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Then if no man speaks against the bill, it is ordered to be engrossed, if begun with the lords; or to have a third reading, if brought from the commons.
• If any doubt be conceived, which is often pro forma tardum, the bill is committed.
V. inter ordines, SfC an. 18 Jacobi.
Bills are commonly let pass at the first reading, and committed at the second.
Yet it appears by many precedents of Henry the eighth, and Edward the sixth, and Queen Elisabeth, that if the lords did apprehend any dislike or doubt in the bill at the first reading, it was then committed immediately, prout antea.
The Commitment of Bills.
AT the second reading, if the bill be required to be committed, the Lord Chancellor demands of the lords, how many of each bench shall be of the committee.
Which being agreed on to three, five, or six, &c. the earls are first named, then the bishops, then the barons.
The like order is observed in the naming of committees for any other business.
And if there be five earls, then five bishops, and ten barons; the reason whereof I know not. Nequefuit sic a principio. Anno 3 E. VI. 14 Nov. the committees, to frame a bill for the jurbdiction of bishops, were the Marquis of Dorset, four bishops, and two barons.
Eodem anno 2 Januarii, the committee, sent to the Duke of Somerset, were, one earl, five bishops, and two barons.
Anno 27 Elis. 4 Decemb. the bill for the clothiers of Boxsted, &c. was committed unto three earls, one viscount, one bishop, and three barons.
Eodem anno 3 Dec. the bill for the landing of merchandise, &c. was committed unto eight earls, two bishops, and four barons.
Eodem anno 27 Elis. the first bill, for increase of mariners, was committed unto two earls, and six barons, and no bishops. Eodem anno Sf die, the bill, for the sabbath-day, is committed unto six earls, one viscount, five bishops, and seven barons.
The precedents hereof are infinite, that no such order was observed to name a set number of each bench, or to double the number of barons until in the latter parliaments of our late King James: neither was this constantly observed, until the parliament of 12 Jacobi Regis, and afterwards. For in the fourth session of the parliament, anno 1 Jacobi Regis, sometimes the number of each is equal, and sometimes the barons are the greater number- But they seldom double the number of the other bench, unless in the committees of a small number.
But here may be a question (viz.) whether a bill may be committed by the orders of the house, if no lord more, any doubt, or imperfection in the same?
And I am of opinion that it may not, neither is it necessary.
My reason is, for that I find many bills to pass without commitment, and some at the second reading in the times of Henry the eighth, Edward the sixth, and Queen Elisabeth.
But now the constant order is to read every bill, save the pardon, three times.
And the general voice, to commit the bill at the second reading, shews that the lords do conceive some doubt thereof, though none move any.
The manner hozo Committees are named.
THE number of each bench being agreed, they are named, promiscue, by any of the lords, but the clerk is to be careful to set down those whom he hears first named; which is done in this manner:
First, the earls are named, and those that sit on that bench.
The clerk having written them, stands up and reads their names.
Then the bishops, and then the barons, in like manner. And, if the clerk happen to set down more than the number agreed on, it is in the liberty of the house to take out the latter, and so to leave the just number, or to admit them.
Then, the house names the attendants, which are of the judges, the king's learned council, and the masters of the chancery.
The clerk reads their names also.
The last is the time and place, where to meet; which being agreed on, and set down, the clerk reads that also.
Who may not be Committees, and who ought to be.
IF any lord speak against the body of the bill, he is not to be named of the committee of the same bill.
No absent lord is to be of any committee, unless officers of state, when the bill or business concerns their office. And, then, they are to be named, and to have notice sent them thereof.
V. Anno 1 Jac. 14 J unit, subsidy of tonnage and poundage. That lord, which moveth any doubt, concerning the bill, ought also to be named, and to be of the committee, if he be present.
This is also a received opinion, and often in practice; and the clerk ought to be attentive, and hearken after the names of such, lord?.
The number of the committees being agreed on, named, and read the clerk delivers the bill, with a note of the committee affixed, unto the first of the committee then present.
The committees being met, though not all, yet if the better half, they may proceed.
Anno 18 & 19 Jac. 30 Nov. It is ordered that, if ten or upwards of any committee do meet, though not the one half of their number, they may proceed notwithstanding.
• At the committee, the judges and other attendants do neither sit,
nor are covered, unless it be out of favour; and then they sit behind,
but are never covered.
One of the attendants reads the bill, and writes the amendments, if any, in paper, with directions to the places to be amended.
i And, if any addition or proviso be conceived, he writes the same in paper also, with directions, where they are to be placed.
Any other member of the house may be present at this committee; but they may not vote: and must give place to all of the committee, and sit below them.
If the business be not dispatched, at the first meeting, the committees themselves may appoint another day. V. An. 4 Jac. 26 Febr.
But this must be done, before their departure.
Council heard at the Committee.
AT this committee, if it be a private bill, they will not only call both parties before them, but hear their council.
Wherein this order is observed, that the council, who speaks against the bill, is heard first, for it is already understood, what the bill desires.
And either part may desire to have their council heard in the house; which, being reported by the committee, is so ordered.
