O parlamentarismo foi fruto do desenvolvimento e das peculiaridades ímpares da sociedade inglesa ao longo de vários séculos. Não foi "descoberto" ou "inventado", muito menos adaptado da realidade de outros países, mas sim foi se desenvolvendo em espasmos com longos anos ou séculos de calmaria frente às exigências do povo e do governo da Inglaterra. Ao contrário do que sempre lemos em textos mais breves ou menos aprofundados, o parlamentarismo como o conhecemos não foi iniciado após a Revolução Gloriosa de 1688 com a ascensão de Guilherme de Orange ao trono da Inglaterra, mas vem de muitos séculos antes, ainda sob o domínio saxão, culminando, durante a dita revolução, no seu formato quase final e acabado (que seria dado durante o reinado de Vitória I, ao longo de todo o século XIX, o que está além do escopo deste breve estudo).
História, Origem e Evolução:
Quando Guilherme da Normandia invadiu as ilhas da Grã-Bretanha no ano de 1066, subjugando o reino saxão que estava com seu trono vago pela morte de Eduardo, o Confessor, já existia neste reino o Witan, conselho do Rei, composto dos principais líderes de clãs, comerciantes, religiosos e burgueses das ilhas. Esse conselho era freqüentemente reunido pelo rei para deliberar sobre os mais importantes assuntos de defesa ou impostos, ainda que isso se fizesse ao bel prazer do governante. Essas reuniões, com freqüência cada vez maior, se davam no mosteiro construído ao leste de Londres, na ilha de Thorney, pelo rei Eduardo, também conhecido como Westminster.
No ano de 1080, houve ameaça de reconquista das terras da Inglaterra pelos saxões ao norte e leste, ajudados pelos reis da Dinamarca e da Noruega. Em função dos gastos preparatórios contra essa invasão, que jamais ocorreu, Guilherme I iniciou, pela primeira vez em toda a história da humanidade, o censo do Domesday, com vistas ao recolhimento de impostos de forma pessoal, e não mais somente pelos senhores feudais e comerciantes. Embora tenha sido pequena, a taxação motivou revoltas isoladas, prontamente esmagadas pelo Conquistador.
No século XII, os filhos e netos de Guilherme I, construíram próximos a abadia, um salão real que rivalizava com os principais da Europa continental, o Westminster Hall, salão que passou a ser utilizado, então, para as reuniões do Witan ou conselho do Rei.
Com a coroação de Ricardo I, Coração-de-Leão, bisneto de Guilherme I, e sua ida após poucos meses de reinado para a terceira cruzada católica para libertação da Terra Santa dos sarracenos, o reino da Inglaterra ficou sob a regência do Chanceler Longchamp. O irmão mais novo de Ricardo, João Sem Terra, na partilha da herança de seu pai, Henrique II, herdou apenas poucas propriedades e foi proibido pelo rei de retornar a Inglaterra, para não comprometer a estabilidade do reino. Em função de seu rei estar indo à Terra Santa expulsar os infiéis, os seus súditos iniciaram (após mal entendido ocorrido durante a coroação de Ricardo I) forte perseguição aos judeus trazidos ao reino ainda durante a conquista, perseguição esta que se estenderia por mais de 100 anos, antes que fossem, por longos séculos, expulsos da Inglaterra. Porém no ano de 1191, João Sem Terra iniciou forte movimento, com o apoio da burguesia de Londres e de outros nobres, para afastar Longchamp e assumir o Trono da Inglaterra. Com a derrota deste em Londres, em novembro de 1191 João Sem Terra foi proclamado herdeiro do trono. Com a morte nas Cruzadas de Ricardo Coração-de-Leão, João, herdeiro do Trono, assumiu o governo, não sem antes haver matado o seu sobrinho (e real herdeiro do trono inglês, Arthur da Bretanha).
João Sem Terra foi péssimo governante, perdendo vastas porções de sua herança na França e arruinando o tesouro tão bem deixado por seu irmão. Além disto, também houve fortes atritos com o Papa, que colocou a Igreja da Inglaterra em interdição. Sendo assim, um forte grupo composto das principais famílias feudais e burguesas (especialmente da cidade de Londres) obrigou o rei a assinar, em 15/06/1215, a Magna Carta, primeiro documento em toda a história da humanidade a limitar de várias maneiras os poderes de um rei absoluto.
Após a morte de João I, seu filho, Henrique III, e seu neto Eduardo I reinaram longamente e em paz. Porém, além de terem herdado um reino com dificuldades financeiras, também mantiveram a perseguição (aliás, também feita em diversas outras regiões da Europa com aval da Igreja Católica) aos judeus, culminando com a sua total expulsão no ano de 1290. Com isso, perdeu a Inglaterra grande fortuna, agravando ainda mais as já combalidas finanças do Estado.
