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Under our sovereign lord the king. The law is spiritual and temporal in the Commons in parliament assembled that whereas it is declared it enacted by a statute to make at the time of the reign of King Edward the First that he shall be laid or levied by the king without the assent of the free men of this realm. June 2nd yet sixteen twenty of your parliament petitions a king a king in attendance listening from his throne this king when he addressed Parliament for the first time had astonished all by doffing his crown as though it were a hat a courteous just jury or was it a saucy one. His Majesty's true regard for parliaments was no secret Haldeman's alike that he was known to remark with age. They grow ever more cursed. A young king his father's dying boy. It's only a few years since he shocked the nation galloping off like an English donkey hooked a travelling incognito with a single companion for the purpose of courting the Spanish lady. Well princes would be princes. No. However he was king.
I countable for my actions to God and to God alone. Such is the belief of the king who sits upon the throne in parliament chamber listening to handsome and delicate pale of face out of I find hair curled upon his shoulders impeccable aloof full of the people. I must tell you that their liberty and freedom consists in having from government those laws by which their life and their goods may be most of their own. It is not having a share in governments that is nothing to them. So saying the sad eyed king would lay his neck upon the block and pass into history. The English people only a regicide. Where by the structure of all the great shot of the liberties of English it is the claim that no green men may be taken or going to prison. The pride of Israel is on the button. Nevertheless diverse
subjects have been imprisoned without any cause. June 2nd. Sixteen twenty eight some twenty years before the axe would fall. Charles first hears the petition of right this misplaced disciple of divine right. This dissolve are of Parliaments. How will he answer when the reading is done. The question frets in every mind that waits in parliament chamber upon the answer may well hang the future of English liberty. Two sides of the Atlantic will a king confirm these ancient rights of the Englishman in particular those which insure personal liberty freedom from arbitrary imprisonment will looking confirm what centuries have established the moment for an answer has arrived. What will it be. Only one will suffice it buzzes in every mind every mind hoping thereby to influence the king. So I do have a good faith. Let write me as dislike traditional words of consent.
Will they come from this being the steward willing to have a face. Every man has a series of radio programs about the principles of justice. To every man his due is produced by Radio Station W H A of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Now the precious safeguard. This single advantage which our government has over that of other countries to it in large measure the English speaking people
owe their reputation as a liberty loving people the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom the precious safeguard of personal liberty. Samplings from a mountain of praise full phrases celebrating the great writ the writ of habeas corpus. It's not that habeas corpus is the be all end all of freedom. It's rather that without it freedom may be nothing except easily ended. HIPPIAS corpus Thou shalt have the body. Thou shalt have the body in court. That is the body your holding in custody. And not only the body couldn't cause up the body to gether with the calls. The cause for which the body is being held that is present in court the body you are holding in custody and your cause for holding it should the cause prove it I'll shout release the body at once
immediately pronto. That's the gist of a writ of habeas corpus. It's an order issued by a judge in the name of the highest sovereign power backed up by severe sanction commanding that a prisoner be brought it once to court for inquiry into the cause of his detention. Private custody or official custody either. If illegal may be terminated by a writ of habeas corpus the writ will free a person held in jail without charges or upon insufficient charges or one who has been wrongfully denied bail or required to pay excessive bail provided that is that he has not paid it and gone free. The written he used to challenge jurisdiction of the court to try a person accused of a crime or to test the validity of a law or a legal process. It will free anyone held in illegal restraint corpus a privilege easily invoked a legal process easily proceeded upon or otherwise where it is complicated tricky and mysterious expensive.
