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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.

[1] 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.

[1] 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.

[1] 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.

[1] 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;

[1] 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.

[1] 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;

[1] 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._

[1] 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.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTES:

[1] A paragraph break was inserted at this point in this e-text, in
hopes of making the text more readable. -Anonymous.

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