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only to show the diabolical spirit entertained towards the Christians, in our own country, a thousand years after the death of Christ. At the time of the incursion of the Danes into England, about 1010, Ethelred was the reigning prince; a man of weak mind and pusillanimous disposition. Being afraid to face the enemy himself, and too irresolute to furnish others with the means of acting, he suffered his country to be ravaged with impunity, and the greatest depredations to be committed by the enemy. Alphege, observing the distressed state of affairs, became prominent in succouring his countrymen, acting with great resolution and humanity. He went boldly to the Danes, purchased the freedom of several whom they had made captives, and even converted some of the army; which circumstance made the Danes who still continued pagans, greater enemies to him than they would otherwise have been, and they were determined to seek their revenge. When, therefore, they had obtained possession of Canterbury, their first object was to seize upon Alphege, who boldly faced the barbarians, and begged that he alone might be their victim. Without attending to his appeal, they tied his hands, insulted and abused him, and obliged him to remain on the spot till his church was burnt down. They then decimated the inhabitants, upwards of 7000 in number, leaving only four monks and 800 laymen alive. After which, they confined the archbishop in a dungeon, where they kept him for several months, and ultimately brought him to Greenwich for trial. True to the cause of which he was so bright an ornament, he again exhorted them to forsake their idolatry, and embrace Christianity. They refused; but offered to grant Alphege his liberty, upon paying three thousand marks of gold; to which proposal he indignantly replied: "The only riches I have to offer, is that of wisdom, which consists in the knowledge of the true God." Incensed at
this answer, the soldiery dragged him out of the camp and stoned him, when one of them, who had previously been converted and baptized by him, in a kind of barbarous compassion, cut off his head with a battle-axe. Thus fell, on the 19th of April, 1012, a man who was a shining light in the period in which he lived, and who would have done honour to any age or nation.
Charles. I have heard say, that the first church at Greenwich was built in memory of a saint: was it St. Alphege?
William. It was; and on the spot where the murder was committed. I believe there is still an inscription to that effect.
Mr. Constance. There is so; and the parish is also styled, St. Alphege, Greenwich. His body was refused Christian burial by his murderers, and it was thrown into the Thames; but, vbeing found the next day, it was interred in the cathedral church of St. Paul, by the bishops of London and Lincoln, and removed to Canterbury in 1023, by Ethelnoth, archbishop of that province. But you will now proceed, William, to notice the history of the tutelar saint of England, known by the name of St. George; whose day is kept by us on the 23d of this month. In so doing, I hope you will prove that you have not been betrayed into a consideration of the fabulous part of his history.
William. So absurd and contradictory are the accounts which have been given of St. George, by various authors, that were I to relate all of them, you would probably be led to conclude that no such man ever existed. Nor would your inference be a novel one, for several modern writers are of that opinion; while others contend, that he was born in Cappadocia, of respectable Christian parents; that he was strong and robust in body; and that he was noticed by the tyrant Dioclesian, who made him a tribune, or colonel in his army, in which he rose to thehighest honours. The emperor, however, appears to have been ignorant of his religious creed, until the persecutions of the Christians, which, increasing in violence and aggravated cruelty, prompted St. George to lay aside the marks of his dignity, throw up his commission and posts, and publicly to upbraid the emperor with his barbarities. Indeed, he did more; for while Dioclesian and his supporters were exercising their utmost malice towards the Christians, St. George, it is said, openly distributed his property for their support; which so irritated and amazed the emperor, that, notwithstanding the many important services which he had received from St. George, in his military capacity, he ordered him to be put to the torture. But, rinding that he was proof against the rack, and that he continued firm in his attachment to the doctrines of Christianity, he further sentenced him to be ignominiously drawn through the city and beheaded, on the 23d of April, 290. . Maria. What a dreadful period that must have been for all those persons who were moved, by conscientious motives, to plead the cause for which our Saviour suffered. It would appear, from what we can collect of the histories of the various saints, recorded in the calendar, that neither learning, piety, riches, nor private worth, were sufficient to protect them from the base passions of the bigoted and cruel. So long as St. George's strength and ability were at the command of the emperor, titles and riches were his reward; but no sooner did he show a disposition to support that creed in which he was born, that which was to be his hope and solace in the hour of death; in short, even to have an opinion of his own, upon a subject which materially affected his own happiness here and hereafter; than imprisonment, torture, and every privation, were to be submitted to. I feel proud to hear that he wanted not courage to die in his belief. Pray, what king first instituted the order of St. George?
Mr. Constance. St. George has been adopted as the tutelar saint of many countries; but, our Edward the Third first instituted the most noble order of the Garter.
Charles. I have understood that honour to be due to Richard Coeur-de-Lion, who, when he was leading the Christians to battle, in the holy wars, saw the spirit of St. George, who headed the troops, and gained them the victory.
Angelina. Ha! ha! I told you that Charles delighted in the marvellous.
Mr. Constance. That appearance of St. George to King Richard, has certainly been stated; as also another, equally remarkable, and for which he was termed the patron saint of England. When Robert Duke of Normandy, son of William the Conqueror, was fighting against the Turks, and besieging the famous city of Antioch, which was expected to. be relieved by a mighty army of Saracens, St. George appeared with an innumerable host coming down from the hills, all clad in white, with a red cross on his banner, to reinforce the Christians; this so terrified the infidels, that they fled, and left the Christians in possession of the town. But, as this happened several centuries after the martyrdom of the saint, I shall leave you, Charles, to say, whether it ought to be believed.
Charles. I do not think it ought, Sir.
Mr. Constance. Nor I:—but your reference to Richard Coeur-de-Lion, would appear, from some of the best historians, to be founded upon more reasonable grounds. It is related of him, that prior to his entering on the siege of Acre, he tied a garter, or piece of blue leather, round the knee of his knights, whereby they might be distinguished at the termination of the conflict, and rewarded according to their valour.. From which circumstance, Richard is said to have been the first king of England who founded the order of the Garter. This supposition is confirmed also by the number of knights belonging to the order, being the same as those in attendance upon that monarch: twenty-six having stood firmly by him to the end of the fight,
William. A further confirmation, I think, is also to be found, in the circumstance of the garter being the principal of the insignia belonging to this order. The tale of Prince Edward's picking up a garter, and presenting it to the lady to whom it was supposed to belong, is now totally exploded. And as Richard caused all his knights to be styled "Knights of the blew thofig," It appears certain, I think, that he first adopted the method of gartering them; although it was left to King Edward to establish, by royal edict, and regularly to organize that order, which is now considered the grandest in Europe.
Maria. I think the dress of the knights very superb and costly, and the medallion of St. George very beautiful. But you have not yet informed us, William, why he is represented tilting at a dragon.
William. Butler tells us, that it is no more than an emblematical figure, purporting that, by his faith and Christian fortitude, he conquered the evil spirit, or devil, called the dragon in the Apocalypse. The order, be it remembered, is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin, St. George, and Edward the Confessor.
Mr. Constance. Until the year 1786, the number of knights was limited to twenty-six, including the sovereign, who is head of the order; but, at a chapter held in that year, the number was altered to twenty-five knights, exclusive of the sovereign, and the male branches of his family. It has been remarked, that the costume of the order is very beautiful, which it certainly is, and consists of a surcoat, mantle, hood, collar, cap, and feathers. The ensigns are—a blue velvet garter, bordered with gold, on