London, Volume 1

Knight, Charles


New Whitehall.

New Whitehall.




James had commenced the work of pulling down the old palace so early as , when, as we learn from Howe's edition of Stow's



old, rotten, slight-builded Banqueting House,

which Elizabeth had erected, was removed, and a new built in the following year,

very strong and stately, being every way larger than the


: there were also many fair lodgings new builded and increased.

Their strength and stateliness, however, could not defend them from a destruction as sudden as it was unexpected.



o'clock in the morning upon Tuesday, the

12th of January, 1619

, the fair Banqueting House at


was upon the sudden all flaming a-fire, from end to end, and side to side, before it was discerned or descried by any persons or passengers, either by scent or smoke; at sight whereof the Court, being sore amazed, sent speedy news to the great lords of the council, who were then but newly set in the


in London, about excessive and disorderly buildings, but they all arose and returned to


, and gave directions to the multitude of people to suppress

the flame, and by hook to pull down some other adjoining buildings, to prevent the furious fire; and so by their care and the people's labour the flame was quite extinct by



We know not at what period the King determined upon the plan of entirely rebuilding the palace of , but it is not improbable that the accident referred to may have quickened his operations, if it did not altogether suggest them. The man too was at hand ready for the work. This was the famous Inigo Jones, who had been previously employed for some years about the court, with Ben Jonson, in the invention of masques to entertain it; the having charge of the scenery, decorations, and machinery, and the other of the poetical composition. Of the excellence of the masques performed at when under such management, it would be idle to speak; but we may notice or of the principal occasions when the services of these great men were in requisition. The earliest was probably the marriage of Philip Herbert, another of James's favourites, with Lady Susan Vere, in , when the masque was played in the hall. On the day following, Charles was created Duke of York at , and at night the Queen's masque of


was presented in the Banqueting House; the Queen, with of the most beautiful ladies of her suite, performing the characters of the daughters of Niger;


as the poet tells us,

it was her Majesty's will to have them black-a-mores at



This masque cost .

A most glorious masque

was also given on the , in honour of the creation of Prince Henry as Prince of Wales, which continued

till within half an hour of the sun's not setting but rising.

Prince Henry was Jones's chief patron at this period, and on the death of the prince, in , our artist went for the time to Rome to study the principles of his beloved art. His absence appears to have been felt at the court at least; for at the marriage of Elizabeth, James's daughter, to the Elector Palatine (from whom the reigning family of England derives its descent)-a marriage attended by more than ordinary expense and splendour--we find no mention of any masque being performed at . And on the return of Inigo Jones to England he found occupation more worthy of his high genius than the most splendid masques could afford, though the

unsubstantial pageants

might have still remained the most profitable. He was appointed Surveyor-general of the royal buildings, and commissioned to make designs for a new palace. These designs, imperfect as the shape confessedly is in which they have reached us (the bes t are supposed to have been compiled from the artist's drawings by a hand), are alone sufficient to raise their author's reputation to the very highest rank; but fortunately the Banqueting House remains to us to this day, as a specimen of the style of the whole, of which it was the only portion erected. The very extent of the space to be covered would have alarmed, or at least bewildered, any ordinary architect. In Jones's plans the exterior buildings measured feet on the east and west sides, and feet on the north and south. Within these were to be no less than courts. of the sides are here shown. The Banqueting House was commenced in , and completed in about years. Its entire cost was . It will surprise many of our readers to know what was the amount of the architect's remuneration for his labours whilst engaged upon what, if completed, would have been the grandest



production of modern architecture. He was allowed, it appears, and fourpence a day as surveyor, and per year for house-rent, a clerk, and other incidental expenses; Nicholas Stone,


being paid

four shillings

and tenpence the day.

The King's extravagance prevented the prosecution of these designs beyond the erection of the Banqueting House, and his son Charles, with full appreciation both of the work and of the author, was too busily engaged in the impossible task of building up a despotism in England to find money or time to raise palaces. So there the matter rested, and Inigo Jones turned with a sigh from the contemplation of that glorious work, which would have given a new magnificence to the world, to invent new masques for a comparatively insignificant portion of it, Charles and his young consort.

