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against the

Court of



Towards the end of this reign the business of the Court of Chancery was increased by a decision of the Court of Queen's Bench, which virtually abolished the Court of Requests. This was an inferior Court of Equity, which had taken its origin in the reign of Edward III. or Richard II., and was held before the Lord Privy Seal for the suits of poor men, or of the King's servants ordinarily attendant on his person. The Lord Privy Seal sitting there was assisted by the Masters of the Requests, who acted like Masters in Chancery, and it had attracted much practice, when the Judges decided that it had no contentious jurisdiction.* An order was afterwards made, allowing plaintiffs and defendants to sue in the Court of Chancery in formâ pauperis.

By statute 43 Eliz. c. 4. facilities were given to the Court in investigating abuses in charities. The most important cases arose out of trusts and executory contracts respecting land. However, looking to the Chancery cases in print down to this time, it is wonderful how few and trifling and jejune they appear, when we consider that Plowden's Commentaries, Dyer's Reports, and Sir Edward Coke's Reports were already published, containing masterly judicial reasoning, and satisfactorily settling the most important questions which have ever arisen in the history of the common law of England.

* 41 Eliz. Palgr. 79. 99. 3 Bl. Com. 5. It was finally abolished by 16 Car. I. The old "Court of Requests," which Hume refers to as a place of exercise while debates are going on in parliament, afterwards became the chamber

c. 10.

of the Peers and is now that of the Commons.





EGERTON having joined in proclaiming King James, waited CHAP. anxiously to see whether he was to be continued in his office by the new Sovereign. Elizabeth died on Thursday morn- March 24. ing, and, by what then seemed the miraculously swift journey 1603. of Sir Robert Carey, the news was brought to Holyrood of James I. House on the Saturday night; but James waited for the arrival of the messengers despatched by the Council before he made it public, or would begin to exercise the authority of King of England.


A. D. 1603.

He soon declared his intention to continue in office the Egerton wise councillors of his predecessor; and by a warrant under continued his sign manual, dated the 5th of April, he directed that Keeper. Elizabeth's Great Seal should be used as the Great Seal of England, and that it should remain in the custody of the former Lord Keeper.*


Egerton's joy was a little damped by hearing at the same His letters time that he had been represented to the King by some pitiate the enemy as "haughty, insolent, and proud;" and he imme- King. diately sent off his son with a letter to Sir T. Chaloner, who was acting under Cecil, and had gained the King's confidence, to justify himself. He there says "Yf I have bene taxed of hautenes, insolencye, or pryde in my place (as I partly hear relations), I hope it is by theym that have not learned to speake well; and against this poyson I have two precious antidotes: 1. The religious wyssdome, royall justice, and princelye virtues of the King my soveraigne, which wyll soon disperse such foggye mystes. 2. The innocencye and cleerness of myne owne conscience, which is more than mille testes.

* Cl. R. 1 Jac. 1.


Letter from

Sir Thomas Chaloner to the Lord Keeper.

"I must confesse that in the place of justice which I have helde I was never so servile as to regarde parasites, calumniators, and sycophantes, but alwayes contemned them, and therefore have often fealte the malice of theyr thoughtes, and the venym of their tonges. of their tonges. I have learned no waye but the kinge's highe waye, and travelling in that, the better to guyde me, I have fastened myne eyes on this marke, Judicem nec de obtinendo jure orari oportet, nec de injuria exorari. Yf this have offended any I will never excuse yt; for I take yt to be incident to the place by severe examynyng of manie men's actions to offende many, and so to be hatefull to many, but those alwayes of the worst sorte, agaynst whom I wyll say no more, but, with Ecclesiasticus, Beatus qui tutus est a lingua nequam.”

He likewise wrote a letter to Lord Henry Howard, to be laid before the King, in which he makes an effort at flattery. "I have readde of Halcyonis dies, and Lætus Introitus, and Sol occubuit, nox nulla secuta: we see and feele the effectes of that which they fayned and imagined. Wee had heavynes in the night, but joy in the mornying. Yt is the great work of God: to hym onlye is due the glorye and prayse for it; and we are all bounden to yelde to hym our contynuall prayers, prayse, and thankes.

These letters being received when the King had reached York, on his way to the south, Sir Thomas Chaloner wrote him back, "As for the objection of haughtines, which, by mistakinge of the relator hath been imputed unto your Lp., I must cleare the Kinge's Majesty of any such suspition in your honor. For the woords hee used weer only bare questions, as being rather desirous to bee informed of the quality and affections of his subjects and principal counseylores, then any note or prejudicate opinion against your Lp., or any others." But he was much more relieved by Lord Henry Howard. "Your Lo. letter was so judiciously and sweetely written, as although on two sundrie tymes befor, in private discourse, I had performed the parte of an honest man, yet I could not forbear to present it to the

* Eg. Pap. 364.

sacred hand of his Majesty, who not onely redde it over twice with exceeding delight, witnessed by his owne mouth to all in his chambers, but besid, commanded me to give you verie greate thankes for the strong conceit you holde of him, and to let you knowe that he did hope that longer acquaintance would not make you like him worse, for he was pleased with persones of your partes and quality.

