Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Age Old Perplexing Matter of Etiquette Between Nations

A 19th century French political cartoon, depicting a helpless China being divided among Britain, Germany, Russia, France and Japan.

In England, in these days of leveling down, it is really inspiriting to those who reverence old times to find that there are, excluding the two sister kingdoms, eighty-nine sorts of men above the level of a burgess. As to etiquette between nations, that has long been a perplexing matter. 

In I504, Pope Julius II composed and promulgated a complete list of seniority for the use of ambassadors in his own chapel, recommending Europe to adopt it everywhere. It commences with the Pope, and ends with the nephews of the Pope and the Legates of Bologna and Ferrara. It includes twenty-six Potentates and Powers. England is placed eighth on the list. But the question was by no means settled even then. Monsieur, brother of Louis XIV, would not allow his second wife, the Princess Palatine, ever to see her family otherwise than incognito. "Ah," said he, "how can I, a Prince of the blood, pay honour to an elector, because he happens to be the uncle of my wife? As for giving a chair to an elector, I really can't." 

For a long time the republics strove in vain to be accorded what were called Royal Honours. It was one of the fine things Cromwell did, that he insisted on the maintenance towards his Republic of the forms of ceremonial which had been observed towards the monarchy which he had suppressed. The rivalries between Ambassadors to obtain superiority over one another were immense. In 1661 the Spanish envoy gained priority of place by attacking the carriage of the French Ambassador in the streets of London, hamstringing his horses, and killing his men. 

The first Napoleon was very tenacious, as it became him to be, in these matters. A curious proof of this occurred in 1805, when all the copies of the Almanach de Gotha, which had just been printed for the year, were seized and sent to Paris, because, by the old habit always adopted in the volume of arranging reigning houses alphabetically, the list began, not with Napoleon, but with the Anhalt duchies; and, animated by the same spirit, England has always maintained what may be called naval ceremonial, as a proof to other Powers of the Jurisdiction over the High Seas which she once pretended to possess. In the time of James I, England insisted that her maritime supremacy should be acknowledged by the instant disappearance of the flags and sails of all other ships, English vessels showing their own opinion of their own importance by offering no kind of greeting in return. 

In our day, the law, as interpreted by Dr. Fhillimore, is that "maritime ceremonials can be claimed as recognitions of sovereignty, when the sea is subject to the sovereign who claims them." This sovereignty, according to a usage which has acquired the force of law, extends to a maritime league three miles from low water-mark, and within that distance it is laid down that salutes are not optional but necessary. The limit of three miles was originally chosen because it was supposed to represent the range that a cannon ball could cover.
     
"Emperor Sultan Mahmud, son of the Sultan Moustapha, always victorious..."
Forms and formularies are even more puzzling than questions of ceremonial. The French diplomatic manual alone contains four hundred and sixteen separate types and models. Few of us know the exact signification and minute differences of bulls, brief and protocol, of capitulations and concessions, of exequations and concordats, of prescripts and pragmatic sanctions, of golden bulls and placitum regiums, of verbal notes and memoires and revet sails, of Firmans (a royal mandate or decree issued by a sovereign in certain historical Islamic states) and Hatti-Sherifs (an irrevocable Turkish decree countersigned by the Sultan). It is more instructive to learn that a congress has the power of deciding and concluding, while a conference can only discuss and prepare. 

