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Queen Elizabeth, receiving the intelligence of her victory over the Spaniards, is standing between (Oh! that this might be at the bottom of my page!) between

“ Two STANDARDS, taken at St. Eustatia by Admiral Rodney and General Vaughan, in the American war”!—I cannot conceive any arrangement more appropriate—though, to be sure, the awkward lawsuits which continued to be brought for years against those gallant commanders, for the restitution of British property seized with the Dutch, somewhat diminishes the warlike character of the combination. We soon, however, get back to the scenes relating to the Armada, for we find that “ The whole is enclosed with a fine representation of Tilbury Fort, in imitation of bricks and hewn stones, on which are placed ten pieces of brass cannon, neatly mounted on proper carriages. These cannon were presented to Charles II. when about nine years of age, to assist him in learning the art of war, by the brass foundery of London." This I readily believe : his inajesty's military exploits are exactly in consonance with such a system of education.

There are, however, some very beautiful, and many very curious, arms taken from the Spaniards, stored in this armoury. The description of some of these is irresistibly entertaining—for instance:

“ SPANISH RANCEURS, made in different forms, and intended either to kill men on horseback, to cut the horses' reins, or to pull the men off their horses : at the back are two spikes, which we are told were to pick the roast beef out of the Englishmen's teeth"!

There are also instruments intended for less kind purposes than supplying the place of a tooth-pick-Cravats, namely, not for the neck, but to “ lock the feet, arms, and hands of the English heretics together.”Thumb-screws, of which there were several chests, it is said, on board the Armada. What seemed to me the most curious were shields, with a pistol fixed in the centre, in a manner which would permit the person discharging it to be sheltered in the shield, a small grate being fixed in it, for him to take aim through; and pikes, eighteen feet long, formed to resist cavalry—one end of the weapon resting in the earth, the hold being about the centre, and the remainder of it protruding to resist the attack *. The Spanish general's shield, which was used rather as a standard than a shield, being carried before him, is certainly a gorgeous thing. There are the labours cules, and a variety of ornaments engraved and embossed upon it ;and an inscription in Roman capitals, which I am surprised to find Maitland, as well as my friend the blue book, which I suppose copied it from him, recording, as an extraordinary fact, to have been done near a hundred years before the art of printing was known in England.”—I shall be glad to know how many years it was before the invention of silk-stockings—for the one appears to me to be every whit as germane to the matter as the other. Several of the Spanish weapons are said to be poisoned : it is easy to say so—but, I confess, I did not remove any doubts I may have had floating in my mind, by running one of the points into my finger to ascertain.

* The arrangement of the catalogue of these weapons, in the little volume already lauded, is exceedingly curious. Between these Spanish pikes, and the newly-invented tooth-picks, mentioned above, is the following item. " A DANISH and SAXON CLUB, as also a Saxon sword; said to have been used by those violent invaders when they attempted to conquer this country. These are, perhaps, curiosities of the greatest antiquity of any in the Tower, having lain there nearly 900 years." One cannot, I think, but be grateful for the historical information, that' the Saxons, as well as the Danes, failed to conquer this country. They chanced, at one time, to form the whole nation ; but that was before the Tower was built. Again, between some Spanish poisoned swords, and the Spanish general's halbert, with the Pope's head at the top, is the following, which I copy for the sake of the moral apotphhegm respecting quality and crime so skilfully introduced :" A PIECE OF A SCYTHE placed on a pole, being a specimen of weapons taken at the battle of Sedgmoor, in the reign of King James II. They belonged to the Duke of Monmouth, who headed a party of rebels ; but as no man's quality ought to be a protection for his crimes, he was taken and shortly after executed for his rebellion, July 15th, 1685.”

