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I'm Lisa unto our sovereign lord the king. The law is spiritual and temporal and commons in parliament assembled that whereas it is declared it enacted by a statute made in the time of the reign of King Edward the first that no he shall be laid or levied by the king without the assent of the free men of this realm. June 2nd exactly what the 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 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 darling 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. Well the purpose of courting the Spanish lady. Well the princes would be princes. No.
However he was king accountable 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 place out of high fine hair curled up on 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 government 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. And where by the call of the great charter of the liberties of English it is free and may be taken or going to prison. I'll be deprived of its freedom. 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 answer has arrived. What will it be. Only one will suffice it buzzes in every mind every mind hoping thereby to influence the king. They say
let right as does life traditional words of consent. Will they come from this king the steward willing they say. True 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. Single advantage which our government has over that of other
countries do it in large measure the English speaking people although 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 end all of freedom. It's rather that without it freedom may be nothing except easily ended. Hey be a Scorpius. 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 of the body to gather with the coals. The cause for which the body is being held that is thou shalt present in court the body you are holding in custody and your cause for holding it should the
cause prove that 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. Maybe this corpus a privilege easily invoked a legal process easily proceeded upon
or otherwise where it is complicated tricky and the steering is 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 higher duty than to maintain it unimpaired. Maybe as Corpus delivers the bodies of men out of unlawful bondage frees the flesh from illegal restraint. It's a legal instrument implementing the most fundamental of our freedoms freedom of person nighties personal liberty the right to be free of any and all unwarranted 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 is unchanged that this too too 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 you know what it is that a man is the liberty of his person. All others are excessive heat to it so said Sir Edward Cook an old lion 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 lane 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 60. And which road would England take. Never won by passion so wrote a poem. Never have I known such grief. The wounds were thought to
cure all left gaping fatal wounds methinks. The House of Commons June 3rd sixteen twenty eight since Stephen's chapel somber faces stacked in the choir stalls Bloom misery and desolation. This house this people this realm. What can I say. Overcome with emotion. The speaker sits down. Yes. Another rises. But he is obliged to sit down. No. 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 Edward overcome unable to
speak. On Wednesday Charles had answered the petition. The king had not said no but neither had he said. His answer had been ambiguous perhaps 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 weak or a just man 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 our liberties are accessory to personal liberty. It began in the fall of sixteen twenty six and the winter of twenty seven. A rough riding
prevailed upon a certain deer to all free born. Us. My property mine. I am requested to make a loan to the king. Do I understand the other rights for one small error on the lot. A mere word yet in the beginning was the Word and who cannot see it made a world so different a word which were requested. My lord is in no way requested my lord is in a word commanded I am sent into the country side belong to collect upon this which we may call a false love forced to learn the my lord doth perceive well and quickly. Cost alone indeed but words contradict each other force blowed if I alone before studies no loan. Nay it is an act of a highwayman. Oh I prithee little Never not a farthing will I lead this force live by my troth it to be not only a contradiction in terms but also in MOL grievously it doth be a contradiction in law and I can no longer have a
car say of Magna Carta knowing each other be levied or laid without the goodwill and the State of the Freeman of this realm might we like him before my will here Duffy you as for my estate it was neither ask nor give it. Need I refuse 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. As 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 sell to US prison for them every month and 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 does 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. A poor man can scarce afford them. Even so there 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 they could not and a fortnight ago was impressed into the Navy. Charles first under the spell of bucking the most believe there was no political problem that could not be solved by a military victory and 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 Forces subjects to give him money. Was there
any reason he could not force them to lend him. It was worth a try. Counties 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. No idea wife. It is three days since we parted a gentleman prisoner writes a letter home. Be of light heart but a few more days and I shall come riding home to the well there is nothing in the common law nor in the statutes toward this imprisonment. I 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 refuses it would be no wonder if the courts were thrown off the calendar as prisons were overcrowded courtrooms however were not. His Majesty had no intention of permitting the legality of his forced loan to be tested in court. My idea 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. Though in truth Me thinks my condition inconsolable. 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 stand against him except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land to 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 ad subject to 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's own command had imprisoned you mightn't it even make matters worse. Perhaps that's why a hundred gentlemen refusers sat in prison writing letters to their wives and doing little else to help themselves. However why not ask a gracious 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. But this November of sixteen twenty seven. A full year after the king's collectors rode upon the countryside. Five gentleman refuses a glassed are brought to court under writs of habeas corpus. Sir Thomas Sir John Corbett. So Walter
