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passed (24 Henry VIII., c. 12, 1533), intituled an Act to Restrain Appeals to Rome. It was passed in view of the pending appeal.of Catherine to Rome and to quash any future appeal she might make after the sentence of her divorce was pronounced by Cranmer.
The preamble of the Act asserted the King's supremacy, and forbade appeal to Rome under pain of præmunire.
The Act regulated the course of appeal, which was to be from the Archdeacon to the Bishop; from the Bishop to the Archbishop of the province; and that in any case touching the King or his successors the appeal was to be to the Upper House of Convocation.
In the 25th year of Henry VIII.'s reign, another Act of the greatest importance as to the constitution of Ecclesiastical Courts was passed. This Act is generally known as the “Act for the Submission of the Clergy to the King's Majesty”—(25 Henry VIII., C. 19, A.D. 1534). The clergy in Convocation had already made submission to Henry, and this Act recorded and confirmed that submission, viz., that they would not enact any new canons or ordinances without the King's licence to make them, and also his approval of them when made.
This Act also abrogated the Canon Law, and was important in this respect. It was affirmed by 2 Elizabeth, c. i. which enacted that a review should be had of the Canon Law, and with such review all canons, constitutions, ordinances, and synods provincial, being then already made, and not repugnant to the law of the land, or the King's prerogative, should be used and enacted.
No such review has yet been held, and upon this statute depends the authority and interpretation of the Canon Law of England.
This statute (25 Henry VIII.) forbade all appeals to Rome in any case whatever, and in lieu of the appeals thus abolished it was declared that appeals from the Archbishop's
Courts should be made to the King in Chancery, and that the King should be empowered to appoint commissioners to hear and determine finally in the cause. The commissioners were termed " Delegates of Appeal.”
From this Act wederive the present Court of Final Appeal.
In a recent assembly of the Upper House of Convocation (Thursday, Feb. 10, 1881), his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury stated that it is upon this statute of the 25 Henry VIII., following upon that of the 24 Henry VIII., that the Reformation settlement is established.
The Act of Elizabeth (1 Elizabeth, c. 1, A.D. 1559) restored the Church of England not to the condition in which it stood (says Hardwick*) at the death of Henry VIII., when the ecclesiastical power had been further limited, but to the condition in which he left it in the 25th year of his reign.
The Delegates of Appeal, established by the Act of Henry VIII., continued to form the Final Court of Appeal for ecclesiastical causes until the reign of William IV.
In 1832 an Act was passed by the Legislature (2 and 3 William IV., c. 92) which provided for a periodical committee of the Privy Council, and transferred the jurisdiction from the High Court of Delegates to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
But in 1873 there was a Reform in our Judicature, and by“ the Supreme Court of Judicature Act” (sec. 21 of 36 and 37 Vict., c. 66, 1873), the Queen was empowered at any time by Order in Council to direct that all appeals and petitions which, according to the laws then in force, ought to be heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council should from and after a time to be fixed by such Order, be referred to and heard by her Majesty's new Court of Appeal constituted by this Act. And it was declared that the Court of Appeal when hearing any appeals in ecclesiastical
* Hardwick's “ Reformation,” p. 338, n. 1., Ed. 1874.
cases should be constituted of such and so many judges thereof, and should be assisted by such assessors, being the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England, as shall be directed by general rules made by Order in Council.*
As reference has been made to the statute i Eliz., C. I, A.D. 1558, which empowered Queen Elizabeth to appoint Commissions to hear and determine ecclesiastical causes, it may be well to glance at the Court of High Commission, which was formed on the strength of this statute, though that Court is a thing of the past.
The members of this Commission were appointed “to examine the true state of churches; to suspend and deprive such clergymen as were unworthy; to put other clergymen in their places; to proceed against such as were obstinate by imprisonment, church censure, or any other legal. way; to examine the condition of such as were imprisoned for religion, and to discharge them; to reinstate those in their benefices who had been unlawfully ejected in late times.”+ Perry, in his “ Church History," says that to pass this Act “ was to go beyond the legitimate province of the Royal Supremacy and to arm the Crown with a new irresponsible power superseding and over-riding all the ancient forms of law and procedure, and able under severe penalties to make its law the absolute law of the Church.”
