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however, the Earl of Effingham's eldest son is also Lord Howard, the Earl of Carlisle's son is styled Viscount Morpeth in order to avoid confusion. If any further illustrations of this subject were necessary, another example may be found in the Kintore family, the eldest son of which noble house is called Lord Inverurie, though his father's second title is Lord Keith (of Inverurie). This expedient is followed by many others of the nobility, where any confusion of identity is likely to result from the routine course. The eldest sons of the Marquises of Lansdowne bear alternately the courtesy titles of Earl of Kerry and Earl of Shelburne, just as the successive kings of England are represented on the coins as looking to the right and to the left in each alternate reign.
The courtesy titles which the eldest sons of Dukes, Marquises, and Earls, assume are manifestly derived from their precedence. Thus a Duke's eldest son ranks as a Marquis on all occasions of precedence, and if a marquisate be vested in his father he assumes that dignity but dukedoms are of much older creation than marquisates, and therefore some of the senior Dukes have no marquisates for their sons to use; thus the Duke of Norfolk's son is Earl of Surrey, and the Duke of Somerset's Baron Seymour, these being the only secondary titles vested in their respective parents; but whether they be titular Earls, Viscounts, or Barons, they rank as Marquises, and use the coronet belonging to that degree.
On the death of the eldest son of a Duke, Marquis, or Earl, during his father's lifetime, the second son succeeds, as it were, to the courtesy title, being then eldest surviving son. But if the eldest son has left
male issue, then the grandson assumes the distinction, for it is not only requisite that the bearer of this second title should be eldest son or grandson, but he must also be heir apparent to the family honours.
At present there are two hundred and ninetyeight titular lordships, or "second_titles," among the nobility, and of these two hundred and thirteen are actually borne by the eldest sons or grandsons, while eighty-five of the peers have no male issue to enjoy these distinctions.
The eldest grandsons of Dukes and Marquises bear also one of the secondary or rather tertiary titles of the family; and its degree is always one step below that of the father, and two gradations inferior to the grandfather. Thus the Duke of Norfolk's eldest son is Earl of Surrey, while his eldest grandson is Lord Fitzalan; the Duke of Marlborough's eldest son is Marquis of Blandford, and the eldest grandson would be Earl of Sunderland if the Marquis had issue male; and so on of others.
The eldest sons of Viscounts do not usually assume any barony which may be vested in their father, although such a course might be in strict accordance with analogy. The probable reason for this anomaly resides in the practice of ordinarily calling Viscounts "Lord Melbourne," "Lord Palmerston," "Lord Canterbury," &c., and this leaves no inferior distinction for the elder son.
It is to be observed that heirs presumptive, whether being so under special entail or in consequence of natural causes, receive no accession of
dignity either in title or precedence from this prospective honour.
When the younger sons of Dukes and Marquises marry, their ladies are always designated as "Lady Charles -," "Lady John -," &c., but these
are titles which only remain during coverture, and, by courtesy upon courtesy, during widowhood; for when the lady marries again she loses all title (as she had previously lost all precedence) which is not derived from her birth or her new husband.
If, however, a younger son of a Duke or Marquis marry the daughter of an Earl, Marquis, or Duke, or the granddaughter of either of the latter two (who all enjoy the prefix of "Lady"), then his wife, if she styles herself as "Lady Charles ———,” "Lady John," &c., during her first husband's lifetime, yet after his death retains all the privileges and titles which her birth confers; and when she marries a commoner as a second husband, she becomes Lady Mary, Lady Charlotte, Lady Anne, &c., her second husband's surname being substituted for that of her first, and her own Christian name for the Christian name of her previous husband.
When a lady, who by birth is entitled to the prefix of "Honourable," marries a commoner, she becomes the "Honourable Mrs. When she marries a knight or a baronet, she is styled the "Honourable Lady." When she marries a man who enjoys the prefix of "Lord," the title she derives by descent is dropped, and she becomes "Lady John -," "Lady Thomas -," &c., as the case may be.
Whenever a lady marries into a rank superior to
her own, she invariably, and as a matter of course, assumes the title which her husband confers upon his wife; but if the daughter of a Duke marries the eldest son of an Earl, she retains the title which is indicative of the higher rank belonging to her birth, and is always styled as "Lady Sarah Ingestre," "Lady Jemima Eliot," &c.
When the dowager of a peer, baronet, or knight, marries into a rank inferior to her own, she by courtesy retains her title, but not her precedence: there are instances, however, in which a dowager countess marrying a Viscount drops her first husband's name, and assumes that of the second; thus the Dowager Countess Cowper, having married Viscount Palmerston, is styled Viscountess Palmerston. But as a general rule dowagers marrying commoners do not drop their title in consequence of having lost their precedence, and they bear no titular designation by which their having married a second time is exhibited.
Before concluding this view of the courtesy titles, two other conditions must be referred to under which the prefix of Honourable is borne by persons not necessarily of noble birth. The first occurs in the maids of honour attendant on her Majesty; these ladies always, during their continuance in office, are styled honourable; but it is hardly necessary to observe, that when they marry, or otherwise cease to hold their official position, this distinction is no longer borne, and their precedence ceases.
The second case is that of judges in Ireland, who, if they are not members of the Privy Council, are frequently styled the Honourable Mr. Justice
An analogous courtesy is that observed in all the colonial and foreign possessions of Great Britain, where every gentleman in the immediate employment of the government at home, and every member of the legislative councils and houses of assembly, are styled honourable: such a prefix, however, is quite local, and never used with reference to the same individuals in the mother country. To some readers the last mentioned courtesy may appear to resemble the "Honourable the House of Commons," and "Honourable Members:" but it should never be forgotten that these are titles applied to the whole body in parliament assembled, or to individuals when acting in their official capacity within the walls of the House of Commons; they, therefore, differ in a marked degree from titles enjoyed by persons in the colonies during a long life, placed by themselves on their visiting cards, and in advertisements of births, death, and marriages, as well as universally granted to them by the courtesy of the whole colony.
Nought is more honourable to a knight
Than to defend the feeble in their right
And wrong redresse in such as wend awry."
KNIGHTHOOD Was anciently conferred with discrimination and judgment, only upon sovereigns, upon princes, and upon peers, on men distinguished for religion, valour, and gallantry, for justice, honour,