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affinity to the operation of a fee simple, that a few particulars only require notice, in which it differs from that wellunderstood rule of common law. First, then, it is distinctly aid down that the writ of summons conveys no inheritance rxcept to the descendants of the first Baron who took his seat under it. Secondly, on the failure of an equally proximate male the right of females is admitted, as in inheritances at common law; but with a difference growing out of the nature of the estate, which, being a Parliamentary Barony, is indivisible.* Thus, if a Baron leaves no son, the honour becomes vested in his daughters; if he has only one daughter, she succeeds to it, but if there be more daughters than one, the title falls into Abeyance amongst them, and continues in that state either until all but one of the daughters be deceased without issue, or the sole heir of only one daughter survives; in which case the Barony devolves on the surviving daughter, or the heir of her body. If, however, the representation of such daughter be among her co-heirs, the dignity falls into abeyance among them, but the moment the representation is vested in an individual, that individual will have an immediate right to the Barony. During the continuance of the abeyance it is the prerogatire of the Crown to terminate it, by conferring the Peerage on any one of the co-heirs; no one being injured by this operation of the royal favour, as no one could claim the title until all the other co-heirs were extinct The person so preferred, however, must be the heir-general of one of the original co-heirs, or of some later co-heir of her moiety of the inheritance. The manner of terminating the abeyance of a dignity in favour of a male co-heir who is not a Peer, is by the issuing of a writ of summons, by the style and title of the Barony in abeyance; put when the person in whose favour an abeyance is to be determined is already a peer, and has a higher dignity, the Sovereign confirms the Barony to him by letters patent; and in the case of a female, an abeyance is also terminated by patent On failure of the descendants of the body of
• Fcr this account of the law of Abeyance, we ore indebted lo tliiU valuable wirk, the Synopsis of the Peerage of England, by Sir Harris Nicolcs.
the person so summoned, or confirmed by patent, the Barony would again fall into abeyance, unless such failure involved that of all the other branches, leaving a sole representative of one of the original co-heirs, who in that case would take the title by right of inheritance from his ancestor. It must be remembered that the representation of a Barony by writ is always vested in the heirs of the body of the person first created; thus, on the death of a Baron who inherited the dignity, without issue, the title, if he has no brother living, or there be no issue of such brother, will become vested in his 6ister or sisters, or their heirs; in default of which it will revert to his eldest uncle of the side from whom he inherited the dignity, or his issue; failing which, to his aunts and their issue; the females of each generation being preferred to the males of the preceding generation. On the failure of the issue of a Baron who inherited a dignity from his mother, and also the issue of his mother, the dignity of course devolves on his maternal ancestors.
It may here be remarked that the style of summons to Parliament as addressed to an English Baron differs from that addressed to the other orders of Nobility: these latter are always summoned by their Christian names and titles, as Henry-Charles, Duhe of Norfolk; John, Marquis of Winchester. But the Barons by their Christian and Surnames, to which the title is added, with the addition of the Norman Style, "Chevalier;" thus, Fitzroy-James-Henry Somerset, of Raglan, in the County of Monmouth, Chevalier.
When the eldest son of a Peer is summoned by Writ to the House of Lords in his father's lifetime, and placed in a Barony vested in his father; the writ neither takes the Barony out of the father, nor creates any new estate in it in the son, but is merely allowed to enable him to sit in Parliament. If, however, he should die before his father, leaving an heir of his body capable of inheriting the Barony, according to the original limitation of it, such heir, if a son of full age, would also be entitled to a Writ of Summons.
The rank of Baron has always had the preponderance in number over the other classes of the English Peerage, but at present it is a more numerous body than all the other Peers collectively.
In Scotland, the title of Baron does not appear till the year 1430, when Thomas Dominus Somerville is named as one of the conservators of the truce with England. After this time, the title became common, but the dates of the earlier creations are so uncertain, that it is not easy to settle the precedence of the respective Barons. Where no patent appears, the descent of a Peerage is usually, as in England, to the heirs-general, but with preference of primogeniture amongst the daughters as well as amongst the sons; and this is frequently the line of descent marked out by the patents or charters of creation. The number of Barons has never been great in the Peerage of Scotland, and is now about half that of the Earls.
Kingsale, the first' Irish Barony, bears date 1181; the nature of the Irish Baronies resembles those of England, being originally founded on feudal tenure, afterwards on writs of summons to Parliament, and lastly on creations by Patent. The number is about equal to that of the Earls.
The style of a Baron is "the Right Honourable Lord ,"
he is addressed as "My Lord." His robes are differenced from those of a Viscount by having two rows of ermine spots only; his Coronet, by having only six balls on its upper rim. His sons and daughters are all styled Honourable.
THE LORDS SPIRITUAL.
Wc have already seen that by the laws of King Athelstan the Bishops were ranked with Ealdormen or Earls, and the Messe Thanes, or Priests, with the World or Secular Thanes. But they were exempt from the services the Crown was entitled to claim from the secular nobility; which, however, William the Conqueror, early in his reign, imposed on the Bishops, by converting their lands into secular Baronies; thereby requiring of them both military service and attendance on the King's Courts, subsequently the High Court of Parliament; and this attendance was especially confirmed by thc^Constitutions of Clarendon, in the reign of Henry II.
The Archbishop of Canterbury ranks as the first subject in the realm, next after the Blood Royal. The Lord High Chancellor is the second, and the Archbishop of York the third. Bishops, by a statute of Henry VIII., rank next after the Viscounts, taking precedence of all Barons.
The Archbishop is styled "His Grace," and "The Most
Reverend Father in God, the Lord Archbishop of ."
A Bishop is " The Right Reverend Father in God, the Lord Bishop of ." He is styled « My Lord." The Archbishop of Canterbury writes himself, " by Divine Providence, Archbishop of Canterbury, &c." The Archbishop of York and the other Bishops use the form, "by Divine Permission." The Mitre is a high cap, pointed and cleft at the top, with two pendants fringed at the ends hanging from the lower part of the cap; the Bishop's cap is surmounted with a fillet of gold enriched with jewels; that of the Archbishop with a ducal coronet.
It has been observed that in the reign of King John the Barones Minores lost the right of individual summons to Parliament; the title of Baronet was afterwards frequently applied to this class of nobility, and is so used in a statute as # late as the reign of King Richard II. But it was a general term without any defined application till the reign of James I. This monarch, finding his expenses outrun his revenue, amongst many devices to recruit his treasury, erected, in 1611, the Order of Baronets—an hereditary distinction next in rank to the Peerage—and offered it to two hundred gentlemen of good birth, possessing a clear estate of one thousand pounds a year; on condition that each one should pay into the King's Exchequer, in three equal instalments, a sum equivalent to three years' pay of thirty soldiers, at eight pence a-day per man; the first instalment to be paid on the delivery of the patent. The state of Ireland afforded an ostensible plea for this open and quite unprecedented sale of dignities; the province of Ulster especially was in a state of almost hopeless anarchy, and the patents of the new Baronets, which were all word for word the same, the names of the parties only excepted, embodied a declaration that the money so raised should be employed in establishing an army for the reduction and good government of that Province, in witness of which design the cognizance of the Order was to be the bloody hand of Ulster, borne in a Canton on their Arms, or more heraldically, on a field Argent, a sinister hand, erect, gules.