The Act was, however, assented to by the majority of the Clergy; only 189 (besides the 14 Marian Bishops) out of 9,400—or about 1. in 50 being deprived for non-compliance.
The Court of High Commission was abolished in 1640 by 16 Car. I. By 13 Car. II., C. 13, it was declared incapable of being restored, and the creation of any similar Court was forbidden. But in 1686 it was restored by James II. on his sole authority, and by its aid he deprived the Vice
See Taswell-Langmead's “ Constitutional History," Second Edition, p. 425 and Hook's “ Church Dictionary” s.v. Appeal, p. 44.
+ Perry's "Church History," p. 257.
Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (Bishop Compton of London), and expelled the President and Fellows (with two exceptions) of Magdalen College, Oxford.
In 1688, however, James II. abolished the Court by the advice of the Bishops (Sancroft and others), as he had been warned by the King of France that William of Orange was contemplating a descent upon England.
Evelyn says of this Court that it “was the whole power of a vicar-general,” so undefined was its jurisdiction.
We may now look at the Courts Christian or Ecclesiastical, some of which are still in existence, while others have been abolished at a comparatively recent date. They were, with some local variations, as follows:
ist. The Archdeacon's Court, the lowest in the scale, the Judge of which (appointed by the Archdeacon) is called the Official of the Archdeaconry.
2nd. The Consistory Courts of the Bishops of every diocese, held in their several cathedrals, for trial of ecclesiastical causes within the diocese. The Judge is the Bishop's Chancellor or Commissary; and from his judgment an appeal lies, by 24 Henry VIII., C. 12, to the Archbishop of the Province.
3rd. The Prerogative Court, which was in each Province, held before a Judge appointed by the Archbishop for the proving and administration of last wills and testaments, the principal being the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, held at Doctors' Commons.
4th. The Court of Arches (so called because anciently held in the Church of St. Mary-le-Bow or “de Arcubus,” in Cheapside), which had within the Province of Canterbury an appellate jurisdiction in all ecclesiastical causes, with the exception of those which fell to the Prerogative Court.
5th. The Court of Peculiars of the Archbishop of Canterbury subordinate to and connected with the Court of Arches.
6th. The Court of Delegates, so called because the Judges
(usually three common law Judges of the Superior Courts, together with three or more Civilians) were delegated, and sat, pro hac vice, by virtue of the King's commission under the great seal, upon appeals to the King in ecclesiastical
Of these Courts, that of the Delegates of Appeals was superseded in 1832, under the provisions of 2 & 3 William IV., c. 92, by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which, as previous committees had done, was to make a report or recommendation to the King in Council for his decision. By a later Act every Archbishop or Bishop in the Privy Council was to be a member of the Judicial Committee for the purpose of hearing ecclesiastical appeals; and it was required that for such appeals, one Archbishop at least should be present. By the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1873, the Queen was empowered, by Order in Council, to transfer inter alia appeals in ecclesi, astical causes from the Judicial Committee to the new Court of Appeal constituted by that Act, the Court being in such causes “ assisted by such assessors, being Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England,” as should be directed by general rules to be made by Order in Council. The jurisdiction of the Prerogative Court over wills and administrations was taken away by the Act 20 & 21 Vict., c. 77 (1857), and transferred to the Court of Probate. Lastly, the Court of Arches has recently undergone some modifications and has been re-constituted (it is popularly but, of course, only popularly termed, “Lord Penzance's Court,"') under the Public Worship Regulation Act, 1874, and the Supreme Court of Judicature Act.
Allusion has frequently been made to the Royal Supremacy, in virtue of which the present Ecclesiastical Courts have been constituted. We may inquire in what sense the term is employed. Henry VIII. assumed the title of Supreme Head of the Church. Convocation at the time