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1689.] THE REvolution. 423
houses of parliament, by the Speaker of the house of lords, on the 13th of February, 1688. On that day they became, and were proclaimed, King and Queen of England, deriving their authority from the joint declaration of the lords and commons, and holding the crown on the principles and subject to the limitations prescribed in the Declaration or Bill of Rights. The convention on the same day passed an act' which declared that the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, convened at Westminster on the 22nd of January, 1688, and there sitting on the 13th of February following, were the two houses of parliament, notwithstanding any defect of form. lt repealed the old oaths of allegiance and supremacy required to be taken by members of the houses of parliament, and substituted a new oath of allegiance to King William and Queen Mary, and acknowledging their supremacy. It also passed an act for establishing the coronation oath.” Thus that great event in our history, and change in the constitution and dynasty,+THE REVOLUTION,+was complete. In the second session of the same parliament, held in 1689, an act was passed “declaring the rights and liberties of the subject, and settling the succession of the crown.” In that act the Declaration of Rights is recited at length, the acceptance of the crown by William and Mary is recorded, and the descent of the crown is settled in the manner before described. We shall hereafter notice the principles laid down in the Declaration of Rights, which continue to this day, as fundamental principles of the constitution. Queen Mary died in 1694, and the son of her sister Anne having also died, all hope was lost of the succession to the crown taking place in the course provided by the Bill of Rights. In 1704, therefore, the Act of Settlement was passed.” James II. was then dead, leaving a son, called in England the Pretender. This act excluded him from the throne, and entailed the crown, in default of issue or * William and Mary, sess. 1, cap. 1. * Idem, cap. 6. * William and Mary, sess. 2, cap. 2. “12 & 13 William III., cap. 2.
424 constitutionAL MonARCHY ESTABLISHED. [CH. XVIII.
William or Anne, upon Sophia, Electress of Hanover, granddaughter of King James I., and the heirs of her body, being protestants. This act added certain fundamental principles to the constitution, which will be hereafter noticed. Under its limitations the Hanover family came to the throne, through whom it has descended to our present most excellent and constitutional queen Victoria. The Revolution terminated the contest between prerogative and freedom, and settled the basis of a limited monarch and constitutional government. From that period the principles laid down in the Bill of Rights have never been disputed, although in the changes of administration, and under the influence of party spirit, they may sometimes have been departed from. They have, however, in our times, obtained a solidity which is unassailable; and they have been confirmed and added to by, for the most part, a course of wise, enlightened, and impartial legislation, by which the security of the throne has been increased, and the rights and liberties of the people maintained and enlarged.
THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION.
Monarchy the Basis of the Constitution.—Supreme Executive Power. —Prerogatives.—Coronation Oath.-Declaration of Rights.-Act of Settlement.—The King must act through Ministers.-Rise of Ministerial Responsibility.—The Cabinet Council.—The Privy Council.— Parliamentary Government.—Selection of Ministers.-Power to suspend Laws.-Prerogative in relation to Parliament.—Mode of Summoning Parliament.—Peers of Scotland.—Prorogation.—Opening of Parliament.—Mode of giving Royal Assent to Bills.-Prerogative of Rejecting Bills.-Selection of Ministers.-Civil List.—Descent of the Crown.—Demise of the Crown.—Allegiance of the People.—Royal Children.
THE basis of the English Constitution is a Monarchy which has had a duration of upwards of a thousand years. Never absolute, its power has been gradually diminished in the course of its transmission to our days, and brought under the control of constitutional laws and principles, and under the check of institutions of co-ordinate authority; but the affairs of the government, both administrative and judicial, are conducted in the name of the sovereign, who is presented to foreign nations as invested with the full power of the kingdom. The title of the reigning sovereign has been lately expressed in the language of truth, as “Victoria, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the Colonies and Dependencies thereof in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australasia Queen, Defender of the Faith.” The Revolution settled the principle on which the monarchy is constituted. The maxim of hereditary indefeasible right was renounced in a free parliament, which declared the power of the crown to be derived from a contract with the people. Allegiance and government according to law, are, therefore, reciprocal and mutually dependent rights; and William III. accepted the throne, not only on a theoretical but also on an express contract with the people, establishing these and other fundamental principles and rights as the primary elements of the constitution. From that time, therefore, and as the result of the contests described in the First Part of this work, closed by the Revolution, the direct personal legislative power of the king has been diminished, even to privation; but he still retains a share in legislation, by the consent which it is necessary he should give to the enactment of every law. He has also retained, and in him is vested, the SUPREME ExEcutive Power. This combination of executive and legislative power in the king's person, constitutes him, as well in fact as in theory, the highest authority in the state; whilst, as representative of the ancient monarchy, he is also the person of the highest rank.”
1 Indian Proclamation, 1848. Henceforth the treatise is written with reference to a king, as more respectful to her Majesty, and in order to adopt phraseology in accordance with the acts of parliament and public documents.
* “In some commonwealths where the legislative is not always in being, and the executive is vested in a single person, who has also a share in the legislative; there that single person, in a very tolerable sense, may be called supreme; not that he has in himself all the supreme power, which is that of law-making, but because he has in himself the supreme execution from which all inferior magistrates derive all their several subordinate powers, or at least the greatest part of them; having also no legislative power superior to him, there being no law to be made without his consent.” (Locke on Government, ch. 13.)
THE EXECUTIVE POWER. 427
The discharge of his duties as the supreme executive magistrate requires that the king should be invested with high dignities and prerogatives, constituting him the head and chief of the several departments of the executive administration. He is, therefore, the SUPREME MAGISTRATE; and as such he is the fountain of justice, and general conservator of the peace of the kingdom. He appoints the judges and magistrates, who administer justice in his name. He has the PRERogATIVE of MERCY-the power of pardoning crimimals convicted by law. He is the GENERALIssi Mo, or first in command of the army and navy; and in that capacity he raises the national armies and fleets. He is the FounTAIN of HoNour; and has the sole power of creating peers, and of conferring titles, whether of nobility or of inferior rank. He is the SUPREME HEAD of THE NATIONAL CHURCH ; and in that capacity he appoints the archbishops and bishops, and convenes the convocation of the clergy. He has the sole power of coining money. As KING, he is the representative of the imperial dignity of the realm, in its relations with foreign nations; he sends and receives ambassadors, contracts alliances, and makes peace or war. He is a constituent part of the parliament, which he alone convokes, pro
rogues, and dissolves."
* See Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. i. ch. 7. The constitution of the United States invests the President, as depositary of the executive power, with similar functions.:-" He is commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States. He has power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment. He has power, by and with the advice of the senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators presént concur; and he nominates, and, by and with the consent of the senate, appoints ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the supreme court, and all other officers of the United States whose appointments are not otherwise provided for in the constitution, and established by law; but the congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers in the president alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments. He may, on extraordinary occasions (that is, at other times than on the first Monday in December in every year,