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CHAPTER THE EIGHT H.
AVING, in the preceding chapter, confidered at large thofe branches of the king's prerogative, which contribute to his royal dignity, and conftitute the executive power of the government, we proceed now to examine the king's fiscal prerogatives, or fuch as regard his revenue; which the British conftitution hath vested in the royal perfon, in order to fupport his dignity and maintain his power: being a portion which each fubject contributes of his property, in order to fecure the remainder.
THIS revenue is either ordinary, or extraordinary. The king's ordinary revenue is fuch, as has either fubfifted time out of mind in the crown; or elfe has been granted by parliament, by way of purchase or exchange for fuch of the king's inherent hereditary revenues, as were found inconvenient to the subject.
WHEN I fay that it has fubfifted time out of mind in the crown, I do not mean that the king is at prefent in the actual poffeffion of the whole of this revenue. Much (nay, the greatest part) of it is at this day in the hands of subjects; to whom it has been granted out from time to time by the kings of England: which has rendered the crown in fome measure dependent on the people for it's ordinary fupport and fubfiftence. So that I must be obliged to recount, as part of the royal revenue, what lords of
manors and other fubjects frequently look upon to be their own abfolute rights; because they are and have been vested in them and their ancestors for ages, though in reality originally derived from the grants of our antient princes.
I. THE first of the king's ordinary revenues, which I shall take notice of is of an ecclefiaftical kind; (as are also the three fuccceding ones) viz. the cuftody of the temporalties of bishops: by which are meant all the lay revenues, lands, and tenements (in which is included his barony) which belong to an archbishop's or bishop's fee. And these upon the vacancy of the bishoprick are immediately the right of the king, as a confequence of his prerogative in church matters; whereby he is confidered as the founder of all archbishopricks and bishopricks, to whom during the vacancy they revert. And for the fame reason, before the diffolution of abbeys, the king had the cuftody of the temporalties of all fuch abbeys and priorics as were of royal foundation (but not of those founded by fubjects) on the death of the abbot or prior". Another reafon may also be given, why the policy of the law hath vefted this cuftody in the king; because, as the fucceffor is not known, the lands and poffeflions of the fee would be liable to spoil and devaftation, if no one had a property therein. Therefore the law has given the king, not the temporalities themfelves, but the custody of the temporalties, till fuch time as a fucceffor is appointed; with power of taking to himself all the intermediate profits, without any account to the fucceflor; and with the right of presenting (which the crown very frequently excrcifes to fuch benefices and other preferments as fall within the time of vacation. This revenue is of fo high a nature, that it could not be granted out to a fubject, before, or even after, it accrued: but now by the ftatute 15 Edw. III. ft. 4. c. 4 & 5. the king may, after the vacancy, leafe the temporalties to the dean and chapter; faving to himfelf all advowfons, efcheats, and the like. Our antient kings, and particularly William Rufus, were not only remarkable for keeping the bishopricks a long time vacant,
a 2 Inft. 13.
b Stat. 17 Edw. II. c. 14. F. N. B. 32.
for the fake of enjoying the temporalties, but also committed horrible waste on the woods and other parts of the eftate; and, to crown all, would never, when the fee was filled up, restore to the bishop his temporalties again, unless he purchased them at an exorbitant price. To remedy which, king Henry the first granted a charter at the beginning of his reign, promising neither to sell, nor let to farm, nor take any thing from, the domains of the church, till the fucceffor was inftalled. And it was made one of the articles of the great charter, that no waste should be com-. mitted in the temporalties of bishopricks, neither should the cuf tody of them be fold. The fame is ordained by the statute of Westminster the firft; and the ftatute 14 Edw. III. ft. 4. c. 4.. (which permits, as we have seen, a leafe to the dean and chapter) is still more explicit in prohibiting the other exactions. It was alfo a frequent abuse, that the king would for trifling, or no causes, seise the temporalties of bishops, even during their lives, into his own hands: but this is guarded against by ftatute I Edw. III. ft. 2. c. 2.
THIS revenue of the king, which was formerly very confiderable, is now by a cuftomary indulgence almoft reduced to nothing: for, at prefent, as foon as the new bishop is confecrated and confirmed, he usually receives the restitution of his temporalties quite entire, and untouched, from the king; and then, and not fooner, he has a fee fimple in his bishoprick, and mạy maintain an action for the profits '.
