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grounded, as it afterwards proved) that in the Angevins would be found the bitterest foes of religion and the Church, may have had some part in the uproarious reception of Stephen by the multitude of London. But the formal recognition which followed was based on far deeper grounds, and has a very different constitutional importance. Neither noble nor prelate, save Henry of Winchester, were there to constitute a National Council; indeed, a week after, when all had gone well for Stephen, but a few nobles, three bishops, and not a single abbot could be mustered to make a show at the coronation. In this great crisis, the Commune of London did not hesitate to take their place. In the election of a king, indeed, London had for some time taken a great constitutional part. When Ethelred's miserable life passed away "all the witan that were in London, and the burgesses, chose Eadmund to be their king." (Chronicle, ad 1016). On the death of Cnut, the citizens joined with the Danes in raising Harold Harefoot to the throne, in opposition to Harthacnut. The burgesses and butsecarls had united with Archbishop Aldred in the vain attempt to make a king of the Etheling after the fatal defeat of Hastings. By the time of the Conquest, London had become the definite place of the royal election, and the voice of her citizens was accepted as the representative of the popular assent. But the position which the citizens now took was a far greater one than this. In the absence of noble and bishop, they claimed of themselves the right of election. Undismayed by the want of the hereditary counsellors of
the Crown, their "aldermen and wiser-folk gathered together the folk-mote, and these providing at their own will for the good of the realm, unanimously agreed to choose a king."
The very arguments of the citizens are preserved to us as they stood massed, doubtless, in the usual place for the folk-mote at the east end of Paul's, while the bell of the commune swung out its iron summons from the detached campanile beside. "Every kingdom," urged alderman and prudhomme, "was open to mishap, where the presence of all rule and head of justice was lacking. It was no time for waiting; delay was in fact impossible in the election of a king, needed as he was at once to restore justice and the law." But quick on these general considerations followed the bolder assertion of a constitutional right of pre-election, possessed by London alone. "Their right and special privilege it was, that on their king's death his successor should be provided by them;" and if any, then Stephen, brought as it were by Providence into the midst of them, already on the spot.t
Bold as the claim was, none contradicted it; the solemn deliberation ended in the choice of Stephen, and amidst the applause of all, the aldermen appointed
Majores itaque natu, consultum quique vectiores consilium coegere, deque regni statu pro arbitrio suo utilia in commune providentes, ad regem eligendum unanimiter conspiravere."—Gesta Stephani, p. 3.
"Id quoque sui esse juris, suique specialiter privilegii, ut si rex ipsorum quoquo modo obiret, alius suo provisu in regno substituendus succederet."-Gesta Stephani, p. 4.
him king.* Ample securities were taken for the safety of the realm; oath was exchanged against oath; the citizens swore to defend Stephen with money and blood; Stephen swore to apply himself with his whole strength to the pacification of the kingdom.†
From that hour Stephen was king: supporters flocked in fast, and it was at the head of a large body of knights that he marched upon Winchester. But we need not follow the story further. London was true to her oath, if Stephen was false to his. But whatever might be the immediate result, with the solemn independent election of a king, the great part which London was to play in England's history had definitely begun. The London of the Normans, of Gilbert Beket, of St. Thomas, had taken its constitutional place in the realm.
Regemque, omnium concordanti favore, constituere."-Gesta Stephani, p. 4.
† "Ad omnium eorundem suffragium."-Gesta Stephani, p. 4.
ROYAL PICTURE GALLERIES.
BY GEORGE SCHARF, F.S.A.
SECRETARY AND KEEPER TO THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY.
NOTWITHSTANDING the many removals, concealments, and occasional dispersions that have befallen the royal pictures, we find that those still remaining to us, of British historical interest, are much more numerous, and in a far better state of preservation, than might have been expected after the lapse of so long a time, and such frequent dangers; to say nothing of occasional neglect.
As belonging to the earlier periods, we look in vain for the existence of movable pictures painted on a large scale. During the Saxon or Anglo-Norman Earliest period of our history, the portraits of reigning mo- portraits. narchs were principally to be found associated with the representation of personages of ecclesiastical or legendary history. They might chiefly be met with under the semblance of such characters as Pharaoh, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Herod. Most of these paintings were large mural decorations, executed in fresco or tempera colours upon the walls themselves. The same figures and compositions, on a reduced scale, are constantly to be met with on the pages of the more costly illuminated manuscripts. Perhaps the