120. WILLIAM III: STATUTES

(A) Bill of Rights (1689)

An act declaring the rights and liberties of the subject and settling the succession of the crown. Whereas the lords spiritual and temporal and commons assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully, and freely representing all the estates of the people of this realm, did upon the 13th day of February, in the year of our Lord 1688,[1] present unto their majesties, then called and known by the names and style of William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange, being present in their proper persons, a certain declaration in writing made by the said lords and commons in the words following, viz.: — [2]

Whereas the late King James II, by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges, and ministers employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties of this kingdom by assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws and the execution of laws without consent of parliament, by committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed power, by issuing and causing to be executed a commission under the great seal for erecting a court called the court of commissioners for ecclesiastical causes, by levying money for and to the use of the crown by pretence of prerogative for other time and in other manner than the same was granted by parliament, by raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace without consent of parliament and quartering soldiers contrary to law, by causing several good subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when papists were both armed and employed contrary to law, by violating the freedom of election of members to serve in parliament, by prosecutions in the court of king's bench for matters and causes cognizable only in parliament, and by divers other arbitrary and illegal courses;

And whereas of late years partial, corrupt, and unqualified persons have been returned and served on juries in trials, and particularly divers jurors in trials for high treason, which were not freeholders, and excessive bail hath been required of persons committed in criminal cases to elude the benefit of the laws made for the liberty of the subjects, and excessive fines have been imposed, and illegal and cruel punishments inflicted, and several grants and promises made of fines or forfeitures before any conviction or judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied, all which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws and statutes and freedom of this realm;

And whereas the said late King James II having abdicated the government, and the throne being thereby vacant, his highness the prince of Orange (whom it hath pleased Almighty God to make the glorious instrument of delivering this kingdom from popery and arbitrary power) did, by the advice of the lords spiritual and temporal and divers principal persons of the commons, cause letters to be written to the lords spiritual and temporal being Protestants, and other letters to the several counties, cities, universities, boroughs, and Cinque Ports for the choosing of such persons to represent them as were of right to be sent to parliament to meet and sit at Westminster ... , in order to [provide] such an establishment as that their religion, laws, and liberties might not again be in danger of being subverted, upon which letters elections having been accordingly made:

And thereupon the said lords spiritual and temporal and commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nation, taking into their most serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid, do in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties, declare that the pretended power of suspending of laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of parliament is illegal; that the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal; that the commission for erecting the late court of commissioners for ecclesiastical causes and all other commissions and courts of like nature are illegal and pernicious; that levying money for or to the use of the crown by pretence of prerogative without grant of parliament, for longer time or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal; that it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal; that the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of parliament, is against law; that the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law; that election of members of parliament ought to be free; that the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of parliament; that excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; that jurors ought to be duly impanelled and returned, and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to be freeholders; that all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void; and that, for redress of all grievances and for the amending, strengthening, and preserving of the laws, parliaments ought to be held frequently.

And they do claim, demand, and insist upon all and singular the premises as their undoubted rights and liberties, and that no declarations, judgments, doings, or proceedings to the prejudice of the people in any of the said premises ought in any wise to be drawn hereafter into consequence or example. To which demand of their rights they are particularly encouraged by the declaration of his highness the prince of Orange, as being the only means for obtaining a full redress and remedy therein. Having therefore an entire confidence that his said highness the prince of Orange will perfect the deliverance so far advanced by him and will still preserve them from the violation of their rights which they have here asserted and from all other attempts upon their religion, rights, and liberties, the said lords spiritual and temporal and commons assembled at Westminster do resolve that William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange, be and be declared king and queen of England, France, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, to hold the crown and royal dignity of the said kingdoms and dominions to them, the said prince and princess, during their lives and the life of the survivor of them; and that the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in and executed by the said prince of Orange in the names of the said prince and princess during their joint lives, and after their deceases the said crown and royal dignity of the said kingdoms and dominions to be to the heirs of the body of the said princess, and for default of such issue to the princess Anne of Denmark and the heirs of her body, and for default of such issue to the heirs of the body of the said prince of Orange. And the lords spiritual and temporal and commons do pray the said prince and princess to accept the same accordingly; and that the oaths hereafter mentioned be taken by all persons, of whom the oaths of allegiance and supremacy might be required by law, instead of them; and that the said oaths of allegiance and supremacy, be abrogated: —

"I, A. B., do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to their majesties King William and Queen Mary. So help me God."

