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Vauxhall Bridge extends from Millbank to Cumberland Gardens, Vauxhall, and connects the roads branching from that spot to Hyde-Park Corner, by a straight road and street across Tothill Fields to Eaton Street, Pimlico, and Grosvenor Place. The architect was Mr. J Walker. It consists of nine arches of equal span, squares of cast iron, resting on piers of rusticated stone, the latter united together by Roman cement. The total length is 860 feet, the span of the arches 78 feet, the height 29 feet, and the clear breadth of the road-way 36 feet. The cost was about 150,000l. This bridge is an elegant ornament to the approach to the metropolis which leads from South Lambeth and Vauxhall.

It is a rather singular fact, that London Bridge remained the only one over the Thames at the metropolis, from the remote period of its erection to the year 1750, when Westminster Bridge was finished, ten years after which that of Blackfriars was undertaken.

In consequence of these improved communications, the marshes of Lambeth and St. George's Fields have been covered with houses within the memory of man; and this suburb now merits, from its size and population to have its ancient name of South-wark changed into the more appropriate one of South London, which is occasionally applied to it. The vast increase of this division of the metropolis, and its capabilities of further enlargement, led also to the projection of the three other bridges of Southwark, Waterloo, and Vauxhall, as an argument for building which, it was stated, from actual observation, that there passed every day, over each of the following Bridges, as under:

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CHAP. VII.

The King and Parliament; Courts of Judicature, Legal Institutions and Societies; Prisons.

LONDON, as the metropolis of the British Empire, and the seat of Government and Legislation, being the place fron which originates every establishment that affects our personal liberty and property, it becomes expedient to enter somewhat fully into the nature and powers of the three constituent branches of the state, and to give some account of the judicial authority and practice of the courts of Law and Equity, all of which, with the exception of the two highest, are, by right and invariable usage, open to the Public.

The King. Both the executive and legislative powers of the Sovereign are very great, and by a universal kind of fiction, which could only have originated in the darkest ages of mental subserviency, it is held that "the king can do no wrong," or, in other words, that he is personally superior to all law, every violation of public liberty of which he may become the executive promoter being ascribed to his ministers, who alone are regarded as responsible.

All the Ministers of State, the Judges, the Archbishops, Bishops, Officers of the Army and Navy, &c. are appointed by the King, and through their agency he enforces the execution of the laws. He is "the fountain of honour and the source of mercy." He only can raise to the peerage, and he alone can pardon a delinquent in fact, every branch of nobility, from the knight upwards, must spring from him, but he cannot assign any pension, to support the dignity he has conferred, without the assent of the House of Commons. The King alone can convoke, prorogue, and dissolve the parliament, proclaim war, and raise an army; but, without the assent of parliament, he cannot raise a single shilling to defray the expenditure of such proceedings. This salutary check, provided by the Constitution against monarchical ambition and extravagance, is however but little available in the present state of the lower house. Next

to the solemnity of a coronation, the principal display of the " pomp and pageantry" of the Court takes place at the Sovereign's Drawing-rooms and Levees (the former of which are now held at St. James's Palace, and the latter at Carlton Palace), due notice of the holding of which is invariably given in the London Gazette, the only newspaper published by Government authority. On those occasions, presentations are made, and the respects of the nobility, state officers, &c. are proffered to the Monarch.

The Parliament is composed of the two Houses of Lords and Commons. The former consists of the Lords Spiritual and the Lords Temporal. The Spiritual Lords are the two Archbishops and twenty-four Bishops of England, and one Archbishop and three Bishops from Ireland. The Temporal Lords are indefinite in number, but consist of all the peers of Great Britain (except a few Catholic Lords) in their several degrees of Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, and Baron*, of the sixteen elective Peers of Scotland, and of the twenty-eight elective Peers of Ireland. No money bill, nor any other imposing tax or penalty, can originate in this house, and when sent up from the Commons, the Lords must agree to or reject it altogether, as the least alteration proves fatal to the bill. But it is frequently the practice, in such cases, to bring in a new bill, in which the amendments, or alterations, made by the Lords, are incorporated.

