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Great precautions were taken by Lords and Commons alike to ensure the accuracy of the records thus kept by the clerks. In the House of Lords the minutes of each day's proceedings were read either before the adjournment of the House or at the commencement of the next sitting; and a Committee was appointed every Session to inspect, revise, and correct these minutes before they were finally entered in the Journal-book. The practice of the House of Commons was to print the minutes of each day's proceedings, or 'Votes,' as they were called, and circulate them, next day, among the members. The Votes were first printed in 1692-3, by order of the first Irish Parliament which met after the English Revolution. Every Session, subsequently, the order was renewed in these terms: 'That the Votes of this House be printed, being first perused by Mr. Speaker, and that he do appoint the printing thereof, and that no person but such as he shall appoint do presume to print the same.'
So it happened that the House of Commons was greatly agitated one night in the year 1766 over the question whether an entry which appeared in the Votes circulated that day was false or correct. Going through the Journals for that year, I found that on March 4 it was moved that the Clerk had mistaken the sense and order of this House,' in an entry he had made in the Votes, touching an entry in the Journal of the 20th April, 1615, and the resolution of the House yesterday relating thereto.' As the House ultimately decided, after a long debate and several divisions, that the entry in the Votes should not appear in the Journals, not even the faintest glimmer of light is thrown by the Journals on the nature or character of the matter in dispute. Could an investigator find himself in a more perplexing and irritating quandary? The key to the heart of the mystery lay in the Votes, and it was my good fortune to discover them in the British Museum Library.
The Votes-it is interesting first to note-contain a warning which was held for many years to be a bar to their republication in the newspapers. It runs: By virtue of an Order of the House of Commons I do appoint Abraham Bradley to print these Votes, and that no other person do presume to print the same. John Ponsonby, Speaker.' Then follows the imprint: 'Dublin-Printed by Abraham Bradley, stationer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty, and printer to the Honourable House of Commons, at the King's-Arms and Two Bibles in Dame Street, 1766.'
Here, then, is the enlightening, and, as it proves, the historic, entry, in the Votes for March 3, 1766, which so agitated the Commons at their sitting the next day :
The entry in the Journal of 1615 was called for and read as in the words following:-The House of Commons, acknowledging that the sole power and authority to transmit such Bills into England as are to be propounded in Parliament, doth rest in the Lord Deputy and Council, do only desire to be as Remembrances unto his Lordship and the rest.' Resolved-That the said entry be expunged from the Journals as a Disgrace to Parliament.
The Journals rarely tell how a subject of discussion arose. They give no account of the debate. The recording of results are their sole end. But in that year of 1766, Dr. Charles Lucas asserted by speech in the House of Commons the principle of Irish legislative independence, which had been earlier advocated by Molyneux and Swift in printed pamphlets; and it is obvious that the entry in the Votes was intended as a protest against an acknowledgment by the Irish Parliament of its subserviency to the English Parliament which was made just a century and a half before. Thus enlightened as to the subject in dispute it is possible clearly to follow the course of the debate even from the meagre and somewhat bald entries in the Journals. Evidently, there was a strong rally of the supporters of the Government on March 4, 1766, bent not only on rescinding the protest of the previous day, but also on preventing its entry as a permanent record in the Journals. The Opposition tried to exculpate the Clerk from blame. To the motion put forward by the supporters of the Government that the Clerk had mistaken the sense and order of the House, the Opposition moved an amendment stating that he had published the Votes under the inspection and by the direction of the Speaker. They were defeated by 125 votes to 40. Another amendment to the effect that the Clerk 'took down no more than the words of the Member upon whose motion the order was founded without debate,' was also negatived. The original motion was then carried by 105 votes to 50; and by 95 to 40 votes it was further agreed, that the said entry shall be expunged out of the votes, and shall not stand part of the Journals of this House.'
