106. ACT ABOLISHING THE KINGSHIP (1649)

An act for the abolishing the kingly office in England, Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging....[1] Whereas it is and hath been found by experience that the office of a king in this nation and Ireland ... is unnecessary, burdensome, and dangerous to the liberty, safety, and public interest of the people; and that for the most part use hath been made of the regal power and prerogative to oppress and impoverish and enslave the subject; and that usually and naturally any one person in such power makes it his interest to encroach upon the just freedom and liberty of the people and to promote the setting up of their own will and power above the laws, that so they might enslave these kingdoms to their own lust: be it therefore enacted and ordained by this present parliament, and by authority of the same, that the office of a king in this nation shall not henceforth reside in or be exercised by any one single person....[2]

And whereas, by the abolition of the kingly office provided for in this act, a most happy way is made for this nation, if God see it good, to return to its just and ancient right of being governed by its own representatives or national meetings in council, from time to time chosen and entrusted for that purpose by the people: it is therefore resolved and declared by the commons assembled in parliament that they will put a period to the sitting of this present parliament and dissolve the same so soon as may possibly stand with the safety of the people that hath betrusted them, and with what is absolutely necessary for the preserving and upholding the government now settled in the way of a commonwealth; and that they will carefully provide for the certain choosing, meeting, and sitting of the next and future representatives, with such other circumstances of freedom in choice and equality in distribution of members to be elected thereunto as shall most conduce to the lasting freedom and good of this commonwealth.

And it is hereby further enacted and declared, notwithstanding anything contained in this act, no person or persons of what condition and quality soever within the commonwealth of England and Ireland, dominion of Wales, the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, and town of Berwick-upon-Tweed shall be discharged from the obedience and subjection which he and they owe to the government of this nation, as it is now declared; but all and every of them shall in all things render and perform the same, as of right is due unto the supreme authority hereby declared to reside in this and the successive representatives of the people of this nation, and in them only.

Ibid., II, 18 f.


[1] The first article of the act takes from the descendants of Charles I all royal powers and dignities, and releases their subjects from all allegiance.

[2] Attempts to restore the rights of the late king's issue are declared high treason.


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