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intends to speak upon a petition, usually gives notice of its Chapter
presentation. When the petition has been laid upon the 13
table, an entry of that fact is placed on the Lords' Minutes
and Journals, with the prayer of the petition : but petitions
are rarely printed at length in the journals, unless they

relate to proceedings of a judicial character.1
Petitions. It is to the representatives of the people that petitions

are chiefly addressed, and to them they are sent in such
numbers, that restrictions, of necessity, are imposed upon
the discussion of their merits. Formerly, the practice of
presenting petitions had been generally similar to that of
the House of Lords : but the number had so much in- When peti-

tions are creased,” and the business of the house was so much inter received.

rupted by the debates which arose on receiving petitions, see p. 236. Petitions to that, under standing orders Nos. 76–79, adopted in 1842 and be opened 1853, a member, on the presentation of a petition, may read by mem bers. the prayer and make only a general statement regarding

n the source and nature of the petition; and every petition dix I. which conforms to the rules or practice of the house, is

brought to the table by the direction of the Speaker, who May be does not allow debate thereon, but the petition may be read

og the by the Clerk, at the table, if required. Clerk. Urgent In the case of a petition complaining of a present personal

grievance, calling, as an urgent necessity, for an immediate

remedy, the matter contained in such petition may be Petitions brought into discussion on the presentation thereof (see p. referred to 533). All other such petitions, when laid on the table, are on public

rea

cases dis. cussed.

1 100 L. J. 138; 14 ib. 22; 74 ib. 1897, 56,910; in the five years ending 236.

1902, 35,646; and in the three years ? In the five years ending 1832, ending 1905, 16,826. Since 1833, 23,283 public petitions were pre 921,481 petitions have been presented to the House of Commons; sented. 33,742 petitions were prein the five years ending 1842, 70,072; sented session 1893-4, a number in the five years ending 1852, 62,248; only exceeded by the 33,898 of sesin the five years ending 1862, 63,003; sion 1843. in the five years ending 1867, 53,305; 3 In 1833 and 1834, sittings from in the five years ending 1872, twelve to three were devoted to pe101,573; in the five years ending titions and private bills. 1877, 91,846 ; in the five years ending “When a petition has been laid 1882, 72,850; in the five years ending upon the table, it is irregular for any 1887, 73,815; in the five years ending member to remove it, 105 C. J. 99. 1892, 50,141 ; in the five years ending

committee

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p. 534.

Chapter referred to the committee on Public Petitions, without any petitions ;

and in cer-. _ question being put, though if the petition relates to a subject tain cases Procedure with respect to which the member presenting it has given be printed.

in ordered to of Public Petitions notice of a motion, and the petition has not been ordered committee, see p. 534. to be printed by the committee, he may, after notice given, When the move that the petition be printed and circulated with the motion is made, see notice paper of the house.

Thus while a member may state the purport and material Debate on allegations of a petition, he is not at liberty to read the personal whole or greater part of the petition itself: but if he desires grievance).

s. 0. 78, that the petition should be read, the proper course is to Appendix I. require it to be formally read by the Clerk, at the table.

On the 14th June, 1844, it was ruled, by Mr. Speaker, that a petition of parties complaining of their letters having been detained and opened by the post-office, and praying for inquiry, was not of that urgency that entitled it to immediate discussion, especially as notice of its presentation had been given on the previous day, which proved that the matter was such as admitted of delay :but on the 24th June, 1844, a similar petition, of which no previous notice had been given, was permitted to open a debate. In the latter case, however, the complaint was that "letters are secretly detained and opened ;” and thus a “ present personal grievance” was alleged, while in the former case a past grievance only had been complained of. On the 5th July, 1855, a petition complaining of the recent misconduct of the police in Hyde Park, and of injuries personally sustained by the petitioners, was held not to justify a debate, as the grievance complained of did not demand an immediate remedy. On the same ground, the Speaker ruled that a petition presented 1st May, 1890, praying for the appointment of a commission to inquire into the municipal contracts of the borough of Salford, did not come within the operation of standing order No. 78.5 Neither, under cover of a motion for the adjournment

1 79 H. D. 3 s. 496; 106 ib. 300.
? 75 ib. 894 ; 99 C. J. 398.
3 75 H. D. 3 s. 1264.

139 ib. 453.
$ 353 ib. 1809.

