Peerage of Themiclesia
The Peerage of Themiclesia is a system for organizing titles of nobility in Themiclesia. While the defining characteristic of a peer is participation in the House of Lords, most peers are not entitled to a seat. The Themiclesian nobility encompasses a broader set of titles of which the peerage is a subset.
Titular peers (倫侯, run-go) occupy the lower of two ranks in the peerage. Etymologically, the word run means "rank, parity", meaning the peer enjoyed the rank of a peer but did not possess a fief, the substance of a title. Titular peers are also called "demesne lords" (內侯, nubh-go), meaning that their titles were in demesne revenues.
Amongst titular lords, relative position is determined by the number of "households", revenues wherefrom standing in lieu of a geographic fief. There is no minimum or maximum number of households, though the smallest ever was 50, and the largest, 5,000. These were not real households, but the average household in terms of revenue, i.e. a lord of 50 households would receive the revenues of 50 average households. The entitlement was determined by the crown before the Peerage Act of 1847; this law provided an initial entitlement of 300 households, reduced by 50 for each succession, though not to decrease beyond 50. Holders of the title were called kljur (君) and had a monicker attached before it. In Tyrannian this is rendered as "Lord X", where X is the monicker of the peer.
Customarily, any civil servant who achieved Third Class in the civil service would be made a titular lord. As cabinet ministers were Third Class, they were also invested as soon as appointed. The title was inheritable, and the number of titular lords grew significantly during the long life of the current dynasty. The income provided by title was modest by most standards—an entitlement of 50 households enabled one to live a comfortable life, maintain a respectable residence, and retain a handful of servants, but not much besides, and entitlements over 500 households were uncommon.
The true privilege of the title came in positioning one's children in the civil service; the holder of the title could report to the Marshal of Peers (主爵中尉, tjo′-tsjakw-trjung-′judh) upon attaining the age of 30 for his initial appointment. While this entry was deemed less seemly than civic election by the gentry, it nevertheless produced a large quantity of successful administrators and politicians.
Ordinary peers (徹侯, r′jêt-go) rank higher than titular peers and receive a symbolic fief. The word r′jêt means "to separate", meaning that the holder had a fief that was "separate" from royal power.
Ordinary peers originally took income from a geographical area. Unlike Casaterran counterparts, Themiclesian peers did not have manorial power over their fiefs. Only the taxation revenues from the fief belonged to the peer, who was not permitted to interfere in its administration. Thus, they did not always lived at their fiefs and instead had the opportunity to participate in government. The size of the fief was decided by the crown until the Peerage Act of 1847. While they ranked higher than titular ones, their income was not necessarily greater. The smallest fief granted was the Nuk Hamlet in Kien-k'ang, which had only four houses on it, and largest fief granted in the modern period was Sngrak-lang County, which counted 13,220 households in its census.
Titular peers who render some significant service to the state could be expected to be promoted to an ordinary peer; military accomplishments motivated the majority of promotions. Generals were invariably made titular peers upon commission, as this invested him in the survival of Themiclesia, and could be made ordinary if he was successful. The prime minister was either an ordinary peer or made one as soon as he was appointed. Cabinet ministers who have performed well could also be made an ordinary peer at the end of their tenures. Whenever the emperor married his empress, the empress' father would be made an ordinary peers, and her brothers titulars.
Like titular peerages, ordinary ones can also be inherited and carried the same appointment privileges. Under the Peerage Act of 1847, which was passed in view of increasing government revenues, ordinary lords were granted the public land in their fiefs, which they would be responsible for running successfully.
Lords superior (特進侯, lek-tsjinh-go) are ordinary peers especially recognized by the court. Generally, a lord superior must have demonstrate qualities above what an ordinary peer are expected to hold to be granted this title. This does not always means exceptional services to the state but can be given for good character alone. While what good behaviour was varied from time to time, an ordinary peer who allowed his retainers to breach the law was ineligible. As the choice was made by the court, peers who did not interfere with local government or made too many enemies were more likely to be given this honour. As a mark of this advancement, lords superior were permitted to have an extra mattress when they sat in waiting to the emperor (four, above the three customarily given to peers).
Peers may be palatine, i.e. part of one of the four palatines states. For all intents and purposes, they are exactly the same to non-palatine peers.
House of Lords
In the tulmult leading up to the Reform Bill of 1845, which established the House of Lords, Conservative magnates sought to retain a check on the legislative process as considerable portions of their supporters defected to the Reformist movement. In 1844, there were 89 ordinary peers and 578 titular peers, who together would be too many to form a legislative chamber, and thus only ordinary peers received an automatic seat. Originally, it was proposed that the titular peers could hold elections amongst themselves, but the distribution of seats between the two peerages was contentious. Additionally, many titular peers did not wish to be excluded from the new House of Commons, and they correctly predicted that their titles were great advantages in elections for at least a few decades since 1845.
