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The subject of this work is one which has engaged less attention than any other connected with the regalities and antiquities. Mr. Arthur Taylor's Glory of Regality is the only volume on Coronations intended for anything more than a temporary purpose, the gratification of curiosity, when the approaching celebration of such a ceremonial directs public attention to the topic. But though Coronations in modern times are mere forms, they were anciently matters of grave and serious import, and every change in their ritual was connected with the weightiest constitutional questions. The festivities with which they were accompanied, as described in our ancient Chronicles, furnish us also with the most lively picture of national manners, and the changes produced in them by the gradual progress of civilization.
It has been the object of the Author to trace briefly the origin and purpose of the various ceremonies connected with the coronation of English sovereigns, and to illustrate their design by comparing those of ancient with modern times, and contrasting our forms with those employed by foreign nations. A collection
of Coronation Anecdotes is added, detailing the most remarkable incidents which occurred at the accession and recognition of England's monarchs since the Norman conquest; which, it is hoped, will be found to illustrate, not only the forms and ceremonies, but also the personal character of the sovereigns, and the gradual advancement of the country in knowledge and civilization.
Procession from the Tower to Westminster.
X. THE CORONATION FEAST
DIRECTIONS FOR PLACING THE PLATES.
THE ORIGIN OF CORONATIONS. The ceremony of the Coronation is not to be regarded simply as a splendid spectacle, and an imposing form; it is a solemn recognition of the mutual obligations between the sovereign and the subjects, made in the presence of that Almighty Being “ by whom alone kings do reign.” When God selected Saul to be the first king over his chosen people, we find that “Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance ?' (1 Sam. x. 1.) From that period, the unction, or anointing with oil, became an important part of the ceremonials used at the installation of kings in Judah and Israel. St. Augustine expressly assures us that this custom was peculiar to the Jews: “Nowhere else,” he says, “ were kings anointed, than in that kingdom where Christ was foretold, and whence he was to come.” The ceremony of Saul's inauguration was a simple recognition: “ Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king." (1 Sam. X. 24.) The ceremonies used at the coronation of David were also unction and recognition, and the forms were used when Solomon was made king, during the life-time of his father. But when Jehoash, being