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crown on the principles and subject to the limitations prescribed in the Declaration or Bill of Rights. The substance of this celebrated declaration is as follows :
“Whereas the late King James II., by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges, and ministers employed by him, did endeavor to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion, and the laws and liberties of this kingdom,
“1. By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws, and the execution of laws, without the consent of Parliament.
“2. By the committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates, for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed power.
“ 3. 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.
“ 4. 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.
"5. By raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace, without consent of Parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law.
“6. By causing several good subjects, being Protestants, to be disarmed, at the same time when Papists were both armed and employed, contrary to law.
“7. By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament.
“8. By prosecutions in the Court of King's Bench, for matters and causes cognizable only in Parliament; and by divers other ar. bitrary and illegal courses.
« 9. 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;
“ 10. And excessive bail bath been required of persons committed in criminal causes, to elude the benefit of the laws made for the liberty of the subjects ;
“ 11. And excessive fines have been imposed ; and illegal and cruel punishments inflicted;
“12. And several grants and promises made of fines and 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."
The declaration then recites the abdication of the throne by James II., the summoning of the convention held on the 22d of January, 1688, and that the lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons, did in the first place (as their ancestors in like case had usually done), for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties, declare:
“1. That the pretended power of suspending of laws, or the execution of laws, by royal authority, without consent of Parliament, is illegal.
“2. 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.
"3. That the commission for erecting the late Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes, and all other courts and commissions of like nature, are illegal and pernicious.
" 4. That levying money for or to the use of the crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in any other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal.
“5. That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal.
“6. 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.
“ 7. That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law.
"8. That election of members of Parliament ought to be free.
Parliament, ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.
“10. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed ; nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
“11. That jurors ought to be duly empanelled and returned; and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason, ought to be freeholders.
“12. All grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction, are illegal and void.
“13. And for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening, and preserving of the laws, parliaments ought to be held frequently."
The convention on the same day passed an act which declared that the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons, convened at Westminster on the 22d of January, 1688, and there sitting on the 13th of February following, were the two houses of Parliament, notwithstanding any defect of form. It repealed the old oaths of allegiance and supremacy required to be taken by members of the houses of Parliament, and substituted a new oath of allegiance to King William and Queen Mary, and acknowledging their supremacy. It also passed an act for establishing a coronation oath. Thus the great event in English history, and change in the constitution and dynasty—THE REVOLUTION—was complete.
Queen Mary died in 1694, and the son of her sister Anne hav. ing also died, all hope was lost of the succession to the crown taking place in the course provided by the Bill of Rights. In 1704, therefore, the Act of SETTLEMENT was passed, by which the Princess Sophia, electress and duchess-dowager of Hanover-daughter of Elizabeth, late queen of Bohemia, and granddaughter of James I.
-was declared to be the next in succession to the throne in the Protestant line; and after the death of William, and of the Princess Anne of Denmark, and in default of issue of Anne and William, the crown was settled on the Princess Sophia, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants.
By the course of events the crown passed to her son George I., then elector of Hanover, and the wise foresight of our ancestors in the provisions, made, became manifest when the throne actually passed to a king not a native of the kingdom, and being a sovereign of another country. The provisions of the Act of SETTLEMENT, which are declared to be “ for securing our religion, laws, and liberties," are as follows:
" Whosoever shall hereafter come to the possession of this crown, shall join in communion with the Church of England, as by law established.
" In case the crown and imperial dignity of this realm shall here. after 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 de. fence of any dominions or territories which do not belong to the crown of England, without the consent of Parliament.
No person who shall hereafter come to the possession of this crown shall go out of the dominions of England, Scotland, or Ireland, without consent of Parliament.
“From and after the time that the further limitation by this act shall take effect, 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.
“ After the limitation shall take effect as aforesaid, no person born out of the dominions of England, Scotland, or Ireland, or the dominions thereunto belonging (although he be naturalized or made a denizen), 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 or tenements or hereditaments from the crown to himself, or to any other or others in trust for him.
“No person who has an office or place of profit under the king, or receives a pension from the crown, shall be capable of serving as a member of the House of Commons.
“ After the limitation shall take effect as aforesaid, judges' commissions be made quamdiu se bene gesserint, 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."
The Declarations of Rights and the Act of Settlement may be considered as the complement of Magna Charta and the Petition of Right, in declaring and fixing the prerogatives of the crown, and the rights of the people in relation to the crown. Since the Act of Settlement there has been no statute expressly directed to curb the royal prerogative; but the executive power of the crown has been diminished by the growth of the power of Parliament-especially of the House of Commons—and the establishment of the system of parliamentary government. That system has silently grown up since the Revolution, and at its root lies the maxim—that all the acts of the crown must be advised and transacted by ministers responsible to Parliament.
The Revolution terminated the contest between prerogative and freedom, and settled the basis of a limited monarchy and constitutional government. From that period the principles laid down in the Bill of Rights have never been disputed, although in the changes of administration, and under the influence of party spirit, they may sometimes have been departed from. They have, however, in our times, obtained a solidity which it is to be hoped is unassailable; and they have been confirmed and added to by, for the most part, a course of wise, enlightened, and impartial legislation, by which the security of the throne has been increased, and the rights and liberties of the people maintained and enlarged.