Lastly, there was the banner, blessed into invincibility by the pope, and given by him at the sailing of an expedition in every respect as unfortunate as any that ever put from shore. I confess, I am proud of the destruction of the Spanish Armada. In general, I hate the clamour usually set up about English military glories—for I have no particular predilection for military glories at all. They, for the most part, consist in an inordinate infliction of death, wounds, and sufferings of every kind physical and moral-and, nearly always, all this is extended from the armies, whose agreeable trade it is to inflict and undergo such things, to the inhabitants of the countries which are so fortunate as to be favoured by their presence; and who receive no pay or decorations whatever for being robbed, outraged, and put to death. When a war, in addition to these merits, has that (which indeed must belong to one side) of being in an unjust cause, I think it is rather an amiable thing to be proud of its glories. English people, gentle and simple, are taught from their childhood to keep up a very disgusting boasting about Cressy, Poitiers *, and Agincourt. Now I wish they would be pleased to call to mind, that the wars in which these actions took place, lasted, with some few intermissions—the chief was a truce in Richard II. and Henry IV.'s reigns—from 1338, when Edward III. landed in France, to 1452, when the final loss of Bordeaux put the coping-stone to our deprivation of our French possessions, with the isolated exception of Calais, which we held in the same peculiar manner that we now do Gibraltar, for about a century longer. I wish that they would call to mind, that besides all the lives lost in battle, sieges, by the fatigue of marches, by being put to death in cold blood after surrender f, and the other ordinary military modes, France was, as the seat of war, subjected, for that century, to miseries, to name the least of which would make the blood curdle. Even the historians of those days, who regarded such things as too ordinary to lay much stress upon them, speak with pitying horror of the outrages to which the inhabitants were subjected by those wandering bands, known in history by the name of Companions—who, fighting on one side or the other (de'il a care which) during the continuance of hostilities, lived on exaction froin the population in the intervals. This was for their support; but there was a number of charming varieties of outrage and

* At this battle, by the way, the majority of the Black Prince's army consisted of Gascons : I mean of natives of Acquitaine, generally. + Burning garrisons alive was then an approved practice. JANUARY, 1829,

years there

a

bloodshed for their pleasure. And those historians (gentlemen quite free from mock, or extravagant, humanity, be it recollected) record the devastation of Normandy as making that splendid country so utter a desert, that they prophesied it would be felt * an hundred after ;” and their prophecy came true. Lastly, I would wish the worthy lauders of Cressy and Co. to call to mind that they were fought in a cause so fantastically unjust that, were it not for the unspeakable horrors to which it gave rise, it would be perfectly laughable. Edward III., on his own shewing, had no more right to the crown of France, than I, the gentleman writing the account of his visit to the Tower, have to that of China. And I solemnly assure my readers I am not Ching Ling in disguise.

For these reasons, I always wish people gagged whom I hear boasting of these the victories of “our Edwards and Henrys,” or (only the realization of such a wish is beyond hope) that they should be forced to learn a few of the real facts of what they are talking about.

Thus, I have no very sensitive sympathy in our “military glories" generally. But, notwithstanding that, I may be allowed to feel my heart warm at the defeat of the Spanish Armada. In that case, we were attacked for nothing at all-our conduct was wholly defensive and we (with the wind and weather, it must be owned, a good deal to help us) very heartily thrashed a parcel of fellows who, as the armoury here proves, were coming to put thumb-screws and handcuffs upon our hands and wrists, and to pick our teeth with a nondescript instrument of their invention—not made of a quill. Moreover, there was no seat-of-war business here. We beat them; and they died at once, or escaped-or the weather destroyed them. But we did not commit all manner of outrages upon peaceful and innocent people because we fought with the troops. There is no stain upon this victory--which, though very much exaggerated, because we choose to forget our allies, the gales of wind, was still, and beyond doubt, a very gallant and skilful thing in a military (“naval” would be the modern phrase) point of view, and a national glory, peculiarly gratifying to national feelings, in all.

Next, I went to the Horse Armoury ;-and here the warder's lamentations over despoiled greatness began. For my part, I cannot understand how Dr. Meyrick could ever get the alterations done. How there came to be fingers in the Tower which would take the armour off “ kings” and put it upon “ lords and knights,” I cannot conceive. I fear there must have been some degenerate and un-Towerlike people within the walls, who were seduced by wages, or some such trinket, into working without too minutely inquiring what it was they did. My guide would never have defiled his hand by such a thing, I know full well. Why, the moment we entered the horse armoury, he began saying, " These used to be all kings, but now there are a lot of them lords and knights.” Certainly matters are a good deal altered since I was in the Tower last, some (I will not say how many) years ago, when I was a child. Then there was a goodly line of kings, longer far than that of Banquo's children, stretching down from William the Conqueror to George II. Now, with the exception of Edward I., there is nobody before Henry VI., and the exhibition is no longer, like the play which the amateurs wish for in

the song,

Something with nothing but kings. Alas this is another of the evils which that horrid thing, the march of intellect, is bringing about ! Is it not too bad that the authorities of a country like England should grow ashamed of having the effigies of its line of kings, in a public national collection, attired in warlike decorations, half of which any fourth-form-boy could tell them did not exist for centuries after their wearers' death? It is too bad! The government is really beginning to pay some attention to historical accuracy; and to think that it is not creditable to the country for foreigners to come to our national exhibitions, and find them only exhibitions of national ignorance. Nay, and for a trivial point like this, they have literally sacrificed the completeness of the line of kings, and foisted some mere knights among them! And here is an inscription fixing this at a date-Georgio IV. Opt. Mar. Regnante; Arthure Duce Wellington, Ordinationum Magistro. Well, if the Duke of Wellington has it written up that he, in his capacity of MasterGeneral of the Ordnance, patronised such doings, there can be no doubt that the reports are true that he is becoming a radical, now he is prime minister. These, of course, are the sentiments of