As a choice specimen of florid formulary we quote The Frenell Treaty in IJ.Kt Willi Turkey. The document is headed by a star, and then begins:—
"The Emperor Sultan Mahmud, son of the Sultan Moustapha, always victorious. "This is what is ordered by this glorious and imperial sign, conqueror of the world, this noble and sublime mark, the efficacity of which proceeds from the divine assistance. 
"I, who by the excellence of the infinite favours of the Most High, and by the eminence of the miracles filled with benediction of the chief of the prophets (to whom be the most ample salutations), am the Sultan of the glorious Sultans; the Emperor of the powerful Emperors; the distributor of crowns to the Chosroes who are seated upon thrones; the shade of God upon earth; the servitor of the two illustrious and noble towns of Mecca and Medina, august and sacred places, where all Mussulmans offer up their prayers; the protector and master of Holy Jerusalem; the sovereign of the three great towns of Constantinople, Adrianople, and Brusa, as also of Damascus, the odour of Paradise; of Tripoli in Syria; of Egypt, the rarity of the century, renowned for its delights; of all Arabia; of Africa; of Barca," . . . and eight other cities;"particularly of Bagdad, capital of the Caliphs; of Erzeroum the delicious," . . . and eleven other places; "of the isles of Morea, Candia, Cyprus, Chio, and Rhodes; of Barbary and Ethiopia; of the war fortresses ofAlgiers, Tripoli, and Tunis; of the isles and shores of the White and the Black Sea; of the country of Natolia and the kingdoms of Roumelia; of all Kurdistan and Greece; of Turcomania, Tartary, Circassia, Cabarta, and Georgia; of the noble tribes of Tartars, and of all the hordes which depend thereon; of Caffa and other surrounding districts; of all Bosnia and its dependencies; of the fortress of Belgrade, place of war; of Servia, and also of the fortresses or castles which are there; of the countries of Albania; of all Walachia and Moldavia, and of the forts and battlements which are in those provinces; possessor, finally, of a vast number of towns and fortresses, the names of which it is unnecessary to enumerate and boast of here; I, who am the Emperor, the asylum of justice, and the king, of kings, the centre of victory, the Sultan son of Sultans, the Emperor Mahmoud, son of Sultan Moustapha, son of Sultan Muhammed; I, who, by my power, origin of felicity, am ornamented with the title of Emperor of the two Earths, and, to fill up the glory of my Caliphat, am made illustrious by the title of Emperor of the two Seas." 
There ends the description of the Turkish monarch: the document then turns westward, and begins to designate the King of France, who is catalogued as follows: "The glory of the great princes of the faith of Jesus; the highest of the great and the magnificent of the religion of the Messiah; the arbitrator and the mediator of the affairs of Christian nations; clothed with the true marks of honour and of dignity; full of grandeur, of glory, and of majesty; the Emperor of France and of the other vast kingdoms which belong thereto; our most magnificent, most honoured, sincere, and ancient friend, Louis XV, to whom may God accord all success and happiness, having sent to our august Court, which is the seat of the Caliphat"—(here we revert to Turkey)—"a letter containing evidences of the most perfect sincerity, and of the most particular affection, candour, and straightforwardness; and the said letter being destined to our Sublime Porte offelicity, which, by the infinite goodness of the incontestably majestic Supreme Being, is the asylum of the most magnificent Sultans, and of the most respectable Emperors; the model of Christian Seigneurs, able, prudent, esteemed, and honoured minister, Louis, Marquis de Villeneuve, his Councillor of State and his Ambassador to our Porte of felicity (may the end thereof be filled up with joy), has demanded the permission to present and hand in the aforesaid letter, which has been granted to him by our imperial consent, conformably to the ancient usage of our Court; and consequently, the said ambassador having been admitted before our imperial throne, surrounded with light and glory, he has given in the aforesaid letter, and has been witness of our Majesty in participating in our power ind imperial grace; and then the translation of its loving meaning has been presented, according to the ancient custom of the Ottomans, atthe foot of our sublime throne, by the channel of the most honourable El Hadji Mehemmed Pacha, our first Minister; the absolute interpreter of our ordinances; the ornament of the world; the preserver of good order amongst peoples; the ordainer of the grades of our empire; the instrument of the glory of our crown; the road of the grace of royal majesty; the very virtuous Grand Vizier; very venerable and fortunate minister, lieutenant-general, whose power and prosperity may God cause to triumph and to endure." 
Then begins the treaty, which goes on through eightyfive articles, and finishes with these words: "On the part of our imperial Majesty I engage myself, under our most sacred and most inviolable august oath, both lor our sacred imperial person and for our august successors, as well as for our imperial viziers, our honoured pachas, and, generally, all our illustrious servitors who have the honour and the felicity to be in our slavery, that nothing shall ever be permitted contrary to the present articles." 
Not quite so gorgeous, but very flowery, nevertheless, is the verbiage of The Persian Formula of Treaty. The heading of the treaty of 1814 between England and the Shah is: "Praise be to God, the all-perfect and all-sufficient. These happy leaves are a nosegay plucked from the thornless garden of concord, and tied by the hands of the plenipotentiaries of the two great States in the form of a definitive treaty, in which the articles of friendship and amity are blended." In another place a firman is spoken of as being "equal to a decree of fate," which is a somewhat strong simile. 
The Persian style does not grow modern, it keeps up its local colour; for even as late as the year 1855, in the treaty then made with France, we find the following designations: "In the name of the clement and merciful God. His High Majesty, the Emperor Napoleon, whose elevation is like that of the planet Saturn; to whom the sun serves as a standard; the luminous star of the firmament of crowned heads; the sun of the heaven of royalty; the ornament of the diadem; the splendour of standards, im. perial ensigns; the illustrious and liberal monarch ;—and his majesty elevated like the planet Saturn; the sovereign to whom the sun serves as a standard; whose splendour and mag. nificence are like those of the heavens; the sublime sovereign; the monarch whose armies are as numerous as the stars; whose greatness recalls that of Djemschid; whose magnificence equals that of Darius, heir of the crown and throne of the Keyanians, the sublime and absolute Emperor ofall Persia." It will be observed that whereas the compliments paid to himself by the Sultan are mainly moral and territorial, the forms of self-adoration adopted by the Shah are astronomical and historical. It would be curious to follow up this difference to its roots, and to seek out the peculiarities of national character which lead a Turk to talk of his dominions and his virtues, and a Persian to quote his ancestors and the solar system.

