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Bill of Rights 16 December 1689 c. 2 (1 Will. & Mar. Sess. 2)


2
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/WillandMarSess2/1/2
3 The Bill of Rights is seen by some historians as the start of constitutional monarchy - whereby a
4 king or queen was effectively tied by law as to what he/she could do and more particularly what
5 they could not do.
6An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown.
7An Act declareing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Setleing the Successionof the Crowne.
8Whereas the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully and
9freely representing all the estates of the people of this realm, did upon the thirteenth day of February in
10the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty-eight [old style date] present unto their Majesties,
11then called and known by the names and style of William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange,
12being present in their proper persons, a certain declaration in writing made by the said Lords and
13Commons in the words following, viz.
14X1Whereas the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Comons assembled at Westminster lawfullyfully and
15freely representing all the Estates of the People of this Realme did upon the thirteenthday of February
16in the yeare of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty eight [old style date] present untotheir
17Majesties then called and known by the Names and Stile of William and Mary Prince andPrincesse of
18Orange being present in their proper Persons a certaine Declaration in Writeingmade by the said Lords
19and Comons in the Words following viz
20The Heads of Declaration of Lords and Commons, recited.
21Whereas the late King James the Second, by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges and
22ministers employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws
23and liberties of this kingdom;

Whereas the late King James the Second by the Assistance of diverse evill Councellors Judges and
Ministers imployed by him did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant Religion and the
Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome.
24Dispensing and Suspending Power.
25By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws and the execution of
26laws without consent of Parliament.
27By Assumeing and Exerciseing a Power of Dispensing with and Suspending of Lawes and the
28Execution of Lawes without Consent of Parlyament.
29Committing Prelates.
30By committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates for humbly petitioning to be excused from
31concurring to the said assumed power.
32By Committing and Prosecuting diverse Worthy Prelates for humbly Petitioning to be excused from
33Concurring to the said Assumed Power.
34Ecclesiastical Commission.
35By issuing and causing to be executed a commission under the great seal for erecting a court called the
36Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes.
37By issueing and causeing to be executed a Commission under the Great Seale for Erecting a Court
38called The Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiasticall Causes.
39Levying Money.
40By levying money for and to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative for other time and in
41other manner than the same was granted by Parliament.
42By Levying Money for and to the Use of the Crowne by pretence of Prerogative for other time and in
43other manner then the same was granted by Parlyament.
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44Standing Army
45By raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace without consent of
46Parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law.
47By raising and keeping a Standing Army within this Kingdome in time of Peace without Consent of
48Parlyament and Quartering Soldiers contrary to Law.
49Disarming Protestants, &c.
50By causing several good subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when papists were
51both armed and employed contrary to law.
52By causing severall good Subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when Papists were
53both Armed and Imployed contrary to Law.
54Violating Elections.
55By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament.
56By Violating the Freedome of Election of Members to serve in Parlyament.
57Illegal Prosecutions.
58By prosecutions in the Court of King's Bench for matters and causes cognisable only in Parliament, and
59by divers other arbitrary and illegal courses.
60By Prosecutions in the Court of Kings Bench for Matters and Causes cognizable onely in Parlyament
61and by diverse other Arbitrary and Illegall Courses.
62Juries.
63And whereas of late years partial corrupt and unqualified persons have been returned and served on
64juries in trials, and particularly divers jurors in trials for high treason which were not freeholders,
65And whereas of late yeares Partiall Corrupt and Unqualifyed Persons have beene returned and served
66on Juryes in Tryalls and particularly diverse Jurors in Tryalls for High Treason whichwere not
67Freeholders,
68Excessive Bail.
69And excessive bail hath been required of persons committed in criminal cases to elude the benefit of
70the laws made for the liberty of the subjects.
71And excessive Baile hath beene required of Persons committed in Criminall Cases to elude the Benefitt
72of the Lawes made for the Liberty of the Subjects.
73Fines.
74And excessive fines have been imposed.
75And excessive Fines have beene imposed.
76Punishments.
77And illegal and cruel punishments inflicted.
78And illegall and cruell Punishments inflicted.
79Grants of Fines, &c. before Conviction, &c.
80And several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures before any conviction or judgment
81against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied. All which are utterly and directly contrary
82to the known laws and statutes and freedom of this realm.
83And severall Grants and Promises made of Fines and Forfeitures before any Conviction or Judgement
84against the Persons upon whome the same were to be levyed. All which are utterly directly contrary to
85the knowne Lawes and Statutes and Freedome of this Realme.

