and against the law of the land, and all fines that we have exacted unjustly, shall be entirely remitted or the matter decided by a majority judgement of the twenty-five barons referred to below in the clause for securing the peace (§ 61) together with Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be present, and such others as he wishes to bring with him. If the archbishop cannot be present, proceedings shall continue without him, provided that if any of the twenty-five barons has been involved in a similar suit himself, his judgement shall be set aside, and someone else chosen and sworn in his place, as a substitute for the single occasion, by the rest of the twenty-five.
(56) If we have deprived or dispossessed any Welshmen of lands, liberties, or anything else in England or in Wales, without the lawful judgement of their equals, these are at once to be returned to them. A dispute on this point shall be determined in the Marches by the judgement of equals. English law shall apply to holdings of land in England, Welsh law to those in Wales, and the law of the Marches to those in the Marches. The Welsh shall treat us and ours in the same way.
* (57) In cases where a Welshman was deprived or dispossessed of anything, without the lawful judgement of his equals, by our father King Henry or our brother King Richard, and it remains in our hands or is held by others under our warranty, we shall have respite for the period commonly allowed to Crusaders, unless a lawsuit had been begun, or an enquiry had been made at our order, before we took the Cross as a Crusader. But on our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once do full justice according to the laws of Wales and the said regions.
* (58) We will at once return the son of Llywelyn, all Welsh hostages, and the charters delivered to us as security for the peace.
* (59) With regard to the return of the sisters and hostages of Alexander, king of Scotland, his liberties and his rights, we will treat him in the same way as our other barons of England, unless it appears from the charters that we hold from his father William, formerly king of Scotland, that he should be treated otherwise. This matter shall be resolved by the judgement of his equals in our court.
(60) All these customs and liberties that we have granted shall be observed in our kingdom in so far as concerns our own relations with our subjects. Let all men of our kingdom, whether clergy or laymen, observe them similarly in their relations with their own men.
* (61) SINCE WE HAVE GRANTED ALL THESE THINGS for God, for the better ordering of our kingdom, and to allay the discord that has arisen between us and our barons, and since we desire that they shall be enjoyed in their entirety, with lasting strength, for ever, we give and grant to the barons the following security:
The barons shall elect twenty-five of their number to keep, and cause to be observed with all their might, the peace and liberties granted and confirmed to them by this charter.
If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us – or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice – to declare it and claim immediate redress. If we, or in our absence abroad the chiefjustice, make no redress within forty days, reckoning from the day on which the offence was declared to us or to him, the four barons shall refer the matter to the rest of the twenty-five barons, who may distrain upon and assail us in every way possible, with the support of the whole community of the land, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, or anything else saving only our own person and those of the queen and our children, until they have secured such redress as they have determined upon. Having secured the redress, they may then resume their normal obedience to us.
Any man who so desires may take an oath to obey the commands of the twenty-five barons for the achievement of these ends, and to join with them in assailing us to the utmost of his power. We give public and free permission to take this oath to any man who so desires, and at no time will we prohibit any man from taking it. Indeed, we will compel any of our subjects who are unwilling to take it to swear it at our command.
If-one of the twenty-five barons dies or leaves the country, or is prevented in any other way from discharging his duties, the rest of them shall choose another baron in his place, at their discretion, who shall be duly sworn in as they were.
In the event of disagreement among the twenty-five barons on any matter referred to them for decision, the verdict of the majority present shall have the same validity as a unanimous verdict of the whole twenty-five, whether these were all present or some of those summoned were unwilling or unable to appear.
The twenty-five barons shall swear to obey all the above articles faithfully, and shall cause them to be obeyed by others to the best of their power.
We will not seek to procure from anyone, either by our own efforts or those of a third party, anything by which any part of these concessions or liberties might be revoked or diminished. Should such a thing be procured, it shall be null and void and we will at no time make use of it, either ourselves or through a third party.
* (62) We have remitted and pardoned fully to all men any ill-will, hurt, or grudges that have arisen between us and our subjects, whether clergy or laymen, since the beginning of the dispute. We have in addition remitted fully, and for our own part have also pardoned, to all clergy and laymen any offences committed as a result of the said dispute between Easter in the sixteenth year of our reign (i.e. 1215) and the restoration of peace.
In addition we have caused letters patent to be made for the barons, bearing witness to this security and to the concessions set out above, over the seals of Stephen archbishop of Canterbury, Henry archbishop of Dublin, the other bishops named above, and Master Pandulf.
* (63) IT IS ACCORDINGLY OUR WISH AND COMMAND that the English Church shall be free, and that men in our kingdom shall have and keep all these liberties, rights, and concessions, well and peaceably in their fulness and entirety for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all things and all places for ever.
Both we and the barons have sworn that all this shall be observed in good faith and without deceit. Witness the abovementioned people and many others.
Given by our hand in the meadow that is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign (i.e. 1215: the new regnal year began on 28 May).
Copyright © 1997, The British Library Board
From The British Library´s Online Information Server
 Runnymede (GB), 15 june 1215. Abuses by King John caused a revolt by nobles who compelled him to execute this recognition of rights for both noblemen and ordinary Englishmen. It established the principle that no one, including the king or a lawmaker, is above the law.
 I segni (+) indicano che le corrispondenti clausole sono mantenute nell´edizione del 1225 con alcune modifiche. le clausole evidenziate con (*) sono state soppresse in tutte le edizioni successive della Charta. La numerazione dei paragrafi è convenzionale, visto che la Magna Charta era appunto scritta su un unico grande foglio.
2-The 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 Liberties 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 assembles, that whereas it is declared and enacted by a statute made in the time of the reign of King Edward I, commonly called Stratutum de Tellagio 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 should 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 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 custom 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 disseized of his freehold 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 land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited 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 misdemeanor whatsoever, and by such summary course and order as is agreeable to martial law, and 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 color 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 pretense that the said offenders were punishable only by martial law, and by authority of such commissions as aforesaid; which commissions, 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 aforesaid 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 color 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 honor of your Majesty, and the prosperity of this kingdom.
 This is a statement of the objectives of the 1628 English legal reform movement that led to the Civil War and deposing of Charles I in 1649. It expresses many of the ideals that later led to the American Revolution.
3- Commonwealth Instrument of Government, 1653 
The government of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging. I. That the supreme legislative authority of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, shall be and reside in one person, and the people assembled in Parliament; the style of which person shall be the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
II. That the exercise of the chief magistracy and the administration of the government over the said countries and dominions, and the people thereof, shall be in the Lord Protector, assisted with a council, the number whereof shall not exceed twenty – one, nor be less than thirteen.
III. That all writs, processes, commissions, patents, grants, and other things, which now run in the name and style of the keepers of the liberty of England by authority of Parliament, shall run in the name and style of the Lord Protector, from whom, for the future, shall be derived all magistracy and honours in these three nations; and have the power of pardons (except in case of murders and treason) and benefit of all forfeitures for the public use; and shall govern the said countries and dominions in all things by the advice of the council, and according to these presents and the laws.
IV. That the Lord Protector, the Parliament sitting, shall dispose and order the militia and forces, both by sea and land, for the peace and good of the three nations, by consent of Parliament; and that the Lord Protector, with the advice and consent of the major part of the council, shall dispose and order the militia for the ends aforesaid in the intervals of Parliament.
V. That the Lord Protector, by the advice aforesaid, shall direct in all things concerning the keeping and holding of a good correspondency with foreign kings, princes, and states; and also, with the consent of the major part of the council, have the power of war and peace.
VI. That the laws shall not be altered, suspended, abrogated, or repealed, nor any new law made, nor any tax, charge, or imposition laid upon the people, but by common consent in Parliament, save only as is expressed in the thirtieth article.
VII. That there shall be a Parliament summoned to meet at Westminster upon the third day of September, 1654, and that successively a Parliament shall be summoned once in every third year, to be accounted from the dissolution of the present Parliament.
VIII. That neither the Parliament to be next summoned, nor any successive Parliaments, shall, during the time of five months, to be accounted from the day of their first meeting, be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without their own consent.
IX. That as well the next as all other successive Parliaments, shall be summoned and elected in manner hereafter expressed; that is to say, the persons to be chosen within England, Wales, the Isles of Jersey, Guernsey, and the town of Berwick – upon – Tweed, to sit and serve in Parliament, shall be, and not exceed, the number of four hundred. The persons to be chosen within Scotland, to sit and serve in Parliament, shall be, and not exceed, the number of thirty; and the persons to be chosen to sit in Parliament for Ireland shall be, and not exceed, the number of thirty.
X. That the persons to be elected to sit in Parliament from time to time, for the several counties of England, Wales, the Isles of Jersey and Guernsey, and the town of Berwick – upon – Tweed, and all places within the same respectively, shall be according to the proportions and numbers hereafter expressed: that is to say,
Bedfordshire, 5; Bedford Town, 1; Berkshire, 5; Abingdon, 1; Reading, 1; Buckinghamshire, 5; Buckingham Town, 1; Aylesbury, 1; Wycomb, 1; Cambridgeshire, 4; Cambridge Town, 1; Cambridge University, 1; Isle of Ely, 2; Cheshire, 4; Chester, 1; Cornwall, 8; Launceston, 1; Truro, 1; Penryn, 1; East Looe and West Looe, 1; Cumberland, 2; Carlisle, 1; Derbyshire, 4; Derby Town, 1; Devonshire, 11; Exeter, 2; Plymouth, 2; Clifton, Dartmouth, Hardness, 1; Totnes, 1; Barnstable, 1; Tiverton, 1; Honiton, 1; Dorsetshire, 6; Dorchester, 1; Weymouth and Melcomb – Regis, 1; Lyme – Regis, 1; Poole, 1; Durham, 2; City of Durham, 1; Essex, 13; Malden, 1; Colchester, 2; Gloucestershire, 5; Gloucester, 2; Tewkesbury, 1; Cirencester, 1; Herefordshire, 4; Hereford, 1; Leominster, 1; Hertfordshire, 5; St. Alban´s, 1; Hertford, 1; Huntingdonshire, 3; Huntingdom, 1; Kent, 11; Canterbury, 2; Rochester, 1; Maidstone, 1; Dover, 1; Sandwich, 1; Queenborough, 1; Lancashire, 4; Preston, 1; Lancaster, 1; Liverpool, 1; Manchester, 1; Leicestershire, 4; Leicester, 2; Lincolnshire, 10; Lincoln, 2; Boston, 1; Grantham, 1; Stamford, 1; Great Grimsby, 1; Middlesex, 4; London, 6; Westminster, 2; Monmouthshire, 3; Norfolk, 10; Norwich, 2; Lynn – Regis, 1; Great Yarmouth, 2; Northamptonshire, 6; Peterborough, 1; Northampton, 1; Nottinghamshire, 4; Nottingham, 2; Northumberland, 3; Newcastle – upon – Tyne, 1; Berwick, 1; Oxfordshire, 5; Oxford City, 1; Oxford Univeristy, 1; Woodstock, 1; Rutlandshire, 2; Shropshire, 4; Shrewsbury, 2; Bridgnorth, 1; Ludlow, 1; Staffordshirec 3; Lichfield, 1; Stafford, I: Newcastle – under – Lyme, 1; Somersetshire, 11; Bristol, 2; Taunton, 2; Bath, 1; Wells, 1; Bridgwater, 1; Southamptonshire, 8; Winchester, 1; Southampton, 1; Portsmouth, 1; Isle of Wight, 2; Andover, 1; Suffolk, 10; Ipswick, 2; Bury St. Edmunds, 2; Dunwich, 1; Sudbury, 1; Surrey, 6; Southwark, 2; Guildford, 1; Reigate, 1; Sussex, 9; Chichester, 1; Lewes, 1; East Grinstead, 1; Arundel, 1; Rye, 1; Westmoreland, 2; Warwickshire, 4; Coventry, 2; Warwick, 1; Wiltshire, 10; New Sarum, 2; Marlborough, 1; Devizes, 1; Worcestershire, 5; Worcester, 2. Yorkshire. – West Riding, 6; East Riding, 4; North Riding, 4; City of York; 2; Kingston – upon – Hull, 1; Beverley, 1; Scarborough, 1; Richmond, 1; Leeds, 1; Halifax, 1.
