Chancellor: Wikis


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Chancellor (Latin: cancellarius) is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the audience. A chancellor's office is called a chancellery or chancery. The word is now used in the titles of many various officers in all kinds of settings (government, education, religion etc.) Nowadays the term is most often used to describe:

  • the head of the government
  • a person in charge of foreign affairs
  • a person with duties related to justice.


Head of government

  • The Chancellor of Germany or Bundeskanzler (meaning "Federal Chancellor"), is the title for the head of government in Germany. Bundeskanzlerin is the feminine form. In German politics the Bundeskanzler position is equivalent to that of a prime minister and is elected by the Bundestag, the German Parliament, every four years. At the moment, Angela Merkel is the German Bundeskanzlerin.
  • The Chancellor of Austria, or Bundeskanzler (German for Federal Chancellor), is the title for the head of government in Austria in a similar political system. Werner Faymann is at the moment the Austrian Bundeskanzler.
  • In Switzerland, the Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler, Chancelier fédéral, Cancelliere della Confederazione) is elected by the Swiss parliament. He or she heads the Federal Chancellery, the general staff of the seven-member executive Federal Council, the Swiss government. The Chancellor participates in the meetings of the seven Federal Councilors with a consultative vote and prepares the reports on policy and activities of the council to parliament. The chancellery is responsible for the publication of all federal laws.

Foreign minister

In Latin America, the terms Canciller (Spanish) or Chanceler (Portuguese), equivalent to "chancellor", are commonly used informally to refer to the post of foreign minister. Likewise, the ministry of foreign affairs in many Latin American countries is referred to as the Cancillería or (in Brazil) Chancelaria. However, in Spain the term canciller refers to a civil servant in the Spanish diplomatic service responsible for technical issues relating to foreign affairs.

Functions related to justice

  • In the legal system of the United Kingdom, the term can refer to two officials:
    • The Lord Chancellor (Lord High Chancellor, King's Chancellor) is the occupant of one of the oldest offices of state, dating back to the Kingdom of England, and older than Parliament itself. Theoretically, the Lord Chancellor is the "Chancellor of Great Britain"; there was formerly an office of "Chancellor of Ireland" which was abolished in 1922, when all but Northern Ireland left the United Kingdom. The Lord Chancellor is the second highest non-royal subject in precedence (after the Archbishop of Canterbury). In addition to various ceremonial duties, he is head of the Ministry of Justice, which was created in May 2007 from the Department for Constitutional Affairs (which was created in 2003 from the Lord Chancellor's Department). In this role, he sits in the Cabinet. Until the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005, the Lord Chancellor had two additional roles:
      • Head of the English, but not Scottish, judiciary. In previous centuries, the Lord Chancellor was the sole judge in the Court of Chancery; when, in 1873, that court was combined with others to form the High Court, the Lord Chancellor became the nominal head of the Chancery Division. The Lord Chancellor was permitted to participate in judicial sittings of the House of Lords; he also chose the committees that heard appeals in the Lords. The de facto head of the Chancery Division was the Vice-Chancellor, and the role of choosing appellate committees was in practice fulfilled by the Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.
      • De facto speaker of the House of Lords. These duties are now undertaken by the Lord Speaker. The current Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, is the first who is a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords or its predecessor, the Curia Regis, since Sir Christopher Hatton in 1578.[1][2]
    • The Chancellor of the High Court is the head of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice. Before 2005, the judge occupying this position was known as the Vice-Chancellor, the Lord Chancellor being the nominal head of the Division.


