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“sharp.” Henry VIII. seems to have exercised his taste in endeavouring to abolish this discrepancy.
The history of English coronations presents but few striking events. They are pageants for the eye of existing generations; and the sameness which has been so studiously given to them for one species of effect, renders them almost lifeless in history.
Prince Egferth, son of Offa, king of Mercia, presents us with the first instance of a royal consecration. He is said to have been “hallowed to king," by his father, A. D. 785, though it is uncertain in what form. In the next instance, that of Eardwulf, king of Northumberland, the church assumes the prominent part she has ever since borne in these ceremonies; this monarch being said, in the Saxon Chronicle, to have been consecrated, and placed upon his throne, by “Eanbalde, archbishop, and Æthelberhte, Higbalde, and Badewulfe, bishops."
A female coronation-service is the first of which there are any existing details. * It is that of Judith, a French princess, who was crowned and anointed at Rheims, in 856, on her marriage with Æthelwulf, king of the West Saxons. A royal seat was assigned her in this ceremony on a level with the king's, and she is said to have received the title of queen as one that had been disused, among the Saxons, since the circumstance of Eadburga having poisoned her husband, king Brightric. The honours thus bestowed upon Judith were, however, distasteful to Æthelwulf's people; and we accordingly read of no other female coronation for upwards of a century.
At the coronation of Edwy, in 955, we find the church in all the insolence of power, in the outrage committed on the person of the sovereign at this time, by forcing him back to the coronation-feast. An experiment seems to have been made by Dunstan on the temper and talents of the young king, which partially failed, but which only inflamed the heartless prelate to those new schemes of domination which long made the crown of England to “onerate rather than to honour her princes.”+
William the Conqueror's boisterous coronation is, however, in character. It was not,” indeed, says Lord Lyttelton," without the appearance and form of an election, or free acknowledgment of the people," while Brompton says, he wished to be crowned, “ that he might then become a legitimate prince;" but when the question was put to the people, whether they consented to do him homage, the acclamations were so loud and violent, that his Norman soldiers imagined his subjects to have become conquerors, and set fire to the abbey church to repulse them.
See Duchesne's Historiæ Francorum Script. p. 423, &c. + A saying ascribed by Camden to Edward I.
We have an unique coronation of the heir apparent, as a titular king, in the reign of Henry II.; and the father having, on this occasion, waited on the son at table, the latter remarked, " it was no such great condescension for the son of an earl to wait on the son of a king.”
The coronation of Richard I. was distinguished by an abundance of those feudal ceremonies which are so admirably described by the author of “ Ivanhoe,” and disgraced by an indiscriminate massacre of the Jews. “Except, perhaps, the flying fish, there was no race existing on the earth, in the air, or the waters," says that distinguished writer, “who were the object of such an unremitting, general and relentless persecution, as the Jews of this period. It is a well known story of King John, that he confined a wealthy Jew in one of the royal castles, and daily caused one of his teeth to be torn out, until, when the jaw of the unhappy Israelite was half disfurnished, he consented to pay a large sum, which it was the tyrant's object to extort from him."*
Amongst the regal honours of Edward I. we find a king of Scots offering his homage “ for the realme of Scotland, in like manner,” says Holinshed, “ as other the kings of Scotland before him had doone to other kings of England, ancestours to this King Edward;" and assisting to “ let go at liberte (catch them that catch might) five hundred great horses.”
Richard II. is the first of our kings who made his “ progresse through the citie" prior to his coronation, a custom continued to the time of Charles II., who“ dined early” at the Tower, i.e. at nine o'clock in the morning, lest, like Richard, he should be “ oppressed with fatigue and long fasting.” Froissart furnishes us with a detail of the progress and coronation of Henry IV., which includes a lively sketch of another ancient ceremonythe creation of Knights of the Bath at this period, which has been latterly disused. Of the ceremonies less known to us, he says, “ On the Saturday before the coronation, the new king went from Westminster to the Tower of London, attended by great numbers, and those squires who were to be knighted watched their arms that night : they amounted to forty-six : each squire had his chamber and bath, in which he bathed. The ensuing day the Duke of Lancaster, after mass, created them knights, and presented them with long green coats, with straight sleeves, lined with minever, after the manner of prelates. These knights had on their left shoulders a double cord of white silk, with white tufts hanging down. The Duke of Lancaster left the Tower this Sunday after dinner, on his return to Westminster : he was bareheaded, and had round his neck the order of
* Ivanhoe, vol. i. p. 120,1.
the king of France. The Prince of Wales, six dukes, six earles, eighteen barons accompanied him; and there were of knights, and other nobility, from eight to nine hundred horse in the procession. The duke was dressed in a jacket, after the German fashion, of cloth of gold, mounted on a white courser, with a blue garter on his left leg. He passed through the streets of London, which were all handsomely decorated with tapestries and other rich hangings : there were nine fountains in Cheapside, and other streets he passed through, which perpetually ran with white and red wines. He was escorted by prodigious numbers of gentlemen, with their servants in liveries and badges, and the different companies of London were led by their wardens, clothed in their proper livery, and with ensigns of their trade. The whole cavalcade amounted to six thousand horse, which escorted the duke from the Tower to Westminster. That same night the duke bathed, and on the morrow confessed himself, as he had good need to do.”*
We shall probably resume these fragments in another Number, having a royal abundance of materials before us. C.
