Symud i'r prif gynnwys

WALES'S PARLIAMENTARY APPRENTICESHIP (1536-1625) By PROFESSOR A. H. DODD, M.A. IN 1536 the Act of Union provided for Welsh representation in the Parliament at Westminster. It had been preceded by another Act setting up Justices of the Peace for Wales and it is a curious fact that, while we know a lot about the activities of the Welsh Justices, almost from the beginning, and a certain amount about the elections of Welsh M.P.'s, we know next to nothing of what the members did when they got to Westminster during these early years when representation was a novelty. How soon did they accustom them- selves to parliamentary procedure ? What part did they take in the general work of Parliament, and in particular in the framing of legislation for their own country, in which that age was so prolific ? What were their reactions to the great political questions of the day, and how far and how soon did they come to constitute themselves a distinct Welsh "interest" on questions especially affecting Wales ? What part did Welsh questions play in the business of the House ? These are some of the questions which it is proposed to ask the answers will inevitably be incomplete, but they may serve to illus- trate one stage in the process by which, in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Wales took her place in the British family of nations. The period to be surveyed covers roughly the first three generations after the Act of Union, and it will be found to fall into six successive phases. The first lasts until the dissolution of Queen Elizabeth's second Parliament (1567) here the material is very thin. The next, where the real story begins, carries us forward to the Queen's death. By the reign of James I the material lias become abundant and the activities of the Welsh members manifold, so that each of his four Parliaments will need a section to itself. By 1625 Wales's parliamentary apprenticeship may be said to be complete. I. Introduction to Parliament (1536-67). The surviving Journals of the House of Commons take us back only to 1547 so that the records leave us in ignorance of the demeanour of the Welsh members during their first four Parliaments, so rich in legislation for Wales. Even when the Journals begin, they remain for nearly a quarter of a century the baldest possible record of business transacted, with no reference to individual members unless they happened to make themselves prominent by