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PEERAGE

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Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 273 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PEERAGE. custom." Of the sovereign's will and pleasure the appropriate method of announcement is by warrant under the sign-manual, or letters patent under the great seal. But, although the Crown has at all periods very frequently conceded special privileges of rank and place to particular persons, its interference with the scale of general precedence has been rare and exceptional. In 1540 it was provided by warrant from Henry 'VIII. that certain officers of the household therein named should precede the secretaries of state when and if they were under the degree of barons.' In 1612 James I. directed by letters patent, not without long and elaborate argument in the Star Chamber, that baronets, then newly created, should be ranked after the younger sons of viscounts and barons, and that a number of political and judicial functionaries should be ranked between knights of the Garter and such knights bannerets as should be made by the sovereign in person " under his standard displayed in an army royal in open war." 2 Four years later he further directed, also by letters patent, that the sons of baronets and their wives and the daughters of baronets should be placed before the sons of knights and their wives and the daughters of knights " of what degree or order soever." 3 And again in 16zo the same king commanded by warrant " after solemn argument before his majesty " that the younger sons of earls should precede knights of the privy council and knights of the Garter not being "barons or of a higher degree." 4 If we add to these ordinances the provisions relating to precedence contained in the statutes of several of the orders of knighthood which since then have been instituted or reconstructed, we shall nearly, if not quite, exhaust the catalogue of the interpositions of the sovereign with regard to the rank and place of classes as distinguished from individuals. Of " ancient usage and established custom " the records of the College of Arms furnish the fullest and most trustworthy evidence. Among them in particular there is a collection of early tables of precedence which were published by authority at intervals from the end of the 14th to the end of the 15th century, and to which peculiar weight has been attached by many successive generations of heralds. On them, indeed, as illustrative of and supplementary to the action of parliament and the Crown, all subsequent tables of precedence have been in great measure founded. The oldest is the " Order of All Estates of Nobles and Gentry," prepared apparently for the coronation of Henry IV. in 1399, under the supervision of Ralph Nevill, earl of Westmorland and earl marshal; and the next is the " Order of All States of Worship and Gentry," prepared, as announced in the heading, for the coronation of Henry VI. in 1429, under the supervision of the lord protector Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, and the earl marshal, John Mowbray, duke of Norfolk. Two more are of the reign of Edward IV., and were severally issued by John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester and lord high constable, in 1467, and by Anthony Widvile, Earl Rivers and lord high constable, in 1479. The latest is commonly and shortly known as the " Series Ordinum," and was drawn up by a special commission presided over by Jasper Tudor, duke of Bedford, it is presumed for observance at the marriage of Henry VII. and Elizabeth of York in 1486. To these may be added the " Order for the Placing of Lords and Ladies," taken at a grand entertainment given by command of Henry VIII. at the king's manor-house of Richmond in 1520 by Charles Somerset, earl of Worcester, lord chamberlain of the household, to the French ambassador, Olivier de la Vernade, seigneur de la Batie; the " Precedency of All Estates," arranged in 1594 by the commissioners for ' Quoted by Sir Charles Young from State Papers: published by Authority (4to, 1830), p. 623, in Privy Councillors and their Precedence (185o), p. 15. 2 Patent Rolls, loth Jac., pt. x. mem. 8. It is commonly stated that the bannerets here referred to could be made by the prince of Wales as well as by the king. But the privilege was conferred by James I. on Henry, the then prince of Wales, only (Selden, Titles of Honor, pt. ii. p. 750). 3 Ibid., 14th Jac., part ii. mem. 24; Selden, Titles of Honor, part ii. p. 752. ' Cited by Sir Charles Young, Order of Precedence, with Authorities and Remarks, p. 27 (London, 1851).executing the office of earl marshal; and the " Roll of the King's Majesty's most Royal Proceeding through London " from the Tower to Whitehall on the eve of the coronation of James I., also arranged by the commissioners for executing the office of earl marshal. On many isolated points, too, of more or less importance, special declaratory decisions have been from time to time propounded by the earls marshal, their substitutes and deputies; for example, in 1594, when the younger sons of dukes were placed before viscounts; in 1625, when the rank of knights of the Bath and their wives was fixed; and in 1615 and 1677, when the eldest sons of the younger sons of peers were placed before the eldest sons of knights and of baronets. It is from these miscellaneous sources that the precedence among others of all peeresses, the eldest sons and their wives and the daughters of all peers, and the younger sons and their wives of all dukes, marquesses and earls is ascertained and established. And further, for the purpose of proving continuity of practice and disposing of minor questions not otherwise and more conclusively set at rest, the official programmes and accounts preserved by the heralds of different public solemnities and processions, such as coronations, royal marriages, state funerals, national thanksgivings and so on, have always been considered to be of great historical and technical value.5 1.-General Precedence of Men. The sovereign; (I) prince of Wales; (2) younger sons of the sovereign; (3) grandsons of the sovereign; (4) brothers of the sovereign; (5) uncles of the sovereign; (6) nephews of the sovereign;6 (7) ambassadors; (8) archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England; (9) lord high chancellor of Great Britain or lord keeper of the great seal; (Io) archbishop of York, primate of England;? (II) prime minister; (12) lord high treasurer of Great 5 Selden, Titles of Honor, pt. ii. p. 753. 