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Proceedings of the Court of Chancery, 1669-1679
Volume 51, Preface 45   View pdf image (33K)
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    The First Century of the Court of Chancery.     xlv

      Lionel Copley was commissioned Royal Governor by the King, May 10, 1691,
    but did not reach Maryland until the following spring. By orders of the King
    in Council, dated June 27, and August 26, 1691, Copley was to be Keeper of
    the Great Seal and was given power to organize courts of law and equity, but
    was directed not to erect any new courts without special orders from the King
    (Arch. Md., viii, 265-266, 276).
      The Privy Council, January 7, 1691/2, ordered that new seals of a different
    design, which are described in the orders, be provided for the Chancellor and
    for the Principal Secretary to replace those used during the Proprietary period.
    Probably to indicate its inferior status as compared with the Great Seal of
    England, in the orders of the Privy Council it is directed that a new “Broad
    Seal” be sent to Copley and a new Lesser Seal to Sir Thomas Lawrence, who
    had been appointed October 8, 1692, by the King as Principal Secretary. The
    receipt of the new Broad Seal was acknowledged by the Council of Maryland,
    October 1, 1692 (Arch. Md., viii, 285, 297, 371).
      It would seem that after the Proprietary government came to an end in 1689,
    both law and equity cases were heard in the same court and that the records,
    such as they were, were kept together, for at a Council held August 16, 1692,
    it is recorded that “ His Excellency informs the Board that for the better and
    more effectual management and dispatch of Business he had thought fit wholly
    to separate and keep apart the Chancery Office and Records from those of the
    Provinciall Court, wherefore he thinks it reasonable, and moves the opinion and
    advice of this Board in setling the fees belonging to the said Office upon the
    Person who shall for the time being be employed or empowred to manage and
    execute the same which is unanimously allowed and approved of” (Arch. Md.,
    viii, 356).

      This order of the Maryland Council aroused the ire of the new Secretary,
    Sir Thomas Lawrence, who arrived in Maryland, September 16, 1692, and at
    once protested violently to the King in Council that he had been thus deprived
    of sundry fees hitherto the right of the Secretary under the acts of the Assembly,
    and declared that” His Excellency notwithstanding by a single Order of Council
    dated the 17th of August 1692, hath thought fitt, contrary to that Law to appoint
    that all the Writts called Chancery Writts, always issuable, and now going out
    of the Secretary's Office should thenceforth issue out of Chancery, and the Fees
    thereunto belonging to be paid to the present Chancelor (now Colonel Nehemiah
    Blakiston) who of a bare ministerial Officer and Keeper of the Seal, as by his
    Fees in the late Law sett down appears, is now made sole Judge in Chancery,
    though at the same time, he sits next Commissioner to the Governor in the
    Provinciall Court, Supreme Court of Common Law, which said Order though
    not yet put in execution, is by another late Order affirmed to be fitt and just,
    but referred to the next Sessions in April following” (Arch. Md., viii, 451).
    The Assembly does not appear, however, to have confirmed the action of the
    Council. At a session of the Court of Chancery held, August 23, 1693, Blakiston
    presided as “ Chief Judge in Equity “, with three associate judges (Chanc. Proc.
    Liber C. D., 282). This is the first instance in which a Chancellor, who was not
    at the same time Governor, presided as Chancellor and Chief Judge in the Court
    of Chancery.

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Proceedings of the Court of Chancery, 1669-1679
Volume 51, Preface 45   View pdf image (33K)
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