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London in Modern Times By Unknown Characters: 64172

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Charles I. unfurled his standard at Nottingham, in the month of August, 1642, and staked his crown and life on the issue of battle; a high wind beat down the flag, an evil omen, as it was deemed by some who saw it, and a symbol, as it proved, of the result of the unnatural conflict. Sadly was England's royal standard stained before the fighting ended. London took part at the beginning with the parliament. Its Puritan tendencies; its awakened indignation at the assaults made by misguided monarchs and their ministers on conscientious, religious, brave-hearted men; its long observation of Stafford's policy, which had roused the displeasure of the citizens, and led to riots; its jealousy of the constitution being violated and imperiled by the arbitrary proceedings of Charles, especially by his attempt to reign without parliaments; and, added to these, a selfish, but natural resentment at the exorbitant pecuniary fines and forfeitures with which it had been visited in the exercise of royal displeasure, contributed to fix London on the side of those who had taken their stand against the king. One can easily imagine the busy political talk going on at that time in all kinds of dwellings and places of resort-the eager expectancy with which citizens waited for news-the haste with which reports, often exaggerated, passed from lip to lip-the sensation produced by decided acts on either side; as when, for example, Charles went down to the House of Commons, demanding the arrest of five obnoxious members, and when the House declared itself incapable of dissolution save by its own will-the hot and violent controversies that would be waged between citizens of opposite political and religious opinions-the separation of friends-the divisions in families-the reckless violence with which some plunged into the strife, and the hard and painful moral necessity which impelled others to take their side-the mean, low, selfish, or fanatical motives which influenced some, and the high, pure, and patriotic principles which moved the breasts of others-the godless zeal of multitudes, and the firm faith and wrestling prayer that sustained not a few. These varied elements, grouped and arranged by the imagination upon the background of the scenery of old London, in the first half of the seventeenth century, form a picture of deep and solemn interest.

After the battle of Edgehill, in October, Charles marched towards London, anxious to possess himself of that citadel of the empire. So near did the royal army come, that many of the citizens were scared by the sound of Prince Rupert's cannon. The horrors of a siege or invasion of a city, penned in by lines of threatening troops, expected every hour to burst the gates or scale the walls-the spectacle of soldiers scouring the streets, slaying the peaceful citizen, pillaging his property, and burning his dwelling-such were the anticipations that presented themselves before the eyes of the Londoners in that memorable October, creating an excitement in all ranks, which the leaders of the popular cause sought to turn to practical account.

Eight speeches spoken in Guildhall on Thursday night, October 27th, 1642, have come down to us; and as we look on the old reports, which have rescued these utterances from the oblivion into which the earnest talking of many busy tongues at that time has fallen, we seem to stand within the walls of that civic gathering-place, amidst the dense mass of excited citizens assembled at eventide, their faces gleaming through the darkness, with the reflected light of torches and lamps, and to hear such sentences as the following from the lips of Lord Saye and Sele, whose words were applauded by the multitude, till the building rings again with the echo: "This is now not a time for men to think with themselves, that they will be in their shops and get a little money. In common dangers let every one take his weapons in his hand; let every man, therefore, shut up his shop, let him take his musket, offer himself readily and willingly. Let him not think with himself, Who shall pay me? but rather think this, I will come forth to save the kingdom, to serve my God, to maintain his true religion, to save the parliament, to save this noble city." The speaker knew what kind of men he was appealing to; that their feelings were already enlisted in the cause; that they had already given proofs of earnest resolution to support it, and of a liberal and self-denying spirit. While his majesty had been getting himself "an army by commission of array, by subscription of loyal plate, pawning of crown jewels, and the like-London citizens had subscribed horses and plate, every kind of plate, down to women's thimbles, to an unheard-of amount; and when it came to actual enlisting, London enlisted four thousand in one day." As might have been expected, therefore, the audience responded to Lord Saye and Sele, and prepared themselves to obey the summons of their leaders; so that a few days afterwards, on hearing that Prince Rupert with his army had come to Brentford, and on finding that the roar of his cannon had reached as far as the suburbs, the train bands, with amazing expedition, assembled under Major-General Skippon, and forthwith marched off to Turnham Green. Besides enlistment of apprentices and others, and contributions of all kinds for raising parliament armies, measures were adopted for the permanent defence of London. The city walls were repaired and mounted with artillery; the sheds and buildings which had clustered about the outside of the city boundaries in time of peace were swept away. All avenues, except five, were shut up, and these were guarded with military works the most approved. The first entrance, near the windmill, Whitechapel-road, was protected by a hornwork; two redoubts with four flanks were raised beside the second entrance, at Shoreditch; a battery and breastwork were placed at the third entrance, in St. John's street; a two-flanked redoubt and a small fort stood by the fourth entrance, at the end of Tyburn, St. Giles's Fields; and a large fort with bulwarks overlooked the fifth entrance, at Hyde Park Corner. Other fortifications were situated here and there by the walls, so as to fit the city to stand a long siege. A deep enthusiasm moved at least a considerable party in the performance of these works. They were not left to engineers or artillerymen and the paid artificers, who in ordinary times raise bastions and the like. "The example of gentlemen of the best quality," says May, "knights and ladies going out with drums beating, and spades and mattocks in their hands, to assist in the work, put life into the drooping people." While warlike harangues, enlistments, contributions, and the building of fortifications, were going on, and the bustle and music of military marches were heard in the street, while the walls and gates bristled with cannons and soldiery, there were those within that war-girdled city who sympathized indeed in the popular cause, but who were far differently employed in its defence and promotion.

There was at this time residing in London one

"Whose soul was like a star, and dwelt apart;

Who had a voice whose sound was like the sea."

His place of abode was in Aldersgate-street, in an humble house, with a small garden-"the muses' bower," as he called it; and there his marvelous mind was searching out the foundations of laws and governments, breathing after liberty, civil and religious, and picturing an ideal commonwealth of justice, order, truth, purity, and love, which he longed and hoped to see reduced to a reality in his own native land; he was preparing, also, for some high work, which should be "of power to imbreed and cherish in a great people the seeds of public virtue and public civility, to allay the perturbation of the mind, and set the affections in right tune-a work not to be raised from the heat of youth, or the vapors of wine, nor to be obtained by the invocation of dame Memory and her syren daughters, but by devout prayer to that eternal Spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim, with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases."

John Milton, who thus describes his employment in grand and sonorous English, such as he alone could write, was by birth a Londoner, having first opened his eyes in one of the houses of old Bread-street, and received the elements of his vast and varied learning at St. Paul's School. Antiquarian research has traced him through successive residences in St. Bride's Churchyard, Aldersgate-street, Barbican, Holborn, Petty France, Bartholomew-close, Jewin-street, Bunhill-fields, to his last resting-place in the upper end of the chancel of St. Giles's, Cripplegate. (Knight's London, vol. ii, p. 97.) In youth he had pursued his studies in his native city, after his removal from Cambridge,

"I, well content, where Thames with refluent tide

My native city laves, meantime reside,

Nor zeal, nor duty, now my steps impel

To reedy Cam, and my forbidden cell.

If peaceful days in lettered leisure spent

Beneath my father's roof be banishment,

Then call me banished: I will ne'er refuse

A name expressive of the lot I choose;

For here I woo the muse, with no control;

For here my books, my life, absorb me whole."

In the maturity of his manhood, at the outbreak of the civil war, Milton was pursuing his favorite studies at his house in Aldersgate-street, combining with his literary researches and sublime poetic flights, deep theological inquiries and lofty political speculations. At a time when the rumors of invasion were afloat, and the inroads of an incensed enemy expected, he appealed to the chivalrous cavalier in his own classic style:-

"Lift not thy spear against the muse's bower.

The great Emathian conqueror bid spare

The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower

Went to the ground; and the repeated air

Of sad Elecha's poet had the power

To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare."

Relieved from the fears of invasion, he continued to occupy his pen in the production of those wonderful prose works, which, scarcely less than his poetry, are monuments of his enduring fame. Probably it was in his house in Barbican-the queer old barbican of that day, with a portion of the Barbican, or tower, still standing, and picturesquely gabled and carved dwellings crowded close against it-that Milton, musing on his native city, wrote some of his most stirring political tracts. He was the representative of a large class of London citizens, who, without taking up arms on either side, earnestly entered into the great struggle, and thought and talked, and worked and wrote, as men agitated and in travail for the restoration and welfare of their distracted and bleeding country.

It is interesting, in connection with this illustrious man, to notice one of his London contemporaries, also distinguished in English literature, but in another way, presenting an opposite character, and the type of a different class. While Milton was exercising his lofty intellect and plying his mighty pen on divinity and politics, Isaac Walton, so well known as the author of the Complete Angler, and the lives of Dr. Donne and others, was, besides pursuing his occupation as a Hamburgh merchant, busily amusing himself with his favorite sport, and preparing materials for his celebrated work, (which was published in 1653,) as well as writing two of his lives, that of Donne and Wotton, which appeared in 1640 and 1651. When London was moved from one end to the other by storms of political excitement, Walton, undisturbed by the commotion in public affairs, quietly sought enjoyment on the banks of the Thames with his rod and line, below London Bridge, where he tells us "there were the largest and fattest roach in the nation;" or, taking a longer excursion, rambled by the Lea side, or went down as far as Windsor and Henley. It is certainly (whatever opinion we may form of the pursuits which engrossed so large a portion of Walton's time) a relief, amidst scenes of strife, to catch a view of little corners in English society, which seem to have been sheltered from the sweeping tempest. Curious it is also to observe how little some men are affected by the great changes witnessed in their country. Moderation is frequently, however, nearly allied to selfishness, and Walton apparently belonged to a class of individuals, from whom society may in vain look for any improvements which involve the sacrifice of personal ease or comfort. He could, to use the language of Dr. Arnold, "enjoy his angling undisturbed, in spite of Star Chamber, ship-money, High Commission Court, or popish ceremonies; what was the sacrifice to him of letting the public grievances take their own way, and enjoying the freshness of a May morning in the meadows on the banks of the Lea?"

However the great conflict might be regarded or forgotten, it waxed hotter every day, and London became increasingly involved in the strife. For a while the parliament and the army were united in their efforts against the king, and the city of London continued to lend them efficient aid. But at length disagreements arose between the legislative and military powers, the former being in the main composed of Presbyterians, while the latter were strongly leavened by the Independents. The rent became worse as time rolled on, till these two religious parties, diverging in different directions, tore the commonwealth asunder, and from having been allies became decided antagonists.

The Presbyterians were strong in London; Presbyterians occupied the city pulpits-Presbyterians ruled in the corporation. The Westminster Assembly, which began to sit in 1642, and continued their sessions through a period of six years, numbered a large majority of that denomination, and in the measures for the establishment of their own views of religion throughout the country, met with the sympathy and encouragement of a considerable portion of London citizens. In the church of St. Margaret's, Westminster, under the shadow of the venerable abbey, the members of this assembly, with the Scots' commissioners, and representatives from both houses of parliament, met on the 25th of September, 1643, to take the Solemn League and Covenant, the chosen symbol and standard of the Presbyterian party. It was certainly one of the most remarkable scenes in the ecclesiastical history of our country; and whatever opinion may be formed of the ecclesiastical principles which moved that memorable convocation, no person of unprejudiced mind can fail to admire the piety, the earnestness, zeal, and courage, which many of them evinced in the performance of their task. Solemn prayers were offered, addresses were delivered in justification of the step they were taking, and then, as the articles of the Covenant were read out from the pulpit, distinctly one by one, each person standing uncovered, with his hand lifted bare to heaven, swore to maintain them. On the Lord's-day following, the Covenant was tendered to all persons within the bills of mortality of the city of London, and was welcomed by a number of ministers and a great multitude of people. Of the excitement which prevailed, some idea may be gathered from the narrative of a royalist historian. We are informed by Clarendon, that the church of St. Antony, in Size-lane, Watling-street, being in the neighborhood of the residence of the Scotch commissioners, was appropriated to their use during their stay, and that Alexander Henderson, a celebrated preacher, and one of their chaplains, was accustomed to conduct service there. "To hear these sermons," he says, "there was so great a conflux and resort by the citizens out of humor and faction, by others of all qualities out of curiosity, by some that they might the better justify the contempt they had of them, that from the first appearance of day in the morning of every Sunday to the shutting in of the light the church was never empty; they, especially the women, who had the happiness to get into the church in the morning, (those who could not hang upon or about the windows without, to be auditors or spectators,) keeping the places till the afternoon exercises were finished."

As discussions arose between the parliament and the Presbyterians on the one side, and the army and Independents on the other, the city of London showed unequivocally its attachment to the former. In addition to difficulties arising from an embargo laid by the king on the coal trade between Newcastle and London, difficulties met by parliamentary orders for supplying fuel in the shape of turf or peat out of commons and waste grounds, and also out of royal demesnes and bishops' lands; in addition to other difficulties, commercial, municipal, and social, springing from the disjointed state of public affairs-the Londoners were plunged into new difficulties, ecclesiastical and political, by an important step which they conceived it their duty to take. The Presbyterian ministers of London, upheld by their flocks, were zealous for the full and unrestricted establishment of their own scheme of discipline through the length and breadth of the city. In June, 1646, the ministers met at Zion College, contending for the Divine right of their form of government, and maintaining that the civil magistrate had no right to intermeddle with the censures of the Church. The lord mayor and common council joined them in a petition to the parliament to that effect; but the political powers would not allow them that uncontrolled and supreme ecclesiastical constitution which they craved. However, they were authorized to carry out their Church polity according to the law enacted for the whole kingdom, and to have presbyteries in every parish, which parochial bodies should be represented in a higher assembly called the classes, the classes again in the provincial synod, and the synod in the general assembly. London formed a province with twelve classes, each containing from eight to fifteen parishes. Nowhere else but in London and in the county of Lancashire did the Presbyterian establishment come into full operation, and even in the metropolitan city, with all the zeal of the ministers to support it, and with the majority of the people which they could command, the success of the plan was very limited. On the 19th of December, 1646, the lord mayor and his brethren went up to Westminster with a representation of grievances, including first the contempt that began to be put upon the Covenant; and secondly, the growth of heresy and schism, the pulpits being often usurped by preaching soldiers, who infected all places where they came with dangerous errors. Of these grievances they desired redress. In the next year, 1647, the synod at Zion College published their testimony to the truth, as it was termed, in which a passage occurs curiously illustrative of the opinions on the subject of toleration that were then prevalent. The last error they witness against is called, they say, "the error of toleration, patronizing and promoting all other errors, heresies, and blasphemies, whatsoever, under the grossly-abused notion of liberty of conscience." The Independents, who, though a minority, were a considerable body in the city of London, being advocates for an extended toleration, as well as for the enjoyment of liberty themselves, greatly displeased the Presbyterian brethren, and materially thwarted the success of their plans. On both sides, no doubt, there were sincere, earnest, and holy men, nor did they disagree as to the essential truths of our blessed religion. They were worshipers of the same everlasting Father, through the same Divine Mediator, and trusted to the aid of the same gracious Spirit. They looked not to any morality of their own, as the ground of their acceptance with their Creator, but, conscious of manifold sins, rested on the sacrifice of "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Yet it is grievous to think, that in some instances a difference, which extended no further than to the outward polity of the Church, could dissever and almost alienate those whom grace had made one. And yet more grievous is it that good men who had only just escaped from persecution themselves, should have been ready to fasten the yoke upon brethren who could not see as they did. However, in this imperfect state of existence, such things have been and still are; but it is consoling to remember, that a state of being shall one day exist, when these sad anomalies will prevail no more. Freed from prejudice, passion, and infirmity, souls united by the tie of a common faith in the essentials of the gospel, shall then rejoice in a perfect and unbroken unity.

While the earlier stages of the struggle to which we have referred were going on, some distinguished men in London, on both sides, were removed from the scene of strife into the peaceful mansions of their Father's house. Two in particular are worthy of mention here as of the gentler cast, who, though they differed, felt that charity had bonds to bind the souls of godly men together, stronger than any difference of ecclesiastical opinion could break. Dr. Twiss, an eminent and learned Presbyterian clergyman, the prolocutor of the assembly of divines, died in London in 1646. He had refused high preferment and flattering invitations to a foreign university. Forced from his living at Newbury by the royalist party, and detained in London by his duties in the assembly, for which he received but a very small allowance, he had to struggle with poverty. Indeed, he was so reduced, that when some of the assembly were deputed to visit him, they reported that he was very sick and in great straits. He was buried in the Abbey, "near the upper end of the poor folk's table, next the vestry, July 24th; thence, after the Restoration, he was dug up and thrown into a hole in the churchyard of St. Margaret's, near the back door of one of the prebendaries' houses." In the same year died Jeremiah Burroughs, of the Independent school, and preacher to two of the largest congregations about London, Stepney, and Cripplegate. "He never gathered a separate congregation, nor accepted of a parochial living, but wore out his strength in continual preaching, and other services of the Church. It was said the divisions of the time broke his heart. One of the last subjects he preached upon and printed was his Irenicum, or attempt to heal divisions among Christians." Under the ascendency of the Presbyterians in London, the old church ceremonies of course were abandoned-churches were accommodated to the simplicity of worship preferred by the party in power. Superstitious monuments, images, and paintings, were removed; the crosses in Cheapside and Charing Cross pulled down. Even St. Paul's Cross, because of its form and name, was not spared, though hallowed by the remembrance of the great Reformers, who had there so effectively preached. Religious festivals were abolished, not excepting Christmas-a measure to which the citizens did not quietly submit, old habits and predilections being too strong to be overcome by law. In 1647, on that day most people kept their shops shut, and many Presbyterian ministers occupied their pulpits. Time, however, was allotted for recreation; and it was arranged "that all scholars, apprentices, and other servants should, with the leave of their masters, have such convenient reasonable relaxation every second Tuesday in the month, throughout the year, as formerly they used to have upon the festivals." It may be added, that stage plays were forbidden, and the theatres in London closed; galleries, seats, and boxes, were removed by warrant from justices of the peace, and all actors convicted of offending against this law were sentenced to be publicly whipped.

In consequence of the excitement of the times, the parliament issued an order forbidding persons to appear in the streets of London armed, or to come out of doors after nine o'clock at night. It was further enjoined, that all persons coming into the city should present themselves at Guildhall and produce their passes, and also enter into an engagement not to bear arms against the parliament. The misunderstanding between the legislature and the army becoming more grave and ominous than ever, the city corporation besought the former to disband the latter-a thing more easily proposed than accomplished. The citizens desired to have a militia for their own defence, under officers to be nominated by the common council; and were likewise anxious that the king, now in the hands of the army, should be brought to London, and a personal treaty entered into with him. Tumultuous assemblages, gathered from London, took place round the doors of the House of Commons, some of the mob thrusting in their heads, with their hats on, and shouting out, "Vote, vote;" and even forcing the speaker, when he was about to leave the chair, to remain at his post, violently demanding that their petition should be granted. The army at the time lay coiled up near London with most threatening aspect, and to add to the terror of the city, the speaker of the Commons and a hundred members withdrew from the metropolis, and repaired to the camp. Orders were now given by the common council to the train bands to repair the fortifications, and for all persons capable of bearing arms to appear at the appointed places of rendezvous. Fairfax and Cromwell, the commanders of the army, wrote an expostulatory letter to the city, stating their grievances, and disavowing all desire to injure the place. An answer was sent, very unsatisfactory to the parties addressed, and things wore an increasingly alarming appearance. Still the citizens seemed determined to oppose the army, and entered into an engagement to promote the return of the king to London. Shops were shut up, a stop was put to business, horses were forbidden to be sent beyond the walls, and whole nights were spent in anxious deliberation. The army, however, was pressing towards the gates on the Southwark side, and while the citizens were debating and planning, showed in an unmistakable manner that it at least was in action. The peril being imminent, on the 4th of August the common council and committee assembled in Guildhall, vast multitudes of the people repairing thither to learn the result of the deliberations. An express arrived, stating that Fairfax with the army had halted on their march. "Let us go out and destroy them," cried a stentorian voice; but a second express, on the heels of the first, ran in to correct the mistake of his predecessor, and to assure them that Fairfax and his men were no halters, but were marching on with great energy. This changed the tone of the assembly, and all exclaimed, "Treat! treat!" The committee spent most of the night in consultation, and the next morning despatched a submissive letter to the general. The inhabitants of Southwark not having sympathized with their brethren on the other side of the water in their opposition to the army, privately intimated to the general their willingness to admit him, and, accordingly, a brigade took possession of the borough about two o'clock in the morning, and thereby became masters of London Bridge. Another letter was despatched from the city authorities, more submissive than the first, and commissioners were speedily despatched to Hammersmith to wait upon Fairfax, who had there taken up his quarters, and formally yield to him all the forts on the west side of the metropolis. On the 6th of August, 1647, the general was received in state by the corporation at Hyde Park, and escorted in procession to the city, being the same day constituted constable of the Tower by the ordinance of parliament. Three days afterwards, he took possession of that old fortress, being attended by a deputation from the common council, who complimented him in the highest terms, and invited him and his principal officers to dinner. After an interval of another three days, the city voted £1,200, to be spent on a gold basin and ewer, as a present to this distinguished officer. The fortifications were dismantled, ports and chains taken away, and the army quartered in and about the city: many, we are told, in great houses, though the season was rigorous, were obliged to lie on the bare floor, with little or no firing. Orders were issued to provide bedding for the cold and weary soldiers; and when the city failed to fulfil its promise to pay money to the army, troops were dispatched to Weavers', Haberdashers', and Goldsmiths' Halls, the first of which they lightened of its treasure to the amount of £20,000. Strict injunctions, however, were given for the orderly and peaceable conduct of the military, on pain of death. London was now reduced to dumb quietude, save that murmurings were heard from the Presbyterians, who still insisted upon making terms with the king; but it was all in vain. The torrent rolled on, and swept away monarch and throne; of its devastations there are awful recollections associated with Charing Cross and Whitehall.

The latter was made the prison-house of the monarch during his trial. Hence he passed to the old orchard stair, to take boat for Westminster Hall. A servant, whom he particularly noticed on these occasions, has become an object of interest to the religious portion of the English public, from his having been the father of the eminently holy Philip Henry, and the grandfather of Matthew Henry, the commentator. When Charles returned to the palace after the absence of a few years, which, because of the sorrows that darkened them, seemed an age, he accosted his old attendant with the inquiry, "Art thou yet alive?" "He continued," says Philip Henry, speaking of his father, "during all the war time in his house at Whitehall, though the profits of his place ceased. The king passing by his door under a guard to take water, when he was going to Westminster to that which they called his trial, inquired for his old servant, Mr. John Henry, who was ready to pay his due respects to him, and prayed God to bless his majesty, and to deliver him out of the hands of his enemies, for which the guard had like to have been rough upon him." The king was condemned by the court of justice instituted for the occasion, and on the 30th of January, 1649, was publicly beheaded. The place which had been the scene of many of his youthful revels with the Duke of Buckingham, and which had witnessed the early pomp and pageants of his reign, having been converted into his prison, now became the spot where his blood was to be spilt. He had been removed to St. James's Palace, after his sentence, and there spent Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. At ten o'clock on Tuesday, he crossed the park to Whitehall, under military guard, Juxon, bishop of London, walking on the right, and Colonel Tomlinson, who was his jailer, on the left. Reaching the palace, he went up the stairs leading to the long gallery into his chamber, where he remained in prayer for an hour, and received the sacrament. Two or three dishes of refreshments had been prepared, which he declined, and could only be prevailed on to take a piece of bread and a glass of claret. All things being prepared, and the hour of one arrived, he passed into the Banqueting House, and thence proceeded, by a passage broken through the wall, to the scaffold. It was covered with black, and exhibited the frightful apparatus of death. There stood the block, and by it two executioners in sailor's clothes, with vizards and perukes. Regiments of horse and foot were stationed round the spot, while a dense multitude crowded the neighboring avenues, and many a serious countenance looked down from the windows and the roofs of houses. No shouts of insult met the unhappy prince as he stepped on the stage of death, but perfect and solemn silence pervaded the closely-pressed thr

ong, as well as the soldiers on duty. Pity for the fallen monarch in his misfortunes, prevailed even with some who had condemned his unconstitutional and arbitrary course; so completely do the gentler feelings of our nature at such times master the conclusions at which the judgment has before arrived. Nor should it be forgotten, that very many there, who had regarded with alarm and indignation not a few of the acts which Charles had performed, shrank from the thought of the penalty to which he was doomed, as too severe, or decidedly impolitic. Others, also, were present, royalists in heart, whatever might be their caution at such a time in avowing their principles. It was the king's wish to address the multitude; but not being able to make himself heard so far, he delivered a speech to those who were near him, in which he expressed his forgiveness of his enemies, and then proceeded to maintain those high notions of kingly power which had proved his ruin. At the suggestion of the bishop, he closed by declaring, "I die a Christian, according to the profession of the Church of England, as I found it left me by my father. I have on my side a good cause and a gracious God." "There is but one stage more," said Juxon: "it is turbulent and troublesome, but a short one. It will carry you from earth to heaven, and there you will find joy and comfort." "I go," he said, "from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown." "You exchange," rejoined the bishop, "an earthly for an eternal crown-a good exchange." Taking off his cloak, he gave the insignia of the order of the garter to the prelate, adding significantly, "Remember!" then kneeling down by the block, his head was severed from his body at a blow. Philip Henry, son of the old Whitehall servant, witnessed that mournful tragedy. "There he was," says his son Matthew, "when the king was beheaded, and with a very heavy heart saw that tragical blow given. Two things he used to relate, that he took notice of himself that day, which I know not if any historians mention. One was, that at the instant the blow was given, there was such a dismal universal groan among the thousands of people that were within sight of it, as it were with one consent, such as he had never heard before, and desired that he might never hear the like again, nor see such cause for it. The other was, that immediately after the stroke was struck, there was, according to order, one troop marching from Charing Cross towards King-street, and another from King-street towards Charing Cross, purposely to disperse and scatter the people, and to divert the dismal thoughts with which they could not but be filled, by driving them to shift every one for his own safety."

A commonwealth was established, and London submitted in form, if not in heart, to the victorious Cromwell. Returning from Worcester, where he fought his last great battle, he entered the city in triumph; speaker and parliament, lord president and council of state, mayor, sheriff, and corporation, with an innumerable multitude, rending the air with their shouts, accompanied by cannon salutes; in the midst of which, says Whitelock, "he carried himself with much affability, and now and afterwards, in all his discourses about Worcester, would seldom mention anything of himself, mentioned others only, and gave, as was due, the glory of the action to God."

When the commonwealth had lasted four years, the government was changed into the form of a protectorate, and Cromwell was installed lord protector. Of all the grand ceremonials that have taken place in London or Westminster, this was among the most remarkable, and certainly quite unique. The coronation of princes within the walls of St. Peter's Abbey has been of frequent occurrence; but the installation of the chief of the English republic was without precedent, and without imitation. On the 16th of December, 1653, soon after noon, Cromwell proceeded in his carriage to Westminster Hall, through lines of military, both horse and foot. The aldermen of London, the judges, two commissioners of the great seal, and the lord mayor, went before, and the two councils of state, with the army, followed. Entering the Court of Chancery, Cromwell, attired in a suit and cloak of black velvet, with long boots and a gold-banded hat, was conducted to a chair of state, placed on a rich carpet. He took his place before the chair, between the commissioners; the judges formed a circle behind, the civilians standing on the right, the military on the left. The clerk of the council read the instrument of government, consisting of forty-two articles, which the lord protector, raising his right hand to heaven, solemnly swore to maintain and observe. General Lamberth, falling on his knees, offered him a civic sword in a scabbard, which he received, putting aside his military weapon, to indicate that he intended to govern by law and not by force. Seating himself in the chair, he put on his hat, the rest remaining uncovered; then, receiving the seal from the commissioners, and the sword from the lord mayor of London, he immediately returned them to the same officers, and at the close of this ceremony proceeded again to the palace at Whitehall. He was soon afterwards invited by the city to dine at Guildhall, where he was received with as much honor as had been formerly paid to sovereigns, the companies in their stands lining the streets through which he passed, attended by the lord mayor and aldermen on horseback. After the protector had been sumptuously entertained, he conferred the honor of knighthood on the chief magistrate of the city. Standing in the Painted Chamber at Westminster, with his first parliament before him, he alludes with special satisfaction to this city visit. "I would not forget," he says, "the honorable and civil entertainment I found in the great city of London. Truly I do not think it folly to remember this; for it was very great and high, and very public, and included as numerous a body of those that are known by names and titles, the several corporations and societies of citizens in this city, as hath at any time been seen in England,-and not without some appearance of satisfaction also." Cromwell returned the compliment paid him by the city, and invited the mayor and court of aldermen to dine with him. A good understanding seems to have been maintained between the lord protector and the metropolitan authorities. When plots were formed to take away his life, he called the corporation together, and gave them an extraordinary commission to preserve the peace, and invested them with the entire direction of the municipal militia. He also relieved the citizens from some of their taxes, revived the artillery company, and granted a license for the free importation of four thousand chaldrons of coals from Newcastle for the use of the poor-measures which made his highness popular in London.

"Subsequently to the annihilation of the royal authority, or between that and the protectorate, the city became the grand focus of the parliamentary government, as is abundantly testified by the numerous tracts and other records of the period. Guildhall was a second House of Commons, an auxiliary senate, and the companies' halls the meeting-places of those branches of it denominated committees. All the newspapers of the day abound with notices of the occupation of the companies' premises by their committees. Goldsmiths' Hall was their bank, Haberdashers' Hall their court for adjustment of claims, Clothworkers' Hall for sequestration, and all the other halls of the great companies were offices for the transaction of other government business. Weavers' Hall might properly be denominated the exchequer. From this place parliament was accustomed to issue bills, about and before 1652, in the nature of exchequer bills, and which were commonly known under the name of Weaver-Hall bills."-Herbert's Hist. of Livery Companies, vol. i. During the melancholy time that the civil war raged in England, the London companies were much oppressed, and spoiled of their resources by the arbitrary exactions made by those in power; but they seem to have enjoyed a better condition under the protectorate, when a season of comparative rest and quietude returned.

Cromwell's state residence in London was Whitehall. With much less of splendor and show than had been exhibited by the former occupants of that palace, the protector maintained a degree of magnificence and dignity befitting the chief ruler of a great country.[1] He had around him his court-composed of his family, some leading officers of the army, and a slight sprinkling of the nobility; but what interests posterity the most, it included Milton, Marvell, Waller, and Dryden. Foreign ambassadors and other distinguished personages were entertained at his table in sober state, the dinner being brought in by the gentlemen of his guard, clothed in gray coats, with black velvet collars and silver lace trimmings. "His own diet was spare and not curious, except in public treatments, which were constantly given the Monday in every week to all the officers in the army not below a captain, when he used to dine with them. A table was likewise spread every day of the week for such officers as should casually come to court. Sometimes he would, for a frolic, before he had half dined, give order for the drum to beat, and call in his foot-guards, who were permitted to make booty of all they found on the table. Sometimes he would be jocund with some of the nobility, and would tell them what company they had kept, when and where they had drunk the king's health and the royal family's, bidding them when they did it again to do it more privately; and this without any passion, and as festivous, droll discourse."[2] In the neighboring parks, the protector was often seen taking the air in his sedan, on horseback, and in his coach. On one occasion he turned coachman, with a rather disastrous result, which is amusingly told by Ludlow, whose genuine republicanism prejudiced him against Cromwell after he had assumed the supreme power. "The duke of Holstein made Cromwell a present of a set of gray Friesland coach-horses, with which taking the air in the park, attended only by his secretary Thurloe and a guard of janizaries, he would needs take the place of the coachman, not doubting but the three pair of horses he was about to drive would prove as tame as the three nations which were ridden by him, and, therefore, not content with their ordinary pace, he lashed them very furiously; but they, unaccustomed to such a rough driver, ran away in a rage, and stopped not till they had thrown him out of the box, with which fall his pistol fired in his pocket, though without any hurt to himself: by which he might have been instructed how dangerous it was to meddle with those things wherein he had no experience." In connection with these anecdotes of Cromwell may be introduced an extract from the Moderate Intelligencer, illustrative of the public amusements in London at that time:-

"Hyde Park, May 1, 1654.-This day there was a hurling of a great ball by fifty Cornish gentlemen of the one side, and fifty on the other; one party played in red caps and the other in white. There was present, his highness the lord protector, many of his privy council, and divers eminent gentlemen, to whose view was presented great agility of body, and most neat and exquisite wrestling, at every meeting of one with another, which was ordered with such dexterity, that it was to show more the strength, vigor, and nimbleness of their bodies, than to endanger their persons. The ball they played withal was silver, and was designed for that party which did win the goal." Coach-racing was another amusement of the period, perhaps something of an imitation of the old chariot races; races on foot were also run.

The author of a book entitled, "A Character of England, as it was lately presented to a Nobleman of France," published in 1659, further describes Hyde Park in the manner following: "I did frequently in the spring accompany my lord N-- into a field near the town, which they call Hide Park; the place not unpleasant, and which they use as our course, but with nothing of that order, equipage, and splendor, being such an assembly of wretched jades and hackney coaches, as, next a regiment of carmen, there is nothing approaches the resemblance. The park was, it seems, used by the late king and nobility for the freshness of the air and the goodly prospect; but it is that which now (besides all other exercises) they pay for here, in England, though it be free in all the world besides, every coach and horse which enters buying his mouthful, and permission of the publican who has purchased it, for which the entrance is guarded with porters and long staves."

During the commonwealth, what may be called a drab-colored tint pervaded London life, absorbing the rich many-colored hues which sparkle in the early picturesque history of the old metropolis. The pageantries of the Tudors and Stuarts were at an end; civic processions lost much of their glory; maskings and mummings were expelled from the inns of court; May-day became as prosaic as other days; Christmas was stripped of its holly decorations, and shorn from its holiday revels. The companies' halls were divested of royal arms, and the churches purified from images and popish adornments. But the preceding particulars show that the tinge of the times was not quite so drab as it seems on the pages of some partial and prejudiced writers. London had not the sepulchral look, and commonwealthmen had not the funeral-like aspect commonly attributed to them. They had, as we have seen, their cheerfulness and festivity, their banquets, recreations, and amusements; and, no doubt, in the mansions and houses of the city folk, both Presbyterian and Independent, there was comfort and taste, and pleasure, far different from what would be inferred from the accounts of them given by some, as if they were all starched precisians, a formal and woe-begone race. There was a dash of humor in Cromwell, to many about him quite inconsistent with that lugubriousness so often described as the characteristic of the times. With the suppression of the rude, boisterous, profligate, and vicious amusements of earlier times, there was certainly an improvement of the morals of the people. London was purified from a good deal of pollution by the change. The order, sobriety, and good behavior of the London citizens, during the period that regular government existed under Cromwell, appear in pleasing contrast to the confusion and riots of earlier times. There was a general diffusion of religious instruction, an earnestness in preaching, and an example of reverence for religion, exhibited by those in authority, which could not but operate beneficially. No doubt in London, as elsewhere, there were formalism and hypocrisy; the length of religious services had sometimes an unfavorable influence upon the young; severity and force, too, were unjustifiably employed in controlling public manners; but when all these drawbacks are made, and every other which historical impartiality may demand, there remains in the condition of London in those times, a large amount of genuine virtue and religion.

The night of the 2d of September, 1658, was one of the stormiest ever known. The wind blew a hurricane, and swept with resistless violence over city and country; many a house that night was damaged, chimneys being thrown down, tiles torn off, and even roofs carried away. Old trees in Hyde Park and elsewhere were wrenched from the soil. Cromwell was lying that night on his death-bed, and the Londoners' attention was divided between the phenomena of the weather, and the great event impending in the history of the commonwealth. The royalists said that evil angels were gathering in the storm round Whitehall, to seize on the departing spirit of the usurper; his friends interpreted it as a warning in providence of the loss the country was about to sustain. Amidst the storm and the two interpretations of it, both equally presumptuous, Cromwell lay in the arms of death, breathing out a prayer, which, whatever men may think of the character of him who uttered it, will be read with deep interest by all: "Lord, though a miserable and wretched creature, I am in covenant with thee, through thy grace, and may and will come to thee for thy people. Thou hast made me a mean instrument to do them some good and thee service. Many of them set too high a value upon me, though others would be glad of my death. Lord, however thou disposest of me, continue and go on to do good for them. Teach those who look too much upon thy instruments to depend more upon thyself, and pardon such as desire to trample upon the dust of a poor worm, for they are thy people too."

Cromwell was not by any means given to excessive state and ceremony, but after his death his friends evinced their fondness for it by the singularly pompous funeral which they appointed for him. Somerset House was selected as the scene of the lying in state, and thither the whole city flocked to witness the spectacle of gorgeous gloom. They passed through three ante-chambers, hung with mourning, to the funeral apartment. A bed of state covered the coffin, upon which, surrounded by wax lights, lay Cromwell's effigy, attired in royal robes. Pieces of his armor were arranged on each side, together with the symbols of majesty, the globe and sceptre. Behind the head an imperial crown was exhibited on a chair of state. Strikingly did the whole portray the fleeting and evanescent character of earthly pomp and power. It being found necessary to inter the body before the conclusion of the public funereal pageant, the effigy was removed to another room, and placed in an erect instead of a recumbent position, with the emblems of kingship in its hands, and the crown royal on its head. This exhibition continued for eight days, at the conclusion of which period there was a solemn procession to Westminster Abbey. The streets were lined with military, and the principal functionaries of the city of London, the officers of the army, the ministers of state, the foreign ambassadors, and some members of Cromwell's family, composed the cortége, which conducted the funeral car bearing the effigy to the place where the body was interred.

The city of London acknowledged Richard Cromwell as lord high protector on his father's death. Probably an address of congratulation from the metropolis on the event of his accession, was included among the contents of the old trunks, filled with such documents, to which Richard humorously referred when his short career of rulership reached its close. "Take particular care of these trunks," he said to his servant, when giving some directions about them; "they contain no less than the lives and fortunes of all the good people of England." The corporation of London having played a conspicuous part in all the changes of those changeful times, was particularly consulted by the parties who seized the reins of government when they had fallen from the hands of Oliver, and could not be held by his incompetent son. So cordial seemed the understanding between the city magistrates and the ruling authorities-consisting of the rump parliament, the council of state, and the officers of the army-that an entertainment was given to the latter at Grocers' Hall, on the 6th of October, 1659, by the lord mayor and corporation, to celebrate Lambert's victory over Sir George Booth, who had raised an insurrection in the west of England. At these festivities there was, on the part of the city, more of the semblance than the reality of friendship; for in the disjointed state of public affairs, and the manifest impotence of those who had undertaken to rule, London shared the general sentiments of dissatisfaction and alarm. It was felt that the parliament was but a name, and the re-establishment of a military despotism by the army was the object of apprehension. In the disagreement between parliament and army the city wished to stand neutral, though the apprentices rose in riotous opposition to the committee of safety, which was formed of republican officers. The feelings of this youthful part of the community were sympathized in by many others, though they prudently desired to avoid any infraction of the public peace. A general wish pervaded the city that a free parliament might be called; and when the rump parliament required the collection of the taxes, the citizens refused the impost, and objected to the power which had levied it. General Monk was ordered to march on the refractory citizens, which he did. He forthwith stationed guards at the gates of the city, and then broke them down, destroying the portcullises and removing the posts and chains. While Monk was thus chastising the Londoners, he fell out with the parliament, in whose service he professed to act, and at once changing sides, sought the forgiveness of the city for his deeds of violence, which, as he alleged, had been done, not from his own inclination, but at the command of the parliament. Mutual engagements and promises were now exchanged between the general and the citizens. Posts, gates, chains, portcullises, were replaced and repaired; and the corporation being let into the secret of Monk's design to promote the restoration of the monarchy, cordially acquiesced in the object. When messengers from Charles, who was at Breda, reached the city, they were joyfully welcomed, and £10,000 was voted out of the civic coffers to assist his majesty. While preparations for the king's return were proceeding prosperously, a solemn thanksgiving-day was held on the 10th of May, 1660, on which occasion the lord mayor and aldermen and the several companies assembled at St. Paul's Cathedral, when the good Richard Baxter preached to them on "Right Rejoicing: or, The Nature and Order of rational and warrantable Joy." Feeling deeply as he did for the political welfare of the city and the country, and deeming the restoration of the monarch conducive to that end, yet the preacher, filled as he was with love to souls and zeal for God, would not let the occasion pass without wholly devoting it to the highest ends of the Christian ministry. It was his compassion, he says, to the frantic merry world, and to the self-troubling melancholy Christian, and his desire methodically to help them in their rejoicing, which formed his exhortation, and prompted the selection of his subject. No doubt men of all kinds thronged old St. Paul's to hear the Puritan preach on the king's return; and on reading over his wonderfully earnest and conscience-searching sermon, one cannot help feeling how many there must have been there to whom his warnings were as appropriate as they still are to multitudes in our own day, perhaps even to some person now perusing this sketch of the history of London. "Were your joy," said he, "but reasonable, I would not discourage it. But a madman's laughter is no very lovely spectacle to yourselves. And I appeal to all the reason in the world, whether it be reasonable for a man to live in mirth that is yet unregenerate and under the curse and wrath of God, and can never say, in the midst of his greatest pomp and pleasure, that he is sure to be an hour out of hell, and may be sure he shall be there forever, if he die before he have a new, a holy, and a heavenly nature, though he should die with laughter in his face, or with a jest in his mouth, or in the boldest presumption that he shall be saved; yet, as sure as the word of God is true, he will find himself everlastingly undone, as soon as ever his soul is departed from his body, and he sees the things that he would not believe. Sirs, is it rational to dance in Satan's fetters, at the brink of hell, when so many hundred diseases are all ready to mar the mirth, and snatch away the guilty soul, and cast it into endless desperation? I exceedingly pity the ungodly in their unwarrantable melancholy griefs, and much more an ungodly man that is bleeding under the wounds of conscience. But a man that is merry in the depth of misery is more to be pitied than he. Methinks it is one of the most painful sights in all the world, to see a man ruffle it out in bravery, and spend his precious time in pleasure, and melt into sensual and foolish mirth, that is a stranger to God, and within a step of endless woe. When I see their pomp, and feasting, and attendance, and hear their laughter and insipid jests, and the fiddlers at their doors or tables, and all things carried as if they made sure of heaven, it saddeneth my heart to think, alas! how little do these sinners know the state that they are in, the God that now beholdeth them, the change that they are near. How little do they think of the flames that they are hastening to, and the outcries and lamentations that will next ensue." Baxter knew that he would have, in all probability, many a light and careless mortal to hear him at St. Paul's that day, whose every thought and feeling would be engrossed in the anticipation of the gayeties that were about to return and supersede the strictness of Puritan times; he anticipated the presence of men who, like moths round a candle, were darting about in false security on the borders of everlasting fire, and thus he sent the arrows of his powerful eloquence direct at their consciences. Imagination can scarcely refrain from picturing some dissipated merry-maker arrested by such appeals, trembling under such tremendous and startling truths, quailing with terror, pale with anguish, melted into repentance, fleeing to the Saviour for mercy, and going home to pour forth in secret tears and prayers before God.

