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The Magna Carta may have helped establish our right to protection against unlawful legal detention, but that doesn’t mean the venerated document can’t be held in New York a little longer than expected while Europe resolves its travel woes.
The Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan said a rare manuscript of the Magna Carta that it will show starting Wednesday would remain on display through May 30 while arrangements were made to transport it home to Britain. As all good schoolchildren know, the original Magna Carta was signed by King John of England in 1215 at Runnymede, putting limits on the king’s power and enumerating legal principles like the writ of habeas corpus. The version at the Morgan, which dates to 1217, is one of 17 surviving originals produced in the 13th century that bear the royal seal. It had been held by the Bodleian Library at Oxford University and was transported to New York for a special Oxford event, but could not be returned to Britain as a result of travel restrictions imposed after the eruption of an Icelandic volcano. Through the end of May, Britain’s loss is America’s gain.