CHANCELLOR (in Latin, Cancelld ring). The primary meaning of cancel larius is " qui ad cancellos assistit," one who is stationed at the lattice-work of a window or a door way, to introduce visi tors, &c. A cancellarius in this sense was no more than a door-keeper. The emperor Carinus made one of his cancel larii praefect of the city, a promotion which caused great dissatisfaction. (Vopiscus, Canines, c. 16.) In another sense, can cellarius was a kind of legal scribe, so called also from his position at the can celli of the courts of law. The cancella rius, under the later emperors, and in the Constantinopolitan court, was a chief scribe or secretary (6 /A 4as XoyoOirns), who was ultimately invested with judi cial powers. and a general superintend ence over the rest of the officers of the emperor. He was called cancellarius because he sat intra cancellos (within the lattice), a screen which divided off a por tion of a larger room for the sake of greater privacy ; from which circum stance the chancel of a church also ac quires its name.
The prelates of the Roman church had likewise an officer so called; in the Church of England, each bishop has a chancellor, who exercises judicial functions. All the modern nations of Europe have or have had chancellors, though the powers and duties seem to have varied in each.
In England the chancellor was origin ally the king's chief secretary, to whom petitions were referred, by whom patents and grants from the crown were approved and completed, and by whom reports upon such matters were, if necessary, made to the king ; hence he was some times styled Referendarius. This term occurs in a charter of Ethelbert, A.D. 605; and Selden (Treatise on the Office of Chancellor) considers it synonymous with chancellor, a name which, he says, first occurs, in the history of England, in the time of Edward the Elder, about A.D. 920.
In the capacity of secretary he was the adviser of his master ; prepared and made out his mandates, grants, and charters, and finally (when seals came into use) affixed his seal. Hence, or perhaps be cause in early times he was usually an ecclesiastic, he became keeper of the king's conscience, examiner of his patents, the officer by whom prerogative writs were I prepared, and keeper of the great seal. The last ecclesiastic who exercised the office was John Williams, archhishop of York, who was lord keeper from Jul/ 10, 1621, to November 1, 1625 ; his friend and secretary, John Hacket, who became bishop of Lichfield and Coventry wrote his life in a volume of singular in terest, which he entitled Scrims Rese rata.' The interference of the king, as the source of justice, was frequently sought against the decisions of the courts of law, where they worked injustice; and also in matters which were not cognizable in the ordinary courts, or in which, from the maintenance or protection afforded to his adversary, the petitioner was unable to obtain redress. The jurisdiction with
which the English chancellor is invested had its origin in this portion of discre tionary power, which was retained by the king on the establishment of courts of justice (Legal Judicature in Chancery stated, p. 27, et seq.). Though the exer cise of these powers in modern times is scarcely, if at all, less- circumscribed by rule and precedent than the strict juris diction of the courts of law [EQuirv], controversies have at times arisen as to the powers of the chancellor; the parti culars of one dispute have been preserved to us entire. (The Jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery vindicated. Printed at the end of 1 Ch. Rep. and in the 1st vol. of Collect. Jurid.) The style of the Chancellor in England is Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. He takes rank above all dukes not of the blood royal, and next to the archbishop of Canterbury. He is appointed by the delivery of the great seal into his custody, though there are instances of his having been appointed by patent. The resump tion of the great seal by the king deter mines his office. By virtue of his office he is the king's principal adviser in mat ters of law, and a privy counsellor ; speaker and prolocutor of the House of Lords, chief judge in the Court of Chan cery, and the head of the profession of the law ; visitor in the king's right of all hospitals and colleges of royal foundation ; and patron of all crown livings under the value of 20/. a year, according to the va luation made in the reign of Henry VIII., and confirmed in that of Elizabeth. [BE NZ/2CE, p. 352.] He appoints and re moves all justices of the peace, though usually only at the recommendation of lords-lieutenants of counties. He issues writs for summoning parliaments, and transacts all business connected with the custody and use of the great seal. To him was intrusted the care of infants and their property upon the dissolution of the court of wards and liveries: and he has the jurisdiction over idiots and lunatics by special delegation from the crown. He also exercises a special jurisdiction, conferred upon him by various statutes, as original and appellate judge, as to charitable uses, friendly societies, infant lunatic and idiot trustees, in certain ap peals from the court of review, in bank ruptcy, and in many other cases. He is a conservator of the peace, and may award precepts and take recognizances to keep the peace ; and has concurrent juris diction with the other judges of the supe rior courts, with respect to writs of ha bees corpus. Except in the case of ser vice of process, given to him by some recent statutes, the lord chancellor has no jurisdiction in Scotland.