The Magna Carta Project

Original Latin


Omnes mercatores habeant salvum et securum exire de Anglia, et venire in Angliam, et morari et ire per Angliam, tam per terram quam per aquam, ad emendum et vendendum sine omnibus malis toltis, per antiquas et rectas consuetudines, praeterquam in tempore gwerrae, et si sint de terra contra nos gwerrina; et si tales inveniantur in terra nostra in principio gwerrae, attachientur sine dampno corporum et rerum, donec sciatur a nobis vel capitali justiciario nostro quomodo mercatores terrae nostrae tractentur, qui tunc invenientur in terra contra nos gwerrina; et si nostri salvi sint ibi, alii salvi sint in terra nostra.


All merchants are to be safe and secure in departing from and coming to England, and in their residing and movements in England, by both land and water, for buying and selling, without any evil exactions but only paying the ancient and rightful customs, except in time of war and if they come from the land against us in war. And if the latter are found in our land at the outbreak of war, they are to be attached without harm to their bodies and goods, until we or our chief justiciar know how merchants of our own land, who are then found in the land against us in war; are being treated, and if ours are safe there, the others are to be safe in our land.

Commentary for general audience

Clause 41 was principally a concession to the city ofLondon, which by opening its gates to the rebellious barons on 17 May 1215 made it at least temporarily impossible for King John to resist their demands for sweeping reforms.

The reigns of Richard I and of John himself had seen heavy new customs duties imposed on merchants trading to and fromEngland, while the wars of both kings against Philip II ofFranceand his allies led to frequent restrictions on the movement of people and goods. Under this clause, foreign merchants were to be able to trade freely withEngland, paying only the traditional customs on the goods they imported and exported. In times of war they were to be treated in the same way that English merchants were treated in the hostile territories. Clause 41 remained in force after 1215, and seems to have been generally observed.

Referenced in

Clause 60 (The 1215 Magna Carta)

The regency government of Peter des Roches (The Itinerary of King John)

Magna Carta 1215
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