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Title: Club Life of London, Vol. I (of 2) - With Anecdotes of the Clubs, Coffee-Houses and Taverns of - the Metropolis During the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries
Author: Timbs, John
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Club Life of London, Vol. I (of 2) - With Anecdotes of the Clubs, Coffee-Houses and Taverns of - the Metropolis During the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries" ***

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

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  On page 47, "Mrs. Read's" should possibly be "Mr. Read's".
  Martin Folkes is also spelled Martin Foulkes.
  On page 100, "Sheridan had no personal dislike" should possibly be
  "Selwyn had no personal dislike".
  On page 177, "set in half-a-dozen barbers" should possibly be
  "sent in half-a-dozen barbers".
  On page 287, "Woolbidding" should possibly be "Woolbeding".


   _Engraved by W. Greatbatch from the Original Picture in the
   Possession of the Family._]





     [Illustration: See Beef-steak Society, p. 143.]





Pictures of the Social Life of the Metropolis during the last two
centuries are by no means rare. We possess them in Diaries, Memoirs,
and Correspondence, in almost countless volumes, that sparkle with
humour and gaiety, alternating with more serious phases,--political or
otherwise,--according to the colour and complexion, and body of the
time. Of such pictures the most attractive are Clubs.

Few attempts have, however, been made to _focus_ the Club-life of
periods, or to assemble with reasonable limits, the histories of the
leading Associations of clubbable Men,--of Statesmen and Politicians,
Wits and Poets, Authors, Artists, and Actors, and "men of wit and
pleasure," which the town has presented since the days of the
Restoration; or in more direct succession, from the reign of Queen
Anne, and the days of the _Tatler_ and _Spectator_, and other
Essayists in their wake.

The present Work aims to record this Club-life in a series of sketches
of the leading Societies, in which, without assuming the gravity of
history or biography, sufficient attention is paid to both to give the
several narratives the value of trustworthiness. From the multitude of
Clubs it has been found expedient to make a selection, in which the
Author has been guided by the popular interest attached to their
several histories. The same principle has been adopted in bringing the
Work up to our own time, in which the customary reticence in such
cases has been maintained.

Of interest akin to that of the Clubs have been considered scenes of
the Coffee-house and Tavern Life of the period, which partake of a
greater breadth of humour, and are, therefore, proportionally
attractive, for these sections of the Work. The antiquarianism is
sparse, or briefly descriptive; the main object being personal
characteristics, the life and manners, the sayings and doings, of
classes among whom conviviality is often mixed up with better
qualities, and the finest humanities are blended with the
gladiatorship and playfulness of wit and humour.

With a rich store of materials at his command, the Author, or
Compiler, has sought, by selection and condensation, to avoid the
long-windedness of story-telling; for the anecdote should be, like the
viand,--"'twere well if it were done quickly." Although the staple of
the book is compiled, the experience and information which the Author
has gathered by long familiarity with the Metropolis have enabled him
to annotate and illustrate in his own progress, notwithstanding the
"lion's share" of the labour is duly awarded to others.

Thus, there are grouped in the present volume sketches of One Hundred
Clubs, ranging from the Mermaid, in Bread-street, to the Garrick, in
Covent Garden. Considering the mixed objects of these Clubs, though
all belonging to the convivial or jovial system, strict classification
was scarcely attainable: hence chronological sequence has been
adopted, with the advantage of presenting more connected views of
social life than could have been gained by the former arrangement.

The Second Volume is devoted to the Coffee-house and Tavern Life, and
presents a diversity of sketches, anecdotes, and reminiscences, whose
name is Legion.

To the whole is appended a copious Index, by which the reader may
readily refer to the leading subjects, and multitudinous contents of
the Work.



     ORIGIN OF CLUBS                                               1

     MERMAID CLUB                                                  8

     APOLLO CLUB                                                  10

     EARLY POLITICAL CLUBS                                        15

     OCTOBER CLUB                                                 17

     SATURDAY AND BROTHERS CLUBS                                  19

     SCRIBLERUS CLUB                                              23

     CALVES' HEAD CLUB                                            25

     KING'S HEAD CLUB                                             35

     STREET CLUBS                                                 38

     THE MOHOCKS                                                  39

     BLASPHEMOUS CLUBS                                            44

     MUG-HOUSE CLUBS                                              45

     KIT-KAT CLUB                                                 55

     TATLER'S CLUB IN SHIRE-LANE                                  63

     ROYAL SOCIETY CLUB                                           65

     COCOA-TREE CLUB                                              81

     ALMACK'S CLUB                                                83

     ALMACK'S ASSEMBLY-ROOMS                                      86

     BROOKES'S CLUB                                               89

     "FIGHTING FITZGERALD" AT BROOKES'S                          102

     ARTHUR'S CLUB                                               107

     WHITE'S CLUB                                                108

     BOODLE'S CLUB                                               121

     THE BEEF-STEAK SOCIETY                                      123

     CAPTAIN MORRIS                                              149

     BEEF-STEAK CLUBS                                            158

     CLUB AT TOM'S COFFEE-HOUSE                                  159

     THE KING OF CLUBS                                           165

     WATIER'S CLUB                                               168

     CANNING AT THE CLIFFORD-STREET CLUB                         169

     ECCENTRIC CLUBS                                             172

     JACOBITE CLUB                                               178


     THE ROXBURGHE CLUB DINNERS                                  186

     SOCIETY OF PAST OVERSEERS, WESTMINSTER                      193

     THE ROBIN HOOD                                              196

     BLUE-STOCKING CLUB                                          198

     IVY-LANE CLUB                                               200

     ESSEX HEAD CLUB                                             202

     THE LITERARY CLUB                                           204

     GOLDSMITH'S CLUBS                                           219

     THE DILETTANTI SOCIETY                                      222

     ROYAL NAVAL CLUB                                            230

     WYNDHAM CLUB                                                232

     TRAVELLERS' CLUB                                            233

     UNITED SERVICE CLUB                                         236

     ALFRED CLUB                                                 237

     ORIENTAL CLUB                                               239

     ATHENÆUM CLUB                                               241

     UNIVERSITY CLUB                                             247

     ECONOMY OF CLUBS                                            248

     UNION CLUB                                                  253

     GARRICK CLUB                                                255

     REFORM CLUB                                                 266

     CARLTON CLUB                                                273

     CONSERVATIVE CLUB                                           275

     OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE CLUB                                   277

     GUARDS' CLUB                                                278

     ARMY AND NAVY CLUB                                          278

     JUNIOR UNITED SERVICE CLUB                                  280

     CROCKFORD'S CLUB                                            281


     THE FOUR-IN-HAND CLUB                                       289

     WHIST CLUBS                                                 295

     PRINCE'S CLUB RACQUET COURTS                                298

     AN ANGLING CLUB                                             301

     THE RED LIONS                                               303

     COVENTRY, ERECTHEUM, AND PARTHENON CLUBS                    305

     ANTIQUARIAN CLUBS,--THE NOVIOMAGIANS                        306

     THE ECCENTRICS                                              307

     DOUGLAS JERROLD'S CLUBS                                     308

     CHESS CLUBS                                                 313


     ALMACK'S                                                    316

     CLUBS AT THE THATCHED HOUSE                                 318

     KIT-KAT CLUB                                                319

     WATIER'S CLUB                                               320

     CLUBS OF 1814                                               321

     GAMING-HOUSES KEPT BY LADIES                                323



The Club, in the general acceptation of the term, may be regarded as
one of the earliest offshoots of Man's habitually gregarious and
social inclination; and as an instance of that remarkable influence
which, in an early stage of society, the powers of Nature exercise
over the fortunes of mankind. It may not be traceable to the time

     "When Adam dolve, and Eve span;"

but, it is natural to imagine that concurrent with the force of
numbers must have increased the tendency of men to associate for some
common object. This may have been the enjoyment of the staple of life;
for, our elegant Essayist, writing with ages of experience at his
beck, has truly said, "all celebrated Clubs were founded upon eating
and drinking, which are points where most men agree, and in which the
learned and the illiterate, the dull and the airy, the philosopher and
the buffoon, can all of them bear a part."

For special proof of the antiquity of the practice it may suffice to
refer to the polished Athenians, who had, besides their general
_symposia_, friendly meetings, where every one sent his own portion of
the feast, bore a proportionate part of the expense, or gave a pledge
at a fixed price. A regard for clubbism existed even in Lycurgan
Sparta: the public tables consisted generally of fifteen persons each,
and all vacancies were filled up by ballot, in which unanimous consent
was indispensable for election; and the other laws, as described by
Plutarch, differ but slightly from those of modern Clubs. Justus
Lipsius mentions a bonâ fide Roman Club, the members of which were
bound by certain organized rules and regulations. Cicero records (_De
Senectute_) the pleasure he took in frequenting the meetings of those
social parties of his time, termed confraternities, where, according
to a good old custom, a president was appointed; and he adds that the
principal satisfaction he received from such entertainments, arose
much less from the pleasures of the palate than from the opportunity
thereby afforded him of enjoying excellent company and conversation.[1]

The cognomen Club claims descent from the Anglo-Saxon; for Skinner
derives it from _clifian, cleofian_ (our cleave), from the division of
the reckoning among the guests around the table. The word signifies
uniting to divide, like _clave_, including the correlative meanings to
_adhere_ and to separate. "In conclusion, _Club_ is evidently, as far
as form is concerned, derived from _cleave_" (to split), but in
_signification_ it would seem to be more closely allied to _cleave_
(to adhere). It is not surprising that two verbs, identical in form
(in Eng.) and connected in signification, should sometimes

To the Friday-street or more properly Bread-street Club, said to have
been originated by Sir Walter Raleigh, was long assigned the priority
of date in England; but we have an instance of two centuries earlier.
In the reign of Henry IV., there was a Club called "La Court de bone
Compagnie," of which the worthy old poet Occleve was a member, and
probably Chaucer. In the works of the former are two ballads, written
about 1413; one, a congratulation from the brethren to Henry Somer, on
his appointment of the Sub-Treasurer of the Exchequer, and who
received Chaucer's pension for him. In the other ballad, Occleve,
after dwelling on some of their rules and observances, gives Somer
notice that he is expected to be in the chair at their next meeting,
and that the "styward" has warned him that he is

                      "for the dyner arraye
     Ageyn Thirsday next, and nat is delaye."

That there were certain conditions to be observed by this Society,
appears from the latter epistle, which commences with an answer to a
letter of remonstrance the "Court" has received from Henry Somer,
against some undue extravagance, and a breach of their rules.[3] This
Society of four centuries and a half since was evidently a jovial

Still, we do not yet find the term "Club." Mr. Carlyle, in his
_History of Frederick the Great_, assumes that the vow of the Chivalry
Orders--_Gelübde_--in vogue about A.D. 1190, "passed to us in a
singularly dwindled condition: Club we now call it." To this it is
objected that the mere resemblance in sound of _Gelübde_ and _Club_ is
inconclusive, for the Orders of Templars, Hospitallers, and Prussian
Knights, were never called clubs in England; and the origin of the
noun need not be sought for beyond its verb to _club_, when persons
joined in paying the cost of the mutual entertainment. Moreover,
_Klubb_ in German means the social _club_; and that word is borrowed
from the English, the native word being _Zeche_, which, from its root
and compound, conveys the idea generally of joint expenditure, and
specially in drinking.[4]

About the end of the sixteenth or the beginning of the seventeenth
century, there was established the famous Club at the Mermaid Tavern,
in Bread-street, of which Shakspeare, Beaumont, Fletcher, Raleigh,
Selden, Donne, &c., were members. Ben Jonson had a Club, of which he
appears to have been the founder, that met at the Devil Tavern,
between Middle-Temple gate and Temple Bar.

Not until shortly after this date do we find the word Club. Aubrey
says: "We now use the word _clubbe_ for a sodality in a taverne." In
1659, Aubrey became a member of the Rota, a political Club, which met
at the Turk's Head, in New Palace Yard: "here we had," says Aubrey,
"(very formally) a _balloting box_, and balloted how things should be
carried, by way of Tentamens. The room was every evening as full as
it could be crammed."[5] Of this Rota political Club we shall
presently say more. It is worthy of notice that politics were thus
early introduced into English Club-life. Dryden, some twenty years
after the above date, asks: "What right has any man to meet in
factious Clubs to vilify the Government?"

Three years after the Great Fire, in 1669, there was established in
the City, the Civil Club, which exists to this day. All the members
are citizens, and are proud of their Society, on account of its
antiquity, and of its being the only Club which attaches to its staff
the reputed office of a chaplain. The members appear to have first
_clubbed_ together for the sake of mutual aid and support; but the
name of the founder of the Club, and the circumstances of its origin,
have unfortunately been lost with its early records. The time at which
it was established was one of severe trials, when the Great Plague and
the Great Fire had broken up much society, and many old associations;
the object and recommendation being, as one of the rules express it,
"that members should give preference to each other in their respective
callings;" and that "but one person of the same trade or profession
should be a member of the Club." This is the rule of the old
middle-class clubs called "One of a Trade."

The Civil Club met for many years at the Old Ship Tavern, in
Water-lane, upon which being taken down, the Club removed to the New
Corn Exchange Tavern, in Mark Lane. The records, which are extant,
show among former members Parliament men, baronets, and aldermen; the
chaplain is the incumbent of St. Olave-by-the-Tower, Hart-street. Two
high carved chairs, bearing date 1669, are used by the stewards.

At the time of the Revolution, the Treason Club, as it was commonly
called, met at the Rose tavern, in Covent Garden, to consult with Lord
Colchester, Mr. Thomas Wharton, Colonel Talmash, Colonel Godfrey, and
many others of their party; and it was there resolved that the
regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Langstone's command should desert
entire, as they did, on Sunday, Nov. 1688.[6]

In Friday-street, Cheapside, was held the Wednesday Club, at which, in
1695, certain conferences took place under the direction of William
Paterson, which ultimately led to the establishment of the Bank of
England. Such is the general belief; but Mr. Saxe Bannister, in his
_Life of Paterson_, p. 93, observes: "It has been a matter of much
doubt whether the Bank of England was originally proposed from a Club
or Society in the City of London. The _Dialogue Conferences of the
Wednesday Club_, in _Friday-street_, have been quoted as if first
published in 1695. No such publication has been met with of a date
before 1706;" and Mr. Bannister states his reasons for supposing it
was not preceded by any other book. Still, Paterson wrote the papers
entitled the _Wednesday Club Conferences_.

Club is defined by Dr. Johnson to be "an assembly of good fellows,
meeting under certain conditions;" but by Todd, "an association of
persons subjected to particular rules." It is plain that the latter
definition is at least not that of a Club, as distinguished from any
other kind of association; although it may be more comprehensive than
is necessary, to take in all the gatherings that in modern times have
assumed the name of Clubs. Johnson's, however, is the more exact
account of the true old English Club.

The golden period of the Clubs was, however, in the time of the
_Spectator_, in whose rich humour their memories are embalmed. "Man,"
writes Addison, in No. 9, "is said to be a sociable animal; and as an
instance of it we may observe, that we take all occasions and
pretences of forming ourselves into those little nocturnal assemblies,
which are commonly known by the name of Clubs. When a set of men find
themselves agree in any particular, though never so trivial, they
establish themselves into a kind of fraternity, and meet once or twice
a week, upon the account of such a fantastic resemblance."

Pall Mall was noted for its tavern Clubs more than two centuries
since. "The first time that Pepys mentions Pell Mell," writes
Cunningham, "is under the 26th of July, 1660, where he says 'We went
to Wood's (our old house for clubbing), 'and there we spent till ten
at night.' This is not only one of the earliest references to Pall
Mall as an inhabited locality, but one of the earliest uses of the
word 'clubbing,' in its modern signification of a Club, and
additionally interesting, seeing that the street still maintains what
Johnson would have called its 'clubbable' character."

In _Spence's Anecdotes_ (_Supplemental_,) we read: "There was a Club
held at the King's Head, in Pall Mall, that arrogantly called itself
'The World.' Lord Stanhope, then (now Lord Chesterfield), Lord
Herbert, &c., were members. Epigrams were proposed to be written on
the glasses, by each member after dinner; once, when Dr. Young was
invited thither, the Doctor would have declined writing, because he
had no diamond: Lord Stanhope lent him his, and he wrote

     "'Accept a miracle, instead of wit;
     See two dull lines with Stanhope's pencil writ.'"

The first modern Club mansion in Pall Mall was No. 86, opened as a
subscription house, called the Albion Hotel. It was originally built
for Edward Duke of York, brother of George III., and is now the office
of Ordnance, (correspondence.)


[1] Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Royal Society Club. 1860.
(Not published.)

[2] _Notes and Queries_, 3rd S. i. p. 295, in which is noted:--"A good
illustration of the connexion between the ideas of _division_ and
_union_ is afforded by the two equivalent words _partner_ and
_associé_, the former pointing especially to the _division_ of
profits, the latter to the community of interests."

[3] _Notes and Queries_, No. 234, p. 383. Communicated by Mr. Edward
Foss, F.S.A.

[4] _Notes and Queries_, 2nd S., vol. xii. p. 386. Communicated by Mr.

[5] Memoir of Aubrey, by John Britton, qto., p. 36.

[6] Macpherson's History of England, vol. iii.--Original papers.


This famous Club was held at the Mermaid Tavern, which was long said
to have stood in Friday-street, Cheapside; but Ben Jonson has, in his
own verse, settled it in _Bread-street_:

     "At Bread-street's Mermaid having dined and merry,
     Proposed to go to Holborn in a wherry."

     _Ben Jonson_, ed. _Gifford_, viii. 242.

Mr. Hunter also, in his Notes on Shakspeare, tells us that "Mr.
Johnson, at the Mermaid, in Bread-street, vintner, occurs as creditor
for 17_s._ in a schedule annexed to the will of Albain Butler, of
Clifford's Inn, gentleman, in 1603." Mr. Burn, in the _Beaufoy
Catalogue_, also explains: "the Mermaid in Bread-street, the Mermaid
in Friday-street, and the Mermaid in Cheap, were all one and the same.
The tavern, situated behind, had a way to it from these thoroughfares,
but was nearer to Bread-street than Friday-street." In a note, Mr.
Burn adds: "The site of the Mermaid is clearly defined from the
circumstance of W. R., a haberdasher of small wares, 'twixt
Wood-street and Milk-street,' adopting the same sign 'over against the
Mermaid Tavern in Cheapside.'" The Tavern was destroyed in the Great

Here Sir Walter Raleigh is traditionally said to have instituted "The
Mermaid Club." Gifford has thus described the Club, adopting the
tradition and the Friday-street location: "About this time [1603]
Jonson probably began to acquire that turn for conviviality for which
he was afterwards noted. Sir Walter Raleigh, previously to his
unfortunate engagement with the wretched Cobham and others, had
instituted a meeting of _beaux esprits_ at the Mermaid, a celebrated
tavern in Friday-street. Of this Club, which combined more talent and
genius than ever met together before or since, our author was a
member; and here for many years he regularly repaired, with
Shakspeare, Beaumont, Fletcher, Selden, Cotton, Carew, Martin, Donne,
and many others, whose names, even at this distant period, call up a
mingled feeling of reverence and respect." But this is doubted. A
writer in the _Athenæum_, Sept. 16, 1865, states: "The origin of the
common tale of Raleigh founding the Mermaid Club, of which Shakspeare
is said to have been a member, has not been traced. Is it older than
Gifford?" Again: "Gifford's apparent invention of the Mermaid Club.
Prove to us that Raleigh founded the Mermaid Club, that the wits
attended it under his presidency, and you will have made a real
contribution to our knowledge of Shakspeare's time, even if you fail
to show that our Poet was a member of that Club." The tradition, it is
thought, must be added to the long list of Shakspearian doubts.

Nevertheless, Fuller has described the wit-combats between Shakspeare
and Ben Jonson, "which he beheld," meaning with his mind's eye, for he
was only eight years of age when Shakspeare died; "a circumstance,"
says Mr. Charles Knight, "which appears to have been forgotten by some
who have written of these matters." But we have a noble record left of
the wit-combats in the celebrated epistle of Beaumont to Jonson:--

     "Methinks the little wit I had is lost
     Since I saw you; for wit is like a rest
     Held up at tennis, which men do the best
     With the best gamesters: what things have we seen
     Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been
     So nimble, and so full of subtile flame,
     As if that every one from whence they came
     Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,
     And had resolv'd to live a fool the rest
     Of his dull life; then when there hath been thrown
     Wit able enough to justify the town
     For three days past, wit that might warrant be
     For the whole city to talk foolishly
     'Till that were cancell'd: and when that was gone
     We left an air behind us, which alone
     Was able to make the two next companies
     Right witty; though but downright fools, mere wise."


The noted tavern, with the sign of St. Dunstan pulling the Devil by
the nose, stood between Temple Bar and the Middle Temple gate. It was
a house of great resort in the reign of James I., and then kept by
Simon Wadloe.

In Ben Jonson's _Staple of News_, played in 1625, Pennyboy Canter
advises, to

               "Dine in Apollo, with Pecunia
     At brave Duke Wadloe's."

Pennyboy junior replies--

                     "Content, i' th' faith;
     Our meal shall be brought thither; Simon the King
     Will bid us welcome."

At what period Ben Jonson began to frequent this tavern is not
certain; but we have his record that he wrote _The Devil is an Asse_,
played in 1616, when he and his boys (adopted sons) "drank bad wine at
the Devil." The principal room was called "the Oracle of Apollo," a
large room evidently built apart from the tavern; and from Prior's and
Charles Montagu's _Hind and Panther Transversed_, it is shown to have
been an upper apartment, or on the first story:--

     "Hence to the Devil--
     Thus to the place where Jonson sat, we climb,
     Leaning on the same rail that guided him."

Above the door was the bust of Apollo; and the following verses, "the
Welcome," were inscribed in gold letters upon a black board, and
"placed over the door at the entrance into the Apollo:

     "Welcome all, who lead or follow,
     To the _Oracle of Apollo_--
     Here he speaks out of his pottle,
     Or the tripos, his Tower bottle;
     All his answers are divine,
     Truth itself doth flow in wine.
     Hang up all the poor hop-drinkers,
     Cries old Sim the king of skinkers;
     He that half of life abuses,
     That sits watering with the Muses.
     Those dull girls no good can mean us;
     Wine it is the milk of Venus,
     And the Poet's horse accounted:
     Ply it, and you all are mounted.
     'Tis the true Phoebeian liquor,
     Cheers the brain, makes wit the quicker,
     Pays all debts, cures all diseases,
     And at once three senses pleases.
     Welcome all, who lead or follow,
     To the _Oracle of Apollo_."

Beneath these verses was the name of the author, thus inscribed--"O
Rare Ben Jonson," a posthumous tribute from his grave in Westminster
Abbey. The bust appears modelled from the Apollo Belvedere, by some
skillful person of the olden day, but has been several times painted.
"The Welcome," originally inscribed in gold letters, on a thick
black-painted board, has since been wholly repainted and gilded; but
the old thickly-lettered inscription of Ben's day may be seen as an
embossment upon the modern painted background. These poetic memorials
are both preserved in the banking-house of the Messrs. Child.

"The Welcome," says Mr. Burn, "it may be inferred, was placed in the
interior of the room; so also, above the fireplace, were the Rules of
the Club, said by early writers to have been inscribed in marble, but
were in truth gilded letters upon a black-painted board, similar to
the verses of the Welcome. These Rules are justly admired for the
conciseness and elegance of the Latinity." They have been felicitously
translated by Alexander Broome, one of the wits who frequented the
Devil, and who was one of Ben Jonson's twelve adopted poetical sons.
Latin inscriptions were also placed in other directions, to adorn the
house. Over the clock in the kitchen, in 1731, there remained "_Si
nocturna tibi noceat potatio vini, hoc in mane bibes iterum, et fuerit
medicina_." Aubrey reports his uncle Danvers to have said that "Ben
Jonson, to be near the Devil tavern, in King James's time, lived
without Temple-barre, at a combemaker's shop, about the Elephant and
Castle;" and James, Lord Scudamore has, in his _Homer à la Mode_, a
travesty, said--

               "Apollo had a flamen,
     Who in's temple did say Amen."

This personage certainly Ben Jonson represented in the great room of
the Devil tavern. Hither came all who desired to be "sealed of the
tribe of Ben." "The _Leges Conviviales_," says Leigh Hunt, "which
Jonson wrote for his Club, and which are to be found in his works, are
composed in his usual style of elaborate and compiled learning, not
without a taste of that dictatorial self-sufficiency, which,
notwithstanding all that has been said by his advocates, and the good
qualities he undoubtedly possessed, forms an indelible part of his
character. 'Insipida poemata,' says he, 'nulla _recitantur_' (Let
nobody repeat to us insipid poetry); as if all that he should read of
his own must infallibly be otherwise. The Club at the Devil does not
appear to have resembled the higher one at the Mermaid, where
Shakspeare and Beaumont used to meet him. He most probably had it all
to himself."

In the Rules of the Apollo Club, women of character were not excluded
from attending the meetings--_Probæ feminæ non repudiantur_. Marmion,
one of Jonson's contemporary dramatists, describes him in his
presidential chair, as "the boon Delphic god:"--

     "_Careless._            I am full
     Of Oracles. I am come from Apollo.

     _Emilia._ From Apollo!

     _Careless._            From the heaven
     Of my delight, where the boon Delphic god
     Drinks sack, and keeps his bacchanalia,
     And has his incense and his altars smoaking,
     And speaks in sparkling prophecies; thence I come,
     My brains perfumed with the rich Indian vapour,
     And heightened with conceits. From tempting beauties,
     From dainty music and poetic strains,
     From bowls of nectar and ambrosial dishes,
     From witty varlets, fine companions,
     And from a mighty continent of pleasure,
     Sails thy brave Careless."

Randolph was by Ben Jonson, adopted for his son, and that upon the
following occasion. "Mr. Randolph having been at London so long as
that he might truly have had a parley with his _Empty Purse_, was
resolved to see Ben Jonson, with his associates, which, as he heard,
at a set time kept a Club together at the Devil Tavern, neere Temple
Bar: accordingly, at the time appointed, he went thither, but being
unknown to them, and wanting money, which to an ingenious spirit is
the most daunting thing in the world, he peeped in the room where they
were, which being espied by Ben Jonson, and seeing him in a scholar's
threadbare habit, 'John Bo-peep,' says he, 'come in,' which
accordingly he did; when immediately they began to rhyme upon the
meanness of his clothes, asking him if he could not make a verse? and
without to call for a quart of sack: there being four of them, he
immediately thus replied,

     "I, John Bo-peep, to you four sheep,--
           With each one his good fleece;
     If that you are willing to give me five shilling,
           'Tis fifteen-pence a-piece."

"By Jesus!" quoth Ben Jonson (his usual oath), "I believe this is my
son Randolph;" which being made known to them, he was kindly
entertained into their company, and Ben Jonson ever after called him
son. He wrote _The Muses' Looking-glass_, _Cambridge Duns_, _Parley
with his Empty Purse_, and other poems.

We shall have more to say of the Devil Tavern, which has other
celebrities besides Jonson.


Our Clubs, or social gatherings, which date from the Restoration, were
exclusively political. The first we hear of was the noted Rota, or
Coffee Club, as Pepys calls it, which was founded in 1659, as a kind
of debating society for the dissemination of republican opinions,
which Harrington had painted in their fairest colours in his _Oceana_.
It met in New Palace Yard, "where they take water at one Miles's, the
next house to the staires, where was made purposely a large ovall
table, with a passage in the middle for Miles to deliver his coffee."
Here Harrington gave nightly lectures on the advantage of a
commonwealth and of the ballot. The Club derived its name from a plan,
which it was its design to promote, for changing a certain number of
Members of Parliament annually by _rotation_. Sir William Petty was
one of its members. Round the table, "in a room every evening as full
as it could be crammed," says Aubrey, sat Milton and Marvell, Cyriac
Skinner, Harrington, Nevill, and their friends, discussing abstract
political questions. Aubrey calls them "disciples and virtuosi." The
place had its dissensions and brawls: "one time Mr. Stafford and his
friends came in drunk from the tavern, and affronted the Junto; the
soldiers offered to kick them down stayres, but Mr. Harrington's
moderation and persuasion hindered it."

To the Rota, in January, 1660, came Pepys, and "heard very good
discourse in answer to Mr. Harrington's answer, who said that the
state of the Roman government was not a settled government; and so it
was no wonder the balance of prosperity was in one hand, and the
command in another, it being therefore always in a posture of war: but
it was carried by ballot that it was a steady government; though, it
is true, by the voices it had been carried before that, that it was an
unsteady government. So to-morrow it is to be proved by the opponents
that the balance lay in one hand and the government in another." The
Club was broken up after the Restoration; but its members had become
marked men. Harrington's _Oceana_ is an imaginary account of the
construction of a commonwealth in a country, of which Oceana is the
imaginary name. "Rota-men" occurs by way of comparison in _Hudibras_,
part ii. canto 3:

     "But Sidrophel, as full of tricks
     As Rota-men of politics."

Besides the Rota, there was the old Royalist Club, "The Sealed Knot,"
which, the year before the Restoration, had organized a general
insurrection in favour of the King. Unluckily, they had a spy amongst
them--Sir Richard Willis,--who had long fingered Cromwell's money, as
one of his private "intelligencers;" the leaders, on his information,
were arrested, and committed to prison.


The writer of an excellent paper in the _National Review_, No. VIII.,
well observes that "Politics under Anne had grown a smaller and less
dangerous game than in the preceding century. The original political
Clubs of the Commonwealth, the Protectorate, and the Restoration,
plotted revolutions of government. The Parliamentary Clubs, after the
Revolution of 1688, manoeuvred for changes of administration. The
high-flying Tory country gentleman and country member drank the health
of the King--sometimes over the water-decanter, and flustered himself
with bumpers in honour of Dr. Sacheverell and the Church of England,
with true-blue spirits of his own kidney, at the October Club," which,
like the Beef Steak Club, was named after the cheer for which it was
famed,--_October ale_; or rather, on account of the quantities of the
ale which the members drank. The hundred and fifty squires, Tories to
the backbone, who, under the above name, met at the Bell Tavern, in
King Street, Westminster, were of opinion that the party to which they
belonged were too backward in punishing and turning out the Whigs; and
they gave infinite trouble to the Tory administration which came into
office under the leadership of Harley, St. John, and Harcourt, in
1710. The Administration were for proceeding moderately with their
rivals, and for generally replacing opponents with partisans. The
October Club were for immediately impeaching every member of the Whig
party, and for turning out, without a day's grace, every placeman who
did not wear their colours, and shout their cries.

Swift was great at the October Club, and he was employed to talk over
those who were amenable to reason, and to appease a discontent which
was hastily ripening into mutiny. There are allusions to such
negotiations in more than one passage of the _Journal to Stella_, in
1711. In a letter, February 10, 1710-11, he says: "We are plagued here
with an October Club; that is, a set of above a hundred Parliament men
of the country, who drink October beer at home, and meet every evening
at a tavern near the Parliament, to consult affairs, and drive things
on to extremes against the Whigs, to call the old ministry to account,
and get off five or six heads." Swift's _Advice humbly offered to the
Members of the October Club_, had the desired effect of softening
some, and convincing others, until the whole body of malcontents was
first divided and finally dissolved. The treatise is a masterpiece of
Swift's political skill, judiciously palliating those ministerial
errors which could not be denied, and artfully intimating those
excuses, which, resting upon the disposition of Queen Anne herself,
could not, in policy or decency, be openly pleaded.

The red-hot "tantivies," for whose loyalty the October Club was not
thorough-going enough, seceded from the original body, and formed "the
March Club," more Jacobite and rampant in its hatred of the Whigs,
than the Society from which it branched.

King Street would, at this time, be a strange location for a
Parliamentary Club, like the October; narrow and obscure as is the
street, we must remember that a century ago, it was the only
thoroughfare to the Palace at Westminster and the Houses of
Parliament. When the October was broken up, the portrait of Queen
Anne, by Dahl, which ornamented the club-room, was bought of the Club,
after the Queen's death, by the Corporation of Salisbury, and may
still be seen in their Council-chamber. (Cunningham's _Handbook_, 2nd
edit., p. 364.)


Few men appear to have so well studied the social and political
objects of Club-life as Dean Swift. One of his resorts was the old
Saturday Club. He tells Stella (to whom he specially reported most of
his club arrangements), in 1711, there were "Lord Keeper, Lord Rivers,
Mr. Secretary, Mr. Harley, and I." Of the same Club he writes, in
1713: "I dined with Lord Treasurer, and shall again to-morrow, which
is his day, when all the ministers dine with him. He calls it
whipping-day. It is always on Saturday; and we do, indeed, rally him
about his faults on that day. I was of the original Club, when only
poor Lord Rivers, Lord Keeper, and Lord Bolingbroke came; but now
Ormond, Anglesey, Lord Stewart, Dartmouth, and other rabble intrude,
and I scold at it; but now they pretend as good a title as I; and,
indeed, many Saturdays I am not there. The company being too many, I
don't love it."

In the same year Swift framed the rules of the Brothers Club, which
met every Thursday. "The end of our Club," he says, "is to advance
conversation and friendship, and to reward learning without interest
or recommendation. We take in none but men of wit, or men of interest;
and if we go on as we began, no other Club in this town will be worth
talking of."

The Journal about this time is very full of _Brothers_ Arran and
Dupplin, Masham and Ormond, Bathurst and Harcourt, Orrery and Jack
Hill, and other Tory magnates of the Club, or Society as Swift
preferred to call it. We find him entertaining his "Brothers" at the
Thatched House Tavern, in St. James's Street, at the cost of seven
good guineas. He must have been an influential member; he writes: "We
are now, in all, nine lords and ten commoners. The Duke of Beaufort
had the confidence to propose his brother-in-law, the Earl of Danby,
to be a member; but I opposed it so warmly, that it was waived. Danby
is not above twenty, and we will have no more boys; and we want but
two to make up our number. I staid till eight, and then we all went
away soberly. The Duke of Ormond's treat last week cost £20, though it
was only four dishes and four without a dessert; and I bespoke it in
order to be cheap. Yet I could not prevail to change the house. Lord
Treasurer is in a rage with us for being so extravagant; and the wine
was not reckoned neither, for that is always brought in by him that is

Not long after this, Swift writes: "Our Society does not meet now as
usual; for which I am blamed; but till Treasurer will agree to give us
money and employments to bestow, I am averse to it, and he gives us
nothing but promises. We now resolve to meet but once a fortnight, and
have a committee every other week of six or seven, to consult about
doing _some good_. I proposed another message to Lord Treasurer by
three principal members, to give a hundred guineas to a certain
person, and they are to urge it as well as they can."

One day, President Arbuthnot gives the Society a dinner, dressed in
the Queen's kitchen: "we eat it in Ozinda's Coffee-house just by St.
James's. We were never merrier or better company, and did not part
till after eleven." In May, we hear how "fifteen of our Society dined
together under a canopy in an arbour at Parson's Green last Thursday.
I never saw anything so fine and romantic."

Latterly, the Club removed to the Star and Garter, in Pall Mall, owing
to the dearness of the Thatched House; after this, the expense was
wofully complained of. At these meetings, we may suppose, the
literature of politics formed the staple of the conversation. The last
epigram, the last pamphlet, the last _Examiner_, would be discussed
with keen relish; and Swift mentions one occasion on which an
impromptu subscription was got up for a poet, who had lampooned
Marlborough; on which occasion all the company subscribed two guineas
each, except Swift himself, Arbuthnot, and Friend, who only gave one.
Bolingbroke, who was an active member, and Swift, were on a footing of
great familiarity. St. John used to give capital dinners and plenty of
champagne and burgundy to his literary coadjutor, who never ceased to
wonder at the ease with which our Secretary got through his labours,
and who worked for him in turn with the sincerest devotion, though
always asserting his equality in the sturdiest manner.

Many pleasant glimpses of convivial meetings are afforded in the
_Journal to Stella_, when there was "much drinking, little thinking,"
and the business which they had met to consider was deferred to a more
convenient season. Whether (observes a contemporary) the power of
conversation has declined or not, we certainly fear that the power of
drinking has; and the imagination dwells with melancholy fondness on
that state of society in which great men were not forbidden to be good
fellows, which we fancy, whether rightly or wrongly, must have been so
superior to ours, in which wit and eloquence succumb to statistics,
and claret has given place to coffee.

The _Journal to Stella_ reveals Swift's sympathy for poor starving
authors, and how he carried out the objects of the Society, in this
respect. Thus, he goes to see "a poor poet, one Mr. Diaper, in a nasty
garret, very sick," described in the Journal as "the author of the
_Sea Eclogues_, poems of Mermen, resembling pastorals and shepherds;
and they are very pretty, and the thought is new." Then Swift tells us
he thinks to recommend Diaper to the Society; he adds, "I must do
something for him, and get him out of the way. I hate to have any new
wits rise; but when they do rise, I would encourage them; but they
tread on our heels, and thrust us off the stage." Only a few days
before, Swift had given Diaper twenty guineas from Lord Bolingbroke.

Then we get at the business of "the Brothers," when we learn that the
printer attended the dinners; and the Journal tells us: "There was
printed a Grub-street speech of Lord Nottingham, and he was such an
owl to complain of it in the House of Lords, who have taken up the
printer for it. I heard at Court that Walpole, (a great Whig member,)
said that I and my whimsical Club writ it at one of our meetings, and
that I should pay for it. He will find he lies; and I shall let him
know by a third hand my thoughts of him." ... "To-day I published _The
Fable of Midas_, a poem printed on a loose half-sheet of paper. I know
not how it will take; but it passed wonderfully at our Society
to-night." At one dinner, the printer's news is that the Chancellor of
the Exchequer had sent Mr. Adisworth, the author of the _Examiner_,
twenty guineas.

There were gay sparks among "the Brothers," as Colonel or "Duke"
Disney, "a fellow of abundance of humour, an old battered rake, but
very honest; not an old man, but an old rake. It was he that said of
Jenny Kingdown, the maid of honour, who is a little old, 'that since
she could not get a husband, the Queen should give her a brevet to act
as a married woman.'"--_Journal to Stella._


"The Brothers," as we have already seen, was a political Club, which,
having, in great measure served its purpose, was broken up. Next year,
1714, Swift was again in London, and in place of "the Brothers,"
formed the celebrated "Scriblerus Club," an association rather of a
literary than a political character. Oxford and St. John, Swift,
Arbuthnot, Pope, and Gay, were members. Satire upon the abuse of human
learning was their leading object. The name originated as follows.
Oxford used playfully to call Swift _Martin_, and from this sprung
Martinus Scriblerus. _Swift_, as is well known, is the name of one
species of swallow, (the largest and most powerful flier of the
tribe,) and Martin is the name of another species, the wall-swallow,
which constructs its nest in buildings.

Part of the labours of the Society has been preserved in _P. P._,
_Clerk of the Parish_, the most memorable satire upon Burnet's
_History of his Own Time_, and part has been rendered immortal by the
_Travels of Lemuel Gulliver_; but, says Sir Walter Scott, in his _Life
of Swift_, "the violence of political faction, like a storm that
spares the laurel no more than the cedar, dispersed this little band
of literary brethren, and prevented the accomplishment of a task for
which talents so various, so extended, and so brilliant, can never
again be united."

Oxford and Bolingbroke, themselves accomplished scholars, patrons and
friends both of the persons and to genius thus associated, led the
way, by their mutual animosity, to the dissolution of the
confraternity. Their discord had now risen to the highest pitch. Swift
tried the force of humorous expostulation in his fable of the Fagot,
where the ministers are called upon to contribute their various badges
of office, to make the bundle strong and secure. But all was in vain;
and, at length, tired with this scene of murmuring and discontent,
quarrel, misunderstanding, and hatred, the Dean, who was almost the
only common friend who laboured to compose these differences, made a
final effort at reconciliation; but his scheme came to nothing, and
Swift retreated from the scene of discord, without taking part with
either of his contending friends, and went to the house of the
Reverend Mr. Gery, at Upper Letcombe, Berkshire, where he resided for
some weeks, in the strictest seclusion. This secession of Swift, from
the political world excited the greatest surprise: the public
wondered,--the party writers exulted in a thousand ineffectual libels
against the retreating champion of the high church,--and his friends
conjured him in numerous letters to return and reassume the task of a
peacemaker; this he positively declined.


