The Declaration of Right
(February, 1689)

J.H. Robinson, ed.
Readings in European History 2 vols. (Boston: Ginn, 1906), 2:261-263.

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned by Brian Cheek, Hanover College. November 12, 1995.

[Page 261] Whereas the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully, freely representing all the estates of the people of this realm, did upon the thirteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord 1688, 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 II, by the assistance of diverse evil counselors, judges, and ministers employed by him, did endeavor to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties of this kingdom:

1. By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws, and the execution of laws, without consent of Parliament.

2. By committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates, for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the same assumed power.

3. By issuing and causing to be executed a commission under the Great Seal for erecting a court, called the "Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes."

4. By levying money for and to the use of the crown, by pretense of prerogative, for other time and in other manner than the same was granted by Parliament.

5. By raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace, without consent of Parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law.

6. By causing several good subjects, being Protestants, to be disarmed, at the same time when papists were both armed and employed contrary to law.

7. By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament. [Page 262]

8. By prosecutions in the Court of King's Bench, for matters and causes cognizable only in Parliament; and by diverse other arbitrary and illegal courses.

* * * * *

10. And excessive bail hath been required of persons committed in criminal cases, to elude the benefit of laws made for the liberty of the subjects.

11. And excessive fines have been imposed; and illegal and cruel punishments inflicted.

12. And several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures, before any conviction or judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied.

All which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws and statutes and freedom of this realm.

And whereas the said late King James II having abdicated the government, and the throne being thereby vacant, his Highness the prince of Orange (whom it hath pleased Almighty God to make the glorious instrument of delivering this kingdom from popery and arbitrary power) did (by the advice of the lords spiritual and temporal and divers principal persons of the commons) cause letters to be written to the lords spiritual and temporal, being Protestants; and other letters to the several counties, cities, universities, boroughs [for choosing representatives to a Parliament which might vindicate and assert the ancient rights and liberties of the nation]. . . .

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 [Parliament] 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 [Page 263] be declared king and queen of England, France, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, to hold the crown and royal dignity of the said kingdoms and dominions to them the said prince and princess during their lives and the life of the survivor of them; . . . and that the oaths hereafter mentioned be taken by all persons of whom the oaths of allegiance and supremacy might be required by law. . . .

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 has, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, preeminence, 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 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 forever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the crown and government of this realm. . . .

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