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people had no great anxiety to come within the cognizance of the Heralds of those days; and several of them are not therefore to be found in the Visitation Books. But surely, after the lapse of two centuries, they have gained a prescriptive right to their coats, which nothing but ignorance or mercenary prejudice could deny. It is almost too absurd, that while sixty years possession will turn a wrongful into an indefeasible title to an estate of 50,000l. a year, an usage of two hundred years cannot give a right to a coat of arms, of which the original title cannot perhaps be disproved by an atom of evidence.

But according to the wise rules of this body, nothing of this kind, no prescriptive use, even from the time of the Plantagenets, will satisfy them; the idiotic petitioner of their fiat, who goes with a shield, which his grandsires have borne, without dispute, through the reigns of all the Tudors and all the Stuarts, and submitting to their irrational authority, requests its enrolment, will be told that unless he can by evidence, not merely such as would satisfy a Judge and Jury, but such as they in their narrow and self-established rules of testimony choose to call satisfactory, join himself to some family whose property in these arms has been recognized by the College, he must submit, not merely to the costs, but to the disgrace, of a new coat, decked out perhaps by the fertile imagination of Garter himself! And will this sneaking, dastardly driveller then thus abandon all the ensigns of his fathers? Will he forego the simple chevrons, or fesses, or bends, or escallops, or stars, or crescents, which have shone for ages in the richly-coloured Oriel of the venerable Hall; which have marked out the portrait of


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many a belted Knight, and which have blazoned the massive altar-tomb, under which those from whom be drew his blood, repose; will he forego these, endeared to a cultivated mind by every thing that is interesting in antiquity, for such pew-fangled devices, as, inde, pendent of iheir novelty, would, from the absurdity of their context, be beneath a child of five years old?

In consequence of this conduct, a large portion of those, who now form no inconsiderable part of the comparatively-ancient gentry of the kingdom, appear not in the Registers of this Society; while the lowest upstarts, East-Indians, brokers, contractors, and often tradesmen, who have not even a pretension to birth, and possess no ancient coat to be sacrificed, crowd to the office, pay freely for a new device, which in their ignorance they value in proportion as it combines puerilities and incongruities which never before entered into an human brain, and having all their fathers and grandfathers, (if they had any!) raked out from the parish-registers in which alone they were recorded among their brother-blacksmiths and tinkers and publicans, are decorated with a gencalogical table as large as one of the amplest pages of the office-books will hold; while at the top of all appears the mighty symbol of their gentility, a shield glittering in the freshest colours of the most skilful painter, and adorned with an enigmatical confusion of charges, which it would require a tedious exercise of the most curious eye and most retentive memory to comprehend. Then it is that children, and uncles, and aunts, and cousins, are carried to view with rapturous astonishment this mighty transformation of the Herald's magic wand ! There we read the birth, marriage, and burial of the


father, who kept the Chequers Inn at Corner;

the grandfather, the horse-leech; the great grandfather, the cobler; and the great great grandfather, the greatest of all, who had been parish-clerk of the place of his abode, during one of King James's Progresses! Yet, what is a little remarkable, not one of these amusing facts appears upon the face of the record. On the contrary, the staring eyes and open mouths of all the clan, who come to behold their new gentility, caught by the splendid blazonry in the upper corner of the leaf, take them for as great and honourable personages as ever bore a shield: yet wonder secretly,

With a foolish face of praise,

at the power of the conjurer, which could thus transa mute the porter-pot, the cow's horn, the anvil, and the awl, which they remembered in their former days, into bucklers and helmets, and banners !--Auri sacra fames! What wilt thou not do?

An apology may be deemed necessary for the freedom of these remarks. Yet surely it can scarce be exa pected from me to copy, with an abject servility, the grovelling and fearful sentiments of others on this subject. ' I wish to strip from it its pedantic jargon, its delusions, and its follies, and to set it in a light consistent with the ideas of a rational, a cultivated, and enlarged mind. Nor have I any wish to degrade the College of Arms; for some of whose members I entertain the most sincere respect and good wishes. Indeed with the exception of two or three, I honestly believe that it has seldom been more ably and more honourably filled than at present. My friend Mr. Lodge will for


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give me for pointing him out, as a man, not merely of literature, and a very copious knowledge of history, at once extensive and exact, but of real and unequivocal genius. The Biographical Notes to his “ Illustrations of British History” are not merely compilations, like those of most other editors, (which too often betray little more than well-directed labour) but are, without one exception, elegant compositions, which exhibit grace of language, discrimination of character, sagacity and fertility of original remark, and a fund of moral, and interesting, sentiments of the most touching kind. The same character will apply_to his very excellent Memoirs annexed to the Holbein Heads by Bartolozzi. A gentleman by birth, educated in the army, and having imbibed all the liberal ideas of his early station, such a man becomes a College, which professes to preserve the decaying institutions of chivalry; from which those of low origin and education, who have nothing to recommend them but their expert clerkship, and their patience in digging among head-stones and parish-registers, ought to be excluded! For what can adorn this employment so much as a masterly knowledge of history; where there is not merely a memory to register facts, but a lumi. nous talent to digest, and draw results from them? If such a man submit to indolence, if he suffer coarse, unfeeling, and mercenary, obtrusiveness to step before him, even though it be too frequently the fate of genius, 'how much will his friends, and even the public, lament it!

." Step forth; and brush a-swarm of fools away,
Then rise and grasp a more malignant prey !"


Nor is Mr. Lodge the only member of the College, of whom my personal knowledge enables me to speak in terms of respect and esteem. In the gentlemanly manners, active mind, and liberal spirit of Mr. Naylor, I have observed every thing that becomes an occupation, requiring in an eminent degree knowledge, courtesy, and integrity. And there are others, whom I could mention with the greatest pleasure, if the slightness of my acquaintance with them would justify the liberty of using their names.

The arcana of this art can never be difficult to be acquired, so long as there exist so many treatises on the subject; and a judicious selection among them will save much tedious waste of time and toil. A complete contrast between the nature of ancient and modern grants will be furnished by a comparison of $6 Camden's Gifts,” which are set forth in the 2d Book of Morgan's Sphere of Gentry, pp. 107-118, with those of Modern Kings at Arms in the Appendix to Edmondson's Heraldry.

It is now time to enter upon my catalogue, which dry as it must necessarily be, seemed to me to require some prelude, and which I have therefore here given, not without being conscious that I shall be deemed by many a little too sarcastic: yet I trust that, among all my patient transcriptions, I shall be forgiven for indulging now and then in a sally of this kind. My readers may rely that I have not tried their candour to the utmost of my power; for I could have written a volume, instead of a few pages, on the subject,


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