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IS INSCRIBED TO THE MEMORY
THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES
FREDERICK, DUKE OF YORK,
EDWARD, DUKE OF VE
PRINCES OF THE ILLUSTRIOUS FAMILY OF GUELPH,
Last Extinct Peers
When I formed the resolution of writing upon Titles of Honour, it was my intention to begin with Extinct, Dormant, and Suspended Dignities ; for out of these, I knew, had arisen the most eminent names in the modern roll of nobility, and I felt the great difficulty of rendering any thing like justice to the illustrious living, without the previous opportunity of commemorating the illustrious dead. I discovered, too, that much of the obscurity and unintelligibility of similar works could be traced to the absence of what might be termed an Introductory Volume-to the total want of the slightest information as to the origin of the subject. I had resolved therefore to commence with an Extinct and Dormant Peerage: but from such a course I was eventually diverted by those better versed in the doctrine of chances than myself. I was assured that the probabilities of success would become greatly augmented, could I first make my way in public favour by the production of a work wherein the great mass of the public were more immediately interested-by postponing the heroes of Cressy and Agincourt to those of Trafalgar and Waterloo. To that opinion, after some deliberation, but not without reluctance, I acceded—and my Dictionary of the Existing Peerage and Baronetage, now for the fourth time in the press, was the result.
From the admirable scheme of amalgamating the younger children of our nobility with the community at large, a GRADE in society has arisen amongst us, not to be found in any other country of Europe a GRADE inferior to the NOBLE in nought beside the artificial importance attached to rank. In the antiquity of his family-in his education-his habits-his influence, the English gentleman stands hardly one step, if at all, below the English nobleman. Nay, there are few of his order that cannot boast an alliance with, or descent from, some ancient ennobled house; and it is in this point of view—in shewing the connecting link between the existing gentry of England, and her ancient nobility—that a work upon Extinct, Dormant, and Suspended Dignities, may be rendered in the highest degree interesting and valuable. How far I have succeeded, must rest entirely upon the judgment of my readers. I shall feel, however, greatly obliged by suggestions in extension or amendment of the design.
The Second Volume, comprising the Extinct and Dormant Peers of Scotland and Ireland, is in progress, and any information regarding their representatives will be most acceptable.
In conclusion, I have only to intreat forbearance towards the inaccuracies, which, despite of every effort, are inseparable from the First Edition of a work of this description.