The practice and procedure of the House of Commons 1660-1714.
Between 1660 and 1714 the House of Commons was gradually
gaining primacy in the political state. This thesis seeks to
examine the development of the Commons' procedure within this
context. Both the internal workings of the Lower Chamber and
its relationship with the Crown and the House of Lords are
During this period the House of Commons became
increasingly conscious of the need to organize its business
more efficiently. This led to the standardisation and
elaboration of practices and procedures. The format of the
working day, debating procedure and the system of voting are
examined. Measures taken to encourage the attendance of Members
are evaluated as is the attitude taken towards the presence of
strangers in the Chamber. The legislative process and the
structure and significance of Committees are analysed.
Particular attention is given to the House of Commons'
financial powers and procedures. The concept of parliamentary
financial control is discussed.
This period witnessed the establishment of an informal
modus vivendi between the two Houses of Parliament. The way in
which the Commons achieved control of finance whilst conceding
judicial superiori ty to the Lords is examined. The Commons'
concern to safeguard privilege and prestige in all formal
communications is acknowledged.
Following an account of the Speaker's significance as
Chairman of debate, the political implications of the position
are examined. By reference to the sixteen holders of the Chair,
it is made clear tha t the Speakership was freed from Crown
control to become a prize of the majority party in the Commons.
This development in turn epitomises the growing importance and
confidence of the House of Commons during this period