6 The precedence of the members of the royal family depends on their relationship to the reigning sovereign and not on their relation-ship to any of the predecessors of the reigning sovereign. It is provided by 31 Hen. VIII. c. lo that no person, " except only the King's children," shall have place " at the side of the Cloth of Estate in the Parliament Chamber," and that " the King's Son, the King's Brother, the King's Nephew, or the King's Brother's or Sister's Sons," shall have place before all prelates, great officers of state and peers. Lord Chief Justice Coke was of opinion that the king's nephew meant the king's grandson or nepos (Institutes, vol. iv. ch. 77). But, as Mr Justice Blackstone says, " under the description of the King's children his grandsons are held to be included without having recourse to Sir Edward Coke's interpretation of nephew " (Commentaries,vol. i. ch. 4). Besides, if grandson is to be understood by nephew, the king's grand-son would be placed after the king's brother. The prince of Wales is not specifically mentioned in the statute " for the placing of the Lords "; but, as he is always, whether the son or the grandson of the sovereign, the heir-apparent to the Crown, he is ranked next to the sovereign or the queen-consort. With the exception of the prince of Wales, all the male relations of the sovereign are ranked first in the order of their degrees of consanguinity with him or her, and secondly, in the order of their proximity to the succession to the Crown; thus the members of the several groups into which the royal family is divided take precedence according to their own seniority and the seniority of their fathers or mothers, the sons of the sons or brothers of the sovereign being preferred to the sons of the daughters or sisters of the sovereign among the sovereign's grandsons and nephews. ' By 31 Hen. VIII. c. To, the king's vicegerent " for good and due ministration of justice in all causes and cases touching the ecclesiastical jurisdiction " is placed immediately before the arch-bishop of Canterbury. The office of vicegerent or vicar-general was then held by Thomas, Lord Cromwell, afterwards earl of Essex, together with that of lord privy seal, and it was never conferred on any other person. By the Act of Union with Ireland the archbishops of Ireland had place next to the archbishops of England, and if consecrated before and not after the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland they retain this position under the Irish Church Act of 1869. At the coronation of William IV. the lord chancellor of Ireland walked next after the lord chancellor of Great Britain and before the lord president of the council and lord privy seal. In Ireland, if he is a peer he has precedence between the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, and if he is not a peer after the archbishop of Dublin. But, except in the House of Lords, the precedence of the lord chancellor of Great Britain or the lord keeper of the great seal is the same whether he is a peer or a commoner. The lord keeper has the same precedence as the lord chancellor under 5 Eliz. c. 18. But the last appointment to the lord keepership was that of Sir Robert Henley, afterwards Lord Henley, lord chancellor, and earl of Northington, in 1757, and the office is not likely to be revived. Britain; (13) lord president of the privy council; (14) lord keeper of the privy seal;' (15) lord great chamberlain of England; (16) lord high constable of England; (i7) earl marshal; (18) lord high admiral; (i9) lord steward of the household; (2o) lord chamber-lain of the household;2 above peers of their own degree; (21) dukes;' (22) marquesses; (23) dukes' eldest sons;' (24) earls; (25) marquesses' eldest sons; {26) dukes' younger sons; (27) viscounts; (28) earls' eldest sons; (29) marquesses' younger ' The lord president of the council and the lord privy seal, if they are peers, are placed by 31 Hen. VIII. c. io before all dukes except dukes related to the sovereign in one or other of the degrees of consanguinity specified in the act. And, since the holders of these offices have been and are always peers, their proper precedence if they are commoners has never been determined. 2 It is provided by 31 Hen. VIII. c. to that " the Great Chamber-lain, the Constable, the Marshal, the Lord Admiral, the Grand Master or Lord Steward, and the King's Chamberlain shall sit and be placed after the Lord Privy Seal in manner and form following: that is to say, every one of them shall sit and be placed above all other person-ages being of the same estates or degrees that they shall happen to be of, that is to say the Great Chamberlain first, the Constable next, the Marshal third, the Lord Admiral the fourth, the Grand Master or Lord Steward the fifth, and the King's Chamberlain the sixth." The office of lord high steward of England, then under attainder, is not mentioned in the act for the placing of the Lords, " because it was intended," Lord Chief Justice Coke says, " that when the use of him should be necessary he should not endure longer than hac vice " (Inst. iv. 77). But it may be noted that, when his office is called out of abeyance for coronations or trials by the House of Lords, the lord high steward is the greatest of all the great officers of state in England. The office of lord great chamberlain of England is hereditary in the coheirs of the last duke of Ancaster, who inherited it from the De Veres, earls of Oxford, in whose line it had descended from the reign of Henry I. The office of lord high constable of England, also under attainder, is called out of abeyance for and pending coronations only. The office of earl marshal is hereditary in the Howards, dukes of Norfolk, premier dukes and, as earls of Arundel, premier earls of England, under a grant in special tail male from Charles II. in 1672. The office of lord high admiral, like the office of lord high treasurer, is practically extinct as a dignity. Since the reign of Queen Anne there has been only one lord high admiral, namely, William, duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV., for a few months in the Canning administration of 1827. The lord steward and the lord chamberlain of the household are always peers, and have seldom been under the degree of earls. We may here remark that both the Scottish and Irish Acts of Union make no reference to the precedence of the great officers of state of Scotland and Ireland. Not to mention the prince of Wales, who is by birth steward of Scot-land, the earl of Shrewsbury is hereditary great seneschal of Ireland; the duke of Argyll is hereditary master of the household; the earl of Errol is hereditary lord high constable of Scotland; but what places they are entitled to in the scale of general precedence is altogether doubtful and uncertain. In Ireland the great seneschal ranks after the lord chancellor if he is a commoner, and after the archbishop of Dublin if the lord chancellor is a peer, and in both cases before dukes (" Order of precedence," Dublin Gazette, June 3, 1843). Again, on George IV.'s visit to Edinburgh in 1821, the lord high constable had place as the first subject in Scotland immediately after the members of the royal family. At every coronation from that of George III. to that of Queen Victoria, the lord high constable of Scotland has been placed next to the earl marshal of England, and, although no rank has been assigned on these occasions to