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And thus M. Green, in his Grotto.

“ While insects from the threshold preach.” With regard to rocks being the scenes of lovetales, the following from the same poet, Idyllium, II. v. 17, 18, is decisive.

καθεζομενος δ' επι πετρας Υψηλας, ες ποντον όρων, αειδε τοιαυτα. And in Virgil the rock occurs among images the most delightful and soothing in rural scenery.

“ Hinc tibi, quæ semper vicino ab limite sepes,
Hyblæis apibus florem depasta salicti,
Sæpe levi somnum suadebit inire susurro.
Hinc alta sub rupe canet frondator ad auras;
Nec tamen interea raucæ, tua cura, palumbes,
Nec gemere aeria cessabit turtur ab ulmo.”

ECLOG. I. v. 54, 59.

ART. DCCXVII. No. XVIII. On the ancient English Families.

“ Stat magni nominis umbra.” LUCAN. 1 conceive I shall give some variety to my pages, by inserting here a paper, which has lain by me for some years, and which was originally intended to be carried to a much greater length.

The minds of men seem to be recovering from the confusion and poison with which the shallow and vulgar doctrines of equality preached by Tom Paine and his half-witted but base followers, had overset them. It is found that from the unalterable nature of things, distinctions will exist. To modify them, therefore, in a manner most agreeable to the passions and experience of mankind, is a point of the highest wisdom, because it is essentially conducive to the peace and happiness of society.

In the beautifully-mixed constitution of this country, where the principle of privileged ranks forms an essential part, yet under such limitations, as in general to correct all the abuses to which it may be liable, the study of its practical operations in the history of the rise, prosperity, and decay of the aristocratical branches of our government, is often entertaining, and surely not altogether unimportant. Nor will cursory remarks drawn from a wide, as well as close and continued reflection upon the subject, be considered, perhaps, as totally devoid of interest.

Such remarks will probably remind us of some cautions, which ought never to be forgotten by those who have the distribution of honours. The neglect of them is said to have fomented the rising flames of revolution in France; and Sir Edward Walker testifies, that it added not a little to the cause of simi. lar horrors in this country in the unfortunate reign of Charles I.

While the kingdom continues to grow every day more and more commercial, and sudden wealth falls to the lot of the lowest and most uneducated individuals, it becomes doubly necessary to guard the avenues of distinction, and counteract that powerful influence which gold will always too much command. If all respect be engrossed by riches, who will long pursue the toilsome and upgainful labours of the mind, or the dangerous and empty laurels of the field?

Records and other authentic documents tell us, that there are many families who for centuries have preserved their names in affluence and honour unsullied by any mean occupation. Have they not been preserved by the wise reverence that the custom of the country has bitherto paid to such adyantages of birth? And shall we now laugh at this distinction as a prejudice in favour of a shadow ?

But it seems a strange contradiction in the existing age, that while these distinctions are most scoffed at, a spirit of curiosity and inquiry regarding them peculiarly characterizes the present day. Countyhistories are publishing in every quarter of the kingdom. And even the gorgeous nabob, who bought his mansion but yesterday, accompanies its history with a pompous pedigree. While others, arguing from such abuses, treat every pretension to illustrious birth, as fabulous.

But they, who have examined the subject with a critical and penetrating eye, that can pierce the fabulous dresses, in which vanity or adulation have clothed too many families, must yet have discovered in every part of the kingdom, no small number, who can boast both antiquity and splendour of descent demonstrable by the clearest proofs.

Perhaps our nobility, by their elevated situation, have been more exposed to ruin, than those in a more private and retired situation.

“ Sæpius ventis agitatur ingens
Pinus; et celsæ graviore casu

1

Decidunt turres; feriuntque summos

Fulmina montes.*

Dugdale, in the preface to his Baronage published in 1675, says, that “ of the two hundred and seventyfive families" [who had their first advancements to the peerage before the end of Henry the Third's reign] “ touching which the first volume doth take notice; there will hardly be found above eight, which do to this day continue; and of those not any whose estates (compared with what their ancestors enjoyed) are not a little diminished. Nor of that number (I mean 270) above twenty-four, who are by any younger male branch descended from them, for ought I can discover.”

Dugdale has not named the families to which he
alluded, but the following are probably the eight,
whom he considered to be remaining in the chief-line
in his time.
I. Percy Earl of Northumberland, since ex-

tinct.
II. Vere Earl of Oxford, since extinct.
III. Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury.
IV. Grey Earl of Kent, since extinct.

V. Clinton Earl of Lincoln.
VI. Berkeley Lord Berkeley.
VII. Nevile Lord Abergavenny.
VIII. Hastings Earl of Huntingdon, since ex-

tinct.
Of whom it appears that one half have already
expired. The twenty-four younger branches then
existing presume to be the following.

* Hor. Od, B. ii. Od. 10.

1. Ferrers of Tamworth, and of Baddesley,

Co. Warw. since extinct. II, Courtnay of Powderham, in Devonshire,

now Peers. III. Byron of Nottinghamshire, now Peers. IV. Astley of Patshull, in Staffordshire, since

extinct; and of Norfolk, now flourishing

there, Baronets. V. Berkeley of Stoke-Gifford, Co. Glouc.

and Bruton, Co. Som. both extinct; and of Cotheridge, Co. Worc. since extinct

in the male line. VI. Clavering of Northumberland, now Bą.

ronets. VII. Clifford of Chudleigh, Co. Dev. now

Lords Clifford. VIII. Chaworth of Nottinghamshire, since ex

tinct. IX. Blount of Sodington, Co. Worc. now

Baronets. X. De Curcy, ancient Irish Peers. XI. Scrope of Wiltshire, &c. now (I believe)

of Castlecomb. XII. Strange of Hunstanton in Norfolk, since

extinct. XIII. Mohun, of Boconnoc in Cornwall, now

extinct. XIV. St. John* of Bletso, Co. Bedf. and Lydiard

Tregoz, Co. Wilts, both now Peers, by the titles of St. John and Bolingbroke.

* Descended from the St. Johns of Stanton, “ as I guess," says Dugdale, but it seems clear they were derived from the St. Johns of Basing.

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