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Form of commis
Form of royal assent by coramission.
In strict compliance with the words of this statute, the commission is always, "by the King himBelf, signed with xn his own hand," and attested by the Clerk of the Crown in chancery. But on the 7th March, 1702, William HI. signed, with a stamp, the commission assenting to the Abjuration Act.1 And towards the latter end of the reign of George IV., it became painful to him to sign any instrument with his own hand, and he was enabled, by statute, to appoint one or more person or persons, with full power and authority to each of them to affix, in his Majesty's presence, and by his Majesty's command, given by word of mouth, his Majesty's royal signature, by means of a stamp to be prepared for that purpose;2 and the commission for giving the royal assent to bills on the 17th June, 1880, bears the stamp of the king, attested according to the provisions of that Act.3
On the 5th February, 1811, the Regency Bill received the royal assent by commission, under peculiar circumstances. The king was incapable of exercising any personal authority: but the great seal was nevertheless affixed to a commission for giving the royal assent to that bill. When the Commons had been summoned to the bar of the House of Lords by the lords commissioners, the lord chancellor said, "My lords and gentlemen, by the commands, and by virtue of the powers and authority to us given by the said commission, we do declare and notify his Majesty's royal assent to the Act in the said commission mentioned, and the clerks are required to pass the same in the usual form and words ;" after which the royal assent was signified by the Clerk in the usual words, "Le roy le veuli."4
The form in which the royal assent is signified by commission is as follows. Three or more of the lords commissioners, seated on a form between the throne and the wool-sack in the House of Lords, command the usher of the Black Bod to signify to the Commons that their attendance For">3 °f
is desired in the house of peers to hear the commission read, see pp.
'5 Macaulay, Hist. 308. also Debates, 27th Feb. 1804 (Com
» 11 Geo. IV. c. 28. mons); 1st and 9th March, 1804
2 62 L. J. 782. (Lords); 1 Twiss, Life of Eldon,
< 48 ib. 70; 18 H. D. 1124; see 2nd edit. 416. 418.
Chapter upon which the Commons, with the Speaker, immediately
come to the bar. The commission is then read at length,
and the titles of the bills being afterwards read by the Clerk
During the Commonwealth, the lord protector gave his Use of the
Given by the King in person.
a bill "for abolishing the use of the French tongue in all
The royal assent is rarely given in person, except at the
Prorogation by the King in person, see p. 207.
Titles of bills su>>mitted to the King. see p. 511.
1 See Pref. to Statutes of the Realm, and Rep. of Stat. Law Oommrs. 1835 (406), p. 16.
• See Civil List Bills, 1820, 75 C. J. 258; 1831, 86 ib. 517; 1838,98 ib. 227. In 1901 the royal assent to the Civil List Bill was given by commission, 156 ib. 282. On the 2nd Aug. 1831, the Speaker, after a short speech in relation to the bill for supporting the royal dignity of her Majesty Queen Adelaide, delivered it to the Clerk, when it received the royal assent in the usual form: but the Queen, attended by one of the ladies of her bedchamber,
and her maids of honour, was pre-
however, already given his commands to the Clerk of the Parliaments, as already stated.
During the year 1876, her Majesty being about to visit Given in the continent during the session, it became a question ^reign's whether her Majesty could give her royal assent to bills, by frb08^Dtne commission, during her absence from the realm. No case realn>could be found in which the royal assent had been so given: but in the 2nd William and Mary, " for the exercise of the Government by his Majesty during his Majesty's absence" (in Ireland), there was a proviso that "nothing should be taken to exclude or debar his Majesty, during his absence from the realm, from the exercise of any act of royal power, but that every such act should be as good and effectual as if his Majesty was within this realm; " and it had been stated by the lord chancellor (Lyndhurst), 7th August, 1845, that any act which her Majesty "could do as sovereign would have as much validity and effect, if done on the continent of Europe, as if done in her own dominions."1 The lord chancellor (Cairns) also, in 1876, gave it as his opinion (privately) that her Majesty would be able to give the royal assent to bills while absent from the realm; and this course has been followed whenever the necessity arose.
When Acts are passed, the original ingrossment rolls (or, ingr0M_ since 1849, the authenticated vellum prints) are preserved ment ro11'in the House of Lords; and all public and local and personal Acts, and nearly all private Acts, are printed by the King's printer;a and printed copies are referred to as evidence in courts of law. The original rolls or prints may also be seen when necessary, and copies taken, on the payment of certain fees.
All Acts of Parliament, of which the commencement was commencenot specifically enacted, were formerly held, in law, to take of effect from the first day of the session: but the Clerk or clerk assistant of the Parliaments is now required by Act 83 Geo. III. c. 18, to indorse, in English, on every Act of
1 82 H. D. 8 s. 1515. 1891, 18th Feb. 1892, 1 Pari. Deb.
* See debate on printer's error in i s. 687. See also p. 816. the Elementary Education Aot,
Forms not binding in the progress of bills.
Bills passed with unusual expedition.
Parliament, immediately after the title, the day, month, and
The forms commonly observed by both houses, in the
In the ordinary progress of a bill, the proceedings either BOit wi follow from day to day, or some days are allowed to inter- "forthvitK vene between each stage subsequent to the first reading; yets" p"M1" when a pressing emergency arises, bills are passed through all
their stages in the same day, and even by both houses,3 and mty Mis, the royal assent has also been signified on the same day.8 5ee p'
• 106 0. 3. 82. 209; 108 ib. 412. 678; 109 ib. 96 ; 114 ib. 138; 134 ib. 300.
« 58 C. J. 645. 646 ; 98 ib. 491; 103 ib. 770; 107 ib. 77. 863. 878; 108 ib. 21; 110 ib. 294; 121 ib. 239.
'Bill for recruiting the land forces, 3rd April, 1744, 24 ib. 636639; Seamen's Additional Pay Bill, 9th May, 1797, 52 ib. 555. 557. 558. Habeas Corpus Suspension (Ireland) Bill, 17th Feb. 1866, 121 ib. 88. In this latter case, the bill was passed by both houses on a Saturday, and the Queen being at Osborne, the commission, with the bill annexed,
was forwarded to her Majesty in the