  • Denmark. The office of chancellor (or royal chancellor) seems to have appeared in the 12th century, and until 1660 it was the title of the leader of the state administration (a kind of a "Home Office" but often with foreign political duties). Often he appeared to be the real leader of the government. From 1660–1848, the title continued as "Grand Chancellor" or "President of the Danish Chancellery", and was replaced in 1730 by the title "Minister of Domestic Affairs."[3]
  • Estonia. A Chancellor (Kantsler) directs the work of a ministry and coordinates institutions subject to the ministry. A ministry can also have one or several Vice-Chancellors (Asekantsler), who fulfill the duties of the Chancellor, when he is absent.[4] The Chancellor of Justice (Õiguskantsler, Currently Indrek Teder) supervises the legality of actions taken by the government and monitors the implementation of basic civil liberties.[5]
  • Japan. In the modern Japanese Constitution, the Upper House of the Diet is The House of Chancellors, and is similar to the role and function of the United States Senate, although there are also some significant differences. In another use, the Daijō Daijin or Chancellor of the Realm was the head of the Daijō-kan, or Department of State in Heian Japan and briefly under the Meiji Constitution.
  • United Kingdom.
    • Chancellor of the Exchequer, the minister with overall responsibility for the Exchequer or Treasury. This is an ancient title dating back to the Kingdom of England. It is roughly the equivalent of the Minister of Finance or Secretary of the Treasury in other governmental systems. In recent years, when the term chancellor is used in British politics, it is taken as referring to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As Second Lord of the Treasury, the Chancellor has an official residence at 11 Downing Street, next door to the First Lord of the Treasury, the Prime Minister, at 10 Downing Street, in London.
    • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, an ancient office of state, the Chancellor being the Minister of the Crown responsible in theory for the running of the Duchy of Lancaster, a duchy in England belonging to the Crown but historically maintained separately from the rest of the kingdom, whose net revenues personally belong to the monarch. In reality, the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, effectively like a chairman of trustees, carries minimal work and responsibilities, so it is used in effect as a minister without portfolio position, often given to the chairman of the party in power to give her or him a seat in the cabinet.
    • The Consistory courts of the Church of England are each presided over by a Chancellor of the Diocese: see Chancellor (ecclesiastical).


The chancellor is the principal record-keeper of a diocese or eparchy, or their equivalent. The chancellor is a notary, so that he may certify official documents, and often has other duties at the discretion of the bishop of the diocese: he may be in charge of some aspect of finances or of managing the personnel connected with diocesan offices, although his delegated authority cannot extend to vicars of the diocesan bishop, such as vicars general, episcopal vicars or judicial vicars. His office is within the "chancery." Vice-chancellors may be appointed to assist the chancellor in busy chanceries. Normally, the chancellor is a priest or deacon, although in some circumstances a layperson may be appointed to the post.[6] In the eparchial curia a chancellor is to be appointed who is to be a presbyter (priest) or deacon and whose principal obligation, unless otherwise established by the particular law, is to see that the acts of the curia are gathered and arranged as well as preserved in the archives of the eparchial curia. [7]

Educational usage

A Chancellor is the leader (either ceremonial or executive) of many public and private universities and related institutions.

The heads of the New York City Department of Education and the District of Columbia Public Schools, who run the municipally-operated public schools in those jurisdictions, carry the title of Chancellor. New York State also has a Chancellor of the University of the State of New York, the body that licenses and regulates all educational and research institutions in the state and many professions (not to be confused with the State University of New York, an actual institution of higher learning).

In a few instances, the term chancellor is used for a student or faculty member within a high school or an institution of higher learning being either appointed or elected as chancellor in order to preside on the highest ranking judicial board or tribunal. They handle non-academic matters such as violations of behavior.

Historical uses

  • The Chancellor of China was the second highest rank after the Emperor of China.
  • There are two ancient Egyptian titles sometimes translated as chancellor. There is the "royal sealer" (xtmtj-bity or xtmw-bity), a title attested since the First Dynasty (about 3000 BC)[8]. People holding the post include Imhotep and Hemaka[9].
The other title translated as chancellor is "Keeper of the Royal Seal" (or overseer of the seal or treasurer—imy-r xtmt[10][11]). Officials holding the post include Bay or Irsu, Khety[12] Meketre[13], and Nakhti[14].
The first title (royal sealer) announced a certain rank at the royal court, the second (supervisor of the sealed goods, i.e. treasurer) was responsible for the state's income. This position appears around 2000 BC.