The Calves' Head Club, in "ridicule of the memory of Charles I.," has
a strange history. It is first noticed in a tract reprinted in the
_Harleian Miscellany_. It is entitled "_The Secret History of the
Calves' Head Club; or the Republican unmasked_. _Wherein is fully
shown the Religion of the Calves' Head Heroes, in their Anniversary
Thanksgiving Songs on the 30th of January, by them called Anthems, for
the years 1693, 1694, 1695, 1696, 1697. Now published to demonstrate
the restless implacable Spirit of a certain party still amongst us,
who are never to be satisfied until the present Establishment in
Church and State is subverted._ The Second Edition. London, 1703." The
Author of this _Secret History_, supposed to be Ned Ward, attributed
the origin of the Club to Milton, and some other friends of the
Commonwealth, in opposition to Bishop Nixon, Dr. Sanderson, and
others, who met privately every 30th of January, and compiled a
private form of service for the day, not very different from that long
used. "After the Restoration," says the writer, "the eyes of the
government being upon the whole party, they were obliged to meet with
a great deal of precaution; but in the reign of King William they met
almost in a public manner, apprehending no danger." The writer further
tells us, he was informed that it was kept in no fixed house, but that
they moved as they thought convenient. The place where they met when
his informant was with them was in a blind alley near Moorfields,
where an axe hung up in the club-room, and was reverenced as a
principal symbol in this diabolical sacrament. Their bill of fare was
a large dish of calves' heads, dressed several ways, by which they
represented the king and his friends who had suffered in his cause; a
large pike, with a small one in his mouth, as an emblem of tyranny; a
large cod's head, by which they intended to represent the person of
the king singly; a boar's head with an apple in its mouth, to
represent the king by this as bestial, as by their other hieroglyphics
they had done foolish and tyrannical. After the repast was over, one
of their elders presented an _Icon Basilike_, which was with great
solemnity burnt upon the table, whilst the other anthems were singing.
After this, another produced Milton's _Defensio Populi Anglicani_,
upon which all laid their hands, and made a protestation in form of an
oath for ever to stand by and maintain the same. The company only
consisted of Independents and Anabaptists; and the famous Jeremy
White, formerly chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, who no doubt came to
sanctify with his pious exhortations the ribaldry of the day, said
grace. After the table-cloth was removed, the anniversary anthem, as
they impiously called it, was sung, and a calf's skull filled with
wine, or other liquor; and then a brimmer went about to the pious
memory of those worthy patriots who had killed the tyrant and relieved
their country from his arbitrary sway: and, lastly, a collection was
made for the mercenary scribbler, to which every man contributed
according to his zeal for the cause and ability of his purse.

The tract passed, with many augmentations as valueless as the original
trash, through no less than nine editions, the last dated 1716.
Indeed, it would appear to be a literary fraud, to keep alive the
calumny. All the evidence produced concerning the meetings is from
hearsay: the writer of the _Secret History_ had never himself been
present at the Club; and his friend from whom he professes to have
received his information, though a Whig, had no personal knowledge of
the Club. The slanderous rumour about Milton having to do with the
institution of the Club may be passed over as unworthy of notice, this
untrustworthy tract being the only authority for it. Lowndes says,
"this miserable tract has been attributed to the author of
_Hudibras_;" but it is altogether unworthy of him.

Observances, insulting to the memory of Charles I., were not
altogether unknown. Hearne tells us that on the 30th of January,
1706-7, some young men in All Souls College, Oxford, dined together at
twelve o'clock, and amused themselves with cutting off the heads of a
number of woodcocks, "in contempt of the memory of the blessed
martyr." They tried to get calves'-heads, but the cook refused to
dress them.

Some thirty years after, there occurred a scene which seemed to give
colour to the truth of the _Secret History_. On January 30, 1735,
"Some young noblemen and gentlemen met at a tavern in Suffolk-street,
called themselves the Calves' Head Club, dressed up a calf's head in
a napkin, and after some hurras threw it into a bonfire, and dipped
napkins in their red wine and waved them out of the window. The mob
had strong beer given them, and for a time hallooed as well as the
best, but taking disgust at some healths proposed, grew so outrageous
that they broke all the windows, and forced themselves into the house;
but the guards being sent for, prevented further mischief. The _Weekly
Chronicle_ of February 1, 1735, states that the damage was estimated
at 'some hundred pounds,' and that the guards were posted all night in
the street, for the security of the neighbourhood."

In L'Abbé Le Blanc's Letters we find this account of the
affair:--"Some young men of quality chose to abandon themselves to the
debauchery of drinking healths on the 30th of January, a day appointed
by the Church of England for a general fast, to expiate the murder of
Charles I., whom they honour as a martyr. As soon as they were heated
with wine, they began to sing. This gave great offence to the people,
who stopped before the tavern, and gave them abusive language. One of
these rash young men put his head out of the window and drank to the
memory of the army which dethroned this King, and to the rebels which
cut off his head upon a scaffold. The stones immediately flew from all
parts, the furious populace broke the windows of the house, and would
have set fire to it; and these silly young men had a great deal of
difficulty to save themselves."

Miss Banks tells us that "Lord Middlesex, Lord Boyne, and Mr.
Seawallis Shirley, were certainly present; probably, Lord John
Sackville, Mr. Ponsonby, afterwards Lord Besborough, was not there.
Lord Boyne's finger was broken by a stone which came in at the window.
Lord Harcourt was supposed to be present." Horace Walpole adds: "The
mob destroyed part of the house; Sir William (called Hellfire)
Stanhope was one of the members."

This riotous occurrence was the occasion of some verses in _The
Grub-street Journal_, from which the following lines may be quoted as
throwing additional light on the scene:--

     "Strange times! when noble peers, secure from riot,
     Can't keep Noll's annual festival in quiet,
     Through sashes broke, dirt, stones, and brands thrown at 'em,
     Which, if not scand- was _brand-alum magnatum_.
     Forced to run down to vaults for safer quarters,
     And in coal-holes their ribbons hide and garters.
     They thought their feast in dismal fray thus ending,
     Themselves to shades of death and hell descending;
     This might have been, had stout Clare Market mobsters,
     With cleavers arm'd, outmarch'd St. James's lobsters;
     Numskulls they'd split, to furnish other revels,
     And make a Calves'-head Feast for worms and devils."

The manner in which Noll's (Oliver Cromwell's) "annual festival" is
here alluded to, seems to show that the bonfire, with the calf's-head
and other accompaniments, had been exhibited in previous years. In
confirmation of this fact, there exists a print entitled _The True
Effigies of the Members of the Calves'-Head Club, held on the 30th of
January, 1734, in Suffolk Street, in the County of Middlesex_; being
the year before the riotous occurrence above related. This print shows
a bonfire in the centre of the foreground, with the mob; in the
background, a house with three windows, the central window exhibiting
two men, one of whom is about to throw the calf's-head into the
bonfire below. The window on the right shows three persons drinking
healths; that on the left, two other persons, one of whom wears a
mask, and has an axe in his hand.

There are two other prints, one engraved by the father of Vandergucht,
from a drawing by Hogarth.

After the tablecloth was removed (says the author), an anniversary
anthem was sung, and a calf's-skull filled with wine or other liquor,
and out of which the company drank to the pious memory of those worthy
patriots who had killed the tyrant; and lastly, a collection was made
for the writer of the anthem, to which every man contributed according
to his zeal or his means. The concluding lines of the anthem for the
year 1697 are as follow:--

     "Advance the emblem of the action,
       Fill the calf's skull full of wine;
     Drinking ne'er was counted faction,
       Men and gods adore the vine.
     To the heroes gone before us,
       Let's renew the flowing bowl;
     While the lustre of their glories
       Shines like stars from pole to pole."

The laureate of the Club and of this doggrel was Benjamin Bridgwater,
who, alluding to the observance of the 30th of January by zealous
Royalists, wrote:--

     "They and we, this day observing,
       Differ only in one thing;
     They are canting, whining, starving;
       We, rejoicing, drink, and sing."

Among Swift's poems will be remembered "Roland's Invitation to Dismal
to dine with the Calf's-Head Club":--

     "While an alluding hymn some artist sings,
     We toast 'Confusion to the race of kings.'"

Wilson, in his Life of De Foe, doubts the truthfulness of Ward's
narrative, but adds: "In the frighted mind of a high-flying churchman,
which was continually haunted by such scenes, the caricature would
easily pass for a likeness." "It is probable," adds the honest
biographer of De Foe, "that the persons thus collected together to
commemorate the triumph of their principles, although in a manner
dictated by bad taste, and outrageous to humanity, would have confined
themselves to the ordinary methods of eating and drinking, if it had
not been for the ridiculous farce so generally acted by the Royalists
upon the same day. The trash that issued from the pulpit in this
reign, upon the 30th of January, was such as to excite the worst
passions in the hearers. Nothing can exceed the grosness of language
employed upon these occasions. Forgetful even of common decorum, the
speakers ransacked the vocabulary of the vulgar for terms of
vituperation, and hurled their anathemas with wrath and fury against
the objects of their hatred. The terms rebel and fanatic were so often
upon their lips, that they became the reproach of honest men, who
preferred the scandal to the slavery they attempted to establish.
Those who could profane the pulpit with so much rancour in the support
of senseless theories, and deal it out to the people for religion, had
little reason to complain of a few absurd men who mixed politics and
calves' heads at a tavern; and still less, to brand a whole religious
community with their actions."

The strange story was believed till our own time, when it was fully
disproved by two letters written a few days after the riotous
occurrence, by Mr. A. Smyth, to Mr. Spence, and printed in the
Appendix to his _Anecdotes_, 2nd edit. 1858: in one it is stated,
"The affair has been grossly misrepresented all over the town, and in
most of the public papers: there was no calf's-head exposed at the
window, and afterwards thrown into the fire, no napkins dipt in claret
to represent blood, nor nothing that could give any colour to any such
reports. The meeting (at least with regard to our friends) was
entirely accidental," etc. The second letter alike contradicts the
whole story; and both attribute much of the disturbance to the
unpopularity of the Administration; their health being unluckily
proposed, raised a few faint claps but a general hiss, and then the
disturbance began. A letter from Lord Middlesex to Spence, gives a
still fuller account of the affair. By the style of the letter one may
judge what sort of heads the members had, and what was reckoned the
polite way of speaking to a waiter in those days:--

     "Whitehall, Feb. ye 9th, 1735.

"Dear _Spanco_,--I don't in the least doubt but long before this time
the noise of the riot on the 30th of January has reached you at
Oxford; and though there has been as many lies and false reports
raised upon the occasion in this good city as any reasonable man could
expect, yet I fancy even those may be improved or increased before
they come to you. Now, that you may be able to defend your friends (as
I don't in the least doubt you have an inclination to do), I'll send
you the matter of fact literally and truly as it happened, upon my
honour. Eight of us happened to meet together the 30th of January, it
might have been the 10th of June, or any other day in the year, but
the mixture of the company has convinced most reasonable people by
this time that it was not a designed or premeditated affair. We met,
then, as I told you before, by chance upon this day, and after dinner,
having drunk very plentifully, especially some of the company, some of
us going to the window unluckily saw a little nasty fire made by some
boys in the street, of straw I think it was, and immediately cried
out, 'D--n it, why should not we have a fire as well as anybody else?'
Up comes the drawer, 'D--n you, you rascal, get us a bonfire.' Upon
which the imprudent puppy runs down, and without making any difficulty
(which he might have done by a thousand excuses, and which if he had,
in all probability, some of us would have come more to our senses),
sends for the faggots, and in an instant behold a large fire blazing
before the door. Upon which some of us, wiser, or rather soberer than
the rest, bethinking themselves then, for the first time, what day it
was, and fearing the consequences a bonfire on that day might have,
proposed drinking loyal and popular healths to the mob (out of the
window), which by this time was very great, in order to convince them
we did not intend it as a ridicule upon that day. The healths that
were drank out of the window were these, and these only: The King,
Queen, and Royal Family, the Protestant Succession, Liberty and
Property, the present Administration. Upon which the first stone was
flung, and then began our siege: which, for the time it lasted, was at
least as furious as that of Philipsbourg; it was more than an hour
before we got any assistance; the more sober part of us, doing this,
had a fine time of it, fighting to prevent fighting; in danger of
being knocked on the head by the stones that came in at the windows;
in danger of being run through by our mad friends, who, sword in hand,
swore they would go out, though they first made their way through us.
At length the justice, attended by a strong body of guards, came and
dispersed the populace. The person who first stirred up the mob is
known; he first gave them money, and then harangued them in a most
violent manner; I don't know if he did not fling the first stone
himself. He is an Irishman and a priest, and belonging to Imberti, the
Venetian Envoy. This is the whole story from which so many calves'
heads, bloody napkins, and the Lord knows what, has been made; it has
been the talk of the town and the country, and small beer and bread
and cheese to my friends the garretteers in Grub-street, for these few
days past. I, as well as your friends, hope to see you soon in town.
After so much prose, I can't help ending with a few verses:--

     "O had I lived in merry Charles's days,
     When dull the wise were called, and wit had praise;
     When deepest politics could never pass
     For aught, but surer tokens of an ass;
     When not the frolicks of one drunken night
     Could touch your honour, make your fame less bright;
     Tho' mob-form'd scandal rag'd, and Papal spight."


To sum up, the whole affair was a hoax, kept alive by the pretended
"Secret History." An accidental riot, following a debauch on one 30th
of January, has been distributed between two successive years, owing
to a misapprehension of the mode of reckoning time prevalent in the
early part of the last century; and there is no more reason for
believing in the existence of a Calves' Head Club in 1734-5 than there
is for believing it exists in 1864.


Another Club of this period was the "Club of Kings," or "the King
Club," all the members of which were called "King." Charles himself
was an honorary member.

A more important Club was "the King's Head Club," instituted for
affording the Court and Government support, and to influence
Protestant zeal: it was designed by the unscrupulous Shaftesbury: the
members were a sort of Decembrists of their day; but they failed in
their aim, and ultimately expired under the ridicule of being
designated "Hogs in armour." "The gentlemen of that worthy Society,"
says Roger North, in his _Examen_, "held their evening sessions
continually at the King's Head Tavern, over against the Inner Temple
Gate. But upon the occasion of the signal of a _green ribbon_, agreed
to be worn in their hats in the days of _street engagements_, like the
coats-of-arms of valiant knights of old, whereby all warriors of the
Society might be distinguished, and not mistake friends for enemies,
they were called also the _Green Ribbon Club_. Their seat was in a
sort of _Carfour_ at Chancery-lane end, a centre of business and
company most proper for such anglers of fools. The house was double
balconied in the front, as may be yet seen, for the clubsters to issue
forth in fresco with hats and no peruques; pipes in their mouths,
merry faces, and diluted throats, for vocal encouragement of the
_canaglia_ below, at bonfires, on usual and unusual occasions. They
admitted all strangers that were confidingly introduced; for it was a
main end of their Institution to make proselytes, especially of the
raw estated youth, newly come to town. This copious Society were to
the faction in and about London a sort of executive power, and, by
correspondence, all over England. The resolves of the more retired
councils of the ministry of the Faction were brought in here, and
orally insinuated to the company, whether it were lyes, defamations,
commendations, projects, etc., and so, like water diffused, spread all
over the town; whereby that which was digested at the Club over night,
was, like nourishment, at every assembly, male and female, the next
day:--and thus the younglings tasted of political administration, and
took themselves for notable counsellors."

North regarded the Green Ribbon Club as the focus of disaffection and
sedition, but his mere opinions are not to be depended on. Walpole
calls him "the voluminous squabbler in behalf of the most
unjustifiable excesses of Charles the Second's Administration."
Nevertheless, his relation of facts is very curious, and there is no
reason to discredit his account of those popular "routs," to use his
own phrase, to which he was an eyewitness.

The conversation and ordinary discourse of the Club, he informs us,
"was chiefly upon the subject of _Braveur_, in defending the cause of
Liberty and Property; what every true Protestant and Englishman ought
to venture to do, rather than be overpowered with Popery and Slavery."
They were provided with silk armour for defence, "against the time
that Protestants were to be massacred," and, in order "to be
assailants upon fair occasion," they had recommended to them, "a
certain pocket weapon which, for its design and efficacy, had the
honour to be called a _Protestant Flail_. The handles resembled a
farrier's blood-stick, and the fall was joined to the end by a strong
nervous ligature, that, in its swing, fell just short of the hand, and
was made of _Lignum Vitæ_, or rather, as the Poets termed it,
_Mortis_." This engine was "for street and crowd-work, and lurking
perdue in a coat-pocket, might readily sally out to execution; and so,
by clearing a great Hall or Piazza, or so, carry an Election by choice
of Polling, called _knocking down_!" The _armour_ of the _hogs_ is
further described as "silken back, breast, and potts, that were
pretended to be pistol-proof, in which any man dressed up was as safe
as in a house, for it was impossible any one would go to strike him
for laughing, so ridiculous was the figure, as they say, of _hogs in

In describing the Pope-burning procession of the 17th of November,
1680, Roger North says, that "the Rabble first changed their title,
and were called _the Mob_ in the assemblies of this Club. It was their
Beast of Burthen, and called first, _mobile vulgus_, but fell
naturally into the contraction of one syllable, and ever since is
become proper English."

We shall not describe these Processions: the grand object was the
burning of figures, prepared for the occasion, and brought by the Mob
in procession, from the further end of London with "staffiers and
link-boys, sounding," and "coming up near to the Club-Quality in the
balconies, against which was provided a huge bonfire;" "and then,
after numerous platoons and volleys of squibs discharged, these
_Bamboches_ were, with redoubled noise, committed to the flames."
These outrageous celebrations were suppressed in 1683.


During the first quarter of the last century, there were formed in the
metropolis "Street Clubs," of the inhabitants of the same street; so
that a man had but to stir a few houses from his own door to enjoy his
Club and the society of his neighbours. There was another inducement:
the streets were then so unsafe, that "the nearer home a man's club
lay, the better for his clothes and his purse. Even riders in coaches
were not safe from mounted footpads, and from the danger of upsets in
the huge ruts and pits which intersected the streets. The passenger
who could not afford a coach had to pick his way, after dark, along
the dimly-lighted, ill-paved thoroughfares, seamed by filthy open
kennels, besprinkled from projecting spouts, bordered by gaping
cellars, guarded by feeble old watchmen, and beset with daring
street-robbers. But there were worse terrors of the night than the
chances of a splashing or a sprain,--risks beyond those of an
interrogatory by the watch, or of a 'stand and deliver' from a
footpad." These were the lawless rake-hells who, banded into clubs,
spread terror and dismay through the streets. Sir John Fielding, in
his cautionary book, published in 1776, described the dangerous
attacks of intemperate rakes in hot blood, who, occasionally and by
way of bravado, scour the streets, to show their manhood, not their
humanity; put the watch to flight; and now and then murdered some
harmless, inoffensive person. Thus, although there are in London no
ruffians and bravos, as in some parts of Spain and Italy, who will
kill for hire, yet there is no resisting anywhere the wild sallies of
youth, and the extravagances that flow from debauchery and wine. One
of our poets has given a necessary caution, especially to strangers,
in the following lines:--

     "Prepare for death, if here at night you roam,
     And sign your will before you sup from home;
     Some fiery fop with new commission vain,
     Who sleeps on brambles 'till he kills his man;
     Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast,
     Provokes a broil, and stabs you in a jest.
     Yet, ev'n these heroes, mischievously gay,
     Lords of the street, and terrors of the way;
     Flush'd as they are with folly, youth, and wine,
     Their prudent insults to the poor confine;
     Afar they mark the flambeau's bright approach,
     And shun the shining train and gilded coach."


This nocturnal fraternity met in the days of Queen Anne: but it had
been for many previous years the favourite amusement of dissolute
young men to form themselves into Clubs and Associations for
committing all sorts of excesses in the public streets, and alike
attacking orderly pedestrians, and even defenceless women. These Clubs
took various slang designations. At the Restoration they were "Mums"
and "Tityre-tus." They were succeeded by the "Hectors" and "Scourers,"
when, says Shadwell, "a man could not go from the Rose Tavern to the
Piazza once, but he must venture his life twice." Then came the
"Nickers," whose delight it was to smash windows with showers of
halfpence; next were the "Hawkabites;" and lastly, the "Mohocks."
These last are described in the _Spectator_, No. 324, as a set of men
who have borrowed their name from a sort of cannibals, in India, who
subsist by plundering and devouring all the nations about them. The
president is styled "Emperor of the Mohocks;" and his arms are a
Turkish crescent, which his imperial majesty bears at present in a
very extraordinary manner engraven upon his forehead; in imitation of
which the Members prided themselves in tattooing; or slashing people's
faces with, as Gay wrote, "new invented wounds." Their avowed design
was mischief, and upon this foundation all their rules and orders were
framed. They took care to drink themselves to a pitch beyond reason or
humanity, and then made a general sally, and attack all who were in
the streets. Some were knocked down, others stabbed, and others cut
and carbonadoed. To put the watch to a total rout, and mortify some of
those inoffensive militia, was reckoned a _coup d'éclat_. They had
special barbarities, which they executed upon their prisoners.
"Tipping the lion" was squeezing the nose flat to the face, and boring
out the eyes with their fingers. "Dancing-masters" were those who
taught their scholars to cut capers by running swords through their
legs. The "Tumblers" set women on their heads. The "Sweaters" worked
in parties of half-a-dozen, surrounding their victims with the points
of their swords. The Sweater upon whom the patient turned his back,
pricked him in "that part whereon school-boys are punished;" and, as
he veered round from the smart, each Sweater repeated this pinking
operation; "after this jig had gone two or three times round, and the
patient was thought to have sweat sufficiently, he was very
handsomely rubbed down by some attendants, who carried with them
instruments for that purpose, when they discharged him." An adventure
of this kind is narrated in No. 332 of the _Spectator_: it is there
termed a bagnio, for the orthography of which the writer consults the
sign-posts of the bagnio in Newgate-street and that in Chancery-lane.

Another savage diversion of the Mohocks was their thrusting women into
barrels, and rolling them down Snow or Ludgate Hill, as thus sung by
Gay, in his _Trivia_:--

     "Now is the time that rakes their revels keep;
     Kindlers of riot, enemies of sleep.
     His scattered pence the flying Nicker flings,
     And with the copper shower the casement rings.
     Who has not heard the Scourer's midnight fame?
     Who has not trembled at the Mohock's name?
     Was there a watchman took his hourly rounds
     Safe from their blows, or new-invented wounds?
     I pass their desperate deeds and mischiefs, done
     Where from Snow-hill black steepy torrents run;
     How matrons, hooped within the hogshead's womb,
     Were tumbled furious thence; the rolling tomb
     O'er the stones thunders, bounds from side to side:
     So Regulus, to save his country, died."

Swift was inclined to doubt these savageries, yet went in some
apprehension of them. He writes, just at the date of the above
_Spectator_: "Here is the devil and all to do with these Mohocks.
Grub-street papers about them fly like lightning, and a list printed
of near eighty put into several prisons, and all a lie, and I begin to
think there is no truth, or very little, in the whole story. He that
abused Davenant was a drunken gentleman; none of that gang. My man
tells me that one of the lodgers heard in a coffee-house, publicly,
that one design of the Mohocks was upon me, if they could catch me;
and though I believe nothing of it, I forbear walking late; and they
have put me to the charge of some shillings already."--_Journal to
Stella_, 1712.

Swift mentions, among the outrages of the Mohocks, that two of them
caught a maid of old Lady Winchilsea's at the door of her house in the
Park with a candle, and had just lighted out somebody. They cut all
her face, and beat her without any provocation.

At length, the villanies of the Mohocks were attempted to be put down
by a Royal proclamation, issued on the 18th of March, 1712: this,
however, had very little effect, for we soon find Swift exclaiming:
"They go on still, and cut people's faces every night! but they
sha'n't cut mine; I like it better as it is."

Within a week after the Proclamation, it was proposed that Sir Roger
de Coverley should go to the play, where he had not been for twenty
years. The _Spectator_, No. 335, says: "My friend asked me if there
would not be some danger in coming home late, in case the Mohocks
should be abroad. 'I assure you,' says he, 'I thought I had fallen
into their hands last night; for I observed two or three lusty black
men that followed me half-way up Fleet-street, and mended their pace
behind me, in proportion as I put on to get away from them." However,
Sir Roger threw them out, at the end of Norfolk Street, where he
doubled the corner, and got shelter in his lodgings before they could
imagine what was become of him. It was finally arranged that Captain
Sentry should make one of the party for the play, and that Sir Roger's
coach should be got ready, the fore wheels being newly mended. "The
Captain," says the _Spectator_, "who did not fail to meet me at the
appointed hour, bid Sir Roger fear nothing, for that he had put on the
same sword which he made use of at the battle of Steenkirk. Sir
Roger's servants, and among the rest, my old friend the butler, had, I
found, provided themselves with good oaken plants, to attend their
master upon this occasion. When he placed him in his coach, with
myself at his left hand, the Captain before him, and his butler at the
head of his footmen in the rear, we convoyed him in safety to the
playhouse." The play was Ambrose Phillips's new tragedy of _The
Distressed Mother_: at its close, Sir Roger went out fully satisfied
with his entertainment; and, says _the Spectator_, "we guarded him to
his lodging in the same manner that we guarded him to the playhouse."

The subject is resumed with much humour, by Budgell, in the
_Spectator_, No. 347, where the doubts as to the actual existence of
Mohocks are examined. "They will have it," says the _Spectator_, "that
the Mohocks are like those spectres and apparitions which frighten
several towns and villages in Her Majesty's dominions, though they
were never seen by any of the inhabitants. Others are apt to think
that these Mohocks are a kind of bull-beggars, first invented by
prudent married men and masters of families, in order to deter their
wives and daughters from taking the air at unseasonable hours; and
that when they tell them 'the Mohocks will catch them,' it is a
caution of the same nature with that of our forefathers, when they bid
their children have a care of Raw-head and Bloody-bones." Then we
have, from a Correspondent of the _Spectator_, "the manifesto of Taw
Waw Eben Zan Kaladar, Emperor of the Mohocks," vindicating his
imperial dignity from the false aspersions cast on it, signifying the
imperial abhorrence and detestation of such tumultuous and irregular
proceedings; and notifying that all wounds, hurts, damage, or
detriment, received in limb or limbs, _otherwise than shall be
hereafter specified_, shall be committed to the care of the Emperor's
surgeon, and cured at his own expense, in some one or other of those
hospitals which he is erecting for that purpose.

Among other things it is decreed "that they never tip the lion upon
man, woman, or child, till the clock at St. Dunstan's shall have
struck one;" "that the sweat be never given till between the hours of
one and two;" "that the sweaters do establish their hummums in such
close places, alleys, nooks and corners, that the patient or patients
may not be in danger of catching cold;" "that the tumblers, to whose
care we chiefly commit the female sex, confine themselves to
Drury-lane and the purlieus of the Temple," etc. "Given from our Court
at the Devil Tavern," etc.

The Mohocks held together until nearly the end of the reign of George
the First.


The successors of the Mohocks added blasphemy to riot. Smollett
attributes the profaneness and profligacy of the period to the
demoralization produced by the South Sea Bubble; and Clubs were formed
specially for the indulgence of debauchery and profaneness. Prominent
among these was "the Hell-fire Club," of which the Duke of Wharton was
a leading spirit:--

     "Wharton, the scorn and wonder of our days,
     Whose ruling passion was the lust of praise.
     Born with whate'er could win it from the wise,
     Women and fools must like him, or he dies.
     Though wondering senates hung on all he spoke,
     The club must hail him master of the joke."--_Pope._

So high did the tide of profaneness run at this time, that a Bill was
brought into the House of Lords for its suppression. It was in a
debate on this Bill that the Earl of Peterborough declared, that
though he was for a Parliamentary King, he was against a Parliamentary
religion; and that the Duke of Wharton pulled an old family Bible out
of his pocket, in order to controvert certain arguments delivered from
the episcopal bench.


Among the political Clubs of the metropolis in the early part of the
eighteenth century, one of the most popular was the Mug-house Club,
which met in a great Hall in Long Acre every Wednesday and Saturday,
during the winter. The house received its name from the simple
circumstance, that each member drank his ale (the only liquor used)
out of a separate mug. The Club is described as a mixture of
gentlemen, lawyers, and statesmen, who met seldom under a hundred. In
_A Journey through England_, 1722, we read of this Club:

"But the most diverting and amusing of all is the Mug-house Club in
Long Acre.

"They have a grave old Gentleman, in his own gray Hairs, now within a
few months of Ninety years old, who is their President, and sits in
an arm'd chair some steps higher than the rest of the company to keep
the whole Room in order. A Harp plays all the time at the lower end of
the Room; and every now and then one or other of the Company rises and
entertains the rest with a song, and (by the by) some are good
Masters. Here is nothing drunk but Ale, and every Gentleman hath his
separate Mug, which he chalks on the Table where he sits as it is
brought in; and every one retires when he pleases, as from a

"The Room is always so diverted with Songs, and drinking from one
Table to another to one another's Healths, that there is no room for
Politicks, or anything that can sow'r conversation.

"One must be there by seven to get Room, and after ten the Company are
for the most part gone.

"This is a Winter's Amusement, that is agreeable enough to a Stranger
for once or twice, and he is well diverted with the different Humours,
when the Mugs overflow."

Although in the early days of this Club there was no room for
politics, or anything that could sour conversation, the Mug-house
subsequently became a rallying-place for the most virulent political
antagonism, arising out of the change of dynasty, a weighty matter to
debate over mugs of ale. The death of Anne brought on the Hanover
succession. The Tories had then so much the better of the other party,
that they gained the mob on all public occasions to their side. It
then became necessary for King George's friends to do something to
counteract this tendency. Accordingly, they established Mug-houses,
like that of Long Acre, throughout the metropolis, for well-affected
tradesmen to meet and keep up the spirit of loyalty to the Protestant
succession. First, they had one in St. John's-lane, chiefly under the
patronage of Mr. Blenman, member of the Middle Temple, who took for
his motto, "Pro rege et lege." Then arose the Roebuck Mug-house, in
Cheapside, the haunt of a fraternity of young men, who had been
organized for political action before the end of the late reign.

According to a pamphlet on the subject, dated in 1717, "the next
Mug-houses opened in the City were at Mrs. Read's, in Salisbury-court,
in Fleet-street, and at the Harp in Tower-street, and another at the
Roebuck in Whitechapel. About the same time several other Mug-houses
were erected in the suburbs, for the reception and entertainment of
the like loyal Societies: viz. one at the Ship, in Tavistock-street,
Covent Garden, which is mostly frequented by royal officers of the
army, another at the Black Horse, in Queen-street near Lincoln's Inn
Fields, set up and carried on by gentlemen, servants to that noble
patron of loyalty, to whom this vindication of it is inscribed [the
Duke of Newcastle]; a third was set up at the Nag's Head, in
James-street, Covent Garden; a fourth at the Fleece, in
Burleigh-street, near Exeter Change; a fifth at the Hand and Tench,
near the Seven Dials; several in Spittlefields, by the French
refugees; one in Southwark Park; and another in the Artillery-ground."
Another noted Mug-house was the Magpie, without Newgate, which house
still exists as the Magpie and Stump, in the Old Bailey. At all these
houses it was customary in the forenoon to exhibit the whole of the
mugs belonging to the establishment, in a row in front of the house.

The frequenters of these several Mug-houses formed themselves into
"Mug-house Clubs," known severally by some distinctive name, and each
club had its President to rule its meetings and keep order. The
President was treated with great ceremony and respect: he was
conducted to his chair every evening at about seven o'clock, by
members carrying candles before and behind him, and accompanied with
music. Having taken a seat, he appointed a Vice-president, and drank
the health of the company assembled, a compliment which the company
returned. The evening was then passed in drinking successively loyal
and other healths, and in singing songs. Soon after ten they broke up,
the President naming his successor for the next evening; and before he
left the chair, a collection was made for the musicians.

We shall now see how these Clubs took so active a part in the violent
political struggles of the time. The Jacobites had laboured with much
zeal to secure the alliance of the street mob, and they had used it
with great effect, in connexion with Dr. Sacheverell, in over-turning
Queen Anne's Whig Government, and paving the way for the return of the
exiled family. Disappointment at the accession of George I. rendered
the party of the Pretender more unscrupulous; the mob was excited to
greater excesses, and the streets of the metropolis were occupied by
an infuriated rabble, and presented a nightly scene of riot. It was
under these circumstances that the Mug-house Clubs volunteered, in a
very disorderly manner, to be champions of order; and with this
purpose it became part of their evening's entertainment to march into
the street, and fight the Jacobite mob. This practice commenced in the
autumn of 1715, when the Club called the Loyal Society, which met at
the Roebuck in Cheapside, distinguished itself by its hostility to
Jacobitism. On one occasion this Club burned the Pretender in effigy.
Their first conflict with the mob, recorded in the newspapers,
occurred on the 31st of January, 1715, the birthday of the Prince of
Wales, which was celebrated by illuminations and bonfires. There were
a few Jacobite alehouses, chiefly on Holborn Hill, in Sacheverell's
period; and on Ludgate-hill: the frequenters of the latter stirred up
the mob to raise a riot there, put out the bonfire, and break the
windows which were illuminated. The Loyal Society men, receiving
intelligence of what was going on, hurried to the spot, and thrashed
and defeated the rioters.

On the 4th of November in the same year, the birthday of King William
III., the Jacobite mob made a large bonfire in the Old Jewry, to burn
an effigy of the King; but the Mug-house men came upon them again,
gave them "due chastisement with oaken plants," extinguished their
bonfire, and carried King William in triumph to the Roebuck. Next day
was the commemoration of Gunpowder Treason, and the loyal mob had its
pageant. A long procession was formed, having in front a figure of the
infant Pretender, accompanied by two men bearing each a warming-pan,
in allusion to the story about his birth; and followed by effigies in
gross caricature of the Pope, the Pretender, the Duke of Ormond, Lord
Bolingbroke, and the Earl of Marr, with halters round their necks; and
all of them were to be burned in a large bonfire made in Cheapside.
The procession, starting from the Roebuck, went through
Newgate-street, and up Holborn-hill, where they compelled the bells of
St. Andrew's church, of which Sacheverell was rector, to ring; thence
through Lincoln's Inn Fields and Covent Garden to the gate of St.
James's Palace; returning by way of Pall Mall and the Strand, and
through St. Paul's Churchyard. They had met with no interruption on
their way, but on their return to Cheapside, they found that, during
their absence, that quarter had been invaded by the Jacobite mob, who
had carried away all the fuel which had been collected for the

On November 17, in the same year, the Loyal Society met at the Roebuck
to celebrate the anniversary of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth; and,
while busy with their mugs, they received information that the
Jacobites were assembled, in great force, in St. Martin's-le-Grand,
and were preparing to burn the effigies of King William and King
George, along with the Duke of Marlborough. They were so near, in
fact, that their party-shouts of High Church, Ormond, and King James,
must have been audible at the Roebuck, which stood opposite Bow
Church. The Jacobites were starting on their procession, when they
were overtaken in Newgate Street, by the Mug-house men from the
Roebuck, and a desperate encounter took place, in which the Jacobites
were defeated, and many of them were seriously injured. Meanwhile the
Roebuck itself had been the scene of a much more serious tumult.
During the absence of the great mass of the members of the Club,
another body of Jacobites, much more numerous than those engaged in
Newgate Street, suddenly assembled, attacked the Roebuck Mug-house,
broke its windows, and those of the adjoining houses, and with
terrible threats, attempted to force the door. One of the few members
of the Loyal Society who remained at home, discharged a gun upon those
of the assailants who were attacking the door, and killed one of their
leaders. This and the approach of the Lord Mayor and city officers,
caused the mob to disperse; but the Roebuck was exposed to attacks
during several following nights, after which the mobs remained
tolerably quiet during the winter.

Early in 1716, however, these riots were renewed with greater
violence, and preparations were made for an active campaign. The
Mug-houses were re-fitted, and re-opened with ceremonious
entertainments. New songs were composed to stir up the Clubs; and
collections of these Mug-house songs were printed. The Jacobite mob
was heard beating with its well-known call, marrow-bones and cleavers,
and both sides were well equipped with staves of oak, their usual arms
for the fray, though other weapons and missiles were in common use.
One of the Mug-house songs thus describes the way in which these
street fights were conducted:--

     "Since the Tories could not fight,
     And their master took his flight,
         They labour to keep up their faction;
     With a bough and a stick,
     And a stone and a brick,
         They equip their roaring crew for action.

     "Thus in battle array,
     At the close of the day,
         After wisely debating their plot,
     Upon windows and stall
     They courageously fall,
         And boast a great victory they've got.

     "But, alas! silly boys!
     For all the mighty noise
         Of their 'High Church and Ormond for ever!'
     A brave Whig, with one hand,
     At George's command,
         Can make their mightiest hero to quiver."

On March 8, another great Whig anniversary, the day of the death of
William III., commenced the more serious Mug-house riots of 1716. A
large Jacobite mob assembled to their own watch-cry, and marched along
Cheapside, to attack the Roebuck; but they were soon driven back by a
small party of the Royal Society, who then marched in procession
through Newgate Street, to the Magpie and Stump, and then by the Old
Bailey to Ludgate Hill. When about to return, they found the Jacobite
mob had collected in great force in their rear; and a fierce
engagement took place in Newgate Street, when the Jacobites were again
worsted. Then, on the evening of the 23rd of April, the anniversary of
the birth of Queen Anne, there were great battles in Cheapside, and at
the end of Giltspur Street; and in the immediate neighbourhood of the
Roebuck and the Magpie. Other great tumults took place on the 29th of
May, Restoration Day; and on the 10th of June, the Pretender's
birthday. From this time the Roebuck is rarely mentioned.

The Whigs, who met in the Mug-house, kept by Mr. Read, in Salisbury
Court, Fleet Street, appear to have been peculiarly noisy in their
cups, and thus rendered themselves the more obnoxious to the mob. On
one occasion, July 20, their violent party-toasts, which they drank in
the parlour with open windows, collected a large crowd of persons, who
became at last so incensed by some tipsy Whigs inside, that they
commenced a furious attack upon the house, and threatened to pull it
down and make a bonfire of its materials in the middle of Fleet
Street. The Whigs immediately closed their windows and barricaded the
doors, having sent a messenger by a back door, to the Mug-house in
Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, begging that the persons there
assembled would come to the rescue. The call was immediately responded
to; the Mug-house men proceeded in a body down the Strand and Fleet
Street, armed with staves and bludgeons, and commenced an attack on
the mob, who still threatened the demolition of the house in Salisbury
Court. The inmates sallied out, armed with pokers and tongs, and
whatever they could lay their hands upon, and being joined by their
friends from Covent Garden, the mob was put to flight, and the
Mug-house men remained masters of the field.

The popular indignation was very great at this defeat; and for two
days crowds collected in the neighbourhood, and vowed they would have
revenge. But the knowledge that a squadron of horse was drawn up at
Whitehall, ready to ride into the City on the first alarm, kept order.
On the third day, however, the people found a leader in the person of
one Vaughan, formerly a Bridewell boy, who instigated the mob to take
revenge for their late defeat. They followed him with shouts of "High
Church and Ormond! down with the Mug-house!" and Read, the landlord,
dreading that they would either burn or pull down his house, prepared
to defend himself. He threw up a window, and presented a loaded
blunderbuss, and vowed he would discharge its contents in the body of
the first man who advanced against his house. This threat exasperated
the mob, who ran against the door with furious yells. Read was as good
as his word,--he fired, and the unfortunate man Vaughan fell dead upon
the spot. The people, now frantic, swore to hang up the landlord from
his own sign-post. They forced the door, pulled down the sign, and
entered the house, where Read would assuredly have been sacrificed to
their fury, if they had found him. He, however, had with great risk
escaped by a back-door. Disappointed at this, the mob broke the
furniture to pieces, destroyed everything that lay in their way, and
left only the bare walls of the house. They now threatened to burn the
whole street, and were about to set fire to Read's house, when the
Sheriffs, with a posse of constables, arrived. The Riot Act was read,
but disregarded; and the Sheriffs sent to Whitehall for a detachment
of the military. A squadron of horse soon arrived, and cleared the
streets, taking five of the most active rioters into custody.

Read, the landlord, was captured on the following day, and tried for
the wilful murder of Vaughan; he was, however, acquitted of the
capital charge, and found guilty of manslaughter only. The five
rioters were also brought to trial, and met with a harder fate. They
were all found guilty of riot and rebellion, and sentenced to death at

This example damped the courage of the rioters, and alarmed all
parties; so that we hear no more of the Mug-house riots, until a few
months later, a pamphlet appeared with the title, _Down with the Mug;
or Reasons for suppressing the Mug-houses_, by an author who only gave
the initials Sir H---- M----, but who seems to have so much of what
was thought to be a Jacobite spirit, that it provoked a reply,
entitled the _Mug Vindicated_.

