Praemunire is a term used in English canon law as well as British common law to designate a species of offence of the nature of a contempt of the ruling power, for which enactments were passed, and was so called from the mandatory words with which the writ directing the citation of a party charged with the offence commences. The different statutes of praemunire were originally framed in order to restrain the encroachments of the papal power. They begin with the 27 Edward III, st. i, c. 1, and continue from that period down to the reign of Henry VIII, when the kingdom entirely renounced the authority of the Roman pontiffs. The exorbitant powers exercised by the pope in presenting to benefices and in other ecclesiastical matters, and the privileges claimed by the clergy, who resisted the authority of the king's courts, and recognized no jurisdiction but that of the court of Rome, rendered some enactments absolutely necessary to uphold the law of the country and the independence of the nation. This, then, is the original meaning of the offence termed praemunire — viz., introducing a foreign power into the land, and creating an imperium in imperio by paying that obedience to the papal process which constitutionally belonged to the king alone. Its penalties have been subsequently applied to other heinous offences, some of which bear more and some less relation to this original offence, and some no relation at all, as a chapter refusing to elect as bishop the person nominated by the sovereign, neglecting to take the oath of allegiance, transgressing the statute of habeas corpus (by 6 Anne, c. 7), the asserting by preaching, teaching, or advisedly speaking that any person other than according to the Acts of Settlement and Union has any right to the British throne, or that the sovereign and parliament cannot make laws to limit the descent of the crown. The knowingly and willfully solemnizing, assisting, or being present at any marriage forbidden by the Royal Marriage Act is declared by 12 George III, c. 11, to infer a praemunire. The penalties for the offence are no less than the following, as shortly summed tip by Sir E. Coke (I Inst. p. 129): "That from the conviction the defendant shall be out of the king's protection, and his lands and tenements, goods and chattels, forfeited to the king, and that his body shall remain in prison during the king's pleasure, or (as others have it) during life." The offender can bring no action nor recover damages for the most atrocious injuries. and no man can safely give him comfort, aid, or relief. (See Baxter, Ch. Hist. p. 291; Hardwick, Hist. of the Ref. p. 187, 361.) In very recent times the dissenters have labored for the abolition of the statute of praemunire (see London Globe, Nov. 1869).