« PreviousContinue »
ages in the payment of the same, to order (c), that no agent be permitted to proceed upon any new bill or petition, until the Fees incurred upon any one he may have previously conducted, have been paid.
(C) C. J. 16 Aug. 1836.
Money Bill, what By a Bill of Supply or Money Bill is meant, any Pub
lic or Private Bill under which money is directed to be raised upon the subject, for any purpose or in any shape whatsoever : whether it be for the exigencies of the state ; for private benefit; or for any particular district or parish, either as taxes, customs, tolls, dues or rates, of any kind.
It has been already shown (a), that the House of Commons, from an early period of its History, has claimed, and been allowed, as an exclusive right, “ The grant of all
" aids and taxes to the Crown, for the public service” (6). Origin and This privilege had its origin in remote times of Engplies being lish History; it is first traced, says Hume (c), in the times
of the Saxon Heptarchy; and it was recognized and confirmed by the Conqueror in his Coronation Oath* (d). Having been, like many other principles of English liberty, often violated in the stormy times which immediately ensued, it was at length expressly acknowledged and declared by one of the articles of Magna Chartat. This im
plies being given by Parlia. ment.
(a) See ante p. 32.
(0) 3 Hats. 136. (c) Hist. of Richard III.
(d) See Saxon Chronicle, A. D. 1066. * And see also the Carta REGIS de quibusdam statutis per totam Angliam firmiter observandis, of WILLIAM I. in Rymer's Fædera, 0.1 p. I.
"No Scutage or Aid shall be imposed in our Kingdom unless by the Common “ Council of our Kingdom, except to redeem our person, and to make our eldest "son a Knight, and once to marry our eldest daughter ; and for these there shall "only be paid a reasonable aid." Magna Charta, Article 14. The" reasonable '' aid" was fixed by the Statule of Westminster I. (3 Edw. I, ch. 36.) at twenty shillings for every knight's fee, and as inuch for every twenty pounds value of land held by Soccage. The aid " to make his son a knight," might be raised when he entered on his fifteenth year; and that “to marry his daughter," wheu she reached the age of seven.
portant privilege of the subject has since that time been often confirmed* and often broken (c), until it was finally declared by the bill of Rights, that "the levying money “for, or to the use of the Crown, by pretence of preroga“tive, without grant of Parliament, is illegal.” . In the famous indemnity of the Lords and Commons, 9 Henry IV. now about 400 years ago, it is conceded “That “ the grant should be the grant of the Commons, assented “ to by the Lords, and communicated in manner and form! "as hath been hitherto accustomed, that is to say-by the * mouth of the Speaker of the House of Commons for the “time being” (f). . · Thus we see that the right of the subject to originate, in Parliament, all matters of supply, has been continually acknowledged by the several monarchs who have swayed the destinies of the Empire, from the earliest growth of our Constitution. We see also, that, ever since this right has been firmly established, the originating power of taxation has been conceded to the Commons, as being the representatives of that people upon whom the “aids and scutages”+ were to be levied. (e) Dwar. 233.
(1) And see C. J. 12 March 1580. * See also the Statute De tallagio non concedendo, of the 34 Edw. I. (1306), by which that monarch was compelled to confirm in Parliament that law which had been so often wantonly infringed; it enacts, "That no talliage or aid shalt be "taken or levied by us, or our heirs in our Realm, without the goodwill and as"sent of the Archbishops, Bishops, Earls, Barons, Knights, Burgesees and other "freemen of the land."
† Aids, or assistance in money, were due froin any vassal for the ransom of the lord, for the knighting of his cldest son, and for the marriage of his eldest daughter, but they were often exacted when no such reason could be urged, but such an extension was expressly declared to be illegal by Article 18, of Mague Charta
Escuage or Scutage was a pecuniary compensation for military service, but as the approach of war was an easy pretext, it was liable to become almost arbitrary. It is supposed to have been first introduced by Henry II.-to raise funds for the employment of a large body of mercenary troops, to assist him in his wars with the French King. Mackintosh's Hist. of England, o. 1, p. 126.
Y Thillage was an impost assessed upon cities and towns, and upon that class of freemen who owed no military service, according to an estimate of their income. It was, from its nature, very arbitrary.