the hereditary great seneschal of Ireland, the lord high constable of Ireland appointed for the ceremony has been at all or most of them placed next to the lord high constable of Scotland, It is worthy of notice, however, that Sir George Mackenzie, writing when lord advocate of Scotland in the reign of Charles II., says that " the Constable and Marischal take not place as Officers of the Crown but according to their creation as Earls," and he moreover expresses the opinion that "it seems very strange that these who ride upon the King's right and left hand when he returns from his Parliaments and who guard the Parliament itself, and the Honours, should have no precedency by their offices " (Observations, &c., p. 25, in Guillim's Display of Heraldry, p. 461 seq. ; but see also Wood-Douglas, Peerage of Scotland, i. 557). ' Both Sir Charles Young and Sir Bernard Burke place " Dukes of the Blood Royal " before dukes, their eldest sons before marquesses, and their younger sons before marquesses' eldest sons. In the " Ancient Tables of Precedence," which we have already cited, dukes of the blood royal are always ranked before other dukes, and in most of them their eldest sons and in some of them their younger sons are placed in a corresponding order of precedence. But in this connexion the words of the act for the placing of the Lords are perfectly plain and unambiguous: " All Dukes not aforementioned," i.e. all except only such as shall happen to be the king's son, the king's brother, the king's uncle, the king's nephew, or the king's brother's or sister's son, " Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts and Barons, not having any of the offices aforesaid, shall sit and be placed after their ancienty assons; (3o) bishops; (31) barons;' (32) speaker of the House of Commons; (33) commissioners of the great seal; 6 (34) treasurer of the household; (35) comptroller of the household; (36) master of the horse; (37) vice-chamberlain of the household; (38) secretaries of state; (39) viscounts' eldest sons; (4o) earls' younger sons; (4i) barons' eldest sons; (42) knights of the Garter; 8 (43) privy councillors; 9 (44) chancellor of the exchequer; (45) chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster; (46) lord chief it hath been accustomed." As Lord Chief Justice Coke and Mr Justice Blackstone observe, the degrees of consanguinity with the sovereign to which precedence is given by 31 Hen. VIII. c. to are the same as those within which it was made high treason by 28 Hen. VIII. c. 18 for any man to contract marriage without the consent of the king. Queen Victoria, by letters patent under the great seal in 1865, ordained that, " besides the children of Sovereigns of these realms, the children of the sons of any of the Sovereigns of Great Britain and Ireland shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style or attribute of ' Royal Highness ' with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names, or with their other titles of honour." But, notwithstanding this, their rank and place are still governed by the act for the placing of the Lords. The duke of Cumberland has no precedence as a cousin of the king, being the grandson of a son of George III. and would not be a " Royal Highness " at all if his father had not been, like his grandfather, king of Hanover. In Garter's Roll of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, the official list of the House of Lords, the duke of Cumberland is entered in the precedence of his dukedom after the duke of Northumberland. Under the combined operation of the act for the placing of the Lords and the Acts of Union with Scotland (art. 23) and with Ireland (art. 4), peers of the same degrees, as dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and barons, severally, have precedence according to priority in the creation of their respective peerages. But peerages of England created before 1707 precede peerages of Scotland created before 1707, peerages of Great Britain created between 1707 and 18oi precede peerages of Ireland created before 1801, and peerages of Ireland created before 18ot precede peerages of the United Kingdom and of Ireland created after 1801, which take precedence in common. The relative precedence of the members of the House of Lords, including the representative peers of Scotland and Ireland, is officially set forth in Garter's roll, which is prepared by the Garter king of arms at the commencement of each session of parliament, that of the Scottish peers generally in the Union Roll, and that of the Irish peers generally in Ulster's Roll, a record which is under the charge of and is periodically corrected by the Ulster king of arms. The Union Roll is founded on the Decreet of Ranking " pronounced and promulgated by a royal commission in 1606, which, in the words of an eminent authority in such matters, " was adopted at once as the roll of the peers in Parliament, convention and all public meetings, and continued to be called uninterruptedly with such alterations upon it as judgments of the Court of Session upon appeal in modification of the precedency of certain peers rendered necessary, with the omission of such dignities as became extinct and with the addition from time to time of newly created peerages—down to the last sitting of the Scottish Parliament on the 1st of May 1707 " (The Earldom of Mar, &c., by the earl of Crawford (25th) and Balcarres (8th), ii. i6). Eldest sons of peers of any given degree are of the same rank as, but are to be placed immediately after, peers of the first degree under that of their fathers; and the younger sons of peers of any given degree are of the same rank, but are to be placed after peers of the second degree and the eldest sons of peers of the first degree under that of their fathers. Secretaries of state, if they are barons, precede all other barons under 31 Hen. VIII. c. 1o. But if they are of any higher degree their rank is not influenced by their official position. e Under i Will. and Mary, c. 21, being the only commissioners for the execution of any office who have precedence assigned to them. The officers of the household who, under Henry VIII.'s warrant of 1540, precede the secretaries of state have been for a long time always peers or the sons of peers, with personal rank higher, and usually far higher, than their official rank. The practical result is, seeing also that the great seal is only very rarely indeed in commission, that the secretaries of state, when they are commoners whose personal precedence is below a baron's, have official precedence immediately after the speaker of the House of Commons. The principal secretaries, for so they are all designated, are officially equal to one another in dignity, and are placed among themselves according to seniority of appointment. 8 During more than two centuries only one commoner has been indebted for his precedence to his election into the order, and that was Sir Robert Walpole, the minister, who at the coronation of George II. in 1727 was placed as a knight of the Garter immediately before privy councillors. The proper precedence of both knights of the Thistle and knights of St Patrick is undecided. 