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though some are greatly superior to others, yet all are in law peers, in respect of their want of nobility.f

The first name of dignity, next beneath a peer, was ancient- Vidames. ly that of vidames, vice-domini, or valvasors;s who are mentioned by our ancient lawyersh as viri magnæ dignitatis; and Sir Edward Cokei speaks highly of them. Yet they are now quite out of use, and our legal antiquaries are not agreed upon even their original or ancient office.

Now, therefore, the first personal dignity, after the nobility, Knights. is a knight of the order of St. George, or of the garter, first instituted by Edward III., A.D. 1344.k Next (but not till after certain official dignities, as privy counselors, the chancellors of the Exchequer and duchy of Lancaster, the chief justice of the King's Bench, the master of the rolls, and the other English judges) follows a knight banneret; who, indeed, by statutes 5 Ric. II., st. 2, c. 4, and 14 Ric. II., c. 11, is ranked next after barons; and his precedence before the younger sons of viscounts was confirmed to him by order of King James I., in the tenth year of his reign. But in order to entitle himself to this rank, he must have been created by the king in person, in the field, under the royal banners, in time of open war; else he ranks after baronets, who are the next order; which title is a dignity of inheritance, created by letters patent, and usually descendible to the issue male. It was first instituted by King James the First, A.D. 1611, in order to raise a competent sum for the reduction of the province of Ulster in Ireland; for which reason all baronets have the arms of Ulster superadded to their family coat. Next follow knights of the bath, an order instituted by King Henry IV., and revived by King George the First. [404] They are so called from the ceremony of bathing the night before their creation. The last of these inferior nobility are knights bachelors, the most ancient, though the lowest order of knighthood among us; for we have an instance" of King Alfred's conferring this order on his son Athelstan. The custom of the ancient Germans was to give their young men a shield and a lance in the great council: this was equivalent to the toga virilis of the Romans; before this they were not permitted to bear arms, but were accounted as part of the father's household; after it, as part of the community. Hence some derive the usage of knighting, which has prevailed all over the western world, since its reduction by colonies from those northern heroes. Knights are called in Latin equites aurati: aurati from the gilt spurs they wore; and equites because they always served on horseback; for it is observable,p that almost all nations call their knights by some appellation derived from 1 Ibid., b. 2, c. 11, § 3. m 4 Inst., 6.

f 2 Inst., 29.

Camden, Britan., tit. Ordines.

h Bracton, 1. 1, c. 8.

i 2 Inst., 667.

Seld., tit. of Hon., b. 2, c. 5, § 41.

Wm. Malmsb., lib. 2.

• Tac., De Morib. Germ., 13.
P Camd., ibid.; Co. Litt., 74.

Colonels, sergeants


a horse. They are also called in our law milites, because they formed a part of the royal army, in virtue of their feudal tenures; one condition of which was, that every one who held a knight's fee immediately under the crown (which in Edward the Second's timeя amounted to £20 per annum) was obliged to be knighted, and attend the king in his wars, or fine for his non-compliance. The exertion of this prerogative as an expedient to raise money in the reign of Charles the First gave great offense, though warranted by law, and the recent example of Queen Elizabeth; but it was by the statute 16 Car. I., c. 16, abolished; and this kind of knighthood has, since that time, fallen into great disregard.

These, Sir Edward Coke says," are all the names of dignity in this kingdom, esquires and gentlemen being only names of worship. But before these last the heralds rank all colonels, [405] sergeants at law, and doctors in the three learned professions.

at law, and doctors.

4 Stat. De Milit. 1 Edw. II.
2 Inst., 667.

letters patent, 9, 10, and 14 Jac. I., which see in Seld., Tit. of Hon., ii., 5, 46, and ii., 11, 3; marked ‡, by ancient usage and established custom; for which see (among others) Camden's Britan., tit. Ordines; Milles's Catalogue of Honor, edit. 1610; and Chamberlayne's Present State of England, p. 3, ch. 3. TABLE OF PRECEDENCE.

The rules of precedence in England may be reduced to the following table: in which those marked * are entitled to the rank here allotted them, by statute 31 Hen. VIII., c. 10; marked t, by statute 1 W. & M., c. 21; marked, by


*The king's children and grand-chil-* Lord great chamberlain. But

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Archbishop of Canterbury.7

see private stat. 1 Geo. I., c. 3. * Lord high constable.

* Lord marshal.

*Lord admiral.

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*Lord chancellor or keeper, if a baron.* Lord chamberlain of the house


Archbishop of York.

*Lord treasurer.

* Lord president of the council.

* Lord privy seal.

If barons.

(5) It does not appear that the English word knight has any reference to a horse; for knight, or cnipt, in the Saxon,

(6) His Royal Highness Prince Albert, vide supra, p. 272, n. 30.

(7) It is said that, before the Conquest, by a constitution of Pope Gregory, the two archbishops were equal in dignity, and in the number of bishops subject to their authority; and that William the Conqueror thought it prudent to give precedence and superiority to the Archbishop of Canterbury; but Thomas, archbishop of York, was unwilling to acknowledge his inferiority to Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, and appealed to the pope, who referred the matter to the king and barons; and, in a council held at Windsor Castle, they decided in favor of the Arch

hold. *Dukes.

