Concession of 15 May 1213

There is a baseless theory floating around that King John’s “Concession of 15 May 1213" with the Pope means that, even today, the Vatican owns both England and the United States of America. Like many groundless ideas that get promoted, advocates of arguments like this one focus on a single fact and then draw wild conclusions.

The “Concession” required payments from the English King to the Pope, but history shows that King John did not make the required payment for the following year.  As explained in this Wikipedia article regarding King John, he did not make the "required" payment the following year:
“Under mounting political pressure, John finally negotiated terms for a reconciliation, and the papal terms for submission were accepted in the presence of the papal legate Pandulph in May 1213 at the Templar Church at Dover.[177] As part of the deal, John offered to surrender the Kingdom of England to the papacy for a feudal service of 1,000 marks (equivalent to £666 at the time) annually: 700 marks (£466) for England and 300 marks (£200) for Ireland, as well as recompensing the church for revenue lost during the crisis.[178] The agreement was formalised in the Bulla Aurea, or Golden Bull. This resolution produced mixed responses. Although some chroniclers felt that John had been humiliated by the sequence of events, there was little public reaction.[179] Innocent benefited from the resolution of his long-standing English problem, but John probably gained more, as Innocent became a firm supporter of John for the rest of his reign, backing him in both domestic and continental policy issues.[180] Innocent immediately turned against Philip, calling upon him to reject plans to invade England and to sue for peace.[180] John paid some of the compensation money he had promised the church, but he ceased making payments in late 1214, leaving two-thirds of the sum unpaid; Innocent appears to have conveniently forgotten this debt for the good of the wider relationship."
Some payments to the Pope were made pursuant to this agreement off and on for a little more than the next 100 years, eventually ending. “The last payment ever recorded was a token £1,000 from Edward III in 1333, in expectation of papal favours.” See When Did the Pope Rule England

In 1366, the English Parliament concluded that King John had no authority to make the concession.  Sir William Blackstone noted in his Commentaries (book 4, ch. 8) regarding this alleged concession to the Pope:
And when the holy see resented these proceedings, and pope Urban V attempted to revive the vasalage and annual rent to which king John had subjected his kingdom, it was unanimously agreed by all the estates of the realm in parliament assembled, 40 Edw. III., that king John's donation was null and void, being without the concurrence of parliament, and contrary to his coronation oath: and all the temporal nobility and commons engaged, that if the pope should endeavour by process or otherwise to maintain these usurpations, they would resist and withstand him with all their power. 
It is alleged that this concession was a treaty, but if it was, it is subject to another fact regarding treaties: they are often broken. King Henry VIII broke with the Vatican and established the Church of England, seizing Catholic properties. See this article regarding the Reformation, and this Wikipedia history of King Henry VIII

History reveals that both Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell essentially ended all of the Papacy’s connections with England. See this Wikipedia article regarding the English Reformation, which states: 
"The Act in Restraint of Appeals, drafted by Cromwell, apart from outlawing appeals to Rome on ecclesiastical matters, declared that:

"This realm of England is an Empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the Imperial Crown of the same, unto whom a body politic compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by names of Spirituality and Temporality, be bounden and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience.

"This declared England an independent country in every respect."
The above (along with lots of other authority) demonstrates that certainly by the time of Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell, the Pope did not own or control England.  The above theory is thus a false, baseless contention.

Furthermore, Parliament enacted a number of laws establishing various crimes, known as praemunire, with substantial punishments for an Englishman to make appeals to the Pope and Vatican. A Catholic priest conducting church services exposed himself to jail.    

But does the English Monarchy or even England have any legal control over the United States of America? Please remember that there was indeed (contrary to contentions of the revisionists) an American Revolution. And both English and American courts long ago held that the Revolution severed all legal connections between our country and the English crown/England. If the English Monarchy has no legal control over these United American States, he certainly could not have similar control as agent of the Pope.

        Some simple facts regarding the "we are subjects of the British Crown" argument:

    Several years ago, some folks developed an argument that "we are still subjects of the British crown" and started promoting it. You are free to believe that argument which will waste your time. Here is a simple refutation of that argument:

1. The Articles of Confederation provided as follows:
"Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled."
2. On February 6,  1778, the United States entered into a Treaty of Alliance with France (8 Stat. 6).  On July 16, 1782,  we borrowed substantial sums from King Louis XVI of France, via an agreement signed by French Foreign Minister Charles Gravier de Vergennes. It must be noted that there are people who erroneously assert that this loan was really secured from the Brits instead of the French (you can be the judge of their honesty).

3. Our country and the British Crown signed the Treaty of Peace on September 3, 1783 (8 Stat. 218), the first provision of which reads as follows:
"His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz, New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia, to  be free, sovereign and independent States; that he treats with them as such; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, proprietary and  territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof."
See also Nov. 30, 1782 Provisional Treaty and Jan. 20, 1783 Treaty of Cessation of Hostilities.

