29. The Act for the Attainder of the Earl of Strafford.

[May 10, 1641. Statutes of the Realm, v. 177. See Hist. of Engl. ix. 339-366.]

Whereas the knights, citizens and burgesses of the House of Commons in this present Parliament assembled, have, in the name of themselves and of all the Commons of England, impeached Thomas Earl of Strafford of high treason, for endeavouring to subvert the ancient and fundamental laws and government of His Majesty's realms of England and Ireland, and to introduce an arbitrary and tyrannical government against law in the said kingdoms, and for exercising a tyrannous and exorbitant power above and against the laws of the said kingdoms, over the liberties, estates and lives of His Majesty's subjects; and likewise for having by his own authority commanded the laying and sessing of soldiers upon His Majesty's subjects in Ireland, against their consents, to compel them to obey his unlawful summons and orders, made upon paper petitions in causes between party and party, which accordingly was executed upon divers of His Majesty's subjects in a warlike manner within the said realm of Ireland; and in so doing did levy war against the King's Majesty and his liege-people in that kingdom; and also for that he, upon the unhappy dissolution of the last Parliament, did slander the House of Commons to His Majesty; and did counsel and advise His Majesty that he was loose and absolved from rules of government; and that he had an army in Ireland which he might employ to reduce this kingdom, for which he deserves to undergo the pains and forfeitures of high treason. And the said Earl hath also been an incendiary of the wars between the two kingdoms of England and Scotland, all which offences hath been sufficiently proved against the said Earl upon his impeachment.

Be it therefore enacted by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, and by the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by authority of the same, that the said Earl of Strafford, for the heinous crimes and offences aforesaid, stand and be adjudged and attainted of high treason, and shall suffer such pains of death, and incur the forfeitures of his goods and chattels, lands, tenements and hereditaments of any estate of freehold or inheritance in the said kingdoms of England and Ireland, which the said Earl or any other to his use, or in trust for him, have or had, the day of the first sitting of this Parliament, or at any time since.

Provided[1] that no judge or judges, justice or justices whatsoever, shall adjudge or interpret any act or thing to be treason, nor hear or determine any treason nor in any other manner than he or they should or ought to have done before the making of this Act, and as if this Act had never been had nor made; saving always unto all and singular persons, bodies, politic and corporate, their heirs and successors, others than the said Earl and his heirs, and such as claim from, by, or under him, all such right, title and interest of, in, and to all and singular such of the lands, tenements and hereditaments, as he, they, or any of them had before the first day of this present Parliament, anything herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

Provided that the passing of this present Act, or His Majesty's assent thereunto, shall not be any determination of this present Sessions of Parliament; but that this present Sessions of Parliament, and all Bills and matters whatsoever depending in Parliament, and not fully enacted or determined, and all statutes and Acts of Parliament which have their continuance until the end of this present Sessions of Parliament, shall remain, continue, and be in full force, as if this Act had not been.

[1] Note by Rushworth: 'This proviso hath occasioned the common discourse and opinion that this judgment against the Earl was enacted never to be drawn into precedent in Parliament, whereas it expressly respects only judges in inferior courts.'


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