Page images
PDF
EPUB

I forbear troubling your Lordships farther : the anfwer, which the Judges submit to your Lordships, is, that supposing the claimant to have proved himself to be one of the co-heirs of the barony of Beaumont, he is not entitled of right to such barony, according to the state of the pedigree last delivered in on his pa

The House of Lords resolved and adjudged, “ that 26 June 1795 “ it did not appear, that the petitioner was then en" titled to the honour, title, and dignity of Baron “ Beaumont.

Dom. Proc.

§ 173. Mr. Stapleton presented another petition to Printed Case', his Majesty, representing that, having established by 1796. evidence that he was the sole heir of Joan Lady Stapleton, and one of the co-heirs of Henry first Baron Beaumont ; and that, though not exclusively entitled to the faid barony, he had proved himself to be one of the rightful heirs of the said barony: But, the faid barony being in abeyance, the same was in his Majesty's disposal : the petitioner therefore prayed, that his Majesty would be graciously pleased to declare, allow, and confirm to him and his heirs the said barony of Beaumont,

.

This petition was also referred to the AttorneyGeneral, and afterwards to the House of Lords; where it was resolved by the committee of privileges, 13 March

1798. that the barony of Beaumont was vested in William Viscount Beaumont, by descent from his father, John Lord Beaumont, (who was summoned to and fat in parliament 11 Hen. 6.) as a barony in fee; that the said VOL. III,

T

barony

barony remained in abeyance between the co-heirs of the said William, descended from his sister Joan; and that the petitioner was one of those co-heirs*.

Length of $ 174. Dignities are not within the statute of limiTime does not bar a

tations, and may therefore be claimed at any distance Claim to a

of time: for, as a dignity cannot be aliened, surrenDignity. Skin Rep.

dered, or extinguished, fo neither can it be lost by the 437. Collins, 323. negligence of any person entitled to it.

Ante, f. 35

11 Rep. 1. 4. Inft. 335. Lord Purbeck's Cafe. Ante.

$ 175. In the case of Mi. Berkley, respecting the barony of Botetourt, it is said: --" There remains only “ to observe, that it is an undoubted maxim with “ regard to honours, that they cannot be extin

guished, otherwise than by forfeiture or by act of “ parliament. Claims to baronies, which have long 6 been dormant, are difficult to be made out ; but, “ whenever the right happens to be clearly proved, " the safety and dignity of the peerage are both con“ cerned, that no length of time should bar, or even “ prejudice, the title. Most of the ancient baronies

are so merged by the intermarriages of the great fa. “ milies, or so exposed to the objection of forfeiture,

* Notwithstanding the respect, which is justly due to the very learned opinion of the Judges in this case, yet it may be observed, that, as the doctrine of abeyance was originally founded on the impartibilé or indivisible nature of a dignity; and as all power of inheriting the barony of Beaumont, by one of the co-heirs, is destroyed by the attainder, by which Mr. Stapleton is become the only person capable of enjoying it; he must be allowed to have a stronger claim on the crown for a confirmation of the dignity, than perhaps ever existed in a co-heir to a barony,

" that

" that very few instances have occurred of claims of " the like nature. But, in all those which have oce “ curred, the length of time, during which the “ honour has remained dormant, never has formed a

ground of objection. The barony of Fitzwalter

was allowed in 1969, after it had been dormant for C6

400 years. The barony of Clifford was allowed

to the Earl of Thanet in 1691; the ancestor, '" from whom he claimed, having died in 1605. The “ barony of Willoughby de Broke was allowed by the “. House of Lords, upon a reference from the crown “ in 1695; though the honour had been dormant

among co-heirs from the year 1522, upwards of

170 years. The barony of Berners was, in like « manner, allowed in 1720; though it had been « dormant for almost 20 years, no person having “ been fummoned or sat in parliament by that title “ from the year 1539. The barony of Clinton was, “ in like manner, allowed in 1721 ; though it had “ been merged in a higher title from the year 1572, " and had been for a considerable time in abeyance.

" These are instances, where the honour has been “ claimed by a fole heir, upon the determination of

“ the abeyance.

“ There are others, where the barony has been allowed, upon the determination of the abeyance,

by the crown, in favour of one coheir. The case ,“ of the barony of Le Despenser, 2 Jac. 1., revived,

" allowed, and confirmed to Lady Mary Fane, after “ it had lain dormant above 200 years, is a prece

T2

« dent; 66 dent;

which appears by the record to have passed, upon very deliberate consideration and advice of the 66 Lords.

“ The barony of Mowbray was revived in 15

Ch... “ in favour of the family of Howard, after it had lain “ dormant from the 39 Edw. 3., the date of the last “ summons to any person as Baron Mowbray, and in “ abeyance from 17 Edw. 4., between the families of Berkley and Howard. It is in right of this revival, " that the Duke of Norfolk claims to be the Premier " Baron of England.

“ The barony of Ferrers of Chartley was first re16 vived in 2 Edw. 4. in favour of Walter Devereux, “ though there had been no person summoned under 66 that title from the 5 Edw. 2. On the extinction of " the male line of the Devereux family, in 1646, it “ remained in abeyance till 1677 ; when King Cha. 2. " thought fit to determine the abeyance in favour " of Sir Robert Shirley, by whose descendants it has “ since been enjoyed.

“ From all these instances, this observation naturally " arises ; that length of time, during which an honour

may have been in abeyance, can neither bar the “ right of a sole heir, claiming upon the determina« tion of the abeyance, by the natural extinction of “ the other heirs, nor the right of the crown to revive “ the barony by an act of prerogative, determining the

abeyance in favour of one coheir."

$ 176. It $ 176. It is said in the printed case of the Duchess Dowager of Athol, claiming the office of Great Chamberlain of England, that length of time is not a bar to the claim of an honour or dignity, as it is of lands. That the Journals of the House of Lords are replete 2 Bro. Parl. with instances of baronies in fee having been claimed, Ca, 167, 11 8. and the claim admitted, after they had been several centuries in abeyance. And that, whenever the right to a dignity or honour happens to be clearly proved, the safety and dignity, even of the peerage itself, are both concerned, that no length of time Ihall bar, or even prejudice, the title.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »