The mass of building below the bridge, resting upon arches, is the Adelphi, which has a magnificent terrace upon the water. Westminster-bridge, which is one of the grandest and most beautiful in Europe, is seen to great advantage from Lambeth-walk. The expanse of water here is extremely fine. The Plate represents the river at high water; or rather the tide just turned, and running out; and gives a lively idea of this beautiful scene.
In the background are seen the range of hills which run on each side of Hampstead from east to west. The state carriage is very massive, and profusely decorated with carving and gilding. It is drawn by eight cream-coloured horses, the off-horse of each pair being led by one of the King's footmen. The coachman and footmen wear scarlet turned up with blue; the postillion blue; and these liveries are almost covered with broad gold lace. His Majesty is usually accompanied in the carriage by a Lord of the Bedchamber, and the Groom of the Stole, who assist him to robe after he arrives at the House.
A yeoman of the guards walks on each side of the carriage. A strong detachment of the horse-guards accompanies the carriage; others of those guards keep the middle of the street clear from carriages and horse and foot passengers, till the procession is closed. The manner of that duty is accurately represented in the Plate. The Master of the Horse precedes his Majesty in a state chariot drawn by six horses; as also do some of the other great officers of state, in three coaches drawn each by six horses.
The portico on the right of the Plate is the principal entrance to the House of Lords. The house with a balcony is Waghorn's coffee-house, with an entrance into the lobbies of the House, and is principally appropriated to the use of the peers or members of the House of Commons, who may be desirous of taking refreshments. Almost immediately under this house is the entrance to the cellar or vault in which Guy Faux and the other conspirators of lodged the barrels of gunpowder, designed at one blow to annihilate the three estates of the realm, when assembled in parliament.
The adjoining house, whose gabel-end is seen, is the Ship tavern. The house in the foreground to the right is the Star and Garter tavern. All the buildings contiguous to these, in the Plate, contain apartments and offices of the two houses of parliament, with the exception of the lofty gabel-end crowned with a turret, which is the south end of Westminster-hall. The Gothic building on the left of the Plate is Henry the Seventh's chapel. The flag seen over the roof is placed on the top of St. Margaret's church. The modern building beyond, with wings projecting and higher than the centre, is the Ordnance-office.
THE Plate represents his Majesty meeting the parliament at the opening of a session. The King on this occasion wears the coronation robes, which are crimson velvet, trimmed with white ermine spotted with black. The coronation diadem is on his head, and the sceptre in his right hand. He is seated on the throne. On his right the Prince of Wales is seated in a chair of state; and on his left are chairs of state for his six younger sons, the Dukes of York, Clarence, Kent, Cumberland, Cambridge, and Sussex.
The figure in the view, immediately on the right of the King, is one of the great officers of state bearing the Cap of Maintenance; that immediately on the left is the Lord Chamberlain with a white staff in his hand; and the next to him is another great officer bearing the sword of state.
All the Heralds are also among the King's attendants.
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The Lord Chancellor's place is a little advanced on the right of the King. The peers are robed, and standing; as they always are when his Majesty is present in parliament, until he signifies his permission for them to sit. The archbishops and bishops are on the right of the throne; the dukes, marquisses, earls, and viscounts, on the left, in succession; and the barons stand across the House below the table, and on the left below the fireplace. The four figures on the left of the view, with their backs to the spectator, and black patches in their wigs, as well as the four on the right of the plate, are the Judges, in their dress of ceremony.
The figures with their backs to the spectator are the House of Commons; the figure in the centre being the Speaker, in his dress of state. On his right is the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod. The Commons stand below the bar, which is a dwarf partition running across the room, at the bottom, dividing off about one-fifth of its length.
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A few strangers are also admitted below the bar, standing behind the Commons; a space on the right of the plate being raised two steps above the floor, and enclosed with a rail, for the foreign ministers and other foreigners of distinction. The robes of the peers are scarlet cloth trimmed with white ermine and gold lace, and lined with white silk. The Lord Chancellor's robes, on state occasions, are of black figured damask silk ornamented with gold lace. The different ranks of the peers are distinguished by the number of broad gold laced stripes on each side of the slash on the right side of the robe: a duke having four before the arm and four behind; a marquis, four before and three behind; an earl, three before and three behind; a viscount, three before and two behind; and a baron, two before and two behind.
The Commons except the Speaker have no dress of state. The House of Lords is a very handsome, but not a splendid room. It was formerly the Court of Requests, and used merely as a passage to the old House of Lords, which was deemed insufficient after the Union. The tapestry and other ornaments were removed from the old house. The canopy of state is very accurately represented in the Plate: it is of crimson velvet, ornamented with gold and silver; the arms of the united kingdom, over the chair, being embroidered in silk, and the supporters in silver.
