On June 15, 1215, King John met the barons, near Runny meade on the Thames, and granted them the charter which they laid before him.

This charter contained sixty-three articles, some were merely temporary; and the principles upon which the whole English judicial system is based are these:

“No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or disseised (dispossessed of land), or outlawed, or banished......unless by the lawful judgement of his peers, or by the law of the land.”

“We will sell to no man, we will not deny to any man, either justice or right.”

Among the most important articles were the two which limited the power of the king in matters of taxation: No scutage or aid shall be imposed in our kingdom unless by the general council of our kingdom;”


“For the holding of the general council of the kingdom......we shall cause to be summoned the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and the greater barons of the realm, singly, by our letters. And furthermore, we shall cause to be summoned generally by our sheriffs and bailiffs, all others who hold of us in chief.”

Source: One Hundred and One Famous Poems @ 1858 pg. 188.
Compiled by: Roy J. Cook (Contemporary Books - Chicago)

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