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The Elements of Heraldry; containing a clear Definition, and concija
biftorical Account of that ancient, useful, and entertaining Science.
- The Origin, Antiquity, and divers Kinds of Coats-of-Arms, with their effential and integral Parts considered separately.---The feveral Sorts of Escutcheons, Tinčiures, Charges, and Ornaments ufed for Coats-of-Arms.-The Marks whereby
Bearers of the same Coat-of-Arms are distinguished from each other.-Charges formed of Ordinaries, Celestial Figures, Animals, Birds, Fishes, Vegee, tables, artificial and chimerical Figures. — The Laws of Heraldry; practical Directians for marshalling Coats-of-Arms, and the Order of Precedency.-Embellished with several fine Cuts, and Twenty-, four Copper-plates, containing above Fivé bundred different Examples of Efcutcheons, Arms, c. and interspersed with the natural History, and allegorical Signification of the several Species of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, &c. comprehended in this Treatise. To which is annexed, a Dictionary of the technical Terms made use of in Heraldry. By Mark Anthony Porny, French-mafter at
Eton-College. 8vo. 55. sewed. Newbery. *
ERALDRY, says this Writer, is so noble, useful, and
entertaining a science, that scarce any of those studies which are confidered as polite and ornamental, can lay a juster claim to the attention of noblemen and gentlemen. For it presents to their view the origin and foundation of those titles and dignities, which distinguish them from the rest of mankind; and serves not only to transmit to pofterity the glory of the heroic actions, or meritorious deeds of their ancestors, but also to illuftrate historical facts, towards establishing their rights and prerogatives,
" It is therefore a juft matter of wonder, that in so learned and polifhed an age as ours, this science should be so little attended to, as not to be confidered as a part of liberal education, Knce there are so few to be met with, even among persons of quality, that can speak pertinently of their coats-of-arms, and either know the origin of them, or can account for the quarterings and charges they contain.
• The most obvious reason that can be given for the present neglect of this valuable knowledge, is that most of the authors, who, for a century past, have treated of Heraldry, either to "heighten this science, or to make a vain shew of their own erudition, have swelled their treatises with tedious explanations of the pretended mystical sense of the colours and charges of coatsof-arms, with preposterous reflections, and far-fetched conjectures, and, in a word, with numberless trifles, sufficient to dif gult not only young gentlemen, generally taken up either with exercises or pleasure, but even persons of riper years, and more ftudiously inclined.
• In order to remedy these defects, I have carefully collected all I could find effential in the most celebrated and moft approved writers on this subject, and have endeavoured to digest it into lo intelligible and easy a form, that any person of ordinary capacity may thereby be enabled to blazon the most intricate coat of arms : and as this epitome is chiefly designed for the instruction of the British youth, care has been taken to remove, as far as possible, every obstacle that might hinder fo necessary a science from being admitted among the other branches of polite learning; for which purpose, besides the great variety of cuts and copper-plates inserted to asist both the memory and understanding, there is added at the end of the work a dictionary for the explanation of all the technical terms, which removes one of the greatest difficulties attending the study of Heraldry.'
After having thus, in his preface, amply explained his design, Mr. Porny proceeds, in the body of his work, to give us the definition, origin, and antiquity of the science of Heraldry, and the honour of arms,—which, he says, are distinguished into eigbe different forts, viz.
1. Arms of dominion, as the three lions in the royal arms of England.
2. Arms of pretension,-as the three Aeurs-de-lis of France, which the kings of England have quartered with their own, ever fince Edward Ill. laid claim to that crown.
3. Arms of conceffion,—given as a reward for some extraordinary service. Thus Q. Anne granted to Sir Cloudesly Shovel, a chevron between two Aeurs-de-lis in chief, and a crescent in base, to denote three great victories he had gained ; two over the French, and one over the Turks.
4. Arms of community, are those of cities, universities, and other bodies corporate.
5. Arms of patronage, borne by governors of provinces, &c. as a token of their rights, and jurisdiction.
6. Arms of family, or paternal-arms, meant to distinguish one family from another.
7. Arms of alliance, are either impaled or borne in an escutcheon of pretence, and denote the alliance which families have contracted by marriage.
8. Arms of succession, are such as are taken up by those who inherit eftates, &c. either by will, entail, or donation, and which they quarter with their own arms; whereby the bearings, in some families, are greatly multiplied.
Under the above eight classes the divers forts of arms are geo nerally ranged; but some blazoners have invented a ninth clals,
which they call affumptive arms, from their being affumed and borne by persons not properly intitled thereto. This, indeed, as Mr. Porny justly observes, is a great abuse of heraldry; but yet so common, and so much tolerated, almost every where, that little or no notice is taken of it.'
He next proceeds to explain the essential and integral parts of arms, viz. the thield, tinctures, charges, and ornaments.
When he comes to speak of the differences of coats-of-arms, which armorists have invented to distinguish the bearers of the fame coat from each other, he divides them into ancient and modern, the former consisting of bordures only, the latter of the label, crefcent, mullet, martlet, annulet, &c. --But of all these marks of distinction, he observes, that none but the label is inserted into the coats-of-arms belonging to any of the royal family, which the introducers of this peculiarity have, however, thoughs proper to difference by distinct charges on the points of the label; such as a red cross on the late D. of Cumberland's, erininc on the Princess Amilia's, &c.'-To the above instances he might have added another distinction, viz. that the label in the D. of York's arms is of five points.
He says that "fifters have no differences in their coats, therefore are permitted to bear the arms of their father, even as the eldeft fon does after his father's decease.' But how does this agree with his own account above, of the ermined label in the Princefs Amelia's arms?