On the 26th of May, King Charles II. landed at Dover, and on the 29th entered the metropolis. He was met by the corporation in St. George's fields, Southwark, where a grand tent had been fitted up for receiving him. A sumptuous collation was ready, and the lord mayor waited to place in the hands of the monarch the city sword. Arrived and welcomed by his subjects, Charles conferred the honor of knighthood on the chief magistrate, and then proceeded to London, amidst a display of rejoicing such as brought back the remembrance of other days. The streets were lined with the companies and train bands; the houses were adorned with tapestries and silks; windows, balconies, roofs, and scaffolds, were crowded with spectators; and the conduits ran with delicious wines. The procession was formed of a troop of gentlemen, arrayed in cloth of silver; two hundred gentlemen in velvet coats, with footmen in purple liveries; another troop in buff coats and green scarfs; two hundred in blue and silver, with footmen in sea-green and silver; two hundred and twenty, with thirty footmen in gray and silver, and four trumpeters; one hundred and five, with six trumpets; seventy, with five trumpets; two troops of three hundred, and one of one hundred, all mounted and richly habited. Then followed his majesty's arms, carried by two trumpeters, together with the sheriff's men and six hundred members of the companies on horseback, in black velvet coats and gold chains. Kettle-drums and trumpets, twelve ministers at the head of the life-guards, the city marshal, sheriffs, aldermen, all in rich trappings, the lord mayor, and last of all, the king, riding between the Dukes of York and Gloucester. The rear of the procession was composed of military. An entertainment at Guildhall followed, on the 5th of July. Nothing could exceed the rapture of the old royalist party in London. Cavaliers and their followers, restrained by the regulations and example of the governing powers during the commonwealth, and now freed from all restriction on their indulgence, were loud and extravagant in their demonstrations of joy. London was transformed into a scene of carnival-like festivity. There were bonfires and the roasting of oxen, while the rumps of beef divided among hungry citizens suggested many a joke on the rump parliament. Revelry and intemperance were the order of the day. The taverns rang with the roundelay of the licentious and intemperate-"The king shall enjoy his own again." At night, the riotous amusement continued, amidst illumination of the most brilliant kind which at that time could be supplied. The whole was a fitting prelude to the reign that followed, and an affecting commentary on the moving exhortations of Baxter, to which we have before referred.

A band of wild and crazy enthusiasts, denominated Fifth Monarchy men, troubled the peace of the city in the beginning of the following year. Led on by a fanatic named Venner, they insisted on the overthrow of King Charles, and the establishment of the reign of King Jesus. Though only between sixty and seventy in number, they were so feebly opposed by the authorities who had the safety of the city intrusted to them, that they marched from street to street, bearing down their opponents, and engaging in successful skirmishes, both with train-bands and horse-guards. For two days this handful of misguided men kept up their insurrection, and at last intrenched themselves in an ale-house in Cripplegate, where, after severe fighting, the remnant of them were captured. About twenty persons were killed on each side during the whole fray, and eleven of the rebels were afterwards executed. Soon after this, on the 23d of April, the coronation took place, which occasioned another gala day for the citizens, who now, in addition to other demonstrations of joy, erected four triumphal arches-the first in Leadenhall-street, representing his majesty's arrival; the second in Cornhill, forming a naval representation; the third in Cheapside, in honor of Concord; and the fourth in Fleet-street, symbolical of Plenty.

The old national amusements were revived in London on the restoration. May-day and Christmas resumed their former appearance. The May-pole in the Strand was erected in 1661. The theatres were re-opened, pouring forth a flood of licentiousness. The love of show and decoration was cherished afresh. Dresses and equipages shone in more than their ancient splendor. In 1661, it was thought necessary to repress the gilding of coaches and chariots, because of the great waste and expense of gold in their adorning.

London also witnessed other accompaniments of the restoration. The regicide trials took place soon after the king's return, and could not fail deeply to interest, in one way or the other, the mass of the citizens, many of them personally acquainted with the parties, and perhaps abettors of the acts for which they were now arraigned. Charing Cross was the scene of the execution of Harrison, Scrope, Jones, Hugh Peters, and others. The spirit in which they met their deaths was very extraordinary. "If I had ten thousand lives," said Scrope, "I could freely and cheerfully lay them down all to witness in this matter." Jones, the night before he died, told a friend that he had no other temptation but this, lest he should be too much transported, and carried out to neglect and slight his life, so greatly was he satisfied to die in that cause. Peters, whom Burke styles "a poor good man," said, as he was going to die, "What, flesh, art thou unwilling to go to God through the fire and jaws of death? This is a good day; He is come that I have long looked for, and I shall be with him in glory; and so he smiled when he went away." Others were executed at Tyburn; and there, too, the bodies of the protector Oliver Cromwell, Treton, and Bradshaw, were ignominiously exposed on a gibbet, having been dug out of their tombs in Westminster Abbey.

[1] He loved paintings and music, and encouraged proficients in elegant art. "I ventured," says Evelyn, in 1656, "to go to Whitehall, where of many years I have not been, and found it very glorious and well furnished."

[2] Perfect Politician, quoted in "London," vol. i, p. 360.

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