In giving their votes, the peers say, "Content," or " Not content," beginning with the lowest and ascending to the highest rank. When both Houses have agreed to pass a Bill, it cannot become law till it has received the Royal Assent, and that is always given in the House of Lords,

* At the present time (May, 1825,) there are 25 Dukes, including six Princes of the Blood Royal, 16 Marquesses, 105 Earls, 22 Viscounts, and 143 Barons: by adding to these the Spiritual Peers and the elective Peers of Scotland and Ireland, we find that the House of Lords consists of about 380 persons, and that body may at any time be augmented, at will, by the Crown.

either by the King himself in person,, or by Commission, which latter is the usual practice.* Since the vast increase of business in the High Court of Chancery, of late years, by which the Lord Chancellor's time has been so greatly occupied, Lord Gifford (Master of the Rolls) has been appointed Deputy Speaker of this House. Besides the share which this assembly possesses in making laws, it is also a Court of Appeal from the judgment of all the other courts of law, and its decision is final. It is likewise the supreme or highest Court of Criminal Jurisprudence, as may be evidenced by the proceedings against the late Queen Caroline; and peers for capital offences, or when impeached by the House of Commons, as well as Commoners for high misdemeanors, may be tried in it.

The House of Commons consists of 658 members, viz. 16 barons of the Cinque Ports; 80 knights of the shire for England, 12 for Wales, 30 for Scotland, and 64 for Ireland; and 343 burgesses for England, 12 for Wales, 15 for Scotland, and 36 for Ireland. By law, these members, in all cases, ought to be elected by the people, without any undue influence, either from the crown, the peerage, or any other power. Anciently, in the Saxon times, the affairs of the kingdom were regulated in National Councils, and such councils were by law to be held twice in every year; but the Com mons of England, as represented by knights, citizens, and burgesses, were not specifically named, until the latter years

* When the Royal Assent is given to a public bill of a general nature, the clerk says "Le Roi le veut ;" but if it has subsidies for its object, the words are "Le Roi remercie ses loyaux sujets, accepte leur bénévolence, at aussi le veut.' If the Bill is a private one, he says, "Soit fait comme il est désiré." Should the King decline giving his assent, the clerk says "Le Roi s'avisera."

"

The absurdity of still continuing to use the French language in assenting to English laws, has been frequently a theme of animadversion; and we may rationally hope that the spirit which should animate the bosom of a British King, will, ere long, break through the shackles of this degrading custom, this last remnant of our subjugation to Norman tyranny.

T

of Henry III.'s reign, when the brave Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, caused them to be duly summoned, for the purpose of employing their influence against the arbitrary domination of the crown. In the 4th of Edward III., (cap. 14.) it was enacted, that "a Parliament should be holden every year, twice, and more often if need be ;" and this continued to be the statute law, although frequently violated by our sovereigns, until after the Restoration of Charles II., when an act was passed for "the assembling of, and holding, parliaments once in three years at least, which act was confirmed by William and Mary soon after the glorious Revolution of 1688. In the first year of George I., the then existing Parliament, most traitorously, under theinfluence of the crown, enacted that they should sit for seven years. Many attempts have since been made to restore triennial Parliaments, which every judicious writer on constitutional authority conceives to be the surest safeguard of a people's liberties, but hitherto without success; and our parliaments now sit for any period not exceeding a septennial duration, at the will of the ministry. The present Parliament commenced its meetings on the 27th of April, 1820. In this House the Members sit promiscuously; but we occasionally hear of the opposition and of the ministerial benches, from the leading orators of each party sitting near to each other, and on different sides. When a Member speaks, he addresses the Speaker only, and is not allowed to speak a second time during the debate, unless in reply (if he was the mover of the question), or in answer to personal reflections, or in a Committee of the whole House, into which the Commons frequently form themselves, for greater freedom. Forty members are requisite to form a House, nor can any business be commenced until that number be present. The usual time of taking the chair is four o'clock, P. M. The Speaker is elected from the body of the Members on the first day of the meeting of a new Parliament. In voting, the words used are "Yea" and "Nay." In divisions, one party always quits the house, the number of each being counted by two tellers of the opposite side; but to this there is one exception, viz. in Committees of the whole House, when they divide by the "Yeas" taking the right, and the

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