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gust the people with their fanatical and Republican leaders. “ Like Samson,” says Heath,“ he did the Philistines more harm by his death than he had done by his life.” Lord Capel's demeanour at the last afforded a beautiful picture of dignified innocence and Christian fortitude. Lord Clarendon says, — “ After some prayers very devoutly pronounced upon his knees, he submitted himself, with an unparalleled Christian courage, to the fatal stroke, which deprived the nation of the noblest champion it had.” “He was a man,” says Clarendon elsewhere, “ that whoever shall after him deserve best of the English nation, he can never think himself undervalued when he shall hear that his courage, virtue, and fidelity, are laid in the balance with, and compared with those of Lord Capel.” Even Cromwell, though he refused to save his life, did honour to the talents which he feared, and the unbending probity, which it would have been well if he had imitated.
During the last century, New Palace Yard, from the convenience which its open space afforded, was frequently the scene where criminals were exposed on the pillory. When the celebrated John Wilkes had the boldness to republish his famous No. 45 of “ The North Briton,” so obnoxious to George the Third and his ministers, it was in the New Palace Yard that his unlucky publisher, Mr. John Williams, a bookseller in Fleet Street, was made to stand in the pillory, on the 14th of February, 1765. The result, however, was very different from
what the ministers either hoped, or perhaps anticipated. Instead of pelting the offender with filth and stones, the mob hailed his appearance on the pillory with repeated cheers; he was brought, in a kind of triumph, to and from Palace Yard, in No. 45 hackney-coach, and even the driver, partaking of the general enthusiasm, refused to be remunerated for his trouble. In ridicule of the Prime Minister, Lord Bute, a Scotch bonnet, a jack-boot, and an axe, were suspended near the pillory, and, after dangling there for some time, a fire was lighted, the top of the boot was cut off, and, together with the bonnet, was burnt amidst the laughter and acclamations of the people. While this was going on, a gentleman put a guinea into a large purse, and handing it among the crowd, collected no less than two hundred guineas for the benefit of the political martyr.
New Palace Yard was anciently surrounded by a wall, in which there were four gates; one on the east, leading to Westminster Stairs, of which some remains existed within the last few years; another to the north, where Bridge Street now stands; a third on the west, taken down in 1706, and a fourth leading into Old Palace Yard, which was demolished as late as 1731.
ITS ERECTOR. --THE HALL FOR THE CORONATION AND BANQUETINGS
OF THE ENGLISI KINGS. -EXTRAORDINARY SCENES AND REMARKABLE TRIALS WHICH HAVE OCCURRED THERE FROM THE TIME OF
WILLIAM RUFUS TILL THE PRESENT DAY.
WESTMINSTER Hall is perhaps the most interesting apartment in Europe: to an Englishman it is unquestionably so. Who is there, indeed, whose philosophy is so cold, or whose heart is so dead to every poetical or romantic feeling, as to be able to cross, without deep emotion, the threshold of the colossal banqueting-room of the Norman Kings, associated as it is in our minds with so many scenes of gorgeous splendour, so many events of tragical interest? Here our early monarchs sat personally in judgment on their subjects; here, on its vastest scale, was displayed the rude but magnificent hospitality of the Middle Ages; here a long line of sovereigns, – the Norman, the Tudor, the Plantagenet, and the Stuart,—have sat at their gorgeous coronation banquets; here Edward the Third embraced his gallant son, when the “sable warrior" returned from the bloody field of Poictiers conducting a monarch as his captive; and here were the trial-scenes of the young and accomplished Essex,
the stately Strafford, and the ill-fated Charles the First !
Westminster Hall, it is almost needless to remark, was originally erected by William Rufus, to serve as a banqueting-hall to the palace of the Confessor. It was completed in 1099, in which year we find him keeping his court beneath its roof. “In this year,” writes Matthew Paris, “ King William, on returning from Normandy into England, held, for the first time, his court in the new Hall at Westminster. Having entered to inspect it, with a large military retinue, some persons remarking that it was too large, and larger than it should have been, the King replied that it was not half so large as it should have been, and that it was only a bed-chamber in comparison with the building which he intended to make.” This same year, according to Stow, William Rufus kept his Whitsuntide in the Palace of Westminster, and feasted in his new banqueting-hall“ very royally.”
Henry the First, King Stephen, and Henry the Second were severally crowned in the Abbey of Westminster, and doubtless kept their coronation feasts in the old Hall. Here also Henry, the eldest son of Henry the Second, was crowned in the lifetime of his father, and the banquet in Westminster Hall, which followed, is rendered not a little remarkable from the following scene, as described by one of the old chroniclers.
“ The King,” says Holinshed, “ upon that day served his son at the table as sewer, bringing up the boar's head, with
trumpets before it, according to the usual manner. Whereupon the young man, conceiving a pride in his breast, beheld the standers-by with a more stately countenance than he had wont. The Archbishop of York, who sat by him, marking his behaviour, turned unto him, and said, — Be glad, my good son, there is not another prince in the world hath such a sewer at his table.' To this the new King answered, as it were disdainfully,—
Why dost thou marvel at that? My father, in doing it, thinketh it not more than becometh him ; he, being of princely blood only on the mother's side, serveth me that am a King born, having both a King to my father, and a Queen to my mother.' Thus the young man, of an evil and perverse nature, was puffed up with pride by his father's 'unseemly doing."
During the reigns of Richard the First and King John we find no particular notices of Westminster Hall, but, as both these monarchs were crowned and kept their courts at Westminster, they must often have banqueted beneath its roof.
On the occasion of his marriage, in January, 1236, with Eleanor, daughter of Raymond Earl of Provence, and her subsequent coronation, we find Henry the Third giving a magnificent banquet in Westminster Hall. “At the nuptial feast,” says Matthew Paris, “ were assembled such a multitude of the nobility of both sexes ; such numbers of the religious, and such a variety of stage-players, that the city of London could scarcely contain