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Title: Flags: - Some Account of their History and Uses.
Author: Macgeorge, Andrew
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Flags: - Some Account of their History and Uses." ***

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                     SOME ACCOUNT OF THEIR HISTORY
                                AND USES.

           _Of this large-paper Edition only 100 Copies have
                        been printed for sale._

                       _This Copy is No. 80_

        [Illustration: PLATE I



                     SOME ACCOUNT OF THEIR HISTORY
                               AND USES.

                             A. MACGEORGE,

                               AUTHOR OF

                             BLACKIE & SON:
                    LONDON, GLASGOW, AND EDINBURGH.

                            PREFATORY NOTE.

In a nation like ours, with a dominion so extended, and with
communication by sea and land with all parts of the world, the flags
under which ships sail and armies and navies fight, cannot be without
interest. Yet there are few subjects in regard to which the means of
information are less accessible. The object of the present volume is to
give, in a popular form, some account of our own flags, and of those of
other nations, ancient and modern, with some notices regarding the use
of flags, in naval warfare and otherwise.

I have taken occasion to point out certain heraldic inaccuracies in the
construction of our national flag, and also in the design on our bronze
coinage. I shall be glad if what I have written be the means, by
directing public attention to the subject, of effecting the correction
of these errors.

                                                               A. M.
_Glenarn, December, 1880._



  INTRODUCTORY,                                           11

  ANCIENT STANDARDS,                                      13


  BANNERS,                                                29

  STANDARDS--THE ROYAL STANDARD,                          36

  STANDARDS BORNE BY NOBLES,                              44

  FLAGS OF THE COVENANTERS,                               51

  NATIONAL FLAGS,                                         54

  THE UNION FLAG,                                         55

  THE UNION JACK,                                         64

  THE ENSIGN,                                             67

  SPECIAL FLAGS,                                          71

  THE PENDANT,                                            72

  SIGNALS AND OTHER FLAGS,                                73

  USE OF FLAGS IN NAVAL WARFARE,                          75

  INTERNATIONAL USAGE AS TO FLAGS,                        88

  FLAGS OF THE BRITISH ARMY,                              96

  USE OF FLAGS BY PRIVATE PERSONS,                       102

  FOREIGN FLAGS--FRANCE,                                 103

  THE AMERICAN FLAG,                                     110

  OTHER FOREIGN FLAGS,                                   113

  CONCLUSION,                                            117

  INDEX,                                                 119

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

                            COLOURED PLATES.

  Plate                                                         Page

    I. Standard presented by Napoleon I. to his Guards at Elba,
       a short time before he invaded France in 1815, _Frontispiece_

   II. The "Bluidy Banner" carried at Bothwell Brig, A.D. 1670,   54

  III. Union Flags and Pendant,                                   62

   IV. National Flags and Standards,                             108

    V.      Do.            do.                                   112

   VI.      Do.            do.                                   116



   1. Ancient Egyptian Standards,                                 14

   2. Other forms of Egyptian Standards,                          15

   3.       Do.           do.                                     15

   4. Assyrian Standard,                                          17

   5. Another form of Assyrian Standard,                          17

   6. Assyrian Standards and Standard-bearers,                    18

   7. Other varieties of Assyrian Standards,                      19

   8. Persian Standard,                                           20

   9. Turkish Horse-tail Standard,                                20

  10. Standard of Turkish Pacha,                                  21

  11. Roman Eagle,                                                21

  12. The Roman Wolf on Standard,                                 21

  13. Group of Roman Standards,                                   22

  14. Roman Standard--Various Devices on same Staff,              23

  15. Another form with different Devices,                        23

  16. Other Roman Standards,                                      24

  17. Roman Labarum,                                              24

  18. Standard of Constantine,                                    25

  19. Dragon used as Roman Standard,                              25

  20. Standard of Earl of Warwick, 1437,                          45

  21. Flag of the Earl Marshall,                                  46

  22. Standard of Earl Douglas, 1388,                             48

  23. Later Banner of the Douglas's,                              49

  24. The "Blue Blanket," 1482,                                   51

  25. Flag of the Covenanters, 1679,                              52

  26. The Union Flag as now borne,                                59

  27. The Union on the Bronze Penny,                              64

  28. Regimental Colours of 24th Regiment,                        97

  29. Queen's Colours of 24th Regiment as presented to the Queen, 98

  30. The Oriflamme, circa A.D. 1248,                            104

  31. The French Eagle, during the Empire,                       108

  32. United States Flag, as used in 1777,                       111


On that morning when the news arrived from South Africa of the disaster
at Isandlana, there was general mourning for the loss of so many brave
men; but there was mourning also of a different kind,--with some perhaps
even deeper--for the loss of the colours of the 24th Regiment. And yet,
after all, it was only a bit of silk which had been lost, having on it
certain devices and inscriptions--a thing of no intrinsic value, and
which could be replaced at a cost merely nominal. But it possessed
extrinsic qualities which could be measured by no money value, and every
one felt that the loss was one to redeem which, or rather to redeem what
that loss represented, demanded, if necessary, the putting forth of the
strength of a great nation. And so, when it was found that the colours
never had been really lost--that they had been saved by brave men who
had laid down their lives in defending them--there was throughout the
nation a feeling of intense relief that national honour had been saved;
a feeling of rejoicing far beyond what was evoked by the news of the
capture of the Zulu king and the termination of the war. So at sea. In
our great wars in which the navy of Great Britain played so prominent a
part, we became so accustomed to see the flag of the enemy bent on under
our own ensign, that if an exceptional case occurred where the position
of the two flags was reversed, it went home to the heart of every loyal
subject with a pang which the loss of many ships by storm and tempest
would not have produced.

Yet how few of us know what the national colours are, what the Union is,
what the Royal Standard is. Not to speak of civilians, are there many
officers, in either the army or the navy, who, without a copy before
them, could accurately construct or describe the flag of the nation
under which they fight, or tell what its component parts represent? I
doubt it. And, after all, they would not be so much without excuse, for
even at the Horse Guards and the Admiralty, there is some confusion of
ideas on the subject. I have before me "The Queen's Regulations and
Orders for the Army," issued by the Commander-in-chief, in which flags
which can be flown only on shore are confounded with flags which can be
flown nowhere but on board ship. Yet the subject is really an
interesting one, and, connected as it is with national history, it is
deserving of a little study.

Flags are of many kinds, and they are put to many uses. They are the
representatives of nations; they distinguish armies and fleets, and to
insult a flag is to insult the nation whose ensign it is. We see in
flags, says Carlyle, "the divine idea of duty, of heroic daring--in some
instances of freedom and right." There are national flags, flags of
departments, and personal flags; and as signals they are of the greatest
value as a means of communication at sea.

                           ANCIENT STANDARDS.

It is chiefly of our own flags that I intend to speak, but it may be
interesting to say something of those which were in use among the
peoples of ancient history.

From the earliest times of which we have authentic records, standards or
banners were borne by nations, and carried in battle. It was so in Old
Testament times, as we know from the mention of banners as early as the
time of Moses. They are repeatedly referred to by David and Solomon. The
lifting up of ensigns is frequently mentioned in the Psalms and by the
Prophets, while the expression, "Terrible as an army with banners,"
shows the importance and the awe with which they were regarded.

              [Illustration: Fig. 1.--Egyptian Standards.]

We find representations of standards on the oldest bas-reliefs of Egypt.
Indeed, the invention of standards is, by ancient writers, attributed to
the Egyptians. According to Diodorus, the Egyptian standards consisted
generally of the figures of their sacred animals borne on the end of a
staff or spear, and in the paintings at Thebes we find on them such
objects as a king's name and a sacred boat. One prominent and much used
form was a figure resembling an expanded semicircular fan, and another
example shows this form reversed and surmounted by the head of the
goddess Athor, crowned with her symbolic disk and cow's horns. Another
figure also used as a standard resembles a round-headed table-knife.
Examples of these, and of the sacred ibis and dog, are shown in Fig.
1.[1] But on the Egyptian standards--those which were no doubt used in
Pharaoh's army--there were various other figures, including reptiles
such as lizards and beetles, with birds crowned with the fan-like
ornament already referred to. A group of these is given in Fig. 2; but
they had many other forms. Those represented in Fig. 3, and which show
some curious symbolic forms, are taken from the works of Champollion,
Wilkinson, and Rosellini.

    [1] For this, and figures 6, 14, and 15, I am indebted to the
        courtesy of Messrs. A. and C. Black. They appear in the
        _Encyclopædia Britannica_, vol. ix. p. 276.

              [Illustration: Fig. 2.--Egyptian Standards.]

              [Illustration: Fig. 3.--Egyptian Standards.]

That the Hebrews carried standards after the exodus is, as I have
already said, certain, and the probability is that they derived the
practice from the Egyptian nation, from whose bondage they had just
escaped, for they bore as devices figures of birds and animals, and
also human figures, just as the Egyptians did. One of the earliest of
the divine commands given to Moses was that "every man of the children
of Israel shall pitch by his own standard with the ensign of their
father's house."[2] The _ensign_ probably meant the particular device
borne upon the standard by each tribe; and tradition has assigned as
these the symbolic cherubim seen in the visions of Ezekiel and
John--Judah bearing a lion, Reuben a man, Ephraim an ox, and Dan an
eagle. This is the opinion of the later Jews. The Targumists believe
that, besides these representations, the banners were distinguished by
particular colours--the colour for each tribe being analogous to that of
the precious stone in the breastplate of the high-priest. They consider
also that each standard bore the name of the tribe with a particular
sentence from the Law. The modern opinion, however, is that the Hebrew
standards were distinguished only by their colours, and by the name of
the tribe to which each belonged.

    [2] Numbers ii. 2.

Apart from the direct Scripture evidence on the subject, this bearing of
distinguishing standards is what might be expected in a military
organization such as that of the Israelites, just as we find them using
warlike music. It is interesting to note that even the particular
trumpet signals to be used for the assembling and advance of the troops,
and in cases of alarm in time of war, are carefully prescribed,[3] while
the association of their military standards with the trumpet is
indicated in the exclamation of Jeremiah: "How long shall I see the
standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?"[4]

    [3] Numbers x. 3.

    [4] Jer. iv. 21.

  Fig. 4.--An Assyrian Standard.   Fig. 5.--Another Assyrian Standard.]

As the standard was among all nations regarded with reverence, so the
standard-bearer was selected for his strength and courage. So important
was this considered that Isaiah, in describing the ruin and discomfiture
that was about to fall on the King of Assyria, could find no stronger
expression than to say that his overthrow would be "as when a
standard-bearer fainteth."[5]

    [5] Isa. x. 18.

   [Illustration: Fig. 6.--Assyrian Standards and Standard-bearers.]

The standards of the Assyrians, like those of the Egyptians, consisted
of figures fastened on the end of spears or staffs; but of these very
few varieties have been yet discovered. Layard says[6] that "standards
were carried by the Assyrian charioteers. In the sculptures they have
only two devices [Figs. 4, 5, 6]: one a figure, probably that of a
divinity, standing on a bull and drawing a bow; in the other, two bulls
running in opposite directions. These figures are inclosed in a circle
and fixed to a long staff ornamented with streamers and tassels. The
standards appear to have been partly supported by a rest in front of the
chariot, and a long rope connecting them with the extremity of the pole.
In a bas-relief of Khorsabad this rod is attached to the top of a
standard." The interesting illustration given in Fig. 6 is from a
sculpture in which these standards are represented with the figures of
the standard-bearers, and in which also the ropes or supports of the
staff are indicated.

    [6] _Nineveh and its Remains._

              [Illustration: Fig. 7.--Assyrian Standards.]

There were, however, varieties in the forms of the Assyrian standards
other than those mentioned by Layard. In the annexed cut (Fig. 7) the
one to the left is from a sculpture in the British Museum. The others
are given on the authority of Botta.

  Fig. 8.--Persian Standard.   Fig. 9.--Turkish Horse-tail Standard.]

The Persians, like the Assyrians, carried their standards, in battle, on
staffs or spears attached to chariots. Their royal standard was a golden
eagle with wings expanded carried on the end of a spear. They had also a
figure of the sun which they used on great occasions when the king was
present with the army. Quintus Curtius describes one of these figures of
the sun, inclosed in a crystal, as making a very splendid appearance
above the royal tent. But the proper royal standard of the Persians for
many centuries, until the Mahommedan conquest, was a blacksmith's
leather apron, around which the people had been at one time rallied to a
successful opposition against an invader (Fig. 8). Many other national
standards have had their origin in similar causes. Something which was
at hand was seized in an emergency, and lifted up as a rallying point
for the people, and afterwards adopted from the attachment which clung
to it as an object identified with patriotic deeds. In this way
originated the horse-tails borne as a standard by the modern Turks (Fig.
9). Under the old system, among that people, the distinction of rank
between the two classes of pachas was indicated by the number of these
horse-tails, the standards of the second class having only two tails,
while those of the higher had three. Hence the term a pacha of two tails
or three. A further mark of distinction appears to have been the
elevation of one of the tails above the others, and the surmounting of
each with the crescent, as shown in Fig. 10.

              [Illustration: Fig. 10.--Standard of Pacha.]

The Romans had various forms of standards, some composed entirely of
fixed figures of different devices, including figures of animals. The
eagle, according to Pliny, was the first and chief military ensign. In
the second consulship of Caius Marius (B.C. 104) the eagle (Fig. 11)
alone was used, but at a subsequent period some of the old emblems were
resumed. These were the minotaur, the horse, and the wild boar; and on
the Trajan Column we find as one of their standards the historic wolf
(Fig. 12).

                        [Illustration: Fig. 11.]

                        [Illustration: Fig. 12.]

               [Illustration: Fig. 13.--Roman Standards.]

One of the most ancient of the Roman standards had an origin similar to
that of the apron of the Persians and the horse-tails of the Turks. It
was derived from a popular rising which took place in the time of
Romulus, and was composed of a wisp of hay attached to the end of a pole
(as seen in Fig. 13), and carried into battle. From its name,
_manipulus_, the companies of foot soldiers, of which the _hastati_,
_principes_, and _triarii_ of each legion were composed, came to be
called maniples--_manipuli_. Another standard borne by the Romans was a
spear with a piece of cross wood at the top with the figure of a hand
above, and having below a small round shield of gold or silver, as shown
in Fig. 13. On this circle were at first represented the warlike deities
Mars and Minerva, but after the extinction of the commonwealth it bore
the effigies of the emperors and their favourites. From these
coin-shaped devices the standards were called _numina legionum_. The
eagle was sometimes represented with a thunderbolt in its claws, of
which an example will be seen in Fig. 13. Under the later emperors it
was carried with the legion, which was on that account sometimes termed
_aquila_. The place for this standard was near the general, almost in
the centre.

                        [Illustration: Fig. 14.]

                        [Illustration: Fig. 15.]

Another common form of the Roman standard consisted in a variety of
figures and devices exhibited on the same staff, one over the other. On
the top of one of these will be seen a human hand (Fig. 14). This by
itself, or inclosed, as here, within a wreath, was, as I have mentioned,
a frequent device, and was probably of oriental origin. It is also found
as a symbol in ancient Mexico; and at the present day the flagstaffs of
the Persians terminate in a silver hand. Among the pieces composing this
form of standard are also found the eagle, and figures of the emperors
inclosed in circles, with other devices (Fig. 15). A common form is that
numbered 5 in Fig. 16. This example is taken from the Arch of Titus. The
eagle surmounting the thunderbolt with the letters S P Q R (No. 3) was
also a common form. The letters indicate _Senatus Populusque Romanus_.
The examples Nos. 1 and 2 in Fig. 16 are from Montfaucon. No. 4 is given
by Mr. Hope.

The _vexillum_ of the Romans was a standard composed of a square piece
of cloth fastened to a cross bar at the top of a spear, sometimes with a
fringe all round as shown in Fig. 13, and sometimes fringed only below
(No. 4, Fig. 16), or without a fringe, but draped at the sides (Fig.
17). When placed over the general's tent it was a sign for marching, or
for battle.

               [Illustration: Fig. 16.--Roman Standards.]

                        [Illustration: Fig. 17.]