"I, A. B., do swear that I do from my heart abhor, detest, and abjure as impious and heretical this damnable doctrine and position, that princes excommunicated or deprived by the pope or any authority of the see of Rome may be deposed or murdered by their subjects or any other whatsoever. And I do declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm. So help me God."

Upon which their said majesties did accept the crown and royal dignity of the kingdoms of England, France, and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging, according to the resolution and desire of the said lords and commons contained in the said declaration; and thereupon their majesties were pleased that the said lords spiritual and temporal and commons, being the two houses of parliament, should continue to sit and, with their majesties' royal concurrence, make effectual provision for the settlement of the religion, laws, and liberties of this kingdom, so that the same for the future might not be in danger again of being subverted; to which the said lords spiritual and temporal and commons did agree and proceed to act accordingly:

Now, in pursuance of the premises, the said lords spiritual and temporal and commons in parliament assembled, for the ratifying, confirming, and establishing the said declaration and the articles, clauses, matters, and things therein contained by the force of a law made in due form by authority of parliament, do pray that it may be declared and enacted that all and singular the rights and liberties asserted and claimed in the said declaration are the true, ancient, and indubitable rights and liberties of the people of this kingdom and so shall be esteemed, allowed, adjudged, deemed, and taken to be; and that all and every the particulars aforesaid shall be firmly and strictly holden and observed as they are expressed in the said declaration, and all officers and ministers whatsoever shall serve their majesties and their successors according to the same in all times to come. And the said lords spiritual and temporal and commons, seriously considering how it hath pleased Almighty God, in His marvellous providence and merciful goodness to this nation, to provide and preserve their said majesties' royal persons most happily to reign over us upon the throne of their ancestors ... , do truly, firmly, assuredly, and in the sincerity of their hearts think, and do hereby recognize, acknowledge, and declare that King James II, having abdicated the government and their majesties having accepted the crown and royal dignity as aforesaid, their said majesties did become, were, are, and of right ought to be by the laws of this realm our sovereign liege lord and lady, king and queen of England, France, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging; in and to whose princely persons the royal state, crown, and dignity of the said realms with all honours, styles, titles, regalities, prerogatives, powers, jurisdictions, and authorities to the same belonging and appertaining are most fully, rightly, and entirely invested and incorporated, united and annexed.

And for preventing all questions and divisions in this realm by reason of any pretended titles to the crown, and for preserving a certainty in the succession thereof, in and upon which the unity, peace, tranquillity, and safety of this nation doth under God wholly consist and depend, the said lords spiritual and temporal and commons do beseech their majesties that it may be enacted, established, and declared that the crown and regal government of the said kingdoms and dominions, with all and singular the premises thereunto belonging and appertaining, shall be and continue to their said majesties and the survivor of them during their lives and the life of the survivor of them; and that the entire, perfect, and full exercise of the regal power and government be only in and executed by his majesty in the names of both their majesties during their joint lives; and after their deceases the said crown and premises shall be and remain to the heirs of the body of her majesty, and, for default of such issue, to her royal highness the princess Anne of Denmark and the heirs of her body and, for default of such issue, to the heirs of the body of his said majesty. And thereunto the lords spiritual and temporal and commons do, in the name of all the people aforesaid, mostly humbly and faithfully submit themselves, their heirs, and posterities forever; and do faithfully promise that they will stand to maintain and defend their said majesties, and also the limitation and succession of the crown herein specified and contained, to the utmost of their powers with their lives and estates against all persons whatsoever that shall attempt anything to the contrary.