Its great purpose would be thwarted. The value it protects would be compromised. It must never be forgotten chief justice Hughes once wrote that the writ of habeas corpus is the precious safeguard of personal liberty. And there is no more higher duty than to maintain it unimpaired. HIPPIAS corpus delivers the bodies of men out of unlawful bondage. Freeze the flesh from illegal restraint. It's a legal instrument implementing the most fundamental of our freedoms freedom of person that is personal liberty the right to be free of any and all unwanted restraints. Fundamental for what Prophet said to a man to have freedom of speech press assembly. If he has not freedom of person can a man enjoy his property rights his voting privilege his pursuit of happiness. If his body isn't chained to this two toes solid flush would know from the fact of the solid flesh this
solid fact. Freedom begins with freedom of the physical self where personal freedom is wanting their freedom. And this is the greatest in the head it gives that madness that is the liberty of this person was not excessive He took it. So said Sir Edward Cook an old lamb in his seventies standing with his countryman at a crossroads. On one road Lady Liberty Freedom. The self-government of self respecting man. On the other late arbitrary government absolute monarchy. Government by a king accountable for his actions to God alone. All Europe had gone that road by then. The year 16. And which road would England take. Never won by passion so wrote a poem. Never have I known such grief. The wounds were sought to cure I left gaping fatal
wounds methinks. Fate. The House of Commons June 3rd 16 28. Since Stephen's chapel somber faces stacked in the choir stalls Bloom misery and desolation not upon this house. These people these rail. What can I say. Overcome with emotion the speaker sits down this big car another rises but is obliged to sit down. Now another rises Sir Edward Cook. Some years passed he informed King James first that the fundamental laws of England lay not beneath the throne but rather stood above it. Whereupon overcome with his own of that city he fainted dead away. But here he is a member of Commons tossing his mane at still another king. No. Sir Edwards overcome unable to
speak. On Wednesday Charles had answered the petition the king had not said no but neither had he said Suad what his answer had been ambiguous perhaps invasive not clear. Not a clean swab. On Thursday Commons was shrouded in gloom. What had gone before. What had happened. If it makes strong men weep. All right just men crumble would take the roar out of old lands. Only this Englishman had been treated to a demonstration. A vivid demonstration of the fact that all our liberties are accessory to personal liberty. It began in the fall of sixteen twenty six and the winter of twenty seven. And a rough riding
prevailed upon a certain accessory near the old free born. Son. My property mine. Oh. I am requested to make a loan to the king. Do I understand the other right save for one small error I'm a lot a mere word yet in the beginning was the Word and who cannot see it made a word Different own words which were all requested my lord is in no way requested my lord is in a word commanded I am sent into the countryside known to collect upon this which we may call our own false love forced to love the my lord don't perceive well and quick ripostes alone indeed but words contradict each other. Forced love. If I learn before studies no loan no aid is an act of a highwayman. Oh I prithee will never know a farthing will I lead this force live by my troth it to be not only a contradiction in terms but also in all grievously it don't be a contradiction in law and I
can no longer have a car say of Magna Carta. No each of the levied all aid without the goodwill and the State of the Freeman of this realm might we like him be freeze my will here Duffy you as for my estate it was neither asked nor give it nay I refused to pay. A long leap from the right to be free of unlawful restraint to the right to be taxed by one's consent. A short step only Englishman we're learning. Upon my word there goes another stepping off to prison. This doesn't make a good round doesn't buy my column has the wind now blow it will soon have scarce any gentry left here about in Northamptonshire. I am informed twenty two gentleman refused in blouse to shoot half the commissioners for collection that refused to serve two US prison for them every month. We depend on the gentry to get the better part of a prison the better part of it.
Tears are cheap and all it does cost to wave a man off to prison to keep him at home doth cost a pretty penny. I am the one to tell it. Six soldiers have we within our house six mouths to feed six heads to bed. The High Cost of principles for a poor man can scarce afford them. Even so that has fared better than I. Tears I can tell they are not cheap. No reason empty house a happy economy that has been too would not pay could not. And a fortnight ago was impressed into the Navy. Child first under the spell of bucking the mood believe there was no political problem that could not be solved by a military victory that found himself in a war and out of money. Worse still he had dissolved parliament punishment for its having impeached bucking him before it could vote him a subsidy what to do. Well if it were true a king could not force is subject to give him money. Was there
any reason he could not force them to lend it. It was worth a try. Co. stood fast against the lone Home Counties felt the kings or soldiers were billeted in private homes. Men were impressed into military service. Hundreds of the gentry were in prison. My deah wife it is three days since we parted a gentleman prisoner writes a letter home. Be of light but a few more days and I shall come riding home to day. But there is nothing in the common law nor in the statutes toward this imprisonment that shall come out when I am brought to trial. Confident gentlemen prisoners stood upon fundamental law ancient law which protected Englishman against arbitrary taxation. There was precedent for men being imprisoned upon refusing to lend the king that was true but never before had such numbers refused and been imprisoned. All would soon be freed. The sun would shine again. English freedom. My idea of life. It is three weeks since we parted. I have not
spoken of a trial for myself or any other gentleman hill here. A strange oversight. But even so considering the great number of refuse as it would be no wonder if the courts were thrown off the calendar as prisons were overcrowded court rooms however were not. His Majesty had no intention of permitting the legality of his forced loans to be tested in court. My dear wife it is three months since we parted. I make no pretext of cheeriness. I am miserable if it be that he has found something to cheer thy heart. I pray thee send me news of it that would in truth Me thinks my condition inconsolable. He's been imprisoned without trial scores of Englishman airs every one of them to an ancient concept.
