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Parliament for supplies for the defence of the country against the dangers by the secret articles of a treaty which had been entered into between Spain and the Emperor, the patriotic party in opposition protested against being called upon to provide against imaginary dangers, declaring, that " on this occasion the advice of the House might be quite as necessary as its support; that the question of

peace and war was the most momentous that could fall under the cognizance of that assembly," and demanded that the necessary papers sbould be laid before them, to enable them to deliberate upon the subject. On a division, however, the new system of foreign policy was supported against these arguments by 251 against 81 votes.

Under George II., in 1729, when petitions were presented to both Houses of Parliament from the great mercantile towns, complaining of the obstructions and depredations committed by the Spaniards in the West Indies, the House of Commons, in grand committee, took upon it, without any saving of royal prerogative in such matters, to pass a resolution to the effect “that the Spaniards had violated the treaties subsisting between the two countries,” and addressed the king, requesting him to use his utmost endeavours to procure redress for the past, and security for the future; which, in his reply, “he assured them he would not fail to do.In 1731, the king came down to Parliament with a new batch of complications, and a new demand for supplies, saying: “The present critical juncture seems in a particular manner to deserve your attention, and you need not be told with what impatience the resolutions of this Parliament are everywhere waited for and expected ;” and adding, “if it should be necessary, I shall not fail to ask further advice and assistance of my Parliament, according to the circumstances of public affairs, and so soon as any proper occasion occurs.” In reply to this, the opposition protested “that our ancestors were never so complaisant as to declare their approval of measures without full and regular information respecting them.” . And then, after discussion of the measures said to be in contemplation, an amendment was moved, “that His Majesty should be desired not to concur in any war against the Emperor, either in Flanders or on the Rhine.” The Court party, with

" Walpole at their head, protested against this as “an encroachment on His Majesty's prerogative;" which brought up Heathcote, who declared “that the offering of advice to His Majesty could never be regarded by him as an encroachment upon his prerogative, since it was the proper business of Parliament, which was the king's great council, to advise the crown in all matters of importance ;—it was what many parliaments had done before, and what they were obliged in their duty to do;" and then proceeded to debate all the questions in issue-the Speaker never interposing, which he ought to have done, if he considered that any interference with the royal prerogative was involved in the discussion of the matters in question.

George II. in opening parliament, on November 12, 1747, said: By the advice of my Parliament, I

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entered into a war against Spain, in order to vindicate and secure the trade of my subjects. By their advice, also, and in conformity with my engagements I undertook the support of the Empress Queen of Hungary, and the just rights of Austria,” and mentioned that overtures of peace had come from France, and that a congress had been appointed to meet at Aix-la-Chapelle. On opening the next sessions, November, 29th, 1748, the king announced " that a treaty had been definitively signed by all parties.” This statement gave rise to an animated discussion on the address; Mr. Robert Nugent protesting that "he could not give his assent to inserting any words in the address which might imply the most distant approbation of the treaty of peace which had been concluded, because neither he, nor any gentleman in the house could as yet have any knowledge of that treaty, and because, for all the knowledge he had of it, it was the worst of all the bad treaties England had ever made.” In both Houses it was contended that better terms might have been obtained, at earlier periods, than had actually been obtained

and in the House of Lords two motions were made for papers and returns relating to previous negociations, which were respectively lost on divisions by 288 against 138, and 181 against 120 votes.


UNDER George III. the struggle between parliamentary authority and prerogative still continued, the advocates of the former showing a face and

earnestness, which could only be justified or accounted for on a supposition that they had a conscientious belief in the justness of their cause.

During the eventful period of the American War of Independence, Parliament repeatedly, and in spite of the Court, interposed its opinion, fearlessly addressing the crown against further pursuing that unnatural contest. In 1782, General Conway made his famous motion against the further prosecution of the war, as “weakening the country against its European enemies, and postponing the blessings of peace and tranquillity,” which the Attorney General Wallace endeavoured to evade by moving as an amendment, " that a bill should be prepared enabling” (let the sticklers for prerogative mark that word !) “ enabling His Majesty to conclude a truce with America, and to enter into a negociation on this ground.” But the original motion was carried by a majority of 19 (234 against 215), and the king in reply to the address was obliged to promise that “in pursuance of the advice of the House of Com. mons, he would assuredly take measures for the restoration of harmony between Great Britain and her revolted colonies," and for establishing a gene

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ral peace.

But General Conway, not satisfied with his first triumph, on the 4th March moved “ That this House would consider as enemies to the king and country all who should advise, or by any means attempt the further prosecution of offensive war for the purpose of reducing the revolted colonies by force;” and, the ministers not venturing to divide the House upon the motion, it was carried. So much for prerogative when firmly resisted.

In December of the same year, the king in his speech from the throne, announced that“ of his own inclination, and in conformity with the sense of his Parliament and people," he had signed a preliminary treaty of peace. The preliminary Treaties of Versailles were signed on 30th November, 1872; they were laid before the Houses of Parliament on the 27th January, 1783, when they were read at length. On the motion of the minister, they were ordered for consideration in both houses on the 17th February. In the Lords the address approving the treaties was carried by a majority 72 against 59 votes. In the Commons, Lord John Cavendish objected to the passage in the address in which it was stated " that the House had taken the treaties into its most serious consideration,” as being untrue, and leading practically to an abandonment of the consultative authority of parliament, and moved as an amendment, "that they would proceed to consider the said treaties with that serious and full attention which a subject of so much importance to the present and future interests of His Majesty's dominions deserved," and that “meantime they would hold the fullest confidence that His Majesty would concert with his Parliament such measures as might be expedient for extending the commerce of His Majesty's subjects.” A hot debate ensued, which lasted till half-past seven on the following morning, when the amendment was carried by a majority of 224, against 208. Lord John

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