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civil class was to be conferred for diplomatic services, and was limited to twelve members; while the whole number of Knights Grand Cross was not to exceed seventy-two, exclusive of the Sovereign and of Princes of the Blood Royal, holding commissions as general or flag-officers, who were to belong to the military division. The second class was to be called KNIGHTS-COMMANDER, and was limited to one hundred and eighty members, exclusive of foreigners holding British commissions, of whom ten might be appointed. No military officer under the rank of lieutenant-colonel, nor any naval officer under the rank of post-captain, is eligible for this class; and all Knights Grand Cross must previously have been Knights-Commander. This latter rule has, however, been occasionally violated. The third class was to be called COMPANIONS, and to consist of such naval and military officers as had received medals or other badges of honour, or had been mentioned by name in any gazetted despatch as having distinguished themselves in action against the enemy, since the year 1803. To the two latter classes of the Order, an attendant officer of arms and a secretary were at the same time appointed. The Knights Grand Cross and Knights-Commander were granted the prefix of “Sir,” while the Companions were not to enjoy that distinction, in right of their appointment to the Order of the Bath.
By subsequent regulations, it was determined that fifteen officers of the East India Company's service, of, or above the rank of lieutenant-colonel, might be added to the existing number of knights-commander ; and that other officers of the same service
might be nominated companions ; but that the regulations restricting the numbers of the several classes in the Order should not prevent the appointment of any officer for services in “future wars or actions of signal distinction.”
The statutes declare that each member shall be elected by the knights in chapter assembled ; but all nominations have been made by the mere will of the sovereign. The ancient rights of vigils, bathing, &c., though declared to be compulsory, have always been dispensed with by warrant from the Sovereign.
The proper style and ceremonial designation of the order is “the most honourable Military Order of the Bath."
Among the changes which practice has introduced, none are more remarkable than the violation of the statute which limits the number admitted into each class ; for at present there are upwards of one hundred and five knights grand cross, though that class was by statute limited to seventy-two ; and the other classes are in a similar condition.
The secretary of state for the Colonies (in his capacity of secretary for the war department) is the officer to whom recommendations for the Order of the Bath are addressed, by the commander-in-chief, by the first lord of the Admiralty, or by the president of the Board of Controul.
The Great Master is appointed during the pleasure of the sovereign, with full powers for the nomina. tion of the other officers of the order, except the dean. His duties are mainly those of the sovereign's deputy, viz. presiding over chapters and ceremonials, conferring the honour of knighthood on the members elect, investing and installing the new knights, and performing other functions of the sovereign in the absence of the latter. It is not merely an honorary office, for £138 was ordered to be paid to him on the appointment of every knight.
The first great master was the Duke of Montagu, and he filled the office till July, 1749, since which period it has remained vacant ; but many of the duties (except appointing the officers and receiving the fees) have been performed by a prince of the blood royal, as acting great master.
The Dean of the Order is its highest officer (for there is no prelate); and the dean of the collegiate church of St. Peter's, Westminster, for the time being, always fills this situation. He performs divine service and administers the oath, &c. to the knights elect. While the office of great master is vacant, he summons the knights to all chapters and cere. monials, at which he himself possesses a vote.
The Genealogist enters in the books of the Order the pedigree of each knight. He is constituted Blanc Coursier Herald by letters patent, and this office is inseparably annexed to that of genealogist of the Bath. The king of arms calls over the knights at conventions and chapters, precedes them at coronations, conducts the knights-elect to the sovereign, and bears the ensigns of the order on a velvet cushion at investitures. His office is consolidated with that of Gloucester Herald.
The Registrar's duties consist in recording all decrees and proceedings affecting the Order ; but not only have these duties remained unfulfilled, but the office itself has, since 1750, been practically consolidated with that of secretary, by the appointment of the same individual to the two offices.
The Secretary prepares draughts of all instruments which pass the seal of the Order, and engrosses them.
The Gentleman Usher of the scarlet rod holds also the office of Brunswick Herald, which is conferred by letters patent. He keeps the door of the chapter-room, and touches with his rod any companion convicted of a crime contrary to the statutes. To him also is committed the removal of the escutcheons of degraded knights.
The Officer of arms attendant on knights commander and companions was first appointed in 1815; and he performs the same duties towards them which the whole corps of officers fulfil for the knights grand cross.
The Secretary to the knights commander and companions was also first appointed in 1815; he appears to have no fixed duties.
The esquires are three in number, attendant upon the knights commander, of which one is styled esquire governor and the others young esquires. Their duties have reference to the processions of the Order, and to the due observance of its ceremonies ; they are entitled to all the privileges of the esquires of the Sovereign's body, or the gentlemen of the privy chamber, and their eldest sons are declared entitled to the affix of esquire in all legal and ceremonial proceedings. They are required to be gentlemen of coat-armour as a qualification for the office.
The ceremonies of election, investiture, and installation will be found in that division of the work which is devoted to ceremonial proceedings in general; while the collars, badges, stars, and robes of the Order of the Bath, are specifically noticed under the article “ Costume.”
THE ORDER OF ST. MICHAEL AND ST. GEORGE.
“ St. George, the patron of our isle,
A soldier and a saint,
DRYDEN's Arthur. Tais Order of Knighthood was established by letters patent on the 27th of April, 1818, for the purpose of affording an appropriate medium by which marks of royal favour might be conferred upon the natives of Malta and the Ionian Islands. The Order, however, is in every respect a British distinction, for its insti. tution took place by letters patent under the Great Seal of England, and nearly one half of those who have received its ensigns are natives of this country, while the remainder belong either to Malta or the Ionian Islands; the sovereignty of the former island being vested in the British Crown, while the latter form an independent state under the exclusive protection of the King of England.
By the letters patent, the Order was formed into three classes, called respectively Knights Grand Cross, Knights Commander, and Knights. The first class was limited to eight members, the second to twelve, and the third to twenty-four.