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Aylmer was, subsequently to the publication of this work, promoted to the Bishopric of London, a fact which we consider may 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 matters; the result of which “both

those very


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

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

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 powers, 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 impeachment 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

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