And whereas it hath been found by experience that it is inconsis- tent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a popish prince or by any king or queen marrying a papist, the said lords spiritual and temporal and commons do further pray that it may be enacted that all and every person and persons that is, are, or shall be reconciled to, or shall hold communion with, the see or Church of Rome, or shall profess the popish religion, or shall marry a papist shall be excluded and be forever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the crown and government of this realm and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging or any part of the same, or to have, use, or exercise any regal power, authority, or jurisdiction within the same. And in all and every such case or cases the people of these realms shall be and are hereby absolved of their allegiance. And the said crown and government shall from time to time descend to and be enjoyed by such person or persons, being Protestants, as should have inherited and enjoyed the same in case the said person or persons ... were naturally dead. And ... every king and queen of this realm, who at any time hereafter shall come to and succeed in the imperial crown of this kingdom, shall on the first day of the meeting of the first parliament next after his or her coming to the crown — sitting in his or her throne in the house of peers, in the presence of the lords and commons therein assembled, or at his or her coronation before such person or persons who shall administer the coronation oath to him or her ... — make, subscribe, and audibly repeat the declaration mentioned in the statute made in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Charles II....[3] But if it shall happen that such king or queen upon his or her succession to the crown shall be under the age of twelve years, then every such king or queen shall make, subscribe, and audibly repeat the said declaration at his or her coronation, or the first day of the meeting of the first parliament as aforesaid which shall first happen after such king or queen shall have attained the said age of twelve years. All which their majesties are contented and pleased shall be declared, enacted, and established by authority of this present parliament; and shall stand, remain, and be the law of this realm forever. And the same are by their said majesties, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in parliament assembled and by the authority of the same, declared, enacted, and established accordingly. And be it further declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid that, from and after this present session of parliament, no dispensation ... of or to any statute, or any part thereof, shall be allowed; but that the same shall be held void and of no effect — except a dispensation be allowed of in such statute, and except in such cases as shall be specially provided for by one or more bill or bills to be passed during this present session of parliament. Provided that no charter or grant or pardon granted before the three-and-twentieth day of October, in the year of our Lord 1689, shall be anyways impeached or invalidated by this act; but that the same shall be and remain of the same force and effect in law and no other than as if this act had never been made.

Statutes of the Realm, VI, 142 f.: I William & Mary, st. 2, c. 2.

(B) Mutiny Act (1689)

An act for punishing officers or soldiers who shall mutiny or desert their majesties' service. Whereas the raising or keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of parliament, is against law; and whereas it is judged necessary by their majesties and this present parliament that during this time of danger several of the forces which are now on foot should be continued and others raised for the safety of the kingdom ...; and whereas no man may be forejudged of life or limb, or subjected to any kind of punishment by martial law, or in any other manner than by the judgment of his peers and according to the known and established laws of this realm; yet nevertheless, it being requisite for retaining such forces as are or shall be raised during this exigence of affairs in their duty [that] an exact discipline be observed, and that soldiers who shall mutiny or stir up sedition or shall desert their majesties' service be brought to a more exemplary and speedy punishment than the usual forms of law will allow: be it therefore enacted ... that ... every person being in their majesties' service in the army and being mustered and in pay as an officer or soldier, who shall ... excite, cause, or join in any mutiny or sedition in the army, or shall desert their majesties' service in the army, shall suffer death or such other punishment as by a court-martial shall be inflicted.

And it is hereby further enacted and declared that their majesties, or the general of their army for the time being, may by virtue of this act have full power and authority to grant commissions to any lieutenants general or other officers, not under the degree of colonels, from time to time to call and assemble court-martials for punishing such offences as aforesaid. And it is hereby further enacted and declared that no court-martial, which shall have power to inflict any punishment by virtue of this act for the offences aforesaid, shall consist of fewer than thirteen, whereof none to be under the degree of captains.

