London: volume 2
XXXIX.--The Tower, No. 2 (Continued from No. XXXVIII,) The Palace.
XXXIX.--The Tower, No. 2 (Continued from No. XXXVIII,) The Palace.
Great was the joy, magnificent the preparations at the Tower, that ushered in the morning of the -the day for the coronation procession of the restored Charles II. At an early hour the King came thither by water from , attended by a crowd of nobles and gentlemen, among whom many a proud spirit dwelt with secret exultation in the realization of its long-cherished hopes of the
and many a youthful heart beat fast with expectation as he thought of the event, more important to him than the coronation itself, of which it was but of the incidental splendours-his installation as a Knight of the Bath. And, we may conclude, the King must have satisfied all reasonable expectations of this nature raised by the event, for he created in honour of the occasion no less than peers and Knights of the Bath! The City also had its preparations for the day. triumphal arches
| were erected in different parts- representative of the King's landing at Dover, and the others of the consequences that were expected to flow therefrom, namely, Commerce, Concord, Plenty. As the hour for the procession drew nigh, the inhabitants of the houses from to the Abbey hung out their richest tapestry from the windows, and the livery companies lined the streets with their banners and bands of music. A cry of |
is at last heard, and amidst a fresh burst of enthusiasm on the part of the bearers of those silken streamers waved so lustily to and fro, and of the musicians who din the ear with their countless instruments, the procession is beheld winding its slow length along. There are the law and other officers of the Crown, with the venerable-looking Judges; the newly created Knights of the Bath, clad in red mantles and surcoats, lined and edged with white silk, and trimmed with white silk strings, and buttons and tassels of red silk and gold;--these, with their ostrich plumes swaying gracefully to and fro at every motion of the wearers, make a gallant show;then come the great officers of the royal household, the sons of peers, peers attended by gaily emblazoned heralds, and officers at arms, the Lord Chancellor (Clarendon), the Lord Chamberlain, Garter King of Arms, the Lord Mayor, &c. Shouts of
now announce the approach of the chief actor in the ceremony, who is seen surrounded by his equerries and footmen, preceded at some little distance by his brother, the Duke of York, and followed by the man to whom Charles was indebted for the Crown he was about to receive, Monk, Duke of Albemarle. Gentlemen, pensioners, and soldiers, horse and foot, occupied the remainder of the procession, which astonished every with its magnificence.
writes a contemporary, and we presume eye-witness,
If Master Heath, the chronicler, could have looked but a very little way forward into the future, he would have said less about
but to his eyes, as to the eyes of a vast majority of the spectators, that future seemed a sunshine too dazzling to be curiously peered into, so they contented themselves with gazing upon the pageant as its visible type, and enjoyed the magnificence accordingly. And were it only from consideration of the old memories of the Tower, it was peculiarly fitting that the day should be thus solemnized with more than ordinary splendour, for it was the the Tower was ever to see. With that day its palatial character may be said to have ceased.
For nearly years prior to this period had the Tower been a place of kingly residence, and for the best of reasons during a considerable portion of
| that time, namely, its safety. A motive of this kind it was that brought the English monarch who made the Tower his palace within the walls of the then almost impregnable fortress. In , we are told, Stephen, whilst his affairs were in a very unpromising state, came hither with a slender retinue, and during the feast of Whitsuntide held his Court in the Tower halls. John was also a frequent resident; and, after his death, Prince Lewis of France stayed some short time, prior to his renunciation of all right of sovereignty in England, and his return to his native country. The youthful king, Henry III., spent a considerable portion of the years of his minority in the Tower, and gave it a kind of celebrity for the performance with great pomp of religious festivals. These were, no doubt, expensive affairs; and perhaps rather severely taxed the kingly resources. When Henry kept his Court in the Tower during Lent in , he had to borrow of Pandulph, the Pope's legate, and of |
for the necessary use of his household. In this, as in the preceding reign, the growing dissensions between the nobles and the monarch caused the Tower to be besieged; but such matters will be more appropriately noticed in our account of the Tower as a fortress and arsenal. During these troubles, Henry, in the year , summoned a great council or parliament to meet him in May within the Tower; but such was the opinion his subjects had of his good faith, that the Barons unanimously refused to assemble in any such place; the King was accordingly compelled to return to and meet them there as usual. In the subsequent years of Henry's reign we find the King frequently retreating to the Tower for safety, till his son's success at the battle of Evesham annihilated the opposing party. It is in connexion with this reign that we find the mention of the Chapel in the White Tower, forming at this day perhaps the most perfect Norman remain in the kingdom.
