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Hbkrt IV. by Act of Parliament, on accusation of having oeen aiding, together with some other Lords whose dignities were also reduced by the same statute, in the imprisonment of the Duke of Gloucester, Uncle to the King, which led to the Duke's death; the Commons, recommending his merits, petitioned the Crown for the restoration of his title of Marquis; to which the King signified his willingness, but the Earl himself opposed the request, and humbly prayed the King, Que come le nam de Marquis feust etrange nam en cest royaulme q'il ne lui vorroit auscunement donner ce nam de Marquis: car jamais par conge du Itoi il ne vorroit porter ne accepter pur lui nul tiel nam en auscune maniere. From this time it was not in use till the reign of Henby VI., who again created a member of the family of Beaufort to the title of Marquis of Dorset, which was soon afterwards merged in that of Duke of Somerset, and both were forfeited in 1463. The title of Dorset was however destined to be the first in which the marquisate should take root in the House of Lords; Thomas Grey, Lord Ferrers, of Groby, step-son of Edward IV., was by that King, in 1475, created Marquis of Dorset, which continued to be the distinguishing honour of his family till his grandson, father of the Lady Jane Grey, was created Duke of Suffolk, in 1551, and attainted in 1554. In the same year that the Marquis of Dorset was advanced to the dukedom, there being then one other existing Marquis in the person of William Parr, brother to King Henry VIII.'s sixth wife, (which title having become extinct in 1571,) William Paulet, Earl of Wiltshire, was created Marquis of Winchester, and though, after one hupdred and thirty-eight years, his successor was advanced to the Dukedom of Bolton, the latter title being now extinct, the Marquis of Winchester continues at the head of the Peers of his rank to the present day, the next to him, indeed, bearing date only from 1784. Except for about twenty years in and after the reign of Charles I., when there were five Marquises, no more than three noblemen have ever borne this title cotemporaneously in England till the latter half of the reign of George HL,
since which period its ranks have been filled up to an equal number with the Dukes.
This degree of nobility first appeared in Scotland in 1476, when James III. created his second son, at his baptism, Marquis of Ormond; "an empty title," says Douglas, and it does not appear what precedence was allotted to it, as that of Earl of Ross, to which the young prince was created four years afterwards, entirely superseded it. The title does not appear again in Scotland till, in the year 1599, James VI. advanced the Earls of Huntly and Arran to the dignity of Marquis; since that time it has been borne successively by two or three of the first families on their passage to the superior rank of Dukes, till the Union fixed the Marquises of Tweeddale and Lothian in the second grade; to which the titles of Huntly and Queensberry have since been added, by the extinction of their respective dukedoms.
In Ireland the title was still more rare, indeed almost unknown, till near the close of last century, but there are now fourteen Marquises in the Irish Peerage.
The Marquis's style is, "Most Honourable Marquis of ——and he is addressed, " My Lord Marquis."
The coronation robe of a Marquis is a mantle of crimson velvet, lined with white taffeta, and trimmed with a cape of ermine reaching from the neck to the elbow, distinguished by four rows of black spots on the right, and three on the left shoulder. His parliamentary robe, but for a similar distinction, would be the same as that of a Duke.
His cap and coronet also resemble the Duke, differenced only by four of the strawberry leaves on the rim being exchanged for as many golden balls. See the engraving above.
The eldest son, though in law only an Esquire, takes by courtesy his father's second title, and ranks next after the Earls. The Marquis's daughters and younger sons have by courtesy the titles of Ladies before their Christian and surnames, and all his children are styled Right Honourable, xxx ii
This is the most ancient order of our nobility. In the Saxon times the grandees of the kingdom, under the name of Ealdorman, (which literally has the same meaning as the Latin Senior or Senator,) had shires or other territories committed to their rule; and were sometimes from these governments denominated Shiremen, sometimes, from their military commands, described by the Saxon word Heretoga, and in Latin documents were styled Princeps, Dux, or Comes. These names seem all to be synonymous and indicative of a rank inferior to the Etheling or Princes of the blood, and superior to the Thane. With the Danes came in the title of Eorle, used in the parts subject to their power in a sense equivalent to this of Ealdorman, but admitted into the Saxon dominions with reference to the higher dignity of the King's immediate relatives; from whom, on the sway of Canute extending all over England, it descended to the same persons who had previously borne the title of Ealdorman.
