Page images


Parliamentary Remembrancer.











N. 2288


WHILE the plan of the first Volume has been carried out in the present, two additions have been made. One of these is, the giving special Historical Notices upon topics of the most prominent and permanent importance;—such as those connected with Parliamentary Representation (pp. 2–6; 56-59; etc.); the functions of Parliament in regard to Foreign Affairs (pp. 95–101; etc.); National Defence (pp. 108-113; etc.); Marriage and Divorce (pp. 115, 116); Weights and Measures (pp. 79-81), etc., etc. The other is, the statement, each week, of the Papers laid before, or printed by order of, the House of Commons during the week; and the making these Papers practically available, by a Digest of the whole of them, at the close of Parliament, in a systematic method (pp. 167–186) :—the latter of which is a task so difficult and laborious that, though every one has long felt the want of its fulfilment, it has never before been attempted.

These additions obviously help to complete those means of a sure and clear-sighted understanding of what is done and attempted by Parliament,-and of what is left undone and unattempted there,—which it is the object of the Parliamentary Remembrancer, without any reference to Party purposes or manœuvres, to furnish in a concise but thorough and authentic form.

These additions to the original plan of the Work, will also be carried out through future Volumes.

The Session of 1860 will begin on the 24th January. The third Volume of the Parliamentary Remembrancer will, accordingly, begin with the Number (53) which will be issued on 28th January, 1860.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

The QUEEN, in person, delivered the SPEECH OF THE CROWN, from the Throne.

Law of Property and Trustees' Relief Amendment Bill,-"to further amend the Law of Property, and to relieve Trustees." Brought in by Lord ST. LEONARDS. Read first time.

Select Vestries Bill.-Read first time [pro formá].

This Bill is thus brought in, pro forma, to maintain the right and duty of the House to consider, in the first place, what they themselves deem that the Public Interests demand, before taking any message from the Crown into consideration. It is a Standing Order of the House, "That, at the beginning of the Session, after prayers said, some Bill, pro formâ, is to be read: then His Majesty's speech is to be reported: etc." (See below, on the "Outlawries Bill: " COMMONS.) In the present case, this mere pro formâ Bill was unnecessary, as Lord St. Leonards' Bill had already been read.

An ADDRESS to the CROWN, in acknowledgment of the Speech from the Throne, was, after debate, but without opposition, agreed to.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency.-A Bill for assimilating and amending the Laws relating hereto, was announced in the Speech from the Throne.

Crimes and Offences.-The consolidation of the Laws relating hereto, was announced in like manner. This was promised in the Session before the last, and also in the last Session; but these promises came to nothing. See Parl. Rem. Vol. I. pp. 3, 14, 26, 35.

Landed Estates.-A Bill for enabling the owners of land in England to obtain for themselves an indefeasible title to their estates and interests, and for registering such titles with simplicity and security, was announced in like manner.

Reform of Parliament.-It was, in like manner, announced that attention would be called to the State of the Laws regulating the Representation of the People in Parliament. See hereon, the Note, p. 2, on "Reform of Parliament."


THE HOUSE attended the QUEEN, to hear the SPEECH FROM THE THRONE. Operations in India.-Mr. SPEAKER laid before the House Letters from the Governor-General and others in India, acknowledging the Thanks of this House of 8th February and 25th March, 1858.

Public Income and Expenditure for the year ended 30th September, 1858; together with the balance in the Exchequer at the commencement and at the termination of the year, and the amount of funded or unfunded debt created or redeemed in the said year :-The like for the year ended 31st December, 1858. Accounts ordered, and presented.

Outlawries Bill.-"For the more effectual preventing Clandestine Outlawries." Read first time [pro formá].

The reading a Bill, before taking the speech of the Crown into consideration, is as much a matter of right and duty in the House of Commons as in the House of Lords (see above, "Select Vestries Bill:" LORDS). At the present moment, the coincidence is worth remarking, of the title of the Bill which happened, nearly two hundred years ago, to be thus read, on the occasion when the point as to thus reading a Bill in the first place was, perhaps, more fully considered than ever else.

The opening of the Session on the 15th February, 1676, was stormy in both Houses. It was strongly maintained that Parliament had become dissolved, by the act and operation of the Law itself, inasmuch as fifteen months had passed since their last meeting, while the Law of England required that a Parliament shall be held "every year once, and oftener if need be " (see after, p. 2, "Reform of Parliament "). The Duke of Buckingham, the Earls of Shaftesbury and Salisbury, and the Lord Wharton, made themselves very obnoxious to the Crown by the strength with which they maintained this ground in the House of Lords. In the House of Commons the same point was touched on; but, as the House was actually assembled, the question turned, in the end, upon whether the King's speech should be considered before a Bill had been read. The Speaker laid it clearly down that:-"The Session is not begun till a Bill be read. It is the ancient Order; and, if so, your question is, Whether you will break that Order or not." Sir Thomas Meres well remarked that "Though forms seem but little things, yet they are of great consequence." After long debate, a Bill was read; after which, the King's speech was read and considered. The title of the Bill thus read, on this memorable occasion, was "for regulating Elections of Members of Parliament." Queen's Speech.-Reported by Mr. SPEAKER and read to the House.

An Address to the Crown, in acknowledgment of the Speech from the Throne, resolved on, after debate, without opposition. Committee named, to draw it up.

Friday: 4th February.


Vexatious Indictments Bill,-" to prevent vexatious Indictments for certain Misdemeanors." Brought

in by Lord CAMPBELL. Read first time. Second reading on Friday next.

This appears to be one of the two Bills of which Lord Campbell gave notice at the close of the last Session (see Parl. Rem. Vol. I. p. 149).



« PreviousContinue »