Mr. Porny seems unwilling to allow of any such distinctions as are usually stiled abatements of honour : for which he assigns this reason; that~' arms being marks of honour, they cannot admit of any note of infamy; nor would any body bear them, if they were fo branded.'--But it is generally allowed that the båton is placed acrofs the arms of bastards as an abatement, without which they cannot bear their paternal coats ; —and if the båton is not an abatement, then is there no difference betweeri bastards and children Jawfully begotten. To avoid allowing the bâton to be an Abatement, Mr. Porny in his Dict. calls it a Rebatement,--but this is a distinction without a difference.
Chap. IV. gives a great variety of examples of all the various charges, as distinguished by the names of bonourable ordinaries, proper ordinaries, and common charges. Among the firft is included the faltier, which, he says, p. 86, may, like the others, be borne engrailed, wavy,' &c.—but though he gives a whole plate of examples, yet not one amongst them is to be found wavy. And here we are obliged to observe, that his plates, and the exPlanations of them, do not always agree to exactly as the nice diftin&tioris of heraldry seem to require. Thus, in Pl. V. No. 20. (arms of the bifhopric of Raptoe) the first part of the chief, hould have been the second, and vice versa';. agreeably to the • Rev. Feb, 1766.
blazon at p. 44. -At p. 106, the arms of Hoblethorne are thus blazoned, fable, a mascle within a double tressure flory, argent:' whereas in the plate the tressure is only fongle, but at the same time counter-flory.--In the same page, the E. of Sutherland's arms are properly blazoned, and the bordure said to be charged with a double tressure flowery and counter-flowery,' — but in the plate the tressure is firwery only. - Pl. 18. No. 3. the gauntlets, in the E. of Westmoreland's arms, are engraved for the left, instead of the right-hand, see p. 149.—Pl. 19, No. 9. the mermaid holds her mirror, and comb, in the contrary hands to what she ought to do. See p. 161.
At p. 17, TENNE, or orange-colour, is said to be marked by diagonal lines drawn from the finister to the dexter side of the shield, traversed by perpendicular lines from the chief:'-but in the figure there referred to, the diagonal lines are drawn from the dexter side of the shield to the finifter :- just the reverse.
In Chap. VI. (mil-figured, VII.] the external ornaments of escu:cheons, intended to denote the birth, dignity, or office of the persons to whom the arms belong, are well described and accurately engraved. These are crowns, coronets, mitres, helmets, mantlings, chapeaux, wreaths, crests, scrolls, and supporters. The scroll is placed at the bottom of the escutcheon containing a mottı, alluding sometimes to the bearings, or the bearer's name; and sometimes it has reference to neither, but expresses fomething divine or heroic, as that of the E. of Scarborough,-murus cneus conscientia sana.
Chap. VII. gives us the rules or laws of heraldry, drawn up in a clear, though concise manner : and in the 8th, we are instructed in the methods made use of by heralds in marshalling coats of arms. Amongst other pertinent observations on this head, the following deferves particular notice. If a lady of quality marry a private gentleman, or one inferior to her rank, their coats-of-arms are not to be conjoined paleways, as those of baron and femme, but must be set aside of one another in two separate escutcheons, and the lady's arms ornamented according to her title.'-As an instance of this, we have the arms of General Ch. Montagu, and Lady Eliz. Villiers, Viscountess Grandison, engraved separately, and set aside of cach other : but the lady's arms are in a lozenge, which we apprehend to be wrong; that method seeming to belong only to unmarried ladies.-See P: 12, where Mr. Porny himself speaks thus,— The escutcheon of maiden ladies and widows is, or ought to be, in form of a lozenge.'
Upon the whole, however, we really think the work before us a judicious compendium of the science of heraldry; and may be of great use to such as have not leisure to consult the many larger treatises upon this subject; and which Mr. Porny has
made subservient to the completion of his own design, by ex-. tracting from each what he thought most for his purpose, without loading the reader's memory too much with pompous trifles.
The short Dictionary of Technical Terms, at the end, is very concise, yet tolerably full: though some words, made use of in the book, are not explained in the dictionary; for instance chappé, p. 108.-Diat. Archbishop of York, he says, writes himself (only) as bishops do, by divine permission. In this he is wrong; as well as in ftiling the Abp. of Cant. the Primate of all England : the particle the not being used in his style.Diet. Marquis, his title is, said to be, most noble, instead of molt bonourable.
In the chapter of Precedency, the Lord Conflable is forgot, and the Secretaries of State said to precede all of their own degree; which is the case, only, when the latter happen to be barons, or bishops. And, at present, the Lord Great Chamberlain of England takes place only according to his creation, and does not precede those of his own degree.-These inaccuracies are pointed out, with a view to their being amended in a future edition, and to prevent their being re-printed, -as is too often done, even where books are said to have been corrected.
Commentaries on the Laws of England. Book the First. By Wil
liam Blackstone, Efq; Vinerian Professor of Law, and Soli. citor-General to her Majesty. 4to. 18s. in Sheets. Worral.
T has long since been a complaint, that the study of the law
is of all others the least inviting, especially to a student of any genius and vivacity : and this may seem the more extraordinary, when it is considered that the life, health, reputation, and property of mankind are preserved, nay that their very pleasures are regulated, by the law, which embraces within its circle quicquid agunt homines. One might imagine that in so wide a field, the liveliest imagination might find some path in which to exercise its faculties; nevertheless, dull plodding drones, whose minds never entertained a bright idea, have been distinguished as the most shining luminaries of the law. The illuitrious Bacon, though Chancellor of Great Britain, is little spoken of as a lawyer, while his cotemporary and competitor, Coke, is adored as an oracle.
We are inclined to think that this general averfion to the study of the law, cannot be owing to the nature of the science itself, but is rather, among other reasons, to be attributed to the inelegant and uncouth manner in which it has been treated, Lawbooks being chiefly compiled from reports, which have been