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THE HOUSE OF LORDS.* The Lords. Is composed of two branches, the Lords Spiritual and the
Lords Temporal. The Lords Spi: The Lords Spiritual at present consist of two Archbi
shops and twenty-four Bishopst (exclusive of the Bishop of Sodor and Man, who is not a Lord of Parliament) with
four spiritual Lords from Ireland. Their right to a The right by which the English Bishops sit in the
House arises from their holding certain Baronies under
seat in the House.
* The appellation or title of Lord is due, and is given to all that are temporal or spiritual barons of the realm. Camden, in his Britannia (p. 168), says, that in the Saxon Glossary of Alfricus, among the terms of bodour, the word dominus is translated Hlaford, which we have contracted into Lord. The title of Lord is given by courtesy to all the sons of dukes and marquises, and to the eldest sons of earls and to none under,--but they are not so styled in legal proceedings or courts of justice.
Some changes have recently taken place in the English Bishoprics, pursuant to a Report of the Commission appointed to consider the state of the Established Church, its several Dioceses in England and Wales--made on the 17th March, 1835. By this arrangement two new sees were erected, viz. Manchester and Ripon; but no increase is made in the total number of Episcopal sees, that of Bangor being united with St. Asaph, and that of Gloucester with Bristol. This Report was confirmed, and provision made for carrying it into effect by the 6 & 7 Wm. IV. ch.77.
There is a seat for the Bishop of Man, detached from the other Bishops, and within the Bar of the House of Lords, but he has no vote, because he does not hold “per integram baroniam,” his bishoprick being the gift of the Duke of Athol, whose presentations are confirmed by the King. Were the Island, however, (118 for treason) to become forfeit to the Crown, the Bishop, as holding his barony from the King, would then have a vote as well as a scat.
the Crown, annexed, or supposed to be annexed, to their episcopal lands, and for which they do homage on their consecration. And it is in right of these Baronies, which are inalienable from their respective dignities, that the Bishops and Abbots in the time of William the Conqueror, and ever since, have sat in the House of Lords (a).
Prior to the conquest it was otherwise, for they were Prior to the not then called by virtue of their Baronial Tenures (for in those days all their Tenures were Franc Almonage,) bat, as Hakewill tells us, “that those chief and principal persons “ of the Clergy might be called, who, by their gravity, * learning and wisdom might best advise what was the * law of God, his acceptable will and pleasure,- that they "might form their human laws answerable, or at least not “ repugnant thereto."
When, shortly after the conquest, William altered the te- Reason of their nure of the Bishopricks to the feudal baronial tenure, the made Baroulah clergy expressed great complaint and grief thereat,for, from thence forward, they were obliged to send persons to the Wars; their Estates were subjected to civil charges and assessments; and, which was then looked upon as a great grievance and burthen, they were obliged to attend in Parliament (6). The learned Camden (in his Britannia p. 107. Edit.
Their privileges. 1670) tells us, “That unto the Bishops by right and "custom it appertaineth, as to Peers of the realm, to be “ with the Peers personally present at all Parliaments * whatsoever, to consult, to handle, to ordain, decree and " determine, in regard of the baronies which they hold of “ the King-and, ever since the Conquest, they have en"joyed all the immunities of the temporal Barons, except
(a) Hakew. 84; Dyer, 60 ; Boe Bp. Warburton's Alliance between Church and State, 4th Edit. p. 149.
(b) See Matthew Paris, A. D. 1070.
" that they are not to be judged by their Peers,"* and the same opinion is declared by Selden (in his Baronage of England) and by Dr. Gibson in his Codex Juris Ecclesiastica Anglicani (C). Formerly there were twenty-six Mitred Abbots,t and two Priors in the House of Lords; but they were removed from their seats at the dissolution
of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. Irish Prelatos.
By the Articles of Union between Great Britain and Ireland, the Irish Prelates are represented by four, who sit in the House of Lords by rotation of session (d).
The Bishops are not, strictly speaking, Peers of the realm, but only Lords of Parliament (e). But notwithstanding the ancient distinction still continues, the Lords, Spiritual and Temporal, are one Estate ; they mingle in their votes, and a Bill would undoubtedly be valid which should pass the House, though every Bishop were to vote against it (f).
Upon any question of Attainder, or of impeachment the vote in cases of Lords Spiritual withdrawn before judgment is pronounced,
for by the Decrees of the Church, they may not be judges
Bishops do not vote in cases of life and death.
(c) See S. O. H. of L. xliv.
(d) 39 & 40 Geo. III. ch. 67. (e)s. O H. of L. xliv. (f) For instance the Act of Uniformity, 1 Eliz. ch. 2.
* For a Summary of the arguments and precedents for and against the right of Bishops to be tried by their Peers, see Professor Amos' Treatise on the Court of the Lord High Steward, appended to Phillips' State Trials, v. 2, pp. 376 to 379. This learned and elaborate writer, after a careful examination of the subject, seems to incline in favour of the possession of such privileges by the Bishops.
