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council, he might set forth proclamations, which should have the force of laws; but this moit tyrannical and detestable statute was repealed in the reign of Edward VI.
Acts of the privy council continuce! of great authority until the reigns of Charles I. and II.: and by these were controversies sometimes determined touching lands and rights, as well as the suspension of penal statutes; but their authority in this respect was never considered consonant with law, and was formally abolished by statute.
The king, with advice of his council, publishes proclamations binding to the subject; but they are to be consonant to, and in execution of the laws of the land.
By statute 33 Hen. VIII. c. 23. persons examined by the privy council, on treasons, &c. done within or without the realm, may be tried before commissioners of oyer and terminer, appointed by the king, in any county of England. This ftatute, as far as it relates to treason committed within the kingdom, is repealed by statute 1 and 2 Philip and Mary, c. 10.; but if a person be killed beyond fea, out of the realm, the fact may be examined by the privy council, and the offender tried according to the aforefaid itatute.
As many important acts, deeply affecting the king and realm, must emanate from this body, it is usual for those who give some species of advice, to sign their names to a paper containing their opinions, thus pledging themselves to be responsible for its legality or necessity:
To the privy council belong four clerks in ordinary, who have annual salaries of 1000l. each, five clerks extraordinary, four under clerks, and a keeper of the records.
Lords of Trade. The necessity of an establishment for the purpose of investigating matters eflential to the commerce of the nation, and reporting to superior powers, was strongly felt as : foon as England began to gain an ascendancy as a trading nation. In 1655, Cromwell appointed his son Richard, with many lords of his council, judges, and gentlemen, and about twenty merchants of London, York, Newcastle, Yarmouth, Dover, and other places, « to meet and consider by what “ means the traffic and navigation of the republic might be best «s promoted and regulated, and to report on the subject.” How useful such an establishment might have been, even at that period, is demonstrated by the observation made by the Dutch, as recorded in Thurloe's state papers. “A committee for « trade,” they said, “ was some time since erected in England, " which we then feared would have proved very prejudicial to
our state ; but we are glad to see that it was only nominal, « so that we hope in time, those of London will forget that
" ever they were merchants.” At the restoration, Charles II. established a council for the same purposes, consisting of several high officers of state, and other persons; but this was no more effective than the former plan. In 1668, by persuasion of Lord Ashley, who was then chancellor of the exchequer, the king instituted a council of commerce, conGsting of a president, salary 800l.; vice president, 6ool.; and nine other counsellors, with each 500l. falary; who, instead of the former method of referring all commercial matters to a fluctuating committee of the privy council, which was liable to several objections, were to apply themselves diligently to the advancement of the nation's commerce, colonies, manufactures, and shipping; but in a few years the king laid aside this beneficial institution, and commercial matters-fell into their former way of a reference to a committee of the privy council. Another attempt was made by the fame monarch in 1672, to establish the committee of trade, but, like the former efforts, it was formally announced, and speedily abandoned. Consequently all disputes and regulations relative to commerce and colonies were usually referred to committees of the privy council; but such occasional committees being a constantly varying fet of members, and having besides no stated appointments for their trouble and attendance, it is by no means surprising that they acted but loosely and superficially.' In this position Itood the commercial concerns of the nation, till 1696, when, on the repeated complaints of the merchants of England, of great captures by the French, and that little regard or care had, for many years past, been taken of trade and commerce, King William erected a new and standing council for commerce and plantations, in their most comprehensive sense, commonly styled the lords commissioners for trade and plantations. In the list were contained all the great officers of itate, together with eight other persons, among whom was the celebrated John Locke; and each of the eight commissioners, appointed during the king's pleafure, had a falary of 1000 l. To this board proposals were made by merchants and others, for the case, improvement, and encouragement of our commerce, navigation, plantations, manufactures, fisheries, &c. for redresling all grievances and burthens on trade, which were there argued between one party and another, and generally by counsel. Britith consuls appointed to reside in foreign parts, for the benefit and protection of our commerce, received their instructions from this board, with whom they were obliged to hold constant correspondence; as were also the governors
of the American plantations, for the improvement of their respective governments, who also transmitted to this board the journals of their councils and assemblies, the accounts of the collectors of the customs, and of naval offices, &c. Reports were also made, from time to time, how Britain might be best supplied with naval stores from the colonies, what new productions might be raised, and old ones improved. Inquiries also came before this board, for regaining of lost branches of trade, as well as enlarging those we poflefled, and establishing new ones; and how to employ the poor and idle to the best advantage. Hearings also between merchants, trading corporations, manufacturers, &c. at home, as well as of appeals from the plantations, were brought before this board; who, upon all such matters, and many others, as the general balance of trade between England and foreign nations, made reports, and gave their opinions to the king and his privy council. That such a board might be eminently useful, the outline of duty leaves no room to doubt ; and that it was so, cannot well be questioned, when the great names who occasionally composed it are considered, and the extent of their labours is viewed, which were comprized in two thousand three hundred folio volumes. The members of this board being, however, removeable at pleasure, it was, during the American war, when notions of economy and diminution of the government patronage were carried to an extent which many judicious persons deemed unwarrantable, considered advisable to suppress the establishment altogether. Accordingly, in the year 1782, it was abolished by act of parliament, and its powers were consigned to a committee, regu-' lated by a president and vice president, and composed of the great officers of state for the time being, and some other privy counsellors. By this reform the patronage of government was withdrawn from eight persons, who might otherwise have been rewarded to the clear amount of sool, a year each ; and the saving to the nation was, at the utmost, no more than 64001. Perhaps the period when this board was abolished was the very moment when its active functions could have been most beneficially exerted; when commerce was about to receive a new impulse, and unprecedented extension; encouraged by circumftances never foreseen, yet embarrassed by litigations, involved in the discordant interests of rivals, and encumbered with questions both legal and political, respecting charters, monopoly, and paper credit, requiring the utmost calmness in investigation and firmness in decision.