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86Recital that the late King James II. had abdicated the Government, and that the Throne was
87vacant, and that the Prince of Orange had written Letters to the Lords and Commons for the
88choosing Representatives in Parliament.
89And whereas the said late King James the Second having abdicated the government and the throne
90being thereby vacant, his Highness the prince of Orange (whom it hath pleased Almighty God to make
91the glorious instrument of delivering this kingdom from popery and arbitrary power) did (by the advice
92of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and divers principal persons of the Commons) cause letters to be
93written to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal being Protestants, and other letters to the several counties,
94cities, universities, boroughs and cinque ports, for the choosing of such persons to represent them as
95were of right to be sent to Parliament, to meet and sit at Westminster upon the two and twentieth day of
96January in this year one thousand six hundred eighty and eight [old style date], in order to such an
97establishment as that their religion, laws and liberties might not again be in danger of being subverted,
98upon which letters elections having been accordingly made;
99And whereas the said late King James the Second haveing Abdicated the Government and the Throne
100being thereby Vacant His [X2Hignesse] the Prince of Orange (whome it hath pleased Almighty God to
101make the glorious Instrument of Delivering this Kingdome from Popery and Arbitrary Power) did (by
102the Advice of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and diverse principall Persons of the Commons) cause
103Letters to be written to the Lords Spirituall and Temporall being Protestants and other Letters to the
104severall Countyes Cityes Universities Burroughs and Cinque Ports for the Choosing of such Persons to
105represent them as were of right to be sent to Parlyament to meete and sitt at Westminster upon the two
106and twentyeth day of January in this Yeare one thousand six hundred eighty and eight [old style date] in
107order to such an Establishment as that their Religion Lawes and Liberties might not againe be in danger
108of being Subverted, Upon which Letters Elections haveing beene accordingly made.
109The Subjects Rights.
110And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, pursuant to their respective letters
111and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nation, taking into their
112most serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid, do in the first place (as their
113ancestors in like case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and
114liberties declare:
115And thereupon the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons pursuant to their respective
116Letters and Elections being now assembled in a full and free Representative of this Nation takeing into
117their most serious Consideration the best meanes for attaining the Ends aforesaid Doe in the first place
118(as their Auncestors in like Case have usually done) for the Vindicating and Asserting their auntient
119Rights and Liberties, Declare
120Dispensing Power. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 1]
121That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without
122consent of Parliament is illegal.
123That the pretended Power of Suspending of Laws or the Execution of Laws by Regall Authority
124without Consent of Parlyament is illegall.
125Late dispensing Power. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 2]
126That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath
127been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal.
128That the pretended Power of Dispensing with Laws or the Execution of Laws by Regall Authoritie as it
129hath beene assumed and exercised of late is illegall.
130 [Articles 1 and 2 refer to the efforts of Charles II and James II to obtain toleration for their
131 Catholic and Dissenting subjects by exploiting both the crowns legal prerogatives to set aside the
132 law and the kings rightful position as titular head of the Anglican Church. [7] These efforts
133 threatened the Anglican Church, the universities, and the Tory gentry.
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The suspension of a law meant that the law or statute was temporary nullified or set aside for a time,
but was not repealed. The dispensation of a law meant that a designated individual or groups of
individuals were allowed to disobey the law. These powers had been used to some degree by
English kings since the thirteenth century, apparently in imitation of the Pope. Further authority was
given to the powers during the Reformation when English kings assumed the power previously
exercised by the pope over ecclesiastical matters.
Early kings did not regularly use the suspending power but did more frequently utilize the
dispensing power. The kings use of both powers became a constitutional issue after the
Reformation. In 1672 Charles II issued the Declaration of Indulgence, which suspended the penal
legislation. There was fierce parliamentary opposition which led to great debate about the nature
and extent of the kings power to set aside law. While Charles later withdrew the Declaration, the
issue of the kings power to suspend and dispense laws remained.
James II used the dispensing power to give religious toleration to Catholics and Dissenters. In 1685
he set aside the Test Act and the penal laws so that Catholics could serve as officers in the standing
army. These actions were received by fierce criticism. For example, the Tory Seymour charged that
to employ Catholics without imposing the Test was dispensing with the all the laws at once.[8]
The Committee asserted that the suspending power was undoubtedly illegal and that the dispensing
power, while largely popular, had been made illegal by its use of late. The of late part referred to
the use of the dispensing power by Charles II and James II to gain religious toleration for Catholics
and Dissenters. The condemnation of the powers was further strengthened by the Bill of Rights and
ultimately the powers were outlawed.]

155Ecclesiastical Courts illegal. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 3]
156That the commission for erecting the late Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes, and all
157other commissions and courts of like nature, are illegal and pernicious.
158That the Commission for erecting the late Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiasticall Causes and all
159other Commissions and Courts of like nature are Illegall and Pernicious.
160 [Article 3 was intended to limit the monarchys control over state-controlled churches and
161 universities. James II created the Ecclesiastical Commission to act on his behalf for visiting and
162 disciplining ecclesiastical bodies. The body was used to supervise and control the Anglican Church
163 of England and the university system of England. The Commission was unpopular, especially
164 among Anglican Tories, because it punished church officials and college faculty who were hostile to
165 Catholicism, while at the same time promoting Catholics to high level positions. [9] The creation of
166 the Commission was one of the first signals of James intention to turn his back on the Anglican
167 Tories who were the traditional supporters of the monarchy. James sought so ally himself with
168 Whigs and Dissenters in his effort to achieve toleration.
169 The Ecclesiastical Commission diminished the power of several individuals and institutions. One
170 important individual to be injured by the Commission was Henry Compton, the Bishop of London.
171 Compton was suspended for failing to discipline a rector who preached anti-Catholic sermons. One
172 important institution to be injured by the Commission was Magdalen College at Oxford. At
173 Magdalen, a person whom the colleges fellows disapproved of was installed as president, Catholics
174 were appointed as fellows, and a number of the colleges fellows were severely punished. These
175 actions were serious threats to the Protestant integrity of the institutions. Therefore, the Anglican
176 Tories wanted the Commission to be made illegal in order to diminish the threats.]
177Levying Money. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 4]
178That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of
179Parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal.
180That levying Money for or to the Use of the Crowne by pretence of Prerogative without Grant of
181Parlyament for longer time or in other manner then the same is or shall be granted is Illegall.
182 [Article 4 iterated the historic claim that it was the right of English subjects to not be taxed by the
183 king without the consent of Parliament. Chapter 12 of the Magna Carta asserted that the monarchy
184 could not level feudal aids without the assent of his feudal lords. Later statutes confirmed that
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there could be no taxation without the consent of Parliament. James II collected collect custom and
excise taxes during the first few months of his reign without the consent of Parliament. [10] However,
there was some precedent for doing so and it is questionable whether the actions were illegal. [11]
While it is unknown whether James II actually violated any laws by levying taxes without
parliamentary consent, the commission felt that the issue needed to be addressed and therefore
included it as an article in the Declaration of Rights.
Before the Bill of Rights there were exceptions to the age-old principle that people should not be
taxed without their consent. For centuries, Parliament, which claimed to be the representative body
of the people, officially had the power only over direct taxes such as those on land. [12] Monarchs
could tax without Parliaments permission by levying indirect taxes such as customs duties. They
sometimes also engaged in forced borrowing, borrowing money from wealthy subjects against
their will and, in some instances, refusing to return it. [13] This method of collecting money was also
done without the permission of Parliament. Article 4 clearly proclaims that there should be no
taxation by the king without Parliaments consent.]