The account of 1722 states that many an encounter they had, and many
were the riots, till at last the Government was obliged by an Act of
Parliament to put an end to this strife, which had this good effect,
that upon pulling down of the Mug-house in Salisbury Court, for which
some boys were hanged on this Act, the city has not been troubled with
them since.

There is some doubt as to the first use of the term "Mug-house." In a
scarce _Collection of One Hundred and Eighty Loyal Songs_, all written
since 1678, Fourth Edition, 1694, is a song in praise of the "Mug,"
which shows that Mug-houses had that name previous to the Mug-house
riots. It has also been stated that the beer-mugs were originally
fashioned into a grotesque resemblance of Lord Shaftesbury's face, or
"ugly mug," as it was called, and that this is the derivation of the


This famous Club was a threefold celebrity--political, literary, and
artistic. It was the great Society of Whig leaders, formed about the
year 1700, _temp._ William III., consisting of thirty-nine noblemen
and gentlemen zealously attached to the House of Hanover; among whom
the Dukes of Somerset, Richmond, Grafton, Devonshire, and Marlborough,
and (after the accession of George I.) the Duke of Newcastle; the
Earls of Dorset, Sunderland, Manchester, Wharton, and Kingston; Lords
Halifax and Somers; Sir Robert Walpole, Vanbrugh, Congreve, Granville,
Addison, Garth, Maynwaring, Stepney, and Walsh. They are said to have
first met at an obscure house in Shire-lane, by Temple Bar, at the
house of a noted mutton-pieman, one Christopher Katt; from whom the
Club, and the pies that formed a standing dish at the Club suppers,
both took their name of Kit-Kat. In the _Spectator_, No. 9, however,
they are said to have derived their title not from the maker of the
pie, but from the pie itself, which was called a Kit-Kat, as we now
say a Sandwich; thus, in a prologue to a comedy of 1700:

     "A Kit-Kat is a supper for a lord;"

but Dr. King, in his _Art of Cookery_, is for the pieman:

     "Immortal made, as Kit-Kat by his pies."

The origin and early history of the Kit-Kat Club is obscure. Elkanah
Settle addressed, in 1699, a manuscript poem "To the most renowned the
President and the rest of the Knights of the most noble Order of the
Toast," in which verses is asserted the dignity of the Society; and
Malone supposes the Order of the Toast to have been identical with the
Kit-Kat Club: this was in 1699. The toasting-glasses, which we shall
presently mention, may have something to do with this presumed

Ned Ward, in his _Secret History of Clubs_, at once connects the
Kit-Kat Club with Jacob Tonson, "an amphibious mortal, chief merchant
to the Muses." Yet this is evidently a caricature. The maker of the
mutton-pies, Ward maintains to be a person named Christopher, who
lived at the sign of the Cat and Fiddle, in Gray's Inn-lane, whence he
removed to keep a pudding-pye shop, near the Fountain Tavern, in the
Strand. Ward commends his mutton-pies, cheese-cakes, and custards, and
the pieman's interest in the sons of Parnassus; and his inviting "a
new set of Authors to a collation of oven trumpery at his friend's
house, where they were nobly entertained with as curious a batch of
pastry delicacies as ever were seen at the winding-up of a Lord
Mayor's feast;" adding that "there was not a mathematical figure in
all Euclid's Elements but what was presented to the table in baked
wares, whose cavities were filled with fine eatable varieties fit for
the gods or poets." Mr. Charles Knight, in the _Shilling Magazine_,
No. 2, maintains that by the above is meant, that Jacob Tonson, the
bookseller, was the pieman's "friend," and that to the customary
"whet" to his authors he added the pastry entertainment. Ward adds,
that this grew into a weekly meeting, provided his, the bookseller's
friends would give him the refusal of their juvenile productions. This
"generous proposal was very readily agreed to by the whole poetic
class, and the cook's name being Christopher, for brevity called Kit,
and his sign being the Cat and Fiddle, they very merrily derived a
quaint denomination from puss and her master, and from thence called
themselves of the Kit-Cat Club."

A writer in the _Book of Days_, however, states, that Christopher Cat,
the pastry-cook, of King-street, Westminster, was the keeper of the
tavern, where the Club met; but Shire-lane was, upon more direct
authority, the pieman's abode.

We agree with the _National Review_, that "it is hard to believe, as
we pick our way along the narrow and filthy pathway of Shire-lane,
that in this blind alley [?], some hundred and fifty years ago, used
to meet many of the finest gentlemen and choicest wits of the days of
Queen Anne and the first George. Inside one of those frowsy and
low-ceiled rooms, now tenanted by abandoned women or devoted to the
sale of greengroceries and small coal,--Halifax has conversed and
Somers unbent, Addison mellowed over a bottle, Congreve flashed his
wit, Vanbrugh let loose his easy humour, Garth talked and rhymed."

The Club was literary and gallant as well as political. The members
subscribed 400 guineas for the encouragement of good comedies in 1709.
The Club had its toasting-glasses, inscribed with a verse, or _toast_,
to some reigning beauty; among whom were the four shining daughters of
the Duke of Marlborough--Lady Godolphin, Lady Sunderland, Lady
Bridgewater, and Lady Monthermer; Swift's friends, Mrs. Long and Mrs.
Barton, the latter the lovely and witty niece of Sir Isaac Newton; the
Duchess of Bolton, Mrs. Brudenell, and Lady Carlisle, Mrs. Di. Kirk,
and Lady Wharton.

Dr. Arbuthnot, in the following epigram, seems to derive the name of
the Club from this custom of toasting ladies after dinner, rather than
from the renowned maker of mutton-pies:--

     "Whence deathless Kit-Kat took his name,
       Few critics can unriddle:
     Some say from pastrycook it came,
       And some from Cat and Fiddle.
     From no trim beaus its name it boasts,
       Grey statesmen or green wits,
     But from this pell-mell pack of toasts
       Of old Cats and young Kits."

Lord Halifax wrote for the toasting-glasses the following verses in

_The Duchess of St. Albans._

     The line of Vere, so long renown'd in arms,
     Concludes with lustre in St. Albans' charms.
     Her conquering eyes have made their race complete:
     They rose in valour, and in beauty set.

_The Duchess of Beaufort._

     Offspring of a tuneful sire,
     Blest with more than mortal fire;
     Likeness of a Mother's face,
     Blest with more than mortal grace:
     You with double charms surprise,
     With his wit, and with her eyes.

_The Lady Mary Churchill._

     Fairest and latest of the beauteous race,
     Blest with your parent's wit, and her first blooming face;
     Born with our liberties in William's reign,
     Your eyes alone that liberty restrain.

_The Lady Sunderland._

     All Nature's charms in Sunderland appear,
     Bright as her eyes, and as her reason clear;
     Yet still their force to man not safely known,
     Seems undiscover'd to herself alone.

_The Mademoiselle Spanheim._

     Admir'd in Germany, ador'd in France,
     Your charms to brighten glory here advance:
     The stubborn Britons own your beauty's claim,
     And with their native toasts enrol your name.

_To Mrs. Barton._

     Beauty and wit strove, each in vain,
     To vanquish Bacchus and his train;
     But Barton with successful charms,
     From both their quivers drew her arms.
     The roving God his sway resigns,
     And awfully submits his vines.

In Spence's _Anecdotes_ (note) is the following additional account of
the Club: "You have heard of the Kit-Kat Club," says Pope to Spence.
"The master of the house where the club met was Christopher Katt;
Tonson was secretary. The day Lord Mohun and the Earl of Berkeley were
entered of it, Jacob said he saw they were just going to be ruined.
When Lord Mohun broke down the gilded emblem on the top of his chair,
Jacob complained to his friends, and said a man who would do that,
would cut a man's throat. So that he had the good and the forms of the
society much at heart. The paper was all in Lord Halifax's handwriting
of a subscription of four hundred guineas for the encouragement of
good comedies, and was dated 1709, soon after they broke up. Steele,
Addison, Congreve, Garth, Vanbrugh, Manwaring, Stepney, Walpole, and
Pulteney, were of it; so was Lord Dorset and the present Duke.
Manwaring, whom we hear nothing of now, was the ruling man in all
conversations; indeed, what he wrote had very little merit in it. Lord
Stanhope and the Earl of Essex were also members. Jacob has his own,
and all their pictures, by Sir Godfrey Kneller. Each member gave his,
and he is going to build a room for them at Barn Elms."

It is from the size at which these portraits were taken (a
three-quarter length), 36 by 28 inches, that the word Kit-Kat came to
be applied to pictures. Tonson had the room built at Barn Elms; but
the apartment not being sufficiently large to receive half-length
pictures, a shorter canvas was adopted. In 1817, the Club-room was
standing, but the pictures had long been removed; soon after, the room
was united to a barn, to form a riding-house.

In summer the Club met at the Upper Flask, Hampstead Heath, then a gay
resort, with its races, ruffles, and private marriages.

The pictures passed to Richard Tonson, the descendant of the old
bookseller, who resided at Water-Oakley, on the banks of the Thames:
he added a room to his villa, and here the portraits were hung. On his
death the pictures were bequeathed to Mr. Baker, of Bayfordbury, the
representative of the Tonson family: all of them were included in the
Art Treasures Exhibition at Manchester and some in the International
Exhibition of 1862.

The political significance of the Club was such that Walpole records
that though the Club was generally mentioned as "a set of wits," they
were in reality the patriots that saved Britain. According to Pope and
Tonson, Garth, Vanbrugh, and Congreve were the three most
honest-hearted, real good men of the poetical members of the Club.

There were odd scenes and incidents occasionally at the club meetings.
Sir Samuel Garth, physician to George I., was a witty member, and
wrote some of the inscriptions for the toasting-glasses. Coming one
night to the club, Garth declared he must soon be gone, having many
patients to attend; but some good wine being produced, he forgot them.
Sir Richard Steele was of the party, and reminding him of the visits
he had to pay, Garth immediately pulled out his list, which numbered
fifteen, and said, "It's no great matter whether I see them to-night,
or not, for nine of them have such bad constitutions that all the
physicians in the world can't save them; and the other six have such
good constitutions that all the physicians in the world can't kill

Dr. Hoadley, Bishop of Bangor, accompanied Steele and Addison to one
of the Whig celebrations by the Club of King William's anniversary;
when Steele had the double duty of celebrating the day and drinking
his friend Addison up to conversation pitch, he being hardly warmed by
that time. Steele was not fit for it. So, John Sly, the hatter of
facetious memory, being in the house, took it into his head to come
into the company on his knees, with a tankard of ale in his hand, to
drink off to the _immortal memory_, and to return in the same manner.
Steele, sitting next Bishop Hoadley, whispered him, "_Do laugh: it is
humanity to laugh_." By-and-by, Steele being too much in the same
condition as the hatter, was put into a chair, and sent home. Nothing
would satisfy him but being carried to the Bishop of Bangor's, late as
it was. However, the chairmen carried him home, and got him upstairs,
when his great complaisance would wait on them downstairs, which he
did, and then was got quietly to bed. Next morning Steele sent the
indulgent bishop this couplet:

     "Virtue with so much ease on Bangor sits,
     All faults he pardons, though he none commits."

Mr. Knight successfully defends Tonson from Ward's satire, and nobly
stands forth for the bookseller who identified himself with Milton, by
first making _Paradise Lost_ popular, and being the first bookseller
who threw open Shakespeare to a reading public. "The statesmen of the
Kit-Kat Club," he adds, "lived in social union with the Whig writers
who were devoted to the charge of the poetry that opened their road to
preferment; the band of orators and wits were naturally hateful to the
Tory authors that Harley and Bolingbroke were nursing into the bitter
satirists of the weekly sheets. Jacob Tonson naturally came in for a
due share of invective. In a poem entitled '_Factions Displayed_,' he
is ironically introduced as "the Touchstone of all modern wit;" and he
is made to vilify the great ones of Barn Elms:

     "'I am the founder of your loved Kit-Kat,
     A club that gave direction to the State:
     'Twas there we first instructed all our youth
     To talk profane, and laugh at sacred truth:
     We taught them how to boast, and rhyme, and bite,
     To sleep away the day, and drink away the night.'"

Tonson deserved better of posterity.



Shire-lane, _alias_ Rogue-lane, (which falleth into Fleet-street by
Temple Bar,) has lost its old name--it is now called Lower
Serle's-place. If the morals of Shire-lane have mended thereby, we
must not repine.

Here lived Sir Charles Sedley; and here his son, the dramatic poet,
was born, "neere the Globe." Here, too, lived Elias Ashmole, and here
Antony à Wood dined with him: this was at the upper end of the lane.
Here, too, was the _Trumpet_ tavern, where Isaac Bickerstaff met his
Club. At this house he dated a great number of his papers; and hence
he led down the lane, into Fleet-street, the deputation of "Twaddlers"
from the country, to Dick's Coffee-house, which we never enter without
remembering the glorious humour of Addison and Steele, in the
_Tatler_, No. 86. Sir Harry Quickset, Sir Giles Wheelbarrow, and other
persons of quality, having reached the Tatler's by appointment, and it
being settled that they should "adjourn to some public-house, and
enter upon business," the precedence was attended with much
difficulty; when, upon a false alarm of "fire," all ran down as fast
as they could, without order or ceremony, and drew up in the street.

The _Tatler_ proceeds: "In this order we marched down Sheer-lane, at
the upper end of which I lodge. When we came to Temple Bar, Sir Harry
and Sir Giles got over, but a run of coaches kept the rest of us on
this side of the street; however, we all at last landed, and drew up
in very good order before Ben Tooke's shop, who favoured our rallying
with great humanity; from whence we proceeded again, until we came to
Dick's Coffee-house, where I designed to carry them. Here we were at
our old difficulty, and took up the street upon the same ceremony. We
proceeded through the entry, and were so necessarily kept in order by
the situation, that we were now got into the coffee-house itself,
where, as soon as we had arrived, we repeated our civilities to each
other; after which we marched up to the high table, which has an
ascent to it enclosed in the middle of the room. The whole house was
alarmed at this entry, made up of persons of so much state and

The _Tatler's_ Club is immortalized in his No. 132. Its members are
smokers and old story-tellers, rather easy than shining companions,
promoting the thoughts tranquilly bedward, and not the less
comfortable to Mr. Bickerstaff because he finds himself the leading
wit among them. There is old Sir Jeffrey Notch, who has had
misfortunes in the world, and calls every thriving man a pitiful
upstart, by no means to the general dissatisfaction; there is Major
Matchlock, who served in the last Civil Wars, and every night tells
them of his having been knocked off his horse at the rising of the
London apprentices, for which he is in great esteem; there is honest
Dick Reptile, who says little himself, but who laughs at all the
jokes; and there is the elderly bencher of the Temple, and, next to
Mr. Bickerstaff, the wit of the company, who has by heart the couplets
of _Hudibras_, which he regularly applies before leaving the Club of
an evening; and who, if any modern wit or town frolic be mentioned,
shakes his head at the dulness of the present age, and tells a story
of Jack Ogle. As for Mr. Bickerstaff himself, he is esteemed among
them because they see he is something respected by others; but though
they concede to him a great deal of learning, they credit him with
small knowledge of the world, "insomuch that the Major sometimes, in
the height of his military pride, calls me philosopher; and Sir
Jeffrey, no longer ago than last night, upon a dispute what day of the
month it was then in Holland, pulled his pipe out of his mouth, and
cried, 'What does the scholar say to that?'"

Upon Addison's return to England, he found his friend Steele
established among the wits; and they were both received with great
honour at the Trumpet, as well as at Will's, and the St. James's.

The Trumpet public-house lasted to our time; it was changed to the
Duke of York sign, but has long disappeared: we remember an old
drawing of the Trumpet, by Sam. Ireland, engraved in the _Monthly


In Sir R. Kaye's Collection, in the British Museum, we find the
following account of the institution of a Society, which at one time
numbered among its members some of the most eminent men in London, in
a communication to the Rev. Sir R. Kaye by Sir Joseph Ayloffe, an
original member:--"Dr. Halley used to come on a Tuesday from
Greenwich, the Royal Observatory, to Child's Coffeehouse, where
literary people met for conversation: and he dined with his sister,
but sometimes they stayed so long that he was too late for dinner, and
they likewise, at their own home. They then agree to go to a house in
Dean's-court, between an alehouse and a tavern, now a stationer's
shop, where there was a great draft of porter, but not drank in the
house. It was kept by one Reynell. It was agreed that one of the
company should go to Knight's and buy fish in Newgate-street, having
first informed himself how many meant to stay and dine. The ordinary
and liquor usually came to half-a-crown, and the dinner only consisted
of fish and pudding. Dr. Halley never eat anything but fish, for he
had no teeth. The number seldom exceeded five or six. It began to take
place about 1731; soon afterwards Reynell took the King's Arms, in St.
Paul's Churchyard, and desired Dr. Halley to go with him there. He and
others consented, and they began to have a little meat. On Dr.
Halley's death, Martin Foulkes took the chair. They afterwards removed
to the Mitre (Fleet-street), for the convenience of the situation with
respect to the Royal Society, and as it was near Crane-court, and
numbers wished to become members. It was necessary to give it a form.
The number was fixed at forty members; one of whom was to be Treasurer
and Secretary of the Royal Society."

Out of these meetings is said to have grown the Royal Society Club,
or, as it was styled during the first half century of its existence,
the Club of Royal Philosophers. "It was established for the
convenience of certain members who lived in various parts, that they
might assemble and dine together on the days when the Society held its
evening meetings; and from its almost free admission of members of the
Council detained by business, its liberality to visitors, and its
hospitable reception of scientific foreigners, it has been of obvious
utility to the scientific body at large." (_Rise and Progress of the
Club_, privately printed.)

The foundation of the Club is stated to have been in the year 1743,
and in the Minutes of this date are the following:--

"_Rules and Orders to be observed by the Thursday's Club, called the
Royal Philosophers._--A Dinner to be ordered every Thursday for six,
at one shilling and sixpence a head for eating. As many more as come
to pay one shilling and sixpence per head each. If fewer than six
come, the deficiency to be paid out of the fund subscribed. Each
Subscriber to pay down six shillings, viz. for four dinners, to make a
fund. A pint of wine to be paid for by every one that comes, be the
number what it will, and no more, unless more wine is brought in than
that amounts to."

In addition to Sir R. Kaye's testimony to the existence of a club of
an earlier date than 1743, there are in the Minutes certain references
to "antient Members of the Club;" and a tradition of the ill omen of
thirteen persons dining at the table said to be on record in the Club
papers: "that one of the Royal Philosophers entering the Mitre Tavern,
and finding twelve others about to discuss the fare, retreated, and
dined by himself in another apartment, in order to avert the
prognostic." Still, no such statement is now to be found entered, and
if ever it were recorded, it must have been anterior to 1743;
curiously enough, thirteen is a very usual number at these dinners.

The original Members were soon increased by various Fellows of the
Society; and at first the club did not consist exclusively of Royals;
but this arrangement, not having been found to work well, the
membership was confined to the Fellows, and latterly to the number of
forty. Every Member was allowed to introduce one friend; but the
President of the Royal Society was not limited in this respect.

We must now say a few words as to the several places at which the Club
has dined. The _Society_ had their Anniversary Dinner at Pontack's
celebrated French eating-house, in Abchurch-lane, City, until 1746.
Evelyn notes: "30 Nov. 1694. Much importuned to take the office of
President of the Royal Society, but I again declined it. Sir Robert
Southwell was continued. We all dined at Pontac's, as usual." Here, in
1699, Dr. Bentley wrote to Evelyn, asking him to meet Sir Christopher
Wren, Sir Robert Southwell, and other friends, at dinner, to consider
the propriety of purchasing Bishop Stillingfleet's library for the
Royal Society.

From Pontack's, which was found to be inconveniently situated for the
majority of the Fellows, the Society removed to the Devil Tavern, near
Temple Bar.

The Minutes record that the _Club_ met at the Mitre Tavern, in
Fleet-street, "over against Fetter-lane," from the date of their
institution; this house being chosen from its being handy to
Crane-court, where the Society then met. This, be it remembered, was
not the Mitre Tavern now standing in Mitre-court, but "the Mitre
Tavern, _in Fleet-street_," mentioned by Lilly, in his _Life_, as the
place where he met old Will. Poole, the astrologer, then living in
Ram-alley. _The Mitre, in Fleet-street_, Mr. J. H. Burn, in his
excellent Account of the Beaufoy Tokens, states to have been
originally established by a William Paget, of the Mitre in Cheapside,
who removed westward after his house had been destroyed in the Great
Fire of September, 1666. The house in Fleet-street was lastly
Saunders's Auction-room, No. 39, and was demolished by Messrs. Hoare,
to enlarge the site for their new banking-house, the western portion
of which now occupies the tavern site. The now Mitre Tavern, in Mitre
court, formerly Joe's, is but a recent assumption of name.[7]

In 1780, the Club removed to the Crown and Anchor Tavern, in the
Strand, where they continued to dine for sixty-eight years, until that
tavern was converted, in 1848, into a Club-house. Then they removed to
the Freemasons' Tavern, in Great Queen Street; but, in 1857, on the
removal of the Royal Society to Burlington House, Piccadilly, it was
considered advisable to keep the Club meetings at the Thatched House,
in St. James's Street, where they continued until that tavern was
taken down.

During the early times, the docketings of the Club accounts show that
the brotherhood retained the title of Royal Philosophers to the year
1786, when it seems they were only designated the Royals; but they
have now settled into the "Royal Society Club." The elections are
always an exciting matter of interest, and the fate of candidates is
occasionally severe, for there are various instances of rejections on
two successive annual ballots, and some have been black-balled even on
a third venture: some of the defeated might be esteemed for talent,
yet were considered unclubbable.

Some of the entries in the earliest minute-book are very curious, and
show that the Philosophers did not restrict themselves to "the fish
and pudding dinner." Here is the bill of fare for sixteen persons, a
few years after the Club was established: "Turkey, boiled, and
oysters; Calves' head, hashed; Chine of Mutton; Apple pye; 2 dishes of
herrings; Tongue and udder; Leg of pork and pease; Sirloin of beef;
Plum pudding; butter and cheese." Black puddings are stated to have
figured for many years at every dinner of the Club.

The presents made to the Club were very numerous, and called for
special regulations. Thus, under the date of May 3, 1750, it is
recorded: "Resolved, _nem. con._, That any nobleman or gentleman
complimenting this company annually with venison, not less than a
haunch, shall, during the continuance of such annuity, be deemed an
Honorary Member, and admitted as often as he comes, without paying the
fine, which those Members do who are elected by ballot." At another
Meeting, in the same year, a resolution was passed, "That any
gentleman complimenting this Society annually with a Turtle shall be
considered as an Honorary Member;" and that the Treasurer do pay
Keeper's fees and carriage for all venison sent to the Society, and
charge it in his account. Thus, besides gratuities to cooks, there are
numerous chronicled entries of the following tenour:--"Keeper's fees
and carriage of a buck from the Hon. P. Yorke, 14_s._; Fees, etc., for
Venison and Salmon, £1. 15_s._; Do., half a Buck from the Earl of
Hardwick, £1. 5_s._; Fees and carriage for a Buck from H. Read, Esq.,
£1.3_s._ 6_d._; Fees for Venison and Game from Mr. Banks, £1. 9_s._
6_d._; ... August 15, 1751. The Society being this day entertained
with halfe a Bucke by the Most Honorable the Marquis of Rockingham, it
was agreed, _nem. con._, to drink his health in claret. Sept. 5th,
1751.--The Company being entertained with a whole Bucke (halfe of
which was dressed to-day) by Henry Read, Esq., his health was drunk in
claret, as usual; and Mr. Cole (_the landlord_) was desired to dispose
of the halfe, and give the Company Venisons instead of it next
Thursday." The following week the largess is again gravely noticed:
"The Company being this day regaled with the other halfe of Mr. Read's
buck (which Mr. Cole had preserved sweet), his health was again drank
in claret."

Turtle has already been mentioned among the presents. In 1784, the
circumnavigator Lord Anson honoured the Club by presenting the members
with a magnificent Turtle, when the Club drank his Lordship's and
other turtle donors' healths in claret. On one occasion, it is stated
that the usual dining-room could not be occupied on account of a
turtle being dressed which weighed 400 lb.; and another minute records
that a turtle, intended to be presented to the Club, died on its way
home from the West Indies.

James Watt has left the following record of one of the Philosophers'
turtle feasts, at which he was present:--"When I was in London in
1785, I was received very kindly by Mr. Cavendish and Dr. Blagden, and
my old friend Smeaton, who has recovered his health, and seems hearty.
I dined at a turtle feast with them, and the select Club of the Royal
Society; and never was turtle eaten with greater sobriety and
temperance, or more good fellowship."

The gift of good old English roast-beef also occurs among the
presents, as in the subjoined minute, under the date of June 27, 1751,
when Martin Folkes presided: "William Hanbury, Esq., having this day
entertained the company with a chine of Beef which was 34 inches in
length, and weighed upwards of 140 pounds, it was agreed, _nem. con._,
that two such chines were equal to half a Bucke or a Turtle, and
entitled the Donor to be an Honorary Member of this Society."

Then we have another record of Mr. Hanbury's munificence, as well his
conscientious regard for minuteness in these matters, as in this
entry: "Mr. Hanbury sent this day another mighty chine of beef, and,
having been a little deficient with regard to annual payments of
chines of beef, added three brace of very large carp by way of
interest." Shortly after, we find Lord Morton contributing "two pigs
of the China breed."

In addition to the venison, game, and other viands, there was no end
of presents of fruits for dessert. In 1752, Mr. Cole (the landlord)
presented the company with a ripe water-melon from Malaga. In 1753,
there is an entry showing that some _tusks_, a rare and savoury fish,
were sent by the Earl of Morton; and Egyptian Cos-lettuces were
supplied by Philip Miller, who, in his Gardener's Dictionary,
describes this as the best and most valuable lettuce known; next he
presented "four Cantaloupe melons, equal--if not superior--in flavour
to pine-apples." In July, 1763, it is chronicled that Lord Morton sent
two pine-apples, cherries of two sorts, melons, gooseberries of two
sorts, apricots, and currants of two sorts.

However, this practice of making presents got to be unpopular with the
Fellows at large, who conceived it to be undignified to receive such
gifts; and, in 1779, it was "resolved that no person in future be
admitted into the Club in consequence of any present he shall make to
it." This singular custom had been in force for thirty years. The
latest _formal_ thanks for "a very fine haunch of venison" were voted
to Lord Darnley on the 17th of June, 1824.

The Club Minutes show the progressive rise in the charges for dinner.
From 1743 to 1756 the cost was 1_s._ 6_d._ a head. In the latter year
it was resolved to give 3_s._ per head for dinner and wine, the
commons for absentees to remain at 1_s._ 6_d._, as before. In 1775,
the price was increased to 4_s._ a head, including wine, and 2_d._ to
the waiter; in 1801, to 5_s._ a head, exclusive of wine, the increased
duties upon which made it necessary for the members to contribute an
annual sum for the expense of wine, over and above the charge of the
tavern bills.

In 1775, the wine was ordered to be laid in at a price not exceeding
£45 a pipe, or 1_s._ 6_d._ a bottle; to have a particular seal upon
the cork, and to be charged by the landlord at 2_s._ 6_d._ a bottle.
The Club always dined on the Society's meeting-day. Wray, writing of a
Club-meeting in 1776, says that, "after a capital dinner of venison,
which was absolutely perfect, we went to another sumptuous
entertainment, at the Society, where five electrical eels, all alive,
from Surinam, were exhibited; most of the company received the
electrical stroke; and then we were treated with the sight of a
sucking alligator, very lively."

It has been more than once remarked that a public dinner of a large
party of philosophers and men of science and letters generally turns
out to be rather a dull affair; perhaps, through the _embarras_ of
talent at table. Not so, however, the private social Clubs, the
offshoots of Public Societies, like the Royal Society Club, and others
we could mention. The Royals do not appear to have been at all
indifferent to these post-prandial wit-combats. "Here, my jokes I
crack with high-born Peers," writes a Philosopher, alluding to the
Club dinners; and Admiral Smyth, in his unpublished _Rise and
Progress_, tells us, that to this day "it unites hilarity, and the
_macrones verborum_ of smart repartee, with strictures on science,
literature, the fine arts--and, indeed, every branch of human

The administration of the affairs of the Club was minutely attended
to: when, in 1776, it was considered necessary to revise "the
commons," a committee was appointed for the purpose, consisting of
Messrs. Aubert, Cuthburt, Maskelyne, Russell, and Solander, who
decided that "should the number of the company exceed the number
provided for, the dinner should be made up with the beefstakes,
mutton-chops, lamb-chops, veal-cutlets, or pork-stakes, instead of
made dishes, or any dearer provisions." And "that twopence per head be
allowed for the waiter" (_which seems to have been the regular
gratuity for many years_). Then, the General Committee had to report
that the landlord was to charge for gentlemen's servants, "one
shilling each for dinner and a pot of porter;" and "that when toasted
cheese was called for, he was to make a charge for it."

In 1784, the celebrated geologist, Faujas de Saint-Fond (Barthélemy,)
with four other distinguished foreigners, partook of the hospitality
of the Club, of which, in 1797, M. Faujas published an account. "He
mentions the short prayer or grace with which Dr. Maskelyne blessed
the company and the food--the solid meats and unseasoned
vegetables--the quantities of strong beer called porter, drank out of
cylindrical pewter pots _d'un seul trait_--the cheese to provoke the
thirst of drinkers--the hob-a-nobbing of healths--and the detestable
coffee. On the whole, however, this honest Frenchman seems to have
been delighted with the entertainment, or, as he styles it, 'the
convivial and unassuming banquet,'" and M. Faujas had to pay 'seven
livres four sols' for his commons. Among the lighter incidents is the
record of M. Aubert having received a present from the King of Poland,
begged to have an opportunity of drinking His Majesty's health, and
permission to order a bottle of Hermitage, which being granted, the
health was drank by the company present; and upon one of the
Club-slips of 1798, after a dinner of twenty-two, is written, "Seven
shillings found under the table."

The dinner-charges appear to have gradually progressed from 1_s._
6_d._ to 10_s._ per head. In 1858-9 the Club-dinners had been 25, and
the number of dinners 309, so that the mean was equal to 12·36 for
each meeting, the visitors amounting to 49; and it is further
computed, that the average wine per head of late, waste included, is a
considerable fraction less than a pint, imperial standard measure, in
the year's consumption.

Among the distinguished guests of the Club are many celebrities. Here
the chivalrous Sir Sidney Smith described the atrocities of Djezza
Pasha; and here that cheerful baronet--Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin--by
relating the result of his going in a jolly-boat to attack a whale,
and in narrating the advantages specified in his proposed patent for
fattening fowls, kept "the table in a roar." At this board, also, our
famous circumnavigators and oriental voyagers met with countenance and
fellowship--as Cook, Furneaux, Clerke, King, _Bounty_ Bligh,
Vancouver, _Guardian_ Riou, Flinders, Broughton, Lestock, Wilson,
Huddart, Bass, Tuckey, Horsburgh, &c.; while the Polar explorers, from
the Hon. Constantine Phipps in 1773, down to Sir Leopold M'Clintock,
in 1860, were severally and individually welcomed as guests. But,
besides our sterling sea-worthies, we find in ranging through the
documents that some rather outlandish visitors were introduced through
their means, as Chet Quang and Wanga Tong, _Chinese_; Ejutak and
Tuklivina, _Esquimaux_; Thayen-danega, the _Mohawk_ chief; while Omai,
of Ularetea, the celebrated and popular savage, of _Cook's Voyages_,
was so frequently invited, that he is latterly entered on the Club
papers simply as _Mr._ Omai.

The redoubtable Sir John Hill dined at the Club in company with Lord
Baltimore on the 30th of June, 1748. Hill was consecutively an
apothecary, actor, playwright, novelist, botanist, journalist, and
physician; and he published upon trees and flowers, Betty Canning,
gems, naval history, religion, cookery, and what not. Having made an
attempt to enter the Royal Society, and finding the door closed
against him,--perhaps a pert vivacity at the very dinner in question
sealed the rejection,--he revenged himself by publishing an impudent
quarto volume, vindictively satirizing the Society.

Ned Ward, in his humorous Account of the Clubs of London, published in
1709, describes "the _Virtuoso's_ Club as first established by some of
the principal members of the Royal Society, and held every Thursday,
at a certain Tavern in Cornhill, where the Vintner that kept it has,
according to his merit, made a fortunate step from his Bar to his
Coach. The chief design of the aforementioned Club was to propagate
new whims, advance mechanical exercises, and to promote useless as
well as useful experiments." There is humour in this, as well as in
his ridicule of the Barometer: "by this notable invention," he says,
"our gentlemen and ladies of the middle quality are infallibly told
when it's a right season to put on their best clothes, and when they
ought not to venture an intrigue in the fields without their cloaks
and umbrellas." His ridicule of turning salt water into fresh, finding
a new star, assigning reasons for a spot in the moon, and a "wry step"
in the sun's progress, were Ward's points, laughed at in his time, but
afterwards established as facts. There have been greater mistakes made
since Ward's time; but this does not cleanse him of filth and

Ward's record is evidence of the existence of the Royal Society Club,
in 1709, before the date of the Minutes. Dr. Hutton, too, records the
designation of Halley's Club--undoubted testimony; about 1737, he,
Halley, though seized with paralysis, once a week, within a very short
time of his death, met his friends in town, on Thursdays, the day of
the Royal Society's meeting, at "Dr. Halley's Club." Upon this
evidence Admiral Smyth establishes the claim that the Royal Society
Club was actually established by a zealous philosopher, "who was at
once proudly eminent as an astronomer, a mathematician, a
physiologist, a naturalist, a scholar, an antiquary, a poet, a
meteorologist, a geographer, a navigator, a nautical surveyor, and a
truly social member of the community--in a word, our founder was the
illustrious Halley--the Admirable Crichton of science."

A memorable dinner-party took place on August the 11th, 1859, when
among the visitors was Mr. Thomas Maclear (now Sir Thomas), the
Astronomer-Royal at the Cape of Good Hope, who had just arrived in
England from the southern hemisphere, after an absence of a quarter of
a century. "On this day, were present, so to speak, the
representatives of the three great applications by which the present
age is distinguished, namely, of _Railways_, Mr. Stephenson; of the
_Electric Telegraph_, Mr. Wheatstone; and of the _Penny Post_, Mr.
Rowland Hill--an assemblage never again to occur." (_Admiral Smyth's
History of the Club._)

Among the anecdotes which float about, it is related that the
eccentric Hon. Henry Cavendish, "the Club-Croesus", attended the
meetings with only money enough in his pocket to pay for his dinner,
and that he may have declined taking tavern-soup, may have picked his
teeth with a fork, may invariably have hung his hat on the same peg,
and may have always stuck his cane in his right boot; but more
apocryphal is the anecdote that one evening Cavendish observed a very
pretty girl looking out from an upper window on the opposite side of
the street, watching the philosophers at dinner. She attracted notice,
and one by one they got up and mustered round the window to admire the
fair one. Cavendish, who thought they were looking at the moon,
bustled up to them in his odd way, and when he saw the real object of
their study, turned away with intense disgust, and grunted out
"Pshaw;" the amorous conduct of his brother Philosophers having
horrified the woman-hating Cavendish.

Another assertion is that he, Cavendish, left a thumping legacy to
Lord Bessborough, in gratitude for his Lordship's piquant conversation
at the Club; but no such reason can be found in the Will lodged at
Doctors' Commons. The Testator named therein three of his Club-mates,
namely, Alexander Dalrymple, to receive 5000_l._, Dr. Hunter 5000_l._,
and Sir Charles Blagden (coadjutor in the Water question), 15,000_l._
After certain other bequests, the will proceeds,--"The remainder of
the funds (nearly 700,000_l._) to be divided, one-sixth to the Earl of
Bessborough, while the cousin, Lord George Henry Cavendish, had
two-sixths, instead of one;" "it is therefore," says Admiral Smyth,
"patent that the money thus passed over from uncle to nephew, was a
mere consequence of relationship, and not at all owing to any flowers
or powers of conversation at the Royal Society Club."

Admiral Smyth, to whose admirable _précis_ of the History of the Club
we have to make acknowledgment, remarks that the hospitality of the
Royal Society has been "of material utility to the well-working of the
whole machine which wisdom called up, at a time when knowledge was
quitting scholastic niceties for the truths of experimental
philosophy. This is proved by the number of men of note--both in
ability and station--who have there congregated previously to
repairing to the evening meeting of the body at large; and many a
qualified person who went thither a guest has returned a candidate.
Besides inviting our own princes, dukes, marquises, earls, ministers
of state, and nobles of all grades to the table, numerous foreign
grandees, prelates, ambassadors, and persons of distinction--from the
King of Poland and Baron Munchausen, down to the smart little abbé
and a 'gentleman unknown'--are found upon the Club records. Not that
the amenities of the fraternity were confined to these classes, or
that, in the Clubbian sense, they form the most important order; for
bishops, deans, archdeacons, and clergymen in general--astronomers--
mathematicians--sailors--soldiers--engineers--medical practitioners--
poets--artists--travellers--musicians--opticians--men of repute in
every acquirement, were, and ever will be, welcome guests. In a word,
the names and callings of the visitors offer a type of the philosophical
_discordia concors_; and among those guests possessed of that knowledge
without which genius is almost useless, we find in goodly array such
choice names as Benjamin Franklin, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Gibbon,
Costard, Bryant, Dalton, Watt, Bolton, Tennant, Wedgwood, _Abyssinian_
Bruce, Attwood, Boswell, Brinkley, Rigaud, Brydone, Ivory, Jenner,
John Hunter, Brunel, Lysons, Weston, Cramer, Kippis, Westmacott,
Corbould, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Turner, De La Beche, _et hoc genus

The President of the Royal Society is elected President of the Club.
There were always more candidates for admission than vacancies, a
circumstance which had some influence in leading to the formation of a
new Club, in 1847, composed of eminent Fellows of the Society. The
name of this new Association is "the Philosophical Club," and its
object is "to promote, as much as possible, the scientific objects of
the Royal Society, to facilitate intercourse between those Fellows who
are actively engaged in cultivating the various branches of Natural
Science, and who have contributed to its progress; to increase the
attendance at the Evening Meetings, and to encourage the contribution
and the discussion of papers." Nor are the dinners forgotten; the
price of each not to exceed ten shillings.

The statistical portion of the Annual Statement of 1860, shows that
the number of dinners for the past year amounted to 25, at which the
attendance was 312 persons, 62 of whom were visitors, the average
being = 12·48 each time: and the Treasurer called attention to the
fact that out of the Club funds in the last twelvemonth, they had paid
not less than £9. 6_s._ for soda and seltzer water; £8. 2_s._ 6_d._
for cards of invitation and postage; and £25 for visitors, that is,
8_s._ 0¾_d._ per head.


[7] See _Walks and Talks about London_, p. 246. The Mitre in
Fleet-street was also the house frequented by Dr. Johnson.


This noted Club was the Tory Chocolate-house of Queen Anne's reign;
the Whig Coffee-house was the St. James's, lower down, in the same
street, St. James's. The party distinction is thus defined:--"A Whig
will no more go to the Cocoa-tree or Ozinda's, than a Tory will be
seen at the coffee-house of St. James's."

The Cocoa-tree Chocolate-house was converted into a Club, probably
before 1746, when the house was the head-quarters of the Jacobite
party in Parliament. It is thus referred to in the above year by
Horace Walpole, in a letter to George Montagu:--"The Duke has given
Brigadier Mordaunt the Pretender's coach, on condition he rode up to
London in it. 'That I will, Sir,' said he; 'and drive till it stops of
its own accord at the Cocoa-tree.'"