The _labarum_ of the emperors was similar in form, and frequently bore
upon it a representation of the emperor, sometimes by himself and
sometimes accompanied by the heads of members of his family. It has been
said that the Emperor Constantine bore on the top of his standard the
sign of the cross, but this was not so. The cross at that time was known
only as a heathen emblem, and was not adopted by the Christians till
afterwards. That which Constantine bore was what in his time was the
only recognized Christian emblem--the first two letters of our Lord's
name (Fig. 18)--the Greek X (English CH) and P (in English R). The
_labarum_ was made of silk. The term is sometimes used for other
standards, and its form may still be recognized in the banners carried
in ecclesiastical processions. The _labarum_, like the _vexillum_, had
sometimes fringes with tassels or ribbons.

                        [Illustration: Fig. 18.]

                        [Illustration: Fig. 19.]

The dragon, an ensign of the Parthians, was adopted by the Romans as the
standard of their cohorts. It appears as such on the Arch of Severus. It
was also the device of the Dacians, and indeed seems to have been a
general ensign among barbarians. Besides being carried as a separate
figure in metal--as shown in Fig. 19--it was frequently embroidered in
cotton or silk on a square piece of cloth borne on a cross bar elevated
on a gilt staff; the bearer being called _draconarius_. From the Romans
the dragon came to the Western Empire. It was borne by the German
Emperors. In England also it was for some time the chief standard of the
kings, and of the Dukes of Normandy, and according to Sir Richard Bacon
it was the standard of Utor Pendragon, king of the Britons.[7] The
golden dragon was in the eighth century the standard of Wessex, and it
was displayed in a great battle in 742 when Ethelbald, the king of
Mercia, was defeated. It was also borne on a pole by King Harold as a
standard. It was borne by Henry VII. at Bosworth Field, and at a later
date it was carried as a supporter by Henry VIII. and Edward VI., and
also by Elizabeth. In many of the illuminations of MSS. in the fifteenth
century we also find a gold dragon on a red pennon, as one of the
ensigns in the French armies.

    [7] Nisbet's _Heraldry_, vol. i. p. 343.

The infantry flag of the Romans was red, that of the cavalry blue, and
that of a consul white.

The banners of the Parthians resembled those of the Romans, but they
were more richly decorated with gold and silk.

In early times the Greeks carried as a standard a piece of armour on a
spear, but although they had an ensign, the elevation of which served as
a signal for giving battle either by land or by sea, they were not
regularly marshalled by banners. In their later history their different
cities bore different sacred emblems. Thus the Athenians were
distinguished by the olive and the owl, and the Corinthians by a

At what time the form of standard which we call a flag was first used is
not known. It was certainly not the earliest but the ultimate form which
the standard assumed. The original form was some fixed object such as we
have seen on the Egyptian and Roman examples, and the vexillum and
labarum were transitional forms. The waving flag is said to have been
first used by the Saracens. Another account is that the flag first
acquired its present form in the sixth century, in Spain. The banners
which Bede mentions as being carried by St. Augustine and his monks,
when they entered Canterbury in procession, in the latter part of the
sixth century, were probably in the form of the Roman labarum. He calls
them little banners on which were depicted crosses.

Of our own national flags the earliest forms were those which bore the
cognizance of the ruler for the time being. The well-known ensign of the
Danes at the time of their dominion in Britain was the raven. The
dragon, as we have seen, was in the eighth century the cognizance of
Wessex, and the Saxons had also on their standards a white horse. Of our
later royal standards and those of other nations I shall speak

The forms of flags in our own country have varied very much. It was not
till the time of the Crusades, when heraldry began to assume a definite
form, that they became subject to established rules. Up to that period
flags were, as a rule, small in size, and they usually terminated in
points, like the more modern pennon. Such were the standards of the
Normans. At the Battle of the Standard in 1138 the staff of the English
standard was in the form of the mast of a ship, having a silver pyx at
the top, containing the host, and bearing three sacred banners dedicated
respectively to St. Peter, St. John of Beverley, and St. Wilfrid of
Ripon, the whole being fastened--like the standards of the Persians and
Assyrians--to a wheeled vehicle.

From an early period the practice has prevailed of blessing standards,
and this has continued to our own day in the British army when new
colours are presented to a regiment--there being a special form of
service at the consecration. The banner of William the Conqueror was one
blessed and sent to him by the pope. Indeed, it has been the practice of
the popes in every age to give consecrated banners where they wished
success to an enterprise.


In the middle ages almost every flag was a military one. A very early
form, borne near the person of the commander-in-chief, was the Gonfanon.
It was fixed in a frame made to turn like a modern ship's vane. That of
the Conqueror, as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, had three tails, and
was charged with a golden cross on a white ground within a blue border.

Of other forms of flags the principal varieties were the penoncel, the
pennon or guidon, the banner, and the standard.

The Pennon was a purely personal flag, pointed, borne below the
lance-head by a knight-bachelor, and charged with the arms, or crest,
and motto of the bearer. But in early times no knight displayed a pennon
who had not followers to defend it--the mounting of this ensign being a
matter of privilege, not of obligation. The order of knight-bachelor was
the most ancient and originally the sole order, being the degree
conferred by one knight on another without the intervention of prince,
noble, or churchman, and its privileges and duties approached nearly to
those of the knight-errant.[8]

    [8] Sir Walter Scott, _Essay on Chivalry_, p. 79.

The Penoncel, which was carried by the esquire, was the diminutive of
the pennon, being one-half its breadth. It was borne at the end of a
lance, and usually bore the cognizance or "avowrye" of the bearer. This
flag was not carried by the esquire after the fight began, but was then
either held by an inferior attendant, or put up by the owner's tent.


The Banner was the flag of a troop, and was borne by knights, called
after it bannerets, an order which held a middle rank between
knights-bachelors and the barons or great feudatories of the crown. The
flag of a knight-banneret was square at the end, but not an exact square
on all the sides. The perfectly square banner was the flag of a baron,
and of those of higher rank.

It was only on the field of battle, and in presence of the royal
standard, that a knight-banneret could be created. It was the custom for
the commander of the host thus to reward the distinguished services of a
knight-bachelor bearing a pennon, and he did so by tearing off the
"fly," or outer part of that flag, and by so doing giving it a square
form, thus making it a banner, and its bearer a knight-banneret. The
ceremony is thus described by Blome.[9] "The king (or his general), at
the head of the army, drawn up into battalia after a victory, under the
royal standard displayed, attended with all the field-officers and
nobles of the court, receives the knight led between two renowned
knights or valiant men-at-arms, having his pennon or guydon of arms in
his hand; and before them the heralds, who proclaim his valiant
achievements, for which he deserves to be made a knight-banneret, and to
display his banner in the field. Then the king (or general) says unto
him _Advances toy, Bannaret_, and causes the point of his pennon to be
rent off; and the new knight, having the trumpets before him sounding,
the nobles and officers accompanying him, is remitted to his tent, where
they are nobly entertained."

    [9] _Analogia Honoria_. London, 1637; p. 84.

But knights were thus promoted before a battle as well as after it.
Froissart relates the manner in which the celebrated Sir John Chandos
was made banneret by the Black Prince before the battle of Navarete. The
whole scene forms a striking picture of an army of the middle ages
moving to battle. Upon the pennons of the knights, penoncels of the
squires, and banners of the barons and bannerets, the army formed, or,
in modern phrase, dressed its line. The usual word of the attack was,
"Advance banners in the name of God and Saint George." "When the sun was
risen," writes Froissart, "it was a beautiful sight to view these
battalions, with their brilliant armour glittering with its beams. In
this manner they nearly approached to each other. The prince, with a few
attendants, mounted a small hill, and saw very clearly the enemy
marching straight towards them. Upon descending this hill he extended
his line of battle on the plain, and then halted. The Spaniards, seeing
the English halted, did the same, in order of battle; then each man
tightened his armour and made ready as for instant combat. Sir John
Chandos then advanced in front of the battalions, with his banner
[pennon] uncased in his hand. He presented it to the prince, saying 'My
lord, here is my banner; I present it to you that I may display it in
whatever manner shall be most agreeable to you, for, thanks to God, I
have now sufficient lands that will enable me so to do, and maintain the
rank which it ought to hold.' The prince, Don Pedro being present, took
the banner in his hands, which was blazoned with a sharp stake gules, on
a field argent; and after having cut off the tail to make it square, he
displayed it, and, returning it to him by the handle, said, 'Sir John, I
return you your banner: God give you strength and honour to preserve
it.' Upon this Sir John left the prince, and went back to his men with
the banner in his hand."[10]

    [10] Johnes' _Froissart_, vol. i. p. 731.

A banneret was expected to bring into the field at least thirty
men-at-arms--that is, knights or squires mounted--at his own expense;
and each of these, again, besides his attendants on foot, ought to have
had a mounted crossbow-man, and a horseman armed with a bow and
axe--forming altogether a large troop. The same force might be arrayed
by a knight under a pennon, but his accepting a banner bound him to
bring out that number at least. After the reign of Charles IV. this
obligation fell into disuse in France, and in England, soon after that
time, it also ceased to be observed.[11] Judging, however, from the
contemporary heraldic poem of the "Siege of Carlaverock" (June, 1300),
it would appear that early in the fourteenth century there was a banner
to every twenty-five or thirty men-at-arms. At that period the English
forces comprised the tenants _in capite_ of the crown, who were entitled
to lead their contingent under a banner of their arms--either by
themselves or under a deputy of equal rank. Thus at Carlaverock the
Bishop of Durham sent 160 of his men-at-arms, with his banner intrusted
to John de Hastings. But his banner on this occasion bore, not the
cognisance of the see, but simply his paternal arms. Having mentioned
this old poem--in which the arms of every banneret in the English army
are accurately blazoned--it may be interesting to give one of the
opening verses, as an example of the Norman French of the period--

      "La ont meinte riche garnement
       Brode sur cendeaus et samis,
       Meint beau penon en lance mis,
       Meint baniere desploie."

In English--There were many rich caparisons, embroidered on silks and
satins, many a beautiful penon fixed to a lance, and many a banner

    [11] Sir Walter Scott, _Essay on Chivalry_.

In the Scottish wars, the banner of St. Cuthbert was, in the English
army, carried by a monk. This continued to be done so late as the reign
of Henry VIII. In the same way the banner of St. John of Beverley was
carried by one of the vicars of Beverley College--who, by the way,
received eight pence halfpenny per diem as his wages, to carry it after
the king--a large sum in those days--and a penny a day to carry it
back.[12] The bearer of a banner, or bannerer as he was called, was in
these early times a very important personage. In the old paintings in
MSS. the persons holding the national or royal banners are generally
represented in the same kind of armour as the chief leaders. And they
were liberally rewarded for their services. In 1361 Edward III. granted
Sir Guy de Bryon 200 marks a year for life for having discreetly borne
the king's banner at the siege of Calais in 1347.[13]

    [12] Prynne's _Antiquæ Constitutiones Angliæ_, vol. iii. p. 118.

    [13] _Calend. Rot. Patent._ p. 173.

We learn from the "Siege of Carlaverock" that a pennon hung out by the
besieged was the signal for a parley. When the castle surrendered there
were placed on its battlements, we are told, the banners of the king, of
St. George, of St. Edmund, and St. Edward, together with those of the
marshall and constable of the army. To these were added the banner of
the individual to whose custody the castle was committed. But it is
doubtful whether in the fifteenth century any others but those of the
king and St. George were affixed to captured fortresses.

In France the office of custodier of national banners--such as the
Oriflamme--was hereditary. It was the same in Ireland, which claims a
higher antiquity in the use of banners than any other European nation;
and in Scotland the representative of the great house of Scrymgeour
enjoys the honour of being banner-bearer to the sovereign.[14]

    [14] _Vicissitudes of Families and other Essays_, by Sir Bernard
         Burke, 1st series, p. 387.

It was the custom in early times to have banners suspended from
trumpets. At the battle of Agincourt the Duke of Brabant, who arrived on
the field towards the close of the conflict, is said, by St. Remy, to
have taken one of the banners from his trumpeters, and, cutting a hole
in the middle, made a surcoat of arms of it. To this circumstance
Shakespeare thus alludes--

      "I will a banner from my trumpet take
       And use it for my haste."

Chaucer, too, notices banners being suspended from

      "On every trump hanging a brod banere,
       Of fine tartarium full richly bete,
       Every trumpet his lorde's armes bere."[15]

    [15] _Flour and the Leafe_, 1 211.

At coronations banners were also used; and in the fifteenth century
heralds, when despatched on missions, appear to have carried a banner
bearing their sovereign's arms. Banners were also for a long time used
at funerals. It was not till about the period of the Revolution that the
practice fell into comparative desuetude.

                     STANDARDS--THE ROYAL STANDARD.

The Standard was a large long flag, gradually tapering towards the fly.
According to the representation of a standard, in a heraldic MS. at
least as early as the reign of Henry VII., in the British Museum, it was
not quite so deep but very much longer than a banner,[16] and it varied
in size according to the rank of the owner. In England that of a duke
was seven yards in length, of a banneret four and a half, and of a
knight-bachelor four yards.

    [16] _Harleian MSS._ 2259, f. 186.

The Royal Standard of England, when the sovereign in person commanded
the army, appears to have been of two sizes. According to the MS.
referred to, one of these standards is to be "sett before the Kynges
pavillion or tente, and not to be borne in battayle, and to be in length
eleven yards." The other--"the Kynges standard _to be borne_"--is to be
"in lengthe eight or nine yards."

The Royal Standard is a flag personal to the sovereign. It was not
always exclusively so, for in the seventeenth century the Lord High
Admiral, when personally in command of the fleet, and sometimes also
other commanders-in-chief, flew as their flag of command, not the Union,
but the Standard. It was so flown at the main by the Duke of Buckingham
as Lord High Admiral, on the occasion when he disgraced the English flag
in the unfortunate expedition against the Isle of Rhé in 1627. But now
the Royal Standard is used only by the sovereign in person, or as a
decoration on royal fête days. There are depicted on it the royal arms,
which have had various forms in different periods of our history. The
standard of Edward the Confessor was azure a cross floré between five
martlets, or. The arms of William Duke of Normandy, emblazoned on his
standard, were two lions, and they were borne by him and his successors,
as the royal arms of England, till the reign of Henry II. That monarch
married Eleanor, daughter and co-heiress of the Duke of Aquitaine, whose
arms--one lion--Henry added to his own. Hence the three lions _passant
gardant in pale_, borne ever since as the ensigns of England. These now
occupy the first and fourth quarters of the standard, but they did not
always do so. The fleurs-de-lis of France were, till a comparatively
recent period, quartered with the English arms, having been first borne
by Edward III. when he assumed the title of King of France. Many noble
families, both in this country and on the Continent, have quartered the
French lilies to show their origin, or in acknowledgment of the tenure
of important fiefs there. Among the last may be mentioned the arms of
Sir John Stewart of Darnley, who obtained from Charles VII. the lands
and title of Aubigny, and the right to quarter the arms of France with
his own. But in all these instances the fleurs-de-lis occupied a
secondary place. So if Henry II. had desired merely to show his French
connection, by maternal descent, he would have placed them in the second
and third quarters. But he placed them in the first quarter, as arms of
dominion, to indicate that he claimed the kingdom by right, and our
sovereigns continued this idle pretence till so late as the reign of
George III. It was not till the union with Ireland that it was

Some of the English kings bore personal standards besides the flag of
their own arms. Edward IV., besides his royal standard, generally bore a
banner with a white rose. Henry VII. at the battle of Bosworth Field had
three personal standards, in addition to the standard of his own arms.
The blazon of these three, and how the king disposed of them after the
battle, are thus described in a contemporary manuscript:--"With great
pompe and triumphe he roade through the Cytie to the Cathedral Church of
St. Paul where he offered his iij standards. In the one was the image of
St. George; in the second was a red firye dragon beaten upon white and
green sarcenet; the third was of yellow tarterne [a kind of fine cloth
of silk] in the which was painted a donne Kowe."[17]

    [17] _Lansdowne MSS._ 255, f. 433.

