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Lords Justices

government, time, appointed, ireland, act, king, majesty, lord and queen

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LORDS JUSTICES. Our kings have been, ever since the Conquest, in the habit of appointing, as occasion required, one or more persons to act for a time as their substitutes in the supreme government either of the whole kingdom or of a part of it. When William I. returned to Nor mandy the year after the Conquest, he left his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and William Fitzherbert, to be Custodes Regni, or guardians of the realm, during his absence ; and similar appointments were very frequent under the early Nor man and Plantagenet kings. There is a commission of a Cantos Regni in Rymer of the reign of John. One by Edward I. to the Earl of Pembroke describes the powers of the office in terms which imply that it had long been familiar, as ex tending over all those things which per tain to the said custody (quae ad diet= eustodiam pertinent); and the same words are common in subsequent commissions. And down to the present time similar officers have been appointed under various names, and with more or less extensive powers according to circumstances. Pro tector, lieutenant, or locum tenens, regent, have been among the other names by which they have been known. Regents and councils of regency, during the nonage of the king or queen, have been sometimes named by the preceding pos sessor of the crown ; but in modern times such arrangements have been usually made by statute. Coke remarks (4 Inst. 58) that the methods of appointing a guardian or regent have been so va rious, that " the surest way is to have him made by authority of the great council in parliament." The most familiar case of the appoint ment by the crown of a representative to exercise the supreme executive power, not in a colony or dependency, is that of the appointment of a governor for Ire land, who has commonly borne the name of the Lord Lieutenant or the Lord Da putt' ; or of a council of government composed of Lords Justices.

The governor-general of Ireland under the crown has been styled at different times Custos (keeper or guardian), jus ticiary, warden, procurator, seneschal, constable, justice, deputy, and lieutenant. Viceroy is a popular name of modern introduction. Formerly, upon the avoid ance of the king's lieutenant for Ireland by death or otherwise, the privy council there was authorised to elect a successor, with the restriction that he should be an Englishman and no spiritual person, who held office till the king appointed another. The ancient powers of this officer were almost regal ; he performed every act of government without any previous com munication with England ; and when he left the country he even appointed his own deputy. From about the time of the Revolution, however, till after the commencement of the reign of George III., the lord-lieutenant *sided very little in Ireland ; in several instances the person appointed to the office never went over; in other cases he went over once in two years to hold the session of par liament; and the government was very often left in the hands of lords justices, without a lord-lieutenant at all. In mo

dern times the appointment of lords jus tices for Ireland has only taken place on the occasional absences of the lord-lieu tenant, and during the interval which has sometimes occurred between the demise of one lord-lieutenant and the appoint ment of another. The lords justices have usually been the lord primate, the lord chancellor, and the commander of the forces.

In England lords justices and regencies have been repeatedly appointed since the Revolution, on occasion of the king going abroad; and the appointment has usually, if not always, been made royal letters patent under the great seal, in the same manner as the lord-lieutenants or lords justices of Ireland have always been ap pointed. In some cases, however, the aid of parliament has been called in for cer tain purposes. When King William went over to Ireland, in 1689, he of his own authority appointed the administra tion of the government to be in the bands of the queen during his absence out of the kingdom, not, however, we suppose, by letters patent, but merely by declara tion at the council-table ; and at the same time an act of parliament was passed, 1 & 2 Wm. and Mary, seas. 2, in the pre amble of which that declaration of his majesty's pleasure was recited, and it was enacted, that whensoever and as often as his majesty should be absent out of this realm of England, it should and might be lawful for the queen to exercise and administer the regal power and go vernment in the names of both their majesties, for such time only, during their joint lives, as his majesty should be absent This act was considered to be necessary or expedient, in consequence of the peculiar circumstances in which the queen was placed by the Act of Settle ment, which had declared that the entire, perfect, and full exercise of the regal power and government should he only in and executed by his majesty in the names of both their majesties during their joint lives. It was at the same time pro vided, " That as often as his majesty shall return into this kingdom of Eng land, the sole administration of the regal power and government thereof, and all the dominions, territories, and plantations thereunto belonging or annexed, shall be in his majesty only, as if this act had never been made." After the queen's death lords justices were repeatedly ap pointed by King William, on occasion of his going abroad, under the great seal, namely, 5th May, 1695; May, 1696 ; 22nd April, 1697; 16th July, 1698; and 31st May, 1699.

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