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whom follow six other, which are as well military as civil, having the managing of all matters of honour, and warlike proceedings.
The first of which is the lord chamberlain of the kingdom, whose office is of the greatest employment in all publick assemblies, as coronations, parliaments, triumphs, or any solemnity, where the king himself rideth in person: Which office is not officiary, but honorary, depending, by a feudal right, unto the noble house of the Earls of Oxford.
After this is the lord constable of the kingdom, who was the first and principal general, under the king, of all the land forces, and in all occasions of martial affairs, had the principal nomination of officers, and ordering of ammunition for such employment.
Then is the lord marshal of the land, a great and renowned officer, in whom consist the solutions of all differences in honour, and dispensation of all things appertaining to the great or lesser nobility.
Next followeth the office of the lord admiral of the land, who is the king's general and chief commander at sea, and hath care and charge of all his Majesty's royal navy, and the censuring of all marine causes whatsoever.
The next following is the lord steward of the king's houshold, in whose trust and government is reposed the ordering of all the great and noble families, the discussion of all controversies, the placing and removing of officers, and the disposing of all things therein, for his Majesty's renown and di, nity.
The last of these great officers is the lord chamberlain of the king's royal houshold, unto whose great trust, faith, and integrity, is committed the guard of the king's royal person; he hath the controul and commandment of all officers, and others, whose dependence is on the king's person; and howsoever some would limit his rule above the sayters, yet it is over the whole court, and in all places wheresoever the king is present; with many other privileges, which at this time cannot be fully recited.
After all these great offices, and officers, I must necessarily add one great officer more, namely, the king's chief and principal secretary of state, who deserves a due respect, by his high and honourable place, in regard he is so intimate and nigh to all affairs of his Majesty, either private or particular,
The Form of the King's Majesty's Writ, to the Peers, to assemble in
• CAROLUS, &c. Charissimo consanguineo suo E. Comit. D. salutem. Quia de advisamento & assensu concilii nostri pro quibusdam arduis urgentibus negotiis nos, statum & defensionem regni nostri Angliæ & Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ concernent. quoddam parliamentum nostrum apud civitatem nostram Westmonast, tertio die Novembris prox. futur. , teneri ordinavimus, & ibid. vobiscum ac cum prælat. magnatibus & proceribus dict. Regni nostri colloquium habere, tractare, vobis sub fide & ligeanciis, quibus nobis tenemini, firmiter injungend. mandamus, quod considerat. dictorum negotiorum arduitate & periculis imminentibus, cessante excusatione quacunque, dict. die & loco personaliter intersitis nobiscum, ac cum prælatis, magnatibus & proceribus prædictis, super dictis negotiis tractatur, vestrumque consilium impensur. & hoc sicut nos & honorem nostrum ac salvationem & defensionem regni & ecclesiæ prædictorum expeditionemque dictorum negotiorum diligitis, nullatenus omittatis. Teste me apud West. decimo octavo die Septembris, anno regni nostri 16.
The Form of the Writ to the Sheriff, 8c. for the Election of the Knights
and Burgesses to assemble in Parliament.
• REX Vic. N. &c. salut. quia de advisamento & assensu concilii nostri pro quibusdam arduis & urgentibus negotiis nos, statum & defensionem Regni nostri Angliæ & Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ concernent. quoddamn parliamentum nostrum apud civitatem nostram West. tertio die Novembris, prox, futur. teneri ordinavimus, & ibid. cum prælatis magnatibus & proceribus dicti Regni nostri colloquium habere & tract.