The Royal Standard of Scotland was a red lion rampant on a gold field
within a red double tressure, floré counterfloré, of which the origin is
veiled in the mists of antiquity. Our great heraldic authority, Nisbet,
in common with earlier writers, adopts the tradition which assigns the
assumption of the rampant lion to Fergus I., who is alleged to have
flourished as King of Scotland about 330 years before Christ. He also
refers to the celebrated league which Charlemagne is said to have
entered into in the beginning of the ninth century with Achaius, King of
Scotland, on account of his assistance in war, "for which special
service performed by the Scots the French king encompassed the Scots
lion, which was famous all over Europe, with a double tressure, flowered
and counterflowered with flower de luces, the armorial figures of
France, of the colour of the lion, to show that it had formerly defended
the French lilies, and that these thereafter shall continue a defence
for the Scots lion and as a badge of friendship."[18] On the other hand
Chalmers observes that these two monarchs were probably not even aware
of each other's existence, and he suggests that the lion--which first
appears on the seal of Alexander II.--may have been derived from the
arms of the old Earls of Northumberland and Huntingdon, from whom some
of the Scottish kings were descended. He adds, however, that the lion
was the cognisance of Galloway, and perhaps also of all the Celtic
nations. Chalmers also mentions an "ould roll of armes," preserved by
Leland, said to be of the age of Henry III. (1216), and which the
context shows to be at least as old as the reign of Edward I. (1272), in
which the arms of Scotland are thus described: "Le roy de Scosce dor a
un lion de goules a un bordure dor flurette de goules."[19] In 1471 the
parliament of James III. "ordanit that in tyme to cum thar suld be na
double tresor about his armys, but that he suld ber hale armys of the
lyoun without ony mar." If this alteration of the blazon was ever
actually made, it did not long continue.[20]

    [18] _System of Heraldry_, vol. ii. part iii. p. 98.

    [19]  _Caledonia_, i. 762, note (i.).

    [20]  Seton's _Law and Practice of Heraldry in Scotland_, p. 425.

With one noted exception Scotland never quartered the arms of any
kingdom with her own. The exception was when Mary Stuart claimed the
arms and style of England, and quartered these arms on her standard.
This was perhaps the first, and, as it proved, an inexpiable provocation
to Elizabeth.[21] Mary's mode of blazoning was peculiar. She bore
Scotland and England quarterly--the former being placed first, and, over
all, _the dexter half_ of an escutcheon of pretence, charged with the
arms of England, the sinister half being obscured in order to intimate
that she was kept out of her right.[22]

    [21]  Hallam's _Constitutional History_, 4th edit. i. 127.

    [22]  Strype's _Annals_, quoted by Mr. Seton, p. 427.

On the accession of James I. the Royal Standard of England was altered.
The arms of France and England quarterly appeared in the first and
fourth quarters, those of Scotland in the second, and in the third the
golden harp of Ireland, which had taken the place of the three crowns.
But an exception occurred in the case of William III., who, on his
landing in England, had a standard bearing the motto, "The Protestant
Religion and Liberties of England," and, under the royal arms of
England, instead of "Dieu et mon Droit," the words "And I will maintain
it." Afterwards he impaled on his standard the arms of Mary with his
own. They are represented in this form in a MS. of the Harleian Library,
on a banner per pale orange and yellow. After his elevation to the
throne William placed over the arms of the queen, which were those of
her father James II., his own paternal coat of Nassau.[23]

    [23] Willement's _Regal Heraldry_, p. 95.

George III. when he left out the ensigns of France marshalled on his
standard those of his Germanic states in an escutcheon of pretence--a
small shield in the centre point. This was omitted on the accession of
Queen Victoria, who bears on her standard the arms of England in the
first and fourth quarters, Scotland in the second, and Ireland in the
third. (See Plate IV. No. 1, p. 108.)

But while the Royal Standard was, on the accession of James I., altered
for England in the way I have described, it was displayed according to a
different blazon in Scotland. For a long period, whenever the standard
was used to the north of the Tweed, the Scottish arms had precedence by
being placed in the first and fourth quarters. On the great seal of
Scotland this precedence is still continued, and the Scottish unicorn
also occupies the dexter side of the shield as a supporter. But on the
standard the arms of Scotland have now lost their precedence, those of
England being placed in the first quarter, and although there has been
much controversy on the subject, I agree with Mr. Seton[24] that it is
better that the arrangement should be so. The standard is the personal
flag of the sovereign of one united kingdom, and heraldic propriety
appears to require that only one unvarying armorial achievement should
be used on it--that of the larger and more important kingdom taking
precedence, although Nisbet[25] claims precedence for the Scottish arms
on the achievement of Great Britain as those of "the ancientest
sovereignty."[26] I certainly do not agree with Mr. Seton, however, that
either in the arms or supporters precedence ought to be granted to
England "in accordance with the sentiment of certain well-known
classical lines:--

        "'The Lion and the Unicorn
            Were fighting for the Crown,
          The Lion beat the Unicorn
            All round the town.'"[27]

    [24] _Scottish Heraldry_, p. 445.

    [25] Vol ii. part iii. p. 90.

    [26] Sir George Mackenzie says: "The King of Scotland being
         equal in dignity with the Kings of England, France, and
         Spain, attained to that dignity before any of these." He
         therefore claims precedence for Scotland over all
         these kingdoms. _Treatise on Precedency_, p. 4.

    [27]  _Scottish Heraldry_, p. 446.

I do not know where Mr. Seton got that version, inconsistent as it is
alike with patriotism and with historical accuracy. It is certainly not
the correct one. The true version, familiar to every boy in Scotland, is
more impartial, and it has more fun in it. It runs thus:--

        "The Lion and the Unicorn,
           Fighting for the Crown:
         Up came a little dog
           And knocked them both down."

--the "little dog" being the small lion which stands defiantly on the
crown, and constitutes the royal crest at the top of the achievement.

The supporters of the Scottish arms were two unicorns. In England,
previous to the accession of the Stuarts, the supporters of the royal
arms were changed at the caprice of the sovereign, and almost every king
or queen adopted new ones. From these, and from the royal badges, came
many of the curious names which may be found in old lists of ships. Such
as the "Antelope," which refers to one of the supporters of Henry VI.;
the "Bull" of Edward IV.; the "Dragon" of Henry VIII. and of Elizabeth.
So also the badges: the "Sun," "Rose in the Sun," and "Falcon in the
Fetterlock," were all worn by Edward IV. The "Double Rose" speaks for
itself, and the "Hawthorn" belonged to Henry VIII.[28] The supporters
assumed by King James, and continued to all his successors, were a lion
on the dexter side, and on the sinister one of the Scottish
unicorns--the latter displacing the red dragon of the Tudor family.

    [28] _Heraldry of the Sea_, by J. K. Laughton, M.A.R.N., 1879.

In ships the Royal Standard is never hoisted now except when her Majesty
is on board, or a member of the royal family other than the Prince of
Wales. When the latter is on board his own standard is hoisted. It is
the same as that of the Queen, except that it bears a label argent of
three points, with the arms of Saxony on an escutcheon of pretence. The
standard of the Duke of Edinburgh is the same as that of the Prince of
Wales, except that the points of the label are charged, the first and
third with a blue anchor, and the second with the St. George's cross.
Wherever the sovereign is residing the Royal Standard is hoisted; and on
royal anniversaries and state occasions it is hoisted at certain
fortresses or stations--home and foreign--specified in the Queen's

                       STANDARDS BORNE BY NOBLES.

Standards borne by subjects were, in early times, according to the Tudor
MS. to be "slitt at the end," but they appear to have been also borne
square. This is the form in an old standard of Richard, Earl of
Warwick--circa 1437--bearing his badge of the bear and ragged staff
(Fig. 20). Shakespeare[29] alludes to this device when he puts into the
mouth of Warwick the words--

    "Now by my father's badge, old Neville's crest,
     The rampant bear chained to the ragged staff."

            [Illustration: Fig. 20.--Standard of the Earl of
            Warwick, A.D. 1437.]

But Shakespeare was out in his heraldry here, first in confounding the
badge with a crest, and secondly in calling it Neville's, for the bear
and the ragged staff had been the badge not of the Nevilles but of the
Beauchamps, who preceded Warwick in the earldom.[30] This old Earl of
Warwick had a similar device on the flag which he flew in his ship. It
was a long flag, having the cross of St. George on the upper part--then
the bear and ragged staff, and the remainder covered with ragged staffs.
It is interesting to note that the account for this and other flags made
for the earl in 1437, is preserved. The one just referred to is
described as "a great Stremour for the ship of xi yerdis length and viij
yerdis in brede," and the price for making it was "j^{li} vi^s

    [29] _King Henry VI._ part ii. act v. sc. 1.

    [30] Seton's _Scottish Heraldry_, p. 252.

    [31] _Antiquities of Warwickshire._

In the Advocates' Library there is preserved an interesting flag, which
is said to have been the standard borne by the Earl Marshall at the
battle of Flodden (Fig. 21). It is thus described in the paper which
accompanies it: "The standard of the Earl Marshall of Scotland, carried
at the battle of Flodden, 1513, by _black_ John Skirving of Plewland
Hill, his standard-bearer. Skirving was taken prisoner, having
previously, however, concealed the banner about his person. The relic
was handed down in the Skirving family, and presented to the Faculty of
Advocates by William Skirving of Edinburgh, in the beginning of the
present century. The arms and motto are those of the Keith family."

          [Illustration: Fig. 21.--Flag of the Earl Marshall.]

The flag may have been borne by the earl at Flodden, but the devices on
it are certainly not his _arms_. The arms of the Earl Marshall were,
argent, on a chief gules three pallets or; or, as it is otherwise given
by Nisbet, pallé of six, or and gules. The _crest_ of the earl, however,
was a hart's head, and he had for supporters two harts. His motto also
was that which appears on the banner, "Veritas vincit." That the full
arms should not appear on the standard I can understand, for it was not
common to place them there, and in England the Tudor MS. prescribes
that, besides the cross of St. George, standards and guidons are to have
on them not the arms, but only the bearers "_beast_ or crest, with his
devyce and word." It is possible, therefore, that the earl may have
placed on his flag his well-known crest with the heads of the two harts
forming his supporters, though such an arrangement would be unusual.

    [Illustration: Fig. 22.--Standard of Earl Douglas, A.D. 1388.]

The relic of a still older fight than that of Flodden is still preserved
in Scotland in the standard borne by Earl Douglas at Otterburn--one of
the most chivalrous battles, according to Froissart, that was ever
fought. The story, as told in all the histories,[32] is that shortly
before the battle, in a skirmish before Newcastle, Douglas, in a
personal encounter with Percy, won the pennon of the English leader, and
boasted that he would carry it to Scotland and plant it on his castle of
Dalkeith; and till lately this standard was supposed to be the flag so
captured. But recent investigation has shown that the flag--which, by
the way, is not a pennon but a standard thirteen feet long--is that of
Douglas himself, which of course his son would be careful to preserve
and bring back. The flag is now much faded, and the second word of the
motto was, when I saw it lately, not legible, but the motto is
undoubtedly that of Earl Douglas, "Jamais arriere" (Fig. 22). The
devices are not the arms as borne by his descendants the Dukes of
Douglas;--indeed they are not arranged as a coat of arms at all. But the
lion rampant for Galloway, the saltire for the lordship of Annandale,
and the heart and the star, are all Douglas bearings. Curiously enough,
there are two hearts, while the later earls bore only one, and there is
only one star, while on their shields they carried three. The real
trophies, the capture of which, in all probability, precipitated the
battle, are to be found in two other relics which are preserved along
with the flag. They consist of two lady's gauntlets, fringed with
filigree work in silver, on each of which is embroidered the white lion
of the Percys. The gloves are of different sizes, and were perhaps love
pledges, carried by Percy suspended from his spear or helmet, as was the
fashion of the time; and the loss of such tokens was quite as likely as
the loss of a personal flag, to cause the Northumbrian knight to pursue
Douglas and force him to battle.[33] These relics are in the possession
of the family of Douglas of Cavers in Roxburghshire, descended from the
earl who was slain at Otterburn.

    [32] Tytler's _History of Scotland_, ii. 365, &c.

    [33] Paper read by Mr. J. A. H. Murray of Hawick to the Hawick
         Archæological Society.

           [Illustration: Fig. 23.--Banner of the Douglas's.]

Along with them is preserved another old flag of the Douglas's, but
evidently of a later date. It is a good example of the square banner
borne by knights of noble rank. It is about 28 inches square, and bears
on a shield the Douglas arms, but with the heart as originally borne
before it was ensigned with a crown, and the chivalric motto still used
by the Cavers family, "Doe or die" (Fig. 23).

                         FLAGS BORNE BY TRADES.

Besides national and personal flags, those of Trades and Companies were
frequently carried in armies, and of these many examples occur in the
illuminated copies of Froissart. On one occasion we find on a banner
azure a chevron between a hammer, trowel, and plumb. On another there is
an axe and two pairs of compasses. And on the painting of the battle
between Philip d'Artevel and the Flemings, and the King of France,
banners occur charged with boots and shoes, drinking vessels, &c. In
Scotland an interesting example is preserved of a Trades flag which was
borne at Flodden, and which was presented in 1482 by James III. to the
Trades of Edinburgh (Fig. 24). It is familiarly known as the _Blue
Blanket_, and is in the possession of the Trades' Maidens' Hospital of
Edinburgh. In an accompanying memorandum it is described thus: "The Blue
Blanket or standard of the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh. Renewed by
Margaret, Queen of James III., King of Scots: Borne by the craftsmen at
the battle of Flodden in 1513, and displayed on subsequent occasions
when the liberties of the city or the life of the sovereign were in

The field of the flag has been blue, but it is now much faded. In the
upper corner is the white saltire of Scotland, with the crown above and
the thistle in base. On a scroll in the upper part of the flag are the
words, "Fear God and Honor the king with a long life and a prosperous
reigne;" and, in a scroll below, the words, "And we that is Tradds shall
ever pray to be faithfull for the defence of his sacred Majestes royal
persone till death." The flag is about ten feet in length.

        [Illustration: Fig. 24.--The "Blue Blanket," A.D. 1482.]

                        FLAGS OF THE COVENANTERS.

Of the flags borne in Scotland by the Covenanters, in their noble
struggle for liberty, several are extant, and connected as they are with
so important a part of Scottish national history, they are replete with
interest. One of these, which is preserved by the Antiquarian Society of
Edinburgh, bears the national cross, the white saltire of Scotland, with
five roses in the centre point, and the inscription "For religion,
Covenants, king, and kingdomes" (Fig. 25).

     [Illustration: Fig. 25.--Flag of the Covenanters, A.D. 1679.]

For the description of another of these flags of the Covenanters, to
which a more than usual interest attaches, we are indebted to the late
distinguished artist and archæologist Mr. James Drummond, R.S.A.[34]
Mr. Drummond says it was known as "the Bluidy Banner," and it is
important as confirming a statement which had been disputed, namely,
that Hamilton of Preston, who commanded the Covenanters at the battle
of Bothwell Brig, gave out "No quarter" as the word of the day.
Hamilton himself, in his "Vindication," not only acknowledges this,
but boasts of it--"blessing God for it," he says, and "desiring to
bless his holy name that since he helped me to set my face to his
work, I never had nor would take a favour from mine enemies, either on
the right or left hand, and desire to give as few." But Wodrow denies
the statement--characterizing it as an unjust imputation on the
Covenanters, and in this he is followed by Dr. M'Crie. The discovery of
the flag, however, puts the matter beyond doubt. Mr. Drummond found it
in the possession of an old gentleman and his sister in East Lothian,
and it was only after much persuasion that he was allowed to see it and
take a drawing of it. On his asking the old lady why she objected to
show it to strangers, she said: "It's the Bluidy Banner, ye ken, and
what would the Roman Catholics say if they kenned that our forbears had
fought under such a bluidy banner." By Roman Catholics Mr. Drummond
understood her to include Episcopalians and all others of a different
religious persuasion from her own. The flag is of blue silk. The first
line of the inscription, which is composed of gilt letters, is in the
Hebrew language--"Jehovah Nissi"--the Lord is my banner. The next line
is painted in white--"For Christ and his truths;" and then come the
words, in a reddish or blood colour, "No quarters for y^e active enimies
of y^e Covenant." The detailed account given by the custodiers to Mr.
Drummond, left no doubt as to the authenticity of this flag. (See Plate

    [34] Paper read before the Society of Antiquarians of Scotland,
         14th June, 1859.

