National Unionist Association of Conservative and.

The Constitutional year book online

. (page 13 of 77)
Online LibraryNational Unionist Association of Conservative andThe Constitutional year book → online text (page 13 of 77)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Felix Schuster.

George Gibb.

vretary — L. L. Macassay, 86, Great George Street, S.W.


, K.G. (Chairman).

Rt. Hon. H. Chaplin, M.P.
Sir John Gilmour, Bt.
Sir Jacob Wilson, Kt.
J. Bo wen Jones.

Secretary—^. Herbert Taylor, 37, Victoria Street, S.W.


!enn Collins, Master of the
, KG.

, K.G., K.T.:.
and Balcarres.

Lord Hawkesbury.

Lord Lindley.

Lord Stanmore, G.C.M.G.

Rt. Hon. Sir E. Fry.

Lord Edmund Petty-Fit zmaurice, M.P.

Sir H. C. Maxwell Lyte, K.C.B.

etary — R, A. Roberts, Record Office,'Chancery Lane, W.C.


D.B.G.C.M.G. (Chairman). I H. A. H, Steward.
Boughey, CS.I., R.E. |

Secretary — A. D. Erskine, 54, Parliament Street^ S.W.

Digitized by VjOOQIC




1st . . .
4th . .


7th. . .


12th . . .


Jan., 1801
Nov., 1802
Dec, 1806
June, 1807
Nov., 1812
Jan., 1819
April, 1820
Nov., 1826
Oct., 1880
June, 1831
Jan., 1833
Feb., 1836
Nov., 1837
Aug., 1841



Y. D.

29 June, 1802

1 i 168


fe4 Oct., 1806

3 342


29 April, 1807

- ,136


29 Sept., 1812

4 ! 99


10 June, 1818

6 ;i98

19th ...

29 Feb., 1820

1 46


2 June, 1826

6 ! 42

2l8t ....

24 July, 1830

3 252

22nd ....

23 April, 1831

- 179


8 Dec, 1832

1 172


30 Dec, 1834

1 1 334


17 July, 1837

2 148


23 June, 1841

3 189


23 July, 1847

6 337


18 Nov.,

4 Nov.,
1 April,

81 May,
1 Feb.,
10 Dec,

5 March,
29 April,
12 Jan.,

5 Aug.,

4 Aug.,
12 Aug.,

5 Dec,



Durat'n .

July, 1862
March, 1867
April, 1869
July, 1865
Nov., 1868
Jan., 1874
March, 1880
Nov., 1885
June, 1886
June, 1892
July, 1895
Sept., 1900













* By proolamation, dated 5th November, 1800, the Members of the Parliament then
sitting on the part of Great Britain (which had met in July, 1796), were declared to be
Members of the First Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to
meet on 22nd January, 1801.


BvEBY Member presenting a Petition to the House must affix his name at the
beginning thereof.

Every Petition must be written, and not printed or lithographed.
Every Petition must contain a prayer.

Every Petition must be signed by at least one person on the skin or sheet on
which the Petition is written.

Every person Higning a petition must write his address after his signature, or his
signature will not be counted.

Every Petition must be written in the English language, or be accompanied by a
translation certified by the Member presenting it.

Every Petition must he signed by the parties whose names are ajspended thereto
by their names or marks, and by no one else except in case of incapacity by sickness.
Disregard of this rule may entail serious consequences.

No letters, affidavits, or other documents may be attached to any Petition.
No erasures or interlineations may be made in any Petition.
No reference may be made to any Debate in Parliament.

No application may be made for any grant of public money, except with the consent
•f the Crown.

No application may be made for a charge upon the revenues of India, except with
the consent of the Crown.

All Petitions, after they have been ordered to lie upon the Table, are referred to the
Committee ou Public Petitions, without any question being put; but if any such
Petition relate to any matter or subject with respect to which the Member pre-
senting it has given notice of a Motion, and the said Petition has not been ordered
to be printed by the Committee, such Member may, after notice given, move that such
petition be printed with the Votes.

Petitions to the House of Lords should be headed—

"To the Bight Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament

Those to the House of Commons should be headed—

•'To the Honourable the Commons of The United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland in Parliament assembled."
A Petition should run as follows : —

"The humble Petition of" (the undersigned, or describe the body presenting
sheweth : (Here set out the facts.)

