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place Acts

place Acts. As soon as parliaments were established as annual events after the Glorious Revolution, ministers began to consider how to use patronage to obtain reliable majorities. Oppositions countered by proposing place bills to preserve the independence of the House of Commons from encroachment by the executive by disqualifying members under government influence. A fierce struggle raged in William III's reign, with bills defeated in the Lords or vetoed by the king. Nevertheless, statutes were passed excluding commissioners of the excise and of the customs. The grandest attempt was in the Act of Settlement of 1701, which forbade membership of the Commons to any person holding an office or place of profit under the crown: if implemented, it would have divorced executive and legislature on the American pattern. But the provision was circumvented by the device of re-election on taking office, which lasted until 1926. Subsequent campaigns were ragged and ineffective. After the fall of Walpole, an act to exclude commissioners of the navy was carried and a place measure became part of the Rockinghams' campaign for economical reform in the 1770s. Clerke's Act in 1782 excluded government contractors. But the cumulative effect was slight, government influence being more than sustained by the vast growth of the civil service, army, and navy.

J. A. Cannon

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