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days of Jeremiah and the labors of St. John, are questions for discussion in another place. Antiquaries earnest in the study of diplomatics may vex their brains in the study of these obscure points; but the not laborious students of these light volumes shall go no further back than a bright sunny morning in the year of our Lord one thousand and forty-two, or thereabouts, when Edward the Confessor sat in solemn state "for his portrait." On rare occasions certain prior Anglo-Saxon kings had executed deeds by sealing them with their seals; but learned William Dugdale, Knight, rightly says in his "Origines Juridiciales:" "But admitting these few examples, most certain it is, that as Sealing of Charters in the time of our Saxon kings was not common, so the office of chancellor was not originally denominated from the keeping of the king's seal; and that for a constant succession of seals we are not to look higher than King Edward the Confessor."
The Confessor was notable for length of limb, and he was induced to put himself on a low seat, which, had he occupied a throne of suitable height, might have served him as a footstool. Moreover, he sat with his face full towards the artist. Consequently his knees, sticking up in close proximity to his chin, were the most prominent points of his figure; and the too faithful portrait makes him resemble a trussed fowl rather than a creature fashioned after the likeness of divinity. Had the evil ended with the production of one unsightly caricature, no great harm would have been done, but unfortunately the Confessor's picture was accepted as a guide by succeeding artists, who in their likenesses of later sovereigns felt themselves bound to adhere to the ungraceful precedent. Conservative sentiment converting the blunder into a rule, the kings and queens of England throughout many centuries were trussed in like fashion, and until the
middle of the eighteenth century were made to grin over their angular knees, like so many paupers fast set with rheumatism. In the equestrian image of William the Conqueror an effort was made in a happier direction; but the Norman's war-steed having closer resemblance to a greyhound than a charger, and his legs being drawn as long and thin as spears, the effect is not altogether satisfactory. For many a day no attempt was made to straighten the legs of the sitting monarchs. The awkwardness is displeasing in the men, but in the women it is offensive. The aspect of bloody Mary, for instance, as she sits by the side of Philip, her consort, confirms every satire on her want of feminine grace. Queen Elizabeth is preserved from ridicule by the expanse of her stiff petticoat, that leaves it open to discussion whether she is sitting or standing; but blushing chivalry looks away from poor Queen Anne, on whose fat legs the drapery lies in huge, unsightly rucks. A better state of things commenced during the Hanoverian dynasty. George I., indeed, fronts his liege subjects, clumsily sitting, knees foremost, like a butcher on his block; but George III., anxious to win the respect of a populace dangerously inclined to laugh at Divine Right, offered a not ungainly side view to his limner, and George IV. had too much good taste not to follow his father's example. The sailorking, as he is presented on his broad seal, enthroned and robed, is most artistically placed, and is a perfect picture of a royal gentleman; and by the gentle beauty and exquisite grace depicted on the present Great Seal - a triumph of art-future ages will be reminded of that fair Christian lady, for whose long life and safety all good Englishmen of these passing days offer fervent prayers.
The exact year in which the Confessor's seal was made is unknown. There is no proof that it existed during the official life of Edward's first chancellor, Leofric; but
in A. D. 1045 his second chancellor, Wulwius, affixed it to a royal charter quoted by Dugdale; and the seal was used in like manner by his third chancellor Reimbaldus. Thus, at the outset of its history, the Seal was entrusted to the care of that officer, whose duties (however humble at their beginning) caused him to maintain a close and constant intercourse with the king, and who in time became the Keeper of the Royal Conscience, and the chief lawyer in the realm. By the populace, chancellors and the Keepers of the Seal were soon spoken of as holding one and the same office, and for many generations the titles were deemed to have one meaning; albeit, the offices were distinct, and occasions frequently arose when they were filled by different persons. Even in the time of the Confessor, one man is found discharging the office of chancellor, whilst another is employed to keep and use the seal. The first Lord Keeper on record (acting merely as a keeper) is Swardus, who, during the chancellorship of Reimbaldus, was employed to seal the royal charters: but in that instance, as in many subsequent cases, the Keeper of the Seal was no more. than a deputy acting for the chancellor, and therefore, by a well-known maxim of law, the official acts of Swardus may be regarded as the acts of Reimbaldus.
The Confessor's example in this matter was followed by his successors, whenever they found it convenient to separate the two offices. While chancellors attended their kings on foreign travel, or were compelled to leave England on missions to continental states, keepers were appointed to use the seals; and, on the other hand, the monarch, atteded by his Keeper bearing the Seals, would cross the seas, whilst his chancellor remained at home discharging his ordinary functions. In the latter case it was usual for the chancellor to hold a duplicate Great Seal, so that the king's business might be carried on,
notwithstanding the absence of the Keeper and the veritable Great Seal from the country. Thus, Keeper or Vice Chancellor Malchein attended Richard I. on the way to the Holy Land, whilst Chancellor Longchamp. minded the king's affairs at home. Hence arose the practice of appointing a Lord Keeper to do the Chancellor's work, not merely during that minister's temporary absence from the land, but at times when the chancellor's office was vacant, and when there was no intention in the king's mind to fill it immediately.
In time, Lord Keepers and Lord Chancellors came to hold, for all practical purposes, one and the same office. The occasions were rare when the two places were filled at the same time by different persons; and when those occasions ceased to occur the distinction grew to be a mere affair of title-the Lord Chancellor being Lord Keeper with superior rank, the Lord Keeper being a Lord Chancellor with the less noble designation. But it was not till the reign of Elizabeth that an act of parlia ment put the fact beyond question. When Sir Nicholas Bacon was made Queen Elizabeth's Lord Keeper, an Act (drawn and made law by men not familiar with old usage) was passed declaring that the Lord Keeper was a Lord Chancellor in every respect save that of title. This enactment took from the crown the privilege of having a chancellor and a keeper at the same time.
N the first year of his reign, the infant king Henry III. affixed to letters-patent the seal of his protector, William, Earl of Pembroke; and he expressly states. that the Protector's seal was employed because he had
not as yet a seal of his own. It was not till the third year of his reign, that the youthful monarch had a seal; and even when it had been engraved he was not permitted to use it until he had attained full age, a special act providing that no "charter or letters-patent of confirmation, alienation, sale, or grant of anything under perpetuity, should be sealed with the King's Great Seal until his full age; and that if such were sealed with that Seal they should be void." This is a noteworthy instance of a king, sound in mind and body, permitted to sit upon the throne, but restrained from exercising his royal rights.
In the feudal ages any needy clerk who had turned his attention to caligraphy, could have perpetrated forgeries in perfect confidence that they would endure the scrutiny of the most accurate and skillful of living readers. But the necessity for sealing placed almost insuperable obstacles in the way of those who were best qualified and most desirous to triumph over right by fictitious deeds. It was no easy matter to procure seals of any kind; it was very difficult to obtain for dishonest. ends the temporary possession of well-known seals. Private persons seldom had such cunning trinkets. Richard I. is supposed to have introduced seals ornamented with armorial bearings; but it was long before they became general amongst the nobility, and the present century had begun ere they were universally worn by all persons laying claim to gentility. Great barons, ecclesiastical dignitaries, secular and religious corporations, had distinctive seals at an early date; but they were confided to the care of trusty keepers, and were guarded with jealousy. When an official seal was used, its keeper brought it with reverential care from its customary place of concealment, and it was not applied to any document without satisfactory cause shown why its sanction was required. An obscure tamperer with parchments could not