PARLIAMENT

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PARLIAMENT. The name parliament (French, parlement) was formerly given inated from the ancient diets and courts, held by the kings, which were called parliaments, particularly if held at extraordinary times. The barons decided legal cases, with the aid of the clergy, the magnates, and the chancellor, as was natural in times when the three branches of government were so confusedly mingled. But the kings of France soon appointed counsellors versed in the law to decide the complaints and appeals brought to their court by the inhabitants of their hereditary lands ; and the same was done by the feudal princes, the dukes of Normandy, Guienne, Burgundy, Brittany, and the princecounts of Champagne, Toulouse, Provence, &c. These counsellors were not, originally, proper judges, but merely made reports, and always followed the court. But what John of England had been obliged to promise in the Magna Charta, as early as 1215,a permanent court, confined to one place,was, by degrees, demanded in all countries. Philip IV (the Fair) of France established a permanent court at Paris, in 1294, for the provinces belonging to the immediate domains of the crown, which were divided into four districts. In 1305, this institution was enlarged. In the beginning, this court held but two sessions annually, continuing, however, for weeks and months, viz. at Easter and AllSaints; but when the business of the court increased, its sessions became permanent, in 1422. The vassals of the royal hereditary dominions had seats and votes in the PARLIAMENT, which, at a later period, passed over to the peers of France; but the business actually fell upon the counsellors, who were lawyers. The parliament of Paris consisted, before the French revolution, of five chambers, the grand chambre, with ten presidents, twentyfive temporal and twelve spiritual counsellors, three chambres des enqnetes, each with two presidents and twentythree counsellors, and the chambre des requetes, with two presidents and fourteen counsellors. Criminal cases were tried in the chambre de la Tournelle, in which members of all the chambers sat in turn. The crown advocates (q. v.) belonged also to tne parliaments, with above 500 lawyers and a great number of subalterns. Some of the feudal principalities, even before their union with the crown, had similar tribunals; the county of Toulouse, for instance, had a parliament, Normandy her great feudal court (scaccarium or echiauier) at Rouen. After the union with U ' 45* louse, at Grenoble for Dauphine, Bordeaux for Guienne, Dijon for Burgundy Besancon for Franche Comte, Rouen, Aix for Provence, Pau for Beam, Rennes for Brittany, Metz for the three bishoprics Metz, Toul and Verdun, Douay for Flan ders, and Nancy for Lorraine. The form of publication of the royal decrees consisted in sending them to the parliaments, which entered them in the registers, and transmitted them to the lower courts. This gave to these courts a peculiar political influence. They insisted that they had the right to make protestations to the king against decrees, and that thus they represented the estates of the realm. In early times, the court sometimes yielded, From the time of Louis XIV, however, the registering of the decree was generally obtained by the king's appearing personally in parliament, when no debate was permitted, and the registering was ordered {lit de justice, q. v.). Refractory parliaments were banished to Tours, Compiegne, Orleans. But the resistance of the parliaments could not always be thus overcome. The parliaments whose members had bought their places, for the sake of the dignity, showed great obstinacy, and it was sometimes necessary to yield to them. Hence Louis XV, towards the end of his reign, adopted a bolder and more fundamental measure: all the old parliaments were abolished in 1771, the sums for which the places had been bought were paid back, the new places filled by the king only, and the old members, in part, banished to small and remote towns, and, in part, imprisoned. For a long time, no lawyer was willing to plead before the new courts; and when, at length, the administration of justice was recommenced, the king died, and Louis XVI restored the old parliaments. They immediately renewed their opposition to the court, the ministers, and the superior clergy; refusing every thing, just and unjust, desired by the court. The archbishop of Sens abolished them again in 1788; but the courts established by him were acknowledged by no one. At length, the parliament declared that the assembly of the statesgeneral alone was capable of granting what the government desired, and thus gave the signal to that revolution in which it was one of the first things overthrown. In the article France, division France before the Revolution, we have spoken of the political influence of these bodies upon the whole organization of government. They assumed all characters, the judicial, legislative, and often executive.We refer, for further information, to Meyer's Esprit, Origine et Progres des Institutions Judiciares des principaux Pays de VEurope (Hague, 1819). Parliament of Great Britain. A sketch of its constitutional power and organization is given in the article Great Britain. If important changes should take place in its organization before we . arrive at the article Reform, they will be treated under that head. At present we shall only give some particulars respecting the forms of doing buisness in parliament. The method of making laws is much the same in both houses. In each house the act of the majority binds the whole; and this majority is declared by votes openly given; not privately or by ballot. To bring a bill into the house of commons, if the relief sought by it is of a private nature, it is first necessary to prefer a petition ; which must be presented by a member, and usually sets forth the grievance desired to be remedied. This petition (when founded on facts that may be disputed) is referred to a committee of members, who examine the matter alleged, and report to the house ; and then (or otherwise upon the mere petition) leave is given to bring in the bill. In public matters, the bill is brought in upon motion made to the house, without any petition. (In the house of lords, if the bill begins there, it is, when of a private nature, referred to two of the judges, to examine and report the state of the facts alleged, to see that all necessary parties consent, and to settle all points of technical propriety.) This is read a first time, and, after a convenient interval, a second time ; and, after each reading, the speaker puts the question whether it shall proceed any further. The introduction of the bill may be originally