Titles are of a very remote antiquity in the case of royal persons. Luckily for archaeologists, it was because Darius persisted in calling himself King of Kings that we had a key to the cuneiform writing, of which Grotefence availed himself when he unlocked to mankind the treasures contained in the arrowheaded records of Egypt and the East. There is some interesting matter in the history, as here given, of modern Decoration.
Den Kongelige Norske St. Olavs Orden ~ (Sanct Olafs Orden is the old Norwegian name) is a Norwegian order of chivalry instituted by King Oscar I of Norway and Sweden in August of 1847, as a distinctly Norwegian order.
Of the great chivalric institutions of to-day, the Garter and the Seraphim are the oldest: they are twins, for both saw the light in 1344; both occupy the highest place in European reverence; and if the Garter is admitted on the Continent to be the more glorious of the two, it is not because, as Selden urged, " it exceeds in majesty, honour, and fame, all chivalrous Orders in the world," but, in reality, because England is a bigger and a stronger country than Sweden, and because what belongs to the former inspires, consequently, more awe abroad than the latter is competent to provoke. Next to these patriarchs follows the Annunciada, another most illustrious fraternity, with two legends for its origin; it dates from 1362. 

The Golden Fleece comes fourth: it was set up in Bruges in 1429 by Philip III of Burgundy; but it passed to Spain with the provinces of Flanders, and was transferred again to Austria in 1713 by the Emperor Charles VI, when he acquired the Low Countries. Spain, however, would not consent to lose it; and, after much wrangling, it was tacitly agreed that it should become the joint property of both the Spanish and Imperial Governments. 

The Elephant claims to have come into existence in 1159, when a Danish Crusader having slain an elephant single-handed with his sword, Canute VI is said to have established this very noble Order in memory of that remarkable event. But this story is not admitted by the annalists of chivalry; they allow the Order to date only from 1478. St. Andrew of Russia and the Black Eagle are very modem: the former was established in 1698 by Peter the Great; and the latter in 1701, to commemorate the coronation of the first King of Prussia. St. Stephen of Austria is still more recent; it was set up by Maria Theresa in 1764.

