TIONAL LAW.] a term in Nor man French, literally signifying leave to elect,' which is appropriated to the king's writ or licence to a dean and chapter to elect a bishop, at the time of the vacancy of the see. The right of nominating to bishoprics was in most countries of Europe enjoyed by the tem poral princes, with little opposition from the ecclesiastical authorities, until the eleventh century, when a contest began between the popes and the princes of Europe, which, in the next century, ended in the princes surrendering this power to the clergy. Father Paul ( Trea tise of Benefices, c. 24) says that between A. D. 1122 and A.D. 1145 it became a rule almost everywhere established, that bishops should be chosen by the chapter. In England, by the constitutions of Cla rendon, A.D. 1164, the election was vested in the chapters, subject to the king's ap probation of their choice. The right of election was afterwards surrendered to the chapters by a charter of King John, by which however he reserved to himself, among other things, the right of granting a conga d'eslire, and of confirming the choice of the chapter. This grant of freedom of election was expressly recog nised in Magna Charts, and also by a subsequent statute, 25 Ed. III., stat. 6 (one of the statutes of prmmunire), which was passed for the purpose of preventing the popes from interfering with the elec tions to dignities and benefices in England.
This was the law until the passing of 25 Henry VIII. c. 20, which was re pealed in Edward the Sixth's reign. It
is stated (Blackstone, Comm. i. 380, Note by Coleridge) " that the statute (of Hen. VIII.) is held to have been constructively revived and to be still in force, though it does not apply to the five bishoprics cre ated by Henry VIII. subsequently to its passing ; these are Bristol, Gloucester, Chester, Peterborough, and Oxford,which have always been pure donatives in form as well as substance." The authorities for this opinion are not given by Cole ridge. This act of Henry VIII. provides that upon every avoidance of an arch bishopric or bishopric the king may send to the dean and chapter a licence under the great seal to proceed to the election of a successor, and with the licence a letter missive containing the name of the person whom they are to elect. If the dean and chapter delay their election above twelve days after receiving the licence, the king may, by letters patent, nominate any per son to the vacant see ; if they delay the election beyond twenty days, or elect any other person than the candidate recom mended by the king, or do anythin* else in contravention of the act, they incur the penalty of a priemunire. The cere mony of election is followed by confir mation,mvestiture, and consecration; after which the bishop saes to the king for his temporalities. Bishoprics in Ireland are donative by letters patent, without a conga d'eslire. (Irish Stat. 2 Eliz. C. 4.)