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on the subject of our foreign affairs, asking its advice. For instance, on the meeting of Parliament in October, 1689, the king, in his speech from the throne urged the necessity of "providing liberal supplies for the war at the most early period, there being a general meeting appointed at the Hague, of all the Princes and States confederated against France, in order to concert the measures for the next campaign;" adding that, "till the determination of the English Parliament was known, their determination must entirely be suspended." In reply, the Commons expressed their unanimous determination to prosecute the war with vigour and effect, and a large supply was immediately granted. When arranging the preliminaries of the Treaty of Ryswick, the king, in his speech to Parliament, distinctly referred to it as one calculated to bring about an honourable termination of the war which he had undertaken by their advice.Towards the end of his reign, however (1698), this king fell into the error of negociating the First Partition Treaty, in concert with France and Holland, purporting to adjust the longpending difficulties involved in the succession to the territories of the Crown of Spain, in a secret manner, not even communicating the fact to any of his ministers, except the Earl of Jersey, till after all was settled ; and causing the Lord Chancellor Somers to affix the Great Seal to blank

ers, as an authority to the negociators, and afterwards to the ratification of the Treaty. But this transaction created great scandal, and led, eventually, to the overthrow of the Whig Ministry, and the impeach

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ment of four of their number, Lords Portland, Oxford, Somers, and Halifax ;—the Earl of Jersey being exempted from prosecution by his Tory friends. Little credit came out of these proceedings, which, directed by party motives alone, were ill supported. The death of the Prince of Bavaria, to whom the Spanish Crown had been allotted by this Partition Treaty, occurred in 1699, and rendered necessary a new arrangement. At this juncture we find both Houses of Parliament taking precautions to prevent a repetition of such conduct as that which led to the Treaty of 1698. They both moved addresses praying for copies of all treaties which had been made with Holland since that of Ryswick, in 1697, and which were given. This was followed up in the House of Commons on the 20th February, by an address, praying the king “to enter into such negociations, in concert with Holland and other potentates, as may most effectually conduce to the mutual support of these kingdoms, and the United Provinces, and the preservation of the peace of Europe,” and in the Lords, by an address similar in purport. The king acquiesced in the policy thus presented to him, and on the 18th March sent down a message to the Commons, stating that he had entered upon negociations at the Hague, with the objects above described, "according to an address of this House to that effect," and communicating a statement of the demands made to the French ambassador on the subject, “it being His Majesty's gracious intention to acquaint you from time to time with the state and progress of these negociations, into which he has

entered pursuant to your address above mentioned." But there was a signal disingenuousness in this message, inasmuch as it was delivered five days after the signature of a Second Partition Treaty, (London, 13th March), yet made no mention of it. Nor did Parliament pass over the circumstance in silence. In the Commons an address was adopted to thank His Majesty for his promise of communicating from time to time the progress of these negociations; "and also, to lay before His Majesty the ill consequences of the Treaty of Partition (passed under the Great Seal of England during the sitting of Parliament, and without the advice of the same) to the peace of Europe, whereby such large territories of the King of Spain's dominions were to to be delivered up to the French King." The king in his reply adroitly evaded this complaint; he repeated that he "should continue to inform thern of the progress of negociations,” and that he was willing to receive their advice thereon, “ being fully persuaded that nothing would contribute more effectually to the happiness of this kingdom, and the peace of Europe, than the concurrence of Parliament in all my negociations, and a good understanding between me and my people.” The Lords also discussed the conduct of the king in this matter, in no pleasant mood; affording strong evidence of the feeling which prevailed still among public men upon this great constitutional question.

Queen Anne also habitually consulted with her Parliament on all matters of state policy. On opening the sessions of 1711, she expressed her joy at being able to announce that, “notwithstanding the acts of those who delight in war, both time and place are appointed for opening the treaty of a general peace,” giving at the same time, an account of the preliminaries. Thereupon, in the Lords, the Earl of Nottingham, after expatiating on the insufficiency and precariousness of these preliminaries, moved an amendment to the address, to the effect “that in the opinion of this House no peace can be safe or honourable to Great Britain or Europe, if Spain and the Indies be allotted to any branch of the House of Bourbon ;”—which amendment, after a violent debate, was carried by 62 votes against 54, "against the utmost efforts of the Court." This address having been presented to the Queen she replied that, “she should be sorry anyone could think she would not do her utmost to recover Spain and the Indies from the House of Bourbon ;”– without one word of rebuke for any supposed interference with the royal prerogative. In the Commons a similar amendment was rejected by 232 against 105 votes. Again, on the 6th June, 1712, the Queen came down to the House of Peers, and stated to both Houses, in a long speech, "the terms upon which peace might be made;"_for, as we are told, “such was the caution of the Lord Treasurer, that he was determined to conclude nothing without the previous sanction of Parliament.” After which, we read that “the Commons, with little difficulty, and the House of Lords, after high debate," presented addresses approving of the course proposed; soon after which, Parliament was prorogued. This, it will be observed, was in June, 1712; and the Treaties whose conditions were thus submitted to, and debated in Parliament, were not signed until the months of April and July in the following year.


It was after the accession of the House of Hanover that the wholesome and constitutional principle of parliamentary control in state affairs first began to be seriously and systematically invaded. A clause had been introduced into the Act of Settlement for the very purpose of restricting the power lately usurped by the crown in this respect, and which provided that, in case of the succession falling to "any person not being a native of this Kingdom of England, this nation shall not be obliged to engage in any war for the defence of any dominions or territories which do not belong to the Crown of England without the consent of Parliament.” Upon the principle that the exception proves the rule, it might be alleged that this especial provision recognized the general prerogative which it sought to restrict. But a great constitutional principle cannot be got rid of inferentially, and by a side wind. An encroachment of royal authority, even of centuries' duration, cannot supercede a fundamental right of the people.

But the consultative powers of Parliament were not all at once abruptly repudiated; nor were they suddenly, abjectly, or lightly abandoned. The aggressions of the Court party were gradual and insidious. In 1727, when George I. addressed

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