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A code of statutes was issued on the 12th of August, 1818, by which it was ordained,
That the British Monarch for the time being should be Sovereign of the Order :
That the Lord High Commissioner, or some distinguished naval or military officer serving in the Mediterranean, should be Grand Master :
That the classes should consist of those specified in the letters patent, and that each Knight should be entitled to " the distinctive appellation of Knighthood :"
That the Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean should be the Principal Knight Grand Cross, during the period of his holding such command; but that no British subject should subsequently retain his position in the Order, unless he be a native of Malta, or have been for five years resident in, or employed by, the United States of the lonian Islands, or the British Crown at Malta :
That a convention of the Knights should be held on every 23rd of April (St. George's Day); and, finally,
That the officers should consist of two Prelates, a Registrar, a King of Arms, and a Secretary.
In the year 1825, George the Fourth conferred the office of Grand Master upon the Duke of Cam. bridge; but this appointment being inconsistent with the statutes, a new code was issued on the 5th of April, 1826, with no other change than that rendering eligible for Grand Master any Prince of the Blood Royal, being a descendant of the Princess Sophia, Electress of Hanover.
On the 16th of August, 1832, a considerable change took place in the constitution of the Order,
by the issue of new statutes. The number of Knights Grand Cross was extended from eight to fifteen, that of Knights Commander from twelve to twenty, and the third class was ordered to consist of twenty-five instead of twenty-four members. This third class, instead of being styled Knights as heretofore, were designated as “ Companions," when natives of Great Britain or Ireland, and “Cavalieri,” when natives of Malta or the Ionian Islands. All Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commander were to be created Knights Bachelor previous to their investiture; and no members of the Order subsequently appointed were to assume “the distinctive appellation of Knighthood." The differences between those who were natives of Great Britain and the natives of Malta or the Ionian Islands were abolished; and the resignation of the Order by knights who had ceased to serve, or who had not served five years in the Mediterranean was discontinued. The number of Prelates was reduced from two to one, and a new officer was appointed, styled the Chancellor, who was granted rank as Senior Knight Commander, and precedence next after the Prelate. On all the officers, moreover, was conferred "every privilege and exemption belonging by right or custom to the Esquires of the Sovereign, or the Gentlemen of his Privy Chamber.”
All those who had resigned the Order in pursuance of the previous statutes were reinvested, and by a new statute, on the 19th of October, 1839, the first class of the Order was rendered unlimited in the number of its members, as far as regarded natives of Great Britain and Ireland ; while the number of natives of Malta or the lonian Islands was restricted to eight.
The proper style and designation of the Order is “the most distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George."
The Prelate administers the oath and pronounces the admonition which is addressed to all the knights at their investiture.
The Chancellor keeps the seal of the Order, and in the absence of the Prelate administers the oath and delivers the admonition. He notifies all nomi. nations, and prepares and countersigns all instru. ments which receive the seal of the Order. He is the medium of communication between the Sovereign and the knights.
The Secretary is directed by the statutes to record all transactions of the Order which take place in Malta, and to execute the commands of the Chan. cellor. He is particularly enjoined to notify the death of any member of the Order, and to obtain the badges of deceased knights. He must be a resident of Malta, and is nominated by the Grand Master.
The King of Arms is also nominated by the Grand Master. He attends all investitures, and conducts the Knights-elect to the Sovereign, or his representative.
The Registrar is always a resident of one of the Ionian Islands, and records the transactions of the Order which occur there. A copy of these he transmits to the Chancellor.
For the rank and precedence of the members of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, the reader is referred to the general article on PRECEDENCE."
A description of the habits and ensigns of the officers and knights will be found in the chapter on “Costume,” while the investitures and installations are described in the general article on" CEREMONIES.”
ORDER OF THE GUELPHS OF HANOVER.
“ Of all the proud steeds that ever bore
Moore's Irish Melodies. This, though no longer a British Order of Knighthood, was for nearly a quarter of a century destitute of any of the characters of a foreign distinction, and British subjects have more largely participated in its honours than any of the natives of Hanover. Its Sovereign was, till the accession of Queen Victoria, the King of England, and its name and foundation inseparably connect it with his race.
The Hanoverian troops having much distinguished themselves at the battle of Waterloo, George IV. (then prince regent) determined to found an order of merit, which might, with especial propriety, be conferred upon such of them as deserved the distinction, and the 12th of August, 1815, was fixed upon as the date of its foundation.
By the second statute, the Order is inseparably annexed to the possession of the Hanoverian crown, by vesting the grand-mastership in the sovereign of that country for the time being.
By the fourth statute, the Order is divided into three classes, viz. Grand Crosses, Commanders, and Knights; and the number of individuals upon whom might perform that ceremony by proxy, and that this deputy or proxy should be a knight.
In 1727, a statute was issued ordaining, that in case of foreign invasion or rebellion, each companion should be bound to maintain four men-at-arms, for forty-two days in each year, for service, within Great Britain ; but this has never been enforced.
In 1812, a royal warrant was published authorizing the appointment of extra knights, while the constituent number remained the same as originally stated in the letters patent. Although a few extra knights had been from time to time appointed previous to the publication of the warrant, yet the necessity which arose of more extensively rewarding distinguished military services occasioned the issue of this statute, under which eleven extra knights were nominated. Subsequently many military and naval commanders were added to this class ; but the year 1815 was that in which the present constitution of the order was definitively fixed. The enlargement which it then underwent was the natural consequence of the termination of a great war, when an opportunity arose of rewarding the distinguished services, on land and sea, by which that struggle was brought to so triumphant a conclusion. On the 2nd of January, therefore, a royal warrant was issued, by which the Order was divided into three classes. The first class, comprising all the existing knights, was denominated, Knights Grand Cross, and was subdivided into two portions, one military and one civil. The military division was to consist of officers in the army and navy who were not below the rank of major-general or rear-admiral. The