Bills and Acts: Legislative procedure in Eighteenth-Century by Sheila Lambert

By Sheila Lambert

The eighteenth century witnessed either a outstanding bring up within the volume of laws handed in each one parliamentary consultation as a reaction to the altering monetary and social weather, and the advance of latest kinds of parliamentary perform which foreshadowed the far better recognized techniques of the 19th century. consequently, Parliament received a lot better effect over the typical lifetime of the neighborhood, and the recent career of parliamentary agent built to aid landowners and native groups of their dealings with Parliament. The learn centres around the paintings of Robert Harper of Lincoln's resort, an eminent conveyancer whose energetic occupation as one of many first parliamentary brokers spanned part the century. leave out Lambert describes intimately Harper's very important choice of revealed parliamentary papers, utilizing them to throw gentle at the nature of the facts supplied via published money owed. She demonstrates how this facts can be used to virtue along side Parliamentary files, fairly in learning neighborhood, financial and relations historical past.

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2 Of course it could always be arranged that a more important person, or anyone willing to pay, could have a bill to him-, or more usually her-, self: foreign born brides of the nobility, for instance. A comical feud arose between the speaker and his deputy in 1 657, from which it appears that members were not above using his reliance on the multiple-bill fees to punish a speaker displeasing to them. In January of that year Bulstrode White­ locke took over temporarily from the speaker, Sir Thomas Widdrington, who was ill.

A copy of Lambarde's treatise, usually called 'Some certain notes of tlie Order . . of the lower house . . ' in the Braye MSS is there titled 'Observations of the house of commons . . '. At the end of the eighteenth century, Hatsell's Precedents are still divided into 'Precedents' and 'Observations' thereon. 2 All the manuscripts I have seen are copies. The earliest appears to be BM Lansdowne MS 480 which contains 'Observations', ff. 3-55 and the form of apology, ff. 56-74 in tlie same hand, but as two separate entities witli several blank folios between.

1 1 1 ) . The 'Observations' are not 'a compilation based on various tractates and especially on Hakewill and Scobell'; the section on the speaker, which she cites particularly, bears no resemblance at all to Hakewill's account. Add. MS 36,854 is not the version used for the printed part 2, though it is similar to it. Add. MS 8878, also cited by Mrs Sims, is not a manuscript of the 'Observations' at all. It is someone's private precedent book and a very excellent one. It appears to have been compiled about 1678--9 ; the only identification we have is a note on the fly-leaf that it was bought for the Museum 'at the Fairfax sale' in 1 83 1 , but I have not been able to trace the item in the sale catalogue, which included many of Thomas Fairfax's manuscripts.

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