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the record commissioners. Jul. B. xii. 167, b. 168; Tib. E. viii. 40, 149; Vesp. F. ix. 40, 110; Tit. D. ixi 2 b.; Tit . B. viii. 804.
The relative authority of these tables, where they differ, is difficult to determine. But the series ordinum, given above, derives considerable weight from its being cited by lord Coke as "a record of great authority," and having been used in the controversy before king James I. respecting the precedency of the younger sons of viscounts and barons, and the newly erected degree of baronets.
It is necessary, in determining questions in this part of our public law, to distinguish carefully between, 1st, the points which are absolutely settled by law, or by established custom, proved by decisions or precedents emanating from a competent authority; and 2dly, those which are matter of mere usage and opinion, or have been allowed on certain occasions only. Points of the second class cannot be considered to be settled so as to become matter of right, and must be to a great degree within the discretion of the officers of the crown. Formerly they would have been adjudicated upon by the court of chivalry, before the constable and marshal, as we see in lord Coke's 4th Institute; but now, until decided by the authority of the crown, they remain matter of opinion, and not of right. Thus, all the persons who attend on public occasions of state must be placed somewhere, though they may have no right to any specific place; but it does not follow that because they have a certain place assigned to them on one occasion, they are entitled to the same place on another occasion. It would seem, however, that the officers of the crown ought to preserve uniformity, so far as may be, in their order of marshalling persons, and for that purpose to attend to precedents. But still the decision depends on their discretion. It seems that (the court of chivalry having fallen into disuse) the proper course for persons feeling themselves aggrieved in these matters, is to petition the crown, which will probably refer the question to the officers of arms, the lawofficers of the crown, or the privy-council, to be decided by the royal prerogative, with their advice. But the subject has no right to demand that his petition should be referred to any particular tribunal or person. It would seem that a person claiming a legal right to a certain place or precedence on a public occasion, might bring the question for adjudication before a court of common law, by suffering himself to be removed from his place, and bringing an action against the person so removing him.
It is an invariable rule that no office gives rank to the wife or children of the person holding it. Thus, even the wives and children of the great officers of state have no rank or precedence as such.
As for officers of state belonging to Ireland and Scotland, it seems that they have no rank as such in England, because the acts of union give them none; and they therefore remain in the same condition in which they were before the unions.
The counsel practising in the different courts have a certain precedence there among themselves; but their precedence elsewhere seems undetermined. Sergeants-at law are, it would seem, entitled to some rank out of court, because they are called by the king's writ, and are also summoned to be attendants of the lords in parliament when they are king's sergeants. Brooke, in his abridgment, Nome de Dignitie, says, that the place of a sergeant-at-law is a dignity, because his writ runneth ad statum et gradum servientit ad legem, &c. In the tables of precedence sergeants are placed above masters in chan. eery, though that matter was formerly disputed. On this point there is a curious anecdote in a treatise of the masters of the chancery, in the 1st vol. of Hargrave's Collection of Tracts, p. 298. "Doctor Barkley, a master of the chauncery, in the 18th of the queen, sitting in the parliament-howse, as the manner is, upon occasion of speeche amongst the lords of certain officers to have certaine priviledges, without askinge leave got up, and entered upon a speech of desiringe, that the masters of the chancery might also be comprised in the sayed privilege then on foote; which requeste came soe unseasonably, and was so inconsideratelie propounded by the said doctor, as the lords in generall tooke offence thereat; and amongst the rest some of great authoritie sayed, that whilest the queen's learned counsel were silent, it were great presumption in him, beinge one inferior to them, to bee soe busie. Soe as upon this the next day, the serjant, atturnie, and sollicitor took place above the masters of the chauncery there, which before that time had never been donne; and ever sithence, not only they, but Serjeants at the law alsoe, doe it generallie at all public meetings, upon this reason that they took place before the attornie and solicitor."
The modern degree of king's counsel must, it would seem, give precedence every where, because it is conferred by letters patent under the great seal, but that precedence is undetermined.
I will only add a table of the precedency of women, taken from Mr. Young's tables.
The princess of Wales.
Princesses daughters of the king.
The king's granddaughters.
Wives of the younger sons of visCounts. Wives of the younger sons of barons. Wives of baronets. Wives of bannerets not made by the king in person. Wives of knights of the thistle. Wives of knights grand crosses of the bath. Wives of knights of St. Patrick. Wives of knights grand crosses of St. Michael and St. George. Wives of knights commanders of the bath. Wives of knights commanders of St. Michael and St. George. Wives of knights bachelors. Wives of the eldest sons of the younger sons of peers. Daughters of the younger sons of peers. Wives of the eldestsons of baronets. Daughters of baronets. Wives of the eldest sons of knights of the garter, of knights bannerets, of knights of the thistle, the bath, St. Patrick, and St. Michael and St George. Wives of the eldest sons of knights bachelors. Daughters of knights bachelors. Wives of the younger sons of baronets. Wives of esquires. Wives of gentlemen.
For the purpose of understanding this table, it is necessary to refer to the table of precedency of men.
It is necessary to notice certain alterations which have been made in the law while this book was in the press.
I. Stat. 4 and SVict.c.lviii., intituled "An act to amend the law for the trial of controverted elections." This stat. repeals stat. 2 and 3 Vict. c. xxxviii., but re-enacts the more important part of its provisions, with additions and amendments. Recognisances are required to be entered into by petitioners, and the speaker is empowered to appoint an examiner of recognisances. At the beginning of every session the speaker is to appoint a general committee of six members, who are to be sworn, and to whom election-petitions are to be referred, for the purpose of being arranged in a list, in the order in which they were reported upon by the examiner of recognisances. The general committee is then to select, out of an alphabetical list of all the members of the house who are not excused or disqualified from serving under the provisions of the act, six, eight, ten, or twelve members to serve as chairmen of election-committees. The general committee is then to divide the remainder of the list of members into five panels, each consisting of nearly the same number of members; each panel is to be distinguished by a number, to be determined by lot. The general committee are to choose committees of six members, to try each election-petition in the order in which they stand on the list of petitions, out of the panel standing first at the time, as the panels are numbered, but omitting those members who are excused or disqualified under the provisions of the act. When six members of any committee are finally chosen, the chairmen's panel are to choose a chairman, who is then to be added to such committee, unless disqualified; the select committee is then to be reported to the house, and swor n at the table, and having tried the petition, to report their determination to the house. The act contains numerous other provisions.
II. Stat. 4 and 5 Vict., intituled “An act to explain and amend the statutes 6 and 7 Wm. IV. c. lxxvii. and 3 and 4 Vict. c. cxiii., relating to the ecclesiastical commissioners for England.” It is thereby enacted, that honorary canonries are and shall be founded forthwith in the cathedral-churches of Canterbury, Bristol, Carlisle, Chester, Durham, Ely, Gloucester, Norwich, Oxford, Peterborough, Ripon, Rochester, Winchester, and Worcester, and in the collegiate church of Manchester so soon as it shall have become a cathedralchurch, and in no other cathedral-church. The other provisions of the act relate to first-fruits and tenths of vacated dignities, deans not holding prebends, the endowment of archdeaconries, the Durham university trusts, minor canons, the disposal of residence-houses, exchanges of lands and advowsons, and divers other matters.
A bill has made considerable progress, abolishing the equitable jurisdiction of the court of exchequer, and appointing two additional judges assistants in the court of chancery, to be called vice-chancellors. That measure will become law before the ensuing term, Nov. 1841. The court of chancery will then consist of the lord chancellor, the master of the rolls, and the three vice-chancellors. One of the new vice-chancellorships is to cease on the death of the person to be appointed to the office.