« AnteriorContinuar »
PARLIAMENT. PARLIAMENT’ is the grand assembly of the three states of this kingdom, summoned together by the authority of the sovereign, to consider of matters relating to the public welfare, and particularly to enact and 'repeal laws.
Parliaments, in some shape, are of as high antiquity as the Saxon government in this island. Long before the lintroduction of the Norman language into England, all matters of importance were debated and settled in the great councils of the realm. These assemblies were sometimes called michel - synoth, or “great council ;” sometimes michel-gemote, or “great meeting;" and more frequently wittena-gemote, or “the meeting of wise men."
In the main, the constitution of parliament, as it now stands, was marked out in the great charter granted by King John, 8 wherein he promises to summon all archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons, personally; and all other tenants in chief under the crown, by the sheriffs and bailiffs, to meet at a certain place within forty days' notice, to assess aids when necessary.
This constitution has subsisted, in fact, from the year 1266, the 49th year of the reign of Henry III., there being still extant, writs of that date, to summon knights, citizens, and burgesses to parliament.
According to law, parliament must be regularly summoned by the king's writ or letter, issued out of Chancery, by advice of the privy council, at least forty days before it begins to sit. It is a branch of the royal prerogative, that no parliament can be convened by its own authority, or by the authority of any except the sovereign alone. The sitting of parliament, however, must not be intermitted above three years.
Each house of parliament is the judge of its own privileges, which are large and indefinite. Privilege of parliament was principally established in order to protect its members, not only from being molested by their fellow-subjects, but also more especially, from being oppressed by the power of the crown. If, therefore, all the privileges of parliament were once to be set down and ascertained, and no privilege to be allowed but what was so determined, new cases might arise, by which its freedom could be violated. The dignity and independence of the two houses are therefore in a great measure preserved by keeping their privileges indefinite. · For the despatch of business, each house of parliament has its speaker; the speaker of the house of lords, whose office it is to preside and manage the formality of business, is the lord chancellor, or keeper of the king's great seal. The speaker of the house of commons is chosen by the house, but must be approved by the king.
Bills are usually twice read in each house, committed, engrossed, and then read a third time. When they have obtained the concurrence of both houses, and received the royal assent, they become acts of parliament.
Parliament may be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, An adjournment is no more than a continuance of the session from one day to another; this is done by the authority of each house, separately, every day, and sometimes for a fortnight or a month together.
A prorogation is a continuance of the parliament from one session to another; this is done by royal authority.
A dissolution is the civil death of the parliament, which may be effected in three ways :-1. By the king's will ; 2. By the demise of the crown, that is, within six months after; or, 3. By length of time, having sat for the space of seven years.
1. Vide Root. 2. The word parliament is comparatively of modern date; derived from the French, and signifying “the place where they met and conferred together.', It was first applied to general assemblies of the states under Lewis VII, in France, about the midde of the 12th century. 3. A.D. 1215.
SYRIA AND ASIA MINOR. Syria lay to the north of Palestine. It is frequently mentioned in the Bible. Its capital was Antioch, which was one of the most - splendid of cities.
Antioch was the native place of St. Luke, and here both St. Peter and St. Paul lived for some time. Here, too, the followers of Christ were first called ' Christians.
Damascus, another city of Syria, one hundred and thirty-six miles northward of Jerusalem, appears to have been known ever since the time of Abraham, and is now the oldest city in the world. It is frequently mentioned in the Bible, and here : St. Paul was miraculously converted to the Christian faith.
Another place in Syria mentioned in the Bible was Tadmor, sometimes called “ Tadmor in the Desert;" this was built by Solomon for the convenience of his traders : it was ten miles in extent, but it is now in ruins. The splendid remains of this place, consisting of columns and other things beautifully sculptured in stone, show that it must have been a rich and powerful city. In modern times it is called “ Palmyra.
At the distance of thirty-seven miles north-west of Damascus are the remains of Balbec, a very splendid city in the time of the apostles, and then called Heliopolis. It is now in ruins, and contains scarcely more than a thousand inhabitants.
Phenice, or Phenicia, which lay along the border of the Mediterranean Sea, contained the cities of Tyre,
1. Vide Root. 2. Acts xi. 26. 3. Acts ix. 4. Celebrated for its defence, under its queen Zenobia, against the Roman emperor Aurelian. Its wealth was owing to its being the mart at which all the trade between the eastern and western world was transacted.
5. Tliey first passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, founded Cadiz, in Spain, and traded even to Cornwall for tin. 6. That is, Asia the Less. The Greeks called it Anatolia. 7. Mithridates king of Pontus, who was subdued by the Romans, 64 B.C., was the last independent sovereign of Asia Minor.
Sidon, Ptolemais, and other celebrated places. In very early times, the Phenicians were famous for taking the
lead in 6 commerce, navigation, and other arts. They “ were then an independent nation, but in after times their country became a province of Syria.
Syria is at the present day governed by the Turks, and, like every other country under their sway, is stamped with an aspect of desolation and decay. The term Syria is now applied not only to what anciently bore that name, but to Palestine also.
Asia Minor appears to have been settled in very early times. ?Several kingdoms have arisen and flourished here at different periods. The kingdom of Lydia, in Asia Minor, existed as early as eight hundred years before Christ.
The last king of Lydia was Cresus, who was so famous for his great riches that to this day we say, “ As rich as Cresus.” But, in spite of his wealth, he was conquered by Cyrus, king of Persia, 548 B.C.
From this period, Lydia, with a great part of Asia Minor, continued subject to the Persian empire, till the time of Alexander, about 330 B.C., when it was conquered by that famous leader.
Through the labours of Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Luke, and perhaps others, Christianity was early planted in nearly all the divisions of Asia Minor.
GEOGRAPHICAL.-Write the names of the principal places in Syria and Asia Minor.
Titus destroyed it................................... A.D. 70
uers ................................ 1093 Retaken by Saladin and the Saraceng................... 1187 Taken by the Turks.......
Compound Bodies. Having stated that there are only a few simple bodies in nature, it will be seen, as before remarked, that the endless variety of things results from the action of chemical agencies in combining in various ways all these simple elements; and the alterations are so strange, that until we have seen the process once, we can never say from the nature of two things we join, what the resulting compound will be; for instance, hydrogen is a gas that will burn. oxygen is a gas that will support life and · fire ; you can see neither of them, but join them together, and water, as already stated, is the result.
When gases join together they form various compounds. Nitrogen and hydrogen form ammonia, the basis of smelling salts; this gas is given off in large quantities when animal matter is putrefying. Nitrogen and oxygen form common air. Another variation of nitrogen and oxygen is 'aquafortis. Hydrogen and chlorine form hydro-chloric acid, or common spirits of salt. How different the result in all these instances !
Gases also join with solid bodies, and form important classes of compounds.
Thus oxygen combines with sulphur and forms oil of vitriol. When it combines with carbon, it forms carbonic acid--the acid that is given off from soda water.
Chlorine combines with various substances, and the compounds are called chlorides. With the metal sodium, it forms chloride of sodium, or common salt.
When oxygen combines with metals, the resulting compounds are called oxides ; some of these compounds are called oxides merely, as oxide of manganese, oxide of tin, of copper, of gold, &c.
Some others are called earths, as when oxygen com