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and James

Thus reassured, he calmly expected James's approach; Meeting and on the 3d of May he met him at Broxbourne, in Hert- Lord fordshire. Having then surrendered the Great Seal into his Keeper Majesty's hands, it was forthwith restored to him, still with I. the rank of Lord Keeper. But, on the 19th of July, at Hampton Court, the old Great Seal being broken, a new one, with the King's name and style engraved upon it, was delivered to him as Lord Chancellor of England†; and, at the same time, the King put into his hand a warrant for creating him a Peer, by the title of Baron Ellesmere, with many compliments to his merits and his services. In a few Egerton days after he was duly installed in his new dignities; and he officiated at the coronation of the King and Queen in Westminster Abbey.

made Lord and a Peer.


office of

Master of

He now gave up the office of Master of the Rolls, which Resigns he had held nine years since his appointment to it, and seven years while Keeper of the Great Seal. Having, during this Rolls. period, done nearly all the judicial business of the Court of Chancery, it was thought that the office of Master of the Rolls might be treated as a sinecure; and, to the great scandal of Westminster Hall, it was conferred on an alien, who must have been utterly unacquainted with its duties, and incapable of learning them, - Edward Bruce, Lord Kinlosse, one of

Eg. Pap. 365.

† Cl. R. 1 James 1. Two years after, this Great Seal was altered under a warrant to the Lord Chancellor, beginning thus: "Forasmuch as in our Great Seal lately made for our realm of England, the canape over the picture of our face is so low imbossed, that thereby the same Seal in that place thereof doth easily bruise and take disgrace," &c. - Eg. Pap. 402.

Under the power given to the Masters of the Rolls by the grant of the office to appoint a deputy, he did in 1597 appoint Mr. Lambard, but the deputation is expressly confined to the custody of the Rolls House, and the safe keeping and ordering of the records. See Discourse on Judicial Authority of M. R., p. 34., where the author in combating the arguments against the ancient judicial authority of this officer arising from his power to make a deputy, shows


Lord Kin-
losse, Mas-

ter of


James's needy Scotch favourites, who had accompanied him to England, and most unconstitutionally had been sworn of the English Privy Council. This and similar acts much checked the popularity of the new Sovereign, and naturally excited great jealousy of his countrymen ; — whereby all his attempts to bring about an incorporating union between the two countries were defeated.*

His Lordship, the Master of the Rolls, had the merit of not interfering farther than taking an account of the fees and emoluments of his office; and the Lord Chancellor was still the sole Judge of the Court, continuing to give the highest satisfaction to the profession and to the public.†

The Lord Chancellor, in his judgment in Calvin's case, tried, though very Jamely, to apologise for such appointments. In answer to the argument that if the Scottish Postnati were acknowledged for natural-born subjects, they would overrun England, he says, "Nay, if you look upon the Antenati, you shall find no such confluence hither, but some few (and very few in respect of that great and populous kingdome) that have done longe and worthie service to his Majestie, have and still doe attend him, which I trust no man mislikes; for there can be none so simple or childish (if they have but common sense) as to thinke that his Majestie should have come hither alone amongst us, and have left behind him in Scotland, and as it were caste off, all his ould and worthie servants."-2 St. Tr. 694.

In the Egerton MSS. there is a curious account, in the handwriting of the Lord Chancellor, of the presentation of the Lord Mayor of London in the first year of King James, for the royal approbation. First come the heads of the Recorder's address, which he seems to have sent beforehand to the Chancellor :

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After the humbling of our selves unto the King is noted
"The Person. What glory we take in yt: to count the now Lord Maior the
King's owne Maior, because he was the first his Maty made, and therefor
wee present him tanquam simbolum of like succeedinge happiness to who
shall follow him in London, government under his Maty.

"The Place. And as an augur of more then ordinary felicyty to follow, though
the present dayes were heavy, it is noted, where others were wont in foro
he in Capitolio: at the Tower of London tooke his othe of office.
"The Tyme. When affliction had taken hold of us at this tyme it was his lott to
take the sword, yet within a few weeks after it pleased God we were re-
covered after a few moneths wee had the honor of his Matys triumphall
entry, and ever sence have enjoyed happiness and helth.
parliament kept with us, and contrary to what was feared.
hath made us freer then at theyr comminge.
factum est istud.

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The tearmes and Theyre resydinge Concluded that A domino

"Of London, this on thinge observed, that amyd the variable fortune of all places in all tymes, even from the cominge of the Romans untyll now, still London hath florished, emynent amongst all cyttyes, Quantum inter viburna cupressus. The reason [not legible] her fydelity and that she alwayes went with right. For witness, instanced that ladyes ere our Lord King James his day, when in company of so many councelors and nobles, auspitiosly before all other cyttyes wee did him right. Concluded with this,

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