Eduardo I, o Leopardo, foi um grande rei para seu país. Regulamentou tudo, desde as medidas até as leis. Conquistou Gales e afastou o risco dos escoceses. Mas teve dificuldades para submeter a nobreza e a burguesia de Londres. Ardiloso e inteligente, instituiu "parlamentos" duas vezes ao ano em Westminster. Seu objetivo era contrabalançar o poder da nobreza, maioria no Witan, convocando o seu conselho de barões, mas também as outras partes que seriam afetadas pela sua decisão (cavaleiros menores, burgueses, comerciantes, clero), ou mesmo todos os representantes destas classes juntos. Esses parlamentos também eram testemunhas da Justiça Real, última instância de recursos jurídicos. Muitas leis e decisões eram tomadas apenas com seus conselheiros íntimos (ministros), mas decisões de maior importância eram tomadas no parlamento, ainda que convocado apenas por decisão pessoal do monarca. O Rei nomeava os representantes que desejava para o parlamento, sendo esse, no mais das vezes, dócil instrumento nas mãos do monarca.
Ao longo do tempo, principalmente durante o reinado de Eduardo III, neto de Eduardo I, o Parlamento se consolidou, tendo sido costume a assembléia se dividir em três grupos: o clero, o Rei e seus barões e os demais membros (também chamados de "comuns"). No final de seu longo reinado, Eduardo III, doente e fragilizado, necessitava desesperadamente de dinheiro após longa guerra contra a França (seu reinado ocorreu durante a Guerra dos Cem Anos). Aproveitando-se da fragilidade do rei doente, os representantes dos "comuns", quando de nova convocação para instituição de mais impostos, se negaram a aceitar, alegando mal versação do dinheiro público por alguns ministros. Alguns destes ministros, após longo impasse, sofreram "ampeschement" (no francês utilizado nas cortes ou "impeachment" no inglês popular) e assim foi possível cobrar os impostos, ainda que muito menores que os solicitados pelo Rei. Surgiram nesta fase a figura do "Speaker" dos Comuns e a prática do impeachment.
Com a morte de Eduardo III, seu filho Ricardo, menor de idade, ficou sob a tutela de seu tio John de Gaunt. Devido a nova guerra com a França, apoiada pela Escócia, apelou-se novamente ao expediente dos impostos individuais, com o agravante de ser uma taxa única para todos, ricos e pobres, e não como antigamente, de acordo com as posses. Apenas a situação agora era diferente. A peste negra havia feito vítimas 1/3 de toda a população, as colheitas dos últimos anos haviam sido ruins, em boa parte devido à falta de mão-de-obra e, estando os laços feudais de senhorio e vassalagem em rompimento em boa parte devido à diminuição da mão-de-obra, não mais haveria ajuda para o pagamento da taxa por parte de alguns senhores feudais. Coincidentemente, despontava a figura de John Wyclif, erudito professor da Universidade de Oxford. A despeito da crença geral de que foi com Martinho Lutero que se iniciou a luta contra os hábitos poucos religiosos da Igreja Católica – venda de indulgências e cargos eclesiásticos e outros – e que também foi aquele que fez a primeira tradução da Bíblia do latim para a linguagem popular de seu país, foi John Wyclif quem iniciou, em 1380, essa luta, vertendo a Bíblia para o inglês e combatendo em suas palestras o clero corrupto da Igreja. Sendo a Igreja da Inglaterra grande possuidora de terras (as estatísticas da época apontam para aproximadamente 1/3 do total de terras do país) e isenta dos impostos, as pregações de Wyclif associadas com a cobrança de impostos individualmente, de forma elevada e muito acima do razoável para uma classe camponesa empobrecida, estava preparado o terreno para uma revolta. A faísca para detonar a explosão não poderia ser mais prosaica: devido à alta sonegação do imposto individual, o conselho do Rei ordenou, em 1381, que os "sheriffs" ou coletores de impostos fizessem novas visitas, especialmente em Essex e East Anglia, principais pontos de sonegação. Isso desencadeou um levante de camponeses nestas duas regiões, rapidamente com a adesão do campesinato de outras áreas. Em poucas semanas tomaram de assalto grandes cidades na sua marcha em direção da capital, acampando nos arredores da cidade uma multidão calculada, na época, em aproximadamente 100.000 homens e mulheres. Após entrarem na cidade e iniciarem um saque e depredação de vários prédios e palácios, foram contidos pela autoridade de Ricardo II que, sem exército ou milícia, os dominou e dispersou, fazendo falsas promessas e iludindo a boa-fé de camponeses ignorantes.
