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does not disqualify the husband. (“)

Government contrac. Who are ineligible to the

tors, (b) and placemen in the public offices specified in the flouse of Com15 G. 2, c. 22, s. 9. are disqualified.

All the above-mentioned persons are incapable of being elected, sitting or voting, but there are offices connected with the excise and customs which only disqualify the holders from sitting or voting, but not from being elected. (c) These therefore if elected may make their Election good, and enable themselves to sit and vote by resigning the office after the Election and before they take their seats. (d) With respect to the resignation of a disqualifying office, it has been decided that an office rendering he holder ineligible, if resigned previous to the Election, though the resignation be not formally accepted, does not operate as a disqualification. (e)

Persons returned upon a double return are not competent to sit until the return is decided by a Committee. (f) But petitioners are eligible for any other place during the trial of their petition. (5)

Absence from England is no ground of ineligibility, (h) though it was once resolved to be so. () And it is said to be doubtful whether being in gaol in execution on a judgment renders a man ineligible, (k) but a poll was denied to a candidate, he being in prison in execution for debt, and the sitting members were declared duly elected. Questions have arisen upon the meaning of the words any new office in the statute of Ann. Where the jurisdiction of an ancient court has been enlarged, and a new arrangement made with respect to its officers, the ancient officers, though with new designations, are not within the disqualifying words of the statute, () as clerk of the pipe in Scotland.

But baggage master of the forces in Scotland was holden a new office and within the statute. (m)

In conformity with the principle of free choice which


(*) Reading, Corb. Dan. 114.

22 G. 3, c. 45, s. 1. (11 12 W. 3, c. 2, s. 150, 1, 2. (d) Allen's case, 16 Jour. 98. Orme 265.-Ougley's Case, 21 Jour. 138. () Lanerk,2 Doug. 367. () Standing order.

(5) Resolution. April 16, 1727.

(4) Bristol, Simeon, 51.

(1) 2 Hatsel, 22.

(*) 2 Ba. Abrd. 123. 1 Hatsel, 155. Com. dig. Parl. D. (9) 2 Hatsel 37.

N. Berwick, 2 Doug. 423. ("") Fife, 1 Lud. 455.


Who are ineli- every statute relating to the representation endeavours to to House of Com- enforce, the acceptance of any office of profit from the crown by a member, vacates his seat, (") that the people may have an opportunity of reviewing their choice, in the re-election or rejection of a representative, who has rendered himself liable to an influence from which he was before exempt. The amount of the profit is immaterial; and there are two places of no profit which for the convenience of members desirous of retiring from parliament, are considered within this statute, and enable them to vacate their seats, viz. the steward of the Chiltern Hundreds, and the steward of East Hendres in Berks,

From the operations of this last statute, officers of the army or navy receiving new commissions are excepted, which exception extends not only to promotions in point of rank, but to all military commissions not within the disabling words of any other statute, thus the master general of the ordnance, constable of the tower, () governors of forts in Great Britain, (C) of Jersey or Guernsey, (d) do not by their appointments vacate their seats.

But persons not actually in the service at the time they receive a commission are not protected by the exception. (©)

To bring a member within this statute, the office must be actually accepted; a reversionary grantee becoming entitled to such an office may retain his seat till he actually accepts it.

The acceptance of a foreign employment, as that of ambassador, does not vacate the seat. (8) But a patent place for life out of Great Britain has been holden to do so. (h)

A member becoming a bankrupt is incapable of sitting and voting for a year, unless within that time the commission be superseded or the creditors paid the full amount of their debts, and the entering into a bond with two sureties for the payment of disputed debts, if recovered, is to be considered as a payment for the purposes of this statute. But if within a year the commission is not superseded, nor the debts paid, upon a certificate thereof by the commis

()6 Ann, c.7, s. 26.

(6) 2 Hats. p. 50. n. Orme, 272.

(C) Wade's Case, resolution 9 June 1733. See Carpenter's Case, Orme 271.

(d) 2 Hats. 47.

(2 Hats. pre. 54, Orme 271.
(S) Orme 270.

(8) 2 Hats. pr. 22-25-n.

() 23 Nov. 1696.-Orme 261.

sioners to the Speaker as prescribed in the statute, the seat Who are eliof such member is vacated. ()

Whether a resolution of the House can render an individual ineligible, who is not already so by the law, is questionable. It was attempted in the case of Mr. Wilkes, who was expelled the House for publishing a libel, and reelected, and again declared incapable of sitting for that parliament; again elected, and his election declared void, and the opposing candidate seated; but these proceedings were expunged from the journals as subversive of the right of the whole body of electors of this kingdom. (6)


Of the Qualification of Members of the House of Commons.

gible to the House of Commons.

Besides being free from the above disabilities, members Qualification. of the House of Commons, with certain exceptions, require a qualification by estate. The qualification of a knight of the shire is "an estate, freehold or copyhold, "for his own life, or for some greater estate, either in law, "or equity," of the clear annual value of 6007. in Great Britain or Ireland; (©) of a burgess or baron of the Cinque Ports, of the clear annual value of 3001. Such estate not being a mortgage, unless the mortgagee has been in possession seven years. (©)

But the following persons are made exceptions, and require no qualification by estate.-The eldest son of a peer or lord of parliament, (d) or of a Scotch peer, (*) or of a peeress or bishop, or of any person qualified for a knight of the shire, () as well as the members for the English universities, and for the college of the Holy Trinity, Dublin.(h) After the Election, and before he takes his seat, each member requiring a qualification by estate, must deliver to the clerk of the House, at the table of the House, a paper signed by himself, containing a description of the situation of the estate of qualification, and there take and subscribe an oath of its value, and also the oaths of allegiance (k) and supremacy, the declaration against popery, (") and

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Qualification. the abjuration oath,(") under severe penalties. (b) The oaths of allegiance and supremacy must also be taken before the lord steward or his deputy. (©)

In order to prevent evasion of the stat. 9 Ann, c. 5, the House have several standing orders, for affording further means of examining the qualification of candidates, upon a petition. "That notwithstanding the oath taken by any candidate at or after the Election, his qualification may be afterwards, examined. That the person whose qualification is expressly objected to in any petition relating to his Election, shall, within fifteen days after the petition received, give to the clerk of the House of Commons a paper signed by himself, containing a rental, or particular of the lands, tenements, and hereditaments, whereby he makes out his qualification, of which any person concerned may have a copy. That of such lands, tenements, and hereditaments, whereof the party hath not been in possession for three years before the Election, he shall also insert in the same paper from what person and by what conveyance or act in law he claims and derives the same; and also the consideration, if any paid: and the names and places of abode of the witnesses to such conveyance and payment. That if any sitting member shall think fit to question the qualification of a petitioner, he shall within fifteen days after the petition be received, leave notice (d) thereof in writing with the clerk of the House of Commons; and the petitioner shall in such case, within fifteen days after such notice, leave with the said clerk of the House the like account in writing of his qualification, as if required from a sitting member.” (d) And where the petition against an undue Election is pre-sented by the electors, and not the unsuccessful candidate, the sitting member has the same power of examining the qualification of such candidate, as he would have had by the last rule if the candidate had petitioned. (")

Persons sometimes become possessed of estates for the purpose of an Election; where this is the case, it must of course appear that the party conveying had a sufficient power of disposition; but the qualification may be ac

() 13 W. 3, c.16, s. 10. 6 G. 3, c. 53.*
() 1 G. 1, st. 2, c. 13, s. 17.*

(C) 7 Jac. c. 6.* 30 Car. 2, st. 2, c. 1.

5 Eliz. c. 1, s. 16.*

*These Statutes are not in the Appendix.

(d) 1717. 18 Jour. 629.
(*) 1734. 22 Jour. 355.
(f) Coventry, 1 Peck, 93.

quired during the course of the poll, (") though perhaps not Qualification. after a refusal to take the qualification oath. (b)


Of the issuing of the Writ for a General Election.


THE writs which are issued for the election of members of Issuing the parliament, issue under different authorities upon a general Election, and upon the vacancy of particular seats during the continuance of a parliament.

To summon, prorogue, and dissolve the parliament, is the prerogative of the King; and when a parliament is to be summoned, a warrant signed by the King, is issued to the chancellor, by the advice of the privy council, commanding him to issue under the great seal the usual number of writs for that purpose.

The writs are made out by the clerk of the crown in Chancery, and after the election of the members, returned into the crown office there.

By the 7 8 W. 3, c. 25, s. 1, upon every new parliament "there shall be 40 days between the teste and return of the "writs of summons."

In practice, however, 50 days intervene, in consequence of the 22d article in the treaty of union with Scotland, by which Queen Ann was limited in the power of calling the first parliament after the union, to a period not less than 50 days from the date of the proclamation for assembling it.

Of the issuing of the Writ to supply a Vacancy during the
Continuance of Parliament.


After the parliament is assembled and during its conti- Upon a vanuance, the House of Commons alone have the right of issuing writs to fill up whatever vacancy may occur.

The first resolution of the House of Commons in the assertion of this privilege, had relation only to the sitting of

()2 Bristol, Simeon, 51.

Leominster, Corb. Dan. 1.

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