[ENGLISH CIVIL WAR]. A Declaration of the Parliament of England. Expressing the Grounds of their late Proceedings, And of Settling the present Government in the way of A Free State. London, printed for Edward Husband, printer to the honorable House of Commons, and are to be sold at his shop in Fleetstreet at the sign of the golden Dragon near the Inner-Temple, March 22, 1648 [i.e. 1649].
8vo. Disbound, pp. -27, without the initial leaf A1, which was printed on verso 'Die Sabbathi, 17 Martii, 1648. Ordered by the Commons ... that this declaration be forthwith printed and published. Hen: Scobell, Cleric. Parliament'; paperfalw to two leaves, otherwise good.
Very rare first edition of a milestone of constitutional history, not only of England. 'Charles Stuart, king of England, was executed on 30 January 1649. The kingdom was left without a ruler. Members of the House of Commons turned to the urgent task of remodeling the government. The House of Lords had opposed bringing the king to trial. When the Lords now offered to assist with the rebuilding, a majority of the Commons turned their wrath on them. On 6 February a resolution stating that the House of Lords was “useless and dangerous and ought to be abolished” passed the Commons without a division. The following day, 7 February, the Commons, now calling itself the Parliament of England, passed a resolution that “the office of a king in this nation, and to have the power thereof in any single person, is unnecessary, burdensome, and dangerous to the liberty, safety and public interests of the people of this nation, and therefore ought to be abolished.” This too was carried without a division. Bold decisions. Yet it was not until 17 March and 19 March that these resolutions that abolished the House of Lords and monarchy were transformed into acts. Executive authority was entrusted to a Council of State of some forty-one members. Two days later, on 22 March, the Parliament published a declaration that publicly justified their “late proceedings.” These proceedings included the trial and execution of the king as well as the abolition of the House of Lords and the monarchy. This short but crucial constitutional document has been strangely neglected by constitutional scholars and historians. The text printed below was taken from the single English edition published. The declaration was also published in Latin as “Parliamenti Anglia Declaratio” and, presumably looking to good foreign relations, in other languages as well. Three months later a protest from the Scots Parliament was published objecting to the trial and execution of the late king. And a little more than a year later, on 31 May 1650, an anonymous tract appeared that directly attacked Parliament’s declaration' (Malcolm, The Struggle for Sovereignty: Seventeenth-Century English Political Tracts quoted from the Online Library of Liberty).
This very important pamphlet was 'translated in the same year into Latin as "Parliamenti Angliæ declaratio: in quâ res nuperum gestæ et decretum de statu angliæ regio in liberam rempublicam vertendo, asseruntur." London, into Dutch as "Declaratie van het Parlement van Engelandt, verklarende de gront van hare laetste proceduren, ende het stellen van de tegen woordige regieringhe op de maniere van een vrye staet." Gouda, and into German as "Einige declarationen von dem Parlament von Engelland, verklärend den grund ihrer proceduren vnd gegenwärtigen anstiftung einer regierung eines freyen staats." London i.e. Amsterdam' (ESTC).