Wales. – Anglesey, 2; Brecknockshire, 2; Cardiganshire; 2; Carmarthenshire, 2; Carnarvonshire, 2; Denbighshire, 2; Flintshire, 2; Glamorganshire, 2; Cardiff, 1; Merionethshire, 1; Montgomeryshire, 2; Pembrokeshire, 2; Haverfordwest, 1; Radnorshire, 2.
The distribution of the persons to be chosen for Scotland and Ireland, and the several counties, cities, and places therein, shall be according to such proportions and number as shall be agreed upon and declared by the Lord Protector and the major part of the council, before the sending forth writs of summons for the next Parliament.
XI. That the summons to Parliament shall be by writ under the Great Seal of England, directed to the sheriffs of the several and respective counties, with such alteration as may suit with the present government, to be made by the Lord Protector and his council, which the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal shall seal, issue, and send abroad by warrant from the Lord Protector. If the Lord Protector shall not give warrant for issuing of writs of summons for the next Parliament, before the first of June, 1654, or for the Triennial Parliaments, before the first day of August in every third year, to be accounted as aforesaid; that then the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal for the time being, shall, without any warrant or direction, within seven days after the said first day of June, 1654, seal, issue, and send abroad writs of summons (changing therein what is to be changed as aforesaid) to the several and respective sheriffs of England, Scotland, and Ireland, for summoning the Parliament to meet at Westminster, the third day of September next; and shall likewise, within seven days after the said first day of August, in every third year, to be accounted from the dissolution of the precedent Parliament, seal, issue, and send forth abroad several writs of summons (changing therein what is to be changed) as aforesaid, for summoning the Parliament to meet at Westminster the sixth of November in that third year. That the said several and respective sheriffs, shall, within ten days after the receipt of such writ as aforesaid, cause the same to be proclaimed and published in every market – town within his county upon the market – days thereof, between twelve and three of the clock; and shall then also publish and declare the certain day of the week and month, for choosing members to serve in Parliament for the body of the said county, according to the tenor of the said writ, which shall be upon Wednesday five weeks after the date of the writ; and shall likewise declare the place where the election shall be made: for which purpose he shall appoint the most convenient place for the whole county to meet in; and shall send precepts for elections to be made in all and every city, town, borough, or place within his county, where elections are to be made by virtue of these presents, to the Mayor, Sheriff, or other head officer of such city, town, borough, or place, within three days after the receipt of such writ and writs; which the said Mayors, Sheriffs, and officers respectively are to make publication of, and of the certain day for such elections to be made in the said city, town, or place aforesaid, and to cause elections to be made accordingly.
XII. That at the day and place of elections, the Sheriff of each county, and the said Mayors, Sheriffs, Bailiffs, and other head officers within their cities, towns, boroughs, and places respectively, shall take view of the said elections, and shall make return into the chancery within twenty days after the said elections, of the persons elected by the greater number of electors, under their hands and seals, between him on the part, and the electors on the other part; wherein shall be contained, that the persons elected shall not have power to alter the government as it is hereby settled in one single person and a Parliament.
XIII. That the Sheriff, who shall wittingly and willingly make any false return, or neglect his duty, shall incur the penalty of 2000 marks of lawful English money; the one moiety to the Lord Protector, and the other moiety to such person as will sue for the same.
XIV. That all and every person and persons, who have aided, advised, assisted, or abetted in any war against the Parliament, since the first day of January 1641 (unless they have been since in the service of the Parliament, and given signal testimony of their good affection thereunto) shall be disabled and incapable to be elected, or to give any vote in the election of any members to serve in the next Parliament, or in the three succeeding Triennial Parliaments.
XV. That all such, who have advised, assisted, or abetted the rebellion of Ireland, shall be disabled and incapable for ever to be elected, or give any vote in the election of any member to serve in Parliament; as also all such who do or shall profess the Roman Catholic religion.
XVI. That all votes and elections given or made contrary, or not according to these qualifications, shall be null and void; and if any person, who is hereby made incapable, shall give his vote for election of members to serve in Parliament, such person shall lose and forfeit one full year´s value of his real estate, and one full third part of his personal estate; one moiety thereof to the Lord Protector, and the other moiety to him or them who shall sue for the same.
XVII. That the persons who shall be elected to serve in Parliament, shall be such (and no other than such) as are persons of known integrity, fearing God, and of good conversation, and being of the age of twenty – one years.
XVIII. That all and every person and persons seised or possessed to his own use, of any estate, real or personal, to the value of 200 pounds, and not within the aforesaid exceptions, shall be capable to elect members to serve in Parliament for counties.
XIX. That the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal, shall be sworn before they enter into their offices, truly and faithfully to issue forth, and send abroad, writs of summons to Parliament, at the times and in the manner before expressed: and in case of neglect or failure to issue and send abroad writs accordingly, he or they shall for every such offence be guilty of high treason, and suffer the pains and penalties thereof.
XX. That in case writs be not issued out, as is before expressed, but that there be a neglect therein, fifteen days after the time wherein the same ought to be issued out by the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal; that then the Parliament shall, as often as such failure shall happen, assemble and be held at Westminster, in the usual place, at the times prefixed, in manner and by the means hereafter expressed; that is to say, that the sheriffs of the several and respective counties, sheriffdoms, cities, boroughs, and places aforesaid, within England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and the Mayor and Bailiffs of the borough of Berwick – upon – Tweed and other places aforesaid respectively, shall at the several courts and places to be appointed as aforesaid, within thirty days after the said fifteen days, cause such members to be chosen for their said several and respective counties, sheriffdoms, universities, cities, boroughs, and places aforesaid, by such persons, and in such manner as if several and respective writs of summons to Parliament under the Great Seal had issued and been awarded according to the tenor aforesaid: that if the sheriff, or other persons authorized, shall neglect his or their duty herein, that all and every such sheriff and person authorized as aforesaid, so neglecting his or their duty, shall, for every such offence, be guilty of high treason, and shall suffer the pains and penalties thereof.
XXI. That the clerk, called the clerk of the Commonwealth in Chancery for the time being, and all others, who shall afterwards execute that office, to whom the returns shall be made, shall for the next Parliament, and the two succeeding Triennial Parliaments, the next day after such return, certify the names of the several persons so returned, and of the places for which he and they were chosen respectively, unto the Council; who shall peruse the said returns, and examine whether the persons so elected and returned be such as is agreeable to the qualifications, and not disabled to be elected: and that every person and persons being so duly elected, and being approved of by the major part of the Council to be persons not disabled, but qualified as aforesaid, shall be esteemed a member of Parliament, and be admitted to sit in Parliament, and not otherwise.
XXII. That the persons so chosen and assembled in manner aforesaid, or any sixty of them, shall be, and be deemed the Parliament of England, Scotland, and Ireland; and the supreme legislative power to be and reside in the Lord Protector and such Parliament, in manner herein expressed.
XXIII. That the Lord Protector, with the advice of the major part of the Council, shall at any other time than is before expressed, when the necessities of the State shall require it, summon Parliaments in manner before expressed, which shall not be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved without their own consent, during the first three months of their sitting. And in case of future war with any foreign State, a Parliament shall be forthwith summoned for their advice concerning the same.
XXIV. That all Bills agreed unto by the Parliament, shall be presented to the Lord Protector for his consent; and in case he shall not give his consent thereto within twenty days after they shall be presented to him, or give satisfaction to the Parliament within the time limited, that then, upon declaration of the Parliament that the Lord Protector hath not consented nor given satisfaction, such Bills shall pass into and become laws, although he shall not give his consent thereunto; provided such Bills contain nothing in them contrary to the matters contained in these presents.
XXV. That Henry Lawrence, Esq., &c.,1 or any seven of them, shall be a Council for the purposes expressed in this writing; and upon the death or other removal of any of them, the Parliament shall nominate six persons of ability, integrity, and fearing God, for every one that is dead or removed; out of which the major part of the Council shall elect two, and present them to the Lord Protector, of which he shall elect one; and in case the Parliament shall not nominate within twenty days after notice given unto them thereof, the major part of the Council shall nominate three as aforesaid to the Lord Protector, who out of them shall supply the vacancy; and until this choice be made, the remaining part of the Council shall execute as fully in all things, as if their number were full. And in case of corruption, or other miscarriage in any of the Council in their trust, the Parliament shall appoint seven of their number, and the Council six, who, together with the Lord Chancellor, Lord Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal for the time being, shall have power to hear and determine such corruption and miscarriage, and to award and inflict punishment, as the nature of the offence shall deserve, which punishment shall not be pardoned or remitted by the Lord Protector; and, in the interval of Parliaments, the major part of the Council, with the consent of the Lord Protector, may, for corruption or other miscarriage as aforesaid, suspend any of their number from the exercise of their trust, if they shall find it just, until the matter shall be heard and examined as aforesaid.
[Footnote 1: The names of fifteen members are given here.]
XXVI. That the Lord Protector and the major part of the Council aforesaid may, at any time before the meeting of the next Parliament, add to the Council such persons as they shall think fit, provided the number of the Council be not made thereby to exceed twenty – one, and the quorum to be proportioned accordingly by the Lord Protector and the major part of the Council.