James died at his favourite residence, Theobald's, on the , and in the afternoon of the following day Charles came to with the Duke of Buckingham, where he was proclaimed. now experienced some change:

the fools and buffoons and other familiars of James were dismissed; the courtiers were required to be attentive to religion, and modest and quiet in their demeanour; and they generally became, if not more moral, far more decorous;

[n.352.1]  but whether that change made it a more agreeable residence to the daughter of the great Henry IV. of France, whom Charles had married by proxy, and whom Buckingham was immediately commissioned to escort to England, may be questioned. The royal pair met at Dover, and on the they passed in the state barge through on their way to . This marriage caused a great variety of surmises to be set on foot respecting its effect on the Protestant religion, Henrietta Maria being of course a Catholic. Much hope, however, was excited by trivial circumstances, and a general expectation raised that she would turn out a very good Protestant. But the facts proved as stubborn then as ever. It soon became known that she had -and- Roman Catholic priests in her train, and that on Sundays and saint-days mass was secretly celebrated in the Queen's closet at . If the people were enraged and scandalized at the belief of these priestly attendants, the King was no less annoyed and irritated by their presumptuous, meddling conduct, which in a few months' time became perfectly unendurable: so day he suddenly appeared at the Queen's side of the house,

and, finding some Frenchmen, her servants, unreverently dancing and curvetting in her presence, took her by the hand and led her into his lodgings, locking the door after him, and shutting out all save only the Queen. Presently upon this my Lord Conway called forth the French Bishop and others of that clergy into

St. James's Park

, where he told them the King's pleasure was, all her Majesty's servants of that nation, men and women, young and old, should depart the kingdom; together with the reasons that enforced his Majesty so to do.

The Bishop

stood much upon it,

but was at last silenced by the remark

that England would find force enough to convey him hence.

The women howled and lamented, as if they had been going to execution, but all in vain, for the yeomen of the guard, by that Lord's appointment, thrust them and all their country's folk out of the Queen's lodgings, and locked the doors after them. It is said also the Queen, when she understood the design, grew very impatient, and broke the glass windows with her fist; but

since then her rage is appeased, and the King and she, since they went together to Nonsuch, have been very jocund together.

[n.353.1]  The same day the King went to , where the French were temporarily accommodated, and, addressing them in a conciliatory, yet manly and dignified manner,

prayed them to pardon him if he sought his own ease and safety,

and concluded by informing them that he had ordered his treasurer to reward every of them for his year's service. Accordingly, on the following day, there was distributed among them money and jewels to the value of about A few of the more useful and humble order of domestics were allowed to remain with the Queen; the rest were shipped off from Dover a few days after. The business was not yet entirely concluded. Charles was soon informed that the

gallant, witty, splendid, and profligate

Marshal Bassompiere desired audience of him at Whitehall--of course to obtain explanations. This audience was refused at , but ultimately the Marshal was admitted privately to the King's presence. The latter then explained the real provocation he had received, but grew so warm in the discussion, that he abruptly cried out,

Why do you not execute your commission at once, and declare war against me?

I am not a herald to declare war,

was Bassompiere's happy reply,

but a marshal of France to make it when declared.

The Ambassador's conduct at another period of their meeting was equally characterised by wit, presence of mind, and a dignified consciousness of his position as the representative of a great monarch, which nothing could disturb.

I witnessed there,

writes Bassompiere himself,

an instance of great boldness, not to say impudence, of the Duke of Buckingham, which was, that, when he saw us the most heated, he ran up suddenly and threw himself between the King and me, saying, I am come to keep the peace between you




as James had delighted to call him, most probably wished to hear what was passing; but the Marshal at once took off his hat, intimating thereby that it was no longer an audience, but a private conversation. The reproof was the more exquisite, that Buckingham had not thought it necessary to take off hat before his sovereign. Ultimately Charles gave way, and conceded that his wife should be allowed French bishop and French priests (none of them to be Jesuits), with numerous other French attendants. A more momentous struggle now engaged the King's attention, and in which he was destined to be still less successful. The intervals of the great contest between the King and the Parliament were not altogether destitute of events that showed how much Charles might have added to the glory of his country, had he limited his notions of the kingly prerogative by a due consideration of the social changes that rendered it impossible that England should be governed by the Stuarts as by the Tudors. His patronage of the arts is an honour to his memory; and we may judge, from what he did under such unfavourable circumstances, how much he would have done if his wealth and his energies had not been absorbed in the conflict with his people.

The amusements of his court,

says the Rev. Mr. Gilpin,

were a model of elegance to all Europe, and his cabinets were the receptacles only of what was exquisite in painting and sculpture; none but men of the


merit found encouragement from him, and those abundantly.

