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"my Lords". It would seem then that, in strictness, "Lord " is a title which other people should give to a man, but which he should not take to himself. And in many formulae this rule is still followed. The Lord Chancellor— "Lord High Chancellor", because there are many smaller chancellors—and the Lord Chief Justice write themselves " C." and "C.J." So does the Lord Mayor of London. "A. Mayor" stands as the heading of his formal acts. This surely marks the way in which the lordly title came to be habitually given to the chief magistrates of two cities in England, four perhaps in Scotland, and I believe one only in Ireland. The dignity of the Mayors of London and York was so great that their citizens habitually called them "my Lord"; that is, they habitually professed to be their "men". In other places custom treated the Mayor with somewhat less honour, and instead of "Lord" gave him no higher title of address than " Master ". "Mr. Mayor" we know everywhere: "My Lord Mayor" is confined to two cities only.
I am far from saying that a formal grant of the lordly title to a Mayor— or to anybody else—is impossible. I cannot here in Sicily prove a negative. I remember John Richard Green once saying something about a grant of the kind from Richard the Second to the Mayor of York. A mere grant of precedence would exactly fall in with what I have been saying. A direct grant of the title of "Lord Mayor" would be rather odd, as it would amount to a command to the citizens of York to speak of their Mayor as "my Lord". The homage would thus be no longer a voluntary offering. Still such a grant is possible ; though I feel certain that, if it ever was made, it was a mere confirmation of an usage which had already grown up.
Now specially as to Dundee. It is for Scotchmen, and specially for Scotch lawyers, to tell us how it comes about that the title of "Lord" is so much
more common among Scotch than among English officials. In our present immediate line four Provosts seem to be called " Lord " to two Mayors. One thing in the matter is certain, that, whatever there may have been in a charter of Richard the Second about the lordship of the Mayor of York, there is nothing in the charter of Queen Victoria about any lordship in the Provost of Dundee. His lordship is inferred from the grant of the rank of city to the burgh. Scotch lawyers or Scotch antiquaries must say whether there is anything in this or not. To me at least it seems strange if it should be so; but there are many things in Scotch law which do seem strange to Englishmen. I can better judge of another point on which something has been said at Dundee. It appears that it was formerly the custom of Dundee to call the Provost "Lord Provost", but that the title has gone out of use for a century or two. In the absence of an authoritative statement of Scotch law to the contrary, I should say that this fact settled the whole case. The burgesses of Dundee were in ancient times very respectful to their Provost; they called him " my Lord ". Latterly, perhaps to their discredit, they have dealt with him less respectfully. It is now hoped that, being raised to the rank of citizens, they will become as respectful as their remoter forefathers were, and will talk of their Provost as " my Lord Provost". Perhaps it is right that they should; but—in the absence of any such statement of law as I before hinted at—it would seem that the matter rests wholly with themselves; it is certain that the Queen in no way orders them to do so. Perhaps indeed it is better that there should be no ordering in the case: the homage will be more precious if it comes as a free gift. In my view of the case, if mankind in general and the citizens of Dundee in particular can agree for a century or two to call the Provost of Dundee "My Lord Provost", he will have as good a right to the lordly title as the Mayor of London and the Provost of Edinburgh. If no such agreement can be had, one may fear that he must remain the fellow of the Mayor of Birmingham. It might be hardly civil to quote the answer of the Spartan —was it not a Spartan 1—to the Macedonian king's demand for divine worship: "If Alexander will be a god, let him". A possible Lord Provost is a graver personage than a heathen deity. We cannot venture to say, "If the Provost of Dundee will be a Lord Provost, let him ". For, if my theory is right, a Lord Provost, a Lord anything, is not made but grows. He must wait for the lordly title to come to him from some quarter; he must not take honour upon himself. He must wait for other people to say, "You are our lord: we are your men " ; he must not himself say, "I am your lord: you are my men". For it is only by courtesy that they are his men ; and courtesy is essentially a free will offering.
I have been driven to write somewhat superficially on a matter which
is really a curious one, because I have just now no means of making myself certain on any point on which I may feel doubtful. It is hard to prove negatives in any case; it is harder still when you have no books to turn to. I have therefore tried to be as little positive as I could on any point, so that, if I am not right, I may at least not be wrong. Some points that I have started well deserve being worked out more fully than I could work them out in any case; for they would call for special, and often for local, knowledge. My only fear is lest a proclamation should really have been issued granting the rank of a city to Southwell. Then I should be in evil case. But I looked out very carefully for it for a good while after the foundation of the bishopric, and I do not think it is likely to have been put forth since I left the great island of the Ocean for the great island of the Mediterranean.
