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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 institution 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.
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 Mediterra. nean 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 Ionian 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 Cambridge; 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 instruments 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."