Finally the peers of France, the number of whom was increased in course of time by fresh royal creations of peerages, became ex officio members.
It was then decided that such rights should cease, except in the case of princes of royal blood and members then sitting, and that when all the hereditary peerages had lapsed the house should be composed of the princes of the royal blood, the archbishops and bishops of the continental dioceses, a hundred legislative peers appointed by the king for life, and fifty elected every new parliament by the Commons.
The power of the sovereign to create new Scottish peerages lapsed at the Union, and consequently their number is a diminishing quantity.
The great majority of the people were excluded as Roman Catholics from the franchise; two-thirds of the members of the House of Commons were returned by small boroughs at the absolute disposal of single patrons, whose support was bought by a lavish distribution of peerages and pensions.
8 Riddell's Law and Practice in Scottish Peerages, p. 578; also Nisbet's System of Heraldry, ii.