On 15 June 1215, King John met the barons near Runnymeade on the Thames, and granted them the charter which they laid before him.
This charter contains sixty-three articles, some of which were merely temporary; the principles upon which the whole English judicial system is based are these:
- “No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or disseised, or outlawed, or banished . . . unless by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.”
- “We will sell to no man, we will not deny to any man, either justice or right.”
Among the most important articles were the two which limited the power of the king in matters of taxation:
- “No scutage or aid shall be imposed in our kingdom unless by the general council of our kingdom;”
- “For the holding of the general council of the kingdom . . . we shall cause to be summoned the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and the greater barons of the realm, singly, by our letters. And furthermore we shall cause to be summoned generally by our sheriffs and bailiffs, all others who hold of us in chief.”