baronets king nova scotia
BARONET, a name originally given to the lesser barons mentioned in the preceding article, but now confined to the lowest grade of our hereditary nobility. The order was instituted by King James T. in 1611, at the suggestion of Sir Robert Cotton, to whom the plan had been submitted by Sir Thomas Shaky of Wiston, its actual inventor. Originally, the creation of this order was merely an expedient to raise money, and the cost of a baronetcy in each case amounted to £1095, exclusive of the fees. The money thus raised was professedly destined for the defence and maintenance of the new plantation in the province of Ulster, but it actually passed at once into the king's exhausted exchequer. According to the instructions given to the commissioners appointed for admitting to the new dignity, none were eligible but "men of quality, state of living, and good reputation, worthy of the same, and, at the least, descended of a grandfather (by the father's side) that bore arms, and who have also of certain yearly revenue " - X1000 per annum. The number created at first was 200, and the king engaged for himself, his heirs, and successors, that this should not be exceeded; and for himself also promised that no vacancies in the original number should be filled up. Charles I. disregarded the stipulated limitation, and the original terms have never since been carried out. The first twenty patents issued were dated 22d May 1611, and begin with that given to Sir Nicholas Bacon (son of the lord keeper) whose descendant still retains the position of premier baronet of England.
Baronets take precedence according to the dates of their patents, conformably to the terms of which no intermediate honour between baron and baronets can be established, and they rank above all knights except those of the Garter. The title or prefix of Sir is granted them by a peculiar clause in their patents, and until 1827 they could claim for themselves and the heirs male of their bodies the honour of knighthood. All baronets are entitled to bear in their coats-of-arms, either in a canton or an escutcheon at their choice, the arms of Ulster, viz., a bloody hand.
Baronets of Scotland, called also Baronets of Nova Scotia. - This order of knights-baronets was instituted by Charles I. in the year 1625, when the first person dignified with the title was Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstone, a younger son of the earl of Sutherland. The professed object of the institution was to encourage the plantation and settlement of Nova Scotia in North America ; hence the king granted to each of them a certain portion of land in that province, which they were to hold of Sir William Alexander, afterwards earl of Stirling, with precedency to them and their heirs-male for ever, before all knights called equites all lesser barons called lairds, and all other gentlemen, except Sir William Alexander, his Majesty's lieutenant in Nova Scotia, his heirs, their wives and children. It was further provided that the title of Sir should be prefixed to their Christian name, and Baronet added to their surname ; and that their own and their eldest sons' wives should enjoy the title of Lady, :Mtant, or Dame. The baronets of Scotland had assigned to them as an addition to their armorial bearings the ensign of Nova Scotia, viz., argent, a cross of St Andrew, azure, to be borne in a canton or in escutcheon ; but in 1629, after Nova Scotia was sold to the French, this privilege was changed into permission to wear a badge about their necks pendent from an orange-tawny silk ribbon.
Malone has given the following curious note upon this subject, in his learned Lafe of Dryden, prefixed to his edition of the prose works of that writer : - " When the order of baronets was first established in 1611, King James engaged that they should not exceed two hundred. However, towards the close of his reign, that number being completed, and the creation of baronets being found a useful engine of Government (the courtier by whose influence the title was obtained receiving usually £1000 for the grant), it was not lightly to be parted with. A scheme, therefore, of creating Baronets of Scotland was devised, which, it was conceived, would be no infraction of the original compact to confine the grants to a limited number ; and as the English baronets were created under the great seal of England, for the reduction of Ulster in Ireland, so the Scottish baronets were created under the great seal of Scotland, for the reduction of Acadia, or Nova Scotia. The scheme, however, was not carried into execution by King James ; but early in the reign of his successor several Scottish baronets were made. From this statement it appears that there is no more necessity for calling a baronet created under the great seal of Scotland (whether he be an Englishman or Scotchman), a Baronet of .NOva Scotia, than there is to denominate one created under the great seal of England a Baronet of Ulster." - (Malone's Dryden, vol. i. pp, 23, 29.) After the Union with England in 1707 the baronets of Scotland charged their arms with the Ulster badge, being created as baronets of the United Kingdom.
Baronets of Ireland. - This order was likewise instituted by King James I. in the 18th year of his reign, for the same purpose and with the same privileges within the kingdom of Ireland as had been conferred on the analogous order in England; for which also the Irish baronets paid the same fees into the treasury of Ireland. (c. J. it.)