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ERRORS AND MISCHIEFS
Page 156, line 2, for “ Lord” read Lieut.
157, line 7 from the bottom, for “Packington ”read Packenham.
consider it as “a fact;”-something indigenous in our time-honoured institutions, which it would be sacrilege to presume to scrutinize or disturb. It is true that, as history shows, the working of the system has not always been exactly satisfactory-at any rate has not always given entire satisfaction to the country, whose honour amongst nations, as well as more substantial interests, is involved in the results of such transactions. True, that occasionally when
crown, in inatters of peace, war, and alliances, is mischievous and untenable, repugnant alike to reason and to the old and recognized principles of the constitution of this, and other nations of Europe.
Whilst the first part of this work will be devoted to the advocacy of the general principle as to the ww ws of Parliament to advise and control
reader is requested to make kind allowance for it, in consideration of the circumstance that the work has necessarily been written during the fluctuating progress of the events to which it refers.
June 29th, 1872.
ERRORS AND MISCHIEFS
THE SO-CALLED PREROGATIVE OF THE CROWN IN MATTERS OF PEACE AND WAR DENOUNCED
AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The so-called prerogative of the crown to regulate at its discretion, under the advice of its Ministers for the time being, all matters of peace and war, and other international arrangements with foreign states, has been so long exercised and tacitly submitted to, that people have become accustomed to consider it as "a fact;"-something indigenous in our time-honoured institutions, which it would be sacrilege to presume to scrutinize or disturb. It is true that, as history shows, the working of the system has not always been exactly satisfactory-at any rate has not always given entire satisfaction to the country, whose honour amongst nations, as well as more substantial interests, is involved in the results of such transactions. True, that occasionally when
some startling diplomatic blunder, past remedy, has been revealed to the "assembled wisdom” of the nation, a faint, hesitating word of remonstrance has been uttered by some independent member on one of the back benches, accompanied by a modest suggestion that in cases involving such important results, it might, perhaps, be better and more reasonable to consult the representatives of the nation before, instead of after, the mischief was done. True, even, that warned by such reminiscences of the past, some legislator, more daring than his fellows, has been known, in reference to some weighty matter reported to be in course of negociation, to ask the Secretary of State to lay some information as to the terms of the proposed arrangement before the House, previous to its definitive adoption. But with what result, all this? There is but one reply from the Government bench to all such grumblers and inquirers, namely, that the ancient and undoubted prerogative of the crown must not be interfered with. Let us, however, undismayed by the fear of such rebuke, now when a great and anxious difficulty is before us—a difficulty clearly “growing out of” our high-prerogative diplomacytake the liberty of inquiring by the lights which history affords, into the pretensions of the crown in this respect.
EARLY PRACTICE IN EUROPEAN STATES.
It must be obvious from the very derivation and meaning of the word "prerogative," (from pre, before-hand, and rogo, to demand), that antiquity
or continuous enjoyment extending over a period beyond which the memory of man runneth not to the contrary-is essential to its existence. A prerogative cannot be created by Act of Parliament, nor grow up out of encroachments favoured by circumstances of neglect in the lapse of time. It must be pre-existent to, and independent of any compacts or arrangements entered into between the co-ordinate branches of the State for its constitutional government.
It has been too much the fashion to talk of modern times as the era of the birth and growth of liberty; the dark and middle ages being supposed to have been a long, dreary period, when the tyranny of absolute sovereignty prevailed throughout the nations of the world. A little research amongst authorities outside the beaten track of historical copyists, however, will establish that this is not the fact, and that the truth is to a directly contrary effect. The old Gothic institutions, which in the dark and middle ages were the foundation of future civilization, were imbued with the principle of freedom and popular control, carrying checks upon the royal authority to an extent hardly conceivable by those who contemplate the more recent condition of the continental states of Europe. In Germany the Emperor's authority was always extremely restricted in matters of peace, and war, and alliances, wherein he was strictly under the control of the Diet. To give one instance out of many : when Maximilian I. wanted to undertake an expedition into Italy, to oppose the invading forces of Charles