XXVII. That a constant yearly revenue shall be raised, settled, and established for maintaining of 10,000 horse and dragoons, and 20,000 foot, in England, Scotland and Ireland, for the defence and security thereof, and also for a convenient number of ships for guarding of the seas; besides 200,000 Pounds per annum for defraying the other necessary charges of administration of justice and other expenses of the Government, which revenue shall be raised by the customs, and such other ways and means as shall be agreed upon by the Lord Protector and the Council, and shall not be taken away or diminished, nor the way agreed upon for raising the same altered, but by the consent of the Lord Protector and the Parliament.
XXVIII. That the said yearly revenue shall be paid into the public treasury, and shall be issued out for the uses aforesaid.
XXIX. That in case there shall not be cause hereafter to keep up so great a defence both at land or sea, but that there be an abatement made thereof, the money which will be saved thereby shall remain in bank for the public service, and not be employed to any other use but by consent of Parliament, or, in the intervals of Parliament, by the Lord Protector and major part of the Council.
XXX. That the raising of money for defraying the charge of the present extraordinary forces, both at sea and land, in respect of the present wars, shall be by consent of Parliament, and not otherwise: save only that the Lord Protector, with the consent of the major part of the Council, for preventing the disorders and dangers which might otherwise fall out both by sea and land, shall have power, until the meeting of the first Parliament, to raise money for the purposes aforesaid; and also to make laws and ordinances for the peace and welfare of these nations where it shall be necessary, which shall be binding and in force, until order shall be taken in Parliament concerning the same.
XXXI. That the lands, tenements, rents, royalties, jurisdictions and hereditaments which remain yet unsold or undisposed of, by Act or Ordinance of Parliament, belonging to the Commonwealth (except the forests and chases, and the honours and manors belonging to the same; the lands of the rebels in Ireland, lying in the four counties of Dublin, Cork, Kildare, and Carlow; the lands forfeited by the people of Scotland in the late wars, and also the lands of Papist and delinquent in England who have not yet compounded), shall be vested in the Lord Protector, to hold, to him and his successors, Lords Protectors of these nations, and shall not be alienated but by consent in Parliament. And all debts, fines, issues, amercements, penalties and profits, certain and casual, due to the Keepers of the liberties of England by authority of Parliament, shall be due to the Lord Protector, and be payable into his public receipt, and shall be recovered and prosecuted in his name.
XXXII. That the office of Lord Protector over these nations shall be elective and not hereditary; and upon the death of the Lord Protector, another fit person shall be forthwith elected to succeed him in the Government; which election shall be by the Council, who, immediately upon the death of the Lord Protector, shall assemble in the Chamber where they usually sit in Council; and, having given notice to all their members of the cause of their assembling, shall, being thirteen at least present, proceed to the election; and, before they depart the said Chamber, shall elect a fit person to succeed in the Government, and forthwith cause proclamation thereof to be made in all the three nations as shall be requisite; and the person that they, or the major part of them, shall elect as aforesaid shall be, and shall be taken to be, Lord Protector over these nations of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging. Provided that none of the children of the late King, nor any of his line or family, be elected to be Lord Protector or other Chief Magistrate over these nations, or any of the dominions thereto belonging. And until the aforesaid election be past, the Council shall take care of the Government, and administer in all things as fully as the Lord Protector, or the Lord Protector and Council are enabled to do.
XXXIII. That Oliver Cromwell, Captain – General of the forces of England, Scotland and Ireland, shall be, and is hereby declared to be, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging, for his life.
XXXIV. That the Chancellor, Keeper or Commissioners of the Great Seal, the Treasurer, Admiral, Chief Governors of Ireland and Scotland, and the Chief Justices of both the Benches, shall be chosen by the approbation of Parliament; and, in the intervals of Parliament, by the approbation of the major part of the Council, to be afterwards approved by the Parliament.
XXXV. That the Christian religion, as contained in the Scriptures, be held forth and recommended as the public profession of these nations; and that, as soon as may be, a provision, less subject to scruple and contention, and more certain than the present, be made for the encouragement and maintenance of able and painful teachers, for the instructing the people, and for discovery and confutation of error, hereby, and whatever is contrary to sound doctrine; and until such provision be made, the present maintenance shall not be taken away or impeached.
XXXVI. That to the public profession held forth none shall be compelled by penalties or otherwise; but that endeavours be used to win them by sound doctrine and the example of a good conversation.
XXXVII. That such as profess faith in God by Jesus Christ (though differing in judgment from the doctrine, worship or discipline publicly held forth) shall not be restrained from, but shall be protected in, the profession of the faith and exercise of their religion; so as they abuse not this liberty to the civil injury of others and to the actual disturbance of the public peace on their parts: provided this liberty be not extended to Popery or Prelacy, nor to such as, under the profession of Christ, hold forth and practice licentiousness.
XXXVIII. That all laws, statutes and ordinances, and clauses in any law, statute or ordinance to the contrary of the aforesaid liberty, shall be esteemed as null and void.
XXXIX. That the Acts and Ordinances of Parliament made for the sale or other disposition of the lands, rents and hereditaments of the late King, Queen, and Prince, of Archbishops and Bishops, &c., Deans and Chapters, the lands of delinquents and forest – lands, or any of them, or of any other lands, tenements, rents and hereditaments belonging to the Commonwealth, shall no wise be impeached or made invalid, but shall remain good and firm; and that the securities given by Act and Ordinance of Parliament for any sum of sums of money, by any of the said lands, the excise, or any other public revenue; and also the securities given by the public faith of the nation, and the engagement of the public faith for satisfaction of debts and damages, shall remain firm and good, and not be made void and invalid upon any pretence whatsoever.
XL. That the Articles given to or made with the enemy, and afterwards confirmed by parliament, shall be performed and made good to the persons concerned therein; and that such appeals as were depending in the last Parliament for relief concerning bills of sale of delinquent´s estates, may be heard and determined the next Parliament, any thing in this writing or otherwise to the contrary notwithstanding.
XLI. That every successive Lord Protector over these nations shall take and subscribe a solemn oath, in the presence of the Council, and such others as they shall call to them, that he will seek the peace, quiet and welfare of these nations, cause law and justice to be equally administered; and that he will not violate or infringe the matters and things contained in this writing, and in all other things will, to his power and to the best of his understanding, govern these nations according to the laws, statutes and customs thereof.
XLII. That each person of the Council shall, before they enter upon their trust, take and subscribe an oath, that they will be true and faithful in their trust, according to the best of their knowledge; and that in the election of every successive Lord Protector they shall proceed therein impartially, and do nothing therein for any promise, fear, favour or reward.
From Harvard classics series, 1909
 The Instrument of Government is important in the history of written constitutions. It was adopted by Cromwell and his Council of Officers on December 16, 1653, and under it Cromwell assumed the office of Lord Protector. When the Parliament for which it provides met in September, 1654, it passed a constitution of which the Instrument was the basis.
4-English Bill of Rights, 1689
An Act 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 [old style date] 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 the Second, 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;
By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws and the execution of laws without consent of Parliament;
By committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed power;
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;
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;
By raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace without consent of Parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law;
By causing several good subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when papists were both armed and employed contrary to law;
By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament;
By prosecutions in the Court of King´s Bench for matters and causes cognizable only in Parliament, and by divers other arbitrary and illegal courses;
And whereas of late years partial corrupt and unqualified persons have been returned and served on juries in trials, and particularly divers jurors in trials for high treason which were not freeholders;
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;
And excessive fines have been imposed;
And illegal and cruel punishments inflicted;
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 the Second 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 divers principal persons of the Commons) cause letters to be written to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal being Protestants, and other letters to the several counties, cities, 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 [old style date], 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 having been accordingly made;
And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representative 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
That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal;
That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;
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;
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;
That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal;
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;
That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;
That election of members of Parliament ought to be free;
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;
That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;
That jurors ought to be duly impanelled and returned, and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to be freeholders;
That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;
And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening and preserving of the laws, Parliaments 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, 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 to them, and that the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in and executed by the said prince of Orange in the names of the said prince and princess during their joint lives, and after their deceases the said crown and royal dignity of the same 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.
And that the oaths hereafter mentioned be taken by all persons of whom the oaths have 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 this 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, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm. So help me God.
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. 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. 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 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 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 time to come. 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 the Second having abdicated the government, and their Majesties having accepted the crown and royal dignity as 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 said realms with all honours, styles, titles, regalities, prerogatives, powers, jurisdictions and authorities to the same belonging and appertaining are most fully, rightfully and entirely invested and incorporated, united and annexed. 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 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 for ever, 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. 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; 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 thirtieth year of the reign of King Charles the Second entitled, _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 same declaration at his or her coronation or the first day of the 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. 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 and established accordingly.
II. 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.
III. 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, but 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 Estates of Parliament considering that articles of Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England were agreed on the 22nd of July 1706 years, by the commissioners nominated on behalf of this kingdom, under Her Majesty´s Great Seal of Scotland, bearing date the 27th of February last past, in pursuance of the fourth Act of the third Session of this Parliament, and the commissioners nominated on behalf of the kingdom of England, under Her Majesty´s Great Seal of England, bearing date at Westminster the 10th day of April last past, in pursuance of an Act of Parliament made in England the third year of Her Majesty´s reign, to treat of and concerning a union of the said kingdoms; which articles were, in all humility, presented to Her Majesty upon the 23rd of the said month of July, and were recommended to this Parliament by Her Majesty´s royal letter of the date the 31st day of July, 1706; and that the said Estates of Parliament have agreed to, and approven of the said Articles of Union, with some additions.
I That the two kingdoms of Scotland and England shall, upon the Ist day of May next ensuing the date hereof, and for ever after, be united into one kingdom by the name of Great Britain, and that the ensigns armorial of the said United Kingdom be such as Her Majesty shall appoint, and the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George be conjoined in such manner as Her Majesty shall think fit,and used in all flags, banners, standards and ensigns, both at sea and land.
II That the Succession of the Monarchy to the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and of the Dominions thereto belonging, after Her Most Sacred Majesty, and in Default of Issue of Her Majesty, be, remain, and continue to the Most Excellent Princess Sophia, Electoress and Dutchess Dowager of Hanover, and the Heirs of her Body being Protestants, upon whom the Crown of England is settled by an Act of Parliament made in England in the twelfth Year of the Reign of his late Majesty King William the Third, Intituled, An Act for the further Limitation of the Crown, and better securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject: And that all Papists, and Persons marrying Papists, shall be excluded from, and forever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the Imperial Crown of Great Britain, and the Dominions thereunto belonging, or any Part thereof, and in every such Case the Crown and Government shall from time to time descend to, and be enjoyed by such Person being a Protestant, as should have inherited and enjoyed the same in case such Papist or Person marrying a Papist, was naturally Dead according to the Provision for the Descent of the Crown of England, made by another Act of Parliament in England in the first Year of the Reign of their late Majesties King William and Queen Mary entituled An Act declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, and settling the Succession of the Crown.
