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After the prorogation the house of com- CHAP. mons resumed the business of the twelve commissioners, and made provision for them
1640 by a charge upon the principal towns and counties in Ireland; and they appointed a committee to draw up instructions for them. This was the second instance of these
parliamentary commissioners; the first has been noted in the account of the sessions in one thousand fix hundred and thirteen and one thousand six hundred and fifteen : their instructions were, to apply to the king for a : bill to modify Poynings' law, that the house might draw bills by their own committee during a session; that the farming of the revenue and expensive licences for exportation might be prohibited ; and that printed regulations of the courts of justice might be established by law.
On the roth of February the house was taken
arrangements about levying subsidies: and the order of the preceding 20th of October on this subject, which had been erasęd, was restored.
On the 16th of February a very extraor
dinary proposition was made to the lords, 1640. desiring them to take the judges' opinion
upon twenty-one queries ; and on the 17th an unanimous protestation was entered against the preamble to the act of subsidies of the last fession, which they declared was foisted in and entered against the knowledge of the house by lord Strafford and his abet
At the close of this they state a proclamation of the king in one thousand fix hundred and twenty-five, prohibiting all applications to the lord deputy and council for justice, and referring lawsuits, in all cases, to the ordinary courts of law. The Castle Chamber was never formally abrogated by a law, (as the Star Chamber was in England,) but it has fallen into disuse : a bill for this purpose passed the lords in one thousand fix hundred and ninety-seveneight, but was not returned.
John Fitzgerald esq., who was duly returned for Enpistiougue, having been committed to the Marshalsea, upon the calling
of the house the 20th of February, this ex- CHAP. traordinary order was made; “ That the “ committee of privileges shall note the
1649. “ absent members, and report which of " them ought to continue, and which ought "toʻbe put out or removed; and that Mr. “ Fitzgerald should be enlarged and restored " to his feat *."
The 23d of February the house was employed in reading a letter from the commissioners in England, and in sending them farther instructions.
On the 27th of February one thousand fix hundred and forty a committee of fortyfour were appointed to draw up articles of impeachment against the chancellor fir Richard Bolton, the bishop of Derry, the chief justice Lowther, and sir George Radcliff. Of the message to the lords, the report was made the same day by captain Mervyn, who was speaker after the restora
* Commons Journals, vol. i. page 306. Ibid. 309.
CHAP. tion ; which imported that the house did
impeach the said persons of high' treason ; 1640. and desired that their persons might be se
cured, and sequestered from the house of lords, the council table, and other places of judicature ; to which the lords sent them word by the black rod, into the middle room, that they would consider of it. This term, middle room, which occurs so often, was a void space between the two rooms destined for the two houses before the restoration in the castle of Dublin ; at which period they removed to Chichester house, on the site of which the present house of parliament was founded.
From the 28th of February to the 6th of March one thousand fix hundred and forty, on which last day the articles of impeachment against the aforesaid persons were prefented *, the house was taken up principally with an examination into the innovations of the charter of the University: but as this was a matter of the utmost conse
* Commons Journals, vol. i. p. 319. Ibid. 328.
quence, not only to them, but to the most CHAP. distant pofterity, as the cause of learning was materially affected by it, I shall spare 1640. no pains to detail this matter, and to give it at full length, with an ardent hope that, sooner or later, parliament may take this into consideration, tread in the steps of their ancestors, and accomplish a work which was left unfinished by their predeceffors.
A committee was appointed on the 23d of February one thousand six hundred and forty, to consider of the state of the college, and to examine their charters. When they met to put this order in execution the 28th of the fame month, they found that a by-law, or statute, had been lately made there, “ Whereby any student or member “ who should exhibit a complaint of griev.
ances should be suspended or expelled.” This regulation, however, was set aside; and the members being at full liberty to represent their grievances, it gave rise to a long inquiry, and it was resolved,
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