National Society Magna Charta Dames and Barons

Electronic Newsletter, August, 2000



DATE: AUGUST 12, 2000

I am delighted to report that our Society is doing extremely well and to present our fifth Electronic Newsletter. We continue to develop awareness  of Magna Charta and its message.

Please visit our WebSite  News Page and Table of Contents. Please E-mail us using the Feedback Page. The link to the Newsletter on the WebSite is: The Newsletter on the WebSite has bookmarks and links within the document.

The Highlights of this E-Newsletter include:
    Queen Mother's Birthday Celebration - September 10, 2000
    Educational Tour Information - June 11 - 20, 2001
    Lost Members 7/1/98 to 8/12/00
    E-mail Information - Now up to 1,200
    Officer Visits to FL and NC
    Member Initiative
    Membership Information
    Information about our E-mail List
    Remarks by Senator Robert Byrd - June 15, 2000


Our Society is pleased to accept the invitation of  Mr. Oliver St. C. Franklin, Honorary British Consul in Philadelphia (our speaker in Washington, 2000) and The Very Reverend Richard Giles, Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of Philadelphia, to a celebration and afternoon tea in Honor of HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The celebration will be held at The Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia. The cost of the tea is $20.00 per adult; children are welcome. We have provided addresses for 400 of our members and friends who reside relatively near Philadelphia. We encourage all to participate and to wear your Society insignia. If you have not received an invitation and would like to participate, please contact our Society Office at 215-836-5022. You may also send your subscription, payable to The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, c/o Dr. Jean Roberts, 9 Waterman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118.


We have prepared and included the itinerary for our June, 2001 Educational Tour on our WebSite. This Tour, June 11 - 20, 2000, to Dorset, Windsor and London continues our tradition of excellent Educational Tours. The link to the June Tour is:   

Please contact our Society Office for Terms and Conditions. Since we anticipate considerable interest in this Tour, we encourage early deposits to hold your space. Also please remembers that applications to Royal Ascot are considered in order of receipt. The form of letter to send will be provided after your deposit has been received.

This outstanding Tour includes the Trooping of the Colour, Garter Day Procession at Windsor Castle and Royal Ascot. It includes visits to private homes and locations of historical and cultural significance, including Minterne House, hosted by Lord and Lady Digby, Runnymede, Salisbury Cathedral, the British Library, Corfe Castle and Sherborne Castle. The exceptional English Blue Badge Guides provide insight for our Tours which combined with an outstanding program provide a fulfilling educational experience.

Some of the events and activities in which we will participate have not been scheduled so the itinerary may be modified for a particularly exceptional event or activity. For example, in May, 1999 we learned that we would be in Windsor Castle for the June Royal Wedding of HRH Prince Edward. While we cannot promise a similar event next year, we can provide assurance of an outstanding Tour.

Please sign up promptly.

LOST MEMBERS 7/1/98 TO 8/12/00

We have added a page to the WebSite which lists the 438 Lost Dames and Barons for the period from 7/1/98 to 8/12/00. Please check this list and let us now the current address for any of the Lost Members. Since we have used the WebSite to locate lost members we have located, or unhappily identified as deceased, over 400 members of the Society.


Our E-mail listing has increased by 200 since April. We need to significantly increase the number of members and friends on our email listing. Please ask your relatives or friends to send us their E-mail address. Please also send us the E-mail addresses of friends who are interested either in lineage societies or in memorializing Magna Charta.  Should you have any questions concerning membership, you might call the Society Office for forms or procedures at 215-836-5022.


I was delighted to attend the first annual meeting of the new Florida Regent, Mrs. Raymond J. McAuliffe. Mrs. William E. Laird has retired as Florida Regent after 18 very successful years. As Mrs. Laird continues as a Vice President and a valued advisor, we express our deep appreciation for her service and commitment to our Society. 

I was also delighted to attend the first annual meeting of the new North Carolina Regent, Mrs. Muriel Piver. I was pleased to hear the report of The Michie Trust Committee, Chaired by Mrs. Howard Manning, which has been making awards to North Carolina students who have written excellent essays concerning topics significant to our Society or the DAR. Mrs. Manning and I will undertake to publish some of the essays on the WebSite. I believe this is a significant step forward for our Educational Programs..

 I hope during the course of the next few years to visit with many of the other Divisions.


We commend the initiative of our member Judith Kay Moore Miles and her husband Paul. They sent an E-mail which included the remarks of Senator Robert Byrd on June 15, 2000 in Congress. I have included the remarks at the end of this E-Newsletter as I believe it is excellent and informative.


As mentioned in prior E-Newsletters, membership continues to be of vital importance to our Society. If you wish to speed up or facilitate the membership process, please include with the Proposal Form a well documented lineage (including copies of the documentation) to either a known ancestor or to one of the qualifying Barons. If you have sent lineage information without the copies you may also speed up the process by sending copies of the documentation. Lineage Forms are provided on the WebSite.


Our E-mail list is made up of who have send us E-mail, of members and friends of the Society who have responded to our Newsletter request for E-mail addresses and others who we believe might be interested in our Society or mission. If you would prefer not to receive future Electronic Newsletters, however, please let us know. If you have friends who you believe might be interested in our Society, please forward this E-mail. If you have received this as a forwarded email, please visit our WebSite at  for more information about our Society. You may also contact our Society Office at 215-836-5022 between the hours of 9:30am and 3:00pm.


