Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: About London
Author: Ritchie, J. Ewing (James Ewing), 1820-1898
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "About London" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Transcribed from the 1860 William Tinsley edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



                              ABOUT LONDON.


                                * * * * *

                                    BY

                            J. EWING RITCHIE,

          Author of “Night Side of London;” “The London Pulpit;”
                     “Here and There in London,” &c.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

             “The boiling town keeps secrets ill.”—AURORA LEIGH.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                                 LONDON:
                      WILLIAM TINSLEY, 314, STRAND.
                                  1860.



ADVERTISEMENT.


The author of the following pages, must plead as his apology for again
trespassing on the good nature of the public, the success of his other
books.  He is aware that, owing to unavoidable circumstances, the volume
here and there bears marks of haste, but he trusts that on the whole it
may be considered reliable, and not altogether unworthy of the public
favour.

                                * * * * *

FINCHLEY,
      _June_ 16_th_, 1860.



CONTENTS.

                      CHAPTER I.                             PAGE.
NEWSPAPER PEOPLE                                                 1
                     CHAPTER II.
SPIRITUALISM                                                    12
                     CHAPTER III.
ABOUT COAL                                                      23
                     CHAPTER IV.
HIGHGATE                                                        44
                      CHAPTER V.
TOM TIDDLER’S GROUND                                            60
                     CHAPTER VI.
WESTMINSTER ABBEY                                               68
                     CHAPTER VII.
LONDON CHARITIES                                                76
                    CHAPTER VIII.
PEDESTRIANISM                                                   84
                     CHAPTER IX.
OVER LONDON BRIDGE                                              92
                      CHAPTER X.
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS AND THE EARLY-CLOSING MOVEMENT            101
                     CHAPTER XI.
TOWN MORALS                                                    110
                     CHAPTER XI.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED                                     121
                     CHAPTER XII.
LONDON MATRIMONIAL                                             131
                    CHAPTER XIII.
BREACH OF PROMISE CASES                                        141
                     CHAPTER XIV.
COMMERCIAL LONDON                                              149
                     CHAPTER XV.
LONDON GENTS                                                   158
                     CHAPTER XVI.
THE LONDON VOLUNTEERS                                          165
                    CHAPTER XVII.
CRIMINAL LONDON                                                174
                    CHAPTER XVIII.
CONCERNING CABS                                                185
                     CHAPTER XIX.
FREE DRINKING FOUNTAINS                                        193
                     CHAPTER XX.
CONCLUSION                                                     203



CHAPTER I.
NEWSPAPER PEOPLE.


What would the Englishman do without his newspaper I cannot imagine.  The
sun might just as well refuse to shine, as the press refuse to turn out
its myriads of newspapers.  Conversation would cease at once.  Brown,
with his morning paper in his hand, has very decided opinions indeed,—can
tell you what the French Emperor is about,—what the Pope will be
compelled to do,—what is the aim of Sardinia,—and what is Austria’s
little game.  I dined at Jenkins’s yesterday, and for three hours over
the wine I was compelled to listen to what I had read in that morning’s
_Times_.  The worst of it was, that when I joined the ladies I was no
better off, as the dear creatures were full of the particulars of the
grand Rifle Ball.  When I travel by the rail, I am gratified with details
of divorce cases—of terrible accidents—of dreadful shipwrecks—of
atrocious murders—of ingenious swindling, all brought to light by means
of the press.  What people could have found to talk about before the
invention of newspapers, is beyond my limited comprehension.  They must
have been a dull set in those dark days; I suppose the farmers and
country gentlemen talked of bullocks, and tradespeople about trade; the
ladies about fashions, and cookery, and the plague of bad servants.  We
are wonderfully smarter now, and shine, though it be with a borrowed
light.

A daily newspaper is, to a man of my way of thinking, one of the most
wonderful phenomena of these latter days.  It is a crown of glory to our
land.  It is true, in some quarters, a contrary opinion is held.  “The
press,” Mr. David Urquhart very seriously tells us, “is an invention for
the development of original sin.”  In the opinion of that amiable cynic,
the late Mr. Henry Drummond, a newspaper is but a medium for the
circulation of gossip; but, in spite of individuals, the general fact
remains that the press is not merely a wonderful organization, but an
enormous power in any land—in ours most of all, where public opinion
rules more or less directly.  Our army in the Crimea was saved by the
_Times_.  When the _Times_ turned, free-trade was carried.  The _Times_
not long since made a panic, and securities became in some cases utterly
unsaleable, and some seventy stockbrokers were ruined.  The _Times_ says
we don’t want a Reform Bill, and Lord John can scarce drag his measure
through the Commons.  But it is not of the power, but of the organization
of the press I would speak.  According to geologists, ages passed away
before this earth of ours became fit for human habitation; volcanic
agencies were previously to be in action—plants and animals, that exist
not now, were to be born, and live, and die—tropical climates were to
become temperate, and oceans, solid land.  In a similar way, the
newspaper is the result of agencies and antecedents almost equally
wondrous and remote.  For ages have science, and nature, and man been
preparing its way.  Society had to become intellectual—letters had to be
invented—types had to be formed—paper had to be substituted for
papyrus—the printing-press had to become wedded to steam—the
electric-telegraph had to be discovered, and the problem of liberty had
to be solved, in a manner more or less satisfactory, before a newspaper,
as we understand the word, could be; and that we have the fruit of all
this laid on our breakfast-table every morning, for at the most
five-pence, and at the least one-penny, is wonderful indeed.  But,
instead of dwelling on manifest truisms, let us think awhile of a
newspaper-office, and those who do business there.  Externally, there is
nothing remarkable in a newspaper-office.  You pass by at night, and see
many windows lighted with gas, that is all.  By daylight there is nothing
to attract curiosity, indeed, in the early part of the day, there is
little going on at a newspaper-office.  When you and I are hard at work,
newspaper people are enjoying their night; when you and I are asleep,
they are hard at work for us.  They have a hot-house appearance, and are
rarely octogenarians.  The conscientious editor of a daily newspaper can
never be free from anxiety.  He has enough to do to keep all to their
post; he must see that the leader-writers are all up to the mark—that the
reporters do their duty—that the literary critic, and the theatrical
critic, and the musical critic, and the city correspondent, and the
special reporter, and the host of nameless contributors, do not
disappoint or deceive the public, and that every day the daily sheet
shall have something in it to excite, or inform, or improve.  But while
you and I are standing outside, the editor, in some remote suburb, is, it
may be, dreaming of pleasanter things than politics and papers.  One man,
however, is on the premises, and that is the manager.  He represents the
proprietors, and is, in his sphere, as great a man as the editor.  It is
well to be deferential to the manager.  He is a wonder in his
way,—literary man, yet man of business.  He must know everybody, be able
at a moment’s notice to pick the right man out, and send him, it may be,
to the Antipodes.  Of all events that are to come off in the course of
the year, unexpected or the reverse, he must have a clear and distinct
perception, that he may have eye-witnesses there for the benefit of the
British public.  He, too, must contrive, so that out-goings shall not
exceed receipts, and that the paper pays.  He must be active, wide-awake,
possessed of considerable tact, and if, when an Irish gentleman, with a
big stick, calls and asks to see the editor or manager, he knows how to
knock a man down, so much the better.  Of course, managers are not
required for the smaller weeklies.  In some of the offices there is very
little subdivision of labour.  The editor writes the leaders and reviews,
and the sub-editor does the paste-and-scissors work.  But let us return
to the daily paper;—outside of the office of which we have been so rude
as to leave the reader standing all this while.

At present there is no sign of life.  It is true, already the postman has
delivered innumerable letters from all quarters of the globe—that the
electric telegraph has sent its messages—that the railways have brought
their despatches—that the publishers have furnished books of all sorts
and sizes for review—and that tickets from all the London exhibitions are
soliciting a friendly notice.  There let them lie unheeded, till the
coming man appears.  Even the publisher, who was here at five o’clock in
the morning, has gone home: only a few clerks, connected with the
financial department of the paper, or to receive advertisements, are on
the spot.  We may suppose that somewhere between one and two the first
editorial visit will be paid, and that then this chaos is reduced to
order; and that the ideas, which are to be represented in the paper of
to-morrow, are discussed, and the daily organs received, and gossip of
all sorts from the clubs—from the house—from the city—collected and
condensed; a little later perhaps assistants arrive—one to cull all the
sweets from the provincial journals—another to look over the files of
foreign papers—another it may be to translate important documents.  The
great machine is now getting steadily at work.  Up in the composing-room
are printers already fingering their types.

In the law-courts, a briefless barrister is taking notes—in the
police-courts, reporters are at work, and far away in the city, “our city
correspondent” is collecting the commercial news of the hour—and in all
parts of London penny-a-liners, like eagles scenting carrion, are
ferreting out for the particulars of the last “extraordinary elopement,”
or “romantic suicide.”  The later it grows the more gigantic becomes the
pressure.  The parliamentary reporters are now furnishing their quota;
gentlemen who have been assisting at public-dinners come redolent of
post-prandial eloquence, which has to be reduced to sense and grammar.
It is now midnight, and yet we have to wait the arrival of the close of
the parliamentary debate, on which the editor must write a leader before
he leaves; and the theatrical critic’s verdict on the new play.  In the
meanwhile the foreman of the printers takes stock, being perfectly aware
that he cannot perform the wonderful feat of making a pint bottle hold a
quart.  Woe is me! he has already half a dozen columns in excess.  What
is to be done?  Well, the literature must stand over, that’s very clear,
then those translations from the French will do to-morrow, and this
report will also not hurt by delay—as to the rest, that must be cut down
and still further condensed; but quickly, for time is passing, and we
must be on the machine at three.  Quickly fly the minutes—hotter becomes
the gas-lit room—wearier the editorial staff.  But the hours bring
relief.  The principal editor has done his leader and departed—the
assistants have done the same—so have the reporters, only the sub-editor
remains, and as daylight is glimmering in the east, and even fast London
is asleep, he quietly lights a cigar, and likewise departs; the printers
will follow as soon as the forms have gone down, and the movements below
indicate that the machine, by the aid of steam, is printing.

We have thus seen most of the newspaper people off the premises.  As we
go out into the open air, we may yet find a few of them scorning an
ignoble repose.  For instance, there is a penny-a-liner—literally he is
not a penny-a-liner, as he is generally paid three-farthings a line, and
very good pay that is, as the same account, written on very thin paper,
called flimsy, is left at all the newspaper-offices, which, if they all
insert, they all pay for, and one short tale may put the penny-a-liner in
funds for a week.  The penny-a-liner has long been the butt of a
heartless world.  He ought to be a cynic, and I fear is but an
indifferent Christian, and very so-so as head of a family.  His
appearance is somewhat against him, and his antecedents are eccentric;
his face has a beery appearance; his clothes are worn in defiance of
fashion; neither his hat nor his boots would be considered by a swell as
the correct stilton; you would scarce take him as the representative of
the potent fourth estate.  Yet penny-a-liner’s rise; one of them is now
the editor of a morning paper; another is the manager of a commercial
establishment, with a salary of almost a thousand a year; but chiefly, I
imagine, they are jolly good fellows going down the hill.  Charles Lamb
said he never greatly cared for the society of what are called good
people.  The penny-a-liners have a similar weakness; they are true
Bohemians, and are prone to hear the chimes at midnight.  Literally, they
take no thought for to-morrow, and occasionally are put to hard shifts.
Hence it is sub-editors have to be on their guard with their dealings
with them.  Their powers of imagination and description are great.  They
are prone to harrow up your souls with horrors that never existed; and as
they are paid by the line, a harsh prosaic brevity is by no means their
fault.  Occasionally they take in the papers.  Not long since a most
extraordinary breach of promise case went the round of the evening
papers, which was entirely a fiction of the penny-a-liners.  Yet let us
not think disparagingly of them—of a daily newspaper no small part is the
result of their diligent research.  And if they do occasionally indulge
in fiction, their fictions are generally founded on fact.  The reader, if
he be a wise man, will smile and pass on—a dull dog will take the matter
seriously and make an ass of himself.  For instance, only this very year,
there was a serious controversy about Disraeli’s literary piracies, as
they were called in the _Manchester Examiner_.  It appears a paragraph
was inserted in an obscure London journal giving an account of an evening
party at Mr. Gladstone’s, at which Mr. Disraeli had been present—an event
just as probable as that the Bishop of Oxford would take tea at Mr.
Spurgeon’s.  Mr. Disraeli’s remarks were reported, and the
paragraph—notwithstanding its glaring absurdity—was quoted in the
_Manchester Examiner_.  Some acute reader remembered to have read a
similar conversation attributed to Coleridge, and immediately wrote to
the _Examiner_ to that effect.  The letter was unhandsomely inserted with
a bold heading,—several letters were inserted on the same subject, and
hence, just because a poor penny-a-liner at his wits’ end doctored up a
little par, and attributed a very old conversation to Mr. Disraeli, the
latter is believed in Cottonopolis guilty of a piracy, Cottonopolis being
all the more ready to believe this of Mr. Disraeli, as the latter
gentleman is at the head of a party not supposed to be particularly
attached to the doctrines of what are termed the Manchester School.
Really editors and correspondents should be up to these little dodges,
and not believe all they see in print.

I would also speak of another class of newspaper people—the newspaper
boy, agile as a lamp-lighter, sharp in his glances as a cat.  The
newspaper boy is of all ages, from twelve to forty, but they are all
alike, very disorderly, and very ardent politicians; and while they are
waiting in the publishing-office for their papers they are prone to
indulge in political gossip, after the manner of their betters at the
west-end clubs.  On the trial of Bernard, the excitement among the
newspaper boys was very great.  I heard some of them, on the last day of
the trial, confess to having been too excited all that day to do
anything; their admiration of the speech of Edwin James was intense.  A
small enthusiast near me said to another, “That ere James is the fellow
to work ’em; didn’t he pitch hin to the hemperor?”

“Yes,” said a sadder and wiser boy; “yes, he’s all werry well, but he’d a
spoke on t’other side just as well if he’d been paid.”

“No; would he?”

“Yes, to be sure.”

“Well, that’s wot I call swindling.”

“No, it ain’t.  They does their best.  Them as pays you, you works for.”

Whether the explanation was satisfactory I can’t say, as the small boy’s
master’s name was called, and he vanished with “two quire” on his
youthful head.  But generally these small boys prefer wit to politics;
they are much given to practical jokes at each other’s expense, and have
no mercy for individual peculiarities.  Theirs is a hard life, from five
in the morning, when the daily papers commence publishing, to seven in
the evening, when the second edition of the _Sun_ with the _Gazette_
appears.  What becomes of them when they cease to be newspaper boys, must
be left to conjecture.  Surely such riotous youths can never become
tradesmen in a small way, retailers of greens, itinerant dealers in coal.
Do not offend these gentry if you are a newspaper proprietor.  Their
power for mischief is great.  At the _Illustrated __News_ office I have
seen a policeman required to reduce them to order.

Finally, of all newspaper people, high or low, let me ask the public to
speak charitably.  They are hard-worked, they are not over-paid, and some
of them die prematurely old.  Ten years of night-work in the office of a
daily newspaper is enough to kill any man, even if he has the
constitution of a horse; one can’t get on without them; and it is a sad
day for his family when Paterfamilias misses his paper.  Whigs, tories,
prelates, princes, valiant warriors, and great lawyers, are not so
essential to the daily weal of the public, as newspaper people.  In other
ways they are useful—the great British naturalist, Mr. Yarell, was a
newspaper vendor.



CHAPTER II.
SPIRITUALISM.


In the _Morning Star_, a few months since, appeared a letter from William
Howitt, intimating that if the religious public wished to hear a man
truly eloquent and religious, a Christian and a genius, they could not do
better than go and hear the Rev. Mr. Harris.  Accordingly, one Sunday in
January, we found ourselves part of a respectable congregation, chiefly
males, assembled to hear the gentleman aforesaid.  The place of meeting
was the Music Hall, Store-street; the reverend gentleman occupying the
platform, and the audience filling up the rest of the room.  It is
difficult to judge of numbers, but there must have been four or five
hundred persons present.  Mr. Harris evidently is an American, is, we
should imagine, between thirty and forty, and with his low black
eye-brows, and black beard, and sallow countenance, has not a very
prepossessing appearance.  He had very much of the conventional idea of
the methodist parson.  I do not by this imply that the conventional idea
is correct, but simply that we have such a conventional idea, and that
Mr. Harris answers to it.  As I have intimated that I believe Mr. Harris
is an American, I need not add that he is thin, and that his figure is of
moderate height.  The subject on which he preached was the axe being laid
at the foot of the tree, and at considerable length—the sermon lasted
more than an hour—the reverend gentleman endeavoured to show that men
lived as God was in them, and that we were not to judge from a few
outward signs that God was in them, and, as instances of men filled and
inspired by God’s Spirit, we had our Saxon Alfred, Oliver Cromwell, and
Florence Nightingale.  In the prayer and sermon of the preacher there was
very little to indicate that he was preaching a new gospel.  The
principal thing about him was his action, which, in some respects,
resembled that of the great American Temperance orator, Mr. Gough.  Mr.
Harris endeavours as much as possible to dramatise his sermon.  He stands
on tiptoe, or he sinks down into his desk, he points his finger, and
shrugs up his shoulders.  He has a considerable share of poetical and
oratorical power, but he does not give you an idea of much literary
culture.  He does not bear you away “far, far above this lower world, up
where eternal ages roll.”  You find that it was scarce worth while coming
all the way from New York to London, unless the Rev. Gentleman has much
more to say, and in a better manner, than the sermon delivered in
Store-street.  Of course I am not a Spiritualist.  I am one of the
profane—I am little better than one of the wicked, though I, and all men
who are not beasts, feel that man is spirit as well as flesh; that he is
made in the image of his Maker; that the inspiration of the Almighty
giveth him understanding.  Spiritualism in this sense is old as Adam and
Eve, old as the day when Jehovah, resting from his labours, pronounced
them to be good.  But this is not the Spiritualism of Mr. Harris, and of
the organ of his denomination, _The Spiritual Magazine_.  That spirits
appear to us—that they move tables—that they express their meaning by
knocks, form the great distinctive peculiarity of Spiritualism, and they
are things which people in our days are many of them more and more
beginning to believe.  At any rate the Spiritualists of the new school
ought not to be angry with us.  Mr. Howitt writes, “Moles don’t believe
in eagles, nor even skylarks; they believe in the solid earth and
earth-worms;—things which soar up into the air, and look full at the noon
sun, and perch on the tops of mountains, and see wide prospect of the
earth and air, of men and things, are utterly incomprehensible, and
therefore don’t exist, to moles.  Things which, like skylarks, mount also
in the air, to bathe their tremulous pinions in the living æther, and in
the floods of golden sunshine, and behold the earth beneath; the more
green, and soft, and beautiful, because they see the heavens above them,
and pour out exulting melodies which are the fruits and streaming
delights of and in these things, are equally incomprehensible to moles,
which, having only eyes of the size of pins’ heads, and no ears that
ordinary eyes can discover, neither _can_ see the face of heaven, nor
hear the music of the spheres, nor any other music.  Learned pigs don’t
believe in pneumatology, nor in astronomy, but in gastronomy.  They
believe in troughs, pig-nuts, and substantial potatoes.  Learned pigs
_see_ the wind, or have credit for it—but that other Πνευμα, which we
translate SPIRIT, they most learnedly ignore.  Moles and learned pigs
were contemporaries of Adam, and have existed in all ages, and,
therefore, they _know_ that there are no such things as eagles, or
skylarks and their songs; no suns, skies, heavens, and their orbs, or
even such sublunary objects as those we call men and things.  They _know_
that there is nothing real, and that there are no genuine entities, but
comfortable dark burrows, earthworms, pig-troughs, pig-nuts, potatoes,
and the like substantials.”  If this be so,—and Mr. Howitt is an old man
and ought to know, especially when he says there are not in London at
this time half-a-dozen literary or scientific men who, had they lived in
Christ’s time, would have believed in him—well, there is no hope for us.
Spiritualism is beyond our reach; it is a thing too bright for us.  It is
high, we cannot attain unto it.  The other Sunday night, Mr. Harris was
very spiritual, at any rate, very impractical and unworldly.  At the
close of the service he informed us that some few of his sermons,
containing an outline of his religious convictions, were for sale at the
doors, and would be sold at one penny and a half, a mere insignificant
sum, just sufficient to cover the expense of paper and printing.  On
inquiring, we found, of the three sermons, one was published at
three-halfpence, one at twopence, and one at fourpence, prices which, if
we may judge by the copy we purchased, would yield a fair profit, if the
sale were as great as it seemed to be on Sunday night.

But Mr. Harris is a poet—there is not such another in the universe.  _The
Golden Age_ opens thus:—

    “As many ages as it took to form
    The world, it takes to form the human race.
    Humanity was injured at its birth,
    And its existence in the past has been
    That of a suffering infant.  God through Christ
    Appearing, healed that sickness, pouring down
    Interior life: so Christ our Lord became
    The second Adam, through whom all shall live.
    This is our faith.  The world shall yet become
    The home of that great second Adam’s seed;
    Christ-forms, both male and female, who from Him
    Derive their ever-growing perfectness,
    Eventually shall possess the earth,
    And speak the rythmic language of the skies,
    And mightier miracles than His perform;
    They shall remove all sickness from the race,
    Cast out all devils from the church and state,
    And hurl into oblivion’s hollow sea
    The mountains of depravity.  Then earth,
    From the Antarctic to the Arctic Pole,
    Shall blush with flowers; the isles and continents
    Teem with harmonic forms of bird and beast,
    And fruit, and glogious shapes of art more fair
    Than man’s imagination yet conceived,
    Adorn the stately temples of a new
    Divine religion.  Every human soul
    A second Adam, and a second Eve,
    Shall dwell with its pure counterpart, conjoined
    In sacramental marriage of the heart.
    God shall be everywhere, and not, as now,
    Guessed at, but apprehended, felt and known.”—p. 1.

I will take, says Mr. Howitt, as a fair specimen of the poetry and broad
Christian philosophy of this spiritual epic, the recipe for writing a
poem.  In this, we see how far the requirements of Spiritualism are
beyond the standard of the requirements of the world in poetry.  They
include the widest gatherings of knowledge, and still wider and loftier
virtues and sympathies.

    “To write a poem, man should be as pure
    As frost-flowers; every thought should be in tune
    To heavenly truth, and Nature’s perfect law,
    Bathing the soul in beauty, joy, and peace.
    His heart should ripen like the purple grape;
    His country should be all the universe;
    His friends the best and wisest of all time.
    He should be universal as the light,
    And rich as summer in ripe-fruited love.
    He should have power to draw from common things
    Essential truth!—and, rising o’er all fear
    Of papal devils and of pagan gods,
    Of ancient Satans, and of modern ghosts,
    Should recognise all spirits as his friends,
    And see the worst but harps of golden strings
    Discordant now, but destined at the last
    To thrill, inspired with God’s own harmony,
    And make sweet music with the heavenly host.
    He should forget his private preference
    Of country or religion, and should see
    All parties and all creeds with equal eye;
    His the religion of true harmony;
    Christ the ideal of his lofty aim;
    The viewless Friend, the Comforter, and Guide,
    The joy in grief, whose every element
    Of life received in child-like faith,
    Becomes a part of impulse, feeling, thought—
    The central fire that lights his being’s sun.
    He should not limit Nature by the known;
    Nor limit God by what is known of him;
    Nor limit man by present states and moods;
    But see mankind at liberty to draw
    Into their lives all Nature’s wealth, and all
    Harmonious essences of life from God,
    And so, becoming god-like in their souls,
    And universal in their faculties,
    Informing all their age, enriching time,
    And blinding up the temple of the world
    With massive structures of eternity.
    He shall not fail to see how infinite
    God is above humanity, nor yet
    That God is throned in universal man,
    The greater mind of pure intelligence,
    Unlimited by states, moods, periods, creeds,
    Self-adequate, self-balanced in his love,
    And needing nothing and conferring all,
    And asking nothing and receiving all,
    Akin by love to every loving heart,
    By nobleness to every noble mind,
    By truth to all who look through natural forms,
    And feel the throbbing arteries of law
    In every pulse of nature and of man.”

The peculiar doctrine of the Spiritualists seems to be the belief in
Spiritual intercourse, and in mediums; as _The Spiritual Magazine_ tells
us “the only media we know accessible to the public are Mrs. Marshal and
her niece, of 22, Red Lion-street, Holborn,” we need not give ourselves
much trouble about them.  Concerning intercourse with departed spirits,
an American Judge writes, “The first thing demonstrated to us is that we
can commune with the spirits of the departed; that such communion is
through the instrumentality of persons yet living; that the fact of
mediumship is the result of physical organization; that the kind of
communion is affected by moral causes, and that the power, like our other
faculties, is possessed in different degrees, and is capable of
improvement by cultivation,” and from this doctrine the believers gather
comfortable assurances.  The Judge adds, “These things being established,
by means which show a settled purpose and an intelligent design, they
demonstrate man’s immortality, and that in the simplest way, by appeals
alike to his reason, to his affections, and to his senses.  They thus
show that they whom we once knew as living on earth do yet live, after
having passed the gates of death, and leave in our minds the irresistible
conclusion, that if they thus live we shall.  This task Spiritualism has
already performed on its thousands and its tens of thousands—more,
indeed, in the last ten years than by all the pulpits in the land—and
still the work goes bravely on.  God speed it; for it is doing what man’s
unaided reason has for ages tried in vain to do, and what, in this age of
infidelity, seemed impossible to accomplish.  Thus, too, is confirmed to
us the Christian religion, which so many have questioned or denied.  Not,
indeed, that which sectarianism gives us, nor that which descends to us
from the dark ages, corrupted by selfishness or distorted by ignorance,
but that which was proclaimed through the spiritualism of Jesus of
Nazareth in the simple injunction—‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the
first and great commandment; and the second is like unto it—Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the
law and the prophets.’”

In the case of Mr. Harris, it seems to us, he lays his stress upon these
peculiar doctrines, and rather aims at a universal Christianity; in all
sects he sees goodness, and he would combine them all into his own.  He
and his disciples have found what all the rest are seeking after.  His
Christianity is the faith which all good spirits own, which all angels
reverence.  Christ came to reveal this faith: the whole world is but an
expression of it; the whole universe but an illustration of it; and as we
become Christ-like, in the renunciation of self, and the acceptance of
the great law of service in the Lord and to the Lord, more and more we
attain to an internal perception of the verities of that faith.  The Word
is opened before us, and the natural universe is perceived to be its
outward illustration.  The new church takes its stand upon this
fundamental doctrine of regeneration, and it is to the putting forth of
this in art, science, literature, poetry, preaching, in all the uses of
an ordered life, that the energy of the true churchman is continually, in
the Divine Providence, directed.  And to those thus regenerated it is
given to become mediums.  Mr. Harris, in his sermon preached at the
Marylebone Literary and Scientific Institution, May 29, 1859, says: “Any
man, good or bad, can become a medium for spirits.  I have seen the
vilest and the most degraded made the organs through which spirits
utterly lost, yet with something of the beams of the fallen archangel’s
faded brightness lingering in the intellect—I say I have seen such, as
well as others, earnest, sincere, and worthy, become the organs of
communication between the visible and invisible spirits.  But no man can
become a medium, an organ or oracle for the Spirit, for the Word made
flesh, giving to every man according to his will, until he hath passed
through the door of penitence—until he hath gone up through the gateway
of a sincere conversion, or turning from his evil—until he hath
consecrated himself to the great law of right—until he hath voluntarily
taken up all the burdens which God in his providence, whether social, or
domestic, or moral, has imposed upon him—until, at any cost or any
hazard, he hath sought to do, in his daily life, those things which God
in His word doth most authoritatively and continually command.  All such
may, all such do, become, all such are, the _mediums_ of the Lord Christ,
omnipotent, omnipresent, and eternal, walking, as the Divine Man, in the
midst of the paradise of the angels.  Breathing forth His breath, and so
vivifying the very air which the angels respire and live, He breathes
down that great _aura_ upon us continually.  In prayer, and in the good
self-sacrificing life, we drink in that _aura_.  The breath of God
inflows into the lungs; the thought of God streams into consciousness;
the energies of God are directed to the will; man, weak, becomes strong;
man, ignorant, becomes wise; man, narrow, becomes broad; man, sectarian,
becomes catholic and liberal; man, self-conceited, becomes reverent and
humble; man, transformed from the image of the tiger, the ape, the
serpent, takes upon himself, in Christ, the angels’ image.  And as we
drink in more and more of this Divine Spirit, our path in life—the path
of humble uses (not the path of self-seeking ambition; not the path of
prying curiosity), groweth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.”



CHAPTER III.
ABOUT COAL.


I am sitting by my sea-coal fire, and, from the clear way in which it
burns, and the peculiarly pleasant warmth it seems to give out, I have
every reason to believe that the thermometer is below the freezing point,
that the ground is hard as iron, and that before to-morrow’s sun rises,
Jack Frost will not only have lavishly strewn the earth with pearls, but
have sketched fairy landscapes innumerable on my window-panes.  Ah, well,
it matters little to me:

    “The storm without might rain and ristle,
    Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.”

The respected partner of my joys and sorrows has retired to roost, far
away in the nursery the maternal pledges of our affection have done
ditto.  Unless an amorous member of that inestimable class of public
servants—the metropolitan police—be at this moment engaged in a furtive
flirtation with the cook, I have no reason to believe that, beside
myself, any of my limited establishment is awake.  My boots are off—I
have an old coat on—I have done my day’s work—I don’t owe anybody any
money (the reader need not believe this)—I poke the fire—I light a
cigar—and think there is nothing like a good fire after all.

I am thankful I am not in Paris now: I take down my French Pocket
Dictionary, published by Orr in 1850, and cannot find the French for
fire-place; I find firearms, fire-ball, fire-brand, fire-brush,
fire-cross, fire-lock, but no fire-place.  Ah, here it is (fire-side,
_foyer_—substantive, masculine); but, to make quite sure, I turn to the
French-English, and I turn up _foyer_ there; and, here, I find it means,
“heat, tiring-room, green-room,” and so on.  Well, am I not right? there
is nothing like an English fire-place after all.  The Germans are not
much better off than the French; the German porcelain stove, for
instance, standing in the middle of the room, like a monument, and nearly
filling it, is not for a second to be compared with a jolly English fire;
besides, it is very dangerous, and, when the flue gets stopped is, I was
going to write, as great a murderer as a medical man.  Can I ever forget
how when I lived in the Kirchen Strasse of a far-famed and delightful
city, distant about 700 miles from where I write, how one morning I came
down-stairs to have my _frühstück_, and how, in the very middle of my
meal, I felt an uncomfortable sensation, as a gigantic Dane was reading
to me a memorial he was about to address to the British government?  May
I tell the reader how at first I thought the document to which I have
referred might have something to do with it?  Will he forgive me, if I
narrate how, at length, I gradually came to the conclusion that the cause
was in the atmosphere, which seemed to be splitting my head, and swelling
out my body to the point of bursting? can he imagine my deplorable
situation when I became insensible, and when I recovered consciousness
found that I had been poisoned by the fumes of charcoal, and that I
should then and there have shuffled off this mortal coil, had not my
Danish friend, for a wonder, lifted up his eyes from his precious
document, and, seeing me go off, thrown open the window, and, in a
polyglottic way, called for help?  Truly, then, may I say, that, for
comfort, and for safety, and for warmth, if you can have it pretty nearly
all to yourself, and do one side thoroughly first before you roast the
other, there is nothing like an English fireplace in the world.