The cabinet-room of the


palace, designed by Inigo Jones for Prince Henry, which was erected about the centre of , running across from the Thames towards the Banqueting House, and fronting westward to the Privy Garden, was perhaps the richest room in the world in works of art. To Henry VIII.'s original collection had been added a separate , begun by Prince Henry; but Charles himself was the principal author of its almost incalculable treasures. He bought the cabinet of the Duke of Milan, then considered the most valuable in Europe, entire; for which he paid The of Rafaelle were obtained in Flanders through the agency of Rubens. Fresh additions were also continually made either by purchase, or by gift to the King, than which nothing could be more acceptable. The


of the collection was at , which contained pictures, including by Titian, by Correggio, by Julio Romano, by Rafaelle, by Guido, and by Parmegiano. Rubens' introduction to Charles I. was as an ambassador, and his success in the mission which had been intrusted to him was complete and in every way satisfactory. The King, indeed, held the painter in high esteem, and commissioned him to paint the ceiling of the Banqueting House. For this work Rubens received With regard to the amusements of his court, they certainly deserved the praise Mr. Gilpin bestowed upon them. They were as magnificent as those of James, and in a times better taste. A description of of these exhibitions, which was presented before the King, Queen, and Court, at , in , by the members of the inns of court, will best illustrate the magnitude of this change. It consisted of a masque and an anti-masque. The was arrayed and marshalled after the fashion of a Roman triumph, the figures composing which consisted of the comeliest men in England, dressed in the most splendid and becoming costume; the dresses, the chariots, and steeds were covered with ornaments of gold and silver, and blazed in the light of countless torches, while the whole solemn procession moved with measured steps to accompanying bands of music. No puppet or impersonation, whether of the classical, allegorical, or romantic world, intruded to mar the chasteness of the exhibition,--all was real, modern, and of the choicest and happiest selection.

It is with regret that we turn from these pleasant reminiscences of and its accomplished owner to the darker events with which it is so permanently associated in our minds. As if utterly unconscious of the strength of the hostility he was evoking in England, Charles in some respects wantonly provoked a similar hostility in Scotland. Thus, for instance, in (but a few months after a


between him and the Scots, concluded whilst both parties were in armed array, and on the very eve of hostilities), when the Scottish parliament had been prorogued to prevent its carrying certain measures into effect which would have made it more independent of the royal authority, he rudely sent back without audience the noblemen who came as its deputies from Scotland to wait upon him; and when he did give permission to the Covenanters to send up some of their number to vindicate their conduct, he seized of them, the Earl of Loudon, the moment he arrived, and sent him to the Tower; on account of his having signed, with other lords of the Covenant, a letter to the King of France, desiring his protection-this letter, be it observed, having been written prior to the



The Scottish lords immediately complain ed of this arrest as a violation of the law of nations, and the Duke of Hamilton, of the King's party, assured him that, if Loudon were proceeded against capitally, Scotland was for ever lost. Charles, however, was determined upon his execution.

Sir William Balfour,

says Oldmixon, in a very interesting passage, which we transcribe,

Governor of the Tower when Loudon was committed, some days after received a warrant from the King for the beheading that lord the next day within the Tower, for fear of any disturbance if it had been done openly on the hill. The lieutenant, who was at cards with Loudon, changed countenance, and, holding up his hands in amazement, showed his lordship the warrant; who said to him,

Well, Sir, you must do your duty; I only desire time to make a settlement on some younger children, and that you will let my lawyer come to me for that end:

to which Balfour consented; and the lawyer carried away with him a letter to the Marquis of Hamilton, informing him of the matter, and telling him he was a Scotchman, and must answer it to his country. Balfour followed the lawyer to the Marquis, whom they could not presently find, it being night; at last they found him at Lady Clayton's, and having delivered him the Lord Loudon's letter, which Balfour further explained, the Marquis took Sir William with him to Court, not staying for his coach, and desired admittance about business of very great importance to his Majesty. He was told the King and Queen were in bed, and had given positive orders not to admit any


. The Marquis in vain insisted on his own right as


of the lords of the bedchamber, and the right of the Lieutenant of the Tower, especially when he had any state prisoner; upon which Sir William knocked at the King's bedchamber-door, which being opened unto him, he fell upon his knees, and having just mentioned the warrant, his Majesty stopped him, saying,

It shall be executed.

Upon which the Marquis enters, and, falling on his knees, humbly expostulates with the King concerning it. The Queen expressed great displeasure at the intrusion, but the Marquis, taking her up short, let her know she was a subject as well as himself; and that the business he came about was of the highest concernment to his Majesty, to herself, to the whole nation, and to himself in particular.


says he,

if you persist in this resolution, no Scotsman will ever draw a sword for you; or, if they would, who should command them?

The King replied,


No, sir,

said Hamilton;

I dare never appear in Scotland afterwards.