9 Privy councillors of Great Britain and of Ireland take precedence in common according to priority of admission. The chancellors of the exchequer and of the duchy of Lancaster, the lord chief justice justice of England; (47) master of the rolls; (48) lords justices of appeal; ' (49) judges of the High Court of Justice; 2 (5o) knights bannerets made by the sovereign in person; (51) viscounts' younger sons; (52) barons' younger sons; (53) sons of lords of appeal;' (J4) baronets; * (55) knights bannerets not made by the sovereign in person; (56) knights of the first class of the Bath, the Star of India, St Michael and St George;' (57) the Indian Empire, the Royal Victorian Order; (58) knights of the second class of the Bath, the Star of India, and St Michael and St George;° other orders K.C.I.E., &c.; (59) knights bachelors;' (6o) sons of commanders of the Royal Victorian Order; (61) judges of county courts;8 (62) eldest sons of the younger sons of peers; (63) baronets' eldest sons; (64) knights' eldest sons; (65) baronets' younger sons; (66) knights' younger sons;9 of England, the master of the rolls, and the lords justices of appael are always members of the privy council, and have rank and place as privy councillors, if they are not also peers. The lords justices of appeal have precedence among themselves according to seniority of appointment. Until recently they were preceded by the lord chief justice of the common pleas and the lord chief baron of the exchequer (divisions of the High Court of Justice). But under existing arrangements these offices have fallen into abeyance, although they have not been formally abolished. The vice-chancellors used to follow the lords justices of appeal; but, in spite of the fact that there is still one vice-chancellor remaining, the office of vice-chancellor is extinct and will altogether disappear on his decease. In Ireland all these offices are in existence, but they have no precedence allotted to them in England; as the judges holding them are invariably privy councillors, however, they are ranked accordingly. And it is the same with regard to the lord justice-general and the lord justice-clerk in Scotland. 2 The judges of all the divisions of the High Court of Justice are ranked together according to seniority of appointment. Neither the senators of the College of Justice in Scotland nor the judges of the various divisions of the High Court in Ireland have any precedence in England. The precedence of the Scottish judges among them-selves is settled by a royal warrant of Nisbet in his System of Heraldry. The precedence of the Irish judges among themselves is the same as the precedence of the English judges among themselves used to be before the offices of chief justice of the common pleas and chief baron of the exchequer were suspended. 3 By warrants of the 3oth of March 1898, although lords of appeal rank with hereditary barons in order of creation, their sons stand in a class by themselves. ' It is a question whether baronets ought or ought not to have precedence, like peers, according as they are of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland or the United Kingdom. Baronets are not referred to in either the Scottish or the Irish Act of Union; and Sir Bernard Burke contends that, since the Acts of Union are silent with regard to them, they are still entitled to whatever precedence was originally conferred on them. He therefore places the whole body of the baronets together in the order merely of the dates of their several creations, and in this he appears to us to have both law and reason on his side. ' These knights consist of grand crosses of the first, grand commanders of the second, and grand crosses of the third order, and have precedence in their respective orders according to seniority of creation. By the statutes of the order of the Bath, as revised in 1847, it is ordained that the knights grand crosses are to be placed " next to and immediately after baronets," thus superseding knights bannerets not created by the sovereign in person. e Knights commanders of all three orders are placed in each order according to seniority of creation. ' Knights bachelors are ranked together according to seniority of creation, whether they are made by the sovereign or the lord lieutenant of Ireland. 3 Royal x. Warrant of 1884. 9 The sons of all persons, when any specified rank is assigned to them, are placed in the precedence of their fathers. Eldest sons of the younger sons of peers were ranked before the eldest sons of knights by order of the earl marshal, the 18th of March 1615, and before the eldest sons of baronets by order of the earl marshal, the 6th of April 1677. But no precedence has been given to the younger sons of the younger sons of peers, although precedence is given to the younger as well as the eldest sons of baronets and knights by James I.'s decree of 1616. Moreover, no precedence has been given to either the eldest or the younger sons of the eldest sons of peers. But in practice this omission is generally disregarded, and the children of the eldest sons of dukes, marquesses and earls, at all events, are accorded the same rank and titles which they would have if their fathers were actual instead of quasi peers of the degree next under that of their grandfathers. Sir Charles Young says that " by decision (Chap. Coll. Arms of 168o) if the eldest son of an earl died in his father's lifetime leaving a son and heir, such son and heir during the life of the earl his grandfather is(67) companions of the Bath, the Star of India, St Michael and St George and the Indian Empire;10 (68) members of the 4th class of the Royal Victorian Order; (69) companions of the Distinguished Service Order; (70) members of the 5th class of the Royal Victorian Order; (71) esquires;11 (72) gentlemen." 2.--General Precedence of Women The Queen;13 (I) queen dowager; (2) princess of Wales; (3) daughters of the sovereign; (4) wives of the sovereign's younger sons; (5) granddaughters of the sovereign; (6) wives of the sovereign's grandsons; (7) sisters of the sovereign; (8) wives of the sovereign's brothers; (9) aunts of the sovereign; (to) wives of the sovereign's uncles; (11) nieces of the sovereign; entitled to the same place and precedence as was due to his father: so had the father been summoned to parliament as the eldest son of a peer the grandson would succeed to the dignity even during the grandfather's lifetime " (Order of Precedence, p. 27). And, of course, what applies to the grandson and heir of an earl applies equally to the grandsons and heirs of dukes and marquesses. But the grandsons and heirs of viscounts and barons are differently situated, and have neither honorary additions to their names nor any ascertained place and precedence even by the etiquette of society. 