THE CONSTITUTION OF VENICE. 53 council, that " in future no more elections are to be held, but that those who during the last four years were members of the council shall continue to be members of it, they and their children." This law was not to be abrogated unless five members of the signoria, twenty-five of the quarantia and two-thirds of the great council itself were against it. The grand council was the proper deliberative and law- making assembly of the republic, but it had sundry appoint- ments also in its hands. Mr. Rawdon Brown, who has searched the archives of Venice in quest of documents relat- ing to English affairs, thus speaks of the efficiency of the great council at different times.* " Throughout the whole of the republic the grand council continued to act, though with various degrees of power, and to register its proceedings. Overridden by the doge and his minor council in early times, it seems in the middle of the thirteenth century to have re- gained a portion of its influence, or at all events to have exercised a great amount of activity. We find that in 1255 it authorizes the doge, who probably was a sportsman, to grant permits for the exportation of hawks and hounds duty free. In April, 1281, it forbids surgeons to practice, until sworn before justices. In 1293, it prescribes the amuse- ments of the citizens, prohibiting all games but chess and backgammon ; and at the close of the following century, from 1393 to 1395, it regulates the paving and lighting of the town, and even interferes with the winding up of the parish clock at Rialto. But over-meddling is fatal to the influence of a numerous legislative assembly, and already, at the com- mencement of the fourteenth century, had its power passed over to the senate; nevertheless to the last the grand coun- cil exercised considerable patronage, and was in theory the sovereign body." In the note extracted by Muratori (xii., 361) from the margin of a MS. of Dandolo's chronicle, the offices of the grand council are thus described. " They elected magistrates * Preface to his Calendar of State-papers and Manuscripts relating to English affairs, etc., pp. xii., xiii.