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Answer 100. William Pitt, Earl of Chatham.


Benjamin Franklin watched from the gallery of the House of Lords a few days later as Chatham made an impassioned speech calling for reconciliation with the American colonists. His speech was ignored and war became inevitable.

Franklin left Craven Street in March 1775 and sailed home reluctantly to join the rebels. He was one of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776.

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This is the Martin Tower at the Tower of London. The Crown Jewels – the crown, orb and sceptre used at coronations – were kept in the basement here during the reign of King Charles II. They were looked after by Talbot Edwards, an old soldier of 76.

CrownJewelsOn a spring morning in 1671, an Irish adventurer disguised as a clergyman called on Edwards and asked to see the jewels:

‘He came to the Tower in the Habit of a Parson, with a long Cloak, Cassock and Canonical Girdle, and brought a Woman with him whom he called Wife…

‘This pretended Wife desired to see the Crown; and having seen it feigned to have a Qualm come upon her Stomach, and desired Mr Edwards to send for some Spirits, who immediately caused his Wife to fetch some; whereof when she had drunk, she courteously invited her up Stairs to repose her self upon a Bed.’

The Irishman returned a few days later, bringing a present for Mrs Edwards to thank her for her kindness. Several more visits followed as he made himself agreeable to the old couple. His plan was to win their trust before stealing the Crown Jewels (see next post).

HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 101. What was the name of the Irish adventurer?

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