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parliament in

ruptcy; and that commissions of bankrupt may be iffued against such privileged traders in like manner, as against any other.

" The only way, by which courts of juftice could antiently take cognizance of privilege of parliament was by writ of privilege, in the nature of a super sedeas, to deliver the party out of cuftody, when arrested in a civil fuit. For when a letter was written by the How process to

be had against speaker to the judges, to stay proceedings members of against a privileged person, they rejected it, civil cales. as contrary to their oath of office. But since the statute 12 W. III. c. 3. which enacts, that no privileged person shall be subject to arrest or imprisonment, it hath been held, that such arrest is irregular ab initio, and that the party may be discharged upon motion. It is to be observed, that there is no precedent of any such writ of privilege, but only in civil suits; and that the statute of 1 Jac. I. c. 13. and that of king William, (which remedy some inconveniences arising from privilege of parliament) speak only of civil actions. And therefore the claini of privilege hath been usually guarded with an exception, as to the case of indictable crimes; or, as it How in crimi. hath been frequently expressed, of treason, felony, and breach (or surety) of the peace. Whereby it seems to be understood, that no


nal cases

lers not now privileged.

privilege was allowable to the members, their
families, or servants in any crime whatsoever ;
for all crimes are treated by the law as being.
contra pacem domini regis. And instances have
not been wanting, wherein privileged persons
have been convicted of misdemeanors, and
committed, or prosecuted to outlawry, even
in the middle of a session; which proceeding

has afterwards received the sanction and apSeditious libel- probation of parliament. To which may be

added, that a few years ago, the case of writing and publishing seditious libels was resolved by both houses not to be 'intitled to privilege ; and that the reasons, upon which that case proceeded, extended equally to every indictable offence. So that the chief, if not the only, privilege of parliament in such cases, seems to be the right of receiving immediate information of the imprisonment or detention of any member with the reafon, for which he is detained; a practice, that is daily used upon the slightest military accusations, preparatory to a trial by a court martial; and which is recognized by the several tempo

rary statutes for suspending the habeas corpus Communica. act, whereby it is provided, that no member to the house of of either house shall be detained, till the mat

ter, of which he stands suspected, be first communicated to the house, of which he is a


rion to be made

the detention of its member.


member, and the consent of the said house obtained for his commitment or detaining. But yet the usage has uniformly been ever since the revolution, that the communication has been subsequent to the arrest.”

· When an act of parliament is once come pleted, it is * “ the exercise of the highest authority, that this kingdom acknowledges upon earth. It hath power to bind every Sovereignty of subject in the land, and the dominions thereunto belonging t; nay, even the king himfelf, if particularly named therein. And it cannot be altered, amended, dispensed with, suspended, or repealed, but in the same forms, and by the same authority of parliament: for it is a maxim in law, that it requires the same strength to diffolve, as to create an obligation.”

Every natural born subject, as a member Our interest to of this community, has a personal interest in rights and pri

vileges of parthe enjoyment and preservation of the before liamento mentioned rights, liberties, and prerogatives, by his representatives in parliament ; for the maintenance and preservation of them will alone maintain and preserve sacred and in

• Blak. ubi fupra, p. 185.

+ Since this was written by Judge Blakistone, by the 23 Geo. III. c. 28. a separate and independent legislature has been allowed to the kingdom of Ireland.

• violate,

violate, the rights and liberties of all Britons, which are common both to the representatives and represented.

I have already endeavoured to shew the general rights, which every man is entitled tó, by becoming a member of civil society; those, to which he is entitled as a member of this community, may be called, * « in a

peculiar and emphatical manner, the rights General rights of the people of England. And these may of the people of England. be reduced to three principal or primary ar

ticles; the right of personal security, the right of personal liberty, and the right of private property ; because as there is no other known method of compulsion, or of abridge ing man's natural free will, but by an infringement or diminution of one or other of these important rights, the preservation of these inviolate may justly be said to include the preservation of our civil immunities, in

their largest and most extensive sense. The right of “ I. The right of personal security, conpersonal secusity.

Gifts in a person's legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his

health, and his reputation. of personal lic " II. Next to personal property, the

law of England regards, asserts, and preserves

* Blak. Com. b. i. c. i. p. 129. . ." + Blak, ibidem.




the personal liberty of individuals. This personal liberty consists in the power of locomotion, of changing situation, or removing one's person to whatsoever place one's own inclination may direct, without imprisonment or restraint, unless by due course of law."

*“ III. The third absolute right inhe- of personal rent in every Englishman, is that of property; which consists in the free use, enjoyment, and disposal of all his acquisitions, without any control or diminution.”

It would exceed my purpose to enumerate in detail all the particular laws, by which these rights and liberties are preserved and protected. Some are by common law, others by statute law: every subject may know, if he please, in what they consist; for they depend not upon the arbitrary will of a judge, but are permanent, fixed, and unchangeable, unless by act of parliament. The constitu- Certainty of our tution, powers, and privileges of parliament,

rights. and the limitation of the king's prerogative to certain bounds are the general and fundamental grounds for protecting and maintaining inviolate, our three great and primary rights of personal security, personal liberty,

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