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bill to him after reading the title, and desires it may be there taken into consideration. If it passes the house Les communes ont assentez is written on the bill. All messages from the commons to the lords, are introduced by the black rod, and those from the lords, are presented by the sergeant, who, with his mace on his shoulder, and walking on their right hand, makes with them three bows as they draw near to the speaker, and then deliver their message ; they do the same as they retreat, keeping their faces always to the chair. When the messages are of great importance, the lords send one or two of the judges to the house of commons.
In the commons, when a member speaks, he stands up, takes off his hat, and addresses his speech only to the speaker ; but cannot speak twice in the same debate, unless the whole house be turned into committee, and then every member may reply as often as he himself or the chairman judges it necessary. If any one in either house, speaks words of offence against the king's majesty or to the house, he is called to order by the speaker, and may be reprimanded at the bar ; but if the offence be very great, he is liable to be sent to the Tower. The speaker takes no part in the debates, but only makes a short and plain narrative, he does not vote unless the house be equally divided.
The peers give their suffrages or votes, beginning at the puisne or lowest baron, and so of the rest, each answering separately “content” or “not content.” In the house of commons they vote by yeas and nays altogether, and if the yeas or nays be doubtful, the house divides. If the question be the bringing in a bill or petition, then the ayes go out ; but if it is on any bill before the house, then the noes go out. In all divisions, the speaker appoints four tellers, two of each opinion, who, after they have told those within, place themselves in the passage betwixt the bar and the door of the house, and tell the others who went out as they enter, and who till then are not permitted to come in: afterwards the two tellers who have the majority take the right hand, and placing themselves within the bar, all the four make their reverences, as they advance, three times, and then deliver the numbers at the table, saying, the ayes that went out are so many, the noes that stayed in so many, and vice versa, which the speaker repeats, and declares the majority. In a committee of the whole house, the way of dividing, is by changing sides, the ayes taking the right and the noes the left hand of the chair, in which case there are but two tellers.
If a bill pass in one house, and the other house demur to receiving it, then a conference is demanded in the Painted Chamber, where rtain deputed members of each house meet, the lords sitting covered at a table, the commons standing uncovered, when the business is debated : if they do not agree, then the business is null ; but if they do agree, then it is at last brought, with all the other bills which have passed both houses, to the king, who comes again wearing his crown and royal robes, and seated on the
throne, and the peers being in their robes, the clerk of the crown reads the title of each bill, and as he reads, the clerk of the parliament, according to his instructions pronounces the royal assent. If it is a public bill he says, Le roy le veut, which gives life and birth to that bill which was before only in embryo. If the bill be private, the answer is Soit fait comme il est desire. If the king refuses his assent to any bill, the answer is Le roy s'avisera, which is an absolute denial, but in a mild and gracious manner, and the bill is wholly null. If it be a money bill, or has subsidies for its object, he says, Le roy remercie ses loyaux sujets, accepte leur benevolence, et aussi le veut.
This custom of using the French language, was imposed by William the Conqueror, and has been continued ever since as a matter of form, which often subsists for ages after the real substance of things has been altered ; and judge Blackstone says, it is “a badge, it must be owned, now the only one remaining, of conquest ; and which one would wish to see fall into total oblivion, unless it be reserved as a solemn memento to remind us that our liberties are mortal, baving once been destroyed by a foreign force.”
A bill for the king's general pardon has but one reading in either house, because they must take it as the king will please to give it.
When the business for which the parliament was summoned, has been brought to a conclusion, then the king usually adjourns, prorogues, or dissolves the parliament in the following manner :
The adjournments are always made in the house of peers, by the lord chancellor, in the king's name, to any other day which the king pleases, and also to what other place, if he thinks fit to remove them, as used formerly to be done. Every thing already debated or read in one or both houses, continues in the same state as it was in before the adjournment, to the next meeting, and so may be resumed. This is to be understood only of such adjournments as precede a recess for some time; for in all other cases, it is the undoubted privilege of each house to adjourn itself. When parliament is prorogued, the session is ended, in which case, such bills in either house as were almost ready, but had not the royal assent, must at the re-assembling of parliament, be begun anew. When notice is given to the speaker of the house of Commons, that it is the king's pleasure to adjourn the parliament, he says “ This house is adjourned.'
When it is the king's pleasure to prorogue or dissolve parliament, he generally comes down to the house of peers wearing his crown, and sends the black rod for the members of the house of commons to come to the bar of the house of peers, and after signifying his assent or dissent, as already described, his majesty usually makes a speech, and sometimes the lord chancellor another : then the lord chancellor, by his majesty's special command, pronounces the parliament either prorogued or dissolved. Sometimes parliament is prorogued or dissolved by commission, under the great seal, and in the same manner bills have been passed. The king
being the head of the parliament, if his death happened during its sitting, it was formerly ipso facto dissolved. But to prevent tumults and confusions, it has been provided by a solemn act : “ that a parliament sitting or in being at the demise of the king, shall continue for six months, and if not sitting, shall meet expressly for keeping the peace of the realm and preserving the succession.'
