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Vol II File 25: The Paternal Ancestry of Homer Beers James

39. Vere Line (Earls of Oxford)

Ref: Wurts, pp. 127-132.

Ref: Burke, pp. 549-550.

Ref: Cokayne, Vol. X., pp 193-219.

"The noblest subject in England, and indeed, as Englishmen loved to say, the noblest subject in Europe, was Aubrey de Vere, twentieth and last of the old Earls of Oxford. He derived his title through an uninterrupted male descent, from a time when the families of Howard and Seymour were still obscure, when the Nevills and the Percys enjoyed only a provincial celebrity, and when even the great name of Plantaganet had not yet been heard in England. One chief of the house of De Vere had held the high command at Hastings; another had marched, with Godfrey and Tancred, over heaps of slaughtered Moslems, to the sepulchre of Christ. The first Earl of Oxford had been minister of King Henry Beauclerc. The third earl had been conspicuous among the lords who extorted the great charter from King John. The seventh earl had fought bravely at Cressy and Poietiers. The thirteenth earl had, through many vicissitudes of fortune, been the chief of the party of the Red Rose, and had led the van on the decisive day of Bosworth. The seventeenth earl had shone at the court of Queen Elizabeth, and had won for himself an honorable place among the early masters of English poetry. The nineteenth earl had fallen in arms for the Protestant religion, and for the liberties of Europe, under the walls of Maestricht. His son, Aubrey, in whom closed the longest and most illustrious line of nobles that England has seen, a man of loose morals, was lord-lieutenant of Essex and colonel of the Blues." To these remarks, Burke in his Vicissitudes of Families, ventured thus to refer:--

"Such is Macaulay's glowing and eloquent eulogium on the De Veres--so eloquent, in deed, that one regrets that the panegyric is somewhat exaggerated, and scarcely consistent with recorded fact. The line of the Earls of Oxford was certainly the longest, but as certainly, not the most illustrious that England had seen. In personal achievement and historical importance the De Veres can bear no comparison with the Talbots, the Howards, the Nevills, the Percys, or the Scropes; in antiquity of descent, the Courtenays, the De Bohuns, and the Beauchamps were in all respects their equals, and in splendor of alliances, many a less distinguished family far surpassed them. There was scarcely one of our grand old houses of the times of the Henrys and the Edwards that had not more royal blood. Nevertheless, I must freely admit, although I cannot subscribe to the pre-eminence Macaulay assigns, that this famous house, if inferior to any, was only so in the very first, to the most historic and to the most illustrious of our ancient nobility."

40. (Ware or Wayer) Line (Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk)

Ref: Burke, pg. 571.

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