Woe is me! the present generation,—a generation most assuredly wise in
its own eyes, can never know what I, and others verging on forty,
know—the real luxury of an English fire after travelling all night as an
outside passenger on the top, say, for instance, of the Royal London and
Yarmouth mail.  Pardon my emotion, but I must shut my eyes, and endeavour
to recall the past.  It is six o’clock on a night cold as that in which I
now write; I am at the ancient hostelry, now gone to the dogs, known as
the White Horse, Fetter Lane, on the top of the mail aforesaid.  The
many-caped coachman, has clambered up into his seat; I sit by his side,
perched somewhat like a mummy; outside and in we are full of passengers.
The red-coated guard blows cheerily on the far-resounding horn.  “Let
them go,” says the coachman, and four faultless greys, impatient of
restraint, rush forth with their living load: in a twinkling we stoop
under the ancient gateway, and turn into Fetter Lane; now we cautiously
descend Holborn Hill, skilfully we are steered through Cheapside, past
the Mansion House, through Cornhill, along dark and sullen Leadenhall,
Whitechapel, all glaring with gas and butcher’s meat; our driver gives
the horses their heads, and our pace becomes pleasant.  We pass Bow
Church, and the bridge at Stratford, and now we have left the gaslights
far behind, above us is the grand dome of heaven studded with its myriads
of stars.  Hedge and field far and near are covered with a mantle of
virgin snow.  The traffic on the road has trodden it into firmness, and
on we speed till we reach Romford, not then as now known all over London
for its ales.  I believe these ales are the occasion of an anecdote,
which I may here repeat:—Two friends went into a public-house and were
regaled plentifully with them, but not finding them so strong as they
wished were much disgusted, and rose to go; however, they had not gone
far before the ale began to tell; one traveller soon found himself in a
ditch on one side of the road, while his friend was prostrate in another.
“Holloa,” said the one to the other, “that ale war’nt so bad as I
thought.”  “No, no,” was the reply of his now apparently-satisfied
friend.  But here we are at Romford.  Fresh cattle are standing ready to
take the place of the four who have gallantly drawn us hither.  But there
is time to jump down, and “have a drop of summut short,” to catch a
glimpse from the most glorious of fires, and to feel for the buxom
landlady, and her clean and rosy-cheeked Hebes, very strong feelings of
personal regard.  “All ready,” cries the ostler, and away we rush from
this fairy land, as it seems to us, out into the cold dark night; the
guard blows his horn; curtains are drawn on one side as we pass, that,
out of warm rooms, curious eyes may look on us.  The pikekeeper bids us,
for him, an unusually cheerful good-night, and by this time some of the
old pilots returning to Southwold, or Lowestoft, or Yarmouth, after
having been with vessels up the Thames, cheered by the contents of
various libations, wake the dull ear of night with songs occasionally
amatory, but chiefly of a nautical character; and if there is a
chorus,—why, we can all join in that; are we not jolly companions, every
one?  Does not this beat railway travelling?  “I believe you, my boys.”
I say the present race of men have no conception of this.  Why, look at a
London omnibus; for nine months out of the twelve a cockney can’t ride,
even from the Bank to Pimlico, without getting inside.  A friend of mine,
one of the good old sort, rides into town winter and summer outside a
distance of about nine miles.  “Of course you wear a respirator,” said a
young cockney to him.  My friend only laughed.  When the Royal Yarmouth
Mail ran its gay career, there were no respirators then.  What if the
night were cold—what if snow laid heavily on the ground—what if railway
rugs were not; did we not sit close together and keep each other warm—did
we not smoke the most fragrant of weeds—did we not, while the coach
changed horses, jump down, and, rushing into the cosiest of bar-parlours
(forgive us, J. B. Gough), swallow brandy-and-water till our faces were
as scarlet peonies, and we tingled, down to the very soles of our feet,
with an unwonted heat?  A coal fire then was a sight to cheer the cockles
of one’s heart, to look forward to for one long stage, and to think of
for another.  But times change, and we with them.  The other day I met
one of our mail-coachmen ingloriously driving a two-pair buss between the
City and Norwood; he looked down at his horses and then up at us with an
expression Robson might have envied.  Let me return to coal.  Gentle
reader, did you ever go down a coal-pit?—I once did, and I think, with
Sheridan, it is hardly worth while going down one, when you might just as
well say you had been.  I was a stranger then to coal-pits and
collieries, rather greener then than I am now, and had on a bran-new suit
of clothes and patent-leather boots, and thus accoutred I was let down
into the bowels of the earth, wandered along little ways in beds of coal,
past little nooks where black men were at work, or resting on lumps of
coal dining on bread-and-bacon, and drinking cold tea; and then there
were tramways, and horses drawing the coal to the mouth of the pit, and
boys to drive the horses, and boys to hold lamps, and all around you was
black coal, save where it shone with the reflection of your light, and
beneath you trod in mud, all made of coal-dust and water, of a character
to ruin patent-leather for ever.  I was not sorry, I assure you, when I
left the lower regions, and was hauled up to the light of day.  Once upon
a time, an exciseman at Merthyr Tydvil was overcome by liquor (for
excisemen are but men) and fell asleep.  Excisemen are not generally a
very popular class of Her Majesty’s subjects, and there are many who owe
them a grudge.  This was the case with our hero.  Accordingly, the enemy,
in the shape of half-a-dozen dusky colliers, made their appearance, and
deposited their unconscious prize,

    “Full many a fathom deep,”

as Mr. Campbell says, in a coal pit.  Alas! the inspiration of wine is
but short-lived.  From his glorious dreams of marble halls the exciseman
awoke; wonderingly he opened his eyes and looked around.  Where was he?
To what dark and dolorous shades had he been conveyed?  That conscience
which does make cowards of us all answered the question:—he had been for
his sins conveyed to that fearful locality which a popular clergyman once
told his hearers he would not shock their feelings by naming in so
well-bred and respectable an assembly; there he was, far away from the
light of the sun and the haunts of men.  Everything around him was dark
and drear.  At length a faint glimmer of light appeared in the distance.
It came nearer and nearer, by its light he saw a form he thought
resembled the human, but of that he was not quite sure.  The exciseman
felt with Hamlet:

    “Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned.
    Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
    Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
    Thou comest in such a questionable shape
    That I will speak to thee.”

Accordingly he spoke, and very naturally asked the new-corner, “Who are
you?”  “Why, I was when I lived on earth an exciseman, but now I am—”
“You don’t say so,” exclaimed the interrogator, as sober as he ever was
in his life.  But the joke had now been carried far enough, and the
exciseman gladly returned to the light of day, and the society of his
fellow-man.

A coal pit, or rather a coal country, such as that you see around Merthyr
Tydvil, or as you speed on by the Great Northern to Newcastle, does not
give you a bad idea of Pandemonium.  A coal pit is generally situated by
the side of some bleak hill where there are but few signs of life.  A
cloud of smoke from the engine, or engines, hangs heavily all round.  The
workmen, of whom there may be hundreds, with the exception of a few boys,
who stand at the mouth of the pit to unload the coal waggons as they come
up, or to run them into the tram-road that connects them with the
neighbouring railroad, or canal, are all under-ground.  If you descend, a
lighted candle is put into your hand, and you must grope your way as best
you can.  If the vein of coal be a pretty good one you will be able to
walk comfortably without much trouble, but you must mind and not be run
over by the coal waggons always passing along.  As you proceed you will
observe numerous passages on each side which lead to the stalls in which
the men work, and hard work it is, I can assure you: a great block is
first undermined, and then cut out by wedges driven into the solid coal;
I believe the work is chiefly contracted for at so much a ton.  In these
little stalls the men sit, and dine, and smoke.  Little else is to be
seen in a coal pit.  There are doors by which the air is forced along the
different passages; there are engines by which the water is drained off;
there is constant communication between the upper and the lower world,
all going on with a methodical exactness which can only be violated with
loss of life.  Let the engines cease, and possibly in a couple of hours
the pit may be filled with water.  Let a workman, as is too often the
case, enter his stall with a candle instead of with a safety lamp, and an
explosion may occur which may be attended with the loss of many lives;
but the rule is care and regularity, each man doing his part in a general
whole.  The mortality in coal mining is still unusually great.  It is
ascertained that of the total number of 220,000 persons employed as
colliers, 1000 are killed annually—that is to say, the poor collier has
1000 more chances of being killed at his work than any one of the whole
travelling public has of being killed or injured on English railways.
Dr. Philip Holland read a paper on the subject at a recent meeting of the
Society of Arts.  He stated that out of 8015 deaths by accidents in eight
years, 1984 (or about one-fourth) were caused by explosions.  Remarkable
it is, that in the northern counties of Durham and Northumberland (in
which one-fourth of the coal is raised, and one-fifth of the collier
population employed) the average deaths per annum from explosions do not
exceed 21 out of 248; and as the average of such deaths for the whole
country, including the Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Staffordshire
districts, is 105, so 143 lives yearly are lost because the precautions
against explosion proved to be effectual in the extreme north are
neglected in all the other districts.  Equally remarkable it is that
falls of roof have caused nearly 1000 more deaths in the eight years than
explosions, although the latter chiefly excite public feeling.  Here,
again, the extreme northern district affords a gratifying contrast with
the others, as, out of an average of 371 such accidents yearly, only 49
occur there.  It is suggested that the comparative immunity of the north
from this cause of accident is attributable to the fact, that one man in
six belongs to the safety staff, who are charged with the superintendence
of ventilation, road, and prop making, &c.  In other parts no such person
is employed, and the men in their anxiety to get coal neglect these
salutary means of safety.  The next greatest number of fatal accidents
occurs in the shafts, 1734 in the eight years.  Here, again, the cautious
north exhibits its superiority, its proportion of fatalities from this
source not being more than a fifth part of the proportion throughout the
country.  Other fatalities there are, principally the result of bad
discipline, the employment of too large a proportion of boys under
fifteen years, the use of machinery where hand-pulling would be
preferable, the narrowness of the galleries, and such like.  Dr. Holland
notices that the system of government inspection has, in the southern
coal districts, led to the discontinuance of the services of “viewers,”
or mine engineers, to direct the operations, which it never was intended
to do.  Either these viewers must, as a rule, be reinstated, or the
government system of inspection must be enormously increased.  Among the
means suggested to prevent accidents is that of making the coal owner
civilly responsible for accidents caused by the obvious neglect of
reasonable precautions in the working.  In the course of the discussion
which followed, it was urged that the workers should no more be exempted
from the penal consequences of neglect than the employers.

Fancy—I can do it easily, over my sea-coal fire—fancy the coal dug out of
the pit, put into a waggon, that waggon put on a railway—travelling, it
may be, some distance, and depositing its precious burden in a collier’s
hold; imagine this collier put to sea, and safely arrived in the Thames.
As Mr. Cobden said, “What next, and next?”  Here a new agency comes into
play, the coal cannot come right to my fire.  We leave the collier at
Gravesend and land, let us say, at Billingsgate—never mind the fish, nor
the porters, nor the fair dealers in marine products.  Come right away
into Thames Street—cross it if you can, for this street, of all London
streets, bears away the palm for being blocked up at all times and
seasons, and this morning there has been a block lasting a couple of
hours; but the people here are used to it, and do not think it worth
while to have recourse to hard words, nor to repeat sounds very much like
oaths, nor to grow red in the face and threaten each other, as is the
case with the angry Jehus of Cheapside and Holborn Hill.  We enter a
handsome building by a semi-circular portico, with Roman Doric columns,
and a tower 106 feet high.  A beadle in magnificent livery, and of an
unusually civil character—for beadledom is generally a terror to our
species—meets us.  We wish to see our friend; right into the middle of a
busy group of coal dealers and factors the beadle rushes, and repeats the
name of our friend; up one story, and then another, and then another, the
sound ascends; our friend hears it, and, rapidly descending, gives us a
welcome as warm as his own fire-side.  We begin our voyage of
discovery:—first we descend and examine a Roman well, in excellent
preservation, discovered in excavating the foundation of the new
building.  The water looks thick and muddy, but they tell you it is
clear: but the fact that it ebbs and flows seems to connect it with the
Thames; and Thames water, when taken opposite Billingsgate, is not
generally considered clear.  We again ascend to the ground-floor, which
is a rotunda sixty feet in diameter, covered by a glazed dome
seventy-four feet from the floor.  This circular hall has three tiers of
projecting galleries running round it; the floor is composed of 4000
pieces of inlaid wood, in the form of a mariner’s compass; in the centre
is the city shield, anchor, &c., the dagger blade in the arms being a
piece of mulberry tree, planted by Peter the Great when he worked as a
shipwright in Deptford Dockyard.  The place is worth coming to
see—country cousins ought to look at it; the entrance vestibule, Mr.
Timbs, in his “Curiosities of London,” informs us, is richly embellished
with vases of fruit, arabesque foliage, terminal figures, &c.  In the
rotunda, between the Raphaelesque scroll-supports, are panels painted
with impersonations of the coal-bearing rivers of England—the Thames,
Mersey, Severn, Trent, Humber, Aire, Tyne, &c.: and above them, within
flower borders, are figures of Wisdom, Fortitude, Vigilance, Temperance,
Perseverance, Watchfulness, Justice, and Faith.  The arabesques in the
first story are views of coal mines—Wallsend, Percy, Pit Main, Regent’s
Pit, &c.  The second and third storey panels are painted with miners at
work; and the twenty-four ovals at the springing of the dome have, upon a
turquoise blue ground, figures of fossil plants found in coal formations.
The minor ornamentation is flowers, shells, snakes, lizards, and other
reptiles, miners’ tools and nautical subjects;—there you can see all the
process of coal mining, without troubling yourself to go down a mine, and
in a small museum, too small for such a grand building and such a wealthy
trade, curious specimens of fossil products and coal will make the
observer still more learned; but let us look at the living mass beneath.
Some of the men below are famous city names.  There sometimes you may see
Sir James Duke, who came to London a clerk, poor and under-paid, on board
a man-of-war, and who on this Coal Exchange has made a colossal fortune,
and who was made a baronet, he being at the time Lord Mayor, when the New
Exchange was opened by Prince Albert, on the 29th Oct., 1849, accompanied
by the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal.  Here oftener you may see
Hugh Taylor, M.P., who began life as a cabin-boy, then became a captain,
then was developed into a coal-owner, and who is said to be a perfect
Midas, and possesses an art, very much, thought of by city people, of
turning everything he touches into gold.  On a door just below where we
stand is inscribed the name of Lord Ward, for even noblemen don’t mind
sullying their fingers with vulgar trade, if anything is to be made by
it.  And there is the name of a Welsh coal-owner, who, some fifty years
back, was a clerk in a certain timber merchant’s, at a guinea a week, and
who now, I believe, can raise and ship a couple of thousand tons of coal
a day.  Depend upon it there is some money made by these black diamonds,
and the corporation of London know it, for they have managed to get a tax
levied of one penny on every ton of coals, whether brought by sea or rail
within thirty miles of where we stand.  What they do with the enormous
sum thus collected it is impossible to say; it is true they built this
handsome Exchange, at a cost altogether of £91,167. 11s. 8d., but that is
a small part of their receipts.  When the tax was first levied it did not
much matter; about the year 1550 one or two ships sufficed for the coal
trade of London.  On Friday, December 2nd, 1859, the number of ships with
cargoes for sale on that day was not less than 340—and on an average each
ship employed in the coal trade carries 300 tons of coal.  In the month
of October alone there were brought into the London markets 283,849 tons
by sea, and by rail 95,195 tons and three-quarters.  Of course in winter
time the trade is very brisk.  The retail dealers in the metropolis will
tell you that a few cold days make an enormous difference in the sale of
coals, and the large dealers are driven to their wits’ end as to how they
can find enough waggons and horses to enable them to supply their
customers.  In the large coal-yards in the winter time the men are at
work from five in the morning till late, very late, at night.  I am
thankful for their industry, I hope they are well paid.

But I have not yet said how the business at the Coal Exchange is carried
on.  There are two classes of men connected with the place,—the factors,
who have a handsomely furnished room up above, and who elect each other
by ballot,—and the merchants, who have a room below, to which they pay so
much a year, and to the use of which they also are elected by ballot.  On
the topmost story of all are the offices of the gentlemen who collect the
city dues, and render themselves useful in similar ways.  When the
colliers arrive at Gravesend, a messenger is sent up with their names and
the number of coals on board, and so on.  Each ship is consigned to a
London factor, and in the official room is a large case full of
pigeon-holes, in which the papers for each factor are deposited; these
papers are collected by the factor’s clerks, and with these the factor
goes into the market to sell; for if he does not sell—unless the charter
party permit him to wait for a second market day—he has to pay a
demurrage of three-halfpence a ton, a demurrage, however, often submitted
to rather than the coals should be sold at a loss of a shilling per ton.
A bell rings at twelve, and all at once you see, by the sudden apparition
of merchants and factors from the surrounding offices, that business has
commenced; however, little is done till towards the close at two, the
factors till then holding out for high prices, and the merchants holding
back.  I may add that there is very little speculation in this trade, all
is fair and above-board.  In the rooms of the factors, as well as of the
merchants, is a daily list of what vessels have arrived at Gravesend,
with what amount of cargo, and what vessels are on their way, and how
many are going up to the north in ballast; thus the buyer knows as much
about the state of the trade as the seller—and as he thinks the factor
must sell before the market is over, he waits till the very last before
he concludes his bargain.  At the end of the market, when there is a
heavy sale, people get a little excited.  They are also rather more
numerous and noisy than when you first entered, and, besides the regular
dealers, a good many others are present: sailors out of curiosity,
captains who want to know who are the purchasers of their coals, and
where they are to deliver them to; general dealers, who do not belong
either to the Factor’s Society or that of the Coal Merchants’; and here
and there a lady may be seen gazing with curious eyes on the groups
below.  When the sales are effected, the broker pays the city dues—for
bulk must not be broken till then under a penalty of five hundred
pounds—and a gentleman attests the purchases, and publishes them in a
list, sent that evening to all subscribers as the real authenticated
state of the markets for that day.  I may as well say that the
market-days are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  By way of compendium, I
add, that the price of coals, as given in the daily newspapers, is the
price up to the time when the coals are _whipped_ from the ship to the
merchants’ barges.  It includes, 1st, the value of the coals at the pit’s
mouth; 2nd, the expense of transit from the pit to the ship; 3rd, the
freight of the ship to London; 4th, the dues; and 5th, the whipping.  The
public then has to pay, 6th, the merchant for taking it to his wharf and
keeping it there, and his profit; and, 7th, the retailer for fetching it
from the merchant’s, and bringing it to their doors.  Of course you may
save something by going at once to the merchant’s.  The poor cannot do
this, and have to pay an extra price on this, as on almost everything
they consume.

And now once more I am by my sea-coal fire, burning up cheerily in this
bleak winter night.  Let me light up another cigar, and indulge in a
reverie.  I am in a Welsh port on the Bristol Channel.  Yesterday it was
a small borough, with an ancient castle, and an appearance of dirt, and
poverty, and age.  To-day its moors have become docks, or covered with
iron roads, its few streets, but lately deserted, now stretch far away
and are teeming with busy life.  Where the heron flew with heavy
wings,—where the sportsman wandered in search of fowl,—where idle boys
played, thousands of habitations and warehouses have been planted.  There
the snort of the iron horse is heard morning, noon, and night.  There the
ships of almost every country under heaven float.  There you meet German,
and French, and Dane, and American, and Italian, and Greek.  What
collects that many-coloured and many-language-speaking crowd?  Where has
come the money to build those big warehouses, to excavate those capacious
docks, to plant those iron rails, to make on this ancient desert a Babel
busier and more populous than Tyre or Sidon of old?  The answer is soon
given.  Up those bleak hills, a few miles away, are the coal-works, a
little further still are more, a little further still are more, beyond
them are the iron-works, and thus we go on, coal and iron everywhere, all
fast being changed by magic industry into gold.  Nature has destined
England to be the workshop of the world.  She sent here the Saxon race,
she filled the bowels of the land with ores more valuable than those of
Potosi.  To France and Spain she gave wine; to the countries lying on the
Baltic, timber and grain; to Russia, hemp and tallow; to Lombardy, its
rich silk; to Calabria, its oil; to Ceylon, its spices; to Persia, its
pearls; to America, its cotton; to China, its tea; to California, its
glittering gold; but she has given us the iron and the coal—without which
all her other gifts were vain—and with which all the others can be
bought.  To the rank we take amidst the nations of the earth, from the
first we were destined.  Ours is not the blue sky of Italy, nor the warm
breath of the sunny south, but it is an atmosphere that fits man for
persevering industry and daily toil.  Let us, then, brace ourselves up
for our mission.  Let us proclaim the dignity of labour—its beneficent
effects—its more than magical results.  Let us honour the workman,
whether he stand at the loom or plough the field—or sail

          “—Beyond the sunset
    Or the baths of all the western stars,”

or labour in the dark and dangerous recesses of the mine.  Thus shall we
build up a barricade against the murderous art of war, teach all the
world the advantages of peace, and make manifest to the nations how to
live.

One word more—don’t let the reader go away with the idea that there is
likely to be a dearth of coals in his time.  Let him make merry by his
own fireside, and not vex his small brain about what the world will be
when the years have died away.  A writer in the _Times_, of May 24th,
1860, says, “As a good deal of anxiety has been recently shown regarding
the probable extinction of the resources of steam coal in Wales, it may
be interesting to state that, by the successful results of the
prosecution for the last five years of the operations of the Navigation
Works at Aberdare, near Merthyr, all fears upon the subject may be
discarded.  This pit is the largest in the world, being 18 feet in
diameter and 370 yards in depth.  The estimate of its workings is 1000
tons per day.  The expenses thus far have been £130,000, exclusive of the
value of waggons, &c.—£35,000.  The ground is of a most difficult nature,
the layers often extending 15 feet without a bed, crack, fissure, or any
opening whatever.  The rock had all to be blasted with gunpowder.  The
resources of the seam are comparatively boundless, the property extending
seven miles from Taff up to Cwm Neal, and three miles in width, covering
4000 to 5000 acres of ‘4 foot coal.’  The royalty is for 99 years, and is
held by a firm, composed of Mr. John Nixon, the well-known colliery
proprietor at Merthyr; Mr. Hugh Taylor, M.P. for Tynemouth; and Mr. W.
Cory, the large coal contractor of London.  The commencement of the use
of this smokeless coal afloat began about 1840, on board the Thames
steamboats, to work Penn’s engines.  In the same year a cargo was shipped
to Nantes, and given away to the French for trial, with the sole
condition that the engineer should throw it into the furnaces and leave
it alone to stoke itself.  Next, the sugar refiners adopted it, as they
suffered considerably if the steam was not kept up to a pressure of
50lbs., and if allowed to fall below that rate their works were
completely stopped.  With the Welsh coal they cleaned out their fires but
once instead of twice, and thereby effected a saving in the working day
of three hours and a half.  The French river steamers followed, and here
the only objection raised was, that without the long trail of smoke from
the funnel their customers would not be able to see their vessels
approaching from a distance.  The French Government then became convinced
of its efficiency, and, adopting it, have adhered to its exclusive use
ever since.  Other Governments have likewise profited by its advantages:
but, although it is consumed in the Peninsular and Oriental Company’s
fleet, the Royal Mail, Cunard’s, and others, the English Government has
not hitherto availed itself of it.  The embryo town of Mountain Ash, with
already a population of 5,000, has recently been the scene of great
rejoicings, as the ‘winning’ or striking of so enormous a seam it is
expected will bring with it additional prosperity and considerable
increase to its neighbourhood.”



CHAPTER IV.
HIGHGATE.


If I were inclined to be dull, I would say Highgate is a village to the
north of London, with an ancient history, a great deal of which the
reader, if he be not a fool, can imagine, and with a very fine geological
formation, indicative of salt-water where it is now very difficult to
find fresh.  In order, also, that I may not weary my reader, and
establish a cheap reputation for a great deal of learning, I will frankly
confess that Highgate, means High Gate, and nothing more.  In old times,
right away from Islington Turnpike-Gate to Enfield Chase, there was a
magnificent forest, and part of this forest extended as far as Highgate.
Down in the very heart of it, in Hornsey, the Bishop of London had a
castle, and of the Park attached to it Highgate formed a part.  When the
old road to the north was found impassable, a new one was formed over the
hill, and through the Bishop’s Park.  In those days pious bishops levied
toll; to collect this toll a gate was erected, and here was Highgate, and
truly does it deserve the name.  It is said the hill is 400 feet above
the top of St. Paul’s.  Be this as it may, near London, a lovelier spot
is rarely to be met with.  Artists, poets, parties in search of the
picturesque, cannot do better than visit Highgate.  At every turn you
come to the most beautiful prospects.  When London will consume its own
smoke, if that time ever does arrive, the view from Highgate, across the
great city, will be the grandest in the world.  On a clear day, standing
in the Archway Road—that road esteemed such a wonder of engineering in
its day, and forming such a disastrous property for its shareholders (the
£50 shares may be bought at about 18s. a share)—you may see across the
valley of the Thames as far as the Kent and Surrey hills looming
obscurely in the distance.  Close to the Archway Tavern, but on the other
side of the road, is a lofty old-fashioned brick mansion, said to have
been inhabited by Marshal Wade, the military hero who did so much for the
wars of Scotland, and whose memory is still preserved in the following
very remarkable couplet:

    “Had you seen these roads before they were made,
    You would lift up your hands and bless General Wade.”

Well, from the top of this mansion you can see no less than seven English
counties.  The number seems almost fabulous, and if, in accordance with a
well-established rule in such cases, we only believe half we hear, enough
is left to convince us that the view is one of no common kind; all that
is wanted to make the scene perfect is a little bit of water.  From every
part of the hill, in spite of builders and buildings, views of exquisite
beauty may be obtained.  Going down towards Kentish Town, the hill where
her Majesty was nearly dashed to pieces by the running away of the horses
of her carnage (her royal arms on a public-house still preserves the
tradition and the memory of the man who saved her at the peril of his
life), past where Mr. Bodkin the Barrister lives, past where William and
Mary Howitt live, past where the rich Miss Burdett Coutts has a stately
mansion, which, however, to the great grief of the neighbourhood, she
rarely adorns with her presence, what pleasant views we have before us.
It is the same going down past St. Joseph’s Retreat to Holloway; and in
Swain’s Lane, another lane leading back to Kentish Town, you might fancy
you were in Arcady itself.  Again, stand on the brow of the hill, with
your backs to London, looking far away to distant Harrow, or ancient
Barnet, what a fair plain lies at your feet, clothed with cheerful
villas, and looking bright and warm.  “Upon this hill,” says Norden, “is
most pleasant dwelling, yet not so pleasant as healthful, for the expert
inhabitants there report that divers who have been long visited with
sicknesse not curable by physicke, have in a short time repaired their
health by that sweet salutary air.”  In 1661, the Spanish Ambassador,
Count Gondomar, excuses his absence from the English court on the plea
that he had gone to his retreat in Highgate “to take the fresh aire.”
The associations connected with Highgate are of the most interesting
character.  It was coming up Highgate Hill that Dick Whittington heard
the bells prophesying that if he would return he would be Lord Mayor of
London; a public-house still marks the spot.  It was at the bottom of
Highgate Hill that the great Bacon—the wisest and not the meanest of
mankind, that lie is at length exploded, and must disappear from
history—caught the cold of which he died.  “The cause of his Lordship’s
death,” writes Aubrey, who professed to have received the information
from Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, “was trying an experiment as he was
taking the air in the coach with Dr. Winterbourne, a Scotchman, physician
to the king.  Towards Highgate snow lay on the ground, and it came into
my Lord’s thoughts why flesh might not be preserved in snow as in salt.
They were resolved they would try the experiment presently.  They
alighted out of the coach, and went into a poor woman’s house at the
bottom of Highgate Hill, and bought a hen and stuffed the body with snow,
and my Lord did help to do it himself.  The snow so chilled him that he
immediately fell so ill that he could not return to his lodgings, but
went to the Earl of Arundel’s house at Highgate, where they put him into
a good bed warmed with a pan, but it was a damp bed, that had not been
laid in for about a year before, which gave him such a cold, that in two
or three days, as I remember, he (Hobbes) told me he died of
suffocation.”  The Arundel house here referred to does not seem to be the
Arundel House still existing in Highgate, on the left-hand side as you
come up the main road from Islington.  The house now bearing that name is
said to have been a residence of Nell Gwynne, and during that period was
visited by the merry monarch himself.  The creation of the title of Duke
of St. Albans, which is related to have been obtained by Nell Gwynne in
so extraordinary a manner from King Charles, is said to have taken place
at this house.  A marble bath, surrounded by curious and antique
oak-work, is there associated with her name.  As the house is now in the
possession of a celebrated antiquarian, the Rev. James Yates, M.A., it is
to be hoped that it will be as little modernised as possible.  More
hallowed memories appertain to the next house we come to.

Andrew Marvel, patriot, was born, 1620, at Kingston-upon-Hull.  After
taking his degree of B.A. at Trinity College, Cambridge, he went abroad,
and at Rome he wrote the first of those satirical poems which obtained
him such celebrity.  In 1635, Marvel returned to England, rich in the
friendship of Milton, who a couple of years after, thus introduced him to
Bradshaw: “I present to you Mr. Marvel, laying aside those jealousies and
that emulation which mine own condition might suggest to me by bringing
in such a coadjutor.”  “It was most likely,” writes Mrs. S. C. Hall,
“during this period that he inhabited the cottage at Highgate, opposite
to the house in which lived part of the family of Cromwell.”  How Marvel
became M.P. for his native town—how he was probably the last
representative paid by his constituents, (a much better practice that
than ours of representatives paying their constituents)—how his
“Rehearsal Transposed,” a witty and sarcastic poem, not only humbled
Parker, but, in the language of Bishop Burnet, “the whole party, for from
the king down to the tradesman the book was read with pleasure,”—how he
spurned the smiles of the venal court, and sleeps the sleep of the just
in St. Giles-in-the-Fields, are facts known to all.  Mason has made
Marvel the hero of his “Ode to Independence,” and thus alludes to his
incorruptible integrity:

    “In awful poverty his honest muse
       Walks forth vindictive through a venal land;
    In vain corruption sheds her golden dews,
       In vain oppression lifts her iron hand,—
    He scorns them both, and armed with truth alone,
    Bids lust and folly tremble on the throne.”

On the other side of the way is an old stately red-brick building, now a
school, and well known as Cromwell House.  I don’t find that Cromwell
lived there, but assuredly his son-in-law, Ireton, did.  His arms are
elaborately carved on the ceiling of the state-rooms, the antique
stair-case and apartments retain their originality of character, and the
mansion is altogether one of very great interest.  Mr. Prickett, in his
History of Highgate, tells us Cromwell House is supposed to have been
built by the Protector, whose name it bears, about the year 1630, as a
residence for General Ireton, who married his daughter, and was one of
the commanders of his army; it is, however, said to have been the
residence of Oliver Cromwell himself, but no mention is made, either in
history or his biography, of his ever having lived at Highgate.
Tradition states there was a subterraneous passage from this house to the
Mansion House, which stood where the new church now stands, but of its
reality no proof has hitherto been adduced.  Cromwell House was evidently
built and internally ornamented in accordance with the taste of its
military occupant.  The staircase, which is of handsome proportions, is
richly decorated with oaken carved figures, supposed to have been of
persons in the General’s army, in their costumes, and the balustrades
filled in with devices emblematical of warfare.  From the platform on the
top of the mansion may be seen a perfect panorama of the surrounding
country.

On the hill was the house of Mr. Coniers, Bencher and Treasurer of the
Middle Temple, from which, on the 3rd of June, 1611, the Lady Arabella
escaped.  Her sin was that she had married Mr. Seymour, afterwards
Marquis of Hertford.  Her fate was sad; she was recaptured and died in
the Tower.  Sir Richard Baker, author of “The Chronicles of the Kings of
England,” resided at Highgate.  Dr. Sacheverel, that foolish priest, died
at Highgate.  But a greater man than any we have yet named lived here.  I
speak of S. T. Coleridge, who lived in a red-brick house in the “Grove”
twenty years, with his biographer, Mr. Gillman, which house is now
inhabited by Mr. Blatherwick, surgeon.  It is much to be regretted that
Gillman’s Life was never completed, but a monument in the new church, and
a grave in the old churchyard, mark the philosopher’s connection with
Highgate.  Carlyle has given us a description of what he calls
Coleridge’s philosophical moonshine.  I met a lady who remembers the
philosopher well, as a snuffy old gentleman, very fond of stroking her
hair, and seeing her and another little girl practise their dancing
lessons.  On one occasion Irving came with the philosopher.  As the great
man’s clothes were very shabby, and as he took so much snuff as to make
her sneeze whenever she went near him, my lady informant had rather a
poor opinion of the author of “Christabel” and the “Ancient Mariner.”  A
contemporary writer, more akin in philosophy to Coleridge than Thomas
Carlyle, and more able to appreciate the wondrous intellect of the man
than the little lady to whom I have already referred, says, “I was in his
company about three hours, and of that time he spoke during two and
three-quarters.  It would have been delightful to listen as attentively,
and certainly as easy for him to speak just as well, for the next
forty-eight hours.  On the whole, his conversation, or rather monologue,
is by far the most interesting I ever read or heard of.  Dr. Johnson’s
talk, with which it is obvious to compare it, seems to me immeasurably
inferior.  It is better balanced and squared, and more ponderous with
epithets, but the spirit and flavour and fragrance, the knowledge and the
genius, are all wanting.  The one is a house of brick, the other a quarry
of jasper.  It is painful to observe in Coleridge, that with all the
kindness and glorious far-seeing intelligence of his eye, there is a
glare in it, a light half-unearthly and morbid.  It is the glittering eye
of the Ancient Mariner.  His cheek too shows a flush of over-excitement,
the ridge of a storm-cloud at sunset.  When he dies, another, and the
greatest of their race, will rejoin the few immortals, the ill-understood
and ill-requited, who have walked this earth.”  Had Coleridge ever a more
genial visitant than the farmer-looking, but eloquent and philanthropic
Chalmers, who in 1839 came from Scotland to London, and of course clomb
up Highgate Hill to pay a visit to Coleridge, he says—“Half-an-hour with
Coleridge was filled up without intermission by one continuous flow of
eloquent discourse from that prince of talkers.  He began, in answer to
the common inquiries as to his health, by telling of a fit of
insensibility in which, three weeks before, he had lain for thirty-five
minutes.  As sensibility returned, and before he had opened his eyes, he
uttered a sentence about the fugacious nature of consciousness, from
which he passed to a discussion of the singular relations between the
soul and the body.  Asking for Mr. Irving, but waiting for no reply, he
poured out an eloquent tribute of his regard, mourning pathetically that
such a man should be throwing himself away.  Mr. Irving’s book on the
‘Human Nature of Christ’ in his analysis was minute to absurdity; one
would imagine that the pickling and preserving were to follow, it was so
like a cookery-book.  Unfolding then his own scheme of the
Apocalypse—talking of the mighty contrast between its Christ and the
Christ of the Gospel narrative, Mr. Coleridge said that Jesus did not
come now as before, meek and gentle, healing the sick and feeding the
hungry, and dispensing blessings all around; but he came on a white
horse, and who were his attendants?—Famine and War and Pestilence.”

