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Title: Curiosities of Civilization
Author: Wynter, Andrew
Language: English
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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.

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  [_The Right of Translation is reserved._]


The following Essays have been reprinted from the pages of the _Quarterly_
and _Edinburgh Reviews_, with the kind permission of their proprietors. It
may be necessary, however, to state that, with the exception of the paper
on the "Mortality in Trades and Professions," which was published in the
_Edinburgh Review_ of January, 1860, the whole of them have appeared in
the _Quarterly Review_ during the last six years. The date of each essay
is given in the list of contents; but, where necessary, corrections have
been made, so as to bring each article up to the knowledge of the present

A. W.

    _August, 1860._



  ADVERTISEMENTS                          (1855)      1

  FOOD AND ITS ADULTERATIONS              (1855)     53

  THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS                  (1855)     93

  RATS                                    (1857)    128

  LUNATIC ASYLUMS                         (1857)    150

  THE LONDON COMMISSARIAT                 (1854)    200

  WOOLWICH ARSENAL                        (1858)    245

  SHIPWRECKS                              (1858)    288


  THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH                  (1854)    349

  FIRES AND FIRE INSURANCE                (1855)    401

  THE POLICE AND THE THIEVES              (1856)    451



It is our purpose to draw out, as a thread might be drawn from some woven
fabric, a continuous line of advertisements from the newspaper press of
this country, since its establishment to the present time; and, by so
doing, to show how distinctly, from its dye, the pattern of the age
through which it ran is represented. If we follow up to its source any
public institution, fashion, or amusement, which has flourished during a
long period of time, we can gain some idea of our national progress and
development; but it strikes us that in no manner can we so well obtain at
a rapid glance a view of the salient points of generations that have
passed, as by consulting those small voices that have cried from age to
age from the pages of the press, declaring the wants, the losses, the
amusements, and the money-making eagerness of the people.

As we read in the old musty files of papers those _naïve_ announcements,
the very hum of bygone generations seems to rise to the ear. The chapman
exhibits his quaint wares; the mountebank capers again upon his stage; we
have the living portrait of the highwayman flying from justice; we see the
old china auctions thronged with ladies of quality with their attendant
negro boys, or those "by inch of candlelight" forming many a Schalken-like
picture of light and shade; or, later still, we have Hogarthian sketches
of the young bloods who swelled of old along the Pall-Mall. We trace the
moving panorama of men and manners up to our own less demonstrative but
more earnest times; and all these cabinet pictures are the very
daguerreotypes cast by the age which they exhibit, not done for effect,
but faithful reflections of those insignificant items of life and things,
too small, it would seem, for the generalizing eye of the historian,
however necessary to clothe and fill in the dry bones of his history.

The _English Mercurie_ of 1588, which professes to have been published
during those momentous days when the Spanish Armada was hovering and
waiting to pounce upon our southern shores, contains, among its items of
news, three or four book advertisements, and these would undoubtedly have
been the first put forth in England were that newspaper genuine. Mr.
Watts, of the British Museum, has, however, proved that the several
numbers of this journal to be found in our national library are gross
forgeries, and, indeed, the most inexperienced eye in such matters can
easily see that neither their type, paper, spelling, nor composition are
much more than one, instead of upwards of two centuries and a half old.
Newspapers, in the strict sense of the word--that is, publications of news
appearing at stated intervals, and regularly paged on--did not make their
appearance until the latter end of the reign of James I. The _Weekely
Newes_, published in London in 1622, was the first publication which
answered to this description; it contained, however, only a few scraps of
foreign intelligence, and was quite destitute of advertisements. The
terrible contest of the succeeding reign was the hotbed which forced the
press of this country into sudden life and extraordinary vigour. Those who
have wandered in the vaults of the British Museum and contemplated the
vast collection of political pamphlets and the countless Mercuries which
sprang full armed, on either side of the quarrel, from the strong and
earnest brains which wrought in that great political trouble, will not
hesitate to discover, amidst the hubbub of the Rebellion, the first throes
of the press of England as a political power. At such a time, when
Marchmort Needham fell foul with his types of Sir John Birkenhead and the
court party which he supported, with as heavy a hand and as dauntless a
will as Cromwell hurled his Ironsides at the Cavaliers at Naseby, it is
not likely that we should find the press the vehicle to make known the
goods of tradesmen, or to offer a reward for stolen horses. The
shopkeepers themselves, as well as the nobility, were too hard at it, to
avail themselves of this new mode of extending their trade: they had to
keep guard over the malignants, to cover the five members with the shield
of their arms, to overawe Whitehall, to march to the relief of
Gloucester,--objects quite sufficient to account for the fact that the
train-bands were not advertisers. After the king's death, however, when
the Commonwealth had time to breathe, the people seem to have discovered
the use of the press as a means of making known their wants and of giving
publicity to their wares. The very first advertisement we have met with,
after an active search among the earliest newspapers, relates to a book
which is entitled--

    Irenodia Gratulatoria, an Heroick Poem; being a congratulatory
    panegyrick for my Lord General's late return, summing up his successes
    in an exquisite manner.

    To be sold by John Holden, in the New Exchange, London. Printed by
    Tho. Newcourt, 1652.

This appeared in the January number of the Parliamentary paper _Mercurius
Politicus_. It is evidently a piece of flattery to Cromwell upon his
victories in Ireland, and might have been inserted at the instigation of
the great Commonwealth leader himself. Booksellers appear to have been the
first to take advantage of this new medium of publicity, and for the
obvious reason that their goods were calculated for the readers of the
public journals, who at that time must have consisted almost exclusively
of the higher orders. From this date to the Restoration the quaintest
titles of works on the political and religious views, such as were then in
the ascendant, are to be found in the _Mercurius Politicus_: thus, we have
"Gospel Marrow;" "A few Sighs from Hell, or the Groans of a Damned Soul;"
"Michael opposing the Dragon, or a Fiery Dart struck through the Kingdom
of the Serpent." And in the number for September, 1659, we find an
advertisement which seems to bring us face to face with one of the
brightest names in the roll of English poets:--

    Considerations touching the likeliest means to remove Hirelings out of
    the Church; wherein is also discours'd of Tithes, Church Fees, Church
    Revenues, and whether any maintenance of Ministers can be settled by
    Law. The author, J. M. Sold by _Livewell Chapman_, at the Crown in
    Pope's Head Alley.

In juxtaposition to these illustrious initials we find another
advertisement, which is the representative of a class that prevailed most
extensively at this early time--the Hue and Cry after runaway servants and
lost or stolen horses and dogs. Every generation is apt to praise, like
Orlando, "the antique service of the old world;" but a little excursion
into the regions of the past shows us how persistent this cry has been in
all ages. Employers who are in the habit of eulogising servants of the
"old school," would be exceedingly astonished to find that two hundred
years ago they were a very bad lot indeed, as far as we can judge from the
advertisements of rewards for the seizure of delinquents of their class.
Here is a full-length portrait of apparently a runaway apprentice, as
drawn in the _Mercurius Politicus_ of July 1st, 1658:--

    If any one can give notice of one _Edward Perry_, being about the age
    of eighteen or nineteen years, of low stature, black hair, full of
    pockholes in his face; he weareth a new gray suit trimmed with green
    and other ribbons, a light Cinnamon-colored cloak, and black hat, who
    run away lately from his Master; they are desired to bring or send
    word to _Tho. Firby_, Stationer, at Gray's Inne gate, who will
    thankfully reward them.

It will be observed that the dashing appearance of this runaway
apprentice, habited in his gray suit trimmed with green ribbons, and
furbished off so spicily with his cinnamon-coloured cloak, is rather
marred by the description of his face as "full of pockholes." Unless the
reader has scanned the long list of villanous portraits exhibited by the
Hue and Cry in the old papers of the last portion of the seventeenth and
first portion of the eighteenth centuries, he can form but a faint
conception of the ravages committed by the small-pox upon the population.
Every man seemed more or less to have been speckled with "pockholes," and
the race must have presented one moving mass of pits and scars. Here, for
instance, is a companion picture to hang with that of Edward Perry,
copied from the _Mercurius Politicus_ of May 31st, 1660:--

    A Black-haired Maid, of a middle stature, thick set, with big breasts,
    having her face full marked with the smallpox, calling herself by the
    name of _Nan_ or _Agnes Hobson_, did, upon Monday the 28 of _May_,
    about six o'Clock in the morning, steal away from her Ladies house in
    the Pal-mall a mingle-coloured wrought Tabby Gown of Deer colour and
    white; a black striped Sattin Gown with four broad bone-black silk
    Laces, and a plain black-watered French Tabby Gown; Also, one
    Scarlet-coloured and one other Pink-coloured Sarcenet Peticoat, and a
    white watered Tabby Wastcoat, plain; Several Sarcenet, Mode, and thin
    black Hoods and Scarfs, several fine Holland Shirts, a laced pair of
    Cuffs and Dressing; one pair of Pink-coloured Worsted Stockings, a
    Silver Spoon, a Leather bag, &c. She went away in greyish Cloth
    Wastcoat turned, and a Pink-coloured Paragon upper Peticoat, with a
    green Tammy under one. If any shall give notice of this person, or
    things, at one _Hopkins_, a Shoomaker's, next door to the Vine Tavern,
    near the Pal-mall end, near Charing Cross, or at Mr. _Ostler's_, at
    the Bull Head in Cornhill, near the Old Exchange, they shall be
    rewarded for their pains.

Scarcely a week passes without such runaways being advertised, together
with a list of the quaint articles of which their booty consisted. At the
risk of wearying the reader with these descriptions of the "old-fashioned"
sort of servants, we give another advertisement from the _Mercurius
Politicus_ of July 1st 1658:--

    One _Eleanor Parker_ (by birth _Haddock_), of a Tawny reddish
    complexion, a pretty long nose, tall of stature, servant to Mr.
    _Frederic Howpert_, Kentish Town, upon Saturday last the _26th of
    June_, ran away and stole two Silver Spoons; a sweet Tent-work Bag,
    with gold and silver Lace about it, and lined with Satin; a Bugle
    work-Cushion, very curiously wrought in all manners of slips and
    flowers; a Shell cup, with a Lyon's face, and a Ring of silver in its
    mouth; besides many other things of considerable value, which she took
    out of her Mistresses Cabinet, which she broke open; as also some
    Cloaths and Linen of all sorts, to the value of Ten pounds and
    upwards. If any one do meet with her and please to secure her, and
    give notice to the said _Frederic Howpert_, or else to Mr. _Malpass_,
    Leather-seller, at the Green Dragon, at the upper end of Lawrence
    Lane, he shall be thankfully rewarded for his pains.

An advertisement which appears in the same paper, of the date of August
11th, 1659, gives us the first notice we have yet found of the service of
negro boys in this country. From this period, however, as we shall
presently show, England, at least the fashionable part of it, seems to
have swarmed with young blackamoors in a greater degree than we should
have imagined even from the familiar notice made of them in the pages of
the "Tatler" and "Spectator." These early negroes must have been imported
from the Portuguese territories, as we did not deal in the article
ourselves till the year 1680. The amusing point of the following
advertisement, however, is the assurance it gives us that the Puritans
"polled" their negroes as well as themselves.

    A Negro-boy, about nine years of age, in a gray Searge suit, his hair
    cut close to his head, was lost on Tuesday last, _August 9_, at night,
    in _S. Nicholas_ Lane, _London_. If any one can give notice of him to
    Mr. _Tho. Barker_, at the Sugarloaf in that Lane, they shall be well
    rewarded for their pains.

About this time we find repeatedly advertised the loss of horses. It is
observable that during the "troubles" such things as highwaymen were
unknown. The bold, unruly characters, who at a later date took to the
road, were then either enlisted under the banners of the state or had gone
over the sea to Charlie. The great extent to which horse-stealing
prevailed during the Commonwealth period, and, indeed, for the next
half-century, might possibly be ascribed to the value of those animals
consequent upon the scarcity produced by the casualties of the
battle-field. We cannot account, however, for one fact connected with the
horse-stealing of the Commonwealth period, namely, that when at grass they
were often kept _saddled_. The following advertisement, which is an
illustration of this singular custom, is very far from being an uncommon

    A small black NAG, some ten or eleven years old, no white at all,
    bob-Tailed, wel forehanded, somewhat thin behind, thick Heels, and
    goeth crickling and lamish behind at his first going out; the hair is
    beat off upon his far Hip as broad as a twelvepence; he hath a black
    leather Saddle trimmed with blew, and covered with a black
    Calves-skin, its a little torn upon the Pummel; two new Girths of
    white and green thread, and black Bridle, the Rein whereof is sowed on
    the off side, and a knot to draw it on the near side, Stoln out of a
    field at _Chelmsford_, _21 February_ instant, from Mr. _Henry Bullen_.
    Whosoever can bring tidings to the said Mr. _Bullen_ at _Bromfield_,
    or to Mr. _Newman_ at the Grocer's Arms in _Cornhil_, shall have
    20_s._ for his pains.--_Mercurius Politicus_, February 24, 1659.

It could scarcely have been, in this particular case at least, that the
exigencies of the time required such precautions, as the only rising that
took place this year occurred six months afterwards in the county of
Chester. The furniture of the nag, it must be confessed, seems remarkably
adapted for service, and might, from its colour, have belonged to a
veritable Ironside trooper. Another reason, perhaps, of the great value of
horses at this period, was the establishment of public conveyances, by
which means travellers as well as letters were conveyed from one part of
the kingdom to the other. Prior to the year 1636 there was no such thing
as a postal service for the use of the people in this country. The court
had, it is true, an establishment for the forwarding of despatches, but
its efficacy may be judged of from a letter written by one Bryan Tuke,
"master of the postes" in Henry VIII.'s time, to Cromwell, who had
evidently been sharply reproving him for remissness in forwarding the
king's papers:--

    "The Kinges Grace hath no mor ordinary postes, ne of many days hathe
    had, but betweene London and Calais.... For, sir, ye knowe well that,
    except the hackney-horses betweene Gravesende and Dovour, there is no
    suche usual conveyance in post for men in this realme as in the
    accustomed places of France and other partes; ne men can keepe horses
    in redynes withoute som way to bere the charges; but when placardes be
    sent for suche cause (to order the immediate forwarding of some state
    packet) _the constables many tymes be fayne to take horses oute of
    ploues and cartes, wherein can be no extreme diligence_."

This was in the year 1533. Elizabeth, however, established horse-posts on
all the great routes for the transmission of the letters of the court; and
this, in 1633, was developed into a public post, which went night and day
at the rate of seven miles an hour in summer and five miles in winter--not
such bad travelling for those days. Still there was no means of forwarding
passengers until the time of Cromwell, when we find stagecoaches
established on all the great roads throughout the kingdom. We do not know
that we have ever seen quoted so early a notice of public stage
conveyances. We have evidently not given our ancestors so much credit as
they deserved. The following advertisement shows the time taken and the
fares of a considerable number of these journeys:--

    From the 26 day of April 1658 there will continue to go Stage Coaches
    from the _George_ Inn, without Aldersgate, _London_, unto the several
    Cities and Towns, for the Rates and at the times, hereafter mentioned
    and declared.

    _Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday._

    To _Salisbury_ in two days for xx_s._ To _Blandford_ and _Dorchester_
    in two days and half for xxx_s._ To _Burput_ in three days for xxx_s._
    To _Exmaster_, _Hunnington_, and _Exeter_ in four days for xl_s._

    To _Stamford_ in two days for xx_s._ To _Newark_ in two days and a
    half for xxv_s._ To _Bawtrey_ in three days for xxx_s._ To _Doncaster_
    and _Ferribridge_ for xxxv_s._ To _York_ in four days for xl_s._

    _Mondays_ and _Wednesdays_ to _Ockinton_ and _Plymouth_ for l_s._

    Every _Monday_ to _Helperby_ and _Northallerton_ for xlv_s._ To
    _Darneton_ and _Ferryhil_ for l_s._ To Durham for lv_s._ To
    _Newcastle_ for iii_l._

    Once every fortnight to _Edinburgh_ for iv_l._ a peece--_Mondays_.

    Every _Friday_ to _Wakefield_ in four days, xl_s._

    All persons who desire to travel unto the Cities, Towns, and Roads
    herein hereafter mentioned and expressed, namely--to _Coventry_,
    _Litchfield_, _Stone_, _Namptwich_, _Chester_, _Warrington_, _Wiggan_,
    _Chorley_, _Preston_, _Gastang_, _Lancaster_, and _Kendal_; and also
    to _Stamford_, _Grantham_, _Newark_, _Tuxford_, _Bawtrey_,
    _Doncaster_, _Ferriebridge_, _York_, _Helperly_, _Northallerton_,
    _Darneton_, _Ferryhill_, _Durham_, and _Newcastle_, _Wakefield_,
    _Leeds_, and _Halifax_; and also to _Salisbury_, _Blandford_,
    _Dorchester_, _Burput_, _Exmaster_, _Hunnington_, and _Exeter_,
    _Ockinton_, _Plimouth_, and _Cornwal_; let them repair to the _George_
    Inn at _Holborn Bridge, London_, and thence they shall be in good
    Coaches with good Horses, upon every _Monday_, _Wednesday_, and
    _Fridays_, at and for reasonable Rates.--_Mercurius Politicus_, April
    1, 1658.

Other announcements about the same time prove that the Great Western road
was equally provided, as well as the Dover route to the continent. It is
not a little singular, however, that regularly-appointed coaches, starting
at stated intervals, should have preceded what might be considered the
simpler arrangement of the horse service. That the development of the
postal system into a means of forwarding single travellers did not take
place until some time afterwards, would appear from the following:--

    _The Postmasters on_ Chester _Road, petitioning, have received Order,
    and do accordingly publish the following advertisement_:--

    All Gentlemen, Merchants, and others, who have occasion to travel
    between _London_ and _Westchester_, _Manchester_, and _Warrington_, or
    any other Town upon that Road, for the accommodation of Trade,
    dispatch of Business, and ease of Purse, upon every Monday, Wednesday,
    and Friday Morning, betwixt Six and ten of the Clock, at the House of
    Mr. _Christopher Charteris_, at the sign of the Hart's-Horn, in
    West-Smithfield, and Post-Master there, and at the Post-Master of
    _Chester_, at the Post-Master of _Manchester_, and at the Post-Master
    of _Warrington_, may have a good and able single Horse, or more,
    furnished at Threepence the Mile, without the charge of a Guide; and
    so likewise at the House of Mr. _Thomas Challenor_, Post-Master at
    _Stone_ in _Staffordshire_, upon every Tuesday, Thursday, and
    Saturdays Morning, to go for _London_. And so likewise at the several
    Post-Masters upon the Road, who will have all such set days so many
    Horses with Furniture in readiness to furnish the Riders without any
    stay to carry them to or from any the places aforesaid, in Four days,
    as well to _London_ as from thence, and to places nearer in less time,
    according as their occasions shall require, they ingaging at the first
    Stage where they take Horse, for the safe delivery of the same to the
    next immediate Stage, and not to ride that Horse any further without
    consent of the Post-Master by whom he rides, and so from Stage to
    Stage to their Journeys end. _All those who intend to ride this way
    are desired to give a little notice beforehand, if conveniently they
    can, to the several Post-masters where they first take horse, whereby
    they may be furnished with so many Horses as the Riders shall require
    with expedition._ This undertaking began the 28 of _June_ 1658 at all
    the Places abovesaid, and so continues by the several Post-Masters.

The intimation that these horses might be had without the "charge of a
guide" gives us an insight into the bad condition of the roads up to that
period. We can scarcely imagine, in these days, the necessity for a guide
to direct us along the great highways of England, and can with difficulty
realize to ourselves the fact that as late as the middle of the
seventeenth century the interior of the country was little better than a
wilderness, as we may indeed gather from Pepy's journey from London to
Bristol and back, in which the item "guides" formed no inconsiderable
portion of his expenses.

In turning over the musty little quarto newspapers which mirror with such
vividness the characteristic lineaments of the Commonwealth period, not
yet left behind us, we chanced upon an advertisement which tells perhaps
more than any other of the dangerous complexion of those times. It is an
advertisement for some runaway young "sawbones," whose love of desperate
adventure appears to have led him to prefer the tossing of a pike to
pounding with a pestle:--

    _George Weale_, a Cornish youth, about 18 or 19 years of age, serving
    as an Apprentice at _Kingston_ with one Mr. _Weale_, an Apothecary,
    and his Uncle, about the time of the rising of the Counties _Kent_ and
    _Surrey_, went secretly from his said Uncle, and is conceived to have
    engaged in the same, and to be either dead, or slain in some of those
    fights, having never since been heard of, either by his said Uncle, or
    any of his Friends. If any person can give notice of the certainty of
    the death of the said _George Weale_, let him repair to the said Mr.
    _Graunt_ his House in Drum-alley in Drury Lane, _London_; he shall
    have twenty shillings for his pains.--_Mercurius Politicus_, Dec. 8,

Here at least we have probably preserved the name of one of the fameless
men who were "slain in some of those fights," a phrase which in these days
opens to us a chapter in romance.

With the exception of book advertisements and quack medicines, we have not
up to this date met with a single instance of a tradesman turning the
newspaper to account in making known his goods to the public. The very
first announcement of this nature, independently of its being in itself a
curiosity, possesses a very strong interest, from the fact that it marks
the introduction of an article of food which perhaps more than all others
has served to wean the nation from one of its besetting sins of
old--drunkenness. Common report, Mr. Disraeli informs us, attributes the
introduction of "the cup which cheers but not inebriates," to Lord
Arlington and Lord Ossory, who are said to have brought over a small
quantity from Holland in 1666. The author of the "Curiosities of
Literature" does not think this statement satisfactory, and tells us that
he has heard of Oliver Cromwell's teapot being in the possession of a
collector. We never knew before of these teetotal habits of the Protector,
but we can so far back the story as to find chronologically correct bohea
to put into his pot; for though it is true that the date of the following
advertisement is three weeks after the death of his highness, it refers to
the article as a known and, by physicians, an approved drink, and
therefore must have been some time previously on sale:--

    That Excellent and by all Physitians approved _China_ Drink called by
    the _Chineans Tcha_, by other Nations _Tay alias Tee_, is sold at the
    _Sultaness Head Cophee-House_, in _Sweetings_ Rents, by the Royal
    Exchange, _London_.--_Mercurius Politicus_, September 30, 1658.

This is undoubtedly the earliest authentic announcement yet made known of
the public sale in England of this now famous beverage. The mention of a
"Cophee-house" proves that the sister stimulant was even then making way
in the country.[1] It took, however, a couple of centuries to convert
them, in the extended sense of the term, into national drinks; but, like
many other good things, it came too early. Tea may have sufficed for
fanatics, Anabaptists, Quakers, Independents, and self-denying sectaries
of all kinds; and for all we know, its early introduction, had the
Commonwealth lasted, might have accelerated the temperance movement a
century at least; but the wheel of fortune was about to turn once
more--mighty ale had to be broached, and many deep healths to be drunk by
those who had "come to their own again;" and tea, for full half a century,
was washed away by brown October and the French wines that came in with
the Merry Monarch.

We have now brought the reader upon the very borders of the period when
Charles, with his hungry followers, landed in triumph at Dover. The
advertisements which appeared during the time that Monk was temporizing
and sounding his way to the Restoration, form a capital barometer of the
state of feeling among political men at that critical juncture. We see no
more of the old Fifth-Monarchy spirit abroad. Ministers of the
steeple-houses evidently note the storm coming, and cease their
long-winded warnings to a backsliding generation. Every one is either
panting to take advantage of the first sunshine of royal favour, or to
deprecate its wrath, the coming shadow of which is clearly seen. Meetings
are advertised of those persons who have purchased sequestered estates, in
order that they may address the King to secure them in possession;
parliamentary aldermen repudiate by the same means, charges in the papers
that their names are to be found in the list of those persons who "sat
upon the tryal of the late King;" the works of "late" bishops begin again
to air themselves in the Episcopal wind that is clearly setting in; and
"The Tears, Sighs, Complaints, and Prayers of the Church of England"
appear in the advertising columns in place of the sonorous titles of
sturdy old Baxter's works. It is clear there is a great commotion at hand;
the leaves are rustling, and the dust is moving. In the very midst of it,
however, we find one name still faithful to the "old cause," as the
Puritans call it: on the 8th of March, 1660--that is, while the sway of
Charles's sceptre had already cast its shadow from Breda--we find the
following advertisement in the _Mercurius Politicus_:--

    The ready and easie way to establish a free Commonwealth, and the
    excellence thereof compared with the inconveniences and dangers of
    readmitting Kingship in this Nation. The Author, J. M. Wherein, by
    reason of the Printers haste, the Errata not coming in time, it is
    desired that the following faults may be amended. Page 9, line 32, for
    _the Areopagus_ read _of Areopagus_. P. 10, l. 3, for full Senate,
    true Senate; l. 4, for fits, is the whole Aristocracy; l. 7, for
    Provincial States, States of every City. P. 17, l. 29, for _cite_,
    _citie_; 1. 30, for _left_, _felt_. Sold by _Livewel Chapman_, at the
    Crown, in Pope's-head Alley.

The calmness of the blind bard in thus issuing corrections to his
hastily-printed pamphlet on behalf of a falling cause, excites our
admiration, and gives us an exalted idea of his moral courage. In two
months, as might have been expected, he was a proscribed fugitive,
sheltering his honoured head from the pursuit of Charles's myrmidons in
some secret hiding-place in Westminster, whilst his works, by order of the
House, were being burned by the common hangman.

The lawyers were not slow in perceiving the way the wind was blowing, and
set their sails accordingly--if we may take the action of one Mr. Nicholas
Bacon, as shown in the following advertisement, as any index of the
feelings of his fellows:--

    Whereas one Capt. _Gouge_, a witness examined against the late Kings
    Majesty, in those Records stiled himself of the Honorable Society of
    _Grays_ Inne. These are to give notice that the said _Gouge_, being
    long sought for, was providentially discovered in a disguise, seized
    in that Society, and now in custody, being apprehended by the help of
    some spectators that knew him, viewing of a Banner with his Majesties
    arms, set up just at the same time of His Majesties landing, on an
    high Tower in the same Society, by _Nicholas Bacon_, Esq., a Member
    thereof, as a memorial of so great a deliverance, and testimony of his
    constant loyalty to His Majesty, and that the said _Gouge_ upon
    examination confessed, That he was never admitted not so much as a
    Clerk of that Society.--_Mercurius Politicus_, June 7, 1660.

Whilst all London was throwing up caps for the restored monarch, and
England seemed so glad that he himself wondered how he could have been
persuaded to stop away so long, let us catch the lost luggage of a poor
cavalier, who has just followed his royal master from his long banishment,
and turn out its contents for our reader, in order to show that even
ruined old courtiers carried more impedimenta than the famous "shirt,
towel, and piece of soap" of our renowned Napier. The _Mercurius Publicus_
is now our mine, in which we sink a shaft, and come up with this fossil
advertisement, which bears date July 5th, 1660:--

    _A Leathern Portmantle Lost at_ Sittingburn _or_ Rochester, _when his
    Majesty came thither, wherein was a Suit of Camolet Holland, with two
    little laces in a seam, eight pair of white Gloves, and a pair of Does
    leather; about twenty yards of skie-colourd Ribbon twelvepenny broad,
    and a whole piece of black Ribbon tenpenny broad, a cloath
    lead-coloured cloak, with store of linnen; a pair of shooes, slippers,
    a Montero, and other things; all which belong to a Gentleman (a near
    servant to His Maiesty) who hath been too long Imprisoned and
    Sequestered to be now robbed when all men hope to enjoy their own. If
    any can give notice, they may leave word with_ Mr. Samuel Merne, _His
    Majesties Book-binder, at his house in Little Britain, and they shall
    be thankfully rewarded._

The king had not been "in" a month ere his habits appear through the
public papers. The _Mercurius Politicus_ is now turned courtier, and has
changed its name to the _Mercurius Publicus_. Its columns, indeed, are
entirely under the direction of the king, and, instead of slashing
articles against malignants, degenerates into a virulent oppressor of the
Puritans, and a vehicle for inquiries after his majesty's favourite dogs
that have been stolen. In the number for June 28th, 1660, for instance, we
find the following advertisement:--

    [Hand] A smooth black DOG, less than a Grey-hound, with white under
    his breast, belonging to the Kings Majesty, was taken from Whitehall,
    the eighteenth day of this instant _June_, or thereabouts. If any one
    can give notice to _John Ellis_, one of his Majesties servants, or to
    his Majesties Back-Stairs, shall be well rewarded for their labour.

It is evident that "the smooth black dog" was a very great favourite, for
the next publication of the journal contains another advertisement with
respect to him, printed in larger Italic type, the diction of which, from
its pleasant raillery, looks as though it had come from the king's own

    [Hand] _We must call upon you again for a Black Dog, between a
    Grey-hound and a Spaniel, no white about him, onely a streak on his
    Brest, and Tayl a little bobbed. It is His Majesties own Dog, and
    doubtless was stoln, for the Dog was not born nor bred in_ England,
    _and would never forsake his Master. Whosoever findes him may acquaint
    any at Whitehal, for the Dog was better known at Court than those who
    stole him. Will they never leave robbing His Majesty? must he not keep
    a Dog? This Dogs place (though better than some imagine) is the
    only place which nobody offers to beg._

Pepys, about this time, describes the king with a train of spaniels and
other dogs at his heels, lounging along and feeding the ducks in St.
James's Park; and on occasions still later he was often seen talking to
Nelly, as she leaned from her garden-wall that abutted upon the Pall-Mall,
whilst his canine favourites grouped around him. On these occasions
perhaps the representatives of those gentlemen to be seen in
Regent-street, with two bundles of animated wool beneath their arms, were
on the look-out, as we find his majesty continually advertising his lost
dogs. Later we find him inquiring after "a little brindled greyhound
bitch, having her two hinder feet white;" for a "white-haired spaniel,
smooth-coated, with large red or yellowish spots," and for a "black
mastiff dog, with cropped ears and cut tail." And when royalty had done,
his Highness Prince Rupert, or Buckingham, or "my Lord Albemarle,"
resorted to the _London Gazette_ to make known their canine losses. We
think the change in the temper of the age is more clearly marked by these
dog advertisements than by anything else. The Puritans did not like
sporting animals of any kind, and we much question whether a dog would
have followed a fifth-monarchy-man. Hence the total absence of all
advertisements bearing upon the "fancy." Now that the king had returned,
the old English love of field-sports spread with fourfold vigour. We
chance upon the traces too of a courtly amusement which had been handed
down from the middle ages, and was then only lingering amongst
us--hawking. Here is an inquiry after a lost lanner:--

    Richard Finney, Esquire, of Alaxton, in Leicestershire, about a
    fortnight since lost a LANNER from that place; she hath neither Bells
    nor Varvels; she is a white Hawk, and her long feathers and sarcels
    are both in the blood. If any one give tidings thereof to Mr. Lambert
    at the golden Key in Fleet-street, they shall have forty shillings for
    their pains.--_Mercurius Publicus_, September 6, 1660.

As London was the only place in which a newspaper was published during the
reign of Charles, and indeed for nearly fifty years afterwards, the hue
and cry after lost animals always came to town, as a matter of course. It
sounds strange to read these advertisements of a sport the very terms of
which are now unintelligible to us. What ages seem to have passed since
these birds, in all the glory of scarlet hoods, were carried upon some
"faire lady's" wrist, or poised themselves, with fluttering wing, as the
falconer uncovered them to view their quarry! We have skipped a few years,
in order to afford one or two more examples of these picturesque
advertisements, so different from anything to be seen at the present

    Lost on the 30 of October, 1665, an Intermix'd Barbary Tercel Gentle,
    engraven in Varvels, Richard Windwood, of Ditton Park, in the County
    of Bucks, Esq. For more particular marks--if the Varvels be taken
    off--the 4th feather in one of the wings Imped, and the third pounce
    of the right foot broke. If any one inform Sir William Roberts, Knight
    and Baronet (near Harrow-on-the-Hill, in the County of Middlesex), or
    Mr. William Philips, at the King's Head in Paternoster Row, of the
    Hawk, he shall be sufficiently rewarded.--_The Intelligencer_, Nov. 6,

The next paper contains an inquiry for a goshawk belonging to Lord William
Petre, and two years later a royal bird is inquired after in the _London
Gazette_, as follows:--

    A Sore ger Falcon of His Majesty, lost the 13 of August, who had one
    Varvel of his Keeper, Roger Higs, of Westminster, Gent. Whosoever hath
    taken her up and give notice Sir Allan Apsley, Master of His Majesties
    Hawks at St. James's, shall be rewarded for his paines. Back-Stairs in

This Sir Allan Apsley is the brother of Mrs. Hutchinson, who has given us
such a vivid picture, in the memoir of her husband, of the Commonwealth
time. The _London Gazette_, from which we quote, is the only paper still
in existence that had its root in those days. It first appeared in Oxford,
upon the Court taking up its abode in that city during the time of the
Great Plague, and was therefore called the _Oxford Gazette_. On the return
of Charles to London it followed in his train, and became the _London
Gazette_, or Court and official paper, and the latter character it has
retained to the present hour. The gazettes of the seventeenth century were
widely different from those of our day. They contain foreign news, as well
as state papers, royal proclamations, &c., and, stranger still,
miscellaneous advertisements are mixed up with those upon the business of
the Court. The quack doctors, with an eye, we suppose, to the "quality,"
were the first to avail themselves of its pages to make known their
nostrums. It will astonish our readers to find what an ancestry some of
the quack medicines of the present day have had. "Nervous powders,"
specifics for gout, rheumatism, &c., seized upon the columns of the
newspapers almost as early as they were published. Here is a specimen
which might still serve as a model for such announcements:--

    _Gentlemen_, you are desired to take notice, That Mr. _Theophilus
    Buckworth_ doth at his house on _Mile-end Green_ make and expose to
    sale, for the publick good, those so famous _Lozenges_ or _Pectorals_
    approved for the cure of Consumptions, Coughs, Catarrhs, Asthmas,
    Hoarness, Strongness of Breath, Colds in general, Diseases incident to
    the Lungs, and a sovoraign Antidote against the Plague, and all other
    contagious Diseases and obstructions of the Stomach: And for more
    convenience of the people, constantly leaveth them sealed up with his
    coat of arms on the papers, with Mr. _Rich. Lowndes_ (as formerly), at
    the sign of the White Lion, near the little north door of _Pauls
    Church_; Mr. _Henry Seile_, over against _S. Dunstan's_ Church in
    Fleet Street; Mr. _William Milward_, at _Westminster_ Hall Gate; Mr.
    _John Place_, at _Furnival's Inn Gate_, in Holborn; and Mr. _Robert
    Horn_, at the Turk's-head near the entrance of the Royal Exchange,
    Booksellers, and no others.

        _This is published to prevent the designs of divers Pretenders,
        who counterfeit the said Lozenges, to the disparagement of the
        said Gentleman, and great abuse of the people._--_Mercurius
        Politicus_, Nov. 16, 1660.

The next is equally characteristic:--

    Most Excellent and Approved _Dentifrices_ to scour and cleanse the
    Teeth, making them white as Ivory, preserves from the Toothach; so
    that, being constantly used, the parties using it are never troubled
    with the Toothach: It fastens the Teeth, sweetens the Breath, and
    preserves the Gums and Mouth from Cankers and Imposthumes. Made by
    _Robert Turner_, Gentleman; and the right are onely to be had at
    _Thomas Rookes_, Stationer, at the Holy Lamb at the east end of St.
    Paul's Church, near the School, in sealed papers, at 12_d._ the paper.

    _The reader is desired to beware of counterfeits._

    (_Mercurius Politicus_, Dec. 20, 1660.)

Other advertisements about this time profess to cure all diseases by means
of an "antimonial cup." Sir Kenelm Digby, the same learned knight who
feasted his wife upon capons fattened upon serpents, in order to make her
fair, advertises a book in which he professes to show a method of curing
wounds by a powder of sympathy; and here is a notification of a remedy
which shows still more clearly the superstitious character of the age:--

    Small baggs to hang about Children's necks, which are excellent both
    for the _prevention and cure_ of the _Rickets_, and to ease children
    in breeding of Teeth, are prepared by Mr. Edmund Buckworth, and
    constantly to be had at Mr. Philip Clark's, Keeper of the Library in
    the Fleet, and nowhere else, at 5 shillings a bagge.--_The
    Intelligencer_, Oct. 16, 1664.

It was left, however, to the reign of Anne for the mountebank to descend
from his stage in the fair and the market-place, in order to erect it in
the public newspapers. But we have yet to mention one, who might appear to
some to be the greatest quack of all, and who about this time resorted to
an advertisement in the newspapers to call his patients to his doors;--the
royal charlatan, who touched for the evil, makes known that he is at home
for the season to his people through the medium of the _Public
Intelligencer_ of 1664:--

    Whitehall, May 14, 1664. His Sacred Majesty, having declared it to be
    his Royal will and purpose to continue the healing of his people for
    the Evil during the Month of May, and then to give over till
    Michaelmas next, I am commanded to give notice thereof, that the
    people may not come up to Town in the Interim and lose their labour.

No doubt there was much political significance in this pretended efficacy
of the royal touch in scrofulous afflictions; at the same time, there is
reason to believe that patients did sometimes speedily recover after
undergoing the regal contact. Dr. Tyler Smith, who has written a very
clever little book on the subject, boldly states his belief that the
emotion felt by these poor stricken people who came within the influence
of "that divinity which doth hedge a king," acted upon them as a powerful
mental tonic; in a vast number of cases, however, we might impute the
tonic to the gold coin which the king always bestowed upon his patient. Be
that as it may, the practice flourished down to the time of Anne, at whose
death it stopped; the sovereigns of the line of Brunswick never pretending
to possess this medicinal virtue, coming as they did to the throne by only
a parliamentary title. The reaction from the straightlaced times of the
Commonwealth, which set in immediately upon the Restoration, seems to have
arrived at its height about the year 1664, and the advertisements at that
period reflect very truly the love of pleasure and excitement which seized
hold of the people, as if they were bent on making up for the time that
had been lost during the Puritanic rule. They are mostly taken up, in
fact, with inquiries after "lost lace-work;" announcements of lotteries in
the Banqueting Hall at Whitehall, of jewels, tapestry, and lockets of "Mr.
Cooper's work," of which the following is a fair specimen:--

    Lost, on the 27th of July, about Boswell Yard or Drury Lane, a Ladyes
    Picture, set in gold, and three Keys, with divers other little things
    in a perfumed pocket. Whosoever shall give notice of or bring the said
    picture to Mr. Charles Coakine, Goldsmith, near Staples Inne, Holborn,
    shall have 4 times the value of the gold for his payns.--_The News_,
    August 4, 1664.

The love of the people also for the strange and marvellous is shown by
announcements of rare sights; for instance, we are told that,--

    At the Mitre, near the west end of St. Paul's, is to be seen a rare
    Collection of Curiosityes, much resorted to and admired by persons of
    great learning and quality, among which a choyce Egyptian Mummy, with
    hieroglyphicks; the Ant-Beare of Brasil; a Remora; a Torpedo; the Huge
    Thigh-bone of a Giant; a Moon Fish; a Tropic Bird, &c.--_The News_ of
    June 2, 1664.

A rather scanty collection of articles, it is true, but eked out
monstrously by the "huge thigh-bone of a giant," which in all probability
belonged to some huge quadruped. The ignorance of those times with
respect to natural history must have been something astonishing, as about
the same date we find the following print of what were evidently
considered very curious animals advertised in the _London Gazette_:--

    A True Representation of the Rhonoserous and Elephant, lately brought
    from the East Indies to London, drawn after the life, and curiously
    engraven in Mezzotinto, printed upon a large sheet of paper. Sold by
    PIERCE TEMPEST, at the Eagle and Child in the Strand, over against
    Somerset House, Water Gate.--The _London Gazette_, Jan. 22, 1664.

In the succeeding year all advertisements of this kind stop; amusements,
from some great disturbing cause, have ceased to attract; there is no more
gambling under the name of lotteries at Whitehall; no more curiosities are
exhibited to a pleasure loving crew; no more books of amorous songs are
published; no more lockets or perfumed bags are dropped; all is stagnation
and silence, if we may judge as much from the sudden cessation of
advertisements with reference to them in the public papers. Death now
comes upon the stage, and rudely shuts the box of Autolycus, crops the
street with grass, and marks a red cross on every other door. It is the
year of the Great Plague. Those who could, fled early from the
pest-stricken city; those who remained until the malady had gained
irresistible sway were not allowed to depart, for fear of carrying the
contagion into the provinces, the Lord Mayor denying to such a clean bill
of health, in consequence of which they were driven back by the rustics as
soon as discovered. A singular instance also of the vigilance of the
authorities in confining, as they imagined, the mischief within the limits
of the metropolis is afforded by the succeeding advertisement:--

    _Nicholas Hurst_, an Upholsterer, over against the Rose Tavern, in
    Russell-street, Covent-Garden, whose Maid Servant dyed lately of the
    Sickness, fled on Monday last out of his house, taking with him
    several Goods and Household Stuff, and was afterwards followed by one
    Doctor Cary and Richard Bayle, with his wife and family, who lodged in
    the same house; but Bayle having his usual dwelling-house in
    Waybridge, in Surrey. Whereof we are commanded to give this Public
    Notice, that diligent search may be made for them, and the houses in
    which any of their persons or goods shall be found may be shut up by
    the next Justice of the Peace, or other his Majesty's Officers of
    Justice, and notice immediately given to some of his Majesty's Privy
    Councill, or to one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of
    State.--_London Gazette_, May 10, 1666.

Antidotes and remedies for the plague are also commonly advertised, just
as the visitation of the cholera in 1854 filled the columns of the _Times_
full of all sorts of specifics. Thus, for example, the _Intelligencer_ of
August the 28th, 1665, announces "an excellent electuary against the
plague, to be drunk at the Green Dragon, Cheap-side, at sixpence a pint."
The great and only cure, however, for this fearful visitation, which
carried off a hundred thousand persons in London alone, was at hand--the
purgation of fire. The conflagration, which burst out on the 2nd of
September, and destroyed thirteen thousand houses, gave the final blow to
its declining attacks. Singularly enough, but faint traces of this
overwhelming calamity, as it was considered at the time, can be gathered
from the current advertisements. Although the entire population of the
city was rendered houseless, and had to encamp in the surrounding fields,
where they extemporized shops and streets, not one hint of such a
circumstance can be found in the public announcements of the period. No
circumstance could afford a greater proof of the little use made by the
trading community of this means of publicity in the time of Charles II. If
a fire only a hundredth-part so destructive were to occur in these days,
the columns of the press would immediately be full of the new addresses of
the burnt-out shopkeepers; and those who were not even damaged by it would
take care to "improve the occasion" to their own advantage. We look in
vain through the pages of the _London Gazette_ of this and the following
year for one such announcement: not even a tavern-keeper tells us the
number of his booth in Goodman's Fields, although quack medicine
flourished away in its columns as usual. In 1667 we see a notification,
now and then, of some change in the site of a government office, or of the
intention to build by contract some public structure, such as the
following notice relative to the erection of the old Royal Exchange:--

    All Artificers of the several Trades that must be used in Rebuilding
    the Royal Exchange may take notice, that the Committee appointed for
    Management of that Work do sit at the end of the long gallery in
    Gresham Colledge every Monday in the forenoon, there and then to treat
    with such as are fit to undertake the same.

The remainder of the reign of Charles is unmarked by the appearance of any
characteristic advertisements which give a clue to the peculiar complexion
of the time. If we go back two or three years, however, we shall find one
which bears upon the introduction of those monstrous flowing wigs which
continued in fashion to the middle of the succeeding century:--

    Whereas _George Grey_, a Barber and Perrywigge-maker, over against the
    _Greyhound Tavern_, in _Black Fryers, London_, stands obliged to serve
    some particular persons of eminent Condition and Quality in his way of
    Employment: It is therefore notifyed at his desire, that any one
    having long flaxen hayr to sell may repayr to him the said _George
    Grey_, and they shall have 10_s._ the ounce, and for any other long
    fine hayr after the Rate of 5_s._ or 7_s._ the ounce.--_The Newes_,
    February 4, 1663.

Pepys describes, with amusing minuteness, how Chapman the periwig-maker
cut off his hair to make up one of these portentous head-dresses for him,
much to the trouble of his servants, Jane and Bessy; and on the Lord's
day, November 8th, 1663, he relates, with infinite _naïveté_, his entrance
into church with what must evidently have been the perruquier's latest
fashion. "To church, where I found that my coming in a periwig did not
prove so strange as I was afraid it would; for I thought that all the
church would presently have cast their eyes upon me, but I find no such
thing." Ten shillings the ounce for long flaxen hair shows the demand for
this peculiar colour by "persons of eminent condition and quality." We
have shown, from the advertisements of the time of Charles II., what was
indeed well known, that the age was characterized by frivolous amusements,
and by a love of dress and vicious excitement, in the midst of which
pestilence stalked like a mocking fiend, and the great conflagration lit
up the general masquerade with its lurid and angry glare. Together with
the emasculate tone of manners, a disposition to personal violence and a
contempt of law stained the latter part of this and the succeeding reign.
The audacious seizure of the crown jewels by Blood; the attack upon the
Duke of Ormond by the same desperado, that nobleman actually having been
dragged from his coach in St. James's Street in the evening, and carried,
bound, upon the saddle-bow of Blood's horse, as far as Hyde Park Corner,
before he could be rescued; the slitting of Sir John Coventry's nose in
the Haymarket by the king's guard; and the murder of Sir Edmondbury
Godfrey on Primrose Hill, are familiar instances of the prevalence of this
lawless spirit.

We catch a glimpse of one of these street outrages in the following
announcement of an assault upon glorious John:--

    Whereas _John Dryden, Esq._, was on Monday, the 18th instant, at
    night, barbarously assaulted and wounded, in Rose Street in Covent
    Garden, by divers men unknown; if any person shall make discovery of
    the said offenders to the said Mr. Dryden, or to any Justice of the
    Peace, he shall not only receive Fifty Pounds, which is deposited in
    the hands of Mr. Blanchard, Goldsmith, next door to Temple Bar, for
    the said purpose, but if he be a principal or an accessory in the said
    fact, his Majesty is graciously pleased to promise him his pardon for
    the same.--_The London Gazette_, Dec. 22, 1679.

And here is another of a still more tragic character:--

    Whereas a Gentleman was, on the eighteenth at night, mortally wounded
    near Lincoln's Inn, in Chancery Lane, in view, as is supposed, of the
    coachman that set him down: these are to give notice that the said
    coachman shall come in and declare his knowledge of the matter; if any
    other person shall discover the said coachman to John Hawles, at his
    chamber in Lincoln's Inn, he shall have 5 guineas reward.--_London
    Gazette_, March 29th, 1688.

To this period also may be ascribed the rise of that romantic felon, the
highwayman. The hue and cry after these genteel robbers is frequently
raised during the reign of James II. In one case we have notice of a
gentleman having been stopped, robbed, and then bound, by mounted men at
Islington, who rode away with his horse; another time these daring gentry
appeared at Knightsbridge; and a third advertisement, of a later date it
is true, offers a reward for three mounted Macheaths, who were charged
with stopping and robbing three young ladies in South Street, near Audley
Chapel, as they were returning home from visiting. The following is still
more singular, as showing the high social position of some of these
gentlemen who took to the "road" for special purposes:--

    _Whereas Mr. Herbert Jones_, Attorney-at-law in the town of Monmouth,
    well known by being several years together Under-Sheriff of the same
    County, hath of late divers time robbed the Mail coming from that town
    to London, and taken out divers letters and writs, and is now fled
    from justice, and supposed to have sheltered himself in some of the
    new-raised troops. These are to give notice, that whosoever shall
    secure the said Herbert Jones, so as to be committed in order to
    answer these said crimes, may give notice thereof to Sir Thomas
    Fowles, goldsmith, Temple-bar, London, or to Mr. Michael Bohune,
    mercer, in Monmouth, and shall have a guinea's reward.

The drinking tendencies of these Jacobite times are chiefly shown by the
numberless inquiries after lost or stolen silver tankards, and by the
sales of claret and canary which constantly took place. The hammer was not
apparently used at that time, as we commonly find announcements of sales
by "inch of candle," a term which mightily puzzled us until we saw the
explanation of it in our constant book of reference, the Diary of Pepys:--

    "After dinner we met and sold the Weymouth, Successe, and Fellowship
    hulkes; where pleasant to see how backward men are at first to bid;
    and yet, when the candle is going out, how they bawl, and dispute
    afterwards who bid the most. And here I observed one man cunninger
    than the rest, that was sure to bid the last man and to carry it; and
    inquiring the reason he told me that, just as the flame goes out, the
    smoke descends, which is a thing I never observed before, and by that
    he do know the instant when to bid last." (Sept. 3rd, 1662).

The taste for auctions, which became such a rage in the time of Anne, had
its beginning about this period. Books and pictures are constantly
advertised to be disposed of in this manner. The love of excitement born
in the gaming time of the Restoration might be traced in these sales, and
in the lotteries, or "adventures" as they were sometimes termed, which
extended to every conceivable article capable of being sold. The rising
taste of the town was, however, checked for the time by the Revolution,
which was doubtless hastened on by such announcements as the following,
which appeared in the _Gazette_ of March 1, 1688:--

    Catholic loyalty, [Hand] upon the subject of Government and Obedience,
    delivered in a SERMON before the King and Queen, in His Majesties
    Chapel at Whitehall, on the 13 of June, 1687, by the Revnd. Father
    Edward Scaraisbroke, priest of the Society of Jesus. Published by His
    Majesty's Command. Sold by Raydal Taylor, near Stationers Hall,

Up to this time advertisements only appeared in threes and fours, and
rarely, if ever, exceeded a dozen, in any newspaper of the day. They were
generally stuck in the middle of the diminutive journal, but sometimes
formed a tail-piece to it. They were confined in their character, and gave
no evidence of belonging to a great commercial community. Now and then, it
is true, sums of money were advertised as seeking investment; more
constantly a truss for a "broken belly," or an "excellent dentifrice,"
appeared; or some city mansion of the nobility is advertised to let,
showing the progress westward even then, as witness the following:--

    The Earl of Berkeley's House, with Garden and Stables in St. John's
    Lane, not far from Smith Field, is to be Let or Sold for Building.
    Enquire of Mr. Prestworth, a corn chandler, near the said house, and
    you may know further.--_London Gazette_, August 17, 1685.

Here is an instance of the singular manner in which fire-insurances were
conducted in that day:--

    There having happened a fire on the 24th of the last month by which
    several houses of the friendly society were burned to the value of 965
    pounds, these are to give notice to all persons of the said society
    that they are desired to pay at the office Faulcon Court in Fleet
    Street their several proportions of their said loss, which comes to
    five shillings and one penny for every hundred pounds insured, before
    the 12th of August next.--_London Gazette_, July 6th, 1685.

Sometimes it is a "flee-bitten grey mare" stolen out of "Mary-le-bone
Park," or a lost lottery-ticket, or a dog, that is inquired after; but
they contained no hint that England possessed a commercial marine, or that
she was destined to become a nation of shopkeepers. As yet, too, there was
no sign given of that wonderful art of ingenious puffing which now exists,
and which might lead a casual observer to imagine that the nation
consisted of only two classes--cheats and dupes.

From the settlement of 1688 the true value of the advertisement appears to
have dawned upon the public. The country evidently began to breathe
freely, and with Dutch William and Protestant ascendancy, the peculiar
character of the nation burst forth with extraordinary vigour. Enterprise
of all kinds was called forth, and cast its image upon the advertising
columns of the public journals, now greatly increased both in size and in
numbers, no less than twenty-six having been set up within four years
after the Revolution. It is observable, too, that from this political
convulsion dates a certain rough humour, which, however latent, was not
before expressed in the public papers, especially on matters political.
Let us further elucidate our meaning by quoting the following from the
_New Observator_ of July 17, 1689, setting forth a popular and practical
method of parading the Whig triumph:--

    Orange cards, representing the late King's reign and expedition of the
    Prince of Orange: viz. The Earl of Essex Murther, Dr. Otes Whipping,
    Defacing the Monument, My Lord Jeffries in the West hanging of
    Protestants, Magdalen College, Trial of the Bishops, Castle Maine at
    Rome, the Popish Midwife, A Jesuit Preaching against our Bible,
    Consecrated Smock, My Lord Chancellor at the Bed's feet, Birth of the
    Prince of Wales, The Ordinaire Mass-house pulling down and burning by
    Captain Tom and his Mobile, Mortar pieces in the Tower, The Prince of
    Orange Landing, The Jesuits Scampering, Father Peter's Transactions,
    The Fight at Reading, The Army going over to the Prince of Orange,
    Tyrconnel in Ireland, My Lord Chancellor in the Tower. With many other
    remarkable passages of the Times. To which is added the efigies of our
    Gracious K. William and Q. Mary, curiously illustrated and engraven in
    lively figures, done by the performers of the first Popish Plot Cards.
    Sold by Donnan Newman, the publisher and printer of the New

The editor of the _New Observator_ was Bishop Burnet, and these political
playing-cards were sold by his publisher; perhaps the great Protestant
bishop knew something of their "performers." In the year 1692 an
experiment was made which clearly shows how just an estimate was getting
abroad of the value of publicity in matters of business. A newspaper was
set up, called "The City Mercury, published gratis for the Promotion of
Trade," which lasted for two years, and contained nothing but
advertisements. The proprietor undertook to distribute a thousand copies
per week to the then chief places of resort,--coffee houses, taverns, and
bookshops. Even in these days of the "Times" double supplement such an
experiment has often been made and failed; our wonder, therefore, is not
that the _City Mercury_ went to that limbo which is stored with such
countless abortive journals, but that the interest felt in advertisements
should, at that early period, have kept it alive so long.

If the foregoing scheme proves that an attempt was then made to subdivide
the duties of a newspaper--that of keeping its readers informed of the
news of the day, and of forming a means of publicity for the wants and
losses of individuals--the advertisement we are about to quote clearly
shows that at the same time there was a plan in existence for combining
the printed newspaper with the more ancient written newsletter. It is well
known that long after the institution of public journals the old
profession of the newsletter-writer continued to flourish. We can easily
account for this fact when we remember that during the heat of a great
rebellion it was much more safe to write than to print the intelligence of
the day. Many of these newsletters were written by strong partisans, and
contained information which it was neither desirable nor safe that their
opponents should see. They were passed on from hand to hand in secret, and
often endorsed by each successive reader. We are told that the Cavaliers,
when taken prisoners, have been known to eat their newsletters; and some
of Prince Rupert's, which had been intercepted, are still in existence,
and bear dark-red stains, which testify to the desperate manner in which
they were defended. It is pretty certain, however, that, as a profession,
newsletter-writing began to decline after the Revolution; although we find
the editor of the _Evening Post_, as late as the year 1709, reminding its
readers that "there must be three or four pounds a year paid for written
news." At the same time the public journals, it is clear, had not
performed that part of their office which was really more acceptable to
the country reader than any other--the retailing the political and social
chit-chat of the day. We have only to look into the public papers to
convince ourselves how wofully they fell short in a department which must
have been the staple of the news-writer. This want still being felt, John
Salusbury devises a scheme to combine the old and the new plan after the
following manner, as announced in the _Flying Post_ of 1694:--

    If any Gentleman has a mind to oblige his country friend or
    correspondent with the Account of Public Affairs, he may have it for
    twopence of J. Salusbury at the Rising-Sun in Cornhill, on a sheet of
    fine paper, half of which being blank, he may thereon write his own
    private business or the material news of the day.

It does not say much for the energy with which the journals of that day
were conducted, that the purchasers are invited to write therein "the
material news of the day;" that, we should have thought, was the editor's
business to have supplied; but it was perhaps a contrivance by which the
Jacobites might circulate information, by means of the post, without
compromising the printer. We have seen many such papers, half print, half
manuscript, in the British Museum, which had passed through the post, the
manuscript portion of which, the Home Secretaries of our time would have
thought sufficiently treasonable to justify them in having broken their

As advertisements, from their earliest introduction, were used to make
known the amusements of the day and the means of killing time at the
disposal of persons of quality, it seems strange that it was not employed
sooner than it was to draw a company to the theatres. We have looked in
vain for the announcement of any theatrical entertainment before the year
1701, when the advertisement of the Lincoln's Inn Theatre makes its
appearance in the columns of the _English Post_. The lead of this little
house was, however, speedily followed by the larger ones, and only a few
years later we have regular lists of the performances at all the theatres
in the daily papers. The first journal of this description was the _Daily
Courant_, published in 1709. In this year also appeared the celebrated
"Tatler," to be speedily followed by the "Spectator" and "Guardian," the
social and literary journals of that Augustine age. The first edition of
the "Tatler," in the British Museum, contains advertisements like an
ordinary paper, and they evidently reflect, more than those of its
contemporaries, the flying fashions of the day and the follies of the
"quality." In them we notice the rage that existed for lotteries, or
"sales," as they were called. Every conceivable thing was put up to
raffle. We see advertisements headed "A Sixpenny Sale of Lace," "A Hundred
Pounds for Half-a-crown," "A Penny Adventure for a Great Pie," "A
Quarter's Rent," "A Freehold Estate," "Threepenny Sales of Houses," "A
fashionable Coach." Gloves, looking-glasses, chocolate, Hungary water,
Indian goods, lacquered ware, fans, &c., were notified to be disposed of
in this manner, and the fair mob was called together to draw their tickets
by the same means. This fever, which produced ten years later the
celebrated South Sea Bubble, was of slow growth. It had its root in the
Restoration, its flower in the reign of Anne, and its fruit and
_dénouement_ in the reign of George I. Before passing on from the pages of
the "Tatler," we must stop for a moment to notice one or two of those
playful advertisements which Sir Richard Steele delighted in, and which,
under the disguise of fun, perhaps really afforded him excellent matter
for his journal. Here is an irresistible invitation to his fair readers:--

    Any Ladies who have any particular stories of their acquaintance which
    they are willing privately to make public, may send 'em by the penny
    post to Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., enclosed to Mr. John Morpheu, near
    Stationers' Hall.--_Tatler_, May 8, 1709.

An excellent lion's mouth this wherein to drop scandal. A still more
amusing instance of the fun that pervaded Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., is to
be found in the series of advertisements in which he ought to have
convinced John Partridge, the astrologer, that he really had departed this
life; an assertion which the latter persisted in denying with the most
ludicrous earnestness. Of these we give one from the "Tatler" of August
24th 1710:--

    Whereas an ignorant Upstart in Astrology has publicly endeavoured to
    persuade the world that he is the late John Partridge, who died the 28
    of March 1718, these are to certify all whom it may concern, that the
    true John Partridge was not only dead at that time, but continues so
    to the present day. Beware of counterfeits, for such are abroad.

The pleasant malice of the above is patent enough, but we confess we are
puzzled to know whether the following is genuine or not. We copied it from
among a number of others, from which it was undistinguishable by any
peculiarity of type:--

    _The Charitable Advice Office_, where all persons may have the opinion
    of dignified Clergymen, learned Council, graduate Physicians, and
    experienced Surgeons, to any question in Divinity, Morality, Law,
    Physic, or Surgery, with proper Prescriptions within twelve hours
    after they have delivered in a state of their case. Those who can't
    write may have their cases stated at the office. * * The fees are
    only 1_s._ delivery, or sending your case, and 1_s._ more on
    re-delivering that and the opinion upon it, being what is thought
    sufficient to defray the necessary expense of servants and
    office-rent.--_Tatler_, December 16, 1710.

To pass, however, from the keen weapons of the brain to those of the
flesh, it is interesting to fix with some tolerable accuracy the change
which took place in the early part of the eighteenth century in what might
be called the amusements of the fancy. The "noble art of defence," as it
was termed, up to the time of the first George seems to have consisted in
the broadsword exercise. Pepys describes in his "Diary" several bloody
encounters of this kind which he himself witnessed; and the following
advertisement, a half-century later, shows that the skilled weapon had not
at that time been set aside for the more brutal fist:--

    A _Tryal of Skill_ to be performed at His Majesty's Bear Garden in
    Hockley-in-the-Hole, on Thursday next, being the 9th instant, betwixt
    these following masters:--Edmund Button, master of the noble science
    of defence, _who hath lately cut down_ Mr. Hasgit and the Champion of
    the West, _and 4 besides_, and James Harris, an Herefordshire man,
    master of the noble science of defence, who has fought 98 prizes and
    never was worsted, to exercise the usual weapons, at 2 o'clock in the
    afternoon precisely.--_Postman_, July 4, 1701.

The savage character of the time may be judged from this public boast of
Mr. Edmund Button that he had cut down six men with a murderous weapon. We
question, however, if the age which could tolerate such ruffianism was not
exceeded by the change which substituted the fist for the sword, and
witnessed women entering the ring in the place of men. Some of the
earliest notices of boxing-matches upon record, singularly enough, took
place between combatants of the fair sex. In a public journal of 1722, for
instance, we find the following gage of battle thrown down, and

    CHALLENGE.--I, Elizabeth Wilkinson, of Clerkenwell, having had some
    words with Hannah Hyfield, and requiring satisfaction, do invite her
    to meet me upon the stage, and box me for three guineas; each woman
    holding half-a-crown in each hand, and the first woman that drops the
    money to lose the battle.

    ANSWER.--I, Hannah Hyfield, of Newgate Market, hearing of the
    resoluteness of Elizabeth Wilkinson, will not fail, _God willing_, to
    give her more blows than words, desiring home blows, and from her no
    favour: she may expect a good thumping!

The half-crowns in the hands was an ingenious device to prevent
scratching! A still more characteristic specimen of one of these
challenges to a fisticuff between two women is to be found in the _Daily
Post_ of July 7th, 1728:--

    At _Mr. Stokes' Amphitheatre_ in Islington Road, this present Monday,
    being the 7 of October, will be a complete Boxing Match by the two
    following Championesses:--Whereas I, Ann Field, of Stoke Newington,
    ass-driver, well known for my abilities in boxing in my own defence
    wherever it happened in my way, having been affronted by Mrs. Stokes,
    styled the European Championess, do fairly invite her to a trial of
    her best skill in Boxing for 10 pounds, fair rise and fall; and
    question not but to give her such proofs of my judgement that shall
    oblige her to acknowledge me Championess of the Stage, to the entire
    satisfaction of all my friends.

    I, Elizabeth Stokes, of the City of London, have not fought in this
    way since I fought the famous boxing-woman of Billingsgate 29 minutes,
    and gained a complete victory (which is six years ago); but as the
    famous Stoke Newington ass-woman dares me to fight her for the 10
    pounds, I do assure her I will not fail meeting her for the said sum,
    and doubt not that the blows which I shall present her with will be
    more difficult for her to digest than any she ever gave her
    asses.--_Note._ A man, known by the name of Rugged and Tuff,
    challenges the best man of Stoke Newington to fight him for one guinea
    to what sum they please to venture. N.B. Attendance will be given at
    one, and the encounter to begin at four precisely. There will be the
    diversion of Cudgel-playing as usual.

Other advertisements about this time relate to cock-matches, sometimes "to
last the week," to bull-baiting, and, more cruel still, to dressing up mad
bulls with fireworks, in order to worry them with dogs. The brutal tone of
manners, which set in afresh with the Hanoverian succession, might be
alone gathered from the so-called sporting advertisements of the day; and
we now see that Hogarth, in his famous picture, had no need to, and
probably did not, draw upon his imagination for the combination of horrid
cruelties therein depicted.

The very same tone pervaded the gallantry of the day, and we print two
advertisements, one of the time of Anne, and the other of the age we are
now illustrating, in order to contrast their spirit. We give the more
polished one precedence:--

    A gentleman who, the twentieth instant, had the honour to conduct a
    lady out of a boat at Whitehall-stairs, desires to know where he may
    wait on her to disclose a matter of concern. A letter directed to Mr.
    Samuel Reeves, to be left with Mr. May, at the Golden Head, the upper
    end of New Southampton Street, Covent Garden.--_Tatler_, March 21,

A certain courtly style and air of good breeding pervades this
advertisement, of which Sir Richard Steele himself need not have been
ashamed; but what a falling-off is here!--

    Whereas a young lady was at Covent Garden playhouse last Tuesday
    night, and received a blow with a square piece of wood on her breast;
    if the lady be single, and meet me on Sunday, at two o'clock, on the
    Mall in St. James's Park, or send a line directed for A. B., to Mr.
    Jones's, at the Sun Tavern in St. Paul's Churchyard, where and when I
    shall wait on her, to inform her of something very much to her
    advantage on honourable terms, her compliance will be a lasting
    pleasure to her most obedient servant.--_General Advertiser_, Feb. 8,

It would seem as though the beau had been forced to resort to a missile to
make an impression, and then felt the necessity of stating that his
intentions were "honourable," in order to secure an interview with his
_innamorata_. Imagine, too, the open unblushing manner in which the
assignation is attempted! We are far from saying that such matters are not
managed now through the medium of advertisements, for we shall presently
show they are, but in how much more carefully concealed a manner! The
perfect contempt of public opinion, or rather the public acquiescence in
such infringements of the moral law, which it exhibits, proves the general
state of morality more than the infringements themselves, which obtain
more or less at all times. Two of the causes which led to this low tone of
manners with respect to women were doubtless the detestable profligacy of
the courts of the two first Georges, and the very defective condition of
the existing marriage law. William and Mary, and Anne, had, by their
decorous, not to say frigid lives, redeemed the crown, and, in some
measure, the aristocracy, from the vices of the Restoration. Crown, court,
and quality, however, fell into a still worse slough on the accession of
the Hanoverian king, who soiled afresh the rising tone of public life by
his scandalous connection with the Duchess of Kendal and the Countess of
Darlington; whilst his son and successor was absolutely abetted in his
vicious courses by his own queen, who promoted his commerce with his two
mistresses, the Countesses of Suffolk and Yarmouth. The degrading
influence of the royal manners was well seconded by the condition of the
law. Keith's chapel in May Fair, and that at the Fleet, were the Gretna
Greens of the age, where children could get married at any time of the day
or night for a couple of crowns. It was said at the time, that at the
former chapel six thousand persons were annually married in this off-hand
way; the youngest of the beautiful Miss Gunnings was wedded to the Duke of
Hamilton, at twelve o'clock at night, with a ring off the bed-curtain, at
this very "marriage-shop." The fruits of such unions may be imagined. The
easy way in which the marriage bond was worn and broken through is clearly
indicated by the advertisements which absolutely crowd the public journals
from the accession of the House of Brunswick up to the time of the third
George, of husbands warning the public not to trust their runaway wives.

We have referred, in an early part of this paper, to the taste for
blackamoors, which set in the reign of Charles II., and went on increasing
until the middle of the next century, at which time there must have been a
very considerable population of negro servants in the metropolis. At first
the picturesque natives of the East were pressed into the service of the
nobility and gentry, and colour does not appear to have been a _sine quâ
non_. Thus we have in the _London Gazette_ of 1688 the following
hue-and-cry advertisement:--

    Run away from his master, Captain St. Lo, the 21st instant, Obdelah
    Ealias Abraham, a Moor, swarthy complexion, short frizzled hair, a
    gold ring in his ear, in a black coat and blew breeches. He took with
    him a blew Turkish watch-gown, a Turkish suit of clothing that he used
    to wear about town, and several other things. Whoever brings him to
    Mr. Lozel's house in Green Street shall have one guinea for his

The next advertisement we find also relates to what we must consider an
East Indian. The notion of property in these boys seems to have been
complete; their masters put their names upon their collars, as they did
upon their setters or spaniels:--

    A black boy, an Indian, about thirteen years old, run away the 8th
    instant from Putney, with a collar about his neck with this
    inscription: 'the Lady Bromfield's black in Lincoln's Inn Fields.'
    Whoever brings him to Sir Edward Bromfield's at Putney shall have a
    guinea reward.--_The London Gazette_, 1694.

The traffic in African blacks, which commenced towards the end of the
seventeenth century, seems to have displaced these eastern servitors
towards the end of the century, for henceforth the word negro, blackamoor,
or black boy, is invariably used. No doubt the fashion for these negroes
and other coloured attendants was derived from the Venetian Republic, the
intercourse of whose merchants with Africa and India naturally led to
their introduction. Titian and other great painters of his school
continually introduced them in their pictures, and our own great bard has
for ever associated the Moor with the City in the Sea. In England the
negro boys appear to have been considered as much articles of sale as they
would have been in the slave-market at Constantinople. In the _Tatler_ of
1709 we find one offered to the public in the following terms:--

    A black boy, twelve years of age, fit to wait on a gentleman, to be
    disposed of at Denis's Coffee-house in Finch Lane, near the Royal

Again, in the _Daily Journal_ of September 28th, 1728, we light upon

    To be sold, a negro boy, aged eleven years. Enquire of the Virginia
    Coffee-house in Threadneedle Street, behind the Royal Exchange.

These were the overflowings of that infamous traffic in negroes, commenced
by Sir John Hawkins in the year 1680, which tore from their homes, and
transferred to Jamaica alone, no less than 910,000 Africans between that
time and the year 1786, when the slave-trade was abolished.

We have brought the reader up to the date of the final battle which
extinguished the hopes of the Stuarts and settled the line of Brunswick
firmly on the throne. The year 1745 witnessed the commencement of the
_General Advertiser_, the title of which indicates the purpose to which it
was dedicated. This paper was the first successful attempt to depend for
support upon the advertisements it contained, thereby creating a new era
in the newspaper press. From the very outset its columns were filled with
them, between fifty and sixty, regularly classified and separated by
rules, appearing in each publication; in fact, the advertising page put on
for the first time a modern look. The departure of ships is constantly
notified, and the engravings of these old high-pooped vessels sail in even
line down the column. Trading matters have at last got the upper hand. You
see "a pair of leather bags," "a scarlet laced-coat," "a sword," still
inquired after; and theatres make a show, for this was the dawning of the
age of Foote, Macklin, Garrick, and most of the other great players of the
last century; but, comparatively speaking, the gaieties and follies of the
town ceased gradually from this time to proclaim themselves through the
medium of advertisements. The great earthquake at Lisbon so frightened the
people, that masquerades were prohibited by law, and the puppet-shows, the
rope-dancing, the china-auctions, and public breakfasts henceforth grow
scarcer and scarcer as the Ladies Betty and Sally, who inaugurated them,
withdrew by degrees, withered, faded, and patched, from the scene.

The only signs of the political tendencies of the time to be gathered from
the sources we are pursuing, are the party dinners, announcements of which
are now and then to be met with as follows:--

    To the Joyous.--The Bloods are desired to meet together at the house
    known by the name of the Sir Hugh Middleton, near Saddler's Wells,
    Islington, which Mr. Skeggs has procured for that day for the better
    entertainment of those Gentlemen who agreed to meet at his own house.
    Dinner will be on the Table punctually at two o'clock.--_General
    Advertiser_, Jan. 13, 1748.

Or the following still more characteristic example from the same paper of
April 12:--

    Half-Moon Tavern, Cheapside.--Saturday next, the 16 of April, being
    the anniversary of the Glorious Battle of Colloden, the Stars will
    assemble in the Moon at Six in the evening. Therefore the Choice
    Spirits are desired to make their appearance and fill up the

Within five-and-twenty years from this date most of the existing morning
journals were established, and their advertising columns put on a guise
closely resembling that which they now present. We need not therefore
pursue our deep trenching into the old subsoil in order to turn up
long-buried evidences of manners and fashions, for they have ceased to
appear, either fossil or historical; we therefore boldly leap the gulf
that intervenes between these old days and the present.

The early part of the present century saw the commencement of that liberal
and systematic plan of advertising which marks the complete era in the
art. Princely ideas by degrees took possession of the trading mind as to
the value of this new agent in extending their business transactions.
Packwood, some thirty years ago, led the way by impressing his razor-strop
indelibly on the mind of every bearded member of the empire. Like other
great potentates he boasted a laureate in his pay, and every one remembers
the reply made to the individuals curious to know who drew up his
advertisements: "La, sir, we keeps a poet!"

By universal consent, however, the world has accorded to the late George
Robins the palm in this style of commercial puffing. His advertisements
were really artistically written. Like Martin, he had the power of
investing every landscape and building he touched with an importance and
majesty not attainable by meaner hands. He did perhaps go beyond the
yielding line of even poetical license, when he described one portion of a
paradise he was about to submit to public competition as adorned, among
other charms, with a "hanging wood," which the astonished purchaser found
out meant nothing more than an old gallows. But then he redeemed slight
manoeuvres of this kind by touches which really displayed a genius for
puffing. On one occasion he had made the beauties of an estate so
enchanting, that he found it necessary to blur it by a fault or two, lest
it should prove too bright and good "for human nature's daily food." "But
there are two drawbacks to the property," sighed out this Hafiz of the
Mart, "the litter of the rose-leaves and the noise of the nightingales!"
Certainly the force of exquisite puffing could no further go, and when he
died the poetry of advertising departed. Others, such as Charles Wright
of Champagne celebrity, have attempted to strike the strings; and Moses
does, we believe, veritably keep a poet; but none of them have been able
to rival George the Great, and we yawn as we read sonnets which end in the
invariable "mart," or acrostics which refer to Hyam and Co.'s superior
vests. Twenty years ago some of the daily newspapers admitted illustrated
advertisements into their columns; now it would be fatal to any of them to
do so. Nevertheless, they are by far the most effective of their class, as
they call in the aid of another sense to express their meaning. All but
the minors of the present generation must remember George Cruikshank's
exquisite woodcut of the astonished cat viewing herself in the polished
Hessian, which made the fortune of Warren. But in those days tradesmen
only tried their wings for the flight. It was left to the present time to
prove what unlimited confidence in the power of the advertisement will
effect, and a short list of the sums _annually_ spent in this item by some
of the most adventurous dealers will perhaps startle our readers.

  "Professor" Holloway, Pills, etc.        £30,000
  Moses and Son                             10,000
  Rowland and Co. (Macassar oil, &c.)       10,000
  Dr. De Jongh (cod-liver oil)              10,000
  Heal and Sons (bedsteads and bedding)      6,000
  Nicholls (tailor)                          4,500

It does seem indeed incredible that one house should expend upon the mere
advertising of quack pills and ointment a sum equal to the entire revenue
of many a German principality. Can it possibly pay? asks the astonished
reader. Let the increasing avenue of assistants, to be seen "from morn to
dewy eve" wrapping up pills in the "professor's" establishment within the
shadow of Temple Bar, supply the answer.[2] Vastly as the press of this
country has expanded of late years, it has proved insufficient to contain
within its limits the rapid current of puffing which has set in.
Advertisements now overflow into our omnibuses, our cabs, our railway
carriages, and our steamboats. Madame Tussaud pays 90_l._ monthly to the
Atlas Omnibus Company alone for the privilege of posting her bills in
their vehicles. They are inked upon the pavement, painted in large letters
under the arches of the bridges and on every dead wall. Lloyd's weekly
newspaper is stamped on the "full Guelph cheek" of the plebeian penny; the
emissaries of Moses shower perfect libraries through the windows of the
carriages which ply from the railway stations; and, as a crowning fact,
Thackeray, in his "Journey from Cornhill to Cairo," tells us that Warren's
blacking is painted up over an obliterated inscription to Psammetichus on
Pompey's Pillar!

Having shown the reader the slow growth of the advertising column; having
climbed, like "Jack in the Bean-stalk," from its humble root in the days
of the Commonwealth up its still increasing stem in the succeeding hundred
years, we now come upon its worthy flower in the shape of the
sixteen-paged _Times_ of the present day. Spread open its broad leaves,
and behold the greatest marvel of the age--the microcosm in type. Who can
recognize in its ample surface, which reflects like some camera-obscura
the wants, the wishes, the hopes, and the fears of this great city, the
news-book of the Cromwellian times with its leash of advertisements?
Herein we see how fierce is the struggle of two millions and a half of
people for dear existence. Every advertisement writhes and fights with its
neighbour, and every phase of society, brilliant, broken, or dim, is
reflected in this battle-field of life. Let us tell off the rank and file
of this army of announcements. On the 24th of May, 1855, the _Times_, in
its usual sixteen-paged paper, contained the incredible number of 2,575
advertisements. Amazing as this total appears, we only arrive at its full
significance by analyzing the vast array. Then, indeed, we feel what an
important power is the great British publie. Of old the antechambers of
the noble were thronged with poets, artists, publishers, tradesmen, and
dependants of all kinds, seeking for the droppings of their favour; but
what lordly antechamber ever presented such a crew of place-hunters,
servitors, literary and scientific men, schemers, and shopkeepers as
daily offer their services to the humblest individual who can spare a
penny for an hour's perusal of the _Times_? Let us take this paper of the
24th of May and examine the crowd of persons and things which cry aloud
through its pages, each attempting to make its voice heard above the
other. Here we see a noble fleet of ships, 129 in number, chartered for
the regions of gold, for America, for India, for Africa--for every port,
in fact, where cupidity, duty, or affection holds out an attraction for
the British race. Another column wearies the eye with its interminable
line of "Wants." Here in long and anxious row we see the modern "mop" or
statute-fair for hiring; 429 servants of all grades, from the genteel
lady's-maid or the "thorough cook," who will only condescend to accept
service where two footmen are kept, to the humble scullery-maid, on that
day passed their claims before us for inspection. Another column is noisy
with auctioneers; 136 of whom notify their intention of poising their
impatient hammers when we have favoured them with our company. Here we see
a crowd of booksellers offering, hot from the press, 195 new volumes, many
of which, we are assured by the appended critique, "should find a place in
every gentleman's library." There are 378 houses, shops, and
establishments presented to us to select from; and 144 lodging-house
keepers, "ladies having houses larger than they require," and medical men
who own "retreats," press forward with genteel offers of board and
lodging. Education pursues her claims by the hands of no less than 144
preceptors, male and female; whilst the hair, the skin, the feet, the
teeth, and the inward man are offered the kind attention of thirty-six
professors who possess infallible remedies for all the ills that flesh is
heir to. The remainder is made up of the miscellaneous cries of tradesmen,
whose voices rise from every portion of the page like the shouting of
chapmen from a fair. In the midst of all this struggle for gold, place,
and position, which goes on every day in this wonderful publication,
outcries from the very depths of the heart, passionate tears, bursts of
indignation, and heartrending appeals, startle one as they issue from the
second column of its front page. Here the father sees his prodigal son
afar off and falls upon his neck; the heartbroken mother implores her
runaway child to return; or the abandoned wife searches through the world
for her mate. It is strange how, when the eye is saturated with the thirst
after mammon exhibited by the rest of the broadsheet, the heart becomes
touched by these plaintive but searching utterances, a few of which we

    The one-winged Dove must die unless the Crane returns to be a shield
    against her enemies.--_Times_ of 1850.

Or here is another which moves still more:--

    B. J. C.--How more than cruel not to write. Take pity on such patient
    silence.--_Times_, 1850.

The most ghastly advertisement which perhaps ever appeared in a public
journal we copy from this paper of the year 1845. It is either a threat to
inter a wrong body in the "family vault," or an address to a dead man:--

    To the Party who Posts His Letters in Prince's Street, Leicester
    Square.--Your family is now in a state of excitement unbearable. Your
    attention is called to an advertisement in Wednesday's _Morning
    Advertiser_, headed, "A body found drowned at Deptford." After your
    avowal to your friend as to what you might do, he has been to see the
    decomposed remains, accompanied by others. The features are gone; but
    there are marks on the arm; so that, unless they hear from you to-day,
    it will satisfy them that the remains are those of their misguided
    relative, and steps will be directly taken to place them in the family
    vault, as they cannot bear the idea of a pauper's funeral.

Sometimes we see the flashing eyes of indignation gleaming through the
very words. The following is evidently written to an old lover with all
the burning passion of a woman deceived:--

    It is enough; one man alone upon earth have I found noble. Away from
    me for ever! Cold heart and mean spirit, you have lost what
    millions--empires--could not have bought, but which a single word
    truthfully and nobly spoken might have made your own to all eternity.
    Yet you are forgiven: depart in peace: I rest in my
    Redeemer.--_Times_, Sept. 1st, 1852.

Sometimes it is more confiding love "wafting a sigh from Indus to the
pole," or, finger on lip, speaking secretly, and as he thinks securely,
through the medium of cipher advertisements to the loved one. Sweet
delusion! There are wicked philosophers abroad who unstring the bow of
harder toil by picking your inmost thoughts! Lovers beware! intriguers
tremble! Many a wicked passage of illicit love, many a joy fearfully
snatched, which passed through the second column of the first page of the
_Times_ as a string of disjointed letters, unintelligible as the
correspondents thought, to all the world but themselves, have we seen
fairly copied out in plain if not always good English in the commonplace
books of these cunning men at cryptographs. Here, for instance, we give an
episode from the life of "Flo," which appeared in the _Times_ of 1853-54,
as a proof:--

    Flo.--Thou voice of my heart! Berlin, Thursday. I leave next Monday,
    and shall press you to my heart on Saturday. God bless you!--_Nov. 29,

    Flo.--The last is wrong. I repeat it. Thou voice of my heart. I am so
    lonely, I miss you more than ever. I look at your picture every night.
    I send you an Indian shawl to wear round you while asleep after
    dinner. It will keep you from harm, and you must fancy my arms are
    around you. God bless you! how I do love you!--_Dec. 23, 1853._

    Flo.--My own love, I am happy again; it is like awaking from a bad
    dream. You are, my life; to know that there is a chance of seeing you,
    to hear from you, to do things to enough. [There is some error here.]
    I shall try to see you soon. Write to me as often as you can. God
    bless you, thou voice of my heart!--_Jan. 2, 1854._

    Flo.--Thou voice of my heart! How I do love you! How are you? Shall
    you be laid up this spring? I can see you walking with your darling.
    What would I give to be with you! Thanks for your last letter. I fear
    nothing but separation from you. You are my world, my life, my hope.
    Thou more than life, farewell! God bless you!--_Jan. 6, 1854._

    Flo.--I fear, dearest, our cipher is discovered: write at once to your
    friend "Indian Shawl" (P.O.), Buckingham, Bucks.--_Jan. 7, 1845._

The advertisement of January 7th is written in a great fright, and refers
to the discovery and exposure of the cipher in the _Times_ newspaper; for
whenever the aforesaid philosophers perceive that a secret correspondence
has arrived at a critical point they charitably insert a marplot
advertisement in the same cipher. The "Flo" intrigue was carried on in
figures, the key to which is as follows:--

  0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9
  y.   u.   o.   i.   e.   a.   d.   k.   h.   f.
  s.   t.   n.   m.   r.   l.   d.   g.   w.   p.
  x.                                 c.   b.

The reader will perhaps remember another mad-looking advertisement which
appeared in the year 1853, headed "Cenerentola." The first, dated Feb.
2nd, we interpret thus:--

    Cenerentola, I wish to try if you can read this, and am most anxious
    to hear the end, when you return, and how long you remain here. Do
    write a few lines, darling, please: I have been very far from happy
    since you went away.

One of the parties cannot frame an adequate explanation of some delicate
matter clearly, as we find on the 11th the following:--

    Cenerentola, until my heart is sick have I tried to frame an
    explanation for you, but cannot. Silence is safest, if the true cause
    is not suspected; if it is, all stories will be sifted to the bottom.
    Do you remember our cousin's first proposition?--think of it.

The following, which appeared on the 19th of the same month, is written in
plain language, and is evidently a specimen of the marplot advertisement
before alluded to:--

    Cenerentola, what nonsense! Your cousin's proposition is absurd. I
    have given an explanation--the true one--which has perfectly satisfied
    both parties--a thing which silence never could have effected. So no
    more such absurdity.

The secret of this cipher consisted in representing each letter by the
twenty-second onward continually. One more specimen of these singular
advertisements and we have done. On Feb. 20, 1852, there appeared in the
_Times_ the following mysterious line:--

    Tig tjohw it tig jfhiirvola og tig psgvw.--F. D. N.

The general reader, doubtless, looked upon this jumble of letters with
some such a puzzled air as the mastiff gives the tortoise in a very
popular French bronze; but not being able to make anything out of it,
passed on to the more intelligible contents of the paper. A friend of
ours, however, was curious and intelligent enough to extract the plain
English out of it, though not without much trouble, as thus:--If we take
the first word of the sentence, Tig, and place under its second letter i
the one which alphabetically precedes it, and treat the next letters in a
similar manner, we shall have the following combination:--

  T  i  g
     h  f

Reading the first letters obliquely we have the article "The;" if we treat
the second word in the same manner, the following will be the result:--

  T   j   o   h   w
      i.  n.  g.  v.
          m.  f.  u.
              e.  t.

which, read in the same slanting way, produces the word _Times_, and the
whole sentence, thus ingeniously worked out, gives up its latent and
extraordinary meaning, thus--

    "The _Times_ is the Jefferies of the press."

What could have induced any one to take so much trouble thus to plant a
hidden insult into the leading journal, we cannot divine. "East," "He
Blew," "Willie and Fanny," "Dominoes," and "My darling A.," need not feel
uncomfortable although we know their secrets. We have said quite enough to
prove to these individuals that such ciphers as they use, are picked
immediately by any cryptographic Hobbs; indeed, all systems of writing
which depend upon transmutations of the letters of the alphabet, or the
substitution of figures for letters, such as we generally find in the
_Times_, are mere puzzles for children, and not worthy of the more cunning
or finished in the art.

It is not to be expected, with all the caution exhibited by the morning
papers to prevent the insertion of swindling advertisements that rogues do
not now and then manage to take advantage of their great circulation for
the sake of forwarding their own nefarious schemes. Sir Robert Carden has
just done good service by running to earth the Mr. Fynn, who for years has
lived abroad in splendour at the expense of the poor governesses he
managed to victimize through the advertising columns of the _Times_. One's
heart sickens at the stream of poor young ladies his promises have dragged
across the continent, and the consequences which may have resulted from
their thus putting their reputation as well as their money into his power.
Such scandalous traps as these are, of course, rare; but the papers are
full of minor pitfalls, into which the unwary are continually falling,
sometimes with their eyes wide open. Of the latter class are the
matrimonial advertisements; here is a specimen of one of the most artful
of its kind we ever remember to have seen:--

    To Girls of Fortune--Matrimony.--A bachelor, young, amiable, handsome,
    and of good family, and accustomed to move in the highest sphere of
    society, is embarrassed in his circumstances. Marriage is his only
    hope of extrication. This advertisement is inserted by one of his
    friends. Ingratitude was never one of his faults, and he will study
    for the remainder of his life to prove his estimation of the
    confidence placed in him.--Address, post-paid, L. L. H. L., 47, King
    Street, Soho.--N.B. The witticisms of cockney scribblers deprecated.

The air of candour, and the taking portrait of the handsome bachelor,
whose very poverty is converted into a charm, is cleverly assumed. An
announcement of a much less flattering kind, but probably of a more
genuine and honourable nature, was published in _Blackwood_ some time ago,
which we append, as, like Landseer's dog-pictures, the two form a capital
pair illustrative of high and low life.

    Matrimonial Advertisement.--I hereby give notice to all unmarried
    women, that I, John Hobnail, am at this writing five-and-forty, a
    widower, and in want of a wife. As I wish no one to be mistaken, I
    have a good cottage, with a couple of acres of land, for which I pay
    2_l._ a year. I have five children, four of them old enough to be in
    employment; three sides of bacon, and some pigs ready for market. I
    should like to have a woman fit to take care of her house when I am
    out. I want no second family. She may be between forty and fifty if
    she likes. A good sterling woman would be preferred, who would take
    care of the pigs.

The following is also matter of fact, but it looks suspicious:--

    Matrimony to Milliners and Dressmakers. A young man about to EMIGRATE
    to SOUTH AUSTRALIA would be happy to form an alliance with a young
    woman in the above line possessing 60_l._ or 100_l._ property. Any one
    so disposed, by applying by letter (post-paid) to T. Hall, 175, Upper
    Thames Street, till Saturday next, appointing an interview, may depend
    on prompt attention and strict secrecy.--_Times_, 1845.

The matrimonial bait is so obviously a good one, that of late years we see
advertisements of institutions, at which regular lists of candidates for
the marriage state, both male and female, are kept, together with
portraits, and a ledger in which pecuniary and mental qualifications are
neatly posted. Such springes are only suited, however, for the grossest
folly; but there is another class of advertisements which empties the
pockets of the industrious and aspiring in a very workmanlike manner: we
allude to such as the following:--

    Gentlemen having a respectable circle of acquaintance may hear of
    means of INCREASING their INCOME without the slightest pecuniary risk,
    or of having (by any chance) their feelings wounded. Apply for
    particulars, by letter, stating their position, &c., to W. R., 37,
    Wigmore Street, Cavendish Square.

Gentlemen whose feelings are so delicate that they must not be injured on
any consideration, who nevertheless have a desire for lucre, we recommend
not to apply to such persons, unless they wish to receive for their pains
some such a scheme as was forwarded to a person who had answered an
advertisement (enclosing, as directed, thirty postage-stamps) in _Lloyd's
Weekly Journal_, headed "How to make 2_l._ per week by the outlay of

    "First purchase 1 cwt. of large-sized potatoes, which may be obtained
    for the sum of 4_s._, then purchase a large basket, which will cost
    say another 4_s._, then buy 2_s._ worth of flannel blanketing, and
    this will comprise your stock in trade, of which the total cost is
    10_s._ A large-sized potato weighs about half a pound, consequently
    there are 224 potatoes in a cwt.

    "Take half the above quantity of potatoes each evening to a baker's,
    and have them baked; when properly cooked put them in your basket,
    well wrapped up in the flannel to keep them hot, and sally forth and
    offer them for sale at one penny each. Numbers will be glad to
    purchase them at that price, and you will for certain be able to sell
    half a cwt. every evening. From the calculation made below you will
    see by that means you will be able to earn 2_l._ per week. The best
    plan is to frequent the most crowded thoroughfares, and make good use
    of your lungs; thus letting people know what you have for sale. You
    could also call in at each public-house on your way, and solicit the
    patronage of the customers, many of whom would be certain to buy of
    you. Should you have too much pride to transact the business yourself
    (though no one need be ashamed of pursuing an honest calling), you
    could hire a boy for a few shillings a week, who could do the work for
    you, and you could still make a handsome profit weekly.

    "The following calculation proves that 2_l._ per week can be made by
    selling baked potatoes:--

        "1 cwt., containing 224 potatoes, sold in two
        evenings, at 1_d._ each                  £0 18 8
                         Deduct cost                   0  4 0
                                                      £0 14 8
                         Six evenings' sale           £2  4 0
        Pay baker at the rate of 8_d._ per evening for
        baking potatoes                                0  4 0
                         Net profit per week          £2  0 0"

One more specimen of these baits for gudgeon, and we have done. We
frequently see appeals to the benevolent for the loans of small sums. Some
of these are doubtless written by innocent persons in distress, who
confide in the good side of human nature; and we have been given to
understand that in many cases this blind confidence has not been
misplaced; for there are many Samaritans who read the papers nowadays, and
feel a romantic pleasure in answering such appeals: at the same time, we
are afraid that the great majority of them are gross deceptions. The
veritable whine of "the poor broken-down tradesman" who makes a habit of
visiting our quiet streets and appealing, in a very solemn voice, to "my
brethren" for the loan of a small trifle, whilst he anxiously scans the
windows for the halfpence, is observable, for instance, in the following
cool appeal:--

    To the Benevolent.--A Young Tradesman has, from a series of
    misfortunes, been reduced to the painful necessity of asking for a
    trifling SUM to enable him to raise 10_l._ to save himself from
    inevitable ruin and poverty; or if any gentleman would lend the above
    it would be faithfully repaid. Satisfactory references as to the
    genuineness of this case.--Direct to A.Z., Mr. Rigby's, Post-Office,
    Mile-end Road.

The receipt of conscience-money is constantly acknowledged in
advertisements by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day, and the sums
which in this manner find their way into the Exchequer are by no means
inconsiderable. It is honourable to human nature, amid all the roguery we
have exposed, to find that now and then some conscience is touched by a
very small matter, and that great trouble and no little expense is often
gone to in order that others may not suffer through the inadvertency or
carelessness of the advertiser. The following is a delicate example:--

    To Hackney-Coachmen.--About the month of March last, a gentleman from
    the country took a coach from Finsbury Square, and accidentally broke
    the glass of one of its windows. Being unwell at the time, the
    circumstance was forgotten when he quitted the coach, and it would now
    be a great relief to his mind to be put in a situation to pay the
    coachman for it. Should this meet the eye of the person who drove the
    coach, and he will make application to A. B., at Walker's Hotel, Dean
    Street, Soho, any morning during the next week, before eleven o'clock,
    proper attention will be paid to it.--_Times_, 1842.

The more curious advertisements which from time to time appear in the
public journals, but particularly in the _Times_, do not admit of
classification; and they are so numerous, moreover, that if we were to
comment upon one tithe of those that have appeared within the last six
years, we should far exceed the limits of this article. We make no
apology, therefore, for stringing together the following very odd lot:--

    Do you want a servant?--Necessity prompts the question.--The
    advertiser OFFERS his SERVICES to any lady or gentleman, company, or
    others, in want of a truly faithful confidential servant in any
    capacity not menial, where a practical knowledge of human nature, in
    various parts of the world, would be available. Could undertake any
    affair of small or great importance, where talent, inviolable secrecy,
    or good address would be necessary. Has moved in the best and worst
    societies without being contaminated by either; has never been a
    servant; begs to recommend himself as one who knows his place; is
    moral, temperate, middle-aged; no objection to any part of the world.
    Could advise any capitalist wishing to increase his income, and have
    the control of his own money. Could act as secretary or valet to any
    lady or gentleman. Can give advice or hold his tongue, sing, dance,
    play, fence, box, or preach a sermon, tell a story, be grave or gay,
    ridiculous or sublime, or do anything, from the curling of a peruke to
    the storming of a citadel, but never to excel his master.--Address, A.
    B. C., 7, Little St. Andrew Street, Leicester Square.--_Times_, 1850.

    The Mighty Angel's Midnight Roar.--"Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go
    ye out to meet him." This awful cry, as is demonstrated, will very
    shortly be heard, viz.: at the commencement of "the great day (or
    year) of God's wrath," or the last of the 2,300 days (or years) in
    Daniel's prophecy. By the authors of "Proofs of the Second Coming of
    Messiah at the Passover in 1848." Price 6_d._ Fourth Edition.

This is a Muggletonian prophecy of the destruction of the world at a
certain date. The prediction failed, however, and the prophet found it
necessary to explain the reason:--

    The Mighty Angel's Midnight Roar.--The authors, owing to their
    disappointment, most sedulously investigated its cause, and instantly
    announce its discovery. Daniel's vision, in chap. 8, was for 2,300
    years, to the end of which (see 5-12) the "little horn" was to
    practise and prosper, after which comes the year of God's wrath, which
    was erroneously included in the 2,300 years, and thus the midnight cry
    will be a year later than stated.--_Times_, 1851.

    To P. Q. How Is Your Mother? I shan't inquire further, and must
    decline entering upon the collateral branches of the family.--_Times_,

    To Widowers and Single Gentlemen.--WANTED, by a lady, a SITUATION to
    superintend the household and preside at table. She is agreeable,
    becoming, careful, desirable, English, facetious, generous, honest,
    industrious, judicious, keen, lively, merry, natty, obedient,
    philosophic, quiet, regular, sociable, tasteful, useful, vivacious,
    womanish, xantippish, youthful, zealous, &c.--Address, X. Y. Z.,
    Simmond's Library, Edgeware Road.--_Times._

    The Title of an Ancient Baron. Mr. George Robins is empowered to SELL
    the TITLE and DIGNITY of a BARON. The origin of the family, its
    ancient descent, and illustrious ancestry, will be fully developed to
    those and such only as desire to possess this distinguished rank for
    the inconsiderable sum of 1,000_l._ Covent-garden Market.--_Times_,

    Postage stamps. A young lady, being desirous of covering her
    dressing-room with cancelled POSTAGE STAMPS, has been so far
    encouraged in her wish by private friends as to have succeeded in
    collecting 16,000! these, however, being insufficient, she will be
    greatly obliged if any good-natured persons who may have these
    (otherwise useless) little articles at their disposal would assist in
    her whimsical project. Address to E. D., Mr. Butt's, glover,
    Leadenhall Street; or Mr. Marshall's, jeweller, Hackney.--_Times_,

    To the Theatrical Profession.--WANTED, for a Summer Theatre and
    Circuit, a Leading Lady, Singing Chambermaid, First Low Comedian,
    Heavy Man, Walking Gentleman, and one or two Gentlemen for Utility. To
    open July 9th.

    Address (enclosing Stamp for reply) to Mr. J. WINDSOR, Theatre Royal,
    Preston, Lancashire.--_Era_, July 1, 1855.

    Wanted a Man and his Wife to look after a Horse and Dairy with a
    religious turn of mind without any incumbrance.

The variety is perhaps as astonishing as the number of advertisements in
the _Times_. Like the trunk of an elephant, no matter seems too minute or
too gigantic, too ludicrous or too sad, to be lifted into notoriety by the
giant of Printing-house Square. The partition of a thin rule suffices to
separate a call for the loan of millions from the sad weak cry of the
destitute gentlewoman to be allowed to slave in a nursery "for the sake of
a home." Vehement love sends its voice imploring through the world after a
graceless boy, side by side with the announcement of the landing of a
cargo of lively turtle, or the card of a bug-killer. The poor lady who
advertises for boarders "merely for the sake of society" finds her "want"
cheek-by-jowl with some Muggletonian announcement gratuitously calculated
to break up society altogether, to the effect that the world will come to
an end by the middle of the next month. Or the reader is informed that for
twelve postage stamps he may learn "How to obtain a certain fortune,"
exactly opposite an offer of a bonus of 500_l._ to any one who will obtain
for the advertiser "a Government situation." The _Times_ reflects every
want, and appeals to every motive which affects our composite society. And
why does it do this? Because of its ubiquity: go where we will, there,
like the house-fly or the sparrow, we find it. The porter reads it in his
beehive-chair, the master in his library; Green, we have no doubt, takes
it with him to the clouds in his balloon, and the collier reads it in the
depths of the mine; the workman at his bench, the lodger in his two-pair
back, the gold-digger in his hole, and the soldier in the trench, pore
over its broad pages. Hot from the press, or months old, still it is read.
That it is, _par excellence_, the national paper, and reflects more than
any other the life of the people, may be gathered from its circulation.
They show in the editor's room a singular diagram, which indicates by an
irregular line the circulation day by day and year by year. On this sheet
the gusts of political feeling and the pressure of popular excitement are
as minutely indicated as the force and direction of the wind are shown by
the self-registering apparatus in Lloyd's Rooms. Thus we find that in the
year 1845 it ran along at a pretty nearly dead level of 23,000 copies
daily. In 1846--for one day, the 28th of January, that on which the report
of Sir Robert Peel's statement respecting the Corn Laws appeared--it rose
in a towering peak to a height of 51,000, and then fell again to its old
number. It began the year 1848 with 29,000, and rose to 43,000 on the 29th
of February--the morrow of the French revolution. In 1852 its level at
starting was 36,000, and it attained to the highest point it has yet
touched on the 19th of November, the day of the Memoir of the Great Duke,
when 69,000 copies were sold. In January, 1853, the level had arisen to
40,000; and at the commencement of the present year it stood at 58,000, a
circulation which has since increased to 60,000 copies daily!
Notwithstanding all the disturbing causes which make the line of its
circulation present the appearance of hill and dale, sometimes rising into
Alp-like elevations, its ordinary level at the beginning of each year for
some time past has constantly gone on advancing; insomuch that within ten
years its circulation has more than doubled by 7,000 daily.

This vigorous growth is the true cause of that wonderful determination of
advertisements to its pages, which have overflowed into a second paper, or
supplement, as it was formerly called. That this success has been fairly
won, we have never ourselves doubted; but a fact has come to our knowledge
which will pretty clearly prove that this great paper is conducted on
principles which are superior to mere money considerations; or rather its
operations are so large that it can afford to inflict upon itself
pecuniary losses, such as would annihilate any other journal, in order to
take a perfectly free course. In the year 1845, when the railway mania was
at its height, the _Times_ advertising sheet was overrun with projected
lines, and many a guess was made, we remember, at the time as to their
probable value; but high as the estimates generally were, they came far
short of the truth. We give the cash and credit returns of advertisements
of all kinds for nine weeks:--

  Sept. 6      £2839 14 0
    "  13       3783 12 0
    "  20       3935  7 6
    "  27       4692  7 0
  Oct.  4       6318 14 0
    "  11       6543 17 0
    "  18       6687  4 0
    "  25       6025 14 6
  Nov.  1       3230  3 6

During the greater part of the time that the proprietors were reaping this
splendid harvest from the infatuation of the people, the heaviest guns
were daily brought to bear from the leading columns upon the bubbles which
rose up so thickly in the advertising sheet. The effect of their fire may
be measured by the falling off of nearly 3,000_l._ in the returns for a
single week. A journal which could afford to sacrifice such a revenue to
its independence, certainly deserved some consideration from the
Government; but, on the contrary, it appears to have been singled out for
annoyance by the act which relates to newspapers. We see certain trees on
our lawns whose upshooting branches are by ingenious gardeners trained
downwards, and taught to hold themselves in a dependent condition by the
imposition of weights upon their extremities. The state gardeners have
applied the same treatment to the journal in question, by hanging an extra
halfpenny stamp upon every copy of its issue--a proceeding which, in our
opinion, is as unfair as it is injudicious: and this they will find in the
future, when the crowd of mosquito-like cheap journals called forth by the
measure, and supported by the very life-blood of the leading journal,
begin to gather strength and to attack Whiggery with their democratic

We have dwelt chiefly upon the advertising sheet of the _Times_, because
it is the epitome of that in all the other journals. It must be mentioned,
however, that some of the morning and weekly papers lay themselves out
for class advertisements. Thus the _Morning Post_ monopolizes all those
which relate to fashion and high life; and the _Morning Advertiser_, the
paper of the licensed victuallers, aggregates to itself every announcement
relating to their craft. _Bell's Life_ is one mass of advertisements of
various sports; the _Era_ is great upon all theatricals; the _Athenæum_
gathers to itself a large proportion of book advertisements. The
_Illustrated News_ among the weeklies, like the _Times_ among the dailies,
towers by the head above them all. A hebdomadal circulation of 170,000
draws a far more cosmopolitan collection of announcements to its pages
than any of its contemporaries can boast. We have said nothing of the
advertisements in the provincial journals; but it is gratifying to find
that they have more than kept pace with those which have appeared in the
metropolitan papers. Their enormous increase is best shown by the returns
of the advertisement duty; from which it appears that in 1851 no less than
2,334,593 advertisements were published in the journals of Great Britain
and Ireland--a number which has vastly augmented since the tax upon them
has been repealed.