      [Illustration: PLATE II.

                            NATIONAL FLAGS.

But I must proceed to speak of our national flags. For a long time the
distinguishing flag of England has been a red cross on a white field.
The flag of Scotland is a white saltire (or St. Andrew's cross) on a
blue field, and what has come to be called the flag of Ireland is a red
saltire on a white field. But Ireland, strictly speaking, never had till
lately a national flag. The kings of Ireland previous to 1172 were not
hereditary but elective. They were chosen from among the petty kings,
and each king, when elected, brought with him and continued to use his
own standard. After the invasion of 1172 the standard of Ireland bore
three golden crowns on a blue field, and the three crowns appear on
ancient Irish coins. Henry VIII. relinquished this device for the harp,
from an apprehension, it is said, that the three crowns might be taken
for the triple crown of the pope; but the harp did not appear in the
royal standard till it was placed there by James I. Neither had St.
Patrick a cross. The cross-saltire, so far as it belongs to any saint,
is sacred to St. Andrew only. The origin of the Scottish saltire,
however, may possibly be found in the sacred monogram--the Greek X (CH),
the initial letter of our Lord's name as borne by the Emperor
Constantine, to which I have already referred. I do not know when the
Irish saltire was first introduced, as a national flag, but from the
early conquest of Ireland the Fitzgeralds have borne as their arms a red
saltire on a white field.[35]

    [35] _Heraldry of the Sea._

                            THE UNION FLAG.

In 1603, on the union of the _crowns_ of England and Scotland, the first
union flag was formed by the combination of St. George's cross with the
saltire of Scotland; but this flag appears to have been used for ships
only. The order by the king for its construction and use bears to have
been made "in consequence of certain differences between his subjects of
North and South Britain anent the bearing of their flags;" and in the
proclamation issued in 1606, King James appoints that "from henceforth
all our subjects of this Isle and Kingdom of Great Britain shall bear in
the 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." This was the first union flag.
The Scots being, however, sensitively jealous of England, insisted on
using their own national flag as well as the union, and it was no doubt
owing to this that the proclamation goes on to provide that "in their
foretop our subjects of South Britain shall wear the red cross only as
they were wont, and our subjects of North Britain in their foretop the
white cross only, as they were accustomed." In the ensign the union was
not worn till a considerable time afterwards--the union by itself being
then as now worn by the king's ships as a jack at the bowsprit.

On the death of Charles I. the Commonwealth Parliament, professing to be
the Parliament of England only, and of Ireland as a dependency, expunged
the Scottish cross from the flag with its blue field. The flag of
command ordered to take the place of the union, and to be borne by the
admirals of the respective squadrons, at the main, fore, and mizen, is
described[36] as "the arms of England and Ireland in two escutcheons on
a red flag within a compartment or,"--that of the admiral, according to
Mr. Pepys, being encircled by a laurel wreath, while those of the vice
and rear-admirals were plain. The ensigns showed the Irish harp on the

    [36] Order dated 5th March, 1649.

    [37] _Heraldry of the Sea_, p. 8.

On the Restoration in 1660 the union flag was reintroduced, and when
England and Scotland became constitutionally united in 1707, this was
confirmed, with an order that it should be used "in all flags, banners,
standards, and ensigns, _both at sea and land_." The order in council
bears "that the flaggs be according to the draft marked C, wherein the
crosses of St. George and St. Andrew are conjoined;" but none of the
drafts appear in the Register. A representation of this flag will be
found in Plate III. No. I., and there being no draft to copy, I have
given it according to the verbal blazon, viz. azure a saltire argent
surmounted by a cross gules fimbriated of the second--that is, the St.
George's cross with a narrow white border.

On the union with Ireland in the beginning of the present century the
Irish saltire was introduced. The St. George's cross remained as it was,
but the saltires of Scotland and Ireland were placed side by side, but
"counterchanged"--that is, in the first and third divisions or quarters,
the white, as senior, is uppermost, and in the second and fourth the red
is uppermost. The "verbal blazon," or written direction, is very
distinct, but in making the flag, or rather in showing pictorially how
it was to be represented, a singular and very absurd error occurred,
which, in the manufacture of our flags, has been continued to the
present day, and which it may be interesting to explain.

The verbal blazon is contained in the minute by the king in council, and
in the proclamation which followed on it, issued on 1st of January,
1801. I need not give the technical words; suffice to say that the flag
is appointed to be blue, with the three crosses, or rather, the one
cross and two saltires combined. And, in order to meet a law in
heraldry, that colour is not to be placed on colour, or metal upon
metal, it is directed that where the red crosses of England and Ireland
come in contact with the blue ground of the flag, they are to be
"fimbriated"--that is, separated from the blue by a very narrow border
of one of the metals--in this case silver, or white. Of heraldic
necessity this border of both the red crosses fell to be of the same
breadth. To use the words of the written blazon, the St. George's cross
is to be "fimbriated _as the saltire_;" a direction so plain that the
merest tyro in heraldry could not fail to understand it, and be able to
paint the flag accordingly.

Let me premise another thing. It is a universal rule in heraldry that
the verbal blazon, when such exists, is alone of authority. Different
artists may, from ignorance or from carelessness, express the drawing
differently from the directions before them, and this occurs every day;
but no one is or can be misled by that if he has the verbal blazon to
refer to.

Now, in the important case of the Union flag it so happened that the
artist who, according to the practice usual in such cases, was
instructed to make a drawing of the flag on the margin of the king's
order in council, was either careless or ignorant or stupid. Most
probably he was all three, and here is how he depicted it. The
horizontal lines represent blue and the perpendicular red; the rest is
white. (See Fig. 26.)

      [Illustration: Fig. 26.--Union Flag as depicted A.D. 1801.]

Now here, it will be observed, the red saltire of Ireland is
"fimbriated" white, according to the instructions; and this is done with
perfect accuracy, by the narrowest possible border. But the St. George's
cross, instead of being fimbriated in the same way--which the written
blazon expressly says it shall be--is not fimbriated at all. The cross
is placed upon a ground of white so broad that it ceases to be a border.
The practical effect of this, and its only heraldic meaning, is, that
the centre of the flag, instead of being occupied solely by the St.
George's cross, is occupied by _two crosses_, a white cross with a red
one superinduced on it. So palpable is this that Mr. Laughton, the
accomplished lecturer on naval history at the Royal Naval College, in a
lecture recently published, suggests that this is perhaps what was
really intended. "A fimbriation," he says, "is a narrow border to
prevent the unpleasing effect of metal on metal or colour on colour. It
should be as narrow as possible to mark the contrast. But the white
border of our St. George's cross is not, strictly speaking, a
fimbriation at all. It is a white cross of one-third the width of the
flag surmounted of a red cross." And his hypothesis is that this may
have been intended to commemorate a tradition of the combination of the
red cross of England with the white cross of France.[38] The suggestion
is ingenious and interesting, but it has clearly no foundation. There
might have been something to say for it had there been only the drawing
to guide us. In that case, indeed, the theory of Mr. Laughton, or some
one similar, would be absolutely necessary to account for the two
crosses. But Mr. Laughton overlooks the important facts, first, that we
possess in the verbal blazon distinct written instructions; secondly,
that where such exist no drawing which is at variance with them can
possess any authority; and lastly, that in this case the verbal blazon
not only is silent as to a second cross, but it expressly prescribes
that there shall be only one, that of St. George. To that nothing is to
be added--nothing, that is, but the narrow border or fimbriation
necessary to meet the heraldic requirement to separate it from the blue
ground of the flag, the same as is directed to be done, and as has been
done, with the saltire of Ireland.

    [38] _Heraldry of the Sea_, 1879.

Some years ago I called the attention of the Admiralty to this
extraordinary blunder, and I pointed out then, just what Mr. Laughton
has done in his recent lecture, that the flag, as made, really shows two
crosses in the centre. The Admiralty referred the matter to Garter King
of Arms, but Sir Albert Woods, while he did not say a word in defence of
the arrangement, would not interfere. "The flag," he said, "was made
according to the drawing,"--which was too true--"and it was exhibited,"
he added, "in the same way on the colours of the Queen's infantry
regiments;" and, naturally enough, he declined the responsibility of
advising a change. And so it remains. I may observe, however, that in
one, at least, of the Horse Guards' patterns, the arrangement of the
tinctures is not, as Sir Albert supposes, according to the original
drawing, and it is different from the pattern prescribed by the
Admiralty. I refer to the flag prescribed for the use of military
authorities "when embarked in boats or other vessels." In that flag, of
which an official copy is now before me, the fimbriation of the Irish
saltire is of much greater breadth than it is in the Admiralty flag,
while that saltire itself is considerably reduced in breadth.

Besides the error in the border of the St. George's cross, the breadth
of the Irish saltire in all our flags, as now manufactured, is less than
that of the white cross of Scotland, which is clearly wrong. For obvious
reasons, and according to the written blazon, they ought to be the same.
Indeed, all the three crosses ought to be of the same breadth. So great,
however, is the difference in practice, that in the official Admiralty
Directions for the construction of a flag of given dimensions, while the
St. George's cross is appointed to be 18 inches in breadth, that of St.
Andrew is to be only 9 inches, and the Irish cross only 6--this last
being exactly the same as the breadth appointed for the border of the
cross of St. George!

Figure II. of Plate III. shows the flag as made according to the
erroneous pattern now in use. Figure III. shows it as it ought to be,
and as it is appointed to be made by the distinct terms of the verbal
blazon, in the order by the king in council. But the breadth of the St.
George's cross I have left unaltered.

It is to be hoped that heraldic propriety will prevail over a practice
originating in obvious error, and that our national flag will be flown
according to its true blazon. The correction would be very easily made.
The reduction of the breadth of the border of St. George's cross and the
slight increase in the width of the Irish saltire would be little
noticed, while, besides correcting obvious errors, it would have the
advantage of bringing the flag, in one important respect, into
conformity with the design as represented on the coinage. On the reverse
of our beautiful bronze coins the St. George's cross on Britannia's
shield is fimbriated as it ought to be, that is, by the narrow border
prescribed by the written blazon.

          [Illustration: UNION FLAGS AND PENDANT.  PLATE III.]

                        [Illustration: Fig. 27.]

But if the penny is right in that respect, it exhibits another
extraordinary example of our slipshod heraldry, by a variation of a
different and more startling kind. My complaint against the flag, as
made, is, that it represents four crosses, but on the penny there are
only two. This was all right when the design was first made in the reign
of Charles II., but when the third cross was added to the flag the three
crosses should have appeared on the coin. A desire to adhere to the
original design cannot certainly be pleaded, for there have been many
changes in this figure of Britannia. She was first placed there by
Charles II. in honour of the beautiful Duchess of Richmond, who sat to
the sculptor for the figure. But her drapery on the coin of those days
was very scanty, and her semi-nude state was hardly in keeping with the
stormy waves beside which she was seated. Queen Anne, like a modest lady
as she was, put decent clothing on her, and made her stand upright, and
took away her shield, crosses and all. In the subsequent reigns she was
allowed to sit down again, and she got back her shield, with the trident
in her left hand and an olive-branch in the right. On the present
coinage--a copy of which (the penny) is shown in Fig. 27--the drapery of
Queen Anne is retained, but the figure is entirely turned round, and
faces the sinister side of the coin, instead of the dexter, as at first,
and the olive-branch (_absit omen_) has been taken away. But with all
these changes there remain only two crosses on the shield. The reader
will naturally suppose, however, that the omission consisted in not
adding the Irish saltire to that of Scotland, which had been there from
the first. But no. In this instance there was certainly no "injustice to
Ireland," for the extraordinary thing is, that the St. Andrew's cross
has been taken away altogether, and the saltire of Ireland,
distinguished by its fimbriated border, has been put in its place,
Scotland being not now represented on the coin at all. Of course this
has arisen from mere carelessness at the Mint, but it is an error which
ought to be at once corrected.

                            THE UNION JACK.

But to return to our flags. The Union Jack is a diminutive of the Union.
It is exclusively a ship flag, and, although of the same pattern as the
Union, it ought never to be called the Union _Jack_ except when it is
flown on the jack-staff,--a staff on the bowsprit or fore part of a
ship. It is extraordinary how little this distinction is understood. For
example, in the Queen's Regulations for the army a list of stations is
given at which it is directed that "the national flag, _the Union Jack_,
is authorized to be hoisted." And in a general order issued from the
North British Head Quarters as to the arrangements to be observed on a
recent occasion of the sitting of the General Assembly in Edinburgh, it
was stated that "the Union Jack" would be displayed from the Castle and
at the Palace of Holyrood. But the _Union Jack_ is never flown on shore.
The proper name of the national flag is _the Union_. It is the shore
flag, and, except personal flags, the only one which is displayed from
fortresses and other stations.

At the Royal Arsenal and a few other stations the Union flag is
displayed daily. At others, such as Sandgate Castle and Rye, it is flown
only on anniversaries. At Tilbury, Edinburgh Castle, and other places,
it is hoisted on Sundays and anniversaries. And there are similar rules
for foreign stations.

On board her Majesty's ships the Union is sometimes displayed, but only
on special occasions. It is hoisted at the mizen top-gallant-masthead
when the Queen is on board, the Royal Standard and the flag of the Lord
High Admiral being at the same time hoisted at the main and fore
top-gallant-mastheads respectively. And an Admiral of the Fleet hoists
the Union at the main top-gallant-masthead. The Army Regulations,
however, referring to the presence of the Queen on board ship, again
confound the two flags, and prescribe that a salute shall be fired by
forts whenever a ship passes showing the flags which indicate the
presence of the sovereign, and among these is specified "_the Union
Jack_ at the mizen top-gallant-masthead." If the commandant of a
fortress acted on this, her Majesty might pass every day of the year
without a salute, as he would certainly never see the Union _Jack_ in
that position. The mistake is the more curious as the Regulations
elsewhere distinguish the Union Jack from the Union by speaking of the
latter as the "Great Union."

The Jack when flown from the mast with a white border is the signal for
a pilot. In this case it is called the Pilot Jack. When flown from the
bowsprit of a merchant ship it must also have a white border.

It has been said that the term "Jack" is derived from the name of the
sovereign James I. (_Jacques_), in whose reign it was constructed. This
is the legend at the Admiralty, but it is of doubtful authority. The
Oxford Glossary says there is not a shadow of evidence for it, and
traces the word to the surcoat worn of old by the soldiery called a
_jacque_--whence jacket. But this also is doubtful.

The Union, or junction of the three crosses, is used in other cases in
the royal navy, and also in the merchant service, not by itself, but in
certain combinations.

                              THE ENSIGN.

The flag under which all our ships now sail is the Ensign.

In early times every chieftain or knight, whether serving in the field
or on board ship, had his own distinguishing flag, and if several
knights were embarked in one ship, the ship carried the flags of them
all. In one of the illuminations of the reign of Henry VI., the sides of
a ship are covered with shields, and in other examples armorial devices
are even shown painted on the sails. When engaged in any active service,
a ship would carry also the flag of the leader or admiral, and, in
addition to this, the emblem of some patron saint, depending in this on
the caprice or superstition of the owner. Besides these a ship usually
bore the flag of her port--a usage which, so far as merchant ships are
concerned, still holds among us in the practice of carrying what are
known as "house flags," though now strictly subordinated to that of
carrying the national ensign. With ships of other countries the usage
continued till comparatively lately. In France, down to the Revolution,
merchant ships flew the flag of their port more commonly than the flag
of France; as for instance, of Marseilles, white with a blue cross; or
of Dunkirk, barry of six argent and azure, with the alternative of the
old English white ensign, white with a small St. George's cross in the
upper corner next the hoist, derived from the English sovereignty in the
seventeenth century.[39] In the same way in the Baltic: in the
Netherlands almost every port had its own flag, and the free towns of
Germany till quite recently followed the same practice. It was the same
in England in early times--a sailor being more a sailor of his port than
of his country.

    [39] Laughton's _Heraldry of the Sea_.

