Page:Ruffhead - The Statutes at Large, 1763.djvu/18

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Nevertheles the Commons, in the Reign Rich. II. had gained a very considerable Ascendancy ; for, in the first Year of the succeeding King, they even attempted to share with the Lords in their judicial Capacity : But the Archbishop of Canterbury, by the King's Command, told them, that " they were only Petitioners ; and that all Judgments appertain to the King and to the Lords, unless it were in Statutes, Grants, Subsidies, or such like; the which Order the King would have from that Time to be observed."

By this concluding Exception, we find the legislative Right of the Commons expresly acknowledged in Terms, yet it was still so little regarded in Practice, that it was again invaded the very next Year : And the 2d of Hen. IV. c.15. was passed, though the Commons never ass}ented to it, but, on the contrary, disavowed it [1]. The Force of that Act:, nevertheles, was felt till the Reigns of Hen. VIII. and Ed. VI. Nay, afterwards, in Mary 's Time, till its final Repeal in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. Instances of this Kind probably gave Birth to the Petition in the 8 of Hen. IV. when " it was enacted, at the Request of the Commons, that certain of the Commons House should be present at the engrossing of the Parliament Roll [2]

But, not withstanding these Securities, Acts still continued to be passed without the Commons Assent ; and they were, from Time to Time, compelled to renew their Claim of Right in this Behalf, which they did in 2 Hen. V. in the following strong Terms.

" Oure Soverain, your humble and trewe Leiges that ben come for the Comens of your Lond, by feeckyn onto your rigt Wissenefle. Tha foo as hit hath evere be thair Libertie and Freedom, that thair should be no Statut no Lawe be made of lasse than they yaf thereto thair Assent, confideringe that the Coe[3] of your Lond, the whiche that is, and evere hath be a Membre of your Parlement, ben as well Assentors as Peticioners : That fro this Tyme foreward, by Compleynte of the Comens of any Mischief, axhinge Remedie by Mouthe of their Speker for the Comens, other else by Peticion writen, that ther nevfere be no Lawe made thereuppon and engrosed as Statut and Lawe, nother by Addicions, nother by Dimunucions, by no Maner of Terme ne Termes, the whiche that sholde chaunge the Sentence and the Intente axhed by the Speaker Mouthe, or the Peticions bifore faid, yeven up yn Wrytyng, by the Manere forsaid, withoute Assent of the foresaid Comens, consyderinge oure Soverain Lord, that it is not in no wyse the Entente of oure Comens, gif hit be so that they axhe you by

spekyng or by writyng too Thynges or three, or as manye as theym luft, ' but that

  1. only. Maddox M. S. No. 12. Tit. Parl. — As a Proof that Acts were often passed without their Concurrence or Assent, we find in 6 Rich. 2. an Act, made in the last Parliament, revoked, and the Cause affigned is, bccause the said Statute was never assented to, nor granted by the Commons. It is observable, nevertheless, that the Act of the 6th Rich. 2. was never printed, as Lord Coke assures us, and the Statute of the 5th, though passed without the Assent of the Commons, was, as it is said, put in Execution, and continued in Force till it was repealed by 1 Ed. 6. c. 12. and 1 Eliz. c. 1. See Rot Parl. 6 R . 2. nu. 52. And see Cotton's Abr. p. 354. where there are several Instances of Acts passed without the Assent of the Commons.

  2. See Fox's Acts and Monast. And 4 Inst. c. I.
  3. See Rot. Parl. 8 H. 4. nu. 65.
  4. Sic in Orig.