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the sanction of Parliament to the continued existence of the army and navy, by the annual appropriations for the support of these services, and the annual renewal of the Mutiny Acts. Parliament has the full right of interfering in all cases of abuse; of inquiring into the causes of disasters befalling our arms in war; and of advising upon all general questions affecting the wellbeing and efficiency of the army and navy. The Crown has the power, through a responsible minister, of dismissing any of its officers from the army or navy at its own discretion, and without assigning any reason for the Act. In fact, this power is so absolute that even if an officer is acquitted by a court of inquiry, the Crown is justified in removing him from office, upon the advice of a minister responsible to Parliament. In cases of insurrection or rebellion, the Crown is entitled to proclaim martial law when the ordinary authorities are unable to quell disturbances. This power being invoked by the Sovereign, or her representative in any colony or district within the realm, the ordinary laws are therein suspended for a time, and an absolute discretion is vested in the military authorities with regard to their proceedings for the restoration of peace and good order. Ministers of the Crown, however (through whose instrumental
HER RIGHT OF DECLARING WAR.
ity resort should be had under any circumstances to martial law), are responsible to Parliament for their conduct, and must be able to justify their acts under penalty of impeachment or removal from office. Thus in 1865, as you well know, Governor Eyre was removed from office, owing to his having been censured by a Royal Commission for permitting unjustifiable severity whilst suppressing an insurrection in the island of Jamaica, when under martial law.
I now come to the power of the Sovereign with regard to the right of declaring war and making peace. This power is vested exclusively in the Crown, but, like all other prerogatives, must be exercised by the advice and under the responsibility of ministers who are accountable to Parliament, and are liable to impeachment for the improper conduct of a war. The consent of Parliament is not formally required by the constitution, either to the commencement of a war or the conclusion of a peace; but as Parliament furnishes all supplies, and controls the numbers of our army and navy, it becomes difficult for this prerogative to be improperly used. If hostilities about to be entered into are likely to involve serious consequences, it is the duty of ministers to ask for the advice and co-operation of
Parliament in carrying on the war. Parliament is, however, at perfect liberty to offer advice unfavourable to the Ministry, and to refuse its assistance. Thus, in 1782, the American war was brought to a close, contrary to the wishes and intentions of George III., by the interposition of the House of Commons. In 1791, Mr Pitt had to abandon an intended war with Russia, owing to the adverse opinions of the House of Commons; and in 1857, the House of Commons condemned the policy of the war with China, which occasioned a dissolution of Parliament, though the result of such condemnation was in favour of the Ministry. However, with regard to this liberty of Parliament, it appears that if the Government enter upon a foreign war in defence of the honour or interests of the State, it is the duty of Parliament to afford the Crown an adequate support; for in 1854, upon the declaration of the war with Russia, Mr Disraeli said—“If her Majesty informs us that she has found it necessary to engage in war, I hold that it is not an occasion when we are to enter into the policy or impolicy of the advice by which her Majesty has been guided. It is our duty to rally round the throne, and on a subsequent occasion to question the policy of the Ministry" :
And now, Gentlemen, I come to the last act of
the royal prerogative which I intend discussing in my lecture to-night—the power of the Crown with regard to foreign affairs. And, firstly, her Majesty is the constitutional representative of the nation in its intercourse with foreign powers. The medium of communication between the Queen and the representatives of foreign nations is the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whose duty it is to convey the opinions and conclusions of the Government upon matters arising out of the relations of the British Crown with other countries. Parliament has to be informed from time to time of everything which is necessary to explain the policy of the Government, in order that it may interpose with advice or remonstrance. Of course, a certain amount of discretion is always allowed to the Government in communicating or withholding documents asked for by Parliament. Occasionally the Government have laid before Parliament papers in regard to disputes still pending, but this is only in especial cases; Parliament has, however, no right to dictate the answers to such disputes. Private and confidential correspondence, and autograph letters from sovereign princes to her Majesty, are not communicated to Parliament. The Queen, as representative of her people, has, as I have already said, the exclusive right of sending ambassadors to foreign States, and of receiving ambassadors at home. This prerogative is unquestionable, and should not be interfered with by either House of Parliament, except in cases of manifest corruption or abuse. It would be a breach of this prerogative for either House of Parliament to communicate directly with any foreign power: all such communications must be made officially through the Government, and by a responsible minister of the Crown.
Secondly, it is the peculiar function of her Majesty to make treaties and alliances with foreign states, acting under the advice of her responsible ministers. The sanction or ratification by Parliament of any treaty is not necessary to constitute its validity. Parliament has, however, the right of withholding its sanction to those parts of a treaty requiring a legislative enactment to give it force, or to impeach the ministers of the Crown, who are responsible for the treaty if it disapproves of the measure. Our history contains numerous instances of the censure by Parliament of ministers of the Crown for misconduct of public affairs. Thus, in 1451 the Earl of Suffolk was impeached for making a peace without the assent of the Privy Council ;