In the office of the lords of trade, as at present constituted, are two secretaries, being also clerks of the council; a chief clerk, with subordinate clerks, and other officers.
5. LORD Privy SEAL. The lord privy seal is an officer of great trust, honour, and antiquity, being mentioned in the statute, 2 Richard II. and then ranked among the chief persons of
the realm. He is appointed by letters patent; is a privy counfellor by his office; takes place next after the lord president of the council, and before all dukes; and would be chief judge of the court of requests, were it revived. He is admitted into his place by taking the oath of office prescribed by law. He derives his name from having the custody of the privy seal, which he must not put to any grant, without good authority under the king's signet, nor to any warrant, if contrary to law and custom, or inconvenient, without first acquainting his majesty therewith. This seal is used by the king to all charters, grants, and pardons, ligned by the king before they come to the great seal; but a warrant may be granted by the king, under the privy feal, to iffue money out of the exchequer, and is sufficient, because a chattel in poffesion; it may also be affixed to other things that never pass the great feal, as, to cancel a recognizance made to the king, or to discharge a debt; but no writs can pass this feal which touch the common law. In the office of the lord privy seal are four clerks and two deputies.
6. LORD GREAT CHAMBERLAIN OF ENGLAND. The office of the lord great chamberlain is very ancient, and he was formerly a person of high importance. To him belong livery and lodging in the king's court, and certain fees due from each archbishop or bishop, when they do their homage or fealty to the king, and from all the peers of the realm at their creation, or doing their homage or fealty; and, at the coronation of every king, he is to have forty ells of crimson velvet for his own robes ; and, on the coronation day, before the king rises, to bring his shirt, coif, and wearing cloaths; and after the king is by him apparelled, and gone forth, to have his bed, and all the furniture of his bed-chamber, for his fees; and all the king's night apparel; and to carry at the coronation the coif, gloves, and linen, to be used by the king on the occal on ; also the sword and scabbard, and the gold to be offered by the king, and the roberoyal, and crown; and to undress and attire his majesty with the robes-royal ; and to serve him on that day, before and after dinner, with water to wash his hands, and to have the bason and towels for his fees. To this officer also belongs the care of providing all things in the house of lords, in the time of parliament; and to that end he has an apartment in the vicinity; he has the government of the whole palace of Westminster, and he iffues out his warrants for preparing, fitting, and furnishing Westminster. Hall against coronations and trials of peers in parliament time. The gentleman ulher of the black rod, the yeoman usher, and door-keepers, are under his command. He disposes of the (word of state to what lord he pleases, to be carried before the king when he comes to the parliament; and goes on the right hand of the sword, next to the king's person, and the lord mar. fhal on the left. Upon all folemn occasions, the keys of Wefta minster Hall, and the keys of the court of wards, and court of requefts, are delivered to him.
This high office appertained, for many centuries, to the noble family of De Vere, Earl of Oxford, having been granted to them by Henry I. On the death of John De Vere, the sixteenth earl of Oxford, without heirs male, Mary, his sole daughter and heiress, married Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby, of Eresby, who made claim to the earldom of Oxford, as also to the titles of Lord Bolbeck, of Bolbeck Castle, in the parish of Whitchurch, near Aylesbury, in the county of Buckingham, Sandford and Badlefniere, and to the office of lord great chamberlain of England. After much dispute, the house of lords gave judgment that he had made good his claim to the office of lord great chamberlain of England, but not to the other objects of his demand; and he was admitted into the house of lords with his staff, November 22, 1626. His descendants uninterruptedly enjoyed this post till the death of Robert Bertie, fourth duke of Ancaster and Kefteven, Marquis and Earl of Lindsey, and Lord Willoughby of Erefby, lord great chamberlain in July, 1779, who dying unmarried, was succeeded, as Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, Marquis and Earl of Lindsey, by his uncle the Lord Brownlow Bertie ; but for the great chamberlainship there were several claimants, viz. his grace Brownlow, Duke of Ancaster; Hugh, Earl Percy, eldest fon of the Duke of Northumberland ; Charlotte, Duchess Dowager of Athol, in her own right Lady Baroness Strange, of Knockyn; the Lady Priscilla Barbara Elizabeth Burrell, in her own right Baroness Willoughby, of Eresby; and the Lady Georgina Charlotte Bertie, fisters and co-heirs of Robert, fourth Dukeof Ancaster, deceased : when, after hearing all the parties at full length, in support of their several claims, the house of peers desired the advice of the twelve judges, who gave their opinion, that the office devolved to the Lady Willoughby of Eresby, and her sister Lady Georgina Charlotte Bertie, as heirs to their brother Robert, Duke of Ancalter, deceased, and that they had powers to appoint a deputy to act for them, not under the degree of a knight, who, if his majesty approved of him, might officiate accordingly. And agreeably to this opinion, the house gave judgment. The office is executed by a deputy, who has 3000l. a year.
7. LORD High CONSTABLE. This is one of the offices which in ancient times acquired so much power as to be dangerous to fovereignty, but is now only created occasionally to attend a corcnation. The lord high conftable presided jointly