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our ancestors might as well have walked on foot. Let us hear the account given either by Master John Stowe, or some of his Editors, on this matter, who tells us that "Coaches were not known in this Island; but Chariots, or WTiirlicotes, then so called, and they only used of Princes, or men of great estates, such as had their footmen about them. And for example to note, I read * that Richard II. being threatened by the Rebels of Kent, rode from the Tower of London to the Miles-End, and with him his Mother, because she was sick and weak,
in a Whirlicote. But in the vear
next following, the said Richard took to wife Anne, daughter to the King of Bohemia, who first brought hither the riding upon side- saddles; and so was the riding in those ffliirlicotes and Chariots forsaken, except at Coronations, and such like spectacles. But now of late," continues he, "the use of Coaches brought out of Germany, is taken up and. made so common, as
* He cites Lib. S. Marias Aborum.
there is neither distinction of time, nor difference of persons, observed; for the world runs on wheels with many whose parents were glad to go on foot*."
We may hence suppose that the PVhirlicote was not much more than a Litter upon Wheels, and adapted both to state and invalidity, among the higher orders of mankind; for we have seen that they gave place even to riding on Horseback, among the Ladies, as soon as proper Saddles were introduced.
The word Coach is evidently French, from their word Carrosse, and was formerly often written Carroche, as it appears in Stowe's Chronicle, where the two words appear almost in the same sentence. The French word, nevertheless, is not radically such, but formed from the Italian Carroccio, or Carrozza, for they have both; and that even the latter is a compound of Carro jRozzo, it being a red Carriage, whereon the Italians carried the Cross when they took the field. So says Mr. Menage f; and if so, this Vehicle passed from Italy to Germany, from thence to France, and at length to us. According to Mr. De Caseneuve, the Italian Carrocio had four wheels; and he adds to what Mr. Menage has said, that they carried their Standards upon it *.
* Survey of London and Westminster, book i. t Orig. Ital.
The French Charrette, from whence our Chariot f, had but two wheels. But we may observe how our word is degraded, for it properly signifies a Cart, though it had four wheels J. The French, since Coaches came into use, have been ashamed of the term, and call it a Carrosse Coupe, or HalfCoach.
By the above account the Chariot seems to have been the elder Vehicle, or rather the Coach in its infancy; which will lead us towards the etymon of our word Coach, and to the original nature of our Chariot, though both of them have the same common parent.
* Appendix to Menage, Orig. Fr. t Chariot—v. Carrucain DuCange. Used in France at the end of the Reign of Francis I. and Henry II. % Richelet.
We may, however, collect enough from these accounts, to satisfy ourselves that the introduction of Coaches took place in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth; and Stowe's Continuator adds a very natural consequence : — That, after the Royal example, "divers great ladies made them Coaches, and rode in them up and down the countries, to the great admiration of all the beholders." After this, he tells us, they grew common among the Nobility and opulent Gentry; that within twenty years Coach-making became a great trade, and that Coaches grew into more general use soon after the accession of King James.
What sort of Carriages they originally were with us, in point of elegance, is not easily said; but in Germany, about that period, we are told they were—" ugly Vehicles made of four boards, which were put together in a very clumsy manner *." Of these, however, my Author adds, that John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg, when he went to
* Memoirs of the House of Brandenburg, p. 222.
Warsaw to do homage for the Dutchy of Prussia, A. D. 1618, had in his train thirtysix of these Coaches, each drawn by six horses.
Either the Chariots of that time were usually more elegant, or the Denmarkers had more taste than the Germans; for the same Author tells us, that, when the King of Denmark passed through Berlin, in the Reign of the Elector John George, who died 1598, the King made his entry " in a blackvelvet Chariot, laced with gold, drawn by eight white coursers, with bits and caparisons all of silver *."
The Chariot I take to have been a much more ancient Vehicle, and an open Vehicle; for we read of them in the Reign of our Henry VII. and even of our Richard II.
Queen Elizabeth, when she went to St. Paul's, 1588, after the Spanish Armada, was in a Chariot supported by four pillars, and drawn by two white horses -f\
* Memoirs, p. 221.
t Nichols's Preface to Queen Elizabeth's Progresses, p. xxiii.