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The Bond of Association!
- The Bond of Association
The Instrument of an Association for the Preservation of Her Majesty's Royal Person, by the Lords of Her Majesty's Privy Council, binding themselves under a vow and promise before the Majesty of Almighty God, with their whole powers, bodies, lives, lands, and goods, and with their children and servants, faithfully to serve and obey the Queen, and to defend her against all Estates, Dignities, and earthly Powers whatsoever, and to pursue to utter extermination all that shall attempt by any act, counsel, or consent to anything that shall tend to the harm of Her Majesty's Royal Person, or claim succession to the Crown by the untimely death of Her Majesty; vowing and protesting in the presence of the Eternal and Everliving God to prosecute such persons to the death. Dated at Hampton Court on the 19th October 1584. Signed and sealed by thirteen of the Privy Council then present.
Forasmuch as Almighty God hath ordained kings, queens, and princes to have dominion and rule over all their subjects, and to preserve them in the possession and observation of the true Christian religion, according to His holy Word and commandment; and in like sort, that all subjects should love, fear, and obey their sovereign princes, being kings or queens, to the utmost of their power; at all times to withstand, pursue, and suppress all manner of persons, that shall by any means intend and attempt any thing dangerous or hurtful to the honour, state, or persons of their sovereigns.
Therefore we whose names are or shall be subscribed to this writing, being natural-born subjects of this realm of England; and having so gracious a lady, our sovereign Elizabeth, by the ordinance of God, our most rightful Queen, reigning over us these many years with great felicity, to our inestimable comfort, and finding lately by divers depositions, confessions, and sundry advertisements out of foreign parts, from credible persons well known to Her Majesty's Council, and to divers others, that for the furtherance and advancement of some pretended title to the crown, it hath been manifested, that the life of our gracious sovereign Queen Elizabeth hath been most dangerously designed against, to the peril of her person, if Almighty God, her perpetual Defender, of His Mercy had not revealed and withstood the same; by whose life, we, and all other Her Majesty's true and loyal subjects, do enjoy all inestimable benefit of peace in this land: do for these reasons and causes before alleged, not only acknowledge ourselves most justly bound with our lives and goods for her defence, and in her safety to prosecute, suppress and withstand all such intenders, and all other her enemies, of what nation, condition or degree soever they shall be, or by what counsel or title they shall pretend to be her enemies, or to attempt any harm upon her person; but do further think it our bounden duties, for the great benefit of peace, wealth, and godly government, we have more plentifully received these many years under Her Majesty's government, than any of our forefathers have done in any longer time of any of her progenitors, kings of this realm; to declare, and by this writing make manifest our bounden duties to our sovereign lady for her safety.
And to that end, we and every of us, first calling to witness the Name of Almighty God, do voluntarily and most willingly bind our selves, every one of us to the other, jointly and severally in the band of one firm and loyal society; and do hereby vow and promise by the Majesty of Almighty God, that with our whole powers, bodies, lives and goods, and with our children and servants, we and every of us will faithfully serve, and humbly obey our said sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth, against all states, dignities and earthly powers whatsoever; and will as well with our joint and particular forces during our lives withstand, pursue and offend, as well by force of arms, as by all other means of revenge, all manner of persons, of whatsoever state they shall be, and their abettors, that shall attempt any act, or counsel or consent to any thing that shall tend to the harm of Her Majesty's royal person; and will never desist from all manner of forcible pursuit against such persons, to the utter extermination of them, their counsellors, aiders and abettors.
And if any such wicked attempt against her most royal person shall be taken in hand, or procured, whereby any that have, may or shall pretend title to come to this crown by the untimely death of Her Majesty so wickedly procured (which God of His Mercy forbid!) that the same may be avenged, we do not only bind our selves both jointly and severally never to allow, accept or favour any such pretended successor, by whom or for whom any such detestable act shall be attempted or committed, as unworthy of all government in any Christian realm or civil state:
But do also further vow and protest, as we are most bound, and that in the Presence of the eternal and everlasting God, to prosecute such person or persons to death, with our joint and several forces, and to act the utmost revenge upon them, that by any means we or any of us can devise and do, or cause to be devised and done for their utter overthrow and extirpation.
And to the better corroboration of this our Loyal Bond and Association, we do also testify by this writing, that we do confirm the contents hereof by our oaths corporally taken upon the Holy Evangelists, with this express condition, that no one of us shall for any respect of person or causes, or for fear or reward, separate ourselves from this Association, or fail in the prosecution thereof during our lives, upon pain of being by the rest of us prosecuted and supprest as perjured persons, and as public enemies to God, our Queen, and to our native country; to which punishment and pains we do voluntarily submit ourselves, and every of us, without benefit of colour and pretence.
In witness of all which premises to be inviolably kept, we do to this writing put our hands and seals; and shall be most ready to accept and admit any others hereafter to this Society and Association.
*The spelling is modernised.
The preamble is taken from the Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Elizabeth, 1581-1590 (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1865; Nendeln, Liechtenstein: reprinted by Kraus Reprint, 1967), p. 210.
For the original spelling of the Bond, consult the State Trials (A Complete Collection of State-Trials and Proceedings for High Treason), 4th ed. (London: Printed by T. Wright, 1776), v.1, p. 143.
The Act of Association