JONATHAN KENTUCKY'S JOURNAL.-N0. IV. April 27th. The more I see of the English, the more I feel the justice of Voltaire's remark, who compared them to a hogshead of their own beer ;—the top froth, the bottom dregs, the middle excellent. It has been observed by philosophers, that virtue is always seated in the mean between two extremes ; so, in another sense, the little virtue in the world may be said to reside amongst the middle class of mankind, which may fairly be called the temperate zone of society; the inhabitants of which being equally removed from the extremes of wealth and want, are neither allured by ambition nor driven by poverty to deviate from the straight road of integrity. The national character is much what one might expect from the national nick-name; and the nick-name of John Bull has, perhaps, not been without its use in fixing the national character. I have, indeed, for some time been half converted to the hypothesis of Walter Shandy, who asserted, “ that there was a strange kind of magic bias impressed upon our characters and conduct, by the choice and imposition of names. The instance of Christopher Columbus first staggered me: the one clearly indicating that he was to carry the Christian religion to the New World; the other having a no less clear reference to the dove which was sent out from the ark, and brought back the first intelligence of a world that had
Jotmes's Froissart, v. xii.
been hidden by the waters. Again, if we were to inquire what made Mungo Park, from his earliest years, cherish with so much eagerness the design of exploring the wilds of Africa; Mr. Shandy would answer-his godfathers and godmothers : and this explanation of the matter is, at least, as intelligible as the craniological system of Gall and Spurzheim, who would affect to trace all our inward propensities to certain outward protuberances, and draw out the chart of our lives from inspecting the maps of our skulls. I am, indeed, inclined to push the hypothesis still further than Mr. Shandy, who, if I remember rightly, limits his observations to Christian names; for, wherever I go, I discover fresh proofs of the unlimited extent of those mysterious coincidences, which seem to be brought about by the “ gic of a name.” Thus, when I was travelling in Spain, I ceased to be surprised at many things in that country, when I collected from a learned volume of geography, that the Spaniards were lineally descended from the ancient tribes of the Turduli and Turditani. And here, in London, when I meet with such associations as Dunn, Tailor; Giblet, Butcher; True-fit, Wig-maker; Cut-more, Eating-house keeper; Boil-it, Fishmonger; can I suppose it was chance alone that determined the choice of these individuals to professions so strangely corresponding with their names? Or, when I read the names of “ Still, Strong, and Rack-'em," on the door of an attorney's office in Lincoln's-Inn, can I refuse to believe that there is something more than natural, if philosophy could find it out, which brought into conjunction such a fearful partnership of appropriate qualifications, as are clearly indicated by the several denominations of this legal trio. Nay, there would even seem to be a secret meaning in the very letters of a name, which only require to be decompounded and newly-arranged, to reveal the life and character of the wearer. Let those who may be disposed to laugh at this theory as fanciful, remember, that they might in this manner have read the history of the battle of the Nile at the christening of Horatio Nelson-Honor est à Nilo.
But to return from this digression to John Bull. Let the English, if they are wise, cherish this nick-name, which, as I have before observed, has more influence than is commonly supposed upon the national morals and character, by unconsciously disposing every individual to illustrate, in his own person, the plain downright sincerity of manner, the straight-forward integrity of principle, and the hearty warmth of hospitality which have always been attributed to that ideal character.
May 1st. I had looked forward with some curiosity to a May-day in England, of which we read so much in books of poetry and romance. But alas! the age of poetry and romance is, like the age of chivalry, extinct. The Queen of the May is
Vol. II, No. 7.-1821,
no longer to be seen in the pride and pomp of her ancient state; unless, indeed, she be sought in my countryman Mr. Leslie's charming picture ;--which the artist may study for its composition, the antiquary for its historical research, and the general observer for its sentiment and expression. The festivities of May-day now present little more than a tawdry crew of dancing chimney-sweepers, to whom the task of doing suitable honour to the fair divinity of the month seems, in these degenerate days, to be exclusively consigned. It is impossible to grudge these poor miserable victims of an ill-ordered system, the gleam of gladness which the anniversary of this festival imparts to them; but sallying out of my chamber with my imagination full of
Zephyr and Aurora playing,
As he met her once a Maying :I own I was somewhat disconcerted by these sooty personifications of the creatures of my fancy, who reminded me rather of G. Selwyn's witticism:-" I have often heard,” said he, “ of the majesty of the people, but I never till now saw any of the princes of the blood.” I passed the day in Kensington Gardens, which furnish a beautiful retreat from the noise and nonsense of the world, to those who can afford the time that it requires to emigrate so far. Being more anxious to economize time than money, I was tempted to enter one of the stages that ply for passengers at the White Horse Cellar. By the way, I am surprised the police of the metropolis does not interfere to control the conduct of the drivers of these vehicles, who, assisted by their jackalls, beset and persecute every passer-by with a degree of rudeness that is often pushed to personal violence. There is, frequently, a contest amongst them for a female fare, who is hauled backwards and forwards by these pertinacious assailants, and, as is too much the case with that complying sex, who, as Rochefoucault tells us, yield oftener from weakness than affection, she generally falls a prey to the boldest pretender. An elderly lady, with a band-box upon her knee, who had, just before we started, been reluctantly persuaded to occupy the last remaining bodkin seat, put her head out of the window just as we were entering Kensington, and desiring the coach to stop, order. ed the driver to set her down at the top of Walnut-tree Walk. “Walnut-tree Walk, Ma'am!” said Coachee, “ I know no such place as Walnut-tree Walk here.” “Why, God bless me then, said the old gentlewoman,“ Are n't you the Kennington Coach?" “ Lord love you, no, Ma'am,” replied he, “I am the Kensington coachman!!” The distress of the old lady was almost too great to be diverting. We recommended her to walk to the river side, and to get across the water in a boat to Kennington; --but nothing would compose her. Walking in the heat of the