H.L. Mencken (18801956). The American Language. 1921.
members of Parliament, though each is, in debate, an hon. gentleman. Even a member of the cabinet is not an Hon., though he is a Right Hon. by virtue of membership in the Privy Council, of which the Cabinet is legally merely a committee. This last honorific belongs, not only to privy councillors, but also to all peers lower than marquesses (those above are Most Hon.), to Lord Mayors during their terms of office, to the Lord Advocate and to the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Moreover, a peeress whose husband is a Right Hon. is a Right Hon. herself.
The British colonies follow the jealous usage of the mother-country. Even in Canada the lawless American example is not imitated. I have before me a Table of Titles to be Used in Canada, laid down by royal warrant, which lists those who are Hons. and those who are not Hons. in the utmost detail. Only privy councillors of Canada (not to be confused with imperial privy councillors) are permitted to retain the prefix after going out of office, though ancients who were legislative councillors at the time of the union, July 1, 1867, may still use it by a sort of courtesy, and former speakers of the Dominion Senate and House of Commons and various retired judges may do so on application to the King, countersigned by the governor-general. The following are lawfully the Hon., but only during their tenure of office: the solicitor-general, the speaker of the House of Commons, the presidents and speakers of the provincial legislatures, members of the executive councils of the provinces, the chief justice, the judges of the Supreme Courts of Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Alberta, the judges of the Courts of Appeal of Manitoba and British Columbia, the Chancery Court of Prince Edward Island, and the Circuit Court of Montrealthese, and no more. A lieutenant-governor of a province is not the Hon., but His Honor. The governor-general is His Excellency, and so is his wife, but in practise they usually have superior honorifics, and do not forget to demand their use.
But though an Englishman, and, following him, a colonial, is thus very careful to restrict the Hon. to its proper uses, he always insists, when he serves without pay as an officer of any organization, upon indicating his volunteer character by writing Hon. meaning