The poets have always been partial to Highgate.  William and Mary Howitt
live there at this day.  Florence Nightingale has also there taken up her
abode.  The German religious reformer, Ronge, lives at the foot of
Highgate Hill.  Nicholas Rowe was educated there.  It was in one of the
lanes leading to Highgate that Coleridge met Keats and Hunt.  “There is
death in the hand,” said he to Hunt, as he shook hands with the author of
Endymion.  Painters and artists have also been partial to Highgate.
George Morland would stay at the Bull, an inn still existing, weeks at a
time, and, we may be sure, ran up very handsome scores.  An incident that
occurred to Hogarth while at Highgate made an artist of him.  The tale is
thus told by Walpole—“During his apprenticeship he set out one Sunday
with two or three companions on an excursion to Highgate.  The weather
being very hot, they went into a public-house, where they had not been
long before a quarrel arose between some persons in the same room; one of
the disputants struck the other on the head with a quart pot and cut him
very much; the blood running down the man’s face, together with the agony
of the wound, which had distorted the features into a most hideous grin,
presented Hogarth, who showed himself thus early apprised of the mode
nature had intended he should pursue, with a subject too laughable to be
overlooked.  He drew out his pencil, and produced on the spot one of the
most ludicrous figures that was ever seen.  What rendered the piece the
more valuable was, that it exhibited an exact likeness of the man, with
the portrait of his antagonist, and the figures in caricature of the
principal persons gathered around him.”  One of the names associated with
Highgate I find to be that of Hogarth’s enemy, Wilkes, patriot or
demagogue.  In his Life I read, “Mr. Wilkes was of the Established
Church, but after he was married he often went to Meeting.  He lived in a
splendid style, and kept a very elegant and sumptuous table for his
friends.  Among the numerous persons who visited this family were Mr.
Mead, an eminent drysalter on London Bridge, with his wife and daughter,
who, being also Dissenters, frequently went to the Meeting-house in
Southwood Lane, Highgate, in Mr. Wilkes’s coach, which was always drawn
by six horses, such was his love of external appearance.”  Going still
further back, more renowned characters appear on Highgate Hill.  After
the memorable battle of Bosworth Field, in which the usurper, Richard,
had been slain, it was at Highgate that the victorious Richmond was met
by the citizens of London on his triumphal approach to the metropolis.
“He was met,” writes Lambert, “by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen in scarlet
robes, with a great number of citizens on horseback.”  The Gunpowder Plot
is also connected with this interesting locality.  It is said, while that
old villain, Guy Fawkes, was preparing “to blow up king and parliament,
with Jehu and Powdire,” the rest of the conspirators had assembled on
Highgate Hill to witness the catastrophe; indeed, a driver of the Barnet
mail—I fear not the best authority in the world on antiquarian
matters—went so far on one occasion as to point out to the writer a bit
of an old wall, a little beyond Marvel’s house on the same side of the
way, as a part of the identical house in which those very evil-disposed
gentlemen met.  A subterraneous way is also said to have existed from the
site of the present church to Cromwell House, and thence to Islington.
To me the story seems somewhat doubtful, but the reader is at full
liberty to believe it or not as he likes.  Let us now speak of the
institutions of Highgate: the most modern is the cemetery, which was
consecrated by the Lord Bishop of London in May, 1839, and has therefore
the merit of being one of the first, as it is undoubtedly one of the most
beautiful in situation, of any near London.  It contains about twenty
acres of ground on the side of the hill facing the metropolis.  The
approach to it through Swain’s Lane conducts the visitor by a green lane
rising gradually to the Gothic building which forms the entrance.
Entering the grounds, the eye is struck by the taste everywhere
displayed.  Broad gravel paths on either side wind up the steep slope to
the handsome new church of St. Michael’s, which is seen to great
advantage from almost every part of the grounds.  An hour may be very
well spent here musing on the dead.  Good and bad, rogue and honest man,
saint and sinner, here sleep side by side.  John Sadleir, but too well
known as M.P., and chairman of the London and County Bank, is buried
here.  Indeed all sects, and callings, and professions, have here their
representative men.  General Otway has one of the handsomest monuments in
the grounds.  One of the most tasteful is that of Lillywhite, the
cricketer, erected by public subscription.  Wombwell, known and admired
in our childish days for his wonderful menagerie, reposes under a massive
lion.  One grave has a marble pillar bearing a horse all saddled and
bridled.  The inscription under commemorates the death of a lady, and
commences thus,

    “She’s gone, whose nerve could guide the swiftest steed.”

On inquiry we found the lady was the wife of a celebrated knacker, well
skilled in the mysteries of horseflesh and the whip.  Holman, the blind
traveller, is buried in Highgate Cemetery, and very near him are the
mortal remains of that prince of newspaper editors and proprietors,
Stephen Rintoul.  On the other side the cemetery is buried Bogue, the
well-known publisher of Fleet Street.  In the Catacombs are interred
Liston, the greatest operator of his day, and Pierce Egan, a man as
famous in his way.  It was only a few months since Sir W. Charles Ross,
the celebrated miniature painter, was buried here.  Frank Stone sleeps in
the same cemetery, as also does that well-remembered actress, Mrs.
Warner.  Haydn, well-known for his Dictionary of Dates, and Gilbert à
Beckett, still remembered for his comic powers, are amongst the literary
men that here await the resurrection morn.  A fairer place in which to
sleep it would be difficult to choose, in spite of the monstrous trophies
of affectation, or ostentation, or affection all round,—in spite of the
reminiscences of Cornhill and Cheapside, suggested by every other grave.
As a ride, you had better pass by monuments unlooked at, they do but
enumerate the virtues of the illustrious obscure, and the wealth of their
survivors.

Of the past we now recall another relic, Lord Byron, in “Childe Harold,”
writes,

    “Some o’er thy Thamis row the ribbon’d fair,
    Others along the safer turnpike fly;
    Some Richmond-hill ascend, some scud to Ware,
    And many to the steep of Highgate hie.
    Ask ye, Bœotian shades! the reason why?
    ’Tis to the worship of the solemn Horn,
    Grasped in the holy hand of Mystery,
    In whose dread name both men and maids are sworn,
    And consecrate the oath with draught, and dance till mom.”

In the note from whence the above extract is taken, Lord Byron says he
alludes to a ridiculous custom which formerly prevailed in Highgate of
administering a burlesque oath to all travellers of the middling rank who
stopped there.  The party was sworn on a pair of horns fastened, never to
kiss the maid when he could the mistress; never to eat brown bread when
he could get white; never to drink small beer when he could get strong;
with many other injunctions of the kind, to all which was added the
saving clause, “unless you like it best.”  Lambert tells us, “the oath
formerly was tendered to every person stopping at any of the
public-houses of the village, which are very numerous, and mostly
distinguished by a large pair of horns placed over the signs.”  I need
not add, no horns are seen now.  When a person consented to be sworn, he
laid his hand on a pair of horns fixed to a long staff, and the oath was
administered.  This ridiculous ceremony being over, the juror was to kiss
the horns and pay a shilling for the oath, to be spent among the company
to which he or she belonged.  To complete the incongruous character of
the ceremony, the father, for such was the style of the person
administering the oath, officiated in a wig and gown, with the addition
of a mask.  The origin of this custom is completely lost, but it was so
common at one time, that one man is said to have sworn one hundred and
fifty in a day.  It appears to have been the fashion to make up parties
to Highgate for the purpose of taking the oath, and as a prerequisite for
admission to certain convivial societies now no more, the freedom of
Highgate was indispensable.  The father facetiously said if the son, as
the individual sworn was termed, was too poor to pay for wine himself, he
was recommended to call for it at the first inn, and to place it to his
father’s score, “and now, my good son,” the formula continued, “I wish
you a safe journey through Highgate and this life.”  If the father’s good
wishes were realized, one is almost inclined to regret that the ceremony
exists no longer.  Another ancient institution is the grammar school,
founded in 1562 by Sir Roger Cholmeley, Lord Chief Baron of the
Exchequer, and after that Chief Justice of the King’s Bench.

But we must leave Highgate, now the retreat of the wealthy citizen, and
the great North Road, along which coaches galloped almost every minute,
and along which lords and ladies posted, ere that frightful leveller, the
railroad had been formed.  By the Favourite omnibuses it is but a
sixpenny ride to Highgate from the Bank, but in the good old times, the
fare by the stage was half-a-crown.  It would do aldermen good to go up
its hill, and the city clerk or shopman cannot frequent it too much.
Highgate has much the air of a provincial town.  It has its Literary
Institution, and its police office, and water-works, and gas, its
seminaries for ingenious youth of either sex, and its shops filled with
miscellaneous wares.  The great city is creeping up the hill, and seeking
to encircle it with its chains of brick, but it resists lustily, and with
its quaint old houses, and fine old trees, will not assume a cockney
appearance.  I honour it for its obstinacy, and trust that it will be
long before it shall have the wicked, busy, towny appearance of the
Modern Babylon.



CHAPTER V.
TOM TIDDLER’S GROUND.


Barry Cornwall tells us that when he was a little boy he was told that
the streets of London were all paved with gold; and it must be admitted
that, to the youthful mind in general, the metropolis is a sort of Tom
Tiddler’s ground, where gold and silver are to be picked up in handfuls
any day.  There is a good deal of exaggeration in this, undoubtedly.  To
many, London is dark and dismal as one of its own fogs, cold and stony as
one of its own streets.  The Earl of Shaftesbury, a few years back,
calculated there were 30,000 ragged, houseless, homeless children in our
streets.  The number of persons who died last year in the streets of
London, from want of the necessaries of life, would shock a Christian.
Last year the total number of casual destitute paupers admitted into the
workhouses of the metropolitan districts amounted to 53,221 males, 62,622
females, and 25,710 children.  We cannot wonder at this when we remember
that it is said 60,000 persons rise every morning utterly ignorant as to
the wherewithal to feed and maintain themselves for the day.  Wonderful
are the shifts, and efforts, and ingenuities of this class.  One
summer-day, a lady-friend of the writer was driving in one of the
pleasant green lanes of Hornsey, when she saw a poor woman gathering the
broad leaves of the horse-chestnut.  She asked her why she did so.  The
reply was that she got a living by selling them to the fruiterers in
Covent Garden, who lined the baskets with them in which they placed their
choicest specimens.  One day it came out in evidence at a police-court,
that a mother and her children earned a scanty subsistence by rising
early in the morning, or rather late at night, and tearing down and
selling as waste-paper, the broad sheets and placards with which the dead
walls and boardings of our metropolis abound.  The poor sick needlewomen,
stitching for two-and-six-pence a-week, indicate in some quarters how
hard is the London struggle for life.  But one of the worst sights, I
think, is that of women (a dozen may be seen at a time), all black and
grimy, sifting the cinders and rubbish collected by the dustmen from
various parts, and shot into one enormous heap.

The last dodge exposed for making money is amusing.  A writer in the
_Times_ wanted to know how it was we see advertisements in London papers
for a million of postage-stamps.  A writer in reply says all the stories
about severe papas, who will not let their daughters marry till they have
papered a room with them, are false.  He says if the reader will go to
some of the purlieus of the Borough (leaving his watch and purse at home)
he will very possibly be enlightened.  He will be accosted by a
hook-nosed man, who will pull out a greasy pocket-book, and produce some
apparently new postage-stamps, not all joined together, but each one
separate, and will offer them for sale at about 2d. a dozen.  If the
enterprising stranger looks very closely, indeed, into these stamps, he
may perhaps detect a slight join in the middle.  They are made by taking
the halves which are unobliterated of two old stamps and joining them,
regumming the backs and cleaning the faces.  This practice is, it is
said, carried on to a great extent, in the low neighbourhoods of
Ratcliff-highway, and the Borough.

During the year 1858 it appears 10,004 persons died in the public
institutions of London: 5,535 in the workhouses, 57 in the prisons, and
4,412 in hospitals.  Of the latter number 317 belong to the Greenwich and
the Chelsea hospitals, 211 to the military and naval hospitals.  About
one in six of the inhabitants of the metropolis dies in the public
institutions, nearly one in eleven dies in the workhouses.  Only think of
the population of London.  In 1857 that was estimated by the
Registrar-General at 2,800,000; since then the population has gone on
steadily increasing, and it may be fairly estimated that the London of
to-day is more than equal to three Londons of 1801.  Now, amidst this
teeming population, what thousands of vicious, and rogues, and fools
there must be; what thousands suddenly reduced from affluence to poverty;
what thousands plunged into distress by sickness or the loss of friends,
and parents, and other benefactors; to such what a place of pain, and
daily mortification, and trial London must be!

But, on the other hand, from the time of Whittington and his cat, London
has abounded with instances showing how, by industry and intelligence,
and—let us trust—honesty, the poorest may rise to the possession of great
wealth and honour.  Indeed all the great city houses abound with
examples.  Poor lads have come up to town, friendless and moneyless, have
been sober and steady, and firm against London allurements and vices,
have improved the abilities and opportunities God has given them, and are
now men of note and mark.  The late Lord Mayor was but an office-lad in
the firm of which he is now the head.  Mr. Herbert Ingram, M.P. for
Boston, and proprietor of the _Illustrated News_, blackened the shoes of
one of his constituents.  Mr. Anderson, of the Oriental Steam Navigation
Company, and formerly M.P. for the Orkneys, rose in a similar manner.
Sir Peter Laurie was originally in a humble position in life, so was Mr.
Dillon, of the house of Dillon and Co.  Our great Lord Chancellor, when
employment was scarce and money ditto, held a post as reporter and
theatrical critic on the _Morning Chronicle_ newspaper.  Mr. Chaplin, the
late Salisbury M.P., was an extraordinary instance of a man rising from
the humblest rank.  Before railways were in operation Mr. Chaplin had
succeeded in making himself one of the largest coach proprietors in the
kingdom.  His establishment, from small beginnings, grew till, just
before the opening of the London and North Western line, he was
proprietor of sixty-four stage-coaches, worked by fifteen hundred horses,
and giving yearly returns of more than half a million sterling.  Mr.
Cobden began life in a very subordinate position in a London warehouse.
Sir William Cubitt when a lad worked at his father’s flour-mill.  Michael
Faraday, England’s most eminent chemist, was the son of a poor
blacksmith.  Sir Samuel Morton Peto worked for seven years as a
carpenter, bricklayer, and mason, under his uncle, Mr. Henry Peto.  The
well-known Mr. Lindsay, M.P. for Sunderland, was a cabin boy.  The editor
of one morning paper rose quite from the ranks, and the editor of another
well known journal used to be an errand-boy in the office before, by
gigantic industry and perseverance, he attained his present high
position.  Mr. J. Fox, the eloquent M.P. for Oldham, and the “Publicola”
of the _Weekly Dispatch_, worked in a Norwich factory.  The great
warehouses in Cheapside and Cannon-street, and elsewhere, are owned by
men who mostly began life without a rap.  Go to the beautiful villas at
Norwood, at Highgate, at Richmond, and ask who lives there, and you will
find that they are inhabited by men whose wealth is enormous, and whose
career has been a marvellous success.  Fortunes in London are made by
trifles.  I know a man who keeps a knacker’s yard, who lives out of town
in a villa of exquisite beauty, and who drives horses which a prince
might envy.  Out of the profits of his vegetable pills Morrison bought
himself a nice estate.  Mrs. Holloway drives one of the handsomest
carriages you shall meet in the Strand.  Sawyer and Strange, who the
other day were respectable young men unknown to fame, paid the Crystal
Palace Company upwards of £12,000, as per contract, for the liberty to
supply refreshments for a few months.  In the city there, at this time,
may be seen the proprietor of a dining-room, who drives a handsome
mail-phaeton and pair daily to town in the morning to do business, and
back at night.  Thackeray has a tale of a gentleman who married a young
lady, drove his cab, and lived altogether in great style.  The gentleman
was very silent as to his occupation; he would not even communicate the
secret to his wife.  All that she knew was what was patent to all his
neighbours—that he went in his Brougham in the morning, and returned at
night.  Even the mother-in-law, prying as she was, was unable to solve
the mystery.  At length, one day the unfortunate wife, going with her
dear mamma into the city, in the person of a street sweeper clothed in
rags, and covered with dirt, she recognised her lord and master, who
decamped and was never heard of more.  The story is comic, but not
improbable, for London is so full of wealth, you have only to take your
place, and it seems as if some of the golden shower must fall into your
mouth.  Mr. Thwaites, when examined before the Parliamentary Committee on
the Embankment of the Thames, said, “The metropolis contributes very
largely to the taxation of the country.  The value of the property
assessed under Schedule A, is £22,385,350, whilst the sum for the rest of
the kingdom is £127,994,288; under Schedule D the metropolis shows
£37,871,644, against £86,077,676.  The gross estimated rental of the
property of the metropolis assessed to the poor rates is £16,157,320,
against £86,077,676 from the rest of the kingdom.”  The speculations on
the Stock Exchange embrace a national debt of 800 millions, railway
shares to the extent of 300 millions, besides foreign stock, foreign
railway shares, and miscellaneous investments of all kinds.  Land has
been sold in the neighbourhood of the Exchange and the Bank at the rate
of a million pounds an acre.  The rateable value of the property assessed
to the poor rates in the districts of the metropolis in 1857 amounted to
£11,167,678.  A Parliamentary Return shows that the total ordinary
receipts of the Corporation of the city for the year 1857 amounted to
£905,298, the largest item being the coal duty, £64,238.  The London
omnibuses pay government a duty of no less than £70,200 a year.  The
Thames even, dirty and stinking as it is, is full of gold.  One fact will
place its commercial value in the clearest light.  In 1856 the Customs’
duties entered as collected from all parts of the United Kingdom were
£19,813,622, and of this large sum considerably more than half was
collected in the port of London,—the Customs’ duties paid in the port of
London alone being £12,287,591, a much larger sum than paid by all the
remaining ports of the United Kingdom put together.  No wonder that the
Londoners are proud of the Thames.  Why, even the very mudlarks—the boys
who prowl in its mud on behalf of treasure-trove—earn, it is said, as
much as £2,000 to £3,000 by that miserable employment in the course of a
year.

But we stop.  The magnitude of Loudon wealth and even crime can never be
fully estimated.  It is a boundless ocean, in which the brave, sturdy,
steady swimmer—while the weak are borne away rapidly to destruction—may
pick up precious pearls.



CHAPTER VI.
WESTMINSTER ABBEY.


On Monday, Jan. 9, 1860, we formed part of a crowd who had assembled in
the Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey, to view the burial of the only man
of our generation who, by means of his literary and oratorical efforts,
has won for his brow a coronet.  Of Babington Macaulay, as essayist,
poet, orator, historian, statesman, we need not speak.  What he was, and
what he did, are patent to all the world.  Born in 1800, the son of
Zachary Macaulay, one of the brilliant band of anti-slavery agitators of
which Mr. Wilberforce was the head, young Babington commenced life under
favourable circumstances.  At Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was
educated, the world first heard of his wondrous talent.  In 1830 he was
returned by Lord Lansdowne for his borough of Calne; the Reform agitation
was then at its height, and how bitterly, and fiercely, and eloquently
Macaulay spoke we remember at this day.  Then, in 1834, commenced his
Indian exile, at the end of which he returned to Parliament with a
competency.  His Essays in the Edinburgh Review and his History were the
chief business of his life.  He might have shone as a poet had he not
betaken himself to prose; but in this department he remained unrivalled,
and the result was riches and fame.  On one occasion, it is said, his
publisher gave him a cheque for £20,000, and he was made by the Whigs a
peer.  His burial at Westminster Abbey, at the foot of Addison, was a
fitting climax to his career of wondrous achievement and gorgeous
success.  Men most distinguished in literature—in science—in law—in
statesmanship—in divinity—in rank—were present.  The funeral was not as
touching as might have been expected.  It may be that the choral service
itself interferes with the inner feeling of sadness the death of such a
man arouses in every mind; it may be that the human voice is inadequate
to express the power, and pathos, and majesty of the form of words used
on such occasions; and it is certain that the many ladies present were
dressed in the most unbefitting costumes, and that ribbons, and bonnets,
and dresses of all the colours of the rainbow were quite out of keeping
with the place and the occasion.  The saddest sight, the one most
suggestive of deep feeling, was that of one or two ladies, high up in a
recess above the grave.  They were real mourners.  Indeed, it was said
one of them was the sister of the deceased peer.  Lord John Russell also
exhibited an emotion for which the general public will scarce give him
credit.  At the grave he was so much overcome, that it seemed as if he
would have fallen had not the Duke of Argyle held him up.  Well might his
Lordship be moved to tears.  Could he keep from thinking, while standing
there, how soon his own turn would come, and how well and worthily he,
who slept the sleep of death in the plain coffin at his feet, had fought
the battle of the Whigs in their palmy days?  We looked back, as we stood
there, to other days.  We saw a theatre in Gower Street filled with
intelligent youths.  A winter session had been closed: all its work and
competition were over; to the successful candidates prizes were to be
awarded.  The fathers and mothers, the friends and sisters of such had
come together from far and near.  Seated in a chair was a stout, mild,
genial man, with face somewhat pale, and hair scant and inclined to grey.
He rose, and was received with rapturous applause; he spoke in plain
language—with little action, with a voice rather inclined to be harsh—of
the bright future which rises before the rapt eye of youth.  He spoke—and
as he did so, as he mounted from one climax to another, every young heart
filled and warmed with the speaker’s theme.  That was Macaulay, just come
from India, with an honourable competence, to consummate the fame as a
man he had acquired in younger years.  Again, we thought of that last
speech in the House of Commons, when, at an early hour on a beautiful
summer evening, the Parks, and Clubs, and Rotten Row had been deserted,
for it had gone forth to the world that Macaulay was about to speak.
Poor Joseph Hume had moved the adjournment of the debate, and, as a
matter of right, was in possession of the House; but the calls for
Macaulay on all sides were so numerous, that even that most good-natured
of men, as Hume was, grew a little angry and remonstrated; but it was in
vain that he sought the attention of the House: all were anxious for the
next speaker, and no sooner had Hume sat down than Macaulay delivered, in
his hurried feverish way, one of those speeches which not merely delight,
but which influence men’s votes and opinions, and may be read with
delight when the occasion which gave rise to them has long since passed
away.  We have heard much in favour of competition in the civil service,
at home and in India, since then, but never was the argument more clearly
put—more copiously illustrated, more clothed in grace and beauty; and
then came a few short years of infirmity of body, of labour with the pen,
and sudden death, and the burial at Westminster Abbey.  Out of the
thousands standing by the grave, few could ever expect to see the career
of such another genius.  He is gone, and we may not hope to see his work
finished.  In vain we call up him—

       “Who left untold,
    The story of Cambuscan bold.”

Since then another public funeral has taken place in Westminster Abbey;
only the other day we saw deposited there the ashes of Sir Charles Barry,
and here, as year by year passes over our heads, richer, and dearer, and
wider are the associations which cluster around that venerable pile.  I
don’t envy the man who can point a sneer at Westminster Abbey; how placid
and beautiful is the outside, how eloquently it speaks to the ambitious
lawyer, the busy merchant, the statesman bent on fame, the beauty armed
for conquest; what a testimony it bears to the religious spirit of the
age which witnessed its erection, and of the brain or brains which
conceived its magnificent design.

The Abbey is open to public inspection between the hours of eleven and
three daily, and also in the summer months between four and six in the
afternoon.  The public are not admitted to view the monuments on Good
Friday, Christmas Day, or fast days, or during the hours of Divine
Service.  The nave, transept, and cloisters are entirely free.  The
charge for admission to the rest of the Abbey, through which you are
accompanied by a guide, is sixpence each person.  The entrance is at the
south transept, better known as Poet’s Corner.  It will do you good to
walk in there any Sunday during Divine Service.  The appearance of the
place is singularly striking.  The white-robed choristers; the benches
filled with well-dressed people the dark religious columns; the lofty and
fretted roof; the marble monuments and busts looking down on you from
every wall and corner; the gleams of mellow sunlight streaming in from
richly painted windows—all tend to produce an effect such as you can find
nowhere else—an effect of which you must be sensible if you care not for
the rich notes of the organ, or sleep while the parson preaches.

The Abbey, originally a Benedictine monastery—the Minster west of St.
Paul’s London—was founded originally in what was called Thorney Island,
by Sebert, King of the East Saxons, 616.  The patron Saint, Peter
himself, is said to have consecrated it by night, and in a most
miraculous manner.  Till the time of Edward the Confessor the Abbey does
not seem to have made much way; but the meek-minded Prince was led to
give the Abbey a patronage which led to the building becoming what it is.
It seems the Prince had been ill, and vowed to take a journey to the Holy
Land if he should recover.  But, as often is the case with vows made in
sickness, the Prince, when well, found it exceedingly inconvenient to
fulfil his vow.  The only course left for him was to appeal to the Pope.
The Holy Father, of course, was appealed to, and freed the pious king
from his vow on one condition—that he should spend the money that the
journey would have cost him in some religious building.  The Prince, too
happy to be freed from the consequences of this foolish vow, gladly
promised to do so; and, whilst he was considering as to what building he
should favour with his royal patronage, one of the monks of
Westminster—rather an artful man, we imagine—was reported to have had a
wonderful dream, in which no less a personage than St. Peter himself
appeared to him, and charged him to take a message to the King, to the
effect that his celestial saintship hoped he would not overlook the
claims of Westminster.  Of course, to so pious a prince as Edward, the
saintly wish was law; and on Westminster were lavished the most princely
sums.  Succeeding kings followed in the same steps.  Henry III. and his
son, Edward I., rebuilt it nearly as we see it now.  It is difficult to
say what the building must have cost its royal patrons.  In our own time,
its repairs have amounted to an enormous sum.

As the last resting place of the great, Westminster Abbey must always be
dear to Englishmen.  It was a peerage or Westminster Abbey that urged
Nelson on.  Old Godfrey Kneller did not rate the honour of lying in
Westminster Abbey quite so highly.  “By God,” exclaimed the old painter,
“I will not be buried in Westminster!  They do bury fools there.”  It is
difficult to say on what principle the burials there take place.  Byron’s
monument was refused, though Thorwaldsen was the sculptor; and yet Prior
has a staring one to himself—that Prior whose Chloe was an alehouse drab,
and who was as far inferior to Byron in genius as a farthing rushlight to
the morning star.

Another evil, to which public attention should be drawn, is the expense
attending a funeral there.  When Tom Campbell (would that he were alive
to write war lyrics now!) was buried, the fees to the Dean and Chapter
amounted to somewhere between five and six hundred pounds.  Surely it
ought not to be so.  The Dean and Chapter are well paid enough as it is.

If, reader, pausing on the hallowed ground, you feel inclined to think of
the past, remember that beneath you sleep many English
statesmen,—Clarendon, the great Lord Chatham, Pitt, Fox, and Canning;
that there

    “The mighty chiefs sleep side by side.
    Drop upon Fox’s grave the tear,
    ’Twill trickle to his rival’s bier.”

Remember that—

             “Bacon there
    Gives more than female beauty to a stone,
    And Chatham, eloquence to marble life;”

that of poets; Chaucer, Spenser, Ben Jonson, Dryden, Congreve, Addison,
Sheridan, and Campbell, and others, there await the sound of the last
trumpet; that old Sam Johnson there finds rest; that there the brain of a
Newton has crumbled into dust; and, as if to shew that all distinctions
are levelled by death, Mrs. Oldfield, Mrs. Bracegirdle, and other
favourites of the stage, are buried there.  As a burial place Westminster
Abbey resembles the world.  We jostle one another precisely so in real
life.  “The age is grown so picked, that the toe of the peasant comes so
near the heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe.”



CHAPTER VII.
LONDON CHARITIES.


When Guizot visited London the principal thing that struck him was the
nature and the extent of London Charities.  Undoubtedly the English are a
more charitable people than the French.  When the ruinously low prices of
the Funds forbade a loan, the loyalty-loan brought forth the name of a
Lancashire cotton-spinner, the father of the lamented statesman, Sir
Robert Peel, who subscribed £60,000; and when George the Third sent the
Minister Pitt to compliment him on this truly loyal and patriotic
subscription, he simply replied that another £60,000 would be forthcoming
if it was wanted for the defence of the country.  Did Napoleon, or any
French monarch, ever possess such a patriotic subject?  The spirit is
still the same.  What sums the nation subscribed for the relief of the
wives and widows and orphans of the Crimean heroes.  What an amount was
raised at once for the victims of the Indian mutiny.  An Englishman likes
to make money, and makes many a sacrifice to do it; but then how lavishly
and with what a princely hand he gives it.  And in this respect the
Londoner is a thorough Englishman—his charity covers a multitude of sins.
I am aware some of this charity is of a doubtful character.  A draper,
for instance, may subscribe to the funds—of such an institution as that
for early closing—a very handsome sum, merely as a good business
advertisement; other tradesmen may and undoubtedly do the same.  There is
also a spirit of rivalry in these matters—if Smith saw Jones’ name down
for £50, he, thinking he was as good as Smith any day, and perhaps a good
deal better, puts his name down for £100.  Somehow or other we can scarce
do good things without introducing a little of the alloy of poor human
nature; but London charities undoubtedly cover a multitude of sins.

Associations for the voluntary relief of distress, the reclamation of the
criminal, and diffusion of Christian truth, are a noble characteristic of
the English people.  There is no city in the world possessing an equal
number of charitable institutions to those of the British capital.
Taking the whole of London, and not exempting, from their distance, such
as may be correctly classed as metropolitan institutions, as Greenwich
Hospital, &c., we find there are no less than 526 charitable
institutions, exclusive of mere local endowments and trusts, parochial
and local schools, &c.

According to Mr. Low, the charities comprise—

      12  General medical hospitals.
      50  Medical charities for special purposes.
      35  General dispensaries.
      12  Societies and institutions for the preservation of life and
          public morals.
      18  Societies for reclaiming the fallen, and staying the
          progress of crime.
      14  Societies for the relief of general destitution and
          distress.
      35  Societies in connection with the Committee of the
          Reformatory and Refuge Unions.
      12  Societies for relief of specific description.
      14  Societies for aiding the resources of the industrious
          (exclusive of loan funds and savings’ banks).
      11  Societies for the deaf and dumb, and the blind.
     103  Colleges, hospitals, and institutions of almhouses for the
          aged.
      16  Charitable pension societies.
      74  Charitable and provident societies, chiefly for specified
          classes.
      31  Asylums for orphan and other necessitous children.
      10  Educational foundations.
       4  Charitable modern ditto.
      40  School societies, religious books, Church aiding and
          Christian visiting societies.
      35  Bible and missionary societies.
     526  (This includes parent societies only, and is quite
          exclusive of the numerous “auxiliaries,” &c.)

These charities annually disburse in aid of their respective objects the
extraordinary amount of £1,764,733, of which upwards of £1,000,000 is
raised annually by voluntary contributions; the remainder from funded
property, sale of publications, &c.

The facility with which money can be raised in London for charitable
purposes is very astonishing.  A short time back it was announced that
the London Hospital had lost about £1,500 a year by the falling in of
annuities.  It was, therefore, necessary, if the Hospital was to continue
its charities to the same extent as heretofore, that additional funds
should be raised.  In an incredibly short space of time £24,000 were
collected.  The _Times_ makes an appeal about Christmas time for the
refuges of the destitute in the metropolis, and generally it raises
somewhere about £10,000—a nice addition to the regular income of the
societies.  The Bishop of London, since he has been connected with his
diocese, has consecrated 29 new churches, accommodating 90,000 persons,
erected by voluntary subscriptions.  We may depend upon it the various
sects of dissenters are equally active in their way.  During last year
the Field Lane Refuge supplied 30,302 lodgings to 6,785 men and boys, who
received 101,193 either six or eight ounce loaves of bread.  At the same
time 840 women were admitted during the year, to whom were supplied
10,028 lodgings, averaging 11 nights shelter to each person, by whom
14,755 loaves were consumed.  On the whole it appears that 10,000 persons
annually participate in the advantages of this institution, and 1,222 of
the most forlorn and wretched creatures in London were taken from the
streets and placed in a position where they might earn their own bread,
and all this at the cost of 3s. 6d. each per annum.  In 1851 the original
Shoeblack Society sent five boys into the street to get an honest living
by cleaning boots rather than by picking and stealing, and now their
number is about 350.  Mr. Mayhew calculates the London charities at three
millions and a half per annum.  In estimating London charities we must
not be unmindful of those required by law.  According to a return
published a couple of years since, I find, in the districts of the
metropolis, the average amount expended for the relief of the poor was
1s. 6¾d. in the pound.  The total number of casual destitute paupers
admitted into the workhouses of the metropolitan districts during the
year amounted to 53,221 males, 62,622 females, and 25,716 children.  The
quantity of food supplied to these paupers varies much in the several
districts, as also the nature of the work required.  In some cases no
work at all is exacted from the casual poor, but where it is, the demand
appears to be chiefly for picking oakum and breaking stones.  In some
cases the dietary includes bread and cheese, with gruel, and sometimes
even the luxury of butter is added.  In other cases bread and water (very
meagre fare, and insufficient to support life for any length of time),
are all that is allowed.  Women suckling infants are supplied tea, broth,
or gruel in lieu of water; we can scarce wonder the poor prefer going to
jail.  I have seen in jails, and convict establishments, dinners better
served than are earned even by many of the industrious poor.  I find
during the last year the 339 agents of the London City Mission had paid
1,528,162 visits during the year; 117,443 of these visits being to the
sick and dying.  By their means a large number of Bibles and Tracts had
been distributed, 11,200 children had been sent to school, and 580 fallen
females restored to virtue.  At the annual meeting of the Ragged School
Union it was stated that in 170 Ragged School institutions, there were
199 Sunday Schools, with 24,860 scholars; 146 day schools with 15,380
scholars, and 215 evening schools, with 9,050 scholars: of teachers 400
were paid, and 9,690 were voluntary.  There were fifteen refuges in which
600 inmates were fed, lodged, clothed, and educated.  The midnight
meeting movement, of which we have heard so much, and respecting which
opinions so much differ, according to its report, has been very
successful; through the instrumentality of the committee seven meetings
had been called; 1700 women had been addressed; 7500 scriptural cards and
books had been circulated; and 107 had been reclaimed and placed in
homes, through the agency of which, they would, it was hoped, be restored
to society.  In addition to these five had been restored to their
friends, one to her husband, two placed in situations, and one had been
married.  In the general charities of England London has its share.  It
not merely takes the initiative but it subscribes by far the larger part.
When the Crimean war broke out a fund was raised for the wives and
families of the soldiers engaged in it, amounting to £121,139; £260,000
were subscribed for the relief of the victims of the Indian mutiny.  Well
it was in London that the most liberal donations were made.  Again, look
at the Religious Societies.  In last year the income of the Church
Missionary Society was £163,629. 1s. 4d.; of the Bible Society £162,020.
13s. 5d.  Of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, £141,000. 5s. 11d.  Of the
London Missionary Society, £93,000.  Thus gigantic and all-persuading are
the charities of London.  The almshouses erected by private individuals
or public subscriptions are too numerous to be described, except we refer
to the London Almshouses erected at Brixton to commemorate the passing of
the Reform Bill; nor would I forget the Charter House with its jovial and
grateful chorus:—

    “Then blessed be the memory
       Of good old Thomas Sutton,
    Who gave us lodging, learning,
       And he gave us beef and mutton.”

