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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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4582. LEGISLATURES, Dissolution by George III.—
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4582. LEGISLATURES, Dissolution by George III.—

One of the articles of impeachment
against Trestlain and the other Judges of
Westminster Hall, in the reign of Richard the
Second, for which they suffered death, as
traitors to their country, was, that they had
advised the king that he might dissolve his Parliament
at any time; and succeeding kings have
adopted the opinion of these unjust Judges.
Since the reign of the Second William, however,
under which the British constitution was settled
on its free and ancient principles, neither his
Majesty, nor his ancestors, have exercised such
a power of dissolution in the Island of Great
Britain [295] ; and when his Majesty was petitioned,
by the united voice of his people there, to dissolve
the present Parliament, who had become
obnoxious to them, his Ministers were heard to
declare, in open Parliament, that his Majesty
possessed no such power by the constitution.
But how different their language, and his practice,
here! To declare, as their duty required,
the known rights of their country, to oppose the
usurpations of every foreign judicature, to disregard
the imperious mandates of a minister or
governor, have been the avowed causes of dissolving
Houses of Representatives in America.
But if such powers be really invested in his
Majesty, can he suppose they are there placed to
awe the members from such purposes as these?
When the representative body have lost the confidence
of their constituents, when they have notoriously
made sale of their most valuable rights,
when they have assumed to themselves powers
which the people never put into their hands,
then, indeed, their continuing in office becomes
dangerous to the State, and calls for an exercise
of the power of dissolution. Such being the
causes for which the representative body should,
and should not be dissolved, will it not appear
strange to an unbiased observer, that that of
Great Britain was not dissolved, while those
of the Colonies have repeatedly incurred that
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 137. Ford ed., i, 441.


“Since this period the King has several times
dissolved the parliament a few weeks before its expiration,
merely as an assertion of right.”—Note by

“On further inquiry, I find two instances of dissolutions
before the Parliament would, of itself, have
been at an end: viz., the Parliament called to meet
August 24, 1698, was dissolved by King William, December
19, 1700, and a new one called to meet February
6, 1701, which was also dissolved, November 11,
1701, and a new one met December 30, 1701.”—Note
by Jefferson.