199Right to petition. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 5]


200That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such
201petitioning are illegal.
202That it is the Right of the Subjects to petition the King and all Commitments and Prosecutions for such
203Petitioning are Illegall.
204 [Article 5 asserts the right of Englishmen to petition, or formally complain, to the king without fear
205 of prosecution. The right had been claimed since around the time of the Magna Carta but had been
206 challenged by many kings. The article was directly responding to James prosecution of the Seven
207 Bishops. James issued the Second Declaration of Indulgence in 1688 and required that it be read in
208 Anglican churches. The Declaration was a statement of religious toleration and was not supported
209 by the Anglican leaders. The archbishop of Canterbury and six bishops believed that the order
210 should be ignored. The seven Anglican leaders petitioned the king asking him to withdraw the
211 Declaration and challenging the legality of his power to dispense with the penal laws. James then
212 charged the bishops with seditious libel.
213 The bishops defense in the trial rested upon the right of a subject to petition the king without fear
214 of reprisals. One lawyer asserted that it is the right of the peopleto approach His Majesty by
215 petition, and another declared that the subjects have a right to petition the king, so say all our
216 books of law.[14] The argument succeeded as the bishops were eventually acquitted by the court.
217 Article 5 was written to appeal to Anglican Tories by keeping alive the memory of the trial of the
218 Seven Bishops. This led the Tories to support Article 5 even though they were generally in favor of
219 limiting the right to petition.]
220Standing Army. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 6]
221That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with
222consent of Parliament, is against law.
223That the raising or keeping a standing Army within the Kingdome in time of Peace unlesse it be with
224Consent of Parlyament is against Law.
225 [Article 6 asserted it was illegal for the king to keep a standing army during peacetime without the
226 consent of Parliament. While it is standard, and often considered essential, that modern countries
227 keep standing armies even during peacetime, the practice was uncommon during the seventeenth
228 century. At that time it was considered a threat to English liberties. The military employed were the
229 feudal array and the local nonprofessional militia, plus soldiers raised for the occasion and
230 disbanded thereafter.[15] After a minor uprising in 1661, Charles II established without
231 parliamentary approval a small number of permanent guards answerable to and paid by him. In
232 1685 James II increased the size of the army following Monmouths Rebellion.
233 The king may have had the legal right to raise and maintain a standing army during peacetime
234 without parliamentary approval due to early customs that placed the ultimate military authority with
235 the king. However, decisions to do so were unpopular. Opposition to the practice was compounded
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when James violated the Test Act by giving military commands to Catholics and allowing Catholics
to serve as officers.[16] This was not popular with the Anglican Tories. Together with the support of
the radical Whigs, they wrote Article 6 in an effort to create a new law that made it illegal for the
king to establish a standing army during peacetime without the consent of Parliament.]

240Subjects Arms. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 7]


241That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and
242as allowed by law.
243That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions
244and as allowed by Law.
245[See also: Joyce Lee Malcolms The role of the Militia in the development of the Englishmans right to
246be armedclarifying the legacy (1993) [Emphasis added]]
247 [Article 7 asserted the right of Protestants to bear arms for their defense. It is a direct response to the
248 charge that James had forced the disarmament of Protestants while at the same time allowed
249 Catholics to be armed and employed contrary to law.[17] The original draft of the article would have
250 allowed all Protestants, regardless of economic and social status, to possess arms. However, the
251 House of Lord insisted it be changed to limit the right to arms possession to the Protestant upper
252 classes according to current laws.[18] Therefore, the terms suitable to their condition and allowed
253 as law were added to the article.
254 Article 7 reflected a general fear of Catholics amongst Anglican Tories. In particular it represented
255 hostility toward the standing armies that had been formed during the reigns of Charles II and James
256 II. These professional standing armies were primarily made up of Catholics and led to a neglect of
257 the militia. The article was enacted in part because of the belief that placing arms in the hands of
258 subjects would help to purify the government of corruption. Ideally protection against Catholic
259 absolution could be achieved through the arming of the Protestant population. The passage of
260 Article 7 allowed such arming to be legal.]
261
262Freedom of Election. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 8]
263That election of members of Parliament ought to be free.
264That Election of Members of Parlyament ought to be free.
265 [Article 8 asserted the right to elections free from the influence of the monarchy. The article was
266 derived from clause 8 of the Heads of Grievances which stated that right and freedom of electing
267 members of the House of Commons, and the rights and privileges of Parliament, and members, as
268 well in the intervals of Parliament as during their sitting, to be preserved.
269 The right to freely elect members of Parliament without the interference of the monarchy was an
270 ancient right. At least two statutes from the fourteenth century confirmed it. However, interference
271 with free election was as old as the right itself. Kings used various methods to influence
272 parliamentary elections. These methods included appealing to the loyalty of the voters, making
273 particular individuals ineligible for elected office by appointing them to certain government
274 positions such as sheriff, and also by voiding actual election results.
275 The Stuart kings introduced new methods of interfering with free elections that surpassed the efforts
276 of their predecessors. Due to the commanding presence of Dissenters in many cities, Charles
277 introduced quo warranto proceedings in order to dilute their influence. He proposed that all future
278 corporation charters contain a clause reserving the nomination of town officers to the discretion of
279 the king. Quo warrantos were also used to recall borough charters and reissue new ones securing its
280 influence. Charles always worked to destroy Whig strongholds in the boroughs. James sought to
281 continue the influence that Charles had gained for the monarchy. One of his most extreme acts
282 occurred in 1687 when he dissolved Parliament as a part of his strategy to reform corporations. The
283 efforts of the Stuart kings to interfere with elections ultimately led to the drafting of Article 8 which
284 iterated the ancient right that the elections of members of Parliament should be free from influence.]

