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than any newly invented title, according to the remark of Coke, probably referring to the recently created order of baronets, that it would have been more fit to have revived some of the ancient dignities than to have created any of a new invention." These, as sir Ed. Coke says, are all the names of dignity in this kingdom, esquires and gentlemen being only names of worship.” But before these last, the heralds rank all colonels, sergeants-at-law, and doctors in the three learned professions.” Of esquires and gentlemen Blackstone gives the following account:—“Esquires and gentlemen are confounded together by sir Edward Coke, who observes* that every esquire is a gentleman, and a gentleman is defined to be one qui arma gerit, who bears coat-armour, the grant of which adds gentility to a man's family; in like manner as civil nobility among the Romans was founded in the jus imaginum, or having the image of one ancestor at least who had borne some curule office. It is, indeed, a matter somewhat unsettled what constitutes the distinction, or who is a real esquire; for it is not an estate, however large, that confers this rank upon its owner. Camden, who was himself a herald, distinguishes them the most accurately; and he reckons up four sorts of them : 1. the eldest sons of knights, and their eldest sons in perpetual succession; 2. the eldest sons of younger sons of peers, and their eldest sons in like perpetual succession, both which species of esquires sir Henry Spelman entitles armigeri natalitii;" 3. esquires created by the king's letters patent, or other investiture, and their eldest sons; 4. esquires by virtue of their offices, as justices of the peace, and others who bear any office of trust under the crown.1 To these may be added, the esquires of the knights of the Bath, each of whom constitutes three at his installation, and all foreign peers; for not only these, but the eldest sons of peers of Great Britain, though frequently titular lords, are only esquires in the law, and must be so named in all legal proceedings.2 'As for gentlemen,' says sir Thomas Smith,3 ' they be made good cheap in this kingdom; for whosoever studieth the laws of the realm, who studieth in the universities, who professeth the liberal sciences, and (to be short) who can live idly and without manual labour, and will bear the port, charge, and countenance of a gentleman, he shall be called master, and be taken for a gentleman.4'" Yet it would seem that, strictly speaking, according to the law, lord Coke's definition is correct: "Every gentleman must be arma gerens; and the best trial of a gentleman in blood (which is the lowest degree of nobility) is by bearing of arms... So in these days the rule is, nobiles sunt qui insignia gentilicia generis sui prqferre possunt.5" And hence we may deduce that there are gentlemen by hereditary descent, and gentlemen by grant of coat-armour.
1 2 Inst. 667. * Ibid. * Blackst. Com. b. i. c. xii. p. 404. * 2 Inst. 668. * Ibid. 6 Ibid. 667. 7 Gloss. 43.
But with respect to all degrees of rank in this kingdom the rule in general holds good, that the common lawtakes no notice of them, unless for the purposes of honour, and the due subordination and orderly constitution of the commonwealth; except with regard to the peers of parliament, to whom divers privileges are given, necessary, or at least convenient, for the discharge of the high functions with which the law has invested them. All her majesty's
1 Spelman says that the office must be munus armigero designatum.
» 3 Inst. 30. 2 Inst. 667.
3 Commonw. of England, b. i c . xx.
'Blackst. Com. b. i. c. xii. p. 406. '- 2 Inst . 667.
subjects, not members of, or represented in, the upper house of parliament, are in the eye of the law equal, or each others' peers, in point of privilege, and civil and political capacity; though differences of fortune, station, or parts, must necessarily give to some a greater power of enjoying that capacity than to others. And herein our constitution essentially differs from that of France before the Revolution, and those of some other continental states, where the nobility are a caste, or privileged order, enjoying divers important immunities, capacities, and franchises, above the rest of the community. Whereas in England, even the privileges of the peers, which they enjoy on account of their hereditary functions in the government of the state, are but small; while the remainder of the aristocracy possess no privileges whatever, beyond mere honorary distinctions, and social advantages arising from wealth, station, or personal qualities. Thus, as there is no privileged caste separated by clear lines of demarcation from the rest of the community (the younger branches of the nobility constantly falling into and mingling with the gentry, and the limits of the gentry being incapable of any positive definition), there is a gentle gradation from the highest to the most humble commoner in the kingdom. And this not only amalgamates the whole nation together, preventing the different classes from becoming arrayed against each other, which is a natural consequence of their too abrupt separation, but facilitates the rise of eminent and meritorious men from obscurity to the highest stations in the kingdom. But we must return to civil estates or degrees. Citizens, burgesses, and yeomen, are of the lowest estates or degrees. Citizens and burgesses comprehend merchants, tradesmen, artificers, and labourers, who (as well as all others) must, in pursuance of the stat. 1 Hen. V. c. v., be styled by the name and addition of their estate, degree, or mystery, and the place to which they belong, or where they have been conversant, in all original writs of actions personal and indictments, upon which process of outlawry may be awarded; in order, as it should seem, to prevent any clandestine or mistaken outlawry, by reducing to a specific certainty the person who is the object of its process.1
* 2 Inst. 666. Coke, commenting on the statute of additions, says, “Mistier derivatur a maistre, Latine magisterium, because no
man ought to exercise it but he that is a master of it . Mistier is a large word, and includeth all lawful arts, trades, and occupations, as taylor, merchant, mercer, husbandman, labourer, and the like. But servant, groome, or fermor, are no additions within this act, because they ar^ not of any mysterie. And chamberer, butler, pantler, or the like, are additions of offices, and not of any mysterie or occupation. Neither doth this act extend to unlawful practices, as extortioner, maintainer, abetter, hereticke, &c." 2 Inst. 668. • Blackst. Com. b. i. c. xii. in fin.
OF THE MILITARY AND NAVAL STATES.
The military state includes the whole of the soldiery, or such persons as are particularly appointed among the rest of the people for the defence and safeguard of the realm.
Blackstone warns us, that in a land of liberty it is extremely dangerous to make a distinct order of the profession of arms. "In absolute monarchies," continues our illustrious commentator, "this is necessary for the, safety of the prince, and arises from the main principle of their constitution, which is that of governing by fear; but in free states the profession of a soldier, taken singly and merely as a profession, is justly an object of jealousy. In these no man should take up arms but with a view to defend his country and its laws: he puts not off the citizen when he enters the camp; but it is because he is a citizen, and would wish to continue so, that he makes himself for a while a soldier. The laws, therefore, and constitution of these kingdoms know no such state as that of a perpetual standing soldier, bred up to no other profession but that of war; and it was not till the reign of Henry VII. that the kings of England had so much as a guard about their persons."1
These principles are no doubt those of the common law; and it is most important that they should never be lost sight of. But the changes that have taken place in the public law of Europe, and the constitution of Eng1 Blackst. Com. b. i. c. xiii p. 103.