Answers to Correspondents

W.H.C.—Mr. Cardwell’s Army Bill of 1871 proposed to abolish the purchase of army officers’ commissions. After being debated for months the Bill was rejected by the Lords. Two days later Mr. W. E. Gladstone announced that Queen Victoria had been advised to cancel the old warrant that allowed purchase and to issue a new one that forbade it. He stated in defence of his action that having secured the expression of the Commons against purchase, he held himself justified in advising the Queen to exert her statutory right. The House of Lords passed a vote of censure on the Government.

A comrade sends us the following information on your second question.


The late Dr. Pankhurst (Doctor at Law), wrote an article on the subject of Constitutional politics in the Manchester Guardian under date March I5th, 1894, and the following is an extract from that article.

“The right of any lord to sit and vote in Parliament as a member of the House of Lords depends solely on the Royal Summons, on the issue by the Crown of a particular writ of summons. 1, The issue of such writ of summons lies in the absolute discretion of the Crown, acting on the advice of responsible Ministers ; 2, each lord in fact receives, but he has no absolute right to receive, a particular writ of summons from the Crown, and a new writ is issued to each lord for each new Parliament. … 5, the Crown, acting on the advice of responsible Ministers, has full and absolute power and right under the Constitution henceforth or at any time to wholly cease to issue any writ of summons to any present member of the House of Lords, or any other person, upon which the House of Lords will and must cease to exist.”

No denial, contradiction, or refutation of this appeared in the Manchester Press at the time, and it caused much comment in political circles locally.

W. E.

Leave a Reply