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[43] of the civil power by making the grants for the army
chap. III.} 1763.
and navy annual, limiting the number of troops that might be kept up, and keeping the control over their discipline by leaving even the mutiny bill to expire once a year. Thus it guarded against danger from a standing army, of which it always stood in dread. All appropriations, except the civil list for maintaining the dignity of the crown, it made specific and only for the year. As the great inquest of the nation, it examined how the laws were executed, and was armed with the power of impeachment. By its control of the revenue, it was so interwoven with the administration, that it could force the king to accept, as advisers, even men who had most offended him; so that it might seem doubtful if he named, or if parliament designated the ministers.

The same character of aristocracy was imprinted on the administration. The king reigned, but, by the theory of the constitution, was not to govern.1 He appeared in the Privy Council on occasions of state; but Queen Anne was the last of the English monarchs to attend the debates in the House of Lords, or to preside at a meeting of the ministry. In the cabinet, according to the rule of aristocracy, every question was put to vote, and after the vote the dissentients must hush their individual opinions, and present the appearance of unanimity. The king himself must be able to change his council, or must yield. Add to this, that the public offices were engrossed by a small group of families, that favor dictated appointments of

1 The phrase, ‘The king reigns but does not govern,’ may be found in Bolingbroke, who wished that the patriot king should ‘govern as well as reign.’

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1763 AD (1)
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