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Cognizance of Matters of Equity, and thence were ftiled, as they still are, Keepers of the King's Confcience® in the high Court of Chancery.

Hence, as. Bufinefs increased, many Officers were appointed under him, who were also the King's Chaplains, thence ftiled Clerks, now Masters in Chancery; and, for the better providing for thefe judicial Officers, the Chancellor had the Prefentation to all the Benefices in the King's Gift, under the Value of twenty Marks per Annum.

In Time, when the Court was put upon a better Regulation, the Chancellor came to have two Courts, one of Common Law, for the Writs returnable in other Courts, iffued originally from the Chancery, as is vifible from the Proceedings of the Common Pleas at this Day; the other of Equity by English Bill and Anfwer. Concerning the Antiquity of this Court there have been many Difputes: But it's generally allowed, that the Clergy at first were the principal Suitors in it.

After the Reign of Henry the IVth the Laity begun to relish the Chancery, because then they had as much Need of its Affiftance as the Clergy; infomuch that the Chancery was confirmed a Court of Equity by Acts of Parliament in Henry the VIth's Time, when the best Authorities feem to fix it as a regular Court.

But, from the Reign of Henry the IVth, there followed a Series of unquiet and dangerous Times, thro' the Contests, between the Houfes of York and Lancaster, for the Crown; and these Disorders obliged many to settle their Eftates in Trust and, on thefrequent Breaches of thefe Settlements, Numbers had Recourfe to Chancery as a Court of Equity, where, upon due Ap. plication, they were fure of Remedy: So that, from that Period, the Reputation of this Court infenfibly extended itself.

The Chancellor is a Lord by his Office, and is reputed the second Perfon in the Realm next the King,


152 31, 33 Hen. VI.

and, by the Stat. 31 Hen. VIII. the Lord Chancellor hath the Precedency of all other great Officers of the Kingdom, and is of his Majefty's most honourable Privy Council. It belongs to the Chancellor, Ratione Officii, to pronounce the Caufe of Summons at the Be-ginning of the Parliament, and to be present at all the King's Councils, and thither to repair uncalled; under whofe Hands pass all Charters, Commiffions, and Grants of the King, with the Sanction of the Broad Seal, without which all fuch Inftruments are of no Force; and the Reafon may be fhewn in a very few Words, because the King in Intendment of Law is a Corporation, and therefore paffes nothing firmly but under the faid Seal.

The Chancellors in common have no Commiffion by Letters Patent; but Cardinal Wolfey declared, that he had a Commiffion for holding the Seal during his Life; which, nevertheless was adjudged void; and he was fo far convinced of it, that he gave up the Point as will hereafter be feen, and Coke, 4th InftitFol. 87, exprefly fays, " An antient Office must be "granted as it has been accustomed". In fhort, the Chancellor holds his Office no longer than the Seal is in his Hands,

The Form and Manner of ordaining a Chancellor, in the Time of King Henry the IId, was by hanging the Great Seal of England about the Neck of the Chancellor elect. But as to his Qualifications the Author of fus Sigilli has given it us from Sir John Davys, who fays, "That befides his natural Faculties and Powers "of Mind, which he ought to have in great Per


fection, he should be furnished with all Learning that "hath any Relation to the Publick Good; Divinity, "Law, Policy, Morality, and efpecially Eloquence, to impart and communicate all the reft; he fhould "withal have a long and univerfal Experience in all "the Affairs of the Commonwealth; he should be accomplished and abfolute in all Points of Gravity,


" Con



ἐσ Conftancy, Wisdom, Temperance, Justice, Piety, Inte grity, and all other Virtues, fit for Magistracy and "Government; yet so as the fame be feafoned, and tempered with Affability, Gentleness, Courtefy; how"beit without defcending or diminishing himself, "but still retaining his Dignity, State and Honour "Briefly, he must be a Perfon of fuch Virtue and "Worthiness, as his Life may be without Cenfure; and his Example a Mirror for all other Magiftrates.


The Duty of the Lord Chancellor is fet forth in the Oath, that his Lordfhip takes upon the Delivery of the Great Seal, which confifts of fix Parts.

First, That well and truly be fhall ferve our Sovereign Lord the King, and his People.

Secondly, That he shall do right to all manner of People, Poor and Rich, after the Latos aud Ufages of the Realm.

Thirdly, That he shall truly counsel the King, and bis Counfel fball keep.

Fourthly, That he shall not know nor fuffer the Hurt and Difheriting of the King, or that the Rights of the Crown be decreafed by any Means, as far as he may let it.