The White Tower is a large massive quadrangular edifice, occupying a central space in the great area of the Tower of about feet north and south, and east and west. Turret towers at the corners (that at the north-east formerly used by Flamsteed as an observatory), a circular projection rising to the summit of the building ( feet) on the southern part of the eastern wall, tall blank Norman arches, and low Norman windows, complete the essential features of the exterior; though, we must add, there are on the south and west sides low ranges of attached building, forming the horse armoury, the other a guard-house. The interior is divided into stories including the vaults, connected by stairs in the spacious circular turret at the north-eastern angle. The floor consists of large apartments, and small, with a semicircular end, and a plain vaulted roof, which is interesting from its evident antiquity. These were formerly prisons, and in that view we shall have occasion again to return to them. On the story are other large rooms, used, like the , as armouries, or for the deposit of ordnance stores, and the Chapel, which, rising to the roof of the Tower, contracts the story to apartments corresponding in size and position to those in each of the stories below. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Chapel to who like ourselves has seen the Choir of St. Bartholomew's Priory, Smithfield (the present parish church), is its striking resemblance in shape and style to that fine edifice. It wants the size, and partially therefore the grandeur, of St. Bartholomew's; it wants also the
|peculiar beauty of form which some of the arches of the latter present; but there are the long-continued aisle and the circular altar end. On the other hand, whilst St. Bartholomew has undergone many and most injurious alterations, this is genuine, unaltered, and, it is pleasant to add, unalterable Norman in every part. From various rolls quoted by Mr. Bayley, it appears service was regularly performed here during the reign of Henry III. by a chaplain who received a yearly stipend of .|
An interesting memory of Henry III.'s son and successor, Edward I., in connexion with the palace, has been preserved by the famous alchymist of that day, Raymond Lully, who visited England at Edward's express request. The alchymist states, in of his works, that in the secret chamber of St. Katherine, in the , he performed in the royal presence the experiment of transmuting some crystal into a mass of diamond, or adamant as he calls it, of which he says the King made little pillars for the tabernacle of God. The popular belief went so far as to credit the rumour that Lully had by means of his art furnished Edward with a large quantity of gold to defray the expense of a projected expedition to the Holy Land. What with his Welsh and Scottish expeditions, Edward had little time for rest anywhere, and the Tower appears to have enjoyed a small share of his presence. The effeminate Edward II. also seldom visited the Tower, except when he sought shelter within its walls; although his Queen here gave birth to her eldest daughter, called from that circumstance Jane of the Tower. On the deposition and murder of the King, his son, the Edward, was here for some time kept carefully secluded from public affairs, by his mother, Isabel, and her coadjutor, Mortimer; but they
| found to their cost that the spirit of the conqueror of Wallace was alive again in the person of his grandson; Mortimer was suddenly arrested at Nottingham in , and from thence conveyed to the Tower gallows, to taste the bitterness of the death he had dealt out to his late monarch. During the years - Edward resided principally at the Tower, busying himself in the preparations for his intended expedition to France. Never did the day-dream of French sovereignty, which was so constantly before the eyes of our early Kings, seem more bright or full of promise than now; and certainly never was there a better chance of success had success been possible, for almost every man of that brilliant court, from Edward himself, and his son, the Black Prince, downwards, was a man of mark anlikelihood, if not of positive reputation in the annals of war and chivalry. The long list of illustrious prisoners who during this reign were pouring continually into the Tower, including the Kings both of France and Scotland, is a sufficient attestation of their military excellence. Edward died at Richmond in , and his grandson, Richard II., soon after removed from to the Tower to prepare for his coronation, which took place on the in the same year. The procession, which now began to be an essential part of every coronation, appears to have taken place the day before; when the Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen, and a large body of citizens and others, assembled on , and the young sovereign, clad in white robes, rode forth, attended by a multitude of nobles, knights, and esquires. The streets were gaily decorated with floating draperies, the conduits flowed with wine, and at the principal thoroughfares the procession was delayed to witness the exhibition of pageants. A single specimen may suffice to give some idea of their character. In was stationed a castle with towers, from which, on sides, |
