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was, the undoubted right of his majesty, and his royal predecessors, kings and queens of England, and that both or either of the houses of parliament cannot, nor ought to pretend to the same ; nor can, nor lawfully may raise or levy any war, offensive or defensive, against his majesty, his heirs or lawful successors; and yet the contrary thereof hath of late years been practised, almost to the ruin and destruction of this kingdom; and, during the late usurped government, many evil and rebellious principles have been instilled into the minds of the people of this kingdom, which, unless pre vented, may break forth to the disturbance of the peace and quiet thereof." (Act 13 Ch. II. c. 6.)
By his prerogative the king can erect beacons, lighthouses, and seamarks, whenever and wherever he chooses ; and if the owner of the land,
other person, shall destroy or remove any of these, he is liable to be amerced in £100, and in failure of payment he is ipso facto outlawed. The king can prevent any one from leaving the kingdom, by issuing his writ under the great seal, or by commanding parties to return if abroad; disobedience to either is a high contempt of the king's prerogative, for which the offender's lands may be seized till his return; after which he is liable to fine and imprisonment.
The king is the sole judge of all his subjects, which is fully acknowledged in the statute 24 Henry VIII. c. 12., where he is called the “one supreme head and king—he being also instituted and furnished by the goodness and sufferance of Almighty God, with plenary, whole and entire power, pre-eminence, authority, prerogative, and jurisdiction to render and yield justice, and final determination, to all manner of folk, resiants or subjects within the realm, in all causes, matters, debates, and contentions,” &c. But acting as a judge in his own proper person, would be both physically impossible and also derogatory to his dignity; he distributes justice, therefore, to all his subjects, through the channels of the different courts of justice in the kingdom, which are erected solely in his name, and by his authority, justice being rendered entirely in his name, under his seal, and executed by his officers alone, and by none other.
In the beginning of his long and glorious reign, George III. rendered the judges independent, in order to prevent the possibility of their being corrupted or biased in the administration of justice ; he declared “that he looked upon the independence and uprightness of the judges, as essential to the impartial administration of justice; as one of the best securities of the rights and liberties of his subjects; and as most conducive to the honour of the crown.” Accordingly he gave his consent to an act of parliament, continuing the judges in their office notwithstanding the demise of the crown ; and they cannot be removed but by the joint address of both houses of parliament to the king. This is an act of concession from the crown, that cannot be too highly praised, as the perversion of justice is
thus made almost next to impossible. English courts of law are neither executive nor legislative, they are entirely judicial, which renders them preeminently conservators of the liberties of the people.
“We see then," says an excellent writer, “ that this single act of our (late) gracious sovereign, in recommending to his parliament so important a measure, has been the means of fortifying our liberties with a very strong additional barrier. This alone would have endeared the king (George IJI.) to his subjects, had he given no subsequent proofs of his earnest desire to extend the civil and religious liberties of his people. This patriotic act of the king is unexampled in history. What was the great charter of our liberties, but the involuntary grant of a cowardly tyrant! What were the religious advantages obtained at the Reformation, but the unforeseen effects of the violence of a capricious monarch! What were the civil privileges secured during the reigns of the Stewarts, but the reluctant concessions of princes who could not resist their parliaments! What, in short, were the blessings of the glorious Revolution, but the conciliating measures of a monarch whose title rested entirely on the national feelings! But in this measure we behold the unbiased, disinterested conduct of a wise and virtuous king, solicitous to provide for the happiness of his subjects.”
After the flood it pleased God to enter into a covenant with Noah, the universal sovereign, and of course through him with all sovereign princes, giving him the power of life and death; “ whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made he man, (Gen. ix. 6.) And as mercy is one of the attributes of the Most High, in token of which “I do set my bow in the cloud—and the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature," so it is also the brightest jewel in every earthly crown, the prerogative of pardoning offences being alone its incommunicable right. At his coronation the king takes a solemn oath in presence of his assembled people, to administer justice in mercy. And although he cannot personally distribute justice, yet by a fiction of law, he is always present in every court. The judges are the mirror by which his image is reflected : and hence the king, by a similar fiction, is said to possess ubiquity.
To issue proclamations is also a prerogative of the crown. Not that a proclamation makes a new law or dispenses with an old one, or that they are any further binding on the subject, than as they promulgate any known or acknowledged law. It is a standing law, that the king can prohibit any one from leaving the kingdom ; a proclamation, therefore, laying an embargo on all shipping in time of war, has the full force and efficacy of an act of parliament. But in the time of peace a proclamation, laying an embargo on vessels laden with wheat, is not legal. Proclamations which
are contrary to the laws, are not binding. Hence when James II. prosecuted the seven bishops for presenting their humble petition, showing the illegality of complying with his assumed dispensing power, they were fully acquitted.