Provided always that no field officer be tried by other than field officers; and that such court-martial shall have power and authority to administer an oath to any witness in order to the examination or trial of the offences aforesaid. Provided always that nothing in this act contained shall extend or be construed to exempt any officer or soldier whatsoever from the ordinary process of law. Provided always that this act or anything therein contained shall not ... extend to or concern any the militia forces of this kingdom. Provided also that this act shall continue and be in force until [10 November 1689] ... and no longer.... And no sentence of death shall be given against any offender in such case by any court-martial unless nine of the thirteen officers present shall concur therein. And if there be a greater number of officers present, then the judgment shall pass by the concurrence of the greater part of them....

Ibid., VI, 55 f.: 1 William & Mary, c. 5.

(C) Coronation Oath Act (1689)

An act for establishing the coronation oath. Whereas, by the law and ancient usage of this realm, the kings and queens thereof have taken a solemn oath upon the Evangelists at their respective coronations to maintain the statutes, laws, and customs of the said realm, and all the people and inhabitants thereof in their spiritual and civil rights and properties;[4] but forasmuch as the oath itself on such occasion administered hath heretofore been framed in doubtful words and expressions with relation to ancient laws and constitutions at this time unknown: to the end thereof that one uniform oath may be in all times to come taken by the kings and queens of this realm, and to them respectively administered at the times of their ... coronation, may it please your majesties that it may be enacted, and be it enacted ... , that the oath herein mentioned and hereafter expressed shall and may be administered to their most excellent majesties King William and Queen Mary — whom God long preserve — at the time of their coronation, in the presence of all persons that shall be then and there present at the solemnizing thereof, by the archbishop of Canterbury or the archbishop of York, or either of them, or any other bishop of this realm whom the king's majesty shall thereunto appoint, and who shall be hereby thereunto respectively authorized; which oath followeth and shall be administered in this manner, that is to say: —

The archbishop or bishop shall say: "Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the people of this kingdom of England and the dominions thereto belonging according to the statutes in parliament agreed on and the laws and customs of the same?" The king and queen shall say: "I solemnly promise so to do." Archbishop or bishop: "Will you to your power cause law and justice in mercy to be executed in all your judgments?" King and queen: "I will." Archbishop or bishop: "Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the Gospel, and the Protestant reformed religion established by law? And will you preserve unto the bishops and clergy of this realm, and to the churches committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain unto them or any of them?" King and queen: "All this I promise to do." After this, the king and queen, laying his and her hand upon the Holy Gospels, shall say, king and queen: "The things which I have here before promised I will perform and keep; so help me God." Then the king and queen shall kiss the Book.

And be it further enacted that the said oath shall be in like manner administered to every king or queen who shall succeed to the imperial crown of this realm....

Ibid., VI, 56 f.: 1 William & Mary, c. 6.

(D) Toleration Act (1689)

An act for exempting their majesties' Protestant subjects, dissenting from the Church of England, from the penalties of certain laws.[5] ...

And be it ... enacted ... that all ... persons that shall ... take the said oaths and make and subscribe the declaration aforesaid shall not be ... prosecuted in any ecclesiastical court for or by reason of their non-conforming to the Church of England.

Provided always ... that, if any assembly of persons dissenting from the Church of England shall be had in any place for religious worship with the doors locked, barred, or bolted during any time of such meeting together, all ... persons that shall come to be at such meeting shall not receive any benefit from this law.... Provided always that nothing herein contained shall ... exempt any of the persons aforesaid from paying of tithes or other parochial duties, or any other duties to the church or minister; nor from any prosecution in any ecclesiastical court, or elsewhere for the same....

