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Abjuration is the solemn repudiation, abandonment, or renunciation by or upon oath, often the renunciation of citizenship or some other right or privilege. (It comes from the Latin abjurare, "to forswear").


Abjuration of the realm

Abjuration of the realm was a type of abjuration in ancient English law. The person taking the oath swore to leave the country directly and promptly never to return to the kingdom unless by permission of the sovereign. This was often taken by fugitives who had taken sanctuary:

I swear on the Holy Book that I will leave the realm of England and never return without the express permission of my Lord the King or his heirs. I will hasten by the direct road to the port allotted to me and not leave the King's highway under pain of arrest or execution. I will not stay at one place more than one night and will seek diligently for a passage across the sea as soon as I arrive, delaying only one tide if possible. If I cannot secure such passage, I will walk into the sea up to my knees every day as a token of my desire to cross. And if I fail in all this, then peril shall be my lot.

English Commonwealth

Near the start of the English Civil War, on 18 August 1643 Parliament passed an "An Ordinance for Explanation of a former Ordinance for Sequestration of Delinquents Estates with some Enlargements." The enlargements included an oath which became known as the "Oath of Abjuration":

In 1656, it was reissued in what was for Catholics an even more objectionable form. Everyone was to be "adjudged a Papist" who refused this oath, and the consequent penalties began with the confiscation of two thirds of the recusant's goods, and went on to deprive him of almost every civic right.[2]

The Catholic Encyclopaedia make the point that the oath and the penalties were so severe that it stopped the efforts of the gallicanizing party among the English Catholics, who had been ready to offer forms of submission similar to the old oath of Allegiance, which was condemned anew about this time by Pope Innocent X.[2][3]

Great Britain

In England, an oath of abjuration was taken by members of Parliament, clergy, and laymen, pledging to support the current British monarch and repudiated the right of the Stuarts and other claimants to the throne. This oath was imposed under William III, George I and George III. It was superseded by the oath of allegiance.

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