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Title: The Flags of the World: Their History, Blazonry, and Associations

Author: F. Edward Hulme

Release date: July 1, 2012 [eBook #40113]

Language: English



E-text prepared by Chris Curnow, Keith Edkins,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
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Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See


Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They are listed at the end of the text, after the plates.

For convenience of viewing, each coloured plate has been positioned alongside its respective index.






Flags of The World:
Author of
"Familiar Wild Flowers," "History, Principles and Practice of Heraldry,"
"Birth and Development of Ornament," &c., &c.




[All rights reserved.]



The necessity of some special Sign to distinguish Individuals, Tribes, and Nations—the Standards of Antiquity—Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, and Roman—the Vexillum—the Labarum of Constantine—Invocation of Religion—the Flags of the Enemy—Early Flags of Religious Character—Flags of Saints at Funeral Obsequies—Company and Guild Flags of the Mediæval Period—Political Colours—Various kinds of Flags—the Banner—Rolls of Arms—Roll of Karlaverok—The Flag called the Royal Standard is really the Royal Banner—Main-sail Banners—Trumpet Banners—Ladies embroidering Banners for the Cause—Knights' Banneret—Form of Investiture—the Standard—the Percy Badges and Motto—Arctic Sledge-flags—the Rank governing the size of the Standard—Standards at State Funerals—the Pennon—Knights' Pennonciers—the Pennoncelle—Mr. Rolt as Chief Mourner—Lord Mayor's Show—the Pennant—the Streamer—Tudor Badges—Livery Colours—the Guidon—Bunting—Flag Devising a Branch of Heraldry—Colours chiefly used in Flags—Flags bearing Inscriptions—Significance of the Red Flag—of the Yellow—of the White—of the Black—Dipping the Flag—the Sovereignty of the Sea—Right of Salute insisted on—Political changes rendering Flags obsolete1
The Royal Standard—the Three Lions of England—the Lion Rampant of Scotland—Scottish sensitiveness as to precedence—the Scottish Tressure—the Harp of Ireland—Early Irish Flags—Brian Boru—the Royal Standards from Richard I. to Victoria—Claim to the Fleurs-de-lys of France—Quartering Hanover—the Union Flag—St. George for England—War Cry—Observance of St. George's Day—the Cross of St. George—Early Naval Flags—the London Trained Bands—the Cross of St. Andrew—the "Blue Blanket"—Flags of the Covenanters—Relics of St. Andrew—Union of England and Scotland—the First Union Flag—Importance of accuracy in representations of it—the Union Jack—Flags of the Commonwealth and Protectorate—Union of Great Britain and {iv} Ireland—the Cross of St. Patrick—Labours of St. Patrick in Ireland—Proclamation of George III. as to Flags, etc.—the Second Union Flag—Heraldic Difficulties in its Construction—Suggestions by Critics—Regulations as to Fortress Flags—the White Ensign of the Royal Navy—Saluting the Flag—the Navy the Safeguard of Britain—the Blue Ensign—the Royal Naval Reserve—the Red Ensign of the Mercantile Marine—Value of Flag-lore29
Army Flags—the Queen's Colour—the Regimental Colour—the Honours and Devices—the Flag of the 24th Regiment—Facings—Flag of the King's Own Borderers—What the Flag Symbolises—Colours of the Guards—the Assaye Flag—Cavalry Flags—Presentation of Colours—Chelsea College Chapel—Flags of the Buffs in Canterbury Cathedral—Flags of the Scottish Regiments in St. Giles's Cathedral—Burning of Rebel Flags by the Hangman—Special Flags for various Official Personages—Special Flags for different Government Departments—the Lord High Admiral—the Mail Flag—White Ensign of the Royal Yacht Squadron—Yacht Ensigns and Burgees—House or Company Flags—How to express Colours with Lines—the Allan Tricolor—Port Flags—the British Empire—the Colonial Blue Ensign and Pendant—the Colonial Defence Act—Colonial Mercantile Flag—Admiralty Warrant—Flag of the Governor of a Colony—the Green Garland—the Arms of the Dominion of Canada—Badges of the various Colonies—Daniel Webster on the Might of England—Bacon on the Command of the Ocean61
The Flag of Columbus—Early Settlements in North America—the Birth of the United States—Early Revolutionary and State Flags—the Pine-tree Flag—the Rattle-snake Flag—the Stars and Stripes—Early Variations of it—the Arms of Washington—Entry of New States into the Union—the Eagle—the Flag of the President—Secession of the Southern States—State Flags again—the Stars and Bars—the Southern Cross—the Birth of the German Empire—the Influence of War Songs—Flags of the Empire—Flags of the smaller German States—the Austro-Hungary Monarchy—the Flags of Russia—the Crosses of St. Andrew and St. George again—the Flags of France—St. Martin—the Oriflamme—the Fleurs-de-lys—Their Origin—the White Cross—the White Flag of the Bourbons—the Tricolor—the Red {v} Flag—the Flags of Spain—of Portugal—the Consummation of Italian Unity—the Arms of Savoy—the Flags of Italy—of the Temporal Power of the Papacy—the Flag of Denmark—its Celestial Origin—the Flags of Norway and Sweden—of Switzerland—Cantonal Colours—the Geneva Convention—the Flags of Holland—of Belgium—of Greece—the Crescent of Turkey—the Tughra—the Flags of Roumania, Servia, and Bulgaria—Flags of Mexico, and of the States of Southern and Central America—of Japan—the Rising Sun—the Chrysanthemum—the Flags of China, Siam and Corea—of Sarawak—of the Orange Free State, Liberia, Congo State, and the Transvaal Republic86
Flags as a Means of Signalling—Army Signalling—the Morse Alphabet—Navy Signalling—First Attempts at Sea Signals—Old Signal Books in Library of Royal United Service Institution—"England expects that every man will do his duty"—Sinking Signal Codes on defeat—Present System of Signalling in Royal Navy—Pilot Signals—Weather Signalling by Flags—the International Signal Code—First Published in 1857—Seventy-eight Thousand Different Signals possible—Why no Vowels used—Lloyd's Signal Stations127
Alphabetical Index to Text141
Coloured Plates149



The necessity of some special Sign to distinguish Individuals, Tribes, and Nations—the Standards of Antiquity—Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, and Roman—the Vexillum—The Labarum of Constantine—Invocation of Religion—the Flags of the Enemy—Early Flags of Religious Character—Flags of Saints at Funeral Obsequies—Company and Guild Flags of the Mediæval Period—Political Colours—Various kinds of Flags—the Banner—Rolls of Arms—Roll of Karlaverok—The Flag called the Royal Standard is really the Royal Banner—Mainsail Banners—Trumpet Banners—Ladies embroidering Banners for the Cause—Knights' Banneret—Form of Investiture—the Standard—the Percy Badges and Motto—Arctic Sledge-flags—the Rank governing the size of the Standard—Standards at State Funerals—the Pennon—Knights-Pennonciers—the Pennoncelle—Mr. Rolt as Chief Mourner—Lord Mayor's Show—the Pennant—the Streamer—Tudor Badges—Livery Colours—the Guidon—Bunting—Flag Devising a Branch of Heraldry—Colours chiefly used in Flags—Flags bearing Inscriptions—Significance of the Red Flag—of the Yellow—of the White—of the Black—Dipping the Flag—the Sovereignty of the Sea—Right of Salute insisted on—Political Changes rendering Flags obsolete.

So soon as man passes from the lowest stage of barbarism the necessity for some special sign, distinguishing man from man, tribe from tribe, nation from nation, makes itself felt; and this prime necessity once met, around the symbol chosen spirit-stirring memories quickly gather that endear it, and make it the emblem of the power and dignity of those by whom it is borne. The painted semblance of grizzly bear, or beaver, or rattlesnake on the canvas walls of the tepi of the prairie Brave, the special chequering of colours that compose the tartan[1] of the Highland clansman, are examples of this; and as we pass from individual or local tribe to mighty nations, the same influence is still at work, and the distinctive Union Flag of Britain, the tricolor of France, the gold and scarlet bars of the flag of Spain, all alike appeal with irresistible force to the patriotism of those born beneath their folds, and speak to them of the glories and greatness of the historic past, the duties of the present, and the hopes of the future—inspiring those who gaze upon their proud blazonry with the determination to be no unworthy sons of their fathers, but to live, and if need be to die, for the dear home-land of which these are the symbol. {2}

The standards used by the nations of antiquity differed in nature from the flags that in mediæval and modern days have taken their place. These earlier symbols were ordinary devices wrought in metal, and carried at the head of poles or spears. Thus the hosts of Egypt marched to war beneath the shadow of the various sacred animals that typified their deities, or the fan-like arrangement of feathers that symbolised the majesty of Pharoah, while the Assyrian standards, to be readily seen represented on the slabs from the palaces of Khorsabad and Kyonjik, in the British Museum and elsewhere, were circular disks of metal containing various distinctive devices. Both these and the Egyptian standards often have in addition a small flag-like streamer attached to the staff immediately below the device. The Greeks in like manner employed the Owl of Athene, and such-like religious and patriotic symbols of the protection of the deities, though Homer, it will be remembered, makes Agamemnon use a piece of purple cloth as a rallying point for his followers. The sculptures of Persepolis show us that the Persians adopted the figure of the Sun, the eagle, and the like. In Rome a hand erect, or the figures of the horse, wolf, and other animals were used, but at a later period the eagle alone was employed. Pliny tells us that "Caius Marius in his second consulship ordained that the Roman legions should only have the Eagle for their standard. For before that time the Eagle marched foremost with four others, wolves, minatours, horses, and bears—each one in its proper order. Not many years past the Eagle alone began to be advanced in battle, and the rest were left behind in the camp. But Marius rejected them altogether, and since this it is observed that scarcely is there a camp of a Legion wintered at any time without having a pair of Eagles." The eagle, we need scarcely stay to point out, obtained this pre-eminence as being the bird of Jove. The Vexillum, or cavalry flag, was, according to Livy, a square piece of cloth fixed to a cross bar at the end of a spear; this was often richly fringed, and was either plain or bore certain devices upon it, and was strictly and properly a flag. The ensigns which distinguished the allied forces from the legions of the Romans were also of this character. Examples of these vexilla may be seen on the sculptured columns of Trajan and Antoninus, the arch of Titus, and upon various coins and medals of ancient Rome.

The Imperial Standard or Labarum carried before Constantine and his successors resembled the cavalry Vexillum.[2] It was of purple silk, richly embroidered with gold, and though ordinarily {3}suspended from a horizontal cross-bar, was occasionally displayed in accordance with our modern usage by attachment by one of its sides to the staff.

The Roman standards were guarded with religious veneration in the temples of the metropolis and of the chief cities of the Empire, and modern practice has followed herein the ancient precedent. As in classic days the protection of Jove was invoked, so in later days the blessing of Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts, has been sought. At the presentation of colours to a regiment a solemn service of prayer and praise is held, and when these colours return in honour, shot-rent from victorious conflict, they are reverently placed in stately abbey, venerable cathedral, or parish church, never more to issue from the peace and rest of the home of God until by lapse of years they crumble into indistinguishable dust.

The Israelites carried the sacred standard of the Maccabees, with the initial letters of the Hebrew text, "Who is like unto Thee, O God, amongst the gods?" The Emperor Constantine caused the sacred monogram of Christ to be placed on the Labarum, and when the armies of Christendom went forth to rescue the Holy Land from the infidel they received their cross-embroidered standards from the foot of the altar. Pope Alexander II. sent a consecrated white banner to Duke William previous to his expedition against Harold, and we read in the "Beehive of the Romish Church," published in 1580, how "the Spaniardes christen, conjure, and hallow their Ensignes, naming one Barbara, another Katherine," after the names of saints whose aid they invoked in the stress of battle. We may see this invocation again very well in Figs. 147, 148: flags borne by the colonists of Massachusetts when they arrayed themselves against the mercenaries of King George, and appealed to the God of Battles in behalf of the freedom and justice denied by those who bore rule over them.

This recognition of the King of kings has led also to the captured banners of the enemy being solemnly suspended in gratitude and thanksgiving in the house of God. Thus Speed tells us that on the dispersal and defeat of the Armada, Queen Elizabeth commanded solemn thanksgiving to be celebrated at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul's, in her chief city of London, which accordingly was done upon Sunday, the 8th of September, when eleven of the Spanish ensigns were hung, to the great joy of the beholders, as "psalmes of praise" for England's deliverance from sore peril. Very appropriately, too, in the Chapel of the Royal College at Chelsea, the home of the old soldiers who helped to win them, hang the flags taken at Barrosa, Martinique, Bhurtpore, Seringapatam, Salamanca, Waterloo, and many another hard-fought struggle; {4}and thus, in like manner, is the tomb of Napoleon I., in Paris, surrounded by trophies of captured flags. On March 30th, 1814, the evening before the entry of the Allies into Paris, about 1,500 flags—the victorious trophies of Napoleon—were burnt in the Court of the Eglise des Invalides, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy.

Early flags were almost purely of a religious character.[3] The first notice of banners in England is in Bede's description of the interview between the heathen King Ethelbert and Augustine, the missionary from Rome, where the followers of the latter are described as bearing banners on which were displayed silver crosses; and we need scarcely pause to point out that in Roman Catholic countries, where the ritual is emotional and sensuous, banners of this type are still largely employed to add to the pomp of religious processions. Heraldic and political devices upon flags are of later date, and even when these came freely into use their presence did not supplant the ecclesiastical symbols. The national banner of England for centuries—the ruddy cross of her patron Saint George (Fig. 91)—was a religious one, and, whatever other banners were carried, this was ever foremost in the field. The Royal banner of Great Britain and Ireland that we see in Fig. 44, in its rich blazonry of the lions of England and Scotland and the Irish harp, is a good example of the heraldic flag, while our Union flag (Fig. 90), equally symbolizes the three nations of the United Kingdom, but this time by the allied crosses of the three patron saints, St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick, and it is therefore a lineal descendant and exemplar of the religious influence that was once all-powerful.

The ecclesiastical flags were often purely pictorial in character, being actual representations of the Persons of the Trinity, of the Virgin Mother, or of divers saints. At other times the monasteries and other religious houses bore banners of heraldic character; as the leading ecclesiastics were both lords temporal and lords spiritual, taking their places in the ranks of fighting men and leading on the field the body of dependants and retainers that they were required to maintain in aid of the national defence. In such case {5}the distinguishing banner of the contingent conformed in character to the heraldic cognisances of the other nobles in the host. Fig. 77, for instance, was the banner of St. Alban's Abbey. In a poem on the capture of Rouen by the English, in the year 1418, written by an eye-witness of the scenes described, we read how the English commander—

"To the Castelle firste he rode

And sythen the citie all abrode,

Lengthe and brede he it mette

And riche baneres up he sette

Upon the Porte Seint Hillare

A Baner of the Trynyte;

And at Porte Kaux he sette evene

A Baner of the Quene of Heven;

And at Porte Martvile he upplyt

Of Seint George a Baner breight."

and not until this recognition of Divine and saintly aid was made did

"He sette upon the Castelle to stonde

The armys of Fraunce and Englond."

Henry V., at Agincourt, in like manner displayed at his headquarters on the field not only his own arms, but, in place of special honour and prominence, the banners of the Trinity, of St. George, and of St. Edward. These banners of religious significance were often borne from the monasteries to the field of battle, while monks and priests in attendance on them invoked the aid of Heaven during the strife. In an old statement of accounts, still existing, we read that Edward I. made a payment of 8½d. a day to a priest of Beverley for carrying throughout one of his campaigns a banner bearing the figure of St. John. St. Wilfred's banner from Ripon, together with this banner of St. John from Beverley, were brought on to the field at Northallerton; the flag of St. Denis was carried in the armies of St. Louis and of Philip le Bel, and the banner of St. Cuthbert of Durham was borrowed by the Earl of Surrey in his expedition against Scotland in the reign of Henry VIII. This banner had the valuable reputation of securing victory to those who fought under it. It was suspended from a horizontal bar below a spear head, and was a yard or so in breadth and a little more than this in depth; the bottom edge had five deep indentations. The banner was of red velvet sumptuously enriched with gold embroidery, and in the centre was a piece of white velvet, half a yard square, having a cross of red velvet upon it. This central portion covered and protected a relic of the saint. The victory of Neville's Cross, October 17th, 1346, was held to be largely {6}due to the presence of this sacred banner, and the triumph at Flodden was also ascribed to it.

During the prevalence of Roman Catholicism in England, we find that banners of religious type entered largely into the funeral obsequies of persons of distinction: thus at the burial of Arthur, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Henry VII., we find a banner of the Trinity, another with the cross and instruments of the Passion depicted upon it; another of the Virgin Mary, and yet another with a representation of St. George. Such banners, as in the present instance, were ordinarily four in number, and carried immediately round the body at the four corners of the bier. Thus we read in the diary of an old chronicler, Machyn, who lived in the reigns of Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, that at the burial of the Countess of Arundel, October 27th, 1557, "cam iiij herroldes in ther cotes of armes, and bare iiij baners of emages at the iiij corners." Again, on "Aprell xxix, 1554, was bered my Lady Dudley in Saint Margarett in Westminster, with iiij baners of emages." Another item deals with the funeral of the Duchess of Northumberland, and here again "the iiij baners of ymages" again recur. Anyone having the old records, church inventories, and the like before them, would find it easy enough, as easy as needless, to multiply illustrations of this funeral use of pictured banners. These "emages" or "ymages" of old Machyn are of course not images in the sense of sculptured or carved things, but are painted and embroidered representations of various saints. Machyn, as a greatly interested looker-on at all the spectacles of his day, is most entertaining, but his spelling, according to the severer notions of the present day, is a little weak, as, for instance, in the following words that we have culled at random from his pages:—prossessyon, gaffelyns, fezyssyoun, dysquyet, neckclygens, gorgyusle, berehyng, wypyd, pelere, artelere, and dyssys of spyssys. The context ordinarily makes the meaning clear, but as our readers have not that advantage, we give the same words according to modern orthography—procession, javelins, physician, disquiet, negligence, gorgeously, burying, whipped, pillory, artillery, dishes of spices.

The various companies and guilds of the mediæval period had their special flags that came out, as do those of their successors of the present day, on the various occasions of civic pageantry; and in many cases, as may be seen in the illuminated MSS. in the British Museum and elsewhere, they were carried to battle as the insignia of the companies of men provided at the expense of those corporations. Thus in one example that has come under our notice we see a banner bearing a chevron between hammer, trowels, and builder's square; in another between an axe and two pairs of compasses, while a third on its azure field bears a pair of golden {7}shears. In the representation of a battle between Philip d'Artevelde and the Flemings against the French, many of the flags therein introduced bear the most extraordinary devices, boots and shoes, drinking-vessels, anvils, and the like, that owe their presence there to the fact that various trade guilds sent their contingents of men to the fight. In a French work on mediæval guilds we find the candle-makers of Bayeux marching beneath a black banner with three white candles on it, the locksmiths of La Rochelle having a scarlet flag with four golden keys on it. The lawyers of Loudoun had a flag with a large eye on it (a single eye to business being, we presume, understood), while those of Laval had a blue banner with three golden mouths thereon. In like manner the metal-workers of Laval carried a black flag with a silver hammer and files depicted on it, those of Niort had a red flag with a silver cup and a fork and spoon in gold on either side. The metal-workers of Ypres also carried a red flag, and on this was represented a golden flagon and two buckles of gold. Should some national stress this year or next lead our City Companies, the Fishmongers, the Carpenters, the Vintners, and others to contribute contingents to the defence of the country, and to send them forth beneath the banners of the guilds, history would but repeat itself.

In matters political the two great opposing parties have their distinctive colours, and these have ordinarily been buff and blue, though the association of buff with the Liberal party and "true blue" with the Conservatives has been by no means so entirely a matter of course as persons who have not looked into the matter might be disposed to imagine. The local colours are often those that were once the livery colours of the principal family in the district, and were assumed by its adherents for the family's sake quite independently of its political creed. The notion of livery is now an unpleasant one, but in mediæval days the colours of the great houses were worn by the whole country-side, and the wearing carried with it no suggestion either of toadyism or servitude. As this influence was hereditary and at one time all-powerful, the colour of the Castle, or Abbey, or Great House, became stereotyped in that district as the symbol of the party of which these princely establishments were the local centre and visible evidence, and the colour still often survives locally, though the political and social system that originated it has passed away in these days of democratic independence.

It would clearly be a great political gain if one colour were all over Great Britain the definite emblem of one side, as many illiterate voters are greatly influenced by the colours worn by the candidates for their suffrages, and have sufficient sense of consistency of principle to vote always for the flag that first claimed {8}their allegiance, though it may very possibly be that if they move to another county it is the emblem of a totally distinct party, and typifies opinions to which the voter has always been opposed. At a late election a Yorkshire Conservative, who had acquired a vote for Bournemouth, was told that he must "vote pink," but this he very steadily refused to do. He declared that he would "never vote owt else but th' old true blue," so the Liberal party secured his vote; and this sort of thing at a General Election is going on all over the country. The town of Royston, for instance, stands partly in Hertfordshire and partly in Cambridgeshire, and in the former county the Conservatives and in the latter the Liberals are the blue party; hence the significance of the colour in one street of the little town is entirely different to that it bears in another. At Horsham in Sussex we have observed that the Conservative colour is pale pink, while in Richmond in Surrey it is a deep orange. The orange was adopted by the Whigs out of compliment to William III., who was Prince of Orange.

In the old chronicles and ballads reference is made to many forms of flags now obsolete. The term flag is a generic one, and covers all the specific kinds. It is suggested that the word is derived from the Anglo-Saxon verb fleogan, to fly or float in the wind, or from the old German flackern, to flutter. Ensign is an alternative word formed on the idea of the display of insignia, badges, or devices, and was formerly much used where we should now employ the word colours. The company officers in a regiment who were until late years termed ensigns were at a still earlier period more correctly termed ensign-bearers. Milton, it will be recalled, describes a "Bannered host under spread ensigns marching." Sir Walter Scott greatly enlarges our vocabulary when he writes in "Marmion" of where

"A thousand streamers flaunted fair,

Various in shape, device, and hue,

Green, sanguine, purple, red, and blue,

Broad, narrow, swallow-tailed, and square,

Scroll, pennon, pensil, bandrol, there

O'er the pavilions flew,"

while Milton again writes of

"Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced

Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear

Stream in the air, and for distinction serve

Of hierarchies, orders, and degrees."

We have seen that the pomp of funeral display led to the use of pictorial flags of religious type, and with these were associated others that dealt with the mundane rank and position of the {9}deceased. Thus we find Edmonson, in his book on Heraldry, writing as follows:—"The armorial ensigns, as fixed by the officers of arms, and through long and continued usage established as proper to be carried in funeral processions, are pennons, guidons, cornets, standards, banners, and banner-rolls, having thereon depicted the arms, quarterings, badges, crests, supporters, and devices of the defunct: together with all such other trophies of honour as in his lifetime he was entitled to display, carry, or wear in the field; banners charged with the armorial ensigns of such dignities, titles, offices, civil and military, as were possessed or enjoyed by the defunct at the time of his decease, and banner-rolls of his own matches and lineal descent both on the paternal and maternal side. In case the defunct was an Archbishop, banner-rolls of the arms and insignia of the sees to which he had been elected and translated, and if he was a merchant or eminent trader pennons of the particular city, corporation, guild, fraternity, craft, or company whereof he had been a member." However true the beautiful stanza of Gray—

"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,

And all that beauty, all that wealth ere gave,

Await at last the inevitable hour,

The paths of glory lead but to the grave"—

the survivors of the deceased most naturally and most justly bore to their rest those to whom honour was due with the full respect to which their career on earth entitled them.

The names bestowed upon the different kinds of flags have varied from time to time, the various authorities of mediæval and modern days not being quite of one mind sometimes, so that while the more salient forms are easily identifiable, some little element of doubt creeps in when we would endeavour to bestow with absolute precision a name to a certain less common form before us, or a definite form to a name that we encounter in some old writer. Whatever looseness of nomenclature, however, may be encountered on the fringe of our subject, the bestowal of the leading terms is sufficiently definite, and it is to these we now turn our attention, reflecting for our comfort that it is of far greater value to us to know all about a form that is of frequent recurrence, and to which abundant reference is made, than to be able to quite satisfactorily decide what special name some abnormal form should carry, or what special form is meant by a name that perhaps only occurs once or twice in the whole range of literature, and even that perhaps by some poet or romance writer who has thought more of the general effect of his description than of the technical accuracy of the terms in which he has clothed it. {10}

The Banner first engages our attention. This was ordinarily, in the earlier days of chivalry, a square flag, though in later examples it may be found somewhat greater in length than in depth, and in some early examples it is considerably greater in depth than in its degree of projection outwards from the lance. In the technical language of the subject, the part of a flag nearest the pole is called the hoist, and the outer part the fly. Fig. 37 is a good illustration of this elongated form. It has been suggested that the shortness of the fly in such cases was in order that the greater fluttering in the wind that such a form as Fig. 30 would produce might be prevented, as this constant tugging at the lance-head would be disagreeable to the holder, while it might, in the rush of the charge, prevent that accuracy of aim that one would desire to give one's adversary the full benefit of at such a crisis in his career. Pretty as this may be as a theory, there is probably not much in it, or the form in those warlike days of chivalry would have been more generally adopted. According to an ancient authority the banner of an emperor should be six feet square; of a king, five; of a prince or duke, four; and of an earl, marquis, viscount, or baron three feet square. When we consider that the great function of the banner was to bear upon its surface the coat-of-arms of its owner, and that this coat was emblazoned upon it and filled up its entire surface in just the same way that we find these charges represented upon his shield, it is evident that no form that departed far either in length or breadth from the square would be suitable for their display. Though heraldically it is allowable to compress or extend any form from its normal proportions when the exigencies of space demand it,[4] it is clearly better to escape this when possible.[5] The arms depicted in Fig. 37 are certainly not the better for the elongation to which they have been subjected, while per contra the bearings on any of the banners in Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11, have had no despite done them, the square form being clearly well-adapted for their due display.

The Rolls of Arms prepared on various occasions by the mediæval and later heralds form an admirable storehouse of examples. Some of these have been reproduced in facsimile, and are, therefore, more or less readily accessible. We have before us as we write the roll of the arms of the Sovereign and of the {11}spiritual and temporal peers who sat in Parliament in the year 1515, and another excellent example that has been reproduced is the roll of Karlaverok. This Karlaverok was a fortress on the north side of Solway Frith, which it was necessary for Edward I. to reduce on his invasion of Scotland in the year 1300, and this investiture and all the details of the siege are minutely described by a contemporary writer, who gives the arms and names of all the nobles there engaged. As soon as the castle fell into Edward's hands he caused his banner and that of St. Edmund (Fig. 17), and St. Edward (Fig. 19), to be displayed upon its battlements. The roll is written in Norman French, of which the following passage may be given as an example:—

"La ont meinte riche garnement

Brode sur cendeaus et samis

Meint beau penon en lance mis

Meint baniere desploie."

That is to say, there were—in modern English wording—many rich devices embroidered on silk and satin, many a beautiful pennon fixed on lance, many a banner displayed. The writer says:—"First, I will tell you of the names and arms, especially of the banners, if you will listen how." Of these numerous banners we give some few examples: Fig. 1 belongs to him "who with a light heart, doing good to all, bore a yellow banner and pennon with a black saltire engrailed, and is called John Botetourte." Fig. 2 is the banner of Sire Ralph de Monthermer; Fig. 3 the devices of Touches, "a knight of good-fame"; while Fig. 4, "the blue with crescents of brilliant gold," was the flag of William de Ridre. "Sire John de Holderton, who at all times appears well and promptly in arms," bore No. 6, the fretted silver on the scarlet field; while Fig. 5 is the cognisance of "Hugh Bardolph, a man of good appearance, rich, valiant, and courteous." Fig. 7 is the well-known lion of the Percys, and is here the banner of Henri de Percy; we meet with it again in Fig. 14. Fig. 8 is "the banner of good Hugh de Courtenay," while Fig. 9 is that of the valiant Aymer de Valence. Fig. 10 bears the barbels of John de Bar, while the last example we need give (Fig. 11) is the banner of Sire William de Grandison. Of whom gallant, courteous Englishmen as they were, we can now but say that "they are dust, their swords are rust," and deny them not the pious hope "their souls are with the saints, we trust."

The well-known flag (Fig. 44), that everyone recognises as the Royal Standard, is nevertheless misnamed, as it should undoubtedly be called the Royal Banner, since it bears the arms of the Sovereign in precisely the same way that any of our preceding {12}examples bear the arms of the knights with whom they were associated. A standard, as we shall see presently, is an entirely different kind of flag; nevertheless, the term Royal Standard is so firmly established that it is hopeless now to think of altering it, and as it would be but pedantry to ignore it, and substitute in its place, whenever we have occasion to refer to it, its proper title—the Royal Banner—we must, having once made our protest, be content to let the matter stand. Figs. 22, 43, 44, 194, 226, and 245 are all royal or imperial banners, but popular usage insists that we shall call them royal or imperial "standards," so, henceforth, rightly or wrongly, through our pages standards they must be.

The banners of the Knights of the Garter, richly emblazoned with their armorial bearings, are suspended over their stalls in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, while those of the Knights of the Bath are similarly displayed in the Chapel of Henry VII. in Westminster Abbey.

The whole of the great mainsail of a mediæval ship was often emblazoned with arms, and formed one large banner. This usage may be very well seen in the illuminations, seals, etc., of that period. As early as the year 1247 we find Otho, Count of Gueldres, represented as bearing on his seal a square banner charged with his arms, a lion rampant; and in a window in the Cathedral of Our Lady, at Chartres, is a figure of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester from 1236 to 1265. He is depicted as bearing in his right hand a banner of red and white, as shown in Fig. 18.

References in the old writers to the banner are very numerous. Thus in the "Story of Thebes" we read of "the fell beastes," that were "wrought and bete upon their bannres displaied brode" when men went forth to war. Lydgate, in the "Battle of Agincourt," writes:—

"By myn baner sleyn will y be

Or y will turne my backe or me yelde."

The same writer declares that at the siege of Harfleur by Henry V., in September, 1415, the king—

"Mustred his meyne faire before the town,

And many other lordes, I dar will say,

With baners bryghte and many penoun."

The trumpeters of the Life Guards and Horse Guards have the Royal Banner attached to their instruments, a survival that recalls the lines of Chaucer:—

"On every trump hanging a brode bannere

Of fine tartarium, full richly bete."


An interesting reference is found in a letter of Queen Katharine of Arragon to Thomas Wolsey, dated Richmond, August 13th, 1513, while King Henry VIII. was in France. Speaking of war with the Scots, her Majesty says: "My hert is veray good to it, and I am horrible besy with making standards, banners, and bagies."[6]

While the men are buckling on their armour for the coming strife, wives, sisters, sweethearts, daughters, with proud hearts, give their aid, and with busy fingers—despite the tear that will sometimes blur the vision of the gay embroidery—swiftly and deftly labour with loving care on the devices that will nerve the warriors to living steel in the shock of battle. The Queen of England, so zealously busy in her task of love, is but a type and exemplar of thousands of her sex before and since. The raven standard of the Danish invaders of Northumbria was worked by the daughters of Regnar Lodbrok, and in the great rebellion in the West of England many a gentlewoman suffered sorely in the foul and Bloody Assize for her zealous share in providing the insurgents with the standards around which they rallied. The Covenanters of Scotland, the soldiers of Garibaldi freeing Italy from the Bourbons, the levies of Kossuth in Hungary, the Poles in the deadly grip of Russia, the armies of the Confederate States in America, the Volunteers who would fain free Greece from the yoke of the Turk,[7] all fought to the death beneath the banners that fair sympathisers with them, and with their cause, placed in their hands. When two great nations, such as France and Germany, fall to blows, the whole armament, weapons, flags, and whatever else may be necessary, is supplied from the government stores according to regulation pattern, but in the case of insurgents against authority struggling—rightly or wrongly—to be free, the weapons may be scythe blades or whatever else comes first to hand, while the standards borne to the field will bear the most extraordinary devices upon them, devices that appeal powerfully at the time to those fighting beneath their folds, but which give a shudder to the purist in heraldic blazonry, as for instance, to quote but one example, the rattle-snake flag with its motto "Beware how you tread on me," adopted by the North American colonists in their struggle against the troops of George III.

When a knight had performed on the field of battle some especially valiant or meritorious act, it was open to the Sovereign to {14}mark his sense of it by making him a knight-banneret. Thus, in the reign of Edward III., John de Copeland was made a banneret for his service in taking prisoner David Bruce, the King of Scotland, at the battle of Durham; Colonel John Smith, having rescued the royal banner from the Parliamentarians at Edgehill, was in like manner made a knight-banneret by Charles I. The title does not seem to have been in existence before the reign of Edward I., and after this bestowal by Charles I. we hear no more of it till 1743, when the title was conferred upon several English officers by the king, George II., upon the field of Dettingen. It was an essential condition that the rank should be bestowed by the Sovereign on the actual field of battle and beneath the royal banner. General Sir William Erskine was given this rank by George III. on his return from the Continent in 1764, after the battle of Emsdorff; but as the investiture took place beneath the standard of the 15th Light Dragoons and in Hyde Park, it was deemed hopelessly irregular, and, the royal will and action notwithstanding, his rank was not generally recognised.

The ceremony of investiture was in the earlier days a very simple one. The flag of the ordinary knight was of the form known as the pennon—a small, swallow-tailed flag like that borne by our lancer regiments, of which Fig. 30 is an illustration. On being summoned to the royal presence, the king took from him his lance, and either cut or tore away the points of his flag, until he had reduced it roughly to banner form, and then returned it to him with such words of commendation as the occasion called for. What the ceremony employed at so late a period as Dettingen was we have not been able to trace. As the officers there honoured were lanceless and pennonless, it is evident that the formula which served in the Middle Ages was quite inapplicable, but it is equally evident that in the thronging duties and responsibilities of the field of battle the ceremony must always have been a very short and simple one.

The term Standard is appropriately applied to any flag of noble size that answers in the main to the following conditions—that it should always have the Cross of St. George placed next to the staff, that the rest of the flag should be divided horizontally into two or more stripes of colours, these being the prevailing colours in the arms of the bearers or their livery colours, the edge of the standard richly fringed or bordered, the motto and badges of the owner introduced, the length considerably in excess of the breadth, the ends split and rounded off. We find such standards in use chiefly during the fifteenth century, though some characteristic examples of both earlier and later dates may be encountered. Figs. 14 and 15 are very good typical illustrations. The {15}first of these (Fig. 14) is the Percy standard. The blue lion, the crescent, and the fetterlock there seen are all badges of the family, while the silver key betokens matrimonial alliance with the Poynings,[8] the bugle-horn with the Bryans,[9] and the falchion with the family of Fitzpayne. The ancient badge of the Percys was the white lion statant. Our readers will doubtless be familiar with the lines—

"Who, in field or foray slack,

Saw the blanch lion e'er give back?"

but Henry Percy, the fifth earl, 1489 to 1577, turned it into a blue one. The silver crescent is the only badge of the family that has remained in active and continuous use, and we find frequent references to it in the old ballads—so full of interesting heraldic allusions—as, for instance, in "The Rising of the North"—

"Erle Percy there his ancyent spred,

The halfe-moon shining all soe faire,"

and in Claxton's "Lament"—

"Now the Percy's crescent is set in blood."

The motto is ordinarily a very important part of the standard, though it is occasionally missing. Its less or greater length or its possible repetition may cut up the surface of the flag into a varying number of spaces. The first space after the cross is always occupied by the most important badge, and in a few cases the spaces beyond are empty.

The motto of the Percys is of great historic interest. It is referred to by Shakespeare, "Now Esperance! Percy! and set on," and we find in Drayton the line, "As still the people cried, A Percy, Esperance!" In the "Mirror for Magistrates" (1574) we read, "Add therefore this to Esperance, my word, who causeth bloodshed shall not 'scape the sword." It was originally the war-cry of the Percys, but it has undergone several modifications, and these of a rather curious and interesting nature, since we see in the sequence a steady advance from blatant egotism to an admission of a higher power even than that of Percy. The war-cry of the first Earl was originally, "Percy! Percy!" but he later substituted for it, "Esperance, Percy." The second and third Earls took merely "Esperance," the fourth took "Esperance, ma comfort," and, {16}later on, "Esperance en Dieu ma comfort," and the fifth and succeeding Earls took the "Esperance en Dieu."[10]

Fig. 15 is the standard of Sir Thomas de Swynnerton. The swine is an example of the punning allusion to the bearer's name that is so often seen in the charges of mediæval heraldry.

Figs. 14 and 15 are typical standards, having the cross of St. George, the striping of colours, the oblique lines of motto, the elongated tapering form, and all the other features that we have already quoted as belonging to the ideal standard, though one or two of these may at times be absent. Thus, though exceptions are rare, a standard is not necessarily particoloured for example, and, as we have seen, the motto in other examples may be missing. The Harleian MS. No. 2,358 lays down the rule that "every Standard or guydhome is to hang in the Chiefe the Crosse of St. George, to be slitte at the ende, and to conteyne the crest or supporter, with the poesy, worde, and devise of the owner." That the Cross of St. George, the national badge, must always be present and in the most honourable position is full of significance, as it means that whatever else of rank or family the bearer might be, he was first and foremost an Englishman.

Figs. 13 and 16 are interesting modern examples of the Standard. They are from a series of sledge-flags used during the Arctic Expedition of 1875-6, the devices upon them being those of the officers in charge of each detachment.

When in earlier days a man raised a regiment for national defence, he not only commanded it, but its flag often bore his arms or device. Thus the standard of the dragoons raised by Henry, Lord Cardross, in 1689 was of red silk, on which was represented the Colonel's crest, a hand holding a dagger, and the motto "Fortitudine," while in the upper corner next the staff was the thistle of Scotland, surmounted by the crown.

Our readers should now have no difficulty in sketching out for themselves as an exercise the following: The standard of Henry V., white and blue, a white antelope standing between four red roses; the motto "Dieu et mon droit," and in the interspaces more red {17}roses. The standard of Richard II., white and green, a white hart couchant between four golden suns, the motto "Dieu et mon droit," in the next space two golden suns, and in the next, four. As further exercises, we may give the standard of Sir John Awdeley, of gold and scarlet, having a Moor's head and three white butterflies, the motto "Je le tiens," then two butterflies, then four; and the standard of Frogmorton, of four stripes of red and white, having an elephant's head in black, surrounded by golden crescents. While no one, either monarch or noble, could have more than one banner, since this was composed of his heraldic arms, a thing fixed and unchangeable, the same individual might have two or three standards, since these were mainly made up of badges that he could multiply at discretion, and a motto or poesy that he might change every day if he chose. Hence, for instance, the standards of Henry VII. were mostly green and white, since these were the Tudor livery colours; but in one was "a red firye dragon," and in another "was peinted a donne kowe," while yet another had a silver greyhound between red roses. Stowe and other authorities tell us that the two first of these were borne at Bosworth Field, and that after his victory there over Richard III. these were borne by him in solemn state to St. Paul's Cathedral, and there deposited on his triumphal entry into the metropolis.

The difference between the standard and the banner is very clearly seen in the description of the flags borne at the funeral obsequies of Queen Elizabeth—"the great embroidered banner of England" (Fig. 22), the banners of Wales, Ireland, Chester, and Cornwall, and the standards of the dragon, greyhound, and falcon. In like manner Stowe tells us that when King Henry VII. took the field in 1513, he had with him the standard with the red dragon and the banner of the arms of England, and Machyn tells that at the funeral of Edward VI., "furst of all whent a grett company of chylderyn in ther surples and clarkes syngyng and then ij harolds, and then a standard with a dragon, and then a grett nombur of ye servants in blake, and then anoder standard with a whyt greyhound." Later on in the procession came "ye grett baner of armes in brodery and with dyvers odere baners."

Standards varied in size according to the rank of the person entitled to them. A MS. of the time of Henry VII. gives the following dimensions:—For that of the king, a length of eight yards; for a duke, seven; for an earl, six; a marquis, six and a half; a viscount, five and a half; a baron, five; a knight banneret, four and a half; and for a knight, four yards. In view of these figures one can easily realise the derivation of the word standard—a thing that is meant to stand; to be rather fastened in the ground as a rallying point than carried, like a banner, about the field of action. {18}

At the funeral of Nelson we find his banner of arms and standard borne in the procession, while around his coffin are the bannerolls, square banner-like flags bearing the various arms of his family lineage. We see these latter again in an old print of the funeral procession of General Monk, in 1670, and in a still older print of the burial of Sir Philip Sydney, four of his near kindred carrying by the coffin these indications of his descent. At the funeral of Queen Elizabeth we find six bannerolls of alliances on the paternal side and six on the maternal. The standard of Nelson bears his motto, "Palmam qui meruit ferat," but instead of the Cross of St. George it has the union of the crosses of St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick, since in 1806, the year of his funeral, the England of mediæval days had expanded into the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In the imposing funeral procession of the great Duke of Wellington we find again amongst the flags not only the national flag, regimental colours, and other insignia, but the ten bannerolls of the Duke's pedigree and descent, and his personal banner and standard.

Richard, Earl of Salisbury, in the year 1458, ordered that at his interment "there be banners, standards, and other accoutrements, according as was usual for a person of his degree" and what was then held fitting, remains, in the case of State funerals, equally so at the present day.

The Pennon is a small, narrow flag, forked or swallow-tailed at its extremity. This was carried on the lance. Our readers will recall the knight in "Marmion," who

"On high his forky pennon bore,

Like swallow's tail in shape and hue."

We read in the Roll of Karlaverok, as early as the year 1300, of

"Many a beautiful pennon fixed to a lance,

And many a banner displayed;"

and of the knight in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," we hear that

"By hys bannere borne is hys pennon

Of golde full riche."

The pennon bore the arms of the knight, and they were in the earlier days of chivalry so emblazoned upon it as to appear in their proper position not when the lance was held erect but when held horizontally for the charge. The earliest brass now extant, that of Sir John Daubernoun, at Stoke d'Abernon Church, in Surrey, represents the knight as bearing a lance with pennon. Its date is 1277, and the device is a golden chevron on a field of azure. In {19}this example the pennon, instead of being forked, comes to a single point.

The pennon was the ensign of those knights who were not bannerets, and the bearers of it were therefore sometimes called pennonciers; the term is derived from the Latin word for a feather, penna, from the narrow, elongated form. The pennons of our lancer regiments (Fig. 30) give one a good idea of the form, size, and general effect of the ancient knightly pennon, though they do not bear distinctive charges upon them, and thus fail in one notable essential to recall to our minds the brilliant blazonry and variety of device that must have been so marked and effective a feature when the knights of old took the field. In a drawing of the year 1813, of the Royal Horse Artillery, we find the men armed with lances, and these with pennons of blue and white, as we see in Fig. 31.[11]

Of the thirty-seven pennons borne on lances by various knights represented in the Bayeux tapestry, twenty-eight have triple points, while others have two, four, or five. The devices upon these pennons are very various and distinctive, though the date is before the period of the definite establishment of heraldry. Examples of these may be seen in Figs. 39, 40, 41, 42.

The pennoncelle, or pencel, is a diminutive of the pennon, small as that itself is. Such flags were often supplied in large quantities at any special time of rejoicing or of mourning. At the burial in the year 1554 of "the nobull Duke of Norffok," we note amongst other items "a dosen of banerolles of ys progene," a standard, a "baner of damaske, and xij dosen penselles." At the burial of Sir William Goring we find "ther was viij dosen of penselles," while at the Lord Mayor's procession in 1555 we read that there were "ij goodly pennes [State barges] deckt with flages and stremers and a m penselles." This "m," or thousand, we can perhaps scarcely take literally, though in another instance we find "the cordes were hanged with innumerable pencelles."[12]

The statement of the cost of the funeral of Oliver Cromwell is interesting, as we see therein the divers kinds of flags that graced the ceremony. The total cost of the affair was over £28,000, and the unhappy undertaker, a Mr. Rolt, was paid very little, if any, of his bill. The items include "six gret banners wrought on rich taffaty in oil, and gilt with fine gold," at £6 each. Five large standards, similarly wrought, at a cost of £10 each; six dozen {20}pennons, a yard long, at a sovereign each; forty trumpet banners, at forty shillings apiece; thirty dozen of pennoncelles, a foot long, at twenty shillings a dozen; and twenty dozen ditto at twelve shillings the dozen. Poor Rolt!

