An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling



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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.


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