Now, as a rule, the ships of all countries sail under their national
colours. With us the flag under which all our ships sail is the Ensign,
of which there are three--the white, the blue, and the red. It is a
large flag of one of the colours named, with the Union in a square or
canton at the upper part of the hoist. I may explain that the portion of
a flag next the staff or rope from which it is flown is called the
hoist, the next is called the centre, and the outer portion the fly.
Besides the Union in the canton, the white ensign has the St. George's
cross extending over the whole field.

Although the Union flag of Great Britain was appointed by royal order in
1606, it was not inserted in the Ensign till 1707. Previous to that the
Ensign bore only the English cross in the canton.

In the royal navy, not always, but for some time previous to 1864, the
fleet consisted of three divisions called the White, the Blue, and the
Red Squadrons, each carrying its distinctive Ensign, and, latterly, each
having its admiral called after the colour of his flag. But till 1805
there was no admiral of the Red. Previous to that the admiral commanding
in the centre flew at the main, not the red flag, but the Union.

The first notice of the division of the fleet appears in a MS. report by
Mr. Pepys, secretary to the Admiralty, in which it is stated that in the
Duke of Buckingham's expedition against the Isle of Rhé in 1627 the
fleet was thus divided. The notice is interesting:--"The Duke now lying
at Portsmouth divided his Fleete into squadrons. Himselfe, Admirall and
Generall in Chiefe, went in y^e Triumph, bearing the standard of England
in y^e maine topp, and Admirall particular of the bloody colours. The
Earle of Lindsay was vice-Admirall to the Fleete in the Rainbowe,
bearing the king's usual colours in his fore topp, and a blew flag in
his maine topp, and was admiral of the blew colours. The Lord Harvey was
Rear Admirall in y^e Repulse bearing the king's usual colours in his
mizen, and a white flag in the maine topp, and was Admirall of y^e
squadron of white colours." In this instance it will be observed the
blue flag took precedence of the white. Under the Commonwealth the blue
was put down to the third place, and when on the Restoration the Union
flag was reintroduced, the precedence of the three colours remained as
it had been determined by the Commonwealth. The arrangement of the fleet
into three divisions continued till 1864; but it often proved puzzling
to foreigners, and it was found inconvenient in action. It was for this
last reason that Lord Nelson, on going into action at Trafalgar, ordered
the whole of his fleet to hoist the White Ensign, and it was under that
flag that that great victory was gained.

During the wars of the seventeenth century the Dutch fleets were also
divided into three squadrons, distinguished, like the English, by the
three colours--orange or red, white, and blue, and both with them and in
our own service this was perhaps necessary when fleets consisted of such
a large number of ships--our own numbering often as many as 200 sail.
Latterly, when fleets were comparatively so much smaller, the
distinctive colours became of less importance, and in 1864 the
classification was discontinued. Now the White Ensign only is used by
all her Majesty's ships in commission. Previous to this it had been
ordered by royal proclamation, in 1801, that merchant ships should fly
only the Red Ensign, and this is still the rule; but since the three
divisions of the fleet were abolished, the Blue Ensign is allowed to be
used by British merchant ships when commanded by officers of the Royal
Naval Reserve, provided one-third of the crew be men belonging to the
Reserve. By permission of the Admiralty the Blue Ensign is also allowed
to be used by certain yacht clubs; and the members of one club--the
Royal Yacht Squadron--have liberty to use the White Ensign.

                             SPECIAL FLAGS.

The flag of the Lord High Admiral is crimson, having on it an anchor
and cable, and it is hoisted on any ship of which that high officer
is on board. It is also hoisted at the fore top-gallant-masthead of
every ship of which the Queen may be on board. The flag of an admiral
is white with the cross of St. George on it. It is only flown by an
admiral when employed afloat, and then at the main, fore, or mizen
top-gallantmast-head, according as he is a full, vice, or rear admiral.

The Union flag and the Blue Ensign are, with the addition of certain
distinctive badges, used as personal flags by certain high officers, and
also in particular departments of the service. For example, the flag of
the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland is the Union with a blue shield in the
centre, charged with a golden harp. The Governor-general of India has
the Union with the Star of India in the centre surmounted by a crown,
and this also is the flag of British Burmah. British ministers, chargés
d'affaires, fly the Union with the royal arms in the centre within a
circle argent surrounded by a wreath. Our consuls have the Blue Ensign
with the royal arms in the fly. There are also differences in the Union
or Ensign with distinctive badges for other offices and departments, and
for the Colonies.

                              THE PENDANT.

The Pendant is a well-known flag in ships of war. It is of two kinds,
the long and the broad. The first is a long, narrow, tapering flag--the
usual length being twenty yards, while it is only four inches broad at
the head. An Admiralty Memorandum regarding the history of our flags
bears that the origin of the long Pendant is generally understood to
have been this:--After the defeat of the English fleet under Blake, by
the Dutch fleet under Van Tromp, in 1652, the latter cruised in the
Channel with a broom at the mast-head of his ship, to signify that he
had swept his enemies off the sea. In the following year the English
fleet defeated the Dutch, whereupon the admiral commanding hoisted a
long streamer from his mast-head to represent the lash of a whip,
signifying that he had whipped his enemies off the sea. Hence the
Pendant, which has been flown ever since. This certainly has been the
popular tradition, and the English admiral may, on the occasion referred
to, have adopted a flag of the description and for the purpose
mentioned, but it was not altogether a new form of flag. In the Tudor
MS. we find a description of a long tapering flag of somewhat the same
description. It is called a Streamer, and is appointed to "stand in the
top of a ship or in the forecastle, and therein is to be put no armes
but a man's conceit or device, and may be of length 20, 30, 40, or 60
yards, and is slitt as well as a guydhomme or standard." From this
description the streamer would appear to have been a personal flag
bearing "the conceit or device"--crest, badge, or motto--of the owner.

As now used in our navy the long pendant is of two colours--one white
with a red cross in the part next the mast; the other blue with a red
cross on a white ground. The first is flown from the mast-head of all
her Majesty's ships in commission, when not otherwise distinguished by a
flag or broad pendant. The other is worn at the masthead of all armed
vessels in the employ of the government of a British colony. (See Plate
III. No. IV.)

The broad pendant or "burgee" is a flag tapering slightly and of a
swallow-tailed shape at the fly. It is white with a red St. George's
cross, and is flown only by a commodore, or the senior officer of a
squadron, to distinguish his ship. If used by a commodore of the first
class it is flown at the main top-gallant-masthead. Otherwise it is
flown at the top-gallant-masthead.

                        SIGNALS AND OTHER FLAGS.

Signal flags are those which are used for communication between ships at
sea. In the system instituted by James II. intelligence was communicated
or messages interchanged by a confused number of flags exhibited at
different parts of the ship. Now, signalling has been reduced to a
complete system. The flags are of various shapes and colours, each flag
representing a letter or number, and by a recent arrangement a universal
code has been adopted by which vessels of different nations can now

A flag of truce is white, both at sea and on land, but on board ship it
is customary to hoist with it the national flag of the enemy--the white
flag at the main and the enemy's ensign at the fore. On one occasion
during the war in 1814 when the French frigate _Clorinde_ was about to
be attacked by the British frigate _Dryad_, the commander of the former,
being desirous to ascertain what terms would be granted in case he
surrendered, hoisted French colours aft and English colours forward.
Under cover of this the French frigate sent a boat with the message. The
answer was a refusal to grant any terms, but the boat was allowed to
return to the French frigate in safety before the _Dryad_ filled and
stood towards her.

The Ensign and Pendant at half-mast are the recognised signs of
mourning. Sometimes also it is an expression of mourning to set the
yards at what seamen call "a-cock-bill," that is all the yards topped up
different ways on each mast; but this is chiefly done by foreigners,
who, on Good Friday and other occasions, set their yards thus. It is
also customary as a sign of mourning to paint the white lines of a ship
of a blue colour. In older times, when ships were more gaudily painted
and gilded than they are now, they were painted black all over as a sign
of mourning.

The red or bloody flag is a signal of mutiny, and as such it was
displayed in our own navy on two noted occasions in the end of last
century, when the fleet at Spithead mutinied, and afterwards that at
the Nore. In the latter case the mutineers hauled down the flag of
Vice-admiral Buckner and in its stead hoisted the red flag. It is a
singular fact, however, and characteristic of the British seaman, that
on the 4th of June, the king's birth-day, while the mutiny was at its
height, the whole fleet, with the exception of one ship, evinced its
loyalty by firing a royal salute, and displaying the colours usual on
such occasions, the red flag being struck during the ceremony, and only
re-hoisted when it was over.[40]

    [40] James' _Naval History_, ii. p. 73.

The yellow flag is the signal of sickness and of quarantine.

                     USE OF FLAGS IN NAVAL WARFARE.

Such are the principal naval flags. Of the circumstances in which they
may or may not be legitimately used, especially in naval warfare, some
interesting stories might be told.

Although it is prohibited to merchant ships to carry the colours used in
the navy, this may be done in time of war to deceive an enemy. I may
mention one instance when it was practised with happy effect. In the
French war in 1797 the French Rear-admiral Sarcy, when cruising with six
frigates in the Bay of Bali, came in sight of five of our Indiamen--one
of them, the _Woodford_, Captain Lennox. They were homeward bound, and
all richly laden, and to all appearance they had no chance of escape,
when Captain Lennox rescued them by an act of great judgment and
presence of mind. He first of all hoisted in his own ship a flag which
the French admiral knew well--that of the British Admiral Rainier, blue
at the mizen, and he made all the other ships in his company hoist
pendants and ensigns to correspond. But he did more. He detached two of
the Indiamen to chase and reconnoitre the enemy; and as these advanced
towards the French reconnoitring frigate the _Cybèle_, the latter,
completely deceived, made all sail to join her consorts with the signal
at her mast-head--"The enemy is superior in force to the French." On
this the French admiral, believing that he was in the presence of a
powerful British squadron, made off with his frigates under all sail,
and Captain Lennox and his consorts completed their voyage in safety.
When Admiral Sarcy discovered afterwards the ruse that had been
practised on him, and which had lost him a prize of such great value,
his mortification may be imagined.

In going into action it is the custom with the ships of all nations to
hoist their national colours. Nelson at Trafalgar carried this to
excess, for he hoisted several flags lest one should be shot away. The
French and Spaniards went to the opposite extreme, for they hoisted no
colours at all, till late in the action, when they began to feel the
necessity of having them to strike.[41] Nelson on that occasion ran his
ship on board the _Redoubtable_, a large seventy-four gun ship, and
fought her at such close quarters that the two ships touched each other.
Twice Nelson gave orders to cease firing at his opponent, supposing she
had surrendered, because her great guns were silent, and as she carried
no flag there was no means of instantly ascertaining the fact. It was
from the ship which he had thus twice spared that Nelson received his
death wound. The ball was fired from the mizen-top, which, so close were
the ships, was not more than fifteen yards from the place where he was
standing. Soon afterwards the _Redoubtable_, finding further resistance
impossible, hoisted her flag, only to haul it down again in sign of
surrender, within twenty minutes after the fatal shot had been fired. In
this great battle each of the Spanish ships had in addition to her
ensign a large wooden cross hung to the end of her spanker boom.

    [41] Southey's _Life of Nelson_.

When a ship surrenders the fact is usually intimated by her hauling down
her flag, but in Lord Cochrane's spirited attack on the French fleet in
Basque Roads in 1809, two of the French ships, the _Varsovie_ and
_Aquilon_, made the token of submission by each showing a Union Jack in
her mizen chains; and in other instances during the war French ships
hoisted a Union Jack as the signal of their having struck.

Of course when a ship has surrendered the fire of both ships ceases. In
an action off Lissa between British ships and a Franco-Venetian
squadron, the French ship _Flore_ surrendered to the British frigate
_Amphion_. Immediately afterwards the Venetian frigate _Bellona_ bore up
and commenced a heavy fire against the _Amphion_, and some of the shot
struck the captured ship on the other side. Supposing, erroneously, that
the shot came from the British ship, one of the officers of the _Flore_,
in order to make more clear the fact of her having absolutely
surrendered, took the French ensign, halliards and all, and holding them
up in his hand over the taffrail to attract the attention of the
_Amphion's_ people, threw the whole into the sea. Having captured the
_Bellona_ also, the captain of the _Amphion_ temporarily left the
surrendered ship while he pursued another of the enemy, the _Corona_,
which he also captured. When thus engaged, however, he was mortified to
see his first prize, the _Flore_, notwithstanding her emphatic act of
submission, dishonourably stealing away, and she actually effected her
escape into the harbour of Lessina. Captain Hoste, who commanded the
British squadron, afterwards sent a letter by a flag of truce to the
captain of the _Flore_, demanding restitution of the frigate in the same
state as when she struck her flag and surrendered to the _Amphion_; but
the commander of the French squadron replied by a letter, neither signed
nor dated, denying that the _Flore_ had struck, and falsely asserting
that the colours had been shot away. The letter was sent back and the
demand repeated, but no answer was returned.

I may mention another instance in which captured colours were thrown
into the sea in token of surrender under different circumstances, but
not more creditable to the vanquished party. In the war between America
and the Barbary States in the early part of the century, the United
States schooner _Enterprise_, under the command of Lieutenant Sterrett,
fell in with and engaged a Tripolitan polacre ship, and in the course of
the action the colours of the latter were either shot away or struck--in
all probability the latter, for the Americans believed she had
surrendered and quitted their guns. The Corsair, however, re-hoisted her
flag and continued the action. Thereupon the _Enterprise_ poured in so
destructive a fire that her opponent this time unequivocally hauled down
her colours, and Lieutenant Sterrett ordered her under his lee quarter.
This order was obeyed, but the Tripolitan, when he got there, thinking
his position favourable, re-hoisted the red flag, and having poured
another broadside into the _Enterprise_, prepared to board. The
Americans, justly incensed at this treacherous act, delivered a raking
broadside which effectually terminated the affair. The Tripolitan
captain now abjectly implored the quarter which he had justly forfeited,
and bending over the waist barricade of his ship, and as an indication
of his sincerity, raised his colours in his arms and threw them into the

In contrast to the conduct of the captain of the _Flore_ in carrying off
his ship after he had surrendered, may be mentioned the very different
course taken by the officer in command of a French 40-gun frigate, the
_Renommée_, which was captured off Madagascar in 1811, after an action
between a French squadron, and a British squadron under Captain
Schomberg. From the state of the British ships after the action, Captain
Schomberg, when night was coming on, could only send on board the prize
a lieutenant of marines and four seamen, in a sinking boat. At this time
the _Renommée_ had a crew of nearly 400 effective officers and men, and
they could have had at once retaken the ship and got off during the
night. The crew wished to do so, but Colonel Barrois, who--the captain
having been killed--was now, according to the etiquette of the French
service, the commanding officer, acting on a high principle of honour,
refused to give his sanction, as they had surrendered by striking their
flag. The lieutenant and his few hands remained accordingly in quiet
possession of the prize, till the prisoners were taken out next morning,
and a proper prize crew placed on board.

When an action takes place at night, when flags cannot be seen, other
modes of intimating surrender have to be reverted to. In the war with
America, in 1815, when a British ship in a disabled state found she had
no alternative but to surrender at midnight to an American ship of
superior force, she did so by firing a lee gun and hoisting a light. In
another case a French frigate, the _Néréide_, after a severe action
during night with the British frigate _Phoebe_, surrendered to the
latter by hauling down a light she had been carrying, and hailing that
she surrendered. In another case a French ship intimated the fact of her
surrender by hoisting a light and instantly hauling it down.

When a ship has surrendered and is taken possession of, the captor
hoists his ensign over that of the enemy. In one instance a mistake in
this produced disastrous results. In the celebrated capture of the
_Chesapeake_ off Boston in 1813, when the American flag was struck, the
officer of the _Shannon_ who was sent on board the _Chesapeake_ to take
possession, inadvertently--owing to the halliards being tangled--bent
the English flag below the American ensign instead of above it. By this
time the two ships were drifting apart, and when the _Shannon's_ people
saw the American stripes going up first they concluded that their
boarding party had been overpowered, and at once reopened their fire, by
which their first-lieutenant and several of their own men were killed.
The mistake was discovered before the flags had got halfway to the mizen
peak, when they were hauled down and hoisted properly. In this brilliant
but short action--for between the discharge of the first gun and the
conclusion of the fight only fifteen minutes elapsed--the American ship,
by way of display, carried more than the ordinary number of flags. She
flew three ensigns, one at the mizen, one at the peak, and one, the
largest of all, in the starboard main rigging. She had besides, flying
at the fore, a large white flag inscribed with the words "Sailors'
Rights and Free Trade," with the intention, it was supposed, of damping
the energy of the _Shannon's_ men by this favourite American motto. The
_Shannon_ had the Union at the fore and an old rusty blue ensign at the
mizen peak, and besides these she had one ensign on the main stay and
another in the main rigging, both rolled up and "stopped" ready to be
cast loose in case either of the other flags should be shot away.