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285Freedom of Speech. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 9]


286That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or
287questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.
288That the Freedome of Speech and Debates or Proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or
289questioned in any Court or Place out of Parlyament.
290 [Article 9 asserted the right that there should be free speech within Parliament and that what is said
291 within Parliament should not be used against the members in any subsequent matter, whether in
292 court or not. To this day the freedom of speech is claimed to be ancient and undoubted by members
293 of Parliament and the freedom is granted by the monarchy.[21] However, prior to the passing of the
294 Bill of Rights, freedom of speech was generally unprotected. Members of Parliament were punished
295 for statements made in Parliament that were unfavorable to the king. Freedom of speech in
296 Parliament was a privilege that the king granted on special occasions or to special individuals, but
297 this was the exception and not the rule.
298 There was no direct charge that James violated the right of freedom of speech in Parliament. There
299 is no evidence that James obstructed any Parliament members freedoms of speech.[22] Of course
300 James only convened two brief sessions of Parliament during his reign. While James may not have
301 restricted free speech himself, there was evidence that other kings had done so before him.
302 Therefore, the Convention wanted to include the language of Article 9 in order to protect speech in
303 the future. The language of the article did however limit protection to speech made by members
304 within the halls of Parliament. Speech made by members of Parliament while out of session was
305 still unprotected. Additionally, there was no protection for subjects who were not members of
306 Parliament.]
307Excessive Bail. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 10]
308That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual
309punishments inflicted;
310That excessive Baile ought not to be required nor excessive Fines imposed nor cruell and unusuall
311Punishments inflicted.
312 [Article 10 was intended to create fairness in the judicial system. It sought to prohibit judges from
313 abusing their discretionary power by issuing punishments that were outside the bounds of the law or
314 that were disproportionate to the crime. One of the charges against James was that excessive bail
315 has been required of persons committed in criminal cases to elude the benefit of the laws made for
316 the liberty of the subjects.[23] The drafters of the article likely intended it to restrain judges from
317 setting high bail amounts and fines that would financially cripple the subjects. While bail had a long
318 history in England and dated back to ancient Anglo-Saxon times, it was never intended to be set so
319 high as to prevent an individual from paying it.
320 The clause concerning excessive punishment was likely added due to recent proceedings that
321 resulted in excessive and therefore illegal sentences. In the 1686 trial of Titus Oates who was
322 convicted of two counts of perjury, the punishment consisted of: 1) a fine of 2,000 marks; 2)
323 whipping; 3) life imprisonment, 4) pillorying four times a year for the rest of his life; and 5)
324 defrocking. Similarly the Reverend Samuel Johnson was convicted for publishing two tracts that
325 were judged to be seditious libel. His sentence was: 1) a fine of 500 marks; 2) imprisonment until
326 the fine was paid; 3) pillorying; 4) whipping; and 5) defrocking. The court exceeded its jurisdiction
327 with the sentences of defrocking. Furthermore, the punishment of life imprisonment and whipping
328 for the crime of perjury was without precedent and illegal. The belief that these and other
329 punishments were disproportionate to the severity of the crimes and illegal led to the drafting of the
330 article which reinforced ancient custom and law.]
331Juries. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 11]
332That jurors ought to be duly impanelled and returned, and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high
333treason ought to be freeholders;
334That Jurors ought to be duely impannelled and returned . . . F1
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[Article 11 reflected Whig hostility toward the judiciary during the time of the late Stuart kings. It
also represented the struggle between the Whigs and Charles and his Tory allies for control over the
borough corporations. One office of particular concern was sheriff because the sheriff was
responsible for appointing jurors. At one time the Whigs had considerable power in certain
boroughs and could therefore ensure the appointment of favorable jurors who would help protect
them against the judicial measures of the king-friendly courts. Charles sought to negate the Whig
power by instigating quo warranto proceedings against borough corporations. After the quo
warranto proceedings the king could be assured that juries would no longer be Whig-friendly.
Therefore, both the courts and the juries would be favorable to the monarchy.
It was generally accepted that jurors must be freeholders so that poor men would not be influenced
or bribed. However, it was uncertain whether jurors in high treason cases tried in cities must be
freeholders. The reason for the uncertainty was that there simply were not as many freeholders in
cities, especially London, as there were in the country. The issue was raised in the trial of Lord
Russell and the initial holding was that the absence of freehold in a juror could not, according to
the law, be the cause of a challenge in a treason trial held in London. The requirement that jurors
be freeholders was disallowed in subsequent treason trials. The persistence of Whig lawyers to
require the freeholder status of jurors was one reason that the clause was added to the Declaration in
Article 11.]

