century gave to a private group the sole right to create and
lssue money it sold the national heritage to usury and placed
the nation in the impossible position of trying to borrow
itself out of debt. When after the last war our Govern
ment allowed Europe to repudiate its debt it was an ad
mittance that usury had brought disaster and was ultimately
These two Laws protected the Hebrew nation and anyone who had been exploited by his fellows. In the Year of Jubilee all debts were forgiven. To-day we pray, "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." In obedience to the Divine Law no British subject is imprisoned for debt, but inability to pay debts within the period ordered by the Court is often construed as contempt of court, and for this offence thousands of British subjects are imprisoned every year. Our laws pervert the intention of the Common Law and poverty and bankruptcy are treated as social offences. In a competitive system based on usury and profit many must lose so that the few may gain. To punish those who lose in the struggle is highly unjust and encourages deceit, trickery, dishonesty, and all kinds of sharp business practices wherein the Devil and the Law punish the hindmost • The victim having been caught in the meshes of a financial system, which from its very nature can only give gain to one by the loss of another, is henceforth harassed and hindered in all commercial activities by the laws of the: land The Divine Law and the spirit of the British Common
Law forbids such monetary and ^me;c^Xed every
In the past, when our Government had explored every
in tne past, wmethod of coercion it could devise to
avenue and used every metnou o* w
182 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
force nations to pay the usurers' pound of flesh, W^ incredible suffering, poverty, and misery to millions f people, only then did it acknowledge that the forgiven^ of debt was sound economics.
||The Jubilee Law of forgiveness was necessary to preserve man's inheritance. It was given to a nation whose mission was to bring the whole world to God and establish His Kingdom on earth. When the Holy Nation failed in its mission, Christ came to fulfil the Law and the Commandments and to give the Law to all nations. In the modem world, where all nations are dependent upon each other the practice of usury by any one unit brings disastrous repercussions upon every other.
The Divine Statutes permitted loans, but no interest could be levied nor property be confiscated in payment. Both he who lent and he who borrowed were protected by strict, sensible, and human laws. Human need, not private greed, was the factor which determined the laws governing the internal economy and international relationships (Deuteronomy xv, i—i1; xxiv, 6—18; Leviticus xxv).
Civil Law.—The Divine Statutes governed the land, employment, contracts, commerce, property, social relationships, public health, and education.
The land laws provided security of inheritance and tenure. If by stress of circumstances and poverty a man was caused to sell any part of his inheritance, it was returned to the family in the year of Jubilee (Leviticus xxv, 23).
Employment was decided by voluntary contract, with specific terms of service providing for payment of wages, workmen's compensation, and for holidays (Deuteronomy
xxiv, H-^)- ,
The laws of Public Health provided for individual ana public hygiene and the control of infectious diseases (Leviticus xi, 25-47; x*u> H)-& The laws for agriculture will be found in Leviticus xxv, 2-7, 23; Numbers xxvi, 53-555 xxxiii, 53"~54> Deuteronomy xi, 6—17; xix, 14; Exodus xxiii, 10-n).
ORIGIN OF BRITISH COMMON LAW 183
The Principles which we propose shall be made the supreme Common Law of the British people are a modernised version of our unwritten Common Law. Compared with the following modernised precis of Divine Law they will be found to be similar:
All men are equal in the sight of God in so far as material Sand spiritual necessities are concerned, but unequal in the development of mental and spiritual qualities.
Man is born with natural and equal right to enjoy during childhood, adult, and old age the food, warmth, shelter, education, and all the amenities which the community in which he lives can provide.
National prosperity shall be determined by the actual productive capacity of the nation as a whole and not in accordance with any fictitious monetary value.
To enjoy his inheritance, man must keep the Laws; do right in the sight of God, and co-operate with his fellow-men.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by the development of character through mental, psychological, and spiritual growth attain a full perfect life.
Man shall enjoy every good thing and share it with the stranger in his land; he shall use just weights and measures; export his surplus by equal exchange; shun fictitious and fluctuating monetary measures or practices by which prices and purchasing power may be manipulated for private gain to the loss of another.
No man should cause or leave another to go hungry, but the hungry should drink at his neighbour's vineyard and eat the corn of his fields.
The State provided a sufficiency of food, warmth, and shelter for the young, the fatherless, the widow, and the stranger.
None shall oppress or exploit the wage-earner, the poor and needy, or any section of the community.