And be it further enacted ... that no person dissenting from the Church of England in holy orders, or pretended holy orders, or pretending to holy orders, nor any preacher or teacher of any congregation of dissenting Protestants that shall make and subscribe the declaration aforesaid and take the said oaths ... , and shall also declare his approbation of and subscribe the articles of religion mentioned in the statute made in the thirteenth year of the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth ...[6] shall be liable to any of the pains or penalties mentioned in an act made in the seventeenth year of the reign of King Charles II ... , nor the penalties mentioned in the ... act made in the two-and-twentieth year of his said late majesty's reign, for or by reason of such persons preaching at any meeting for the exercise of religion; nor to the penalty of 100 mentioned in an act made in the thirteenth and fourteenth of King Charles II ... for officiating in any congregation for the exercise of religion permitted and allowed by this act....[7]

And be it further enacted ... that every teacher or preacher in holy orders, or pretended holy orders ... , that shall take the oaths herein required and make and subscribe the declaration aforesaid, and also subscribe such of the aforesaid articles of the Church of England as are required by this act ... , shall be thenceforth exempted from serving upon any jury, or from being chosen or appointed to bear the office of churchwarden, overseer of the poor, or any ... other office in any hundred ... , shire, city, town, parish, division, or wapentake....

And whereas there are certain other persons, dissenters from the Church of England, who scruple the taking of any oath, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that every such person shall make and subscribe the aforesaid declaration, and the declaration of fidelity following ...; and shall subscribe a profession of their Christian belief in these words....[8]

Provided always ... that all the laws made and provided for the frequenting of divine service on the Lord's day, commonly called Sunday, shall be still in force and executed against all persons that offend against the said laws, except such persons come to some congregation or assembly of religious worship allowed or permitted by this act....

Provided always that no congregation or assembly for religious worship shall be permitted or allowed by this act until the place of such meeting shall be certified to the bishop ... , or to the archdeacon ... , or to the justices of the peace at the general or quarter sessions....

Ibid., VI, 74 f.: 1 William & Mary, c. 18.

(E) Triennial Act (1694)[9]

An act for the frequent meeting and calling of parliaments. Whereas, by the ancient laws and statutes of this kingdom, frequent parliaments ought to be held; and whereas frequent and new parliaments tend very much to the happy union and good agreement of the king and people: ... it is hereby declared and enacted ... that from henceforth a parliament shall be holden once in three years at the least. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that, within three years at the farthest from and after the dissolution of this present parliament, and so from time to time forever hereafter within three years at the farthest from and after the determination of every other parliament, legal writs under the great seal shall be issued by directions of your majesties, your heirs, and successors for assembling and holding another new parliament. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that from henceforth no parliament whatsoever ... shall have any continuance longer than for three years only at the farthest, to be accounted from the day on which by the writs of summons the said parliament shall be appointed to meet....

Ibid., VI, 510: 6-7 William & Mary, c. 2.

(F) Trials for Treason Act (1696)

An act for regulating of trials in cases of treason and misprision of treason. Whereas nothing is more just and reasonable than that persons prosecuted for high treason and misprision of treason ... should be justly and equally tried ...: be it enacted ... that ... all ... persons whatsoever that shall be accused and indicted for high treason, whereby any corruption of blood may ... be made to any such ... offenders or to any the ... heirs of any such ... offenders, or for misprision of such treason, shall have a true copy of the whole indictment, but not the names of the witnesses, delivered unto them ... five days at the least before ... they shall be tried for the same, whereby to enable them ... to advise with counsel thereupon, to plead and make their defence ...; and that every such person so accused and indicted ... shall be received and admitted to make his ... full defence by counsel learned in the law and to make any proof that he ... can produce by lawful ... witnesses.... And in case any person ... so accused or indicted shall desire counsel, the court before whom such person ... shall be tried ... is hereby authorized and required, immediately upon his ... request, to assign ... such ... counsel, not exceeding two, as the person or persons shall desire, to whom such counsel shall have free access at all seasonable hours — any law or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.