Abolition of fiefs
The most important of peerage reform laws in the 19th century is the Peerage Act of 1847, passed by the inaugural Liberal government. Formerly, each oridnary peer would have enjoyed a heritable fief, taxes whence becoming their income. Through the period of consolidation in the 9th century, peers' income was decreased to half then to an eighth of revenues, higher entitlements possible from royal grace.
Liberal thinkers in the 19th century believed this was a form of feudalism that, amongst other ill effects, reflected poorly on the country; moreover, in the 18th century, many peers used this automatic source of income to bribe civil servants and interfered in commerce. On a platform guaranteeing their income, a portion of the commons and crown lands in each fief was granted to replace his share in the local revenue. On the one hand, peers were enthusiastic to receive a parcel of land that they could privately run, rather than passively receiving revenues; on the other, this allowed for a saving in appointing household officials to peers, which was a façade of feudal tenure. New peers would receive public lands until the Peerage Act of 1874, by which point commons have largely disappeared: it was the dogma of the Liberals that the state had no interest in land, which should be given to potential entrepreneures.
Previously, a fief would also be renamed from a county or (in rarer cases) prefecture to state (邦, prong) to reflect its nominal status as alienated land. By the Act of 1847, their land would remain counties and prefectures. However, existing places called "states" retained this designation, though their administration is in all wise similar to counties or prefectures. Note that a peer's prong is not to be conflated with the palatine states or ethnic states in the east.
By tradition, a peer may not be arrested or tried without the assent of the monarch. He usually decided this with the advice of the Marshal of Peers. Additionally, assault or libel against peers was severely punished, as offences against social order. By the House of Lords Act of 1844, the power to arrest, detain, and try peers was vested in the House of Lords exclusively. The Penal Code of 1853, which abolished capital punishment, ended public prosecution of those who offended peers, though they still retained the right to launch private prosecutions. The Judicial Privilege Act of 1875 mandated peers to allow recovery of damages when sued by a commoner, though he may not be called as a witness or arrested for trial.
After the establishment of the House of Lords, peers obtained additional protection when Parliament was sitting. This was modelled on Casaterran parliamentary prerogatives against executive interferece and was separate from traditional immunities.
In the Civil and Military Service Segregation Act of 1915, peers and their families lost the privilege to obtain positions in the civil service. Since the Act also created the Consolidated Army, the sale of commissions was also terminated. While the law was momentous in its wording, its effects had been emergent for several decades.
Trial and degradation
While peers and princes may only be tried by the House of Lords after its establishment in 1845, peers have been deprived of their titles for crimes for many centuries. Generally, it is held that a peer must be clear of all criminal activity, and conviction of any crime was sufficient to deprive his title. The same can occur for princes, though their punishment was usually degradation to a peer for the first offence. In periods when governments sought income, even domestic scandals and other minor excuses were used to deprive titles. The average title in Themiclesia lasts around three to four generations before it is deprived for whatever reason. As princes and peers led households of considerable size, it was comparatively easy for them to be implicated in a crime, which need be committed by themselves personnally; their titles may be cancelled as long as they were involved in some way or failed to report it.
Forms of address
By convention, a titular peerage is rendered into Tyrannian as Lord/Lady X, where X is the title chosen by the peer. An ordinary peer is rendered as the Lord/Baronness of Y, where Y is the place that is alienated symbolically to that peer. It should be emphasized that ordinary peers use the definite article "the" before their titles, while titular peers usually do not, and that an ordinary peeress has the title "baronness" rather than "lady". Themiclesian peers also add, by custom, the prefix "the honourable" before their titles in Tyrannian.
Major elevations to peerage
There have been two elevations en masse to the peerage in the 20th century, in consequence of major events.
The March Peerage occurred on Mar. 10, 1936 to overcome the House of Lords' opposition to conscription, which the Government deemed necessary to fend off an impending invasion by Menghe but the Conservatives of the upper house believed was better addressed by diplomacy. 40 peers were created overnight, on March 10, from former Liberal MPs while Parliament was in session, and took their seats the following day. The Conservatives in the House of Commons neither supported nor opposed their party members in the other house, as the Commons Conservatives leader had reached a resolution with the Liberals to form a national-unity government in the lower house.
The Victory Peerage occurred on Jul. 1, 1952 for Themiclesia's wartime leaders in the Ministry or the Civil Service, on the eve of the 1952 general election, which the Conservatives were clearly losing. 21 peers were created on that day, as follows:
- Lram Long, Prime Minister, created the Lord of Ghor-ljang
- Brok-sui Tin, Foreign Secretary, created the Lord of Sarh
- Lord L′a′, Home Secretary, created the Lord of Sak-brjanh
- Lord Man, Secretary of State for Transport, created the Lord of Rui-rjum
- Nar Tok, Secretary of State for War, created the Lord of Brit-bong
- Pei-hi Ron, Secretary of State for Air, created the Lord of Tor-ngwadh
- Lord Kugh, Secretary to the Cabinet (civil servant), created the Lord of Grêgh
- Ham-lu Tip, Secretary to the Cabinet (civil servant), created the Lord of Bjonh