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ment assembled. He had presented his application for Knighthood in 1836 because, having led the Baronets to institute proceedings for the restoration of the Baronetage to the original excellence of its foundation, he felt that he was bound, in honour and duty to the Order, not to shrink from asserting in his own person such rights and privileges as appertain to the Eldest Sons of Baronets; nor did he regret, under all the discourteous opposition which the Order had experienced, that it should be left to him to shew in the face of the Government and the Country that the Baronetage still enrolled men who would not suffer the constitution of the Order to be infringed upon, or the gracious intentions of its Royal Founder to be treated with contempt. He declared his intention to henceforth use, take, and enjoy the chivalrous dignity, which he claimed to be vested in him, by blood and by Royal Letters Patent, being fully satisfied that Her Majesty on the throne had no better pretensions to the Regal dignity than he and the eldest sons of all Baronets had to the dignity of Knighthood. He claimed that he was a Knight under the Letters Patent which elevated his ancestor Sir Patrick Broun, Baron of Colstoun, to the dignity of the Baronetage, and further he claimed that personal investiture was a non-essential in a case where Knighthood is demanded of the Sovereign as a right, and it is not asked or sought for asa favour. Knighthood had devolved upon him under the Grants of the Royal Founder, and he could no more be disseized of this natalitial right by the misprision of the Lord Chamberlain than the Prince of Wales could be disseized of the Duchy of Cornwall because he had not received the accolade. Inauguration was a service to be performed on demand ; not a prerogative to be exercised by volition ; it was an ostensible recognition of a right, but it did not in any respect confer a franchise. The Queen would not the less have used and enjoyed the Regal dignity, had the parsimonious, levelling spirit of the age debarred her from the solemnities of a Coronation. Were indeed Knighthood and Inauguration equivalent things, so far as regards the Eldest Sons of Baronets, they could not be knighted under the present Reign, for by the chivalrous usages of all Christendom a female is incompetent to receive or to bestow Knightly Honour. The obligation, however, resting on the Sovereign as regards the Eldest Sons of Baronets was simply to give them, as Knights, those outward marks of their estate and dignity which the conventional term “inaugurate” implied—there was no creating of them Knights de novo. He had testified his dutiful respect to the Queen by requiring the Lord Chamberlain, as in duty bound, to present him for inauguration, and that Officer having refused to do so, he (Mr. Broun) claimed by his own act and deed to assume Knighthood. He threw the responsibility of so doing upon that Officer and the Prime Minister who had sanctioned that Officer’s conduct. As the heir of a family who had held free Baronial Rank in Scotland from a period antecedent to 1116, who obtained their Baronetage Dignities for eminent loyalty to the Crown and services to the Monarchy, he need not say that he made his claim without prejudice to the motto of his race, which ever had been and would be, “Floreat Majesias.” Her Majesty had no subject more devoted than himself, and he could not better evince it, than by repudiating a course of conduct (even although approved of by the head of the Government), which he considered to be treason against the State. If the Order of Baronets, that high Hereditary Estate, had truckled to the doctrine that “the Queen was not bound by the Chartered engagements of her Predecessors,” it would have rendered it infamous with all posterity and compromised every privilege existing under Letters Patent of the Crown. But, on the contrary, it had acted in a manner which would command the respect and gratitude of the Aristocracy of all Christendom.
So far as we are aware, the importunate outcry of Mr. Broun did not avail him much. But it was not unattended with ultimate fruit. The evils that men do live after them, and in this case the good also lived. Mr. Broun’s cry for justice, although it waited long for an answer, did at length produce the desired result—but to another person. In 1874, under the administration of Lord Beaconsfield, Her Most Gracious Majesty was advised that the Baronets had right on their side; and right at last obtained its own. Ludlow Cotter of Rockforest, eldest son of Sir james Lawrence Cotter, 4th Baronet, was, on attaining twenty-one years of age, presented by his father to Her Majesty, and was thereupon duly knighted in accordance with the Letters Patent of the Baronetcy, and agreeably to precedent. The right so strenuously fought for by unfortunate Mr. Broun and the Baronets of his time, has therefore been publicly recognised by the highest authority in the Realm, and the position taken up by the Order in 1842 is on this point free from attack in future.