In "the accompte and reckonyng" for the Lord Mayor's Show of 1617 we find "payde to Jacob Challoner, painter, for a greate square banner, the Prince's Armes, the somme of seven pounds." We also find, "More to him for the new payntyng and guyldyng of ten trumpet banners, for payntyng and guyldyng of two long pennons of the Lord Maior's armes on callicoe," and many other items that we need not set down, the total cost of the flag department being £67 15s. 10d., while for the Lord Mayor's Show of the year 1685 we find that the charge for this item was the handsome sum of £140.

The Pennant, or pendant, is a long narrow flag with pointed end, and derives its name from the Latin word signifying to hang. Examples of it may be seen in Figs. 20, 21, 23, 24, 36, 38, 100, 101, 102, and 103, and some of the flags employed in ship-signalling are also of pennant form. It was in Tudor times called the streamer. Though such a flag may at times be found pressed into the service of city pageantry, it is more especially adapted for use at sea, since the lofty mast, the open space far removed from telegraph-wires, chimney-pots, and such-like hindrances to its free course, and the crisp sea-breeze to boldly extend it to its full length, are all essential to its due display. When we once begin to extend in length, it is evident that almost anything is possible: the pendant of a modern man-of-war is some twenty yards long, while its breadth is barely six inches, and it is evident that such a flag as that would scarcely get a fair chance in the general "survival of the fittest" in Cheapside. It is charged at the head with the Cross of St. George. Figs. 26, 27, 74 are Tudor examples of such pendants, while Fig. 140 is a portion at least of the pendant flown by colonial vessels on war service, while under the same necessarily abbreviated conditions may be seen in Fig. 151 the pendant of the United States Navy, in 157 that of Chili, and in 173 that of Brazil.

In mediæval days many devices were introduced, the streamer being made of sufficient width to allow of their display. Thus Dugdale gives an account of the fitting up of the ship in which Beauchamp, fifth Earl of Warwick, during the reign of Henry VI., went over to France. The original bill between this nobleman and William Seburgh, "citizen and payntour of London," is still extant, and we see from it that amongst other things provided was "the grete stremour for the shippe xl yardes in length and viij yardes in brede." These noble dimensions gave ample room for {21}display of the badge of the Warwicks,[13] so we find it at the head adorned with "a grete bere holding a ragged staffe," and the rest of its length "powdrid full of raggid staves,"

"A stately ship,

With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,

Sails filled, and streamers waving."

Machyn tells us in his diary for August 3rd, 1553, how "The Queen came riding to London, and so on to the Tower, makyng her entry at Aldgate, and a grett nombur of stremars hanging about the sayd gate, and all the strett unto Leydenhalle and unto the Tower were layd with graffel, and all the crafts of London stood with their banars and stremars hangyd over their heds." In the picture by Volpe in the collection at Hampton Court of the Embarkation of Henry VIII. from Dover in the year 1520, to meet Francis I. at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, we find, very naturally, a great variety and display of flags of all kinds. Figs. 20, 21, 23 are streamers therein depicted, the portcullis, Tudor rose, and fleur-de-lys being devices of the English king, while the particular ground upon which they are displayed is in each case made up of green and white, the Tudor livery colours. We may see these again in Fig. 71, where the national flag of the Cross of St. George has its white field barred with the Tudor green. In the year 1554 even the naval uniform of England was white and green, both for officers and mariners, and the City trained bands had white coats welted with green. Queen Elizabeth, though of the Tudor race, took scarlet and black as her livery colours; the House of Plantaganet white and red; of York, murrey and blue; of Lancaster, white and blue; of Stuart, red and yellow. The great nobles each also had their special liveries; thus in a grand review of troops on Blackheath, on May 16th, 1552, we find that "the Yerle of Pembroke and ys men of armes" had "cotes blake bordered with whyt," while the retainers of the Lord Chamberlain were in red and white, those of the Earl of Huntingdon in blue, and so forth.

In the description of one of the City pageants in honour of Henry VII. we find among the "baggs" (i.e., badges), "a rede rose and a wyght in his mydell, golde floures de luces, and portcullis also in golde," the "wallys" of the Pavilion whereon these were displayed being "chekkyrs of whyte and grene."

The only other flag form to which we need make any very definite reference is the Guidon. The word is derived from the {22}French guide-homme, but in the lax spelling of mediæval days it undergoes many perversions, such as guydhome, guydon, gytton, geton, and such-like more or less barbarous renderings. Guidon is the regulation name now applied to the small standards borne by the squadrons of some of our cavalry regiments. The Queen's guidon is borne by the first squadron; this is always of crimson silk; the others are the colour of the regimental facings. The modern cavalry guidon is square in form, and richly embroidered, fringed, and tasselled. A mediæval writer on the subject lays down the law that "a guydhome must be two and a half yardes or three yardes longe, and therein shall be no armes putt, but only the man's crest, cognizance, and device, and from that, from his standard or streamer a man may flee; but not from his banner or pennon bearinge his armes." The guidon is largely employed at State or ceremonious funeral processions; we see it borne, for instance, in the illustrations of the funeral of Monk in 1670, of Nelson in 1806, of Wellington in 1852. In all these cases it is rounded in form, as in Fig. 28. Like the standard, the guidon bears motto and device, but it is smaller, and has not the elongated form, nor does it bear the Cross of St. George.

In divers countries and periods very diverse forms may be encountered, and to these various names have been assigned, but it is needless to pursue their investigation at any length, as in some cases the forms are quite obsolete; in other cases, while its form is known to us its name is lost, while in yet other instances we have various old names of flags mentioned by the chroniclers and poets to which we are unable now to assign any very definite notion of their form. In some cases, again, the form we encounter may be of some eccentric individuality that no man ever saw before, or ever wants to see again, or, as in Fig. 33, so slightly divergent from ordinary type as to scarcely need a distinctive name. One of the flags represented in the Bayeux tapestry is semi-circular. Fig. 32 defies classification, unless we regard it as a pennon that, by snipping, has travelled three-quarters of the way towards being a banner. Fig. 35, sketched from a MS. of the early part of the fourteenth century, in the British Museum, is of somewhat curious and abnormal form. It is of religious type, and bears the Agnus Dei. The original is in a letter of Philippe de Mezières, pleading for peace and friendship between Charles VI. of France and Richard II. of England.

Flags are nowadays ordinarily made of bunting, a woollen fabric which, from the nature of its texture and its great toughness and durability, is particularly fitted to stand wear and tear. It comes from the Yorkshire mills in pieces of forty yards in length, while the width varies from four to thirty-six inches. Flags are {23}only printed when of small size, and when a sufficient number will be required to justify the expense of cutting the blocks. Silk is also used, but only for special purposes.

Flag-devising is really a branch of heraldry, and should be in accordance with its laws, both in the forms and the colours introduced. Yellow in blazonry is the equivalent of gold, and white of silver, and it is one of the requirements of heraldry that colour should not be placed upon colour, nor metal on metal. Hence the red and blue in the French tricolour (Fig. 191) are separated by white; the black and red of Belgium (Fig. 236) by yellow. Such unfortunate combinations as the yellow, blue, red, of Venezuela (Fig. 170); the yellow, red, green of Bolivia (Fig. 171); the red and blue of Hayti (Fig. 178); the white and yellow of Guatemala (Fig. 162), are violations of the rule in countries far removed from the influence of heraldic law. This latter instance is a peculiarly interesting one; it is the flag of Guatemala in 1851, while in 1858 this was changed to that represented in Fig. 163. In the first case the red and the blue are in contact, and the white and the yellow; while in the second the same colours are introduced, but with due regard to heraldic law, and certainly with far more pleasing effect.

One sees the same obedience to this rule in the special flags used for signalling, where great clearness of definition at considerable distances is an essential. Such combinations as blue and black, red and blue, yellow and white, carry their own condemnation with them, as anyone may test by actual experiment; stripes of red and blue, for instance, at a little distance blending into purple, while white and yellow are too much alike in strength, and when the yellow has become a little faded and the white a little dingy they appear almost identical. We have this latter combination in Fig. 198, the flag of the now vanished Papal States. It is a very uncommon juxtaposition, and only occurs in this case from a special religious symbolism into which we need not here enter. The alternate red and green stripes in Fig. 63 are another violation of the rule, and have a very confusing effect.[14]

The colours of by far the greatest frequency of occurrence are red, white, and blue; yellow also is not uncommon; orange is only found once, in Fig. 249, where it has a special significance, since this is the flag of the Orange Free State. Green occurs sparingly. Italy (Fig. 197) is perhaps the best known example. We also find it in the Brazilian flag (Fig. 169), the Mexican (Fig. 172), in the Hungarian tricolor (Fig. 214), and in Figs. 199, 201, 209, the flags {24}of smaller German States, but it is more especially associated with Mohammedan States, as in Figs. 58, 63, 64, 235. Black is found but seldom, but as heraldic requirements necessitate that it should be combined either with white or yellow, it is, when seen, exceptionally brilliant and effective. We see it, for example, in the Royal Standard of Spain, (Fig. 194), in Figs. 207 and 208, flags of the German Empire, in Fig. 226, the Imperial Standard of Russia, and in Fig. 236, the brilliant tricolor of the Belgians.[15]

In orthodox flags anything of the nature of an inscription is very seldom seen. We find a reference to order and progress on the Brazilian flag (Fig. 169), while the Turkish Imperial Standard (Fig. 238) bears on its scarlet folds the monogram of the Sultan; but these exceptions are rare.[16] We have seen that, on the contrary, on the flags of insurgents and malcontents the inscription often counts for much. On the alteration of the style in the year 1752 this necessary change was made the subject of much ignorant reproach of the government of the day, and was used as a weapon of party warfare. An amusing instance of this feeling occurs in the first plate of Hogarth's election series, where a malcontent, or perhaps only a man anxious to earn a shilling, carries a big flag inscribed, "Give us back our eleven days." The flags of the Covenanters often bore mottoes or texts. Fig. 34 is a curious example: the flag hoisted by the crew of H.M.S. Niger when they opposed the mutineers in 1797 at Sheerness. It is preserved in the Royal United Service Museum. It is, as we have seen, ordinarily the insubordinate and rebellious who break out into inscriptions of more or less piety or pungency, but we may conclude that the loyal sailors fighting under the royal flag adopted this device in addition as one means the more of fighting the rebels with their own weapons.

During the Civil War between the Royalists and Parliamentarians, we find a great use made of flags inscribed with mottoes. Thus, on one we see five hands stretching at a crown defended by an armed hand issuing from a cloud, and the motto, "Reddite Cæsari." In another we see an angel with a flaming sword treading a dragon underfoot, and the motto, "Quis ut Deus," while yet another is inscribed, "Courage pour la Cause." On a fourth we find an ermine, and the motto, "Malo mori quam fœdari"—"It is better to die than {25}to be sullied," in allusion to the old belief that the ermine would die rather than soil its fur. Hence it is the emblem of purity and stainless honour.

The blood-red flag is the symbol of mutiny and of revolution. As a sign of disaffection it was twice, at the end of last century, displayed in the Royal Navy. A mutiny broke out at Portsmouth in April, 1797, for an advance of pay; an Act of Parliament was passed to sanction the increase of expenditure, and all who were concerned in it received the royal pardon, but in June of the same year, at Sheerness, the spirit of disaffection broke out afresh, and on its suppression the ringleaders were executed. It is characteristic that, aggrieved as these seamen were against the authorities, when the King's birthday came round, on June 4th, though the mutiny was then at its height, the red flags were lowered, the vessels gaily dressed in the regulation bunting, and a royal salute was fired. Having thus demonstrated their real loyalty to their sovereign, the red flags were re-hoisted, and the dispute with the Admiralty resumed in all its bitterness.

The white flag is the symbol of amity and of good will; of truce amidst strife, and of surrender when the cause is lost. The yellow flag betokens infectious illness, and is displayed when there is cholera, yellow fever, or such like dangerous malady on board ship, and it is also hoisted on quarantine stations. The black flag signifies mourning and death; one of its best known uses in these later days is to serve as an indication after an execution that the requirements of the law have been duly carried out.

Honour and respect are expressed by "dipping" the flag. At any parade of troops before the sovereign the regimental flags are lowered as they pass the saluting point, and at sea the colours are dipped by hauling them smartly down from the mast-head and then promptly replacing them. They must not be suffered to remain at all stationary when lowered, as a flag flying half-mast high is a sign of mourning for death, for defeat, or for some other national loss, and it is scarcely a mark of honour or respect to imply that the arrival of the distinguished person is a cause of grief or matter for regret.

In time of peace it is an insult to hoist the flag of one friendly nation above another, so that each flag must be flown from its own staff.

Even as early as the reign of Alfred England claimed the sovereignty of the seas. Edward III. is more identified with our early naval glories than any other English king; he was styled "King of the Seas," a name of which he appears to have been very proud, and in his coinage of gold nobles he represented himself with shield and sword, and standing in a ship "full royally {26}apparelled." He fought on the seas under many disadvantages of numbers and ships: in one instance until his ship sank under him, and at all times as a gallant Englishman.

If any commander of an English vessel met the ship of a foreigner, and the latter refused to salute the English flag, it was enacted that such ship, if taken, was the lawful prize of the captain. A very notable example of this punctilious insistance on the respect to the flag arose in May, 1554, when a Spanish fleet of one hundred and sixty sail, escorting the King on his way to England to his marriage with Queen Mary, fell in with the English fleet under the command of Lord Howard, Lord High Admiral. Philip would have passed the English fleet without paying the customary honours, but the signal was at once made by Howard for his twenty-eight ships to prepare for action, and a round shot crashed into the side of the vessel of the Spanish Admiral. The hint was promptly taken, and the whole Spanish fleet struck their colours as homage to the English flag.

In the year 1635 the combined fleets of France and Holland determined to dispute this claim of Great Britain, but on announcing their intention of doing so an English fleet was at once dispatched, whereupon they returned to their ports and decided that discretion was preferable even to valour. In 1654, on the conclusion of peace between England and Holland, the Dutch consented to acknowledge the English supremacy of the seas, the article in the treaty declaring that "the ships of the Dutch—as well ships of war as others—meeting any of the ships of war of the English, in the British seas, shall strike their flags and lower their topsails in such manner as hath ever been at any time heretofore practised." After another period of conflict it was again formally yielded by the Dutch in 1673.

Political changes are responsible for many variations in flags, and the wear and tear of Time soon renders many of the devices obsolete. On turning, for instance, to Nories' "Maritime Flags of all Nations," a little book published in 1848, many of the flags are at once seen to be now out of date. The particular year was one of exceptional political agitation, and the author evidently felt that his work was almost old-fashioned even on its issue. "The accompanying illustrations," he says, "having been completed prior to the recent revolutionary movements on the Continent of Europe, it has been deemed expedient to issue the plate in its present state, rather than adopt the various tri-coloured flags, which cannot be regarded as permanently established in the present unsettled state of political affairs." The Russian American Company's flag, Fig. 59, that of the States of the Church, of the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Turkish Imperial Standard, Fig. 64, and many others {27}that he gives, are all now superseded. For Venice he gives two flags, that for war and that for the merchant service. In each case the flag is scarlet, having a broad band of blue, which we may take to typify the sea, near its lower edge. From this rises in gold the winged lion of St. Mark, having in the war ensign a sword in his right paw, and in the peaceful colours of commerce a cross. Of thirty-five "flags of all nations," given as a supplement to the Illustrated London News in 1858, we note that eleven are now obsolete: the East India Company, for instance, being now extinct, the Ionian Islands ceded to Greece, Tuscany and Naples absorbed into Italy, and so forth.

In Figs. 52 and 53 we have examples of early Spanish flags, and in 54 and 55 of Portuguese, each and all being taken from a very quaint map of the year 1502. This map may be said to be practically the countries lying round the Atlantic Ocean, giving a good slice of Africa, a portion of the Mediterranean basin, the British Isles, most of South America, a little of North America, the West Indies,[17] etc., the object of the map being to show the division that Pope Alexander VI. kindly made between those faithful daughters of the Church—Spain and Portugal—of all the unclaimed portions of the world. Figs. 52 and 53 are types of flags flying on various Spanish possessions, while Figs. 54 and 55 are placed at different points on the map where Portugal held sway. On one place in Africa we see that No. 54 is surmounted by a white flag bearing the Cross of St. George, so we may conclude that—Pope Alexander notwithstanding—England captured it from the Portuguese. At one African town we see the black men dancing round the Portuguese flag, while a little way off three of their brethren are hanging on a gallows, showing that civilization had set in with considerable severity there. The next illustration on this plate (Fig. 56) is taken from a sheet of flags published in 1735; it represents the "Guiny Company's Ensign," a trading company, like the East India, Fig. 57, now no longer in existence. Fig. 62 is the flag of Savoy, an ancient sovereignty that, within the memory of many of our readers, has expanded into the kingdom of Italy. The break up of the Napoleonic régime in France, the crushing out of the Confederate States in North America, the dismissal from the throne of the Emperor of Brazil, have all, within comparatively recent years, led to the superannuation and disestablishment of a goodly number of flags and their final disappearance.

We propose now to deal with the flags of the various nationalities, commencing, naturally, with those of our own country. {28}We were told by a government official that the Universal Code of signals issued by England had led to a good deal of heartburning, as it is prefaced by a plate of the various national flags, the Union Flag of Great Britain and Ireland being placed first. But until some means can be devised by which each nationality can head the list, some sort of precedence seems inevitable. At first sight it seems as though susceptibilities might be saved by adopting an alphabetical arrangement, but this is soon found to be a mistake, as it places such powerful States as Russia and the United States nearly at the bottom of the list. A writer, Von Rosenfeld, who published a book on flags in Vienna in 1853, very naturally adopted this arrangement, but the calls of patriotism would not even then allow him to be quite consistent, since he places his material as follows:—Austria, Annam, Argentine, Belgium, Bolivia, and so forth, where it is evident Annam should lead the world and Austria be content to come in third. Apart from the difficulty of asking Spain, for instance, to admit that Bulgaria was so much in front of her, or to expect Japan to allow China so great a precedence as the alphabetical arrangement favours, a second obstacle is found in the fact that the names of these various States as we Englishmen know them are not in many cases those by which they know themselves or are known by others. Thus a Frenchman would be quite content with the alphabetical arrangement that in English places his beloved country before Germany, but the Teuton would at once claim precedence, declaring that Deutschland must come before "la belle France," and the Espagnol would not see why he should be banished to the back row just because we choose to call him a Spaniard.

In the meantime, pending the Millenium, the flag that more than three hundred millions of people, the wide world over, look up to as the symbol of justice and liberty, will serve very well as a starting point, and then the great Daughter across the Western Ocean, that sprung from the Old Home, shall claim a worthy place next in our regard. The Continent of Europe must clearly come next, and such American nationalities as lie outside the United States, together with Asia and Africa, will bring up the rear.



The Royal Standard—the Three Lions of England—the Lion Rampant of Scotland—Scottish sensitiveness as to precedence—the Scottish Tressure—the Harp of Ireland—Early Irish Flags—Brian Boru—the Royal Standards from Richard I. to Victoria—Claim to the Fleurs-de-Lys of France—Quartering Hanover—the Union Flag—St. George for England—War Cry—Observance of St. George's Day—the Cross of St. George—Early Naval Flags—the London Trained Bands—the Cross of St. Andrew—the "Blue Blanket"—Flags of the Covenanters—Relics of St. Andrew—Union of England and Scotland—the First Union Flag—Importance of accuracy in representations of it—the Union Jack—Flags of the Commonwealth and Protectorate—Union of Great Britain and Ireland—the Cross of St. Patrick—Labours of St. Patrick in Ireland—Proclamation of George III. as to Flags, etc.—the Second Union Flag—Heraldic Difficulties in its Construction—Suggestions by Critics—Regulations as to Fortress Flags—the White Ensign of the Royal Navy—Saluting the Flag—the Navy the Safeguard of Britain—the Blue Ensign—the Royal Naval Reserve—the Red Ensign of the Mercantile Marine—Value of Flag-lore.

Foremost amongst the flags of the British Empire the Royal Standard takes its position as the symbol of the tie that unites all into one great State. Its glowing blazonry of blue and scarlet and gold is brought before us in Fig. 44. The three golden lions on the scarlet ground are the device of England, the golden harp on the azure field is the device of Ireland, while the ruddy lion rampant on the field of gold[18] stands for Scotland. It may perhaps appear to some of our readers that the standard of the Empire should not be confined to such narrow limits; that the great Dominion of Canada, India, Australia, the ever-growing South Africa, might justly claim a place. Precedent, too, might be urged, since in previous reigns, Nassau, Hanover, and other States have found a resting-place in its folds, and there is much to be said in favour of a wider representation of the greater component parts of our world-wide Empire; but two great practical difficulties arise: the first is that the grand simplicity of the flag would be lost if eight or ten different devices were substituted for the three; and secondly, it would very possibly give rise to a good deal of jealousy and ill-feeling, since it would be impossible to introduce all. As it at present stands, it represents the central home of the Empire, the little historic seed-plot from whence all else has sprung, and to which all turn their eyes as the {30}centre of the national life. All equally agree to venerate the dear mother land, but it is perhaps a little too much to expect that the people of Jamaica or Hong Kong would feel the same veneration for the beaver and maple-leaves of Canada, the golden Sun of India, or the Southern Cross of Australasia. As it must clearly be all or none, it seems that only one solution of the problem, the present one, is possible. In the same way the Union flag (Fig. 90) is literally but the symbol of England, Scotland, and Ireland, but far and away outside its primary significance, it floats on every sea the emblem of that Greater Britain in which all its sons have equal pride, and where all share equal honour as brethren of one family.

The earliest Royal Standard bore but the three lions of England, and we shall see presently that in different reigns various modifications of its blazonry arose, either the result of conquest or of dynastic possessions. Thus Figs. 43 and 44, though they bear a superficial likeness, tell a very different story; the first of these, that of George III., laying claim in its fourth quartering to lordship over Hanover and other German States, and in its second quarter to the entirely shadowy and obsolete claim over France, as typified by the golden fleurs-de-lys on the field of azure.

How the three lions of England arose is by no means clear. Two lions were assigned as the arms of William the Conqueror, but there is no real evidence that he bore them. Heraldry had not then become a definite science, and when it did a custom sprang up of assigning to those who lived and died before its birth certain arms, the kindly theory being that such persons, had they been then living, would undoubtedly have borne arms, and that it was hard, therefore, that the mere accident of being born a hundred years too soon should debar them from possessing such recognition of their rank. Even so late as Henry II. the bearing is still traditional, and it is said that on his marriage with Alianore, eldest daughter of William, Duke of Aquitaine and Guienne, he incorporated with his own two lions the single lion that (it is asserted) was the device of his father-in-law. All this, however, is theory and surmise, and we do not really find ourselves on the solid ground of fact until we come to the reign of Richard Cœur-de-Lion. Upon his second Great Seal we have the three lions just as they are represented in Figs. 22, 43, 44, and as they have been borne for centuries by successive sovereigns on their arms, standards, and coinage, and as our readers may see them this day on the Royal Standard and on much of the money they may take out of their pockets. The date of this Great Seal of King Richard is 1195 A.D., so we have, at all events, a period of over seven hundred years, waiving a break during the Commonwealth, in which the three golden lions on their scarlet field have typified the might of England. {31}

The rampant lion within the tressure, the device of Scotland—seen in the second quarter of our Royal Standard, Fig. 44—is first seen on the Great Seal of King Alexander II., about A.D. 1230, and the same device, without any modification of colour or form[19] was borne by all the Sovereigns of Scotland, and on the accession of James to the throne of the United Kingdom, in the year 1603, the ruddy lion ramping on the field of gold became an integral part of the Standard.

The Scotch took considerable umbrage at their lion being placed in the second place, while the lions of England were placed first, as they asserted that Scotland was a more ancient kingdom than England, and that in any case, on the death of Queen Elizabeth of England, the Scottish monarch virtually annexed the Southern Kingdom to his own, and kindly undertook to get the Southerners out of a dynastic difficulty by looking after the interests of England as well as ruling Scotland. This feeling of jealousy was so bitter and so potent that for many years after the Union, on all seals peculiar to Scottish business and on the flags displayed north of the Tweed, the arms of Scotland were placed in the first quarter. It was also made a subject of complaint that in the Union Flag the cross of St. George is placed over that of St. Andrew (see Figs. 90, 91, 92), and that the lion of England acted as the dexter support of the royal shield instead of giving place to the Scottish Unicorn. One can only be thankful that Irish patriots have been too sensible or too indifferent to insist upon yet another modification, requiring that whensoever and wheresoever the Royal Standard be hoisted in the Emerald Isle the Irish harp should be placed in the first quarter. While it is clearly impossible to place the device of each nationality first, it is very desirable and, in fact, essential, that the National Arms and the Royal Standard should be identical in arrangement in all parts of the kingdom. The notion of unity would be very inadequately carried out if we had a London version for Buckingham Palace, an Edinburgh version for Holyrood, and presently found the Isle of Saints and "gallant little Wales" insisting on two other variants, and the Isle of Man in insurrection because it was not allowed precedence of all four.

Even so lately as the year 1853, on the issue of the florin, the old jealousy blazed up again. A statement was drawn up and presented to Lord Lyon, King of Arms, setting forth anew the old grievances of the lions in the Standard and the crosses in the Flag of the Union, and adding that "the new two-shilling {32}piece, called a florin, which has lately been issued, bears upon the reverse four crowned shields, the first or uppermost being the three lions passant of England; the second, or right hand proper, the harp of Ireland; the third, or left hand proper, the lion rampant of Scotland; the fourth, or lower, the three lions of England repeated. Your petitioners beg to direct your Lordship's attention to the position occupied by the arms of Scotland upon this coin, which are placed in the third shield instead of the second, a preference being given to the arms of Ireland over those of this kingdom." It is curious that this document tacitly drops claim to the first place. Probably most of our readers—Scotch, Irish, or English—feel but little sense of grievance in the matter, and are quite willing, if the coin be an insult, to pocket it.

The border surrounding the lion is heraldically known as the tressure. The date and the cause of its introduction are lost in antiquity. The mythical story is that it was added by Achaius, King of Scotland, in the year 792, in token of alliance with Charlemagne, but in all probability these princes scarcely knew of the existence of each other. The French and the Scotch have often been in alliance, and there can be little doubt but that the fleurs-de-lys that adorn the tressure point to some such early association of the two peoples; an ancient writer, Nisbet, takes the same view, as he affirms that "the Tressure fleurie encompasses the lyon of Scotland to show that he should defend the Flower-de-luses, and these to continue a defence to the lyon." The first authentic illustration of the tressure in the arms of Scotland dates from the year 1260. In the reign of James III., in the year 1471 it was "ordaint that in tyme to cum thar suld be na double tresor about his armys, but that he suld ber armys of the lyoun, without ony mur." If this ever took effect it must have been for a very short time. We have seen no example of it.

Ireland joined England and Scotland in political union on January 1st, 1801, but its device—the harp—was placed on the standard centuries before by right of conquest. The first known suggestion for a real union on equal terms was made in the year 1642 in a pamphlet entitled "The Generall Junto, or the Councell of Union; chosen equally out of England, Scotland, and Ireland for the better compacting of these nations into one monarchy. By H. P." This H. P. was one Henry Parker. Fifty copies only of this tract were issued, and those entirely for private circulation. "To persuade to union and commend the benefit of it"—says the author—"will be unnecessary. Divide et impera (divide and rule) is a fit saying for one who aims at the dissipation and perdition of his country. Honest counsellors have ever given contrary advice. England and Ireland are inseparably knit; no severance is possible {33}but such as shall be violent and injurious. Ireland is an integral member of the Kingdom of England: both kingdoms are coinvested and connexed, not more undivided than Wales or Cornwall."

The conquest of Ireland was entered upon in the year 1172, in the reign of Henry II., but was scarcely completed until the surrender of Limerick in 1691. Until 1542 it was styled not the Kingdom but the Lordship of Ireland.

An early standard of Ireland has three golden crowns on a blue field, and arranged over each other as we see the English lions placed; and a commission appointed in the reign of Edward IV., to enquire what really were the arms of Ireland, reported in favour of the three crowns. The early Irish coinage bears these three crowns upon it, as on the coins of Henry V. and his successors. Henry VIII. substituted the harp on the coins, but neither crowns nor harps nor any other device for Ireland appear in the Royal Standard until the year 1603, after which date the harp has remained in continuous use till the present day.

In the Harleian MS., No. 304 in the British Museum, we find the statement that "the armes of Irland is Gules iij old harpes gold, stringed argent" (as in Fig. 87), and on the silver coinage for Ireland of Queen Elizabeth the shield bears these three harps. At her funeral Ireland was represented by a blue flag having a crowned harp of gold upon it, and James I. adopted this, but without the crown, as a quartering in his standard: its first appearance on the Royal Standard of England.

Why Henry VIII. substituted the harp for the three crowns is not really known. Some would have us believe that the king was apprehensive that the three crowns might be taken as symbolising the triple crown of the Pope; while others suggest that Henry, being presented by the Pope with the supposed harp of Brian Boru, was induced to change the arms of Ireland by placing on her coins the representation of this relic of her most celebrated native king. The Earl of Northampton, writing in the reign of James I., suggests yet a third explanation. "The best reason," saith he, "that I can observe for the bearing thereof is, it resembles that country in being such an instrument that it requires more cost to keep it in tune than it is worth."[20] {34}

The Royal Standard should only be hoisted when the Sovereign or some member of the royal family is actually within the palace or castle, or at the saluting point, or on board the vessel where we see it flying, though this rule is by no means observed in practice. The only exception really permitted to this is that on certain royal anniversaries it is hoisted at some few fortresses at home and abroad that are specified in the Queen's Regulations.

The Royal Standard of England was, we have seen, in its earliest form a scarlet flag, having three golden lions upon it, and it was so borne by Richard I., John, Henry III., Edward I., and Edward II. Edward III. also bore it for the first thirteen years of his reign, so that this simple but beautiful flag was the royal banner for over one hundred and fifty years. Edward III., on his claim in the year 1340 to be King of France as well as of England, quartered the golden fleurs-de-lys of that kingdom with the lions of England.[21] This remained the Royal Standard throughout the rest of his long reign. Throughout the reign of Richard II. (1377 to 1399) the royal banner was divided in half by an upright line, all on the outer half being like that of Edward III., while the half next the staff was the golden cross and martlets on the blue ground, assigned to Edward the Confessor, his patron saint, as shown in Fig. 19. On the accession of Henry IV. to the throne, the cross and martlets disappeared, and he reverted to the simple quartering of France and England.

Originally the fleurs-de-lys were scattered freely over the field, semée or sown, as it is termed heraldically, so that besides several in the centre that showed their complete form, others at the margin were more or less imperfect. On turning to Fig. 188, an early French flag, we see this disposition of them very clearly. Charles V. of France in the year 1365 reduced the number to three, as in Fig. 184, whereupon Henry IV. of England followed suit; his Royal Standard is shown in Fig. 22. This remained the Royal Standard throughout the reigns of Henry V., Henry VI., Edward IV., Edward V., Richard III., Henry VII., Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary and Elizabeth—a period of two hundred years.

On the accession of the House of Stuart, the flag was rearranged. Its first and fourth quarters were themselves quartered again, these small quarterings being the French fleur-de-lys and the English lions; while the second quarter was the lion of Scotland, and the third the Irish harp; the first appearance of either of these latter kingdoms in the Royal Standard. This form remained in use throughout the reigns of James I., Charles I., Charles II., and James II. The last semblance of dominion in France had long {35}since passed away, but it will be seen that alike on coinage, arms, and Standard the fiction was preserved, and Londoners may see at Whitehall the statue still standing of James II., bearing on its pedestal the inscription—"Jacobus secundus Dei Gratia Angliæ, Scotiæ, Franciæ et Hiberniæ Rex."

During the Protectorate, both the Union Flag and the Standard underwent several modifications, but the form that the personal Standard of Cromwell finally assumed may be seen in Fig. 83, where the Cross of St. George for England, St. Andrew for Scotland, and the harp for Ireland, symbolise the three kingdoms, while over all, on a shield, are placed the personal arms of the Protector—a silver lion rampant on a sable field.

William III., on his landing in England, displayed a standard which varied in many respects from those of his royal predecessors, since it contained not only the arms themselves, but these were represented as displayed on an escutcheon, surmounted by the crown, and supported on either side by the lion and unicorn. Above all this was the inscription "For the Protestant Religion and the Liberties of England,"[22] while beneath it was "je maintiendray." The arms on the shield are too complex for adequate description without the aid of a diagram; suffice it to say that in addition to the insignia of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France, were eight others dealing with the devices of smaller Continental possessions appertaining to the new monarch. When matters had settled down and his throne was assured, the aggressive inscription, etc., disappeared, and the Royal Standard of William and his Consort Mary, the daughter of King James, reverted to the form used by the Stuart Sovereigns, plus in the centre a small escutcheon bearing the arms of Nassau, these being a golden lion rampant, surrounded by golden billets, upon a shield of azure.

The Royal Standard of Queen Anne bore the devices of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France. On the accession of George I. the arms of Hanover were added, and from 1714 to 1801 the flag was as shown in Fig. 43. The flag of Anne was very similar to this, only instead of Hanover in the fourth quarter, the arms of England and Scotland, as we see them in the first quarter, were simply repeated in the fourth.

The Hanoverian quarter, Fig. 43, was made up as follows:—The two lions on the red field are the device of Brunswick; the blue lion rampant, surrounded by the red hearts, is the device of Lunenburg; the galloping white horse is for Saxony; and over all is the golden crown of Charlemagne as an indication of the claim set up of being the successor of that potent Sovereign. The horse {36}of Saxony is said to have been borne sable by the early kings, previous to the conversion to Christianity of Witekind, A.D. 785. Verstigan, however, tells us that the ensign of Hengist at the time of the invasion of England by the Saxons was a leaping white horse on a red ground. The white horse is still the county badge for Kent. The flag, as we see it in Fig. 43, was that of George I. and George II., and remained in use until the forty-second year of the reign of George III.

On January 2nd, 1801, the Fleurs-de-lys of France were at length removed, and the flag had its four quarters as follows:—First and fourth England, second Scotland, and third Ireland; the arms of Hanover being placed on a shield in the centre of the flag. This remained the Royal Standard during the rest of the reign of George III., and throughout the reigns of George IV. and William IV. On the accession of Victoria the operation of the Salique law severed the connexion of Hanover with England, and the present Royal Standard is as shown in Fig. 44, being in its arrangement similar to that of George IV. and William IV., except that the small central shield, bearing the arms of Hanover, is now removed.[23]

We turn now to the National Flag. As the feudal constitution of the fighting force passed away, the use of private banners disappeared, and men, instead of coming to the field as the retainers of some great nobleman and fighting under his leadership and beneath his flag, were welded into a national army under the direct command of the king and such leaders as he might appoint. The days when a great noble could change the fortunes of the day by withdrawing his vassals or transferring himself and them, on the eve of the fight, to the opposing party, were over, and men fought no longer in the interests of Warwick or of Percy, but in the cause of England and beneath the banner of St. George, the national Patron Saint.

"Thou, amongst those saints whom thou dost see,

Shall be a saint, and thine own nation's frend

And patron: thou Saint George shalt called bee,

Saint George of Mery England, the sign of victoree."[24]


At the siege of Antioch, according to Robertus Monachus, a Benedictine of Rheims who flourished about the year 1120, and wrote a history of the Crusade, "Our Souldiers being wearied with the long continuance of the Battaile, and seeing that the number of enemies decreased not, began to faint; when suddenly an infinite number of Heavenly Souldiers all in white descended from the Mountains, the Standard-bearer and leaders of them being Saint George, Saint Maurice, and Saint Demetrius, which when the Bishop of Le Puy first beheld he cryed aloud unto his troopes, 'There are they (saith he) the succours which in the name of God I promised to you.' The issue of the miracle was this, that presently the enemies did turne their backs and lost the field: these being slaine, 100,000 horse, beside foot innumerable, and in their trenches such infinite store of victuals and munition found that served not only to refresh the wearied Christians, but to confound the enemy." This great victory at Antioch led to the recovery of Jerusalem. At the Crusades England, Arragon, and Portugal all assumed St. George as their patron saint.

Throughout the Middle Ages the war-cry of the English was the name of this patron saint. "The blyssed and holy Martyr Saynt George is patron of this realme of Englande, and the crye of men of warre," we read in the "Golden Legend," and readers of Shakespeare will readily recall illustrations. Thus in "King Richard II." we read:—

"Sound drums and trumpets, boldly and cheerfully,

God and St. George! Richard and victory."

or again in "King Henry V." where the king at the siege of Harfleur cries,

"The game's afoot,

Follow your spirit, and upon this charge

Cry, God for Harry, England, and St. George!"

while in "King Henry VI." we find the line,

"Then strike up, drums—God and St. George for us!"[25]

At the battle of Poitiers, September 19th, 1356, upon the advance of the English, the Constable of France threw himself, Lingard tells us, across their path with the battle shout, "Mountjoy, St. Denis," which was at once answered by "St. George, St. George," and in the onrush of the English the Duke and the greater part of his {38}followers were swept away, and in a few minutes slain. In an interesting old poem on the siege of Rouen in 1418, written by an eye-witness, we read that on the surrender of the city,

"Whanne the gate was openyd there

And thay weren ready in to fare,

Trumpis blew ther bemys of bras,

Pipis and clarionys forsoothe ther was.

And as they entrid thay gaf a schowte

With ther voyce that was full stowte,

Seint George! Seint George! thay criden on height

And seide, Welcome oure kynges righte!"

We have before us, as we write, "The story of that most blessed Saint and Souldier of Christ Jesus, St. George of Cappadocia," as detailed by Peter Heylyn, and published in 1633, and the temptation to quote at length from it is great, as it is full of most interesting matter, but into the history of St. George space forbids us to go at any length. The author of the "Seven Champions of Christendom" makes St. George to be born of English parentage at Coventry, but for this there is no authority whatever, and all other writers make Cappadocia his birthplace. The history of St. George is more obscure than that of any name of equal eminence in the Calendar. According to the "Acta Sanctorum" he was the son of noble parents, became famous as a soldier, and, embracing Christianity, was tortured to death at Nicomedia in the year 303.

"The hero won his well-earned place,

Amid the Saints, in death's dread hour;

And still the peasant seeks his grave,

And, next to God, reveres his power.

In many a Church his form is seen,

With sword, and shield, and helmet sheen;

Ye know him by his shield of pride,

And by the dragon at his side."

As Patron Saint, the dragon vanquisher is still seen on our crowns and sovereigns, and reference to such a book as Ruding's history of our coinage will show that it has for centuries been a popular device.

In 1245, on St. George's Day, Frederic of Austria instituted an order of knighthood and placed it under the guardianship of the soldier-saint, and its white banner, bearing the ruddy cross, floated in battle alongside that of the Empire. In like manner on St. George's Day, in the year 1350, Edward III. of England instituted the order of the Garter with great solemnity. {39}

St. George's Day, April 23rd, has too long been suffered to pass almost unregarded. The annual festivals of St. Andrew, St. Patrick, and St. David are never overlooked by the members of the various nationalities, and it seems distinctly a thing to be regretted that the Englishman should allow the name day of his Patron Saint to pass unnoticed.[26] Whatever conduces to the recognition of national life is valuable, and anything that reminds Englishmen of their common ties and common duties—and reminds them, too, of their glorious heritage in the past—should scarcely be allowed to fall into disuse. Butler, in his "Lives of the Fathers and Martyrs," tell us that at the great National Council, held at Oxford in 1222, it was commanded that the Feast of St. George should be kept. In the year 1415, by the Constitutions of Archbishop Chichely, St. George's Day was made one of the greater feasts and ordered to be observed the same as Christmas Day. In 1545 a special collect, epistle, and gospel were prepared, and at the Reformation, when many of the Saints' Days were swept away, this was preserved with all honour, and it was not till the sixth year of the reign of Edward VI., when another revision was made, that in "The Catalogue of such Festivals as are to be Observed" St. George's day was omitted.

The Cross of St. George was worn as a badge,[27] over the armour, by every English soldier in the fourteenth and subsequent centuries, even if the custom did not prevail at a much earlier period. The following extract from the ordinances made for the government of the army with which Richard II. invaded Scotland in 1386, is a good illustration of this, wherein it is ordered "that everi man of what estate, condicion, or nation thei be of, so that he be of owre partie, here a signe of the armes of Saint George, large, bothe before and behynde, upon parell that yf he be slayne or wounded to deth, he that hath so doon to hym shall not be putte to deth for defaulte of the cross that he lacketh. And that non enemy do bere the same token or crosse of Saint George, notwithstandyng if he be prisoner, upon payne of deth." It was the flag of battle, and we see it represented in the old prints and illuminations that deal with military operations both on land and sea. Ordinarily it is the Cross of St. George, pure and simple, as shown in Fig. 91, while at {40}other times, as in Figs. 66, 67, 68, it forms a portion only of the flag. The red cross on the white field was the flag under which the great seamen of Elizabeth's reign traded, explored, or fought; the flag that Drake bore round the world—that Frobisher unfolded amidst the Arctic solitudes—that gallant Englishmen, the wide world over, bore at the call of duty and died beneath, if need be, for the honour of the old home land; and to this day the flag of the English Admiral is the same simple and beautiful device, and the white ensign of the British Navy, Fig. 95, is similar, except that it bears, in addition, the Union; while the Union flag itself, Fig. 90, bears conspicuously the ruddy cross of the warrior Saint.

Figs. 26, 27, 74 and 140 are all sea-pennants bearing the Cross of St. George. The first of these is from a painting of H.M.S. Tiger, painted by Van de Velde, while Fig. 27 is flying from one of the ships represented in the picture by Volpe of the embarkation of Henry VIII. from Dover on his way to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Fig. 74 is from a picture of H.M.S. Lion, engaging the French ship Elisabethe, on July 9th, 1745, the latter being fitted out to escort the Young Pretender to Scotland. Though the red, white, and blue stripes suggest the French tricolor, their employment in the pennant has, of course, no reference to France. The Lion had at the foremast the plain red streamer seen at Fig. 25. Fig. 140 is the pennant flown at the present day by all Colonial armed vessels, while the pennant of the Royal Navy is purely white, with the exception of the Cross of St. George. In a picture by Van de Velde, the property of the Queen, representing a sea fight on August 11th, 1673, between the English, French, and Dutch, we see some of the vessels with streamers similar to Fig. 140, thus ante-dating the Colonial flag by over two hundred years.

As we have at the present time the white ensign, Fig. 95, the special flag of the Royal Navy; the blue ensign, Fig. 96, the distinguishing flag of the Royal Naval Reserve; and the red ensign, Fig. 97, the flag of the Merchant Service, each with the Union in the upper corner next the mast, so in earlier days we find the white flag, Fig. 65, the red flag, Fig. 66, and the blue, each having in the upper corner the Cross of St. George. Fig. 69 becomes, by the addition of the blue, a curious modification of Fig. 66. It is from a sea piece of the sixteenth century. It was displayed at the poop of a vessel, while Fig. 79 is the Jack on the bowsprit.

A hundred years ago or so, we may see that there was a considerable variety in the flags borne by our men-o'-war. Such galleries as those at Hampton Court or Greenwich afford many examples of this in the pictures there displayed. In a picture of a battle off Dominica, on April 12th, 1782, we find, one of the English {41}ships has two great square flags on the foremast, the upper one being plain red, and the lower one half blue and half white in horizontal stripes, while the main mast is surmounted by the Cross of St. George, and below it a tricolor of red, white, and blue in horizontal stripes. Other ships show equally curious variations, though we need not stop to detail them, except that in one case both fore and mizen masts are surmounted by plain red flags. In a picture of Rodney's Action off Cape St. Vincent, on January 16th, 1780, we meet with all these flags again. In the representation of an action between an English and French fleet on May 3rd, 1747, off Cape Finisterre, we notice that the English ships have a blue ensign at the poop, and one of them has a great plain blue flag at the foremast, and a great plain red flag at the main-mast head. In a picture of the taking of Portobello, November 21st, 1739, we notice the same thing again. These plain surfaces of blue or red are very curious. It will naturally occur to the reader that these are signal flags, but anyone seeing the pictures would scarcely continue to hold that view, as their large size precludes the idea. In the picture of H.M.S. Tiger that we have already referred to, the flag with five red stripes that we have represented in Fig. 70 is at the poop, while from the bow is hoisted a flag of four stripes, and from the three mastheads are flags, having three red stripes. These striped red and white flags may often be seen.