353Grants of Forfeitures. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 12]
354That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal
355and void;
356That all Grants and Promises of Fines and Forfeitures of particular persons before Convictionare
357illegall and void.
358 [Article 12 referred to a form of corruption that led to widespread resentment towards the monarchy
359 during the decades leading up to the Glorious Revolution. The corruption dealt with a practice that
360 had developed in relation to treason cases. After a subject was convicted of treason, not only could
361 he be hung, drawn, and quartered, but also his property could be confiscated by the king through
362 fines and forfeitures. The kind could then give the property as a gift to one of his courtiers,
363 friends, or allies. It became common for kings to promise these fines and forfeitures to their friends
364 even before the individuals were convicted of treason. The question of corruption arose when the
365 beneficiaries of these promised rewards, who were often powerful people, allegedly tried to
366 influence the cases and press for convictions so that they would be guaranteed to receive the
367 property from the king. It was not disputed that the king had the right to forfeitures and fines. The
368 question was whether he was allowed to give them to his friends and whether he could promise the
369 gifts prior to convictions. The desire to outlaw the practice led to the inclusion of Article 12 within
370 the Declaration of Rights.]
371Frequent Parliaments. [Equivalent to Declaration of Rights (13 February 1689) Article 12]
372And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening and preserving of the laws,
373Parliaments ought to be held frequently.
374And that for Redresse of all Grievances and for the amending strengthening and preserveing of the
375Lawes Parlyaments ought to be held frequently.
376 [Article 13 declared there was an absolute right for parliament to be held frequently in order to
377 redress grievances and amend laws. Kings traditionally could summon and dissolve parliaments at
378 will. However, the abuse of this power by Charles I led to the English Civil War and the temporary
379 elimination of the monarchy. After the restoration of the monarchy by Charles II, the Triennial Act
380 was passed requiring Parliament to be summoned at least once every three years. Charles violated
381 the act at the end of his reign when he did not summon Parliament within a three year period. James
382 never violated the Act as he summoned Parliament twice during his reign, albeit for short sessions.
383 Article 13 was important to the opposition because it would require the king to summon Parliament
384 more regularly, even at times when he wished not to. The expectation was that Parliament should
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385 meet at least once every year. The language of the article gave greater importance to Parliament and
386 was a large step toward the abolition of the absolutist monarchy.]
387The said Rights claimed. Tender of the Crown. Regal Power exercised. Limitation of the Crown.
388And they do claim, demand and insist upon all and singular the premises as their undoubted rights and
389liberties, and that no declarations, judgments, doings or proceedings to the prejudice of the people in
390any of the said premises ought in any wise to be drawn hereafter into consequence or example; to
391which demand of their rights they are particularly encouraged by the declaration of his Highness the
392prince of Orange as being the only means for obtaining a full redress and remedy therein. Having
393therefore an entire confidence that his said Highness the prince of Orange will perfect the deliverance
394so far advanced by him, and will still preserve them from the violation of their rights which they have
395here asserted, and from all other attempts upon their religion, rights and liberties, the said Lords
396Spiritual and Temporal and Commons assembled at Westminster do resolve that William and Mary,
397prince and princess of Orange, be and be declared king and queen of England, France and Ireland and
398the dominions thereunto belonging, to hold the crown and royal dignity of the said kingdoms and
399dominions to them, the said prince and princess, during their lives and the life of the survivor to them,
400and that the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in and executed by the said prince of
401Orange in the names of the said prince and princess during their joint lives, and after their deceases the
402said crown and royal dignity of the same kingdoms and dominions to be to the heirs of the body of the
403said princess, and for default of such issue to the Princess Anne of Denmark and the heirs of her body,
404and for default of such issue to the heirs of the body of the said prince of Orange. And the Lords
405Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do pray the said prince and princess to accept the same
406accordingly.
407And they doe Claime Demand and Insist upon all and singular the Premises as their undoubted Rights
408and Liberties and that noe Declarations Judgements Doeings or Proceedings to the Prejudice of the
409People in any of the said Premisses ought in any wise to be drawne hereafter into Consequence or
410Example. To which Demand of their Rights they are particularly encouraged by the Declaration of this
411Highnesse the Prince of Orange as being the onely meanes for obtaininga full Redresse and Remedy
412therein. Haveing therefore an intire Confidence That his said Highnesse the Prince of Orange will
413perfect the Deliverance soe farr advanced by him and will still preserve them from the Violation of
414their Rights which they have here asserted and from all other Attempts upon their Religion Rights and
415Liberties. The said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons assembled at Westminster doe
416Resolve That William and Mary Prince and Princesse of Orange be and be declared King and Queene
417of England France and Irelandand the Dominions thereunto belonging to hold the Crowne and Royall
418Dignity of the said Kingdomes and Dominions to them the said Prince and Princesse dureing their
419Lives and the Life of the Survivour of them And that the sole and full Exercise of the Regall Power be
420onely in and executed by the said Prince of Orange in the Names of the said Prince and Princesse
421dureing their joynt Lives And after their Deceases the said Crowne and Royall Dignitie of the said
422Kingdoms and Dominions to be to the Heires of the Body of the said Princesse And fordefault of such
423Issue to the Princesse Anne of Denmarke and the Heires of her Body And for default of such Issue to
424the Heires of the Body of the said Prince of Orange. And the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and
425Commons doe pray the said Prince and (X3) Princesse to accept the same accordingly.
426New Oaths of Allegiance, &c.
427And that the oaths hereafter mentioned be taken by all persons of whom the oaths have allegiance and
428supremacy might be required by law, instead of them; and that the said oaths of allegiance and
429supremacy be abrogated.
430And that the Oathes hereafter mentioned be taken by all Persons of whome the Oathes of Allegiance
431and Supremacy might be required by Law instead of them And that the said Oathes of Allegiance and
432Supremacy be abrogated.