The King, nevertheless, swore twice,

By God, London shall die!

Then the Marquis, craving leave to speak


word more, said,

Sir, I desire your Majesty to look out for another home, for within four-and-twenty hours there will not be one stone of Whitehall left upon another.

This touched the King more than all the arguments of pity, justice, or distant danger. He called for the warrant, tore it, and dismissed the Marquis and Lieutenant somewhat suddenly.

Swift, turbid, and gloomy now rolled on the stream of events: Parliament again assembled on the in the following year, with Hampden, Pym, and Cromwell among the members, and the discussion and redress of the public grievances once more engaged their attention. Untaught by all that had taken place previously, Charles sent for them, on the day of their sitting, to the Banqueting House. He did not address them himself; it would have been better if he had. The King's spokesman on this occasion was the Lord-Keeper Finch, the very man whose conduct, whilst Speaker of the , had only the day


before been under their consideration, and been condemned. This man now told them that they ought to remember that Parliaments were called for obtaining of assistance and supplies of money.

When you have voted these,

said he,

his Majesty will give you scope and liberty to present your just grievances, and then he will hear them with a gracious ear.

It is surprising that the King, with all his shrewdness, should have understood so little the character of the chief men in that Parliament as to suppose that they would listen to such language with any other feeling than contempt: there were evidently but modes of dealing with them--the , to yield honestly what they demanded; the other, to overpower them by direct force. Finding this appeal utterly ineffectual, Charles sent them various messages to the same purpose; but the Commons continued their course, investigating all the great public grievances. At last he saw that all his efforts to obtain supplies without a redress of those grievances, which he was determined not to grant, were useless; so he again dissolved the Houses. The circumstances attending this dissolution were very striking. The King had been told on the previous evening that if the Commons sat another day they would pass such a vote against ship-money as would not only destroy that revenue, but also other branches of the King's receipts. To prevent this most undesirable consummation Charles hit upon a characteristic expedient. Before on the following morning he sent his secretary, Windebank, to the house of Serjeant Glanvil, the Speaker, in , with a command to bring him to . This was done; and when the Commons met, they were surprised for some time at the absence of their Speaker; but the secret was explained when they were summoned to the Upper House to hear the sentence of dissolution read. Could Charles have looked into the hearts and minds of some of the men who quitted his presence on that day in silence, he could not have been otherwise than startled at the danger of the course he was pursuing: so great an amount of moral and intellectual power was perhaps never before or since embarked at time in. the popular cause as he must there have witnessed in array against him; and from men, prepared themselves to encounter every danger, even to the block and the axe, in the event of their failure, he must also have perceived how little indulgence he ought to anticipate if matters proceeded to extremities and was unsuccessful. Extraordinary revelations into men's minds and motives, however, were denied to him, and the ordinary he despised, or was unable rightly to appreciate. So he dissolved the parliament, little thinking that it would be the last he would be permitted to have any such control over. The famous Long Parliament was summoned in the course of the same year, and the scenes which composed the last act of the great drama passed on in rapid succession. Strafford and Laud, the King's ministers, were impeached, and the former beheaded; and the King's prerogative of calling and dismissing parliaments when he pleased was effectually put an end to by a bill for making them triennial, and by making the issue of the writs imperative on particular parties at fixed periods. Here the King endeavoured to stop the progress of the Commons: another lecture was read to them in , but not the less did he find himself compelled to give way. The war now grew more and more imminent. On the , after a day of great agitation produced by Charles's attempt to put Colonel Lunsford, a desperate soldier of fortune, into the governorship of the Tower, the train-bands of and Middlesex were


commanded by Charles to guard the Palace, and from that time or companies were left on duty night and day. On the

he gave,

says May,

unhappily, a just occasion for all men to think that their fears and jealousies were not causeless.

He spent the preceding evening in making preparations of a very significant character. Arms were brought from the Tower to the Palace, where a table was spread for the entertainment of a band of young hotheaded men, who were ready to proceed to any extremities. That very day he went to take into custody of the most obnoxious members of the , who, being timely warned, avoided the house in obedience to its orders.

A week later Charles left , with his Queen, children, and entire court, and removed to . When he again beheld the walls of his favourite home, it was as a prisoner at St. James's, waiting his trial and execution. The war, as is well known, broke out in the same year, . was now seized by the Parliament; who in ordered the

boarded masque house,

an immense room built by Charles for these exhibitions, to be pulled down, and that

all such pictures and statues

as were at

York House,

as were without any


should be forthwith sold, for the benefit of Ireland and the North. The superstitious pictures appear to have been those which contained representations of the person of the Trinity, or of the Virgin Mary; these were to be burnt. We pass now to the

last scene of all.