III That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament, to be styled the Parliament of Great Britain.
IV That all the subjects of the United Kingdom of Great Britain shall, from and after the Union, have full freedom and intercourse of trade and navigation, to and from any port or place within the said United Kingdom, and the dominions and plantations thereunto belonging, and that there be a communication of all other rights, privileges, and advantages which do or may belong to the subjects of either kingdom, except where it is otherwise expressly agreed in these articles.
V . That all Ships or Vessels belonging to Her Majesties Subjects of Scotland, at the Time of Ratifying the Treaty of Union of the two Kingdoms in the Parliament of Scotland, though forreign built, be deemed, and pass as Ships of the Built of Great Britain; the Owner, or where there are more Owners, one or more of the Owners within twelve Months after the first of May next making oath that at the Time of Ratifying the Treaty of Union in the Parliament of Scotland, the same did, in haill or in part, belong to him or them, or to some other Subject or Subjects in Scotland, to be particularly named, with the Place of their respective abodes; and that the same doth then, at the time of the said Deposition, wholly belong to him or them; and that no forreigner directly or indirectly, hath any share, part, or interest therein; Which Oath shall be made before the chief Officer or Officers of the Customs, in the Port next to the Abode of the said Owner or Owners; And the said Officer or Officers shall be impowered to administer the said Oath; and the Oath being to administred shall be attested by the Officer or Officers, who administred the same; And being registred by the said Officer or Officers, shall be delivered to the Master of the Ship for Security of her Navigation; and a Duplicate thereof shall be transmitted by the said Officer or Officers, to the chief Officer or Officers of the Customs in the Port of Edinburgh, to be there Entered in a Register, and from thence to be sent to the Port of London to be there entred in the General Register of all Trading ships belonging to Great Britain.
VI That all parts of the United Kingdom for ever, from and after the Union, shall have the same Allowances, Encouragements, and Drawbacks, and be under the same Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Regulations of Trade, and lyable to the same Customs and Duties on Import and Export; and that the Allowances, Encouragements, and Drawbacks, Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Regulations of Trade, and the Customs and Duties on Import and Export, fettled in England when the Union commences, shall, from and after the Union, take Place throughout the whole United Kingdom; excepting and reserving the Duties upon Export and Import of such particular Commodities, from which any Persons, the Subjects of either Kingdom, are specially liberated and exempted by their private Rights, which, after the Union, are to remain safe and entire to them in all Respects, as before the same; And that from and after the Union, no Scots Cattle carried into England, shall be lyable to any other Duties, either on the publick or private Accounts, than those Duties to which the Cattle of England are or shall be lyable within the said Kingdom. And seeing by the Laws of England, there are Rewards granted upon the Exportation of certain Kinds of Grain, wherein Oats grinded or ungrinded are not expressed; that from and after the Union, when Oats shall be sold at fifteen Shillings Sterling per Quarter, or under, there shall be paid two Shillings and six Pence Sterling for every Quarter of the Oatmeal exported in the Terms of the Law, whereby and so long as Rewards are granted for Exportation of other Grains, and that the Bear of Scotland have the same Rewards as Barley: And in Respect the Importation of Victual into Scotland from any Place beyond Sea, would prove a Discouragement to Tillage, therefore that the Prohibition as now in Force by the Law of Scotland, against Importation of Victuals from Ireland, or any other Place beyond Sea into Scotland, do, after the Union, remain in the same Force as now it is, until more proper and effectual Ways be provided by the Parliament of Great Britain, for discouraging the Importation of the said Victuals from beyond Sea.
VII That all parts of the United Kingdom be forever from and after the Union, liable to the same excises upon all excisable liquors, excepting only that the thirty four gallons English barrel of beer or ale, amounting to twelve gallons Scots, present measure, sold in Scotland by the brewer at 9s. 6d. sterling, excluding all duties, and retailed, including duties and the retailer´s profit, at 2d. the Scots pint, or eighth part of the Scots gallon, be not, after the Union, liable, on account of the present excise upon excisable liquors in England, to any higher imposition than 2s sterling upon the aforesaid thirty-four gallons English barrel, being twelve gallons the present Scots measure, and that the excise settled in England on all other liquors, when the Union commences, take place throughout the whole United Kingdom.
VIII That from and after the Union, all forreign Salt which shall be imported into Scotland, shall be charged at the Importation there, with the same Duties as the like Salt is now charged with being Imported into England, and to be levied and secured in the same Manner: But in regard the Duties of great Quantities of forreign Salt imported may be very heavy upon the Merchants Importers, that therefore all forreign Salt imported into Scotland, shall be Cellared and locked up under the Custody of the Merchants Importers, and the Officers employed for levying the Duties upon Salt, and that the Merchant may have what Quantity thereof his Occasion may require, not under a Weigh or fortie Bushells at a Time, giving Security for the Dutie of what Quantity he receives, payable in six Months. But Scotland shall, for the Space of seven Years from the said Union, be exempted from paying in Scotland, for Salt made there, the Dutie or Excise now payable for Salt made in England; but from the Expiration of the said seven Years, shall be subject and lyable to the same Duties for Salt made in Scotland as shall be then payable for Salt made in England, to be levied and secured in the same Manner, and with proportionable Drawbacks and Allowances as in England, with this Exception, That Scotland shall, after the said seven Years, remain exempted from the Dutie of two Shillings four Pence a Bushell on Home Salt, imposed by an Act made in England in the Ninth and Tenth of King William the Third of England, and if the Parliament of Great Britain shall, at or before the expiring of the said seven Years, substitute any other Fund in Place of the said two Shillings four Pence of excise on the Bushell of Home Salt, Scotland shall, after the said seven Years, bear a Proportion of the said Fund, and have an Equivalent in the Terms of this Treaty; and that during the said seven Years, there shall be paid in England, for all Salt made in Scotland, and imported from thence into England, the same Duties upon the Importation, as shall be payable for Salt made in England, to be levied and secured in the same Manner as the Duties on forreign Salt are to be levied and secured in England; and that after the said seven Years, as long as the said Dutie of two Shillings four Pence a Bushell upon Salt is continued in England, the said two Shillings and four Pence a Bushell shall be payable for all Salt made in Scotland, and imported into England, to be levied and secured in the same Manner; and that during the continuance of the Dutie of two Shillings four Pence a Bushell upon Salt made in England, no Salt whatsoever be brought from Scotland to England by Land in any Manner, under the Penalty of forfeiting the Salt, and the Cattle and Carriages made use of in bringing the same, and paying twenty Shillings for every Bushell of such Salt, and proportionably for a greater or lesser Quantity, for which the Carrier as well as the Owner shall be lyable, jointly and severally, and the Persons bringing or carrying the same to be imprisoned by any one Justice of the Peace, by the Space of six Months without Bail, and until the Penalty be paid. And for establishing an Equality in Trade, that all Flesh exported from Scotland to England, and put on Board in Scotland to be exported to Parts beyond the Seas, and Provisions for Ships in Scotland, and for forreign Voyages, may be salted with Scots Salt, paying the same Dutie for what Salt is to employed as the like Quantity or such Salt pays in England, and under the same Penalties, Forfeitures, and Provisions for preventing of Frauds as are mentioned in the Laws of England; and that from and after the Union, the Laws and Acts of Parliament in Scotland, for pining, curing, and packing of Herrings, white Fish and Salmon for Exportation with forreign Salt only, without any Mixture of British or Irish Salt, and for preventing of Frauds in curing and packing of Fish, be continued in Force in Scotland, subject to such Alterations as shall be made by the Parliament of Great Britain; and that all Fish exported from Scotland to Parts beyond the Seas, which shall be cured with forreign Salt only, and without Mixture of British or Irish Salt, shall have the same Eases, Premiums, and Drawbacks, as are or shall be allowed to such Persons as export the like Fish from England; and that for Encouragement of the Herring Fishing, there shall be allowed and paid to the Subjects, Inhabitants of Great Britain, during the present Allowances for other Fish, ten Shillings five Pence Sterling for every Barrel of White Herrings which shall be exported from Scotland; and that there shall be allowed five Shillings Sterling for every Barrel of Beef or Pork salted with forreign Salt, without Mixture of British or Irish Salt, and exported for Sale from Scotland to Parts beyond Sea, alterable by the Parliament of Great Britain; and if any Matters of Fraud relating to the said Duties on Salt shall hereafter appear, which are not sufficiently provided, against by this Article, the same shall be subject to such further Provisions as shall be thought fit by the Parliament of Great Britain.
IX That whenever the sum of One million nine hundred ninety seven thousand seven hundred and sixty three pounds eight shillings and four pence half penny, shall be enacted by the Parliament of Great Britain to be raised in that part of the United Kingdom now called England, on Land and other Things usually charged in Acts of Parliament there, for granting an Aid to the Crown by a Land Tax; that part of the United Kingdom now called Scotland, shall be charged by the same Act, with a further Sum of forty-eight thousand Pounds, free of all Charges, as the Quota of Scotland, to such Tax, and to proportionably for any greater or lesser Sum raised in England by any Tax on Land, and other Things usually charged together with the Land; and that such Quota for Scotland, in the Cases aforesaid, be raised and collected in the same Manner as the Cess now is in Scotland, but subject to such Regulations in the manner of collecting, as shall be made by the Parliament of Great Britain.
XI That during the continuance of the duties payable in England on windows and lights, which determines on the 1st day of August, 1710, Scotland shall not be charged with the same duties.
XII That during the continuance of the duties payable in England on coals, culm, and cinders, which determines the 30th day of September, 1710, Scotland shall not be charged therewith for coals, culm, and cinders consumed there, but shall be charged with the same duties as in England for all coal, culm, and cinders not consumed in Scotland.
XIII That during the continuance of the duty payable in England on malt, which determines the 4th day of June 1707, Scotland shall not be charged with that Dutie.
XIV That the Kingdom of Scotland not be charged with any other Duties laid on by the Parliament of England before the Union, except these consented to in this Treaty; in regard it is agreed, That all necessary Provision shall be made by the Parliament of Scotland for the publick Charge and Service of that Kingdom, for the Year One thousand seven hundred and seven. Provided nevertheless, That if the Parliament of England shall think fit to lay any further Impositions by way of Customs, or such Excises which by virtue of this Treaty, Scotland is to be treated equally with England, in such Case Scotland shall be lyable to the same Customs and Excises, and have an Equivalent to be settled by the Parliament of Great Britain; with this further Provision, That any Malt to be made and consumed in that part of the United Kingdom now called Scotland, shall not be charged with any imposition on Malt, during this present War. And seeing it cannot be supposed that the Parliament of Great Britain will ever lay any sort of Burthens upon the United Kingdom, but what they shall find of Necessity at that Time for the Preservation and Good of the Whole, and with due regard to the Circumstances and Abilities of every part of the United Kingdom; therefore it is agreed, That there be no further Exemption insisted upon for any part of the United Kingdom, but that the Consideration of any Exemptions beyond what are already agreed on in this Treaty, shall be left to the Determination of the Parliament of Great Britain.