Essa revolta de camponeses foi importantíssima para a confirmação das funções do Parlamento, não mais o Rei podendo prescindir de sua convocação (ou o convocando apenas quando desejasse) para a instituição de impostos ou outras decisões importantes para o reino.
Em 1603, com a morte de Elizabeth I, a Rainha Virgem, sem herdeiros nomeados ou na linha sucessória direta, assumiu o Trono da Inglaterra Jaime VI, rei da Escócia, com o nome de Jaime I. Sendo governante da Escócia já há vários anos e governando de forma autoritária e sem limites a seus poderes, Jaime I sempre teve uma relação conflituosa com o Parlamento. Ao contrário de todos os seus predecessores, desde Eduardo I, Jaime I não mais convocava o Parlamento em intervalos regulares ou o consultava ao tomar decisões de importância para o Reino ou algumas de suas classes principais. Sendo assim e tendo oferecido monopólios a vários nobres não tradicionais, viu insurgir-se contra si a nobreza tradicional e os comuns. Como não eram convocados, o Parlamento pôde usar de um estratagema que dispensava sua convocação: o impeachment. Nem isso demoveu o rei. Morto este e tendo sido sucedido por seu filho, Carlos I, não houve mudança na postura frente ao Parlamento. Porém, em 1629, sem conseguir lançar impostos e tendo sido lembrado por uma comissão parlamentar dos compromissos assumidos na sua coroação de seguir a Carta Magna, houve grave ruptura no país, aumentando a distensão entre partidários do Rei e partidários do Parlamento. Ao tentar impor aos presbiterianos da Escócia o culto anglicano, houve um levante naquele país. Para combatê-lo, o Rei necessitava de dinheiro. Para tal, necessitava convocar o Parlamento. Ao fazê-lo, Carlos I foi confrontado com uma série de exigências humilhantes por parte daquele, exigências essas que foram sendo aprovadas uma a uma. Ao tentar aprovar o impeachment do principal favorito do Rei, Lorde Strafford, o rei resistiu e mandou prender alguns líderes parlamentares. Houve forte resistência por parte dos comuns e as prisões não foram efetuadas. Assim, em alguns meses o Rei iniciou a formação de um exército baseado na cidade de York (o que contrariava as leis, já que não poderia manter o Rei exército sem a autorização do Parlamento), tendo o Parlamento, em nome do Rei, convocado tropas e formado exército baseado na cidade de Londres. E assim começou a guerra civil inglesa. Durante essa guerra o rei Carlos I foi decapitado e Oliver Cromwell assumiu o governo com o título de Lorde Protetor.
Durante o governo do Lorde Protetor, em conjunto com diversos Parlamentos sucessivos, o poder da Inglaterra sobre a Escócia, Gales e a Irlanda foi sedimentado, dando origem ao reino da Grã-Bretanha, assim como se formou um exército profissional e se alavancou o domínio marítimo da Grã-Bretanha, tornando-se esta a maior potência naval em muitos séculos. Com a morte de Cromwell, o declínio de seu filho em sucedê-lo e as fortes disputas entre o exército e o Parlamento sobre sucessão, Carlos II, vindo do exílio, assumiu compromisso com o Parlamento em convocá-lo periodicamente e manter exército fixo sob suas ordens e, assim, foi coroado Rei da Inglaterra, Escócia, Gales e Irlanda.
Carlos II era oficialmente o chefe da Igreja da Inglaterra, anglicana. Porém, em segredo, professava a fé católica, como sua esposa e seus filhos, todos ilegítimos, já que a rainha não teve filhos viáveis. Durante seu reinado, lenta e gradualmente, Carlos II tentou promover uma catolificação no seu reino, atenuando restrições aos católicos, aceitando colaboradores com essa fé, dificultando a vida dos huguenotes franceses refugiados na Inglaterra (Luís XIV havia revogado o Edito de Nantes alguns anos antes e vinha promovendo verdadeira caça aos huguenotes franceses). O Parlamento e a população aceitavam estas condições em virtude de o herdeiro do rei ser seu cunhado, Guilherme de Orange, governante dos Países Baixos, homem amado por seu povo e extremamente tolerante em matéria religiosa. Quando, por fim, o Rei proclamou ter nascido seu herdeiro em um quadro bastante duvidoso, já que até então todos os filhos do casal tinham sido abortados ou nascido inviáveis, houve revolta do Parlamento e da população porque essa criança, cuja filiação era bastante questionável (houve sugestões na época de que o Rei havia ordenado que fosse trazido o filho de um nobre católico para ser criado como príncipe), certamente seria criada como católica e isso era inadmissível. Convocado pelo Parlamento, Guilherme de Orange desembarcou na Inglaterra em 5/11/1688, iniciando sua marcha para Londres, enquanto o rei Carlos II fugia para o norte, sem o apoio do exército ou do povo. Declarado traidor, Carlos II foi destituído e Guilherme de Orange foi coroado Rei da Inglaterra, mas não sem antes ser obrigado a assinar o "Bill of Rights" se comprometendo a se submeter – e também seus descendentes – ao Parlamento, ficando o Rei com poucos poderes de representação, sem poder interferir em questões de Estado ou legais.
