Modern History Sourcebook:
The Bill of Rights, 1689
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 diverse 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 1689, in order to such an establishment
as that their religion, laws, and liberties might not again be
in danger of being subverted; upon which letters elections have
been accordingly made.
And thereupon the said lords spiritual and temporal and Commons,
pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being new
assembled in a full and free representation 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 vindication and assertion
of their ancient rights and liberties, declare:
- 1. That the pretended power of suspending laws, or the execution
of laws, by regal authority, without consent of parliament is
- 2. That the pretended power of dispensing with the laws, or
the execution of law by regal authority, as it hath been assumed
and exercised of late, is illegal.
- 3. 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.
- 4. That levying money for or to the use of the crown by pretense
of prerogative, without grant of parliament, for longer time or
in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal.
- 5. That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king,
and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are
- 6. 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.
- 7. That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for
their defense suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by
- 8. That election of members of parliament ought to be free.
- 9. 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.
- 10. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive
fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
- 11. That jurors ought to be duly impaneled and returned, and
jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to
- 12. That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures
of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void.
- 13. And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending,
strengthening, and preserving of the laws, parliament ought to
be held frequently.
And they do claim, demand, and insist upon all and singular the
premises, as their undoubted rights and liberties....
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 attempt
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,
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.
From The Statutes: Revised Edition (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode,
1871), Vol. 2, pp. 10-12.
This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook.
The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted
texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World
Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the
document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying,
distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal
use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source.
No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook.
(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997