[n.221.1] On Richard's nearer approach the damsels took cups of gold, filled them with wine from the flowing spouts, and presented them to the King and the chief nobles. These interruptions, however agreeable in themselves, must have made the procession a slow, almost a tedious affair; which, with the coronation on the following day, so severely taxed the strength of the youthful Richard, that when all was over he was completely exhausted, and his attendants had to convey him in a litter to his apartment. Like most of his predecessors, Richard spent little of his time in the Tower, except in cases of necessity, which during his troubled reign occurred but too often, and left him little leisure for the gaieties and splendours of a court. But in , Charles VI. of France having, on his marriage, given a magnificent fate, Richard ordered a tournament to be held in London, which was proclaimed through France and Germany--a challenge to all comers being offered by the English. Many foreigners of distinction accordingly came over, an- became the King's guests in the Tower during the continuance of the festivities. On the day appointed, the Sunday after Michaelmas ,
| the Tower gates flew open, and displayed to the eager eyes of the countless thousands assembled a cavalcade of peculiar character and extraordinary magnificence issuing forth. There came, |
The English challengers, in number, had their armour and apparel garnished with white hearts and their necks with crowns of gold. On Richard's marriage, in , the young Queen Isabel also went in great pomp from the Tower to the Palace at prior to her coronation. Events of a very different nature now absorbed the unfortunate King's attention. We have said in our description of the White Tower that the or upper story is occupied by large apartments: their aspect is as remarkable as the events which have distinguished them. Let the reader imagine a room of the largest proportions-length, breadth, and height-supported by rows of beams, the ceiling flat, of timber, the walls pierced with windows on the side and arches on the other; the whole of the plainest, we might almost say rudest construction, yet grandlooking withal,--and he will have some idea of the Council Chamber of the White Tower, the room in which some of the most important events of our history have taken place. Here it was that on Monday, the , being the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, sat, in evident anticipation of some scene of more than ordinary moment, a deputation from each House of Parliament, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Earl of Northumberland, and many other distinguished persons. Scarcely months had passed, and Bolingbroke, who had then landed at Ravenspur, was already looked upon as king, and a formal application made to Richard requiring his resignation. When such applications can be safely made they can seldom be safely refused. Richard did not refuse, but desired previously a conference with his aspiring rival and the Archbishop of Canterbury; that conference was now being held, and the assembled personages anxiously awaited its termination. At length Richard came forth, clad in his kingly robes, the sceptre in his hand, the crown upon his head, and said aloud,
he delivered it to the Duke, who took it.
Well may the unhappy monarch ask, in addition-
The Earl of Rutland's attempt soon after to replace the crown on Richard's head was followed by Richard's death at Pontefract Castle. In the mean time Henry had been crowned, and, as might have been expected from the circumstances, with all possible pomp. Knights of the Bath were created, and the King, attended by Prince Henry his son (the hero of Agincourt), Dukes, Earls, eighteen Barons, and Knights and Esquires, rode on a white courser, bare headed, all the way from the Tower to , wearing a short coat of cloth of gold, with the garter on his left leg, and the livery of France about his neck. There was circumstance attending the coronation which must have greatly enhanced its gratification to Bolingbroke--it was the anniversary of the day on which Richard had sent him into exile.