See also


  1. ^ "Sir Christopher Hatton". Love to Know Classic Encyclopedia (from the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica). 
  2. ^ "Constitutional continuity: Jack Straw speech at the London School of Economics". 3 March 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2009. 
  3. ^ [1]
  6. ^ CIC 482; CCEO 252—§1.
  7. ^ §2. If it seems necessary the chancellor can be given an assistant whose title is vice-chancellor. §3. The chancellor as well as the vice-chancellor are by the law itself notaries of the eparchial curia. In the 1983 Code of Canon Law for the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, the chancellor may be a layperson, and not necessarily a presbyter or deacon. The office of the Chancellor is mandatory in all diocessan (eparchial) curia. The primary function of the Chancellor is to keep the curial records properly.Beal, New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, Paulist Press, Mahwah, New Jersey, 2000, p.635
  8. ^ Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge 1999, p.131
  9. ^ Michael Rice, Who's Who in Ancient Egypt, Routledge 2001, p.63
  10. ^ pBerlin 10035 in U. Luft, Urkunden zur Chronologie der späten 12. Dynastie, Briefe aus Illahun, Wien 2006, 69 ff.
  11. ^ pLouvre 3230 B in E. Wente, Letters from Ancient Egypt, Atlanta, 1990, 92
  12. ^ Memoirs, Egypt Exploration Society—1958, p.7
  13. ^ Serdab of the Chancellor Meketre
  14. ^ Michael Rice, Who's Who in Ancient Egypt, Routledge 2001

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHANCELLOR (M. Eng. and Anglo-Fr. canceler, chanceler, Fr. chancelier, Lat. cancellarius), an official title used by most of the peoples whose civilization has arisen directly or indirectly out of the Roman empire. At different times and in different countries it has stood and stands for very various duties, and has been, and is, borne by officers of various degrees of dignity. The original chancellors were the cancellarii of Roman courts of justice, ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a "basilica" or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the audience (see Chancel). In the later Eastern empire the cancellarii were promoted at first to notarial duties. The barbarian kingdoms which arose on the ruin of the empire in the West copied more or less intelligently the Roman model in all their judicial and financial administration. Under the Frankish kings of the Merovingian dynasty the cancellarii were subordinates of the great officer of state called the referendarius, who was the predecessor of the more modern chancellor. The office became established under the form archi-cancellarius, or chief of the cancellarii. Stubbs says that the Carolingian chancellor was the royal notary and the arch-chancellor keeper of the royal seal. His functions would naturally be discharged by a cleric in times when book learning was mainly confined to the clergy. From the reign of Louis the Pious the post was held by a bishop. By an equally natural process he became the chief secretary of the king and of the queen,who also had her chancellor. Such an office possessed an obvious capacity for developing on the judicial as well as the administrative side. Appeals and petitions of aggrieved persons would pass through the chancellor's hands, as well as the political correspondence of the king. Nor was the king the only man who had need of a chancellor. Great officers and corporations also had occasion to employ an agent to do secretarial, notarial and judicial work for them, and called him by the convenient name of chancellor. The history of the office in its many adaptations to public and private service is the history of its development on judicial, administrative, political, secretarial and notarial lines.

