17 NOVEMBER 1928, Page 22

As the late Clerk of the Privy Council, Sir Almerie

Fitzroy is naturally interested in its origins and progress through the ages, and his short History of the Privy Cvincil (Murray, 21s.) reflects his liking for the subject. His account. of the mediaeval Council is sketchy and uncertain. From the Tudors onwards he has more definite authorities to depend upon, and his illustrations of the work of the Star Chamber and of the

Committee for the Plantations, which developed ultimately and indirectly into the Colonial Office, are distinctly inte- resting. His account of the work of the Council to-day, on its administrative side issuing Orders and on its judicial side hearing Empire appeals through the Judicial Committee, is the best part of the book. He tells us that, when a new Seal is made, the old one is nominally " defaced " by the King in Council with a hammer. But the King's tap is so light that the old Seal is not damaged, much to the relief of the Lord Chancellor, whose perquisite it becomes. Sir Almeric recalls an occasion in 1900 when Queen Victoria had to " deface " the Seal, and Lord Halsbury retired " with an odd absence of grace as 'he struggled to make the proper genuflexions with the weight of two seals, nearly half a hundredweight in the aggregate, hugged to his bosom." * * • * *