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Roman Baker
Roman Baker

Sovereignty Crown Of Kings

I'd be the King Bee in a spelling tournament, even if RPS' own word management systems do insist on drawing squiggly red lines under my British "favours" and "honours". It's imported from the colonies, you see, the RPS machinery. It drinks coffee, we take tea, my dears. Despite my ability to put the right letters in the right order, certain words always have me reaching for the tab. "Bureaucracy" is a common culprit and thanks to strategy and wargame publisher Slitherine, I've learned that "sovereignty" is another.

Sovereignty Crown of Kings


In 1671, it was damaged in Colonel Thomas Blood's attempt to steal the regalia.[3] The Orb shows Christian sovereignty over the earth.[2] It was set with 12 large diamonds, 30 rubies, sapphires, and emeralds for the coronation of George I in 1714.[3]

The majority of authors claim that among kings, some are absolute masters of their crown as a personal inheritance that it is permissible for them to share, transfer, or alienate. In a word, they can dispose of it as they deem appropriate. Others enjoy sovereignty as usufruct or fidei commis [trust], and this, for themselves only, or with the power to transmit that sovereignty to their descendants according to the rules established for succession.

It is on this basis that the same authors have divided kingdoms into two groups: on the one hand patrimonial and on the other usufruct, or non-patrimonial. They add that those kings who have acquired sovereignty by right of conquest, or those to whom a people have delivered themselves without reserve to avoid a greater evil, possess full ownership of the crown, but that, on the contrary, kings who have been established by the free consent of the people, possess the crown only by way of usufruct. This is how Grotius explains this distinction, and his explanation has been adopted by Puffendorf and many other writers. [1]

They agree, first, that the sovereign power may be bought and sold [ entrer en commerce ], just like any other right, and that there is nothing in this that is contrary to the nature of kingship; such that if the agreement between the sovereign and the people expressly states that the sovereign will have full right to alienate the crown, and to dispose of it as he sees fit; we call such a kingdom , a patrimonial kingdom ; and the other kingdoms , usufructuary kingdoms ; but the examples of this type of arrangement are so rare that there are hardly any other than that of the Ancient Egyptians and their king, which is referred to in Genesis, ch. XLVII v. 18ff. , and learned debates on the power of alienating the crown examine only cases where there has been no agreement on this subject between the sovereign and the people.

The distinction made here is something of a vicious circle, for when one asks which princes have the power to alienate the kingdom , the answer is those who possess a patrimonial kingdom ; and when one asks what a patrimonial kingdom is, the answer is one where the prince has the power to alienate the crown. It is true that some claim that hereditary kingdoms are patrimonial, others that despotic kingdoms are, still others that it is those which have been conquered or established in some way by the forced consent of the people. None of these opinions establishes a firm basis for a so-called proprietary right that includes the power of alienation.

Whether one has submitted by force or by necessity to the domination of another person, it does not follow that that person has been granted the power to transfer his right to whomever he pleases. In vain one might object that if the sovereign had stipulated that he should be given the power to alienate the crown, the people would have given their consent; silence on this matter, on the contrary, leads one to assume that there was no such tacit concession, since if the king had claimed the right to alienate the crown, it was for him to explain and have it explained to the people. But the people having not spoken of it, as we assume, it is and must be presumed that the people had no thought of giving the king a power which would put him in a position to change masters at his own will.

It is true that instances of alienation made throughout history by various sovereigns are alleged, but it should be noted of these alleged examples: 1) that most had no effect; 2) that we do not know the conditions under which the princes or ancient states had acquired sovereignty over their people. Thus, it could be that there was some formal clause by which these nations had given their sovereign the power to alienate sovereignty itself; 3) that often these alienations had no other title than force, and they became legitimate only by virtue of the consent given after the fact, when the alienated people submitted themselves without opposition to the new sovereign; 4) there may also be a tacit consent, entirely free, at the very time that alienation took place, and this in two ways. Either the people whom the sovereign wished to alienate, showed little resistance, though they were not compelled by a force majeure ; or simply because of the custom introduced in the Orient and elsewhere to understand that absolute sovereignty included the right to property, which right would allow the sovereign to dispose of his states as he sees fit. Those who submitted to such a sovereign were supposed to do so on the grounds of established custom, unless they expressly declare the contrary. Thus, the examples cited do not prove that the right to alienate necessarily follows even the most absolute sovereignty, considered in itself and by whatever means it was acquired.