Fifthly, And if he may not let it, he fhall make clearly and exprefly to be known to the King, with his true Advice and Counfel.

Sixthly, And that he shall do and purchase the King's Profit in all that be reasonably may.


The Chancellor's Jurifdiction at this Day is fuch, that he is the chief Perfon for Matters of Juftice (in civil Caufes especially) next to his Majefty, and is the grand Difpenfer of the King's Bounty and Mercy for, whereas the other Judges are obliged to keep to the Rules of the Law, even tho' its apparently rigorous, the Lord Chancellor has a Power to moderate that Qq



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Rigour, and to pronounce that which feems to him equitable; or, as a learned Author has it, ordering all Things juxta equum & bonum, nevertheless he is not to forget to obferve Forms of Proceedings in common with the other great Officers of Juftice, and to have Regard to the Circumftances of the Cafes in Question.

His Honour, the Mafter of the Rolls, is the fecond great Officer of this Court, (which Office is a very antient one) who with the other eleven Masters in Chancery are the great Affiftants of the Chancellor. The Mafters are intrusted by the Court to ftate and report Matters of Fact, upon the Truth and Fairness of which Reports the Justice of the Decree of the Court must depend. They are even fworn to advise the Chancellor bimfelf.

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From the time the Cardinal entered on this high Office he affiduously attended it, heard Caufes with great Patience, and made Decrees with much Justice, having always a fpecial Regard to the Satisfaction of the Publick, by giving his Reasons in open Court. This it was that gained him great Refpect; for when Men faw his Willingness and Ability to redress Grievances, they were not flow in bringing Complaints before him; and this has obliged even fuch as were no Friends to his Memory, to tranfmit it with due Refpect. Among whom even Echard (who in many Refpects has too implicitly followed

The Mafter of the Rolls was antiently filed Garden des Rolls, Clericus Rotulorus, Cuftos Rotulorum, whofe Office is grantable either for Life, or at the Pleasure of the King. See Co. 4th Inft. 94.

Edward the I1Id, in the 15th Year of his Reign, annexed a Houfe to the Office, which was

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+ Vide Sir Clement Wearg's Speech at Lord Macclesfield's Trial.

Hift. of Eng. Vol. I. p. 635


followed the Tract of other Hiftorians) gives us this great Character." And the Character of Just cannot be "denied the Cardinal in all Affairs of publick Judicature, of which he was ever apparently ftudious; fo that where Disorders were committed he generally punished with Severity; this he did both in Ec"clefiaftical as well as Civil Affairs, by which Means "be accidentally became a prime Inftrument in that great Work of the Reformation of the Church, which fort of Work is oftentimes, by the ordering of Providence, effected by the Hands of wicked and fcandalous Agents. Qq 2





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By putting the Words a little closer together, the true Senfe (if there is any Senfe in it) of the Quotation is this: Cardinal Wolfey, who, as Chancellor, was apparently ever ftudious to do Juftice, by which Means he accidentally, by the ordering of Providence, became a wicked and feandalous Agent to bring about an odd fort of a Work, the Reforma tion of the Church. We could almoft defy any body to produce fuch Reasoning and fuch Inferences, because we cannot think any one could be capable of them, but the Transmitter of the following Story, the Rev. Dr Echard.

the Devil, with whom he made a Contract, that to "have his Will then, and in

all Things elfe for feven Years from that Day, he should, at "the Expiration of the faidYears, " have him at his Command,

But others accounted it (the Victory Oliver obtained over the King at Worcester) an infernal Judgment; concerning which we have a strange Story in the last Part of the Hiftory of Independency, which the Author fays he received from a Person of Quali->> ty, viz." It was believed, and

to do at his Pleasure, both "with his Soul and Body." This is alfo related in other printed Books; but we have received a more full Account never yet. published, which is here inferted as a Thing more wonderful than probable, and therefore more for the Diverfion than Satisfaction of the Reader. It is a Relation or Narrative of a valiant Officer. called Lindsey, an intimate Friend of Cromwell's, the first Captain of his Regiment, and therefore commonly called Colonel Lindfey; which is to this Effect: "On the 3d of Sept. in the "Morning, Cromwell took this "Officer to a Wood Side, not "far from the Army, and bid "him alight, and follow him "into that Wood, and to take particular Notice of what he faw and beard. After they had Conference perfonally with "had both alighted, and fecured

that not without fome good Caufe, that Cromwell, the "fame Morning that he defeated" "the King's Army at Worcester,

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