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(afterwards Charles II.) at the end of the table. They are being served by gentlemen-in-waiting. At the end of the room is a raised and recessed gallery or daïs, where the public are looking on.
About this period Charles gave orders for some improvements to be made in the gardens of Hampton Court, which were decorated with statues, both of the classical and Renaissance periods; and he bestowed much care on the furnishing of the rooms, and their embellishment with pictures and other works of art and curiosities. It was in 1639 that he had his catalogue of pictures compiled by Vanderdoort, and in it there are three or four hundred pictures specified as being in this palace at that time-many of which, after having gone through various vicissitudes, are now still to be found here. Among these we would especially note the “Triumph of Julius Cæsar,” a splendid composition of nine pieces, Mantegna's greatest and richest work, which is still the glory of Hampton Court.
It must have been about the same time that King Charles, who was fairly fond of sport, conceived the idea of making a great park for red as well as fallow deer between Hampton Court and Richmond, where he had a great deal of wooded land, affording excellent cover for game, and large wastes which, with the domains of the two palaces, would have formed a magnificent and extensive inclosure to serve him as an agreeable and convenient hunting-ground close to London. There were, however, some parishes that had rights of common on the wastes, and many farmers and gentlemen had houses intermingled with them, so that his Majesty experienced considerable difficulty in treating with them for the purchase of their interests. Altogether the scheme, which would have involved the inclosing of a tract of country ten miles round, was very unpopular, and he was strongly advised against it by Lord Cottington and other ministers, both on account of the great expense it would involve, and of the murmurs that were excited among the country people on all sides. The King, however, would not brook opposition to his wishes, and when Lord Cottington tried to dissuade him from it, he declared, “He was resolved to go through with it, and had already caused brick to be burned, and much of the wall to be built
upon his own land.”
THE GRAND REMONSTRANCE.
But the building of the wall before people had consented to part with their lands or their common looked as if they were to be by degrees shut out of both, and increased the popular excitement and indignation. At last Archbishop Laud, who was always very anxious for the King to be on good terms with the people when none of his own “fads” were concerned, undertook to remonstrate with him. Eventually the King yielded to persuasion, and the project was abandoned : the second royal attempt to create a
new forest at Hampton Court being thus nullified like the first.
After the year 1639 the excited state of political affairs left Charles but little leisure to amuse himself at Hampton Court. He was residing here, however, at the beginning of August, 1640, when the plague breaking out, and two or three deaths occurring in the stables, the Court hastily left the palace. He was here again, also, after his return from Scotland on the 26th of November, 1641, to rest awhile from the toil and burden of business; and he was still at this palace when the Grand Remonstrance, which set out in the most powerful language all the errors and misdeeds of his Government, was voted in the House of Commons. This document, which must have been especially mortifying to Charles, as directly appealing to public opinion against him, was presented to his Majesty himself on December ist at Hampton Court. “The King was much concerned at the harshness of it, but promised an answer as soon as the weight of business would permit, and desired there should be no publishing that declaration till they had received his answer to it.” To this request, however, they paid no attention ; but immediately blazoned it throughout the kingdom-a course Charles took as an act of great disrespect to himself.
Three days after, perhaps to counteract, to some extent, its effect among the citizens of London, he sent for seven of the City aldermen to Hampton Court; and in response to a petition they brought with them, that he should come up and reside in London, "whereby the trade of the City, which had been so much hindered by the King's long absence in Scotland, might be revived,” he promised to leave Hampton
? As to Henry VIII.'s inclosure of the Chase of Hampton Court, and its subsequent dechasing in the reign of Edward VI., see anie p. 103-4.
Court in a day or two, and come to Whitehall; while, “to express his extraordinary love to the City,” he made them all knights. By such actions does he seem to have thought, in his delusion, that he could stem the tide of disaffection among his subjects, an opinion which was certainly shared by the courtier-scribe who records the fact, and who exclaims, in a fervour of loyal enthusiasm, “What encouragement can subjects have more to love and obey a King than to have such favour and love shown by a King, for whose prosperous, happy and successive reign, it behoves us all to pray: else there is no question to be made, but that judgment will be showered down upon our heads by the Heavenly King, for not loving so good a heavenly King.”
Whether or not his subjects in general were equally impressed mattered little ; for all that went before was forgotten when, exactly two months after, on February 4th, 1642, Charles made his memorable attempt to arrest the Five Members in the House of Commons. Six days after, mortified by the failure of his design, and alarmed by the menacing demeanour of the Parliament and the tumult that was raging in London, he suddenly left Whitehall, with his wife and children and all his household, for Hampton Court. Here so little preparation had been made for their reception, that Charles and the Queen had to sleep in one room with their three eldest children.
The results of this fatal step—which has been aptly compared to the flight of Louis XVI. from Paris to Varennesare too well known to be dilated on here. It was, in fact, a throwing down the gage of battle, and the roar of “Privilege of Parliament” that rose from a hundred thousand throats as Charles drove through the streets, was the blast, as it were, that heralded the Great Rebellion. The tactical error of the step had equally far-reaching results: for by this first flight in a life ever afterwards so fugitive, Charles surrendered London without striking a blow, and thus left the Roundheads in triumphant possession of the Tower, the arsenals, and all the offices and departments of State. The shout of exultation that burst from the trained bands as they marched past the deserted Palace of Whitehall, brandishing the “Protestation” on their pikes, showed that they, at any rate, fully gauged the deep significance of the King's flight.
OUTBREAK OF THE CIVIL WAR.
The King's adherents, on their part also, began to grow dimly conscious of the altered position of affairs, and Colonel Lunsford, who had escorted the King and Queen to Hampton Court, after seeing them safely lodged in the palace, went on with his band, two hundred strong, to Kingston, to take possession of a magazine of arms in that town. Here Lunsford and his men were visited next morning by Lord Digby, who drove over from the palace in a coach and six to thank them in the King's name for what they had done, and to urge them to set about collecting recruits. For doing this. Lord Digby was soon after attainted of treason, for “ levying war”; while Lunsford was arrested by the Parliamentarians and lodged in the Tower.
The King's stay at Hampton Court lasted but a few days, for on the 12th of January, overwhelmed with the shame and peril of his situation, he moved to Windsor Castle for greater security. Clarendon describes in pathetic words his "sad condition, as fallen in ten days from a height and greatness that his enemies feared, to such a lowness that his own servants durst hardly avow their waiting on him,” He was back again here, however, just for one night, when conducting the Queen from Windsor to Dover, on her departure from England at the end of February.
After that Hampton Court saw him no more until five years later, when he was brought by the Roundheads as a prisoner to his own palace.
In the meanwhile, to the year 1645, the tide of the Civil War had rolled over the country without much affecting Hampton Court; though we may well imagine that the varying fortunes of the two contending factions must have been followed with intense interest by the inhabitants of the palace, who probably consisted of a few score of royal officials and servants. The principle, however, on which the Parliament proceeded, of still recognizing the existence of the monarchy whilst taking up arms against the monarch, probably secured them from any molestation as long as they took no active part in the struggle.
But in 1645, after the Battle of Naseby, which practically decided the fate of the Royalist cause, the Parliament took possession of the palace, setting seals on the doors of the State Apartments. In their intolerent Puritan zeal to sweep