Excerpt from The Portfolio: Monographs on Artistic Subjects, With Many Illustrations
When Henry VI., with his own hands, crowned Henry Beauchamp Duke of Warwick, King of the Isle of Wight, he was not so mad as is commonly believed. For though, as my Lord Coke observed in his Institutes, the king has no power to transfer the sovereignty of any part of his dominions, the Isle of Wight seems marked out, both by its position and history, for separate and peculiar consideration. It is the only part of England which has again and again been devastated by foreign invasion. There alone, on British soil, are towns and ports to which the population has never fully returned after their homes were sacked and burned by French and Spanish soldiers. The islanders, on the other hand, have more than once rallied and repulsed their invaders unaided, and for centuries maintained a separate military organisation, which often baffled such attempts at the moment of disembarkation. Whether held by hereditary petty sovereigns, as it was until the days of Edward I., or governed by wardens and captains nominated by the Crown,6 the isle OF wight.
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