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Petition of Right

Petition of Right, 1628, a statement of civil liberties sent by the English Parliament to Charles I. Refusal by Parliament to finance the king's unpopular foreign policy had caused his government to exact forced loans and to quarter troops in subjects' houses as an economy measure. Arbitrary arrest and imprisonment for opposing these policies had produced in Parliament a violent hostility to Charles and George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham. The Petition of Right, initiated by Sir Edward Coke, was based upon earlier statutes and charters and asserted four principles: no taxes may be levied without consent of Parliament; no subject may be imprisoned without cause shown (reaffirmation of the right of habeas corpus); no soldiers may be quartered upon the citizenry; martial law may not be used in time of peace. In return for his acceptance (June, 1628), Charles was granted subsidies. Although the petition was of importance as a safeguard of civil liberties, its spirit was soon violated by Charles, who continued to collect tonnage and poundage duties without Parliament's authorization and to prosecute citizens in an arbitrary manner.

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petition of right

petition of right, 1628. Charles I's levy of a forced loan in 1626–7 and his imprisonment of non-contributors led the Commons in 1628 to frame a petition outlawing non-parliamentary taxes and arbitrary imprisonment. Charles, concerned to preserve his prerogative, gave an ambiguous reply, to which the Commons responded by withholding their offer of a much-needed money grant. The king, with ill grace, therefore authorized a second, conventional, reply which turned the petition into law. When it was printed, Charles included only his first response, thereby arousing fears that he would renege on his promises, but in the event he scrupulously adhered to the letter of the petition.

Roger Lockyer

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petition of right

petition of right Means by which an English subject could sue the Crown; in particular, the statement of grievances against the Crown presented by Parliament to Charles I in 1628. It asserted that the Crown acted illegally in raising taxation without Parliament's consent, imprisoning people without charge, maintaining a standing army, and quartering soldiers on ordinary householders. It led to the dissolution of Parliament and Charles' period of untrammelled rule.

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Petition of Right

Petition of Right a parliamentary declaration of rights and liberties of the people presented to Charles I in a petition in 1627 and assented to by the monarch in 1628. Although not a formal statute or ordinance, this has traditionally been invested with the full force of law.

A Petitioner is any of those who signed the address to Charles II in 1680, petitioning for the summoning of Parliament (a move opposed by the Abhorrers).

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Right, Petition of

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