The Society received the following E-mail on June 16, 2000: Yesterday, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia gave a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate honoring the Magna Charta. As my husband works at the Senate, he brought home a copy of the Congressional Record today which contains that speech. We have made a copy from the Congressional Record and thought you might find it interesting.
Judith Kay Moore Miles, Member, Magna Charta Dames and Barons

[Congressional Record: June 15, 2000 (Senate), Page S5182, From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [] [DOCID:cr15jn00-96]


Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, today is a very special anniversary. One will not find it noted on most calendars. Although it lacks the familiarity of the anniversary of the writing of the Constitution, for example, it is a day well worth remembering. The 15th day of this month deserves our attention for one very fundamental reason which is quite important to this Republic and to those of us in this Chamber. It marks the birth of the idea that ours is a government of laws and not of men, and that no man, no man is above the law.

Seven hundred and eighty-five years ago, on June 15, 1215, English barons met on the plains of Runnymede, on the Thames River near Windsor Castle, to present a list of demands to their king. King John had recently engaged in a series of costly and disastrous military adventures against France. These operations had drained the royal treasury and forced King John to receive the barons' list of demands. These demands--known as the Articles of the Barons--were intended as a restatement of ancient baronial liberties, as a limitation on the king's power to raise funds, and as a reassertion of the principle of due process under law, at that time referred to in these words, ``law of the land.'' Under great pressure, King John accepted the barons' demands on June 15 and set his royal seal to their set of stipulations. Four days later, the king and barons agreed on a formal version of that document. It is that version that we know today as Magna Carta. Thirteen copies were made and distributed to every English county to be read to all freemen. Four of those copies survive today. 

Several of this ancient document's sixty-three clauses are of towering importance to our system of government. The thirty-ninth clause, evident in the U.S. Constitution's Fifth and Fourteenth amendments, underscores the vital importance of the rule of law and due process of law. It reads ``No freeman shall be captured or imprisoned . . . except by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.'' 

Beginning with Henry III, the nine-year-old who succeeded King John in 1216, English kings reaffirmed Magna Carta many times, and in 1297 under Edward I it became a fundamental part of English law in the confirmation of the charters. (An original of the 1297 edition is on indefinite loan from the Perot Foundation and is displayed in the rotunda of the National Archives.) In 1368, that would have been under the reign of Edward III, a statute of Edward III established the supremacy of Magna Carta by requiring that it ``be holden and kept in all Points; and if there be any Statute made to the contrary, it shall be holden for none.''

In the early 1600s, the jurist and parliamentary leader Sir Edward Coke interpreted Magna Carta as an instrument of human liberty, and in doing so, made it a weapon in the parliamentary struggle against the gathering absolutism of the Stuart monarchy. As he proclaimed to Parliament in 1628, ``Magna Carta will have no sovereign.'' Unless Englishmen insist on their rights, another observed, ``then farewell Parliaments and farewell England.''

By the end of that century, through the course of civil war and the Glorious Revolution, the rights of self-government, first acknowledged in 1215, became firmly secured.

As settlers began their migration to England's colonies throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, they took with them an understanding of their laws and liberties as Englishmen. Magna Carta inspired William Penn as he shaped Pennsylvania's charter of government. Members of the colonial Stamp Act Congress in 1765 interpreted Magna Carta to secure the right to jury trials. 

After the colonies declared their independence of Great Britain, many of their new state constitutions carried bills of rights derived from the 1215 charter, Magna Carta. As University of Virginia law professor A.E. Dick Howard notes in his classic study of the subject, by the twentieth century, Magna Carta had become ``irrevocably embedded into the fabric of American constitutionalism, both by contributing specific concepts such as due process of law and by being the ultimate symbol of constitutional government under a rule of law.''

In 1975, the British Parliament offered Congress and the American people a most generous gift. To celebrate two hundred years of American independence from Great Britain, Parliament offered to loan one of Magna Carta's four surviving copies to the United States Congress for a year. The document they selected is known as the Wymes copy and is regularly displayed in the British Library. Parliament also made a permanent gift of a magnificent display case bearing a gold replica of Magna Carta.

A delegation of Senators and Representatives traveled to London in May 1976 to receive that document at a colorful and thronged ceremony in Westminster Hall. On June 3, 1976, a distinguished delegation of parliamentary officials joined their American counterparts for a gala ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. The display case containing Magna Carta was placed near the Rotunda's center, where, over the following year, more than five million visitors had the rare opportunity to view this fundamental charter at close range.

At a June 13, 1977, ceremony concluding the exhibit, I offered brief remarks in my capacity as Senate Majority Leader. I noted that nothing during the previous bicentennial year had meant more to the nation than this gift. I recalled the Lord Chancellor's diplomatic interpretation, during the 1976 ceremony, of the reasons for the bicentennial celebrations. This is what he said: 
    What happened two hundred years ago, we learned, was not a victory by the American colonies over Britain but rather a joint victory for freedom by the English-speaking world.

 Today, the magnificent display case remains in the Capitol Rotunda as a reminder of our two nations' joint political heritage. I encourage my colleagues to visit this case in the rotunda and examine its panel with raised gold text duplicating that of Magna Carta. What better way could we choose to observe this very special anniversary day?

To search the Congressional Record: 

I hope that each of you are well. Do not hesitate to call me with questions or suggestions. 

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