The throne is an armed chair, elegantly carved and gilt, and ornamented with crimson velvet and silver embroidery. The chair is covered, and its back turned to the House, except when his Majesty is present, or when bills are passed by commission. Before the throne, with an interval of several feet, is a woolsack, in the centre, which is the seat of the Lord Chancellor, or Lord Speaker, when the King is not present.
There are two other woolsacks, extending from the latter down the room. On these are seated the Judges when they attend, to afford legal advice to the House, which they do at any time upon order; and also two Masters in Chancery, who are in constant attendance upon the House, being their messengers to the Commons. Below these woolsacks is a table, on which are laid bills in progress before the House, and all petitions and other papers received by the House.
On each side, and across the room at the foot, are rows of seats with backs, for the peers. The woolsacks, table, and seats, are covered with fine crimson baize.
The walls are decorated with that beautiful and interesting tapestry representing the defeat of the Spanish Armada in The Earl sold it to James the First. It was not, however, put up until the year The story is divided into compartments by broad frames of wainscot; and the heads, which form a border to each design, are portraits of the several gallant officers who commanded in the English fleet on this memorable occasion. The whole floor is covered with matting.
The House is lighted by three brass branches pendant from the roof; and sconces of bronze, and of a peculiarly elegant form, fixed to the walls. When the House is in its usual sittings, all the space above the Lord Chancellor's woolsack is deemed out of the House, and members of the House of Commons and peers' sons are permitted to stand there.
The mace of the Lord Chancellor, and the great seal, in a purse or bag of state richly ornamented with gold and silver embroidery and the royal arms, are placed on the woolsack, while the House is sitting. The Commons, as a house, enter by large folding doors at the bottom of the room. The door for the Lords is at the upper end, and is that which appears on the right of the Plate. At that end of the House is the King's robing-room.
When bills are passed by a commission, which is always directed to the great officers of state, the three who are present, of whom the Lord Chancellor is always one, take their seats in their robes upon a bench immediately before the throne, with their hats on; and the Commons being sent for, the Speaker and the members, with the officers of the House, are introduced by the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.
The commission being read by one of the clerks at the table, and afterwards the titles of the bills, the royal assent is pronounced by the Clerk of the Crown, who, after bowing three times to the Lords Commissioners, if it be a money bill, says, Le Roy remercie ses loyaux sujets, accepte leur benevolence et ainsi le veut.
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But in case the King should refuse the bill, the answer is, Le Roy s'avisera. When bills are brought up from the Commons, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod announces at the bar a message from the House of Commons; upon which the Lord Chancellor puts the question whether the messengers shall be called in; which being ordered, he comes down to the bar of the House bearing the bag of state, containing the great seal, when the Commons are introduced with three bows, and the member who brings up the bill reads the title of it at the bar, and then gives it to the Lord Chancellor, who, from the woolsack, informs the House of the purport of the message.
Three Lords are considered as sufficient to constitute a House; and prayers are always read by the junior Bishop before they proceed to business, except it be on a Committee of Privileges, when prayers are read afterwards. THE House of Commons, since the reign of Edward the Sixth, has held its sittings in this room, which was formerly a chapel dedicated to St.
Stephen the Protomartyr. It was originally built by King Stephen, and rebuilt in by King Edward the Third in a very magnificent manner; some curious remains of which were discovered on the House being enlarged, occasioned by the Union with Ireland, the walls appearing to be most richly ornamented with illuminated paintings. The Plate represents the House sitting. The Speaker's chair stands at some distance from the wall at the upper end of the room.
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It is of oak, slightly ornamented with gilding, with the King's Arms at the top. The Speaker is usually dressed in a train black silk gown, with a full-bottomed wig. On occasions of state, he wears a robe, similar to the state robe of the Lord Chancellor. They are dressed in plain black silk gowns, and tie wigs. On this table, in front, the Speaker's mace always lies when the House is sitting; except when the House is in a Committee, and then it is placed under the table, and the Speaker leaves the chair, there being a perpetual Chairman to the Committee of the Whole House.
In the centre of the room, between the table and the bar, is an extensive area. The members' seats occupy each side, and both ends of the room, with the exception of the passages, in the form seen in the Plate. There are five rows of seats, rising above each other, with short backs and green morocco cushions.
The seat on the floor, on the left of the Print, is that which is called the Treasury Bench , on which the chief members of the administration sit; and the opposite seat is usually occupied by the leading members of Opposition. The Speaker sits with his hat off, except on particular occasions. All the members must be seated, except him who is addressing the Chair; but they wear their hats or not, at pleasure, except when speaking.
A gallery, supported by very elegant pillars of iron, with gilt Corinthian capitals, runs along the two sides and the west end of the room.
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That part which crosses the west end is the strangers' gallery, and will hold about one hundred and thirty persons. The gallery on each side is reserved for members. Sometimes a member speaks from the gallery. The walls are lined with wainscot; and the gallery and the backs of the seats are also of wainscot. THIS Plate is an accurate representation of one of the busiest scenes in the metropolis. The apartment itself is a circular building of stone, the top of which is a noble dome.