« AnteriorContinuar »
"Jamjam stricturus moribunda in pectora ferrum,
Infelix virtus, et solis provida verbis !
Fortunam in rebus cur sequeris dominam."
"Aut virtus nomen inane est ;" Aut, &c., says Horace, (Epist. lib. i., Ep. 17-41.)
Such modifications, however, as the above, proposed by Barnes, would bend any text to any purpose; but our English commentators are arraigned of the most presumptuous boldness, (Bentley, Davies, Wakefield, &c.) in their editorial labors, by the continental professors, who confidently assert a superiority over us, of critical taste or acumen, in every department of literature-even in the illustration of our own drama. How far founded in truth these foreign pretensions may be, I cannot undertake to determine; but I hail this rivalry in the field of literary research, and critical sagacity, as the probable source of general advantage in the paths of study.
TITLES OF COURTESY.
TO THE EDITor of the gENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE.
Cork, October 1841.
MR. URBAN-In your number for August last, (Minor Correspondence, page 226,) PRÆCO asks, "Why the younger sons of the Earl of Surrey, who is only a shadow of his father's second title, are called Lords ?” The question is one of such easy solution, that I may almost assume, it will have been answered before this reply can reach you, but, should it not have attracted notice, I beg to inform PRÆCo, that it is not as the sons of an Earl by courtesy that those of Lord Surrey are so entitled: it is, as the grand-sons of a Duke by his eldest son, who, whether called Marquis, Earl, Viscount, or Baron, ranks as a Marquis, and, as such, confers the honorary title of Lord on his sons. The eldest son of the Duke of Somerset is nominally a Baron, but he precedes the eldest sons of junior Dukes, though denominated Marquises, such as the Marquis of Worcester, or of Tavistock; and his younger sons would be equally Lords by courtesy, as if their father were named a Marquis. The Duke of Sussex is only a Baron in Ireland, (Arklow,) but, as
Prince of the Blood, he would, as a Peer of that Realm, antecede the Duke of Leinster, or any junior Prince of the Royal Family, though bearing a higher title, like the Duke of Cambridge, who is Earl of Tipperary. The Chancellor, not only with a subordinate rank as a Peer, but when only Commoner, takes precedence even of the Dukes; and all Judges on the Bench are addressed as Lords. So too are the Scotch Lords Provost and Advocate, the two English and the Irish Mayors, of London, York, and Dublin.
Abroad, the eldest grandson of Louis Philippe is Count of Paris, while his younger brother is Duke of Chartres. The two last Kings of France, Louis XVIII. and Charles X., were Counts or Earls, preferably to being Dukes, before their accession to the throne; and in Spain, as I have had occasion to mention elsewhere, the title of Duke, in the first class of Grandees, does not stand higher than that of Count or Marquis in the same class, being all truly Peers,pares. The Duke d'Escalone, chief of the illustrious house of D'Acuña, is better and preferably known as the Marquis of Villena, because this Marquisate is the first in Castille; nor would the Count of Belvedere exchange that title for the nominally greater one of Duke. (Imhoff, Historia Genealogica, &c., Nuremberg, 1701, and St. Simon, tome xix.) In England, on the other hand, the superior title, except as above, overshadows the minor one, however ancient or illustrious it may be. The Marquisate of Winchester, the first in the empire, sunk, under a temporary eclipse, in the Dukedom of Bolton, as that of Norfolk similarly absorbs the Earldom of Arundel, the most
ancient in England.
In France, too, it is pretty much
as in England, save in Royal titles: the subordinate merges in the higher degrees of nobility; though the late Duke of Bourbon, in imitation of his ancestor, the grandson of the Great Condé, declined the princely title of Condé, on the demise of his father. This unhappy Duke became, in consequence of the murder of his son, the Duke d'Enghien, by Napoleon, the last of a brilliant name.
"Extremum tanti generis per secula nomen,"
as Lucan (vii. 589,) says of the younger Brutus; (and yet, Dionysius of Halicarnassus asserts that the first Brutus, after the execution of his sons, under his own sentence, left no male offspring.) Godfrey of Bouillon, the renowned leader of the first crusade, and hero of Tasso's noble epic, while King of Jerusalem, and Duke of Lower Lorraine, was and is scarcely known but as Lord of Bouillon. Still, even the Spaniards' pride yielded to the supremacy of the Imperial rank, when their Charles the First merged in the Fifth Charles of the German Empire, then the Head of Europe.
In Ireland, the Earl of Glencare was induced by Elizabeth to accept that peerage in exchange for his indigenal chieftainry of McCarthy More, which was considered a degradation by his followers, and he soon resigned it; but O'Brien and O'Neil, created, respectively, Earls of Thomond and Tyrone, thought it prudent to retain the badge of submission, much to their humiliation, in the feeling of the natives. When, in the last century, Pulteney was made Earl of Bath, and Pitt of Chatham, they forfeited the far
higher distinction of Great Commoners, as they had been successively called, and, as Lord Chesterfield expressed the virtual disgrace, were kicked up into the House of Lords. The first Commoner in England is the Speaker; and, as the Duke of Wellington truly maintained, the fitting seat for the Prime Minister, the ruling mind, of the empire, is in the House of Commons. The illustrious Duke himself, to adopt Lord Brougham's marked discrimination of birth and merit, in reference to the present Sovereign of Hanover, that excrescent incumbrance, and imperilling protégé of the empire, from which it is now happily relieved, is a Prince in other countries, as is the Duke of Marlborough; and the Earl of Nelson is a foreign Duke; but a British peerage justly supersedes all extraneous titles. Formerly, a Count of the Roman Empire was allowed a corresponding rank with us, and entitled Right Honorable—a distinction confined to them, unless in social courtesy, or official mission from a foreign Court. In France the Spanish Grandees ranked reciprocally on a parity with the Dukes and Peers, who looked on British noblemen, if not Dukes, as their inferiors.
Relative to Hanover, just alluded to, it may not be inapposite to state, that it is now on the eve of a full century, since Horace Walpole thus addressed his friend, Sir Horace (so afterwards created) Mann, in his Letter of 9th December 1742, and when Walpole's father was Prime Minister of the empire:-" Lord
* The first, though titled, Commoner, after the Speaker, is the eldest son of the Duke of Norfolk, as Premier Peer; for, as a Commoner, he sits in the House of Commons; and the first untitled, of course, after the Speaker, is the Viscount Hereford, the first Viscount's eldest son.