It is curious to see the estimate which the different journals place upon
themselves as mediums of publicity, by comparing their charges for the
same advertisement. Thus the contents of the _Quarterly Review_ for
January, 1855, precisely similar as far as length is concerned, was
charged for insertion as an advertisement by the different papers as
follows:--_Times_, 4s.; _Illustrated News_, 1_l._ 8s.; _Morning
Chronicle_, 5s. 6d.; _Morning Post_, 6s.; _Daily News_, 5s. 6d.;
_Spectator_, 7s. 6d.; _Morning Herald_, 6s.; _Punch_, 15s.; _Observer_,
9s. 6d.; _English Churchman_, 5s. 6d.; _Examiner_, 3s. 6d.; _John Bull_,
5s. 6d.; _Athenæum_, 10s. 6d. Now the _Times_ did not "display" the
advertisement as all the others did, it is true, and therefore squeezed it
into half the space; but with this difference, its charge was absolutely
the lowest in the list, with the single exception of that of the
_Examiner_. How this moderation on the part of the Leading Journal is to
be accounted for we know not; but the apparent dearness of the
_Illustrated News_ meets a ready solution, and affords us an opportunity
of showing how vastly the prime cost of an advertisement, during the
present high price of paper especially, is augmented by a great increase
of the circulation of the paper in which it appears, and what the
advertiser really gets for his money. If we take the advertisement of our
contents (_Quarterly Review_), it will be found to measure about one inch
in depth; it is obvious, then, that we must multiply this measure by
170,000, the number of separate copies in which it appeared. Now 170,000
inches yield a strip of printed paper the width of a newspaper
column--_upwards of two miles and three-quarters long!_ Thus we have at a
glance the real amount of publicity which is procurable in a great
journal; and with so remarkable a statement it will be well to close our


A story is told of a European who, wishing to convince a Brahmin of the
folly of his faith in interdicting, as an article of food, anything that
once possessed life, showed him, by the aid of the microscope, that the
very water which he drank was full of living things. The Indian, thus
suddenly introduced to an unseen world, dashed the instrument to the
ground, and reproached his teacher for having so wantonly destroyed the
guiding principle of his life. We, too, have at home a Hindoo, in the
shape of the believing British public, to whose eye Dr. Hassall nicely
adjusts the focus of his microscope, and bids him behold what unseen
villanies are daily perpetrated upon his purse and person.

The world at large has almost forgotten Accum's celebrated work, "Death in
the Pot;" a new generation has indeed sprung up since it was written, and
fraudulent tradesmen and manufacturers have gone on in silence, and, up to
this time, in security, falsifying the food and picking the pockets of the
people. Startling indeed as were the revelations in that remarkable book,
yet it had little effect in reforming the abuses it exposed. General
denunciations of grocers did not touch individuals of the craft, and they
were consequently not driven to improve the quality of their wares. The
_Lancet_ Commission went to work in a different manner. In Turkey, when of
old they caught a baker giving false weight, or adulterating the staff of
life, they nailed his ear to the door-post, "pour encourager les autres."
Dr. Hassall, like a modern Al Raschid, perambulated the town himself, or
sent his trustworthy agents to purchase articles, upon all of which the
inexorable microscope was set to work, and every fraudulent sample, after
due notice given, subjected its vendor to be pinned for ever to the
terrible pages of the Commissioners' report. In this manner direct
responsibility was obtained. If the falsification denounced was not the
work of the retailer, he was glad enough to shift the blame upon the
manufacturer; and thus the truth came out.

A gun suddenly fired into a rookery could not cause a greater commotion
than this publication of the names of dishonest tradesmen; nor does the
daylight, when you lift a stone, startle ugly and loathsome things more
quickly than the pencil of light, streaming through a quarter-inch lens,
surprised in their naked ugliness the thousand and one illegal substances
which enter more or less into every description of food that it will pay
to adulterate. Nay, to such a pitch of refinement has the art of
falsification of alimentary substances reached, that the very articles
used to adulterate are adulterated; and while one tradesman is picking the
pockets of his customers, a still more cunning rogue is, unknown to
himself, deep in his own!

The manner in which food is adulterated is not only one of degree, but of
kind. The most simple of all sophistications, and that which is most
harmless, is the mixture of inferior qualities of the same substance.
Indeed, if the price charged were according to quality, it would be no
fraud at all; but this adjustment rarely takes place. Secondly, the
mixture of cheaper articles of another kind. Thirdly, the surreptitious
introduction of materials which, taken in large quantities, are
prejudicial to health; and, fourthly, the admixture of the most deadly
poisons in order to improve the appearance of the article "doctored."

The microscope alone is capable of detecting at one operation the nature
and extent of the more harmless but general of these frauds. When once the
investigator, by the aid of that instrument, has become familiar with the
configurations of different kinds of the same chemically composed
substances, he is armed with far greater detective power than chemical
agents could provide him with. It is beyond the limit of the test-tube to
show the mind the various forms of animal and vegetable life which exist
in impure water; delicate as are its powers, it could not indicate the
presence of the sugar-insect, or distinguish with unerring nicety an
admixture of the common Circuma arrowroot with the finer Maranta.
Chemistry is quite capable of telling the component parts of any article:
what are the definite forms and natures of the various ingredients which
enter into a mixture, it cannot so easily answer. This the microscope can
at once effect; and in its present application consists Dr. Hassall's
advantage over all previous investigators in the same field. The precision
with which he is enabled to state the result of his labours leaves no
appeal: he shows his reader the intimate structures of a coffee-grain, and
of oak or mahogany sawdust; and then a specimen of the two combined, sold
under the title of genuine Mocha. Many manufacturers and retailers who
have been detected falsifying the food of the public, have threatened
actions; but they all flinched from the test of this unerring instrument.

The system of adulteration is so wide-spread, and embraces so many of the
items of the daily meal, that we scarcely know where to begin--what corner
of the veil first to lift. Let us hold up the cruet-frame, for example,
and analyze its contents. There is mustard, pepper (black and cayenne),
vinegar, anchovy and Harvey sauce--so thinks the unsuspecting reader; let
us show him what else beside. To begin with mustard. "Best Durham," or
"Superfine Durham," no doubt it was purchased for; but we will summarily
dismiss this substance by stating that it is impossible to procure it pure
at all: out of forty-two samples bought by Dr. Hassall at the best as well
as inferior shops, all were more or less adulterated with wheaten flour
for bulk, and with turmeric for colour. Vinegar also suffers a double
adulteration. It is first watered, and then pungency is given to it by the
addition of sulphuric acid. A small quantity of this acid is allowed by
law; and this is frequently trebled by the victuallers. The pepper-castor
is another stronghold of fraud--fraud so long and openly practised, that
we question if the great mass of the perpetrators even think they are
doing wrong. Among the milder forms of sophistication to which this
article is subjected, are to be found such ingredients as wheaten flour,
ground rice, ground mustard-seeds, and linseed-meal. The grocer maintains
a certain reserve as to the generality of the articles he employs in
vitiating his wares; but pepper he seems to think is given up to him by
the public to "cook" in any manner he thinks fit. This he almost
invariably does by the addition of what is known in the trade as P. D., or
pepper-dust, _alias_ the sweepings from the pepper warehouses. But there
is a lower depth still: P. D. is too genuine a commodity for some markets,
and it is accordingly mixed with D. P. D., or dirt of pepper-dust.

A little book, published not long since, entitled "The Successful
Merchant," which gives the minute trade history of a gentleman very much
respected in Bristol, Samuel Budgett, Esq., affords us a passage bearing
upon this P. D. which is worthy of notice.

    "In Mr. Budgett's early days," says his biographer, "pepper was under
    a heavy tax, and in the trade universal tradition said that out of the
    trade everybody expected pepper to be mixed. In the shop stood a cask
    labelled P. D., containing something _very like_ pepper-dust,
    wherewith it was usual to mix the pepper before sending it forth to
    serve the public. The trade tradition had obtained for the apocryphal
    P. D. a place amongst the standard articles of the shop, and on the
    strength of that tradition it was vended for pepper by men who thought
    they were honest. But as Samuel went on in life, his ideas on trade
    morality grew clearer; this P. D. began to give him much discomfort.
    He thought upon it till he was satisfied that, after all that could be
    said, the thing was wrong: arrived at this conclusion, he felt that no
    blessing could light upon the place while it was there. He instantly
    decreed that P. D. should perish. It was night; but back he went to
    the shop, took the hypocritical cask, carried it out to the quarry,
    then staved it, and scattered P. D. among the clods and slag and

Would we could say that the reduction of the tax upon pepper had
stimulated the honesty of other grocers to act a similar part to that of
Mr. Budgett; but P. D. flourishes as flagrantly as ever; and if every
possessor of the article in London were to stave his casks in the roadway,
as conscientiously as did the "Successful Merchant," there would be hard
work for the scavengers. In the days of Accum it was usual to manufacture
peppercorns out of oiled linseed-cake, clay, and cayenne-pepper, formed
into a mass, and then granulated: these fraudulent corns were mixed with
the real to the extent of seventeen per cent. This form of imposition,
like that of wooden nutmegs among our American friends, has, we are happy
to say, long been abandoned. The adulterations we have mentioned are
simply dirty and fraudulent; but in the cayenne-cruet we find, in
addition, a deadly poison. Out of twenty-eight samples submitted to
examination, no less than twenty-four were adulterated with white
mustard-seed, brickdust, salt, ground rice, and _deal sawdust_, by way of
giving bulk; but as all of these tend to lighten the colour, it is
necessary to heighten it to the required pitch. And what is employed to do
this? Hear and tremble, old Indians and lovers of high-seasoned food--with
RED LEAD. Out of twenty-eight samples, red lead, and _often in poisonous
quantities_, was present in thirteen! Who knows how many "yellow admirals"
at Bath have fallen victims to their cayenne-cruets? Nor can it be said
that the small quantity taken at a time could do no permanent mischief;
for lead belongs to the class of poisons which are cumulative in their

He who loves cayenne, as a rule is fond of curry-powder; and here also the
poisonous oxide is to be found in large quantities. Some years ago, a
certain amiable duke recommended the labouring population, during a season
of famine, to take a pinch of this condiment every morning before going to
work, as "warm and comforting to the stomach." If they had followed his
advice, thirteen out of every twenty-eight persons would have imbibed a
slow poison. Those who are in the habit of using curry, generally take it
in considerable quantities, and thus the villanous falsification plays a
more deadly part than even in cayenne-pepper. Imagine a man for years
pertinaciously painting his stomach with red lead! We do not know whether
medical statistics prove that paralysis prevails much among "Nabobs;" but
of this we may be sure, that there could be no more fruitful source of it
than the two favourite stimulants we have named.

The great staple articles of food are not subject to adulteration in the
same proportion as many other articles of minor demand. We need scarcely
say that meat is exempt so long as it remains in the condition of joints;
but immediately it is prepared in any shape in which its original fibre
and form can be hidden, the spirit of craft begins to work. The public
have always had certain prejudices against sausages and polonies, for
example; and, if we are to believe a witness examined on oath before the
Smithfield Market Commissioners in 1850, not without reason. It is a very
old joke that there are no live donkeys to be found within twenty miles of
Epping; but if all the asinine tribe in England were to fall victims to
the chopping-machine, we question if they could supply the _à-la-mode_,
polony, and sausage establishments. Mr. J. Harper, for instance, being
under examination, upon being asked what became of the diseased meat
brought into London, replied:--

    "It is purchased by the soup-shops, sausage-makers, the _à-la-mode_
    beef and meat-pie shops, &c. There is one soup-shop, I believe, doing
    five hundred pounds per week in diseased meat. This firm has a large
    _foreign_ trade [thank goodness!]. The trade in diseased meat is very
    alarming, as anything in the shape of flesh can be sold at about one
    penny per pound, or eightpence per stone.... I am certain that if one
    hundred carcases of cows were lying dead in the neighbourhood of
    London, I could get them all sold within twenty-four hours: _it don't
    matter what they died of_."

It must not be imagined that the _à-la-mode_ beef interest is supplied
with this carrion by needy men, whose necessities may in some degree
palliate their evil dealings. In proof of this we quote further from Mr.
Harper's evidence. In answer to the question, "Is there any slaughtering
of bad meat in the country for the supply of the London market?" he

    "The London market is very extensively supplied with diseased meat
    from the country. There are three insurance offices in London in which
    graziers can insure their beasts from disease. It was the practice of
    one of these offices to send the unsound animals dying from disease to
    their own slaughter-houses, situate a hundred and sixty miles from
    London, to be dressed and sent to the London market.... Cattle, sheep,
    &c., are insured against all kinds of diseases; and one of the
    conditions is, that the diseased animal, when dead, becomes the
    property of the insurance company, the party insuring receiving
    two-thirds of the value of the animal and one-third of the salvage;
    or, in other words, one-third of the amount the beast is sold for when

Upon being asked, "Do you believe it is still the habit of this company to
send up the diseased animals to London?" he replied,--

    "Yes, I do; until lately they were regularly consigned to a
    meat-salesman in Newgate market of the name of Mathews.... The larger
    quantities are sold to people who manufacture it into soup, meat-pies,
    sausages, &c."

We have no wish to destroy the generally robust appetite of the persons
who visit such shops by any gratuitous disclosure; but we question whether
the most hungry crossing-sweeper would look any more with a longing eye
upon the huge German sausages, rich and inviting as they appear, if, like
Mr. Harper, he knew the too probable antecedents of their contents. The
only other preparations of flesh open to adulteration are preserved meats.
Some years ago, "the Goldner canister business" so excited the public
against this invaluable method of storing perishing articles of food, that
a prejudice has existed against it ever since; and a more senseless
prejudice could not be. Goldner's process, since adopted by Messrs. Cooper
and Aves, is simple and beautiful. The provisions, being placed in tin
canisters having their covers soldered down, are plunged up to their necks
in a bath of chloride of calcium (a preparation which imbibes a great heat
without boiling), and their contents are speedily cooked; at the same time
all the air in the meat, and some of the water, are expelled in the form
of steam, which issues from a pin-hole in the lid. The instant the cook
ascertains the process to be complete, he drops a plug of solder upon the
hole, and the mass is thus hermetically sealed. Exclusion of air, and
coagulation of the albumen, are the two conditions which enable us to hand
the most delicate-flavoured meats down to remote generations,--for as
long, in fact, as a stout painted tin canister can maintain itself intact
against the oxidating effect of the atmosphere. We have ourselves partaken
lately of a duck that was winged, and of milk that came from the cow, as
long as eight years ago. Fruit which had been gathered whilst the
free-trade struggle was still going on, we found as delicate in flavour as
though it had just been plucked from the branch. Out of the many cases of
all kinds of provisions opened and examined by Dr. Hassall, scarcely any
have been found to be bad. When we remember that the graves of so many of
our soldiers in the Crimea may be justly inscribed, "Died of salt pork,"
we cannot forbear to call attention to a neglected means of feeding our
troops with good and nutritious food, instead of with the tough fibre
called meat, from which half the blood-making qualities have been
extracted by the process of boiling, whilst the remaining half is rendered
indigestible by the action of salt, and poisonous by the extraction of one
of its most important constituents. It would seem as if we were living in
the days of Anson, who lost 626 men of scurvy, out of a crew of 961,
before he could reach the island of Juan Fernandez, or of the still later
cruise of Sir C. Hardy, who sent 3,500 to hospital with this fatal
disease, after a six weeks' sail with the Channel fleet. It may be urged
that the sailors in the late war did not sicken on salt pork; but while
they had the necessary amount of potass, which the stomach requires to
make blood, in the lime-juice served out to them, our troops were without
this indispensable accompaniment, and consequently died. In the preserved
meats, which are made up with potatoes and other vegetables, the needful
potass exists, and such food may be purchased as cheaply as the pernicious
salt junk which is patronized by the Government.

Bread, the great blood-producer, claims particular attention. It often
surprises persons who walk about the metropolis to find that prices vary
according to the locality; thus the loaf that costs in the Borough or the
New Cut 7_d._ a quartern, is 10-1/2_d._ at the West End. Can plate-glass
windows and rent cause all this difference? Certainly not. We are glad,
however, to find that many of the adulterations mentioned by our older
writers have vanished with free trade. Prince and Accum mention plaster of
Paris, bone-dust, the meal of other cereal grains, white clay, alum,
sulphate of copper, potatoes, &c. All of these sophistications have
disappeared, with the exception of potatoes, which are occasionally
employed when the difference between their value and that of flour makes
it worth while for the baker or miller to introduce them. When we see a
loaf marked under the market price, we may rest assured that it is made of
flour ground from inferior and damaged wheat. In order to bring this up to
the required colour, and to destroy the sour taste which often belongs to
it, bakers are in the habit of introducing a mixture called in the trade
"hards" and "stuff," which is nothing more than alum and salt, kept
prepared in large quantities by the druggists. The quantity of alum
necessary to render bread white is certainly not great--Mitchell found
that it ranged from 116 grains to 34-1/2 grains in the four-pound loaf;
but the great advantage the baker derives from it, in addition to
improving the colour of his wares, is, that it absorbs a large quantity of
water, which he sells at the present time at the rate of 2_d._ a pound.
Out of twenty-eight loaves of bread bought in every quarter of the
metropolis, Dr. Hassall did not find one free from the adulteration of
alum; and in some of the samples he found considerable quantities. As a
general rule, the lower the neighbourhood, the cheaper the bread, and the
greater the quantity of this "hards" or "stuff" introduced. We must not,
however, lay all the blame upon the baker. This was satisfactorily shown
by the Sanitary Commissioners, when dealing with the bread sold by the
League Bread Company, whose advertisement to the following effect is
constantly to be seen in the _Times_:--

    "The object for which the above company was established, and is now in
    operation, is to insure to the public bread of a pure and nutritious
    character. Experience daily proves how much our health is dependent
    upon the quality and purity of our food; consequently, how important
    it is that an article of such universal consumption as bread should be
    free from adulteration. That various diseases are caused by the use of
    _alum_ and other deleterious ingredients in the manufacture of bread,
    the testimony of many eminent men will fully corroborate. Pure
    unadulterated bread, full weight, best quality, and the lowest
    possible price."

Upon several samples of this _pure bread_, purchased of various agents of
the company, being tested, they were found to be contaminated with _alum_!
Here was a discovery. The company protested that the analyses were
worthless; and all their workmen made a solemn declaration that they had
never used any alum whilst in their employ. The agents of the company
also declared that they never sold any but their bread. The analyst looked
again through his microscope, and again reiterated his charge, that alum
their bread contained. It was then agreed to test the flour supplied to
the company, and three samples were proved to contain the obnoxious
material. Thus we find that the miller still, in some instances, maintains
his doubtful reputation, and is at the bottom of this roguery.

Our succeeding remarks will fall, we fear, like a bomb upon many a
tea-table, and stagger teetotalism in its stronghold. A drunkard's stomach
is sometimes exhibited at total-abstinence lectures, in every stage of
congestion and inflammation, painted up to match the fervid eloquence of
the lecturer. If tea is our only refuge from the frightful maladies
entailed upon us by fermented liquors, we fear the British public is in a
perplexing dilemma. Ladies, there is death in the teapot! Green-tea
drinkers, beware! There has always been a vague idea afloat in the public
mind about hot copper plates--a suspicion that gunpowder and hyson do not
come by their colour honestly. The old duchess of Marlborough used to
boast that she came into the world before "nerves were in fashion." We
feel half inclined to believe this joke had a great truth in it; for since
the introduction of tea, nervous complaints of all kinds have greatly
increased; and we need not look far to find one at least of the causes in
the teapot. There is no such a thing as pure green tea to be met with in
England. It is adulterated in China; and we have lately learnt to
adulterate it at home almost as well as the cunning Asiatic. The pure
green tea made from the most delicate green leaves grown upon manured
soil, such as the Chinese use themselves, is, it is true, wholly
untainted; and we are informed that its beautiful bluish bloom, like that
upon a grape, is given by the third process of roasting which it
undergoes. The enormous demand for a moderately-priced green tea which has
arisen both in England and China since the opening of the trade, has led
the Hong merchants to imitate this peculiar colour; and this they do so
successfully as to deceive the ordinary judges of the article. Black tea
is openly coloured in the neighbourhood of Canton in the most wholesale

Mr. Robert Fortune, in his very interesting work, "The Tea Districts of
China and India," gives us a good description of the manner in which this
colouring process is performed, as witnessed by himself:--

    "Having procured a portion of Prussian-blue, he threw it into a
    porcelain bowl, not unlike a chemist's mortar, and crushed it into a
    very fine powder. At the same time a quantity of gypsum was produced
    and burned in the charcoal fires which were then roasting the teas.
    The object of this was to soften it, in order that it might be readily
    pounded into a very fine powder, in the same manner as the
    Prussian-blue had been. The gypsum, having been taken out of the fire
    after a certain time had elapsed, readily crumbled down, and was
    reduced to powder in the mortar. These two substances, having been
    thus prepared, were then mixed together in the proportion of four
    parts of gypsum to three parts of Prussian-blue, and formed a light
    blue powder, which was then ready for use.

    "This colouring matter was applied to the teas during the process of
    roasting. About five minutes before the tea was removed from the
    pans--the time being regulated by the burning of a joss-stick--the
    superintendent took a small porcelain spoon, and with it he scattered
    a portion of the colouring matter over the leaves in each pan. The
    workmen then turned the leaves round rapidly with both hands, in order
    that the colour might be equally diffused. During this part of the
    operation the hands of the workmen were quite blue. I could not help
    thinking, if any green-tea drinkers had been present during the
    operation, their taste would have been corrected, and, I believe,

    "One day an English gentleman in Shanghae, being in conversation with
    some Chinese from the green-tea country, asked them what reason they
    had for dyeing the tea, and whether it would not be better without
    undergoing this process. They acknowledged that tea was much better
    when prepared without having any such ingredients mixed with it, and
    that _they never drank dyed teas_ themselves, but justly remarked,
    that, as foreigners seemed _to prefer having a mixture of
    Prussian-blue and gypsum with their tea_ to make it look uniform and
    pretty, and as these ingredients were cheap enough, the Chinese had no
    objection to supply them, especially as such teas always fetched a
    higher price.

    "I took some trouble to ascertain precisely the quantity of colouring
    matter used in the process of dyeing green teas, not certainly with
    the view of assisting others, either at home or abroad, in the art of
    colouring, but simply to show green-tea drinkers in England, and more
    particularly in the United States of America, what _quantity_ of
    Prussian-blue and gypsum they imbibe in the course of one year. To
    14-1/2 lbs. were applied 8 mace 2-1/2 candareens of colouring matter,
    or rather more than an ounce. To every hundred pounds of coloured
    green-tea consumed in England or America, the consumer actually drinks
    more than half a pound of Prussian-blue and gypsum. And yet, tell the
    drinkers of this coloured tea that the Chinese eat cats and dogs, and
    they will hold up their hands in amazement, and pity the poor

If the Chinese use it in these quantities to tinge the genuine leaf, how
much more must the English employ in making up afresh exhausted leaves!
That every spoonful of hyson or gunpowder contains a considerable quantity
of this deleterious dye will be seen by any one who places a pinch upon a
fine sieve, and pours upon it a gentle stream of water, when the tinging
of the liquid will show at once the extent of the adulteration, and the
folly of drinking painted tea. Assam tea, though not so inviting in
colour, is free from adulteration. A word to the wise is enough.

Of fifty samples of green tea analyzed by Dr. Hassall, all were
adulterated. There is one particular kind which is almost entirely a
manufactured article--gunpowder, both black and green--the former being
called scented caper. Both have a large admixture of what is termed "lye
tea," or a compound of sand, dirt, tea-dust, and broken-down portions of
other leaves worked together with gum into small nodules. This detestable
compound, which, according to Mr. Warrington,[3] who has analyzed it,
contains forty-five per cent. of earthy matter, is manufactured both in
China and in England, for the express purpose of adulterating tea. When
mixed with "scented caper," it is "faced" with black lead; when with
gunpowder, Prussian-blue: turmeric and French chalk give it the required
bloom. Mr. Warrington states that about 750,000 lbs. of this spurious tea
have been imported into Great Britain within eighteen months! Singularly
enough, the low-priced teas are the only genuine ones. Every sample of
this class which was analyzed by Dr. Hassall proved to be perfectly pure.
Here at least the poor have the advantage of the better classes, who pay a
higher price to be injured in their health by a painted beverage.

The practice of redrying used-up leaves is also carried on to some extent
in England. Mr. George Philips, of the Inland Revenue Office, states that
in 1843 there were no less than eight manufactories for the purpose of
redrying tea-leaves in London alone, whilst there were many others in
different parts of the country. These manufacturers had agents who bought
up the used leaves from hotels, clubs, coffeehouses, &c., for twopence
halfpenny and threepence per lb. With these leaves, others of various
trees were used, and very fine pekoe still flourishes upon the
hawthorn-bushes, sloe-trees, &c., around the metropolis. As late as the
year 1851 the following account of the proceedings of one of these
nefarious manufacturers appeared in the _Times_:--

    "CLERKENWELL.--Edward South and Louisa his wife were placed at the
    bar, before Mr. Combe, charged by Inspector Brennan, of the E
    division, with being concerned in the manufacture of spurious tea. It
    appeared, from the statement of the inspector, that, in consequence of
    information that the prisoners and others were in the habit of
    carrying on an extensive traffic in manufacturing spurious tea, on the
    premises situate at 27-1/2, Clerkenwell Close, Clerkenwell Green, on
    Saturday evening, at about seven o'clock, the witness, in company with
    Serjeant Cole, proceeded to the house, where they found the prisoners
    in an apartment busily engaged in the manufacture of spurious tea.
    There was an extensive furnace, before which was suspended an iron
    pan, containing sloe-leaves and tea-leaves, which they were in the
    practice of purchasing from coffeeshop-keepers after being used. On
    searching the place they found an immense quantity of used tea,
    bay-leaves, and every description of spurious ingredients for the
    purpose of manufacturing illicit tea, and they were mixed with a
    solution of gum and a quantity of _copperas_. The woman was employed
    in stirring about the bay-leaves and other composition with the
    solution of gum in the pan; and in one part of the room there was a
    large quantity of spurious stuffs, the exact imitation of genuine tea.
    In a back room they found nearly a hundred pounds weight of redried
    tea-leaves, bay-leaves, and sloe-leaves, all spread on the floor
    drying.... Mr. Brennan added, that the prisoners had pursued this
    nefarious traffic most extensively, and were in the habit of dealing
    largely with grocers, chandlers, and others in the country."

This poisonous imitation green tea, "so largely supplied to country
grocers," was no doubt used for adulterating other green teas already
dosed with Prussian-blue, turmeric, &c. These have found their way into
many a country home of small means. When the nephew comes on a visit, or
the curate calls of an afternoon, the ordinary two spoonfuls of black are
"improved" with "just a dash of green," and the poor innocent gentleman
wonders afterwards what it can be that keeps him awake all night.

We often hear the remark from old-fashioned people that we have never had
any good tea since the monopoly of the East-India Company was broken up:
in this remark there is some truth and much error. There can be no
possible doubt that the higher-priced teas have fallen off since the trade
has been open, as the buyers of the company were perfectly aware of the
frauds perpetrated by the Hong merchants, and never allowed a spurious
article to be shipped. On the other hand, the great reduction which has
taken place in the price of the common black teas, both on account of the
cessation of monopoly and the reduction of the duty, has in a great
measure destroyed the English manufacture of spurious tea from indigenous
leaves. The extent to which this formerly took place may be judged from a
report of the Committee of the House of Commons, in 1783, which states
that no less than four millions of pounds were annually manufactured from
sloe and ash leaves in different parts of England; and this, be it
remembered, when the whole quantity of genuine tea sold by the East-India
Company did not amount to more than six millions of pounds annually.

If the better class of black and all green teas[4] are thus vilely
adulterated, the reader may fancy he can at least take refuge in
coffee--alas! in too many cases he will only avoid Scylla to fall into
Charybdis. Coffee, as generally sold in the metropolis and in all large
towns, is adulterated even more than tea. The Treasury minute, which
allowed it to be mixed with chicory, is at the head and front of the
offending. In the year 1840, this celebrated minute was issued by the
sanction of the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir C. Wood, the
immediate consequence of which was that grocers began to mix it with pure
coffee in very large quantities, quite forgetting to inform the public of
the nature of the mixture, and neglecting at the same time to lower the
price. The evil became so flagrant that upon the installation of the Derby
administration Mr. Disraeli promised to rescind this license to
adulterate; but before the promise was redeemed, the administration was
rescinded itself. Mr. Gladstone, upon his acceptance of office, loath, it
appears, to injure the chicory interest, modified the original minute, but
allowed the amalgamation to continue, provided the package was labelled
"Mixture of Chicory and Coffee." It was speedily found, however, that this
announcement became so confounded with other printing on the label that it
was not easily distinguishable, and in consequence it was provided that
the words, "This is sold as a mixture of Chicory and Coffee," should be
printed by themselves on one side of the canister. It may be asked what is
the nature of this ingredient, that the right to mix it with coffee should
be maintained by two Chancellors of the Exchequer, during a period of
fifteen years, as jealously as though it were some important principle of
our constitution? Chicory, to say the best of it, is an insipid root,
totally destitute of any nourishing or refreshing quality, being utterly
deficient in any nitrogenized principle, whilst there are strong doubts
whether it is not absolutely hurtful to the nervous system. Professor
Beer, the celebrated oculist of Vienna, forbids the use of it to his
patients, considering it to be the cause of amaurotic blindness. Even
supposing it to be perfectly harmless, we have a material of the value of
8_d._ a pound, which the grocer is allowed to mix, _ad libitum_, with one
worth 1_s._ 4_d._ If the poor got the benefit of the adulteration, there
might be some excuse for permitting the admixture of chicory, but it is
proved that the combination is sold in many shops at the same price as
pure coffee.

Analyses made by Dr. Hassall of upwards of a hundred different samples of
coffee, purchased in all parts of the metropolis before the issuing of the
order for the labelling of the packages 'chicory and coffee,' proved that,
in a great number of cases, articles sold as "finest Mocha," "choice
Jamaica coffee," "superb coffee," &c., contained, in some instances, very
little coffee at all; in others "only a fifth, a third, half," &c., the
rest being made up mainly of chicory. Nothing is more indicative of the
barefaced frauds perpetrated by grocers upon the public than the manner in
which they go out of their way to puff in the grossest style the most
abominable trash. The report of the sanitary commission gives many
examples of these puff and announcements, which, we are informed, are kept
set up at the printers, and may be had in any quantities. We quote one as
an example:--

    "JOHN ----'S COFFEE,

    "_The richness, flavour, and strength of which are not to be

    "Coffee has now become an article of consumption among all classes of
    the community. Hence the importance of supplying an article of such a
    character as to encourage its consumption in preference to beverages
    the use of which promotes a vast amount of misery.

    "John ----'s coffee meets the requirement of the age, and, as a
    natural result, the celebrity to which it has attained is wholly
    unparalleled. Its peculiarity consists in its possessing that rich
    aromatic flavour, combined with great strength and deliciousness,
    which is to be found alone in the choicest mountain growths. It may,
    with perfect truth, be stated that no article connected with _domestic
    economy_ has given such general satisfaction, and the demand for it is
    rapidly increasing.

    "John ----'s establishment, both for extent and capability, is the
    first in the empire.


    "Every canister of John ----'s coffee bears his signature, without
    which none is _genuine_."

At the end of this puff the analyst places the words--

    "_Adulterated with a considerable quantity of chicory!_"

More erudite grocers treat us to the puff literary, as in the following

    "Rich-flavoured coffees fresh-roasted daily.


    "Sandys, the translator of 'Ovid's Metamorphoses,' and who travelled
    in Turkey in 1610, gives the following passage in his 'Travailes,'
    page 51 (edit. 1657). Speaking of the Turks, he says, 'Although they
    be destitute of taverns, yet they have their coffee-houses, which
    sometimes resemble them. There sit they chatting most of the day, and
    sip of a drink called coffa, of the berry that it is made of, in
    little china dishes, as hot as they can suffer it, black as soot,
    which helpeth, as they say, digestion, and procureth alacrity.'"

This pleasant sample of the puff indirect has also appended to it the
naked sentence--

    "_Adulterated with chicory, of which not less than half the sample

The worst kinds of adulterated coffee are to be found in that which is
sold in canisters. The value of the tin envelope cannot be less than 2d.,
and, as the coffee so sold is charged at the same price as that in a paper
wrapper, it must be evident that a more extensive adulteration is
necessary in order to make up the difference. Such, upon examination,
proves to be the case, as it appeared--

    "That the whole twenty-nine packages, bottles, and canisters submitted
    to analysis, with a single exception,[5] were adulterated.

    "That in these twenty-eight adulterated samples the falsification
    consisted of so-called chicory, which in many instances constituted
    the chief part of the article.

    "That three of the samples contained mangold-wurzel, and two of them
    roasted wheat-flour."

We have said it often happens that the adulterations are adulterated.
Chicory is an instance of it. The original fraud is found to have ramified
in an endless manner; and Sir Charles Wood will doubtless be astonished to
hear of the hideous crop of falsifications his most unfortunate order has
caused to spring out of the ground.

Immediately the process of transforming chicory into coffee became
legalized by the Government, that article came into very extensive
consumption, and factories were set up especially for its secret
manufacture. The reason for this secrecy may be gathered from the list of
articles which are made to subserve the purpose: roasted wheat, ground
acorns, roasted carrots, scorched beans, roasted parsnips, mangold-wurzel,
lupin-seeds, dog's biscuits, burnt sugar, _red earth_, roasted
horse-chestnuts,--and above and beyond all _baked horses' and bullocks'
livers_. This statement rests upon the authority of Mr. P. G. Simmonds, in
a work entitled "Coffee as it is, and as it ought to be:"--

    "In various parts of the metropolis," he says, "but more especially in
    the east, are to be found 'liver bakers.' These men take the livers of
    oxen and horses, bake them, and grind them into a powder, which they
    sell to the low-priced coffeeshop-keepers, at from fourpence to
    sixpence per lb., horse's liver coffee being the highest price. It may
    be known by allowing the coffee to stand until cold, when a thick
    pellicle or skin will be found on the top. It goes farther than
    coffee, and is generally _mixed with chicory_, and other vegetable
    imitations of coffee."

In confirmation of this horrible statement the sanitary commissioners of
the Lancet state that, on analysis, this substance, which

    "possessed a disagreeable animal smell, ... consisted of some
    imperfectly-charred animal matter."

The new regulation, enjoining grocers to sell coffee and chicory properly
labelled as such, is, no doubt, observed in respectable shops; but in the
low neighbourhoods the mixture as before is passed off for genuine Mocha.
However, the purchaser has the means of protection in his own hands. If he
prefers coffee pure, let him buy the roasted berry and grind it himself;
he will thus be sure of having the real article, and will get it in
greater perfection than by purchasing it ready ground.

In close proximity to the tea and coffee-pots stand the milk-jug and the
sugar-basin. What find we here? A few years ago the town was frightened
from its propriety by a little work entitled "Observations on London
Milk," published by a medical gentleman of the name of Rugg, which gave
some fearful disclosures relative to the manner in which London milk was
adulterated. Dr. Hassall's analyses go to show that, with the exception of
the produce of the "iron-tailed cow," none of the supposed defilements
really exist, and that the milkman is a sadly maligned individual. Water
is added in quantities varying in different samples from 10 to 50 per
cent.; and in the more unfashionable parts of the town _all_ the cream is
abstracted to be forwarded to the West-end. If milk _must_ be adulterated
in large towns, water is undoubtedly the most harmless ingredient; at the
same time it will be seen what a fraud is perpetrated upon the public by
selling milky water at 4d. a quart.

That the London milking-pail goes as often to the pump as to the cow we
have no manner of doubt. To bring the diluted goods up to a delicate
cream colour, it is common to swing round a ball of annatto in the can;
and other careful observers and writers upon the adulteration of food have
detected flour, starch, and treacle. All medical men know that children
are often violently disordered by their morning or evening portion,--an
effect which could not come from the mere admixture of water--and we must
confess that we ourselves believe the milkman to be a very wicked fellow.

We are afraid, if we look into the sugar-basin, we shall not find much
more comfort than in the milk-jug. We refer here to the ordinary brown
sugars, such as are generally used at the breakfast-table for coffee. It
is scarcely possible to procure moist sugar which is not infested with
animalculæ of the acari genus, a most disgusting class of creatures. In
many samples of sugars they swarm to that extent that the mass moves with
them; and in almost every case, by dissolving a spoonful in a wine-glass
of water, dozens of them can be detected by the naked eye, either floating
upon the liquid or adhering to the edge of the glass. Those who are in the
habit of "handling" sugars, as it is termed, are liable to a skin
affection called the grocer's itch, which is believed to be occasioned by
these living inhabitants of our sugar-basins. Horrible as it is to think
that such creatures are an article in daily use, we cannot charge the
grocer directly with their introduction; the evil is, however, increased
by the manner in which he mixes, or "handles," as it is termed in the
trade, higher-priced sugars with muscovados, bastards, and other inferior
kinds, in which the animalculæ abound.

In addition to this foreign animal element, grocers sometimes mix flour
with their sugar, and, if we are to put any credit in popular belief,
sand; but of the presence of this gritty ingredient we have never seen any
trustworthy evidence. Nevertheless we have said enough to show that the
tea-dealer and grocer do their best to supply the proverbial "peck of
dirt" which all of us must eat before we die. Would that we were fed with
nothing more deleterious or repulsive! Let us see, however, the base
admixtures one is liable to swallow in taking--


  _In the Tea._

  If Green--
    China clay or French chalk.
    Used tea-leaves.
  If Black--
    Black lead.
    Dutch pink.
    Used tea-leaves.
    Leaves of the ash, sloe, hawthorn, and of many other kinds.

  _In the Milk._

  On an average 25 per cent. of water.
  Oxide of iron.
  And other unknown ingredients.

  _In the Sugar._

  If Brown--
    Wheat flour.
    Hundreds of the sugar-insect.
  If White--
    Albumen of bullock's blood.

  _In the Coffee._


  _In the Chicory._

  Roast wheat.
   "    acorn.
   "    mangold-wurzel.
   "    beans.
   "    carrots.
   "    parsnips
   "    lupin-seeds.
   "    dog-biscuits.
   "    horse-chestnuts.
  Oxide of iron.
  Mahogany sawdust.
  Baked horse's liver.
   "    bullock's liver.

  _In the Milk._

  Water 25 per cent.
  Oxide of iron.
  And other unknown ingredients.

  _In the Sugar._

  If Brown--
    Wheat flour.
    Hundreds of the sugar-insect.
  If White--
    Albumen of bullock's blood.

As we perceive the teetotalers are petitioning Parliament and agitating
the towns for the closing of public-houses, we beg to present them, in
either hand, with a cup of the above mixtures, with the humble hope that
means will be found by them to supply the British public with some drink a
little less deleterious to health, a little more pleasant to the palate,
and somewhat less disgusting to the feelings. Some of the sugar impurities
may be avoided by using the crystallized East-Indian kind--the size of the
crystals not permitting of its being adulterated with inferior sorts.

We shall not dwell upon cocoa further than to state that it is a still
rarer thing to obtain it pure than either tea or coffee. The almost
universal adulterations are sugar, starch, and flours together with red
colouring matter, generally some ferruginous earth; whilst, as far as we
can see, what is termed homoeopathic cocoa is only distinguished from
other kinds by the small quantity of that substance contained in it.

There is scarcely an article on the breakfast-table, in fact, which is
what it seems to be. The butter, if salt, is adulterated with between 20
and 30 per cent. of water. A merchant in this trade tells the _Lancet_
that "between 40,000 and 50,000 casks of adulterated butter are annually
sold in London, and the trade knows it as well as they know a bad
shilling." Lard when cheap also finds its way to the butter-tub. Perhaps
those who flatter themselves that they use nothing but "Epping" will not
derive much consolation from the following letter, also published in the
same journal:--

    "_To the Editor of the Lancet._

    "SIR,--Having taken apartments in the house of a butterman, I was
    suddenly awoke at three o'clock one morning with a noise in the lower
    part of the house, and alarmed on perceiving a light below the door of
    my bed-room; conceiving the house to be on fire, I hurried down
    stairs. I found the whole family busily occupied, and, on my
    expressing alarm at the house being on fire, they jocosely informed me
    they _were merely making Epping butter_. They unhesitatingly informed
    me of the whole process. For this purpose they made use of
    fresh-salted butter of a very inferior quality: this was repeatedly
    washed with water in order to free it from the salt. This being
    accomplished, the next process was to wash it frequently with milk,
    and the manufacture was completed by the addition of a small quantity
    of sugar. The amateurs of fresh Epping butter were supplied with this
    dainty, which yielded my ingenious landlord a profit of at least 100
    per cent., besides establishing his shop as being supplied with Epping
    butter from one of the first-rate dairies.--I am, sir, your obedient

    "A STUDENT."

If we try marmalade as a succedaneum, we are no better off--at least if we
put any faith in "real Dundee, an excellent substitute for butter," to be
seen piled in heaps in the cheap grocers' windows. Dr. Hassall's analysis
proves that this dainty is adulterated to a large extent with turnips,
apples, and carrots: we need not grumble so much at these vegetable
products, excepting on the score that it is a fraud to sell them at 7d. a
pound; but there is the more startling fact that, in twelve out of
fourteen samples analysed, copper was detected, and sometimes in large and
deleterious quantities!

Accum, in his "Death in the Pot," quotes, from cookery-books of reputation
in his day, recipes which make uninitiated persons stare. For instance,
"Modern Cookery, or the English Housewife," gives the following serious
directions "to make Greening:"--"Take a bit of _verdigris the bigness of
an hazel-nut_, finely powdered, half a pint of distilled vinegar, and a
bit of alum-powder, with a little baysalt; put all in a bottle and shake
it, and let it stand till clear. _Put a small teaspoonful into codlings,
or whatever you wish to green!_"

Again, the "English Housekeeper," a book which ran through eighteen
editions, directs--"to make pickles green _boil them with halfpence_, or
allow them to stand for twenty-four hours in copper or brass pans!" Has
the notable housewife ever wondered to herself how it is that all the
pickles of the shops are of so much more inviting colour than her own? We
will satisfy her curiosity in a word--she has forgotten the "bit of
verdigris the bigness of a hazel-nut," for it is now proved beyond doubt
that to this complexion do they come by the use of copper, introduced for
the sole purpose of making them of a lively green. The analyses of twenty
samples of pickles bought of the most respectable tradesmen proved,
firstly, that the vinegar in the bottles owed most of its strength to the
introduction of sulphuric acid; secondly, that, out of sixteen different
pickles analysed for the purpose, copper was detected in various amounts.
Thus, "two of the samples contained a small quantity; eight rather much,
one a considerable quantity, three a very considerable quantity; in one
copper was present in a highly deleterious amount, and in two _in
poisonous amounts_. The largest quantity of this metal was found in the
bottles consisting entirely of green vegetables, such as gherkins and

We trust after this the good housewife will feel jealous no longer, but
rest satisfied that the home-made article, if less inviting and vivid in
colour, is at least more wholesome. A simple test to discover the presence
of copper in such articles is to place a bright knitting-needle in the
vinegar, and let it remain there for a few hours, when the deleterious
metal will speedily form a coating over it, dense or thin, according to
the amount which exists. Wherever large quantities are found, it is
wilfully inserted for the purpose of producing the bright green colour,
but a small quantity may find its way into the pickles in the process of
boiling in copper pans. Messrs. Crosse and Blackwell, the great pickle and
preserve manufacturers in Soho, immediately they became aware, from the
analyses of the _Lancet_, that such was the case, in a very praiseworthy
manner substituted silver and glass, at a great expense, for all their
former vessels. The danger arising from the introduction of this virulent
poison into our food would not be so great if it were confined to pickles,
of which the quantity taken is small at each meal, but it is used to paint
all kinds of preserves, and fruits for winter pies and tarts are bloomed
with death. The papa who presents his children the box of sweetmeats
bedded in coloured paper, and enclosed in an elegant casket, may be
corroding unawares the very springs of their existence. As a general rule,
it is found that the red fruits, such as currants, raspberries, and
cherries, are uncontaminated with this deleterious metal, but owe their
deep hue to some red colouring matter, such as a decoction of logwood or
an infusion of beetroot, in the same way that common white cabbage is
converted into red by the nefarious pickle-merchant. The green fruits are
not all deleterious in the same degree; there seems to be an ascending
scale of virulence, much after the following manner:--Limes, gooseberries,
rhubarb, greengages, olives--the last-mentioned fruit, especially those of
French preparation, generally containing verdigris, or the acetate of
copper, _in highly dangerous quantities_. The _Lancet_ publishes a letter
from Mr. Bernays, F.C.S., dated from the Chemical Library, Derby, in which
he shows the necessity of watchfulness in the purchase of these articles
of food:--

    "Of this," he says, "I will give you a late instance. I had bought a
    bottle of preserved gooseberries from one of the most respectable
    grocers in the town, and had its contents transferred to a pie. It
    struck me that the gooseberries looked fearfully green when cooked;
    and in eating one with a steel fork its intense bitterness sent me in
    search of the sugar. After having sweetened and mashed the
    gooseberries, with the same steel fork, I was about to convey some to
    my mouth, when I observed the prongs to be completely coated with a
    thin film of bright metallic copper. My testimony can be borne out by
    the evidence of others, two of whom dined at my table."

It was fortunate that these three gentlemen used steel forks, which
instantly disclosed the mischief; if they had chanced to use silver, all
three might have fallen victims to these poisonous conserves.

But we are not yet at the worst. When Catherine de' Medici wished to get
rid of obnoxious persons in an "artistic" manner, she was in the habit of
presenting them with delicately made sweetmeats, or trinkets, in which
death lurked in the most engaging manner; she carried--

            "Pure death in an earring, a casket,
  A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket."

Her poisoned feasts are matters of history, at which people shudder as
they read; but we question if the diabolical revenge and coldblooded
wickedness of an Italian woman ever invented much more deadly trifles than
our low, cheap confectioners do on the largest scale. We select from some
of these articles of bonbonerie the following feast, which we set before
doting mothers, in order that they may see what deadly dainties are
prepared for the especial delectation of their children:--

    "A FISH.

    "_Purchased in Shepherd's Market, May Fair._

    "The tip of the nose and the gills of the fish are coloured with the
    usual pink, while the back and sides are highly painted with that
    virulent poison _arsenite of copper_."

    "A PIGEON.

    "_Purchased in Drury Lane._

    "The pigments employed for colouring this pigeon are light yellow for
    the beak, red for the eyes, and orange yellow for the base or stand.
    The yellow colour consists of the light kind of chromate of lead, for
    the eyes bisulphate of mercury, and for the stand the deeper varieties
    of chromate of lead, or orange chrome."


    "_Purchased in James Street, Covent Garden._

    "The apples in this sample are coloured yellow, and on one side deep
    red; the yellow colour extending to a considerable depth in the
    substance of the sugar. The red consists of the usual non-metallic
    pigment, and the yellow is due to the presence of CHROMATE OF LEAD in
    really _poisonous amount_!"

    "A COCK.

    "_Purchased in Drury Lane._

    "The beak of the bird is coloured bright yellow, the comb brilliant
    red, the wings and tail are variegated, black, two different reds, and
    yellow; while the stand, as in most of these sugar ornaments, is
    painted green. The yellow of the beak consists of CHROMATE OF LEAD;
    the comb and part of the red colour on the back and wings is
    VERMILION; while the second red colour on the wings and tail is the
    usual pink non-metallic colouring matter, and the stripes of yellow
    consist of gamboge; lastly, the green of the stand is MIDDLE BRUNSWICK
    GREEN, and, therefore, contains CHROMATE OF LEAD. In the colouring of
    this article, then, no less than three active poisons are employed, as
    well as that drastic purgative gamboge!"


    "_Purchased in Pilgrim Street, Doctors' Commons._

    "This is a very unnatural imitation of an orange, it being coloured
    with a coarse and very uneven coating of RED LEAD."


    "_Purchased in Middle Row, Holborn._

    "The confectionery in this parcel is made up into a variety of forms
    and devices, as hats, jugs, baskets, and dishes of fruit and
    vegetables. One of the hats is coloured yellow with CHROMATE OF LEAD,
    and has a green hatband round it, coloured with ARSENITE OF COPPER; a
    second hat is white, with a blue hatband, the pigment being
    PRUSSIAN-BLUE. The baskets are coloured yellow with CHROMATE OF LEAD.
    Into the colouring of the pears and peaches the usual non-metallic
    pigment, together with CHROMATE OF LEAD and MIDDLE BRUNSWICK GREEN,
    enter largely; while the carrots represented in a dish are coloured
    throughout with a RED OXIDE OF LEAD, and the tops with BRUNSWICK
    GREEN. This is one of the worst of all the samples of coloured sugar
    confectionery submitted to analysis, as it contains no less than four
    _deadly poisons_!"

The painted feast contains, then, among its highly injurious ingredients,
ferrocyanide of iron or Prussian-blue, Antwerp-blue, gamboge, and
ultramarine, and among its deadly poisons the three chrome yellows, red
lead, white lead, vermilion, the three Brunswick greens, and Scheele's
green or arsenite of copper. The wonder is that, considering we set such
poison-traps for children, ten times more enticing and quite as deadly as
those used to bane rats, that the greater number of youngsters who partake
of them are not at once despatched; and so undoubtedly they would be if
nurses were not cautious about these coloured parts, which have always
enjoyed a bad name under the general denomination of "trash and messes."
As it is, we are informed by Dr. Letheby that "no less than seventy cases
of poisoning have been traced to this source" within three years!

In France, Belgium, and Switzerland the colouring of confectionery with
poisonous pigments is prohibited, and the vendors are held responsible for
all accidents which may occur to persons from eating their sugar
confectionery. It is absolutely essential that some such prohibition
should be made in England. Arsenic, according to law, must be sold
coloured with soot, in order that its hue may prevent its being used by
mistake for other substances; how absurd it is that we should allow other
poisons, quite as virulent, to be mixed with the food of children and
adults, merely for the sake of the colour! All kinds of sugar-plums,
comfits, and "kisses," in addition to being often adulterated with large
quantities of plaster of Paris, are always open to the suspicion of being
poisoned. Necessity cannot be urged for the continuance of this wicked
practice, as there are plenty of vegetable pigments which, if not quite as
vivid as the acrid mineral ones, are sufficiently so to please the eye. Of
late years a peculiar lozenge has been introduced, in which the flavour of
certain fruits is singularly imitated. Thus we have essence of jargonel
drops, essence of pine-apple drops, and many others of a most delicate
taste. They really are so delicious that we scarcely like to create a
prejudice against them; but the truth is great, and must prevail: all
these delicate essences are made from a preparation of æther and rancid
cheese and butter.

The manufacturer, perhaps unaware of the cumulative action of many of his
chemicals, thinks that the small quantity can do no harm. We have seen, in
the matter of preserved fruits and sugar confectionery, how fallacious is
that idea. But the practice of adulteration often leads to lamentable
results of the same nature, which are quite unintentional on the part of
their perpetrators, and which occur in the most roundabout manner. An
instance of this is related by Accum, which goes directly to the point. A
gentleman, perceiving that an attack of colic always supervened upon
taking toasted Gloucestershire cheese at an inn at which he was in the
habit of stopping, and having also noticed that a kitten which had
partaken of its rind was rendered violently sick, had the food analyzed,
when it was found that lead was present in it in poisonous quantities.
Following up his inquiries, he ascertained that the maker of the cheese,
not finding his annatto sufficiently deep in colour, had resorted to the
expedient of colouring the commodity with vermilion. This mixture,
although pernicious and discreditable, was not absolutely poisonous, and
certainly could not account for the disastrous effects of the food on the
human system. Trying back still further, however, it was at last found
that the druggist who sold the vermilion had mixed with it a portion of
_red lead_, imagining that the pigment was only required for house paint.
"Thus," as Accum remarks, "the druggist sold his vermilion, in a regular
way of trade, adulterated with red lead, to increase his profit, without
any suspicion of the use to which it would be applied; and the purchaser
who adulterated the annatto, presuming that the vermilion was genuine, had
no hesitation in heightening the colour of his annatto with so harmless an
adjunct. Thus, through the diversified and circulatory operations of
commerce, a portion of deadly poison may find admission into the
necessaries of life in a way that can attach no criminality to the parties
through whose hands it has successively passed." The curious aspect of
this circuitous kind of poisoning is, that it occurs through the belief of
each adulterating rogue in the honesty of his neighbour.

If we could possibly eliminate, from the mass of human disease, that
occasioned by the constant use of deleterious food, we should find that it
amounted to a very considerable percentage on the whole, and that one of
the best friends of the doctor would prove to be the adulterator. But even
our refuge fails us in our hour of need; the tools of the medical man,
like those of the sappers and miners before Sebastopol, often turn out to
be worthless. Drugs and medical comforts are perhaps adulterated as
extensively as any other article. To mention only a few familiar and
household medicines for instance: Epsom salts are adulterated with
sulphate of soda; carbonate of soda with sulphate of soda--a very
injurious substitute. Mercury is sometimes falsified with lead, tin, and
bismuth; gentian with the poisonous drugs aconite and belladonna; rhubarb
with turmeric and gamboge; cantharides with black pepper; and cod-liver
and castor-oils with common and inferior oils; whilst opium, one of the
sheet-anchors of the physician, is adulterated to the greatest extent in a
dozen different ways. Medical comforts are equally uncertain. Thus
potato-flour forms full half of the so-called arrowroots of commerce;
sago-meal is another very common ingredient in this nourishing substance.
Out of fifty samples of so-styled arrowroot, Dr. Hassall found twenty-two
adulterated, many of them consisting _entirely_ of potato-flour and
sago-meal. One half of the common oatmeals to be met with are adulterated
with barley-meal, a much less nutritious substance--an important fact,
which boards of guardians should be acquainted with. Honey is
sophisticated with flour-starch and sugar-starch. And lastly, we wish to
say something important to mothers. Put no faith in the hundred and one
preparations of farinaceous food for infants which are paraded under so
many attractive titles. They are all composed of wheat-flour,
potato-flour, sago, &c.,--very familiar ingredients, which would not take
with anxious parents unless christened with extraordinary names, for which
their compounders demand an extraordinary charge. To invalids we would
also say, place no reliance on the Revalentas and Ervalentas advertised
through the country as cures for all imaginary diseases. They consist
almost entirely of lentil-powder, barley-flour, &c., which are charged
cent. per cent. above their real value.

Of all the articles we have touched upon, not one is so important as
water. It mixes more or less with all our solid food, and forms
nine-tenths of all our drinks. Man himself, as a sanitary writer has
observed, is in great part made up of this element, and if you were to put
him under a press you would squeeze out of him 8-1/2 pailfuls. That it
should be furnished pure to the consumer is of the first importance in a
sanitary and economic point of view. We are afraid, however, that but
feeble attempts have been made to secure this advantage to the metropolis.
At present London, with its two and a half millions of population, is
mainly supplied by nine water companies, six of which derive their supply
from the Thames, one from the New River, one from the Ravensbourne, and a
third from ponds and wells. Besides this supply, which ramifies like a
network over the whole metropolis, we find dotted about both public and
private wells of various qualities. We do not intend to follow Dr. Hassall
into his microscopic representations of the organic matter, vegetable and
animal, by which the customers of one company can compare the water served
to them with that dealt out to others, and thus at a glance assure
themselves that they have not more than their share of many-legged,
countless-jointed, hideous animalculæ, which look formidable enough to
frighten one from ever touching a drop of London water, but shall content
ourselves with giving the general characteristics of the whole of them.
With one exception they were all of a hardness ranging from 11 to 18
degrees. This hardness depends upon the earthy salts present, such as
sulphates and bicarbonates of lime and magnesia. They were also to some
extent saline, as all the salt used in the metropolis ultimately finds its
way into the Thames, or great sewer-stream. Not long ago two, at least, of
these six Thames water companies procured their supply within a short
distance of the mouths of great drains, and all of them resorted to the
river at different points below Battersea, or that portion of it which
receives the drainage of the metropolis, and is consequently crowded with
animal and vegetable matter, both living and dead, and thick with the mud
stirred up by the passage to and fro of the steamers. The violent outcry
made, however, by the Board of Health, caused an Act to be passed by
parliament against the supply of the sewage rates, and now all the
companies taking their supplies from the Thames, are compelled to go at
least as high as Kingston, and to submit them to a process of filtration;
but even at this point the river is in some degree sewage-tainted, and
the chemically-combined portion of baser matter cannot be removed by any

The impurities of the Thames are not all we have to deal with--its
hardness must cost the Londoners hundreds of thousands a year in the
article of soap alone. The action upon lead is also marked; hence we find
poisonous carbonates of that metal held in solution. Plumbers are well
aware of this fact, and frequently meet with leaden cisterns deeply
corroded. This corrosion may arise from either chemical or voltaic action.
The junction of lead and solder, or iron, immersed in water impregnated
with salts or acid of any kind, will cause erosion of the metal. A
familiar instance of this is seen in the rapid manner in which iron
railings rust away just where they are socketed in the stonework with
lead. The presence of a piece of mortar on the lead of a cistern may even
set up this action, and result in giving a whole family the colic.

The pumps of the metropolis are liable to even more contamination than
river-water, inasmuch as the soil surrounding them is saturated with the
sewage of innumerable cesspools, and with that arising from the leakage of
imperfect drains. Medical men entertained the opinion that the terrible
outbreak of cholera in Broad Street, Golden Square, in 1854, arose from
the fact that the people in the neighbourhood were in the habit of
visiting a public pump which was proved to be foul with drain-water, and
the handle of which was taken off, to prevent further mischief. Some of
these public pumps appear to yield excellent water--cold, clear, and
palatable; but the presence of these qualities by no means proves that
they are pure. The bright sparkling icy water issuing from the famous
Aldgate pump, according to Mr. Simon, the city officer of health, owes its
most prized qualities to the nitrates which have filtered into the well
from the decaying animal matter in an adjoining churchyard.

The porter and stout of the metropolis have long been famous. The virtues
of the latter drink are celebrated all over the world; and a royal duke,
ascribed the great mortality among the guards in the East to the want of
their favourite beverage. No doubt the pure liquor, as it comes from the
great brewers, is wholesome and strengthening; but it no sooner gets into
the possession of the publicans than, in a great majority of cases, the
article is made up. A stranger would naturally suppose that the foaming
tankard of Meux's entire which he quaffs at the "Marquis of Granby" has an
identical flavour with that at the "Blue Boar," where the same brewer's
name shines resplendent on the house-front. Not a bit of it: one shall be
smooth, pleasantly bitter, slightly acid, and beaded with a fine and
persistent froth; the other, bitter with the bitterness of soot, salt,
clammy, sweet, and frothing with a coarse and evanescent froth. The body
of the liquor is undoubtedly the same, but the variations are all supplied
by the publicans and sinners. We do not make _émeutes_, as they are
continually doing in Bavaria, on account of our beer; but we have strong
feelings on a matter of such national importance; and the wicked ways of
brewers and publicans have been made, over and over again, the subject of
parliamentary inquiry. The reports of various committees prove that, in
times past, porter and stout were doctored in the most ingenious manner,
and so universally and unreservedly, that a trade sprang up termed
brewers' druggists, whose whole business it was to supply to the
manufacturers and retailers of the national beverage, ingredients for its
adulteration; nay, to such an extent did the taste for falsifying beer and
porter extend, that one genius, hight Jackson, wrote a hand-book to show
the brewers how to make Beer _without any Malt or Hops at all_! Accum has
preserved, in his now antique pages, some of the recipes in vogue in his
day. The boldness with which our fathers went to work is amusing. For
instance, Mr. Child, in his "Practical Treatise on Brewing," after having
made his non-professional reader aghast by mentioning a score of
pernicious articles to be used in beer, remarks, in the mildest possible

    "That, however much they may surprise--however pernicious or
    disagreeable they may appear, he has always found them requisite in
    the brewing of porter, and he thinks they must invariably be used by
    those who wish to continue the taste, flavour, and effervescence of
    the beer. And, though several acts of Parliament have been passed to
    prevent porter brewers from using many of them, yet the author can
    affirm, from experience, he could never produce the present flavoured
    porter without them. _The intoxicating qualities of porter are to be
    ascribed to the various drugs intermixed with it._ It is evident some
    porter is more heady than other, and it arises from the greater or
    less quantity of stupefying ingredients. Malt, to produce
    intoxication, must be used in such large quantities as would very much
    diminish, if not totally exclude, the brewer's profit."

It is clear from this extract that Mr. Child considered the end of all
successful brewing was to make people dead-drunk at the cheapest possible
rate, regardless of consequences. Among the ingredients that Mr. Morris,
another instructor in the art of brewing, tells us are requisite to
produce a popular article, are--cocculus indicus and beans, as
intoxicators; calamus aromaticus, as a substitute for hops; quassia, as a
bitter; coriander-seeds to give flavour; capsicums, carraway-seeds,
ginger, and grains of paradise, to give warmth; whilst oyster-shells are
recommended to afford a touch of youth to old beer, and alum to give a
"smack of age" to new; and when it is desired to bring it more rapidly
"forward," the presiding Hecate is told to drop sulphuric acid into her
brew; by this means an imitation of the age of eighteen months was given
in a few instants. Even the "fine cauliflower head," which is held to be
the sign of excellence in stout, was--and, for all we know, still
is--artificially made by mixing with the article a detestable compound
called "beer-headings," composed of common green vitriol, alum, and salt,
and sometimes by the simple addition of salts of steel. That these
articles were commonly employed we have the evidence of the Excise
Department, which published a long list of such ingredients seized by them
on the premises of brewers and brewers' druggists.[6] Many of these
glaring adulterations are probably no longer in general use, although,
from the evidence given before a recent committee of the House of
Commons, it is believed that sulphuric acid, salt of steel, sulphate of
iron, and cocculus indicus are still resorted to by the smaller brewers,
especially those living in the country--a belief very much strengthened by
the very odd taste we sometimes find in ales and porters, and which is
certainly not derived from malt and hops. The common method of
adulterating the national liquor is by mixing water with it. This is done
almost universally by the publican, and to a very extraordinary extent. A
comparison between the per-centage of alcohol to be found in a given
number of samples of porter and stout, procured from what is termed
brewers' taps, or agents, with that existing in a similar number of
samples purchased of publicans, proves this fact in a very convincing
manner. Dr. Hassall informs us that, with regard to the stouts,--

    "The alcohol--of specific gravity 796, temperature 60°
    Fahr.--contained in the former samples ranged from 7·15 per cent. the
    highest, to 4·53 the lowest; whereas that of the stouts procured from
    publicans varied, with one exception, from 4·87 per cent. to 3·25 per

The same difference of strength also existed between the various samples
of porter procured from the two sources; the amount of alcohol in that
obtained from the taps varying from 4·51 per cent. to 2·42 per cent.,
whereas that purchased of publicans ranged from 3·97 per cent. to 1·81 per
cent. The mixture of water, of course, reduces the colour, to bring up
which both burnt sugar and molasses are extensively used; and, in order
that "the appetite may grow with what it feeds on," tobacco and salt are
copiously added by the publican. Beer, porter, and stout are also liable
to be contaminated by the presence of lead. The universal use of pumping
machines and the storing of the casks in the cellars, sometimes at a
considerable distance from the bar, necessitates the use of long leaden
pipes, in passing through which the liquid, if "stale" or sour, oxidates a
portion of the lead. This fact is so well known both to public and
publican, that the first pot or two drawn in the morning is generally set
aside, as, from having lain all night in the pipe, it is justly considered
injurious. The liberality of the barmaid in thus sacrificing a portion of
the liquor is more apparent than real. The reader has, perhaps, noticed
that most public-house counters are fitted up with metal tops, in which
gratings are inserted to drain off all the spilt liquor, drainings of
glasses, heel-taps of pots, &c.: down these gratings goes "the first
draught," with its dose of oxide of lead. The receptacle below, which
contains all this refuse together with that at the bottoms of barrels, the
publican either returns to the brewer, or empties it himself into
half-filled casks.

The public were very needlessly alarmed some years ago by a statement made
by M. Payen, a celebrated French chemist, that strychnine was being made
for England, where it was used in the manufacture of the bitter beer of
this country. This statement was copied by the _Medical Times_, and from
thence, finding its way to Printing-house Square, became generally
diffused, to the horror and discomfiture of pale-ale drinkers; and not
without reason, when it is remembered that one-sixth of a grain of this
poison has been known to prove fatal, and a very much smaller quantity
daily taken, to have the effect of inducing tetanic spasms, and of
otherwise seriously injuring the nervous system. We are happy to be able
to state that the lovers of Bass and Allsopp may quaff their tonic draught
in future without any fear of such terrible results. The bitterness of
pale ale has been found, on analysis, to be entirely due to the extract of
hops. Furthermore, this beverage, when selected from the stores of the
brewers or their agents, has universally proved to be perfectly pure. We
say, from the stores of the Burton brewers or their agents, because there
is no absolute certainty of procuring the article genuine from any other
source. The label on the bottle is no sure guarantee; for used bottles,
with their labels intact, are in many instances refilled by publicans with
an inferior article, and sold, of course, at the price of the real. We
have good reason to believe that this trick is very often practised in a
variety of instances, to the manifest injury of the public and brewers.

Wine is far too wide a subject to be treated here. The great mass of
ports at a cheap and moderate price are made up, it is well known, of
several kinds, and doctored according to cost. There is one compound,
however, which particularly claims our attention, "publicans' port." We
are all of us familiar with the announcement to be seen in the windows of
such tradesmen, "Fine old crusty port, 2_s._ 9_d._ a bottle;" and the
extraordinary thing is, that upon opening the sample we often find that
_it is_ crusted, and that the cork is deeply stained. How can they afford
to sell an article bearing the appearance of such age and quality at so
low a price? The answer is simple: wine, crust, and stained cork are
fabricated. There is a manufactory in London, where, by a chemical
process, they get up beeswing to perfection, and deposit it in the bottles
so as exactly to imitate the natural crust; here corks are also stained to
assume any age that is required. The wine itself contains a very little
inferior port, the rest being composed of cheap red French wine, brandy,
and logwood as a colouring matter, if required. The port wine sold over
the bar at 3_d._ a glass--and we are assured that this article is making
its way in preference to gin in the low neighbourhoods, one gin palace, to
our knowledge, selling a butt a week over the counter--is an inferior
article even to this, and its taste is quite sufficient to prove that only
an infinitesimal portion of it ever came from Oporto.

London gin, under a hundred names, is notoriously a compound. Most people
flatter themselves that its peculiar flavour is due to the admixture of
sugar and juniper-berries alone. It is, however, a much more elaborate
concoction than the public imagine. Those accustomed to the unsweetened
West Country gin think the London article only fit to drink when raw, and
in many cases they are right; for the publican and inferior
spirit-dealers, like milkmen, are great customers of the pump. It appears
that some of the samples examined by the analyst contained only half as
much alcohol as was present in others; and as the gin of commerce is never
above proof, it follows that these specimens were scarcely as good as
"stiff" gin-and-water. So much for the pure spirit; now for the fancy
work or "flavourings." The quantity of sugar in the samples examined
ranged from 3 oz. 4 drms. 23 grains, to 13 oz. 4 drms.; two of them
contained oil of cinnamon, or, more probably, of cassia; seven contained
cayenne pepper, some of them in very large quantities; and most of the
samples contained combined sulphates; whilst there is good authority for
stating that sulphate of zinc, or white vitriol, is often used. The very
"beaded bubbles winking at the brim," which are considered to be a proof
of the strength of the article, are produced artificially. Mr. Mitchell,
in his "Handbook of Commerce," states that this is done by adding a
mixture compounded of alum, carbonate of potash, almond-oil, sulphuric
acid, and spirits of wine. "The earth hath bubbles as the water hath, and
these are of them." One would think that it would be to the interest of
the trade to keep their illicit practices "dark:" but the publican has his
"Handbook" to teach him how to adulterate spirit as well as beer. For
instance, in a little work on Brewing and Distilling, written by a Mr.
Shannon, the following recipe is given:--

    "_To reduce unsweetened Gin._

    A tun of fine gin                         252 gallons.
    Water                                      36    "
    Which added together makes                288    "
    _The doctor is now put on_, and
      it is further reduced with water         19    "
    Which gives                               307 gallons.

    "This done, let one pound of alum be just covered with water, and
    dissolved by boiling; _rummage_ the whole together, and pour in the
    alum, and the whole will be fine in a few days."

We wonder that Mr. Gough, the great temperance advocate, never armed
himself with one of these recipes, in order to convince people of the
noxious liquids they are invited to drink under the most inviting names.
In every quarter of the town we see gin-palaces seizing upon the corner
houses of the streets, just as scrofula seizes upon the joints of the
human frame, and through their ever-open doors streams of squalid wretches
are continually pouring in and out. Could they be informed that they enter
to gulp oil of vitriol, oil of turpentine, and sulphuric acid, among other
acrid and deleterious compounds--that the tap of the publican spouts
corroding fire, like that which leaped up from the wooden table at the
command of Mephistopheles, in Auerbach's cellar, they would feel inclined
to exclaim with Siebald to the fiend:--

  "What, sir, how dare you practise thus
  Your hocus-pocus upon us?"

Gin, it appears, is almost exclusively doctored in this highly deleterious
manner, although all spirits are open to sophistication, but especially
brandy, which, on account of its price, pays well for the trouble. Mr.
Shannon, deeply versed in the "art and mystery" of the trade of the
publican, informs us that brandy should be "made up" for "retail" by the
addition of 10 per cent. of flavoured raisin wine, a little of the
tincture of grains of paradise, cherry-laurel water, and spirit of
almond-cake: "add also 10 handfuls of oak sawdust, and give it
_complexion_ with burnt sugar."

If we can give the dram-drinker little comfort, we can at least reassure
the smoker. "Everybody says" that common cigars are made out of cabbages,
and tobacco has always been suspected of containing many adulterations.
These charges have been made, however, at random, and the result of
chemical analysis and examinations by the microscope has proved that this
article of daily consumption is remarkably pure. The carefully-searching
microscope of Dr. Hassall has not succeeded in finding any other than the
genuine leaf among forty samples of manufactured tobacco; neither were
there any sophistications discovered, with the exceptions of salt, sugar,
and water. An inquiry into the specimens of the rolled and twisted article
was equally consoling to the maker and chewer. Now and then, it is true,
the excise officers make seizures in the warehouses of the tobacco
manufacturers, of dock, rhubarb, coltsfoot, and other leaves, but to a
very insignificant extent, considering the value of the article and the
heavy duty upon it.

He who, like Byron, prefers the naked beauties of the leaf in the shape of
a cigar, will be equally gratified to hear that such a thing as
adulteration scarcely exists in this form of tobacco--at least, not when
purchased in the shops. Even if we descend to a penny "Pickwick," we find
nothing in it but the pure leaf. Out of fifty-seven samples examined, only
one was sophisticated, and that, apparently from its contents, by
accident. The only adulterated samples discovered at all, were exactly
where we might have expected to have found them, in the possession of a
hawker at Whitechapel. These, on examination, turned out to be made up of
two twisted wrappers or layers of thin paper, tinted of a bistre colour,
while the interior consisted entirely of hay, not a particle of tobacco
entering into their composition. The second example of a spurious cigar
was purchased at a review in Hyde Park. It consisted externally of
tobacco-leaf, but was made internally of hay. Our readers are familiar
enough with the fellows who vend these fraudulent articles, made to sell
and not to smoke; they are generally to be found at fairs and races, or
any crowded place in the open air, where they can escape speedily from
their victimized customers. There is a class of men who make a very good
livelihood in the metropolis by perambulating the streets and looking out
for ingenuous youths. Towards such they furtively approach, and, like the
tempter of old, whisper in their ear of forbidden fruit. The unwary are
constantly taken in by one of these serpents, in the shape of a sailor
straight from the docks, who intimates, in a hurried manner, that, if we
wanted any "smuggled cigars," he has just a box to sell cheap round the
corner. In general these worthies need not fear the exciseman, as the
article they have to sell does not come under the name of tobacco at all.

If, however, cigars are not open to the charge of being adulterated, they
are the subject of innumerable frauds, inasmuch as those of English
manufacture are passed off as foreign ones. Thus, the so-called Bengal
cheroots are _all_ home-made imitations of Chinsurah cheroots. In order to
pass them off as the genuine article they are sold in boxes, branded and
labelled in exact imitation of those sent from India. It may be asked why
such cigars, if made out of the tobacco-leaf, are not as good as those of
Eastern or Spanish manufacture. The real reason is, that the tobacco loses
much of its fine flavour and aroma by packing and keeping; otherwise the
English cigar would be equal to any other. The old impression that the
Manilla cheroot is impregnated with opium would not appear to be correct,
from the investigations of Dr. Hassall, who has failed to discover that
narcotic in any of the specimens which he tested for it.

We have to mention one preparation of tobacco of which we cannot speak
quite so favourably as of the others. Snuff is, we are sorry to say,
vilely adulterated, and some kinds poisonously. The law allows the use of
salt and water and lime-water in its manufacture--a privilege which the
snuff-makers take advantage of to increase its weight, all moist snuffs
averaging full twenty-five per cent. of water. If these were the only
adulterations to the titillating powder, no harm would be done; but we
have positive evidence afforded us in the report of the "Lancet"
Commission, that, in addition to ferruginous earths, such as red and
yellow ochre, no less than three poisonous preparations are also
introduced into it--chromate of lead, red-lead, and bichromate of potash!
When a man taps his snuff-box and takes out a pinch, he little dreams that
he is introducing an enemy into his system, which in the long-run might
master his nerves and produce paralysis; nevertheless it is an undoubted
fact. Many persons have been deprived of the use of their limbs through a
persistence in taking snuff adulterated with lead in less proportions than
that found in the samples examined by Dr. Hassall. Bi-chromate of potash
is a still more deadly poison. M. Duchâtel of Paris found that dogs were
destroyed by doses of from one twenty-fifth of a grain to one
five-hundredth of a grain. We have heard of inveterate snuffers keeping
this comfort open in their waistcoat pockets, and helping themselves by
fingers'-full at a time; if their snuff contained anything like the
proportion of deleterious ingredients now to be found in the same article,
"dropped hands" and colic would soon have cured them of this dirty and
disagreeable habit.

It is not our purpose to follow further the trail which Accum and others,
and more lately and particularly Dr. Hassall, have discovered for us.
Before closing the pages of the latter gentleman's report, however, from
which we have drawn so largely, we cannot avoid stating that the
community is under the greatest obligation to both himself and the editor
of the _Lancet_--to the one for the energy with which he pursued his
subject, and to the other for his singular boldness in rendering himself
liable for the many actions which the publication of the names of
evil-doers was likely to bring upon his journal, a liability which Dr.
Hassall has since taken upon himself by the reprint of the report under
his own name. This report is, in fact, as far as it goes, a handbook to
the honest and fraudulent food-dealers in the metropolis; and every man
who values wholesome aliment, and thinks it a duty to society to support
the honest tradesman in preference to the rogue, should procure it as a
valuable work of reference. We have not followed the author into
personalities, as no further purpose could be served by so doing; but we
have shown enough to convince the public that the grossest fraud reigns
throughout the British public commissariat. Like a set of monkeys, every
man's hand is seen in his neighbour's dish. The baker takes in the grocer,
the grocer defrauds the publican, the publican "does" the pickle
manufacturer, and the pickle-maker fleeces and poisons all the rest.[7]

As guardian of the revenue, the government is deeply interested in this
question, independently of the view it must take of its moral aspect, for
the excise is without doubt cheated to the extent of hundreds of thousands
a year by the same unlawful practices which demoralize a large portion of
the community, and defraud and deceive the remainder.


To furnish every possible link in the grand procession of organized life,
is the aim of the science of zoology. Its professors have explored the
wilds of Africa, and have penetrated far into the interior of South
America; have endured the last extremities of hunger and thirst to catch
some curious humming-bird; have been consumed by fevers to the very socket
of life, in order to pin an unknown beetle, or to procure some rare and
gorgeous-coloured fly. The passion for this science seems to have long
dwelt in the English race: our love of field-sports, and keen relish of
rural life, coupled with a habit of minute observation, have all had a
tendency to foster an acquaintance with the beasts of the field and the
fowls of the air, and scarcely a village but boasts of some follower of
White or Waterton. This taste we carry with us to our vast colonial
possessions, and to that chain of military posts whose morning guns echo
round the world. With such splendid opportunities for observing and
collecting animals, we have succeeded in gathering together a menagerie
which is by far the first in existence, and which includes typical forms
of most living things--from the chimpanzee, in whose face and structure we
trace the last step but one of the highest form of mammal, to the
zoophyte, which shakes hands with the vegetable world.

Ancient Rome, it is true, in her degenerate days, witnessed vaster
collections of animals, and saw hippopotami, ostriches, and giraffes,
together with the fiercer carnivora, turned by hundreds into the arena;
but how different the spirit with which they were collected! With the
debased and profligate Roman emperors the only object of these bloody
shows was to gratify the brutal appetite of their people for slaughter;
with us the intention is to display the varying wonders of creation.

Most of our readers in the full flush of summer have leaned over the
balustrade of the carnivora terrace. From this elevated situation the
whole plan of the south side of the grounds is exposed. To his right,
fringing a still pool whose translucent waters mirror them as they stand,
the spectator sees the collection of storks and cranes: more immediately
in front of him softly tread the llamas and alpacas--the beasts of burthen
of the New World: farther, again, we see the deer in their paddocks; and
beyond, the sedgy pools of the water-fowl, set in the midst of graceful
shrubberies which close the Gardens in from the landscape of the Regent's
Park. Passing over to the northern side of the terrace he sees the eagle
aviary, tenanted by its royal and solitary-looking occupants; the otters
swimming their merry round, and perchance the seal flapping beside his
pool; while the monkeys, with incredible rapidity and constant chatter,
swing and leap about their wire enclosure Immediately beneath him the
Polar bears pace to and fro, or, swaying their heads, walk backwards with
a firmness which a lord chamberlain might study with advantage; and close
at hand the long neck of the "ship of the desert" is seen sailing out from
the gateway of the pretty clock-house. That the dread monarch of the
forest and the other "great cats" are beneath his feet, he is made aware
by angry growls and the quivering sound of shaken iron bars, as the keeper
goes round with his daily beef-barrow. No one can help feeling a certain
sense of strangeness at seeing these creatures of all climes scattered
amid a flourishing garden--to witness beasts, ensanguined in tooth and
claw, impatiently pacing to and fro between banks of scarlet geraniums or
beds brilliant with the countless blooms of early dahlias--or, still more
oddly, to witness birds of prey which love to career in the storm
surrounded by monthly roses. Had it been possible to have given each class
of bird and animal its appropriate vegetation, it would doubtless have
been preferable; but such an arrangement was manifestly impossible.

Descending from this general survey, the long row of dens which run below
the terrace on either side are the first to attract the visitor's
attention. Before this terrace was constructed in 1840, the larger
carnivora were cooped up in what is now the reptile-house. The early dens
of the establishment form a good example of the difficulty Englishmen
experience in suiting themselves to altered circumstances. On the first
formation of the gardens the society seems to have taken for its model
some roving menagerie, as many of the houses of the beasts were nothing
better than caravans dismounted from their wheels, and the managers
encamped their collection in a fashion little more permanent than Wombwell
would have done upon a village green. It was speedily found that the
health of the felidæ suffered materially from their close confinement,
which did not even admit of the change of air experienced in the
travelling caravan. In fact, the lions, tigers, leopards, and pumas, did
not live on an average more than twenty-four months. To remedy this state
of things the terrace dens were constructed, and, rushing from one extreme
to the other, tropical animals were left exposed to the full rigour of
winter. The drifting rain fell upon their hair, and they were exposed in
cold, wet weather to a temperature which even man, who ranges from the
torrid zone to the arctic circle, could not resist unprotected. The
consequences were manifested in the increase of inflammatory lung
diseases, and it is now found necessary to protect the dens by matting and
artificial heat from the extreme cold and damp of the winter months. In
the summer the exposure suits them admirably, and it must be confessed
that the tigers look only too fat and comfortable. One of the most
interesting cages is that which contains a family party, consisting of the
mastiff with the lion and his mate. They were brought up together from
cub-hood, and agree to a marvel; though the dog would prove little more
than a mouthful for either of his noble-looking companions. Visitors
express a vast deal of sympathy for him, and fancy that the lion is only
saving him up, as the giant did Jack, for a future feast. But their
sympathy, we believe, is thrown away. "Lion" has always maintained the
ascendancy he assumed when a pup, and any rough handling on the part of
his huge playfellows is immediately resented by his flying at their noses.
Although the dog is allowed to come out of the den every morning, he shows
a great disinclination to leave his old friends. It is, however, thought
advisable to separate them at feeding-time. Both the lion and lioness are
of English birth, and it is singular that out of the great number that
have been born in the society's garden full fifty per cent. have come into
the world with cleft palates, and have perished in consequence of not
being able to suck. If the keepers were to fill their nostrils with tow,
we fancy they could accomplish this act, as well at least as children who
are suffering from cold in the head. The male affords us an opportunity of
showing the difference between the African variety to which he belongs and
the East Indian specimen at the other end of the terrace. Our young Cape
friend has a fine mane, and a tail but slightly bushed at the top, which
droops towards the ground. The full-grown animal from Goojerat, is, on the
contrary, comparatively maneless, and his tail takes a short curl upwards
at the end. The caudal extremity of both is furnished with a rudimentary
claw. This little appendage was supposed by the ancients to be
instrumental in lashing the lion into fury, and Mr. Gordon Cumming informs
us that the natives of South Africa believe it to be the residence of an
evil spirit which never evacuates its post until death overtakes the beast
and gives it notice to quit. The Goojerat or maneless lion is supposed to
be the original of the heraldic beast we regard with such respect as a
national emblem, but which foreigners maintain is nothing better than a

But why do we coop these noble animals in such nutshells of cages? What a
miserable sight to see them pace backwards and forwards in their box-like
dens! Why should they, of all the beasts of the forest, be condemned to
such imprisonment? The bear has his pole, the deer his paddock, the otter
his pool, where at least they have enough liberty to keep them in health;
but we stall our lions and tigers as we would oxen, till they grow
lethargic, fat, and puffy, like city aldermen. With half an acre of
enclosed ground, strewn with sand, we might see the king of beasts pace
freely, as in his Libyan fastness, and with twenty feet of artificial
rock, might witness the tiger's bound. Such an arrangement would, we are
convinced, attract thousands to the gardens, and restore to the larger
carnivora that place among the beasts from which they have here been so
unfairly degraded. We commend this idea to the able secretary to the
society, who has shown, by his system of "starring," how alive he is to
the fact that it is to the sixpenny and shilling visitors who flock to the
gardens by tens of thousands on holidays that he must look to support the
wise and liberal expenditure he has lately adopted.

On the other side of the terrace, in addition to the leopards and hyænas,
is to be found a splendid collection of bears, from the sharp-muzzled
sun-bear (who robs a beehive in a hollow tree as artistically as a London
thief cuts a purse) to the enormous Russian Bruin, the largest perhaps
ever exhibited. "Prince Menschikoff,"[8] as he is called by the keepers,
grew into exceeding good condition in the gardens at Hull, where it
appears he chiefly dieted upon his brethren, the cannibal having consumed
no less than five bears; and they appear to have had the same effect upon
him as cod-liver oil upon a human invalid. His neighbours, the white Polar
bears, contrast with him strangely in physiognomy and form; their heads,
sharp as polecats', seem fashioned, like cutwaters, to enable them to make
their way in the sea; and if they would lift their huge paws, we should
see that they were clothed almost entirely with hair, to aid them in
securing a firm footing on the ice. The largest of these beasts managed to
get out of his inclosure before the top of it was barred in; but he was
peaceably led back again. Indeed, even the wildest of the beasts, after a
little confinement, seem so frightened at recovering their liberty, that
they easily allow themselves to be recaptured.

In one year the Felidæ alone consumed beef, mutton, and horseflesh to the
value of £1,367. 19_s._ 5_d._ This sum is entirely irrespective of the
fish, snakes, frogs, and other "small deer" given to the birds and
inferior carnivora. They all live here like gentlemen, emancipated from
the drudgery of finding their daily food. They have their slaughter-houses
close at hand in the gardens, where sheep, oxen, and horses are weekly
killed expressly for them. Some of them will only eat cooked meat. Soon
after the establishment of the gardens experiments were made as to the
best manner of feeding them, which proved that while they gained flesh and
continued active upon one full meal a day, they lost weight and became
drowsy on two half-meals. In the endeavour to follow nature still closer,
they were dieted more sparely, and even fasted at certain seasons. This
treatment, however, resulted in a catastrophe--a female leopard and puma
killing and eating their companions: a strong hint for fuller rations,
which was not neglected.

Let us now cross over from the cages of the king of beasts to the aviary
of the king of birds. The collection of eagles, vultures, and condors,
numbers upwards of twenty species, among which we recognized "the oldest
inhabitant" of the Gardens--the vulture presented to the society by Mr.
Brooks, the surgeon, more than thirty years ago. Notwithstanding his age,
he looks one of the finest birds in the collection. We question, however,
if the last new-comer of the same species will not "put his bill out,"
arriving as he does from a distant shore to which thousands of anxious
hearts have turned. We allude to the vulture lately sent from the Crimea.
He was caught near the monastery of Saint George, and the proximity of his
retreat to many a battle-field suggests reflections too painful to dwell
upon. The prominent impression produced in glancing at this aviary is the
perfect isolation which each bird maintains as he crowns the topmost
pinnacle of the heap of rocks reared in the centre of his den, where he
perches, motionless as a stone. There seems to be no recognition of
fellow-prisoners--no interchange of either blows or courtesies between the
iron netting. Each seems an enduring captive that will not be comforted
or won over to the ways of men. Now and then unsheathing his piercing eye,
we perceive the huge wings spread, and perchance remembering the callow
eaglets in some Alpine eyrie, the bird soars upwards for a moment, beats
his pinions against the netting, and falls to the earth again with the
ignominious flop of a Christmas turkey. It is impossible to contemplate
these birds without pity, not unmixed with pain. Who can recognize, in the
motionless bunch of feathers before us, Audubon's magnificent description
of the Bald Eagle as he swoops upon his prey?--

    "The next moment the wild trumpet-like sound of a yet distant but
    approaching swan is heard.... Now is the moment to witness a display
    of the eagle's powers. He glides through the air like a falling star,
    and like a flash of lightning comes upon the timorous quarry, which
    now, in agony and despair, seeks, by various manoeuvres, to elude the
    grasp of his cruel talons. It mounts, doubles, and willingly would
    plunge into the stream were it not prevented by the eagle, which, long
    possessed of the knowledge that by such a stratagem the swan might
    escape him, forces it to remain in the air by attempting to strike it
    with its talons from beneath. The hope of escape is soon given up by
    the swan. It has already become much weakened, and its strength fails
    at the sight of the courage and swiftness of its antagonist. Its last
    gasp is about to escape, when the ferocious eagle strikes with his
    talons the under side of his wing, and with unresisted power forces
    the bird to fall in a slanting direction upon the nearest shore."

This is the romance of the noble bird's mode of obtaining food--here, as
he marches off with a dead rat in his claw, or a piece of raw beef, we
behold its prose. But however unpoetical this treatment, it cannot be said
to disagree with him, as fine plumage and good condition prove. Passing on
our way to the monkey-house, the merry otters are seen playing
"follow-my-leader" round their rock-house, now plunging headlong in search
of the flat-fish which shines at the bottom of the water--now bringing it
to shore, and crushing flesh, vertebræ, and all.

The admirably-arranged but vilely-ventilated monkey-house is always a
great source of attraction. The mixture of fun and solemnity, the odd
attitudes and tricks, and the human expression of their countenances, all
tend to attract, and at the same time to repel. Mr. Rogers used to say,
that visiting them was like going to see one's poor relations; and
wondrous shabby old fellows some of them appear. We have only to look into
their faces for a moment to see that they differ from each other as much
as the faces of mankind. There is a large, long-haired, black-faced
rascal, who looks as murderous as a Malay; a little way off we see another
with great bushy whiskers and shaggy eyebrows (the mona), the very picture
of a successful horse-dealer; a third, with his long nose and keen eye,
has all the air of a crafty old lawyer. The contemplation of them brings
involuntarily to the mind the doctrine of the transmigration of souls. The
apes and baboons are indeed purely brutal, and only excite disgust:
towards the latter the whole company of smaller monkeys express the utmost
hatred--as may be seen when the keeper by way of fun takes one of them out
of his cage and walks him down the room. The whole population rush to the
front of their cages, and hoot, growl, and chatter at him as only Eastern
County shareholders can do when their chairman takes his seat. The
vivacious little capuchin monkeys are evidently the favourites, and bag
most of the nuts; the brown capuchin appears to be particularly knowing,
as he keeps a big pebble at hand, and when he finds that his teeth are not
equal to the task, he taps the nut with the stone with just sufficient
force to break the shell without bruising the kernel. We have often seen
this little fellow take a pinch of snuff, and assiduously rub his own and
his companion's skin with it, with a full knowledge, no doubt, of the old
recipe for killing fleas. He will also make use of an onion for a similar
purpose. Among the other quadrumana in this house we find the lemurs,
which look more like long-legged weasels than monkeys, and the
bright-faced little marmosets, who cluster inquiringly to the front of
their cage looking in their cap-shaped headdress of fur like so many
gossips quizzing you over the window-blinds.

At the present moment there is no specimen of either the uran or
chimpanzee in the Gardens, but there have been at least half a dozen
located here within the last ten years, one of which, "Jenny," maintained
her health for five years. The damp, cold air of the Gardens at last
brought on consumption; and the public must remember the poor, wheezing,
dying brute, with a plaster on her chest and blankets around her, the very
picture of a moribund old man. The only specimen now in Europe is in the
Jardin des Plantes, at Paris. This animal, one of the finest ever seen, is
in excellent health, and promises to maintain it in the bright air of La
Belle France. An accomplished naturalist has kindly furnished us with the
following particulars of this brute, which clearly indicate that he is a
very Dr. Busby among his fellows:--

    "He passed through London on his way to Paris, having landed at
    Plymouth. There were then two female Chims resident in the Gardens in
    the Regent's Park, and the French Chim was allowed to lodge in their
    hotel for a couple of nights. On his appearance both of these young
    ladies uttered cries of recognition, which however evinced more fear
    than anything else. Chim was put into a separate compartment, or room
    with a double grille, to prevent the probable injuries which
    discordant apes will inflict on each other. He had scarcely felt the
    floor under his feet when he began to pay attention to his
    countrywomen thus suddenly and unexpectedly found. Their fear and
    surprise gradually subsided, and they stood watching him attentively,
    when he broke out into a characteristic _pas seul_, which he kept up
    for a considerable time, uttering cries scarcely more hideous than
    seem the notes of a Chinese singer, and not far out of unison with his
    loudly-beating feet. The owner, who was present, said that he was
    imitating a dance of the negroes, which the animal had often seen
    while resident in his house in Africa. The animal was upwards of a
    year and a half old, and had spent one year of his life in this
    gentleman's house. The Chim maidens gradually relaxed their reserve as
    the vivacity of the dance increased, until at last, when it was over,
    each stealthily put a hand through the grille and welcomed their
    friend and brother to their home in a far land. As the weather was
    severe--it was early in December--it is possible that their talk was
    of their native palm-groves and their never-ending summer. Chim
    thenceforth made himself as agreeable as possible, and when the time
    for his departure came, the maidens exhibited the liveliest regret,
    short of tears, at losing him. At Paris he increased rapidly in
    stature and intelligence. The climate, diet (he drinks his pint of
    Bordeaux daily), and lively society of the French seem to be more
    congenial to Chim's physique than our melancholy London. He makes
    acquaintance not only with the staff but with the _habitués_ of the
    Garden. The last time I saw him (May, 1854) he came out to taste the
    morning air in the large circular enclosure in front of the Palais des
    Singes, which was built for "our poor relations" by M. Thiers. Here
    Chim began his day by a leisurely promenade, casting pleased and
    thankful glances towards the sun, the beautiful sun of early summer.
    He had three satellites, coati-mundis, either by chance or to amuse
    him, and while making all manner of eyes at a young lady who supplies
    the Singerie with pastry and cakes, one of the coati-mundis came up
    stealthily behind and dealt him a small but malicious bite. Chim
    looked round with astonishment at this audacious outrage on his
    person, put his hand haughtily upon the wound, but without losing his
    temper in the least. He walked deliberately to the other side of the
    circle, and fetched a cane which he had dropped there in his
    promenade. He returned with majestic wrath upon his brow, mingled, I
    thought, with contempt; and, taking Coati by the tail, commenced
    punishment with his cane, administering such blows as his victim could
    bear without permanent injury, and applied with equal justice to the
    ribs on either side, in a direction always parallel to the spine.
    When he thought enough had been done, he disposed of Coati without
    moving a muscle of his countenance, by a left-handed jerk, which threw
    the delinquent high in air, head over heels. He came down a sadder and
    a better coati, and retired with shame and fear to an outer corner.
    Having executed this act of justice, Chim betook him to a tree. A
    large baboon, who had in the mean time made his appearance in the
    circle, thought this was a good opportunity of doing a civil thing,
    and accordingly mounted the tree and sat down smilingly, as baboons
    smile, upon the next fork. Chim slowly turned his head at this attempt
    at familiarity, measured the distance, raised his hind foot, and, as
    composedly as he had caned the coati, kicked the big baboon off his
    perch into the arena below. This abasement seemed to do the baboon
    good, for he also retired like the coati, and took up his station on
    the other side. To what perfection of manners and development of
    thought the last year and a half may have brought him I can scarcely
    guess; but one day doubtless some one will say of him, as an Oriental
    prince once said to me, after looking at the uran 'Peter,'--'Does he
    speak English yet?'"

The monkeys before they were transferred to this house suffered a great
mortality, and indeed, on taking possession of their new apartment, the
keepers used to remove the dead by the barrowful in the morning. This
extreme mortality was produced by want of ventilation, and a system of
heating which burnt the air and induced inflammation of the lungs. Dr.
Marshall Hall and Dr. Arnott, upon being consulted, directed the
substitution of an open stove, when the deaths ceased.

As we pass towards the small building once used as the parrot-house, but
now dedicated to the smaller felidæ, we go by the seal-pond, and see that
strange beast which resembles a Danish carriage-dog with his legs
amputated. He is an epicure as regards his regular meals, and turns up his
nose at any fish less _recherché_ than whiting, of which expensive
delicacy he consumes ten pounds weight daily. Meanwhile, however, he is "a
snapper-up of unconsidered trifles," and we see him, as the visitors
circulate round his enclosure, flop, flop, around the margin of his pond,
keeping a sharp look-out above the railings for stray favours. The house
of the smaller carnivora is generally overlooked, but it is worthy of a
visit, if only to see the beautiful clouded tigers as they are misnamed,
for they more resemble hunting leopards both in size and skin-markings.
These elegant creatures are quite tame, and permit the utmost
familiarities of their keeper; but their neighbour, the caracal or lynx,
never seems tired of making the most ferocious rushes at the bars,
accompanied by a vindictive and incessant spitting, which impresses us
with the idea that it possesses the very quintessence of catlike nature.
There is one little cage in this apartment which is deserving of especial
inspection--that containing a specimen of the indigenous black rat, which,
according to Mr. Waterton, was entirely eaten out of the country by the
grey rats of Hanover, which came over in the same ship with _Dutch
William_, and which are, according to that hearty naturalist, the very
emblems of "Protestant rapacity." Those who have read his delightful
essays know well with what perseverance the author hunts the grey rodent
through every chapter of his book.

If we now retrace our steps along the border of the plantation, which
forms a deep green background for countless dahlias, and moreover screens
the garden from the biting east, we shall, by turning to the right hand,
come upon the Aquarium, the latest and most attractive sight in the
gardens. How cool and delicious! Around us we perceive slices of the deep
sea-bed and the rapid river. Were we mermen we could not examine more at
ease the rich pavement of the ocean set with strange and living flowers.
In the midst of the green walls of water which surround us, mimic caves,
waving with sea-weed and other marine plants, afford shelter and
lurking-holes for bright fish which stare and dart, or for shambling
crustaceæ which creep over the pebbly bottom. Against the dark verdure of
these submerged rocks, the sea-anemone rears its orange base tipped with
flower-like fans, or hangs its snake-like tentacles, writhing as the
head-dress of Medusa. But we must look narrowly into each nook and under
every stone, if we wish to realize the amount of animal life, which here
puts on such strange vegetable forms. Let us consider well for a few
minutes one of the tanks running down the middle of the building. For
months all the minute animal and vegetable life has been multiplying and
decaying, and yet the water remains pure and bright. The explanation of
this phenomenon affords one of the most beautiful examples of the manner
in which nature on a grand scale holds the balance true between her
powers. If we were to put these little bright-eyed fish alive into the
crystal tank, in a week's time they would die, because they would have
withdrawn all the oxygen it originally contained, and contaminated it with
the poisonous carbonic acid gas exhaled from their lungs. To prevent this,
the philosopher hangs these mimic caves with verdant seaweed, and plants
the bottom with graceful marine grasses. If the spectator looks narrowly
at the latter, he finds them fringed with bright silver bells: these bells
contain oxygen, which the plants have eliminated from their tissues under
the action of light, having previously consumed the carbonic acid gas
thrown out by the fishes and zoophytes. Thus plants and animals are
indispensable to the preservation of each other's life. But even now we
have not told the entire causes which produce the crystal clearness of the
water. The vegetable element grows too fast, and if left to itself the
sides of the tank would be covered with a confervoid growth, which would
speedily obscure its inmates from our view.

We want scavengers to clear away the superfluous vegetation, and we find
them in the periwinkles which we see attached by their foot-stalk to the
glass. These little mollusca do their work well: Mr. Gosse, who has
watched them feeding with a pocket-glass, perceived that their saw-like
tongues moved backwards and forwards with a crescentic motion, and thus,
as the animal advances, he leaves a slight swathe-like mark upon the
glass, as the mower does upon the field. But it is clear that there are
not enough labourers in the tank we are inspecting to accomplish their
task, as the lobster, who comes straggling over the stones in such an
ungainly manner, is more like a moving salad than any living thing, so
thickly are back, tail, feelers, and claws, infested with a dense
vegetable growth. A few more black mowers are imperatively called for. The
fish, the weed, and the mollusc having secured to us a clear view of the
inhabitants of the tank, let us inspect them one by one. Here we see the
parasitic anemone. Like the old man of the sea, it fixes itself upon some
poor Sinbad in the shape of a whelk, and rides about at its ease in search
of food. Another interesting variety of this zoophyte is the plumose
sea-anemone, a more stay-at-home animal, which generally fixes itself upon
a flat rock or an oyster-shell, and waits for the food to come to it, as
your London housewife expects the butcher and baker to call in the

The pure white body of the neighbouring actinia renders it more
observable. Its tentacles, displayed in plumes over the central mouth,
which is marked with yellow, give it the exact appearance of a
chrysanthemum, and should be much in favour with the mermaids to adorn
their hair. A still more extraordinary creature is the _Tabella
ventilabrum_. The tube of this strange animal is perfectly straight, and
its large brown silk-like radiating fans, whilst in search of food,
revolve just as the old-fashioned whirling ventilators did in our windows.
The instant this fan is touched it is retracted into the tube, the ends
just appearing outside, and giving it the appearance of a camel's-hair

We shall not attempt to describe the different species of zoophytes and
annelides, amounting to hundreds--indeed, they are not all familiar to
scientific men. We have little more to say of the crustacea that go
scrambling about, yet it would be impossible to overlook that peripatetic
whelk-shell, which climbs about the stones with such marvellous activity.
On a narrower inspection we perceive that it moves by a foreign agency.
Those sprawling legs protruding from its mouth discover the hermit crab,
which is obliged to dress its soft body in the first defensible armour it
can pick up. A deserted whelk or common spiral shell is its favourite
resort, but, like many bipeds, it has a love of changing its house; and
those who have narrowly watched its habits state that it will deliberately
turn over the empty shells upon the beach, and, after examining them
carefully with its claws, pop its body out of one habitation into another,
in order to obtain the best possible fit. But there are still stranger
facts connected with this intelligent little crustacean. We have before
observed that the parasitic sea-anemone invariably fixes itself when
possible upon this movable house, perfectly regardless of the many bumps
and rubs which necessarily fall to its lot. Another warm friend, the
cloak-anemone, clings still closer, for it perfectly envelopes the lip of
the shell with its living mantle. Our hermit has still a third intimate
acquaintance, who sponges upon him for bed and board, in the shape of a
beautiful worm, _Nereis bilineata_, which stows itself behind the crab in
the attic of the whelk-shell, and, the moment its protector by his motions
indicates that he has procured food, glides between the two left-foot
jaws, and drags a portion of the morsel from his mouth, the crab appearing
to evince no more animosity at the seizure than the Quaker who suddenly
finds his spoons taken for church-rates. The interesting specimens we have
dwelt upon are confined to the sea-water tanks, which line the Aquarium on
the side opposite the door, and those which run down the centre of the
apartment. _Vis-à-vis_ are the fresh-water tanks, in which we may watch
the habits of British fishes. There is a noble pike lying as still as a
stone--a model sitter for the photographer who lately took his portrait.
The barbel, bream, dace, and gudgeon are seen going about their daily
duties as though they were at the bottom of the Thames, instead of
sandwiched between two panes of glass, and inspected on either side by
curious eyes. Those who go early in the morning will have a chance of
seeing the lampreys hanging like leeches from the glass by their circular
mouths, and breathing by the seven holes which run beside their pectoral
fins. The marine fish should also be studied; strange forms with
vicious-looking jaws, the dog-fish for example, which is a young fry as
yet, but which will grow a yard or two in length.