The King was sentenced to death on the , and on the morrow, being a Sunday, the commissioners of the High Court of Justice, which had decided his fate, kept a solemn fast in the chapel of . On Monday he was to die. About hours before daybreak of that eventful morning, Charles rose, and dressed himself with more than ordinary care. At o'clock Colonel Hacker came to conduct him to the scaffold, and, tapping softly at the door, said all was ready. The door was opened with difficulty by Herbert, who was in attendance upon the King, and who was completely unnerved by the terrible event. When Hacker entered he was as pale as Charles himself, and his voice faltered. They went together from St. James's to , the King walking erect and very fast, having Bishop Juxon on his right hand, and Colonel Tomlinson on his left. Behind came a guard of halberdiers, and some of Charles's own gentlemen and servants, bare-headed. At the end of the Park Charles entered , and passed through the long gallery into his favourite cabinet-chamber, no longer, alas! covered with the pictured wealth that he had lavished upon its walls. He was delayed here for some time, the scaffold not being quite ready; he spent the interval in prayer. About noon he took the slight refreshment of a glass of claret and a piece of bread; soon after which he received the final summons from Colonel Hacker. Attended by Juxon, Colonel Tomlinson, Colonel Hacker, and the guards, he passed through the Banqueting House to the scaffold, which was covered with black. The axe lay on the block in the midst of it. A considerable number of foot and horse soldiers were stationed on all sides, beyond whom were vast multitudes of spectators. Perceiving that the people were too distant to hear what he might say, he addressed himself to the gentlemen on the scaffold. Among other remarks he said, pointing to Bishop Juxon,

There is a good man that will bear me witness that I have forgiven all the world, and even those in particular that have been the chief causers of my


He told them that they would never have peace till they gave his son and successor his due. He still adhered to his old principles of sovereignty, and assured them that the people ought never to have a share in the government, being a thing

nothing pertaining to them;

while, with an apparent inconsistency, he added

that he died the

martyr of the people


While he was speaking, of the gentlemen on the scaffold touched the edge of the axe.

Hurt not the axe,

said the King,

that may hurt me.

He declared that he died a Christian according to the profession of the Church of England, as he found it left by his father. Addressing himself to Colonel Hacker, he said,

Take care that they do not put me to pain.

men in disguises and vizors stood by the block; to of these he said,

I shall say but very short prayers, and then thrust out my hand for the signal.

Receiving his nightcap from Bishop Juxon, he put it on, asking the executioner at the same time,

Does my hair trouble you?

And he then, with the aid of the headsman and the Bishop, put it all up under his cap. Thus prepared, he turned to Juxon, saying,

I have a good cause and a gracious God on my side.

You have now,

returned Juxon,



stage more; the stage is turbulent and troublesome, but it is a short


; it will soon convey you a very great way; it will carry you from earth to heaven.

The King's last sentence was,

I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, where no disturbance can be.

He now took off his cloak, and gave his to Juxon, with the single but emphatic word

Remember ;

then stooped to the block, and in a few seconds had ceased to exist.


At the time of the famous dissolution of the Long Parliament, ,


, Cromwell resided at , and when he had finished that extraordinary act he returned with the keys of the house in his pocket to his lodging in the palace. On the following, the Little or Barebones Parliament met in the council-chamber of ; and the members being seated round the council-table, and Cromwell and his officers standing near its centre, the lordgeneral made a long and devout speech, showing the cause of their being called together, and explaining why he had dismissed the late Parliament. A friendly biographer says,

This speech was pronounced in so excellent a manner as sufficiently manifested (as the lord-general himself was thoroughly persuaded) that the spirit of God acted in and by him.

