Page images

spiritual and temporal of Ireland shall have rank and precedency next and immediately after all the persons holding peerages of the like order and degree in Great Britain, existing at the time of the union ; that all peerages of Ireland hereafter created, and all peerages of the united kingdom of the same degree, shall take rank according to their respective dates of creation. All the peers of Ireland, except such as are members of the house of Commons, enjoy every privilege of peerage as fully as the peers of Great Britain ; exclusive only of those attendant upon sitting in the house of Lords or on the trial of a peer.

The manner in which the first representative peers for Ireland were elected by the whole body differs in some of its details from that subsequently followed in the vacancies occasioned by deaths ; for, unlike the peers of Scotland, the Irish representative peers are elected for life, and are, therefore, unaffected by dissolutions of parliament. At the first election of Irish representative peers, the whole body having assembled in the Irish house of Lords, the clerk of the Crown called over, according to rank, the names of the peers, and each delivered in to that officer a list of twenty-eight names. These lists were publicly read, and having been compared and cast up, the twenty-eight lords chosen by the majority were officially returned by the clerk of the Crown to the house of Lords in the first parliament of the united kingdom. Of the peers originally chosen as repreventatives only one now survives, and for filling up the vacancies which successive deaths have occasioned, the following was the mode of election prescribed by the act of union.

The lord chancellor of Great Britain, upon receiving a certificate from two peers of parliament, attesting the death of a representative peer, or upon inspecting the record of any attainder of a representative lord, issues a writ to the lord chancellor of Ireland, directing him to cause the clerk of the Crown in that part of the united kingdom to serve writs upon every peer who sat in the Irish house of Lords, or who had proved before the lords his right to sit in such assembly if it continued to exist. These writs command every Irish peer to send in, before fifty-two days, a return, specifying the nobleman for whom he votes as a representative. Each return is in duplicate ; one remains as a permanent record in the Irish Crown Office, while the other is forwarded by the clerk of the Crown to the clerk of the parliament in London. The name of the successful candidate chosen by the plurality of votes, is gazetted by the clerk of the Crown, and in case of an equality of votes, the clerk of the parliament decides the election by drawing of lots from a glass, in which the names of those who are equal are placed, on the table of the house of Lords.

Thus, though the manner in which the Irish representative peers were originally elected, resembled that which is adopted in Scotland at each dissolution, yet the elections which have since occurred at intervals in Ireland on account of deaths, do not take place at a general assemblage of peers, but by authenticated returns to the Crown office in Ireland. Whatever plan is adopted, the same principle of a plurality of votes determines the election, and the returning officer is invested with the casting decision. The LORDS SPIRITUAL consist of two distinct portions, viz. the English and Welsh bishops, who all have seats in the house of Lords, and the representative bishops of Ireland, of whom four sit each session. Of the former class, particulars will be found under the heads of their respective bishoprics in the general article on the clergy, but the manner in which the Irish representative prelates sit by rotation in the house of Lords, is so little understood, even by the members of that body themselves, that it requires a more detailed notice*.

The act of union between Great Britain and Ireland, prescribed the following regulations, viz. that one of the four archbishops of Ireland, and three of the eighteen Irish bishops, should sit in the house of Lords for each year, irrespective of any dissolution. That, starting from the first parliament of the united kingdom, the following should be the order of rotation among the archbishops. Armagh, Dublin, Cashel, Tuam; then again, Armagh, Dublin, Cashel, Tuam, and so on. That, beginning at the same period, the order to be observed among the bishops was as follows :-Meath, Kildare, and Derry; Raphoe, Limerick, and Dromore; Elphin, Down, and Waterford; Leighlin, Cloyne, and Cork; Killaloe, Kilmore, and Clogher ; Ossory, Killala, and Clonfert ; and then Commencing the rotation again with Meath, Kildare, and Derry, and thus repeating the series. Under

* It is perhaps hardly necessary to remind the reader, that in the year 1841 one of the Irish bishops sat in the House of Lords for some time, under an erroneous conception of the rule of rotation.

the foregoing regulations the rota would have been simple enough; but in the year 1833, the passing of the Church Temporalities act (3 & 4 Gul. IV. c. 37) reduced the number of bishops in Ireland, and thus, in some measure, complicated the representative succession. The archbishoprics of Tuam and of Cashel were abolished on the death of the then existing prelates, and ten of the eighteen bishoprics were united to others according as they became vacant. Since the passing of the act the two archbishops have died, and now the primate of all Ireland (Armagh), and the archbishop of Dublin, sit alternately one every session, while the vacant archbishoprics became converted under the act into suffragan bishoprics, and take their place in the episcopal instead of the archi. episcopal series; their position in that rota was declared by the act to be immediately before that bishop who was last in the sessional series at the time when the existing archbishops of Cashel and Tuam died. Now, the bishop of Derry held the last position in the series when these archiepiscopal sees became vacant, therefore the new bishops precede that prelate. But eight of the ten bishoprics having become vacant, were united to others, viz. Dromore to Down and Connor, Raphoe to Derry, Clonfert to Killaloe, Kil. lala to Tuam, Ossory to Ferns, Waterford to Cashel, Cloyne to Cork, and Kilmore to Elphin; so that, with the exception of two, the changes contemplated by the Church Temporalities' Act have already taken place. The representative series for the next six sessions is given below, and the names of two of the sees are printed in italics. Whenever one of these two becomes vacant, the see next in rotation supplies its place in the parliamentary representation, and the vacant see is united to another under the act of William IV.

1841-42. ARMAGH, Tuam, Derry, Limerick. 1842-43. DUBLIN, Down, Ossory, Cloyne. 1843-44. Armagh, Killaloe, Kilmore, Clogher. 1844-45. Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Cashel. 1845-46. ARMAGH, Tuam, Derry, Limerick. 1846-47. Dublin, Down, Ossory, Cloyne.

For all other matters relating to the Irish bishops, the reader is referred to the account of their respective sees in the article on the clergy; but in this section only such particulars have been noticed as illustrate their character of lords of parliament.

CREATION OF PEERAGES. “ A prince can mak’a belted knight, A marquis, duke, and a' that.”

BURNS. The Crown is the sole source and parent-spring of all honours and dignities ; from the head of all privilege must therefore emanate the distinctions which are to exist among the monarch's subjects. The manner in which titles have arisen, and the various modes of creating dignities, will naturally occupy our attention. Peerages are enjoyed either by tenure, by writ of summons, or by patent, and they consist of dukedoms, marquisates, earldoms, viscounties, and baronies. They are liable to attainder, forfeiture, and abeyance; into these several sections the subject therefore naturally divides itself.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »