Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

295

.

room.

had sentenced them to imprisonment for the term of than many a deeper sign of woe, still presented themone hour, and to wait for their money till such time as selves to my imagination with a vividness which was I should further decree, which I begged to assure them almost painful. I had received a note from her about would not be until I might find it perfectly convenient a week bufore, in which she told me that Cumberland to myself to pay them; and I wound up by telling them had been absent from the Priory for some days, and to make themselves quite at home, entreating them not as long as this was the case, she was comparatively free to fatigue themselves by trying to get out, for that they from annoyance, but that Mr. Vernon's mind was had not a chance of succeeding; inquiring whether they evidently as much set upon the match as ever; nothing, had any commands for London, and wishing them a however, she assured me, should induce her to consent, very affectionate farewell for some time to come. And for much as she had always disliked the scheme, then down I ran, leaving them roaring and bellowing she now felt that death were far preferable to a union like so many mad bulls,-got to the office just in time, with a man she despised ; and she ended by saying, and tipping the coachman, drove three parts of the way that whenever she felt inclined to give way to despair, to town, feeling as jolly as if I had won a thousand the remembrance of my affection came across her like pounds on the Derby.”

a sunbeam, and rendered her happy even in the midst “And what became of the locked-up tradesmen ?" of her distress.-Oh ! what would I not have given, to inquired I.

have possessed the de ir privilege of consoling her, to "Oh! why they stayed there above two hours before have told her that she had nothing to fear, that my love anybody let them out, amusing themselves by smashing should surround and protect her, and that under the the windows, breaking the furniture to pieces, (one of hallowing influence of sympathy our happiness for the them was an upholsterer, and had an eye to business, I future would be increased twofold, while sorrow shared dare say,) and kicking all the paint off the door be ween us would be deprived of half its bitterness,--in However, I have written to Skulker, to get it all set to fa ut, long before I arrived at the cottage I had worked rights, and send me the bill, so no harm's done,- it will myself up into a great state of excitement, and had teach those fellows a lesson they won't forget in a hurry, originated more romantic nonsense than is promulgated and the next time they wish to bully a Cantab, they'll in a " seminary for young ladies," in the interval between recollect my little matinée musicale, as I call it.- the time when the French teacher has put out the Oh ! they made a sweet row, I can assure you, Sir.” candle, and the fair pupils have talked themselves to

The chestnuts trotted merrily on their homeward sleep, which if report does not belie them, is not until journey, and the noble oaks of Heathfield Park, their they have forfeited all chance of adding to their leafless branches pointing like giant arms to the cold attractions by getting a little beauty-sleep before twelve blue sky above them, soon came in sight.

o'clock. “ You are a great deal too early for dinner, Lawless," “Ah, Frank ! back already! what have you done said I, as we drove up; “suppose you walk down to our with Lawless?" exclaimed Oaklands, raising his eyes cottage, and let me introduce you to my mother and from the chessboard as I entered our little drawing. sister; you'll find Oaklands there, most likely, for he talked of going to play chess."

“ He will be here shortly,” replied I, “but he posi"Eh! your mother and sister! by Jove I never tively refused to face the ladies till he had changed his thought of them ; I declare I had forgotten there were ! shooting costume, so I left him up at the Hall to adonize; any ladies in the case -I can't go near them in this but how goes the game? who is winning?" pickle, I'm all over mud and pheasant feathers, they'll “ As was certain to be the case, I am losing," answered take me for a native of the Sandwich Islands, one of Fanny. the boys that ate Captain Cook,--precious tough work it Well, I won't disturb you," returned I, "and permust have been, too, for he was no chicken; I wonder haps you will have finished before Lawless makes his how they trussed him-No! I'll make myself a little appearance; where is my mother, by the bye?”. more like a christian, and then I'll come down and be ‘She only left the room just as you returned,” replied introduced to them if its necessary, but I shall not be Fanny quickly, “she has been sitting here ever since able to say half-a-dozen words to them : it's a fact, I Mr. Oaklands came.” never can talk to a woman, except that girl at old Cole- “I do not wish to know where she has been, but man's hop, Di Clapperton; she went the pace with me, where she is,” rejoined I, “I want to tell her that Lawless no end. By the way, how's the other young woman, is coming to be introduced to her;- is she up-stairs ?” Miss Clara Sav--.

“I believe she is," was the reply, “but you will only “If you really want to dress before you come to the worry her if you disturb her; mamma particularly discottage,” interrupted I hastily, "you have no time to likes being hunted about, you know; you had better lose."

sit still, and she will be down again in a few minutes." “ Hav'nt I ? off we go then,” cried my companion ; " There is no such thing as free will in this world, I "here, you lazy young imp,” he continued, seizing believe," exclaimed I, throwing myself back in an easy Shrimp by the collar of his coat, and dropping him to chair; “however, as you do not very often play the the ground, as one would a kitten, “ find my room, and tyrant, you shall have your own way this time. Harry, get out my things directly-brush along."

the chestnuts did their work to admiration, Lawless So saying, he sprang from the phaeton, and rushed was delighted with them, and talked of nothing else into the hall, pushing Shrimp before him, to the utter half the way home.” consternation of the dignified old butler, who, ac- “ I don't doubt it-your queen's in danger, Fanny," customed to the graceful indolence which characterised was the answer. his young master's every movement, was quite un- Seeing that my companions appeared entirely enprepared for such an energetic mode of proceeding. grossed by their game, i occupied myself with a book

Forgetting that politeness required me to wait for till I heard the ominous sounds, “ Check ! excuse me, my companion, I threw the reins to a groom, and the knight commands that square ; you have but one started off at a quick pace in the direction of the move-checkmate !” “Who has won? though I need cottage.

not ask. How dare you beat my sister, master Harry ?” Lawless's concluding words had aroused a train of “I had some trouble in doing it, I can tell you," thought sufficiently interesting to banish every other replied Oaklands, then turning to Fanny he continued, recollection. Sweet Clara ! it was quite a month since had you but moved differently when I castled my I had parted from her, but the soft tones of her silvery king to get out of your way, the game would have been voice still lingered on my ear,—the trustful expression entirely in your own hands, for I was so stupid, that up of her bright eyes—the appealing sadness of that to that moment I never perceived the attack you were mournful smile, more touching in its quiet melancholy | making upon me."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

a

9

“Really I don't think I had a chance of beating you; , the visible glow of the breath, realizing in itself, as it Frank must take you in hand next, he is a much better settled on the hair and clothing, the beautiful pheplayer than I am.

nomenon which envelop the trees and shrubs, create “Indeed I am not going to be handed over to Frank, sensations which such a moment alone can produce. or any one else, in that summary way, I can assure you; It was on such a morning, with the sun shining I intend to have another game of chess with you to brightly as in midsummer, but clear and cold, that I morrow, after we come in from our ride.-I forgot to left St. Petersburg with a few friends, with the intention tell you that Harris says the little grey Arab carries a of 'skaiting down to Cronstadt. The frozen surface of lady beautifully-however, I left orders for one of the the Neva was passable by carriages, and the ice on the boys to exercise her well this afternoon, with a side- Gulf of Finland was said to extend unbroken for ninety saddle and a horse-cloth, to enact the part of a lady. miles; thus we apprehended no danger, and started on At what hour shall we ride tomorrow ? it is generally our expedition in the highest spirits. The ice on the fine before luncheon at this time of year, I think.” Nera, and at its mouth, where it expands as it enters

“Oh! you are very kind,” replied Fanny, hurriedly, the Gulf, is not formed in an uniform surface by the “ but I am afraid I cannot ride to-morrow."

action of the frost, but is rough, and piled up by being “Why not? what are you going to do?" inquired Oak- composed of the vast masses, which floating from the lands.

Ladoga lake become arrested by some turn or angle in "I am not going to do anything particularly,” re- the shores, and packing together remain firmly united, turned Fanny, hesitating, but I don't know whether leaving at intervals little pools, or open places, which my habit is in wearable order, and - well I will talk to freeze subsequently with a smooth transparent face. mamma about it-by the bye, I really must go and see Among these obstructions it is necessary to pick the what has become of her all this time,” she continued, way, and select the most favourable course. rising to leave the apartment.

For several miles we careered gaily along, and already "I thought there was nothing my mother disliked so the distance, and the grey neutral tint with which much as being hunted about,” rejoined I; “I wonder extreme frost envelops remote objects had dimmed you can think of disturbing her."

the glittering steeples of the city behind us, when a A playful shake of the head was her only reply, and catastrophe occurred, which mercifully was not fatal she quitted the room.

in its effects.

We had passed over so many of these transparent frozen pools that we had no misgivings as to the

treachery of their surface, but rather sought them out as AN ADVENTURE IN THE GULF OF FINLAND. affording the clearest field for our progress. One of

larger extent than usual lay in my path, and I dashed MIDwinter in the higher latitudes has not only its fearlessly on it, but I felt the ice bend beneath me, and beauties but its enjoyments, and certainly, in many long star-like cracks, splitting with a sharp report, particulars, a residence in the north of Europe during marked my progress. I perceived my danger, and that season is infinitely more agreeable than in the endeavoured to propel myself without striking out or more southern parts, where rain, wind, damp and fog but my precautions were fruitless. The ice was giving

allowing my weight to become stationary for a moment, constitute so great a portion of the winter months. way beneath me, and I immediately threw myself flat Cold, however intense, when unaccompanied with wind, on my face, hoping that by distributing my weight over is far more bearable than a higher temperature with a the surface I might yet save myself; such was not, searching blast, penetrating to the very bones, and the however, my good fortune, for after bearing me up for humid air which hangs heavily around. Within doors an instant, it gave way on all sides, and I was floating in the north the whole house is warmed to an agreeable The intense cold cut me through the middle as with a

in the water entangled with the broken fragments. and even temperature, and the inclemency without is knife, depriving me of breath, but there was not a defied, but here we find drafts assailing us from every moment to lose. I saw my companions tie their handcrevice, ill-constructed fire-places which convey no kerchiefs together, and endeavour to slide them to me warmth to the rooms, and sleeping rooms which make with a stick, but I felt that the attempt was hopeless, bed a penance and rising an ordeal, and to say nothing and that my safety must be gained by my own exertions. of the injury of those chilly chambers to the health.

I was collected enough to know that I must face the We occasionally, but not often, see in miniature some

stream to avoid being sucked under the ice, so I struck

out with my feet to swim, and clutched the margin of of the glorious winter days of the north, which exhilarate the ice with my bands, which broke and splintered the spirits, brace the nerves, and fill us with enjoyment. before me as I bore upon it, cutting and tearing them A bright sun tinges the whitened surface of the ground most severely, a circumstance which I was not aware of with a thousand prismatic colours, sparkling and till afterwards. . At last, after the most violent and glittering like the jewelled gardens of the fabled east; exhausting exertions, I succeeded in reaching the thick the window panes, as if touched by the wand of enchant- and solid body of the ice, and with the assistance of my ment, exhibit in a thousand different devices of the companions gained its surface. The thermometer stood most delicate tracery the graceful foliage and vegetation at twelve degrees below zero, and in a moment my wet of the tropics, imprinted by the power whose breath garments encased me as if in armour. We were far would blight and destroy the beautiful realities in from the shore, and farther from any human dwelling, nature, while here it brings new wonders to our view. and thus, as assistance was out of the question, there was The heretofore dark and barren-looking trees, naked nothing left but to basten homewards with all possible and harsh in their outlines, glance in the sun with speed. A few gymnastic-like movements of the limbs every minute spray and shoot, silvered over with the restored the clothing around the joints to a more supple most exquisite frost-work. Every thing is bright and state, so that I was able to move without difficulty, and cheerful : the fresh snow, crisped with the severe frost, the natural warmth of the body returned by the exertion lies on the ground, glittering radiantly like silver sand, of skaiting. I soon reached my home, thankful indeed piled sometimes in tiny waves, like the sea shore when for my preservation, and not the less so that I did not the rippling waters of the ebb tide have left it dry, and

even suffer the inconvenience of a cold. sometimes heaped in drift beneath the hedges in

E. P.T. wreaths and billows arched as if prone to fall, but arrested in their course. The stillness of the air, the absence of all sound, the noiseless tread of the feet, and

a

[ocr errors]

READINGS IN HISTORY.

of their large number of retainers, wearing the livery THE COURT OF STAR CHAMBER.

or badge of their lord; by the power given by the

feudal laws of redressing private grievances, and by the It has been observed that the tide of research in the disrepute into which the tribunals of the country had present day flows towards the investigation of mediæ- fallen through civil war and party oppression, thereby val history and customs; and some of the brightest giving rise to those associations among the people names of our literature have stirred the waters of early which set law at defiance. In fact, the intimate conEnglish history, laying open many a time-fostered nexion which still existed between lord and tenant, left prejudice, and bringing forth from the dark mud of the method of combating so many difficulties.

the sovereign scarcely more than a choice of evils as to party misrepresentation many a bright gem of neglected

Hallam! says, that the policy of Henry VII. has fact. It is well occasionally to look back to the times been overrated. That as changing the line of descent, in which the foundations were laid, or the superstruc- and as coinciding with the commencement of what ture raised of our present state : to endeavour to under- is termed modern history, his accession is an ara; stand, not merely how the passions of men worked but that he did not carry the authority of the crown upon the unceasing stream of events, but how that much beyond the point at which Edward IV. had

left it. His statute giving the power of alienating stream also fashioned forth the men who were to con

entailed lands. — a permission evidently tending to trol and direct its force. Thus, also, with our laws. weaken and impoverish the aristocracy, - is, with little They were framed not only in furtherance of the views variation, a transcript of a statute of Richard III. By of their makers, but in accordance with the spirit of it, entailed estates were rendered liable to forfeiture by the age; it is not the laws which have made the people, treason or felony ;-an important matter to the crown but the people who have made the laws, or at least the in times when the frequent revolutions and changes of necessity for them. We have been struck with this rulers laid in turn almost every noble of the kingdom while studying that period of our history in which the under the ban of treason and forfeiture. Under these government first took the semblance of an hereditary circumstances, and remembering Henry's disposition, monarchy; for till Henry VII. laid the foundation of the it is not surprising that in his reign we should find an Tudor power, our sovereigns were in truth elective ; irresponsible tribunal, exercising a hated and dreaded, and even at the death of Edward VI. the ambitious but unopposed, despotism. Such was the Court of Star Northumberland was undecided to which of the royal Chamber, which meets us at every turn in our civil heiresses he should present the crown of England. The wars, whether of the Roses, or the Stuarts; standing in pretensions of Henry could not be legal, on account its shadowy terror, not only as an alarm to evil doers, of the illegitimacy of his grandfather, John Beaufort, but as an instrument by which the innocent man was Duke of Somerset: and though his own instruments robbed of his fortune, while the guilty rich one bought claim an hereditary right, the Act of his parliament indemnity for crime. The term “shadowy terror ordaining "that the inheritance of the crowns of does not intimate that the inflictions of the Court of England and France, and all dominions appertaining Star Chamber were unreal or nominal; but that, to them, should remain in Henry VII. and the heirs of though not recognised by the law of England, this his body for ever,” merely asserted that right for the tribunal- by constant usage, and gradually assuming future ; it did not claim it for the past; seeming rather fresh power—had so strengthened its usurped authointended to create a parliamentary gift of the crown, rity as to become an efficient instrument of royal and place Henry as the revolutionary founder of a new rapacity. To understand the growth of this jurisdiction, dynasty.

we must look back to an earlier period of our history. The period from lienry VII. to James I. forms, The consilium ordinarium was a court held before perhaps, the most suggestive portion of our history; the king in his palace; it was composed of the members the seed was sown, and was then beginning to spring, of his privy council, with the spiritual and temporal which afterwards shed so baleful a poison over the land : peers; it was a court of jurisdiction, and the members in the selfish rapacity of Henry we behold the germ of of it were not necessarily members of the privy council; his son's tyranny, whence grew the bright flower of while the latter were the advisers of the Crown, and Protestantism in England; and in the venal corruption had a right to sit in the ordinary council. We conof his court we see the gathering clouds of that tempest stantly find traces of the interference of the king and which broke upon the unhappy Charles I. When his council in the litigations of the people, and from Henry planted his blood-soiled foot upon the throne the latter all our superior courts of justice originated. of England, the kingdom was prostrated by the ruinous Press of business, convenience, and other causes led waste of the civil wars ; her nobles were destroyed or to the establishment of separate tribunals, each having impoverished; her cities were ruined; her fields devas- its judicial office; hence arose the courts of King's tated; but in the midst of this ruin, and greatly caused Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer; but the king's by it, there was steadily rising into notice and influence, council still remained, as a court of appeal from inif not to power, that numerous class, the burghers, ferior tribunals, exercising the authority of supervision whose dominion over events,--and through them, over over writs and proceedings in common law; determinsovereigns--never again waned. Nor were the people ning matters not thus cognisable, and cases which deficient in a constitutional spirit, which showed itself seemed to demand special interference. According to in combinations and associations to resent, more fre-Lord Bacon the Star Chamber took notice of “middle quently than to repel, injustice; but the nobles, acts towards crimes, capital or heinous, not actually decimated by the field and the scaffold, and impo- committed or perpetrated." Sir T. Smith specifies verished by attainders, were but too glad to purchase scandalous reports of persons in power, and seditious safety by the sacrifice of what it would have been diffi- news, as offences which it was accustomed to punish. cult to retain. Henry could scarcely be termed his This was in violation of many ancient laws, statutes people's choice; he could not have held his crown in against the jurisdiction of the consilium ordinarium safety had he not at length yielded to their demands, having been frequently enacted. Here was truly a and associated Elizabeth of York with himself in the broad basis whereon to build arbitrary power; but even regal dignity. His first policy obviously was, to sv early as Edward II. we find the equitable jurisdiction reduce the power of those nobles whose intimate con- of the Court of Chancery growing out of the wide surnexion with the crown by marriage or descent had been veillance of the king's council; a custom having then one great moving spring of the wars of the “Roses.” sprung up of referring the petitions of suitors aggrieved Enough of feudality still remained to render these at common law to the Chancellor. In the reign of nobles equally formidable in peace as in war, by means Edward III, the people, or rather the Commons, were

[ocr errors]

:

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

cause.