Tibi præcipimus firmiter injungentes quod facta proclamation. in prox. comitat. tuo post receptionem hujus brev. nostri tenend, die & loco prædict. duos milit. gladiis cinct. magis idoneos & discretos comit. prædict. & de qualib. civitate com. illius duos cives, & de quolibet burgo duos burgenses de discretior. & magis sufficientibus libere & indifferenter per illos qui proclan, hujusmodi interfuer. juxta formam statutorum inde edit. & provis. eligi, & nomina eorundem milit. civium & burgensium, sic electorum, in quibusdam indentur. inter te & illos qui hujusmodi electionis interfuerit, inde conficiendum, sive hujusmodi electi præsentes fuerint vel absentes, inseri, eosque ad dict. diem & locum venire fac. Ita quod iidem milites plenam & sufficientem potestatem pro se & communitate comit. prædicti, ac dict. cives & burgenses pro se & communitate civitatum & burgorum prædictorum divisim ab ipsis habeant ad faciendum & consentiendum his quæ tunc ibid. de communi consilio dicti regni nostri (favente Deo) contigerint ordinari super negotiis antedictis; ita quod pro defectu potestatis hujusmodi, seu propter improvidam electionem milit. civium, aut burgensium prædictorum, dicta negotia infecto non remaneant quovis inodo. Nolumus autem, quod tu nec aliquis alius vic. dicti regni nostri aliqualiter sit electus. Et electionem illam in pleno comitatu factam, distincte & aperte sub sigillo tuo & sigillis eorum qui electioni illi interfuerint nobis in cancellar. nostr. dict. diem & locum certifices indilate, remittens nobis alteram partem indentur, prædictarum præsentibus consuet, una cum hoc breve, Teste meipso apud West. 18 die Septembris, Anno Regni nostri 16.
The Prerogative of the High Court of Parliament. Of all the courts of judicature in England, the court of parliament is the chiefest and greatest council of estate, called and appointed by the King's Majesty; the lords of the upper house, by personal writs of summons; and for the commons house, a general writ is sent 10 the sheriff of every shire, or county, to call together all such freeholders (which can dispend forty shillings yearly out of their own free lands, at least) for the electing two gentlemen for knights of the shire; the like is directed to the cinque-ports, for choice of their barons; to each city, burrough-town, and university, for choice of two burgesses, for every of them, to represent their several bodies in parliament.
The Time and Place of Meeting.
This honourable assembly's meeting is noticed by the King's Majesty, to all his subjects, by proclamation.
The end of calling this great assembly, is either the disturbance of the church, by heresy or schism, danger of the kingdom, by war offensive or defensive, or for the relief of the subject, disturbed in the courts of justice by ill customs, undue execution of the laws, oppression, &c.
From this high court lies no appeal, the determination thereof being presumed to be the act of every particular subject, who is either present personally, or consenting by his assignee, suffraged by himself.
This honourable assembly consists of two houses, upper and lower. The upper is made up by the lords spiritual and temporal, as archbishops, bishops, dukes, marquisses, earls, viscounts, barons, no member of that house being under the degree of a baron, all which await the writ of summons, without which, no place, no vote there; and none may absent themselves after summons, without special proxy from his Majesty, whence he hath power to depute one of the said members to give his voice for him in absence.
His Majesty, who, by his prerogative royal, hath the sole power, as of calling, so dissolving this honourable assembly, sits on a throne in the
upper end of the house; on his right hand the Prince of Wales, on the left, the Duke of York. The greatest officers of the kingdom, as the lord-keeper (who is the speaker or mouth of the house) treasurer, privy seal, &c. have places some on the right, some on the left hand of the throne: The form whercof is recited in the statute of 31, Henry the VIII.
The Manner of giving Voices in the Upper House, is thus. The lords spiritual and temporal in their parliamentary robes, the youngest bishop reads prayers ; those being ended, the clark of the house readeth the bills (being first writ in paper) which being once read, he that pleaseth may speak either for, or against it.
The Manner of the Lower House is in this Sort. The first day each member is called by his name, every one answering for what place he serveth; that done, they are willed to chuse their speaker, who (though nominated by the King's Majesty) is to be a member of that house; their election being made, he is presented by them to the King sitting in parliament, where after his oration or speech (the lord-keeper approving in behalf of the king) he petitions his Majesty in behalf of the house: First, for their privileges, from all molestations, during the time of sitting. Secondly, that they may enjoy freedom of speech. Thirdly, that they may have power to correct any of their own members that are offenders. Fourthly, to have favourable access to his Majesty upon all occasions, the speaker (in behalf of the house of commons) promising regard and full repect, as befitting loyal and dutiful subjects.