" Yoar Petitioners therefore pray that (your Lordships, or your Honourable
House) will be pleased to : (Here state the prayer.)

*' And your Petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

" Signed Address "

A Petition, addressed to a Peer or a Member of Parliament at the Houses of
Parliament^ passes free through the Post. It should be enclosed in a cover open at the
ends, and marked outside " Parliamentary Petition." If sent through the letter post
n&ust not exceed 32 ounces in weight.]

Digitized by VjOOQIC




The House of Lords is by far the
more aucient of the two Uoiues of Par-
liameut, being derived from the Kiug's
Great Council as it existed in the reigns
immediately following the Conquest. Of
this Council the constitution and powers
seem not to have been precisely defined,
and there is some difference of opinion as
to what they really were in practice. It
included magnates ecclesiastical and tem-
poral, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, and
apparently other persons of distinction,
summoned by the king. In early times it
seems likely that all tenants-in-chief of the
king received the summons, which later was
only issued directly to the greater tenants
holiiing baronies, while th« lesser, sum-
moned through the sheriff of the county, and
appearing by representation, were the germ
of the knights of the shires in the Lower
House. The creation of baronies by patent,
apart from tenure, dates from the latter
pHrt of the fourteenth century. The effect
of a summons by writ in creating a peerage
in early times has been a matter of some
question. It seems that some persons
were summoned by writ for one parliament,
and not again, others were summoned
individually, but not their desoendants.
The same irregularity, howeTtr, is found
in the issue of writs to boroughs for
the election of members of the House of
Commons for some time after the com-
mencement of its existence, so that it is
difficult to draw the line in this matter
between constitutional and arbitrary
exercises of prerogative. It was held in
the reign of Queen Elizabeth, in accord-
ance with what had gradually become an
established custom, that a writ of sum-
mons-conveyed a hereditary peerage. Such
a peerage is considered to descend to
heirs general; it goes into abeyance in the
case of a peer so created having several
daughters, until it is called out of abeyance
by the Crown as the descendants of all but
one co-heiress are extinct. It thus differs
from the usual rule of English patents
descending to heirs male only, and from
that of some Scotch peerages deHcending
to an elder daughter. In the case of the
Earl of Arunde), in 1626, it was decided by
the House that every peer of full age is
entitled to his summons, and that the
House should refuse to proceed to business
in case such summons to any peer is omitted.
That the Crown no longer possesses the
right of creating a life peerage, conferring
a seat and vote in the House, was decided in
the well-known case of Lord Wensleydale in
1866. The only temporal lords sitting with-
out hereditary peerages are the past and
present Lords ot Appeal created under the
Acts regulating the appellate jurisdiction
of the House, passed in 1876 and 1887.
These lords hold the rank of Barons for life,

and may sit and vote after resignation of
their offioes.


The Appellate jurisdiction of the House
has its origin in the practice of appealing
for justice to the King in Parlinment.
Petitions of this kind were addressed to
the King in the Great Council, but after the
establishment of the Courts at Westmin-
ster, such petitions were ordinarily referred
to the proper Court. The Lords and the
Privy Council appear to have exerciHed
certain judicial powers jointly. The Lords
exercised a right of appellate jurisdiction
down to the reign of Henry IV., and
after some disuse, it was resumed in that of
Elizabeth. In 1685, the establishment of
the Court of Exchequer Chamber, as inter-
mediate between the Common Law Courts
and the House of Lords, definitely recofr-
nised its right to hear appeals from thot>»
Courts. The House of Lords in the follow-
ing; century claimed in some cases even an
original jurisdiction. But two cases in the
reign of Charles II., which created for the
time a violent conflict between the Houses
— those of Skinner v. the East India Com-
pany and Shirley v. Sir John Fagg— ended
»y Uie defeat in the first case of the claim
to original jurisdiction, and the establish-
ment in the second of the right to enter-
tain appeals from Courts of Equity as wel)
as of Common Law.