Guilherme de Orange, seu filho e seu neto governaram durante longos anos, porém jamais adquiriram fluência na língua de sua nova nação. Com isso, mais e mais o conselho de ministros ficou livre para governar, apenas submetendo ao Rei para seu aceite os documentos já debatidos e aprovados pelo Parlamento. Estava praticamente acabado o desenvolvimento do Parlamentarismo como o conhecemos hoje em dia.
Através da exposição histórica pudemos avaliar que o desenvolvimento do parlamentarismo não foi um impulso inexorável e sequer obra de alguma geração ou pensamento temporário, mas o resultado final das aspirações de toda uma Nação ao longo de toda a sua história. Acreditamos que toda e qualquer tentativa de cópia do modelo inglês deva levar em conta as características próprias da Nação onde se deseja implementar, uma vez que não é possível se transplantar séculos de história e realizações de um povo para outro país de forma correta e mantendo-se aquele espírito. Observamos também que, com exceção talvez de uns poucos lugares onde ainda se faz a democracia direta, não há em todo o mundo maior exemplo de uma forma de governo mais democrática e eficaz, depurada ao longo de séculos pela experiência da tentativa e erro, forçando-nos a admirar ainda mais as realizações desta grande nação que é a Grã-Bretanha, em especial a Inglaterra.
Acreditamos que esse trabalho não poderia ser completo sem que acrescentássemos a ele os marcos legais que deram embasamento, do ponto-de-vista jurídico, ao desenvolvimento do parlamentarismo e também documentos de suma importância para toda a humanidade já que são marcos da defesa dos direitos humanos e religiosos, muito anteriores a quaisquer outros feitos em quaisquer outros países. Ambos são marcos do gênio inglês e do anseio ancestral daquele povo por um governo legítimo e de uma vida livre.
The Great Charter of English liberty granted (under considerable duress) by King John at Runnymede on June 15, 1215
John, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his officials and loyal subjects, greeting.
Know that before God, for the health of our soul and those of our ancestors and heirs, to the honour of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom, at the advice of our reverend fathers Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and cardinal of the holy Roman Church, Henry archbishop of Dublin, William bishop of London, Peter bishop of Winchester, Jocelin bishop of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh bishop of Lincoln, Walter Bishop of Worcester, William bishop of Coventry, Benedict bishop of Rochester, Master Pandulf subdeacon and member of the papal household, Brother Aymeric master of the Knights of the Temple in England, William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, William earl of Salisbury, William earl of Warren, William earl of Arundel, Alan de Galloway constable of Scotland, Warin Fitz Gerald, Peter Fitz Herbert, Hubert de Burgh seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew Fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip Daubeny, Robert de Roppeley, John Marshal, John Fitz Hugh, and other loyal subjects:
1. First, that we have granted to God, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church´´s elections - a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it - and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity. We have also granted to all free men of our realm, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs:
2. If any earl, baron, or other person that holds lands directly of the Crown, for military service, shall die, and at his death his heir shall be of full age and owe a `relief´´, the heir shall have his inheritance on payment of the ancient scale of `relief´´. That is to say, the heir or heirs of an earl shall pay for the entire earl´´s barony, the heir or heirs of a knight l00s. at most for the entire knight´´s `fee´´, and any man that owes less shall pay less, in accordance with the ancient usage of `fees´´
3. But if the heir of such a person is under age and a ward, when he comes of age he shall have his inheritance without `relief´´ or fine.
4. The guardian of the land of an heir who is under age shall take from it only reasonable revenues, customary dues, and feudal services. He shall do this without destruction or damage to men or property. If we have given the guardianship of the land to a sheriff, or to any person answerable to us for the revenues, and he commits destruction or damage, we will exact compensation from him, and the land shall be entrusted to two worthy and prudent men of the same `fee´´, who shall be answerable to us for the revenues, or to the person to whom we have assigned them. If we have given or sold to anyone the guardianship of such land, and he causes destruction or damage, he shall lose the guardianship of it, and it shall be handed over to two worthy and prudent men of the same `fee´´, who shall be similarly answerable to us.
5. For so long as a guardian has guardianship of such land, he shall maintain the houses, parks, fish preserves, ponds, mills, and everything else pertaining to it, from the revenues of the land itself. When the heir comes of age, he shall restore the whole land to him, stocked with plough teams and such implements of husbandry as the season demands and the revenues from the land can reasonably bear.