Perhaps the most extraordinary grouping of flags may be seen in a picture of a naval review in the reign of George I. It was on exhibition at the Great Naval Exhibition at Chelsea, and is in private ownership. All the vessels are dressed in immense flags, and these are of the most varied description. It must be borne in mind that these are government bunting, not the irresponsible vagaries of private eccentricity. Besides the reasonable and orthodox flags, such as those represented in Figs. 65, 66, and others of equal propriety, we find one striped all over in red, white, blue, red, white, blue, in six horizontal stripes. Another, with a yellow cross on a white ground; a third, a white eagle on a blue field; another, a red flag inscribed—"For the Protestant Religion and the Liberty of England"; while another is like Fig. 65, only instead of having a red cross on white, it has a blue one instead. An altogether strange assortment.

Figs. 67, 68, 72, and 78 are flags of the London Trained Bands of the year 1643. The different regiments were known by the colour of their flags, thus Fig. 67 is the flag of the blue regiment, Fig. 68 of the yellow, Fig. 72 of the green, and Fig. 78 of the yellow regiment auxiliaries. Other flags were as follows:—white, with red lozenges; green, with golden wavy rays; orange, with white trefoils; in each case the Cross of St. George being in the canton. {42}In a list before us of the Edinburgh Trained Bands for 1685 we find that the different bodies are similarly distinguished by colours.[28]

On the union of the two crowns at the accession of James VI. of Scotland and I. of England to the English throne, the Cross of St. Andrew, Fig. 92, was combined with that of St. George.

The Cross of St. Andrew has been held in the same high esteem north of the Tweed that the Southrons have bestowed on the ensign of St. George. It will be seen that it is shaped like the letter X. Tradition hath it that the Saint, deeming it far too great an honour to be crucified as was his Lord, gained from his persecutors the concession of this variation. It is legendarily asserted that this form of cross appeared in the sky to Achaius, King of the Scots, the night before a great battle with Athelstane, and, being victorious, he went barefoot to the church of St. Andrew, and vowed to adopt his cross as the national device. The sacred monogram that replaced the Roman eagles under Constantine, the cross on the flag of Denmark, the visions of Joan of Arc, and many other suchlike illustrations, readily occur to one's mind as indicative of the natural desire to see the potent aid of Heaven visibly manifested in justification of earthly ambitions, or a celestial support and encouragement in time of national discomfiture.

Figs. 75 and 76 are examples of the Scottish red and blue ensigns. The first of these is from a picture at Hampton Court, where a large Scottish warship is represented as having a flag of this character at the main, and smaller but similar colours at the other mastheads and on the bowsprit.

The famous banner, the historic "blue blanket," borne by the Scots in the Crusades, was on its return deposited over the altar of St. Eloi in St. Giles' Church, Edinburgh, and the queen of James II., we read, painted on its field of azure the white Cross of St. Andrew, the crown, and the thistle. St. Eloi was the patron saint of blacksmiths, and this craft was made the guardian of the flag, and it became the symbol of the associated trades of ancient Edinburgh. King James VI., when venting his indignation against his too independent subjects, exclaimed, "The craftsmen think we should be contented with their work, and if in anything they be controlled, then up goes the blue blanket." The craftsmen were as independent and difficult to manage as the London Trained Bands often proved, but King James VI. found it expedient to confirm them in {43}all their privileges, and ordered that the flag should at all times be known as the Standard of the Crafts, and later Sovereigns found it impossible to take away these privileges when they had once been granted. This flag was borne at Flodden Field. Beside the cross, crown, and thistle it bore on a scroll on the upper part of the flag the inscription, "Fear God and honor the king with a long lyffe and prosperous reigne," and on the lower portion the words, "And we that is trades shall ever pray to be faithfull for the defence of his Sacred Majesties' persone till deathe," an inscription that scarcely seems to harmonise with the turbulent spirit that scandalised this sovereign so greatly.

The flags borne by the Covenanters in their struggle for liberty varied much in their details, but in the great majority of cases bore upon them the Cross of St. Andrew, often accompanied by the thistle, and in most cases by some form of inscription. Several of these are still extant. In one that was borne at Bothwell Brig, and now preserved in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries, Edinburgh, the four blue triangles (see Fig. 92 for these) are filled with the words, "For Religion——Couenants——King——and Kingdomes." The Avondale flag was a white one, having the cross, white on blue, as in Fig. 75, in the corner. On the field of the flag was the inscription, "Avondale for Religion, Covenant, and King,"[29] and beneath this a thistle worked in the national green and crimson. A very interesting Exhibition of Scottish national memorials was held at Glasgow in 1888, and many of these old Covenant flags were there displayed. At the great Heraldic Exhibition held in Edinburgh in 1891, one of the most interesting things shown was the Cavers Standard. This is of sage green silk, twelve feet by three. It bears the Cross of St. Andrew next the staff, and divers other devices are scattered over the rest of the flag. It is in excellent preservation, and its special interest lies in the fact that it is said to have been the standard of James, second Earl of Douglas and Mar, and borne by his son at the battle of Otterburn in the year 1388. If this be so it is one of the oldest flags in existence.

On the signet-ring of Mary Queen of Scots the white Cross of St. Andrew is not shown on its usual blue ground, but on a ground striped blue and yellow, the royal colours; in the same way that the St. George's Cross is shown in Fig. 71, not on a {44}white ground, but on a ground striped white and green, the Tudor colours.

Why St. Andrew was selected to be the Patron Saint of Scotland has never been satisfactorily settled.[30] Some uncharitable enquirer has hazarded the explanation that it was because it was this Apostle who discovered the lad who had the loaves and fishes. Others tell us that one Hungus, a Pictish prince, dreamt that the Saint was to be his champion in a fight just then pending with the men of Northumbria, and that a cross—the symbol of the crucifixion of this Apostle—appeared in the sky, the celestial omen strengthening the hearts and arms of the men of Hungus to such effect that the Northumbrians were completely routed. Should neither of these explanations appear sufficiently explanatory, we can offer yet a third. On the martyrdom of St. Andrew, in the year 69, at Patræ, in Achaia, his remains were carefully preserved as relics, but in the year 370, Regulus, one of the Greek monks who had them in their keeping, was warned in a vision that the Emperor Constantine was proposing to translate these remains to Constantinople, and that he must at once visit the shrine and remove thence an arm bone, three fingers of the right hand, and a tooth, and carry them away over sea to the west. Regulus was much troubled at the vision, but hastened to obey it, so putting the relics into a chest he set sail with some half-dozen other ecclesiastics, to whom he confided the celestial instructions that he had received. After a stormy voyage the vessel was at last dashed upon a rock, and Regulus and his companions landed on an unknown shore, and found themselves in a dense and gloomy forest. Here they were presently discovered by the aborigines, whose leader listened to their story and gave them land on which to build a church for the glory of God and the enshrining of the relics. This inhospitable shore proved to be that of "Caledonia, stern and wild," and the little forest church and hamlet that sprang up around it were the nucleus that thence and to the present day have been known as St. Andrews, a thriving, busy town in Fife, and for centuries the seat of a bishopric. On July 5th, 1318, Robert the Bruce repaired hither and testified his gratitude to God for the victory vouchsafed to the Scots at Bannockburn by the intercession of St. Andrew, guardian of the realm, when thirty thousand Scots defeated one hundred thousand Englishmen. What St. George could have been doing to allow this, seems a very legitimate question, but we can scarcely wonder that the Scots should very gladly appoint so potent a protector their patron, and look to him for succour in all their national difficulties.

On the blending of the two kingdoms into one under the {45}sovereignty of King James,[31] it became necessary to devise a new flag that should typify this union and blend together the emblems of the puissant St. George and the no less honoured St. Andrew, and the flag represented in Fig. 73 was the result—the flag of the United Kingdoms of England and Scotland, henceforth to be known as Great Britain.

The Royal Ordinance[32] ran as follows:—"Whereas some difference hath arisen between our subjects of South and North Britain, travelling by seas, about the bearing of their flags,—for the avoiding of all such contentions hereafter we have, with the advice of our Council, ordered that from henceforth all our subjects of this isle and kingdom of Greater Britain, and the members thereof, shall bear in their maintop the Red Cross, commonly called St. George's Cross, and the White Cross, commonly called St. Andrew's Cross, joined together, according to a form made by our Heralds, and sent by us to our Admiral to be published to our said subjects: and in their fore-top our subjects of South Britain shall wear the Red Cross only, as they were wont, and our subjects of North Britain in their fore-top the White Cross only, as they were accustomed. Wherefore we will and command all our subjects to be comparable and obedient to this our order, and that from henceforth they do not use or bear their flags in any other sort, as they will answer the contrary at their peril."

Such a proclamation was sorely needed, as there was much ill-will and jealousy between the sailors and others of the two nationalities, and the Union flag itself, when "our heralds" produced it, did not by any means please the North, and the right to carry in fore-top the St. Andrew's Cross pure and simple was a concession that failed to conciliate them. The great grievance was that, as we see in Fig. 73, the Cross of St. George was placed in front of that of St. Andrew, and the Scottish Privy Council, in a letter dated Edinburgh, August 7th, 1606, thus poured forth their feelings:—"Most sacred Soverayne, a greate nomber of the maisteris of the schippis of this your Majesties kingdome hes verie havelie complenit to your Majesties Counsell, that the forme and patrone of the flagges of schippis sent down heir and command it to be ressavit and used be the subjectis of both kingdomes is verie prejudiciall to the fredome and dignitie of this Estate, and wil gif occasioun of reprotche to this natioun quhairevir the said flage sal happin to be worne beyond sea, {46}becaus, as your Sacred Majestie may persave, the Scottis Croce, callit Sanctandrois Croce, is twyse divydit, and the Inglishe Croce, callit Sanct George, drawne through the Scottis Croce, which is thereby obscurit, and no token nor mark to be seene of the Scottis armes. This will breid some heit and miscontentment betwix your Majesties subjectis, and it is to be feirit that some inconvenientis sall fall oute betwix thame, for our seyfaring men cannot be inducit to resave that flage as it is set down. They have drawne two new drauchtis and patrones as most indifferent for both kingdomes, whiche they presentid to the Counsell, and craved our approbation of the same, but we haif reserved that to your Majestie's princelie determinatioun, as moir particularlie the Erll of Mar, who was present, and herd their complaynt, and to whom we haif remittit the discourse and delyverie of that mater, will informe your Majestie and let your Heynes see the errour of the first patrone and the indifferencie of the two newe drauchties." These draughts are not to be found, nor does it appear that any notice was taken of the complaint.

The Scottish Union flag, as carefully depicted in a scarce little work published in 1701, and entitled "The Ensigns, Colours, and Flags of the Ships at Sea, belonging to the several Princes and States in the World," may be seen in Fig. 88. In it will be noted that the Cross of St. Andrew is placed in front of that of St. George—anyone comparing Figs. 73 and 88 will readily see wherein they differ. Though its appearance in a book of sea-flags would seem to imply that such a flag had been made, we know of no other instance of it. Fig. 84 was also suggested as a solution of the problem, but here we get false heraldry, the blue in contact with the red, and in any case a rather weak-looking arrangement.

The painful truth is that when two persons ride the same animal they cannot both be in front, and no amount of heraldic ingenuity will make two devices on a flag to be of equal value. The position next the staff is accounted more honourable than that remote from it, and the upper portion of the flag is more honourable than the lower.[33] At first sight it might appear that matters are impartially dealt out in Fig. 81, but the position next the staff is given to St. George, and in the quartered arrangement, Fig. 85, the same holds true. Both these were suggestions made at the time the difficulty was felt, but both were discarded in favour of the arrangement shown in Fig. 73.

This Union Flag is not very often met with. It occurrs on one of the great seals of Charles II., and is seen also as a Jack on the {47}bowsprits of ships in paintings of early naval battles. It may, by good fortune, be seen also on the two colours of the 82nd regiment that in the year 1783 were suspended in St. Giles', Edinburgh, and a very good illustration of it may be seen in the National Gallery, where, in a battle scene by Copley, representing the death of Major Peirson, at St. Helier, Jersey, on January 6th, 1781, this Union flag is conspicuous in the centre of the picture. We have it again in Fig 57, the original flag of the East India Company; the difference between this and the second Union Flag, made on the admission of Ireland's Cross of St. Patrick, may be very well seen on a comparison of Figs. 57 and 61. We have it again in Figs. 142 and 143, flags of the revolting American Colonists before they had thrown off all allegiance to the Old Country.

A knowledge of the history of the flag has not only interest, but is of some little importance. We remember seeing a picture of the sailing of the Mayflower, in which, by a curious lack of a little technical knowledge, the flag depicted was the Union Flag of to-day, which did not come into existence until the first year of the present century, whereas the historic event represented in the picture took place in the year 1620. In a fresco in the House of Lords, representing Charles II. landing in England,[34] the artist has introduced a boat bearing the present Union Flag. In each of these cases it is evident that it should have been the first Union—that of England and Scotland—that the flag should have testified to.

Charles I. issued a proclamation on May 5th, 1634, forbidding any but the Royal ships to carry the Union flag; all merchantmen, according to their nationality, being required to show either the Cross of St. George or that of St. Andrew. Queen Anne, on July 28th, 1707, required that merchant vessels should fly a red flag "with a Union Jack described in a canton at the upper corner thereof, next the staff," while the Union Flag, as before, was reserved for the Royal Navy. This merchant flag, if we cut out the inscription there shown, would be similar to Fig. 142. This is interesting, because, after many changes, so lately as October 18th, 1864, it was ordered that the red ensign once again should be the distinguishing flag of the commercial marine; the present flag is given in Fig. 97. It is further interesting because this proclamation of Queen Anne's is the first time that the term Union Jack, so far as we are aware, is officially used.

Technically, our national banner should be called the Union Flag, though in ordinary parlance it is always called the Union Jack. {48}The latter flag is a diminutive of the former, and the term ought in strictness to be confined to the small Union Flag flown from the Jack-staff on the bowsprit of a ship. The Union Flag is, besides this, only used as the special distinguishing flag of an Admiral of the Fleet, when it is hoisted at the main top-gallant mast-head, and when the Sovereign is on board a vessel, in which case the Royal Standard is flown at the main and the Union at the mizen. With a white border round it, as in Fig. 104, it is the signal for a pilot: hence this is called the Pilot Jack. The sea flags now in use are the white, red, and blue ensigns, Figs. 95, 96, 97, to be hereafter described, while the Union flag is devoted especially to land service, being hoisted on fortresses and government offices, and borne by the troops.

Why the flag should be called "Jack" at all has been the subject of much controversy. It is ordinarily suggested that the derivation is from Jacques, the French word for James, the Union Jack springing into existence under his auspices. Why it should be given this French name does not seem very clear, except that many of the terms used in blazonry are French in their origin. It never seems to have been suggested that, granting the reference to King James, the Latin Jacobus would be a more appropriate explanation, as the Latin names of our kings have for centuries supplanted the earlier Norman-French on their coins, seals, and documents. Several other theories have been broached, of varying degrees of improbability; one of these deriving it from the word "jaque"[35] (hence our modern jacket), the surcoat worn over the armour in mediæval days. This, we have seen, had the Cross of St. George always represented on it; but there is no proof that the jaque was ever worn with the union of the two crosses upon it, so that the derivation breaks down just at the critical point. The present flag came into existence in the reign of King George, but no one ever dreams on this account, or any other, of calling it the Union George.

On the death of Charles I., the partnership between England and Scotland was dissolved, and the Union Flag, Fig. 73, therefore, was disestablished, and was only restored in the general Restoration, when the Commonwealth and Protectorate had run their course, and Charles II. ascended the throne of his forefathers.

The earliest Commonwealth Flag was a simple reversion to the Cross of St. George, Fig. 91. At a meeting of the Council of State, held on February 22nd, 1648-49, it was "ordered that the ships at sea in service of the State shall onely beare the red Crosse {49}in a white flag. That the engravings upon the Sterne of ye ships shall be the Armes of England and Ireland in two Scutcheons, as is used in the Seals, and that a warrant be issued to ye Commissioners of ye Navy to see it put in execution with all speed." The communication thus ordered to be made to the Commissioners was in form a letter from the President of the Council as follows:—"To ye Commissioners of ye Navy.—Gentlemen,—There hath beene a report made to the Councell by Sir Henry Mildmay of your desire to be informed what is to be borne in the flaggs of those Ships that are in the Service of the State, and what to be upon the Sterne in lieu of the Armes formerly thus engraven. Upon the consideration of the Councell whereof, the Councell have resolved that they shall beare the Red Crosse only in a white flagg, quite through the flagg. And that upon the Sterne of the Shipps there shall be the Red Crosse in one Escotcheon, and the Harpe in one other, being the Armes of England and Ireland, both Escotcheons joyned according to the pattern herewith sent unto you. And you are to take care that these Flaggs may be provided with all expedition for the Shipps for the Summer Guard, and that these engraveings may also be altered according to this direction with all possible expedition.—Signed in ye name and by order of ye Councell of State appointed by Authority of Parliament.—Ol. Cromwell, Derby House, February 23rd, 1648."

In a Council meeting held on March 5th, considerably within a month of the one we have just referred to, it is "ordered that the Flagg that is to be borne by the Admiral, Vice-Admiral, and Rere-Admiral be that now presented, viz., the Armes of England and Ireland in two severall Escotcheons in a Red Flagg, within a compartment."[36] This arrangement may be seen in Fig. 82. A Commonwealth flag that is still preserved at the dockyard, Chatham, differs slightly from this. The ground of the flag is red, but the shields are placed directly upon it without any intervening gold border, and around them is placed a large wreath of palm and laurel in dark green colour.

In the year 1787 an interesting book called the "Respublica" was published; the author, Sir John Prestwich, deriving much of his material from MSS. left by an ancestor of his who lived during the Interregnum. In this the reader may find full descriptions of many of the flags of the Parliamentarians. One of these is much like the Chatham example already referred to, except that the ground of the flag is blue, and that outside the shields, but within the wreath, is found the inscription—"Floreat Respublica." {50}

The flag of the Commonwealth was borne to victory at Dunbar, Worcester, and many another hard-fought field, and under its folds Blake, Monk, and other gallant leaders gained glorious victories over the Dutch and Spaniards, and made the English name feared in every sea.

"Of wind's and water's rage they fearful be,

But much more fearful are your flags to see.

Day, that to those who sail upon the deep,

More wish'd for and more welcome is than sleep,

They dreaded to behold, lest the sun's light

With English streamers should salute their sight."[37]

It was not until the year 1651 that Scotland was brought under the sway of the Commonwealth, and the ordinance for its full union with England and Ireland was not promulgated until April 12th, 1654. Somewhat later an Order of Council recognised the new necessities of the case, and decreed that the Standard for the Protectorate be as shown in Fig. 83. England and Scotland are here represented by their respective crosses, while Ireland, instead of having the Cross of St. Patrick, is represented by the harp. In Fig. 80 all three crosses are introduced, but there seems somewhat too much white in this latter flag for an altogether successful effect, and the blue of the Irish quarter, balancing the blue of the Scottish, is more pleasing. The Union Flag underwent yet another modification, and instead of being like Figs. 82 or 86, the Union Flag of James I., Fig. 73, was reverted to, and in the centre of the flag was placed a golden harp—"the Armes of England and Scotland united, according to the anncient form, with the addicion of the harpe." On the restoration of Charles II. this harp was removed, and Ireland does not appear again in the Union Flag, Fig. 73, until January 1st, 1801.

A pattern farthing of this period—preserved in the magnificent numismatic collection in the British Museum—shows on its reverse a three-masted ship: at the stern is a large flag divided vertically, like Fig. 86, into two compartments, the Cross of St. George in one and the harp in the other; the main and mizen masts are shown with flags containing St. George's Cross only, as in Fig. 91, while the foremast bears a flag with St. Andrew's Cross upon it, a flag similar to Fig. 92.

For nearly fifty years before its rise, and for nearly one hundred and fifty years after the downfall of the Protectorate, that is to say from 1602 to 1649 and from 1659 to 1801, the Union Flag was as shown in Fig. 73, but in 1801 the Legislative Union of Ireland with Great Britain was effected, and a new Union Flag, the one now in {51}use, was devised. This may be seen in Fig. 90, the noblest flag that flies under heaven.

Though the National Flag is primarily just so much silk or bunting, its design and colouring are full of meaning: and though its prime cost may be but a few shillings, its value is priceless, for the national honour is enwrapped in its folds, and the history of centuries is figured in the symbolism of its devices. It represents to us all that patriotism means. It is the flag of freedom and of the greatest empire that the world has ever known. Over three hundred millions of people—in quiet English shires, amid Canadian snows, on the torrid plains of Hindustan, amidst the busy energy of the great Australian group of colonies, or the tropical luxuriance of our West Indian possessions—are to-day enjoying liberty and peace beneath its shelter. Countless thousands have freely given their lives to preserve its blazonry unstained from dishonour and defeat, and it rests with us now to keep the glorious record as unsullied as of old; never to unfurl our Union Flag in needless strife, but, when once given to the breeze, to emulate the deeds of our forefathers, and to inscribe on its folds fresh records of duty nobly done.

How the form known as St. Patrick's Cross, Fig. 93, became associated with that worthy is not by any means clear. It is not found amongst the emblems of Saints, and its use is in defiance of all ecclesiastical tradition and custom, as St. Patrick never in the martyrological sense had a cross at all, for though he endured much persecution he was not actually called upon to lay down his life for the Faith. It has been suggested, and with much appearance of probability, that the X-like form of cross, both of the Irish and of the Scotch, is derived from the sacred monogram on the Labarum of Constantine, where the X is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. This symbolic meaning of the form might readily be adopted in the early Irish Church, and thence be carried by missionaries to Scotland.

A life of St. Patrick was written by Probus, who lived in the seventh century, and another by Jocelin, a Cistercian monk of the twelfth century, and this latter quotes freely from four other lives of the Saint that were written by his disciples.

St. Patrick was born in Scotland, near where Glasgow now stands. The date of his birth was somewhere near the close of the fourth century, but as to the year authorities differ widely—372, 455, 464, and 493 being all given by various biographers.[38] His father was of good family, and, while the future saint was still under the paternal roof, God manifested to him by divers visions that he was {52}destined for the great work of the conversion of Ireland, at that time plunged in idolatry. Hence he resigned his birthright and social position, and devoted himself entirely to the salvation of these barbarians, suffering at their hands and for their sakes much persecution. He was ordained deacon and priest, and was ultimately made a bishop. He travelled over the whole of Ireland founding monasteries and filling the country with churches and schools of piety and learning. Animated by a spirit of perfect charity and humility, he demonstrated not only the faith but the spirit of his Master, and the result of his forty years of labour was to change Ireland from a land of barbarism into a seat of learning and piety, so that it received the title of the Island of Saints, and was for centuries a land of mental and spiritual light.

On the Union of the Kingdom of Great Britain with Ireland in the year 1801, the following notice was issued by Royal Authority:—"Proclamation, George R.—Whereas by the First Article of the Articles of Great Britain and Ireland it was declared: That the said Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland should upon this day, being the First Day of January, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and One, for ever after be united into One Kingdom, by the name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: and that the Royal Style and Titles appertaining to the Imperial Crown of the said United Kingdom and its Dependencies, and also the Ensigns Armorial, Flags, and Banners thereof, should be such as We, by our Royal Proclamation under the Great Seal of the said United Kingdom should appoint: We have thought fit, by and with the advice of our Privy Council, to appoint and declare that our Royal Style and Titles shall henceforth be accepted, taken, and used as the same set forth in Manner and Form following: Georgius Tertius, Dei Gratia, Britannarium Rex, Fidei Defensor; and in the English Tongue by these words: George the Third, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith; and that the Arms or Ensigns Armorial of the said United Kingdom shall be Quarterly: first and fourth, England: second, Scotland: third, Ireland: and it is Our Will and Pleasure that there shall be borne thereon on an escutcheon of pretence, the Arms of Our Domains in Germany, ensigned with the Electoral Bonnet:[39] And that the Union Flag shall be Azure, the Crosses Saltire of St. Andrew and St. Patrick Quarterly, per Saltire counterchanged Argent and Gules: the latter fimbriated of the second, surmounted by the Cross of St. George of the third, fimbriated as the Saltire." {53}

The heralds who devised the new flag of the extended Union, Fig. 90, have been subjected to a very considerable amount of adverse criticism,[40] but no one has really been able to suggest a better plan than theirs. It will be noted in the illustration and in every Union flag that is made, that the red Cross of St. Patrick, Fig. 93, is not in the centre of the white Cross, Fig. 92, of St. Andrew. The scarlet Cross of St. George is equally fringed on either side by the white border or fimbriation that represents the original white field, Fig. 91, on which it was placed, and on the addition of the white cross or saltire of St. Andrew on its field of blue, Fig. 92, it fitted in very happily. When, however, another X-like cross had to be provided for, on the admission of Ireland to the Union, a difficulty at once arose. As the Irish Cross would, according to all rule and fairness, be of the same width on the joint flag as that of St. Andrew, the result of placing the second or red X over the first white one would be to entirely obliterate the latter. Even then the Irish Cross would not be rightly rendered, as it should be on a white ground, and by this method it would be on a blue one, while if we placed the Irish Cross on that of St. Andrew, but left a thin line of white on either side, St. Andrew's Cross would still be obliterated, as the thin fimbriation of white would be the just due of St. Patrick, and would not stand for St. Andrew at all. Besides, Scottish indignation would not unjustly be aroused at the idea that their noble white cross should become a mere edging to the symbol of St. Patrick. Hence the somewhat awkward-looking compromise that breaks the continuity of direction of the arms of the red cross of Ireland by its portions being thrown out of the centre of the white oblique bands, so that in each portion the crosses of Ireland and Scotland are clearly distinguished from each other. This compromise notwithstanding, no more effective or beautiful flag unfolds itself the round world over than the Union flag of Great Britain and Ireland.

The crosses might have been quartered as we see them in Fig. 80, but it is clearly better to preserve the idea of the unity and blend all three crosses into one composition. No criticism or objection has ever come from Ireland as to the Union flag, but even so lately as 1853 the Scotch renewed their grievance against the Cross of St. Andrew being placed behind that of St. George, "and having a red stripe run through the arms thereof, for which there is no precedent in law or heraldry." If ever an Irishman cared to hunt up a grievance, surely here is one at last—the cross of his patron saint "a red stripe"! {54}

When the Union flag is flown, it should always be as we have drawn it in Fig. 90, with the broad white stripe nearest to the head of the flagstaff. It would be quite possible, our readers will see, on a little study of the matter, to turn it with the red stripe uppermost; but this, as we have indicated, is incorrect; and, trivial as the matter may appear, there is a right and a wrong in it, and the point must not be overlooked.

Many suggestions at the time of the Union were made by divers writers in the public prints, such as the Gentleman's Magazine, and the like. One version preserved the flag of the first Union, Fig. 73, but placed in the centre a large green circle having within it the golden harp of the Emerald Isle; but this is objectionable, as it brings green on red, which is heraldically false, and as Ireland has a cross as well as England and Scotland, it seems more reasonable to keep the whole arrangement in harmony. Another version, and by no means a bad one, is shown in Fig. 89, where each cross is distinct from the two others. This appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine for March 20th, 1803, and, like all the other suggestions, good, bad, and indifferent, suffered from the fatal objection that it saw the light when the whole matter was already settled and any alteration scarcely possible.

In view of the changes from the simple Cross of St. George to its union later on with that of St. Andrew, and later on still the union of both with that of St. Patrick, it is sufficiently evident that Campbell's stirring appeal to the mariners of England to defend the flag that for a thousand years has braved the battle and the breeze, however excellent in spirit, does not fit in with the literal facts, though we would not willingly change it for such a version as

Ye mariners of England,

That guard our native seas:

Whose flag has braved since eighteen-one,

The battle and the breeze.

The "Queen's Regulations" are very precise as to the hoisting of the flag at the various home and foreign stations and fortresses. Some few of these have the Royal Standard for use on Royal Anniversaries and State occasions only, and these flags are issued in two sizes—either twenty-four by twelve feet, or twelve by six feet—according to the importance of the position; thus Dover, Plymouth, and the Tower of London, for example, have the larger size. In like manner the Union Flag is of two sizes: twelve by six feet, or six by three feet. These flags at the various stations are either hoisted on anniversaries only, or on Sundays in addition, or else daily; thus Dover, besides its Standard, has a Union flag, twelve by six, for special occasions, and another, six by three, {55}which is hoisted daily. Our foreign stations, Bermuda, Cape of Good Hope, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Halifax, St. Helena, and so forth, are all equally rigidly provided for in Regulations. There is no option anywhere in the matter. A particular fortress has to fly a particular flag of a particular size on a particular day.

The white ensign, Fig. 95, is the distinguishing flag of the Royal Navy. It is hoisted at the peak of all vessels in commission, or in such other conspicuous position of honour as their rig or (as in the case of some ironclads) absence of rig will permit. It is a large white flag, having upon it the Cross of St. George, the portion of the flag nearest the mast-head being occupied by the Union.[41]

Until 1864 the Royal Navy was divided into the white, the blue, and the red squadrons, distinguished by the flags shown in Figs. 95, 96, and 97, but this arrangement, though it had lasted for over two hundred years,[42] was found to have many inconveniences. It was very puzzling to foreigners, and it was necessary that each vessel should have three sets of colours, so as to be able to hoist the orthodox flag for the squadron in which, for the time being, it might be placed. It was also a difficulty that peaceful merchantmen were carrying a red ensign, Fig. 97, exactly similar to the war flag of the vessels of the red squadron. It was inconvenient in action, too; hence, Nelson at Trafalgar ordered the whole of his fleet to hoist the white ensign. An Order of Council, dated October 18th, 1864, put an end to this use of differing flags, declaring that henceforth the white ensign alone should be the flag of the Royal Navy. In the old days the red was the highest, the white the intermediate, and the blue the third in rank and dignity.

Her Majesty's ships, when at anchor in home ports and roads, hoist their colours at 8 o'clock in the morning from March 25th to September 20th, and the rest of the year an hour later; and on foreign stations, at either of these hours as the commanding officer shall direct; and either abroad or at home they remain flying throughout the day until sunset.[43] When at sea, on passing, meeting, {56}joining or parting from any other of Her Majesty's ships or on falling in with any other ship the flag is hoisted, and also when in sight of land, and especially when passing any fort, battery, lighthouse, or town.

When salutes are fired on the occasion of a foreign national festival, such as the birthday of the sovereign, the flag of the nation in question is hoisted at the main during the salute and for such further time as the war ships of such nation are be-flagged, but if none are present, then their flag remains up till sunset. Should a British war vessel arrive at any foreign fortified port, the flag of the foreign nation is hoisted at the main during the exchange of salutes.

It is a rank offence for any vessel to fly any ensign or pendant similar to those used in the Royal Navy. It will at once be boarded by any officer of Her Majesty's Service, the offending colours seized, and the vessel reported. The penalty for the offence is a very heavy one.

The admiral has as a flag the white flag with the Cross of St. George thereon, Fig. 91, and this must be displayed at the main top-gallant mast-head, since both the vice and rear-admirals are entitled to fly a similar flag, but the former of these displays his from the fore, and the latter from the mizen top-gallant mast-head; it being not the flag alone but the position of it that is distinctive of rank. The commodore's broad pendant is a very similar flag, but it tapers slightly, and is swallow-tailed.

The "Naval Discipline Act," better known as "The Articles of War," commences with the true and noble words—"It is on the Navy, under the Good Providence of God, that our Wealth, Prosperity, and Peace depend," and we may trust that the glorious traditions of this great service may be maintained to the full as effectually under the White Ensign as in any former period for the defence of

"This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise;

This fortress built by nature for herself,

Against infection, and the hand of war;

This happy breed of men, this little world;

This precious stone set in the silver sea,

Which serves it in the office of a wall,

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands;

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."

The blue ensign, Fig. 96, is the flag of the Royal Naval Reserve, and may be flown by any merchant vessels that comply with the {57}Admiralty conditions respecting that service. Such vessels must be commanded by officers of the Reserve, and at least one-third of their crew must belong to it: they then, the structural conditions being satisfactory, receive a Government subvention and an Admiralty Warrant to fly the blue ensign. Officers commanding Her Majesty's ships, meeting with ships carrying the blue ensign, are authorised to go on board them at any convenient opportunity and see that these conditions are strictly carried out, provided that they are of superior rank to the officers of the Royal Naval Reserve. The men of the Reserve receive an annual retainer and drill pay. The number of men in the Reserve, at the time we write these lines, is 10,600 in the first class and 10,800 in the second. The first class Reserve is composed of the men on the long voyage ships, the second being the fishermen and coasting crews. In addition to this there are some 3,000 engineers and stokers, and some 1,500 or so of officers, all equally prepared to rally to the pennant and to take their place in the national defence.

This utilisation of the faster vessels of the Mercantile Marine as cruisers in war time has seriously engaged the attention of the Admiralty. The Government gives an annual subsidy, and then claims the right to the vessel at a fixed charge in case of emergency. Such vessels would be of immense service in time of war in many ways: for scouting, for transporting troops, and for engaging such of the enemy as she felt fairly a match for. When, some few years ago, it seemed as though war with Russia was imminent, the Massilia and the Rosetta of the Peninsula and Oriental Company's fleet were put in commission by telegraph at Sydney and Hong Kong respectively. These vessels were provided at once with warlike stores, and were at gun practice off the ports referred to a few hours after the receipt of instructions, and ready to go anywhere. This Company, during the Crimean War, carried over sixty thousand men to the scene of operations, and during the Indian Mutiny, the war in the Soudan, and all other possible occasions, has rendered the greatest aid to the State. The Teutonic and the Majestic, of the White Star Line, each carry twelve Armstrong guns, and could either of them land two thousand infantry at Halifax in five days, or at Bombay in fourteen days, or at Hong Kong in twenty-one; and many other armed cruisers of the Mercantile Marine, that we need not stay to particularise, could do as much, and as effectively, flying the Blue Ensign as worthily as those we have named.

"Little England! Great in story!

Mother of immortal men!

Great in courage! Great in glory!

Dear to Freedom's tongue and pen!


If the world combine to brave thee,

English hearts will dare the fight,

English hands will glow to save thee,

Strong for England and the right!"[44]

The Red Ensign, represented in Fig. 97, is the special flag of the ordinary merchantman. "The Red Ensign"—lays down the "Merchant Shipping (Colours) Act"—"usually worn by merchant ships, without any defacement or modification whatsoever, is hereby declared to be the proper national colour of all ships and boats belonging to any subject of Her Majesty, except in the case of Her Majesty's ships or boats, or in the case of any other ship or boat for the time being allowed to wear any other national colours, in pursuant of a Warrant from Her Majesty or from the Admiralty."

This Act goes on to say that any ship belonging to any subject of the Queen shall, on a signal being made to her by one of Her Majesty's ships, or on entering or leaving any foreign port, hoist the red ensign, and if of fifty tons gross tonnage or upwards, on entering or leaving any British port also, or incur a penalty not exceeding one hundred pounds. A merchantman may also fly the Union Jack from the bowsprit, but if so the flag, as in Fig. 104, must have a broad white border.

The earliest form of red ensign is seen in Fig. 66. In a picture at Hampton Court, representing the embarkation of William of Orange for England, in the year 1688, his ship is shown as wearing two flags, one a red one with St. George's Cross in the canton, as in Fig. 66, while the other, also red, has the Union Flag in the canton. We get, therefore, a regular sequence of red ensigns: that with St. George's Cross alone in the corner next the masthead; that with the Union of St. George and St. Andrew—this picture at Hampton Court being the earliest example known of its use; and, thirdly, that of to-day with the crosses of St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick.

Some little degree of flag-lore is valuable not only to the soldier, the seaman, or the traveller, but to everyone. For want of this knowledge, ludicrous and serious mistakes are often made. Discussing these matters with a man of good general knowledge, we found that he had a notion that there were two kinds of "Union Jack," one, that had most red in it, being the Army flag; while the other, in which blue preponderated, was the flag of the Navy! Outside a large provincial theatre we saw a conspicuous notice indicating that the piece then running was entitled "The Old Flag." To emphasise this was a picture of a square of British linesmen surrounded by {59}Zulus, while in the centre of the square rose the Royal Standard! As a set-off to this we saw, not far off, a public house called the "Royal Standard," flying from its roof the white Ensign! A friend of ours brought home for his son a really capital toy model of an ironclad, with turrets, ram, fighting tops, etc., and yet flying the red ensign of the harmless merchantman!

At a church we occasionally pass, the living being in the gift of the Queen, the Royal Standard is hoisted on such Church festivals as Christmas Day, while at other times, for no apparent reason, the white Ensign is substituted—the special flag of the War Navy. Anyone venturing to point out to the authorities thereof that, as the old church could scarcely take up its position as a unit in our fighting fleet—having, in fact, quite another mission in the world—the special flag of the Royal Navy was not the most appropriate, would probably derive from the interview the impression that, after all, to the churchwardens a flag was a flag, and that it was quite possible to make a mountain out of a molehill.

To one who knows anything about it, the eruption of silk bunting, and baser fabrics innumerable that comes to the fore on any occasion of national rejoicing, is a thing of horror, not merely in the festal disfigurements of the patchwork counterpane or cotton pockethandkerchief type, seeing that to some people any coloured piece of stuff that will blow out in the wind is a valid decoration, but in the painful ignorance shown in the treatment of recognised ensigns. Some little time ago, for instance, we found ourselves in a town gaily beflagged and radiant in bunting on the occasion of a great popular rejoicing. The Royal Standard, betokening the presence in the house of some member of the Royal Family, was flying with a profusion that made it impossible to believe that all the people displaying it could be entertaining such distinguished guests. As a set-off, others were decking their houses with red flags, the symbols of revolution and bloodshed, or with yellow ones, leaving us to infer that such houses were to be avoided as nests of yellow fever or such-like deadly infection. The Stars and Stripes of the United States were, in almost every case, upside down, as indeed were many others; a thing that, except for the ignorance that was its excuse, might be considered as an insult to the various Foreign Powers, while the repeated reversal of the red ensign implied a signal of distress. The good folks really meant no harm to anybody, and they were quite happy to believe, as they strolled in their thousands up the leading streets of the town, that their decorations were a great success. At the same time, a little more knowledge would have done them no harm. As it is an insult to hoist one national flag below another, it is a rigid law that in all official decorations national flags may not be so placed, but {60}enthusiastic and irresponsible burgesses, in the depth of their ignorance, ignore all such considerations of international courtesy, and in the length of a short street commit sufficient indiscretion to give umbrage to all mankind. It may be said that

"Happiness too swiftly flies,

Thought would destroy their Paradise"—

that "he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow," that

"From ignorance our comfort flows,

The only wretched are the wise"—

but despite all this philosophy, that "where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise," no one is the worse for knowing something about the matter with which he is dealing; and if proverbial philosophy is to count for anything in the matter, a not inappropriate moral may be quoted as to the rushing in of fools where their betters feel a judicious modesty. The confidence of knowledge is better than the confidence of ignorance, and would certainly, in street flagging, produce a more satisfactory result.

We have in Plate VI. some few examples of these vagaries from sketches that we made at the time. Fig. 45, if it had not got the Union in the canton, would nearly be the Danish flag, Fig. 225, but the addition of the canton makes it sheer foolishness. Fig. 46 is a good example of the notion that anything will do if it be only bright enough: it is a mere piece of patchwork, not by any means the only one in evidence. Figs. 47 and 50 explain themselves; it is evident that in one case the decorator started with a white ensign and in the other with a blue one, and then, feeling that they were a little small and insignificant looking, tacked on a goodly amount of red material to bring them up to their notion of what would be sufficiently conspicuous in size. Fig. 48 is very quaint: there is a notion of the white ensign hovering about it, but the Royal Standard employed as a canton in one quarter is outside all the proprieties, and in any case all the arm of the cross that one would expect to see below the canton is absorbed by it. The addition of the two red tails to the Royal Standard in Fig. 49 is not by any means legitimate, while in Fig. 51 the Royal Standard is made the canton of a red ensign, and, as if this were not bad enough in itself, the whole thing is flown upside down. Many of the so-called flags had no semblance to anything, some were strange and abnormal tricolors; others, chequers: one, we remember, was deep crimson, with a broad bordering round three of its edges of light blue. Whatever opportunity of going wrong seemed to be at all feasible appeared to be eagerly seized by some well-meaning burgess, so that the result was a perfect museum of examples of how not to do it, and therefore of immense interest.



Army Flags—the Queen's Colour—the Regimental Colour—the Honours and Devices—the Flag of the 24th Regiment—Facings—Flag of the King's Own Borderers—What the Flag Symbolises—Colours of the Guards—the Assaye Flag—Cavalry Flags—Presentation of Colours—Chelsea College Chapel—Flags of the Buffs in Canterbury Cathedral—Flags of the Scottish Regiments in St. Giles's Cathedral—Burning of Rebel Flags by the Hangman—Special Flags for various Official Personages—Special Flags for different Government Departments—The Lord High Admiral—The Mail Flag—White Ensign of the Royal Yacht Squadron—Yacht Ensigns and Burgees—House or Company Flags—How to express Colours with Lines—the Allan Tricolor—Port Flags—the British Empire—the Colonial Blue Ensign and Pendant—the Colonial Defence Act—Colonial Mercantile Flag—Admiralty Warrant—Flag of the Governor of a Colony—the Green Garland—the Arms of the Dominion of Canada—Badges of the various Colonies—Daniel Webster on the Might of England—Bacon on the Command of the Ocean.

Having now dealt with the Union Flag and the Red and Blue Ensigns, we proceed to see how these are modified by the addition of various devices upon them.

The flags of the army claim the first place in our regard. Each infantry regiment has two "colours," one being called the "Queen's Colour," and the other the "Regimental Colour." On turning to Barret's "Theorike and Practike of Modern Warres," a book published in the year 1598, we find the following passage:—"We Englishmen do call them of late colours, by reason of the variety of colours they be made of, whereby they be the better noted and known." This we may doubtless accept as a sufficient explanation of the word, and the passage is interesting, too, as approximately fixing a date for the introduction of the term, and showing that it has been in use for at least three hundred years.

The Queen's Colour in every regiment of the line is the flag of the Union, Fig. 90, bearing in its centre the Imperial crown and the number of the regiment beneath it in Roman figures worked in gold, and its territorial designation.

The regimental Colour is of the colour of the facings of the regiment, except when these are white, in which case the body of the flag is not plain white all over, but bears upon it the Cross of St. George. Whatever the colour, it bears in its upper corner the Union, and in the centre of the flag the crown and title of {62}the regiment, and around it whatever devices, or badges, or other distinctions have been specially conferred upon it, together with the names of the actions in which the regiment has taken part, the records of its gallant service in many a hard-fought struggle in the Peninsula, on the sultry plains of India, beneath the burning sun of Africa, or wherever else the call of honour and of duty has added to its laurels. Thus the regimental flag of the 1st regiment of the line bears the proud record—St. Lucia, Egmont-op-Zee, Egypt, Corunna, Busaco, Salamanca, Vittoria, St. Sebastian, Nive, Peninsula, Niagara, Waterloo, Nagpore, Maheidpore, Ava, Alma, Inkermann, Sebastopol, and several other records of struggles in which they bore gallant share; and many another regiment could show as fine a record of service.

In Fig. 94 we have a representation of the regimental colour of the 24th Regiment. As the facings of this distinguished corps are green,[45] the body of the flag is of that colour. Beneath its territorial designation will be seen its special badge, the Sphinx, bestowed upon it for distinguished service in Egypt, and around are grouped the names of famous victories which it contributed to win.

The 24th Regiment, now in the territorial arrangement in vogue known as the 2nd Warwickshire, was first formed in the year 1689. In 1776 it embarked for Canada and greatly distinguished itself in the American struggle. In 1801 we find it in Egypt, where by its gallantry it won the right to bear the Sphinx.[46] From 1805 to 1810 it was fighting its way along at the Cape of Good Hope, and then went on to India. In 1829 we find it sent off to Canada again to suppress rebellion, and it did not return to England till 1841. In 1846 we see it in the thick of the Punjaub struggle, taking its part right well in the brilliant engagements of Chillianwallah and Goojerat, and in 1857 it is in the thick of the sanguinary Mutiny in India; and, after fifteen years in India, lands in 1861 in England once more. In 1874 we find it again at the Cape of Good Hope, and in 1877-78 engaged in the Kaffir war, and in all times and in all places taking a gallant share in upholding the national cause.