Nor Christ’s Hospital, with its annual income of £50,000; nor the
Foundling Hospital, with its 500 children; nor Alleyn’s magnificent gift
of Dulwich; nor the Bethlehem Hospital, with its income of nearly £30,000
a year; nor the Magdalene.  But we must say a few words about the
Hospitals; of the more than 500 Charitable Institutions of the
metropolis, one quarter consists of general medical hospitals, medical
charities for special purposes, dispensaries, &c.  In 1859, in
Bartholomew’s, I find there were patients admitted, cured, and
discharged, 5,865 in, 86,480 out; in St. Thomas’s 4,114 in, 44,744 out;
the Charing Cross Hospital has, I believe, on an average 1,000
inpatients, 17,000 out.  Guy’s, with its annual income of £30,000, has an
entire average of in and outpatients of 50,000.  But we stop, the list is
not exhausted, but we fear the patience of the reader is.



CHAPTER VIII.
PEDESTRIANISM.


I am a great advocate of Pedestrianism, and take it to be a very honest
way of getting through the world.  If you ride in a carriage you may be
upset; if you throw your leg across a horse’s back you may meet with the
fate of Sir Robert Peel; and as to getting into a railway carriage, the
fearful consequences of that require for their description a more
vigorous pen than mine.  I like to see a good walker; how delightful his
appetite, how firm his muscle, how healthy his cheek, how splendid his
condition.  Has he a care, he walks it off; is ruin staring him in the
face, only let him have a couple of hour’s walk, and he is in a condition
to meet the great enemy of mankind himself.  Has his friend betrayed
him—are his hopes of fame, of wealth, of power blighted?—is his love’s
young dream rudely broken?  Let him away from the circles of men out on
the green turf, with the blue sky of heaven above, and in a very little
while the agony is over, and “Richard’s himself again.”  Were it only for
the sake of the active exercise it inculcates and requires I would
say—Long live the Rifle Corps movement.  The other day a gallant little
band in my own immediate neighbourhood set out for an evening’s march.
They were in capital spirits; they were dressed in their Sunday best;
they had a band playing at their head; a miscellaneous crowd, chiefly
juvenile, with a few occasional females behind, brought up the rear.  A
deputy of the London Corporation and his brother formed part of the
devoted troop.  Gaily and amidst cheers they marched from the bosoms of
their families, leaving “their girls behind them.”  On they went, up-hill
and down-hill, many a mile, amidst Hornsey’s pleasant green lanes, till
at length the London deputy turned pale, and intimated—while his limbs
appeared to sink beneath him, and his whole body was bathed in sweat—that
he could stand it no longer.  The spirit was willing, but the flesh was
weak.  A halt was ordered—beer was sought for for the London deputy, and
with considerable difficulty they got the martial hero home.  Had that
gallant man been a good pedestrian, would he not have scorned the beer,
and laughed at the idea of rest?  Look at Charles Dickens—I am sure he
will forgive me the personality, as no harm is intended—why is he ever
genial, ever fresh—as superior to the crowd who imitate his mannerism,
but fail to catch his warm, sunny, human spirit, as the Koh-i-noor to its
glass counterfeit, but because no man in town walks more than he?  What a
man for walking was the great Liston, foremost operator of his age.  The
late Lord Suffield, who fought all the Lords, including the bench of
Bishops, in order to win emancipation for the slave, was one of the most
athletic men of his day.  On one occasion he ran a distance of ten miles
before the Norwich mail as a casual frolic, without any previous
training, and he assured Sir George Stephen that he never experienced any
inconvenience from it.  When we talk of a man being weak on his pins,
what does it imply but that he has been a rake, or a sot, or a fool who
has cultivated the pocket or the brain at the expense of that machine, so
fearfully and wonderfully made, we call man.  The machine is made to wear
well, it is man’s fault if it does not.  The pedestrian alone keeps his
in good repair; our long livers have mostly been great walkers.  Taylor,
the water-poet, says of old Parr—

    “Good wholesome labour was his exercise,
    Down with the lamb, and with the lark would rise,
    In mire and toiling sweat he spent the day,
    And to his team he whistled time away.”

People are getting more fond of physical exercise than they were.  We may
almost ask—Are we returned back to the days of the Iliad and the Odyssey?
The gentlemen of the Stock Exchange greet Tom Sayers as if he were an
emperor, and, it is said, peers and clergymen think it right to assist at
a “mill.”  We have heard so much about muscular Christianity—so much
stress has been laid upon the adjective—that we seem in danger of
forgetting the Christianity altogether.  Undoubtedly our fathers are to
blame in some respect for this.  Good Christians, thinking more of the
next world than of this, merchants, and tradesmen, and even poor clerks,
hastening to be rich, scholars aiming at fame, and mothers of a frugal
turn, have set themselves against out-door life and out-door fun, and
have done with sports and pastimes—as Rowland Hill said the pious had
done with the tunes—_i.e._ let the devil have all the good ones.  In vain
you war with nature, she will have her revenge, the heart is true to its
old instincts.  Man is what he was when the Greek pitched his tent by the
side of the much-sounding sea, and before the walls of Troy; when
Alexander sighed for fresh worlds to conquer; when the young Hannibal
vowed deathless hate to Rome; when the rude ballad of “Chevy Chase,” sung
in baronial hall, stirred men as if it were the sound of a trumpet; when
Nelson swept the seas, and when Wellington shattered the mighty hosts of
France.  Thus is it old physical sports and pastimes never die, and
perhaps nowhere are they more encouraged and practised than by the
population of our cities and towns.

The other day some considerable interest was excited in the peculiar
circles given to the study of _Bell’s Life_, by the fact that Jem Pudney
was to run Jem Rowan for £50 a-side, at the White Lion, Hackney Wick.
The winner was to have the Champion’s Cup.  Far and near had sounded and
resounded the name of Pudney the swift-footed—how he had distanced all
his competitors—how he had done eleven miles under the hour—were facts
patent to all sporting England; but against him was this melancholy
reality, that he was getting old—he was verging on thirty-two.  However,
when, after a weary pilgrimage through mud, and sleet, and rain, we found
ourselves arrived at the classic spot.  The betting was very much in
Pudney’s favour.  The race was to have commenced at five, but it did not
begin before six.  We had plenty of time to look around.  Outside we had
passed a motley multitude.  There were cabs, and Hansoms, and Whitechapel
dog-carts in abundance.  Monday is an off-day as regards many of the
operatives and mechanics of London, and they were thronging round the
door, or clambering up the pales, or peeping through the boards, or
climbing some neighbouring height, to command a view of the race on
strictly economical principles.  Several owners of horses and carts, with
their wives and families, were indulging in a similar amusement; an
admission fee of one shining enabled us to penetrate the enclosure.  We
pay our money and enter.  The scene is not an inviting one.  Perhaps
there are about a thousand of us present, and most of us are of a class
of society we may denominate rough and ready.  Even the people who have
good clothes do not look like gentlemen.  They have very short hair, very
flat and dark faces; have a tremendous development of the lower jaw, and,
while they are unnaturally broad about the chest, seem unnaturally thin
and weak as regards their lower extremities.  Most of the younger ones
are in good sporting condition, and would be very little distressed by a
little set-to, whether of a playful or a business nature, and could bear
an amount of punishment which would be fatal to the writer of this
article, and, I dare say, to the reader as well.  Time passes slowly.
Jones hails Brown, and offers him seven to four.  (After the race had
terminated, I saw Jones cash up a £100 fresh bank-note, which I thought
might have been more usefully invested.)  Robinson bets Smith what he
likes that he does not name the winner; and one gent, with an unpleasing
expression of countenance, offers to do a little business with me, which
I decline, for reasons that I am not particularly desirous to communicate
to my new acquaintance.  I am glad to see a policeman or two present, for
one likes to know the protection of the law may be invoked in an
extremity, and I keep near its manifest and outward sign.  The White Lion
is doing a fine business; there is an active demand for beer and tobacco;
and a gentleman who deals in fried fish soon clears off his little stock
of delicacies, as likewise does a peripatetic vendor of sandwiches of a
mysterious origin.  The heroes of the night slowly walk up and down the
course, wearing long great coats, beneath which we may see their naked
legs, and feet encased in light laced shoes.  Their backers are with
them, and a crowd watches with curious eyes.  At length the course is
cleared, a bell is rung, and they are off.  Six times round the course is
a mile—six times ten are sixty.  Sixty times must they pass and repass
that excited mob.  The favourite takes the lead at a steady running; he
maintains it some time; he is longer than his opponent, but the latter is
younger, and looks more muscular in his thighs.  Both men, with the
exception of a cloth round the loins, are naked as when born; and as they
run they scatter the mud, which mud thus scattered descends upon them in
a by no means refreshing shower.  As round after round is run the
excitement deepens; the favourite is greeted with cheers; but when at the
end of the third mile he is passed by his competitor excites an
enthusiasm which is intense.  Now the bettors tremble; the favourite
attempts to get his old position; he gains on his foe—they are now neck
and neck—cheer, boys, cheer—“Go it, Jem!” is the cry on many sides.  Jem
the winner does go it; but, alas! Jem the loser cannot.  It is in vain he
seeks the lead.  Fortune has declared against him, and in a little while
he gives up—no longer the swiftest and fleetest of England’s sons—no
longer the holder of the Champion’s Cup.  One involuntarily feels for
fallen greatness, and as Pudney was led away utterly beaten, I could not
find it in my heart to rejoice.  I left a crowd still on the grounds.  I
left Rowan still running, as he was bound to do, till he had completed
his ten miles: and I left the White Lion, in-doors and out, doing a very
considerable business.  It seemed to me the White Lion was not such a
fool as he looked, and that he felt, let who will win or lose, he with
his beer and brandy would not come off second best.  This, undoubtedly,
was the worst part of the business.  The race over, for further
excitement, the multitude would rush to the White Lion—the losers to
drown their sorrow, the winners to spend their gains; the many, who were
neither winners nor losers, merely because others did so; and thus, as
the hours pass, would come intoxication, anger, follies, and, perhaps,
bitterness of heart for life.

May I here enumerate the heroes of pedestrianism?  Let me name Robert
Skipper, who walked a thousand miles in a thousand successive
half-hours—let me not forget Captain Barclay, who walked a thousand miles
in a thousand successive hours—let me record the fame of Captain John T.
G. Campbell, of the 91st, who, accoutred in the heavy marching order of a
private soldier, on the Mallow and Fermoy road, did ten miles in 107¼
minutes.  All honour be to such! long may their memories be green!  Let
me beg the considerate reader not to forget West, who ran forty miles in
five hours and a half.  Ten miles an hour is done by all the best
runners.  It is said West accomplished 100 miles in 18 hours.  I read in
a certain work devoted to manly exercises, “at the rate of four miles an
hour a man may walk any length of time.”  The writer begs to inform the
reader that he doubts this very much.



CHAPTER IX.
OVER LONDON BRIDGE.


Mr. Commissioner Harvey is particularly fond of figures.  The other day
he caused an account to be taken of the number of persons entering the
city within a given period.  The result shows that the amazing number of
706,621 individuals passed into the city by various entrances during the
24 hours tested; and as the day selected, we are told, was free from any
extraordinary attraction to the city, there can be no doubt that the
return furnishes a fair estimate of the average daily influx.  Of this
large number it appears only one-fourteenth, or 49,242, entered the city
in the night—that is, between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.  Now this
enormous population in very large numbers patronises London Bridge for
many reasons—the principle argument with them in its favour undoubtedly
is, that it is the shortest way from their homes to their places of
business, or _vice versâ_.  Last year, for instance, the North London
Railway carried nearly six millions of passengers; the London and South
Western more than four millions; the Blackwall nearly five millions;
while 13,500,000 passengers passed through the London Bridge Station.
Mr. Commissioner Harvey, however, makes the importance of London Bridge
still clearer.  On the 17th of March last year he had a man engaged in
taking notes of the traffic, and he furnished Mr. Commissioner Harvey
with the following figures:—In the course of the twenty-four hours it
appears 4,483 cabs, 4,286 omnibuses, 9,245 wagons and carts, 2,430 other
vehicles, and 54 horses led or ridden, making a total of 20,498, passed
over the bridge.  The passengers in the same period were, in vehicles
60,836, on foot 107,074, total, 167,910.  As we may suppose this traffic
is an increasing one.  The traffic across the old bridge in one July day,
1811, was as follows:—89,640 persons on foot, 769 wagons, 2,924 carts and
drays, 1,240 coaches, 485 gigs and taxed carts, and 764 horses.  We must
recollect that in 1811 the bridges across the Thames were fewer.  There
was then no Waterloo Bridge, no Hungerford Suspension Bridge, no bridge
at Southwark, no penny steamboats running every quarter of an hour from
Paul’s Wharf to the Surrey side, and London Bridge was far more important
than now.  The figures we have given also throw some light on the manners
and customs of the age.  Where are the gigs now, then the attribute of
respectability?  What has become of the 1,240 coaches, and what a falling
off of equestrianism—the 764 horses of 1811 have dwindled down (in 1859)
to the paltry number of 54.  Are there no night equestrians in London
now.  It is early morn and we stand on London Bridge, green are the
distant Surrey hills, clear the blue sky, stately the public buildings
far and near.  Beneath us what fleets in a few hours about to sail, with
passengers and merchandize to almost every continental port.  Surely
Wordsworth’s Ode written on Westminster Bridge is not inapplicable:—

    “Earth has not anything to show more fair.
    Dull would he be of sense who could pass by,
    A sight so touching in its majesty;
    This city now doth like a garment wear
    The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
    Shops, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
    Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
    All bright and glittering in the smokeless air;
    Never did sun more beautifully steep
    In his first splendour valley, arch, or hill;
    Ne’er saw I, never felt a calm so deep,
    The river glideth at his own sweet will,
    Dear God! the very houses seem asleep
    And all that mighty heart is lying still!”

Of the traffic by water visible from London Bridge as you look towards
Greenwich, the best idea may be gathered by a few figures.  A
Parliamentary Return has been issued, showing that the amount of tonnage
cleared from the port of London was in 1750, 796,632 tons, in 1800 the
tonnage entered was 796,632; and that cleared was 729,554.  In 1857 the
tonnage entered had risen to 2,834,107, and that cleared to 2,143,884.

The traffic on London Bridge may be considered as one of the sights of
London.  A costermonger’s cart, laden with cabbages for Camberwell,
breaks down, and there is a block extending back almost all the way to
the Mansion House.  Walk back and look at the passengers thus suddenly
checked in their gay career.  Omnibuses are laden with pleasure seekers
on their way to the Crystal Palace.  Look, there is “affliction sore”
displayed on many a countenance and felt in many a heart.  Mary Anne, who
knows she is undeniably late, and deserves to be left behind, thinks that
her young man won’t wait for her.  Little Mrs. B. sits trembling with a
dark cloud upon her brow, for she knows Mr. B. has been at the station
since one, and it is now past two.  Look at the pale, wan girl in the
corner, asking if they will be in time to catch the train for Hastings.
You may well ask, poor girl.  Haste is vain now.  Your hours are
numbered—the sands of your little life are just run—your bloodless lip,
your sunken eye, with its light not of this world—your hectic cheek, from
which the soft bloom of youth has been rudely driven, make one feel
emphatically in your case that “no medicine, though it oft’ can cure, can
always balk the tomb.”  What have you been—a dressmaker, stitching
fashionable silks for beauty, and at the same time a plain shroud for
yourself?  What have you been—a governess, rearing young lives at the
sacrifice of your own?  What have you been—a daughter of sin and shame?
Ah, well, it is not for me to cast a stone at you.  Hasten on, every
moment now is worth a king’s ransom, and may He who never turned a
daughter away soften your pillow and sustain your heart in the dark hour
I see too plainly about to come.  What is this, a chaise and four greys.
So young Jones has done it at last.  Is he happy, or has he already found
his Laura slow, and has she already begun to suspect that her Jones may
turn out “a wretch” after all.  I know not yet has the sound of his
slightly vinous and foggy eloquence died away; still ring in his ears the
applause which greeted his announcement that “the present is the proudest
of my life,” and his resolution, in all time to come, in sunshine and in
storm, to cherish in his heart of hearts the lovely being whom he now
calls his bride; but as he leans back there think you that already he
sees another face—for Jones has been a man-about-town, and sometimes such
as he get touched.  This I know—

    “Feebly must they have felt
    Who in old time attired with snakes and whips
    The vengeful furies.”

And even Jones may regret he married Laura and quarrelled with Rose,

    “A rosebud set with little wilful thorns
       And sweet as English air could make her.”

What a wonderful thing it is when a man finds himself married, all the
excitement of the chase over.  Let all Jones’ and Laura’s and persons
about to marry see well that they are really in love before they take the
final plunge.  But hear that big party behind in a Hansom, using most
improper language.  Take it easy, my dear sir, you may catch the Dover
train, you may cross to Calais, you may rush on to Paris, but the
electric telegraph has already told your crime, and described your
person.  Therefore be calm, there is no police officer dogging you, you
are free for a few hours yet.  And now come our sleek city men, to
Clapham and Norwood, to dine greatly in their pleasant homes.  The world
goes well with them, and indeed it ought, for they are honest as the
times go: are they slightly impatient, we cannot wonder at it, the salmon
may be overboiled, just because of that infernal old coster’s cart.
Hurra! it moves, and away go busses, and carriages, and broughams, and
hansoms, and a thousand of Her Majesty’s subjects, rich and poor, old and
young, saint and sinner, are in a good temper again, and cease to break
the commandments.  Stand here of a morning while London yet slumbers;
what waggons and carts laden with provisions from the rich gardens of
Surrey and Kent, come over London Bridge.  Later, see how the clerks, and
shopmen, and shopwomen, hurry.  Later still, and what trains full of
stockbrokers, and commission agents, and city merchants, from a circle
extending as far as Brighton, daily are landed at the London Bridge
Stations, and cross over.  Later still, and what crowds of ladies from
the suburbs come shopping, or to visit London exhibitions.  If we were
inclined to be uncharitable, we might question some of these fair dames;
I dare say people connected with the divorce courts might insinuate very
unpleasant things respecting some of them; but let us hope that they are
the exception, and that if Mrs. C. meets some one at the West End who is
not Captain C., and that if the Captain dines with a gay party at Hampton
Court, when he has informed his wife that business will detain him in
town; or that if that beauty now driving past in a brougham has no
business to be there, that these sickly sheep do not infect the flock,
and, in the language of good Dr. Watts, poison all the rest.  Yet there
are tales of sin and sorrow connected with London Bridge.  Over its stony
parapets, down into its dark and muddy waters, have men leaped in
madness, and women in shame; there, at the dead of night, has slunk away
the wretch who feared what the coming morrow would bring forth, to die.
And here woman—deceived, betrayed, deserted, broken in heart, and blasted
beyond all hope of salvation—has sought repose.  A few hours after and
the sun has shone brightly, and men have talked gaily on the very spot
from whence the poor creatures leapt.  Well may we exclaim—

    “Sky, oh were are thy cleansing waters
    Earth, oh where will thy wonders end.”

The Chronicles of Old London Bridge are many and of eternal interest.
When Sweyn, king of Denmark, on plunder and conquest bent, sailed up the
Thames, there was a London Bridge with turrets and roofed bulwarks.  From
994 to 1750, that bridge, built and rebuilt many times, was the sole land
communication between the city and the Surrey bank of the Thames.  In
Queen Elizabeth’s time the bridge had become a stately one.  Norden
describes it as adorned with “sumptuous buildings and statelie, and
beautiful houses on either syde,” like one continuous street, except
“certain wyde places for the retyre of passengers from the danger of
cars, carts, and droves of cattle, usually passing that way.”  Near the
drawbridge, and overhanging the river, was the famed Nonsuch House,
imported from Holland, built entirely of timber, four stories high,
richly carved and gilt.  At the Southwark end was the Traitor’s Gate,
where dissevered and ghastly heads were hung suspended in the air.  In
1212, the Southwark end caught fire, and 3000 persons perished miserably
in the flames.  In 1264 Henry III. was repulsed here by Simon de
Mountfort, earl of Leicester.  Thundering along this road to sudden death
rushed Wat Tyler, in 1381.  Here came forth the citizens, in all their
bravery, ten years after, to meet Richard II.  Henry V. passed over this
bridge twice, once in triumph, and once to be laid down in his royal
tomb.  In 1450, we hear a voice exclaiming: “Jack Cade hath gotten London
Bridge, and the citizens fly and forsake their houses;” and thus the
chronicle goes on.  Nor must we forget the maid servant of one Higges, a
needle-maker, who, in carelessly placing some hot coals under some
stairs, set fire to the house, and thus raised a conflagration which
appears to have been of the most extensive character.  On London Bridge
lived Holbein and Hogarth.  Swift and Pope used to visit Arnold the
bookseller on this bridge.  From off this bridge leaped an industrious
apprentice to save the life of his master’s infant daughter, dropped into
the river by a careless nursemaid; the father was Lord Mayor of London.
The industrious apprentice married the daughter, and the great-grandson
of the happy pair was the first duke of Leeds.  On the first of August,
1831, New London Bridge was opened with great pomp by King William IV.,
and since then the stream of life across the bridge has rushed without
intermission on.



CHAPTER X.
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS AND THE EARLY-CLOSING MOVEMENT.


When is common sense to reign over man?  According to Dr. Cumming, in a
few years we are to have the Millennium.  Will it be then?  I fear not.
At any rate, I am certain it will not be before.

Look, for instance, at the House of Commons: the Lords meet for debate a
little after five, p.m., and separate generally a little before six,
p.m., and it is perfectly astonishing what an immense amount of business
they get through; but the Commons meet at four, p.m., and sit till one or
two, a.m.; the consequence is, that very little business is done: that we
have a great deal too much talking; that really conscientious members,
who will not forsake their duties, but remain at their posts, are knocked
up, and have to cut Parliament for a time; and that what business is done
is often performed in the most slovenly and unsatisfactory manner.  A few
minutes’ reflection will make this clear.  A bill is introduced, or,
rather, leave is given to a member to bring it in.  It is read a first
time.  To the first reading of a bill generally little opposition is
made.  The member who introduces it makes a long speech in its favour,
and little discussion takes place.  The real fight is when it is read a
second time.  There are many ways of throwing out a bill without the
discourtesy of a positive rejection.  The first of these means consists
in giving a preference to other “orders;” the second is, moving “the
previous question.”  Another is, moving “that the second reading take
place this day six months.”  If the bill get over the second reading, it
then goes into committee, when objectionable clauses are struck out and
fresh ones added, till the original proposer of the bill can hardly
recognise his offspring.  The bill is then read a third time, and
afterwards sent up to the Lords.  Possibly the Lords object to some parts
of it; a conference with the Commons is then desired, which accordingly
takes place, the deputation of the Commons standing with uncovered heads,
while the Lords, with hats on, retain their seats.  The matter being
amicably arranged, and a disagreeable collision avoided, the bill is
passed through the Lords, where it usually creates a far more orderly and
less passionate debate than it has done in the Commons.  The Lords being
assembled in their own House, the Sovereign, or the Commissioners,
seated, and the Commons at the bar, the titles of the several bills which
have passed both Houses are read, and the King or Queen’s answer is
declared by the clerk of the Parliaments in Norman-French.  To a bill of
supply the assent is given in the following words:—“_Le roy_ (or, _la
reine_) _remercie ses loyal subjects_, _accepte leur bénévolence et ainsi
le veut_.”  To a private bill it is thus declared:—“_Soit fait comme il
est desiré_.”  And to public general bills it is given in these
terms:—“_Le roy_ (or, _la reine_) _le vent_.”  Should the Sovereign
refuse his assent, it is in the gentle language of “_Le roy_ (or, _la
reine_) _s’aviser_.”  As acts of grace and amnesty originate with the
Crown, the clerk, expressing the gratitude of the subject, addresses the
throne as follows:—“_Les prélats_, _seigneurs_, _et commons_, _en ce
present Parliament assemblés_, _au nom de tout vous autres subjects_,_
remercient très-humblement votre majesté_, _et prient à Dieu vous donner
en santé bonne vie et longue_.”  The moment the royal assent has been
given, that which was a bill becomes an Act, and _instantly_ has the
force and effect of law, unless some time for the commencement of its
operation should have been specially appointed.  Occasionally a bill is
introduced in the form of a motion, at other times as a resolution, but
generally the bill is the favourite form.  Any bill which the Lords can
originate may be introduced and laid on the table by any individual peer,
without the previous permission of the house; but in the Commons, no bill
can be brought in unless a motion for leave be previously agreed to.  Mr.
Dodd tells us, “During the progress of a bill the House _may_ divide on
the following questions:—1. Leave to bring it in.  2. When brought in,
whether it shall then be read a first time, and if not, when?  3. On the
first reading.  4. On the second reading.  5. That it be committed.  6.
On the question that the Speaker do leave the chair, for the house to
resolve itself into such committee.  7. That the report of the committee
be received.  8. That the bill be re-committed.  9. That it be engrossed.
10. That it be read a third time.  11. That it do pass.  12. The title of
the bill.  These are quite exclusive of any divisions concerning the
particular days to be appointed for proceeding with any stage of the
measure, or of any proceedings in committee, or any amendments, or any
clauses added to or expunged from the measure in or out of committee.”
Thus it is Acts of Parliament often made in one sense are ruled by the
judges to have another, and we have Acts to amend Acts in endless
succession.  Tom Moore tells us of an Act of Parliament referring to a
new prison, in which it was stated that the new one should be built with
the materials of the old, and that the prisoners were to remain in the
old prison till the new one was ready.  This is an extreme case, but
blunders equally absurd are made every day.

What is the remedy?  Why, none other than the panacea recommended by Mr.
Lilwall as applicable to every earthly ill—the Early-closing Movement.
Early closing in the House of Commons would shut up the lawyers, who want
to make long speeches—the diners-out, who enter the House ofttimes in a
state of hilarity more calculated to heighten confusion than to promote
business—the young swells, to whom the House of Commons is a club, and
nothing more.  We should have a smaller house, but one more ready to do
business; and if we should lose a few lawyers on promotion, and,
consequently, very industrious, very active, and very eloquent, that loss
would be compensated by the addition to the House of many men of great
talent and political capacity, who cannot stand the late hours and the
heated atmosphere, and the frightfully lengthy speeches, and the furious
partisanship of the House as at present constituted.

I have seen it suggested that a large board should be placed behind the
Speaker’s chair; and that when any member makes a point, or advances an
argument, the point or argument, whether for or against the measure,
should be noted down and numbered; that a speaker, instead of repeating
the point or argument, as is now the case, should simply mention the No.
1, 2, or 3, as the case may be, and say, “I vote for the bill because of
No. 1,” and so on.  We should then have no vain repetitions; business
would be done better, and more speedily; members would not be confused;
the reporters would not have so much trouble as now; and the patient
public would be spared the infliction in their daily organs of column
after column of parliamentary debate.  The advantage of the Early-closing
Movement in the House of Commons would be, that it would compel the House
to adopt some measure of the kind.  It is curious to trace the increase
of late hours.  In Clarendon’s time “the House met always at eight
o’clock and rose at twelve, which were the old parliamentary hours, that
the committees, upon whom the great burden of the business lay, might
have the afternoon for their preparation and despatch.”  Sometimes the
House seems to have met at cock-crowing.  In the journals and old orders
of the House we find such entries as the following:—“March 26, 1604.
Having obtained permission of her Majesty to attend at eight, the Commons
previously met at six to treat on what shall be delivered tending the
reason of their proceedings.”  Again, “May 31, 1614.  Ordered, that the
House shall sit every day at seven o’clock in the morning, and to begin
to read bills for the first time at ten.”  The journals record that on
Sunday, August 8, 1641, at six o’clock a.m., the Commons go down to St.
Margaret’s, and hear prayers and a sermon, returning to the House at
nine.  This, however, was occasioned by the eagerness of the members to
prevent the king’s journey to Scotland, and a minute was made that it
should not be considered as a precedent.  The Long Parliament resolved,
“that whosoever shall not be here at prayers every morning at eight
o’clock shall pay one shilling to the poor.”  James I. mentioned as an
especial grievance, that the Commons brought the protestation concerning
their liberties into the House _at six o’clock at night_, _by
candle-light_!  “I move,” said Serjeant Wylde, “against sitting in the
afternoon.  This council is a grave council and sober, and ought not to
do things in the dark.”  Sir A. Haselrigge said he never knew good come
of candles.  Sir William Waddington brought in two from the clerk against
the direction of the House, and was committed to the Tower next morning.
Having sat on the occasion till seven, Sir H. Vane complained, “We are
not able to hold out sitting thus in the night.”  After the Revolution
matters got worse.  Bishop Burnet complains that the House did not meet
till twelve; and in the next generation Speaker Onslow adds, “This is
grown shamefully of late, even to two of the clock.”  In the time of Pitt
and Fox the evil reached its climax.  The motion for the Speaker leaving
the chair on Fox’s India Bill was put to the vote at half-past four in
the morning.  During the Westminster scrutiny the House sometimes sat
till six a.m.  Pitt, speaking on the slave-trade, introduced his
beautiful quotation relative to the sun as it was then just bursting on
his audience.  Sir Samuel Romilly tells us that he would not unfrequently
go to bed at his usual time, and rising next morning somewhat earlier
than usual would go down to be present at the division.  I think it was
during the Reform debates that an hon. M.P., having been present at the
discussion the previous night, and being desirous to secure a good place
the next evening, went down to the House early in the morning for that
special purpose, and found the debate, at the commencement of which he
had been present, and which he thought had long been over, proceeding
hotly and furiously.  In the last session of parliament the house sinned
greatly in this respect.  I am told this state of things is for the
advantage of the lawyers, who otherwise would not be able to attend in
the House at all; but it may be questioned whether this is such a benefit
as some suppose, and certainly the midnight hour, especially after mind
and body have alike been jaded by the strain of a long debate, is not the
best for passing measures of a legislative character; and yet it is in
the small hours, when members are weary, or, we fear, in some cases
slightly vinous, or indifferent and apathetic, that most of the real
business of the nation is performed.  Now against this bad habit for many
years Mr. Brotherton waged an incessant but unsuccessful war.  As soon as
ever midnight arrived the hon. gentleman was on his legs, warning
honourable members of its arrival, and of the injury which late hours
must necessarily occasion to their own health, and to the satisfactory
progress of public business.  In his attempts Mr. Brotherton then was
aiming as much at the good of the nation as well as the advantage of the
members of the House.  Many were the scenes occasioned by Mr.
Brotherton’s importunity.  Mr. Grant says, “I have seen one look him most
imploringly in the face, and heard him say, in tones and with a manner as
coaxing as if the party had been wooing his mistress, ‘Do not just yet,
Mr. Brotherton; wait one half hour until this business be disposed of.’
I have seen a second seize him by the right arm, while a third grasped
him by the left, with the view of causing him to resume his seat, and
when his sense of duty overcame all these efforts to seduce or force him
from its path, I have seen a fourth honourable gentleman rush to the
assistance of the others, and taking hold of the tail of his coat,
literally press him to his seat.  I have seen Mr. Brotherton, with a
perseverance beyond all praise, in his righteous and most patriotic
cause, suddenly start again to his feet in less than five minutes, and
move a second time the adjournment of the House, and I have again had the
misfortune to see physical force triumph over the best moral purposes.
Five or six times have I witnessed the repetition of this in one night.
On one occasion, I remember seeing an honourable member actually clap his
hand on Mr. Brotherton’s mouth, in order to prevent his moving the
dreaded adjournment.”  Constant ill-success damped Mr. Brotherton’s
ardour.  There was a time when his object seemed attained, but in the
last session he attended the Commons were as bad as ever.  Mr. Brotherton
having made a futile attempt when the session was young, in favour of the
Early-closing Movement, abandoned his position in despair.  The call for
Brotherton ceased to be a watchword with our less hopeful senators, and
Mr. Bouverie’s view, that more business was got through after twelve
o’clock at night than before, appeared to be generally acquiesced in,
with a species of reluctant despair which was unanswerable.  Still it is
true that early to bed and early to rise will make the Commons more
healthy and wise, though the general practice seems to be the other way.