This jurisdiction, originally exeroieed
by the whole House, or any members who
chose to attend, has, since the case of
O'Connell's appeal (1844), been left to the
Law Lords— that is, the Chancellor and
other peers holding, or having held, high
legal positions. By the more recent Acts, as
before mentioned, the Lords of Appeal are
especially appointed to exercise this juris
diction, under the presidency of the Lord
Chancellor. But any other legal peer, and,
theoretically, any peer whatever, retains
the right to attend and deliver judgment.


neiore the Reformation, the Lords
Spiritual formed the larger part of the
House. By the disappearance of the
mitred abbots under Henry VIII., they
were reduced to the twenty-six bishops —
being then a minoritv of the House, which
about that time included fifty-nine tem-
poral peers. Their number in the first
Parliament of his predecessor had been
only twenty-nine.

Under the Union witli Ireland, the Irish
bishops sat by rotation in the House, but
they are now excluded by the Irish Chnrcli
Act of 1869. At present, 24 English bishops
sit as barons, the junior bishops above that
number for the time being having no Heats.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York,
and the Bishopn of London. Durham, and
Winohester are always members of th*

Digitized by VjOOQIC



House. It has been supposed that the
bishops' baronies arise from the tenure
of their lands; the analogy, however, of
other European kingdoms in early times
favours the idea that the magnates of the
Church were admitted to the national
councils in virtue of their ecclesiastical

The Lords Temporal comprise the
dignities of duke, marquis, earl, viscount,
and baron. The dacal title, although one
of great importance in earlier times, was
first recognised in England by the creation
of the Black Prince as Duke of Cornwall
by Edward III. The rank of marquess is
originally derived from the office of
governor and custodian of the inarches or
borders, and bears date as a title from the
reign of Richard II. The earls derive their
name from the Danish eorle^ signifying
'* noble by birth " {May)^ which was used
as a title of dignity prior to the Norman
Conquest. After that date the alternative
title of count came into use until the revival
of the original title. The rank of viscount
also dates back to remote times, and was
used to distinguish the degree next sub-
ordinate to count. The title, however, was
not conferred in England until the reign
of Henry VI. The rank of baron is me
oldest dignity in the peerage, as the title
is to be found in the records of the Saxon
dynasties. Under the feudal system follow-
ing the Conquest, the barons became the
tenants in capite of the king, and were so
summoned, as before stated, to Parliament.
The oldest English baronies now existent
are those of de Rob and Le Despenoer, both
dating from December a4th, 1264; but an
Irish barqpy, Kingsale, was conferred by
Henry H. in 1181, and confirmed by sub-
sequent kings in 1223 and 1897.

The unlimited power of the Crown to
add to the House of Lords has at timef
bf'en looked upon as dangerous to its inde-
pf'iidence. As long, however, as a peerage
is necessarily liereditary, the permaueuce
of the creation and the necessary suooes-
fiioii of an heir who will be wholly inde-
pendent, would restrain a Soverei^ or
Klinister from any very lavish exercise of
rhis power. In the reign of Queen Anne, the
Ministry of Hurley ilnd Bolingbroke created
twelve peers at once, to overcome the op-
position to the Government in the House of
Lords. After the accessiou of the House of
Hanover, this opposition became the domi-
nant ])arty» and propoped, by the Peerage
Bill of 1719, to make such abuse of power
impossible for the future, by prohibiting all
future crcHtions except on the extinction oi
existing peerages. This Bill was rejected
br the House of Commons, as calculated
to convert the House of Lords into a clan
oligarchy, severed from the rest of the na-
tion, and no similar proposal has ever
been renewed. The action, however.
Against which it was directed has never

been repeated, though threats of the kind
were thrown out at the time of the Reform
struggle of 1832.

The House of Lords is sometimes rather
invidiously referred to as consisting wholly
of great landowners. They necessarily form
itH majority, and it is well that they should
thus be secured an organ in the State. But
among its most prominent and active mem-
bers are many who have been themselves
raised to the peerage for public services
or professional eminence. Of its present
members, about one-fourth have had
experience as members of the House of
Commons. It is constantly recruited from
the ablest men of the time (as is shown
by the fact that only about one-fourth of
the existing peers sit by virtue of peerages
dating before 1800) from the law, the army,
the navy, and the professional and
commercial classes; so that a seat
in the House is a possible inheritance
for the descendant of any English family.
Its Constitutional position was well under-
stood by the member of the House of
Commons who said, with reference to
the Peerage Bill of 1719, that while he
had himself no aspiration to a Peerage,
he would never bar his remote postentj
from the chance of attaining to it Those
who constantly protest against any exer-
cise of its powers in rejecting or modifying
the decisions of a majority of the House
of Commons, may be fairly challenged,
unless they advocste the unlimited power
of a single Chsniber, to produce a solution
of that most difficult of political problems,
how to create a new Upper Chamber for
the first time. The late Lord Beacons-
field's speech at Manchester in 1872 well
illustrates the advantages afforded by the
House of Lords, as it at present exists, and
the difficulties which would attend any
change. He said— " For a century, ever
since the establishment of the Government
of the United States, all great authorities-
American, German, French, Italian— have
agreed in this, that a Representative
Government is impossible without a Second
Chamber. . However anxious

