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§ 13. “And Temporal.”

The Lords Temporal consist of all the peers of the realm, by whatever title of nobility distinguished. Bishops are not peers; they, with the peers, form the Lords of Parliament or the House of Lords as an integrated legislative chamber. The origin of this body has been traced to the Great Council (Magnum Concilium), consisting of the nobles, tenants-in-chief, principal landowners and prelates, known before the Norman


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conquest as “Witena-gemot,” and after that event as the “Curia Regis,” which assembled to advise the King in matters of legislation and administration. The peerage of the present day is the descendant of the old Great Council of the King. (Hearn's Gov. of Eng. p. 144.)

The House of Lords now consists of members who hold their seats either—(1) by hereditary right, (2) by the creation of the reigning sovereign, (3) by virtue of their office, such as English Bishops, (4) by election for life, such as Irish peers, of whom there are twenty-eight, (5) by election for the duration of a Parliament, such as the Scotch representative peers, of whom there are sixteen. In 1830, the number of peers on the roll of Parliament was 401; in 1899, the number had increased to 591; about two-thirds of the hereditary peerages at present in existence were created during the present century. (Statesmen's Year Book, 1900, p. 7.)

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