CHAPTER XI.
TOWN MORALS.


Have you seen Charles Matthews in “Used Up?”  Sir Charles Coldstream
represents us all.  We are everlastingly seeking a sensation, and never
finding it.  Sir Charles’s valet’s description of him describes us
all:—“He’s always sighing for what he calls excitement—you see,
everything is old to him—he’s used up—nothing amuses him—he can’t feel.”
And so he looks in the crater of Vesuvius and finds nothing in it, and
the Bay of Naples he considers inferior to that of Dublin—the Campagna to
him is a swamp—Greece a morass—Athens a bad Edinburgh—Egypt a desert—the
pyramids humbugs.  The same confession is on every one’s lips.  The boy
of sixteen, with a beardless chin, has a melancholy _blasé_ air; the girl
gets wise, mourns over the vanity of life, and laughs at love as a
romance; a heart—unless it be a bullock’s, and well cooked,—is tacitly
understood to be a mistake; and conscience a thing that no one can afford
to keep.  Our young men are bald at twenty-five, and woman is exhausted
still sooner.  I am told Quakers are sometimes moved by the spirit.  I am
told mad Ranters sing, and preach, and roar as if they were in earnest.
I hear that there is even enthusiasm amongst the Mormons; but that
matters little.  We are very few of us connected with such _outre_ sects,
and the exceptions but prove the rule.

But a truce to generalities.  Let us give modern instances.  Look at
Jenkins, the genteel stockbroker.  In autumn he may be seen getting into
his brougham, which already contains his better-half and the
olive-branches that have blessed their mutual loves.  This brougham will
deposit the Jenkinses, and boxes of luggage innumerable, at the Brighton
Railway Terminus, whence it is their intention to start for that crowded
and once fashionable watering-place.  Jenkins has been dying all the
summer of the heat.  Why, like the blessed ass as he is, did he stop in
town, when for a few shillings he might have been braced and cooled by
sea breezes, but because of that monotony which forbids a man consulting
nature and common sense.  Jenkins only goes out of town when the
fashionable world goes; he would not for the life of him leave till the
season was over.

Again, does ever the country look lovelier than when the snows of winter
reluctantly make way for the first flowers of spring?  Is ever the air
more balmy or purer than when the young breath of summer, like a tender
maiden, kisses timidly the cheek, and winds its way, like a blessing from
above, to the weary heart?  Does ever the sky look bluer, or the sun more
glorious, or the earth more green, or is ever the melody of birds more
musical, than then? and yet at that time the _beau monde_ must resort to
town, and London drawing-rooms must emit a polluted air, and late hours
must enfeeble, and bright eyes must become dull, and cheeks that might
have vied in loveliness with the rose, sallow and pale.

It is a fine thing for a man to get hold of a good cause; one of the
finest sights that earth can boast is that of a man or set of men
standing up to put into action what they know to be some blessed God-sent
truth.  A Cromwell mourning the flat Popery of St. Paul’s—a Luther,
before principalities and powers, exclaiming, “Here stand I and will not
move, so help me God!”—a Howard making a tour of the jails of Europe, and
dying alone and neglected on the shores of the Black Sea—a Henry Martyn
leaving the cloistered halls of Cambridge, abandoning the golden
prospects opening around him, and abandoning what is dearer still, the
evils of youth, to preach Christ, and Him crucified, beneath the burning
and fatal sun of the East—or a Hebrew maiden, like Jepthah’s daughter,
dying for her country or her country’s good,—are sights rare and blessed,
and beautiful and divine.  All true teachers are the same, and are
glorious to behold.  For a time no one regards their testimony.  The man
stands by himself—a reed, but not shaken by the wind—a voice crying in
the wilderness—a John the Baptist nursed in the wilds, and away from the
deadening spell of the world.  Then comes the influence of the solitary
thinker on old fallacies; the young and the enthusiastic rush to his
side, the sceptic and the scoffer one by one disappear, and the world is
conquered; or if it be not so, if he languishes in jail like Galileo, or
wanders on the face of the earth seeking rest and finding none, like our
Puritan forefathers; or die, as many an hero has died, as the Christ did,
when the power of the Prince of Darkness prevailed, and the veil of the
Temple was rent in twain; still there is for him a resurrection, when a
coming age will honour his memory, collect his scattered ashes, and build
them a fitting tomb.  Yet even this kind of heroism has come to be but a
monotonous affair.

Now-a-days the thing can be done, and in one way—a meeting at Exeter
Hall, a dinner at Freemasons’ tavern, Harker for toast-master, a few
vocalists to sing between the pieces, and for chairman a lord by all
means; if possible, a royal duke.  The truest thing about us is our
appetite.  Our appreciation of a hero is as our appreciation of a coat; a
saviour of a nation and a Soyer we class together, and do justice to both
at the same time.  We moderns eat where our fathers bled.  Our powers we
show by the number of bottles of wine we can consume; our devotion is to
our dinners; the sword has made way for the carving-knife; our battle is
against the ills to which gluttonness and wine-bibbing flesh is heir; the
devil that comes to us is the gout; the hell in which we believe and
against which we fight is indigestion; our means of grace are blue pill
and black draught.  All art and science and lettered lore, all the
memories of the past and the hopes of the future—

    “All thoughts, all passions, all delights—
    Whatever stirs this mortal frame,”

now-a-days, tend to dinner.  Our sympathy with the unfortunate females,
or the indigent blind, with the propagation of the Gospel in foreign
parts, or with the diffusion of useful knowledge at home—with the Earl of
Derby or Mr. Cobden—with Lord John Russell or Mr. Disraeli—with the
soldier who has blustered and bullied till the world has taken him for a
hero—with the merchant who has bound together in the peaceful pursuits of
trade hereditary foes—with the engineer who has won dominion over time
and space—with the poet who has sat

          “In the light of thought
          Singing hymns unbidden,
          Till the world is wrought
    To sympathy, with hopes and joys it heeded not,”

finds a common mode of utterance, and that utterance to all has a common
emphasis.  Even the Church apes the world in this respect; and even that
section which calls itself non-conforming, conforms here.  When dinner is
concerned, it forgets to protest, and becomes dumb.  Dr. Watts might
sing,

    “Lord, what a wretched land is this
       That yields us no supplies;”

but his successors do not.  I read of grand ordination dinners, of grand
dinners when a new chapel is erected or an old pastor retires.  But
lately I saw one reverend gentleman at law with another.  Most of my
readers will recollect the case.  It was that of Tidman against Ainslie.
Dr. Tidman triumphs, and the Missionary Society is vindicated.  What was
the consequence?—a dinner to Dr. Tidman at the Guildhall Coffee-house, at
which all the leading ministers of the denomination to which he belonged
were present.

The Queen is the fountain of honour.  What has been the manner of men
selected for royal honour?  The last instance is Lord Dudley, who has
been made an earl.  Why?  Is it that he lent Mr. Lumley nearly £100,000
to keep the Haymarket Opera House open? because really this is all the
general public knows about Lord Dudley.  The other day Lord Derby was the
means of getting a peerage for a wealthy and undistinguished commoner.
Is it come to this, then, that we give to rich men, as such, honours
which ought to be precious, and awarded by public opinion to the most
gifted and the most illustrious of our fellows.  If in private life I
toady a rich swell, that I may put my feet under his mahogany, and drink
his wine, besides making an ass of myself, I do little harm; but if we
prostitute the honours of the nation, the nation itself suffers; and, as
regards noble sentiments and enlightened public spirit, withers and
declines.

Guizot says—and if he had not said it somebody else would—that our
civilization is yet young.  I believe it.  At present it is little better
than an experiment.  If it be a good, it is not without its
disadvantages.  It has its drawbacks.  Man gives up something for it.
One of its greatest evils perhaps is its monotony, which makes us curse
and mourn our fate—which forces from our lips the exclamation of Mariana,
in the “Moated Grange”—

    “I’m a aweary, aweary—
    Oh, would that I were dead;”

or which impels us, with the “Blighted Being” of Locksley Hall, to long
to “burst all bonds of habit and to wander far away.”  Do these lines
chance to attract the attention of one of the lords of creation—of one
who,

    “Thoughtless of mamma’s alarms,
    Sports high-heeled boots and whiskers,”

—what is it, we would ask, most magnanimous Sir, in the most delicate
manner imaginable, that keeps you standing by the hour together, looking
out of the window of your club in Pall Mall, in the utter weariness of
your heart, swearing now at the weather, now at the waiter, and, anon,
muttering something about your dreaming that you dwelt in marble halls,
but that very monotony of civilization which we so much deprecate?  Were
it not for that, you might be working in this working world—touching the
very kernel and core of life, instead of thus feeding on its shell.  And
if it be that the soft eye of woman looks down on what we now write, what
is it, we would ask, O peerless paragon, O celestial goddess, but the
same feeling that makes you put aside the last new novel, and, in
shameless defiance of the rules taught in that valuable publication and
snob’s _vade mecum_—“Hints on the Etiquette and the Usages of Society,”
actually yawn—aye, yawn, when that gold watch, hanging by your most
fairy-like and loveliest of forms, does not tell one hour that does not
bear with it from earth to heaven some tragedy acted—some villainy
achieved—some heroic thing done: aye, yawn, when before you is spread out
the great _rôle_ of life, with its laughter and tears—with its blasts
from hell—with its odours coming down from heaven itself.  A brave, bold,
noble-hearted Miss Nightingale breaks through this monotony, and sails to
nurse the wounded or the dying of our army in the East, and “Common
Sense” writes in newspapers against such a noble act; and a religious
paper saw in it Popery at the very least.  What a howl has there been in
some quarters because a few clergymen have taken to preaching in
theatres!  Even, woman’s heart, with its gushing sympathies, has become
dead and shrivelled up, where that relentless scourge—that demon of our
time, the monotony of civilization—has been suffered to intrude.  It is
owing to that, that when we look for deeds angels might love to do, our
daughters, and sisters, and those whom we most passionately love, scream
out Italian songs which neither they nor we understand, and bring to us,
as the result of their noblest energies, a fancy bag or a chain of German
wool.  Such is the result of what Sir W. Curtis termed the three R’s and
the usual accomplishments.  Humanity has been stereotyped.  We follow one
another like a flock of sheep.  We have levelled with a vengeance; we
have reduced the doctrine of human equality to an absurdity—we live
alike, think alike, die alike.  A party in a parlour in Belgrave Square,
“all silent and all d---d,” is as like a party in a parlour in Hackney as
two peas.  The beard movement was a failure; so was the great question of
hat reform, and for similar reasons.  We still scowl upon a man with a
wide-a-wake, as we should upon a pick-pocket or a cut-throat.  A leaden
monotony hangs heavy on us all.  Not more does one man or woman differ
from another than does policeman A1 differ from policeman A 999.
Individuality seems gone: independent life no longer exists.  Our very
thought and inner life is that of Buggins, who lives next door.  The
skill of the tailor has made us all one, and man, as God made him, cuts
but a sorry figure by the side of man as his tailor made him.  This is an
undeniable fact: it is not only true but _the_ truth.  One motive serves
for every variety of deed—for dancing the polka or marrying a wife—for
wearing white gloves or worshipping the Most High.  “At any rate, my
dears,” said a fashionable dame to her daughters when they turned round
to go home, on finding that the crowded state of the church to which they
repaired would not admit of their worshipping according to Act of
Parliament,—“At any rate, my dears, we have done the genteel thing.”  By
that mockery to God she had made herself right in the sight of man.
Actually we are all so much alike that not very long since in Madrid a
journeyman tailor was mistaken for a Prince.  It is not always that such
extreme cases happen; but the tendency of civilization, as we have it
now, is to work us all up into one common, unmeaning whole—to confound
all the old distinctions by which classes were marked—to mix up the
peasant and the prince, more by bringing down the latter than elevating
the former; and thus we all become unmeaning, and monotonous, and
common-place.  The splendid livery in which “Jeames” rejoices may show
that he is footman to a family that dates from the Conquest: it may be
that he is footman to the keeper of the ham and beef shop near London
Bridge.  The uninitiated cannot tell the difference.  A man says he is a
lord; otherwise we should not take him for one of the nobles of the
earth.  A man puts on a black gown, and says he is a religious teacher:
otherwise we should not take him for one who could understand and
enlighten the anxious yearnings of the human heart.  The old sublime
faith in God and heaven is gone.  We have had none of it since the days
of old Noll: it went out when Charles and his mistresses came in.  But
instead, we have a world of propriety and conventionalism.  We have a
universal worshipping of Mrs. Grundy.  A craven fear sits in the hearts
of all.  Men dare not be generous, high-minded, and true.  A man dares
not act otherwise than the class by which he is surrounded: he must
conform to their regulations or die; outside the pale there is no hope.
If he would not be as others are, it were better that a millstone were
hung round his neck and that he were cast into the sea.  If, as a
tradesman, he will not devote his energies to money-making—if he will not
rise up early and sit up late—if he will not starve the mind—if he will
not violate the conditions by which the physical and mental powers are
sustained—he will find that in Christian England, in the nineteenth
century, there is no room for such as he.  The externals which men in
their ignorance have come to believe essential to happiness, he will see
another’s.  Great city “feeds”—white-bait dinners at Blackwall, and
“genteel residences,” within a few miles of the Bank or the bridges—fat
coachmen and fiery steeds—corporation honours and emoluments,—a man may
seek in vain if he will not take first, the ledger for his Gospel, and
mammon for his God.  It is just the same with the professions.  Would the
“most distinguished counsel” ever have a brief were he to scorn to employ
the powers God has given him to obtain impunity for the man whose heart’s
life has become polluted with crime beyond the power of reform.  Many a
statesman has to thank a similar laxity of conscience for his place and
power.



CHAPTER XI.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.


I am not in the best of humours.  The wind and weather of the last few
months have been bad enough to vex the temper and destroy the patience of
a saint.  I wish the papers would write a little more about reforms at
home, and not trouble themselves about the Emperor of the French.  I wish
country gentlemen, when airing their vocabularies at agricultural
dinners, would not talk so much of our friends across the water being
desirous to avenge the disgrace of Waterloo, as if there were any
disgrace to France, after having been a match, single-handed, for all
Europe for a generation, in being compelled to succumb at last.  I wish
we could be content with trading with China, without sending ambassadors
to Pekin, and endeavouring by fair means or foul to make that ancient
city, as regards red-tapeism and diplomatic quarrels, as great a nuisance
as Constantinople is now.  I wish Mr. George Augustus Sala, with that
wonderful talent of his for imitating Dickens and Thackeray, would quite
forget there was such gentlemen in the world, and write independently of
them.  And I wish the little essayists, who copy Mr. George Augustus
Sala, and are so very smart and facetious by his aid, would either swim
without corks, or not swim at all.  Thank heaven, none of them are
permanent, and most of them speedily sink down into limbo.  Where are the
gaudily-covered miscellanies, and other light productions of this class?
if not dead, why on every second-hand book-stall in London, in vain
seeking a sale at half-price, and dear at the money.  But the spirit of
which they are the symptom, of which they are the outward and visible
sign, lives.  Directly you take up one of these books, you know what is
coming.  But after all, why quarrel with these butterflies, who, at any
rate, have a good conceit of themselves, if they have but a poor opinion
of others?  Fontaine tells of a motherly crab, who exclaimed against the
obliquity of her daughter’s gait, and asked whether she could not walk
straight.  The young crab pleaded, very reasonably, the similarity of her
parent’s manner of stepping, and asked whether she could be expected to
walk differently from the rest of the family?

This fable throws me back on general principles; our writers—our
preachers—our statesmen, are fearful, and tremble at the appearance of
originality.  The age overrules us all, society is strong, and the
individual is consequently weak.  We have no patrons now, but, instead,
we have a mob.  Attend a public meeting,—the speaker who is the most
applauded, is the man most given to exaggeration.  Listen to a popular
preacher,—is he not invariably the most commonplace, and in his sermons
least suggestive, of men?  When a new periodical is projected, what care
is taken that it shall contain nothing to offend, as if a man or writer
were worth a rap that did not come into collision with some prejudices,
and trample on some corns.  In describing some ceremony where beer had
been distributed, a teetotal reporter, writing for a teetotal public,
omitted all mention of the beer.  This is ridiculous, but such things are
done every day in all classes.  Society exercises a censorship over the
press of the most distinctive character.  The song says,

    “Have faith in one another.”

I say, have faith in yourself.  This faith in oneself would go far to put
society in a better position than it is.  A common complaint in
everybody’s mouth is the want of variety in individual character—the
dreary monotony we find everywhere pervading society.  Men and women,
lads and maidens, boys and girls, if we may call the little dolls dressed
up in crinoline and flounces, and the young gentlemen in patent-leather
boots, such, are all alike.  Civilization is a leveller of the most
destructive kind.  Man is timid, imitative, and lazy.  Hence, it is to
the past we must turn, whenever we would recall to our minds how sublime
and great man, in his might and majesty, may become.  Hence it is we can
reckon upon but few who dare to stand alone in devotedness to truth and
human right.  Most men are enslaved by the opinions of the little clique
in which they move; they can never imagine that beyond their little
circle there can exist anything that is lovely or of good report.  We are
the men, and wisdom will die with us, is the burden of their song.  We
judge not according to abstract principles, but conventional ideas.  Ask
a young lady, of average intelligence, respecting some busy hive of
industry, and intelligence, and life.  “Oh!” she exclaims, “there is no
society in such a place.”  Ask an evangelical churchman as to a certain
locality, and he will reply, “Oh it is very dark, dark, indeed;” as if
there was a spot on this blessed earth where God’s sun did not shine.
The dancing Bayaderes, who visited London some fifteen years back, were
shocked at what they conceived the immodest attire of our English dames,
who, in their turn, were thankful that they did not dress as the
Bayaderes.  All uneducated people, or rather all unreflective people, are
apt to reason in this way; orthodoxy is my doxy, heterodoxy, yours.  But
we English, especially, are liable to this fallacy, on account of our
insular position, and the reserve and phlegm of our national character.
Abroad people travel more, come more into collision with each other,
socially are more equal.  We can only recognize goodness and greatness in
certain forms.  People must be well-dressed, must be of respectable
family, must go to church, and then they may carry on any rascality.  Sir
John Dean Paul, Redpath, and others, were types of this class.  Hence it
is society stagnates—such is a description of a general law, illustrated
in all history, especially our own.  Society invariably sets itself
against all great improvements in their birth.  Society gives the cold
shoulder to whatever has lifted up the human race—to whatever has
illustrated and adorned humanity—to whatever has made the world wiser and
better.  Our fathers stoned the prophets, and we continue the amiable
custom.  Our judgment is not our own, but that of other people.  We think
what will other people think? our first question is not, Is a course of
action right or wrong? but; What will Mr. Grundy say?  Here is the great
blunder of blunders.  John the Baptist lived in a desert.  “If I had read
as much as other men,” said Hobbes, “I should have been as ignorant as
they.”  “When I began to write against indulgences,” says Luther, “I was
for three years entirely alone; not a single soul holding out the hand of
fellowship and coöperation to me.”  Of Milton, Wordsworth writes, “his
soul was like a star, and dwelt apart.”

The great original thinker of the last generation, John Foster, actually
fled the face of man.  What a life of persecution and misrepresentation
had Arnold of Rugby to endure, and no wonder, when we quote against the
conclusions of common sense the imaginary opinions of an imaginary
scarecrow we term society.  This deference to the opinion of others is an
unmitigated evil.  In no case is it a legitimate rule of action.  The
chances are that society is on the wrong side, as men of independent
thought and action are in the minority, and even if society be right; it
is not from a desire to win her smile or secure her favour that a man
should act.  It is not the judgment of others that a man must seek, but
his own; it is by that he must act—by that he must stand or fall—by that
he must live—and by that he must die.  All real life is internal, all
honest action is born of honest thought; out of the heart are the issues
of life.  The want of exercising one’s own understanding has been
admirably described by Locke.  It is that, he says, which weakens and
extinguishes this noble faculty in us.  “Trace it, and see whether it be
not so; the day labourer in a country village has commonly but a small
pittance of knowledge, because his ideas and notions have been confined
to the narrow bounds of a poor conversation and employment; the low
mechanic of a country town does somewhat outdo him—porters and cobblers
of great cities surpass him.  A country gentleman, leaving Latin and
Learning in the University, who returns thence to his mansion-house, and
associates with his neighbours of the same strain, who relish nothing but
hunting and a bottle; with these alone he spends his time, with these
alone he converses, and can away with no company whose discourses go
beyond what claret and dissoluteness inspire.  Such a patriot, formed in
this happy day of improvement, cannot fail, we see, to give notable
decisions upon the bench at quarter sessions, and eminent proofs of his
skill in politics, when the strength of his purse, and party, have
advanced him to a more auspicious situation. * * * To carry this a little
further: here is one muffled up in the zeal and infallibility of his own
sect, and will not touch a book, or enter into debate, with a person that
will question any of those things which, to him, are sacred.”  People
wonder now-a-days why we have so many societies—the cause is the same.
Men cannot trust themselves; to do that requires exercise of the
understanding.  A man must take his opinions from society; he can do no
battle with the devil unless he have an association formed to aid him.
At Oxford the example of an individual, Dr. Livingstone, created a
generous enthusiasm.  A society was formed under distinguished patronage,
subscription lists were opened, a public meeting was held, and the most
renowned men of the day—the Bishop of Oxford and Mr. Gladstone—lent to
the meeting not merely the attraction of their presence, but the charm of
their oratorical powers.  The result is a very small collection, and a
talk of sending out six missionaries to christianize Africa.  When
societies are formed there is no end to the absurdities they are guilty
of.  Just think of the men of science at Aberdeen, all rushing over hill
and dale to Balmoral, where they were permitted, not to converse with
majesty (that were too great an act of condescension), but to have lunch
in an apartment of the royal residence.  Then, again, what murmurs were
there at Bradford, because, at the close of the meeting, the younger
members of the Social Reform Congress were not permitted to dance the
polka.  If old Columbus were alive now a new world would never have been
discovered.  We should have had a limited liability company established
for the purpose.  A board of lawyers, and merchants, and M.P.’s, as
directors, would have been formed.  Some good-natured newspaper editors
would have inserted some ingenious puffs,—the shares would have gone up
in the market,—the directors would have sold out at a very fair rate of
profit.  Columbus would have made one or two unsuccessful voyages—the
shares would have gone down—the company would have been wound up—and no
western continent, with its vast resources, would ever have been heard
of.  I like the old plan best; I like to see a man.  If I go into the
House of Commons I hear of men, somewhat too much talk of men is there;
on one side of the house Pitt is quoted, on another Fox, or Peel, or
Canning.  If Pitt, and Fox, and Canning, and Peel had done so depend upon
it we should never have heard their names.  It is a poor sign when our
statesmen get into this habit; it is a mutual confession of inability to
act according to the wants and necessities of the age.  They quote great
men to hide their littleness.  They imagine that by using the words of
great statesmen they may become such, or, at any rate, get the public to
note them for such themselves.  They use the names of Pitt and Fox as
corks, by means of which they may keep afloat.  Well, I must fain do the
same; while I rail against custom, I must e’en follow her.

“He seems to me,” said old Montaigne, “to have had a right and true
apprehension of the power of custom, who first invented the story of a
country-woman who, having accustomed herself to play with and carry a
young calf in her arms, and daily continuing to do so as it grew up
obtained this by custom, that when grown to a great ox she was still able
to bear it.  For, in truth, custom is a violent and treacherous
schoolmistress.  She by little and little, slyly and unperceived, slips
in the foot of her authority, but having by this gentle and humble
beginning, with the benefit of time, fixed and established it, she then
unmasks a furious and tyrannical countenance, against which we have no
more the courage or the power so much as to lift up our eyes.  We see it
at every turn forcing and violating the rules of nature.  _Usus
efficacissimus rerum omnium magister_.  Custom is the greatest master of
all things.”

And now I finish with a fable.  A knight surprised a giant of enormous
size and wickedness sleeping, his head lying under the shade of a big
oak.  The knight prayed to heaven to aid his strength, and lifting his
battle-axe dashed it with all his might on the giant’s forehead.  The
giant opened his eyes, and drowsily passing his hand over his eyes,
murmured, “The falling leaves trouble my rest,” and straight he slumbered
again.  The knight summoned his energies for another stroke, again
whirled his axe in the air, and furiously dashed it to the utter
destruction of the giant’s scull.  The latter merely stirred, and said,
“The dropping acorns disturb my sleep.”  The knight flung down his axe
and fled in despair from an enemy who held his fiercest blows and his
vaunted and well-tried might but as falling leaves and dropping acorns.
Reader, so do I.  My hardest blows shall seem but as leaves and acorns to
the giant with whom I am at war, and would fain destroy.



CHAPTER XII.
LONDON MATRIMONIAL.


Last year 25,924 couples were married in the metropolis.  The
Registrar-General tells us the increase of early marriages chiefly occurs
in the manufacturing and mining districts.

In London 2.74 of the men and 12.11 of the women who married were not of
full age.  There is an excess of adults in the metropolis at the marrying
ages over 21; and there are not apparently the same inducements to marry
early, as exist in the Midland counties.

Sir Cresswell Cresswell must have but a poor opinion of matrimony.  At
the very moment of my writing, I am told there are six hundred divorce
cases in arrear; that is, after the hundreds whose chains he has
loosened, there are, it appears, already twelve hundred more of injured
wives and husbands eager to be free.  The evil, such as it is, will
extend itself.  Under the old system there was, practically speaking, no
redress, and a man and woman tied together would endeavour to make the
best of it; now, if they feel the more they quarrel and disagree with
each other, the better chance they have of being at liberty, it is to be
feared, in some cases, husband and wife will not try so heartily to
forget and forgive, as husbands and wives ought to do.  I do not say
there ought not to be liberty, where all love has long since died out,
and been followed by bad faith and cruelty, and neglect.  I believe there
should be, and that the Divorce Act was an experiment imperatively
required.  Where mutual love has been exchanged for mutual hate, it is
hard that human law should bind together, in what must be life-long
misery—misery perhaps not the less intense that it has uttered no word of
complaint, made no sign, been unsuspected by the world, yet all the while
dragging its victim to an early or premature grave.  But human nature is
a poor weak thing, and many a silly man or silly woman may think that Sir
Cresswell Cresswell may prove a healing physician, when their malady was
more in themselves than they cared to believe.  I hear of one case where
a lady having £15,000 a-year in her own right, has run off with her
footman.  Would she have done that if there had been no Sir Cresswell?  I
fancy not.  Again, another married lady, with £100,000 settled on her,
runs off with the curate.  Had it not occurred to her that Sir Cresswell
Cresswell would, in due time, dissolve her union with her legitimate
lord, and enable her to follow the bent of her passions, would she not
have fought with them, and in the conquest of them won more true peace
for herself, than she can ever hope for now?  I believe so.  In the long
commerce of a life, there must be times, when we may think of others we
have known, when we may idly fancy we should have been happier with
others; but true wisdom will teach us that it is childish to lament after
the event, that it were wiser to take what comfort we can find, and that,
after all, it is duty, rather than happiness, that should be the
pole-star of life.  Southey told Shelley a man might be happy with any
woman, and certainly a wise man, once married, will try to make the best
of it.  But to return to Sir Cresswell Cresswell, I wish that he could
give relief without stirring up such a pool of stinking mud.  Who is
benefitted by the disgusting details?  It is a fine thing for the penny
papers.  They get a large sale, and so reap their reward.  The _Times_,
also, is generally not very backward when anything peculiarly revolting
and indecent is to be told; but are the people, high or low, rich or
poor, the better?  I find it hard to believe they are.  How husbands can
be false, how wives can intrigue, how servants can connive, we know, and
we do not want to hear it repeated.  If Prior’s Chloe was an ale-house
drab, if the Clara of Lord Bolingbroke sold oranges in the Court of
Requests, if Fielding kept indifferent company, we are amused or grieved,
but still learn something of genius, even from its errors; but of the
tribe Smith and Brown I care not to hear—ever since the Deluge the Smiths
and Browns have been much the same.  What am I the better for learning
all the rottenness of domestic life?  Is that fit reading for the family
circle?  I suppose the newspapers think it is, but I cannot come to that
opinion.  Can it have a wholesome effect on the national feeling?  Can it
heighten the reverence for Nature’s primary ordinance of matrimony?

In the Book of Common Prayer I read that matrimony is “holy;” that it was
instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the
mystical union that is between Christ and his Church, which holy estate
Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he
wrought in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of St. Paul to be honourable
among all men, and, therefore, is not by any to be enterprised, “nor
taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal
lusts or appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but
reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God, duly
considering the causes for which matrimony was ordained.”

Alas! our age is not a marrying age; and, therefore, I fear it is an
unholy one: neither our young men nor our young maidens honestly fall in
love and marry now-a-days.  I don’t know that the Registrar-General’s
report says such.  I know that many of his marriages are affairs of
convenience; unions of businesses, or thousands, or broad lands; not
marriages “holy,” in the sense of the prayer-book and of God.  A man who
marries simply for love, exposes himself to ridicule; the modern
ingenuous youth is not so green as all that; if he marries at all, it
must be an heiress, or, at any rate, one well dowered.  The last thing
your modern well-bred beauty does, is to unite her fate with that of a
man in the good old-fashioned way.  She has learnt to set her heart upon
the accidents of life,—the fine house, the establishment; and if these
she cannot have, she will even die an old maid.  The real is sacrificed
to the imaginary; the substance, to the shadow; the present, to the
morrow that never comes.  A man says he will become rich; he will
sacrifice everything to that; and the chances are he becomes poor in
heart and purse.  The maiden—

    With the meek brown eyes,
    In whose orb a shadow lies,
    Like the dusk in evening skies—

loses all her divinity, and pines away, and becomes what I care not to
name; and the world—whose wisdom is folly—sanctions all this.  It calls
it prudence, foresight.  A man has no business to marry till he can keep
a wife, is the cuckoo cry; which would have some meaning if a wife was a
horse or a dog, and not an answer to a human need, and an essential to
success in life.  The world forgets that man is not an automaton, but a
being fearfully and wonderfully framed.  No machine, but a lyre
responsive to the breath of every passing passion: now fevered with
pleasure; now toiling for gold; anon seeking to build up a lofty fame;
and that the more eager and passionate and daring he is—the more eagle is
his eye, and the loftier his aim, the more he needs woman—the comforter
and the helpmeet—by his side.  Our fathers did not ignore this, and they
succeeded.  Because the wife preserved them from the temptations of life;
because she, with her words and looks of love, assisted them to bear the
burdens and fight the battles of life; because she stood by her husband’s
side as his helpmeet; bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh; soothing each
sorrow; aiding each upward aim: it was thus they became great; and it is
because we do not thus, we pale before them.  It is not good for man to
be alone.  Man has tried to disobey the divine law, and lived alone; and
what has been the result?—even when tried by men of superior sanctity, as
in the case of the Romish Church, has the world gained in happiness or
morality?  I trow not.  Take the limited experience of our own age, and
fathers and mothers know, to their bitter cost, I am right.  The manhood,
brave and generous, much of it wrecked in our great cities, will bear me
out.  But matrimony is more than this.  It spite of the hard
matter-of-fact, sceptical, and therefore sensual character of the passing
day, will it not be confessed that the union of man and woman, as husband
and wife, is the greatest earthly need, and is followed by the greatest
earthly good?  Unhappy marriages there may be; imprudent ones there may
be; but such are not the rule; and very properly our legislators have
agreed to give relief in such cases.  “Nature never did betray the soul
that loved her;” and nature tells men and women to marry.  Just as the
young man is entering upon life—just as he comes to independence and
man’s estate—just as the crisis of his being is to be solved, and it is
to be seen whether he decide with the good, and the great, and the true,
or whether he sink and be lost for ever, Matrimony gives him ballast and
a right impulse.  Of course it can’t make of a fool a philosopher; but it
can save a fool from being foolish.  War with nature and she takes a sure
revenge.  Tell a young man not to have an attachment that is virtuous,
and he will have one that is vicious.  Virtuous love—the honest love of a
man for the woman he is about to marry, gives him an anchor for his
heart; something pure and beautiful for which to labour and live; and the
woman, what a purple light it sheds upon her path; it makes life for her
no day-dream; no idle hour; no painted shadow; no passing show; but
something real, earnest, worthy of her heart and head.  But most of us
are cowards and dare not think so; we lack grace; we are of little faith;
our inward eye is dim and dark.  The modern young lady must marry in
style; the modern young gentleman marries a fortune.  But in the
meanwhile the girl grows into an old maid, and the youth takes
chambers—ogles at nursery-maids and becomes a man about town—a man whom
it is dangerous to ask into your house, for his business is intrigue.
The world might have had a happy couple; instead, it gets a woman
fretful, nervous, fanciful, a plague to all around her.  He becomes a
sceptic in all virtue; a corrupter of the youth of both sexes; a curse in
whatever domestic circle he penetrates.  Even worse may result.  She may
be deceived, and may die of a broken heart.  He may rush from one folly
to another; associate only with the vicious and depraved; bring disgrace
and sorrow on himself and all around; and sink into an early grave.  Our
great cities show what becomes of men and women who do not marry.
Worldly fathers and mothers advise not to marry till they can afford to
keep a wife, and the boys spend on a harlot more in six months than would
keep a wife six years.  Hence it is, all wise men (like old Franklin)
advocate early marriages; and that all our great men, with rare
exceptions, have been men who married young.  Wordsworth had only £100 a
year when he first married.  Lord Eldon was so poor that he had to go to
Clare-market to buy sprats for supper.  Coleridge and Southey I can’t
find had any income at all when they got married.  I question at any time
whether Luther had more than fifty pounds a year.  Our successful men in
trade and commerce marry young, like George Stephenson, and the wife
helps him up in the world in more ways than one.  Dr. Smiles, in his
little book on Self-Help, gives us the following anecdote respecting J.
Flaxman and his wife—“Ann Denham was the name of his wife—and a cheery,
bright-souled, noble woman she was.  He believed that in marrying her he
should be able to work with an intenser spirit; for, like him, she had a
taste for poetry and art! and, besides, was an enthusiastic admirer of
her husband’s genius.  Yet when Sir Joshua Reynolds—himself a
bachelor—met Flaxman shortly after his marriage, he said to him, ‘So,
Flaxman, I am told you are married; if so, sir, I tell you, you are
ruined for an artist.’  Flaxman went straight home, sat down beside his
wife, took her hand in his, and said, ‘Ann, I am ruined for an artist.’
‘How so, John?  How has it happened?  And who has done it?’  ‘It
happened,’ he replied, ‘in the church; and Ann Denham has done it.’  He
then told her of Sir Joshua’s remark—whose opinion was well known, and
has been often expressed, that if students would excel they must bring
the whole powers of their mind to bear upon their art from the moment
they rise until they go to bed; and also, that no man could be a great
artist, unless he studied the grand works of Raffaelle, Michael Angelo,
and others, at Rome and Florence.  ‘And I,’ said Flaxman, drawing up his
little figure to its full height, ‘I would be a great artist.’  ‘And a
great artist you shall be,’ said his wife, ‘and visit Rome, too, if that
be really necessary to make you great.’  ‘But how?’ asked Flaxman.  ‘Work
and economise,’ rejoined his brave wife: ‘I will never have it said that
Ann Denham ruined John Flaxman for an artist.’  And so it was determined
by the pair that the journey to Rome was to be made when their means
would admit.  ‘I will go to Rome,’ said Flaxman, ‘and show the President
that wedlock is for man’s good rather than for his harm, and you, Ann,
shall accompany me.’  He kept his word.”