There are, nevertheless, many reasons which would render a revival of the Committee of 1842 desirable and useful. The hasty manner in which of late years the Chivalrous dignity has been bestowed on the first-found plutocratic grocer, or brewer, is a serious wrong to the older Baronets —men of position and weight in the Social scale. Again, the attempts made by divers Statutes to interpose new judicial officers between the Baronial rank of the Peerage and the Baronets, to the disadvantage of the latter, should be stoutly resisted. The Letters Patents of Baronets limit the persons who shall intervene between these two ranks; but an attack was made on this prerogative by the Statutes 53 Geo. III., c. 24, s. 4, and 5 Vict., c. 5, s. 25, which let in the Vice-Chancellors of the Court of Chancery to rank before Baronets.
These Statutes have, however, been repealed. Another not uninteresting question concerningthe precedence of Baronets will doubtless occur some day. By the terms of the Letters Patent constituting the older Baronets of England and Great Britain, it is directed that the following judges shall take precedence of the Order, viz., the Chief justice of the King's Bench, the Master of the Rolls, the Chief justice of the Common Pleas, the Chief Baron of the Exchequer, “and all and singular the judges and justices of either Bench and the Barons of the Exchequer, of the Degree of the Coif, for the time being.” Of the Degree of the Coif, signifies one who has been created a Serjeant; the Degree of Serjeant, when joined to the judicial appointment, being deemed to be entitled by virtue of its high honour to rank above the Order of Baronets, but only, be it observed, when those two honourable distinctions are united. The judge of the Court of Admiralty, for instance, although a judge of a Superior Court, had not the Coif, and therefore always ranked after, and not before Baronets.
In 1873, on the passing of the Supreme Court of judicature Act, it was enacted (Sect. 8) that no person appointed a judge of the High Court of justice, or of the Court of Appeal, should thenceforth be required to take or to have taken the Degree of Serjeant-at-Law. The result of this new law is well known. No judge has, since it has been passed, applied for the Coif; and the ancient Order of Serjeants has practically ceased to exist. For all purposes of Common Law and Equity, for all purposes of Procedure and Practice, a judge without the Coif is as good a judge as one with the Coif. It is for Social purposes that a difference exists: and umbrage might properly be taken by a Baronet if not accorded his due precedence before those judges who are not of the Coif, on State occasions, or in the presence of the Sovereign. The present Lord Chief justice of England has the Coif, but independently of that he takes precedence as a Peer, so his case is not in point. The Honourable Mr. justice Denman is a Serjeant, so are Barons Pollock and Huddleston; but Mr. justice Hawkins is not, and the same is the case with the other judges of the Queen's Bench Division, viz., justices Stephen, Mathew, Cave, Day, Smith, \Vills, Grantham, Charles, and those more recently appointed. Nor would it, we submit, be in the power of Her Majesty to confer the lost preeminence on those judges who have failed to attain the Degree of the Coif; for the Letters Patent emphatically declare that, “ neither We nor our heirs or successors will hereafter create within our Kingdom of England any other Degree, Order, Name, Title, Style, Dignity, or State, nor give or grant place, precedence, or pre-eminence, to any person under or below the degree, dignity, or state of a Baron of Parliament, who shall be superior or equal to the dignity of a Baronet, nor shall any person under the degree of a Baron (except those previously excepted by the Letters Patent) by reason of any constitution, dignity, office, or other thing whatsover, now or hereafter, have, hold, or enjoy place, precedence, or pre-eminence before a Baronet.” The judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875 have been fertile in creating new judicial officers; but the fact that the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are constituted Barons for life, saves the appointment from being dc jure that which it is de facto, viz., a new and dangerous attack on the precedence of the Order; for it is, as above pointed out, against the grant of the dignity of a Baronet that new degrees or titles should be interposed between his Order and the Peerage. Further, it is fully recognised by Legal writers that the Common Law requires a party to an appeal, or to an indictment, to be described by his Degree, if he be of the Knighthood or of higher Dignity. And the Degree, whether it be of ancient or of new creation, as that of Baronet, ought to be added to the name of baptism and surname. Indeed,