6. Heirs may be given in marriage, but not to someone of lower social standing. Before a marriage takes place, it shall be´´ made known to the heir´´s next-of-kin.
7. At her husband´´s death, a widow may have her marriage portion and inheritance at once and without trouble. She shall pay nothing for her dower, marriage portion, or any inheritance that she and her husband held jointly on the day of his death. She may remain in her husband´´s house for forty days after his death, and within this period her dower shall be assigned to her.
8. No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long as she wishes to remain without a husband. But she must give security that she will not marry without royal consent, if she holds her lands of the Crown, or without the consent of whatever other lord she may hold them of.
9. Neither we nor our officials will seize any land or rent in payment of a debt, so long as the debtor has movable goods sufficient to discharge the debt. A debtor´´s sureties shall not be distrained upon so long as the debtor himself can discharge his debt. If, for lack of means, the debtor is unable to discharge his debt, his sureties shall be answerable for it. If they so desire, they may have the debtor´´s lands and rents until they have received satisfaction for the debt that they paid for him, unless the debtor can show that he has settled his obligations to them.
10. If anyone who has borrowed a sum of money from Jews dies before the debt has been repaid, his heir shall pay no interest on the debt for so long as he remains under age, irrespective of whom he holds his lands. If such a debt falls into the hands of the Crown, it will take nothing except the principal sum specified in the bond.
11. If a man dies owing money to Jews, his wife may have her dower and pay nothing towards the debt from it. If he leaves children that are under age, their needs may also be provided for on a scale appropriate to the size of his holding of lands. The debt is to be paid out of the residue, reserving the service due to his feudal lords. Debts owed to persons other than Jews are to be dealt with similarly.
12. No `scutage´´ or `aid´´ may be levied in our kingdom without its general consent, unless it is for the ransom of our person, to make our eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry our eldest daughter. For these purposes ouly a reasonable `aid´´ may be levied. `Aids´´ from the city of London are to be treated similarly.
13. The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.
14. To obtain the general consent of the realm for the assessment of an `aid´´ - except in the three cases specified above - or a `scutage´´, we will cause the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons to be summoned individually by letter. To those who hold lands directly of us we will cause a general summons to be issued, through the sheriffs and other officials, to come together on a fixed day (of which at least forty days notice shall be given) and at a fixed place. In all letters of summons, the cause of the summons will be stated. When a summons has been issued, the business appointed for the day shall go forward in accordance with the resolution of those present, even if not all those who were summoned have appeared.
15. In future we will allow no one to levy an `aid´´ from his free men, except to ransom his person, to make his eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry his eldest daughter. For these purposes only a reasonable `aid´´ may be levied.
16. No man shall be forced to perform more service for a knight´´s `fee´´, or other free holding of land, than is due from it.
17. Ordinary lawsuits shall not follow the royal court around, but shall be held in a fixed place.
18. Inquests of novel disseisin, mort d´´ancestor, and darrein presentment shall be taken only in their proper county court. We ourselves, or in our absence abroad our chief justice, will send two justices to each county four times a year, and these justices, with four knights of the county elected by the county itself, shall hold the assizes in the county court, on the day and in the place where the court meets.
19. If any assizes cannot be taken on the day of the county court, as many knights and freeholders shall afterwards remain behind, of those who have attended the court, as will suffice for the administration of justice, having regard to the volume of business to be done.
20. For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. In the same way, a merchant shall be spared his merchandise, and a husbandman the implements of his husbandry, if they fall upon the mercy of a royal court. None of these fines shall be imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the neighbourhood.
21. Earls and barons shall not be amerced save through their peers, and only according to the measure of the offence.
22. No clerk shall be amerced for his lay tenement ecept according to the manner of the other persons aforesaid; and not according to the amount of his ecclesiastical benefice.
23. Neither a town nor a man shall be forced to make bridges over the rivers, with the exception of those who, from of old and of right ought to do it.
24. No sheriff, constable, coroners, or other bailiffs of ours shall hold the pleas of our crown.
25. All counties, hundreds, wapentakes, and trithings--our demesne manors being exccepted--shall continue according to the old farms, without any increase at all.
26. If any one holding from us a lay fee shall die, and our sheriff or bailiff can show our letters patent containing our summons for the debt which the dead man owed to us,--our sheriff or bailiff may be allowed to attach and enroll the chattels of the dead man to the value of that debt, through view of lawful men; in such way, however, that nothing shall be removed thence until the debt is paid which was plainly owed to us. And the residue shall be left to the executors that they may carry out the will of the dead man. And if nothing is owed to us by him, all the chattels shall go to the use prescribed by the deceased, saving their reasonable portions to his wife and children.
