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Palmer, could be deprived of his liberty : the order simply states, that for “treason of the highest nature,” the said earl must be kept safe and a close prisoner. No doubt! In the order, the word “close” prisoner is scored under to render it emphatic, and à note in the margin explains that this act of commitment is made out in his Majesty's presence, and the score is made at his especial command. How one can fancy Charles doing all this !
1678. Lord Stafford.
1679. Samuel Pepys, the diarist. He was suspected of some connexion with the Popish Plot. After a while he was liberated on giving bail for 30,0001.--The Earl of Danby.
1681. John Wilmot.— The Earl of Shaftsbury.
1683. William, Lord Russell. - Charles, Lord Brandon.--Algernon Sidney.
1685. Sir Robert Cotton, the famous collector of MSS. - John Hampden, grandson of the great Hampden, the friend of Eliot.—The Duchess of Monmouth and her children. James, Duke of Monmouth.
1688. The year of the Revolution the Tower had many inmates. The first and chiefest man sent to it was the infamous Lord Jeffreys.— William Penn, for public preaching in the streets. Here he wrote his “No Cross, no Crown.”
1689. Earl of Salisbury.- Earl of Peterborough. -Captain Churchill, for taking money for convoys contrary to law : a family weakness.
1691. Henry, Earl of Clarendon.
1692. John, the famous Duke of Marlborough.
1694. Henry Grey, Member of the Commons, for taking a bribe of two hundred guineas. (A hint for our own times.)
1698. Earl Coningsby, for a libel on the Lord Chancellor, contained in a pamphlet.
1700. William Cotesworth, charged with bribery and corrupt practices to obtain election to Parliament.
1712. Robert Walpole, for receiving bribes.
1715. Harley, Lord Oxford, for secret correspondence with the Court of Versailles.—Earl Powis and Sir William Wyndham, for favouring the Pretender. The Earls of Derwentwater, Nithsdale, Wintown, and Carnwath ; also the Lords Kenmuir, Widdington, and Nairn, for services rendered to the Chevalier de St. George in the Scotch invasion. Nithsdale, Derwentwater, and Kenmuir, were ordered to be beheaded. The ladies of their families threw themselves at the King's feet; but the young monarch thought it necessary to make an example, and he remained deaf to the pleadings of affection. Lady Nithsdale alone did not despair: having tried the King's clemency in vain, she resolved to tax all the energies of her own mind to prevent her husband's execution, and she succeeded. The night before he was to die, he escaped from the Tower in female attire, and fled with his devoted wife beyond the sea. Next morning the other nobles suffered. Very many years after this event the Lady Nithsdale wrote to her sister, abbess of a convent in Bruges, a profoundly interesting account of it, which will be found in the Appendix.
1717. William Shippen, the "downright Shippen of Pope
“ I love to pour out all myself, as plain
As downright Shippen or as old Montaigne"for telling George of Brunswick, in Parliament, that no man could be King of England who was unable to speak its language.
1722. Atterbury, the accomplished Bishop of Rochester, the friend of Swift and Pope.-The Earl of Orrery.
1760. Earl Ferrers ; he was hanged for the murder of Johnson, his servant.
1763. John Wilkes, the famous demagogue ; no charge specified !
1780. Lord George Gordon. He died in Newgate. 1794. John Horne Tooke. 1798. Arthur O'Connor. 1801. Lord Cloncurry. Never brought to trial. 1810. Sir Francis Burdett.
1820. Arthur Thistlewood, and the other Catostreet conspirators.
Since this date, no person has been committed to the Tower. Let us all hope there will never be another.
The Queen's Prison.
Who has not heard of Queen's Bench prison ? Who, that has come to years of discretion, and inherited that's right of man," the privilege of going to gaol for his own debts, has not more than heard of it? Is there a lounger in Pall-mall, a saunterer in Regent-street, who has not had a friend there at one time of his life or another ? Has not every one known men prefer it to Rome, Baden-Baden, or Vienna ? In fact, where is the statesman, poet, artist, noble, wit, politician, or philosopher, who has not paid a visit to its secluded courts—taken momentary shelter from the storms of life within its peaceful haven--and gathered there new strength to contend against a wasteful world ? Queen’s Bench ! Why, the very words sound like an oracle, and stir the depths of memory as a dream. There are history and romance in its sound. Before the mind's eye moves a procession of glorious and spectral formsauthors, heroes, artists, who for a time have hallowed with their life, and thought, and fancies, the precincts which it names.
Queen's Bench ! The muse has
sung, and art embodied thee in a thousand tones and shapes. In prose and rhyme, in sound and tint, thy votaries have made thee like a household thing in English homes. No one, indeed, but knows thee well-perhaps too well; for thou art truly not so bright, curious, picturesque, as the imagination paints thee. The pencil of Haydon and the pen of Fielding have shed a glory round thee which is not thy own. In truth, genius has dealt with thee too graciously. So many rays from the luminous track of our country's literature have fallen on thy walls and courts, we hardly think of thee as the dark and loathsome thing thou art. The foreign splendours rest upon thee as a veil : but in truth it is the veil of a Mokannah-hiding a very hideous thing beneath.
When the Queen's Bench was first built and used as a gaol, is not now known. Stow says, the Courts of King's Bench and Chancery were, in early times, often removed from one town to another, as were also the gaols which served them. The dates of the courts are, therefore, no certain indication of the date of the prison. That it is very old, there can be no doubt : it was hither that the mad-cap Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V., was sent by the outraged Judge Gascoigne; and the room in which he was confined was known as the Prince of Wales's chamber down to the time of Oldys. From this period, references to the prison are numerous in our literature. In 1684, John Rushworth, the famous author of the “Historical Collection of Printed Pas