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During the singing of the following two hymns, while the congregation stood, he kept his seat, joining occasionally in the music. Without any attempt at eloquence, he gave us a plain, practical discourse occupying about one hour, commanding rapt attention throughout. His strength evidently lies in his powerful physique and voice, and in the earnestness with which he enforces his views, founded in piety and deep conviction. As soon as the services were over, we all three went to his study, and, although many were waiting to see him, were first admitted. He received us in a jovial manner, as though he had long known us, remarking upon our royal cognomen, and inquiring, with much apparent interest, after his friends in New York. He was much pleased to receive the volume, saying he desired to preserve copies of his own writings. He wished us every happiness in our journey, and his bearing toward us was in all respects most cordial. He is broad-shouldered, stout, with a full round face, and under fifty, if he is over forty years of age.
our minister to the Court of St. James, General Schenck, who gave us a card of introduction to Hon. Mr. Anderson, M. P. from Scotland, we have been several times into the House of Commons and House of Lords while those bodies were in session. Mr. Anderson waited upon us with great kindness each time. we called on him, and on his pass we were
readily admitted to the galleries. Once we had seats - in the Diplomatic Gallery of the House of Lords on General Schenck's official admission tickets, which were not supposed to be transferable— thus, by inference, at least, having had the honor of representing the United States before that august body. From our short experience we might judge that the position is an easy one to fill. The gallery set apart for the Diplomatic Corps and other officials is but one or two seats deep, and extends on both sides of the hall. Among the few members we heard speak in the House of Lords was Lord Stanhope. The proceedings were of little interest to us. In the House of Commons, where the members sit with their hats on, we were better entertained. Once or twice the ladies of our party (some English friends were with us) were given seats in the ladies' gallery, set apart for the ladies of the nobility, where they are shielded from the gaze
of the members by a lattice work; or, more properly speaking, perhaps, where they are thus prevented, either by frowns or fascinating smiles, from bringing to bear any undue influence upon the members below. We were sorry not to see Gladstone; but we saw Disraeli, Mr. Ward Hunt, head of the Admiralty, and Mr. Bright, several times, and heard the two former speak. We also saw Professor Fawcett, the blind member, whose wife, a charming lady, we one day called on with our English friends; and some other noted members were likewise pointed out to us. On one occasion the question before the House was whether there should be a naval school established at Dartmouth, the government side being in the affirmative. Many members spoke, and the debate was both lively and spicy. When the vote came to be taken, a division was called for, tellers
were appointed, and every member except one left the room- those in the affirmative going out at one door at the end of the hall, and those in the negative at another on the opposite side. A stranger at our elbow informed us that the single member remaining was from Ireland, and that he was allowed to keep his seat for the reason that he came to the House as he came into the world, without either arms or legs. We do not know on which side he voted; but one thing is certain, though he might be the most inveterate Fenian, he could never be guilty of taking up arms against his government. In the vote thus taken the government was sustained by ten majority only.
One afternoon Mr. Anderson took us all through the Parliament buildings, into the libraries, committee-rooms, chapel, (there is a small chapel here with a baptismal font in one corner,) crypt, and out into a fine open space, accessible only to members, directly on the banks of the Thames, where they can go for a quiet siesta, or for exercise, without the danger of being disturbed. He showed us in the crypt the exact spot where Guy Fawkes placed the gunpowder to blow up the Parliament buildings in 1604—the grand object of which horrible plot was “to prepare the way for the restoration of the Roman Catholics." This bold conspiracy, notwithstanding it was “commenced by its daring contrivers with every possible precaution that seemed necessary to secure success, failed through timely discovery. The present House of Parliament, or New Palace of Westminster, stands on the site of the old Houses of Parliament, which were destroyed by fire in 1834. It fronts nine hundred feet on the river, and covers eight acres of ground. It is a noble structure, but it would look a great deal handsomer were it on an eminence. It stands low, communicating with Westminster Hall, which is sometimes flooded at high tides by the waters of the Thames. The exterior is of hard magnesian limestone, from Yorkshire. Its cost was $8,000,000.
Westminster Hall, founded originally by William Rufus in 1097, “was rebuilt in its present form by Richard II., who, in 1399, kept his Christmas here with great magnificence, the number of his guests amounting to ten thousand each day.” The main room, which is on the lower floor, is immense, and this is the principal entrance to the Houses of Parliament. It “appears to have been designed for royal banquets and entertainments, and the coronation feasts have been held here for ages. Courts of justice were, however, held here in very early times, in which the sovereign himself was accustomed to preside; and the ancient stone bench, whereon the monarch sat, is said to be yet in existence beneath the pavement in the upper end. Hence the Curia Domini Regis, or Court of King's Bench, which is one of the four Supreme Courts now regularly held beneath this roof - the other Courts being Chancery, Common Pleas, and Exchequer." These Courts are now held in comparatively small rooms, opening from the main hall, in which the barristers in their black gowns and powdered horse-hair wigs, looking very funny, are every day seen promenading with one another or with their clients. We often looked into these Court-rooms, where the judges, also in wigs and red robes, were seated on high benches, considerably above the bar. “In cases of Parliamentary impeachment the spacious area of the hall itself is fitted up as a Court, as it was for the trial of William
Wallace, Sir Thomas More, the Protector Somerset, Thomas, Earl of Stratford, Minister of Charles I., and also that of his equally ill-fated sovereign. Here, likewise, in modern times, were tried Hastings, for misconduct in India; Lord Byron, Lord Ferrers, Lord Melville, in 1805, for misappropriation of the public money. The last coronation dinner held there was that of George IV."
Directly across the street from the House of Parliament and Westminster Hall is Westminster Abbey, all on the west side of the Thames, which at this point runs due north, while further down it runs nearly due east, so that the London Tower, on the same side of the river, stands on its northern banks. Viewing the Thames from the dome of St. Paul's, it has the appearance of a huge serpent pursuing its tortuous course through the city. The magnificent Westminster Bridge spans the river immediately at the north end of the Parliament House. Five minutes' walk from here, by Westminster Abbey, on Victoria street, is the office of the United States legation. General Schenck and daughters reside near Kensington Gardens, in the western part of the city. He told us he frequently walks to or from his office through Kensington and Hyde Parks. They hold a weekly reception, and we have done ourselves the honor of paying our respects to them, when we were happy to meet at their house Mrs. Henry Howard, the accomplished daughter of George W. Riggs, Esquire, on her way to the Hague, where her husband, so long and favorably known as one of the secretaries of the British legation in Washington, has been promoted to a higher position. General Schenck, being in ill health that day, was not present at the reception; therefore his daughters, who appear to be