DOCTORS COMMONS. The Courts. 154


in Christendom, ever had any Authority to keep any such Court, but only Legates of the See of Rome. And that therefore if the King thought fit to continue the Use of it, it would be advisable he should give it to somebody else, by Special Commission from himself, and at his Pleasure. Whereupon the Archbishop was fain to enter his Protest, That he kept not his Audience Court, by virtue of his Title of Legatus natus; and pleaded, That the Parliament had confirmed the former Privileges of the Archbishops of Canterbury, whereof this Court was one. And so this Court continued long after: But since the Civil Wars under King Charles the First, it hath been disused.

Thirdly, The next Court for Civil Causes belonging to the Archbishop, is the Prerogative Court: Wherein Wills and Testaments are proved, and all Administrations taken. Which belongs to the Archbishop by his Prerogative; that is, by a Special Preeminence, that his See hath in certain Causes above ordinary Bishops within his Province: This takes place, where the Deceased hath Goods to the Value of Five Pounds out of the Diocese; and being of the Diocese of London, to the Value of Ten Pounds. If any Contention grow touching any such Wills or Administrations, the Causes are debated and decided in this Court.

Prerogative Court.

To it belongs a Judge; who is stiled Judex Curiæ Prerogativæ Cantuariensis: And a Register; who hath convenient Rooms in his Office, for the disposing and laying up safe all Original Wills and Testaments; and whither any may have Recourse, that have Occasion to search such Wills: And for a Shilling may read any one of them over; and for other moderate Prices, at so much a Sheet, may have the whole, or some Part of any of them transcribed and copied for his Use. This Register also hath his Deputy, besides several Clerks.

Officers of this Court.

This Prerogative Office is now kept in the Dean of St. Paul's his Court.

To these add, Fourthly, The Court of Faculties and Dispensations: Whereby a Privilege, or Special Power is granted to a Person by Favour and Indulgence, to do that which by Law otherwise he could not: As, To eat Flesh upon Days prohibited; To marry, without Banns first asked in the Church Three several Sundays, or Holy-days; The Son to succeed his Father in his Benefice: For one to have Two, or more Benefices, incompatible: For Non-Residence; and in other such like Cases.

The Faculty Court.

This Authority was given to the Archbishop by the Statute 25. Hen. VIII. Cap. 21. And the chief Officer of this Court is called Magister ad Facultates.

There is a Register also belonging to this Court.

In these Dispensations the Archbishops have always used to be very tender, and to refuse many that come for them; unless upon very good Reasons and Considerations.

Besides these Courts peculiarly pertaining to the Archbishop of Canterbury, there is,

Fifthly, The Court of Admiralty: Which was erected in Edward the Third his Time. This Court belongs to the Lord Admiral of England, a high Officer, that hath the Government of the King's Navy, and the Hearing of all Causes relating to Merchants and Mariners. He takes Cognizance of the Death or Mayhem of any Man, committed in the great Ships riding in great Rivers, beneath the Bridges of the same next the Sea. Also he hath Power to arrest Ships in great Streams, for the Use of the King, or his Wars. And in these Things this Court is concerned.

The Admiralty.

There is a Judge of this Court, who must be a Civilian; and his Title is, Supremæ Curiæ Admiralitatis Angliæ Locumtenens Judex. The other Officers of this Court, are, a Register, and a Marshal, who carrieth a Silver Oar before the Judge; besides an Advocate, and Proctor of the Admirals.

Officers of this Court.

The Judge, Clerk, and Serjeant of this Court, were wont to have the Goods and Chattels of all attainted for Piracies, for their Travail in keeping of Sessions. But not far from the Beginning of Queen Elizabeth's Reign, the Lord Admiral pass'd all his Interest to the Goods of Traitors and Pirates to that Queen: And so they were no longer enjoyed as before.

The Goods of Pirates formerly enjoyed by the Judge and Officers.

Dr. David Lewis was Judge of the Admiralty in Queen Elizabeth's Reign, Anno 1573. And in the Year 1580, that Office of the Admiralty decaying much, he made a Complaint thereof unto the Lord Treasurer; shewing him by what Means it came to so low a Condition, in these words; which I transcribe verbatim from his said Complaint.

Judge of the Admiralty's Complaint.

"First, There is no standing Fee incident to the same. The Commodities thereof do grown only by the great and little Seals, and by such Instruments and Decrees, that do pass in Causes depending there. The Judge, Clerk, and Serjeant, were wont to have the Goods and Chattels of all attainted for Pyracies, for their Travial in keeping of Sessions: Which they have not now, by reason that my Lord Admiral hath of late passed all his Interest to the Goods of Traytors and Pyrates, to her Majesty. "

The Benefits thereof, how infringed.

" The Cases that are treated of in the Court of Admiralty do proceed only of Things done upon, and beyond the Seas: And yet the Judge cannot enjoy the same, by reason of Prohibitions out of her Majesty's Bench; denied to none that will sue for them. By reason whereof, and that the Suitors of the Court of the Admiralty be many times vexed with Actions upon the Case, for suing their Merchants and Mariners, be so terrified, as they have forsaken the Court of Admiralty; and do now sue for Things done beyond and upon the Sea, at the Common Law, in her Majesty's Bench, and in the Guildhall, London. And the same are maintained there, by surmising the Matters to be transacted in some Place upon the Land; where in truth the same was done beyond and upon the Sea. And there may no Traverse be admitted touching the Place. "

" Finally, The Company of Merchants trading in Spain and Portugal, have of late obtained Privilege of her Majesty, under the Great Seal, not only to make Laws and Ordinances, but also to hear and determine all Quarrels, Suits and Strifes happening between any of the said Company, or between any of them and any other, tho' he or they be not of their Company; and to punish such as will not obey them therein, by Imprisonment. Whereby the Judge of the Admiralty shall not hereafter have to do with any Matter happening between the said Merchants, either upon, or beyond the Sea. Whereas before, the Court of Admiralty stood chiefly by such Causes as grew in Spain and in Portugal: And now the same being transferred to the Knowledge of Merchants, the Court of Admiralty is brought to utter Ruin, so that the same is not worth the keeping."