Gibbon was a member of this Club, and has left this entry, in his
journal of 1762:--"Nov. 24. I dined at the Cocoa Tree with ----, who,
under a great appearance of oddity, conceals more real humour, good
sense, and even knowledge, than half those who laugh at him. We went
thence to the play (_The Spanish Friar_); and when it was over,
retired to the Cocoa-tree. That respectable body, of which I have the
honour of being a member, affords every evening a sight truly English.
Twenty or thirty, perhaps, of the first men in the kingdom in point of
fashion and fortune supping at little tables covered with a napkin, in
the middle of a coffee-room, upon a bit of cold meat, or a sandwich,
and drinking a glass of punch. At present we are full of King's
counsellors and lords of the bedchamber; who, having jumped into the
ministry, make a very singular medley of their old principles and
language with their modern ones." At this time, bribery was in full
swing: it is alleged that the lowest bribe for a vote upon the Peace
of Fontainebleau, was a bank-note of £200; and that the Secretary of
the Treasury afterwards acknowledged £25,000 to have been thus
expended in a single morning. And in 1765, on the debate in the
Commons on the Regency Bill, we read in the _Chatham Correspondence_:
"The Cocoa-tree have thus capacitated Her Royal Highness (the Princess
of Wales) to be Regent: it is well they have not given us a King, if
they have not; for many think, Lord Bute is King."

Although the Cocoa-tree, in its conversion from a Chocolate-house to a
Club, may have bettered its reputation in some respects, high play, if
not foul play, was known there twenty years later. Walpole, writing to
Mann, Feb. 6, 1780, says: "Within this week there has been a cast at
hazard at the Cocoa-tree, (in St. James's Street,) the difference of
which amounted to one hundred and fourscore thousand pounds. Mr.
O'Birne, an Irish gamester, had won one hundred thousand pounds of a
young Mr. Harvey of Chigwell, just started into an estate by his elder
brother's death. O'Birne said, "You can never pay me." "I can," said
the youth: "my estate will sell for the debt." "No," said O.; "I will
win ten thousand--you shall throw for the odd ninety." They did, and
Harvey won."

The Cocoa-tree was one of the Clubs to which Lord Byron belonged.


Almack's, the original Brookes's, on the south side of the Whig
Club-house, was established in Pall Mall, on the site of the British
Institution, in 1764, by twenty-seven noblemen and gentlemen,
including the Duke of Roxburghe, the Duke of Portland, the Earl of
Strathmore, Mr. Crewe (afterwards Lord Crewe), and Mr. C. J. Fox.

Mr. Cunningham was permitted to inspect the original Rules of the
Club, which show its nature: here are a few.

"21. No gaming in the eating-room, except tossing up for reckonings,
on penalty of paying the whole bill of the members present.

"22. Dinner shall be served up exactly at half-past four o'clock, and
the bill shall be brought in at seven.

"26. Almack shall sell no wines in bottles that the Club approves of,
out of the house.

"30. Any member of this Society that shall become a candidate for any
other Club, (old White's excepted,) shall be ipso facto excluded, and
his name struck out of the book.

"40. That every person playing at the new guinea table do keep fifty
guineas before him.

"41. That every person playing at the twenty guinea table do not keep
less than twenty guineas before him."

That the play ran high may be inferred from a note against the name of
Mr. Thynne, in the Club-books: "Mr. Thynne having won only 12,000
guineas during the last two months, retired in disgust, March 21st,

Some of its members were Maccaronis, the "curled darlings" of the day:
they were so called from their affectation of foreign tastes and
fashions, and were celebrated for their long curls and eye-glasses.
Much of the deep play was removed here. "The gaming at Almack's,"
writes Walpole to Mann, February 2, 1770, "which has taken the _pas_
of White's, is worthy the decline of our empire, or commonwealth,
which you please. The young men of the age lose ten, fifteen, twenty
thousand pounds in an evening there. Lord Stavordale, not
one-and-twenty, lost £11,000 there last Tuesday, but recovered it by
one great hand at hazard. He swore a great oath, 'Now, if I had been
playing _deep_, I might have won millions.' His cousin, Charles Fox,
shines equally there, and in the House of Commons. He was twenty-one
yesterday se'nnight, and is already one of our best speakers.
Yesterday he was made a Lord of the Admiralty." Gibbon, the historian,
was also a member, and he dates several letters from here. On June 24,
1776, he writes: "Town grows empty, and this house, where I have
passed many agreeable hours, is the only place which still invites the
flower of the English youth. The style of living, though somewhat
expensive, is exceedingly pleasant; and, notwithstanding the rage of
play, I have found more entertainment and rational society than in any
other club to which I belong."

The play was certainly high--only for rouleaus of £50 each, and
generally there was £10,000 in specie on the table. The gamesters
began by pulling off their embroidered clothes, and put on frieze
greatcoats, or turned their coats inside outwards for luck. They put
on pieces of leather (such as are worn by footmen when they clean the
knives) to save their laced ruffles; and to guard their eyes from the
light and to prevent tumbling their hair, wore high-crowned straw hats
with broad brims, and adorned with flowers and ribbons; masks to
conceal their emotions when they played at quinz. Each gamester had a
small neat stand by him, to hold his tea; or a wooden bowl with an
edge of ormolu, to hold the rouleaus.

Almack's was subsequently Goosetree's. In the year 1780, Pitt was then
an habitual frequenter, and here his personal adherents mustered
strongly. The members, we are told in the _Life of Wilberforce_, were
about twenty-five in number, and included Pratt (afterwards Lord
Camden), Lords Euston, Chatham, Graham, Duncannon, Althorp, Apsley, G.
Cavendish, and Lennox; Messrs. Eliot, Sir Andrew St. John, Bridgeman
(afterwards Lord Bradford), Morris Robinson (afterwards Lord Rokeby),
R. Smith (afterwards Lord Carrington), W. Grenville (afterwards Lord
Grenville), Pepper Arden (afterwards Lord Alvanley), Mr. Edwards, Mr.
Marsham, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Bankes, Mr. Thomas Steele,
General Smith, Mr. Windham.

In the gambling at Goosetree's, Pitt played with characteristic and
intense eagerness. When Wilberforce came up to London in 1780, after
his return to Parliament, his great success coloured his entry into
public life, and he was at once elected a member of the leading
clubs--Miles's and Evans's, Brookes's and Boodle's, White's and
Goosetree's. The latter was Wilberforce's usual resort, where his
friendship with Pitt, whom he had slightly known at Cambridge, greatly
increased: he once lost £100 at the faro-table, and on another night
kept the bank, by which he won £600; but he soon became weaned from


In the year following the opening of Almack's Club in Pall Mall,
Almack had built for him by Robert Mylne, the suite of Assembly Rooms,
in King-street, St. James's, which was named after him, "Almack's,"
and was occasionally called "Willis's Rooms," after the next
proprietor. Almack likewise kept the Thatched House Tavern, in St.

Almack's was opened Feb. 20, 1765, and was advertised to have been
built with hot bricks and boiling water: the ceilings were dripping
with wet; but the Duke of Cumberland, the Hero of Culloden, was there.
Gilly Williams, a few days after the opening, in a letter to George
Selwyn, writes: "There is now opened at Almack's, in three very
elegant new-built rooms, a ten-guinea subscription, for which you have
a ball and supper once a week, for twelve weeks. You may imagine by
the sum the company is chosen; though, refined as it is, it will be
scarce able to put out old Soho (Mrs. Cornelys) out of countenance.
The men's tickets are not transferable, so, if the ladies do not like
us, they have no opportunity of changing us, but must see the same
persons for ever." ... "Our female Almack's flourishes beyond
description. Almack's Scotch face, in a bag-wig, waiting at supper,
would divert you, as would his lady, in a sack, making tea and
curtseying to the duchesses."

Five years later, in 1770, Walpole writes to Montagu: "There is a new
Institution that begins to make, and if it proceeds, will make a
considerable noise. It is a Club of _both_ sexes, to be erected at
Almack's, on the model of that of the men of White's. Mrs. Fitzroy,
Lady Pembroke, Mrs. Meynell, Lady Molyneux, Miss Pelham, and Miss
Lloyd, are the foundresses. I am ashamed to say I am of so young and
fashionable society; but as they are people I live with, I choose to
be idle rather than morose. I can go to a young supper without
forgetting how much sand is run out of the hour-glass."

Mrs. Boscawen tells Mrs. Delany of this Club of lords and ladies who
first met at a tavern, but subsequently, to satisfy Lady Pembroke's
scruples, in a room at Almack's. "The ladies nominate and choose the
gentlemen and _vice versâ_, so that no lady can exclude a lady, or
gentleman a gentleman." Ladies Rochford, Harrington, and Holderness
were black-balled, as was the Duchess of Bedford, who was subsequently
admitted! Lord March and Brook Boothby were black-balled by the
ladies, to their great astonishment. There was a dinner, then supper
at eleven, and, says Mrs. Boscawen, "play will be deep and constant,
probably." The frenzy for play was then at its height. "Nothing within
my memory comes up to it!" exclaims Mrs. Delany, who attributes it to
the prevailing "avarice and extravagance." Some men made profit out of
it, like Mr. Thynne, "who has won this year so considerably that he
has paid off all his debts, bought a house and furnished it, disposed
of his horses, hounds, etc., and struck his name out of all expensive
subscriptions. But what a _horrid reflection_ it must be to an honest
mind to _build_ his fortune on the ruin of others!"

Almack's large ball-room is about one hundred feet in length, by forty
feet in width; it is chastely decorated with gilt columns and
pilasters, classic medallions, mirrors, etc., and is lit with gas, in
cut-glass lustres. The largest number of persons ever present in this
room at one ball was 1700.

The rooms are let for public meetings, dramatic readings, concerts,
balls, and occasionally for dinners. Here Mrs. Billington, Mr. Braham,
and Signor Naldi, gave concerts, from 1808 to 1810, in rivalry with
Madame Catalani, at Hanover-square Rooms; and here Mr. Charles Kemble
gave, in 1844, his Readings from Shakspeare.

The Balls at Almack's are managed by a Committee of Ladies of high
rank, and the only mode of admission is by vouchers or personal

Almack's has declined of late years; "a clear proof that the palmy
days of exclusiveness are gone by in England; and though it is
obviously impossible to prevent any given number of persons from
congregating and re-establishing an oligarchy, we are quite sure that
the attempt would be ineffectual, and that the sense of their
importance would extend little beyond the set."[8] In 1831 was
published _Almack's_, a novel, in which the leaders of fashion were
sketched with much freedom, and identified in _A Key to Almack's_,
by Benjamin Disraeli.


We have just narrated the establishment of this Club--how it was
originally a gaming club, and was formed at first by Almack. It was
subsequently taken by Brookes, a wine-merchant and money-lender,
according to Selwyn; and who is described by Tickell, in a copy of
verses addressed to Sheridan, when Charles James Fox was to give a
supper at his own lodgings, then near the Club:--

     "Derby shall send, if not his plate, his cooks,
     And know, I've brought the best champagne from Brookes,
     From liberal Brookes, whose speculative skill
     Is hasty credit, and a distant bill;
     Who, nursed in clubs, disdains a vulgar trade,
     Exults to trust, and blushes to be paid."

From Pall Mall Brookes's Club removed to No. 60, on the west side of
St. James's-street, where a handsome house was built at Brookes's
expense, from the designs of Henry Holland, the architect; it was
opened in October, 1778. The concern did not prosper; for James Hare
writes to George Selwyn, May 18, 1779, "we are all beggars at
Brookes's, and he threatens to leave the house, as it yields him no
profit." Mr. Cunningham tells us that Brookes retired from the Club
soon after it was built, and died poor about the year 1782.

Lord Crewe, one of the founders of the Club in Pall Mall, died in
1829, after sixty-five years' membership of Brookes's. Among its
celebrities were Burke and Sir Joshua Reynolds, Garrick and Hume,
Horace Walpole, Gibbon, and Sheridan and Wilberforce. Lord March,
afterwards Duke of Queensberry, was one of its notorieties--"the old
Q., whom many now living can remember, with his fixed eye and
cadaverous face, watching the flow of the human tide past his
bow-window in Pall Mall."--_National Review_, 1857. [This is hardly
correct as to locality, since the Club left Pall Mall in 1778, and a
reminiscent must be more than 80 years of age.] Among Selwyn's
correspondents are Gilly Williams, Hare, Fitzpatrick, the Townshends,
Burgoyne, Storer, and Lord Carlisle. R. Tickell, in "Lines from the
Hon. Charles Fox to the Hon. John Townshend cruising," thus describes
the welcome that awaits Townshend, and the gay life of the Club:--

     "Soon as to Brookes's thence thy footsteps bend,
     What gratulations thy approach attend!
     See Gibbon tap his box; auspicious sign,
     That classic compliment and evil combine.
     See Beauclerk's cheek a tinge of red surprise,
     And friendship gives what cruel health denies.
     Important Townshend! what can thee withstand?
     The ling'ring black-ball lags in Boothby's hand.
     E'en Draper checks the sentimental sigh;
     And Smith, without an oath, suspends the die."

Mr. Wilberforce has thus recorded his first appearance at Brookes's:
"Hardly knowing any one, I joined, from mere shyness, in play at the
faro-tables, where George Selwyn kept bank. A friend, who knew my
inexperience, and regarded me as a victim decked out for sacrifice,
called to me, 'What, Wilberforce, is that you?' Selwyn quite resented
the interference, and, turning to him, said, in his most expressive
tone, 'Oh, Sir, don't interrupt Mr. Wilberforce; he could not be
better employed!'"

The Prince of Wales, one day at Brookes's, expatiating on that
beautiful but far-fetched idea of Dr. Darwin's, that the reason of the
bosom of a beautiful woman being the object of such exquisite delight
for a man to look upon, arises from the first pleasurable sensations
of warmth, sustenance, and repose, which he derives therefrom in his
infancy; Sheridan replied, "Truly hath it been said, that there is
only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous. All children who are
brought up by hand must derive their pleasurable sensations from a
very different source; yet I believe no one ever heard of any such,
when arrived at manhood, evincing any very rapturous or amatory
emotions at the sight of a wooden spoon." This clever exposure of an
ingenious absurdity shows the folly of taking for granted every
opinion which may be broached under the sanction of a popular name.

The conversation at Brookes's, one day, turning on Lord Henry Petty's
projected tax upon iron, one member said, that as there was so much
opposition to it, it would be better to raise the proposed sum upon
coals. "Hold! my dear fellow," said Sheridan, "that would be out of
the frying pan into the fire, with a vengeance."

Mr. Whitbread, one evening at Brookes's, talked loudly and largely
against the Ministers for laying what was called the _war tax_ upon
malt: every one present concurred with him in opinion, but Sheridan
could not resist the gratification of a hit at the _brewer_ himself.
He wrote with his pencil upon the back of a letter the following
lines, which he handed to Mr. Whitbread, across the table:--

     "They've raised the price of table drink;
     What is the reason, do you think?
     The tax on _malt_'s the cause I hear--
     But what has _malt_ to do with _beer_?"

Looking through a Number of the _Quarterly Review_, one day, at
Brookes's, soon after its first appearance, Sheridan said, in reply to
a gentleman who observed that the editor, Mr. Gifford, had boasted of
the power of conferring and _distributing literary reputation_; "Very
likely; and in the present instance I think he has done it so
profusely as to have left none for himself."

Sir Philip Francis was the convivial companion of Fox, and during the
short administration of that statesman was made a Knight of the Bath.
One evening, Roger Wilbraham came up to a whist-table at Brookes's,
where Sir Philip, who for the first time wore the ribbon of the Order,
was engaged in a rubber, and thus accosted him. Laying hold of the
ribbon and examining it for some time, he said: "So, this is the way
they have rewarded you at last: they have given you a little bit of
red ribbon for your services, Sir Philip, have they? A pretty bit of
red ribbon to hang about your neck; and that satisfies you, does it?
Now, I wonder what I shall have.--What do you think they will give me,
Sir Philip?"

The newly-made Knight, who had twenty-five guineas depending on the
rubber, and who was not very well pleased at the interruption,
suddenly turned round, and looking at him fiercely, exclaimed, "A
halter, and be d--d to you!"

George III. invariably evinced a strong aversion to Fox, the secret of
which it is easy to understand. His son, the Prince of Wales, threw
himself into the arms of Fox, and this in the most undisguised manner.
Fox lodged in St. James's-street, and as soon as he rose, which was
very late, had a levee of his followers, and of the members of the
gaming club, at Brookes's, all his disciples. His bristly black
person, and shagged breast quite open, and rarely purified by any
ablutions, was wrapped in a foul linen night-gown, and his bushy hair
dishevelled. In these cynic weeds, and with epicurean good-humour, did
he dictate his politics, and in this school did the heir of the Crown
attend his lessons, and imbibe them.

Fox's love of play was desperate. A few evenings before he moved the
repeal of the Marriage Act, in February, 1772, he had been at Brompton
on two errands: one to consult Justice Fielding on the penal laws; the
other to borrow ten thousand pounds, which he brought to town at the
hazard of being robbed. Fox played admirably both at whist and piquet;
with such skill, indeed, that by the general admission of Brookes's
Club, he might have made four thousand pounds a year, as they
calculated, at those games, if he could have confined himself to them.
But his misfortune arose from playing games at chance, particularly at
Faro. After eating and drinking plentifully, he sat down to the Faro
table, and inevitably rose a loser. Once, indeed, and once only, he
won about eight thousand pounds in the course of a single evening.
Part of the money he paid away to his creditors, and the remainder he
lost almost immediately. Before he attained his thirtieth year, he had
completely dissipated everything that he could either command, or
could procure by the most ruinous expedients. He had even undergone,
at times, many of the severest privations annexed to the vicissitudes
that mark a gamester's progress; frequently wanting money to defray
the common daily wants of the most pressing nature. Topham Beauclerc,
who lived much in Fox's society, affirmed, that no man could form an
idea of the extremities to which he had been driven in order to raise
money, after losing his last guinea at the Faro table. He was reduced
for successive days to such distress, as to borrow money from the
waiters of Brookes's. The very chairmen, whom he was unable to pay,
used to dun him for their arrears. In 1781, he might be considered as
an extinct volcano, for the pecuniary aliment that had fed the flame
was long consumed. Yet he then occupied a house or lodgings in St.
James's-street close to Brookes's, where he passed almost every hour
which was not devoted to the House of Commons. Brookes's was then the
rallying point or rendezvous of the Opposition; where, while faro,
whist, and supper prolonged the night, the principal members of the
Minority in both Houses met, in order to compare their information, or
to concert and mature their parliamentary measures. Great sums were
then borrowed of Jews at exorbitant premiums. Fox called his outward
room, where the Jews waited till he rose, the _Jerusalem Chamber_. His
brother Stephen was enormously fat; George Selwyn said he was in the
right to deal with Shylocks, as he could give them pounds of flesh.

When Fox lodged with his friend Fitzpatrick, at Mackie's, some one
remarked that two such inmates would be the ruin of Mackie, the
oilman; "No," said George Selwyn; "so far from ruining him, they will
make poor Mackie's fortune; for he will have the credit of having the
finest pickles in London."

The ruling passion of Fox was partly owing to the lax training of his
father, who, by his lavish allowances, fostered his propensity for
play. According to Chesterfield, the first Lord Holland "had no fixed
principles in religion or morality," and he censures him to his son
for being "too unwary in ridiculing and exposing them." He gave full
swing to Charles in his youth: "let nothing be done," said his
Lordship, "to break his spirit; the world will do that for him."
(_Selwyn._) At his death, in 1774, he left him £154,000 to pay his
debts; it was all bespoke, and Fox soon became as deeply pledged as

Walpole, in 1781, walking up St. James's-street, saw a cart and
porters at Fox's door; with copper and an old chest of drawers,
loading. His success at faro had awakened a host of creditors; but,
unless his bank had swelled to the size of the Bank of England, it
could not have yielded a sou apiece for each. Epsom, too, had been
unpropitious; and one creditor had actually seized and carried off
Fox's goods, which did not seem worth removing. Yet, shortly after
this, whom should Walpole find sauntering by his own door but Fox, who
came up and talked to him at the coach-window, on the Marriage Bill,
with as much _sang froid_ as if he knew nothing of what had happened.

It was at the sale of Fox's library in this year that Walpole made the
following singular note:--"1781, June 20. Sold by auction, the
library of Charles Fox, which had been taken in execution. Amongst the
books was Mr. Gibbon's first volume of 'Roman History,' which
appeared, by the title-page, to have been given by the author to Mr.
Fox, who had written in it the following anecdote:--'The author at
Brookes's said there was no salvation for the country till six heads
of the principal persons in the administration were laid on the table;
eleven days later, the same gentleman accepted the place of Lord of
Trade under those very ministers, and has acted with them ever since!'
Such was the avidity of bidders for the smallest production of so
wonderful a genius, that by the addition of this little record, the
book sold for three guineas."

Lord Tankerville assured Mr. Rogers that Fox once played cards with
Fitzpatrick at Brookes's from ten o'clock at night till near six
o'clock the next afternoon, a waiter standing by to tell them "whose
deal it was," they being too sleepy to know. Fox once won about eight
thousand pounds; and one of his bond-creditors, who soon heard of his
good luck, presented himself, and asked for payment. "Impossible,
Sir," replied Fox; "I must first discharge my debts of honour." The
bond-creditor remonstrated. "Well, Sir, give me your bond." It was
delivered to Fox, who tore it in pieces, and threw them into the fire.
"Now, Sir," said Fox, "my debt to you is a debt of honour;" and
immediately paid him.

Amidst the wildest excesses of youth, even while the perpetual victim
of his passion for play, Fox eagerly cultivated at intervals his taste
for letters, especially the Greek and Roman historians and poets; and
he found resources in their works, under the most severe depressions
occasioned by ill-success at the gaming-table. One morning, after Fox
had passed the whole night in company with Topham Beauclerc at faro,
the two friends were about to separate. Fox had lost throughout the
night, and was in a frame of mind approaching desperation. Beauclerc's
anxiety for the consequences which might ensue led him to be early at
Fox's lodgings; and on arriving, he inquired, not without
apprehension, whether he had risen. The servant replied that Mr. Fox
was in the drawing-room, when Beauclerc walked upstairs, and
cautiously opened the door, expecting to behold a frantic gamester
stretched on the floor, bewailing his losses, or plunged in moody
despair; but he was astonished to find him reading a Greek Herodotus.
"What would you have me do?" said Fox, "I have lost my last shilling."
Upon other occasions, after staking and losing all that he could raise
at faro, instead of exclaiming against fortune, or manifesting the
agitation natural under such circumstances, he would lay his head on
the table, and retain his place, but, exhausted by mental and bodily
fatigue, almost immediately fall into a profound sleep.

One night, at Brookes's, Fox made some remark on Government powder, in
allusion to something that had happened. Adams considered it a
reflection, and sent Fox a challenge. Fox went out, and took his
station, giving a full front. Fitzgerald said, "You must stand
sideways." Fox said, "Why I am as thick one way as the other,"--"Fire,"
was given: Adams fired, Fox did not, and when they said he must, he
said, "I'll be d--d if I do. I have no quarrel." They then advanced to
shake hands. Fox said, "Adams, you'd have killed me if it had not been
Government powder." The ball hit him in the groin.

Another celebrated character, who frequented Brookes's in the days of
Selwyn, was Dunning, afterwards Lord Ashburton; and many keen
encounters passed between them. Dunning was a short, thick man, with a
turn-up nose, a constant shake of the head, and latterly a distressing
hectic cough--but a wit of the first water. Though he died at the
comparatively early age of fifty-two, he amassed a fortune of £150,000
during twenty-five years' practice at the bar; and lived
notwithstanding, so liberally, that his mother, an attorney's widow,
some of the wags at Brookes's wickedly recorded, left him in dudgeon
on the score of his extravagance, as humorously sketched at a dinner
at the lawyer's country-house near Fulham, when the following
_conversation_ was represented to have occurred:--

"John," said the old lady to her son, after dinner, during which she
had been astounded by the profusion of the plate and viands,--"John, I
shall not stop another day to witness such shameful extravagance."

"But, my dear mother," interrupted Dunning, "you ought to consider
that I can afford it: my income, you know--"

"No income," said the old lady impatiently, "can stand such shameful
prodigality. The sum which your cook told me that very _turbot_ cost,
ought to have supported any reasonable family for a week."

"Pooh, pooh! my dear mother," replied the dutiful son, "you would not
have me appear shabby. Besides, what is a turbot?"

"Pooh, pooh! what is a turbot?" echoed the irritated dame: "don't
_pooh_ me, John: I tell you such goings-on can come to no good, and
you'll see the end of it before long. However, it sha'n't be said your
mother encouraged such sinful waste, for I'll set off in the coach to
Devonshire to-morrow morning."

"And notwithstanding," said Sheridan, "all John's rhetorical efforts
to detain her, the old lady kept her word."

Sheridan's election as a member of Brookes's took place under
conflicting circumstances. His success at Stafford met with fewer
obstacles than he had to encounter in St. James's-street, where
Selwyn's political aversions and personal jealousy were very
formidable, as were those of the Earl of Bessborough, and they and
other members of the Club had determined to exclude Sheridan.
Conscious that every exertion would be made to ensure his success,
they agreed not to absent themselves during the time allowed by the
regulations of the Club for ballots; and as one black ball sufficed to
extinguish the hopes of a candidate, they repeatedly prevented his
election. In order to remove so serious an impediment, Sheridan had
recourse to artifice. On the evening when it was resolved to put him
up, he found his two inveterate enemies posted as usual. A chairman
was then sent with a note, written in the name of her father-in-law,
Lord Bessborough, acquainting him that a fire had broken out in his
house in Cavendish Square, and entreating him immediately to return
home. Unsuspicious of any trick, as his son and daughter-in-law lived
under his roof, Lord Bessborough unhesitatingly quitted the room, and
got into a sedan-chair. Selwyn, who resided not far from Brookes's in
Cleveland-row, received, nearly at the same time, a verbal message to
request his presence, in consequence of Miss Fagniani, (whom he had
adopted as his daughter,) being suddenly seized with alarming
indisposition. This summons he obeyed; and no sooner was the room
cleared, than Sheridan being proposed a member, a ballot took place,
when he was immediately chosen. Lord Bessborough and Selwyn returned
without delay, on discovering the imposition that had been practised
on their credulity, but they were too late to prevent its effects.

Such is the story told by Selwyn, in his Memoirs; but the following
account is more generally acredited. The Prince of Wales joined
Brookes's Club, to have more frequent intercourse with Mr. Fox, one of
its earliest members, and who, on his first acquaintance with
Sheridan, became anxious for his admission to the Club. Sheridan was
three times proposed, but as often had the black ball in the ballot,
which disqualified him. At length, the hostile ball was traced to
George Selwyn, who objected, because his (Sheridan's) father had been
upon the stage. Sheridan was apprised of this, and desired that his
name might be put up again, and that the further conduct of the matter
might be left to himself. Accordingly, on the evening when he was to
be balloted for, Sheridan arrived at Brookes's arm-in-arm with the
Prince of Wales, just ten minutes before the balloting began. They
were shown into the candidates' waiting-room, when one of the
club-waiters was ordered to tell Mr. Selwyn that the Prince desired to
speak with him immediately. Selwyn obeyed the summons, and Sheridan,
to whom this version of the affair states, Sheridan had no personal
dislike, entertained him for half-an-hour with some political story,
which interested him very much, but had no foundation in truth. During
Selwyn's absence, the balloting went on, and Sheridan was chosen; and
the result was announced to himself and the Prince by the waiter,
with the preconcerted signal of stroking his chin with his hand.
Sheridan immediately rose from his seat, and apologizing for a few
minutes' absence, told Selwyn that "the Prince would finish the
narrative, the catastrophe of which he would find very remarkable."

Sheridan now went upstairs, was introduced to the Club, and was soon
in all his glory. The Prince, in the meantime, had not the least idea
of being left to conclude a story, the thread of which (if it had a
thread) he had entirely forgotten. Still, by means of Selwyn's
occasional assistance, the Prince got on pretty well for a few
minutes, when a question from the listener as to the flat
contradiction of a part of His Royal Highness' story to that of
Sheridan, completely posed the narrator, and he stuck fast. After much
floundering, the Prince burst into a loud laugh, saying, "D--n the
fellow, to leave me to finish the infernal story, of which I know as
much as a child unborn! But, never mind, Selwyn; as Sheridan does not
seem inclined to come back, let me go upstairs, and I dare say Fox or
some of them will be able to tell you all about it." They adjourned to
the club room, and Selwyn now detected the manoeuvre. Sheridan then
rose, made a low bow, and apologized to Selwyn, through his dropping
into such good company, adding, "They have just been making me a
member without even _one black ball_, and here I am." "The devil they
have!" exclaimed Selwyn.--"Facts speak for themselves," said Sheridan;
"and I thank you for your friendly suffrage; and now, if you will sit
down by us, I will finish my story."--"Your story! it is all a lie
from beginning to end," exclaimed Selwyn, amidst loud laughter from
all parts of the room.

Among the members who indulged in high play was Alderman Combe, who
is said to have made as much money in this way as he did by brewing.
One evening, whilst he filled the office of Lord Mayor, he was busy at
a full hazard-table at Brookes's, where the wit and the dice-box
circulated together with great glee, and where Beau Brummell was one
of the party. "Come, Mashtub," said Brummell, who was the _caster_,
"what do you _set_?"--"Twenty-five guineas," answered the
Alderman.--"Well, then," returned the Beau, "have at the mare's pony"
(25 guineas). He continued to throw until he drove home the brewer's
twelve ponies, running; and then, getting up, and making him a low
bow, whilst pocketing the cash, he said, "Thank you, alderman; for the
future, I shall never drink any porter but yours."--"I wish, Sir,"
replied the brewer, "that every other blackguard in London would tell
me the same."


[8] _Quarterly Review_, 1840.



This notorious person, George Robert Fitzgerald, though nearly related
to one of the first families in Ireland (Leinster), was executed in
1786, for a murder which he had coolly premeditated, and had
perpetrated in a most cruel and cowardly manner.

His duelling propensities had kept him out of all the first Clubs in
London. He once applied to Admiral Keith Stewart to propose him as a
candidate for Brookes's; when the Admiral, knowing that he must either
fight or comply with his request, chose the latter. Accordingly, on
the night when the ballot was to take place (which was only a mere
form in this case, for even Keith Stewart had resolved to _black-ball_
him), the duellist accompanied the Admiral to St. James's-street, and
waited in the room below, while the ballot was taken. This was soon
done; for, without hesitation, each member threw in a _black ball_;
and when the scrutiny came, the company were not a little amazed to
find not even _one_ white ball among the number. However, the
rejection being carried _nem. con._, the question was, which of the
members had the hardihood to announce the result to the expectant
candidate. No one would undertake the office, for the announcement was
thought sure to produce a challenge; and a duel with Fitzgerald had,
in most cases, been fatal to his opponent. The general opinion was
that the proposer, Admiral Stewart, should convey the intelligence.
"No, gentlemen," said he, "I proposed the fellow because I knew you
would not admit him; but, by Jove, I have no inclination to risk my
life against that of a madman."

"But, Admiral," replied the Duke of Devonshire,[9] "there being no
_white ball_ in the box, he must know that _you_ have black-balled him
as well as the rest, and he is sure to call you out at all events."

This posed the Admiral, who, after some hesitation, proposed that the
waiter should tell Fitzgerald that there was _one_ black ball, and
that his name must be put up again if he wished it. All concurred in
the propriety of this plan, and the waiter was dispatched on the
mission. In the meantime, Fitzgerald had frequently rung the bell to
inquire "the state of the poll," and had sent each waiter to
ascertain, but neither durst return, when Mr. Brookes took the message
from the waiter who was descending the staircase, and boldly entered
the room, with a coffee equipage in his hand. "Did you call for
coffee, Sir?" said Mr. Brookes, smartly. "D--n your coffee, Sir! and
you too," answered Mr. Fitzgerald, in a voice which made the host's
blood run cold. "I want to know, Sir, and that without one moment's
delay, Sir, if I am _chose_ yet?"

"Oh, Sir!" replied Mr. Brookes, attempting to smile away the
appearance of fear, "I beg your pardon, Sir, but I was just coming to
announce to you, Sir, with Admiral Stewart's compliments, Sir, that
unfortunately there was one black ball in the box, Sir; and
consequently, by the rules of the Club, Sir, no candidate can be
admitted without a new election, Sir;--which cannot take place, by the
standing regulations of the Club, Sir, until one month from this time,

During this address, Fitzgerald's irascibility appeared to undergo
considerable mollification; and at its close, he grasped Brookes's
hand, saying, "My dear Brookes, _I'm chose_; but there must be a small
matter of mistake in my election:" he then persuaded Brookes to go
upstairs, and make his compliments to the gentlemen, and say, as it
was only a mistake of _one_ black ball, they would be so good as to
waive all ceremony on his account, and proceed to _re-elect_ their
humble servant without any more delay at all." Many of the members
were panic-struck, foreseeing a disagreeable finale to the farce which
they had been playing. Mr. Brookes stood silent, waiting for the
answer. At length, the Earl of March (afterwards Duke of Queensberry)
said aloud, "Try the effect of _two_ balls: d--n his Irish impudence,
if two balls don't take effect upon him, I don't know what will." This
proposition was agreed to, and Brookes was ordered to communicate the

On re-entering the waiting-room, Mr. Fitzgerald eagerly inquired,
"Have they _elected_ me right, now, Mr. Brookes?" the reply was,
"Sorry to inform you that the result of the second balloting is--that
_two_ black balls were dropped, Sir."--"Then," exclaimed Fitzgerald,
"there's now _two mistakes_ instead of one." He then persuaded Brookes
again to proceed upstairs, and tell the honourable members to "try
again, and make no more mistakes." General Fitzpatrick proposed that
Brookes should reply, "His cause was all hopeless, for that he was
_black-balled all over_, from head to foot, and it was hoped by all
the members that Mr. Fitzgerald would not persist in thrusting himself
into society where his company was declined." This message was of no
avail: no sooner had Fitzgerald heard it than he exclaimed: "Oh, I
perceive it is a _mistake altogether_, Mr. Brookes, and I must see to
the rectifying of it myself, there's nothing like _daling_ with
principals; so, I'll step up at once, and put this thing to rights,
without any more unnecessary delay."

In spite of Mr. Brookes's remonstrance, that his entrance into the
Club-room was against all rule and etiquette, Fitzgerald flew
upstairs, and entered the room without any further ceremony than a
bow, saying to the members, who indignantly rose at the intrusion,
"Your servant, gentlemen--I beg ye will be _sated_."

Walking up to the fireplace, he thus addressed Admiral Stewart:--"So,
my dear Admiral, Mr. Brookes informs me that I have been _elected_
three times."

"You have been balloted for, Mr. Fitzgerald, but I am sorry to say you
have not been chosen," said Stewart.

"Well, then," replied the duellist, "did _you_ black-ball me?"--"My
good Sir," answered the Admiral, "how could you suppose such a
thing?"--"Oh, I _supposed_ no such thing, my dear fellow; I only want
to know who it was that dropped the black balls in by accident, as it

Fitzgerald now went up to each individual member, and put the same
question _seriatim_, "Did you black-ball me, Sir?" until he made the
round of the whole Club; and in each case he received a reply similar
to that of the Admiral. When he had finished his inquisition, he thus
addressed the whole body: "You see, Gentlemen, that as none of ye have
black-balled me, _I must be chose_; and it is Mr. Brookes that has
made the mistake. But I was convinced of it from the beginning, and I
am only sorry that so much time has been lost as to prevent honourable
gentlemen from enjoying each other's company sooner." He then desired
the waiter to bring him a bottle of champagne, that he might drink
long life to the Club, and wish them joy of their unanimous election
of a "_rael_ gentleman by father and mother, and _who never missed his

The members now saw that there was nothing to be done but to send the
intruder to Coventry, which they appeared to do by tacit agreement;
for when Admiral Stewart departed, Mr. Fitzgerald found himself _cut_
by all his "dear friends." The members now formed parties at the
whist-table; and no one replied to Fitzgerald's observations nor
returned even a nod to the toasts and healths which he drank in three
bottles of champagne, which the terrified waiter placed before him, in
succession. At length, he arose, made a low bow, and took leave,
promising to "come earlier next night, and have a little more of it."
It was then agreed that half-a-dozen stout constables should be in
waiting the next evening to bear him off to the watch-house, if he
attempted again to intrude. Of this measure, Fitzgerald seemed to be
aware; for he never again showed himself at Brookes's; though he
boasted everywhere that he had been unanimously chosen a member of the


[9] This was the _bon-vivant_ Duke who had got ready for him every
night, for supper, at Brookes's, a broiled blade-bone of mutton.


This Club, established more than a century since, at No. 69, St.
James's-street, derives its name from Mr. Arthur, the master of
White's Chocolate-house in the same street. Mr. Cunningham records:
"Arthur died in June, 1761, in St. James's-place; and in the following
October, Mr. Mackreth married Arthur's only child, and Arthur's
Chocolate-house, as it was then called, became the property of this
Mr. Mackreth."

Walpole, writing in 1759, has this odd note: "I stared to-day at
Piccadilly like a country squire; there are twenty new stone houses:
at first I concluded that all the grooms that used to live there, had
got estates and built palaces. One young gentleman, who was getting an
estate, but was so indiscreet as to step out of his way to rob a
comrade, is convicted, and to be transported; in short, one of the
waiters at Arthur's. George Selwyn says, 'What a horrid idea he will
give us of the people in Newgate?'"

Mackreth prospered; for Walpole, writing to Mann, in 1774, speaking of
the New Parliament, says: "Bob, formerly a waiter at White's, was set
up by my nephew for two boroughs, and actually is returned for Castle
Rising with Mr. Wedderburne;

     "'Servus curru portatur eodem;'

which I suppose will offend the Scottish Consul, as most of his
countrymen resent an Irishman standing for Westminster, which the
former reckon a borough of their own. For my part, waiter for waiter,
I see little difference; they were all equally ready to cry, 'Coming,
coming, Sir.'"

Mackreth was afterwards knighted; and upon him appeared this smart and
well-remembered epigram:

     "When Mackreth served in Arthur's crew,
     He said to Rumbold, 'Black my shoe;'
       To which he answer'd, 'Ay, Bob.'
     But when return'd from India's land,
     And grown too proud to brook command,
       He sternly answer'd, 'Nay, Bob.'"

The Club-house was rebuilt in 1825, upon the site of the original
Chocolate-house, Thomas Hopper, architect, at which time it possessed
more than average design: the front is of stone, and is enriched with
fluted Corinthian columns.


This celebrated Club was originally established as "White's
Chocolate-house," in 1698, five doors from the bottom of the west side
of St. James's-street, "ascending from St. James's Palace." (Hatton,
1708.) A print of the time shows a small garden attached to the
house: at the tables in the house or garden, more than one highwayman
took his chocolate, or threw his main, before he quietly mounted his
horse, and rode down Piccadilly towards Bagshot. (Doran's _Table
Traits_.) It was destroyed by fire, April 28, 1733, when the house was
kept by Mr. Arthur, who subsequently gave his name to the Club called
Arthur's, still existing a few doors above the original White's. At
the fire, young Arthur's wife leaped out of a second floor window,
upon a feather-bed, without much hurt. A fine collection of paintings,
belonging to Sir Andrew Fountaine, valued at 3000_l._, was entirely
destroyed. The King and the Prince of Wales were present above an
hour, and encouraged the firemen and people to work at the engines; a
guard being ordered from St. James's, to keep off the populace. His
Majesty ordered twenty guineas to be distributed among the firemen and
others that worked at the engines, and five guineas to the guard; and
the Prince ordered the firemen ten guineas. "The incident of the
fire," says Mr. Cunningham, "was made use of by Hogarth, in Plate VI.
of the Rake's Progress, representing a room at White's. The total
abstraction of the gamblers is well expressed by their utter
inattention to the alarm of the fire given by watchmen, who are
bursting open the doors. Plate IV. of the same pictured moral
represents a group of chimney-sweepers and shoe-blacks gambling on the
ground over-against White's. To indicate the Club more fully, Hogarth
has inserted the name Black's."

Arthur, thus burnt out, removed to Gaunt's Coffee-house, next the St.
James's Coffee-house, and which bore the name of "White's"--a myth.
The _Tatler_, in his first Number, promises that "all accounts of
gallantry, pleasure, and entertainment, shall be under the article of
White's Chocolate-house." Addison, in his Prologue to Steele's _Tender
Husband_, catches "the necessary spark" sometimes "taking snuff at

The Chocolate-house, open to any one, became a private Club-house: the
earliest record is a book of rules and list of members of the old Club
at White's, dated October 30th, 1736. The principal members were the
Duke of Devonshire; the Earls of Cholmondeley, Chesterfield, and
Rockingham; Sir John Cope, Major-General Churchill, Bubb Dodington,
and Colley Cibber. Walpole tells us that the celebrated Earl of
Chesterfield lived at White's, gaming and pronouncing witticisms among
the boys of quality; "yet he says to his son, that a member of a
gaming club should be a cheat, or he will soon be a beggar," an
inconsistency which reminds one of old Fuller's saw: "A father that
whipt his son for swearing, and swore himself whilst he whipt him, did
more harm by his example than good by his correction."

