Note 1—Chapter IV
Christ's Hospital Costume
It is most reasonable to regard the dress as copied from the costume of the citizens of London of that period, when long blue coats were the common habit of apprentices and serving-men, and yellow stockings were generally worn; the coat fits closely to the body, but has loose sleeves, and beneath is worn a sleeveless yellow under-coat; around the waist is a red leathern girdle; a clerical band around the neck, and a small flat black cap, about the size of a saucer, completes the costume.—Timbs' Curiosities of London.
Note 2—Chapter IV
It appears that Christ's Hospital was not originally founded as a school; its object was to rescue children from the streets, to shelter, feed, clothe them.—Timbs' Curiosities of London.
Note 3—Chapter V
The Duke of Norfolk's Condemnation Commanded
The King was now approaching fast towards his end; and fearing lest Norfolk should escape him, he sent a message to the Commons, by which he desired them to hasten the Bill, on pretence that Norfolk enjoyed the dignity of Earl Marshal, and it was necessary to appoint another, who might officiate at the ensuing ceremony of installing his son Prince of Wales.—Hume's History of England, vol. iii. p. 307.
Note 4—Chapter VII
It was not till the end of this reign (Henry VIII.) that any salads, carrots, turnips, or other edible roots were produced in England. The little of these vegetables that was used was formerly imported from Holland and Flanders. Queen Catherine, when she wanted a salad, was obliged to despatch a messenger thither on purpose.—Hume's History of England, vol. iii. p. 314.
Note 5—Chapter VIII
Attainder of Norfolk
The House of Peers, without examining the prisoner, without trial or evidence, passed a Bill of Attainder against him and sent it down to the Commons . . . The obsequious Commons obeyed his (the King's) directions; and the King, having affixed the Royal assent to the Bill by commissioners, issued orders for the execution of Norfolk on the morning of January 29 (the next day).—Hume's History of England, vol iii. p 306.
Note 6—Chapter X
The loving-cup, and the peculiar ceremonies observed in drinking from it, are older than English history. It is thought that both are Danish importations. As far back as knowledge goes, the loving-cup has always been drunk at English banquets. Tradition explains the ceremonies in this way. In the rude ancient times it was deemed a wise precaution to have both hands of both drinkers employed, lest while the pledger pledged his love and fidelity to the pledgee, the pledgee take that opportunity to slip a dirk into him!
Note 7—Chapter XI
The Duke of Norfolk's Narrow Escape
Had Henry VIII. survived a few hours longer, his order for the duke's execution would have been carried into effect. "But news being carried to the Tower that the King himself had expired that night, the lieutenant deferred obeying the warrant; and it was not thought advisable by the Council to begin a new reign by the death of the greatest nobleman in the kingdom, who had been condemned by a sentence so unjust and tyrannical."—Hume's History of England, vol. iii, p. 307.
Note 8—Chapter XIV
James I. and Charles II. had whipping-boys, when they were little fellows, to take their punishment for them when they fell short in their lessons; so I have ventured to furnish my small prince with one, for my own purposes.
Character of Hertford
The young King discovered an extreme attachment to his uncle, who was, in the main, a man of moderation and probity.—Hume's History of England, vol. iii, p324.
But if he (the Protector) gave offence by assuming too much state, he deserves great praise on account of the laws passed this session, by which the rigour of former statutes was much mitigated, and some security given to the freedom of the constitution. All laws were repealed which extended the crime of treason beyond the statute of the twenty-fifth of Edward III.; all laws enacted during the late reign extending the crime of felony; all the former laws against Lollardy or heresy, together with the statute of the Six Articles. None were to be accused for words, but within a month after they were spoken. By these repeals several of the most rigorous laws that ever had passed in England were annulled; and some dawn, both of civil and religious liberty, began to appear to the people. A repeal also passed of that law, the destruction of all laws, by which the King's proclamation was made of equal force with a statute.—Ibid. vol. iii. p. 339.
Boiling to Death
In the reign of Henry VIII. poisoners were, by act of parliament, condemned to be boiled to death. This act was repealed in the following reign.
In Germany, even in the seventeenth century, this horrible punishment was inflicted on coiners and counterfeiters. Taylor, the Water Poet, describes an execution he witnessed in Hamburg in 1616. The judgment pronounced against a coiner of false money was that he should "be boiled to death in oil; not thrown into the vessel at once, but with a pulley or rope to be hanged under the armpits, and then let down into the oil by degrees; first the feet, and next the legs, and so to boil his flesh from his bones alive."—Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull's Blue Laws, True and False, p. 13.
The Famous Stocking Case
A woman and her daughter, nine years old, were hanged in Huntingdon for
selling their souls to the devil, and raising a storm by pulling off
their stockings!—Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull's Blue Laws, True and False, p.
Note 10—Chapter XVII
So young a King and so ignorant a peasant were likely to make mistakes; and this is an instance in point. This peasant was suffering from this law by anticipation; the King was venting his indignation against a law which was not yet in existence; for this hideous statute was to have birth in this little King's own reign. However, we know, from the humanity of his character, that it could never have been suggested by him.
Death for Trifling Larcenies
When Connecticut and New Haven were framing their first codes, larceny above the value of twelve pence was a capital crime in England—as it had been since the time of Henry I.—Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull's Blue Laws, True and False, p. 17.
The curious old book called The English Rogue makes the limit thirteen pence ha'penny: death being the portion of any who steal a thing "above the value of thirteen pence ha'penny."