And be it further enacted that ... no person ... whatsoever shall be indicted, tried, or attainted of high treason ... but by and upon the oaths and testimony of two lawful witnesses ... , unless the party indicted and arraigned or tried shall willingly, without violence, in open court confess the same, or shall stand mute or refuse to plead.... And be it further enacted that no evidence shall be admitted or given of any overt act that is not expressly laid in the indictment....

Provided always that neither this act nor anything therein contained shall anyways extend ... to any impeachment or other proceedings in parliament.... Provided also that [neither] this act nor anything therein contained shall anyways extend to any indictment of high treason ... for counterfeiting his majesty's coin, his great seal or privy seal, his sign-manual or privy signet.

Ibid, VII, 6 1: 7-8 William III. c. 3.

(G) Civil List Act (1698)

An act for granting to his majesty a further subsidy of tunnage and poundage towards raising the yearly sum of 700,000 for the service of his majesty's household ... during his majesty's life. Your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the commons of England in parliament assembled, being deeply sensible of the great blessings which, by the goodness of Almighty God, we ... do fully enjoy under your majesty's most auspicious government, and being desirous to make a grateful acknowledgment of your majesty's unparalleled grace and favour ... , have therefore freely and unanimously resolved to increase your majesty's revenue ... and do give and grant ... the further rates, duties, and sums of money hereinafter mentioned; and do humbly beseech your majesty that it may be enacted, and be it enacted ... , that, over and above all subsidies of tunnage and poundage ... and above all additional duties ... already due or payable ... , there shall be raised ... one other subsidy called tunnage ... and one further subsidy called poundage....

And whereas it is intended that the yearly sum of 700,000 shall be supplied to his majesty for the service of his household and family, and for other his necessary expenses and occasions, out of the hereditary rates, and duties of excise ... , and out of the moneys which ... shall arise by the further subsidies and duties hereby granted: be it therefore further enacted ... that, if the said ... revenues ... shall produce in clear money more than the yearly sum of 700,000 ... , then the overplus of such produce ... shall not be ... applied to any use ... without the authority of parliament.

Ibid., VII, 382 f.: 9 William III, c. 23.

(H) Act of Settlement (1701)

An act for the further limitation of the crown and better securing the rights and liberties of the subject. Whereas, in the first year of the reign of your majesty ... , an act of parliament was made entitled An Act for Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and for Settling the Succession of the Crown ...;[10] and it being absolutely necessary, for the safety, peace, and quiet of this realm, to obviate all doubts and contentions in the same by reason of any pretended titles to the crown, and to maintain a certainty in the succession thereof ...: therefore, for a further provision of the succession of the crown in the Protestant line ... , be it enacted and declared ... that the most excellent princess Sophia, electress and duchess dowager of Hanover, daughter of the most excellent princess Elizabeth, late queen of Bohemia, daughter of our late sovereign lord, King James I of happy memory, be and is hereby declared to be the next in succession in the Protestant line to the imperial crown and dignity to the said realms of England, France, and Ireland, with the dominions thereunto belonging, after his majesty and the princess Anne of Denmark, and in default of issue of the said princess Anne and of his majesty respectively; and that, from and after the deceases of his said majesty ... and of ... the princess Anne of Denmark, and for default of issue of the said princess Anne and of his majesty respectively, the crown and regal government of the said kingdoms of England, France, and Ireland, and of the dominions thereunto belonging, with the royal state and dignity of the said realms and all the honours, styles, titles, regalities, prerogatives, powers, jurisdictions, and authorities to the same belonging and appertaining, shall be, remain, and continue to the said most excellent princess Sophia and the heirs of her body being Protestants....

Provided always, and it is hereby enacted, that ... every person ... who shall ... inherit the said crown by virtue of ... this present act, and is ... or shall ... hold communion with the ... Church of Rome, or shall profess the popish religion, or shall marry a papist, shall be subject to such incapacities as in such case ... are by the said recited act provided, enacted, and established; and that every king and queen of this realm who shall come to and succeed in the imperial crown of this kingdom by virtue of this act shall have the coronation oath administered to him, her, or them at their respective coronations according to the act of parliament made in the first year of the reign of his majesty ... ,[11] and shall make, subscribe, and repeat the declaration in the act first above recited, mentioned, or referred to in the manner and form thereby prescribed.