Swift, in his _Essay on Modern Education_, gives the Chocolate-house a
sad name. "I have heard," he says, "that the late Earl of Oxford, in
the time of his ministry, never passed by White's Chocolate-house (the
common rendezvous of infamous sharpers and noble cullies) without
bestowing a curse upon that famous Academy, as the bane of half the
English nobility."

The gambling character of the Club may also be gathered from Lord
Lyttelton writing to Dr. Doddridge, in 1750. "The Dryads of Hagley are
at present pretty secure, but I tremble to think that the rattling of
a dice-box at White's may one day or other (if my son should be a
member of that noble academy) shake down all our fine oaks. It is
dreadful to see, not only there, but almost in every house in town,
what devastations are made by that destructive fury, the spirit of

Swift's character of the company is also borne out by Walpole, in a
letter to Mann, December 16, 1748: "There is a man about town, Sir
William Burdett, a man of very good family, but most infamous
character. In short, to give you his character at once, there is a
wager entered in the bet-book at White's (a MS. of which I may one day
or other give you an account), that the first baronet that will be
hanged is this Sir William Burdett."

Again, Glover, the poet, in his _Autobiography_, tells us: "Mr. Pelham
(the Prime Minister) was originally an officer in the army, and a
professed gamester; of a narrow mind, low parts, etc.... By long
experience and attendance he became experienced as a Parliament man;
and even when Minister, divided his time to the last between his
office and the club of gamesters at White's." And, Pope, in the
_Dunciad_, has:

     "Or chair'd at White's, amidst the doctors sit,
     Teach oaths to gamesters, and to nobles wit."

The Club removed, in 1755, to the east side of St. James's-street, No.
38. The house had had previously a noble and stately tenant; for here
resided the Countess of Northumberland, widow of Algernon, tenth Earl
of Northumberland, who died 1688. "My friend Lady Suffolk, her niece
by marriage," writes Walpole, "has talked to me of her having, on that
alliance, visited her. She then lived in the house now White's, at the
upper end of St. James's-street, and was the last who kept up the
ceremonious state of the old peerage. When she went out to visit, a
footman, bareheaded, walked on each side of her coach, and a second
coach with her women attended her. I think, too, that Lady Suffolk
told me that her granddaughter-in-law, the Duchess of Somerset, never
sat down before her without leave to do so. I suppose the old Duke
Charles [the proud Duke] had imbibed a good quantity of his stately
pride in such a school." (_Letter to the Bishop of Dromore_, September
18, 1792.) This high-minded dame had published a "Volume of Prayers."

Among the Rules of the Club, every member was to pay one guinea a year
towards having a good cook; the names of all candidates were to be
deposited with Mr. Arthur or Bob [Mackreth]. In balloting, every
member was to put in his ball, and such person or persons who refuse
to comply with it, shall pay the supper reckoning of that night; and,
in 1769, it was agreed that 'every member of this Club who is in the
Billiard-Room at the time the Supper is declared upon table, shall pay
his reckoning if he does not sup at the Young Club.'

Of Colley Cibber's membership we find this odd account in Davies's
_Life of Garrick_:--"Colley, we told, had the honour to be a member of
the great Club at White's; and so I suppose might any other man who
wore good clothes and paid his money when he lost it. But on what
terms did Cibber live with this society? Why, he feasted most
sumptuously, as I have heard his friend Victor say, with an air of
triumphant exultation, with Mr. Arthur and his wife, and gave a trifle
for his dinner. After he had dined, when the Club-room door was
opened, and the Laureate was introduced, he was saluted with loud and
joyous acclamation of 'O King Coll! Come in, King Coll!' and 'Welcome,
welcome, King Colley!' And this kind of gratulation, Mr. Victor
thought, was very gracious and very honourable."

In the Rules quoted by Mr. Cunningham, from the Club-books, we find
that in 1780, a dinner was ready every day during the sitting of
Parliament, at a reckoning of 12_s._ per head; in 1797, at 10_s._
6_d._ per head, malt liquors, biscuits, oranges, apples, and olives
included; hot suppers provided at 8_s._ per head; and cold meat,
oysters, etc., at 4_s._, malt liquor only included. And, "that Every
Member who plays at Chess, Draughts, or Backgammon do pay One Shilling
each time of playing by daylight, and half-a-crown each by

White's was from the beginning principally a gaming Club. The play was
mostly at hazard and faro; no member was to hold a faro Bank. Whist
was comparatively harmless. Professional gamblers, who lived by dice
and cards, provided they were free from the imputation of cheating,
procured admission to White's. It was a great supper-house, and there
was play before and after supper, carried on to a late hour and heavy
amounts. Lord Carlisle lost 10,000_l._ in one night, and was in debt
to the house for the whole. He tells Selwyn of a set, in which at one
point of the game, stood to win 50,000_l._ Sir John Bland, of Kippax
Park, who shot himself in 1755, as we learn from Walpole, flirted away
his whole fortune at hazard. "He t'other night exceeded what was lost
by the late Duke of Bedford, having at one period of the night,
(though he recovered the greater part of it,) lost two-and-thirty
thousand pounds."

Lord Mountford came to a tragic end through his gambling. He had lost
money; feared to be reduced to distress; asked for a Government
appointment, and determined to throw the die of life or death, on the
answer he received from Court. The answer was unfavourable. He
consulted several persons, indirectly at first, afterwards pretty
directly--on the easiest mode of finishing life; invited a
dinner-party for the day after; supped at White's, and played at whist
till one o'clock of the New Year's morning. Lord Robert Bertie drank
to him "a happy new year;" he clapped his hand strangely to his eyes.
In the morning, he sent for a lawyer and three witnesses, executed his
will; made them read it twice over, paragraph by paragraph; asked the
lawyer if that will would stand good though a man were to shoot
himself. Being assured it would, he said, "Pray stay, while I step
into the next room,"--went into the next room, and shot himself.

Walpole writes to Mann: "John Damier and his two brothers have
contracted a debt, one can scarcely expect to be believed out of
England,--of 70,000_l._... The young men of this age seem to make a
law among themselves for declaring their fathers superannuated at
fifty, and thus dispose of their estates as if already their own."
"Can you believe that Lord Foley's two sons have borrowed money so
extravagantly, that the interest they have contracted to pay, amounts
to 18,000_l._ a year."

Fox's love of play was frightful: his best friends are said to have
been half-ruined in annuities, given by them as securities for him to
the Jews. Five hundred thousand a year of such annuities, of Fox and
his Society, were advertised to be sold, at one time: Walpole wondered
what Fox would do when he had sold the estates of all his friends.
Here are some instances of his desperate play. Walpole further notes
that in the debate on the Thirty-nine Articles, February 6, 1772, Fox
did not shine, "nor could it be wondered at. He had sat up playing at
hazard at Almack's, from Tuesday evening the 4th, till five in the
afternoon of Wednesday, 5th. An hour before he had recovered
12,000_l._ that he had lost, and by dinner, which was at five o'clock,
he had ended losing 11,000_l._ On the Thursday, he spoke in the above
debate; went to dinner at past eleven at night; from thence to
White's, where he drank till seven the next morning; thence to
Almack's, where he won 6,000_l._; and between three and four in the
afternoon he set out for Newmarket. His brother Stephen lost
11,000_l._ two nights after, and Charles 10,000_l._ more on the 13th;
so that, in three nights, the two brothers, the eldest not
twenty-five, lost 32,000_l._"

Walpole and a party of friends, (Dick Edgecumbe, George Selwyn, and
Williams,) in 1756, composed a piece of heraldic satire--a
coat-of-arms for the two gaming-clubs at White's,--which was "actually
engraving from a very pretty painting of Edgecumbe, whom Mr. Chute, as
Strawberry King at arms," appointed their chief herald-painter. The
blazon is vert (for a card-table); three parolis proper on a chevron
sable (for a hazard-table); two rouleaux in saltire between two dice
proper, on a canton sable; a white ball (for election) argent. The
supporters are an old and young knave of clubs; the crest, an arm out
of an earl's coronet shaking a dice-box; and the motto, "Cogit amor
nummi." Round the arms is a claret-bottle ticket by way of order. The
painting above mentioned by Walpole of "the Old and Young Club at
Arthur's" was bought at the sale of Strawberry Hill by Arthur's
Club-house for twenty-two shillings.

At White's, the least difference of opinion invariably ended in a bet,
and a book for entering the particulars of all bets was always laid
upon the table; one of these, with entries of a date as early as 1744,
Mr. Cunningham tells us, had been preserved. A book for entering bets
is still laid on the table.

In these betting books are to be found bets on births, deaths, and
marriages; the length of a life, or the duration of a ministry; a
placeman's prospect of a coronet; on the shock of an earthquake; or
the last scandal at Ranelagh, or Madame Cornelys's. A man dropped down
at the door of White's; he was carried into the house. Was he dead or
not? The odds were immediately given and taken for and against. It was
proposed to bleed him. Those who had taken the odds the man was dead,
protested that the use of a lancet would affect the fairness of the

Walpole gives some of these narratives as good stories "made on
White's." A parson coming into the Club on the morning of the
earthquake of 1750, and hearing bets laid whether the shock was caused
by an earthquake or the blowing-up of powder-mills, went away in
horror, protesting they were such an impious set, that he believed if
the last trump were to sound, they would bet "puppet-show against
Judgment." Gilly Williams writes to Selwyn, 1764, "Lord Digby is very
soon to be married to Miss Fielding." Thousands might have been won in
this house (White's), on his Lordship not knowing that such a being

Mr. Cunningham tells us that "the marriage of a young lady of rank
would occasion a bet of a hundred guineas, that she would give birth
to a live child before the Countess of ----, who had been married
three or even more months before her. Heavy bets were pending, that
Arthur, who was then a widower, would be married before a member of
the Club of about the same age, and also a widower; and that Sarah,
Duchess of Marlborough, would outlive the old Duchess of Cleveland."

"One of the youth at White's," writes Walpole to Mann, July 10, 1744,
"has committed a murder, and intends to repeat it. He betted £1500
that a man could live twelve hours under water; hired a desperate
fellow, sunk him in a ship, by way of experiment, and both ship and
man have not appeared since. Another man and ship are to be tried for
their lives, instead of Mr. Blake, the assassin."

Walpole found at White's, a very remarkable entry in their very--very
remarkable wager-book, which is still preserved. "Lord Mountford bets
Sir John Bland twenty guineas that Nash outlives Cibber." "How odd,"
says Walpole, "that these two old creatures, selected for their
antiquities, should live to see both their wagerers put an end to
their own lives! Cibber is within a few days of eighty-four, still
hearty, and clear, and well. I told him I was glad to see him look so
well. 'Faith,' said he, 'it is very well that I look at all.'" Lord
Mountford would have been the winner: Cibber died in 1757; Nash in

Here is a nice piece of Selwyn's ready wit. He and Charles Townshend
had a kind of wit combat together. Selwyn, it is said, prevailed; and
Charles Townshend took the wit home in his carriage, and dropped him
at White's. "Remember," said Selwyn, as they parted, "this is the
first set-down you have given me to-day."

"St. Leger," says Walpole, "was at the head of these luxurious
heroes--he is the hero of all fashion. I never saw more dashing
vivacity and absurdity with some flashes of parts. He had a cause the
other day for ducking a sharper, and was going to swear; the judge
said to him, 'I see, Sir, you are very ready to take an oath.' 'Yes,
my Lord,' replied St. Leger, 'my father was a judge,'" St. Leger was a
lively club member. "Rigby," writes the Duke of Bedford, July 2, 1751,
"the town is grown extremely thin within this week, though White's
continues numerous enough, with young people only, for Mr. St. Leger's
vivacity, and the idea the old ones have of it, prevent the great
chairs at the Old Club from being filled with their proper drowsy

In Hogarth's gambling scene at White's, we see the highwayman, with
the pistols peeping out of his pocket, waiting by the fireside till
the heaviest winner takes his departure, in order to "recoup" himself
of his losings. And in the _Beaux' Stratagem_, Aimwell asks of Gibbet,
"Ha'n't I seen your face at White's?"--"Ay, and at Will's too," is the
highwayman's answer.

M'Clean, the fashionable highwayman, had a lodging in St.
James's-street, over-against White's; and he was as well known about
St. James's as any gentleman who lived in that quarter, and who,
perhaps, went upon the road too. When M'Clean was taken, in 1750,
Walpole tells us that Lord Mountford, at the head of half White's,
went the first day; his aunt was crying over him; as soon as they were
withdrawn, she said to him, knowing they were of White's, "My dear,
what did the Lords say to you? Have you ever been concerned with any
of them? Was it not admirable? What a favourable idea people must have
of White's!--and what if White's should not deserve a much better?"

A waitership at a club sometimes led to fortune. Thomas Rumbold,
originally a waiter at White's, got an appointment in India, and
suddenly rose to be Sir Thomas, and Governor of Madras. On his return,
with immense wealth, a bill of pains and penalties was brought into
the House by Dundas, with the view of stripping Sir Robert of his
ill-gotten gains. This bill was briskly pushed through the earlier
stages; suddenly the proceedings were arrested by adjournment, and the
measure fell to the ground. The rumour of the day attributed Rumbold's
escape to the corrupt assistance of Rigby; who, in 1782, found
himself, by Lord North's retirement, deprived of his place in the Pay
Office, and called upon to refund a large amount of public moneys
unaccounted for. In this strait, Rigby was believed to have had
recourse to Rumbold. Their acquaintance had commenced in earlier days,
when Rigby was one of the boldest "punters" at White's, and Rumbold
bowed to him for half-crowns. Rumbold is said to have given Rigby a
large sum of money, on condition of the former being released from the
impending pains and penalties. The truth of this report has been
vehemently denied; but the circumstances are suspicious. The bill was
dropped: Dundas, its introducer, was Rigby's intimate associate.
Rigby's nephew and heir soon after married Rumbold's daughter. Sir
Thomas himself had married a daughter of Dr. Law, Bishop of Carlisle.
The worthy Bishop stood godfather to one of Rumbold's children; the
other godfather was the Nabob of Arcot, and the child was christened
"Mahomet." So, at least, Walpole informs Mann.[10]

Rigby was a man of pleasure at White's. Wilkes, in the _North
Briton_, describes Rigby as "an excellent _bon-vivant_, amiable and
engaging; having all the gibes and gambols, and flashes of merriment,
which set the table in a roar." In a letter to Selwyn, Rigby writes:
"I am just got home from a cock-match, where I have won forty pounds
in ready money; and not having dined, am waiting till I hear the
rattle of the coaches from the House of Commons, in order to dine at
White's.... The next morning I heard there had been extreme deep play,
and that Harry Furnese went drunk from White's at six o'clock, and
with the ever memorable sum of 1000 guineas. He won the chief part of
Doneraile and Bob Bertie."

The Club has had freaks of epicurism. In 1751, seven young men of
fashion, headed by St. Leger, gave a dinner at White's: one dish was a
tart of choice cherries from a hot-house; only one glass was tasted
out of each bottle of champagne. "The bill of fare is got into print,"
writes Walpole, to Mann; "and with good people has produced the
apprehension of another earthquake."

From Mackreth the property passed in 1784, to John Martindale, and in
1812, to Mr. Raggett, the father of the present proprietor. The
original form of the house was designed by James Wyatt. From time to
time, White's underwent various alterations and additions. In the
autumn of 1850, certain improvements being thought necessary, it came
to be considered that the front was of too plain a character, when
contrasted with the many elegant buildings which had risen up around
it. Mr. Lockyer was consulted by Mr. Raggett as to the possibility of
improving the façade; and under his direction, four bas-reliefs,
representing the four seasons, which occupy the place of four sashes,
were designed by Mr. George Scharf, jun. The interior was redecorated
by Mr. Morant. The Club, which is at this time limited to 500 members,
was formerly composed of the high Tory party, but though Conservative
principles may probably prevail, it has now ceased to be a political
club, and may rather be termed "Aristocratic." Several of the present
members have belonged to the Club upwards of half a century, and the
ancestors of most of the noblemen and men of fashion of the present
day who belong to the club were formerly members of it.

The Club has given magnificent entertainments in our time. On June 20,
1814, they gave a ball at Burlington House to the Emperor of Russia,
the King of Prussia, and the allied sovereigns then in England; the
cost was 9849_l._ 2_s._ 6_d._ Three weeks after this, the Club gave to
the Duke of Wellington a dinner, which cost 2480_l._ 10_s._ 9_d._


[10] National Review, No. 8.


This Club, originally the "Savoir vivre," which with Brookes's and
White's, forms a trio of nearly coeval date, and each of which takes
the present name of its founder, is No. 28, St. James's-street. In its
early records it was noted for its costly gaieties, and the _Heroic
Epistle to Sir William Chambers_, 1773, commemorates its epicurism:

     "For what is Nature? Ring her changes round,
     Her three flat notes are water, plants, and ground;
     Prolong the peal, yet, spite of all your clatter,
     The tedious chime is still ground, plants, and water;
     So, when some John his dull invention racks,
     To rival Boodle's dinners or Almack's,
     Three uncouth legs of mutton shock our eyes,
     Three roasted geese, three buttered apple-pies."

In the following year, when the Clubs vied with each other in giving
the town the most expensive masquerades and ridottos, Gibbon speaks of
one given by the members of Boodle's, that cost 2000 guineas. Gibbon
was early of the Club; and, "it must be remembered, waddled as well as
warbled here when he exhibited that extraordinary person which is said
to have convulsed Lady Sheffield with laughter; and poured forth
accents mellifluous like Plato's from that still more extraordinary
mouth which has been described as 'a round hole' in the centre of his

Boodle's Club-house, designed by Holland, has long been eclipsed by
the more pretentious architecture of the Club edifices of our time;
but the interior arrangements are well planned. Boodle's is chiefly
frequented by country gentlemen, whose status has been thus
satirically insinuated by a contemporary: "Every Sir John belongs to
Boodle's--as you may see, for, when a waiter comes into the room and
says to some aged student of the _Morning Herald_, 'Sir John, your
servant is come,' every head is mechanically thrown up in answer to
the address.'"

Among the Club pictures are portraits of C. J. Fox, and the Duke of
Devonshire. Next door, at No. 29, resided Gillray, the caricaturist,
who, in 1815, threw himself from an upstairs window into the street,
and died in consequence.


[11] London Clubs, 1853, p. 51.


In the _Spectator_, No. 9, March 10, 1710-11, we read: "The Beef-steak
and October Clubs are neither of them averse to eating or drinking, if
we may form a judgment of them from their respective titles." This
passage refers to the Beef-steak Club, founded in the reign of Queen
Anne; and, it is believed, the earliest Club with that name. Dr. King,
in his _Art of Cookery_, humbly _inscribed to the Beef-steak Club_,
1709, has these lines:

     "He that of honour, wit, and mirth partakes,
     May be a fit companion o'er Beef-steaks:
     His name may be to future times enrolled
     In Estcourt's book, whose gridiron's framed with gold."

Estcourt, the actor, was made Providore of the Club; and for a mark of
distinction wore their badge, which was a small gridiron of gold, hung
about his neck with a green silk ribbon. Such is the account given by
Chetwood, in his _History of the Stage_, 1749; to which he adds: "this
Club was composed of the chief wits and great men of the nation." The
gridiron, it will be seen hereafter, was assumed as its badge, by the
"Society of Beef-steaks, established a few years later: they call
themselves 'the Steaks,' and abhor the notion of being thought a
Club." Though the _National Review_, heretical as it may appear,
cannot consent to dissever the Society from the earlier Beef-steak
Club; which, however, would imply that Rich and Lambert were not the
founders of the Society, although so circumstantially shown to be.
Still, the stubbornness of facts must prevail.

Dick Estcourt was beloved by Steele, who thus introduces him in the
_Spectator_, No. 358: "The best man that I know of for heightening
the real gaiety of a company is Estcourt, whose jovial humour diffuses
itself from the highest person at an entertainment to the meanest
waiter. Merry tales, accompanied with apt gestures and lively
representations of circumstances and persons, beguile the gravest mind
into a consent to be as humorous as himself. Add to this, that when a
man is in his good graces, he has a mimicry that does not debase the
person he represents, but which, taken from the gravity of the
character, adds to the agreeableness of it."

Then, in the _Spectator_, No. 264, we find a letter from Sir Roger de
Coverley, from Coverley, "To Mr. Estcourt, at his House in Covent
Garden," addressing him as "Old Comical One," and acknowledging "the
hogsheads of neat port came safe," and hoping next term to help fill
Estcourt's Bumper "with our people of the Club." The Bumper was the
tavern in Covent Garden, which Estcourt opened about a year before his
death. In this quality Parnell speaks of him in the beginning of one
of his poems:--

     "Gay Bacchus liking Estcourt's wine
       A noble meal bespoke us,
     And for the guests that were to dine
       Brought Comus, Love, and Jocus."

The _Spectator_ delivers this merited eulogy of the player, just prior
to his benefit at the theatre: "This pleasant fellow gives one some
idea of the ancient Pantomime, who is said to have given the audience
in dumb-show, an exact idea of any character or passion, or an
intelligible relation of any public occurrence, with no other
expression than that of his looks and gestures. If all who have been
obliged to these talents in Estcourt will be at _Love for Love_
to-morrow night, they will but pay him what they owe him, at so easy
a rate as being present at a play which nobody would omit seeing, that
had, or had not, ever seen it before."

Then, in the _Spectator_, No. 468, August 27, 1712, with what touching
pathos does Steele record the last exit of this choice spirit: "I am
very sorry that I have at present a circumstance before me which is of
very great importance to all who have a relish for gaiety, wit, mirth,
or humour: I mean the death of poor Dick Estcourt. I have been obliged
to him for so many hours of jollity, that it is but a small
recompense, though all I can give him, to pass a moment or two in
sadness for the loss of so agreeable a man.... Poor Estcourt! Let the
vain and proud be at rest, thou wilt no more disturb their admiration
of their dear selves; and thou art no longer to drudge in raising the
mirth of stupids, who know nothing of thy merit, for thy maintenance."
Having spoken of him "as a companion and a man qualified for
conversation,"--his fortune exposing him to an obsequiousness towards
the worst sort of company, but his excellent qualities rendering him
capable of making the best figure in the most refined, and then having
told of his maintaining "his good humour with a countenance or a
language so delightful, without offence to any person or thing upon
earth, still preserving the distance his circumstances obliged him
to,"--Steele concludes with, "I say, I have seen him do all this in
such a charming manner, that I am sure none of those I hint at will
read this, without giving him some sorrow for their abundant mirth,
and one gush of tears for so many bursts of laughter. I wish it were
any honour to the pleasant creature's memory, that my eyes are too
much suffused to let me go on----" We agree with Leigh Hunt that
Steele's "overfineness of nature was never more beautifully evinced in
any part of his writings than in this testimony to the merits of poor
Dick Estcourt."

Ned Ward, in his _Secret History of Clubs_, first edition, 1709,
describes the Beef-steaks, which he coarsely contrasts with "the
refined wits of the Kit-Cat." This new Society griliado'd beef eaters
first settled their meeting at the sign of the Imperial Phiz, just
opposite to a famous conventicle in the Old Jury, a publick-house that
has been long eminent for the true British quintessence of malt and
hops, and a broiled sliver off the juicy rump of a fat, well-fed
bullock.... This noted boozing ken, above all others in the City, was
chosen out by the Rump-steak admirers, as the fittest mansion to
entertain the Society, and to gratify their appetites with that
particular dainty they desired to be distinguished by. [The Club met
at the place appointed, and chose for a Prolocutor, an Irish
comedian.] No sooner had they confirmed their Hibernian mimic in his
honourable post, but to distinguish him from the rest, they made him a
Knight of St. Lawrence, and hung a silver (?) gridiron about his neck,
as a badge of the dignity they had conferred upon him, that when he
sung _Pretty Parrot_, he might thrum upon the bars of his new
instrument, and mimic a haughty Spaniard serenading his Donna with
guitar and madrigal. The Zany, as proud of his new fangle as a German
mountebank of a prince's medal, when he was thus dignified and
distinguished with his culinary symbol hanging before his breast, took
the highest post of honour, as his place at the board, where, as soon
as seated, there was not a bar in the silver kitchen-stuff that the
Society had presented him with, but was presently handled with a
theatrical pun, or an Irish witticism.... Orders were dispatched to
the superintendent of the kitchen to provide several nice specimens of
their Beef-steak cookery, some with the flavour of a shalot or onion;
some broil'd, some fry'd, some stew'd, some toasted, and others
roasted, that every judicious member of the new erected Club might
appeal to his palate, and from thence determine whether the house they
had chosen for their rendezvous truly deserved that public fame for
their inimitable management of a bovinary sliver, which the world had
given them.... When they had moderately supplied their beef stomachs,
they were all highly satisfy'd with the choice they had made, and from
that time resolved to repeat their meeting once a week in the same
place." At the next meeting the constitution and bye-laws of the new
little commonwealth were settled; and for the further encouragement of
wit and pleasantry throughout the whole Society, there was provided a
very voluminous paper book, "about as thick as a bale of Dutch linen,
into which were to be entered every witty saying that should be spoke
in the Society:" this nearly proved a failure; but Ward gives a taste
of the performances by reciting some that had been stolen out of their
Journal by a false Brother; here is one:--


     "Most noble creature of the horned race,
     Who labours at the plough to earn thy grass,
     And yielding to the yoke, shows man the way
     To bear his servile chains, and to obey
     More haughty tyrants, who usurp the sway.
     Thy sturdy sinews till the farmer's grounds,
     To thee the grazier owes his hoarded pounds:
     'Tis by thy labour, we abound in malt,
     Whose powerful juice the meaner slaves exalt;
     And when grown fat, and fit to be devour'd,
     The pole-ax frees thee from the teazing goard:
     Thus cruel man, to recompense thy pains,
     First works thee hard, and then beats out thy brains."

Ward is very hard upon the Kit-Cat community, and tells us that the
Beef-steaks, "like true Britons, to show their resentment in contempt
of Kit-Cat pies, very justly gave the preference to a rump-steak, most
wisely agreeing that the venerable word, beef, gave a more masculine
grace, and sounded better in the title of a true English Club, than
either Pies or Kit-Cat; and that a gridiron, which has the honour to
be made the badge of a Saint's martyrdom, was a nobler symbol of their
Christian integrity, than two or three stars or garters; who learnedly
recollecting how great an affinity the word bull has to beef, they
thought it very consistent with the constitution of their Society,
instead of a Welsh to have a Hibernian secretary. Being thus fixed to
the great honour of a little alehouse, next door to the Church, and
opposite to the Meeting, they continued to meet for some time; till
their fame spreading over all the town, and reaching the ears of the
great boys and little boys, as they came in the evening from Merchant
Taylors' School, they could not forbear hollowing as they passed the
door; and being acquainted with their nights of meeting, they seldom
failed, when the divan was sitting, of complimenting their ears with
'Huzza! Beef-steak!'--that they might know from thence, how much they
were reverenced for men of learning by the very school-boys."

"But the modest Club," says Ward, "not affecting popularity, and
choosing rather to be deaf to all public flatteries, thought it an act
of prudence to adjourn from thence into a place of obscurity, where
they might feast knuckle-deep in luscious gravy, and enjoy themselves
free from the noisy addresses of the young scholastic rabble; so that
now, whether they have healed the breach, and are again returned into
the Kit-Cat community, from whence it is believed, upon some disgust,
they at first separated, or whether, like the Calves' Head Club they
remove from place to place, to prevent discovery, I sha'n't presume to
determine; but at the present, like Oates's army of pilgrims, in the
time of the plot, though they are much talk'd of they are difficult to
be found." The "Secret history" concludes with an address to the Club,
from which these are specimen lines:

     "Such strenuous lines, so cheering, soft, and sweet,
     That daily flow from your conjunctive wit,
     Proclaim the power of Beef, that noble meat.
     Your tuneful songs such deep impression make,
     And of such awful, beauteous strength partake,
     Each stanza seems an ox, each line a steak.
     As if the rump in slices, broil'd or stew'd
     In its own gravy, till divinely good,
     Turned all to powerful wit, as soon as chew'd.

            *       *       *       *       *

     To grind thy gravy out their jaws employ,
     O'er heaps of reeking steaks express their joy,
     And sing of Beef as Homer did of Troy."

We shall now more closely examine the origin and history of the
Sublime Society of the Steaks, which has its pedigree, its ancestry,
and its title-deeds. The gridiron of 1735 is the real gridiron on
which its first steak was broiled. Henry Rich (Lun, the first
Harlequin) was the founder, to whom Garrick thus alludes in a prologue
to the Irish experiment of a speaking pantomime:

     "When Lun appeared, with matchless art and whim,
     He gave the power of speech to every limb.

     Though masked and mute conveyed his true intent,
     And told in frolic gestures what he meant;
     But now the motley coat and sword of wood,
     Require a tongue to make them understood."

There is a letter extant, written by Nixon, the treasurer, probably to
some artist, granting permission by the Beef-steak Society "to copy
the original gridiron, and I have wrote on the other side of this
sheet a note to Mr. White, at the Bedford, to introduce you to our
room for the purpose making your drawing. The first spare moment I can
take from my business shall be employed in making a short statement of
the rise and establishment of the Beef-steak Society."

Rich, in 1732, left the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre for Covent
Garden, the success of the _Beggars' Opera_ having "made Gay rich and
Rich gay." He was accustomed to arrange the comic business and
construct the models of tricks for his pantomimes in his private room
at Covent Garden. Here resorted men of rank and wit, for Rich's
colloquial oddities were much relished. Thither came Mordaunt, Earl of
Peterborough, the friend of Pope, and thus commemorated by Swift:

     "Mordanto fills the trump of fame;
     The Christian world his death proclaim;
     And prints are crowded with his name.
     In journeys he outrides the post;
     Sits up till midnight with his host;
     Talks politics, and gives the toast,
     A skeleton in outward figure;
     His meagre corpse, though full of vigour,
     Would halt behind him, were it bigger,
     So wonderful his expedition;
     When you have not the least suspicion,
     He's with you, like an apparition:
     Shines in all climates like a star;
     In senates bold, and fierce in war;
     A land-commandant, and a tar."

He was then advanced in years, and one afternoon stayed, talking with
Rich about his tricks and transformations, and listening to his
agreeable talk, until Rich's dinner-hour, two o'clock, had arrived. In
all these colloquies with his visitors, whatever their rank, Rich
never neglected his art. Upon one occasion, accident having detained
the Earl's coach later than usual, he found Rich's chat so agreeable,
that he was quite unconscious it was two o'clock in the afternoon;
when he observed Rich spreading a cloth, then coaxing his fire into a
clear cooking flame, and proceeding, with great gravity, to cook his
own beef-steak on his own gridiron. The steak sent up a most inviting
incense, and my Lord could not resist Rich's invitation to partake of
it. A further supply was sent for; and a bottle or two of good wine
from a neighbouring tavern prolonged their enjoyment to a late hour.
But so delighted was the old Peer with the entertainment, that, on
going away, he proposed renewing it at the same place and hour, on the
Saturday following. He was punctual to his engagement, and brought
with him three or four friends, "men of wit and pleasure about town,"
as M. Bouges would call them; and so truly festive was the meeting
that it was proposed a Saturday's club should be held there, whilst
the town remained full. A sumptuary law, even at this early period of
the Society, restricted the bill of fare to beef-steaks, and the
beverage to port-wine and punch.

However, the origin of the Society is related _with a difference_.
Edwards, in his _Anecdotes of Painting_, relates that Lambert, many
years principal scene-painter at Covent Garden Theatre, received, in
his painting-room, persons of rank and talent; where, as he could not
leave for dinner, he frequently was content with a steak, which he
himself broiled upon the fire in his room. Sometimes the visitors
partook of the hasty meal, and out of this practice grew the
Beef-steak Society, and the assembling in the painting-room. The
members were afterwards accommodated with a room in the playhouse; and
when the Theatre was rebuilt, the place of meeting was changed to the
Shakespeare Tavern, where was the portrait of Lambert, painted by
Hudson, Sir Joshua Reynolds's master.

In the _Connoisseur_, June 6th, 1754, we read of the Society,
"composed of the most ingenious artists in the Kingdom," meeting
"every Saturday in a noble room at the top of Covent Garden Theatre,"
and never suffering "any diet except Beef-steaks to appear. These,
indeed, are most glorious examples: but what, alas! are the weak
endeavours of a few to oppose the daily inroads of fricassees and

However, the apartments in the theatre appropriated to the Society
varied. Thus, we read of a painting-room even with the stage over the
kitchen, which was under part of the stage nearest Bow-street. At one
period, the Society dined in a small room over the passage of the
theatre. The steaks were dressed in the same room, and when they found
it too hot, a curtain was drawn between the company and the fire.

We shall now glance at the celebrities who came to the painting-room
in the Lincoln's Inn Fields theatre, and the later locations of the
Club, in Covent Garden. To the former came Hogarth and his
father-in-law, Sir James Thornhill, stimulated by their love of the
painter's art, and the equally potent charm of conviviality.

Churchill was introduced to the Steaks by his friend Wilkes; but his
irregularities were too much for the Society, which was by no means
particular; his desertion of his wife brought a hornets' swarm about
him, so that he soon resigned, to avoid the disgrace of expulsion.
Churchill attributed this flinging of the first stone to Lord
Sandwich; he never forgave the peccant Peer, but put him into the
pillory of his fierce satire, which has outlived most of his other
writings, and here it is:

     "From his youth upwards to the present day,
     When vices more than years have made him grey;
     When riotous excess with wasteful hand
     Shakes life's frail glass, and hastes each ebbing sand;
     Unmindful from what stock he drew his birth,
     Untainted with one deed of real worth--
     Lothario, holding honour at no price,
     Folly to folly, added vice to vice,
     Wrought sin with greediness, and courted shame
     With greater zeal than good men seek for fame."

Churchill, in a letter to Wilkes, says, "Your friends at the
Beef-steak inquired after you last Saturday with the greatest zeal,
and it gave me no small pleasure that I was the person of whom the
inquiry was made." Charles Price was allowed to be one of the most
witty of the Society, and it is related that he and Churchill kept the
table in a roar.

Formerly, the members wore a blue coat, with red cape and cuffs;
buttons with the initials B. S.; and behind the President's chair was
placed the Society's halbert, which, with the gridiron, was found
among the rubbish after the Covent Garden fire.

Mr. Justice Welsh was frequently chairman at the Beef-steak dinner.
Mrs. Nollekens, his daughter, acknowledges that she often dressed a
hat for the purpose, with ribbons similar to those worn by the yeomen
of the guard. The Justice was a loyal man, but discontinued his
membership when Wilkes joined the Society; though the latter was _the_
man at the Steaks.

To the Steaks Wilkes sent a copy of his infamous _Essay on Women_,
first printed for private circulation; for which Lord Sandwich--Jemmy
Twitcher--himself, as we have seen, a member of the Society--moved in
the House of the Lords that Wilkes should be taken into custody; a
piece of treason as the act of one brother of the Steaks against
another, fouler than even the trick of "dirty Kidgell," the parson,
who, as a friend of the author, got a copy of the Essay from the
printer, and then felt it his duty to denounce the publication; he had
been encouraged to inform against Wilkes's Essay by the Earl of March,
afterwards Duke of Queensberry. However, Jemmy Twitcher himself was
expelled by the Steaks the same year he assailed Wilkes for the Essay;
the grossness and blasphemy of the poem disgusted the Society; and
Wilkes never dined there after 1763; yet, when he went to France, they
hypocritically made him an honorary member.

Garrick was an honoured member of the Steaks; though he did not affect
Clubs. The Society possess a hat and sword which David wore, probably
on the night when he stayed so long with the Steaks, and had to play
Ranger, at Drury-lane. The pit grew restless, the gallery bawled
"Manager, manager!" Garrick had been sent for to Covent Garden, where
the Steaks then dined. Carriages blocked up Russell-street, and he had
to thread his way between them; as he came panting into the theatre,
"I think, David," said Ford, one of the anxious patentees,
"considering the stake you and I have in this house, you might pay
more attention to the business."--"True, my good friend," returned
Garrick, "but I was thinking of my steak in the other house."

Many a reconciliation of parted friends has taken place at this Club.
Peake, in his _Memoirs of the Colman Family_, thus refers to a
reconciliation between Garrick and Colman the elder, through the
Sublime Society:--

"Whether Mr. Clutterbuck or other friends interfered to reconcile the
two dramatists, or whether the considerations of mutual interest may
not in a great measure have aided in healing the breach between Colman
and Garrick, is not precisely to be determined; but it would appear,
from the subjoined short note from Garrick, that Colman must have made
some overture to him.

"'My dear Colman,--Becket has been with me, and tells me of your
friendly intentions towards me. I should have been beforehand with
you, had I not been ill with the beefsteaks and arrack punch last
Saturday, and was obliged to leave the play-house.

     "'He that parts us shall bring a brand from Heav'n,
     And fire us hence.'

  "'Ever yours, old and new friend,
     "'D. GARRICK.'"

The beef-steaks, arrack punch, and Saturday, all savour very strongly
of a visit to the Sublime Society held at that period in Covent Garden
Theatre, where many a clever fellow has had his diaphragm disordered,
before that time and since. Whoever has had the pleasure to join
their convivial board; to witness the never-failing good-humour which
predominates there; to listen to the merry songs, and to the sparkling
repartee; and to experience the hearty welcome and marked attention
paid to visitors, could never have cause to lament, as Garrick has
done, a trifling illness the following day. There must have been
originally a wise and simple code of laws, which could have held
together a convivial meeting for so lengthened a period.

Garrick had no slight tincture of vanity, and was fond of accusing
himself, in the Chesterfield phrase, of the cardinal virtues. Having
remarked at the Steaks that he had so large a mass of manuscript plays
submitted to him, that they were constantly liable to be mislaid, he
observed that, unpleasant as it was to reject an author's piece, it
was an affront to his feelings if it could not be instantly found; and
that for this reason he made a point of ticketing and labelling the
play that was to be returned, that it might be forthcoming at a
moment. "A fig for your hypocrisy," exclaimed Murphy across the table;
"you know, Davy, you mislaid my tragedy two months ago, and I make no
doubt you have lost it."--"Yes," replied Garrick; "but you forgot, you
ungrateful dog, that I offered you more than its value, for you might
have had two manuscript farces in its stead." This is the right
paternity of an anecdote often told of other parties.

Jack Richards, a well-known presbyter of the Society, unless when the
"fell serjeant," the gout, had arrested him, never absented himself
from its board. He was recorder, and there is nothing in comedy equal
to his passing sentence on those who had offended against the rules
and observances of the Society. Having put on Garrick's hat, he
proceeded to inflict a long, wordy harangue upon the culprit, who
often endeavoured most unavailingly to stop him. Nor was it possible
to see when he meant to stop. But the imperturbable gravity with which
Jack performed his office, and the fruitless writhings of the luckless
being on whom the shower of his rhetoric was discharged, constituted
the amusement of the scene. There was no subject upon which Jack's
exuberance of talk failed him; yet, in that stream of talk there was
never mingled one drop of malignity, nor of unkind censure upon the
erring or unhappy. He would as soon adulterate his glass of port-wine
with water, as dash that honest though incessant prattle with one
malevolent or ungenerous remark.

William Linley, the brother of Mrs. Sheridan, charmed the Society with
his pure, simple English song: in a melody of Arne's, or of Jackson's
of Exeter, or a simple air of his father's, he excelled to
admiration,--faithful to the characteristic chastity of the style of
singing peculiar to the Linley family. Linley had not what is called a
fine voice, and port-wine and late nights did not improve his organ;
but you forgot the deficiencies of his power, in the spirit and taste
of his manner. He wrote a novel in three volumes, which was so
schooled by the Steaks that he wrote no more: when the agony of
wounded authorship was over, he used to exclaim to his tormentors:--

     "This is no flattery; these are the counsellors
     That feelingly persuade me what I am."

His merciless Zoilus brought a volume of the work in his pocket, and
read a passage of it aloud. Yet, Linley never betrayed the irritable
sulkiness of a roasted author, but took the pleasantries that played
around him with imperturbable good-humour: he laughed heartily at his
own platitudes, and thus the very martyr of the joke became its
auxiliary. Linley is said to have furnished Moore, for his _Life of
Sheridan_, with the common-place books in which his brother-in-law was
wont to deposit his dramatic sketches, and to bottle up the jokes he
had collected for future use; but many pleasantries of Sheridan were
deeply engraved on his recollection because they had been practised
upon himself, or upon his brother Hozy (as Sheridan called him), who
was an unfailing butt, when he was disposed to amuse himself with a
practical jest.

