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the utmost severity. No member of either house can be arrested and taken into custody, unless for some indictable offence, without a breach of the privilege of parliament.

Every peer, by license obtained from the king, may make another lord of parliament his proxy, to vote for him in his absence. “By the orders of the house, no peer can have more than two proxies, nor can proxies vote upon a question of guilty or not guilty.” A privilege which a member of the other house can by no means have, as he is himself but a proxy for a multitude of other people. Each peer has also a right, by leave of the house, when a vote passes contrary to his sentiments, to enter his dissent on the journals of the house, with the reasons for such dissent, which is usually styled his protest. All bills, likewise, that may in their consequences anywise affect the rights of the peerage, are by the custom of parliament, to have their first rise and beginning in the house of peers, and to suffer no changes or amendments in the house of commons.

The law and customs peculiar to the house of commons relate principally to the raising of taxes, and the election of members to serve in parliament.

First, with regard to taxes, it is the ancient indisputable privilege and right of the house of commons, that all grants of subsidies or parliamentary aids begin in their house, and are first bestowed by them, although their grants are ineffectual, to all intents and purposes, until they have the consent of the house of lords and the sovereign. The true reason, arising from the spirit of our constitution, seems to be this,—because the lords, being a permanent hereditary body created at pleasure by the king, are supposed to be more liable to the influence of the crown than the commons, who are a temporary elective body, freely nominated by the people.

Next, with regard to the election of knights, citizens, and burgesses, we may observe, that herein consists the exercise of the democratical part of our constitution ; for in a democracy there can be no exercise of sovereignty but by suffrage, which is the declaration of the people's will. In all democracies, therefore, it is of the utmost importance to regulate by whom, and in what manner, the suffrages are to be given. In England, the people do not debate in a collective body, but by representation ; and in the choice of representatives, the laws have very strictly guarded against usurpation or abuse by many salutary provisions, which may be reduced to these three points: 1. The qualifications of the electors. 2. The qualifications of the elected. 3. The proceedings at elections.

As to the qualifications of the electors: By several statutes it has been enacted, that the knights of the shire shall be chosen of people, whereof every man shall have freehold to the value of forty shillings by the year within the county, which is to be clear of all charges and deductions, except parliamentary and parochial taxes. The knights of the shire are the representatives of the landed interest of the kingdom ; their electors must, there

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sore, have estates in lands or tenements within the county represented :
These estates must be freehold, that is, for term of life at least ; because,
when these statutes were made, beneficial leases for terms of years were
not in use, and copyholders were then little better than villeins, absolutely
dependent on their lords : This freehold must be of forty shillings annual
value ; because that sum would then, with proper industry, furnish all the
necessaries of life, and render the freeholder an independent man. The
other less important qualifications of the electors for counties in England
and Wales may be collected from the statutes ; which direct, 2. That no
person under twenty-one years of age shall be capable of voting for any
member. This extends to members for boroughs as well counties; as
does the next also, viz. 3. That no person convicted of perjury, or subor-
nation of perjury, shall be capable of voting in any election. 4. That no
person shall vote in right of any freehold, granted to him fraudulently, to
qualify him to vote, under the penalty of £40. And to guard against
frauds, it is further provided, 5. That every voter shall have been in the
actual possession or receipt of the profits of his freehold, for his own use,
for twelve calendar months before ; except it came to him by descent, mar-
riage, marriage-settlement, will, or promotion to a benefice or office.
That no person shall vote in respect of an annuity or rent charge, unless
registered with the clerk of the peace twelve calendar months before. 7.
That in mortgaged or trust-estates, the person in possession, under the
above mentioned restrictions, shall have the vote. 8. That only one per-
son shall be admitted to vote for any one house or tenement, to prevent
the splitting of freeholds. 9. That no estate shall qualify a voter, unless
the estate has been assessed to some land-tax, and at least twelve months
before the election. 10. That no tenant by copy of court-roll shall be
permitted to vote as a freeholder.

The electors of citizens and burgesses are supposed to be the mercantile or trading interest of the kingdom. Such freemen only of any city or borough as claim by birth, marriage, or servitude, shall be entitled to vote therein, unless he has been admitted to his freedom twelve calendar months before.

Some of the qualifications of persons to be elected members of the house of Commons depend upon the law and custom of parliament, declared by the house of Commons, others upon certain statutes. From which it appears, 1. That they must not be aliens born, or minors. 2. That they must not be any of the twelve judges, because they sit in the House of Lords ; nor of the clergy, for they sit in the convocation ; nor persons attainted of treason or felony, for they are unfit to sit any where. 3. That sheriffs of counties, and mayors and bailiffs of boroughs, are not eligible in their respective jurisdictions, as being returning officers; but that sheriffs of one county are eligible to be knights of another. 4. That in

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strictness, all members ought to have been inhabitants of the places for which they are chosen : But this having been long disregarded, was at length entirely repealed by statute 14th Geo. III. 5. That no persons concerned in the management of any duties taxes created since 1692, except the commissioners of the treasury, nor any of the officers following, viz. commissioners of prizes, transports, sick and wounded, wine licences, navy and victualling ; secretaries or receivers of prizes ; comptrollers of the army accounts; agents for regiments ; governors of plantations and their deputies ; officers of Minorca or Gibraltar ; officers of the excise and customs ; clerks or deputies in the several offices of the treasury, exchequer, army, victualling, admiralty, pay of the army or navy, secretaries of state, seal, stamps, appeals, wine licences, hackney coaches, hawkers and pedlars ; nor any persons that hold any new office under the crown, created since 1705, are capable of being elected or sitting as members. 6. That no person having a pension under the crown during pleasure, or for any term of years, is capable of being elected or sitting. 7. That if any member accepts an office under the crown, except an officer in the army or navy, accepting a new commission, his seat is void, but such member is capable of being re-elected. 8. That all knights of the shire shall be actual knights, or such notable esquires and gentlemen as have estates sufficient to be knights, and by no means of the degree of yeomen. This is reduced to a still greater certainty, by ordaining, 9. That every knight of a shire shall have a clear estate of freehold or copyhold to the value of £600 per annum, and every citizen and burgess to the value of £300 : except the eldest sons of peers, and of persons qualified to be knights of shires, and except the members for the two universities ; which somewhat balances the ascendant which the boroughs have gained over the counties, by obliging the trading interest to make choice of landed men ; and of this qualification the member must make oath, and give in the particulars in writing, at the time of his taking his seat. But subject to these standing restrictions and qualifications, every subject of this realm is eligible of common right.