The king is the source and fountain of all honour, and the nobility of every rank and degree hold their patents from the crown alone. When titles of honour are conferred, they are either expressed by writ or letters patent, as in the creation of peers or baronets ; or by corporeal investiture, as in the creation of a knight. The king also grants privileges to individuals, such as place and precedence, and charters to corporations. He is also the arbiter of commerce, by settling the establishment of public marts and fairs, with their tolls or customs. He also regulates weights and measures. To him “ tribute is due—for he is God's minister, attending continually on this very thing;” it is his authority alone which gives value and currency to “Cæsar's image and superscription." His proclamation gives value and currency to foreign coin ; and he may at any time cry
down any coin, and render it no longer current. The stronger the prerogatives of the crown, the greater is the people's security; and it is absolutely necessary that the crown should be free from all coercion, for whosoever can coerce the king can oppress any other man, and the chief end of government is to preserve the people from each other's oppression. Where the king has not sufficient authority to protect the weak from the tyranny of the strong, when his prerogative is lessened and reduced, then the liberty and freedom of the people is destroyed, and they are let loose like Ishmael, every man against his neighbour, to pillage and oppress, which is the greatest and most wretched tyranny. Both a king and a parliament may be guilty of acts of tyranny and oppression ; but such will neither be of so long continuance nor so fatal in their effects; for a king has bowels of compassion, God keeps his heart in his own hand, he cannot seek the destruction of his own country, for in that he would involve himself. Every member of a parliament has a stake in the country, and therefore can never desire its ruin ; and although both king and parliament may, and have done, extravagant things, yet they will stop short of its utter desolation, and remedies may be applied. But different and contending factions have neither mercy nor compassion, but each seeks the ruin and extermination of the other, and neither thinks itself safe but in the destruction of the adverse faction. When the prerogatives of the crown are so weakened that it lias not strength or authority to quell and keep down factions, but suffers them to contend together, then there is tyranny, -tyranny in the abstract, where there are no bowels of compassion, but blind fury and enmity, totally indifferent and reckless of consequences. And if factions divide the nation, which they almost always do, each appealing to the passions of the multitude, then the calamity becomes national
and the government is swallowed up, and the liberties of the people perish. This worst of all tyrannies is occasioned by the weakness of the crown, and is only prevented by the strength and vigour of the prerogative. There are no limits to the tyranny of factions, but there is a legal constitutional defence against the tyranny of a king, which he can only execute by his ministers, who are answerable with their heads and fortunes for their mal-administration. Therefore let the crown be strong that faction may be weak; for the people's best security, under God, is in the honour and power of the king. Let the crown flourish, and its enemies be clothed with shame and confusion !
The titles assumed by the sovereigns of the Norman line were, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Earl of Anjou ; on the conquest of France by Henry V., he added King of France. From the reign of James VI. of Scotland and I. of England, to the close of the eighteenth century, the king hath been styled, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith. Those of the line of Hanover have added the titles, Dukes of Brunswick and Lunenburg, Arch-treasurer of the holy Roman empire, and electors of Han
Since the peace of 1815, George IV. was elevated to the rank of king of Hanover. The arms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, are borne by William IV. quarterly, to which is added an escutcheon of the royal arms of Hanover, surmounted by a regal crown.
Although nothing of the duchy of Aquitaine now remains to our monarchs but the name, yet at their coronation one of the officers of the crown stands upon the right side of the throne, holding a ducal cap and sword of state, in memory of the conquest of that duchy.
The titles of the heir-apparent to the throne are Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Rothsay, Earl of Chester, Electoral Prince of Brunswick and Lunenburg, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Great Steward of Scotland, and Captain-General of the Artillery Company.*
In order to assist his majesty in the discharge of the duties of his office, the maintenance of his dignity, and the exertion of his just prerogative, several councils have been appointed for the king to advise with.
First. The high court of parliament, which is the great council of the nation, and of which we have already treated.
* Blackstone's Commentaries, Custance on the Constitution.
Second. The peers of the realm are, by their birth-right, hereditary councillors of the crown, and the king may at any time call them together to give him their advice in all matters of importance to the realm, either during the sitting of parliament, or when there has been no parliament in being, which, says Blackstone, has been their principal use. The law maintains that peers are created for two reasons: 1. ad consulendum, as councillors; 2. ad defendendum regem, for the king's defence : on which account in law they are entitled to certain great and high privileges, even when no parliament is sitting ; because it contemplates that they are always assisting the king with their council for the public good, or preserving the realm in safety by their prowess and valour. As hereditary councillors, they enjoy the privilege of being exempt from arrest for debt, because the law supposes that the peers are always engaged in the king's service, either in council or war. Any peer, in his character of an hereditary councillor of the crown, can demand an audience of the king, to lay before him, with decency and respect, such matters as he shall consider of importance to the state.
Third. A third council is the judges of the courts of law, but only in legal cases.
Fourth. But the king's principal council is his Privy Council, which, by way of eminence, is generally called the Council; and this, according to Sir E. Coke, is a noble, honourable, and reverend assembly of the king, and such as he wills to be of his privy council in the king's court or palace. The king's will is the sole constituent of a privy councillor, which also regulates their number, which anciently was only twelve; afterwards, the number was so considerably increased, that it was found to be inconvenient for secrecy and despatch, and therefore Charles II. in the year 1679, limited its number to thirty, whereof fifteen were to be the principal officers of state, who should be councillors virtute officii, and the other fifteen were composed of ten lords and five commoners of the king's choosing. But at present the number is indefinite. The lord president of the council has precedence next after the lord chancellor and lord treasurer. The Cabinet Council consists of the king's ministers for the time being, and who are summoned to consult on the important and arduous discharge of the executive government.
Privy Councillors are made by the king's nomination, without either patent or grant, and on taking the necessary oaths, they become immediately councillors, during the lifetime of the king who appoints them, but subject to removal at his discretion. Any natural-born subject of England is capable of being a member, after taking the oaths, and formerly the test for the church's security.
The oath of office, which consists of seven articles, distinctly points out a privy councillor's duties,-1. To advise the king according to the best