At the east end of the building the alligators' pool discovers here and
there a floating reptile's head, the outline of which reminds us of the
hippopotamus. In both cases the habit of resting in the water with the
head and body almost entirely submerged necessitates a raised form of the
nostril and eyesocket, in order to allow the animal to see and breathe. A
similar formation of the face is observable in the wart hog (in another
portion of the gardens), which wallows up to its eyes in slush and mire.
The alligators have the tank to themselves, with the exception of a
couple of turtles, which are too hard nuts for even them to crack.

The council has only established the aquarium a few years, and already it
is well stocked with specimens of British zoophytes and annelides, for the
most part dredged from the neighbourhood of Weymouth. If these are so
beautiful, what must be the wonders of the deep sea in tropical climates?
Who knows what strange things a bold adventurer might pick up who, like
Schiller's diver, would penetrate the horrid depths of the whirlpool, not
for the jewelled cup of the monarch, but for the hidden living treasures
nature has planted there? Doubtless, among the rusty anchors and
weed-clung ribs of long-lost armadas, there nestle gigantic zoophytes and
enormous starfish, which would make the fortune of the Gardens in a single
season. At all events, we hope to see the aquarium greatly extended, as it
will afford the means of studying a department of natural history of which
we have hitherto been almost wholly in the dark.

If we pursue our walk down the broad path which skirts the paddocks
enclosing the deer and llamas, we cannot help being struck with the fact
that the finest half of the gardens--that which is open to the setting
sun--is not yet built on, whilst the more exposed portion is
inconveniently crowded. The reason is, that the Commissioners of the Woods
and Forests will not allow any permanent buildings to be erected on these
parts, for what cause we cannot tell. We trust the prohibition will be
withdrawn, and that we shall see constructed here an enclosed
exercising-ground for the poor confined inhabitants of the terrace-dens.
At the northern extremity of the path we have been following we come upon
the paddock and pool dedicated to cranes and storks. What spectre birds
have we got among? See yonder, on the very edge of the pool, the gaunt
adjutant, his head muffled up in his shoulders, looking like some
traveller attempting to keep his nose warm in the east wind. They say
every man has his likeness among the lower animals, and we have seen
plenty of adjutants waiting on a winter's night for the last omnibus. What
an elegant gentleman seems the Stanley crane beside him! There is as much
difference between the two as between a young guardsman in full dress at
the opera and the night cabman huddled up in the multitudinous capes of
his great-coat. A third claimant for our admiration steps forward like a
dancing-master, now bending low, now with the aid of his wings lifting
himself on the light fantastic toe, now advancing, now poussetting, and
all the time calling attention to his grotesque but not altogether
inelegant attitudes by a peculiar cry. We defy the gravest spectator to
watch the beautiful crowned crane at his antics without laughing. But we
hear the lady beside us exclaiming, "Is it possible that the Maraboo
feathers which so often gracefully sway in obeisance before the queen,
were ever portions of such ugly birds as these?" Unlikely as it may seem,
it is verily from these dirty ill-favoured looking Maraboo storks that
this fashionable plumage is procured. Close by, sitting upon a stone, we
see the melancholy-looking heron, and the audacious sparrows hop within a
foot of his legs, so inanimate he seems. Ah! it is the vile deceit of the
bird: in an instant he has stricken the intruder with his bill, and the
next the sparrow has disappeared down his throat. That elegant grey crane
is the "native companion" from Australia, so called from his love of
consorting with man in that country. We all know what familiars cranes and
storks are in Holland and the East, where they build on the chimney-pots
without the slightest fear; and we are glad to find that they possess the
same confidence in the savages of the New World. They are handsome birds,
but not richly plumed as the European crane, with his black and white
feathers and full-clustered tail. Once these cranes were common here, when
"England was merrie England;" that is, before windmills and steam-engines
were set to work to rescue many counties from a state of marsh. With
civilization they utterly disappeared from the land, and with civilization
we once more find them amongst us--a sight to gaze at. Not long since the
odd population of this paddock embraced a secretary-bird, whose velvet
breeches, white stockings, and reserved air gave him an official
appearance worthy of Somerset House in the last century. Take care, little
girl, how you feed them; a charge with fixed bayonets is scarcely more
formidable than the rush of sharp long bills through the railings which
immediately follows a display of provisions.

A few steps take us to the magnificent aviary, 170 feet in length,
constructed in 1851, through the nineteen divisions of which a pure stream
of water is constantly flowing, and the space enclosed by iron netting is
so spacious that the birds have room freely to use their wings. The first
compartment contains two of the rarities of the gardens--the satin
bower-bird and the Tallagulla or brush-turkey. The former, a bird of a
shining blue-black colour, is the only remaining one of three brought to
this country in 1849. Immediately upon their arriving in the gardens they
commenced the construction of one of their bowers or "runs," which,
according to the secretary, has been constantly added to and re-arranged
from that period to the present time. The bower is, perhaps, one of the
most extraordinary things in bird-architecture, as it is constructed not
for the useful purpose of containing the young, but purely as a
playing-place--a decorated ball-room, in fact, wherein the young couple
flirt and make love previous to entering upon connubial life. The bower is
constructed, in the present instance, from the twigs of an old besom, in
the shape of a horse-shoe; or perhaps we should convey a better idea of it
by stating that the sticks are bent into a shape like the ribs of a
man-of-war, the top being open, and the length varying from six to twelve
inches. Against the sides, and at the entrance of the bower, the bird, in
a state of nature, places bright feathers, snail-shells, bleached
bones--anything, in fact, containing colour. When it is remembered that
Australia is the very paradise of parrots and gaudy-plumaged birds, it
will be seen that the little artist cannot lack materials to satisfy his
taste for ornament; nevertheless, we are told he goes for a considerable
distance for some of his decorations. When the structure is completed, he
sits in it to entice the female, fully aware, no doubt, that the fair are
attracted by a handsome establishment. Be that as it may, the couple
speedily commence running in and out of it, with as much sense, and
probably with as much enjoyment, as light-heeled bipeds perform a galop.
The consequence, however, of the male bird being bereft of his
companions, he seems careless of his bower, which is in a most forlorn
condition--a ball-room, in fact, a day after a _fête_. May a new companion
speedily arrive and induce him to put his house once more in order! The
satin bower-bird, like the magpie, is well-known by the natives to be a
terrible thief; and they always search his abode for any object they may
have lost. "I myself," says Mr. Gould, in his account of these birds,
"found at the entrance of one of them a small neatly-worked stone tomahawk
of an inch and a half in length, together with some slips of blue cotton
rags, which the birds had, doubtless, picked up at a deserted encampment
of the natives."

Scarcely a less interesting bird is the brush-turkey. In appearance it is
very like the common black turkey, but is not quite so large; the
extraordinary manner in which its eggs are hatched constitutes its
singularity. It makes no nest, in the usual acceptation of the term, but
scratches decayed vegetable matter into a pyramid with its feet. It then
carefully dibbles in its eggs at regular intervals, with the small end
downward, and covers them over with the warm fermenting gatherings. The
pair in the gardens, shortly after they were received from Australia,
commenced making one of these hatching-mounds, which, by the time it was
finished, contained upwards of four cart-loads of leaves and other
vegetable matter. After the female had deposited sixteen eggs, each
measuring not less than four inches in length--an enormous size,
considering the bulk of the bird--the male began to keep watch over this
natural Eccaleobion, and every now and then scratched away the rubbish to
inspect them. After six weeks of burial, the eggs, in succession, and
without any warning, gave up their chicks--not feeble, but full-fledged
and strong: an intelligent keeper told us that he had seen one fly up out
of the ground at least five feet high. At night the chicks scraped holes
for themselves, and, lying down therein, were covered over by the old
birds, and thus remained until morning. The extraordinary strength of the
newly-hatched bird is accounted for by the size of the shell, which
contains sufficient nutriment to nourish it until it is lusty.
Unfortunately, all the young but one have perished through various
accidents quite independently of temperature; and the next brood will
probably be reared. As both the flesh and the eggs of these birds are
delicious, the council is anxious to naturalize them among us. In fact,
one of the objects of the gardens, under their enlightened management, is
to make it what Bacon calls in his "Atlantis," "a tryal place for beasts
and fishes." For centuries a system of extermination has been adopted
towards many indigenous animals; the wolf and buzzard have quite
disappeared, and the eagle is fast being swept away even from the
highlands of Scotland--so rapidly, indeed, that Mr. Gordon Cumming is
anxious, we hear, for the formation of a society for the protection of its
eggs. Noxious animals have been replaced by the acclimatization of many of
the foreign fauna, which are either distinguished for their beauty or
valuable for their flesh. This transfer, which adds so much to the
richness of the country, can be vastly accelerated through the agency of
these gardens, which are a kind of "tryal ground" for beasts, as the
fields of some of our rich agriculturists are for foreign roots and
grasses, in which those likely to be of service can be discovered, and
afterwards distributed throughout the land.

If we may quote the brush-turkeys as instances of birds capable of
affording a new kind of delicate and easily-reared food, the splendid
Impegan pheasants, close at hand, bred here from a pair belonging to her
Majesty, and which endure, in the open air, the rigour of winter, may be
looked upon as "things of beauty," which may be produced among us to charm
the eye. The elands, again, on the north side of the garden, which have
bred so prolifically, and made flesh so rapidly, have been with advantage
turned out into our parks, where their beautiful forms prove as attractive
to the eye as their venison, of the finest quality, do to the taste.

But we can no longer tarry to speculate further on the riches of this
aviary, which contains rare specimens of birds from all parts of the
world. Passing along the path which takes us by the north entrance, we
reach the pelicans' paddock, in which we see half a dozen of these
ungainly creatures, white and grey, with pouches beneath their bills as
capacious as the bag of a lady's work-table. The visitor may sometimes
have an opportunity of witnessing an explanation of the popular myth that
the old bird feeds its young from the blood of its own breast. This idea
evidently arose from the fact that it can only empty the contents of its
pouch into the mouths of its young by pressing it against its breast, in
the act of doing which the feathers often became insanguined from the
blood of the mangled fish within it. The close observance of birds and
beasts in zoological collections has tended to reduce many fabulous tales
to sober reason. On the other side of the walk may be seen in immature
plumage one of the red flamingoes from South America, which are said to
simulate so closely a regiment of our soldiers, as they stand in rows
fishing beside the banks of rivers; and here, too, are the delicate
rose-colour specimens of the Mediterranean, which are likewise exceedingly
beautiful. Those accustomed to navigate the Red Sea frequently witness
vast flights of these birds passing and re-passing from Arabia to Egypt;
and we are informed by a traveller that on one occasion, when he had a
good opportunity of measuring the column, he convinced himself that it was
upwards of a mile in length! What a splendid spectacle to see the pure
eastern sky barred by this moving streak of brilliant colour!

But we have not yet explored the north side of the grounds, where the huge
pachydermatous animals are lodged. The difficulty caused by the
carriage-drive running between the two gardens has been vanquished by
means of the tunnel, the ascent from which on the opposite side, flanked
as it is with graceful ferns, is one of the most charming portions of the
grounds on a hot summer's day. If after passing through the subterranean
passage we turn to the right, we come immediately upon the reptile-house.
Unless the visitor selects his time, he will generally find little to
amuse him here. The great snakes have either retired from public life
under their blankets, or lie coiled upon the branches of trees in their
dens. The reptiles are offered food once a week, but will not always feed
at this interval. One huge python fasted the almost incredible time of
twenty-two months, having probably prepared himself for his abstinence by
a splendid gorge. After a fast of seven days, however, the majority of the
serpents regain their appetites. Three o'clock is the feeding-time, and
the reptiles which are on the look-out seem to know full well the errand
of the man who enters with the basket, against the side of which they hear
the fluttering wings of the feathered victims and the short stamp of the
doomed rabbits. The keeper opens the door at the back of the den of the
voluminous serpents on our right--for of these there is no fear,--takes
off their blanket, and drops in upon the clattering pebbles a scampering
rabbit, who hops from side to side, curious to inspect his new habitation;
presently, satisfied, he sits on his haunches and leisurely begins to wash
his face. Silently the rock-snake glides over the stones, uncurling his
huge folds, which, like a cable, seem to move as though by some agency
from without, looks for an instant upon his unconscious victim, and the
next has seized him with his cruel jaws. His constricting folds are
twisted as swiftly as a whip-lash round his shrieking prey, and for ten
minutes the serpent lies still, maintaining his mortal knot until his prey
is dead, when, seizing him by the ears, he draws him through his vice-like
grip, crushing every bone, and elongating the body preparatory to
devouring it. The boa and the rock-snake always swallow their prey head
foremost. How is that fine neck and delicate head to make room for that
bulky rabbit? thinks the spectator. Presently he sees the jaws gape, and
slowly the reptile _draws himself over_, rather than swallows, his prey,
as you draw a stocking upon your leg. The huge lump descends lower and
lower beneath the speckled scales, which seem to stare with distension,
and the monster coils himself up once more to digest his meal in quiet.
Rabbits and pigeons form the food of the pythons in these gardens. While
the smaller birds are preyed upon in the reptile-house, their big
brothers, the storks in the paddock, are reciprocating the law of nature
by eating snakes. As we pass to the opposite side of the serpent-room,
where the venomous kinds are kept, we perceive that a more cautious
arrangement is made for feeding. The door opens at the top instead of at
the sides of their dens, and with good reason; for no sooner does the
keeper remove with a crooked iron rod the blanket from the cobra, than the
reptile springs, with inflated hood, into an S-like attitude, and darts
laterally at his enemy. He seems incapable of striking well any object
above or below his level: watch, for instance, that guinea-pig: again and
again he dashes at it, but misses his aim; now he hits it, but only to
drive the poor frightened creature with a score of flying pebbles before
him: when at last he succeeds in piercing the sides of his victim, tetanic
spasms immediately commence, and it dies convulsed in a few seconds. It is
said by those who have watched venomous snakes, that the manner of dying
exhibited by their stricken prey discloses the nature of the reptile that
inflicted the poisoned wound. It is scarcely necessary to state that the
popular idea that the tongue darts forth the venom is a fallacy. The
poison is contained in glands which lie at the root of the fangs on either
side, and, by the compression of the powerful muscles which make the head
appear so broad and flat, it is forced into the fine tube which runs at
the sides of the fang, and finds its exit near the point by a minute
opening. The cobra at present in the collection, with its skin a glossy
black and yellow, its eye black and angry, its motions agile and graceful,
seems to be the very personification of India. As we watch it when ready
to spring, we suddenly remember that only a film of glass stands between
us and "pure death." But there is nothing to fear: the python, in the
adjoining room, which weighs a hundred and twenty pounds, being incensed
on his first arrival at being removed from his box, darted with all his
force at a spectator. Yet the pane of glass had strength enough to bring
him up, and he fell back so bruised about the head and muzzle by the
collision, that he could not feed well for several months. The cobra that
we see is the same that destroyed its keeper. In a fit of drunkenness, the
man, against express orders, took the reptile out, and, placing its head
inside his waistcoat, allowed it to glide round his body. When it had
emerged from under his clothes from the other side, apparently in good
humour, he squeezed its tail, when it struck him between his eyes; in
twenty minutes his consciousness was gone, and in less than three hours he
was dead. Before we leave this reptile-room, let us peep for a moment into
the little apartment opening from the corner, where, hanging from the
wall, we see all the cast-off dresses of the serpents. If the keeper will
allow us to handle one of them for a moment, we shall see that it is
indeed an entire suit of light-brown colour and of gauzy texture, which
covered not only the body and head, but the very eyeballs of the wearer.

The Python-house on the other side of the Museum contains two enormous
serpents. The adventures of one of them--the _Python reticulatus_--deserve
to be written: when small enough to be placed in the pocket, he was, with
a companion now no more, taken from Ceylon to Brazil by American sailors;
they were then exhibited in most of the maritime towns of South America,
and were publicly sold for a high price at Callao to the captain of a
ship, who brought them to the gardens, and demanded £600 for the pair;
fully persuaded of their enormous value, he had paid £30 to insure them on
the voyage, and it was not until he had long and painfully cogitated that
he agreed to sell them for £40. We have before referred to the
extraordinary length of time a python has been known to fast without
injury. Their fancies as well as their fastings are rather eccentric.
Every one has heard of the snake which swallowed his blanket, a meal which
ultimately killed him. A python who had lived for years in a friendly
manner with a brother nearly as large as himself, was found one morning
solus. As the cage was secure, the keepers were puzzled to know how the
serpent had escaped: at last it was observed that the remaining inmate had
swollen remarkably during the night, when the horrid fact became plain
enough; the fratricide had succeeded in swallowing the entire person of
his brother; it was his last meal, however, for in some months he died. A
friend informs us that he once saw in these gardens a rat-snake of Ceylon
devour a common _Coluber natrix_. The rat-snake, however, had not taken
the measure of his victim, as by no effort could he dispose of the last
four inches of his tail, which stuck out rather jauntily from the side of
his mouth, with very much the look of a cigar. After a quarter of an hour,
the tail began to exhibit a retrograde motion, and the swallowed snake was
disgorged, nothing the worse for his living sepulchre, with the exception
of the wound made by his partner when first he seized him. The ant-eater,
who lately inhabited the room leading out of the python apartment, has
died of a want of ants.

As we issue again into the open air, we have before us the whole length of
the avenue, arched with lime-trees, in summer a veritable isle of verdure.
What a charming picture it used to be to see the docile elephant pacing
towards us with ponderous and majestic steps, whilst, in the scarlet
howdha, happy children swayed from side to side as she marched. She, who
was our delight for so many years, died some time since of a storm of
thunder and lightning. Such indeed was what may seem at first the singular
verdict of the medical man who made his _post mortem_. The terror,
however, inspired by the storm appears to have produced some nervous
disease, under which she succumbed. There is a suspicion that the carcase,
five thousand pounds and upwards in weight, which was disposed of to the
nackers, ultimately found its way to the sausage-makers. Do not start,
good reader; elephant's flesh is considered excellent eating by the tribes
of South Africa, and the lion-slayer tells us that the feet are a true
delicacy. He used to eat them as we do Stilton cheese, scooping out the
interior and leaving the rind; he exhibited to his audience some of these
relics, which looked like huge leather fire-buckets. And now we have only
the young animal left, that once sucked his huge mother, to the delight of
the crowd of children, and to the disgust of the rhinoceros, who is the
sworn enemy to all elephants. The little one is growing apace, however,
and has already been promoted to carry the long-deserted howdha. The
rhinoceros, close at hand, is the successor of the fine old fellow
purchased in 1836 for 1,050_l._, the largest sum ever given by the society
for a single animal. The specimen now in the gardens cost only 350_l._ in
1850, so much do these commodities fluctuate in value. His predecessor,
who departed this life full of years, was constantly forced upon his belly
by a pugnacious elephant, who pressed his tusks upon the back of his
neighbour when he came near the palings which separated their inclosures.
This rough treatment appears to have led to his death, as Professor Owen
found, on dissecting the massive brute, which weighed upwards of two tons,
that the seventh rib had been fractured at the bend near the vertebral
end, and had wounded the left lung.

Not far from the picturesque house built by Decimus Burton, in one of the
cages fronting the office of the superintendent of the gardens, is to be
seen a beaver. The wonderful instinct of this little animal is certainly
not inferior to that of the huge elephant. As yet he has not been placed
in circumstances to enable the public to witness his building capacities;
but it is the intention, we understand, of the Council to give him a
stream of running water and the requisite materials to construct one of
those extraordinary dams for which this animal is so famous. In Canada,
where he used to flourish, the backwoodsmen often came upon hill-sides
completely cleared of good-sized trees by colonies of these little
creatures, who employed the felled timber to construct their dams--dams,
not of a few feet in length, but sometimes of a hundred and fifty feet,
built according to the best engineering formula for resisting the pressure
of water, namely, in an angle with its apex pointed up the stream, and
gradually narrowing from base to summit. In short, Mr. Brunel himself
could not outdo your beaver in his engineering operations. Even in
confinement this sagacious Rodent loves to display his skill, as we may
learn from Mr. Broderip's account of his pet Binney:--

    "Its building instinct," says that accomplished naturalist, "showed
    itself immediately it was let out of its cage, and materials were
    placed in its way, and this before it had been a week in its new
    quarters. Its strength, even before it was half-grown, was great, it
    would drag along a large sweeping-brush, or a warming-pan, grasping
    the handle with its teeth, so that the load came over its shoulder,
    and advancing in an oblique direction till it arrived at the part
    where it wished to place it. The long and large materials were always
    taken first; and two of the longest were generally laid crosswise,
    with one of the ends of each touching the wall, and their other ends
    projecting out into the room. The area caused by the cross-brushes and
    the wall he would fill up with hand-brushes, rush baskets, books,
    boots, sticks, cloths, dried turf, or anything portable. As the work
    grew high, he supported himself on his tail, which propped him up
    admirably; and he would often, after laying on one of his building
    materials, sit up over against it, appearing to consider his work, or,
    as the country people say, 'judge it.' This pause was sometimes
    followed by changing the position of the materials, and sometimes they
    were left in their place. After he had piled up his materials in one
    part of the room (for he generally chose the same place), he proceeded
    to wall up the space between the feet of a chest of drawers which
    stood at a little distance from it, high enough on its legs to make
    the bottom a roof for him, using for this purpose dried turf and
    sticks, which he laid very even, and filling up the interstices with
    bits of coal, hay, cloth, or anything he could pick up; the last place
    he seemed to appropriate for his dwelling, the former work seemed to
    be intended for a dam. When he had walled up the space between the
    feet of the chest of drawers, he proceeded to carry in sticks, cloths,
    hay, cotton, and to make a nest; and when he had done, he would sit up
    under the drawers, and comb himself with the nails of his hind feet."

Well done, Binney! If the beaver in the garden will only work out his
natural instincts as perfectly, we may expect some amusement. Up to a late
period the beaver had become rather a scarce animal, the exigencies of
fashion having nearly exterminated him. When silk hats came in, however,
the annual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of his race, for the sake of
the fur, gradually slackened, and now he is beginning to increase in his
native retreats,--a singular instance this of the fashions of Paris and
London affecting the very existence of a prolific race of animals in the
New World! In the very next compartment is a hare, who for years played
the tambourine in the streets of the metropolis, but his master, finding
that his performances did not draw, exchanged him at these gardens for a
monkey; and now, whilst he eats his greens in peace, poor Jacko, in a red
cloak and a feathered cap, has probably to earn his daily bread by
mimicking humanity on the top of a barrel-organ. But the hippopotamus
surges into his bath in the inclosure as we pause, and there is a rush of
visitors to see the mighty brute performing his ablutions. He no longer
gives audience to all the fair and fashionable folks of the town. Alas for
the greatness of this world! the soldier-crab and the Esop prawn now draw
better "houses." Whether or no this desertion has embittered his temper,
we cannot say, but he has certainly lost his amiability, notwithstanding
that he still retains the humorous curl-up of the corners of his mouth
which Doyle used to hit off so inimitably. At times, indeed, he is
perfectly furious, and his vast strength has necessitated the
reconstruction of his house on a much stronger plan. Those only who have
seen him rush with extended jaws at the massive oaken door of his
apartment, returning again and again to the charge, and making the solid
beams quiver as though they were only of inch-deal, can understand the
dangerous fits which now and then are exhibited by a creature, who was so
gentle, when he made his _début_, that he could not go to sleep without
having his Arab keeper's feet to lay his neck upon. This affection for his
nurse has undergone a great change, for, on Hamet's countryman and
coadjutor, Mohammed, making his second appearance with the young female
hippopotamus, Obaysch very nearly killed him in the violence of his rage.
He has a peculiar dislike to the sight of working men, especially if they
are employed in doing any jobs about his apartment. The smith of the
establishment happening one day to be passing along the iron gallery which
runs across one side of his bath, the infuriated animal leapt out of the
water, at least eight feet high, and would speedily have pulled the whole
construction down, had not the man run rapidly out of his sight. We trust
his temper will improve when his young bride in the adjoining room is
presented to him; but she is as yet but a baby behemoth, although growing
fast. The enormously strong iron railings in front of his apartments are
essential to guard against the rushes he sometimes makes at persons he
does not like. Look at that huge mouth, opened playfully to receive
nic-nacs! What is a bun or a biscuit to him? Down that huge throat goes
one hundred pounds weight of provender daily. Surely the dragon of Wantley
had not such a gullet.

The giraffes in the adjoining apartment have been in the gardens so long
that they are no longer thought a rarity; but it should be remembered that
the four procured in 1835 from Khordofan by the agent of the society were,
like the hippopotamus, the first ever exhibited in Europe since the days
of ancient Rome. Of these only one female now remains; but very many have
been bred in the gardens, and have continued in excellent health. At the
present moment three of their progeny are housed in the apartment we are
entering. The finest, a male, is a noble fellow, standing nearly seventeen
feet high. When he strides out into the inclosure, high up as the trees
are protected by boarding, he yet manages to browse as in his African
forests, and it is then that the visitor sees the full beauty of the
beast, which is lost in the house. The giraffe, in spite of his mild and
melancholy look, which reminds us forcibly of the camel, yet fights
ferociously with his kind at certain seasons of the year. Two males once
battled here so furiously that the horn of one of them was actually driven
into the head of the other. Their method of fighting is very peculiar:
stretching out their fore and hind legs like a rocking-horse, they use
their heads, as a blacksmith would a sledgehammer, and swinging the
vertebral column in a manner calculated, one would think, to break it,
they bring the full force of the horns to bear upon their antagonist's
skull. The blow is severe in the extreme, and every precaution is taken to
prevent these conflicts.

As we pass along a narrow corridor in which the ostriches are confined, we
reach at length the last inhabitant of the garden, and the most curious
creature, perhaps, which it contains. If the keeper is at hand, he will
open the door of the box in which it lives, and drive out for us the
bewildered-looking apteryx--the highest representative, according to
Professor Owen, of the warm-blooded class of animals that lived in New
Zealand previous to the advent of man. Strange and chaotic-looking as are
most of the living things brought from Australia and the adjacent islands,
this creature is certainly the oddest of the bird class, and is, we
believe, the only one ever seen out of New Zealand. As it vainly runs into
the corners and tries to hide itself from the light of day, we perceive
that it is wingless and tailless; it looks, in short, like a hedgehog
mounted upon the dwarfed yet powerful legs of an ostrich, whilst its long
bill, which seems as though it had been borrowed from a stork, is employed
when the bird leans forward, to support it, just as an old man uses a
stick. This strange creature seems to hold among the feathered bipeds of
Polynesia a parallel position to the New Holland mole (_Ornithorhynchus
paradoxicus_)--which possesses the bill and webbed feet of a duck with the
claws of a land animal--among the quadrupeds. Mr. Gould remarks that
nature affords an appropriate vegetation to each class of animal life. Our
universal mother seems to have matched her Flora to her Fauna in this
portion of the globe; at least, the paradoxical creatures we have
mentioned seem in happy accord with Australian vegetation, where the
stones grow outside the cherries, and the pear-shaped fruits depend from
the branch with their small ends downwards! The apteryx is entirely
nocturnal in its habits, pursuing its prey in the ground by smell rather
than by sight; to enable it to do which, the olfactory openings are placed
near the point of the beak. Thus the bird scents the worm on which it
feeds far below the surface of the ground. We must not regard the apteryx
as an exceptional creature, but rather as the type of a large class of
birds peculiar to the islands of New Zealand, which have been destroyed,
like the dodo in the Mauritius, since the arrival of man. Professor Owen,
long before the apteryx arrived in England, pronounced that a single bone
found in some New Zealand watercourse had belonged to a wingless, tailless
bird that stood at least twelve feet high.[9] This scientific conjecture
has lately been transformed into a certainty by the discovery of a number
of bones, which demonstrate that several species of Moas once roamed among
the fern-clad islands which stud the bright Polynesian ocean. These bones
have been found mixed with those of the apteryx, which thus becomes linked
to a race of mysterious creatures, which, it is supposed, have long passed
away, although a tale is told--an American one, it is true--of an
Englishman having come across a dinornis, whilst out on its nocturnal
rambles, and of his having fled from it with as much terror as though it
had been a griffin of old.

Our walk through the gardens has only enabled us to take a cursory glance
at a few of the 1,300 mammals, birds, and reptiles at present located
there; but the duty of the zoologist is to dwell minutely on each. To such
these gardens have, for the last twenty-six years, been a very
fountain-head of information. During that time a grand procession of
animal life, savage and wild, has streamed through them, and for the major
part has gone to that "bourne from which no traveller returns." Let us
rank them, and pass them before us:--

  Quadrumana      1,069
  Carnivora       1,409
  Rodentia        1,025
  Pachydermata      204
  Ruminantia      1,098
  Marsupialia       219
  Reptilia        1,861
  Aves            7,320

--making a total of 14,205. Out of this large number many curious animals
have doubtless left no trace; but through the care of the Council, no rare
specimen has died, within these five years at least, without previously
sitting for his portrait. The first part of the valuable collection of
coloured drawings, from the inimitable pencil of Mr. Wolf, accompanied by
a description from the pen of the late Mr. Mitchell, the editor of the
work, is published, under the title of "Zoological Sketches, &c.," and the
others will speedily follow. The work, when completed, will be unique in
the annals of zoology, both for the extreme beauty of the drawings, which
may be said to daguerreotype the subjects in their most characteristic
attitudes, and for the nature of the letterpress, which proves that the
editor has written from the life.

This splendid collection has been got together by presents, purchase,
breeding, and exchanges. Out of the 14,205 specimens, however, which have
been in the possession of the society, scarcely a tithe were bought. The
Queen, especially, has been most generous in her presents, and the stream
of barbaric offerings in the shape of lions, tigers, leopards, &c., which
is continually flowing from tropical princes to the fair Chief of the
nation, is poured into these gardens. Her Majesty evidently pays no heed
to the superstition once common among the people, that a dynasty was only
safe as long as the lions flourished in the royal fortress. In fact, the
gardens are a convenience to our gracious monarch as well as to her
subjects; for wild animals are awkward things to have in one's back
premises. Neither must we overlook the reproduction which has taken place
in the gardens; to such an extent, indeed, has the stock increased, that
sales to a large amount are annually made. The system of exchanges which
exists between the various British and continental societies helps to
supply the garden with deficient specimens in place of duplicates. Very
rare, and consequently expensive animals, are generally purchased. Thus,
the first rhinoceros cost 1,000_l._; the four giraffes 700_l._, and their
carriage an additional 700_l._ The elephant and calf were bought in 1851
for 800_l._; and the hippopotamus, although a gift, was not brought home
and housed at less than 1,000_l._--a sum which he more than realized in
the famous Exhibition season, when the receipts were 10,000_l._ above the
previous year. The lion Albert was purchased for 140_l._; a tiger in 1852
for 200_l._ The value of some of the smaller birds will appear, however,
more startling: thus, the pair of black-necked swans were purchased for
80_l._ (they are now to be seen in the three-island pond); a pair of
crowned pigeons and two maleos, 60_l._; a pair of Victoria pigeons,
35_l._; four mandarin ducks, 70_l._ Most of these rare birds (now in the
great aviary) came from the Knowsley collection, at the sale of which, in
1851, purchases were made to the extent of 985_l._ It would be impossible
from these prices, however, to judge of the present value of the animals.
Take the rhinoceros, for example: the first specimen cost 1,000_l._; the
second, quite as fine a brute, only 350_l._ Lions range again from 40_l._
to 180_l._, and tigers from 40_l._ to 200_l._ The price is generally ruled
by the state of the wild-beast market, and by the intrinsic rarity of the
creature. A first appearance in Europe, of course, is likely to draw, and
is therefore at the top price; but it is wonderful how demand produces
supply. Let any rare animal bring a crowd to the gardens, and in a
twelvemonth numbers of his brethren will be generally in the market. The
ignorance displayed by some persons as to the value of well-known objects
is something marvellous. We have already spoken of the sea captain who
demanded 600_l._ for a pair of pythons, and at last took 40_l._! On
another occasion, an American offered the society a grisly bear for
2,000_l._, to be delivered in the United States; and, more laughable
still, a moribund walrus, which had been fed for nine weeks on salt pork
and meal, was offered for the trifling sum of 700_l._!

We could go on multiplying, _ad nauseam_, instances of this kind, but must
conclude the catalogue of absurdities by stating that there is a firm
belief on the part of many persons that it is the Zoological Society which
has proposed the large reward, which every one has heard of, for _the_
tortoiseshell Tom. "The only one ever known" has been offered accordingly
at the exceedingly low figure of 250_l._ On one occasion a communication
was received from some person of consideration in Thuringia, requesting to
be informed of the amount of the proffered prize, which he was about to
claim. This was shortly followed by a letter from another person,
evidently written in a fury, cautioning the society against giving the
prize to the previous writer, as he was not the breeder of the cat, but
was only trying to buy it for less than its value, "in which he would
never succeed so long as the true breeder lived." To prevent further
applications on the behalf of growers of this unique animal, we may as
well state that tortoiseshell Toms may be had in many quarters.

We have said that the value of animals depends upon the state of the
wild-beast market. "Wild-beast market!" exclaims the reader; "and where
can that be?" Every one knows that London can furnish anything for money;
and if any lady or gentleman wants lions or tigers, there are dealers in
Ratcliffe Highway and the adjacent parts, who have them on the premises,
and will sell them at five minutes' notice. They "talk as familiarly of
lions as ladies do of puppy dogs;" and a gentleman who purchased a bear of
one of them, lately informed us that the salesman coolly proposed that he
should take him home with him in a cab! We once had occasion to visit the
establishment of one of these dealers, and were shown up a ladder into a
cockloft, where, hearing a bumping, and perceiving a lifting motion in a
trap-door, we inquired the reason, which called forth the dry remark that
it was only three lions at play in a box below. Although these men
generally manage to secure their live stock in a satisfactory manner, yet
accidents will occur in the best-regulated lion-stores. A wild-beast
merchant, for instance, informed us that one night he was awakened by his
wife, who drew his attention to a noise in the back-yard, where he had
placed two lions on the previous evening. On putting his head out of the
window--his room was on the ground-floor--there were the lions loose, and,
with their paws on the window-sill, looking grimly in upon him. A good
whip and a determined air consigned Leo to his cage again without further
trouble. On another occasion this same man, hearing a noise in his back
premises, found to his horror that an elephant, with his pick-lock trunk,
had let out a hyæna and a nylghau from their cages, and was busy undoing
the fastenings of a den full of lions! The same resolute spirit, however,
soon restored order. Amateurs have not always the same courage or
self-possession, and they immediately have recourse to the garden-folks to
get them out of their difficulties, as a housekeeper would send to the
station-house on finding a burglar secreted in his cellar. On one occasion
a gentleman, who had offered a rattlesnake and its young to the gardens at
a high price, sent suddenly to the superintendent to implore immediate
assistance, as the said snake, with half a score venomous offspring, had
escaped from their box and scattered themselves in his nursery. The
possessor, to avoid worse losses, was only too glad to be rid of his
guests at any pecuniary sacrifice.

We cannot close our survey without touching upon the cost of the
commissariat. The slaughtered beasts appropriated to the carnivora, we
have before stated, cost in the year 1854 no less a sum than 1,367_l._
19s. 5d. If we go through the other items of food, we shall give some
notion of the expense and the variety of the banquet to which the animals
daily sat down during that year. Thus we see hay figures for 912_l._ 14s.;
corn, seeds, &c., 700_l._ 8s. 8d.; bread, buns, &c. (for the monkeys),
150_l._ 16s. 8d.; eggs, 87_l._ 4s. 1d. (for the ant-eater principally);
milk, 69_l._ 6s. 2d.; mangold-wurzel, carrots, and turnips, 22_l._ 6s.;
dog-biscuit, 135_l._ 19s. 10d. (for the bears and wolves and dogs
chiefly); fish (for the otters, seal, pelicans, &c.), 214_l._ 8s. 8d.;
green tares, 23_l._ 16s. 8d.; rabbits and pigeons (for the snakes), 33_l._
13s. 2d.; rice and oil-cake, 66_l._ 15s.; sundries, including fruit,
vegetables, grasshoppers, snakes, mealworms, figs, sugar, &c. (for the
birds principally), 157_l._ 1s. 11d.: making a total of 3,942_l._ 8s. 3d.;
a great increase on the food bill of 1853, and which was caused entirely
by the advance of prices.

The pitch of excellence to which the gardens have arrived has naturally
resulted in drawing the increased attention of the public towards them. We
have only to contrast, for instance, the number of people who entered in
the year 1848--the first in which a more liberal system of management came
into play--with those who passed in in 1854, to see that the establishment
flourishes under the auspices of the new management; for while in the
former year only 142,456 persons passed through the turnstiles, the number
had risen in the latter to 407,676. It is interesting to observe that,
although an increase of full 100 per cent. took place upon the privileged
and ordinary shilling visitors during that interval, yet that the
reduction of the admittance-charge to sixpence on Mondays and holidays was
the main cause of the gradual influx of visitors--the year 1848 showing
only 60,566 admittances of these holiday-folks and working-people, to
196,278 in 1854. Here, then, we have an increase of 135,712 persons, many
of whom were, no doubt, rescued, on those days at least, from the
fascinations of the public-house. With all this flood of life--the greater
portion of it undoubtedly belonging to the labouring-classes,--not the
slightest injury has been done to the gardens. A flower or two may have
been picked, but not by that class of Englishmen who were once thought too
brutal to be allowed access unwatched to any public exhibition. Every year
that passes over our heads proves that such shows as these are splendid
examples of the method of teaching introduced by Bell and Lancaster; that
they furnish instruction of a nature which is never forgotten, and which
refines at the same time that it delights.


Boswell relates that the wits who assembled at the house of Sir Joshua
Reynolds to hear Grainger's poem on the "Sugar-cane" read in manuscript,
burst into laughter when, after much pompous blank-verse, a new paragraph
commenced with the invocation--

    "Now, Muse, let's sing of rats."

But if a mean topic for the bard, they are an interesting subject to the
naturalist, an anxious one to the agriculturist, and of some importance to
everybody. Though it was no easy matter to throw around them a halo of
poetry, and to elevate them into epic dignity--a difficulty which was
nowise surmounted by calling them, as Grainger subsequently did, "the
whisker'd vermin race"--yet there was nothing with which they had a more
serious practical connection than the "sugar-cane." It was reckoned that
in Jamaica they consumed a twentieth part of the entire crop, and 30,000
were destroyed in one year in a single plantation. In fact, rats are to
the earth what sparrows are to the air--universally present. Unlike their
feathered analogues, we rarely see them, and consequently have little idea
of the liberality with which they are distributed over every portion of
the habitable globe. They swarm in myriads in the vast network of sewers
under our feet, and by means of our house-drains have free access to our
basements, under which they burrow; in the walls they establish a series
of hidden passages; they rove beneath the floors and the roof, and thus
establish themselves above, below, and beside us. In the remote islands
of the Pacific they equally abound, and are sometimes the only
inhabitants. But we shall not attempt to write the universal history of
the rat. It is enough if we narrate his doings in Great Britain.

There are in England two kinds of land-rats--the old English black rat,
and the Norwegian or brown rat. According to Mr. Waterton, the black rat
is the native and proper inhabitant of the island; the brown rat not only
an interloper and exterminator, but a Whig rat--a combination which he
thinks perfectly consistent. In his charming essays on Natural History he

    "Though I am not aware that there are any minutes in the zoological
    archives of this country which point out to us the precise time at
    which this insatiate and mischievous little brute first appeared among
    us, still there is a tradition current in this part of the country
    (Yorkshire), that it actually came over in the same ship which
    conveyed the new dynasty to these shores. My father, who was of the
    first order of field naturalists, was always positive upon this point,
    and he maintained firmly that it did accompany the House of Hanover in
    its emigration from Germany to England."

Having thus given the "little brute" a bad name, he pertinaciously hunts
him through the two volumes of his essays; nay, he does more, for, on
account of his Whiggism, he is the only wild animal banished for ever from
Waterton Hall, that happy home for all other fowls of the air and beasts
of the field, against which gamekeepers wage war as vermin. In Carpenter's
edition of Cuvier, however, an account is given of the brown rat, or
Surmulot, which, if true, entirely disposes of this pretty account of his
advent. We are there told that he originally came from Persia, where he
lives in burrows, and that he did not set out on his travels until the
year 1727, when an earthquake induced him to swim the Volga and enter
Europe by way of Astrakan.[10] When once he had set foot in England, he no
doubt treated his weaker brother and predecessor, the black rat, much as
the Stuart dynasty was treated by the house of Hanover. Though the black
rat was not himself an usurper, but rather an emigrant who took possession
of an unoccupied territory, his reign is also said by some to have been
contemporaneous with an earlier change in the royal line of England, for
he is asserted to have come over in the train of the Conqueror. He still
abounds in Normandy, and to this day is known in Wales under the name of
Llyoden Ffancon--the French mouse.

Rats are no exception to the law which, Wordsworth says, prevails among
"all the creatures of flood and field."

                        "The good old rule,
  Sufficeth them--the simple plan,
  That they should take who have the power,
  And they should keep who can."

But the black rat has kept more than is commonly imagined. Mr. Waterton is
mistaken when he adopts the popular notion that the old English breed
which came in with the Conqueror is almost totally annihilated by his
brown cousin. The first comer has no more been destroyed by the subsequent
invader than the Celt is annihilated by the triumphant Saxon. As we find
the former still holding their ground in Cornwall, Wales, and the
Highlands of Scotland, so we find the black rat flourishing in certain
localities. In the neighbourhood of the Tower, in Whitbread's brewery, and
in the Whitechapel sugar-refineries, he still holds his own, and woe be to
any brown trespasser who ventures into his precincts. The weaker animal
has learnt that union is strength, and, acting in masses, they attack
their powerful foe as fearlessly as a flight of swallows does a hawk; but
if an equal number of the two breeds are placed together in a cage without
food, the chances are that all the black rats will have disappeared before
morning, and, even though well fed, the brown Brobdingnags invariably eat
off the long and delicate ears of their little brethren, just as a
gourmand, after a substantial meal, amuses his appetite with a

The rapid spread of the rat is due to the fearlessness with which he will
follow man and his commissariat wherever he goes. Scarcely a ship leaves
a port for a distant voyage but it takes in its complement of rats as
regularly as the passengers, and in this manner the destructive little
animal has not only distributed himself over the entire globe, but, like
an enterprising traveller, continually passes from one country to another.
The colony of four-footed depredators, which ships itself free of expense,
makes, for instance, a voyage to Calcutta, whence many of the body will
again go to sea, and land perhaps at some uninhabited island where the
vessel may have touched for water. In this manner many a hoary old
wanderer has circumnavigated the globe oftener than Captain Cook, and set
his paws on twenty different shores. The rat-catcher to the East-India
Company has often destroyed as many as five hundred in a ship newly
arrived from Calcutta. The genuine ship-rat is a more delicate animal than
the brown rat, and has so strong a resemblance to the old Norman breed,
that we cannot help thinking they are intimately related. The same fine
large ear, sharp nose, long tail, dark fur, and small size, characterize
both, and a like antipathy exists between them and the Norwegian species.
It is by no means uncommon to find distinct colonies of the two kinds in
the same ship--the one confining itself to the stem, the other to the
stern of the vessel. The same arrangement is often adopted in the
warehouses of seaports, the ship's company generally locating themselves
as near the water as possible, and the landsmen in the more inland portion
of the building.

When rats have once found their way into a ship, they are secure as long
as the cargo is on board, provided they can command the great
necessary--water. If this is well guarded, they will resort to
extraordinary expedients to procure it. In a rainy night they will come on
deck to drink, and will even ascend the rigging to sip the moisture which
lies in the folds of the sails. When reduced to extremities, they will
attack the spirit-casks and get so drunk that they are unable to walk
home. The land-rat will, in like manner, gnaw the metal tubes which in
public-houses lead from the spirit-store to the tap, and is as convivial
on these occasions as his nautical relation. The entire race have a quick
ear for running liquid, and they constantly eat into leaden pipes, and,
much to their astonishment, receive a douche-bath in consequence. It is
without doubt the difficulty of obtaining water which causes them in many
cases to desert the ship the moment she touches the shore. On such
occasions they get, if possible, dry-footed to land, which they generally
accomplish by passing in Indian file along the mooring-rope, though, if no
other passage is provided for them, they will not hesitate to swim. In the
same manner they board ships from the shore, and so well are their
invading habits known to sailors, that it is common upon coming into port
to fill up the hawser holes, or else to run the mooring-cable through a
broom, the projecting twigs of which effectually stop the ingress of these
nautical quadrupeds. Their occupancy of the smaller bird-breeding islands
invariably ends in their driving away the feathered inhabitants, for they
plunder the nests of their eggs, and devour the young. The puffins have in
this way been compelled to relinquish Puffin's Island, off the coast of

The ship-rat must not be confounded with the water-rat, which is an
entirely different species. The latter partakes of the habits of the
beaver, and is somewhat like him in appearance. He possesses the same
bluff head and long fur, in which are buried his diminutive ears. He
dwells in holes in the banks of rivers, which he constructs with a land
and water entrance to provide against destruction by the sudden rising of
the stream. This animal lives entirely upon vegetable food, which he will
now and then seek at some distance inland, and we suspect that to him may
be traced many of the devastations in the fruit and vegetable gardens for
which the poor sparrows get the blame. We have seen water-rats cross a
wide meadow, climb the stalks of the dwarf beans, and, after detaching the
pods with their teeth, shell their contents in the most workmanlike
manner. They will mount vines and feed on the grapes; and a friend informs
us that on one occasion he saw a water-rat go up a ladder which was
resting against a plum-tree, and attack the fruit. If a garden is near the
haunts of water-rats, it is necessary to watch narrowly for the holes
underneath the walls, for they will burrow under the foundation with all
the vigour of sappers and miners. Such is the cunning with which they
drive their shafts, that they will ascend beneath a stack of wood, a heap
of stones, or any other object which will conceal the passage by which
they obtain an entrance. The water-rat is, however, a rare animal compared
with its first-cousin, the common brown or Norway rat, which is likewise,
as Lord Bacon says of the ant, "a shrewd thing in a garden." They select,
according to Cobbett, the prime of the dessert--melons, strawberries,
grapes, and wall-fruit; and though they do but taste of each, it is not,
as he remarks, very pleasant to eat after them. Not many years since they
existed in millions in the drains and sewers of the metropolis. Several
causes have been in operation to diminish their numbers, and in some
quarters of the town almost wholly to extinguish them. In the first place,
the method of flushing the sewers lately adopted is exceedingly fatal to
them. When the sluices are opened, go they must with the rush of waters,
and they may be seen shot out by hundreds from the mouths of the culverts
in the Thames. The fact that rats are worth three shillings a dozen for
sporting purposes proves, however, the most certain means of their
destruction, for it insures their ceaseless pursuit by the great hunter,
man. The underground city of sewers becomes one vast hunting-ground, in
which men regularly gain a livelihood by capturing them. Before entering
the subterraneous world, the associates generally plan what routes they
will take, and at what point they will meet, possibly with the idea of
driving their prey towards a central spot. They go in couples, each man
carrying a lighted candle with a tin reflector, a bag, a sieve, and a
spade; the spade and sieve being used for examining any deposit which
promises to contain some article of value. The moment the rat sees the
light, he runs along the sides of the drain just above the line of the
sewage water; the men follow, and speedily overtake the winded animal,
which no sooner finds his pursuers gaining upon him, than he sets up a
shrill squeak, in the midst of which he is seized with the bare hand
behind the ears, and deposited in the bag. In this manner a dozen will
sometimes be captured in as many minutes. When driven to bay at the end
of a blind sewer, they will often fly at the boots of their pursuers in a
most determined manner.

The favourite stronghold of the rat is that portion of the house-drain
which opens at right angles into the main sewer. Here he sits like a
sentinel, and in security watches with his keen but astonished eyes the
extraordinary apparition running with a light. It is a remarkable fact
that most untrapped house-drains are inhabited by their own particular
rats, and woe be to the intruder who ventures to interfere with those in
possession. The rat as well as the cat may thus be classed among the
domestic animals of the household, who acts as a kind of preventive puss
in keeping out the whole underground community of vermin, which otherwise
would have the run of our basements.

These vermin congregate thickest in the neighbourhood of slaughter-houses,
or, in other words, where food is most plentiful. They are frequently
found sitting in clusters on the ledge formed by the invert of the sewers.
As the scavengers of drains, they undoubtedly do good service, but it is a
poor set-off for the mischief they perpetrate in destroying the brickwork
of the sewers--burrowing in every direction, and thus constructing lateral
cesspools, the contents of which permeate the ground and filter into the
wells. In making these excavations, moreover, they invariably transfer the
earth to the main sewers, and form obstructions to the flow. The
accumulations of their paw-work have regularly to be removed in small
trucks constructed for the purpose, and if this precaution were not taken,
they would in a few years entirely destroy the vast system of subterranean
culverts which have been laboriously constructed at the expense of
millions. The pipe-drains with smooth barrels, which the rat's tooth
cannot touch, alone baffle him; indeed, the rapid flow of water in their
narrow channel prevents his even retaining his footing in them. In revenge
for thus being circumvented, he has in many cases entirely ruined the
newly-laid channel of pipes by burrowing under them, and causing them to
dip and open at the joints.

In France the sewer authorities hold an annual hunting-match, on which
occasion there is a grand capture of rats; these animals are not destined
to afford sport to the "fancy" under the tender manipulations of a dog
"Billy;" on the contrary, our neighbours have too much respect for the
integrity of his hide. We are informed that they have established a
company in Paris, upon the Hudson's Bay principle, to buy up all the rats
of the country for the sake of their skin. The soft nap of the fur when
dressed is of the most beautiful texture, far exceeding in delicacy that
of the beaver, and the hatters consequently use it as a substitute. The
hide is employed to make the thumbs of the best gloves, its elasticity and
texture rendering it preferable to kid.

Parent Duchâtelet collected several particulars of the rats which in his
day frequented the knackers' yards at Montfaucon. Attracted by the
abundance of animal food, they increased so enormously that the
surrounding inhabitants, hearing that the government intended to remove
these establishments, were seized with apprehension lest the vermin, when
deprived of their larder, should spread through the neighbourhood, and,
like a flight of locusts, swallow up everything. The alarmists may even
have feared lest they should meet with a similar fate to that of the
Archbishop of Mayence, who, if old chronicles are to be believed, retired
to a tower in one of the isles of the Rhine to escape being devoured by a
host of these creatures whose appetites were set upon him, and who,
pertinaciously pursuing him to his retreat, succeeded in eating him up at
last. The report of the Commission instituted to inquire into the
circumstances of the Montfaucon case, showed that the apprehensions of
serious damage were by no means unfounded.

    "If the carcases of dead horses be thrown during the day in a corner,
    the next morning they will be found stripped of their flesh. An old
    proprietor of one of the slaughter-houses had a certain space of
    ground entirely surrounded by walls, with holes only large enough for
    the ingress and egress of rats. Within this inclosure he left the
    carcases of two or three horses; and when night came, he went quietly
    with his workmen, stopped up the holes, and then entered into the
    inclosure, with a stick in one hand and a lighted torch in the other.
    The animals covered the ground so thickly that a blow struck anywhere
    did execution. By repeating the process after intervals of a few
    days, he killed 16,050 rats in the space of one month, and 2,650 in a
    single night. They have burrowed under all the walls and buildings in
    the neighbourhood; and it is only by such precautions as putting
    broken glass bottles round the foundation of a house attached to the
    establishment, that the proprietor is able to preserve it. All the
    neighbouring fields are excavated by them; and it is not unusual for
    the earth to give way and leave these subterraneous works exposed. In
    severe frost, when it becomes impossible to cut up the bodies of the
    horses, and when the fragments of flesh are almost too hard for the
    rats to feed upon, they enter the body and devour the flesh from the
    inside, so that, when the thaw comes, the workmen find nothing below
    the skin but a skeleton, better cleared of its flesh than if it had
    been done by the most skilful operator. Their ferocity, as well as
    their voracity, surpasses anything that can be imagined. M. Majendie
    placed a dozen rats in a box in order to try some experiments; when he
    reached home and opened the box, there were but three remaining; these
    had devoured the rest, and had only left their bones and tails."

We have been informed that these rats regularly marched in troops in
search of water in the dusk of the evening, and that they have often been
met in single file stealing beside the walls that lined the road to their
drinking-place. As the pavement in Paris overhangs the gutters, the rats
take advantage of this covered way to creep in safety from street to
street. Their migratory habits are well known, and every neighbourhood has
its tale of their travels. Mr. Jesse relates an anecdote, communicated to
him by a Sussex clergyman, which tends to prove that the old English rat
at least shows a consideration and care for its elders on the march which
is worthy of human philanthropy. "Walking out in some meadows one evening,
he observed a great number of rats migrating from one place to another. He
stood perfectly still, and the whole assemblage passed close to him. His
astonishment, however, was great when he saw amongst the number an old
blind rat, which held a piece of stick at one end in its mouth, while
another had hold of the other end of it, and thus conducted its blind
companion." A kindred circumstance was witnessed in 1757 by Mr. Purdew, a
surgeon's mate on board the _Lancaster_. Lying awake one evening in his
berth, he saw a rat enter, look cautiously round, and retire. He soon
returned leading a second rat, who appeared to be blind, by the ear. A
third rat joined them shortly afterwards, and assisted the original
conductor in picking up fragments of biscuit and placing them before their
infirm parent, as the blind old patriarch was supposed to be. It is only
when tormented by hunger that they appear to lose their fellow-feeling and
to prey upon one another.

The sagacity of the rat in the pursuit of food is so great, that we almost
wonder at the small amount of its cerebral development. Indeed, he is so
cunning, and works occasionally with such human ingenuity, that accounts
which are perfectly correct are sometimes received as mere fables.
Incredible as the story may appear of their removing hens' eggs by one
fellow lying on his back and grasping tightly his ovoid burden with his
fore-paws, whilst his comrades drag him away by the tail, we have no
reason to disbelieve it, knowing as we do that they will carry eggs from
the bottom to the top of a house, lifting them from stair to stair, the
first rat pushing them up on its hind and the second lifting them with its
fore legs. They will extract the cotton from a flask of Florence oil,
dipping in their long tails, and repeating the manoeuvre until they have
consumed every drop. We have found lumps of sugar in deep drawers at a
distance of thirty feet from the place where the petty larceny was
committed: and a friend saw a rat mount a table on which a drum of figs
was placed, and straightway tip it over, scattering its contents on the
floor beneath, where a score of his expectant brethren sat watching for
the windfall. His instinct is no less shown in the selection of suitable
food. He attacks the portion of the elephant's tusks that abounds with
animal oil, in preference to that which contains phosphate of lime; and
the rat-gnawn ivory is selected by the turner as fitted for billiard-balls
and other articles where the qualities of elasticity and transparency are
required. Thus, the tooth-print of this little animal serves as a
distinguishing mark of excellence in a precious material devoted to the
decorative arts. The rat does not confine himself to inert substances:
when he is hard pressed for food, he will attack anything weaker than
himself. Frogs, Goldsmith says, had been introduced into Ireland some
considerable time before the brown rat, and had multiplied abundantly, but
they were pursued in their marshes by this indefatigable hunter, and eaten
clean from off the Emerald Isle. He does not scruple to assault domestic
poultry; though a rat which attempted to capture the chicken of a
game-fowl was killed by the mother with beak and spur in the course of
twelve minutes. The hen seized it by the neck, shook it violently, put out
an eye, and plainly showed that the fowl in a conflict would be the more
powerful of the two, if he was only equally daring. The number of young
ducks which the rats destroyed in the Zoological Gardens rendered it
necessary to surround the pools with a wire rat-fencing, which half-way up
has a pipe of wirework, the circle of which is not complete by several
inches in the under part, and the rat, unable to crawl along the concave
roof which stops his onward path, is compelled to return discomfited.

The rats have been for a long time the pests of these gardens, attracted
by the presence of large quantities of food. The grating under one of the
tigers' dens is eaten through by this nimble-toothed burglar, who makes as
light of copper wire as of leaden pipes. Immediately upon the construction
of the new monkey-house, they took possession, and eat through the floors
in every direction to get at poor Jacko's bread. Vigorous measures were
taken to exclude them; the floors were filled in with concrete, and the
open roof was ceiled; but they quickly penetrated through the plaster of
the latter, as may be seen by the holes to this day. They burrowed in the
old inclosure of the wombat till the ground was quite rotten; and they
still march about the den of the rhinoceros and scamper over his
impregnable hide. It is only by constantly hunting them with terriers that
they can be kept down; and as many as a hundred in a fortnight are often
despatched, their carcases being handed over to the vultures and eagles.
Many of them seek in the daytime a securer retreat. They have frequently
been seen at evening swimming in companies across the canal to forage in
the gardens through the night, and in the morning they returned to their
permanent quarters by the same route.

The proprietors of the bonded-wheat warehouses on the banks of the Thames
are forced to take the utmost precautions against the entrance of these
depredators; otherwise, they would troop in myriads from the sewers and
waterside premises, and, as they are undoubtedly in the habit of
communicating among their friends the whereabouts of any extraordinary
supplies, they would go on increasing day by day as the report of the good
news spread through rat-land. To repel their attentions, the wooden floors
and the under parts of the doors of the granaries are lined with
sheet-iron, and the foundations are sometimes set in concrete mixed with
glass--matters too hard for even their teeth to discuss.

Country rats in the summer take to the fields, and create enormous havoc
among the standing corn. They nibble off the ears of wheat, and carry them
to their runs and burrows, where large stores have been found hoarded up
with all the forethought of the dormouse. Farmers are often puzzled to
account for the presence of rats in wheat stacks which have been placed
upon the most cunningly-contrived stands. The fact is, these animals are
tossed up with the sheaves to the rick, where they increase and multiply
at their leisure, and frequently to such an extent, that a rick, seeming
fair on the outside, is little better than a huge rat-pie.

The propensity of the rat to gnaw must not be attributed altogether to a
reckless determination to overcome impediments. The never-ceasing action
of his teeth is not a pastime, but a necessity of his existence. The
writer of an interesting paper on rats in _Bentley's Miscellany_ has
explained so clearly the dentistry of the tribe, that we extract his

    "The rat has formidable weapons in the shape of four small, long, and
    very sharp teeth, two of which are in the upper and two in the lower
    jaw. These are formed in the shape of a wedge, and by the following
    wonderful provision of nature have always a fine, sharp, cutting edge.
    On examining them carefully, we find that the inner part is of a soft,
    ivory-like composition, which may be easily worn away, whereas the
    outside is composed of a glass-like enamel, which is excessively hard.
    The upper teeth work exactly into the under, so that the centres of
    the opposed teeth meet exactly in the act of gnawing; the soft part is
    thus being perpetually worn away, while the hard part keeps a sharp,
    chisel-like edge; at the same time the teeth grow up from the bottom,
    so that as they wear away a fresh supply is ready. The consequence of
    this arrangement is, that, if one of the teeth be removed, either by
    accident or on purpose, the opposed tooth will continue to grow
    upwards, and, as there is nothing to grind them away, will project
    from the mouth and turn upon itself; or, if it be an under-tooth, it
    will even run into the skull above. There is a preparation in the
    museum of the Royal College of Surgeons which well illustrates this
    fact. It is an incisor tooth of a rat, which, from the cause above
    mentioned, has increased its growth upwards to such a degree, that it
    has formed a complete circle and a segment of another; the diameter of
    it is about large enough to admit a good-sized thumb. It is
    accompanied by the following memorandum, addressed by a Spanish priest
    to Sir J. Banks, who presented it to the Museum: 'I send you an
    extraordinary tooth of a rat. Believe me, it was found in the Nazareth
    garden (to which order I belong). I was present when the animal was
    killed, and took the tooth; I know not its virtues, nor have the
    natives discovered them.'"

We once saw a newly-killed rat to whom this misfortune had occurred. The
tooth, which was an upper one, had in this case also formed a complete
circle, and the point in winding round had passed through the lip of the
animal. Thus the ceaseless working of the rat's incisors against some hard
substance is necessary to keep them down, and if he did not gnaw for his
subsistence, he would be compelled to gnaw to prevent his jaw being
gradually locked by their rapid development.

The destructive nature of the rat, the extraordinary manner in which he
multiplies, and his perpetual presence--for where there is a chink that he
can fill, and food for him to eat, there he will be, notwithstanding that
a long line of ancestors have one after another been destroyed on the
spot[11]--necessitates some counteracting influence to keep him within due
bounds. This is done by making him the prey of hunting-animals and
reptiles, beginning with man, and running down the chain of organized life
to the gliding snake. The poor rat, although he doubtless does service as
a scavenger, and must have his use in fulfilling some essential purpose of
creation, finds favour nowhere: every man's hand, nearly every feline paw,
and many birds' beaks are against him. The world thinks of him, as of the
pauper boy in "Oliver Twist,"--"Hit him hard; he ain't a'got no friends."
Dwelling in the midst of alarms, he might be supposed to pass an uneasy
and nervous existence. But it is nothing of the kind. The same Providence
which has furnished him with the teeth suitable to the work they have to
perform, has endowed him with the feelings proper to his lot; and no
animal, if he be watched from a distance, appears more happy and
complacent. In danger he preserves a wonderful presence of mind, and acts
upon the principle that while there is life there is hope. His cunning on
such occasions is often remarkable, and evinces a reasoning power of no
contemptible order:--

    "A traveller in Ceylon," says Mrs. Lee, in her entertaining "Anecdotes
    of Animals," "saw his dogs set upon a rat, and, making them relinquish
    it, he took it up by the tail, the dogs leaping after it the whole
    time. He carried it into his dining-room, to examine it by the light
    of the lamp, during the whole of which period it remained as if it
    were dead,--limbs hanging, and not a muscle moving. After five minutes
    he threw it among the dogs, who were still in a state of great
    excitement, and, to the astonishment of all present, it suddenly
    jumped upon its legs, and ran away so fast that it baffled all its

The sagacity of the rat in eluding danger is not less than his craftiness
in dealing with it when it comes. A gentleman, Mr. Jesse relates, who fed
his own pointers, observed through a hole in the door a number of rats
eating from the trough with his dogs, who did not attempt to molest them.
Resolving to shoot the intruders, he next day put the food, but kept out
the dogs. Not a rat came to taste. He saw them peering from their holes,
but they were too well versed in human nature to venture forth without the
protection of their canine guard. After half an hour the pointers were let
in, when the rats forthwith joined their hosts, and dined with them as
usual. If it comes to the worst, and the rat is driven to bay, he will
fight with admirable resolution. A good-sized sewer-rat has been known to
daunt for a moment the most courageous bull-terrier, advancing towards him
with tail erect, and inflicting wounds of the most desperate nature. The
bite of any rat is severe, and that of a sewer-rat so highly dangerous,
that valuable dogs are rarely allowed by their masters to fight them. The
garbage on which they live poisons their teeth, and renders the wounds
they make deadly. Even with his great natural enemy and superior, the
ferret, he will sometimes get the advantage by his steady bravery and the
superiority of his tactics. Mr. Jesse describes an encounter of the kind,
the circumstances of which were related to him by a medical gentleman at

    "Being greatly surprised that the ferret, an animal of such slow
    locomotive powers, should be so destructive to the rat tribe, he
    determined to bring both these animals fairly into the arena, in order
    to judge of their respective powers; and having selected a fine large
    and full-grown male rat and also an equally strong buck ferret, which
    had been accustomed to hunt rats, my friend, accompanied by his son,
    turned these two animals loose in a room without furniture, in which
    there was but one window. Immediately upon being liberated, the rat
    ran round the room as if searching for an exit. Not finding any means
    of escape, he uttered a piercing shriek, and with the most prompt
    decision took up his station directly under the light, thus gaining
    over his adversary (to use the language of other duellists) _the
    advantage of the sun_. The ferret now erected his head, sniffed about,
    and began fearlessly to push his way towards the spot where the scent
    of his game was strongest, facing the light in full front, and
    preparing himself with avidity to seize upon his prey. No sooner,
    however, had he approached within two feet of his watchful foe, than
    the rat, again uttering a loud cry, rushed at him with violence, and
    inflicted a severe wound on the head and neck, which was soon shown by
    the blood which flowed from it; the ferret seemed astonished at the
    attack, and retreated with evident discomfiture; while the rat,
    instead of following up the advantage he had gained, instantly
    withdrew to his former station under the window. The ferret soon
    recovered the shock he had sustained, and, erecting his head, once
    more took the field. This second rencontre was in all its progress and
    results an exact repetition of the former--with this exception, that,
    on the rush of the rat to the conflict, the ferret appeared more
    collected, and evidently showed an inclination to get a firm hold of
    his enemy; the strength of the rat, however, was very great, and he
    again succeeded not only in avoiding the deadly embrace of the ferret,
    but also in inflicting another severe wound on his neck and head. The
    rat a second time returned to his retreat under the window, and the
    ferret seemed less anxious to renew the conflict. These attacks were
    resumed at intervals for nearly two hours, all ending in the failure
    of the ferret, who was evidently fighting to a disadvantage from the
    light falling full on his eye whenever he approached the rat, who
    wisely kept his ground and never for a moment lost sight of the
    advantage he had gained. In order to prove whether the choice of this
    position depended upon accident, my friend managed to dislodge the
    rat, and took his own station under the window; but the moment the
    ferret attempted to make his approach, the rat, evidently aware of the
    advantage he had lost, endeavoured to creep between my friend's legs,
    thus losing his natural fear of man under the danger which awaited him
    from his more deadly foe."

Driven from his defensive position, the rat continued his attacks, but
with an evident loss of courage, and the ferret ultimately came to the
death-grapple with his crafty antagonist. A similar battle was witnessed
by a friend, with the difference that the rat, being undisturbed in his
advantageous position with regard to the light, finally beat off the
ferret, which was absolutely bitten into shreds over the head and muzzle.
The repetition of the same conduct by a second animal shows that this
particular species of cunning is a general faculty of the tribe. The main
superiority of the ferret is in his retaining his hold when once he has
fastened on his prey, sucking his life's blood the while; whereas the rat
fights by a succession of single bites, which wound but do not destroy.
The snake prevails by his venom. Mrs. Lee relates the particulars of a
combat in Africa, in which rat and snake repeatedly closed and bit at one
another, separating after each assault, and gathering up strength for a
fresh attack. At length the rat fell, foamed at the mouth, swelled to a
great size, and died in a few minutes.[12]

If he can be savage when self-protection requires, he also has his softer
moments, in which he shows confidence in man almost as strong as that
exhibited by the dog or cat. An old blind rat, on whose head the snows of
many winters had gathered, was in the habit of sitting beside our own
kitchen fire, with all the comfortable look of his enemy, the cat; and
such a favourite had he become with the servants, that he was never
allowed to be disturbed. He unhappily fell a victim to the sudden spring
of a strange cat. A close observation of these animals entirely conquers
the antipathy which is entertained towards them. Their sharp and handsome
heads, their bright eyes, their intelligent look, their sleek skins, are
the very reverse of repulsive; and there is positive attraction in the
beautiful manner in which they sit licking their paws and washing their
faces--an occupation in which they pass a considerable portion of their
time. The writer on rats in _Bentley's Miscellany_ relates an anecdote of
a tame rat, which shows that he is capable of serving his master as well
as of passing a passive existence under his protection. The animal
belonged to the driver of a London omnibus, who caught him as he was
removing some hay. He was spared because he had the good luck to be
piebald, became remarkably tame, and grew attached to the children. At
night he exhibited a sense of the enjoyment of security and warmth, by
stretching himself out at full length on the rug before the fire; and on
cold nights, after the fire was extinguished, he would creep into his
master's bed. In the daytime, however, his owner utilized him. At the word
of command, "Come along, Ikey," he would jump into the ample great-coat
pocket, from which he was transferred to the boot of the omnibus. Here his
business was to guard the driver's dinner; and if any person attempted to
make free with it, the rat would fly at them from out the straw. There was
one dish alone of which he was an inefficient protector. He could never
resist plum-pudding; and though he kept off all other intruders, he ate
his fill of it himself. These are by no means extraordinary instances of
the amiable side of rat nature when kindly treated by man, and we could
fill pages with similar relations. But it seems, in addition to his other
merits, that he possesses dramatic genius. We have heard of military
fleas, we have seen Jacko perform his miserable imitation of humanity on
the top of a barrel-organ; but who ever heard of a rat's turn for tragedy?
Nevertheless, a Belgian newspaper not long since published an account of a
theatrical performance by a troop of rats, which gives us a higher idea of
their intellectual nature than anything else which is recorded of them.
This novel company of players were dressed in the garb of men and women,
walked on their hind legs, and mimicked with ludicrous exactness many of
the ordinary stage effects. On one point only were they intractable. Like
the young lady in the fable, who turned to a cat the moment a mouse
appeared, they forgot their parts, their audience, and their manager, at
the sight of the viands which were introduced in the course of the piece;
and, dropping on all-fours, fell to with the native voracity of their
race. The performance was concluded by their hanging in triumph their
enemy the cat, and dancing round her body.

The rat, as we have said, has many enemies: the weazel, the pole-cat, the
otter, the dog, the cat, and the snake hunt him remorselessly all over the
world. Man, however, is his most relentless and destructive enemy. In some
places he is killed for food, as in China, where dried split rats are sold
as a dainty. The _chiffonniers_ of Paris feed on them without reluctance.
Nor is rat-pie altogether obsolete in our own country. The gipsies
continue to eat such as are caught in stacks and barns, and a
distinguished surgeon of our time frequently had them served up at his
table. They feed chiefly upon grain; and it is merely the repulsive idea
which attaches to this animal under every form that causes it to be
rejected by the same man who esteems the lobster, the crab, and the shrimp
a delicacy, although he knows that they are the scavengers of the sea.
They were not always so nice in the navy. An old captain in her Majesty's
service informs us that on one occasion, when returning from India, the
vessel was infested with rats, which made great ravages among the biscuit.
Jack, to compensate for his lost provisions, had all the spoilers he could
kill, put into pies, and considered them an extraordinary delicacy. At the
siege of Malta, when the French were hard pressed, rats fetched a dollar
apiece; but the famished garrison marked their sense of the excellence of
those which were delicately fed by offering a double price for every one
caught in a granary. Man directs his hostility against the rat, however,
chiefly because he considers him a nuisance; and the gin and poison, cold
iron and the bowl, a dismal alternative, are accordingly presented to him.
With the former he is not so easily caught, and will never enter a trap or
touch a gin in which any of his kind have fretted and rubbed. Poison is a
more effectual method, but it is not always safe. Rats which have been
beguiled into partaking of arsenic instantly make for the water to quench
their intolerable thirst, and, though they usually withdraw from the
house, they may resort in their agony to an in-door cistern, and remain
there to pollute it.[13] The writer who calls himself "Uncle James," and
who, for a reason that will shortly appear, is exceedingly anxious to
impress the public with the belief that the best mode of getting rid of
the rat is to hunt him with terriers, states that a dairy-farmer in
Limerick poisoned his calves and pigs by giving them the skim milk at
which rats had drunk when under the pangs produced by arsenic. One mode of
clearing them out of a house is either to singe the hair of a devoted rat,
or else to dip his hind-quarters into tar, and then turn him loose, when
the whole community will take their leave for a while. But this is only a
temporary expedient, and in the interim the offenders are left to
multiply, and perchance transfer their ravages to another part of the
domain where they are equally mischievous. The same objection applies to
the remedy of pounding the common dog's-tongue, when gathered in full sap,
and laying it in their haunts. They retire only to return. The Germans
turn the rat himself into a police-officer to warn off his burglarious
brethren. Dr. Shaw, in his General Zoology, states that a gentleman who
travelled through Mecklenburg about thirty years ago saw one at a
post-house with a bell about its neck, which the landlord assured him had
frightened away the whole of the "whiskered vermin" which previously
infested the place. Mr. Neele says that at Bangkok, the Siamese capital,
the people are in the habit of keeping tame rats, which walk about the
room, and crawl up the legs of the inmates, who pet them as they would a
dog. They are caught young, and, attaining a monstrous size by good
feeding, take the place of our cats, and entirely free the house of their
own kind. But the most effectual and in the end the cheapest remedy is an
expert rat-catcher. Cunning as an experienced old rat becomes, he is
invariably checkmated when man fairly tries a game of skill with him. The
well-trained professor of the art, who by long habit has grown familiar
with his adversary's haunts and tactics, his hopes and fears, his
partialities and antipathies, will clear out a house or a farmyard, where
a novice would merely catch a few unwary adventurers and put the rest upon
their guard. The majority of the world have, happily for themselves, a
better office, and the regular practitioner might justly address the
amateur in much the same words that the musician employed to Frederick the
Great, when the royal flute-player was expecting to be complimented on his
performance: "It would be a discredit to your Majesty to play as well as

"Uncle James," however, is of a different opinion. This author considers
that every man should be his own rat-catcher, which he evidently believes
to be the most improving, dignified, and fascinating calling under the
sun, as he considers rats themselves to be the crying evil of the day,
second only in his estimation to the grand injustice of the old corn-law.
Indeed, we cannot see from his own premises how the evil can be second to
any great destructive principle, earthquakes included. He takes a single
pair of rats, and proves satisfactorily that in three years, if
undisturbed, they will have thirteen litters of eight each at a birth, and
that the young will begin littering again when six months old; by this
calculation he increases the original pair at the end of three years to
six hundred and fifty-six thousand eight hundred and eight. Calculating
that ten rats eat as much in one day as a man, which we think is rather
under than over the fact, the consumption of these rats would be equal "to
that of sixty-four thousand six hundred and eight men the year round, and
leave eight rats in the year to spare." Now, if a couple of rats could
occasion such devastation in three years after the original pair marched
out of the ark, how comes it that the descendants of the myriads which
ages ago co-existed among us have not eaten up the earth and the fullness
thereof? Uncle James conveniently forgets that animals do not multiply
according to arithmetical progression, but simply in proportion to the
food provided for them. He must not, however, be expected to be wiser than
Malthus on the subject of animal reproduction, and he has the additional
incentive to error, that he evidently paints up his horrors for an artful
purpose. There can be no sort of doubt that he has several well-bred
terriers to dispose of, and hence the following panacea for all the evils
which afflict society.

    "A dog, to be of sound service, ought to be of six to thirteen pounds
    weight; over that they become too unwieldy. I would also recommend,
    above all others, the London rat-killing terrier: he is as hard as
    steel, courageous as a lion, and as handsome as a racehorse!--[Uncle
    James is a Londoner, of course.] Let the farmers in each parish meet
    and pass resolutions calling upon their representatives in parliament
    to take the tax off rat-killing dogs. Let them devise plans for
    procuring some well-bred terriers and ferrets, and spread the young
    ones about among their men. Let there be a reward offered of so much
    per head for dead rats, and let there be one person in each parish
    appointed to pay for the same. Rats are valuable for manure; let there
    be a pit in each locality, and let this man stick up an announcement
    every week, in some conspicuous place, as to the number of rats
    killed, and by whom. Then, what will be the result? Why, a spirit of
    emulation will rise up among the villagers, and they will be
    ransacking every hole and corner for rats. _Thus will a tone of
    cheerful enterprise, activity, and pleasantry come in among them_,
    'with a fund of conversation;' and instead of that crawling, dogged
    monotony which characterizes their general gait and manner, they will
    meet their employers and go to their labour with joyous steps and
    smiling countenances."

The coming man, so long expected, is it seems the rat-catcher. Here is
manure multiplied, agriculture improved, food husbanded, a smiling,
enlightened, and conversible peasantry--and all the result of
rat-catching. But a difficulty has been overlooked. When the entire
population is converted into rat-catchers, rats must shortly, like the
dodo, be extinct. For a while we shall become an exporting country, but
this resource must fail us at last, and England's glory will expire with
its rats. Then once more we shall have a sullen, silent, discontented
peasantry; "their fund of conversation" will be exhausted, or at best the
villagers will be reduced to talk with a sigh of the golden age, never to
be renewed, when the country enjoyed the unspeakable blessing of
rat-catching. In short, we fear that Uncle James has been so exclusively
devoted to the science of rat-catching, that he has neglected to cultivate
the inferior art of reasoning; but, interested as we suspect it to be, we
join in his commendation of the virtues of the terrier. The expedition
with which a clever dog will put his victims out of their misery is such
that a terrier not four pounds in weight has killed four hundred rats
within two hours. By this we may estimate the destruction dealt to the
race by that nimble animal, "hard as steel, courageous as a lion, and
handsome as a race-horse." A custom has sprung up within the last twenty
years of watching these dogs worry rats in a pit, and there are private
arenas of the kind where our fair countrywomen, leaning over the cushioned
circle, will witness with admiration the cleverness of their husbands' or
brothers' terriers. "Uncle James" might commend their taste, and think the
sport calculated to furnish them with "a fund of conversation, and a
spirit of cheerful enterprise and pleasantry;" but except the fact had
proved it to be otherwise, we should have supposed that there was not an
educated man in Great Britain who would not have been shocked at this
novel propensity of English ladies.


Horace Walpole, whose pen has graven so deeply the social characteristics
of his age, in describing to his friend Mann the terrors excited by the
Lord George Gordon mob, says "they threaten to let the lions out of the
Tower, and the madmen out of Bedlam." In this short sentence we have a
clear view of the opinion which our forefathers entertained of
lunatics--an opinion which the pictures of Hogarth's Madhouse Cells have
impressed on the popular mind even to this day. And in truth it is not
fifty years since the state of things which now exists only in the
imagination of the ignorant, was both general and approved. The interior
of Bethlehem at that date could furnish pictures more terrible than
Hogarth ever conceived. It is not our purpose, however, to dwell upon
these horrors of former days. Through the instrumentality of the late
Samuel Tuke, of York, Gardner Hill, Charlesworth, Winslow, and Conolly, of
London, the old method of treatment, with its whips, chains, and manacles,
has passed away for ever; and as a true emblem of the revolution which has
taken place, we may mention that some years since a governor, in passing
through the laundry of Bethlehem, perceived a wrist-manacle, which had
been converted by one of the women into a stand for a flat iron!

In spite of the ameliorations in the condition of the insane, many among
the higher, and nearly all among the lower classes, still look upon the
County Asylum as the Bluebeard's cupboard of the neighbourhood. These
unfounded ideas act as a powerful drawback to the successful treatment of
insanity, for as the vast majority of cures are effected within three
months of the original attack, whatever deters the friends of the patient
from bringing him under regimen at the earliest possible moment, probably
ensures the perpetuation of the disease. We can well imagine the undefined
awe and tribulation of spirit with which the unhappy creatures who are
stricken in mind enter the gates of an abode in which they are supposed to
be given over to a durance worse than death; but so mistaken is the
impression, that the feelings of desperation are almost immediately
succeeded by the inspiriting dawnings of hope. The furious maniac who
arrives at Colney Hatch or Hanwell in a cart, or a hand-barrow, bound with
ropes like a frantic animal, the terror of his friends and himself, is no
sooner within the building which imagination invests with such terrors,
than half his miseries cease. The ropes cut, he stands up once more free
from restraint, kind words are spoken to him, he is soothed by a bath,
and, if still violent, the padded room, which offers no aggravating
mechanical or personal resistance, calms his fury, and sleep, which has so
long been a stranger to him, visits him the first night which he spends in
the dreaded asylum. An old lady--a relapsed patient--whose silver locks
hung dishevelled on her shoulders, was, when we visited Hanwell, waiting
in a cab in a state of the wildest excitement. Immediately she was
admitted, and recognised the faces of the nurses who had formerly been
kind to her, her whole countenance changed. "What, you Burke and you
Thomson again!" she exclaimed, delighted at renewing former friendships;
and settling herself down peaceably in the ward, she appeared as
comfortable as at her own fireside.

Not only have the old methods of treatment been abandoned, but many
changes have been made to render the houses for the insane less repulsive
to the eye. Thousands of pounds have been spent in replacing the
dungeon-like apertures (often without glass) with light-framed windows,
undarkened by dismal bars; the gratings have been removed from the
fireplaces; and that all the other associations may be in harmony with the
improved appearance of the building, the harsh title of keeper has given
place to that of attendant, and the madhouse has become the asylum. In the
old plan, the entire treatment seemed to consist in secluding the patient
from every sight which renders life sweet, and in wrenching him violently
from all the conditions which formerly surrounded him; the new idea is to
bring within the walls as much of the outside world as possible. Here the
artisan finds employment in various handicrafts, the agricultural labourer
renews his commerce with the soil, and the female plies her needle or
pursues her accustomed occupations in the laundry or the kitchen.
Amusement takes its turn, and those who travel by the Great Western train
on winter evenings are surprised to see the lights streaming from the
great hall of Hanwell, and to hear perchance the sounds of music. These
issue from the ball-room of the establishment! In place of the dark
dungeon, the bonds and the blows which once added outward to inward woe,
the inmates are realising the poetic picture of Gray,--

  "With antic Sport and blue-eyed Pleasures,
    Frisking light in frolic measures;
  Now pursuing, now retreating,
    Now in circling troops they meet:
  To brisk notes in cadence beating
    Glance their many-twinkling feet."

Mental aberration is not of necessity the bane of mental enjoyment. There
are many sweets by which its bitterness may be diluted and diminished,
though our ancestors were so ignorant of the fact, as to believe that the
best thing to be done for a mind o'erthrown was to pour vinegar to gall.

Dr. Conolly, in his lately-published volume on "The Treatment of the
Insane without Mechanical Restraint," looks upon the banishment of the
strait-waistcoat with a just pride, for to him we owe the abolition of the
last mechanical means of coercing temporary violence; but we cannot
participate in his fear that the selfishness and ignorance of human nature
will ever be able to restore the gloomy reign which has at last been
brought to a close. We can no more go back to the days of hobbles and
handcuffs, chains and stripes, than we can go back to the days of the rack
and thumbscrew. We may have, it is true, lamentable exposures, such as
took place at Bethlehem in 1851, but the depth of the public outcry, and
the promptness with which the irregularities were remedied, is of itself
an evidence that general opinion will prove the corrective of occasional
abuses. Nor can we, from a fancied apprehension of the return to obsolete
practices, join in the fanaticism which forbids the use of the
strait-jacket as a means of coercion under all circumstances. There can be
no doubt that the treatment which requires its frequent use is a bad one;
but to deny that there are cases which call for its restraints would be to
deny the evidence of our senses. Mr. Wilkes, the late medical officer to
the Stafford County Lunatic Asylum, and now Commissioner in Lunacy, in
answer to a series of questions issued by the Commissioners on Lunacy upon
the subject, makes the following remarks:--

    "With every disposition to advocate the disuse of restraint to the
    utmost extent, I am compelled to admit that the result of my
    experience in this asylum, up to the present time, leads me to the
    conclusion that cases may occur in which its temporary employment may
    be both necessary and justifiable. Besides the occasional use of some
    means of confining the hands when feeding patients by means of the
    stomach-pump, a more prolonged use of restraint was necessary in two
    cases which occurred some years since. One of these was a man of so
    determined a suicidal disposition, that on more than one occasion he
    nearly effected his purpose by trying to beat his head and face
    against the walls, to throw himself from tables and chairs, and thrust
    spoons and other articles down his throat. When first admitted, he was
    not suspected of having any suicidal tendency, and for some weeks did
    not show any; as a matter of precaution he slept in a padded room, and
    one night he so battered his head with a tin vessel that he was found
    nearly dead from loss of blood, and his life was subsequently in much
    danger from extensive sloughing of the scalp. In this case it was
    absolutely necessary to confine the hands to keep any dressings on the
    head, and after the wounds had healed, and the confinement of the
    hands had been discontinued, he wore a thickly-padded cap for many
    months. Several years after this, he bit both his little fingers off;
    and though the suicidal disposition has in a great measure subsided,
    he is still at times much excited, but does not require any restraint.
    The second case was one of acute mania. A powerful young man refused
    all food under the impression that it was poisoned, and imagined that
    every one who went near him intended to murder him. Every inducement
    to get him to take food was in vain, and though a sufficient body of
    attendants, under my own inspection, attempted to do what was
    necessary for him, he became so much bruised in holding him in his
    struggles to assail the attendants, when it was urgently requisite
    that food should be administered into the stomach, that I decided upon
    confining his hands, and both food and medicine were then readily
    administered. The result certainly justified the means employed, as
    the excitement subsided, and he soon recovered."

So much for the experience of the medical attendant of a public asylum;
now let us hear the testimony of Dr. Forbes Winslow, whose experience in
his private asylum, Sussex House, Hammersmith, has been as great perhaps
as that of any man, since he has lived with his family for ten years in
the very midst of his patients, and who is surpassed by no one in his
enlightened and gentle treatment of the insane.

    "Patients," he says, in his Report to the Commissioners, "have often
    expressed a wish to be placed under mechanical restraint, should I, in
    my judgment, believe that they would, when much excited, commit overt
    acts of violence, and be dangerous to themselves and others. In cases
    like these, mechanical restraint may for a short period be applied,
    not only without detriment, but with positive advantage as a curative
    process. Several instances relative of this fact have come under my
    observation. I have seen cases where no food or medicine could be
    administered without subjecting the patient to restraint. In these
    cases, if all idea of cure had been abandoned, and I could have
    reconciled it to my conscience to allow the disease to take its
    uninterrupted course, and have permitted the patient to exist upon the
    minimum amount of nutriment, and take no medicine, all restraint might
    easily be dispensed with; but considering the cure of my patient
    paramount to every other consideration, I had no hesitation as to the
    humane and right mode of procedure."

In a case which came under our knowledge, a patient imagined that the
text, "If thine eye offend thee pluck it out," was literally intended,
and, after various attempts to comply with the command, he succeeded in
destroying the sight of one orbit. Such instances are rare, but the
medical man should at all times be prepared to meet them, instead of
folding his arms and looking helplessly on whilst the mischief is being
done, through a craven fear of the non-restraint cry. The strait-waistcoat
is certainly liable to great abuse, but less than the padded room, which
may be converted into a cruel means of coercion in the hands of unwatched

There yet remains a vast amount of restraint, which is almost as
irritating, if not so strongly reprobated, as the implements which bind
the limbs of the suicidal or violent. Restraint is only comparative. The
strait-waistcoat is the narrowest zone of confinement, and the padded room
but a little wider. Next to these comes the locked gallery for a class,
then the encircling high wall for the entire lunatic community; and
lastly, that aërial barrier the parole, for those who can be trusted to go
beyond the asylum. The efforts of philanthropists will not, we are
convinced, cease, until all the methods of confinement, down to the
parole, are removed; or at least so disguised as to hinder their present
irritating action upon the inmates. As long as the chief idea in
connection with these establishments is that they are receptacles for the
_detention_ of the insane, so long perhaps the means taken to prevent
flight will obtain; but when they are simply regarded as hospitals for the
cure of mental disease, we shall witness the abandonment of many
arrangements which are as barbarous and ineffectual as the cruelties
practised in the last century. The asylums where the restraint is greatest
are precisely those from which the largest number of patients contrive to
escape; whereas, when restrictions of all kinds are abolished, as at the
insane pauper colony of Gheel, in Belgium, but few persons ever attempt to
get away.

In former days the public were admitted to perambulate Bedlam on the
payment of twopence. A writer in the _World_ gives a narrative of a visit
to it in Easter-week, 1753, when he found there a hundred holiday-makers,
who "were suffered unattended to run rioting up and down the wards, making
sport of the miserable inhabitants." Richardson, the novelist, had, a few
years earlier, depicted the scene in the assumed character of a young lady
from the country, describing to her friends the sights of London.

    "I have this afternoon been with my cousins to gratify the odd
    curiosity most people have to see Bethlehem, or Bedlam Hospital. A
    more affecting scene my eyes never beheld. I had the shock of seeing
    the late polite and ingenious Mr. ---- in one of these woful chambers.
    No sooner did I put my face to the grate, but he leaped from his bed,
    and called me with frightful fervency to come into his room. The
    surprise affected me pretty much, and my confusion being observed by a
    crowd of strangers, I heard it presently whispered that I was his
    sweetheart and the cause of his misfortune. My cousin assured me that
    such fancies were frequent upon these occasions; but this accident
    drew so many eyes upon me as obliged me soon to quit the place. I was
    much at a loss to account for the behaviour of the generality of
    people who were looking at these miserable objects. Instead of the
    concern I think unavoidable at such a sight, a sort of mirth appeared
    on their countenances, and the distempered fancies of the miserable
    patients provoked mirth and loud laughter in the unthinking auditors;
    and the many hideous roarings and wild motions of others seemed
    equally entertaining to them. Nay, so shamefully inhuman were some,
    among whom, I am sorry to say it, were several of my own sex, as to
    endeavour to provoke the patients into rage to make them sport."

Supposed to be degraded to the level of beasts, as wild beasts they were
treated. Like them they were shut up in dens littered with straw,
exhibited for money, and made to growl and roar for the diversion of the
spectators who had paid their fee. No wonder that Bedlam should have
become a word of fear; no wonder that in popular estimation the bad odour
of centuries should still cling to its walls, and that the stranger,
tempted by curiosity to pass beneath the shadow of its dome, should enter
with sickening trepidation. But now, instead of the howling madhouse his
imagination may have painted it, he sees prim galleries filled with
orderly persons. Scenes of cheerfulness and content meet the eye of the
visitor as he is conducted along well-lit corridors, from which the bars
and gratings of old have vanished. He stops, surprised and delighted, to
look at the engravings of Landseer's pictures on the walls, or to admire
the busts upon the brackets; he beholds tranquil persons walking around
him, or watches them feeding the birds which abound in the aviaries fitted
up in the depths of the ample windows. Indeed the pet animals, such as
rabbits, squirrels, &c., with the verdant ferneries, render the
convalescent wards of this hospital more cheerful than any we have seen in
similar institutions. At intervals the monotony of the long-drawn
corridors is broken by ample-sized rooms carpeted and furnished like the
better class of dwellings. If we pass along the female side of the
hospital, we find the apartments occupied by a score of busy workers, the
majority of whom appear to be gentlewomen. Every conceivable kind of
needlework is dividing their attention with the young lady who reads aloud
"David Copperfield," or "Dred;" while beside the fire, perhaps, an old
lady with silver locks gives a touch of domesticity to the scene, which we
should little have expected to meet within these walls. In traversing the
male side, instead of the workroom we find a library, in which the
patients, reclining upon the sofas or lolling in arm-chairs round the
fire, beguile the hours with books or the _Illustrated News_. Many a
scholar, the silver chord of whose brain jingles for the moment out of
tune, here finds a congenial atmosphere, and such materials for study as
he often could not obtain out-of-doors; and here many an artist,
clergyman, officer, and broken-down gentleman, meets with social converse,
which the world does not dream could exist in Bedlam.[14]

No cases of more than twelve months' standing are admitted within the
walls of Bedlam, and only ninety persons termed incurables are allowed to
remain beyond that period. These regulations exclude the idiotic and
epileptic patients, who form such distressing groups in other
establishments, and the interest required to obtain admission into this
amply endowed charity ensures at the same time a much higher class of
inmates. Clergymen, barristers, governesses, literary men, artists, and
military and naval officers make up the staple of the assembly. The
representatives of the lower orders are also present, but the educated
element prevails, and the tone of dress and manners is vastly above that
to be found in the pauper-swarming county asylums. There is a ball on the
first Monday in every month, and the company that gathers in the crystal
chamber at the extreme end of the south wing would not disgrace in
behaviour and appearance any sane and well-bred community. The polka, the
waltz, and the mazurka, performed with grace and ease, declare the social
standing of the assembly; and many a pedestrian who sees the dark
silhouettes of the dancers as they whirl across the light, is astonished
at the festivities of the inmates. In the summer evenings the spacious
courts are crowded with the patients, not gloomily walking between four
dismal walls in which the very air seemed placed under restraint, but
enjoying themselves in the bowling-green or in the skittle alley. The
garden is at hand for those who love the culture of flowers. When we
contrast the condition of the Bethlehem of fifty years ago with the
Bethlehem of to-day, we see at a glance what a gulf has been leaped in
half a century--a gulf on one side of which we see man, like a demon,
torturing his unfortunate fellows, on the other like a ministering angel
carrying out the all-powerful law of love. Can this be the same Bethlehem
where, in 1808, Mr. Westerton, Mr. Calvert, and Mr. Wakefield saw ten
patients in the women's gallery, each fastened by one arm or leg to the
wall, with a length of chain that only allowed them to stand up by their
bench, and dressed in a filthy blanket thrown poncho-like over their
otherwise naked bodies? Can this be the same institution in which poor
Norris, like a fierce hound in a kennel, was favoured with a long chain
that passed through the wall into the next room, and which, while
permitting him a little extra tether, enabled the keeper to haul him up to
the side of the cell when it was necessary to approach him? But this
indulgence did not last, and from the pages of Esquirol we learn the
infernal torture which was finally put upon him.

    "A stout iron ring was riveted round his neck, from which a short
    chain passed to a ring made to slide upwards or downwards on an
    upright massive iron bar, more than six feet high, inserted into the
    wall. Round his body a strong iron bar, about two inches wide, was
    riveted; on each side of the bar was a circular projection, which,
    being fastened to and enclosing each of his arms, pinioned them close
    to his side."

In this position, in which he could only stand upright or lie upon his
back, he lived for twelve years! But in nothing, perhaps, is the contrast
between the past and the present more apparent than in the two pictures
presented by Dr. Hood, the resident physician, from the case book of the
Bethlehem Hospital, which at once show the difference of treatment and the
different results which attended it.

    "A. F., admitted into the Hospital, February 6, 1808, aged 34. This
    woman was born at Derby. At the age of 20 she came to London to seek
    for service, but she soon lost her character. The natural violence of
    her disposition was increased by her intemperance. She was the most
    turbulent of all the females that disturb the night about Fleet
    Market, and has been repeatedly flogged at Bridewell for her extreme
    violence and disorder. She became at length the horror of the
    watchmen, for punishing and imprisonment had no effect in checking her
    career. She was known to her companions by the name of 'Ginger.' In
    one of her paroxysms of rage she attacked the windows of the Mansion
    House, and on her examination before the Lord Mayor, it appeared that
    her violent disposition had gradually passed into a state of complete
    madness. Under these circumstances she was sent, February 6th, 1808,
    to the Hospital, and placed on the curable establishment. At the
    expiration of twelve months, her lunacy continuing, she was admitted
    on the incurable list. There is no record of the manner in which she
    conducted herself during the first year, but it appears _that she was
    chained to her bed of straw for eight years without any covering or
    apparel_. So long as she continued thus coerced the violence
    continued. The last entry is '_coercion still makes her ferocious, but
    when left at liberty she is not in the least degree dangerous_.'"

    "M. C., admitted into this Hospital, Sept. 30, 1853, in a state of
    violent raging excitement, depending upon acute mania. She had been in
    this state three days previous to her admission, and had wandered
    about the streets in a comparatively naked state, under the excitement
    of religious enthusiasm. She was a powerful, muscular woman; and to
    bring her to the Hospital it was necessary to impose upon her the
    restraint of a strait-jacket. She screamed violently all the way to
    the Hospital, and used the most threatening language, refusing to
    listen to anything that was said to her, but when tired of
    vociferating, contented herself with kicking and spitting at those
    within her reach. On admission, the mechanical restraint was removed;
    she was ordered a warm bath, and two grains of the acetate of morphia,
    and afterwards placed in a bed in a padded room. She continued noisy
    for an hour or two, and then became quieter; but the attendant, who
    looked at her every half-hour, always found her sleepless. The
    following day she continued tranquil, but when addressed, responded
    with an oath. She was ordered one grain and a half of acetate of
    morphia. The third day she continued quiet and sullen, but permitted
    the nurse to dress her and place her in a chair in the day-room with
    the other patients. The following day (the fourth) she continued
    tranquil and rational, rather shrinking from conversation; and being a
    little feverish, was ordered 'henbane,' with a saline. From that day
    she speedily became convalescent, and was discharged cured, November
    11, 1853, having been a patient in the Hospital forty-two days."

Thus diversely does disordered nature answer to an appeal according to the
spirit in which it is made. There is a reverse, however, to every medal,
and the skeleton cupboards of Bethlehem are the male criminal lunatic
wards. These dens, for we can call them by no softer name, are the only
remaining representatives of old Bedlam. They consist of dismal, arched
corridors, feebly lit at either end by a single window in double irons,
and divided in the middle by gratings more like those which enclose the
fiercer carnivora at the Zoological Gardens than anything we have
elsewhere seen employed for the detention of afflicted humanity. Here
fifty male lunatics are herded together without regard to their previous
social or moral condition. Thus the unfortunate clergyman, the Rev. Hugh
Willoughby, who fired a pistol two years since at the judge at the Central
Criminal Court, is herded with the plebeian perpetrator of some horrible
murder. Side by side with the unfortunate Captain Johnson, of the ship
"Tory," who, in a fit of extraordinary excitement during a mutiny on board
his vessel, cut down some of his crew, but is now perfectly sane, sits
perhaps the ruffian who murdered the warder in cold blood at Coldbath
Fields--a villain brought in mad by a tender-hearted jury who shrunk from
the responsibility of hanging him. Here also poor Dad, the artist, who
killed his father whilst labouring under a sudden paroxysm of insanity, is
obliged to weave his fine fancies on the canvas amidst the most revolting
conversation and the most brutal behaviour. Those who contend that all
criminal lunatics should be treated alike, do not consider the vast
difference between the tone of mind in an abandoned wretch who has lived a
life of villany, and the gentleman who has committed a casual offence. As
the former advances towards sanity the brutal disposition, which early
training in vice and dissipation has engraved upon his nature, comes into
strong relief, whilst the good breeding which is natural to the latter,
and which was but temporarily eclipsed in him, resumes its sway. Nay,
nothing is more certain than that the previous habits and manners of the
lunatic are to a great extent unaffected by his unfortunate malady, even
when it is at its height. The disgrace of thus caging up together the
coarse and the gentle, the virtuous and the abandoned, rests wholly upon
the shoulders of the Home Secretary. The governors of the hospitals, the
medical officers, and the lunacy commissioners, have over and over again
remonstrated against the enormity, and to our national shame have
remonstrated in vain. It is proposed to build a special asylum for all the
state lunatics who are now distributed among county asylums, hospitals,
licensed houses, workhouses and jails, to the number of 591,[15] and it is
a duty which we trust will not be longer delayed. There can be little
doubt that the presence of these crime-tainted individuals is felt deeply
by the innocent lunatics, and that their recovery is retarded by the
indignation excited at their degrading companionship with the outcasts of
society. The erection of a criminal asylum upon a large scale would both
compel a better system of classification, and would necessitate some
solution of the difficult question--What shall be done with criminal
patients who have recovered? One class of cases at least, as Dr. Tyler
Smith has pointed out, leaves no room for doubt. The females who have
committed offences whilst under the influence of the delirium attendant
upon puerperal fever, and who, having recovered, are past the age of
child-bearing, should at once be released. They are no longer liable to a
recurrence of mental aberration, and to keep them incarcerated for life,
is to treat past misfortune as an inexpiable crime. Nothing can be more
cruel, unjust, and motiveless.

It is proposed to remove Bethlehem Hospital into the country, on the plea
that ground cannot be obtained in sufficient quantity for the use of the
inmates. If by this is meant that agricultural pursuits cannot be carried
on in St. George's Fields, we rejoice in the fact. A sane man, accustomed
to the busy scene of a large town, would be wretched if he was condemned
to pass the remainder of his days amid the silence of the fields, and the
lunatic remains for the most part under the same domination of former
habits. The notion that his faculties are universally disordered, all his
perceptions destroyed, all his tastes obliterated, and all his sympathies
extinct, is one of the grossest errors which can prevail. Nor do the
better class of patients (such as form the inmates of Bethlehem) require
the hard exercise which is necessary for the maintenance of health with an
agricultural pauper. They find far more recreation in strolling through
the streets in the neighbourhood of the asylum, under the care of an
attendant, than in wading through ploughed fields, or in taking a turn at
spade husbandry. To this we must add, that insanity is often a sudden
seizure, that individuals go raving mad in the streets; that, in short,
there are frightful casualties of the mind, as of the body, which require
the instant attention of the mental physician. For this reason alone every
lunatic asylum should no more be removed into the country than every
ordinary hospital. But, apart from this circumstance, we repeat that
Bethlehem, within call of friends and within the hum of the busy world,
glimpses of which can be caught by the patients from the loopholes of
their retreat, and into which they are occasionally allowed to enter, is
far better placed for purposes of cure than in any rural district, however
well supplied with the means of pursuing agricultural labour. At present
all the sights of the metropolis are from time to time enjoyed by the
inmates. "The male patients last year," says Dr. Hood, the resident
physician, "who were not fit to be discharged, were allowed to spend a day
at Kew; another day they went by steamboat to the Nore; and, conducting
themselves well under the charge of careful attendants, visited many
public exhibitions--the National Gallery, the Crystal Palace, Marlborough
House, the Zoological Gardens, Smithfield Cattle-show, &c." Who can doubt
that people accustomed to such sights and sounds would infinitely prefer
them to the delights of walking between hedge-rows, hoeing weeds, or
digging potatoes? Who can doubt that these little excursions of the
wall-bound inmates into the cheerful life of the outside world are a vast
advantage to the slowly-recovering brain, and constitute just that
desirable transitional training necessary to their safe restitution to
unlimited freedom? In fact, under the old system, when convalescent
patients, who had been confined for months in dungeon-like cells,
bristling with bars, were taken to the gates and returned suddenly to
unrestrained liberty, the effect of the contrast was often so great, that
they set off running in a paroxysm of excitement, and were frequently
brought back again in a few days, reduced by a too abrupt release to their
old condition. It would not perhaps be undesirable to add to Bethlehem
some small rural establishment, answering to the _succursales_ of foreign
lunatic asylums; but this should be strictly an appendage, to which
patients should be sent for a short time, for change of air and scene,
just as all the world now and then take a trip to the country to refresh
the wearied eye with the sight of green trees and fields, and to cure that
moral scurvy contracted by perpetually dwelling upon the dismal vistas of
blackened bricks which constitute metropolitan prospects.