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tions.

of the house, will a member be permitted to bring under Chapter
discussion the contents of a petition which he would be _
restrained by the standing order from debating:1 but a
personal explanation has been permitted without any
question being before the house, upon matters affecting a

member, which have been alluded to in a petition. Debates It will be observed that, although the standing orders Privilege upon peti.

restrict debate to urgent cases, that restriction does not tions, see
extend to a petition complaining of a matter affecting the P. 2
privileges of the house, such a case being governed by the
general rule, that a question of privilege is always entitled
to immediate consideration. But if the matter does not
demand the immediate interposition of the house, the Petitions

from percourse would be to appoint by order that the petition be sons com

mitted by taken into consideration on a future day, and be printed the house for the information of the house.*

see p. 93. Petitions A motion for printing and circulating a petition with printed the notice paper of the house, pursuant to standing order Notice of

home the motion No. 79, if unopposed, can be made before the commencement of public business (see p. 255). The proposal is not see p. 246. a matter of right, but is open to debate and objection like

any other motion.
Committee All public petitions, except petitions regarding a personal
Petitions. grievance

grievance if dealt with under standing order No. 78, or a
matter of privilege, are referred to the “ committee on
Public Petitions,” under whose directions they are classi-
fied, analyzed, and, when necessary, printed at length.
The reports of this committee, printed at intervals during
the session, point out, under classified heads, not only the
name of each petition, but the number of signatures to

with the votes.

2.

on Public

1 7th July, 1856 (attorney-general and the Bedford Charities).

2 48 H. D. 3 s. 226; 109 ib. 235; and 7th July, 1856.

3 104 C. J. 302; 105 ib. 110 ; 112 ib. 231; 113 ib. 68; 114 ib. 357; 146 H. D. 3 8. 97; 168 ib. 1855; Royal Atlantic Steam Company 19th July, 1861, 164 ib. 1178; 116 C. J. 377. 381.

- 86 H. D. 3 8. 328; Lisburn Election, 18th April, 1864, 119 C. J. 173.

s Southampton writ, 97 ib. 329 ; 63 H. D. 3 s. 1057 ; 79 ib. 686. This order has been made regarding petitions presented in a former session, 102 C. J. 22. 203; 112 ib. 155; 113 ib. 331.

• 88 ib. 95.

oners.

Chapter which addresses are affixed, the general object of every Addresses petition, and the total number of petitions and the signa- titi?

of petures in reference to each subject; and whenever the peculiar arguments and facts, or general importance, of a petition require it, it is printed at full length in an appendix to the notice paper of the house, and is accessible by purchase to the public. In some cases, petitions have been ordered to be printed with the notice paper, with the signatures attached thereto,2 and in others for the use of members only. A petition has been ordered to be printed for the use of members only, with the names of the persons who had signed it. Sometimes petitions which have been already printed, have been ordered to be reprinted.5

1 Pursuant to Special Report, Public Petitions committee, 11th April, 1878, 183 C. J. 205, and to sessional orders. If the chairman of a public meeting signs a petition on behalf of those assembled, the fact is recorded in the report of the

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3 100 ib. 538. 648; 101 ib. 1021: 105 ib. 45; 106 ib. 209; 116 ib. 377.

97 ib. 57. 598 ib. 216; 103. ib 30.

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address.

swant to atute, see

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ittees,

ACCOUNTS, PAPERS, AND RECORDS PRESENTED TO

Table of

Contents, PARLIAMENT.

see Intro

duction. Returns by PARLIAMENT is invested with the power of ordering all docuorder and

ments to be laid before it, which are necessary for its in-
formation. Each house enjoys this authority separately,
but not in all cases independently of the Crown. Accounts Documents

laid before
and papers relating to trade, finance, and general or local Parliament
matters, are ordered directly, and are returned in obedience pro
to the order of the house whence it was issued: but returns p. 540.
of matters connected with the exercise of royal preroga-
tive, are obtained by means of addresses to the Crown.
The distinction between these two classes of returns Production

1: of papers should be borne in mind; as, on the one hand, it is before select irregular to order directly that which should be sought for com

see p. 406.
by address; and, on the other, it is a compromise of the
authority of Parliament to resort to the Crown for in-
formation, which it can obtain by its own order. The
application of the principle is not always clear: but, as a
general rule, it may be stated that all public departments
connected with the collection or management of the
revenue, or which are under the control of the treasury,
or are constituted or regulated by statute, may be reached
: by a direct order from either house of Parliament: but

that public officers and departments, subject to his
Majesty's secretaries of state, or the privy council, are
to receive their orders from the Crown.

Thus, returns from the Commissioners of Customs and of
Inland Revenue, the Post-office, the Board of Trade, and
the Treasury, are obtained by order. These include every
account that can be rendered of the revenue and expenditure
of the country; of commerce and navigation ; of salaries
and pensions; of general statistics ; and of facts connected
with the administration of all the revenue departments.

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