XV That whereas by the Terms of this Treaty, the Subject of Scotland, for preserving an Equality of Trade throughout the United Kingdom, will be lyable to several Customs and excises now payable in England, which will be applicable towards payment of the Debts of England, contracted before the Union; it is agreed, That Scotland shall have an Equivalent for what the Subjects thereof shall be so charged towards Payment or the said Debts of England, in all Particulars whatsoever, in Manner following, viz. That before the Union of the said Kingdoms, the Sum of three hundred ninety-eight thousand and eighty-five Pounds ten Shillings, be granted to Her Majesty by the Parliament of England, for the Uses after mentioned, being the Equivalent, to be answered to Scotland for such parts of the said Customs and Excises upon all exciseable Liquors with which that Kingdom is to be charged upon the Union, as will be applicable to the payment of the said Debts of England, according to the Proportions which the present Customs in Scotland, being thirty thousand Pounds per Annum, do bear to the Customs in England, computed at One million three hundred forty-one thousand five hundred and fifty-nine Pounds per Annum; and which the present Excises on exciseable Liquors in England, computed at nine hundred forty-seven thousand six hundred and two Pounds per Annum: Which Sum of three hundred ninety-eight thousand eighty-five Pounds ten Shillings, shall be due and payable from the time of the Union. And that in regard that after the Union Scotland becoming lyable to the same Customs and Duties payable on Import and Export, and to the same Excises on all exciseable Liquors as in England, as well as upon that Account, as upon the Account of the Increase of Trade and People, (which will be the happy Consequence of the Union) the said Revenues will much improve beyond the before-mentioned annual Values thereof, of which no present Estimate can be made; yet nevertheless, for the Reasons aforesaid there ought to be a proportionable Equivalent answered to Scotland as an Equivalent for such Proportion of the said Encrease as shall be applicable to the Payment of the Debts of England. And for the further and more effectual answering the several Ends hereafter mentioned, it is agreed, That from and after the Union, the whole increase of the Revenues of Customs, and Duties on Import and Export, and Excises upon exciseable Liquors in Scotland, over and above the annual Produce of the said respective Duties, as above stated shall go and be applied for the Term of seven Years, to the Uses hereafter mentioned; and that upon the said Account there shall be answered to Scotland annually from the End of seven Years after the Union, an Equivalent in Proportion to such part of the said Increase, as shall be applicable to the Debts of England; and generally, that an Equivalent shall be answered to Scotland for such parts of the English Debts, as Scotland may hereafter become lyable to pay by reason of the Union, other than such for which Appropriations have been made by Parliament in England, of the Customs, or other Duties on Export and Import, Excises on all exciseable Liquors, in respect of which Debts, Equivalents are herein before provided. And as for the Uses to which the said Sum of three hundred ninety-eight thousand eighty-five Pounds ten Shillings, to be granted as aforesaid, and all other Monies which are to be answered or allowed to Scotland as aforesaid, are to be applied, it is agreed, That in the first Place, out of the aforesaid Sum, what Consideration shall be found necessary to be had for any Losses, which private Persons may sustain by reducing the Coin of Scotland to the Standard and Value of the Coin of England, may be made good; in the next place, that the Capital Stock, or Fund of the African and Indian Company of Scotland advanced, together with Interest for the said Capital Stock, after the Rate of five per Centum per Annum, from the respective Times of the Payment thereof, shall be paid: Upon Payment of which Capital Stock and Interest, it is agreed, the said Company be dissolved and cease, and also, that from the Time of passing the Act of Parliament in England, for raising the said Sum of three hundred ninety-eight thousand eighty-five Pounds ten Shillings, the said Company shall neither trade, nor grant Licence to trade; providing, that if the said Stock and Interest shall not be paid in twelve Months after the Commencement of the Union, that then the said Company may from thenceforward trade, or give licence to trade, until the said whole Capital Stock and Interest shall be paid. And as to the Overplus of the said Sum of three hundred ninety-eight thousand eighty-five Pounds ten Shillings, after Payment of what Consideration shall be had for Losses in repairing the Coin, and paying the said Capital Stock and Interest, and also the whole Increase of the said Revenues of Customs, Duties and Excises, above the present Value, which shall arise in Scotland during the said Term of seven Years, together with the Equivalent which shall become due upon the Improvement thereof in Scotland after the said Term; and also, as to all other Sums, which, according to the Agreements aforesaid, may become payable to Scotland by way of Equivalent, for what that Kingdom shall hereafter become lyable towards Payment of the Debts of England; it is agreed, That the same be applied in the Manner following, viz. That all the publick Debts of the Kingdom of Scotland, as shall be adjusted by this present Parliament, shall be paid: And that two thousand Pounds per Annum for the Space of seven Years, shall be applied towards encouraging and promoting the Manufacture of coarse Wool within those Shires which produce the Wool; and that the first two thousand Pounds Sterling be paid at Martinmas next, and so yearly at Martinmas, during the Space aforesaid; and afterwards, the same shall be wholly applied towards the encouraging and promoting the Fisheries, and such other Manufactures and Improvements in Scotland, as may most conduce to the general Good of the United Kingdom. And it is agreed, That Her Majesty be impowered to appoint Commissioners, who shall be accountable to the Parliament of Great Britain, for disposing the said Sum of three hundred ninety-eight thousand and eighty-five Pounds ten Shillings, and all other Monies which shall arise to Scotland, upon the Agreements aforesaid, to the Purposes before-mentioned: Which Commissioners shall be impowered to call for, receive, and dispose of the said Monies, in Manner aforesaid, and to inspect the Books of the several Collectors of the said Revenues, and of all other Duties, from whence an Equivalent may arise: And that the Collectors and Managers of the said Revenues and Duties be obliged to give to the said Commissioners subscribed authentick Abbreviates of the Produce of such Revenues and Duties arising in their respective Districts: And that the said Commissioners shall have their Office within the Limits of Scotland, and shall in such Office keep Books containing Accounts of the Amount of the Equivalents, and how the same shall have been disposed of from time to time, which may be inspected by any of the Subjects, who shall desire the same.
XVI That, from and after the Union, the coin shall be of the same standard and value throughout the United Kingdom as now in England, and a Mint shall be continued in Scotland under the same rules as the Mint in England; and the present officers of the Mint continued, subject to such regulations and alterations as Her Majesty, her heirs or successors, or the Parliament of Great Britain, shall think fit.
XVII That, from and after the Union, the same weights and measures shall be used throughout the United Kingdom as are now established in England, and standards of weights and measures shall be kept by those burghs in Scotland to whom the keeping the standards of weights and measures, now in use there, does of special right belong; all which standards shall be sent down to such respective burghs from the standards kept in the exchequer at Westminster, subject, nevertheless, to such regulations as the Parliament of Great Britain shall think fit.
XVIII That the laws concerning regulation of trade, customs, and such excises to which Scotland is, by virtue of this Treaty, to be liable, be the same in Scotland, from and after the Union, as in England, and that all other laws in use within the kingdom of Scotland do, after the Union, and notwithstanding thereof, remain in the same force as before (except such as are contrary to or inconsistent with this Treaty), but alterable by the Parliament of Great Britain; with this difference betwixt the laws concerning public right, policy, and civil government, and those which concern private right, that the laws which concern public right, policy, and civil government may be made the same throughout the whole United Kingdom, but that no alteration be made in laws which concern private right, except for evident utility of the subjects within Scotland.
XIX That the Court of Session, or Colledge of Justice, do after the Union, and notwithstanding thereof, remain in all time coming within Scotland, as it is now constituted by the Laws of that Kingdom, and with the same Authority and Privileges as before the Union, subject nevertheless to such Regulations for the better Administration of Justice, as shall be made by the Parliament of Great Britain; and that hereafter none shall be named by Her Majesty, or her royal Successors, to be ordinary Lords of Session but such who have served in the Colledge of Justice as Advocates, or principal Clerks of Session for the Space of five Years; or as Writers to the Signet for the Space of ten Years, with this Provision, That no Writer to the Signet be capable to be admitted a Lord of the Session, unless he undergo a private and publick Tryal on the Civil Law, before the Faculty of Advocates and be found by them qualified for the said Office, two Years before he be named to be a Lord of the Session; yet to as the Qualifications made, or to be made, for capacitating Persons to be named ordinary Lords of Session, may be altered by the Parliament of Great Britain. And that the Court of Justiciary do also after the Union, and notwithstanding thereof, remain in all time coming within Scotland, as it is now constituted by the Laws of that Kingdom, and with the same Authority and Privileges as before the Union, subject nevertheless to such Regulations as shall be made by the Parliament of Great Britain, and without Prejudice of other Rights of Justiciary; and that all Admiralty Jurisdictions be under the Lord High Admirall or Commissioners for the Admiralty of Great Britain for the time being, and that the Court of Admiralty now established in Scotland be continued, and that all Reviews, Reductions, or Suspensions of the Sentences in Maritime Cases, competent to the Jurisdiction of that Court, remain in the same Manner after the Union, as now in Scotland, until the Parliament of Great Britain shall make such Regulations and Alterations, as shall be judged expedient for the whole United Kingdom, so as there be always continued in Scotland a Court of Admiralty, such as in England, for Determination of all Maritime Cases relating to private Rights in Scotland competent to the Jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court, subject nevertheless to such Regulations and Alterations as shall be thought proper to be made by the Parliament of Great Britain; and that the Heritable Rights of Admiralty and Vice-Admiralties in Scotland be reserved to the respective Proprietors as Rights of Property, subject nevertheless, as to the Manner of exercising such heritable Rights, to such Regulations and Alterations, as shall be thought proper to be made by the Parliament of Great Britain; and that all other Courts now in being within the Kingdom of Scotland do remain, but subject to Alterations by the Parliament of Great Britain; and that all inferior Courts within the said Limits do remain subordinate, as they are now, to the supreme Courts of Justice within the same, in all time coming; and that no Causes in Scotland be cognoscible by the Courts of Chancery, Queens-Bench, Common-Pleas, or any other Court in Westminster-hall; and that the said Courts, or any other of the like Nature, after the Union, shall have no Power to cognosce, review, or alter the Acts or Sentences of the Judicatures within Scotland, or stop the Execution of the same; and that there be a Court of Exchequer in Scotland after the Union, for deciding Questions concerning the Revenues of Customs and Excises there, having the same Power and Authority in such Cases, as the Court of Exchequer has in England; and that the said Court of Exchequer in Scotland have Power of passing Signatures, Gifts, Tutories, and in other Things, as the Court of Exchequer at present in Scotland hath; and that the Court of Exchequer that now is in Scotland do remain, until a new Court of Exchequer be settled by the Parliament of Great Britain in Scotland after the Union; and that after the Union, the Queen´s Majesty, and her royal Successors, may continue a Privy Council in Scotland, for preserving of publick Peace and Order, until the Parliament of Great Britain shall think fit to alter it, or establish any other effectual method for that end.