Edward A. Freeman. Catania, March.
A MINUTE PHILOSOPHER.
At Lord Falkland's court of intellect at Great Tew,—that delightful manor thrown open like a perpetual salon to worthy visitors, where Oxford scholars would arrive, order their bedroom, give notice of their intention to be present at dinner, and betake themselves to the library to read or talk,— there was at one time a constant and an honoured guest.
This was a certain Fellow of Merton, by name John Earles, some ten years older than his host, and so devoted to his lordship that, as he himself tells us, he gave all the time that he could make his own to cultivating his society. And at first this was a good deal, for he was not a busy man; besides his Fellowship at Merton, he was only chaplain to Lord Pembroke, and vicar of a distant Wiltshire parish to which he paid but few visits. Between him and Lord Falkland there was a kind of intellectual bargain; they read Greek together, and John said that he learnt more than he taught, and that he was amply repaid for his exertion by the fresh, lively light that that sympathetic mind cast upon the great variety of subjects which passed under review in that high argumentative atmosphere.
John was known to his friends as a singularly sweet-tempered, amiable man, one who could count no enemies —with the faults of a scholar, it is true, his hair tangled, his canonical coat dusty, slovenly and negligent in his habits; a bad man of business, and a forgetful, absent-minded fellow. But they condoned these faults as being so unconscious, the externals of a character which could afford to dispense with social advantages; the result of a dreamy yet active mind, so bent upon reverie and so strenuous in thought that it could not bear to
waste time and trouble upon things that were so undeniably unimportant. Genuine absent-mindedness has a great charm for thoughtful men; when it is the index of deliberate abstraction, they are apt to look upon it almost enviously, as the sign of a high aloofness from ordinary sublunary anxieties, an aloofness which they are themselves unable to command.
John was in the habit of thinking a great deal about his fellow-men; he was not philosophising nor calculating nor recording in those ruminating periods. He had keen eyes, that untidy, peering scholar, and when others talked he listened. He examined their features curiously; he dwelt with inward delight upon their instinctive gestures—the tones of their voices, the twinkling of their brows, the twitching of their hands; he did not moon and generalise; his taste was for the special, the particular, the individual, the characteristic. And every now and then, when pen and paper lay in his way, he would scribble off a rough sketch, as an artist jots down heads and limbs, towers and copses on his blotting-paper, a mental caricature of one of the strange fellows that he was for ever encountering in the world. Written on loose sheets, sometimes lying in his desk, sometimes left on the table, sometimes dropped over a friend's shoulder, he set no store on these fragments; he did not hand them round with affected carelessness, and come down with his bed-candle to search for them when all the world was up stairs. He had no idea of rushing into print, no ambition connected with the publisher. The figure with all its oddities had risen in his mind, and he had the whim to describe it. Done for the moment, he had but a momentary interest in it; and like the Sibyl, he saw the wind whirl the leaves about without regard to the precious characters they bore.
Once or twice the humour took him to sketch himself, to outline such lineaments of his own as he had seen reflected in the looks and welcomes of his friends; to recall for his own amusement a humorous situation or two over which he had often made secret merriment. In words too intimate not to be autobiographical he had written of the downright scholar whose "perplexitye of mannerliness will not let him feed, and he is sharp set at an argument when he should cut his meate." With a twinkling eye, thinking of the stable-gate at Tew and the big horse-block, he says how such an one "ascends a horse somewhat sinisterly, though not on the left side, and they both goe jogging in grief together ;" he tells how he "cannot speak to a Dogge in his own dialect, and understands Greeke better than the language of a Falconer."
But like the squire who puts up with trespassing and yet draws the line at poaching, he had suddenly to show his hand. To have his witty distinctions quoted, to see them go to form another's stock-in-trade—that he could put up with; it was merely another grotesque turn among the oddities of humanity that he was never tired of observing. But when without his leave, those fly-sheets, those scrawls and sketches on which he had set so little store, suddenly appeared in print garnered by some careful hand, then he flung himself into the world with a kind of challenge. Like Virgil he dared them to finish what they had professed to begin, and for himself he proceeded to finish what some one else had begun for him.
