The "Action and Reaction" of different Estates "produces that general and systematic Controul which, like Conscience, pervades and superintends the Whole, checking and prohibiting Evil from every Part of the Constitution"
— Brooke, Henry (c. 1703-1783)
As the Institution, Repeal, and Amendment, of Laws, together with the Redress of public Grievances and Offences, are not within the Capacity of any of the three Estates, distinct from the Others; the frequent Holding of Parliaments is the vital Food, without which the Constitution cannot subsist.
The three Estates originally, when assembled in Parliament, sat together consulting in the open Field. Accordingly at Running-Mead, five hundred Years ago, King John passed the great Charter (as therein is expressed) by the Advice of the Lords spiritual and temporal, by the Advice of several Commoners (by name recited) et aliorum Fidelium, and of Others his faithful People. And, in the twenty-first Clause of the said Charter, he covenants that, "For having the Common Council of the Kingdom to assess Aids, he will cause the Lords spiritual and temporal to be summoned by his Writs; and moreover, that he will cause the principal Commoners, or Those who held from him in Chief, to be generally summoned to said Parliaments by his Sheriffs and Bailiffs."
In said Assemblies however, the Concourse became so great and disorderly, and the Contests frequently so high between the several Estates, in Assertion of their respective Prerogatives and Privileges; that they judged it more expedient to sit apart, and separately to exercise the Offices of their respective Departments.
As there is no Man or Set of Men, no Class or Corporation, no Village or City, throughout the Kingdom, that is not virtually represented by their Delegates in Parliament; this great Body politic or Representative of the Nation consists, like the Body natural, of a Head and several Members, which, being endowed with different Powers for the exercise of different Offices, are yet connected by one main and common Interest, and actuated by one Life orSpirit of public Reason, called theLaws .
In all Steps of National Import, the King it to be conducted by the Direction of the Parliament, his great national Council; a Council, on whom it is equally incumbent to consult for the King with whom they are connected, and for the People by whom they are delegated, and whom they represent. Thus the King is constitutionally, to be guided by the Sense of his Parliament; and the Parliament alike is, constitutionally, to be guided by the general Sense of the People. The two Estates in Parliament are the Constituents of the King; and the People, mediately or immediately, are the Constituents of the two Estates in Parliament.
Now, while the three Estates act distinctly, within their respective Departments, they affect and are reciprocally affected by Each-Other. This Action and Reaction produces that general and systematic Controul which, like Conscience, pervades and superintends the Whole, checking and prohibiting Evil from every Part of the Constitution. And, from this Confinement of every Part to the Rule of Right Reason, the great Law of Liberty to All ariseth.
Text from The Fool of Quality, or, the History of Henry Earl of Moreland. (Dublin: Printed for the Author by Dillon Chamberlaine, 1765-1770). <Link to ECCO>. Note, vol. 2 is dated 1766, vol. 3 1768, vol. 4 1769, vol. 5 1770.