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attainted of treason or felony ;1—and of the second, persons holding pensions during the pleasure of the crown, or for term of years;2 persons concerned in the management of any duties or taxes created since 1692 (except the commissioners of the treasury);3 anil also those who hold the following offices :4—Commissioners of prizes, transports, sick and wounded, wine-licenses, navy and victualling; secretaries or receivers of prizes; comptrollers of the navy-accounts; agents for regiments; governors of plantations, and their deputies; officers of Gibraltar; officers of excise and customs; clerks or deputies of the several offices of the treasury, exchequer, navy, admiralty, pay of the army and navy, secretaries of state, salt, stamps, appeals, wine-licenses, hackney-coaches, hawkers and pedlars. This disqualification also extends to all persons that hold any new office or place of profit under the crown, created since 1705.5
Under the third head of disqualification are included the following persons:—All lords of parliament, because they sit in the upper house; and the fifteen judges who compose the courts of Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer, because they sit as assistants in the House of Lords ;6 yet the master of the rolls and masters in chan
1 Blackst. Com. b. i. c. ii. p. 162. 7 and 8 Wrn. III. c. xiv. Com. Journ. 16 Dec. 1690. Com. Journ. 18 Feb. 1625. Com. Journ. 21 Jan. 1580. 4 Inst . 47.
2 Stat. 6 Anne, c. vii. 1 Geo. L Bt . 2. c. 1. • Stat . 5 and 6 W. & M. c . ii.
4 Stat . 11 and 12 Wm. III. c. ii. 12 and 13 Wm. III. c. x. 6 Anne, c. vii. 15 Geo. II. c. xxtt. 5 Stat 6 Anne, c. vii.
6 Com. Journ. 9 Nov. 1605. By stat. 3 and 4 Wm. IV. c. xciv. § 16, the appointment of masters in chancery is vested in the crown. It is therefore questionable whether they can sit in the House of Commons, if appointed under that act.
eery, who sit as attendants in that house, may be members of the House of Commons. The judge of the high court of Admiralty is disqualified after the present parliament,1 Sheriffs of counties, and mayors of boroughs, are incapable of being elected, or sitting for those counties or boroughs, because they are the returning-oflficers thereof.2 Recorders of towns are disqualified from representing those towns, because they administer justice therein.3 The clergy are incapable of sitting in the House of Commons, because it is said that they are represented in the convocation.4 It is also especially enacted, that the return of any priest or deacon, or minister of the kirk of Scotland, to sit in parliament, shall be void.5 It is a somewhat curious circumstance, that the act in question mentions only priests, deacons, and ministers of the kirk. It would appear, then, that a Scotch bishop, and all bishops
1 3 and +Vic. c. lxvi. (1840). The attorney-general is summoned to sit as assistant in the House of Lords, and the solicitor-general and queen's sergeants as attendants. But they may sit in the House of Commons. Hats. Preced. vol. ii. p. 26-29. Hatsell says, that the master of the rolls is an attendant. H. Prec. vol. ii. p. 27 n.
2 Bro. Abr. tit . Parliament, 7. Com. Journ. 25 June, 1604; 14 Apr. 1614; 22 Mar. 1620, 2, 4; 15 June, 17 Nov. 1685. Hal of Pari. 114. 4 Inst. 48. Whitlock of Pari. c. xcix. c. ci. 1 Dougl. El . case ccccxii. 4 Dougl. El. case lxxxvii.
5 Stat . 5 and 6 Wm. IV. c. lxxvi. § 103.
4 Com. Journ. 13 Oct. 1553; 8 Feb. 1620; 17 Jan. 1661.
4 41 Geo. III. c lxiii Roman Catholic bishops, priests, and deacons, are disqualified by stat . 10 Geo. IV. c. vii. § 9. But the act only specifies holy orders; so it would seem that a person in minor orderi in the Church of Rome might sit in the House of Commons, though he were a cardinal. It is quite clear that a monk or friar may be elected and sit in the House of Commons, and so may a prelate of the court of Rome, provided they are not in orders. See, concerning the distinction between holy and minor orders, Catech. Concil. Trident, par. ii. § 26, § 52.
(except Roman Catholics), not holding any see in England or Ireland, may sit in the House of Commons.
Scotch peers are incapable of sitting in parliament, and their eldest sons were subject to the same disability until the stat. 2 and 3 Wm. IV. c. lxv.; but Irish peers may sit in the House of Commons by virtue of the Irish Act of Union.
If any member accepts an office of profit under the crown (except an officer in the army or navy accepting a new commission), the holder of which is not incapacitated to sit and vote, his seat is nevertheless void; though he may be re-elected.1 Thus members desiring to be relieved of their trust, ask for and accept the stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, which acceptance vacates their seat; and this is the only mode of resigning a seat in the House of Commons. But a person chosen as representative by two places at a general election, may choose for which he will serve, and thereby make vacant the representation of one of such places. The disqualifications already enumerated extend to Scotland and Ireland; and by the 21st Geo. III. c. xlv., the holders of certain Irish offices are also disqualified.
All persons not holding any office, or invested with any character incapacitating him to sit in parliament, may be returned for any place or county in England or Ireland, provided they have the amount of property required by law as a qualification ;4 that is to say, for a county, 1st, an estate for life or lives, or a leasehold, either absolute or determinable on lives, of which not less than thirteen years remain unexpired at the time of the election, in lands, tenements, and hereditaments, situated in Great Britain and Ireland, of the clear yearly value of not less than
1 Blackst. Com. b. i. c. ii. p. 176. Hats. Prec. v. ii p. 61.
600/.; or, 2dly, personal estate of the same clear yearly value, also in Great Britain and Ireland; or, 3dly, real and personal estate of the nature before mentioned, together amounting to the clear yearly value of 600/. The qualification required for a member for a city or borough is as follows :—real or personal estate, or both together, of the same nature as is required to qualify a county member, but of the clear annual value of 300/. The act requiring these qualifications does not apply to the sons or heirs apparent of peers or lords of parliament (including bishops), nor to the members for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and Trinity College, Dublin, nor to the sons and heirs apparent of persons qualified under that act to serve as a knight of the shire. They may all be elected without possessing any qualification of property. But the act is so framed, that the member need only be qualified at the time of his return and of taking his seat, after which he may convey the property qualifying him back to the person from whom he received it. No qualification whatever in property is required of Scotch members.
We have now considered the component parts of the Parliament. The functions, laws, and regulations of that assembly will be the subject of the next chapter.
OF PARLIAMENT — ITS LAWS AND CUSTOMS.
In the preceding chapter we considered the nature of the high court of Parliament, and the parts whereof it is composed.
We will now proceed to inquire concerning the laws and customs of that august assembly, under the following heads:—I. The time and manner of its assembling.— II. The laws and customs relating to Parliament considered as one aggregate body.—III. and IV. The laws and customs relating to each house separately and distinctly taken. —V. The method of proceeding, and making statutes in both houses.—And, VI. The manner of the Parliament's adjournment, prorogation, and dissolution.
I. As to time and manner of assembling.
The parliament is summoned by the queen's writ or letter, issued out of chancery, by the advice of the privycouncil, at least fifty days before it begins to sit.1 It is the exclusive prerogative of the crown to convene parliament, and appoint the place of its meeting. This prerogative is founded on very good reason. The precise time and place of assembling parliament, being matters of policy and convenience, properly belong to the executive power of the state; which is, also, the only branch of the sovereign power (except the judicial, which proceeds only by fixed laws,) that has a separate existence, and is capable
1 Blackst. Com. b. i. c. ii. p. 149; and see 22d art. of union with Scotland.