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 IV
TYPES OF BILLS ENROLLED ON THE PARLIAMENT ROLL

INASMUCH as our method turns largely upon seeing how bills of all sorts were recorded on the parliament roll, a precise comparison of the original form of certain selected bills with the form which they assumed when enrolled will be pertinent. It happens that for the last thirty years of the fifteenth century original bills have largely disappeared but that for the parliaments of the years 1453-1465 they are fairly numerous. Records of parliaments of the middle of a century should normally be typical of the century as a whole if its parliamentary procedure underwent no great change. To be sure, the parliaments of these years happen to be the first ones which were under Yorkist control and for that reason may in some respects have differed from Lancastrian parliaments. But they furnish satisfactory illustrations of the different types of bills characteristic of both the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries and of the manner in which each type was enrolled on the parliament roll. An understanding of these technical matters is essential to any study of the parliamentary records of the two centuries.

In comparing bills in their original form with their enrolled form we may retain the types to which Richardson introduced us. Most infrequent and least important was the bill of general pardon. Only one such was granted during the last half of the fifteenth century, and this belongs to the June-July session of the parliament of 1455.1 The original bill has disappeared leaving us merely its enrolled form. The roll relates how the chancellor declared that the king on his own initiative granted his pardon to all his lieges who might wish to avail

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1
R. P., V, 283.

-39-

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