Another excellent brother was Dick Wilson, whose volcanic complexion
had for many years been assuming deeper and deeper tints of carnation
over the port-wine of the Society. Dick was a wealthy solicitor, and
many years Lord Eldon's "port-wine-loving secretary." His fortunes
were very singular. He was first steward and solicitor, and afterwards
residuary legatee, of Lord Chedworth. He is said to have owed the
favour of this eccentric nobleman to the legal acumen he displayed at
a Richmond water-party. A pleasant lawn, under a spreading beech-tree
in one of Mr. Cambridge's meadows, was selected for the dinner; but on
pulling to the shore, behold a board in the tree proclaiming, "All
persons landing and dining here will be prosecuted according to law."
Dick Wilson contended that the prohibition clearly applied only to the
joint act of "landing and dining" at the particular spot. If the party
landed a few yards lower down, and then dined under the tree, only one
member of the condition would be broken; which would be no legal
infringement, as the prohibition--being of two acts, linked by a
copulative--was not severable. This astute argument carried the day.
The party dined under Mr. Cambridge's beech-tree, and, it is presumed,
were not "prosecuted according to law." At all events, Lord Chedworth,
who was one of the diners, was so charmed with Dick's ready
application of his law to practice, that he committed to him the
management of his large and accumulating property.

Dick stood the fire of the Steaks with good humour; but he was
sometimes unmercifully roasted. He had just returned from Paris, when
Arnold, with great dexterity, drew him into some Parisian details,
with great glee; for Dick was entirely innocent of the French
language. Thus, in enumerating the dishes at a French table, he
thought the _boulevards_ delicious; when Cobbe called out, "Dick, it
was well they did not serve you at the Palais Royal for sauce to your
_boulevards_." The _riz de veau_ he called a _rendezvous_; and he
could not bear partridges served up _in shoes_; and once, intending to
ask for a pheasant, he desired the waiter to bring him a _paysanne_!
Yet, Dick was shrewd: calling one day upon Cobbe at the India House,
Dick was left to himself for a few minutes, when he was found by
Cobbe, on his return, exploring a map of Asia suspended on the wall:
he was measuring the scale of it with compasses, and then applying
them to a large tiger, which the artist had introduced as one of the
animals of the country. "By heavens, Cobbe," exclaimed Dick, "I should
never have believed it! Surely, it must be a mistake. Observe
now--here," pointing to the tiger, "here is a tiger that measures
two-and-twenty leagues. By heavens, it is scarcely credible."

Another of the noteworthy Steaks was "Old Walsh," commonly called
"the Gentle Shepherd:" he began life as a servant of the celebrated
Lord Chesterfield, and accompanied his natural son, Philip Stanhope,
on the grand tour, as valet: after this he was made a Queen's
messenger, and subsequently a Commissioner of Customs; he was a
good-natured butt for the Society's jokes. Rowland Stephenson, the
banker, was another Beef-Steaker, then respected for his clear head
and warm heart, years before he became branded as a forger. At the
same table was a capitalist of very high character--William Joseph
Denison, who sat many years in Parliament for Surrey, and died a
_millionnaire_: he was a man of cultivated tastes, and long enjoyed
the circle of the Steaks.

We have seen how the corner-stone of the sublime Society was laid. The
gridiron upon which Rich had broiled his solitary steak, being
insufficient in a short time for the supernumerary guests, the
gridiron was enshrined as one of the tutelary and household emblems of
the Club. Fortunately, it escaped the fire which consumed Covent
Garden Theatre in 1808, when the valuable stock of wine of the Club
shared the fate of the building; but _the gridiron was saved_. "In
that fire, alas!" says the author of _The Clubs of London_, "perished
the original archives of the Society. The lovers of wit and pleasantry
have much to deplore in that loss, inasmuch as not only the names of
many of the early members are irretrievably gone, but what is more to
be regretted, some of their happiest effusions; for it was then
customary to register in the weekly records anything of striking
excellence that had been hit off in the course of the evening. This,
however, is certain, that the Beaf-steaks, from its foundation to the
present hour, has been--

                   "'native to famous wits
     Or hospitable.'

That, as guests or members, persons distinguished for rank, and social
and convivial powers, have, through successive generations, been
seated at its festive board--Bubb Dodington, Aaron Hill; Hoadley,
author of _The Suspicious Husband_, and Leonidas Glover, are only a
few names snatched from its early list. Sir Peere Williams, a
gentleman of high birth and fashion, who had already shone in
Parliament, was of the Club. Then came the days of Lord Sandwich,
Wilkes, Bonnell Thornton, Arthur Murphy, Churchill, and Tickell. This
is generally quoted as the golden period of the Society." Then there
were the Colmans and Garrick; and John Beard, the singer, was
president of the Club in 1784.

The number of the Steaks was increased from twenty-four to
twenty-five, in 1785, to admit the Prince of Wales, an event of
sufficient moment to find record in the _Annual Register_ of the year:
"On Saturday, the 14th of May, the Prince of Wales was admitted a
member of the Beaf-steak Club. His Royal Highness having signified his
wish of belonging to that Society, and there not being a vacancy, it
was proposed to make him an honorary member; but that being declined
by His Royal Highness, it was agreed to increase the number from
twenty-four to twenty-five, in consequence of which His Royal Highness
was unanimously elected. The Beaf-steak Club has been instituted just
fifty years, and consists of some of the most classical and sprightly
wits in the Kingdom." It is curious to find the Society here termed a
Club, contrary to its desire, for it stickled much for the

Arthur Murphy, the dramatist, John Kemble, the Dukes of Clarence and
of Sussex, were also of the Steaks: these princes were both attached
to the theatre; the latter to one of its brightest ornaments, Dorothy

Charles, Duke of Norfolk, was another celebrity of the Steaks, and
frequently met here the Prince of Wales. The Duke was a great
gourmand, and, it is said, used to eat his dish of fish at a
neighbouring tavern--the Piazza, or the Grand--and then join the
Steaks. His _fidus Achates_ was Charles Morris, the laureate-lyrist of
the Steaks. Their attachment was unswerving, notwithstanding it has
been impeached. The poet kept better hours than his ducal friend: one
evening, Morris having left the dinner-table early, a friend gave some
significant hints as to the improvement of Morris's fortunes: the Duke
grew generous over his wine, and promised; the performance came, and
Morris lived to the age of ninety-three, to enjoy the realization.

The Duke took the chair when the cloth was removed. It was a place of
dignity, elevated some steps above the table, and decorated with the
insignia of the Society, amongst which was suspended Garrick's
_Ranger_ hat. As the clock struck five, a curtain drew up, discovering
the kitchen, in which the cooks were seen at work, through a sort of
grating, with this inscription from Macbeth:--

     "If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well
     It were done quickly."

The steaks themselves were in the finest order, and in devouring them
no one surpassed His Grace of Norfolk: two or three steaks, fragrant
from the gridiron, vanished, and when his labours were thought to be
over, he might be seen rubbing a clean plate with a shalot for the
reception of another. A pause of ten minutes ensued, and His Grace
rested upon his knife and fork: he was tarrying for a steak from the
middle of the rump of beef, where lurks a fifth essence, the perfect
ideal of tenderness and flavour. The Duke was an enormous eater. He
would often eat between three and four pounds of beaf-steak; and after
that take a Spanish onion and beet-root, chop them together with oil
and vinegar, and eat them. After dinner, the Duke was ceremoniously
ushered to the chair, and invested with an orange-coloured ribbon, to
which a small silver gridiron[12] was appended. In the chair he
comported himself with urbanity and good humour. Usually, the
President was the target, at which all the jests and witticisms were
fired, but moderately; for though a characteristic equality reigned at
the Steaks, the influences of rank and station were felt there, and
courtesy stole insensibly upon those who at other times were merciless
assailants on the chair. The Duke's conversation abounded with
anecdote, terseness of phrase, and evidence of extensive reading,
which were rarely impaired by the sturdy port-wine of the Society.
Charles Morris, the Bard of the Club, sang one or two of his own
songs, the quintessence of convivial mirth and fancy; at nine o'clock
the Duke quitted the chair, and was succeeded by Sir John Hippisley,
who had a terrible time of it: a storm of "arrowy sleet and iron
shower" whistled from all points in his ears: all rules of civilized
warfare seemed suspended, and even the new members tried their first
timid essays upon the Baronet, than whom no man was more prompt to
attack others. He quitted the Society in consequence of an odd
adventure which really happened to him, and which, being related with
malicious fidelity by one of the Steaks, raised such a shout of
laughter at the Baronet's expense that he could no longer bear it.
Here is the story.

Sir John was an intelligent man; Windham used to say of him that he
was very near being a clever man. He was a sort of busy idler; and his
ruling passion was that of visiting remarkable criminals in prison,
and obtaining their histories from their own lips. A murder had been
committed, by one Patch, upon a Mr. Bligh, at Deptford; the evidence
was circumstantial, but the inference of his guilt was almost
irresistible; still many well-disposed persons doubted the man's
guilt, and amongst them was Sir John, who thought the anxiety could
only be relieved by Patch's confession. For this end, Sir John
importuned the poor wretch incessantly, but in vain. Patch persisted
in asserting his innocence, till, wearied with Hippisley's
applications, he assured the Baronet that he would reveal to him, on
the scaffold, all that he knew of Mr. Bligh's death. Flattered with
being made the depository of this mysterious communication, Sir John
mounted the scaffold with Patch, and was seen for some minutes in
close conference with him. It happened that a simple old woman from
the country was in the crowd at the execution. Her eyes, intent upon
the awful scene, were fixed, by an accidental misdirection, upon Sir
John, whom she mistook for the person who was about to be executed;
and not waiting till the criminal was actually turned off, she went
away with the wrong impression; the peculiar face, and above all, the
peculiar nose (a most miraculous organ), of Hippisley, being indelibly
impressed upon her memory. Not many days after, the old lady met Sir
John in Cheapside; the certainty that he was Patch, seized her so
forcibly that she screamed out to the passing crowd, "It's Patch, it's
Patch; I saw him hanged; Heaven deliver me!"--and then fainted. When
this incident was first related at the Steaks, a mock inquest was set
on foot, to decide whether Sir John was Patch or not, and unanimously
decided in the affirmative.

Cobb, Secretary of the East India Company, was another choice spirit
at the Steaks: once, when he filled the vice-chair, he so worried the
poor president, an Alderman, that he exclaimed, "Would to Heaven, I
had another vice-president, so that I had a _gentleman_ opposite to
me!"--"Why should you wish any such thing?" rejoined Cobb; "you cannot
be more opposite to a gentleman than you are at present."

After the fire at Covent Garden, the Sublime Society were
re-established at the Bedford, where they met until Mr. Arnold had
fitted up apartments for their reception in the English Opera House.
The Steaks continued to meet here until the destruction of the Theatre
by fire, in 1830; after which they returned to the Bedford; and, upon
the re-building of the Lyceum Theatre, a dining-room was again
provided for them. "The room they dine in," says Mr. Cunningham, "a
little Escurial in itself, is most appropriately fitted up--the doors,
wainscoting, and roof, of good old English oak, ornamented with
gridirons as thick as Henry the Seventh's Chapel with the portcullis
of the founder. Everything assumes the shape, or is distinguished by
the representation, of their emblematic implement, the gridiron. The
cook is seen at his office through the bars of a spacious gridiron,
and the original gridiron of the Society, (the survivor of two
terrific fires) holds a conspicuous position in the centre of the
ceiling. Every member has the power of inviting a friend." The
portraits of several worthies of the Sublime Society were painted: one
brother "hangs in chain," as Arnold remarked in alluding to the civic
chain in which he is represented; it was in allusion to the toga in
which he is painted, that Brougham, being asked whether he thought it
a likeness, remarked that it could not fail of being like him, "there
was so much of the _fur_ (thief) about it."

The author of the _Clubs of London_, who was a member of the Sublime
Society, describes a right in favouring them, "a brotherhood, a
sentiment of equality. How you would laugh to see the junior member
emerging from the cellar, with half-a-dozen bottles in a basket! I
have seen Brougham employed in this honourable diplomacy, and
executing it with the correctness of a butler. The Duke of Leinster,
in his turn, took the same duty.

"With regard to Brougham, at first sight you would not set him down as
having a natural and prompt alacrity for the style of humour that
prevails amongst us. But Brougham is an excellent member, and is a
remarkable instance of the peculiar influences of this peculiar
Society on the human character. We took him just as the schools of
philosophy, the bar, the senate, had made him. Literary, forensic, and
parliamentary habits are most intractable materials, you will say, to
make a member of the Steaks, yet no man has imbibed more of its
spirit, and he enters its occasional gladiatorship with the greatest

Admirable were the offhand puns and passes, which, though of a legal
character, were played off by Bolland, another member of the Society.
Brougham was putting hypothetically the case of a man convicted of
felony, and duly hanged according to law; but restored to life by
medical appliances; and asked what would be the man's defence if again
brought to trial. "Why," returned Bolland, "it would be for him to
plead _a cord_ and satisfaction." ["Accord and satisfaction" is a
common plea in legal practice.] The same evening were talked over Dean
Swift's ingenious but grotesque puns upon the names of antiquity, such
as Ajax, Archimedes, and others equally well known. Bolland remarked
that when Swift was looking out for those humorous quibbles, it was
singular that it should never have occurred to him that among the
shades that accost Æneas in the sixth book of the Æneid, there was a
Scotchman of the name of Hugh Forbes. Those who had read Virgil began
to stare. "It is quite plain," said Bolland: "the ghost exclaims,
'Olim Euphorbus eram.'"

The following are the first twenty-four names of the Club, copied from
their book:--[13]

     George Lambert.
     John Boson.
     William Hogarth.
     Henry Smart.
     John Rich.
     John Huggins.
     Lacy Ryan.
     Hugh Watson.
     Ebenezer Forrest.
     William Huggins.
     Robert Scott.
     Edmund Tuffnell.
     Thomas Chapman.
     Thomas Salway.
     Dennis Delane.
     Charles Neale.
     John Thornhill.
     Charles Latrobe.
     Francis Niveton.
     Alexander Gordon.
     Sir William Saunderson.
     William Tathall.
     Richard Mitchell.
     Gabriel Hunt.

The following were subsequent members:--

     Francis Hayman.
     Mr. Beard.
     Theo. Cibber.
     Mr. Wilkes.
     Mr. Saunders Welsh.
     Thomas Hudson.
     John Churchill.
     Mr. Williamson.
     Lord Sandwich.
     Prince of Wales.
     Mr. Havard.
     Chas. Price.

In 1805 the members were--

     Sir J. Boyd.
     J. Travanion, jun.
     Earl of Suffolk.
     J. Kemble, expelled for his mode of conduct.
     Prince of Wales.
     Charles Howard, Duke of Norfolk.

November 6th, 1814:--

     Sir J. Scott, Bart.
     T. Scott.
     Duke of Norfolk.
     Duke of Sussex.
     Lord Grantley.
     Peter Moore.
     Dunn, Treasurer of Drury Lane Theatre.

When the Club dined at the Shakspeare, in the room with the Lion's
head over the mantelpiece, these popular actors were members:--

     Irish Johnson.

Formerly, the table-cloths had gridirons in damask on them; their
drinking-glasses bore gridirons; as did the plates also. Among the
presents made to the Society are a punch-ladle, from Barrington
Bradshaw; Sir John Boyd, six spoons; mustard pot, by John Trevanion,
M.P.; two dozen water-plates and eight dishes, given by the Duke of
Sussex; cruet-stand, given by W. Bolland; vinegar-glasses, by Thomas
Scott. Lord Suffolk gave a silver cheese-toaster; toasted or stewed
cheese being the wind-up of the dinner.


[12] At the sale of the curiosities belonging to Mr. Harley, the
comedian, at Gower-street, in November, 1858, a silver gridiron, worn
by a member of the Steaks, was sold for 1_l._ 3_s._

[13] This and the subsequent lists have been printed by Mr. John



Hitherto we have mentioned but incidentally Charles Morris, the Nestor
and the laureate of the Steaks; but he merits fuller record. "Alas!
poor Yorick! we knew him well;" we remember his "political vest," to
which he addressed a sweet lyric--"The Old Whig Poet to his Old Buff
Waistcoat."[14] Nor can we forget his courteous manner and his
gentlemanly pleasantry, and his unflagging cheerfulness, long after he
had retired to enjoy the delights of rural life, despite the early
prayer of his racy verse:--

     "In town let me live then, in town let me die;
     For in truth I can't relish the country, not I.
     If one must have a villa in summer to dwell,
     Oh! give me the sweet shady side of Pall Mall."

This "sweet shady side" has almost disappeared; and of the palace
whereat he was wont to shine, not a trace remains, save the name.
Charles Morris was born of good family, in 1745, and appears to have
inherited a taste for lyric composition; for his father composed the
popular song of _Kitty Crowder_. For half a century, Morris moved in
the first circles of rank and gaiety: he was the "Sun of the table,"
at Carlton House, as well as at Norfolk House; and attaching himself
politically as well as convivially to his table companions, he
composed the celebrated ballads of "Billy's too young to drive us,"
and "Billy Pitt and the Farmer," which were clever satires upon the
ascendant politics of their day. His humorous ridicule of the Tories
was, however, but ill repaid by the Whigs; at least, if we may trust
the Ode to the Buff Waistcoat, written in 1815. His 'Songs Political
and Convivial,' many of which were sung at the Steaks' board, became
very popular. In 1830, we possessed a copy of the 24th edition, with a
portrait of the author, half-masked; one of the ditties was described
to have been "sung by the Prince of Wales to a certain lady," to the
air of "There's a difference between a Beggar and a Queen;" some of
the early songs were condemned for their pruriency, and were omitted
in subsequent editions. His best Anacreontic is the song _Ad Poculum_,
for which Morris received the Gold Cup from the Harmonic Society:

     "Come, thou soul-reviving cup;
         Try thy healing art;
     Stir the fancy's visions up,
         And warm my wasted heart.
     Touch with freshening tints of bliss
         Memory's fading dream.
     Give me, while thy lip I kiss,
         The heaven that's in thy stream.

     As the witching fires of wine
         Pierce through Time's past reign,
     Gleams of joy that once were mine,
         Glimpse back on life again.
     And if boding terrors rise
         O'er my melting mind,
     Hope still starts to clear my eyes,
         And drinks the tear behind.

     Then life's wintry shades new drest,
         Fair as summer seem;
     Flowers I gather from my breast,
         And sunshine from the stream.
     As the cheering goblets pass,
         Memory culls her store;
     Scatters sweets around my glass,
         And prompts my thirst for more.

     Far from toils the great and grave
         To proud ambition give,
     My little world kind Nature gave,
         And simply bade me live.
     On me she fix'd an humble art,
         To deck the Muse's groves,
     And on the nerve that twines my heart
         The touch of deathless love.

     Then, rosy god, this night let me
         Thy cheering magic share;
     Again let hope-fed Fancy see
         Life's picture bright and fair.
     Oh! steal from care my heart away,
         To sip thy healing spring;
     And let me taste that bliss to-day
         To-morrow may not bring."

The friendship of the Duke of Norfolk and Charles Morris extended far
beyond the Steaks meetings; and the author of the _Clubs of London_
tells us by what means the Duke's regard took a more permanent form.
It appears that John Kemble had sat very late at one of the night
potations at Norfolk House. Charles Morris had just retired, and a
very small party remained in the dining-room, when His Grace of
Norfolk began to deplore, somewhat pathetically, the smallness of the
stipend upon which poor Charles was obliged to support his family;
observing, that it was a discredit to the age, that a man, who had so
long gladdened the lives of so many titled and opulent associates,
should be left to struggle with the difficulties of an inadequate
income at a time of life when he had no reasonable hope of augmenting
it. Kemble listened with great attention to the Duke's _jeremiade_;
but after a slight pause, his feelings getting the better of his
deference, he broke out thus, in a tone of peculiar emphasis:--"And
does your Grace sincerely lament the destitute condition of your
friend, with whom you have passed so many agreeable hours? Your Grace
has described that condition most feelingly. But is it possible, that
the greatest Peer of the realm, luxuriating amidst the prodigalities
of fortune, should lament the distress which he does not relieve? the
empty phrase of benevolence--the mere breath and vapour of generous
sentiment, become no man; they certainly are unworthy of your Grace.
Providence, my Lord Duke, has placed you in a station where the wish
to do good and the doing it are the same thing. An annuity from your
overflowing coffers, or a small nook of land, clipped from your
unbounded domains, would scarcely be felt by your Grace; but you would
be repaid, my Lord, with usury;--with tears of grateful joy; with
prayers warm from a bosom which your bounty will have rendered happy."

Such was the substance of Kemble's harangue. Jack Bannister used to
relate the incident, by ingeniously putting the speech into blank
verse, or rather the species of prose into which Kemble's phraseology
naturally fell when he was highly animated. But, however expressed, it
produced its effect. For though the Duke (the night was pretty far
gone, and several bottles had been emptied) said nothing at the time,
but stared with some astonishment at so unexpected a lecture; not a
month elapsed before Charles Morris was invested with a beautiful
retreat at Brockham, in Surrey, upon the bank of the river Mole, and
at the foot of the noble range of which Box Hill forms the most
picturesque point.

The Duke went to his rest in 1815. Morris continued to be the laureate
of the Steaks until the year 1831, when he thus bade adieu to the
Society in his eighty-sixth year:--

     "Adieu to the world! where I gratefully own,
     Few men more delight or more comfort have known:
     To an age far beyond mortal lot have I trod
     The path of pure health, that best blessing of God;
     And so mildly devout Nature temper'd my frame,
     Holy patience still sooth'd when Adversity came;
     Thus with mind ever cheerful, and tongue never tired,
     I sung the gay strains these sweet blessings inspired;
     And by blending light mirth with a moral-mix'd stave,
     Won the smile of the gay and the nod of the grave.
     But at length the dull languor of mortal decay
     Throws a weight on its spirit too light for its clay;
     And the fancy, subdued, as the body's opprest,
     Resigns the faint flights that scarce wake in the breast.
     A painful memento that man's not to play
     A game of light folly through Life's sober day;
     A just admonition, though view'd with regret,
     Still blessedly offer'd, though thanklessly met.
     Too long, I perhaps, like the many who stray,
     Have upheld the gay themes of the Bacchanal's day;
     But at length Time has brought, what it ever will bring,
     A shade that excites more to sigh than to sing.
     In this close of Life's chapter, ye high-favour'd few,
     Take my Muse's last tribute--this painful adieu!
     Take my wish, that your bright social circle on earth
     For ever may flourish in concord and mirth;
     For the long years of joy I have shared at your board,
     Take the thanks of my heart--where they long have been stored;
     And remember, when Time tolls my last passing knell,
     The 'old bard' dropp'd a tear, and then bade ye--Farewell!"

In 1835, however, Morris revisited the Society, who then presented him
with a large silver bowl, appropriately inscribed, as a testimonial of
their affectionate esteem; and the venerable bard thus addressed the

     "Well, I'm come, my dear friends, your kind wish to obey,
     And drive, by light mirth, all Life's shadows away;
     And turn the heart's sighs to the throbbings of joy,
     And a grave aged man to a merry old boy.
     'Tis a bold transformation, a daring design,
     And not past the power of Friendship and Wine;
     And I trust that e'en yet this warm mixture will raise
     A brisk spark of light o'er the shade of my days."

Shortly after this effusion, he thus alluded to the treasured gift of
the Society:--

     "When my spirits are low, for relief and delight,
     I still place your splendid Memorial in sight;
     And call to my Muse, when care strives to pursue,
     'Bring the Steaks to my Memory and the Bowl to my view.'
     When brought, at its sight all the _blue devils_ fly,
     And a world of gay visions rise bright to my eye;
     Cold Fear shuns the cup where warm Memory flows;
     And Grief, shamed by Joy, hides his budget of Woes.
     'Tis a pure holy fount, where for ever I find
     A sure double charm for the Body and Mind;
     For I feel while I'm cheer'd by the drop that I lift,
     I'm Blest by the Motive that hallows the Gift."

How nicely tempered is this chorus to our Bard's "Life's a Fable:"--

     "Then roll along, my lyric song;
       It seasons well the table,
     And tells a truth to Age and Youth,
       That Life's a fleeting fable.

            *       *       *       *       *

     Thus Mirth and Woe the brighter show
       From rosy wine's reflection;
     From first to last, this truth hath past--
       'Twas made for Care's correction.
     Now what those think who water drink,
       Of these old rules of Horace,
     I sha'n't now show; but this I know,
       His rules do well for _Morris_.
     Old Horace, when he dipp'd his pen,
       'Twas wine he had resort to;
     He chose for use Falernian juice,
       As I choose old Oporto;
     At every bout an ode came out,
       Yet Bacchus kept him twinkling;
     As well aware more fire was there,
       Which wanted but the sprinkling."

            *       *       *       *       *

At Brockham, Morris "drank the pure pleasures of the rural life" long
after many a gay light of his own time had flickered out, and become
almost forgotten. At length, his course ebbed away, July 11, 1838, in
his ninety-third year; his illness, which was only of four days, was
internal inflammation. The attainment of so great an age, and the
recollection of Morris's associations, show him to have presented a
rare combination of mirth and prudence. He retained his _gaîté de
coeur_ to the last; so that with equal truth he remonstrated:

     "When Life charms my heart, must I kindly be told,
     I'm too gay and too happy for one that's so old?"

The venerable Bard's remains rest near the east end of his parish
church of Betchworth, in the burial-ground: the grave is simply marked
by a head and foot-stone, with an inscription of three or four lines:
he who had sung the praises of so many choice spirits, has not here a
stanza to his own memory: such is, to some extent, the natural
_sequitur_ with men who outlive their companions. Morris was staid and
grave in his general deportment. Moore, in his _Diary_, has this odd
note: "Linley describes Colman at the Beefsteak Club quite drunk,
making extraordinary noise while Captain Morris was singing, which
disconcerted the latter (who, strange to say, is a very grave, steady
person) considerably." Yet, Morris could unbend, with great simplicity
and feeling. We have often met him, in his patriarchal "blue and buff"
(blue coat and buff waistcoat), in his walks about the lovely country
in which he resided. Coming, one day, into the bookseller's shop, at
Dorking, there chanced to be deposited a pianoforte; when the old Bard
having looked around him, to see there were no strangers present, sat
down to the instrument, and played and sang with much spirit the air
of "The girl I left behind me:" yet he was then past his eightieth

Morris's ancient and rightful office at the Steaks was to _make the
punch_, and it was amusing to see him at his laboratory at the
sideboard, stocked with the various products that enter into the
composition of that nectareous mixture: then smacking an elementary
glass or two, and giving a significant nod, the fiat of its
excellence; and what could exceed the ecstasy with which he filled the
glasses that thronged around the bowl; joying over its mantling
beauties, and distributing the fascinating draught

     "That flames and dances in its crystal bound"?

"Well has our laureate earned his wreath," (says the author of _The
Clubs of London_, who was often a participator in these delights). "At
that table his best songs have been sung; for that table his best
songs were written. His allegiance has been undivided. Neither hail,
nor shower, nor snowstorm have kept him away: no engagement, no
invitation seduced him from it. I have seen him there, 'outwatching
the bear,' in his seventy-eighth year; for as yet nature had given no
signal of decay in frame or faculty; but you saw him in a green and
vigorous old age, tripping mirthfully along the downhill of existence,
without languor, or gout, or any of the privileges exacted by time for
the mournful privilege of living. His face is still resplendent with
cheerfulness. 'Die when you will, Charles,' said Curran to him, 'you
will die in your youth.'"


[14] See Century of Anecdote, vol. i. p. 321.


There are other Beef-steak Clubs to be chronicled. Pyne, in his _Wine
and Walnuts_, says: "At the same time the social Club flourished in
England, and about the year 1749, a Beef-steak Club was established at
the Theatre Royal, Dublin, of which the celebrated Mrs. Margaret
Woffington was president. It was begun by Mr. Sheridan, but on a very
different plan to that in London, no theatrical performer, save one
_female_, being admitted; and though called a Club, the manager alone
bore all the expenses. The plan was, by making a list of about fifty
or sixty persons, chiefly noblemen and members of Parliament, who were
invited. Usually about half that number attended, and dined in the
manager's apartment in the theatre. There was no female admitted but
this _Peg Woffington_, so denominated by all her contemporaries, who
was seated in a great chair at the head of the table, and elected
president for the season.

"'It will readily be believed,' says Mr. Victor, in his _History of
the Theatres_, who was joint proprietor of the house, 'that a club
where there were good accommodations, such a _lovely president_, full
of wit and spirit, and _nothing to pay_, must soon grow remarkably
fashionable.' It did so; but we find it subsequently caused the
theatre to be pulled to pieces about the manager's head.

"Mr. Victor says of Mrs. Margaret, 'she possessed captivating charms
as a jovial, witty bottle companion, but few remaining as a mere
female,' We have Dr. Johnson's testimony, however, who had often
gossiped with Mrs. Margaret in the green-room at old Drury, more in
the lady's favour.

"This author (Victor) says, speaking of the Beef-steak Club, 'It was a
club of ancient institution in every theatre; when the principal
performers dined one day in the week together (generally Saturday),
and authors and other geniuses were admitted members.'"

The Club in Ivy-lane, of which Dr. Johnson was a member, was
originally a Beef-steak Club.

There was also a political Club, called "the Rump Steak, or Liberty
Club," in existence in 1733-4. The members were in eager opposition to
Sir Robert Walpole.

At the Bell Tavern, Church-row, Houndsditch, was held the Beef-steak
Club, instituted by Mr. Beard, Mr. Dunstall, Mr. Woodward, Stoppalear,
Bencroft, Gifford, etc.--_See Memoirs of Charles Lee Lewis_, vol. ii.
p. 196.


Covent-Garden has lost many of its houses "studded with anecdote and
history;" and the mutations among what Mr. Thackeray affectionately
called its "rich cluster of brown taverns" are sundry and manifest.
Its coffee-houses proper have almost disappeared, even in name. Yet, in
the last century, in one short street of Covent-Garden--Russell-street--
flourished three of the most celebrated coffee-houses in the
metropolis: Will's, Button's, and Tom's. The reader need not be
reminded of Will's, with Dryden, the _Tatler_ and _Spectator_, and its
wits' room on the first floor; or Button's, with its lion's head
letter-box, and the young poets in the back room. Tom's, No. 17, on
the north side of Russell-street, and of somewhat later date, was
taken down in 1865. The premises remained with little alteration, long
after they ceased to be a coffee-house. It was named after its
original proprietor, Thomas West, who, Nov. 26, 1722, threw himself,
in a delirium, from the second-floor window into the street, and died
immediately (_Historical Register_ for 1722). The upper portion of the
premises was the coffee-house, under which lived T. Lewis, the
bookseller, the original publisher, in 1711, of Pope's _Essay on
Criticism_. The usual frequenters upstairs may be judged of by the
following passage in the _Journey through England_, first edit.,
1714:--"After the play, the best company generally go to Tom's and
Will's coffee-houses, near adjoining, where there is playing at piquet
and the best conversation till midnight. Here you will see blue and
green ribbons, with stars, sitting familiarly and talking with the
same freedom as if they had left their quality and degrees of distance
at home; and a stranger tastes with pleasure the universal liberty of
speech of the English nation. And in all the coffee-houses you have
not only the foreign prints, but several English ones, with the
foreign occurrences, besides papers of morality and party disputes."
Such were the Augustan delights of a memorable coffee-house of the
reign of Queen Anne. Of this period is a recollection of Mr. Grignon,
sen., having seen the "balcony of Tom's crowded with noblemen in their
stars and garters, drinking their tea and coffee exposed to the
people." We find an entry in Walpole's _Letters_, 1745:--"A
gentleman, I don't know who, the other night at Tom's coffee-house,
said, on Lord Baltimore refusing to come into the Admiralty because
Lord Vere Beauclerk had the precedence, 'it put him in mind of
Pinkethman's petition in the _Spectator_, where he complains that
formerly he used to act second chair in "Diocletian," but now he was
reduced to dance fifth flower-pot.'"

In 1764 there appears to have been formed here, by a guinea
subscription, a Club of nearly 700 members--the nobility, foreign
ministers, gentry, and men of genius of the age; the large front room
on the first floor being the card-room. The Club flourished, so that
in 1768, "having considerably enlarged itself of late," Thomas Haines,
the then proprietor, took in the front room of the next house westward
as a coffee-room. The front room of No. 17 was then appropriated
exclusively as a card-room for the subscription club, each member
paying one guinea annually; the adjoining apartment being used as a
conversation-room. The subscription-books are before us, and here we
find in the long list the names of Sir Thomas Robinson, Bart., who was
designated "Long Sir Thomas Robinson," to distinguish him from his
namesake, Sir Thomas Robinson, created Lord Grantham in 1761. "Long
Tom," as the former was familiarly called, was a Commissioner of
Excise and Governor of Barbadoes. He was a sad bore, especially to the
Duke of Newcastle, the minister, who resided in Lincoln's Inn Fields.
However, he gave rise to some smart things. Lord Chesterfield being
asked by the latter Baronet to write some verses upon him, immediately
produced this epigram:--

     "Unlike my subject now shall be my song,
     It shall be witty, and it shan't be long."

Long Sir Thomas distinguished himself in this odd manner. When our
Sovereign had not dropped the folly of calling himself "King of
France," and it was customary at the Coronation of an English
Sovereign to have fictitious Dukes of Aquitaine and Normandy to
represent the vassalage of France, Sir Thomas was selected to fill the
second mock dignity at the coronation of George III., to which
Churchill alludes in his _Ghost_; but he assigns a wrong dukedom to
Sir Thomas:

     "Could Satire not (though doubtful since
     Whether he plumber is or prince)
     Tell of a simple Knight's advance,
     To be a doughty peer of France?
     Tell how he did a dukedom gain,
     And Robinson was Aquitain."

Of the two Sir Thomas Robinsons, one was tall and thin, the other
short and fat: "I can't imagine," said Lady Townshend, "why the one
should be preferred to the other; I see but little difference between
them: the one is as broad as the other is long."

Next on the books is Samuel Foote, who, after the decline of Tom's,
was mostly to be seen at the Bedford. Then comes Arthur Murphy, lately
called to the Bar; David Garrick, who then lived in Southampton-street,
(though he was not a clubbable man); John Beard, the fine tenor
singer; John Webb; Sir Richard Glynne; Robert Gosling, the banker;
Colonel Eyre, of Marylebone; Earl Percy; Sir John Fielding, the
justice; Paul Methuen, of Corsham; Richard Clive; the great Lord
Clive; the eccentric Duke of Montagu; Sir Fletcher Norton, the
ill-mannered; Lord Edward Bentinck; Dr. Samuel Johnson; the
celebrated Marquis of Granby; Sir F. B. Delaval, the friend of Foote;
William Tooke, the solicitor; the Hon. Charles Howard, sen.; the Duke
of Northumberland; Sir Francis Gosling; the Earl of Anglesey; Sir
George Brydges Rodney (afterwards Lord Rodney); Peter Burrell; Walpole
Eyre; Lewis Mendez; Dr. Swinney; Stephen Lushington; John Gunning;
Henry Brougham, father of Lord Brougham; Dr. Macnamara; Sir John
Trevelyan; Captain Donellan; Sir W. Wolseley; Walter Chetwynd;
Viscount Gage, etc.;--Thomas Payne, Esq., of Leicester House; Dr.
Schomberg, of Pall-Mall; George Colman, the dramatist, then living in
Great Queen Street; Dr. Dodd, in Southampton-row; James Payne, the
architect, Salisbury-street, which he rebuilt; William Bowyer, the
printer, Bloomsbury-square; Count Bruhl, the Polish Minister; Dr.
Goldsmith, Temple (1773), etc. Many a noted name in the list of 700 is
very suggestive of the gay society of the period. Among the Club
musters, Samuel Foote, Sir Thomas Robinson, and Dr. Dodd are very
frequent: indeed, Sir Thomas seems to have been something like a

Tom's appears to have been a general coffee-house; for in the parish
books of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, is the entry:--

                                 £.   s.   d.

     46 Dishes of chocolate      1    3    0
     34 Jelleys                  0   17    0
     Biscuits                    0    2    3

Mr. Haines, the landlord, was succeeded by his son. Thomas, whose
daughter is living, at the age of eighty-four, and possesses a
portrait, by Dance, of the elder Haines, who, from his polite address,
was called among the Club "Lord Chesterfield." The above lady has
also a portrait, in oil, of the younger Haines, by Grignon.

The coffee-house business closed in 1814, about which time the
premises were first occupied by Mr. William Till, the numismatist. The
card-room remained in its original condition; "And, here," wrote Mr.
Till, many years since, "the tables on which I exhibit my coins are
those which were used by the exalted characters whose names are
extracted from books of the Club, still in possession of the
proprietress of the house." On the death of Mr. Till, Mr. Webster
succeeded to the tenancy and collection of coins and medals, which he
removed to No. 6, Henrietta-street, shortly before the old premises in
Russell-street were taken down. He possesses, by marriage with the
grand-daughter of the second Mr. Haines, the old Club books, as well
as the curious memorial, the snuffbox of the Club-room. It is of large
size, and fine tortoiseshell; upon the lid, in high relief, in silver,
are the portraits of Charles I. and Queen Anne; the Boscobel oak, with
Charles II. amid its branches; and at the foot of the tree, on a
silver plate, is inscribed Thomas Haines. At Will's the small wits
grew conceited if they dipped but into Mr. Dryden's snuffbox; and at
Tom's the box may have enjoyed a similar shrine-like reputation. It is
nearly all that remains of the old coffee-house in Covent Garden, save
the recollection of the names of the interesting personages who once
thronged its rooms in stars and garters, but who bore more
intellectual distinctions to entitle them to remembrance.


This ambitious title was given to a Club set on foot about the year
1801. Its founder was Bobus Smith, the brother of the great Sydney
Smith. The Club at first consisted of a small knot of lawyers, a few
literary characters, and visitors generally introduced by those who
took the chief part in the conversation, and seemingly selected for
the faculty of being good listeners.

The King of Clubs sat on Saturday of each month, at the Crown and
Anchor Tavern, in the Strand, which, at that time, was a nest of
boxes, each containing its Club, and affording excellent cheer, though
latterly desecrated by indifferent dinners and very questionable wine.
The Club was a grand talk, the prevalent topics being books and
authors; politics quite excluded. Bobus Smith was a convivial member
in every respect but that of wine; he was but a frigid worshipper of
Bacchus, but he had great humour and a species of wit, that revelled
amidst the strangest and most grotesque combinations. His manner was
somewhat of the bow-wow kind; and when he pounced upon a disputatious
and dull blockhead, he made sad work of him.

Then there was Richard Sharp, a partner of Boddington's West India
house, who subsequently sat in Parliament for Port Arlington, in
Ireland. He was a thinker and a reasoner, and occasionally
controversial, but overflowed with useful and agreeable knowledge, and
an unfailing stream of delightful information. He was celebrated for
his conversational talents, and hence called "Conversation Sharp;" and
he often had for his guest Sir James Mackintosh, with whom he lived
in habits of intimacy. Mr. Sharp published a volume of _Letters and
Essays in Prose and Verse_, of which a third edition appeared in 1834.
Sharp was confessedly the first of the King of Clubs. He indulged but
rarely in pleasantry; but when anything of the kind escaped him, it
was sure to tell. One evening, at the Club, there was a talk about
Tweddel, then a student in the Temple, who had greatly distinguished
himself at Cambridge, and was the Senior Wrangler and medallist of his
year. Tweddel was not a little intoxicated with his University
triumphs; which led Sharp to remark, "Poor fellow! he will soon find
that his Cambridge medal will not pass as current coin in London."
Other frequent attendants were Scarlett (afterwards Lord Abinger);
Rogers, the poet; honest John Allen, brother of the bluest of the
blues, Lady Mackintosh; M. Dumont, the French emigrant, who would
sometimes recite his friend the Abbé de Lisle's verses, with
interminable perseverance, in spite of yawns and other symptoms of
dislike, which his own politeness (for he was a highly-bred man)
forbade him to interpret into the absence of it in others.

