14 Colum. L. Rev. 27 (1914)
Due Process of Law in Magna Carta

handle is hein.journals/clr14 and id is 66 raw text is: DUE PROCESS OF LAW IN MAGNA CARTA.z
The famous thirty-ninth chapter of King John's Charter of
Liberties, or the twenty-ninth of Henry III's reissue of 1225,
through which it was mainly known to our ancestors, the palladium
of our liberties-Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur,
aut disseisiatur, aut utlagetur, aut exuleter, aut aliquo modo
destruatur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi
per legale judicium parium suorum vel per legem terre-is now
regarded by some eminent historians not as a document of popular
liberty, but rather as one of feudal reaction. They consider it a
concession to the demands of the barons for a return to the feudal
anarchy of Stephen's time and a repeal of the great administrative
measures by which Henry II and his predecessors were molding
a national judicial system, and thus preparing the way for a com-
mon law.
Mr. McKechnie, for example, says:
The clause was, after all allowance has been made, a reactionary
one, tending to the restoration of feudal privileges and feudal
jurisdictions, inimical alike to the Crown and to the growth of
really popular liberties.2
M. Petit-Dutaillis agrees with this view,-the political concep-
tions of the baronage in the struggle were childish and anarchi-
cal. The English nobility of that day has not the idea of law at
all ;,,3 and it is expressed also by Pollock and Maitland in their
great history of the English law:
'On the general subject, see especially Sir Edward Coke's Second
Institute, p. 45 et seq.; Sir William Blackstone, The Great Charter and
the Charter of the Forest (also included among his Tracts); Richard
Thomson, An Historical Essay on the Magna Charta of King John
(1829) ; Ch. B6mont, Chartes des Libert6s Anglaises (1892) ; W. S.
McKechnie, Magna Carta (19o); L. W. Vernon Harcourt, His Grace
the Steward and Trial of Peers (19o7) ; George B. Adams, The Origin
of the English Constitution (1912). Narrative accounts are found in
Stubbs' Constitutional History, vol. i; Kate Norgate's John Lackland
(I9o2) ; Sir J. H. Ramsay's Angevin Empire (19o3) and elsewhere.
Of the commentaries the four recent ones are all of great value.
B~mont gives most of the texts, with a valuable introduction. McKechnie's
Magna Carta is the fullest modem commentary on the whole Charter.
Harcourt quotes and employs many authorities outside the Charter and
is very suggestive. Professor Adams' account of chapter 39, though brief,
is probably the most carefully considered of all. To all these the com-
mentary here given owes very much.
'Magna Carta, 449.
'Studies and Notes Supplementary to Stubbs' Constitutional History.
(English translation) 143.

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