In 1804 a second battalion was added to the regiment. This only existed ten years, but in that time it earned by its distinguished {63}bravery the names of the Peninsula battles for the flag,[47] and at the conclusion of the struggle it was so weak in numbers that it was disembodied. In 1858 a new second battalion was formed, and did good service in Burmah, South Africa, etc. Both battalions were in Zululand in 1879, and with the exception of one hundred men detailed for special duty, the regiment, save nine men, was wiped out of existence in the fatal field of Isandhlwana. Lieutenants Melville and Coghill tore the colours from their staffs and wrapped them around their bodies, and after the fight was over and the enemy had retired they were recovered. On the arrival of the colours in England they were taken by Royal Command to Osborne, where the Queen fastened to each a wreath of immortelles, and bestowed on the two dead heroes the Victoria Cross as the highest acknowledgment then possible to her of her deep appreciation of the sacrifice that these young gallant officers had made for her, for England, and for the honour of the flag. The colours, therefore, that we have represented in Fig. 94, in all their broad blazon of gallant service, even in the hour of defeat never fell into the hands of the enemy, to be hung in triumph in some Zulu kraal, but were brought back in honour and proud rejoicing, since defeat so valiantly met was no disgrace, and the honour of the flag and of the gallant 24th was without stain.

As one more illustration of regimental colours we may instance those of the 25th Regiment, the King's Own Borderers. Here the groundwork of the flag is blue, with, of course, the Union in the upper corner next the staff. In the centre of the flag is a representation of Edinburgh Castle, and within a band the words, "King's Own Borderers." Outside this we have a wreath of rose, shamrock, and thistle, surmounted by the crown. Below this is a sphinx for service in Egypt, and below this again the word "Martinique." On either side is inscribed "Minden" and "Egmont op Zee," and above all, "Afghanistan." In the upper outer angle of the flag is the lion on the crown and the motto "In veritate religionis confido," and in the lower outer angle the white horse of Hanover and the motto "Nec aspera terrent."[48] This was originally known as the Edinburgh Regiment, as it was raised in four hours in 1689 to defend that city; but George III., for some reason more or less {64}satisfactory to himself, changed the name to the one it has ever since borne—the King's Own Borderers.

In the year 1811 the Prince Regent, on behalf of the King, issued an order to regulate the colours of the Army, and, amongst other things, sanctioned the custom that had sprung up of inscribing the names of victories on the flags. The custom of inscribing these honours, the names of the actions fought, did not begin till the battle of Minden, so that the victories of Marlborough and all other glorious achievements prior to the year 1759 would have gone unrecorded; but in July, 1881, sanction was given for the Grenadiers and the 1st, 3rd, 8th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 26th, and 27th Regiments of the Line to add Blenheim and Ramilies to their colours. Oudenarde, Malplaquet, and Dettingen[49] were also added to the colours of those regiments that were there engaged.

By the "Queen's Regulations" these colours are required to be of silk, and to be three feet nine inches in length and three feet in breadth; the cords and tassels are to be of mixed crimson and gold; the staff is to be eight feet seven inches long, and surmounted by a golden crown on which stands a lion. They are to be carried on parade by the two junior lieutenants, and guarded by two sergeants and two privates. These form what is called "the colour party." The distinguishing badge of the colour-sergeant consists of crossed colours, embroidered on the sleeve above the chevrons of his rank.

It has taken something like a thousand years of time to build up the British Empire, while the lavish outlay of toil and forethought of statesmen, the ceaseless spending of blood and treasure, the brilliant strategy by land and sea of a long line of distinguished commanders have all contributed to its birth and proud maintenance; and of all this devotion in the past and the determination to uphold it in the future, the flag is the living concrete symbol. It is the flag beneath whose folds Nelson and Wellington and countless heroes more were carried to their rest; it waved in triumph on the Heights of Abraham, and its honour was safe with Elliot at Gibraltar; it was unfurled on many a battlefield in the Peninsula, and nerved the arms of those who scaled the heights of the Alma and stood unconquerable in the stubborn fight of Inkerman; and it waved triumphant in the breeze at Sebastopol. The sight of it was strength, comfort, and hope in the dark days of Lucknow and Cawnpore. It floated, a symbol of duty, over the heroes of the burning Birkenhead, and to Ross, Parry, Franklin and McClure, in the icy wastes of the far North it was an incentive to renewed {65}effort and a symbol of home. It was the flag of Speke and Livingstone in savage Africa, of Burke and Wills in their explorations in Australia; and for the honour of England that it symbolises men have thought no sacrifice too great.

The Queen's Colour is a pledge of loyalty to the Sovereign, an emblem of the unity of all, while the second colour deals with the honour that specially appertains to each regiment—a subject of legitimate pride in the past and an incentive to prove not unworthy in the future of those who gained it such distinction.

For some recondite reason the Guards reverse the arrangement that holds in the Line regiments, as with them the Queen's Colour is crimson and bears the regimental devices and honours, while the Union Flag is the Regimental Colour. William IV., in 1832, gave the Grenadier Guards a special flag of crimson silk, bearing in its centre the royal cypher W.R., interlaced in gold, and having grouped together in the four corners the rose, thistle, and shamrock.

The Governor-General in India issued in the year 1803 a general order that all the regiments engaged in Wellington's greatest Indian victory—Assaye—should be entitled to the special distinction of a third flag, and the Royal authority confirmed the honour. This flag, borne by the 74th Highlanders, the 78th or Ross-shire Buffs, and other distinguished regiments, was of white silk, having in its centre an elephant, beneath this the regimental number, and around it a wreath. On blue bands above and below were inscribed in gold the words Assaye and Seringapatam. In the year 1830 the general use on parade of these flags was discontinued by order, and they were reserved for very special occasions.

The number of colours borne by the different regiments was formerly very irregular: sometimes it was one to a company, sometimes only one to a whole regiment, now it is two to each battalion. During the eighteenth century several regiments carried three colours, and the 5th, or Northumberland Fusiliers, continued to do so until 1833. By an unfortunate accident these were then all burnt, and when the question of granting new colours came forward, the right to carry the third was objected to, and the claim had to be surrendered. King Charles's Royal Regiment of Foot Guards lost eleven out of thirteen colours at Edgehill.

The Standards carried by the Life Guards, Horse Guards, and Dragoon Guards are of crimson silk, thirty inches by twenty-seven; and the guidons of the dragoon regiments are forty-one inches by twenty-seven, are slit in the fly and have the outer corners rounded off. The tassels and cords are of crimson silk and gold, and each flag bears the Royal or other title of the regiment in letters of gold in a circle, and beneath it the number of the regiment, all being surmounted by the crown, surrounded by a {66}wreath of rose, shamrock, and thistle, and the honours. Where a regiment has a particular badge, such device will be placed in the centre, and the territorial and numerical position placed outside; thus the Scots Greys (the 2nd Royal Dragoons) bear as their badge the Imperial Eagle of France, because at Waterloo this distinguished regiment captured the eagle of the French 45th Regiment, on which were inscribed the words Jena, Austerlitz, Wagram, Eylau, and Friedland.[50] The 3rd Dragoons have as their badge the white horse of Hanover, and, as record of good service, Salamanca, Vittoria, Toulouse, Peninsula, Cabool, Moodkee, Sobraon, Ferozeshah, Punjaub, Chillianwallah, Goojerat. The Lancers and Hussars, like the Royal Engineers, the Royal Artillery, and the Rifle Brigade, have no colours, and therefore bear their badges, devices, etc., on their appointments. Thus, for instance, King George II. ordered the 17th Light Dragoons (now the 17th Lancers) to wear the device of the skull and cross-bones, and beneath it the words "or glory" on the front of their caps and on the left breast. This device the "Death or Glory Boys" still retain, like the famous Pomeranian Horse and the Black Brunswickers, continental corps from whom the Anglo-Hanoverian monarch doubtless derived the idea.[51]

The presentation of colours to a regiment is always an imposing ceremony, as with prayer of consecration, martial music, and stirring address they are delivered into its custody, but the bestowal of the old colours in some honoured place of safe keeping is yet more impressive. In the one case there are the hopes and dangers of the future, while in the other the hopes have all been abundantly realised, the dangers triumphantly passed, as the tattered colours—storm tossed, torn by shot and shell—are borne in honour to their last resting place, where, strife for ever over, they rest in peace in the Sanctuary of God, a memorial to all men, until their last shreds fall to decay, of duty nobly and fully done.

Visitors to Canterbury Cathedral will scarcely fail to have noticed the flags therein suspended. The colours of the 1st Battalion of the Buffs (the East Kent Regiment) there find fitting resting place, and the last of these were added so lately as October, 1892.[52] On their entrance, with imposing military ceremony, into the {67}Cathedral, they were met by the clergy and choir, and a hymn of thanksgiving for victory and of safe return from war was sung, commencing—

"Grateful, we bring from lands afar,

Torn, shattered, but unstained,

Banners that Thy servant blessed

Ere the stern conflict came;

Lord, let their fragments ever rest

Where dwells Thy Holy name."

After a short service of prayer and praise the Dean of Canterbury addressed the great congregation. It might be asked, he said, why they, who were the Ministers of the Prince of Peace, should take such interest in these military proceedings. It was because they recognised in them the greatest force for peace that there was in our land, for it was through them that this country of ours had not been trampled for centuries under the feet of any foreign foe, it was through them that the Pax Britannica prevailed, and that everywhere where the British Flag was present it carried with it peace, and tranquillity, and justice. It was through the help of the army that the peaceful people of this country could carry on their avocations and serve God and do His work in peace; and therefore the clergy gratefully acknowledged their services, and hoped and prayed that everywhere the colours of each regiment might still be not only unstained, but covered with laurels in struggling for right and for justice.

Colonel Hobson then addressed the vast audience, reminding the younger soldiers present that the regiment to which they had the honour to belong was formed more than three hundred years ago, and was, therefore, the oldest in the Army. It had won honour and renown in every part of the world, and the colours which they were that day appropriately laying to rest in the Warriors' Chapel of Canterbury Cathedral represented as glorious a record as that of any regiment in the British Army. The earliest existence of the regiment dated from the movement set on foot in this country in the latter half of the sixteenth century, to assist the cause of civil and religious liberty in the Netherlands. The dragon, which is on the colours, was the crest of the City of London, from whose Trained Bands the regiment was formed in 1572; and the regimental march, so familiar to them all, was given them by Queen Elizabeth. After enumerating some few of the services that the regiment had rendered, he concluded by saying:—"The few words I have still to say I want you young soldiers especially to listen to and to take to heart. The colours of a regiment are symbolical of what ought to be the watchword of an army—duty; the Queen's Colours—duty to {68}your Sovereign and to your country; the Regimental Colours—duty towards the regiment. In these days the material side of the profession of arms is much insisted upon, but I tell you that an army without something higher than that, however well cared for in other respects, is a bad army, and that when thoughtfulness and care for the good name of a regiment is sacrificed for selfish, individual advancement, the regiment, as a whole, will suffer. The spirit which animated the regiments of the British Army—who placed those names, of which we are so proud to-day, on those colours—was, duty first, self afterwards; and it will be a bad day for the British Army if that spirit is ever allowed to depart from it. There was no position in the army, however humble, in which men could not sustain the credit and honour of their regiment and thus contribute to their country's welfare."

The Dean thereupon solemnly accepted the care of the colours and pronounced the Benediction, and the whole audience then joined heart and voice, with thrilling effect, in singing the National Anthem.

It seems so natural to write of England and of Englishmen, so stilted to put Great Britain and Ireland, that one may possibly forget that, comprehensive as we intend the terms to be, we may, perhaps, wound the susceptibilities of our fellow subjects and brother Britons across the Tweed. Let us then turn to a companion picture, and see how, with equal honour and devotion, the flags of our gallant Highlanders are borne to their rest.

A movement was, some time ago, set on foot to gather in the old flags from the various Scottish regiments and to place them all in the Cathedral Church of Edinburgh. This was effected, and the perspective effect of these, as they line the nave on either side, is very fine. The oldest colours there are those of the 82nd, the Duke of Hamilton's regiment, presented in the year 1782, and still in excellent preservation.

When on November 14th, 1883, the old colours borne by the various Scottish regiments were deposited in St. Giles' Cathedral, they were escorted in all honour and military pomp from the Castle; and says one who was there: "When the colours came in sight, the multitude raised a shout and cheered, but the impulse was but momentary, for at sight of the array of shattered rags the noise of the tumult died away, and a half-suppressed sound was heard as through the hearts of the people there flashed a thrill of mingled pride and pain. Those who saw it will never forget the scene. In the centre the tattered silk of the Colours, and on the fringe and in the background a wonder-stricken crowd, as past uncovered heads, past dimmed eyes and quivering lips, the old flags were carried."

When the flags had been received with service of prayer and {69}praise, the meaning of it all was summed up in burning words of love, devotion, and pride. "We have gathered to-day," said the speaker, "for a noble purpose—to receive with all honour into this national church these flags, which have been borne by our soldiers through many a hard fight and in many a distant land. 'In the name of the Lord,' said the inspired Psalmist long ago, 'we will set up our banners.' In the spirit in which he spoke, these banners were first unfurled; and in that great Name they were blessed by God's ministers ere they were committed to those who were to carry them, as a testimony that, as a nation, we believe in God, and desire that He should guide our destinies alike in war and in peace; and now, after the lapse of years, they are brought back to rest in God's house as a testimony to the same truth, that we acknowledge Him as the supreme source of all our national success and greatness. 'Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power, and the victory, and the majesty! Both riches and honour come of Thee, and in Thine hand it is to make great and to give strength unto all.' It is in this spirit that we place these emblems in Scotland's great historic church. The associations that gather around these faded banners are of the tenderest and most touching kind. They are such as cause the heart to swell and the tear to come to the eye. Few, I feel sure, in this vast assemblage have not felt in some degree their power. There are soldiers here whom they carry back to old days, and to comrades with whom they stood shoulder to shoulder in many a perilous hour. The old flag has for the British soldier a meaning so deep and powerful that it is impossible to put it into words. It is but a piece of silk, often faded and tattered, and rent with shot: but it is a symbol, and symbols are amongst the most sacred things on earth. It means for the soldier his Queen and his country, and all the honour, loyalty, truth, and heroism they demand of him. Therefore it is that men will follow their colours down into the dreadful pit, and would be willing to die twice for them rather than let them be taken by an enemy; and in the hour of defeat, like the heroes of Isandlwhana, will fall pierced through with wounds, but with these precious symbols, still untarnished, wrapped around them. And though to the peaceful citizen these emblems can never mean all they stand for to those who have served under them, even to him, as they hang here, they may speak of things that it is good for him to remember. They may well tell him of the history of his country, and the wonderful way by which God has led her, and of the brave men He has raised up to fight for her. Nor can we help specially remembering that these are the colours of our Scottish regiments. Scotland is a poor country compared to the great neighbour with whom it is happily united, but it possesses a distinct national life {70}of its own which all true Scotchmen would not willingly let die. We are proud of our Scotch regiments. We feel that they, of the whole army, belong especially to ourselves; and they too, as they have swept on to battle with the cry, 'Scotland for ever!' feel, we believe, that they belong specially to us. Providence, said Napoleon sneeringly, is generally on the side of the strongest battalions. Be it so; but will anyone deny that the character of the soldier has much to do with the strength of the battalion they form? And was it not the character of our soldiers—a character fostered by the traditions of their native land, fostered still more, perhaps, by the religious teaching of their native church and parish school—that made them strong on many a memorable day, and never more than on that memorable day at Waterloo, when the great commander I have named generously exclaimed, as he saw his own ranks yielding before the onslaught, 'Les braves Ecossais!' May the sight of these banners inspire every soldier who looks on them, whether Lowland or Highland, to echo the desire to hand down the name they bear without a blemish! And should the day ever come when we as a people are tempted to succumb to sloth and luxury, first to undervalue, and finally to give up, national power and privileges which are an heritage from God, and have been dearly purchased by those who went before us—may these emblems, and the stirring memories that cling to them, help us in some degree to wake up the last drop of blood left in our hearts, and nerve us to bear ourselves like the children of our sires. 'We have heard with our ears, O God, and our fathers have told us, what Thou didst in their days in the times of old. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them, but Thy right hand and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance, because Thou hadst a favour unto them. Through Thee will we push down our enemies; through Thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.'" This impressive and imposing ceremony closed with the magnificent "Hallelujah Chorus" of Handel, and the final Benediction.

That colours do not always perish in honour may be seen by the following extract from the Scots' Magazine of June, 1746, where the citizens of Edinburgh assisted at a very different function to the one we have just described. "Fourteen rebel colours," says the ancient newsman, "taken at Culloden, were brought into Edinburgh on the 31st May, and lodged in the castle. On Wednesday, the 4th of June, at noon, they were brought down to the Cross, the Pretender's own standard carried by the hangman, and the rest by chimney sweepers. The sheriffs, accompanied by the heralds, pursuivants, trumpeters, city constables, etc., and escorted by the city guard, walked to the Cross, where a proclamation was {71}made that the colours belonging to the rebels were ordered by the Duke of Cumberland to be burnt by the hands of the common hangman. The Pretender's standard was then put on a fire that had been prepared, and afterwards all the rest one by one—a herald always proclaiming to whom each belonged, the trumpets sounding, and the populace, of which there was a great number assembled, huzzaing."

Various government officials have their special flags. The flag of the Union having been established by "Queen's Regulations" for the naval service, as the distinguishing flag to be borne by the admiral of the fleet, great inconvenience arose from the use of the same flag when military authorities, diplomatic and consular agents were embarking in boats or other vessels; so it became necessary to make some modification in the flag. It is therefore now ordered that a general or other officer commanding a military station shall have, in the centre of the Union, a blue shield bearing the Royal initials, surmounted by a crown and surrounded by a garland; those in the diplomatic service shall have, in the centre of the Union, a white shield bearing the Royal Arms, and surrounded by a garland; while consuls-general, consuls, or consular agents have the Blue Ensign as their distinguishing flag, and in the centre thereof the Royal Arms. The flag of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland is the Union, and in its centre, as we may see in Fig. 106, a blue shield bearing the golden harp.

Different Government Departments have their special flags also. Thus the Transport Service has the blue ensign with a golden anchor, placed horizontally, in the fly, while the Victualling Department has the blue ensign again, but this time as shown in Fig. 98, with two crossed anchors. On the blue ensign of the Board of Trade is found in the fly a white circle, and within this a ship in full sail (see Fig. 105). The Ordnance Department flag, represented in Fig. 108, bears a shield with cannons and cannon balls upon it, while vessels and boats employed on submarine mining service are authorized to carry the blue ensign with—as its special badge—a hand issuing from a mural crown, and grasping a thunderbolt. The Telegraph branch of the Post-Office has a very striking device: a representation of Father Time with his hour glass smashed by lightning. The red ensign is employed by the Custom House and the Excise, in the first case having, as we see in Fig. 107, a golden crown in the fly, and, in the second, a crown and star. The flag of the Admiralty is a very striking one (Fig. 99). This association of the anchor with the Admiralty is a very natural one; we see it not only in our English flag, but in those of France, Italy, Germany, Russia, etc. Our Admiralty flag is hoisted on any ship when the Commissioners {72}of the Admiralty are on board,[53] and it is also hoisted at the fore top-gallant mast of every ship on which the Queen may be on board. Vessels carrying Her Majesty's mail fly on the fore-mast a white burgee, having in its centre a crown, and on one side of it the word "Royal" and on the other "Mail"; the words Royal Mail and the crown being in red on the white field of the flag.

The White Ensign, Fig. 95, the special flag of Her Majesty's Navy, is, by very exceptional privilege, allowed to be flown by the Royal Yacht Squadron. This distinction was conferred on that Club in the year 1829, the Club itself being established in 1812.[54] In the old days, when the Royal Navy used the red, white, and blue ensigns, the red ensign was of the highest dignity; and it was this from 1821 to 1829 that the Royal Yacht Squadron flew, but, as the red ensign was also used by merchant vessels, they adopted in 1829 the white ensign as being more distinctive. In 1842 the Admiralty drew up a Minute that no warrant should be issued to any other yacht club to fly the white ensign, and that those privileged Clubs that already had it must henceforth forego it. Copies of the minute were accordingly sent to the Royal Western of England, Royal Thames, Royal Southern, and some two or three other clubs, but, by some oversight, the Royal Western of Ireland was overlooked, and that Club continued to use the white ensign until the mistake was discovered by the Admiralty in the year 1857. Since that date the Royal Yacht Squadron, which has always been under the special patronage of Royalty, has been alone in its use. Its value is purely sentimental; it carries no substantial privilege. A rather marked case arose, in fact, to the contrary in 1883, when Lord Annesley's yacht, the Seabird, was detained by the Turkish authorities at the Dardanelles in consequence of her bearing the white ensign. No foreign man-of-war is allowed to pass the Dardanelles without special permission; and the white {73}ensign of the Royal Navy brought her within that category. On account of this, all yacht owners were warned that should they wish to pass the Dardanelles under the white or blue ensign, the latter being also the flag of the Royal Naval Reserve, they must first obtain an Imperial Iradé, otherwise they were recommended to display the red ensign. Austria-Hungary, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Norway, and France have each, in like manner, given to the leading club of the country the privilege of flying the naval flag. In America and Russia a special ensign has been accorded to all yacht clubs, and all take equal rank. Some years ago the Royal Cork Yacht Club wished to adopt a green ensign, but the Admiralty refused to sanction a new colour.

The Blue Ensign is conferred on certain Yacht Clubs by special Admiralty warrant. The Royal Eastern, Royal Barrow, Royal Clyde, Royal Highland, Royal Northern, Royal Western of England, Royal Cinque Ports, Royal Albert, Royal Dorset, etc., fly the Blue Ensign pure and simple; others have a distinguishing badge on the fly, thus the Royal Irish has a golden harp and crown, the Royal Ulster a white shield with the red hand, the Royal Cornwall the Prince of Wales' Feathers, the Royal Harwich a golden rampant lion, and so forth. The clubs flying the Red Ensign change it slightly from that flown by the Merchant Service; thus the Royal St. George, Royal Victoria, and Royal Portsmouth have a golden crown in the centre of the Union canton, while the Royal Yorkshire has a white rose and gold crown on the fly, and the Royal Dart a golden dart and crown. Each club has also its distinguishing burgee, and ordinarily of the same colour as its ensign; thus, though the Royal Clyde and the Royal Highland both fly the plain blue ensign, the Royal Clyde burgee has on it the yellow shield and red lion rampant, while the Royal Highland has the white cross of St. Andrew. Fig. 100 is the burgee of the Ranelagh Club, Fig. 101 of the Yare, Fig. 102 of the Royal Thames, Fig. 103 of the Dublin Bay Club.

Besides these club ensigns and burgees, each yacht bears its owner's individual device, that is supposed to distinguish it from all others, though one finds, in looking through a series of such flags, that some of the simpler devices are borne by more than one yacht. Every yacht club has its special burgee, which is flown by each yacht in the club at her truck, but when the vessel is racing the individual flag takes its place. Many of these flags, though simple in character, are very effective and striking. The lower flags on Plate XII. are good typical examples. Fig. 121 is the yacht flag of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales—the flag of the well-known Britannia; and Figs. 122 and 123 are those respectively of the equally-famed Ailsa and Valkyrie. {74}

Merchant vessels are permitted to adopt any House or Company flag on condition that it does not resemble any national flag. Its great use is that it should be clearly distinctive; and many of the flags employed are of strict heraldic propriety, and very attractive, while others are about as unsatisfactory and bald as they well could be. It would clearly be a painful and invidious thing to pick out any of these latter, so we can only suggest that any of our readers who have an opportunity of visiting busy ports, such as London, Southampton, Bristol, Liverpool, should collect their own awful examples and paint them in the margin of this page.

We may point out, by the way, that anyone sketching flags would be greatly assisted by knowing the symbols for the various colours, as it may well be that anyone might have only a pencil in his pocket when desiring to make such a memorandum. White is expressed by simply leaving the paper plain, yellow by dotting the surface over, red by a series of upright lines, blue by horizontal lines, green by sloping lines, and black by a series of upright lines crossed by others at right angles to them. These are the colours used in books on heraldry, and they are very easily remembered. On some of our coins the colours of the arms in the shield are thus expressed, and on heraldic book-plates and the like they may be also seen—wherever, in fact, colour has to be expressed or notified without the actual use of it. Our readers will find that if they will sketch out in black and white some few of our examples they will soon gain a useful facility that may stand them in good stead whenever for this or any other purpose they want to make a colour memorandum, and have only a pencil or pen and ink to make it with.

In the upper portion of Plate XII. we have several illustrations of Company flags. Fig. 109 is the well-known ensign of Green's Blackwall Line, while Fig. 110 is that of the Cunard. The Peninsular and Oriental flag (Fig. 111) is divided by lines from corner to corner into four triangles, the upper one white, the lower yellow, the hoist blue, and the fly red. This division into triangles is a rather favourite one; we see it again in Fig. 112, the Flag of the Australasian Steam Navigation Company. In the flag of the Demerara and Berbice Steamship Company the upper and lower portions are white, and the two side portions red; in the flag of the vessels belonging to Galbraith, Pembroke and Co., the upper is red, the lower blue, and the two sides white. In another company, that of Wesencraft of Newcastle, the colours are the same as the P. and O. flag, though differently placed, the blue being at the top, the red at the bottom, the yellow at the hoist, and the white at the fly. Fig. 113 is the flag of the fleet of Devitt and Moore, an Australian Line. Fig. 114 betokens the vessels of the {75}Canadian Pacific Company, and Fig. 115 the ships of the Castle Line to South Africa. Fig. 116 is the Company flag of the Union Steamship Company, of Southampton, while Fig. 117 is the device of the Mediterranean and New York Steamship Company. Our remaining illustrations are; Fig. 118, the flag adopted by Messrs. Houlden Brothers; Fig. 119, that of the popular White Star Line; and Fig. 120, that of the New Zealand Shipping Company. The well-known Allan Line has as its house flag the three upright strips of blue, white, and red that we see in the French tricolor, Fig. 191, plus a plain red burgee that is always hoisted immediately above it. The Allan is the largest private ship-owning company in the world; in the course of the year there are some two hundred arrivals and departures of their vessels at or from Glasgow, and some fifty thousand people are carried annually to or from America. During the Crimean War many of the steamers of this line were chartered by the French Government for the transport of their troops, and it is in memory of this that the vessels of the Allan fleet adopt the tricolor as their house flag.

That we have by no means exhausted this portion of our subject is patent from the fact that in a book before us that is specially devoted to these house flags seven hundred and eighty-two examples are given, wherein we find not only stripes, crosses, and such-like simple arrangements, but crescents, stars, anchors, lions, stags, thistles, castles, bells, keys, crowns, tridents, and many other forms.

In earlier days merchant ships flew rather the flag of their port than of their nation, so that a vessel was known to be of Plymouth, Marseilles, Dantzic, or Bremen by the colours displayed. Thus the flag of Marseilles was blue with a white cross upon it; Texel, a flag divided horizontally into two equal strips, the upper being green and the lower black; Rotterdam was indicated by a flag having six horizontal green stripes upon it, the interspaces being white; Cherbourg, blue, white, blue, white, horizontally arranged; Riga, a yellow cross on a blue ground.

The British Empire—the Greater Britain across the seas, some eighty times larger in area than the home islands of its birth—must now engage our attention. Its material greatness is amazing, far exceeding that of any other empire the world has ever seen, and its moral greatness is equal to its material. Wherever the flag of Britain flies, there is settled law, property is protected, religion is free; it is no mere symbol of violence or rapine, or even of conquest. It is what it is because it represents everywhere peace, and civilization, and commerce. Protected by the Pax Britannica dwell four hundred millions out of every race under heaven, the {76}Mother of Nations extending to Jew, Parsee, Arab, Chinese, Blackfoot, Maori, the liberties that were won at Runnymead and in many another stern fight for life and freedom. In every school-room in the United States hangs the flag of their Union, the Stars and Stripes; and devotion to all that it symbolises is an essential part of the teaching. We in turn might well in our systems of education give a larger space to the history, laws, and literature of our great Empire, taking a more comprehensive view than is now ordinarily the case, studying the growth of the mighty States that have sprung into existence through British energy, and attaching at least as much importance to the lives of the men who have built up this goodly heritage as to the culinary shortcomings of Alfred or the schemes of Perkin Warbeck.

As regards the value of our Colonies to the Empire, the following extract from a speech made by the Prince of Wales at the Royal Colonial Institute may very aptly be quoted:—

"We regard the Colonies as integral parts of the Empire, and our warmest sympathies are with our brethren beyond the seas, who are no less dear to us than if they dwelt in Surrey or Kent. Mutual interests, as well as ties of affection, unite us as one people, and so long as we hold together we are unassailable from without. From a commercial point of view, the Colonies and India are among the best customers for home manufacturers, it being computed that no less than one-third of the total exports are absorbed by them. They offer happy and prosperous homes to thousands who are unable to gain a livelihood within the narrow limits of these islands, owing to the pressure of over-population and consequent over-competition. In transplanting themselves to our own Colonies, instead of to foreign lands, they retain their privileges as citizens of this great Empire, and live under the same flag as subjects of the same Sovereign. As Professor Seeley remarks in his very interesting work, 'The Expansion of England,' 'Englishmen in all parts of the world remember that they are of one blood and one religion; that they have one history, and one language and literature.' We are, in fact, a vast English nation, and we should take great care not to allow the emigrants who have gone forth from among us to imagine that they have in the slightest degree ceased to belong to the same community as ourselves."

Our statesmen and thinkers have never failed to recognise the brotherhood of Greater Britain. Of this fact it would be easy enough to reproduce illustrations by the score. We need, however, here but refer to the sentiments of the Earl of Rosebery on the expansion of the Empire, where we find him declaring— {77}

"Since 1868 the Empire has been growing by leaps and bounds. That is, perhaps, not a process which everybody witnesses with unmixed satisfaction. It is not always viewed with unmixed satisfaction in circles outside these islands. There are two schools who view with some apprehension the growth of our Empire. The first is composed of those nations who, coming somewhat late into the field, find that Great Britain has some of the best plots already marked out. To those nations I will say that they must remember that our Colonies were taken—to use a well-known expression—at prairie value, and that we have made them what they are. We may claim that whatever lands other nations may have touched and rejected, and we have cultivated and improved, are fairly parts of our Empire, which we may claim to possess by an indisputable title. But there is another ground on which the extension of our Empire is greatly attacked, and the attack comes from a quarter nearer home. It is said that our Empire is already large enough, and does not need extension. That would be true enough if the world were elastic, but, unfortunately, it is not elastic, and we are engaged at the present moment, in the language of mining, in 'pegging out claims for the future.' We have to consider not what we want now, but what we shall want in the future. We have to consider what countries must be developed, either by ourselves or some other nation, and we have to remember that it is part of our responsibility and heritage to take care that the world, as far as it can be moulded by us, shall receive an 'English-speaking' complexion, and not that of another nation. We have to look forward beyond the chatter of platforms, and the passions of party, to the future of the race of which we are at present the trustees, and we should, in my opinion, grossly fail in the task that has been laid upon us did we shrink from responsibilities, and decline to take our share in a partition of the world which we have not forced on, but which has been forced upon us."

Statistics of area of square miles, population, and so forth, can be readily found by those who care to seek for them, and we need give them no place here; but let us at least try and realise just by bare enumeration something of what this Greater Britain is. In Europe it includes, besides the home islands, Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus. In Asia—the great Indian Empire, Ceylon, Aden, Hong-Kong, North Borneo, the Straits Settlements, Perim, Socotra, Labuan. In America—the Dominion of Canada, Newfoundland, Trinidad, Guiana, Honduras, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Bermudas, Barbadoes, Falkland Isles, the Leeward and Windward Isles. In Australasia—New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, New Zealand, Fiji, New Guinea. In Africa—the Cape Colony, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Zululand, Natal, {78}Gold Coast, Lagos, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Ascension, St. Helena. Our list is by no means a complete one.

Newfoundland was the earliest British colony, the settlement being made about the year 1500. Many of our colonies have been thus created by peaceful settlement, while others have fallen to us in victorious fights with France, Holland, Spain, and other Powers, or have been ceded by treaty.

The flags of our colonies are those of the Empire, with, in some cases, special modifications. In all our colonies, for instance, the Royal Standard, as we see it in England, is displayed on the fortresses on the anniversaries of the birth and coronation of the Sovereign.

The Blue Ensign is the flag borne by any vessel maintained by any colony under the clauses of the Colonial Defence Act, 28 Vic., Cap. 14. The "Queen's Regulations" state that "Any vessel provided and used, under the third section of the said Act, shall wear the Blue Ensign, with the seal or badge of the Colony in the fly thereof, and a blue pendant. All vessels belonging to, or permanently in the service of, the Colony, but not commissioned as vessels of war under the Act referred to, shall wear a similar blue ensign, but not the pendant." In Figs. 127, 128, 130, and 135 we have the Government Ensigns of four of our great Colonies—Cape Colony, Queensland, Canada, and Victoria—while in Fig. 140 we have the blue pendant.

This Colonial Defence Act of 1865 is so important in its bearings on the possibilities of Naval defence that it seems well to quote from it some of its provisions. Its object is to enable the several Colonial possessions of Her Majesty to make better provision for Naval defence, and, to that end, to provide and man vessels of war; and also to raise a volunteer force to form part of the Royal Naval Reserve, to be available for the general defence of the Colony in case of need. This Act declares that "in any Colony it shall be lawful for the proper Legislative Authority, with the Approval of Her Majesty in Council, from Time to Time to make Provision for effecting at the Expense of the Colony all or any of the Purposes following:

"For providing, maintaining, and using a Vessel or Vessels of War, subject to such Conditions and for such Purposes as Her Majesty in Council from Time to Time approves.

"For raising and maintaining Seamen and others entered on the Terms of being bound to serve as ordered in any such Vessel. {79}

"For raising and maintaining a Body of Volunteers entered on the Terms of being bound to general Service in the Royal Navy in Emergency, and, if in any Case the proper Legislative Authority so directs, on the further Terms of being bound to serve as ordered in any such Vessel as aforesaid:

"For appointing Commissioned, Warrant, and other Officers to train and command or serve as Officers with any such Men ashore or afloat, on such Terms and subject to such Regulations as Her Majesty in Council from Time to Time approves:

"For obtaining from the Admiralty the Services of Commissioned, Warrant, and other Officers and of Men of the Royal Navy for the last-mentioned Purposes:

"For enforcing good Order and Discipline among the Men and Officers aforesaid while ashore or afloat within the Limits of the Colony:

"For making the Men and Officers aforesaid, while ashore or afloat within the Limits of the Colony or elsewhere, subject to all Enactments and Regulations for the Time being in force for the Discipline of the Royal Navy.

"Volunteers raised as aforesaid in any Colony shall form Part of the Royal Naval Reserve, in addition to the Volunteers who may be raised under the Act of 1859, but, except as in this Act expressly provided, shall be subject exclusively to the Provisions made as aforesaid by the proper Legislative Authority of the Colony.

"It shall be lawful for Her Majesty in Council from Time to Time as Occasion requires, and on such Conditions as seem fit, to authorize the Admiralty to issue to any Officer of the Royal Navy volunteering for the Purpose a Special Commission for Service in accordance with the Provisions of this Act.

"It shall be lawful for Her Majesty in Council from Time to Time as Occasion requires, and on such Conditions as seem fit, to authorize the Admiralty to accept any Offer for the Time being made or to be made by the Government of a Colony, to place at Her Majesty's Disposal any Vessel of War provided by that Government and the Men and Officers from Time to Time serving therein; and while any Vessel accepted by the Admiralty under such Authority is at the Disposal of Her Majesty, such Vessel shall be deemed to all Intents a Vessel of War of the Royal Navy, and {80}the Men and Officers from Time to Time serving in such Vessels shall be deemed to all Intents Men and Officers of the Royal Navy, and shall accordingly be subject to all Enactments and Regulations for the Time being in force for the Discipline of the Royal Navy.

"It shall be lawful for Her Majesty in Council from Time to Time as Occasion requires, and on such Conditions as seem fit, to authorize the Admiralty to accept any Offer for the Time being made or to be made by the Government of a Colony, to place at Her Majesty's Disposal for general Service in the Royal Navy the whole or any Part of the Body of Volunteers with all or any of the Officers raised and appointed by that Government in accordance with the Provisions of this Act; and when any such Offer is accepted such of the Provisions of the Act of 1859 as relate to Men of the Royal Naval Reserve raised in the United Kingdom when in actual Service shall extend and apply to the Volunteers whose Services are so accepted."

As the Act winds up by saying that "nothing in this Act shall take away or abridge any power vested in or exerciseable by the Legislature or Government of any Colony," it is evident that the whole arrangement is a purely voluntary one.

The vessels of the Mercantile Marine registered as belonging to any of the Colonies, fly the red ensign without any distinguishing badge, so that a Victorian or Canadian merchantman coming up the Thames or Mersey would probably fly a flag in all respects similar (Fig. 97) to that of a merchant vessel owned in the United Kingdom. There is, however, no objection to colonial merchant vessels carrying distinctive flags with the badge of the Colony thereon, in addition to the red ensign, provided that the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty give their warrant of authorization. The red ensign differenced may be seen in Fig. 129, the merchant flag of Canada,[55] and in Fig. 134 that of Victoria, the device on this latter bearing the five stars, representing the constellation of the Southern Cross—a simple, appropriate, and beautiful device. {81}

"Governors of Her Majesty's Dominions in foreign parts, and governors of all ranks and denominations administering the governments of British Colonies and Dependencies shall"—as set forth in "Queen's Regulations"—"fly the Union Jack with the arms or badge of the Colony emblazoned in the centre thereof." Figs. 139 and 141 are illustrations, the first being the special flag of the Viceroy of India, and the second that of the Governor of Western Australia. The Governor-General of Canada has in the centre of his flag the arms of the Dominion, while the Lieutenant-Governors of Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Prince Edward's Island have in the centre of their flags the arms of their province alone. These arms in each case are placed on a shield within a white circle, and surrounded by a wreath. The Admiralty requirements are that the Colonial badge on the governor's flag should be placed within a "green garland," and this is understood to be of laurel; but in 1870 Canada received the Imperial sanction to substitute the leaves of the maple.[56]

Though the provinces that together make the Dominion of Canada are seven in number, the Canadian shield only shows the arms of four—Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick—an arrangement that can be scarcely palatable to the other three.


The Queen's Warrant, published in the Canadian Gazette of November 25th, 1869, is as follows:—

"VICTORIA, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, &c.

"To Our Right Trusty and well-beloved Councillor, Edward George Fitzalan Howard (commonly called Lord Edward George Fitzalan Howard), Deputy to Our Right Trusty and Right entirely beloved cousin, Henry Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal and Our Hereditary Marshal of England—greeting:—

"Whereas, by virtue of, and under the authority of an Act of Parliament, passed in the Twenty-ninth year of Our Reign, entitled 'An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the Government thereof," we were empowered to declare after a certain day therein appointed, that the said Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick should {82}form one Dominion under the name of Canada. And it was provided that on and after the day so appointed, Canada should be divided into four Provinces, named, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; that the part of the then Province of Canada, which formerly constituted the Province of Upper Canada, should constitute the Province of Ontario; and the part which formerly constituted the Province of Lower Canada, should constitute the Province of Quebec; and that the Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick should have the same limits as at the passing of the said Act. And whereas we did by Our Royal Proclamation, bearing date the Twenty-second day of May last, declare, ordain, and command that, on and after the first day of July, 1867, the said Provinces should form and be one Dominion under the name of Canada accordingly.

"And forasmuch as it is Our Royal will and pleasure that, for the greater honour and distinction of the said Provinces, certain Armorial Ensigns should be assigned to them,

"Know ye, therefore, that We, of our Princely Grace and special favour, have granted and assigned, and by these presents do grant and assign the Armorial Ensigns following, that is to say:—

"For the Province of Ontario:

"Vert, a sprig of three Leaves of Maple slipped, or, on a chief Argent the Cross of St. George.

"For the Province of Quebec:

"Or, on a Fess Gules between two Fleurs de Lis in chief Azure, and a Sprig of three Leaves of Maple slipped vert in base, a Lion passant guardant or.

"For the Province of Nova Scotia:

"Or, on a Fess Wavy Azure between three Thistles proper, a Salmon Naiant Argent.

"For the Province of New Brunswick:

Or, on waves a Lymphad, or Ancient Galley, with oars in action, proper, on a chief Gules a Lion passant guardant or, as the same are severally depicted in the margin hereof, to be borne for the said respective Provinces on Seals, Shields, Banners, Flags, or otherwise according to the Laws of Arms.

"And We are further pleased to declare that the said United Provinces of Canada, being one Dominion under the name of {83}Canada, shall, upon all occasions that may be required, use a common Seal, to be called the 'Great Seal of Canada,' which said seal shall be composed of the Arms of the said Four Provinces quarterly, all which armorial bearings are set forth in this Our Royal Warrant."

This latter point is a somewhat important one, as owing to the semi-official endorsement given in many colonial publications, it appears to be a popular misconception that as many different arms as possible are to be crowded in. In one example before us five are represented, the additional one being Manitoba. In a handbook on the history, production, and natural resources of Canada, prepared by the Minister of Agriculture for the Colonial Exhibition, held in London in 1886, the arms of the seven provinces are given separately, grouped around a central shield that includes them all. The whole arrangement is styled "Arms of the Dominion and of the Provinces of Canada."

When the Queen's Warrant was issued in 1869, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were the only members of the Confederation. Manitoba entered it in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, and Prince Edward Island in 1873.

The Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, and the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club have the privilege of flying the blue ensign.

Canada, unlike Australia, supplies no contingent towards the Imperial Navy, but she has spent on public works over forty million pounds sterling. By her great trans-continental railway a valuable alternative route to the East is furnished; she provides graving docks at Quebec, Halifax, and Victoria; trains an annual contingent of forty thousand volunteers, supports a military college at Kingston, of whose cadets between eighty and ninety are now officers in the British Army; and in many other ways contributes to the well-being of the Empire, that Greater Britain, which has been not unaptly termed "a World-Venice, with the sea for streets."

The badges of the various Colonies of the Empire, as shown in the official flag-book of the Admiralty, are very diverse in appearance; some pleasing and others less charming, perhaps, than fantastic. It is needless to particularise them all. Some, like those of Mauritius, Jamaica, and of Cape Colony (Fig. 127) are heraldic in character, while others—as Barbadoes, where Britannia rides the waves in a chariot drawn by sea-horses, or South Australia, where Britannia lands on a rocky shore on which a black man is seated—are symbolical. Queensland has the simple and pleasing device we see in Fig. 128, the Maltese Cross, having a crown at its centre. Newfoundland has a crown on a white disc and the {84}Latinised name Terra Nova beneath, and Fiji (Fig. 137) adopts a like simple device, the crown and the word Fiji, while New Guinea does not get even so far as this, but has the crown, and beneath it the letters N. G. The gnu appears as the device of Natal; the black swan (Fig. 141) as the emblem of West Australia. An elephant and palm-tree on a yellow ground stand for West Africa, and an elephant and temple for Ceylon. British North Borneo (Fig. 132), on a yellow disc has a red lion, and Tasmania (Fig. 133), on a white ground has the same, though it will be noted that the action of the two royal beasts is not quite the same. The Straits Settlements have the curious device seen in Fig. 131. New Zealand (Fig. 136) has a cross of stars on a blue field. Victoria we have already seen in Figs. 134 and 135, while New South Wales has upon the white field the Cross of St. George, having in the centre one of the lions of England, and on each arm a star—an arrangement shown in Fig. 138. British East Africa has the crown, and beneath it the golden sun shooting forth its rays, one of the simplest, most appropriate, and most pleasing of all the Colonial devices; when placed in the centre of the Governor's flag it is upon a white disc, and the sun has eight principal rays. When for use on the red or blue ensigns, the sun has twelve principal rays, and both golden sun and crown are placed directly upon the field of the flag. St. Helena, Trinidad, Bermuda, British Guiana, Leeward Isles, Labuan, Bahamas, and Hong Kong all have devices in which ships are a leading feature—in the Bermuda device associated with the great floating dock, in the Hong Kong with junks, and in the other cases variously differentiated from each other, so that all are quite distinct in character. In the device of the Leeward Isles, designed by Sir Benjamin Pine, a large pine-apple is growing in the foreground, and three smaller ones away to the right. It is jocularly assumed that the centre one was Sir Benjamin himself, and the three subordinate ones his family.