For the fullest development of the prevalent system of treating the insane
we must go to Colney Hatch and Hanwell, the two great lunatic asylums for
the county of Middlesex. The former, situated on the Great Northern
Railway, only six miles from the metropolis, is the largest and perhaps
the most imposing-looking non-metropolitan building of the kind in Europe.
In this establishment, built within the last six years, we may study the
merits and demerits of modern asylums. Containing within its walls a
population, inclusive of officers and attendants, of 1,380 persons, which
is equal to that of our largest villages, and presenting the appearance of
a town, its wards and passages amounting in the aggregate to the length of
six miles, it is here that we shall find the completest system of
organization, and, if we may use the term, of official routine. The
enormous sum of money expended upon Colney Hatch, which has reached
already to £270,000, prepares us for the almost palatial character of its
elevation. Its _façade_, of nearly a third of a mile, is broken at
intervals by Italian campaniles and cupolas; and the whole aspect of the
exterior leads the visitor to expect an interior of commensurate
pretensions. He no sooner crosses the threshold, however, than the scene
changes. As he passes along the corridor, which runs from end to end of
the building, he is oppressed with the gloom; the little light admitted by
the loop-holed windows is absorbed by the inky asphalte paving, and,
coupled with the low vaulting of the ceiling, gives a stifling feeling and
a sense of detention as in a prison. The staircases scarcely equal those
of a workhouse; plaster there is none, and a coat of paint or whitewash
does not even conceal the rugged surface of the brickwork. In the wards a
similar state of things exists: airy and spacious they are, without doubt;
but of human interest they possess nothing. Upwards of a quarter of a
million has been squandered principally upon the exterior of this
building; but not a sixpence can be spared to adorn the walls within with
picture, bust, or even the commonest cottage decoration. This is the vice
which pervades the majority of county asylums lately erected. The visiting
justices doubtless believe that it would be a superfluous and even
mischievous refinement to trouble themselves about pleasing the eye or
amusing the brain of the lunatic; but this is a mighty error, as every
person knows who understands how keenly sensitive are the minds of the
majority of the insane.

  "Stone walls do not a prison make,
  Nor iron bars a cage,"

sings the graceful Lovelace; but it should be remembered that the lunatic
has no divine Althea to muse upon in his house of detention, and the
majority of the insane have no healthy wings by which their minds can leap
beyond the dreariness of the present. To divert them from the demon in
possession, all the ingenuity of philanthropy should be employed; but this
truth has been overlooked both here and at Hanwell; and we are lost in
astonishment when we reflect upon the folly of lavishing hundreds of
thousands upon outward ornamentation, whilst the decorations common among
the poorest labourers are denied to the inmates for whom all this expense
has been incurred. There is no more touching sight at Colney Hatch than to
notice the manner in which the female lunatics have endeavoured to
diversify the monotonous appearance of their cell-like sleeping-rooms with
rag dolls, bits of shell, porcelain, or bright cloth placed symmetrically
in the light of the window-sill. The love of ornament seems to dwell with
them when all other mental power is lost; and they strew gay colours about
them with no more sense, but with as much enjoyment, as the bower-bird of
the Zoological Gardens adorns his playing-bower.[16] The prison dress of
the male patients is in keeping with the desolate walls. It is infinitely
depressing, even to the visitor, to see nothing but dull grey garments;
and the lunatics themselves feel degraded by a uniform dedicated to the
gaol-bird. The medical officers of both this asylum and Hanwell are deeply
impressed with its injurious effects, and they have long denounced it.
Happily the system is confined to the men, not, however, from any
benevolent feeling towards the females, but simply because gown-pieces of
the same pattern cannot be procured in sufficient quantities to clothe the
entire community. Among the sane, self-respect is increased by the
possession of decent clothes, and the lunatic is often still more amenable
to their influence. A refractory patient at Colney Hatch was in the habit
of tearing his clothes into shreds. Mr. Tyerman, one of the medical
officers, ordered him to be dressed in a bran-new suit. The poor man, a
tailor by trade, either from a professional appreciation of the value of
his new habiliments, or from being touched by this mark of attention,
respected their integrity, and from that moment rapidly recovered. Before
leaving the asylum he stated that he owed his cure to the good effect
produced upon his mind by being intrusted with this new suit of clothes.
At Hanwell, the patients who destroy their dresses are put into strong
canvas garments, bound round with leather and fastened with padlocks. This
plan is adopted at some other lunatic asylums; but it always looks

It is only, we believe, in the metropolitan county asylums, which should
be model establishments, that the grey prison dress is retained. In the
majority of county asylums the smock-frock of the district is used, and
the patient moves about undistinguished from the rest of the population by
any repulsive badge. In France and Belgium they manage better still. Dr.
Webster, in his notes on foreign lunatic asylums, published in the
_Psychological Journal of Medicine_, speaks of the bright head-dresses and
vivid shawls used in France, as giving a cheerful appearance to the
assembled inmates. Nothing less could be expected from the known
disposition of a people of whom it has been said, that if any man among
them was thrown naked into the sea, he would rise up clothed from head to
foot with a sword, bag-wig, and ruffles to boot. In the present matter
they have been wiser in their generation than ourselves; and we can
imagine with what surprise they would learn that at Hanwell, the most
celebrated English establishment for the treatment of the insane, patients
are rewarded for good conduct by allowing them to wear a fancy waistcoat.
This fact of itself shows the aversion to the prison garb, and the
necessity of discarding it. But the same visiting committee which inspects
the county gaol governs the asylum, and we regret to say that they allow
the organization of the former to be introduced into the latter.

In spite of these drawbacks, the progress made within the last twenty
years has been immense. A walk through the wards and workshops of Colney
Hatch will prove that the lunatic is at last treated as though he had
human sympathy and desires, and was capable of behaving in many respects
like a rational being. All large asylums possess an advantage over smaller
ones in their greater ability to classify their inmates. The wards and
corridors of Colney Hatch and Hanwell are so extensive that they may be
likened to different streets inhabited by distinct classes. It is usual to
name the compartments according to the mental condition of the patients
contained in them. Thus in most asylums we have the refractory ward, the
epileptic ward, the paralytic ward, the ward for dirty patients, and the
convalescent ward. At Colney Hatch it is considered better to use numbers
instead, as the patients soon become acquainted with the denomination of
the class to which they belong, and often behave in conformity with it.
Thus the lunatic, finding himself in a refractory ward, will sometimes act
up to the part assigned to him, when he would otherwise be peaceable. The
vice of classification is that it separates the population of an asylum
into so many mental castes, which in some measure prevents that easy
transition from lunacy to sanity, which it is desirable to maintain. In
the choice of difficulties, however, there can be little doubt that these
divisions in lunatic establishments, as at present constructed, present
the most convenient as well as the best means of treating the insane, and
the errors to which it is liable can at all times be obviated by the
careful supervision of the medical officers.

Nothing strikes the visitor with greater admiration than the care taken of
the paralytic and imbecile patients, who form so large a per-centage of
the inmates of the county asylums. In most cases the sleeping apartments
of these poor creatures at Colney Hatch and Hanwell are padded round
breast-high, in order that they may not damage themselves against the
walls whilst seized with convulsions in bed; and a pillow has been
invented perfectly permeable to the air, on which they can lie with their
faces downward during the paroxysm of a fit, without the risk of
suffocation. In extreme cases even the floor is padded, lest the sufferer
should unconsciously throw himself upon it. The bed-ridden paralytic
reclines upon a water-bed, and is tended night and morning as sedulously
as a helpless babe. The test of the care which prevails in an asylum is to
be found in the condition of the persons who cannot help themselves. Where
trouble begins, negligence begins also, in an ill-regulated establishment.
Nowhere do the alleviations of humanity seem more required than with the
idiots and paralytics. Of all the wards at Colney Hatch, these are the
most depressing. It is impossible to contemplate a room full of creatures
moving about on their seats with a monotonous action like a company of
apes, or when paralyzed in their lower limbs, to see them dragging
themselves like seals along the floor by the aid of their arms, without
being oppressed by the sense of the dreadful condition to which man can be
reduced when the mind is ruined and the nerve-power diseased. It is only
in these wards and the refractory that on ordinary occasions the stranger
would discover that he was among the mentally afflicted. It is reported
that a lady, after she had been shown over a large asylum by the
celebrated Esquirol, inquired, "But where are the mad people?" All the
infinitely finely-shaded stages of lunacy which lie between mental health,
wild fury, and chronic dementia are, in the popular idea, merged in the
raving maniac. Yet it is rare for a casual visitor to witness scenes of
violence in a lunatic asylum. Those who are mischievous are trained to
concentrate their dislike upon the medical officers and attendants rather
than upon their fellow-patients. The matron of Hanwell Asylum, in her
report for 1856, thus speaks of one of the criminal lunatics who belongs
to this refractory class:--

    "She seldom interferes with any other patient, the officers and
    attendants being the special objects of her furious attempts, and her
    mode of attack is peculiar; there is not usually anything in her
    manner or appearance to indicate mischief, and she has perhaps
    previously spoken calmly to the person upon whom--having watched until
    she has turned her back; for as long as the face is towards her the
    individual is safe--she springs with the quickness and velocity of a
    tigress, fastening her hands in the hair, and bringing her victim to
    the ground in an instant. If not immediately rescued, the head of the
    unfortunate person is dashed repeatedly upon the floor; and it has
    been found impossible hitherto to detach the hand of this patient
    without a quantity of hair being torn by her from the head of the

The visiting magistrates are also highly obnoxious to the patients; and
their passage through a ward generally leaves behind it a trail of
excitement which often generates outbreaks that do not subside for some
hours. On the whole, however, it is remarkable how small an amount of
violence is attempted by the insane. In Colney Hatch, with its 1,250
patients, there are far fewer personal assaults in a year than would take
place in any village containing half the number of inhabitants. Still
precautions are always necessary; and the attendants, from long
observation, are generally forewarned, and, consequently, forearmed.
Special arrangements are made for those persons who have an unusual
tendency to injure themselves or their companions. The suicidally inclined
are always placed at night in dormitories with other patients, an
arrangement which effectually prevents any attempts at self-destruction;
while those who have a propensity to commit homicide are provided with
separate cells. There is at the present moment a person at Colney Hatch
who labours under the delusion that he can only recover his liberty by
killing one of the keepers, and in accordance with this idea he has
already made several attempts on their lives. A lamentable death took
place at Hanwell the year before last, through the neglect on the part of
an attendant to see a homicidal patient properly secured in his apartment
for the night.

    "On the 12th of April, the patients of No. 7 ward (twenty-five in
    number) having had their supper, were going to bed at a quarter before
    eight o'clock--all of them, being more or less refractory, have a
    single bedroom each. The attendant, in seeing them to bed,
    inadvertently locked up two (B. and W.) in one room; he stated that,
    observing the day-clothing of all outside their doors, he supposed
    that the patients were in their rooms, and, therefore, did not take
    the precaution to look into them. The room No. 19 was the one usually
    occupied by W., a man of exceedingly clean habits, of a mild
    expression of countenance, but very violent, prone to strike suddenly
    and without provocation any person within reach of him; so frequently
    had he done this, that he was not allowed to sit near other patients,
    even at meals, but took his food apart from them at a side-table. B.,
    whose room was No. 10, directly opposite to No. 19, was occasionally
    violent, always dirty in his habits, and destructive of clothing. It
    is supposed that this man entered No. 19 room by mistake, and that his
    presence there excited the homicidal tendency of the other into
    action. What is known is, that the night-attendant, when he visited
    the ward at half-past ten o'clock, and went as usual to the room No.
    10, found it unoccupied, and the patient's clothes outside the door;
    then hearing a noise in the room 19, he opened the door, and saw B.
    extended at full length on his back on the floor, naked and quite
    dead. W. came out of the room in his shirt immediately the door was
    opened, and, pointing to B., said, 'That fellow will not allow me to
    sleep.' There was a mark round B.'s neck as if caused by a cord, which
    had produced strangulation, and a mark of a severe blow on the top of
    the nose, and of a bruise on the chest: the bedclothes were in great
    disorder; amongst them were found the shirt and flannel of B.; one
    sleeve of the former was twisted like a rope, as if W. had strangled
    B. with it."

The utmost precaution will not always insure safety, for patients
considered quite harmless will now and then commit the most horrible acts.
A black man, a butcher, who had been many years in an American asylum, and
had never shown any violence, one night secreted a knife, and induced
another patient to enter his cell. When his companion had lain down, he
cut his throat, divided him into joints, and arranged the pieces round his
cell as he had been accustomed to arrange his meat in his shop. He then
offered his horrible wares to his fellow-lunatics, carrying such parts as
they desired to those who were chained. The keeper, hearing the uproar,
examined the cells, and found one man missing; upon inquiring of the black
butcher if he had seen him, he calmly replied, "He had sold the last
joint!" Even those who have apparently harmless delusions, will sometimes,
if thwarted, commit unlooked-for atrocities. Not many years since, an
inquisition was held before Mr. Commissioner Winslow upon a young
gentleman who would travel considerable distances to see a windmill, and
sit watching it for days. His friends, to put an end to his absurd
propensity, removed to a place where there were no mills. The youth, to
counteract the design, murdered a child in a wood, mangling his limbs in a
terrible manner, in the hope that he should be transferred, as a
punishment, to a situation whence a mill could be seen.

Idleness is perhaps a greater curse to the majority of lunatics than to
sane individuals. Occupation diverts the mind from its malady. Colney
Hatch and Hanwell, from their populousness, and from the fact of their
being filled principally by metropolitan lunatics, afford admirable
examples of the new method of employing patients in the trades they have
been accustomed to follow when in health. As the ranges of workshops at
Colney Hatch are the most extensive, we will draw our description from
that establishment. Of the male patients, only 245, out of an average of
514 in the house during the year 1855, were employed in labour at all, the
remainder consisting of violent maniacs and those afflicted with
paralysis, epilepsy, and idiocy, none of whom are capable of undertaking
any work. Sixty-five persons were allotted to the gardens, grounds, and
farms, leaving 180 to be distributed in the workshops and various offices
of the asylum. The tailoring department is the most extensive. Upon the
occasion of our visit, there were at least a score of cross-legged
lunatics cutting out and making up grey dresses for the inmates, or
repairing old clothing, their conduct being in no manner distinguishable
from that of sane journeymen. The shoemakers numbered a dozen, every man
handling his short knife. Those unaccustomed to lunatics will find it a
nervous proceeding to thread their way among so many armed madmen, and
will wish themselves well out of this apparently dangerous assembly. Yet,
in truth, they are no more to be feared than any similar number of lucid
workmen, as the homicidally inclined are carefully excluded. The
carpenters planed away merrily among their chips in an adjoining
apartment, using now and then chisel, gouge, and saw in perfect freedom.
Many excitable patients have been placed in these shops without any bad
result; and even those who are disposed to be mischievous when suspected,
have become quiet when trusted with edge-tools of the most formidable
description. The greater the confidence reposed in the majority of the
insane, the more does it tend to insure good behaviour. Of the other
artificers in different departments, we may mention painters,
upholsterers, bakers, butchers, brewers, and coopers; whilst a still
larger number are employed in the kitchen and dining-hall, or as helpers
in the corridors and wards. The services of all these lunatic artisans and
labourers were valued last year at 1,059_l._ 3_s._

As far as possible, the men work at the trades they have previously
followed; but there are many patients whose skilled labour cannot be
utilized in this comparatively confined community; such, for instance, as
rule-makers, jewellers, whale-bone-cutters, coach-painters, gold-beaters,
buhl-cutters, wax-doll makers, and a score of other heterogeneous
craftsmen, who are only to be found in a great metropolis. These persons
engage in the employment most suited to them, and thus many of them leave
the asylum skilled in two trades. Equally efficacious is the occupation on
the farm, which contains seventy-six acres of pasture and arable land,
principally dedicated to the rearing and maintenance of stock. On the 1st
of January, 1856, there were 28 cows, 1 bull, 2 calves, 152 pigs, 40
sheep, 7 horses, &c. The tending of these animals, the culture of the
fields and of the thirty-one acres of ornamental grounds, the milking the
cows, the slaughtering of the meat, and the production of the butter,
afford varied and healthy employment to the sixty-five agriculturists.
Some persons who never handled a spade before, here set to work cheerfully
and with a will, and a French polisher, a Wesleyan minister, a school
teacher, or a law writer, may be seen digging away at a field of potatoes;
or a ship-carpenter, saddler, cabman, coalheaver, and organ-player,
diligently engaged in filling a manure-cart. They would, it is true, be
better employed in occupations more in accordance with their previous
habits; but these cannot be found for them, and labour of any kind is
preferable to idleness. On the female side of the house industry is
resorted to as a means of cure to a still larger extent. Of the 503 equal
to labour, 270 work as needlewomen, 7 are employed in the kitchen, 72
wash, iron, and clearstarch in the laundry, 125 help in the wards, and 29
attend school, and are otherwise engaged. The total value of the female
labour of the house is computed at 500_l._ per annum.

Colney Hatch is not so extensively embarked in industrial and agricultural
pursuits as the North and East Riding Asylum, where the patients are
received from a mixed manufacturing and agricultural population, and the
produce of their fields and workshops is much greater than could be
extracted from worn-out metropolitan patients. Not only do the lunatics
rear the vegetables, but they take them to the asylum gates and dispose of
them to the public. The result affords a proof of what we hold to be a
settled principle, that chronic cases of insanity are greatly benefited by
as much intercourse as possible with the saner part of the community.

In accordance with the opinion that pursuits of lunatics should be similar
to their pursuits in former days, the south wing of Haslar Hospital is
devoted to the officers, seamen, and marines of her Majesty's fleet who
are afflicted with insanity. Every window of the building commands a fine
view of Spithead and the Isle of Wight, and here the old Salts can sit and
watch the splendid panorama crowded with vessels, and active with that
nautical life which recalls so many happy associations to their minds.
They form fishing parties, make nets, and go on pleasure excursions in row
and sailing craft. The "madman's boat" of eight oars, manned by patients
and steered by an attendant, is well known to the sailors on the Solent,
and so harmless are they considered, that young ladies often accompany
them on trips to the Isle of Wight, implicitly trusting in their
seamanship and politeness.

Mental labour, as a means of cure, has not been adopted in England to any
great extent; most asylums have their libraries, in which attentive
readers are always to be found, but the inmates rarely attempt to produce
amusement or instruction for their fellows. There is one signal exception
to this rule in Murray's Royal Asylum at Perth. This establishment, under
the superintendence of Dr. Lauder Lindsay, appears to be the very focus of
intellectual activity. The programme for the winter session of 1856-7
reads more like the prospectus of the Athenæum of some large city than the
bill of fare for a lunatic asylum. Famous professors reflect in its
lecture-room the philosophy and science of the outer world, and their
choice of subjects would not be disavowed by the committee of a London
Scientific Institution.

              _Lecturer._          |    _Subject._
   1. PROFESSOR BLACKIE, University| Beauty.
        of Edinburgh.              |
   2. HUGH BARCLAY, Esq., LL.D.,   | Authenticity of Ossian's Poems.
        Sheriff-Substitute of      |
        Perthshire.                |
   3. THOMAS MILLER, Esq., LL.D.,  | Chemical Affinity.
        Rector of Perth Academy.   |
   4. GEORGE LAWSON, Esq.,         | Vital Phenomena of Vegetation.
        Demonstrator of Botanical  |
        Histology, University of   |
        Edinburgh.                 |
   5. REV. DR. CROMBIE, of Scone,  | Winter: its lessons and associations.
        late Moderator of General  |
        Assembly.                  |
   6. REV. JOHN ANDERSON, Kinnoull.| Sketches from the History of Ancient
                                   |   Nations.
   7. REV. WM. MURDOCH, Kinnoull.  | Education: its aims and uses.
   8. DR. BROWNE, Crichton Royal   | The Genesis of Thought.
        Institution, Dumfries.     |
   9. DR. FAIRLESS, Crieff.        | Electricity: its phenomena and
                                   |   applications.
  10. DR. STIRLING, Perth.         | Natural History of Man.
  11. ALEX. CORALL, Esq., Montrose.| Natural History of Zoophytes.
  12. THOMAS R. MARSHALL, Esq.,    | Art: in its applications to common
        Edinburgh.                 |   life.

These scientific and philosophic expositions are attended by all the
better class patients. The paupers have a separate set of lectures and
classes, the major part of which are delivered and conducted by the
inmates themselves. Galvanism, the Blood, Time, Economic Botany, are among
the subjects which the deranged brains of the Perth asylum are contented
to hear elucidated. The activity of the place does not stop here: chamber
concerts, in which the patients perform; grand concerts, in which artists
from without supply the leading stars; and theatrical performances, in
which the different characters are all taken by "resident actors," are
among the resources which were employed to amuse and interest the inmates
during the winter months just past. A pit full of lunatics watching "Box
and Cox" played by their fellows, is a curious subject for contemplation.
Not content with these efforts, they seem to think that they are nothing
unless critical, and accordingly they have set up a journal, in which they
review their own performances. The first number of _Excelsior_ is now
before us, in which we find poetry, news, and criticisms on music, and
contemporary literature; and he who reads with the idea of finding
anything odd in this production, will most certainly be mistaken; for no
one could divine that there was a "bee in the bonnet" of printer,
publisher, and contributor. Balls and conversaziones form the staple of
the lighter recreations of this singular community, whilst the more
athletic games of running, leaping, hurdle-racing, Highland dancing,
putting the stone, footing the bar, and lifting dead weights, are pursued
with such success, that the lunatics boast with pride that they have
beaten some of the prize-holders of the outer world.

It might be supposed that intellectual striving was not the medicine to
offer to a diseased brain; but we are informed by Dr. Lindsay that in the
vast majority of cases the best results flow from this method of
treatment, and that a large percentage of cures is obtained. Such patients
as would be injured by stimulating their faculties are debarred by the
physician from their undue exercise, and others must be too far gone, or
be too uninformed, to be capable of the pursuit. The surprise that
lunatics should be susceptible of healthy mental exertion, arises from the
common forgetfulness that many understandings are slightly affected, or
are only deranged upon particular points. When Nat Lee was in Bedlam, he
said that it was very difficult to write like a madman, and very easy to
write like a fool. The works of the fools are more voluminous than the
works of the madmen, because there are more fools than lunatics; but those
who are completely mad are so far from experiencing a difficulty in
writing in their own character, that they cannot write in any other. As
many, however, who are not altogether right in their minds, are no more
exclusively insane than people who are not absolutely wise are entirely
foolish, it is easy to see that they may still be equal to much profitable
mental exertion. In these days poor Christopher Smart would not be
deprived of his pen and ink, and compelled to indent his long poem on
"David" with a key on the panels of his cell; nor perhaps would the
following epigram, which a woman in Bedlam wrote on Martin Madan's
argument in favour of polygamy, be handed about as a phenomenon to be
wondered at:--

  "If John marry Mary, and Mary alone,
  It is a good match between Mary and John:
  But if John marry more wives, what blows and what scratches!
  'Tis no longer a match, but a bundle of matches."

In France, and we believe in some other continental countries, it is the
habit to employ lunatic labour in the private farms surrounding the
asylum. This plan was in the olden time pursued in England; but it appears
to have gone out with the ancient system of coercion. When radical
revolutions are accomplished, good ideas sometimes perish with the bad;
and we cannot help thinking that the abandonment of this method of
exercising lunatics was an error, and that a return to the old practice,
under proper regulations, would be of advantage both to employer and
employed. Never must we lose sight of the wisdom of freeing the patient as
much as practicable from the companionship of his fellows, and of placing
him, to the utmost of our power, in the same free condition which he
enjoyed in his days of sanity.

At Colney Hatch, as at Hanwell, and indeed all other public asylums, the
sexes occupy separate portions of the building, and are only allowed to be
present together on particular occasions. This unnatural arrangement
undoubtedly arose from the introduction into asylums of prison and
workhouse systems of management; for certainly nothing can tend to render
the life of the patient more dreary than to find himself carefully
excluded from the company of the other half of creation. It is stated by
the advocates of separation that the mingling of the sexes among the
insane would be productive of occasional misbehaviour; but nothing could
be more unjust than to deprive the majority of the benefits which would
arise from frequent social reunion, in consequence of the erotic
tendencies of the few. It is with pleasure, therefore, we see the attempts
which are being made to assimilate the intercourse of lunatics to that of
the sane at Hanwell, Colney Hatch, and other asylums. The most interesting
feature of the former establishment is the ball which takes place every
Monday night. Shortly after six o'clock the handsome assembly-room,
brilliantly lit with gas, becomes the central point of attraction to all
the inmates, male and female, who are considered well enough to indulge
their inclinations for festivity. On the occasion of our visit there were
about 200 patients present, together with a few visitors and many of the
attendants. In a raised orchestra five musicians, three of whom were
lunatics, soon struck up a merry polka, and immediately the room was alive
with dancers. In the progress of this amusement we could see nothing
grotesque or odd. Had the men been differently dressed, it would have been
impossible to have guessed that we were in the midst of a company of
lunatics, the mere sweepings of the parish workhouses; but the prison
uniform of sad-coloured grey presented a disadvantageous contrast to the
gayer and more varied costumes at Bethlehem, and appeared like a jarring
note amid the general harmony of the scene. In the corners of the room
whist-players, consisting generally of the older inmates, were seen intent
upon their game; not a word was uttered aloud, not a gesture took place
that would have discredited any similar sane assembly; yet not a patient
was free from some strange hallucination, or some morbid impulse. Among
the merriest dancers in Sir Roger de Coverley was a man who believed
himself to be our Saviour, and who wore in his hair a spike in imitation
of the crown of thorns; and one of the keenest whist-players was an old
lady, who, whilst her partner was dealing, privately assured us she had
been dead these three years, and desired as a favour that we would use our
influence with the surgeon to persuade him to cut off her head. In the
midst of such strange delusions, it was curious to notice how rationally
those who were their dupes enjoy themselves; and it is impossible to deny
that such reunions are eminently calculated to hinder the mind from
morbidly dwelling upon its own unhealthy creations. It is found that the
too prolonged and frequent repetition of the balls somewhat diminishes
their interest--an evil provided against at Hanwell by restricting the
time allotted to them. At nine precisely, although in the midst of a
dance, a shrill note is blown, and the entire assembly, like so many
Cinderellas, breaks up at once, and the company hurry off to their
dormitories. These hebdomadal balls have not yet been introduced at Colney
Hatch. A movement has, however, been made latterly towards a limited
association between the sexes by allowing them to dine together. Of the
500 patients who assemble in the ample dining-hall, 200 are females and
300 males. The scene when the women first made their appearance is
described as something remarkable; the men rose in a body apparently
delighted beyond measure, and the presence of the softer sex has not only
tended to break the former monotony, but to keep the assembly in order and
good humour. Before this happy meeting there were occasional outbreaks of
some of the more excited patients; but now, when any of the men are
inclined to be fractious or discontented, the women turn them into joke,
and they are silenced immediately. As yet the two sexes are not allowed to
sit at the same table, but are located on opposite sides of the room. By
far the better plan would be to seat them on different sides of the long
tables; but as many persons in authority, wanting confidence in human
nature, object to this natural arrangement, the innovators must be
satisfied for the moment with the present imperfect concession. When it
was first proposed to introduce a billiard-table at Bethlehem, the scheme
was rejected by a majority of two-thirds of the governors, on the score
that the players would fight each other with the cues and balls, and
bagatelle, as a kind of half measure, was permitted instead. As the
patients confined the balls to their legitimate purpose, and the mace was
not turned into an offensive weapon, the billiard-table was at last with
reluctance established. The same thing will doubtless happen with respect
to the dining arrangements at Colney Hatch; and before long we trust male
and female lunatics will exchange courtesies across the table instead of
across the room.

In the chapels of nearly all the larger lunatic asylums the quieter
inmates are accustomed to meet at the daily morning and evening service.
In the spacious chapels of Hanwell and Colney Hatch, the attendance on
week days, as well as on the Sabbath, is far better than can be found
among the same number of people out of doors, 250 on the average attending
on week days, and 500 on Sundays. We do not suppose that the lunatic is
more religious than the sane, but the _ennui_ which, to a certain extent,
still attaches to the asylum renders any form of reunion agreeable; and as
the going to chapel is "something to do," numbers of the inmates obey the
summons who might stay at home if they were at large. The conduct,
nevertheless, of this congregation is most exemplary. "The heartiness,"
says the chaplain, in his report for 1856, "with which they join in the
responses and the psalmody is very encouraging, while their quiet, orderly
conduct--the prayer offered up by many on entering chapel, the regularity
with which they all kneel or sit, according to the order of the
service--would, I think, if generally witnessed, put to the blush many of
our parochial congregations." Now and then an epileptic patient will
disturb the chapel by his heavy fall; but as those who are thus afflicted
are located near the doors, the interruption is but momentary. The
chaplain of Colney Hatch has trained twelve male and female patients to
practise church music and psalmody. The choral service is well performed,
and, in conjunction with the organ, has a visible effect in soothing the
wilder patients, and in pleasing all. The sacrament is not denied to those
who are fit to receive it, and no more touching scene can be witnessed
than that which is presented in the chapel, when a score of communicants,
disordered though their minds sometimes be, humbly kneel, and

  "Drain the chalice of the grapes of God."

The out-of-door games of the insane are very much regulated by the extent
of ground attached to the asylum. Where this is ample, as at Colney Hatch,
cricket is the favourite summer recreation; a skittle-alley, a
bowling-green, and a fives-court, are found in most county asylums. In
America, where women adopt more masculine habits than in England, female
lunatics play matches on the bowling-green; and in France gymnastic
exercises are employed for the exercise of both sexes, and may, we think,
be introduced into the English asylums with advantage. The idiotic
patients and those who are incapable of much exertion may be seen in the
airing courts enjoying the monotonous swinging motion of the machine known
in domestic life under the name of "the nursery yacht," being nothing more
than a rocking-horse with the horse left out by particular desire. In
addition to these means of diverting the minds of the patients, walking
parties, under the superintendence of officers of the establishment, are
made up two or three times a week. During the haymaking season it is
customary to allow the inmates of asylums to which farms are attached to
go forth into the fields to assist with the rake and the pitchfork. This
permission is always looked upon as a great treat, and its effect upon the
patients is of the happiest kind, especially _if the scene of their
temporary labour admits no sight of the asylum and its wearisome walls_.
Here for a few hours they seem to realize the liberty and delight of
younger days. The physician on such occasions may read in their "grateful
eyes" that we are at present arrived only half way on the road of
non-restraint. Individual patients, again, are suffered to leave the
public asylums on a day's visit to their friends, under the care of a
nurse; and some who are nearly convalescent are permitted to go and return
of their own accord. It is the custom of Colney Hatch and Hanwell, and we
believe of most asylums in England, to grant the patients a certain period
of probation among their friends, in order to test their fitness to be
discharged as cured; to give them, in short, mental tickets-of-leave. This
is an admirable plan, inasmuch as it secures to the patient the full
enjoyment of liberty, at the same time that it enables him to keep himself
well in hand, knowing that, as he is not unconditionally released, an
immediate recall to the asylum would follow any sign of returning

The dietary in public asylums is ample, and the quality excellent. Hanwell
may, perhaps, be considered the model establishment in this respect. It is
the joke of the other asylums, that one man has been regaled there daily
for years with chicken and wine. Even the fancies of the patients are now
and then gratified at some expense. There is an old lady in Hanwell who
believes that the whole establishment is her private property; and, on one
occasion, she complained to the medical superintendent that,
notwithstanding all the expense she was at to keep up the grounds and
forcing-houses, she never could get any grapes. The next day she was
presented with a bunch, which had been purchased to appease her repinings.
This humouring method of treatment, as it is called in other asylums, is
much patronized by the matron, a person who seems to enjoy as much power
as the medical officers. In her report for 1856 she thus speaks of a
patient who died in the course of last year:--

    "She had been employed many years in the laundry, and always imagined
    she was to be removed elsewhere--that on Monday morning a waggon would
    call at the gate for herself and her property. Accordingly, every
    Monday morning throughout the year, at 10 o'clock, she was accompanied
    to the gate, dressed with a coloured handkerchief pinned fancifully
    over her cap instead of a bonnet, and carrying a small parcel (_her
    property_) of the most heterogeneous contents--thimbles, ends of tape,
    polished bones, pebbles, pieces of smooth coal, &c. The waggon was
    never found to be in waiting, and Mary, without evincing any
    disappointment, walked cheerfully back to the laundry, telling the
    superintendent that 'The waggon would be sure to come next Monday, but
    that she need not lose time, so she would work all this week.'"

In many asylums this method of treatment is thought calculated to feed the
original delusion; but here, again, the judgment of the physician ought
alone to determine the course to be taken in each individual case. In
patients labouring under violent excitement, to oppose an hallucination,
however absurd, would add fuel to the fire. Again, in a chronic case like
that of the laundry-maid, the harmless fancy of the poor creature might
not only be indulged in with impunity, but served to renew week by week
her stock of cheerfulness.

The lunatic colony of Gheel, situated twelve miles south of Turnhont, in
Belgium, amid a vast uncultivated plateau consisting of heath and sand,
called the Campine, affords an extraordinary example of the pre-eminent
advantages of the present mode of managing lunatics. Until the era of
railroads this spot was so out of the ordinary track of the world, that
but few persons even of those who were interested in the treatment of the
insane were aware of its existence. Here we discover, like a fly in amber,
a state of things which has lasted with little change for twelve hundred
years. Here we see the last remnants of the priestly treatment of
insanity, coupled with a system of non-restraint which certainly existed
long before the term was ever heard of in England and France. Gheel owes
its origin to a miracle. Saint Dympna, the daughter of an Irish king,
suffered martyrdom in this place from the hand of her father in the sixth
century. So great was her fame as the patron saint of lunatics, that her
shrine, erected in the church dedicated to her, speedily became the resort
of pilgrims, who journeyed hither in the hope of being cured of their
madness or of preventing its advent. Her elegantly-sculptured tomb
contains among other bassi-relievi one in which the devil is observed
issuing from the head of a female lunatic, while prayers are being offered
up by some priests and nuns, and close at hand another chained maniac
seems anxiously awaiting his turn to be delivered from the demon. The idea
carefully inculcated by the priests, that lunacy meant nothing more than a
possession by the devil, has long been banished from other lands. Here,
however, it has flourished for many centuries, and the ceremony of
crawling beneath the tomb has existed so long, that the hands and knees of
the devotees have worn away the pavement. The act is still occasionally
performed amid a scene in which superstition and terror are combined in a
manner calculated to cure any lunatic, if deep mental impressions were
alone required to purge away his malady. But what is far more interesting
and astonishing to those accustomed to the bolts and bars, the locks,
wards, and high walls of crowded European asylums, is the almost entire
liberty accorded to the lunatics resident in the town of Gheel and its
neighbouring hamlets, to the number of 800, or one-tenth of the whole
district. No palatial building, such as we encounter in nearly every
county in England, is to be seen. The little army of pauper and other
patients gathered from the whole superficies of Belgium, instead of being
stowed away in one gigantic establishment, in which all ideas of life are
merged in the iron routine of an enormous workhouse, are distributed over
five hundred different dwellings, three hundred of which are cottages, or
small farmhouses, in which the more violent and poorer classes are
dispersed, and the remaining two hundred are situated in the town of
Gheel, and are appropriated to quieter lunatics and those who are able to
pay more liberally for their treatment. In these habitations the sufferers
are placed under the care of the host and hostess; more than three persons
never being domiciled under one roof, and generally not more than one. The
lunatic shares in the usual life of the family; his occupations and
employment are theirs, his little cares and enjoyments are the same as
theirs. He goes forth to the fields to labour as in ordinary life; no
stern walls perpetually imprison him, and make him desire to overleap
them, as Rasselas desired to escape even from the Happy Valley. If it is
not thought fit for him to labour with plough or spade, he remains at
home, and takes care of the children, prunes the trees in the garden, and
attends to the potage on the fire; or if a female, busies herself in the
ordinary domestic duties of the house. The lunatics, as may be supposed,
are not left to the discretionary mercies of the host and hostess. A
strict system of supervision prevails, somewhat analogous to that of the
lunacy commissioners and the visiting justices of England. The entire
country is divided into four districts, each having a head guardian and a
physician, to whom is entrusted the medical care of every inmate belonging
to that section. There are, in addition, one consulting surgeon and one
inspecting physician for the whole community. The general government of
the colony is vested in the hands of eight persons, who dispense a code of
laws especially devised for it. The burgomaster of Gheel presides over
this managing committee, whose duties are to distribute the patients among
the different dwellings, to watch over their treatment, and to admit or
discharge them. A visiting commissioner is annually appointed, who
inspects the dwellings of the different hosts, and sees that the patients
are properly cared for. The oversight of the lunatics falls almost wholly
upon the hostess, the man rarely interfering, unless called upon to
control a disorderly patient. The people of Gheel, from having been
engaged for ages in the treatment of the insane, are said to have acquired
extraordinary tact in their management, which, Dr. Webster remarks, may be
considered to exhibit a most judicious mixture of "mildness and force."
Although instruments of restraint, such as the strait-waistcoat, and the
long leathern thong below the leg, to prevent patients from running away,
are occasionally resorted to, the sectional physician must be instantly
informed of their imposition, and their use cannot be continued without
his sanction. So little are they required, that Dr. Webster found less
restraint in this colony, unconfined by walls, than in the asylum at
Mareville, in France, containing a similar number of lunatics. Yet there
were fewer escapes than from the strictly-guarded restraint-abounding
prison, only eleven persons having fled from Gheel in the course of last
year, and nineteen from Mareville. Here also, it will be observed, there
is no separation of the sexes. The lunatics live the life of the other
inhabitants, and males and females associate in the same household. If we
compare the effects of this simple treatment with that of the most
expensive of our own asylums, we are compelled to admit that the balance
is in favour of Gheel, where, notwithstanding the free admission of
chronic cases, upwards of twenty-two per cent. of cures takes place
annually, while at Hanwell and Colney Hatch the cures never exceed
fifteen per cent. No fair comparison can be instituted between the expense
per head at Gheel and in our English establishments, inasmuch as living is
much cheaper in Belgium; but we may state, that the average cost of board
and lodging for each pauper in the colony is 10_l._ per annum, or exactly
the sum charged for lodging alone in our county asylums.[17]

A plan, towards which we have been slowly advancing during the last
half-century, will speedily, we hope, be more closely followed. A trial is
already, to some extent, being made of it in the neighbourhood of existing
asylums, and might supplant, with immense advantage, the prevailing custom
of building new wings, and over-populating old wards. The present system
of enormous buildings, which destroys the individuality of the inmates,
and suppresses all their old habits and modes of life, is evidently
disapproved by the commissioners, as appears from the language they hold
in their tenth annual report:--

    "We have the best reason for believing that the patients derive a
    direct benefit, in many ways, from residing in cheerful, airy
    apartments detached from the main building, and associated with
    officials engaged in conducting industrial pursuits. A consciousness
    that he is useful, and thought worthy of confidence, is necessarily
    induced in the mind of every patient, by removal from the ordinary
    wards where certain restrictions are enforced, into a department where
    he enjoys a comparative degree of freedom; and this necessarily
    promotes self-respect and self-control, and proves highly salutary in
    forwarding the patient's restoration. As a means of treatment, we
    consider this species of separate residence of the utmost importance,
    constituting in fact a probationary system for patients who are
    convalescing; giving them greater liberty of action, extended
    exercise, with facilities for occupation; and thus generating
    self-confidence, and becoming not only excellent tests of the sanity
    of the patient, but operating powerfully to promote a satisfactory
    cure. The want of such an intermediate place of residence is always
    much felt; and it often happens that a patient just recovered from an
    attack of insanity, and sent into the world direct from a large
    asylum, is found so unprepared to meet the trials he has to undergo,
    by any previous use of his mental faculties, that he soon relapses,
    and is under the necessity of being again returned within its walls.
    Commodious rooms contiguous to the farm-buildings are now in the
    course of construction at the Somerset County Asylum; and there is
    every reason to believe that the patients will derive benefit by
    residing in these apartments, which at once possess a domestic
    character, and afford every facility to carry on agricultural

It strikes us forcibly that the commissioners have tended to create the
evil they deprecate in not protesting against the erection of gigantic
asylums; but it is cheering to find that the idea of supplemental
buildings possessing a "domestic character" has taken possession of their
minds, and that they are now enforcing it on the minds of others with
their well-known zeal and ability. The Devon Asylum, among others, has
adopted the plan; and its accomplished physician, Dr. Bucknill, the editor
of the _Asylum Journal_, bears important testimony to the great advantages
to be derived from it.

    "I have recommended the erection of an inexpensive building, detached
    from, but within the grounds of the present asylum, in preference to
    an extension of the asylum itself. My reasons for this recommendation
    are, that such a building will afford a useful and important change
    for patients for whom a change from the wards is desirable. The system
    of placing patients in detached buildings, resembling in their
    construction and arrangements an ordinary English house, has been
    found to afford beneficial results in the so-called cottages which
    this institution at present possesses. _These cottages are much
    preferred to the wards by the patients themselves, and permission to
    reside in them is much coveted._ I am also convinced that such
    auxiliary buildings can be erected at much less expense than would be
    incurred by the enlargement and alteration of the asylum itself. I
    propose that in the new building the patients shall cook and wash for

"These cottages are much preferred to the wards by the patients
themselves, and permission to reside in them is much coveted." In these
few lines we read the condemnation of huge structures like Colney Hatch,
built externally on the model of a palace, and internally on that of a
workhouse, in which the poor lunatic but rarely finds any object of human
interest, where his free-will is reduced to the level of that of a
convict, and the very air of heaven necessary to his health is doled out
at intervals, when, with infinite lockings and unlockings, the attendants
order a batch of persons into the stagnant and tiresome airing courts.
Infinitely better for the lunatics would be the freedom and homeliness of
the smallest cottage to the formal monotony of cheerless wards; better far
that they should, as Dr. Bucknill suggests, cook and wash for themselves,
than that the offices should be performed wholesale in the steam-laundry
and the steam-kitchen. A patient would undoubtedly feel a far greater
interest in peeling his own potatoes for the pot, and in cooking his own
bit of bacon, than in receiving them ready cooked. It is the duty of the
physician to interest the patient in his daily work, and no more effectual
method of accomplishing this could be suggested than in putting him to
work for himself.

Wherever large asylums are already erected, no better plan could perhaps
be suggested than the building of satellite cottages, which would form a
kind of supplementary Gheel to the central establishment; but we should
like to see the experiment tried, in some new district, of reproducing in
its integrity the Belgian system. The colony of Gheel was once a desert
like the country which surrounds it; it is now, through the happy
application of pauper lunatic labour, one of the most productive districts
of the Low Countries. Have we no unoccupied Dartmoors on which we could
erect cottages, and train the cottagers to receive the insane as members
of the family? The performance of domestic offices, the society of the
goodwife and goodman, and the influence of the children, would do far more
to restore the disordered brain of the lunatic--pauper or otherwise--than
all the organization of the asylum, with its daily routine, proceeding
with the inexorable monotonous motion of a machine, and treating its
inmates rather as senseless atoms than as sentient beings, capable, though
mad, of taking an interest in things around them, and especially awake to
the pleasure of being dealt with as individuals rather than as
undistinguishable parts of a crowd. The children are of particular
moment. Lunatics are singularly gentle to them, and are interested in all
their actions. At Gheel it is customary to send the bairns into the fields
to conduct the patients home from their labour in the evening; and we
learn from Dr. Webster that a violent madman, who would not stir upon the
command of his host, will suffer himself to be led, without a murmur, by
an urchin scarcely higher than his knee. The presence of the young in the
ward of an asylum seems to light it up like a sunbeam. The love of
children does indeed lie at the very foundation of the human heart, and we
cannot estimate too highly their beneficial influence upon the brain which
is recovering from the horrors of insanity.

One of the most important points in reference to insane paupers, as we
have already intimated, is the bringing them as speedily as possible under
treatment. The reluctance of the lunatic himself to be removed is usually
extreme, and it is marvellous what ingenuity he will often employ to
thwart the design. Southey relates that a madman who was being conveyed
from Rye to Bedlam slept in the Borough. He suspected whither he was
going, and, having contrived by rising early to elude his attendant, he
went to Bedlam, and told the keepers that he was about to bring them a
patient. "But," said he, "in order to lead him willingly, he has been
persuaded that I am mad, and accordingly I shall come as the madman. He
will be very outrageous when you seize him, but you must clap on a
strait-waistcoat." The device completely succeeded. The lunatic returned
home, the sane man was shut up, and until he was exchanged at the end of
four days, remained in his strait-waistcoat, having doubtless exhibited a
violence which amply justified its use. The aversion of the sufferer
himself to be taken away coincides with an equal aversion on the part of
his relatives and friends to send him from home, nor do they take the step
till the madness grows intolerable. Precious time is thus lost at the
outset, and when the removal occurs it is mostly to the workhouse. Here
the patient is usually kept during the remainder of the curable stage of
his malady. The parochial authorities are generally guided by an immediate
consideration for the pockets of the rate-payers, rather than by any care
for the welfare of the lunatic; and, as they can maintain him in the
"house" at three shillings a-week--when they would have to pay nine if
they transferred him to the county asylum--in the workhouse he remains
until he becomes so dirty or troublesome in his habits that the guardians
are willing to pay the difference to get rid of him. The first few months
of the disease, within the narrow limits of which full 60 per cent. of the
recoveries take place, are thus allowed to run to waste. Months fly by,
and the victim subsides into the class of incurables. This produces a
second evil. As the drafts of incurables are perpetually flowing into the
asylums, they become "blocked up" in the course of a few years, and are
converted into houses for the detention of hopeless cases. To this
condition three-fourths of the asylums are already reduced, and the
efforts of philanthropic medicine are brought to a dead lock by the
short-sightedness of the parish authorities, who do not consider that for
the sake of saving a few shillings in the board of Betty Smith in the
first weeks of her craziness, they are converting her into a chronic
burthen, seeing that she will probably live on to a good old age in the
asylum, and cause them an ultimate expenditure of hundreds of pounds. To
the swifter removal after the outbreak of the disorder we must look for a
permanent remedy; but in the mean time something must be done to
disembarrass the public asylums of the dead-weight of hopeless cases, if
we seriously intend to take advantage of the curative appliances we
already possess. The commissioners seem inclined to favour the erection of
separate asylums for those who are beyond the reach of medical art. To us
it seems that the more economical plan would be to apportion certain wards
in the various workhouses for the reception of chronic cases, and to draft
off the idiots alone to special establishments. By this means our
water-logged asylums would speedily right themselves, and again become
what they should never have ceased to be--hospitals for the _cure_ of the
insane. At present we encourage an elaborate system for the manufacture of
life-long lunatics. It is well known that the cures of early cases of
insanity throughout England amount to 45 per cent., and at Bethlehem and
St. Luke's, where no others are received, the cures have amounted to 62
per cent. and 72 per cent. respectively; whereas at Colney Hatch, Hanwell,
and the Surrey County Asylum, the three great receptacles for the weepings
of the metropolitan workhouses, the average cures do not exceed 15 per
cent. If we take the lowest averages of cures, there is still a difference
of 30 per cent. of human creatures who sink down into the cheerless night
of chronic dementia and idiotcy, or who dream away the remainder of their
lives in hopeless childishness. Another ground of complaint is, that a
degree of clerk's work is imposed upon the medical superintendents of
large asylums which is quite inconsistent with a proper discharge of their
chief duty--the recovery of their patients. Irrespective of the
routine-labour of making daily and quarterly and yearly reports, which is
very considerable, they have far more to do in their strictly professional
capacity than they can possibly accomplish. The three great asylums near
the metropolis contain upwards of 3,000 patients, or the population of a
good-sized country town; and their moral and physical training is confided
to exactly six medical men, or as many as will be found in an hospital of
a hundred beds! It is needless to observe how little attention can be paid
to each individual, and that the more promising patients must be
inevitably swamped in the sea of hopeless lunatics. As long as our asylums
remain mere houses of detention, the want of medical superintendence is
not so apparent; but immediately these establishments are restored to
their proper functions, we predict that the evil will become too glaring
to last.

In many boroughs the authorities have entirely evaded the requirements of
the Act of Parliament relative to their insane pauper poor, and have not
only neglected to erect proper asylums, but have resisted for years the
attempts of the commissioners to compel them to do their duty. In all such
cases the lunatics not only suffer the ills consequent upon insufficient
care, but when too numerous for home accommodation are subjected to a
system of _transportation_, which is not only disgraceful to the
municipal authorities themselves, but to the age for permitting it. True
to their economical instincts, the guardians of the poor often "farm out"
their insane paupers to the proprietor of some private asylum, quite
regardless of distance. The commissioners, justly indignant at this sordid
practice, state in one of their Reports that--

    "At present, large numbers of these patients are sent to licensed
    houses far from their homes, to distances (sometimes exceeding, and
    often scarcely less than, 100 miles) which their relations and friends
    are unable to travel. The savings of the labouring poor are quite
    insufficient, in most cases, to defray the expense of such journeys,
    and their time (constituting their means of existence) cannot be
    spared for that purpose. The consequence has been, that the poor
    borough lunatic has been left too often to pass a considerable portion
    of his life, _and in some cases to die, far from his home, and without
    any of his nearest connexions having been able to comfort him by their
    occasional presence_. The visits of his parish officers are
    necessarily cursory and unfrequent, and he is, in fact, cast upon the
    humanity of strangers, whose prosperity depends upon the profits which
    they derive from maintaining him and others of his class."

This is a system which we are confident is as illegal as it is heartless,
and we are astonished that bodies of Englishmen should dare to insult the
miseries of lunatics by thus punishing them and their friends for their
affliction. There were not long since twenty-five insane paupers at
Camberwell House, London, who had been sent from Southampton, a distance
of eighty miles, though the Hants County Asylum is situated within sixteen
miles of the borough. Seventeen persons were in like manner banished from
Great Yarmouth to Highbridge House, near London, and their relations, who
had to travel 146 miles to see them, passed, in the course of their
journey, the Norfolk and Essex County Asylums, both of which
establishments had many vacancies and would willingly have received them.
The pauper lunatics of Ipswich, King's Lynn, Dover, Canterbury,
Portsmouth, and various other boroughs, are in the same way transferred by
the local authorities to some of the metropolitan licensed houses.

The feelings of the poor for their afflicted relatives are often of the
deepest kind, and the utmost distress is entailed upon them by these cruel
separations from those they love. In one case, a native of Ipswich, too
poor to go by the railway, walked to London and back on foot, a distance
of 140 miles, for the sole purpose of visiting his wife, who had been
wickedly banished to Peckham House, London. In other cases parents have
pleaded so piteously to be conveyed to their children, that the
commissioners have suggested that the expenses should be paid out of the
parish funds, but the authorities who had contrived the original
proceeding in order to save two or three shillings a head, could not of
course be induced to furnish money for so sentimental a purpose. The
commissioners have resolutely refused their sanction to such disgraceful
transactions whenever they have come within their knowledge and
jurisdiction--one instance out of many which prove that, however much the
borough authorities may denounce them as a centralized power, they have
done excellent service in checking local ignorance, selfishness, and

If we now turn to consider the condition of private asylums, we shall find
much in them to praise as well as to condemn. When men of reputation,
acknowledged skill, and character--such as Drs. Conolly, Forbes Winslow,
Sutherland, and Munro, of London; Drs. Hitch, Noble, Newington, Fox, in
the provinces, have the management of private asylums, the public need be
under no apprehension of patients being improperly received, illegally
detained, or cruelly and unscientifically treated. The licensed houses in
the metropolitan district directly under the control of the Lunacy
commissioners, amounting to forty-one in number, represent, without doubt,
the fairest specimens of these establishments. Liable as they are at any
moment to the inspection of the commissioners, and presided over as many
of them are by the most eminent members of the profession, they are
generally maintained in a high state of efficiency. They are principally
devoted to the care of the higher classes of the community, and afford
perhaps the nearest approach yet made to a perfect method of treatment,
being conducted in most cases on the principle of a private family. The
bolts, bars, high walls, and dismal airing-courts of the public asylum
are either unknown, or so hidden as no longer to irritate the susceptible
mind of the lunatic. The unwise division of the sexes is not as a rule
adopted. Scrupulous attention to dress and all the forms of polite society
are enjoined alike for their own sake, and as a method of interesting
patients in the daily life of the community. When we partook of the
hospitalities of one of these establishments, we could detect nothing in
the countenances or the appearance of the guests which was characteristic
of their condition: the restless eye, the incoherent conversation, the
sudden movement of the peculiarly formed head, which our preconceived
notions led us to expect, were none of them observable. One individual
indeed there was whom we mentally concluded to be certainly mad. Yet,
singular to say, this gentleman was the only sane individual in the room,
besides ourselves and the medical superintendent; and on further
acquaintance, having told our ill-placed suspicions, he frankly confessed
that he had in his own mind paid ourselves a similar compliment. The eager
glance of curiosity natural to inquisitive strangers was the nearest
approach in this lunatic party to the outward appearance of lunacy. So
much for the "unmistakeable" countenance of the insane! It is not to be
supposed that the more violent can be allowed this social freedom even in
private establishments, or that madness is different in a metropolitan
licensed house from what it is in a public asylum; but we unhesitatingly
assert that in the vast majority of cases the large amount of freedom and
the absence of any prison-like characteristics have an undoubted effect,
not only in calming the mind of the patient, but in expediting his
recovery. Hence the per-centage of cures in a high-class private asylum
are immeasurably beyond those of any public establishment. The
pleasure-ground, out-of-door games, carriage and riding parties,
billiards, whist and evening parties, all contribute their aid in
restoring the unhinged mind. We have seen four or five patients leave the
doors of one of these licensed metropolitan houses (the establishment of
Dr. Forbes Winslow, "Sussex House," Hammersmith), and remain out for hours
without any attendant, their word of _honour_ being the only tie existing
between them and the asylum.[18]

The condition of a few of the provincial licensed houses is still
glaringly bad, and shows that old ideas, with respect to insanity, are not
entirely obsolete. The Report of the Commissioners of Lunacy for 1856,
relates circumstances which lead us back to the old days of Bedlam. Thus
at Hanbury House the Commissioners found "one young lady fastened by
webbing wristbands to a leathern belt; she was also tied down to her chair
by a rope." Again, they found on their last visit to the Sandford Asylum,
in December, 1855, "a patient just dead, his body exhibiting sores and
extensive sloughs, arising necessarily, we think, from want of
water-pillows or other proper precautions. The room has a stone or plaster
floor, and is without a fire." It is, however, encouraging to find that,
as far as personal restraint goes, the very worst of our private asylums
are far superior to some of the best of the public asylums of France. Dr.
Webster, our great authority on this point, gives in Dr. Winslow's
Psychological Journal, the results gleaned in his visits to these
establishments in the August and September of 1850:--

    "Forty male lunatics out of 1464 then resident were in _camisole_
    (strait-waistcoats), some being also otherwise restrained, thereby
    giving an individual in restraint to every 33-1/4 male inmates, or
    three per hundred. Amongst the female lunatics, again, the proportion
    was somewhat larger, 72 persons of that sex, out of the total 1902
    resident patients, being under medical coercion; thus making one
    female in restraint to every 26-1/3 inmates, or at the rate of 3·78
    per cent. In contrast with this report respecting the above-named
    French provincial asylums, I would now place an official statement of
    the practice pursued at Bethlehem Hospital during the same period. At
    this establishment, where formerly the strait-waistcoat, with various
    kinds of personal coercion, were even in greater use than on the other
    side of the Channel, _not one_ insane patient, among an average
    population of 391 lunatics, was under constraint of any description
    during the five weeks ending the 25th of September, when I first
    visited that institution after my return from the Continent, and which
    embraced the whole time referred to in this memorandum."

From these curious facts it will be seen that we are far in advance of our
French, and, we may also add, of our other continental neighbours.[19]
When the beneficent thought struck the great Pinel to knock off the
fetters of the English captain, he sounded a note which reverberated
through Europe, and the poor insane captives issued from their dungeons in
which they had been so long immured as the prisoners emerge from their
prison to the divine strains of Beethoven's "Fidelio." But when this vast
step was accomplished there still remained an immense amount of coercion
scarcely less injurious than the old darkness and chains, and to
Englishmen is mainly due the credit of abolishing it. Nor shall we rest
where we are. It is our belief as well as our hope that, before another
generation has gone by, the last vestige of restraint, in the shape of
dismal airing-courts, and outside walls, which serve to wound the spirit
rather than to enslave the limbs, will pass for ever among us, and only be
remembered with the hobbles and the manacles of the past.

It has been asserted by some psychologists that lunacy is on the increase,
and that its rapid development of late years has been consequent upon the
increased activity of the national mind. This statement is certainly
startling and calculated to arrest the attention of all thoughtful men. Is
it true that civilisation has called to life a monster such as that which
appalled Frankenstein? Is it a necessity of progress that it shall ever be
accompanied by that fearful black rider which, like Despair, sits behind
it? Does mental development mean increased mental decay? If these
questions were truly answered in the affirmative, we might indeed sigh for
the golden time when

  "Wild in woods the noble savage ran,"

for it would be clear that the nearer humanity strove to attain towards
divine perfection, the more it was retrograding towards a state inferior
to that of the brute creation. A patient examination, however, of the
question entirely negatives such a conclusion. Dr. Ray, of the United
States, in taking the opposite view of the case, says:--

    "If we duly consider the characteristics of our times, we shall there
    find abundant reason for the fact that insanity has been increasing at
    a rate unparalleled in any former period. In every successive step
    that has led to a higher degree of civilisation; in all the means and
    appliances for developing the mental resources of the race; in the
    ever-widening circle of objects calculated to influence desire, and
    impel to effort, we find so many additional agencies for tasking the
    mental energies, and thereby deranging the healthy equilibrium which
    binds the faculties together, and leads to an harmonious result. The
    press and the rostrum, the railway and the spinning-jenny, the steam
    engine and the telegraph, republican institutions and social
    organizations, are agencies more potent in preparing the mind for
    insanity than any or all of those vices and casualties which exert a
    more immediate and striking effect."

Such is the burthen of the story of all those psychologists who believe
that insanity is fast gaining upon us; but if "in the ever-widening circle
of objects calculated to influence desire and impel to effort, we find so
many additional agencies for tasking the mental energies, and thereby
deranging the healthy equilibrium which binds the faculties together," it
should appear that those classes of society which are in the van of
civilization should be the chief sufferers. Bankers, great speculators,
merchants, engineers, statesmen, philosophers and men of letters--those
who work with the brain rather than with their hands,--should afford the
largest proportion to the alleged increase of insanity. How does the
matter really stand? In the Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy for the
year 1847 we find the total number of private patients of the middle and
upper classes then under confinement in private asylums, amounted to
4,649. Now, if we skip eight years, and refer to the Report of 1855, we
find that there were only 4,557 patients under confinement, or about 96
less, notwithstanding the increase of population during that period. If we
compare the number of pauper lunatics under confinement at these two
different periods, we shall find a widely-different state of things; for
in 1847 there were 9,654 in our public and private asylums, whilst in 1855
they numbered 15,822. In other words, our pauper lunatics would _appear_
to have increased 6,170 in eight years, or upwards of 64 per cent. It is
this extraordinary increase of pauper lunatics in the county asylums which
has frightened some psychologists from their propriety, and led them to
believe that insanity is running a winning race with the healthy
intellect. But these figures, if they mean anything, prove that it is not
the intellect of the country that breeds insanity, but its ignorance, as
it cannot be for one moment contended that the grent movements now taking
place in the world originate with the labouring classes. We shall be told,
we know, that there is a constant descent of patients from private asylums
to the public asylums; that the professional man and the tradesman, after
expending the means of his friends and family for a year or two, in the
vain hope of a speedy cure, becomes necessarily in the end a pauper
lunatic, and that this stream aids to swell the numbers in the county
institution. Allowing its due weight to this explanation--and those who
know public asylums are well aware how small, comparatively speaking, is
the educated element--yet as the same disturbing element in the
calculation obtained at both periods, we may safely conclude that the
figures are not thereby essentially altered.

A still more convincing proof that mental ruin springs rather from mental
torpidity than from mental stimulation, is to be found by comparing the
proportion of lunatics to the population in the rural and the
manufacturing districts. Sir Andrew Halliday, who worked out this
interesting problem in 1828,[20] selected as his twelve non-agricultural
counties--Cornwall, Cheshire, Derby, Durham, Gloucester, Lancaster,
Northumberland, Stafford, Somerset, York (West Riding), and Warwick, which
contained a population at that time of 4,493,194, and a total number of
3,910 insane persons, or one to every 1,200. His twelve agricultural
counties were Bedford, Berkshire, Bucks, Cambridge, Hereford, Lincoln,
Norfolk, Northampton, Oxford, Rutland, Suffolk, and Wilts, the total
population of which were 2,012,979, and the total number of insane persons
2,526--a proportion of 1 lunatic to every 820 sane. Another significant
fact elicited was, that whilst in the manufacturing counties the idiots
were considerably less than the lunatics, in the rural counties the idiots
were to the lunatics as 7 to 5! Thus the Hodges of England who know
nothing of the march of intellect, who are entirely guiltless of
speculations of any kind, contribute far more inmates to the public
lunatic asylums than the toil-worn artisans of Manchester or Liverpool,
who live in the great eye of the world, and keep step with the march of
civilization, even if they do but bring up its rear. Isolation is a
greater cause of mental ruin than aggregation--our English fields can
afford _crétins_ as plentifully as the upland valleys of the mountain
range, seldom visited by the foot of the traveller; whilst, on the other
hand, in the workshop and the public assembly, "As iron weareth iron, so
man sharpeneth the face of his friend."

If we required further proof of the groundless nature of the alarm that
mental activity was destroying the national mind, we should find it in the
well-ascertained fact that the proportion of lunatics is greater among
females than males. It may also be urged that Quakers, who pride
themselves on the sedateness of their conduct, furnish much more than
their share; but for this singular result their system of intermarriage is
doubtless much to blame. Still the fact remains, that within a period of
eight years, extending from 1847 to 1855, an increase of 64 per cent. took
place in our pauper lunatic asylums. These figures, however, afford no
more proof of the increase of pauper lunatics than the increase of
criminal convictions since the introduction of a milder code of laws and
the appointment of the new police afford a proof of increased crime. As
the commissioners very justly observe, medical practitioners of late years
have taken a far more comprehensive as well as scientific view of insanity
than formerly; and many forms of the disease now fall under their care
that were previously overlooked, when no man was considered mad unless he
raved, or was an idiot. But the great cause of the increase of lunatics in
our asylums is to be ascribed to the erection of the asylums themselves.
With the exception of three or four Welsh counties, and two or three in
the north of England, there is not a shire in England which does not
possess some palatial building. These establishments, in which restraint,
speaking in the ordinary acceptance of the term, is unknown, and in which
the inmates are always treated with humanity, have drained the land of a
lunatic population which before was scattered among villages or
workhouses, amounting, according to the computation of the commissioners,
to upwards of 10,500--just as the deep wells of the metropolitan brewers
have drained for miles around the shallow wells of the neighbourhood in
which they are situated. For the same reason the number of lunatic paupers
has declined in registered hospitals since 1847 from 384 to 185, and in
"licensed houses" from 3,996 to 2,313. Upon the whole, we may safely
predict that, when these disturbing causes have ceased to act, the annual
returns of the commissioners will show that, as the treatment of insanity
is every day better understood, so the pauper lunatics in our public
asylums, instead of increasing in a ratio for beyond that of the general
population, show a diminished proportion. Already there are symptoms that
the flood is returning to its proper level; for while the lunatics of all
classes in the public asylums, licensed houses, and in the Royal Hospital
at Haslar, were 20,493 in 1855, they had only advanced in 1856 to 20,764,
which is an increase in the twelvemonth of but 271.


If, early on a summer morning before the smoke of countless fires had
narrowed the horizon of the metropolis, a spectator were to ascend to the
top of St. Paul's, and take his stand upon the balcony, that with gilded
rail flashes like a fringe of fire upon the summit of the dome, he would
see sleeping beneath his feet the greatest camp of men upon which the sun
has ever risen. As far as he could distinguish by the morning light he
would behold stretched before him the mighty map of the metropolis; and
could he ascend still higher, he would note the stream of life overflowing
the brim of hills which enclose the basin in which it stands.

In the space swept by his vision would lie the congregated habitations of
two millions and a half of his species--but how vain are figures to convey
an idea of so immense a multitude. If Norway, stretching from the Frozen
Ocean down to the southern extremity of the North Sea, were to summon all
its people to one vast conclave, they would number little more than half
the souls within the London bills of mortality. Switzerland, in her
thousand valleys, could not muster such an army; and even busy Holland,
within her mast-thronged harbours, humming cities, and populous plains,
could barely overmatch the close-packed millions within sound of the great
bell at his feet. As the spectator gazed upon this extraordinary prospect,
the first stir of the awakening city would gradually steal upon his ear.
The rumbling of wheels, the clang of hammers, the clear call of the human
voice, all deepening by degrees into a confused hum, would proclaim that
the mighty city was once more rousing to the labour of the day, and the
blue columns of smoke climbing up to heaven that the morning meal was at
hand. At such a moment the thought would naturally arise in his mind,--In
what manner is such an assemblage victualled? By what complicated wheels
does all the machinery move by which two millions and a half of human
beings sit down day by day to their meals as regularly and quietly as
though they only formed a sung little party at Lovegrove's on a summer's
afternoon? As thus he mused respecting the means by which the supply and
demand of so vast a multitude is brought to agree, so that every one is
enabled to procure exactly what he wants, at the exact time without loss
to himself or injury to the community, thin lines of steam, sharply marked
for the moment, as they advanced one after another from the horizon and
converged towards him would indicate the arrival of the great commissariat
trains, stored with produce from all parts of these isles and from the
adjacent continent. Could his eye distinguish in addition the fine threads
of that far-spreading web which makes London the most sensitive spot on
the earth, he would be enabled to take in at a glance the two
agents--steam and electricity--which keep the balance true between the
wants and the supply of London.

If our spectator will now descend from his giddy height, and will
accompany us among the busy haunts of men, we will attempt to point out to
him whence those innumerable commodities, which he has seen pouring into
the town, have been obtained, the chief marts to which they are consigned,
and the manner in which they are distributed from house to house. Had
London like Paris its _octroi_, the difficulty of our task would be
limited to the mere display of official figures, but, thanks to a free
policy, we have no such means of getting at strictly accurate estimates,
and must therefore content ourselves with the results of patient inquiry
among the foremost carriers--the railway companies--aided by such other
information as we have been able to procure. For the sake of convenience,
and of sequence, let us imagine that the principal daily meal is
proceeding, and, according to the order of the courses, we will endeavour
to trace the various edibles to their source--the fish to its sea--the
beast to its pasture--the wild animal to its lair--the game to its
cover--and the fruit to its orchard; to point out how they are netted,
fattened, bagged, gathered, and conveyed to their ultimate
destination--the _great red lane_ of London humanity. Let us begin with
fish, and that unrivalled fish-market which all the world is aware rears
its head by London Bridge.

Those who remember old Billingsgate, with its tumble-down wharf, and dock
half choked with corruption and oyster-shells--a dirty remnant of the days
of Elizabeth--will enter with pleasure Mr. Bunning's new market. Through
its Italian colonnade are seen the masts of the fishing smacks, and the
brown wharves of the opposite side--a pleasing picture, which instantly
fixes the artistic eye. The busy scene within the market between the hours
of five and seven in the morning, is one of the marvels of the metropolis.
Billingsgate is the only wholesale fish-market in London, and it may
therefore be imagined how great must be the business transacted within its
walls. Of old, nine-tenths of the supply came by way of the river, the
little that came by land being conveyed from the coast, at great expense,
in four-horse vans. Now the railways are day by day supplanting smacks,
and in many cases steamers; for by means of its iron arms, London, whilst
its millions slumber, grasps the produce of every sea that beats against
our island coast, and ere they have uprisen it is drawn to a focus in this
central mart. Thus every night in the season the hardy fishermen of
Yarmouth catch a hundred tons (12,081 yearly), principally herring, which,
by means of the Eastern Counties Railway, are next morning at
Billingsgate. The South-Western Railway sends up annually, with the same
speed, 4,000 tons of mackerel and other fish, the gatherings of the south
coast. The North Western collects over night the "catch" from Ireland,
Scotland, and the north-east coast of England, and adds to the
Thames-street mart 3,578 tons, principally of salmon, whilst the Great
Northern delivers to the early morning market, or sometimes later in the
day, 3,248 tons of like sea produce. The Great Western brings up the
harvest of the Cornish and Devonshire coasts, chiefly mackerel and
pilchards, to the amount of 1,560 tons in the year; and the Brighton and
South Coast conveys the incredible number of 15,000 bushels of oysters,
besides 4,000 tons of other fish. Nearly one-half in fact of the
fish-supply of London, instead of following as of old the tedious route of
the coast, is hurried in the dead of night across the length and breadth
of the land to Billingsgate, and, before the large consumers in Tyburnia
and Belgravia have left their beds, may be seen either lying on the marble
slabs of the fishmongers, or penetrating on the peripatetic barrow of the
costermonger into the dismal lanes and alleys inhabited by "London Labour
and the London Poor." These prodigious gleanings from what Goldsmith might
well call the "finny deep," are conveyed from the termini in spring-vans,
drawn by two and occasionally by four horses. Salmon comes in boxes,
herrings in barrels, and all other kinds of fish in baskets. Sometimes as
many as sixty of these vans will arrive in the narrow street leading to
the market in the course of two or three hours, and the scene of confusion
occasioned by their rushing among the fishmongers' carts and the
costermongers' barrows, the latter often amounting to more than a
thousand, is almost as great as that at Smithfield; for the fish, like the
live-stock trade, has long outgrown its mart: and Billingsgate, as much as
Smithfield, is choked for want of space. Let the visitor beware how he
enters it in a good coat, for, as sure as he goes in in broad cloth, he
will come out in _scale_ armour. They are not polite at Billingsgate, as
all the world knows, and "by your leave" is only a preliminary to your hat
being knocked off your head by a bushel of oysters or a basket of crabs.
In the early part of the morning, the traffic is carried on in comparative
quiet, for the regular fishmongers, who have the first of the market,
conduct their business with little disturbance, but it would gladden the
heart of a Dutch painter to see the piled produce of a dozen different
seas glittering with silver and brilliant with colour. Gigantic salmon,
fresh caught from the firths and bays of Scotland, or from the productive
Irish seas, flounder about, as the boxes in which they have travelled
disgorge them upon the board. Quantities of delicate red mullet, that have
been hurried up by the Great Western, all the way from Cornwall, for the
purpose of being furnished fresh to the fastidious palates at the West
End; smelts brought by the Dutch boats, their delicate skins varying in
hue like an opal as you pass; pyramids of lobsters, a moving mass of
spiteful claws and restless feelers, savage at their late abduction from
some Norwegian fiord; great heaps of pinky shrimps; turbots, that lately
fattened upon the Doggerbank, with their white bellies bent as for some
tremendous leap; and humbler plaice and dabs, from our own craft--all this
bountiful accumulation forms a mingled scene of strange forms and vivid
colours, that no one with an eye for the picturesque can contemplate
without interest. Neither is the scene always one of still life, for it is
no rare occurrence for the visitor to behold a yelling knot of men
dragging with ropes through the excited crowd a royal sturgeon, nine feet
in length. If the spectator now peeps down the large square opening into
the dismal space below, which appears like the hold of a ship lately
recovered from the deep, he will see the shell-fish market, where piles of
blue-black muscles, whelks, and grey cockles turned up with yellow, give
the place a repulsive aspect of dirt and slop. There are but few buyers
seen here, and they are generally women belonging to the costermonger
class, for the men rather disdain the shell-fish trade. These female
itinerants may be noticed wandering about from basket to basket,
occasionally gouging out a whelk from the shell with the thumb, to test
the lot, and then passing on to the next.

Busiest among the busy is seen the "Bommeree," or middleman--sometimes
called the forestaller. The province of this individual is to purchase the
fish as it comes into the market, and divide it into lots to suit large
and small buyers, separating the qualities according as they are designed
for St. James's or St. Giles's. These worthies used at one time to
forestal the market extensively, when they felt certain, from the state
of the tide, that no fish supplies could be poured in for the day, but now
the railway defeats their tactics, and the utter uncertainty of the
arrivals has done away with this branch of their business. After the
"trade" has been supplied, and the serge-aproned "regulars" have loaded
their light spring carts, there comes, especially in certain fish seasons,
an eruption of purchasers of a totally different character--the
costermongers of streets. This nomade tribe, which wanders in thousands
from market to market, performs a most important part in the distribution
of food. They are for the greater part the tradesmen of the poor, and by
their energy and enterprise secure to our working-classes many of the
fruits of both sea and land, which they would never taste but for them.
About seven o'clock the army of street-vendors, foot and "donkey," for the
greater number rattle up in barrows drawn by that useful animal, begin
visibly to change the whole hue and appearance of the place. Young fellows
in fustian coats and Belcher handkerchiefs throng the market, and board
the smacks, "chaffing," higgling, joking, and swearing--but never
fighting, for the costermonger has too much to do at present to make
physical demonstrations. Among the most eager of the itinerant salesmen
the visitor speedily distinguishes the Judaic nose. The Hebrews, who are
in great force about this neighbourhood on account of the dried-fruit
trade, which is mainly in their hands, deal largely also in fish. The
poorer members of the fraternity purchase the bigger portion of the
fresh-water supply, such as plaice, roach, dace, &c., in fact, nearly
everything caught by the Wandsworth fisherman, whose picturesque "bawley"
boats, which often contain both his family and fortune, may generally be
seen moored in the stream between Battersea reach and Kew bridge, a mass
of brown nets and umber canopies lit up by the brilliant red caps of their
owners, just such as Constable loved to paint in the foregrounds of his
landscapes. These fish, if not alive, must at least retain the spasmodic
quivering of the flesh which remains immediately after death, or the Jews
will not buy, for reasons we suppose connected with their religion, since
their chief trade is among the rich and poor of their own people. The
Wandsworth fishermen also supply all the white-bait that is consumed at
Greenwich and Blackwall: it is caught generally between the latter place
and Woolwich at night, and it is singular that a fish which is among the
most delicate we have, should flourish in one of the foulest parts of the
foulest river in Europe. The area of the market, as soon as the
costermongers appear, speedily becomes broken up into numbers of little
circles, strictly intent upon the eye of individuals who take up a
position high over their heads upon the boards or stands. These are the
salesmen, disposing by auction of the fish consigned to them. Some of the
dealers are moneyed men, and will lay out their fifty pounds of a morning,
re-selling to their fellows again at a profit. The smaller capitalists
combine in threes and fours, and thus manage to get their commodities at
wholesale prices. The activity of the market mainly depends upon the
season of the year and the amount of fish. The energy of these
peripatetics is surprising: they look in at Billingsgate, and if the
supply runs short they are off again immediately to Covent Garden, for
they deal in everything, and the barrow that one morning you see filled
with fresh herrings, the next is blooming with plums. If, on the contrary,
a large cargo of sprats comes suddenly into London, or if soles should be
unusually plentiful, it is known in an incredibly short space of time all
over the town, and they flock to the market in thousands; as many as five
thousand is the usual attendance on such occasions. These costermongers
absorb more than a third of the whole Billingsgate supply; of sprats and
fresh herrings they take fully two-thirds. Turbot and all the costlier
fish they purchase sparingly, but they buy largely when it chances to be
cheap, as in the cholera year of 1849, when prime salmon went a-begging at
four-pence a pound! If the market is dull, and prices are high, the fact
is speedily known, and the cry of "No smacks at the Gate," is sufficient
to turn the current immediately in the direction of the "Garden."

Steam, as we have already intimated, has revolutionized the fish-trade,
and is rapidly sweeping away the whole fleet of smacks propelled by sails,
as ruthlessly as the rail did stagecoaches. A few years ago all the
oysters were brought by water to Billingsgate; but a short time since a
great natural bed, called the Mid Channel Bed, which stretches for forty
miles between the ports of Shoreham and Havre, was discovered, and, the
dredging-ground being free to all comers, a vast field of wealth has been
opened to fishermen, especially as from the proximity of the Brighton and
South Coast Railway the produce can be sent immediately to town, and
escape the dues of metage and other tolls to which all fish landed at the
market is liable. Seaborne oysters are thus placed at a great
disadvantage, and the different companies owning them justly complain at a
city exaction which takes a large sum annually out of their pockets,
besides the charge for porterage it entails upon the purchasers. Mr.
Alston, who is, without doubt, the largest oyster-fisher in the world,
sent up in one year between 40,000 and 50,000 bushels from his fishery,
Cheyney Rock, near Sheerness, and paid 800_l._ for metage. The whole trade
paid no less than 3,000_l._, and this for services which their own men
could do as well as themselves, were it not for a custom which enforces
idleness upon the smack people.[21]

The "scuttle-mouths," as they are termed from their huge shell, pay no
attention to season, and consequently oyster-day has now in a great degree
lost its significance. The 4th of August is still, it is true, the opening
day at Billingsgate, but the supply from without has taken the wind out of
its sails. Only those who have witnessed the crowds filling all the
streets leading to the market long before the hour of business--six
o'clock in the morning--can understand the eagerness exhibited of old to
obtain some of the first day's oysters. All this is now gone. There were
not more than eighteen smacks at the opening of the present year, and, few
as were the arrivals, the buyers were not eager. The Mid-Channel oysters,
which have thus disturbed the old trade, are of a large and by no means
delicate kind, such as come from Tenby, Jersey, &c.--coarse fish, eaten by
rough men--third-class oysters, in fact, which rarely penetrate to the
West End, unless to make sauce. Real natives are greater aristocrats among
their fellows than ever; the demand for them has for a long time far
exceeded the supply, and the price has consequently risen. Of the birth,
parentage and nurture of this delicate fish, a curious tale could be told.
Designed for fastidious palates, much care and attention is bestowed upon
its breeding. The _habitué_ of the Opera, who strolls up the brilliantly
lighted Haymarket towards midnight, and turns into any one of the fish
supper-rooms that line its western side, little dreams of the organization
at work to enable him to enjoy his native. Most of the oysters, with the
exception of the Mid-Channel bed, are regularly cultivated by different
companies, who rear and tend them at different parts of the south coast,
and of the Thames at its mouth. Of these companies there are nine, in
addition to individuals who possess and work what might be called
sea-farms, several of which are miles in extent. In all the beds there is
a certain space dedicated to natives. At Burnham, Essex, the "spat," or
fecundated sperm, is stored in large pits, and sold as native brood, which
is afterwards "laid" in that portion of the different beds appropriated to
privileged oysters. Here the young natives remain for three years, when
they are generally brought to market. So far their education is left, in a
certain degree, to nature; but once in the possession of the
fish-shopkeepers, art steps in to perfect their condition. They are now
stored in large shallow vats, being carefully laid with their proper sides
uppermost, and supplied daily with oatmeal: a process which is calculated
rather to fatten than to flavour, and there are many who think that, like
show cattle, they are none the better for over-feeding. "Natives," packed
in barrels, form one of the articles of food that is largely sent out of
London into the country, as all persons know who travel much at Christmas
time, and notice with astonishment the pyramids of oyster-barrels which
crowd the platforms of all the termini of the metropolis.

The frying-pans of London are mainly supplied with soles all the year
round by the trolling-boats of Barking, of which there are upwards of 150
belonging to different companies. They fish the North Sea off the coasts
of Yorkshire and Holland, particularly the Silver and Brown banks. Of old
the smacks used to carry their own catch to Billingsgate, but the loss of
time was so great, that latterly fast-sailing cutters have been employed
to attend upon the fishing-smacks and bring their produce to market packed
in ice. Of this splendid craft, which can sail almost in the eye of the
wind, there are forty; and the total number of seamen employed is not less
than 2,000, the greater part of whom have been taken as boys from the
workhouse, and trained by this capital service into first-rate seamen. It
is curious to follow the small proceedings of the world into their
ultimate results. The gastronome, smiling complacently as he withdraws the
cover and reveals a well-browned pair of soles, would never guess that
they and their kind are the immediate cause of a happy transmutation of
parish burthens into the right arm of our strength. Eels are constantly
imported to Billingsgate by the Dutch boats. The galliots never moor close
alongside the wharf, as the wells in which they bring their fish alive
cause them to draw too much water, but they anchor midway in the stream,
by twos and threes--their brown sides, flat bows, with high cheek-bones,
like their navigators, and bright verd-green rudders, adding to the
picturesque appearance of the river. The great fat creatures brought by
them mainly supply the eel-pie houses, and contribute largely, we are
informed, to that oleaginous kind of soup which people too hungry to be
curious mistake for veritable oxtail and calves' head. The Dutch boats do
not, however, confine themselves to eels. They deal in turbot, soles, and
all kinds of flat-fish, such as frequent the Dogger Bank, much to the
discredit of our native enterprise, neglecting, as we do, the splendid
deep-sea fishing-ground off the south-west coast of Ireland, where cod and
salmon are to be found in abundant quantities, whilst those who know the
west coast well, declare there is turbot enough in Galway Bay "to supply
the whole of Europe for the next hundred years."

We believe, however, it is now in contemplation to go to work upon a large
scale in those waters, having screw-steamers to collect the produce, and
bring it to Milford Haven alive in wells, from which port it would come,
_viâ_ the South Wales and Great Western Railways, to Billingsgate, within
twenty-four hours after it was caught. The value of screw steamers having
capacious wells has been fully tested by Mr. Howard, of Manningtree,
Essex, who fitted an engine and screw into one of his welled
fishing-smacks. Scarcely a lobster, out of twenty thousand put alive into
the boat, was lost, whilst large numbers of those brought in sailing
smacks perish. Salmon, cod, and other fish, are brought alive with the
same success in the welled steamers from the North Sea and the coast of
Scotland. It is almost time that some new ground were found in place of
the famous Dogger Bank, which has now been preyed upon by so many nations
for centuries, and has supplied so many generations of Catholics and
Protestants with fast and feast food. No better proof that its stores are
failing could be given than the fact that, although the ground, counting
the Long Bank and the north-west flat in its vicinity, covers 11,800
square miles, and that in fine weather it is fished by the London
companies with from fifteen to twenty dozen of long lines, extending to
ten or twelve miles, and containing from 9,000 to 12,000 hooks, it is yet
not at all common to secure even as many as four score fish of a night--a
poverty which can be better appreciated when we learn that 600 fish for
800 hooks is the catch for deep-sea fishing about Kinsale.

Towards the latter end of August the great herring season commences.
Yarmouth is the chief seat of this branch of the piscatory trade. Every
night when the weather is fine the fishermen of this old port "shoot"
upwards of 300 square miles of net. Neptune in his ample arms never gave
the ocean so magnificent an embrace. The produce of this wholesale
sweeping of the sea is brought to town by the Eastern Counties Railway.
They come up to Billingsgate packed in barrels and in bulk, and the number
sold in the year seems almost fabulous, being upwards of a _billion_. Next
to the herring fishery the sea-harvest of most importance to the poor of
London is that of sprats, which come in about Lord Mayor's Day, and it is
a popular belief that the first dish is always sent to the chief
magistrate of the city. If a telegraph were to be laid down to all the
alleys and courts, the fact of a large arrival of these little creatures
at Billingsgate would not be sooner made known to the lower orders than,
by some mysterious process, it is at present. Mr. Goldham, the clerk of
the market, accustomed as he is to the sudden invasions of the
costermongers, informs us that the scene on board the smacks laden with
sprats is really frightful. The people hang thick as sea-weed from the
rigging, throng the decks, and swarm on every available inch of plank,
until the wonder is that the whole of the puny fleet does not capsize with
the weight. The cause of the scramble is that the street sellers will not
buy until they have seen the sample, and every one consequently tries to
gain the highest point, that he may look down into the hold, whilst a man
tumbles about the sprats with a shovel, in silver showers. The plaice
season succeeds to that of sprats, with the interval of mackerel, which
continues until the end of May, when Scotland and Ireland begin to pass
down their salmon into the market. But where do all the lobsters come
from? The lovers of this most delicious of the crustaceæ tribe will
probably be astonished to learn that they are mainly brought from Norway.
France and the Channel Islands, Orkney, and Shetland, do, it is true,
contribute a few to the metropolitan market, but full two-thirds are
reluctantly, and with much pinching and twisting, dragged out of the
thousand rock-bound inlets which indent the Norwegian coast. They are
conveyed alive in a screw-steamer and by smacks, in baskets, sometimes to
the extent of 20,000 of a night, to Great Grimsby, and are thence
forwarded to town by the Great Northern Railway--another 10,000 arriving
perhaps from points on our own and the French coast. The fighting,
twisting, blue-black masses are taken as soon as purchased to what are
termed the "boiling-houses," of which there are four, situated in Duck and
Love Lanes, close to the market; and here, for a trifling sum per score,
they change their dark for scarlet uniforms. They are plunged into the
boiling cauldron, basket and all, and in twenty minutes they are done.
Crabs are cooked in the same establishments, but their nervous systems are
so acute, that they dash off their claws in convulsive agony if placed
alive in hot water. To prevent this mutilation, which would spoil their
sale, they are first killed by the insertion of a needle through the head.
The lobster trade is mostly in the hands of one salesman, Mr. Saunders, of
Thames Street, who often has upwards of 15,000 consigned to him of a
morning, and who causes no less than 15,000_l._ a year to flow into the
fishy palms of Norwegians for this single article of commerce. As to the
total supply of fish to the London market, we borrow the following
estimate from Mr. Mayhew's very clever book on "London Labour and the
London Poor." The figures seemed to us at first sight so enormous, that we
hesitatingly submitted the table to one of the largest salesmen who
assured us that it was no over-statement:--

  |         Description of Fish.           | No. of Fish.| Weight of Fish.|
  |             WET FISH.                  |             |                |
  |                                        |             |      lbs.      |
  |Salmon and salmon trout (29,000 boxes,} |             |                |
  |  14 fish per box)                    } |      406,000|     3,480,000  |
  |Live cod (averaging 10 lbs. each)       |      400,000|     4,000,000  |
  |Soles (averaging 1/4 lb. each)          |   97,520,000|    26,880,000  |
  |Whiting (averaging 6 oz. each)          |   17,920,000|     6,720,000  |
  |Haddock (averaging 2 lbs. each)         |    2,470,000|     5,040,000  |
  |Plaice (averaging 1 lb. each)           |   33,600,000|    33,600,000  |
  |Mackerel (averaging 1 lb. each)         |   23,520,000|    23,520,000  |
  |Fresh herrings (250,000 barrels, 700  } |             |                |
  |  fish per barrel)                    } |  175,000,000|    42,000,000  |
  |Ditto in bulk                           |1,050,000,000|   252,000,000  |
  |Sprats                                  |             |     4,000,000  |
  |Eels from Holland (principally),       }|             |{    1,505,280  |
  |  England, and Ireland (6 fish per lb.)}|   9,797,760 |{      127,680  |
  |Flounders (7,200 qrtns., 36 fish per   }|             |                |
  |  qtn.)                                }|     259,200 |        43,200  |
  |Dabs (7,500 qrtns., 36 fish per qrtn.)  |     270,000 |        48,750  |
  |                                        |             |                |
  |            DRY FISH.                   |             |                |
  |                                        |             |                |
  |Barrelled cod (15,000 barrels, 40 fish }|             |                |
  |  per barrel)                          }|     750,000 |     4,200,000  |
  |Dried salt cod (5 lbs. each)            |   1,600,000 |     8,000,000  |
  |Smoked haddock (65,000 barrels, 300    }|             |                |
  |  fish per barrel)                     }|  19,500,000 |    10,920,000  |
  |Bloaters (265,000 baskets, 150 fish per}|             |                |
  |  basket)                              }| 147,000,000 |    10,600,000  |
  |Red herrings (100,000 barrels, 500 fish}|             |                |
  |  per barrel)                          }|  50,000,000 |    14,000,000  |
  |Dried sprats (9,600 large bundles, 30  }|             |                |
  |fish per bundle)                       }|      288,000|        96,000  |
  |                                        |             |                |
  |          SHELL FISH.                   |             |                |
  |                                        |             |                |
  |Oysters                                 | 495,896,000 |                |
  |Lobsters (averaging 1 lb. each fish)    |   1,200,000 |     1,200,000  |
  |Crabs (averaging 1 lb. each fish)       |     600,000 |       600,000  |
  |Shrimps (324 to a pint)                 | 498,428,648 |                |
  |Whelks (227 to half bushel)             |   4,943,200 |                |
  |Mussels (1,000 to half bushel)          |  50,400,000 |                |
  |Cockles (2,000 to half bushel)          |  67,392,000 |                |
  |Periwinkles (4,000 to half bushel)      | 304,000,000 |                |

And now for the _pièce de résistance_.

London has always been celebrated for the excellence of its meat, and her
sons do justice to it; at least it has become the universal impression
that they consume more, man for man, than any other town population in the
world. It was a sirloin, fresh and ruddy, hanging at the door of some
Giblett or Slater in a former century, that inspired, we suspect, the song
which ever since has stirred Englishmen in a foreign land, "The Roast Beef
of Old England." The visitor accustomed to the markets of our large
provincial towns would doubtless expect to find the emporium of the
live-stock trade for so vast a population of an imposing size. The
foreigner, after seeing the magnificence of our docks--the solidity and
span of our bridges--might naturally look for a national exposition of our
greatness in the chief market dedicated to that British beef which is the
boast of John Bull. What they do see in reality, if they have courage to
wend their way along any of the narrow tumble-down streets approaching to
Smithfield, which the great fire unfortunately spared, is an irregular
space bounded by dirty houses and the ragged party-walls of demolished
habitations, which give it the appearance of the site of a recent
conflagration--the whole space comprising just six acres, fifteen perches,
roads and public thoroughfares included. Into this narrow area, surrounded
with slaughter-houses, triperies, bone-boiling houses, gut-scraperies,
&c., the mutton-chops, scrags, saddles, legs, sirloins, and rounds, which
grace the smiling boards of our noble imperial capital throughout the
year, have, for the major part, been goaded and contused for the benefit
of the civic corporation installed at Guildhall.[22] The best time is
early in the morning--say one or two o'clock of the "great day," as the
last market before Christmas-day is called. On this occasion, not only the
space--calculated to hold 4,100 oxen and 30,000 sheep, besides calves and
pigs--is crammed, but the approaches around it overflow with live stock
for many hundred feet, and sometimes the cattle are seen blocking up the
passage as far as St. Sepulchre's church. If the stranger can make his way
through the crowd, and by means of some vantage-ground or door-step can
manage to raise himself a few feet above the general level, he sees before
him in one direction, by the dim red light of hundreds of torches, a
writhing party-coloured mass, surmounted by twisting horns, some in rows,
tied to rails which run along the whole length of the open space, some
gathered together in one struggling knot. In another quarter, the moving
torches reveal to him now and then, through the misty light, a couple of
acres of living wool, or roods of pigs' skins. If he ventures into this
closely wedged and labouring mass, he is enabled to watch more narrowly
the reason of the universal ferment among the beasts.

The drover with his goad is forcing the cattle into the smallest possible
compass, and a little further on half a dozen men are making desperate
efforts to drag refractory oxen up to the rails with ropes. In the scuffle
which ensues the slipping of the ropes often snaps the fingers of the
persons who are conducting the operation, and there is scarce a drover in
the market who has not had some of his digits broken. The sheep, squeezed
into hurdles like figs into a drum, lie down upon each other, "and make no
sign;" the pigs, on the other hand, cry out before they are hurt. This
scene, which has more the appearance of a hideous nightmare than a weekly
exhibition in a civilised country, is accompanied by the barking of dogs,
the bellowing of cattle, the cursing of men, and the dull blows of
sticks--a charivari of sound that must be heard to be appreciated. The
hubbub gradually abates from twelve o'clock at night, the time of opening,
to its close at 3 P.M. next day; although during the whole period, as
fresh lots are "headed up," individual acts of cruelty continue. Can it
excite surprise that a state of things, the worst details of which we have
suppressed, because of the pain which such horrors excite, sometimes so
injures the stock that, to quote the words of one of the witnesses before
the Smithfield Commission, "a grazier will not know his own beast four
days after it has left him?" The meat itself suffers in quality; for
anything like fright or passion is well known to affect the blood, and
consequently the flesh. Beasts subjected to such disturbances will often
turn green within twenty-four hours after death. Mr. Slater, the
well-known butcher of Kensington and Jermyn-street, states that mutton is
often so disfigured by blows and the goad, that it cannot be sold for the
West-end tables. Many of the drovers we doubt not are ruffians, but we
believe the greater part of this cruelty is to be ascribed to the
market-place itself, which, considering the immense amount of business to
be got through on Mondays and Fridays, is absurdly and disgracefully
confined. According to the official account, the number of live stock
exhibited in 1853 was--

   Oxen.       Sheep.      Calves.    Pigs.       Total.
  294,571    1,518,040     36,791    29,593     1,893,888

But this is far from giving a true idea of the whole amount brought into
London. Much stock arrives in the capital which never enters the great
mart. For example, Mr. Slater, who kills per week, on the average, 200
sheep and from 20 to 25 oxen, says, in his evidence before the Smithfield
Commission, that he buys a great deal of his stock from the graziers in
Norfolk and Essex. Again, "town" pigs are slaughtered and sent direct to
the meat market, while many sheep are bought from the parks, where they
have been temporarily placed till they find a purchaser. A much more
correct estimate of the flocks and herds which are annually consumed in
London may be gathered from a report of the numbers transmitted by the
different lines of railway, compiled from official sources by Mr. Ormandy,
the cattle-traffic manager of the North-Western Railway. From this able
pamphlet we extract the following table:--

  |                           | Oxen. |  Sheep. |Calves.| Pigs. |  Total  |
  |                           |       |         |       |       |for 1853.|
  |                           |-------|---------|-------|-------|---------|
  |By Eastern Counties        | 81,744|  277,735|  3,492| 23,427|  386,398|
  | " L. & N. Western         | 70,435|  248,445|  5,113| 24,287|  348,280|
  | " Great Northern          | 15,439|  120,333|    563|  8,973|  145,308|
  | " Great Western           |  6,813|  104,607|  2,320|  2,909|  116,649|
  | " L. & S. Western         |  4,885|  100,960|  1,781|    516|  108,142|
  | " South Eastern           |    875|   58,320|    114|    142|   59,451|
  | " L. & B. & S. Coast      |    863|   13,690|    117|     54|   14,724|
  | " Sea from North of       |       |         |       |       |         |
  |     England and Scotland  | 14,662|   11,141|    421|  3,672|   29,896|
  | " Sea from Ireland        |  2,311|    3,472|     21|  5,476|   11,280|
  |Imported from the Continent| 55,065|  229,918| 25,720| 10,131|  320,834|
  |Driven in by road, and from|       |         |       |       |         |
  |  the neighbourhood of the | 69,096|  462,172| 62,114| 48,295|  641,647|
  |  metropolis (obtained from|       |         |       |       |         |
  |  the toll-gate lessees)   |       |         |       |       |         |
  |                           |-------|---------|-------|-------|---------|
  |Total                      |322,188|1,630,793|101,776|127,852|2,182,609|

These numbers show at a glance what a part the railway plays in supplying
animal food to the metropolis, and how trifling in comparison is the
amount that travels up on foot. The Eastern Counties lines, penetrating
and monopolizing the rich breeding and fattening districts of Norfolk and
Essex, bring up the largest share. Many of the little black cattle, that
tourists see in Scotland climbing the hills like cats, come directly from
these counties, having some months before been sent thither from their
native north to clothe their bones with English substance. By the same
line we receive a fair portion of that great foreign contribution to our
larders, the mere shadow of which so frightened our graziers some years
ago, principally Danish stock, which finds its way from Tonning to
Lowestoff, a route newly opened up by the North of Europe Steam-ship
Company. The North-Western is next in rank as a carrier of live stock.
This line takes in the contributions from the Midland Counties, and, by
way of Liverpool, abundance of Irish and Scotch cattle. The Great Northern
is perhaps destined to surpass both in the quantities of food it will
eventually pour into London, running as it does through the northern
breeding districts, and receiving at its extremity the herds which come
from Aberdeen and its neighbourhood.

The foreign supply last year of cattle, sheep, pigs, and calves, was more
than a seventh of the entire number sent to London. The daily bills of
entries at the Custom House furnishes us with a valuable indication of the
fields from which we have already received, and may in future expect to
receive still further additions of what Englishmen greatly covet--good
beef and mutton at a moderate price. The arrivals by steam in the port of
London in 1853 were as follows:--

  |   _From_        |_Oxen._| _Sheep._ | _Calves._|_Pigs._|_Total._|
  |Holland          | 40,538|   172,730|    24,280|  9,370| 246,918|
  |Denmark          |  9,487|     7,515|        60|   ..  |  17,062|
  |Hanseatic Towns  |  4,366|    37,443|         1|    632|  42,442|
  |Belgium          |    449|    12,006|     1,244|   ..  |  13,699|
  |France           |    105|       224|       135|    129|     593|
  |Portugal         |    100|      ..  |      ..  |   ..  |     100|
  |Spain            |     17|      ..  |      ..  |   ..  |      17|
  |Russia           |      3|      ..  |      ..  |   ..  |       3|
  |                 |-------|----------|----------|-------|--------|
  |Total            | 55,065|   229,918|    25,720| 10,131| 320,834|

Holland, Denmark, and the Hanseatic Towns, it will be seen, were the
principal contributors. A more striking example of the influence of the
legislation of one country in modifying the occupations of the people of
another could not be cited, than the manner in which Sir Robert Peel's
tariff revolutionized the character of Danish and Dutch farming. Before
1844 the pastures of the two countries, more especially the rich marshes
of Holland, were almost exclusively devoted to dairy purposes: the
abolition of the duty on live stock in that year quickly introduced a new
state of things. The farmers began to breed stock, and consequently
turnips and mangel-wurzel have been creeping over fields, where once the
dairy-maid carried the milking-pail, as gradually as one landscape
succeeds another in the Polytechnic dissolving views. We get now from both
countries excellent beef, especially from Jutland, whose lowing herds used
formerly to go to Hamburg--and who has not heard of the famous Hambro'
beef? We may expect in time to receive still finer meat from this quarter,
for the Danes have been sedulously improving their breed, and
agriculturists, who saw the beasts which were sent over to the last
Baker-street show, admitted that they were in every respect equal to our
own short-horns. It is gratifying to note how ready the world is to follow
our lead in the matter of stock-breeding. Bulls are bought up at fabulous
prices by foreigners, and especially by our cousins on the other side of
the Atlantic, for the purpose of raising the indigenous cattle to the
British standard. An American, for instance, purchased, for 1,000_l._, a
celebrated bull bred by Earl Ducie, though unfortunately the animal broke
his neck on his passage out. Another noble specimen was secured, we have
heard, for the same quarter, for 600_l._

The supply of sheep and lambs has, during the last twenty years, stood
nearly still; for in 1828 there were brought to market 1,412,032, and in
1849 but 1,417,000, or only an extra 4,000 for the 500,000 mouths which
have been added to the metropolis between these two periods. That London
has of late years abjured mutton, as our immediate ancestors appear to
have done pork, the evidence of our senses denies. How, then, are we to
explain this stagnation in the Smithfield returns? By the fact that a new
channel has been found in the rapid rise of Newgate market, the great
receptacle of country-killed meat brought up to town by the railways.
Those who remember the place forty years ago state that there were not
then twenty salesmen, and now there are two hundred. This enormous
development is due to steam, which bids fair to give Newgate, in the cold
season at least, the lead over Smithfield. The new agent has more than
quadrupled the area from which London draws its meat. Twenty years ago
eighty miles was the farthest distance from which carcases ever came; now
the Great Northern and North-Western railways, during the winter months,
bring hundreds of tons from as far north as Aberdeen, whilst some are
fetched from Hamburgh and Ostend. Country slaughtering will in time, we
have little doubt, deliver the capital from the nuisances which grow out
of this horrible trade. Aberdeen is in fact becoming little else than a
London _abattoir_. The style in which the butchers of that place dress and
pack the carcases leaves nothing to be desired, and in the course of the
year mountains of beef, mutton, pork, and veal arrive the night after it
is slaughtered in perfect condition. According to returns obligingly
forwarded to us by the different railway companies, we find that the
following was the weight of country-killed meat by the undermentioned

  Eastern Counties           10,398
  North-Western               4,602
  Great Western               5,200
  Great Northern             13,152[23]
  South-Eastern               1,035
  South-Western               2,000
  Brighton and South Coast      100

Thus no less than 36,487 tons of meat are annually "pitched" at Newgate
and Leadenhall markets. As the Scotch boats convey about 700 tons more, we
have at least 37,187 tons of country-killed meat brought into London by
steam, and these immense contributions are totally independent of the
amount slaughtered at Smithfield, which is estimated to average weekly
1,000 oxen, 3,000 sheep and lambs, and 400 calves and pigs. We have given
the average supply; but on some occasions the quantity is enormously
increased. The Eastern Counties line during one Christmas week deposited
at Newgate about 1,000 tons of meat; and the weight sent by other
companies on the same day would be proportionately large. No less than
forty waggons were waiting on one occasion to discharge their beef and
mutton into the market. And what does our reader imagine may be the area
in which nine-tenths of this mass of meat are sold? Just 2 roods 45
perches, having one carriage entrance, which varies from 14 to 18 feet in
width, and four foot entrances, the widest of which is only 16 feet 6
inches, and the narrowest 5 feet 8 inches. No wonder that, as we are
informed by more than one of the witnesses before the Smithfield Inquiry
Commission, there is often not sufficient space to expose the meat for
sale, and it becomes putrid in consequence. Though we have acquired the
fame of being a practical people, it must be confessed that we conduct
many of our every-day transactions in a blundering manner, when we cannot
provide commodious markets for perishable commodities, or even turn out an
omnibus that can be mounted without an effort of agility and daring.

