Imágenes de páginas

was beheaded Anna Bolen, wife of King Henry VIII., and lies buried in the chapel, but without any inscription ; and Queen Elizabeth was kept prisoner here by her sister Queen Mary, at whose death she was enlarged, and by right called to the throne.

“On coming out of the Tower we were led to a small house close by, where are kept variety of creatures, viz. three lionesses, one lion of great size called Edward VI., from his having been born in that reign; a tiger, a lynx, a wolf exceedingly old; this is a very scarce animal in England, so that their sheep and cattle stray about in great numbers without any danger, though without anybody to keep them: there is, besides, a porcupine and an eagle: all these creatures are kept in a remote place, fitted up for the purpose with wooden lattices, at the Queen's expense.

Near to this Tower is a large open space: on the highest part of it (Tower Hill) is erected a wooden scaffold for the execution of noble criminals; upon which they say three princes of England, the last of their families, have been beheaded for high treason. On the Thames close by are a great many cannon, such chiefly as are used at sea.”

The plan which we subjoin, being of the exact period of Hentzner's description, gives an additional value to it.

The names which we have affixed to this plan are those which the respective portions of the fortress at present bear, with the exception of those parts here called " the Queen's lodgings” and “the Queen's gallery and garden.” Those who are familiar with the Tower will feel little difficulty in tracing upon this plan the exact buildings which remain ; but the casual visitor, to whom the Tower has conveyed a notion of a town within a fortress, will not so easily understand how this place could once have been, even in times of comparative comfort and splendour, a palace for the monarch, a treasury for the chief wealth of the Crown, a royal mint, an armoury, a menageric, a state prison. Here, in the plan before us, are large areas, courts within courts, ranges of offices communicating with the chief buildings upon a common arrangement, unencumbered external walls and bulwarks, something altogether which gives a notion of power and splendour, such as befit the abode and the defence of a long line of warrior kings. At the date of this plan the Tower had ceased to be the residence of the sovereign. The chattels of the Crown were no longer moved about from the Tower to Westminster and Greenwich. Whitehall had become the centre of courtly splendour ; but the Tower was still the seat of all the great attributes of royalty, and it was occasionally occupied by the monarch upon extraordinary solemnities. James I. came here in 1604, previous to his procession through the city to open his first parliament. In a Latin oration by William Hubbocke, which was subsequently published with a translation, the King is welcomed to the Tower, in a style inflated enough indeed, but which does not disregard those facts that afford us a very exact notion of the purposes to which the Tower was then applied, as well as a tolerable description of the place itself.

“At the post gates whereof there saluteth you by my words not only your faithful Lieutenant, a knight graced with ornaments of war and peace, and the whole troop of armed men (the wardens) that surround your princely person, your servants the guard in this place, but together also there welcomes you, as it


(The Tower of London.) From a Print published by the Royal Antiquarian Society, and engraved from the Survey made in 1597, by W. Hajvard sal J. Gascoigne, by order of Sir J. Peyton, Governor of the Tower.—a. Lion's Tower; b. Bell Tower; c. Beauchamp Tower; .. The Chapel; e. Keep, called also Cæsar's, or the White Tower; f. Jewel-house; g. Queen's Lodgings; h. Queen's Gallery Garden ; i. Lieutenant's Lodgings; k. Bloody Tower; I. St. Thomas's Tower (now Traitor's Gate); n. Place of Execution Tower Hill.

were with one obeisance, whole England, France, and Ireland, the sovereign authority of all which, by the possession of this one place, you do clasp and as it were gripe in your hand. For this Tower and Royal Castle is the pledge for them all, and not only the gate of good hope, but the haven of the whole scope. Here the stately and princely beasts the lions (couchant) of England do bor down to the lion (rampant) of Scotland; even to you, a true offspring of the Lion of Judah, and rightly descended of kings your great-great-grandfathers. Here is money coined, the joints and sinews of war, which now a good while since hath borne the image and superscription of your own Cæsar. There are the Records of Estate, the closet of the acts and patents of our princes, your renowned progenitors, out of which, I may boldly avouch it, a truer story of our nation by far may be compiled than any is yet extant. Here are, dispersed in the several quarters of this place, certain round turrets for the custody of offenders against the King. This which is next our elders termed the Bloody Tower, for the bloodshed, as they say, of those infant princes of Edward IV., whom Richard III., of cursed memory (I shudder to mention it), savagely killed two together

