Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/140

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134 Southern Historical Society Papers.

was constantly thereafter a favored asylum for many of gentle birth during the civil wars of England.

Whilst I heartily endorse the just sentiment of the poet laureate: 'Tis only noble to be good ! Kind hearts are more than coronets, And simple faith than Norman blood !

Yet it is true that according to one test there is more evidence pre- served of gentle lineage in Virginia than in any other of the original American colonies. The list of families in the colony who, in vested right, used coat-armor, as attested in examples of such use on tomb- stones, preserved book-plates and impressions of seals, is more than one hundred and fifty. The virtue of such family investment by royal favor may appear somewhat in the fact that the Virginian rebels, Claiborne, Bacon, Washington and Lee, were all armigers, and among others were the Amblers, Archers, Armisteads, Banisters, Barradalls, Beverleys, Elands, Boilings, Byrds, Carys, Carringtons, Cloptons, Claytons, Corbins, and so throughout the alphabet in swelling numbers and comprehensive examples of ability and worth.

More than a score of knights and baronets had residence in the colony from time to time, and the descendants of the Diggeses, Fair- faxes, Peytons, Skipwiths and others, are are among us still.

Heraldry may vet be one of the studies taught in the law schools. It has its material uses in determining succession and inheritance. It is beginning to have one largely ostentatious in republican America. The study has also its incidental charms, as has another. The Bible abounds in pedigrees. They are held to be essential in deter- mining the qualities of animals. Genealogy is now admitted to be one of the chief supports of history.

An American-born genealogist, the late Joseph Lemuel Chester, in recognition of the value of his labors, had conferred on him by two continents the degrees most highly regarded in each LL. D., from Columbia College, America, and D. C. L. from Oxford, Eng- land. He was my friend and correspondent for years. He wrote me some time before his death : " I cannot die content until I have settled the ancestry of George Washington." Alas! this satisfac- tion was reserved for another Henry F. Waters. Young gentle- men, I may suggest to you an allurement in genealogy.

It appears to be the acme of the desire of the American woman of the present day to fix her title as a Colonial Dame or a Daughter of the American Revolution. Assist her by your talents, and your happiness may be fixed for life. I should not doubt but that the best