“My Lord Coke tells us Parliament is derived from `parler le ment' (to speak one's mind). He might as honestly have taught us that firmament is `firma mentis' (a farm for the mind) or `fundament' the bottom of the mind.” —Rymer: On Parliaments.
The Addled Parliament (between April 5th, 1614, and June 7th, 1615); so called because it remonstrated with the king on his levying “benevolences,” but passed no acts.
The Barebone Parliament. The Parliament convened July 4th, 1653; overridden by Praise-God Barebone. The Black Parliament. Held by Henry VIII. in Bridewell.
The Club Parliament. (See Parliament Of Bats.)
The Convention Parliament. Two Parliaments were so called; one in 1660, because it was not held by the order of the king, but was convened by General Monk; the second was convened January 22nd, 1689, to confer the crown on William and Mary.
The Devil's Parliament. The Parliament convened at Coventry by Henry VI., in 1459, which passed attainders on the Duke of York and his supporters.
The Drunken Parliament. The Parliament assembled at Edinburgh, January 1st, 1661, of which Burnet says the members “were almost perpetually drunk.”
The Good Parliament (1376, in the reign of Edward III., while the Black Prince was still alive). So called from the severity with which it pursued the unpopular party of the Duke of Lancaster.
Grattan's Parliament (1782-1801). In 1782 Grattan moved the “Declaration of Rights,” repudiating the right of the British Parliament to interfere in the government of Ireland. Pitt pronounced the Parliament unworkable.
The Illiterate or Lack-learning Parliament. (See Unlearned Parliament.) The Little Parliament. Same as “the Barebone Parliament” (q.v.).
The Long Parliament sat 12 years and 5 months, from November 2nd, 1640, to April 20th, 1653, when it was dissolved by Cromwell; but a fragment of it, called “The Rump,” continued till the Restoration, in 1660.
Historian of the Long Parliament. Thomas May, buried in Westminster Abbey. (1595-1650.) The Med Parliament, in the reign of Henry III. (1258), was so called from its opposition to the king. It insisted on his confirming the Magna Charta, and even appointed twenty-four of its own members, with Simon de Montfort as president, to administer the government.
The Merciless (or Unmerciful) Parliament (from February 3rd to June 3rd, 1388). A junto of fourteen tools of Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, which assumed royal prerogatives, and attempted to depose Richard II.
The Mongrel Parliament (1681), held at Oxford, consisting of Whigs and Tories, by whom the Exclusion Bill was passed.
The Pacific Parliament. A triennial Parliament, dissolved August 8th, 1713. It signed the treaty of peace at Utrecht, after a war of eleven years.
The Pensioner (or Pensionary) Parliament (from May 8th, 1661, to January 24th, 1678 [i.e. 16 years and 260 days]). It was convened by Charles II., and was called “Pensionary” from the many pensions it granted to the adherents of the king.
The Rump Parliament, in the Protectorate; so called because it contained the rump or fag-end of the Long Parliament (1659). It was this Parliament that voted the trial of Charles I.
The Running Parliament. A Scotch Parliament; so called from its constantly being shifted from place to place.
The Unlearned or Lawless Parliament (Parliamentum Indoctum) (1404). So called by Sir E. Coke, because it contained no lawyer.
The Unmerciful Parliament, in the reign of Richard II.; so called by the people from its tyrannical proceedings.
The Useless Parliament. The Parliament convened by Charles I., on June 18th, 1625; adjourned to Oxford, August 1st; and dissolved August 12th; having done nothing but offend the king.
The Wondermaking Parliament. The same as “The Unmerciful Parliament;” convened February 3rd, 1388. By playing into the hands of the Duke of Gloucester it checkmated the king.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894