27. If any freeman shall have died intestate his chattels shall be distributed through the hands of his near relatives and friends, by view of the church; saving to any one the debts which the dead man owed him.
28. No constable or other bailiff of ours shall take the corn or other chattels of any one except he straightway give money for them, or can be allowed a respite in that regard by the will of the seller.
29. No constable shall force any knight to pay money for castleward if he be willing to perform that ward in person, or--he for a reasonable cause not being able to perform it himself--through another proper man. And if we shall have led or sent him on a military expedition, he shall be quit of ward according to the amount of time during which, through us, he shall have been in military service.
30. No sheriff nor bailiff of ours, nor any one else, shall take the horses or carts of any freeman for transport, unless by the will of that freeman.
31. Neither we nor our bailiffs shall take another´´s wood for castles or for other private uses, unless by the will of him to whom the wood belongs.
32. We shall not hold the lands of those convicted of felony longer than a year and a day; and then the lands shall be restored to the lords of the fiefs.
33. Henceforth all the weirs in the Thames and Medway, and throughout all England, save on the sea-coast, shall be done away with entirely.
34. Henceforth the writ which is called Praecipe shall not be to served on any one for any holding so as to cause a free man to lose his court.
35. There shall be one measure of wine throughout our whole realm, and one measure of ale and one measure of corn--namely, the London quart;--and one width of dyed and russet and hauberk cloths--namely, two ells below the selvage. And with weights, moreover, it shall be as with measures.
36. Henceforth nothing shall be given or taken for a writ of inquest in a matter concerning life or limb; but it shall be conceded gratis, and shall not be denied.
37. If any one hold of us in fee-farm, or in socage, or in burkage, and hold land of another by military service, we shall not, by reason of that fee-farm, or socage, or burkage, have the wardship of his heir or of his land which is held in fee from another. Nor shall we have the wardship of that fee-farm, or socage, or burkage unless that fee-farm owe military service. We shall not, by reason of some petit-serjeanty which some one holds of us through the service of giving us knives or arrows or the like, have the wardship of his heir or of the land which he holds of another by military service.
38. No bailiff, on his own simple assertion, shall henceforth any one to his law, without producing faithful witnesses in evidence.
39. No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way harmed--nor will we go upon or send upon him--save by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. (grifos nosso)
40. To none will we sell, to none deny or delay, right or justice.
41. All merchants may safely and securely go out of England, and come into England, and delay and pass through England, as well by land as by water, for the purpose of buying and selling, free from all evil taxes, subject to the ancient and right customs--save in time of war, and if they are of the land at war against us. And if such be found in our land at the beginning of the war, they shall be held, without harm to their bodies and goods, until it shall be known to us or our chief justice how the merchants of our land are to be treated who shall, at that time, be found in the land at war against us. And if ours shall be safe there, the others shall be safe in our land.
42. Henceforth any person, saving fealty to us, may go out of our realm and return to it, safely and securely, by land and by water, except perhaps for a brief period in time of war, for the common good of the realm. But prisoners and outlaws are excepted according to the law of the realm; also people of a land at war against us, and the merchants, with regard to whom shall be done as we have said.
43. If any one hold from any escheat--as from the honour of Walingford, Nottingham, Boloin, Lancaster, or the other escheats which are in our hands and are baronies--and shall die, his heir shall not give another relief, nor shall he perform for us other service than he would perform for a baron if that barony were in the hand of a baron; and we shall hold it in the same way in which the baron has held it.
44. Persons dwelling without the forest shall not henceforth come before the forest justices, through common summonses, unless they are impleaded or are the sponsors of some person or persons attached for matters concerning the forest.
45. We will not make men justices, constables, sheriffs, or bailiffs unless they are such as know the law of the realm, and are minded to observe it rightly.
46. All barons who have founded abbeys for which they have charters of the king of England, or ancient right of tenure, shall have, as they ought to have, their custody when vacant.
47- All forests constituted as such in our time shall straightway be annulled; and the same shall be done for river banks made into places of defence by us in our time.
48. All evil customs concerning forests and warrens, and conerning foresters and warreners, sheriffs and their servants, river banks and their guardians, shall straightway be inquired into each county, through twelve sworn knights from that county, and shall be eradicated by them, entirely, so that they shall never be renewed, within forty days after the inquest has been made; in such manner that we shall first know about them, or our justice if we be not in England.
49. We shall straightway return all hostages and charters which were delivered to us by Englishmen as a surety for peace or faithful service.