at one time. Then there presenteth itself, looking dutifully from a great height upon you, but holding out brazen pieces of shot, threatening filashes of fire and thunderbolts to your enemies, a great and square tower for martial service, the strength of this place, a watchman for the city, a keeper of the peace, a commander of the country round about, wherein antiquity hath specially made memorable the Hall of the Roman Cæsar. Here is the Jewel-house and the wealth of the kingdom, containing implements of great value above number, and all the gold and silver plate, with a most rich princely wardrobe; all which have now long since poured themselves into your bosom, as the just owner and full heir to them all. Here are, that I may not name everything, mountains of bullets, and most large places above and below for receipt of armour, with ordnance, darts, pikes, bows, arrows, privy coats, helmets, gunpowder, finally with the whole furniture to chivalry, for service on horse, on foot, by land, by sea, exceedingly stored; and all these to subdue your enemies; to defend your friends, citizens, subjects, associates, and confederates ; and to propulse danger, annoyance, violence, fear, from your own person, most puissant King, from your dearest spouse, our sovereign Queen, your progeny, estate, and whole train.”

The preceding extract we give from the reprint of Hubbocke's scarce tract in Mr. Nicholls's ‘Progresses of James I. In the same valuable collection we have a tract entitled · England's Farewell to the King of Denmark, in which the writer gives an account of the festivals with which the royal brother of James was entertained, and the sights that he went to see, in 1606. At the Tower, says the writer, “our gracious sovereign, his dear esteemed brother, King James, met his Highness, and with kingly welcomes entertained him, and in his own person conducted him to the offices of the Jewel-house, Wardrobe, of the Ordnance, Mint, and other places, where to their kingly presence in the Jewelhouse were presented the most rare and richest jewels and beautiful plate, so that he might well wonder thereat, but cannot truly praise or estimate the value thereof by many thousands of pounds."

How pleasant it is to imagine the fussy King gloating upon all these treasures with a royal rapture, wielding the sceptre, bearing the orb in his palm, putting on the crown, perhaps longing to pocket a jewel or two for his private use! Nor less would be his exaltation of mind at the next stage :-“ The like in the Wardrobe ; whereof, for robes beset with stones of great price, fair and precious pearl, and gold, were such as no king in the world might compare ; besides the rich furniture of hangings, clothes of estate, cushions, chairs, and kingly furniture for his palaces as may cause much admiration and bring great content to the beholders.” Carefully, however, would the peaceful King walk amidst the dangers of the next building :-“ But passing then on to the office of the Ordnance, he well viewed the warlike provision of the great ordnance, which at an hour is ready for any service to be commanded. Over every piece the ladles and sponges hang to lade them withal : and the traces and collars for the horses to draw them away when they shall need to serve.” We are not quite sure that the King of Denmark was not left to himself by his royal brother when muskets and daggers were to be seen :—“The Armoury and store of small shot so well maintained and kept, the numbers ready fitted of all sorts of muskets, calivers, petronels, dags, and other serviceable weapons, as pikes, halberds, targets,

shields of sundry fashions, for variety, antiquity of the things, and the relating of their uses, did make him with great and honourable admiration to behold them all very well, and commend them.”

But there was a place, after the party had viewed the Mint, in which James especially delighted. “From thence to the lions and other wild beasts there kept and maintained for his Highness's pleasures and pastimes.” The King no doubt fancied that he exhibited a mighty valour when, perched up in a gallery, he could behold the combats of lions with mastiffs and bears. The only additions which this eccentric monarch made to the Tower were in connexion with his favourite amusements. “ This spring of the year (1605) the King builded a wall, and filled up with earth all that part of the moat or ditch about the west side of the lions' den, and appointed a drawing partition to be made towards the south part thereof, the one part thereof to serve for the breeding lioness when she shall have whelps, and the other part thereof for a walk for other lions. The King caused also three trap-doors to be made in the wall of the lions' den, for the lions to go into their walk at the pleasure of the keeper, which walk shall be maintained and kept for especial place to bait the lions with dogs, bears, bulls, boars, &c."

