10 million Ukrainians without power because of Russia. Help us purchase electrical generators for churches.
Consider helping today!

Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


Additional Links

a title of the presiding officer in the legislatures of various countries. In the English parliament the lord chancellor acts as Speaker of the House of Lords, but should his office be in commission the Crown usually appoints a Speaker to supply his place, a case in point being that of Sir L. Shadwell, vice-chancellor, who in 1835 was appointed Speaker during the time the Great Seal was in, commission. Unlike the House of Commons, the Speaker of the House of Lords need not necessarily be a member of the House; Brougham in 1830 sat on the woolsack as Speaker in his capacity of lord chancellor, being then plain Mr Brougham, his patent of nobility not having yet been made out. The House of Lords has also deputy Speakers who are appointed by commission. The duties of the Speaker of the House of Lords are defined by a standing order as follows: "The lord chancellor, when he speaks to the House, is always to speak uncovered, and is not to adjourn the House, or to do anything else as mouth of the House, without the consent of the Lords first had, except the ordinary thing about bills, which are of course, wherein the Lords may likewise overrule; as for preferring one bill before another, and such-like; and in case of difference among the Lords, it is to be put to the question; and if the lord chancellor will speak to anything particularly he is to go to his own place as a peer." The Speaker of the House of Lords, as compared with the Speaker of the House of Commons, is an official without power; even his seat, the woolsack, is technically outside the House. Contrary to the practice in the Commons, he acts as a strong party man, making speeches on behalf of government measures from his place as a peer. Proposals have from time to time been made for augmenting the powers of the Speaker of the House of Lords, but it has been pointed out that, as he is a minister of the Crown, and not chosen by the House itself, and moreover is often the member of the least experience in the House, it would be inexpedient that he should exercise the same powers as the Speaker of the Commons.

The Speaker of the House of Commons is always a member of that House, and though chosen by the members themselves (subject to the approval of the sovereign) from one of the great political parties, he never either votes (except in the case of a tie) or speaks in his capacity as a member during the time he holds office. His duty is to enforce the observance of the rules laid down for preserving order in the proceedings of the House; he puts every question and declares the determination thereon. As "mouth of the House" he communicates its resolutions to others, conveys its thanks, and expresses its censure, its reprimands or its admonitions. He issues warrants for executing the orders of the House, as the commitment of offenders, the issue of writs, the attendance of witnesses or prisoners in custody, &c. The symbol of his authority is the mace, which is borne before him by the serjeant-at-arms when he enters or leaves the House; it reposes on the table when he is in the chair, and it accompanies him on all state occasions. The Speaker takes precedence of all commoners in the kingdom both by ancient custom and by legislative declaration (1 Will. & Mary c. 21). His salary is 5000 a year. It is usual to create a retiring Speaker a peer of the realm, generally with the rank of viscount. The office is of great antiquity, and in the various conflicts between the Commons and the Crown was one of considerable difficulty, especially when, as mouthpiece of the House, he had to read petitions or addresses or deliver in the presence of the sovereign speeches on their behalf. The first to whom the title was definitely given was Sir Thomas Hungerford (d. 1398).

A list of Speakers, most of 1600 is appended. The date of Croke (1601).

Sir E. Phelips (1604). Sir R. Crewe (1614). T. Richardson (1621). * 1 Sir T. Crewe (1624). Sir H. Finch (5626).(5626). Sir J. Finch (1628). J. Glanville (1640). *°W. Lenthall (5640). H. Pelham (1647).(1647). F. Rous (1653).

Sir T. Widdrington (1656).

C. Chute (1659).

Sir L. Long (1659). T. Bampfylde (1659). W. Say (1660).

Sir H. Grimston (1660). Sir E. Turnour (1661). Sir J. Charlton (1673). *E. Seymour (1673). Sir R. Sawyer (1678). Sir W. Gregory (1679).(1679). *W. Williams (1680). * 3 Sir J. Trevor (1685). H. Powle (5689).

P. Foley (1695).

Sir T. Littleton (1698). *R. Harley (1701) (Earl of Oxford). 4 J. Smith (1705).

Sir R. Onslow (1708). W. Bromley (1710).

  • Speaker in more than one parliament.

The title of Speaker is also applied to the presiding officer of the various legislative assemblies in the British colonies, that of president being applied to the presiding officer of the upper houses, legislative councils as they are usually called. In Canada, however, the presiding officer both of the Senate and the House of Commons is termed Speaker. In the United States the Speaker of the House of Representatives is an officer of considerable power (see United States: ConstitutionandGovernment). AuTxoRITIEs.-Stubbs, Constitutional History; J. A. Manning, Lives of the Speakers (1850); E. Lummis, The Speaker's Chair 1 Brother of Sir R. Crewe.

Speaker of the Long Parliament.

Convicted of bribery and expelled, 1695.

4 First Speaker of the Commons of Great Britain.

Nephew of Sir R. Onslow, Speaker in 1708 and great-greatgreat-grandson of R. Onslow, Speaker in the second parliament of. Elizabeth. Arthur Onslow was the second Speaker to be elected five times; the first Speaker to be so elected was Thomas Chaucer in the reign of Henry V. Onslow also held the Speakership for the longest period (1727-1761).

Afterwards prime minister. Was first Speaker of the Commons of the United Kingdom.

'First to be Speaker six times and seven times.

whom are separately noticed, from election is given in brackets: Sir T. Hanmer (1714).

  • S. Compton (1715) (Earl of Wilmington). ** I A. Onslow (1728).
  • Sir J. Cust (1761).
  • Sir Fletcher Norton (1770) (Lord Grandy). *C. W. Cornwall (1780). W. W. Grenville (1789) (Lord Grenville). * 6 H. Addington (1789) (Viscount Sidmouth). Sir J. Mitford (1801) (Lord Redesdale). *C. Abbott (1802) (Lord Colchester). * 7 H. C. M. Sutton (1817)(1817) (Viscount Canterbury). *J. Abercromby (1835) (Lord Dunfermline). *C. Shaw Lefevre (1841) (Viscount Eversley). *J. E. Denison (1857) (Viscount Ossington). *H. B. Brand (1872) (Viscount Hampden). *A. W. Peel (1884)(1884) (Viscount Peel). *W. C. Gully (1895) (Viscount Selby). *J. W. Lowther (1905).

(1900); for the United States, J. Bryce, American Commonwealth, M. P. Follett's The Speaker of the House of Representatives (New York, 1896); H. B. Fuller, Speakers of the House (Boston, 1909).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Speaker'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

Search for…
Enter query in the box below:
Choose a letter to browse: