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Armoury is splendid. (The diminutive epithet is here applied to the quality of the arms, not the size of the apartment, which is, I believe, the largest in the Tower.) The Emperor Alexander was, I was assured, more struck with this than with any thing. It was natural that he should be—for he could have but little knowledge of, and no interest in, the associations arising from our old history-and he had, especially at that moment, the keenest interest in every thing attached to modern warfare. Not being Emperor of Russia, just arrived from the campaigns of 1812, 13, and 14—I have not that interest; and, therefore, I shall say no more of the Small Armoury, than that it is, physically, a very grand sight; but that it is not calculated to call up any train of thought or feeling, beyond that painful and perplexing one to which every thing relating to war must, if it be pondered upon, give rise.

We then went into the room where the regalia are kept, and I must own I was much disappointed. I scarcely know what I expected; for the diamonds shone as diamonds usually do, and the pearls were larger than most pearls I had seen. Still, there was nothing impressive in the whole thing. The room was literally a miserable“ hole in a corner," and the crown-jewels seemed, in the manner in which they were arranged, like the show-board of a second-rate shop. The extreme fewness of the articles, also, took very much from their effect. Jewels, to produce any real effect, should be either in great masses, or should be worn: in the latter case their real province lies. They glance in shining hair, or stand in relief upon a beautiful neck; and they are mingled with the colours of dress under the guidance of a tasteful judgment. But jewels by themselves jewels, gathered together like these, to be stared at, are after all scarcely anything even to the sight.

I confess the inordinate value attached to stones called precious has often surprised me exceedingly. I know of no custom so universally spread throughout the world as is this estimation of jewels, to which some more intelligible origin cannot be ascribed. The value given to gold and silver is in no degree parallel--the necessity of a general medium of circulating value has (in all probability originally from chance) fixed upon these metals, and copper, as the representatives of goods, in their broadest sense. It would certainly be exceedingly inconvenient to have

Huge bales of British cloth blockade the door ; and by no means to be wished that

Astride his cheese Sir Morgan we might meet,

And Wordly crying coals from street to street. No—even Pope's loosely reasoned, though most pointedly written, lines are sufficient to prove this. Things are too bulky-we must have money.

But no jot of this reasoning applies to jewels. They are merely for the eye-for ornament in its most direct and limited signification. Now, when we consider how many means of ornament there are very nearly approaching to the beauty of the finest jewels, it is strange that they should have acquired such a pre-eminence of value. I do not say that a bead, a berry, or even a beautiful flower, is as brilliant, or, taken altogether, as gratifying to the sight as a diamond, a ruby, or pearls.



But I do not think there is a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand pounds' difference between them.*

The friend who was with me rather affronted the lady who showed the regalia, by alluding to the rumour that the jewels kept for the public to see are false, and that the real are at some jeweller's, She asserted very strongly the contrary, “as in duty bound”- and I have no idea how the case may be. By the way, it would have been rather entertaining if Colonel Blood had finally succeeded in his carrying off the crown, and had found it to consist of false jewels! There is a very amusing and characteristic account of this celebrated adventure in Maitland's ‘History of London.' The whole scheme seems to have been deeply matured, and to have failed only from an incident which it was impossible to foresee, and against the occurrence of which the chances are incalculable—viz. the unexpected return of a young officer from service at the very moment the crime was in course of perpetration,

The attempt was made in 1673, when a person named Edwards was keeper of the Regalia. Blood began by paying a visit in the (then very marked) habit of a clergyman, with a lady, purporting to be his wife, in his company, for the apparent purpose of seeing the crown-jewels in the ordinary manner. After these had been duly inspected and admired, the lady suddenly felt herself ill, and Mrs. Edwards came to her assistance, and showed her every possible kindness and attention--taking her up into her room, and using every means for her restoration. Blood's gratitude was of course boundless ; and he returned, in a day or two afterwards, to repeat his thanks, saying that his wife could talk of nothing but the kindness of the good people at the Tower. He brought Mrs. Edwards a present of “white French gloves "—so we gather, by this, the important historical fact that French kid gloves were then, as now, the chosen wear of English ladies. Blood continued his visits, and at last pretending to be struck with the beauty and modest demeanour of Mr. Edwards's daughter, said that he had a nephew, a young man about to leave Cambridge, who had two or three hundred a-year in land, and that he should be most happy to join their families by making a match between the young people. Such a proceeding, however extraordinary it might appear at this time of day, was by no means unusual then ; we constantly meet with it in the plays of the period, as a thing by no means out of the common way. We wish our ancestors joy of the custom.