It was illegal for the Hebrew to destroy food supplies or to use them to manufacture instruments of war. It was illegal to contaminate food or to destroy its nutritional value by adulteration or any other practice. It was illegal to invest surplus wealth or to take usury of money, food supplies, or any form of
False witness, slander, and libel were made illegal, and the
claim for damages established. The British Common Law I which made an Englishman's home his castle, now violated by the "Emergency laws," was established in the days of Moses I when it was illegal for any man to enter another's home without I
The Divine Law provided the basis for our Habeas Corpus
Act and our jury system.
It was obligatory on any man witnessing the confiscation of
another's property either by violence or fraud to report the
crime to the proper authorities, who would punish the offender
and reinstate and reimburse the victim. In the modern
equivalent—it shall be illegal to confiscate property in payment
of usury or to juggle with prices, shares, and incomes, or to
deprive any man of his livelihood or the tools of his trade.
The prophets taught the Hebrews that if they co-operated
one with the other, and did not practise usury or seek to
oppress and exploit each other, they would enjoy the fruits
of the earth, and their baskets and larders would be filled;
but if they broke the Law, their produce, their cattle, and
would rise up and bind them in bonds of usury, control
their economic system, monopolise all forms of production,
and who would practise corruption and treason amongst
The Law commanded that every Hebrew should not only vigilantly observe the Law but also take an active interest in political, civic, and religious activities. The Hebrews were told to learn it by heart, to teach it to their children, and make the Law the criterion of all supplementary enactments and customs.
The Hebrews were warned that social apathy was a crime against God and the State, and would result in the loss of all liberty and possessions and end in enslavement. In Saxon England, before the Norman Conquest and in a lesser degree afterwards, the popular Witan maintained public vigilance. The Witan has its modern equivalent in the People's Common Law Parliament.
Sir John Fortescue, Chief Justice of the King's Bench
ORIGIN OF BRITISH COMMON LAW 185
in 1442, who taught Edward Prince of Wales the Common Law and Statutes of England, explained point by point how they were derived from the Divine Law. He also explained why the Laws of England were superior to any other Laws in the world, and why non-observance of these Laws would bring about the conditions we are experiencing in this generation.1
The Common Law of England, or the Law of God, was revealed to other nations besides the Hebrew. It was codified by Hammurabi, a contemporary with Abraham. In the Book of Jasher, mentioned in the Book of Joshua though not included in the Bible, we find that Abraham learned the Law which was introduced into his father's house in Ur of the Chaldees.
Archaeologists delving in the ruins of the ancient world are continually coming upon the Code of Divine Law, written by the law-givers and the prophets of many nations. Some of these codes were written before the Babylonian era, and copies may be seen in the British Museum.
The reader may accept Blackstone, the great authority on jurisprudence, that the Common Law has been revealed by God through His prophets for man's salvation in all ages, or that it is a natural code of man's rights and obligations adopted by communities from the earliest recorded times because it provides the only practical basis for men's relations one with another to ensure prosperity, security, and peace. In either case no one will deny its practicability and justice.
National Pride.—If any people in the world have cause to be proud of their blood and their national tradition it is those who inhabit the British Isles. Our Common Law existed as far back as the history of this country can be traced and is then lost in legend. Legend says that, at the time of Abraham, Hu Gadarn founded the Druid faith and laid down the Code of the Trinity, which was similar in many respects to that of the Hebrews, and found its highest expression in the Mulmutine Code in the fifth century before
1 g£r j0hn Fortescue's Commendation of the Laws of England.
186 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
Christ. Old legends tell us that the Common Law was read by King Billinis from the gates of his castle, in the spot now known as Billingsgate, one hundred years before Christ, and by King Lud at Ludgate Castle seventeen years before the Romans invaded this country. The Mulmutine Code, the King Alfred Laws, and the Common Law expounded by Blackstone rest on the same foundation. England has given great benefits to the world, but has introduced great evils. The people of these Islands preserved the Common Law for the world throughout the Dark Ages of Europe. When the new era dawned England reasserted the Common Law of natural rights and justice and taught it to one-quarter of mankind. To our great shame we also perfected the international Financial Law which destroyed the Hebrew, Babylonian, and Roman civilisations, and finally the benefits which the British Common Law would have given to the world.
