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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 of a 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 roth 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, 1633, 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
* [This is an obvious error on the part of the Hon. Secretary of the Committee, as “ Master” is the title borne by the heirs apparent or presumptive of Farldoms, 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.”—Ed.]
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.
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 oth 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 Sovereign 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 Majores 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
Family distinctions of those high Ranks. Again, the Baronets are the only class of privileged subjects in the Monarchy, who have equestrian nobility superadded to their hereditary baronial honour under Royal Covenants rendering the same, with its ornaments and pre-eminences, descendible rights in the Order for ever. Hence in the Representation placed in the hands of the Prime Minister, the Committee submitted on behalf of the Order, that no claim had been put forth which was not substantiated by reason, by evidence, and peremptory enactment; neither had any rights, privileges, or distinctions been received or exercised which were unjustified by precedent, analogy, public convenience, or by the design and intention of the Royal Founder of the Baronetage implied or declared. There exists in various quarters an impression that the rights, privileges, and distinctions in question are new or unaccustomed, and it is considered that for their free use and enjoyment the sanction or concurrence of the reigning Sovereign is indispensable. This, however, is not so ; indeed it would essentially compromise the interests of the Baronetage, and of every other privileged Order in the Monarchy, were a doctrine so novel and unconstitutional to be recognised. The reigning Sovereign is the fountain of honour to such of her subjects as she may be pleased to ennoble. But the Queen is not the source of any privilege vested in the Baronetage by its Constitution—and there is no prerogative in Her Majesty to interfere with the free and full enjoyment by the Baronets of any rights, immunity, or privilege whatsoever incidental to their dignity in virtue of the Acts, patents, or engagements of her predecessors on the Throne.
During the course of these proceedings, and before asserting any rights or privilege appertaining to the Order, the Committee successively exhausted every step which the most devoted loyalty to the Crown or dutiful respect to
Her Majesty could dictate—they therefore considered that they would betray the dearest interests of the Community, and act unworthily of men whose ancestors laid the foundation of the Monarchy, if they for a moment receded from any of the above conclusions.
The object for which the Committee for privileges of the Order of Baronets was founded was, to sum it up in a single sentence,-to accomplish the restoration of the Baronetage to the original Chartered excellence of its position—and this they felt might be effected independently of all extraneous aid, and notwithstanding any official opposition. To enable them to do so with honour and credit to the Order, they asked for the steadfast continuance of that high-minded co-operation on the part of their brother Baronets which had so far sustained the dignity and integrity of the proceedings, under all the anomalous and discourteous usage which attended their progress-and further they relied upon the support and approbation of all those Ranks and Degrees in the United Kingdom who were favourable to the conservation of a graduated aristocracy, and who would wish to preserve for the nobility, higher and lesser, of the British Empire, that consideration among the Titled Ranks of Europe, which became the position of a great Nation,-the ancestral recollections of past centuries,—and the honour of a Dynasty not second in eminence to any that presides over the destinies of mankind.
The Second Anniversary General Meeting of the Order was held on 4th June, 1842, at the Clarendon Hotel, Bond Street, London, Sir Henry Mervyn Vava sour, Senior Baronet of the United Kingdom, being in the chair. The Report of the Committee, with regard to the above proceedings having been read, the Meeting deliberated upon the same, after which the following Resolutions were unanimously agreed to :
“Ist. That the Report read be received and entered upon