February 21, 2006

The Magna Carta

One of the priamry documents for the constitution of Britain is the Magna Carta. It was originally in Latin, but you can get translations here and here. Also available as an MP4 audio file here (4.1 MB). I have extracted the paragraphs that I think are most important to creating and maintaining liberty.
(38) In future, no bailiff shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported words, without credible witnesses being produced to support his word.

(39) No freeman shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised or outlawed or exiled or in any other way harmed. Nor will we [the king] proceed against him, or send others to do so, except according to the lawful sentence of his peers and according to the Common Law.

(40) To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.
This one also seems rather important to me, so it seems odd that it was removed from later versions of the treaty. Perhaps some later king needed some medieval John Prescot?
(45) We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs, or bailiffs only those who know the law of the realm and who wish to observe it well.

Free traders in the Middle ages? I never guessed that this was in the Magna Carta.
(41)All merchants may leave or enter England in safety and security. They may stay and travel throughout England by road or by water, free from all illegal tolls, in order to buy and sell according to the ancient and rightful customs. This is except, in time of war, those merchants who are from the land at war with us. And if such merchants are found in our land at the beginning of the war, they shall be detained, without injury to their bodies or goods, until information is received by us (or by our chief justiciar) about in what way are treated our merchants, thence found in the land at war with us . If our men are safe there, the others shall be safe in our land.
I would like it incorporated in any ideas generated by Liberty Central. But something makes me feel it will be a bit contentious.

But I think that we can safely ignore the magna Carta when it says:
(54) No one shall be arrested or imprisoned on the appeal of a woman, for the death of anyone except her husband.


Blogger MatGB said...

Oh I dunno, that last one looks good to me (*ducks, hides, hopes people get he's not serious*)

Actually, this dodgy leftist has always agreed with completely free movement of goods, services and people. Merchants, traders, immigrants, refugees. All good.

Of course, the last two need to be part of a generalised agreement, but it seems to work OK for the Spanish.

9:31 pm  
Blogger chris said...

Obviously I'm all for free trade myself. But do understand that there are some people that think that creating tariffs and trade barriers are a good thing, such as Peter Mandelson.

10:31 pm  

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