10„Companions are members of the third class of the first three orders and the only members of the fourth order, except the sovereign and the grand master. Sir Charles Young and Sir Bernard Burke concur in placing the companions of these orders before the eldest sons of the younger sons of peers, on the ground that under their statutes they are entitled to precede " all Esquires of the Realm." But the sons of peers themselves—the eldest as well as the younger—are merely esquires, and are ranked before, and not among, other esquires because they have a particular precedence of their own assigned to them. Similarly the eldest sons of the younger sons of peers and the eldest sons of baronets and of knights who are also esquires, and likewise the younger sons of baronets and of knights who are not esquires, have a particular precedence of their own assigned to them. All of them are placed before esquires as a specific grade in the scale of general precedence, and it seems clear enough that it is before esquires, considered as a specific grade, that the companions of the orders ought to be placed and not before any other persons who, whether they are or are not esquires, have a definite and settled rank which is superior to that specific grade in the scale of general precedence. " It appears to be admitted on all hands that the following persons are esquires and ought to be so described in all legal documents and processes: first, the eldest sons of peers in the lifetime of their fathers, and the younger sons of peers both in and after the lifetime of their fathers; secondly, the eldest sons of the younger sons of peers and their eldest sons in perpetual succession, and the eldest sons of baronets and knights; thirdly, esquires created with or without the grant of armorial bearings by the sovereign; fourthly, justices of the. peace, barristers-at-law and mayors of corporations; and fifthly, those who are styled esquires in patents, commissions or appointments to offices under the Crown in the state, the household, the army or navy and elsewhere. Sir Bernard Burke accords precedence to serjeants-at-law and masters in lunacy, not only before esquires as such, but also before the companions of the orders of knighthood. It is, however, enough to observe with regard to the first, since no more of them are to be created, that, in spite of the extravagant pretensions which have been frequently urged by them and on their behalf, " they have not in the general scale," as Sir Charles Young says, " any precedence, and when under the degree of a Knight rank only as Esquires "; and with regard to the second, that the statute 8 & 9 Vict. C. 100, on which the Ulster king of arms bases their claims, simply provides that they " shall take the same rank and precedence as the masters in ordinary of the High Court of Chancery," who are now extinct, " apparently," to recur to Sir Charles Young, " assuming the rank of the masters without defining it." " The masters, however," he adds, " as such have not a settled place in the order of general precedency emanating from any authority by statute or otherwise " (Order of Precedence, p. 71). Sir William Blackstone says that before esquires " the Heralds rank all Colonels, Serjeants-at-Law and Doctors in the three learned professions " (Commentaries, vol. i. ch. 12). But the only foundation for this statement seems to be a passage in Guillim, which is obviously without any authority. " The heralds and lawyers are agreed that gentlemen are those who, by inheritance or grant from the Crown, are entitled to bear coat armour (see Coke, Inst. iv. ch. 77; Blackstone, Comm. i. ch. 12 ; Selden, Titles of Honor, pt. ii. ch. 8; Guillim, Display of Heraldry, pt. ii. ch. 26). 13 The queen-consort is the second personage in the realm, and has precedence of the queen-dowager. But the husband of a reigning queen has no rank or place except such as is specially accorded to him by the sovereign. (r2) wives of the sovereign's nephews;' (13) wives of dukes of the blood royal; (14) duchesses;2 (15) wives of eldest sons of dukes of the blood royal; (16) marchionesses; (17) wives of the eldest sons of dukes; (18) dukes' daughtersi3 (19) countesses; (20) wives of younger sons of dukes of the blood royal; (21) wives of the eldest sons of marquesses; (22) marquesses' daughters; (23) wives of the younger sons of dukes; (24) viscountesses; (25) wives of the eldest sons of earls; (26) earls' daughters, (27) wives of the younger sons of marquesses; (28) baronesses; (29) wives of the eldest sons of viscounts; (30) viscounts' daughters; (31) wives of the younger sons of earls; (32) wives of the eldest sons of barons; (33) barons' daughters; (34) maids of honour to the queen;' (35) wives of knights of the Garter; (36) wives of knights bannerets made by the sovereign in person; (37) wives of the younger sons of viscounts; (38) wives of the younger sons of barons; (39) baronets' wives; (40) wives of knights bannerets not made by the sovereign in person; (41) wives of knights of the Thistle; (42) wives of knights of St Patrick; (43) wives of knights grand crosses of the Bath, grand commanders of the Star of India, and grand crosses of St Michael and St George; (44) wives of knights commanders of the Bath, the Star of India, and St Michael and St George; (45) knights bachelors' wives; (46) wives of the eldest sons of the younger sons of peers; (47) daughters of the younger sons of peers; (48) wives of the eldest sons of baronets; (49) baronets' daughters; (50) wives of the eldest sons of knights; (51) knights' daughters; (52) wives of the younger sons of baronets; (53) wives of the younger sons of knights; 5 (J4) wives of commanders of the Royal Victorian Order, companions of the Bath, the Star of India, St Michael and St George, and the Indian Empire; (55) wives of members of the 4th class Royal Victorian Order; (56) wives of esquires;s (57) gentlewomen;? A special table of precedence in Scotland is regulated by a royal warrant dated the 16th of March 1905, and a special table of precedence in Ireland was set forth by authority of the Lord Lieutenant (Jan. 2, 1895). Both contain errors and will probably be revised. Attention to the foregoing tables will show that general precedence is of different kinds as well as of several degrees. It is first either personal or official, and secondly either substantive or derivative. Personal precedence belongs to the royal ' There is no act of parliament or ordinance of the Crown regulating the precedence of the female members of the royal family. But the above is the gradation which appears to have become established among them, and follows the analogy supplied by the act for the placing of the lords in the case of their husbands and brothers. Peeresses in their own right and peeresses by marriage are ranked together, the 'first in their own precedence and the second in the precedence of their husbands. Among the daughters of peers there is no distinction between the eldest and the younger as there is among the sons of peers. Their precedence is immediately after the wives of their eldest brothers, and several degrees above the wives of their younger brothers. They are placed among themselves in the precedence of their fathers. But the daughter of the premier duke or baron ranks after the wife of the eldest son of the junior duke or baron. Maids of honour to the queen are the only women who have any official precedence. They have the style or title of honour-able, and are placed immediately after barons' daughters by Sir Bernard Burke, the rank which is accorded to them by the etiquette of society. But Sir Charles Young does not assign any precedence to them, and we do not know on what authority the Ulster king of arms does so, although he is by no means singular in the course he has taken. ' The wives of baronets and knights, the wives of the eldest sons and the daughters of the younger sons of peers, and the wives of the sons and the daughters of baronets and knights are all placed severally in the precedence of their respective husbands, husbands' fathers and fathers. 