beginning to feel their own weight: as an evidence of, if, dreading such confinement, he submitted to examiwhich, the parliament of Northampton, in 1328, laid nation, he was liable to hear his ignorant and careless the foundation of the resolution of the Long Parliament, words misconstrued, or tortured to suit the preconceived and the act of George II. which forbade the pre- ideas of his judges. This was indeed an exuberancy sence of the military at an election, by prohibiting of prerogative,” as Hudson terms it. A striking feature in the writ of summons the tumultuous retinues of of the time was that the process of the Star Chamber armed men which usually attended upon these occa- might be served any where, and the church was fresions. This declaration of independence was followed quently the place chosen for this purpose. The nature by the enactment of the first statute of Northampton, and manner of the interrogatories put to the accused in which provision was made for the better adminis- person by this inquisitorial tribunal may be imagined, tration of justice both in criminal and civil cases, and when we read, that Lord Chancellor Ellesmere forbade restricting the jurisdiction of the king's council to any interrogation respecting any crime not charged; cases not determinable by common law. The influence ; as whether a man be honest? or of a knight, of the nobles was checked and limited; the rights of “whether he had not hedged and ditched in his time? the people were declared and guarded, e-pecially with to disgrace him ;” but the examination was still secret, respect to commercial monopolies, which were abulished and no assistance or advice allowed to the defendent, he by this statute. In the same reign the power of the king's being obliged to answer cach question separately without council to issue special commissions was petitioned knowing its nature before hand. The examination of against by the Commons, and gradually relinquished; witnesses for the prosecution was likewise taken pribut the point was combated by Richard II. Henry IV. vately; they were not allowed to be questioned by the and Henry V.; and in the reign of Henry VI. regulations defendant as being “ for the king,” and it was alleged were passed for the management of causes before the that, were they allowed to be so examined, they would council, allowing its decision in cases where the com- be fearful of coming forward in such cases; this with plaint was against a man of great influence, or where the fact of such witnesses being richly rewarded, shows the suitor was too poor to prosecute in the inferior very clearly the system upon which the court proceeded. courts, or in which the council saw "other reasonable The court sat for the hearing of causes twice, and

This seems most excellent; as in those sometimes thrice, a week ; and after the sitting, the unsettled times, when might often prevailed over right, lords dined at the public expense; the number of these even without a struggle, and when the poor man often judges in the reign of Henry VII., and Henry VIII., possessed neither pecuniary means nor legal opportu- was nearly forty; in the time of Elizabeth, about nity of confronting his oppressor, a court to which the thirty; but afterwards, the Peers who were not Privy people might fly for relief, and obtain it without paying Councillors desisted from attendance, thus lessening the money, was needful, and likely to be of great utility; number still more. The Chancellor proceeded to the we shall see presently how it was abused.

sittings of the court in great state, with his mace and In the reigns of Henry VI. and Henry VII. the busi- seal carried before him; he was the supreme judge, and ness before the council increased; the old restrictions alone sat with his head covered. Every punishment upon its power were more and more disregarded ; and except death was claimed by the court, which generally the latter king passed an Act, giving the council autho- imposed a heavier punishment than was authorized by rity over cases which might be determined at common the statute which the accused person had violated ;law, a usurpation which afterwards hastened the down. fines, whippings, were added to the punishments orfall of the Court of Star Chamber. The council held dained by the common law; and often the inflictions their sittings in a chamber of the palace at Westmins were as absurd and degrading as they were tyrannical. ster, known as “the council chamber near the Ex- During the reign of Henry VII. the Court of Star chequer,” and the “Chambre des Estoilles ;" which Chamber comes prominently into notice, that monarch chamber is said to have been situated in the outermost himself presiding at no less than twelve sessions in the quadrangle of the palace, next the bank of the river, court within the first two years of his reign. Henry and was consequently easily accessible to the suitors. was clear-sighted in perceiving the low state of conThe name is supposed to have arisen from the ceiling of sideration and respect into which the ordinary courts the apartment being anciently gilded with stars, per- of justice had fallen ; while the combinations of the haps in imitation of the old Jewish and oriental practice nobles increasing their power at the expense of the of dispensing justice under the canopy of Heaven only. crown, could not be tolerated by a king of so despotic However this may have been, in the reign of Henry and jealous a temperament. The first act of his reign VII. we find the phrase “ The Council in the Star was calculated and intended to lessen the power of the Chamber" merged in the designation “ Court of Star barons. He administered an oath to his first parliaChamber.” The course of its jurisdiction was either by ment, that they should not receive or aid any felon, give personal summons, or by bill; the former often arose any livery or token contrary to law, nor assent to any from secret information given to the council; or“ by unlawful assembly. at a time when laws were so the curious eye of the State and King's council prying vaguely defined as at this period, such an oath as the into the inconveniences and mischiefs which abound in above, even if conscientiously kept, could scarcely the commonwealth.” The accused, or suspected person answer the purpose intended. But rapacity was a still was apprehended, dragged from home in ignorance of stronger feature than the love of power in the character the charge against him, and, without friend or counsel, of Henry ; and the Court of Star Chamber was made subjected to a rigorous examination “ before the mem- the instrument by which he accomplished his nefarious bers of a tribunal which was bound by no law, and purposes. Was a man a partizan of the White Rose ? which itself created and defined the offences it punished.". was he suspected of favouring the unfortunate There was no previously declared accusation against Earl of Warwick ?---was his spirit thought too inwhich the defendant might prepare himself; he was dependent ?- or was he reputed rich? Some long confronted with no accuser, but " in the presence of a forgotten statute, “like a sword long rusty,” was put in secret assembly, comprehending some of the most dig. force against him, and his purse paid for his pardon. nified persons of the realm,--an assembly calculated to After the death of Elizabeth, the only link which bound overawe the boldest offender, and utterly confound a Henry to the house of York, innumerable penal statutes person of any timidity, he was interrogated upon were put into execution by Empson and Dudley; and points of his conduct, respecting which the council had these®“ ravening wolves had such a guard of false received information through the trustworthy channels perjured persons belonging to them, that the king was of common rumour, or secret intelligence.” If the sure to win, whoever lost. And at this unreasonable accused would not confess, he was detained in custody and extort doing, noble men grudged, mean while the council proceeded against him by bill; and kicked, poor men lamented, preachers openly at Paul's