During this and the subsequent reigns there is nothing requiring notice in connexion with the Tower as a palace; neither Henry IV. nor his son were often in it, and the coronation procession of the latter presented no peculiar features. With the reign of the Henry its interest again revives. That monarch was often in the Tower, sometimes as king, sometimes as prisoner-such were the alternations of his fortune and the troublous character of the times. The end was to be in too complete accordance with the rest. The battle of Barnet, in , finally annihilated his power; he returned to the Tower, Edward IV. entered London in triumph on the , and the next day it was whispered abroad that Henry was dead! Shakspere's version of the affair is too well known to be repeated; it is in all probability the true . During the preceding and following years of Edward's reign the Tower was more used as a kingly palace than perhaps it had ever before been. That monarch kept his court there with great splendour on more than occasion, and in addition to his own coronation procession there was that of his Queen, Lady Elizabeth Gray. The death of Edward IV. and the accession of his youthful son bring us to events of such interest and importance, that the very mention of the Tower recals their mysterious history to our minds; though for that, as for many other historical reminiscences, we must attribute no small portion of the popular knowledge to the great popular Poet! Richard III.-the Princes--the Tower--have indeed become household words. or weeks after his father's death the young Edward entered London, the Duke riding before him calling upon the
| people to behold their King; the coronation-day was also fixed, and young gentlemen of family received letters requiring their attendance in the Tower, days before the ceremony preparatory to their creation as Knights of the Bath. A few days pass on, and a council is sitting in that same memorable chamber before described--the Duke as Protector, the Duke of Buckingham, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Ely, Lords Stanley and Hastings being of the number. So agreeable is the tone of the meeting, that the Duke in the exuberance of his spirits relieves the dulness of the business by complimenting the Bishop of Ely on the excellent strawberries he has noticed in his garden, and even requests a mess of them. The gratified Bishop immediately sends a servant to Ely Place for some of the fruit. Suddenly a cry of |
is heard in the adjoining apartment; Gloucester rushes to the door, where he is met by a party of armed men, who at his command arrest all present except the Duke of Buckingham; and before the astonished nobles have well recovered from their surprise, they behold, from the windows of their prison, Lord Hastings beheaded on the green in front of Chapel; and when they are released, about weeks later, it is to join in the coronation procession of Richard III., and, strange to say, the number of nobles and other persons of rank and distinction present on the occasion was so great as to give a marked character to it; and still stranger, there is proof on record that the young Edward himself was intended to have been present. In the wardrobe accounts for is an entry respecting
It is not at all difficult to discover why the young
did not share in the ceremony; his appearance would have excited too many speculations and remarks to be at all agreeable or even safe to his crafty uncle; the wonder is, that the idea should ever have been raised. Subsequent events in connexion with the fate of the Princes have been matter of much controversy; but really, after all, there appears no solid reason to distrust Sir Thomas More's statement, who wrote only -and- years after their occurrence, when a variety of sources, that he might not be able to acknowledge publicly, were open to him for the acquisition of materials: the Chancellor's character, at all events, ought to free him from any suspicion of giving currency to . His account is as follows :--
This man was seen .and tempted, and the result was that he
We quit these melancholy but romantic details with the observation that the stranger who now visits the Chapel of the White Tower will see, at the end of the passage which leads from the outer door to the foot of the circular staircase winding upwards to the sacred edifice, the old trunk of a mulberry-tree reared against the wall in the corner. The passage is formed on side by the outer wall of the Tower, and on the other by a modern erection; originally the stairs here were open to the air, and formed the outer entrance. Beneath these stairs, in , were found bones of a proportion
which were accordingly, by Charles II.'s orders, honourably interred in Henry VII.'s Chapel at . The spot was marked by the erection of the mulberry-tree referred to, which was cut down a few years ago, when the present passage was enclosed.