XX That all heritable offices, superiorities, heritable jurisdictions, offices for life, and jurisdictions for life, be reserved to the owners thereof, as rights of property, in the same manner as they are now enjoyed by the laws of Scotland, notwithstanding of this Treaty.
XXI That the rights and privileges of the royal burghs in Scotland, as they now are, do remain entire after the Union, and notwithstanding thereof.
XXII That by virtue of this Treaty, of the Peers of Scotland, at the Time of the Union, sixteen shall be the Number to sit and vote in the House of Lords, and forty-five the Number of the Representatives of Scotland in the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain; and that when Her Majesty, her Heirs or Successors, shall declare her or their Pleasure for holding the first or any subsequent Parliament of Great Britain, until the Parliament of Great Britain shall make further Provision therein, a Writ do issue under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, directed to the Privy Council of Scotland, commanding them to cause sixteen Peers, who are to sit in the House of Lords, to be summoned to Parliament, and forty-five Members to be elected to sit in the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain, according to the Agreement of this Treaty, in such manner as by an Act of this present Session of the Parliament of Scotland is or shall be settled; which Act is hereby declared to be as valid as if it were a part of, and ingrossed in this Treaty. And that the Names of the Persons so summoned and elected shall be returned by the Privy Council of Scotland into the Court from whence the said Writ did issue. And that if Her Majesty, on or before the first day of May next, on which day the Union is to take place, shall declare under the Great Seal of England, That it is expedient that the Lords of Parliament of England and Commons of the present Parliament of England, should be the Members of the respective Houses of the first Parliament of Great Britain, for and on the part of England, then the said Lords of Parliament of England, and Commons of the present Parliament of England, shall be the Members of the respective Houses of the first Parliament of Great Britain, for and on the part of England: And Her Majesty may by hr Royal Proclamation, under the Great Seal of Great Britain, appoint the said first Parliament of Great Britain to meet at such Time and Place as Her Majesty shall think fit; which Time shall not be less than fifty Days after the Date of such Proclamation; and the Time and Place of the Meeting of such Parliament being so appointed, a Writ shall be immediately issued under the Great Seal of Great Britain, directed to the Privy Council of Scotland, for the summoning the sixteen Peers, and for electing forty-five Members, by whom Scotland is to be represented in the Parliament of Great Britain. And the Lords of Parliament of England, and the sixteen Peers of Scotland, such sixteen Peers being summoned and returned in the Manner agreed in this Treaty, and the Members of the House of Commons of the said Parliament of England, and the forty-five Members for Scotland, such forty-five Members being elected and returned in the Manner agreed in this Treaty, shall assemble and meet respectively, in the respective Houses of the Parliament of Great Britain, at such Time and Place as shall be to appointed by Her Majesty, and shall be the two Houses of the first Parliament of Great Britain; and that Parliament may continue for such Time only, as the present Parliament of England might have continued if the Union of the two Kingdoms had not been made, unless sooner dissolved by Her Majesty. And that every one of the Lords of Parliament of Great Britain, and every Member of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain, in the first and all succeeding Parliaments of Great Britain, until the Parliament of Great Britain shall otherwise direct, shall take the respective Oaths appointed to be taken in Stead of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, by an Act of Parliament made in the first Year of the Reign of the late King William and Queen Mary, intituled, An Act for the abrogating of the Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance, and appointing other Oaths, and make, subscribe, and audibly repeat the Declaration mentioned in an Act of Parliament made in England in the thirtieth Year of the Reign of King Charles the Second Entituled, An Act for the more effectual preserving the King´s Person and Government, by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament; and shall take and subscribe the Oath mentioned in an Act of Parliament made in England in the first Year of Her Majesty´s Reign, intituled, An Act to declare the Alterations in the Oath appointed to be taken by the Act, intituled, An Act for the further Security of his Majesty´s Person, and the Succession of the Crown in the Protestant Line, and for extinguishing the Hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales, and all other Pretenders, and their open and secret Abettors, and for declaring the Association to be determined; at such Time, and in such Manner as the Members of both Houses of Parliament of England are by the said respective Acts directed to take, make, and subscribe the same, upon the Penalties and Disabilities in the said respective Acts contained. And it is declared and agreed, That these Words, This Realm, The Crown of this Realm, and The Queen of this Realm, mentioned in the Oaths and Declaration contained in the aforesaid Acts, which were intended to signify the Crown and Realm of England shall be understood of the Crown and Realm of Great Britain; and that in that Sense the said Oaths and Declaration be taken and subscribed by the Members of both Houses of the Parliament of Great Britain.
XXIII That the aforesaid sixteen Peers of Scotland mentioned in the last preceding Article, to sit in the House of Lords of the Parliament of Great Britain, shall have all Privileges of Parliament, which the Peers of England now have, and which they, or any Peers of Great Britain shall have after the Union, and particularly the Right of sitting upon the Trials of Peers: And in case of the Tryal of any Peer, in time of Adjournment, or Prorogation of Parliament, the said sixteen Peers shall be summoned in the same Manner and have the same Powers and Privileges at such Tryal, as any other Peers of Great Britain. And that in case any Trials of Peers shall hereafter happen, when there is no Parliament in Being, the sixteen Peers of Scotland who sat in the last preceding Parliament, shall be summoned in the same Manner, and have the same Powers and Privileges at such Trials, as any other Peers of Great Britain; and that all Peers of Scotland, and their Successors to their Honours and Dignities, shall from and after the Union, be Peers of Great Britain, arid have Rank and Precedency next and immediately after the Peers of the like Orders and Degrees in England at the Time of the Union, and before all Peers of Great Britain of the like Orders and Degrees, who may be created after the Union, and shall be tried as Peers of Great Britain, and shall enjoy all Privileges of Peers, as fully as the Peers of England do now, or as they, or any other Peers of Great Britain may hereafter enjoy the same, except the Right and Privilege of sitting in the House of Lords, and the Privileges depending thereon, and particularly the Right of sitting upon the Trials of Peers.
XXIV That from and after the Union, there be one Great Seal for the United Kingdom of Great Britain, which shall be different from the Great Seal now used in either Kingdom; And that the quartering the Arms, and the Rank and Precedency of the Lyon King of Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland as may best suit the Union, be left to Her Majesty: And that in the mean Time, the Great Seal of England be used as the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, and that the Great Seal of the United Kingdom be used for sealing Writs to elect and summon the Parliament of Great Britain, and for sealing all Treaties with forreign Princes and States, and all Publick Acts, Instruments and Orders of State, which concern the whole United Kingdom, and in all other Matters relating to England, as the Great Seal of England is now used: And that a Seal in Scotland after the Union be always kept and made use of in all things relating to private Rights or Grants, which have usually passed the Great Seal of Scotland and which only concern Offices, Grants, Commissions, and private Rights within that Kingdom; and that until such Seal shall be appointed by Her Majesty, the present Great Seal of Scotland shall be used for such purposes: And that the Privy Seal, Signet, Casset, Signet of the Justiciary Court, Quarter Seal, and Seals or Courts now used in Scotland be continued; but that the said Seals be altered and adapted to the State of the Union, as Her Majesty shall think fit; and the said Seals, and all of them, and the Keepers of them, shall be subject to such Regulations as the Parliament of Great Britain shall hereafter make. And that the Crown, Scepter, and Sword of State, the Records of Parliament, and all other Records, Rolls and Registers whatsoever, both publick and private, general and particular, and Warrants thereof, continue to be kept as they are within that part of the United Kingdom now called Scotland; and that they shall, remain in all time coming, notwithstanding the Union.
XXV That all laws and statutes in either kingdom, so far as they are contrary to or inconsistent with the terms of these articles, or any one of them, shall, from and after the Union cease and become void, and shall be so declared to be by the respective Parliaments of the said Kingdoms.