Elections are also regulated by the law of parliament, and several statutes.

As soon as parliament is summoned, the Lord Chancellor (or, if a vacancy happens during the sitting of parliament, the speaker, by order of the house, and without such order, if a vacancy happens by death, or the member's becoming a peer in the time of a recess for twenty days) sends his warrant to the clerk of the crown in chancery, who thereupon issues out writs to the sheriff of every county, for the election of all the members to serve for that county, and every city and borough therein. Within three days after the receipt of this writ, the sheriff is to send his precept, under his seal, to the proper returning officers of the cities and boroughs,

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commanding them to elect their members; and the said returning officers are to proceed to election within eight days from the receipt of the precept, giving four days' notice of the same, and to return the persons chosen, together with the precept, to the sheriff.

But the sheriffs themselves must proceed to the elections of the knights of the shire, at the next county court that shall happen after the delivery of the writ.

And as it is essential to the very well-being of parliament that elections should be absolutely free, therefore, all undue influences upon the electors are illegal, and strongly prohibited. As soon, therefore, as the time and place of election, either in the counties or boroughs, are fixed, all soldiers quartered in the place are to remove, at least one day before the election, and to the distance of two miles or more, and not to return till one day after the poll is ended. Riots, likewise, have been frequently determined to make elections void. By vote also of the House of Commons, to whom alone belongs the power of determining contested elections, no lord of parliament, or lord lieutenant of a county, have any right to interfere in the election of commoners; and, by statute, the lord warden of the Cinque Ports shall not recommend any members there. If any officer of the excise, customs, stamps, or certain other branches of the revenue, presumes to intermeddle in elections, by persuading any voter, or dissuading him, he forfeits £100, and is disabled from holding any office.

To prevent the infamous practice of bribery and corruption, it is enacted, that no candidate shall, after the date (usually called the teste) of the writs, or after the vacancy, give any money or entertainment to his electors, or promise to give any, either to particular persons, or to the place in general, in order to his being elected, on pain of being incapable to serve for that place in parliament. And if any money, gift, office, employment, or reward, be given, or promised to be given, to any voter, at any time, in order to influence hiin to give or withhold bis vote, as well he that takes, as he that offers, such bribe, forfeits £500, and is for ever disabled from voting and holding any office in any corporation, unless before conviction, he will discover some other offender of the same kind, and then he is indemnified for his own offence.

Undue influence being thus (as far as human depravity will admit) guarded against, the election is to be proceeded to on the day appointed, the sheriff, or other returning officer, first taking an oath against bribery, and for the due execution of his office. The candidates likewise, if required, must swear to their qualification, and the electors in counties to theirs, and the electors, both in counties and boroughs, are also compellable to take the oath of abjuration, and that against bribery and corruption. And it might not be amiss, if the members elected were bound to take the latter oath as well as the former, which, in all


probability, would be much more effectual than administering it only to the electors.

The election being closed, the returning officer in boroughs returns his precept to the sheriff, with the persons elected by the majority, and the sheriff returns the whole, together with the writ for the county, and the knights elected thereupon, to the clerk of the crown in chancery, before the day of meeting, if it be a new parliament, or within fourteen days after the election, if it be an occasional vacancy, and this under the penalty of £500. If the sheriff does not return such knights only as are duly eleeted, he forfeits, by the old statutes of Henry VI. £100, and the returning officers in boroughs, for a like false return, £40, and they are besides liable to an action, in which double damages shall be returned, by the later statutes of King William ; and any person bribing the returning officer shall forfeit £300. But the members returned by him are sitting members, until the house of commons, upon petition, shall adjudge the return to be false and illegal. The form and manner of proceeding upon such petition are now regulated by several statutes, which direct the method of choosing by lot a select committee of fifteen members, who are sworn well and truly to try the same, and a true judgment to give according to the evidence.

The method of making laws is much the same in both houses. For despatch of business, each house of parliament has its own speaker. The Lord Chancellor, or keeper of the King's Great Seal, or any other appointed by the King's commission, is the speaker of the House of Lords, whose office it is to preside there, and manage the formality of business. But if none be so appointed, Blackstone is of opinion, they may elect a speaker. The speaker of the House of Commons is chosen by the house, but must be approved by the King. And in this particular the usage of the two houses differs, that the speaker of the House of Commons cannot give his opinion, or argue any question in the house ; but the speaker of the House of Lords may, if he is a lord of parliament. In each house, the act of majority binds the whole, and this majority is declared by votes openly and publicly given.

An adjournment is no more than a suspension of the session from one day to another, as the word itself signifies : and this is done by the authority of each house separately every day, and sometimes for a fortnight or a month together, as at Christmas or Easter, or upon other particular occasions. But an adjournment of one house is not an adjournment of the other.

A prorogation is a continuance of the parliament from one session to another, as an adjournment is an interval of the session from day to day. This is done by the royal authority, expressed either by the Lord Chancellor in his majesty's presence, or by commission from the crown, and fre

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