With Great Britain the command of the ocean is all-important. By our sea-power our great Empire has been built up, and by it alone can it endure. "A power to which Rome in the height of her glory is not to be compared—a power which has dotted over the surface of the whole globe her possessions and military posts, whose morning drum-beat, following the sun, and keeping company with the hours, circles the earth with one continuous and unbroken strain of the martial airs of England." So spoke Daniel Webster in 1834, and our ever-growing responsibilities have greatly increased since the more than sixty years when those words were uttered. Let us in conclusion turn to the "True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates," written by Bacon, a great and patriotic Englishman, where we may read the warning words:— {85}

"We see the great effects of battles by sea; the Battle of Actium decided the empire of the world; the Battle of Lepanto arrested the greatness of the Turk.

"There be many examples where sea-fights have been final to the war; but this is when princes or States have set up their rest upon the battles; but this much is certain, that he who commands the sea is at great liberty, and may take as much and as little of the war as he will, whereas those that be strongest by land are many times, nevertheless, in great straits.

"Surely at this day, with us of Europe, the vantage of strength at sea (which is one of the dowries of this kingdom of Great Britain) is great; both because most of the kingdoms of Europe are not merely inland, but girt with the sea most part of their compass, and because the wealth of both Indies seems, in great part, but an accessory to the command of the seas."

We are the sons of the men who won us this goodly heritage, and it behoves us in turn to hand it on to our descendants in undiminished dignity, a world-wide domain beneath the glorious Union Flag that binds all in one great brotherhood.



The Flag of Columbus—Early Settlements in North America—the Birth of the United States—Early Revolutionary and State Flags—the Pine-tree Flag—the Rattle-snake Flag—the Stars and Stripes—Early Variations of it—the Arms of Washington—Entry of New States into the Union—the Eagle—the Flag of the President—Secession of the Southern States—State Flags again—the Stars and Bars—the Southern Cross—the Birth of the German Empire—the Influence of War Songs—Flags of the Empire—Flags of the smaller German States—the Austro-Hungary Monarchy—The Flags of Russia—The Crosses of St. Andrew and St. George again—the Flags of France—St. Martin—The Oriflamme—the Fleurs-de-lys—Their Origin—the White Cross—the White Flag of the Bourbons—the Tricolor—the Red Flag—the Flags of Spain—of Portugal—the Consummation of Italian Unity—the Arms of Savoy—the Flags of Italy—of the Temporal Power of the Papacy—the Flag of Denmark—its Celestial Origin—the Flags of Norway and Sweden—of Switzerland—Cantonal Colours—the Geneva Convention—the Flags of Holland—of Belgium—of Greece—the Crescent of Turkey—the Tughra—the Flags of Roumania, Servia, and Bulgaria—Flags of Mexico and of the States of Southern and Central America—of Japan—the Rising Sun—the Chrysanthemum—the Flags of China, Siam, and Corea—of Sarawak—of the Orange Free State, Liberia, Congo State, and the Transvaal Republic.

The well-known Ensign (Fig. 146) of the United States of America is the outcome of many changes; the last of a long series of National, State, and local devices.

The first flag planted on American ground was borne thither by Christopher Columbus, in the year 1497, and bore on its folds the arms of Leon and Castile, a flag divided into four and having upon it, each twice repeated, the lion of Leon and the Castle of Castile: the first red on white, the second white on red. These arms form a portion of the present Spanish Standard, and may be seen in the upper staff corner in Fig. 194. In this same year—1497—Newfoundland was discovered, but the first English settlement on the mainland was not made until Sir Walter Raleigh took possession of a tract of country in 1584, naming it Virginia, after Elizabeth, the Virgin-Queen he served, and hoisting the Standard of Her Majesty, bearing in its rich blazonry (Fig. 22) the ruddy lions of England quartered with the golden lilies of France. The Dutch established themselves, in the year 1614, in what is now the State of New York; the French, having already founded a colony in Canada in 1534, took possession of Louisiana, so called after their King Louis, in 1718, while Florida, at first French, became Spanish, and in 1763 was ceded to England. {87}

Three ships, bearing the earliest Pilgrim Fathers from England to America, had already sailed from England in the year 1606, and these were followed by the historic Mayflower and the Plymouth Rock, in 1620. While these exiles for conscience sake established for themselves a new England in the west, a colony of Scotchmen in the year 1622 took possession of a tract of land which they named Nova Scotia. Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Carolina, Pennsylvania, and other colonies were successively formed by parties of Englishmen—the final outcome of peaceful settlement, or the arbitrament of the sword, being that the greater part of the eastern seaboard, and the country beyond it, came under the sway of the English Crown, until injudicious taxation and ill-advised repression led at length to open discontent and disloyalty, and finally to revolution and the birth of the great Republic of the West.

So long as the Colonists owed allegiance to the British crown, one would naturally have taken for granted that they would have been found beneath the national flag, but this was not altogether the case. In the early days of New England the Puritans strongly objected to the red cross on the flag: not from any disloyalty to the old country, but from a conscientious objection to the use of a symbol which they deemed idolatrous. By the year 1700, though the Cross of St. George was still the leading device, the different colonies began to employ special devices to distinguish their vessels from those of England and of each other.[57] This, though it indicated a certain jealousy and independence amongst the colonies themselves, was no proof of any desire for separation from the old country, and even when, later on, the dispute between King and Colonists became acute, we find them parting from the old flag with great reluctance. Fig. 142 is a very good illustration of this; its date is 1775.

In the early stages of the Revolution each section adopted a flag of its own, and it was only later on, when the desirability of union and uniformity became evident, that the necessity for one common flag was felt. Thus, the people of Massachusetts ranged themselves beneath banners bearing pine trees; the men of South Carolina went in for rattle-snakes; the New Yorkers adopted a white flag with a black beaver thereon; the Rhode Islanders had a white flag with a blue anchor upon it; and, in like manner, each contingent adopted its special device.

In Fig. 144, one of the flags of the insurgents at Bunker's Hill, {88}June 17th, 1775, we see that the Cross of St. George is still preserved, and it might well fly in company with Fig. 67, a flag of the London Trained Bands, except that in the corner we see the pine tree. In Fig. 145 the English emblem has dropped out and the pine tree has become much more conspicuous, and in Figs. 147 and 148 all suggestion of St. George or of the red or blue Ensigns has disappeared. This arboreal device was not by any means a new one to the men of Massachusetts. We find a mint established at Boston as early as 1651, busily engaged in coining the silver captured from the Spaniards by the Buccaneers. On one side was the date and value of the coin, and, on the reverse, a tree in the centre and "In Massachusetts" around it. It must be remembered that at the time there was no king to resent this encroachment on the royal prerogative, and no notice was taken of it by the Parliament or by Cromwell. There was a tacit allowance of it afterwards, even by Charles II., for more than twenty years. It will be remembered that on his enquiry into the matter he was told by some courtier that the device was intended for the Royal Oak, and the question was allowed to drop.

South Carolina adopted the rattle-snake flag at the suggestion of one Gadsden, a delegate to the General Congress of the South Carolina Convention in 1776. On a yellow ground was placed a rattlesnake, having thirteen rattles; the reptile was coiled ready to strike, and beneath was the warning motto, "Don't tread on me." The number thirteen had reference to the thirteen revolted States, as it was originally proposed that this flag should be the navy flag for all the States. As an accessory to a portrait of Commodore Hopkins, "Commander-in-chief of the American fleet," we see a flag of thirteen alternate red and white stripes. It has no canton, but undulating diagonally across the stripes is a rattlesnake. The idea was not altogether a new one, as we find the Pennsylvania Gazette, in commenting twenty-five years previously on the iniquity of the British Government in sending its convicts to America, suggesting as a set off that "a cargo of rattlesnakes should be distributed in St. James's Park, Spring Gardens, and other places of pleasure." At the commencement of any great struggle by a revolting people there is often a great variety of device, and it is only after a while that such a multiplicity is found to be a danger. Hence we find that prior to the yellow rattlesnake flag, South Carolina had, with equal enthusiasm, adopted the blue flag with the crescent moon that we have figured in No. 158.[58] {89}

In the year 1775 a committee was appointed to consider the question of a single flag for the thirteen States. This ensign, though it went far towards moulding these different sections into the United States, was a curious illustration of that reluctance that we have already referred to, to sever themselves finally from the Old Country, as the Committee recommended the retention of the Union in the upper corner next the staff, but substituted for the broad red field of the rest of the flag thirteen horizontally disposed stripes, alternately red and white, the emblems of the union into one of the thirteen colonies in their struggle against oppression. We have this represented in Fig. 57. It was also the flag of the East India Company.

On the final declaration of Independence, when the severance from the Old Country was irrevocable, and the colonists became a nation, the question of a national flag was one of the points awaiting solution; but it was not till about a year afterwards that a decision was come to. The vessels commissioned by Washington flew the flag we have figured in No. 147; this was approved in April, 1776, and remained in use some little time, as did also the one represented in Fig. 149. Sometimes we find the cross and pine-tree removed and the whole flag nothing but the red and white stripes. This flag composed of stripes alone was not peculiar to the American navy, as a flag of similar design was for a long time a well-known signal in the British fleet, being that used for the red division to form up into line of battle.

Anyone looking over a collection of the common pottery made from about a hundred and fifty years ago up to comparatively recent times will find that stirring contemporary events are very freely introduced—sea-fights, portraits of leading statesmen, generals, and so forth. These are often caricatures, as, for example, the hundreds that may be seen in our various museums and private collections derisive of "Boney," while others are as historically correct as the potter's knowledge and skill could compass. Anyone visiting the Corporation Museum at Brighton will find a jug bearing the head of Zebulon M. Pike, an American general; trophies of flags are grouped around this, but the only flag with any device upon it is a plain striped one. Another that bears the head of Commodore Decatur, U.S.N., has below it a cannon, on the left a trophy of flags and weapons, and on the right a ship; and a very similar jug may be seen in honour of Commodore Parry. In each of these cases the flags in the trophies and on the ships are simply striped.

On August 14th, 1777, Congress resolved "that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternately red and white, and that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing {90}a new constellation."[59] This was the birth of the national flag, "the stars and stripes," and it would appear at first sight to be a final settlement of the device, though in practice the result did not work out at all uniformly, the number of stripes being unequal. If we commence at the top with a white one, we shall have seven white and six red, whereas if we begin with a red stripe we shall get seven red and six white. Each of these renderings was for some years in use, until it was authoritatively laid down that the latter was the arrangement to be adopted. It seems a minor point, but any of our readers who will re-draw Fig. 146 and transpose the colours of the stripes, so that the upper and lower edges of the flag are white instead of red, will be surprised to note how so apparently trivial a change will affect the appearance of the flag.[60] In like manner the stars were sometimes made with six points, and at others with five. Even so late as 1779, we find such a striking variation as a flag bearing stars with eight points, and its stripes alternately red, blue, and white. The coins issued during the presidency of Washington had five-pointed stars on them, but later on they had six points. Nobody seems now to know why this change was made.

As nothing was said in this resolution of Congress as to the arrangement of the stars on the blue field, a further opening for variety of treatment was found. In some of the early flags they were arranged to represent the letters U.S., in others they were all placed in a circle, in others again they were dispersed irregularly, so as the better to suggest a constellation; and it was finally ordered that they should be placed in parallel horizontal rows, as we now see them.

Though the stars did not appear in the American flag until 1777, we find in a poem in the Massachusetts Spy of March 10th, 1774, on the outbreak of the rebellion, the lines—

"The American ensign now sparkles a star

Which shall shortly flame wide through the skies."


This poetic and prophetic flight is the earliest suggestion of the stars in the national flag of the United States.

It has been held that the American Eagle and the stars and stripes of the national flag were suggested by the crest and arms of the Washington family. This statement has been often made; hence we find an American patriot writing:—"It is not a little curious that the poor, worn-out rag of feudalism, as many would count it, should have expanded into the bright and ample banner that now waves on every sea." But that it should be so seems by no means an established fact. No reference is made to it in Washington's correspondence, or in that of any of his contemporaries. The arms of the Washington family are a white shield having two horizontal red bars, and above these a row of three red stars; and this certainly bears some little resemblance to the American flag, but how much is mere coincidence, and how much is adaptation it is impossible to say. These arms may be seen on a brass in Solgrave Church, Huntingdonshire, on the tomb of Laurence Washington, the last lineal ancestor who was buried in England. He was twice Mayor of Northampton, in 1533 and in 1546, and the first President of the United States was his great-great-grandson. He was a man of considerable influence, and on the dissolution of the monasteries Henry gave him the Priory of St. Andrews, Northampton. In the troublous times that succeeded, his son John went to America, and lived for some twenty years on the banks of the Potomac.

Another theory that has been advanced is that the blue quarter was taken from the blue banner of the Scotch Covenanters, and was therefore significant of the Solemn League and Covenant of the United Colonies against oppression, while the stripes were a blending of the red colours used in the army with the white flags used in the navy. We give the theory for what it is worth, which we venture to say is not very much; but as it was advanced by an American writer, we give it place.

Should our readers care to consider yet another theory, they may learn that the genesis of the star-spangled banner was very much less prosaic. Prose has it that a Committee of Council, accompanied by General Washington, called on Mrs. Ross, an upholstress of Arch Street, Philadelphia, and engaged her to make a flag from a rough sketch that they brought with them, that she in turn suggested one or two practical modifications, and that at her wish Washington re-drew it there and then, that she at once set to work on it, and in a few hours the first star-spangled flag was floating in the breeze; but the poet ignores the services of Mrs. Ross altogether, and declares that {92}

"When Freedom from her mountain height

Unfurled her standard to the air,

She tore the azure robe of Night

And set the stars of glory there.

She mingled with its gorgeous dyes

The milky baldric of the skies,

And striped its pure celestial white

With streakings of the morning light:

Then from his mansion in the sun

She called her eagle-bearer down

And gave into his mighty hand

The symbol of her chosen land."

This view was expressed by another great American in the words:—"As at the early dawn the stars shine forth even while it grows light, and then, as the sun advances, that light breaks out into banks and streaming lines of colour, the glowing red and intense light striving together and ribbing the horizon with bars effulgent, so on the American flag stars and beams of light shine out together. Where this flag comes, and men behold it, they see in its sacred emblazoning no ramping lions, and no fierce eagle, no embattled castles, or insignia of imperial authority: they see the symbols of light: it is the banner of dawn; it means Liberty!"

We have clearly now got a long way from the establishment in Arch Street. This flag, which, after such glowing passages as the foregoing, we should almost expect to find too sacred a thing for change or criticism, has undergone some few modifications in its details, though the original broad idea has remained untouched.

As the first conception was that each of the original thirteen States was represented in the national flag by a star and a stripe, other States, as they came into the Union, naturally expected the same consideration: hence on the admission of Vermont in 1791, and Kentucky in 1792, an Act was passed which increased the number of stars and stripes from thirteen to fifteen. Later on came Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, and so forth, and the flag was presently made to consist of twenty stars and stripes, but it was found to be so objectionable to be thus continually altering it that it was settled in the year 1818 to go back to the original thirteen stripes, but to add a star for each new State. Hence the stripes show always the original number of the States at the birth of the nation, while the stars show the present number in the Union.

It is interesting to trace the growth of the country, Illinois being enrolled in the Union in 1818, Alabama in 1819, Maine in 1820, Missouri in 1821, Arkansas in 1836, Michigan in 1837, and so on; but suffice it now to say that by 1891 the original thirteen had {93}grown to forty-four, and it was announced that on and after the 4th of July of that year the national flag should bear this latter number of stars. As there are still several territories awaiting promotion to the rank of States, the constellation is even yet incomplete.

"A song for our banner! The watchword recall

Which gave the Republic her station;

United we stand, divided we fall,

It made, and preserves us, a nation!

The union of lakes, the union of lands,

The union of States none can sever;

The union of hearts, the union of hands,

And the flag of our Union for ever."

The most striking modification of the flag is seen in the Revenue Service. We have still the silver stars on the azure field and the stripes of alternate red and white, but in this special case the stripes, instead of being disposed horizontally, are placed vertically, a slight enough difference apparently, but one which makes a striking alteration in the appearance of the flag.

The pendant of the United States Navy is shown in Fig. 151; the stars in it, it will be seen, are reduced to the original thirteen, while the narrowness of the flag permits but two of the stripes.

The American Jack is simply the blue and white portion of the National flag, Fig. 146, made into a separate flag.

The Commodore's broad pendant is a swallow-tailed blue flag, with one white star in the centre. The Admiral's flag, hoisted at the main, is shown in Fig. 143; the Vice-Admiral's flag, hoisted at the fore, has three white stars on the blue field; and the Rear-Admiral's flag, hoisted at mizen, has two arranged vertically over each other.

While in some nationalities the flag of the war navy differs from that of the mercantile marine—as in the case of Great Britain, Germany, and Spain—in others the same flag is used. This is so in the United States, France, etc.

The Chief of the State, whether he be called Emperor, King, President, or Sultan, has his own flag—his personal Standard—and this special and personal flag, in the case of the President of the United States, has on its blue field an eagle, bearing on its breast a shield with the stars and stripes, and beneath it the national motto, "E pluribus unum." As it has been suggested that the employment of the eagle as a symbol of the State was derived from the crest of Washington, it may not be inopportune to state that the crest in question was not an eagle at all, but a raven. The idea of the eagle, together with the word "Senate," and many such similar {94}things, no doubt arose from their use in ancient Rome, and afforded an illustration the more of the pseudo-classicalism that was raging in the eighteenth century in France and elsewhere.

The eagle appears on many of the early flags of America. Fig. 150 is a curious example of its use. In an old engraving we see a figure of Liberty defended by Washington, and above them this flag. In another old print before us we see Washington leaning on a cannon, and behind him a flag bearing the stars and stripes, plus an eagle, that with outstretched wings fills up much of the field, having in his beak a label with the "E pluribus unum" upon it, with one foot grasping the thunderbolts of War, and the other the olive-branch of Peace.

Both these eagle-bearing flags, it will be seen, are associated with the President; but in many of these early examples there seems no necessary connection. Thus in one instance we see a busy ship-building scene, and while the ship in the foreground has at stern the stars and stripes, at the bowsprit it bears a Jack that is identical with the blue and white portion of Fig. 150.

In a Presidential Standard proposed in 1818 the flag is quartered. In the first quarter are twenty white stars on a blue field; in the second quarter is the eagle and thunderbolt; in the third a sitting figure emblematic of Liberty; in the fourth, seven red horizontal stripes alternating with six white ones. We found the flag figured in an old American book, but are unable to say whether such a flag was ever actually made, proposition and adoption not being altogether the same thing.

History repeated itself on the secession from the Union, in the year 1860, of North and South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. There was the same desire at first for individuality in the different flags adopted by the seceding States, the same unwillingness to break wholly away from the old flag, that we have seen as features in the first revolt.

Louisiana adopted the flag shown in Fig. 156; this was emblematic of the origin and history of the State, Louisiana having been settled by Louis Quatorze in 1718, ceded to Spain at the peace of 1763, restored to France in 1802, sold by France to America in 1803, and admitted as a State of the Union in 1812. The Spanish Flag, Fig. 192, is red and yellow, hence the golden star on the ruddy field, while the stripes of red, white and blue are the colours found in the flags of France and America.

On the election of President Lincoln in November, 1860, South Carolina, by vote of Convention, proclaimed her resumption of independence as a Sovereign State, and on the 17th of the month the new State Flag, having a green Palmetto palm in the centre of a {95}field of white, was hoisted in Charleston amidst the ringing of bells, a salute of one hundred guns, and every possible sign of public rejoicing. In January, 1861, the flag shown in Fig. 155 was substituted, the old crescent moon of the first rebellion, 1775, reappearing, but in the Charleston Mercury, of January 29th, 1861, we read that "the Legislature last night again altered the design of the State Flag. It now consists of a blue field with a white Palmetto palm tree in the middle. The white crescent in the upper flagstaff corner remains as before, but the horns pointing upwards. This may be regarded as final." This flag is shown in Fig. 159. Fig. 160 is the flag of Texas—"the lone star" State.

"Hurrah for the Lone Star!

Up, up to the mast

With the honoured old bunting,

And nail it there fast.

The ship is in danger,

And Texans will fight

'Neath the flag of the Lone Star

For God and their right."

When it became necessary, as it almost immediately did, to adopt one flag as the common Ensign of all the Confederate States, a special committee was appointed to consider the matter, and to study the numerous designs submitted to them. On presenting their report the Chairman said—"A flag should be simple, readily made, and capable of being made up in bunting; it should be different from the flag of any other country, place, or people: it should be significant: it should be readily distinguishable at a distance: the colours should be well contrasted and durable: and lastly, and not the least important point, it should be effective and handsome. The Committee humbly think that the flag which they submit combines these requirements. It is very easy to make; it is entirely different from any other national flag. The three colours of which it is composed—red, white, and blue—are the true Republican Colours; they are emblematic of the three great virtues—valour, purity, and truth. Naval men assure us that it can be recognised at a great distance. The colours contrast admirably, and are lasting. In effect and appearance it must speak for itself." The flag, thus highly and justly commended, was first hoisted on March 4th, 1861, at Montgomery. It is represented in Fig. 152, and was quickly known as the "Stars and Bars."[61] Even the New York Herald admitted that "the design of this flag is striking, and it has {96}the merit of originality as well as of durability." The circle of white stars was intended to correspond in number with the States in the Confederacy, but no great attention seems to have been paid to this. The flag may be seen engraved on the paper money of the different Southern States, and on other Government papers. In one example before us the stars are seven in number, and in another nine are shown, the number of seceding States being eleven.

While the "Stars and Bars," Fig. 152, was quite a different flag from Fig. 146, the "Stars and Stripes," it was found that, nevertheless, in the stress of battle confusion arose; so the battle flag, Fig. 153, known as the "Southern Cross," became largely adopted, though its use was never actually legalised. Here, again, we find that though eleven should be the proper number of the stars, they are in our illustration thirteen, while in one example we have found seventeen. It would be found in practice very difficult to make a pleasing arrangement of eleven stars; given a central one, and two on either side of it in the arms of the cross, and we get nine as a result, with three on either side it will total to thirteen, and with four it must take seventeen. In a few instances it may be seen without the red portions—a white flag with the blue cross and white stars. One great objection to the Southern Cross was that it was not adapted for sea service, since being alike in whatever way it was looked at, it could not be reversed in case of distress. To obviate this difficulty, at a Congress in Richmond in 1863 the form seen in Fig. 154 was adopted—a plain white flag having the Southern Cross as its Union; but this, in turn, was objected to as being too much like a flag of truce, so to meet this, in the following year, it was ordered that the space between the Union and the outer edge of the flag should be divided vertically in half, and that the outer half should be red: an alteration that may have been necessary, but which greatly spoiled the appearance of what was, before this, a handsome and striking flag. As the struggle came to an end in the following year, the "Stars and Bars" and the "Southern Cross" perished in the general downfall of the Southern cause—the victories of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Shenandoah Valley, Chattanooga, and many another hard-fought field, and the brilliant strategy of Lee, Beauregard, Longstreet, Jackson, Early, Hood, and many another gallant commander, being all in vain against the unlimited resources of the North. Over six hundred and fifty thousand human lives, over seven hundred millions of pounds sterling, were spent in what an American writer delicately calls "the late unpleasantness."

The Americans, jealous of the honour of their flag, have sometimes, to our insular notions, a rather odd way of showing it. Some {97}of our readers will remember how an American, some time ago, undertook to carry the flag of his country through England. Whatever visions he or his compatriots may have had of his defending it gallantly against hostile attack were soon proved to be baseless. Englishmen, cela va sans dire, have no hostility to the Americans, and the populace—urban, suburban, and rural—everywhere entered into the humour of the thing, and cheered the gallant sergeant and his bunting wherever he appeared. All the risk and terror of the exploit melted away in general acclamation and hearty welcome. An Englishman told us that in descending a mountain in Norway he met an American carrying something rolled up; he unfolded it, and displayed the Stars and Stripes, and said that he had brought it to plant on the summit of the mountain. Why he should do so is by no means apparent: but still, as it pleased him and hurt no one else, it would be churlish, indeed, to demur to so innocent a pastime. Our friend courteously raised his hat to the symbol of the great daughter nation over the ocean, whereupon the American heartily reciprocated, saying, "Thanks, stranger; and here's to the Union Jack."[62]

When the French declared war against Prussia, on July 16th, 1870, they were entirely unprepared for the enthusiasm and unity with which the various German States rallied together against the common opponent. It was thought that the Southern and Catholic States would, at least, be neutral, if they did not side with France against a Power that, during previous conflict with Austria, had laid heavy hand on those that had then taken sides against her. But this, after all, had been but a quarrel amongst themselves; and the attempt of France to violate German soil was at once the signal for Germans to stand shoulder to shoulder in one brotherhood against the common foe. The separate interests and grievances of Bavarians, Saxons, Hessians, Badeners, Brunswickers, Wurtemburgers, Hanoverians, were at once put aside, and united Germany, in solid phalanx, rose in irresistible might. In the great historic Palace of Versailles, in the hall dedicated "to all the glories of France," the Confederate Princes of Germany, headed by the King of Bavaria, {98}conferred on the King of Prussia the title of Emperor of Germany, bestowing on him the duty of representing all the German States in international questions, and appointing him and his successors the Commander-in-chief of the German forces. Thus, on January 17th, 1871, amid the acclamation of the allied Sovereigns and the deep bass of the cannon in the trenches surrounding the beleagured capital of the common enemy, the principle of German unity received its seal and consummation.

The War Ensign of the Empire is represented in Fig. 207. The colours of Prussia, black and white, and the Prussian Eagle enter largely into it, and perhaps it may at first sight appear that these symbols of the Prussian State are even a little too conspicuous, but it must be borne in mind that it is to the Sovereign of this State the headship of all is given, and that the vital interests of Prussia in the matter may be further illustrated by the fact that while she has a population, in round numbers, of thirty millions, Bavaria has but five, and Saxony three, while the Wurtemburgers and Badeners between them make up about another three millions, and no other State in the Empire comes at all near these figures. Prussia has over 130,000 square miles of territory to fight for, while Bavaria has but 29,292, and the next largest, Wurtemburg, has only an area of 7,531; in every way, political, commercial, or what not, the interests of Prussia are overwhelmingly predominant.

The flag of West Prussia is the black, white, black, shewn in Fig. 211, while the East Prussian flag is made up of but two horizontal strips, the upper black and the lower white. Hence the well-known war song, "Ich bin ein Preussen,"[63] commences,

"I am a Prussian! Know ye not my banner?

Before me floats my flag of black and white!

My fathers died for freedom, 'twas their manner,

So say those colours floating in your sight."


The black, white, and red canton in the staff-head corner of the flag is also made into an independent flag, as at Fig. 208, and used as a "Jack" in the Imperial Navy, while this same flag, Fig. 208, minus the cross, is the flag of the Mercantile Marine. On the 25th of October, 1867, on the establishment of the North German Confederacy, at the conclusion of the Austro-Prussian campaign, the King of Prussia sanctioned a proposal for a flag common to all. We find in this decree that "the confederate flag henceforth solely to bear the qualification of the national flag, and as such to be exclusively on board the merchantmen of the Confederacy, shall be composed of three equilateral stripes horizontally arranged: the colour of the top one being black, the middle stripe white, and that of the bottom stripe red." On the inclusion of the South German States on the formation of the German Empire, the latter still more potent and august body retained the Confederacy Flag for its mercantile marine. Up to the year 1867 no German national flag had ever flown on the ocean, as the various States and free cities had their special colours of merely local value.

The responsible Minister of the Crown, in a speech delivered in the Diet in 1867, stated to the members that the combination of colours was emblematic of a junction of the black-white Prussian flag with the red-white ensign of the Hanseatic League. This league of the sea-ports of Germany was organised in 1164 for their mutual defence and for the interchange of commercial advantages. As its strength and reputation increased, many other cities sought to be admitted, but international jealousies disintegrated the League, and by the year 1630 it was reduced from sixty-six cities to three—Lubeck, Hamburg, and Bremen. These three Hanse towns still retain special privileges. The red and the white in the German flag represents the commercial prosperity of the nation, while the black and white symbolises the strong arm of the State prepared to protect and foster it. The flags of these three cities still retain the old colours, Lubeck being half white and half red, Bremen red and white stripes, and Hamburg a white castle on a red field.

The arms of the Hohenzollerns are quarterly arranged. The first and fourth quarters are themselves quartered, black and white for Zollern, while the second and third quarters are azure with a golden stag for Sigmaringen. Friedrich VI., the first of the Hohenzollerns, the Burggraf of Nürnberg, became Friedrich I., Elector of Brandenburg, in 1417. There were twelve in all, of these Hohenzollern Electors, and Friedrich III., the last of these, became in 1701 the first King of Prussia. All the succeeding Sovereigns have been of the same house, so that the black and {100}white in the flag of to-day is the black and white that for over five hundred years has been emblazoned in the arms of the Hohenzollerns.

The cross on the flag (Figs. 207 and 208)—the "iron cross" so highly prized as the reward of fine service—is the cross of the Teutonic Order, and dates from the close of the 12th century. The history of the Teutonic Order, in its connexion with Prussia, is dealt with very fully in the first volume of Carlyle's "Frederick the Great."

The Imperial Standard of Germany has the iron cross, black with white border, on a yellow field, in the centre of all being a shield bearing the arms of Prussia, surmounted by a crown and surrounded by the collar of the Order of the Black Eagle. The yellow groundwork of the flag is diapered over in each quarter with three black eagles and a crown. The arms of the cross stretch out to the four edges of the flag.

The Admiral's flag in the Imperial German Navy is square, and consists of the black cross on a white ground—the cross, as in the standard, extending to the edges of the flag. The Vice-Admiral's flag is similar, but has in the upper staff-space a black ball in addition, while the Rear-Admiral has the same flag again, but with the addition of a black ball in each of the quarters nearest the mast. The Chief of the Admiralty has a white flag again with the cross in the centre, but in this case there is a considerable margin of white all round, and four red anchors are placed so that they extend in a sloping direction from the corners of the flag towards the inner angles of the cross. We get the characteristic black and white again in the burgee of the Imperial Yacht Club, which is thus quartered, an upright line meeting a horizontal one in the centre of the burgee, and thus giving a first and fourth black quarter and a second and third white one. The signal for a pilot again is a white flag with a broad border of black; if our readers will take a mourning envelope with a good deep margin of black to it, they will see the effect exactly.

German vessels engaged in trade on the East African coast fly the black, white, red, but in the centre of the white stripe is a blue anchor placed erect, while the Imperial Governor in East Africa substitutes for the anchor the black eagle. The German East Africa Company's flag is white cut into quarters by a narrow and parallel-edged cross and a red canton with five white stars on it in the quarter nearest the masthead.

While we find amongst the minor States of Germany Oldenburg, Fig. 204, with a cross-bearing flag, the greater number are made up of stripes disposed horizontally, and either two or three in number. Thus Fig. 199 is the white-green of Saxony, Fig. 200 {101}the black-red-yellow of Waldeck, Fig. 202 the blue-white of Pomerania, Fig. 203 the black-red of Wurtemburg, Fig. 205 the red-yellow-blue of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Fig. 206 the blue-yellow of Brunswick, Fig. 209 the green-white of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, Fig. 210 the blue-red-white of Schomberg Lippe, Fig. 212 the red-white of Hesse. Others that we have not figured are the red-yellow of Baden, the white-blue of Bavaria, the yellow-white of Hanover, the yellow-red of Elsass, the red-yellow of Lothringen.[64] To these, others might be added: Sleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg, Posen, Silesia, etc., all agreeing in the same general character.

The Imperial Standard of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy is yellow, and has in its centre the black double-headed eagle and a bordering all round composed of equal-sided triangles turning alternately their apices inwards and outwards; the first of these are alternately yellow and white, the second alternately scarlet and black. On the displayed wings of the eagle are the arms of the eleven provinces of the empire.

The war-ensign of the monarchy in represented in Fig. 213; it is composed of three equal horizontal bands of red, white, red, and bears in its centre beneath the Imperial crown a shield similarly divided. This flag originated in 1786, when the Emperor Joseph II. decreed its introduction. This shield was the heraldic device of the ancient Dukes of Austria, and is known to have been in existence in the year 1191, as Duke Leopold Heldenthum bore these arms at that date during the Crusades.

The "Oesterreich-Ungarische Monarchie," to give it its official title, is under the command of one Sovereign, who is both Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, but each of these great States has its own Parliament, Ministry, and Administration. Austria had long held the Hungarians in most unwilling subjection, and the disastrous outcome for Austria of the war with Prussia made it absolutely essential to make peace with Hungary, the Magyars seeing in the humiliation of Austria the opportunity that they had long been awaiting of becoming once again an independent State. A compromise was effected in February, 1867, by which the Hungarians were willing to remain under the rule of the Emperor of Austria, but only on condition that he submitted to be crowned King of Hungary, and that in the dual monarchy thus {102}created they should have absolutely the same rights and freedom as the Austrians. The Austrian flag, as we have seen, is red-white-red, while the Hungarian is red-white-green, and a commission being appointed to consider how these two flags could be blended into one, introduced on March 6th, 1869, as the result of its deliberations, the Austro-Hungarian national flag that we have represented in Fig. 214.

The Austrian provinces have chiefly bi- or tri-color flags, the stripes being arranged horizontally. Thus Bohemia is red-white; Tyrol is white-red; Dalmatia is blue-yellow; Galicia is blue-red; Croatia is red-white-blue; Istria yellow-red-blue.

We are so used in England to the idea that cheering is a spontaneous product that it seems strange to find that the official welcome by the Austrian fleet to their Emperor is a salute of twenty-one guns, followed by fifteen hurrahs. Each rank has its special limit of honour; thus a minister of State or field-marshal is saluted by nineteen guns and eleven hurrahs; a general by thirteen and seven, while a commodore drops to eleven and three; ambassadors, archbishops, consuls, all have their definite share of gunpowder and such specified amount of shouting as is held to be befitting to their position.

The Imperial Standard of the Czar of all the Russias is the brilliant yellow and black flag represented in Fig. 226. The introduction of the black two-headed eagle dates back from the year 1472, when Ivan the Great married Sophia, a niece of Constantine Palæolagus, and thence assumed the arms of the Greek Empire. On the breast of the eagle is an escutcheon bearing on its red field in silver the figure of St. George slaying the dragon, the whole being surrounded by the collar of the Order of St. Andrew. On the displayed wings of the eagle are other shields, too small for representation in our figure, bearing the arms of Kiow, a silver angel on an azure field; of Novgorod, two black bears on a golden shield; of Voldermirz, a golden lion rampant on a red shield; of Kasan, a black wyvern on a silver ground, and so forth. The flag of the Czarina is similar, except that it has a broad blue bordering to it.

A new Standard is made for each Czar. It was originally borne before him in battle, but this custom has fallen into disuse, and it is now deposited with the rest of the regalia. On the heavy gold brocade is embroidered the black eagle, and around this the arms of the provinces of the Empire. From the eagle that surmounts the staff are pendant the blue ribbons of the Order of St. Andrew, embroidered in gold, with the dates of the foundation of the Russian State in 862, the baptism by St. Vladimir in 986, the union of all Russian possessions under the sceptre of John III. in 1497, and the {103}proclamation of the Empire by Peter the Great. Its dedication is a great religious function, and its sacred character and its appeal to a lofty patriotism duly enforced. Thus we find the Imperial Chaplain addressing the present Czar before the consecration of the standard as follows:—

"Divine Providence has resolved, by the right of succession to the Throne, to entrust to thee, as Supreme Head and Autocrat of the Peoples of the Empire of all the Russias, this Sacred Banner, an emblem of its unity and power.

"We pray the Heavenly Father for the union of all thy subjects in loyalty and devotion to their Throne and Country, and in the unselfish fulfilment of their patriotic duties.

"May this Banner inspire thy enemies with dread, may it be a sign to thee of Divine Assistance, and in the name of God, of the Orthodox Faith, of Right and of Justice; may it help thee, in spite of all obstacles, to lead thy people to prosperity, greatness, and glory."

After the Benediction, holy water was sprinkled upon the standard, and the Czar, as the embodiment of the Nation, was again addressed:—

"The Almighty has been pleased, in the course of the law of inheritance, to enthrone you as the Sovereign Ruler of all the peoples of the Russian nation; this sacred Standard is a token of unity and power. We pray it may unite all thy subjects in unquestioning loyalty to the Throne and Country, and in unselfish fulfilment of each duty of a subject. May it be to thee a sign, terrible to the foes of Russia, of the help given by the Lord God to the glory of His Holy Name, that, through Orthodox Faith, notwithstanding all limitations, thy people may be led to prosperity, greatness, and glory; so shall all nations know that God is on our side."

The Russians venerate St. Andrew as their patron Saint, believing that it was he who carried the doctrines of Christianity into their midst. Origen asserts that he preached in Scythia. Peter the Great instituted under his name and protection, in the year 1698, the first and most noble order of Knighthood of the Russian Empire as a reward for the valour of his officers in the war against the Ottomans. The badge is the X-like cross of St. Andrew displayed upon the Imperial Eagle and pendant from a broad blue ribbon. We have already seen that St. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland also, but in Scotland the cross, Fig. 92, is white upon a field of blue, while in Russia, Fig. 217, it is blue upon a field of white. This flag, Fig. 217, is the war ensign, the flag of the Imperial Navy.

The creed of the Russian Church extols the worship of Saints, and amongst the numerous subjects of veneration St. George takes {104}rank next to St. Andrew himself. Hence we see his presentment on the Standard of the Czar, and hence Catherine II., in 1762, instituted an order of knighthood in his honour. The badge is a cross of gold, having in its centre a medallion with a figure of the saint slaying the dragon; the ribbon being yellow and black. St. George, we need scarcely remind our readers, is the great warrior-Saint of England too, but while we place his scarlet cross, Fig. 91, on the field of white, the Russians reverse the arrangement and place his white cross on scarlet.[65]

Fig. 215 is the Russian Union Jack that combines the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George. Fig. 73 is the British Union Jack that deals with precisely the same combination.

The flag of the Russian merchant service is represented in Fig. 218. This was originally instead of being white, blue, red, a flag of blue, white, red. Peter the Great borrowed this from the Dutch, amongst whom he learnt ship-building. The Dutch flag, Fig. 237, it will be seen is a tricolor of red, white, blue. Peter simply turned this upside down, and afterwards, for greater distinction, charged the central white space with a small blue St. Andrew's Cross, as we see in Fig. 219, which represents this early form of flag. Later on, for still greater clearness of distinction, the blue and the white strips changed places, and so we get the modern Russian mercantile flag, as shown in Fig. 218. It was evidently undesirable that the flag of the great Empire of Russia should be the same as that of a reversed Dutch ensign—a signal of distress and disaster.

Based upon these two simple forms, the government Cross of St. Andrew, Fig. 217, and the commercial tricolor, Fig. 218, we get a great variety of official flags. Thus Fig. 220 is a very happy blending of the two forms in the flag of a Consul-General, since he is an official of the State, and at the same time his duties deal largely with commercial interests; and much the same ground may be taken as regards the blending of the two flags in Fig. 221, the flag of a Russian Chargé d'Affaires. Fig. 223 is the ensign of a Russian transport; if of the second division the field of the flag is blue, and if of the third it is red, in each of these cases the crossed anchors being white. The Russian signal for a pilot is the Jack shown in Fig. 215, but with a broad white border to it. {105}

A Russian Ambassador or Minister Plenipotentiary flies the flag shown in Fig. 222. In the Imperial Navy we find a considerable variety of flag types. While the full Admiral flies the Imperial Naval Flag, Fig. 217, that of the Vice-Admiral has along its bottom edge a horizontal strip of blue, and that of the Rear-Admiral in the same position a strip of red. The flag of the Minister of Marine is the official flag, Fig. 217, except that instead of the four plain white spaces there seen these triangles hold each of them a golden anchor, the fluke end outwards. There are many other modifications that we need not here particularise.

Fig. 216 is the official flag of Poland; the device in the canton in the upper corner, the white eagle on the scarlet field, is the ancient Polish flag, when Poland was yet a nation.

The early history of the French flag is lost in obscurity, and it is not always easy to trace the various modifications that it has undergone. At the earliest date of which we have record we find the kings of the Franks marshalling their forces under the plain blue flag known as the Chape de St. Martin. Later on the red flag of St. Denis, known as the oriflamme, came into use, and was held in great popular esteem, until by the tenth century we find it accepted as the national flag, though the blue flag still held its ground as a recognised flag. We may, in fact, assume that as the Russians placed themselves beneath the protection both of St. George and also of St. Andrew, so the French felt that a double claim on saintly assistance would be by no means amiss.

The Chape de St. Martin was originally in the keeping of the monks of the Abbey of Marmoutiers, and popular belief held it to be a portion of the actual blue cloak that the legend affirms the Saint divided with the beggar suppliant. The Counts of Anjou claimed the right to take this blue flag to battle with them. We find it borne by Clovis in the year 507 against Alaric, and again by Charlemagne at the battle of Narbonne; and time after time it led the hosts of France to victory. When the kings of France transferred the seat of government to Paris, the great local Saint, St. Denis, was held in high honour, and the scarlet flag of the Abbey Church of St. Denis gradually ousted the blue flag of St. Martin, and "St. Denis" became the war-cry of France.[66] Fig. 179 is a representation of the oriflamme from some ancient stained glass, but the authorities differ somewhat; thus the "Chronique de Flandre" describes it as having three points and tassels of green {106}silk attached thereto, while an English authority says, "The celestial auriflamb, so by the French admired, was but of one colour, a square redde banner." Du Cange gives no hint of its shape, but affirms that it was simple, "sans portraiture d'autre affaire." All therefore that seems quite definite is that it was a plain scarlet flag. The last time that the sacred ensign was borne to battle was at Agincourt on October 25th, 1415, when it certainly failed to justify the confidence of its votaries.

The precise date when the golden fleurs-de-lys were added to the blue flag is open to doubt, but we find the form at a very early date, and from the first recognition of heraldic coats of arms this blazon was the accepted cognizance of the kings of France. We see this represented in Fig. 184. Originally the fleurs-de-lys were powdered, as in Fig. 188, over the whole surface, but in the reign of Charles V., A.D. 1365, the number was reduced to three.[67]

The meaning of the fleur-de-lys has given rise to much controversy; some will tell us that it is a lily flower or an iris, while others affirm that it is a lance-head. Some authorities see in it an arbitrary floral form assumed by King Louis,[68] and therefore the fleur-de-Louis; while others are so hard put to it that they tell us of a river Lys in Flanders that was so notable for its profusion of yellow iris that the flower became known as the fleur-de-Lys. The ancient chronicles gravely record that they were lilies brought from Paradise by an angel to King Clovis in the year 496, on the eve of a great battle fought near Cologne. Clovis made a vow that if he were victorious he would embrace the Christian faith, and the angel visitant and the celestial gift were a proof that his prayers were heard and his vow accepted. As the belief that France was in an especial degree under Divine protection was a very flattering one, the lilies were held for centuries in great favour; and the fleur-de-lys did not finally disappear from the flag of France until the downfall of Louis Philippe in the year 1848, a date within the recollection, doubtless, of some of our readers. Finality, indeed, may not even yet have been reached in the matter. As the bees of Napoleon I. reappeared in the arms of Napoleon III., so the fleur-de-lys may yet again appear on the ensigns of France. By virtue of a Napoleonic decree in 1852 against factious or treasonable emblems, it was forbidden to introduce the fleur-de-lys in jewellery, tapestry, or any other decorative way, lest its introduction might peril the position of a {107}sovereign who rose to power by lavish bribery, and the free outpouring of blood. Napoleon the First, and at least by contrast the Great, when at Auch enquired the reason why many of the windows of the cathedral were partially concealed by paper, and he was informed that it was because it was feared that he would be offended at the sight of certain ancient emblems there represented. "What!" he exclaimed, "the fleurs-de-lys? Uncover them this moment. During eight centuries they guided the French to glory, as my eagles do now, and they must always be dear to France and held in reverence by her true children."