50. We shall entirey remove from their bailwicks the relatives of Gerard de Athyes, so that they shall henceforth have no bailwick in England: Engelard de Cygnes, Andrew Peter and Gyon de Chanceles, Gyon de Cygnes, Geoffrey de Martin and his brothers, Philip Mark and his brothers, and Geoffrey his nephew, and the whole following of them.
51. And straightway after peace is restored we shall remove from the realm all the foreign soldiers, crossbowmen, servants, hirelings, who may have come with horses and arms to the harm of the realm.
52. If any one shall have been disseized by us, or removed, without a legal sentence of his peers, from his lands, castles, liberties or lawful right, we shall straightway restore them to him. And if a dispute shall arise concerning this matter it shall be settled according to the judgment of the twenty-five barons who are mentioned below as sureties for the peace. But with regard to all those things of which any one was, by king Henry our father or king Richard our brother, disseized or dispossessed without legal judgment of his peers, which we have in our hand or which others hold, and for which we ought to give a guarantee: We shall have respite until the common term for crusaders. Except with regard to those concerning which a plea was moved, or an inquest made by our order, before we took the cross. But when we return from our pilgrimage, or if, by chance, we desist from our pilgrimage, we shall straightway then show full justice regarding them.
53. We shall have the same respite, moreover, and in the same manner, in the matter of showing justice with regard to forests to be annulled and forests to remain, which Henry our father or Richard our brother constituted; and in the matter of wardships of lands which belong to the fee of another--wardships of which kind we have hitherto enjoyed by reason of the fee which some one held from us in military service;--and in the matter of abbeys founded in the fee of another than ourselves--in which the lord of the fee may say that he has jurisdiction. And when we return, or if we desist from our pilgrimage, we shall straightway exhibit full justice to those complaining with regard to these matters.
54. No one shall be taken or imprisoned on account of the appeal of a woman concerning the death of another than her husband.
55. All fines imposed by us unjustly and contrary to the law of the land, and all amerciaments made unjustly and contrary to the law of the land, shall be altogether remitted, or it shall be done with regard to them according to the judgment of the twenty five barons mentioned below as sureties for the peace, or according to the judgment of the majority of them together with the aforesaid Stephen archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be present, and with others whom he may wish to associate with himself for this purpose. And if he can not be present, the affair shall nevertheless proceed without him; in such way that, if one or more of the said twenty five barons shall be concerned in a similar complaint, they shall be removed as to this particular decision, and, in their place, for this purpose alone, others shall be subtituted who shall be chosen and sworn by the remainder of those twenty five.
56. If we have disseized or dispossessed Welshmen of their lands or liberties or other things without legal judgment of their peers, in England or in Wales,--they shall straightway be restored to them. And if a dispute shall arise concerning this, then action shall be taken upon it in the March through judgment of their peers- -concerning English holdings according to the law of England, concerning Welsh holdings according to the law of Wales, concerning holdings in the March according to the law of the March. The Welsh shall do likewise with regard to us and our subjects.
57. But with regard to all those things of which any one of the Welsh by king Henry our father or king Richard our brother, disseized or dispossessed without legal judgment of his peers, which we have in our hand or which others hold, and for which we ought to give a guarantee: we shall have respite until the common term for crusaders. Except with regard to those concerning which a plea was moved, or an inquest made by our order, before we took the cross. But when we return from our pilgrimage, or if, by chance, we desist from our pilgrimage, we shall straightway then show full justice regarding them, according to the laws of Wales and the aforesaid districts.
58. We shall straightway return the son of Llewelin and all the Welsh hostages, and the charters delivered to us as surety for the peace.
59. We shall act towards Alexander king of the Scots regarding the restoration of his sisters, and his hostages, and his liberties and his lawful right, as we shall act towards our other barons of England; unless it ought to be otherwise according to the charters which we hold from William, his father, the former king of the Scots. And this shall be done through judgment of his peers in our court.
60. Moreover all the subjects of our realm, clergy as well as laity, shall, as far as pertains to them, observe, with regard to their vassals, all these aforesaid customs and liberties which we have decreed shall, as far as pertains to us, be observed in our realm with regard to our own.
