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your Committee finds that this has been declared in the most clear and explicit manner by the House of Lords, in the year of our Lord 1387 and 1388, in the 11th year of King Richard II. '

Upon an appeal in Parliament then depending against certain great persons, peers and commoners, the said appeal was referred to the Justices, and other learned persons of the law. “At which time,” it is said in the record, that “the Justices and Serjeants, and others the learned in the Law Civil, were charged, by order of the King our sovereign aforesaid, to give their faithful counsel to the Lords of the Parliament concerning the due proceedings in the cause of the appeal aforesaid. The which Justices, Serjeants, and the learned in the law of the kingdom, and also the learned in the Law Civil, have taken the same into deliberation, and have answered to the said Lords of Parliament, that they had seen and well considered the tenor of the said appeal; and they say that the same appeal was neither made nor pleaded according to the order which the one law or the other requires. Upon which the said Lords of Parliament have taken the same into deliberation and consultation, and by the assent of our said Lord the King, and of their common agreement, it was declared, that, in so high a crime as that which is charged in this appeal, which touches the person of our lord the King, and the state of the whole kingdom, perpetrated by persons who are peers of the kingdom, along with others, the cause shall not be tried in any other place but in Parliament, nor by any other law than the law and course of Parliament; and that it belongeth to the Lords of Parliament, and to their franchise and liberty by the ancient custom of the Parliament, to he judges in such cases, and in these cases to judge by the assent of the King; and thus it shall be done in this case, by the award of Parliament: because the realm of England has not been heretofore, nor is it the intention of our said lord the King and the Lords of Parliament that it ever should be governed by the Law Civil; and also, it is their resolution not to rule or govern so high a cause as this appeal is, which cannot be tried anywhere but in Parliament, as hath been said before, by the course, process, and order used in any courts or place inferior in the same kingdom; which courts and places are not more than the executors of the ancient laws and customs of the kingdom, and of the ordinances and establishments of Parliament. It was determined by the said Lords of Parliament, by the assent of our said lord the King, that this appeal was made and pleaded well and sufficiently, and that the process upon it is good and effectual, according to the law and course of Parliament; and for such they decree and adjudge it.” *

And your Committee finds, that toward the close of the same Parliament the same right was again claimed and admitted as the special privilege of the Peers, in the following manner: -“In this Parliament, all the Lords then present, Spiritual as well as Temporal, claimed as their franchise, that the weighty matters moved in this Parliament, and which shall be moved in other Parliaments in future times, touching the peers of the land, shall be managed, adjudged, and discussed by the course of Parliament, and in no sort by the Law Civil, or by the common law of the land, used in the other lower courts of the kingdom ; which claim, liberty, and franchise the King gra

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* Rolls Parl. Vol. III. p. 236.

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ciously allowed and granted to them in full Parliament."

Your Committee finds that the Commons, having at that time considered the appeal above mentioned, approved the proceedings in it, and, as far as in them lay, added the sanction of their accusation against the persons who were the objects of the appeal. They also, immediately afterwards, impeached all the Judges of the Common Pleas, the Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and other learned and eminent persons, both peers and commoners; upon the conclusion of which impeachments it was that the second claim was entered. In all the transactions aforesaid the Commons were acting parties; yet neither then nor ever since have they made any objection or protestation, that the rule laid down by the Lords in the beginning of the session of 1388 ought not to be applied to the impeachments of commoners as well as peers. In many cases they have claimed the benefit of this rule; and in all cases they have acted, and the Peers have determined, upon the same general principles. The Peers have always supported the same franchises; nor are there any precedents upon the records of Parliament subverting either the general rule or the particular privilege, so far as the same relates either to the course of proceeding or to the rule of law by which the Lords are to judge.

Your Committee observes also, that, in the commis sions to the several Lords High Stewards who have been appointed on the trials of peers impeached by the Commons, the proceedings are directed to be had according to the law and custom of the kingdom, and the custom of Parliament: which words are not

* Rol. Parl. Vol. III. p. 244, $ 7.


to be found in the commissions for trying upon indictments.

“As every court of justice," says Lord Coke,“ hath laws and customs for its direction, some by the Common Law, some by the Civil and Canon Law, some by peculiar laws and customs, &c., so the High Court of Parliament suis propriis legibus et consuetudinibus subsistit. It is by the Lex et Consuetudo Parliamenti, that all weighty matters in any Parliament moved, concerning the peers of the realm, or Commons in Parliament assembled, ought to be determined, adjudged, and discussed, by the course of the Parliament, and not by the Civil Law, nor yet by the common laws of this realm used in more inferior courts." And after founding himself on this very precedent of the 11th of Richard II., he adds, This is the reason that Judges ought not to give any opinion of a matter of Parliament, because it is not to be decided by the common laws, but secundum Legem et Consuetudinem Parliamenti : and so the Judges in divers Parliaments have confessed.

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Your Committee do not find that any rules of pleading, as observed in the inferior courts, have ever obtained in the proceedings of the High Court of Parliament, in a cause or matter in which the whole procedure has been within their original jurisdiction. Nor does your Committee find that any demurrer or exception, as of false or erroneous pleading, hath been ever admitted to any impeachment in Parliament, as not coming within the form of the pleading; and although a reservation or protest is made by the defend

* 4 Inst. p. 15.

ant (matter of form, as we conceive)" to the generality, uncertainty, and insufficiency of the articles of impeachment,” yet no objections have in fact been ever made in any part of the record; and when verbally they have been made, (until this trial,) they have constantly been overruled.

The trial of Lord Strafford * is one of the most important eras in the history of Parliamentary judicature. In that trial, and in the dispositions made preparatory to it, the process on impeachments was, on great consideration, research, and selection of

precedents, brought very nearly to the form which it retains at this day; and great and important parts of Parliamentary Law were then laid down. The Commons at that time made new charges or amended the old as they saw occasion. Upon an application from the Commons to the Lords, that the examinations taken by their Lordships, at their request, might be delivered to them, for the purpose of a more exact specification of the charge they had made, on delivering the message of the Commons, Mr. Pym, amongst other things, said, as it is entered in the Lords' Journals, “ According to the clause of reservation in the conclusion of their charge, they (the Commons] will add to the charges, not to the matter in respect of comprehension, extent, or kind, but only to reduce them to more particularities, that the Earl of Strafford might answer with the more clearness and expedition : not that they are bound by this way of SPECIAL charge; and therefore they have taken care in their House, upon protestation, that this shall be no prejudice to bind them from proceeding in GENERAL in other cases, and that they are not to be ruled by pro


* 16 Ch. I. 1640.

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