By forbidding our young men and maidens matrimony, we blast humanity in
its very dawn.  Fathers, you say you teach your sons prudence—you do
nothing of the kind; your worldly-wise and clever son is already ruined
for life.  You will find him at Cremorne and at the Argyle Rooms.  Your
wretched worldly-wisdom taught him to avoid the snare of marrying young;
and soon, if he is not involved in embarrassments which will last him a
life, he is a _blasé_ fellow; heartless, false; without a single generous
sentiment or manly aim; he has—

    “No God, no heaven, in the wide world.”



CHAPTER XIII.
BREACH OF PROMISE CASES.


Every now and then, while the courts sit at Westminster, the general
public derives an immense amount of entertainment from what are described
as breach of promise cases.  It is true there is a wonderful sameness
about them.  The defendant is amorous, and quotes a great deal of poetry.
The court vastly enjoys the perusal of his letters, and the papers quote
them entire and unabridged.  The lady suffers much, and the public
sympathies are decidedly with her.  Of course there are some atrocious
cases, for which the men who figure in them cannot be punished too
severely; but as a rule, we do think the men have the worst of it.  A
young man is thrown into the company of an attractive young female; they
both have little to do at the time, and naturally fall in love.  She has
as much to do with the matter as he, and yet, if he begins to think that
he cannot keep a wife—that the marriage will not promote the happiness of
the parties concerned—that the affair was rash, and had better be broken
off—he is liable to an action for breach of promise.  Such cases are
constantly occurring.  The jury being decidedly romantic—thinking love in
a cottage to be Elysium—forgetting the vulgar saying that when poverty
comes in at the door love flys out of the window—mark their sense of the
enormity of the defendant’s conduct in refusing to make an imprudent
marriage, by awarding to the lady substantial damages.

Now, we can understand how English jurymen—generally men with
marriageable daughters, can easily make up their minds to give damages in
such cases, but we more than question the invariable justice of such a
course.  When affection has died out, we can conceive no greater curse
than a marriage; yet either that must be effected, or the jury will
possibly agree to damages that may ruin the defendant for life.  This we
deem bad, nor do we think that a woman should always have before her the
certainty that the promise given in that state of mind, which poets
describe as brief insanity, an amiable jury will consider as an
equivalent to an I.O.U. to any amount they please.  We do protest against
confounding a legal promise to marry with a promise to pay the bearer on
demand £1000.  We rather fear that this distinction is likely to be
overlooked, not but that occasionally an action for breach of promise has
a very happy effect.  It serves as a moral lesson to ardent youths of an
amorous disposition.  It also furnishes the broken-hearted and forsaken
fair with a dowry, which has been known to purchase her a husband in
almost as good a state of preservation as the gentleman who was to have
borne that honoured name.  All that we find fault with is the number of
such cases.

A gay deceiver is no enviable character for any respectable man to wear.
No man of mental or moral worth would voluntarily assume it.  But a
spinster coming to a court of justice, and saying to the defendant, “You
have taken my heart, give me your purse,” is no very desirable position
for a woman, though she may have the fortitude and strength of mind of a
Mrs. Caudle herself.  At any rate, the legal view of woman is very
different to the poetical one, and for ourselves we infinitely prefer the
latter.  The view of the jury is, that a woman not marrying a man who has
evidently no love for her, or he would not have married another, is to
the plaintiff an injury—we think it is a happy escape—and an injury which
deepens as the courtship lengthens.  The jury reasons that the plaintiff,
Mary Brown, is as good-tempered a girl as ever lived—that provided she
could but marry she did not care who made her his wife.  The position of
the sexes is reversed, and the woman sings—

    “How happy could I be with either,
    Were t’other dear charmer away.”

According to the jury, if Jones had not married Mary Brown, Jenkins
would—consequently hers is a double loss.  So that if a woman reaches the
ripe age of thirty, by this arithmetic she is more wronged than she would
have been had she been a blooming lass of twenty.  In the same manner
there is a delicate sliding-scale for defendants in such cases.  A
bridegroom well-made and well-to-do has to pay no end of sovereigns for
the damage he has done; while a short time since, a defendant who had
been attacked with paralysis was let off for £50.  Woman, in this view of
the case, is as dangerous as a money-lender or a shark.  Byron tells us—

    “Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart—
    ’Tis woman’s whole existence.”

But our modern juries give us a very different reading.  We prefer,
however, to abide by the old.

Most undoubtedly to win the affections of a woman and then desert her is
a crime—but it is of a character too ethereal to be touched by human law.
If the woman’s heart be shattered by the blow, no amount of
money-compensation can heal the wound, and a woman of much worth and of
the least delicacy would shrink from the publicity such cases generally
confer on all the parties interested in them.  But if the principle be
admitted, that disappointment in love can be atoned for by the possession
of solid cash—if gold can heal the heart wounded by the fact that its
love has been repelled—that its confidence has been betrayed—we do not
see why the same remedy should not be within the reach of man.  And yet
this notoriously is not the case.  When anything of the sort is tried the
unhappy plaintiff seldom gets more than a farthing damages.  Besides,
what upright, honourable man would stoop for a moment to such a thing;
and yet, in spite of all modern enlightment, we maintain that the injury
of a breach of promise on the part of a woman is as great as that on the
part of a man.  In the morning of life men have been struck down by such
disappointments, and through life have been blasted as the oak by the
lightning’s stroke.  With his heart gone—demoralised, the man has lived
to take a fearful revenge for the first offence, possibly to become a
cold cynic—sceptical of man’s honour and woman’s love.  Yet breach of
promise cases are not resorted to by men, and we cannot congratulate our
fair friends on the fact that so many of them come into courts of law as
plaintiffs in such cases.  Bachelors will fear that, after all, it is
true that—

    “Maidens, like moths, are ever caught by glare,
    And Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair.”

And the result will be that while the more impetuous of us will commit
ourselves at once, and come within the clutches of law, the more cool and
cunning will excite hopes, which deferred will make sick the heart, and
inspire an affection which may exist but to torment the heart in which it
had its birth.  Ay, beneath such mental grief the beauty and blessedness
of life may vanish, never to return, and yet all the while he who did the
deed may defy the power of human law.

Some letters which have recently appeared in the _Manchester Examiner_
may be taken as evidence that these breach of promise cases interfere
very materially with marriages.  In the immediate neighbourhood of
Manchester the question, Why don’t the men propose? appears to have
excited considerable interest.  In that busy region men fall in love and
get married, and have families, and are gathered to their fathers, just
as do the rest of her Majesty’s subjects in other parts of the United
Kingdom.  But it seems the Lancashire witches are many of them still on
their parent’s hands.  Paterfamilias gets anxious.  Deeply revolving the
question under the signature of “A Family Man,” he sends the following
letter to the Editor of the journal alluded to—

“Sir, Your cosmopolitan journal,” he writes to the Editor, “must have
many readers interested in the question ‘Why don’t the men propose?’  It
would be dangerous to say I have found the entire solution to this
enigma, for fear of disclosing a mare’s nest; but I will warrant that one
of the most powerful causes of the shyness of men in matters matrimonial,
is the frequency of breach of promise prosecutions.  A lady may be quite
justified in prosecuting the man who has deceived her, but is she wise in
doing so?  Or if acting wisely for herself, does she not lower the
character of her sex?  Men think so, depend upon it.  Your wavering,
undecided, fastidious bachelor is a great newspaper reader, and devours
breach of promise cases, and after reading that Miss Tepkins has obtained
so many hundred pounds’ damages against Mr. Topkins,
soliloquises:—‘Humph!  It seems, then, that the best salve for a wounded
heart is gold.  Bah! women only marry for a home.  It is clear the woman
is the only gainer, else why estimate her disappointment at so many
hundred pounds?  She gives a man nothing for his promise to marry but her
heart (if that), and how much is _it_ worth?  What recompense can he get
from her should she steal back the heart she professes to have given him!
I’ll take jolly good care I never make a promise of marriage to a woman
(which means a bond for so many hundred or thousand pounds).  No; if I
marry, I marry; but catch me promising.’  And thus, for fear of being
trapped into committing himself, he avoids the society of women (where he
might learn not only to really love, but to see the sophistry of his
reasoning), and eventually settles down into old bachelorhood.  What do
the ladies say to this?  Don’t let them think I am a crusty old bachelor.
Heaven forfend!  I protest my supreme admiration of the fair sex, and had
better say I am, A FAMILY MAN.”

“An unmarried young girl” replies: “Sir, In looking over your valuable
paper of to-day, I saw a letter headed, ‘Why do not the men propose?’
which I read with great interest, as I found that the writer, although of
the opposite sex, was of the same opinion as myself, in regard to ladies
prosecuting their late lovers for breach of promise of marriage.  I do
think it shows in them a mean spirit of revenge, of which a lady should
not be guilty.  It certainly does look as if they thought more of a
shelter, a name, and a ring, than they do of a comfortable home and a
loving and affectionate husband.  I do not think it wise of them, as it
must lower themselves and all their sex in the estimation of the other
sex.  Besides, it does not speak much of their love for their lovers, for
you know love hides many faults.  I have never been deceived by any man,
and I hope I never may, but the best advice I can give to my poor
deceived sisters is to try and forget their faithless swains, and leave
them to the stings and reflections of their own consciences, which will
be a far greater punishment to them than parting with thousands of gold
and silver.  Let them be thankful that they have shown themselves in
their true colours before they had entered on a life of unhappiness and
misery, feeling assured that the man who could deceive a fond, loving
woman is a man of no principle at all.  For my own part, I would scorn
the man who ever proved false to a woman,—I would not trust him even in
business.”  After this condemnation by a woman, let us trust we shall
hear less for the future of breach of promise cases.



CHAPTER XIV.
COMMERCIAL LONDON.


In the Loudon Bankruptcy Court, at times, melancholy revelations are
made—revelations which, indeed, do “point a moral,” though they can
hardly be said “to adorn a tale.”  Too generally the manifestations are
the same—the hastening to be rich, which to so many has been a snare—the
vulgar attempt to keep up appearances and impose on the world—the
recklessness and want of honour and principle which prevail where we
should least have expected it, in the middle classes, who, as the heart
and core of the nation, at times are apt to be too indiscriminately
eulogised.  Last week an illustration of what we mean occurred.  It came
out in evidence that a bankrupt had goods from a London wholesale house,
not for his legitimate trade, but merely that, by their sale at less than
cost price, funds might be provided for the passing exigencies of the
hour.  These goods were not unpacked, but at once sent up to a London
auctioneer and sold.  Nor, it seems, was this an isolated case—the custom
is a common one; it is but what takes place every day.  Again, a
tradesman is in difficulties—he goes to his principal creditor, who says,
“Well you must not stop yet—you must try and reduce my debt first,”—goods
are ordered from Manchester or Birmingham—and, perhaps without being
unpacked, taken to the warehouse of the London creditor—the tradesman
then applies to the Bankruptcy Court, and, as his books are well kept, a
_sine qua non_ with the Commissioners—and, as the principal creditor
makes things as smooth as possible, the man gets a first-class
certificate and begins again.  Bill discounters tell you of the number of
forged bills which pass through their hands, and which are sure to be
taken up when due.  Even the oldest and proudest firms are not free from
shame.  My readers need not that I remind them of the conduct of Gurney,
Overend, & Co. with reference to the forged spelter warrants.  A city
lawyer, a man of considerable practice and experience, once assured me he
did not believe there was such a thing as commercial morality—but we must
hope that he had seen so much of the dark side, as to forget that there
was a bright side at all, but that the true feeling in the city is not of
the highest character is evident if we recall the sympathy displayed
toward the directors of the Royal British Bank—and again exhibited in the
case of Strachan and Sir John Dean Paul, or remember the ridiculous
manifestations of the gentlemen of the Stock Exchange and Mincing Lane,
of which Tom Sayers was the embarrassed subject.  How wide-spread was the
delirium of the railway mania—what rascalities have been laid bare by the
bursting of some of our insurance and other companies.  Take that list
just published by Mr. Spachman, Jun., of the losses sustained by public
companies through the inadequate system of the audit of accounts.  The
list is short, but not sweet.

    “The Royal British Bank.—Stopped payment in 1856.  The failure was
    caused by making advances to directors and others on improper and
    insufficient securities.  Capital, £200,000; deposits, £540,000; on
    which 15s. in the pound has been returned; deficiency, 5s. in the
    pound; £135,000; total, £335,000.

    “The Tipperary Bank.—Failure caused by the frauds of Sadleir.
    Accounts were wilfully falsified.  Capital, £500,000; deposits,
    £700,000; total, £1,200,000.  The whole has been lost.

    “The London and Eastern Bank.—In this case the notorious Colonel
    Waugh appropriated to himself an amount equal to the whole paid-up
    capital of the bank, and has since absconded and set his creditors at
    defiance.  The loss exceeds £250,000.

    “The Crystal Palace Company.—The frauds of Robson, committed by
    tampering with the transfer-books, entailed a loss of £100,000.

    “The Great Northern Railway Company.—Redpath’s frauds, committed in a
    similar manner to Robson’s.  The auditors here were greatly at fault,
    as I understand that dividends were paid on a larger amount of stock
    than had been issued.  Loss, £250,000.

    “The Union Bank of London.—The frauds just discovered, committed by
    the head cashier, William George Pullinger, by means of a fictitious
    pass-book, representing the account between the Union Bank and the
    Bank of England.  The frauds are said to have extended over a period
    of five years, and with a proper check in the audit, ought to have
    been detected in the first half-year.”

The men who did these things—the Redpaths, and Sadleirs, and Colonel
Waughs—were men known and respected, be it remembered, in London life.

The _Times_ says our law is worthy a nation of savages.  We have a great
deal to do yet, just remember the Hudson testimonial.  There were our
merchant princes, men of integrity, of talent, of skill—men who have made
the name of British merchant a term of honour as far as our flag can
reach.  If London wished to reward successful industry, it might have
looked amongst them.  In this great city there was more than one lord of
thousands, who came here with hardly a penny in his pocket, or shoes on
his feet.  London might have raised a testimonial to one of them; and had
it done so, every unfledged clerkling and embryo Rothschild would have
glowed as he saw how industry, and wealth, and honour, went hand in hand.
With what delight would the young aspirant for wealth have returned to
the study of those refreshing maxims in ethics which grandmammas so
zealously impress upon the juvenile mind, and of which the British public
are not a little fond.  But a testimonial was given to Mr. Hudson for
none of these things.  It was not for honesty, or industry, or worth,
that he was rewarded.  It was simply for speculation—for a course of
conduct utterly hostile to legitimate business, which has made many a
decent tradesman a bankrupt, and which has turned many an honest man into
a knave.  England stamped with its approval a system the morality of
which is somewhat questionable.  It bade the young man eschew the dulness
of the counter and the office for the magic wand of speculation.  It
passed by the industrious merchant, the philanthropist, the patriot, to
worship the golden calf, as did the Hebrews of old.

Eighteen hundred years back, on the plains of Palestine, appeared a
carpenter’s son, with a divine mission but a human heart.  He preached no
cash gospel—He was no prophet in the eyes of the rich.  He had His
testimonial—He reaped it in the bad man’s deadly hate.  Alas! the Hebrew
nature is the true and universal one.  In Mr. Hudson’s, there is the
testimonial of the rich—for the Christ, and those who would follow in His
steps, there is the thorny path and the open tomb.  Let us not imagine
that we are one whit better than the Hebrew.  The Hudson testimonial
proves a common paternity.  Gold has still more charms than God.  As Mr.
Bright, if not in so many words, but in spirit, says, “Perish Savoy,
rather than not trade with France,” so the London merchant and tradesman
ignore too often honour and conscience, and morality, for vulgar gain.

It requires great philosophy to get over the effects of City Life.  “Let
any one,” says Addison, “behold the kind of faces he meets as soon as he
passes Cheapside Conduit, and you see a deep attention and a certain
feeble sharpness in every countenance; they look attentive, but their
thoughts are engaged on mean purposes.”  This feeling is perpetuated.
Addison remarks of a gentleman of vast estate, whose grandfather was a
trader, “that he is a very honest gentleman in his principles, but cannot
for his life talk fairly; he is heartily sorry for it, but he cheats by
constitution, and overreaches by instinct.”  I heard of such a one the
other day—A, a city merchant, married his daughter to B.  A proposed that
A and B should stock the cellar of the young couple with vine—B agreed—A
purchased the wine—got a discount—and charged B full price for his
share—yet A was rich as Crœsus.  I have seen this grasping displayed by
city boys.  The writer was once accosted by some little children with a
request that he would contribute something towards a “grotto,” on his
declining any assistance, he was politely informed that he was no good,
as he had “got no money.”

London abounds with Montagu Tiggs, and a genuine article of any kind in
any trade, if by any possibility it can be adulterated, by painful
experience we know it, is utterly impossibly to buy.  In trade, words
have long ceased to represent things.  We need not dwell at length on the
wrong thus inflicted on the community at large, all feel the minor evils
resulting from such conduct, and occasionally we hear of sickness
induced, or of life lost,—and for what? merely that Brown may get an
extra farthing on the rascally rubbish he sells as the genuine article.
I fear these are not times in which we may argue for the abolition of
death punishments.  Such things as these sadly teach us that in London
commercial morality is in danger of undergoing gradual
demoralisation—that we are in danger of becoming absorbed in the pursuit
of material wealth, careless of the price it may cost—that our standard
of morality is not now as it ought to be in a city that boasts its
Christian life and light, and that from London the evil circulates all
over the British realm.

In proof of this, we may appeal to the occurrences of every day.  Our
great cities are shadowed over by the giant forms of vice and crime.
Like a thick cloud, ignorance, dense and dark, pervades the land.
Ascending higher to the well-to-do classes, we find bodily comfort to be
the great end of life; we find everything that can conduce to its
realization is understood—that the priests and ministers of the sensual
are well paid—that a good cook, like a diamond, has always value in the
market.  M. Soyer, as cook, in the Reform Club, pocketed, we believe,
£800 a year.  Hood, in the dark days of his life, when weakened by the
fierce struggle with the world and its wants, became the prey of the
spoiler, and would have died of starvation had not Government granted him
a pension.  Many a man, in whose breast genius was a presence and a power
has been suffered to pine and starve; but who ever heard of a cook dying
of starvation?  How is it, then, that such is the case, that so much is
done for the body, and so little for the mind? that at this time the
teacher of spiritual realities can but at best scrape together as much
salary as a lawyer’s clerk?  We are not speaking now of wealthy fellows
who repose on beds of roses, but of the busy earnest men who from the
pulpit, or the press, or the schoolmaster’s desk, proclaim the morality
and truth without which society would become a mass of corruption and
death.  How is it that they are overlooked, and that honour is paid to
the soldier who gives up his moral responsibility, and does the devil’s
work upon condition that food and raiment be granted him—to mere wealth
and rank—to what is accidental rather than to what is true and valuable
in life?  The truth is our civilization is hardly worthy of the name?  We
may say, in the language of Scripture, we have not attained, neither are
we already perfect.  We have but just seen the dim grey of morn, and we
boast that we bask in the sunshine of unclouded day.  Our commercial
morality brands our civilization with a voice of thunder, as an imposture
and a sham.

Undoubtedly we are a most thinking, rational, sober, and religious
people.  It is a fact upon which we rather pride ourselves.  It is one of
which we are firmly convinced, and respecting which we are apt to become
somewhat garrulous, and not a little dull.  On this head we suffer much
good-natured prosing in ourselves and others.  Like the Pharisees of old,
we go up into the temple and thank God that we are not rationalists, like
the Germans, or infidels, like the French.  We are neither Turks nor
Papists, but, on the contrary, good honest Christian men.  It may be that
we are a little too much given to boasting—that we are rather too fond of
giving our alms before men—that when we pray, it is not in secret and
when the door is shut, but where the prayer can be heard and the devotion
admired; but we are what we are—and we imagine we get on indifferently
well.  We might, possibly, be better—certainly we might be worse; but, as
it is, we are not particularly dissatisfied, and have ever, on our faces,
a most complacent smirk, testifying so strongly, to our pleasing
consciousness, of the many virtues we may happen to possess, but in spite
of all this we need a considerable increase and improvement as regards
what is called commercial morality.



CHAPTER XV.
LONDON GENTS.


The newspapers, a few years since, contained an instance of folly such as
we seldom meet with, even in this foolish generation.  Two young
men—gents, we presume—one Sunday evening promenading Regent Street, the
admired of all beholders, met two young ladies of equally genteel
manners, and equally fashionable exterior.  It is said,

    “When Greek meet Greek, then comes the tug of war.”

In this case, however, the adage was reversed.  The encounter, so far
from being hostile, was friendly in the extreme.  Our gay Lotharios,
neither bashful nor prudent, learned that their fascinating enchantresses
were the daughters of a Count, whose large estates were situated neither
in the moon, nor in the New Atlantic, nor in the “golden Ingies,” nor in
the lands remote, where a Gulliver travelled or a Sinbad sailed, but in
France itself.  That they had come to England, bringing with them simply
their two hundred pounds a quarter, that they might, in calm
retirement—without the annoyances to which their rank, if known, would
subject them—judge for themselves what manner of men we were.  The tale
was simple, strange, yet certainly true.  Ladies of charming manners, and
distinguished birth—young—lovely—each with two hundred pounds a
quarter—cast upon this great Babylon, without a friend—no man with the
heart of an Englishman could permit such illustrious strangers to wander
unprotected in our streets.  Accordingly an intimacy was
commenced—letters written behind the counter, but dated from the Horse
Guards, signed as if the composer were a peer of the realm, were sent in
shoals to Foley-place.  The result was, that after our Regent Street
heroes were bled till no more money could be had, the secret was
discovered, and they found themselves, not merely miserably bamboozled,
but a laughing-stock besides.

But this tale has a moral.  Ellam—he of the ill-spelt letters and the
Horse Guards—was a shopman somewhere in Piccadilly.  No person of any
education could have been taken in by so trumpery a tale.  Did the young
men in our shops have time for improvement, could they retire from
business at a reasonable hour, could they be permitted to inform and
strengthen the mind, such a remarkable instance of folly as that to which
we have alluded could not possibly occur.

The gent of the Regent Street style, of whom poor Wright used to sing to
an Adelphi audience, was evidently a very badly-dressed and
ill-bred-fellow in spite of the fact that his vest was of the last cut,
that his tile was faultless, that his boots were ditto, and that none
could more gracefully

    “puff a cigar.”

The gents of to-day are the same.  I was amused by hearing of a party of
them, connected with one of the city houses, who went into the country
one Easter Monday to enjoy themselves; they did enjoy themselves, as all
young fellows should, thoroughly, but from their enjoyment they were
recalled to a sense of dignity, by a characteristic remark of one of
them, as he saw passers by, “Hush, hush!” he exclaimed, “They will think
we are retail.”  A writer in the _Builder_ remarking the degeneracy of
regular cocknies attributes it to the want of good air, the expensive
nature of a good education, the sedentary employment of many of them.
And no doubt these reasons are the true ones, and of considerable force.
Well might Coleridge anticipate for his son as prosperous career as
compared with his own.

             “I was reared
    In the great city, pent ’mid cloister dim,
    And saw naught lovely but the sky and stars;
    But _thou_, my babe, shall wander in the breeze,
    By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
    Of ancient mountains; beneath the clouds
    Which image in their arch both lakes and shores,
    And mountain crags, so shall thou see and hear
    The lovely shapes and sounds unchangeable,
    Of that eternal language which thy God utters.”

This is true, and hence, let us judge leniently of the lad living within
the sound of Bow Bells.  Nature is the best and truest teacher a man can
have—and it is little of nature that the cockney sees, or hears, and
feels.  He goes to Richmond, but, instead of studying the finest panorama
in the world, he stupifies himself with doubtful port; he visits the
Crystal Palace, but it is for the sake of the lobster-salad; he runs down
to Greenwich, not to revel in that park, beautiful still in spite of the
attacks of London on its purity, but to eat white-bait; he takes, it may
be, the rail or the steamboat to Gravesend, but merely that he may dance
with milliners at Tivoli.  The only idea of a garden to a London gent, is
a place where there is dancing, and drinking, and smoking going on.  And
this is a type of his inbred depravity.  He has no rational amusements.
In the winter time shut up the casinos, and do away with the half-price
at the theatres, and the poor fellow is _hors de combat_, and has nothing
left him but suicide or delirium tremens.  Literary and Scientific
Institutions don’t answer in London—even a place like the Whittington
Club, where any respectable young man belonging to the middle classes may
find a home, is by no means (so I have understood) a success.

Tom Moore says there is not in the world so stupid or boorish a
congregation as the audience of an English play-house.  I fear there is
some truth in this as regards London.  The regular cockney is not a fine
sample of the genus homo, in the first place he is very conceited, and
when a man is that, it is little that will do him good; in the second
place, he thinks only of business and pleasure, he lives well, dresses
well, goes to church once on the Sunday, and laughs at new-fangled
opinions, and wonders why people grumble, and believes all he reads in
the _Times_.  If you want to start any successful agitation you must
begin it in the provinces.  The Anti-Corn Law League had its seat at
Manchester, the Reform agitation had its head quarters at Birmingham.
The wisest thing done by the United Kingdom-Alliance, was to plant
themselves in Manchester rather than in London.  Sydney Smith said it
required a severe surgical operation to make a Scotchman understand a
joke, it is almost as difficult to get a Londoner to understand anything
new; he is slow to recognise worth or virtue, and if any of his own
connection rise, he exclaims, with the writing-master, who would not
believe Newton was a good mathematician, “the fool, he is an hour over a
sum in the rule of three.”

The truth is we are a city of shopkeepers; and if intellectual pursuits
be denied to those engaged in trade, the consequence must be the popular
opinion must be that of those who know little else than the business of
the shop, and as a consequence a curse will go forth to the remotest
corner of the land.  Bigotry, prejudice, falsehood, and passion will be
rampant and rife, and truth and reason will be trampled under foot.  Just
as manhood is forming, just as the moral and intellectual parts of our
nature are developing themselves, just as life becomes a reality, and
glimpses of the work to be done, and of the blessedness of doing it,
catch and charm the youthful eye, the victim is compelled to stand behind
the counter, and is threatened with beggary if he fail practically to
remember that the pursuit of money, to the utter exclusion of aught
higher and nobler, is the end for which life is given man.  No wonder
such a system fearfully avenges itself—that the sensual is exalted—that
we meet so little in accordance with principle and truth.  Debarred from
intellectual pursuits, what awaits our young men but frivolous
excitement?  Ignorant, with the feelings of our common nature unnaturally
aroused—with minds enfeebled by lack of healthy exercise—our middle
class—the class perhaps the most important in our land—stands by society
in its conventionalism and falsehood and wrong, and we mourn and sigh
over giant ills, that we cannot grapple with effectually because we go
the wrong way to work.

A great want of our age is education for the middle classes.  We want to
have them taught to believe in something else than the shop or the desk.
We want them to believe the mind as fully entitled to their care as the
body, and the money-bag but poor and impotent compared with the
well-spent life.  We would publish the all-important truth—a truth that
shall live and fructify when the great city in which we write shall have
become a desert-waste—the truth that man was made in the image of his
maker, and that the heart that beats within is capable of divinity
itself.  We may have drawn in dark colours our national state.  We fear
the picture is but too true; and that till something be done to burst the
bonds of habit, and educate the youth in our shops, the picture will
continue to be true.  We write not to deprecate the land of our birth; it
is one dear to us by every remembrance of the past and hope for the
future.  Because we thus cling to it do we deplore and expose what we
deem to be wrong, and that our social condition may be healthy, that our
civilization may be complete that our faith may be a living leavening
power, do we ask the emancipation of the sons and daughters of trade—that
that long-looked-for hour may quickly come.



CHAPTER XVI.
THE LONDON VOLUNTEERS.


In spite of Lord Palmerston’s injudicious attempt to check the rifle
movement in its infancy, there can be no doubt now but that it is a
complete success.  The appeal to the martial spirit—more or less strong
in the hearts of all Englishmen—has been most cheerfully responded to.
Something of the kind was evidently required to excite the energies and
to occupy the leisure hours of our numerous youth.  We are always in
danger of becoming too peaceable a folk.  Our avocations, all of a
mercantile or professional character,—our amusements, less out-door, and
more sedentary, than ought to be the case,—the very humane spirit which
pervades all English society,—our enormous wealth; all tend to make us
peaceably disposed.  None can be alarmed at our warlike demonstrations.
No nation in Europe need fear a British invasion.  No foreign government
can possibly pretend that the British government harbours designs of
active hostility against any European power.  Indeed, the naturally and
necessarily peaceful intentions of this country are candidly acknowledged
by the most eminent men in France itself.  Michel Chevalier, in his
account of a recent visit to this country, has done ample justice to our
moderation, and to our desire to be at peace with all the world.

We may, then, view the increase of our volunteer riflemen without any
alarm—nay, rather with a considerable amount of pleasure.  People
connected with fast life, tell us that the falling off of the attendance
of young men at the casinos is something very remarkable; the reason of
this is attributed to the fact that they are engaged and interested in
their drill.  It is with unmixed satisfaction, that we see, day by day,
the long columns of the _Times_ filled with the names of the towns which
have just joined the movement, and the proceedings of those which already
possess a corps of riflemen.  The _Times_ tells us, that already the
force thus raised consists of 170,000, of whom half nearly are Londoners;
but the movement, we trust, will continue to be developed for some time
to come.  Every young man should join it, as it gives him healthy
recreation, soldier-like habits, and a feeling that he is a son of our
common mother—fine Old England, the land of the brave and the free.  We
are much in the habit of doing our work by proxy.  Shareholders, in
companies, leave the management to a few directors, and learn, too late,
to curse their folly.  Institutions of the most excellent character, in
the hands of a few become perverted, and are often real stumbling-blocks
in the way of reform.  So it is with our army and navy.  We pay for them
handsomely, we intrust their management to a few, and then we wake up to
find that we have been trusting on a broken reed; that our guns, and
muskets, are old-fashioned; that routine and favouritism in office are
more than a match for the cleverest of officers and the bravest of men;
and that we have almost all our work to begin over again.  Now, one great
advantage of the rifle movement is that it throws us back upon
ourselves—that it teaches us all to feel that we have a personal stake in
the defence of the country—that it recalls the martial energy which we
are fast in danger of losing, and makes all panic-fear for the future
impossible.  Surely, also, the moral effect of all this on Europe must be
great.  The nation that arms itself is always respected.  It is the
French army that makes the name of the French Emperor so famous in all
parts of the world.  Again, the nation that is always protected is safe
from attack.  People do not go to war with strong states, but weak ones.
In the fable, the wolf quarrels not with the wolf, but the lamb.  It
ought not to be so, we freely admit; but we must take the world as we
find it, and act accordingly.  And the _morale_ of all history is that
there is no such safeguard of peace as the knowledge that a nation has
set its house in order, and is thoroughly prepared for war.

