This, however, was not the original text, which was neglected until the time of Blackstone, who printed the various issues of the charter in his book The Great Charter and the Charter of the Forest (1759).
The most surprising part of the Great Charter to modern eyes is its sixty-first paragraph, that which openly statesdoubts as to the kings intention to abide by his promise, and appoints a committee of twenty-five guardians of the charter (twenty-four barons and the mayor of London), who are to coerce their master, by force of arms if necessary, to observe every one of its clauses.
Both before and after the issue of the Great Charter Hubert adhered loyally to the king; he was rewarded, in June 1215, with the office of chief justiciar.
The inevitable oath to observe honestly all the conditions of the Great Charter of 1215 was, as usual, extorted from him with special formalities.
Thus he annulled the Great Charter in 1215.
The spirit of the Great Charter is not less discernible: excessive amercements, abuses of wardship, irregular demands for feudal aids, are forbidden in the same words or by amending enactments.