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of a mayor, a recorder, twelve aldermen, and burgesses unlimited, who return two representatives to parliament. A court of record is held on Tuesdays at the sessions'room, in the new gaol, in Penny Street, which holds pleas as well above as under forty shillings. A session of the peace is held every three months, for the trial of petty
larcenies and misdemeanours.
The trade of Portsmouth, even during peace, is now very considerable. Some idea of its magnitude may be formed from the fact that £30,000 were paid during the year 1815, a period of profound peace and stagnant commerce, for the carriage and freight of goods between this place and the metropolis.
The earliest historical notice of Portsmouth, occurs in the Saxon Chronicle, in 501, where it is called Portesmuthe. Robert duke of Normandy landed here with a strong army in 1101, during the contest for the throne between himself and his brother Henry the First; when the interference of the barons induced him to concur in terms of conciliation. In 1123, it seems to have been a place of some consequence, since the Saxon Chronicle records a visit of Henry I. to this place, in which he passed whitsuntide. In 1140, the empress Maud landed here with her brother Robert, earl of Gloucester, and marched hence to Arundel. In 1193, Richard I. granted Portsmouth its charter, giving to its burgesses the privilege of an annual fair and a weekly market, together with all the immunities enjoyed by the citizens of Winchester and Oxford. Succeeding kings gave them fresh charters, and enlarged their privileges.
In 1229, the numerous army collected by Henry the
Third for the intended invasion of France, was mustered at this place his ally, the duke of Bretagne, deceiving him, he was happily forced to disband it, and thus much bloodshed was prevented.
In 1298, the twentieth year of Edward the First, this borough first sent two members to parliament.
In the beginning of the reign of Richard II. the town was burned by the French; who subsequently also made several attempts to perpetrate the same mischief, but were repulsed with great vigour. Edward IV. fully sensible of the importance of this port, began to secure it by fortifications; which Richard the Third carried on and extended. It gradually increased in strength and conse quence, till, in the time of Henry VIII. it had become the principal naval arsenal in England: his predecessor having already made it a royal dock.
In 1545, Francis the First, king of France, sent a fleet to surprise Portsmouth, which engaged the English ships lying in the harbour, but was not able to make its way into the port. Sir George Carew's ship, the Mary Rose, was sunk in this engagement, by the too great weight of its own ordnance.
Henry the Eighth was the first monarch under whom the navy obtained a systematic establishment. In the preceding reigns, the naval force "was either hired from the merchant, foreign or native, or supplied by the cinque or other ports of the kingdom; but the navy was under no sort of regulation: the bargain was made from the first, or the demand made from the last, according to their different assessments.' ""*
* Pennant's Journey to the Isle of Wight, vol. ii. p. 137.-Beauties of England and Wales, vol. vi.
Leland thus describes the state of the fortifications in the reign of
Edward the Sixth visited Portsmouth in 1552, and planned some improvements in the fortifications. Queen Elizabeth added new works.
In the reign of Charles the First, Portsmouth was appointed as the rendezvous for the armament destined to relieve the Protestants in Rochelle, then besieged by Cardinal Richelieu. It was during his preparation for this expedition, that Buckingham fell by the assassin Felton. During the civil wars, Portsmouth was garrisoned for the parliament.
Charles the Second was married in this town to Catherine, the Infanta of Portugal. During his reign the fortifications were improved and extended.
In the reign of James the Second, the officers of his army began in this place first of all to show their dislike of that prince's proceedings in favour of popery, by refusing to admit Irish papists; for which bold step they were imprisoned, till the revolution of 1688 set them free.
In the reign of William the Third, the fortifications received further improvements.
Since the year 1770, many others have been completed, at a vast expense.* The most recent fortifications
Henry VIII." There is, at the east point of the haven, a great round tourre, almost doble in quantite and strenkith to that that is on the west side of the haven right agayn it; and heere is a mighty chaine of yren, to draw from towre to towre. The towne is securid with a mudde waulle armed with tymbre, whereon be great peaces both of yren and brassen ordinauns, having a diche without it. Ther is a gate of tymbre at the north-est ende of the town, and by it is cast up an hille of earths diched, wherein be gunnes, to defend entre into the toun by land."-Leland's Itinerary, vol. iii. p. 81.
* While these works were in progress, under the direction of the late duke of Richmond, convicts being employed in many of the operations, the following impromptu was circulated, as having proceeded from Gibbon the historian, during a survey of Portsmouth : "To raise these bulwarks of enormous price, The head of folly used the hand of vice."
are those on the Portsea side. Those on the Portsmouth side, extending along the beach, from the town towards Southsea castle, form a noble semi-circular terrace, which being planted with elms, forms a most agreeable walk.
The view from Portsmouth platform is nobly appropriate. The fine harbour, with its multitudinous shipping, the fortifications, fort Monkton, Haslar hospital, Southsea Castle, Spithead, the Isle of Wight, and the British channel, each grand in itself, form, in combination, associated too with all that history, past and recent, connects with these objects, a whole that can no where be paralleled in sublimity and interest. Here is the great focus of Britain's naval force,―here is that trident of the ocean which Divine Providence has committed to the hands of a nation, great rather in mental energy and undaunted enterprise, than in numerical strength, or territorial possession, here is that main bulwark of our sea-beaten shores, by means of which God has been pleased to keep us in perfect safety at home, while all Europe, in turn, has felt the calamities of invasion and pillage. While we exult at the prospect before us, let us bow in humble adoration before Him who "setteth up one, and putteth down another;" to whom nations, no less than individuals, owe all that they possess; and to whom they are accountable for the right use of all their advantages.
The most remarkable recent particulars in the history of this place, are the three conflagrations in the dockyard: that in 1760 from lightning; in 1770, from an unknown cause; and in 1776, from the successful treachery of the incendiary John Aitkin, commonly called Jack the Painter; the loss of the Royal George at Spithead in
1782, by a sudden squall, while heeled for the purpose of repairing; and of L'Impetueux in 1794, and the Boyne in 1795, by fire in the harbour;-and the visits of his present Majesty in 1773 and in 1794, and of the Prince Regent and the emperor of Russia at the close of the late
The great and progressive increase in the naval establishments and trade of Portsmouth, rendered the town too small for its population; and early in the last century, a common, on the north side, was chosen as the most convenient spot for additional houses. This suburb bore for a long time the name of the Common, or Portsmouth Common, till, in the year 1792, under an act of parliament for paving and improving the place, it obtained the name of the town of Portsea. The extensive suburb on the other side of Portsmouth is named Southsea.
These towns are supplied with conveniences for sea bathing at Southsea beach, where there is a subscription reading-room, which commands an extensive and beautiful view of Spithead, the Motherbank, and the surround, ing shores.
The name of the philanthropic Jonas Hanway is one of those names that bestow unequivocal honour on the country that produce them, and that Christianity herself "delighteth to honour." He was born at Portsmouth in 1712, and was brought up to mercantile pursuits. His literary acquisitions were not considerable, but the narrative of his Travels in Russia, Persia, Germany, and Holland, abounds with curious and instructive matter. All the latter part of his long life teemed with projects of benevolence. The Marine