Posts Tagged ‘burnet county public records’

Burnet County Public Records

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

[mage lang=”en|de|es|en” source=”flickr”]Burnet County public records[/mage]

History of the English Constitution AD 890 to Present day

AD 890 The Anglo Saxon Chronicles.

Originally compiled on the orders of King Alfred the Great, approximately A.D. 890, and subsequently maintained and added to by generations of anonymous scribes until the middle of the 12th Century. The original language is Anglo-Saxon (Old English), but later entries are essentially Middle English in tone.

 

AD 1086: The Domesday Book

Domesday is Englands most famous and earliest surviving public record. It is a highly detailed survey and valuation of all the land held by the King and his chief tenants, along with all the resources that went with the land in late 11th century England. The survey was a massive enterprise, and the record of that survey, Domesday Book, was a remarkable achievement. There is nothing like it in England until the censuses of the 19th century.

 

1215: Magna Carta

The ‘great charter’ is most famous for consolidating judicial rights, notably habeas corpus, the right not to be unlawfully imprisoned. However, it was also an important first step in removing power from the central authority – King John – and spreading it wider.

Its 61st clause, known as the Security Clause, declared that a council of 25 barons be created with the power to overrule the will of the King, by force if necessary.

This was repealed angrily by the King shortly afterwards, and mediaeval rulers largely ignored the document altogether, but it became an early foundation of England’s – and later the United Kingdom’s – unwritten constitution.Please click here for the full translated edition of the Magna Carta:

 

1376: The first Speaker of the House of Commons is appointed
An English Parliament had existed since late in the 13th century, and had been divided into two houses since 1341, with knights and burgesses sitting in what became known as the House of Commons while clergy and nobility sat in the House of Lords. However, its duties largely consisted of ratifying taxes for the Crown. In 1376, Thomas de la Mare was appointed to go to the King with complaints about taxation, and the Commons for the first time impeached some of the King’s ministers. While de la Mare was imprisoned for his actions, the House created the position of Speaker to represent the Commons permanently. Above is Betty Boothroyd, the Speaker from 1992 to 2000.

English Petition of Right in 1628 Parliament passed the Petition of Right in 1628 in response to a number of perceived violations of the law by Charles I in the first years of his reign. In 1626, Charles had convened Parliament in an effort to obtain desperately needed funds for the continuation of his unsuccessful war with Spain. Unhappy with the prosecution of the war, however, Parliament swiftly began impeachment proceedings against Charles’ favorite and principal counselor, the Duke of Buckingham. In order to protect Buckingham, Charles was forced to dissolve Parliament before it had voted any subsidies. Left without recourse to parliamentary taxation, Charles resorted to two forms of extra-parliamentary taxation to raise the funds he needed – a benevolence and a Forced Loan – that were of doubtful legality at best. He also began to billet soldiers in civilian homes, both as a cost-saving measure and as a means of punishing his political opponents.

Citing the Forced Loan’s illegality, a number of gentlemen refused to pay, and many of them were imprisoned as a result. Ultimately, five of the imprisoned gentlemen – the so-called “Five Knights” (since they were all knights) petitioned the Court of Kings Bench for writs of habeas corpus to force the government to specify the reason for their imprisonment. Seeking to avoid a direct challenge of the legality of the Loan, Charles refused to charge the prisoners with a specific crime, instead declaring on the return to the writs that the knights were detained “per speciale mandatum domini regis” (“by special command of our lord the king”). In the resulting hearings before the King’s Bench – the famous Five Knights case – counsel for the Knights argued that imprisonment by “special command” amounted to a fundamental violation of the principle of due process established by chapter twenty-nine of Magna Carta, which declared that imprisonment could only occur in accordance with the law of the land. The Five Knights’ counsel claimed, therefore, that the king, upon receipt of a writ of habeas corpus, must return a specific cause of detention, the legality of which could be assessed by the courts. In contrast,Robert heath, the Attorney General, claimed that the king had a prerogative right to imprison by royal command for reasons of state, and these detentions could not be challenged by habeas corpus.