He did not set his name to the book, but allowed the world to know who was the author. He affixed a preface with the fictitious name of Edward Blount, in which he professes
to bring forth to the light, as it were, infants which the father would have smothered; but the preface is so void of partiality, it makes so little attempt to compliment the book or to insist, as even the most judicial friend would have done, on the merits of the work, that it is evidently by the hand of the author,—and the author is evidently a modest man.
Authors have only been able to wake and find themselves famous since the days of improved communication; but John Earles found himself famous as soon as the little ripple of delight could permeate to the outskirts of society. The book was so new and bright, the humour was so penetrating and yet so kind, and it was above all so innocent in its wisdom, that the reading world seized upon it with delight.
This fame resulting from so slender and nugatory a performance was a strange surprise to Earles, and had he not been a man who was apt all through his life to be surprised at his own successes, it might have turned his brain; but he broke off and wrote no more, at least in that manner. In five years the book ran through eight editions; and with the exception of adding a score of pieces to one of the editions—pieces which at his friends' earnest solicitation he gathered out of accumulated papers—he wrote nothing else in that kind. Nay, he was so austere, that he had suppressed many sheets in the first edition because there was a dash of coarseness which had somehow invaded their fibre.
He rose quickly in the world after this, and no one envied him or would have detracted from him; he bore his greatness so quietly and salted it so well with gratitude that it never was anything but pure and fragrant.
The Earl of Pembroke was Lord Chamberlain and took his chaplain to Court, where he conciliated so many, and showed himself of such even and gracious temper, and possessed of so genial an authority, that when Dr. Duppa was made Bishop of Sarum, John Earles stepped quickly into the post of tutor to the Prince of Wales, afterwards that most gracious monarch, Charles II.
When kings were kings, Arsenius was something of a potentate. A prince's tutor might without absurdity reflect that he held a high and solemn charge. The education of any human being is that; and the education of one born to rank and greatness will always be a serious undertaking, just because he is capable of being such a power in the world and of influencing so large a number of people; but the education of a king had something national about it, and a tutor who could really affect such a pupil's character might hope to react upon a large section of the community.
Charles II. was undeniably a clever man, and made the most of a very difficult position. He was not a highminded man in any sense of the word, and he was hopelessly, irretrievably frivolous. If he had been ambitious or serious, terrible complications might have ensued; he would either have fretted himself into madness or the country into civil war. Fortunately he did neither, but stood in a spectatorial attitude, watching the world through wicked, humorous eyes, living a low kind of life among lazy friends, and sauntering through difficulties which would have wrecked an earnest man. A character like this is sure to have appreciated such a tutor, but he was probably far too cold and careless for Earles ever to have influenced him. Charles II. must have been a hopeless case from the beginning. A clever man in a very great position, without a touch of generosity or affection in his nature, is for the educational experimentalist a hopeless case; and though we cannot trace any good strain in Charles to the effect of Earles' influence, yet it was something to have conciliated such a prince's liking and to retain his esteem.
John had just been made Chancellor of Sarum Church, and had just taken
possession of one of those sweet gabled and mullioned houses of gray stone, where gardens run down to the placid, clear chalk-stream wandering through its water-meadows,—when the troubles began. A man such as John had never a doubt as to his policy: he had no sort of sympathy with the Puritans; their total lack of humour and delicacy disgusted him as much as anything human could disgust him; and he was not a man who clung with any hankering to houses and lands. He threw up all his appointments and went across the sea to his master; and at one time or another gave him in instalments all the scanty fortune he had put aside.
He lived to be rewarded; no one was so eminently in his master's eye. At the Restoration he was made Dean of Westminster, then Bishop of Worcester, and then on Duppa's death went back to Sarum as its Bishop; and he remained through it all the most simple-minded ecclesiastic that ever sat upon a throne. An easy task enough nowadays, when priests move among statesmen as a lamb moves among wolves,—so far as worldly prospects are concerned. If a Body expects to be disestablished and disendowed within a decade, that will preserve humility under worldly trappings, like the skullbeaker at Norwegian feasts; but in those days, when a bishop was in reality a petty prince, when he and his brethren made up nearly a third of the House of Peers, when their title to Church revenues was held (as it was in the first flush of the Restoration) as safer than many a country gentleman's, and as rather more sacred than the king's,—a courtier and a scholar, clad in pomp, dignified by secular observance and sanctified by heavenly authority, may be excused if he is a little corrupted by the flush of dignity; and to be gentle and natural and simple-minded under such an accession of respect signifies an unfailing plenitude of humility's saving spring.
Perhaps ill-health may have contributed a little to this balance and