It also has charge of the great seal of the United States, keeps the archives, publishes the statutes of Congress and controls the consular service.
Disappointed in his hope of obtaining the great seal on the death of Zamoyski, he at once conceived that the whole of the nobility had been insulted in his person, and proceeded to make all government impossible for the next three years.
The king exerted all his personal influence to overcome Yorke's scruples, warning him finally that the great seal if now refused would never again be within his grasp. Yorke yielded to the king's entreaty, went to his brother's house, where he met the leaders of the Opposition, and feeling at once overwhelmed with shame, fled to his own house, where in three days he was a dead man (January 20, 1770).
Following in the path struck out by Miss Strickland in her Lives of the Queens of England, and by Lord Brougham's Lives of Eminent Statesmen, he at last produced, in 1849, The Lives of the Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of England, from the earliest times till the reign of King George IV., 7 vols.
He had a principal share in compiling the statutes of the university, which passed the great seal on the 25th of September 1570, and in November following he was chosen vice-chancellor.
There are at present in existence four copies of Magna Carta, sealed with the great seal of King John, and several unsealed copies.
He became by a singular arrangement, only repeated in the case of Lord Ellenborough, a member of the cabinet, and remained in that position through various changes of administration for nearly fifteen years, and, although he persistently refused the chancellorship, he acted as Speaker of the House of Lords while the Great Seal was in commission.
In April 1673 he was appointed lord privy seal, and was disappointed at not obtaining the great seal the same year on the removal of Shaftesbury.
It was no doubt because of this that, three days before the Yorkist attack at Northampton, he delivered the great seal to the king in his tent near Delapre abbey, a nunnery by Northampton, on the 7th of July 1460 (Rot.
He was temporarily made keeper of the new great seal (14th of May).