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THE TOWER OF LONDON. WHAT its Capitol was to Rome—what the Kremlin is to Moscow-such is the “ Tower” to London, its palacecitadel and stronghold, and the monument most closely corinected with its popular annals and the history of the state. Indeed, it is chiefly in this latter respect, and on account of the objects of curiosity for which it serves as a repository, that the Tower now possesses much interest, since so far from being an imposing object to the eye, it shows itself only as a huddled-up mass of buildings, some of them comparatively modern, and none of them, with the exception of the new barracks, particularly dignified in appearance. The sole feature which gives character to the exterior, in a general view, is that lofty upright structure distinguished by the name of the “White Tower ;" were it not for that, which, with the turrets at its angles, forms a bold and conspicuous architectural object in the views from the river and the opposite shores, the Tower would hardly be distinguishable at any distance. To survey the Tower with advantage, taking the more important objects step by step, the visitor should commence at the entrance on the west side, after passing through which he will proceed through other fortified gateways, of rude and venerable appearance, along an avenue, bounded on the south side by the external walls and ramparts, and on the north by a very lofty mass of apparently solid wall, having only here and there an upper window, conveying the idea of habitation, and thereby rendering the expression of prodigious strength and security all the more forcible. A somewhat similar effect is produced by the smaller and more modern erections scattered about below: and at intervals one obtains peeps into streets and lanes of houses, picturesque enough when taken collectively, but not prepossessing in their physiognomy when considered separately. Having turned through the third gateway, and proceeded a short distance towards the Parade, the visitor finds himself, on turning a corner, almost at the foot of the White Tower, and coming thus suddenly upon it, is the more impressed with its loftiness.
The Tower was not always used as a dungeon; until the era of Elizabeth it was a Royal Palace, in which it was the custom of the sovereigns to spend the first week after their accession. It is now many years since ü has been used as a state prison; the last state prisoners being Thistlewood and his associates in the Cato Street Conspiracy, who were committed in 1820, five of whom were executed on the 1st of May in the same year. The entrance is through four successive gateways, which are opened at five in the morning in summer, and at daylight in the winter, with as much formality as if London was in a state of siege. The “Bloody Tower” derives its name and chief interest from its having been the place where Edward V. and his brother the Duke of York were murdered.
THE WHITE TOWER,
This structure, the most ancient of all the existing buildings, and generally supposed to have been erected, or at least begun, by the Conqueror, about 1078, when he employed Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, for his architect, is a quadrangular and nearly square edifice, measuring about one hundred and sixteen feet on its north and south sides, and ninety-six on the east and west; and is about ninety feet high, exclusively of the turrets at the four angles. After being repaired in the reign of Henry VIII. (1552), it was again put into good condition in that of George II., and the windows modernised, by being converted into the present very unNorman-looking, large, arched, sash-windows.
The Norman Chapel, in the upper part of the Keep or White Tower, once used for worship, or shown as a sacred place, is now devoted to the preservation of a portion of the public records; and the celebrated state prisons are mostly closed by military stores, or used for office purposes.
At the foot of the White Tower, on its south side, runs the long and low building used as
THE HORSE ARMOURY. It is a long, low, and not very wide room, with a sort of aisle on its south side, with pillars and arches meant to pass for Gothic. Here are ranged a long line of British monarchs and warriors on their war-steeds, and cased in complete armour, the whole forming a very interesting record of the various changes which have taken place in the use of armour from the time of Edward I. to the
present period. The ceiling is characteristically ornaI mented with devices and decorations, composed of spears, pistols, and other military weapons.
On the right of this armoury is a room containing specimens of the different kinds of fire-arms in use at various times since the first invention of gunnery; also
three swords, a helmet, and girdle, which belonged to Tippoo Saib; and some Chinese military dresses, taken in the conflicts between the British and Chinese.
QUEEN ELIZABETH'S ARMOURY Is entered by a staircase from the north-east corner of the Horse Armoury. It contains a great variety of specimens of all the weapons in use in Europe during the period preceding the introduction of fire-arms—the bill, the glaive, the gisarme, the ranseur, the spetum, the spontoon, the boar-spear, the partizan, pike, halbert, &c., with many other curiosities of that period relating to warfare; and at one end of the room a figure of Queen Elizabeth, seated on a cream-coloured horse, held by a page.
On leaving the Horse Armoury, the visitor passes near the place where stood the great Storehouse, destroyed by the disastrous fire in 1841, on the site of