THE ANCIENT PARLIAMENT OF SCOTLAND.
ALTHOUGH the parliament of Scotland, by the happy union of the kingdoms, is now at an end, and the representatives of this country united to those of England, with the peers, compose the imperial parliament of Great Britain ; yet when we reflect on our own independence as a free people, and upon its ancient grandeur, decency, dignity, and excellent order in transacting public affairs, it will not be unacceptable to take a brief view of it.
The late supreme court, both in dignity and in authority, was accounted the assembly of the states of the kingdom, and was called a parliament. It consisted always of three estates, the lords spiritual, the lords temporal, and the commissioners of counties, cities, and boroughs. This court was called by the king or queen-regent at pleasure, allowing a certain time for notice before their assembling. Forty days previous to meeting, the parliament was summoned by proclamation at the principal burgh of each county; after which the counties and burghs met for their elections. Every one who held lands of the crown, who in the rolls of taxations were valued at forty shillings Scots money of taxation to the king, which in real value may be about ten pounds sterling a year, or every one who had thirty three pounds six shillings and eight pence, of the present valuation, was an elector or might have been elected, if he was legally infeft or seised in the lands, and was not at the king's horn, or under an outlawry. The electors subscribed the commissions they gave, which returned their member or commissioner, as was the language of the Scottish parliament. In the case of a controverted election, the parliament judged who should
In the royal burgh, the common council elected the commissioner. On the first session of each parliament, the regalia, crown, sceptre, and sword of state, were brought down in state from the castle where they were kept, to Holyrood house, the coach being well attended with guards, and every passer by being obliged to be uncovered.
The following was the order of the procession in the riding of the Scottish parliament at Edinburgh, 6th May, 1703, with the number of
those who went or should have gone in the procession. The streets of the city of Edinburgh and the Canongate being cleared of all coaches and car. riages, and a lane formed by railing the streets on both sides ; within which none were permitted to enter but those who formed the procession, the captains, lieutenants, and ensigns of the trained bands excepted. Without the rails, the streets westward were lined with the horse guards from the palace of Holyrood house ; after them, with the horse grenadiers ; next with the foot guards, who covered the streets up to the Netherbow, and thence to the parliament square by the city trained bands; from the parliament square to the parliament house, by the lord high constable's guards ; and from the parliament house to the bar, by the earl marshall's guards ; the lord high constable being seated in an elbow chair at the door of the parliament house ; the officers of state having ridden up before in their robes; and the members of parliament with their attendants, being assembled at Holyrood house, the rolls of parliament were called by the lord Register, lord Lyon, and heralds from the windows and gates of the palace, from which the procession moved to the parliament house in the following order :
Two trumpets in coats and banners, bareheaded, riding
Two pursuivants in coats and foot mantles, riding
covered, two and two,
two and two
Nineteen viscounts as the former,
Four trumpets, two and two;
Four pursuivants, two and two;
and foot mantle
Sword of State,
The purse, by commission of the
earl of Morton.
THE DUKE OF QUEENSBERRY, LORD HIGH COMMISSIONER,
with his servants, pages,
The duke of Argyle ;
The horse guards.
The lord high commissioner, was received by the lord high constable, and by him conducted to the earl marshall, between whom his grace, ushered by the lord high chancellor, was conveyed to the throne.
Before the abolition of episcopacy the two archbishops and the other bishops walked in this procession, as the first estate of the parliament. The archbishops had each eight footmen, and every other bishop three; and if they pleased might have each a gentleman to hold up his train. The great officers of state rode up from the palace in their robes about half an hour before the procession, attended by their friends on horseback, waiting in the parliament house. When the king was present, the lord chancellor received his majesty at the door of the house, and conducted him to the throne. All the members were obliged to wait on the high commissioner in the great hall, the noblemen being in their robes. They returned to the palace in the same order they came, only the constable and marshall rode on the commissioner's right and left hand, in permission caps: the lord chancellor and lord privy seal remained till all were departed, and then returned to the palace in the same state they came to the parliament house. When the king or queen rode in person, the lord chancellor rode carrying the great seal ; but not before a commissioner. When the king or queen regnant was present, the marquises and dukes rode after the earls ; but if his majesty's commissioner was present, they followed him at some distance on his right or left hand. After the king or his commissioner was received by the lord chancellor, he was seated on a throne six steps high with a canopy of state over it. On the first step under him the lord chancellor sat on a bench with the other officers of state on both sides of him. On the next step under him sat the lords of session or judges. On the right hand of the throne the bishops sat, rising up in two rows of benches: the archbishops sat on the two highest, and the bishops on the lower according to the dignity of their sees or the dates of their consecration. On the left of the throne was another great bench of three steps, and as many rows of benches on which the nobility sat according to their precedence. In the middle of the four were two tables, upon one of which the regalia were deposited ; and then beside them in two great chairs the constable and marshall sat : at the other table the lord