Mr. Giblett, the noted butcher, late of Bond Street, calculates that the
amount of meat brought by the railways into Newgate is three times that
supplied by the London carcase butchers, who annually send 52,000 oxen,
156,000 sheep, 10,400 calves, and 10,400 pigs. Taking this estimate, and
applying it also to the Leadenhall market, we shall have at

  |                            |_Beasts._| _Sheep._|_Calves._| _Pigs._|
  |Newgate, meat               | 156,000 |  468,000|  31,200 |  31,200|
  |Leadenhall, ditto           |   5,200 |   41,600|   ..    |   ..   |
  |                            |---------|---------|---------|--------|
  |                            | 161,200 |  509,600|  31,200 |  31,200|
  |Live stock brought to London| 322,188 |1,630,793| 101,776 | 127,852|
  |                            |---------|---------|---------|--------|
  |Total supply of live stock }|         |         |         |        |
  |  and meat to London       }| 483,388 |2,140,393| 132,976 | 159,052|

This we are convinced is still below the truth, for we have not included
the country-killed meat sold at Farringdon and Whitechapel markets.[24]
The total value of this enormous supply of flesh cannot be much less than
fourteen millions annually.

These figures demonstrate that the falling off of sheep sent to London is
solely because they now come to town in the form of mutton. It is sent to
a much greater extent than beef, in consequence of its arriving in finer
condition, being more easily carried, and better worth the cost of
conveyance on account of the larger proportion of prime joints. Indeed,
the entire carcase of the oxen never comes, since the coarse
boiling-pieces would have to pay the same carriage as the picked
"roastings." Newgate, be it remembered, is eminently a West End market,
and fully two-thirds of its meat find its way to that quarter of the town.
Accordingly, most of the beef "pitched" here consists of sirloins and
ribs; and, in addition to whole carcases of sheep, there are numerous
separate legs and saddles of mutton. This accounts for a fact that has
puzzled many, namely, how London manages to get such myriads of chops. Go
into any part of the metropolis, and look into the windows of the thousand
eating-houses and coffee-shops in the great thoroughfares, and in every
one of them there is the invariable blue dish with half a dozen juicy,
well-trimmed chops, crowned with a sprig of parsley. To justify such a
number, either fourfold the supply of sheep must come to London that we
have any account of, or in lieu of the ordinary number of vertebræ they
must possess as many as the great boa. When the prodigious store of
saddles which the country spares the town have once been seen the wonder
ceases. "Sometimes I cut 100 saddles into mutton-chops to supply the
eating-houses," says Mr. Banister, of Threadneedle Street.

The weather preserves a most delicate balance between Newgate and
Smithfield. Winter is the busy time at the former market, when meat can be
carried any distance without fear of taint. As soon as summer sets in,
Smithfield takes its turn; for butchers then prefer to purchase live
stock, in order that they may kill them the exact moment they are
required. Sometimes as many as 1,200 beasts and from 12,000 to 15,000
sheep are slaughtered in hot weather on a Friday night, in the
neighbourhood of Smithfield, for Saturday's market. Every precaution is
taken on the railways to keep the meat sweet. The Eastern Counties Company
provide "peds," or cloths cut to the shape of the carcase or joint, for
the use of their customers, and sometimes it is conveyed from the north in
boxes. When, in spite of care, it turns out to be tainted, the salesman to
whom it is consigned calls the officer of the market, by whom it is
forthwith sent to Cow Cross, and there burnt in the nacker's yard.
According, however, to a competent witness--Mr. Harper--bad meat in any
quantity can be disposed of in the metropolis to butchers living in low
neighbourhoods, who impose it upon the poor at night. "There is one shop,
I believe," he says, "doing 500_l._ per week in diseased meat. This firm
has a large foreign trade. The trade in diseased meat is very alarming,
and anything in the shape of flesh can be sold at about 1_d._ per pound or
8_d._ per stone."

If the reader is not already surfeited with the mountains of meat we have
piled before his eyes, let us beg his attention for a few minutes to game
and poultry, which we bring on in their proper course. Leadenhall and
Newgate, as all the world knows, are the great metropolitan depôts for
this class of food, especially the former, which receives perhaps
two-thirds of the entire supply. The quantities of game and wild birds
consigned to some of the large salesmen almost exceeds belief. After a few
successful battues in the Highlands, it is not at all unusual for one firm
to receive 5,000 head of game, and as many as 20,000 to 30,000 larks are
often sent up to market together. All other kinds of the feathered tribe
which are reputed good for food are received in proportionate abundance.
If it were not for the great salesmen, many a merry dinner would be
marred, for the retail poulterers would be totally incapable of executing
the constant and sudden orders for the banquets which are always
proceeding. The good people at the Crystal Palace have already learned to
consume, besides unnumbered other items, 600 chickens daily; and from this
we may guess how vast the wants of the entire metropolis. The sources from
which game and poultry are derived are fewer than might be imagined. The
Highlands and Yorkshire send up nearly all the grouse; and scores of
noblemen, members of Parliament, and other wealthy or enthusiastic
sportsmen, who are at this present moment beating over the moors, and
walking for their pleasure twenty-five miles a day, assist to furnish this
delicacy to the London public at a moderate rate.

Pheasants and partridges mainly come from Norfolk and Suffolk; snipes from
the marshy lowlands of Holland, which also provides our entire supply of
teal, widgeon, and other kinds of wild fowl, with the exception of those
caught in the "decoys" of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. From Ostend
there are annually transmitted to London 600,000 tame rabbits, which are
reared for the purpose on the neighbouring sand dunes. We are indebted to
Ireland for flocks of plovers, and quails are brought from Egypt and the
south of Europe. In most of our poulterers' windows may be seen the long
wooden boxes, with a narrow slit, in which these latter birds are kept
until required for the spit. Not long since upwards of 17,000 came to
London _viâ_ Liverpool, whither they had been brought from the Campagna,
near Rome. Of the 2,000,000 of fowls that every year find a resting-place
_vis-à-vis_ to boiled tongues on our London tables, by far the greatest
quantity are drawn from the counties of Surrey and Sussex, where the
Dorking breed is in favour. Ireland also sends much poultry. No less than
1,400 tons of chickens, geese, and ducks are brought to town annually by
the Great Western Railway, most of which are from the neighbourhood of
Cork and Waterford, whence they are shipped to Bristol. Londoners are
accustomed to see shops of late years which profess to sell "West of
England produce," such as young pork, poultry, butter, and clouted cream.
All these delicacies are brought by the Great Western Railway, and are
principally the contributions of Somersetshire and Devonshire. The bulk of
the geese, ducks, and turkeys, however, come from Norfolk, Cambridge,
Essex, and Suffolk--four fat counties, which do much to supply the London
commissariat, the Eastern Counties Railway alone having brought thence
last year 22,462 tons of fish, flesh, fowl, and good red herrings.

For pigeons we are indebted to "our fair enemy France," as Sir Philip
Sydney calls her, but now we trust our fast friend. They proceed
principally from the interior, and are shipped for our market from
Boulogne and Calais. How many eggs we get from across the Channel we
scarcely like to say. Mr. M'Culloch considers that the capital receives
from 70,000,000 to 75,000,000--a number which we think must be much below
the mark, seeing that the Brighton and South Coast line brings annually
2,600 tons, the produce of Belgium and France. At Bastoign, in the latter
country, there is a farm of 200 acres entirely devoted to the rearing of
poultry and the production of eggs for the supply of London.

No perfectly accurate account can be given of the number per annum of
poultry, game, and wild birds which enter Leadenhall and Newgate markets;
but the following estimate was handed to us by a dealer who turns over
100,000_l._ a year in this trade. As the list takes no account of the
quantity which goes direct to the retailer, nor of the thousands sent as
presents, it must fall short of the actual consumption:--

  Grouse                         100,000
  Partridges                     125,000
  Pheasants                       70,000
  Snipes                          80,000
  Wild Birds (mostly small)      150,000
  Plovers                        150,000
  Quails                          30,000
  Larks                          400,000
  Widgeon                         70,000
  Teal                            30,000
  Wild Ducks                     200,000
  Pigeons                        400,000
  Domestic Fowls               2,000,000
  Geese                          100,000
  Ducks                          350,000
  Turkeys                        104,000
  Hares                          100,000
  Rabbits                      1,300,000
  Total                        5,759,000

In addition to its dead game and wild fowl, Leadenhall market is quite a
Noah's ark of live animals. Geese, ducks, swans, pigeons, and cocks,
bewilder you with their noise. Intermingled with these birds of a feather
are hawks, ferrets, dogs and cats, moving about in their wicker cages, and
almost aggravated to madness by the proximity of their prey. The major
portion of the live stock is designed either for sporting purposes or for
"petting" and breeding, and do not belong to the commissariat department.
Of the dead game and poultry, the seven railways bring to London about
7,871 tons weight in the course of the year.

In taking leave of the poultry-yard we are reminded of the dairy, and of
the large establishments required to fill the milk-jugs of London. There
are at the present moment, as near as we can learn, 20,000 cows in the
metropolitan and suburban dairies, some of which number 500 cows apiece.
Even these gigantic establishments have been occasionally exceeded, and
one individual, several years ago, possessed 1,500 milkers--a fact fatal
to the popular superstition, that notwithstanding many attempts, no
dairyman could ever muster more than 999. The terrible ravages of
pleuro-pneumonia, which many believe to be a contagious disease, have
cured the passion for such extensive herds. The larger dairies of the
metropolis are on the whole admirably managed, and the cows luxuriate in
airy outhouses, but the smaller owners are often confined for space, and
the animals are sometimes cooped in sheds, placed in tiers one above
another. The country dairymaid laughs at the ignorance which the Londoner
betrays of rural matters when on a visit to her master, but she would be
perplexed in her turn if told that in the capital they fed the cows
chiefly upon brewers' grains, and milked them on the _second story_? A
few years since Mr. Rugg appalled the town, which had forgotten Matthew
Bramble, Esq., and the "New Bath Guide," by detailing a nauseous process
which he affirmed was in use among cunning milkmen for the adulteration of
their milk. There was, however, a great deal of exaggeration in the
account, and Dr. Hassell, whose analysis of various articles of food in
the _Lancet_ are widely known, states that the "iron-tailed cow" is the
main agent employed in the fraud, and that the only colouring matter he
has been enabled to discover is annatto. Nearly all the cream goes to the
West-End; and one dairyman living at Islington informed us that he made
1,200_l._ a year by the trade he carried on in that single article with
the fashionable part of the town. It must be evident, upon the least
consideration, that the London and suburban dairies alone could not supply
the metropolis. If each of the 20,000 cows give on the average twelve
quarts a day, the sum total would only be 240,000 quarts. If we suppose
this quantity to be increased by the exhaustless "iron-tailed cow," of
which Dr. Hassell speaks, to 300,000 quarts, the allowance to each
individual of the two millions and a quarter of population would be little
more than a quarter of a pint. This is clearly below the exigencies of the
tea-table, the nursery, and the kitchen, and we do not think we shall make
an overestimate if we assume that half as much again is daily consumed.
Here again the railway, which in some cases brings milk from as far as
eighty miles, makes up the deficiency. The Eastern Counties line conveyed
in 1853 to London, 3,174,179 quarts, the North-Western 144,000 quarts, the
Great Western 23,400 quarts, the Brighton and South Coast 100 tons, and
the Great Northern as much perhaps as the North-Western. The milk is
collected from the farmers by agents in the country, who sell it to the
milkmen, of whom there are 1,347, to distribute it over the town. In
course of time it is possible that town dairies may entirely disappear.
Cowsheds, often narrow and low, in thickly-populated localities, cannot be
as healthy for the animals as a purer atmosphere; and though experiment
has shown that they thrive admirably when stalled, the food they get in
these urban prisons can hardly be as wholesome as that provided by the
verdant pastures of the farm. The milk which comes by railway has,
however, this disadvantage, that it will not keep nearly so long as the
indigenous produce of the metropolitan dairies. The different companies
have constructed waggons lightly hung on springs, but the churning effect
of sudden joltings cannot be altogether got rid of.

Of the vegetables and fruit that are brought into the various markets of
the capital, but especially to Covent Garden, a very large quantity is
grown in the immediate neighbourhood. From whatever quarter the railway
traveller approaches London, he perceives that the cultivation of the land
gradually heightens, until he arrives at those suburban residences which
form the advanced guards of the metropolis. The fields give place to
hedgeless gardens, in which, to use a phrase of Washington Irving, "the
furrows seem finished rather with the pencil than the plough." Acre after
acre flashes with hand-glasses, streaks of verdure are ruled in close
parallel lines across the soil with mathematical precision, interspersed
here and there with patches as sharp cut at the edges as though they were
pieces of green baize--these are the far-famed market-gardens. They are
principally situated in the long level tracts of land that must once have
been overflowed by the Thames--such as the flat alluvial soil known as the
Jerusalem Level, extending between London Bridge and Greenwich--and the
grounds about Fulham, Battersea, Chelsea, Putney, and Brentford. Mr.
Cuthill, who is perhaps the best authority on this subject, estimates that
there are 12,000 acres under cultivation for the supply of vegetables and
5,000 for fruit-trees. This seems an insufficient area for the supply of
so many mouths, but manure and active spade husbandry compensate for lack
of space. By these agencies four and sometimes five crops are extracted
from the land in the course of the year. The old-fashioned farmer,
accustomed to the restrictions of old-fashioned leases, would stare at
such a statement, and ask how long it would last. But his surprise would
be still greater at being told that after every clearance the ground is
deeply trenched, and its powers restored with a load of manure to every
thirty square feet of ground. This is the secret of the splendid return,
and it could be effected nowhere but in the neighbourhood of such cities
as London, where the produce of the fertilizer is sufficiently great to
keep down its price. And here we have a striking example of town and
country reciprocation. The same waggon that in the morning brings a load
of cabbages, is seen returning a few hours later filled with dung. An
exact balance as far as it goes is thus kept up, and the manure, instead
of remaining to fester among human beings, is carted away to make
vegetables. What a pity we cannot extend the system, and turn the whole
sewerage by drain-pipes entirely into the rural districts, to feed the
land, instead of allowing it, as we do, to run into the Thames and pollute
the water to be used in our dwellings.

The care and attention bestowed by the market-gardeners is incredible to
those who have not witnessed it; every inch of ground is taken advantage
of--cultivation runs between the fruit-trees; storming-parties of cabbages
and cauliflowers swarm up to the very trunks of apple-trees;
raspberry-bushes are surrounded and cut off by young seedlings. If you see
an acre of celery growing in ridges, be sure that, on a narrow inspection,
you will find long files of young peas picking their way along the
furrows. Everything flourishes here except weeds, and you may go over a
150-acre piece of ground without discovering a single one. Quality, even
more than quantity, is attended to by the best growers; and they nurse
their plants as they would children. The visitor will sometimes see "the
heads" of an acre of cauliflowers one by one folded up in their own leaves
as carefully as an anxious wife wraps up an asthmatic husband on a
November night; and if rain should fall, attendants run to cover them up,
as quickly as they cover up the zoological specimens at the Crystal Palace
when the watering-pots are set to work.

Insects and blight are also banished as strictly as from the court of
Oberon. To such a pitch is vigilance carried, that, according to a writer
in _Household Words_, blight and fungi are searched after with a
microscope, woodlice exterminated by bantems dressed in socks to prevent
too much scratching, and other destructive insects despatched by the aid
of batches of toads, purchased at the rate of six shillings a dozen!

The continual extension of London is, however, rapidly encroaching upon
all the old market-gardens, and they are obliged to move farther a-field:
thus high cultivation, like a green fairy-ring, is gradually widening and
enlarging its circle round the metropolis. The coarser kinds of vegetables
are but sparingly grown in these valuable grounds, but come up in large
quantities from all parts of the country; and some of the choice kinds are
now reared far away in Devonshire and Cornwall, where they are favoured by
the climate. It would be interesting to get an authentic statement of the
acreage dedicated to fruit and vegetables for the London market, but we
find the information unattainable. Mr. Cuthill calculates that there are
200 acres employed around the metropolis in the growth of strawberries,
and 5 acres planted as mushroom-beds. Cucumbers were once very largely
cultivated. He has seen as many as 14 acres under hand-glasses in a single
domain, and has known 200,000 gherkins cut in a morning for the
pickle-merchants. Strangely enough, they have refused to grow well around
London ever since the outbreak of the potato disease. The disastrous
epidemic of 1849, we have little doubt, had much to do with the diminished
supply, for the cholera soon brought about the result desired by Mrs.
Gamp, "when cowcumbers is three for twopence," prices quite explanatory of
the indisposition of the land to produce them. The very high state of
cultivation in the metropolitan market-gardens necessitates the employment
of a large amount of labour; and it is supposed that no less than 35,000
persons are engaged in the service of filling the vegetable and
dessert-dishes of the metropolis. This estimate leaves out those in the
provinces and on the Continent, which would, we doubt not, nearly double
the calculation, and show a troop of men and women as large as the entire
British army. There are five marts in London devoted to the sale of
fruit--Covent Garden, Spitalfields, the Borough, Farringdon, and
Portman-markets,--besides a vast number of street offsets, such as
Clare-market, in which hawkers generally stand with their barrows. Covent
Garden is not only their type, but it does nearly as much business as all
of them put together, and for that reason we shall dwell upon it to the
exclusion of the others.

At the first dawn of morning in the midst of squalid London, sweet country
odours greet the early-riser, and cool orchards and green strawberry
slopes seem ever present to the mind.

If those who seek pleasure in gaiety have never visited the market in its
prime, let them journey thither some summer morning, and note how fresh
will seem the air, and how full of life the people, after the languid
waltz in Grosvenor Square. The central alley of the "Garden," as it is
called by the costermongers, is one of the prettiest lounges in town; and,
whether by chance or design, it exhibits, in its arrangement from east to
west, a complete march of the seasons. At the western entrance the visitor
is greeted with the breath of flowers; and there they show in smiling
banks piled upon the stalls, or sorted with frilled edges into ladies'
bouquets. As he proceeds, he comes upon the more delicate spring
vegetables--pink shafts of the oriental-looking rhubarb, delicate cos
lettuce, &c.; still further along the arcade, the plate-glass windows on
either side display delicate fruits, done up in dainty boxes, and set off
with tinted paper shreds. Behind these windows also might be seen those
rarities which it is the pride of London market-gardeners to provide, and
in producing which they all struggle to steal the longest march upon
time--a sieve-full of early potatoes, each as small and costly as the egg
of a Cochin-China fowl--a basin-full of peas, at a guinea a pint--a
cucumber marked 5_s._, and strawberries 18_s._ the ounce.

The market-gardeners of Penzance are beginning to send up many of these
early vegetables, the mildness of the south-western extremity of Cornwall
giving them a wonderful advantage over every other part of the kingdom.
Gentlemen's gardeners also contribute somewhat, by sending to the salesmen
such of the produce of their glazed houses as is not consumed in the
family, and receive articles in return of which they happen to have an
insufficient quantity themselves. These forced vegetables give way, it is
true, as the season advances; but when in, they are always most to be
found at that end of the walk nearest the rising sun. As the year
proceeds, the lustier and more natural fruits are displayed--peaches that
have ripened with blushing cheek to the wind, gigantic strawberries,
raspberries, nectarines, or blooming plums. Feathery pines add their
mellow hue; and when these fail, the colour deepens into amber piles of
oranges, umber filberts, and the rich brown of Spanish chestnuts, the
produce of the waning year.

To leave, however, our fancied procession of the seasons, and to return to
the actual business of the market. As early as two o'clock in the morning,
a person looking down the dip of Piccadilly will perceive the first influx
of the daily supply of vegetables and fruit to Covent Garden market:
waggons of cabbages, built up and regularly faced, with the art rather of
the mason than the market-gardener; light spring-vans fragrant with
strawberries; and milk-white loads of turnips which slowly roll along the
great-western road, and bring the produce of the fertile alluvial shores
of the Thames to the great west-end mart. The pedestrian proceeding along
the southern and eastern roads sees the like stream of vegetable food
quietly converging to the same spot. From this hour, especially upon a
Saturday morning, until nine o'clock, the scene at the market itself is of
the most exciting description.

Without some organization it would be impossible to receive and display to
the advantage of the buyer and seller the varied products that in the grey
of the morning pours into so limited a space. Accordingly, different
portions of it are dedicated to distinct classes of vegetables and fruits.
The finest of the delicate soft fruit, such as strawberries, peaches, &c.,
are lodged, as we have mentioned, in the central alley of the market--the
inmost leaf of the rose. On the large covered space to the north of this
central alley is the wholesale fruit-station, fragrant with apples, pears,
greengages, or whatever is in season. The southern open space is
dedicated to cabbages and other vegetables; and the extreme south front is
wholly occupied by potato-salesmen. Around the whole quadrangle, during a
busy morning, there is a party-coloured fringe of waggons backed in
towards the central space, in which the light green of cabbages forms the
prevailing colour, interrupted here and there with the white of turnips,
or the deep orange of digit-like carrots; and as the spectator watches,
the whole mass is gradually absorbed into the centre of the market.
Meanwhile the space dedicated to wholesale fruit sales is all alive.
Columns of empty baskets twelve feet high seem progressing through the
crowd "of their own motion." The vans have arrived from the railways, and
rural England, side by side with the Continent, pours in its supplies from
many a sheltered mossy nook. It is very easy to discover by a glance which
are the home-grown, which the foreign contributions. There stand the
English baskets and sieves, solid and stout as Harry the Eighth, amidst
little hampers, as delicate as French ladies, and seemingly as incapable
of withstanding hard usage. Yet some of these have come from Algiers,
others from the south of France with greengages, and the majority from
Normandy. France is beginning to send large quantities of peaches and
nectarines, carefully packed with paper-shavings in small boxes; and even
strawberries this summer have found their way here from the same quarter.
The frosts which sometimes occur in the early part of the year, destroy
nearly all the fruit-crops in the neighbourhood of London; and were it not
for the bountiful stores which are brought from abroad, Covent Garden
would be little better than a desert.

The repeal of the high duty upon foreign fruit has so far widened the
field of supply that it can no longer be destroyed by an unusual fall of
the mercury. By means of the telegraph, the steamboat, and the railroad,
we annul the effects of frost, obliterate the sea, and command, at a few
hours' notice, the produce of the Continent. When there is a dearth in
this country the fact is immediately noticed by the great fruit-dealers in
the City: the telegraph forthwith conveys the information to Holland,
France, and Belgium; and within forty hours steamers from one or other of
these countries will be seen making towards the Downs and adjoining
coasts, and in another six their cargoes, fresh plucked from the
neighbourhoods of old Norman abbeys and quaint Flemish stadthouses, are
blooming in Covent Garden. Fruit that will bear delay comes up the Thames
by boat, and is discharged at the wharfs near London Bridge, but the major
part eventually finds its way to the "Garden." The South-Western and
South-Eastern are the two principal lines for foreign fruit: the former
brings large quantities of Spanish and Portuguese produce--such as
oranges, grapes, melons, nuts, &c.; the latter conveys apples, pears,
strawberries, peaches, nectarines, &c., from Dover, to which place they
are brought by steamers. To show how enormous is the supply from abroad,
we give, on the authority of the goods-manager of the South-Eastern line,
the amount brought by them in one night:--

  100 tons of green peas from France.
   50  "   of fruit from Kent.
   10  "   of filberts from Kent.
   25  "   of plums from France.
   10  "   of black currants from France.

In all 195 tons; out of which 135 were from across the water. The Brighton
and South Coast transmit the produce of Jersey and Dieppe--apples, pears,
and plums--to the extent last year of about 300 tons. Of vegetables the
Great Northern is the principal carrier; last year they brought to town
the enormous quantity of 45,819 tons of potatoes, besides 1,940 tons of
other vegetables. The potatoes mainly proceed from the fen country.
Walnuts generally come by the Antwerp boats, which sometimes carry cargoes
of between 400 and 500 tons. Everybody who has travelled in the Low
Countries remembers the magnificent walnut-trees which grow along the
sides of the canals as commonly as elms in our own country. These eke out
our scantier native stores, and help to make cosier the after-dinner chat
over the glass of port. During two mornings that we visited Covent Garden
we saw 613 bushel-baskets of strawberries that had just come from
Honfleur, and upwards of 1,000 baskets of greengages arrived from the same
neighbourhood during the week. As we gazed, on one of these occasions upon
the solid walls of baskets extending down the market, crowned with
parapets of peach and nectarine boxes, we wondered in our own minds
whether it would ever be all sold, and the wonder increased as waggon
after waggon arrived, piled up as high as the second-floor windows of the
piazza. Venturing to express this doubt to a lazy-looking man who was
plaiting the strands of a whip, "Blessee, sir," he replied without looking
up from his work, "the main part on 'em will be at Brummagem by
dinner-time." True enough, while we had been guessing and wondering, a
nimble fellow had run to the telegraph and inquired of Birmingham and a
few distant towns whether they were in want of certain fruits that
morning. The answer being in the affirmative, the vans turned round,
rattled off to the North-Western station, and in another hour the
superfluity of Covent Garden was rushing on its way to fill up the
deficiency of the midland counties. Thus the wire and steam, both at home
and abroad, cause the supply to respond instantly to the demand, however
wide apart the two principles may be working.

The strawberry trade of Covent Garden is not likely, however, at present
to fall into the hands of foreigners. The London market-gardeners have
long looked with justice upon this fruit as particularly their own. By the
skill they have bestowed upon its culture it has advanced enormously, both
in flavour and size, from the old standard "hautboy" of our fathers, and
which foreigners mainly cultivate to the present day. Mr. Miatt, of
Deptford, is the great grower; by judicious grafting he has produced from
the old stock half-a-dozen different kinds, the most celebrated being the
"British Queen," which attains a prodigious size. Large quantities of
strawberries are sent to the market in light spring-vans. They are placed
in 1 lb. punnets or round willow baskets, or they are carefully piled in
pottles, and the process of "topping-up," as it is called, is considered
quite an art in the trade. The rarest and ripest fruit, which goes direct
to the pastrycooks, is still more deftly treated. Lest it should be
injured by jolting, horse is exchanged for human carriage. A procession of
eight or ten stout women, carrying baskets full of strawberry-pottles upon
their heads, may often be seen streaming in hot haste up Piccadilly,
preceded by a man, like so many sheep by a bell-wether. It is probable
that they have trudged all the way from Isleworth with the fruit, and, as
they frequently make two journeys in the day, the distance traversed is
not less than twenty-six miles.

After strawberries, perhaps peas are the most important article produced
by the market-gardeners. Dealers, in order to consult the convenience of
hotel-keepers and such as require suddenly a large supply for the table,
keep them ready for the saucepan; and not the least curious feature of
Covent Garden, about midday, is to see a dense mass of women--generally
old--seated in rows at the corner of the market, engaged in shelling them.
One salesman often employs as many as 400 persons in this occupation. The
major part of these auxiliaries belong to the poor-houses around; they
obtain permission to go out for this purpose, and the shilling or eighteen
pence a-day earned by some of the more expert is gladly exchanged for the
monotonous rations of the parish. In the autumn, again, there will be a
row of poor creatures, extending along the whole north side of the square,
shelling walnuts, each person having two baskets, one for the nuts,
another for the shells, which are bought by the catsup-makers. The poor
flock from all parts of the town directly a job of the kind is to be had.
If a fog happens in November, thousands of link-boys and men spring up
with ready-made torches; if a frost occurs, hundreds of men are to be
found on the Serpentine and other park waters, to sweep the ice or to put
on your skates: there are, in the busy part of the town half-a-dozen
fellows ready of a wet day to rush simultaneously to call a cab "for your
honour;" and every crossing when it grows muddy almost instantly has its
man and broom. A sad comment this upon the large floating population of
starving labour always to be found in the streets of London.

The busiest time at the market is about six o'clock, when the
costermongers surround Covent Garden with their barrows, and hundreds of
street hawkers, with their hand-baskets and trays, come for their day's
supply. The same system of purchase is pursued here as at
Billingsgate--the rich dealers buy largely and sell again, and the poorer
club their means and divide the produce. The regular street vender who
keeps his barrow, drawn by a donkey or a pony, looks down with a certain
contempt upon the inferior hawkers, principally Irish. They only deal in a
certain class of vegetables, such as peas, young potatoes, broccoli, or
cauliflowers, and have nothing to do with _mere greens_. Another class of
purchasers are the little girls who vend watercresses. Such is the demand
for cresses, that they are now largely cultivated for the market, the
spontaneous growth proving quite inadequate to the demand. They are
produced principally at "Spring Head," at Walthamstow, in Essex, and at
Cookham, Shrivenham, and Faringdon, on the line of the Great Western,
which brings to town no less than a ton a week of this wholesome breakfast
salad. The best, however, come from Camden Town. Most people fancy that
clear purling streams are necessary for their production; but the Camden
Town beds are planted in an old brick-field, watered by the Fleet Ditch;
and though the stream at this point is comparatively pure, they owe their
unusually luxuriant appearance to a certain admixture of the sewerage. A
great many hundreds of bunches are sold every morning in Covent Garden;
but the largest share goes to Farringdon Market. The entire supply to the
various metropolitan markets cannot be less than three tons weekly.
Rhubarb is almost wholly furnished by the London market-gardeners. It was
first introduced by Mr. Miatt forty years ago, who sent his two sons to
the Borough Market with five bunches, of which they only sold three. From
this time he continued its cultivation, notwithstanding the sneers at what
were called his "physic pies." As he predicted, it soon became a
favourite, and now hundreds of tons weight are sold in Covent Garden in
the course of the year. It would be impossible to give any precise account
of the fruit and vegetable produce that is poured day by day into London;
for the authorities themselves only know how many baskets arrive, not how
much they contain. The railway returns give us the quantity brought from a
distance, and we find that the seven lines transmit annually somewhere
about 70,000 tons of vegetables and soft green fruit. This is irrespective
of dried fruit, oranges, &c.--a business of itself, involving great
interests, and employing an immense capital, and of which we will say a
few words.

The foreign-fruit trade has its head-quarters in the city. The pedestrian
who walks down Fish Street Hill would assuredly never surmise that at
certain seasons a regular fruit exhibition is kept up within those dull
brick houses, before which the tall column lifts its head. All the world
knows the Messrs. Keeling and Hunt, whose effigies seem to stand, in the
public eye, upon a vast pyramid of pine-apples. This firm hold sales of
various kinds of fruit in their auction-rooms in Monument Yard. On these
occasions the long apartments make a show, before which, for quantity at
least, that of Chiswick pales. Pine-apples by thousands, melons, forbidden
fruit, and mangoes, fill the room from end to end; so famous indeed is the
display, that there are lithographic engravings of it, in which the
salesmen are seen walking about as perplexed, apparently by the luscious
luxuriance around them, as Adam might have been in his own happy garden.
The pine-apple market is of modern date. The first cargo was brought over
about twenty years ago, and since that time the traffic has rapidly
increased, and at the present moment 300,000 pines come yearly into the
port of London, of which nine-tenths are consigned to Messrs. Keeling and
Hunt, the original importers. They are principally from the Bahamas, in
the West Indies, where they grow almost spontaneously; but of late years
they have been more carefully cultivated, and grafts of our best hothouse
pines have been taken out to improve their quality. There is a fleet of
clippers appropriated to the carriage across the sea of this single fruit.
The melons come from Spain, Portugal, and Holland. Spain is known to
abound in melons, for Murillo's beggar-boys are perpetually eating them;
but we believe it will be news to most Englishmen that the land of dykes
supplies London with fragrant cargoes of an almost tropical fruit. The
largest foreign-fruit trade, however, by far, is that in oranges. We
shall perhaps astonish our readers when we tell them that upwards of
60,000,000 are imported for the use of London alone, accompanied by not
less than 15,000,000 lemons. Any time between December and May the orange
clippers from the Azores and Lisbon may be seen unloading their cargoes in
the neighbourhood of the great stores in Pudding and Botolph Lanes. There
are 240 of these fast-sailing vessels engaged in the entire trade, and of
this fleet seventy at least are employed in supplying the windows of the
fruiterers and the apple-stalls of London. All these fruits, together with
nuts and walnuts, apples, plums, pears, and some peaches, &c., are
disposed of weekly at the auction sales in Monument Yard to the general
dealers, the majority of whom are located in Duke's Place, close at hand,
and are mostly Jews. Indeed we are informed that many of them are the
identical boys grown up to manhood that used some twenty-five years ago to
sell oranges about the streets, and whose old place has gradually been
taken by the Irish. They act as middlemen between the importers and the
tribe of peripatetics who, at certain times of the day, resort hither to
fill their baskets and barrows. Covent Garden also supplies retailers with
oranges and nuts, especially on Sunday mornings, when the place is
sometimes crowded like a fair. The following bill of quantities, drawn up
by Mr. Keeling, is derived, we believe, from the Custom House returns:--


  Apples            39,561 bushels.
  Pears             19,742    "
  Cherries         264,240 lbs.
  Grapes         1,328,190
  Pine-apples      200,000
  Oranges       61,635,146
  Lemons        15,408,789


  Spanish nuts}     72,509 bushels
  Barcolena   }
  Brazil            11,700   "
  Chestnuts         26,250   "
  Walnuts           36,088   "
  Cocoa-nuts     1,255,009   "

Of the amount of bread consumed in London we have no specific information,
but there are data which enable us to approximate to the truth. Porter, in
his "Progress of the Nation," gives us the returns of eight schools,
families, and institutions, containing 1,902 men, women, and children,
each of whom ate on the average 331-1/16 lbs. of bread per annum. Now if
we multiply this quantity by the number of the inhabitants of the
metropolis--2,500,000, or thereabouts--we have a total of 413,700,000
half-quartern loaves of 2 lbs. weight each. The flour used in puddings,
pies, &c., we throw in as a kind of offset against the London babies under
one year old. Some of this bread is a contribution from the country, and
one Railway--the Eastern Counties--brought last year 237 tons 12 cwts. to

Now let us see how much sack goes to all this quantity of bread--with what
rivers of stout, &c., we wash down such mountains of flesh. According to
the excise returns, there were 747,050 quarters of malt consumed in London
in the year 1853 by the seventeen great brewers. As each quarter of malt,
with its proportionate allowance of hops, produces three and a half
barrels of beer, we get at the total brew of last year 1,614,675, or
pretty nearly a thousand million tumblers of ale and porter. On countless
sign-boards of the metropolis this last is advertised by the title of
"entire," and it is thus that the liquid and its name arose. Prior to the
year 1730, publicans were in the habit of selling ale, beer, and twopenny,
and the "thirsty souls" of that day were accustomed to combine either of
these in a drink called half-and-half. From this they proceeded to spin
"three threads," as they called it, or to have their glass filled from
each of the three taps. In the year 1730, however, a certain publican,
named Horwood, to save himself the trouble of making the triune mixture,
brewed a liquor intended to imitate the taste of the "three threads," and
to this he applied the term "entire." His concoction was approved, and,
being puffed as good porters' drink, it speedily came to be called porter
itself. Of the seventeen great London breweries, the house of Truman,
Hanbury, Buxton, and Co. stood in 1853 at the top of the list, having
consumed 140,000 quarters of malt, and paid to the excise 180,000_l._, or
enough to build two ninety-gun ships, at the usual cost of a thousand
pounds per gun. The visitor in proceeding through this establishment
realizes, perhaps better than in any other place, the enormous scale on
which certain creature-comforts for the use of the town are produced. As
he walks between the huge boilers in which 1,600 barrels are brewed nearly
every day, or makes the circuit of the four great vats, each containing
80,000 gallons of liquor, or loses himself amid the labyrinth of 135
enormous reservoirs, which altogether hold 3,500,000 gallons--he begins to
fancy himself an inhabitant of Lilliput, who has gone astray in a
Brobdignagian cellar. There is a popular notion that the far-famed London
stout owes its flavour to the Thames water: this, however, is a "vulgar
error." Not even the Messrs. Barclay, who are upon the stream, draw any of
their supply from that source, but it is got entirely from wells, and
those sunk so deep, that they and the Messrs. Calvert, whose brewery is
half a mile distant upon the opposite side of the river, find they are
rivals for the same spring. When one brewery pumps, it drains the wells of
the other, and the firms are obliged to obtain their water on alternate
days. Whether it is owing to the increase of the great breweries and of
other manufactories, which alone consume millions of barrels of water
yearly, we know not, but it is an ascertained fact, that the depth of
water in the London wells has for the last twenty-five years been
diminishing at the rate of a foot a year. "It is comforting to reflect,"
said one of the great brewers, "that the reason simply is, because the
water which used to be buried underground is now brought up to fill the
bodies, wash the faces, and turn the wheels of two millions and a half of

If the underground stock of water is shrinking, it has increased vastly on
the surface. The seven companies which supply the metropolis bring in
between them 44,000,000 gallons daily--a quantity which, large as it is,
could be delivered in twenty-four hours by a brook nine feet wide and
three feet deep, running at the rate of three feet per second, or a
little more than two miles per hour.

The inability of figures to convey an adequate impression to the mind of
the series of units of which the sums are composed renders it impossible
to give more than a faint idea of the enormous supplies of food required
to victual the capital for a single year. But the conception may be
somewhat assisted by varying the process. Country papers now and then
astonish their readers by calculations to show how many times the steel
pens manufactured in England would form a necklace round their own little
town, or how many thousand miles the matches of their local factory would
extend if laid in a straight line from the centre of their market-place.
Let us try our hand on the same sort of picture, and endeavour to fill the
eye with a prospect that would satisfy the appetite of the far-famed
Dragon of Wantley himself.

If we fix upon Hyde Park as our exhibition-ground, and pile together all
the barrels of beer consumed in London, they would form a thousand columns
not far short of a mile in perpendicular height.

Let us imagine ourselves on the top of this tower, and we shall have a
look-out worthy of the feast we are about to summon to our feet. Herefrom
we might discover the Great Northern road stretching far away into the
length and breadth of the land. Lo! as we look, a mighty herd of oxen,
with loud bellowing, are beheld approaching from the north. For miles and
miles the mass of horns is conspicuous winding along the road, ten
abreast, and even thus the last animal of the herd would be 72 miles away,
and the drover goading his shrinking flank considerably beyond
Peterborough. On the other side of the park, as the clouds of dust clear
away, we see the great Western road, as far as the eye can reach, thronged
with a bleating mass of wool, and the shepherd at the end of the flock
(ten abreast) and the dog that is worrying the last sheep are just leaving
the environs of Bristol, 121 miles from our beer-built pillar. Along
Piccadily, Regent-street, the Strand, Fleet-street, Cheapside, and the
eastward Mile-end road line, for 7-1/2 miles, street and causeway are
thronged with calves, still ten abreast; and in the great parallel
thoroughfares of Bayswater-road, Oxford-street, and Holborn, we see
nothing for nine long miles but a slowly-pacing, deeply-grunting herd of
swine. As we watch this moving mass approaching from all points of the
horizon, the air suddenly becomes dark--a black pall seems drawn over the
sky--it is the great flock of birds--game, poultry, and wild-fowl, that,
like Mrs. Bond's ducks, are come up to be killed: as they fly wing to wing
and tail to beak they form a square whose superficies is not much less
than the whole enclosed portion of St. James's Park, or 51 acres. No
sooner does this huge flight clear away than we behold the park at our
feet inundated with hares and rabbits.

Feeding 2,000 abreast, they extend from the marble arch to the round pond
in Kensington Gardens--at least a mile. Let us now pile up all the
half-quartern loaves consumed in the metropolis in the year, and we shall
find they form a pyramid which measures 200 square feet at its base, and
extends into the air a height of 1,293 feet, or nearly three times that of
St. Paul's. Turning now towards the sound of rushing waters, we find that
the seven companies are filling the mains for the day. If they were
allowed to flow into the area of the adjacent St. James's Park, they would
in the course of the 24 hours flood its entire space with a depth of 30
inches of water, and the whole annual supply would be quite sufficient to
submerge the city (one mile square) ninety feet. Of the fish we confess we
are able to say nothing: when numbers mount to billions, the calculations
become too trying to our patience. We have little doubt, however, that
they would be quite sufficient to make the Serpentine one solid mass. Of
ham and bacon again, preserved meats, and all the countless comestibles we
have taken no account, and in truth they are little more to the great mass
than the ducks and geese were to Sancho Panza's celebrated mess--"the
skimmings of the pot."

Such, then, is a slight sketch of the great London larder. It may be
imagined that many of these stores come to the metropolis only as to a
centre for redistribution, and are again scattered over the length and
breadth of the land. This, however, is not the case. The only line that
takes food in any quantities out of London is the North-Western. This
railway speeds into the midland counties, but especially to Birmingham,
350 tons of fish consigned to the country dealers, and to the nobility and
gentry. As we have before seen, van-loads of fruit are often despatched in
the same direction. The South-Eastern conveys large quantities of grain
down the line, and the London and Brighton and South Coast takes annually
to Brighton twenty-six tons of meat and 1,100 cattle; and here all the
food carried _out_ of London in bulk ends. A constant dribble of edibles,
it is true, is continually escaping by the passenger trains, of which the
railways take no notice in their goods-department traffic; but it must be
remembered that a much larger quantity is perpetually flowing unheeded
into the London commissariat through the same channels. Of the stout and
porter brewed in the metropolis by the great houses, again, one-seventh
perhaps finds its way abroad--a drop in comparison to that which must be
contributed by the 2,482 smaller brewers of the town, and the great
contingent supplied by Guinness, Allsopp, and other pale-ale brewers. This
simple statement will suffice to make it evident that in the foregoing
picture we have given anything but "heaped measure."

The railways having poured this enormous amount of food into the
metropolis, as the main arteries feed the human body, it is distributed by
the various dealers into every quarter of the town, first into the
wholesale markets, or great centres, then into the sub-centres, or retail
tradesmen's shops, and lastly into the moving centres, or barrows of the
hawkers, by which means nourishment is poured into every corner of the
town, and the community at large is supplied as effectually as are the
countless tissues of the human body by the infinitely divided network of
capillary vessels. According to the census of 1851, these
food-distributors are classified in the following manner:--


  Grocers                                            6,475
  Cowkeepers and milksellers                         3,372
  Cheesemongers                                      2,156
  Butchers                                           7,428
  Poulterers                                           551
  Fishmongers                                        2,238
  Other dealers in animal food                       1,376
  Greengrocers                                       3,325
  Bakers                                             9,841
  Confectioners                                      1,806
  Other dealers in vegetable food                    1,303
  Brewers                                            2,499
  Licensed victuallers and beer-shop-keepers, &c.    6,843
  Wine and spirit merchants                          1,915
  Other dealers in drinks                            3,805
  Saltmakers                                            37
  Water-providers                                      428
  Innkeepers                                           433


  Grocers                                              676
  Innkeepers                                            93
  Innkeepers' wives                                    217
  Cowkeepers                                         1,158
  Butchers                                             205
  Butchers' wives                                    3,086
  Fishmongers                                          151
  Others dealing in animal food                        283
  Greengrocers                                         941
  Bakers                                               480
  Confectioners                                        542
  Other dealers in vegetable food                      939
  Licensed victuallers and beer-shop-keepers           970
  Wives of ditto                                     4,440
  Wine and spirit merchants                             15
  Other dealers in drinks                              457

If to this total of 71,254 we add the wandering tribe of costermongers,
hawkers, and stall-keepers, estimated at 30,000 persons, we shall have an
army exceeding 100,000 persons; and, as indirectly there must be quadruple
this number of persons employed, the merest pauper among the population
has hundreds of invisible hands held out to provide him with the
necessaries and comforts of life. The smooth working of this great
distributive machine is due to the principle of competition--that spring
which so nicely adjusts all the varying conditions of life, and which, in
serving itself, does the best possible service to the community at large,
and accomplishes more than the cleverest system of centralization which
any individual mind could devise.


In the year 1716 the brass guns which Marlborough had taken from the
French were being recast in the royal gun foundry in Moorfields, when a
young Swiss named Andrew Schalch, who was accidentally present, remarking
the dampness of the moulds and foreseeing the inevitable result, warned
Colonel Armstrong the then Surveyor-General, against being too close a
spectator of the operation. As Schalch foretold, an explosion took place,
and many workmen were killed. "It's an ill wind that blows nobody good,"
says the old proverb, and the bursting of the gun was the making of the
young foreigner's fortune; for in a few days an advertisement appeared in
one of the public papers requesting him to call upon Colonel Andrews, "as
the interview may be for his advantage." Andrew Schalch attended
accordingly, and was at once intrusted with the duty of seeking out a
better locality for the casting of the royal ordnance. He selected a
rabbit-warren at Woolwich, as the best site within twelve miles of the
metropolis, for the threefold reason that it was dry, near to the river,
and in the immediate neighbourhood of loam for the moulds. Strangely
enough, it has since been proved that the great nation of antiquity with
whom the British possess so many qualities in common, had been here
before. The Romans, whose second station on the Watling Street out of
London is supposed to have been at Hanging Wood, close at hand, seem to
have appropriated the sloping ground on which the original gun factory
stands for the purposes of a cemetery, for on digging the foundations of
some new buildings urns of their manufacture were discovered in large
quantities, and a very beautiful sepulchral vase, which is now in the
museum of the Royal Artillery Institution. Thus, where the conquerors of
the old world lay down to their last rest, we, the Romans of the present
age, forge the arms which make us masters of an empire beyond the dreams
of the imperial Cæsars.

As the visitor enters the great gate of the Arsenal he finds no difficulty
in tracing the whereabouts of the labours of Andrew, for straight before
him, with a stately solemnity which marked the conceptions of its builder,
Vanbrugh, stands the picturesque gun factory, with its high-pitched roof,
red brickwork, and carved porch, looking like a fine old gentleman amid
the factory ranges which within these few years have sprung up around. It
is impossible to contemplate this building without respect, for forth from
its portals have issued that victorious ordnance which since the days of
George II. has swept the battle grounds of the old and the new world. Up
to as late a date as the year 1842 the machinery within these stately old
edifices was almost as antiquated in character as themselves. The three
great boring-mills, moved by horses, which had been imported in 1780 as
astonishing wonders from the Hague, were the only engines used in England
in making her Majesty's ordnance till eighteen years ago. Such was the
state of efficiency of the oldest of the three great manufacturing
departments of the Arsenal! The more modern departments, known as the
Royal Carriage Factory and the Laboratory, have flourished during the
present century in an unequal degree. For fifty years the former of these
branches of the Arsenal has been more or less in a high state of
efficiency, through the introduction of machinery from the workshops of
Messrs. Bramah and Maudslay, and of the contrivances of Bentham and Sir I.
Brunei. The improvements which were due to their inventive genius rendered
this department highly efficient during the French war, on the conclusion
of which a long period of inactivity followed; and it was not until 1847
that symptoms were manifested of renewed life under the able
superintendence of General Gordon, and still later of Colonel Colquhoun.
The Laboratory during the same period appears to have remained entirely
stationary, and up to the year 1853 was far inferior to that of any
third-rate power. The backward condition of the sole arsenal of England
during the long interval of peace seems at first sight remarkable, when we
consider the amount of mechanical ingenuity which had penetrated into
every factory in the kingdom; but when we remember that the instruments
and munitions of war are special articles, wanted only for special
periods, occurring at uncertain intervals of time, the wonder ceases.
Private manufacturers had no interest in forging instruments of
destruction, and the State having conquered "a lasting peace," Vulcan was
allowed to fall into a profound sleep--a sleep so unbroken, that the
nation listened for a moment to the voice of those Manchester charmers who
would fain have persuaded us the time was come when our swords could with
safety be turned into pruning-hooks. In the midst of this amiable delusion
the Northern Eagle attempted to seize upon the sick man, and Britain
instinctively flew to arms. This sudden spasm of war following upon a
forty years' peace at once disclosed the fact that we were totally
unprepared to wage it. There were not shells enough in the Arsenal to
furnish forth the first battering-train that went to the East, and the
fuses in store were of the date of Waterloo. A fourth part of the money
which we joyfully expended when the wolf was at the door would have been
thought the demand of a madman, when Europe was supposed to be one big
sheepfold. Economy prevented efficient progress; and though the
authorities had latterly originated reforms, their exertions were limited
by their scanty resources. As the war proceeded, the Ordnance were at
their wits' end for coarse-grained gunpowder, which, as it was not an
article of commerce, had to be specially made for them. Small arms were
wanted in haste, and could only be constructed at leisure. In these
straits the private manufacturers of the country were applied to; but in
many cases they had to learn a new art. Do what they would, with the power
of charging fabulous prices for shot and shell, ammunition, and small
arms, their powers of production were totally inadequate to meet the
strain of the great siege, the proportions of which grew larger day by
day. All the mills in England could not make powder at the rate at which
it was shot away--a rate which consumed 100,000 barrels before Sevastopol
was taken; nor could all the armouries of London and Birmingham make
rifled muskets and sabres fast enough for our men; consequently we were
obliged to go to Liége for 44,000 Minié guns, 3,000 cavalry swords, and
12,000 barrels of powder, and to the United States for 20,000 barrels

It may seem passing strange that England, whose manufacturing power is so
enormous, should have to resort to foreign manufacturers for the arms
wherewith to fight. Money in such a country, it is often said, can procure
anything, and money in this case was no object. The want of suitable
machinery was the cause of the difficulty. The manufacturers could only
make the articles demanded of them by skilled labour, which is a thing
that must be acquired before it can be hired. Old machines can be put to
extra duty; fresh machines can be readily supplied; but skilled labour is
a fixed capital which cannot be suddenly increased. The result was a
lamentable slowness of production and an extraordinary dearness of
price--the munitions of war in some cases more than doubled in value. It
is calculated that the shells for the Baltic fleet alone, which were
fabricated entirely by private manufacturers, cost upwards of £100,000
more than they would have done had they been made by the new machinery
lately introduced into the Arsenal. A still stronger case, to show the
extraordinary prices which the Government had to pay contractors when the
demand was imperative and supply confined to two or three houses, was that
of the six-pounder diaphragm shells. They were charged by the contractors
at 73_l._ per ton, whilst the very same article is now made in the Royal
Laboratory at 14_l._ 19_s._ 2_d._ per ton. These exorbitant demands and
the rapid drain of the stores led the War Department to consider whether
it would not be better to organize a government establishment on the most
extensive scale, and on the most improved system; and it was ultimately
determined to adopt a plan by which it would be possible to expand or
contract the productive power, according to the exigencies of the service,
by means of machines which could be tended by untutored labourers and
boys. Accordingly, a very large number of the most ingenious machines
were procured from the United States, where the Springfield and Harper
Ferry Arsenals have long been famous for their admirable contrivances to
save human skill; while others were procured from the Continent and at
home by Mr. Anderson, the superintendent of machinery. In a very short
time a powerful factory of the munitions of war sprung into life,
verifying, for the ten-thousandth time, the truth of the proverb that
necessity is the mother of invention, or at least, as in this case, of

The introduction of machinery on a large scale put to flight the old
traditions of the Arsenal, and the manufacturing spirit had to be
substituted for the military organization under which the establishment
had been conducted before. Such was the energy and rapidity with which the
old Arsenal reformed itself, that we question if any private factory in
the kingdom is conducted upon a better system than is already at work
there. Within these three years factories have sprung up on every side,
and the whir of wheels, and the measured stroke of the steam-engine, can
now be heard over the whole of its immense area.

The three manufacturing departments into which the Woolwich Arsenal is
divided are as follows:--The Royal Gun Factory, the Royal Carriage
Department, and the Royal Laboratory Department. Through these factories
we will conduct our readers, and endeavour to give them an idea how human
ingenuity has perfected the means to destroy human life. The gun
factories, by right of age, take precedence, although in point of interest
they present the least attractive features to the spectator. The fact
which most strikes him as he threads his way amid the Cyclopean machinery
is the slow, inevitable manner in which the different processes are
carried on. Here you see a large lathe turning the outside of an
eighteen-pounder, revolving as noiselessly and as readily as though it
were only turning a brass candlestick--a fixed tool cutting off its thin
shavings of metal with as much ease as if it were box-wood. In the next
machine a gun is being bored, the drill twisting its way down the fixed
mass, and a dropping shower of bright chips proving how resistlessly its
tooth moves on towards its appointed goal. A third machine cuts off the
"dead head" of a cannon. All guns are cast in the pits in a perpendicular
position, breech downwards, and are made at least one-third longer than
they are intended to be when finished. The reason for this is, that the
superincumbent metal forming the "dead head" of the piece may by its
weight condense the portion below it which is to form the true gun--the
extraordinary pressure of the powder requiring the metal to be extremely
close in order to withstand the strain. Besides these lathes, which do the
more ordinary work of the factory, there are what are termed exceptional
machines, to finish those parts of the gun which the lathe cannot touch,
such as the projecting sight, the trunnions, and that portion of the
barrel which lies between them. No increase has taken place in the size of
the Brass Gun Factory, although, through the energetic action of Colonel
Wilmot, its produce has been doubled since the breaking out of the war:
fourteen pieces of brass ordnance--six, nine, and eighteen pounders--can
be turned out weekly. Brass is used for field-pieces on account of its
resisting power being greater than that of iron. Experiments which have
lately been made, however, tend to show that steel is a far lighter and
better material even than brass for this purpose. A German, named Krupp,
has produced some steel pieces which bear an enormous charge; in fact,
when well made, it is almost impossible to burst them. The Emperor of the
French has already ordered 350 of these guns to be introduced into the
service, and probably we shall have to follow suit.

The fine building[25] recently erected in connection with this department
is intended for the manufacture of iron ordnance, which has hitherto been
produced exclusively by private manufacturers. The experience of the late
war, however, determined the Government to furnish at least a portion of
these stores themselves. A thoroughly reliable gun must be worth any price
that its efficient manufacture demands; for the failing of a single piece
may lose a battle, and bring with it consequences which would be cheaply
averted by a park of artillery cast in gold. In the late campaign we were
prevented from striking a great blow through this very cause alone. At the
bombardment of Sweaborg no less than seventeen of the thirteen-inch
mortars were destroyed through a want of tenacity in the iron of which
they were composed. Many of these ponderous engines split after a few
rounds, and may now be seen on the wharf of the Arsenal cleft in twain as
clean as Tell's apple. Yet these mortars were made by the Carron and Low
Moor Companies, the most celebrated private manufacturers of such articles
in England. Had they stood the strain, we should have utterly destroyed
the fortifications of this stronghold, instead of burning a few sheds,
which made a great blaze without doing much mischief; and had we possessed
a sufficient number of these formidable engines, the destruction of
Cronstadt and Sevastopol would only have formed the work of a few days.
Though ours is a land both of iron and manufactures, our guns are of
inferior quality to those of other nations. The cannon captured at
Sevastopol are of better iron than the cannon we brought against them.
Several thousand tons weight of the guns dismounted from Cronstadt, in
order to make way for pieces of heavier calibre, were bought, we
understand, the other day by an English firm with the intention of
converting them into cranks and boilers, which require the very best
material. The Americans insist upon a tenacity of cast-iron for their
ordnance equal to a pressure of 34,000 lbs. on the square inch, and
sometimes obtain it equal to 45,000 lbs., whilst we, the greatest
manufacturers of iron in the world, have hitherto seldom obtained it of a
strength equal to 20,000 lbs. This great difficiency Government hope to
remedy by the institution of a series of experiments on all classes of
iron both foreign and indigenous. There is a curious machine in the Gun
Factory specially invented for the purpose of testing the tenacity of each
sample, its capacity of withstanding compression, its transverse
strength, and its power of resisting torsion. It is curious to see this
iron-limbed Samson wrestling with mighty bars of metal, and twisting and
tearing them across the grain like bits of stick. The fractured remnants
of the specimens and of the guns rent in the testing process in the
Marshes and at Shoeburyness are collected in a museum, the history of each
specimen being minutely given. Thus a curious and instructive record is
gradually being acquired, which will prove of infinite use in the
manufacture of heavy ordnance. It has been already ascertained that guns
are universally strengthened by having wrought iron rings put round
them--a fact which was discovered during the course of experiments with
the heavy cannon bored with an oval rifle to receive the Lancaster shell.
Several of them having burst at the muzzle, this simple expedient was
tried, and the guns so girded now bear the most extraordinary charges
without flinching.

The new building for casting, boring, and finishing iron guns, is both
externally and internally the most imposing-looking of all the structures
erected to meet the exigencies of the Crimean war. These spacious
factories present more the appearance of first-class railway termini than
of ordinary workshops. They are lighted with what are termed saw-roof
lights, having a northern aspect; for the Vulcans who can work all day in
the burning blaze of furnaces do not, it appears, like to be distracted
with the confusing rays of the sun! The number of turning, boring,
finishing, planing, shaping, drilling, slotting, and punching machines
that revolve, thump, and slide here in ponderous grandeur is prodigious,
and there can be very little doubt that it will be the most perfect and
powerful factory in the world of its kind. Travelling-cranes, which run
upon railways poised in air overhead, command every inch of the factories,
so that cannon of the heaviest calibre for both land and sea
service--98-pounders weighing many tons can be slung from machine to
machine with the greatest ease. When the machinery is completed, the
foundry will be capable of turning out ten guns of the largest size per

The most interesting portion of the gun department is the factory devoted
to the construction of Lancaster shells. This odd-looking missile has a
form very similar to a champagne bottle, and, unlike the ordinary shell,
is made out of a single sheet of wrought iron. The slab of metal having
been welded into a cylindrical form, is submitted to an ingenious lathe,
which, acting upon it simultaneously with a dozen different tools inside
and out, speedily reduces it to a given weight and a perfectly uniform
thickness. The cylinder, about eighteen inches in length and ten in
diameter, is then made red hot, and whilst in this state is placed in the
grip of a powerful machine, which by a series of blows, equally
distributed over every part, converts it into the likeness of a French
bottle in less than five minutes, without the slightest sign of crumpling
in any portion of the surface. The operation can only be compared to the
manner in which a potter shapes a vessel upon the wheel. No less than
forty machines are employed on this special manufacture, and upwards of a
hundred shells can be turned out daily. The expense incurred in producing
with extreme accuracy and speed these curious missiles for the first
rifled gun adopted by the service, is an earnest of the determination of
the authorities to carry the manufacture of artillery to the same
perfection of finish as their small arms. Lancaster guns will in all
probability play a very important part in the next war, if war there
should ever unhappily be, as those in use in the Crimea made most splendid
practice, firing with nearly the accuracy of a rifle, and attaining a
range of 5,000 yards, or very nearly three miles. As these shells cost
about 25_s._ each, the expense of "passing the bottle" to the enemy is
rather a serious affair.

By far the largest department of the Royal Arsenal is devoted to the
construction of carriages and packing-cases for moving artillery, baggage,
and the various munitions of war. At the present moment the carriage
department employs no less than three thousand hands, together with three
hundred machines, moved by twenty-three steam-engines, which do the work
of an additional twelve thousand men! The bulky nature of the material
dealt with, and the store-houses required for stowing it away, together
with the numerous workshops called into existence by the Crimean war,
have caused this department to burst its old bounds and to invade 250
acres of the adjoining marsh--the area of the workshops alone covering
255,152 superficial feet, and the entire ground occupied being no less
than 1,445,440 feet. This immense amount of elbow room has enabled Colonel
Tulloch, the superintendent of the department, to systematize the
manufacture, and cause the timber to pass along in one unbroken progress
from the time when it is landed upon the wharf to the time when the
finished articles are delivered over to the storekeeper. If we follow this
stream from stage to stage, we shall catch a flying view of the operations
of this department, whose province it is to provide package and carriage
for the British army at home and abroad.

The timber which forms the principal raw material employed is brought by
ships to the mouth of the canal which runs along the eastern side of the
Arsenal; here it is transferred to lighters which convey it some distance
inland to the quay in the immediate neighbourhood of the timber field. By
means of powerful derrick cranes, which can make a long or a short arm at
pleasure, it is next unloaded and swung upon the trucks of the railway
which ramifies through every portion of the premises, and forms the means
of communication between its different points. The trucks, when full,
immediately start with their burthen for the contiguous timber field, a
square space covering 20 acres. Here the huge logs are deposited in long
lines, which extend from one end of the field to the other, having
roadways between them laid with rails. Over each line or row of timber
strides a powerful travelling crane which, with a slight impulse given by
one man, is made to traverse from end to end of the row, depositing or
taking up in its way logs of oak or teak of many tons weight as easily as
Gulliver could have picked up the Lilliputians he bestrode. Before the
introduction of this powerful machinery, from fifty to one hundred pairs
of horses were employed in this department alone, all of which are now
dispensed with, and a saving effected of 6,000_l._ a-year.

The usual store in the timber-field amounts to 60,000 loads in various
stages of seasoning. The varieties of climate in which the British army
has to serve are so many, that foreign woods have been introduced to
supply the place of oak, which cannot be found in quantities equal to the
demand. Thus we find in the timber-field sabicu, a dense East-Indian wood
which is used for the heavy blocks of gun carriages; pedouk, from the same
country, which is employed for a similar purpose; and iron bark, an
Australian wood. Of English timber, such as ash, elm, and beech, there is
a very large store. What is called wheel timber, on the soundness and
proper adaptation of which depends the safety of the artillery and
transport service, is entirely composed of the most graceful trees of our
woodlands; the spokes being made of oak, the naves of elm, the felloes or
rims of ash. Beech is also largely used for the fuses of shells and the
woodwork of saddles. When any particular logs are required, they are
selected by the timber-master, picked up by the travelling crane, hoisted
into the railway truck, and conveyed at once to the saw-mills close at
hand. On the threshold of the largest mill the logs meet with a grim
reception from an immense circular saw 66 inches in diameter, which at
once attacks the huge log and separates it as expeditiously as your
Eastern soldier divides with his scimitar a floating handkerchief. This
formidable instrument traverses a space of 30 feet, and is thus enabled to
fix its teeth upon the log at whatever part of the entrance it may chance
to lie. This transverse section performed, the divided portions are drawn
up by machinery into the saw-frames, the largest of which is capable of
receiving a log 4 feet square. Once within the mill's maw, as many saws
are put in as are necessary to divide the wood into slabs of the required
thickness, and a few minutes suffice to reduce it to planks. From the
mills the timber is removed again upon the railroad to the seasoning shed,
which covers 4 acres of ground. Here it is allowed to remain for years, so
stacked that the air fairly circulates through every portion of the
immense mass. The seasoning shed is to the timber master what his
wine-cellar is to a _bon vivant_. Here he treasures his bins of nine years
old oak as though it were wine of a famous vintage. This he keeps as
carefully as a young whist-player keeps his best trumps to the end of the
game, but with far more judgment, for old oak is precious beyond price,
and cannot be got for love or money at a moment's notice. In the dim
shadow of this monster store are also piled the completed articles of
land-transport that improve by age. That perpendicular wall of finished
woodwork contains the bodies of a thousand carriages which were prepared
to remove the British army from the pleateau of Sevastopol in anticipation
of an inland campaign; the round towers at the corners are their wheels
built up and left to season. Upon the thorough preparation of this part of
the carriage its safety depends. The wheels of omnibuses are always
allowed to remain two years before they are used, and by permitting them
this grace they behave well when at work, generally running over 43,000
miles of ground before they are worn out. The wheels of gun-carriages
require to be even better prepared and seasoned, as they have to bear the
weight of enormous guns, and have often to run over the roughest ground,
without being in any way relieved from sudden shocks by springs.

Upon this store of mellow wood the different factories draw; and the
railway which traverses every portion of it speedily conveys the raw
material to the benches of the workmen. As the visitor passes up the main
avenues of these splendid shops he is bewildered with the activity of the
swarms of artizans, the whirling of shafting, and the grating sounds of
circular saws. Clouds of sawdust are flying about, and in a moment cover
the intruder from head to foot. The immense amount of work sometimes
required to be performed at a brief notice has necessitated the
introduction of machinery into this branch of handicraft, which heretofore
was entirely carried on by manual labour. Let us take the ammunition and
powder cases for instance; these have to be provided by the hundred
thousand in time of war, and accordingly we find machinery employed in
every direction to shorten the work. Circular saws cut the planks into the
required size to form the sides and tops and bottoms of the cases; as
these issue from the different machines, they are conveyed away upon a
circular band of canvas, placed at right angles, to a broader band which
runs from one end of the factory to the other: down this band, as on a
broad stream, the various pieces sail until they reach the receptacle,
from which they are again conveyed to the machinery which is to put them
together. Here the drilling, mortising, and dowelling processes are
carried on by wholesale with an exactitude and speed which would astonish
the joiner of the old school. Upwards of a thousand ammunition boxes
formed of cedar, for repelling the wood-eating white ants of the East, are
now being prepared daily for the use of the Indian army. The powder-boxes
for the navy are made of a hexagonal form, to enable them to fit into the
ship's hold like cells of honeycomb. They are carefully lined either with
pewter or copper, and when filled are hermetically sealed with wax. The
limber-boxes for the field artillery are also made here in large
quantities. These receptacles are of a far more elaborate character than
the powder-cases, as they are fitted to take all the stores requisite for
immediate action, which are stowed away in their different compartments,
as neatly as the articles in a gentleman's dressing-case. The common
cartridge barrels are shaped out of the solid wood almost as fast as you
can look. One machine cuts the oak into staves, curved to the right form;
another cuts the edges, so that they may fit in a circle; a fourth turns
the head; a fifth receives the staves, which are placed by the attendant
on end in the form of a barrel, within the grip of a hydraulic press,
claps a hoop on the top and bottom, and with one squeeze completes the
operation. By such appliances a piece of solid oak plank is converted
within five minutes into a finished barrel. The total produce of
carefully-prepared powder-cases during the financial year 1856 was 25,331,
and of boxes for ammunition, shell, &c., no less than 287,171. How many
barrels can be made at a pinch we do not know, for the machinery is only
just put up, but the number must be enormous, and when the visitor
witnesses the nimble fingers of machinery galloping over the work, he
wonders how the business was ever got through in the old time of the
chisel, gouge, hammer, and plane.

In the shops devoted to the manufacture of the gun-carriages and trucks
for the land and sea service, skilled artisans are employed, except in the
wheel department. The vast strength requisite to support and withstand the
recoil of 56, 64, and 98-pounders, necessitates the most solid
construction and the best workmanship. Some of these platforms for
traversing cannon, made of teak, and bolted and finished at the ends with
bright copper bands, look like handsome pieces of furniture rather than
ship's gun-carriages. Compared with these ponderous articles, the light
constructions fitted for the field-artillery seem like children's
playthings. Here they may be met with in every variety and in every stage
of progress, so substantially put together that the marvel is that they
ever wear out. The sort of succession of earthquakes, however, to which
they are subjected in a campaign tells even upon those solid joints, and
but few of the gun-carriages employed in the Crimea, although new when
they went out, returned fit for further service.

The wheel department is one of the most interesting sights in the Arsenal.
Here the most ingenious machinery has been brought together to insure
sound and speedy production. Formerly the wheels were made entirely by
hand; now they are turned out without the aid of a single skilled
wheelwright. What is called the copying process, produces the nave and
spokes of the wheel, three or four of which are seen working side by side,
and the whole batch under the care of only one man. The circular rim of
the wheel, or felloe, is cut out of the solid block by an ingenious
ribbon-saw, imported from France. This saw is merely a narrow band of
steel, toothed on one edge and running over a wheel like an ordinary
leathern band attached to shafting. The exquisite manner in which it
fashions the most intricate patterns from thick slabs of wood is really
surprising. The felloes, after being thus roughly formed, are stacked to
season in a shed by themselves, where they are piled one upon the other in
vast pillars, down vistas of which the visitor passes, full of amazement
at their number. There are at present in store some sixty thousand of
these felloes and an equal number of naves, with their due complement of

As wheels are required, their component parts are brought to the shop,
finished and mortised by machinery, and then lightly adjusted to each
other. They are immediately placed within the grip of six hydraulic
presses, which are so arranged as to thrust towards a common centre.
Directly the wheel is adjusted within them, you hear the hiss of the
resistless engines, whose motive power is only a few pints of water; the
solid timbers groan, the joints painfully accommodate themselves to each
other, and in less time than the process takes to describe, the wheel is
lifted out solidly jointed, and only awaiting the tire to travel at once
under its superincumbent gun. The wheels of gun, limber, and ammunition
carriages are all made of exactly the same size, in order that they may be
interchangeable in case of accident.

The effect of the sudden outbreak of the late war was, perhaps, more
beneficially felt upon the laboratory department of the Arsenal than any
other. Shells, of all the stores of war, were most deficient when the army
left for Varna, and the want increased as soon as actual campaigning
commenced. The authorities accordingly permitted Captain Boxer to erect a
model manufactory of shells in the autumn of 1855. This he did with
surprising rapidity, and proved to their satisfaction that these
formidable missiles could be manufactured five pounds a ton cheaper than
they could be procured from the contractors--an important saving on an
article of which several hundred tons had to be supplied per day. The
success of this experiment led to the erection of the splendid
shell-foundry which is now attached to the Arsenal, and which is capable
of turning out sufficient shells for all the armies of the world. Here may
be seen the process by which the old scrap iron of the establishment is
transformed into the finished shot and shell, and transferred by its own
weight to the transport ready to convey it to the seat of war. The
smelting process is carried on in a dozen enormous cupola furnaces, into
which the iron and coal are heaped indiscriminately. The fierce heat
generated by the blast rapidly melts the iron, which is then allowed to
flow into the shell-moulds. From the moment the metal enters these moulds,
the shell, in war time, never touches the ground till it is landed at its
port of debarkation! The rough shells, after they have cooled a little,
are forwarded by railway to the cleaning-room, where they are placed in a
revolving iron barrel, seven feet long and seven feet in diameter. This
machine circulates with rapidity, and the friction of the contained shells
speedily cleanses them of all sand and dirt. From this point they roll
through all the succeeding stages of their manufacture. A
slightly-inclined plane receives them at the cleaning-drum, and conducts
them one by one to the machinery fixed in the great room of the laboratory
department. Upwards of ten thousand shells per day passed through this
apartment during the late war, and were, on their passage, drilled and
"bushed," or fitted with the socket made to receive the fuse. This simple
fact will alone serve to show how energetically the work was carried on to
meet the wants of the great siege. The shells, having rolled through the
labyrinth of successive machines which operate upon them, now move onward
to the painting department, where they receive a coating of black varnish,
which prevents oxidation. Hence they continue their journey right across
the open ground of the Arsenal to the pier, under the platform of which
they keep their course inside an iron tube which leads immediately into
the barge alongside the transport in the river. From this barge, into
which they sometimes shoot with a considerable impulse, they roll again,
through the open port of the ship, to their appointed place in the hold.

The chief factory of the laboratory department is the great sight of the
Arsenal, as here the visitor witnesses twenty or thirty most curious
operations, the more important only of which he can stop to examine amid
the whirlwind of machinery that everywhere meets his sight and vibrates on
his ear. The manufacture of elongated bullets for the rifles affords
perhaps the most startling novelty of all. The rifle itself is not a
greater advance upon old Brown Bess than is the Minié bullet upon the old
one-ounce ball. The apparatus now employed to produce it contrasts as
forcibly with the simple bullet-mould formerly in use. Instead of heating
the lead to a fluid state, it is simply warmed, in which condition it is
subjected to hydraulic pressure in a large iron vessel, which has but one
small aperture at the top, of the size of the intended elongated bullet.
Out of this hole the metal is driven in the form of a continuous rod of
lead, which, as it issues forth, rolls itself upon iron reels as though it
were so much cotton! The reels are then attached to a machine which draws
the metal between its teeth, bites it off to the required size, moulds the
cone, depresses the cup, and condenses the mass at the same moment. These
wonderful bullet-makers, when in full work, turn out five hundred
elongated bullets a minute, or upwards of a quarter of a million daily. To
complete the missile, the cup has to be filled with a boxwood plug to
ensure its proper expansion whilst in the act of leaving the gun. Here
again a partially self-acting apparatus is called into play, one lad being
sufficient to feed several machines with square rods of wood, the ends of
which are embraced by a circular hollow cutter, which instantly reduces
them to the right conical form, and then cuts them off. These little plugs
are produced at the same rate as the bullets.

An equally interesting operation is the manufacture of percussion caps.
The first process in this light and delicate work is the stamping of
sheet-copper into pieces of the required form to make the caps. For this
purpose the copper is placed beneath the punch of the machine, and
immediately it is put in action, small crosses of metal are seen to fall
from it into a box in a continual stream, whilst the sheet itself is
transposed by the punching process into a kind of trellis-work. These
crosses of equilateral arms are now transferred to another machine, which
instantly doubles up the four arms, and at the same time so rounds them,
that they form a tube just the size of the gun-nipple, and by a third
operation of the same machine a kind of rim is given to the free end,
which makes the cap take the form of a hat. This rim marks the difference
between the military and the ordinary percussion cap--the soldier, in the
hurry and confusion of battle, requiring this guide to enable him to
apply the proper end to the nipple. The metal portion of the cap
completed, it is transferred to a man who fills it with detonating powder.
As this is a very dangerous process, the artisan upon whom the duty
devolves sits apart from the boys, who perform all the other work, for
fear of an accidental explosion. To fix the fine dust in the cap, a very
pretty machine is employed, which gets through its work with extreme
rapidity. The caps are placed in regular rows in a frame-work, to which is
attached a lever, armed with as many fine points as there are caps in a
single row. The motion given by the hand alternately dips these fine
points into a tray of varnish, and then into each succeeding line of caps.
When the varnish is dry, the powder is fixed and effectually protected
from the effects of damp. The caps are now finished, and are ready for the
boy who counts and packs them. Machinery is even employed to perform the
part of cocker, and with one gentle shake does the brain-work of many
minutes. A frame is constructed, into which fit a number of small trays,
each tray being pierced with seventy-five holes. Upon this frame the boy
heaps up a few handfuls of caps, and then gives the whole machine a few
jerks, and when he sees that every hole is filled with a cap, he lifts out
each separate tray and empties it into appropriate boxes. In this manner
he is enabled, with extreme rapidity, to count out his parcels of
seventy-five caps, the regulation number served to each soldier with sixty
rounds of ball-cartridge--the excess of fifteen being allowed for loss in
the flurry of action. The British soldier's clumsy fingers are by no means
well calculated for handling and adjusting such light articles.

Equally curious with the production of caps is the manufacture of
cartridge-bags. The visitor, as he mounts the stairs to the upper floor of
a large building close at hand, is made aware by the hum and collision of
shrill young voices that he is approaching a hive of children, and as he
rears his head above the banisters, he finds that he is in the midst of a
little army of urchins, varying from eight to fourteen years of age,
seated at long benches rolling up paper cartridge-bags. This process
requires some little nicety, as each bag is made up of three distinct
papers of different sizes and shapes, which have to be neatly adjusted
round a roller one upon another. By long practice some of these little
fellows complete the operation in a surprisingly short space of
time--rolling, twisting in the end, tying, and drawing it from the rod
almost as quickly as you can look at them, the swaying of the body during
the operation giving to the entire mass of eight hundred children a most
extraordinary aggregate movement as the room is surveyed from one end to
the other. Some boys are infinitely more nimble-fingered than others, and
the sharpest earn eight or nine shillings a-week at the work.

Nimble as their little fingers ply, however, the hands of machinery laugh
them to scorn. In the room below we note as we descend strange wheel-like
frames revolving horizontally, and others working up and down into tanks
of paper pulp. These are the new machines destined to supplant the little
children over-head, and to hush the ceaseless hum of their human labour.
Throughout the entire range of the Arsenal there is no sight more
interesting than is exhibited by these machines, the _modus operandi_ of
which is extremely simple. Circles of brass tubing have short upright
tubes inserted into them at regular distances. These upright tubes, or
fingers, are pierced with fine holes, and the whole apparatus is attached
to an exhausting-pump. Worsted mittens are fitted to the fingers, and when
all is ready, the Briarean hand is dipped into the bath of pulp, the air
in the tubes is withdrawn, the liquid necessarily rushes towards the
fingers, and the water passing through, leaves the pulp adherent to the
mitten. The process is instantaneous, hand after hand drops into the
trough, gloves its fingers with pulp, and rises with a thousand cartridges
in its grasp, quicker than one of the boys up stairs has finished a single
bag. The process is not complete, however, until they are dry. Each mitten
is removed from its metal finger, and placed on a similar one heated with
steam. In ten minutes the desiccating process is finished, and the
cartridge-bag is removed, a far more perfect instrument for its deadly
purpose than that which is made up stairs by hand. The hint for this
beautiful machine was taken from the apparatus employed for making
conical seamless sugar-bags without the intervention of the paper
maker--so diverse are the developments which may spring from the same
idea. Of these small-arm cartridge-bags, 400,000 can be manufactured in a
day of ten hours; but as each cartridge is composed of a double envelope,
one fitting within the other, in order to separate the conical ball from
the powder, the product furnishes 200,000 cartridges--an enormous
quantity, but scarcely equal to the demand of such campaigners as
Havelock, whose men, day by day, consumed their sixty rounds per head. At
first sight it seems strange to find the Government turned paper makers,
and the visitor may think that these bags could be obtained, as the
sugar-bags are by the grocers, from the private manufacturer, but it is
absolutely necessary that they should be produced side by side with their
deadly contents. They are far more delicate things to maintain in their
integrity than even wafer-biscuits, which they very much resemble, and
they are required in such enormous numbers, that any mechanical
impediment, such as crushing, interposed to the filling of them with
powder and ball, would add immensely to the expense. The pressure in
packing necessary to convey them to the Arsenal would flatten, and hence
destroy them.

But where, asks the visitor, is the small-arms factory for the
construction of those far-famed rifles which prevented a disaster at
Inkermann, and at once doubled the effective power of the steadiest
infantry of Europe? And well may he ask the question, for what more
natural place for this important manufacture than in connexion with
kindred Government establishments? When the War Office decided upon
erecting a factory to meet the sudden demands of the war, it was proposed
by the Inspector of Machinery to plant it within the walls of the Arsenal;
but the authorities, for some reason best known to themselves, decided
otherwise, and it was accordingly taken to Enfield Lock, which is twelve
miles from London on the Eastern Counties Railway, and where they had
before a small establishment for the repair and manufacture of a limited
number of muskets. The traveller who gets out at the factory station
finds himself at once in a road which leads him into a flat country laced
with streams, where Paul Potter might have found a study at every turn.
Here, amid flocks and herds peacefully grazing, or standing in the shadows
of the pollard willows, he espies the tall chimneys of the Enfield
factory, looking like a stray fragment of Manchester that had wandered out
of its way. In all England a more absurd spot for it could not have been

The establishment, however, is so worthy of a minute inspection, that we
will proceed to give a general view of the whole. The threshold of the
manufacturing process is the smithery, where the foreman presides to
deliver out the raw material and receive in return the work done. To each
smith is issued the particular size of bar iron or steel required for the
article he works upon. Opening out of this shop is the smithery itself,
with its fifty-five forges, together with steam hammers, hoppers, rider
hammers, and other contrivances by which our modern Vulcan economises
labour. In this department all the iron and steel work of the lock and
stock are moulded, for the ordinary method of forging conveys a very
inadequate idea of the manner in which the material is here manipulated.
Every sportsman knows that the lock of a gun is made up of many small
pieces of irregular form. To forge these with the hammer alone would be
far too expensive a process, as it would require highly-skilled labour,
nor even then would it be possible to produce the different pieces of
exactly the same size, so that any one may fit into any other with perfect
accuracy when the gun is ultimately put together. To accomplish this end,
the essential principle of the manufacture, each smith with his helper
takes in hand a particular piece of work. One man, for instance, makes
hammers, or cocks, as sportsmen call them. The irregular form of this part
of the lock would seem to preclude the possibility of its being made by
the hundred-thousand, each one being the counterpart of its brother to the
thousandth of an inch. Yet this is done, and with an ease that appears
astonishing to the beholder. Let us watch the brawny smith before us. He
draws a rod from the fire at white heat, lays it upon an indented part of
his anvil, and, together with his mate, deals alternate blows in half a
dozen different directions, and produces in a few seconds an irregular
mass, which we see bears a resemblance to the indentation in the anvil,
which, on closer inspection, we find to be a rude matrix of a guncock.
This is the first process, called swaging. These two men go on from one
year's end to another, giving alternate light and heavy blows and taps on
all sides of the metal. These blows, though sometimes delivered through a
swinging circle of eight or ten feet, fall upon exactly the same spot, for
practice so nicely co-ordinates the muscles as to produce a motion as
exact as that which draws from the bow of a Paganini the same delicate
note for any number of times in succession. The cock thus swaged, the
smith stamps his initials upon it, and transfers it to another smith, who
works with a steam-hammer, on which is a steel die of the exact form it is
required to take. A single blow of this instrument gives it its final
form, leaving the superfluous metal in the shape of a thin film, where it
has been squeezed into the opening between the dies, which is cut off by a
subsequent stamping process. By this method of swaging and stamping, the
lock-plate, bridle, cock, sear, trigger, sightleaf, breech-screw, and
swivel are formed so perfectly, that the tool is scarcely required to
touch them afterwards.

Those parts of the lock made of steel, such as the mainspring, searspring
and tumbler, are simply swaged, the stamping process being omitted on
account of the sudden blow tending to break the grain and thus destroy the
elasticity of the metal.

A curious operation of the smithery is the bayonet forging. The bars for
bayonet-work are never forged of such uniform width as to allow the smith
to cut off to a nicety the length he requires. In order to rectify this
difficulty, and enable him to tell how much will serve his purpose, he is
provided with a water-gauge, or tube filled with a given quantity of
water; into this the rod is plunged, and withdrawn when the fluid reaches
the top of the gauge. By this expedient the iron, however irregular in
form, is measured accurately by the displacement of the water. When the
bar is withdrawn, the smith cuts it off at the watermark, and his mate
thrusts it into the forge fire. Whilst this is going on, the visitor
becomes conscious of a strange machine close at hand, which perpetually
gnashes together a mouthful of hardened steel teeth; this is that useful
instrument called the rider hammer. These teeth bear upon their upper and
under surfaces grooves of the form the iron bar is required to take. The
short white-heated bit of bar is thrust in, and by a series of nabs is
instantly lengthened a couple of inches; the next tooth still further
attenuates it, the third forces it into the triangular form, and a fourth
and fifth reduce it to the graduated length required: thus the blade of
this terrible weapon is rough-drawn. The ring by which it is attached to
the barrel of the musket is forged separately, and welded to the shank at
right angles. These are the first of at least seventy-six distinct
operations before the weapon is fitted to fulfil its appointed design,
that of making the ugliest and most irreparable wound possible in the
human corpus. The work done, it is returned to the foreman, whose first
duty is to see that the material with which the man has been debited has
wrought into the requisite number of pieces; if it falls short the waste
is charged to him. The next scrutiny is into the quality of the work, and
the last and not the least important inquiry is, does it gauge? Unless the
work passes all these ordeals it is rejected, and the person in fault is
known by the distinguishing mark of the smith who prepared it. In some
cases, as in the making of the bands which bind the barrel to the stock,
this mark is ground off in passing through one of the presses; but is
immediately restored, that the work may be traced to the artisan who
constructed it. The effect of thus fixing the responsibility of every
single thing manufactured upon the maker is immense, and induces habits of
carefulness such as are seldom seen in ordinary workmen. The foreman now
issues the different pieces to the finishers, who convey them to the
annealing room, where they are rendered soft for working by heat, and
cleaned of their scale or oxide, which would otherwise injure the tool, by
means of dilute sulphuric acid.

The barrel is welded and finished in a separate factory. The piece of
metal out of which the gradually tapering tube is ultimately fashioned
seems to bear no relation to such a form. You see the smith take a small
plate of quarter-inch iron, about a foot long by a few inches wide, heat
it to a welding heat, and then place it between the lips of a rolling
mill, with grooved instead of flat rollers, and in an instant it comes out
a tube. It has next to be drawn out to the requisite length and tapered,
which is done by passing it through a series of mills, each succeeding one
being grooved smaller than the preceding. The bore is kept hollow during
the operation by a central iron rod. The breech piece is welded on by a
single blow of a steam-hammer, and the process of turning the bore begins.
Four barrels are acted upon by one lathe, and the first operation is
performed in fifteen minutes. Only a slight cutting is made each time, and
the barrel has to be submitted to the action of many different boring
instruments until the exact size, ·577 of an inch, is attained. The
outside is now turned, the tool taking off the superfluous metal in one
continuous ringlet of iron.

It now undergoes the most delicate process of all, that of being "viewed."
The viewer, who is a highly-skilled workman, with an exceedingly accurate
eye, puts himself opposite a gas-lamp, about thirty feet distance, and
which has a dark shade on its upper side. Towards this object he directs
the barrel so as to bring the dark edge half-way across his sight as he
looks through the bore. By this device he is enabled to direct a ray of
light with a defined edge down the tube, and by turning the barrel round,
instantly detects the slightest deviation from the straight line. As the
smoothest-looking sea is discovered to be a mass of dimpling ripples--(the
Greek poet's "infinite laughings of the sea")--when the setting sun throws
a golden shaft across its bosom, so the mathematically straight lines of
light gauge the inequalities of the rifle bore in a more exact manner than
any instrument that has yet been invented. When any irregularities are
discovered, the viewer taps the barrel with a fine hammer on a small
anvil, and repeats the operation until the tube is perfectly true. Upon
this depends the correct shooting of the gun, inasmuch as the least crook
near the end of the bore would send a bullet far on one side of the mark
long before it had attained the full range of 800 yards, to which the
Enfield rifle is sighted. The rifling of the barrel in three groves is
performed by fixing it in a lathe, and driving the cutter through it in a
spiral direction.

In entering the finishing room, a noble apartment, 200 feet square, the
visitor cannot fail to be struck with astonishment at the scene this vast
workshop presents. He looks through a mass of wheels, levers, cranks, and
shafts, which fill the space from wall to wall, every foot alive with iron
and human limbs, and the whole superficies seeming to writhe and wrestle
like a cluster of worms. Although confusion looks triumphant to the casual
eye, the utmost order prevails. On one side of the room, at regular
intervals, small inclosed offices, with glazed fronts, are placed against
the wall, a little above the level of the floor. These are devoted to the
foremen of the different divisions into which the work is separated. Each
of these functionaries from his eyrie rakes the long avenues or streets of
machines, with their attendant workmen, which run in parallel lines across
the room. The first avenue is devoted to bayonets; then come in the
following order the divisions allocated to furniture, screw, sight, lock,
and stock. The work is so managed that all the different parts keep pace
together, and are finished in the required proportions; or in other words,
those pieces which are but slowly produced have allotted to them a greater
number of machines. By this arrangement all the requisite items are
brought at the same moment to the workmen who put them together in the
finished article. The fifty-six pieces of which the rifle is composed work
their way up one street of machinery and down another, constantly
following on from right to left on their way towards the top of the room.
Many of these pieces are passed through upwards of twenty different
machines, each one performing some simple and definite action, by which
means an accuracy is obtained that the most skilful gunmaker could never
equal by hand.

The diversity of cutting-tools in these different machines strikes the
observer with astonishment; the oddest shapes, the most unlikely-looking
forms, proving admirably adapted for the purposes they are intended to
accomplish. Many of these work automatically--that is, they engage and
disengage themselves; setting to work only when they are fed with
material, and, when their rodent-like teeth have gnawed away as much metal
as is requisite, they stop of their own accord. The effect of this is so
extraordinary, that it almost seems as if those bright limbs of iron,
which stop and move on without human agency, must be directed by some sort
of metallic brain. The most common form of tool employed is what is termed
the circular cutter or milling-tool, which is constructed to fit every
class of work. These cutters will continue serviceable for months without
requiring to be sharpened, in consequence of each being restricted to its
own limited sphere. The amount of thought employed in the construction of
many of these machines must have been immense, and when they were
completed, two-thirds of the manufacturing difficulty was overcome, and
the musket more than half made. A most ingenious machine, the parent of a
numerous progeny, was, many years ago, invented by an Englishman, and
applied to copying the fine lines of statuary, and transferring them to
ivory and other materials. The applicability of this instrument to the
production of the irregular forms in the gun trade was first perceived by
our cousins across the Atlantic, and for many years they have employed it
for the rapid and true production of many parts of the musket, whilst our
own manufacturers in London and Birmingham have been content to execute
the same work, laboriously and expensively, by hand labour. The copying
machines now at Enfield have been imported direct from America. They are
principally employed in fashioning gun-stocks. They convert the rough
slabs of walnut-wood, just outlined in the proper form, which come from
France, Belgium and Italy, into the finished article, with all its
grooves, holes, and beddings for lock and barrel. This extraordinary
apparatus may be said to work with two hands: the one feeling the outline
of the pattern to be copied, the other directing a tool uniformly with it
and cutting the object to the required form. Let us, for example, take the
machine that hollows out the lock-bedding in the stock. Not only are the
outlines of the most irregular form, but they are sunk to three different
levels, and it would almost seem impossible that a machine should excavate
so complex a bedding with minute accuracy. Nevertheless, it is done in a
few minutes by an apparatus, which revolves and brings, one after the
other, some new tool into play according to the work to be done. Whilst
the operation is going on, a little blower clears out the chips as
cleverly as though the machine had human breath. The different portions of
the gun completed, they are, for the last time, gauged, and passed on to
the extreme end bench of the factory, near the west door, where the
"assembler," as he is termed, receives them in different bins, from which
he takes the part he requires and sets up the gun. As there is no
necessity for special fitting, this process is performed with remarkable
rapidity, seven minutes being sufficient to combine all the different
parts, which have never been near each other before--lock, stock, ramrod,
and bayonet--into the complete weapon. They now pass out of the western
door, packed in cases, and are taken to the proving-ground, where they are
tested with high charges and their range and accuracy duly examined; and
so perfect is the finish, that not one in a thousand fails to stand the
trying ordeal. They are now transferred by water to the Armoury at the
Tower, ready for service in the field.

The Enfield rifle was adopted for the public service in the year 1853, and
is at the present moment the best infantry musket in Europe. There is
still room, however, as Mr. Whitworth has shown, for improvement in the
barrel. His rifle propels a bullet both farther and with greater accuracy,
in consequence of the greater care he bestows upon the barrel, which,
instead of being welded, is bored, at a great cost, out of the solid
metal. Its diameter also being smaller, the bullet encounters a less
resistance in the air during its flight. There is no reason why the
smaller bore should not be substituted for that of the Enfield rifle,
when this arm would be perfect. The difficulty the ablest minds experience
in getting out of an old groove was exemplified by the late Duke of
Wellington with respect to this question of the size of bore. His Grace
was obstinately wedded to Brown Bess, whose crushing fire, so superior to
that of the enemy, he had witnessed in his Peninsular campaigns, and which
he erroneously ascribed to the excellent quality of the arm instead of to
the steadiness of the men--mistaking, in fact, a moral for a physical
excellence. The longer the Commander-in-Chief lived, the firmer his faith
in the large smooth bore, and the necessity for making a big hole in the
enemy. When the rifle-musket of 1851 replaced this old arm, the large bore
was still retained, and the consequence was, that the bullet, being
elongated, was heavier than when round, and the soldier had to carry a
missile of 696 grains weight, instead of 490 grains. The bore of the
Enfield rifle pattern of 1853 was very properly reduced, and the Prichett
expanding bullet, of 530 grains, now carries its deadly weight in its
length. Though the wound it gives is not so large as that inflicted by the
old ball, it makes up for deficiency by its power of penetration. An
officer who was at the taking of the rifle-pits in the quarry before
Sevastopol informs us that a brother-officer was shot through the side by
a Russian Minié bullet, which afterwards passed through an ass, and his
two panniers of water, and did not stop in its career till it had broken a
man's arm at some distance off! Its deadly aim at vast distances, which
made it the dread of the sepoys, who termed it "the gun that kills without
making any sound," contrasts strangely with the performances of Brown Bess
of old, which at any range beyond a hundred yards was so uncertain in its
aim that it has been calculated that the soldier shot away the weight in
lead of every man that he hit.

Before the breaking out of the war, our stores were hampered with
small-arms of all sizes and patterns. There were, at home and abroad, no
less than 109,725 flint-lock muskets, of fifteen different patterns, and
107,000 smooth-bore, percussion-lock muskets, of eight different patterns.
Very many of these were in service a few years ago; and as their bores
were all dissimilar, it often happened that the soldiers were provided
with cartridges that would not fit their guns. In peace little
difficulties of this kind are of no moment, but they are of the utmost
importance in the time of war. At the battle of Waterloo, the
Brunswickers, who held Hougoumont, were, for a short time, rendered
helpless, in consequence of cartridges having been sent to them that did
not fit their muskets. A battle, which, according to Professor Creasey,
ranks among the six decisive combats of the world, might thus have been
lost on account of the misfit of a cartridge. The necessity of preventing
the possible recurrence of such mischances induced the authorities, at the
breaking out of the Russian war, to make the bore of all muskets used by
the different branches of the service uniform with that of the Enfield
rifle. A thousand of these weapons can at present be completed in a
week--a number which appears large, but which is in reality far beneath
the real wants of the army. The private manufacturers of small-arms in
Birmingham denounced the establishment of this factory, on the plea that
Government were not warranted in fabricating goods which the private trade
of the country were capable of producing--an assertion which the Crimean
war totally disproved, as the authorities were so pressed for rifles that
they had to go to France,[26] Belgium, and the United States for supplies,
and at one time contemplated giving an order for 350,000 rifles at Liége.
The military rifle, like the shell, being a special article required only
by the army, the demand for it in large numbers is not constant, and hence
the low condition of the mechanical power brought to bear upon it by the
trade. The gunmakers of Birmingham have depended upon skilled labour for
the production of the different parts of a musket, and thus labour, in
times of pressure, becomes exorbitantly costly, to the embarrassment and
loss of the public service. It was this which led the Government to
introduce machinery into the manufacture--a thing the trade declared
impossible, but which they now see is not only possible but profitable,
since the same musket for which they charged 4_l._ 10_s._ is now made of a
superior quality by the Government for 3_l._ 15_s._ The experiment must be
of the greatest importance to the Birmingham gun trade, which, through its
own inherent vices, was fast yielding to the superior ingenuity of America
and Belgium, and which can only regain its old position by taking a lesson
from the organized mechanical resources of the Enfield Lock manufactory.
The private manufacturers need not fear that Enfield will monopolize even
Government work, the demands of the service being far beyond its
productive powers. As the Ordnance supplies rifles to our army in India,
as well as to the home and colonial force, no less than 400,000 are
required for the infantry and marines alone: a number which has to be
replaced every twelve years, even in times of peace. In active service the
destruction is immense; and now the cycle of war has returned, the annual
50,000 rifles turned out by the royal factory will prove but a small
instalment of the vast store of arms that England will require.

At Waltham Abbey, not half an hour's walk from Enfield Lock, is situated
the only establishment for the manufacture of powder which the Government
possesses. Here dispersion, instead of concentration, is the order of the
day. The necessity for complete isolation causes the factories to be
distributed over a very large space of ground, and the visitor has to walk
from workshop to workshop through groves and avenues of willow and alder,
as though he were visiting dispersed farm-buildings rather than the
different departments of the same manufacturing process. There are not
perhaps more than a dozen detached buildings in the whole establishment,
yet these are scattered over upwards of fifty acres of ground. To such an
extent do meadows and woods and meandering canals predominate, that the
idea of being in a powder-mill is entirely lost in the impression that you
are walking in a Dutch landscape. The visitor who enters the great gates
of the mill, impressed with a belief in the dangerous nature of the ground
he is treading, is somewhat startled on finding a steam-engine at work on
the very threshold of the factory, and a tall chimney smoking its pipe in
what he supposed to be the vicinity of hundreds of barrels of gunpowder;
but in reality these boilers and furnaces are placed many hundred feet
from the mixing-houses. The English Government powder is composed of
seventy-five parts of saltpetre, fifteen parts of charcoal, and ten of
sulphur. The ingredients, being thoroughly powdered, prepared, and
purified, are submitted to the action of a machine, which completely mixes
them. The product is then conveyed by a covered boat, very much like an
aldermanic gondola in mourning, some hundred yards along the canal to the
incorporating houses, where the most important process of the manufacture
is carried on, and where the danger of an explosion first commences. The
incorporating machine is nothing more than a couple of runners or huge
wheels, weighing four and a half tons each, which revolve one after
another on their edges in a bed of metal supplied with a deep wooden rim,
which gives it much the appearance of a huge kitchen candlestick. Into
this dish the black powder is placed, together with a little water, which
varies in quantity, from four pints in winter, when the atmosphere is
charged with moisture, to ten in the summer, when the desiccating quality
of the air is very great. For four hours this pasty mass is crushed,
ground, and mixed by the action of the runners. The precautions taken
against explosion teach the visitor the dangerous nature of the ground he
is treading. Before he puts his feet across the threshold he must encase
them in leathern boots huge enough to fit Polyphemus, and guiltless of
iron in any form whatever; even his umbrella or stick is snatched from
him, lest the ferrule should strike fire, or accidentally drop among any
part of the machinery whilst at work. The machinery is even protected
against itself. In order to avoid the possibility of the linch-pins which
confine the cylinders to their axles falling down, and by the action of
"skidding" the runner, producing so much friction as to cause an
explosion, receptacles are formed to catch them in their fall. As small
pieces of grit, the natural enemy of the powder-maker, might prove
dangerous if mixed with any of the "charges," the axle sockets of nearly
all the wheels are constructed to expand, so as to allow any hard foreign
body to pass through just in the same manner in which the fine jaws of the
larger serpents are loosely hinged, to enable them to get over at one gulp
such a bulky morsel as a full-grown rabbit.

Accidents will happen, however, in the best-regulated mills, and provision
is made for rendering an explosion when it occurs as innocuous as
possible. The new incorporating mills are constructed with three sides of
solid brickwork three feet thick, and the fourth side and roof of
corrugated iron and glass lightly adjusted. As they are placed in a row
contiguous to each other, the alternate ones only face the same way, so
that the line of fire, or the direction the explosion would take through
the weakest end, would not be likely to involve in destruction the
neighbouring mill. It does occasionally happen, however, that the
precautions are not sufficient to prevent danger spreading. In the great
explosion which took place in 1842 a second house was fired at a couple of
hundred yards distance from the spot where the original explosion took
place. There is now a further security against the houses going one after
another, like houses of cards. Over each mill a copper tank, containing
about forty gallons of water, is so suspended that on the lifting of a
lever it instantly discharges its contents and floods the mill. This
shower or douche bath is made self-acting, inasmuch as the explosion
itself pulls the string, the force of the expanding gas lifting up a
hinged shutter which acts like a trigger to let down the water. "But," it
may be said, "as the water does not fall until the explosion has taken
place, this contrivance is very like locking the stable door when the
steed is stolen!" And this is the case with respect to the mill where the
original mischief took place; but the lever first acted upon discharges
the shower-bath over the heads of all the others also, and by this means
the evil is limited to the place where it originated. From the
incorporating mills the kneading powder, or "mill cake," as it is termed,
is taken by another funeral-looking gondola to small expense-magazines,
where it is allowed to remain for twelve hours before being taken to the
breaking-down house. Here the hard lumps of mill cake are ground into fine
powder by the action of fine-toothed rollers made of gun-metal, which
revolve towards each other and crush the cake which falls between them to
dust. The broken-down mill cake once more travels between pleasant meadows
fringed with willow until it reaches the press house, where the meal is
subjected to hydraulic pressure between plates of gun-metal, and is
thereby reduced to dense plates about half an inch thick. These plates are
allowed to remain intact for a couple of days, by which time they become
as hard as a piece of fine pottery. Very many advantages are gained by
this pressure. The density of the powder is increased, which enables it to
be conveyed without working into fine dust; its keeping qualities are
improved, as it absorbs less moisture than if it were more porous; and
lastly, a greater volume of inflammable gas is produced from a given bulk.