The model of the Carolingian court was followed by the medieval states of Western Europe. In England the office of chancellor dates back to the reign of Edward the Confessor, the first English king to use the Norman practice of sealing instead of signing documents; and from the Norman Conquest onwards the succession of chancellors is continuous. The chancellor was originally, and long continued to be, an ecclesiastic, who combined the functions of the most dignified of the royal chaplains, the king's secretary in secular matters, and keeper of the royal seal. From the first, then, though at the outset overshadowed by that of the justiciar, the office of chancellor was one of great influence and importance. As chaplain the chancellor was keeper of the king's conscience; as secretary he enjoyed the royal confidence in secular affairs; as keeper of the seal he was necessary to all formal expressions of the royal will. By him and his staff of chaplains the whole secretarial work of the royal household was conducted, the accounts were kept under the justiciar and treasurer, writs were drawn up and sealed, and the royal correspondence was carried on. He was, in fact, as Stubbs puts it, a sort of secretary of state for all departments. "This is he," wrote John of Salisbury (d. i 80), "who cancels (cancellat) the evil laws of the realm, and makes equitable (aequa) the commands of a pious prince," a curious anticipation of the chancellor's later equitable jurisdiction. Under Henry II., indeed, the chancellor was already largely employed in judicial work, either in attendance on the king or in provincial visitations; though the peculiar jurisdiction of the chancery was of later growth. By this time, however, the chancellor was "great alike in Curia and Exchequer"; he was secundus a rege, i.e. took precedence immediately after the justiciar, and nothing was done either in the Curia or the exchequer without his consent. So great was his office that William FitzStephen, the biographer of Becket, tells us that it was not purchasable (emenda non est), a statement which requires modification, since it was in fact more than once sold under Henry I., Stephen, Richard and John (Stubbs, Const. Hist. i. pp. 384-497; Gneist, Const. Hist. of England, p. 219), an evil precedent which was, however, not long followed.

The judicial duties of the chancellor grew out of the fact that all petitions addressed to the king passed through his hands. The number and variety of these became so great that in 1280, under Edward I., an ordinance was issued directing the chancellor and the justices to deal with the greater number of them; those which involved the use of the great seal being specially referred to the chancellor. The chancellor and justices were to determine which of them were "so great, and of grace, that the chancellor and others would not despatch them without the king," and these the chancellor and other chief ministers were to carry in person to the king (Stubbs ii. 263, note, and p. 268). At this period the chancellor, though employed in equity, had ministerial functions only; but when, in the reign of Edward III., the chancellor ceased to follow the court, his tribunal acquired a more definite character, and petitions for grace and favour began to be addressed primarily to him, instead of being merely examined and passed on by him to the king; and in the twenty-second year of this reign matters which were of grace were definitely committed to the chancellor for decision. This is the starting-point of the equitable jurisdiction of the chancellor, whence developed that immense body of rules, supplementing the deficiencies or modifying the harshness of the common law, which is known as Equity (q.v.).

The position of the chancellor as speaker or prolocutor of the House of Lords dates from the time when the ministers of the royal Curia formed ex officio a part of the commune concilium and parliament. The chancellor originally attended with the other officials, and he continued to attend ex officio after they had ceased to do so. If he chanced to be a bishop, he was summoned regularly qua bishop; otherwise he attended without summons. When not a peer the chancellor had no place in parliament except as chancellor, and the act of 31 Henry VIII. cap. 10 (1539) laid down that, if not a peer, he had "no interest to give any assent or dissent in the House." Yet Sir Robert Bourchier (d. 1349), the first lay chancellor, had protested in 1341 against the first statute of 15 Edward III. (on trial by peers, &c.), on the ground that it had not received his assent and was contrary to the laws of the realm. From the time, however, of William, Lord Cowper (first lord high chancellor of Great Britain in 1705, created Baron Cowper in 1706), all chancellors have been made peers on their elevation to the woolsack. Sometimes the custody of the great seal has been transferred from the chancellor to a special official, the lord keeper of the great seal (see Lord Keeper); this was notably the case under Queen Elizabeth (cf. the French garde des sceaux, below). Sometimes it is put into commission, being affixed by lords commissioners of the great seal. By the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 it was enacted that none of these offices could be held by a Roman Catholic (see further under Lord High Chancellor). The office of lord chancellor of Ireland, and that of chancellor of Scotland (who ceased to be appointed after the Act of Union of 1705) followed the same lines of development.

