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in the holding of annual Parliaments is evident from the terms of the ordinance of Edward II., " that as, not only in matters of law, but in grievances against the king's ministers, redress could not be had except by Parliaments, they should be held once a year, or twice if need be, and that in a suitable place.”

The wording of one of the statutes of Edward III. has already been given ; as for the apparent admission in Richard II.'s time, that Parliament was only wanted annually for “ redress of delays in suits,” it need only be contrasted with the terms of the remonstrance to that King when he stayed at Eltham. There, indeed, as already shown, it was laid down that the King ought to convene his Lords and Commons to his court of Parliament, as to the highest court of the whole realm in which equity ought to shine bright without any spot clear as the sun; but much more was maintained than

* Petyt.

FUNCTIONS OF PARLIAMENT.

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were

this. In this highest court of the realm all public grievances or errors were to be redressed ; the state and good government of the kingdom

“ to be treated of with the most prudent counsel ;" the means of "conveniently and honourably discovering and repulsing the foes of the King and nation at home and their enemies abroad, had to be considered ; and, “with a wholesome deliberation," the Parliament was

to foresee and order how the necessary burdens of the King and kingdom might with most ease, the public wants considered, be supplied.” Then follows this noteworthy declaration : “They conceive, also, that since they are to support all public charges incumbent, they should have the supervisal how, and by whom, their goods and fortunes are to be expended.” It was when Richard, revolting against this remonstrance, threatened to ask aid from the King of France rather than truckle to his own subjects, that Parliament plainly answered him

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that the people had it in their power, by their ancient constitution, to depose from the throne those monarchs who alienated themselves from their people.

Not only was it the constitutional theory that the Parliament should at its annual meetings exercise such powers as the remonstrance to Richard II. assumes, but in practice these powers were exercised, and the Parliament was called to advise with the King as circumstances changed. Advice on peace and war and on all great matters of state, now taken indirectly from a ministry supposed to be representative of a Parliament held in turn to be representative of the people, was in these days taken directly from the Parliament. Edward I., says Hume, issued writs to the sheriffs to send to Parliament two deputies from each borough within their county, provided with sufficient powers to consent in their name to what he and his counsel should require of them, "as what

ADVICE TO THE KING.

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concerns all should be approved by all.” The necessity for this approval and consent was staunchly maintained in after days. Edward III. was told with great bluntness by some of his Parliament men that they would not be compelled by any of his statutes or ordinances made without their consent. As an example of the functions exercised by the Parliament in those days, it may be noted that in 1332 the Parliament was convened “about the affairs of Ireland, and the King's going over there in person to quell the rebels who had done great mischiefs in that country. The Parliament adjourned to Thursday following to consider of this affair. They were alarmed with some sudden news out of the north which made them fear an invasion from the Scots, whereupon the Lords and Commons did each, by their several petitions, advise and request the King not to go into Ireland, but to send a sufficient supply of men and money, whilst himself marched a strong army towards the north in order to watch the motions of the Scots."

The assent of the people was always understood to be pledged in Parliament. In the seventeenth year of Edward II.'s reign, it was declared that things concerning the state of the King and his heirs, the estate of the realm, and the people were done by the King and " by the assent of the prelates, earls, and barons, and the commonalty of the realm, according to custom.”* That this assent was not originally held to be obtained by the concurrence of the same Parliament to divers affairs occurring at divers times, is obvious from the issue of fresh writs and the recurrence of elections. There were, of course, serious obstacles to the continuance of the same Parliaments for any length of time in these days; but if further

evidence be demanded to show that the con

stitutional necessity for recurrence to the sense

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