[merged small][graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]
[graphic][merged small]

knees begged pardon of Henry VIII. for the 480 men and eleven women accused of being concerned in "the Rising of the Prentices,". and obtained their forgiveness. Here, May 7, 1535, Sir Thomas More was condemned to death, when his son, breaking through the guards and Ainging himself on his breast, implored to share his fate. Here Fisher, Bishop of Rochester (1535); the Protector Somerset (1552); Sir Thomas Wyatt (1554); Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk (for the sake of Mary of Scotland, 1572); Philip, Earl of Arundel (1589); Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton (1600); and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (1601), were condemned to

the block, though the two last were never executed. Here sentence was passed upon the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot in 1606, and on the Duke and Duchess of Somerset for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury in 1616.

Here. concealed behind the tapestry of a dark cabinet (1641), Charles I. and Henrietta Maria were present through the eighteen days' trial of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. In the same place Charles himself appeared as a prisoner on January 20, 1649, with the banners taken at the battle of Naseby hanging over his head. During the reading of the charge the King sat entirely unmoved in his chair, looking sometimes to the

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][merged small]

Banquet in Westminster Hall, King's Champion performing the ceremony of the Challenge.

In this Hall Charles I. was tried and condemned to death.

court and sometimes to the gal- and, hurling his mailed gauntlet leries. Occasionally he rose up and upon the ground, defies to single turned about to behold the guards combat any person who shall gainand spectators, and then sat down say the rights of the sovereign. again, but with a majestical com- This ceremony having been thrice posed countenance, unruffled by the repeated as the champion advances slightest emotion, till the clerk up the hall, the sovereign pledges came to the words Charles Stuart, him in a silver cup, which he afteras a tyrant, traitor, murderer, etc., wards sends to him. at which the king laughed, as he On ordinary days, sat, in the face of the court. A brass plate in the floor shows

“ The great Hall of Westminster, the field

Where mutual frauds are fought, and no where the King received the sen

side yield,” tence of death.

Westminster Hall was the scene was, for many years, almost given of all the Coronation banquets from up to the lawyers. Nothing in the time of William Rufus to that England astonished Peter the of George IV. On these occasions, Great more than the number of ever since the reign of Richard II., lawyers he saw there. “Why,” he the gates have been suddenly flung said, “I have only two lawyers in open, and, amid a blare of trum- all my dominions, and I mean to pets, the Royal Champion (always hang one of those when I get a Dymok or Dymoke of Scrivelsby) home." rides into the hall in full armour,

In February, 1788, Warren

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

his age,

[ocr errors]

The energy

law. Near a hundred and twenty

Fox and Sheridan;

there lords, three-fourths of the Upper was Burke;

there, with House walked in solemn order eyes reverently fixed on Burke, from their usual place of assembling appeared the finest gentleman of to the tribunal. The long proces

• the ingenious, the sion was closed by the Duke of chivalrous, the high-souled WindNorfolk, Earl Marshal of the realm, ham. by the great dignitaries, and by the On the third day Burke rose. brothers and the sons of the King. Four sittings were occupied by his Last of all came the Prince of opening speech. Wales, conspicuous by his fine per- and pathos of the great orator exson and noble bearing.

torted expressions of unwonted adThe sergeants made proclama- miration from the stern and hostile tion. Hastings advanced to the Chancellor, and for a moment bar, and bent his knee. The cul- seemed to pierce the resolute heart prit was, indeed, not unworthy of of the defendant. The ladies in that great presence. He had ruled the galleries, unaccustomed to such an extensive and populous country, displays of eloquence, excited by had made laws and treaties, had the solemnity of the occasion, and sent forth armies, had set up and perhaps not unwilling to display pulled down princes, and in his high their taste and sensibility, were in place he had so borne himself that a state of uncontrollable emotion. all had feared him, that most had

Handkerchiefs were pulled out, loved him, and that hatred itself smelling-bottles were handed round, could deny him no title to glory ex- hysterical cries and sobs were cept virtue. He looked like a great

heard, and Mrs. Sheridan was man, and not like a bad man; a per

carried out in fit. At length the son small and emaciated, yet

orator concluded. Raising his deriving dignity from a carriage voice till the old arches of Irish which, while it indicated deference oak resounded, "Therefore,' said to the court, indicated also habitual he, hath it with all confidence been self-possession and self-respect; a ordered by the Commons of Great high and intellectual forehead; a Britain that I impeach Warren brow pensive, but not gloomy; a Hastings of high crimes and mismouth of inflexible decision; a face demeanours. I impeach him in the pale and worn, but serene—such name of the Commons House of was the aspect with which the great Parliament, whose trust he has beproconsul presented himself to his trayed. I impeach him in the name judges.

of the English nation, whose "But neither the culprit nor his

ancient honours he has sullied. I advocates attracted so much notice impeach him in the name of the as his accusers. In the midst of the people of India, whose rights he blaze of red drapery, a space had has trodden under foot, and whose been fitted up with green benches country he has turned into a desert. and tables for the Commons. The Lastly, in the name of human managers, with Burke at their head, nature, in the name of both sexes, appeared in full dress. ... The in the name of every age, in the box in which the managers stood name of every rank, I impeach the contained an array of speakers common enemy and oppressor of such as perhaps had not appeared

all.' together since the great age of “ The gray old walls were hung Athenian eloquence. There were with scarlet. The long galleries

« ElőzőTovább »