The title of chancellor, without the predicates "high" or "lord," is also applied in the United Kingdom to a number of other officials and functionaries of varying rank and importance. Of these the most important is the C chancellor of the exchequer, an office which originated in the separation of the chancery from the exchequer in the reign of Henry III. (1216-1272). His duties consisted originally in the custody and employment of the seal of the exchequer, in the keeping of a counter-roll to check the roll kept by the treasurer, and in the discharge of certain judicial functions in the exchequer of account. So long as the treasury board was in active working, the chancellorship of the exchequer was an office of small importance, and even during a great part of the 19th century was not necessarily a cabinet office, unless held in conjunction with that of first lord of the treasury. At the present time the chancellor of the exchequer is minister of finance, and therefore always of cabinet rank (see Exchequer).

The chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster is the representative of the crown in the management of its lands and the control of its courts in the duchy of Lancaster, the property of which is scattered over several counties. These lands and privileges, though their inheritance has always been vested in the king and his heirs, have always been kept distinct from the hereditary revenues of the sovereign, whose palatine rights as duke of Lancaster were distinct from his rights as king. The Judicature Act of 1873 left only the chancery court of the duchy, but the chancellor can appoint and dismiss the county court judges within the limits of the duchy; he is responsible also for the land revenues of the duchy, which are the private property of the sovereign, and keeps the seal of the duchy. His appointment is by letters patent, and his salary is derived from the revenue of the duchy. As the judicial and estate work is done by subordinate officials, the office is practically a sinecure and is usually given to a minister whose assistance is necessary to a government, but who for one reason or another cannot undertake the duties of an important department. John Bright described him as the maid-of-all-work of the cabinet.

The chancellor of a diocese is the official who presides over the bishop's court and exercises jurisdiction in his name. This use of the word is comparatively modern, and, though v. 27 employed in acts of parliament, is not mentioned in the commission, having apparently been adopted on the analogy of the Icclesilike title in the state. The chancellor was originally astical the keeper of the archbishop or bishop's seals; but the office, as now understood, includes two other celdors. 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 Academic, originallymade b the popes, and the office from the &c. by P P 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.


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 archchancellor, an office which was imitated rather from the ErzKanzler 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.


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. 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 archchancellor (Erz-Kanzler) for Italy, was confirmed as papal archchancellor 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.

The archbishop of Mainz was arch-chancellor for Germany. The archbishop of Cologne held the dignity for Italy, and the archbishop of Trier for Gaul and the kingdom of Arles. The second and third of these dignities became purely formal with the decline of the Empire in the 13th century. But the archchancellorship of Germany remained to some extent a reality till the Empire was finally dissolved in 1806. The office continued to be attached to the archbishopric of Mainz, which was an electorate. Karl von Dalberg, the last holder of the office, and the first prince primate of the Confederation of the Rhine, continued to act in show at least as chancellor of that body, and was after a fashion the predecessor of the Bundes Kaanzler, or chancellor of the North German Confederation. The duties imposed on the imperial chancery by the very complicated constitution of the Empire were, however, discharged by a vicechancellor who was attached to the court of the emperor. The abbot of Fulda was chancellor to the empress.

