THE ACT OF ASSOCIATION
Forasmuch as the good felicity and comfort of the whole Estate of this Realm consisteth only (next under God) in the surety and preservation of the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty; and for that it hath manifestly appeared, that sundry wicked plots and means have of late been devised and laid, as well in foreign parts beyond the seas, as also within this Realm, to the great endangering of Her Highness's most royal person, and to the utter ruin of the whole Commonwealth, if by God's merciful Providence the same had not been revealed: Therefore for the preventing of such great perils as might hereafter otherwise grow by the like detestable and devilish practices, at the humble suit and earnest petition of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons in this Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same Parliament; Be it enacted and ordained, If at any time after the end of this present session of Parliament, any open invasion or rebellion shall be had or made, into or within any of Her Majesty's realms or dominions, or any act attempted, tending to the hurt of Her Majesty's most royal person, by or for any person that shall or may pretend title to the Crown of this Realm after Her Majesty's decease; or if any thing be compassed or imagined, tending to the hurt of Her Majesty's royal person, by any person, or with the privity of any person that shall or may pretend title to the Crown of this Realm: That then by Her Majesty's Commission under her Great Seal, the lords and other of Her Highness's Privy Council, and such other lords of Parliament to be named by Her Majesty, as with the said Privy Council shall come up to the number of four and twenty at the least, having with them for their assistance in that behalf such of the judges of the Courts of Record at Westminster as Her Highness shall for that purpose assign and appoint, or the more part of the same Council, lords, and judges, shall by virtue of this Act have authority to examine all and every the offences aforesaid, and all circumstances thereof, and thereupon to give sentence or judgement, as upon good proof the matter shall appear unto them. And that after such sentence or judgement given, and declaration thereof made and published by Her Majesty's proclamation under the Great Seal of England, all persons against whom such sentence of judgement shall be so given and published shall be excluded and disabled for ever to have a claim to the Crown of this Realm, or of any Her Majesty's dominions; any former law or statute whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding. And that thereupon all Her Highness's subjects shall and may lawfully by virtue of this Act, and Her Majesty's direction in that behalf, by all forcible and possible means pursue to death every such wicked person, by whom or by whose means, assent, or privity, any such invasion or rebellion shall be in form aforesaid denounced to have been made, or such wicked act attempted, or other thing compassed or imagined against Her Majesty's person, and all their aiders, comforters and abettors.
And if any such detestable act shall be executed against Her Highness's most royal person, whereby Her Majesty's life shall be taken away (which God of His great Mercy forbid); that then every such person, by or for whom any such act shall be executed, and their issues being any wise assenting or privy to the same, shall by virtue of this Act be excluded and disabled for ever to have or claim, or pretend to have or claim, the said Crown of this Realm, or any other Her Highness's dominions, any former law or statute to the contrary notwithstanding. And that all the subjects of this Realm, and all other Her Majesty's dominions, shall and may lawfully, by virtue of this Act, by all forcible and possible means pursue to the death every such wicked person, by whom or by whose means any such detestable fact shall be in form hereafter expressed denounced to have been committed, and also their issues being any wise assenting or privy to the same, and all their aiders, comforters and abettors in that behalf.
And to the end that the intention of this Law may be effectually executed, if Her Majesty's life be taken away by any violent or unnatural means (which God defend): Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the lords and others, which shall be of Her Majesty's Privy Council at the time of such her decease, or the more part of the same Council, joining unto them for their assistance five other earls, and seven other lords of Parliament at the least (foreseeing, that none of the said earls, lords, or Council be known to the persons that may make any title to the Crown), those persons which were Chief Justices of either Bench, Master of the Rolls, and Chief Baron, some other of those which were Justices of some of the Courts of Records at Westminster at the time of Her Highness's decease, to supply their places; or any four and twenty, or more of them, whereof eight to be lords of the Parliament, not being of the Privy Council, shall to the uttermost of their power and skill examine the cause and manner of Her Majesty's death, and what persons shall be in any way guilty thereof, and all circumstances concerning the same, according to the true meaning of this Act; and thereupon shall by open proclamation publish the same, and without any delay, by all forcible and possible means, prosecute to death all their aiders and abettors; and for the doing thereof, and the withstanding and suppressing all such power and force, as shall be any way levied or stirred in disturbance of the due execution of this Law, they shall by virtue of this Act have power and authority, not only to raise and use such forces as shall in that behalf be needful and convenient, but also to use all other means and things possible and necessary for the maintenance of the same forces, and prosecution of the said offenders. And if any such power and force shall be levied and stirred in disturbance of the due execution of this Law, by any person that shall or may pretend any title to the Crown of this Realm, whereby this Law may not in all things be fully executed, according to the effect and true meaning of the same; that then every such person shall by virtue of this Act be therefore excluded and disabled for ever to have, or claim, or pretend to have or claim the Crown of this Realm, or any other Her Majesty's dominions, any former law or statute whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding.
And whereas of late many of Her Majesty's good and faithful subjects have in the Name of God, and with the testimonies of good consciences, by one uniform manner of writing under their hands and seals, and by their several oaths voluntarily taken, joined themselves together in one Bond and Association, to withstand and revenge to the uttermost all such malicious actions and attempts against Her Majesty's most royal person: Now for the full explaining of all such ambiguities and questions, as otherwise might happen to grow by reason of any sinister or wrong construction or interpretation to be made or inferred of or upon the words or meaning thereof; Be it declared and enacted by the authority of this present Parliament, that same Association, and every article and sentence therein contained, as well concerning the disallowing, excluding or disabling any person that may or shall pretend any title to come to the Crown of this Realm, as also for the pursuing, and taking revenge of any such wicked act or attempt as is mentioned in the same Association, shall and ought to be in all things expounded and adjudged according to the true intent and meaning of this Act, and not otherwise, or against any other person or persons.
State Trials (Spelling modernised)
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