« PreviousContinue »
minutes the votes (which are ordered to be printed*,) are made up, under the direction of the Speaker., s lush .: The Book of the Clerk of the House of Commons, as the Journals were anciently termed, is a record (e), and as such is evidence in a court of law. As records, they are open to every one, to see and to publish therefrom (f); and a printed vote of either House on any subject is sufficient ground for the other to notice it. Either may appoint a Committee to examine the Journalst of the other, and report their proceedings upon the particular, subject of enquiry, (see Chap. XII. On Committees, [Committee to inspect Lords' Journals].)
... The Journals of the House of Commons commence in 1547,and continue down to the present time; but the course of entering the proceedings has varied from time to time, the entries being much more specific and detailed at some periods than at others. The Journals of the House of Lords commence in 1509, and are much more regular.
On information of a misentry or omission in the Journals, Misentry.
(e) 6 Henry VIII. ch. 16 ; 4 Inst. 23, 24; C. J. 17 March, 1592. (f) 6 Grey, 118, 119.
* The votes and proceedings of the House were first ordered to be printed by a Resolution of the House on the 24th March, 1680-1; for about forty years prior to that time, it had been customary to order the printing of certain specific votes, but there was no general order for that purpose. Since then, however, the above Resolution has been renewed every session (with the exception of the year 1702 when it was for a short time suspended), and a Printer ordered to be appointed for that purpose by the Speaker; an occasional probibition being added against all other persons printing the same. By the 42 Geo. III. ch. 63, Votes and Proceedings in Parliament may be sent to any part of Great Britain, postage free, by Members of either House, and certain public officers; and with a reduced postage, by all other persons.
† Although the order says "Journals," it is stated by a Committee of the House of Commons, on the Publication of Printed Papers (8 May, 1837), that the Lords have invariably adverted to the Votes for any information they may have required. It is also stated (by this Committee), that “although the House of .“ Commons do not allow any reference to be made in Petitions to what passes in .debate, or may be entered in the Journals, yet, consistently with the rules of " the House, matter stated in the printed Votes may be made the subject of “petition and discussion."
Remuneration of the Chaplain.
at the upper part of the Clerk's table, on the right hand,
the Chaplain on the left. At its conclusion, the Speaker, standing before the Chair, counts the House, and, if there be a quorum present, takes his seat. The mace is then laid upon the table by the Serjeant, and the business begun.
The office of Chaplain is in the gift of the Speaker, and was, until recently, entirely honorary. Formerly, after about three years service, on the average, an Address to His Majesty was voted, praying Him to confer on the Chaplain some living in the gift of the Crown, which was immediately done; but now, in consequence of the greater part of the ecclesiastical patronage of the Crown having been taken away, by act of Parliament, no such livings remain open ;-accordingly that officer receives a salary of £200 a year from the House of Commons (s).
(8) See Mirror of Parlt. 1836, p. 198,
CH A P. XVIII.
on Xmpeachment, Bills of Attainder, &e.
The High Court of Parliament is the supreme Court of IMPEACHMENT. the Kingdom, not only for making, but also for the exe- Object and procution of the laws—by the trial of great offenders, whether Lords or Commons, in the method of Parliamentary Im. peachment. This custom of Impeachment, says Blackstone (a), has a peculiar propriety in our Constitution; for though, in general, the union of the legislative and judicial powers ought to be most carefully avoided, yet it may happen that a subject, intrusted with the administration of public affairs, may infringe the rights of the people, and be guilty of such crimes as the ordinary magistrales either dares not or cannot punish. Of these, the representatives of the people, or House of Commons, cannot properly judge ; because their constituents are the parties injured, and can, therefore, only impeach. In the trial of such an impeachment, ordinary tribunals would naturally be swayed by the authority of so powerful an accuser. Reason, therefore, will suggest, that this branch of the legislature, which represents the people, must bring its charge before the other branch, which consists of the nobility, who have neither the same interests, nor the same passions, as popular assemblies. It is proper, therefore, that the nobility should adjudge, to ensure justice to the accused, as it is proper that the people should accuse, to ensure justice to the Commonwealth.
(oj 4 BI. Com. 260, 261.
Should be spa
All the King's subjects are impeachable.
Resolutions on which Impeach
At the same time, while it is absolutely necessary, for the preservation of our liberties, and the safety of our Constitution, that the Commons should possess this extra
ordinary power of bringing great offenders to justice, it
pas may be prudent that it should be sparingly exercised. It ringly exercised. should be confined to matters not within the cognizance
of ordinary tribunals; to breaches of trust, particularly judicial aberrations; and the counselling pernicious' or dishonorable measures.
All the King's subjects, even the highest spiritual or temporal lords, are impeachable in Parliament; but a Commoner can now be charged only with high misdemeanors and not with capital offences, cognizable in any other Court (b): a Peer may be impeached for any crime.
The accusation of the Commons is in the place of an ment is founded. Indictment. The general course pursued in bringing
forward an Impeachment, is, to pass a resolution in the House of Commons, containing a criminal charge against the supposed delinquent, and then to appoint certain members (called managers) to impeach him, by oral accusation, at the bar of the House of Lords, in the name of the Commons in Parliament assembled, and of all the Commons of the United Kingdom. The person deputed to this office further signifies, that the articles against the accused will be exhibited in due time, and desires that he may, in the mean time, be sequestered from his seat in Parliament, or be committed, or that the Peers will take order for his appearance (c).
If the party do not appear, proclamations are to be Appearance.
issued, giving him a day to appear. On their return they are strictly examined. If any error be found in them, a new proclamation must issue, giving another day. If he then appears not, his goods may be proceeded
Impeached at the
(6) Fitzharris' case, L. J. 26 March, 1680; 8 Grey, 325.
against, and the trial be conducted by a bill of Altainder, or of Pains and Penalties. . · The Commons claim to be judges of the proper time Articles. for exhibiting their articles; but when unreasonable delays have taken place, they have been repeatedly reminded by the Lords to advance the prosecution, in justice to the accused. . The articles may be stated by the Commons in general How stated. terms, without technical exactness, and need not pursue the strict form of an indictment; thus, by the usage of Parliament, in Impeachments for writing or speaking, the particular words need not be specified (d).
At this stage, a joint Committee of both Houses has fre- Joiut Committee. quently been appointed, to adjust other preliminaries of the trial; but such a Committee has been also denied on impeachments for misdemeanors (c). · The Commons then request the Lords to appoint a Trial. place and day on which they may follow up their Impeachment-for it is the sole right of the Lords to name the place of trial. · The trial itself does not essentially differ fro mcriminal prosecutions before inferior courts. The rules of evidence, and the doctrine of crimes and punishments, are the same; for Iinpeachments are not framed to alter the law, but to carry it into more effectual execution, when it might be obstructed by the influence of too powerful delinquents.
If the charge be for misdemeanors, the Lord Chancellor presides at the trial. In capital cases, it has been usual Lord High to appoint a Lord High Steward, for the more orderly proceeding of the trial.* This officer is appointed by the King, and he must (f) be a Peer; but it was decided by
(d) Sachev. Trial, 3:25; 2 Wood, 602, 605. (e) C. J. 17 June, 1701.
(f) 4 Bl. Com. 261. * See Professor Amos' Disquisition on the Court of the Lord High Steward, appended to the 2d vol. of Phillips' Stale Trials, p. 359.