foreign countries have been to enjoy this
advantage, that anxiety has only been
equalled by the difficulty which they have
found in fulfilling their object. How is a
Second Chamber to be constituted? By
nominees of the Sovereign power ? What
influence can be exercised by a Chamber of
nominees ? It is a proverb of general dis-
respect. Are they to be supplied by popular
election ? In what manner are they to be
elected ? If by the same constituency as
the popular body, what claim have they,
under such circumstances, to criticise or to
control the decisions of that body ? If they
are to be elected by a more select body,
qualified by a higher franchise, there
immediately occurs the objection, why
should the elected majority be governed by
the elected minority ? The United Statet
of America were fortunate in finding a
solution of this difficulty ; but the United
States of America had elements to deal

Digitized by VjOOQIC



with which never ooonrred before, and
never probably will occur again, because
they formed their illnstriouH Senate from
the materials that were offered them by the
37 Sovereign States. We, gentlemen, have
the House of Lords, an assembly which has
historically developed itself in an ancient
nation, and periodically adapted itself to
the wants and necessities of the times."


The Hsual hour of meeting of the House
of Lords is at a quarter past four o'clock.
It may proceed to business if at least three
peers are present; but no question can he
decided on a division unless thirty peers
at least take part in the vote.

The stages through which a Bill has to
pass in the House of Lord is correspond With
those in the House of Commons. But in
the Upper Hou£e the first reading of a Bill
is usually a matter of course ; Uiucussiou is
reserved for the second reading, when the
principle of the Bill is decided upon. If
the Hecond reading be carried, it is not
usual to raise the question again on going
into Committee, or by any amendment
going to the root of the matter. But a Bill
which has passed the House of Commons
is often read a second time with the
understanding that large alterations are to
be made in Committee, limiting the sco}*o of
the Bill, though not defeating its object.
A Bill after paHsing the second reading, or
after passing through Committee of the
whole House, may be referred to a Stand-
ing Committee, as in the House of Com
mons. These Committees are composed of
not more than .40 nor less than 2<> peers,
and all are nominated by the Committee
of Selection. The quorum is twelve, and
the procedure is the same as in a Select
Committee. When a deciBive majority
has declared in favour of a Bill, the third
reading is not often opposed, unless in
consequence of something that has occurred
in Committee or on the Report of amend-
ments. But if the majority has been so
■mall as to leave the real opinion of the
House uncertain, there is nothing irregular
in a fresl) trial of strength on the third
reading, which sometimes results in tbe
lOBS of the Bill.

The Lords' amendments on a House of
Commons Bill, and vies v&rad, may be
accepted, rejected, or modified by the other
House. If the two Houses cannot agree, a
Conference may be held between members
on both sides. For many years, however,
iiuoh Conferences have been wholly formal,
no discussion taking place. Written
reasons are delivered for the course adopted.
The differenoe, therefore, must be settled
bj concession on one or both sides. If
both parties persist in disagreement, the
measure is dropped.

The Lord Chancellor (who is usually,
but not of necessity a peer) presides in de-
bates as Speaker, but without the authority
of the Speaker of the House of Commons

as guardian of order. His position as a mem-
ber of the Ministry of the day would be
incompatible with that of an arbiter be-
tween parties, and as he is frequently a new
member of the House, he would not neces-
sarily have the experience of a Speaker of
the HouKe of Commons. Order is maintained
by the House at large, which decides by ac-
clamation, or, in extreme cases, by vote, as
to which of two speakers be heard. Since
1889, peers have been at liberty to refer to
each other in debate by name.