61. Inasmuch as, for the sake of God, and for the bettering of our realm, and for the more ready healing of the discord which has arisen between us and our barons, we have made all these aforesaid concessions,--wishing them to enjoy for ever entire and firm stability, we make and grant to them the folIowing security: that the baron, namely, may elect at their pleaure twenty five barons from the realm, who ought, with all their strength, to observe, maintain and cause to be observed, the peace and privileges which we have granted to them and confirmed by this our present charter. In such wise, namely, that if we, or our justice, or our bailiffs, or any one of our servants shall have transgressed against any one in any respect, or shall have broken one of the articles of peace or security, and our transgression shall have been shown to four barons of the aforesaid twenty five: those four barons shall come to us, or, if we are abroad, to our justice, showing to us our error; and they shall ask us to cause that error to be amended without delay. And if we do not amend that error, or, we being abroad, if our justice do not amend it within a term of forty days from the time when it was shown to us or, we being abroad, to our justice: the aforesaid four barons shall refer the matter to the remainder of the twenty five barons, and those twenty five barons, with the whole land in common, shall distrain and oppress us in every way in their power,--namely, by taking our castles, lands and possessions, and in every other way that they can, until amends shall have been made according to their judnnent. Saving the persons of ourselves, our queen and our children. And when amends shall have been made they shall be in accord with us as they had been previously. And whoever of the land wishes to do so, shall swear that in carrying out all the aforesaid measures he will obey the mandates of the aforesaid twenty five barons, and that, with them, he will oppress us to the extent of his power. And, to any one who wishes to do so, we publicly and freely give permission to swear; and we will never prevent any one from swearing. Moreover, all those in the land who shall be unwilling, themselves and of their own accord, to swear to the twenty five barons as to distraining and oppressing us with them: such ones we shall make to wear by our mandate, as has been said. And if any one of the twenty five barons shall die, or leave the country, or in any other way be prevented from carrying out the aforesaid measures,--the remainder of the aforesaid twenty five barons shall choose another in his place, according to their judgment, who shall be sworn in the same way as the others. Moreover, in all things entrusted to those twenty five barons to be carried out, if those twenty five shall be present and chance to disagree among themselves with regard to some matter, or if some of them, having been summoned, shall be unwilling or unable to be present: that which the majority of those present shall decide or decree shall be considered binding and valid, just as if all the twenty five had consented to it. And the aforesaid twenty five shall swear that they will faithfully observe all the foregoing, and will caue them be observed to the extent of their power. And we shall obtain nothing from any one, either through ourselves or through another, by which any of those concessions and liberties may be revoked or diminished. And if any such thing shall have been obtained, it shall be vain and invalid, and we shall never make use of it either through ourselves or through another.
62. And we have fully remitted to all, and pardoned, all the ill- will, anger and rancour which have arisen between us and our subjects, clergy and laity, from the time of the struggle. Moreover have fully remitted to all, clergy and laity, and--as far as pertains to us--have pardoned fully all the transgressions committed, on the occasion of that same struggle, from Easter of the sixteenth year of our reign until the re-establishment of peace. In witness of which, more-over, we have caused to be drawn up for them letters patent of lord Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, lord Henry, archbishop of Dubland the aforesaid bishops and master Pandulf, regarding that surety and the aforesaid concessions.
63. Wherefore we will and firmly decree that the English church shall be free, and that the subjects of our realm shall have and hold all the aforesaid liberties, rights and concessions, duly and in peace, freely and quietly, fully and entirely, for themselves and their heirs from us and our heirs, in all matters and in all places, forever, as has been said. Moreover it has been sworn, on our part as well as on the part of the barons, that all these above mentioned provisions shall observed with good faith and without evil intent. The witnesses being the above mentioned and many others. Given through our hand, in the plain called Runnymede between Windsor and Stanes, on the fifteenth day of June, in the seventeenth year of our reign.
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 thirteenth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty-eight [old style date] 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.:
Whereas the late King James the Second, 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 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;
And whereas the said late King James the Second having abdicated the government and the throne beingthereby 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 upon the two and twentieth day of January in this year one thousand six hundred eighty and eight, in order to such na astablishment 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 the 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 to 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 same 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 have 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 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 time 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, for which they render unto him from the bottom of their hearts their humblest thanks and praises, do truly, firmly, assuredly and in the sincerity of their hearts think, and do hereby recognize, acknowledge and declare, that King James the Second 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, rightfully 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, tranquility 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 the body of his said Majesty; and thereunto the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do in the name of all the people aforesaid most humbly and faithfully submit themselves, their heirs and posterities for ever, 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 inconsistent 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 for ever 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 so reconciled, holding communion or professing or marrying as aforesaid were naturally dead; and that 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 at the time of his or her taking the said oath (which shall first happen), make, subscribe and audibly repeat the declaration mentioned in the statute made in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Charles the Second entitled, "An Act for the more effectual preserving the king´´s person and government by disabling papists from sitting in either House of Parliament."
But if it shall happen that such king or queen upon his or her succession to the crown of this realm shall be under the age of twelve years, then every such king or queen shall make, subscribe and audibly repeat the same 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 for ever; 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.
II. And be it further declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after this present session of Parliament no dispensation by "non obstante" 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.
III. Provided that no charter or grant or pardon granted before the three and twentieth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty-nine shall be any ways 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.
Rutherfurd, E.; Londres o Romance. Editora Record, 2001.
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