opposed, as the bill itself may, at either of the readings; and if the opposition succeeds, the bill must be dropped for that session; as it must, also, if opposed with success in any of the subsequent stages. After the second reading, it is committed, that is, referred to a committee, wluch is either selected by the house in matters of small importance, or else, if the bill is a matter of great or national consequence, the nouse resolves itself into a committee of the whole house. A committee of the whole house is composed of every member ; and, to form it, the speaker quits the chair (another member being appointed chairman), and may sit and debate as a private member. In these committees, the bill is debated clause by clause, amendments made, the blanks filled up, and sometimes the bill entirely newmodelled. After it has gone through the committee, the chairman reports it to the house, with such amendments as the committee have made; and then the house reconsider the whole bill again, and the question is repeatedly put upon every clause and amendment. When the house have agreed or disagreed to the amendments of the committee, and sometimes added new amendments of their own, the bill is then ordered to be engrossed, or written in a strong, gross hand, on one or more long rolls of parchment sewed together. When this is finished, it is read a third time, arid amendments are sometimes then made to it; and, if a new clause be added, it is done by tacking a separate piece of parchment on the bill, which is called a rider. The speaker then again opens the contents, and, holding it up in his hands, puts the question whether the bill shall pass. If this be agreed to, the title is then settled. After this, one of the members is directed to carry it to the lords, and desire their concurrence, who, attended by several more, carries it to the bar of the house of peers, and there delivers it to their speaker, who comes down from his woolsack to receive it. It there passes through the same forms as in the other house (except engrossing, which is already clone), and if rejected, no more notice is taken, but it passes sub silentio, to prevent unbecoming altercations. But if it be agreed to, the lords send a message by two masters in chancery (or, sometimes, in matters of high importance, by two of the judges), that they have agreed to the same; and the bill remains with the lords, if they have made no amendment to it. But if any amendments are made, such amendments are sent down with the bill to receive the concurrence of the commons. If the commons disagree to the amendments, a conference usually follows between members deputed from each house, who, for the most part, settle and adjust the difference ; but if both houses remain inflexible, the bill is dropped. If the commons agree to the amendments, the bill is sent back to the lords by one of the members, with a message to acquaint them therewith. The same forms are observed, mutatis mutandis, when the bill begins in the house of lords. But when an act of grace or pardon is passed, it is first signed by his majesty, and then read once only in each of the houses, without any new engrossing or amendment. And when both houses have done with any bill, it always is deposited in the house of peers, to wait the royal assent, except in the case of a money bill, which, after receiving the concurrence of the lords, is sent back to the house of commons. The answer to the question put by the speaker, or the chairman, in the house of commons, is J3yey or JYo; and, in the house of peers, Content, or JYot content. The royal assent to bills may be given, 1. in person. When the king is to pass bills in person, he appears on his throne in the house of peers, in his royal robes, with the crown on his head, and attended by his great officers of state and heralds, and sends for the house of commons to the house of peers; the speaker carries up the money bill, or bills, in his hand ; and, in delivering them, he addresses his majesty in a solemn speech, in which he seldom fails to extol the generosity and loyalty of the commons, and to tell his majesty how necessary it is to be frugal of the public money. The titles of all bills that have passed both houses are read; and the king's answer is declared by the clerk of the parliament in NormanFrench. If the king consents to a public bill, the clerk usually declares, Le roy le vent (The king wills it so to be); if to a private bill, Soitfait comme it est desire1 (Be it as it is desired). If the king refuses his assent, it is in the gentle language of Le roy s'avisera (The king will advise upon it). When a money bill is passed, it is carried up and presented to the king by the speaker of the house of commons, and the roj^al assent is thus expressed, Le roy remercie ses loyaux sujeis, accepte leur blnevolence, et aussi le vent (The king thanks his loyal subjects, accepts their benevolence, and wills it so to be). In case of an act of grace, which originally proceeds from the crown, and has the royal assent in the first stage of it, the clerk of the parliament thus pronounces tlje gratitude of the subject; Le prttats, seigneurs, et communs, en ce present ¬¶parlement assemblies, au nom de tons vous autres sujets, remercient ires humblement voire majeste, et prient a Dieu vous donner en sanU bonne vie et tongue (The prelates, lords, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, in the name of all your other subjects, most humbly thank your majesty, and pray to God to grant you in health a long and happy life). 2. The king may give his assent by letters patent under his great seal signed with his hand, and notified, in his absence, to both houses assembled together in the upper house, by commissioners consisting of certain peers, named in the letters. And, when the bill has received the royal assent in either of these ways, it is then, and not before, a statute or act of parliament. This statute or act is placed among the records of the kingdom ; there needing no formal promulgation to give it the force of a law, as was necessary by the civil law with regard to the emperor's edicts; because every man in England is, in judg ment of law, party to the making of an act of parliament, being present thereat by his representatives. However, copies thereof are usually printed at the king's press, for the information of the whole land. An act of parliament cannot be altered, amended, dispensed with, suspended, or repealed, but in the same forms, and by the same authority of parliament; for it is a maxim in law, that it requires the same strength to dissolve as to create an obligation. The forms of doing business in the congress of the U. States are substantially the same as in the English parliament.