Home >> Cyclopedia Of Knowledge >> Germanic Mpire to King >> Imperial Parliament_P1

Imperial Parliament

peers, king, time, ireland, constitution, representative and lords

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

PARLIAMENT, IMPERIAL, the legislature of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, consisting of the king or queen [KING], the lords spi ritual and temporal [Loans, Housu oF), and the knights, citizens, and burgesses [Comm:vs, Hon's& oF] in parliament as sembled.

The word is generally considered to be derived from the French, parler,' to speak. " It was first applied," says Black stone, "to general 'assemblies of the states under Louis VII. in France, about the middle of the twelfth century." The earliest mention of it in the statutes is in the preamble to the statute of West minster, A.D. 1272.

Origin and Antiquity Parliament.

The origin of any ancient institution must be difficult to trace, when in the course of time it has undergone great changes ; and few subjects have afforded to antiquaries more cause for learned re search and ingenious conjecture than the growth of our parliament into the form which it had assumed when authentic records of its existence and constitution are to be found. Great councils of the nation existed in England both under the Saxons and Normans, and appear to have been common amongst all the nations of the north of Europe. They were called by the Saxons michel-synoth, or great council ; michel-gemote, or great meeting ; and wittena-gemote, meeting of wise men —by the last of which they are now most familiarly known. The constitution of these councils cannot be known with any certainty, and there has been much con troversy on the subject, and especially as to the share of authority enjoyed by the people. Different periods have been as signed for their admittance into the legis latnre. Coke, Spelman, Camden, and Prynne agree that the commons formed part of the great synods or councils before the Conquest ; but how they were sum moned, and what degree of power they possessed, is a matter of doubt and obscu rity. "The main constitution of parlia ment, as it now stands," says Blackstone, " was marked out so long ago as the seventeenth year of King John, A.D. 1215, in the great charter granted by that prince, wherein he promises to summon all archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons [Rtaorts] personally, and all other tenants in chief under the crown by the sheriff and bailiffs, to meet at a certain place, with forty days' notice, to assess aids and scutages when necessary ; and this constitution has subsisted, in fact a• least, from the year 1266, 49 Hen. III.,

there being still extant writs of that date to summon knights, citizens, and bur gesses to parliament." A statute, also, passed 15 Edw. II. (1322), declares that " the matters to be established for the es tate of the king and of his heirs, and for the estate of the realm and of the people, should be treated, accorded, and estab lished in parliament, by the king and by the assent of the prelates, earls, and barons, and the commonalty of the realm, cu.-cording as had been before accustomed." In reference to this statute Mr. Hallam observes " that it not only establishes, by a legislative declaration, the present stitution of parliament, but recognises it as already standing upon a custom of some length of time." (1 Coast. Hist., 5.) Constituent Parts of Parliament.

Of the king (or queen), the first in renk, nothing need be repeated in this place.

The House of Lords is at present com posed of— Lords Spiritual.

2 archbishops (York and Can terbury) 24 English Bishops 4 Irish representative bishops Total, 30 Lords Temporal.

2 dukes of the blood royal 20 dukes 20 marquesses 115 earls 21 viscounts 200 barons 16 representative peers of Scot land 28 representative peers of Ireland Total, 422 The number has been greatly aug mented from time to time, and there is no limitation of the power of the crown to add to it by further creations. The in troduction of the representative peers of Scotland and Ireland was effected on the union of those kingdoms, respectively. with England. The former are elected by the hereditary peers of Scotland descended from Scottish peers at the time of the Union, and sit for one parliament only ; the latter are chosen for life by the peers of Ireland, whether hereditary or created since the Union. The power of the crown to create Irish peers is limited by the Act of Union, so that one only can be created whenever three of the peerages of Ireland have become extinct The present composition of the House of Commons is as follows :— England and Wales.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8