For Canadians who wring their hands over further abuse of our sov- ereignty in a North American politi- cal system, consider the postwar graveyard that was western Europe. A mess of cultures, religions, lan- guages and bloody histories, reeling from the second devastating war in two generations. A complex of nations more steeped in hatred and enmity because of the cruelties they had inflicted on one another than any in modern times, on the conti- nent that invented the modern con- cept of sovereignty.

A review of this global regional inte- gration process and the path oth- ers have followed is instructive. Scholars of the shifting landscape of sovereignty in the second half of the 20th century identify three distinct phases in the shape-shift from nation-state to continental partner.

This sovereign or imperial voluntas circulated in early modern Europe with a life of its own in the form of weighty Roman legal maxims that came to describe what kings thought they had the legal right to do: to cite two of many, "Quod jura in scrinio principis," and, "Quod principi placuit, legis habet vigorem" (Kantorowicz 146, 150, 153). Mortimer Senior precedes his list of famous minions with nearly a translation of the Roman formula by way of pointing out what Edward II as a king "solutus legibus" had the right to do anyway: "Let him without controulement have his will" (I.iv.390). Mortimer's son, having been, in his own words, "thrust" upon the Protectorship, echoes this line of his father, following it with a Latin aphorism:

She is appealing to the traditional theory of sovereignty and the king's rights and duties through a just dominion over his land and people. She takes up this theory again shortly afterwards when she offers a providential reading of the violence in the play, addressing Mortimer and her son:

The most popular theory of the origin of sovereign immunity of the American states is that it is a carryover from the English doctrine that "the King can do no wrong." Although this maxim may originally have been a misstatement of the early English law, by the time of Henry III (mid-13th Century), it was settled feudal law that the King could not be sued in his own courts without his consent.[6] By the mid *388 eighteenth century, the doctrine that the crown, as the embodiment of the modern state, could not be sued without its consent had become part of the Blackstonian canon.[7] The first case in Pennsylvania adopting sovereign immunity asserted that the immunity of American states is an attribute to the English crown which the states took on themselves at independence, but which they might better have left behind with King George:

Moreover, the immunity accorded Pennsylvania as "sovereign" has been far greater than that claimed by any English king or queen at least since the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Since that time, the crown has been subject to suit in equity in the Court of Exchequer for "it would derogate from the King's honour to imagine that what is equity against a common person should not be equity against *390 him."[10] Nonetheless, in Pennsylvania, the immunity of the Commonwealth grew to include suits in equity[11] and petitions for declaratory judgment[12] as well as actions at law. No explanation was ever offered for this extension of the doctrine and the English history of the doctrine does not support it.

As section I, supra, establishes, Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary Pennsylvania was hostile to the notion that the Commonwealth should have the prerogatives of the English crown or that it should be immune from paying its just debts.[59] For example, in 1782, before the end of the Revolutionary War, the Legislature passed a statute allowing all contract and bond claims against the Commonwealth to be presented for adjudication.[60] Likewise, in the 1788 case of Respublica v. Sparhawk,[61] this Court agreed that the plaintiffs' allegations would have alleged a trespass had the Commonwealth not been acting in wartime to keep goods out of the hands of the enemy.

*402 Thus, although no debate concerning any of the versions has been preserved, it appears that the 1790 Convention adopted this section in that form to preserve for the Legislature the opportunity, denied by Wilson's amendment, to make Pennsylvania immune in certain cases. There is no evidence that this sentence was added to make sovereign immunity the constitutional rule unless the Legislature decides otherwise. Indeed, one would not expect such evidence to exist in 1790 in a state with such a strong history of opposition to this privilege of the crown. 041b061a72


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