A similar display of flags occurred on the occasion of the encounter off
Valparaiso in 1814 between the British 36-gun frigate _Phoebe_ and the
United States 32-gun frigate _Essex_, which resulted in the capture of
the latter. Captain Porter, who commanded the American ship, made an
attempt, as in the case of the _Chesapeake_, on the loyalty of the
_Phoebe's_ seamen, by hoisting at his fore top-gallant-mast head the
stock motto, "Free Trade and Sailors' Rights." This, in a short time,
the British ship answered with the St. George's ensign and the motto,
"God and Country--British sailors' best rights: Traitors offend them."
Subsequently the _Essex_ hoisted her motto flag at the fore, and another
on the mizen mast, with one American ensign at the mizen peak and a
second lashed on the main rigging. Not to be outdone in decorations the
British ship hoisted her motto flag with a profuse display of ensigns
and union jacks, and all these were flying when the American ship was

To hoist false colours in time of war in order to entice an enemy within
reach has always been considered legitimate, but it is not allowable to
engage, or to commit any hostile act, under them. While it is considered
legitimate to mislead, however, it is not legitimate to cheat. An
example of what might appear to be a distinction without a difference is
afforded by a case which occurred in 1783, when the French ship
_Sybille_, a powerful 36-gun frigate, was sighted off Cape Henry by the
_Hussar_ of 28 guns. The _Sybille_ had, a few days before, had a drawn
fight with one of our ships of the same force, and, in consequence of
injuries she had then received, had been dismasted in a puff of wind,
and was under jury masts. As she was unable to chase the _Hussar_, she
sought to entice her alongside, in order to take her by boarding, and
accordingly she hoisted at the peak the French ensign under the English,
as if she had been captured. All this was legitimate, and the _Hussar_
might or might not have been deceived by it. But the French captain did
something more. He hoisted in the main shrouds an English ensign
reversed, and tied in a weft or loop. Now this was a well-known signal
of distress--an appeal to a common humanity, which no English officer
was ever known to disregard, and the _Hussar_ closed at once. But
fortunately her crew were at quarters, and the _Sybille_, hauling down
the English flag at the peak and hoisting the French above, endeavoured
to run her on board. Her extreme rolling, however, steadied by no
sufficient sail, exposed her bottom, and several shots from the _Hussar_
went through her very bilge. By this time another of our ships, the
_Centurion_ of 50 guns, had come up, and the _Sybille_ struck her
flag--the reversed ensign with its weft, so dishonourably hoisted,
remaining in the main shrouds. The English officer who took possession
sent the French captain on board the _Hussar_, and he presented his
sword to Captain Russell on the quarterdeck. Russell took the sword,
broke it across, and threw it on the deck; and sending the Frenchman
below, kept him in close confinement in the hold till his arrival in
port some days later.[42]

    [42] Laughton's _Heraldry of the Sea_.

I may mention another case where a legitimate ruse was successfully
practised on an enemy by our great naval commander, Lord Cochrane. It
occurred in the early part of his brilliant career, when he was cruising
in the Mediterranean in his little brig the _Speedy_. This small craft,
under her daring and skilful commander, had made herself so much an
object of terror by the many captures she had made that a Spanish
frigate, heavily armed, was fitted out and sent after her. In order to
get near the _Speedy_ the Spaniard was disguised as a merchantman. For
the same reason, Lord Cochrane, to lull suspicion and enable him to get
near the merchant craft of the enemy, had also disguised his small
vessel, and was sailing as a merchant brig under Danish colours.
Perceiving the supposed Spanish merchantman, Lord Cochrane at once gave
chase, and he only discovered his mistake when his formidable antagonist
opened her ports and showed her teeth. At the same time the Spaniard
lowered a boat to go on board the _Speedy_ and see what she was.
Discovery and capture were apparently now unavoidable, but Lord Cochrane
was equal to the occasion. Hoisting the yellow flag--the dreaded signal
of sickness and quarantine--he made straight for the frigate, and,
having dressed a petty officer in Danish uniform, on the gangway, he
ordered him to hail the boat with the intimation that they were out just
two days from Algiers, where it was well known the plague was then
violently raging. This was enough. The boat pulled back, and the frigate
at once filled and proceeded on her course.

It was a narrow escape; yet the crew of the _Speedy_ complained loudly
that they had not been allowed to fight the frigate! They had been
admirably trained, and had implicit confidence in their brave commander,
and thought he was equal to anything. Lord Cochrane was not a man to
disregard murmurs uttered in such a direction, and he told them that if
they really wanted a fight they would get it with the first enemy they
came across, whatever she might be. They had not long to wait before
they fell in with a large Spanish zebec, the _Gamo_, which, to the
astonishment of the big ship, Lord Cochrane immediately attacked. A
fight with the guns could not have lasted long, for the Spanish ship
carried 30 heavy guns with a crew of upwards of 300 men, while the
_Speedy_ had only 14 four-pounders and a crew of 54 all told. Lord
Cochrane, therefore, notwithstanding this immense disparity of force,
determined, as his only chance, to board the frigate, and this he
succeeded in doing, taking his entire crew with him and leaving only the
surgeon at the wheel. A deadly hand-to-hand conflict ensued, when, just
as his small band were nearly overpowered, Lord Cochrane ordered one of
his men to haul down the Spanish colours. This was promptly done, and
the Spaniards--their commander having been killed--thinking that their
own officers had struck, ceased fighting, and Lord Cochrane became
master of the frigate. How to take care of his numerous prisoners was
not a small difficulty, but he succeeded in doing so, and brought his
prize safely into Port Mahon. It was one of the most brilliant affairs
in the glorious life of this great seaman.

Another interesting example of an enemy's ship being taken in
consequence of her colours being hauled down, not by her own officers
but by the party assailing, occurred at a much earlier period in an
action between the British and Dutch fleets off the English coast. A
runaway boy--Thomas Hopson--an apprentice to a tailor in the Isle of
Wight, had just before come on board the admiral's ship as a volunteer.
In the midst of the action he asked a sailor how long the fight would
continue, and was told that it would only cease when the flag of the
Dutch admiral was hauled down. The boy did not understand about the
striking of colours, but he thought if the hauling down of the flag
would stop the fight it might not be difficult to do. As the ships were
engaged yard-arm and yard-arm, and veiled in smoke, Hopson at once ran
up the shrouds, laid out on the mizen-yard of his own ship, and having
gained that of the Dutch admiral he speedily reached the
top-gallant-mast head and possessed himself of the Dutch flag, with
which he succeeded in returning to his own deck. Perceiving the flag to
be struck the British sailors raised a shout of victory, and the Dutch
crew, also deceived, ran from their guns. While the astonished admiral
and his officers were trying in vain to rally their crew the English
boarded the ship and carried her. For this daring service the boy was at
once promoted to the quarter-deck, and he rose to be a distinguished
admiral under Queen Anne.


In time of peace it is considered an insult to hoist the flag of one
friendly nation over that of another. This has given rise to an order
that national flags are not to be used for decoration or in dressing
ships. This order has reference more particularly to two flags, which
are in ordinary use as signal flags. One of these is the French
tricolour, but with the red and blue transposed; the other is the Dutch
flag turned upside down, and there are two pendants to match. An
unintentional departure from this rule gave rise to some unpleasantness
on one occasion in the early part of this century. On the 23d of April,
1819, the English frigate _Euryalus_, lying at St. Thomas in the West
Indies, had dressed ship in honour of St. George's day--the fête of the
Prince Regent--and in doing so had made use of the blue, white, and red
flag, which four years before had been the national flag of France. A
three-coloured pennant hung down from the spanker boom and trailed in
the water, and another three-coloured flag was at the lower end of the
line pendant from the flying boom. This was observed by the French
Rear-admiral Duperré, who was there in the _Gloire_, and he demanded and
received apologies for what he conceived to be an insult offered to a
flag which had lately been the flag of France, and under which he and
many of his officers and men had served.[43]

    [43] _Heraldry of the Sea_, p. 28.

If a foreign flag is hoisted on shore--as it often is in compliment to
some distinguished stranger--it must have the staff to itself. In 1851,
when the queen of Louis Philippe visited Oban, the proprietor of the
Caledonian Hotel, at which she resided, in compliment to his visitor,
and in ignorance, no doubt, of the proprieties of the case, hoisted the
French flag over the Union. This excited the indignation of an old
pensioner, John Campbell, who had been a sergeant in the 71st
Highlanders--the regiment of Campbell of Lochnell--and he went to the
innkeeper and demanded that matters should be put right. As no attention
was paid to his remonstrance, he then and there cut down the French
flag, and dared the innkeeper to hoist it again in that manner. The
residents in Oban were so pleased with Campbell's spirited conduct that
they presented him with a silver-headed stick.

In gun practice it is also held to be an insult to take as a mark the
flag of another nation, and sometimes unintentional offence has been
given through mistakes about the flags in such circumstances. For the
following I am indebted to a distinguished naval officer who was
cognizant of the circumstances. Some twenty years ago, when the French
had an army of occupation in Syria, and their fleet and ours were lying
amicably together at Beyrout, some of the English ships having occasion
to practise the men with their rifles, put out their respective
targets--which generally consisted of bits of old flags fastened to a
stick, and stuck in a small cask anchored off at the required
distance--and commenced firing. Presently a boat with a superior officer
was seen pulling in hot haste from the French flagship. It afterwards
transpired that the boat was conveying a polite request that the English
would refrain from firing on the French flag--the officer at the same
time pointing to an exceedingly dirty piece of bunting which was being
riddled by the bullets from one of her Majesty's ships. "That's not the
French flag," was the answer of the English. "Yes, I assure you," the
Frenchman replied, "we are nearer than you are, and can see the colours.
And, pardon me," he added, "another of your ships is at the present
moment, in this Turkish port, firing on the Turkish flag"--pointing at
the same time to another target, consisting of a faded bit of red
bunting. Inquiries were made, and what had been taken for the Tricolour
was found to be a piece of an old condemned Union Jack, that had
unfortunately been nailed on to the staff without due regard to the
position of the colours, while the so-called Turkish flag was discovered
to be a fragment of an old English red ensign.

To the same naval officer I am indebted for the following amusing
incident, which I am glad to give in his own words, as he was personally
concerned in it. "About the same time," he writes, "another occurrence
of the same kind took place at Larnaca, in Cyprus. It happily ended
well, but at one time it looked quite serious. One of our surveying
vessels had taken advantage of a lull in the work to practise her crew
with her formidable armament of two twenty-four pounders, and on a
bright calm Mediterranean morning the gunner was sent for by the senior
lieutenant, and directed to prepare a target. But here there arose a
difficulty. The ship had been a long time from Malta, stores of all
kinds were scarce, and of old bunting there was absolutely none. The
gunner was in despair, but a marine came to the rescue, and offered his
pocket-handkerchief as a substitute. It was about the usual size of such
articles, and as it had been bought at Malta while disturbances were
pending at Naples, it had the Italian colours, green, white, and red,
together with a pendant, printed on it, and on the white part some
patriotic sentences in Italian. The whole presented an ancient and faded
appearance, but the gunner accepted it with thanks.

"So it was duly nailed on a staff stuck into a small cask, and anchored
about 600 yards to seaward. After the firing from the howitzers was
finished the men were ordered to fire on it with rifles, which for a
time they did. While this was going on a small French brig happened to
be lying in the roads, and during the forenoon a boat was observed
pulling from her in the direction of the target, but it did not venture
very close; the firing was not suspended, and nothing further was
thought about it. Before going to dinner in the middle of the day, a
boat was sent to examine the target to see if it would float, as it was
intended to continue the practice in the afternoon, and although it was
reported to have been knocked about a good deal, it was thought it might
remain afloat as long as it would be required, and so it was left. About
an hour afterwards, however, it disappeared, and went to the bottom.

"The lieutenant, who had been weary with his work and had gone to bed
early, was much astonished at being sent for by the captain about
midnight. A formal despatch from our consul had come on board, inclosing
a communication from the French representative giving a detailed account
of what was described as a gross insult to the French flag, perpetrated
by H.M.S. ----, and demanding all kinds of apologies. The prime mover in
the affair, it appeared, was a certain captain Napoleon something, the
commander of the little brig. His story was that he had seen with
indignation the flag of his country--in size six feet square by his
account--carried out by an English man-of-war boat, and deliberately
fired upon. He and his crew, he said, had got into their boat determined
to rescue the desecrated ensign, 'even at the risk of their lives,' but
on getting near they had thought better of it, and pulled ashore
instead. Here he had collected all the French residents he could get,
whom he harangued, and having persuaded them that the scarcely visible
speck was in truth their national flag, he got them to sign a strongly
worded protest, and go with it along with him in a body to the French
consul. Reparation, they said, must be made--the insulted flag must be
saluted. So great was the excitement and so plausible the story that the
French consul, pending negotiations, sent to Beyrout requiring the
immediate presence of a French man-of-war. In fact there was all the
groundwork of a very pretty row. Meantime the cause of all the commotion
was lying at the bottom of the sea, with five or six fathoms of water
over it. A written explanation of the circumstance was sent from the
ship, and a meeting arranged for next day at the English consulate; and
in the meantime a number of boats were sent early in the morning to try
and fish up the bone of contention, as without it there was only the
English word against the French. At the consulate there was a stormy
meeting--much hard swearing and vociferation on the part of the French
captain and his crew, with the affidavits of any number of respectable
French residents, formally drawn up and signed. Everybody was getting
very angry, and prospect of an amicable settlement there was none, when
in a momentary lull the English lieutenant asked the French captain--who
had for the fiftieth time declared that it _was_ a French flag, and six
feet square at least--'whether it was likely that he knew more about it
than the marine who had blown his nose with it for the last six months.'
This in some measure restored good humour. The meeting separated in a
more friendly spirit than had at first seemed possible, and when, on the
following day, a lucky cast of the grapnel brought to the surface the
innocent cause of the disturbance, there was an end of the matter. Torn
by bullets, draggled and wet as it was, the wretched handkerchief was
borne in triumph to the French consulate, and of course there was no
more to be said. The consul made the proper _amende_, and the
man-of-war, which actually appeared from Beyrout a few hours afterwards
to vindicate the honour of the French flag, returned to her anchorage."

I shall just add one more incident of the same kind, for which I am
indebted to another naval officer. In 1879 an English corvette visited
Tahiti. The island, being under French protection, flies a special flag,
and as it is one which is not supplied to English men-of-war, it is
usual, when it is necessary for them to salute, to borrow a protectorate
flag from the authorities. On the occasion in question, accordingly, the
flag was sent off by the governor's aide-de-camp (a naval officer) on
the evening of the corvette's arrival at Papeite, and the flag having
been hoisted on the following morning, the salute was duly fired. But
the display of the flag caused a terrible commotion on shore. On such
occasions the whole population turns out to see the salute, and the
beach of the beautiful land-locked, or rather reef-inclosed, harbour was
crowded with French and Tahitians watching the corvette, which was
moored close under the town. The cause of the commotion was that the
flag had been improperly made, so that in hoisting it the French ensign,
by pure inadvertence, appeared underneath that of Tahiti. The
indignation of the French was great, and they hastened to complain to
the governor that their flag had been deliberately insulted by her
Majesty's ship. The mistake, fortunately, lay entirely with the
authorities on shore. It was only on hauling it down that the officer in
command found it had been caused by the flag being improperly
constructed, the technical explanation being that the distance line had
been sewed in, the wrong way, with the taggle towards the bottom of the
flag--a very trifling thing in itself, but which, if unexplained, might
have led to serious consequences. Of course the flag was immediately
sent to the governor with the explanation, and there was an end of it.
So much for naval flags.

