The New International Encyclopædia/Merit, Order of

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Edition of 1905.  See also Order of Merit on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

MERIT, Order of. An order instituted in London, June 26, 1902, by King Edward VII., with the object of conferring distinction on persons who have gained prominence in military, scientific, artistic, and professional circles. The Order consists of the sovereign and the members and is not conferred as a reward for political services. Members of the order are accorded precedence immediately after the Order of the Bath and before the other orders of knighthood. Up to January 1, 1903, only twelve members had been installed, comprising, as representatives of the army, Lords Roberts, Wolseley, and Kitchener; of the navy, Admirals Keppel and Seymour; of science, Lords Rayleigh and Kelvin and Sir William Huggins; of medicine Lord Lister; of literature and history, John Morley and W. E. H. Lecky; of painting, G. F. Watts.