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landscape was displayed in its utmost luxuriance. Here the Duke alighted, and desired Jeanie to follow him. They paused for a moment on the brow of a hill, to gaze on the unrivalled landscape which it presented. A huge sea of verdure, with crossing and intersecting promontories of massive and tufted groves, was tenanted by numberless flocks and herds, which seemed to wander unrestrained and unbounded through the rich pastures. The Thames, here turreted with villas, and there garlanded with forests, moved on slowly and placidly, like the mighty monarch of the scene, to whom all its other beauties were but accessories, and bore on his bosom a hundred barks and skiffs, whose white sails and gaily-fluttering pennons gave life to the whole. The Duke of Argyle was of course familiar with this scene; but to a man of taste it must be always new. Yet, as he paused and looked on this inimitable landscape, with the feeling of delight which it must give to the bosom of every admirer of nature, his thoughts naturally reverted to his own more grand, and scarce less beautiful, domain of Inverary.”
Turning with lingering steps and oft repeated “last looks” from this mount, our British Parnassus, and from the more than vale of Tempe which it overshadows, the eye not less delighted with the tranquil beauty of the scene, than the mind by the host of poetical, historical, and personal associations, called up by the objects we behold, we reluctantly tear ourselves away from the terrace, and direct our steps towards the entrance to the Great or New Park.
From the terrace in this noble inclosure, we can still enjoy, as we stroll leisurely along, delightful glimpses of the richly-verdant landscape lying at
The history of the inclosure of this park, and of the unpleasant circumstances attending it, we have obtained from Clarendon's History of the Rebellion.
“The king, who was excessively affected to hunting and the sports of the field, had a great desire to make a great park for red as well as for fallow deer, between Richmond and Hampton Court, where he had large wastes of his own, and great parcels of wood, which made it very fit for the use he designed it to; but as some parishes had commons in those wastes, so many gentlemen and farmers had good houses and good farms intermingled with those wastes, of their own inheritance, or for their lives, or years; and, without taking of them into the park, it would not be of the largeness, or for the use
proposed. His Majesty desired to purchase those lands, and was very willing to buy them upon higher terms than the people could sell them at to anybody else, if they had occasion to part with them; and thought it no unreasonable thing, upon those terms, to expect this from his subjects; and
so he employed his own surveyor, and other of his officers, to treat with the owners, many whereof were his own tenants, whose farms would at last expire. The major part of the people were in a short time prevailed with, but many very obstinately refused ; and a gentleman, who had the best estate, with a convenient house and gardens, would by no means part with it; and the king, being as earnest to compass it, it made a great noise, as if the king would take away men's estates at his own pleasure. The Bishop of London, who was Treasurer, and the Lord Cottington, Chancellor of the Exchequer, were, from the first entering upon it, very averse from the design, not only for the murmur of the people, but because the purchase of the land, and the making a brick wall about so large a parcel of ground (for it is near ten miles about), would cost a greater sum of money than they could easily provide, or than they thought ought to be sacrificed to such an occasion ; and the Lord Cottington (who was more solicited by the country people, and heard most of their murmurs,) took the business most to heart, and endeavoured by all the ways he could, and by frequent importunities, to divert His Majesty from pursuing it, and put all the delays he could well do in the bargains which were to be made ; till the king grew very angry with him, and told him, 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
own land;' upon which Cottington thought fit to acquiesce. The building the wall before people consented to part with their land, or their common, looked to them as if by degrees they should be shut out from both, and increased the murmur and noise of the people who were not concerned, as well as of them who were; and it was too near London not to be the common discourse. The archbishop (who desired exceedingly that the king should be possessed as much of the hearts of the people as was possible, at least that they should have no just cause to complain), meeting with it, resolved to speak with the king of it; which he did, and received such an answer from him, that he thought His Majesty rather not informed enough of the inconveniences and mischiefs of the thing, than positively resolved not to desist from it. Whereupon one day he took the Lord Cottington aside (being informed that he disliked it, and, according to his natural custom, spake with great warmth against it), and told him, he should do very well to give the king good counsel, and to withdraw him from a resolution, in which his honour and justice were so much called in question.' Cottington answered him very gravely, “that the thing designed was very lawful, and he thought the king resolved very well, since the place lay so convenient for his winter exercise, and that he should by it not be compelled to make so long journeys as he used to do in that season of the year, for his sport; and that nobody ought to dissuade him from it. The archbishop, instead of finding a concurrence from him, as he expected, seeing himself reproached upon the matter for his opinion, grew into much passion, telling him, 'such men as he would ruin the king, and make him