Blood, it would seem, acted the clergyman with great unction. Being asked to dinner, his grace was immoderately long; and, in every respect, he maintained even more than the necessary decency and dignity of demeanour. On the occasion of his dining there, he appeared to be struck with a very handsome pair of pistols hanging in one of the rooms, and bought them " for a young lord, his neighbour.” It is supposed that his real reason was that he thought the pistols had better be elsewhere than at Mr. Edwards's, on the execution of his attempt upon the jewels,

• Nay, sometimes, I have seen a rose, or a bunch of blossoms in hair, quite as gratifying to my sight, as any jewels could have been. And I do not allude to any particular wearer, honour bright.

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A day was fixed for the pseudo-clergyman to bring his nephew, that the young people might become known to each other. Blood came at what seems to me to have been, even in the days of Charles II., a very uncourtly hour, viz., seven in the morning. Three more men came with him; they were armed with daggers and pocket-pistols, and had blades within their canes. Blood said they would not go up stairs till his wife came; and the strangers begged, in the mean time, to see the Regalia. Mr. Edwards accordingly conducted them ; and as soon as they had entered the Crown-room, as it is called, they threw a cloak over his head, and flung him upon the ground. They then put a gag into his mouth—“a great plug of wood, with a hele in the middle to breathe at;" it was fastened to a waxed leather, which was passed round his neck. They put an iron hook with a spring to his nose,

“ that no sound might escape him that way." They then said, that they would have the crown-jewels; but that, if he would be quiet, they would spare his life. But the old man—and he was a very old man, nearly eighty-was a gallant fellow, and true to his trust. The very idea of the Regalia being taken from his custody appeared to him a reversion of the order of nature. He had no idea of submitting, but roared as lustily as he could. Upon this, they forthwith knocked him down with a mallet. But, no sooner was he down, than he began to roar again. The gags, it seems to me, must have been miserably constructed, or they might have left Edwards to roar as much as he could. They proceeded, however, to a more undeniable mode of silencing any man, viz., by giving him nine or ten blows on the head with the mallet, and thrusting a dagger into his belly. He now became nearly senseless,--but he still retained sufficient consciousness to hear one of the party, who stooped over him, say, " He's dead! I'll warrant him !”—which impression on their minds he very wisely determined to do nothing more to disturb.

The ruffians then proceeded to take the Regalia. Blood put the crown under his cloak, and one of his accomplices, named Parrot, stuffed the globe into the pocket of the bulky breeches which it was then the fashion to wear. The third man began to file the sceptre into two, in order to put the pieces into a bag, which they had brought with them.

In the mean time it so chanced that Edwards's son arrived from Flanders, whither he had been with Sir John Talbot, who had given him leave to visit his family, immediately upon landing in England. He was accosted, at the door of his father's house, by the fellow left on the watch, who asked him what he wanted ? Young Edwards said, he belonged to the family, and, perceiving that the man himself was a stranger to the place, said, if he wished to see his father, he would mention it, and went on. The sentry, at this, was alarmed, and ran and informed his tellows in the crown-room. They thought it best to be off at once with what they had got, and, leaving the sceptre, which was not yet filed into two, they posted off as hard as they could.

Believing the old man to be dead, they left him, unbound; but, as soon as they were fairly gone, old Edwards frees himself from the gag, and roars out “Murder !—Treason !" at the full pitch of his lungs. His daughter-who may be supposed to have been a little on the qui vive, considering the nominal purpose of the visit, and who, indeed, is gravely recorded, by the historian, to have sent down her maid to examine and report upon the personal appearance of the intended bridegroom—his daughter was the first to run to him, and, gathering what had happened, ran out, shouting “Treason !- The crown is stolen ! Treason!” This speedily occasioned a general alarm throughout the Tower: young Edwards, and a Captain Beckman, who was also at the house, were the first to pursue, and nearly got shot for their pains--the warders, at the nearer posts, having let the sober-looking clergyman and his friends pass, unnoticed, and firing at those whom they now saw running with speed, and whom they took for the culprits. The cry, however, was well up before Blood reached the last draw-bridge, and the outer gates. The warder at the draw-bridge attempted to stop him—but Blood fired a pistol at him, and the man (though it afterwards appeared that he was untouched) dropped according to form. The sentinel at the gate, drawing his own conclusions from the full view which he had of this transaction, suffers Blood and his associates to pass unopposed. They had now got into the open street, when Beckman, Edwards, and others came up. One of them seized Parrot, and dispossessed him of the globe; while Beckman attacked Blood, who fired at him as he approached. But Beckman, who appears to have been a most cool and steadily brave man, ducked to avoid the shot, and then rushed in upon Blood. The ruffian had just mounted, having had time to get upon his horse ; but he was compelled to leave it again, that loyal animal remonstrating in the most irresistible manner against bearing a crown he had no right to. A struggle ensued—and Beckman ultimately prevailed-Blood, flinging the crown upon the ground, and exclaiming, “Well! 'twas a noble attempt, though unsuccessful-it was for a crown!"