The battle of Bosworth Field and the death of Richard took place in , and in October following Henry was crowned, with the usual procession and splendour. His union with Elizabeth, involving, as far as the nation was concerned, a much more important union, that of the rival houses which had so long deluged England with fratricidal blood, led to another queenly coronation, although Henry delayed that ceremony so long as to excite, in connexion with other evidences of his conduct towards her, a pretty general disgust among his subjects. Moved at last by considerations of this nature, he fixed for the day the . days before, the Queen came by water from Greenwich, attended by the Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen, and many citizens, chosen some from each craft, wearing their liveries, in barges
of the barges, called the Bachelor's, contained
Henry received her at the Tower, and conducted
| her to the royal apartments, where their majesties |
for all the Court. On the morrow, after dinner, the Queen was
This was indeed a figure worthy to be the central object of the rich picture presented by the pageant which conducted her to , in a litter hung with cloth of gold of damask, and having large pillows of down covered with the same material. The whole ceremony appears to have been conducted in a fine poetical spirit: thus, in many parts of the City, instead of the usual absurd conceits meeting her eye, she was welcomed by fair children arrayed in angelic costume, singing sweet songs as she passed. Another festive period marks the history of the Palace-Tower in this reign, on the occasion of the marriage of Henry's son, Prince Arthur, to Katherine, daughter of the King of Spain, when a splendid tournament was held here. years later, the Queen, who was a frequent but generally solitary resident, died in the Tower a few days after giving birth to a daughter, who did not long survive her.
The accession of a young king, and that king the tasteful, magnificent-minded Henry, for such he was in the few years of his rule, gave the Tower a new period of splendour; and subsequent events, indeed, promised to make coronation processions become almost as frequent, and to be almost as much looked for, as those which still annually regale the eyes of the citizens of London. But after ceremonies of the kind, the being prior to his own and Katherine of Arragon's coronation, and the next prior to that of Anne Boleyn, Henry began to find such displays very expensive, and, having no doubt a prudent misgiving as to the limits of the number of opportunities that the future might afford, at once stopped short. Jane Seymour and her successors accordingly remained uncrowned, so far as the ceremony was concerned. With the exception of the visit of the French nobles after the conference of Guysnes and Arde, who were brought from Greenwich to the Tower in the royal barge, by the Earls of Essex and Derby, and there sumptuously feasted, we find little matter for observation during Henry's reign; who does not appear latterly to have been a very frequent visitor. Little susceptible to any sense of decency or remorse as he lived to show himself, the sight of the spot where Anne Boleyn, the mother of of his children, had perished on the scaffold, innocent in all probability of any real crime, except that of standing betwixt him and the gratification of his reckless passions, could scarcely be agreeable even to the callous King. He died in , and his son, Edward VI., was immediately conducted from Hatfield to the Tower, where he resided until the day preceding his coronation.
Lady Jane Grey's sovereignty, if sovereignty it may be called, was too brief even for the performance of the coronation ceremonies; so we pass on to those of Mary, the Queen of England crowned in her own right. With pious and sisterly affection, Mary delayed that ceremony till her brother's funeral, who was buried in Henry VII.'s Chapel, , according to the forms of the Protestant Church, Mary contenting herself for the present by the very significant
| intimation of her religious views exhibited in the performance of , to celebrate the exequies of her brother, in the Tower Chapel. During this period, and whilst the preparations for her coronation were in progress, Mary held her court in the Tower, formed her council, and prepared her measures for the subversion of the new faith. The coronation procession took place on the . The Queen rode in a chariot covered with cloth of gold, and after her, in another chariot, Henry's wife, Anne of Cleves, who, not having enjoyed the luxury of a coronation in her own case, seemed by her smiling face quite contented to enjoy it now in another's. A circlet of gold beset with precious stones had been provided for the Queen, which during the ceremony proved so massy and ponderous, that she was fain to bear up her head with her hand; this same crown her sister Elizabeth carried in the procession, and complained to Noailles, as we have elsewhere noticed, of its weight. |
was the adroit answer;
The Princess had little reason to be impatient, for years only elapsed before she found herself again passing along through that line of crowded streets, herself the
and, as she was sure to have remarked, the object of a more heartfelt welcome than had been accorded to her sister. All that ingenuity or wealth could do in the preparation of stately pageants, sumptuous shows, and cunning devices, was done; the figures of the Queen's ancestors, including, with a delightful forgetfulness of the past, Henry and Anne Boleyn (her mother) walking most affectionately together, were represented on stages at the street corners-prophecies and poems were showered upon her; here Time led forth his daughter Truth, who presented a Bible to her Majesty, which she took, reverently pressing it to her bosom; there Gog and Magog, having left for , spread before her eyes a tablet of Latin verse, expounding the mysteries hidden beneath the recondite pageants she had beheld. But the day had its pleasanter, because more genuine, evidence of the popular joy, which for once proved to be well founded. Holinshed deserves our gratitude for recording the following charming passage :--
Better feelings, and higher thoughts too, than gratified vanity could originate, were evidently at work in Elizabeth's mind:
said she at part of her progress,
nor did her reign on the whole belie this earnest and solemn promise.
