The Declaration of Rights 1688/9

The Declaration of Rights

 
February 1688/9 Day Tuesday 12
 
  • 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."

 

It is ordered by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons now assembled at Westminster that this Declaration be ingrossed in Parliament and inrolled among the rolls of Parliament and Recorded in Chancery.

                                                                                            

 
Day 15 February 1688.

His majesties Gracious answer to the Declaration of both houses.

My Lords and Gentlemen

This is certainly the greatest proof of the trust that you have in us that can be given which is the thing that maketh us value it the more and we thankfully accept what you have offered. And as I had no other intention of coming hither than to preserve your Religion, Laws and Liberties so you may be sure that I shall endeavour to support them and shall be willing to concur in anything that shall be for the good of the Kingdom and to do all that is in my power to advance the welfare and glory of the nation.

Ordered by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal assembled at Westminster That his Majesties Gracious answer to the Declaration of both houses and the Declaration be forth with printed and published and that his Majesties Gracious Answer this day be added to the engrossed Declaration in Parliament to be Enrolled in Parliament and Chancery.

2 thoughts on “The Declaration of Rights 1688/9

  1. This article should be published in a public news paper for ALL human beings to read. The truth will set US FREE. Give the people a fair choice even thou a lot of them will deside to remain Slaves.

  2. All these are in Parliament now (July13)

    House of Lords Reform (No. 2) Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Dan Byles, supported by Andrew George, Mr David Blunkett, Mr Jack Straw, Jeremy Lefroy, Sir Nick Harvey, Kris Hopkins, Margaret Beckett, Margot James, Rory Stewart, Dr Thérèse Coffey and Thomas Docherty, presented a Bill to make provision for retirement from the House of Lords; and to make provision for the expulsion of Members of the House of Lords in specified circumstances.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 18 October, and to be printed (Bill 15).

     

    House of Lords (Maximum Membership) Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Mr Peter Bone, on behalf of Mr Christopher Chope, supported by Mr Philip Hollobone, Mr Peter Bone, Mr Douglas Carswell, Mr Graham Brady and Mr Stewart Jackson, presented a Bill to provide for a maximum limit on the number of Peers entitled to vote in the House of Lords, and to provide for a moratorium on new appointments.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 12 July; and to be printed (Bill 67.)

     

     

    House of Lords Reform Bill [HL]

    First Reading

    3.37 pm

    A Bill to make provision for permanent leave of absence from the House of Lords; to make provision for the expulsion of Members of the House of Lords in specified circumstances; to make provision for the appointment of a commission to make recommendations to the Crown for the creation of life peerages and to restrict membership of the House of Lords by virtue of hereditary peerages.

    The Bill was introduced by Baroness Hayman, read a first time and ordered to be printed.

     

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