« AnteriorContinuar »
STATE PAPERS OF PUBLIC INTEREST.
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES,
ACTS OF CONGRESS UPON THE SUBJECT OF THE
ACTS OF CONGRESS UPON THE SUBJECT OF NAT-
THE COMPACT WITH VIRGINIA,
FIRST CONSTITUTION OF KENTUCKY,
SECOND CONSTITUTION OF KENTUCKY,
PRESENT CONSTITUTION OF KENTUCKY,
We have concluded that it might be interesting to the general reader to have a short history of the Great Charter.
Magna Charta, or the Great Charter of Liberty, was, by the united efforts of the nobility, clergy, and commonalty of England, wrested from King John, one of the most unscrupulous, tyrannical, and treacherous, but, at the same time pusillanimous sovereigns, ever on a throne. Of the great actors in that scene, it was, in 1770, said by Lord Chatham, in the House of Peers: "Their virtues were rude and uncultivated, but they were great and sincere. Their understandings were as little polished as their manners, but they had hearts to distinguish right from wrong. They had heads to distinguish truth from falsehood. They understood the rights of humanity, and they had the spirit to maintain them."
The Charter was granted to a congress of Barons, convened at Runnymede, which is said by Leland, the great antiquary, to have been so called from two Saxon words signifying the "Council Meadow," the same having been used in old Saxon times as a place of Assembly. The Charter bears date June 15th, 1215, being 149 years after the Norman Conquest.
The copy we now present is not that of the Charter having the royal seal of John. That monarch died soon after the grant of Magna Charta, and his infant son, Henry III, was crowned as his successor. It was thought expedient by the Earl of Pembroke, Protector of the Kingdom, and whose name is the first of the Barons appended to John's Charter, that Magna Charta should be renewed by him. History informs us that as often as five times, during the reign of Henry, the Charter was ratified and confirmed. The form in which it now appears is that given to it in the ninth year of Henry III, and the same in which it appears at the head of the Statute Books of England. It is printed from the inspeximus, and confirmation of it by Edward the First.
For a full comment on its most important passages, and for explanatory notes, the reader is referred to the very interesting and instructive work of Professor E. S. CREASY, entitled "The Rise and Progress of the English Constitution."-EDITORS.
(TRANSLATED AS IN THE STATUTES AT LARGE),
MADE IN THE NINTH YEAR OF KING HENRY THE THIRD, AND
EDWARD, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Guyan: to all archbishops, &c. We have seen the Great Charter of the Lord Henry, sometimes King of England, our father, of the Liberties of England, in these words:
"HENRY, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Guyan, and Earl of Anjou: to all archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, sheriffs, provosts, and officers, and to all bailiffs and other our faithful subjects, which shall see this present Charter, greeting: Know ye that We, unto the honour of Almighty God, and for the salvation of the souls of our progenitors and successors, kings of England, to the advancement of Holy Church and amendment of our realm, of our mere and free will have given and granted to all archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, and to all freemen of this our realm, these liberties following, to be kept in our kingdom of England forever."
A Confirmation of Liberties.
FIRST, we have granted to God, and by this our present Charter have confirmed for us and our heirs forever, that the Church of England shall be free, and shall have all her whole rights and liberties inviolable. We have granted also, and given to all the freemen of our realm, for us and our heirs forever, these liberties, under-written, to have and to hold to them and their heirs, of us and our heirs forever.