Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In English law. The stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds Is a nominal office in the gift of the crown, usually accepted by members of the house of commons desirous of vacating their seats. By law a member once duly elected to parllament is compelled to discharge the duties of the trust conferred upon him, and is not enabled at wlll to resign it But by statute, if any member accepts any office of profit from the crown, (except officers in the army or navy accepting a flew commission,) his seat is vacated. If, therefore, any member wishes to retire from the representation of the county or borough by which he was sent to parliament, he applies to the lords of the treasury for the stewardship of one of the Chiltern Hundreds, which having received, and thereby accomplished his purpose, he again resigns the office. Brown.