The Baronetage. This order, instituted by King James I., 1611, is said to have been suggested by the minor barons, so called, to distinguish them from the great barons, though both barons by tenure; the one retaining their territorial possessions, the other having alienated them. The title is, however, of very ancient standing, both in England and France, and was used in the former for banneret, when it was meant to designate a knight-banneret, who had the privilege of sitting in parliament. When this hereditary order was instituted, or revived - for we read concerning knights going forth in quest of adventures as far back as the feudal times - it happened that a rebellion raged in the northern province of Ireland, and it was therefore deemed expedient that each newly-created baronet should, after the example of the ancient knights, who rendered due service to the king, pay into the exchequer a sum of money adequate to the maintenance of thirty soldiers for three years, at eight-pence per day ; this sum, increased by fees, amounted to nearly twelve thousand pounds. It was required further, that the candidate should be a gentleman by birth, and in possession of a clear estate of one thousand per annum. The word "Sir" is affixed to the christian name of a baronet, as it is used before that of a simple knight; and his wife is entitled "Lady," " Madam," or " Dame," according to the custom of speaking. Baronets and their heirs male, have place in battle near the royal standard, which they are bound to defend. Baronets lose all distinction of rank when they sign their names; even the "lordly line of high St. Clair," being simply baronets, affix merely their christian names. A letter to a baronet is superscribed - "To Sir X. Y., Baronet, or Bart.;" - to a knight, "To Sir A. B."