From many descriptions of larceny the law expressly took away the benefit of clergy: to steal a horse, or a hawk, or woollen cloth from the weaver, was a hanging matter. So it was to kill a deer from the King's forest, or to export sheep from the kingdom.—Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull's Blue Laws, True and False, p.13.
William Prynne, a learned barrister, was sentenced (long after Edward VI.'s time) to lose both his ears in the pillory, to degradation from the bar, a fine of £3,000, and imprisonment for life. Three years afterwards he gave new offence to Laud by publishing a pamphlet against the hierarchy. He was again prosecuted, and was sentenced to lose what remained of his ears, to pay a fine of £5,000, to be branded on both his cheeks with the letters S. L. (for Seditious Libeller), and to remain in prison for life. The severity of this sentence was equalled by the savage rigour of its execution.—Ibid. p. 12.
Christ's Hospital, or Bluecoat School, "the Noblest Institution in the World."
The ground on which the Priory of the Grey Friars stood was conferred by Henry VIII. on the Corporation of London (who caused the institution there of a home for poor boys and girls). Subsequently, Edward VI. caused the old Priory to be properly repaired, and founded within it that noble establishment called the Bluecoat School, or Christ's Hospital, for the education and maintenance of orphans and the children of indigent persons. . . . Edward would not let him (Bishop Ridley) depart till the letter was written (to the Lord Mayor), and then charged him to deliver it himself, and signify his special request and commandment that no time might be lost in proposing what was convenient, and apprising him of the proceedings. The work was zealously undertaken, Ridley himself engaging in it; and the result was the founding of Christ's Hospital for the education of poor children. [The King endowed several other charities at the same time.] "Lord God," said he, "I yield Thee most hearty thanks that Thou hast given me life thus long to finish this work to the glory of Thy name!" That innocent and most exemplary life was drawing rapidly to its close, and in a few days he rendered up his spirit to his Creator, praying God to defend the realm from Papistry.—J. Heneage Jesse's London, its Celebrated Characters and Places.
In the Great Hall hangs a large picture of King Edward VI. seated on his throne, in a scarlet and ermined robe, holding the sceptre in his left hand, and presenting with the other the Charter to the kneeling Lord Mayor. By his side stands the Chancellor, holding the seals, and next to him are other officers of state. Bishop Ridley kneels before him with uplifted hands, as if supplicating a blessing on the event; whilst the Aldermen, etc., with the Lord Mayor, kneel on both sides, occupying the middle ground of the picture; and lastly, in front, are a double row of boys on one side and girls on the other, from the master and matron down to the boy and girl who have stepped forward from their respective rows, and kneel with raised hands before the King.—Timbs' Curiosities of London, p. 98.
Christ's Hospital, by ancient custom, possesses the privilege of addressing the Sovereign on the occasion of his or her coming into the City to partake of the hospitality of the Corporation of London.—Ibid.
The Dining Hall, with its lobby and organ-gallery, occupies the entire storey, which is 187 feet long, 51 feet wide, and 47 feet high; it is lit by nine large windows, filled with stained glass on the south side; and is, next to Westminster Hall, the noblest room in the metropolis. Here the boys, now about 800 in number, dine; and here are held the 'Suppings in Public,' to which visitors are admitted by tickets issued by the Treasurer and by the Governors of Christ's Hospital. The tables are laid with cheese in wooden bowls, beer in wooden piggins, poured from leathern jacks, and bread brought in large baskets. The official company enter; the Lord Mayor, or President, takes his seat in a state chair made of oak from St. Catherine's Church, by the Tower; a hymn is sung, accompanied by the organ; a "Grecian," or head boy, reads the prayers from the pulpit, silence being enforced by three drops of a wooden hammer. After prayer the supper commences, and the visitors walk between the tables. At its close the "trade-boys" take up the baskets, bowls, jacks, piggins, and candlesticks, and pass in procession, the bowing to the Governors being curiously formal. This spectacle was witnessed by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1845.
Among the more eminent Bluecoat boys are Joshua Barnes, editor of Anacreon and Euripides; Jeremiah Markland, the eminent critic, particularly in Greek Literature; Camden, the antiquary; Bishop Stillingfleet; Samuel Richardson, the novelist; Thomas Mitchell, the translator of Aristophanes; Thomas Barnes, many years editor of the London Times; Coleridge, Charles Lamb, and Leigh Hunt.
No boy is admitted before he is seven years old, or after he is nine; and no boy can remain in the school after he is fifteen, King's boys and "Grecians" alone excepted. There are about 500 Governors, at the head of whom are the Sovereign and the Prince of Wales. The qualification for a Governor is payment of £500.—Ibid.
One hears much about the "hideous Blue Laws of Connecticut," and is accustomed to shudder piously when they are mentioned. There are people in America—and even in England!—who imagine that they were a very monument of malignity, pitilessness, and inhumanity; whereas in reality they were about the first sweeping departure from judicial atrocity which the "civilised" world had seen. This humane and kindly Blue Law Code, of two hundred and forty years ago, stands all by itself, with ages of bloody law on the further side of it, and a century and three-quarters of bloody English law on this side of it.
There has never been a time—under the Blue-Laws or any other—when above fourteen crimes were punishable by death in Connecticut. But in England, within the memory of men who are still hale in body and mind, two hundred and twenty-three crimes were punishable by death! These facts are worth knowing—and worth thinking about, too.