The pressed cake is now transferred to the maw of one of the most
extraordinary machines we have yet witnessed. The granulating house, where
the important process of dividing the powder into fine grains takes place,
is removed very far away from the other buildings. The danger of the
operation carried on within is implied by the strong traverse fifteen feet
thick at the bottom, which is intended to act as a shield to the workmen
in case of an accident. It was here an explosion took place in 1843, by
which eight workmen lost their lives--in what manner no one knows, as all
the evidence was swept away. To render the recurrence of such lamentable
accidents as rare as possible, the machine is made self-acting. At
certain times of the day it is supplied with food in the shape of fifteen
hundredweight of "pressed cake." This is stuffed into a large hopper or
pouch, and the moment the monster is ready, the men retire beyond the
strong traverse and allow it slowly to masticate its meal, which it does
with a deliberation worthy of its ponderosity and strength, emptying its
pouch by degrees, and by a triturating process performed by two or three
sets of fine rollers, dividing it into different-sized grains. These
grains it passes through a series of wire sieves, separating the larger
ones fitted for cannon powder from the finer kind required for rifles, and
depositing them in their appropriate boxes, which, when full, it removes
from its own dangerous proximity, and takes up empty ones in their place.
All the larger undigested pieces it returns again, like a ruminating
animal, to its masticating process until its supply is exhausted. Then,
and not till then, like Mademoiselle Jack, the famous elephant, it rings a
bell for some fresh "cake." The workmen allow it about five minutes' grace
to thoroughly assimilate the supply already in its maw, when the machine
stops, and they enter with another meal. The floors of all the different
houses are covered with leather neatly fastened down with copper nails,
and the brush is never out of the hands of the workman: even while you are
talking to him, he sweeps away in the gravest manner in order to remove
any particles of powder or grit that maybe on the floor; this he does
mechanically, when not a particle of anything is to be seen, just as a
sailor in a crack ship always holystones the deck, clean or dirty, the
moment he has any spare time.

The powder thus separated into grains is still damp and full of dust. To
get rid of this it is taken by water to the dusting-house, where it is
bolted in a reel like so much flour. It has now to be glazed, a very
important operation, performed by placing it in large barrels, which
revolve with their load thirty-two times a minute for three hours
together. By the mere friction of the grains against each other and the
sides of the barrel, a fine polish is imparted to the surface of the
grain, which enables it to withstand the action of the atmosphere much
better than when it is left unglazed. It is now stoved for sixteen hours
in a drying-room heated by steam pipes to a heat of 130° Fahrenheit, and
is then finally dusted and proved. There are many methods of proving, but
the simplest and most efficacious is to fire the powder from the weapon it
is intended to serve. Thus cannon powder is proved by firing a 68-pound
solid shot with a charge of two ounces of powder--a charge which should
give a range of from 270 to 300 feet. If the powder passes the test, which
it generally does, it is packed in barrels holding 100 lbs. each, marked
L. G. (Large Grain), and F. G. (Fine Grain), as the case may be, and
carried to the provisional magazine. When 500 barrels have accumulated
they are despatched in a barge to the Government magazine at Purfleet,
near the mouth of the Thames, the Lea forming the connecting link of water
between the canals of the works and that river.

The produce of this establishment, which had fallen so low as 4,500
barrels per annum in 1843, is now so increased by improved machinery that
20,000 barrels a year can be manufactured, and of the very best quality.
Even this supply is far below the consumption during a time of war, and
contractors have, and always will have, to furnish a portion of the
required supplies; but it seems that a model mill is useful for the double
purpose of keeping up a due standard of quality,[27] and of keeping down
price. On the uniform strength of the powder depends the accuracy of
artillery fire: hence the necessity of having some known standard of
quality from which contractors should not be allowed to depart. The
improvements which have taken place in the manufacture are very marked.
About the year 1790, when powder was supplied to Government wholly by
contract, the regulation weight of charge for a cannon was half the weight
of the ball; it is now less than one-third: therefore two barrels are now
used instead of three, a reduction of bulk which economizes stowage on
board ship as well as in the field. Formerly powder had a range of 190
feet only; the range is now increased to 268 feet! This vast improvement
is simply the consequence of the care with which the powder is worked, and
the attention bestowed on every detail of the mills since their direction
fell into the hands of Colonel Tulloh, Colonel Dickson, and Colonel
Askwith, the present Superintendent.

There is a department at the Woolwich Arsenal to which we must now return,
of which the establishments at Enfield and Waltham Abbey may be considered
but outlying offshoots. Beyond the canal, at the extreme end of the
ground, lie the establishments devoted to the more dangerous portions of
pyrotechnic manufacture, such as the filling of rockets, of
friction-tubes, the driving of fuses, &c. These ticklish operations used
to be conducted in ill-built sheds in the laboratory square, where a sad
explosion took place during the war, and Captain Boxer, determining to
reduce the risk of accidents, transferred the whole of them in 1854 to
this open space, far away from the neighbourhood of fire. The sixteen
houses used for fuse-driving and friction-tube-making are isolated from
each other much in the same manner as the incorporating mills at Waltham
Abbey: we need not therefore describe them. The rocket manufactory is also
so carefully arranged that accidents can rarely happen. The method of
driving the composition into these frightfully destructive implements of
war was, until lately, not only barbarous but dangerous in the extreme,
being forced in by a "monkey," or small pile-driver, worked by eight men.
The pressure of water now does the work silently, effectually, and safely.
The rocket is so fixed while it is being filled, that in case of an
accident the discharge will fly through the roof; grit and iron are as
carefully excluded as in the powder mills; open spaces around the
buildings are covered with turf and planted with shrubs, and a raised
causeway of wood keeps the communications between the different magazines
free from all substances likely to produce friction. The visitor may no
more enter one of these carefully-guarded buildings with his shoes on than
he could walk into the mosque of St. Sophia, at Constantinople, similarly
shod. With equal care the process of greasing the bullet end of the
small-arm cartridges is carried on in this portion of the Arsenal. For a
long time no lubricating material could be found that remained unaffected
in all climates--a very important desideratum, considering the manner in
which our stores of war are moved about from the depths of arctic waters
to the burning summers of the torrid zone. Captain Boxer, however, in a
happy moment, thought of the little busy insect that builds a store-house
warranted to keep in all temperatures, and adopted bees' wax, which, added
to a little fat, makes a compound which answers the purpose perfectly. The
cartridges are dipped about an inch deep into a receptacle of this liquid
kept fluid by the heat of gas. As we watched the process going on, we
could not avoid reflecting from what insignificant causes great events
arise, and that a rebellion which well-nigh snatched India from our grasp
sprung from this very cauldron seething with "hell-broth thick and slab."

The different departments of the Royal Arsenal are separated by large open
spaces, in which the rougher materials of war are deposited. The roadways,
laid with iron trams, which greatly facilitate the transfer of heavy guns,
are lined here and there with pyramids of shot and shell, lackered and
shining in the sun. These missiles are continually circulating along the
shoots from one spot in the Arsenal to another, passing at one time
underfoot, at another overhead, the action of gravity being pressed into
the service with other labour-saving contrivances, to remove 13-inch
shells and 98-pounder solid shot, sometimes to very considerable
distances. Vast as are the stores of these warlike implements, and far as
the vistas of pyramids stretch (and there are no less than 688,000 in the
Arsenal at present), they would speedily be drained by a short return of
war, in which artillery now plays so prominent a part. At the siege of
Sebastopol alone, which scarcely occupied eighteen months, no less than
253,042 shot and shell of all sizes were fired from our batteries, a
number which the enemy surpassed, in one attack alone, if we are to
believe the evidence afforded by some of the ravines, in which this iron
rain descended so thickly that it paved the ground and prevented the grass
from springing up. The French were even more prodigal of these
projectiles; for, according to the report made to the Emperor, 1,100,000
of them were sent by our allies into the doomed city.

The neighbourhood of each department is generally indicated by the class
of war stores to be seen at hand. We may be sure we are near the great-gun
foundry, for instance, when we see the long files of iron guns of all
sizes and patterns, from the light 32-pounders to the truly formidable
98-pounders of the naval service, flanking the road, compared with which
the light brass field-pieces that fringe the wall of the building itself
seem the merest toy-guns. Here and there trim grass-plots are seen with a
neat edging of three hundred 13-inch mortars, and at the grand entrance of
the foundry itself enormous shells, a yard in diameter, prepared for
Mallett's mammoth mortar, are planted, as if to show how daring are the
ideas of modern war, which proposes to throw such Titanic missiles at the
enemy. Here too may be seen veterans which have seen service--avenues of
wounded guns from the Crimea. These are the picked specimens of the
eighty-eight pieces of ordnance either disabled by the enemy or worn out
by their own fire in that ever-memorable siege. One, a 68-pounder, was
shattered by a singular accident; just as it was being discharged a shell
fired by the enemy exploded in its mouth, and destroyed it after it had
fired no less than 2,000 rounds. Another gun, which is split in the
muzzle, was hit thirteen times. There appears to have been luck in this
mystic number, however, for by the aid of an iron band the mishap was
repaired, and it went on doing duty until one of its trunnions was knocked
off, and even then, like the gallant Widderington, at Chevy Chase, it
fought upon its stumps; for, on being sunk into the ground, and fired at a
high elevation, it was kept at work up to the end of the siege. Some of
these guns are pitted with cannon-shot even as far back as the breech, and
one or two are hit in their very stern-most parts. These wounds are the
result of ricochet firing, a kind of practice which enables a shot to drop
in the most unexpected places.

In the mounting yard, as it is termed, which lies between the gun and
carriage factories, the field-pieces are mounted upon their carriages and
fitted up for service previous to their removal to the depôt of artillery
near the Common. Since the war the captured cannon from Sebastopol have
been stored here preparatory to their being either broken up or
distributed as trophies to the various towns of the United Kingdom. Of
these guns 1079 are of iron and 94 of brass. They are of admirable metal,
and would have proved very serviceable, except that unfortunately their
bore does not suit any of our shot. Gun-carriages rent by the bursting of
guns, or so unscientifically constructed as inevitably to destroy
themselves, like the iron carriages taken from the enemy at Kertch, are
kept as lessons for the Captain Instructor to dwell upon, when he takes
round his bevy of young artillery cadets. This official performs the
essential duty of giving the future artillery officer a clear insight into
the method of constructing and repairing all the more essential engines
and tools he will have to work with--such as guns, gun-carriages, &c., and
of obtaining a general notion of the relative strength of metals, and of
the value of the various materials out of which the munitions of war are
formed. The vast workshops of Woolwich afford an admirable field for the
acquisition of this kind of knowledge.

The neighbourhood of the Arsenal to the chief Military Academy in the
kingdom gives these embryo artillery officers an opportunity of witnessing
the experiments which are constantly going on in the Marshes, either for
the purpose of testing new guns, or of practically examining the
capabilities of new inventions. The extraordinary energy with which
projectors of all kinds (clergymen among the number) devoted themselves to
the task of inventing new implements of destruction during the Russian war
entirely belied that lamb-like spirit attributed by Mr. Cobden to his
fellow-countrymen. No less than 1976 new projects were submitted to the
Select Committee of Ordnance with respect to artillery alone. Of this
number a large proportion were of the most imbecile kind--such as
proposals to fill shells with Cayenne pepper, chloroform, and cacodyle,
the latter a most virulent material which has the property of poisoning
the air around it. The asphyxiating ball of the French was the true parent
of the whole brood. Only forty-three of the propositions were favourably
reported on, and of this number only thirty have been adopted into the
service. First and foremost among these is the plan of filling shells with
liquid iron. It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the destructive effect
of this new application of an old material. At the second shot fired in
the Marshes against a perfectly new butt which cost 200_l._, it set it on
fire and entirely destroyed it. The engines of the Arsenal and the old
expedient of heaping earth against the burning wood were of no avail, the
molten iron having penetrated in all directions deep into the timber. It
is hard to believe that any ship will be able to resist the destructive
effect of these shells, or that masses of men will be found courageous
enough to withstand their devastating effects; for immediately the
percussion shell comes in contact with any object, it explodes and throws
the molten metal in all directions--splashing and striking objects that
are completely out of the way of the contents of ordinary shells, and
proving far more deadly both to animate and inanimate substances than the
famous Greek fire of old. This very invention was brought to the notice of
the authorities as early as 1803 by a workman in a London iron-foundry;
but the suggestion was so contrary to all the current notions of the time,
that it was rejected, and not heard of again until a new war brought into
play more advanced ideas.

The new guns that were brought forward were innumerable, and many of them,
such as the Mersey steel gun, and the great mortar, are still under trial.
If this mortar, which is built up of a series of rings 9 inches broad and
3-1/2 inches thick, laid over one another, and fitting tightly, so as to
form a barrel, should ultimately prove capable of resisting the full
charge of 70 lbs. weight of powder, it will be the most destructive
implement yet invented for the purpose of crushing fortified places. In
some of the trials which have taken place in the Marshes, it threw its
36-inch shell, weighing 26 cwt., upwards of two miles; and when the
missile fell, it buried itself in the ground to so considerable a depth,
that after digging down 12 feet, and probing for 15 feet more, it still
remained undiscovered. The artillerymen say jestingly that it has dropped
down to Australia, No casemate at present in existence could withstand the
crushing weight of its fall, and its bursting charge of 200 lbs. of

After contemplating this vast establishment for the manufacture of arms,
with its sixty steam-engines, which through the agency of upwards of three
miles of running shafting, give motion to upwards of a thousand machines,
we must not omit to mention the human labour which directs this enormous
manufacturing power. During the height of the Crimean war, upwards of
10,000 men and boys were employed in the Arsenal, an army of workers
engaged upon the production of the materials of destruction equal to the
entire force encamped at Aldershot, and double the number of men that
besieged and took Delhi. When such masses of men as this have to be dealt
with daily, it is obvious how necessary it must be to possess an organized
system by which the loss of what might otherwise be considered mere
fractions of time is noted. Let us suppose, for instance, that every man
and boy in the Arsenal lost only five minutes per day, and it would amount
in the aggregate to the loss of the labour of one man for twelve weeks to
the Government.

The next problem to be solved is how to pay 10,000 men in any reasonable
time. It would be clearly impossible to calculate each man's wages at the
time of payment, even if a little army of clerks were employed. It is
therefore done beforehand by a staff of men employed for this purpose. The
amount due to each person having been ascertained, the money is laid out
on boards divided into partitions numbered consecutively. A corresponding
number for each man, with the amount to be given to him, is distributed
previously to the payment taking place, on what is termed a "pay ticket."
On pay-day the artisans take their places in single file, arranging
themselves according to their numbers, and, passing in front of the
pay-boards, receive their wages, and surrender their tickets, which are
receipts for the money. No money is exchanged if not brought back before
the man reaches a certain point, and in this space there are persons
stationed to watch that no exchange is made of bad money for good. To
search every man as he left would be impossible, yet it is highly
necessary to have some means of checking petty depredations of metal, &c.
Formerly peculations of this kind were constant, and the aggregate loss
must have been immense. When it was first determined to put a stop to it,
the men were told only a few minutes before leaving work that they would
be searched as they went out. The effect of this announcement was that the
whole Arsenal was strewed with small pilfered articles thrown hastily
away. Now a couple of policemen at the gate touch indiscriminately a
certain per-centage of the men as they are going, and these have to pass
through a side lodge to be searched. As no man can tell whether or no he
will be touched, the whole mass is kept honest. The mere lodging of such a
body of men was at first a difficulty, even in so large a town as
Woolwich: the demand, however, soon produced supply, and the means taken
to insure the fall of Sebastopol caused the rise of a new town of at least
two thousand houses in the immediate neighbourhood of the Arsenal.

Complete as we have shown the organization of the Arsenal to be, both as
regards its mechanical resources and its staff, it is generally understood
that the Government do not intend to depend upon it wholly for the supply
of the munitions of war. In the case of small-arms, its powers, as we have
seen, are wholly inadequate to the task. In those branches, however, where
the manufacturing power is ample, they will not attempt to push it to the
point of excluding the private manufacturer from a share in the business.
This is, we think, a wise decision; for, however excellent may be the
present arrangements now everything is new and the broom is fresh, it
cannot be denied that the tendency of this and all other Government
establishments is to go to sleep, since they neither possess the stimulus
of private gain to teach them economy, nor that unity of direction which
gives such vigour to private enterprises. The principle of competition
ought therefore to be kept up, and we should run the private manufacturer
against the public one in order to keep down price, and pit the Royal
Factory against the trade in order to keep up quality. Another great gain
will accrue from the determination of the Government, which is, that the
private manufacturers will not lose the art of making certain stores of
war--an art which can not be learned in a day. It would be unwise for the
authorities to put all their eggs into one basket, and this they would
most assuredly do by entirely depending upon their own powers of
production, and in disassociating themselves from the great and fertile
manufacturing power of England, which generally knows so well how to
economize and progress.

If the Government have shown judgment and foresight upon this point, we
cannot say as much for their inexcusable neglect to provide for the
security of this enormous establishment, which contains within its walls
not only the principal depôt of warlike stores in the island, but also the
means of producing them. We do not believe that our neighbours are going
to sail up the Thames quite as easily as the Dutch did, or that any
foreign army marching from Dover could destroy the Arsenal on its way to
the capital without our having ample notice of their approach.
Nevertheless we cannot think that the sole Arsenal of England, placed as
it is in a very accessible part of the island, should be left entirely
without the means of defence. The place itself could not be fortified, as
it is commanded by the heights of Shooter's Hill; but the neighbourhood is
admirably adapted for the purpose. In the opinion of military engineers,
it would not be necessary even to erect the requisite works until the
moment their services were required. Half a dozen earth batteries, mounted
with heavy guns, would command all the land approaches; and a few flats,
posted so as to sweep the reaches of the river, would effectually prevent
the approach of any hostile force by water. The scheme of these batteries
should, however, be settled beforehand in all their details, so that in
the moment of danger they could be completed almost in the presence of the
enemy, in case an invader should give the Channel Fleet the slip some
misty morning, and succeed in making good his footing upon our shores.


There is no nobler or more national sight in our island than to behold the
procession of stately vessels as they pass in panoramic pride along our
shores, or navigate the great arterial streams of commerce,--to witness
the deeply-laden Indiaman warped out of the docks, or to see the emigrant
ship speeding with bellying sails down Blackwall Reach, watched by many
weeping eyes, and the depository of many aching hearts. It would, however,
spoil the enjoyment of the least-interested spectator if the veil could be
lifted from the dark future; if that gallant Indiaman could be shown him
broadside on among the breakers; or that stately vessel, with bulwarks
fringed with tearful groups looking so sadly to the receding shore, were
pictured by him foundering in mid ocean--gone to swell the numbers of the
dismal fleet that yearly sails and is never heard of more. Sadder still
would be his reflections if another passing ship could be shown him,
destined perhaps to circle the globe in safety, and when within sight of
the white cliffs of Albion, full of joyful hearts, suddenly, in the dark
and stormy night, fated to be dashed to atoms, like the _Reliance_ and
_Conqueror_, on a foreign strand. If such dramatic contrasts as these
could be witnessed, we should without doubt strain every nerve to prevent
their recurrence. As it is, the sad tale of disasters at sea comes to us
weakened by the lapse of time and the distance of the scene of the
catastrophe: instead of having the harrowing sight before our eyes, we
have only statistics which raise no emotion, and even rarely arrest
attention. In connection with these annual returns there is published a
fearful-looking map termed a wreck chart, in which the shores of Great
Britain and Ireland are shown fringed with dots,--the sites of wrecks,
collisions, and other disasters. From this we perceive how all the
dangerous headlands and sandbanks on the coast are strewn with--

  "A thousand fearful wrecks,
  A thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon;
  Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
  Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels--
  All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea."

Strange to say, these dismal finger-posts to marine disasters are
generally found grouped around the sites of lighthouses. If we analyze the
chart for the year 1857, we perceive at a glance the relative dangers of
the three seaboards of triangular England, and that a fatal pre-eminence
is given to the East coast. Out of a total of 1,143 wrecks and casualties
which took place in this year, no less than 600, or more than one-half,
occurred between Dungeness and Pentland Frith. Along this perilous sea,
beset with sands, shoals, and rocky headlands, no less than 150,000
vessels pass annually, the greater part ill-constructed, deeply-laden
colliers, such as we see in the Pool, and wonder how they manage to
survive a gale of wind. The South coast, extending from Dungeness to the
Land's End, is comparatively safe, only 84 wrecks having taken place in
1847; whilst from the Land's End to Greenock, where the influence of the
Atlantic gales is most sensibly felt, the numbers rise again to 286, and
the Irish coast contributes a total of 173.

If we take a more extended view of these disastrous occurrences by opening
the wreck chart attached to the evidence of the select committee on
harbours of refuge, given in 1857, containing the casualties of five years
from 1852 to 1856, both inclusive, we shall be better able to analyze
their causes. Within this period no less than 5,128 wrecks and collisions
took place, being an average of 1,025 a year. According to the evidence of
Captain Washington, R.N., the scientific and indefatigable hydrographer of
the Admiralty, these casualties consisted of

  Total losses by stranding or otherwise       1,940
     "      "     collisions                     244
  Serious damage having to discharge           2,401
  Collisions with serious damage                 543

The total losses from all causes, therefore, amounted to 2,184 vessels, or
to an average of nearly 437 in each year. The destruction of life
consequent upon these casualties was 4,148 persons, or, upon the average
of five years, nearly 830 in each year. In 1854 no fewer than 1,549
persons were drowned.

How such a calamity should have been so long tolerated in a civilized
country, without any proper attempt at a remedy, it is not easy to
comprehend. Still more incomprehensible, in a trading country, is the
apparent disregard of the pecuniary sacrifice. It appears in evidence that
the loss by total wrecks is estimated at 1,000,000_l._ a year at least,
and by other casualties at 500,000_l._, making together 1,500,000_l._ as
the annual loss to the country from the accidents on our own coasts--a sum
which in two years would be ample to build all the harbours of refuge that
are needed around our shores.

The first step towards a remedy for this state of things is to inquire
into the causes of shipwreck. There can be little hesitation in naming
Marine Insurance as the chief destroyer. Unseaworthiness and overloading
of vessels; their being ill found in anchors, cables, sails, and rigging;
defects of compasses, want of good charts, incompetency of masters, may
all be attributed to this source. If the shipowners were not guaranteed
from loss, they would take care that their vessels were seaworthy,
commanded by qualified persons, and furnished with every necessary store.
The terms of the insurance, moreover, offer a direct premium to create in
all cases of casualty a "total loss." For instance, a ship strikes the
ground and becomes damaged, but, under able management, might be got off
and repaired. In this case, however, the assured has to bear one third
part of the loss; whereas, if the loss is total, he gets the whole of his
insurance. Under these circumstances, even when there is no deliberate
desire to perpetrate a wrong, the captain will leave the ship to her fate
instead of using his energies to preserve her to the detriment of his
employer. It is the opinion of many that if the insurers were to agree to
pay the whole insurance, whether the damaged vessel were got off or not,
that we should see a marked diminution in the list of total losses at
sea, for the natural inclination of the captain to save his ship would
then no longer be counterbalanced by his desire to save the pocket of the

There is a class of casualties, however, which are the product of villany,
against which we see no protection excepting in the vigilance of the
insurers: we refer to those cases of wilful casting away, which are not
unknown even in this country, as the late trial of a captain, at the Old
Bailey, will testify; but which are most frequent on the Florida Reef. It
is notorious that our American friends are in the habit of sailing ships
into these waters, with the deliberate intention of steering them to
destruction. So well is this known, that those on shore can predict, with
tolerable accuracy, from the handling of the vessel, whether she is about
to be sunk or not. When it is not the skipper's interest to lose his
craft, he will allow the wreckers, who swarm as plentifully as sharks in
those waters, to act as pilots, and to put the ship in dangerous positions
for the purpose of making a claim for salvage, which the swindling captain
shares with them. In the years 1854, 1855, and 1856, 189 ships were either
lost or put into Key West. The salvage upon the latter class amounted to
298,400·05 dollars, a large portion of which was, without doubt, obtained
by fraud. It is far from our purpose to insinuate that the Americans are
worse than their neighbours in this particular; had the English the same
opportunity, there would always be found persons to enter upon similar
practices. The memory of wrecking is not yet extinct in Cornwall, and only
a few years since it was notorious that the pilots of the Downs were in
the habit of recommending the cables of the vessels in their charge to be
slipped in very moderate gales of wind, because these worthies had a good
understanding with the chain and anchor makers of the neighbouring ports
who would have to supply fresh tackle.

It must be admitted, that the same cause which prompts these villanies,
operates in some measure as an antidote. The underwriters at Lloyd's and
the different marine insurance offices, act in a certain degree as the
police force of the seas. Their agents are as plentiful and ubiquitous as
flies, and there is no port of the old or new world without one or more
of them. Through the medium of these marine sentries, whose eyes are
always upon the ocean, disasters at sea are speedily made known to the
underwriters, and in those cases where the telegraph is at hand, a ship
has scarcely broken up or come ashore, before hundreds are reading the
account of the disaster upon the "Board" at Lloyd's. With this spider-like
web of intelligence spreading from port to port and from ocean to ocean,
the chances of wreckers either on shipboard or on land must certainly
diminish. The acuteness of the underwriters, sharpened by self-interest,
is brought to bear upon the distant point, and all the resources of a
powerful corporation are put in force to detect fraud when suspected, and
to punish it when confirmed. A singular instance of the vigour and
ingenuity displayed by their agents in pursuing the marine robber was
afforded by the case of the American ship _W. T. Sayward_. This vessel was
reported by her skipper to have been lost off Loo Choo, on her voyage from
San Francisco to Shanghai, and the sum claimed of the insurers in this
country was £50,000, the value of the cargo, which was reported to have
comprised, among other things, 50,000 Carolus dollars. It struck the
gentleman engaged to settle the claim that it was very unusual to ship
such a quantity of this "Pillar" dollar, and on inquiring of the
money-changers, he learnt that there was not a tithe of that number at
present in existence out of China. This discovery at once aroused
suspicion, and agents were sent to the spot where the ship had been lost,
when it was found that the sailors, suspecting some roguery, returned to
the wreck after the captain had departed, dived into her hold and
discovered that she had been wilfully scuttled. They lighted, by happy
chance, upon some of the boxes in which the "dollars" were shipped, and
they were found to contain only iron nails and leaden bullets. The nails
were selected for the sake of the chink. The assured, having heard of what
had occurred, never ventured to repeat their claim.

In a more recent case, that of the brig _Cornelia_, a regular trader
between the coast of Mexico and San Francisco, which was wilfully
scuttled off San Quentin on the 27th of March last, it was reported that
she had 48,000 Mexican dollars on board, 19,000 shipped at Mazatlan by an
English house, and 29,000 by other persons. On the captain's own
confession the 19,000 dollars were removed by him just before he scuttled
the vessel, and hidden in the sand at Cape San Lucas, on the coast of
Lower California; the remaining sum of 29,000 dollars he admitted had
never been shipped at all, bills of lading having been fabricated, and a
mythical consignee improvised for the occasion. Had not the agent been on
the alert, this knave would have robbed the underwriters at one swoop of
48,000 dollars.

From the chief moral, or rather immoral, cause of shipwreck and loss at
sea, we pass to a consideration of the physical agents which act directly
in producing these disasters. Of these there are so many, and of such
various natures, that it is difficult to group them. Currents of the
ocean, fog, lightning, icebergs, sandbanks, water-logged ships, defective
compasses, and imperfect charts, are all dangers which beset the path of
navigators, and especially of such as have to run the gauntlet in
ill-found ships. The effect of currents in taking the sailor out of his
reckoning is an old, and formerly perhaps a frequent, cause of shipwreck.
This source of danger is now much obviated by the more intimate knowledge
we are acquiring every day of the general laws which produce the currents.
One of the most effectual as well as simple methods of detecting surface
currents is that known to seamen as the bottle experiment. This has been
practised since 1808, but more especially of late years, and has been
deemed of sufficient importance by the Admiralty to justify an order by
which all Her Majesty's ships are enjoined to throw bottles overboard
containing a paper, on which is noted the position of the ship and the
time the frail messenger was sent forth on its voyage. The bottle,
carefully sealed up, traverses the ocean wherever the winds and
surface-drift may carry it, and, after a passage of longer or shorter
duration, is perhaps safely washed by the tide upon some beach. Without
doubt many are smashed upon the rocks, others again are sunk by weeds
growing to them, some are destroyed by the attacks of birds or the jaws of
hungry sharks, or if by chance they avoid all these dangers, they may be
consigned to oblivion upon an uninhabited shore. It is estimated, however,
that at least one-tenth are recovered. A collection of upwards of 200 has
been made at the Admiralty, and are laid down in a chart called the
Current Bottle Chart.

A single glance at this chart displays the principal well-known currents
of the Atlantic ocean. The general tendency of the bottles to go to the
eastward in the northern parts of this sea, and to the westward in lower
latitudes, is at once apparent. It is equally evident that to the
southward of the parallel of 40° N. on the eastern side of the Atlantic
the bottles drift to the southward, while those again in the vicinity of
the Canaries and Cape Verd Islands take a westerly direction. Those
further south, lose themselves among the West-India Islands, and some
penetrating further are found on the coast of Mexico, between Galveston
and Tanessied. A few manifest the effects of the counter-current of the
celebrated Gulf-stream, while others again, on the western side of the
Atlantic, from about 40° N., are set to the eastward. Indeed, there seems
to be a determination of all to the northward of the parallel of 40°, or
that of Philadelphia on the American seaboard, to make their way to the
eastward--some to the coast of France, in the Bay of Biscay, others to the
western shores of Great Britain and Ireland, and others again to the
shores of Norway.

We thus recognize distinctly, first the Portugal current, setting
southward; then the equatorial current, influenced by the trade winds;
then the extraordinary effects of the waters of the Gulf-stream flowing
northward along the American coast, over the banks of Newfoundland--one
portion following its north-east course and penetrating to Norway, and
another continuing easterly into the Bay of Biscay. But let us
particularize a few of the remarkable journeys made by these glass
voyagers over the deep. The _Prima Donna_ was thrown over off Cape Coast
Castle, on the west coast of Africa, and after a voyage of somewhere
within two years was found on the coast of Cornwall. Now, to have arrived
there, it must have been carried eastward by the well-known Guinea
current, and reaching the Bights of Biafra and Benin it would meet the
African current then coming from the southward, with which it would
recross the equator and travel with the equatorial current through the
West-India Islands, and getting into the Gulf-stream, would be carried by
this to the north-east, and thus would be landed on the Cornish coast,
after making a detour of many thousand miles. But curious as this is, it
is not the only instance, for we find that the _Lady Montagu_, setting out
in nearly 8° S. lat., about midway between Brazil and Africa, a position
which would fairly place it in the equatorial current, made the same
voyage, but landed at Guernsey, having accomplished the course in 295
days, or between the 15th October, 1820, and the 6th of August, 1821.
Confining ourselves now to the area included between 30° N. lat. and the
equator, the general effect of the heat of the Gulf of Mexico in forcing
the waters thither is plainly indicated by the direction which the bottles
have followed that are included within those limits. Those thrown
overboard in the Mexican Gulf, to the north of Cape Catoche of Yucatan,
are hurried away with it and cast on the American shore, near St.
Augustine and Charleston. Other instances show the effects of the
counter-current of the Gulf-stream on its eastern or ocean side, in
driving bottles to the south-east, a current that must have affected the
ships of Columbus in his first discovery, and which, upon his return
northward among the islands, without doubt met and opposed his progress.

A curious example of the effects of the wind on the surface-waters is
shown by a bottle thrown over from H.M.S. _Vulcan_ in the midst of the
Gulf-stream, about 130 miles southward of Cape Hatteras. The ship was on
her way to Bermuda, where she arrived, and the bottle, instead of being
carried by the current to the north-east like others, actually went after
her and arrived at Bermuda also. But we find noted on the paper that a
strong northerly wind was blowing when the bottle started. This must have
been sufficient to have checked its progress to the north-east, but
allowed it to approach the eastern border of the Gulf-stream, whence it
would drift into the eddy or counter-current, and thus become thrown on
Bermuda. Again, between the Gulf-stream and the American coast bottles
have found their way to that shore, while those to the northward of the
parallel of 40° have invariably gone eastward; and many thrown over near
the meridian of 20° have drifted into the Bay of Biscay, and been cast on
the French coast.

Among the numbers of bottles which have travelled westward with the
equatorial and tropical current two are remarkable, as being thrown
overboard about 700 miles from each other and yet arriving at nearly the
same destination. They were thrown from sister-ships when on their errand
of carrying relief, by way of Behring Strait, to Franklin and his devoted
crew. The first was dropped from the _Investigator_, Sir R. Maclure, in
lat. 12°, long. 26°, the 27th of February, 1850, and was found on the 27th
August following on Ambergris Cay, on the Yucatan coast; the second was
sent afloat on the 3rd March, 1850, by Captain Collinson, in the
_Enterprise_, in lat. 1° N., long. 26° W., and drifted to the coast inside
of that cay, about 30 miles to the northward of it. That the two bottles
should take their western course was to be expected; but that they should
have gone to resting-places so near each other is singular, considering
that their points of starting were so far asunder.

The Gulf-stream, the limits of which are so clearly intimated by these
little messengers, is but a sample of a grand system of currents which are
produced by the unequal temperature of the different zones. These currents
of hot and cold water are accompanied by atmospheric changes equally
extraordinary; and, taken together, they largely affect the course of the
navigator from the old to the new world, and, not unfrequently, are the
cause of the most fearful shipwrecks.

Lieutenant Maury, in his Physical Geography of the Sea, has boldly likened
the causes at work to produce the celebrated Gulf-stream to the mechanical
arrangements by which apartments are heated. The furnace is the torrid
zone, the Mexican Gulf and the Caribbean Sea are the caldrons, and the
Gulf-stream is the conducting-pipe by which the warm water and the air
above it, are dispersed to the banks of Newfoundland and to the
north-western shores of the old world.[28] By this beneficent process the
cold of our northern latitudes is greatly ameliorated. The waters sent
north and north-east are edged by return currents, the one finding its way
close to the banks of Newfoundland and along the seaboard of the States,
and the other returning by the North Sea, the Bay of Biscay, and the west
coast of Africa, until about the latitude of the Cape de Verdes it crosses
westward again to fill up the void caused by the waters issuing from the
Gulf of Florida. Thus the grand circuit is for ever maintained, not
always, however, exactly in the same form, but varying according to the
season. In the winter, the cold current coming S.S.W. along the Atlantic
coast of North America is greatly augmented, and pushes the Gulf-stream
further to the south-east. With the return of summer this stream, in its
turn, thrusts aside the waters coming from the Polar Ocean. Between these
two periods the trough of the Gulf-stream, to use Lieutenant Maury's
forcible expression, "wavers about in the ocean like a pennon in the
breeze." The temperature of the Gulf-stream, even in the winter, is at the
summer level as it runs between two walls of nearly ice-cold water. Sir
Philip Brooke found the air on either side of it at the freezing point, at
the same time that that of the stream was at 80°. This difference in the
temperature of air and water is probably the cause of those terrible
hurricanes that occur in the Atlantic and among the West-Indian Islands,
and which make it the most dangerous navigation, during the winter, in the
world. The average of wrecks on the Atlantic seaboard of the United States
during these rigorous months is not less than three a day. Sailors term
the Gulf-stream "The weather-breeder;" and well they may, considering its
frightful effect in producing commotion in sea and air. In Franklin's time
it was no uncommon thing for vessels bound in winter for the Capes of
Delaware to be blown off land, and forced to go to the West Indies, and
there wait for the return of spring before they could attempt to make for
this point. The snow-storms and the furious gales which greet the ship as
she leaves the warm waters of the Gulf and nears the shores of North
America, are quite dramatic in their effect. One day she is sailing
through tepid water, and enjoying a summer atmosphere, the next, perhaps,
driving before a snow-storm, her rigging a mass of icicles, and her crew
frozen by the piercing blast. The Gulf-stream is answerable for another
phenomenon--the fogs which invariably shroud the Banks of Newfoundland,
and which render the approach to the North-American coast in winter so
particularly dangerous. The hot water of the Gulf-stream gives up its
vapour to the cold air, and hangs about the coasts an impenetrable
curtain, which baffles the navigator's skill, renders useless his
chronometer, and but too often sends his bark to destruction upon the
hidden shore.

Another danger of the stormy Atlantic arises from the flow southward, in
the spring and summer months, of icebergs. These stupendous masses have
their breeding-place in Davis's Strait, from which they issue in
magnificent procession directly the current increases in a southerly
direction. Polar navigators have been surprised to find these huge
monsters moving against the wind, apparently by some inherent force, and
crashing through vast fields of ice, as if impatient to escape from the
silence and desolation of the Polar seas. The explanation of this singular
occurrence is, that powerful under-currents are acting upon the submerged
portions, which, in all cases, vastly preponderate over the glittering
precipices of crystal that appear above the water-line. As the icebergs
advance into the open waters of the Atlantic, they at last come to the
edge of the Gulf-stream, where, in "the great bend," about latitude 43°,
they harbour in dangerous numbers, and without doubt send many a noble
ship headlong to the bottom. In all probability the ill-fated _President_
was thus destroyed, and some towering iceberg, that has long since bowed
its glittering peaks to the solvent action of the warm water of the
Gulf-stream, was, perhaps, the only witness of the calamity which placed
the noble _Pacific_ among the list of ships that have sailed forth into

If the northern latitudes of the Atlantic have their dangers of ice, the
southern latitude, especially the Caribbean Sea, in common with all
intertropical oceans, have their dangers of fire. The hurricanes of those
latitudes are generally accompanied by visitations of fearful
thunder-storms, in which many a good ship is enveloped and destroyed. In
the midst of a summer sea a clipper ship may be suddenly assailed by one
of those tremendous conflicts of the elements, of the approach of which
the silver finger of the barometer, unless carefully watched, has scarcely
had time to give warning. However prepared by good seamanship and an
active crew, there she must lie on the vexed ocean, her tall masts so many
suction-tubes to draw down upon her the destructive fire from heaven. In
his Report to the Admiralty, laid before Parliament in 1854, entitled
"Shipwrecks by Lightning," Sir William Snow Harris--whose exertions to
find a remedy for this evil are above all praise--states that in six
years, between 1809 and 1815, forty sail of the line, twenty frigates, and
ten sloops were so crippled by being struck as in many cases to be placed
for a time _hors de combat_. In fifty years there were 280 instances of
serious damage to ships in the British navy. Of these the _Thisbey_
frigate, off Scilly, in January, 1786, affords a melancholy example. The
log represents her "decks swept by lightning, people struck down in all
directions, the sails and gear aloft in one great blaze, and the ship left
a complete wreck." In the merchant service the list of disasters is
fearful. Since the year 1820 thirty-three ships, varying from 300 to 1,000
tons, have been totally destroyed by lightning, and forty-five greatly

"A great peculiarity," says Sir William Snow Harris, "may be observed in
cases of ships set on fire by lightning, viz. a rapid spreading of the
fire in every part of the vessel, as if the electric agency had so
permeated the mass as to render the extinction of the fire by artificial
means impossible." Take, for instance, the burning of the _Sir Walter
Scott_ in June, 1855. This fine passenger ship, of 650 tons, was struck
in the Bay of Biscay: the lightning shivered the foremast, completely
raked the vessel, and instantly set fire to the cargo. The passengers and
crew had scarcely time to jump from their beds and put on their clothes,
and leap into the boats, when the masts went over the sides, the flames
shot up into the air, and the ship went down like a stone. Such
extraordinary catastrophes as these seem to set forth in unmistakable
terms the feebleness of man in the presence of the tremendous powers of
nature. In reality, they are only forcible instances to call upon him to
use the means for dominating the peril. Of all the dangers that beset the
mariner at sea, danger by lightning is the only one that he can thoroughly
guard against. To Sir William Snow Harris we owe the perfecting of the
lightning-conductor for marine purposes, and the power of braving
unscathed the direst electric storms. The permanent conductor adopted in
the navy in 1842 is arranged so as to extend along the masts, from the
truck to the keelson, and so out to sea. In the hull various branches
ramify, and admit of a free dispersion of the electric fluid in all
directions. Thus armed, the ship is impregnable to all the forked
lightnings that may dart about her. Since the system of fitting men of war
with this apparatus has been adopted, no vessel of the Royal Navy has been
injured. The log of the frigate _Shannon_, commanded by the late gallant
Sir W. Peel on his voyage out to China, affords a striking example of the
manner in which the fury of such electric storms as are only to be met
with in the Indian Ocean, was baffled by a contrivance which may truly be
called, in the words of Dibdin--

      "The sweet little cherub that sits up aloft,
      And takes care of the life of poor Jack."

    "When the ship was about 90 miles south of Java she became enveloped
    in a terrific thunderstorm, and at 5 p.m. an immense ball of fire
    covered the maintopgallant-mast: at 5·15 the ship was struck a second
    time on the mainmast by apparently an immense mass of lightning; at
    half-past 5 another very heavy discharge fell upon the mainmast, and
    from this time until 6 p.m. the ship was completely enveloped in sharp
    forked lightning. On the next day her masts and rigging were carefully
    overhauled, but, thanks to Sir Snow Harris's system of permanent
    lightning-conductors, no injury whatever to ship or rigging was

If we compare this remarkable case with that of His Majesty's frigate
_Lowestoffe_, when near the island of Minorco in 1796, we perceive how
great is the protection science affords to the seaman. The frigate was
struck, it appears, at 12·25 P.M. by a heavy flash, which knocked three
men out of the tops, one of whom was killed on the spot. Within five
minutes the ship was again struck, and her topmast was shivered to atoms.
In another minute a third shock shivered the foremast and mainmast, and
set fire to the vessel in many places, raked the deck from end to end,
killed one man, paralyzed and burnt others, and knocked several persons
out of the tops. In two parallel cases, the addition of a rod of copper
made all the difference between safety and havoc. The example of the Royal
Navy is being followed by the merchant-service, but not so speedily as it
should be. When it is remembered that the treasure-clippers trading
between Australia and this country often bring home nearly a million
sterling in addition to a large complement of passengers, it does seem
remarkable that the lightning apparatus is not considered as essential to
their equipment as the boats, especially as they have to traverse an ocean
where thunder-storms are of common occurrence. The cost of the whole
apparatus is not above £100, and if the cupidity of the merchant is not
sufficient to induce him to supply it, we think that Government should
compel him, in order to insure the safety of the stream of passengers who
annually leave our shores.

In the whole catalogue of disasters at sea, those which present the most
terrible features are water-logged timber ships. The timber trade between
Great Britain and her American colonies employs a very considerable fleet
of large vessels. As wood is a "floating cargo," old worn-out
West-Indiamen, which would not be used for any other purpose, are freely
employed. A few years since, in addition to a full cargo, they carried
heavy deck-loads, which so strained their shattered fabrics, that they
often became water-logged, and were sometimes abandoned in the middle of
the Atlantic. The sufferings of the crews on these occasions in their open
boats were appalling. Beating about for weeks on the waste of waters
without food or drink beyond the rain that fell from heaven, they were
obliged to sustain existence by preying on the bodies of their dead
companions, and not rarely they cast lots for the living. Since the
passing of the Act prohibiting deck-loading, these disasters are far less
frequent; but they have by no means ceased.[29] At the time we write there
are several timber-ships drifting about the ocean, floating heaps of
desolation, at the mercy of the Gulf-stream, which will ultimately cast
them on some European shore, or drift them into the North Sea, to serve as
fuel for the Esquimaux. In turning over the leaves of Lloyd's List, we
find indications of these dreary wrecks, which, clothed in seaweed, are
driven over the face of the waters, and sighted by passing ships, of which
they often cause the sudden destruction, whilst careering along in seeming
security. When these waifs and strays of the deep drift into
much-frequented ocean paths, they are doubtless the cause of many of those
dreadful catastrophes witnessed only by the eye of God, and our only
knowledge of which is a curt notice on the "Loss-book" at Lloyd's,
"Foundered at Sea, date unknown." A recent instance, in which possibly no
damage was done, will yet suffice to show the risk. The _Virago_, loaded
with teak from Moulmein, in the Indian Ocean, to Queenstown, Ireland,
became water-logged, and was abandoned on the 5th of March last, 155 miles
south-west of Cape Clear. The next day she was passed by the American
liner _Eagle_; on the 17th of the same month a steamer, on her way from
Rotterdam to Gibraltar, reports having seen her; on the 5th of April she
was passed by the _Naiad_ on her passage from Palermo to Milford; and on
the 15th the _Samarang_, on her way to Tenby, met with her; on the 18th
she was seen 160 miles off the Lizard, "in a very dangerous position," by
the _Champion of the Seas_; again, on the 3rd of May, the _Alhambra_
steamer, on her voyage to Southampton, met her in latitude 47°; about the
same time and place she was seen by the _Peru_ steamer, "and appeared as
if run into;" and, finally, on the 20th of May, the telegraph sends word
that she was stranded near Brest, and her cargo was being discharged. It
is curious to note how, amid the tossing of the ocean, her name became
gradually obliterated, till it was totally effaced, a type of the
progressive decay and final destruction of the vessel herself. At first
she is properly reported to Lloyd's as the _Virago_; the next ship makes
her out to be the _Argo_; still later her cognomen is cut down to the
--_go_; and then the name disappears until the French find her upon their
strand. Here we suppose her half-obliterated papers were found, and our
neighbours, according to their usual wont, transmute the _Virago_ into the
_Neroggogi_. From these reports it is evident that a number of large
vessels passed quite close to the wreck, and it is even probable that a
collision may actually have occurred, and no one have been left to tell
the tale. In some cases, where the circumstances of wind and current are
favourable, water-logged ships are taken in tow by other vessels and
become valuable prizes. When, however, these wrecks are in such a
condition that it is clear they cannot be brought in, we think it would be
well if they could be destroyed. A few pounds of powder, judiciously
placed, or a beam or two sawn across by the ship's carpenter, would break
the bond that binds these logs together, and, once separated, they would
not be likely to do much damage.

Many disastrous wrecks can be distinctly traced either to a defective
compass, or to an ignorance of the effects upon it of the magnetism of the
ship's iron. There is a melancholy example in the loss of H.M.S. _Apollo_,
of thirty-six guns, in 1803, with forty sail of merchant ships, out of a
convoy of sixty-nine vessels, bound for the West Indies. The _Apollo_ was
leading the way, with her train of outward-bound sugar ships following in
her wake, little suspecting the catastrophe which was to follow. At the
very moment her defective compasses drove her ashore, she imagined she was
some forty miles off the coast at Portugal, and so close was the merchant
fleet upon her, that upwards of half of them took the ground and were
dashed to pieces. More recently we have had the instances of the
_Reliance_ and _Conqueror_, wrecked near Ambleteuse, on the French coast,
in sight of the cliffs of Albion, after voyaging from India. The former is
known to have had an immense iron tank on board, the influence of which
upon her compasses must have been very great. The _Birkenhead_, wrecked
near the Cape of Good Hope, and the ship _Tayleur_, in the Irish Channel
are additional instances of the destruction to which the trembling finger
of the magnetic needle points the way, where ignorance or wilfulness have
placed impediments to its truthful action.

Of the numerous errors that may be classed under the general term of
compass defaults, we may mention defective compasses arising from
imperfect workmanship, or from an ignorance of the principles of
mechanical and magnetical science, compasses perfectly adjusted but placed
injudiciously either with reference to the magnetism of the ship, or in
immediate proximity to concealed and unsuspected portions of iron.
Ignorance of the degree of compass error arising from the ship's
magnetism, and of its varying amount in changes of geographic position,
and a consequent belief, that in all places and under all circumstances
the needle is true to the north, are frequent causes of shipwreck.

With regard to the defective mechanical construction of compasses, it must
be admitted that great improvements have taken place of late years, and
the chief credit, we believe, is due to the British Admiralty. Nearly
twenty years ago they instituted a Committee of Inquiry, and the silent
working of the measures then advocated, and the adoption of the
improvements suggested first under the direction of the late Captain
Johnston, and more recently under that of Mr. Frederick Evans, R.N., have
infused into the manufacturers, and a large portion of the mercantile
marine and shipowners, a degree of caution, skill, and attention to
details, which has brought forth good fruit. A large portion of the
superior compasses of the United States navy are manufactured in this
country, entirely on the Admiralty pattern, and several foreign
governments have recently obtained the same instruments as models. It
must not however be supposed that defective compasses have ceased to
exist. Our coasting vessels and many of our noble sailing ships are
miserably equipped, and there are many captains who still look on the
compass as a cheap and common article, fit to be classed with hooks and
thimbles and other articles of the boatswain's storeroom.

There can be no doubt that great errors in navigation are induced by
inattention to placing the compasses. It is common to see the binnacle
within two feet, and even less, of the massive iron-work of the rudder
wheel, which again is in immediate contiguity with an iron sternpost. The
local deviation is consequently great, magnet adjustment is had recourse
to, and a temporary alleviation of the evil follows, which is only
magnified on the ship approaching some distant port. Numerous examples are
on record of iron being introduced by some addition to the equipment of
the ship, which has perhaps been lost in consequence within a few hours
after quitting port.

Among the causes which thus operate, we may name the fancy rails leading
to state-cabins and saloons. These, beneath a highly-polished covering of
brass, often conceal many hundredweights of iron. Cabin stoves and
funnels, immediately under and alongside the compass, are frequently
unsuspected. A noble transport, during the late war, carrying troops and
stores, pursued her course by day with unswerving fidelity, but at night
the compass was as wild as the waves themselves. After diligent search it
was found that the brazier, in preparing the binnacle lamps, had
introduced a concealed iron-wire hoop to strengthen their frame-work. The
stowage of iron in cargo does not receive the attention it deserves, and
we consider it should be imperative for every vessel which carries it to
be swung for the local deviation before quitting port, and a certificate
duly lodged before clearing the Customs. When the _Agamemnon_ adjusted
compasses preparatory to sailing upon the last unsuccessful expedition to
lay the Atlantic cable, it was discovered that the presence of the
enormous coil in her hold caused a deviation of no less than seventeen
degrees! Had she been a merchant ship, no similar verification would have
been made, and the sign-post which showed the path upon the trackless
waters would only have pointed to mislead.

It is remarkable how much misapprehension on the nature of magnetic action
exists even among men of high intelligence. A competent witness, in a
recent law-trial, in a case of wreck, arising chiefly from a want of
knowledge of the laws of magnetism in the navigation of the ship, stated
that seamen in general believed, that if a cargo of iron was covered over,
its effects were cut off from the compass. A leading counsel in the case
sympathized with the general ignorance, because he confessed that he
shared it. The adjustment of compasses by magnets is a most delicate
operation, and has received much attention from some of our leading men in
science. An able committee, under the auspices of the Board of Trade, are
now engaged, in the midst of an iron navy, in the port of Liverpool, in
elucidating the whole of the subject. We feel bound, however, to record
our opinion against the indiscriminate employment of all the nostrums
prescribed by the compass-doctors or quacks at many of our seaports. Let
the shipowner consult such reports of the Liverpool Committee as have been
already published, or follow the Admiralty plan of having at least one
good compass in a position free from all magnetic influences. In some of
the large ocean steamers a standard compass is fitted high up in the mizen
mast, and we hear that it is proposed to build a special stage on board
the _Great Eastern_, in order to keep the compass from being affected by
the immense body of iron in her fabric.

A perusal of the evidence given in those inquiries which take place
relative to the loss of ships, under the Mercantile Marine Act, would lead
to the supposition that defective charts were even a greater cause of
wrecks than compass defaults; but this is not the case. The fact is,
incorrect charts afford an excuse for a master who may have lost his ship,
which is but too readily accepted by the members of courts of inquiry and
of courts martial. The defence set up for the wreck of the _Great Britain_
steamer, in Dundrum Bay, on the east coast of Ireland, was, that St.
John's Light, placed two or three years previously, was not inserted in
the most recent charts of the Irish Channel procurable at Liverpool, and
that consequently it was mistaken for the light at the Calf of Man. But
these two lights are at least thirty miles apart, and it is monstrous to
suppose that a steamer should be so much out of her reckoning within a few
hours of leaving port. Again, in the more recent case of the wreck of the
_Madrid_ steamer, off Point Hombre, at the entrance of Vigo Bay, several
masters were examined, who stated that they had invariably passed equally
close to the same headland, in reliance on the correctness of the chart.
"Under these circumstances," said the Court, "the loss of the _Madrid_
cannot be attributed to the wrongful act or default of the captain." His
certificate was therefore returned; and, at the same time, he was informed
that, as a general rule, "150 yards is not a sufficiently wide berth to
allow in passing headlands." We should think not; and furthermore we
imagine that, if the omission of every insignificant rock close to shore,
in government charts, is to be taken as an excuse for shaving a dangerous
headland, we may expect to hear of many repetitions of the disaster. The
_Orion_, wrecked on the west coast of Scotland, and the much-abused
_Transit_, in the Banca Strait, owed their fate to the unseaman-like love
of hugging the shore.

It must be admitted, however, that the charts in common use on board
merchant ships are very faulty, both with respect to the position and
character of lights, buoys, and beacons, and to the variation of the
compass, which is not unfrequently half a point wrong,--an error which may
be fatal in shaping a course up Channel or in a narrow sea. From this
great evil the seaman has, at present, no protection. The remedy lies in
the hands of the legislature, who have only to compel all chart-sellers to
warrant their charts corrected up to the latest date, at least with
respect to lights and buoys. There are but three or four publishers of
private charts, as far as we are aware, in the United Kingdom; their stock
of plates cannot be very large, and, once examined and set right, the
corrections and additions could be easily inserted. Either the Board of
Trade or the Admiralty should be entrusted with this duty. The latter are
obliged to correct their own charts, and we understand it is the practice
of the hydrographer to cause every new light, or change of light, or buoy,
or beacon, to be inserted in the plate within twenty-four hours of the
time of the intelligence reaching the Admiralty. A large number of notices
to mariners--upwards, we believe, of a thousand a-week--are printed and
published, both by the Trinity House and the Admiralty, and distributed
among those connected with shipping; and every chart-seller should be
bound under a penalty to give proof to the Board of Trade or to the
Admiralty that he had inserted the corrections in his copper-plate within
forty-eight hours of the appearance of the notice.

It is a startling fact that the materials for constructing charts, even of
parts of the waters which wash the shores of Europe, are not yet in
existence. Of the coast of Europe generally we are tolerably well
informed, although there are many portions that require closer
examination; but on the African and Asiatic portions of the Mediterranean,
the early seat of civilization and the best known sea in the world, there
is still much to be done. When M. de Lesseps brought forward his romantic
proposal for a Suez Canal, no survey existed of the coast of Egypt from
Alexandria to El Arish. Of Syria we know nothing accurately; Cyprus,
Rhodes, and the western half of Crete, are still almost blanks. But it is
in the eastern seas and in the Asiatic Archipelago that we are most at
fault. The Persian Gulf, portions of the coast of India, Ceylon, Burmah,
Malacca, Cochin China, the Yellow Sea, Corea, Japan, the southern and
eastern parts of Borneo, Celebes, &c., are hardly so correctly mapped as
the mountains in the moon. The north and east coasts of New Guinea, again,
are unsurveyed. As long as the Spice Islands, and the unknown lands washed
by the Indian seas, were given up to pirates, and to the imagination of
poets, this want was not felt; but now that our clippers swarm in these
seas, and that Australia herself is beginning to trade there extensively,
we shall assuredly hear of fearful shipwrecks from want of surveys. Then,
indeed, it will be truly said, that imperfect charts are the cause of
shipwrecks, unless, when India passes under the Imperial Government,
vigorous steps are taken to remedy this grievous defect.

Closely connected with the question of imperfect charts, is the state of
the lights, buoys, and beacons around the coast--those fixed and floating
sentinels set around the island to guide and direct the weather-beaten
mariner. A few years ago we should have had to bewail our shortcomings in
the number of these aids to navigation, and have had to point to them as
prominent causes of shipwreck. The report of the Select Committee of the
House of Commons on Lighthouses, in 1845, shows the want that then
existed, not only on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland, but even at the
entrance of the River Thames. Much, however, has recently been done. It
appears, from the address of the Prince Consort, at the annual Trinity
House dinner, that 77 lighthouses, 32 floating light-vessels, and 420
buoys and beacons, under charge of the corporation, are now distributed
around the coasts of England alone. Great praise is due to the elder
brethren of the Trinity House for their care in lighting the Prince's
Channel, and especially for their admirable works now in course of
construction under Mr. James Walker, C.E.; among which we may instance the
new lighthouses at the Needles, at Whitby, and at St. Ives, the
light-tower on the Bishop Rock, off Scilly, and on the Smalls off
Pembroke. In Scotland, also, several new lights have been established; and
some of the buoys have been coloured on a systematic plan--red buoys being
placed on the starboard hand, and black buoys on the port hand, on
entering a harbour from seaward, according to the mode adopted in France,
Belgium, and Holland. This system, however, presents difficulties where
there are several channels, as at the mouth of the Thames; but there are
many places in which it might be applied with advantage. At present, we
believe, the river Tees is buoyed on exactly the reverse plan; and in some
of the large ports of the kingdom a local scheme is adopted, which
completely closes the navigation to all but the local pilots, for whose
special advantage this secret system appears to be maintained. The
adversaries of a simple and uniform method of buoying the coast do,
indeed, urge that it would put the key of our harbours into the hands of
our enemies; but this argument is so puerile that it is hardly worth
notice. If we cannot maintain the integrity of our waters by force, we
certainly shall never maintain it by cunning.

The want of lights on the shores of Ireland has long been a cause of
complaint. Till within a few years, on a coast which is the land-fall of
nearly all vessels that cross the Atlantic from Canada, Nova Scotia,
Boston, and New York, there were spaces of sixty, seventy, and eighty
miles without a light! Yet during all this time light dues were levied on
the Americans, and other nations, who were thus treated to a sample of
Irish reciprocity. On the coasts of the United States there were ample
lights and no light dues, while on the coast of Ireland the lights were
few and the dues heavy. We trust that the royal commission which, on the
motion of Lord Clarence Paget, has lately made its report respecting the
state of the lights and buoys of the country, will give a stimulus to the
improvement which has already begun, and either get rid of these light
dues or recommend a more equitable method of levying them. One penny a ton
on the actual tonnage of the country, paid once a year, would be
sufficient to maintain all the lights in the kingdom, and would be more
simple than the present complicated system of paying every fresh voyage,
which bears so unjustly on the coasting trade. The time, we believe, is
close at hand when the lights themselves will be revolutionized. It is of
the last importance to the mariner that the brightest and best light that
science can furnish shall be held out upon the sunken rock, or perpetually
maintained upon the dangerous headland. Yet it cannot be denied that we
have nothing better than oil lamps for the purpose; and though the most
profound science and the most delicate art have been employed to make the
most of this feeble power, the fact remains, that we have not advanced
beyond the oil-wick of the last century in our attempts to provide a light
which will throw its beams far and wide over the sea, and pierce through
the fogs and drifting snow-storms of the dark winter nights. It is not
less strange that we are behind the French, and even the Spaniards, with
respect to the mechanism necessary to concentrate the little light we
have. In the two former countries the vast majority of the lighthouses are
upon the dioptric principle, the whole light of the lamps being
concentrated in occasional flashes, by means of a powerful system of
lenses, forming a complete cage of glass. England, on the contrary,
employs in most of her lighthouses the old metal reflectors; and, as Lord
Clarence Paget justly observes, the voyager leaving Folkstone will clearly
appreciate the difference between the two systems, by comparing the
dioptric light flashing from the far distant Cape Griz Nez with the feeble
spark of the English reflector light close to him at Dungeness. It has
been the great aim of the constructors of these powerful lenses to throw
all the light of the lamps into parallel rays, so that only a thin disc of
light is cast upon the sea; but, as Mr. Findlay truly remarked in his
paper read at the Society of Arts, we have at last over-refined, and a
fearful shipwreck has already been the result. The _Dunbar_, after making
a prosperous voyage to our antipodes, was wrecked at the Sydney headland,
within sight of her port. This dangerous cliff was surmounted by a
reflector light which sent a thin disc of rays, under which the ship
passed in a fog. Had a few divergent rays been allowed to light the danger
at her feet, she would have escaped her fate.

Another great and increasing difficulty arising from the limited
capabilities of the present burners, is the fact that steamers are
beginning to show lights as powerful as those exhibited in lighthouses of
the inferior order and in the light ships. Hence a confusion is growing up
between the fixed and the moving lights, which threatens to produce most
disastrous consequences. As recently as February last, the _Leander_, an
American barque, proceeding down St. George's Channel, saw a light which
she mistook for that on the Tuskar Rock, and, when too late, discovered
that it belonged to the screw steamer _North America_, which was coming
right ahead. A fearful collision was the consequence, and the unfortunate
ship with nearly all her crew was sent to the bottom. It has been found
absolutely necessary to change the light in the Nore light-ship from a
fixed to a revolving one, to distinguish it from the numerous powerful
lights carried by steamers at anchor or when passing along the Thames.

Various attempts have been made to increase the illuminating power of the
burners. In 1832 Lieutenant Drummond proposed the use of the oxy-hydrous
light, and as far as the intensity of light was concerned the new agent
was perfectly successful, the Drummond light at seventy miles' distance
appearing nearer to the spectator than the ordinary reflector light at
twelve miles. But it was found impossible to maintain a steady light by
this system, and it was therefore abandoned. Since then Professor Holmes
has been making experiments with the magnetic electric light. The
apparatus is said to consist of a series of very powerful magnets, around
the poles of which the helices are made to revolve by means of a
steam-engine. A powerful magnetic current is thus produced, which passing
through carbon pencils shows a splendid light. The great difficulty of
this and of other similar propositions to obtain the light by passing the
current through two points, is to so regulate them that they shall always
remain at the same distance apart, for any variation would immediately
affect the intensity of the light. This desideratum has not yet been
accomplished, neither do we think it possible of accomplishment. Professor
Way has, however, we imagine, solved the problem by substituting a running
stream of mercury in place of these points.

A moment's inspection of the grim wreck chart leads us to reflect whether
the care taken to warn mariners of their danger is not in many cases the
immediate cause of their seeking it. If we note, for instance, the
lighthouses fringing St. George's and the English Channel, we are struck
with the extraordinary fact that there we find the greatest congregation
of those dismal dots which indicate loss of life and property, and it
would seem as though ships like moths were attracted and destroyed by the
light. Such, no doubt, is often the case. Ships bound up Channel make for
the nearest light, and from that shape their course until they meet with
the next light. They feel their way, as it were, in the dark night by the
handrail of these guides, and sometimes stumble on the very rocks that
support the beacons themselves--the fog, as in the case of the _Dunbar_,
allowing them to get within and under the danger flash. The disasters
produced by this system of groping about sunken rocks and bluff headlands
has led Mr. Thomas Herbert of the Trinity House to propose the lighting of
the Mid Channel. His system is to moor floating lighthouses, of a form
which secures a steadiness sufficient for the purpose, and he is thus
enabled to place a row of most powerful lights at little comparative
expense up the very centres of the two great channels of English commerce,
and indeed of the commerce of the world. A ship on entering the Channel
would immediately make for the westernmost of this line of "Fairway
lights," instead of looking out for the Lizard, and once having made it,
the course would be free of all possible danger. Eight floating light
towers extending from the westernmost one, forty miles south-west of
Scilly, to Dungeness, would add enormously to the security of this
wreck-strewn sea. The outermost of these lights Mr. Herbert proposes
should be put in telegraphic communication with the shore, by which means
merchants and consignees would be made acquainted with the arrival of
vessels full a day earlier than at present. By this means also Greenwich
time could be laid on to the station, and enable the anxious captain to
verify the correctness of his chronometer up to the latest possible
moment. Such a station might further serve as a depôt for water and fresh
provisions, so much required by vessels detained by contrary winds in the
Chops of the Channel, and to provide which ships are now annually sent out
by the Admiralty. Without expressing any decided opinion upon this scheme,
it seems to us to possess sufficient plausibility to warrant inquiry. If
there should be no insurmountable practical objection,--and we have heard
practical men speak well of it,--there can be little doubt that it would
dissipate in no small degree the dangers of the Channel, without
interfering with the present lights, which would always be useful for the
coasting trade.

Perhaps the most frequent cause of wreck, especially on our own coast, is
negligence on the part of the master. If we analyze the cases of collision
that occurred in the year 1857, we are surprised to find that by far the
larger portion of them occur in the open sea, and in clear bright weather.
Out of 277 collisions, involving total and partial loss, bad look-out was
the cause of 88, and neglect of the rule of the road of 33 collisions. It
is a saying among sailors that if the three L's are attended to--Lead,
Latitude, and Look-out,--a ship is safe; and no more apt saying could have
been uttered. Simple as the casting of the lead is, it is almost
invariably found, when the causes of wreck are inquired into, that this
precaution has been neglected. The _Ava_ mail-steamer was undoubtedly lost
off Trincomalee, in February last, owing to this omission. The lead is not
only capable of telling the soundings, which alone would warn the mariner
of the approach of shoal water; but, when armed, it is capable of bringing
a voice from the deep to say on what coast the ship may be. Had the
masters of either the _Reliance_ or _Conqueror_ cast the lead, they would
not only have known that their vessel were getting into shallow water, but
that they were upon the French coast; for the lead brings up a coarser
sand from the shores of our neighbours than from the opposite coast on the
English side. The question of latitude is a question which tests the
nautical knowledge of the captain. A man who can take celestial
observations correctly is not very likely to be deficient in a knowledge
of navigation. The differences between masters of ships in this respect
are very marked. Captain Basil Hall tells us, in his "Fragments of Voyages
and Travels," that on a voyage from California to Rio, the first land he
saw was on either side of him, upon the clearing off of a fog at the
entrance of Rio de Janeiro. With no other guide than science he had hit
his port without sighting land, after a voyage of many thousand miles.
With this we may contrast a case given in the Report on Shipwrecks for
1836, in which the brig _Henry_, of Cork, bound to St. John's, New
Brunswick, with seventy passengers on board, was fallen in with by the
_Andromeda_, of New York, in a starving condition; her master, by his own
reckoning, being 800 miles to the westward of his true position. This man
must have been one of those who, as the sailors say, "come in at the cabin
windows, instead of working his way up through the hawse-holes." Errors of
this kind are not likely to occur so often as formerly, thanks to the
working of the Mercantile Marine Act, which will, we think, prevent the
recurrence of the grosser mistakes in navigation. No greater blessing was
ever conferred on the merchant shipping of this country than a law which
compels the holding an inquiry by competent persons in all cases of
casualty. It is abused, as any measure is sure to be that rigidly sets its
face against misconduct; but it has already done infinite good, and would
do still more if its provisions were strictly enforced.

It is often supposed that the shifting of sandbanks is a cause of wreck,
but there does not seem sufficient ground for this opinion. We have heard
many marvellous stories relative to the shifting of the Goodwin, and of
the sudden exposure in full preservation of the hulls of long lost ships.
These tales are all poetical, though the edge of the bank may here and
there give way and expose the ribs of some vessel long since sucked in.
What change there is in the Goodwin, and it is of a very gradual nature,
takes place on the western or inshore side: its eastern side is as steep
as a wall, and retains the position it had when the first exact survey of
it was made. The Brake Sand in the Downs off Ramsgate seems to have moved
bodily inshore or to the westward, and there is a slight disposition to
change in sands known by the names of the Leigh Middle and Yantlet Ground
in Sea Reach, at the entrance of the river Thames. The Yarmouth and
Lowestoff sands shift slightly. A channel, or gat as it is called, opens
now in one place and now at another; but these variations are soon known
and buoyed by the Trinity House. Changes take place at the entrance of the
Mersey, but the surveyor of the river quickly marks the deviations and
makes them known to the pilots. On the north-east coast of England more
extensive alterations have taken place; a large portion of Holderness, in
Yorkshire, has been washed away, and the sea has broken through Spurn
Point, threatening to make it once more an island. At Landguard Point, at
the entrance of Harwich harbour, the injudicious removal of a barrier of
cement stone, by which the heavy stroke of the sea has been allowed free
action on the shore, has caused the sand to be heaped up within the last
half-century, until a shingle beach now rears its head seven feet above
the level of high water; where, not many years since, a line-of-battle
ship could have sailed into the harbour. Another remarkable increase of
land is at Dungeness, where the shingle has extended at the average rate
of three yards a year, since the beginning of the Christian era. But
although of vast importance to the engineer in dealing with harbours,
these changes are not productive of shipwreck.

The principal cause of shipwreck on the shores of the United Kingdom is
undoubtedly the want of harbours of refuge. From the parliamentary returns
it appears that the tonnage of vessels which entered and cleared from the
ports of this country in 1857 amounted to 23,178,782 tons, or in round
numbers 232,000 vessels. Even this falls short of the number of vessels
that are constantly passing and repassing along our coasts, and which, on
the springing up of a sudden gale, are liable to wreck, inasmuch as it
only gives those which are carrying cargo. It does not include colliers
and other vessels in ballast, nor ships of war, nor small coasters laden
with stone, lime, &c., all of which would swell the amount to full 300,000

We have already stated that the number of casualties to shipping on the
coasts and within the seas of the United Kingdom has averaged 1,025 a
year; that the loss of life has amounted to 830 a year, and that the
destruction of property reaches a million and a half. It is not an
uncommon occurrence for a single gale to strew the coasts with wrecks. In
the three separate gales which occurred in the years 1821, 1824, and 1829,
there were lost on the east coast of England, in the short space between
the Humber and the Tees, 169 vessels. In the single gale of the 31st of
August, 1833, 61 vessels were lost on the sands in the North Sea and on
the east coast of England. In the tremendous gale of the 13th of January,
1843, as many as 103 vessels were wrecked off the coasts of the British
Isles, and among them 13 large ships off the port of Liverpool alone. In
the gale of 1846, 39 vessels got ashore in Hartlepool; and in the month of
March, 1850, 134 vessels were stranded or came into collision. In the gale
of the 25th of September, 1851, as many as 117 vessels were wrecked; and
for each of the four first months of the year 1858 the Board of Trade
returns show that there has been from 140 to 150 casualties, or from four
to five a day. These facts are sufficient to prove the appalling loss of
life and of property, and the absolute necessity which exists for
establishing on the most exposed and frequented positions of our coasts
that shelter which the sailor has a right to expect in the time of need.

Formerly in the reports of the shipwreck committees so many vague
generalities were dwelt upon, that the House of Commons had no definite
conclusions upon which to proceed. This is no longer the case. In the
evidence laid before the select committee of the House, when inquiring
into refuge harbours, in the year 1858, it is shown that there are certain
districts in which wreck is the normal state. Nearly one-third of all the
casualties take place on the east coast of Great Britain, and in 1857 it
was more than one-half! Nay, it is all but demonstrated that the larger
part of these occur within some seventy miles of coast, or between
Flamborough Head and the Tyne. Here, then, the subject is narrowed to a
point. The immediate vicinity of the coal ports must be the site of a
harbour of refuge--some spot which all colliers, light and loaded, pass,
whether it be in the bight of the bay (or the bag of the net), as Tees
Bay, or whether it be farther to the southward, near Filey Bay. The exact
locality may require careful consideration; but the question of situation
on the east coast of England is now narrowed to a distance of fifty miles.
One unexpected fact has come to light in the course of this investigation,
namely, that of the colliers lost on this part of the coast, the
proportion of loaded vessels to light is as 5 to 1.

On the coast of Scotland there is a sad want of deep-water harbours of
refuge. From the Pentland Frith southward to Cromarty, a distance of 100
miles, there are none but tidal harbours, all inaccessible for twelve
hours out of the twenty-four. It is the same from the Moray Frith round by
Peterhead to the Frith of Forth, with the exception of the Tay. Yet it is
along this coast that a great part of our Baltic trade, and all the
Greenland, Archangel, Davis Strait, and much of the Canadian and United
States trade must pass. In addition to this traffic, both of these coast
districts are remarkable as the great scene of the herring fishery.
Peterhead has its 250 fishing-boats, Fraserburgh and Buckie more than 400
sail; while farther north, off the coast of Caithness, more than 1,200
fishing boats, manned by 6,000 men, nightly pursue their calling, exposed
to the proverbial suddenness of a North-sea gale. Here then, in some
portion of this district, either at Peterhead, Frazerburgh, or Wick, a
refuge harbour is imperatively required.

On the west coast of England, between the Land's End and the south coast
of Wales, including the Bristol Channel, shelter is absolutely needed. The
trade of the Irish Sea, including Liverpool, Glasgow, and Belfast, and the
great and increasing traffic of the coal ports of Newport, Cardiff, and
Swansea, in addition to the trade of Bristol and Gloucester, urgently call
for some refuge. For the former probably a harbour near the entrance of
the Channel, as at St. Ives, would be the most useful; for the trade of
the upper portion of the Bristol Channel, Clovelly on the south coast,
Lundy Island in the centre, and Swansea Bay on the north, have been the
sites particularly recommended in the evidence. On the coasts of Ireland,
the rocks named the Skerries, near Portrush, on the north coast, Lough
Carlingford on the east, and Waterford on the south, have been mentioned
as places where good harbours may be obtained at but a trifling outlay.

It appears from good evidence that the existing tidal harbours around our
coasts are susceptible of great improvements for the purposes of joining
harbours of refuge in case of need. We think this supplementary view of
the question one of much importance. It is shown that the small sum of
2,500_l._ a year, which the Scottish Fishery Board is empowered to grant
annually, to meet double the amount raised from private sources, has been
of much value, and has given rise to many piers and fishery harbours on
the coasts of Scotland. A somewhat similar measure applied to harbours
generally would be of the utmost value. There are many in which the loan
of a small sum of money, at a low rate of interest, would confer a great
benefit. The enormous parliamentary and other fees attendant on getting a
Harbour Act are so ruinous, that many of the lesser harbours are kept in a
state of decay from the impossibility of raising funds to restore them. We
are glad to see that Mr. Henry Paull, M.P. for St. Ives, has given notice
in the House of a bill to remedy this evil, and to enable some public
department, such as the Admiralty and Board of Trade, to grant the
necessary powers for raising funds to execute _bonâ fide_ improvements. We
cordially wish him success, and trust that he will persevere until his
proposal has become the law of the land.

It would naturally be imagined that the wrecks and collisions that occur
on our own coasts formed only an insignificant portion of the casualties
that take place throughout the world. But this is not so. The trade of the
world is drawn towards our shores, and these shores are washed by narrow
and therefore dangerous seas. Hence we can account for a fact which would
otherwise appear astounding, that the losses on our own coasts form nearly
a third of the losses throughout the world. According to the returns of
Lloyd's agents, the average annual number of casualties and of vessels
that have touched the ground within the last four years in all seas is
3,254; whilst, as we have already stated, those that occur upon our coast
average 1,025. Long as the list of home disasters is, it is at least
satisfactory to find that the more severe cases are not increasing. The
official record of these casualties does not extend back farther than the
year 1852, but the annual returns since that date, which we append, are on
the whole encouraging.

  |               | 1852. | 1853. | 1854. | 1855. | 1856. | 1857. |
  | Wrecks        |   958 |   759 |   893 |   894 |   837 |   866 |
  | Collisions    |    57 |    73 |    94 |   247 |   316 |   277 |
  |               |-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
  |      TOTAL    |  1015 |   832 |   987 |  1141 |  1153 |  1143 |

From this Table it will be seen that while there is an absolute decrease
with respect to wrecks, which is due, no doubt, to the greater
intelligence of the masters and the working of the Mercantile Marine Act,
a large and increasing number of collisions has happened. The latter
circumstance is important, and in all probability is attributable to two
causes, the vast addition that has taken place of late years to the trade
of the country, and the manner in which steam is supplanting the use of
sails. If we cast back our glance only fifteen years, and compare the
trade of that period with what it is at present, we are astonished at the
rate at which our commerce has advanced. We find it stated in the
statistical abstract of the year 1858, that the amount of British shipping
which entered and cleared from the ports of the United Kingdom in 1843 was
7,181,179 tons, and of foreign 2,643,383 tons, making together an
aggregate tonnage of 9,824,562 tons. In 1857, however, the tonnage of
British shipping entered and cleared had increased to 13,694,107, and the
foreign shipping to 9,484,685 tons, making an aggregate quantity of no
less than 23,178,792 tons; thus showing an increase of 13,354,230 tons, or
136 per cent., in fourteen years! With this prodigious addition to the
ships passing our shores, we have reason to be thankful that wrecks are
not of far more frequent occurrence, and it will account for the otherwise
alarming multiplication of the number of collisions. And not only are
there more ships, but a greater proportion of them are propelled by steam.
A parliamentary paper, not long since published, shows that the number of
steamers employed in the Home and Foreign trade has increased from 414 in
1849 to 899 in 1857; that is, the number of vessels most prone to come
into collision has more than doubled within the last eight years, and
while the sailing vessels have increased during this period only 3·49 per
cent., the latter have increased 117·15 per cent., the proportion of
steamers to sailing vessels having advanced from 2·22 per cent. in 1849 to
4·87 per cent. in 1857. Bearing in mind the speed at which steamers go,
and the manner in which their powerful lights, just introduced, simulate
those of lighthouses and lightships, the increase of collisions is not
surprising. There can be no doubt that the introduction of coloured
side-lights, which all vessels, both sailing and steamers, must
henceforward exhibit, will enable the direction in which another ship is
standing to be distinguished, which was not the case heretofore.

The most important object after the prevention of shipwreck is that of
rescuing the crew when the catastrophe takes place. All along the
coast--grouped thicker together where the fatal black dots indicate
dangerous spots--we find rude marks indicative of the presence of
life-boats. Thus, whenever the dangerous headland or the hidden shoal
threatens destruction to the mariner, the means of preservation are close
at hand. Of these boats, each manned by a fearless crew of twelve
volunteers, there are 141 stationed along the coast; seventy being under
the management of the National Life-Boat Institution, and seventy-one
under the direction of various corporations and local authorities. To the
princely conduct of the Duke of Northumberland, the President of the
National Life-Boat Institution, we owe the present improved condition of
the means of saving life in cases of shipwreck. As far back as the year
1790, two humble boatbuilders on the banks of the Tyne, Greathead and
Wouldhave (who were encouraged and fostered by the then Duke of
Northumberland), invented the broad, curved form of life-boat, with
air-cases, which was chiefly in use around our coasts. This model was
afterwards much departed from, and by degrees the most imperfect boats
(provided they were lined with what were supposed to be air-tight cases)
were dignified with the name of life-boats. The many casualties that
happened to these craft, which were built by rule of thumb rather than
upon any scientific system, brought them into much disrepute. Too often,
indeed, their hardy crews, instead of fulfilling their mission, were
drowned on the way. In some instances, owing to their defective build,
they turned _end over end_ when struck by a heavy sea, and, from want of
the power to right themselves when capsized, the unfortunate men were
encaged beneath them. To prevent the recurrence of such disastrous
accidents, the Duke of Northumberland offered a premium for the production
of a model life-boat, and the result was the exhibition of several
respectable contrivances. Not one of them, however, fulfilled all the
prescribed conditions; nor was it until after several trials and many
experiments that the present life-boat was completed. It appears to be the
production of a committee and not of an individual; but the chief credit
of it is due to Mr. Peake, of the Royal Dockyard, Woolwich; to Joseph
Prowse, junior, foreman of the same yard; and to Messrs. Forrestt, the
well-known boat-builders of Limehouse. It has been adopted by the
Life-Boat Institution, and has stood the test of some years' experience
without a single failure. In a trial lately made at Boulogne, the boat was
twice purposely capsized by the help of a crane, and righted herself in
two seconds, and in less than fifteen seconds the water with which she was
filled disappeared through her self-acting valves. Of the entire number of
1668 seamen saved during the last year, 399 owed their lives to these
boats, and we have no doubt that in future years they will prove still
more effective, if only well handled and not rashly sailed by
inexperienced men; for no life-boat can be devised that will not be liable
to accidents if entrusted to careless or unskilful hands.

But there is another point almost equally important that seems to have
been greatly overlooked, the worthlessness of the so-called life-boats
that every emigrant ship, every transport, every passenger vessel, is by
Act of Parliament required to carry. We have no hesitation in pronouncing
them to be in most cases a mockery, a delusion, and a snare. It is not
long since that we heard from the lips of one of the most extensive
boat-builders on the banks of the Thames, that, when a boat was condemned
as unseaworthy for any other purpose, it was a common practice to patch it
up, add a certain amount of air-case, and dispose of it as a life-boat. We
know not with whom it rests to see the Act enforced, whether with the
Board of Trade or the Life-boat Association, but the fact of its evasion
is notorious, and a heavy responsibility rests somewhere. Even when the
crazy thing is embarked, it is often so stowed that it cannot be lowered
in case of need without long delay, and is frequently deficient in sails,
oars, thole-pins, plugs, and always without an efficient compass. Yet in
this ill-equipped boat the lives of thirty, forty, perhaps fifty, of our
too confiding countrymen are risked. It would be easy to see, before the
vessel sailed, that the life-boat was efficient; that a certain supply of
provisions and fresh water was placed in proper cases; that the mast,
sails, oars, and thole-pins were secured into the boat, and that an
efficient boat-compass was provided, instead of the ridiculous toy that
goes by that name, the card of which spins round like a top at every
stroke of the oars. The beautiful spirit or liquid boat-compass of Dent
may be purchased for less than £5. A life-boat thus furnished would give
confidence to the passengers, would serve them well in time of need, and
would be no more than the legislature is entitled to require under the
provisions of the Act. Anything less is a gross imposition upon the simple
emigrants, who embark in confidence, believing that everything has been
done for their safety.

In addition to the life-boat system we have located in most of the
coast-guard stations rocket and mortar apparatus to enable a connection to
be established with stranded vessels by firing a rope over them. This
method was effectual in 243 cases during the last year, and is well worked
under the auspices of the Board of Trade. The drawback to the use of the
mortar apparatus is its weight, which prevents its being easily
transported along the rocky shores where it is chiefly needed, but we
understand that Mr. Brown, of the General Register and Record Office of
Seamen, has invented a portable apparatus, which will in all probability
greatly facilitate our means of communicating with stranded vessels, and
tend in no small measure to still further lessen the dismal list of seamen
who annually perish on our weather-beaten coast.


If the question had been asked a short time since what body of men
presented the most healthy lives in her Majesty's dominions, the reply
might reasonably have been Her Majesty's Foot-Guards. Recruited, at the
age of nineteen, principally from among the agricultural population,
submitted to the critical examination of the inspecting surgeon, tried in
wind and limb and tested at every point, the would-be soldier must be
proved an athlete, or renounce for ever the hope of wearing her Majesty's
uniform. Absorbed into the picked corps of the army; quartered either in
metropolitan barracks or within a stone's-throw of the palace of the
Sovereign; clothed, fed, housed, and tended in sickness by the State; and
only in the face of great emergencies required to brave the dangers of
foreign service; the weak and incapable instantly weeded out from the
ranks,--his does indeed seem to be a select life, with which no other
among the labouring classes would appear to be comparable. As we see him
on parade in all the pomp and panoply of war, we view him with pride as
worthy of that noble band that swept irresistibly before it the eagles of
France, and, single-handed, at Inkermann, long kept the foe at bay, and
saved two armies from destruction. Yet take the unhealthiest trades in
England--the pallid tailor, as he sits at his board, or the miner who
lives in the bowels of the earth--and it will be found that the percentage
of deaths in their ranks is not nearly so great as in those of the
magnificent Guards, pipeclayed and polished up to meet the eye of princes,
but, alas! often little better than whited sepulchres. Such is the fact
elicited by the labours of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into
the regulations affecting the sanitary condition of the army. If the "most
favoured" regiments furnish these disastrous results, it may be imagined
that the condition of the rank and file, who take their turn in all
climates, must be much worse; but, strange to say, the contrary is the
fact. This is shown in the following table, which gives the number per
thousand who die every year among the army at home and among the male
civilians of England and Wales at army ages:--

  Household cavalry              11·0
  Dragoon Guards and Dragoons    13·3
  Foot Guards                    20·4
  Infantry of the line           18·7

Population of England and Wales, at army ages:--

  Town and country population    9·2
  Country alone                  7·7

One of the unhealthiest towns at army ages:--

  Manchester    12·4

According to Mr. Neison's calculation, the mortality of the Household
Cavalry is 1-4/5, Dragoons, &c., 2-1/5, Line 2-9/10, and Guards 3-1/13
times as great as the mortality of the agricultural labourers who are
members of friendly societies. Well may the Commissioners, contemplating
these returns, remark--

    "That in war men should die from exposure, from fatigue, from
    insufficient supplies, is intelligible; or that the occupation of a
    town of 30,000 inhabitants by an army of 30,000 men, without any
    sanitary precaution, suddenly doubling the population to the area, and
    thereby halving the proportion of every accommodation, supplies,
    water, drainage, sewerage, &c. &c., should engender disease, is
    readily understood; but the problem submitted to us is to find the
    causes of a mortality more than double that of civil life among 60,000
    men, scattered, in numbers seldom exceeding a thousand in one place,
    among a population of 28,000,000, in time of profound peace, in a
    country which is not only the healthiest, but which possesses the
    greatest facility of communication and the greatest abundance of
    supply in Europe."

In endeavouring to solve this extraordinary problem, the first question
naturally asked is, Why the foot soldiers suffer a rate of mortality so
much higher than the cavalry? They are recruited pretty much from the
same source, and breathe apparently pretty much the same atmosphere; yet
we find that the Foot Guards perish at nearly double the rate of the Life
Guards. The causes of this difference are mainly, overcrowding and the
want of due exercise and employment. The chief diseases of the soldier are
fever and consumption; the latter, or "the English Death," as it is but
too aptly termed, being the chief destroyer. The deaths by pulmonary
disease amount in the cavalry to 7·3 per thousand, in the infantry of the
line to 10·2, and in the Guards to 13·8; whilst of the entire number of
deaths from all causes in the army, diseases of the lungs constitute in
the cavalry 53·9 per cent., in the infantry of the line 57·277 per cent.,
and in the Foot Guards 67·683 per cent. We are strongly inclined to
believe that some portion of this extraordinary mortality from pulmonary
disease may be owing to the atmosphere of pipeclay in which the Foot
Guards, and indeed the Horse Guards in a minor degree, live. In 1853, the
year in which the mortality tables were made up, the former pipe-clayed
their white trousers and fatigue jackets as well as their belts. Thus the
fine dust must have been for ever entering their lungs, and Mr. Simon, in
his recent Report affecting the health of special occupations, expressly
states that the workers in potteries are among the most unhealthy
artisans, in consequence of the clay-dust they are constantly inhaling in
the course of their daily work affecting their respiratory organs.

It would appear that overcrowding is the chief cause of the disparity of
the death-rate between the two classes of Guards. If we compare the
extremes, we find that, whilst the Foot Guards quartered in Portman-street
barracks have only 331 cubic feet of air allotted to each man, the Horse
Guards at the Hyde Park barracks have 572 cubic feet; and if we take the
whole force of Foot and Horse Guards, we find that in London the latter
have the advantage of between one-fourth and one-fifth more air in their
barracks. But there is another and very important difference in favour of
the Horse Guard: his exercise is on the whole more varied than that of the
Foot Guard. In the infantry, the drill only exercises the lower limbs and
fixes the chest in one position; the grooming of a horse brings nearly
every muscle into play, which tends to open and expand the chest. The
broadsword exercise has the like effect. This diversity in the daily
duties and in the amount of air they have to breathe, explains, we
believe, the great discrepancy between the deaths from consumption of the
two classes of Guards.

The reason for the increased mortality of the Dragoon regiments over that
of the Life Guards is not so easy to discover. As regards the Line
regiments, being quartered mostly in country localities, they breathe on
the whole a better atmosphere and have more exercise than the Foot Guards.
That this is the reason of their lower rate of mortality would appear from
the fact, that while the Guards were campaigning in Canada during the
rebellion, enjoying the same pure air as the Line, and undergoing
precisely the same fatigue and exposure, their relative rate of mortality
was reversed, and the Foot Guards proved the more healthy of the two. The
latter portion of the Crimean campaign showed the same result.

When the high rate of mortality was first made known in the "Times,"
military authorities imputed it chiefly to the destructive nature of the
night duties. The evidence given before the Commissioners, however,
entirely negatives this explanation.

There are three classes of men whose night duties are more severe than
those of the Foot Guards--firemen, the police, and sailors; yet, strange
to say, all three enjoy a high state of health. The London fireman
undergoes, perhaps, more wear and tear than the rest. His duties call him
sometimes to several fires in a night, and when not out he is waiting in
readiness. Whilst on service he is liable to great varieties of
temperature, and to a good deal of wet; one minute he is scorching in the
midst of the fire, the next half-drowned by the water. Nevertheless, he
suffers a mortality of only seven per thousand. The metropolitan police
are on duty ten consecutive hours in all weather, yet their mortality is
less than nine per thousand. The comparison between them and the Foot
Guards is the closest that could be made, as the unmarried men all live in
section-houses (or barracks), are clothed in a uniform, and fed in messes.
Yet the mortality is just half that of the line regiments, and less than
half the mortality of the Foot Guards! The sailor on the home station, who
is worse lodged than either, and is subject to constant nightwork of a
very exposed character, shows a still more favourable result. It is clear
therefore that the nightwork will not account for the frightful inroads
made by disease in the ranks of the soldier. Nor need we go much further
than the barracks to know the main causes of all this suffering and death.
In London, as we have said, no more than 331 cubic feet of air was meted
out to her Majesty's Foot Guards, and in Dover Castle it was reduced to
147 feet per man, or less than the quantity which brought about the jail
fever which Howard discovered to be raging in the Cambridge Town Bridewell
in 1774. The highest average space allotted to each man before 1847 was
447 cubic feet. Even this amount of air is rendered less pure by defective
arrangements. Add to which the beds are placed only one foot apart, in
defiance of the fact that a man may be suffocated in a crowd
notwithstanding that he has all the sky above him. The state of the
morning atmosphere is thus summed up by Serjeant Brown, in answer to the
questions from one of the Commissioners:--

    "Have you often gone into the men's rooms in the morning before the
    windows were open?--Yes. In what state did you find the
    atmosphere?--In a very thick and nasty state, especially if I came in
    out of the air. If I went in out of my own room sometimes, I could not
    bear it till I had ordered the windows to be opened to make a draught.
    I have often retired to the passage and called to the orderly man to
    open the windows."

In some cases the troops are lodged in the basement of buildings below the
natural level of the soil, or in places where the storekeepers object to
put their stores, in consequence of the damage that would result to them
from the damp. A notable instance is given in evidence by Dr. T. E.

    "In 1845 the armoury was burnt down in the Tower, and a new barrack
    was erected on its site--certainly not before it was wanted, because
    the accommodation was very bad. The barrack was finished in the
    beginning of 1849; fever was then prevailing among the men, and
    cholera threatening. The surgeon applied to have the new barracks
    given over for the use of the men, and he got two rooms; he
    remonstrated through his commanding officer with the authorities, when
    he was informed that he could not have more given over to him, as they
    were full of stores--blankets, I believe. On suggesting that the
    stores might be put into the old barracks, he was told that they were
    a great deal too damp to put stores into, and it was only in
    consequence of an energetic remonstrance on the part of the commanding
    officer, which I believe reached the Duke of Wellington, that a Board
    of officers was ordered to assemble, who recommended that the troops
    should be immediately moved into the new barracks."

Now and then the crotchet of a Colonel does a vast deal of mischief. Not
many years since, the cavalry at Knightsbridge were condemned to drink the
water from the Serpentine,--a reservoir of filth, which is now pronounced
to be pestilential to the neighbourhood. The men objected to use this
diluted sewage; but the commanding-officer had perfect faith in filters.
Nevertheless, the water persisted in smelling bad, notwithstanding it
looked clear,--a mystery the Colonel's knowledge of chemistry could not
fathom; nor would he give in until a Board had been called. The veterinary
surgeon now began to complain that the coats of the horses were beginning
to stare, and he wished that they should drink from the improved supply
which was furnished to the men. The Colonel still had faith in his
Serpentine water, and maintained that the horses would prefer it to the
purer stream. A bucket of each was placed side by side in the
barrack-yard, and a horse was brought in, which immediately settled the
question by refusing the dirty water, and plunging its muzzle into the
clean. It is not many years since the troops stationed at the Tower were,
in like manner, forced to drink the Thames water, taken from the most
convenient, which chanced to be the foulest, spot in the whole river. A
coarse filter did not suffice to protect them from the disease such
supplies were sure to engender.

They manage these things better now in civil life. In the year 1848, the
Society for Improving the Condition of the Working Classes opened their
first model lodging-house. Their measure of the quantity of air necessary
for the poor man was much greater than that settled three years later, by
the military authorities, for the soldier. The mechanic and labourer were
allowed 542 cubic feet; the soldier, under the most favourable conditions,
breathed no more than from 400 to 500 cubic feet,--a measure which fines
off, by degrees, to the Black Hole allowance at Dover Castle, where the
soldier was reduced to 131 cubic inches. Nor is this the only point in
favour of the model lodging-house, of which there are several situated in
the foulest portions of the metropolis, and which accommodate sometimes
seven hundred inmates, or the full strength of many a regiment. Besides
containing pure air, which, with a proper system of ventilation, costs
nothing, but is of incalculable value to human life, the lodging-house,
instead of being confined to one room, used for all purposes, is divided
into the ordinary apartments of an inn; every inmate has his own
dormitory, and there is a good coffee-room stored with papers and books,
and supplied with hot water. In the kitchen below, there are facilities
for roasting, boiling, baking, and frying, and each man has his safe for
provisions. Hot and cold baths are provided; and the whole building is
heated by hot-water pipes, and well lighted by gas. If the soldier was
treated like his brother of the chisel and the hammer, the mortality of
the Guards would not be at the rate of 20·4, and that of the ordinary rank
and file at the rate of 17·8 per thousand, whilst that of the mechanic is
only 13·9 per thousand.

If we were to write volumes, we could not deepen the impression these
figures are calculated to convey of the importance to health of sanitary
science. It has been said that soldiers would not appreciate the benefits
of a model lodging-house, and that, as the colonel asserted of the
troop-horse, they prefer the dirty to the clean,--crowding in a common
room, to separate apartments. If this were true, it would be no reason for
not teaching them better. If bad habits are congenial to them, they do not
suffer less when the mischief is done; and if they were callous to the
last, the interest of the nation still requires that lives which cost so
much should not be recklessly thrown away. But experience refutes the
supposition that soldiers have different notions of comfort from
civilians. The Guards, in the old part of the Wellington Barracks, had,
on one occasion, the temporary use, as a day-room, of an apartment fifty
feet by thirty, and, large as it was, it became inconveniently crowded.
The Commissioners, in their report, recommend that a minimum space of 600
feet be allotted to each man in his barrack and guard-room, that an
interval of at least three feet be maintained between each bed, and that a
day-room should be provided. The barrack should at least be on a par with
the workhouse.

The high rate of mortality in the army is not to be attributed to the bad
arrangements of barracks alone; the important elements of exercise and
food have to be considered, and in both the infantry are in an inferior
position to the artisan.

    "Perhaps," says Colonel Lindsay, "no living individual suffers more
    than the soldier from _ennui_. He has no employment save the drill and
    its duties; these are of a most monotonous and uninteresting
    description, so much so that you cannot increase their amount without
    wearying and disgusting him. All he has to do is under restraint; he
    is not like a working man or an artisan; a working man will dig, and
    his mind is his own; an artisan is interested in the work on which he
    is engaged: but a soldier has to give you all his attention, and he
    has nothing to show for the work done. He gets up at six; there is no
    drill before breakfast; he makes up his bed and cleans up his things:
    he gets his breakfast at seven; he turns out for drill at half-past
    seven or eight; his drill may last half an hour. If it be guard-day
    there is no drill except for defaulters. The men for duty are paraded
    at ten o'clock; that finishes his day-drill altogether. There is
    evening parade, which takes half an hour, and then his time is his own
    until tattoo, which is at nine in winter and ten in summer. That is
    the day of a soldier not on guard or not belonging to a company which
    is out for Minié practice."

Unless it be denied that the mind has any influence over the body, it
cannot be doubted that the inaction to which the infantry soldier is
subjected in barracks, by the regulations of the service, is most
detrimental to his mental activity and bodily health. The actuary well
knows that the affluent upper classes, although in every other respect
placed in the best sanitary condition, are shorter lived than the
agricultural labourer, for the simple reason that, having but little
active duty to perform, they suffer from _ennui_, which begets
dissipation. The soldier shares with the wealthy this cause of increased
mortality, without sharing in their other favourable conditions. Idle and
ill-lodged, he naturally resorts to the public-house, and, having but
little money to procure drink, he too often degrades himself by sponging
upon the female admirers of red coats for the means. The annals of the
police-courts are but too rife with the records of crimes and
misdemeanours committed by the Foot-Guards from these causes. Mr.
Jeffreys, a high authority, testifies that in India a large proportion of
the men chafe and drink themselves to death, under modes of life so
opposed to the habits of out-door labour in which they have been reared.
The soldier is not so much in fault as the rule of the service which
precludes him from making himself useful. The best-conducted troops are
the Engineers, who work at their different trades. The evil does not stop
with the mischief which the idle are sure to perpetrate. The active,
self-reliant Englishman is notoriously the most dependant soldier in
Europe. He can neither cook, bake, make his clothes, nor hut himself, like
the Frenchman, the Sardinian, or even the Turk. Contractors follow him
everywhere, excepting into the presence of the enemy; and when he most
needs every necessary of life he finds himself a helpless man. Mr. J. R.
Martin, one of the Commissioners, who has passed a life in high posts as a
military surgeon in India, and who has done more for the sanitary
condition of the soldier than any living person, holds it as a principle,
"that in all climates the soldier should do for himself whatever he can
perform without injury to his health, morals, or discipline; and, further,
that he should be required to do whatever may be essential to his
serviceable condition, in the event of a failure of the appointed
appliances. Before the soldier can be held as fit to undertake his duties
to the State, he must be made capable of maintaining everything which may
be necessary to his personal care and comfort." Does Aldershott or
Shorncliffe fulfil even the majority of the conditions calculated to train
the soldier for active service? Is he taught to build his own hut, to dig
his own well, to make his own roads, to cook his own victuals, or to mend
his own clothes? Aldershott, in fact, is not a camp at all, but a city of
soldiers, built and maintained "by contract;" the sum expended on the
buildings alone, for the years 1854 to 1856, being no less than
486,502_l._ 13s. 6d.; and we have little doubt that up to the present
time, the civil labour has cost more than 600,000_l._[30] Now, as Colonel
Tulloch urged, before these barracks were erected, why should not the men
hut themselves? There are clay, gravel, and sand, on the spot, with
abundance of small wood that no one will buy, not more than eight miles
distant. Soldiers have hutted themselves at Maroon Town, in the West
Indies, at 25_l._ per head. The buildings would not be such permanent
structures as the contractors have put together: we should miss the
architectural façades for the officers' quarters, and the "moulded
cornices" so maliciously described by the _Times'_ correspondent; but we
should have serviceable huts which would last for eight or ten years.
There can be little doubt that the men would be healthier in them than in
vast barracks. The process of building would supply the kind of exercise
which would amuse as well as instruct, and the plan would certainly save
money to the State. Considerably more than one half, or 647·9 per
thousand, of our soldiers have been recruited from the agricultural
population, to whom the erection of earthworks and building of all kinds
would be somewhat familiar. Of the remaining number, 294·7 have been
trained to mechanical trades. Surely, from this force handicraftsmen could
be selected to perform much of the work of the army. Bakers, cooks,
tailors, and bootmakers, could be found to supply the wants of the
regiment, and relieve us from the incubus of government contractors. We
place more confidence in a system in which the artisan-soldier will reap
the fruits of his labour, than in athletic games, which are not to be
neglected, but which become irksome when they are enjoined upon the
soldier by regulation. Serious exertion, too, with a useful result, is
always more invigorating in the long run than exertion which leaves no
result at all. Work, in short, within reasonable limits, is more healthful
than play.

During the disastrous months of the Crimean campaign, Mr. Galton proposed
to give a series of lectures to the reinforcements about to proceed to the
seat of war, on the shifts available in wild countries. He went to the
Museum of the United Service Club at the hour he had advertised, but as
his audience amounted to but one soldier, he discontinued his efforts to
make known those _wrinkles_ he had acquired with so much suffering
himself. The substance of these intended lectures he has since amplified
into a book, which is one of the most interesting little volumes we ever
read, and which should be in the hands of every campaigner, whether
military or otherwise. Had our soldiers been acquainted with its contents
when our commissariat broke down, they would have been able to lighten
their miseries in a considerable degree. The services which he extracts
from a single piece of stick are almost inconceivable; and when there
seems to be no further hope, he shows how the difficulties may often be
overcome by the aid of the very circumstances which appeared to have
caused the breakdown. His makeshifts and expedients are, it is true, at
times rather rough; and Ensign Firebrass, as he looks at his
neatly-polished little boot, would perhaps be startled at being told, that
on a march, "pieces of linen a foot square, smeared with grease, and
nicely folded over the foot cornerwise," form a capital substitute for
socks; or that breaking "a raw egg into a hard boot before putting it on
greatly softens the leather." Such announcements may be horrifying in the
midst of luxury, but in hard circumstances the most nicely got up London
dandy would be grateful for the hint. Many a poor soldier, at any rate,
would be glad to know that even on a plain where there is nothing except
the turf beneath his feet, protection is at hand if he were aware how to
avail himself of it. "He need only turn up a broad sod seven feet long by
two wide, and if he succeeds in propping it up on its edge, it will form a
sufficient shield against the wind," and even against a drifting rain,
provided he plants his turf between the weather and himself.

As regards the in-door amusements of the soldier, we have but little
belief in regimental libraries. The recruit from the agricultural
districts will not read such volumes as generally form the bulk of these
collections. A Scotch sergeant or two will thumb over Rollin's "Ancient
History," or Robertson's "History of Scotland," but the majority of the
soldiers will not look at them. "I have never heard of a reading army,"
said the late Dr. William Fergusson; and we agree with him as far as what
are called standard works are concerned. The soldier can be amused,
however, with a lighter class of literature, and there is a certainty of
pleasing him with a newspaper. This is the reading he selects for himself
in the public-house, and why not condescend to consult his tastes?
Major-General Lawrance stated that the system had been tried in some
garrisons with excellent effect, of providing a room where the men could
procure papers, coffee, and a pipe. "We approach the soldier," says Robert
Jackson, "with the dram-bottle in one hand, and the lash in the other."
Things are not so bad as in his day, but the temptation and the punishment
are still provided; and to reduce both as much as possible, we should
employ pleasant preventives, both of a moral and physical kind.