This honour, with the authority and reverence attached to it, was conferred for life, or with an estate of inheritance at the King's pleasure ; but in those unsettled times no evidence remains of any long succession in the same family.
Upon the Norman conquest, the territorial possessions of the Saxon nobility were declared forfeited upon perpetually recurring pretences, and transferred to the Norman followers of the Conqueror; to whom, also, other fiefs were dispensed under the new denomination of Count or Countee, which, however, was soon again supplanted by the ancient title of Earl; though, singularly enough, the alien word that would not attach itself to the persons of its Norman owners, took root in their English shires, which from thence are called HISTORICAL VIEW OF
counties to this day. The Norman Earl, to which rank the most illustrious names of our early history belong, was invested with the third penny out of the Sheriff's court of the county; and there is some trace of his Saxon predecessor having also enjoyed it Upon the increase of their number in latter times, this revenue ceased; and it was usual to assign to them, in the patent of creation, in lieu of it, for the support of their dignity, a certain sum, frequently twenty pounds, out of the profits of the county, which also is obsolete; indeed the Earls have become so numerous that they now usually derive their titles from a town or village, or even a family name, instead of a county, as formerly.
The Earls and Barons, as they are the most ancient, so also have they always been the most numerous Orders of lhe Peerage; though in England, at the present time, the number of Barons nearly doubles that of Earls. In Ireland the number is nearly equal. But in Scotland, where the title is known to have existed almost four hundred years before any other parliamentary honour is recognised by official documents, this Order is more numerous than all the other degrees of the Peerage collectively.
The Earl's style is " the Right Honourable Earl of;"
he is addressed as " My Lord."
The robes of an Earl are differenced from those of a Duke by having three instead of four rows of ermine; in other respects they are precisely the same.
His cap, also, is the same as a Duke's. His Coronet is a circlet of gold enriched with jewels, from which rise eight points surmounted by as many balls of gold, and between them eight small strawberry leaves close to the upper rim of the circlet—See the engraving above.
The eldest son, though in law only an Esquire, takes by courtesy his father's second title, or in the unusual case of thsre being no second title, he is Lord with the family name. The daughters have by courtesy the title of Ladies before their christian and surnames, and, as well as the eldest son, are styled Right Honourable. The younger sons are Ktylea Honourable; and it is a peculiarity respecting them, that in the public schools they are distinguished in the school list as Mr. ;this is attached, however, to the title of Honourable, not to their being the sons of an Earl, and is equally applied to any sons of the nobility who by courtesy bear the title of Honourable.
In the Saxon times, next in rank to the Ealdorman was the Highgereve, or Shire-reve, an officiary dignity only, derived immediately from the King, and having still its representative in our High Sheriff; they were not deputies to the Earl, but held for the King's use such countries or territories as had no Ealdorman; and in those that had, the Sheriff had the custody of whatever rights the King reserved to himself in them. In Latin documents those officers were styled Vice-comites, but the particle vice did not then denote subordination, other than to the King, any more than it now does in the dignity we are considering.
This was introduced as a title of hereditary nobility in England, but without a shadow of official trust, by Henry VI., who found it established in his kingdom of France. In 1440, he created John, previously Baron Beaumont, Viscount Beaumont, and gave him place above the Barons; the title became extinct by the death of the first Viscount's son, in 1507 Meanwhile this rank had been conferred on the Lords Lovel and Welles, both extinct before 1507; and L'Isle, which failed in 1512, when the Viscount's degree no longer existed in the Peerage, till, after an interval ot twenty-one years, this title of L'Isle was revived. It failed again in 1541, but the Earl of Hertford, afterwards Duke of xxxv ,/ 2