1902 Encyclopedia > Act of Settlement

Act of Settlement

SETTLEMENT, ACT OF. By this Act, 12 & 13 Will. III. c. 2, passed in 1701 (followed by the parliament of Scotland in the Act of Union, 1707, c. 7), the crown was settled upon the Princess Sophia, electress and duchess dowager of Hanover, granddaughter of James I., and the heirs of her body, being Protestants. The Act contained in addition some important constitutional provisions. Those which are still law are as follows:—(1) that whosoever shall hereafter come to the possession of this crown shall join in communion with the Church of England as by law established; (2) that in case the crown of this realm shall hereafter come to any person not being a native of this kingdom of England, this nation be not obliged to engage in any war for the defence of any dominions or territories which do not belong to the crown of England without the consent of parliament; (3) that after the limitation shall take effect no person born out of the kingdoms of England, Scotland, or Ireland, or the dominions thereunto belonging, although he be naturalized or made a denizen (except such as are born of English parents), shall be capable to be of the privy council or a member of either House of Parliament, or enjoy any office or place of trust, either civil or military, or to have any grant of lands, tenements, or hereditaments from the crown to himself, or to any other or others in trust for him; (4) that after the limitation shall take effect judges' commissions be made quamdiu se bene gesserint, and their salaries ascertained and established, but upon the address of both Houses of Parliament it may be lawful to remove them ; (5) that no pardon under the great seal of England be pleadable to an impeachment by the Commons in parlia-ment. The importance of the Act of Settlement appears from the fact that in all the Regency Acts it is specially mentioned as one of those Acts which the regent may not assent to repeal (see REGENT). TO maintain or affirm the right of any person to the crown, contrary to the provisions of the Act of Settlement, is treason by 6th Anne, c. 7.

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