II. THE king is entitled to a corody, as the law calls it, out of every bishoprick: that is, to fend one of his chaplains to be maintained by the bishop, or to have a penfion allowed him till the bishop promotes him to a benefice. This is alfo in the nature of an acknowlegement to the king, as founder of the fee; fince he had formerly the fame corody or penfion from every abbey
M m 2
c Matth. Paris.
d Hen. III. c. 5.
e 3 Edw. I. c. 21.
f Co. Litt. 67. 341.
or priory of royal foundation. It is, I apprehend, now fallen into total difufe; though fir Matthew Hale fays", that it is due of common right, and that no prefcription will discharge it.
III. THE king alfo (as was formerly obferved') is entitled to all the tithes arifing in extraparochial places: though perhaps it may be doubted how far this article, as well as the laft, can be properly reckoned a part of the king's own royal revenue; fince a corody supports only his chaplains, and these extraparochial tithes are held under an implied trust, that the king will distribute them for the good of the clergy in general.
IV. THE next branch confifts in the first-fruits, and tenths, of all spiritual preferments in the kingdom; both of which I fhall confider together.
THESE were originally a part of the papal ufurpations over the clergy of this kingdom; first introduced by Pandulph the pope's legate, during the reigns of king John and Henry the third, in the fee of Norwich; and afterwards attempted to be made universal by the popes Clement V and John XXII, about the beginning of the fourteenth century. The first-fruits, primitiae, or annates, were the first year's whole profits of the fpiritual preferment, according to a rate or valor made under the direction of pope Innocent IV by Walter bishop of Norwich in 38 Hen. III, and afterwards advanced in value by commiffion from pope Nicholas III. A. D. 1292, 20 Edw. I'; which valuation of pope Nicholas is ftill preserved in the exchequer". The tenths, or decimae, were the tenth part of the annual profit of each living by the fame valuation; which was also claimed by the holy fee, under no better pretence than a strange mifapplication of that precept of the Levitical law, which directs", "that the Levites "should offer the tenth part of their tithe as a heave-offering to
h Notes on F. N.B. above cited.
i page 113.
k 2 Inft. 647.
1 F. N. B. 176.
m 3 Inst. 154.
n Numb. xviii. 16.
“the Lord, and give it to Aaron the high prieft." But this claim of the pope met with vigorous refiftance from the English parliament; and a variety of acts were paffed to prevent and restrain it, particularly the ftatute 6 Hen. IV. c. I. which calls it a horrible mischief and damnable cuftom, But the popish clergy, blindly devoted to the will of a foreign master, ftill kept it on foot; fometimes more fecretly, fometimes more openly and avowedly fo that, in the reign of Henry VIII, it was computed, that in the compass of fifty years 800000 ducats had been fent to Rome for first-fruits only. And as the clergy expressed this willingness to contribute fo much of their income to the head of the church, it was thought proper (when in the fame reign the papal power was abolished, and the king was declared the head of the church of England) to annex this revenue to the crown; which was done by statute 26 Hen. VIII. c. 3. (confirmed by ftatute 1 Eliz. c. 4.) and a new valor beneficiorum was then made, by which the clergy are at present rated.
By these lastmentioned ftatutes all vicarages under ten pounds a year, and all rectories under ten marks, are discharged from the payment of firft-fruits and if, in fuch livings as continue chargeable with this payment, the incumbent lives but half a year, he fhall pay only one quarter of his firft-fruits; if but one whole year, then half of them; if a year and half, three quarters; and if two years then the whole; and not otherwise. Likewife by the ftatute 27 Hen. VIII. c. 8. no tenths are to be paid for the first year, for then the firft fruits are due: and by other statutes of queen Anne, in the fifth and fixth years of her reign, if a benefice be under fifty pounds per annum clear yearly value, it shall be discharged of the payment of firft-fruits and tenths,
THUS the richer clergy, being, by the criminal bigotry of their popish predeceffors, fubjected at first to a foreign exaction, were afterwards, when that yoke was fhaken off, liable to a like mifapplication of their revenues, through the rapacious disposition of the then reigning monarch: till at length the piety of queen