The Use of the Parliament Consists in abrogating old, or making new laws, reforming all grievances in the commonwealth, whether in religion or in temporal affairs, settling succession to the crown, grants, subsidies, &c. and, in sum, may be called the great physician of the kingdom or republick.
The Speaker's Place in the House of Commons. The speaker sits in a chair, placed somewhat high to be seen and heard the better of all; the clark of the house sits before him in a lower seat, who reads such bills as are first propounded in their house, or sent down from the lords, for, in that point, each house hath equal authority to propound what they think meet.
All bills be thrice in three several days read, and disputed on, before put to question; and so good order is used in the house, that he, that intends to speak to any bill, stands up bare-headed (for no more than one speaks at a time) speaking to the speaker, not one to another, being against the rule of the house; and he that speaketh is to speak no more that day to the bill he hath spoken to, to avoid spinning needlesly out of time; and their speeches must be free from taunts of their fellow members, that are of contrary opinions.
The speakers office is, when a bill is read, as briefly as he may to declare the effect thereof to the house; and to bills first agreed on by the lords, and sent to the commons for assent, if they do assent, then are they returned, subscribed thus, Les communs ont assentus: So likewise, if the lords agree to what is sent to them from the house of commons, they subscribe, Les seigneurs ont assentus: If the two houses cannot agree (every bill being thrice read in each house) then sometimes the lords, sometimes the commons, require a meeting of some of each house, whereby information may be had of each others mind, for the preservation of a good correspondency between them, after which meeting, for the most part, (though not always) either part agrees to the bill in question,
The assent or dissent of the upper house, is each man severally by himself, and then for so many as he hath by proxy, they saying only, Content, or Not content, and by the major part, it is agreed to, or dashed. But, in the lower house, no member can give his voice to another by proxy; the major part, being present only, maketh the assent, or dissent. After a bill is twice read there, and engrossed (being disputed on enough, as conceived) the speaker asketh if they will go to question, and if agreed to, holding the bill up in his hand, saith, As many as will have this bill pass concerning such a matter, say, Yea; and those that are against it, No: And if it be a doubt, which cry is bigger, the house is divided, the one part that agrees not to the bill, being bid to sit still ; those that do, to go down with the bill, so plurality of voices allows or dashes. But no bill is an act of parliament, ordinance, or edict of law, though both the houses unanimously agree in it, till it hath the royal assent.
Touching the Royal Assent.
When bills are passed by both houses, they ought to haye for approbation the royal assent, which usually is deferred till the last day of the sessions, but may be given at any time during the parliament; touching which, it hath been a question much debated, whether the royal assent given to any one bill doth not, ipso facto, conclude that present session ? The question is of great consequence, for, if thereby the session be at an end, then ought every other bill, although passed both the bouses, to be read again three times in either house, and to have the same proceeding as it had at first, as if nothing had been formerly done therein; so must it be done of all other acts of the house: But, the first session of the first parliament of King James, the house being then desirous to have a bill passed forthwith by the royal assent, which should be security to the warden of the fleet, touching the delivery of Sir Thomas Sherly, out of execution (for it was then questionable whether he was subject to an action of escape) did agree that the giving of the royal assent to one bill or more did not dissolve the sessions, without some special declaration of his Majesty's pleasure to that purpose, 18th of April, 1604. And likewise in the Journal Anno 1 & 2. Phil. & Mariæ. 21 Novem. That the King and Queen came on purpose intu the parliament house to give their assent to Cardinal Pool's bill, and upon question made it was then resolved by the whole house, that the session was not thereby concluded, but that they might proceed in their business, notwithstanding the royal assent given.
At the giving of the royal assent, it is not requisite the King should be present in
person, for by the express word of the statute of 33 Henry the Eighth, cap. 21, the King's royal assent by his letters patents, under his great seal, signed by his hand, and declared and notified in his absence to the lords spiritual and temporal, and to the commons assembled in parliament, is, and ever was of as good strength and force, as if the King had been there in person personally present, and had assented openly and publickly to the same, according to which statute the royal assent was given by commission, Anno 38. H. S, unto the bill for the attainder of the Duke of Norfolk.