The question of food is intimately connected with the health of the
soldier, and, as far as we can see, no attempt has been made by the
commissariat to adjust it satisfactorily to the varying conditions to
which he is subjected. The truck system, which has long been abolished by
law in the payment of workmen, is still maintained to some extent in the
army. The soldier is nominally paid 13_d._ per day, but out of this the
authorities stop a certain sum, which varies with the markets, for the
rations and other necessaries supplied to him. The quantity of the ration
is fixed both for service at home and abroad. At home he has 1 lb. of
bread and 3/4 lb. of meat inclusive of bone, an additional 1/2 lb. of
bread being given to troops encamped in England. Abroad the ration
consists of 1 lb. of bread or 3/4 lb. of biscuit, and 1 lb. of meat either
salt or fresh, the additional 1/4 lb. being given to compensate for the
inferior quality of foreign compared to English meat. There are one or two
exceptional rations; but at home or abroad, in peace or in war, the ration
(the quality of the meat being considered) is the same. Simplicity may be
urged in favour of the system, but we fear this is its only merit, and we
are not at all surprised to find the following remarks in the Report:--"We
are of opinion that no ration can be fixed upon which shall be adhered to
in both peace and war. The conditions of life are so different in the two
cases, that whatever is suitable for the one must be either too much or
too little for the other." Common sense would clearly point out that the
ration which would be amply sufficient for the soldier in country
quarters, whose principal occupation is lounging along the street, or
leaning upon a bridge, would go but little way to maintain the wear and
tear of a man when exhausted by the fatigues of an active campaign. The
degree and nature of his labours then may be gathered from the following
extract from the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the Supplies
of the Army in the East:--

    "The average weight carried by a soldier on the march, including food
    and water for the day, is probably not less than from fifty to sixty
    pounds, and while carrying that burden he is frequently required not
    only to march considerable distances, but also to move rapidly, and
    make other great exertions. In the ordinary course of his duty he is
    called upon to watch during the night at longer or shorter intervals,
    whatever may have been his previous exertions. He is exposed to every
    vicissitude of temperature, and often to the inclemency of the
    weather, by night as well as by day, and must be ready to turn out
    when required, at any hour, and under any circumstances. He must
    generally be content with the shelter of a tent, whatever the climate
    may be. When engaged in siege operations, he has to perform, mostly
    during the night, the work that a railway labourer performs by
    day--excavating and removing earth. When stores are to be landed, he
    is often required to do the work of a dockyard labourer. When employed
    in active service the soldier, therefore, requires a diet as
    nourishing as that which is requisite to maintain the physical powers
    of any other man engaged in hard labour involving frequent watching
    and exposure."

That is, the soldier is required at times to be a railway navvy, and
something more; but, unlike the navvy, he is not allowed to replenish his
inward man according to his natural desires, but according to a certain
fixed regulation. As well may a stoker limit his engine to a hundredweight
of coals a day, and expect to get any speed out of it he pleased. The
navigator, whilst executing heavy work, is known to eat as much as six
pounds of meat a day. Now we question if any navigator ever worked harder
than the common soldier in the trenches before Sebastopol, yet he was
expected to perform his task on one pound of meat, fresh or _salt_, equal
to three-quarters of a pound of English beef or mutton. The salt meat too
is vastly less nutritive than fresh; and in case the lemon-juice fails, as
it did in the Crimea, scurvy and its allied diseases are sure to follow
its use. Well may Dr. Christison have remarked "that any scientific person
conversant with the present subject (dietaries) could have foretold, as a
certain consequence, sooner or later, of their duty, that the British
troops would fall into the calamitous state which befell them in the
Crimea." It must be evident again that the soldier during a Canadian
winter requires more meat than he does between the tropics. In cold
climates the nitrogenous and carboniferous food should predominate; in
warm climates a larger amount of vegetable food is required. The exact
amount of the different kinds of food, however, requires a special study;
but surely chemistry, which has so admirably catered for the varying wants
of prisoners undergoing fluctuating amounts of exertion, could find no
difficulty in furnishing proper dietary tables for the British army in
different parts of the globe. The Commissioners, in their Report, fully
convinced of the injustice even at home of keeping stalwart English
soldiers upon half a pound of meat per day, recommend that it shall be
increased to a pound.

In the clothing of the British soldier a contest has been long going on
between what is considered by the officers to look "smart," and what is
found by the men to be comfortable. A soldier upon parade and a soldier
going into action scarcely looks the same man. The tight coat, the stiff
stock, and the ugly shako, give a stiffness to his figure which is termed
"a soldierly appearance:" but upon the march or the eve of battle the
jacket is thrown open, the trowsers are tucked up, the shako is thrown
away, and the stock follows suit. He has divested himself of every
particle of clothing which is supposed to conduce to his smartness; but
he is a free man: he can use his limbs with facility, he can march without
fainting, and he can fight at his ease. Major-General Lawrance,
apologising for the retention of the shako, and for the leathern stock,
upon home service, urges that "it is essential to consider the appearance
as well as the comfort of the soldier." Some of the soldiers themselves
wish to keep the stock, provided "that it may always be taken off when
muscular exertion is required." The Commissioners are of opinion, and we
think rightly, that "this condition applied to any part of a soldier's
dress is condemnatory of it." Why should he possess a set of fine weather
feathers any more than the fireman or the policeman? Fitness is the very
essence of comeliness. The Ironsides of Cromwell would have smiled grimly
at the holiday suit of the modern soldier. The Commissioners in their
Report condemn nearly every article of clothing in present use--the stock
as an instrument of strangulation; the shako as neither fitted by size,
colour, weight, material, nor form, for service in hot climates; and the
trowsers as gathering dust on the march. In the Crimea the men were in the
habit of wrapping a piece of bale canvas from the commissariat stores
round their legs, which effectually protected them from the mud and wet.
This suggests a return to the old gaiter used in the army during the early
part of George III.'s reign, and still by some regiments of Highlanders,
or the adoption of a boot to lace over the bottom of the trowsers like the
ordinary shooting boot. The West India regiments are ordered to wear the
Zouave dress--the loose trowsers, leather leggings, jacket, and fez. This
may be well enough adapted for black troops, but we should be sorry to see
our own men tricked out in this foreign fashion.

The chief parts of the soldier's body which require attention, as regards
health, are the head and neck. The head should be protected against the
extremes of heat and cold by every means that science can devise. In
tropical climates we still retain the shako, shielding it from the sun
with a linen cover. The insufficiency of this device is read in the
fearful mortality from sun-stroke, which devastates our army in India at
the present time. The natives wear a cotton turban with an old horseshoe
on the top to protect them from sword-cuts; and the Commissioners
recommend a light cap covered with wadded linen, with a flap hanging down
behind. Like the sola or pith helmet, the protection here is in the slow
conducting power of the material. Mr. Jeffreys, however, in his admirable
treatise entitled "The British Army in India," justly remarks, that the
slower a substance conducts, the longer it retains its heat. A
turban-covered shako worn all day in an Indian sun becomes charged with
caloric to such an extent that it will give out a sensible heat when hung
up in the tent, and will distress the head the moment it is put on; for
this reason the covering should be placed outside the tent at night to
cool. But, after all, though the heat may penetrate very slowly to the
wearer, the time comes when at last it reaches the skull. The protection
may be ample for the acclimatised Hindoo, and yet be insufficient for the
European. Mr. Jeffreys tells us that the scarf-skin of the Indian is so
much thicker than that of the European, that, when serving as a medical
officer, he was obliged to have a lancet ground in a peculiar manner for
vaccinating the horny hide of the native infants. We therefore agree with
him that science must be called upon to give the English soldier a still
further defence against the sun. He has himself attempted to solve the
problem. Instead of the use of the cloth-covered helmets he terms
sun-traps he has constructed an ingenious covering in which reflection,
retarded conduction, slow radiation, convection, and ventilation are
brought consecutively into play. There can be little doubt that
scientifically his contrivance is unexceptionable, and would keep the head
always cool. The weight, however, which his plan necessitates is a
material element, although it is the heat not the weight which kills. If
we desire to form an idea of the amount of heat which is thrown off by a
bright surface, we have only to place our hands before the polished sides
of a common firegrate, when the reflected heat will be found to be very
little less than that directly radiated from the fire. It is just because
these sides cast the heat which strikes them back again that the inner
face is kept comparatively cool. This, therefore, is the best description
of surface to present to the sky. It may be objected that the soldiers
would be dazzled by the helmets of their comrades; but the inconvenience
would only be incident to a curvilinear-shaped helmet, possessing numerous
tangential planes of reflection. A rectangular form, such as that of the
present shako, would reflect the rays of the midday sun either down to the
earth or up to the sky, and there would be no more glare observable than
from the windows of a house, which, except at sunset, are the darkest part
of the building. The helmet of the crusader was made in the form of a tin
pot: this was retained by the Knights Templars, who well understood the
value of the bright reflecting surface and the rectangular shape.

Mr. Jeffreys goes further. He proposes that the body-dress of soldiers
serving in tropical climates should also have a metallic reflecting
surface. Though the idea may seem strange, we think it worthy of
consideration. A good defence against tropical heat must be devised if we
intend to keep India; for we cannot afford to send English regiments to be
wholly destroyed as fighting men every ten years. The sun is the great
ally of the natives; they counted upon its service in the late rebellion,
and we must endeavour to convert this enemy into a friend. A perfectly
sun-proof dress would be worth many armies to us. Some regiments of
irregular horse, which are by far the most picturesque-looking troops we
have, wear a light gray woollen blouse with simple curb chains on the
shoulders to protect them from sword-cuts. This we believe to be the most
suitable garment at present in use. Mr. Galton says that "during the
progress of expeditions notes have been made of the number in them of
those who have provided themselves with flannel, and of those who have
not, and the list of sick always included names from the latter list in a
very great proportion." With a host of such facts, well known to all who
have paid attention to the subject, it seems surprising that the military
authorities should have adopted a linen blouse for the troops in India.
This material is perhaps the best conductor of all the fabrics used in
dress; its unsuitableness therefore for a climate which is alternately
hot, cold, and wet, may easily be imagined. The neck and spine should be
guarded against the assaults of the sun almost as carefully as the head.
In all ages Easterns have been mindful to protect the great nervous
highway. The Arabs invariably bring one of the ends of the turban down
over the neck, and the French have adopted the same plan in Algeria. As
regards the spine, every one has experienced the sense of sickness which
is produced when the back is brought close to a strong fire. Such a fire
the poor soldier often endures for hours when marching under an Indian
sun. Sun-strokes arise as much from this cause as from the exposure of the
head. The Arab has a long tasselled loop of cloth hanging down in the
small of the back, which acts as a piece of solar armour: the English
soldier should have a similar protection, unless we are to consider that
his black knapsack and his neatly rolled great-coat are all that is
required. A belt of flannel should by no means be forgotten. The direct
rays of the sun striking upon the expanse of nerves over the abdomen often
bring on cholera or dysentery. The soldier should have, in addition, a
loose woollen wrapper to serve as a change when campaigning. The value of
dry clothes when he lies down on the bare ground after a fatiguing march
is not to be overrated. "The skin's debility is malaria's opportunity,"
justly remarks Mr. Jeffreys. "The germs of fever, dysentery, and cholera,
stalking over the bodies of a sleeping army, which has been exposed to the
sun by day, quickly scent out the enfeebled skins and divide the prey!"

The colour of the dress is important. Dr. Coulier, who has lately
investigated the qualities of different materials as clothing for troops,
found that white cotton placed over a cloth dress produced a fall of 7
degrees per cent. in heat. When the tube of a thermometer was covered with
cotton sheeting and placed in the sun, it marked 35·1, with cotton lining
35·5, with unbleached linen 39·6, with dark blue cloth 42, with red cloth
42. From these experiments it will be seen that the staring red of our
uniforms absorbs no less than seven degrees more of heat than simple
cotton. As we have to guard against the cold of night, and the damp of the
rainy season, perhaps the best method of meeting the varied conditions of
heat, moisture, and cold would be to give the soldier a simple woollen
blouse of some neutral colour, which, while it did not absorb the sun's
rays, would yet be pleasing to the eye. Gray, faced with red, or girdled
with a red sash or belt, would have an excellent effect, and would answer

It is singular that whilst our troops at home, for the last twenty years
within the immediate influence of a growing sanitary science, have
profited little by its teaching, the troops quartered abroad within the
same time have experienced a marked decline in their annual rate of
mortality. In the year 1835 Lord Howick caused a parliamentary inquiry to
be made into the causes of the fearful mortality among the troops on some
of the foreign stations, especially in the West Indian islands. The
returns proved even worse than had been anticipated. The mortality in
Jamaica was no less than 128 per thousand, or, in other words, every
eighth man who stepped on board a transport for service in this beautiful
island was doomed to leave his body for the land crabs. In the other
islands the mortality was somewhat less, the deaths being 81 in the
thousand. The reason of this decimation had long been known. More than
fifty years ago Robert Jackson had pointed out the deadly nature of our
military posts, situated for the most part at the embouchures of rivers
and in low harbours, or placed in the immediate neighbourhood of
pestiferous swamps. Salt pork and rum were called in to finish the work
malaria had commenced. Five days a-week were our soldiers rationed upon
this poisonous food; and, to make the injustice more glaring, the convicts
upon the island were fed with fresh meat, and were consequently in good
health. In 1843 Sir Charles Metcalfe determined that the troops should no
longer perish. He altered their diet and removed them entirely from the
marshy plains to Maroon Town, which stands at an elevation of not more
than 2,500 feet on the Blue Mountains, but sufficient to lift European
life above the level of the deadly fevers of the climate. The effect of
these changes exactly corresponded with what had been foretold by Jackson;
the mortality speedily fell from 128 to 60 per thousand, and is now
reduced to 32. Thus for many generations the mortality of white troops in
Jamaica was fourfold what it should have been, through ignorance and
extravagance; for, strange to say, the difference between the cost of the
poisonous salt pork and the healthy fresh meat caused a saving to the
Government of 80,000_l._ a-year.

In other colonies the improvement in the health of the troops has been
marked of late years. At Ceylon, where resort has been had to
hill-stations, the mortality has decreased from 74 per thousand,--at which
ratio it stood until 1836,--to 38 per thousand at the present time. During
the same period, we find that at St. Helena the rate has fallen from 25 to
12, at Gibraltar from 22 to 12, at the Ionian islands from 27 to 17, and
at Newfoundland from 37 to 11 per thousand. From this gratifying statement
we must except the greatest dependency of all,--our Indian Empire. In
Bengal the mortality of the British soldier, just before the mutiny, was
even greater than it had been twenty years before. On the average of
nineteen years previous to 1836, it had been 75 per thousand; on the
average of the next period of eighteen years, it was 76 per thousand. In
Bombay, the mortality has decreased 2 per thousand; but in Madras the
improvement has been such that the deaths have fallen from 76 to 41 per
thousand. Whilst India remained in the hands of the East India Company,
and the British troops stationed there seldom exceeded 25,000, the high
mortality of the presidency of Bengal might have escaped observation; but
now that the European soldiers are more than doubled, the necessity for
putting their sanitary condition upon a proper footing must be obvious.
"Colonel Tulloch has informed me," says Mr. Martin, in his admirable work
on the Influence of Tropical Climates on the European Constitution, "that
between 1815 and 1855 there died, of European soldiers belonging to her
Majesty's and the East India Company's army in India, very nearly 100,000
men, the greater portion of whose lives might have been saved, had better
localities been selected for military occupation in that country."
Estimating the value of each soldier in India at 100_l._, this would give
a sum of 10,000,000_l._

The barracks and cantonments of India, as regard vastness and solidity,
are, perhaps, not to be equalled by any in the world. The military
buildings of Burhampore, in Bengal, are said to have cost, during the
seventy-seven years they were in existence, including capital and
interest, 16,891,206_l._; yet this costly station, like that of
Secunderabad, in the Madras presidency, was planted in an absolutely
pestiferous locality. All over India the localities of the barracks are
bad, and their construction and arrangement extremely faulty. "Nearly the
whole station of Cawnpore," says Mr. Jeffreys, "running some miles along
the river, was so cut up into small 'compounds,' by high mud walls, that a
bird's-eye view would have given it the appearance of a divided
honey-comb. These walls, with the profusion of trees they enclosed, seemed
as if designed to cut off every current of wind from the inhabitants of
the ground-floor dwellings hidden within them." In another case, as if to
make stagnation doubly secure, he mentions that there is a square wall
within a square wall, surrounding a cantonment. Hence we can easily
account for the fearful mortality among European troops in India. As if to
make patent to us the folly we commit in constructing these vast
bakehouses, the native troops, who hut themselves outside our lines, and
thus get plenty of air, present the unique example of a soldiery whose
mortality is below that of the population from which it is recruited. In
the Bengal presidency the mutiny has cleared away the difficulty; for it
has swept the mass of these pestilential cantonments from the face of the
earth. The question, how shall we profit by the loss? is answered by Mr.
Martin in his "Suggestions for promoting the Health and Efficiency of the
British Troops serving in the East Indies." He insists that we must
station our troops, in future, upon the hills, but not on such stations as
we have on the Himalaya and Neilgherry mountains,--positions of 7,000 feet
above the sea; for, although they are a security against the fevers of the
country, they are apt to induce bowel complaints, which are almost as
fatal. His opinion is, that elevations of from 2,800 to 6,000 feet would
yield a climate most congenial for European troops,--such, in fact, as we
have already found in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. He especially draws
attention to the solitary hills,--"those islands of the plains,"--as
capable of affording a refuge from the fevers that inundate the low-lying
ground. Here the mass of the British army may be lodged until their
services are needed. From these eyries, like the Romans of old, they may
watch the champaign country, and be ready, at a moment's notice, to move
on any threatened position. There is no intention of recommending the
abandonment of strategical points, or large cities which serve as
arsenals, simply because they are not wholesome. There are dangers to be
braved in peace as well as in war. Yet our experience of the heroic
qualities of the British soldier justifies the assumption that small
bodies of them, placed in strongly fortified positions, could hold out
against all comers until succour should arrive from the hill-stations,
especially now India is being traversed by railroads and telegraphs. But
even these stations are not sufficient to restore patients suffering under
chronic disease. These, if possible, should at once be sent home. The sick
officer is invalided, and speedily recovers in the air of his native land;
the common soldier, on the contrary, is forced to enter the hospital,--too
often to die. The men, moreover, should be recruited for a shorter time.
At present they practically serve seventeen years in India,--a period
which breaks down the constitutions of the majority. It is the exposure to
heat for a great length of time, and not its intensity for a short period,
that destroys European life. If we entrap the ignorant labourer by the
most unworthy artifices,[31] we should, at least, be merciful to him. Let
the term of service be reduced to ten years, and then the stream of
stalwart Britons, fresh from the mother-country, would enable us, in
conjunction with hill-stations, to keep a powerful and resistless grasp
upon the country.

It may well be imagined that, if the sanitary condition of our army is so
bad in times of peace, its sufferings in war must be greatly exaggerated.
The experience of the Peninsula, Walcheren, Burmah, and Sebastopol, has
unfailingly proved this to be the case, and, in manifold instances, the
evils were such as could have been avoided with ease.

    "The barracks and the military hospital," says Miss Nightingale,
    "exist at home and in the colonies as tests of our sanitary condition
    in peace; and the histories of the Peninsular war, of Walcheren, and
    of the late Crimean expedition, exist as tests of our sanitary
    condition in the state of war. We have much more information on the
    sanitary history of the Crimean campaign than we have of any other. It
    is a complete example--history does not afford its equal--of an army,
    after a great disaster arising from its neglects, having been brought
    into the highest state of health and efficiency. It is the whole
    experiment on a colossal scale. In all other examples the last step
    has been wanting to complete the solution of the problem. We had in
    the first seven months of the Crimean campaign a mortality among the
    troops at the rate of 60 per cent. per annum from disease alone--a
    rate of mortality which exceeds that of the great plague in the
    population of London, and a higher ratio than the mortality in cholera
    to the attacks; that is to say, that there died out of the army of the
    Crimea an annual rate greater than ordinarily die in time of
    pestilence out of sick. We had during the last six months of the war a
    mortality among our _sick_ not much more than among our _healthy_
    Guards at home, and a mortality among our troops in the last five
    months _two-thirds only of what it is among our troops at home_."

This splendid testimony to the value of sanitary science, exhibited on the
largest scale, on an apparently hopeless field, is without appeal. The
Commissioners propose a medical officer of health for the army,[32] second
in rank to the principal medical officer, and attached to the
quartermaster-general in the field. This officer, says the Report, should
be the head of the sanitary police of the army, should be answerable for
all the measures to be adopted for the prevention of disease, and should
report to the quartermaster-general, and to the principal medical officer.
In order to prevent any evasion of responsibility, they further recommend
that the sanitary officer shall give his advice in writing, and that the
disregard of it on strategical grounds shall be equally recorded by the
officer in command. Having thus provided for the army in the field, the
Commissioners propose that there shall be associated with the Medical
Director-General of the Army a sanitary, statistical, and medical
colleague. Each of these officers would be at the head of a distinct
department--the sanitary officer taking cognizance of all questions of
food, dress, diet, exercise, and lodging for the soldier; the statistical
department gathering together those invaluable details relative to the
health of the army, for the want of which the British troops have so long
suffered a mortality out of all proportion to the civil community; while
the medical department would serve as a connecting link between civil and
military medicine, keeping the latter up to the last word of science, as
spoken by the great medical authorities in all countries. Some of these
suggestions will require deep consideration before they are adopted.
Nothing, at any rate, must be permitted to fetter the absolute power of
the commander in the field, who must have a real as well as a nominal
freedom. But every precaution which can guard the health of the soldier
without cramping the discretion of the general is demanded alike by
humanity and policy. What was so powerfully said in the last century has
remained in a great degree true in our own. "The life of a modern soldier
is ill-represented by heroic fiction. War has means of destruction more
formidable than the cannon and the sword. Of the thousands and ten
thousands that perished in our late contests with France and Spain, a very
small part ever felt the stroke of an enemy; the rest languished in tents
and ships, amidst damps and putrefaction; pale, torpid, spiritless and
helpless; gasping and groaning unpitied among men, made obdurate by long
continuance of hopeless misery; and were at last whelmed in pits or heaved
into the ocean, without notice or remembrance. By incommodious encampments
and unwholesome stations, where courage is useless and enterprise
impracticable, fleets are silently dispeopled, and armies sluggishly
melted away."


If a needle turning upon a pivot were fixed at York, and if, by a wire
placed in close proximity to it, the needle could be made to move to the
right or to the left through the agency of a power applied at the other
end of the wire in London, and if it were agreed that one motion of the
needle to the left should signify _a_, and one to the right _b_, &c.,[33]
we should have just such a contrivance as the common needle telegraph now
in use.

Such is the dry statement of a problem the more detailed working of which
we are about to explain to the reader.

When a schoolboy places a sixpence and a piece of zinc in juxta-position
with each other in his mouth, he immediately perceives a singular taste,
which as instantly disappears upon their separation; it is an experiment
which most of us have performed, wondered at for a moment, and then
forgotten. How little did we ever dream that in so doing we were calling
into life one of the most subtle, active, and universal agents in
nature--a spirit like Ariel to carry our thoughts with the speed of
thought to the uttermost ends of the earth--a workman more delicate of
hand than the Florentine Cellini, and more resistless in force than the
Titans of old!

[Illustration: Fig. 1.]

[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

If now we place a piece of zinc, Z, and of copper, C, in a glass of
acidulated water, instead of in the saliva of the mouth, and if we then
attach to the piece of zinc the wire D K, and to the piece of copper the
wire B A, and approximate the two ends, A K, until they touch, we shall
have the philosophic expression of the contrivance of the boy--a
decomposition of the water will immediately take place, and either as its
cause or consequence--for scientific men have not yet decided which--an
electric current will flow in a continued stream from the zinc plate or
positive pole to the copper plate or negative pole of the battery, and
this action, provided the plates are kept clean and the acidulated water
is supplied, will go on as long as the materials last. If this little
instrument, which generates a very small amount of electric force, is
combined with others, as in figure 2,--the zinc plate of one cell being
connected with the copper plate of the next by a piece of wire--we shall
have the celebrated battery invented by Volta in 1800, in which the
accumulated current, after flowing from one cell into another, by means of
the little hoops of wire, is transmitted along the large hoop, D K A B,
from the one pole of the battery to the other. Within the narrow chambers
of some such battery (which may be made of any number of cells, according
to the force required), the motive power is generated by which the
electric telegraph is worked, and the large hoop by which its two poles
are connected represents the telegraphic wire we see running beside the
railroad, whose office is to form a conducting pipe for the conveyance of
the electricity. Different substances possess this property in various
degrees; some, such as dry paper, not permitting the passage of the
electric fluid to any sensible extent; and others transmitting it with
great freedom. Of all known bodies, the metals are the most perfect
conductors, and copper is in this respect superior to iron; but the
latter, being cheaper and more durable, is commonly employed in the
construction of the telegraph. Thus we have two of the indispensable
requisites--a constant force and a channel which conveys it from place to

[Illustration: Fig. 3.]

There was yet a third thing necessary--some contrivance by which the force
could be made instrumental in forming signs or characters at its destined
goal; and this final condition was supplied by Oersted's discovery in
1819, that a _magnetic_ needle is deflected by the passage of a circuit of
electricity through a wire parallel and in close neighbourhood to it. The
following cut will explain our meaning:--When the fluid passes from the U
pole of the battery in the direction of B A K L M Z, and enters V, its
opposite pole, "a current," as it is called, is completed, running from
left to right, the effect of which upon the needle, N, is to deflect it in
the direction of the dotted line (seen in perspective) 2, 3, or to an
angle of 90 degrees, with the wire, if the current is sufficiently strong.
If, however, the current be reversed, and the electric fluid made to
traverse the wire from right to left, in the direction of the letters V Z
M L K A B to the U end of the battery, the needle will immediately reverse
its position and place itself at 90 degrees in the opposite direction.
This then is the whole principle and mystery of the needle telegraph, the
one still most extensively used in this country. The break that occurs
between the letters B U and Z V is intended to show the method in which
the needle is made to work. "Whilst the wires are thus apart the circuit
is broken," or the fluid no longer passes along the wire, but immediately
they are approximated the circulation again commences, and the needle
"answers the helm." By the opening and closing, then, of this small space,
which is effected by a lever, the needle is made to oscillate at will.

[Illustration: Fig. 4.]

The mere fact, however, of an electric current passing along a wire in
proximity to a magnetic needle was not sufficient to enable any person to
construct a telegraph. Would the needle be deflected by a wire, the
battery of which was placed at any considerable distance? it would not;
therefore, for all telegraphic purposes Oersted's discovery was worthless.
Schweigger, however, soon after ascertained that by passing a great number
of times round the needle a wire, thoroughly insulated by a "serving" of
silk thread, as shown in figure 4, the deflecting powers of the currant
were _multiplied_, and the sensibility of the instrument marvellously

[Illustration: Fig. 5.]

In the same year that Oersted made his brilliant discovery, M. Arago
detected another law, which furnished a second method by which the
electric current could be made to tell its tale. He announced to the
French Academy the fact so pregnant in its consequences, that the fluid
possessed the power of imparting magnetism to steel or iron; and shortly
afterwards our own countryman, Sturgeon, invented the first
electro-magnet, by coiling around a piece of soft iron a great length of
fine insulated copper wire, the ends of which communicated with a battery.
Figure 5 will give a rough idea of this instrument. The wire U B A, when
it reaches the cylinder K L, is wound many times round it, and returns to
the battery at V. As long as the current is passing, the soft iron becomes
a magnet and attracts the iron armature P; but directly the circuit is
broken its magnetic power ceases, and P, by the action of a spring, flies
back. It will at once be seen that by alternately making and breaking the
circuit, which can be done as fast as the hand can move the handle of a
lever, an up and down movement of the armature P will take place, and this
is the principle of action in Wheatstone's electro-magnetic dial
instrument and Morse's recording telegraph, so extensively used in
America. The general _modus operandi_ of the latter, which is a
contrivance of singular merit and efficiency, can be easily understood. At
the station at which the message is received, a poised iron lever has a
metal pin on its upper surface at one end, and an armature on its under
surface at the other end. When the magnet, which is placed beneath the
armature, attracts and draws it down, the pin at the opposite extremity is
raised, and presses against a strip of paper, which is moved between the
metal point, and a roller supported above it, at a uniform rate by means
of clock-work. The pin or style will then make a simple dot, or trace
lines of variable length upon the paper, according as the electric current
is kept up only for a single instant, or for a longer period. "The
impressions on the paper," says Dr. Turnbull, "resemble the raised
printing for the blind." Out of these dots and lines an alphabet is formed
similar to that which we have given in a subsequent page, when speaking of
the chemical telegraph at Bain. The instrument of Morse requires only a
single wire to work it, and is, says the Abbé Moigno, "an excellent
telegraph, very simple, very efficacious, and very rapid in its
transmissions. A practised clerk can indent on an average seventeen words
a minute, which is consequently as many as a skilful writer could
transcribe with a pen. It is, moreover, a great advantage to have fixed on
a band of paper the messages which the needle telegraphs merely figure in
the air."

Since the year 1821 the principles of action of two of the working
telegraphs of the present day were known to scientific men, and the
question naturally arises, how was it that it still took so many years to
make the telegraph a working fact? The answer is, that the combination of
circumstances necessary to bring it to perfection had not arisen. What
interest had practical men in carrying out the dreams of philosophers? No
one imagined that it would ever become a necessary social engine, or that
it would pay "seven per cent." to a public Company. The patronage of the
Government could alone have been looked to by any of the proposers of the
new method of telegraphy, and the sort of encouragement received from this
quarter may be judged from the fact that when Mr. Ronalds attempted to
draw the attention of some of the officials to the working of his
instrument, they did not even deign to pay it a visit, but returned for
answer, "That the telegraph was of no use in time of peace, and that the
semaphore in time of war answered all the required purposes." The occasion
that suddenly ripened the invention and brought it into practical
operation was the introduction of railroads. Were it not for the universal
spread of this new means of locomotion, the telegraph might still have
remained in that limbo from which so many discoveries have never emerged.
The vast advantage to a railroad of a method of conveying signals
instantaneously throughout its entire length was at once seen, and the
continuity of its property, together with the protection afforded by its
servants, presented facilities for its introduction and maintenance which
had never before occurred.

A problem of great scientific interest as well as of practical importance
in connection with the electric telegraph had still to be solved. The
experiments of Dr. Watson on Shooter's Hill, in the middle of the last
century, proved, it is true, that _a shock of electricity_ passed along a
four mile circuit without any appreciable loss of time, but nothing was
definitely known about the speed at which it really travelled. This
difficult question was answered by Professor Wheatstone. His beautiful
investigations on the subject were made by means of a very rapidly
revolving mirror, upon which the passage of the electric fluid, at
different and distant parts of a severed wire, was indicated by sparks,
which appeared as lines of light on the rapidly turning glass, on the same
principle that a bit of lighted charcoal whirled round and round in the
air appears as a circle of fire. By this instrument, which we cannot
render intelligible to the general reader, but for a fuller account of
which we refer him to the Philosophical Transactions of 1834, he made it
evident to the eye that one spark or leap of the electric fluid did occur
before the other--thus proving that its transit along the wire _was_ a
matter of time. The manner in which he took measure of this infinitesimal
period was extremely ingenious. By attaching a hollow piece of metal--a
metallic humming-top as it were--to the spindle of his revolving mirror,
and at the same time directing a current of air against it, he was enabled
to test its speed by the pitch of the sound produced: this once known, the
measuring of time that elapsed between the different sparks was easy. Thus
he forced the lightning to tell how fast it was going. His
admirably-contrived apparatus has since proved of considerable use to
philosophers in measuring very minute parts of time, and scientific men
can now with the greatest ease ascertain the period a flash of light takes
to traverse a distance of 50 feet--and light, be it remembered, travels at
the speed of 200,000 miles a second!

By this experiment it appeared that electricity travels through a
copper-wire with at least the velocity of light through the celestial
space, though the recent experiments made for Professor Bache, director of
the national survey of America, have proved that the velocity of the
current through suspended _iron_ wires is not more than 15,400 miles per
second. The philosophic proof of the marvellous rate at which the electric
current moved, doubtless turned many minds once more in the direction of
the long sought for telegraph, and it is not surprising that the eminent
elucidator of the fact was among the number. A short time after this he
insulated four miles of wire in the vaults of King's College, on which he
performed most of his subsequent experiments.[34] Thus in the silence of
these gloomy vaults, as early as 1836, the lightning that was to flash
with intelligence round the world--the nervous system so shortly destined
to spread itself through two hemispheres, string together continents and
islands, and carry human thought under the wide-spreading seas, was slowly
being trained to the service of man by one of the most distinguished of
the many philosophers who have contributed to the development of this
branch of science.

Following up his experiment, Professor Wheatstone worked out the
arrangements of his telegraph, and having associated himself in 1837 with
Mr. Cooke, who had previously devoted much time to the same subject, a
patent was taken out in the June of that year in their joint names. Their
telegraph had five wires and five needles; the latter being worked upon
the face of a lozenge-shaped dial inscribed with the letters of the
alphabet, any one of which could be indicated by the convergence of two of
the needles. This very ingenious instrument could be manipulated by any
person who knew how to read, and did not labour under the disadvantage of
working by a code which required time to be understood. Immediately upon
the taking out of the patent, the directors of the North Western Railway
sanctioned the laying down of wires between the Euston Square and Camden
Town stations, and towards the end of July the telegraph was ready to

Late in the evening of the 25th of that month, in a dingy little room near
the booking-office at Euston square, by the light of a flaring dip-candle,
which only illuminated the surrounding darkness, sat the inventor, with a
beating pulse and a heart full of hope. In an equally small room at the
Camden Town station, where the wires terminated, sat Mr. Cooke, his
co-patentee, and among others, two witnesses well known to fame, Mr.
Charles Fox and Mr. Stephenson. These gentlemen listened to the first word
spelt by that trembling tongue of steel which will only cease to discourse
with the extinction of man himself. Mr. Cooke in his turn touched the keys
and returned the answer. "Never did I feel such a tumultuous sensation
before," said the Professor, "as when all alone in the still room I heard
the needles click, and as I spelled the words I felt all the magnitude of
the invention, now proved to be practical beyond cavil or dispute." The
telegraph thenceforward, as far as its mechanism was concerned, went on
without a check, and the modifications of this instrument, which is still
in use, have been made for the purpose of rendering it more economical in
its construction and working, two wires at present being employed, and in
some cases only one.

A frequently renewed and still unsettled controversy has arisen upon the
point of who is to be considered the first contriver of the telegraph in
the form which made it available for popular use. Two names alone are now
put forward to dispute the claim with Wheatstone--Steinheil of Munich and
Morse of New York.

From a communication of M. Arago to the French Academy of Sciences, it
appears that the telegraph of Steinheil was in operation, for a distance
of seven miles, on the 19th of July, 1837, the same month in which
Wheatstone put his own contrivance to the test upon the North Western
Railway. But besides that the patent of Wheatstone was taken out in the
preceding June, and was itself founded upon previous and thoroughly
successful experiments, there is another material circumstance which gives
him a claim to priority over Steinheil, viz., that the latter published no
description of his instrument until August, 1838, that he altered and
improved it in the interval, and that the only accounts we have of his
contrivance describe its amended and not its original form. It was,
however, a very meritorious performance, and, in addition to its other
excellences, Steinheil was the first who employed the earth to complete
the circuit--a most important fact, which we shall explain hereafter.
Still his telegraph was inferior in its mechanical arrangements to that of
Wheatstone, and the inventor himself soon abandoned it in favour of a
modification of the instrument of Morse.

Morse dates his claim to _the invention of the telegraph_ from the year
1832, when the first idea of such an instrument, he tells us, struck him
as he was returning home from Havre in the ship Sully. A fellow-passenger,
Professor Jackson, it appears, was in the habit of amusing himself, in
common with the rest of the passengers, with some accounts of the wonders
of electricity; and when Morse later developed his contrivance, Professor
Jackson not only claimed it as a plagiarism from his own conversation, but
added that Morse was so ignorant as to ask, upon hearing the term
Electro-Magnetism, "In what does that differ from ordinary Magnetism?" The
telegraph was at best, on the part of both of them, a crude idea; and it
was not till September, 1837, that Professor Morse was able to exhibit his
still imperfect machinery in action. He ultimately succeeded, as we have
before stated, in producing a telegraph of first-rate excellence; and, out
of 15,000 miles of wire which had been erected by 1852 in the United
States, 12,124 were worked on the system of Morse.

The question of priority is, in our opinion, after all, of no sort of
importance, at least as regards the rival claims of Wheatstone and
Steinheil. When the progress of science has prepared the way for a great
discovery, two geniuses will occasionally take the step together, because
each is able to take the step of a giant. It was thus that the Calculus
was found out by both Newton and Leibnitz, and the place of Neptune in the
heavens by both Adams and Leverrier. It was the same with the telegraph.
The investigations of Wheatstone and Steinheil were entirely independent
of each other, and it cannot lessen the merit of either that there was a
second man in Europe who was equal to the task.

There are some who dispute Professor Wheatstone's claim, by urging that,
inasmuch as all the main features of the telegraph existed before he took
out his patent, there was nothing left to invent. It is true that much had
been done, but it is equally certain that there was much to do. When
Wheatstone first directed his attention to electricity as a means of
communicating thoughts to a distance, the telegraph was a useless and
inoperative machine. He and his partner established as a working, paying
fact, what had hitherto been little better than a philosophic toy. To
those who now disparage the Professor's labours we think it sufficient to
reply by the admirable saying of the French _savant_, M. Biot, "Nothing is
so easy as the discovery of yesterday; nothing so difficult as the
discovery of to-day."

Let us return, however, to the history of the telegraph in England, from
which we have digressed. After the successful working of the
mile-and-a-quarter line, the Directors of the London and Birmingham
Railway proposed to lay it down to the latter town if the Birmingham and
Liverpool Directors would continue it on their line; but they objected,
and the telegraph received notice to quit the ground it already occupied.
Of course, its sudden disappearance would have branded it as a failure in
most men's minds, and, in all probability, the telegraph would have been
put back many years, had not Mr. Brunel, to his honour, in 1839,
determined to adopt it on the Great Western line. It was accordingly
carried at first as far as West Drayton, thirteen miles, and afterwards to
Slough, a distance of eighteen miles. The wires were not at this early
date suspended upon posts, but insulated and encased in an iron tube,
which was placed beneath the ground.

The telegraph hitherto had been strictly confined to railway business, and
in furtherance of this object Brunel proposed to continue it to Bristol as
soon as the line was opened. Here, again, the folly and blindness of
railway proprietors threw obstacles in the way, which led, however, to an
unlooked-for application of its powers to public purposes. At a general
meeting of the proprietors of the Great Western Railway in Bristol, a Mr.
Hayward, of Manchester, got up and denounced the invention as a
"new-fangled scheme," and managed to pass a resolution repudiating the
agreement entered into with the patentees. Thus within a few years we find
the telegraph rejected by two of the most powerful railway companies, the
persons above all others who ought to have welcomed it with acclamation.

To keep the wires on the ground, Mr. Cooke proposed to maintain it at his
own expense, and was permitted by the directors to do so on condition of
sending their railway signals free of charge, and of extending the line to
Slough. In return, he was allowed to transmit the messages of the public.
Here commences the first popular use of the telegraph in England, or in
any other country. The tariff was one shilling per message. The effect of
this low charge was to develop a class of business which seems beneath the
notice of the powerful company now in possession of most of the
telegraphic lines in the kingdom. The transactions of the retail dealers
are considered too petty, perhaps, for their attention; but there can be
no doubt that the comfort of the public would be vastly increased, and
also the revenues of the company, if they would only condescend to take a
lesson by the commercial experience of this shilling tariff, the working
of which we will illustrate by transcribing from the telegraph book at
Paddington a few specimens of the messages sent:--

    "Commercial News. 1844, Nov. 1, Slough, 4.10 P.M.--'Send a messenger
    to Mr. Harris, poulterer, Duke-street, Manchester-square, and order
    him to send twelve more chickens to Mr. Finch, High-street, Windsor,
    by the 5.0 P.M. down train, without fail.' Answer: Paddington, 5.5
    P.M.--'The chickens are sent by the 5.0 P.M. train.'

    "Slough, 7.35 P.M.--'A Mr. Thomas B., a first-class passenger, 6.30
    P.M. train, left a blue cloak with a velvet collar in first-class
    booking-office. Send it by mail train if found.'

    "Paddington 7.45 P.M.--'There are two such cloaks in the
    booking-office: has Mr. B.'s any mark on any part of it?' Slough, 7.47
    P.M.--'Mr. B.'s has the mark × under the collar, inside.'

    "Paddington, 7.55 P.M.--'Cloak found, and will be sent on as

    "Slough, Nov. 11, 1844, 4.3 P.M.--'Send a messenger to Mr. Harris,
    Duke-street, Manchester-square, and request him to send 6 lbs. of
    white bait and 4 lbs. of sausages, by the 5.40 train, to Mr. Finch, of
    Windsor they must be sent by 5.30 down train, or not at all.'

    "Paddington, 5.27 P.M.--'Messenger returned with articles which will
    be sent by 5.30 train, as requested.'"

The first application of the telegraph to police purposes took place about
this time on the Great Western Railway, and, as it was the first
intimation thieves got of the electric constable being on duty, it is full
of interest. The following extracts are from the telegraph book kept at
the Paddington station:--

    "Eaton Montem day, August 28, 1844.--The Commissioners of Police have
    issued orders that several officers of the detective force shall be
    stationed at Paddington to watch the movements of suspicious persons,
    going by the down-train, and give notice by the electric telegraph to
    the Slough station of the number of such suspected persons, and dress,
    their names if known, also the carriages in which they are."

Now come the messages following one after the other, and influencing the
fate of the marked individuals with all the celerity, certainty, and
calmness of the Nemesis of the Greek drama:--

    "Paddington, 10.20 A.M.--'Mail train just started. It contains three
    thieves, named Sparrow, Burrell, and Spurgeon, in the first
    compartment of the fourth first-class carriage.'

    "Slough, 10.48 A.M.--'Mail train arrived. _The officers have cautioned
    the three thieves._'

    "Paddington, 10.50 A.M.--'Special train just left. It contained two
    thieves: one named Oliver Martin, who is dressed in black, _crape on
    his hat_; the other named Fiddler Dick, in black trowsers and light
    blouse. Both in the third compartment of the first second-class

    "Slough, 11.16 A.M.--'Special train arrived. Officers have taken the
    two thieves into custody, a lady having lost her bag, containing a
    purse with two sovereigns and some silver in it; one of the sovereigns
    was sworn to by the lady as having been her property. It was found in
    Fiddler Dick's watch-fob.'"

It appears that, on the arrival of the train, a policeman opened the door
of the "third compartment of the first second-class carriage" and asked
the passengers if they had missed anything? A search in pockets and bags
accordingly ensued, until one lady called out that her purse was gone.
"Fiddler Dick, you are wanted," was the immediate demand of the
police-officer, beckoning to the culprit, who came out of the carriage
thunderstruck at the discovery, and gave himself up, together with the
booty, with the air of a completely beaten man. The effect of the capture
so cleverly brought about is thus spoken of in the telegraph book:--

    "Slough, 11.51 A.M.--'Several of the suspected persons who came by the
    various down-trains are lurking about Slough, uttering bitter
    invectives against the telegraph. Not one of those cautioned has
    ventured to proceed to the Montem.'"

Ever after this the lightfingered gentry avoided the railway and the _too_
intelligent companion that ran beside it, and betook themselves again to
the road--a retrograde step, to which on all great public occasions they
continue to adhere.

The telegraph, even up to this period, was very little known to the great
mass of the public, and might have continued for some time longer in
obscurity but for its remarkable agency in causing the arrest of the
quaker Tawell. This event, which took place on the afternoon of Friday,
January 3rd, 1845, placed it before the world as a prominent instrument in
a terrible drama, and at once drew universal attention to its

It must not be imagined, however, that Mr. Wheatstone's was the only
patent taken out for a telegraph in the year 1837. A number of inquiring
minds were simultaneously with the Professor wandering in the tangled wood
of doubt, and when he burst his way through, others speedily emerged at
different points, one after another. Consequently, the year 1837 was
distinguished by a complete crop of telegraphs, any one of which would
perhaps have held its ground had it stood alone, but not one of them was
practically equal to the first, and they have all long since departed to
the tomb, already stored with the abortive results of so many merely
ingenious minds.

The rapidity with which the needle instrument transmits messages, the
small amount of electricity required to work it, and the simplicity of its
construction, are its chief recommendations. Upwards of 200 letters can be
forwarded by it within the minute. Its great drawback--a drawback that
will appear greater every year--is that it can only be worked by a system
of signs, which requires some practice to understand. As long as the
public is content to send its messages open to the light of day, this plan
will hold its ground, as a practised manipulator can indicate the letters
as fast as it is possible to read, much less transcribe them, at the other
end of the wire; but immediately that the public come to demand
secrecy--to put a seal as of old on its letters--this telegraph will, we
predict, fall into _public_ disuse; and the revolving dial telegraph,
invented by Mr. Wheatstone, in 1840, or the recording telegraph of Bain or
Morse, or, more likely still, the American printing telegraph of House,
will come into play.

This latter instrument appears to contain within itself capabilities of
very high excellence; for instance, it requires no one to interpret, and
then to re-write its messages--this it does itself. In fact it extends the
compositor's fingers as far as the wire can be stretched. Messages are
thus printed at the rate of fifty letters a minute, say at five hundred
miles distance, in common Roman characters, on long slips of paper similar
to those used on the recording instrument. Any description of its
complicated mechanism would be utterly unintelligible to general readers.
"While the arrangements of the telegraph of Morse," said Mr. Justice
Woodbury, of America, in giving judgment in a patent case, "can be readily
understood by most mechanics and men of science, it requires days, if not
weeks with some, thoroughly to comprehend all the parts and movements of
the telegraph of House." His system is in use for thousands of miles of
the American lines. Bakewell's copying telegraph is naturally suggested by
the telegraph of House, from the fact that it reproduces its messages,
although in a different manner. The sender of the message may be said to
write with a pen long enough to stretch to the most distant correspondent;
that is, he not only forwards instantaneously the substance of a message,
but it is conveyed in his own handwriting. The principle is similar to
that of Davy's chemical recording telegraph. The person sending the
message writes it on a piece of tin foil with a pen dipped in varnish or
any other non-conducting substance; this message is then placed round a
metal cylinder, which is made to revolve at a certain regulated pace. In
contact with this cylinder is a blunt steel point, which, by the action of
a screw, makes a spiral line from the top to the bottom of the cylinder,
thus touching every portion of the written message enveloping it. In
connection with the steel point is the conducting wire, and at the end of
the wire is a similar steel point working spirally upon a like cylinder.
It will be at once seen that the current will always be transmitted,
except at those portions of the tin foil which are covered with the
non-conducting varnish, and which, therefore, cut off the flow of
electricity, and the handwriting will appear at the other end of the
telegraphic wire upon a piece of chemically-prepared paper rolled upon its
cylinder, and moving synchronously with it. The transmitted letter appears
to be written in white upon a dark ground, the white parts, of course,
indicating where the current has been broken, and where, consequently, no
decomposition of the chemical paper has taken place.

To return, however, to our subject after this little digression. At the
same time that the first working telegraph was being simplified and
improved, the system was gradually spreading, and, by the end of the year
1845, lines exceeding 500 miles in extent were in operation in England,
working Messrs. Wheatstone and Cook's patents. In the following year,
capital, as represented by the powerful Electric Telegraph Company,
commenced its operations, and an immediate and rapid development of the
new method of carrying intelligence was the result.

"A period of eight years has elapsed," as they say in a certain class of
drama, and let us now look upon the condition of electric-telegraphy in
England. We left it exerting its influence in a disjointed manner over a
few railways, and striking out its wires here and there at random, without
governing head or organization; and how do we find it?

Jammed in between lofty houses, at the bottom of a narrow court in
Lothbury, we see before us a stuccoed wall, ornamented with an electric
illuminated clock. Who would think that behind this narrow forehead lay
the great brain,--if we may so term it,--of the nervous system of Britain,
or that beneath the narrow pavement of the alley lies its spinal chord,
composed of hundreds of fibres, which transmit intelligence as unperceived
as does the medulla oblongata beneath the skin? Emerging from this narrow
channel, the "efferent" wires branch off beneath the different footways,
ramify in certain plexuses within the great centre of intelligence itself,
and then shoot out along the different lines of railway until the shores
of the island would seem to interpose a limit to their further progress.
Not so, however:--beneath the seas, under the heaving waves covered with
stately navies, they take their darksome way, until, with the burden of
their moving fire, they emerge once more upon the foreign strand, and
commence afresh their career over the wide expanse of the Continent.

And now, like a curious physiologist, let us examine the various parts of
this ingeniously-constructed sensorium, and endeavour to show our readers
how in this high chamber, fashioned by human hands, thoughts circulate,
and ideas come and go. The door of the "Central Telegraph Station" leads
immediately into the Central Hall, an oblong space, open quite up to the
roof, which presents an appearance something like the Coal Exchange or the
Geological Museum, two tiers of galleries being suspended from the bare
walls, and affording communication to the different parts of the building.
If we ascend the first gallery, and lean over the balustrade, we shall get
a very clear bird's-eye view of the method in which messages are received
and transmitted. Here, man, like the watchful spider, sits centered within
his radiating web, and "lives along the line." Beneath us runs a sweep of
counter forming three sides of a quadrangle, divided into compartments of
about a square yard by green curtains. A desk and printed forms, to be
filled up, are placed in each of these isolated cells, towards which we
see individuals immediately make, and then bury themselves, being for the
time profoundly intent upon the printed form.

We all know the jocose excuse of the correspondent for having written a
long letter--that he had not time to make it shorter. And truly it
requires some art to be laconic enough to satisfy the pocket in this
establishment. Let us watch, for instance, yonder youth: he seems to have
filled his sheet very close--now he gives it in to the receiving-clerk,
and something evidently is wrong, for he looks perplexed--it is some hitch
about the charge, for his attention is directed to the scale of prices
printed at the head of the paper.

    "Messages (not exceeding twenty words) can be sent between all the
    principal towns in Great Britain at a charge of 1_s._ within a circuit
    of 50 miles, of 2_s._ 6_d._ within a circuit of 100 miles
    (geographical distance), and of 5_s._ beyond a circuit of 100 miles,
    with an additional sum of 6_d._ porterage within half a mile of the

"Economy," says a French writer, M. de Courcy, "teaches conciseness. The
telegraphic style banishes all the forms of politeness. 'May I ask you to
do me the favour,' is 6d. for a distance of fifty miles." How many of
those fond adjectives, therefore, must our poor fellow relentlessly strike
out to bring his billet down to a reasonable charge! What food for
speculation each person affords, as he writes his hurried epistle,
dictated either by fear, or greed, or more powerful love!--for we have not
yet got into the habit of employing the telegraph, like the Americans, on
the mere every-day business of life. Every message--and of these there are
350,000 transmitted by this Company yearly for the public, and upwards of
3,500,000 for the Railways--is faithfully copied, and put by in fire-proof
safes, those sent by the recording telegraph being wound in tape-like
lengths upon a roller, and appearing exactly like discs of sarcenet
ribbon. Fancy some future Macaulay rummaging among such a store, and
painting therefrom the salient features of the social and commercial life
of England in the nineteenth century. If from the Household Book of the
Duke of Northumberland, or still later, from the Paston Letters, we can
catch such glimpses of the manners of an early age, what might not be
gathered some day in the twenty-first century from a record of the
correspondence of an entire people?

"Softly, softly," interposes the Secretary of the Company, "we have no
such intention of gratifying posterity; for, after a certain brief period
all copies of communications are destroyed. No person unconnected with
the office is, under any consideration, allowed to have access to them,
and the servants of the Company are under a bond not to divulge 'the
secrets of the prison-house.'" Very good, as far as the present generation
is concerned; nevertheless, it is devoutly to be wished that an odd box or
two of these sarcenet ribbons, with their linear language, may escape, for
future Rawlinsons to puzzle over and decipher for the instruction of

Whilst we have been thus speculating, however, a dozen messages for all
parts of the kingdom have successively ascended, through the long lift
before us, to the instrument-rooms, of which there are two, situated in
the attics of the establishment, on either side of the top gallery of the
central hall; these, to carry out our anatomical simile, might be called
the two hemispheres of the establishment's cerebrum. The instruments of
one of these rooms are worked by youths, while those of the other are
manipulated by young ladies; and it seems to us as though the directors
were pitting them against each other--establishing a kind of industrial
tournament--to see which description of labourer is worthiest. As yet,
little or no difference can be detected: this, however, is in itself a
triumph for the fair sex, as it proves their capacity for a species of
employment well calculated for their habits and physical powers, and opens
another door for that superabundance of female labour of a superior kind
which has hitherto sought employment in vain.

Click, click, go the needles on every hand as we enter. Here we see the
iron tongues of the telegraph wagging, and talking as fast as a tea-table
full of old maids. London is holding communication with Manchester.
Plymouth is listening attentively to a long story, and every now and then
intimates by a slight movement that he perfectly comprehends. But there is
one speaker whose nimble tongue seems to be saying important things by the
stir around him,--that is _the Hague_ whispering under the North Sea the
news he has heard, an hour or so ago, from Vienna of a great victory just
gained by the Turks. We are witness to a series of conversations carried
on with all corners of the island, and between the metropolis of the
world and every capital of northern and central Europe, as intimately as
though the speakers were bending their heads over the dinner-table, and
talking confidentially to the host. And by what agency is this
extraordinary conversation carried on? All that the visitor sees is a
number of little mahogany cases, very similar to those of American clocks,
each having a dial, with two lozenge-shaped needles working by pivots,
which hang, when at rest, perpendicularly upon it. Two dependant handles,
situated at the base of this instrument, which the operator grasps and
moves from side to side at his will, suffice to make and break the
currents or reverse them, and consequently to deflect the needles either
to the right or left. Two little stops of ivory are placed about half an
inch apart, on either side of the needle, to prevent its deflecting too
much, and to check all vibration. It is the sound of the iron tongue
striking against these stops that makes the clicking, and to which the
telegraphists are sensitively alive. In the early days of telegraphy, the
operator's attention, at all the stations, was drawn to the instrument by
the sudden ringing of an alarum, which was effected by the agency of an
electro-magnet; but the horrid din it occasioned became insupportable to
persons in constant attendance, and this part of the instrument was
speedily given up, the clicking of the needle being found quite sufficient
to draw his attention to the arrival or passing of a message. We say _or
passing_ of a message, because, when a communication is made, as for
instance, between London and Edinburgh, the needles of all the
telegraph-stations on the line are simultaneously deflected, but the
attendant has only to take notice of what is going on when a special
signal is made to his particular locality, informing him that _he_ is
spoken with. A story is told of a certain somnolent station clerk, who, in
order to enjoy his nap, trained his terrier to scratch and awaken him at
the first sound of the clicking needles.

There are but two kinds of telegraph used by the company, the needle
telegraph and a few of the chemical recording telegraph of Bain. The
latter instrument strikes the spectator more, perhaps, than the
nimble-working needle apparatus, but its action is equally simple. Slits
of variable length representing letters, according to the alphabet in the
note,[35] are punched out from a long strip of paper called the
message-strip, which is placed between a revolving cylinder and a toothed
spring. The battery is connected with the cylinder; the wire, which goes
from station to station, is joined to the spring. As dry paper is a
non-conductor, no electricity passes while the unpierced portion of the
message-slip interposes between the cylinder and the tooth; but when the
tooth drops into a space, and comes in contact with the cylinder, the
current flows. If we now transfer our attention to the station at which
the message is received, we find a similar cylinder revolving at a regular
rate, and a metal pin, depending from the end of the telegraph wire,
pressing upon it; but in this case the paper between the cylinder and the
pin has been washed with a solution of prussiate of potash, which
electricity has the effect of changing to Prussian blue at the point where
the pin touches it. Therefore, as the chemically prepared paper moves
under the pin, a blue line is formed of the same length as the slits at
the other end, which regulate the duration of the electric current; and
thus every letter punched upon the message-strip is faithfully transferred
to its distant fellow. Such is the celerity with which the notation is
transmitted by this method, that "in an experiment performed by M. Le
Verrier and Dr. Lardner, before committees of the Institute and the
Legislative Assembly at Paris, despatches were sent 1,000 miles at the
rate of nearly 20,000 words an hour." In ordinary practice, however, the
speed is limited to the rate at which an expert clerk can punch out the
holes, which is not much above a hundred per minute. Where the object was
to forward long documents, such as a speech, a number of persons could be
employed simultaneously in punching out different portions of the message,
and the message-strips would then be supplied as fast as the machine could

This system is used extensively in America. A weaker current of
electricity than what is required for deflecting needles or magnetising
iron, suffices to effect the requisite chemical decomposition. The
conducting power of vapour or rain carries much of the electricity from
the wires in certain states of the atmosphere; "and in such cases, where
both Morse's and Bain's telegraphs are used by an amalgamated company in
the same office, it is found convenient to remove the wires from Morse's
instruments, and connect them with Bain's, on which it is practicable to
operate when communication by Morse's system is
interrupted."--(_Whitworth's Report_, p. 51.)

This chemical telegraph has also the advantage, in common with all
recording instruments, that it leaves an indelible record of every message
transmitted, and therefore is very useful when the mistake of a single
figure or letter might be of consequence, which we will illustrate by a
case which happened very lately. A stockbroker in the City received,
during a very agitated state of the funds, an order to buy for a client in
a distant part of the country, by a certain time of the day, 80,000_l._ of
consols. This order being unusually large for the individual, the broker
doubted its accuracy, and immediately made inquiries at the office. The
message had luckily been sent by the recording instrument, and upon
looking at the record it was immediately seen that the order was for
8,000_l._, the transcriber having put in an 0 too much, for which,
according to the rules of the company, he was incontinently fined. Now,
here the error was immediately traced to the person who made it, and there
was no need of telegraphing back to inquire if all were right, two matters
of vital importance in such a transaction as this, involving so much
personal responsibility; for if the purchase had been made and turned out
unfortunate, the loss would indubitably have fallen upon the unhappy

In all ordinary transactions, however, the needle instrument is
preferable, because it transmits its messages much more quickly. The speed
with which the attendants upon these instruments read off the signals made
by the needles is really marvellous: they do not in some cases even wait
to spell the words letter by letter, but jump at the sentence before it is
concluded; and they have learned by practice, as Sir Francis Head says in
"Stokers and Pokers," to recognize immediately who is telegraphing to
them, say at York, by the peculiar _expression of the needles_, the long
drawn wires thus forming a kind of human antennæ by which individual
peculiarities of touch are projected to an infinite distance. To catalogue
the kind of messages which pass through the room, either on their way from
London or in course of distribution to it, would be to give a history of
human affairs. Here, from the shores of this tight island, comes the
morning news gathered by watchers, telescopes in hand, on remote
headlands, of what ships have just hove in sight, or what craft have
foundered or come ashore--to this room, swifter beyond comparison than the
carrier-dove of old, the wire speeds the name of the winner of the Derby
or the Oaks. How the four winds are blowing throughout the island; how
stocks rise or fall every hour of the day in all the great towns and in
the continental capitals; what corn is at Mark Lane, and what farmer Giles
got a quarter of an hour since in a country town in Yorkshire, are equally
known in the telegraph room. Intermixed with quotations of tallow and the
price of Wall's End coals, now and then comes a love-billet, which excites
no more sympathy in the clerk than in the iron that conveys it; or a
notice that the sudden dart of death has struck some distant friend, is
transmitted and received as unconcernedly as an account of the fall in
Russian stock. When business is slack the telegraphists sometimes amuse
themselves by an interchange of badinage with their distant friends. Sir
Francis Head informs us that an absolute quarrel once took place by
telegraph, and the two irritated manipulators were obliged to be separated
in consequence.

In addition to this private message department there is, below stairs, an
intelligence office, in which news published in the London morning papers
is condensed and forwarded to the Exchanges of Liverpool, Bristol,
Manchester, Glasgow, &c.[37] A few years since the company opened
subscription rooms in all the large towns of the north, in which
intelligence of every kind was posted immediately after its arrival in
London; but the craving for early intelligence was not sufficient to
induce the people to incur the expense, and, with the exception of the
room at Hull, the establishments have all been shut up.

On Friday evening especially this department is very busy condensing for
the country papers the news which appears in that exciting column headed
"By Electric Telegraph, London, 2 A.M." Thus the telegraph rides express
through the night for the broadsheets of the entire kingdom, and even
steps across from Portpatrick to Donaghadee into the sister country, with
its budget of latest intelligence, by which means the extremities of the
two islands are kept as well _up_ in the progress of important events as
London itself. Upwards of 120 provincial papers each receive in this
manner their column of parliamentary news of the night; and the _Daily
Mail_, published in Glasgow, gets sometimes as much as three columns of
the debates forwarded whilst the House is sitting. A superintendent and
four clerks are expressly employed in this department; and early in the
day, towards the end of the week, the office presents all the appearance
of an editor's room. At seven in the morning the clerks are to be seen
deep in the _Times_ and other daily papers, just hot from the press,
making extracts, and condensing into short paragraphs all the most
important events, which are immediately sent off to the country papers to
form "second editions." Neither does the work cease here; for no sooner is
a second edition published in town, than its news, if of more than
ordinary interest, is transmitted to the provinces. For instance: whilst
we were in the company's telegraph room a short time since, the following
intelligence was being served out to Liverpool, York, Manchester, Leeds,
Bristol, Birmingham, and Hull:--


    "_Vienna, Saturday, April 8th._

    "The journal _Fremden Blatt_ announces, under date of Bucharest, 4th
    April, that a great battle was being fought at Rassova, about midway
    between Hirsova and Silistria, in the Dobrudscha. The result was not
    known. Mustapha Pasha is at the head of 50,000 men."

Arrived at the above-mentioned places, swifter than a rocket could fly the
distance, like a rocket it bursts, and is again carried by the diverging
wires into a dozen neighbouring towns. The announcement we have quoted
comes opportunely to remind us that intelligence thus hastily gathered and
transmitted has also its drawbacks, and is not so trustworthy as the news
which starts later and travels slower. The "great battle of Rassova" has
not yet been fought, and the general action announced through the
telegraph was only a sanguinary skirmish.

The telegraphic organization of London, meagre as it is at present, would
form alone a curious paper: "a province covered with houses," it demands a
special arrangement, and accordingly we see day by day new branches opened
within its precincts, by which means every part of the metropolis is being
put in communication with the country and Europe.

The branch stations are, London Docks (main entrance); No. 43, Mincing
Lane; General Post Office, St. Martin's-le-Grand; No. 30, Fleet Street;
No. 448, West Strand; No. 17_a_, Great George Street, Westminster; No. 89,
St. James's Street; No. 1, Park Side, Knightsbridge; No. 6, Edgeware Road;
Great Western Railway Station; London and North-Western Railway Station;
Great Northern Railway Station; Highbury Railway Station; Eastern
Counties' Railway Station; Blackwall Railway Station; London and Brighton
and South Coast Railway Station; and the London and South-Western Railway
Station; of these only two are open night and day. The central office,
strange as it might appear, is closed at half-past 8 o'clock P.M., and its
wires are put in connection with those at the Charing Cross Station, which
takes upon itself the night work--a singular proof, by the way, that
London proper is deserted shortly after the hours of business are over.
The Eastern Counties' office is also open at night, and forms the East End
office of the company. These stations communicate with the central office
in Lothbury, and form, in fact, direct feeders to it, just as the hundred
suckers do to the zoophyte.

We have yet, however, to notice the special telegraphic communication
which exists in the metropolis between place and place, either for
governmental purposes or for social convenience. The most curious of these
lines is the wire between the Octagon Hall in the new Houses of Parliament
and the St. James's Street Commercial station. They should name this line
from the "whipper-in" of the House, for it is nothing more than a
call-wire for members. The company employ reporters during the sitting of
Parliament, to make an abstract from the gallery of the business of the
two Houses as it proceeds; and this abstract is forwarded, at very short
intervals, to the office in St. James's Street, where _it is set up and
printed_, additions being made to the sheet issued as the MS. comes in.
This flying sheet is posted half-hourly to the following clubs and
establishments:--Arthur's; Carlton; Oxford and Cambridge; Brook's;
Conservative; United Service; Athenæum; Reform; Traveller's; United
University; Union; and White's; hourly to Boodle's Club and Prince's Club;
and half-hourly to the Royal Italian Opera. The shortest possible abstract
is of course supplied--just sufficient, in fact, to enable the
after-dinner M.P. so to economize his proceedings as to be able to finish
his claret, and yet be in time for the ministerial statement, or to count
in the division.

The wire to the Opera is a still more curious example of the social
services the new power is destined to perform. An abstract of the
proceedings of Parliament, similar to the above, but in _writing_, is
posted, during the performance, in the lobby; and Young England has only
to lounge out between the acts to know if Disraeli or Lord John Russell is
up, and whether he may sit out the piece, or must hasten down to
Westminster. The Opera House even communicates with the Strand Office, so
that messages may be sent from thence to all parts of the kingdom. The
Government wires go from Somerset House to the Admiralty, and thence to
Portsmouth and Plymouth by the South-Western and Great Western Railways;
and these two establishments are put in communication, by means of
subterranean lines, with the naval establishments at Deptford, Woolwich,
Chatham, Sheerness, and with the Cinque Ports of Deal and Dover. They are
worked quite independently of the Company, and the messages are sent in
cipher, the meaning of which is unknown, even to the telegraphic clerks
employed in transmitting it. In addition to the wires already spoken of,
street branches run from Buckingham Palace and Scotland Yard (the head
police-office) to the station at Charing Cross, and thence on to Founder's
Court; whilst the Post-office, Lloyd's, Capel Court, and the Corn Exchange
communicate directly with the Central Office.

The function, then, of the Central Office is to receive and redistribute
communications. Of the manner in which these ends are accomplished nothing
can be gained from a glance round the instrument-rooms. You see no wires
coming into or emerging from them; you ask for a solution of the mystery,
and one of the clerks leads you to the staircase and opens the door of
what looks like a long wooden shoot placed perpendicularly against the
wall. This is the great spinal cord of the establishment, consisting of a
vast bundle of wires, insulated from each other by gutta percha. One set
of these conveys the gathered-up streams of intelligence from the remote
ends of the continent and the farthest shores of Britain, conducts them
through London by the street lines underneath the thronging footsteps of
the multitude, and ascends with its invisible despatches directly to the
different instruments. Another set is composed of the wires that descend
into the battery-chamber. It is impossible to realize the fact by merely
gazing upon this brown and dusty-looking bundle of threads; nevertheless
so it is, that they put us in communication with no less than 4,409 miles
of telegraph, which is coterminous with the railway system of the island,
and forms a complete network over its entire surface, with the exception
of the highlands of North Wales. It penetrates already into the wilds of
Scotland, as we see the wire is carried on from Aberdeen to Balmoral.

The physiologist, minutely dissecting the star-fish, shows us its nervous
system extending to the tip of each limb, and descants upon the beauty of
this arrangement, by which the central mouth is informed of the nutriment
within its reach. The telegraphic system, already developed in England,
has rendered her as sensitive, to the utmost extremities, as the
star-fish. Day by day and hour by hour everything that happens of
importance is immediately referred to its centre at Lothbury, and this
centre returns the service by spreading the information afresh in every
direction. Thus, should an enemy appear off our coast, his presence, by
the aid of the fibre, is immediately felt at the Admiralty, and an
immediate reply sends out the fleet in chase. Should a riot occur in the
manufacturing districts, the local authorities communicate with the Home
Office, and orders are sent down to put the distant troops in motion. Does
a murderer escape, the same wire makes the fact known to Scotland Yard,
and from thence word is sent to the distant policemen to intercept him in
his flight. The arm is scarcely uplifted quicker to ward off a sudden
blow--the eye does not close with more rapidity upon an unexpected flood
of light, than, by the aid of the telegraph, actions follow upon
impressions conveyed along the length and breadth of the land. But, says
our reader, suppose these wires should be severed or damaged, your whole
line is paralyzed; and how are you to find out where the fault may be?
Against these eventualities human foresight has provided: by testing from
station to station along the line, the office soon knows how far the wires
are perfect; and if the breach of continuity should be in the subterranean
street wires, there are iron testing-posts at every 500 yards distance, by
the aid of which the workman knows where to make his repairs. Whilst all
is being made right again, however, a curious contrivance is brought into
play, in order to keep the communication open. Every one is acquainted
with the action of the railway "switch," by which a train is enabled to
leave one line of rails and run on to another. The telegraph has its
switch also, and thus a message can be transferred from one line to
another, or can be sent right _throuyh_ to any locality, without making a
stoppage at the usual resting-place on its way. By this device, then, the
"sick wires" can be altogether avoided. Suppose, for instance, that some
accident had happened to the direct Bristol line, and it would not work in
consequence, then the clerk at the Lothbury station would signal to
Birmingham to switch the wire through to Bristol, or, in other words, to
put him in communication with that place; this done, the message would fly
along the North-Western line, look in at the Birmingham station, and
immediately be off down the Midland wire to Bristol, arriving, to all
perception, in the same latitude as quickly as though it had gone direct
by the Great Western wire. Every large station is provided with a
switching apparatus, and the Lothbury office has several. Here also there
is a very curious contrivance called the "testing-box," which enables the
manipulator to connect any number of batteries to a wire, in order to give
extra power, without going into the battery vault.

These switches, testing, and battery boxes are of great service in certain
conditions of the atmosphere. For instance, a thunderstorm, or more often
a fog, will now and then so affect the conducting power of a wire, working
through a long distance, that it is found impossible to send a message
along it, in which case the clerk "dodges" the passing storm or fog by
switching the dispatch round the country through a fine-weather wire. If
however the foggy weather should continue, the manipulator has only to go
to the battery box and couple on one or more batteries, just as fresh
engines are put on a train going up an incline when the rails are
"greasy." By thus increasing the power of the electric current the message
is driven through the worst weather. Sometimes as many as six or eight
24-plate batteries are necessary to speed a signal to Glasgow. The more
general way in such cases, however, is to transmit the dispatch to some
intermediate station, where the message is repeated.

Let us now descend into the battery vaults--two long narrow chambers,
situated in the basement of the building. Who would think that in this
quiet place, night and day, a power was being generated that exerted its
influence to the very margin of this seagirt isle, nay, invaded the
territories of Holland, Belgium, and France? Who would think that those
long dusty boxes on the shelves were making scores of iron tongues wag
hundreds of miles off? There are upwards of sixty Daniel's batteries in
full employment in these vaults. They are ranked as sixes, twelves, and
twenty-fours, according to the number of their elements or plates; and
just like guns, the higher they rank the further they carry. The powerful
twenty-fours work the long ranges of wire, and the smaller batteries the
shorter circuits. Of course some of these batteries have harder work to do
than others, and the "twenty-fours" working the North-Western line have
much the busiest time of it. Considering the work done by them, their
maintenance is not very costly. A twenty-four, when in full work, does not
consume its zinc plates under three months, and a gill of sulphuric acid,
diluted, is its strong but rather moderate allowance of liquid per month.
Other batteries of the same force are satisfied with 1 lb. of sulphate of
copper per month, with a little sulphate of zinc, and salt and water. The
entire amount of electric power employed by the Company throughout the
country is produced by 8000 12-plate batteries, or 96,000 cells, which are
lined with 1,500,000 square inches of copper, and about the same of zinc.
To work these batteries six tons of acid is yearly consumed, and
fifty-five tons of sand; the principal use of the latter is to prevent the
chemicals from slopping about, and the metal plates from getting oxidised
too rapidly. The language of the "wire," with respect to the working of
the telegraph, is very curious. For instance, when a distant station-clerk
finds that a battery is not up to its work, by the weak action of the
needles, he sends word that it requires "refreshment," and it is
accordingly served with its gill of aquafortis, and, totally opposed to
the doctrines of temperance, a "long-lived battery" owes its vitality to
the strongest drink.

We have followed the wires down to one pole of their respective
batteries, and now we have to pursue them out of the opposite pole until
they take to "earth." No electricity will flow from the positive pole Z of
the battery (Fig. 2) unless the wire D K A B is connected, either by being
itself unbroken, or by the interposition of some other conductor where a
gap occurs, to the negative pole C. In the earlier telegraphs it was usual
to have a return-wire to effect this purpose. But, strange as it may
sound, it was discovered that the earth itself would convey the current
back to the negative pole, and thus an entire length of wire was saved.
Accordingly the earth completes the two hundred and odd different
circuits, which pass their loops, as it were, through the central office.
In order to get a "good earth" a hole was dug deep in the foundations,
until some moist ground was found, _dry_ soil being a very bad conductor,
and into this a cylinder of copper, four inches in diameter and 40 lbs. in
weight, was sunken, surrounded by a mass of sulphate of copper in
crystals. All the earth wires of the establishment were then put in
connection with this mass of metal, or earth plate.

[Illustration: Fig. 6]

The non-scientific reader will perhaps require a figure to explain to him
our meaning, when we say that the earth is capable of completing the
"circuit." In the accompanying diagram (No. 6) we have a battery, U V, in
the central office in London, deflecting a needle N, say in Liverpool. The
fluid passes from the positive pole of the battery U, traverses the wire
of the North-Western Railway, and after working the telegraph in
Liverpool, descends into the earth by the wire B, which has a metal or
earth-plate attached to it. From this point the electric fluid starts
homewards, through the solid ground, and finding out the earth-plate[38]
under the foundations at Lothbury, ascends along the wire A, into the
negative pole of the battery V. By reversing the current, it flows first
through the earth from V A to B, and returns by the wire to the opposite
pole U.

Nothing in telegraphy impresses the thoughtful mind more than the fact
that the electric fluid, after spanning, maybe, half the globe, should
come back to its battery, through adamantine rocks, through seas and all
the diverse elements which make up the anatomy of the globe. The
explanation of the phenomenon is still a matter of pure speculation.
Indeed, it may be objected that our flight of the electric principle is
altogether a flight of fancy--that there is in fact no flow of electricity
at all, but that its progress through bodies, according to the generally
received theory, is owing to opposite poles of contiguous particles acting
upon each other. The hypothesis, however, first received in science gives
birth to its language, which usually continues the same, although it may
have ceased to be an adequate expression of the current doctrine of

The traveller, as he flies along in the train, and looks out upon the
wires which seem stretched against the sky like the ledger lines of music,
little dreams of these invisible conductors that are returning the current
through the ground. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, indeed, the
wires and their sustaining posts represent to the spectator the entire
telegraph. The following conversation between two navigators, overheard
the other day by a friend, gives the most popular view of the way the
telegraph works. "I say, Jem, how do 'em _jaw_ along them wires?" "Why,
Bill, they pulls at one end, and rings a bell at t'other." Others again
fancy that messages are conveyed by means of the vibrations of the metal,
for on windy days they sometimes give out sounds like an Æolian harp: a
fact which, according to Sir Francis Head, called forth the remark from a
North-Western driver to his stoker, "I say, Bill, aint they a giving it to
'em at Thrapstone?" The more ignorant class of people actually believe
that it conveys parcels and letters, and they sometimes carry them for
transmission to the office.

Iron wire, coated with zinc, or "galvanised," as it is termed, to prevent
its rusting, is now universally used as the conductor of the electric
fluid when the lines are suspended in the air. The first rain falling upon
the zinc converts it into an oxide of that metal, which is insoluble in
water, so that henceforth in pure air it cannot be acted upon by that
element, and all further oxidation ceases. Mr. Highton says, however, that
in the neighbourhood of large manufacturing towns the sulphur from the
smoky atmosphere converts the oxide into a sulphate of zinc, which is
soluble, and consequently the rain continually washes it off the wire. He
asserts that he has had wires in this manner reduced from the eighth of an
inch to the diameter of a common sewing-needle. There has been a great
controversy as to the best means of insulating the wires from their
supporting-poles, which would otherwise convey the electricity from the
wires to the earth. There is no method known of effecting this completely,
but we believe it is now decided that stoneware is the best material for
the purpose, both on account of its non-conducting qualities, and the
readiness with which it throws off from its surface particles of water.
The latter quality is extremely important, for, in very rainy weather, if
the insulator should happen to get wet, the electric fluid will sometimes
make a bridge of the moisture to quit the wire, run down the post to the
earth, and make a short circuit home again to its battery. Indeed, when
there are many wires suspended to the same pole on the same plane, a
dripping stream of water falling from an upper to a lower one will often
suffice to return the current before it has done its work, much to the
telegraphist's annoyance. Not long ago, a mishap, having similar
consequences, occurred on the line between Lewes and Newhaven, owing to
the following very singular circumstance: a crane, in its flight through
the rain, came in contact with the wires, and having threaded his long
neck completely through them, the current made a short cut along his damp
feathers to the wire below, and by this channel home. Moisture, however,
much as it may interfere for a time with the working of a line, rarely
does any permanent injury. Lightning, on the contrary if not guarded
against, is capable of producing great mischief. It has been known to
strike and run for miles along a wire, and, in its course, to enter
station after station, and melt the delicate coils and the finer portions
of the instruments into solid masses. In most cases it reverses the
polarity of the needles, or renders permanent the magnetism of the
electro-magnets. All these dangerous and annoying contingencies are easily
avoided by the application of a simple conducting-apparatus to lead away
the unwelcome visitor. The method adopted by Mr. Highton is to line a
small deal box, say ten or twelve inches long, with a tin plate, and to
put this plate in connection with the earth. The wire bound up in bibulous
paper--which is a sufficient insulator for the low-tensioned fluid of the
battery--is carried, before it enters the instrument, through the centre
of the box, and is surrounded with iron fillings. The high-tensioned
electricity of the lightning instantly darts from the wire, through the
pores of the paper, to the million points of the finely-divided iron, and
so escapes to the earth. There are, of course, many kinds of lightning
conductors used on different lines, but this one is simple in its
construction, and, we are given to understand, answers its purpose
exceedingly well.

Notwithstanding that the Electric Telegraph Company has been established
so many years, it is only just now that the public have begun to
understand the use of the "wire." The very high charges at first demanded
for the transmission of a message, doubtless, made it a luxury rather than
a necessary of life; and every reduction of the tariff clearly brought it
within the range of a very much larger class of the community, as will be
seen by the following table issued by the Company, which shows the advance
of the system under its management.

     In the       | Miles of|Miles | Number | Receipts. | Dividends paid.
   half-years     |Telegraph| of   |  of    |           |
     ending       |   in    |Wires |Messages|           |
                  |operation|      |        |           |
                  |         |      |        |  £.  s. d.|
                  |         |      |        |           |
  June, 1850      |  1,684  | 6,730| 29,245 |20,436 10 0|4 per Cent. per
                  |         |      |        |           |  Ann.
  December, 1850  |  1,786  | 7,200| 37,389 |23,087 13 9|4 per Cent. per
                  |         |      |        |           |  Ann.
  June, 1851      |  1,965  | 7,900| 47,259 |25,529 12 4|{6 per Ct. per
                  |         |      |        |           |  Ann.
                  |         |      |        |           |{& 2 per Ct.
                  |         |      |        |           |  Bonus.
  December, 1851  |  2,122  |10,650| 53,957 |24,336 8 10|6 per Cent. per
                  |         |      |        |           |  Ann.
    _Note._--In   |         |      |        |           |
    this half-year|         |      |        |           |
    the paid-up   |         |      |        |           |
    Capital of the|         |      |        |           |
    Company was   |         |      |        |           |
    increased, and|         |      |        |           |
    the tariff    |         |      |        |           |
    diminished    |         |      |        |           |
    about 50 per  |         |      |        |           |
    Cent. from the|         |      |        |           |
    original rate |         |      |        |           |
    of charge.    |         |      |        |           |
  June, 1852      |  2,502  |12,500| 87,150 |27,437  4 8|6 per Cent. per
                  |         |      |        |           |  Ann.
  December, 1852  |  3,709  |19,560|127,987 |40,087 18 2|6-1/2 per Cent.
                  |         |      |        |           |  per Ann.
  June, 1853      |  4,008  |20,800|138,060 |47,265 16 3|6-1/2 per Cent.
                  |         |      |        |           |  per Ann.
  December, 1853  |  4,409  |24,340|212,440 |56,919  0 1|7 per Cent. per
                  |         |      |        |           |  Ann.

It will be seen from the above what an impulse was given to the business
by the reduction in the tariff which took place in December, 1851; for if
we compare the messages of the half-year ending June, 1850, with those of
the half-year of June, 1852, we shall find that whilst the miles of
telegraph in work had not increased one-half, the messages transmitted had
nearly trebled. It is only within this last year or two, however--as will
be seen by the table--that a very large augmentation of business has taken
place, which is doubtless owing to the public being better acquainted with
its capabilities. The tariff has since been further reduced, with the
result of a still further increase of the messages sent and of the money
received--the profits allowing, at the present moment, of a seven per
cent. dividend! The lowest point of cheapness, in our opinion, is yet very
far from being reached; and it would only be a wise act on the part of the
Company to at once adopt an uniform charge for messages, say of fifty
words, for one shilling. If this were done, the only limit to its business
would be the number of wires they could conveniently hang, for the present
set would clearly be insufficient. Means should also be taken to obviate
one great objection, at present felt, with respect to sending private
communications by telegraph--the violation of all secrecy,--for in any
case half a dozen people must be cognizant of every word addressed by one
person to another. The clerks of the English Electric Telegraph Company
are sworn to secrecy, but we often write things that it would be
intolerable to see strangers read before our eyes. This is a grievous
fault in the telegraph, and it _must_ be remedied by some means or other.
Our own opinion is that the public would much prefer the dial telegraph,
by the use of which two persons could converse with each other, without
the intervention of a third party at all--or the printing step by step
instrument would be equally good. At all events, some simple yet secure
cipher, easily acquired and easily read, should be introduced, by which
means messages might to all intents and purposes be "sealed" to any person
except the recipient. We have reason to believe that Professor Wheatstone
has invented a cipher of this description, which will speedily be made
public. "One-eighth of the despatches between New Orleans and New York,"
says Mr. Jones in his "Historical Sketch of the Electric Telegraph," "are
in cipher. For instance, merchants in either city agree upon a cipher, and
if the New Orleans correspondent wishes to inform his New York friend of
the prices and prospects of the cotton market, instead of saying 'Cotton
eight quarter--don't sell,' he may use the

The Company has lately made an arrangement, by which the very absurd and
inconvenient necessity of being obliged to attend personally at the
telegraph station with a message has been obviated. "Franked message
papers," pre-paid, are now issued, procurable at any stationers'. These,
with the message filled in, can be dispatched to the office when and how
the sender likes, and the Company intend very quickly to sell electric
stamps, like Queen's heads, which may be stuck on to any piece of paper,
and frank its contents without further trouble. Another very important
arrangement for mercantile men is the sending of "remittance messages," by
means of which money can be paid in at the central office in London, and,
within a few minutes, paid out at Liverpool or Manchester, or by the same
means sent up to town with the like dispatch from Liverpool, Manchester,
Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Hull,
York, Plymouth, and Exeter. There is a money-order office in the Lothbury
establishment to manage this department, which will, no doubt, in all
emergencies speedily supersede the Government money-order office, which
works through the slower medium of the Post Office.

We have spoken hitherto only of the Old Electric Telegraph Company. There
are several other companies in the United Kingdom, working different
patents. We have chosen, however, to describe the proceedings of the
original Company, because it is the only one that has an amount of
business sufficient to give it universal interest; it is the only company,
in fact, that has seized the map of England in its nervous grasp, and shot
its wires through every broad English shire. The European and the British
Telegraph Companies have laid their lines, insulated with gutta percha and
protected by iron tubes, beneath the public roads. The European Company
works between Manchester, Birmingham, London, and Dover, and, by means of
the two submarine cables of Dover and Calais and Dover and Ostend, puts
the great manufacturing and commercial emporiums in connection with
France, Belgium, and the rest of Europe by a double route. The British
Telegraph Company works principally in the northern counties. Of the other
lines, we need only mention at present the United Kingdom, and the English
and Irish Magnetic Company, which works wires between London, Belfast, and
Galway, by means of a subterranean line as far as the west coast of
Scotland, and of a submarine cable stretched between Portpatrick and

It will, perhaps, be a source of wonder to our readers that one company
should virtually possess the monopoly of telegraphic communication in this
country, but this will cease when they consider that this Company was the
first to enter the field, that it came forward with a large capital,
speedily secured to themselves the different lines of railway--the only
paths it was then considered that telegraphs could traverse with
security,--and that it bought up, one after another, most of the patents
that stood any chance of competing with its own. The time is fast
approaching, however, when most of these advantages will fail them, and
when the Company, powerful as it is, must be prepared to encounter a
severe and active competition, and that for the following reasons:--

1. The plan of bringing the wires under the public roads turns, as it
were, the flank of the railroad lines.

2. The patents of the old company are year by year expiring.

3. The very large capital expended by it--upwards of 170,000_l._ being
sunk in patent rights alone,--independently of the vast expense attaching
to the first introduction of the invention, forms a dead-weight which no
new company would have to bear.

In the ordinary course of events, then, the other lines at present in
existence will gain strength; new companies will spring up, and the supply
of a great public want will be thrown into the arena of competition. Would
it not be wise for the legislature to consider the question of telegraphy
in England before it is too late? We all know what the principle of
reckless competition led us into in our railway system. For years opposing
companies scrambled for the monopoly of certain districts, and the result
was the intersection of the country with bad lines, and, in many cases,
with useless double routes. Millions were spent in litigation; railway
travelling became, as a natural consequence, dear; the property of the
original shareholders rapidly deteriorated; and it has all ended in half a
dozen powerful companies swallowing up the smaller ones; and that
competition, in whose name so much was demanded, has turned out to be only
"a delusion and a snare." The conveyance of intelligence cannot safely and
conveniently be left in the hands of even one company without a strict
Government supervision; much less can half a dozen systems be allowed to
distract the land at their own will. Indeed, the question might with
propriety be asked, Is not telegraphic communication as much a function of
Government as the conveyance of letters? If the do-nothing principle is
to be allowed to take its course, we shall have to go through a similar
state of things to that which occurred only a few years since in the
United States, when different competing lines refused to forward each
other's messages, and the whole system of telegraphic communication was
accordingly dislocated. Indeed, even with the most perfect accord between
different companies, the dissimilarity of instruments used by them would
prove a great practical evil--as great a one, if not greater, than the
break of gauge in the railway system. Messages could not be passed from
one line to another, and delays as vexatious as those which occur on the
continental lines would take away much of the value of the invention. It
seems to us, then, that even if Parliament should refuse to interfere with
the principle of competition in the case of the telegraphic communication,
it should, at least, provide for the use of the same kind of instruments,
and make it a fineable offence for one line to refuse to forward the
messages of another.

Having done so much towards completing our telegraphic organization at
home, our engineers adventurously determined to carry the wires across to
the continent, and thus destroy the last remnant of that isolation to
which we were forced to submit on account of our insular position. As long
back as the year 1840 we find, by the Minutes of Evidence in the Fifth
Report upon Railways, wherein the subject of electric telegraphy was
partially examined, that, whilst Mr. Wheatstone was under examination Sir
John Guest asked, "Have you tried to pass the line through water?" to
which he replied, "There would be no difficulty in doing so; but the
experiment has not yet been tried." Again, on the chairman, Lord Seymour,
asking, "Could you communicate from Dover to Calais in that way?" he
replied, "I think it perfectly practicable." A couple of years later the
professor, indeed, engaged, and had everything in readiness, to lay a line
for the Government across Portsmouth Harbour; it was not executed,
however, through circumstances over which he had no control, but which
were quite irrespective of the perfect feasibility of the undertaking.

We question, however, whether it would have been possible to have
accomplished the feat of crossing the Channel with the electric fire
before this date, as the difficulty of insulating the wires, so as to
prevent the water from carrying off the electricity, would, we imagine,
have been insuperable, but for the happy discovery of gutta percha, which
supplied the very tough, flexible, non-conducting material the electrician
sought for. Thus it might be said that the instantaneous interchange of
thought between distant nations awaited the discovery of a vegetable
production in the dense forests of the Eastern Archipelago. The first
application of this singular substance to the insulation of electric
conducting wires was made in 1847, by Lieutenant Siémens, of the Prussian
artillery, for a line to cross the Rhine at Cologne.

The first submarine wire laid down was that between Dover and Cape
Gris-nez, in the vicinity of Calais, belonging to the Submarine Telegraph
Company. This wire, thirty miles in length, was covered with gutta percha
to the diameter of half an inch, and sunk (August, 1850), as it was paid
out, by the addition of clumps of lead at every sixteenth of a mile. The
whole was completed and a message sent between the two countries on the
same day. In the course of a month, however, the cable broke, owing to its
having fretted upon a sharp ridge of rocks about a mile from Cape
Gris-nez. It was now determined to make a stronger and better-constructed
cable, capable of resisting all friction in this part of the Channel. The
form of cable adopted for this and all other submarine telegraphs now in
existence seems to have been originally suggested by Messrs. Newall and
Co., of Gateshead, the wellknown wire-rope manufacturers. Instead of one,
four wires, insulated by the Gutta Percha Company, were twisted together
into a strand, and next "served" or enveloped in spun-yarn. This core was
then covered with ten iron galvanized wires five-sixteenths of an inch in
diameter, welded into lengths of twenty-four miles, and forming a flexible
kind of mail. The cable was manufactured in the short space of twenty-one
days. It weighed 180 tons, and formed a coil in the hold of the old hulk
that carried it of thirty feet in diameter outside, and fifteen feet
inside, standing five feet high. All went well with the undertaking until
about one-half had been "paid out," when, a gale arising, unfortunately
the tug-boat that towed the hulk containing the rope broke away, and
vessel, wire, and all, drifted, with a racing tide, full a mile up the
Channel before it could be overtaken. The consequence was, that the cable
was violently dragged out of its course in the middle of the straits. What
was worse, a sharp "kink," or bend, also occurred near the Dover shore,
which doubled the cable on itself, but luckily produced no serious damage.
The "lie" of the submarine cable between Dover and the vicinity of Calais,
at this present moment, is expressed in the following diagram:--

[Illustration: Fig. 7.]

When the cable at length came near the French coast, it was found to be,
in consequence of this unintentional _detour_, at least half a mile too
short. This was remedied, however, by splicing on a fresh piece; and, on
securing it at Saugat, the new place of landing, fixed upon on account of
its sandy shore, it was found that the communication was good, and good it
has remained ever since--a proof of the admirable manner in which the
wires were insulated and the cable constructed. The placing of this
successful cable was superintended by Mr. Wollaston, the Company's
engineer, and by Mr. Crampton, the contractor. Mr. Wollaston, who is a
nephew of the illustrious philosopher of the same name, and who also
presided over the earlier attempt, will accordingly, in the annals of
electricity, carry off the honours of having first laid down the ocean

The same Company, not long afterwards, laid another cable across to
Ostend. This established a connection with Europe through Belgium, and was
planned to prevent this line of communication falling into the hands of
another company, and was not, as was suspected at the time, a matter of
political foresight on the part of the directors, to enable them to carry
on their intercourse with the continent, in spite of France, supposing war
should break out between the two countries. Who would have believed a
short time since, in Belgium, that the day would come when it would be
quicker to convey intelligence to France by way of England than directly
across the frontiers? Yet such was actually the case; for, before the line
was laid by land, it was a thing of very frequent occurrence for
despatches from Ostend to cross the Channel to Dover by one cable, and to
be immediately switched across to Calais by the other; thus paying us a
momentary triangular visit underneath the rapid straits.

The notion, however, of preventing competition proved to be vain. A third
cable was laid on the 30th May, 1853, between the English coast at
Orfordness, near Ipswich, and the port of Schevening in Holland, and
thence to the Hague. This cable is the longest at present in connection
with this isle, extending 120 miles under the turbulent North Sea. It was,
however, paid out during a violent gale of wind without the slightest
accident, and affords the most direct means of communication with the
north of Europe, and entirely commands the commercial traffic of the
cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The Hague cable (or cables, for there
are now many, consisting of a single wire conductor each, running side by
side) is the property of the International Company, a branch of the Old
Electric Telegraph, and its wires go direct to the Lothbury office.

Whilst England has moored her south-eastern shores to the continent by
three cables, and put herself _en rapport_ with all its principal cities,
her north-western extremity has been secured, after many failures, to the
sister kingdom--the Electro-Magnetic Company having laid a submarine wire
from Portpatrick and Donaghadee, in the neighbourhood of Belfast, and the
British Electric Telegraph Company another between Portpatrick and
Whitehead in Belfast Lough. England, as befits her, led the way in these
adventures upon the sea with the electric fire, and the Danes, Dutch,
Russians, and others, are now following in her track.

Will it be believed that in 1841, long after the electric telegraph was
working in England, scientific men were seriously discussing in the French
Chamber the propriety of establishing a night telegraph on the visual
principle, and that when at length it was determined to call in the aid of
electricity, instruments were ordered to be so constructed that signals
could be given after the fashion of the old semaphore, in order that the
officials might be spared the trouble of leaving their ancient ruts? The
needles were accordingly displaced for a mimic post, to which moveable
arms were attached and signs were transmitted by elevating or depressing
them by electricity, instead of by hand. Of course this absurd system was
after a while abolished, and the instrument now made use of is a
modification of the dial telegraph constructed by Breguet. The first
telegraph planted in France was constructed by Mr. Wheatstone, from Paris
to Versailles, in 1842. The principal line is that running from Calais
_viâ_ Paris to Marseilles, which puts the English Channel and the
Mediterranean in communication, and transmits for us the more urgent items
of the India and China mail.

Belgium and Switzerland are perhaps the best supplied of all the
continental kingdoms with telegraphic communication. The Belgian lines
were excellently planned and cheaply constructed, consequently their
tariff is comparatively low, the average charge for a message being 3
francs 48 centimes, or about 2_s._ 10-1/2_d._ Of the nature of the
messages sent we can form a very good idea by the following classification
of a hundred dispatches:--

  Government          2
  Stock-jobbing      50
  Commercial         31
  Newspaper           4
  Family affairs     13

A comparison of the average division of messages in every state would
afford a very fair index of the nature of the occupations of their
peoples. We have attempted to obtain materials for this purpose in vain;
foreign governments, as well as English companies, being very jealous of
giving any information relative to their messages. The history of the
telegraph in Switzerland is an evidence of what patriotic feeling is
capable of accomplishing. Although by far the best and most extensive, for
a mountainous country, in the world, it was constructed by the spontaneous
efforts of the people. The peasantry gave their free labour towards
erecting the wires and poles, the landlords found the timber and gave the
right of way over their lands, and the communes provided station room in
the towns. Thus the telegraph was completed, so to speak, for nothing. The
peculiarity of the Swiss telegraph is that, like the great wall of China,
it proceeds totally regardless of the nature of the ground. It climbs the
pass of the Simplon in proceeding from Geneva to Milan; it goes over St.
Gothard in its way from Lucerne to Como: it mounts the Splugen, and again
it goes from Feldkirch to Inspruck by the Arlberg pass, thus ascending the
great chain of the Alps as though it were only a gentle hillside. The
wires course along the lakes of Lucerne, Zug, Zurich, and Constance;
sometimes they are nailed to precipices, sometimes they make short cuts
over unfrequented spurs of the mountains, going every way, in short, that
it is found most convenient to hang them. The completion of the
telegraphic system of this little republic, which stands in the same
relation to Southern as Belgium does to Northern Europe, was of great
consequence, as it forms the keystone between France, Prussia, Austria,
Piedmont, and Italy.

In Prussia the lines are insulated in gutta percha, and buried in the
ground in leaden tubes, a very costly process, but with many great
advantages, in freedom from injury and atmospheric influences, over the
more usual method of suspending them in the air on poles. Upwards of 4,000
miles of wire have already been laid down in this kingdom. Although
Austria only commenced operations in 1847, she already possesses 4,000
miles of telegraph, which puts the greater part of her extensive empire
in communication with Vienna.

Whatever injury the Eastern war might have inflicted upon the world, it at
least infused fresh vigour into the telegraphic system, as, independently
of the lines planned to put Constantinople in communication with the
Danubian frontier, Russia has been stimulated to complete a line between
St. Petersburg and Helsingfors, in the Baltic, and a continuation of the
line already extending from the capital to Moscow, down to Bucharest,
Odessa, and Sebastopol. One feature distinguishes the management of
continental telegraphs over those of England and America: they are all,
with the exception of the short line between Hamburg and Cuxhaven,
possessed and worked by the different governments, who seem afraid of the
use they might be put to for political purposes, and accordingly exercise
a strict surveillance over all messages sent, and rigidly interdict the
use of a cipher.[39] The Anglo-Saxon race, however, has far surpassed any
other in the energy with which it has woven the globe with telegraphic
wires. The Americans in the West and the British in the East alike emulate
each other in the magnitude of their undertakings of this nature. The
United States, although she came into the field long after England--her
first line from Washington to Baltimore not having been completed until
1844--has far outstripped the mother country in the length of her lines,
which already extend over 16,729 miles. Every portion of the Union, with
the exception of California and the upper portion of the Mississippi, is
covered with a network of wire.

New York and New Orleans communicate with each other by a double
route--one skirting the seacoast, the other taking an inland direction by
Cincinnati. These lines alone, following the sinuosities of their routes,
are upwards of 2,000 miles in length.

Other lines extend as far as Quebec, in Upper Canada, so that messages may
be forwarded in the course of a couple of hours from the freezing north to
the burning south. The great chain of lakes which form the northern
boundary of the Union is put in communication with the Missouri and
Mississippi rivers, and the great valley traversed by the latter will, ere
long, interchange messages with the Pacific coast,--Congress having under
its consideration a plan to establish a telegraph across the continent to
San Francisco, as the precursor of the proposed railroad.

This we suspect is the project of Mr. O'Reilly, the engineer who has
already executed the boldest lines in America. In constructing such a
line, man, not nature, is the great obstacle to be encountered. The
implacable Indians inhabiting this portion of the States certainly would
not pay any respect to the telegraphic wire; on the contrary, they would
in all likelihood take it to bind on the heads of their scalping
tomahawks. To provide against this contingency, it is proposed to station
parties of twenty dragoons at stockades twenty miles apart, along the
whole unprotected portion of the route; two or three of these soldiers are
also to ride from post to post and carry a daily express letter across the

When this project is executed, it is asserted that "European news may be
published in six days on the American shores of the Pacific, on the
shortened route between the old and new world." "The shortened route," it
should be mentioned, lies between Cape Race, in Newfoundland, and Galway,
in Ireland, a passage calculated to take, on the average, only five days.

It may be asked how is it that such lengths of wire, carried through
thinly settled parts of the country, and sometimes through howling
wildernesses, can pay? The only manner that we can account for it is the
cheapness with which the telegraph is built in America, the average price
being 150 dollars, or about 31_l._ a mile--less than a fourth part of the
cost at which the early lines of the English Electric Telegraph Company
were erected. Again, the low prices charged for the transmission of
messages produce an amount of business which the lines running through
thickly-inhabited England cannot boast. For instance, let us take the
following advertised "specimen message," of the latter Company, and
compare the price charged for it here, with what it could be sent for in

    "From             To
      James Smith,      S. R. Brown,
        London,           Exchange,

    "I will meet you at Birmingham to-morrow, 3 P.M. Don't fail me."

Now, the London charge for the above, if forwarded to Liverpool, would be
2s. 6d.; but the American tariff for the same, on the Louisville and
Pittsburgh rail, would be only one cent a word, or sixpence halfpenny
English. On very long distances our friends on the other side of the steam
ferry have a still greater advantage over us: for instance, a message of
ten words can be sent on O'Reilly's line, from New York to New Orleans, a
distance of 2,000 miles, for sixty cents, or two and sixpence--not half
the sum it would cost to send the same message from London to Edinburgh,
about 500 miles. We give, as a curiosity, the scale of prices on this

                                     Per word.
   200 miles or under                 1 cent.
   500   "   or over 300 miles        2 cents.
   700   "      "    500   "          3   "
  1000   "      "    700   "          4   "
  1500   "      "   1000   "          5   "
  2000   "      "   1500   "          6   "

These charges, it is true, are unusually low; but if they will pay one
Company, why should they not another? There are as many as twenty
Telegraph Companies in America, and consequently there is great
competition, three or four competing lines in many cases running between
the same towns. Great confusion has arisen from this competition, as we
have before stated; but it cannot be doubted that prices have materially
fallen in consequence. It is common to send a message 1,000 miles in the
United States without its being read and repeated at intermediate
stations; and brother Jonathan boasts that he can communicate in fine
weather instantaneously between New York and New Orleans. This, if done at
all, must be at the expense of enormous battery power, as 2,000 miles of
No. 8 wire would expose a conducting surface of no less than 450,000
square feet to the air. The wires in America are all suspended upon poles,
and those passing through the southern pine forests are in consequence
particularly liable to injury from the falling of trees, and watchers are
posted at every twenty miles' distance to patrol the line. The telegraph
is rarely seen in America running beside the railway, for what reason we
do not know; the consequence, however, is, that locomotion in the United
States is vastly more dangerous than with us. A comparison of the
casualties occurring on railroads in the two countries, in the year 1852,
will show this at a glance; for in the State of New York alone, during
that year, 228 persons were killed out of 7,440,053 travellers, whilst
during the same period only 216 people perished in Great Britain out of a
total number of 89,135,729 passengers: thus the average in America was 1
killed in 286,179, and in Great Britain 1 in 2,785,491! Of course property
suffers in an equal degree with life on the American lines. The people of
Boston, on the recommendation of Dr. Channing, have constructed a
municipal telegraph, the many uses of which will be obvious. Mr. Alexander
Jones, in his historical sketch of the electric telegraph in America,
gives the following account of the application of the electric wire in
cases of fire:--

    "A central office or station is fixed upon, at which the main battery,
    with other instruments, is placed. From this two circuit-wires
    proceed, like those of the common telegraph wires, fastened to
    housetops or ingeniously insulated supports. One of the wires
    communicates from the main fire bell-tower to all the others, and
    connects each with machinery, which puts in motion the largest-sized
    hammer, and causes it to strike a large fire-bell the desired number
    of blows; the other wire proceeds on a still more circuitous route,
    and from one local street or ward signal-station to another. Each
    station is provided with a strong box and hinged door and lock. Inside
    of this box there is a connecting electro-magnet and connecting lever,
    an axle with a number of pins in it to correspond to the number of the
    station. The axle is turned by a short crank, and in its revolutions
    the pins break and close the circuit, by moving the end of the lever
    as often as there are pins or cogs, the result of which is
    communicated to the central station. If the alarm indicates a fire in
    the local district No. 3, the alarm can be instantly rung on all the
    bells in the city. If it is a subject requiring the speedy and
    efficient attention of the police, information by alarms can be given
    at each police-station, or the despatches can be recorded by
    instruments at each place. The local street alarm-boxes are placed in
    the charge of a person whose duty it is to give the alarm from the
    local to the central station, when called upon, or circumstances
    require him to do so."