And whereas it is requisite and necessary that some further provision be made for securing our religion, laws, and liberties from and after the death of his majesty and the princess Anne of Denmark, and in default of issue of the body of the said princess and of his majesty respectively: be it enacted ... that whosoever shall hereafter come to the possession of this crown shall join in communion with the Church of England as by law established; that, in case the crown and imperial dignity of this realm shall hereafter come to any person not being a native of this kingdom of England, this nation be not obliged to engage in any war for the defence of any dominions or territories which do not belong to the crown of England without the consent of parliament; that no person who shall hereafter come to the possession of the crown shall go out of the dominions of England, Scotland, and Ireland without the consent of parliament; that ... all matters and things relating to the well governing of this kingdom, which are properly cognizable in the privy council by the laws and customs of this realm, shall be transacted there, and all resolutions taken thereupon shall be signed by such of the privy council as shall advise and consent to the same; that ... no person born out of the kingdoms of England, Scotland, or Ireland or the dominions thereunto belonging ... , except such as are born of English parents, shall be capable to be of the privy council or a member of either house of parliament or to enjoy any office or place of trust, either civil or military, or to have any grant of lands, tenements, or hereditaments from the crown to himself or to any other or others in trust for him; that no person who has an office or place or profit under the king or receives a pension from the crown shall be capable of serving as a member of the house of commons; that ... judges' commissions be made quam diu se bene gesserint,[12] and their salaries ascertained and established, but upon the address of both houses of parliament it may be lawful to remove them; that no pardon under the great seal of England be pleadable to an impeachment by the commons in parliament....[13]

Ibid., VII, 636 f.: 12-13 William III, c. 2.


[1] New style, 1689.

[2] In order to understand the statute called the Bill of Rights, these facts must be borne in mind. In December, 1688, James II fled to France. The Convention Parliament, referred to in the opening sentences of this act, met on 22 January 1689 and drew up the declaration which ends at the break in the text on p. 602. On 13 February William and Mary accepted the declaration and were proclaimed king and queen. On 22 February the Convention Parliament was legalized by an act similar to that passed in 1660 (no. 114A). Finally, on 16 December, the present statute was formally enacted. In the following year a newly elected parliament confirmed all legislation of the Convention Parliament.

[3] No. 114T.

[4] Cf. no. 55.

[5] The laws enumerated in the statute are Elizabeth's Act of Uniformity (no. 81B), her Act against Sectaries (no. Sir), the Second Conventicle Act of Charles II (see p. 553, n. 28), and four others. In order that "some ease to scrupulous consciences in the exercise of religion may be an effectual means to unite their majesties' Protestant subjects in interest and affection," it is provided that the enumerated laws shall not extend to any dissenter who shall take the oaths prescribed in the Bill of Rights (above, p. 602) and make the declaration prescribed in the Second Test Act (above, p. 557).

[6] The act prescribing the Thirty-Nine Articles for the Anglican Church. The present statute waives for such persons subscription to three articles and part of a fourth.

[7] The acts referred to above are respectively the Five-Mile Act (no. 114Q), the Second Conventicle Act (p. 553, n. 28), and the Act of Uniformity (no 114K).

[8] The declaration of fidelity in substance repeats the prescribed oaths. The profession of Christian belief affirms the Trinitarian creed and the divine inspiration of the Old and New Testaments.

[9] Cf. no. 114Q.

[10] The act here recites the clauses in the Bill of Rights (no. 120A) relating to the succession.

[11] No. 120C.

[12] That is to say, they shall be appointed to hold office during good behaviour.

[13] Cf. no. 116F.