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The convocation of Canterbury is called together by virtue of the queen's writ, and is a miniature of the parliament, wherein the archbishop presides with regal state: the upper house of bishops represents the House of Lords; and the lower house, composed of representatives of the beneficed clergy of the several dioceses at large, and of each particular chapter therein, resembles the House of Commons, with its knights of the shire and burgesses. In the province of York, the convocation differs from that of Canterbury in one respect; for the clergy assembled therein sit together in one house. The two convocations are always summoned by the archbishops of the respective provinces, on receipt of the queen's writ for that purpose, at the commencement of each parliament. This constitution, as Blackstone informs us, is said to be owing to the policy of Edward I., who thereby, at one and the same time, let in the inferior clergy to the privileges of forming ecclesiastical canons (which before they had not), and also introduced a method of taxing ecclesiastical benefices, by consent of convocation." To these assemblies, the statute 25 Hen. VIII. c. xix. refers, wherein it is recited, that all convocations had been, and ought to be, assembled by the king's writ; and that the clergy had promised, in verbo sacerdotii, never, in future, to enact any new canons in their convocations without the king's license. The statute speaks of the convocation; and it is questionable whether it applies to provincial and national synods, strictly so called, which are constituted in a perfectly different manner from the convocation, being composed entirely of bishops.” It is not, however, to be presumed that the civil power would refuse its sanction to those synods of bishops; and it may deserve consideration, whether they might not be convoked with advantage, to deliberate on the ecclesiastical matters which are so frequently discussed in parliament.
* Blackst. Com. b. i. c. vii. p. 279, 280. * Palmer, Treat. of the Ch. vol. ii. p. 354, 355, 356.
From the same prerogative, of being the head of the church, arises the queen's right of nomination to vacant bishoprics, and certain other ecclesiastical preferments. This is now done in consequence of the statute 25 Hen. VIII. c. xx.; but the statute of provisors, 25 Edward IIL, enacted that the king should appoint to all archbishoprics and other dignities: and this right has been enjoyed by the kings of England for many ages; so that the statute of Henry VIII. was only declaratory of the ancient law.
Blackstone informs us, that, as the head of the church, the sovereign is likewise the dernier ressort in all ecclesiastical causes; an appeal lying ultimately to the queen in chancery from the sentence of every ecclesiastical judge; which right was restored to the crown by statute 25 Hen. VIII. c. xix. This appellate jurisdiction has, as we have already seen, been transferred to the judicial committee of her majesty's privy council, by stat . 3 and 4 Will. IV. c. xli. To these matters we shall have occasion to return, in treating of the clergy and of ecclesiastical courts.
OF THE QUEEN'S REVENUE. OF THE QUEEN'S ORDINARY REVENUE.
"Having in the two preceding chapters considered at large those branches of the queen's prerogative which contribute to her royal dignity, and constitute the executive power of the government, we proceed now to examine the queen's fiscal prerogatives, or such as regard her revenue, which the British constitution hath vested in the royal person, in order to support her dignity and maintain her power, being a portion which each subject contributes of his property in order to secure the remainder." This will be done chiefly (though with certain necessary alterations) in the words of Blackstone.
Grotius holds that the state has a right over the citizens who compose it, so far as the public welfare demands. This right is the chief part of what is commonly called by the civilians and writers on public law dominium eminent,1 or superior dominion. The affairs of the state necessarily require considerable expenses both in time of peace and of war. It is therefore necessary that there should reside in the sovereign a power of reserving part of the property of the citizens, or of the produce of the country, or of obliging the citizens to contribute what is requisite to supply the public expenses. Under the same head must also be placed the power of using the means which are
> Grot. Dr. de la 6. et de la P. 1. i. c iii. § 6; and l . i. c.i. § 6.
necessary to augment the riches of the state, of which the principal is the right of taxing merchandises imported into or exported from the country, and also taking a small part of the price of things which are consumed.1 This branch of the sovereign power is vested by the English constitution in the parliament .
Blackstone2 divides the revenue into two parts,— the ordinary revenue, and the extraordinary revenue, of the crown.
"The queen's ordinary revenue is such as has either subsisted time out of mind in the crown, or else has been granted by parliament by way of purchase or exchange for such of the inherent hereditary revenues of the crown as were found inconvenient to the subject. When I say that it has subsisted time out of mind in the crown, I do not mean that the queen is at present in the actual possession of the whole of this revenue. Much (nay, the greatest part) of it is at this day in the hands of subjects, to whom it has been granted out from time to time by the kings of England, which has rendered the crown in some measure dependent on the people for its ordinary support and subsistence. So that I must be obliged to recount, as part of the royal revenue, what lords of manors and other subjects frequently look upon to be their own absolute inherent rights, because they are and have been vested in them and their ancestors for ages, though in reality derived from the grants of our ancient princes."
The distinction, then, between the ordinary and the extraordinary revenue is, that the former belongs and is attached to the crown by hereditary right; whereas the
1 Pufendorf, Dr. de la N. et des G. 1. vii. c . iv. § 7.
- Blackst. Com. b. i. c. viii. p. 281. Wherever, in this chapter, the marks of quotation (" ") are used without any reference, the passage is out of Blackstone.
latter is specially granted by parliament, as a public supply for national purposes.
I. "The first of the queen's ordinary revenues which I shall take notice of is of an ecclesiastical kind (as are also the three succeeding ones), namely, the custody of the temporalities of bishops; by which are meant all the lay revenues, lands, and tenements (in which, as to those bishops who hold baronies, those feudal possessions are included), that belong to an archbishop's or bishop's see. And these, on the vacancy of the bishopric, are immediately the right of the queen, as a consequence of her prerogative in church-matters, whereby she is considered as the founder of all archbishoprics and bishoprics, to whom, during their vacancy, they revert. And, for the same reason, before the dissolution of the abbeys, the king had the custody of the temporalities of all such abbeys and priories as were of royal foundation (but not of those founded by subjects) on the death of the abbot or prior.1 Another reason may also be given why the policy of the law hath vested this custody in the queen, because, as the successor is not known, the lands and possessions of the see would be liable to spoil and devastation, if no one had a property therein. Therefore the law has given the queen, not the temporalities themselves, but the custody of the temporalities, till such time as a successor is appointed, with power of taking to herself all the intermediate profits, without any account of the successor; and with the right of presenting (which the crown very frequently exercises) to such benefices and other preferments as fall within the time of vacation.2 This revenue is of so high a nature, that it could not be granted out to a sub
1 2 Inst. 15.
- Stat. 17 Ed. II. St. 2. c. xiv. Fitzherbert, Natura Brevium, 32.