With the solitary attempt at revival of the old custom on Charles II.'s accession, already described, the Palace History may be said to close with the reign of James I., who
we are told, from the Tower to , that he might not altogether disappoint the people; but no proper procession took place, on account of the plague. We have already alluded to the passion of this King for the royal lions; and we therefore at once proceed to describe the foundation and progress of the Tower Menagerie.
Henry III., receiving a present of leopards from the Emperor Frederick, in allusion to his shield of arms, which bore of these animals, placed them in the Tower, and subsequently added a white bear, for which the sheriffs of
| London were ordered to provide a muzzle and an iron chain to secure him when out of the water, and a long and stout cord to hold him when
In the same reign, to the great wonder of the people, who actually came up from different parts of the country to see him, an elephant was added to the collection. In the time of Edward II. we find that there was also a lion in the Tower, for which the sheriffs of London had to provide daily a quarter of mutton. It has been well observed that, whilst about this time we find records of different orders being given to pay sixpence a day for the maintenance of this animal, several esquires, prisoners, were at the same time to be allowed just penny per day each. By the reign of Henry VI. the office of keeper had become of consideration, and persons of family alone seem to have been nominated. It may be interesting to know the price of a lion years ago; we quote therefore the following item from Henry VIII.'s privy purse expenses, :-- |
It was not merely to see the beasts that James I. so frequently visited them; a barbarous sport, attempted (happily in vain) to be revived in our own time,the baiting of the lion with dogs,--was frequently got up for his recreation. In , after a little preliminary amusement, such as watching the lion and lioness kill and suck the blood of a cock, mastiffs were let loose upon a lion, and a terrible battle ensued. On another occasion of the fiercest dogs in the bear-garden were put after the other to a lion; but we have neither space nor desire for the repetition of the sickening details. in , the King, Queen, and Prince Henry being present, a great bear, which had killed a child, negligently left in the bear-house, was put in succession to the fiercest lions in the Tower, but none of them would fight their grizzly antagonist. The
| spectators' appetite for blood was however to be in some way gratified; so a fortnight afterwards the King ordered the bear to be baited to death upon a stage, and the mother of the dead child received from the profits of the exhibition. At the beginning of the present century the Menagerie had dwindled away to a few straggling beasts and birds; but on the appointment of a new keeper, Mr. Cops, in , the collection quickly grew again into repute. The beautiful work, called the |
is a happy evidence of the zeal and taste of this gentleman, as well as of the value of the Menagerie prior to its final removal a few years since .o the .
