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little like a traveller on this momentous occasion. Advancing then towards the battlements, (I beg pardon, massive battlements) and sky-aspiring turrets of this adamantine work of ages, I was struck dumb by the view of a grand entrance, personifying the repulsive gloom, feodal reserve, and frantic ferocity of the times, in which its everlasting walls, which are now almost decayed, were reared. The very knocker was warlike, being nothing
than a cannon ball suspended by a vast chain, with which I ordered my man to “knock me here at the gate.” He did so, and the very walls, not only of the castle, but the river on which it stands, trembled at the sound. The warder of the castle did not make his appearance, nor did any whylome eftsoons peep over the wall, with his cross-bow levelled, and demand our business, but an exceedingly decrepid, wrinkled, and withal, ugly old woman did, after some unreasonable delay, open the gate for our admittance, upon receiving a piece of that, which melts stone-walls and stony hearts in this country. The professor of English tongues looked rather shy; for he came from a shire where the witches grew, and privately assured me that this old woman had all the marks about her. Having already described one castle, I hold myself exonerated from describing any more; for, after all, no words can give any idea except a false one, of visible objects for which our senses have acquired no standard.
I will only mention, that here, in a large round tower of the ancient citadel, Henry Martin, one of king Charles' judges, was confined thirty years, and here he died.
There is probably no set of men, whose memory has been treated with more injustice, or who suffered more unrelenting persecution, than these high-souled republicans. On the accession of Charles the Second, they were hunted through
England, Switzerland, and all parts of Europe nay, in our new world, where three of them, Whalley, Dixwell, and Goffe, found a refuge, and remained secreted for half the life of man. There is perhaps no instance on record, of a secret intrusted to so many persons, so dangerous to keep, and for the disclosure of which there were so many temptations of danger and interest, being kept so long and with such inflexible faith.
Yet not one betrayed them. They were in New-Haven, when the king's officers were searching every house, nay, they were in the very house they searched; yet such was the cool discretion and inflexible faith of the people, that they escaped discovery. They lived many years at Hadley, died there, and two of them were buried in the church-yard at New-Haven, without its being known to a single person who ever betrayed the secret, till it was no longer of consequence to the safety of any human being. The truth is, that the sentiment of the people of New-England sanctioned their condemnation of the king, and the hearts of the colonists were with those bold, inflexible patriots, who dared to punish a tyrant for making war against his people. I have often, when at Yale, seen the graves of Dixwell and Whalley, each designated by a stone, which, humble as it is, is calculated to retain their initials, and the time of their decease, for ages. It is a hard, red, primitive stone, very thick, and pointed at the top, in such a way as to form nearly the two sides of a triangle. They lie close together, at the west end of the old Presbyterian Church, where I hope they will remain for ever undisturbed. They were the judges of kings; and, although they escaped a violent death, their latter life was one long series of exile, danger, seclusion, and oblivion. Henry Martin was another of these, and was spared only for perVOL. I.
petual imprisonment. Mr. Southey wrote some exceedingly blank verse on the occasion upon the walls of Chepstowe.
Piercefield owes its celebrated improvements to Valentine Morris, of St. Vincents, in the West Indies, who wrecked his fortune upon these rocks, and, as usual, was obliged to sell what had cost him a vast sum, the fruits of which he never enjoyed. A Mr. Smith purchased it, but got tired, as every man does, of such expensive playthings, and sold it to Colonel Wood, who, covered with the spoils of India, also placed vast sums out upon the rocks for other people to enjoy, which was very good of him. He got tired too, and sold it to a Mr. Wells, who I believe still holds out, but will not probably do so very long. There are, it seems, certain days in which only the show-place is opened, and the day I applied for admittance happened not to be one of these. Not being inclined to wait two days for the show, I turned away in considerable dudgeon, and took back all the admiration I had thrown away upon the place. If my conscience would permit me, I would deny all its beauties most resolutely. I forgot to tell you, that the master of the house was at home, which accounted for the failure of my old system of bribery and corruption.
My next excursion was to the city of Gloucester, situated on the " noble Severn,” which, notwithstanding its dignity, is here only navigable for smaller vessels. It is one of the principal cities of this part of England. I found an air of business here, very different from Hereford, and in fact it is a place of considerable trade in pins, &c. by means of the river, which is divided into two channels here. But the great wonder of the place, and that which most attracted my attention, is the cathedral, which is one of the finest in this
country. Its lofty tower, and transparent pinnacles, ornamented with beautiful fret-work--the majestic roof, and Gothic ornaments of the choir, with the old Saxon pillars, and arches supporting the aisle-in short, the singular, yet not unharmopious combination of different ages of architecture, all contributed to engage my wonder. It was begun, as antiquaries have decided, about the latter end of the tenth century, and not completed, as it now stands, till more than four hundred years afterwards. It therefore exhibits a curious, as well as complete exemplification of the variations and progress of church-architecture in England. It would fill a book to describe all the various portions of this building, and even then, without drawings, the impression would be altogether indistinct. There are several very ancient tombs; among others, that of Edward the Second, which is very singular as well as striking. His effigies exhibit him with cropped hair and beard, whence we may conclude, this was the fashion of the time.
This, and many other vast edifices of a similar kind, form one among the many boasts of the people of this country. They certainly add both dignity and splendour to the cities where they are situated; and the stranger, while contemplating them with awe and admiration, is apt to forget what an expense of human labour was here applied to purposes of church vanity; what vast sums of money were taken from the poor people, to rear those ostentatious monuments of the power and pride of churchmen. They were built in ages when probably one-third of the wealth of the kingdom flowed into the treasury of the church ; when kings trembled at the frown of a mitred minion of the pope; and the people were the beasts of burthen that laboured for them all. When we reflect that the labours of millions, the wealth of kingdoms were thus invested in a dead capital, that yields nothing to the state; and how many hundred thousand people are, at this moment, suffering for the common necessaries of life, it is difficult to resist the impression, that it would add to the happiness of mankind, if the incalculable sums lavished on these temples of human vanity, could be made to return to the children of those whose fathers paid the price. Nothing could be lost on the score of religion, since these immense structures are not, in the least, calculated for sermons, which cannot be heard through their interminable aisles.
It is difficult, my dear brother, not to say impossible, to attempt to counteract or restrain the excesses of any principle, without being considered its enemy. This is most especially the case with religion, which, as it is one of the most powerful motives of human action, is peculiarly liable to run into extremes. Having the sanction of divine authority for its truths, it is extremely apt to challenge it for its abuses. Hence, it will not brook restraint of any kind, and becomes a persecuting fiend, instead of a mild and forgiving angel, when its excesses are questioned or exposed. The purest motives of love to God and man are of no avail; the most blameless characters are assailed, and the mildest remonstrances stigmatized with the imputation of hostility to religion. Few, who have attempted the task of restraining the extravagant pretensions of churchmen, have escaped the imputation of enmity to religion; and among the most numerous classes of martyrs will be found those who have fallen sacrifices, not to th Gre, but to the pens and tongues of persecution.