No free man she'll be taken or imprisoned or deprived of any free tenement or of his liberties or free customs or outlawed or exiled or any other way destroyed. Nor will we go upon him nor send against him except by the lawful judgment of his peers by the law of the land. No one will we sell to no one will refuse or delay right or justice. Magna Carta that ancient hedge against the Royal Prerogative the sovereign power for centuries had passed since English barons forced King John to sign the great charter to implement that chapter which assured Englishman the right to personal liberty writs had been invented among them the writ of habeas corpus had subject the great writ itself. It was not yet however a writ of right which issued automatically upon the
showing of cause. It was only a writ of grace. A fearsome business asking grace of the king was own command had imprisoned you mightn't it even make matters worse. Perhaps that's why a hundred or more gentlemen refusers sat in prison writing letters to their wives and doing little else to help themselves. However why not ask a gracious sovereign to issue a writ of habeas corpus. Should he not welcome inquiry into his detention of a subject. Would he have acted against a man upon any other than a rightful cause. Why not petition for a writ of habeas corpus Why not indeed. Oh and with a bit of that came back this week November of sixteen twenty seven. A full year after the king's collector's first rode upon the countryside. Five gentlemen refusing subclassed are brought to court under writs of habeas corpus.
Sir Thomas done no such. John Corbett. So Walter theory. So John have known him so Edmund Hampton the Knights of the Famous Five Knights case known also as Donald's case Saul O'Donnell before the hearing ends. Will withdraw his plea being thrown into terror by the course of things that you gentlemen have been brought before the King's Bench by writs of habeas corpus issued upon special C'mon because you gave out in speeches but you didn't wonder why you should be hindered from trial. Indeed the whole populace did wonder which is probably the better reason why these writs were issued Westminster Hall was jammed and this assembly unlike most in the household hall spared no breath in making its sentiments known to its salient points and those sketched liberally. The hearing went like this. Let the gent inform the court of the cause for which these gentlemen are to take their present my lord upon special command of the game. For what cause no cause shown my lord. Very well. Does the court objection to this return if you
please call counsel for the prisoner's death wish to speak. My law. What is this. No cause showed your lordship except such as a retired upon the writ of habeas corpus. Cause must be shown else for what if we come here. Why your face them alone. The purpose of the writ of habeas corpus death be to inquire into the cause for commitment. The purpose of that to inquiry a lot ship refuted is to assure that the prisoners are not held up or causes for which by the law of the kingdom the subject ought not to be imprisoned by only my lord I would have a word for His Majesty. Mr. Attorney General. Proceed. My hearing may have just tricked me but I thought I did hear a gentleman implied that I could be known to commit man upon some cause other than a just to one my lord must our sovereigns specifying its cause for a commitment that we know it to be John's.
All justice is derived from him and what he darkie does not as a private person but as the head of the Commonwealth. Yea the very essence of Justice under God is in him who shall call in question the actions or the justice of the King who is not to give any account of them by your lordship's favor. In all those causes which concern the King's subjects and are applicable to all times and causes we ought not to reflect upon the present time in government where justice and mercy flow of. But we ought to look what may be Titus in the time to come here after. Likewise we may look to what has gone before us. I perceive that our case will not stand upon precedence but upon fundamental laws. And though the precedents look to the one way or the other they ought to be brought back into the laws by which the kingdom is governed. South Magna Carta LHO if it please your lordship Mr. Attorney
may proceed to looking into what has gone before as I did propose before interruption. When has it not been the practice of English sovereigns to give no cause for commitment when in their judgment the best interest of the round was that sad. I beseech your lordship can it be in the best interest of this realm this England that free men be deprived of their liberty and no cause shown. Observe the consequences if your lordship shall accept this return and upon the remand these gentlemen to their prisons. Very imprisonment them shall not continue on for a time but for ever and the subjects of this kingdom may be restrained of their liberty perpetually and by law there can be no remedy if your lordship think this to be a sufficient cause. Then you go after the puppet show imprisonment of the King's subjects in which case my dog this week knocking your devious piece band.