But Blood seems to have understood something of those who wear crowns, as well as of crowns themselves—for his examination before Charles II. is, at once, one of the most amusing, and one of the most disgusting, passages in history—or more strictly, it would be the former to an extreme degree, if the intensity of the latter feeling did not mar your entertainment as you read.

Charles II. not unfrequently interfered personally in the administra. tion of justice-just as a variety in his amusements—something to excite him at the time, and to laugh at afterwards*. This case was, of course, the topic of the day, and Charles, instead of allowing things regularly to take their course, orders Blood to be brought up

before himself, in council, at Whitehall.

The behaviour of this fellow on this occasion, is, I think, unmatched for effrontery, skill, knowledge of nature, and the most watchful and unshrinking self-possession. He avowed at once the crime of which he was accused-going through a long list of old claims upon the crown, which had, as he alleged, been shamefully resisted, till he determined to repay himself by the seizure of the crown itself. He avowed what he was incidentally charged with, the outrage upon the Duke of Ormond, which he also attributed to wrongs unredressed. Upon being asked for his accomplices, he answered, that he might say what he pleased of himself, but that he would never betray any gentleman who had trusted him. And, at last, he addressed the king himself, and enlisted both his vanity and his fears in his cause. He declared, that he had undertaken to shoot the king; and said, that he had lain in ambush for that purpose, among the reeds in the Thames, above Battersea, when Charles went to bathe there : but that, when the king came within reach, the noble majesty of his countenance so overpowered him—that he felt that it was impossible to slay him. Nay, more, that he bore the impression of what he had seen so strongly on his mind, that he had dissuaded some of his comrades from a similar attempt*. On the other hand, he asserted that, if he was doomed to suffer, he regretted he could not then save the king's life, or that of those who joined in his condemnation, inasmuch as there were hundreds bound by the most solemn and terrible oath to revenge the death of any one of their number, and that, if he were touched, they might individually fear every day to be massacred!

* It is entertaining to hear old Pepys, -who, in his diary, which nobody was to see, or could read, during his life,-talks frankly enough of the evils of government, -always lamenting that the king did not give his personal attention to the affairs of the nation, and then that every thing would go right. Truly, if the following example be taken as a specimen, I think the nation was quite as well off in the hands of his amiable ministers. I say nothing of the doctrine in general, except that it is evident Pepys was unacquainted with the modern principle of the division of labour.

I have no sort of doubt that both these assertions were pure fiction : but they had their effect. For, not only was Blood set free ; but he had, very shortly after, 5001. a-year settled upon him in Ireland, of which country he was a native. This was the punishment for an attempt to steal the Regalia of England, attended with the attempted, and very nearly completed, murder of their keeper. The reward to the keeper, a man eighty years of age, for the suffering he had undergone in the defence of those jewels-was a gratuity, not pension, of two hundred pounds, while to his son, who had personally assisted in saving them, received one hundred. Thus were Villainy and Virtue comparatively estimated by Charles II. and his government. Oh! the loss we have in the Stuarts !

But there is one room in the Tower, which is not shown to strangers, that interested me more than almost any thing I saw there. It is that in which state prisoners were kept : it is now used as the messroom of the officers of the guards, stationed in the Tower. It is a very moderately-sized room, originally, I should think, octagon, with recesses—but additional windows have been broken through for modern comfort, and its form now is very irregular. But the walls, which seem to be of a moderately-soft stone, retain abundant marks of the sad duties they have performed in olden times. They are covered with inscriptions of the most curious kinds, and in an extraordinary variety of language, made, apparently, by the unhappy people in confinement--some, as it would seem, merely as a record of the fact of imprisonment; but several, it is evident from their elaborate execution, and even occasionally by the multiplicity of their sculptured

* Blood here alludes to the Puritans, one of whom he always affected to behaving alleged that it was on account of the king's “ severity to the godly,” that he had intended to murder him.

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