Faced with conflicting precedents, and, undoubtedly, political pressure, the Court decided to remit the Knights to prison while taking the case under advisement. Although equivocal, this decision was taken as a major victory for the king, and a significant blow to the opponents of his extra-legal policies. It was largely a desire to overturn immediately this ruling that would provide the primary impetus for the House of Commons decision to create the Petition of Right in the subsequent Parliament.

The Habeas Corpus Act 1679 is an Act of the Parliament of England passed during the reign of King Charles 11 to define and strengthen the ancient prerogative writ of habeas corpus, whereby persons unlawfully detained cannot be ordered to be prosecuted before a court of law.

The Act is often wrongly described as the origin of the writ of habeas corpus, which had existed for at least three centuries before. The Act of 1679 followed an earlier act of 1640 which established that the command of the King or the Privvy Council was no answer to a petition of habeas corpus. Further Habeas Corpus Acts were passed by the British Parliament in 1803, 1804, 1816 and 1862, but it is the Act of 1679 which is remembered as one of the most important statutes in English constitutional history. Though amended, it remains on the statute book to this day.

The Act came about because the Earl of Shaftsbury encouraged his friends in the Commons to introduce the Bill where it passed and was then sent up the Lords. Shaftesbury was the leading Exclusionist—those who wanted to exclude Charles II’s brother James, Duke of York from the succession—and the Bill was a part of that struggle as they believed James would rule arbitrarily. The Lords decided to add many wrecking amendments to the Bill in an attempt to kill it; the Commons had no choice but to pass the Bill with the Lords’ amendments because they learned that the King would soon end the current parliamentary session.

The Bill went back and forth between the two house, and then the Lords voted on whether to set up a conference on the Bill. If this motion was defeated the Bill would stay in the Commons and therefore have no chance of being passed. Each side—those voting for and against—appointed a teller who stood on each side of the door through which those Lords who had voted “aye” re-entered the House (the “nays” remained seated). One teller would count them aloud whilst the other teller listened and kept watch in order to know if the other teller was telling the truth. Shaftesbury’s faction had voted for the motion, so they went out and re-entered the House. Gilbert Burnet, one of Shaftesbury’s friends, recorded what then happened:

Lord Grey and Lord Norris were named to be the tellers: Lord Norris, being a man subject to vapours, was not at all times attentive to what he was doing: so, a very fat lord coming in, Lord Grey counted him as ten, as a jest at first: but seeing Lord Norris had not observed it, he went on with this misreckoning of ten: so it was reported that they that were for the Bill were in the majority, though indeed it went for the other side: and by this means the Bill passed.

The clerk recorded in the minutes of the Lords that the “ayes” had fifty-seven and the “nays” had fifty-five, a total of 112, but the same minutes also state that only 107 Lords had attended that sitting.

The King arrived shortly thereafter and gave Royal Assent before proroguing Parliament. The Act is now stored in the Parliamentary Archives.

1688: The Great Revolution
The Civil War a few years before had removed the monarchy, and then reinstated it in a weakened form, setting the stage for the attenuated ‘constitutional monarchy’ that we have today. But it was the arrival of William of Orange from Holland to take the throne from James II which led to the creation of the Bill of Rights, constitutionally preventing absolute rule by the Kings and Queens of Great Britain to this day, and leaving Parliament as the true seat of power in the country.

The English Bill of Rights 1689 The Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament in December 1689. It was a re-statement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William and Mary in March 1688, inviting them to become joint sovereigns of England. It enumerates certain rights to which subjects and permanent residents of a constitutional monarchy were thought to be entitled in the late 17th century, asserting subjects’ right to petition the monarch, as well as to have arms in defence. It also sets out—or, in the view of its drafters, restates—certain constitutional requirements of the Crown to seek the consent of the people, as represented in parliament.

Along with the 1701 Act of Settlement the Bill of Rights is still in effect, one of the main constitutional laws governing the succession to the throne of the United kingdom and—followingBritish Colonialism, the resultant doctrine of reception, and independence—to the thrones of those other Commonwealth realms, by willing deference to the act as a British statute or as a patriated part of the particular realm’s constitution. Since the implementation of the statute of Statute of westminister in each of the Commonwealth realms (on successive dates from 1931 onwards) the Bill of Rights cannot be altered in any realm except by that realm’s own parliament, and then, by convention and as it touches on the succession to the shared throne, only with the consent of all the other realms.

