57. A Bill Declaring that None Shall Be Condemned without Trial, and that Justice Shall Not Be Sold or Deferred
Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed, nor shall the commonwealth pass upon him, nor condemn him but by lawful judgment of his peers, or by the laws of the land. Justice or right shall not be sold, denied or deferred to no man.1
Report description begins Report of the Committee of Revisors Appointed by the General Assembly of Virginia in MDCCLXXVI, Richmond, 1784 description ends , p. 42. Text of Act as adopted is in Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends xii, 186.
Bill presented by Madison 31 Oct. 1785, passed by House 2 Dec., amended by Senate 5 Dec., and amendment agreed to by House same day (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , Oct. 1785, 1828 edn., p. 12–15, 64, 69, 72, 133). The text of this Bill providing for the ancient right of trial by jury is based upon Magna Carta and was adopted as proposed except for the addition of a clause putting it in effect 1 Jan. 1787 and except for the grammatical correction noted below; TJ must have employed a very early text containing this double negative expression.
1. Act reads: “to any man.”