6 " Esquire " and " gentleman " are not names of " dignity " but names of " worship," and esquires and gentlemen do not, in strictness, convey or transmit any precedence to their wives or children (see Coke, Inst. ii., " Of Additions," p. 667). " And generosus and generosa are good additions: and if a gentlewoman be named Spinster in any original writ, i.e. appeal or indictment, she may abate and quash the same, for she hath as good right to that addition as Baroness, Viscountess, Marchioness or Duchess have to theirs " (Coke, Inst. ii., " Of Additions," p. 668).family, the peerage and certain specified classes of the cornmonalty. Official precedence belongs to such of the dignitaries of the Church and such of the ministers of state and the household as have had rank and place accorded to them by parliament or the Crown, to the speaker of the House of Commons and to the members of the privy council and the judicature. Substantive precedence, which may be either personal or official, belongs to all those whose rank and place are enjoyed by them independently of their connexion with anybody else, as by the arch-bishop of Canterbury, the lord high chancellor or the lord great chamberlain, peers and peeresses, baronets, knights and some esquires. Derivative precedence, which can only be personal, belongs to all those whose rank and place are determined by their consanguinity with or affinity to somebody else, as the lineal and collateral relations of the sovereign, the sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of peers and peeresses in their own right, and the wives, sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of baronets, knights and some esquires., It is to be observed, however, that the precedence of the sovereign is at once official and personal, and that the precedence of peeresses by marriage is at once derivative and substantive. In the case of the sovereign it is his or her actual tenure of the office of king or queen which regulates the rank and place of the various members of the royal family, and in the case of peeresses by marriage, although their rank and place are derivative in origin, yet they are substantive in continuance, since during coverture and widow-hood peeresses by marriage are as much peeresses as peeresses in their own right, and their legal and political status is precisely the same as if they had acquired it by creation or inheritance. Bearing the above definitions and explanations in mind, the following canons or rules may be found practically useful: 1. Anybody who is entitled to both personal and official precedence is to be placed according to that which implies the higher rank. If, for example, a baron and a baronet are both privy councillors, the precedence of the first is that of a baron and the precedence of the second is that of a privy councillor. And similarly, except as hereafter stated, with respect to the holders of two or more personal or two or more official dignities. 2. Save in the case of the sovereign, official rank can never supply the foundation for derivative rank. Hence the official precedence of a husband or father affords no indication of the personal precedence of his wife or children. The wives and children, for example, of the archbishop of Canterbury, the lord high chancellor or the speaker of the House of Commons do not participate in their official rank but only in their personal rank, whatever it may be. 3. Among subjects men alone can convey derivative rank, except in the case of the daughters and sisters of the sovereign, or of peeresses in their own right. But no man can acquire any rank or place by marriage. The sons-in-law or brothers-in-law of the sovereign and the husbands of peeresses in their own right have as such no precedence whatever. And the daughter and heiress of the premier duke of England, unless she happens to be also a peeress in her own right, does not transmit any rank or place to her children. 4. Within the limits of the peerage derivative rank is as a rule always merged in personal, as distinguished from official, substantive rank. If, for example, the younger son of a duke is created a baron or inherits a barony, his precedence ceases to be that of a duke's younger son and becomes that of a baron. But where the eldest son of a duke, a marquess or an earl is summoned to the House of Lords in a barony of his father's, or succeeds as or is created a baron, he is still, as before, " commonly called " by some superior title of peerage, as marquess, earl or viscount, and retains his derivative precedence on all occasions, except in parliament or at ceremonies which he attends in his character as a peer. The younger sons of all peers, however, who are created or who inherit peerages—which they often do under special limitations—are everywhere placed according to their substantive rank, no matter how inferior it may be to their derivative rank. But if the son of a duke or a marquess, whether eldest or younger, or the eldest son of an earl is consecrated a bishop his derivative rank is not merged in his substantive rank, because it is official, and his derivative and personal rank implies the higher precedence. Again, the daughters of dukes, marquesses and earls who become peeresses by marriage or creation, or who inherit as peeresses, are placed according to their substantive and not according to their derivative rank, although they may thereby be assigned a far lower precedence than that to which their birth entitles them. 5. The widows of peers and baronets have precedence immediately before the wives or widows of the next successors in their husbands' dignities. But the sons and daughters of peers and baronets have precedence immediately before the sons and daughters of the holders of the dignities to whom their fathers succeeded. The reason of this is that the first are senior in the dignities and the second are nearer in the line of succession to them. 6. The widows of peers who marry again either share the precedence of their second husbands or resume the precedence belonging to them independently of their marriage with their first husbands. Thus, if the daughter of a duke or an esquire marries first an earl and secondly a baron, although she remains a peeress, she is placed as a baroness instead of a countess. But if either of them should marry a commoner as her second husband, whatever may be his rank or degree, she ceases to be a peeress. While, however, the duke's daughter, if her second husband were not the eldest son of a duke, would resume her precedence as the daughter of a duke, the esquire's daughter would share the precedence of her second husband, whether he were a peer's son, a baronet, a knight or an esquire. The widows of peers have long kept their former rank in society, but they have no such right unless by permission of the sovereign, which permission has on several recent occasions been refused. 