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usually retired to say masses for the souls of the deceased, in the days of popery! Many ROYAL and illustrious personages have been buried in this edifice, particularly Edward the Fourth and his inoffensive rival Henry the Sixth. The circumstance gave rise to the following beautiful lines :
Let softest strains ill-fated Henry mourn,
Here were buried Henry the Eighth, and also Charles the First, though Lord Clarendon says, that his remains could not be found when he wished to have them taken up and interred in Westminster Abbey. However, they were found here when a still-born child of Queen Anne was interred in the same vault, and they were met with on a late occasion, when, in the presence of the Prince Regent and of the Duke of Cumberland, Sir Henry Halford made an examination of them. As it is a singular affair and made much noise at the time, the account of this eminent physician shall be here transcribed.
“ On coinpleting the Muusoleum which his present Majesty bas built in the TOMB-HOUSE, as it is called, it was necessary to form a passage to it from under
CHARLES THE FIRST'S COFFIN.
the choir of St. George's Chapel. In constructing this passage an aperture was made, accidentally, in one of the walls of the vault of King Henry the Eighth, through which the workmen were enabled to see, not only the two coffins which were supposed to contain the bodies of King Henry the Eighth, and Queen Jane Seymour, but a THIRD, also covered with a black velvet pall, which might fairly be presumed to contain the remains of King CHARLES the First. On representing the circumstance to the Prince Regent, his ROYAL Highness, perceived at once that a doubtful point in history might be cleared up by opening this vault, and accordingly his RọYAL Highness ordered an examination to be made on the first convenient opportunity. This was done April 1, 1813, the day after the funeral of the Duchess of Brunswick, in the presence of his ROYAL HIGHNESS himself, who guaranteed thereby the most respectful care and attention to the remains of the dead during the inquiry. His Royal HIGHNESS was accompanied by the Duke of Cumberland, Count Munster, the Dean of Winchester, B. C. Stevenson, Esq. and Sir Henry Halford. The vault is covered by an arch half a brick in thickness, is seven feet two inches in width, pine feet six inches in length, and four feet ten inches in height, and is situated in the centre of the choir.
Upon their removing the pall—a plain leaden coffin, with no appearance of ever having been inclosed in wood, and bearing an inscription, King
CHARLES, 1648, in large legible characters, on a scroll of lead encircling it, immediately presented itself to view. A square opening was then made in the upper part of the lid, of such dimensions as to admit a clear insight into its contents. There were an internal wooden coffin, very much decayed, and the body carefully wrapt up in cere-cloth, into the folds of which a quantity of unctuous or greasy matter mixed with resin, as it seemed, had been melted so as to exclude, as effectually as possible, the external air. The Coffin was completely full, and from the tenacity of the cere-cloth great difficulty was experienced in detaching it successfully from the parts which it enveloped. Wherever the unctuous matter had insinuated itself the separation of the cere-cloth was easy, and when it came off a correct impression of the features, to which it had been applied, was observed in the unctuous substance. At length the whole face was disengaged from its covering! The complexion of the skin of it was dark and discoloured. The forehead and temples had lost little or nothing of their muscular substance; the cartilage of the nose was gone, but the left eye, in the first moment of exposure, was open and full, though it vanished almost immediately, and the pointed beard, so characteristic of the period of King CHARLES, was perfect. The shape of the face was a long oval; many of the teeth remained, and the left ear, in consequence of the interposition of the unctuous matter between it and the cere-cloth, was found entire. It was difficult, at this
moment, to withhold a declaration that, notwithstanding its disfigurement, the countenance did bear a strong resemblance to the coins, the busts, and especially to the pictures of King Charles by Vandyke, by which it had been made familiar to us. It is true that the minds of the spectators of this interesting sight were well prepared to receive this impression, and it will not be denied that the shape of the face, the forehead, an eye, and the beard, are the most important features by which resemblance is determined.
“ When the head had been entirely disengaged from the attachments which confined it, it was found to be loose, and, without any difficulty, was taken up and held to view. It was quite wet, and gave a greenish red tinge 'to paper and to linen which touched it. I have not asserted this liquid to be blood, because I had not an opportunity of being sure it was so, and I wished to record facts only and not opinions. , I be lieve it, however, to have been blood in which THE HEAD rested. It gave to writing paper and to a white handkerchief such a colour as blood, which has been kept for a length of time, generally leaves behind it. Nobody present had a doubt of its being blood, and it is probable that the large blood vessels continued to empty themselves for some time afterwards, fór THE KING was embalmed immediately after decapitation. The back part of the scalp was entirely perfect and had a remarkably fresh appearance, the pores of the skin being more distinct, as they usually
CHARLES'S COFFIN RECLOSED.
are when soaked in moisture, and the tendons and ligaments of the neck were of considerable substance and firmness. The hair was thick at the back part of the head and in appearance nearly black. A portion of it, which has since been cleaned and dried, is of a beautiful dark brown colour. That of the beard was a redder brown. On the back part of THE HEAD it was not more than an inch in length and had probably been cut short for the convenience of the executioner, or, perhaps, by the piety of friends soon after death, in order to furnish memorials of the unhappy king. On holding up the head to examine the place of separation from the body, the muscles of the neck had evidently retracted themselves considerably, and the fourth cervical vertebra was found to be cut through its substance transversely, leaving the surfaces of the divided portions perfectly smooth and even, an appearance which could have been produced only by a heavy blow inflicted with a very sharp in. strument, and which furnished the last proof wanting to identify King CHARLES THE FIRST! After this examination of the head, which served every purpose in view, and without examining the body below the neck, it was immediately restored to its situation, The Coffin was soldered up again and the vault closed.
“ Neither of the other coffins had any inscription upon them. The larger one, supposed, on good grounds, to contain the remains of King HENRY THE EIGHTH, measured six feet ten inches in length,