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kinds of public provisions, or establishments, -the various abuses of administration, and their remedies, --become, in every session, the objects of the attention of parliament.
Here, however, an important observation must be made. All bills for granting money must have their beginning in the house of commons: the lords cannot take this object into their consideration but in consequence of a bill presented to them by the latter; and the commons have at all times been so anxiously tenacious of this privilege, that they have never suffered the lords even to make any change in the money-bills which they have sent to them; the lords are expected simply and solely either to accept or reject them.
This excepted, every member, in each house, may propose whatever question he thinks proper. If, after being considered, the matter is found to deserve attention, the person who made the proposition, usually with some others adjoined to him, is desired to set it down in writing. If, after more complete discussions of the subject, the proposition is carried in the affirmative, it is sent to the other house, that they may, in their turn, take it into consideration. If the other house reject the bill, it remains without any effect: if they agree
to it, nothing remains wanting to its complete establishment but the royal assent.
When there is no business that requires immediate dispatch, the king usually waits till the end of the session, or at least till a certain number of bills are ready for him, before he declares his royal pleasure. When the time is come, the king goes to parliament in the same state with which he opened it; and while he is seated on the throne, a clerk, who has a list of the bills, gives, or refuses, as he reads, the royal assent.
When the royal assent is given to a public hill, the clerk
le veut. If the bill be a private bill, he says, soit fait comme il est desiré. If the bill has subsidies for its object,
roy remercie ses loyaux sujets, accepte leur bénévolence, et aussi le veut. Lastly, if the king does not think proper to assent to the bill, the clerk
roy s'avisera ; which is a mild way of giving a refusal.
It is, however, pretty singular, that the king of England should make use of the French language to declare his intentions to his parliament. This custom was introduced at the Conquest,* and has been continued, like other
* William the Conqueror added to the other changes he introduced, the abolition of the English language in
matters of form, which sometimes subsist for ages after the real substance of things has been altered : and Judge Blackstone expresses himself on this subject in the following words :
A badge, it must be owned (now the only one remaining), of conquest; and which
one would wish to see fall into total oblivion, er unless it be reserved as a solemn memento " to remind us that our liberties are mortal, having once been destroyed by a foreign 66 force.”
When the king has declared his different intentions, he prorogues the parliament. Those bills which he has rejected remain without force; those to which he has assented become the expression of the will of the highest power acknowledged in England: they have the same binding force as the édits enrégistrés have in France, and as the populiscita had in ancient Rome: in a word, they are laws. And though each of the constituent parts of the parliament might, at first, have prevented the existence of those laws, the united will of all the three is now necessary to repeal them.”
all public as well as judicial transactions, and substituted for it the French that was spoken in his time: hence the number of old French words that are met with in the style of the English laws. It was only under Edward III. that the English language began to be re-established in the courts of justice.
Of the Executive Power.
WHEN the parliament is prorogued or dissolved, it ceases to exist; but its laws still continue to be in force : the king remains charged with the execution of them, and is supplied with the necessary power for that purpose.
It is, however, to be observed, that though, in his political capacity of one of the constituent parts of the parliament (that is with regard to the share allotted to him in the legislative authority), the king is undoubtedly sovereign, and only needs allege his will when he gives or refuses his assent to the bills presented to him; yet, in the exercise of his powers of government, he is no more than a magistrate; and the laws, whether those that existed before him, or those to which, by his assent, he has given being, must direct his conduct, and bind him equally with his subjects.
I. The first prerogative of the king, in his
capacity of supreme magistrate, has for its ohject the administration of justice.
1°. He is the source of all judicial power in the state : he is the chief of all the courts of law, and the judges are only his substitutes ; every thing is transacted in his name; the judgments must be with his seal, and are executed by his officers.
2. By a fiction of the law, he is looked upon as the universal proprietor of the kingdom : he is in consequence deemed directly concerned in all offences; and, for that reason, prosecutions are to be carried on in his name in the courts of law.
3o. He can pardon offences, that is, remit the punishment that has been awarded in consequence of his prosecution.
II. The second prerogative of the king is, to be the fountain of honour, that is, the distributor of titles and dignities : he creates the peers of the realm, as well as bestows the dif-ferent degrees of inferior nobility. He moreover disposes of the different offices, either in the courts of law, or elsewhere.
III. The king is the superintendent of commerce; he has the prerogative of regulating weights and measures ;: he alone can coin money, and can give a currency to foreign coin.