The Chairman of Committees, who is
elected for each Parliament, exercises full
authority on points of order in Committee.
The Lord Chancellor has not a casting vote
when the House is equally divided. His
vote is taken first on every division, but if
the numbers be equal, he declares that the
"Not Contents" have it, the rule being
'* Semper praesumitur pro negante.**

Though Bills granting money to the
Crown, or imposing pecuniary penalties,
pass through the same stages as others, the
privileges of the House of Commons have
been, since 1768, held to preclude their
origination or amendment by the Lords.
The restriction has now been so fully estab-
lished, that in 1866 a proposed alteration by
the House of Lords in the local authority
which under the Cattle Plague Bill was to
have power to assign pecuniary compensa-
tion for cattle slaughtered, was withdrawn
on the ground of privilege. In 1891, also,
an amendment to the Education Bill,
which it was contended would indirectly
have increased a charge upon the rates,
was objected to in the House of Commons.
The abstract right of rejecting a money
Bill* is admitted; but the rejection, in
1860, of the Paper Duty Repeal Bill by the
House of Lords led next year t(^he inclu-
sion of all the financial measures of the
year in a single Bill, which could only be
acceptted or rejected en bloc. This practice
has since prevailed.

The House of Commons has sometimes
endeavoured to force measures upon the
House of Lords by "tacking" extraneous
matters upon a Bill of Supply, which, if
rejected, would cause public inconvenience.
This practice is admitted to be unconstitu-
tional, but was successfully resorted to
under William III., and was also attempted
later with regard to an " Occasional Con-
formity Bill." To mitigate some practical
inconveniences, Bills of a partly financial
character are occasionally passed through
the House of Lords with "red-letter
clauses," explaining the money provisions
intended. These are struck out before the
Bill leaves the House, and are re-inserted
in the Commons.

Private Bills, if opposed, are referred to
committees of five members, nominated by
a Committee of Selection, over which the
Chairman of Committees presides. No
peer is compelled to serve on such a com-
mittee, but if he consents to serve he must

• As bearing on this point, a debate iu the House of Lords on the Finance Bill, July 26, 1894, may be
referred to. " The legal right of the House of Lords, as a co-ordinate branch of the Legislature, to
withhold their assent from any Bill whatsoever to which their concurrence is desired, ig
vnqaestionable."— Afay'« Pari Practice, 650.

Digitized by VjOOQIC



atteud dnring the hearing of the whole

The House of Lords possesses, like the
liower House) power to commit for con-
tempt of its authority, and to protect its
officers from molestation in the execution
of its orders. It has also power to punish
by fine and imprisonment persons guilty
of breach of privilege, or of libels upon the
House or its members. In the exercise of
these powers it claims all the authority
of a Court of Becord.

It exercises the right of deciding, by a
Report to the Crown, on claims to sit or
vote In the House, or to vote at the election
of Scotch or Irish representative peers.
The case, if disputed, is heard before a
Committee of rrivileges, at which any

f)eer may attend, and on which some non-
egal peers have often sat. The judg-
ment is usually delivered by the Law
Lords and the Chairman of Committees
alone, though sometimes a lay peer
who has heard the whole case has also
delivered his opinion. A Select Committee
of the House of Commons, to whom the
question of the succession of Lord "Wolmer,
MP., to the Earldom of Selbome was
referred in 1895, reported as follows : —

1st. — That the succession to a peerage of
England, Great Britain, or the United
Kingdom, disables the person so succeed-
ing from sitting or voting in the House
of Commons.

2nd. — That as the calling up to the
House of Lords by writ of summons is
the best and safest proof of his succession,

the general practice of the House of
Commons has been to abstain from declar-
ing the seat of the new peer vacant. But
as, in the case of a Scotch Peerage, the
succession does not entitle the holder to a
seat in the Bouse of Lords, and there is,
therefore, no writ of summons, the House
of Commons has been in the habit, in
such a case, of declaring the seat vacant,
upon good and satisfactory evidence of
the death of the predecessor and succes-
sion of the member affected.

8rd. — That when a member who has
succeeded to a peerage entitling him to a
seat in the House of Lords refuses or
delays to apply for a writ or summons,
the House of Commons may ascertain

Online LibraryNational Unionist Association of Conservative andThe Constitutional year book → online text (page 13 of 77)