OUR Soveraign Lady, and the Estates of Parliament, considering That by the late Act of Parliament, for a Treaty with England for a Union of both Kingdoms, it is provided, That the Commissioners for that Treaty should not treat of or concerning any Alteration of the Worship, Discipline, and Government of the Church of this Kingdom as now by Law established: Which Treaty being now reported to the Parliament, and it being reasonable and necessary that the true Protestant Religion, as presently professed within this Kingdom, with the Worship, Discipline, and Government of this Church, should be effectually and unalterably secured: Therefore Her Majesty, with Advice and Consent of the said Estates of Parliament, doth hereby establish and confirm the said true Protestant Religion, and the Worship, Discipline, and Government of this Church, to continue without any Alteration to the People of this Land in all succeeding Generations, and most especially Her Majesty, with Advice and Content aforesaid, ratifies, approves, and for ever confirms the fifth Act of the first Parliament of King William and Queen Mary, Entituled, Act ratifying the Confession of Faith, and settling Presbyterian Church Government; with all other Acts of Parliament relating thereto, in Prosecution of the Declaration of the Estates of this Kingdom, containing the Claim of Right, bearing Date the eleventh of Aprile One thousand six hundred and eighty nine: And Her Majesty, with Advice and Consent aforesaid, expressly provides and declares, That the foresaid true Protestant Religion contained in the above-mentioned Confession of Faith, with the Form and Purity of Worship presently in use within this Church, and its Presbyterian Church Government and Discipline (that is to say) the Government of the Church by Kirk Sessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods, and General Assemblies all established by the foresaid Acts of Parliament, pursuant to the Claim of Right, shall remain and continue unalterable, and that the said Presbyterian Government shall be the only Government of the Church within the Kingdom of Scotland. And further, for the greater Security of the foresaid Protestant Religion, and of the Worship, Discipline, and Government of this Church, as above established, Her Majesty, with Advice and Consent foresaid, statutes and ordains, That the Universities and Colledges of Saint Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh, as now established by Law, shall continue within this Kingdom forever; and that in all time coming, no Professors, Principals; Regents, Masters, or others, bearing Office in any University, Colledge, or School within this Kingdom, be capable to be admitted, or allowed to continue in the Exercise of their said Functions, but such as shall own and acknowledge the Civil Government in Manner prescribed or to be prescribed by the Acts of Parliament: as also, that before, or at their Admissions, they do and shall acknowledge and profess, and shall subscribe to the foresaid Confession of Faith, as the Confession of their Faith, and that they will practise and confirm themselves to the Worship presently in Use in this Church, and submit themselves to the Government and Discipline thereof and never endeavour directly or indirectly the Prejudice or Subversion of the same, and that before the respective Presbyteries of their Bounds, by whatsoever Gift, Presentation or Provision they may be thereto provided. And further, Her Majesty, with Advice aforesaid, expressly declares, and statutes, That none of the Subjects of this Kingdom shall be lyable to, but all and every one of them for ever free of any Oath, Test or Subscription within this Kingdom, contrary to, or inconsistent with the foresaid true Protestant Religion, and Presbyterian Church Government, Worship, and Discipline, as above established: and that the same within the Bounds of this Church and Kingdom, shall never be imposed upon, or required of them, in any Sort. And lastly, That after the Decease of her present Majesty, (whom God long preserve) the Sovereign succeeding to her in the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Great Britain, shall in all time coming at his or her Accession to the Crown, swear and subscribe, that they shall inviolably maintain and preserve the foresaid Settlement of the true Protestant Religion, with the Government, Worship, Discipline, Right, and Privileges of this Church, as above established by the Laws of this Kingdom in Prosecution of the Claim of Right. And it is hereby statuted and ordain´d, That this Act of Parliament, with the Establishment therein contained, shall be held and observed in all time coming, as a fundamental and essential Condition of any Treaty or Union to be concluded betwixt the two Kingdoms, without any Alteration thereof, or Derogation thereto in any Sort for ever: As also, That this Act of Parliament, and Settlement therein contain´d, shall be insert and repeated in any Act of Parliament that shall pass for agreeing and concluding the foresaid Treaty or Union betwixt the two Kingdoms; and that the same shall be therein expresly declared to be a fundamental and essential Condition of the said Treaty or Union in all time coming
WHICH ARTICLES OF UNION and Act immediately abovewritten Her Majesty with advice and consent foresaid Statutes Enacts and Ordains to be and Continue in all time coming the sure and perpetuall foundation of ane compleat and intire Union of the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England under this express Condition and Provision That the Approbation and Ratification of the foresaids Articles and Act shall be nowayes binding on this Kingdom untill the said Articles and Act be Ratified Approven and Confirmed by Her Majesty with and by the Authority of the Parliament of England as they are now Agreed to Approved and Confirmed by Her Majestie with and by the Authority of the Parliament of Scotland Declaring nevertheless that the Parliament of England may provide for the security of the Church of England as they think expedient to take place within the bounds of the said Kingdom of England and not Derogating from the security above provided for Establishing of the Church of Scotland within the bounds of this Kingdom As also the said Parliament of England may extend the Additions and other provisions contained in the Articles of Union as above insert in favours of the Subjects of Scotland to and in favours of the Subjects of England which shall not suspend or Derogate from the force and effect of this present Ratification But shall be understood as herein included without the necessity of any new Ratification in the Parliament of Scotland And lastly Her Majesty Enacts and Declares That all Laws and Statutes in this Kingdom so far as they are contrary to or inconsistent with the terms of these Articles as abovementioned shall from and after the Union cease and become void.
 The preface of the Act of Union ACT RATIFYING AND APPROVING TREATY OF THE TWO KINGDOMS OF SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND. January 16, 1707
6-The Act of Union, 2 July 1800 (40 Geo. III c. 67)
WHEREAS in pursuance of H.M.’s most gracious recommendation to the two Houses of Parliament in Great Britain and Ireland respectively, to consider of such measures as might best tend to strengthen and consolidate the connection between the two Kingdoms, the two Houses of the Parliament of Great Britain and the two Houses of the Parliament of Ireland have severally agreed and resolved that, in order to promote and secure the essential interests of Great Britain and Ireland, and to consolidate the strength, power and resources of the British Empire, it will be advisable to concur in such measures as may best tend to unite the two Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland into one Kingdom, in such a manner, and on such terms and conditions, as may be established by the Acts of the respective Parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland.
And whereas, in furtherance of the said Resolution, both Houses of the said two Parliaments respectively have likewise agreed upon certain Articles for effectuating and establishing the said purposes, in the tenor following:
Article First. That it be the first Article of the Union of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, that the said Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland shall, upon the 1st day of January which shall be in the year of our Lord 1801, and for ever after, be united into one Kingdom, by the name of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; and that the royal style and titles appertaining to the Imperial Crown of the said United Kingdom and its dependencies; and also the ensigns, armorial flags and banners thereof shall be such as H.M., by his royal Proclamation under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, shall be pleased to appoint.
Article Second. That it be the second Article of Union, that the succession to the Imperial Crown of the said United Kingdom, and of the dominions thereunto belonging, shall continue limited and settled… according to the existing laws, and to the terms of union between England and Scotland.
Article Third. That it be the third Article of Union that the said United Kingdom be represented in one and the same Parliament, to be styled The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Article Fourth. That it be the fourth Article of Union that four Lords Spiritual of Ireland by rotation of sessions, and 28 Lords Temporal of Ireland elected for life by the peers of Ireland, shall be the number to sit and vote on the part of Ireland in the House of Lords of the Parliament of the United Kingdom; and 100 commoners (two for each County of Ireland, two for the City of Dublin, two for the City of Cork, one for the University of Trinity College, and one for each of the 31 most considerable Cities, Towns and Boroughs) be the number to sit and vote on the part of Ireland in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom:
That such Act as shall be passed in the Parliament of Ireland previous to the Union, to regulate the mode by which the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons, to serve in the Parliament of the United Kingdom on the part of Ireland, shall be summoned and returned to the said Parliament, shall be considered as forming part of the Treaty of the Union, and shall be incorporated in the Acts of the respective Parliaments by which the said Union shall be ratified and established.
That any person holding any peerage in Ireland now subsisting, or hereafter to be created, shall not thereby be disqualified from being elected to serve, if he shall so think fit . . . for any county, city or borough of Great Britain, in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, unless he shall have been previously elected as above, to sit in the House of Lords of the United Kingdom; but that so long as such peer of Ireland shall so continue to be a member of the House of Commons, he shall not be entitled to the privilege of peerage, nor be capable of being elected to serve as a peer on the part of Ireland, or of voting at any such election; and that he shall be liable to be sued, indicted, proceeded against, and tried as a commoner, for any offence with which he may be charged .
That all questions touching the election of members to sit on the part of Ireland in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom shall be heard and decided in the same manner as questions touching such elections in Great Britain now are, or at any time hereafter shall by law be heard and decided, subject nevertheless to such particular regulations in respect of Ireland as, from local circumstances, the Parliament of the United Kingdom may from time to time deem expedient:
That the qualifications in respect of property of the members elected on the part of Ireland to sit in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, shall be respectively the same as are now provided by law in the cases of elections for counties and cities and boroughs respectively in that part of the United Kingdom called England, unless any other provision shall hereafter be made in that respect by Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom…
That when H.M., his heirs or successors, shall declare his, her, or their pleasure for holding the first or any subsequent Parliament of the United Kingdom, a Proclamation shall issue, under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, to cause the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, who are to serve in the Parliament thereof on the part of Ireland, to be returned in such manner as by any Act of this present Session of the Parliament of Ireland shall be provided; and that the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons of Great Britain shall together with the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons so returned as aforesaid on the part of Ireland, constitute the two Houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Article Fifth. That it be the fifth Article of Union, that the Churches of England and Ireland, as now by law established, be united into one Protestant Episcopal Church, to be called, The United Church of England and Ireland; and that the doctrine, worship, discipline and government of the said United Church shall be, and shall remain in full force for ever, as the same are now by law established for the Church of England; and that the continuance and preservation of the said united Church, as the Established Church of England and Ireland, shall be deemed and taken to be an essential and fundamental part of the Union; and that in like manner the doctrine, worship, discipline and government of the Church of Scotland shall remain and be preserved as the same are now established by law, and by the Acts for the Union of the two kingdoms of England and Scotland.
Article Sixth. That it be the sixth Article of Union, that H.M.’s subjects of Great Britain and Ireland shall, from and after the first day of January 1801 be entitled to the same privileges, and be on the same footing, as to encouragements and bounties on the like articles being the growth, produce or manufacture of either country respectively, and generally in respect of trade and navigation in all ports and places in the United King dom and its dependencies; and that in all treaties made by H.M., his heirs and successors with any foreign Power, H.M.’s subjects of Ireland shall have the same privileges and be on the same footing as H.M.’s subjects of Great Britain . .
Article Seventh. That it be the seventh Article of Union, that the charge arising from the payment of interest, and the sinking fund for the reduction of the principal, of the debt incurred in either kingdom before the Union, shall continue to be separately defrayed by Great Britain and Ireland respectively, except as hereinafter provided: that for the space of 20 years after the Union shall take place, the contribution of Great Britain and Ireland respectively towards the expenditure of the United Kingdom in each year shall be defrayed in the proportion of fifteen parts for Great Britain, and two parts for Ireland; and that at the expiration of the said 20 years, the future expenditure of the United Kingdom (other than the interest and charges of the debt to which either country shall be separately liable) shall be defrayed in such proportion as the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall deem just and reasonable upon a comparison of the real value of the exports and imports of the respective countries, upon an average of the three years next preceding the period of revision; or on a comparison of the value of the quantities of the following articles consumed within the respective countries, on a similar average; videlicet, beer, spirits, sugar, wine, tea, tobacco and malt; or according to the aggregate proportion resulting from both these considerations combined; or on a comparison of the amount of income in each country, estimated from the produce for the same period of a general tax, if such shall have been imposed on the same descriptions of income in both countries; and that the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall afterwards proceed in like manner to revise and fix the said proportions according to the same rules, or any of them, at periods not more distant than 20 years, nor less than seven years from each other; unless, previous to any such period, the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall have declared, as hereinafter, provided, that the expenditure of the United Kingdom shall be defrayed indiscriminately, by equal taxes imposed on the like articles in both countries .
Article Eighth. That it be the eighth Article of Union, that all laws in force at the time of the Union, and all the courts of civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction within the respective kingdoms, shall remain as now by law established within the same, subject only to such alterations and regulations from time to time as circumstances may appear to the Parliament of the United Kingdom to require.
And whereas the said Articles having, by Address of the respective Houses of Parliament in Great Britain and Ireland, been humbly laid before H.M, H.M. has been graciously pleased to approve the same; and to recommend it to his two Houses of Parliament in Great Britain and Ireland to consider of such measures as may be necessary for giving effect to the said Articles: in order, therefore, to give full effect and validity to the same, be it enacted . . . that the said foregoing recited Articles, each and every one of them, according to the true import and tenor thereof, be ratified, confirmed and approved, and be and they are hereby declared to be the Articles of the Union of Great Britain and Ireland, and the same shall be in force and have effect for ever, from the first day of Jan. . . 1801; provided that before that period an Act shall have been passed by the Parliament of Ireland, for carrying into effect, in the like manner, the said foregoing recited Articles.