                       FLAGS OF THE BRITISH ARMY.

I have already noticed incidentally some of the flags used in the armies
of England in early times. Those used in the latter part of the
thirteenth century, and early in the fourteenth, were, besides those of
the knights and bannerets, the Royal Standard and the banners of St.
George, of St. Edmund, and of St. Edward. Subsequently various changes
took place which it is unnecessary to follow.

At present in the British army every regiment of infantry has two flags.
They are both made of silk, in this differing from sea flags, which are
usually made of bunting. With the exception of the Foot Guards, the
first or Queen's colours of every regiment is the Union or National
Flag, with the imperial crown in the centre, and the number of the
regiment beneath in gold. The second or regimental colours are, with
certain exceptions, of the colour of the facing of the regiment, with
the Union in the upper corner. The second colours of all regiments bear
the devices or badges and distinctions which have been conferred by
royal authority. Fig. 28 is a representation of the regimental or second
colours of the first battalion of the 24th Regiment, for which I am
indebted to the courtesy of Sir Albert Woods. It will serve as an
example of the regimental colours of other regiments. The pole, it will
be observed, is surmounted by the royal crest, and this is common to all
regiments carrying colours. The ground of the flag is grass green. The
crown and wreath are "proper," that is of the natural colours. The
scrolls are gold with black letters.

  [Illustration: Fig. 28.--Regimental Colours of First Battalion of
  24th Regiment.]

The first or royal colours of the Foot Guards are crimson, and bear
certain special distinctions besides those authorized for the second
colours--the whole surmounted by the imperial crown. The second, or
regimental colours, of the Foot Guards is the Union, with one of the
ancient badges conferred by royal authority. The first battalion of the
Scots Fusilier Guards possesses the high distinction of carrying on
their first colours the royal arms of Scotland.

  [Illustration: Fig. 29.--Queen's Colours of the First Battalion of
  24th Regiment.]

The colours of infantry are as a rule carried by the two junior
lieutenants, and our military annals present many examples of devoted
heroism by the standard-bearers in defence of their charge. Among such
incidents few are more interesting than the loss and recovery of the
Queen's colours of the first battalion of the 24th Regiment in the
African campaign of 1878-79, to which I have already referred. It will
be recollected that Lieutenants Melville and Coghill, after crossing the
river Tugela with the Queen's colours, were overtaken and attacked by
overwhelming numbers and shot down. They died bravely, revolvers in
hand, but their pursuers failed to get possession of their precious
charge--the colours having been found near them when the bodies were
recovered. The Queen was much affected by this incident, and bestowed on
the young heroes after death the highest distinction for valour in her
power--the Victoria cross. On the arrival of the colours in England the
Queen expressed a wish to see them, and they were taken to Osborne,
where her Majesty tied on them a small wreath of immortelles as a mark
of her deep sense of the heroism of the two young officers who gave
their lives to save the flag. Fig. 29 shows the colours in the state in
which they were, when presented to the Queen, with the wreath placed
upon them by her Majesty.

The colours of the second battalion of the 24th had been left in camp
when the troops advanced to meet the Zulus, and they were consequently
captured. No trace of them could be found till some time afterwards when
the pole with its crown was recovered by a party of the 17th Lancers in
a Zulu kraal near Ulundi. This remnant continued to be carried by the
regiment for upwards of a year, when new colours were presented to them
at Gibraltar on behalf of the Queen by Lord Napier of Magdala. The old
colours, or rather their pole with the crown, were first trooped. The
new colours were then uncovered, and, after consecration,
presented--Lord Napier stating that her Majesty knew very well that the
flag had not been lost through any default of the battalion, but only in
consequence of their having been placed in camp when the battalion went
to the front under the general commanding.

The presentation of new colours with the accompanying consecration
service is an interesting ceremony. As the form may not be generally
known, I shall describe a recent one when new colours were presented by
the Prince of Wales to the first battalion of the 23d Regiment (the
Royal Welsh Fusiliers) on their embarkation for India. It is specially
interesting in connection with the history of the old ragged colours
which were then superseded. They had been presented by the late Prince
Consort thirty-one years before, and in the Crimea they were the first
which were planted on the heights of the Alma. Two lieutenants were
successively shot while holding them, and they were finally seized by
Sergeant O'Connor, who, though wounded, held them aloft and rallied the
regiment. For this service he was decorated with the Victoria cross.
Shortly afterwards he received his commission, and subsequently he
became colonel of the battalion. On the recent arrival of the troops at
Portsmouth they were drawn up on the military recreation ground, and the
Prince and Princess of Wales having taken their place at the saluting
point, the regiment marched past, headed by the goat which always
accompanies it. The old colours were then trooped and conveyed to the
rear, and three sides of a square having been formed, with a pyramid of
the drums in the centre, the new colours were uncased. The royal party
then advanced, and the senior chaplain of the regiment read the
Consecration service. The Queen's colours and the regimental colours
were then handed to the prince, and he presented them to the two
lieutenants who received them kneeling. The prince having spoken a few
appropriate words, and the colonel having replied, the colours were
saluted by the whole regiment. Another march past, and the presentation
of the officers to the prince, concluded the ceremony.

In the cavalry the standards of regiments of Dragoon Guards are of
crimson silk damask, embroidered and fringed with gold, and their
guidons, anciently called "guydhomme"--a swallow-tailed flag--are of
crimson silk. Each is inscribed with the peculiar devices, distinctions,
and mottoes of the regiment. The standards and guidons of cavalry are
carried by troop sergeant-majors. The Hussars and Lancers have no
standards. They were discontinued, for what reason I do not know, by
William IV., and their badges and devices are now borne on their
appointments. Neither the Royal Engineers nor the Rifles have colours.
Neither have the Royal Artillery; nor is it necessary that they should
have any on which to record special services, for the Artillery is
represented in every action. Their appropriate motto, _Ubique_, is borne
on their appointments. None of the Volunteer regiments carries colours.

The queen's and regimental colours always parade with the regiment. On
march they are cased, but they are always uncased when carried into

For military authorities "when embarked in boats or other vessels,"
there is, as we have seen, a special flag. It is the Union with the
royal initials in the centre on a blue circle, surrounded by a green
garland, and surmounted by the imperial crown.

                    USE OF FLAGS BY PRIVATE PERSONS.

In regard to the use of the national flag by private persons, there is a
positive rule as to marine flags, but none, so far as I am aware, as to
its use on shore. I have occasionally seen it flown on shore with a
white border, under an impression, apparently, that this difference was
necessary, but it is unmeaning, and there is no authority for it. In
numberless instances we see one or other of the marine Ensigns hoisted
on shore over gentlemen's houses, or used in street decoration on the
occasion of public rejoicings; but nothing could be more absurd, as the
ensign is exclusively a ship flag.

Any private individual entitled to armorial bearings may carry them on a
flag. In such cases the arms should not be on a shield, but filling the
entire flag.

The flags and banners represented in works on heraldry have almost
invariably a fringe; but this is optional. If a fringe is used it should
be composed of the livery colours, each tincture of the arms giving its
colour to the portion of the fringe which adjoins it. In the British
army the colours of the different regiments are fringed.

                         FOREIGN FLAGS: FRANCE.

My notice of foreign flags must be short. Those of France and America
have naturally most interest for us.

Previous to the Revolution the French can hardly be said to have had a
national flag. The colours of the reigning families--changing as they
did with each fresh dynasty, as was the case in our own early
history--were accepted in the place of national standards, while each
regiment in the army followed colours of its own. The celebrated _Chape
de Saint Martin de Tours_ and the _Oriflamme_ of the Abbey of Saint
Denis, were, like the labarum of Constantine, ecclesiastical banners,
symbolic of the two patrons of Christian France watching over her in her
battles. The Chape de Saint Martin was a banner imitating in form a cape
or cloak, and was of blue. The Oriflamme was red with a green fringe. By
the end of the tenth century this had become the royal standard. In one
of the windows of the Cathedral of Chartres (of the thirteenth century)
there is a representation of Henri Sieur de Argentin et du Mez, Marshall
of France under St. Louis, receiving from the hands of St. Denis a
banner which is supposed to be the Oriflamme. Fig. 30 is a copy of this
interesting old work of art. The banner, it will be observed, has five
points; but in other examples it has only three, each having attached to
it a tassel of green silk.

          [Illustration: Fig. 30.--The Oriflamme, circa 1248.]

The royal banner of St. Louis was blue powdered with fleurs-de-lis in
gold, and these fleurs-de-lis have remained since the eleventh or
twelfth century a peculiarly French and royal device. It is indeed one
of extreme antiquity, the emblem of a long-forgotten worship--older by
many ages than any record of the doctrine of the Trinity, of which some
have supposed this flower to be an emblem.[44]

    [44] Laughton's _Heraldry of the Sea_.

In the reign of Charles VI. the blue field ceased to be _powdered_ with
fleurs-de-lis, and was charged with three only--two and one. The white
flag which became the standard of the kings of France was probably not
introduced till the reign of Henry IV. But there is great confusion in
the history of the French flags, and this is increased by the use of
personal colours at sea, which continued among the French to a much
later period than among the English. In the colours of the French
regiments there has been great variety of design. Under the old monarchy
the regimental colours were of two kinds--one was the _drapeau-colonel_,
or royal; the other, called _drapeau d'ordonnance_, took its device from
the founder of the particular regiment which carried it, or from the
province of its origin. A common form of the royal colours was a white
cross on a blue field. In other examples, sometimes the cross and
sometimes the field were powdered with fleurs-de-lis. In some instances
the field was green. The flag displayed by the French in 1789 was a
white cross on a blue ground, with one fleur-de-lis at each corner of
the field, and the motto "Patrie et Liberté."

The Tricolour was introduced at the Revolution, but the origin of the
design is unknown. Possibly a trace of it may be found in an
illumination in one of the MS. copies of Froissart. It represents the
King of France setting out against the Duke of Brittany, and his majesty
is preceded by a man on horseback bearing a swallow-tailed pennon, the
first part containing the ancient arms of France, and each of the
tails--composed of three stripes--red, white, and green.

For some time after the Revolution the white field was retained. When
the three colours came to be used there appears to have been at first no
fixed order in arranging them, and in some cases they were placed
vertically, and in others horizontally. By a decree in 1790 it was
ordained that in the navy the flag on the bowsprit--the jack--should be
composed of three equal bands placed vertically, that next the staff
being red, the middle white, and the third blue. The flag at the stem
was to have in a canton the jack above described (occupying one fourth
of the flag), and to be surrounded by a narrow band, the half of which
was to be red and the other blue, and the rest of the flag to be white.
In 1794 this flag was abolished, and it was ordered "that 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." It would appear, however, that this arrangement was not for some
time universally adopted, and that old flags continued to be used. Thus,
in the great picture by De Loutherbourg at Greenwich, the French ships
are represented as wearing the suppressed flag of 1790; while, in a rare
print preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris, representing the
magnificent ceremony at which the first Napoleon distributed eagles to
the troops in 1804, the banners suspended over the Ecole Militaire in
the Champ de Mars, where the ceremony took place, show the three colours
in fess, that is, in horizontal lines. But the vertical arrangement must
have been soon afterwards generally adopted, and this continued to be
the flag both of the French army and navy during the Empire. On the
return of the king in 1814, and again in 1815, it was abolished, and the
white flag restored; but the Tricolour was reintroduced in 1830, and it
has remained in use since.[45]

    [45] See French Imperial Standard, and National Flag, Plate IV.
         Nos. 2 and 3.

When the Emperor Napoleon assumed the sovereignty of Elba he had a
special flag made. It will be recollected that he was allowed to retain
the title of emperor, and although the island which comprised his
dominions was only sixty miles in circumference, the inhabitants barely
12,000, his household 35 persons, and his entire army only 700 infantry
and 60 cavalry, he considered it necessary to have a "national flag."
According to Sir Walter Scott, it bore on a white field a bend charged
with three bees. But the emperor was preparing another and very
different flag for his small army, of which I am able to give a
representation from a very rare coloured engraving.[46] It was the
tricolour of France, composed of the richest silk with the ornaments
elaborately embroidered in silver. It bore the imperial crown with the
letter N, and the eagle, on each of the blue and red portions, with the
imperial bees; and over all the inscription, "L'Empereur Napoléon à la
Garde Nationale de L'lle d'Elbe." To the staff, the top of which was
surmounted by a golden eagle, was suspended a tricoloured sash also
richly embroidered in silver. This splendid standard was presented by
Napoleon to his guards in Elba shortly before his invasion of France in
1815. On the reverse side there was subsequently embroidered the
inscription, "Champ de Mai"--the flag having been a second time
presented by the emperor to his guards at that celebrated meeting, a
short time before they marched for Waterloo. The standard was captured
by the Prussians, and on their entering Paris was sold to an English
gentleman who brought it to England.[47]

    [46] See Frontispiece.

    [47] When the drawing of it was taken it was in the possession
         of BernardBrocas, Esq., at Wokefield.

                        [Illustration: Fig. 31.]


The lately-abolished Eagle (Fig. 31) was borne as a standard in the
French army during the Empire only. It was introduced by Napoleon I.,
who adopted it from the Romans. The ribbon attached was of silk five
inches wide and three feet long, and richly embroidered. After
Napoleon's fall the eagles were abandoned, but they were again
introduced by Napoleon III. In consequence of their intrinsic value,
they proved in the Franco-German war a much-coveted prize among the
Germans, who captured a considerable number of them on the successive
defeats of the French. The first Napoleon was very careful of the
Eagles. He himself tells us, in one of the conversations at St. Helena,
that he established in each regiment two subaltern officers as special
guardians of the Eagle. "Ils n'avaient d'autre arme," he says, "que
plusieurs paires de pistolets: d'autre emploi que de veiller froidement
a bruler la cervelle de celui qui avancerait pour saisir l'aigle."

The Dutch and Russian ensigns have the same tinctures as those of the
present French flag, but borne fess ways--that is horizontally. The
former has the red uppermost. The latter has _the metal_, the white,
uppermost, and the two _colours_, the blue and the red--against all our
notions of heraldic propriety--placed together below. (See Dutch and
Russian flags, Plate IV. Nos. 6 and 8.)

The Belgian colours adopted in 1831 are arranged as the French, but the
colours are black, yellow, and red. (Plate IV. No. 5.) The flag of
Prussia is also composed of three stripes-black, white, and red, but
arranged horizontally. (Plate IV. No. 4.) The flag of Mexico is arranged
like that of France, but the colours are green, white, and red. (Plate
IV. No. 10.)

                           THE AMERICAN FLAG.

The history of the American flag is interesting. Previous to the
Declaration of Independence the different colonies retained the
standards of the mother country with the addition of some local emblem.
Massachusetts, for example, adopted the pine-tree, a device which was
also placed on the coins. In 1775 "the Union with a red field"--a red
ensign--was displayed at New York on a liberty poll with the
inscription, "George Rex and the Liberties of America;" and it is
interesting to note that the first flag adopted as a national ensign by
the ships of the United States consisted of the horizontal stripes with
which we are familiar, but with the British Union still retained in a
canton. This was replaced by the stars on a blue ground. Some of the
flags first used--at the time when only twelve states had ratified the
articles of convention--bore only twelve stars. On the 14th of August,
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 a new constellation." (See Fig. 32.)

It has been said that the design of the flag was derived from arms borne
by the family of Washington; but there is no foundation for this. An
American writer--with probably as little ground for the statement--says:
"the blue field was taken from the Covenanters' banner in Scotland,
likewise significant of the League and Covenant of the United Colonies
against oppression, and incidentally involving vigilance, perseverance,
and justice. The stars were then disposed in a circle symbolizing the
perpetuity of the union, as well as equality with themselves. The whole
was a blending of the various flags used previous to the war, viz. the
red flags of the army and white colours of the floating batteries--the
gem of the navy."[48]

    [48] Article on "Flags," by H. K. W. Wilcox, New York, _Harper's
         Magazine_, July, 1873.

                        [Illustration: Fig. 32.]