many

of

your respectable country gentlemen ; and this, doubtless, is the manner in which they express them, when they visit the Tower, for the benefit of Madameour rosy-cheeked misses between twenty and fourteen—and John who is on his way to enter at Oxford. But, the feelings of my friend the warder are, I am sure, very different from those of the dunderheads*. Their expression was, as my readers will presently see, occasionally ludicrous--but I respected the man for possessing them. It showed he had a good heart. He could not be expected to enter into the motives which caused the changes, and it would be strange indeed if he could behold the metamorphoses of all his old friends unmoved. I always like people who are attached to the persons and places by whom and which they are in the habit of being surrounded-and these kings in armour are a sort of mixture of both. Still, I could not, occasionally, help smiling at some of the worthy old man's remarks, but I never once did it without a kindly feeling.

The first king in point of date—one might say in nearly all points -is Edward I. He was far from being a good man, but he was close upon being a great king, at least as regarded the realm which he inherited ;-cold, stern,-perhaps bloody-as a conqueror, still as a civil governor his merits were great. Almost all kings, in those days, were warriors, and no gentle ones--but few kings either then or since have caused the framing of statutes of Westminster. Edward is in a suit of chain armour, and has on a hauberk, which a poem of decaying popularity has, from one's school recollections, so closely coupled with his image.

From hence we make a jump at once to Henry VI. The juxtapo

* I don't by any means intend to call all country gentlemen dunderheads : only those of the above description. I have a high respect for a vast number of country gentlemen-especially just now at Christmas,

sition is curious for the dates of the existence of the two kings are scarcely more dissimilar than their characters and fortunes. It seems also very extraordinary that there should not be a suit of armour remaining in the Tower of the days of the wars in France. Formerly, the Black Prince was to be seen in a suit of armour,

“ of what was termed russet, and gilt in the most curious manner throughout," which is now transferred to Edward VI.!-to the great horror of the worthy warder. And that which was shown as Edward III.'s, is now put upon the stalwart frame of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolkthe most famous tilter of the early days of Henry VIII.'s reign*. The warder is wont to say, “ There, that was Edward the III.'s armour -I don't know how they make it out now to be this lord's—it had been king Edward's for hundreds of years—I knew it so myself, for fiveand-thirty.” I certainly so far share in the worthy veteran's feelings, as to lament exceedingly that there is no armour in the Tower of the date of so warlike a period. I have complete faith in Dr. Meyrick's accuracy. His researches upon the subject of armour have been so longcontinued and so deep, that it is impossible to suppose that he can materially err; and he has acquired the highest approbation of those most competent to judge. It therefore remains matter of great wonder that no complete suit of an earlier date than that of Henry VI. should be preserved in the Tower. The chain armour on the figure of Edward I. has no doubt been collected—but its very existence in the armoury renders it more extraordinary that there should be none of the age during which the English scarcely did anything but fight.

I was also very much surprised at seeing only one of the whole line bearing a crest upon his casque. The impression on my mind was that this is Edward IV.—but I see my friend the little book gives it to Henry VI.—but that also mentions only one. I do not profess to be in the least erudite on this subject—but I had always thought the crest was habitually worn on the helmet-and here, neither in the battle nor the tilting suits, is there any such thing to be seen. The helmet of most of the tournament-suits has this peculiarity--that the vizor is a perfect plate on the left side and has only holes instead of bars on the right. These are so placed to enable the knight to see how to direct his lance, the rest for which is on the right breast.

The friend whom I was with and I were holding some slight discourse touching the helmets—when a person, whom I afterwards understood to be in some way employed in the care of the armour, joined us-and, after a short time, expressed his belief, that such things as helmets could never have been worn, as they must have stifled the wearers. The weight, he said, was nothing to hurt, but no man could breathe for any length of time, so cased up. Thinks I to myself, alas! for the veracity of mine honest gossip, Sir John Froissart, canon of Chimay, if this novel doctrine be correct- and I ventured to express my doubts thereof, on the ground that, if that were so, our ancestors could have had no other motive for making the number of

There is a note to the account of the horse-armoury, which states that the date of the armour is, in every case, correct—but that ten suits only have been positively identified, which are distinguished by a mark. Of these the Duke of Suffolk's is one. This alone is sufficient to show the extent to which anachronism was formerly carried.

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