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found under negociation at her accession, and that she afterwards entered into one or two treaties of alliance and mutual defence with France and the Netherlands,-which did not come to much except in respect of any moral effect they may have had, without consulting Parliament. True, she rather snubbed the assembled wisdom of the nation when it ventured to offer advice upon the subject of marriage.

But when, in 1587, the country was threatened with invasion by the Spanish Armada, she addressed herself to Parliament for advice and assistance; and again on the opening of Parliament in the year following. Sir C. Hatton, in the presence of the Queen, recited the circumstances of the defeat of the Armada, and suggested the spirit of revenge it would arouse in Spain, adding, “this is the great cause of summoning this Parliament, that in this most full assembly of the wisest and most prudent persons, called together from all parts of this kingdom, as far as human counsel may advise, a diligent preparation may be made, that arms and forces and money may be in readiness, etc.

Parry in his book of learned research, On the Parliaments and Councils of England,' states that on the 29th March, 1589, “ the two Houses determined on a war with Spain.” Again, in the Parliament of 1592-3, as we read in the parliamentary rolls, Lord Burleigh made a long address on the perils of the nation and of France, consequent upon the ambition of Spain, concluding by "referring the consideration thereof to the whole three estates, whereof two are in this

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place, how the same danger may be withstoodand especially inviting the Commons “ to treat with Her Majesty, and with the prelates and other great men of the realm, and to give your counsels so as it is convenient for us all—first, to consider the perils, and then to give the counsel.”

It must have been in ignorance of such facts as those which we have above cited, that Hume, in a History of England which, for a century or more, has been accepted as a text-book, when writing of Elizabeth's reign, asserts, “As to other great points of Government, alliances, peace, and war, or foreign associations, no Parliament in that age,(a large and indefinite term), “ ever presumed to take them under consideration." But, that in her own time, Elizabeth was not considered as being invested with sole arbitrary authority in these matters, regardless of the constitutional practice under her predecessors, may be gathered from the observations of the Rev. John Aylmer, published in answer to a book by John Knox, against female sovereignty, or as he was pleased to describe it, “The Monstrous Regiment of Women.” “If," writes Aylmer, “the regiment

” were such as all hanged on the king's or queen's will, and not upon the laws written; if she might decree and make laws alone without her senate; if she judged offences according to her wisdom, and not by limitations of statutes and laws; if she might dispose alone of war and peace; if, to be short, she were a mere monarch, and not a mixed ruler, you might peradventure make me to fear the matter the more, and the less to defend the cause." John

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Aylmer was, subsequently to the publication of this work, promoted to the Bishopric of London, a fact which we consider


be taken as evidence of the queen's tacit acquiescence in the doctrine set forth by him.




THE HOUSE OF HANOVER. JAMES I. came from Scotland with very high notions as to his “prerogative,” which he probably based upon the grounds set forth in his Discourse on the True Law of Free Monarchies,' in which he contended that the kings of Scotland did not owe their crown to any primary contract with the people, but to conquest. But it is hard to see how such a doctrine, however plausible in regard to his Scottish dominions, could be extended to apply to England, where a freer constitution, confirmed by ages, prevailed.

'Twere needless to go over the details of the silly and protracted contest which James had with his Parliament on the matter of prerogative; suffice it to say that, although no conclusive result was authoritatively arrived at in favour of the Parliamentary right, that right was never surrendered. This much is certain, that although the king in the first instance, roughly rebuked the Parliament for meddling with the proposed Spanish alliance, and other foreign questions, as "matters above their reach," he afterwards was fain to “ crave their advice” in those very matters; as the result of which “both

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Houses concurred that the king could not, with honour and safety, proceed in the Treaties with Spain, and to fortify the same the Commons gave their reasons and presented them to the king.” After this we read that “the king bade them show him the means how he might do what they would have him, and the money should be disposed of by their own deputies.” And he further promised, “that though war and peace are the peculiar prerogative of kings” (a saving clause, like the “without prejudice " in a lawyer's letter)," he would not treat nor accept of peace without first consulting them.After some further discussion, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Buckingham came down and announced to Parliament “ that the king had declared to them that he was satisfied in honour and conscience he might in this case undertake a war; but for the manner of declaring it he would take the Parliament's advice.In the following year Charles I. came to the throne, and at the very first meeting of Parliament went over all the heads of existing foreign relations, and “left them all to their consideration;" at the same time, suggesting to them “that as they had led his father into the war, so their assistance should not now be wanting."

Passing over the exceptional period of the Commonwealth we come to that of Charles II., in the course of which the old battle about prerogative was resumed—the king asserting that the sole right of making peace and war lay with him ; the Commons, on the other hand, representing "that Parliament hath a right to be consulted in matters

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that relate to peace, war, and alliances;” and that they practically were so, will appear by the following. In the year 1677, in answer to the speech from the throne, they moved an address praying the king to enter with speed into alliances, offensive and defensive, with Holland and other states, against the growing power of France, and for the preservation of the Spanish Netherlands, and showing reasons why they could not comply with His Majesty's speech, by making any supply until such alliances were entered into, and until His Majesty's alliances are made known ; "conceiving that it is not agreeable to the usages of Parliament to grant supplies for the maintenance of wars and alliances before they are submitted to this House." This address was carried by a majority of 182 against 142. · In answer to it the king protested, and insisted upon his prerogative, but added some vague assurances of his determination by all means in his power to care both for the security and satisfaction of his people. Parliament was then adjourned. On its reassembling in the following year, the king, in his speech from the throne, said, “When we parted last I told you that before we met again I should do that which should be to your satisfaction. I have accordingly made such alliances with Holland as are for the preservation of the Spanish Netherlands, and which cannot fail of that end, unless prevented either by the want of due assistance to support those alliances, or by the small regard the Spaniards themselves must have in their own preservation.”

William III. frequently addressed Parliament

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