The white cross frequently appears on the early French flags. Fig. 188, the flag of the French Guards in the year 1563, is a good example of this. We find Favyn, in a book published in Paris in 1620, "Le Théâtre d'honneur et de Chevalerie," writing: "Le grand estendard de satin bleu celeste en riche broderie de fleurs de lys d'or a une grande croix plein de satin blanc, qui est la croix de France." Figs. 180 and 181 are taken from a MS. executed in the time of Louis XII., A.D. 1498, illustrating a battle scene; these two flags are placed by the side of the fleur-de-lys flag, Fig. 184. When Louis XI., in 1479, organised the national infantry we find him giving them as the national ensign a scarlet flag with white cross on it; and some two hundred years later we find the various provincial levies beneath flags of various designs and colours, but all agreeing in having the white cross as the leading feature. Fig. 182, for example, is that of the Soissonois. Desjardins, in his excellent book on the French flag,[69] gives a great many illustrations of these. In the Musée d'Artillerie in Paris we find a very valuable collection of martial equipments from the time of Charlemagne, and amongst these a fine series (original where possible, or, failing this copies) of the flags of France from the year 1250.

The Huguenot party in France adopted the white flag, and when King Henry III., 1574 to 1589, himself a Protestant, came to the throne, the white flag became the royal ensign, and was fully adopted in the next reign, that of Henry IV., the first king of the house of Bourbon, as the national flag. The whole history of the flag prior to the Great Revolution, is somewhat confused, and in the year 1669, which we may consider about the middle of the Bourbon or white flag period,[70] we find the order given by the {108}Minister of the Marine that "the ensigns are to be blue, powdered with yellow fleurs-de-lys, with a large white cross in the middle." Merchant ships were to wear the same flag as the ships of war except that in the canton corner was to be placed the device of their province or town. Before the end of the year a new order was issued to the effect that "the ensigns at the stern are to be in all cases white," while the merchants were to fly the white flag with the device of the port in the corner. The white flag was sometimes plain, as in Fig. 183, and at other times provided with yellow fleurs-de-lys. On the restoration of the Bourbons in 1814, after the Republic, Consulate, and Empire, the white flag was again the flag of the nation, and remained so until 1830, its last appearance in France, unless or until the house of Bourbon again arises to the throne, when the restoration of the drapeau blanc would probably follow. The white flag has therefore been the national ensign of France for over two hundred years.

In a book in the library of the Science and Art Department, South Kensington, we found the flag represented in Fig. 185 figured as the French Standard, with Fig. 187 apparently as an alternative, while the National flag of France is represented as the tricolor with bordering shown in Fig. 189, and the Admiral's flag is given as pure white. The book is entitled "A Display of Naval Flags of all Nations." It was published in Liverpool; no date is given, but we can arrive approximately at this, as the British Standard is represented as including the arms of Hanover; this limits its publication to between the years 1714 and 1837.

The well-known tricolor of France, Fig. 191, dates from the era of the Revolution and came into existence in 1789. It has, with the exception of the short Bourbon Restoration, been the flag of France for over a century, and it remains so to this day, though it underwent some few modifications ere it settled down to the present form. Thus, for instance, on October 24th 1790, it was decreed that the colour next the staff was to be red, the central strip white and the outer blue, but on February 15th, 1794, it was ordered that "the flag prescribed by the National Assembly be abolished. The national flag shall be formed of the three national colours in equal bands placed vertically, the hoist being blue, the centre white, and the fly red." On the Revolution of 1848, the provisional government ordered on March 5th that the colours were to run thus—blue, red, white, but the opposition to this was so strong that only two days later the order was cancelled. In 1790 the tricolor was made the Jack, and the ensign was as shown in Fig. 190. This ensign was to be common to both the men-of-war and the flags of the merchant navy, but the arrangement was not of long continuance. The spirit of change that was felt in every department affected the flags {109}likewise, and some little time elapsed before the matter was satisfactorily settled.

The arms of Paris are a white galley on a red ground, and above this are three golden fleurs-de-lys on a blue band or strip. On July 14th, 1789, it was determined that a civic guard of forty thousand men should be raised, and that its colours should be those of the city, the gules and azure of the groundwork of the escutcheon, to which, on the proposal of Lafayette, the white of the royal drapeau blanc was added.

During the first and second Empire the Imperial Standard was still the tricolor, but it bore in the centre of the white strip the eagle; and all three strips were richly diapered over with the golden bees of the Napoleons. The national flag was the tricolor pure and simple, both for the Imperial and the Commercial Navy. As the flags of the army were borne on staffs surmounted by a golden eagle, the term "eagle" was often applied to these colours.[71]

On the outbreak of the second Republic in 1848, the people immediately on its proclamation demanded the adoption of the ill-omened red flag. Lamartine, the leading member of the provisional Government, closed an impassioned address with the words: "Citizens, I will reject even to death this banner of blood, and you should repudiate it still more than myself, for this red flag you offer us has only made the circuit of the Champs de Mars bathed in the blood of the people, while the tricolor has made the circuit of the world, with the name, the glory, and the liberty of your country." Louis Blanc and other members of the Government were in favour of the red flag, and at last a compromise was effected and the tricolor was accepted with the addition of a large red rosette. Louis Blanc, not unreasonably, as a Republican, pointed out that Lafayette had in 1789 associated the white of the Bourbon flag with the red and blue of the arms of the City, and that the tricolor flag was therefore the result of a compromise between the king and the people, but that in 1848 the king having abdicated, and monarchy done away with, there was no reason why any suggestion of the kingly power should continue. Doubtless the suppression of the flag of the barricades, the symbol of civil strife, {110}of anarchy and bloodshed, and the retaining of the tricolor was the wiser and more patriotic course, though it required no mean amount of courage and strong personal influence to effect the change.

The Imperial Eagle, so long a symbol of victory, has now in these Republican days[72] disappeared from the national colours. The flag of the French army is now surmounted by a wreath of laurel traversed by a golden dart with the letters R.F. and the regimental number, while on one face of the flag itself is, in the middle, the inscription "Republique Française, Honneur et Patrie," each corner being occupied by a golden wreath enclosing the number of the regiment. The name of the regiment and its "honours" occupy the other side.

The pendant of the French man-of-war is simply, Fig. 186, the tricolor elongated. The Admiral flies a swallow-tailed tricolor, while the Rear-Admiral and the Vice-Admiral have flags of the ordinary shape, like Fig. 191, except that the former officer has two white stars on the blue strip near the top of it, and the latter three. Maritime prefects have the three white stars on the blue plus two crossed anchors in blue in the centre of the white strip. The Governor of a French colony has such a special and distinctive flag as Fig. 96 would be if, instead of the Union canton on the blue, we placed in similar place the tricolor. There are naturally a great many other official flags, but the requirements of our space forbid our going into any further description of them.

The war and mercantile flags of Spain have undergone many changes, and their early history is very difficult to unravel; but on May 28th, 1785, the flags were adopted that have continued in use ever since. Fig. 192 is the flag of the Spanish Navy; it consists, as will be seen, of three stripes—a central yellow one, and a red one, somewhat narrower, above and below. The original proportion was that the yellow should be equal in width to the two red ones combined. This central stripe is charged, near the hoist, with an escutcheon containing the arms of Castile and Leon, and surmounted by the royal crown. The mercantile flag, Fig. 193, is also red and yellow. The yellow stripe in the centre is without the escutcheon, and in width it should be equal to one-third of the entire depth of the flag, the remaining thirds above and below it being divided into two equal strips, the one red and the other yellow. This simple striping of the two colours was doubtless {111}suggested by the arms of Arragon, the vertical red and yellow bars[73] of which may be seen also in the Spanish Royal Standard, Fig. 194. Spain, like Italy, has grown into one monarchy by the aggregation of minor States. In the year 1031 we have the Union of Navarre and Castile; in 1037 we find Leon and Asturias joining this same growing kingdom, and in the year 1474 Ferdinand II. of Arragon married Isabella of Castile, and thus united nearly the whole of the Christian part of Spain into one monarchy. In 1492 this same prince added to his dominions Moorish Spain by the conquest of Granada.

Legend hath it that in the year 873 the Carlovingian Prince Charles the Bold honoured Geoffrey, Count of Barcelona, by dipping his four fingers in the blood from the Count's wounds after a battle in which they were allied, and drawing them down the Count's golden shield, and that these ruddy bars were then and there incorporated in the blazon. Barcelona was shortly afterwards merged into the kingdom of Arragon, and its arms were adopted as those of that kingdom. Its four upright strips of red, the marks of the royal fingers, are just beyond the upper shield in Fig. 194.

The pendant of the Spanish Navy bears at its broad end a golden space in which the arms and crown, as in Fig. 192, are placed; the rest of the streamer is a broad strip of yellow, bordered, as in Fig. 192, by two slightly narrower strips of red.

The Royal Standard of Spain, Fig. 194, is of very elaborate character, and many of its bearings are as inappropriate to the historic facts of the present day as the retention in the arms of Great Britain of the French fleurs-de-lys centuries after all claim to its sovereignty had been lost. In the upper left hand part of the flag we find quartered the lion of Leon and the castle of Castile.[74] At the point we have marked "C" are the arms of Arragon. "D" is the device of Sicily. The red and white stripes at "E" are the arms of Austria; we have already encountered these in Fig. 213. The flag of ancient Burgundy, oblique stripes of yellow and blue within a red border, is placed at "F." The black lion on the golden ground at "G" is the heraldic bearing of Flanders, while the red eagle "H" is the device of Antwerp. At "I" we have the {112}golden lion of Brabant, and above it at "J" the fleurs-de-lys and chequers of ancient Burgundy. The upper small shield contains the arms of Portugal, and the lower contains the fleurs-de-lys of France.[75]

The Portuguese were an independent nation until Philip II. of Spain overran the country, and annexed it in the year 1580 to his own dominions, but in the year 1640 they threw off the Spanish yoke, which had grown intolerable, and raised John, Duke of Braganza, to the throne. The regal power has ever since remained in this family.

The Royal Standard bears on its scarlet field the arms of Portugal, surmounted by the regal crown. These arms were originally only the white shield with the five smaller escutcheons that we see in the centre of the present blazon. Would the scale of our illustration (Fig. 195) permit it, each of these small escutcheons should bear upon its surface five white circular spots. Portugal was invaded by the Moors in the year 713, and the greater part of the country was held by them for over three centuries. In the year 1139 Alphonso I. defeated an alliance of five great Moorish princes at the Battle of Ourique, and the five escutcheons in the shield represents the five-fold victory, while the five circles placed on each escutcheon symbolise the five wounds of the Saviour in whose strength he defeated the infidels. The scarlet border with its castles was added by Alphonso III., after his marriage in 1252 with the daughter of Alphonso the Wise, King of Castile, the arms of which province, as we have already seen in discussing the Spanish Standard, are a golden castle on a red field.

In an English poem, written by an eye-witness of the Siege of Rouen in the year 1418, we find an interesting reference to the arms of Portugal, where we read of

"The Kyngis herandis and pursiuantis,

In cotis of armys arryauntis.

The Englishe a beste, the Frensshe a floure

Of Portyugale bothe castelle and toure,

And other cotis of diversitie

As lordis beren in ther degre."[76]

The Portuguese ensign for her vessels of war and also for the merchant service bears the shield and crown, but instead of the {113}scarlet field we find the groundwork of the flag half blue, and half white, as shown in Fig. 196. The choice of these special colours, no doubt, arose from the arms on the original shield, the five blue escutcheons on the white ground. The Portuguese Jack has the national arms and royal crown in the centre of a white field, the whole being surrounded by the broad border of blue.

Italy, for centuries a geographical expression, is now one and indivisible. Within the recollection of many of our readers the peninsula was composed of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies, the Pontifical States, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchies of Parma and Modena. There was also in the north the Kingdom of Sardinia, while Lombardy and Venetia were in the grip of Austria. It is somewhat beside our present purpose to go into the wonderful story of how Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, aided by Cavour, Garibaldi, and many another noble patriot, by diplomacy, by lives freely laid down on the Tchernaya, on the fields of Magenta and Solferino, by the disaster at Sedan, by bold audacity at one time, by patient waiting at another, was finally installed in Rome, the Capital of United Italy, as king of a great and free nation of over thirty millions of people. Suffice it now to say that this Kingdom of Italy, as we now know it, did not achieve until the year 1870 this full unity under one flag that had been for centuries the dream of patriots who freely shed their blood on the battlefield or the scaffold, or perished in the dungeons of Papal Rome, or Naples, or Austria for this ideal.

On the downfall in 1861 of the Bourbon Government in the Kingdom of the two Sicilies before the onslaught of the Volunteers of Garibaldi, the first National Parliament met in Turin, and proclaimed Victor Emmanuel King of Italy. The title was at once acknowledged by Great Britain, and, later on, by the other Powers, and the capital of the rising State was transferred to Florence. The Papal States were still under the protection of France, "the eldest Son of the Church"; and the young Kingdom, unable to wrest Rome from the French, had to wait with such patience as it could command for the consummation of its hopes. The long-looked-for day at last arrived, when amidst the tremendous defeats inflicted in 1870 by Germany on France, the French garrison in Rome was withdrawn, and the Italians, after a short, sharp conflict with the Papal troops, entered into possession of the Eternal City, and at once made it the Capital of a State at last free throughout its length and breadth—no longer a geographical expression, but a potent factor to be reckoned with and fully recognised.

Napoleon I. formed Italy into one kingdom in the year 1805, but it was ruled by himself and the Viceroy, Eugene Beauharnois, he appointed; and on his overthrow this, like the various other political {114}arrangements he devised, came to nought. The flag he bestowed was a tricolor of green, white, and red, his idea being that, while giving the new Kingdom a flag of its own, it should indicate by its near resemblance to that of France the source to which it owed its existence. In 1848, the great revolutionary period, this flag, which had passed out of existence on the downfall of Napoleon, was reassumed by the Nationalists of the Peninsula, and accepted by the King of Sardinia as the ensign of his own kingdom, and charged by him with the arms of Savoy. This tricolor, so charged (see Fig. 197) was the flag to which the eyes of all Italian patriots turned, and it is to-day the flag of all Italy. The flag we have represented is the ensign of the Merchant Service; the flag of the armed forces military and naval, is similar, save that the shield in the centre is surmounted by the Royal Crown. The Royal Standard, the personal flag of the King, has the arms of Savoy in the centre, on a white ground, the whole having a broad bordering of blue.

This shield of Savoy, the white cross on the red field, was the device of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, an order semi-religious, semi-military, that owed its origin to the Crusades. In the year 1310 the Knights captured Rhodes from the Saracens, but being hard pressed by the infidels, Duke Amadeus IV., of Savoy, came to the rescue, and the Grand Master of the Order conferred upon him the cross that has ever since been borne in the arms of Savoy. The Jack or bowsprit flag of the Italian man-of-war, Fig. 234, is simply this shield of the Knights of St. John squared into suitable flag-like form.

The Minister of Marine has the tricolor, but on the green portion is placed erect a golden anchor. The vessels carrying the Royal Mail fly a burgee of green, white, red, having a large white "P" on the green; and there are many other official flags, the insignia of various authorities or different departments, but lack of space forbids our dwelling at greater length upon them.

The war flag of the defunct temporal power of the Pope was white, and in its centre stood figures of St. Peter and St. Paul, and above them the cross keys and tiara. Fig. 198 was the flag of the merchant ships owned by the subjects of the States of the Church. The combination of yellow and white is very curious. In the banner borne by Godfrey, the Crusader King of Jerusalem, the only tinctures introduced were the two metals, gold and silver, five golden crosses being placed upon a silver field. This was done of deliberate intention that it might be unlike all other devices, as it is in all other cases deemed false heraldry to place metal on metal. The theory that these metals were selected because of the reference in the Psalms to the Holy City, may also be a very possible one—"Though ye have lien amongst the pots, yet shall ye {115}be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold." However this may be, the yellow and white of the arms of Jerusalem was adopted by the Papal Government.

The Danish flag is the oldest now in existence. In the year 1219, King Waldemar of Denmark in a critical moment in his stormy career, saw, or thought he saw, or said he saw, a cross in the sky. He was then leading his troops to battle against the Livonian pagans, and he gladly welcomed this answer to his prayers for Divine succour, this assurance of celestial aid. This sign from Heaven he forthwith adopted as the flag of his country, and called it the Dannebrog, i.e., the strength of Denmark. As a definite chronological fact, apart from all legend, this flag dates from the thirteenth century. There was also an Order of Dannebrog instituted in 1219, in further commemoration and honour of the miracle; and the name is a very popular one in the Danish Royal Navy, one man-of-war after another succeeding to the appellation. One of these Dannebrogs was blown up by the fire of Nelson's fleet in 1801.

The Danish Man-of-War Ensign is shown in Fig. 224. The Royal Standard, like the Ensign, is swallow-tailed, but in the centre of the cross is placed a white square, indicated in our illustration, Fig. 224, by dots. This central, square space contains the Royal Arms, surrounded by the Collars of the Orders of the Elephant and of the Dannebrog. The merchant flag, Fig. 225, is rectangular.

In the year 1397, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark all formed one kingdom under the rule of the latter, but in 1414 the Swedes waged with more or less success an arduous struggle for liberty, and their independence was definitely acknowledged in the year 1523. The flag of Sweden is the yellow cross on the blue ground shown in Fig. 231. The blue and yellow are the colours of the Swedish arms,[77] and they were then doubtless chosen for the flag as the colours of freedom and independence.

Norway had no separate political existence until the year 1814, but in that year the Norwegians seceded from Denmark, and declared their independence. Their first flag was still a red flag with a white cross on it, and the arms of Norway in the upper corner next the flagstaff, but this being found to too closely resemble the Danish flag, they substituted for it the device seen in Fig. 230, which it will be noted is still the Danish flag, plus the blue cross on the white one. The administration of Norway is entirely distinct from Sweden, and it retains its own laws, but in 1814 the two Kingdoms were united under one Sovereign. As a sign of the union there is carried in the upper square, next to the flagstaff in the flags of both countries, a union device, a combination of the Swedish {116}and Norwegian National colours. After considerable dispute, the Union Jack shown in Fig. 229 was accepted as the symbol of the political relationship of the two nations. It is a very neat arrangement, for if we look at the upper and lower portions we see the flag (Fig. 230) of Norway, if we study the two lateral portions we find they are the flag (Fig. 231) of Sweden. Both the Swedish and Norwegian war flags are swallow-tailed, and have the outer limb of the cross projecting; we may see this very clearly in Fig. 228, where the main body of the flag is Norwegian. The merchant flag is with each nationality rectangular; in Fig. 227 we have the flag of a Swedish merchant vessel. Both in the Norwegian and Swedish flags, as we may note in Figs. 227 and 228, it will be noticed that the Union device is conspicuously present. The Norwegian man-of-war flag, Fig. 228, would be that of a Norwegian merchant if we cut off the points in the fly; the Swedish merchant flag, Fig. 227, would be that of a Swedish man-of-war if instead of the straight end we made it swallow-tailed. As Sovereign of Sweden, the King places his arms in the centre of the large yellow cross; as Sovereign of Norway, in the centre of the large blue cross; hence we get the Swedish and Norwegian Royal Standards, the one for use in the one country, and the other for service in the other, the Union device being present in the upper corner in each case, and the outer portion of the flags swallow-tailed. The Standard is, in fact, the war flag plus the royal arms. The Post Service has in the centre of the flag a white square, with a golden horn and crown in it; the Customs flag has a similar white square at the junction of the arms of the cross, and in its centre is placed a crowned "T."

Fig. 232, on the same sheet as the flags of Norway and Sweden, is the simple and beautiful flag of Switzerland. Like the crosses of St. George, St. Andrew, St. Patrick, or that on the flag of Denmark, its device has a religious significance. Gautier tells us that:—"La première fois qu'il en est fait mention dans l'histoire écrite est dans la Chronique du Bearnois Justinger. Il dit, après avoir fait l'énumération des forces des Suisses quittant Berne pour marcher contre l'armée des nobles coalisés en 1339—'Et tous étaient marqués au signe de la Sainte Croix, une croix blanche dans un écusson rouge, par la raison que l'affranchissement de la nation était pour eux une cause aussi sacrée que la délivrance des lieux saints.'"

Its twenty-two cantons are united by a Constitution, under one President and one flag, but each canton has its own cantonal colours. Thus Basel is half black and half white; St. Gallen, green and white; Geneva, red and yellow; Aargau, black and blue; Glarus, red, black, and white; Uri, yellow and black; Berne, black and red; Fribourg, black and white; Lucerne, blue and white; {117}Tessin, red and blue; and so forth. In each case the stripes of colour are disposed horizontally, and the one we have each time mentioned first is the upper colour.

Within the walls of the City of Geneva was held, in 1863, an International Conference, to consider how far the horrors of war could be mitigated by aid to the sick and wounded. This Conference proposed that in time of war the neutrality should be fully admitted of field and stationary hospitals, and also recognised in the most complete manner by the belligerent Powers in the case of all officials employed in sanitary work, volunteer nurses, the inhabitants of the country who shall assist the wounded, and the wounded themselves—that an identical distinctive sign should be adopted for the medical corps of all armies, and that an identical flag should be used for all hospitals and ambulances, and for all houses containing wounded men. The distinctive mark of all such refuges is a white flag with a red cross on it—the flag of Switzerland reversed in colouring—and all medical stores, carriages, and the like, bear the same device upon them; while the doctors, nurses, and assistants, have a white armlet with the red cross upon it, the sacred badge that proclaims their mission of mercy. In deference to the religious feelings of Turkey a red crescent may be substituted for the cross in campaigns where that country is one of the belligerents. These valuable proposals were confirmed by a treaty in August, 1864, signed by the representatives of twelve Powers, and known as the Geneva Convention. Since then all the civilised Powers in the world, with the exception of the United States, have given in their adhesion to it. In 1867 an International Conference was held at Paris for still further developing and carrying out in a practical manner the principles of the Geneva Conference, and another at Berlin in 1869 for the same object. One notable feature of these two Conferences was the extension of the principles accepted for land conflict to naval warfare.

Holland, as an Independent State, came into existence in the year 1579. From 1299 we find the country under the rule of the Courts of Hainault, and in 1436 it came into the hands of the Dukes of Burgundy, who in turn were subjugated by the Spaniards. The tyranny and religious persecution to which the Netherlanders were exposed by the Spaniards led to numerous revolts, which at last developed into a War of Independence, under William, Prince of Orange. The Hollanders adopted as their flag the colours of the House of Orange—orange, white, and blue. At first there was great latitude of treatment, the number of the bars of each colour and their order being very variable, but in 1599 it was definitely fixed that the flag of the Netherlands was to be orange, white, blue, in three horizontal stripes of equal width. How the orange became {118}changed to red is very doubtful; Fournier, writing in 1643, we see refers to the Dutch flag as a tricolor of red, white, blue.

Fig. 237 represents the Royal Standard of Holland; the army and navy and commercial flags are similar, except that the Royal Arms are not introduced.

During the general effervescence caused by the French Revolution, the naval flag of Holland had in the upper staff-corner a white canton, charged with a figure of Liberty, but the innovation was not at all popular, as the sailors preferred the old tricolor under which the great victories of Reuter and Van Tromp were gained, and in 1806 it was deemed expedient to revert to it.

The brilliant scarlet, yellow, and black tricolor represented in Fig. 236 is the flag of Belgium. The Standard has, in addition, the Royal Arms placed in the centre of the yellow strip. The black, yellow, and red, are the colours of the Duchy of Brabant, and these were adopted as the national flag in 1831.

From 1477 onwards we find Belgium under Austrian domination, and in 1566 it fell into the hands of Spain. In 1795, and for some years following, it was held by France, and in 1814 was handed over to the Prince of Orange, but in 1830 the Belgians rose against the Hollanders, and before the end of the year their independence was acknowledged by the Great Powers, and Leopold of Coburg, in the following year, became first King of Belgium. Within a month of his accession to the throne, the Dutch recommenced the struggle, and it was only in 1839 that a final treaty of peace was signed in London between Belgium and Holland, and its claims to independence frankly recognised by the Dutch.

Greece, originally invaded by the Turks in the year 1350, remained for nearly five hundred years under their oppressive yoke, rising from time to time against their masters, only to expose their country, on the failure of their attempts, to the greater tyranny and the most dreadful excesses. Over ten thousand Greeks were slaughtered in Cyprus in 1821, while the bombardment of Scio in 1822, and the horrible massacre on its capture, stand out in lurid colours as one of the most atrocious deeds the world has ever known: over forty thousand men, women, and children fell by the sword. Seven thousand who had fled to the mountains were induced to surrender by a promise of amnesty, and these, too, were murdered. The towns and villages were fired, and the unfortunate inhabitants, hemmed in by the Turks, perished in the flames or fell beneath the swords of their relentless foes if they attempted to escape. Small wonder, then, that the heart of Europe was stirred, and that Lord Byron and thousands more took up the cause of Greek independence, by contributions of arms and money, by fiery denunciation, and with strong right hand. Missolonghi, Navarino, {119}and many another scene of struggle we cannot here dwell upon, suffice it to say that at last the victory was won and Greece emerged, after a tremendous struggle, from the bondage of the Turks, and took its place in Europe as a free and independent nation, the Porte acknowledging the inexorable logic of the fait accompli on April 25th, 1830. After a short Presidency under one of the Greek nobles, Otho of Bavaria was elected King of Greece in 1833, and the new Kingdom was fairly launched.

The Greeks adopted the blue and white, the colours of Bavaria, as a delicate compliment to the Prince who accepted their invitation to ascend the throne of Greece. The merchant flag of Greece is shown in Fig. 233. It will be seen that it consists of nine stripes, alternately blue and white, the canton being blue, with a white cross in it. The navy flag is similar, except that in addition there is placed a golden crown in the centre of the cross. The Royal Standard is blue with a white cross; the arms of the cross are not, as in Fig. 233, of equal length, but the one next the staff is shorter, as in the Danish flag, Fig. 225. In the open space at the crossing of the arms is placed the Royal Arms.

The Turkish Empire has undergone many changes and vicissitudes, and has in these latter days shrunk considerably. European Turkey now consists of about seventy thousand square miles, while Turkey in Asia, Syria, Asia Minor, Palestine, Armenia, etc., is over seven hundred thousand.[78]

The crescent moon and star, Figs. 239 and 240, were adopted by the Turks as their device on the capture of Constantinople by Mahomet II., in 1453. They were originally the symbol of Diana, the Patroness of Byzantium, and were adopted by the Ottomans as a badge of triumph. Prior to that event, the crescent was a very common charge in the armorial bearings of English Knights, but it fell into considerable disuse when it became the special device of the Mohamedans, though even so late as the year 1464 we find René, Duke of Anjou, founding an Order of Knighthood having as its badge the crescent moon, encircled by a motto signifying "praise by increasing." Though the crescent was, as we have seen, originally a Pagan symbol, it remained throughout the rise and development of the Greek Church the special mark of Constantinople, and even now in Moscow and other Russian cities the {120}crescent and the cross may be seen combined on the churches, the object being to indicate the Byzantine origin of the Russian Church.

The crescent may be seen on the coins and medals of Augustus, Trajan, and other Emperors. The origin of the symbol was as follows: Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, meeting with many unforeseen difficulties in carrying on the siege of the city, set the soldiers to work one dark night to undermine the walls, but the crescent moon appearing the design was discovered and the scheme miscarried; and in acknowledgment the Byzantines erected a statue to Diana, and made the crescent moon—the attribute of the Goddess—the symbol of their city.

The War Flag of Turkey is the crescent and star on the scarlet field, as shown in Fig. 239. The flag of the Merchant Service seems less definitely fixed. In the Official Flag Book[79] of the English Admiralty, Fig. 239 is given as both the man-of-war flag and the merchant flag for Turkey, Egypt, and Tripoli, while in an excellent book on the subject, published at Vienna in 1883, Fig. 235 is given as the flag of the commercial marine; and we have also seen a plain red flag with a star in the upper corner of the hoist, and another divided into three horizontal bands, the upper and lower being red, and the central one green.

The Military and Naval Service of Tunis has the flag represented in Fig. 240, while the Tunisian commercial flag is simply red, without device of any kind.

In a map bearing the date 1502 the Turkish Dominions are marked by a scarlet flag having three points and bearing three black crescents, while in a sheet of flags with the comparatively modern date of 1735, "Turk" is represented by a blue flag with three crescents in white upon it.

The personal flag of the Sultan, corresponding to our Royal Standard, is scarlet, and bears in its centre the device of the reigning sovereign: hence it undergoes a change at each accession to the throne. This device, known as the Tughra, is placed on the coinage, postal stamps, etc., as well as on the Royal Flag, and consists of the name of the Sultan, the title Khan, and the epithet El muzaffar daima, signifying the ever-victorious. The history of the Tughra is curious: When Sultan Murad I. entered into a treaty of peace with the Ragusans, he was not sufficiently scholarly to be able to affix {121}his signature to the document, so he wetted his open hand with ink and pressed it on the paper, the first, second, and third fingers making smears in fairly close proximity, while the thumb and fourth finger were apart on either side. Within the mark thus made, the Ottoman Scribes wrote the name of Murad, his title, and the epithet that bore testimony to his ever-victorious career. The Tughra remains the symbol of this, the three upright forms being the three fingers of Murad, the rounded line to the left the thumb, and the line to the right the little finger; these leading forms do not vary, but the smaller characters change with the change of sovereign. This Murad, sometimes called Amurath, ascended the throne in the year 1362.[80]

The personal flag of the Khedive of Egypt is green, and has in its centre the crescent and three white stars.

By the Treaty of Berlin, July 1878, the provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia, formerly a portion of the Turkish Empire, and the territory of the Dobrudscha, were recognised as an independent State, and were formed into the kingdom of Roumania somewhat later, the sovereign who had previously held the rank of prince being crowned king in March, 1881. The flag of Roumania is the brilliant blue, yellow and red tricolor shown in Fig. 242.

The flag of Servia, another small kingdom of Eastern Europe, is shown in Fig. 243; the royal standard is similar, except that the arms are placed in the centre of the blue stripe. It will be seen that the flag of Servia is that of Russia, Fig. 218, reversed. By the Berlin Treaty of 1878, Servia received a large increase of territory, and was created an independent State, its princely ruler being crowned king in March, 1882.

The State of Bulgaria is another of the creations of the Berlin Treaty. It is governed by a prince who is nominally under the suzerainty of Turkey. Its war flag is shown in Fig. 241; the mercantile flag has no leonine canton, but is simply a tricolor of white, green, and red.

Having already dealt with the United States, we propose now to turn our attention to the other Governments of the New World. The simple and effective ensign of Chili is represented in Fig. 161. This flag is used both by the Chilian men-of-war and by the vessels of the mercantile marine. Fig. 157 is so much of the pendant of a man-of-war as the limits of our page will permit. The Chilian Jack is the blue canton and white star of Fig. 161, treated as a distinct {122}flag, and the flags of the various naval ranks are also blue with a varying number of white stars.

Fig. 164 is the merchant flag of New Granada; the Government ensign has in addition the shield of arms in the centre of the blue stripe. It will be observed that the colours in this tricolor are the same as those of Roumania, Fig. 242, only differently disposed. New Granada is composed of nine small States, and in 1863 these bound themselves into a closer confederation, and changed their collective name from New Granada to that of the United States of Colombia, and adopted a tricolor of yellow, blue, and red, only disposed horizontally instead of as in Fig. 164, vertically. This sounds identical with the flag of Venezuela, but in the centre of the Colombian flag is placed a different device, and the yellow stripe takes up half the space, the other two being only half its width. Fig. 165 is the flag of Uruguay, a State that was formerly a province of Brazil, but declared its independence in the year 1825. The next flag on our plate, Fig. 166, is the war ensign of Guatemala: the shield in the centre bears a scroll with the words "Libertad 15 de Setiembre, 1821," surmounted by a parrot, surrounded by a wreath, and having behind it crossed rifles and swords. The merchant flag is the plain blue, white, blue, without the shield. In the year 1525 the country was conquered by Don Pedro de Alvarado, one of the companions of Cortes, and it remained subject to Spain until 1821, when it gained its independence, the "Libertad" of the scroll. It then went in vigorously for several years of civil war, and the outcome of this was that the country known under Spanish rule as Guatemala, a country embracing all Central America, split up in 1839 into five Republics, all absolutely independent of each other, viz., Guatemala, San Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

The next flag, Fig. 167, is the ensign of Costa Rica: the one represented is that of the Merchant Service. The war ensign differs from it in having in the centre the arms of the State, surrounded on either side by a trophy of three flags, and beneath all a wreath. Fig. 168, the flag of Paraguay, is very suggestive of the colours of Holland, though the device in the centre serves to differentiate it. Paraguay is the only State in America that has no sea-board, and therefore no Mercantile Marine.

Brazil, discovered by the Portuguese in 1500, remained in their possession until a revolutionary struggle in the year 1821 ended in favour of the Brazilians, when an Empire was shortly afterwards established. Compared to the other States of South America, it has passed through long periods of rest and prosperity, but of late years its political position has been one of considerable uncertainty, the Emperor having been dismissed and the rival {123}ambitions for the Presidentship leading to civil war. These political changes have necessarily produced modifications in the flag. The present flag, Fig. 169, is not altogether unlike that of the late Empire, though in this latter case the yellow diamond on the green ground held a shield and Imperial crown, flanked by sprays of coffee and tobacco. In the present flag this yellow diamond has a blue sphere spotted over with stars and a white band running across it, that bears in blue letters the legend Ordem e progresso.[81] Fig. 173 is the upper portion of the man-of-war pendant, a blue ground with white stars. Fig. 169 is the ensign, both of the War and Merchant Navy of Brazil.

The yellow, blue, and red tricolor, Fig. 170, is the merchant ensign of Venezuela; the war flag has the same stripes, and in addition the shield of the arms of the State is placed on the yellow band at the staff corner. When the Spaniards arrived off the coast in the year 1499, they found on landing that some of the native Indians were living in huts built on piles, hence they called the country Venezuela, or little Venice.

Bolivia, formerly comprised in the Spanish Vice-Royalty of Colombia, derives its present name from Simon Bolivar, the leader of the revolution that gained it its freedom. Its commercial flag is shown in Fig. 171; the war flag only differs in having the arms of the State placed in the centre of the red strip.

The familiar green, white, red of Italy is repeated in the flag of Mexico, but instead of the cross of Savoy, we have the eagle and serpent. The Mexican merchant ensign is the plain tricolor of green, white, red, the central device we see in Fig. 172 marking it as the war flag. Mexico was discovered in 1518, and conquered, with infamous cruelties, by Cortes. After a lengthened revolutionary struggle, the yoke of Spain was finally thrown off in 1829, and the independence of Mexico was recognised by all the great European Powers.

Peru was discovered by the Spaniards in 1513, and was soon afterwards, under the command of Pizarro, added to the dominions of the King of Spain. Peru remained in subjection to the Spaniards (who murdered the Incas and all their descendants, and committed the most frightful cruelties) until 1826, when the independence of the country, after a prolonged struggle, was completely achieved. The Peruvian war ensign is given in Fig. 174, the merchant flag being the plain red, white, red.

San Salvador, the smallest of the Central American Republics, {124}established itself in 1839, on the break-up of the Spanish State of Guatemala. Its flag is shown in Fig. 175.

The country now held by the Argentine Republic was discovered in 1517, and settled by the Spaniards in 1553. The war ensign is represented in Fig. 176; the merchant ensign has the three stripes, but the golden sun is missing.

The Government of Ecuador has Fig. 177 as its war flag, the merchant ensign being without the ring of white stars. The last flag on the sheet (Fig. 178) is the merchant flag of Haiti; the Government flag has the blue and red reduced to a broad border, the central portion of the flag being white. In the centre of this white portion stands a palm tree, and below it a trophy of arms and flags, flanked on either side by a cannon.

The flag of the Cuban national forces in conflict with Spain has at the hoist a triangular portion of blue, one side of this triangle being the depth of the flag itself, and on this blue field is a white, five-pointed star. The rest of the flag is made up of the following horizontal and equal stripes—red, white, red, white, red.

Japan—known to the Japanese as Niphon, derived from Nitsu, Sun, and Phon, the rising—the Land of the Rising Sun,[82] has adopted this rising sun as its emblem. Japan claims to possess a written history of over 2,500 years, but the fairly authentic portion begins with the year 660 B.C., when the present hereditary succession of rulers commenced. English merchants visited Japan in 1612, and the Portuguese almost a century before. By 1587 the converts of the Portuguese Jesuit Missions numbered some six hundred thousand. At this time some Spanish Franciscans appeared on the scene, and political and religious discord soon followed. The Japanese ruler took alarm at the Papal claim to universal sovereignty, and the Buddhist Priesthood and the English and Dutch Protestant traders fanned the flame of suspicion and jealousy. This was done so effectually that the Japanese Government banished all foreigners, and closed the country against them. This state of things lasted for over two centuries, and it was only in the year 1853 that Japan was re-opened to the outside world. The flag of Japan, the rising sun, is represented in Fig. 244. The red ball without the rays is used as a Jack, in which case it is placed in the centre of the white field. Fig. 245 is the Standard of the Emperor. The chrysanthemum is the emblem of Japan, and its golden flower, somewhat conventionally rendered it must be admitted, is the form we see introduced in Fig. 245.[83] Figs. 246 and 248 are the transport flag and the guard flag respectively of the Japanese war marine. {125}

The Imperial Standard of China is yellow with a blue dragon. The official flag book of the Admiralty gives the flag of a Chinese Admiral as made up of the following horizontal stripes: yellow, white, black, green, red, a blue dragon on a white ground being the canton in the staff-head corner. The merchant ensign is shown in Fig. 247. Amongst the Chinese flags captured in 1841, and preserved in the Royal United Service Institution, is one with a blue centre with an inscription in white upon it, and with a broad notched border of white; another has its centre of a pale blue and a darker blue dragon upon it, the whole being surrounded by a broad and deeply-notched border of red.

The flag of Siam is scarlet with a white elephant thereon. Before Xacca, the founder of the nation, was born his mother dreamt that she brought forth a white elephant, and the Brahmins affirm that Xacca, after a metempsychosis of eighty thousand changes, concluded his very varied experiences as this white elephant, and thence was received into the company of the Celestial Deities. On this account the white elephant is held a sacred beast, and the Siamese rejoice to place themselves beneath so potent a protector. The flag of Korea bears the tiger. In the thickly-wooded glens of the interior, the royal tiger is found in formidable numbers.

The flag of Sarawak, a territory of some forty thousand square miles, on the north-west of Borneo, is shown in Fig. 252. The Government was obtained in 1842 from the Sultan of Borneo by an Englishman, Sir James Brooke, and it is still ruled by one of the family, a nephew of the first Rajah.

In Africa, the only flags that we need particularize are those of the Orange Free State, Liberia, the Congo State, and the South African Republic.

The Orange Free State was founded by Dutch emigrants from the Cape of Good Hope. It was proclaimed British territory in 1848, but by a Convention entered into in 1854, the inhabitants were declared to be "to all intents and purposes, a free and independent people, and their Government to be treated thenceforth as a free and independent Government." The flag, Fig. 249, is the only one that has orange in it, clearly in allusion to the name of the State, while the canton of red, white, and blue, equally shows the pride of the people in their Dutch origin.

The flag of the Independent Negro Republic of Liberia, is shown in Fig. 250. The population largely consists of freed slaves, emigrants from America and their descendants, plus the aborigines. The flag, it will be seen, even to the thirteen stripes, is largely based on that of the United States, though one would have thought that that would have been about the last thing they would have selected. {126}

The Congo Free State in Central Africa was established in 1885 by the King of the Belgians; its flag is the golden star on the blue ground that we see in Fig. 251, a device at once simple, expressive and pleasing.

In 1840, a number of Dutch Boers, dissatisfied with the Government of Cape Colony, established themselves in Natal, where their treatment of the natives was so unjustifiable that a general rising was imminent, and the British Government was compelled to interfere, and itself take charge of the district. This the Boers resented, so they crossed the Vaal and established themselves afresh in the wilderness. In 1854, the British Government recognised the Transvaal or South African Republic, and in 1881 a fresh Convention was agreed to by which the Boers were confirmed in full possession of the land, subject to the recognition of the British suzerainty. The flag of the Transvaal Government is shown in Fig. 253.

Now have we journeyed the whole world over and found in every land the emblems of nationality and patriotism. Unfamiliar as many of these may appear to us, they each represent a symbol endeared to thousands or hundreds of thousands of hearts, and thus are they full of warm human interest. For these various strips of gaily-coloured bunting, men have given without hesitation their lives, have poured out blood and treasure without stint or count of cost, and wherever they encounter them the wide world over, the wanderers forget for a while the alien shore or waste of ocean as their thoughts turn to the dear homeland.



Flags as a Means of Signalling—Army Signalling—the Morse Alphabet—Navy Signalling—First Attempts at Sea Signals—Old Signal Books in Library of Royal United Service Institution—"England expects that every man will do his duty"—Sinking Signal Codes on defeat—Present System of Signalling in Royal Navy—Pilot Signals—Weather Signalling by Flags—the International Signal Code—First Published in 1857—Seventy-eight Thousand different Signals possible—Why no Vowels used—Lloyd's Signal Stations.

We propose in this, our final chapter, to deal with the use of flags as a means of signalling; a branch of the subject by no means wanting either in interest or in practical value.

The flags used for army signalling are only two in number if we consider their design, though, as each of these is made in two sizes, the actual outfit consists of four flags. The large size is three feet square, and the smaller is two feet square; the larger sizes are clearly more visible, but on the other hand the smaller save weight and consequently labour; and with good manipulation and clear weather their messages can be followed by observers, with ordinary service telescopes, up to a distance of twelve miles or so. The poles are respectively five feet six inches long and three feet six inches, and the flags themselves are either white with a blue horizontal stripe across the centre, or wholly blue. Only one flag is used at a time, the first being used when the background is dark and the second when light, so as to ensure under all circumstances the greatest visibility.

The person sending the signals should hold the flag pointing upwards to the left, and with the pole making an angle of about 25°, with an imaginary vertical line passing down the centre of his body. The signals are based upon the dot and dash system of Morse. The dot or short stroke is made by waving the flag from the normal position to the corresponding point on the right hand, while for the dash or long stroke the flag is waved till the head of the pole nearly touches the ground.

The Morse alphabet is so constructed that the letters of most frequent occurrence are represented by the shortest symbols, and no letter requires more than four of these for its expression, while figures are all represented by five signs. {128}

The letters of the alphabet are thus represented:—

A · —
A (æ) · — · —
B — · · ·
C — · — ·
D — · ·
E ·
F · · — ·
G — — ·
H · · · ·
I · ·
J · — — —
K — · —
L · — · ·
M — —
N — ·
O — — —
O (œ) — — — ·
P · — — ·
Q — — · —
R · — ·
S · · ·
T —
U · · —
U (ue) · · — —
V · · · —
W · — —
X — · · —
Y — · — —
Z — — · ·
Ch — — — —

The following code is adopted to represent figures:—

1 · — — — —
2 · · — — —
3 · · · — —
4 · · · · —
5 · · · · ·
6 — · · · ·
7 — — · · ·
8 — — — · ·
9 — — — — ·
0 — — — — —

A space about equal in length to the dash is left between each letter, and a time interval of about three times the duration between each word. This alphabet, once learned, it is evident can be utilized in many ways. Steamers, by means of short and long whistles, can spell out messages to each other; seamen, across a harbour, can communicate by waving their arms; prisoners by opening and shutting their hands. It is also utilised in the light-flashes of the heliograph, in telegraphy again, and in various other directions.

Classes are held at the School of Army Signalling at Aldershot, and from thence the knowledge permeates the Army and the Auxiliary Forces.[84] The requirements are steadiness, intelligence, quickness of eye-sight and of action, and the power to spell correctly; and it takes a man from fifteen to twenty days, at five hours drill a day, to learn the alphabet and the proper manipulation of the flags. The standard of efficiency is ten words a minute with the large flag or sixteen with the small. If our readers will take the trouble to count the letters in the first sixteen words in this present sentence they {129}will find that they are sixty-nine in number, and they will further find, if they take the additional trouble to translate these letters into Morse, that it will take 105 dots and 60 dashes to do it. Our readers will probably then go on to conclude that as it takes one hundred and sixty-five motions of the flag, plus sixty-eight intervals between the letters to signal these sixteen words, a speed of ten words a minute is a very creditable performance either for the sender to work off or for the receiver to read.