    Does this 1783 Peace Treaty still exist? All one needs to do to confirm this is to check out a government  publication entitled "Treaties in Force" which can be found in any good library, especially a university library. Under the list of our treaties with Great Britain and the United Kingdom, you will find that this 1783 treaty is still in effect, at least a part of it: "Only article 1 is in force." Art.1 was the section of this treaty acknowledging our independence. The War of 1812 resulted in modifications of this treaty and so did later treaties.

4. The courts have not been silent regarding the effect of the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Peace. For example, the consequences of independence were explained in Harcourt v. Gaillard, 25 U.S. (12 Wheat.) 523, 526-27 (1827), where the Supreme Court stated:
"There was no territory within the United States that was claimed in any other right than that of some one of the confederated states; therefore, there could be no acquisition of territory made by the United States distinct from, or independent of some one of the states.

"Each declared itself sovereign and independent, according to the limits of its territory.

"[T]he soil and sovereignty within their acknowledged limits were as much theirs at the declaration of independence as at this hour."
In M'Ilvaine v. Coxe's Lessee, 8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 209, 212 (1808), the Supreme Court  held:
"This opinion is predicated upon a principle which is believed to be undeniable, that the several states which composed this Union, so far at least as regarded their municipal regulations, became entitled, from the time when they declared themselves independent, to all the rights and powers of sovereign states, and that they did not derive them from concessions made by the British king. The treaty of peace contains a recognition of their independence, not a grant of it. From hence it results, that the laws of the several state governments were the laws of sovereign states, and as such were obligatory upon the people of such state, from the time they were enacted."
In reference to the Treaty of Peace, this same court stated:
"It contains an acknowledgment of the independence and sovereignty of the United States, in their political capacities, and a relinquishment on the part of His Britannic Majesty, of all claim to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same. These concessions amounted, no doubt, to a formal renunciation of all claim to the allegiance of the citizens of the United States".
    Finally, in Inglis v. Trustees of the Sailor's Snug Harbor, 28 U.S. (3 Peters) 99, 120-122 (1830), the question squarely arose as to whether Americans are "subjects of the crown," a proposition flatly rejected by the Court:
"It is universally admitted both in English courts and in those of our own country, that all persons born within the colonies of North America, whilst subject to the crown of Great Britain, were natural born British subjects, and it must necessarily follow that that character was changed by the separation of the colonies from the parent State, and the acknowledgment of their independence. 
"The rule as to the point of time at which the American antenati ceased to be British subjects, differs in this country and in England, as established by the courts of justice in the respective countries. The English rule is to take the date of the Treaty of Peace in 1783. Our rule is to take the date of the Declaration of Independence."
In support of the rule set forth in this case, the court cited an English case to demonstrate that the English courts had already decided that Americans were not subjects of the crown:
"The doctrine of perpetual allegiance is not applied by the British courts to the American antenati. This is fully shown by the late case of Doe v. Acklam, 2 Barn. & Cresw. 779. Chief Justice Abbott says: ‘James Ludlow, the father of Francis May, the lessor of the plaintiff, was undoubtedly born a subject of Great Britain. He was born in a part of America which was at the time of his birth a British colony, and parcel of the dominions of the crown of Great Britain; but upon the facts found, we are of opinion that he was not a subject of the crown of Great Britain at the time of the birth of his daughter. She was born after the independence of the colonies was recognized by the crown of Great Britain; after the colonies had become United States, and their inhabitants generally citizens of those States, and her father, by his continued residence in those States, manifestly became a citizen of them.' He considered the Treaty of Peace as a release from their allegiance of all British subjects who remained there. A declaration, says he, that a State shall be free, sovereign and independent, is a declaration that the people composing the State shall no longer be considered as subjects of the sovereign by whom such a declaration is made."
    Notwithstanding the fact that English and American courts long ago rejected this argument, I still encounter e-mail from parties who contend that this argument is correct. For example, just recently I ran across this note which states:
"In other words, the interstate system of banks is the private property of the King... This means that any profit or gain anyone experienced by a bank/thrift and loan/employee credit union any regulated financial institution carries with it as an operation of law the identical same full force and effect as if the King himself created the gain. So as an operation of law, anyone who has a depository relationship, or a credit relationship, with a bank, such as checking, savings, CD's, charge cards, car loans, real estate mortgages, etc., are experiencing profit and gain created by the King, so says the Supreme Court. At the present time, Mr. Condo, you have bank accounts (because you accept checks as payment for books and subscriptions), and you are very much in an EQUITY RELATIONSHIP with the King
This note also alleged that George Mercier, who wrote an article apparently popular among those who believe the "contract theory" of government, was a retired judge, which is false. Just because you read it on the Net does not make it true.

See also this article, We Ain't Brits.