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being practicable, it was determined to try it. The workmen, on commencing their operations, found a complete and perfect arch, which this great architect, foreseeing the alterations which time would render necessary on the bridge, had provided for the convenience of posterity. When the present bridge shall be taken down, passengers will have to rejoice at the increased convenience and comfort that a new erection may afford; but the antiquary will sometimes heave a sigh over the destruction of this silent memorial of days long passed away."
"Pray, Sir," said Susan, when Mr. Wilmot paused, "who was Sir Thomas Wyatt, of whom you spoke in the early part of your account?"
"Sir Thomas Wyatt, of Allingham Castle in Kent," replied Mr. Wilmot, "was the son of the poet, wit, and courtier of that name. He was once distinguished for his zealous loyalty, and is said to have been also a catholic, a peculiarly acceptable circumstance in the reign of queen Mary, herself a rigid Papist. Though allied in blood to the Dudleys, not only had he refused, to Northumberland, his concurrence in the nomination of Jane Grey, but without waiting to see which party would prevail, he had proclaimed queen Mary in the market-place at Maidstone; for which instance of attachment he had received her thanks. But Wyatt had been employed, for several years, on embassies to Spain; and the intimate acquaintance he had acquired of the principles and practices of its court, filled him with such horror, that, on the intended marriage of Mary with Philip, he incited his friends and neighbours to rebellion. For this unguarded and very wrong step, he justly suffered the punishment of the laws. Other charges were adduced; and it was sanl* (how truly cannot now be ascertained,) that it was the intention of the conspirators to dethrone Mary, and place her sister Elizabeth on the throne, having first married her to the earl of Devonshire. These latter accusations might be groundless; but when a man permits himself to take up arms against his sovereign, he cannot say, 'So far will I go, and no further.'"
"Thank you, Sir," said Susan, when Mr. Wilmot concluded: "I hope all your anecdotes are not finished."
"Amongst the names that I have enumerated," replied Mr. Wilmot, "I forgot to mention Sir William Wallace, who was hanged and quartered in Smithfiekl, in 1305, and his head stuck upon a pole fixed upon London Bridge."
"Dear Sir," said Susan, "what crime had he committed? and who was he V
"His only crime, my dear," answered the old gentleman, "was magnanimously defending his country against the ambitious designs of our king Edward the First. But to answer to your second question fully, I must enter first into a few particulars.
"One of the enterprizes that presented itself to the ambition of the martial Edward, was the conquest of Scotland; a country which he was desirous of annexing to his hereditary dominions, as Ireland and Wales had already been; or, at least, of reducing it to a state of dependance on the English crown. A dispute arose about this time, between the competitors for the crown of Scotland, John Baliol and Robert Bruce, whose claims were nearly equal, and whose parties were almost of equal strength.
"To avoid the horrors of a civil war, the chiefs determined that the question should be referred to the king of England, for arbitration.
"This appeal furnished Edward with the occasion he had long desired, of laying claim to the sovereignty of Scotland. He endeavoured, in vain, to establish his right by precedents, arguments, and diplomatic reasonings. None of these availed to produce conviction in the minds of the Scotch, till they were backed by a powerful army! Judgment was at last given in favour of Baliol, though clogged with the condition, that he should take the oath of allegiance to the king of England. But this unhappy prince soon found, that, instead of being a sovereign, he was really a slave. To remind him of his dependance on the crown of England, Edward cited him, on every trifling occasion, to his court, and required him to renew his homage continually. This royal vassal was summoned six times in the course of the year, to appear before the king in parliament, and answer to complaints lodged against him; and, on some of these occasions, he was treated with the greatest indignity. Averse as was this prince from war, he could not submit to such degradation, but secretly prepared to shake off a yoke which had proved so galling. An open rupture would probably have immediately ensued, had not the attention of Edward been withdrawn from the affairs of Scotland, by a war with France, in which he found himself suddenly involved. A scuffle which had taken place between the crew of a Norman and English vessel, involved the nations to which they belonged in a destructive war, which raged with great fury for a considerable time, and in which torrents of human blood were wantonly shed.
"In order to avert the storm of war from his own dominions, the French king made common cause with Baliol of Scotland, and encouraged him to assert his independence; and Edward immediately suspended his continental operations, that he might lend his whole strength to the conquest of Scotland, and the subjection or expulsion of its sovereign.
"The Scottish chiefs, who had witnessed with indignation the degradation of their king and country, gathered all their forces; and every thing indicated the approach of a tremendous conflict. But as yet they wanted a leader of sufficient courage and patriotism, around whose banner they might rally with confidence. Baliol made a feeble effort to preserve his crown; but was at length utterly defeated by the earl of Warienne, in the battle of Dunbar, after which he surrendered himself to Edward, who committed him to the Tower of London, where the unfortunate prince languished several years in solitary confinement.
"Nor was the severity of the king confined to the person of the fallen monarch. Many of the nobility of Scotland were sent into England, and immured in different castles; the ensigns