In this respect, however, he was outdone by Wishart, who was nothing
but quotations, and whose prosing, when he did converse, was like the
torpedo's touch to all pleasing and lively converse. Charles Butler,
too, in his long life, had treasured up a considerable assortment of
reminiscences, which, when once set going, came out like a torrent
upon you; it was a sort of shower-bath, that inundated you the moment
you pulled the string.

Curran, the boast of the Irish bar, came to the King of Clubs, during
a short visit to London; there he met Erskine, but the meeting was not
congenial. Curran gave some odd sketches of a Serjeant Kelly, at the
Irish bar, whose whimsical peculiarity was an inveterate habit of
drawing conclusions directly at variance with his premises. He had
acquired the name of Counsellor Therefore. Curran said he was a
perfect human personification of a _non sequitur_. For instance,
meeting Curran, on Sunday, near St. Patrick's, he said to him, "The
Archbishop gave us an excellent discourse this morning. It was well
written and well delivered; _therefore_, I shall make a point of being
at the Four Courts to-morrow at ten." At another time, observing to a
person whom he met in the street, "What a delightful morning this is
for walking!" he finished his remark on the weather by saying,
"Therefore I will go home as soon as I can, and stir out no more the
whole day." His speeches in Court were interminable, and his
_therefore_ kept him going on, though every one thought he had done.
"This is so clear a point, gentlemen," he would tell the jury, "that I
am convinced you felt it to be so the very moment I stated it. I
should pay your understandings but a poor compliment to dwell on it
for a minute; _therefore_, I will now proceed to explain it to you as
minutely as possible."

Curran seemed to have no very profound respect for the character and
talents of Lord Norbury. Curran went down to Carlow on a special
retainer; it was in a case of ejectment. A new Court-house had been
recently erected, and it was found extremely inconvenient, from the
echo, which reverberated the mingled voices of judge, counsel, crier,
to such a degree, as to produce constant confusion, and great
interruption of business. Lord Norbury had been, if possible, more
noisy that morning than ever. Whilst he was arguing a point with the
counsel, and talking very loudly, an ass brayed vehemently from the
street, adjoining the Court-house, to the instant interruption of the
Chief-Justice. "What noise is that?" exclaimed his Lordship. "Oh, my
Lord," retorted Curran, "it is merely the echo of the Court."


This Club was the great Macao gambling-house of a very short period.
Mr. Thomas Raikes, who understood all its mysteries, describes it as
very genteel, adding that no one ever quarrelled there. "The Club did
not endure for twelve years altogether; the pace was too quick to
last: it died a natural death in 1819, from the paralysed state of its
members; the house was then taken by a set of blacklegs, who
instituted a common bank for gambling. To form an idea of the ruin
produced by this short-lived establishment among men whom I have so
intimately known, a cursory glance to the past suggests the following
melancholy list, which only forms a part of its deplorable results....
None of the dead reached the average age of man."

Among the members was Bligh, a notorious madman, of whom Mr. Raikes
relates:--"One evening at the Macao table, when the play was very
deep, Brummell having lost a considerable stake, affected, in his
farcical way, a very tragic air, and cried out, 'Waiter, bring me a
flat candlestick and a pistol.' Upon which Bligh, who was sitting
opposite to him, calmly produced two loaded pistols from his coat
pocket, which he placed on the table, and said, 'Mr. Brummell, if you
are really desirous to put a period to your existence, I am extremely
happy to offer you the means without troubling the waiter.' The effect
upon those present may easily be imagined, at finding themselves in
the company of a known madman who had loaded weapons about him."


There was in the last century, a debating Club, which boasted for a
short time, a brighter assemblage of talent than is usually found to
flourish in societies of this description. Its meetings, which took
place once a month, were held at the Clifford-street Coffee-house, at
the corner of Bond-street. The debaters were chiefly Mackintosh,
Richard Sharp, a Mr. Ollyett Woodhouse; Charles Moore, son of the
celebrated traveller; and Lord Charles Townshend, fourth son of the
facetious and eccentric Marquis. The great primitive principles of
civil government were then much discussed. It was before the French
Revolution had "brought death into the world and all its woe."

At the Clifford-street Society, Canning generally took "the liberal
side" of the above questions. His earliest prepossessions are well
known to have inclined to this side; but he evidently considered the
Society rather as a school of rhetorical exercise, where he might
acquire the use of his weapons, than a forum, where the serious
profession of opinions, and a consistent adherence to them, could be
fairly expected of him. One evening, the question for debate was "the
justice and expediency of resuming the ecclesiastical property of
France." Before the debate began, Canning had taken some pains to
ascertain on which side the majority of the members seemed inclined to
speak; and finding that they were generally in favour of the
resumption, he expressed his fears that the unanimity of sentiment
would spoil the discussion; so, he volunteered to speak against it. He
did so, and it was a speech of considerable power, chiefly in reply to
the opener, who, in a set discourse of some length, had asserted the
revocable conditions of the property of the church, which, being
created, he said, by the state, remained ever after at its
disposition. Canning denied the proposition that ecclesiastical
property was the creature of the state. He contended that though it
might be so in a new government, yet, speaking historically, the great
as well as lesser ecclesiastical fiefs were coeval with the crown of
France, frequently strong enough to maintain fierce and not unequal
conflicts with it, and certainly not in their origin emanations from
its bounty. The church, he said, came well dowered to the state, who
was now suing for a divorce, in order to plunder her pin-money. He
contended that the church property stood upon the same basis, and
ought to be protected by the same sanctions, as private property. It
was originally, he said, accumulated from the successive donations
with which a pious benevolence ought to enrich the fountains, from
which spiritual comfort ought to flow to the wretched, the poor, the
forsaken. He drew an energetic sketch of Mirabeau, the proposer of the
measure, by whose side, he remarked, the worst characters in history,
the Cleons, the Catilines, the Cetheguses, of antiquity, would
brighten into virtue. He said that the character of the lawgiver
tainted the law. It was proffered to the National Assembly by hands
hot and reeking from the cells of sensuality and vice; it came from a
brain inflamed and distended into frenzy by habitual debauchery. These
are, of course, but faint sketches of this very early specimen of
Canning as a speaker. The humour and irony with which he delighted his
auditors are indescribable. He displayed the same powers of pleasantry
which, in maturer years, enlivened the dulness of debate, and softened
the asperities of party. He was, indeed, less rapid, and more measured
in his elevation; sometimes impeded in flow, probably, from too
fastidious a selection of words; but it was impossible not to predict
that at no very distant period he would rise into high distinction as
a parliamentary speaker.

Canning was then the most handsome man about town; and his fine
countenance glowed, as he spoke, with every sentiment which he
uttered. It was customary during the debates at the Clifford-street
Senate, for pots of porter to be introduced by way of refreshment.
Canning, in his eloquent tirade against Mirabeau, handled the peculiar
style of the Count's oratory with great severity. The president had,
during this part of Canning's speech, given a signal for a pot of
porter, which had been brought in and placed before him. It served
Canning for an illustration. "Sir," said he, "much has been said about
the gigantic powers of Mirabeau; let us not be carried away by the
false jargon of his philosophy, or imagine that deep political wisdom
resides in tumid and decorated diction. To the steady eye of a
sagacious criticism, the eloquence of Mirabeau will appear to be as
empty and vapid as his patriotism. It is like the beverage that stands
so invitingly before you,--foam and froth at the top, heavy and muddy


In Ward's _Secret History_, we read of the Golden Fleece Club, a
rattle-brained society, originally held at a house in Cornhill, so
entitled. They were a merry company of tippling citizens and jocular
change-brokers, who every night washed away their consciences with
claret, that the mental alienations and fallacious assurances the one
had used in their shops, and the deceitful wheedling and stock-jobbing
honesty by which the other had outwitted their merchants, might be no
impediment to their night's rest; but that they might sleep without
repentance, and rise next day with a strong propensity to the same
practices. Each member on his admission had a characteristic name
assigned to him; as, Sir Timothy Addlepate, Sir Nimmy Sneer, Sir
Talkative Do-little, Sir Skinny Fretwell, Sir Rumbus Rattle, Sir Boozy
Prate-all, Sir Nicholas Ninny Sipall, Sir Gregory Growler, Sir
Pay-little, etc. The Club flourished until the decease of the leading
member; when the dull fraternity, for want of a merry leader, and
neglecting to be shaved and blooded, fell into the dumps, gave up
their nocturnal revels, forsook frenzied claret for sober water-gruel,
and a cessation of bumpers was proclaimed, till those who were sick
recovered their health, and others their senses; and then, the better
to prevent their debasement being known, they adjourned their Society
from the Fleece in Cornhill to the Three Tuns in Southwark, that they
might be more retired from the bows and compliments of the London
apprentices, who used to salute the noble knights by their titles, as
they passed to and fro.

Another of Ward's humorous Sketches is that of the Lying Club, at the
Bell Tavern, in Westminster, with Sir Harry Blunt for its chairman.

The Clubs were fruitful sources of satire to the _Spectator_. He is
merry on the Mummers, the Twopenny, the Ugly, the Fighting, the
Fringe-Glove, the Humdrum, the Doldrum, and the Lovers; on Clubs of
Fat Men, Tall Men, and One-Eyed Men, and of Men who lived in the same

The pretentious character of the Clubs of Queen Anne's time, and the
historical importance attached to their annals, are humorously
satirized in the following sketch of the Everlasting Club, to which,
in those days, if a man were an idle, worthless fellow, who neglected
his family, and spent most of his time over a bottle, he was, in
derision, said to belong.

"The Everlasting Club consists of an hundred members, who divide the
whole twenty-four hours among them in such a manner, that the Club
sits day and night from one end of the year to another: no party
presuming to rise till they are relieved by those who are in course to
succeed them. By this means, a member of the Everlasting Club never
wants company; for though he is not upon duty himself, he is sure to
find some who are; so that if he be disposed to take a whet, a
nooning, an evening's draught, or a bottle after midnight, he goes to
the Club, and finds a knot of friends to his mind.

"It is a maxim in this Club that the Steward never dies; for as they
succeed one another by way of rotation, no man is to quit the great
elbow-chair, which stands at the upper end of the table, till his
successor is ready to fill it; insomuch that there has not been a
_sede vacante_ in their memory.

"This Club was instituted towards the end, or, as some of them say,
about the middle of the Civil Wars, and continued with interruption
till the time of the Great Fire, which burnt them out and dispersed
them for several weeks. The Steward all that time maintained his post
till he had like to have been blown up with a neighbouring house,
which was demolished in order to stop the fire: and would not leave
the chair at last, till he had emptied the bottles upon the table, and
received repeated directions from the Club to withdraw himself. This
Steward is frequently talked of in the Club, and looked upon by every
member of it as a greater man than the famous captain mentioned in my
Lord Clarendon, who was burnt in his ship, because he would not quit
it without orders. It is said that towards the close of 1700, being
the great year of jubilee, the Club had it under consideration whether
they should break up or continue their session; but after many
speeches and debates, it was at length agreed to sit out the other
century. This resolution passed in a general club _nemine

"It appears, by their books in general, that, since their first
institution, they have smoked fifty tons of tobacco, drank thirty
thousand butts of ale, one thousand hogsheads of red port, two hundred
barrels of brandy, and _one_ kilderkin of small beer. There had been
likewise a great consumption of cards. It is also said that they
observe the law in Ben Jonson's Club, which orders the fire to be
always kept in (_focus perennis esto_), as well for the convenience of
lighting their pipes as to cure the dampness of the club-room. They
have an old woman, in the nature of a vestal, whose business is to
cherish and perpetuate the fire, which burns from generation to
generation, and has seen the glass-house fires in and out above an
hundred times.

"The Everlasting Club treats all other clubs with an eye of contempt,
and talks even of the Kit-Kat and October as a couple of upstarts.
Their ordinary discourse, as much I have been able to learn of it,
turns altogether upon such adventures as have passed in their own
assembly; of members who have taken the glass in their turns for a
week together, without stirring out of the Club; of others who have
not missed their morning's draught for twenty years together;
sometimes they speak in rapture of a run of ale in King Charles's
reign; and sometimes reflect with astonishment upon games at whist,
which have been miraculously recovered by members of the Society, when
in all human probability the case was desperate.

"They delight in several old catches, which they sing at all hours, to
encourage one another to moisten their clay, and grow immortal by
drinking, with many other edifying exhortations of the like nature.

"There are four general Clubs held in a year, at which time they fill
up vacancies, appoint waiters, confirm the old fire-maker or elect a
new one, settle contributions for coals, pipes, tobacco, and other

"The senior member has outlived the whole Club twice over, and has
been drunk with the grandfathers of some of the sitting members."

_The Lawyer's Club_ is thus described in the _Spectator_, No.
372:--"This Club consists only of attorneys, and at this meeting every
one proposes to the board the cause he has then in hand, upon which
each member gives his judgment, according to the experience he has
met with. If it happens that any one puts a case of which they have
had no precedent, it is noted down by their chief clerk, Will
Goosequill (who registers all their proceedings), that one of them may
go with it next day to a counsel. This is, indeed, commendable, and
ought to be the principal end of their meeting; but had you been there
to have heard them relate their methods of managing a cause, their
manner of drawing out their bills, and, in short, their arguments upon
the several ways of abusing their clients, with the applause that is
given to him who has done it most artfully, you would before now have
given your remarks.

"They are so conscious that their discourses ought to be kept a
secret, that they are very cautious of admitting any person who is not
in the profession. When any who are not of the law are let in, the
person who introduces him says, he is a very honest gentleman, and he
is taken, as their cant is, to pay costs." The writer adds, "that he
is admitted upon the recommendation of one of their principals, as a
very honest, good-natured fellow, that will never be in a plot, and
only desires to drink his bottle and smoke his pipe."

_The Little Club_, we are told in the _Guardian_, No. 91, began by
sending invitations to those not exceeding five feet in height, to
repair to the assembly, but many sent excuses, or pretended a
non-application. They proceeded to fit up a room for their
accommodation, and in the first place had all the chairs, stools, and
tables removed, which had served the more bulky portion of mankind for
many years, previous to which they laboured under very great
disadvantages. The President's whole person was sunk in the
elbow-chair, and when his arms were spread over it, he appeared (to
the great lessening of his dignity) like a child in a go-cart. It was
also so wide in the seat, as to give a wag occasion of saying, that
"notwithstanding the President sat in it, there was a _sede vacante_."
"The table was so high, that one who came by chance to the door,
seeing our chins just above the pewter dishes, took us for a circle of
men that sat ready to be shaved, and set in half-a-dozen of barbers.
Another time, one of the Club spoke contumeliously of the President,
imagining he had been absent, when he was only eclipsed by a flask of
Florence, which stood on the table, in a parallel line before his
face. We therefore new-furnished the room, in all respects
proportionably to us, and had the door made lower, so as to admit no
man above five feet high, without brushing his foretop; which, whoever
does, is utterly unqualified to sit amongst us."

Mr. Daniel, in his _Merrie England in the Olden Time_, has collected a
further list of Clubs existing in London in 1790. He enumerates the
following:--The Odd Fellows' Club; the Humbugs (held at the Blue
Posts, in Covent-Garden); the Samsonic Society; the Society of Bucks;
the Purl Drinkers; the Society of Pilgrims (held at the Woolpack, in
the Kingsland-road); the Thespian Club; the Great Bottle Club; the Je
ne sçai quoi Club (held at the Star and Garter in Pall-Mall, and of
which the Prince of Wales, and the Dukes of York, Clarence, Orleans,
Norfolk, Bedford, etc., were members); the Sons of the Thames Society;
the Blue Stocking Club; the No Pay No Liquor Club (held at the Queen
and Artichoke, in the Hampstead-road, and of which the ceremony, on a
new member's introduction, was, after his paying a fee on entrance of
one shilling, that he should wear a hat, throughout the first
evening, made in the shape of a quart pot, and drink to the health of
his brother members in a gilt goblet of ale); the Social Villagers
(held at the Bedford Arms, in Camden-town), etc. Of the Villagers of
our time, Sheridan Knowles, the dramatist, was a jovial member.


In the year 1854 a Correspondent of _Notes and Queries_ communicated
to that journal the following interesting reminiscences of a political
Club, with characteristics of the reminiscent.

"The adherents of the Stuarts are now nearly extinct; but I recollect
a few years ago an old gentleman in London, who was then upwards of
eighty years of age, and who was a staunch Jacobite. I have heard him
say that, when he was a young man, his father belonged to a society in
Aldersgate-street, called 'The Mourning Bush;' and this Bush was to be
always in mourning until the Stuarts were restored." A member of this
society having been met in mourning when one of the reigning family
had died, was asked by one of the members how it so happened? His
reply was, "that he was not mourning for the dead, but for the
living." The old gentleman was father of the Mercers' Company, and his
brother of the Stationers' Company: they were bachelors, and citizens
of the old school, hospitable, liberal, and charitable. An instance
occurred that the latter had a presentation to Christ's Hospital: he
was applied to in behalf of a person who had a large family; but the
father not being a freeman, he could not present it to the son. He
immediately bought the freedom for the father, and gave the son the
presentation. This is a rare act. The brothers have long gone to
receive the reward of their goodness, and lie buried in the cemetery
attached to Mercers' Hall, Cheapside.

By the above statement, the Club appears to have taken the name of the
Mourning Bush Tavern, in Aldersgate, of which we shall have more to
say hereafter.


The Chapter Coffee-house, at the corner of Chapterhouse Court, on the
south side of Paternoster-row, was, in the last century, noted as the
resort of men of letters, and was famous for its punch, pamphlets, and
good supply of newspapers. It was closed as a coffee-house in 1854,
and then altered to a tavern. Its celebrity, however, lay in the last
century. In the _Connoisseur_, January 31, 1754, we read: "The Chapter
Coffee-house is frequented by those encouragers of literature, and (as
they are styled by an eminent critic) 'not the worst judges of merit,'
the booksellers. The conversation here naturally turns upon the newest
publications; but their criticisms are somewhat singular. When they
say a _good_ book, they do not mean to praise the style or sentiment,
but the quick and extensive sale of it. That book is best which sells
most; and if the demand for Quarles should be greater than for Pope,
he would have the highest place on the rubric-post."

The house was much frequented by Chatterton, who writes to his mother:
"I am quite familiar at the Chapter Coffee-house, and know all the
geniuses there;" and to Mr. Mason: "Send me whatever you would have
published, and direct for me, to be left at the Chapter Coffee-house,
Paternoster-row." And, writing from "King's Bench for the present,"
May 14th, 1770, Chatterton says: "A gentleman who knows me at the
Chapter, as an author, would have introduced me as a companion to the
young Duke of Northumberland, in his intended general tour. But, alas!
I spake no tongue but my own."

Forster relates an anecdote of Oliver Goldsmith being paymaster at the
Chapter, for Churchill's friend, Lloyd, who, in his careless way,
without a shilling to pay for the entertainment, had invited him to
sup with some friends of Grub-street.

The Club celebrity of the Chapter was, however, the Wittinagemot, as
the box in the north-east corner of the coffee-room was designated.
Among its frequenters was Alexander Stevens, editor of the _Annual
Biography and Obituary_, who died in 1824, and who left among his
papers, printed in the _Monthly Magazine_, as "Stephensiana," his
recollections of the Chapter, which he frequented in 1797 to 1805,
where, he tells us, he always met with intelligent company. We give
his reminiscences almost in his own words.

Early in the morning it was occupied by neighbours, who were
designated the _Wet Paper Club_, as it was their practice to open the
papers when brought in by the newsmen, and read them before they were
dried by the waiter; a dry paper they viewed as a stale commodity. In
the afternoon, another party enjoyed the _wet_ evening papers; and
(says Stephens) it was these whom I met.

Dr. Buchan, author of _Domestic Medicine_, generally held a seat in
this box; and though he was a Tory, he heard the freest discussion
with good humour, and commonly acted as a moderator. His fine
physiognomy, and his white hairs, qualified him for this office. But
the fixture in the box was a Mr. Hammond, a Coventry manufacturer,
who, evening after evening, for nearly forty-five years, was always to
be found in his place, and during the entire period was much
distinguished for his severe and often able strictures on the events
of the day. He had thus debated through the days of Wilkes, of the
American war, and of the French war, and being on the side of liberty,
was constantly in opposition. His mode of arguing was Socratic, and he
generally applied to his adversary the _reductio ad absurdum_,
creating bursts of laughter.

The registrar or chronicler of the box was a Mr. Murray, an episcopal
Scotch minister, who generally sat in one place from nine in the
morning till nine at night; and was famous for having read, at least
once through, every morning and evening paper published in London
during the last thirty years. His memory being good, he was appealed
to whenever any point of fact within the memory of man happened to be
disputed. It was often remarked, however, that such incessant daily
reading did not tend to clear his views.

Among those from whom I constantly profited was Dr. Berdmore, the
Master of the Charterhouse; Walker, the rhetorician; and Dr. Towers,
the political and historical writer. Dr. B. abounded in anecdote;
Walker, (the Dictionary-maker,) to the finest enunciation united the
most intelligent head I ever met with; and Towers, over his half-pint
of Lisbon, was sarcastic and lively, though never deep.

Among our constant visitors was the celebrated Dr. George Fordyce,
who, having much fashionable practice, brought news which had not
generally transpired. He had not the appearance of a man of genius,
nor did he debate, but he possessed sound information on all subjects.
He came to the Chapter after taking his wine, and stayed about an
hour, or while he sipped a glass of brandy-and-water; it was then his
habit to take another glass at the London Coffee-house, and a third at
the Oxford, before he returned to his house in Essex-street, Strand.

Dr. Gower, the urbane and able physician of the Middlesex, was another
pretty constant visitor. It was gratifying to hear such men as
Fordyce, Gower, and Buchan in familiar chat. On subjects of medicine
they seldom agreed, and when such were started, they generally laughed
at one another's opinions. They seemed to consider Chapter punch, or
brandy-and-water, as _aqua vitæ_; and, to the credit of the house,
better punch could not be found in London. If any one complained of
being indisposed, the elder Buchan exclaimed, "Now let me prescribe
for you without a fee. Here, John or Isaac, bring a glass of punch for
Mr. ----, unless he likes brandy-and-water better. Take that, Sir, and
I'll warrant you you'll soon be well. You're a peg too low; you want
stimulus, and if one glass won't do, call for a second."

There was a growling man of the name of Dobson, who, when his asthma
permitted, vented his spleen upon both sides; and a lover of absurd
paradoxes, author of some works of merit, but so devoid of principle,
that, deserted by his friends, he would have died for want, if Dr.
Garthshore had not placed him as a patient in the empty Fever

Robinson, the king of the booksellers, was frequently of the party, as
well as his brother John, a man of some talent; and Joseph Johnson,
the friend of Priestley, and Paine, and Cowper, and Fuseli, came from
St. Paul's Churchyard.

Phillips, then commencing his _Monthly Magazine_, was also on a keen
look-out for recruits, and with his waistcoat pocket full of guineas,
to slip his enlistment money into their hand. Phillips, in the winter
of 1795-6, lodged and boarded at the Chapter, and not only knew the
characters referred to by Mr. Stephens, but many others equally
original, from the voracious glutton in politics, who waited for the
wet papers in the morning twilight, to the comfortless bachelor, who
sat till the fire was raked out at half-past twelve at night, all of
whom took their successive stations, like figures in a magic lantern.

Alexander Chalmers, the workman of the Robinsons, and through their
introduction editor of many large books, also enlivened the box by
many sallies of wit and humour. He always took much pains to be
distinguished from his namesake George, who, he used to say, carried,
"the leaden mace," and he was much provoked whenever he happened to be
mistaken for his namesake.

Cahusac, a teacher of the classics; M'Leod, a writer in the
newspapers; the two Parrys, of the _Courier_, the organ of Jacobinism;
and Captain Skinner, a man of elegant manners, who personated our
nation in the procession of Anacharsis Clootz, at Paris, in 1793, were
also in constant attendance.

One Baker, once a Spitalfields manufacturer, a great talker, and not
less remarkable as an eater, was constant; but, having shot himself at
his lodgings in Kirby-street, it was discovered that, for some years,
he had had no other meal per day besides the supper which he took at
the Chapter, where there being a choice of viands at the fixed price
of one shilling, this, with a pint of porter, constituted his daily
subsistence, till, his last resources failing, he put an end to

Lowndes, the celebrated electrician, was another of our set, and a
facetious man. Buchan the younger, a son of the Doctor, generally came
with Lowndes; and though somewhat dogmatical, yet he added to the
variety and good intelligence of our discussions, which, from the
mixture of company, were as various as the contents of the newspapers.

Dr. Busby, the musician, and an ingenious man, often obtained a
hearing, and was earnest in disputing with the Tories. And Macfarlane,
the author of the _History of George the Third_, was generally admired
for the soundness of his views; but this worthy man was killed by the
pole of a coach, during an election procession of Sir Francis Burdett,
from Brentford. Mr. W. Cooke, author of _Conversation_, constantly
exemplified his own rules in his gentlemanly manners and well-timed

Kelly, an Irish school-master, and a man of polished manners, kept up
warm debates by his equivocating politics, and was often roughly
handled by Hammond and others, though he bore his defeats with
constant good humour.

There was a young man named Wilson, who acquired the distinction of
Long-bow, from the number of extraordinary secrets of the _haut ton_,
which he used to retail by the hour. He was an amusing person, who
seemed likely to prove an acquisition to the Wittinagemot; but, having
run up a score of thirty or forty pounds, he suddenly absented
himself. Miss Brun, the keeper of the Chapter, begged me, if I met
with Wilson, to tell him she would give him a receipt for the past,
and further credit to any amount, if he would only return to the
house; "for," said she, "if he never paid us, he was one of the best
customers we ever had, contriving, by his stories and conversation, to
keep a couple of boxes crowded the whole night, by which we made more
punch and more brandy-and-water, than from any other single cause

Jacob, afterwards an alderman and M.P., was a frequent visitor, and
then as remarkable for his heretical, as he was subsequently for his
orthodox, opinions in his speeches and writings.

Waithman, the active and eloquent Common Councilman, often mixed with
us, and was always clear-headed and agreeable. One James, who had made
a large fortune by vending tea, contributed many good anecdotes of the
age of Wilkes.

Several stockbrokers visited us; and among others of that description
was Mr. Blake, the banker, of Lombard-street, a remarkably intelligent
old gentleman; and there was a Mr. Paterson, a North Briton, a
long-headed speculator, who taught mathematics to Pitt.

Some young men of talent came among us from time to time; as Lovett, a
militia officer; Hennell, a coal merchant, and some others; and these
seemed likely to keep up the party. But all things have an end: Dr.
Buchan died; some young sparks affronted our Nestor, Hammond, on which
he absented himself, after nearly fifty years' attendance; and the
noisy box of the Wittinagemot was, for some years previously to 1820,
remarkable for its silence and dulness. The two or three last times I
was at the Chapter, I heard no voice above a whisper; and I almost
shed a tear on thinking of men, habits, and times gone by for ever!

We shall have more to say of the Chapter Coffee-house in Vol. II.


The Roxburghe Club claims its foundation from the sale of the library
of the late John, Duke of Roxburghe, in 1812, which extended to
forty-one days following, with a supplementary catalogue beginning
Monday, July 13, with the exception of Sundays. Some few days before
the sale, the Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin, who claimed the title of
founder of the Club, suggested the holding of a convivial meeting at
the St. Alban's Tavern after the sale of June 17th, upon which day was
to be sold the rarest lot, "Il Decamerone di Boccaccio," which
produced £2260. The invitation ran thus:--"The honour of your company
is requested, to dine with the Roxburghe _dinner_, on Wednesday, the
17th instant." At the first dinner the number of members was limited
to twenty-four, which at the second dinner was extended to thirty-one.
The president of this club was Lord Spencer: among the other
celebrated members were the Duke of Devonshire, the Marquis of
Blandford, Lord Althorp, Lord Morpeth, Lord Gower, Sir Mark Sykes, Sir
Egerton Brydges, Mr. (afterwards) Baron Bolland, Mr. Dent, the Rev. T.
C. Heber, Rev. Rob. Holwell Carr, Sir Walter Scott, etc.; Dr. Dibdin,

The avowed object of the Club was the reprinting of rare and ancient
pieces of ancient literature; and, at one of the early meetings, "it
was proposed and concluded for each member of the Club to reprint a
scarce piece of ancient lore, to be given to the members, one copy
being on vellum for the chairman, and only as many copies as members."

It may, however, be questioned whether "the dinners" of the Club were
not more important than the literature. They were given at the St.
Alban's, at Grillion's, at the Clarendon, and the Albion, taverns; the
_Amphytrions_ evincing as _recherché_ taste in the _carte_, as the
Club did in their vellum reprints. Of these entertainments some
curious details have been recorded by the late Mr. Joseph Haslewood,
one of the members, in a MS. entitled, "Roxburghe Revels; or, an
Account of the Annual Display, culinary and festivous, interspersed
incidentally with Matters of Moment or Merriment." This MS. was, in
1833, purchased by the Editor of the _Athenæum_, and a selection from
its rarities was subsequently printed in that journal. Among the
memoranda, we find it noted that, at the second dinner, a few tarried,
with Mr. Heber in the chair, until, "on arriving at home, the click of
time bespoke a quarter to four." Among the early members was the Rev.
Mr. Dodd, one of the masters of Westminster School, who, until the
year 1818 (when he died), enlivened the Club with Robin-Hood ditties
and similar productions. The fourth dinner was given at Grillion's,
when twenty members assembled, under the chairmanship of Sir Mark
Masterman Sykes. The bill on this occasion amounted to £57, or £2.
17_s._ per man; and the twenty "lions" managed to dispose of
drinkables to the extent of about £33. The reckoning, by Grillion's
French waiter, is amusing:--

                         Dinner du 17 Juin 1815.

     20 . . . . . . . .     200  0 | 2 Boutelle de Bourgogne
     Desser . . . . . .      20  0 |         . . . . . .  1 12  0
     Deu sorte de Glasse   1  4  0 | (Not legible)        0 14  0
     Glasse pour 6  . .    0  4  0 | Soder . . . . . . .  0  2  0
     5 Boutelle de Champagne       | Biere e Ail . . . .  0  6  0
       . . . . . . . . .   4  0  0 | Por la Lettre . . .  0  2  0
     7 Boutelle de harmetage       | Pour faire un prune  0  6  0
       . . . . . . . . .   5  5  0 | Pour un fiacre  . .  0  2  0
     1 Boutelle de Hok     0 15  0 |                     ________
     4 Boutelle de Port    1  6  0 |                     55  6  0
     4 Boutelle de Maderre 2  0  0 |        Waiters  . .  1 14  0
     22 Boutelle de Bordeaux       |                     ________
        . . . . . . . .   15  8  0 |                     57  0  0

The anniversary of 1818 was celebrated at the Albion, in
Aldersgate-street: Mr. Heber was in the chair, and the Rev. Mr. Carr
_vice_, vice Dr. Dibdin. Although only fifteen sat down, they seem to
have eaten and drunk for the whole Club: it was, as Wordsworth says,
"forty feeding like one;" and the bill, at the conclusion of the
night, amounted to £85. 9_s._ 6_d._ "Your cits," says Mr. Haslewood,
"are the only men for a feast; and, therefore, behold us, like
locusts, travelling to devour the good things of the land, eastward
ho! At a little after seven, with our fancies much delighted, we
fifteen sat down."

The bill of fare was as follows:--

                              FIRST COURSE.

     Turtle Cutlets.                              Turtle Fin.
      Boiled Chickens.         |         |          Ham.
     Sauté of Haddock.         |  Frame. |        Chartreuse.
           Turtle.             |         |          Turtle.
     Tendrons of Lamb.         |_________|    Fillets of Whitings.
           Tongue.              John Dory.         R. Chickens.
         Turtle Fin.                         Fricandeau of Turtle.

                   +++ Cold Roast Beef on Side Tables.

                              SECOND COURSE.

                            Venison (2 Haunches).

                              THIRD COURSE.

                             Larded Poults.
               Tart.                               Cheese Cakes.
                            Artichoke bottoms.
             Jelly.            |         |            Prawns.
           R. Quails.          |         |          R. Leveret.
         Salade Italienne.     |_________|        Crême Italienne.
         Cabinet Pudding.                             Tourt.
                                R. Goose.

The bill, as a specimen of the advantages of separate charges, as well
as on other accounts, may be worth preserving:--


June 17, 1818.

     Bread and Beer            0   9  0
     Dinners                   9   9  0
     Cheas and Butter          0   9  0
     Lemons                    0   3  0
     Strong Beer               0   9  0
     Madeira                   3   3  0
     Champagne                 2  11  0
     Saturne (sic in MS.)      1   4  0
     Old Hock                  4  16  0
     Burgundy                  0  18  0
     Hermitage                 0  18  0
     Silery Champagne          0  16  0
     Sherry                    0   7  0
     St. Percy                 2  11  0
     Old Port                  2   9  0
     Claret                   11   4  0
     Turtle Punch              0  15  0
     Waxlights                 2  10  0
     Desert                    6   6  0
     Pine-ice creams           1  16  0
     Tea and Coffee            1   8  0
     Liqueures                 0  14  0
     2 Haunches of Venison    10  10  0
     Sweet sauce and dressing  1   4  0
     50 lbs. Turtle           12  10  0
     Dressing do.              2   2  0
     Ice for Wine              0   6  0
     Rose Water                0   5  0
     Soda Water                0  12  0
     Lemons and Sugar for do.  0   3  0
     Broken Glass              0   5  6
     Servants' dinners         0   7  0
     Waiters                   1   0  0
                              85   9  6

"Consider, in the bird's-eye view of the banquet, (says Mr.
Haslewood,) the trencher cuts, foh! nankeen displays; as intersticed
with many a brilliant drop to friendly beck and clubbish hail, to
moisten the viands, or cool the incipient cayenne. No unfamished
liveryman would desire better dishes, or high-tasted courtier better
wines. With men that meet to commune, that can converse, and each
willing to give and receive information, more could not be wanting to
promote well-tempered conviviality; a social compound of mirth, wit,
and wisdom;--combining all that Anacreon was famed for, tempered with
the reason of Demosthenes, and intersected with the archness of
Scaliger. It is true we had not any Greek verses in praise of the
grape; but we had as a tolerable substitute the ballad of the Bishop
of Hereford and Robin Hood, sung by Mr. Dodd; and it was of his own
composing. It is true we had not any long oration denouncing the
absentees, the Cabinet council, or any other set of men, but there was
not a man present that at one hour and seventeen minutes after the
cloth was removed but could not have made a Demosthenic speech far
superior to any record of antiquity. It is true no trait of wit is
going to be here preserved, for the flashes were too general; and what
is the critical sagacity of Scaliger, compared to our chairman?
Ancients, believe it we were not dead drunk, and therefore lie quiet
under the table for once, and let a few moderns be uppermost.

"According to the long-established principles of 'Maysterre Cockerre,'
each person had £5. 14_s._ to pay--a tremendous sum, and much may be
said thereon."

Earl Spencer presided at the dinner which followed the sale of the
Valdarfer Boccaccio: twenty-one members sat down to table at
Jaquière's (the Clarendon), and the bill was comparatively moderate,
£55. 13_s._ Mr. Haslewood says, with characteristic sprightliness:
"Twenty-one members met joyfully, dined comfortably, challenged
eagerly, tippled prettily, divided regretfully, and paid the bill most

The following is the list of "Tostes," given at the first Dinner, in

     The Order of ye Tostes.

       The Immortal Memory of John Duke of Roxburghe.
     Christopher Valdarfer, Printer of the Decameron of 1471.
       Gutemberg, Fust, and Schæffher, the Inventors of
                   the Art of Printing.
       William Caxton, the Father of the British Press.
       Dame Juliana Barnes, and the St. Alban's Press.
     Wynkyn de Worde and Richard Pynson, the Illustrious
               Successors of William Caxton.
               The Aldine Family, at Venice.
               The Giunta Family at Florence.
           The Society of the Bibliophiles at Paris.
           The Prosperity of the Roxburghe Club.
         The Cause of Bibliomania all over the World.

To show that the pursuits of the Roxburghe Club have been estimated
with a difference, we quote what may be termed "another side of the

"Among other follies of the age of paper, which took place in England
at the end of the reign of George III., a set of book-fanciers, who
had more money than wit, formed themselves into a club, and
appropriately designated themselves the _Bibliomaniacs_. Dr. Dibdin
was their organ; and among the club were several noblemen, who, in
other respects, were esteemed men of sense. Their rage was, not to
estimate books according to their intrinsic worth, but for their
rarity. Hence, any volume of the vilest trash, which was scarce,
merely because it never had any sale, fetched fifty or a hundred
pounds; but if it were but one of two or three known copies, no limits
could be set to the price. Books altered in the title-page, or in a
leaf, or any trivial circumstance which varied a few copies, were
bought by these _soi-disant_ maniacs, at one, two, or three hundred
pounds, though the copies were not really worth more than threepence
per pound. A trumpery edition of Boccaccio, said to be one of two
known copies, was thus bought by a noble marquis for £1475, though in
two or three years afterwards he resold it for £500. First editions of
all authors, and editions by the first clumsy printers, were never
sold for less than £50, £100, or £200.

"To keep each other in countenance, these persons formed themselves
into a club, and, after a Duke, one of their fraternity, called
themselves the _Roxburghe Club_. To gratify them, _facsimile_ copies
of clumsy editions of trumpery books were reprinted; and, in some
cases, it became worth the while of more ingenious persons to play off
forgeries upon them. This mania after awhile abated and, in future
ages, it will be ranked with the tulip and the picture mania, during
which, estates were given for single flowers and pictures."

The Roxburghe Club still exists; and, with the Dilettanti Society, may
justly be said to have suggested the Publishing Societies of the
present day, at the head of which is the Camden. The late Duke of
Devonshire was a munificent member of the Roxburghe.


[15] These Tureens were removed for two dishes of White Bait.


There are several parochial Clubs in the metropolis; but that of the
important parish of St. Margaret's, Westminster, with "Past Overseers"
for its members, has signalized itself by the _accumulation_ and
preservation of an unique heirloom, which is a very curious collection
of memorials of the last century and a half, exhibiting various tastes
and styles of art in their respective commemorations, in a sort of
_chronology in silver_.

Such is the St. Margaret's Overseer's Box, which originated as
follows. It appears that a Mr. Monck purchased, at Horn Fair, held at
Charlton, Kent, a small tobacco-box for the sum of fourpence, from
which he often replenished his neighbour's pipe, at the meetings of
his predecessors and companions in the office of Overseers of the
Poor, to whom the Box was presented in 1713. In 1720, the Society of
Past Overseers ornamented the lid with a silver rim, commemorating the
donor. In 1726, a silver side case and bottom were added. In 1740, an
embossed border was placed upon the lid, and the under part enriched
with an emblem of Charity. In 1746, Hogarth engraved inside the lid a
bust of the Duke of Cumberland, with allegorical figures, and scroll
commemorating the Battle of Culloden. In 1765, an interwoven scroll
was added to the lid, enclosing a plate with the arms of the City of
Westminster, and inscribed: "This Box to be delivered to every
succeeding set of Overseers, on penalty of five guineas."

The original Horn box being thus ornamented, additional cases were
provided by the Senior Overseers for the time being,--namely, silver
plates engraved with emblematical and historical subjects and busts.
Among the first are a View of the Fireworks in St. James's Park, to
celebrate the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1749; Admiral Keppel's Action
off Ushant, and his acquittal after a court-martial; the Battle of the
Nile; the Repulse of Admiral Linois, 1804; the Battle of Trafalgar,
1805; the Action between the San Fiorenzo and La Piémontaise, 1808;
the Battle of Waterloo, 1815; the Bombardment of Algiers, 1816; View
of the House of Lords at the Trial of Queen Caroline; the Coronation
of George IV.; and his Visit to Scotland, 1822.

There are also--Portraits of John Wilkes, Churchwarden in 1759;
Nelson, Duncan, Howe, Vincent; Fox and Pitt, 1806; George IV. as
Prince Regent, 1811; the Princess Charlotte, 1817; and Queen
Charlotte, 1818. But the more interesting representations are those of
local circumstances; as the Interior of Westminster Hall, with the
Westminster Volunteers, attending Divine Service at the drum-head on
the Fast Day, 1803; the Old Sessions House; a view of St. Margaret's,
from the north-east; and the West Front Tower, and altar-piece. In
1813, a large silver plate was added to the outer case, with a
portrait of the Duke of Wellington, commemorating the centenary of the
agglomeration of the Box.

The top of the second case represents the Governors of the Poor, in
their Board-room, and this inscription: "The original Box and cases to
be given to every succeeding set of Overseers, on penalty of fifty
guineas, 1783." On the outside of the first case is a clever engraving
of a cripple.

