BED OF JUSTICE. This expres sion (lit de justice) literally denoted the seat or throne upon which the king of France was accustomed to sit when pen sonally present in parliaments, and from this original meaning the expression came, in course of time, to signify the parlia ment itself. Under the ancient monarchy of France, a Bed of Justice denoted a so lemn session of the king in the parliament, for the purpose of registering or promul gating edicts or ordinances. According to the principle of the old French consti tution, the authority of the parliament, being derived entirely from the crown, ceased when the king was present ; and consequently all ordinances enrolled at a bed of justice were acts of the royal will, and of more authenticity and effect than decision's of parliament. The cere mony of holding a bed of justice was as follows :—The king was seated on the throne, and covered ; the princes of the blood-royal, the peers, and all the several chambers were present. The marshals of France, the chancellor, and the other great officers of state stood near the throne, around the king. The chancellor, or in
his absence the keeper of the seals, de clared the object of the session, and the persons present then deliberated upon it. The chancellor then collected the opi nions of the assembly, proceeding in the order of their rank ; and afterwards de clared the determination of the king in the following words : " Le roi, en son lit de justice, h ordonnd et ordonne gull sera procedd h l'enregistrement des lettres sur lesquelles on h delibdrd." The last bed of justice was assembled by Louis XVI. at Versailles, on the 6th of August, 1788, at the commencement of the French re volution, and was intended to enforce upon the parliament of Paris the adoption of the obnoxious taxes, which had been previously proposed by Calonne at the Assembly of Notables. The resistance to this measure led to the assembly of the States-General, and ultimately to the Re volution.