† The Mitred Abbols were not only exempt from the spiritual authority of the Bishop of their diocese, but were, themselves, so far possessed of the character of Bishops as to be vested with Episcopal jurisdiction. The Abbots and Priors, who, when Lords of Parliament, were usually styled MITRED, were all, perhaps, incidentally, though not necessarily, entitled to wear the Mitre. They also sat in Parliament, not on account of their Episcopal jurisdiction, but by a prescription arising from the importance of their secular baronies.-(Brydson's View of Heraldry, 270, 271.)
# By a Canon established at the Council of Toledo. This Canon is said to have been introduced into England by Lanfranc (the first Norman Archbishop), confirmed in a synod held at London, and made a standing rule of the English Church.-See Burn's Eccle. Jaw, v. 1, pp. 219, 220; and Barrington's Obsery. On the Statutes, pp. 32, 178,
Their places in
of life and death (g), nevertheless, they generally enter a protest, saving their right to sit and vote, if the Canons were out of the question (h). But by the eleventh Constitution of Clarendon, they are required to be present until judgment is about to be given.
By the statute 31 Henry VIII. ch. 10, it was determined that Bishops should rank immediately after Viscounts, the House. and have precedence of all Barons. Among themselves, the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester, take the precedence, the rest taking place according to their priority of consecration. . But if any of them be a Privy Councillor, he takes place next after the Bishop of Durham (i).
The precedence of the Bishop of London arises, not only from his Diocese containing the metropolitan city of London, but by his office of Provincial Dean of Canterbury.
The Bishop of Winchester's precedence, likewise, is owing to his office under the Archbishop, being SubDean of the Province of Canterbury; and it being his duty, in case the see of London be vacant, to execute the Archbishop's mandates for convocation, &c.
The Bishop of Durham's precedence arose, formerly, on a very different account. For until very lately, besides his prelatical jurisdiction, he was Count Palatine of Durham, being the only Palatinate remaining in the hards of a subject. But by the 6 and 7 Wm. IV. ch. 19, this jurisdiction was separated from the Bishoprick and vested in the Crown. The Bishop of Durham, however, still enjoys the precedence given him by the 31 Henry VIII. Their dress.
The parliamentary Costume of the Archbishops and Bishops is the rochet or surplice, with lawn sleeves, and a square Black cap. At coronations the Archbishop of Canterbury wears, in addition, a superb cope, which reaches from his shoulders to his feet. The mitre, crosier,
(8) Hakew. 84.
(i) 1 Ins: €4.
&c. have been laid aside since the Reformation, and are
now merely emblazoned on their coats of arms. Lords Temporal. The Lords Temporal consist of all the Peers of the
realm, by whatever title distinguished, from Dukes to Barons. Some of these sit by descent, as do all the ancient Peers; some by creation, as do all new made ones; others, since the Unions with Scotland and Ireland, by election--which is the case with the sixteen Peers who represent the Scottish nobility (j), and are only chosen for one Parliament; and the twenty-eight Temporal Lords electted* for life by the Peers of Ireland (k)+.
Dukes, Marquises, Earls, and all other of the nobility, sit together in Parliament as Barons, and in right only of their Baronies. And, therefore, by the general name of Barons
Sit as Barons.
(j) See Scotch Act, 1707, ch. 8, and 6 Anne, ch. 23, which regulates the mode of their election ; also 19 Geo. II. ch. 38, s. 26; and 10 Gro. IV. ch. 7, s. 5, 7, 8.
(k) 39 & 40 Geo. III. ch. 67, 4th Article.
* Any claim that may be made to vote for the Representative Peers of Ireland, must be by Petition, stating the right on which the Petitioner founds his claim, and praying that it may be admitted. If the claim be admitted, the Resolution of the House allowing it must be transmitted to the Clerk of the Crown in Ireland.-S. O. H. of L. clx, clxi.
† There is no vacancy made in the representation by a Representative Peer of either Scotland or Ireland becoming a Peer of Great Britain. This rule, however, as respects the Scottish Peers, has been the subject of much contrary adjudication. The House of Lords having often annulled the election of Scottish Peers accepting British Peerages (a), and refused to allow them to vote at such elections (6). But on the 23d May and 6th June, 1793, the House resolved, that the votes of the Duke of Queensbury and the Earl of Abercorn (both of them Scottish Peers, created since the Union) which had been tendered and rejected by the Clerks in obedience to a former resolution of the House-ought to have been received; since wbich the practice has ever been, to receive, without objection, the votes of Scottish peers holding British peerages ; so that now they can vote at elections and also sit in the House of Lords. Neither does a representative peer lose his elective, by accepting an inelective seat (c).-Bell's Dict. Law of Scotland,
(a) L. J. 18 Dec. 1711—the case of the D. of Queensbury and E. of Abercorn. L. J. 14 Feb. 1787. (6) L. J. 21 Jan. 1708-9; 18 May, 1787; 21 May, 1788. (c) L. J. 14 June, 1793.