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for many years held so much power in Europe ; it was then contended that this retirement ought not to have been called an abdication, as that term amounted to a recognition of his right to reign over the French people. In 1841, however, when permission was given for the removal of the remains of Buonaparte into France, the term “Emperor” was applied to him in the orders sent from London to the governor of St. Helena.
PRIOR, Solomon, b. iii. The sovereignty of these realms, whether vested in a king or a queen regnant, is centred in an individual who, for the proper administration of his high office, and his own protection in the discharge of its duties, is clothed with certain privileges or prerogatives.
The Royal PREROGATIVE is a special pre-eminence, which the king enjoys above all other persons in right of his regal dignity.
As the representative of the state, he alone can act on behalf of the whole community in its inter. course with foreign powers, viz. by sending and receiving ambassadors or other ministers; by declaring war, concluding peace, or entering into treaties and alliances; by commanding the naval and military forces of the country, impressing sailors or soldiers, and disposing of magazines, castles, or ships; by declaring blockades, laying on embargoes, or pro.
hibiting the exportation of arms or ammunition ; by granting to his subjects letters of marque (or permission to seize on the property of another country without being treated as pirates); by granting passports or safe-conducts, prohibiting the departure of his subjects from his dominions, and expelling aliens, or excluding foreigners.
In his domestic capacity, the king has the supreme command of all forces employed in preserving the internal peace of the country ; is the prosecutor of all public offences, and is considered the fountain of all justice; has the care of all minors, idiots, and lunatics; possesses the right to reprieve or pardon convicted offenders ; is invested with the ownership of all ports and harbours, as well as the right of erecting beacons, lighthouses, and sea-marks; can grant letters patent, create markets and fairs, and regulate all weights and measures ; can coin, issue, or recall money, as well as fix the value, and control the circulation of foreign coin. The sovereign is entitled to succeed to the personal as well as real property of all who die intestate and without heirs; he possesses the right to all strays, waifs, wrecks, and treasure found within his dominions, if left unclaimed for a year and a day.
As regards honours and privileges, the monarch is the sole source and parent spring. He can create and confer offices, honours, and titles, arrange precedence, rank, and privilege, but is unable to annex fees to any office without the consent of parliament.
As head of the church, he convokes, prorogues, regulates, and dissolves all ecclesiastical bodies, nominates to all vacant bishoprics, and possesses much church patronage; the king (in chancery) is the dernier ressort in all ecclesiastical causes; he has a copyright in the authorized translation of the Bible, and an exclusive right of publication in all books of divine service.
In his intercourse with his subjects, he is entitled to all kinds of precedence. Debts due to the king must be discharged before all others. He is liable to no toll nor tax; his rights are not influenced by the lapse of time, nor is he subject to any act of parliament in which his name is not specially mentioned.
As head of the parliament, the sovereign summons, prorogues, and dissolves the two legislative bodies. Each session must be opened by the king in person, or by royal commission; he appoints the place and time of meeting, and can recall a prorogued parliament by a proclamation with 14 days' notice. Every bill must receive his assent before it becomes an act, and no bill affecting the royal prerogatives can be in. troduced in either house without an initiatory mes. sage from the throne. The king appoints, by commission, one or more speakers for the house of Lords (exclusive of the lord chancellor), and approves of the speaker of the house of Commons, who, however, is chosen by the members of that body themselves. The king can add to the house of Lords by the creation of new, and the revival of old peerages, or can increase the Irish peers under certain limitations, which are stated in their respec. tive places. To contrive or design the death of the sovereign, is high treason ; but it more frequently appears, that the individuals who attempt imme
diate assassination deserve to be treated as lunatics, rather than punished as traitors.
In public instruments, the king uses the plural number, doubtless as an emblem of the manifold powers comprised within the royal prerogative.
The law ascribes to the monarch certain perfections not incident to common men. He can do no wrong, suffer no nonsuit, commit no injustice or error. It is said, that “he can do no wrong,” because his ministers and not himself are answerable for the manner in which the royal prerogatives may be exercised, and all acts of the Crown are invalid unless advised by responsible ministers. As it is a maxim of our law that “every wrong has a remedy," 50 the lawyers affirm, that the king can do no wrong," because the law has provided no remedy for an evil of such rare occurrence and trifling moment, as those injuries which it may be in the power of the reigning prince, by his own unaided strength, personally to inflict. The instant he calls in the assistance of others, his agents are responsible ; but mandates not conveyed through constitutional channels, his subjects are not bound to obey. The choice of his confidential advisers is the only act of sovereignty the king of himself can legally perform.
No descendant of George II. (except the issue of princesses married into foreign families) can contract matrimony without the previous consent of the king signified under the great seal ; and any marriage contracted without such consent, is void, with this exception, that a marriage may be contracted in opposition to the sovereign if notice be given to the privy council, and that the parliament does not then interfere for twelve months. If the parliament, however, supports the sovereign, then the marriage is illegal.
The DUTIES OF THE King consist mainly in go. verning the people according to law; in maintaining the Protestant reformed religion, and preserving the possessions and privileges of the united church of England and Ireland; but his most important and weighty office consists in providing for the adminis. tration, and causing the due execution of the laws. The former taking place through the judges of the land; and the latter through the secretary of state, the lords lieutenants, sheriffs, magistrates, coroners, with the whole civil and military force of the country.
THE QUALIFICATIONS for holding the kingly office, and exercising its prerogatives when once entered upon, consist in continuing to profess the Protestant religion, and being of "sound mind, memory, and understanding."
During minority or lunacy, the royal prerogatives are entrusted to a REGENT.
Although the foregoing powers are centred in the king's person, yet the practical working of the royal prerogatives and duties is in every case committed to ministers, who are amenable to parliament, and, as already stated, the choice of these ministers is the only privilege which can be constitutionally exercised without responsible advisers ; but even over this there is much parliamentary control, for the royal favour can have no practical effect, unless it rest upon men whose characters and measures prove generally acceptable to both houses.