men

cross and other places exclaimed, rebuked and detested, of the breach of the mere letter of the statutes." We but yet they would never amend.” The king might see how much more highly he rated a pardon for legally require excessive fines from his wards, on grant- offences against himself, than for those against the law ing them liveries when they attained their majority ; of God. but, besides this source of revenue, which explains one

(To be continued.) reason why our early monarchs so eagerly claimed guardianship of the children of the nobility, Henry fined the Earl of Oxford 15,0001. for keeping his retainers in livery; an illegal custom certainly, but too

A JOURNEY TO DAMASCUS." general to be punished hitherto. Every place at court, and under the government, was also made the subject We confess it was with feelings of no little hesitation of regal barter, and even bishopricks were sold by this we took up these volumes; not that we feared the noble usurper, for such he undoubtedly was.

author's capability for the task, but simply because the In the Lansdowne MSS, and quoted by Mr. Bruce countries of which they treat have been so continually in the Archäologia, is an account of sums which were received as fines from persons who had compounded brought before the public by the various writers on the with the king; many of these receipts being by Dud- subject, that we really felt little new could be detailed. ley. Among the persons named are many of the first Most agreeably disappointed have we been. Lord Castlenobility of the land, with other persons of note and reagh has described the scenes in the various countries official position. Sir William Capel, alderman of London, through which he traversed, with a freshness and viand Giles his son, were repeatedly“ in trouble;" their gour that speedily removed any fears we might have fines amount to upwards of 3,0001. At length Sir W. had on the subject. We cannot do better than recomCapel refused all composition, and after prysonment in mend our readers to peruse the volumes themselves, the Countourand sheriff's house,was bythe king's counsell and are satisfied they will find it a most amusing and commanded to the Tower, where he remayned until entertaining task. the king died, and shortly after was delivered with many