and only visible evidence of the palatial splendours of the Tower in times past now remains within its walls,--the Regalia. The small tower in which the jewels have been kept for nearly the last centuries stands at the north-eastern angle of the great area, close by the large pile of building recently destroyed by the fire; during which they were hastily removed to a safer part. The express mention of the jewels being kept here occurs in the Henry's reign, when, on that monarch's return from France, he commanded the Bishop of Carlisle to replace them in the Tower as they were before. Seldom, however, did they remain there for any length of time. Once they were pledged by Henry III. to certain merchants of Paris, another time by Edward III., to the merchants of Flanders, and again, soon after the accession of Richard II., to those of London, during which period they were deposited in the hands of the Bishop of London and the Earl of Arundel. Henry VI. also pledged to his rich uncle, Cardinal Beaufort, as security for , an immense quantity of such valuables, the mere enumeration of which occupies above pages of Mr. Bayley's history; and which were all to become the absolute property of Beaufort if the borrowed money were not repaid by the feast of Easter, . An inventory of the jewels in the Tower, made by order of James I., and given in the same work, is of still greater length; although Henry VIII., during the Lincolnshire rebellion in , must have somewhat reduced the value and number of the contents; for he then ordered his minister Cromwell to go to the Jewel House and take therefrom as much plate as he thought could possibly be spared, and coin it immediately into money.
Of the present state of the Regalia our space will allow us only to give a short account. There are crowns, known respectively as St. Edward's (so called from its having been made at Charles II.'s coronation to replace the previous crown, which the Confessor was supposed to have worn), the Crown of Stat the Queen's circlet of gold, the Queen's crown, and the Queen's rich crown. Of these, the and the are the proper coronation crowns. The crown of state is remarkable for having jewels, each of almost inestimable value, a ruby, a pearl, considered the finest in the world, and an emerald inches round. The other chief treasures are the Orb, an emblem of universal authority borrowed from the Roman Emperors, which is held by the monarch during the act of coronation; the Ampula, or Eagle of Gold, containing the anointing oil; the Curtana, or Sword of Mercy, borne naked before the sovereign during the coronation procession into the Abbey, between the Swords of Justice, Spiritual and Temporal (what a significant type of ideas now happily fast disappearing from among us is that Spiritual Sword!); St. Edward's Staff, also
| carried before the sovereign in the procession,--a sceptre of gold feet inches and a half long, with a small foot of steel, and a mound and cross at top; other sceptres of gold and precious stones, of which was discovered in , behind some old wainscoting in the Jewel House; the Queen's Ivory Rod; another short sceptre of ivory and gold, made for James II.'s Queen; Bracelets, or armillae, worn on the wrists during the coronation; royal spurs, salt-cellar, &c. It was not until the reign of Charles II. that the Regalia was allowed to be publicly exhibited. The office up to that time had been of honour and emolument; thus, for instance, in the reign of Henry VIII., the great minister, Cromwell, was the |
In Charles's reign, some reductions being made in the emoluments, on the appointment of Sir Gilbert Talbot as Master, the exhibition of the jewels was permitted in compensation; Sir Gilbert giving the receipts, by way of salary, to an old and confidential servant, who had the care of them, Talbot Edwards--a name familiar to most readers in connexion with Colonel Blood's daring attempt to steal the crown in . Although often told, the story will still bear repetition; and, indeed, cannot be well omitted from any account of the Tower, however brief.