The original purpose of the Journals was the keeping of an official record of the proceedings of Parliament, solely for the knowledge and convenience of the Houses themselves
No thought of the outside public entered into the minds of Commons or Lords. The doings of Parliament were veiled from the people. To publish anything abroad, save the Acts which the people had to obey, and the taxes which they had to pay, would have been then regarded as a profanation of the solemn mysteries of Parliament. Therefore, when the Houses decided to print their Journals for the information of the outside public, a great step was taken by them towards the recognition of the democratic principle-however innocent of such intention the Lords and Commons may have been-that it is from public opinion that parliamentary power derives its authority, and laws their sanction and efficacy. But constitutional questions did not greatly concern me as I turned over the leaves of the Journals. What interested me more was the richness of the material for enabling one to construct a picture of what the Irish Parliament was like at different periods through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Things comic and tragic follow fast on each others heels. Here among the first entries in the opening volume of the Journals of the House of Commons is a great to-do about a contumacious servant of the High Courts, which then met, as well as the Parliament, in Dublin Castle. 'Michael Philpot, key-keeper of the King's Courts, kneeling at the Bar, was charged by Mr. Speaker that he having notice that the Committee were to meet in the Exchequer Court, he obstinately refused to attend. He thereupon submitted himself to the grace of the House, and he was discharged by the general consent of the House.' Then the Commons turned to other affairs. The Act for the attainder of the Earl of Tyrone was this day read the second time.' And what a vivid concrete impression is given of the condition of the country, especially the state of the native and Catholic race, by entries made in the year 1662, relating to the first Parliament summoned in Ireland by Charles the Second after the Restoration. In May, one William White, a Catholic, was being buried at Ross, Co. Wexford, and Edward Davis, the sovereign of the borough, or head of the municipality, was seen at the funeral. Complaint was made in the House of Commons that Mass was publicly celebrated and other idolatrous practices openly used, all used, all being countenanced by the presence of the sovereign.' A Committee was appointed to
inquire into the matter. They found that such superstitious rites and ceremonies were publicly, even at Noonday, acted in said town, to the great grief and trouble of his Majesty's Protestant subjects,' and so Davis was summoned to the Bar to answer for his conduct. He had to kneel while he made his defence. Mr. Davis professed ignorance of what rites were performed, owing to the concourse of people,' says the Journal, and professed to be a good Protestant and detester of Popery. He was admonished by the Speaker to be diligent in the suppression of Popery in future.'
TO-DAY AND THE MINISTRY OF THE
BY REV. E. STEPHENS
THE ministry of the Word has gone hand in hand with the Breaking of Bread ever since a Christian ministry began its beneficent work in the world. True, in that body which alone preserves incorrupt the living tradition of Christianity the first has ever been subordinate to the second. It remained for the Reformers to invert this relationship and to exalt the pulpit by ousting the altar. The result of this topsy-turvydom is seen in the Nonconformist sects of the present day, and indeed in the Establishment itself, if we except the comparatively small sect of advanced Ritualists. Of ritual the Nonconformists have none, and the Anglicans, whilst they have an ordered communion service and set forms of morning and evening prayer, still have not yet succeeded in correcting the idea of their adherents that the pulpit is the centre of their worship. Whilst this condition of affairs continues, and the sermon remains the chief means of arousing the congregation to better things, the sermon will always have to be interesting and fresh. It will have to avoid old shibboleths and adopt new ones, or else empty benches will be the result. The preacher, if he be at the mercy of his deacons, as many Nonconformists are, will be invited to go elsewhere, having lost all power to satisfy his present masters. This fact is a powerful stimulus. A man whose livelihood depends upon his being able to interest his congregation twice a week by giving them the outpourings of his thought upon such subjects as appeal to his audience, will be keenly alive to the necessity of using every available means to equip himself for the task. He will advertise his sermons in the most striking forms; he will ransack current literature for ideas and for words in which to clothe them; he will rush into matters of present controversy to show that the Churches are in touch with the life of the Nation,' or that they are forming the public conscience.' He will be and do everything; but one thing