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An Armorial of Jersey, Vol. 5: An Account, Heraldic and Antiquarian, Chief Native Families, With Pedigrees, Biographical Notices, and Illustrative . on the Mediæval Antiquities of the Islan

Payne, J. Bertrand

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ISBN 10: 1331986893 / ISBN 13: 9781331986898
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Título: An Armorial of Jersey, Vol. 5: An Account, ...

Editorial: Forgotten Books

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Excerpt from An Armorial of Jersey, Vol. 5: An Account, Heraldic and Antiquarian, Chief Native Families, With Pedigrees, Biographical Notices, and Illustrative Data; To Which Are Added, a Brief History of Heraldry, and Remarks on the Mediæval Antiquities of the Island

Before proceeding to the more local part of my subject, it will not be irrelevant briefly to sketch the rise and progress of Heraldry generally; to take a view of it in its fabulous as well as in its historic phase; and also to suggest the influence it may be said to have had upon the morals, manners, and habits of our forefathers.

From the Jewish era to our own times, Genealogy has excited attention and careful research, and (he first Pedigrees ever penned are to be found in the sacred pages of the Bible. Length of descent and purity of ancestry are coveted by all; and no more general instance of the involuntary deference that is paid to its claims exists, than in the plea of the poor and needy man, when he says: "I am poor, it is true, but then I come of a good family." His condition, under these circumstances, even in this practical day, is seen in a new light; his claim to consideration is allowed; and in the sympathy that is excited for the decline of his race is merged the unmerited contempt poverty has ever met with.

I think every one will admit, who has paid the slightest attention to the subject, that Heraldry is capable of exciting as much or more enthusiasm in its devotees than any other science; so that when we find that History in all countries has had its fabulous preface, it is not surprising that Heraldry possesses one also, and that the zeal which some of its earlier commentators have exhibited has led them very far beyond the hounds, not only of truth, but of possibility. The first Heralds were men accustomed rather to the brand than to the quill; in short, to use plain English, they were old retainers of noble families, to whom was committed the task of lauding and chronicling the noble deeds and ancient descent of their masters' houses. This to them was a labour of love, and not being bothered by troublesome critics in these "good old times," they drew pretty freely upon their imaginations - imaginations which, as I shall show, were in a high state of fertility. This, however, was not the whole extent of the evil; for the next generation of Heralds, who called to their aid much erudition and considerable ingenuity, instead of superseding these transparent fictions, sought only to give them plausibility and consistence, by perverting and adapting to their purpose quotations from almost every author since the Deluge.

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