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evidence,

to

the matian

on mitud.

Chapter conduct of Parliament, or the courts of justice, or other

-. tribunal, or constituted authority ;4 and if objection be

taken to a petition upon such a ground, the petition should be read at the table. On the 2nd March, 1822, a petition from Newcastle, imputing notorious corruption to the House

of Commons, was, on a division, not received ; 6 and a Petitions motion having been made that a petition alleging that for pro

of members of Parliament had taken a bribe, do lie upon the

table, the motion was withdrawn. On the 2nd August, see p. 431.

1832, a petition threatening to resist the law, was not
allowed to lie upon the table. In 1838, a petition con-
taining disrespectful language towards the other house of
Parliament was withdrawn. In 1840, a petition from
J.J. Stockdale was rejected, as containing an intentional
and deliberate insult to the house. On the 28th March,
1848, a petition having been brought up and read, objec-
tion was taken to a paragraph praying for the abolition of
the House of Lords, on the ground that it prayed for a
fundamental alteration of the institutions of the country:
but the objection, after debate, was not pressed, and the
petition, being otherwise temperately expressed, was ordered
to lie upon the table.10 On the 3rd May, 1867, a petition
in favour of certain Fenian prisoners, expressed in strong
but guarded language, was allowed to lie upon the table;
and a motion afterwards made for discharging that order
was not supported by the house.11 On the 8th June, 1874,
notice being taken that a petition contained offensive
imputations upon the conduct of the Public Petitions
committee, it was ordered to be withdrawn.12 On the 3rd
July, 1874, notice being taken that a petition contained
1 82 C. J. 589; 84 ib. 275.

581; also the petition alleging 2 76 ib. 105.

fraudulent practices against a 3 Ib. 92; 83 ib. 541.

member, 116 C. J. 364. 377. 381 ; 4 78 ib. 431; 91 ib. 698.

see also debate on petitions com5 164 H. D. 3 s. 978; 202 ib. 1307. plaining of members (p. 352). 6 6 H. D. 2 s. 1231 ; 26th June, ? 87 ib. 547. 1823, 9 ib. 1253 ; see also debate on 8 93 ib. 236. a petition praying inquiry into the 995 ib. 193. mismanagement of the Eastern 10 103 ib. 384 ; 97 H. D. 3 s. 1055. Counties Railway, by Mr. Hudson 11 186 ib, 1929 ; 187 ib. 1886. and two other M.P.'s, 105 H. D. 3 s. 12 129 ib. 209.

imputations upon the conduct of certain judges, and state- Chapter
ments affecting the social and legal position of individuals, –
it was ordered to be withdrawn, and the printed copies to
be cancelled. On the 12th April, 1875, the petitions com.
mittee reported that a petition from Prittlewell contained
offensive imputations upon the lord chief justice and two
of the judges of the Court of Queen's Bench, and reflected,
in an unbecoming manner, upon the Speaker and the
proceedings of the house; and on the 15th April, the order
for the petition to lie upon the table was, after discussion,
read and discharged. A petition may not allude to
debates in either house of Parliament, nor to intended
motions, if merely announced in debate : 4 but when notices

have been formally given, and printed on the notice paper, 8. 0.80, petitions referring to them are received. And by standing For pro

cedure on pendisl. order No 80, the usage under which the house refused to petitions

entertain petitions against a resolution or bill imposing and
tax or duty for the service of the year, was discontinued. In money, gc,

see p. 563.
the Lords, a petition relating to a bill before the Commons,
but which has not yet reached the house, or which has
been already thrown out, will not be received.

On the 18th June, 1849, a petition was offered from

W. S. O'Brien and others, attainted of treason, praying to inted. be heard by counsel against the Transportation for Treason

(Ireland) Bill. It was objected that no petition could be
received from persons civilly dead: but the house, after
debate, agreed, under the peculiar and exceptional circum-
stances of the case, to receive the petition. The petitioners'
sentence of death had been commuted to transportation ;
they had denied the legal power of the lord-lieutenant to
transport them, and the bill against which they had peti-
tioned was introduced in order to remove doubts upon the
question which they had raised. It was, in fact, a bill to
declare the legality of a sentence which they maintained to
be contrary to law. Before the introduction of a bill, a
C. J. 276.

ib. 160; 19th Feb. 1851 (Window 2 130 ib. 134. 145.

Tax), 109 ib. 160. 3 77 ib. 150; 82 ib. 604; 91 ib. 85 ib. 107; 63 H. D. 3 s. 192; 616; 97 ib. 259; 103 ib. 406.633; 105 114 ib. 820.

Petition from person

the presentation of

Chapter petition from W. S. O'Brien, upon the subject of his sen

tence, had been already received by the house."
Petitions from British subjects resident abroad as well as Petitions

from
petitions from inhabitants of British colonies having local abroad.
parliaments have always been received ; and also those of
foreigners resident in this country. Petitions have also
been occasionally received from foreigners not within
British jurisdiction : but on the 7th April, 1876, a petition
from inhabitants of Boulogne-sur-Mer, several of whom
appeared to be British subjects, being offered, a com-
mittee appointed to consider the matter, did not advise its
reception.

3. Petitions are to be presented by a member of the house Duty of to which they are addressed, but, as has been already them

2 members in stated, a member cannot be compelled to present a petition tat

"petitions. (see p. 86). A member, who presents a petition, must,

pursuant to the order of the house, affix his name at the Responsi- beginning thereof. On the 6th April, 1876, notice being bility of

taken that a member's name had been affixed to a petition for the

without his authority, the petition was ordered to be with-
nature of
petitions, drawn ;4 and it has been ruled that the member's name
see p. 531.

should be signed by his own hand, and that it is irregular
to authorize another person to affix it." But petitions from
the corporation of London are presented to the House of
Commons by the sheriffs, at the bar 6 (being introduced by
the Serjeant with the mace), or by one sheriff only, if the
other be a member of the house, or unavoidably absent.!
In 1840, both the sheriffs being in the custody of the
Serjeant-at-arms, petitions from the corporation of London
were presented at the bar by the lord mayor, an alderman,
and several of the common council; by the lord mayor,

members

1 106 H. D. 3 s. 389.