Thomas Blood was a native of Ireland, and is supposed to have been born in . In his year he married the daughter of a gentleman of Lancashire; then returned to his native country, and, having served there as lieutenant in the Parliamentary forces, received a grant of land instead of pay, and was by Henry Cromwell placed in the commission of the peace. On the Restoration, the Act of Settlement in Ireland, which affected Blood's fortune, made him at once discontented and desperate. He signalized himself by his conduct during an insurrection set on foot to surprise Dublin Castle, and seize the Duke of Ormond, the Lord Lieutenant. This insurrection he joined and ultimately became the leader of; but it was discovered on the very eve of execution, and prevented. Blood escaped the fate of some of his chief associates, the gallows, by concealing himself for a time among the native Irish in the mountains, and ultimately by escaping to Holland, where he is said to have been favourably received by Admiral Ruyter. We next find him engaged with the Covenanters in the rebellion in Scotland in , when, being once more on the side of the losing party, he saved his life only by similar means. Thenceforward Colonel Blood appears in the light of a mere adventurer, bold and capable enough to do anything his passions might instigate, and prepared to seize Fortune wherever he might find her, without the slightest scruple as to the means. The death of his friends in the insurrection we have mentioned seems to have left on Blood's mind a great thirst for personal vengeance on the Duke of Ormond; whom, accordingly, he actually seized on the night of the , tied him on horseback to of his associates, and, but for the timely aid of the Duke's servant, would have, no doubt, fulfilled his intention of hanging him at Tyburn. The plan failed, but so admirably had it been contrived that Blood remained totally unsuspected as its author, although a reward of was offered for the discovery of the assassins. He now opened to those same associates an equally daring but much more profitable scheme, had it been successful; which was thus carried out:--Blood day came to see the Regalia, dressed as a parson, and accompanied by a woman whom he called his wife; the latter,
|professing to be suddenly taken ill, was invited by the Keeper's wife into the adjoining domestic apartments. Thus an intimacy was formed, which was subsequently so well improved by Blood, that he arranged a match between a nephew of his and the Keeper's daughter, and a day was appointed for the young couple to meet. At the appointed hour came the pretended parson, the pretended nephew, and others, armed with rapier-blades in their canes, daggers, and pocket-pistols. of the number made some pretence for staying at the door as a watch, whilst the others passed into the Jewel House, the parson having expressed a desire that the Regalia should be shown to his friends, whilst they were waiting the approach of Mrs. Edwards and her daughter. No sooner was the door closed than a cloak was thrown over the old man and a gag forced into his mouth; and, thus secured, they told him their object, signifying he was safe if he submitted. The poor old man, however, faithful to the trust reposed in him, exerted himself to the utmost, in spite of the blows they dealt him, till he was stabbed and became senseless. Blood now slipped the crown under his cloak, another of his associates secreted the orb, and a was busy filing the sceptre into parts; when of those extraordinary coincidences, which a novelist would scarcely dare to use, much less to invent, gave a new turn to the proceedings. The Keeper's son, who had been in Flanders, returned at this critical moment. At the door he was met by the accomplice stationed there as sentinel, who asked him with whom he would speak.|
Young Edwards replied he belonged to the house, and hurried up stairs, the sentinel, we suppose, not knowing how to prevent the catastrophe he must have feared otherwise than by a warning to his friends. A general flight ensued, amidst which the robbers heard the voice of the Keeper once more shouting
which being heard by the young lady, who was waiting anxiously to see her lover, she ran out into the open air, reiterating the cries.
The--alarm became general, and outstripped the conspirators. A warder attempted to stop them, but at the discharge of a pistol he fell, without waiting to know if he were hurt, and so they passed his post. At the next, Sill, a sentinel, not to be outdone in prudence, offered no opposition, and they passed the drawbridge. At Gate their horses were waiting for them; and as they ran a log the Tower wharf they joined in the cry of
and so passed on unsuspected, till Captain Beckman, a brother-in-law of young Edwards, overtook the party. Blood fired, but missed him, and was immediately made prisoner. The crown was found under his cloak, which, prisoner as he was, he would not yield without a struggle.
were the witty and ambitious rascal's words;
Not the least extraordinary part of this altogether extraordinary affair was the subsequent treatment of Colonel Blood. Whether it was that he frightened Charles by his threats of being revenged by his associates, or captivated him by his conjoined audacity and flattery (he had been engaged to kill the King, he said, from among the reeds by the Thames side above Battersea, as he was bathing, but was deterred by an
), it is difficult to say; the result, however, was, that, instead of being sent to the gallows, he was taken into such especial favour, that application to the throne through his medium became of the favourite modes with suitors. Blood died in . It was not to be
| supposed that this affair should pass without exciting a great deal of comment and scandal. Rochester, in his |
Poor Edwards lived to manifest the truth of the last line but of these verses. All the reward he obtained was for himself and son, and the money remained so long unpaid that the orders were previously disposed of at half their value. [to be continued in No. XL.]