In the United Kingdom, the Bill of Rights is further accompanied by the Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus Act 1679 and Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 as some of the basic documents of the uncodified British Constitution. A separate but similar document, the Claim of Right Act applies in Scotland. The English Bill of Rights 1689 inspired in large part the United States Bill of Rights.

4 July 1776 American Declaration of Independence The American Congress formally declares the separation of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain through the Declaration of Independence.

17 September 1787 Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is signed and then ratified the following year. It establishes the system of federal government that begins to operate from 1789.

15 December 1791 American Bill of Rights Based on the English Bill of Rights – The American Bill of Rights is added to the U.S. Constitution as the first ten amendments.

1832: The Reform Act
Democracy of sorts had existed in England for centuries – as far back as 1432, Henry VI passed statues declaring who was eligible to vote (male owners of land worth at least 40 shillings, or a freehold property – perhaps half a million people nationwide). However, the counties and boroughs that sent Members to Parliament were of wildly differing size. The county of Yorkshire had more than 20,000 people, and the borough of Westminster had around 12,000, but they only sent one representative to the Commons – as did, for example, Dunwich, which had 32 voters, or Gatton, which had seven.

The Reform Act increased enfranchisement to over a million, or about one in six of all adult males, by allowing men who rented property above a certain value to vote too. It also tore up the mediaeval boundaries of counties and boroughs, giving more equitable representation for the cities that had sprung up since the Industrial Revolution. A second Act, in 1837, enfranchised all male householders, regardless of value.

1913: Emily Davison’s death
Campaigns for women’s suffrage go as far back as 1817, when the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham wrote Plan of Parliamentary Reform in the form of a Catechism. William Thompson and Anna Wheeler also published a pamphlet in 1825 on the subject. However, despite these green shoots of support, the 1832 Act for the first time explicitly limited suffrage to “male persons”. It was not until 1861, when John Stuart Mill published The Subjection of Women, that the movement began to gain momentum.

In 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing country to allow women to vote. In Britain, progress was slower, and in the early 20th century women took to direct and sometimes violent action; chaining themselves to railings, arson attacks, and even bombings. Many were imprisoned, and some went on hunger strike. Emily Davison died at the Epsom Derby in 1913, when she ran out in front of the King’s horse, Anmer, clutching the banner of the Women’s Social and Political Union. It was around this time that the originally derogatory word ‘suffragette’ was coined, in a Daily Mail article.

1918: The Representation of the People Act
World War I could not be said to have had many silver linings, but it gave British women – who had spent the last four years, in a country shorn of young men, keeping the war effort running in munition factories and farms – a newfound political confidence. The 1918 Act recognised that not only these women, but many soldiers who had supposedly fought for British democracy, were still unable to vote. It removed all property restrictions from male voters, and allowed women to vote for the first time – although not those under 30, and with property restrictions – and to stand for election. The first woman, Nancy Astor, was elected to Parliament just 18 months later, in Plymouth Sutton. Ten years later, the restrictions on women were lifted, allowing them to vote at 21 whether or not they held property.

10 December 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United Nations adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

1969: The Representation of the People Act
After one final loophole was closed in 1948 – weirdly, up until that point, some seven per cent of the electorate had two votes per person – voting in the United Kingdom reached essentially its modern state in 1969, when Harold Wilson’s government dropped the voting age for all citizens from 21 to 18. Further acts in 1983, 1985 and 2000 changed the laws on prisoners and overseas voters (essentially, convicted criminals may not vote while in prison; expatriates can still vote in their last constituency for 15 years after they left the country, and holidaymakers can vote by postal ballot or proxy). In 2000, a hoary constitutional prejudice against “lunatics” was weakened when psychiatric hospitals were allowed to be designated as registration addresses.

2 October 2000 British Human Rights Act  The British Human Rights Act 1998 came into force. This makes the European Convention on Human Rights enforceable in UK courts. ( As an Englishman this is one of the worst drafted Acts in the history of the British Constitution.)

About the Author

Please visit my Funny Animal Art Prints Collection @ http://www.fabprints.com

My other website is called Directory of British Icons: http://fabprints.webs.com

 

The Chinese call England “The Island of Hero’s” which I think sums up what we English are all about.

 

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