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and Marlborough's great-grandmother, and the mother of Chatham was of the same family in the next century.
The peerages created by James, in his twenty-two years' reign, were as many as sixty-two. Of his earldoms three survive : Suffolk, Denbigh and Westmoreland. Of his baronies, five: Petre, Say and Sele, Arundel of Wardour, Dormer, and Teynham. A few more of his titles are merged in higher ones subsequently attained,- in the dukedoms of Manchester and Devonshire, for instance; and the Villierses have two earldoms indirectly due to him. But the balance gives an awful mortality, notwithstanding, in titles of honour, and shows how many are the risks of the failure of a direct male line. The complete extinction of names, even, is one of the curiosities of genealogy. Open a ‘London Directory,' and in that solid mass of English names how few are the gentle ones! As for some of the early Norman names-powerful and famous in their day, too-they would be as unfamiliar, if mentioned to modern ears, as those of the Labdacidæ or the Valerian
gens. The mortality, however, among the titles of Charles I. is even more striking. Little more than half-a-dozen survive out of nearly sixty ; four of these are earldoms : Lindsey, Stamford, Winchilsea, and Chesterfield. Three are baronies, Stafford
. (though females), Byron, and Ward; while Brudenell is merged in the later elevation of Cardigan. The Byrons, though baronial at the Conquest, were, for many ages, simple gentry, till Charles brought them to their old sphere again. The Brudenells first attained distinction as lawyers in the reign of Henry VIII.
Charles I. naturally used his prerogative in aid of his arms, and sometimes, where he did not give titles, gave heraldic 'aug. mentations'-pretty little symbolic thanks, such as a rose in the chief, or what not ; very satisfactory to families which possess them now! Some of his creations were titles of world-wide renown. He made Sir Edward Herbert Lord Herbert of Cherbury—that strange mixture of chivalry and philosophy, feudal gentleman and pedant; as if you had taken a Pythagoræan and dipped him head over ears in the · Fairy Queen.' He made William Cavendish (nephew of the first Earl of Devonshire) Earl of Newcastle-a very magnificent noble, though rather ornamental than suited to such terrible times. He became Duke of Newcastle afterwards, and is chiefly remembered by the quaint biography of him by his Duchess, which is very curious, and was a great favourite of Charles Lamb's. The same King made the Mordaunts Earls of Peterborough, and the grandson of the first Earl was the famous Peterborough of Anne's days—a true
specimen of the dashing old Norman blood. He also made the Pierreponts Earls of Kingston, and from this race descended the immortal • Lady Mary. It is impossible to forbear remarking what a large proportion of eminent persons came from the ancient families: the Sackvilles, Mordaunts, Herberts, Pierreponts, Stanhopes, St. Johns, Vanes, Savilles, and the like-most of which, in the reigns of the Charleses and early Georges, began to be absorbed into the House of Peers. Though constantly all but swamped by new families, there has never been a period down to this present one when the feudal families have not been able to point to men capable of meeting all comers' in the cause of their ancient renown.
Some of Charles I.'s peers repaid him for their honours, with their blood. He created Lord Dormer, Earl of Carnarvon; and Lord Spencer of Wormleighton, Earl of Sunderland. Both fell, under his standard, at Newbury. The Byrons fought for him, passionately; and so did the Stanhopes. Another family ennobled by him was Lucas, one of which, Sir Charles, died so nobly at Colchester.
During this reign, the venerable lines of Stafford and Clifford of Cumberland came to an end. Two centuries had passed since Englishmen had been opposed to each other in deadly civil strife, and though they fought at Marston-Moor and Naseby, under a fair sprinkling of those who had led them at Northampton and Towton, and though the later of the wars did not produce one first-rate man on either side who was not of gentle birth, still a change was visible in the leadership, in Charles's days, which is deeply significant in peerage history. The highest commands in the royal army were in the hands of houses which had risen since the days of the Roses. How different was now the position of the Nevilles ! How different that of the De Veres! Where were the Mowbrays and Fitz-Alans? The great Percy of Northumberland himself, instead of being at the head of the North with 14,000 men at his back, of his own raising, was now a half-neutral personage who would not act at all with the King against the parliament, and would not act, thoroughly, with the parliament against the King. Another very important symptom of this struggle as bearing on the history of English aristocracy was the increased importance of the gentry. The real practical leaders whether of Cavaliers or RoundheadsGranvilles, Hoptons, Langdales on the one side, Fairfaxes, Wallers, Cromwells, Hampdens on the other-were members of that order. The court-martial which sentenced to death that most loyal and excellent nobleman James Stanley, Earl of Derby, comprised some of the best names in Lancashire and Cheshire.
One effect the Civil War produced in common with the Wars of the Roses was to inflict heavy injury on the families engaged in it. After an estate had been sequestrated, its woods felled, its proprietors exiled or imprisoned, fines levied on him, damage done to his dwelling house, the mass of losses together was only too likely to ruin the race. In many respects, those wars changed the face of the country. Beautiful antique windows in country churches, full of the quarterings' of the neighbouring lord of the manor, were smashed in the scenes of violence inseparable from civil struggles. City scriveners came down, and bought up
, estates. We find Fuller complaining, that during the late troubles, many upstarts' had injuriously invaded the arms of ancient families.' And, what with the shock given by the years of agitation and disturbance to the old traditionary life of the country, and what with the influence of the Court of the Restoration, worldly, frivolous, satirical, we find a tone and sentiment prevailing about birth and rank generally, which is quite different from that of earlier days. • The contempt of scutcheons,' says Lord Halifax, 'is as great a fault in this age, as the overvaluing them was in former times. The pride of a man of quality was now less in his pedigree as a fine chain which connected him with the chivalry of old Europe, than in the accidents of his social position, his title, his place at Court, his wig and ruffles, his gilt coach drawn by Flanders mares.