Besides the ordinary spelling out of the words, various arbitrary signs are used, thus a continued succession of dots · · · · · · is used to call attention to the fact that a message is going to be sent, and a series of dashes — — — — — — means that it is finished. G means "go on," R is a request to "move more to the right" and L to "shift a little to the left"; B means "use the blue flag," and W "use the white flag," K.Q is "say when you are ready," F.I means that figures are coming, and F.F indicates that the figures are finished. Those who have to receive the message may see that the background behind the transmitter is not quite satisfactory for the due observation of the flags, and they may then flash back H or O, meaning either "higher up" or "lower down," as the case may be, and in case of any misunderstanding, they will signal I.M.I, which means "please repeat," and as soon as all is clear, they will signal R.T, meaning "all right."

As our man-of-war's-men are also instructed in this system of signalling, communication can be established during an expedition between the ships and the troops on shore. The signal for communication is a white pendant with two black X.X on it. Should this special flag not be forthcoming, the X.X — · · — — · · — (see code of letters) is flashed at night or waved by the flag by day, and as soon as the preparative dots · · · · · · have been acknowledged, the message is dispatched. When the message is of a general character, nothing more need be done, but when it is intended for a particular vessel, the communication is preceded by the special sign apportioned to that vessel.

Though the Morse system has its place, as we have seen, in the drill of our blue-jackets, it does not altogether meet naval requirements. A man waving flags on board ship would be a scarcely conspicuous enough object, and intermediate vessels in a squadron would block out all view of him from those farthest off, hence naval communications are ordinarily made by means of flags exhibited from the mast head or other clearly visible position. Instead of one flag being used, our men-of-war have over forty, and these are all conspicuously distinct from each other. The messages are not spelt out, as in land operations, but the flags are used in various combinations, and the meaning of the signal is found by reference to a {130}code-book. These flags, it is arithmetically evident, can be transposed and grouped in some thousands of different ways, and the code-book contains questions and answers to meet the very varied requirements of naval service, and the special signal hoist for each.

The first real attempt at sea-signalling was made during the reign of Charles II., when a series of signs of the most arbitrary character was devised, consisting for the most part of flags hoisted in various parts of the ship, and altering their significance as their locality was changed. The system was a very cumbrous one, and in 1780 Kempenfeldt, the Commander of the ill-fated Royal George, improved to some extent upon it, but even then the result was not very brilliant. Lord Howe, in 1792, could only make a total of one hundred and eighty-three signals. As yet, however, it had never struck anybody how much simplicity and advantage would be gained by employing numbered or lettered flags, and then using them in the thousands of combinations that such a system rendered possible. It is stated by various authorities—and even authorities have a way of copying from each other—that flags were numbered for the first time about the year 1799, but in the Library of the Royal United Service Institution may be seen "An Essay on Signals, by an Officer of the British Navy," bearing the date 1788.[85] The flags were numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0, and they are represented in our illustrations by Figs. 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, and 296. It will be seen that they are all of a very clear and distinct character. When such a number as 444 was required, it would appear to be necessary to have three flags like Fig. 290—the No. 4 of the series—but to avoid this multiplication of identical flags, a red triangular flag called a decimal, a white triangular called a centenary, and a blue triangular called a millenary, were used, and these were placed as required before the unit to be repeated. By this plan 444 would be expressed by the yellow flag, the No. 4, having below it the red and white pennants. Sometimes these flags really meant numbers, and then the required number was hoisted, plus a yellow swallow-tailed flag. Thus in answer to "How many guns does she carry?" if the response should be fifty, the five and the nought flags, Figs. 290 and 296, plus the swallowtail or cornet, as it is technically called, would be hoisted, while the same five-nought signal, without the cornet, would signify "whole fleet change course four points to starboard."

If we want to find the English equivalent of some German word, we turn to the German-English half of our dictionary, but if we {131}required the German equivalent of our English word, we should refer to the English-German part of the book, and signal codes are in like manner divided into flag-message and message-flag. By the system we are at present discussing, we should find by referring to the flag-message half of our book, that the three flags 7, 3, 6, meant, "recall cruisers," while 8, 3, 6, signified "sprung a leak." On the other hand, if we wished ourselves to send such an order we should turn to the message-flag half of our code book, and under the heading of "Cruisers," find all the references that could concern the management of such vessels until we presently found "Cruisers, recall—7, 3, 6," and then at once proceed to hoist those particular flags. Only fourteen flags, the ten numerals, the three pennants, and the cornet, suffice for sending many hundreds of messages, but the anonymous author adds, "exclusive of this arrangement, I would propose to have the most current signals in battle made with one flag only, and these should be used on the day of battle only. A similarity between these and the flags used as the numerical signals ought as much as possible to be avoided." Figs. 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, and 286, are illustrations of some of these. The striking design of the rising sun signifies "engage the enemy." Fig. 280 is an order for "close action." Fig. 281 is an instruction to "invert the line of battle by tacking," while Fig. 282 is a direction to "force the enemy's line." It is needless to particularise them all, suffice it to say that each and all are of stirring significance. Many minds were at work on the urgent problem of an adequate system of sea-signalling, and numerous plans, therefore, were suggested. It does not appear that the one we have just referred to as an example of these endeavours to solve the difficulty was ever adopted.

The official "Signal Book for the Ships of War," compiled by the Admiralty in 1799, and afterwards amplified in 1803 by Admiral Sir Hope Popham, is of immense interest, as it was introduced into the Navy for the first time in the fleet of Nelson, and it was therefore the code of Trafalgar. In the copy preserved in the Library of the Royal United Service Museum is written, "this is a copy of the signal book by means of which the battle of Trafalgar was fought." All signals are by numbers. In the book in question, those given have been pasted over others, but some of those underneath are still visible: thus the flag that once represented one here stands for five, and the flag that heretofore was three is now seven. "If the Admiral"—an instruction in the book says—"should have reason to believe that the enemy has got possession of these signals, he will make the signal for changing the figures of the flags. The figure, which by the new arrangement each flag is to represent, is to be immediately entered in every ship's signal-book," and it is {132}evident that one of these transpositions has been made here. The ten flags of the code are represented in Figs. 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, and 278. It is very difficult to say really how the flags were arranged for the world-famed "England expects that every man will do his duty," as the numerical significance of the ten flags was so often changed during the exigencies of war. The book we have referred to makes Fig. 270 stand for 1, Fig. 278 for 2, Fig. 275 for 3, Fig. 273 for 4, Fig. 269 for 5, etc.; and while it declares that it was by this code Trafalgar was fought, we have no evidence as to who wrote this statement. It may have been the authoritative statement of some one at the time in full possession of the facts, or a mere surmise added a dozen years afterwards by some irresponsible scribbler. On turning to the "Naval History" of James, Vol. IV., p. 34, we read "there is not, that we are aware of, a single publication which gives this message precisely as it was delivered. The following is a minute of the several flags, as noted down on board more than one ship in the fleet." He then proceeds to give them, and the arrangement that he follows is that of our illustration, his 1 being Fig. 269; 2, Fig. 270; 3, Fig. 271; 4, Fig. 272; 5, Fig. 273; 6, Fig. 274; 7, Fig. 275; 8, Fig. 276; 9, Fig. 277; and 0 Fig. 278. If he may be accepted as a reliable authority, "England" was expressed by the flags 2, 5, and 3; "expects," by 2, 6, and 9; "that," by flags 8, 6, and 3; "every," by flags 2, 6, and 1; "man," by 4, 7, and 1; "will," by 9, 5, and 8; "do," by 2, 2 and 0; and "his," by 3, 7, 0, those being the code numbers assigned to those words in the vocabulary. This necessitated eight distinct hoists, one group of flags for each word, but singularly enough the code contained no signal for "duty," so that it was necessary to spell this out letter by letter, making four hoists more, flag 4 being for "d"; 2 and 1 for "u"; 1 and 9 for "t"; and 2 and 5 for "y." As given in one or two French historical works the signal is equally short and expressive: "L'Angleterre compte que chacun fera son devoir." The story of Nelson's signal is best told in the words of the Victory's Signal Lieutenant, Pasco, the officer who received Nelson's orders to make it. "His Lordship," Lieutenant Pasco says, "came to me on the poop, and, after ordering certain signals to be made, about a quarter to noon, said, 'Mr. Pasco, I want to say to the fleet "England confides that every man will do his duty."' He added, 'You must be quick,[86] for I have one more to add, which is for "close action."'[87] I replied, 'If your Lordship will permit me to substitute "expects" for "confides" the signal will soon be {133}completed, because the word "expects" is in the vocabulary, and "confides" must be spelt.'[88] His Lordship replied in haste, and with seeming satisfaction, 'That will do, Pasco, make it directly.' As the last hoist was hauled down, Nelson turned to Captain Blackwood, who was standing by him, and said, 'Now I can do no more. We must trust to the Great Disposer of all events, and the justice of our cause; I thank God for this great opportunity of doing my duty.'" And Great Britain that day did not call upon her sons in vain, nor was the appeal to the God of Battles unheard, though the rejoicing of victory was turned into mourning at the loss of him who had so nobly done his duty in the nation's service.

In the Royal Navy of the present day, a special code, requiring forty-five different flags, is employed. Figs. 254 to 267 inclusive, are examples of some of these.[89] This code, we need scarcely say, is of a confidential nature, and is not published anywhere for all the world to study. The Commercial code of International signals being now recognised by the principal maritime States of the world, is, by Queen's regulations, made use of by our men-of-war when communicating with foreign war-ships, or with merchant vessels whether British or foreign. The signal codes of the Royal Navy, when not actually in use, are kept in perforated metal cylinders, so that in case of capture of the vessel they may at once be thrown overboard. In the Library of the Royal United Service Institution may be seen the Signal book of the U.S. frigate Chesapeake, with bullets attached to it for the purpose of sinking it. In the confusion incidental to the capture of the vessel by H.M.S. Shannon,[90] it fell into the hands of the Britisher. Besides these regulation signals of the American Navy, a second set, supplied to privateers, was also captured, marked "Strictly confidential. The commanders of private armed vessels are to keep this paper connected with a piece of lead or other weight, and to throw the whole overboard before they shall strike their flag, that they may be sunk." This also, instead of going to the bottom of the Atlantic, may be seen within half a mile of Charing Cross.

Landsmen have a notion, remembering possibly that Nelson went into action with the signal for close action flying, that when a signal is made it is to be instantly obeyed, but the present system of signalling is on somewhat different lines. The hoisting of a signal on the flag ship is preparative. The ships leading the other columns repeat the signal, hoisting their colours three-quarters of {134}the way up the mast. The other ships each hoist their "answering pennants" to show that they have seen and understood the order. Then when the repeating ships notice that all the other vessels have answered, they hoist the signal right up as an intimation to the Admiral that this is the case. Then it is that on the Admiral's ship the signal is hauled down, thus giving the executive order for its purport to be obeyed, so that the signal is cautionary of what is coming, and the manœuvre is only executed when to the eye no instructions at all are to be seen. The answering pennant has vertical stripes—red, white, red, white, red.

Fig. 268 is the flag used by any vessel that wishes to communicate with a coastguard station, or hoisted when one coastguard station wants to send a message to another. Thus when Beachy Head has any notification to make to the neighbouring post away down at Burling Gap, the first thing to be done is to hoist at the masthead Fig. 268. When the men on duty at Burling Gap see this they hoist the answering pennant, meaning "all right, talk away," and then the arms of the Beachy Head semaphore work vigorously, or the gay signal flags flutter in the breeze and send their message across the downs.

War vessels signal to each other at night by means of the Morse system of short and long flashes,[91] and all the large steamship lines have night signals peculiar to themselves, thus the night signal of the Orient Line is red and blue lights burnt alternately. Any vessel seeing this, knows that they are dealing with this special Line and similarly report themselves, and after this due introduction proceed to dot and dash to their heart's content.

The last two rows of flags on plate XXIII. are signals for pilots. These are either the two flags standing for P. and T. in the International Signal Code, a system we have yet to deal with, or it may be a single flag, the special pilot flag of each nation. Fig. 297 is the pilot flag of the Argentine Republic; Fig. 298, that of Brazil; Fig. 299, that of Ecuador. Fig. 300 is the pilot flag of Greece; 301, that of Japan; and 304, that of Spain. France, Mexico and Chili all adopt a flag like Fig. 278, a white flag with broad blue border, while Great Britain, Fig. 104, Germany, Fig. 302, Belgium, Fig. 303, Denmark, Fig. 305, Holland, Fig. 306, Sweden, Austria-Hungary, Italy, all fly the national flag of the country with a broad white border to it. Russia takes the Jack, Fig. 215, for the same purpose, and places this {135}white band around it, while the United States of America takes the star-bestrewn azure canton from the national flag, Fig. 146, and similarly surrounds it with the broad band of white.

Penalties are recoverable, as they clearly should be, if any ship uses or displays signals which may be mistaken for either pilot calls or signals of distress.

The United States uses flags for its weather signals at the various meteorological stations. A violent storm is prognosticated by a red flag with a black centre. A red pennant signifies "storm approaching station," while a yellow pennant signifies "call at station for special information." A plain white flag betokens fine weather and a plain blue one rain or snow, and there are various combinations of other flags that indicate direction, intensity, velocity and so forth. It is evident that this employment of flags could be made a very valuable one.

Another instance of its use with which we are acquainted, is at the London office in St. Paul's Churchyard of the Draper's Record, one of the largest in circulation of any trade paper in the world. The citizen of London may see displayed from its roof by private enterprise the whole of the forecasts issued by the Meteorological Office, viz., the 11 a.m., the 3.30 p.m., and the 8.30 p.m. for the South of England, which officially includes St. Paul's Churchyard. A white flag is hoisted for clear weather, a blue one for rain, while local showers are prognosticated by a flag half blue and half white. Changeable weather is indicated by a flag like Fig. 267, and a coming fog by a yellow flag with black ball in its centre, like Fig. 258. Snow is foretold by a flag like Fig. 278, and squally weather by a swallow-tailed flag, having its upper half black, and the lower white. A plain red triangular flag is used to indicate temperature; when this is hoisted above other flags, it indicates rising temperature; when placed below, falling temperature; and when omitted we are to conclude that things are stationary. Thus the red flag, then below it the white one, and then the blue hoisted together, would mean that we might expect warmer weather, at first fair, but succeeded by rain, while the blue flag above the red would indicate that wet weather was before us, and a fall of temperature.

At the 1894 meeting of the National Rifle Association at Bisley a system of this kind was inaugurated, in order to give those in camp an idea of the weather that might be expected for the ensuing twelve hours, the hoisting of a blue flag indicating fine weather or moderate wind, a red one foretelling stormy weather or strong wind; green, pointing to unsettled weather or gusty wind, and a yellow flag indicating thunder or rain storms. For shooting purposes a knowledge of the strength of the wind is very valuable. {136}

The development of a code of flag signals seems to have exercised a great fascination on many minds, and the result has been that until the general adoption of the International code things had got into a somewhat chaotic state. Some systems had many excellent points in them, while others broke down under the strain of practical use. In some cases, too, the claims of patriotism influenced the choice, it being difficult for an Englishman or an American to believe that the scheme of a Frenchman or German could possibly be better than the home-grown article.

The systems best known in this country are the Admiralty codes of 1808, 1816, and 1826, Lynn's in 1818, Squire's in 1820, Raper's in 1828, Philipps' in 1836, Eardley Wilmot's in 1851, the code of Rogers, the American, in 1854, the French code of Reynolds in 1855, and the system devised by Marryat in 1856, all being superseded by that of the Board of Trade.

The International code of signals was prepared and first published in April, 1857, in accordance with the views and recommendations of a Committee appointed by the Lords of the Privy Council. Three members, Admiral Beechey, Captain Robert Fitzroy, and Mr. J. H. Brown, the Registrar-General of Seamen, were named by the Board of Trade; one member, Admiral Bethune, by the Admiralty; an elder brother, Captain Bax, was appointed as a member by the Trinity House; Mr. W. C. Hammett and Captain Halstead were the members named by Lloyds; while the Liverpool Shipowners' Association, and the General Shipowners' Society, each, by the nomination of a member, had a voice in the discussion.

After a deliberation of more than a year, the examination of the thirteen then existing codes and due attention to any practical suggestion made to them, a mature and valuable scheme was promulgated. Eighteen flags in all, viz., one burgee, four pennants, and thirteen square flags, were employed, and these represented the consonants of the alphabet. These are depicted in the three upper rows on plate XXIV. Figs. 307 to 324, the letter it stands for in the code being placed by each flag. These flags are combined in various ways, either in twos, threes, or fours, and are always read downwards, thus Fig. 325 must be read B.D.T.F; if we read it the reverse way, as F.T.D.B, it would have an entirely different significance.

Of the two-flag signals we have three varieties. Should the burgee, Fig. 307, be uppermost it constitutes what is termed an attention signal; thus the hoisting of B.D signifies, "What ship is that?" If the upper flag be a pennant C.D.F. or G it is a compass signal; thus G.F means west-north-west-half-west. If a square flag be uppermost it is an urgency signal; thus, N.C signifies "am in distress," or N.J "am driving, no more anchors to let go." {137}

Signals made with three flags are not classified according to the upper flag; they relate to subjects of general inquiry or communication of news. In the lower portion of Plate XXIV. we have given five examples of these. Fig. 330, flags B.P.Q, asks "Do you wish to be reported?" while the hoisting of P.D.S, see Fig. 332, replies, "Report me to Lloyds' Agent." Fig. 333, H.V.F, asks, "Do you want assistance?" while Fig. 334, G.B.H, enquires, "Has any accident happened?" Fig. 331, made up of flags V.K.C, gives the reassuring answer to both enquiries—"All safe." As weather signals, we find "barometer rising" indicated by G.F.W; "barometer falling" by G.H.B; and "barometer standing," by G.H.C. Fine weather is prognosticated by the group H.M.S; a breeze off sea is foretold in the combination H.S.V; and a breeze off land by H.S.W.

Signals composed of four flags are divided into different sections again, according to the form of the uppermost flag employed. If this upper flag be either of the pennants C.D or F, it indicates that the signal is what is called vocabulary. If the upper be the burgee—the letter B of the code—it is a geographical signal; thus, any vessel beating up channel and seeing Fig. 325, made up of B.D.T.F, hoisted from a lighthouse, would, even if uncertain before, know their position, as this signal is the one specially assigned to the Eddystone. Fig. 326, the letters B.D.P.Q, signifies that the vessel flying it hails from the port of London, while B.F.Q.T. is Edinburgh, and so on. All names of ships are expressed by four letters, thus N.V.B.Q is the code signal (Fig. 327) of the steamship Germanic; M.N.D.L (Fig. 328) that of the Hesperus; and Fig. 329, made up of G.R.C.T, is the special grouping assigned to H.M.S. Devastation. All these names are recorded in the Shipping List, so that two vessels passing each other in mid-ocean are able at once to determine each others' names if within sighting distance of the flags run up. Should we see a stately liner coming to port, flying M.T.L.Q, we recognise that it is the Australia of the great Peninsula and Oriental Line, but if she runs up L.H.T.B then she is the Orient Company's boat Orotava. Some names occur frequently, thus other Australias, belonging to various owners, are distinguished by the code signals R.L.H.V, J.T.G.K, M.P.F.C, M.Q.N.G, M.T.W.D, W.F.T.N, etc., etc. Figs. 355, 356, 357, 358, 359 are all code signals of various Australias. While the Peninsular and Oriental Company has also a Victoria, K.M.Q.F., they have no monopoly of the name. There are numerous other boats of that popular designation, but even when vessels have the same name no two vessels ever have the same code letters assigned to them. Other Victorias, for example, are differentiated, as W.Q.M.N., L.S.H.R, K.P.G.Q, M.K.C.H, M.S.P.B, M.Q.C.J, L.D.F.H, T.R.B.N, K.J.H.P, T.D.R.F, etc., etc. Figs. 350, 351, 352, 353, {138}354 are all Victorias; and Figs. 360, 361, 362, 363, 364 are the flag-signals of various Britannias. Our readers will see at once how distinctive they are. Figs. 335 to 349 inclusive are the special flags of well-known steamships of the Peninsular and Oriental, the Orient Line, and the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique.

Should the vessel be a yacht, it is the Aline if she shows the flags P.W.N.D; the Star of the Sea if her signal is T.N.B.H; but if it is the Meteor we shall be aware of the fact from her hoisting the four flags L.C.T.P. The flag signal of the Valkyrie is L.F.M.G.

Applications for the allotment of a code-signal, for the purpose of making ships' names known at sea, should be made, if of the United Kingdom, to the Registrar General of Shipping, Custom House, and, if belonging to a Colony, to the Registrar at the port to which the vessel belongs. If a ship to which this International Code Signal has been alloted is reported wrecked, lost, or sold to a foreigner, and her register is in consequence cancelled, the signal letters allotted to her are also cancelled, so that if the ship is afterwards recovered or re-purchased from foreigners, either in her original or some other name, new signal letters will be necessary, and the owner must make application anew for another allotment, as the signal letters the vessel originally bore may have been in the interval re-allotted.

The flags to be hoisted at one time never exceed four, and it is an interesting arithmetical fact, that, with these eighteen flags, never using more than four at a time, over seventy-eight thousand different combinations can be made. With these flags, only using two at a time, 306 different arrangements can be made, while by using three at a time we get 4,896 possibilities, and by using four at a time, we can make 73,440 changes; a total in all of 78,642 variations made from these simple elements. Marryat's code, prior to the introduction of the International, being the one most in use, twelve out of its sixteen flags were, to save expense, incorporated in the new code. Their significance was, however, entirely changed. Marryat's flags, too, were numerals, while the International code, as we have seen, has its flags named after the letters of the alphabet.

Proposals are in the air to add eight new flags to the code, the X, Y, and Z, and the five vowels, since it is held that even the great number of combinations now possible may in time not suffice. The reason for the absence of the vowels is a somewhat curious one. Directly vowels are introduced we begin to spell words, and it was found that amongst the thousands of combinations possible, would be presently included all the profane, obscene, and otherwise objectionable four-letter words of the whole world. To hoist D.B.M.N could offend no one's susceptibilities, but to {139}run up the signal D.A.M.N in response to an enquiry is quite another matter, and it must be remembered that as this code is used by all civilised nations, a word that is merely meaningless in one country might be most offensive in another. An English Captain might hoist as a necessary signal J.A.L.P. or F.L.U.M. and see no possible objection to it, but "jalp" or "flum" might to the people of some other nationality carry a most atrocious significance.

It is a practical necessity that all connected with the sea should understand the use of the International code, therefore, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty require that all Royal Naval Reserve men who act as Masters or Mates of ships should be instructed in its working, and the Board of Trade makes like requirements from all candidates for Masters' or Mates' Certificates. Its International character is a most valuable feature, as by its use two captains, say a Dane and a Greek, or a Russian and a Spaniard, who, on the quay, could not comprehend a word of each other's language, can at sea, by this common flag-language, come to a perfectly clear understanding of each other's need, or impart any information required. It is the only code used at the signal stations around our coasts. Lloyds' have thirty-three of these signal stations at Dover, Beachy Head, Lundy Island, Dungeness, Flamborough Head, St. Catherine's Point, North Foreland, and other conspicuous points on our line of ocean traffic, and abroad again at Aden, Ascension, Gibraltar, Bermuda, Honolulu, Suez, Perim, Malta, Teneriffe, and elsewhere, and here too, the International is the only code recognised.

This "Lloyds," that we may see daily referred to in the newspapers, is a Corporation that, amongst other marine business, distributes shipping intelligence. A Mr. Edward Lloyd, in the seventeenth century, kept a coffee house in Tower Street, which in time from the daily gathering there of merchants, captains, and others interested in marine affairs, became a centre for shipping and underwriting news and business. In the year 1692 it was moved to Lombard Street, and in 1774 the coffee supplying part of the business was abandoned and rooms were taken in the Royal Exchange. During the wars with Napoleon, the Government was often indebted to the Committee of Lloyds' for the earliest information of important events all over the world. Lloyds' has its agents in every port, and by its complete organisation and the potent aid of the telegraph, the shipping business of the world is brought day by day before us. Vessels spoken far out on the ocean are reported by the vessel that spoke them immediately on its arrival at any port. Thus a sailing-vessel journeying from London to Vancouver may be five months or more before it touches land, {140}but during that time it is sighted by other vessels from time to time, and these report having seen it, and that all was well on board. So the mother knows that her son, who is parted from her by thousands of miles of ocean, has got thus far in health and safety; and the owners of the vessel learn that their venture has so far surmounted the perils of Cape Horn and the other dangers of the deep. The good ship is drawing nearer at each report to the end of her long voyage, and on arrival at last off Vancouver, as the land is sighted, the signal flags run up once more to the masthead, the news of her coming is flashed across continent and ocean, and the London newspaper of the next morning contains the brief notification that far exceeds to anxious hearts all else of interest its broad pages may contain.

Familiarity, though it may not necessarily breed contempt, dulls the sense of the wonder of it all, and yet how marvellous it is! We have before us the Standard, that came into our hands about seven o'clock this morning, and we find from it that yesterday the Glenshiel had arrived at Hong Kong, that the Arab, from Cape Town, had just put in at Lisbon, that the Sardinian, from Quebec, had reached Moville, that the Circassian was safely at New York, that the Orizaba, speeding on to Sydney, had at 2 a.m. passed the desolate shores of arid Perim, that the Danube, from Southampton, had at 6 a.m. entered the harbour of Rio Janeiro. Of this, and much else of the same tenor, may we read in a space of a quarter-column or so of the paper as we sit at breakfast and see pass before us a panorama of world-wide interest and extent; and to accomplish this result, the flags we have figured have been a potent factor.


Though we have covered much ground, it must have been patent to all readers who have thus far companioned us that much detail was necessarily omitted, unless our book had to grow to the dimensions of an encyclopædia. It would probably, for instance, take some fifty figures or so to give all the distinctive flags of the various government departments, official ranks, etc., of a single Great Power. We trust nevertheless that while our labours have been by no means exhaustive, they have been instrumental in showing that there is much of interest in flag-lore, and that an increased knowledge and appreciation of our subject may be one result of our pleasant labours, and prove full justification for our work.




Aargau, flag of   116

"Acta Sanctorum," the   38

Admiral's flag, R.N.   56

Admiralty, flag of the   71, 72

Agincourt, battle of   106

Agincourt, flags at   5

Agnus Dei, as device on flag   22

Ailsa, flag of the yacht   73

Allan Line, flag of the   75

Allotment of code signals   138

Ambulance flag   117

Ancient Irish harp   33

Anchor as badge   63, 71, 87, 100, 114

Andrew, cross of St.   4, 35, 42, 43, 45, 53, 116

Andrew, St., of Scotland   37, 42, 44

Andrew, St., of Russia   103, 104

Andrew, St., order of   102

Anne, Standard of Queen   35

Annunciation on flag   4

Answering pennant   134

Antelope as a device   16

Antiquity, standards of   2

Antwerp, device of city of   111

Anvil as device on flag   7

Argentine Republic, flag of   124

Armada, defeat of the   3

Arms of Canada   81, 82

Arms of Washington   91

Army, flags of the   61

Army signalling   127, 128, 129

Arragon, arms of   111

Articles of War   56

Assaye, special flag for   65

Assyrian standards   2

Athene, owl of   2

Australian Steam Navigation Company's house flag   74

Austro-Hungarian flags 101, 102

Avondale flag   43

Awdeley, standard of Sir John   17


Bacon on sea-power   84, 85

Baden, flag of   101

Badge   9, 13, 15, 21, 62, 66, 67, 83, 84, 117

Bahamas, Badge of the   84

Balmoral tartan   1

Banner, its nature   10

Banneroll, kind of flag   18

Bannockburn, battle of   44

Barbadoes, badge of   83

Barcelona, arms of   111

Bar, banner of Sir John de   11

Bardolph, banner of Sir Hugh   11

Basel, flag of city of   116

Bavaria, flag of   101, 119

Bayeux tapestry, flags represented in   19, 22

Bear as a device   1, 2

Beau-seant of Knights Templars   24

Beaver as a device   1, 30

Bede on flags   4

"Beehive of the Romish Church"   3

Bees of the Napoleons   106, 109

Belgium, flags of   23, 118

Bermuda, badge of   84

Berne, flag of   116

Beverley, flag of   5

Birkenhead, burning of the   64

Black and white flag of Prussia   98

Black as a flag colour   7, 24, 25

Black Swan, device of the   84

Blackwall line of shipping   74

Black Watch, the   62

Blenheim, battle of   64, 66

Blue blanket of Edinburgh   42

Blue ensign   40, 56, 73, 78, 83

Board of Trade, flag of the   71

Bohemia, flag of   102

Bolivia, flag of   23, 123

Bombardment of Scio   118

Boots and shoes on a flag   7

Bordered Jack   48, 58

Botetourte, banner of Sir John   11

Bourbon kings, the   107


Brabant, lion of   112

Brass of Sir John Daubernoun   18

Brazil, flag of   23, 24, 123

Brazil, pendant of   20

Bremen, flag of port of   99

Britannia, flag of the yacht   73

British East Africa, device of, 84

British Guiana, badge of   84

British North Borneo, badge of   84

Broad pendant   56

Brunswick, arms of   35

Brunswick, flag of   101

Buckles as device on flag   7

Bugle-horn as a device   15

Builder's square on flag   6

Bulgaria, flag of   121

Bunker's Hill, battle of   87

Bunting as material for flags   22

Burgee, variety of flag   19, 73

Burgundy, flag of   111, 112

Burning of rebel colours   70

Butler's "Lives of the Fathers"   39

Butterflies as a flag device   17


Campbell on the national flag   54

Canada, Dominion of   10

Canada, flags of Dominion of   80

Canadian Pacific steamship line   75

Candlemakers' flag, the   7

Canterbury Cathedral, flags in   66

Cantonal colours   116

Cape of St. Martin   105

Cape St. Vincent, action off   41

Castle Line, house flag of the   75

Castle on flag as a device   111, 112

Cavalry standards   65

Cavers standard, the   43

Ceylon, device of the Colony of   84

Chapel of Royal College, Chelsea, flags in   3, 66

Chaucer, quotation from   12, 18

Cheering to order   102

Cherbourg, flag of port of   75

Chili, flag of   121

Chili, pendant of   20

Chinese flags   125

Chrysanthemum flag of Japan   124

Coastguard flag   134

Codes for flag-signalling   136

Coffee plant on flag   123

Coins, devices on   2, 88, 90, 120

Colombia, flag of United States of   122

Colonial Defence Act   78, 79, 80

Colonial flags   20, 40, 78

Colonies, value of   76, 77

Colour party   64

Colours, Queen's   61, 65, 67

Colours, regimental   61, 65, 67

Colours used in flags   23

Columbus, flag flown by   86, 111

Commodore's broad pendant   56

Commonwealth flags   48

Company or house flags   74, 75

Compasses as a device   6

Compass signals   136

Confederate States of America   27, 94, 95

Congo Free State, flag of   126

Conquest of Ireland   33

Consecrated banner   3, 103

Constantine, Labarum of   2, 3, 51

Consular flag   71

Consul-General, Russian, flag of   104

Cornet, variety of flag   19, 130

Costa Rica, flag of   122

Courtenay, banner of Sir Hugh de   11

Covenanter flags   24, 43, 91

Crescent as device   11, 15, 88, 95, 119, 120

Croatia, flag of   102

Cromwell, arms of   35

Cromwell, funeral of   19

Cross of St. Andrew   4, 35, 42, 43, 45, 53, 116

Cross of St. George   4, 10, 14, 16, 35, 39, 41, 45, 48, 53, 84, 87, 116

Cross of St. Patrick   4, 51, 53, 116

Crown of Charlemagne   35

Crowns of Ireland   33

Cuba, flag of   124

Culloden, battle of   70

Cunard Line, house flag of   74

Customs Department, flag of   71

Czarina, standard of the   102

Czar, standard of the   102, 103


Dalmatia, flag of   102

Dannebrog, the   115

Demerara and Berbice Steamship Company   74

Denis, St., flag of   5


Denmark, flags of   115

Derivation of word flag   8

Desjardins on French flag   107

Devitt and Moore house flag   74

Diana, crescent of   119

Diplomatic Service, flag of   71

Dipping the flag   25

Dragon as a device   17, 125

Drayton, quotation from   15

Durham, St. Cuthbert of   5


Eagle as a device   41, 91, 93, 94, 98, 101, 102, 105, 109, 110

Early Spanish flags   27

East Africa Company, German   100

East India Company, flag of   47, 89

East Kent Regiment, flags of   66

East Prussia, flag of   98

Ecclesiastical flags often pictorial   4

Ecuador, flag of   124

Eddystone Light flag signal   137

Edinburgh Cathedral, flags in   68

Edinburgh Trained Bands   42

Edmonson on flag usage   9

Edward the Confessor, arms of   34

Edward III., "King of the Seas"   25

Edward VI., funeral of   17

Egypt, ancient, standards of   2

Egyptian flags, modern   120, 121

Electoral bonnet   52

Elephant as a device   65, 84, 125

Elephant, order of the   115

Elizabeth, funeral of Queen   17

Elizabeth, thanksgiving service   3

Elsass, flag of   101

Emperor of Germany   98

Ensign   8

Ermine as a flag device   24

Errors in flag-making   58, 59, 60

Excise, flag of the   71

Eye as a device on flag   7


Facings of the regiment   62

Falcon as a device   17

Favyn "Le Théâtre d'honneur"   4, 107

Fiji, badge of colony   84

Files represented on trade flag   7

Flag-book of the Admiralty   120

Flag-lore valuable   58

Flagons on trade flag   7

Flag-signalling   127, et seq.

Flanders, badge of   111

Flashing messages at night   134

Fleur-de-lys   21, 34, 36, 106, 108, 109, 112

Flodden, battle of   6

Florida, settlement of   86

Florin, arms on the   32

Fly of a flag, the   10

Fork and spoon on a flag   7

Four-flag signals   137

France, flags of   1, 21, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110

Franco-German War of 1870   97

Fribourg, flag of   116

Frogmorton, standard of   17

Funeral obsequies, flags at   6, 17, 18, 19, 22


Garter, order of the   38

Gautier on the Swiss flag   116

Geneva Convention   117

Geneva, flag of   116

Geographical signals   137

George, St., cross of   4, 10, 14, 16, 35, 39, 41, 45, 48, 53, 84, 87, 116

George, St., of England   36, 37, 116

George, St., of Russia   102, 103

German Unity   97, 98

Germany, flags of   99, 100

Globe on flag   63, 87

Gnu as a flag device   84

Golden Legend, the   37

Gonfalon, kind of flag   8

Government, departments, flags of   71

Governor-General of Canada, flag of   81

Governors of Colonies, flags of   81, 84

Grandison, banner of Sir William de   11

Gray, quotation from   9

Greater Britain   77

Great Seal of Canada   83

Great Seal of Richard I.   30

Greece, flag of   119

Green and white of the Tudors   21

Green as a flag colour   23, 43, 113, 123

Greyhound as a device   17


Growth of the Italian State   113

Guards, flags of the   65

Guatemala, flag of   23, 122

Guidon, form of flag   21

Guild flags   6, 7

Guinea Company's flag   27


Half-mast high, flags at   25

Hamburg, flag of city of   99

Hammer represented on flag   6, 7

Hand as a device   2

Hanover, arms of   29, 35, 52

Hanover, flag of   101

Hanseatic League, flag of   99

Harfleur, siege of   12

Harleian MS. on flags   16, 21

Harp of Ireland   4, 29, 32, 33, 34, 49, 54

Hayti, flag of   23, 124

Heavenly succour   37, 42, 44, 106, 115

Henry V., standard of   16

Henry VII., flags in chapel of   12

Heraldic Exhibition, Edinburgh   43

Heraldic requirements in flag devising   23, 54

Hesse, flag of   101

Highland tartans   1

"History and principles of Heraldry"   10

Hohenzollerns, arms of the   99

Hoisting one flag over another   25

Hoist of the flag, the   10

Holderton, banner of Sir John de   11

Holland, flags of   117, 118

Hong Kong, badge of colony of   84

Horse as a device   2

Horsham, political colours at   8

House flags   24, 74, 75

House of Orange, flag of   117

Hungary, flag of   23, 102


Idolatrous emblem   87

Illiterate voters, mistakes of   7, 8

Imperial Eagle   66, 101, 102

Inscriptions on flags   3, 4, 13, 15, 16, 24, 35, 41, 43, 49, 66, 88, 90, 93, 122, 123

International signal code   133, 136, 137, 138

Investiture of knight-banneret   14

Invocation of saints   3

Ireland joined to Great Britain   32

Iron cross of Germany   100

Isandlwana, battle of   63, 69

Istria, flag of   102

Italy, flags of   23, 113, 114


James II., statue of   35

Japan, flags of   124

Jerusalem, arms of city of   114, 115

Jewish standards   3

Joan of Arc, standard of   4

Jove, Eagle of   2


Karlaverok, siege of   11, 18

Kasan, arms of province of   102

Katharine of Arragon flag-making   13

Kempenfeldt's signal code   130

Key as a device on flag   15

Khorsabad, slabs from   2

Kingdom of Hungary   101

King's Own Borderers   63

Kiow, arms of province of   102

Knights-banneret   14

Knights of the Bath, banners of   12

Knights of the Garter, banners of   12

Knights Templars, banner of the   24

Köbel, book on costume and flags   101

Korea, flag of kingdom of   125


Labarum of Constantine   2, 3, 51

Labuan, badge of colony of   84

La Haye's book on flags   87

Lamartine on the red flag   109

Lancer pennon   14, 19

Landing of Charles II.   47

Land of the rising sun   124

Laurel wreath on flag   49, 81

Lawyers, flag of the   7

Leeward Isles, badge of the   84

Leon and Castile, arms of   86, 110, 111

Liberia, flag of   125

Liberty, figure of   94, 118

Lion of Scotland   4, 29, 31, 34

Lions of England   4, 29, 30, 34


Livery colours   7, 14, 17, 21

Livy on Vexillum   2

Lloyd's signal stations   139

Locksmiths, flag of the   7

London, port of, flag signal   137

London Trained Bands   41, 67

Lone Star State, flag of the   95

Lord Cardross, flag of   16

Lord High Admiral of England   72, 80

Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, flag of   71

Lord Mayor's Show, flags at   19, 20

Loss of colours at Edgehill   65

Lothringen, flag of   101

Louisiana, flag of State of   94

Louisiana, settlement of   86

Lozenges as a device on flag   41

Lubeck, flag of city of   99

Lucerne, flag of   116

Lunenburg, arms of   35

Lydgate, the duty of chivalry   12


Maccabees, standard of the   3

Machyn, diary of   6, 17, 21, 39, 111

Mackay, extract from   57, 58

Mail service flag   72

Mainsail emblazoned as banner   12

Malplaquet, battle of   64

Man-of-war pendant   20, 78, 93, 110, 111, 121, 129, 135

Maple-leaf of Canada   30, 81

Marmion, quotation from   8, 18

Martin, description of Western Islands   1

Marseillaise, the   98

Marseilles, flag of port of   75

Martlets on flag   34

Massachusetts, flag of   3, 87

Mayflower, sailing of the   87

Mecklenburg-Strelitz, flag of   101

Mediæval spelling   6, 22

Mediterranean and New York Company   75

Merchant flag, red ensign   40, 47, 58, 73, 80

Merchant Shipping (Colours) Act   58

Metal-workers, flag of the   7

Meteorological signals   135

Mexico, flag of   23, 123

Milton, quotation from   8

Minotaur as a device   2

Minden, battle of   64

"Mirror for Magistrates," quotation from   15

Mohammedan flags often green   24

Monasteries, flags of   5

Monk, funeral of General   18, 22

Monogram, sacred, on flag   3, 42, 51

Monthermer, banner of Sir Ralph   11

Morse alphabet for signalling   127, 128, 129

Mottoes on flags   3, 4, 13, 15, 16, 24, 35, 41, 43, 49, 66, 88, 90, 93, 122, 123

Mutiny in the Royal Navy   25


Napoleon, flags at tomb of   4

Nassau, arms of   29, 35

Natal, device of colony of   84

Naval Discipline Act   56

Naval Exhibition at Chelsea   41

Navy signalling   129, et seq.

Nelson, funeral of   18, 22

Neville's Cross, battle of   5

New Brunswick, arms of province of   82

Newfoundland, badge of colony of   83

New Granada, flag of   122

New Guinea, badge of colony of   84

New South Wales, badge of colony of   84

New Zealand, badge of   84

New Zealand Shipping Company   24, 75

Night signalling at sea   134

Nisbet on the tressure   32

Norie's "Flags of All Nations"   26

Northallerton, sacred flags at   5

North German Confederacy   99

Norway, flag of   115

Nova Scotia, arms of province of   82

Nova Scotia, settlement of   87

Novgorod, arms of province of   102


Obsolete flags   8, 22, 26

Ontario, arms of province of   82

Orange flag   8

Orange Free State, flag of   23, 125

Order of Black Eagle   100


Ordnance Department flag   71

Orient Steam Navigation Company   24, 134

Oriflamme   105

Oudenarde, battle of   64

Owl of Athene   2


Palmetto palm on flag   94, 95

Pamiot Azof, flag of the   104

Papal States, flag of the   23, 114, 115

Paraguay, flag of   122

Paris, arms of city of   109

Passion symbols on flag   6

Patrick, St., life of   51, 52

Pendant or pennant,   20, 40, 78, 93, 110, 111, 121, 129, 135

Peninsular and Oriental Company, flag of   74

Pennoncelle or pencel   19

Pennon, nature of the   14, 18, 19

Pepys, extract from diary of   55

Percy, banner of Sir Henri de   11

Percy lion   11, 15

Percy motto   15, 16

Percy standard   15

Persepolis, sculptures of   2

Peruvian flag   123

Pictorial flags   4

Pilgrim Fathers, the   87

Pilot flag   48, 100, 104, 134

Pine-apple as a device   84

Pine-tree flag   87, 88, 89

Plantagenet livery colours   21

Pliny on Roman standards   2

Poland, flag of   105

Political colours   7

Political devices on flags   4

Pomerania, flag of   101

Popham's signal code   131

Portcullis as a device   21

Portobello, capture of   41

Ports, flags of   75

Portugal, flags of   112, 113

Pottery, representation of flags on   89

Precedence a difficulty   28

Presentation of colours   3, 66

President, U.S.A., flag of   93, 94

Printed flags   23

Protectorate flag, the   50

Prussian eagle   98


Quarantine flag, the   25, 59

Quebec, arms of province of   82

Queen's colour   61, 65

Queensland, badge of colony of   83

Queen's Regulations   54, 55, 64, 71, 78, 81


Ramilies, battle of   64

Rattlesnake flag   1, 13, 87, 88

Raven of the Danes   13

Rebel colors burnt   70

Red ensign   40, 47, 58, 73, 80

Red flag of revolution   25, 59, 109

Relics of saints worked into flag   5

Religious character of early flags   4, 5, 22

Religious service   3, 103

Revenue flag, U.S.A.   93

Rey on the French flag   107

Rhode Island, flag of   87

Richard II., standard of   17

Ridre, standard of Sir William de   11

Riga, flag of port of   75

Ripon, St. Wilfrid's banner at   5

Rolls of arms   10

Rome, standards of ancient   2, 42

Roses as a flag device   16, 21

Rotterdam, flag of port of   75

Rouen, capture of   5, 38, 112

Roumania, flag of   121

Royal Colonial Institute   76

Royal Horse Artillery of 1813   19

Royal Marines   63

Royal Naval Reserve   40, 56, 57, 73, 79, 139

Royal Navy, flag code of the   133

Royal Oak on coins   88

Royal Standard   11, 29, 34, 48, 54, 59, 78

Royal United Service Museum   24, 125, 130, 131

Royal Yacht Squadron, flag of the   72

Royston, political colours at   8

Russia, flags of   24, 102, 103, 104, 105

Russian American Company's flag   26


Sacred monogram on flag   3

Salique law, operation of   36

Salmon as a flag device   82

Saluting the flag   26, 55, 56


San Salvador, flag of   124

Sarawak, flag of   125

Sardinia, flag of   26

Savoy, flag of   27, 113, 123

Saxe-Coburg Gotha, flag of   101

Saxony, arms of   35

Saxony, flag of   100

Schomburg-Lippe, flag of   101

School of Army Signalling   128

"Scotland for ever"   70

Scots Greys 66

Scottish grievance as to arms   31, 45, 46, 53

Scottish variation of Union flag   46

Scott, quotation from   8, 29

Servia, flag of   121

Seven Champions of Christendom, 38

Seventeenth Lancers   66

Shakespeare, quotation from   15, 37

Shannon and Chesapeake duel   90

Shears as a device on trade flag   7

Siam, flag of kingdom of   125

Signal-book of Chesapeake   133

Signalling by flags   20, 23, 127, et seq.

