This document is bridge between the Constitutional protection of one's
access to the common law, and the Magna Carta. The modern value of the
following is that it links the Magna Carta to the Common Law. The U.S.
Constitution guarantees one's access to the Common Law, i.e. the Magna Carta.
See the next to last line of the first paragraph.
November 5, 1297
EDWARD, by the grace of God, King of England,
Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Guian, to
all those that these present letters shall hear or see, greeting. Know ye that
we, to the honour of God and of Holy Church, and to the profit of our realm,
have granted for us and our heirs, that the 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. (2) And we will that the same charters
shall be sent under our seal, as well to our justices of the forest, as to
others, 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 foresaid charters to be published, and
to declare to the people that we have confirmed them in all points; (3) and
that our justices, sheriffs, mayors, and other ministers, which under us have
the laws of our land to guide, shall allow the said charters pleaded before
them in judgement in all their points, that is to wit, the Great Charter as the
common law[*] and the Charter of the forest,
for the wealth of our realm.
2. AND we will, That if any judgement be given
from henceforth contrary to the points of the charters aforesaid by the
justices, or by any other our ministers that hold plea before them against the
points of the charters, it shall be undone, and holden for nought.
3. AND we will, That the same charters shall
be sent, under our seal, to cathedral churches thoughout our realm, there to
remain, and shall be read before the people two times by the year.
4. AND that all archbishops and bishops shall
pronounce the sentence of excommunication against all those that by word, deed,
or counsel do contrary to the foresaid charters, or that in any point break or
undo them. (2) and that the said curses be twice a year denounced and published
by the prelates aforesaid. (3) And if the said prelates, or any of them, be
remiss in the denunciation of the said sentences, the archbishops of Canterbury
and York for the time being shall compel and distrein them to the execution of
their duties in form aforesaid.
5. AND for so much as divers people of our
realm are in fear that the aids and tasks which they have given to us beforetime towards
our wars and other business, 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 likewise for the prises taken
throughout the realm by our ministers: (2) We have granted for us and our
heirs, that we shall not draw such aids, tasks, nor prises into a custom, for
any thing that hath been done heretofore, be it by roll or any other precedent
that may be founden.
6. 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 communalty of the land, that
for no business from henceforth we shall take such manner of aids, tasks, nor
prises, but by the common assent of the realm, and for the common profit
thereof, saving the ancient aids, and prises due and accustomed.
7. AND for so much as the more part of the
communalty of the realm find themselves sore grieved with the maletent of
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 yearly
released it, and have for granted us and our heirs, that we shall not take such
things without their common assent and good will, saving to us and our heirs
the custom of wools, skins, and leather, granted before by the communalty
aforesaid. In witness of which things we have caused these our letters to be
Witness EDWARD our son at London the tenth day of October, the five and
twentieth year of our reign.
 25 Edw. i, c. i. Danby Pickering (ed.), Statutes at
Large (Cambridge, 1726-1807), I, 273-75.
 Aquitaine, the territory in southwestern France.
 The Charter of the Forest was issued in 1217, early in
the reign of Henry III, as a supplement to Magna Carta. It was confirmed by him
in 1225. Some of the provisions omitted in the reissues of Magna Carta which
relate to forest matters appeared in the Charter of the Forest.
 "Aids," "tasks," and
"prises" were forms of taxation.
[*] This reaffirms that the Magna Carta may be pleaded as
the Common Law before a court.
The above is quoted from "Sources of Our Liberties" Edited by
Richard L. Perry, American Bar Foundation; distributed by Associated College
Presses, 32 Washington Place, New York 3, New York.
Text Version |
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