The Judgment of whole Kingdoms and Nations

Concerning the
Rights, Privileges, and Properties
By [a collective of authors including] the Chairman of the Committee commissioned to write the Bill of Rights 1688
John Somers

The Nature of GOVERNMENT in general, both from GOD and MAN. An Account of the BRITISH Government, and the RIGHTS and PRIVILEGES of the People in the Time of the SAXONS, and since the Conquest. The Government which God ordained over the Children of Israel; and that all Magistrates and Governors proceed from the People, by many Examples in Scripture and History, and the Duty of Magistrates from Scripture and Reason.
An Account of Eleven Emperors, and above Fifty Kings deprived for their evil Government. The Right of the People and Parliament of Britain, to RESIST and DEPRIVE their Kings for evil Government, by King Henry’s Charter; and likewise in Scotland, by many Examples.
The Prophets and ancient Jews were Strangers to absolute PASSIVE-OBEDIENCE. Resisting of Arbitrary Government is allowed by many Examples in Scripture, by most Nations, and by undeniable Reason.
A large Account of the [Glorious] REVOLUTION; with several Speeches, Declarations, and Addresses, and the Names and Proceedings of Ten Bishops, and above Sixty Peers, concerned in the Revolution before King James went out of England.

Several Declarations in Queen Elizabeth’s Time of the CLERGY in CONVOCATION, and the PARLIAMENT who assisted, and justified the Scotch, French, and Dutch, in Resisting of their Evil and Destructive Princes.
The Eleventh Edition, corrected, and enter’d according to Law.
London. Printed and Sold by T. Harrison, at the West Corner of the Royal Exchange, in Cornhill, 1714. Price Stitch’d 6 d. and-Bound 1 Q d
First Published in 1709 as “Vox populi, vox dei”, being the true maxims of government
Lord John Somers, 1st Baron Somers
Also [historically attributed to] Daniel Defoe, John Dunton and Gilbert Burnet


Introduction by Lance Peatling

In the preface to my copy of the original pamphlet it is recommended as proper to be kept in all families, that their children’s children may know the Birth-right, Liberty and Property belonging to an Englishman. It is not possible to over-state the importance of this body of work, co-authored, as it is, by Lord Somers, chairman to the committee that drew up the Bill of Rights. Ostensibly written to counter the Jacobite movement that sought to restore the House of Stuart to the throne much of the text details the many historical precedents of a society ridding themselves of a tyrannical ruler. Scattered amongst those many justifications are a literal treasure trove of the considerations that underpin the thinking behind the Bill of Rights itself and this pamphlet may rightly be considered the expert text upon which we, the people, may rely when we seek to unearth a full understanding of the documents that are the bedrock of the English (now UK) constitution. That which the Bill of Rights is largely silent upon, though which, through interpretation may be evidenced, finds here the corroboration needed to assert the simple truth that it is the people who are supreme and that all power rests with them and it is from them, and them alone that all government, authority, and magistracy flows. The pamphlet contains a warning, one which unheeded, results in the debasement of a people. As the authors warn, it is the promotion of passive obedience which is the greater crime than the promotion of rebellion. Once a people submit to arbitrary government a people’s miseries are endless and it offers no prospect or hope of redress and every age will add new oppressions and new burdens to a people already exhausted. It is not as though we were not warned.


Our little group, the Stand-In-The-Park (SITP) at Highams Park, took it upon ourselves to convert the old facsimile edition to modern script for the benefit of all who want to remember and restore the natural order of life in England as it was re-established after the Glorious Revolution in 1688.
We believe the author is likely to be Lord John Somers himself, based on the short explanation on the first page of the 3rd edition, which says: “Written by a true lover of the Queen and Country, who wrote in the year 1689 In Vindication of the Revolution…”
This is coupled with the well-documented fact that John Somers took a leading part in several secret councils planning the Glorious Revolution and acted as Chairman of the Committee which drew up the Bill of Rights 1688.
To our knowledge, the 11th edition of 1714 was the last time this book was published back in the 1700s and this 2024 contemporary edition, which you now hold in your hands, appears to be the first since. To illustrate the book’s context, we made a decision to preserve the late seventeenth century spelling and grammar in it. Names and book titles used to be written in italics, plenty of commas were used for a variety of reasons but mostly because long sentences were the norm at the time and the commas were a way to introduce pauses within the sentence. In addition, among other peculiarities, when they wanted to emphasise a certain word, they tended to write it with a capital letter. We opted to preserve all that here. In addition, we have added bold fonts where the message seemed particularly powerful and pertinent to today’s extraordinary situation.
We use the opportunity to remind the reader that certain words, used in this book, evolved in meaning over time. For example:

Magistrate has its origin from the Latin words magistratus, which means “administrator” and magister, meaning “master” or “teacher”. From the same origin comes the word magnus meaning “great”. In Middle English, the meaning of magistrate tended to include a “judge or lawmaker”, while today we mostly understand it to mean “justice of the peace” and/or a judge in the magistrate’s court.
King has Germanic origin, König; it’s related to the Dutch koning and to the Old English cynn meaning “family, race” (as in kin). Thus, the original meaning of king emerged as both a “relative, family member” and a “leader of people”; further, as illustrated by examples from natural history, it also means “a big dominant representative of a species” as in king cobra.
We remind the reader that the English society of the time was deeply religious and the Bible was studied as a matter of course, therefore, expect many biblical references. However, these are not there to indoctrinate but to prove an important point: we are all created equal and when we chose to elevate a monarch to govern us, it is by consent which binds and restraints him. A king is only a king by law and, along with any man, is subject to the very law that makes him king. Most importantly, passive obedience to tyrannical power is the greatest crime and sin a man can commit.
In addition, Latin was taught in all schools of renown at the time, hence, Latin phrases proliferate in this text, which were then in popular use in the circles of educated men. We have provided translations to the best of our capacity, however, we remain open to improvements in future, whether they come from our own little group or the general English public.
Interestingly, in 2009 the House of Commons issued a publication on the Bill of Rights 1689 with somewhat contradictory messages regarding the status of the Bill. It acknowledges, however, that along with Magna Carta 1297, The Petition of Right 1627 and the Act of Settlement, the Bill of Rights 1689 is a constitutional document. This publication can be found the parliament library at:

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