Look back at the olden time, when we triumphed at Agincourt, Cressy, and
Poictiers—when we won for England her foremost place among the nations of
earth.  A writer in the _Cambridge Chronicle_ has collected all that he
can find relative to “_The Longbow of the past_, _the Rifle of the
future_,” and done good service by its republication under the title
already given.

There is a muster-roll of the army of Henry V. preserved among Rymer’s
unprinted collection in the British Museum.  The Earl of Cambridge
appears in it with a personal retinue of 2 knights, 57 esquires, and 100
horse archers.  The Duke of Clarence brought in his retinue 1 earl, 2
bannerets, 14 knights, 222 esquires, and 720 horse archers.  The roll
includes 2,536 men-at-arms, 4,128 horse archers, 38 arblesters
(cross-bowmen), 120 miners, 25 master gunners, 50 servitor gunners, a
stuffer of bacinets, 12 armourers, 3 kings of arms.  A Mr. Nicholas
Colnet, a physician, also brought 3 archers, 20 surgeons, an immense
retinue of labourers, artisans, fletchers, bowyers, wheelwrights,
chaplains, and minstrels.  Foot-archers were not enumerated, but the
total number of effective soldiers amounted to 10,731.  These were the
men who gained the field at Agincourt.  Philip de Comines acknowledged
that English archery excelled that of every other nation, and Sir John
Fortesque states “that the might of the Realme of England standyth upon
archers.”  In the reign of Henry II. the English conquests in Ireland
were principally owing, it is recorded, to the use of the long bow.  The
victory gained over the Scots, by Edward I., in 1298, at the great battle
of Falkirk, was chiefly won by the power of the English bowmen.  In 1333
Edward III., with small loss, gained a signal victory at Halidown Hill,
near Berwick, when attacked by the Scots under the Earl of Douglas.
Speed gives, from Walsingham, the following description of the
battle:—“The chief feat was wrought by the English archers, who first
with their stiff, close, and cruel storms of arrows made their enemies’
footmen break; and when the noble Douglas descended to the charge with
his choicest bands, himself being in a most rich and excellently tempered
armour, and the rest singularly well-appointed,—the Lord Percy’s archers
making a retreat did withal deliver their deadly arrows so lively, so
courageously, so grievously, that they ran through the men-at-arms, bored
the helmets, beat their lances to the earth, and easily shot those who
were more slightly armed through and through.”  Gibbon notes the singular
dread with which the English archers filled their enemies in the
crusades, and states, “that at one time Richard, with seventeen knights
and 300 archers, sustained the charge of the whole Turkish and Saracen
army.”  In the reign of Richard II., in 1377, the Isle of Wight was
invaded by the French, who landed in great force at Franche-Ville (called
afterwards Newtown), which they destroyed, and then directed their march
to Carisbrooke Castle, for the purpose of taking that stronghold.  The
news of the invasion soon spread throughout the island, and no time was
lost in mustering the forces which it possessed.  These forces consisted
chiefly of archers, who so admirably posted themselves in ambush, that
they rendered a good account of the advanced division of the French.  The
other division of the enemy had commenced an attack on Carisbrooke
Castle, when the victorious archers advanced to its relief, and soon
cleared the island of the intruders.  The battle of Shrewsbury, in 1403,
was one of the most desperate encounters ever seen in England.  The
archers on both sides did terrible execution.  Henry IV. and the Prince
of Wales on one side, and Earl Douglas with Henry Hotspur, son of the
Earl of Northumberland, on the other, performed prodigies of valour.  At
length, Hotspur being slain and Douglas taken, Henry remained master of
the field.

The bow was the most ancient and universal of all weapons.  Our ancestors
in this island, at a very early period of their history, used the bow,
like other nations, for two purposes.  In time of peace it was an
implement for hunting and pastime; and in time of war it was a formidable
weapon of offence and defence.  It was not till after the battle of
Hastings that our Anglo-Saxon forefathers learned rightly to appreciate
the merit of the bow and the cloth-yard shaft.  Though a general
disarming followed that event, the victor allowed the vanquished Saxon to
carry the bow.  The lesson taught by the superiority of the Norman
archers was not forgotten.  From that period the English archers began to
rise in repute, and in course of time proved themselves, by their
achievements in war, both the admiration and terror of their foes, and
excelled the exploits of other nations.  The great achievements of the
English bowmen, which shed lustre upon the annals of the nation, extended
over a period of more than five centuries, many years after the invention
and use of firearms.  All the youth and manhood of the yeomanry of
England were engaged in the practice of the long bow.  England,
therefore, in those times possessed a national voluntary militia, of no
charge to the government, ready for the field on a short notice, and well
skilled in the use of weapons.  Hence sprung the large bodies of
efficient troops which at different periods of English history, in an
incredibly short time, were found ready for the service of their country.
These men were not a rude, undisciplined rabble, but were trained,
disciplined men, every one sufficiently master of his weapon to riddle a
steel corslet at five or six score paces; or, in a body, to act with
terrific effect against masses of cavalry; while most of them could bring
down a falcon on the wing by a bird-bolt, or, with a broad arrow,
transfix the wild deer in the chase.  There is little at the present day
in England to afford any adequate idea of the high importance, the great
skill, and the distinguished renown of the English archers.  Some few
places still retain names which tell us where the bowmen used to assemble
for practice,—as _Shooter’s Hill_, _in Kent_; _Newington Butts_, _near
London_; and _St. Augustine’s Butts_, _near Bristol_.  Many of the noble
and county families of Great Britain and Ireland have the symbols of
archery charged on their escutcheons; as, for instance, the Duke of
Norfolk, on his bend, between six crosslets, bears an escutcheon charged
with a demi-lion pierced in the mouth with an arrow, within a double
tressure flory and counterflory.  This was an addition to the coat of his
Grace’s ancestor, the Earl of Surrey, who commanded at Flodden Field, in
1513.  There are also existing families which have derived their surnames
from the names of the different crafts formerly engaged in the
manufacture of the bow and its accompaniments; as, for instance, the
names of _Bowyer_, _Fletcher_, _Stringer_, _Arrowsmith_, &c.  If we refer
to our language, there will be found many phrases and proverbial
expressions drawn from or connected with archery; some suggesting
forethought and caution, as “_Always have two strings to your bow_;” it
being the custom of military archers to take additional bowstrings with
them into the field of battle; “_Get the shaft-hand of your
adversaries_;” “_Draw not thy bow before thy arrow be fixed_;” “_Kill two
birds with one shaft_.”  To make an enemy’s machinations recoil upon
himself, they expressed by saying, “_To outshoot a man in his own bow_.”
In reference to a vague, foolish guess, they used to say, “_He shoots
wide of his mark_;” and of unprofitable, silly conversation, “_A fool’s
bolt is soon shot_.”  The unready and the unskilful archer did not escape
the censure and warning of his fellows, although he might be a great man,
and boast that he had “_A famous bow—but it was up at the castle_.”  Of
such they satirically remarked that “_Many talked of Robin Hood_, _who
never shot in his bow_.”  Our ancestors also expressed liberality of
sentiment, and their opinion that merit belonged exclusively to no
particular class or locality, by the following pithy expressions, “_Many
a good bow besides one __in Chester_;” and “_An archer is known by his
aim_, _and not by his arrows_.”

And what was the result of all this practice with the bow?—why, that we
never feared invasion.  Those were not times when old ladies were
frightened out of their night’s sleep.  Every Englishman was a free and
fearless soldier; the foe might growl at a distance, but he never dared
to touch our shores—to plunder our cities—to massacre our smiling
babes—and to do outrage worse than death to our English womanhood; and so
it will be seen now that the bow has been superseded by the rifle, when
our young lads of public spirit respond to Tennyson’s patriotic appeal,
“Form, Riflemen, form!”



CHAPTER XVII.
CRIMINAL LONDON.


A _brochure_ of fifty pages, full of figures and tables, just issued,
contains the criminal statistics of the metropolis, as shown by the
police returns.  It is not very pleasant reading, in any sense, but it no
doubt has its value.  We learn from it that last year the police took
into custody 64,281 persons, of whom 29,863 were discharged by the
magistrates, 31,565 summarily disposed of, and 2,853 committed for trial;
of the latter number 2,312 were convicted, the rest being either
acquitted or not prosecuted, or in their cases true bills were not found.
About twenty years ago, in 1839, the number taken into custody rather
exceeded that of last year, being 65,965; although since that period 135
parishes, hamlets, and liberties, with, in 1850, a population of 267,267,
have been added to the metropolitan district, and although the entire
population must have greatly increased in the interval.  These returns
exhibits strange variations in the activity of the police; while last
year the apprehensions were, as stated, 64,281, in 1857 they amounted to
as much as 79,364.  The difference is 15,000, and of that number in
excess, not one-half were convicted, either summarily or after trial, the
rest forming an excess in the whole of those discharged by the
magistrates.  It is a striking fact that nearly half the number of all
whom the police take into custody are discharged, so that the
discrimination of the police is far from being on a par with its
activity.

Criminal London spends some considerable part of its time at Newgate,
Clerkenwell, Wandsworth, Hollowway, and other establishments well-known
to fame, and descriptions of which are familiar to the reader, but a
favourite resort, also, is Portland Goal, which, by the kindness of
Captain Clay, we were permitted, recently, to inspect.  Portland Goal is
situated on a neck of land near Weymouth.

To reach it, the better way is to take a passage in one of the numerous
steamers which ply between Weymouth and Portland.  In half an hour you
will find yourself at the bottom of the chalk hill on which the prison is
built.  If you are sound in limb, and not deficient in wind, in another
half hour you will find yourself at the principal entrance of the goal.
But to get at the Prison is no easy work.  The Captain of the steamer
will tell you, you must take a trap the moment you get on shore, but Jehu
will ask you so long a price as to put all idea of riding quite out of
the question.  The people on the island will give you but little
information, and that of rather a contradictory character.  Undoubtedly
the better plan is to trust to your own sense and legs.  On our way we
met an officer of the Royal Navy—a captain, we imagine.  Before us, at a
little distance, was what we took to be the prison, but we were not sure
of the fact, and accordingly asked the gallant officer.  We trust he was
not a type of the service.  He did not know what that building was before
him: he did not know whether there was a prison there; and then he
finished by asking us if we were one of the officials.  If the French do
come, let us hope Her Majesty’s fleet will have more acute officers than
our gallant acquaintance!  We arrived at the principal entrance,
notwithstanding the non-success of our queries with the brave marine, at
a quarter to one.  Before we enter, let us look around.  What a place for
a man to get braced up in!  What a jolly thing it would be for many a
London Alderman could he come here for a few months.  Just below is the
prison, clean, snug, and warm.  At our feet is the stupendous Breakwater,
within which lie, as we trust they may ever lie, idle and secure, some of
the ships comprising the Channel Fleet.  Here, stealing into the bay like
a bird with white wings, is a convict ship, coming to bear away to the
Bermudas some of the convicts now shut up within those stone walls.  If
you look well at her through the glass you can see her live freight on
board, for she only calls here for some fifty or sixty,—who, however,
have no wish to leave Portland for harder work and a less healthy
climate.  Beyond is Weymouth, and its comfortable hotels—its agreeable
promenade—and with, in summer time, its pleasant bathing.  Right across
St. Albyn’s Head, and on the other side the Dorset coast, and straight
across some eighty miles of the salt sea, is Cherbourg, with a breakwater
far more formidable than that above which we stand.  It is a clear bright
sky above us, and in the light of the sun the scene is beautiful almost
as one of fairy land.

We ring the bell—hand in, through a window, our letter of
introduction—are ushered into a wooden cage in which the janitor
sits—enter our name in a book, and sit down.  The officers, consisting of
about 160 men, exclusive of a small guard of soldiers, are coming in from
dinner.  In appearance they somewhat resemble our Coast-guard, are tall
fine men, with very red faces, and big black bushy whiskers.  The
principal warden came to receive us; he has been here ever since the
place has been opened, and we could not have had a better guide, or one
more competent to explain to us the nature of the important works carried
on.  And now we have passed into the very prison itself, and stand
surrounded by men who have committed almost every species of crime.
There are some fifteen hundred of them here from all parts of England;
stupid peasants from Suffolk and Norfolk, and clever rascals (these
latter are very troublesome) from London, and Birmingham, and Liverpool,
and other busy centres of industry, and intelligence, and life.  Says our
informant, We have a good many captains in the army here, and several
merchants, nor are we surprised at the information.

When we entered, the men had just dined, and were collected in the yard
previous to being examined and walked off in gangs, under the charge of
their respective officers, to work.  The gangs consisted of various
numbers, of from fifteen to thirty; each officer felt each man, to see
that nothing was hidden, and examined his number to see that it was all
right, and as each gang marches through the gate, the officer calls out
the number of the gang, and the number of men it contains, to the chief
officer, who enters it in his book.  As soon as this operation was over,
the gangs marched out, some to quarry stones for the Breakwater below;
and others, by far the larger number, to construct the enormous
barricades and fortifications which the Government has ordered as a
defence for that part of the world.  The prisoners who cannot stand this
hard work are employed in mending clothes, in making shoes, in baking,
and brewing, in the school-room, and other offices necessary in such an
enormous establishment.  In this latter employment no less a personage
than Sir John Dean Paul had been occupied till very recently.  The scene
was a busy one; all around us were convicts—here quarrying, there
employed in the manufacture of tools, or in carpenters’s or masons’s
work—all working well, and many of them cheerful in spite of the presence
of an official, and little apparently heeding the sentry standing near
with loaded gun ready to shoot, if need be, a runaway.  We have heard
gentlemen say that at Bermuda and at Gibraltar, the convicts will not
work.  All we can say is, that at Portland they do, and so effectually,
as to cost the country but little more than four or five pounds a year.
Our out door inspection over, we then went over the sleeping apartments,
and the chapel, and the kitchen, and laundry, and bakery.  The impression
left on us was very favourable.  The food is of the plainest, but most
satisfactory character.  The allowance for breakfast is 12 oz. of bread,
1 pint of tea or cocoa.  Dinner, 1 pint of soup, 5½ oz. of meat, 1 lb. of
potatoes, 6 oz., of bread or pudding.  Supper, 9 oz. of bread, 1 pint of
gruel or tea.  The chapel is a handsome building, capable of containing
fifteen hundred people, and the sleeping apartments were light and airy,
and well ventilated.  Each cell opens into a corridor, there being a
series of three or four storeys; each sleeping apartment can contain from
a hundred to five hundred men; in each cell there is a hammock, and all
that is requisite for personal cleanliness, besides a book or two which
the convict is allowed to have from the library.  Of course the manner of
life is somewhat monotonous.  Before coming to Portland, the prisoners
have passed their allotted time, (generally about nine months), in what
is termed separate confinement, at Pentonville, Millbank, Preston,
Bedford, Wakefield, or some other prison adapted for the first stage of
penal discipline.  Upon their reception they are made to undergo medical
inspection, a change of clothes, and are required to bathe; they are then
informed of the rules and regulations of the prison, and moved to school
for examination in educational attainments, with a view to their correct
classification.  Afterwards they receive an appropriate address from the
chaplain, and are allowed to write their first letter from Portland to
their relations.  They are then put to work, and are made to feel that
their future career depends in some measure on themselves.  Thus there
are four classes, and the convict in the best class may earn as much as
two shillings-a-week, which is put to his credit, and paid him when he
becomes free, partly by a post-office order, payable to him when he
reaches his destination, and partly afterwards.  The dress consists of
fustian, over which a blue smock frock with white stripes is thrown.
Convicts who are dangerous, and have maltreated their keepers, instead of
a frock have a coat of a somewhat loud and striking character.  Then,
again, a yellow dress denotes that the convict has attempted to escape;
and further, a blue cloth dress denotes that the wearer, engaged as a
pointsman, has but little more time to stay, and has a little more
freedom intrusted to him.  In the working days in summer the prison-bell
rouses all hands at a quarter-past five, allowing an hour for washing,
dressing, and breakfast.  Then comes morning service in the chapel.  They
are then marched off to labour, where they remain till eleven, when they
return to dinner.  At half-past twelve they are again paraded, and
dismissed to labour till six.  Suppers are distributed to each cell at
half-past six, and at seven evening service is held in the chapel.  The
prisoners then return to their cells.  In winter-time they are recalled
from labour at half-past four, prayers are read at five, and supper is
served at six; the prisoners then return to their cells.  At eight all
lights must be put out, and silence reigns in every hall, the slippered
night-guards alone gliding through the long and dimly-lighted galleries
like so many spectres.  It may be that sorrow is wakeful, but it is not
so at Portland.  If the men have troubled consciences and uneasy hours,
it is when they are at work, and not during the period allotted to
repose.  They are asleep as soon as ever the lights are put out, and till
the bell summons them to labour they sleep the sleep of the just.  Nor
can we wonder at it.  There is no sleep so sweet and precious, as that
earned by a long day’s work in the open air.

Attendance at chapel and walking exercise in the open air, are the two
great features of the Sunday’s employment; and, as a farther change, we
may mention, each prisoner is allowed half a day’s schooling per week.
While at work, of course they talk together,—it is impossible to prevent
that,—and they choose their companions, and have their friendships as if
they were free; and even, as in the case of Sir John Dean Paul,
maintain—or endeavour to do so—the social distinctions which were
accorded to them when supposed to be respectable members of respectable
society.  Altogether here, as at many a worse place than Portland, the
convicts must work hard, for the contractor depends on them for the
supply of stone which is sent down the tramway to the Breakwater; but
many of the men at Portland have been accustomed to hard labour all their
lives.  They are chiefly young and able-bodied, and here they are well
cared for and taught.  Surely here, if anywhere, the convict may repent
his crimes, and be fitted to return to society a wiser and a better man!
We cannot exactly say what are the effects of all this; but surely the
convicts must be better from this separation from their usual haunts and
associates.  Portland Prison is admirably adapted for carrying out a
great experiment in the treatment and improvement of the criminal
classes.  It has now been in existence twelve years, and the experiment
hitherto has succeeded.  At any rate, if it is a blunder, it is not a
costly one, like some establishments nearer town.

It is now nearly ten years since transportation to the colonies ceased to
be a punishment for criminal offences.  The Tasmanian and Australian
authorities refused to receive them; and the government establishment at
Norfolk Island was abandoned, the home government resolving to make an
effort to dispose of the convict population in some other manner.  The
convict establishment on the Island of Portland was the first scheme
proposed for the employment and reformation of offenders.  The principal
object was to secure a place of confinement for long-term convicts; the
next, to systematically apply the labour of such convicts to “national
works of importance,” the prosecution of which at once was profitable,
and afforded the means of training the convicts to habits of industry.
The Penal Servitude Act was passed in 1850, and under it the
much-condemned ticket of leave came into operation.  It substituted
sentences of penal servitude for all crimes formerly visited by sentences
of transportation to a less period than 14 years.  As few of such
sentences, comparatively, reached over that period, the Act practically
reduced the transportation sentences to a mere tithe of what they were
before—the average during the years from 1854 to 1857 not being more than
235 out of 3200.  In 1857 the transportation sentences only amounted to
110, while the penal servitude sentences were 2474.  In that year an Act
was passed with a small proportionate remission of sentence as a reward
for good conduct.  The advantages of the system thus established, were
considered to be—1st, Its deterring effects.  2nd, Its affording
encouragement to the convict.  3rd, As giving the means of dealing with
refractory convicts; and 4th, As affording means of employment to
offenders on their discharge.

Portland Prison, as the chief punitive establishment under this new
system, is, of course, most deserving notice.  In 1857, the total
expenditure on this prison was £48,782.  The total value of the labour
performed in the same year was £41,855, which, divided by 1488 (the
average number of prisoners), gave £28. 2s. 7d. as the rate per man.  We
doubt if the labour in our county prisons has ever reached the half of
this value.  Large numbers of the Portland prisoners have obtained
employment at harbour and other similar works since their discharge, and
generally their conduct has been satisfactory.  The Discharged Prisoners’
Aid Society regularly assists the well-behaved convicts in finding
employment on their release from confinement, and that society’s
operations have been remarkably successful.  Pentonville prison has
ordinarily from five to six hundred prisoners; while in Milbank the daily
average number, in 1857, was about 1100.  Parkhurst prison is kept for
boy convicts, of whom the average daily number in 1857, was 431; and
Brixton, for females, of whom 784 in all were received in that year.  The
Fulham Refuge is another female institution, in which convicts are
received previous to being discharged on license, and in which they are
taught a knowledge of household work, such as cooking, washing, &c.,
calculated to improve their chances of getting employment.  Portsmouth,
Chatham, Lewes, and Dartmoor are also used as convict establishments; the
latter, however, is being gradually given up, as utterly unfitted for
such a purpose, its temperature in winter somewhat approaching to that of
Nova Zembla.  It is difficult to say what are the numbers requiring to be
disposed of in these convict prisons in the average of years, but they
probably range about 7,000 males and 1,200 females.  If the decrease of
crime in 1858 continue in subsequent years, our home prisons will amply
suffice for the reception of our convict population.



CHARTER XVIII.
CONCERNING CABS.


One of the most blessed institutions of London is the cab.  I prefer it
much to the ’bus—to equestrian exercise—and if I had, which I have not, a
carriage of my own, I dare say I should prefer it even to that.  If the
horse falls down, it is not yours that breaks its knees; if the shafts
suddenly snap asunder, they are not yours that are damaged.  And you need
not be imposed on, unless you are flat enough to ask cabby his fare, and
then it serves you right.  The number of cabs now licensed in London is
4,500; each common cab and the two horses with the appointments requisite
to work it are estimated to cost not more than £60, so that the capital
engaged is, in round numbers, upwards of £270,000, provided by upwards of
1,800 small owners.  The waste of the capital committed by this
competition within the field of supply is visible to the eye, at all
times and all weathers, in full stands, or long files waiting hour after
hour, and in the numbers crawling about the streets looking out for
fares.  The cost of the keep of each horse is estimated at 16s. 4d. per
week—the depreciation of horse stock is put down at 2s. 6d. per week
each, and of the vehicle at 8s. per week.  The market value of the labour
of such a man as the driver of a cab may be set down in London at 4s. per
diem.  The stable rent is at least 10s. per week, per cab and horses, so
that the capital invested for man, horse, and vehicle, may be set down at
more than one shilling per hour lost during every hour of the twelve that
cabs are kept unemployed.  On every cab-stand, where in foul weather as
well as fair a dozen cabs are seen constantly unemployed, the
administrative economist may see capital evaporating in worse than waste
at a rate of 12s. per hour, £7. 4s. per diem, or at a rate of between two
and three thousand pounds per annum, to be charged to some one, _i.e._
the public.  If all were employed, as the usual rate of driving is six
miles per hour, they must be each employed at least four hours per diem
to pay for their keep.  If, however, the cabs were constantly employed
daily, at least three horses must be employed, which would augment the
charge, by that of an additional horse, at the rate of 4d. per hour.  A
large proportion of the cabs are employed during the whole 24 hours; but
there are then two men, a night man and a day man, and three horses.  It
is probably greatly below the fact to state that at least one-third of
the cabs are, the week through, unemployed—that is to say, one-third of
the capital invested is wasted, a service for two capitals being competed
for by three, to the inevitable destruction of one.  As in other cases of
competition within the field, efforts are made by violent manifestations
of discontent at the legal fare, by mendacity, and by various modes of
extortion, to charge upon the public the expense of the wasted capital.
Sometimes it is in the form of a piteous appeal that the driver or the
competitor has been out all day and has not before had “one single
blessed fare.”  And yet the legal charge for the frequently wretched
service of the man, horse, and vehicle is, when taken by the hour, nearly
double, and by the mile, nearly treble—when only two horses per diem are
used—its actual prime cost, which is, when driving at little more than
six miles an hour, 2d. or 3d. per mile, and when waiting, 1s. 4d. per
hour.  But there is now a cry from the cab proprietors that this charge
of double the prime cost does not pay, as it probably does not under such
a ruinous system, and an appeal is proposed to parliament for an
augmentation of the fares, but such augmentations, under this principle
of competition within the field, would only aggravate the evil, for it
would lead to an increased number of competitors, and instead of there
being a competition of three to do the work of two, there would be a
competition of two or more to do the work of one—that is, a greater waste
of capital to be paid for by some one.  Since the reduction of the fares
in 1852, the number of cabs in the metropolis, instead of being reduced,
has been increased from 3297 to 4507 in 1857.

The criminal returns afford melancholy indications of their moral
condition to those conversant with penal statistics.  Thus, in the police
returns we find, under the head of “Coach and cabmen”—but it is stated by
the police to be chiefly of cabmen—a very heavy list of offences.  In the
year 1854 it was 682; in the year before that, 777.  The recurring crimes
are thus denoted:

             Apprehensions for                  1853.       1854.
Offenses against the Hackney Carriage Act            369         335
Simple larcenies                                      29          36
Other larcenies                                       10          12
Common assaults                                       54          42
   ,, on the police                                   24          11
Cruelty to animals                                    57          27
Disorderly characters                                 15          21
Drunk and disorderly characters                       66          62
Drunkenness                                           82          73
Furious driving                                       24          18

In respect to this service of cabs, says a writer—from whom I have taken
these figures, I regret I cannot find out his name, that I might quote
it—“the analysed charges and statistics show that by a properly-conducted
competition by adequate capital for the whole field—for which, in my
view, the chief police or local administrative authorities ought, as
servants of the public, to be made responsible—service equal to the
present might be obtained at 3d. or 4d. per mile; or at the present legal
fare of 6d. per mile, a service approaching in condition to that of
private carriages, might be insured out of the waste which now occurs.”

A pleasant way of getting along is that of getting in a Hansom, and
bidding the driver drive on.  A great improvement, undoubtedly, on the
old Hackney coach, or on that first species of cab—consisting of a gig
with a very dangerous hood—on one side of which sat the driver, while on
the other was suspended yourself.  Now as you dash merrily along, with a
civil driver, a luxurious equipage, and not a bad sort of horse, little
do you think that you may be driving far further than you intended, to a
dangerous illness and an early grave.

A terrible danger threatens all who live in London, or who visit it, by
means of a custom—which ought not to be tolerated for an instant—of
carrying sick persons in cabs to hospitals.  No doubt the increase of
smallpox in the metropolis may be referred to this source.  Put a case of
smallpox into a comfortable cab for an hour, then send the vehicle into
the streets; first a merchant sits in it for a quarter of an hour, then a
traveller from the railway gets his chance of catching the disease, and
so on for the next week or two.  When it takes, the victims have had no
warning of their impending danger, and wonder where they got it.  They in
their turn become new centres of disease, and for the next few weeks they
infect the air they breathe, the houses they inhabit, the clothing sent
to the laundress, and everybody and everything which comes within their
influence, and it is impossible to say where the infection ceases.  The
following arrangements would easily, cheaply, and effectually do away
with the evil:—1. Make it penal to let or to hire a public vehicle for
the conveyance of any person affected with contagious disease.  2. Every
institution for the reception of contagious disease should undertake to
fetch the patient on receipt of a medical certificate as to the nature of
the case.

Do not be too confidential with cabby, nor ask him what he charges, nor
hold out a handful of silver to him and ask him to pay himself, nor give
him a sovereign in mistake for a shilling, and delude yourself with the
idea that he will return it.  Don’t tell him you are in a hurry to catch
the train.  I once offered the driver of a Hansom a shilling for a ride
from the Post Office to the Angel, Islington; he was so disgusted that he
plainly informed me that if he’d a known I was only going to give him a
shilling, he’d be blessed if he would not have lost the mail for me.  The
repeal of the newspaper stamp has done wonders for cabby.  He now takes
in his morning paper the same as any other gentleman.  To ride in a cab
is the extent of some people’s idea of happiness.  I heard of a clerk who
had absconded with some money belonging to an employer, he had spent it
all in chartering a cab, and in riding about in it all day.  M.P.’s are
much in the habit of using cabs.  On one occasion an M.P. who had been at
a party, hurrying down to a division, was changing his evening costume
for one more appropriate to business.  Unfortunately, in the most
interesting part of the transaction, the cab was upset and the M.P. was
exhibited in a state which would have made Lord Elcho very angry.

Cab drivers I look upon as misanthropic individuals.  I fancy many of
them were railway directors in the memorable year of speculation, and
have known better days.  The driver of a buss is a prince of good fellows
compared with a cabman.  The former has no pecuniary anxieties to weigh
him down, he is full of fun in a quiet way, and in case of a quarrel he
has his conductor to take his side—he has his regular employment and his
regular pay; the cabby is alone, and has to do battle with all the world,
and he has often horses to drive and people to deal with that would tire
the patience of a Job.  He is constantly being aggravated—there is no
doubt about that; the magistrates aggravate him—the police aggravate
him—his fares aggravate him—his ’oss aggravates him—the crowded state of
the street, and the impossibility of getting along aggravates him—the
weather aggravates him—if it is hot he feels it, and has a terrible
tendency to get dry—and if it is cold and wet not even his damp wrappers
and overcoats can keep out, I suspect, chilblains; and I know he has
corns, and he will use bad language in a truly distressing manner.  Then
his hours of work are such as to ruffle a naturally serene temper, and
when he finds it hard work to make both ends meet, and sees how gaily
young fellows spend their money—how he drives them from one public to
another, and from one place of amusement to another—and in what
questionable society,—one can scarce wonder if now and then cabby is a
little sour, and if his language be as rough as his thoughts.  Strange
tales can he tell.  A friend of the writer’s once hired a chaise to take
him across the country; their way led them through a turnpike-gate, and,
to my friend’s horror, the driver never once pulled up to allow him to
pay the toll.  My friend expostulated; as the toll had to be paid, he
thought the better plan was to pay it at once.  “Oh, it’s all right,”
said Jehu, smiling, “they know me well enough—I am the man wot drives the
prisoners, and prisoners never pay.”  Our London cabby is often similarly
employed, and, as he rushes by, we may well speculate as to the nature
and mission of his fare.  Cabby so often drives rogues that we cannot
wonder if in time he becomes a bit of a rogue himself.



CHAPTER XIX.
FREE DRINKING FOUNTAINS.


Till lately the London poor had no means of getting water but the pump or
the public-house.  Of the latter we can have but a poor opinion, nor all
the former much better.  It appears that “the London pumps can never be
otherwise than dangerous sources of supply; the porous sod from which
they suck being that into which our cesspools and leaky drains discharge
a great part of their fluid—sometimes even a great part of their solid
contents, and in which, till very recently, all our interments have taken
place.  It is a soil which consequently abounds with putrid and
putrefiable matter.  The water derived from it invariably contains
products of organic decomposition, more or less oxidised; and it is a
mere chance, beyond the power of water-drinkers to measure or control,
whether that oxidation shall at all times be so incomplete as to have
left the water still capable of a very dangerous kind of fermentation.”
We are further told that, “the shallow well water receives the drainage
of Highgate Cemetery, of numerous burial grounds, and of innumerable
cesspools which percolate the soil on the London side of the Cemetery,
and flow towards the Metropolis. . . .  That the pump-water also becomes
contaminated with the residual liquors of manufacturing processes. . . .
That a man who habitually makes use of London pump-water, lives in
perpetual danger of disease.”

But one of the greatest and most unexpected sources of danger is, that
the sense of taste or smell fails to warn us of the danger of using such
water, since clearness, coolness, and tastelessness, may exist, without
being evidences of wholesomeness.  We are also told that “the carbonic
acid of the decomposed matter makes them sparkling, and the nitrates they
contain give them a pleasant coolness to the taste, so that nothing could
be better adapted to lure their victims to destruction than the external
qualities of these waters—hence the worst of them are most popular for
drinking purposes.”

The nitrates with which these waters are charged generally proceed from
the decomposition of animal matter, such as the corpses interred in
London churchyards; hence the popularity of some pumps near churchyards;
and to such an extent are some of these waters charged with this
ingredient, that J. B. C. Aldis, M.D., declares the water of a
surface-well (though cool and sparkling to the taste) twice exploded
during the process of incineration when he was analysing it!