[n.359.1]  When he had concluded, he delivered to them an instrument in writing, whereby he intrusted to them, with the consent and advice of his officers, the supreme authority and government of the Commonwealth. Commending them to the grace of God, he then retired with his officers. Their subsequent meetings took place in the parliament-house as usual. months after, having failed to satisfy Cromwell, they were induced to dissolve themselves, and surrender their trust to him from whom they had received it. Cromwell was now made Lord Protector, and on the he proceeded from to the Chancery Court, where the Great Seal of England was formally delivered to him, amidst great ceremony and magnificence. From the Court he returned in state to the Banqueting House, the Lord Mayor carrying the sword before him, the soldiers shouting, and the ordnance firing. The Royalists and Republicans were each alike dissatisfied with these arrangements; and members of both parties, it is melancholy to add, sought to get rid of Cromwell by assassination. Indeed plots of this kind were so frequent that the Protector had found it necessary to have spies in all directions. By their agency it was discovered in that a republican officer of the name of Syndercombe had arranged to murder Cromwell on of his journeys from to his favourite residence at . Syndercombe was seized in his bed, tried, condemned, but escaped the traitor's death by suicide. It has been common enough to suppose that, in wishing to be made King, Cromwell was seeking only to gratify an unnatural ambition; yet such a conclusion is, at least, doubtful; for at this very period there were men of honour and intelligence who thought that the restoration of the , and of the hereditary monarchy in Cromwell's person, would set at rest all the intrigues of the Royalists by destroying their hopes, and who dreaded the anarchy that might ensue in case of the Protector's sudden death. On the , Sir Christopher Pack, Lord Mayor of London, suggested in his place in parliament, that, as the best way of settling the nation, the Lord Protector should be desired to assume the title of King. Much violence ensued; but, after a debate which lasted more than a month, it was resolved on the , by a majority of to , to offer him the regal crown. On the the Speaker and the appeared at , and desired

that his Highness would be pleased to magnify himself with the title of King.

Among the arguments used on the occasion to persuade Cromwell to accede to their wishes was the very pertinent that the title was interwoven in the laws, accommodated to the genius of the people, approved by the suffrages


of parliaments. Cromwell, in answer, declared that he did not find it his duty to God and his country to accept the proffered new title. On the , , and , the committee of the House again waited upon him. Whitelock says,

The Protector was satisfied in his private judgment that it was fit for him to take upon him the title of King, and matters were prepared in order thereunto; but afterwards, by solicitation of the Commonwealth-men, and fearing a mutiny and defection of a great part of the army in case he should assume that title and office, his mind changed; and many of the officers of the army gave out high threatenings against him in case he should do it: he therefore thought best to attend some better season and opportunity in this business, and refused it at this time with great seeming earnestness.

Accordingly in the following month the Commons voted that Cromwell's title should continue to be Lord Protector. In an accident occurred to Richard Cromwell at , which seriously troubled the Protector, who was an affectionate parent. His son came with other members of the to pay their respects to his Highness, when the stairs of the Banqueting House gave way, and he narrowly escaped being crushed to death. Several of his bones were broken, but they were well set, and he soon recovered.

This hath been a great affliction to his Highness and family here,

writes his secretary, Thurloe, in a letter to Richard's brother, Henry.

If a sparrow falls not to the ground without the providence of God, much less do such things fall upon a person of his quality by chance. This rod hath a voice, and the Lord give us all hearts to hear and obey it.

, at this period, presented a pleasing picture of sovereign dignity and domestic repose. The members of Cromwell's family were all persons of more than ordinary accomplishments, intellect, and moral character, and there was the greatest love and harmony existing among them.

His own diet was spare and not curious, except in public treatments, which were constantly given the Monday in every week to all the officers in the army, not below a captain, when he used to dine with them. A table was likewise spread every day of the week for such officers as should casually come to court. He was a great lover of music, and entertained the most skilful in that science in his pay and family. He respected all persons that were eximious


in any art, and would procure them to be sent or brought to him. Sometimes he would, for a frolic, before he had half dined, give order for the drum to beat, and call in his foot-guards, who were permitted to make booty of all they found on the table. Sometimes he would be jocund with some of the nobility, and would tell them what company they had lately kept; when and where they had drunk the King's health and the royal family's; bidding them, when they did it again, to do it more privately, and this without any passion, and as festivous, droll discourse.

[n.360.2]  He surrounded himself also with the master-minds of his time: Milton was his Latin secretary and intimate; Andrew Marvel was a frequent guest at his table; Waller was his friend and kinsman; and the youthful Dryden was not left unnoticed. The man who thus loved and honoured the poets of his country was not very likely to sympathise with the Puritans in their abhorrence of the fine arts. On the contrary, we find him exerting himself to restore the magnificent collection of Charles, as far as possible, to its pristine state. He repurchased many of the pictures which had been sold, and among them the most


valuable works of art that England can now boast of, the Cartoons of Rafaelle. Evelyn, under the date of , thus refers to the state of the palace under Cromwell's care:--

I ventured to go to


, where of many years I had not been, and found it very glorious and well furnished.

