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The office was of great antiquity, being established before the reign of Edward the Confessor. It was annexed to the lordship of Hinckley in Leicestershire, which, belonging to the family of Montfort earl of Leicester, the poffeffors of that title were, in right of their fief, hereditary lord high ftewards of England. Simon de Montfort, the last earl of that family, being defeated in the rebellion which he raised against Henry III., and his estates becoming forfeit, the monarch prudently embraced the opportunity of retrenching the authorities of an office which, in the hands of a turbulent and ambitious man, had been found sufficient to disquiet the rule it was intended to enforce, and shake the throne it was destined to support. It still continued, though reduced in power, an office of inheritance, till Henry of Bolingbroke, who last poffelled it in that form, usurped the throne by the title of Henry IV. From that period lord high stewards have been appointed pro hac vice only, generally to officiate at coronations, or at trials before the high court of parliament.
A lord high steward, appointed for a coronation, receives and decides on the bills and petitions of all persons, peers or others, claiming to hold estates by grand ferjeanty, and, in virtue of that tenure, to do certain honourable services at the king's coronation. In these cases, he is obliged to judge according to the laws and customs of the realm, and is entitled to customary fees and allowances. At the coronation, he carries St. Edward's crown, and the office is never conferred on any but a peer of parliament. Mention has already been made of the duty and Office of the lord high steward on the trial of impeachments ; he is, on those occasions, attended from his own abode to the house of lords in great state by the judges and officers of arms, and, after reading his commission, the white wand is with much ceremony put into his hands, and from that time, during the fittings on the trial, he is styled your grace. This office being only occasional, does not affect the general government of the realm, but is noticed in this place on account of its dignity.
2. Lord High CHANCELLOR. The situation of lord high chancellor is the most dignified of all those which are considered as permanent; it is not indeed absolutely necessary that there should always be a lord chancellor, fince the great seal may be given to a lord keeper, or put in commission. The powers of lord chancellor and lord keeper are the same, and therefore Gnce the statute, 5 Elizabeth, both cannot be appointed at the fame time; formerly they could, for it is faid Henry V. had a great seal of gold which he delivered to the bishop of Durham, making him lord chancellor; and one of silver, which he gave to the bishop of London, appointing him lord keeper. By Itat.
1 W. & M. c. 21., commissioners appointed to execute the office of lord chancellor may exercise all the authority, jurifdiction, and execution of laws, which the lord chancellor, or lord keeper, of right ought to use and execute. Since that period the great seal has, on various occasions, been in commiffion, either in times when the pretensions of different persons could not be adjusted without difficulty by the other members of the cabinet, or when no person fufficiently eminent to fill a station fo exalted could be found to accept one from which he might be fo fuddenly removed.
The lord high chancellor or keeper is created by the mere delivery of the king's great seal into his custody; whereby he becomes, without writ or patent, an officer of the greatest weight and power of any now subsisting in the kingdom, and fuperior in point of precedency to every temporal lord : and the act of taking away this seal by the king, or of its being resigned or given up, determines the oslice. 'The name chancellor is faid to be derived a cancellando, because all patents, commisfions, and warrants coming from the king, are per used by him before they pass under the great seal, and he may cancel them if repugnant to law; which is the highest of his privileges. Others however derive the name from the place where he anciently fate in judgment, which was said to be, like the chancel of a church, inclosed between lattices, inter cancellos. It is an office of high antiquity, having been certainly known to the courts of the Roman emperors; where it originally seems to have signified a chief fcribe or secretary, who was afterwards invested with several judicial powers, and a general superintendo ency over the rest of the officers of the prince. From the Roman empire it pafled to the Roman church, ever emulous of imperial state; whence every bishop has, to this day, his chancellor, the principal judge of his conlistory; and when the modern kingdoms of Europe were established on the ruins of the empire, almost every itate preserved its chancellor, with different jurisdictions and dignities, according to their various constitutions. In England it is clear that the British and Saxon kings had their chancellors, and the principal circumstance denoting their office, was the delivery to them of the great seal, which was fometimes tied about their necks.
The chancellor is a privy counsellor by his office, and, according to lord chancellor Ellesmere, prolocutor of the house of lords by prescription. To him belongs the appointment of all justices of the peace throughout the kingdom. Being formerly usually an ecclefiaftic, (for none else were then fufficiently conversant in writings to be capable of the office ;) and presiding
over the royal chapel, he became keeper of the king's conscience; visitor, in right of the king, of all hospitals and colieges of the king's foundation ; and patron of all the king's livings under the value of twenty pounds per annum in the king's books. He is the general guardian of all infants, idiots, and lunatics; and has the general superintendence of all the charitable uses in the kingdom. And all this over and above the vast and extensive jurisdiction which he exercises in his judicial capacity in the court of chancery, which will be noticed in another diviGion of this work. His oath of oslice engages him to observe the following particulars :
1. That he will well and truly ferve our fovereign ford the king and his people in the office of chancellor (or lord keeper). 2. That he fall do right to all manner of people, poor and rich, after the laws and usages of the realm. · 3. That he shall truly counsel the king, and his counsel he shall keep. 4. That he fhall not know nor suffer the hurt or ditheriting of the king, or that the rights of the crown be decreased by any means as far as he may hinder it. 5. And if he may prevent it, he shall make it clearly and expressly to be known to the king, with his true advice and counfel; and, 6. And that he shall do and purchase the king's profit in all that he reafonably may.
