16 December 2017

Clause 61 is a Hoax!

There is a movement in Britain in these days that reminds me of the 'Posse Comitatus' groups in the US, and the 'Sovereign Citizen' movement in both the US and Canada. To coin a term, let's call it the 'Clause 61 Movement'. It goes under various names, but a common one is 'Lawful Rebellion'.

It bases itself on Clause 61 of the Great Charter issued by King John in 1215,
61. Since, moreover, for God and the amendment of our kingdom and for the better allaying of the quarrel that has arisen between us and our barons, we have granted all these concessions, desirous that they should enjoy them incomplete and firm endurance for ever, we give and grant to them the underwritten security, namely, that the barons choose five-and-twenty barons of the kingdom, whomsoever they will, who shall be bound with all their might, to observe and hold, and cause to be observed, the peace and liberties we have granted and confirmed to them by this our present Charter, so that if we, or our justiciar, or our bailiffs or any one of our officers, shall in anything beat fault toward any one, or shall have broken any one of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offense be notified to four barons of the foresaid five-and-twenty, the said four barons shall repair to us (or our justiciar, if we are out of the realm) and, laying the transgression before us, petition to have that transgression redressed without delay. And if we shall not have corrected the transgression (or, in the event of our being out of the realm, if our justiciar shall not have corrected it) within forty days, reckoning from the time it has been intimated to us (or to our justiciar, if we should be out of the realm), the four barons aforesaid shall refer that matter to the rest of the five-and-twenty barons, and those five-and-twenty barons shall, together with the community of the whole land, distrain and distress us in all possible ways, namely, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, and in any other way they can, until redress has been obtained as they deem fit, saving harmless our own person, and the persons of our queen and children; and when redress has been obtained, they shall resume their old relations toward us. And let whoever in the country desires it, swear to obey the orders of the said five-and-twenty barons for the execution of all the aforesaid matters, and along with them, to molest us to the utmost of his power; and we publicly and freely grant leave to every one who wishes to swear, and we shall never forbid any one to swear. All those, moreover, in the land who of themselves and of their own accord are unwilling to swear to the twenty-five to help them inconstraining and molesting us, we shall by our command compel the same to swear to the effect aforesaid. And if any one of the five-and-twenty barons shall have died or departed from the land, or be incapacitated in any other manner which would prevent the foresaid provisions being carried out, those of the said twenty-five barons who are left shall choose another in his place according to their own judgment, and he shall be sworn in the same way as the others. Further, in all matters, the execution of which is intrusted to these twenty-five barons, if perchance these twenty-five are present, that which the majority of those present ordain or command shall be held as fixed and established, exactly as if the whole twenty-five had concurred in this; and the said twenty-five shall swear that they will faithfully observe all that is aforesaid, and cause it to be observed with all their might. And we shall procure nothing from any one, directly or indirectly, whereby any part of these concessions and liberties might be revoked or diminished; and if any such thing has been procured, let it be void and null, and we shall never use it personally or by another.

This article was 'invoked' by four Peers representing well over the 25 required in 2001. There is even an 'oath' one takes that supposedly puts one in 'lawful rebellion' against the Crown. Here is an example:

In full knowledge of treason being committed in parliament, by curtailing the rights of the subject and delivering the Sovereign Peoples of this common law land, the United Kingdom and dominions thereto belonging, into the hands of foreign powers, in understanding of wrongs done by the present holder of the office of Sovereign and, by the advice of evil and treacherous ministers in parliament, by her abdication of the throne and subversion of the constitutions, that of which is completely forbidden and contrary to the laws of this realm, under a foreign and alien potentate and illegal state of suzerainty, from whom I now transfer my allegiance, do with grace willingly and wholeheartedly engage in diffidation to defend this nation’s ancient liberties, honours, customs and inherent freedoms from further abrogation as commanded by the Clause of Security and Enforcement of our Great Charter, and I solemnly swear upon this, my Oath, to obey the honourable lords of the barons’ committee whom invoked these rights on the forty eighth year of Elizabeth the Second’s reign, on the twenty third day of March in accordance with our Great Charter until such times as redress of these present wrongs is achieved and for as long as the committee of the barons abide by the constitution without deviation. Upon swearing this oath I fully, solemnly and without equivocation pledge and affirm that I will strictly act only according to the law of the constitution and that, I will act to the best of my abilities to obtain redress peacefully for the aforesaid matters of injustices, saving the person and persons of our Queen until, in the opinion of the Barons Committee who invoked the Clause of Security and Enforcement, amends have been made of the past and present wrongdoings and a constitutional convention of the people has been achieved without malice, during after which time I will resume my faithful obedience as a subject to Crown as was the case before.All of these things I will hereby execute with peace and with prejudice as aforesaid at Royal Command.
 I am again reminded of the North American movements since the 'Clause 61 Movement seems to share their love of high-flown legal-sounding language, which has absolutely no foundation or meaning in actually existing law.