Tue Barons, when they submitted to John, in "the Parliament of Runnymede,"
In 1628 (g), the Commons first began to omit the name of the Lords in the preamble of Bills of Supply, that it
(8) The first Parlianient of Charles I. See C. J. 7 & 9 June 1628. as it is called in a writ of the 28 Henry III. (1), articles for the redress of their grievances, did not, whilst providing for their own security against oppression, show an indifference to the rights of those beneath them-for in these arti: cles there was a provision * expressly declaring, that the same consent should be required for the imposition of taillages as for that of alds, --but in the Charter itself, from motives unknown to us, taillage was omitted. And it continued to be levied, at the discretion of the King, upon those who were subject to its payment, until the passage of the Statute De tallagio non concedendo (34 Edw. 1.) by which all such imposts without the consent of Parliament, were declared illegal.
From this Statute and that of the Charter of Confirmation (25 Edw 1) may be dated the rise of the representative system which is now the broad foundation of the House of Commons. The rude outline of a Parliamentary Assembly may indeed be discerned in much earlier times, but it was, (unless we except the Folk. ·mote and Witana-gemote of the Anglo-Saxons,) an exclusively aristocratical legislature, in which the lower classes of society had no share or participation.
The consent of the higher orders of the state to taxation had long been conce ded, as requisite to its legality-accordingly, we find the Charter of John directing the lords and prelates of the land, with those tenants who held of the Crown in capite, to be summoned personally for that purpose. Thus was the constitutional principle established of the consent of the community being necessary in all just taxation, and although we have seen that the attempt which was then made to extend to the lower orders that right wbich they justly claimed, was, at the time, successfully resisted, yel, with the Barons on their side, it was not long before the silent Revolution was effected, and the consent of all classes required in Parlia ment to the imposition of the burthens laid upon them. · But the above Statutes, all-important as they were in their effects, did not prescribe the particular manner by which these taxes were to be levied, further than by directing that " the burgesses and other freemen of the land," should be suinmoned to Parliament with the peers and prelates. Personal attendajice was im possib'e where so large a body of people were concerned--the principle of repre. sentation, therefore, naturally presented itself, and the people elected delegates to appear for them in Parliament and treat with the King the nature and amount of the required supply. From this small beginning the burgesses, together with the knights of the shire-whose origin, though from a different cause, may be simi: larly traced became in process of time, an integral and essential part of the constitution of Parliament. And, while the rise of the House of Commons, as it is at present constituted, based upon the representative system, was the natural result of the situation in which the country was placed by the just concessions of the Crown-its gradual, but progressive increase of power until it atlained an equal and legitimate share in legislation was the natural result of its establishment, and of those principles of true liberty which from the days of Ed. ward the Confessor, have ever been the distinguished characteristic of Englishmen.
(1) Taylor's Book of Righis, 7, * Simili modo fiat de taillagiis de civitate London, et de aliis civitatibus." Art Cartæ Regis Johannis, sec 32-in Mackintosh's History of England, v. ), p. 185.
rigin and progress of the ex
the House of
might more strongly be mánifest as their “sole grant.” Orig
This, though once remonstrated against by the Upper clusive control House (1) has continued ever since to be the practice.. being visted in
At a later period (i), the House of Commons, finding Commons. that the originating power in matters of supply was insufficient to secure to them the possession of this important privilege—the Lords frequently, by amending their Bills, altering the burthen intended to be imposed-found themselves compelled to declare " that in all aids given “ to the King by the Commons, the rate or tax ought not “ to altered by the Lords” (k).
After the revolution of 1688, the Commons Taid claim to a still farther extension of their privilege, by refusing to receive from the Lords any bill imposing a pecuniary penalty upon offenders, or to permit them to alter the application of such as they had imposed ;-and by extending this privilege to local and limited assessments for private benefits. · These proceedings were, at the time, much protested against by the Upper House, but ineffectually-for the Commons refused to abate their claims in the slightest degree. So that of late years, although the Lords have never avowedly acknowledged any further privilege thàn that of originating Bills of Supply, they have carefully avoided every opportunity of collision on the subject, and, while the proceedings of each House have been marked by a mutual forbearance, and desire to avoid a renewal of the controversy on this ground-the privileges claired by the Commons may now be regarded as permanently and indubitably established.
Principles laid The principles laid down by Hatsell (?), as the right right of the Comof the Commons with respect to Money Bills, is as fol- of Suprly.
down as the
mons in matters
(1) See C. J. 17 June, 1628..