In the midst of this greatest tragedy of our race, when Britain defends herself against Europe in arms in a war brought about by an unjust economic policy, our Government is forced to abolish the remnants of Common Law in order to defend the residue of its liberties. It would seem poetic justice that Britain, in her dual character of teacher and preserver of the Common Law and champion and guardian of an evil monetary policy which destroys its benefits, should be forced to defend the principles of Democratic Law from the evils caused by the economic policy she gave to the world.
The British people are now at the cross-roads. They must decide between God and Mammon—between the liberation of man or his suppression. This decision cannot be made on the battlefield. The common people must make the choice in their war and peace aims.
It is claimed, by democratic and dictatorial nations alike, that democracy has had its day; that it has lamentably foiled to do what was expected of it.
In the realisation of failure there is the terrible danger of
I ORIGIN OF BRITISH COMMON LAW 187
the British people adopting some form of pagan dictatorship after the Continental pattern, and of submerging the Common Law in a system which makes man a mere cog in the machinery of State. Every man and woman should be prepared to protest with burning indignation against such national blasphemy. It is the duty and obligation of the British people to establish a true democracy based upon the natural laws which Christ came to fulfil.
A dictatorship is not a sign of progress but a sign of retrogression. Salvation does not lie in dictatorship, nor in a pretence to a democracy, but in the establishment of a social order based upon Supreme Laws which are inviolable by Parliament or by any institution of man.
We have discovered to our cost that there can be no national efficiency under our old system of pseudo-democracy, but a democracy protected by Supreme Common Laws and Common Law Councils in every political constituency, can be made efficient and our nation prosperous.
A wealth of genius would be liberated, and bring to birth a social order in which a free and secure people, by their high purpose and the variety of their interests and attainments, would surpass anything which a dictatorship might produce.
The Constitution of the People's Common Law
There are certain fundamental principles with which all legislation must conform if man is to be free to fulfil the purpose for which he was created. In the Christian view, each man and woman is born with a set of rights which no action of any predecessor can take away from them. These principles and rights are commonly called Christian since they find their noblest expression in the teachings of Jesus Christ, but they are accepted by all civilised people whatever their faith.
The founders of this Movement are determined that these Christian principles and rights shall, by purely constitutional means, become the law of the land, for they are convinced that the overwhelming majority of the people of this nation and Empire would give their unhesitating assent to them. And they are likewise determined that the whole influence of this nation and Empire shall be directed towards securing that such of these principles as are international in scope shall be accepted by the comity of nations in order that the benefits of Christian Justice may be enjoyed by all mankind.
This country is committed to a belief in the right of free and civilised people to govern themselves. The people of this Realm exercise this right by electing representatives to govern them in their name and by their authority. It is of the essence of democracy that the people decide the general principles upon which all legislation shall be based and that their representatives translate these principles into practice by devising schemes and enacting laws which will make the will of the people effective.
A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
It is not the duty of the people to devise schemes but it is their right to assert principles, and the task of elected experts is to formulate methods of government in accordance with
such principles whether they privately agree with them or not.
This essential right of a democratic and free people to determine the principles upon which they shall be governed has been largely surrendered, obscured, or usurped. The electorate is given a choice of parties instead of a choice of principles; human rights and dignity have dissolved in a welter of political jargon, and conflicting parties have aroused sectional interests to the detriment of the common weal.
Candidates for Parliament are, and have been mostly, tied by allegiance to one or other of the great political parties, who demand from their nominees adherence to political doctrines which come under the head of schemes rather than principles and which the people are unable to comprehend and unqualified to judge.
Moreover, when election pledges are broken or evaded the people have no effective constitutional means of expressing their dissatisfaction until the next general election. The voice of the people is, in fact, heard only when some action of the Government is resented to such an extent that a public outcry is provoked.
This state of affairs shows that this country is democratic only in a very limited sense of the word, and that it is necessary for the people to reassert their right to govern themselves by establishing as a Covenant between themselves and their elected representatives the basic principles which must be adhered to in the framing of all legislation.
The co-operation of the people of this Realm is invited in setting up the machinery by which their human rights may be preserved and their general will be incontrovertibly
The People's Common Law Parliament seeks to make the following principles the basis of the Common Law of
PEOPLE'S COMMON LAW PARLIAMENT 191
the British Isles, the Dominions and territories in the control of Sovereignty of Britain, or of any Dominion, and also of any other nation so far as any will co-operate to establish the basis of moral government and the science of national and international economy based on human need and moral justice.