But though these eight majestic Orders are alone included in the first class, there are, as was said just now, several other knighthoods whose antiquity is as great and whose merit is almost as real as theirs. Though we group the latter here with the great mass of Orders of every kind, some of them deserve a special mention. St. Hubert of Bavaria, which dates from 1444; the extinct "Ordres du Roi," in France, St. Michael, St. Louis, and the St. Esprit; the Danebrog of Denmark, with its legend of a flag which fell miraculously from heaven in 1219, in the middle of a fierce battle which it helped the Danes to win; the Spanish Order of Montesa and the Christ of Portugal, which two replaced the Temple when it was extinguished in the Peninsula in 1315; the White Eagle, established in 1325 in Poland, but now absorbed by Russia; our own Bath ;—all these are examples of Orders of this class which possess or have possessed much dignity, and there are several others like them. And, subsidiarily, there are the purely military decorations, such as St. George of Russia, the Iron Cross, and our Victoria Cross, which have a merit and a value of a special kind, and must not be confounded with the mass of ribbons which constitute the third category.

This third category includes, at the present moment, about one hundred-thirty Orders. The number fluctuates; for, though it is increased almost every year by the creation of new institutions, it is diminished, from time to time, by the absorption of independent states, and by the consequent suppression of the Orders belonging to those states. These two conflicting causes make it somewhat difficult to ascertain the exact number of orders in existence on any given day. 

The books which have been published on the subject (and there are a good many of them, copied from each other, in all the languages of Europe) are all far behind the times; the only list which can be admitted as probably correct is the one furnished by the "Almanach de Gotha" for 1875; and even that one will doubtless become inexact before the year is out. It shows that on last New Year's day, forty-three countries possessed Orders: of these countries thirty-three are in Europe; four in America (Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela, and Hawaii); five in Asia (Siam, Birmah. Persia, Cambodge, and China); and 1 in Africa (Tunis.) These forty-three countries dispose altogether of one hundred-forty three Orders of the three classes, not including medals of any kind, or commemorative crosses. 

Furthermore, the states which have been recently suppressed (Naples, Hanover", Hesse-Cassel, Mexico, Modena, Nassau, Parma, and Tuscany) possessed three others, all of which are at present in abeyance (a state of temporary disuse or suspension), and ought not to be worn by those who hold them. And it must be remembered that the one hundred forty-three Orders now in force, represent very little more than half the total of all the orders which have existed; for, without including any of the mythical or legendary brotherhoods, the special books present catalogues which, though they vary somewhat between themselves, reach a general total of about two hundred-seventy Orders, of which about one hundred twenty-five have become extinct. 

But, though these figures show the quantities in which Orders have disappeared, other figures indicate that they sprout up again even faster than they fade; for when we analyse the composition of the one hundred forty-three existing Orders, we find that ninety-one of them have been created during the 19th century, that twenty-three were made in the 18th century, and that only twenty-nine of them are anterior to the year 1700. Most ot the old religious and strictly noble confraternities have vanished out of sight; but they have been replaced by modern institutions more in harmony with the spirit of the age. 

And when we look still closer into the subject, and examine the geographical distribution of all these Orders, we naturally find that, as the rush for them is everywhere the same, the development of their number has been everywhere alike, with one exception. That exception, strangely, is in France— in frivolous, vainglorious France—the very place where we should least expect to find it. While sturdy cross-despising England owns seven Orders, Sweden six, Russia eight, Bavaria thirteen, Austria nine, Prussia eleven, Spain ten, Portugal seven, Italy five, Wurtemberg four (the Kingdom of Württemberg was a state in Germany that existed from 1806 to 1918, located in the area that is now Baden-Württemberg), and little Denmark two, France, alone of the real nations, has but one. Proportionately to their population, their power, or their pride, all other European states have gone on multiplying their ribbons; France contents herself with the single Cross of Honour. 

And while most other countries have created special decorations for women (out of the one hundred-forty-three there are thirteen for ladies only, and four others to which they are promiscuously admitted, making seventeen in all, or twelve per cent, of the entire number), France has declined to participate in that pretty court and ballroom form of chivalry: in the rare cases in which women have been considered worthy of it, they have been specially admitted into "the Legion," whose cross is at this moment worn by Rosa Bonheur the painter, and Sceur Rosalie the nun.


By Frederic Marshall, Author of "French Home Life," 1873