If no remedy can be found for these evils [the disorders of the Tyburn procession] it would be better that Malefactors should be put to death in private; for our publick executions are become decoys, that draw in the necessitous, and in effect as cruel as frequent pardons, instead of giving warning they are examplary the wrong way, and encourage where they should deter.
Bernard de Mandeville, Enquiry into the Causes of the Frequent Execution, London, 1725.
That so many families claiming royal lineage should be found among our lowest classes is not astonishing. History tells us of change after change in the ruling dynasties of these islands, and of the advent of races the most varied in time and origin. During the last two thousand years enough kings and nobles have sunk from power to furnish a royal pedigree to half the population of the country. It is true that the present Royal Family, and the present aristocracy, inherit, to some extent, the blood of extinct dynasties. But only to some extent. The Prince of Wales has lawfully succeeded to various dignities; but these are of such opposite origin that they cannot possibly be typified in the person of one man. He cannot be, at the same time, a typical Prince of Wales and a typical Prince of Scotland; a genuine Duke of Cornwall and as genuine a Duke of Rothesay; a perfect specimen of the Lords of the Isles and an equally perfect Earl of Chester; he cannot be a thoroughbred Plantagenet, Stewart, Tudor, and Guelph — though a certain proportion of the blood of each may run in his veins. The circumstances that developed such titles have been matters of history for many generations; the titles themselves are now merely so many graceful honours, attaching by right of birth to the Heir Apparent.
David MacRitchie, Ancient and Modern Britons (London: 1884).
Robert Ronald McIan (1803 – 13 Dec 1856), also Robert Ranald McIan, was an actor and painter of Scottish descent. He is best known for romanticised depictions of Scottish clansmen, their battles, and domestic life.
The Desborough Mirror has a reflecting surface with green patination; the back of the mirror is highly decorated. The mirror is made from three pieces — a cast handle, the main mirror plate and a tubular binding strip around the edge. The pattern is very complex. It has a symetrical outline in the form of a lyre with flanking coils. The pattern may have been laid out using a pair of compasses. Parts of the decoration are engraved, using a graver, with a basket-weave pattern and hatched texturing to make the pattern stand out.