Charles II., to whose reign these observations chiefly apply, was as profuse in granting honours, as, and probably less fastidious to whom he granted them, than his father and grandfather. He created over sixty. The most distinguished of his creations were Clarendon and Halifax, the first borne by the great historian, the second by the brilliant Saville, the politician and wit. Several of bis most honourable creations survive still, Clifford of Chudleigh, Cardigan, Latimer (since merged in the higher title of Leeds), Townshend, Carlisle, Shaftesbury, Berkeley, Sandwich, Dartmouth. Four of his own descendants are in the peerage Great Britain ; and several distinguished persons have come of his blood, Topham Beauclerk for instance, Charles Fox, and the late Sir Charles Napier.
In the days of Charles, flourished the last of the De Veres, Aubrey, twentieth Earl of Oxford, with whom that line expired on his death in 1702, Their close was a melancholy one. Horace Walpole, who at one time bestowed much attention on their pedigree, and who was very curious about such details, has a sad story about the fate of some of them, which may be seen in his Letters, and need not be repeated here. After the Revolution, the great Whig families obtained the
crowning honours of the realm. The dukedoms of Leeds, Bedford, and Devonshire were created in 1694. The reign of William was also marked by the introduction into England of the houses of Bentinck and Keppel, raised to the peerage as Portland and Albemarle in 1689 and 1697. The family of the latter is said by Edmund Burke to have been of the oldest and purest nobility that Europe could boast before it was enrolled among the nobility of England. The same King ennobled, for the first time, the very ancient Northern family of Lowther; he made Christopher, son of the renowned Sir Harry Vane, Lord Barnard (a title which has duly descended to his heir, the Duke of Cleveland), and he gave coronets among others to Somers; to the Ashburnhams (a family described by Fuller as of stupendous antiquity!') and the Fermors; besides creating the Villierses, Earls of Jersey.
The Peerage of England consisted, when the last century began, of about a hundred and fifty, of which forty-four still exist under the same titles, and twenty are merged in higher ones. This calculation does not include the case of a few baronies then in abeyance, and of which the abeyance has since been terminated by the Crown.
We are not required to treat of the many creations of the last century in detail. The Peerage owes its historic character to earlier ages, and we have already indicated the families from which that historic character is principally derived. Neither of the two great parties of England is free in modern times from the reproach of having abused the royal prerogative in this department for the purposes of party.' When the Tories created twelve peers in a day in 1711, it provoked a natural excitement; but when the Whigs in 1718-19 endeavoured to pass a bill limiting the Peerage for the future, and so creating an oligarchy injurious both to king and people, the blow struck at the Constitution was of the most serious character. This notable scheme was defeated in the House of Commons by 269 to 177, and the attempt is now chiefly remembered as having been the cause of a misunderstanding between those life-long friends Addison and Steele.
The great feature of the creations of last century and subsequently has been the predominance of the legal and political over the feudal element, if such an expression be still proper. The landed families of high antiquity have rarely survived to modern times in the opulence necessary to houses ennobled for the sake of their weight as ballast in the Constitution, and the discharge of that office has devolved on families enriched by commerce, or by law, or by marriages which have united large estates. Many, too, of the old Gentry have been absorbed into the Peerage, so as
to make it even more difficult to recruit the Order further from that source,
The Bagots, the Wodehouses, the Vernons, the Grosvenors, the Wilbrahams, the Lambtons, the Fitz-Williams, the Listers, the Byngs, all ennobled since the opening of last century, are not of a stamp which is to be found scattered plentifully in these days over English counties. We apprehend, however, that in recruiting the Peerage, it is from such families that peers should be taken in the first instance-political peerages being bestowed only on men of the highest character and standing-and money peerages as sparingly as can possibly be helped. Meanwhile, public opinion on these subjects would be much enlightened if the public would remember that aristocracies are prone to grow less respectable as they grow less historic; that the Roman nobles who flattered Caligula were not of the families which conquered Hannibal ; and that the French aristocracy before the Revolution had become hateful, as much by the system which had made noblesse an affair of barter, as by any misconduct on the part of those who sprang from the warriors of Philip Augustus.
When the subject of the English Peerage was last discussed in the Quarterly Review, we stated its number to be 328, besides representative peers and bishops. The Whigs added to its numbers most copiously, not to say unscrupulously, when they got the opportunity after that time. When Lord Melbourne resigned in August, 1841, it was after bestowing some 42 coronets in four years. If Sir Robert Peel had imitated this example, instead of bestowing 5 only in the five years between 1841 and 1846, the House of Lords must have been enlarged, at a considerable expense for architecture. Since that time succeeding ministers have been more moderate. The Whigs renewed the game in 1846, indeed, but it was more reasonably played. Lord Derby during his administration only made himself responsible for advising three. Lord Palmerston has created twelve.
The entire Peerage of Great Britain and Ireland at present comprises 638 titles, of which 70 are Scotch, and 174 Irish. Of the 70 Scotch peers, twenty are Peers of the United Kingdom; and of the 174 Irish, 41 enjoy the same honour. This leaves the Peerage of the United Kingdom 455 in number, the purely English Peerage being 394. It may be stated generally, that of 203 earldoms of Great Britain and Ireland, 80 are a century old, and 55 out of the 313 baronies. As a rule, the Scotch titles are decidedly more ancient, there being no less than seven Scotch earldoms prior in date to that of Lord Derby. The benefits we
* In 1930.