However, I've called it a hoax, so let's take a look at it in depth to see if it has any basis in law or reality.

In all the verbiage of Clause 61 there is, indeed, justification for 'lawful rebellion' so why do I call it a hoax? Well, for starters, note that this clause occurs in Magna Carta 1215. Said document was only the Law of the Land from June 1215 until the issuance of Magna Carta 1216 by John's successor, King Henry III. Magna Carta 1216 did not contain Clause 61, ergo, the whole 'Council of Twenty Five Barons' and the legal acceptance of 'lawful rebellion' ceased to exist upon issuance of King Henry's Charter.

Another, slightly modified Great Charter was issued in 1217, again, not containing Clause 61 or anything resembling it. That Charter was superseded in 1225 by yet another Great Charter issued by King Henry III. It, again, contained no reference to any 'Council of Barons' of whatever number or to 'lawful rebellion'.

The Charter of 1225 was reissued in 1297, by King Edward I in exchange for a new tax voted by Parliament and still remains on the Statute Books as 1297 c. 9 (Regnal. 25_Edw_1_cc_1_9_29). It begins with these words,
EDWARD by the Grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Guyan, [to all Archbishops, Bishops, &c.] We have seen the Great Charter of the Lord Henry sometimes King of England, our Father, of the Liberties of England in these words:

  • HENRY by the Grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Guyan, and Earl of Anjou, to all Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, Sheriffs, Provosts, Officers, and to all Bailiffs, and other our faithful Subjects, which shall see this present Charter, Greeting: Know Ye, that We, unto the honour of Almighty God, and for the salvation of () the souls of our Progenitors and Successors [Kings of England,] to the advancement of Holy Church and amendment of our Realm, of our meer and free will, have given and granted to all Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, and to all [Freemen] of this our Realm, these Liberties following, to be kept in our Kingdom of England for ever.
 Again, just as with every reissuance of the Great Charter after 1215, it contains nothing regarding a 'Council of Barons' or 'lawful rebellion'.

Despite King Edward's confirming King Henry's promise  'these Liberties following, to be kept in our Kingdom of England for ever', the process of repealing the Great Charter began with the repeal of clause 36 in 1829, by the Offences against the Person Act 1828 (9 Geo. 4 c. 31 s. 1). By 1969, just three clauses of the Great Charter remained, and still remain, on the Statute book, clauses 1, 9, and 29, which read, 
I) Confirmation of Liberties. FIRST, We have granted to God, and by this our present Charter have confirmed, for Us and our Heirs for ever, that the Church of England shall be free, and shall have all her whole Rights and Liberties inviolable. We have granted also, and given to all the Freemen of our Realm, for Us and our Heirs for ever, these Liberties under-written, to have and to hold to them and their Heirs, of Us and our Heirs for ever.
IX) Liberties of London, &c.THE City of London shall have all the old Liberties and Customs [which it hath been used to have]. Moreover We will and grant, that all other Cities, Boroughs, Towns, and the Barons of the Five Ports, and all other Ports, shall have all their Liberties and free Customs. Imprisonment, &c. contrary to Law. Administration of Justice.
XXIX) NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor [condemn him,] but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.
It is important to note that the Charter of 1225, reissued in 1297, that is still on the Statute Book, contained only 37 clauses, as can be ascertained on the official legislation.gov.uk site. In other words, not only is there no mention of a 'Council of Barons' or 'lawful rebellion' in any of the legally binding Great Charters issued after 1215, or in the Clauses of the Great Charter remaining on the Statute Book, there could not possibly be a 'Clause 61' in the only Charter that has had any legal effect in the Kingdom for the past 720 years, because it only had 37!

All of which makes the presentation of an engrossed, vellum  Declaration of Invocation of Clause 61 to Her Majesty the Queen, in 2001, by four men who just happen to be Peers of the Realm, His Grace the Duke of Rutland, The Most Honourable the Marquess of Maserene and Ferrard, The Right Honourable Lord Hamilton of Dalzell, and The Right Honourable Lord Ashbourne, a laughable hoax.

I just hope it doesn't descend into the type of criminal activity and anti-Christian 'Identity' ideas that many parts of the North American movements have.

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