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responsible Minister, the wishes of the Order might be conveyed to Her, viz., “that She would be graciously pleased to honour the proceedings with Her favour and protection.”
Pursuant to this Resolution a Deputation from the Committee waited on the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Peel) at his official residence in Downing Street, on 13th December, 1841, and placed the Representation in his hands, together with an Address, expressing the satisfaction of the Committee that the conclusions had been arrived at under the administration of a Statesman who had pledged himself and his colleagues on entering office “to act as men determined to maintain on their ancient foundations the institutions of the Monarchy,” and expressing the confident hope of the Committee that an Order created for the highest State purposes and conferred by successive monarchs for services deemed worthy of a perpetual mark of family distinction might freely use and enjoy every right and privilege incidental to it by the chartered engagements of its Royal Founder.
The claims put forward on behalf of the Baronetage were :—
1. To be considered, not as the head of the nobiles minores, but as the lowest class among the nobiles majores, because their titles, like those of the higher nobility, are both hereditary, and created by patent.
2. To have place and state at all Royal or National solemnities.
3. To enjoy the style and title of “The Honourable.”
4. To wear the collar of S.S.
5. To be decorated with a riband and badge.
6. To have the title of Baronetess ascribed to their wives, in order to distinguish them from the wives of Knights.
7. To have the privilege of claiming knighthood restored to their eldest sons.
The Committee having, since its institution, had its attention drawn from various quarters to the necessity of adopting some measure to remedy the abuses which existed in the Baronetage from the irregular assumption of titles, appointed a Deputation to wait upon the Secretary of State for the Home Department to represent to him the said abuses, and to request his aid to procure for the Committee authority to hear, consider, and report their opinion to the Crown upon the cases of all persons in future claiming dormant Baronetcies, or succeeding to Baronetcies by collateral succession, in the same manner as the Committee for Privileges of the House of Lords hear, consider, and report to the Crown in cases of Claim to Peerage Dignities. This having been communicated to the Home Secretary, that Minister requested that the matter might be submitted to him in writing, when he would consider it. Accordingly, a statement of the abuses in question, with reasons why an Order should be granted to the effect above set forth, was sent to the Home Office, and a communication was received saying that Sir james Graham was of opinion that such an Order would be inexpedient and therefore that he could not advise Her Majesty to give any commands for the purpose.
The Committee having exhausted this course, and feeling that the right existed in the Order as an hereditary estate of dignity to see that no person should take up the title of Baronet surreptitiously, considered that the time had arrived when a stop ought to be put to a system which tended materially to impair the consideration of the Baronetage, and submitted at the General Meeting, in 1841, that the Committee should resolve and declare “that in future no person taking up a Baronetage after a dormancy, or succeeding to such a dignity by collateral succession, shall be recognised, held, or considered a Baronet by the Order unless he shall bring his claim under the cognisance of the Committee for Privileges, and record the evidence by which his right is instructed in the books of the Committee."
The Committee further recommended that a Great Roll should be kept similar to that which exists in the Peerage, and that every Baronet should be invited to sign the same that there might be an authentic registry in the possession of the Order of its true and lawful members.
A Memorial was presented to the Committee by R. Broun, “ Master”* of Colstoun, and Hon. Secretary to the Committee, setting forth the various proceedings had in respect to an application preferred by him for Knighthood in 1836 as the Eldest Son and Heir Apparent ofa Baronet of Scotland and Nova Scotia of ancient creation, and praying the interposition of the Committee in his case. The Committee having taken carefully into their consideration the allegations embodied in this Memorial, and the Letters Patent of the Ioth and 14th years of james I. relative to Knighthood, the Statute of the King and the Estates of Scotland, made and passed on 28th june, I633, the Order of the 8th year of George IV., the Address made by Mr. Broun before the Attorney and SolicitorGeneral for England on 4th April, 1840, and various other Documents, came unanimously to the conclusion that the course followed by the Law Officers of the Crown in the case of Mr. Broun’s application for Knighthood was in direct contravention of the Constitution of the Baronetage, the Statute Law of the Realm of Scotland, the Articles of Union, the obligations of the Coronation Oath, and the unbroken precedents of 230 years. They recorded on behalf of the Baronets of the several creations of the United Kingdom their unanimous protest against the Opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor-General for England, upon which the Lord Chamberlain had arrived at the conclusion that it was not his duty to present Mr. Broun to Her Majesty for Knighthood; and finally they called upon Sir Robert Peel, as the head of the Government, and as the immediate responsible adviser of the Sovereign, to interpose his official authority, in order that the Lord Chamberlain might be directed to present to Her Majesty the Eldest Sons of all Baronets, applying for Knighthood according to the tenor of Letters Patent, Statutes, and other instruments whereby successive monarchs had bound themselves and their successors to the Throne.
' [This is an obvious error on the part of the I-Ion. Secretary of the Committee, as “Master” is the title borne by the heirs apparent or presumptive of F/arldoms, Viscounties and Baronies in the Peerage of Scotland, and is not merely a courtesy title, but a dignity capable of being separately conferred, as
' in the case of the Master of Forrester, t. Car. I. Mr. Broun should have
called himself “ younger of Colstoun.”—En.]
An abstract of the proceedings in Mr. Broun’s case of application for Knighthood with the Resolutions of the Committee upon the same, was transmitted to Sir Robert Peel, the Prime Minister, who in reply stated that he approved of the course pursued by the Lord Chamberlain in the matter, and that he must therefore decline to interpose his official authority for the purpose of inducing that Officer to depart from it.
On this subject the Committee reported as follows:— “ Considering that a petition from the Order praying for a judicial hearing before the Queen in Council has been refused; that the opinions of Counsel have been taken upon the subject and that they have reported they think there is no tribunal whereby the Lord Chamberlain can be compelled to discharge the duty imposed upon him by the Letters Patent of the 10th and 14th jac. I.; that the compact between the State and the Baronets of Scotland is that their Eldest Sons shall be inaugurated Knights (Equites Aurati) by the reigning Swereign whensoever they or any of them shall require that Order; that the Lord Chamberlain, on the formal requisition of Mr. Broun, has declined to present him to the Sovereign for inauguration as a Knight ; and finally that the Prime Minister by approving of the course taken by the Lord Chamberlain in the face of a Recorded Protest by the Committee, has sanctioned a transaction of the most illegal, arbitrary, and unprecedented nature ; Your Committee are of opinion that the time has arrived when it devolves upon the Order either to submit to a course which would countenance the doctrine that the Queen is not bound by the Acts of her predecessors—would warrant the supposition that there was no faith or honour in the mind of His Majesty, King Charles I., when he promised on the word of a Prince for himself and his successors that this particular Grant should be onerous on the Crown,—and which would for ever compromise the dearest rights and immunities of the Baronetage, or else to assert and make good this vested and indefeasible prerogative, by such acts and regulations of the body, as shall comport with the dignity of the Order—-evince its wonted fealty to the Commonwealth-—and uphold those principles of honour,justice, and truth, which are the bases of all Law and Privilege in the realm.”
The Committee resolved that in discharging the duties which lay before them they would proceed with caution but firmness, and would neither compromise the Baronetage, by claiming too much, nor by asserting too little; the simple and direct end which they proposed and would strictly prosecute being the revival of the whole chartered rights and immunities of the Order. It may be considered to be an indisputable fact that the Baronets as an hereditary degree of dignity are by the constituent Charters of the Royal Founders placed in the same category with the other degrees of hereditary dignity, i.e., with the Nobiles Mnjores of the Realm, and are as such brought within the influence of the same rules for place, precedency, privilege, and other matters concerning dignity which regulate respectively the