employed in acts of parliament, is not mentioned in the commission,
having apparently been adopted on the analogy of the like title in the state. The chancellor was originally the keeper of theEcclesi-
astical chancellors. archbishop or bishop’s seals; but the office, as now understood, includes two other offices distinguished in the commission by the titles of vicar-general and official principal (see Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction). The chancellor of a diocese must be distinguished from the chancellor of a cathedral, whose office is the same as that of the ancient scholasticus (see Cathedral).
The chancellor of an order of knighthood discharges notarial duties and keeps the seal. The chancellor of a university is an official of medieval origin. The appointment was originally made by the popes, and the office from the Academic, &c.first was one of great dignity and originally of great power. The chancellor was, as he remains, the head of the university; he had the general superintendence of its studies and of its discipline, could make and unmake laws, try and punish offences, appoint to professorial chairs and admit students to the various degrees (see Du Cange, s. “Cancellarii Academiarum”). In England the chancellorship of the universities is now a more or less ornamental office and is conferred on noblemen or statesmen of distinction, whose principal function is to look after the general interests of the university, especially in its relations with the government. The chancellor is represented in the university by a vice-chancellor, who performs the administrative and judicial functions of the office. In the United States the heads of certain educational establishments have the title of chancellor. In Scotland the foreman of a jury is called its chancellor. In the United States the chancellors are judges of the chancery courts of the states, e.g. Delaware and New Jersey, where these courts are still maintained as distinct from the courts of common law. In other states, e.g. New York since 1847, the title has been abolished, and there is no federal chancellor.
In diplomacy generally the chancellor of an embassy or legation is an official attached to the suite of an ambassador or minister. He performs the functions of a secretary, archivist, notary and the like, and is at the head of the chancery, or chancellery (Fr. chancellerie), of the mission. The functions of this office are the transcribing and registering of official despatches and other documents, and generally the transaction of all the minor business, e.g. marriages, passports and the like, connected with the duties of a diplomatic agent towards his nationals in a foreign country. The dignified connotation of the title chancellor has given to this office a prestige which in itself it does not deserve; and “chancery” or “chancellery” is commonly used as though it were synonymous with embassy, while diplomatic style is sometimes called style de chancellerie, though as a matter of fact the chanceries have nothing to do with it.
France.—The country in which the office of chancellor followed most closely the same lines as in England is France. He had become a great officer under the Carolingians, and he grew still greater under the Capetian sovereigns. The great chancellor, summus cancellarius or archi-cancellarius, was a dignitary who had indeed little real power. The post was commonly filled by the archbishop of Reims, or the bishop of Paris. The cancellarius, who formed part of the royal court and administration, was officially known as the sub-cancellarius in relation to the summus cancellarius, but as proto-cancellarius in regard to his subordinate cancellarii. He was a very great officer, an ecclesiastic who was the chief of the king’s chaplains or king’s clerks, who administered all ecclesiastical affairs; he had judicial powers, and from the 12th century had the general control of foreign affairs. The chancellor in fact became so great that the Capetian kings, who did not forget the mayor of the palace, grew afraid of him. Few of the early ecclesiastical chancellors failed to come into collision with the king, or parted with him on good terms. Philip Augustus suspended the chancellorship throughout the whole of his reign, and appointed a keeper of the seals (garde des sceaux). The office was revived under Louis VIII., but the ecclesiastical chancellorship was finally suppressed in 1227. The king of the 13th century employed only keepers of the seal. Under the reign of Philip IV. le Bel lay chancellors were first appointed. From the reign of Charles V. to that of Louis XI. the French chancelier was elected by the royal council. In the 16th century he became irremovable, a distinction more honourable than effective, for though the king could not dismiss him from office he could, and on some occasions did, deprive him of the right to exercise his functions, and entrusted them to a keeper of the seal. The chancelier from the 13th century downwards was the head of the law, and performed the duties which are now entrusted to the minister of justice. His office was abolished when in 1790 the whole judicial system of France was swept away by the Revolution. The smaller chanceliers of the provincial parlements and royal courts disappeared at the same time. But when Napoleon was organizing the empire he created an arch-chancellor, an office which was imitated rather from the Erz-Kanzler of the Holy Roman Empire than from the old French chancelier. At the Restoration the office of chancellor of France was restored, the chancellor being president of the House of Peers, but it was finally abolished at the revolution of 1848. The administration of the Legion of Honour is presided over by a grand chancelier, who is a grand cross of the order, and who advises the head of the state in matters concerning the affairs of the order. The title of chancelier continues also to be used in France for the large class of officials who discharge notarial duties in some public offices, in embassies and consulates. They draw up diplomas and prepare all formal documents, and have charge of the registration and preservation of the archives.
Spain.—In Spain the office of chancellor, canciller, was introduced by Alphonso VII. (1126–1157), who adopted it from the court of his cousins of the Capetian dynasty of France. The canciller did not in Spain go beyond being the king’s notary. The chancellor of the privy seal, canciller del sello de la puridad (literally the secret seal), was the king’s secretary, and sealed all papers other than diplomas and charters. The office was abolished in 1496, and its functions were transferred to the royal secretaries. The cancelario was the chancellor of a university. The canciller succeeded the maesescuela or scholasticus of a church or monastery. Canciller mayor de Castilla is an honorary title of the archbishops of Toledo. The gran canciller de las Indias, high chancellor of the Indies, held the seal used for the American dominions of Spain, and presided at the council in the absence of the president. The office disappeared with the loss of Spain’s empire in America.
Italy, Germany, &c.—In central and northern Europe, and in Italy, the office had different fortunes. In southern Italy, where Naples and Sicily were feudally organized, the chancellors of the Norman kings, who followed Anglo-Norman precedents very closely, and, at least in Sicily, employed Englishmen, were such officers as were known in the West. The similarity is somewhat concealed by the fact that these sovereigns also adopted names and offices from the imperial court at Constantinople. Their chancellor was officially known as Protonotary and Logothete, and their example was followed by the German princes of the Hohenstaufen family, who acquired the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. The papal or apostolic chancery is dealt with in the article on the Curia Romana (q.v.). It may be pointed out here, however, that the close connexion of the papacy with the Holy Roman Empire is illustrated by the fact that the archbishop of Cologne, who by right of his see was the emperor’s arch-chancellor (Erz-Kanzler) for Italy, was confirmed as papal arch-chancellor by a bull of Leo IX. in 1052. The origin and duration of this connexion are, however, obscure; it appears to have ceased before 1187. The last record of a papal chancellor in the middle ages dates from 1212, from which time onward, for reasons much disputed, the head of the papal chancery bore the title vice-chancellor (Hinschius i. 439), until the office of chancellor was restored by the constitution Sapientius of Pius X. in 1908.
The title of arch-chancellor (Erz-Kanzler) was borne by three great ecclesiastical dignitaries of the Holy Roman Empire.