(Reference: John Bouvier, A Law Dictionary Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America and the Several States of the American Union, Childs & Peterson, c1856.)
PREROGATIVE, civil law. The privilege, preeminence, or advantage which one person has over another; thus a person vested with an office, is entitled to all the rights, privileges, prerogatives, etc. which belong to it.
PREROGATIVE, English law. The royal prerogative is an arbitrary power vested in the executive to do good and not evil. Rutherf. Inst. 279; Co. Litt. 90; Chit. on Prerog.; Bac. Ab. h.t.
Proprietors of Charles River Bridge v. Proprietors of, 36 U.S. 420 (1837) 36 U.S. 420 (Pet.):
"The prerogative of the king is vested in him as necessary for the purposes of society; it extends to all things not injurious to his subjects, but 'stretcheth not to the doing of any wrong' (1 Bl. Com. 237-9 ); the objects for which it is held and exercised, are for the good of the subject, and the benefit of the commonwealth, and not his private emolument. It is a part of the common law (2 Inst. 63, 496); confined to what the law allows, and is for the public good (Hob. 261); and the increase of the public treasure. Hard. 27; 2 Vent. 268. The king is the universal occupant of the public domain, which he may grant at pleasure ( 11 Co. 86 b; 9 Pet. 748; Cowp. 210); but his grants are voidable, if they are against the good of the people, their usual and settled liberties, or tend to their grievance (2 Bac. Abr. 149; Show. P. C. 75); holding it for the common benefit as a trust, his prerogative is the guardianship of public property, for the general interest of his subjects." (Emphasis mine.)