The emoluments of the office of chancellor are very confiderable, derived as well from the court where he presides, as from fees for affixing the great feal to a great variety of public instruments, and those which are due to him as speaker of the house of lords; but as he only holds his situation during pleasure, and if a lawyer, as in modern times he invariably is, he cannot accept of any situation in Westminster hall, after having filled the superior one of chancellor; it is usual to reward those who retire with a confiderable pension; and fome, before they would, by afuming so precarious an office, sacrifice all their other prospects, have stipulated for a remuneratory penfion, or for the reversion of some ample finecure place.
3. LORD High TREASURER. "The lord high treasurer receives his appointment from the king in person, who formerly was used to deliver to him a golden key of the treasury, but now only a wand. When appointed, he goes in state to the court of chancery, and takes an oath similar to that of the lord chancellor, and to the court of exchequer, where he takes his
the barons as chancellor of that court. He is a lord by his office, and governs the upper court of exchequer; has the cuiloxiy of the king's treasure, and of foreign and domestic Eccords there deposited. He has the appointment of all commillioners and other ollicers employed in collecting the revenues
of the crown; the nomination of all escheators, and disposal of all places in any wife relating to the revenue of the kingdom; and power to let leases of the crown lands.
In modern times a lord treasurer has not been appointed, but the office has been executed by five lords commissioners, of whom the chief, called the first lord of the treasury, poffeffes most of the powers formerly held by the lord treasurer, and is generally, though not invariably, chancellor and under treasurer of the exchequer. It is not exactly true that the chancellor of the exchequer cannot fit on the bench of that court for the decision of law questions; he has done fo even in modern times, but, as the consideration of that part of the jurisdiction of the exchequer belongs to another branch of the work, it will not be treated on in this place, but those matters only will be noticed which belong to the office of revenue in which the first lord of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer ordinarily and properly presides. The salary of the first lord of the treasury is 4000l.; the other lords have 16001. each.
At the treasury, befides the lords commissioners, are two joint secretaries, four chief clerks, fix senior clerks, fix junior clerks, a minute clerk, two copying clerks, one principal clerk, with fix assistants for keeping and stating the accounts of the revenue department, a receiver of fees, a keeper of the papers, a solicitor, a chamber keeper, four exchequer meflengers, and one custom house messenger, a ranger of books and bag bearer, a housekeeper, a housekeeper to the levee rooms, and a door keeper; besides which there are five extra clerks, and three extra melsengers employed in the treasury.
The business of the board of treasury is to consider and determine upon all matters relative to his majesty's civil list or other revenues; to give directions for the conduct of all boards and persons entrusted with the receipt, management, or expenditure of the said revenues; to sign all warrants for the necessary payments thereout, and generally to superintend every branch of revenue belonging to his majeity or the public.
The duty of the joint secretaries is to attend the board, to receive their orders, see to the execution of the same, and generally to superintend the conduct of the business in every department of the office. The attendance of the joint secres taries is in general constant and unremitting, and that of the chief and other clerks daily from about ten in the morning till the business of the day is finished; excepting very few instances, in which their attendance has, for special reasons, been dispensed with. Each of the secretaries has a salary of 32291. 175.
The duty of the chief clerks is occasionally to attend the board,
to distribute the official business among the other clerks, to prepare themselves all instruments that are of a special nature, to examine all those which are prepared by others, to present them for signature to the board, or to the secretaries, as the case may require, and to deliver them over to one of the fix senior clerks, among whom the official business of the treasury is divided, each having a department for which he is responsible, and being assisted therein by one of the junior clerks.
The duty of the fix senior clerks, with their assistants, is to prepare all inftruments whatever that arise in each of their faid departments, and deliver them to one of the chief clerks to be presented for fignature, and, when returned, to give them over to the receiver of the fees, whose duty is to deliver them to the respective parties upon the receipt of the fees payable thereon, with which he charges himself, and accounts weekly for the same to one of the chief clerks.
The duty of the principal and other clerks of the revenue department is, to make up books containing a state of the income and issues of the customs and other duties and revenues payable at the receipt of the exchequer; for this purpose they receive weekly certificates from the exchequer, checked by other certificates received from the customs, and other offices of the revenue, from which they make out weekly for the treafury board what is called a cash paper, shewing the balance of money remaining in the exchequer for the uses of the civil government, or for the public service of the current year: they likewise make out for his majesty a monthly statement of the civil lift receipts, and payments, and keep such other books and accounts as are required by the board of treasury, or are necessary for the public service. Each of the chief clerks has a falary of 1080l., the appointments of the inferiors are from 700l. to about 1001.
The duty of the keeper of the papers is to schedule and digest all papers of any import transmitted to his repository; to inspect the books of office, to range and dispose them in presses, and be ready to inform the secretaries and clerks of their respective contents, when necessary: this officer has a deputy.
The solicilor considers it as his duty to folicit, profecute, defend, and manage all causes and affairs from time to time directed by the lords of the treasury, the principal secretaries of ftate, or attorney general; to peruse all papers and memorials referred to him from the treasury, and to make his report in writing to their lordships thereon. His attendance on this duty is generally daily, and at all hours; but naturally varies according to the degree of business that occurs. His fixed salary is 20001., but the business continually arising in all parts of the