Tower of London England about 1892

THE TOWER OF LONDON — No building in this greatest city of the world is historically so impressive as old “London Tower.” Its gloomy battlements watch grimly o’er the Thames, as they have done for centuries. Some of its deep foundations are said to be as old as the time of Julius Caesar. At present, its most conspicuous feature is the massive structure in the foreground, with four pinnacles called the White Tower, built early in the reign of William the Conqueror, about the year 1079. The White Tower! A strange name truly for any portion of this building! For not only are its walls most dark and gloomy in appearance, but behind them have transpired some of the blackest deeds of English history! How many noble men and women have been imprisoned here whose names not only stand transfigured on the pages of history, but have been carved in tears upon their dungeon walls. Among them brave Sir Walter Raleigh, who languished here for thirteen years, part of the time in a small room but ten feet long and eight feet wide! Here all the distinguished prisoners of the Scottish wars were held in close captivity, and hence the noble Wallace was led forth to brutal death and mutilation! Here also was beheaded the noble and innocent Lady Jane Gray; here Anne Boleyn walked calmly to the block, praying with her last breath for her brutal husband; till as the fatal axe cleft through her fair white neck, the report of a gun rang out from yonder walls so that the lecherous Henry VIII might be informed that he was rid of her. But enough! These and a score of similar memories sicken us, and make the very air within the Tower’s precincts taste of blood! Thank God that though the tower stands, such deeds are now impossible! For the sovereign of England is no longer the tyrant, but the administrator; yes, the intelligent servant of the people! (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)


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