The house of Austria in their hereditary dominions, and in those of their possessions which they treated as hereditary, even where the sovereignty was in theory elective, made a large and peculiar use of the title chancellor. The officers so called were of course distinct from the arch-chancellor and vicechancellor of the Empire, although the imperial crown became in practice hereditary in the house of Habsburg. In the family states their administration was, to use a phrase familiar to the French, "polysynodic." As it was when fully developed, and as it remained until the March revolution of 1848, it was conducted through boards presided over by a chancellor. There were three aulic chancellorships for the internal affairs of their dominions, "a united aulic chancellorship for all parts of the empire (i.e. of Austria, not the Holy Roman) not belonging to Hungary or Transylvania, and a separate chancellorship for each of those last-mentioned provinces" (Hartig, Genesis of the Revolution in Austria). There were also a house, a court, and a state chancellor for the business of the imperial household and foreign affairs, who were not, however, the presidents of a board. These "aulic" (i.e. court) officers were in fact secretaries of the sovereign, and administrative or political rather than judicial in character, though the boards over which they presided controlled judicial as well as administrative affairs. In the case of such statesmen as Kaunitz and Metternich, who were house, court, and state chancellors as well as "united aulic" chancellors, the combination of offices made them in practice prime ministers, or rather lieutenants-general, of the sovereign. The system was subject to modifications, and in the end it broke down under its own complications. We are not dealing here with the confusing history of the Austrian administration, and these details are only quoted to show how it happened that in Austria the title chancellor came to mean a political officer and minister. There is obviously a vast difference between such an official as Kaunitz, who as house, court, and state chancellor was minister of foreign affairs, and as "united aulic" chancellor had a general superiority over the whole machinery of government., and the lord high chancellor in England, the chancelier in France, or the canciller mayor in Castile, though the title was the same. The development of the office in Austria must be understood in order to explain the position and functions of the imperial chancellor (Reichs Kanzler) of the modern German empire. Although the present empire is sometimes rhetorically and absurdly spoken of as a revival of the medieval Empire, it is in reality an adaptation of the Austrian empire, which was a continuation under a new name of the hereditary Habsburg monarchy. The Reichs Kanzler is the immediate successor of the Bundes Kanzler, or chancellor of the North German Confederation (Bund). But the Bundes Kanzler, who bore no sort of resemblance except in mere name to the Erz-Kanzler of the old Empire, was in a position not perhaps actually like that of Prince Kaunitz, but capable of becoming much the same thing. When the German empire was established in 1871 Prince Bismarck, who was Bundes Kanzler and became Reichs Kanzler, took care that his position should be as like as possible to that of Prince Kaunitz or Prince Metternich. The constitution of the German empire is separately dealt with, but it may be pointed out here that the Reichs Kanzler is the federal minister of the empire, the ciiiet of the federal officials, and a great political officer, who directs the foreign affairs, and superintends the internal affairs, of the empire.

In these German states the title of chancellor is also given as in France to government and diplomatic officials who do notarial duties and have charge of archives. The title of chancellor has naturally been widely used in the German and Scandinavian states, and in Russia since the reign of Peter the Great. It has there as elsewhere wavered between being a political and a judicial office. Frederick the Great of Prussia created a Gross Kanzler for judicial duties in 1746. But there was in Prussia a state chancellorship on the Austrian model. It was allowed to lapse on the death of Hardenberg in 1822. The Prussian chancellor after his time was one of the four court ministries (Hofciniter) of the Prussian monarchy.

Authorities.-Du Cange, Glossarium, s.v. "Cancellarius"; W. Stubbs, Const. Hist. of England (1874-1878); Rudolph Gneist, Hist. of the English Constitution (Eng. trans., London, 1891); L. O. Pike, Const. Hist. of the House of Lords (London, 18 94); Sir William R. Anson, The Law and Custom of the Constitution, vol. ii. part i. (Oxford, 1907); A. Luchaire, Manuel des institutions francaises (Paris, 1892); K. F. Stumpf, Die Reichs Kanzler (3 vols., Innsbruck, 1865-1873); G. Seeliger, Erzkanzler and Reichskanzleien (ib. 1889); P. Hinschius, Kirchenrecht (Berlin, 1869); Sir R. J. Phillimore, Eccles. Law (London, 1895); P. Pradier-Fodere, Cours de droit diplomatique, ii. 542 (Paris, 1899).

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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

one who has judicial authority, literally, a "lord of judgement;" a title given to the Persian governor of Samaria (Ezra 4:8, 9, 17).

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

In Germany or Austria, the Chancellor is the leader of the government. "Chancellor" means the same thing as "Prime Minister". Italy has a Prime Minister, while Germany has a Chancellor. They have the same job but a different title. In the United Kingdom, the Chancellor means the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the person in charge of the country's finances (taxes and spending). Also in the United Kingdom, there is a Lord Chancellor. Chancellor is also a title given to public officials in some other countries.

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