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Our chaises soon stopped at the inn adjoining the gates of the palace of Hampton COURT; here recruiting our strength, and ordering dinner ready against our return, we sallied forth for the gratification of our curiosity. The porter, obedient to the call of the bell, admitted us within the precincts of the Royal Palace, which both as to its exterior and interior we inspected at our leisure. It is AN IMMENSE PILE of brick building, of no great height, and which, now royalty has withdrawn its enlivening rays, seems to rest the more heavily on its foundations. And though beholding it, the structure may be said to occupy no small space in the eye, yet it is not altogether divested of that gloom usually belonging to deserted mansions. The rooms are numerous, and a few good pictures form their chief decoration. We passed through most of them, accompanied by a person who pointed out what was worthy of attention. My young Friend will not expect me to be very particular; the principul rooms shall be mentioned, and those Pictures only by which my curiosity was most gratified. I cannot answer for the justness of my taste, but let others who come after me please themselves.
Before we enumerate the rooms of this Royal Palace, I must notice the Great Hall and the Chapel. The Hall is 106 feet in length and 40 in width; the ceiling is elaborately and delicately executed. Much pomp and splendour have been here exhibited on former occasions. In the reign of Henry the Eighth, the
THE GREAT HALL,
unfortunate Catherine Howard was in this Hall first openly shewn as Queen, as was also Catherine Parr, her more prosperous successor.
And when Philip and Mary, in 1554, kept Christmas here with great solemnity, " the hall was illuminated with one thousand lamps, curiously disposed. The Princess Elizabeth (then under the care of Sir Thomas Pope) supped at the same table with the king and queen, next the cloth of state, and after supper was served with a perfumed napkin and plate of confects by the Lord Paget, but she retired to her ladies before the revels, maskings and disguisings began. On St. Stephen's day she heard matins in the Queen's closet, when she was attired in a robe of white satin strung all over with large pearls. On the 29th of December she sat with their majesties and nobility at a grand spectacle of justing, when 200 spears were broken. Half of the combatants were accoutred in the Almaine and half in the Spanish fashion.*" George the First had this venerable Hall fitted up as a theatre, and among other plays performed was Shakespeare's Henry the Eighth, representing the principal events of Cardinal Wolsey's life, the founder of the palace of Hampton Court. The CHAPEL, once ornamented with fine painted windows, destroyed in the civil wars, and afterwards fitted up by Queen Anne, has divine service performed in it every Sabbath day. The royal pew
See Progresses of Queen Elizabeth.
is in the gallery, over which cherubim sustain the British crown, waving an olive branch. Here the sexos are separated as in Methodist chapels.
The State Apartments we approached from the Fountain Court, by means of the king's stair-case, painted by Verio, with representations of the Heathen Mythology. The first room entered is the Guard Chamber; the sides are fitted with arms and decorated with the portraits of distinguished admirals. The King's Presence Chamber, hung with rich tapestry: here is the chair of state, richly embroidered with symbols of royalty; and facing it a capital portrait of WILLIAM THE THIRD, by Godfrey Kneller. The Second Presence Chamber, hung with tapestry, representing the History of Abraham. Here are also paintings of Ruins and Landscapes, by Jacques Rousseau. The Audience Chamber, having suspended from its centre a silver chandelier of sixteen branches. Here is also a chair of state and interesting picture of old Lewis Conaro and family, including four generations. The King's Drawing-room, of fine proportions, with a chair of state. Here is to be seen Sir William Beechy's picture of HIS PRESENT MAJESTY reviewing the dragoons, &c. The State Bed-chamber, of spacious proportions, hung with tapestry, descriptive of the history of Joshua. The King's Dressing-room, painted by Verrio, with various original paintings. King's Writing-closet, with an interesting picture of Charles the First dining in public with his family. Queen
Mary's Closet, hung with delicate needle-work, wrought by that queen, with the assistance of the ladies of her court, Lord Orford is of opinion, that HER MAJESTY, like the illustrious dames of antiquity, solaced herself during the absence of her royal husband by needle-work and other sedentary amusements. Nor is it improper here to mention, that Queen Mary was a truly domestic character, and the subject of general admiration :
How good she was, how generous and how wise,
* It is remarkable, that this good queen had just notions of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ;
upon Dr. Mather soliciting a charter for New England, and saying, this nation had cause to bless God for the indulgence enjoyed under the King and her MAJESTY—the Queen answered, “ It is what I am for; it is pot in the power of men to believe what they please, and there. fore, I think they should not be forced in matters of religion, contrary to their persuasions and consciences. I wish ALL good men were of one mind; however, in the mean time, I would have them live peaceably and LOVE ONE ANOTHER !"