THE NATIONAL PRINCIPLES
1. Man shall not be treated as subservient to monetary
policy or to industrial and commercial exploitation.
The object of this supreme Common Law shall be: To ensure that the principles by which the economic and industrial life of the community is governed shall be so reconstituted as to make it possible that social institutions shall serve the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs of man and man be not subservient to them.
2. No man, woman, or child shall suffer poverty or
insecurity through no fault of their own whilst
there are available actual resources or potential
capacity to meet their needs. jw
The object of this Law shall be:
To provide such a degree of liberty, security, and opportunity as will make it possible and natural for men and women to make their individual contribution to the welfare of the community.
3. The curtailment of supplies by restriction of production
To ensure a progressive order of society adaptable to
meet all contingencies as was the original intention
of the British Constitution and ancient Common
Law, and to fulfil the social implications of the
Christian faith upon which they are based, the
obiect of the Law shall be: m
On the basis of such a natural order, in conformity
192 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
with God's purpose for man and nature, to explore the possibility of a progressive Christian society.
4. The primary responsibility of the State shall be to ensure that every subject of the Realm shall be free to contribute to the community according to his ability and shall receive sufficient purchasing power to provide for all his needs:
With the object:
To ensure that the aforesaid laws and objects shall
receive the first consideration of the legislative
THE INTERNATIONAL PRINCIPLES
The People's Common Law Parliament urges the Governments of this Nation and Empire to use their influence with other nations to secure the adoption of the following Principles as the basis of international co-operation:
1. The economic security, happiness, and the natural
physical and cultural needs of the people shall be the first claim upon all social, industrial, and commercial effort: and in all international negotiations these simple human needs shall take precedence over every other factor.
2. Removal of the principal causes of war by giving all
peoples access to world resources and raw materials, and enabling them to exchange goods and services freely with each other in accordance with their natural needs and the common good, irrespective of national boundaries.
3. International irritations caused by tariffs, quotas,
and the vulgar seeking to profit at the expense of other peoples can be avoided. a The traffic in currencies by private individuals and organisations in such a way as to injure the welfare of any people shall be prohibited.
security because of his or her religious belief or practice.
6. All peoples shall have representation at the Inter-
national Council Table where their representatives shall meet as occasion demands, and that at such meetings the nations and peoples shall accept these principles as final arbiter in all decisions.
The People's Common Law Parliament will consist of representatives from Common Law Councils in the same constituencies as those for the Sovereign Parliament. These representatives will be pledged to the national and international Principles of the P.C.L.P.
The P.C.L.P. and its Common Law Councils will test all legislation, and all economic, industrial, and social practices against these principles.
The influence of the P.C.L.P. will be made effective by a variety of methods:
1. By representations made directly to the Government
or Members of Parliament responsible for any measure violating the principles.
2. Through speeches and votes of pledged Members in
the Sovereign Parliament itself.
3. By mobilising public opinion through the Referendum
organisations in favour of the assertion of the principle involved in a particular case, and against any Government or Member remaining . recalcitrant.
Whenever anything is found to be in conflict with the principles, a statement shall be drawn up setting forth the complaint, the grounds of the complaint, and the principles involved, together with a demand that the grievance be remedied The Members decide which of the three normal methods of the P.C.L.P. shall be used to bring the matter effectively before the authorities concerned.
194 A PEOPLE'S RUNNYMEDE
The Order Paper for the P.C.L.P. is drawn up by th Agenda Committee appointed by the delegates. The orde of precedence is as follows:
1. Questions raised by any member of the Governing
Council, whether in his private capacity or as chairman of one of the Departmental Committees in the course of its routine examination of current and existing legislation. All such questions are included in the Order Paper.
2. Questions submitted by local Common Law Councils,
whether normally through their delegates, or to the Agenda Committee direct.
3. Questions raised by individual delegates in the P.C.L.P.
The questions on the Order Paper are debated in the P.C.L.P. according to ordinary parliamentary procedure. The conduct of the debate is governed by the President, who shall be any member of the Governing Council appointed by that Council. The method of voting shall be decided by the Agenda Committee unless the members of the P.C.L.P. decide otherwise.
The general public may attend all Assemblies of the^ P.C.L.P. but may not speak or vote.
THE COMMON LAW COUNCILS
The P.C.L.P. will bring representation direct to the Sovereign Parliament through their Common Law Councils in the various constituencies.