Under these peculiar circumstances it does seem strange that in London
the weary, the thirsty, and the poor have thus practically been driven to
the public house, and that they should have been left without an
alternative.  A man toiling all day, bearing, it may be, heavy burdens in
the summer sun, miles it may be from his home, parched with thirst,
practically to quench that thirst has been compelled to resort to the
beer-shop or the gin-palace.  And what has been the consequence, that the
man has been led to drink more than was good for him—that he has got into
bad company—that he has wasted his time and his money, injured his
health, and possibly been led into the commission of vice and crime.
Every day the evil has been demonstrated in the most striking, in the
most alarming, and in the most abundant manner.  A benevolent gentleman
at Liverpool was the first to see the evil, and to devise a remedy.  He
erected fountains, elegant and attractive in character, furnished with
pure water, and in one day of about thirteen hours twenty-four thousand
seven hundred and two persons drank at the thirteen fountains in that
town.  Of that twenty-four thousand seven hundred and two persons, many
would otherwise have resorted to public-houses or gin-palaces to quench
their thirst.  In smaller places, where results are easier to ascertain,
it has been found that in reality the fountains do keep people from
frequenting beer-shops, and, therefore, do keep them sober.  A gentleman
who largely employs workmen in ironworks in the town of Wednesbury,
having recently erected fountains for his workpeople, says that his
manager has since observed an improvement in their habits and regularity
of attendance, attributable to their discarded use of beer, in
consequence of the facility of obtaining pure water which the fountains
afford.  The publicans in London understand this, as it appears from the
report of the committee of the Free Drinking Association, held at
Willis’s Rooms last week, when the drinking cups have been missing they
have invariably been found at some neighbouring public-house.  The
movement, as we have intimated, commenced at Liverpool; it was not long
before it reached London.  According to Mr. Wakefield, the honorary
secretary of the Association, there was a greater need for this movement
in London than elsewhere, owing to the fact that the greater radiation of
heat from a larger surface of buildings, less shade, more smoke and dust,
and longer street distances, combines to make London a more
thirst-exciting place than any provincial town.  Mr. Samuel Gurney, M.P.,
was the first, who, in a letter published in some of the Loudon papers,
called attention to the grievous privation which the want of these
fountains inflicted on the London poor, and subsequently by his great
personal influence and liberal pecuniary contributions, and unwearied
exertions founded the Association; the Earl of Shaftesbury, the Earl of
Carlisle, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and other distinguished noblemen
and gentlemen rallied around him.  London parishes and vestries have most
of them come forward and contributed, and already nearly a hundred
drinking fountains have been erected by this Association.  It is inferred
from the Liverpool statistics that at least 400 fountains might be
advantageously erected in London; these could not be constructed and kept
in repair at a less cost than £20,000.  To gain this sum the Association
appeals to the public.  Last year the total receipts of the Association
amounted to £2,609; much more is required; a very good sign, indicative
of the appreciation on the part of Londoners of the boon offered them, is
found in the fact that the poor themselves are contributing voluntarily
and in an unostentatious manner to defray the expenses of erection.  The
plan of attaching moneyboxes to the fountains for the donations of
friends has been adopted, and the first money-box has been placed at the
first erected fountain on Snow Hill.  So far as the experience of four
weeks justifies an opinion, it is very encouraging, and a sum of 8d. a
day has been deposited in small coins, varying from farthings to
two-shilling pieces.  The experiment is to be extended to five other
fountains, when, if successful, it is proposed to supply every fountain
with a money-box, when the erection will be more than self-supporting.
“Of all the efforts I have been called to make,” said the Earl of
Shaftesbury, “there is none that so strongly commends itself to my
feelings and my judgment as the Free Drinking Fountain movement.”  The
Earl of Carlisle says, “Erect drinking fountains, and habits of
intemperance will soon show a diminution, and with a diminution of
intemperance will be stopped the most prolific of all the sources of
crime and misery.”  Most people will say the same, and we look upon these
fountains—elegant in character, supplied with pure water—as a grateful
acknowledgment by the richer classes of the interest and sympathy they
feel for those in less happy circumstances.

As evidence of the grateful interest elicited by this movement in the
humblest classes, let the reader take the following letters.  The first
was addressed, “for Mr. Samuel Gurney Esquire who bilt the fountaine
Newgate Street.”

    to Mr. Gurney esquire

                                                                    July 9

    Kind Sir

    i take liberty to giv you my best thanks fore the butiful fountaine
    what you wos so kind to giv to us poor men for Newgate Street and i
    would plese ask you sir to be so kind and giv us 2 more cups extra
    fore wen in Newgate street i see the squeeging and shovin for water
    for only the 2 cups of woman and little boys is not enuff this verry
    hot days and God bless you Sir fore all your goodness what you do

                                                from a poor man in London.

                                * * * * *

                                                      Monday June the 20th

    Gentlemen of the Committee

    I see by the paper of yesterday the working Men had a large Meeting
    on the Fountain question.  I think under your care and good
    Management the Working Women could also form and do much good.  Also
    the Ladies could associate with the working Classes as their
    Subscriptions could be distinct from ours; as of course our means are
    very limited; but surely we could most of us become Subscribers at
    twopence per week in so noble a cause that bids fair to drive the
    curse of Public Houses from our land—King’s Cross wants one much, and
    there is room in the open Square also at the Portland Road at the end
    of Euston Road.  They ought to be round or Square with 4 or 6 places
    to Drink from, with something of interest to mark to whose honour
    they were raised.  One Subject could be Prince Edward suppressing the
    wine houses in Gibraltar, 1792.  I think nothing could be better for
    the purpose as we all feel something must be done to stop this crying
    evil that is sending thousands to Death and Madness—the other subject
    could be Alderman Wood who rose from a poor Charity School Boy of
    Tiverton Devonshire to plead the Duke of Kent’s return to England
    that his child, our present good queen, should be born on British
    ground; so we as a people have to thank the late Sir Matthew Wood for
    that.  I think the wives and daughters of freemasons will give freely
    in respect to the late Duke of Kent who spent I may say thousands to
    raise the standard of that noble order. . . .  Forgive these few
    remarks of A Soldier and a Mason’s Daughter who has her country’s
    interest at heart.

    J. DUNN × 103 Euston Road Euston Sq.  Gentlemen forgive the intrusion
    on your time also my bad grammar but remember I hear and see every
    Day the Curse of Drink.

As evidence of the filthy nature of London water and of the need of
fountains, let the reader take the following letter from Dr. Letheby, the
City Medical Officer, addressed to the Honorary Secretary of the Drinking
Fountain Association; and let the reader bear in mind that Dr. Letheby’s
evidence is confirmed by that of upwards of fifty other medical
gentlemen.  Dr. Letheby says,—

    “From what I know of the habits of the poor within this city, I am
    led to believe that the erection of drinking fountains would be of
    especial service to them; for although the average supply of water to
    the metropolis is abundant, yet the distribution of it is so unequal
    that the poorer classes do not obtain their proper proportion; in
    fact, this has become so serious a matter in most of the courts and
    alleys of this city, that I have great difficulty in dealing with it.
    You are, no doubt, aware that the water companies have been obliged
    to shorten the time of supply ever since they have been compelled by
    the Act of Parliament to furnish filtered water to the public; and,
    as the poor have not the means of altering the present condition of
    the service, and adapting it to the new arrangement, their
    receptacles are never filled during the short time that the water is
    on.  Every contrivance is, therefore, used to secure as much water as
    possible while it is flowing; but, partly from the filthy state of
    the cisterns, and partly from the fœtid emanations to which the water
    is exposed in the over-crowded rooms in which it is kept, it is
    rarely, if ever, drinkable.  The poor, then, would be too glad to
    avail themselves of the opportunities afforded by the public
    fountains, and would, I am quite sure, hail them as boons of the
    greatest value; and when it comes to be known that the water which
    flows from the fountains is as pure as chemical and other
    contrivances can render it, the boon will most assuredly be prized by
    all.

    “At present, the public wells of this city are largely used by all
    classes of persons; and, knowing what I do of the composition of
    these waters, I have looked with much concern at the probable
    mischief that might be occasioned by them; for though they are
    generally grateful to the palate, and deliriously cool, they are rich
    in all kinds of filthy decomposing products, as the soakage from
    sewers and cesspools, and the not less repulsive matters from the
    over-crowded churchyards.  What, therefore, can be of greater
    importance to the public than the opportunity of drinking water which
    shall not only be grateful and cool, as that from the city pumps, but
    which shall have none of its lurking dangers?

    “As to the quality of the water that is now supplied by the public
    companies I can speak in the fullest confidence, for it is not merely
    the most available for your purposes, but it is in reality the best
    supply that can be obtained.  I need not describe the admirable
    arrangements that have been employed by the several companies for the
    purification of the water, but I may state that there is not a city
    in Europe that has so large a supply of good water as this
    metropolis, and I do not know where or how you could obtain a better.
    I say, therefore, without hesitation, that the water supplied by the
    public companies is the best that can be used for the fountains; and,
    seeing that it will be twice filtered, and carefully freed from every
    kind of impurity by the most perfect chemical and mechanical
    contrivances, there need be no hesitation on the part of the most
    fastidious in freely drinking at the public fountains.”



CHAPTER XX.
CONCLUSION.


One bright May morning in the year of our Lord, 1445, the streets of
London presented an unusually animated appearance.  Here and there were
quaint devices and rare allegories, well pleasing alike to the rude eye
and taste of citizen and peer.  From dark lane and darker alley poured
forth swarms eager to behold the stranger, who, young, high-spirited, and
beautiful, had come to wear the diadem of royalty, and to share the
English throne.  The land of love and song had given her birth.  Her
“gorgeous beauty,” as our national dramatist describes it, had been
ripened but by fifteen summers’s suns.  Hope told a flattering tale.  She
discerned not the signs that prophesied a dark and dreary future.  A
tempest rudely greeted her as she landed on our shores.  Sickness preyed
upon her frame.  Those whose fathers’s bones were bleaching on the
battle-fields of France murmured that Maine and Anjou, won by so free an
expenditure of English blood and gold, should be ceded to the sire of one
who, dowerless, came to claim the throne, and, as it speedily appeared,
to rule the fortunes, of HENRY PLANTAGENET.  In mercy the sad perspective
of thirty wintry years was hidden from her view.  She dreamt not of the
cup of bitterness it was hers to drink—how she should be driven from the
land that then hailed her with delight—how all that woman should abhor
should be laid to her charge—how, in her desolate chateau, stripped of
her power, and fame, and crown, lonely and broken-hearted, she should
spend the evening of her life in unavailing sorrow and regret, till, with
bloodshot eyes, and wrinkled brow, and leprous skin, she should become
all that men shuddered to behold.  But onward passed the procession, and
smiles were on her lips, and joy was in her heart.  Bright was her
queenly eye, and beautiful was her flaxen hair, so well known in romance
or in the songs of wandering troubadour.  Around her were the children of
no common race, gallant and haughty, dark-eyed Norman barons, ready to
keep, as their fathers had won, with their own good swords, power and
nobility upon British soil.

Years have come and gone.  The great ones of the earth have felt their
power slip from them.  Crowns and sceptres have turned to dust.  Thrones
have tottered to their fall; but there was then that evolving itself of
which succeeding ages have witnessed but the more full development.  In
that procession there were symptoms of a coming change—signs, and warning
voices, that told the noble that the power and pride of the individual
man was being torn from him—that he had been weighed in the balance and
found wanting.  The trading companies—the sons of the Saxon churl—THE
MIDDLE CLASSES—for the first time appeared upon the scene, and were
deemed a fitting escort to royalty.  History herself has deigned to tell
us of their show and bravery—how, on horseback, with blue gowns and
embroidered shoes, and red hoods, they joined the nobles and prelates of
our land.  Four hundred years have but seen the increase of their wealth,
of their respectability, and power.  Their struggle upwards has been long
and tedious, but it has been safe and sure.  The wars of the red rose and
the white—wars which beggared the princes of England, and spilt the blood
of its nobles like water—were favourable to the progress of the middle
class.  The battle of Barnet witnessed the fall and death of the
kingmaker, and with her champion feudalism fell.  The power passed from
the baron.  The most thoughtless began to perceive that a time was coming
when mere brute strength would fail its possessor.  Dim and shadowy
notions of the superiority of right to might were loosened from the
bondage of the past, and set afloat; discoveries, strange and wonderful,
became the property of the many; the fountains of knowledge, and thought,
and fame were opened, and men pressed thither, eager to win higher honour
than that obtained by the intrigues of court, or the accidents of birth.

With all that was bright and good did the middle classes identify
themselves.  In them was the stronghold of civilization.  The prince and
peer were unwilling to admit of changes in polity, in religion, or in
law, which to them could bring no good, and might possibly bring harm.
Conventional usage had stamped them with a higher worth than that which
by right belonged to them; their adulterated gold passed as current coin;
hence it was their interest to oppose every attempt to establish a more
natural test.  The aristocracy ceased to be the thinkers of the age.
From the middle classes came the men whose words and deeds we will not
willingly let die.  Shakspere, Milton, and Cromwell shew what of genius,
and power, and divine aim, at one time the middle classes contained.

And now, once more, is there not an upheaving of humanity from beneath?
and over society as it is, does not once more loom the shadow of a coming
change?  Does not middle-class civilization in its mode of utterance and
thought, betoken symptoms of decay?  Look at it as it does the genteel
thing, and sleeps an easy hour in Episcopalian church or Dissenting
chapel—as it faintly applauds a world-renovating principle, and
gracefully bows assent to a divine idea.  Ask it its problem of life, its
mission, and it knows no other than to have a good account at the bank,
and to keep a gig; possibly, if it be very ambitious, it may, in its
heart of hearts, yearn for a couple of flunkeys and a fashionable square.
It is very moral and very religious.  Much is it attached to morality and
religion in the abstract; but to take one step in their behalf—to cut the
shop, for their sake, for an hour—is a thing it rarely does.  Often is it
too much trouble for it to vote at a municipal election—to employ the
franchise to which it has a right—to support the man or the paper that
advocates its principles.  That is, it refuses to grapple with the great
principle of ill with which man comes into this world to make war; and,
rather than lose a pound, or sacrifice its respectability, or depart from
the routine of formalism into which it has grown, it will let the devil
take possession of the world.

Looked at from a right point of view, the world’s history is a series of
dissolving views.  We have had the gorgeous age of nobility, the
money-making one of the middle-classes—lower still we must go.  Truth
lies at the bottom of the well; the pearls, whose lustre outshine even
beauty’s eye are hidden in the deep.  The men who now stamp their impress
on the age—whose thought is genuine and free—who shew the hollowness of
shams—who demand for the common brotherhood of man their common
rights—who herald a coming age—who are its teachers and
apostles—originally laboured in coal-mines, like Stephenson; or mended
shoes, like Cooper; or plied the shuttle, like Fox; or stood, as did
Burns and Nicoll, at the plough, with GOD’S heaven above them, and GOD’S
inspiration in their hearts.

The decline and fall of England has already found chroniclers enough.
Ledru Rollin and the Protectionists are agreed as regards the lamentable
fact.  G. F. Young, the chairman of the Society for the Protection of
British Industry and Capital, believed it as firmly as his own existence.
A similar opinion is more than hinted in the tedious History of Dr.
Alison.  At a still earlier period the same doleful tale was ever on the
lips and pervaded the writings of Southey, the Laureate and the renegade.
If these gentlemen are right, then the melancholy conviction must be
forced upon us that England has seen her best days; that it will never be
with her what it was in time past, when she bred up an indomitable race,
when her flag of triumph fluttered in every breeze, and floated on every
sea.  We must believe that England’s sun is about to set; that, with its
brightness and its beauty, it will never more bless and irradiate the
world.

Against such a conclusion we emphatically protest.  We look back upon our
national career, and we see that each age has witnessed the people’s
growth in political power; that especially since that grand field-day of
Democracy, the French Revolution, that power has gone on increasing with
accelerated force; that it was to the increased ascendancy of that power
that we owed it that we rode in safety whilst the political ocean was
covered with wreck and ruin.  If one thing be clearer than another in our
national history, it is that our greatness and the power of the people
have grown together.  At a season like the present it is well to remember
this.  Prophets often fulfil their own prophecies.  The Jeremiads of the
weak, or the interested, or the fearful, may damp the courage of some
hearts; and a people told that they are ruined, that the poor are
becoming poorer every day, that the end of all labour is the workhouse or
the gaol, that their life is but a lingering death, may come to believe
that the handwriting is upon the wall, and that it is hopeless to war
with fate.

The fact is, nations, when they die, die of _felo-de-se_.  The national
heart becomes unsound, and the national arm weak.  The virtue has gone
out of it.  Its rulers have usurped despotic powers, and the people have
been sunk in utter imbecility, or have looked upon life as a May-day
game, and nothing more.  In our cold northern clime—with the remains of
that equality born and bred amidst the beech-forests that bordered the
Baltic—the English people could never stoop to this; and hence our
glorious destiny.  No nation under heaven’s broad light has been more
sorely tried than our own.  We have taken into pay almost every European
power.  Our war to restore the BOURBONS, and thus to crush Liberalism at
home, and keep the Tories in office, was carried on at a cost which only
Englishmen could have paid; and yet from our long seasons of
distress—from our commercial panics, the result of fettered trade—from
our formidable continental wars—we have emerged with flying colours, and
indomitable strength.  Mr. Porter’s statistics showed what we had done in
the face of difficulty and danger, and the progress we have made since
Mr. Porter’s time is something prodigious.  Not yet has the arm of the
people been weakened or its eye dulled.

These are facts such as the united Croaker tribe can neither refute nor
deny.  We understand the meaning of such men when they raise a cry of
alarm.  What such men dread does in reality infuse into the constitution
fresh vigour and life.  Not national death, but the reverse is the
result.  The removal of one abuse, behind which monopoly and class
legislation have skulked, is like stripping from the monarch of the
forest the foul parasite by which his beauty is hidden and his strength
devoured.  From such operations the constitution comes out with the
elements of life more copious and active in it than before.  It finds a
wider base in the support and attachment of the people; it becomes more
sympathetic with them.  It grows with their growth and strengthens with
their strength.

It is not true, then, that for us the future is more fraught with anxiety
than hope.  The theory is denied by fact.  It is not true commercially,
nor is it true morally.  Our progress in morals and manners is, at least,
equal to our progress in trade.  The coarse manners—the brutal
intoxication—the want of all faith in spiritual realities, held not
merely by the laity but by the clergy as well of the last century, now no
longer exists.  Reverend Deans do not now write to ladies as did the
bitter Dean of St. Patrick’s to his Stella.  Sure are we that Victoria
cannot speak of her bishops as, according to Lord Hervey, George II. did,
and justly, speak of his.  No Prime Minister now would dare to insult the
good feeling of the nation by handing his paramour to her carriage from
the Opera in the presence of Majesty.  Fielding’s novels graphically
display a state of things which happily now no longer exists.  The gossip
of our times reveals enough—alas!—too much—of human weakness and
immorality; but the gossip of our times is as far superior to that which
Horace Walpole has so faithfully preserved, or to that which Mrs. Manley
in her “New Atlantis” sullied her woman’s name by retailing, or to that
which Count Grammont thought it no disgrace to record, as light to
darkness or as dross to gold.  Macaulay thus describes the country squire
of the seventeenth century:—“His chief pleasures were commonly derived
from field-sports, and from an unrefined sensuality.  His language and
his pronunciation were such as we should now only expect to hear from
ignorant clowns.  His oaths, coarse jokes, and scurrilous terms of abuse
were uttered with the broadest accents of his province.”  The country
squire of the nineteenth century is surely some improvement upon this;
nor has the improvement been confined to him—it has extended to all
classes.  We still hear much, for instance, of drunkenness, but
drunkenness does not prevail as it did when publicans wrote on their
signs, as Smollett tells us they did,—“You may here get drunk for one
penny, dead drunk for two pence, and clean straw for nothing.”

After all, then, we lay down our pen in hope.  We have undergone
struggles deep and severe, and such struggles we may still continue to
have.  With a debt of eight hundred millions like a millstone round our
neck—with a population increasing at the rate of a thousand a day—with
Ireland’s ills not yet remedied—with half the landed property of the
country in the hands of the lawyer or the Jew—with discordant colonies in
all parts of the globe—with large masses in our midst degraded by woe and
want—barbarians in the midst of civilization—heathens in the full blaze
of Christian light—no man can deny that there are breakers ahead.  Rather
from what we see around us we may conclude that we shall have storms to
weather, severe as any that have awakened the energy and heroism of our
countrymen in days gone by.  But the history of the past teaches us how
those storms will be met and overcome.  Not by accident is modern history
so rich in the possession of the new creed and the new blood, for the
want of which the glory of Athens and Corinth, and of her “who was named
eternal” passed away as a dream of the night.  Not that England may
perish does that new blood course through the veins, and that new creed
fructify in the hearts of her sons.  The progress we have made is the
surest indication of the progress it is yet our destiny to make.  Onward,
then, ye labourers for humanity, heralds of a coming age—onward then till

             “We sweep into a younger day.
    Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.”

Those who would deny the people their political rights—who would teach a
Christianity unworthy of its name—who would inculcate a conventional
morality—who would degrade the national heart by perpetuating religious
and political shams—they, and not the foreigner, are our national
enemies.  Against them must we wage untiring war, for they are hostile to
the progress of the nation, and by that hostility sin against the
progress of the world.  England will still stand foremost in the files of
time—and of that England, London will still remain the heart and head.

                                * * * * *

                                 LONDON:
           PRINTED BY WILLIAM OSTELL, HART STREET, BLOOMSBURY.



ADVERTISEMENTS.


   _Price_ 3_s._ 6_d._, _bound in cloth_, _Second Edition_, _Revised_.



THE NIGHT-SIDE OF LONDON,


                                    BY
                           JAMES EWING RITCHIE.

Contents: Seeing a Man hanged—Catherine-street—The Bal Masqué—Up the
Haymarket—Ratcliffe Highway—Judge and Jury Clubs—The Cave of
Harmony—Discussion Clubs—Cider Cellars—Leicester Square—Boxing
Night—Caldwell’s—Cremorne—The Costermongers’ Free-and-Easy, &c.

                                * * * * *

                          OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.

“We would wish for this little volume an attentive perusal on the part of
all to whom inclination or duty, or both, give an interest in the moral,
the social, and the religious condition of their fellow-men; above all,
we should wish to see it in the hands of bishops, and other
ecclesiastical dignitaries—of metropolitan rectors and fashionable
preachers—of statesmen and legislators—and of that most mischievous class
of men, well-meaning philanthropists.  The picture of life in London, of
its manifold pitfalls of temptation and corruption, which are here
presented to the reader’s eye, is truly appalling.  No one can rise from
it without a deep conviction that something must be done, ay, and that
soon, if the metropolis of the British Empire is not to become a modern
Sodom and Gomorrah.”—_John Bull_.

“There is a matter-of-fact reality about the sketches, but they are
chiefly remarkable for the moral tone of their reflections.  Generally
speaking, painters of these subjects rather throw a purple light over the
actual scenes, and say nothing of the consequences to which they lead.
Mr. Ritchie is ever stripping off the mask of the mock gaiety before him,
and pointing the end to which it must finally come.”—_Spectator_.

“We have kept Mr. Ritchie’s book lying on our table, hoping that we might
find an opportunity for making it the basis of an article on the fearful
evils which it discloses.  We must be satisfied, however, for the
present, with recommending all our readers who are anxious to promote the
social and moral regeneration of our great cities to read it carefully;
and to remember, while they read, that London does not stand alone, but
that all our larger towns are cursed with abominations, such as those
which Mr. Ritchie has so vigourously and effectually
described.”—_Eclectic Review_.

“The author of ‘The Night-Side of London’ has graphically described the
scenes of debauchery which are to be found at night.  It is a fearful and
shocking _expose_.”—_Illustrated Times_.

                                * * * * *

         _Price_ 2_s._, _Cheap Edition_, _Revised and Enlarged_,



THE LONDON PULPIT,


                                    BY
                           JAMES EWING RITCHIE.

Contents: The Religious Denominations of London—Sketches of the Rev. J.
M. Bellew—Dale—Liddell—Maurice—Melville—Villiers—Baldwin Brown—Binney—Dr.
Campbell—Lynch—Morris—Martin—Brock—Howard Hinton—Sheridan Knowles—Baptist
Noel—Spurgeon—Dr. Cumming—Dr. James Hamilton—W. Forster—H.
Ierson—Cardinal Wiseman—Miall—Dr. Wolf, &c., &c.

                                * * * * *

“The subject is an interesting one, and it is treated with very
considerable ability.  Mr. Ritchie has the valuable art of saying many
things in few words: he is never diffuse, never dull, and succeeds in
being graphic without becoming flippant.  Occasionally his strength of
thought and style borders rather too closely on coarseness; but this
fault of vigorous natures is counterbalanced by compensatory merit—by an
utter absence of cant, a manly grasp of thought, and a wise and genial
human-heartedness.  The book is a sincere book; the writer says what he
means, and means what he says.  In these half-earnest days it is a
comfort to meet with any one who has ‘the courage of his opinions’
especially on such a subject as the ‘London Pulpit.’”—_Daily News_.

“One of the cleverest productions of the present day.”—_Morning Herald_.

                                * * * * *

   _Just Published_, _price_ 3_s._ 6_d._, _bound in cloth_, _post-free_
                               3_s._ 10_d._



HERE AND THERE IN LONDON,


                                    BY
                           JAMES EWING RITCHIE.

Contents: The House of Commons from the Stranger’s Gallery—A Night with
the Lords—The Reporters’ Gallery—The Lobby of the House of Commons—Our
London Correspondent—Exeter Hall—A Sunday at the Obelisk—The Penny
Gaff—The Derby—Vauxhall—The Stock Exchange—Rag Fair—Mark Lane—The Coal
Whippers—Portland Place—An Omnibus Yard—The New Cattle Market—The
Government Office—Paternoster Row—The London Hospital.

                                * * * * *

“We have no doubt that his work will be extensively read, and it deserves
no less, for it is thoroughly impartial, very graphic, reliable in its
details, and extremely well written.”—_Illustrated News of the World_.

“We recommend the book as being likely to afford a spare half-hour of
pleasant recreation.”—_Leader_.

“Lively and attractive.”—_Spectator_.

“Light and graceful sketches of the interior life of the great
metropolis.”—_Inquirer_.

                                * * * * *

                                                      314, Strand, _W.C._,
                                                           _Nov._ 1, 1860.

                                * * * * *



MR. WILLIAM TINSLEY’S
LIST OF NEW WORKS.


                                * * * * *

                     NOW READY, PRICE FIVE SHILLINGS,

                                A NEW WORK
                                    BY
                          MR. BLANCHARD JERROLD,
                                 ENTITLED


CHRONICLES OF THE CRUTCH.


                                * * * * *

This work consists of a series of quaint stories and papers, contributed
by Mr. Jerrold to “Household Words.”

                                                             [_Now ready_.

                                * * * * *

                   PREPARING FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION,
                 A New, Revised, and Enlarged Edition of


THE NIGHT SIDE OF LONDON.


                              THIRD EDITION.
                           BY J. EWING RITCHIE,

                      AUTHOR OF “ABOUT LONDON,” ETC.

                                * * * * *

                         NEW WORK BY MR. RITCHIE.

                                * * * * *

                  JUST PUBLISHED; PRICE FIVE SHILLINGS,


ABOUT LONDON.


                                    BY
                            J. EWING RITCHIE,
                                AUTHOR OF
       “_The Night Side of London_,” “_Here and there in London_,”
                       “_The London Pulpit_,” _&c._

                                * * * * *

Contents:—Newspaper People—Spiritualism—About Coal—Highgate—Tom Tidler’s
Ground—Westminster Abbey—London Charities—Pedestrianism—Over London
Bridge—The House of Commons and the Early Closing Movement—Town
Morals—The same subject continued—London Matrimonial—Breach-of-Promise
Cases—The London Volunteers—Criminal London—Concerning Cabs—Free Drinking
Fountains—Conclusion.

                                * * * * *

“Mr. Ritchie ought to be a popular author, and largely read by a numerous
and highly respectable class.”—_Athenæum_.

“They are all written with such a knowledge of each subject as might be
expected from a perceptive and accurate observer, who has gained his
experience from himself, while the descriptive writing is that of a
practised hand.”—_Illustrated London News_.

“We can give to this work our heartiest praise.  ‘About London’ is
written by one whose object is as much to instruct as to amuse, and who
succeeds without any apparent effort in doing both.  We say without any
apparent effort, because Mr. Ritchie’s sketches are too bold to be stiff,
his style too fluent and natural to be laboured.  Notwithstanding this,
‘About London’ displays an amount of industrious research very rarely met
with, and a knowledge of men and manners which only experience—and active
experience, moreover—can supply.”—_Literary Gazette_.

“The subjects for the most part are familiar to us, and the easy and
unaffected style in which they are treated is always sure to gratify
without wearying the reader.”—_Morning Advertiser_.

“Mr. Ritchie has already given us various works devoted to metropolitan
subjects, such as ‘The Night Side of Loudon,’ ‘The London Pulpit,’ ‘Here
and There in London.’  His volume ‘About London’ will, no doubt, be as
widely circulated as its predecessors.  In it he communicates a vast mass
of information in a pleasant, gossiping style.—_Illustrated News of the
World_.

“Mr. Ritchie is well and favourably known as one of those writers who,
whilst possessed of a keen and observant eye, remarks all the social
inconsistencies of which human society in the great modern Babylon is
composed, and spares neither those who may be said to hold the language
of the first murderer—‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ nor others, who grovel
in the sensuality, which speedily deforms man into little less than the
beast of the earth.  In this, the last of the several books in which he
has related the doings of London life, high and low, he does not enter so
fully into the mysteries of the singular career of the Arabs of our
streets, but touches matters on a somewhat higher level with the same
force and intelligence, which he has hitherto manifested, combined with a
more genial and pleasant refinement, which will commend its information
to those who may have been disposed to be somewhat hypercritical as to
the advisability of too closely ‘holding the mirror up to nature,’ and
showing vice its own deformity and horror.—_Bella Weekly Messenger_.

“The new book by Mr. Ritchie, entitled ‘About London,’ fully sustains the
reputation of the author of ‘The Night Side of London.’  It is, both in
matter and manner, a most readable volume.  In a series of twenty
chapters the more conspicuous and characteristic places and persons about
London are admirably sketched.  The author indulges in all his modes.  He
is observant, penetrative, didactic, satirical, and reflective.  Health,
cheerfulness, and hope, however, are the pervading tones of this work.
Whether the subject be the ‘Newspaper People,’ ‘Spiritualism,’ ‘London
Gents.’ or ‘Criminal London,’ he has the happy disposition of educing
good and ennobling lessons and influence from each and all.—_Press_.

                                * * * * *

                                NOW READY:
     A New Edition, revised and greatly enlarged, with a full Index,
                       DR. WARDROP’S VALUABLE WORK:
                       ON THE NATURE AND TREATMENT
                                  OF THE


DISEASES OF THE HEART;


                           CONTAINING ALSO SOME
                NEW VIEWS OF THE CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD,
                                   WITH
          AN ACCOUNT OF THE MUSCOLO-CARDIAC, THE PULMO-CARDIAC,
                    AND THE VENO-PULMONARY FUNCTIONS.

                                    BY
                           JAMES WARDROP, M.D.,

  _Surgeon to the person of George IV._, _Fellow of the Royal Society_,
                               _and of the_
  _Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh_; _Fellow of the Royal College
                                   of_
   _Surgeons of England_; _Member of the Imperial Academy of Medicine_
  _of Paris_, _Moscow_, _St. Petersburgh_, _and Wilna_; _Member of the_
       _Royal Medical and Surgical Society of Berlin_, _and of the_
                      _Medical Society of Leipsic_,
                              _&c. &c. &c._

      A New Edition, carefully Revised, with considerable Additions,
                           AND A COPIOUS INDEX.

                                                   [_Large Octavo_, 18_s._

                                * * * * *

                                 NOTICE.

          THE WIMBLEDON SHOOTING-MATCH AND THE VOLUNTEER REVIEW.

                                * * * * *

      This day is published, the Second Edition, revised, corrected,
                         and greatly enlarged, of
                         MR. GEO. AUGUSTUS SALA’S
                                NARRATIVE
                               OF THE GRAND


VOLUNTEER REVIEW.


                   TO WHICH IS ADDED AN ACCOUNT OF THE
                        WIMBLEDON SHOOTING-MATCH.

*** This Edition, which has been enlarged by Sixteen Pages, contains a
correct list of all the Volunteer Corps that were reviewed by Her
Majesty, with the name of the Commander, description of dress, and number
of each Company; as well as a full account of the Grand Rifle-Match at
Wimbledon.

                                * * * * *

                        PRICE SIXPENCE, POST FREE.

                                * * * * *

              The _Morning Advertiser_, of June 29th, says:—

“We anticipate an immediate and extensive sale for this opportune and
patriotic publication.  It is a beautiful written and graphic narrative
of one of the greatest events—perhaps in its political and military
bearings _the_ greatest event—of the present century.  Mr. Sala has
evidently written out of the fulness of his heart, and the result is an
eloquent and vivid literary review of the greatest military Volunteer
Review which has ever been witnessed in this or in any other country.
Mr. Tinsley has done good service to his country in perpetuating the
details of that great event by so able and popular a pen as that of Mr.
George Augustus Sala, and in publishing the little work at so moderate a
price as to place it within the reach of all.”

                                * * * * *

                     NEW NOVEL, BY MR. VANE ST JOHN.

                                * * * * *

                     NOW READY, AT ALL THE LIBRARIES,


UNDER CURRENTS:
A NOVEL OF OUR DAY.


                                    BY
                          VANE IRETON ST. JOHN,

        _Author of_ “_St. Eustace_: _or_, _the Hundred and One_.”

                                * * * * *

                     LONDON: W. TINSLEY, 314, STRAND;
    And may be ordered of all Booksellers, and at all Railway Station





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "About London" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home