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433Allegiance.
434I, A.B., do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to their Majesties
435King William and Queen Mary. So help me God.
436I A B doe sincerely promise and sweare That I will be faithfull and beare true Allegiance to their
437Majestyes King William and Queene Mary Soe helpe me God.
438Supremacy.
439I, A.B., do swear that I do from my heart abhor, detest and abjure as impious and heretical this
440damnable doctrine and position, that princes excommunicated or deprived by the Pope or any authority
441of the see of Rome may be deposed or murdered by their subjects or any other whatsoever. And I do
442declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction,
443power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm. So help me
444God.
445I A B doe sweare That I doe from my Heart Abhorr, Detest and Abjure as Impious and Hereticallthis
446damnable Doctrine and Position That Princes Excommunicated or Deprived by the Pope orany
447Authority of the See of Rome may be deposed or murdered by their Subjects or any otherwhatsoever.
448And I doe declare That noe Forreigne Prince Person Prelate, State or Potentate hathor ought to have
449any Jurisdiction Power Superiority Preeminence or Authoritie Ecclesiasticallor Spirituall within this
450Realme Soe helpe me God.
451Acceptance of the Crown. The Two Houses to sit. Subjects Liberties to be allowed, and Ministers
452hereafter to serve according to the same. William and Mary declared King and Queen.
453Limitation of the Crown. Papists debarred the Crown. Every King, &c. shall make the
454Declaration of 30 Car. II. If under 12 Years old, to be done after Attainment thereof. Kings and
455Queens Assent
456Upon which their said Majesties did accept the crown and royal dignity of the kingdoms of England,
457France and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, according to the resolution and desire of
458the said Lords and Commons contained in the said declaration. And thereupon their Majesties were
459pleased that the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, being the two Houses of Parliament,
460should continue to sit, and with their Majesties' royal concurrence make effectual provision for the
461settlement of the religion, laws and liberties of this kingdom, so that the same for the future might not
462be in danger again of being subverted, to which the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons
463did agree, and proceed to act accordingly. Now in pursuance of the premises the said Lords Spiritual
464and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled, for the ratifying, confirming and establishing the
465said declaration and the articles, clauses, matters and things therein contained by the force of law made
466in due form by authority of Parliament, do pray that it may be declared and enacted that all and singular
467the rights and liberties asserted and claimed in the said declaration are the true, ancient and indubitable
468rights and liberties of the people of this kingdom, and so shall be esteemed, allowed, adjudged, deemed
469and taken to be; and that all and every the particulars aforesaid shall be firmly and strictly holden and
470observed as they are expressed in the said declaration, and all officers and ministers whatsoever shall
471serve their Majesties and their successors according to the same in all time to come. And the said Lords
472Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, seriously considering how it hath pleased Almighty God in his
473marvellous providence and merciful goodness to this nation to provide and preserve their said
474Majesties' royal persons most happily to reign over us upon the throne of their ancestors, for which they
475render unto him from the bottom of their hearts their humblest thanks and praises, do truly, firmly,
476assuredly and in the sincerity of their hearts think, and do hereby recognize, acknowledge and declare,
477that King James the Second having abdicated the government, and their Majesties having accepted the
478crown and royal dignity as aforesaid, their said Majesties did become, were, are and of right ought to be
479by the laws of this realm our sovereign liege lord and lady, king and queen of England, France and
480Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging, in and to whose princely persons the royal state, crown
481and dignity of the said realms with all honours, styles, titles, regalities, prerogatives, powers,
482jurisdictions and authorities to the same belonging and appertaining are most fully, rightfully and
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483entirely invested and incorporated, united and annexed. And for preventing all questions and divisions
484in this realm by reason of any pretended titles to the crown, and for preserving a certainty in the
485succession thereof, in and upon which the unity, peace, tranquillity and safety of this nation doth under
486God wholly consist and depend, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do beseech their
487Majesties that it may be enacted, established and declared, that the crown and regal government of the
488said kingdoms and dominions, with all and singular the premises thereunto belonging and appertaining,
489shall be and continue to their said Majesties and the survivor of them during their lives and the life of
490the survivor of them, and that the entire, perfect and full exercise of the regal power and government be
491only in and executed by his Majesty in the names of both their Majesties during their joint lives; and
492after their deceases the said crown and premises shall be and remain to the heirs of the body of her
493Majesty, and for default of such issue to her Royal Highness the Princess Anne of Denmark and the
494heirs of the body of his said Majesty; and thereunto the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and
495Commons do in the name of all the people aforesaid most humbly and faithfully submit themselves,
496their heirs and posterities for ever, and do faithfully promise that they will stand to, maintain and
497defend their said Majesties, and also the limitation and succession of the crown herein specified and
498contained, to the utmost of their powers with their lives and estates against all persons whatsoever that
499shall attempt anything to the contrary. And whereas it hath been found by experience that it is
500inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a popish prince,
501or by any king or queen marrying a papist, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do
502further pray that it may be enacted, that all and every person and persons that is, are or shall be
503reconciled to or shall hold communion with the see or Church of Rome, or shall profess the popish
504religion, or shall marry a papist, shall be excluded and be for ever incapable to inherit, possess or enjoy
505the crown and government of this realm and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging or any part
506of the same, or to have, use or exercise any regal power, authority or jurisdiction within the same; and
507in all and every such case or cases the people of these realms shall be and are hereby absolved of their
508allegiance; and the said crown and government shall from time to time descend to and be enjoyed by
509such person or persons being Protestants as should have inherited and enjoyed the same in case the said
510person or persons so reconciled, holding communion or professing or marrying as aforesaid were
511naturally dead; and that every king and queen of this realm who at any time hereafter shall come to and
512succeed in the imperial crown of this kingdom shall on the first day of the meeting of the first
513Parliament next after his or her coming to the crown, sitting in his or her throne in the House of Peers
514in the presence of the Lords and Commons therein assembled, or at his or her coronation before such
515person or persons who shall administer the coronation oath to him or her at the time of his or her taking
516the said oath (which shall first happen), make, subscribe and audibly repeat the declaration mentioned
517in the statute made in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Charles the Second entitled, An Act for the
518more effectual preserving the king's person and government by disabling papists from sitting in either
519House of Parliament. But if it shall happen that such king or queen upon his or her succession to the
520crown of this realm shall be under the age of twelve years, then every such king or queen shall make,
521subscribe and audibly repeat the same declaration at his or her coronation or the first day of the meeting
522of the first Parliament as aforesaid which shall first happen after such king or queen shall have attained
523the said age of twelve years. All which their Majesties are contented and pleased shall be declared,
524enacted and established by authority of this present Parliament, and shall stand, remain and be the law
525of this realm for ever; and the same are by their said Majesties, by and with the advice and consent of
526the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled and by the authority of the
527same, declared, enacted and established accordingly.
528Upon which their said Majestyes did accept the Crowne and Royall Dignitie of the Kingdoms of
529England France and Ireland and the Dominions thereunto belonging according to the Resolution and
530Desire of the said Lords and Commons contained in the said Declaration. And thereupon their
531Majestyes were pleased That the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons being the two
532Houses of Parlyament should continue to sitt and with their Majesties Royall Concurrence make
