INTENDED MARRIAGE OF THE MARQUIS OF DOUGLAS WITH THE PRINCESS
MARIE OF BADEN.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
Principiis obsta ! Paris, 13th December lea.
Sia—All over the Grand Duchy of Baden, (through which I have recently travelled,) it is currently reported and believed, that the Marquis of DOUGLAS is now in England for the purpose of endeavouring to procure for his bride-elect, precedence next to our Royal Family, so as to give her place above the whole Peerage of Great Britain; and as this report has found its way into some of the German Papers, it may be very well submitted to public notice in some of
The Princess MARIE is the daughter of Mademoiselle STEPHANIE BEAU- MARNA'S by the late Grand Duke CHARLES of Baden ; • and the pretext for
detnanding in her behalf precedence next to our Blood-Royal, is that our Queen
married Prince ALBERT, and that his brother ERNEST married the Princess ALEXANDRINE of Baden, and that she is first cousin to the Princess MARIE ; and it is pretended that as the Prince=s MARIE, by this chain of relationship,
is in a distant manner connected with the Queen of England, she ought to have precedence before all thet Princes of our British Peerage; and that the
blood of the PLANTAGENETS and STUARTS, so largely and even legitimately to be found there, ought to retire before that of BEAUBARNAIS and the Mar- graves of Baden.
Many such marriages have taken place abroad without being followed by any similar result.
During the old French Revolution, a M. de POUILLY, a simple untitled gen- tleman, emigrated into Austria, took service under the Imperial standard, and married the aunt of Prince ALBERT, then Princess of Coburg and sister to King LEOPOLD. Previously to the marriage, the Coburg family procured him the title of Count de MENSDORF.$ But did they ask that she should have
precedence before all the Austrian or Saxon nobility ? No: such a thing
would have raised a laugh from one end of the empire to the other. She lived and died as Countess of MENSDORP, and subject to appear at Court as the wife
of a Count, and after all the wives of the Counts who were before her husband.
The Prince of FURSTEMBERG, a Mediatized Count of the Empire, and a sub- ject of Austria in respect of his Bohemian possessions, married the sister of the reigning Grand Duke of BADEN; but he never thought of asking precedence for her before all the Austrian nobility, although there is some distant con- nexion between her house and that of Austria.
If Prince PUCELER Manse, who is a Prussian subject, were to marry a princess of Hohenzollern Heckingen, who would be a distant blood-relation of
the King of Prussia, would that be a ground for asking precedence for her above all the Prussian nobility ? The bare idea of such a thing would set the whole aristocracy in a ferment. Supposing that a Duc et Pair of the old French monarchy bad married some Italian Principessa, who, through the Meniet, might have been remotely con-
nected with the reigning family, would he on that account have asked pre- cedence fur her above the wives of all his superiors ? Depend on it, such families as those of DE ROMAN and MONTMORENCY would have most effec- tively protested against any such preference. Why then should it befiven at the British Court, in disparagement of the wives of the Dukes of NORFOLK, NEWCASTLE, NORTHUMBERLAND, and SOMERSET—names fraught with historical reminiscences, and interwoven with our national glory ? Why even should she have precedence of any wife of the Duke of WELLINGTON, (one of the newest of our dukes,) who is also Grandee
of Spain and Prince of Waterloo? Supposing a Dutch nobleman had married any one connected by marriage with the present King of Holland, would that have given him a right to claim precedence above our Duke in his capacity of foreign prince ? Any such claim would be treated as unwarrantable. But let us try the matter by another test. We all know tbat the family of the Earl of Denbigh and that of the Emperor of Austria is derived from a
common ancestor ; and that the relationship, although distant, is acknow- ledged. Let us imagine, then, that a Prince DIEDRICHSTEIN were to marry a daughter of the Earl: would they give her, in Austria, any precedence in right of her Imperial blood? Not an inch : she would be obliged to appear on all occasions as the wife of her husband.
The Peerage of England has been considered as one of the most distin- guished bodies of nobility in the world ; not merely on account of its high pri- vilege of saying No ! to the will of the Sovereign, but because it stands above an equestrian order, (I mean the ancient; gentry of Great Britain,) which con- tains in it, perhaps, more noble blood and illustrious descent, and respecta- bility of character, than all the nobility of all the little German Principalities put together in a heap.
What then will be the consequence if we give to the Princess MARIE, merely because the Queen is by marriage connected with her, a precedence which,
tnutatis mutandis, would be awarded to her by no Continental Monarch ? Why, the British Peerage must sink down from the eminence on which it has so long stood; and we must proclaim to the world that the constitution of our country
is incapable of bestowing on any native, whatever his merit or descent, a dignity equal to that of the daughter of a Prince of Baden and Mademoiselle B1EAU- MARNA'S ; and that in this respect our English high nobility are far inferior to those of Austria, Prussia, France, or even to those of Holland
If ever a time should arrive when our high nubility should sink thus low in European estimation, it may be fairly doubted whether they will be worth
maintaining either for the sake of use or ornament : and if connexion with the Queen, through her marriage with Prince ALBERT, is to be a ground for inter- posing people between the Royal Family and the Premier Peer, the British high nobility may expect most extraordinary superiors—such as they have never yet seen, nor heard of, nor dreamt of. During the present reign there has been too much obsequiousness to the Ger- mans about our Court. Out of respect for the wishes of the Queen, we have
allowed, without murmur or remonstrance, some to occupy a high place at her
table, who at Hanover, or any inferior German Court, would never have emerged from the antechamber. This has let us down low enough in the eyes
of the German aristocracy, and has exalted their pretensions in a corresponding degree : but the claim of precedence on behalf of the future Dutchess of Hs- miimos.Douezes will—if granted—sink the English Peerage lower in Euro- pean estimation than almost any misfortune that could befal it ; so much so,
that if hereafter any CHANDOS or COURTENAY should even exceed the merits of a NELSON or a WELLINGTON, the better way of rewarding hint will be, not to give hint an English Dukedom, but to heg the Emperor of Austria to make him a Prince ; and then his wife will, perhaps, be safe from the pretensions of any German lady who may condescend to honour the blood of DOUGLAS with her preference.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant, FECIALIS.
• This marriage was forced on him by NAPOLEON. sl I presume that moat of your readers are aware of the fact, that every Peer of the realm bearing the title of Duke or Marquis, Is on all occasions of great ceremony slylyd " High and Puissant Prince." He was lately in England, with his four sons, and tnnouneed to the world by the Impels as • • Uncle to Use Queen"