7–Parliament Act, 1911
An act to make provision with respect to the powers of the house of lords in relation to those of the house of commons and to limit the duration of parliament. Whereas it is expedient that provision should be made for regulating the relations between the two houses of parliament; and whereas it is intended to substitute for the house of lords as it at present exists a second chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis, but such substitution cannot be immediately brought into operation; and whereas provision will require hereafter to be made by parliament in a measure effecting such substitution for limiting and defining the powers of the new second chamber, but it is expedient to make such provision as in this act appears for restricting the existing powers of the house of lords: be it therefore enacted … as follows: —
If a money bill, having been passed by the house of commons and sent up to the house of lords at least one month before the end of the session, is not passed by the house of lords without amendment within one month after it is so sent up to that house, the bill shall, unless the house of commons direct to the contrary, be presented to his majesty and become an act of parliament on the royal assent being signified, notwithstanding that the house of lords have not consented to the bill. A money bill means a public bill which in the opinion of the speaker of the house of commons contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following subjects: namely, the imposition, repeal, remission, alteration, or regulation of taxation; the imposition for the payment of debt or other financial purposes of charges on the consolidated fund, or on money provided by parliament, or the variation or repeal of any such charges; supply; the appropriation, receipt, custody, issue, or audit of accounts of public money; the raising or guarantee of any loan or the repayment thereof; or subordinate matters incidental to those subjects or any of them. In this sub-section the expressions, “taxation,” “public money,” and “loan” respectively, do not include any taxation, money, or loan raised by local authorities or bodies for local purposes. There shall be endorsed on every money bill when it is sent up to the house of lords and when it is presented to his majesty for assent the certificate of the speaker of the house of commons signed by him that it is a money bill….
If any public bill (other than a money bill or a bill containing any provision to extend the maximum duration of parliament beyond five years) is passed by the house of commons in three successive sessions (whether of the same parliament or not), and, having been sent up to the house of lords at least one month before the end of the session, is rejected by the house of lords in each of those sessions, that bill shall, on its rejection for the third time by the house of lords, unless the house of commons direct to the contrary, be presented to his majesty and become an act of parliament on the royal assent being signified thereto, notwithstanding that the house of lords have not consented to the bill. Provided that this provision shall not take effect unless two years have elapsed between the date of the second reading in the first of those sessions of the bill in the house of commons and the date on which it passes the house of commons in the third of those sessions. When a bill is presented to his majesty for assent in pursuance of the provisions of this section, there shall be endorsed on the bill the certificate of the speaker of the house of commons signed by him that the provisions of this section have been duly complied with. A bill shall be deemed to be rejected by the house of lords if it is not passed by the house of lords either without amendment or with such amendments only as may be agreed to by both houses. A bill shall be deemed to be the same bill as a former bill sent up to the house of lords in the preceding session if, when it is sent up to the house of lords, it is identical with the former bill or contains only such alterations as are certified by the speaker of the house of commons to be necessary owing to the time which has elapsed since the date of the former bill, or to represent any amendments which have been made by the house of lords in the former bill in the preceding session, and any amendments which are certified by the speaker to have been made by the house of lords in the third session and agreed to by the house of commons shall be inserted in the bill as presented for royal assent in pursuance of this section….
Any certificate of the speaker of the house of commons given under this act shall be conclusive for all purposes, and shall not be questioned in any court of law.
In every bill presented to his majesty under the preceding provisions of this act, the words of enactment shall be as follows, that is to say: “Be it enacted by the king´s most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the commons in this present parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Act, 1911, and by authority of the same, as follows.” …
Five years shall be substituted for seven years as the time fixed for the maximum duration of parliament under the Septennial Act, 1715….
Ibid., XLIX, 38 f.: 1-2 George V, c. 13
8-The Statute of Westminster, 1931
(British Statutes, 22 George V, Chapter 4)
An Act to give effect to certain resolutions passed by Imperial Conferences held in the years 1926 and 1930.
11th December, 1931
WHEREAS the delegates to His Majesty´s Governments in the United Kingdom, the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, the Irish Free State and Newfoundland, at Imperial Conferences holden at Westminster in the years of our Lord nineteen hundred and twenty-six and nineteen hundred and thirty did concur in making the declarations and resolutions set forth in the Reports of the said Conferences:
And whereas it is meet and proper to set out by way of preamble to this Act that, inasmuch as the Crown is the symbol of the free association of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown, it would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all the members of the Commonwealth in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom:
And whereas it is in accord with the established constitutional position that no law hereafter made by the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall extend to any of the said Dominions as part of the law of that Dominion otherwise than at the request and with the consent of that Dominion:
And whereas it is necessary for the ratifying, confirming and establishing of certain of the said declarations and resolutions of
the said Conferences that a law be made and enacted in due form by authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom:
And whereas the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, the Irish Free State and Newfoundland have severally requested and consented to the submission of a measure to the Parliament of the United Kingdom for making such provision with regard to the matters aforesaid as is hereafter in this Act contained:
NOW, THEREFORE, 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 of the same, as follows:–
In this Act the expression “Dominion” means any of the following Dominions, that is to say, the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, the Irish Free State and Newfoundland.
(1) The Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865, shall not apply to any law made after the commencement of this Act by the Parliament of a Dominion.
(2) No law and no provision of any law made after the commencement of this Act by the Parliament of a Dominion shall be void or inoperative on the ground that it is repugnant to the law of England, or to the provisions of any existing or future Act of
Parliament of the United Kingdom, or to any order, rule, or regulation made under any such Act, and the powers of the Parliament of a Dominion shall include the power to repeal or amend any such Act, order, rule or regulation in so far as the same is part of the law of the Dominion.
It is hereby declared and enacted that the Parliament of a Dominion has full power to make laws having extra-territorial operation.
No Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom passed after the commencement of this Act shall extend or be deemed to extend, to a Dominion as part of the law of that Dominion, unless it is expressly declared in that Act that that Dominion has requested, and consented to, the enactment thereof.
Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this Act, section seven hundred and thirty-five and seven hundred and thirty-six of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, shall be construed as though reference therein to the Legislature of a British possession did not include reference to the Parliament of a Dominion.
Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this Act, section four of the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890 (which requires certain laws to be reserved for the signification of His Majesty´s pleasure or to contain a suspending clause), and so much of section seven of that Act as requires the approval of His Majesty in Council to any rules of Court for regulating the practice and procedure of a Colonial Court of Admiralty, shall cease to have effect in any Dominion as from the commencement of this Act.
(1) Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to apply to the repeal, amendment or alteration of the British North America Acts, 1867 to 1930, or any order, rule or regulation made thereunder.
(2) The provisions of section two of this Act shall extend to laws made by any of the Provinces of Canada and to the powers of the legislatures of such Provinces.
(3) The powers conferred by this Act upon the Parliament of Canada or upon the legislatures of the Provinces shall be restricted to the enactment of laws in relation to matters within the competence of the Parliament of Canada or of any of the legislatures of the Provinces respectively.
Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to confer any power to repeal or alter the Constitution or the Constitution Act of the Commonwealth of Australia or the Constitution Act of the Dominion of New Zealand otherwise than in accordance with the law existing before the commencement of this Act.
(1) Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to authorize the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia to make laws on any matter within the authority of the States of Australia, not being a matter within the authority of the Parliament or Government of the Commonwealth of Australia.
(2) Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to require the concurrence of the Parliament or Government of the Commonwealth of
Australia, in any law made by the Parliament of the United Kingdom with respect to any matter within the authority of the States of Australia, not being a matter within the authority of the Parliament or Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, in any case where it would have been in accordance with the constitutional practice existing before the commencement of this Act that the Parliament of the United Kingdom should make that law without such concurrence.
(3) In the application of this Act to the Commonwealth of Australia the request and consent referred to in section four shall mean the request and consent of the Parliament and government of the Commonwealth.
(1) None of the following sections of this Act, that is to say, sections two, three, four, five, and six, shall extend to a Dominion to which this section applies as part of the law of that Dominion unless that section is adopted by the Parliament of the Dominion, and any Act of that Parliament adopting any section of this Act may provide that the adoption shall have effect either from the commencement of this Act or from such later date as is specified in the adopting Act.
(2) The Parliament of any such Dominion as aforesaid may at any time revoke the adoption of any section referred to in sub-section (1) of this section.
(3) The Dominions to which this section applies are the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, and Newfoundland.
Notwithstanding anything in the Interpretation Act, 1889, the expression “Colony” shall not, in any Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed after the commencement of this Act, include a Dominion or any Province or State forming part of a Dominion.
This Act may be cited as the Statute of Westminster, 1931.
TIME TABLE OF BRITISH REFORMS (1802-1918)
1802 FACTORY ACT Protected pauper apprentices
1819 FACTORY ACT Limited Child Labor in the cotton industrry
1820-25 LEGAL ACTS Reformed Criminal Codes
1823-1827 TARIFF ACTS Reduced tariffs
1825 LABOR ACT Modified the Combination Acts
1828 TEST ACT REPEALED Admitted nonconformists to political office
1829 CATHOLIC EMANCIPATIONAdmimtted Catholics to office
1832 REFORM BILL Eliminated rotten boroughs; Increased the electorate; Provided representation for industrial towns
1833 FACTORY ACT Limited working hours for children
1834 NEW POOR LAW Changed public relief system
1842 FACTORY ACT Protected Mine Workers
1844 FACTORY ACT Protected Women Workers
1846 CORN LAW REPEAL Repealed tariff on grain
1864 CONTAGIOUS DISEASES ACT Required medical exam for prostitutes
1867 REFORM BILL Enfranchised working and lower middle class
1869 DISESTABLISHMENT ACT Disestablished Anglican Church in Ireland
1870 LAND ACT Basis for agraarian reforms in Ireland
1870 EDUCATION ACT Basis for Compulsory Education
1875 TRADE UNION ACT Ended limitations placed on unions
1875 FACTORY ACT Reduced workweek to 56 hours
1875 ARTISANS DWELLING ACT Defined unsanitary housing, state inspection
1884 REFORM BILL Enfranchised rural labor and miners
1885 REDISTRIBUTION ACTRedistributed seats in House of Commons
1886 FIRST HOME RULE BILLFor separate Irish Parliament–failed
1893 SECOND HOME RULE BILL For separate Irish Parliament–failed
1911 PARLIAMENT ACT Destroyed veto power of House of Lords
1912 THIRD HOME RULE BILLFor separate Irish Parliament–passed, but not enacted
1918 REFORM ACT Limited plural voting. Allowed women over 30 who held property or had degrees the vote.
b–Selezione ampia di documenti relativi alla storia costituzionale inglese e britannica
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The Lillian Goldman Law Library in Memory of Sol Goldman.