In 1795 it was ordained that the stripes should be increased to fifteen
and the stars to the same number; but in 1818 Congress ordered a return
to the thirteen stripes but with twenty stars, and that on the admission
of any new state a star should be added. Thus the old number of stripes
perpetuated the original number of the states forming the union, while
the added stars show the union in its existing state. In consequence of
the greatly increased number of stars, the circular arrangement had to
be abandoned, and they are now disposed in parallel lines. (See flag of
the United States, Plate V. No. 8.) The construction of the first
national standard, from which the stars and stripes were afterwards
adopted, took place at Philadelphia in 1777 under the personal direction
of Washington aided by a committee of Congress.

The flag of the American admirals is composed of the stripes alone, and
the stars are used separately as a jack. One of the first American flags
used at sea, and bearing only the twelve stars, is still preserved. It
is the flag which was flown by the celebrated Paul Jones from his
privateer, the _Bon homme Richard_, in his engagement with the English
ship _Serapis_ on 23d September, 1799. In the course of the action the
flag having been shot away from the mast-head, Lieutenant Stafford, then
a volunteer in Paul Jones' ship, leaped into the sea after it, and
recovered and replaced it, being severely wounded while performing this
action. The flag thus saved was afterwards presented to him by the
marine committee of Congress, and it now (1880) belongs to his son.[49]

    [49] Letter in _Daily Telegraph_, 18th March, 1880, by Mr. W.
         Stafford Northcote.


I may mention that the white and red stripes are not peculiar to the
American flag. A flag of similar design was for a long time a well-known
signal in the British navy, being that used for the red division to draw
into line of battle.

                          OTHER FOREIGN FLAGS.

The flag of Liberia is very like that of the United States, being
composed of red and white stripes with a blue canton. The only
difference is that the latter bears only one star. (See the flag of
Liberia, Plate V. No. 6.) The flag of Bremen is also composed of red and
white stripes.

Spain from the first period of her greatness bore the Castilian flag,
quartering Castile and Leon. In an old illumination representing the
coronation of Henry, son of John, King of Castile, there are on the
king's left hand two men, unarmed, the one holding a banner of Castile
and Leon quarterly, the other a blue pennon charged with three kings'
heads-the banner of the three kings of Cologne. On his majesty's right
hand a man, also unarmed, holds a shield with the arms of Castile and
Leon. It was this last device, as a national flag, that was carried by
the ships of Columbus. But Columbus had also as a personal flag one
given to him by Queen Isabella--a white swallow-tailed pennon bearing a
Latin cross in green between the letters FY crowned. These two flags are
noteworthy as the first that crossed the Atlantic.

The present royal standard of Spain is of very complicated construction
(see Plate V. No. 1), embracing among its bearings the arms of Castile
and Leon, of Aragon, Sicily, Burgundy, and others. The national ensign
is in marked contrast by its simplicity. It is composed of yellow and
red stripes--derived from the bars of Aragon. (See Plate V. No. 2.)

Austria at first bore on her flag the Roman eagle. Now her war ensign is
red, white, and red placed horizontally, and in the centre a shield of
the same within a gold border (the arms of the Dukes of Austria),
surmounted by the royal crown. (See Plate V. No. 3.) The merchant flag
is the same without the shield and crown. The Austro-Hungarian flag has
the lower stripe half red and half green, with two shields, one on the
right containing the arms of Austria, and the other bearing the arms of
Hungary. (See Plate V. No. 4.)

The flag of Italy was designed by Napoleon I. on his declaration of the
Kingdom of Italy. It is a modification of the French, the division of
the field next the staff being, instead of blue, green, which, it is
known, was a favourite colour of the emperor. In the centre is a red
shield charged with a white cross--the arms of the Dukes of Savoy, now
borne by Italy. A representation of the Italian merchant flag will be
found on Plate V. No. 5. The war ensign is the same, except that the
shield is surmounted by the royal crown.

In the construction of the flag of Norway, curiously enough, the same
blunder has been committed as in our own Union. It is "described" as a
blue cross _fimbriated_ white; but the border, as the flag is worn, is
too broad, and it really represents two crosses, a blue cross
superimposed on a white one--just as our St. George's cross, as
represented in our national colours, is nothing but a red cross
superimposed on a white one. Mr. Laughton accordingly looking at the
Norwegian flag in this light, calls it the white flag of Denmark with a
blue cross over it,[50] which it was certainly not intended to be. The
flag is shown in Plate V. No. 11. The Swedish-Norwegian union in the
canton was introduced in 1817, when the two countries were united under
one king.

    [50] _Heraldry of the Sea_, p. 23.

The Danish flag (see Plate V. No. 7) is the oldest now in existence. The
tradition is that it descended from Heaven ready made in the year 1219
in answer to the prayer of King Waldemar, as he was leading his troops
to battle against the pagans of the Baltic. Be that as it may, it
certainly dates from the thirteenth century.

The flag of Portugal has borne a conspicuous part in history, and the
devices in it carry us back to a very early period. The present royal
standard is red with a red shield in the centre charged with towers or
castles for the kingdom of Algarve, which Alphonsus III. got from the
King of Castile when he married the daughter of the latter in 1278; and
in the centre there is a white shield bearing on it the shields of the
five Moors placed crossways. The Portuguese national flag is per pale,
blue and white, and in the centre point is the same device as appears on
the royal standard. The present flag, however, is only a modification of
the old flag which was carried by the early discoverers, and which
brought glory to Portugal in the days of Prince Henry the Navigator.
(See the national flag of Portugal, Plate V. No. 12.)

The royal standards of Norway and Sweden, and also the ensign of these
kingdoms, are peculiar in preserving the ancient form of having the fly
ending in three points. (See the Swedish standard, Plate V. No. 10.)

Greece has adopted the colours of Bavaria in compliment to her first
king. (See Plate VI. No. 7.)

The devices on some of the Asiatic flags are peculiar. That of Burmah
bears a peacock; Siam, a white elephant; and China, a hideous-looking
dragon. (See these flags, Plate VI. Nos. 1, 2, 3.) On the flag of
Bolivia (Plate VI. No. 4) is the representation of a volcano, suggested
in all probability by the great volcano of Serhama, which rises in
Western Bolivia to the height of 23,000 feet. Japan, the land of the far
east, the source of the sun, as her name signifies, has adopted for her
flag the sun rising blood-red. (See Plate V. No. 9.)


The flag of Brazil, which is very inartistic in its construction, bears
among other devices the armillary sphere of Portugal. (See Plate VI. No.

In Plates IV. V. and VI. will be found representations of the flags of
other kingdoms and republics. These speak for themselves, and do not
call for particular description.

But I must now bring these notices to a close. To the true patriot of
every country the national flag must be a subject of pride. If, as a
French writer observes, it does not always lead him to victory, it
inspires him to fight well, and if need be to die well. "We pay to it,"
says the same writer, "royal honours. When it is paraded--in rags it may
be, and with faded colours, bearing in letters of gold the names of
victories--the troops present arms, the officers salute it with the
sword, and the white heads of veteran generals are uncovered and bent
before the ensign." To the soldier its loss is one of the greatest
calamities. In Napoleon's disastrous retreat from Moscow in 1812 not
many of his flags remained with the Russians. Of those which were not
carried off most were burned, and of some of these the officers drank
the ashes. More recently the same thing is said to have been done at
Metz and Sedan. So a French writer tells us, and he characterizes the
act as "_communion sublime_!"

What the flag is, indeed, to the sailor and the soldier, whether when
shaken out in battle or when displayed in memory of great victories,
none but the soldier and the sailor can realize. At the interment of
Lord Nelson, when his flag was about to be lowered into the grave, the
sailors who assisted at the ceremony ran forward with one accord and
tore it into small pieces, to be preserved as sacred relics. "I know,"
says Charles Kingsley--in those _Brave Words_ which he addressed to our
soldiers then fighting in the trenches before Sebastopol, "I know that
you would follow those colours into the mouth of the pit; that you would
die twice over rather than let them be taken. Those noble rags,
inscribed with noble names of victory, should remind you every day and
every hour that he who fights for Queen and country in a just cause is
fighting not only in the Queen's army but in Christ's army, and that he
shall in no wise lose his reward."



  Armenian Flag, 110.

  Army, British, Flags of, 96.

  Artillery--have no colours, 101.

  Assyrian Standards, 17, 19.

  Austria, Flag of, 114.

  Austro-Hungary, Flag of, 114.


  Banner of St. Cuthbert, 33.

  Banner-bearers, 33.

  Bannerets, 30.

  ---- their following, 32.

  Banners, 29.

  Belgian Flag, 109.

  Beverly, Sir John of, his banner, 33.

  Black Prince at Navarete, 31.

  "Blue Blanket," 50, 51.

  "Bluidy Banner" of Covenanters, 52.

  Bolivia, Flag of, 116.

  Brazil, Flag of, 117.

  Bryon, Sir Guy de, banner-bearer of Edward III., 34.

  Burmah, Flag of, 116.

  ---- British, Flag of, 71.


  Carlaverock, Siege of, 32.

  Chandos, Sir John, made banneret, 31.

  China, Flag of, 116.

  Cochrane, Lord, 85, 86.

  Colours of British Army, 96.

  Colours of 24th Regiment, 96, 98.

  ---- of Foot Guards, 97.

  ---- of Cavalry, 101.

  ---- Presentation of new, 100.

  Columbus, his flag, 113.

  Commonwealth, Flag of, 56.

  Constantine, Standard of, 25.

  Consuls, Flags of, 71.

  Coronations, Banners borne at, 35.

  Covenanters, Flags of, 51, 52.

  Custodiers of Banners, 34.


  Danish Flag, 115.

  ---- Standards, 27.

  ---- Flag, 109.

  Deceiving enemy, Use of Flags in, 76.

  Douglas. See Earl Douglas, 47, 48, 49.

  Dragon--Standard of Romans and Dacians, 25.

  Dragon--Standard of Germany and England, 25.

  Dragoon Guards, Colours of, 101.

  Dutch Fleets, 70.


  Eagle, Roman, 21.

  ---- French, 108.

  Earl Douglas, his standard, 47, 48.

  Earl Marshall, his standard, 46.

  Earl Percy--love pledges, 48.

  Edward III., his banner, 34.

  ---- his standard, 37.

  Egyptian Standards, 13, 14, 15.

  Engineers, Royal--have no colours, 101.

  Ensign, The, 67.


  False Colours, when may be used, 83.

  Firing at Colours of a friendly nation, 90.

  Flag, waving, First introduction of, 26.

  Flag of Mutiny, 75.

  Flags, First forms of, 27.

  ---- Different kinds of, 28.

  ---- Hauling down enemy's, 86.

  ---- Usage, International, as to, 88.

  ---- of British army, 96.

  ---- of military authorities embarked in boats, 102.

  Flags, Special, 71.

  ---- of private persons, 102.

  Fleurs de lis of France in arms of England, 37.

  Flodden, Battle of, 46.

  Foreign Flags, 103.

  ---- ---- use of at home, 89.

  French Flags, 103.

  Funerals, Banners borne at, 35.


  George III., his standard, 41.

  Gonfanon, 28.

  Greece, Flag of, 116.

  Greeks, Standards of, 26.


  Hauling down enemy's colours, 86, 87.

  Hebrew Standards, 15.

  Henry II., his standard, 37.

  Henry VII., his personal standard, 38.

  Hopson, Admiral, 87.

  Hussars--have no colours, 101.


  India, Governor-general of, his flag, 71.

  International usage as to flags, 88.

  Ireland, National flag of, 54.

  ---- Lord-lieutenant of, his flag, 71.

  Isandlana, 11, 98.

  Italy, Flag of, 114.


  Jack, Union, 64.

  ---- pilot, 66.

  James I., his standard, 40.

  Japan, Flag of, 116.


  Knights Bannerets, 30.


  Labarum, Roman, 24.

  Lancers--have no colours, 101.

  Liberia, Flag of, 113.

  Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, his flag, 71.


  Marshall. See Earl Marshall, 46.

  Mary Stuart, Queen, her standard, 40.

  Moscow, Flags destroyed in Napoleon's retreat from, 117.

  Mourning, Flags signifying, 74.

  Mutiny, Flag hoisted in, 75.


  Napoleon I., Standard presented by to his guards, 107.

  National Flags, 54.

  Navarete, Battle of, 31.

  Norman Standards, 27.

  Norway, Peculiar form of Flag of, 115, 116.


  Otterbourne, Battle of, 47.


  Pacha, Standard of, 21.

  Parley, Signal for, 34.

  Parthians, Banners of, 25, 26.

  Paul Jones, his flag, 110.

  Pendant, The, 72.

  ---- Long, 73.

  ---- Broad, 73.

  Pennon, 28.

  Penny, Design of Union on, 63.

  Penoncel, 28.

  Percy. See Earl Percy, 48.

  Persian Standards, 20.

  Portugal, Flag of, 115.

  Private persons, Use of flags by, 102.

  Prussian Flag, 109.


  Quarantine, Flag of, 75.


  Rifle Brigade--has no colours, 101.

  Roman Standards, 21, 22.

  Royal Standard of England, 36, 40.

  ---- of Scotland, 38.

  Russian Flag, 109.


  Saxons, Standards of, 27.

  Scottish Arms, their precedence on Royal standard, 42.

  Sedan, Flags destroyed by French at, 117.

  Siam, Flag of, 116.

  Sickness, Flag intimating, 78.

  Signal Flags, 73.

  Spain, Flag of, 114.

  Special Flags, 71.

  Squadrons, Division of navy into, 68.

  Standard, Battle of, 28.

  Standard, The Royal, 36, 40.

  ---- ---- when hoisted in ships, 44.

  Standard-bearers, 17, 18.

  Standards, Ancient, 13.

  ---- of Egypt, 13-15.

  ---- of the Hebrews, 15.

  ---- of the Assyrians, 17, 19.

  ---- of Persians, 20.

  ---- of Turks, 20.

  ---- of Pachas, 21.

  ---- Roman, 21, 23, 24.

  ---- of Greeks, 26.

  ---- Parthian, 26.

  ---- of Danes, 27.

  ---- of Saxons, 27.

  ---- of Normans, 27.

  ---- suspended from trumpets, 35.

  ---- at coronations and funerals, 35.

  ---- Personal, of sovereigns, 38.

  ---- borne by Nobles, 44.

  ---- borne by Trades, 50.

  Supporters of Royal Arms, 43.

  Surrender, Signal of, at sea, 77, 81.

  ---- of a fortress, 34.

  Swedish-Norwegian Flag, 115.


  Trades, Standards borne by, 50.

  Truce, Flag of, 74.

  Trumpets, Banners suspended from, 35.

  Turkish Standards, 20.


  Union, Design of, on penny, 63.

  ---- Flag, The first, 55.

  ---- under Commonwealth, 56.

  ---- on Restoration, 56.

  ---- present form, 57.

  ---- Error in construction of, 58.

  ---- as it ought to be made, 62.

  ---- how and when displayed, 65, 66.

  ---- in Ensign, 68.

  ---- Jack, 64.

  United States Flag, 110.

  Usage, International, as to flags, 88.

  Uses of Flags in naval warfare, 75.


  Volunteer Regiments--have no colours, 102.


  Warwick, Earl of, his standard, 45.

  William III., his standard, 41.

  Wolf, on Roman Standard, 21.


  Yellow Flag, 75.

  ---- Successful use of, by Lord Cochrane, 85.

                           Transcriber Notes:

Passages in italics were indicated by _underscores_.

Small caps were replaced with ALL CAPS.

Throughout the document, the oe ligature was replaced with "oe".

Throughout the document, the superscripted letters are preceeded by a
carot. If there is only one superscripted letter it is placed directly
after the carot, and if there is more than one superscripted letter they
are enclosed by curly brackets. Thus, the word "y^e" represents a word
where the "y" is normal and the "e" is superscripted; and the word
"1^{st}" represents a word where the "1" is normal and the "st" is

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
paragraphs and so that they are next to the text they illustrate. Thus
the page number of the illustration might not match the page number in
the List of Illustrations, and the order of illustrations may not be the
same in the List of Illustrations and in the book.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected
unless otherwise noted.

On page 55, "Andrews" was replaced with "Andrew's".

On page 71, "top-gallantmast-head" was replaced with

On page 73, two instances of "top-gallantmast head" were replaced with

On page 96, "buntin" was replaced with "bunting".

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