Canada has also sketched out a plan of telegraphs, which every year will
see filled up. Already she has lines connecting all her principal towns,
and extending over nearly two thousand miles of country, all of which lock
in with the American system.

In India, Dr. O'Shaughnessy has for some time been engaged in carrying out
a telegraphic system proposed by Lord Dalhousie, and approved by the East
India Company, which has already put all the important towns of the
peninsula in communication with the seat of government and with each
other. The fine No. 8 galvanized iron wire, which in Europe runs along
from pole to pole, like a delicate harp-string, is discarded in this
country for rods of iron three-eighths of an inch in thickness. The nature
of the climate, and the character of its animal life, has caused this
departure from the far more economical European plan. Clouds of kites and
troops of monkeys would speedily take such liberties with the fine wires
as to place them _hors-de-combat_. Again, the deluges of rain which occur
in the wet season would render the insulation of a small wire so imperfect
that a message could not be sent through it to any distance. The larger
mass of metal, on the contrary, is capable of affording passage for the
electric fluid through any amount of rain, without danger of "leakage;"
and as for the kites and other large birds of the country, they may perch
on these rods by thousands without stopping the messages, which will fly
harmlessly through their claws; and the weight of the heaviest monkey is
not sufficient to injure them. These rods are planted, without any
insulation, upon the tops of bamboo poles (coated with tar and pitch), at
such a height that loaded elephants can pass beneath without displacing
them; and even if by chance they should be thrown down, bullock-carts or
buffaloes and elephants may trample them under foot without doing them
injury. In some places the rods, if we are rightly informed, run through
rice-swamps, buried in the ground, and even here the only insulating
material used is a kind of cement made of rosin and sand. The telegraph,
like a swift messenger, goes forward and prepares the way for the
railroad, which is planned to follow in its footsteps. When these two
systems are completed, the real consolidation of England's power in the
East will have commenced, and the countless resources of the Indian
peninsula will be called forth for the benefit of the conquered as well as
of the conquering race.

The restless spirit of English engineers, having provided for the internal
telegraphic communication of Great Britain and her principal dependencies,
seems bent upon stretching out her lines to the East and to the West, so
as ultimately to clasp the entire globe. The project of connecting,
telegraphically, England with America is at the present moment seriously
engaging the attention of scientific and commercial men. The more daring
engineers are still sanguine of the practicability of laying a submarine
cable directly across the Atlantic, from Galway to Cape Race in
Newfoundland. Now that we have Lieutenant Maury's authentic determination
of the existence of a shelf across the North Atlantic, the soundings on
which are nowhere more than 1,500 fathoms, the feasibility of the project
is tolerably certain. The principal question is, whether if a line were
laid an electric current can be worked to commercial advantage through
3,000 miles of cable. No doubt, by the expenditure of enormous battery
power, this might be accomplished through wires suspended in the air, but
it is a question whether it can be done along a vast length of
gutta-percha coated wire, passing through salt-water. There is such a
thing as _too great an insulation_. Professor Faraday has shown that in
such circumstances the wire becomes a Leyden jar, and may be so charged
with electricity that a current cannot, without the greatest difficulty,
move through it. This is the objection to a direct cable between the two
continents: if, however, it can be overcome, doubtless the ocean path
would in all possible cases be adopted where communications had to be
made between civilized countries having intermediate, barbarous, or
ungenial lands. To escape this at present dubious ocean path, it is
proposed to carry the cable from the northernmost point of the Highlands
of Scotland to Iceland, by way of the Orkney, Shetland, and Ferroe
islands--to lay it from Iceland across to the nearest point in Greenland,
thence down the coast to Cape Farewell, where the cable would again take
to the water, span Davis's Straits, and make right away across Labrador
and Upper Canada to Quebec. Here it would lock in with the North American
meshwork of wires, which hold themselves out like an open hand for the
European grasp. This plan seems quite feasible, for in no part of the
journey would the cable require to be more than 900 miles long; and as it
seems pretty certain that a sandbank ex-tends, with good soundings, all
the way to Cape Farewell, there would be little difficulty in mooring the
cable to a level and soft bottom. The only obstacle that we see is the
strong partiality of the Esquimaux for old iron, and it would perhaps be
tempting them too much to hang their coasts with this material, just ready
to their hands. The want of settlements along this inhospitable arctic
coast to protect the wire is, we confess, a great drawback to the scheme;
but, we fancy, posts might be organized at comparatively a small cost,
considering the magnitude and importance of the undertaking. The mere
expense of making and laying the cable would not be much more than double
that of building the new Westminster-bridge across the Thames.

Whilst England would thus grasp the West with one hand, her active
children have plotted the seizure of the East with the other. A cable runs
from Genoa to Corsica, and from thence to Sardinia. From the southernmost
point of the latter island, Cape Spartivento, to the gulf of Tunis,
another cable can easily be carried. The direction thence (after giving
off a coast branch to Algeria) will be along the African shore, by Tripoli
to Alexandria, and eventually across Arabia, along the coasts of Persia
and Beloochistan until it enters Scinde, and finally joins the wire at
Hydrabad, which in all probability by that time will have advanced from
Burmah, across the Indian peninsula, to welcome it. America will shortly
carry her line of telegraph to the Pacific shore, and run it up the coast
as far as San Francisco. Can there be any reasonable doubt that, before
the end of the century, the one line advancing towards the West and the
other towards the East--through China and Siberia--will gradually approach
each other so closely that a short cable stretched across Behring Straits
will bring the four quarters of the globe within speaking distance of each
other, and enable the electric fire to "put a girdle round the world in
forty minutes?"


Among the more salient features of the metropolis which instantly strike
the attention of the stranger are the stations of the Fire Brigade.
Whenever he happens to pass them, he finds the sentinel on duty, he sees
the "red artillery" of the force; and the polished axle, the gleaming
branch, and the shining chain, testify to the beautiful condition of the
instrument, ready for active service at a moment's notice. Ensconced in
the shadow of the station, the liveried watchmen look like hunters waiting
for their prey--nor does the hunter move quicker to his quarry at the
rustle of a leaf, than the Firemen dash for the first ruddy glow in the
sky. No sooner comes the alarm, than one sees with a shudder the rush of
one of these engines through the crowded streets, the tearing horses
covered with foam, the heavy vehicle swerving from side to side, and the
black helmeted attendants swaying to and fro. The wonder is that horses or
men ever get safely to their destination: the wonder is still greater that
no one is ridden over in their furious drive.

Arrived at the place of action, the hunter's spirit which animates the
fireman, and makes him attack an element as determinedly as he would a
wild beast, becomes evident to the spectator. The scene which a London
fire presents can never be forgotten: the shouts of the crowd as it opens
to let the engines dart through it, the foaming head of water springing
out of the ground, and spreading over the road until it becomes a broad
mirror reflecting the glowing blaze--the black, snake-like coils of the
leather hose rising and falling like things of life, whilst a hundred
arms work at the pump, their central heart, the applause that rings out
clear above the roaring flame as the adventurous band throw the first
hissing jet; cheer following cheer, as stream after stream shoots against
the burning mass, now flying into the socket-holes of fire, set in the
black face of the house-front, now dashing with a loud shir-r against the
window-frame and wall, and falling off in broken showers. Suddenly there
is a loud shrill cry, and the bank of human faces is upturned to where a
shrieking wretch hangs frantically to an upper window-sill. A deafening
shout goes forth, as the huge fire-escape comes full swing upon the scene:
a moment's pause, and all is still, save the beat, beat, of the great
water pulses, whilst every eye is strained towards the fluttering garments
flapping against the wall. Will the ladder reach, and not dislodge those
weary hands clutching so convulsively to the hot stone! Will the nimble
figure gain the topmost rung ere nature fails? The blood in a thousand
hearts runs cold, and then again break forth a thousand cheers to
celebrate a daring rescue. Such scenes as this are of almost nightly
occurrence in the great metropolis. A still more imposing yet dreadful
sight is often exhibited in the conflagrations of those vast piles of
buildings in the City filled with inflammable merchandise. Here the most
powerful engines seem reduced to mere squirts; and the efforts of the
adventurous brigade men are confined to keeping the mischief within its
own bounds.

When we recollect that London presents an area of thirty-six square miles,
covered with 21,600 square acres of bricks and mortar, and numbers more
than 380,600 houses; that all the riches it contains are nightly
threatened in every direction by an ever-present enemy; that the secret
match, the spontaneous fire, and the hand of the drunkard, are busily at
work; it is evident that nothing but a force the most disciplined, and
implements the most effective, can be competent to cope with so sudden and
persevering a foe.

As late as twenty-two years ago there was no proper fire police to protect
the metropolis against what is commonly called the "all-devouring
element." There was, it is true, a force of 300 parochial engines set on
foot by acts which were passed between the years 1768-74, acts which are
still in existence; but these engines are under the superintendence of the
beadles and parish engineers, who are not the most active of men or nimble
of risers. It may easily be imagined, therefore, that the machines arrived
a little too late; and, when brought into service, were often found to be
out of working order. Hence their employment did not supersede the private
engines kept by some of the insurance offices long prior to their
existence. On the contrary, owing to the increase of business which took
place about this time, the different companies thought it worth their
while to strengthen their former establishments, and this process
continued while the parochial engines, with a few honourable exceptions,
were dropping into disuse.

About the year 1833 it became evident that much was lost, both to the
public and to the insurance companies, by every engine acting on its own
responsibility--a folly which is the cause of such jealousy among the
firemen at Boston (United States), that rival engines have been known to
stop on their way to a fire to exchange shots from revolvers. It was,
therefore, determined to incorporate the divided force, and place it under
the management of one superintendent, each office contributing towards its
support, according to the amount of its business. All the old-established
companies, with one exception,[41] shortly came into the arrangement, and
Mr. Braidwood, the master of the fire-engines of Edinburgh, being invited
to take the command, organized the now celebrated _London Fire Brigade_.

At the present moment, then, the protection against fire in London
consists, firstly, in the three hundred and odd parish-engines (two to
each parish), which are paid for out of the rates. The majority of these
are very inefficient, not having any persons appointed to work them who
possess a competent knowledge of the service. Even women used now and then
to fill the arduous post of director; and it is not long since a certain
Mrs. Smith, a widow, might be seen at conflagrations, hurrying about in
her pattens, directing the firemen of her engine, which belonged to the
united parishes of St. Michael Royal and St. Martin Vintry, in the city.
We question, indeed, if at the present moment any of the parish-engines
are much better officered than in the days of widow Smith, with the
exception of those of Hackney, Whitechapel, Islington, and perhaps two or
three others. Secondly, there are an unknown number of private engines
kept in public buildings and large manufactories, which sometimes do good
service when they arrive early at small fires in their neighbourhood,
although, singularly enough, when called upon to extinguish a
conflagration in their own establishments, they generally "lose their
heads," as the brigade men express it; and very many instances have
occurred where even the parish-engines have arrived and set to work before
the one on the premises could be brought to bear upon the fire. The cause
is clear. The requisite coolness and method which every one can exercise
so philosophically in other people's misfortunes utterly fail them when in
trouble themselves. The doctor is wiser in his generation, and is never so
foolish as to prescribe for himself or to attend his own family.

Thirdly, we have, in contrast to the immense rabble of Bumble engines and
the Bashi-Bazouks of private establishments, the small complement of men
and material of the fire brigade. It consists of twenty-seven large
horse-engines, capable of throwing eighty-eight gallons a minute to the
height of from fifty to seventy feet, and nine smaller ones drawn by hand.
To work them there are twelve engineers, seven sub-engineers, thirty-two
senior firemen, thirty-nine junior firemen, and fourteen drivers, or 104
men and 31 horses. In addition to these persons, who form the main
establishment, and live at the different stations, there is an extra staff
of four firemen, four drivers, and eight horses. The members of this
supplementary force are also lodged at the stations,[42] as well as
clothed, but are only paid when their services are required, and pursue in
the daytime their ordinary occupations. This not very formidable army of
104 men and 31 horses, with its reserve of eight men and eight horses, is
distributed throughout the metropolis, which is divided into four
districts as follows:--On the north side of the river--1st, From the
eastward to Paul's Chain, St. Paul's Churchyard, Aldersgate Street, and
Goswell Street Road; 2nd, From St. Paul's, &c., to Tottenham Court Road,
Crown Street, and St. Martin's Lane; 3rd, From Tottenham Court Road, &c.,
westward; 4th, The entire south side of the river. At the head of each
district is a foreman, who never leaves it unless acting under the
superior orders of Mr. Braidwood, the superintendent or general-in-chief,
whose head-quarters are in Watling Street.

In comparison with the great continental cities, such a force seems truly
insignificant. Paris, which does not cover a fifth part of the ground of
London, and is not much more than a third as populous, boasts 800
_sapeurs-pompiers_: we make up, however, for want of numbers by activity.
Again, our look-out is admirable: the 6,000 police of the metropolis,
patrolling every alley and lane throughout its length and breadth, watch
for a fire as terriers watch at rat-holes, and every man is stimulated by
the knowledge, that if he is the first to give notice of it at any of the
stations it is half a sovereign in his pocket. In addition to the police,
there are the thousand eager eyes of the night cabmen, and the houseless
poor. It is not at all uncommon for a cabman to earn four or five
shillings of a night by driving fast to the different stations and giving
the alarm, receiving a shilling from each for the "call."

In most continental cities a watchman takes his stand during the night on
the topmost point of some high building, and gives notice by either
blowing a horn, firing a gun, or ringing a bell. In Germany the quarter is
indicated by holding out towards it a flag by day, and a lantern at night.
It immediately suggests itself that a sentinel placed in the upper gallery
of St. Paul's would have under his eye the whole metropolis, and could
make known instantly, by means of an electric wire, the position of a
fire, to the head-station at Watling Street, in the same manner as the
Americans do in Boston. This plan is, however, open to the objection, that
London is intersected by a sinuous river, which renders it difficult to
tell on which bank the conflagration is raging. Nevertheless, we imagine
that the northern part of the town could be advantageously superintended
from such a height, whilst the southern half might rest under the
surveillance of one of the tall shot-towers on that bank of the Thames.
The bridges themselves have long been posts of observation, from which a
large portion of the river-side property is watched. Not long ago there
was a pieman on London Bridge, who eked out a precarious existence by
keeping a good look-out up and down the stream.

Watling Street was chosen as the head-quarters of the Fire Brigade for a
double reason: it is very nearly the centre of the City, being close to
the far-famed London Stone, and it is in the very midst of what may be
termed, speaking igneously, the most dangerous part of the metropolis--the
Manchester warehouses. As the Fire Brigade is only a portion of a vast
commercial operation--Fire Insurance--its actions are regulated by
strictly commercial considerations. Where the largest amount of _insured_
property lies, there its chief force is planted. It will, it is true, go
any reasonable distance to put out a fire; but of course it pays most
attention to property which its proprietors have guaranteed. The central
station receives the greatest number of "calls;" but as a
commander-in-chief does not turn out for a skirmish of outposts, so Mr.
Braidwood keeps himself ready for affairs of a more serious nature. When
the summons is at night--there are sometimes as many as half a dozen--the
fireman on duty below apprises the superintendent by means of a gutta
percha speaking-tube, which comes up to his bedside. By the light of the
ever-burning gas, he rapidly consults the "London Directory," and if the
call should be to what is called "a greengrocer's street," or any of the
small thoroughfares in by-parts of the town, he leaves the matter to the
foreman in whose district it is, and goes to sleep again. If, however, the
fire should be in the City, or in any of the great west-end thoroughfares,
he hurries off on the first engine. Five minutes is considered a fair time
for an engine "to horse and away," but it is often done in three. Celerity
in bringing up aid is the great essential, as the first half hour
generally determines the extent to which a conflagration will proceed.
Hence the rewards of thirty shillings for the first, twenty for the
second, and ten for the third engine that arrives, which premiums are paid
by the parish. All the engines travel with as few hands as possible: the
larger ones having an engineer, four firemen and a driver, and the
following furniture:--

    "Several lengths of scaling-ladder, each 6-1/2 feet long, all of which
    may be readily connected, forming in a short space of time a ladder of
    any required length; a canvas sheet, with ten or twelve handles of
    rope round the edge of it for the purpose of a fire-escape; one
    10-fathom and one 14-fathom piece of 2-1/2-inch rope; six lengths of
    hose, each 40 feet long; two branch-pipes, one 2-1/2 feet, and the
    other from 4 to 6 feet long, with one spare nose-pipe; two 6-feet
    lengths of suction-pipe, a flat rose, stand-cock, goose-neck,
    dam-board, boat-hook, saw, shovel, mattock, pole-axe, screw-wrench,
    crow-bar, portable cistern, two dog-tails, two balls of strips of
    sheepskin, two balls of small cord, instruments for opening the
    fire-plugs, and keys for turning the stop-cocks of the water-mains."

The weight of the whole, with the men, is not less than from 27 to 30
cwt., a load which in the excitement of the ride is carried by a couple of
horses at the gallop.

The hands to work the pumps are always forthcoming on the spot at any hour
of the night, not alone for goodwill, as every man--and there have been as
many as five hundred employed at a time--receives one shilling for the
first hour and sixpence for every succeeding one, together with
refreshments. In France the law empowers the firemen to seize upon the
bystanders, and compel them to give their services, without fee or reward.
An Englishman at Bordeaux, whilst looking on, some few years since, was
forced, in spite of his remonstrances, to roll wine-casks for seven hours
out of the vicinity of a conflagration. We need not say which plan answers
best. A Frenchman runs away, as soon as the _sapeurs-pompiers_ make their
appearance upon the scene, to avoid being impressed. Still such is the
excitement, that there are some gentlemen with us who pursue the
occupation of firemen as amateurs; providing themselves with the
regulation-dress of dark-green turned up with red, and with the
accoutrements of the Brigade, and working, under the orders of Mr.
Braidwood, as energetically as if they were earning their daily bread.

The fascination of fires even extends to the brute creation. Who has not
heard of the dog "Chance," who first formed his acquaintance with the
Brigade by following a fireman from a conflagration in Shoreditch to the
central station at Watling Street? Here, after he had been petted for some
little time by the men, his master came for him, and took him home; but he
escaped on the first opportunity, and returned to the station. After he
had been carried back for the third time, his master--like a mother whose
son _will_ go to sea--allowed him to have his own way, and for years he
invariably accompanied the engine, now upon the machine, now under the
horses' legs, and always, when going up-hill, running in advance, and
announcing the welcome advent of the extinguisher by his bark. At the fire
he used to amuse himself with pulling burning logs of wood out of the
flames with his mouth. Although he had his legs broken half a dozen times,
he remained faithful to his pursuit; till at last, having received a
severer hurt than usual, he was being nursed by the fireman beside the
hearth, when a "call" came, and at the well-known sound of the engine
turning out, the poor brute made a last effort to climb upon it, and fell
back dead in the attempt. He was stuffed and preserved at the station, and
was doomed, even in death, to prove the fireman's friend: for one of the
engineers having committed suicide, the Brigade determined to raffle him
for the benefit of the widow, _and such was his renown, that he realized_
123_l._ 10_s._ 9_d._

The most interesting and practical part of our subject is the inquiry into
the various causes of fires. Mr. Braidwood comes here to our aid with his
invaluable yearly reports--the only materials we have, in fact, on which
fire insurance can be built up into a science, a feat which we have not
accomplished to nearly the same extent as with life assurance, although
the Hand-in-Hand office was founded so far back as 1696. Thus we have the
experience of upwards of 150 years, if we could only get at it, to enable
the actuary to ascertain the doctrine of chances in this momentous
subject, which at present is little better than a speculation. An analysis
of the reports, from the organization of the Fire Brigade in 1833 to the
close of 1853, a period extending over 21 years, affords the following

Abstract of List of Fires and Alarms for Twenty Years, ending 1853.

  Year.| Totally |Considerably|Slightly|Total |      Alarms.      |Total of
       |Destroyed|  Damaged.  |Damaged.| of   |-------------------|Fires &
       |         |            |        |Fires.|False|Chimn'y|Total|Alarms.
  1833 |   31    |    135     |   292  |   458|  59 |   75  |  134|   592
  1834 |   28    |    116     |   338  |   482|  57 |  112  |  169|   651
  1835 |   31    |    125     |   315  |   471|  66 |  106  |  172|   643
  1836 |   33    |    134     |   397  |   564|  66 |  126  |  192|   756
  1837 |   22    |    122     |   357  |   501|  82 |  134  |  216|   717
  1838 |   33    |    152     |   383  |   568|  79 |  108  |  187|   755
  1839 |   17    |    165     |   402  |   584|  70 |  101  |  171|   755
  1840 |   26    |    204     |   451  |   681|  84 |   98  |  182|   863
  1841 |   24    |    234     |   438  |   696|  67 |   92  |  159|   855
  1842 |   24    |    224     |   521  |   769|  61 |   82  |  143|   912
  1843 |   29    |    231     |   489  |   749|  79 |   83  |  162|   911
  1844 |   23    |    237     |   502  |   762|  70 |   94  |  164|   926
  1845 |   23    |    253     |   431  |   707|  82 |   87  |  168|   875
  1846 |   25    |    233     |   576  |   834| 119 |   69  |  188| 1,022
  1847 |   27    |    273     |   536  |   836|  88 |   66  |  154|   990
  1848 |   27    |    269     |   509  |   805| 120 |   86  |  206| 1,011
  1849 |   28    |    228     |   582  |   838|  76 |   89  |  165| 1,003
  1850 |   18    |    229     |   621  |   868|  91 |   79  |  170| 1,038
  1851 |   21    |    255     |   652  |   928| 115 |  116  |  231| 1,159
  1852 |   25    |    238     |   660  |   923|  93 |   89  |  182| 1,105
  1853 |   20    |    241     |   629  |   900|  72 |   90  |  162| 1,062
  Total|  535    |  4,298     |10,091  |14,924|1,695|1,982  |3,677|18,601

If we examine this table, we find ample evidence that the organization of
the Fire Brigade has resulted in an abatement of loss and labour. Taking
the average of the last twenty-one years, there has been a decrease of 5·7
in the last year under the head of "totally destroyed." This is the best
test of the activity of the Brigade, and really means much more than is
obvious at first sight. Within these twenty-one years many tens of
thousands of houses have been added to the metropolis; our periphery has
been continually enlarging; like a tree, we grow year by year by adding a
fresh ring of bricks and mortar. Whilst this increase is going on
externally, the central part is growing too. We can afford no dead wood in
our very heart: if it cannot expand one way it must another. Accordingly,
we find the crowded city extending towards the sky; and if we take into
account the immense mass of material added to that which existed, all of
which is equally liable to the inroads of fire, we can understand why the
total number of conflagrations has increased from 458 in 1833 to 900 in
1853. With such an augmentation of conflagrations, the _decrease_ of
houses totally destroyed in 1853 is the highest testimony to the ability
and zeal of Mr. Braidwood.

The item "totally destroyed" is mainly made up of houses and factories in
which are stored very combustible materials, such as carpenters' and
cabinet-makers' shops, oilmen's warehouses, sawmills, &c., where the fire
gains such a hold in a few minutes as to preclude the possibility of
putting it out. The number is also swelled by houses which are situated
many miles from the nearest station; for there are no stations in the
outskirts of the town, and very few in the crowded suburbs. We have seen
complaints of this want of help in thickly-populated localities; but the
companies only plant an establishment where the insurances are sufficient
to cover the expense, and people who do not contribute have no more right
to expect private individuals to take care of their property than
tradesmen in the Strand would have to expect the private watchman outside
Messrs. Coutts' bank to look after their shutters. Indeed, it seems to us
that the Brigade act very liberally. The firemen never stop to ask
whether the house is insured or not; nor are they deterred by distance;
and in many cases they have gone as far as Brentford, Putney, Croydon,
Barnet, Uxbridge, Cranfordbridge, Windsor Castle, and once to Dover by an
express engine. The only difference made by the Brigade between insured
and uninsured property is, that after putting out a fire they take charge
of the salvage of the former, and leave that of the latter to its owner.
The force is, however, very careful to repair immediately any damage they
may have done to adjoining property--damage which they commit in the most
deliberate manner, regardless of pains and penalties. For instance,
_housebreaking_ is almost a nightly crime with the firemen whilst in
search of water, who never let a wall or a door stand between them and a
supply of this element. It is a proof of the good feeling which prevails
on such occasions that, although they are technically guilty of an offence
which renders them liable to punishment, no one murmurs, much less
threatens proceedings. If the authorities in the great fire of London had
acted in a similar manner for the public good, they would have saved the
half of the Inner Temple, which was destroyed because, according to
Clarendon's account, all the lawyers were absent on circuit, and the
constables did not dare to take the responsibility of breaking open their
chamber doors!

It is a question whether government ought not to relieve the parish
authorities from a duty which they cannot separately perform, and combine
their engines into a metropolitan brigade; thus guarding the town from
fire as they do from robbery by the police. If people will not protect
themselves by insuring, the state should protect them, and make them pay
for it. An excellent system prevails in most parts of Germany of levying a
rate at the close of the year upon all the inhabitants, sufficient to
cover the loss from fires during the past twelvemonth. As every
householder has a pecuniary interest in the result, he keeps a bucket and
belt, and sallies out to extinguish the conflagration in his neighbour's
premises. If the rate were adopted in London, and the present enormous
duty on insurances reduced, the cost to each person would be hardly more
pence than it is pounds at present to the provident few.

Mr. Samuel Brown, of the Institute of Actuaries, after analyzing the
returns of Mr. Braidwood, as well as the reports in the _Mechanics'
Magazine_ by Mr. Baddeley, who has devoted much attention to the subject,
drew up some tables of the times of the year and hours of the day at which
fires are most frequent. It would naturally be supposed that the winter
would show a vast preponderance over the summer months; but the difference
is not so great as might be expected. December and January are very
prolific of fires, as in these months large public buildings are heated by
flues, stoves, and boilers; but the other months share mishaps of the kind
pretty equally, with the exception that the hot and dry periods of summer
and autumn are marked by the most destructive class of conflagrations,
owing to the greater inflammability of the materials, than in the damper
portions of the year. This, from the desiccating nature of the climate, is
especially the case in Canada and the United States, and, coupled with the
extensive use of wood in building, has a large influence in many parts of
the continent. The following list of all the great fires which have taken
place for the last hundred years will bear out our statement:--

  Month.| Description of Property, |    Place.    |Value of Property| Year.
        |          &c.             |              |    Destroyed.   |
          {Webb's Sugar-house      |Liverpool     |          £4,600 | 1829
          {Lancelot's-hey          |   "          |         198,000 | 1833
          {Town-hall and Exchange  |   "          |          45,000 | 1795
   Jan.   {Caxton Printing Office  |   "          |                 | 1821
          {Dublin & Co. Warehouse  |   "          |                 | 1834
          {Suffolk Street          |   "          |          40,000 | 1818
          {Mile End                |London        |         200,000 | 1834
          {Royal Exchange          |   "          |                 | 1838
                                   |              |                 |
          {York Minster            |York          |                 | 1829
          {3 West-India Warehouses |London        |         300,000 | 1829
          {House of Commons        |Dublin        |                 | 1792
   Feb.   {Argyle Rooms            |London        |                 | 1830
          {Camberwell Church       |   "          |                 | 1841
          {Custom House            |   "          |                 | 1814
          {Hop Warehouse           |Southwark     |                 | 1851
          {J. F. Pawson & Co.'s   }| St. Paul's  }|          40,000 | 1853
          {  Warehouses           }|Churchyard   }|                 |
          {Pickford's Wharf        |London        |                 | 1824
          {Goree Warehouses        |Liverpool     |          50,000 | 1846
                                   |              |                 |
          {New Orleans             |United States |     dr. 650,000 | 1853
          {15,000 houses at Canton |China         |                 | 1820
          {13,000 houses           |Peru          |                 | 1799
          {Manchester              |England       |                 | 1792
  March   {Fawcett's Foundry       |Liverpool     |         £41,000 | 1843
          {Oil Street              |   "          |          12,000 | 1844
          {Apothecaries' Hall      |   "          |           7,000 | 1844
          {Sugar House, Harrington}|   "          |          30,000 | 1830
          {  Street               }|              |                 |
                                   |              |                 |
          {1,000 Buildings         |Pittsburg     |   dr. 1,400,000 | 1845
          {Savannah                |United States |     dr. 300,000 | 1852
          {Parkshead, Bacon Street |Liverpool     |         £36,000 | 1851
          {Windsor Forest          |England       |                 | 1785
  April   {Margetson's Tan Yard,  }|London        |          36,000 | 1852
          {  Bermondsey           }|              |                 |
          {1,158 Buildings,       }|United States |                 | 1838
          {  Charleston           }|              |                 |
          {Horsleydown             |London        |                 | 1780
                                   |              |                 |
          {Dockhead                |London        |                 | 1785
          {Great Fire, 1,749 houses|Hamburgh      |                 | 1842
          {23 Steamboats at       }|United States |     dr. 600,000 | 1849
          {  St. Louis            }|              |                 |
          {15,000 Houses           |Quebec        |                 | 1845
          {York Minster            |York          |                 | 1840
  May     {Duke's Warehouses       |Liverpool     |                 | 1843
          {Okell's Sugar-house     |   "          |                 | 1799
          {Gibraltar Row           |   "          |                 | 1838
          {Liver Mills             |   "          |          £8,700 | 1841
          {Billinsgate             |London        |                 | 1809
                                   |              |                 |
          {Rotherhithe             |London        |                 | 1765
          {Copenhagen              |Denmark       |                 | 1759
          {Montreal                |Canada        |   dr. 1,000,000 | 1852
          {St. John                |Newfoundland  |                 | 1846
          {Louisville              |United States |     dr. 100,000 | 1853
  June    {47 persons, Quebec     }|Canada        |                 | 1846
          {  Theatre              }|              |                 |
          {1,300 houses, Quebec    |   "          |                 | 1845
          {Gutta Percha Co., Wharf}|London        |         £23,000 | 1853
          {  Road                 }|              |                 |
          {Humphreys' Warehouse,  }|   "          |         100,000 | 1851
          {  Southwark            }|              |                 |
                                   |              |                 |
          {Hindon                  |Wiltshire     |                 | 1754
          {15,000 Houses           |Constantinople|                 | 1756
          {12,000 Houses           |Montreal      |                 | 1852
          {300 Houses              |Philadelphia  |                 | 1850
          {300 Buildings           |North America |     dr. 160,000 | 1846
  July    {302 Stores              |New York      |   dr. 1,200,000 | 1846
          {Apothecaries' Hall      |Liverpool     |                 | 1845
          {Glover's Warehouses     |   "          |         £17,000 | 1851
          {Dockyard                |Portsmouth    |                 | 1770
          {Wapping                 |London        |       1,000,000 | 1794
          {Ratcliffe Cross         |   "          |                 | 1794
          {Varna                   |Turkey        |                 | 1854
                                   |              |                 |
          {Dublin                  |Ireland       |                 | 1833
          {Gravesend               |England       |          60,000 | 1847
          {Walker's Oil Mill       |Dover         |          30,000 | 1853
          {Falmouth Theatre        |Falmouth      |                 | 1792
  Aug.    {Buildings, Albany       |United States |     dr. 600,000 | 1849
          {10,000 Houses           |Constantinople|                 | 1782
          {Smithfield              |London        |        £100,000 | 1822
          {East Smithfield         |   "          |                 | 1840
          {Bankside                |   "          |                 | 1814
          {Gateshead               |England       |                 | 1854
                                   |              |                 |
          {46 Buildings            |New York      |     dr. 500,000 | 1839
          {200 Houses, Brooklyn    |   "          |         150,000 | 1848
          {Scott, Russell, & Co., }|London        |         £80,000 | 1853
          {  Ship Builders, Mill  }|              |                 |
          {  Wall                 }|              |                 |
          {St. Paul's Church,     }|   "          |                 |
          {  Covent Garden        }|              |                 | 1795
          {60 Houses Rotherhithe   |   "          |                 | 1791
  Sept.   {Astley's Amphitheatre   |   "          |                 | 1794
          {Mark Lane               |   "          |         150,000 | 1850
          {Covent Garden Theatre   |   "          |                 | 1808
          {Store Street and       }|   "          |                 |
          {  Tottenham Court Road }|              |                 | 1802
          {Macfee's                |Liverpool     |          40,000 | 1846
          {Gorees                  |   "          |         400,000 | 1802
          {Formby Street           |   "          |         380,000 | 1842
          {Cowdray House           |Sussex        |                 | 1793
                                   |              |                 |
          {52 Buildings            |Philadelphia  |     dr. 100,000 | 1839
          {Grimsdell's Builders'  }|Spitalfields  |                 | 1852
          {  Yard                 }|              |                 |
          {Withwith's Mills        |Halifax       |         £35,000 | 1853
          {Robert Street           |North Liverp'l|         150,000 | 1838
          {Lancelot's-hey          |Liverpool     |          80,000 | 1854
          {Memel Great Fire        |Prussia       |                 | 1854
  Oct.    {London Wall             |London        |          84,000 | 1849
          {20 Houses, Rotherhithe  |   "          |                 | 1790
          {Lancelot's-hey          |Liverpool     |          30,000 | 1834
          {Wapping                 |London        |         100,000 | 1823
          {Houses of Parliament    |   "          |                 | 1834
          {Pimlico                 |   "          |                 | 1839
                                   |              |                 |
          {Royal Palace            |Lisbon        |                 | 1794
          {New York                |United States |                 | 1835
          {20 Houses, Shadwell     |London        |                 | 1796
          {Aldersgate Street       |   "          |        £100,000 | 1783
  Nov.    {Cornhill                |   "          |                 | 1765
          {Liver Street            |Liverpool     |           6,000 | 1829
          {Wright & Aspinall,     }|London        |          50,000 | 1826
          {  Oxford Street        }|              |                 |
          {Hill's Rice Mills       |   "          |           5,000 | 1848
                                   |              |                 |
          {Dock Yard               |Portsmouth    |                 | 1776
          {Patent Office and Post }|Washington    |                 | 1836
          {  Office               }|              |                 |
  Dec.    {600 Warehouses          |New York      |   dr. 4,000,000 | 1835
          {Fenwick Street          |Liverpool     |         £36,000 | 1831
          {Brancker's Sugar-house  |   "          |          34,000 | 1843

  (_Extracted from the Royal Insurance Company's Almanack, 1854._)

One reason, perhaps, why there is such a general average in the number of
conflagrations throughout the year is, that the vast majority occur in
factories and workshops where fire is used in summer as well as winter.
This supposition appears at first sight to be contradicted by the fact
that nearly as many fires occur on Sunday as on any other day of the week.
But when it is remembered that in numerous establishments it is necessary
to keep in the fires throughout that day, and as in the majority of cases
a very inadequate watch is kept, it is at once apparent why there is no
immunity from the scourge. Indeed, some of the most destructive fires have
broken out on a Sunday night or on a Sunday morning; no doubt because a
large body of fire had formed before it was detected. A certain number of
accidents occur in summer in private houses from persons on hot nights
opening the window behind the toilet-glass in their bedrooms, when the
draught blows the blind against the candle. Swallows do not more certainly
appear in June, than such mishaps are found reported at the sultry season.

If we watch still more narrowly the habits of fires, we find that they are
active or dormant according to the time of day. Thus, during a period of
nine years, the per-centage regularly increased from 1·96 at 9 o'clock
A.M., the hour at which all households might be considered to be about,
to 3·34 at 1 P.M., 3·55 at 5 P.M., and 8·15 per cent. at 10 P.M., which is
just the time at which a fire left to itself by the departure of the
workmen would have had swing enough to become visible.

The origin of fires is now so narrowly inquired into by the officers of
the Brigade, and by means of inquests, that we have been made acquainted
with a vast number of curious causes which would never have been
suspected. From an analysis of fires which have occurred since the
establishment of the Brigade we have constructed the following tables:--

  Curtains                              2,511
  Candle                                1,178
  Flues                                 1,555
  Stoves                                  494
  Gas                                     932
  Light dropped down Area                  13
  Lighted Tobacco falling down ditt         7
  Dust falling on horizontal Flue           1
  Doubtful                                 76
  Incendiarism                             89
  Carelessness                            100
  Intoxication                             80
  Dog                                       6
  Cat                                      19
  Hunting Bugs                             15
  Clothes-horse upset by Monkey             1
  Lucifers                                 80
  Children playing with ditto              45
  Rat gnawing ditto                         1
  Jackdaw playing with ditto                1
  Rat gnawing Gaspipe                       1
  Boys letting off Fireworks               14
  Fireworks going off                      63
  Children playing with Fire               45
  Spark from ditto                        243
  Spark from Railway                        4
  Smoking Tobacco                         166
  Smoking Ants                              1
  Smoking in Bed                            2
  Reading in ditto                         22
  Sewing in ditto                           4
  Sewing by Candle                          1
  Lime overheating                         44
  Waste ditto                              43
  Cargo of Lime ditto                       2
  Rain slacking ditto                       5
  High Tide                                 1
  Explosion                                16
  Spontaneous Combustion                   43
  Heat from Sun                             8
  Lightning                                 8
  Carboy of Acid bursting                   2
  Drying Linen                              1
  Shirts falling into Fire                  6
  Lighting and Upsetting Naphtha Lamp      58
  Fire from Iron Kettle                     1
  Sealing Letter                            1
  Charcoal fire of a Suicide                1
  Insanity                                  5
  Bleaching Nuts                            7
  Unknown                               1,323

Among the more common causes of fire (such as gas, candle, curtains taking
fire, children playing with stoves, &c.) it is remarkable how uniformly
the same numbers occur under each head from year to year. General laws
obtain as much in small as in great events. We are informed by the Post
Office authorities that about eight persons daily drop their letters into
the post without directing them; we know that there is an unvarying
percentage of broken heads and limbs received into the hospitals; and here
we see that a regular number of houses take fire, year by year, from the
leaping out of a spark or the dropping of a smouldering pipe of tobacco.
It may indeed be a long time before another conflagration will arise from
"a monkey upsetting a clothes-horse," but we have no doubt such an
accident will recur in its appointed cycle.

Although gas figures so largely as a cause of fire, it does not appear
that its rapid introduction of late years into private houses has been
attended with danger. There is another kind of light, however, which the
insurance offices look upon with terror, especially those who make it
their business to insure farm property. The assistant-secretary of one of
the largest fire-offices, speaking broadly, informed us that the
introduction of the lucifer-match _caused them an annual loss of ten
thousand pounds_! In the foregoing list we see in how many ways they have
given rise to fires.

  Lucifers going off probably from heat      80
  Children playing with lucifers             45
  Rat gnawing lucifers                        1
  Jackdaw playing with lucifers               1

One hundred and twenty-seven known fires thus arise from this single
cause; and no doubt many of the twenty-five fires ascribed to the agency
of cats and dogs were owing to their having thrown down boxes of matches
at night, which they frequently do, and which is almost certain to produce
combustion. The item "rat gnawing lucifer," reminds us to give a warning
against leaving about wax lucifers where there are either rats or mice,
for these vermin constantly run away with them to their holes behind the
inflammable canvas, and eat the wax until they reach the phosphorus, which
is ignited by the friction of their teeth. Many fires are believed to have
been produced by this singular circumstance. How much, again, must
lucifers have contributed to swell the large class of conflagrations whose
causes are unknown! Another cause of fire, which is of recent date, is the
use of naphtha in lamps,--a most ignitible fluid when mixed in certain
proportions with common air. "A delightful novel" figures as a proximate,
if not an immediate, cause of twenty-two fires. This might be expected;
but what can be the meaning of a fire caused by a high tide? When we asked
Mr. Braidwood the question, he answered, "Oh, we always look out for fires
when there is a high tide. They arise from the heating of lime upon the
addition of water." Thus rain, we see, has caused four conflagrations, and
simple over-heating forty-four. The lime does no harm so long as it is
merely in contact with wood; but if iron happens to be in juxtaposition
with the two, it speedily becomes red-hot, and barges on the river have
been sunk, by reason of their bolts and iron knees burning holes in their
bottoms. Of the singular entry, "rat gnawing a gaspipe," the firemen state
that it is common for rats to gnaw leaden service-pipes, for the purpose,
it is supposed, of getting at the water, and in this instance the grey
rodent laboured under a mistake, and let out the raw material of the
opposite element. Intoxication is a fruitful cause of fires, especially in
public-houses and inns.

It is commonly imagined that the introduction of hot water, hot air, and
steam-pipes, as a means of heating buildings, cuts off one avenue of
danger from fire. This is an error. Iron pipes, often heated up to 400°,
are placed in close contact with floors and skirting-boards, supported by
slight diagonal props of wood, which a much lower degree of heat will
suffice to ignite. The circular rim supporting a still at the
Apothecaries' Hall, which was used in the preparation of some medicament
that required a temperature of only 300°, was found, not long ago, to have
charred a circle, at least a quarter of an inch deep, in the wood beneath
it, in less than six months. Mr. Braidwood, in his evidence before a
Committee of the House of Lords, in 1846, stated that it was his belief
that by long exposure to heat, not much exceeding that of boiling water,
or 212°, timber is brought into such a condition that it will fire without
the application of a light. The time during which this process of
desiccation goes on, until it ends in spontaneous combustion, is, he
thinks, from eight to ten years; _so that a fire might be hatching in a
man's premises during the whole of his lease, without making any sign_!

Mr. Hosking, in his very useful and sensible little "Guide to the proper
Regulation of Buildings in Towns," quotes the following case, which
completely confirms Mr. Braidwood's opinion, and explodes the idea that
heat applied through the medium of pipes must be safe.

    "Day and Martin's well-known blacking manufactory in High Holborn was
    heated by means of hot water passing through iron tubes into the
    various parts of the building. In December, 1848, the wooden casing
    and other woodwork about the upright main pipes were found to be on
    fire, and from no other cause that could be discovered than the
    constant exposure for a long time of the wood to heat from the pipes.
    In this case the pipes were not in contact with the wooden casing, but
    they were stayed and kept upright by cross fillets of wood, which
    touched them, and these it was which appeared to have taken fire. The
    small circulating pipes which conveyed the hot water throughout the
    several chambers were raised from the floor to about the extent of
    their own diameter, and the floors showed no signs of fire where the
    pipes were so removed; but in _every case_ where the prop or saddle
    which held the pipe up from the floor had been displaced, and the pipe
    had been allowed to sag and touch the floor, _the boards were
    charred_. It was understood that the temperature of the water in the
    pipes never much exceeded 300°. The practical teaching of this case
    clearly is, that pipes should on no consideration be placed nearer to
    wood than the distance of their own diameters. Wood dried in the
    thorough manner we have mentioned is so liable to catch fire at the
    momentary propinquity of flame, that practical men imagine there must
    be an atmosphere of some kind surrounding it of a highly inflammable
    nature. In cases of pine wood we could well understand such a theory,
    as we know that a stick thrust into the fire will emit from its free
    end a volatile spirit of turpentine, which lights like a jet of gas.

    "Mercers' Hall, burnt in 1853, was the victim of its hot-water pipes,
    which had not been in work more than four or five years. The vaulted
    room in the British Museum, which contains some of the Nineveh
    marbles, was fired--or rather the carpenters' work about--in a similar
    manner; and if report tells the truth, the new Houses of Parliament
    have been on fire several times already from a similar cause."

Under the heads "Incendiarism," "Doubtful," and "Unknown," are included
all the cases of wilful firing. The return, "Incendiarism," is never made
unless there has been a conviction, which rarely takes place, as the
offices are only anxious to protect themselves against fraud, and do not
like the trouble or bad odour of being prosecutors on public grounds. If
the evidence of wilful firing, however, is conclusive, the insured, when
he applies for his money, is significantly informed by the secretary that
unless he leaves the office, _he will hang him_. Though arson is no
longer punished by death, the hint is usually taken. Now and then, such
flagrant offenders are met with, that the office cannot avoid pursuing
them with the utmost rigour of the law. Such, in 1851, was the case of a
"respectable" solicitor, living in Lime-street, Watling-street, who had
insured his house and furniture for a sum much larger than they were
worth. The means he adopted for the commission of his crime without
discovery were apparently sure; but it was the very pains he took to
accomplish his end which led to his detection. He had specially made to
order a deep tray of iron, in the centre of which was placed a socket. The
tray he filled with naphtha, and in the socket he put a candle, the light
of which was shaded by a funnel. The candle was one of the kind which he
used for his gig-lamp,--for he kept a gig,--and was calculated to last a
stated time before it reached the naphtha. He furtively deposited the
whole machine in the cellar, within eight inches of the wooden floor, in a
place constructed to conceal it. The attorney went out, and on coming back
again found, as he expected, that his house was on fire. Unfortunately,
however, for him--if it is ever a misfortune to a scoundrel to be
detected,--it was put out at a very early stage, and the firemen, whilst
in the act of extinguishing it, discovered this infernal machine. The
order to make it was traced to the delinquent: a female servant, irritated
at the idea of his having left her in the house to be burnt to death, gave
evidence against him. He was tried and convicted, and is now expiating his
crime at Norfolk Island. Plans for rebuilding this villain's house, and
estimates of the expense, were found afterwards among his papers.

The class "doubtful" includes all those cases in which the offices have no
moral doubt that the fire has been wilful, but are not in possession of
legal evidence sufficient to substantiate a charge against the offender.
In most of these instances, however, the insured has _his reasons_ for
taking a much smaller sum than he originally demanded. Lastly, we have the
"unknown," to which 1,323 cases are put down, one of the largest numbers
in the entire list, though decreasing year by year. Even of these, a
certain percentage are supposed to be wilful. There is no denying that the
crime of arson owes its origin entirely to the introduction of fire
insurance; and there can be as little doubt that, of late years, it has
been very much increased by the pernicious competition for business among
the younger offices, which leads them to deal too leniently with their
customers; or, in other words, to pay the money, _and ask no questions_.
It is calculated that _one fire in seven which occur among the small class
of shopkeepers in London is an incendiary fire_. Mr. Braidwood, whose
experience is larger than that of any person, tells us that the greatest
ingenuity is sometimes exercised to deceive the officers of the insurance
company as to the value of the insured stock. In one instance, when the
Brigade had succeeded in extinguishing the fire, he discovered a string
stretched across one of the rooms in the basement of the house, on which
ringlets of shavings dipped in turpentine were tied at regular intervals.
On extending his investigations, he ascertained that a vast pile of what
he thought were pounds of moist sugar consisted of parcels of brown paper,
and that the loaves of white sugar were made of plaster of Paris. Ten to
one but the "artful dodge," which some scoundrel flatters himself is
peculiarly his own, has been put in practice by hundreds of others before
him. For this reason, fires that are wilful generally betray themselves to
the practised eye of the Brigade. When an event of the kind "is going to
happen" at home, a common circumstance is to find that the fond parent has
treated the whole of his family to the theatre.

There is another class of incendiary fires which arise from a species of
monomania in boys and girls. Not many years ago the men of the Brigade
were occupied for hours in putting out no less than half a dozen fires
which broke out one after another in a house in West Smithfield; and it
was at last discovered that they were occasioned by a youth who went about
with lucifers and slily ignited everything that would burn. He was caught
in the act of firing a curtain in the very room in which a fireman was
occupied in putting out a blaze. A still more extraordinary case took
place in the year 1848, at Torluck House, in the Isle of Mull. On Sunday,
the 11th of November, the curtains of a bed were ignited, as was supposed
by lightning; a window-blind followed; and immediately afterwards the
curtains of five rooms broke out one after another into a flame; even the
towels hanging up in the kitchen were burnt. The next day a bed took fire,
and it being thought advisable to carry the bed-linen into the coach-house
for safety, it caught fire three or four times during the process of
removal. In a few days the phenomenon was renewed. The furniture, books,
and everything else of an inflammable nature, were, with much labour,
taken from the mansion, and again some body-linen burst into a flame on
the way. Even after these precautions had been taken, and persons had been
set to watch in every part of the house, the mysterious fires continued to
haunt it until the 22nd of February, 1849. It was suspected from the first
that they were the act of an incendiary, and upon a rigid examination of
the household before the Fiscal-General and the Sheriff, the mischief was
traced to the daughter of the housekeeper, a young girl, who was on a
visit to her mother. She had effected her purpose, which was perfectly
motiveless, by concealing combustibles in different parts of the house.

The most ludicrous conflagration that perhaps ever occurred was that at
Mr. Phillips's workshops, when the whole of his stock of instruments for
extinguishing flame were at one fell swoop destroyed. "'Tis rare to see
the engineer hoist with his own petard," says the poet; and certainly it
was a most laughable _contre-temps_ to see the fire-engines arrive at the
manufactory just in time to witness the fire-annihilators annihilated by
the fire. A similar mishap occurred to these unfortunate implements at
Paris. In juxtaposition with this case, we are tempted to put another, in
which the attempt at extinction was followed by exactly the opposite
effects. A tradesman was about to light his gas, when, finding the cock
stiff, he took a candle to see what was the matter; whilst attempting to
turn it, the screw came out, and with it a jet of gas, which was instantly
fired by the candle. The blaze igniting the shop, a passer-by seized a
wooden pail and threw its contents upon the flames, which flared up
immediately with tenfold power. It is scarcely necessary to state that the
water was whisky, and that the country was Old Ireland.

Spontaneous combustion is at present very little understood, though
chemists have of late turned their attention to the subject. It forms,
however, no inconsiderable item in the list of causes of fires. There can
be no question that many of those that occur at railway stations and
buildings are due to the fermentation which arises among oiled rags.
Over-heating of waste, which includes shoddy, sawdust, cotton, &c., is a
fearful source of conflagrations. The cause of most fires which have
arisen from spontaneous combustion is lost in the consequence. Cases now
and then occur where the firemen have been able to detect it, as, for
instance, at Hibernia Wharf in 1846, one of Alderman Humphery's
warehouses. It happened that a porter had swept the sawdust from the floor
into a heap, upon which a broken flask of olive-oil that was placed above
dripped its contents. To these elements of combustion the sun added its
power, and sixteen hours afterwards the fire broke out. Happily, it was
instantly extinguished; and the agents that produced it were caught,
red-handed as it were, in the act. The chances are that such a particular
combination of circumstances might not occur again in a thousand years.
The sawdust will not be swept again into such a position under the oil, or
the bottle will not break over the sawdust, or the sun will not shine in
on them to complete the fatal sum. It is an important fact, however, to
know that oiled sawdust, warmed by the sun, will fire in sixteen hours, as
it accounts for a number of conflagrations in saw-mills, which never could
be traced to any probable cause.

By means of direct experiment we are also learning something on the
question of explosions. It used to be assumed that gunpowder was
answerable for all such terrible effects in warehouses where no gas or
steam was employed; and as policies are vitiated by the fact of its
presence, unless declared, many squabbles have ensued between insurers and
insured upon this head alone. At the late great fire at Gateshead, a
report having spread that the awful explosion which did so much damage
arose from the illicit stowage of seven tons of gunpowder in the Messrs.
Sisson's warehouse, the interested insurance companies offered a reward of
100_l._ to elicit information. The experiments instituted, however, by Mr.
Pattinson, in the presence of Captain Du Cane, of the Royal Engineers, and
the coroner's jury impanelled to inquire into the matter, showed that the
water from the fire-engine falling upon the mineral and chemical
substances in store, was sufficient to account for the result. The
following were the experiments tried at Mr. Pattinson's works at Felling,
about three miles from Gateshead:--

    "Mr. Pattinson first caused a metal pot to be inserted in the ground
    until its top was level with the surface; and having put into it 9
    lbs. of nitrate of soda and 6 lbs. of sulphur, he ignited the mass;
    and then, heating it to the highest possible degree of which it was
    susceptible, he poured into it about a quart of water. The effect was
    an immediate explosion (accompanied by a loud clap), which would have
    been exceedingly perilous to any person in its immediate vicinity. The
    experiment was next made under different conditions. The pot into
    which the sulphur and nitrate of soda were put was covered over the
    top with a large piece of thick metal of considerable weight; and
    above that again were placed several large pieces of clay and earth.
    It was deemed necessary to try this experiment in an open field, away
    from any dwelling-house, and which admitted of the spectators placing
    themselves at a safe distance from the spot. The materials were then
    ignited as before; and when in the incandescent state, water was
    poured upon the mass down a spout. The result was but a comparatively
    slight explosion, and which scarcely disturbed the iron and clods
    placed over the mouth of the vessel. Another experiment of the kind
    was made with the same result. At length, a trial having been made for
    the third time, but with this difference, that the vessel was covered
    over the top with another similar vessel, and that the water was
    poured upon the burning sulphur and nitrate of soda with greater
    rapidity than before, by slightly elevating the spout, the effect was
    to blow up the pot on the top into the air to a height of upwards of
    seventy feet, accompanied by a loud detonation. With this the coroner
    and jury became convinced that, whether or not the premises in
    Hillgate contained gunpowder, they contained elements as certainly
    explosive, and perhaps far more destructive."

We may here mention, as a curious result of the Gateshead fire, that
several tons of lead, whilst flowing in a molten state, came in contact
with a quantity of volatilized sulphur. Thus the lead became re-converted
into lead-ore, or a sulphuret of lead, which, as it required to be
re-smelted, was thereby debased in value from some twenty-two to fifteen
shillings a ton.

The great fire, again, which occurred in Liverpool in October last, was
occasioned by the explosion of spirits of turpentine, which blew out, one
after another, seven of the walls of the vaults underneath the warehouse,
and in some cases destroyed the vaulting itself, and exposed to the flames
the stores of cotton above. Surely some law is called for to prevent the
juxtaposition of such inflammable materials. The turpentine is said to
have been fired by a workman who snuffed the candle with his fingers, and
accidentally threw the snuff down the bunghole of one of the barrels of
turpentine. The warehouses burnt were built upon Mr. Fairbairn's new
fireproof plan, which the Liverpool people introduced some years ago, at a
great expense to the town.

Water alone brought into sudden contact with red-hot iron is capable of
giving rise to a gas of the most destructive nature--witness the
extraordinary explosions that are continually taking place in
steam-vessels, especially in America, which mostly arise from the lurching
of the vessel when waiting for passengers, causing the water to withdraw
from one side of the boiler, which rapidly becomes red hot. The next lurch
in an opposite direction precipitates the water upon the highly-heated
surface, and thus the explosive gas, in addition to the steam, is
generated faster than the safety-valves can get rid of it.

A very interesting inquiry, and one of vital importance to the actuaries
of fire-insurance companies, is the relative liability to fire of
different classes of occupations and residences. We already know
accurately the number of fires which occur yearly in every trade and kind
of occupation. What we do not know, and what we want to know, is the
proportion the tenements in which such trades and occupations are carried
on, bear to the total number of houses in the metropolis. The last census
gives us no information of this kind, and we trust the omission will be
supplied the next time it is taken. According to Mr. Braidwood's returns,
for the last twenty-one years, the number of fires in each trade, and in
private houses, has been as follows:--

  Private Houses                        4,638
  Lodgings                              1,304
  Victuallers                             715
  Sale-shops and Offices                  701
  Carpenters and Workers in Wood          621
  Drapers, of Woollen and Linen           372
  Bakers                                  311
  Stables                                 277
  Cabinet-makers                          233
  Oil and Colour-men                      230
  Chandlers                               178
  Grocers                                 162
  Tinmen, Braziers, and Smiths            158
  Houses under Repair and Building        150
  Beershops                               142
  Coffee-shops and Chophouses             139
  Brokers and Dealers in Old Clothes      134
  Hatmakers                               127
  Lucifer-match makers                    120
  Wine and Spirit Merchants               118
  Tailors                                 113
  Hotels and Club-houses                  107
  Tobacconists                            105
  Eating-houses                           104
  Booksellers and Binders                 103
  Ships                                   102
  Printers and Engravers                  102
  Builders                                 91
  Houses unoccupied                        89
  Tallow-chandlers                         87
  Marine Store Dealers                     75
  Saw-mills                                67
  Firework-makers                          66
  Warehouses                               63
  Chemists                                 62
  Coachmakers                              50
  Warehouses (Manchester)                  49
  Public Buildings                         46

If we look at the mere number of fires, irrespective of the size of the
industrial group upon which they committed their ravages, houses would
appear to be hazardous according to the order in which we have placed
them. Now, this is manifestly absurd, inasmuch as private houses stand at
the head of the list, and it is well known that they are the safest from
fire of all kinds of tenements. Mr. Brown, of the Society of Actuaries,
who has taken the trouble to compare the number of fires in each
industrial group, with the number of houses devoted to it, as far as he
could find any data in the Post-office Directory, gives the following
average annual percentage of conflagrations, calculated on a period of
fifteen years:--

  Lucifer-match makers               30·00
  Lodging-houses                     16·51
  Hatmakers                           7·74
  Chandlers                           3·88
  Drapers                             2·67
  Tinmen, Braziers, and Smiths        2·42
  Carpenters                          2·27
  Cabinet-makers                      2·12
  Oil and Colour-men                  1·56
  Beershops                           1·31
  Booksellers                         1·18
  Coffee-shops and Coffee-houses      1·2
  Cabinet-makers                      1·12
  Licensed Victuallers                 ·86
  Bakers                               ·75
  Wine Merchants                       ·61
  Grocers                              ·34

It will be seen that this estimate in a great measure inverts the order of
"dangerous," as we have ranged them in the previous table, making those
which from their aggregate number seemed to be the most hazardous trades,
appear the least so, and _vice versâ_. Thus lucifer-match makers have a
bad pre-eminence; indeed they are supposed to be subject to a
conflagration every third year; while the terrible victuallers,
carpenters, mercers, and bakers, at the top of the column, shrink to the
bottom of the list. These conclusions, nevertheless, are only an
approximation to the truth, since it is impossible to procure a correct
return of the houses occupied by different trades. Even if a certain class
of tenements is particularly liable to fire, it does not follow that it
will be held to be very hazardous to the insurers. Such considerations are
influenced by another question,--Are the contents of houses forming the
group, of that nature that, in cases of their taking fire, they are likely
to be totally destroyed, seriously, or only slightly damaged? For
instance, lodging-houses are very liable to fire; but they are very seldom
burnt down or much injured. Out of 81 that suffered in 1853, not one was
totally destroyed; only 4 were extensively affected; the very large
majority, 77, were slightly scathed from the burning of window and bed
curtains, &c. Among the trades which are too hazardous to be insured at
any price are--we quote from the tariff of the County
Fire-office--floor-cloth manufacturers, gunpowder dealers, hatters' "stock
in the stove," lampblack makers, lucifer-match makers, varnish makers, and
wadding manufacturers; whilst the following are considered highly
hazardous;--bone-crushers, coffee-roasters, composition-ornament makers,
curriers, dyers, feather-stovers, flambeau makers, heckling-houses, hemp
and flax dressers, ivory-black makers, japanners and japan makers,
laboratory-chemists, patent japan-leather manufacturers, lint-mills,
rough-fat melters, musical-instrument makers, oil and colour men, leather
dressers, oiled-silk and linen makers, oil of vitriol manufacturers, pitch
makers, rag dealers, resin dealers, saw-mills, seed crushers,
ship-buiscuit bakers, soap makers, spermaceti and wax refiners, sugar
refiners, tar dealers and boilers, thatched houses in towns, and
turpentine makers.

The great mass of these trades bear "hazardous" upon the very face of
them; but it is not equally apparent why that of a hatter should be so
very dangerous, and particular portions of his stock uninsurable. We are
given to understand that the stoves at which their manufacture is carried
on, and the shell-lac and willow, are the causes of this proneness to
conflagrations. The memorable fire at Fenning's Wharf, which burnt with a
fury to which that at the Royal Exchange and at the Houses of Parliament
was a mere bonfire, originated at a hatter's on London Bridge, from which
place it speedily spread to Alderman Humphery's warehouses in the rear,
leaped across Tooley Street--at this spot 60 feet wide--and thus invaded
the great river-side wharf. The two floating-engines belonging to the
brigade were brought into service on the occasion, and although they threw
between them fourteen hundred gallons of water a minute to the height of a
hundred feet, they had not the slightest effect upon the burning mass.

Nothing shows better the relative degrees of hazard than the different
rates charged for insurance. Thus an ordinary dwelling-house pays but
1_s._ 6_d._ per cent., while a sugar-refinery pays at least two, and
sometimes three guineas per cent., or from 30 to 40 times as much. The
same class of houses pay different rates according to their locality. The
residence which is charged 1_s._ 6_d._ in London, is, in St. John's,
Newfoundland--a town famous, or rather infamous, for fires--charged by our
English offices 1_l._ 11_s._ 6_d._ per cent. Probably the heaviest loss
the Phoenix Office ever sustained was by the fire of St. John's, in 1846.

It is a notable fact, that the city of London, which is perhaps the most
densely inhabited spot the world has ever seen, has long been exempt from
conflagrations involving a considerable number of houses. "The devouring
element," it is true, has made many meals from time to time of huge
warehouses and public buildings; but since the great fire of 1666 it has
ceased to gorge upon whole quarters of the town. We have never had, since
that memorable occasion, to record the destruction of a thousand houses at
a time, a matter of frequent occurrence in the United States and
Canada--indeed in all parts of Continental Europe. The fires which have
proved fatal to large plots of buildings in the metropolis have in every
instance taken place without the sound of Bow bells. A comparison between
the number of fires which occurred between the years 1838 and 1843, in
20,000 houses situate on either side of the Thames, shows at once the
superior safety of its northern bank, the annual average of fires on the
latter being only 20 against 36 on the southern side. For this exemption
we have to thank the great disaster, if we might so term what has turned
out a blessing. At one fell swoop it cleared the city, and swept away for
ever the dangerous congregation of wooden buildings and narrow streets
which were always affording material for the flame.

Mr. Peter Cunningham, in his "Handbook of London,"[43] gives the following
curious information respecting its supposed origin:--

    "The fire of London, commonly called the Great Fire, commenced on the
    east side of this lane (Pudding-lane) about one or two in the morning
    of Sunday, September 2nd, 1666, in the house of Farryner, the king's

    "It was the fashion of the true blue Protestants of the period to
    attribute the fire to the Roman Catholics; and when, in 1681, Oates
    and his plot strengthened this belief, the following inscription was
    affixed on the front of this house (No. 25, I believe), erected on the
    site of Farryner, the baker's:--

    "'Here, by the permission of Heaven, hell broke loose upon this
    Protestant city, from the malicious hearts of barbarous priests, by
    the hand of their agent, Hubert, who confessed, and on the ruins of
    this place declared the fact for which he was hanged, viz., that here
    began that dreadful fire which is described on and perpetuated by the
    neighbouring pillar, erected anno 1681, in the mayoralty of Sir Peter
    Ward, knight.'

    "This celebrated inscription, set up pursuant to an order of the Court
    of Common Council, June 17th, 1681, was removed in the reign of James
    II., replaced in the reign of William III., and finally taken down 'on
    account of the stoppage of passengers to read it.' Entick, who makes
    addition to Maitland in 1756, speaks of it 'as lately taken away.' The
    house was 'rebuilt in a very handsome manner.'

    "The inscribed stone is still preserved, it is said, in a cellar in
    Pudding-lane. Hubert was a French papist, of six-and-twenty years of
    age, the son of a watchmaker at Rouen, in Normandy. He was seized in
    Essex, confessed he began the fire, and, persisting in his confession,
    was hanged, upon no other evidence than his own. He stated in his
    examination that he had been 'suborned in Paris to this action,' and
    that three more 'combined to do the same thing. They asked him if he
    knew the place where he first put fire. He answered he knew it very
    well, and would show it to anybody.' He was then ordered to be
    blindfolded, and carried to several places of the City, that he might
    point out the house. They first led him to a place at some distance
    from it, opened his eyes, and asked him if that was it; to which he
    answered, 'No, it was nearer the Thames.' 'The house and all which
    were near it,' says Clarendon, 'were so covered and buried in ruins,
    that the owners themselves, without some infallible mark, could very
    hardly have said where their own house had stood; but this man led
    them directly to the place, described how it stood, the shape of the
    little yard, the fashion of the doors and windows, and where he first
    put the fire; and all this with such exactness, that they who had
    dwelt long near it could not so perfectly have described all
    particulars.' Tillotson told Burnet that Howell (the then Recorder of
    London) accompanied Hubert on this occasion, 'was with him and had
    much discourse with him, and that he concluded it was impossible it
    could be a melancholy dream.' This, however, was not the opinion of
    the judges who tried him. 'Neither the judges,' says Clarendon, 'nor
    any present at the trial, did believe him guilty, but that he was a
    poor distracted wretch, weary of his life, and chose to part with it
    in this way.' We may attribute the fire with safety to another cause
    than a Roman conspiracy. We are to remember that the flames originated
    in the house of a baker; that the season had been unusually dry; that
    the houses were of wood, overhanging the road-way (penthouses they
    were called), so that the lane was even narrower than it is now, and
    that a strong east wind was blowing at the time. It was thought very
    little of at first. Pepys put out his head from his bedroom window in
    Seething-lane, a few hours after it broke out, and returned to bed
    again, as if it were nothing more than an ordinary fire, a common
    occurrence, and likely to be soon subdued. The Lord Mayor (Sir Thomas
    Bludworth) seems to have thought as little of it till it was too late.
    People appear to have been paralyzed, and no attempt of any
    consequence was made to check its progress. For four successive days
    it raged and gained ground, leaping after a prodigious manner from
    house to house and street to street, at great distances from one
    another. Houses were at length pulled down, and the flames, still
    spreading westward, were at length stopped at the Temple Church in
    Fleet-street, and Pie-Corner in Smithfield. In these four days 13,200
    houses, 400 streets, and 89 churches, including the cathedral church
    of St. Paul, were destroyed, and London lay literally in ruins. The
    loss was so enormous, that we may be said still to suffer from its
    effects. Yet the advantages were not few. London was freed from the
    plague ever after; and we owe St. Paul's, St. Bride's, St. Stephen's
    Walbrook, and all the architectural glories of Sir Christopher Wren,
    to the desolation it occasioned."

In addition to these advantages we acquired another, that of
PARTY-WALLS--a safeguard which has prevented fires from spreading in the
City, when whole streets have been swept away in a few hours in other
parts of the metropolis, and especially in what might be termed the
water-side suburbs of London--Rotherhithe, Greenwich, and Gravesend. The
Act by which party-walls were enforced came into operation immediately
prior to the rebuilding of the town, and has been rendered more stringent
and effective from time to time by various amendments. The Building Act of
the 7th and 8th of Queen Victoria contains the important enactment, that
"no warehouse shall exceed 200,000 cubic feet in contents." Fire becomes
unmanageable when it has access to large stores of combustible matter;
under such conditions it acquires a "fortified position," and cannot, in
the vast majority of cases, be reduced unless by an early surprise.

As the very heart of London is largely occupied with Manchester warehouses
full of the most inflammable materials, the safety of the capital depends
upon this restrictive law. The Manchester warehousemen, nevertheless, have
managed to set that part of the Act at defiance. Let us take, as the
latest and most flagrant example, Cook's warehouses. This structure, which
within these last two years has raised its enormous bulk in St. Paul's
Churchyard, and actually dwarfed the metropolitan cathedral by the
propinquity of its monotonous mass, contains 1,100,000 cubic feet of space
open from end to end, or _nine hundred thousand feet more than it is
entitled to possess_. If we were to take twenty-five ordinary-sized
dwelling-houses, and pull down their party-walls, we should have just the
state of things which is here presented to us. But it will be asked, if it
is against the law, why do not the proper officers interfere? Where are
the City surveyors? The reason, good reader, is this: the Manchester
warehousemen of late years have adopted a new reading of the law--a
reading which we believe no judge would allow, but which the surveyors
have not yet ventured to dispute. "We escape altogether," say these
gentlemen, "the provisions of the Building Act relative to warehouses, as,
by reason of our breaking bulk, our places of business are not mere
storehouses." That this reading is a violation of the spirit of the
statute there can be no doubt; that it is also a violation of its letter
we also believe; if not, it is high time that the law be amended upon this
point; for we affirm, on the very best authority, that London has never
since the great fire been in such danger of an overwhelming conflagration
as it is now by the presence and rapid spreading of these huge warehouses,
filled with the elements of destruction, and placed side by side, as
though for the very purpose of producing the utmost mischief by contagion.

Let us suppose, for instance, that a fire had once established itself in
Cook's warehouses; to extinguish it would be out of the question.
Fire-engines would be perfectly useless against a body of flame which
would speedily become like a blast-furnace, and burn with a white heat.
Who knows what would come after? Supposing the wind to be blowing from the
south, we tremble for the cathedral. The huge dome is constructed entirely
of oak, dried by the seasoning of 150 years, and the combustible framework
is only lined on the exterior by sheet lead. It may be imagined that this
would be protection enough against the enormous masses of burning cotton
and linen cloth which would speedily be blown upon it; but Mr. Cottam not
long since stated, at the Institution of Civil Engineers, that, "when the
Princess's Theatre was on fire, part of his premises also caught. On
examination, he found that it arose from a piece of blazing wood being
thrown over from the theatre, which, falling into the leaden gutter, had
melted it, and the liquid metal passed through the ceiling on to a
workman's bench, where there was some oil, which it immediately set fire
to." The great dome would be in quite as much danger as Mr. Cottam's
workshop. Engines would be useless at such a height even as the stone
gallery, the place where large bodies of burning material would most
likely make a lodgment. Irreparable as would be the disaster with which we
are threatened in this direction, one quite as great lies in another.
Eastward of Cook's warehouses, and in the neighbourhood of a vitriol or
some other chemical manufactory, is situated Doctors' Commons, the
repository of the great mass of English wills. The roofs of this pile of
buildings[44] are continuous; the buildings themselves are nearly as dry
as the law itself. If one portion of the structure were to catch fire,
nothing could save the whole from destruction. It may be urged that the
block of buildings, which commands, like a battery, two such important
points in the metropolis, is, after all, fire-proof, and, as far as danger
from without is concerned, this is true enough; but as cotton bales are
not fire-proof, it is an impossibility to insure safety from within. Iron
columns in such instances melt before the white heat like sticks of
sealing-wax; stone flies into a thousand pieces with the celerity of a
Prince Rupert's drop; slate becomes transformed into a pumice light enough
to float upon water; the iron girders and beams, by reason of their
lateral expansion, thrust out the walls; and the very elements, which seem
calculated under ordinary circumstances to give an almost exhaustless
durability to the structure, produce its most rapid destruction. The great
fire at Messrs. Cubitt's so-called fire-proof works at Pimlico is one of
the latest proofs we have had of the entire fallacy of supposing stone and
iron can withstand the action of a large body of fierce flame. We saw the
other day portions of columns from this building fused as though they had
been composed of so much pewter. Again, when the Armoury of the Tower was
destroyed, the barrels of the muskets were found reduced to the most
fantastic shapes, and some of the largest pieces of ordnance were doubled
up. A stronger instance still was exhibited at Davis's wharf in 1837, when
a cast-iron pipe outside the building was melted like an icicle. But such
a fierce furnace is not at all necessary to destroy cast-iron supports, as
it appears from the experiments of Mr. Fairbairn, that, at a temperature
of 600° the cohesive power of the metal rapidly decreases with every
increment of heat. Mr. Braidwood, in his paper on fire-proof buildings,
read before the Institute of Civil Engineers on February 29th, 1849, was
the first, we believe, to draw attention to this serious defect in a
material used so extensively in modern buildings. Since that paper was
read, a case has come under his notice which clearly testifies to the
truth of his position:--

    "A chapel in Liverpool-road Islington, 70 feet in length and 52 feet
    in breadth, took fire in the cellar, on the 2nd October, 1848, and was
    completely burned down. After the fire it was ascertained that, of
    thirteen cast-iron pillars used to support the galleries, only two
    remained perfect; the greater part of the others were broken into
    small pieces, the metal appearing to have lost all power of cohesion,
    and some parts were melted, of which specimens are now shown. It
    should be observed that these pillars were of ample strength to
    support the galleries when filled by the congregation, but when the
    fire reached them, they crumbled under the weight of the timber only,
    lightened as it must have been by the progress of the fire."

But when we are considering the safety of Manchester warehouses, we are
also considering the lives of the young men who are employed in them, and
are in most cases located in the upper stories. In several of the
wholesale warehouses in the City, as Mr. Braidwood informs us,--

    "The cast-iron pillars are much less in proportion to the weight to be
    carried than those referred to, and would be completely in the draught
    of a fire. If a fire should unfortunately take place under such
    circumstances, the loss of human life might be very great, as the
    chance of fifty, eighty, or one hundred people escaping, in the
    confusion of a sudden night alarm, by one or two ladders to the roof,
    could scarcely be calculated on, and the time such escape might
    necessarily occupy, independent of all chance of accidents, would be

The application of water would only aggravate the difficulty, for, if it
touched the red-hot iron, in all probability it would cause it to fracture
and render it useless as a support. It is well known that furnace-bars are
very speedily destroyed by a leakage of the boiler, the effect of the
steam on the under side of the bars being to curve and twist them. To
insure a perfectly fire-proof building, we must resort to one of two
courses--either we must divide large warehouses into compartments by solid
brick divisions, and thus confine any fire that should happen to break out
within manageable limits, just as we save an iron ship from foundering, on
account of a circumscribed fracture, by having her built in compartments;
or we must resort to the old Roman plan of building--that is, support the
floors upon brick piers and groined arches well laid in cement, for mortar
will pulverize under a great heat. The former plan has the great advantage
that it insures the safety of the principal contents, as well as of the
building itself. The new Record Office in Fetter Lane, is a perfect
specimen of the kind, and is, perhaps, the only absolutely fire-proof
structure in England, being constructed of iron and stone, and having no
room larger than 17 feet by 25, and 17 feet high, with a cubical contents
of only 8,000 feet. None of the rooms open into each other, but into a
vaulted passage by means of iron doors; and if the documents were to take
fire in any one of them, they would burn out as innocuously to the rest of
the building as coals in a grate.

It must not be supposed that we disparage altogether the use of iron and
stone in the erection of warehouses, even where they are built on the
ordinary plan; for the outside structure they are invaluable, and render
it safe from most extraneous danger. No better proof of this could be
given than the experience of Liverpool, whose fires during the last
half-century have been on the most gigantic scale. The larger bonded and
other warehouses were generally built with continuous roofs, and with
wooden doors and penthouses to the different stories, which always kindled
when there was a fire on the opposite side of the narrow streets in which
they were ordinarily placed. To such a lamentable extent had
conflagrations increased about the year 1841, that the rate of insurance,
which had been eight shillings per cent., ran up to thirty-six shillings.
This was about the time of the Formby Street fire, when 379,000_l._ worth
of property was destroyed, and the total losses from the beginning of the
century had not been less than three millions and a quarter sterling. The
magnitude of the evil called for a corresponding remedy. A Bill was
obtained in 1843 for the amendment of the Building Act; party-walls were
run up five feet high between each warehouse, doors and penthouses were
constructed of iron, the cubical contents of the buildings themselves were
limited, &c.; and the effect of these improvements was so to diminish the
risk that insurances fell to their normal rate. It cannot be said,
however, that Liverpool has yet purged herself of the calamity of fire.

In ordinary dwellings and in public offices the use of iron and stone,
again, cannot be too much commended: in such buildings the rooms are
comparatively small, and their contents are not sufficiently inflammable
either in quantity or quality to injure these materials. A marked
diminution in the number of fires in the metropolis may be expected, from
the almost universal use of iron and stone in new structures of this
kind. The houses in Victoria Street, Westminster, built upon the "flat"
system, are, we should say, entirely fireproof, as the floors are either
vaulted or filled in with concrete, which will not allow the passage of
fire. Nearly all Paris is built in this manner, and hence its freedom from
large conflagrations.[45] Were it not for this, no city would be more
likely to suffer, as the houses are very high, and the supply of water
extremely bad. To Londoners it seems little better than a farce to watch
the _sapeurs-pompiers_ hurrying to a fire with an engine not much bigger
than a garden squirt, followed by a water-barrel--resources which are
found sufficient to cope with the enemy, confined as it is within such
narrow limits.

Without going to the expense of stone and iron, we might, by taking a hint
from the Parisians, make the rooms of our private houses fireproof, by
abandoning the absurd custom of separating rooms by hollow wooden floors
and hollow wooden partitions thinly coated with plaster--a method which
has the effect of circulating the fire from the bottom to the top of the
house in the quickest possible space of time. If a fire breaks out in a
room, the ceiling will, it is true, stop the flames for a considerable
time; but the hollow partitions full of air act as conductors, and the
firemen have often found that the flames have spread from a lower to an
upper apartment by this secret channel, without injuring the intermediate
rooms, and without even its progress being suspected. As we understand
that the Building Act is to be amended, we trust its emendators will
extend the clause relating to party-walls to _rooms_ as well as to houses.
The expense need be but trifling, as will be seen by consulting the little
work of Mr. Hosking, who was the first, we believe, to instruct the
English public in the admirable methods of the Parisian builders. Instead
of using flimsy laths for their partitions, they employ stout oaken pieces
of wood, as thick as garden palings; these they nail firmly on each side
of the framing of the partition, fill the space between with rubble and
plaster of Paris, and thickly coat the whole of the wall with the latter.
The floors are managed in the same manner, as well as the under side of
the stairs, which are thus rendered almost as fire-proof as a stone
flight. Very many lives would be saved in Great Britain if this simple
expedient were adopted by our builders, instead of making the stairs of
ill-fitted wood, full of air-crevices, and covering their under side with
a thin film of plaster; for fire always makes for the stairs, which form
the funnel of the house; and hence the necessity for rendering them as
secure as possible, in order to provide a line of retreat for the inmates.

We have said that London is growing upwards to the sky--no house in any
valuable portion of the metropolis being now rebuilt without the addition
of at least one story. Eighty and ninety feet is getting a common height
for our great offices and warehouses, which is tantamount to saying that a
certain portion of the metropolis, and that a constantly increasing one,
is outgrowing the power of the Fire Brigade, as no engine built upon the
present plan can throw water for many minutes to such an elevation. Mr.
Braidwood foresees that he must call in the aid of the common drudge,
steam. In America they have already introduced this new agent with some
success, and in London we have proved its power in the floating engine.
Steam fire-engines, it is evident, will soon be brought into use, unless
we do away with the necessity for engines at all by fixing the hose
directly on the mains, as is done at Hamburg. But to effect this it will
be necessary to relay the whole metropolis with much larger pipes, to
increase their number, and at the same time adopt the constant-service
system. At present, even if we had the water always on, the mains are
often so small as to preclude the use of more than two or three hose--for,
if the collective diameters of the areas of the latter exceed that of the
pipe which feeds them, the pressure will cease, and no water will be
propelled to any height through the jet. It cannot be denied, however,
that if the streets of London were all supplied with capacious mains, and
the different companies plugged them profusely (a thing they are very
chary of doing, for fear of their being injured by the wear and tear of
the fire-engines), London would be rendered far more secure than it is at
present, as scarcely any fire could withstand the full force of constant
streams of thousands of gallons of water per minute. At present the
greater portion of the water is wasted; at the destruction of the Houses
of Parliament, a body of this element equal to an acre in area, and twelve
feet deep, flowed from the mains, a tenth part of which could not have
been used by the twenty-three jets that were playing simultaneously.

It will not here be out of place to say a few words upon the method of
extinguishing flame by means of the gaseous mixture contained in
Phillips's fire-annihilators. According to a writer in the "Household
Words," the ordinary-sized annihilator is less than that of a small
upright iron coalscuttle, and its weight not greater than can be easily
carried by man or woman to any part of the house. It is charged with a
compound of charcoal, nitre, and gypsum, moulded into the form of a large
brick: the igniter is a glass tube inserted into the top of this brick:
inclosing two phials--one filled with the mixture of chlorate of potassa
and sugar, the other containing a few drops of sulphuric acid. A slight
blow upon a knob drives down a pin which breaks the phials, and the
different mixtures coming in contact ignite the mass, the gas arising from
which, acting upon a water-chamber contained in the machine, produces a
steam, and the whole escapes forth in a dense expanding cloud.

Mr. Phillips made some public experiments with his fire-annihilator three
or four years ago, in which its power to put out the fiercest flame was
fully proved. The timber framework of a three storied-house smeared with
pitch and tar, upon being fired, was instantly extinguished: quantities of
pitch, tar, and oil of turpentine, which only burn the stronger for the
presence of water, were dealt with still more expeditiously. The valuable
quality of rendering an atmosphere of dense smoke, in which no living
thing could exist, perfectly respirable, was also shown in the most
satisfactory manner. Since that time the machine has been brought into
action at Leeds, where it put out a fire in an attic; and in a very
serious conflagration, which took place in the spirit-room, and afterwards
extended to the main hatchway of the mail steamer the _City of
Manchester_, in the autumn of 1852, it was applied with the most perfect
success. There can be no doubt that in all confined places the control of
the annihilator over flame is omnipotent--acting much more speedily than
water, and, unlike that element, doing no damage. When the flames are
unconfined, the annihilator will prove of little use, because, the gaseous
cloud that issues from it not being heavier than the air, it cannot be
projected to any distance. As an auxiliary to the engine, it will be
invaluable in many cases, as it will enable the fireman to go into places
where at present he dares not enter, unless protected by the unwieldy
smoke-jacket, the supply of air to which might at any time be cut off by
rubbish falling upon the hose through which it is pumped to him by the

Although it is foreign to our design to speak at length of agricultural
fires, and incendiarism among farming stock, the subject is too important
to be entirely omitted. One of the largest London insurance-offices,
interested in farming stock, posts up bills about premises they have
insured, which, after stating that no lucifers are to be used, or pipes
are to be smoked, goes on to say, "_This farm is insured; the fire office
will be the only sufferer in the event of a fire._" The inference is, that
the labourer will feel more inclined to pay respect to the property of an
insurance company than to that of the farmer. Yet it is far from being the
case that the crime is always prompted by personal ill-will. One of the
largest agricultural incendiaries upon record was a city weaver, who acted
from a general spirit of discontent, without any hatred or knowledge of
the owners. In other instances the sole motive is the "jollification"
which generally follows a fire upon a farm: this fact came to light at a
trial in Cambridge, eight or nine years since, when a man who was
sentenced to death for setting fire to a homestead confessed to having
caused twelve different fires, his only object being the desire to obtain
the few shillings, and the refreshment of bread, cheese, and ale, which
are given to labourers on these occasions. On the other hand, if the
farmer determines to give no recompense, the hangers-on have been known to
put their hands in their pockets and watch his property burn with the
utmost indifference, if not with glee.

The cause of fire which the farmer has mainly to guard against may be at
one seen by the following table, for which we are indebted to the manager
of the County Fire Office:--

_Losses on Farming Stock between January the 1st and November the 30th,

  | Number  |                                         |            |
  |of Fires.|               Cause.                    |  Amount.   |
  |         |                                         |  £.  s. d. |
  |    49   |Incendiary                               | 5214  6 11 |
  |    17   |Lightning                                |  181  5 10 |
  |    22   |Children and others playing with lucifers| 1211 18 10 |
  |     2   |Steam thrashing-machines                 |  430  0  0 |
  |    38   |General                                  | 1781 19  9 |
  |---------|                                         |------------|
  |   128   |                                         | 8819 11  4 |

These losses are upon a total insurance of eight millions. Incendiarism
and children playing with lucifers are the two grand elements of
destruction; and the former, we are given to understand, is below the
general average. Kind treatment and better education are the only shields
that can protect the farmer against incendiarism. The nuisance arising
from children playing with lucifers may be abated by the absolute denial
of matches to young boys about a farm, who, to cook their dinners,
generally cause conflagrations near the ricks in the winter, and among the
standing corn whilst "keeping birds" in the summer. The following
excellent suggestions are by Mr. Beaumont, the secretary of the County
Fire Office.

    _Precautions to be taken against a Fire._

    Forbid your men to use lucifer matches, smoke, or light pipes or
    cigars, destroy wasps' nests, or fire off guns, in or near the
    rickyard, or to throw hot cinders into or against any wooden
    out-building on the farm, on pain of instant dismissal.

    Place your ricks in a single line, and as far distant from each other
    as you conveniently can.

    Place hay-ricks and corn-stacks _alternately_; the hay-rick will check
    the progress of the fire.

    Keep the rickyard, and especially the spaces between the stacks and
    ricks, clear of all loose straw; and in all respects in a neat and
    clean state. The loose straw is more frequently the means of firing
    than the stack itself.

    Have a pond close to the rickyard, although there may be but a bad
    supply of water.

    When a steam thrashing-machine is to be used, place it _on the lee
    side_ of the stack or barn, so that the wind may blow the sparks _away
    from_ the stacks. Let the engine be placed as far from the machine as
    the length of the strap will allow. Have the loose straw continually
    cleared away from the engine; see that two or three pails of water are
    constantly close to the ash-pan, and that the pan itself is kept
    constantly full of water.

    _How to act when a Fire has broken out in a Rickyard._

    Do not wait for the engines, nor for the assistance of the labourers
    from a distance. Depend entirely upon the immediate and energetic
    exertions of yourself and your own men.

    Do not allow the rick or stack on fire to be disturbed--let it burn
    itself out--but let every exertion be made to press it compactly
    together, and, as far as is practicable, prevent any lighted particles
    flying about.

    Get together all your blankets, carpets, sacks, rugs, and other
    similar articles, soak them thoroughly in water, and place them over
    and against the adjoining ricks and stacks, towards which the wind

    Having thus covered the sides of the ricks adjoining that on fire,
    devote all your attention to the latter. Press it together by every
    available means. If water is at hand, throw upon it as much as

    If engines arrive, let the water be thrown upon the blankets, &c.,
    covering the adjoining stacks, and then upon the stack on fire.

    Among the numerous hands who flock to assist upon these occasions,
    many do mischief by their want of knowledge, and especially by opening
    the fired stack and scattering the embers. In order to obviate this
    evil, place your best man in command over the stack on fire, desire
    him to make it _his sole duty_ to prevent it being disturbed, and to
    keep it pressed and watered.

    Place other men, in whose steadiness you have confidence, to watch the
    adjoining ricks, to keep the coverings over them, and to extinguish
    any embers flying from the stack on fire. In order to effect this, it
    is most desirable that there should be ladders at hand to enable one
    or two of the labourers to mount upon each stack.

    If the ricks are separated from each other, and there is no danger of
    the fire extending to a second, it is of course desirable to save as
    much of the one on fire as may be possible. That, however, is not
    unfrequently accomplished by keeping the rick compactly together
    rather than by opening it.

    Send for all the neighbours' blankets and tarpaulins: these are
    invaluable, they are near at hand, and can be immediately applied.

The companies are always very willing to pay for any damage done in
attempting to save their property.

The business of the Fire Brigade is to protect property and not life from
fire, though the men of course use every exertion to save the inmates, and
are always provided with a "jumping-sheet" to catch those who precipitate
themselves from the roofs and windows of houses. As the danger to life
generally arises at a very early stage of a fire, when the freshly aroused
inhabitants fly distracted into very dangerous places, and often destroy
themselves by needless haste, it is highly necessary to have help at hand
before the engines can possibly arrive. There are, it is true, ladders
placed against all the parish churches, but they are always locked up,
often rotten, and never in charge of trained individuals: accordingly,
they may be classed for inefficiency with the parish engines. A proof of
this was given at the calamitous fire which occurred in Dover Street, at
Raggett's Hotel, on which occasion Mrs. Round and several other persons
were lost through the conduct of the keeper of one of the fire-escapes of
the parish of St. James being absent when called, and drunk when, upon his
arrival, he attempted to put his machine in action: the keeper of a second
escape belonging to this parish, and stationed in Golden Square, refused
to go to a fire in Soho, which occurred in 1852, because it was out of his
district: the consequence was, than seven persons threw themselves from
the windows and were all more or less dangerously injured.

In 1833 the Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire, which had
been imperfectly organized a year or two before, was fully established,
and has continued to increase the sphere of its influence year by year.
The committee of management, appreciating the value of celerity in
attending fires, have marked the metropolis out into fifty-five squares of
half a mile each: in forty-two of these they have established a
station,[46] in its most central part, at which a fire-escape and trained
conductor are to be found from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. from Lady-day to
Michaelmas, and from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. from Michaelmas to Lady-day. When
the remaining thirteen squares are furnished, there will be means of
rescue from fire within a quarter of a mile of every house in London: thus
the nightly watch for this purpose is better organized with respect to
number of stations than even the fire brigade, and, like this force, it is
under the general management of a single director. We are all familiar
with the sight of these strange-looking machines as they come towering
along in the dusk of the evening towards their appointed stations; but few
perhaps have seen them in action or have examined the manner in which they
are constructed. There are several methods of building them, but the one
chiefly used is Wivell's, a very simple machine and speedily put in
action, a description of which we take from the society's report:--

    "The main ladder reaches from thirty to thirty-five feet, and can
    instantly be applied to most second-floor windows, by means of the
    carriage lever. The upper ladder folds over the main ladder, and is
    raised easily in the position represented, by a rope attached to its
    lever-irons on either side of the main ladder; or, as recently adopted
    in one or two of the escapes, by an arrangement of pulleys in lieu of
    the lever-irons. The short ladder, for first floors, fits in under the
    carriage, and is often of the greatest service. Under the whole length
    of the main ladder is a canvas trough or bagging, made of stout
    sailcloth, protected by an outer trough of copper-wire net, leaving
    sufficient room between for the yielding of the canvas in a person's
    descent. The addition of the copper-wire is a great improvement, as,
    although not affording an entire protection against the canvas
    burning, it in most cases avails, and prevents the possibility of any
    one falling through. The soaking of the canvas in alum and other
    solutions is attended to; but this, while preventing its flaming,
    cannot avoid the risk of accident from the fire charring the canvas."

When we remember that the fire-escapes often have to be raised above
windows from which the flames are pouring forth, it will be seen how
valuable is this double protection against the destruction of the canvas.
The necessity for it was shown at a fire in Crawford Street, Marylebone,
where an explosion took place which fired the canvas and let the conductor
fall through just as he was rescuing an inmate,--an accident by which he
was dreadfully injured. When people look up at these fire-escapes, they
generally shudder at the idea of having to enter the bag, suspended at a
height of forty feet from the ground; but in the hour of danger the
terrified inmates never exhibit the slightest reluctance. Once in, they
slide down the bulging canvas in the gentlest manner, without any of the
rapidity that would be imagined from the almost perpendicular position in
which it hangs.

The fire-escape which is stationed near the New Road is constructed so
that it can be taken off its wheels, in order to allow it to enter the
long gardens which here extend before so many of the houses. The height
attainable by these escapes varies from 43-1/2 feet to 45 feet. A
supplemental short ladder is now carried by most of them, which can be
quickly fitted on an emergency into the upper ladder, and increases the
height to 50 feet.

The intrepidity of the conductors of these machines is quite astonishing.
Familiarity with danger begets a coolness which enables them to place
themselves in positions which would prove destructive to unpractised
persons. As in most cases they are the prominent actors in a drama
witnessed by a whole street-full of excited spectators, they are perhaps
tempted by the cheers to risk themselves in a manner they would little
dream of doing under other circumstances. In addition to such a stimulus
they are rewarded with a silver medal, and with sums of money, for any
extraordinary act of gallantry. Every instance of a daring rescue is
entered in the society's books, from which we have extracted a few
examples, to show what enterprising fellows they are. At a fire which
broke out in November, 1844, in a house in Hatton Garden, Conductor
Sunshine on his arrival found the following state of things. On the second
floor a man was sitting on the sill of one of the windows (there were four
windows abreast), and on the third floor a man was hanging by his hands to
the window-sill at the other extremity of the house-front. After having
rescued the man on the second floor, he did not dare to raise his
third-floor ladder, for fear of hitting the hanging man's hands, and
causing him to fall; accordingly, he stood upon the top rung of the
second-floor ladder, and by so doing could just touch with his upstrained
arms the poor fellow's depending feet. In this position, having himself
but a precarious hold of the window-frame beneath, his only footing being
the topmost rung, he called to the man to drop when he told him, and
discovered from his silence that he was deaf and dumb. Upon being tapped
upon the foot, however, he let go, and the conductor managed, incredible
as it may appear, to slip him down between himself and the wall on to the
top of the ladder, and brought him safely to the ground. In the next case,
Conductor Chapman was the hero of the scene, although the indomitable
Sunshine was present. Having crossed the roofs of two adjoining
out-buildings, Chapman managed to place his ladder against the second back
floor of the house on fire. Having rescued a lady, he was obliged to
retrace his steps over the roofs, as the fire was coming through the
tiling. He could only cross by making a bridge of the short ladder; and
scarcely had they cleared the premises when it fell in with a tremendous

On another occasion this intrepid man having made an entrance into the
second-floor window of a house in Tottenham-court Road, he was obliged to
retreat twice, by reason of his lamp going out in the dense smoke. On the
third trial it remained in, and enabled him to search the place. "I called
out loud," he says in his report, "and was answered by a kind of stifled
cry. I rushed across the landing to the back room, and encountered a man,
who groaned out, "O save my wife!" I groped about, and laid hold of a
female, who fell with me, clasping two children in her arms. I took them
up, and brought them to the escape, guiding the man to follow me, and
placed them all safely in the canvas, from whence they reached the ground
without any injury; and, finally, I came down myself, quite exhausted."
"We thought," said a bystander, "when he jumped into the second-floor
window, that we should not see him again alive; and I cannot tell you how
he was cheered when he appeared with the woman and her two children."

We shall content ourselves by quoting one more exploit from the Reports of
the Society, the hero of which was Conductor Wood, who received a
testimonial on vellum for the following service at a fire in
Colchester-street, Whitechapel, on the 29th of April, 1854:--

    "On his arrival, the fire was raging throughout the back of the house,
    and smoke issuing from every window; upon entering the first-floor
    room, part of which was on fire, he discovered five persons almost
    insensible from the excessive heat: he immediately descended the
    ladder _with a woman on his shoulders, and holding a child by its
    night-clothes in his mouth_; again ascended, re-entered the room, and
    having enabled the father to escape, had scarcely descended, _with a
    child under each arm_, when the whole building became enveloped in
    flames, rendering it impossible to attempt a rescue of the remainder
    of the unfortunate inmates."

The rewards of the Society are not always won by their own men. William
Trafford, police constable 344, for instance, had one of the Society's
medals presented to him, for "allowing two persons to drop upon him from
the top windows of a house in College-street, Camden-town, and thereby
enabling them to escape without material injury." Nothing is said as to
the damage done to poor Trafford by this act of self-devotion.

The real working value of the fire-escapes may be judged from the fact
that, during the twenty years they have been on duty, they have attended
no less than 2,041 fires, and rescued 214 human beings from destruction.
To make this excellent scheme complete, only thirteen stations have now to
be established, at a first cost of about eighty pounds each; the
charitable could not give their money in a more worthy cause than in
furnishing these districts, in which many thousands of inhabitants are
still exposed to the most horrible of all deaths. To show that the
usefulness of the Society has progressed with the number of their escapes,
we need only adduce the evidence of the table in the next page, made up to
the 25th of March of each year.

The fire-escapes, in addition to their own particular duty, are also of
the greatest service to the firemen of the Brigade, as, by the use of
their ladders, they are enabled to ascend to any window of a house, and to
direct the jet directly upon the burning mass, instead of throwing it
wild,--a matter of the greatest importance in extinguishing a fire: for
unless you play upon the burning material, and thus cut off the flame at
its root, you only uselessly deluge the building with water, which is, we
believe, in many cases quite as destructive to stock and furniture as the
fire it is intended to extinguish.

  |_Year._|    _Number of_     |  _Fires_  |_Lives_ |
  |       |    _Stations._     |_attended._|_saved._|
  |  1845 |  8 increased to 11 |    116    |   13   |
  |  1846 | 11      "       15 |     96    |    7   |
  |  1847 | 15      "       21 |    139    |   11   |
  |  1848 | 21      "       25 |    197    |   17   |
  |  1849 | 25      "       26 |    223    |   31   |
  |  1850 | 26      "       28 |    198    |   10   |
  |  1851 | 28      "       30 |    226    |   36   |
  |  1852 | 30      "       34 |    253    |   25   |
  |  1853 | 34      "       40 |    265    |   46   |
  |  1854 | 40      "       40 |    328    |   28   |
  |       |  Two since added.  |           |        |

Much may be done by the inmates to help themselves when a house is on
fire, in case neither the engine nor the escape should arrive in time to
assist them. Mr. Braidwood, in his little work on the method of proceeding
at fires, advises his readers to rehearse to themselves his
recommendations, otherwise when the danger comes, they are thrown,
according to his experience, into "a state of temporary derangement, and
seem to be actuated only by a desire of muscular movement," throwing
chairs and tables from the tops of houses that are scarcely on fire, and,
to wind up the absurdity, he says, "on one occasion I saw crockery-ware
thrown from a window on the third floor."

The means to be adopted to prevent the flames spreading, resolve
themselves into taking care not to open doors or windows, which create a
draught. The same rule should be observed by those outside; no door or
glass should be smashed in before the means are at hand to put out the

    _Directions for aiding persons to escape from premises on fire._

    1. Be careful to acquaint yourself with the best means of exit from
    the house both at the top and bottom.

    2. On the first alarm, reflect before you act. If in bed at the time,
    wrap yourself in a blanket, or bedside carpet; open no more doors or
    windows than are absolutely necessary, and shut every door after you.

    3. There is always from eight to twelve inches of pure air close to
    the ground: if you cannot therefore walk upright through the smoke,
    drop on your hands and knees, and thus progress. A wetted silk
    handkerchief, a piece of flannel, or a worsted stocking drawn over the
    face, permits breathing, and, to a great extent, excludes the smoke.

    4. If you can neither make your way upwards nor downwards, get into a
    front room: if there is a family, see that they are all collected
    here, and keep the door closed as much as possible, for remember that
    smoke always follows a draught, and fire always rushes after smoke.

    5. On no account throw yourself, or allow others to throw themselves,
    from the window. If no assistance is at hand, and you are in
    extremity, tie the sheets together, and, having fastened one end to
    some heavy piece of furniture, let down the women and children one by
    one, by tying the end of the line of sheets round the waist and
    lowering them through the window that is over the door, rather than
    through one that is over the area. You can easily let yourself down
    when the helpless are saved.

    6. If a woman's clothes should catch fire, let her instantly roll
    herself over and over on the ground; if a man be present, let him
    throw her down and do the like, and then wrap her in a rug, coat, or
    the first _woollen_ thing that is at hand.

    7. Bystanders, the instant they see a fire, should run for the
    fire-escape, or to the police station if that is nearer, where a
    "jumping-sheet" is always to be found.

Dancers, and those that are accustomed to wear light muslins and other
inflammable articles of clothing, when they are likely to come in contact
with the gas, would do well to remember, that by steeping them in a
solution of alum they would not be liable to catch fire. If the rule were
enforced at theatres, we might avoid any possible recurrence of such a
catastrophe as happened at Drury Lane in 1844, when poor Clara Webster was
so burnt before the eyes of the audience, that she died in a few days.

During the twenty-one years that the Brigade has been in existence the
firemen have been called out needlessly no less than 1,695 times, often
indeed mischievously; for there are some idle people who think it amusing
to send the men and engines miles away to imaginary fires. In most cases,
however, these false alarms have originated in the over-anxiety of
persons, who have hastened to the station for assistance, deceived by
lights which they fancied to be of a suspicious character. Nature herself
now and then gives a false alarm, and puts the Brigade to infinite trouble
by her vagaries. Not only the men at one station, but nearly half of the
entire force, were employed in November, 1835, from 11 P.M. to 6 A.M. on
the succeeding morning, in running after the _aurora borealis_. Some of
the dozen engines out on that occasion reached as far as Kilburn and
Hampstead in search of those evanescent lights, which exactly simulated
extensive fires. In the succeeding year the red rays of the rising sun
took in some credulous members of the Brigade, and led them with their
engines full swing along the Commercial and Mile-End Roads. Whilst on this
false scent they came upon a real fire, which, although inferior to great
Sol himself in grandeur, was far more remunerative, as the God of Morning
knows nothing about rewards to first, second, and third engines.

The most remarkable and universal false alarm caused by the play of the
northern lights was in the autumn of this same year, when the whole
north-eastern horizon seemed possessed by an angry conflagration, from