Out of all. These seats no trial molt this is a hearing upon the writ of habeas corpus. These gentlemen stand convicted of nothing. And you see it not fundamental event is only accused by law to be let to bail. I facetious thought. I would study German bail upon no cause shown both the reason why calls should be shown. When a man is committed by special command of the king with no cause shown. It To establish he is on bail about. Oh say but the court did bail. After a tough. Decision. Like. That. What are you trying to tell me please the card. My remark. My remark reflects only the nature of no cross-town. Because he's not shown. We can only infer that their fans may be too great to
be publicized. Was your lordship correct me and did you silence may well imply reason of state a favor my lot I would call attention to a judgment handed down by kings bench this very court in day 34 here of Elizabeth re Shina where it was determined that a prisoner committed upon the sovereign special commanded with no cause shown was not in a boat by all save him a lot I would call attention to that chapter of Magna Carta. What do you say. Let no Freeman shall be imprisoned except by the law of the man below and I know these words of the law of the land to leave the question where it was but I think it must be intended by due course of law to either be present in or indictment if it means other than this then free man means nothing. Indeed a free man then is less than appealing. What he does say elsewhere in Magna Carta. But to leave me not to imprison the villain without showing cause. My.
The prisoner's lawyer is there actually four of them stood upon fundamental law and it's protection of personal liberty. The attorney general argued precedent and practice as they protected the Crown's prerogative. The court we cannot deliver you gentleman we cannot bear you must remand you. For nights followed a terrified fifth back to prison. Englishman had even more to wonder about now upon this judgement it appeared that the king could commit any man to prison and if he chose to show no cause there could be no remedy. Arbitrary imprisonment. That's what was here up held. And if arbitrary imprisonment had been used to enforce arbitrary taxation what other tyrannies might it not also enforce. Charles first had successfully hurtle the hands. With the people.
But they're part of. Prevent its being altogether flat. Men. Read that if the estate is inclining to our consumption yet not one killing of the spring of 61 million child Charles calls the parliament the people answer in no uncertain terms every refuser of the Kings for Sloan who stood for election is elected. All the lawyers who defended the five nights are elected to the House of Commons bulges with defenders of liberty. Among them the sturdy old the king of the law Sir Edward Cook It is not Maxine not caught I had measured the king's prerogative. Nag not cause I sucked up. Hello that he will have now solidly five nights case was argued over again in Parliament week after week as the king held the threat of dissolution
over the Commons demanding that it get on to pressing business the business of money and the external threat that is the commons however was concerned with the internal threat out of their concern came certain resolutions among them. Resolved that no free man ought to be committed or detained in prison or otherwise restrained by the command of the king or the Privy Council or any other. Unless some cause of the committment to be expressed. For which by law he ought to be committed detained or restrained. Resolved that if the free man be committed or detained in prison or otherwise restrained and the same be returned upon a habeas corpus read it for said party. That then he ought to be delivered or bail. From these writings on this developed the petition of right to which Charles first upon the second reading responded SUA to wop there
was. However the very next year began the personal rule. A decade of government without a parliament government but Charles Rex the petition of right was not a law. It never became a law. Call it a monument a monument to King Charles the First whose rough writing tactics gave Freeman a demonstration of a solid fact that where personal freedom is wanting there oh freedom ends. The demonstration would long outlive the demonstrator inspiring law that he has called this act of 16 79 establishing procedures with regard to ABS cough as much as they now stand the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may
require. Whatever the English language is spoken in any part of the world. These words from Sir Winston Churchill. Wherever the authority of the British imperial crown. Or of the government of the United States prevails. Law abiding men breathe freedom. The descent into despotism which has engulfed so many leading nations in the present day has made the virtue of habeas corpus apparent even to the most caucus. The most ignorant. The most. To every man his due his produce by radio station WAGA of the
University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television Radio Center and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters script by Milburn and Elizabeth Carlson content consultant David film and music by Don vaguely. Production by Carl Schmidt. This is the NABC Radio Network.
To every man his due
The precious safeguard
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The Precious Safeguard: Writ of Habeas Corpus
Series Description
Dramatic-narrative series on principles of justice under the American system of law, particularly the rights of defendants.
Broadcast Date
Law Enforcement and Crime
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Advisor: Fellman, David, 1907-2003
Music Director: Voegeli, Don
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Writer: Carlson, Elizabeth
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 62-17-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:20
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Chicago: “To every man his due; The precious safeguard,” 1962-05-09, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “To every man his due; The precious safeguard.” 1962-05-09. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: To every man his due; The precious safeguard. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from