« НазадПродовжити »
been deprived of a sight, which probably very few that were present will ever see again, I will endeavour to de. scribe it to you as minutely as I can, while the circumstances are fresh in my memory, though my description must fall very short of the reality. First, then, conceive to yourself the fronts of the houses, in all the streets that could command the least point of view, lined with scaffolding, like so many galleries or boxes raised one above another to the very roofs. These were covered with carpets and cloths of different colours, which presented a pleasing variety to the eye; and if you consider the brilliant
appearance of the spectators who were seated in them (many being richly dressed) you will easily imagine this was no indifferent part of the show. The mob underneath made a pretty contrast to the rest of the company. Add to this, that though we had nothing but wet and cloudy weather for some time before, the day cleared up, and the sun shone auspiciously, as it were in compliment to the grand festival. The platform, on account of the uncertainty of the weather, had a shelving roof, which was covered with a kind of sail-cloth; but near the place where I was, an honest Jack Tar climbed up to the top and stripped off the covering, which gave us not only a more extensive view, but let the light in upon every part of the procession. I should tell you,
that a rank of foot soldiers was placed on each side within the platform; and it was not a little surprising to see the officers familiarly conversing and walking arm and arm with many of them, till we were let into the secret, that they were gentlemen who had put on the dresses of common soldiers, for what purpose I need not mention. On the out. side were stationed, at proper distances, several parties of horse-guards, whose horses, indeed, somewhat incommoded the people, that pressed incessantly upon them, by their prancing and capering ; though, luckily, I do not hear of any great mischief being done. I must confess, it gave me much pain, to see the soldiers, both horse and foot, most unmercifully belabouring the heads of the mob with their broad-swords, bayonets, and muskets; but it was not un
pleasant to observe several tipping the horse soldiers slily from time to time (some with halfpence, and some with silver, as they could muster up the cash) to let them pass between the horses to get nearer the platform; after which these unconscionable gentry drove them back again. As soon as it was day-break (for I chose to go to my place overnight) we were diverted with seeing the coaches and chairs of the nobility and gentry passing along with much ado; and several persons very richly dressed, were obliged to quit their equipages, and be escorted by the soldiers through the mob to their respective places. Several carriages, I am told, received great damage: Mr. Jennings, whom you know, had his chariot broke to pieces ; but providentially neither he nor Mrs. Jennings, who were in it, received any hurt.
“ Their majesties (to the shame of those be it spoken who were not so punctual) came in their chairs from St. James's through the Park to Westminster about nine o'clock. The king went into a room which they call the Court of Wards, and the queen into that belonging to the gentlemanusher of the Black-rod. The nobility and others, who were to walk in the procession, were mustered and ranged by the officers of arms in the Court of Requests, Painted Chamber, and House of Lords, from whence the cavalcade was conducted into Westminster Hall. As you know all the avenues and places about the Hall, you will not be at a loss to understand me. My pass-ticket would have been of no service, if I had not prevailed on one of the guards, by the irresistible argument of half-a-crown, to make way for me through the mob to the Hall-gate, where I got admittance just as their majesties were seated at the upper end, under magnificent canopies. Her majesty's chair was on the left hand of his majesty; and they were attended by the great chamberlain, lord high constable, earl marshal, and other great officers. Four swords, I observed, and as many spurs, were presented in form, and then placed upon a table before the king Vol. I. No. 21.
« There was a neglect, it seems, somewhere, in rrot sending for the dean and prebendaries of Westminster, &c. who, not finding themselves summoned, came of their own accord, preceded by the choristers, singers, &c. among whom was your favourite, as indeed he is of every one, Mr. Beard. The Hall gate was now thrown open to admit this lesser procession from the Abbey, when the bishop of Rochester (that is, the dean) and his attendants brought the Bible and the following regalia of the king, viz. St. Edward's crown, rested on a cushion of gold cloth, the orb with the cross, a sceptre with the dove on the top, another tipt with a cross, and what they call St. Edward's staff. The queen's regalia were brought at the same time, viz. her crown upon a cushion, a sceptre with a cross, and a rod of ivory with a dove. These were severally laid before their majesties, and afterwards delivered to the respective officers who were to bear them in the procession.
“ Considering the length of the cavalcade, and the numbers that were to walk, it is no wonder that there should be much confusion in marshalling the ranks. At last, however, every thing was regularly adjusted, and the procession began to quit the Hall between eleven and twelve. The platform leading to the west door of the Abbey was covered with blue baize for the train to walk on; but there seemed to me a defect in not covering the upright posts that supported the awning, as it is called, (for they looked mean and naked) with that or some other coloured cloth. As I carry you along, I shall wave mentioning the minute particulars of the procession, and only observe that the nobility walked two by two. Being willing to see the procession pass along the platform through the streets, I hastened from the Hall, and by the assistance of a soldier made my way to my former station at the corner of Bridge Street, where the windows commanded a double view at the turning. I shall not attempt to describe the splendor and magnificence of the whole; and words must fall short of that innate joy and satisfaction which the spectators felt and expressed, especially
as their majesties passed by; on whose countenance a dignity suited to their station, tempered with the most amiable complacency, was sensibly impressed. It was observable that as their majesties and the nobility passed the corner which commanded a prospect of Westminster Bridge, they stopped short, and turned back to look at the people, whose appearance, as they all had their hats off, and were thick planted on the ground, which rose gradually, I can compare to nothing but a pavement of heads and faces.
“ I had the misfortune not to be able to get to the Abbey time enough to see all that passed there; nor, indeed, when I got in, could I have so distinct a view as I could have wished. But our friend Harry Whitaker had the luck to be. stationed in the first row of the gallery behind the seats alfotted for the nobility, close to the square platform which was erected by the altar, with an ascent of three steps, for their majesties to be crowned on. You are obliged to him, therefore, for several particulars which I could not otherwise have informed you of. He tells me, as soon as their majesties entered the church, the choir struck up with an anthem; and, after they were seated, and the usual recognition and oblations were made, the litany was chanted by the bishops of Chester and Chichester, and the responses made by the whole choir, accompanied by the whole band of music. Then the first part of the communion-service was read; after which a sermon was preached by the bishop of Salisbury, now archbishop of York. I was not near enough to hear it, nor, perhaps you will say, did I much desire it ; but, by my watch, it lasted only fifteen minutes. This: done, Harry says he saw very distinetly his majesty subscribe the declaration, and take the coronation oath, the solemnity of which struck him with an unspeakable awe and reverence; and he could not help reflecting on the glorious privilege which the English enjoy, of binding their kings by the most sacred ties of conscience and religion. The king was then anointed by his grace of Canterbury on the crown of his head, his breast, and the palms of his hands; after which he was presented with the spurs, and girt with the
3 R 2
sword, and was then invested with the coronation robes, the armills, as they are called, and the imperial pall. The orb with the cross was also presented, and the ring was put upon the fourth finger of bis majesty's right hand by the archbishop, who then delivered the sceptre with the cross, and the other with the dove; and being assisted by several bishops, he lastly placed the crown reverently upon his ma-, jesty's head. A profound awful silence had reigned till this moment, when, at the very instant the crown was let fall on the king's head, a person having been placed on the top of the Abbey dome, from whence he could look down into the chancel, with a flag which he dropt as a signal ; the Park and Tower guns began to fire, the trumpets sounded, and the Abbey echoed with the repeated shouts and acclamations of the people. The peers, who before this time had their coronets in their hands, now put them on, as the bishops did their caps, and the representatives of the dukes of Aquitaine and Normandy their hats. The knights of the Bath in particular made a moșt splendid figure, when they put on their caps, which were adorned with large plumes of white feathers. It is to be observed, that there were no commoners knights of the Garter; consequently, instead of caps and vestments peculiar to their order, they, being all peers, wore the robes and coronets of their respective ranks. I should mention, that the kings of arms also put on coronets.
“ Silence again assumed her reign, and the shouts ceasing, the archbishop proceeded with the rest of the divine service; and after he had presented the Bible to his majesty, and solemnly read the benedictions, his majesty kiss-, ed the archbishops and bishops one after another as they knelt before him. The Te Deum was now performed, and, this being ended, his majesty was elevated on a superb throne, which all the peers approached in their order, and did their homages.
“ The coronation of the queen was performed in nearly, the same manner with that of his majesty ; the archbishop auointed her with the holy oil on the head and breast, and