533effectuall Provision for the Setlement of the Religion Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome soe that
534the same for the future might not be in danger againe of being subverted, To which the said Lords
535Spirituall and Temporall and Commons did agree and proceede to act accordingly. Now in pursuance of
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536the Premisses the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in Parlyament assembled for the
537ratifying confirming and establishing the said Declaration and the Articles Clauses Matters and Things
538therein contained by the Force of a Law made in due Forme by Authority of Parlyament doe pray that it
539may be declaredand enacted That all and singular the Rights and Liberties asserted and claimed in the
540said Declaration are the true auntient and indubitable Rights and Liberties of the People of this
541Kingdome and soe shall be esteemed allowed adjudged deemed and taken to be and that all and every
542the particulars aforesaid shall be firmly and strictly holden and observed as they are expressed in the
543said Declaration And all Officers and Ministers whatsoever shall serve their Majestyes and their
544Successors according to the same in all times to come. And the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and
545Commons seriously considering how it hath pleased Almighty God in his marvellous Providence and
546mercifull Goodness to this Nation to provide and preserve their said Majestyes Royall Persons most
547happily to Raigne over us upon the Throne of their Auncestors for which they render unto him from the
548bottome of their Hearts their humblest Thanks and Praises doe truely firmely assuredly and in the
549Sincerity of their Hearts thinke and doe hereby recognize acknowledge and declare That King James
550the Second haveing abdicated the Government and their Majestyes haveing accepted the Crowne and
551Royall Dignity [X4as] aforesaid Their said Majestyes did become were are and of right ought to be by
552the Lawes of this Realme our Soveraigne Liege Lord and Lady King and Queene of England France
553and Irelandand the Dominions thereunto belonging in and to whose Princely Persons the Royall State
554Crowne and Dignity of the said Realmes with all Honours Stiles Titles Regalities Prerogatives Powers
555Jurisdictions and Authorities to the same belonging and appertaining are most fully rightfully and
556intirely invested and incorporated united and annexed And for preventing all Questions and Divisions
557in this Realme by reason of any pretended Titles to the Crowne and for preserveing a Certainty in the
558Succession thereof in and upon which the Unity Peace Tranquillity and Safety of this Nation doth under
559God wholly consist and depend The said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons doe beseech
560their Majestyes That it may be enacted established and declared That the Crowne and Regall
561Government of the said Kingdoms and Dominions with all and singular the Premisses thereunto
562belonging and appertaining shall beeand continue to their said Majestyes and the Survivour of them
563dureing their Lives and the Life of the Survivour of them And that the entire perfect and full Exercise
564of the Regall Power and Government be onely in and executed by his Majestie in the Names of both
565their Majestyes dureing their joynt Lives And after their deceases the said Crowne and Premisses shall
566be and remaine to the Heires of the Body of her Majestie and for default of such Issue to her Royall
567Highnesse the Princess Anne of Denmarke and the Heires of her Body and for default of such Issue to
568the Heires of the Body of his said Majestie And thereunto the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and
569Commons doe in the Name of all the People aforesaid most humbly and faithfully submitt themselves
570their Heires and Posterities for ever and doe faithfully promise That they will stand to maintaine and
571defend their said Majesties and alsoe the Limitation and Succession of the Crowne herein specified and
572contained to the utmost of their Powers with their Lives and Estates against all Persons whatsoever that
573shall attempt any thing to the contrary. And whereas it hath beene found by Experience that it is
574inconsistent with the Safety and Welfaire of this Protestant Kingdome to be governed by a Popish
575Prince or by any King or Queene marrying a Papist the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and
576Commons doe further pray that it may been acted That all and every person and persons that is are or
577shall be reconciled to or shall hold Communion with the See or Church of Rome or shall professe the
578Popish Religion or shall marrya Papist shall be excluded and be for ever uncapeable to inherit possesse
579or enjoy the Crowne and Government of this Realme and Ireland and the Dominions thereunto
580belonging or any part of the same or to have use or exercise any Regall Power Authoritie or Jurisdiction
581within the same [X5And in all and every such Case or Cases the People of these Realmes shall be and
582are hereby absolved of their Allegiance] And the said Crowne and Government shall from time to time
583descend to and be enjoyed by such person or persons being Protestants as should have inherited and
584enjoyed the same in case the said person or persons soe reconciled holding Communion or Professing
585or Marrying as aforesaid were naturally dead [X6And that every King and Queene ofthis Realme who at
586any time hereafter shall come to and succeede in the Imperiall Crowne ofthis Kingdome shall on the
587first day of the meeting of the first Parlyament next after his or hercomeing to the Crowne sitting in his
588or her Throne in the House of Peeres in the presence of theLords and Commons therein
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589assembled or at his or her Coronation before such person or persons who shall administer the
590Coronation Oath to him or her at the time of his or her takeing the said Oath (which shall first happen)
591make subscribe and audibly repeate the Declaration mentioned in the Statute made in the thirtyeth
592yeare of the Raigne of King Charles the Second Entituled An Act for the more effectuall Preserveing
593the Kings Person and Government by disableing Papists from sitting in either House of Parlyament But
594if it shall happen that such King or Queene upon his or her Succession to the Crowne of this Realme
595shall be under the Age of twelve yeares then every such King or Queene shall make subscribe and
596audibly repeate the said Declaration at his or her Coronation or the first day of the meeting of the first
597Parlyament as aforesaid which shall first happen after such King or Queene shall have attained the said
598Age of twelve yeares.] All which Their Majestyes are contented and pleased shall be declared enacted
599and established by authoritie of this present Parliament and shall stand remaine and be the Law of this
600Realme forever And the same are by their said Majesties by and with the advice and consent of the
601Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in Parlyament assembled and by the authoritie of the
602same declared enacted and established accordingly
603Annotations:
604Editorial Information
605 X1 The Bill of Rights is assigned to the year 1688 on legislation.gov.uk (as it was previously in
606
successive official editions of the revised statutes from which the online version is derived)
607
although the Act received Royal Assent on 16th December 1689. This follows the practice
608
adopted in The Statutes of the Realm, Vol. VI (1819), in the Chronological Table in that volume
609
and all subsequent Chronological Tables of the Statutes, which attach all the Acts in 1 Will and
610
Mar sess 2 to the year 1688. The first Parliament of William and Mary (the Convention
611
Parliament) convened on 13th February 1689 (1688 in the old style calendar - until 1st Jan 1752
612
the calendar year began on March 25th). It appears that all the Acts of that Parliament (both
613
sessions) were treated as being Acts of 1688 using the old method of reckoning, according to
614
which, until 1793, all Acts passed in a session of Parliament with no specified commencement
615
date were deemed to be passed in the year in which that session began (see Acts of Parliament
616
(Commencement) Act 1793 (c 13)). The Short Titles Act 1896 (c. 14) gave to chapter 2 of1 Will
617
and Mar sess 2 the title "The Bill of Rights", without attributing it to any calendar year. In the
618
Republic of Ireland, the Short Titles Act 1896 (c 14) has been amended to add "1688" to the short
619
title of The Bill of Rights as it continues to have effect there (see Statute Law Revision Act 2007,
620
Act of the Oireachtas No 28 of 2007, s 5(a)).
621 X2 Variant reading of the text noted in The Statutes of the Realm as follows: Highnesse O. [O. refers
622
to a collection in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge]
623 X3 Variant reading of the text noted in The Statutes of the Realm as follows: and O. [O. refers to a
624
collection in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge]
625 X4 interlined on the Roll.
626 X5 annexed to the Original Act in a separate Schedule.
627 X6 annexed to the Original Act in a separate Schedule.
628Amendments (Textual)
629 F1 F1 Words repealed by (E.W.) Juries Act 1825 (c. 50), s. 62 and (N.I.) Statute Law Revision Act
630
1950(c. 6), Sch. 1
631Modifications etc. (not altering text)
632 C1 Short title "The Bill of Rights" given by Short Titles Act 1896 (c. 14), Sch. 1
633 C2 Act declared to be a Statute by Crown and Parliament Recognition Act 1689 (c. 1)
634 C3 S. 1 amended by Accession Declaration Act 1910 (c. 29), s. 1