Simon de Montfort, banner of, 12

Skull and cross-bones device   66

Sledge flags of Arctic expedition   16

South Australia, badge of   83

South Carolina, flag of   87, 88, 94

Southern Cross   30, 80, 96

Sovereignty of the seas   25, 26

Spain, flags of   1, 24, 110, 111, 112

Spelling, mediæval liberty of   6, 22

Spenser, quotation from   36

Sphinx as a badge   62, 63

Spoon and fork on trade flag   7

Standard, nature of the   14

St. Andrew, cross of   4, 35, 42, 43, 45, 53, 116

Stars and bars, C.S.A.   95, 96

Stars and stripes, U.S.A.   59

St. Denis, flag of   105

Stewart on tartans   1

St. Gallen, flag of   116

St. George, cross of   4, 10, 14, 16, 35, 39, 41, 45, 48, 53, 84, 87, 116

St. Helena, badge of colony of   84

Storm signals by flags   135

"Story of Thebes," quotation from   12

St. Patrick, cross of   4, 51, 53, 116

Straits Settlement, device of   84

Streamer, variety of flag   20, 21

Strictly confidential signals   133

Stuart, livery colours of house of   21

Sun as a device   2, 17

Swallow-tail flag   14, 18, 93, 110, 115, 116, 130

Swan, black, of Western Australia   84

Sweden, flag of   115

Switzerland, flag of   116

Swynnerton, standard of Sir Thomas de   16

Sydney, Sir Philip, funeral of   18

Sidney, Sir Philip, on war   19

Symbols to express colours   74


Tartans, Scottish   1

Tasmania, device of colony of   84

Telegraph Department, flag of   71

Tessin, flag of Canton   117

Teutonic, armament of the   57

Teutonic order, cross of the   100

Texas, flag of the State of   95

Texel, flag of the port of   75

"The late unpleasantness"   96

"Theorike and Practike of Modern Warres"   61

Third Dragoons   66

Thistle as a flag device   42, 82

Three-flag signals   137

Tiger of Korea   125

Titus, the arch of   2

Tobacco plant on flag   123

Torpedo practice flag   133

Trafalgar, Nelson's famous signal   132, 133

Trajan's column, standards on   2

Transport service, flag of the   71, 104

Transvaal, flag of the   126

Trefoils as a device   41

Tressure of Scotland, the   31, 32

Tricolor of France   40, 108

Trinidad, badge of colony of   84

Trinity, banner of the   5, 6

Trowel on guild flag   6

Trumpet banners   12, 20

Tudor flags   17

Tughra device, the   120, 121


Tunisian flags   120

Turkey, flags of   24, 119, 120

Twenty-fourth regiment   62

Tyrol, flag of the   102


Union between England and Scotland 45

Union between Great Britain and Ireland 50, 52

Union flag   1, 4, 45, 47, 50, 54, 61

Union flag of Sweden and Norway, 116

Union Jack   47, 48

Union Steamship Company's flag   75

United Italy   113

United States of America, flag of   86, 89, 90, 91

Universal code for signalling   28

Urgency flag signals   136

Uri, flag of Canton of   116

Uruguay, flag of   122

Utilisation of liners as cruisers   57


Valence, banner of Sir Aymer de   11

Valkyrie, flag of the yacht   73

Variation in size a sign of rank   17

Venezuela, flag of   23, 122, 123

Venice, obsolete flags of   27

Versailles, palace of   97

Vessels spoken at sea   139, 140

Viceroy of India, flag of   65, 81

Victoria Cross   63

Victoria, flag of colony of   80

Victualling Department, flag of   71

Virginia, settlement of   86

Virgin Mary on flag   6

Vocabulary signals   137

Voldermirz, arms of   102

Vowel flags objectionable   138, 139


Waldeck, flag of   101

War cries   37

War songs   95, 98

Warriors' Chapel at Canterbury   66, 67

Washington, arms of   91, 93

"Watch upon the Rhine"   98

Waterloo, battle of   70

Weather signals   135, 137

Wellington, funeral of Duke of   18, 22

West Africa, device of   84

Western Australia, device of   84

Western Australia, governor's flag   81

West Prussia, flag of   98

White cross of France   107

White elephant of Siam   125

White ensign   40, 55, 59, 72

White horse of Hanover   63, 66

White horse of Kent   36

White Star Line, house flag of 57, 75

Why called "Jack"   48

William III., standard of   35

Wreath on flag   63, 66, 81

Wolf as a device   2

Wurtemburg, flag of   101


Yacht flags   100, 138

Yellow flag, its significance   24, 59

York, livery colours of house of   21



1 Banner of Sir John Botetourte.

2 Banner of Sir Ralph de Monthermer.

3 Banner of Sir Hugh Touches.

4 Banner of Sir William de Ridre.

5 Banner of Sir Hugh Bardolph.

6 Banner of Sir John de Holderton.

7 Banner of Sir Henri de Percy.

8 Banner of Sir Hugh de Courtenay.

9 Banner of Sir Aymer de Valence.

10 Banner of Sir John de Bar.

11 Banner of Sir William de Grandison.


12 Percy Flag, Crescent Badge.

13 Arctic Sledge-flag, Expedition of 1875-76.

14 The Percy Standard.

15 Standard of Sir Thomas de Swynnerton.

16 Arctic Sledge-flag, Expedition of 1875-76.

17 Banner of St. Edmund.

18 Banner of Simon de Montfort.

19 Banner of St. Edward.

Plate 2

20 Streamer, Tudor Fleur-de-Lys Badge, 1520.

21 Streamer, Tudor Portcullis Badge, 1520.

22 Standard of Henry VIII.

23 Streamer, Tudor Rose Badge, 1520.

24 Streamer, Tudor Red Dragon Badge, 1520.

25 Pendant of H.M.S. Lion.

26 Pendant of H.M.S. Tiger.

27 Pendant of Warship of 1520.

Plate 3

28 Guidon form of Flag.

29 Abnormal form of Pennon.

30 Lancer Pennon of present day.

31 Pennon, Royal Horse Artillery, 1813.

32 Flag from Early German Book.

33 Modification of Pennon form.

34 Flag of H.M.S. Niger, 1797.

35 Ecclesiastical Flag, MS. British Museum.

36 Burgee, the Ducal Shipping Line.

37 Early form of Banner, MS. British Museum.

38 Burgee, McIver's Shipping Line.

39, 40, 41, 42 Examples from Bayeux Tapestry. 4 illus.

Plate 4

43 The Royal Standard of King George III.

44 The Royal Standard of Queen Victoria.

Plate 5

45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51 Illustrations of perverted ingenuity and crass ignorance, taken from street decorations on occasions of general rejoicing.

Plate 6

52, 53 Flags from early Spanish Map in British Museum, 1502.

54, 55 Early Portuguese Flags, British Museum.

56 The Guinea Company.

57 East India Company.

58 Early form of Algerian Flag.

59 Russian-American Company.

60 Early English War Flag.

61 Heligoland Flag during British Possession.

62 The Flag of Savoy.

63 Flag of the Grand Seigneur.

64 Turkish Flag.

Plate 7

{150} 65 Ship Flag, Reign of George I.

66 Early form of Red Ensign.

67 London Train Bands: The Blue Regiment, 1643.

68 London Train Bands: The Yellow Regiment, 1643.

69 Flag of Warship, 16th Century.

70 Flag of H.M.S. Tiger.

71 St. George, and Tudor Livery Colours.

72 London Train Bands: The Green Regiment, 1643.

73 Flag of Union of England and Scotland.

74 Pendant of H.M.S. Lion, 1745.

75 Scottish Blue Ensign.

76 Scottish Red Ensign.

77 Banner of St. Alban's Abbey.

78 Jack of Warship of the 16th Century.

79 Suggested forms for Union Flag, 1801.

Plate 8

80 Early Union Flag, England and Scotland.

81 Commonwealth Flag, England and Scotland.

82 Commonwealth Flag, England and Ireland.

83 Standard of Cromwell.

84 Scotch suggestion for Union Flag, 1801.

85 Flag of Commonwealth.

86 Commonwealth Flag of England and Ireland.

87 Early Form of Irish Flag, MS. in British Museum.

88, 89 Suggested Forms for second Union Jack.

Plate 9

90 Union Flag of Great Britain and Ireland.

91 Cross of St. George of England.

92 Cross of St. Andrew of Scotland.

93 Cross of St. Patrick of Ireland.

94 Regimental Colours: 24th of the Line, the 2nd Warwickshire Regiment.

Plate 10

95 The White Ensign, Man-of-War.

96 The Blue Ensign, Naval Reserve.

97 The Red Ensign, Merchant Service.

98 Victualling Service.

99 Admiralty Flag.

100 Ranelagh Yacht Club.

101 Yare Yacht Club.

102 Royal Thames Yacht Club.

103 Dublin Bay Yacht Club.

104 Pilot Jack.

105 Board of Trade Flag.

106 Flag of Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

107 Customs House Flag.

108 Ordnance Flag.

Plate 11

109 Green's Blackwall Line.

110 Cunard Line, Liverpool.

111 Peninsular and Oriental Company.

112 Australasian Naval Company.

113 Devitt & Moore, London.

114 Canadian Pacific Company.

115 Donald Currie & Co., London.

116 Union Steamship Company, Southampton.

117 Mediterranean and New York Shipping Company.

118 Houlder Brothers & Company, London.

119 White Star Line, Liverpool.

120 New Zealand Shipping Company.

121 Britannia, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales.

122 Ailsa, A. B. Walker, Esq.

123 Valkyrie, The Earl of Dunraven.

124 Hester, Major W. H. Gretton.

125 Dream, W. H. Jones, Esq.

126 Carina, Admiral Montague.

Plate 12

127 Cape Colony, Government.

128 Queensland, Government.

129 Canada, Commercial.

130 Canada, Government.

131 Badge of Straits Settlements.

132 Badge of British North Borneo.

133 Badge of Tasmania.

134 Victoria, Commercial.

135 Victoria, Government.

136 Badge of New Zealand.

{151} 137 Badge of Fiji.

138 Badge of New South Wales.

139 Flag of Viceroy of India.

140 Portion of Pendant, Government Colonial vessels.

141 Governors' Flag, West Australia.

Plate 13

142 American Insurgent Flag, 1775.

143 Admiral's Flag, U.S. Navy.

144 Flag used at Bunker's Hill.

145 American Pine-tree Flag.

146 The Stars and Stripes of the United States.

147 New England Navy Flag, 1776.

148 Massachusetts Flag, 1775.

149 Pine-tree and Stripes.

150 Early American Flag.

151 Portion of Pendant, U.S.Navy.

Plate 14

152 Confederate States of America.

153 Confederate, the Southern Cross.

154 Southern Cross, modified.

155 South Carolina State Flag, 1861.

156 Louisiana State Flag.

157 Chili, portion of Pendant.

158 South Carolina, 1775.

159 South Carolina State Flag, 1861.

160 Texas State Flag.

161 Chili, Commercial.

162 Guatemala, Flag of 1851.

163 Guatemala, Flag of 1858.

Plate 15

164 Colombia (formerly New Granada), Commercial.

165 Uruguay, General Service.

166 Guatemala, Government.

167 Costa Rica, Commercial.

168 Paraguay, Government.

169 Brazil, General Service.

170 Venezuela, Commercial.

171 Bolivia, Commercial.

172 Mexico, Government.

173 Portion of Pendant, Brazil.

174 Peru, Government.

175 San Salvador, General Service.

176 Argentine, Government.

177 Ecuador, Government.

178 Hayti, Commercial.

Plate 16

179 Oriflamme.

180, 181 Early French forms of Flag.

182 Soissonois Flag.

183 Bourbon Flag.

184 Standard of Charles VI.

185 Standard, French.

186 Man-of-War Pendant.

187 Standard, French.

188 Flag of French Guards, 1563.

189 Flag of Republic, France.

190 Tricolor of 1790.

191 Modern French Tricolor.

Plate 17

192 Spain, War.

193 Spain, Commercial.

194 Royal Standard of Spain.

195 Portugal, Royal Standard.

196 Portugal, General Service.

197 Italy, Commercial.

198 Papal Merchant (obsolete).

Plate 18

199 Saxony.

200 Waldeck.

201 Saxe Weimar.

202 Pomerania.

203 Wurtemburg.

204 Oldenburg.

205 Mecklenburg Strelitz.

206 Brunswick.

207 German Empire, War Ensign.

208 German Empire, Jack.

209 Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

210 Schomberg Lippe.

211 West Prussia.

212 Hesse.

213 Austria, Government.

214 Austro-Hungarian, Commercial.

215 Russian Jack.

216 Poland.

Plate 19

217 Russian Man-of-War.

218 Russia, Commercial.

219 Early Form of Russian Ensign.

220 Russia, Consul General.

221 Russia, Chargé d'Affaires.

222 Russia, Ambassador or Minister.

223 Russia, Transport Service.

224 Danish Man-of-War.

225 Danish, Commercial.

{152} 226 Russian Imperial Standard.

227 Swedish, Commercial.

228 Norwegian Man-of-War.

229 Union Flag of Sweden and Norway.

230 Flag of Norway.

231 Flag of Sweden.

232 Switzerland.

Plate 20

233 Greece, Commercial Flag.

234 Italian Jack.

235 Turkey, Commercial.

236 Belgium, Commercial.

237 Holland, Royal Standard.

238 Turkey, Standard.

239 Turkey, Government.

240 Tunis, Government.

Plate 21

241 Bulgaria.

242 Roumania.

243 Servia.

244 Japanese Ensign.

245 Japanese Imperial Standard.

246 Japanese Transport Flag.

247 Chinese Merchant Flag.

248 Japanese Guard Flag.

249 Orange Free State.

250 Liberia.

251 Congo State.

252 Rajah of Sarawak.

253 South African Republic.

Plate 22

254 to 267 Fourteen Flags from the Signal Code of the Royal Navy.

268 Special Flag of the Coast Guard.

269 to 278 Code of Sir Hope Popham, used by Nelson at Trafalgar, &c. 10 illus.

279 to 286 Special Battle Signals, code suggested in 1788. 8 illus.

287 to 296 Numerical Code. Signal Code of 1788. 10 illus.

297 to 306 Pilot Signals of various Nationalities. 10 illus.

Plate 23

307 to 324 The Flags of the International Code. 18 illus.

325 The Signal-hoist for the Eddystone Lighthouse, B.D.T.F.

326 Code-signal for the Port of London, B.D.P.Q.

327 Code-signal of SS. Germanic, N.V.B.Q.

328 Code-signal of the Hesperus, M.N.D.L.

329 Code-signal of H.M.S. Devastation, G.R.C.T.

330 "Do you wish to be reported?" B.P.Q.

331 "All safe!" V.K.C.

332 "Report me to Lloyd's Agent." P.D.S.

333 "Do you want assistance?" H.V.F.

334 "Has any accident happened?" B.G.H.

Plate 24

335 to 339 Signal Flags of SS. Australia, Arcadia, Massilia, Victoria, Bengal. (Are all Vessels in the P. & O.)

340 to 344 Signal Flags of SS. Oroya, Orient, Ophir, Orotava, Ormuz. (Are all Vessels of the Orient Line.)

345 to 349 Signal Flags of SS. La Touraine, Lafayette, Ville-de-Tanger, Amerique, Saint-Germain. (Are all Vessels of the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique.)

Plate 25

350 to 354 Flag-signals of some of the numerous Victorias on the Shipping List.

355 to 359 Flag-signals of some of the numerous Australias on the Shipping List.

360 to 364 Flag-signals of some of the numerous Britannias on the Shipping List.

Plate 26
The Botolph Printing Works, Crosskey Square, Little Britain, E.C.


[1] "Every Isle differs from each other in their Fancy of making Plads, as to the Stripes in Breadth and Colours. This Humour is as different through the main Land of the Highlands in so far that they who have seen those Places are able at the first View of a man's Plad to guess the Place of his Residence."—Martin's "Description of the Western Islands," 1703. See also "Old and Rare Scottish Tartans," by Donald Stewart, all illustrated by actual pieces woven in silk to a reduced scale. The latest tartan, that of Balmoral, was devised by Prince Albert in the year 1848.

[2] In mediæval days the pastoral staff or crook of the bishop often had a small scarf attached to it. This was known as the vexillum, and was supposed to be derived from the Labarum, or standard of the first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great.

[3] In Favyn's book, "Le Théâtre d'honneur et de Chevalerie," published in Paris some two hundred and fifty years ago, we read of "Le grand estendard de satin bleu celeste double en riche broderie de fleurs de lys d'or de Chypre à une grande croix plein de satin blanc, qui est la croix de France.

"Le grand estendard Saint Michel ange gardien de la France, de satin bleu celeste de riche broderie d'or de Chypre, semé d'estoiles d'or.

"Le grand estendard de l'ordre du benoist Saint-Esprit, faict de double satin verd à une columbe d'argent, rayonné d'or de riche broderie, le rest semé de flammes d'or."

Joan of Arc had a white standard powdered over with gold fleurs-de-lys, and in the centre a figure of Christ sitting on a rainbow, and holding a globe. On either side an angel in the posture of adoration, and, underneath, the words "Jhesu, Maria." On another she had the Annunciation, and the words "Ave Maria." These were painted at Tours "par James Power, Ecossais, Peintre du Roi."

[4] Thus the Cross of St. George would be normally represented as in Fig. 91, but we find it much elongated in Figs. 12 and 14, much widened out in Figs 27 and 56, and yet more so on the shield of the arms of the Dominion of Canada in Fig. 129.

[5] We do not pause to explain the meaning of any heraldic terms that we are obliged to employ. Such terms may be readily found in any technical book on blazonry, and we have ourselves, in "The History, Principles and Practice of Heraldry," gone very thoroughly into the meaning and use of the various forms that enter into the blazonry of shield or banner, and do not, therefore, repeat these matters here.

[6] i.e., badges.

[7] "Lord Gordon has arrived at Nauplia. He has brought the Greeks a number of ensigns, embroidered by Scotch ladies, and sent by them."—Salisbury and Winchester Journal, December 27th, 1824.

[8] This crowned key may be seen as early as 1359 on the seal of Sir Michael de Poynings.

[9] The bugle horn appears as the crest of Sir William de Bryan on his brass, 1375.

[10] In an old pedigree of the family is inscribed the lines:—

"Esperance en Dieu,

Trust in hym, he is most true.

En Dieu Esperance,

In hym put thyne affiaunce.

Esperance in the worlde? Nay,

The worlde variethe every day.

Esperance in riches? Nay, not so;

Riches slidethe, and some will go.

Esperance in exaltacion of honour?

Nay, it widderethe away, lyke a flowre.

Esperance en Dieu, in hym is all,

Which is above Fortune's fall."

[11] The modern flag, known as the burgee, largely used in flag signalling, is like a shortened pennon. It is sometimes also called a cornet.

[12] "Now the often changing fortune beganne also to channge the law of the battels. For at the first, though it were terrible, yet Terror was deckt and broachie with rich furniture, guilt swords, shining armours, pleasant pensils, that the eye with delight had scarce time to be afraide; but now all defiled with dust, blood, broken armour, mangled bodies, tooke away the maske, and set forth Horror in his own horrible manner."—Sir Philip Sydney.

[13] "A streamer shall stand in the toppe of a shippe, or in the forecastle, and therein be putt no armes, but a man's conceit or device, and may be of the lengthe of twenty, forty, or sixty yards."—Harleian MS., No. 2,358, dealing with "the Syze of Banners, Standardes, Pennons, Guydhomes, Pencels, and Streamers."

[14] While thus severe in our judgment on misguided foreigners it is only just to point out that England itself is responsible for a combination as horrible as any in the green, red, white, of the special flag that she bestowed on Heligoland, while it was yet a British possession. It may be seen in Fig. 61.

[15] The famous banner of the Knights Templars, called the Beau-seant, had its upper half black and lower white. The black symbolised the terror it should be to the foe, and the white amity and goodwill to friends.

[16] The "house-flags" of the various shipping companies make a great use of letters: thus the flag of the Orient Steam Navigation Company is white and divided into four portions by a blue cross. In these four portions are placed in red the letters O.S.N.C. In Fig. 120 we have the flag of the New Zealand Shipping Company, where the N.Z.S. Co. are equally conspicuous. Any reference to a good list of house-flags, such as that published by Griffin, would reveal scores of illustrations of this feature.

[17] The map is freely embellished with illustrations. In South America, for instance four immense crimson parrots about fill up Brazil, while in Africa the parrots are green. Many of these figured details are very quaint.


"The dazzling field,

Where in proud Scotland's royal shield,

The ruddy lion ramped in gold."—Scott.

[19] With only one exception the Sovereigns of Scotland never quartered the arms of any other kingdom with their own. The only exception was when Mary Stuart claimed the arms of England and placed them upon her standard, and thus gave irreparable provocation to Queen Elizabeth.

[20] Brian Boru, who was killed in battle with the Danes, did much to civilise Ireland; and, amongst other things, introduced the harp. The ancient Irish harp at Trinity College, Dublin, was long claimed as the identical instrument of Boru, but it has been proved by the ornament upon it that it cannot be later than the fourteenth century. The most primitive representation of the harp in Ireland is in a rude sculpture in a church near Kilkeny. This is known to date from the ninth century. Though the harp has ever shone in the poetry of the Irish people, they have but little claim to it. It has been by no means such a national instrument with the Irish as with the Welsh. It is one of the most ancient of instruments, figuring in the mural paintings of Egypt centuries before the Christian era.

[21] As may be seen beautifully enamelled on his tomb in Westminster Abbey.

[22] Another flag was a plain scarlet one, having this inscription: "For the Protestant Religion and the Liberty of England" in white upon it.

[23] The following summary may be taken as correct in its broad facts:—From about 1195 to 1340, the Standard had the lions of England alone on it. From 1340 to 1377, England and France together. 1377 to 1399, England, France, and the arms of Edward the Confessor. 1399 to 1603, England and France. 1603 to 1649, England, France, Scotland and Ireland. 1649 to 1659, Interregnum: a period of change and uncertainty, when divers changes in the Standard were made that are scarcely worth detailing. 1659 to 1688, England, France, Scotland, and Ireland. 1688 to 1701, England, France, Scotland, Ireland, and Nassau. 1701 to 1714, England, France, Scotland, and Ireland. 1714 to 1801, England, France, Scotland, Ireland, and Hanover. 1801 to 1837, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Hanover. From 1837, England, Scotland, and Ireland.

[24] Spenser.

[25] In the same way, we find the Scottish clansmen rushing to the fray to the cry of "St. Andrew and our Right." In the ballad of Otterbourne we read that the Scots

"Uppon Sent Andrewe loude they crye,

And thrysse they showte on hyght."

[26] One interesting exception to this is that, on St. George's Day, the 5th regiment (Northumberland Fusiliers) holds full-dress parade, all wearing the rose, the national emblem, in their headgear, and the officers on their sword-knots also. The colours, too, are festooned with roses.

[27] "The x day of January hevy news came to London that the French had won Cales (Calais), the whyche was the hevest tydyngs to England that ever was herd of.

"The xj day of January the Cete of London took up a thousand men, and mad them whytt cotes and red crosses, and every ward of London found men.

"The xxj day of January came a new commandement to my Lord Mayre that he shuld make men redy in harnes with whyt cotes weltyd with green, and red crosses, by the xxiij day of the same moneythe to be at Leydenhalle to go forward.

"The xviij day of May there was sent to the shyppes men in whyt cotes and red crosses, and gones, to the Queen's shyppes."—Machyn's Diary.

[28] Thus we have the white, the blue, the white and orange, the green and red, the purple, the blue and white, the orange and green, the red and yellow, the red and blue, the red and white, and divers others. The orange company always took the lead. These companies were for a long time in abeyance, and were superseded in 1798 by the formation of the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, but each year the Magistrates and Council still appoint one of their number to be captain of the orange colours. His duty is to take charge of the old colours and preserve them as an interesting relic of a bygone institution.

[29] It is remarkable that none of the flags extant bear the motto which the Parliament on July 5th, 1650, ordered "to be upoun haill culloris and standardis," i.e., "For Covenant, Religion, King, and Kingdom." It is characteristic that each body claimed independence even in this matter. Thus the Fenwick flag bore "Phinegh for God, Country, and Covenanted work of Reformations." Another flag has, "For Reformation in Church and State, according to the Word of God and our Covenant," while yet another bears the inscription, "For Christ and His truths, no quarters to ye active enemies of ye Covenant."

[30] St. Andrew's day is November 30th.

[31] The question of the Union between England and Scotland was often mooted. In the year 1291 Edward I., being victorious in the north, declared the two countries united, but this did not last long. In 1363 Edward III. opened negotiations for a union of the two crowns if King David of Scotland died without issue. In the reign of Edward VI. the matter was again to the fore, but it was left to Queen Elizabeth to take the decisive step.

[32] April 12th, 1605.

[33] Thus in the Royal Standard of Spain, Fig. 194, the arms of Leon and Castile being In the upper corner next the staff take precedence of honour over Arragon and all the other States therein introduced.

[34] In a picture in the collection at Hampton Court, representing the embarkation of Charles II. from Holland, the ship has a large red flag charged with the Stuart arms in the centre, but so soon as his position in England was assured he reverted to the royal standard of his Stuart predecessors and to the original form of the union flag, a form that during the Protectorate was widely departed from.

[35] "Jaque, espece de petite casaque militaire qu'on portait au moyen age sur les armes et sur la cuirasse."—Bouillet, "Dict. Universel."

[36] A contemporary representation of this Long Parliament flag may be seen on the medals bestowed on the victorious naval commanders, where the principal ship in the sea-fight represented on the reverse of the medal flies this flag at her masthead.

[37] Andrew Marvell on the victory of Blake at Santa Cruz.

[38] As the year of his birth is scarcely known within a century or so, it is too much to expect the month or the day, but the day that is assigned to St. Patrick in the calendar is March 17th.

[39] In the year 1816, in consequence of the Electorate of Hanover being raised to the rank of a Kingdom, the Hanoverian Royal Crown was substituted for the Electoral headgear in the royal arms on the shield and standard.

[40] A writer in the Retrospective Review in the year 1847, thus relieves his feelings:—"The banner of St. George, argent, and cross gules is still borne as part of the English flag, though, from the disgraceful manner in which it has been amalgamated with the Crosses of St. Andrew and St. Patrick, it has not only lost all its purity, but presents a melancholy example of the ignorance of heraldry and total want of patriotism and taste which must have characterised those to whom we unfortunately owe its arrangement."

[41] "All Her Majesty's Ships of War in Commission shall bear a white ensign with the Red St. George Cross, and the Union in the upper Canton, and when it shall be thought proper to do so, they may display the Union Jack at the bowsprit end."—Queen's Regulations.

[42] We read, for instance, in the Diary of Pepys that in the expedition of the Duke of Buckingham, in the year 1627, against the Isle de Rhé that "the Duke divided his fleet into squadrons. Himself, ye Admirall, and General in chiefe, went in ye Triumphe, bearing the Standard of England in ye maine topp, and Admirall particular of the bloody colours. The Earl of Lindsay was Vice-Admirall to the Fleete in the Rainbowe, bearing the King's usual colours in his foretopp, and a blew flag in his maine topp, and was admirall of the blew colours. The Lord Harvey was Rear Admirall in ye Repulse, bearing the King's usual colours in his mizen, and a white flag in the main topp, and was Admirall of ye squadron of white colours."

[43] On the hoisting of the Ensign all work stops, and all ranks muster on deck, standing with hand raised to the cap in salute, while the ship's band plays the opening bars of the National Anthem.

[44] Charles Mackay.

[45] Other regiments with green facings are the 5th, 11th, 19th, 36th, 39th, 46th, 49th, 73rd, etc. Regiments with blue facings are the 1st, 4th, 6th, 7th, 13th, 18th, 21st, 23rd, 25th, etc., while buff is found in the 2nd, 3rd, 14th, 22nd, 27th, 31st, 40th, etc. Amongst the regiments with yellow facings are the 9th, 10th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 26th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 34th, 37th, 38th, etc. White is met with in the 17th, 32nd, 41st, 43rd, 47th, 59th, 65th. Red is not so common, since the colour is that of the tunic ordinarily, but we see it in the 33rd, 48th, and 76th. Black is also less commonly used, but we find it in the facings of the 58th, 64th, 70th, and 89th Regiments.

[46] The "Black Watch," the gallant 42nd, and other regiments also bear the Sphinx for their services in Egypt in 1801, where Napoleon received his first serious check from British troops.

[47] When a regiment consists of two battalions the distinctions won by each are common to both, and are, quite justly, the property of the whole regiment.

[48] In like manner we find the Royal Marines bearing on their colours an anchor, first granted to the corps as a badge in the year 1775. The lion and crown was added to this in 1795. In 1802, in honour of the gallant share taken by the Marines in the capture of Bellisle, a laurel wreath was added to the other badges of honour, and in 1827 the motto "Per Mare per Terram" and a globe, surmounted by the word "Gibraltar," was also placed on their colours, as a testimony to the services of the Marines all over the world, and notably at the taking of Gibraltar.

[49] Blenheim, August 2nd, 1704; Ramilies, May 23rd, 1706; Oudenarde, June 30th, 1708; Malplaquet, September 11th, 1709; Dettingen, June 16th, 1743; Minden, August 1st, 1759.

[50] This, with many other interesting trophies of war, may be seen in the Chapel of Chelsea College. The Blenheim Colours are now nearly all consumed away with age: of one but the staff remains, and many others are now as tender as tinder. French, Russian, American, Chinese, and many other flags of former foes may there be seen quietly fading away, as the old national animosities have likewise done.

[51] Amongst the various devices seen on the flags of the Parliamentarians, was one of a skull surrounded by a laurel crown, accompanied by the words "Mors vel Victoria."

[52] There are the colours of other regiments as well. Those that we specially refer to above will be found in what is known as the Warriors' Chapel. We deal with these especially, because, as being the flags of the territorial regiment, they find, with particular appropriateness, their resting place in Canterbury Cathedral.

[53] There is now no Lord High Admiral of Great Britain; his functions are analogous to those of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army; the last Lord High Admiral was William IV., who received this appointment when Prince of Wales. The office is now said to be "in commission"—its functions are performed by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, a board uniting the dual control which is exercised over the land Forces by the War Office and the Horse Guards. Commissions of Naval Officers are not signed by the Queen, they are headed "By the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom," etc.; and they are signed by two of the Lords.

[54] We find the Royal Yacht Club, in 1815, and the Royal Thames Yacht Club, in 1835, flying what would be a white ensign if it had but the great Cross of St. George upon it; an entirely white flag having the Union in the corner next the staff. One may get a fair notion of its effect by looking at Fig. 154, but imagining the Union in the place of the device there seen. The Royal Yacht Club burgee at this period was plain white, without any device whatever. The burgee of the other Club we have named has undergone many changes. In 1823 it is scarlet, with the letters T.Y.C. in white; in 1831 the prefix Royal has been gained, and the flag, still red, has the crown and the R.T.Y.C. in white upon it; while in 1834 we still find the crown and the same letters, but now, not white on red, but red on white.

[55] "By the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c.

"Whereas, we deem it expedient that Canadian registered vessels shall be permitted to wear the Red Ensign of Her Majesty's Fleet, with the Canadian Coat of Arms in the Fly thereof.

"We do therefore, by virtue of the power and authority vested in us, hereby warrant and authorize the Red Ensign of Her Majesty's Fleet, with the Canadian Coat of Arms in the Fly, to be used on board vessels registered in the Dominion.

"Given under our hands and the seal of the Office of Admiralty, this second day of February, 1892."

[56] The Maple is to Canada what the Rose is to England, or the Shamrock to Ireland. Hence, we find it on the coinage, etc. In the Canadian Militia List before us we find it on the accoutrements of many of the regiments, enwreathing the motto or device; sometimes alone, and often in association with the rose, thistle, and shamrock.

[57] Thus in a French book on flags (La Haye's), published in 1737, we see a "pavillon de Nouvelle Angleterre en Amerique." This is a blue flag, having on a white canton the Cross of St. George, and in the first quarter of this canton a globe, in allusion to America, the new world.

[58] In September, 1775, Moultrie, the heroic defender of the fort which still bears his name, devised this the first flag of the State of South Carolina, the uniform of the South Carolina men being blue, and some of the regiments having a silver crescent in their caps; but why they had the silver crescent as a badge no record seems to inform us.

[59] It may be somewhat of an assistance to our readers if we give a few chronological details: The obnoxious duty on tea and other articles imposed by the British Parliament, June, 1767. Tea thrown overboard in Boston harbour by the discontented populace, November, 1773. The Boston Port Bill, by which that port was to be shut up until compensation made to the East India Company for the tea destroyed, passed March, 1774. General Congress of the colonists at Philadelphia, September, 1774. Revolution, first blood shed at Lexington, April, 1775. Washington appointed Commander-in-Chief of the American Armies, June, 1775. Thirteen colonies declare themselves independent, July 4th, 1776. Independence of Colonies recognised by France in March, 1778, by Holland in April, 1782, and by Great Britain in September, 1783. John Adams received as ambassador from America by George III. in June, 1785, and first ambassador sent from Great Britain to the United States, in 1791.

[60] In an old print before us of the fight between the Shannon and the Chesapeake, we see that the latter hoists three American flags, all having the top and bottom stripes white, and at the foremast a white flag inscribed with the enigmatical motto, "Free Trade and Sailors' rights."


"Forty flags with their silver stars,

Forty flags with their crimson bars."

Whittier, "Barbara Frietchie."

[62] At a banquet at the Mansion House, when many leading Englishmen and eminent Colonists gathered together to celebrate St. George's Day, the American Ambassador, an honoured guest, said that he was very conscious that he was there at a gathering of the clans. "There was a tradition that the mischievous boy was generally the favourite of the household. His mother might confess it openly, his father secretly, but the rest of the family said nothing about it. Now there was a mischievous boy who broke away from home something more than a century ago, but let them not suppose that because he left the home he or his descendants ever came back without a strong feeling that it is the home." He went on to say that he never met a body of representative Englishmen, British men, speaking the same language that he did, without a sense of grave joy and pleasure: the sense that they were his brethren in a great cause, and that he joined with them, he and his people, in sustaining the best hopes and aspirations of the world's civilization. Blood is thicker than water, and all right-minded Englishmen will read his kindly words with pleasure, and give them heartiest reciprocation.

[63] To the Germans, in their campaign against France, this and the "Watch upon the Rhine" were worth many battalions as a spur and stimulus to heroic deeds. During the American War both Federals and Confederates owed much to the influence of stirring patriotic songs. There can be no doubt that the songs of Dibdin contributed not a little to our own naval victories, and every cause that is worth fighting for evokes like stirring strains. Perhaps one of the most marked illustrations of this is the birth of that grand war-song known as the "Marseillaise." Rouget de l'Isle, its author, was a captain of French Engineers stationed in Strassbourg on the opening of the campaign against Austria and Prussia in 1792. On the eve of the day that the contingent from that city was going to join the main army of the Rhine, a question arose as to what air should be played at their departure. Several were suggested and rejected, and Rouget de l'Isle left the meeting and retired to his own quarters, and before the gathering broke up had written both words and music of "Le Chant de l'Armee du Rhin." On returning to the meeting, still in consultation on the various details of the morrow, he sang his composition, and it was at once welcomed with delight. It flew like wildfire throughout France, and, owing to the Marseillaise troops singing it on entering Paris, it derived the name by which it has ever since been known. Its stirring words and the grand roll of the music aroused the enthusiasm of the country, and at once made it the battle-song of France, to be at times proscribed, but never forgotten.

[64] The book on German costume by Köbel, printed at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1545, should be referred to, if possible, by the reader. It is, unfortunately, a very rare book. The first edition of this splendid volume contains 144 large illustrations of standard-bearers; the figures are admirably drawn and very varied in attitude, while the flags they carry are replete with interest, many of course being now quite obsolete, while others there represented have come down to us through the three centuries intact.

[65] The Pamiot Azof, one of the most powerful ironclads of the Russian Navy, flies at her mast-head the Cross of St. George (white on red), in memory of the gallant service at Navarino in 1527 of her predecessor of that name. The Czar Nicholas decreed that all future Pamiot Azofs in the navy should bear this distinguishing mark of honour. Peter the Great built the first Pamiot Azof as a memorial of the great siege of Azof, and the name has been handed down ever since. The influence of that piece of scarlet and white bunting will doubtless be such that no Pamiot Azof will ever fall short of the highest expectations that this exceptional honour would suggest.

[66] "Clisson, assura sa Majesté du gain de la bataille, le roi lui répondit: 'Connestable, Dieu le veeulte, nous irons donc avant au nom de Dieu et de Sainct Denis.'"—Vulson de la Colombière.

[67] In a miniature of Charles II., A.D. 869, in a book of prayers, the royal sceptre terminates in a fleur-de-lys. The crown of Hugh Capet, A.D. 957, in St. Denis, is formed of fleur-de-lys, as is that of his successor, Robert le Sage, A.D. 996, Henry I., 1031, and many others. To make the matter more complicated, we find on the crown of Uffa, first king of the East Angles, A. D. 575, true fleurs-de-lys.

[68] One old writer asserts that Louis VII., on setting out in the year 1137 for the Crusade chose the purple iris flower as his emblem.

[69] "Recherches sur les Drapeaux Français, Oriflamme, bannière de France, Marques nationales, Couleurs du roi, drapeaux de l'armée, pavilions de la Marine."—Gustave Desjardins, Paris, 1874.

Another good book to see is the "Histoire du drapeau de la Monarchie Française," by M. Rey.

[70] It may be helpful here to append for reference the chronology of the earlier sovereigns of the House of Bourbon:—Henry IV., "the Great," ascended the throne in 1589; Louis XIII., "the Just," 1610; Louis XIV., "the Great," 1643; Louis XV., "the Well-beloved," 1715; Louis XVI., 1774, guillotined in January, 1793.

[71] Thus, at a grand military fête, on May 10th, 1852, in the Champ de Mars, on restoring this symbol, we find the Emperor addressing the troops:—"The Roman eagle, adopted by the Emperor Napoleon at the commencement of this century, was a brilliant symbol of the grandeur of France. It disappeared amongst our calamities. It ought to return when France, raised up again, should no more repudiate her high position. Soldiers! Take again the eagles which have so often led our fathers to glory." In 1855, in addressing a detachment of the Imperial Guard prior to its departure for the Crimea, he exclaimed, "The Imperial Guard, the heroic representative of military glory and honour, is here before me. Receive then these eagles, which will lead you on to glory. Soon will you have planted them on the walls of Sebastopol!"

[72] First Republic, 1792 to 1799. The Consulate, 1799 to 1804. The first Empire, 1804 to 1814. The Restoration, Bourbon and Orleanist, 1814 to 1848, the second Republic, 1848 to 1853, the second Empire, 1853 to 1870, the third Republic from 1870.

[73] The diary of Henry Machyn, "Citizen and Merchant Tayler of London," from which we have already quoted, tells us how the writer saw the "Kyng's grace and dyvers Spaneards," the said King being Philip of Spain, riding through the city attired in red and yellow, the colours of Spain. In the cavalcade, Machyn tells us, were "men with thrumpets in the same colors, and drumes made of ketylles, and baners in the same colors."

[74] This quarter of the flag, the arms of Leon and Castile, was the entire flag of the time of Columbus. Isabella gave the great explorer a personal flag, a white swallow-tailed ensign having in its centre a green cross and the letters F.Y. The quartered arms of Leon and Castile are sculptured upon the monument in Westminster Abbey of Alianore, the daughter of Ferdinand III., King of Leon and Castile, and the wife of Edward I. of England. The date of the tomb is 1290.

[75] The following chronological items may prove of assistance. Crown of Navarre passes to France, 1276. Ferdinand of Arragon re-conquers Navarre, 1512. Accession of House of Austria to throne of Spain, 1516. Spain annexed Netherlands, 1556, and, shortly after Philip II., husband of our Queen Mary, annexed Burgundy. Portugal united to Spain, 1580. Portugal lost, 1640. Philip V. invades Naples, 1714. Charles III., King of the Two Sicilies, succeeds to Spanish crown, 1759.

[76] The various heralds and pursuivants in their tabards blazoned with the lions of England, the fleurs-de-lys of France, or the castles of Portugal.

[77] Az. three crosses in pale or.

[78] The Turks, originally an Asiatic people, overran the provinces of the Eastern, or Greek Empire, about the year 1300, but did not capture Constantinople until 1453. Thirty years afterwards they obtained a footing in Italy, and in 1516 Egypt was added to the Empire. The invading hosts spread terror throughout Europe, and in 1529 and in 1683 we find them besieging Vienna. Rhodes was captured from the Knights of St. John, Greece subdued, Cyprus taken from the Venetians: but later on the tide of war turned against them, and frequent hostilities with England, France, and Russia led to the gradual weakening of the Turkish power.

[79] There is such a general impression that officials are so very much bound up in highly-starched red tape that we gladly take this opportunity of acknowledging the extreme consideration with which all our enquiries have been met. The libraries of the Admiralty, the Royal United Service Museum, the Guildhall, South Kensington, etc., have been placed unreservedly at our service. The authorities of the Board of Trade, of Lloyds, of the Royal Chelsea Hospital, of the Royal Naval Exhibition, the Agents-General of the Colonies, have all most willingly given every possible information, and we have received from all to whom we have applied for information the greatest readiness to afford it, and the most courteous responses.

[80] The position of Sultan, though one of great dignity, has its serious drawbacks. This all-conquering Murad was, after all, assassinated; his son and successor, Bajuzet, died in prison. Isa Belis the next holder of the throne, Solyman who succeeded him, and Musa, who succeeded Solyman, were all in turn murdered by their brothers or other relatives.

[81] "Order and progress." Not a very happily chosen motto, since, as a Brazilian said to us, such a sentiment might equally be placed on the flags of all civilized nations, order and progress not being features to take any special credit for, but to be entirely taken for granted, and as a matter of course.

[82] Our English name, Japan, for this land of the Far East, is a corruption of the Chinese name for it, Zipangn, a word of the same meaning, Land of the Rising Sun.

[83] There are four Orders of Distinction in Japan; the first is the Order of the Chrysanthemum, and the second that of the Rising Sun.

[84] Each spring and summer our Volunteers have long-distance practices. From the account of one of these now before us, we see that the line extended from Reculvers on the north coast of Kent, to Aldershot, a distance of over one hundred miles, messages from one point to the other being rapidly and accurately transmitted by signalling parties on the various eminences, such as Beacon Hill, Gravelly Hill, Box Hill, and St. Martha's Hill, between the two extremities of the line.

[85] One may see here, too, the signal book of James, Duke of York, dating about 1665, by means of which most of our sea-fights with the Dutch were conducted, and also the code introduced by Kempenfeldt.

[86] The Victory at this time was somewhat less than a mile and a half from the enemy's line.

[87] The signal for "close action" was flags 1 and 6. All flag signals are always read from above downwards; 6 and 1 would mean something entirely different to 1 and 6.

[88] "Expects," it will be seen, is expressed by one hoist of flags, while "confides" would have necessitated the pulling up and hauling down of eight distinct sets.

[89] Special hoists are also used for special purposes, thus the display of the yellow flag, with a black ball on it, is an intimation that torpedo practice is going on.

[90] June 1st, 1813.

[91] This system was introduced by Captain Columb in 1862. On one occasion, during heavy weather, from a steamer fifteen miles off shore he sent a message through a station on the Isle of Wight across to Portsmouth, and received his answer back in thirteen minutes! This was altogether too good to be gainsaid or shelved, and the system was speedily adopted.



Transcriber's Note:

The following corrections were made to the printed original:

Table of Contents, Chapter V:—"England expects" printed as "Englands expects" in original.

Page 5:—In "a priest of Beverley for carrying": "carrying" printed as "carring" in original.

Page 10:—In "we find these charges represented": "charges" printed as "changes" in original.

Page 126:—In "their thoughts turn to the dear homeland": "turn" printed as "turns" in original.

Page 136:—In "thirteen then existing codes": "thirteen" printed as "thirteeen" in original.

Page 138:—In "Our readers will see": "Our" printed as "Ours" in original.