Page images

might possibly be the Chronicle of Reyne Wolf mentioned by Nicholson, and which Stow was engaged to publish by archbishop Whitgift. The MS. here alluded to, came into the possession of sir Simon Dewes; and was subsequently obtained by the earl of Oxford.

According to Mr. Howes, Stow always "protested never to have written any thing, either for malice, fear, or favour, nor to seek his own particular gain, or vain glory; and that his only pains and care was to write the truth." Agreeably to this statement, it is commonly allowed, that Stow surpasses all preceding chroniclers in judgment, as well as in industry: nor has his honesty ever been questioned.


RICHARD KNOLLES, was born in Northamptonshire, and educated at Oxford, where he entered in 1560, took his degrees in arts, and was elected Fellow of Lincoln College. He was subsequently master of a free school at Sandwich in Kent; where he died in 1610.

Knolles is chiefly known to posterity by his "General History of the Turks, from the first beginning of that Nation, to the rising of the Ottoman Family," &c. 1610. This history has been continued by several hands. One continuation was collected from the dispatches of sir Peter Wyche, knight, ambassador at Constantinople, and extended from 1623 to 1677; but the best is that of Ricaut, consul of Smyrna, from the year 1623 to 1677. Lond. 1680, folio. It begins from a period earlier than that at which Knolles terminates. In

his preface to the reader, Ricaut observes that, "the reign of sultan Amurat, being imperfectly wrote in Knolles's History, consisting for the most part, of abrupt collections, he had thought fit, for the better completing the reign of that sultan, and the whole body of our Turkish history, to deliver all the particular transactions thereof with his own pen."

As a specimen of the manner of this histo- '. rian, I select his account of the siege of Jerusalem, in the beginning of the first volume.

The governor of Jerusalem understanding, by his espials, of the proceedings of the Christians, had before their approach, got into the city a great garrison of right valiant soldiers, with good store of all things necessary for the holding out of a long siege. The Christians with their army approaching the city, encamped before it on the north; for that towards the east, and the south, it was not well to be besieged, by reason of the broken rocks and mountains. Next unto the city lay Godfrey the duke, with the Germans and Lorrains; near unto him lay the earl of Flanders, and Robert the Norman; before the west gate lay Tancred and the earl of Tholouse: Bohemund and Baldwin were both absent; the one at Antioch, the other at Edessa. The VOL. II.

Christians thus strongly encamped, the fifth day af ter gave unto the city a fierce assault, with such cheerfulness, as that it was verily supposed, it might have been even then won, had they been sufficiently furnished with scaling ladders; for want whereof, they were glad to give over the assault and retire. But within a few days after, having supplied that defect, and provided all things necessary, they came on again afresh, and with all their power gave unto the city a most terrible assault, wherein was on both sides seen great valour, policy, and cunning, with much slaughter; until that at length the Christians, weary of the long fight, and in that hot country, and most fervent time of the year, fainting for lack of water, were glad again to forsake the assault, and to retire into their trenches: only the well of Siloe yielded them water, and that not sufficient for the whole camp; the rest of the wells, which were but few, being before by the enemy either filled up, or else poisoned.

Whilst the Christians thus lay at the siege of Jerusalem, a fleet of the Genoese arrived at Joppa: at which time also a great fleet of the Egyptian sultan's lay at Ascalon, to have brought relief to the besieg--ed Turks in Jerusalem; whereof the Genoese understanding, and knowing themselves too weak to encounter them at sea, took all such things out of their ships as they thought good, and so sinking

them, marched by land unto the camp. There was amongst these Genoese divers engineers, men (after the manner of that time) cunning in making of all manner of engines fit for the besieging of cities; by whose device, a great moving tower was framed of timber and thick planks, covered over with raw hides, to save the same from fire; out of which the Christians might in safety greatly annoy the defendants. This tower being by night brought close to the wall, served the Christians instead of a most sure fortress in the assault the next day; where whilst they strive with warlike valour, and doubtful victo ry on both sides, from morning until mid-day, by chance the wind favouring the Christians, carried the flame of the fire into the face of the Turks, wherewith they had thought to have burnt the tower, with such violence, that the Christians taking the benefit thereof, and holpen by the tower, gained the top of the wall; which was first footed by the duke Godfrey, and his brother Eustace, with their followers, and the ensigns of the duke there first set up, to the great encouraging of the Christians, who now pressing in on every side, like a violent river that had broken over the banks, bare down all before them. All were slain that came to hand, men, women, and children, without respect of age, sex, or condition the slaughter was great, and the sight lamentable; all the streets were filled with blood, and

« PreviousContinue »