2 131 C. J. 181. 200; Rep. of Com. 228 H. D. 3 s. 1411.

3 140 0. J. 11; see also resolu. tions, 20th March, 1833, and 9th May, 1844, 88 ib. 190; 74 H. D. 3 s. 714; 99 C. J. 284.

+ 131 ib. 141; 228 H. D. 3 s. 1320. 5 229 ib. 586.

o On the 17th April, 1690, a question for admitting the sheriffs was negatived, on division, 5 Parl. Hist. 586.

MS. Officers and Usages of the House of Commons, p. 46.

6 90 C. J. 506; 103 ib. 123. 331. 731 ; 136 ib. 248. 75 ib. 213; 94 ib. 432.

aldermen, and commons; and by two aldermen, and Chapter
several members of the common council. Under a XX.
privilege conceded in the year 1813, petitions from the
corporation of Dublin may be presented in the same
manner, by their lord mayor.? If the lord mayor should
be a member, he must present the petition, in his place as
a member, and not at the bar.3 Lord Cochrane proposed to
extend this privilege to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, but
his amendment was lost, Mr. Tierney remarking “ that the
Scotch were generally thought a prudent people, and the
corporation of Edinburgh would know better than to send

their provost four hundred miles to present a petition.” 4 Presenta- A peer or member may petition the house to which he petition

belongs : but if a member desires to have a petition from
himself presented to the house, he should entrust it to some
other member, as he will not be permitted to present it
himself. This rule, however, does not extend to cases in
which a member presents a petition signed by himself in
his representative capacity as chairman of a county
council or of any public incorporated body. A member
who has not taken the oath or affirmation cannot present
a petition. Petitions are not received on the first day
of a session, when the King's Speech is delivered (see p.
174).?

tion of a

from a member.

1 95 C. J. 43. 82. 198.

? By resolution, 23rd Feb. 1813, 68 ib. 209 ; 24 H. D. 698; 124 C. J. 85; 134 ib. 269; 137 ib. 288; 143 ib. 109 ; 144 ib. 183.

3 On the 1st July, 1850, a petition from the corporation of Dublin was presented by the lord mayor in his place as a member (wearing his robes). The officers of the corporation, in their robes, were allowed seats below the bar: but having brought the mace into the house, they were desired by the Serjeant to remove it, MS, note. So again Friday, 14th March, 1851, 6th Feb. 1880, and on several other occasions. MS. Officers and Usages of the House of Commons, p. 46.

• 68 C. J. 209 ; 24 H. D. 698.705.

5 So ruled by Mr. Speaker, 30th Aug. 1841 (Sir Valentine Blake), 59 H. D. 3 s. 476; 30th April, 1846 (Sir J. Graham), and 9th July, 1850 (Mr. F. O'Connor).

6 Objection was taken, in March, 1881, to the presentation of a petition by Mr. Bradlaugh, the High Court of Justice having adjudged that the making an affirmation had not qualified him to sit and vote : but notice of appeal having been given, it was allowed, 259 H. D. 3 s. 892. On the 22nd June, 1882, he was informed by Mr. Speaker that he could not present a petition until he had taken the oath, 137 C. J. 295.

· In Feb. 1880, the Lord Mayor of Dublin had arranged to present a petition on the day of meeting, but

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withdrawn and re

Chapter To facilitate the presentation of petitions, they may be Transmis

sion by transmitted through the post-office, to members of either post." house, free of postage, provided they be sent without covers, or in covers open at the sides, and do not exceed 32 ounces in weight. In both houses it is the duty of members to read petitions To be rend

by memwhich are sent to them, before they are presented, lest any bers. violation of the rules of the house should be apparent on

the face of them; in which case it is their duty not to offer Regarding them to the house. If the Speaker observes, or any member Petitions actions brought

takes notice of, any irregularity, the member having charge ceived, against

of the petition does not bring it up, but returns it to the members for the ob- petitioners. If any irregularity escapes detection at this jected. serance of this duty, time, but is discovered when the petition is further exsee p. 86.

amined, no entry of its presentation appears in the votes.
In other cases more formal notice is taken of the violation
of the rules of the house, and the petitions are not received ; 1
or are ordered to be withdrawn, or are rejected. A member
who has reason to believe that the signatures to a petition
are genuine, is justified in presenting it, although doubts
may have been raised as to their authenticity: but in such
cases the attention of the house should be directed to the
circumstance.

Up to this point the practice of the Lords and Commons Presenta-
is similar: but the forms observed in presenting petitions petitions.
differ so much, that it will be necessary to describe them
separately. On the 1st May, 1868, it was ordered, “That
the name of the lord presenting a petition shall be entered
thereon.” It was ordered by the Lords, 30th May, 1685, Lords.
“That any lord who presents a petition, shall open it before
it be read.” At the same time, the lord may comment upon
the petition, and upon the general matters to which it
refers; and debate thereon may ensue: but a lord who

tion of

on receiving an intimation of the practice, he postponed the ceremony until the next day.

1 96 C. J. 159 ; 104 ib. 154; 105 ib. 160; 109 ib. 160; 111 ib. 102.

: 93 ib. 236; 100 ib. 335; 103 ib.

633; 116 ib. 364 (as containing libel-
lous charges against a member of
the house and other parties).

3 95 ib. 193; 122 ib. 345,
4 117 H. D. 3 s. 399.

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