CONVICT. [TRANSPORTATION.] CONVOCATION, the assembly of the Clergy of England and Wales, under the authority of the king's writ, which takes place at the commencement of every new parliament. The convocation writs issue from the Crown Office, and are addressed to the two primates of Can terbury and York.
The tendency of the western states of modern Europe in political relations to become thrown into the form of which kings, lords, and commons is no inapt type, is apparent in the ecclesiastical constitution of almost every country in which Christianity has been received and professed. The archbishop has had his suffragan bishops, and the bishops each his canons, who formed his council, in some of whom have been vested pecu liar functions, as dean, archdeacon, and the like ; while the great body of the clergy have had their meetings under the form of diocesan synods or provincial assemblies, in which they have been ac customed to discuss matters pertaining to the common interest and benefit of them selves or of the whole church.
These meetings, resembling as they do *al some points the convocation of the English clergy in later times, might easily be supposed to be that assembly in its primordial state. But writers on this subject trace the origin of the convocation to something more special than this. It is supposed that originally the clergy were thus called together by the king's authority for the purpose of assessing themselves in levies of taxes at a time when they contended for exemp tion from the general taxation of the country imposed by the authority of par liament. Like many other questions in our early constitutional history (we mean by " early " when we ascend beyond the reign of King Edward the First), this is perhaps one of presumption and probabi lity, rather than of evidence and certainty. It is said that the convocation which was summoned in 1295, in the reign of King Edward the First, was for the purpose of obtaining a supply of money from the clergy by means of their representatives.
Edward had taxed the clergy very heavily in 1294, and, instead of repeating the ex periment, he thought it better to get some money out of them with their own con sent.
The clergy were not willing to obey the king's writ which summoned them to convocation, upon which the king issued his writ to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, who, in obedience to it, sum moned the clergy in their respective pro vinces to grant the king a subsidy. Thus there were two convocations, one for the province of Canterbury and the other for the province of York. The convocation of Canterbury contained two houses, the Upper House of Bishops and Archbishops, and the Lower House of Deans, Archdea cons, and Proctors of the clergy. In the convocation at York, all the members composed (or at present compose) only one house.
From this time to the year 1663, the clergy were taxed in convocation in re spect of their benefices and lands ; and the grants of subsidies by the clergy in convocation required no confirmation ex cept the assent of the king, who wanted the money. From the time of Henry VIII. the grants were always confirmed by act of parliament. Thus it appears that the origin of the convocation was like the origin of the House of Com mons : the first object of the convoca tion was to grant money. By the 8 Hen. VI. c. 1, all the clergy called to COMO cation by the king's writ, their servants and familiars, shall enjoy the liberty, in coming, tarrying, and returning, as the commonalty called to parliament enjoy. The two convocations of Canterbury and York were quite independent of one an other, and they did not always grant the same or a proportionate amount. In the twenty-second year of Henry VIII. the convocation of Canterbury granted the king 100,0('01., in consideration of which an act of parliament was passed which gave the clergy a free pardon for all spiritual offences, with a proviso that the pardon should not extend to the province of York, unless the clergy would show themselves equally liberal.