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Procedure and patronage in the Parliament of 1626, the membership and function of committees in the House of Lords and the House of Commons

by Sorensen, Lise Dybkar

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation, " Procedure and Patronage in the Parliament of 1626: The membership and hnction of committees in the House of Lords and the House of Commons, " systematically analyses parliamentary procedure through a detailed examination of the inception, membership, patronage networks, and responsibilities of committees in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords during the parliament of 1626. It opens with a general account of the inception and procedure of standing committees, select committees, committees of the whole House, and subcommittees. This is followed by an analysis of the composition and agendas of the most important patronage groups in the parliament and how they attempted to exercise power in the business of both Houses. Four detailed case studies illustrate the roles played and the different shapes taken by committees in both Houses. For committees in the House of Commons, the investigation into the conduct of the war with Spain which turned into an impeachment of the Duke of Buckingharn and the investigation into religion which turned into the impeachment of Richard Montagu are scrutinised, both as an illustration of committee procedures in action, and with an eye to uncovering how important patronage networks allied with local interests and religious fears attempted to give the King and his advisors advice which they did not want to hear. The study of the impeachment of Buckingham also deals with committee procedures in the Upper House. The committees of the House of Lords, however, receive more attention in the chapters on the trial of the Earl of Bristol and the arrest of the Earl of Arundel. In the Lords, issues of procedure such as proxies, venue for debates, and the protection of privileges became part of the struggle between the Duke of Buckingharn and his critics. In these struggles, as a "middle group" of peers tried to preserve unity and create a consensus or at least a modus vivendi in the Upper House. As a result of this struggle, significant changes in procedure took place which resulted in the limitation of the number of proxies held by any individual peer and a standing order which allowed a motion by one peer to be suffient to move the House into a committee of the whole. In committees, a relatively small groups were able to use their knowledge of procedure and their eloquence to sway the opinions of their fellow committee members and later, the membership of the House. By examining the relationships between members of both Houses and how these impacted on the business of parliament carried out in committees and subcommittees, this dissertation provides insights into the relationship between King Charles I and his parliaments and into the development of parliamentary procedure.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1999

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