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LXII. And all the ill-will, hatreds, and bitterness that have arisen between us and our men, clergy and lay, from the date of the quarrel, we have completely remitted and pardoned to every one. Moreover, all trespasses occasioned by the said quarrel, from Easter in the sixteenth year of our reign till the restoration of peace, we have fully remitted to all, both clergy and laymen, and completely forgiven, as far as pertains to us. And, on this head, we have caused to be made for them letters testimonial patent of the lord Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, of the lord Henry, archbishop of Dublin, of the bishops aforesaid, and of Master Pandulf as touching this security and the concessions aforesaid.
LXIII. Wherefore it is our will, and we firmly enjoin, that the English Church be free, and that the men in our kingdom have and hold all the aforesaid liberties, rights, and concessions, well and peaceably, freely and quietly, fully and wholly, for themselves and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all respect and in all places forever, as is aforesaid. An oath, moreover, has been taken, as well on our part as on the part of the barons, that all these conditions aforesaid shall be kept in good faith and without evil intent. Given under our hand
the above-named and many others being witnesses — in the meadow which is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June, in the seventeenth year of our reign.
2. CONFIRMATION OF THE CHARTERS, 12971
Not less than thirty-eight distinct confirmations of the Great Charter, by sovereigns subsequent to John, are recorded. The most important is the Confirmatio Cartarum of Edward I, in 1297. Though in form a charter, it was really a statute, passed by a Parliament representing nobles, clergy, and commons, and ratified by the king. By Article VI Edward I recognized the principle that no new or extraordinary taxes should be levied without the consent of Parliament.
This article was often referred to in later times, especially by the parliamentary leaders who resisted the encroachments of the Stuarts.
CONFIRMATION OF THE CHARTERS, 1297
I. Edward, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine, to all those that these present letters shall hear or see, greeting. Know ye that we to the honor of God and of holy Church, and to the profit of all our realm, have granted for us and our heirs that the Great Charter of Liberties and the Charter of the Forest, which were made by common assent of all the realm, in the time of King Henry our father, shall be kept in every point without breach. And we will that these same charters shall be sent under our seal to our justices, both to those of the forest and to the rest, and to all sheriffs of shires, and to all our other officers, and to all our cities throughout the realm, together with our writs in the which it shall be contained, that they cause the aforesaid charters to be published and have it declared to the people that we have granted that they shall be observed in all points, and that our justices, sheriffs, mayors, and other officials, which under us have to administer the laws of our land, shall allow the said charters in pleas before them and in judgments in all their points; that is to wit, the Great Charter as the common law and the Charter of the Forest according to the Assize of the Forest, for the relief of our people.
1 William Stubbs, Select Charters and Other Illustrations of English Constitutional History, pp. 492-493. Ninth Edition by H. W. C. Davis. Oxford, 1913. Clarendon Press.
2 Henry III had granted a Charter of Liberties, embodying many of the provisions of Magna Carta, and also a separate charter dealing with the forests.
II. And we will that if any judgment be given from henceforth, contrary to the points of the charters aforesaid, by the justices or by any other of our ministers that hold plea before them against the points of the charters, it shall be undone and holden for nought.
III. And we will that the same charters shall be sent under our seal to cathedral churches throughout our realm, and there remain, and shall be read before the people twice in the year.
IV. And that archbishops and bishops shall pronounce sentences of greater excommunication against all those that by word, deed, or counsel shall go against the aforesaid charters, or that in any point break or go against them. And that the said curses be twice a year denounced and published by the prelates aforesaid. And if the same prelates or any of them be remiss in the denunciation of the said sentences, the archbishops of Canterbury and York for the time being, as is fitting, shall reprove them and constrain them to make that denunciation in form aforesaid.
V. And for so much as divers people of our realm are in fear that the aids and mises which they have given to us beforetime toward our wars and other businesses, of their own grant and good-will, howsoever they were made, might turn to a bondage to them and their heirs, because they might be at another time found in the rolls, and so likewise the prises taken throughout the realm by our ministers in our name; we have granted for us and our heirs that we shall never draw such aids, mises, nor prises into a custom for anything that has been done heretofore or that may be found by roll or in any other manner.
VI. Moreover we have granted for us and our heirs, as well to archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, and other folk of holy Church, as also to earls, barons, and to all the community of the land, that for no business from henceforth will we take such manner of aids, mises, nor prises from our realm, but by the common assent of all the realm, and for the common profit thereof, saving the ancient aids and prises due and accustomed.
VII. And for so much as the more part of the community of the realm find themselves sore grieved with the maletote on wools, that is to wit, a toll of forty shillings for every sack of wool, and have made petition to us to release the same; we, at their requests, have fully released it, and have granted that we shall never take this nor any other without their common assent and good-will; saving to us and our heirs the custom of wools, skins, and leather granted before by the community aforesaid. In witness of which things we have caused to be made these our letters patent. Given at Ghent the fifth day of November in the twenty-fifth year of our realm.
3. MAYFLOWER COMPACT, 1620 1 THE patent for colonization which the Pilgrims obtained from the London Company held good only within the limits of Virginia. Finding themselves outside that territory, the Pilgrims had to provide for the organization of their colony in the absence of a patent. On November 11, 1620, while the Mayflower was lying off Cape Cod, the adult men of the company gathered in the cabin of the vessel and signed the brief document given below. The names of the forty-one signers are not mentioned by Governor Bradford, who wrote the history of the settlement of Plymouth.
MAYFLOWER COMPACT, 1620
In the Name of God, Amen We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, king, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do, by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and, by virtue hereof, to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names, at Cape Cod, the Ith of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James of England, France, and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620.
1 William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation, pp. 89-90. Edited by Charles Deane. Boston, 1856 (Massachusetts Historical Collections, Fourth Series, vol. iii).