Speechless in New Hampshire: On Socage and Chattels and Knights

Abby Zimet

All (18) GOP eyes are now on New Hampshire, where lawmakers are about to consider a bill by three GOP freshmen requiring all new legislation to find its direct origin in an 800-year-old, feudal barons' 63 declaration of rights from King John of England, aka the Magna Carta. Sponsor Lucien Vita admitted he needs to "bone up" on the charter, crafted in Latin in 1215, which doesn't consider certain modern issues like marriage equality or Internet freedom, but "it's a document that still functions," which is evidently more than you can say about the New Hampshire state legislature.

"We shall straightway return the son of Llewelin and all the Welsh hostages....We shall act towards Alexander King of the Scots regarding the restoration of his sisters."

"No constable or his bailiff is to take corn or other chattels from anyone who not themselves of a vill where a castle is built, unless the constable or his bailiff immediately offers money in payment of obtains a respite by the wish of the seller."

"No sheriff or bailiff of ours or of anyone else is to take anyone’s horses or carts to make carriage, unless he renders the payment customarily due, namely for a two-horse cart ten pence per day. No demesne cart belonging to any churchman or knight or any other lady (sic) is to be taken by our bailiffs, nor will we or our bailiffs or anyone else take someone else’s timber for a castle or any other of our business save by the will of he to whom the timber belongs."

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