7. The widows of the eldest and younger sons of dukes and marquesses and of the eldest sons of earls, and also the widows of baronets and knights who marry again, are permitted by the etiquette of society to keep the titles and rank acquired by their first marriage if their second marriage is with a commoner whose precedence is considerably lower. But the widows of the younger sons of earls and of the eldest and younger sons of viscounts and barons, although their precedence is higher than that of the widows of baronets and knights, are not allowed to retain it, under any circumstances, after a second marriage. 8. Marriage does not affect the precedence of peeresses in their own right unless their husbands are peers whose peerages are of a higher degree, or, being of the same degree, are of more ancient creation than their own. If, for example, a baroness in her own right marries a viscount she is placed and described as a viscountess, or if she marries a baron whose barony is older than hers she is placed in his precedence and described by his title. But if she marries a baron whose barony is junior to hers she keeps her own precedence and title. 9. The daughters of peers, of sons of peers, baronets and knights retain after marriage the precedence they derive from their fathers, unless they marry peers of any rank or commoners of higher rank than their own. Hence, for example, the daughter of a duke who marries the eldest son of a marquess is placed as a duke's daughter, not as the wife of a marquess's eldest son, and the daughter of a baronet who marries the younger son of a knight is placed as a baronet's daughter and not as the wife of a knight's younger son. ro. What are termed " titles of courtesy " are borne by all the sons and daughters of peers and peeresses in their own right, who in this connexion stand on exactly the same footing. The eldest sons of dukes, marquesses and earls are designated by the names of one or other of the inferior peerages of their fathers, usually a marquessate or an earldom in the first, an earldom or a viscounty in the second and a viscounty or barony in the third case. The rule applicable in former times, still adhered to by the older English dignities, was that a duke's eldest son was styled earl, the son of a marquess, viscount, the son of an earl,baron. No such rule obtained in Scotland. But, whatever it may be, it is altogether without effect on the rank and place of the bearer, which are those belonging to him as the eldest son of his father. The younger sons of dukes and marquesses are styled " lords," followed by both their Christian names and surnames. The younger sons of earls and both the eldest and the younger sons of viscounts and barons are described as "honourable" before both their Christian names and surnames. The daughters of dukes, marquesses and earls are styled " ladies" before both their Christian names and surnames. The daughters of viscounts and barons are described as "honourable " before both their Christian names and surnames. If the eldest son of a marquess or an earl marries a woman of rank equal or inferior to his own, she takes his title and precedence; but if she is of superior rank she retains, with her own precedence, the prefix " lady " before her Christian name followed by the name of her husband's title of courtesy. Again, if the younger son of a duke or a marquess marries a woman of rank equal or inferior to his own, she is called " lady," with his Christian and surname following, and is placed in his precedence, but, if she is of superior rank, she retains, with her own precedence, the prefix " lady " before her Christian name and his surname. If the daughter of a duke, a marquess or an earl marries the younger son of an earl, the eldest or younger son of a viscount or baron, a baronet, a knight or an esquire, &c., she retains, with her own precedence, the prefix " lady " before her Christian name and her husband's surname. If the daughter of a viscount marries the younger son of an earl or anybody of inferior rank to him, or the daughter of a baron marries the younger son of a viscount or anybody of inferior rank to him, she retains her own precedence with the prefix " honourable " before the addition " Mrs " and his surname or Christian name and surname. But, if her husband is a baronet or a knight, she is called the Honour-able Lady Smith or the Honourable Lady Jones, as the case may be. The wives of the younger sons of earls and of the eldest and younger sons of viscounts and barons, if they are of inferior rank to their husbands, take their precedence and are described as the Honourable Mrs, with the surnames or Christian names and surnames of their husbands following. The judges were placed by James I. before the younger sons of viscounts and barons and accorded the title of " honourable " (q.v.). But in this addition their wives do not participate, since it is merely an official distinction. - It is manifest on even a cursory examination of the tables we have given that, although they embody the only scheme of general precedence, whether for men or for women, which is authoritatively sanctioned or recognized, they are in many respects very imperfectly fitted to meet the circumstances and requirements of the present day.' In both of them the limits prescribed to the royal family are pedantically and inconveniently narrow, and stand out in striking contrast to the wide and ample bounds through which the operation of the Royal Marriage Act (12 Geo. III. c. II) extends the disabilities but not the privileges of the sovereign's kindred. Otherwise the scale of general precedence for women compares favourably enough with " There are no doubt certain public ceremonials of State, such as Coronations, Royal Public Funerals and Processions of the Sovereign to Parliament, &c., wherein various public functionaries walk and have for the occasion certain places assigned to them, but which they may not at all times find the same, as it by no means follows that they are always entitled to the same place for having been there once: there is to a certain. extent a precedent furnished thereby, and