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Above all persons of

their own degree.

signifies puer, servus, or attendant; see Seld., Tit. of Hon., b. 2, c. 5, s. 33.

bishop of Canterbury; see Godw., Comm. de Præsul., 665. But the Archbishop of York, long afterward, refused to acquiesce in this decision; for Bishop Godwin relates a curious and ludicrous strug gle which took place in the reign of Hen. II., above one hundred years afterward, between Roger, archbishop of York, and Richard, archbishop of Canterbury, for the chair on the right hand of the pope's legate.-(Ib., 79.) Perhaps to this decision, and their former equality, we may refer the present distinction between them, viz.: that the Archbishop of Canterbury is primate of all England, and the Archbishop of York is primate of England.-[CHRISTIAN.]

Esquires and gentlemen are confounded together by Sir Ed- Esquires ward Coke, who observes,s that every esquire is a gentleman, men. and gentleand a gentleman is defined to be one qui arma gerit, who bears [406] coat armor, the grant of which adds gentility to a man's family; in like manner as civil nobility, among the Romans, was founded in the jus imaginum, or having the image of one ancestor at least, who had borne some curule office. It is, indeed, a matter somewhat unsettled what constitutes the distinction, or who is a real esquire; for it is not an estate, however large, that confers this rank upon its owner. Camden, who was himself a herald, distinguishes them the most accurately; and he reckons up four sorts of them :t 1. The eldest sons of knights, and their eldest sons in perpetual succession." 2. The eldest sons of younger sons of peers, and their eldest sons in like perpetual succession; both which species of esquires Sir Henry Spelman entitles armigeri natalitii. 3. Esquires created by the king's letters patent or other investiture, and their eldest sons. 4. Esquires by virtue of their offices; as justices of the peace, and others who bear any office of trust

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under the crown. To these may be added the esquires of knights of the bath, each of whom constitutes three at his installation and all foreign, nay, Irish peers ;" for not only these, but the eldest sons of peers of Great Britain, though frequently titular lords, are only esquires in the law, and must be so named in all legal proceedings. As for gentlemen, says Sir Thomas Smith, they be made good cheap in this kingdom; for whosoever studieth the laws of the realm, who studieth in the universities, who professeth the liberal sciences, and (to be short) who can live idly, and without manual labor, and will bear the port, charge, and countenance of a gentleman, he shall be callYeomen. ed master, and shall be taken for a gentleman. A yeoman is he that hath free land of forty shillings by the year; who was anciently thereby qualified to serve on juries, vote for knights [407] of the shire, and do any other act where the law requires one that is probus et legalis homo.z

Tradesmen, artificers, and labor


The rest of the commonalty are tradesmen, artificers, and laborers, who (as well as all others) must, in pursuance of the statute 1 Hen. V., c. 5, be styled by the name and addition of their estate, degree, or mystery, and the place to which they belong, or where they have been conversant, in all original writs of actions personal, appeals, and indictments, upon which process of outlawry may be awarded; in order, as it should seem, to prevent any clandestine or mistaken outlawry, by reducing to a specific certainty the person who is the object of its process.

* 3 Inst., 30; 2 Inst., 667.

y Commonw. of England, b. 1, c. 20.

22 Inst., 668.

(11) Vide supra, p. 402, note 3.





THE military state includes the whole of the soldiery, or such Military persons as are peculiarly appointed among the rest of the people for the safeguard and defense of the realm.

In a land of liberty it is extremely dangerous to make a distinct order of the profession of arms. In absolute monarchies this is necessary for the safety of the prince, and arises from the main principle of their constitution, which is that of governing by fear; but in free states the profession of a soldier, taken singly and merely as a profession, is justly an object of jealousy. In these no man should take up arms but with a view to defend his country and its laws: he puts not off the citizen when he enters the camp; but it is because he is a citizen, and would wish to continue so, that he makes himself for a while a soldier. The laws, therefore, and constitutions of these kingdoms know no such state as that of a perpetual standing soldier, bred up to no other profession than that of war; and it was not till the reign of Henry VII. that the kings of Yeomen of the guard. England had so much as a guard about their persons.'


In the time of our Saxon ancestors, as appears from Edward [409] the Confessor's laws, a the military force of this kingdom was on the Saxin the hands of the dukes, or heretochs, who were constituted on military through every province and county in the kingdom; being taken out of the principal nobility, and such as were most remarkable for being "sapientes, fideles, et animosi." Their duty was to lead and regulate the English armies, with a very unlimited power; "prout eis visum fuerit, ad honorem coronæ et utilitatem regni." And because of this great power they were elected by the people in their full assembly, or folkmote, in the same manner as sheriffs were elected; following still that old

a c. De Heretochiis.

(1) The yeomen of the guard, estab- don, Portsmouth, the Castle of Dover, lished by Hen. VII. in 1485, can scarcely the Fort of Tilbury, and, before the be considered the original of our military union of the crowns, Berwick, and some state; for they were only a particular other places on the Scottish border. Litclass of the king's domestic servants. tle is now known as to the nature of Their number was at first fifty, and seems these garrisons, except that they were never to have exceeded two hundred.- chiefly accustomed to the use of artil(Hallam, Con. Hist., ii., 180.) Regular lery, and that their whole number must troops, however, of some sort must have have been insignificant, and probably been maintained in those fortified places, at no time equal to resist any serious atwhere some show of defense has been tack. always kept up; as the Tower of Lon

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