It is a touching feature in the death of this great man, that it should be accelerated, as in the opinion of many it was, by the loss of his favourite daughter. Whilst sick he was brought from to . On the , he was assured that his end was approaching, and was then heard, by Major Butler, to utter the following prayer:--

Lord, I am a poor foolish creature; this people would have me live; they think it will be best for them, and that it will redound much to thy glory. All the stir is about this. Others would fain have me to die. Lord, pardon them, and pardon thy foolish people; forgive them their sins, and do not forsake them; but love and bless them, and give them rest; and bring them to a consistency, and give me rest.

I am a conqueror, and more than a conqueror, through Jesus Christ, who strengtheneth me.

He died on the following morning, the anniversary of his great victories of Worcester and Dunbar. With the period of Cromwell's death all the great memories of may be said to cease. There is plenty of matter in the ensuing reigns to keep up the interest we feel in it, but that interest is of a lower and less absorbing character. Richard Cromwell of course occupied after his father's death, during the short period of his rule. That he did not suffer much by ceasing to be Protector is tolerably evident from his remark when quitting . A friend noticed that he took particular care of or old trunks which stood in his wardrobe, and inquired the reason.


replied Richard Cromwell,

they contain no less than the lives and fortunes of all the good people of England.

-- Thus wittily did he satirize the congratulatory addresses which had been showered upon him from all parts of the country on his accession some months before. The Rump Parliament now proposed to sell , with the other royal palaces of and ; but they were dismissed before the project could be carried into execution. A few months more, and Charles II. passed through the streets of London to , amidst all the sights and sounds of a universal rejoicing. Another great change now took place in the palace. If his object had been to make in every respect a contrast to what it had been in Cromwell's time, Charles could not have acted otherwise than he did. Here is a specimen from Evelyn of the scenes which were almost daily exhibited during this profligate reign:--,

Following his Majesty this morning through the gallery, I went with the few who attended him into the Duchess of Portsmouth's dressing-room, within her bedchamber, where she was in her morning loose garment; her maids combing her, newly out of her bed, his Majesty and the gallants standing about her. But that which engaged my curiosity was the rich and splendid furniture of this woman's apartment, now twice or thrice pulled down and rebuilt to satisfy her prodigal and expensive pleasures, whilst her Majesty's does not exceed some gentlemen's ladies in furniture and accommodation. Here I saw the new fabric of French tapestry, for design, tenderness of work, and incomparable imitation of the best paintings, beyond anything I had ever beheld. Some pieces had Versailles, St. Germain's, and other palaces of the French King, with huntings, figures, and landscapes, exotic fowls, and all to the life rarely done.

Then for Japan cabinets, screens, pendule clocks, great vases of wrought plate, table-stands, chimney-furniture, sconces, branches, brasenas, &c., all of massy silver, and out of number, besides some of her Majesty's best paintings.

Imagine, as a contrast to this picture, another, in which Charles sat in state in the Banqueting House, when a physician led certain patients up to him to be touched for the evil or scrofula, whilst a chaplain, standing by, was not ashamed to repeat over each the passage from Scripture,

He put his hands upon them, and healed them.

Even at this period of degradation the palace possessed great charm--the music of its Chapel-Royal. The choir, famous in Charles I.'s time, was now distinguished above all others by the great superiority of its officers, and by the number of excellent composers it produced. It will be sufficient to mention the most illustrious of its names, Henry Purcell, England's greatest musician. To Charles's taste and munificence this result was mainly owing; yet it is difficult to understand how he could step from the Chapel-Royal, with a full appreciation of its sublime strains, into such a scene as that described by Evelyn in the following striking passage, written the night after the King's death:--

I can never forget the inexpressible luxury and profaneness, gaming, and all dissoluteness, and, as it were, total forgetfulness of God (it being Sunday evening), which this day se'nnight I was witness of; the King sitting and toying with his concubines, Portsmouth, Cleaveland, and Mazarine, &c.; a French boy singing love-songs in that glorious gallery, whilst about


of the great courtiers and other dissolute persons were at basset round a large table, a bank of at least


in gold before them; upon which


gentlemen who were with me made reflections with astonishment.


days after was all in the dust.

Charles had long been suspected to be in his heart a Roman Catholic, and at the point of death his brother and successor, James, with great secrecy and some difficulty, brought to his bedside Father Huddlestone, a Catholic priest, who had aided Charles in his escape from Worcester. His death took place on the . Among his last words were some that scandalised the bishops present very much, but which are touching and valuable were it only that they show that the King a heart.

Do not,

said he,

let poor Nelly (Gwynne) starve.