lose the affections of his subjects; that, for his own part, as he had begun, so he would go on, to dissuade the king from proceeding in so ill a counsel, and that he hoped it would appear who had been his counsellor. Cottington, glad to see him so soon hot, and resolved to inflame him more, very calmly replied to him, that he thought a man could not, with a good conscience, hinder the king from pursuing his resolutions; and that it could not but proceed from want of affection to his person; and he was not sure that it might not be high-treason. The other, upon the wildness of his discourse, in great anger asked him, 'Why? from whence he had received that doctrine?' He said, with the same temper, * They, who did not wish the king's health, could not love him; who went about to hinder his taking recreation, which preserved his health, might be thought, for aught he knew, guilty of the highest crimes.' Upon
which the archbishop, in great rage, and with many reproaches, left him, and either presently or upon the next opportunity told the king, that he now knew who was his great counsellor for making his park, and that he did not wonder that men durst not represent any arguments to the contrary, or let His Majesty know how much he suffered in it, when such principles in divinity and law were laid down to terrify them;' and so recounted to him the conference he had with the Lord Cottington, bitterly inveighing against him and his doctrine, mentioning him with all the sharp reproaches imaginable, and beseeching His Majesty 'that his counsel might not prevail with him,' taking some pains to make his conclusions appear very false and ridiculous. The king said no more, but, ‘My lord, you are deceived ; Cottington is too hard for you, upon my word; he hath not only dissuaded me more, and given more reasons against this business, than all the men in England have done, but hath really obstructed the work, by not doing his duty as I commanded him; for which I have been very much displeased with him: you see how unjustly your passion hath transported you.' By which reprehension he found how much he had been abused, and resented it accordingly.”
The park was, however, enclosed, not without much clamour and discontent among the persons whose rights and interests were mainly affected by it, whose representations could not, any more than the wise counsel of Lord Cottington, prevail.
During the Usurpation, Richmond Great Park was given by the Parliament to the city of London, who surrendered it immediately after the Restoration, declaring that they had kept it with no other view than to preserve it for the use of His Majesty.
The subsequent occupation of this park by Sir R. Walpole, is detailed in one of Horace Walpole's letters to his friend, Sir Horace Mann.
“Queen Anne had bestowed the rangership of Richmond New Park on her relations, the Hydes, for three lives, one of which was expired. King George, fond of shooting, bought out the term of the last Earl of Clarendon, and of his son, Lord Cornbury; and frequently shot there, having appointed my eldest brother, Lord Walpole, ranger nominally, but my father in reality, who wished to hunt there once or twice a week. The park had run to great decay under the Hydes, nor was there any mansion better than the common lodges of the keepers. The king ordered a stone lodge, designed by Henry
Earl of Pembroke, to be erected for himself; but merely as a banquetinghouse, with a large eating-room, kitchen, and necessary offices, where he might dine after his sport. Sir Robert began another, of brick, for himself and the under-ranger, which by degrees he much enlarged, usually retiring thither from business, or rather, as he said himself, to do more business than he could in town, on Saturdays and Sundays.' On that edifice, on the thatched house, and other improvements, he laid out fourteen thousand pounds of his own money. In the mean time, he hired a small house for himself, on the hill without the park; and in that small tenement the king did him the honour of dining with him more than once after shooting. His Majesty, fond of private joviality, was pleased with punch after dinner, and indulged in it freely. The duchess, alarmed at the advantage the minister might make of the openness of the king's heart in those convivial unguarded hours, and at a crisis when she was conscious Sir Robert was apprised of her inimical machinations in favour of Bolingbroke, enjoined the few Germans who accompanied the king at those dinners to prevent His Majesty from drinking too freely. ,
Her spies obeyed too punctually, and without any address. The king was offended, and silenced the tools by the coarsest epithets in the German language. He even, before his departure, ordered Sir Robert to have the stone lodge finished against his return;—no symptom of a falling minister, as has since been supposed Sir Robert then was, and that Lord Bolingbroke was to have replaced him, had the king lived to come back.”
Horace Walpole forgets to tell us that it was during the rangership of Sir Robert that the permission, or rather right, to a free passage through the park was first contested, and the ladder-gates taken away from the entrances. The result of this rash and inconsiderate proceeding was an action at law against the Princess Amelia, which, after many delays, was tried at Kingston Assizes, before that upright judge, Sir Michael Foster. Of this case, the following account was given by Lord Thurlow, then at the bar, in a letter to a nephew of the judge's :
" DEAR SIR, “I write, at the hazard of your thinking me impertinent, to give you
the pleasure of hearing that of your uncle, which in all probability you will not hea from him ; I mean the great honour and general esteem which he has gained, or rather accumulated, by his inflexible and spirited manner of trying the Richmond cause, which has been so long depending, and so differently treated by other