The Influence of the Commons on Early Legislation: A Study of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

By Howard L. Gray | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE LORDS' JOURNAL AND THE PARLIAMENT ROLL OF 1509

PERHAPS the next point at which we can best stop in a retrogressive approach to parliamentary procedure in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is the first year of Henry VIII; for from 1509 comes the first journal of either house of parliament, the first narrative of what was done day by day. It is, of course, the journal of the lords, since we have no commons' journal earlier than 1547.1 If in the early seventeenth century, and probably in Lambard's day as well, the expedition of bills in both houses was the same, it may perhaps be assumed that in 1509 the commons were conducting their affairs much as the lords were. Whether this assumption is justifiable or not, the lords' journal of 1509 furnishes valuable evidence about parliamentary procedure in at least one house. It has a further value in assisting us to make a transition to that type of parliamentary record which alone survives for the fifteenth century. Before 1509 our knowledge of parliamentary activity has to be got from the rolls of parliament, which are summary accounts of the transactions of the lords with incidental references to the commons, drawn up at the close of each parliament by the clerk. For further study, therefore, it will be of service, not only to examine the lords' journal of 1509 but also to compare it with the parliament roll of that year.2

The lords' journal of 1509 is not altogether a precise record. Bits of information about the progress of certain bills are omitted, especially about the passage of some which we

____________________
1
Journals of the House of Lords, 1509-1714, 19 vols. (s. l., s. a.) I, 1-9.
2
Journals, I., 1-9; P. R. O., C. 65/131. It would be better to draw conclusions from an examination of several journals, but the scope of this chapter scarcely permits it.

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