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fufpended, or repealed, but in the fame forms and by the fame authority of parliament: for it is a maxim in law, that it requires the fame strength to diffolve, as to create an obligation. It is true it was formerly held, that the king might in many cafes difpenfe with penal ftatutes: but now by ftatute 1 W. & M. ft. 2. c. 2. it is declared, that the fufpending or difpenfing with laws by regal authority, without confent of parliament, is illegal.

VII. THERE remains only, in the seventh and last place, to add a word or two concerning the manner in which parliaments may be adjourned, prorogued, or diffolved.

AN adjournment is no more than a continuance of the feffion from one day to another, as the word itself fignifies: and this is done by the authority of each house separately every day; and fometimes for a fortnight or a month together, as at Christmas or Eafter, or upon other particular occafions. But the adjournment of one houfe is no adjournment of the other. It hath alfo been usual, when his majesty hath fignified his pleafure that both or either of the houfes fhould adjourn then felves to a certain day, to obey the king's pleasure fo fignified, and to adjourn accordingly. Otherwife, befides the indecorum of a refufal, a prorogation would affuredly follow; which would often be very inconvenient to both public and private bufinefs. For prorogation puts an end to the feffion; and then fuch bills, as are only begun and not perfected, muft be refumed de novo (if at all) in a fubfequent feffion: whereas, after an adjournment, all things continue in the fame ftate as at the time of the adjournment made, and may be proceeded on without any fresh commencement.

A PROROGATION is the continuance of the parliament from one feflion to another, as an adjournment is a continuation

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of the feffion from day to day. This is done by the royal authority, expreffed either by the lord chancellor in his majesty's prefence, or by commiffion from the crown, or frequently by proclamation. Both houfes are neceffarily prorogued at the fame time; it not being a prorogation of the house of lords, or commons, but of the parliament. The foon is never understood to be at an end, until a prorogation. though, unless some act be paffed or fome judgment given in parliament, it is in truth no feffion at all. And formerly the ufage was, for the king to give the royal affent to all fuch bills as he approved, at the end of every feffion, and then to prorogue the parliament; though iometimes only for a day or two: after which all bufinefs then depending in the houses was to be begun again. Which custom obtained fo ftrongly, that it once became a queftion, whether giving the royal affent to a fingle bill did not of courfe put an end to the feffion. And though it was then refolved in the negative, yet the notion was fo deeply rooted, that the ftatute 1 Car. I. c. 7. was paffed to declare, that the king's affent to that and fome other acts fhould not put an end to the feflion; and even fo late as the refloration of Charles II, we find a provifio tacked to the first bill then enacted", that his majefty's afient thereto fhould not determine the session of parliament. But it now feems to be ailowed, that a prorogation must be exprefsly made, in order to determine the feflion. And, if at the time of an actual rebellion, or imminent danger of invafion, the parliament fhall be feparated by adjournment or prorogation, the king is empowered to call them together by proclamation, with fourteen days notice of the time appointed for their reaffembling,

A DISSOLUTION is the civil death of the parliament; and this may be effected three ways: 1. By the king's will, expreffed either in perfon or by reprefentation. For, as the king has the fole right of convening the parliament, fo alfo it is a branch of Z 2

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the royal prerogative, that he may (whenever he pleases) prorogue the parliament for a time, or put a final period to it's exiftence. If nothing had a right to prorogue or diffolve a parlia ment but itself, it might happen to become perpetual. And this would be extremely dangerous, if at any time it fhould attempt to encroach upon the executive power: as was fatally experienced by the unfortunate king Charles the firft; who, having unadvisedly pafled an act to continue the parliament then in being till fuch time as it fhould please to diffolve itself, at last fell a facrifice to that inordinate power, which he himself had confented to give them. It is therefore extremely neccflary that the crown fhould be empowered to regulate the duration of these affemblies, under the limitations which the English conftitution has prefcribed: fo that, on the one hand, they may frequently and regularly come together, for the difpatch of bufinefs and redrefs of grievances; and may not, on the other, even with the confent of the crown, be continued to an inconvenient or unconftitutional length,

2. A PARLIAMENT inay be diffolved by the demife of the crown. This diolution formerly happened immediately upon the death of the reigning fovercign: for he being confidered in law as the head of the parliament, (caput, principium, et finis) that failing, the whole body was held to be extinct. But, the calling a new parliament immediately on the inauguration of the fucceffor being found inconvenient, and dangers being apprehended from having no parliament in being in cafe of a difputed fucceffion, it was enacted by the ftatutes 7 & 8 W. III. · c. 15. and 6 Ann. c. 7, that the parliament in being fhall continue for fix months after the death of any king or queen, unlefs fooner prorogued or diffolved by the fucceffor: that, if the parliament be, at the time of the king's death, feparated by adjournment or prorogation, it fhall notwithstanding affemble immediately and that, if no parliament is then in being, the members of the laft parliament fhall affemble, and be again a parliament.


3. LASTLY a parliament may be diffolved or expire by length of time. For if either the legislative body were perpetual; or might last for the life of the prince who convened them as formerly; and were so to be fupplied, by occasionally filling the vacancies with new reprefentatives; in thefe cafes, if it were once corrupted, the evil would be paft all remedy: but when different bodies fucceed each other, if the people fee caufe to difapprove of the prefent, they may rectify it's faults in the next. A legislative affembly alfo, which is fure to be feparated again, (whereby it's members will themfelves become private men, and fubject to the full extent of the laws which they have enacted for others) will think themselves bound, in interest as well as duty, to make only such laws as are good. The utmost extent of time that the fame parliament was allowed to fit, by the ftatute 6 W. & M. c. 2. was three years; after the expiration of which, reckoning from the return of the firft fummons, the parliament was to have no longer continuance. But by the ftatute 1 Geo. I. ft. 2. c. 38. (in order, profeffedly, to prevent the great and continued expenfes of frequent elections, and the violent heats and animofities confequent thereupon, and for the peace and fecurity of the government then juft recovering from the late rebellion) this term was prolonged to feven years; and, what alone is an inftance of the vaft authority of parliament, the very fame houfe, that was chofen for three years, enacted it's own continuance for feven. So that, as our conftitution now ftands, the parliament mult expire, or die a natural death, at the end of every feventh year; if not fooner diffolved by the royal prerogative,



HE fupreme executive power of these kingdoms is vested


by our laws in a single perfon, the king or queen: for it matters not to which fex the crown defcends; but the perfon entitled to it, whether male or female, is immediately invested with all the enfigns, rights, and prerogatives of fovereign power; as is declared by ftatute 1 Mar. ft. 3.c. 1.

IN difcourfing of the royal rights and authority, I fhall confider the king under fix diftinct views: 1. With regard to his title. 2. His royal family. 3. His councils. 4. His duties. 5. His prerogative. 6. His revenue. And, first, with regard

to his title.

THE executive power of the English nation being vefted in a fingle perfon, by the general confent of the people, the evidence of which general confent is long and inmemorial ufage, it became neceflary to the freedom and peace of the ftate, that a rule fhould be laid down, uniform, univerfal. and permanent; in order to mark out with precision, who is that fingle perfon, to whom are committed (in fubfervience to the law of the land) the care and protection of the community; and to whom, in return, the duty and allegiance of every individual are due. It is of the higheit aportance to the public tranquillity, and to the con


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