Earl. The dignity of earl, which existed in this country previous to the time of William the Conqueror, was originally annexed to a particular piece of laud, and, comprised three descriptions of earldoms. First - pertaining to an entire county, in which case the county became palatine, cr the possessor of royal privileges. Secondly - derived only from a county, but without the privilege of holding high courts, and offices of justice, and without any lions; and with revenues arising solely from participating in profits derived from the pleas (if the county court. Thirdly - a kind of earldom constituted by a grant of land from the crown. The titles in each are often taken. not only from towns or counties, but from private estates, or villages, and family surnames When officially addressed by the crown, earls are termed "Our right trusty and right well-beloved Cousin." This mode of address was first adopted by Henry IV. The king being either by his wife, his mother, or his sisters, actually related, or allied to every earl in the kingdom, constantly acknowledged that connexion in all his letters, and other public acts; from whence, according to Blackstone, the usage has descended to his successors on the British throne, though the same reason does not exist. An earl, on some special occasions, bears also the title of "Puissant Prince.
When addressed by letter, as follows - "To the Bight Honourable the Earl of - " The eldest sons of Earls are Lords; the sisters also have the title of Ladies. (For Coronet, see p. US.)