Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/287

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273
PRECEDENCE


the scale of general precedence for men. If, indeed, it includes the queen's maids of honour and the wives of the companions of the knightly orders, there certainly does not seems to be any good reason why it should omit the mistress of the robes and the ladies of the bedchamber, or the ladies of the royal order of Victoria and Albert and the imperial order of the Crown of India. But these are trifling matters in themselves, and concern only a minute fraction of the community. The scale of general precedence for men is now in substantially the same condition as that in which it has been for between two and three centuries, and the political, to say nothing of the social, arrangements to which it was framed to apply have in the interval undergone an almost complete transformation. The consequence is that a good deal of it has come down to us in the shape of a survival, and has ceased to be of any practical use for the purpose it was originally designed to effect. While it comprises several official and personal dignities which are virtually obsolete and extinguished, it entirely omits the great majority of the members of Government in its existing form, and whole sections of society on a less exalted level, to whom it is universally felt that some rank and place at all events are both in public and in private justly due. And, when it does confess the presence of any of the sovereign's principal ministers, it commonly places them in positions which are out of all keeping with their actual eminence and importance. It ranks the lord president of the council and the lord privy seal before dukes, while it places the chancellor of the exchequer after the younger sons of earls and the eldest sons of barons, and the secretaries of state after the master of the horse and the vice-chamberlain of the household. The lord chancellor still has precedence as the first of the great officers of state, which was allotted to him not as what he is, the head of the judicature, but as what he once Was, the prime minister of the sovereign; and the lord chief justice, who is next to him in regular judicial rank, as presiding over the common law courts, as he presides over the courts of equity, is placed after the chancellors of the exchequer and of the duchy of Lancaster, who still have the precedence which was allotted to them not as ministers, which they are, but as judges, which they are no longer. Neither the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, the viceroy of India, nor the governor-general of Canada has any rank or place at St James's, where, as Well as at Westminster, the lord steward or the lord chamberlain of the household is a much greater and more splendid personage. Again, in the scale of general precedence there are no clergymen except bishops, no lawyers except judges, and no officers of either the army or the navy from field marshals and admirals of the fleet downwards. Nor, of course, are any colonial governors or lieutenant-governors entered on it. It contains no mention of under-secretaries of state, chairmen or commissioners of administrative boards, comptrollers or secretaries of government departments, lord lieutenants or sheriffs of counties, deputy lieutenants or justices of the peace, members of the House of Commons or graduates of the universities. It is true that among some of these classes definite systems of subordination are established by either authority or usage, which are carefully observed and enforced in the particular areas and spheres to which they have reference. But we have seldom any means of determining the relative value of a given term in one series as compared with a given term in another series, or of connecting the different steps in the scales of local, professional or academical precedence with the different steps in the scale of general precedence, to which such scales of special precedence ought to be contributory and supplementary. We know, for example, that major-generals and rear-admirals are of equal rank, that with them are placed commissaries-general and inspectors-general of hospitals and fleets, that in India along with civilians of thirty-one years' standing they immediately follow the vice-chancellors of the Indian universities, and that in relation to the consular service they immediately precede agents-general and consuls-general. But there is nothing to aid us in determining whether in England they should be ranked with, before or after deans, king's counsel or doctors in divinity, who are as destitute as they are themselves of any recognized general precedence, and who, as matters now stand, would certainly have to give place to the younger sons of baronets and knights and the companions of the knightly orders. No foreigner has any legal precedence in Great Britain) but it is suggested that it being proper courtesy to accord to guests the precedence due to the rank they bear in their own countries, they should rank in society with and immediately before those of the relative rank in England. It should, however, be remembered that the younger sons of counts and other nobles bear the title of count with the addition of the Christian name, and they should be ranked with younger sons of British earls, &c., Whatever title they bear. The eldest son of a duke for example is sometimes called prince, but the place accorded to him by the above rule would be next after a British marquess. Some persons of authority consider, however, that a foreigner should be given precedence over every native Whatever the rank may be.

It has now become usual to recognize ecclesiastical rank derived from the pope, even when held by subjects of the king. Cardinals, therefore, rank by international usage above archbishops, as princes of the blood royal, and in Ireland, Roman Catholic and Protestant bishops rank as such by authority of the warrants there in force.

An order respecting precedence was sent by the secretary of state for the colonies to the governor-general of Canada (July 24, 1868). Precedence in India is regulated by a Royal Warrant dated the 6th of May 1871, a copy of which is subjoined. VICTORIA, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith. To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting. Whereas it hath been represented unto Us that it is advisable to regulate the Rank and Precedence of persons holding appointments in the East Indies. In order to fix the same, and prevent all disputes, We do hereby declare that it is Our will and pleasure that the following Table be observed with respect to the Rank and Precedence of the persons hereinafter named, viz.:- Governor-General and Viceroy of India. Governor of Madras. Governor of Bombay. President of the Council of the Governor-General. Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. Lieutenant-Governor of North-West Provinces. Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjaub. Commander-in-Chief in India, when a Member of Council. Chief justice of Bengal. Bishop of Calcutta, Metropolitan of India. Chief justices of Madras, Bombay and North-Vestern Provinces. Commanders-in-Chief in Madras and Bombay, when also Members of Council. Ordinar Members of the Council of the Governor-General. Bishops ofy Madras and Bombay. Ordinary Members of Council in Madras and Bombay.

Commander-in-Chief in India, when not a Member of Council. Puisne judges of the High Courts of Calcutta, Madras, Bombay and North-Western Provinces. Commanders-in-Chief, Madras and Bombay, when not Members of Council. Chief Commissioners and Resident at Hyderabad. Military Officers above rank of Major-General. Additional Members of the Council of the Governor-General when assembled to make laws, &c. Commodore commanding Her Majesty's Naval Forces in India. judge Advocate General of India. Secretaries to the Government of India. Additional Members of the Councils of the Governors of Madras and Bombay when assembled to make laws, &c. Members of the Legislative Council of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. Agents to the Governor-General in Rajpootana and Central India. Commissioner in Sind. judges of the Chief Court, Punjaub. Chief Secretaries to the Governments of Madras and Bombay.

Frnsr CLASS

Civilians of 28 years' standing to rank with Major-Generals. Advocate General, Calcutta. Residents at Foreign Courts and Residents at Aden, the Persian Gulf and Bagdad. Recorders of Moulmein and Rangoon. Advocates-General, Madras and Bombay. Members of the Boards of Revenue, Bengal, Madras, North-West Provinces. Secretaries to Local Governments. Chief Engineer, 1st Class. Comptroller-General of Accounts in India. Directors-General, Post Office, Tele raphs and Irrigation. judicial Commissioners, Oude, Central Provinces, Mysore and Sind. Financial Commissioners in the Punjaub, Oude and Central Provinces. Archdeacon of Calcutta. Secretary to Council of Governor-General for making Laws, &c. Officers Commanding Brigades.

This subject was considered by the House of Lords in February

1628, on the proposition of a committee that no foreign nobility has right of precedence within this realm before any peer of this kingdom.