in some cases the uniformity of precedence in regard to one class over another has in such cases become established. This applies, for instance, to the places of the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, Law Officers of the Crown and Masters and Six Clerks in Chancery, who have no definite or fixed place in the tables of precedency regulating the. general orders of society, though in reference to State ceremonials they have certain places assigned in the order of procession in right of their offices, which, however, give them no general rank. Upon such occasions, nevertheless, the legal rank and precedence which they hold in the Courts of Law is observed, and so far establishes among themselves, and in respect to their several classes, their precedency " (Sir Charles Young, Order of Precedence, &c., pp. 59-61). the scale of general precedence for men. If, indeed, it includes general precedence, and who, as matters now stand, would the queen's maids of honour and the wives of the companions of the knightly orders, there certainly does not seems to be any good reason why it should omit the mistress of the robes and the ladies of the bedchamber, or the ladies of the royal order of Victoria and Albert and the imperial order of the Crown of India. But these are trifling matters in themselves, and concern only a minute fraction of the community. The scale of general precedence for men is now in substantially the same condition as that in which it has been for between two and three centuries, and the political, to say nothing of the social, arrangements to which it was framed to apply have in the interval undergone an almost complete transformation. The consequence is that a good deal of it has come down to us in the shape of a survival, and has ceased to be of any practical use for the purpose it was originally designed to effect. While it comprises several official and personal dignities which are virtually obsolete and extinguished, it entirely omits the great majority of the members of Government in its existing form, and whole sections of society on a less exalted level, to whom it is universally felt that some rank and place at all events are both in public and in private justly due. And, when it does confess the presence of any of the sovereign's principal ministers, it commonly places them in positions which are out of all keeping with their actual eminence and importance. It ranks the lord president of the council and the lord privy seal before dukes, while it places the chancellor of the exchequer after the younger sons of earls and the eldest sons of barons, and the secretaries of state after the master of the horse and the vice-chamberlain of the household. The lord chancellor still has precedence as the first of the great officers of state, which was allotted to him not as what he is, the head of the judicature, but as what he once was, the prime minister of the sovereign; and the lord chief justice, who is next to him in regular judicial rank, as presiding over the common law courts, as he presides over the courts of equity, is placed after the chancellors of the exchequer and of the duchy of Lancaster, who still have the precedence which was allotted to them not as ministers, which they are, but as judges, which they are no longer. Neither the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, the viceroy of India, nor the governor-general of Canada has any rank or place at St James's, where, as well as at Westminster, the lord steward or the lord chamberlain of the household is a much greater and more splendid personage. Again, in the scale of general precedence there are no clergymen except bishops, no lawyers except judges, and no officers of either the army or the navy from field marshals and admirals of the fleet downwards. Nor, of course, are any colonial governors or lieutenant-governors entered on it. It contains no mention of under-secretaries of state, chairmen or commissioners of administrative boards, comptrollers or secretaries of government departments, lord-lieutenants or sheriffs of counties, deputy lieutenants or justices of the peace, members of the House of Commons or graduates of the universities. It is true that among some of these classes definite systems of subordination are established by either authority or usage, which are carefully observed and enforced in the particular areas and spheres to which they have reference. But we have seldom any means of determining the relative value of a given term in one series as compared with a given term in another series, or of connecting the different steps in the scales of local, professional or academical precedence with the different steps in the scale of general precedence, to which such scales of special precedence ought to be contributory and supplementary. We know, for example, that major-generals and rear-admirals are of equal rank, that with them are placed commissaries-general and inspectors-general of hospitals and fleets, that in India along with civilians of thirty-one years' standing they immediately follow the vice-chancellors of the Indian universities, and that in relation to the consular service they immediately precede agents-general and consuls-general. But there is nothing to aid us in determining whether in England they should be ranked with, before or after deans, king's counsel or doctors in divinity, who are as destitute as they are themselves of any recognized certainly have to give place to the younger sons of baronets and knights and the companions of the knightly orders. No foreigner has any legal precedence in Great Britain,' but it is suggested that it being proper courtesy to accord to guests the precedence due to the rank they bear in their own countries, they should rank in society with and immediately before those of the relative rank in England. It should, how-ever, be remembered that the younger sons of counts and other nobles bear the title of count with the addition of the Christian name, and they should be ranked with younger sons of British earls, &c., whatever title they bear. The eldest son of a duke for example is sometimes called prince, but the place accorded to him by the above rule would be next after a British marquess. Some persons of authority consider, however, that a foreigner should be given precedence over every native whatever the rank may be. It has now become usual to recognize ecclesiastical rank derived from the pope, even when held by subjects of the king. Cardinals, therefore, rank by international usage above arch-bishops, as princes of the blood royal, and in Ireland, Roman Catholic and Protestant bishops rank as such by authority of the warrants there in force. An order respecting precedence was sent by the secretary of state for the colonies to the governor-general of Canada (July 24, 1868). Precedence in India is regulated by a Royal Warrant dated the 6th of May 1871, a copy of which is subjoined.
End of Article: PEERAGE
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