William III and the Legalist Revolution

Richard Kay, University of Connecticut School of Law


... The new king recoiled from suggestions that he declare himself a conqueror, and his regime deviated from such legal protection as habeas corpus with the greatest reluctance. ... William was not content with the assent of the Lords to the calling of a convention. ... But with the reopening of the courts, it was to be expected that writs of habeas corpus would be sued out again. ... A bill was quickly proposed to allow the king to commit "for two or three months" such persons as "he shall suspect to be obnoxious . . . without the benefit of habeas corpus. ... The suspension of habeas corpus was, no doubt, a bitter remedy. The Whig and former Lord Mayor, Sir Robert Clayton, who supported it, noted that "[h]ad it not been for the Habeas Corpus Act, there had not been many of us here now; we had been dead and rotten in prison. ... Clarges advised rather that "great security" should be demanded for the prisoners' appearance "than that Bill [the Habeas Corpus Act] should be entrenched upon; a thing so sacred. ...