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184 A TRIBUTE TO DEPARTED GENIUS. atmosphere is for a long time after perfumed and impregnated. Such sensations should be cherished —it is a tribute of respect due to meritorious characters; it excites an honourable emulation.
I remain, dear Sir,
MARKET HARBOROUGH; FOTHERINGAY CASTLE; EXECUTION OF
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS; BATTLE OF NASEBY; WICKLIEFE ; LEICESTER ; ITS ANTIQUITY ; ITS MANUFACTORIES ; ITS EXTENT AND POPULATION; UTILITY OF CHARITY-SCHOOLS ; SIN. GELAR EPITAPH; ROMAN CURIOSITY; BLUE BOAR INN; REMARKABLE MURDER ; RUINS OF ST. MARY's 'ABBEY ; ANECDOTES OF CARDINAL WOLSEY ; REFLECTIONS OCCASIONED BY THE RUINS OF ST. MARY'S ABBEY.
DEAR SIR, NEXT morning, about seven o'clock, I left Northampton for Market Harborough. A lady, who had been for her daughter from a boardingschool, politely offered me a third part of a postchaise as far as Leicester, which I cheerfully accepted. The morning was pleasant, the road good, and driving with rapidity, we reached the place of our destination to breakfast. Market Harborough consists of one long street, in which stands the church, with a handsome Gothic tower, adding much to the appearance of the town. Being a thoroughfare on the road to Derby, Nottingham, &c. it has good inns for the accommodation of travellers. It is remarkable, that the town, although in a flourishing state, has neither fields, meadows, nor any lands whatever belonging to it, which gave rise to a proverb used in former times, “ that a goose would eat up all the grass in Harborough.” : To the right of this town, at the distance of a
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS. few miles, near Oundle, stands Fotheringay Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded, Feb. 8, 1587, in the 45th year of her age, having passed the last nineteen years of her life in captivity. This murder was perpetrated by Elizabeth, with all the arts of hypocrisy. But Stuart and Whitaker have drawn aside the flimsy veil, and held up the deed to the scorn of infamy. The sufferings of this beautiful, but imprudent woman, have secured to her the compassion of posterity. The calmness and dignity with which this unfortunate Princess passed through the last awful scene of her present existence is too remarkable to be here omitted. “On the morning of her execution at this Castle, she dressed herself in a rich habit of silk and velvet, and being informed by the sheriff of the county that the hour of execution was come, she passed into another hall, where was erected the scaffold, covered with black; and she saw, with undismayed countenance, the executioners and all the preparations of death. She now began, with the aid of two women, to disrobe her self, and the executioner also lent his hand to assist her. She smiled, and said, that she was not accustomed to undress herself before so large a company, nor to be served by such valets. Her servants seeing her in this condition, ready to lay her head on the block, burst into tears and lamentations. She turned about to them, put her finger on her lips, as a sign of imposing silence on them, and having given them a blessing, desired them to pray for her. One of her maids, whom she had
BATTLE OF NASERY. 187 appointed for that purpose, covered her eyes with a handkerchief-she then laid herself down without any signs of fear or trepidation, and her head was severed from her body at three strokes by the executioner. He instantly held it up to the spectators streaming with blood, and agitated with the convulsions of death. The Dean of Peterborough alone exclaimed, “ So perish all the Queen Elizabeth's enemies !” The Earl of Kent alone replied, “ Amen!” The attention of all other spectators was fixed on the melancholy scene before them :zeal and flattery alike gave place to present pity and admiration.”
Her remains, which had been interred in the cathedral of Peterborough, were taken up by her son, James the First, and removed to a vault in Henry the Seventh's chapel, Westminster Abbey, where a monument was erected to her memory. Her execution is an indelible stain on Elizabeth's memory.
To the left of the road, not far from Harborough, lay Naseby Field, where a bloody battle was fought, June 14, 1645, between General Fairfax and Charles the First, in which the forces of the latter were routed. This engagement proved fatal to the King's affairs; for a casket found in the baggage contained letters to the Queen, which discovered the plans of operation laid down, and through the precautions taken in consequence of that information by the parliament, all his schemes were defeated.
Hume, speaking of this battle, gives the fola
BATTLE OF NAȘEBY. lowing account of it:-6 At Naseby was fought, with forces nearly equal, a decisive and well-disputed action between the King and Parliament. The main body of the royalists was commanded by the King himself, the right wing by Prince Rupert, the left by Sir Marmaduke Langdale. Fairfax, seconded by Skippon, placed himself in the main body of the opposite army; Cromwell in the right wing; Ireton, Cromwell's son-in-law, in the left. The charge was begun with his usual celerity and usual success by Prince Rupert. Though Ireton made stout resistance, and even after he was run through the thigh with a pike, still maintained the combat till he was taken prisoner, yet was that whole army broken and pursued with precipitate fury by Rupert; he was even so inconsiderate as to lose time in summoning and attacking the artillery of the enemy which had been left with a good guard of infantry. The King led on his main body, and displayed in this action all the conduct of a prudent general, and all the valour of a stout soldier. Fairfax and Skippon encountered him, and well supported that reputation which they had acquired. Skippon, being dangerously wounded, was desired by Fairfax to leave the field, but declared that he would remain there as long as one man maintained his ground. The infantry of the Parliament was broken, and pressed upon by the King, till Fairfax, with great presence of mind, brought up the reserve and renewed the combat. Meanwhile Cromwell, having led on his troops to the attack