Not the least amusing description in the book, is the others. Among these others whom Henry's death re. mode in which business is transacted by the Turkish leased from unjust and lingering imprisonment was Sir tradesmen of Cairo, who waste more time in one day Laurence Aylmer, mayor of London in 1508, he also for the sake of “smoke,” than our merchants do in the having refused to compound with the king's rapacious space of a week. Our author went with Sir G. Wilmyrmidons. Citizens of London, mayors, sheriffs, all kinson to order some clothes " from a venerable Turk were prosecuted in like manner. Not only did this named Hafiz, whom we found smoking at the bazaar respectable monarch take every occasion and pretext of in placid repose, and every now and then caressing his exacting fines from his faithful subjects in office, but he beard, or speaking to a passing acquaintance. We took double advantage of them by first selling their were invited to sit down, and he handed his pipe to appointments to them, and then severely scrutinising Ismael Effendi, by which name Sir Gardner Wilkinson is their conduct with a view to extorting as heavy sums as known here. My business was explained to him, after they could possibly bear in the shape of fines. From which he rose, put his feet into his papooshes, tucked the following items it appears that besides this fertile up his long caftan, and departed; but he soon returned, source of profit to the king's treasury, he assumed the bringing with him another Turk. At least a quarter of power of withdrawing causes from the jurisdiction of an hour was spent by them in animated discussion. other courts, upon the accused person making a pecu- The second Turk then left us, and, after a long time, niary arrangement with his tools; in Star-chamber returned with a small piece of cloth. New discussion phrase this was expressed by “the king took the matter arose, and fresh pipes were called for, with coffee and into his own hands."

sherbet. Then there was some silk to buy. Hafiz got The following are some of the items before mentioned, I into his papooshes again. Another quarter of an hour forming a curious commentary upon the provision of elapsed, and then a new consultation began. Then Magna Charta, that “right and justice are not to be came the measuring, and a great row arose upon a desold."

claration from Turk No. 2, that he wished to see a part “For the discharge of an indictment of murther, of my dress as a pattern. We tried to get him to terms found in Lincolnshire, against Jo. Cutlare, clerk, 300 without this, but in vain. After two weary hours, we marks.

had only succeeded in buying the silk and cloth, and “For Sir David Owen, for a pardon for hunting, 300 left Hafiz, promising to revisit him another time. This marks.

is an exact and faithful picture of the dealings and “For the discharge of the Earl of Devon for ex- business of this country. The merchant goes through chequers, 1000 marks.

the form of pipes, coffee, and rigmarole with you, but “Of Jo. Montgomery, knt., to have the king's favour then you must wait, while he proceeds to another stall, in traversing an indictment of murther in Staffordshire, where he gets a pipe and more rigmarole; and if he 401.

returns again to you, the same farce is repeated, so “For Rede of Pawles, for his discharge of, and for a that the whole affair of cloth, silk, buttons, lining, lace, letter by him sent to Rome against the Archbishop of measuring, fixing, time, and fashion, may occupy half Canterbury, 50 marks.

a day, and yet the work may be unfinished. Dawdling “For the Earl of Derby for his pardon 6,0001. through life is their passion; and as great a discussion

“ For the pardon of the Earl of Northumberland is made about a para or two, more or less, in their price, 10,0001.

as we should make about ten pounds. If you want a “ For the king's most gracious favour to Swan and sword, you must first buy the blade; tbe handle is sold other certaine persons of Kent, to be discharged of all by one man, and ornamented by another, a third attaint sued against them by the Earl of Essex, and Sir polishes and cleans it, a fourth makes the scabbard, a Will. Say, 8001.

fifth the belt or cord, and so on; thus the business be“For the general pardon of the Bishop of Sarum comes endless. The dealers have no idea of time, and 1,0001."

had rather not dispose of their wares at all than sell What a testimony to the state of religion, morality, them without the whole ceremony of talk, smoke, and and law in that age ! A pardon for murder bought on coffee." the same terms as one for killing the king's deer! Thus, And with a short, amusing, but not very flattering as it has been well said, "Henry converted offences into a source of revenue, and was not anxious to carry

I A Journey.to Damascus, through Egypt, Nubia, Arabia, into effect the spirit of the law, but to make money out | Petræa, and Syria, by Viscount Castlereagh.-London : Colburn.

« IndietroContinua »