There also the council, against the bill, speaks first.
And, for publick bills, council is also heard, if any oppose it.
And, if a publick bill concern any officer, corporation, or par-ticular person, or any artificers, they are usually sent for to attend the committee.
The Bill reported by a Committee to the house.
THE committee, or greater part, being agreed, what report to make to the house.
The first of the committees, that was present, makes report thereof standing, and uncovered, with the bill in his hand.
And all the rest of that committee, then present, stand up, and are uncovered; whereby, they signify their assent unto the said report.
The report being ended, he delivers the bill and the amendments, addition and proviso, if any, unto the clerk, who goes from his seat, and receives the same from his lordship.
If the report be for the bill to sleep, it is so ordered and entered by the clerk in the journal book, and endorsed on the bill also.
If amendments, additions, or provisos be reported, when the house orders the same to be read, they are read on this manner, by the clerk, viz. The amendments of the bill, &c. reciting the title thereof, or the additions or provisos to be added to the bill, &c. And so reads the same, as they are in the paper delivered by the committee. Then, the clerk delivers the same, kneeling, unto the Lord Chancellor, having first endorsed on the amendments, &c. 1 Vice led a.
His lordship first reads the title of the bill. Then that the same is returned by the committees amended thus, viz. In such a line between such a word and such a word insert these words, &c. *
Or, in such a line, put out this word, &c. and saith further, before it was thus, and now it is thus. ,
If additions and provisos are only reported, and no amendments, then, his lordship first recites the title of the bill; then, that it was committed and returned with such or such additions, or provisos, and so repeats the effect thereof briefly.
This being done, the Lord Chancellor demands whether their lordships be pleased, that their amendments, &c. shall receive a second reading? and, if so agreed on,
The clerk receives the bill, with the amendments, &c. of his lordship, and reads the same again, and endorseth on the amendments, &c'. 2 Vice lecta.
And, kneeling, delivers the same unto the Lord Chancellor again. His Lordship reads the same, thus:
First, recites the title of the bill, then, that it hath been committed and returned with amendments, &c. the which amendments have been twice read. And demands their lordships pleasure, if the bill began above, whether the bill shall be engrossed with the said amendments, &c. or no? and, if answer be made affirmatively, and no lord speak against it; then it is so ordered to be done; and the clerk receives the bill again, and endorseth on the said amendments to be engrossed; if the bill be sent from the commons, then the Lord Chancellor demands their lordships pleasure, whether the said bill, and amendments, &c. shall be read the third time or no?
At the second reading, any of the committee may speak against the body of the bill, or against the amendments, &c. before they be engrossed. V. an. 39. Elis. 24 Jan. This was debated, but not then determined. But an. 43 Elis. 12 Nov. it was resolved by the house.
THE bill being thus reported by the committee: if any doubt be moved, and the house think good then, before the amendments be ordered to be engrossed, or ordered to have a third reading, the same may be recommitted, either to the former committees only, or to the same and others.
If the committee find the bill so imperfect that it can hardly be amended,
Then they may, without further order from the house, frame a
oew bill. - Which is most commonly done, by one of the attendants. This new bill being agreed on and returned with the old bill to the house, and the cause thereof reported by the committee, the old bill sleeps.
And the Lord Chancellor demands of the lords, whether they be pleased, that the new bill shall be read or no? Which is done accordingly.
If any doubt be conceived of the new bill, the same may also be committed, as the former was recommitted.
Or, after the second reading, the House may order a third bill to be framed. V. an. 1 Jacobi 4 Junii, Recusants: but, after the third reading, this is not now done.
The Third Reading.
THE clerk first reads the title, and then reads the bill, and delivers the same to the Lord Chancellor, in manner, as before, having first endorsed 3 An. V. lecta.
His lordship repeats the title only, and says, This is the third reading of this bill.
If no lord speak against it, then1 his lordship demands, whether he shall put it to the question? Which being agreed on, or not denied,
The question is thus:
Such of your lordships, as are of opinion, that this bill is fit to pass, or shall pass, say, content.
They, which are of another opinion, say, not content.
Then, the lowest baron begins, and saith, content, or not content, without any more words. And so they proceed in order to the first baron.
Then the bishops.
Then the viscounts, and earls, and those that sit on the earl's bench, in like manner.
The lord chancellor, or lord keeper, if he be a baron, earl, or bishop, removes to the first place, on the earl's bench, and giveth his voice, content, or not content.
The prince, if present, speaks last; if any doubt be of the most voices, then, one lord who said content, and another lord, who said, not content, are appointed to number them by the poll, which they do in this manner:
They go together to the baron's bench, and every lord, who said, content, stands up. Then the bishops and earl's bench, in like manner.
Then, they return again to the barons bench; and every lord, who said, not content, standeth up; and so of the bishops and earls.
And, according to the relation, it is agreed, whether content, or not content, had the more voices.
And the bill doth pass, or is rejected accordingly.
This order is observed in all questions.
Upon examining of the votes, the proxies of the absent lords may be demanded, and such lords as gave their own vote, with the question, may give his proxies against it, prouf.