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knights governed by established rules and wearing certain ensigns. It forms no part of the plan of this volume to enter fully into disputed questions of this nature; but with the foregoing short view of the controversy, it is only necessary for the reader to be made aware that the antiquity of the Order, though upheld by names of considerable weight, is yet questioned by other authorities with much antiquarian acuteness and research. After the Reformation, however, there can be no doubt, that, if the Order previously flourished, it then fell into desuetude, and its revival is due to James VII. of Scotland, and II. of England, who in 1687 issued a warrant commanding letters patent to be passed under the great seal of Scotland, for the purpose of “reviving and restoring this Order to its full glory, lustre, and magnificency."

Though a patent for this important purpose was actually prepared, it is said never to have passed the great seal of Scotland.

The statutes published in the same year, limited the number of “ brethren" to twelve, and appointed the king to be sovereign of the Order. Every candidate for admission must be a knight bachelor, and the chapel of Holyrood house was appointed the chapel of the order.

During the whole of the reign of William and Mary, the Order was neglected; but after having remained in abeyance fifteen years, Queen Anne determined on its revival, and in December, 1703, letters patent passed the great seal of Scotland for that purpose. By the statutes published at the same time, no change was effected in the number of knights, or the other regulations of the fraternity. But under an ordinance issued by George I., the new knights were to be elected by the suffrages of the pre-existing members of the Order in chapter assembled.

At the coronation of George IV., four extra knights were appointed without permanently increas. ing the original limits of the Order, and two of these were subsequently elected to fill vacancies in the constituent number of twelve; but in May, 1827, the order was permanently extended to sixteen knights, which form its present complement.

The title by which the Order is known, is “ the most noble and most ancient Order of the Thistle, or St. Andrew." The officers are five in number.

The Dean reads the Sovereign's orders to the knights, administers the oath, and reads the admonition to the knights elect. The sub-prior, or dean or prior of the chapel royal at Holyrood, for the time being, was, by the statute of James VII., ap. pointed to this office; but the first regular nomination under royal warrant occurred in the reign of George III., since which period it has remained annexed to that ecclesiastical appointment.

The Chancellor was appointed by the statutes of the Order to keep and use the seal of the Order; but though his name occurs in all copies of the ordinances, no person has ever been appointed to the office. The secretary “ transmits the sovereign's orders to the knights brethren, and attends the royal person for that effect.” He countersigns all instruments to which the signet of the Order is affixed, and is entrusted with the custody of that seal; he summons the chapters, and conducts the elections of new knights.

The King of arms of the Order of the Thistle, has always held the appointment of Lord Lyon, king of arms of Scotland. He attends all chapters and ceremonials of the Order, calls over the names, and bears the ensigns before the knights elect. But these duties being scarcely consistent with the dignity of a peer, William IV. dispensed with their performance so long as the earl of Kinnoul held the office of Lord Lyon, to which is annexed that of king of arms of this Order; his functions have therefore been performed either by deputy, or by the secretary.

The Gentleman Usher of the green rod attends on the sovereign and knights when assembled in chapters and similar solemnities.

The knights of the Thistle have no precedence or rank, among other subjects of the Crown, in right of their knightly character, but among each other their precedence is definite, and has already been noticed in the article on that subject. For the decorations of the Order, the reader is referred to the article on "Costume," and an account of installations, investitures, &c., will be found under the head of


“ The Shamrock, the green immortal shamrock,

Chosen leaf

Of bard and chief,
Old Erin's native shamrock.”

Moore's “ Irish Melodies." The Order of St. Patrick was instituted in the year 1783 by George III., for the purpose of establishing a national fraternity of knights in Ireland, as a counterpart of the Order of the Thistle in Scotland, and the Order of the Garter in England. On the 5th of February, 1783, a royal warrant was addressed to the second Earl Temple *, then lord lieutenant of Ireland, authorizing the issue of letters patent under the great seal of Ireland, for the insti. tution of the order. Though all preliminary steps were taken, and though the passing of the letters patent was duly gazetted, yet no such documents are now to be found, and it is believed by many authorities that the letters patent were never erecuted. The royal warrant merely authorized the preparation of the patent, but the latter necessary document is not recorded on the rolls of chancery either in England or Ireland.

On the 28th of February the statutes of the Order were signed, by which it was ordained,

That the sovereignty should be vested in the British Crown;

That the lord lieutenant, lords deputy, or lords justices of Ireland, should be ex-officio grand masters.

* Afterwards created Marquis of Buckingham.

That all persons elected into the Order should be gentlemen of blood, and knights without reproach.

That each member of the order should be installed in St. Patrick's cathedral, personally, or by deputy, immediately after his election.

That the knights should be fifteen in number.

That there should be six officers, namely, a chancellor, registrar, secretary, genealogist, usher, and king of arms (to this number a prelate was subsequently added).

That the prelate should be the Lord Archbishop of Armagh; the chancellor, the Lord Archbishop of Dublin; and the registrar, the Dean of St. Patrick’s. The Ulster king of arms and his successors were always to be the king of arms of the Order, and the other officers were appointed by the sovereign.

In July 1821, George IV. dispensed with those statutes which restricted the number of knights to fifteen, and appointed six extra members at his coronation, but eight years elapsed before the royal warrant was issued to authorize this change, and in the mean time four of the extra knights had been elected to fill vacancies from deaths which occurred in the constituent number of fifteen.

William IV. at his coronation nominated four more extra knights, and on the 24th of January, 1833, permanently increased the limits of the Order by fixing its constituent numbers at twenty-two instead of fifteen.

On the accession of Queen Victoria, a statute was issued substituting a declaration upon honour for the oath which was previously administered to each knight on his election, and in 1839 her majesty

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