theory. So John 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 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 did 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 house spared no breath in making its sentiments known strip 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 not to take their present my lord upon special command of the game. For what cause my Lord. Very well. Does the court objection to this return you call counsel for the
prisoner's death wish to speak. My law. What is this. No cause show your lordship except such as a retired upon a writ of habeas corpus. Cause must be shown else for what if we come here. Why your faith in the law. The purpose of the writ of habeas corpus death be to inquire into the cause for commitment. The purpose of that Lordship refuted used to assure that the prisoners are not held up as 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 mayhap does 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 one. My lord must our sovereign cause for the commitment that we just. 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 of the justice of the King who is not to give any account to 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 are not to reflect upon the present time in government where justice and mercy flows but we ought to look what may be a title sin 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 the 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. C'est magnifique cannot tell a joke if it please your logic. Mr. Attorney may proceed looking to 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 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 Rambam these gentlemen to their prisons their 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 proper pep surely imprisonment of the King's subjects in which case my job if not this piece. That. Won't. Be serious no trial mold this is like hearing upon a writ of
habeas corpus. These gentlemen stand convicted of nothing. And you see it not fundamental. He is only accused by law to be left to bail. I facetiously thought I would start determine bail upon no cause shown the reason why calls should be shown. When a man is committed by special command of the king with no cause. It is established he is on bail about. Say. But if the court did. A traitor. Just like that. Why do people tell me please the car. My remark. My remark reflects only the nature of no cross-town. Because he's not shown. We can only infer that their friends may be too great to be publicized. Was your lordship correct me whose silence may well imply reason of state my own favor my lot I would call attention to a
judgment handed down by kings bench this very court. In the 34 here of Elizabeth where it was determined that a prisoner committed upon the sovereign special commanded with no cause shown was not 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 land. A lot I know these words of the law of the land do leave the question where it was but I think it must be intended by due course of law to either be presentment or indictment. If it means other than this then free man means nothing. Indeed a free man then is less than appealing. What it does say elsewhere that a leader may not be imprisoned a villain without showing cause the barrier the prisoner's lawyer is there are 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. We cannot bear you must remand you. For nights followed the 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 hurdle the hands. With the people. Put their parliament prevent its being altogether flat. Men had to.
Read that the estate is inclining to our consumption. You have not been cured of the spring of 61 million Charles calls the parliament the people answer in no uncertain terms every refuser of the Kings for Stallone 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 or Edward Cook. It is our Maxi mag not caught our hat that measured the king's prerogative. Magna Carta is talked of. Hello that he will have now solved. The 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 use 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 a 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. Is developed. The petition of right to which Charles first upon a second reading responded sua. However the very next year began the personal rule a decade of government
with 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 riding tactics gave free men a demonstration of a solid fact that where personal freedom is wanting their freedom and the demonstration would long outlive the demonstrator inspiring law that he called his act of 16 79 establishing procedures with regard to ABS cost 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 it. Wherever the English language is spoken in any part of the world. These words from Sir Winston Churchill. Wherever the authority of the British imperial. Or of the government of the United States prevails. Law abiding men.
The descent into despotism which has engulfed so many leading nations in the present day has made the virtue of apparent even to the most thoughtless. The most ignorant. The most. To every man his due is produced by a radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television and 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 N.A. E.B. 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.
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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: 00:29:24
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Chicago: “To every man his due; The precious safeguard,” 1961-10-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 22, 2024,
MLA: “To every man his due; The precious safeguard.” 1961-10-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 22, 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