In the reign of James I. the general condition of the Tower was inquired into by the Privy Council; and it was reported that, through successive encroachments, the splendour and magnificence of this royal castle was much defaced, and the place itself as it were besieged in the wharf, ditches, and liberties. Commissioners, in 1623, reported that on the side of Tower Hill and East Smithfield “ the moat is much overgrown and filled up with earth for gardens; and round the counterscarp, and within the moat also there are placed many houses, sheds, timber-yards, coal-yards, wheelers' yards, &c.” This is indeed a curious record of the steady encroachments of peaceful industry upon the outworks of a slumbering despotism. But the cause of these encroachments is pretty obvious. The report of 1620 talks of the “evil toleration of some lieutenants,” and mentions the odious words “private profit.” Mr. Bayley has preserved a curious paper which appears to have been drawn up by a yeoman warder in 1641, stating the appropriation of the various buildings at that date. It shows us little of the splendour, but a great deal of the melancholy gloom, of the then Tower. It appears to have been some time deserted by the Crown, and almost wholly appropriated to the detention of prisoners of state. The White Tower, according to this, belongs to the Office of the Ordnance, the Martin Tower to the porter of the Mint, the By-ward and Watergate Towers to the warders. But of eleven other towers each bears the fearful appellation of “ a prison lodging.

In the latter part of the reign of Charles II. very considerable repairs were effected in the Tower, “ for the safety and convenience thereof and the garrison therein.” The survey which was previously made is accompanied with a plan. Compared with the previous plan of the reign of Elizabeth, we see that during the lapse of less than a century much of the ancient character of the old fortress had been obliterated, and that clusters of small buildings had grown up amidst its towers and courts. During the civil wars and the Commonwealth the place had been left pretty much under the control of its military officers; and after the Restoration Charles troubled himself but little about a gloomy fortress far away from the scenes of his voluptuousness. Pepys has a curious notice of one visit

of the King to the Tower, under date of the 24th of November, 1662 :-“Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and I, going forth toward Whitehall, we hear that the King and Duke are come this morning to the Tower to see the Dunkirk money. So we by coach to them, and there went up and down all the magazines with them; but methought it was but poor discourse and frothy that the King's companions (young Killigrew among the rest) had with him. We saw none of the money.” The notion of Charles going to the Tower to look upon the price of his shame is highly characteristic. In the same month Pepys was himself engaged in an adventure at the Tower which is also a singular illustration of the point of view in which the old fortress was regarded by the court. Some person, with a prodigious show of mystery, had affirmed that there was treasure concealed in the vaults of the Tower, and Pepys—the busy, prying Pepys-was to be the chief agent in bringing the riches to the light of day. The sum alleged to have been hidden was seven thousand pounds, of which the discoverer was to get two, Lord Sandwich two, and the King three. A warrant for the search was given by the King, and the Lieutenant of the Tower and the Lord Mayor were to aid and assist. “Sir H. Bennet and my Lord Mayor did give us full power to fall to work : so our guide demands a candle, and down into the cellars he goes, inquiring whether they were the same that Baxter always had. He went into several little cellars, and then went out-a-doors to view, and to the Cole Harbour; but none did answer so well to the marks which was given him to find it by, as one arched vault. Where, after a great deal of counsel whether to set upon it now or delay for better and more full advice, to digging we went till almost eight o'clock at night, but could find nothing.” Again dived Pepys and his labourers into the Tower cellars, and again he says, “We went away the second time like fools.” A third time they went, with a woman who knew all about the matter; but with the like success. A fourth time they applied themselves to work in the garden; and Pepys, somewhat cold and tired, betook himself to the fire in the governor's house, beguiling the time with reading one of Fletcher's plays. "We went to them at work, and, having wrought below the bottom of the foundation of the wall, I bid them give over, and so all our hopes ended.” Baxter's cellars tell a tale of private appropriation of public property.

In the reign of James II., was commenced the grand storehouse, on the north side of the inner ward. This building was completed in the reign of William III., and was utterly destroyed by fire in the reign of Queen Victoria. The principal buildings that were added to the Tower in the next century were houses for heads of departments, storehouses, and barracks. All these, as it may be supposed, are perfectly incongruous with the ancient character of the place.

The great fire at the Tower on the 30th of October, 1841, has fixed the public attention, with an earnestness previously unknown, on this most interesting of all the monuments of our ancient history. It is not to meet the demand of a mere temporary excitement that we intend devoting a Series of Numbers to a view of the Tower under its most important aspects. Sooner or later we should have taken

this large subject, and have exhausted it, as far as was compatible with the plan of our work. But the recent destruction of “the Great Storehouse," — which is sometimes also named “the Small Arms Armoury”—not only forces upon


« AnteriorContinuar »