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635 II Non obstantes made void.


636
And be it further declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after this present
637
session of Parliament no dispensation by non obstante of or to any statute or any part thereof shall
638
be allowed, but that the same shall be held void and of no effect, except a dispensation be allowed
639
of in such statute, and except in such cases as shall be specially provided for by one or more bill
640
or bills to be passed during this present session of Parliament.
641
Noe Dispensation by Non obstante of or to any Statute or any part thereof shall be allowed but
642
the same shall be held void and of noe effect Except a Dispensation be allowed of in such
643
Statute . . . F2
644Annotations:
645Amendments (Textual)
646 F2 Words repealed by Statute Law Revision Act 1948 (c. 62), Sch. 1
647 III Provided that no charter or grant or pardon granted before the three and twentieth day of October
648
in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty-nine [old style date equivalent to 23-Oct649
1689] shall be any ways impeached or invalidated by this Act, but that the same shall be and
650
remain of the same force and effect in law and no other than as if this Act had never been made.
651
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F3
652Annotations:
653Amendments (Textual)
654 F3 S. 3 repealed by Statute Law Revision Act 1867 (c. 59)

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Declaration of Rights 1689

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Bill of Rights 1689

The Declaration of Rights encapsulates the political aspirations and ideas of the English Revolution of
1688-89. The Declaration was drafted by the Convention, an assembly created to resolve the crisis
created by the flight of James II and the invasion of William of Orange. The Convention met under the
leadership of Sir John Somers, a Whig, and was empowered to draw up a declaration offering the
crown to William and Mary. The Declaration itself rehashed the long litany of crimes committed by
James II in his effort to undermine the liberties of the subject and the religion that was established by
law. Additionally it represented the efforts to reaffirm many traditional rights and freedoms that had
been ignored or abrogated by various kings as well as establish new rights and freedoms. The
Declaration was the final document created from all of the resolutions that were passed by the
assembly. It was presented to William and Mary on February 13, 1689, immediately before they were
proclaimed king and queen of England. These events were a symbolic end to the most critical phase of
the Glorious Revolution.
The most important result of the Declaration of Rights was the subsequent passing of the Bill of Rights,
which has been referred to as the epitome of the Glorious Revolution. The Bill of Rights largely
mirrored the Declaration of Rights, except for a few amendments. While the Convention that created
the Declaration did not have the legal authority to make the articles into law, the Act of Parliament that
became known as the Bill of Rights did have that legal authority. Thus were fulfilled the aspirations of
the Declarations principal opponents, who sought the revolutionary settlement and the claim of rights
to be regarded as tantamount to law and had gone to considerable lengths to achieve that mission. The
subsequent Bill of Rights is now considered a basic tenet of English Constitutional law, alongside such
documents as the Magna Carta, the Act of Settlement, and the Parliament Acts. The Bill of Rights also
is part of the laws of some Commonwealth nations such as Canada and New Zealand. Several elements
derived from the Declaration of Rights can be found in the Bill of Rights that amended the Constitution
of the United States.
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