Charles died; and although James was essentially little better, his court was more decent in all outward observances than his brother's. The new King's reigning mistress was Catherine Sedley, who had no pretension to beauty, but inherited much of her father's wit. Charles used to say that might fancy his brother's mistresses were given him by his father-confessor as penances, they were all so ugly. According to Walpole, Miss Sedley (ennobled into the Countess of Dorchester when installed at ) was herself accustomed to wonder what James chose his mistresses for.

We are none of us handsome,

she said,

and if we had wit, he had not enough to find it out.

James's tendencies were very quickly made evident. On the , only a month after his accession, Evelyn saw,

to his great grief,


new pulpit set up in the Popish oratorie at


for the Lent preaching, mass being publicly said, and the Romanists swarming at court with greater confidence than had ever been seen in England since the Reformation.

Other and less objectionable additions were made in the same year to the palace. James built a new range of buildings on the garden side, including a chapel, and


lodgings for his Queen, Mary d'Este. The embroidery of her Majesty's bed cost , and the carving about the chimney-piece, by Gibbons, was, says Evelyn,


Statues of white marble, and an altar-piece by Verrio, decorated the chapel. Blind as his father had been to all the signs of the times, the King would not be content without rushing into conflict with the people; and though his head was allowed to remain on his shoulders, the result, as regards his throne, was the same. William came over; and, finding that James was in no hurry to leave , sent some battalions of the Dutch guards into to quicken his departure: with so little dignity did he fall. The history of the palace is now near its conclusion. On the , a considerable portion of it was burnt by a fire which broke out in the apartment of the Duchess of Portsmouth; and in the entire structure, with the exception of the Banqueting House and some small portion of its buildings, was destroyed by the same element. Evelyn thus generalises the results:--


burnt; nothing but walls and ruins left.

The interior of the Banqueting House has been occupied as a chapel since the time of George I., who granted a stipend to certain clergymen to preach in it. About years ago it underwent a thorough repair and restoration; when a gallery, built for the use of the Guards, was removed. The immense size and noble proportions of this room now appear in all their original grandeur. Over the door is a bust of the founder, James I. A lofty gallery runs along the sides of the room, and across the end over the door of entrance, where there is a fine organ. But the great attraction of the Banqueting House is the ceiling, with its series of paintings by Rubens, before referred to, which, immediately the spectator enters the room, attract his eyes by their brilliant and harmonious colouring. Their great height, however, renders any close and accurate inspection impossible. Dr. Waagen, the celebrated German critic, gives on the whole, we think, the best account of them.

The ceiling,

he says,

divided into


compartments, is decorated with so many oil-paintings by Rubens. The largest, in the centre, of an oval form, contains the apotheosis of King James I. On the


long sides of it are great friezes with genii, who load sheaves of corn and fruits in carriages drawn by lions, bears, and rams. All the proportions are so colossal that each of these boys measures


feet. The other


pictures in the centre row represent King James as protector of Peace, and sitting on his throne, appointing Prince Charles as his successor. The


pictures at the sides of these contain allegorical representations of Royal Power and Virtue. These paintings, executed in


, by commission from King Charles I., have. by no means given me satisfaction. Independently of the inconvenience of looking at them, all large ceiling paintings have an oppressive, heavy, and, as ornaments to the architecture, unfavourable effect; for which reason, the refined judgment of the ancients never allowed of them, but was content with light decorations on a bright ground. Least of all are the colossal and heavy figures of Rubens adapted to such a purpose. Not to speak of the repulsive coldness of all allegories, the overcharging and clumsiness of those of Rubens are not calculated to make them attractive; and lastly, the character and reign of James I. could scarcely inspire him with any poetical enthusiasm. There is little doubt that the greater part was originally executed by the pupils of Rubens, as was subsequently the case with

the series of the Life of Mary di Medicis, in the Louvre: add to this, that these pictures have already undergone


restorations, the last of which was completed a short time ago.


The statue seen in our engraving of the Banqueting House is that of James II. This is the work of Gibbons, and in every way worthy of his reputation. The attitude of the figure is easy, yet dignified; and a calm but serious and very thoughtful expression is stamped upon the well-formed features and brow. James is habited in the costume of a Roman emperor, a somewhat incongruous association of ideas; indeed, the only circumstance connected with this beautiful work that at all interferes with our admiration of it is its association with a sovereign so little deserving of the permanent interest that art can confer upon all those with whom it has any connection.


[n.352.1] Pictorial England, b. vii. p. 108.

[n.353.1] Letter from John Pory to Meade, in Sir Henry Ellis's Collection of Letters.

[n.359.1] Carrington.

[n.360.2] Perfect Politician.

[n.364.1] Art and Artists in England, iii. 17.