In 1785, Mr. Gilbert exhibited the Box to some friends after dinner:
at night, thieves broke in, and carried off all the plate that had
been in use; but the box had been removed beforehand to a bedchamber.

In 1793, Mr. Read, a Past Overseer, detained the Box, because his
accounts were not passed. An action was brought for its recovery,
which was long delayed, owing to two members of the Society giving
Read a release, which he successfully pleaded in bar to the action.
This rendered it necessary to take proceedings in equity: accordingly,
a Bill was filed in Chancery against all three, and Read was compelled
to deposit the box with Master Leeds until the end of the suit. Three
years of litigation ensued. Eventually the Chancellor directed the Box
to be restored to the Overseers' Society, and Mr. Read paid in costs
£300. The extra costs amounted to £76. 13_s._ 11_d._, owing to the
illegal proceedings of Mr. Read. The sum of £91. 7_s._ was at once
raised; and the surplus spent upon a third case, of octagon shape. The
top records the triumph: Justice trampling upon a prostrate man, from
whose face a mask falls upon a writhing serpent. A second plate, on
the outside of the fly-lid, represents the Lord Chancellor
Loughborough, pronouncing his decree for the restoration of the Box,
March 5, 1796.

On the fourth or outer case is the Anniversary Meeting of the Past
Overseers' Society, with the Churchwardens giving the charge previous
to delivering the Box to the succeeding Overseer, who is bound to
produce it at certain parochial entertainments, with three pipes of
tobacco at the least, under the penalty of six bottles of claret; and
to return the whole, with some addition, safe and sound, under a
penalty of 200 guineas.

A tobacco-stopper of mother-of-pearl, with a silver chain, is enclosed
within the Box, and completes this unique Memorial of the kindly
feeling which perpetuates year by year the old ceremonies of this
united parish; and renders this traditionary piece of plate of great
price, far outweighing its intrinsic value.[16]


[16] Westminster. By the Rev. Mackenzie S. C. Walcott, M.A., Curate of
St. Margaret's, 1849, pp. 105-107.


In the reign of George the Second there met, at a house in
Essex-street, in the Strand, the Robin Hood Society, a debating Club,
at which, every Monday, questions were proposed, and any member might
speak on them for seven minutes; after which the "baker," who presided
with a hammer in his hand, summed up the arguments. Arthur Mainwaring
and Dr. Hugh Chamberlain were among the earliest members of this
Society. Horace Walpole notices the Robin Hood as one of the
celebrities which Monsieur Beaumont _saw_ in 1761: "it is incredible,"
says Walpole, "what pains he has taken to _see_:" he breakfasted at
Strawberry Hill with Walpole, who was then "as much a curiosity to all
foreigners as the tombs and lions."

The Robin Hood became famous as the scene of Burke's earliest
eloquence. To discipline themselves in public speaking at its meetings
was then the custom among law-students, and others intended for public
life; and it is said that at the Robin Hood, Burke had commonly to
encounter an opponent whom nobody else could overcome, or at least
silence: this person was the president. Oliver Goldsmith was
introduced to the Club by Samuel Derrick, his acquaintance and
countryman. Struck by the eloquence and imposing aspect of the
president, who sat in a large gilt chair, Goldsmith thought Nature had
meant him for a lord chancellor: "No, no," whispered Derrick, who knew
him to be a wealthy baker from the City, "only for a master of the
rolls." Goldsmith was little of an orator; but, till Derrick went away
to succeed Beau Nash at Bath, seems to have continued his visits, and
even spoke occasionally; for he figures in an account of the members
published at about this time, as "a candid disputant, with a clear
head and an honest heart, though coming but seldom to the Society."

One of the members of this Robin Hood was Peter Annet, a man who,
though ingenious and deserving in other respects, became unhappily
notorious by a kind of fanatic crusade against the Bible, for which
(published weekly papers against the Book of Genesis,) he stood twice
in one year in the pillory, and then underwent imprisonment in the
King's Bench. To Annet's room in that prison went Goldsmith, taking
with him Newbery, the publisher, to conclude the purchase of a Child's
Grammar from the prisoner, hoping so to relieve his distress; but on
the prudent publisher suggesting that no name should appear on the
title-page, and Goldsmith agreeing that circumstances made this
advisable, Annet accused them both of cowardice, and rejected their
assistance with contempt.[17]


The earliest mention of a Blue-Stocking, or _Bas-Bleu_, occurs in the
Greek comedy, entitled the _Banquet of Plutarch_. The term, as applied
to a lady of high literary taste, has been traced by Mills, in his
_History of Chivalry_, to the Society de la Calza, formed at Venice,
in 1400, "when, consistently with the singular custom of the Italians,
of marking academies and other intellectual associations by some
external sign of folly, the members, when they met in literary
discussion, were distinguished by the colour of their stockings. The
colours were sometimes fantastically blended; and at other times one
colour, particularly _blue_, prevailed." The Society de la Calza
lasted till 1590, when the foppery of Italian literature took some
other symbol. The rejected title then crossed the Alps, and found a
congenial soil in Parisian society, and particularly branded female
pedantry. It then diverted from France to England, and for awhile
marked the vanity of the small advances in literature in female

But the _Blue-stocking_ of the last century is of home-growth; for
Boswell, in his _Life of Johnson_, date 1781, records: "About this
time it was much the fashion for several ladies to have evening
assemblies, where the fair sex might participate in conversation with
literary and ingenious men, animated by a desire to please. One of the
most eminent members of these societies, when they first commenced,
was Mr. Stillingfleet (grandson of the Bishop), whose dress was
remarkably grave; and in particular it was observed that he wore blue
stockings. Such was the excellence of his conversation, that his
absence was felt so great a loss that it used to be said, 'We can do
nothing without the _blue stockings_;'" and thus by degrees the title
was established. Miss Hannah More has admirably described a
_Blue-Stocking Club_, in her _Bas-Bleu_, a poem in which many of the
persons who were most conspicuous there are mentioned. And Horace
Walpole speaks of this production as "a charming poetic familiarity
called 'the Blue-Stocking Club.'"

The Club met at the house of Mrs. Montagu, at the north-west angle of
Portman-square. Forbes, in his _Life of Beattie_, gives another
account: "This Society consisted originally of Mrs. Montagu, Mrs.
Vesey, Miss Boscawen, and Mrs. Carter, Lord Lyttelton, Mr. Pulteney,
Horace Walpole, and Mr. Stillingfleet. To the latter gentleman, a man
of great piety and worth, and author of some works in natural history,
etc., this constellation of talents owed that whimsical appellation of
'Bas-Bleu.' Mr. Stillingfleet being somewhat of an humourist in his
habits and manners, and a little negligent in his dress, literally
wore gray stockings; from which circumstance Admiral Boscawen used, by
way of pleasantry, to call them 'The Blue-Stocking Society,' as if to
intimate that when these brilliant friends met, it was not for the
purpose of forming a dressed assembly. A foreigner of distinction
hearing the expression, translated it literally 'Bas-Bleu,' by which
these meetings came to be afterwards distinguished." Dr. Johnson
sometimes joined this circle. The last of the Club was the lively Miss
Monckton, afterwards Countess of Cork, "who used to have the finest
_bit of blue_ at the house of her mother Lady Galway." Lady Cork died
at upwards of ninety years of age, at her house in New Burlington-street,
in 1840.


[17] Forster's _Life of Goldsmith_, p. 253.


This was one of the creations of Dr. Johnson's _clubbable_ nature,
which served as recreation for this laborious worker. He was now
"tugging at the oar," in Gough-square, Fleet-street. Boswell describes
him as "engaged in a steady, continued course of occupation." "But his
enlarged and lively mind could not be satisfied without more diversity
of employment, and the pleasure of animated relaxation. He therefore
not only exerted his talents in occasional composition, very
different from lexicography, but formed a Club in Ivy-lane,
Paternoster-row, with a view to enjoy literary discussion, and amuse
his evening hours. The members associated with him in this little
Society were his beloved friend Dr. Richard Bathurst; Mr. Hawkesworth,
afterwards well known by his writings; Mr. John Hawkins, an attorney;
and a few others of different professions." The Club met every Tuesday
evening at the King's Head, a beef-steak house in Ivy-lane. One of the
members, Hawkins, then Sir John, has given a very lively picture of a
celebration by this Club, at the Devil Tavern, in Fleet-street, which
forms one of the pleasantest pages in the Author's Life of Johnson.
Sir John tells us:

"One evening, at the [Ivy-lane] Club, Dr. Johnson proposed to us
celebrating the birth of Mrs. Lennox's first literary child, as he
called her book, by a whole night spent in festivity. The place
appointed was the Devil Tavern; and there, about the hour of eight,
Mrs. Lennox, and her husband, and a lady of her acquaintance now
living [1785], as also the Club and friends, to the number of near
twenty, assembled. Our supper was elegant, and Johnson had directed
that a magnificent hot apple-pye should make a part of it, and this he
would have stuck with bay-leaves, because, forsooth, Mrs. Lennox was
an authoress, and had written verses; and further, he had prepared for
her a crown of laurel, with which, but not until he had invoked the
Muses by some ceremonies of his own invention, he encircled her brows.
The night passed, as must be imagined, in pleasant conversation and
harmless mirth, intermingled, at different periods, with the
refreshments of coffee and tea. About five, Johnson's face shone with
meridian splendour, though his drink had been only lemonade; but the
far greater part of us had deserted the colours of Bacchus, and were
with difficulty rallied to partake of a second refreshment of coffee,
which was scarcely ended when the day began to dawn. This phenomenon
began to put us in mind of our reckoning; but the waiters were all so
overcome with sleep, that it was two hours before we could get a bill,
and it was not till near eight that the creaking of the street-door
gave the signal for our departure."

When Johnson, the year before his death, endeavoured to re-assemble as
many of the Club as were left, he found, to his regret, he wrote to
Hawkins, that Horseman, the landlord, was dead, and the house shut up.

About this time, Johnson instituted a Club at the Queen's Arms, in St.
Paul's Churchyard. "He told Mr. Hook," says Boswell, "that he wished
to have _a City Club_, and asked him to collect one; but," said he,
"don't let them be patriots." (Boswell's _Life_, 8th edit. vol. iv. p.
93.) This was an allusion to the friends of his acquaintance Wilkes.
Boswell accompanied him one day to the Club, and found the members
"very sensible, well-behaved men."


In the year before he died, at the Essex Head, now No. 40, in
Essex-street, Strand, Dr. Johnson established a little evening Club,
under circumstances peculiarly interesting, as described by Boswell.
He tells us that "notwithstanding the complication of disorders under
which Johnson now laboured, he did not resign himself to despondency
and discontent, but with wisdom and spirit endeavoured to console and
amuse his mind with as many innocent enjoyments as he could procure."
Sir John Hawkins has mentioned the cordiality with which he insisted
that such of the members of the old Club in Ivy-lane as survived,
should meet again and dine together, which they did, twice at a
tavern, and once at his house; and in order to ensure himself in the
evening for three days in the week, Johnson instituted a Club at the
Essex Head, in Essex-street, then kept by Samuel Greaves, an old
servant of Mr. Thrale's: it was called "Sam's."

On Dec. 4, 1783, Johnson wrote to Sir Joshua Reynolds, giving an
account of this Club, of which Reynolds had desired to be one; "the
company," Dr. J. says, "is numerous, and, as you will see by the list,
miscellaneous. The terms are lax, and the expenses light. Mr. Barry
was adopted by Dr. Brocklesby, who joined with me in forming the plan.
We meet twice a week, and he who misses forfeits twopence." It did not
suit Sir Joshua to be one of this Club; "but," says Boswell, "when I
mention only Mr. Daines Barrington, Dr. Brocklesby, Mr. Murphy, Mr.
John Nichols, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Joddrel, Mr. Paradise, Dr. Horsley, Mr.
Windham, I shall sufficiently obviate the misrepresentation of it by
Sir John Hawkins, as if it had been a low ale-house association, by
which Johnson was degraded." The Doctor himself, like his namesake,
Old Ben, composed the Rules of his Club. Boswell was, at this time, in
Scotland, and during all the winter. Johnson, however, declared that
he should be a member, and invented a word upon the occasion:
"Boswell," said he, "is a very _clubbable_ man;" and he was
subsequently chosen of the Club.

Johnson headed the Rules with these lines:--

     "To-day deep thoughts with me resolve to drench
     In mirth, which after no repenting draws."--_Milton._

Johnson's attention to the Club was unceasing, as appears by a letter
to Alderman Clark, (afterwards Lord Mayor and Chamberlain,) who was
elected into the Club: the postscript is: "You ought to be informed
that the forfeits began with the year, and that every night of
non-attendance incurs the mulct of three pence; that is, ninepence a
week." Johnson himself was so anxious in his attendance, that going to
meet the Club when he was not strong enough, he was seized with a
spasmodic asthma, so violent, that he could scarcely return home, and
he was confined to his house eight or nine weeks. He recovered by May
15, when he was in fine spirits at the Club.

Boswell writes of the Essex: "I believe there are few Societies where
there is better conversation, or more decorum. Several of us resolved
to continue it after our great founder was removed by death. Other
members were added; and now, above eight years since that loss, we go
on happily."


Out of the casual, but frequent meetings of men of talent at the
hospitable board of Sir Joshua Reynolds, in Leicester-square, rose
that association of wits, authors, scholars, and statesmen, renowned
as the Literary Club. Reynolds was the first to propose a regular
association of the kind, and was eagerly seconded by Johnson, who
suggested as a model the Club which he had formed some fourteen years
previously, in Ivy-lane;[18] and which the deaths or dispersion of its
members had now interrupted for nearly seven years. On this suggestion
being adopted, the members, as in the earlier Club, were limited to
nine, and Mr. Hawkins, as an original member of the Ivy-lane Club, was
invited to join. Topham Beauclerk and Bennet Langton were asked and
welcomed earnestly; and, of course, Mr. Edmund Burke. The notion of
the Club delighted Burke; and he asked admission for his
father-in-law, Dr. Nugent, an accomplished Roman Catholic physician,
who lived with him. Beauclerk, in like manner, suggested his friend
Chamier, then Under-Secretary-at-War. Oliver Goldsmith completed the
number. But another member of the original Ivy-lane, Samuel Dyer,
making unexpected appearance from abroad, in the following year, was
joyfully admitted; and though it was resolved to make election
difficult, and only for special reasons permit addition to their
number, the limitation at first proposed was thus, of course, done
away with. Twenty was the highest number reached in the course of ten

The dates of the Club are thus summarily given by Mr. Hatchett, the
treasurer:--It was founded in 1764, by Sir Joshua Reynolds and Dr.
Samuel Johnson, and for some years met on Monday evenings, at seven.
In 1772, the day of meeting was changed to Friday, and about that
time, instead of supping, they agreed to dine together once in every
fortnight during the sitting of Parliament. In 1773, the Club, which,
soon after its foundation, consisted of twelve members, was enlarged
to twenty; March 11, 1777, to twenty-six; November 27, 1778, to
thirty; May 9, 1780, to thirty-five; and it was then resolved that it
should never exceed forty. It met originally at the Turk's Head, in
Gerard-street, and continued to meet there till 1783, when their
landlord died, and the house was soon afterwards shut up. They then
removed to Prince's, in Sackville-street; and on his house being, soon
afterwards, shut up, they removed to Baxter's, which afterwards became
Thomas's, in Dover-street. In January, 1792, they removed to
Parsloe's, in St. James's-street; and on February 26, 1799, to the
Thatched House, in the same street.

"So originated and was formed," says Mr. Forster, "that famous Club,
which had made itself a name in literary history long before it
received, at Garrick's funeral, the name of the Literary Club, by
which it is now known. Its meetings were noised abroad; the fame of
its conversations received eager addition, from the difficulty of
obtaining admission to it; and it came to be as generally understood
that Literature had fixed her social head-quarters here, as that
Politics reigned supreme at Wildman's, or the Cocoa-tree. With
advantage, let me add, to the dignity and worldly consideration of men
of letters themselves. 'I believe Mr. Fox will allow me to say,'
remarked the Bishop of St. Asaph, when the Society was not more than
fifteen years old, 'that the honour of being elected into the Turk's
Head Club, is not inferior to that of being the representative of
Westminster or Surrey.' The Bishop had just been elected; but into
such lusty independence had the Club sprung up thus early, that
Bishops, even Lord Chancellors, were known to have knocked for
admission unsuccessfully; and on the night of St. Asaph's election,
Lord Camden and the Bishop of Chester were black-balled."

Of this Club, Hawkins was a most unpopular member: even his old
friend, Johnson, admitted him to be out of place here. He had objected
to Goldsmith, at the Club, "as a mere literary drudge, equal to the
task of compiling and translating, but little capable of original, and
still less of poetical composition." Hawkins's "existence was a kind
of pompous, parsimonious, insignificant drawl, cleverly ridiculed by
one of the wits in an absurd epitaph: 'Here lies Sir John Hawkins,
without his shoes and stauckins.'" He was as mean as he was pompous
and conceited. He forbore to partake of the suppers at the Club, and
begged therefore to be excused from paying his share of the reckoning.
"And was he excused?" asked Dr. Burney, of Johnson. "Oh yes, for no
man is angry at another for being inferior to himself. We all scorned
him, and admitted his plea. Yet I really believe him to be an honest
man at bottom, though, to be sure, he is penurious and he is mean, and
it must be owned that he has a tendency to savageness." He did not
remain above two or three years in the Club, being in a manner elbowed
out in consequence of his rudeness to Burke. Still, Burke's vehemence
of will and sharp impetuosity of temper constantly exposed him to
prejudice and dislike; and he may have painfully impressed others, as
well as Hawkins, at the Club, with a sense of his predominance. This
was the only theatre open to him. "Here only," says Mr. Forster,
"could he as yet pour forth, to an audience worth exciting, the stores
of argument and eloquence he was thirsting to employ upon a wider
stage; the variety of knowledge, the fund of astonishing imagery, the
ease of philosophic illustration, the overpowering copiousness of
words, in which he has never had a rival." Miss Hawkins was convinced
that her father was disgusted with the overpowering deportment of Mr.
Burke, and his monopoly of the conversation, which made all the other
members, excepting his antagonist, Johnson, merely listeners.
Something of the same sort is said by that antagonist, though in a
more generous way. "What I most envy Burke for," said Johnson, "is,
that he is never what we call humdrum; never unwilling to begin to
talk, nor in haste to leave off. Take up whatever topic you please, he
is ready to meet you. I cannot say he is good at listening. So
desirous is he to talk, that if one is speaking at this end of the
table, he'll speak to somebody at the other end."

The Club was an opportunity for both Johnson and Burke; and for the
most part their wit-combats seem not only to have instructed the rest,
but to have improved the temper of the combatants, and to have made
them more generous to each other. "How very great Johnson has been
to-night!" said Burke to Bennet Langton, as they left the Club
together. Langton assented, but could have wished to hear more from
another person. "Oh no!" replied Burke, "it is enough for me to have
rung the bell to him."

One evening he observed that a hogshead of claret, which had been sent
as a present to the Club, was almost out; and proposed that Johnson
should write for another, in such ambiguity of expression as might
have a chance of procuring it also as a gift. One of the company said,
"Dr. Johnson shall be our dictator."--"Were I," said Johnson, "your
dictator, you should have no wine: it would be my business cavere ne
quid detrimenti respublica caperet:--wine is dangerous; Rome was
ruined by luxury." Burke replied: "If you allow no wine as dictator,
you shall not have me for master of the horse."

Goldsmith, it must be owned, joined the Club somewhat unwillingly,
saying: "One must make some sacrifices to obtain good society; for
here I am shut out of several places where I used to play the fool
very agreeably." His simplicity of character and hurried expression
often led him into absurdity, and he became in some degree the butt of
the company. The Club, notwithstanding all its learned dignity in the
eyes of the world, could occasionally unbend and play the fool as well
as less important bodies. Some of its jocose conversations have at
times leaked out; and the Society in which Goldsmith could venture to
sing his song of "An Old Woman tossed in a Blanket" could not be so
very staid in its gravity. Bennet Langton and Topham Beauclerk were,
doubtless, induced to join the Club through their devotion to Johnson,
and the intimacy of these two very young and aristocratic young men
with the stern and somewhat melancholy moralist. Bennet Langton was of
an ancient family, who held their ancestral estate of Langton in
Lincolnshire, a great title to respect with Johnson. "Langton, Sir,"
he would say, "has a grant of free warren from Henry the Second; and
Cardinal Stephen Langton, in King John's reign, was of this family."

Langton was of a mild, contemplative, enthusiastic nature. When but
eighteen years of age, he was so delighted with reading Johnson's
_Rambler_, that he came to London chiefly with a view to obtain an
introduction to the author.

Langton went to pursue his studies at Trinity College, Oxford, where
Johnson saw much of him during a visit which he paid to the
University. He found him in close intimacy with Topham Beauclerk, a
youth two years older than himself, very gay and dissipated, and
wondered what sympathies could draw two young men together of such
opposite characters. On becoming acquainted with Beauclerk, he found
that, rake though he was, he possessed an ardent love of literature,
an acute understanding, polished wit, innate gentility, and high
aristocratic breeding. He was, moreover, the only son of Lord Sidney
Beauclerk, and grandson of the Duke of St. Albans, and was thought in
some particulars to have a resemblance to Charles the Second. These
were high recommendations with Johnson; and when the youth testified a
profound respect for him, and an ardent admiration of his talents, the
conquest was complete; so that in a "short time," says Boswell, "the
moral, pious Johnson and the gay dissipated Beauclerk were

When these two young men entered the Club, Langton was about
twenty-two, and Beauclerk about twenty-four years of age, and both
were launched on London life. Langton, however, was still the mild,
enthusiastic scholar, steeped to the lips in Greek, with fine
conversational powers, and an invaluable talent for listening. He was
upwards of six feet high, and very spare. "Oh that we could sketch
him!" exclaims Miss Hawkins, in her Memoirs, "with his mild
countenance, his elegant features, and his sweet smile, sitting with
one leg twisted round the other, as if fearing to occupy more space
than was equitable; his person inclining forward, as if wanting
strength to support his weight; and his arms crossed over his bosom,
or his hands locked together on his knee." Beauclerk, on such
occasions, sportively compared him to a stork in Raphael's cartoons,
standing on one leg. Beauclerk was more a "man upon town," a lounger
in St. James's-street, an associate with George Selwyn, with Walpole,
and other aristocratic wits, a man of fashion at court, a casual
frequenter of the gaming-table; yet, with all this, he alternated in
the easiest and happiest manner the scholar and the man of letters;
lounged into the Club with the most perfect self-possession, bringing
with him the careless grace and polished wit of high-bred society, but
making himself cordially at home among his learned fellow-members.

Johnson was exceedingly chary at first of the exclusiveness of the
Club, and opposed to its being augmented in number. Not long after its
institution, Sir Joshua Reynolds was speaking of it to Garrick. "I
like it much," said little David, briskly, "I think I shall be of
you." "When Sir Joshua mentioned this to Dr. Johnson," says Boswell,
"he was much displeased with the actor's conceit. '_He'll be of us!_'
growled he; 'how does he know we will _permit_ him? The first duke in
England has no right to hold such language."

When Sir John Hawkins spoke favourably of Garrick's pretensions,
"Sir," replied Johnson, "he will disturb us by his buffoonery." In the
same spirit he declared to Mr. Thrale, that if Garrick should apply
for admission, he would black-ball him. "Who, Sir?" exclaimed Thrale,
with surprise: "Mr. Garrick--your friend, your companion--black-ball
him?" "Why, Sir," replied Johnson, "I love my little David
dearly--better than all or any of his flatterers do; but surely one
ought to sit in a society like ours,

     "Unelbowed by a gamester, pimp, or player."

The exclusion from the Club was a sore mortification to Garrick,
though he bore it without complaining. He could not help continually
asking questions about it--what was going on there?--whether he was
ever the subject of conversation? By degrees the rigour of the Club
relaxed; some of the members grew negligent. Beauclerk lost his right
of membership by neglecting to attend. On his marriage, however, with
Lady Diana Spencer, daughter of the Duke of Marlborough, and recently
divorced from Viscount Bolingbroke, he had claimed and regained his
seat in the Club. The number of the members had likewise been
augmented. The proposition to increase it originated with Goldsmith.
"It would give," he thought, "an agreeable variety to their meetings;
for there can be nothing new amongst us," said he; "we have travelled
over each other's minds." Johnson was piqued at the suggestion. "Sir,"
said he, "you have not travelled over my mind, I promise you." Sir
Joshua, less confident in the exhaustless fecundity of his mind, felt
and acknowledged the force of Goldsmith's suggestion. Several new
members, therefore, had been added; the first, to his great joy, was
David Garrick. Goldsmith, who was now on cordial terms with him, had
zealously promoted his election, and Johnson had given it his warm
approbation. Another new member was Beauclerk's friend, Lord
Charlemont; and a still more important one was Mr., afterwards Sir
William Jones, the linguist. George Colman, the elder, was a lively
Club-man. One evening at the Club he met Boswell; they talked of
Johnson's _Journey to the Western Islands_, and of his coming away
"willing to believe the second sight," which seemed to excite some
ridicule. "I was then," says Boswell, "so impressed with the truth of
many of the stories which I had been told, that I avowed my
conviction, saying, "He is only _willing_ to believe--I _do_ believe;
the evidence is enough for me, though not for his great mind. What
will not fill a quart bottle will fill a pint bottle; I am filled with
belief."--"Are you?" said Colman; "then cork it up.""

Five years after the death of Garrick, Dr. Johnson dined with the Club
_for the last time_. This is one of the most melancholy entries by
Boswell. "On Tuesday, June 22 (1784), I dined with him (Johnson) at
the Literary Club, the last time of his being in that respectable
society. The other members present were the Bishop of St. Asaph, Lord
Eliot, Lord Palmerston (father of the Premier), Dr. Fordyce, and Mr.
Malone. He looked ill; but he had such a manly fortitude, that he did
not trouble the company with melancholy complaints. They all showed
evident marks of kind concern about him, with which he was much
pleased, and he exerted himself to be as entertaining as his
indisposition allowed him."

From the time of Garrick's death the Club was known as "The Literary
Club," since which it has certainly lost its claim to this epithet. It
was originally a club of authors _by profession_; it now numbers very
few except titled members (the majority having some claims to literary
distinction), which was very far from the intention of its founders.
To this the author of the paper in the _National Review_ demurs.
Writing in 1857, he says: "Perhaps it now numbers on its list more
titled members and fewer authors by profession, than its founders
would have considered desirable. This opinion, however, is quite open
to challenge. Such men as the Marquis of Lansdowne, the late Lord
Ellesmere, Lords Brougham, Carlisle, Aberdeen, and Glenelg, hold their
place in 'the Literary Club' quite as much by virtue of their
contributions to literature, or their enlightened support of it, as by
their right of rank." [How many of these noble members have since paid
the debt of nature!]

"At all events," says Mr. Taylor, "the Club still acknowledges
literature as its foundation, and love of literature as the tie which
binds together its members, whatever their rank and callings. Few
Clubs can show such a distinguished brotherhood of members as 'the
Literary.' Of authors proper, from 1764 to this date (1857), may be
enumerated, besides its original members, Johnson and Goldsmith, Dyer
and Percy, Gibbon and Sir William Jones, Colman, the two Wartons,
Farmer, Steevens, Burney, and Malone, Frere and George Ellis, Hallam,
Milman, Mountstuart Elphinstone, and Lord Stanhope.

"Among men equally conspicuous in letters and the Senate, what names
outshine those of Burke and Sheridan, Canning, Brougham, and Macaulay?
Of statesmen and orators proper, the Club claims Fox, Windham, Thomas
Grenville, Lord Liverpool; Lords Lansdowne, Aberdeen, and Clarendon.
Natural science is represented by Sir Joseph Banks, in the last
century; by Professor Owen in this. Social science can have no nobler
representative than Adam Smith; albeit, Boswell did think the Club had
lost caste by electing him. Mr. N. W. Senior is the political
economist of the present Club. Whewell must stand alone as the
embodiment of omniscience, which before him was unrepresented.
Scholars and soldiers may be equally proud of Rennel, Leake, and Mure.
Besides the clergymen already enumerated as authors, the Church has
contributed a creditable list of bishops and inferior dignitaries:
Shipley of St. Asaph, Barnard of Killaloe, Marley of Pomfret,
Hinchcliffe of Peterborough, Douglas of Salisbury, Blomfield of
London, Wilberforce of Oxford, Dean Vincent of Westminster, Archdeacon
Burney; and Dr. Hawtrey, late master and present provost of Eton.

"Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir Charles Eastlake are its two chief
pillars of art, slightly unequal. With them we may associate Sir
William Chambers and Charles Wilkins. The presence of Drs. Nugent,
Blagden, Fordyce, Warren, Vaughan, and Sir Henry Halford, is a proof
that in the Club medicine has from the first kept up its kinship with

"The profession of the law has given the Society Lord Ashburton, Lord
Stowell, and Sir William Grant, Charles Austin, and Pemberton Leigh.
Lord Overstone may stand as the symbol of money; unless Sir George
Cornewall Lewis is to be admitted to that honour by virtue of his
Chancellorship of the Exchequer. Sir George would, probably, prefer
his claims to Club membership as a scholar and political writer, to
any that can be picked out of a Budget.

"Take it all in all, the Literary Club has never degenerated from the
high standard of intellectual gifts and personal qualities, which made
those unpretending suppers at the Turk's Head an honour eagerly
contended for by the wisest, wittiest, and noblest of the eighteenth

Malone, in 1810, gave the total number of those who had been members
of the Club from its foundation, at seventy-six, of whom fifty-five
had been authors. Since 1810, however, literature has far less

The designation of the Society has been again changed to "the Johnson
Club." Upon the taking down of the Thatched House Tavern, the Club
removed to the Clarendon Hotel, in Bond-street, where was celebrated
its centenary, in September, 1864. There were present, upon this
memorable occasion,--in the chair, the Dean of St. Paul's; his
Excellency M. Van de Weyer, Earls Clarendon and Stanhope; the Bishops
of London and Oxford; Lords Brougham, Stanley, Cranworth, Kingsdown,
and Harry Vane; the Right Hon. Sir Edmund Head, Spencer Walpole, and
Robert Lowe; Sir Henry Holland, Sir C. Eastlake, Sir Roderick
Murchison, Vice-Chancellor Sir W. Page Wood, the Master of Trinity,
Professor Owen, Mr. G. Grote, Mr. C. Austen, Mr. H. Reeve, and Mr. G.
Richmond. Among the few members prevented from attending were the Duke
of Argyll (in Scotland), the Earl of Carlisle (in Ireland), Earl
Russell, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Overstone (at Oxford),
Lord Glenelg (abroad), and Mr. W. Stirling (from indisposition). Mr.
N. W. Senior, who was the political economist of the Club, died in
June, preceding, in his sixty-fourth year.

Hallam and Macaulay were among the constant attendants at its dinners,
which take place twice a month during the Parliamentary season. The
custody of the books and archives of the Club rests with the
secretary, Dr. Milman, the venerable Dean of St. Paul's, who takes
great pride and pleasure in showing to literary friends the valuable
collection of autographs which these books contain. Among the
memorials is the portrait of Sir Joshua Reynolds, with spectacles on,
similar to the picture in the Royal Collection: this portrait was
painted and presented by Sir Joshua, as the founder of the Club.

Lord Macaulay has grouped, with his accustomed felicity of language,
this celebrated congress of men of letters.

"To discuss questions of taste, of learning, of casuistry, in language
so exact and so forcible that it might have been printed without the
alteration of a word," was to Johnson no exertion, but a pleasure. He
loved, as he said, to fold his legs and have his talk out. He was
ready to bestow the overflowings of his full mind on anybody who would
start a subject, on a fellow-passenger in a stage-coach, or on the
person who sat at the same table with him in an eating-house. But his
conversation was nowhere so brilliant and striking as when he was
surrounded by a few friends, whose abilities and knowledge enabled
them, as he once expressed it, to send him back every ball that he
threw. Some of these, in 1764, formed themselves into a Club, which
gradually became a formidable power in the commonwealth of letters.
The verdicts pronounced by this conclave on new books were speedily
known over all London, and were sufficient to sell off a whole edition
in a day, or to condemn the sheets to the service of the trunk-maker
and the pastrycook. Nor shall we think this strange when we consider
what great and various talents and acquirements met in the little
fraternity. Goldsmith was the representative of poetry and light
literature, Reynolds of the Arts, Burke of political eloquence and
political philosophy. There, too, were Gibbon, the greatest historian,
and Jones, the greatest linguist of the age. Garrick brought to the
meetings his inexhaustible pleasantry, his incomparable mimicry, and
his consummate knowledge of stage effect. Among the most constant
attendants were two high-born and high-bred gentlemen, closely bound
together by friendship, but of widely different characters and
habits,--Bennet Langton, distinguished by his skill in Greek
literature, by the orthodoxy of his opinions, and by the sanctity of
his life; and Topham Beauclerk, renowned for his amours, his knowledge
of the gay world, his fastidious taste, and his sarcastic wit. To
predominate over such a society was not easy. Yet even over such a
society Johnson predominated. Burke might indeed have disputed the
supremacy to which others were under the necessity of submitting. But
Burke, though not generally a very patient listener, was content to
take the second part when Johnson was present; and the Club itself,
consisting of so many eminent men, is to this day popularly designated
as "Johnson's Club."

To the same master-hand we owe this cabinet picture. "The [Literary
Club] room is before us, and the table on which stand the omelet for
Nugent, and the lemons for Johnson. There are assembled those heads
which live for ever on the canvas of Reynolds. There are the
spectacles of Burke, and the tall thin form of Langton; the courtly
sneer of Beauclerk, the beaming smile of Garrick, Gibbon tapping his
snuff-box, and Sir Joshua with his trumpet in his ear. In the
foreground is that strange figure which is as familiar to us as the
figures of those among whom we have been brought up--the gigantic
body, the huge massy face, seamed with the scars of disease; the brown
coat, the black worsted stockings, the grey wig with the scorched
foretop; the dirty hands, the nails bitten and pared to the quick. We
see the eyes and the nose moving with convulsive twitches; we see the
heavy form rolling; we hear it puffing; and then comes the 'Why, Sir?'
and the 'What then, Sir?' and the 'No, Sir!' and the 'You don't see
your way through the question, Sir!'"


[18] The house in Ivy-lane, which bore the name of Johnson, and where
the Literary Club is said to have been held, was burnt down a few
years since: it had long been a chop-house.


However Goldsmith might court the learned circle of the Literary Club,
he was ill at ease there; and he had social resorts in which he
indemnified himself for this restraint by indulging his humour without
control. One of these was a Shilling Whist Club, which met at the
Devil Tavern. The company delighted in practical jokes, of which
Goldsmith was often the butt. One night, he came to the Club in a
hackney-coach, when he gave the driver a guinea instead of a shilling.
He set this down as a dead loss; but, on the next club-night, he was
told that a person at the street-door wanted to speak to him; he went
out, and to his surprise and delight, the coachman had brought him
back the guinea! To reward such honesty, he collected a small sum from
the Club, and largely increased it from his own purse, and with this
reward sent away the coachman. He was still loud in his praise, when
one of the Club asked to see the returned guinea. To Goldsmith's
confusion it proved to be a counterfeit: the laughter which succeeded,
showed him that the whole was a hoax, and the pretended coachman as
much a counterfeit as the guinea. He was so disconcerted that he soon
beat a retreat for the evening.

Another of these small Clubs met on Wednesday evenings, at the Globe
Tavern, in Fleet-street; where songs, jokes, dramatic imitations,
burlesque parodies, and broad sallies of humour, were the
entertainments. Here a huge ton of a man, named Gordon, used to
delight Goldsmith with singing the jovial song of "Nottingham Ale,"
and looking like a butt of it. Here too, a wealthy pig-butcher
aspired to be on the most sociable terms with Oliver; and here was Tom
King, the comedian, recently risen to eminence by his performance of
Lord Ogleby, in the new comedy of _The Clandestine Marriage_. A member
of note was also one Hugh Kelly, who was a kind of competitor of
Goldsmith, but a low one; for Johnson used to speak of him as a man
who had written more than he had read. Another noted frequenter of the
Globe and Devil taverns was one Glover, who, having failed in the
medical profession, took to the stage; but having succeeded in
restoring to life a malefactor who had just been executed, he
abandoned the stage, and resumed his wig and cane; and came to London
to dabble in physic and literature. He used to amuse the company at
the Club by his story-telling and mimicry, giving capital imitations
of Garrick, Foote, Colman, Sterne, and others. It was through
Goldsmith that Glover was admitted to the Wednesday Club; he was,
however, greatly shocked by the free-and-easy tone in which Goldsmith
was addressed by the pig-butcher; "Come, Noll," he would say as he
pledged him, "here's my service to you, old boy."

The evening's amusement at the Wednesday Club was not, however,
limited; it had the variety of epigram, and here was first heard the
celebrated epitaph, (Goldsmith had been reading Pope and Swift's
Miscellanies,) on Edward Purdon:--

     "Here lies poor Ned Purdon, from misery freed,
         Who long was a bookseller's hack;
     He had led such a damnable life in this world,
         I don't think he'll wish to come back."

It was in April of the present year that Purdon closed his luckless
life by suddenly dropping down dead in Smithfield; and as it was
chiefly Goldsmith's pittance that had saved him thus long from
starvation, it was well that the same friend should give him his
solitary chance of escape from oblivion. "Doctor Goldsmith made this
epitaph," says William Ballantyne, "in his way from his chambers in
the Temple to the Wednesday evening Club at the Globe. _I think he
will never come back_, I believe he said; I was sitting by him, and he
repeated it more than once. _I think he will never come back!_ Ah! and
not altogether as a jest, it may be, the second and the third time.
There was something in Purdon's fate, from their first meeting in
college to that incident in Smithfield, which had no very violent
contrast to his own; and remembering what Glover had said of his
frequent sudden descents from mirth to melancholy, some such faithful
change of temper would here have been natural enough. 'His
disappointments at these times,' Glover tells us, 'made him peevish
and sullen, and he has often left his party of convivial friends
abruptly in the evening, in order to go home and brood over his
misfortunes.' But a better medicine for his grief than brooding over
it, was a sudden start into the country to forget it; and it was
probably with a feeling of this kind he had in the summer revisited
Islington; he laboured during the autumn in a room of Canonbury Tower;
and often, in the evening, presided at the Crown tavern, in Islington
Lower Road, where Goldsmith and his fellow-lodgers had formed a kind
of temporary club. At the close of the year he returned to the Temple,
and was again pretty constant in his attendance at Gerard-street."[19]


[19] See Forster's _Life of Goldsmith_, pp. 422-424.


The origin of this Society, which has now existed some 130 years, is
due to certain gentlemen, who had travelled much in Italy, and were
desirous of encouraging at home a taste for those objects which had
contributed so much to their intellectual gratification abroad.
Accordingly, in the year 1734, they formed themselves into a Society,
under the name of Dilettanti, (literally, lovers of the Fine Arts,)
and agreed upon certain Regulations to keep up the spirit of their
scheme, which combined friendly and social intercourse with a serious
and ardent desire to promote the Arts. In 1751, Mr. James Stuart,
"Athenian Stuart," and Mr. Nicholas Revett, were elected members. The
Society liberally assisted them in their excellent work, _The
Antiquities of Athens_. In fact it was, in great measure, owing to
this Society that after the death of the above two eminent architects,
the work was not entirely relinquished; and a large number of the
plates were engraved from drawings in the possession of the
Dilettanti. Walpole, speaking in 1743, of the Society, in connexion
with an opera subscription, says, "The nominal qualification [to be a
member] is having been in Italy, and the real one, being drunk; the
two chiefs are Lord Middlesex and Sir Francis Dashwood, who were
seldom sober the whole time they were in Italy." We need scarcely add,
that the qualifications for election are no longer what Walpole
described them to have been.

In 1764, the Society being possessed of a considerable sum above what
their services required, various schemes were proposed for applying
part of this money; and it was at length resolved "that a person or
persons properly qualified, should be sent, with sufficient
appointments, to certain parts of the East, to collect information
relative to the former state of those countries, and particularly to
procure exact descriptions of the ruins of such monuments of antiquity
as are yet to be seen in those parts."

Three persons were elected for this undertaking, Mr. Chandler, of
Magdalen College, Oxford, editor of the _Marmora Oxoniensia_, was
appointed to execute the classical part of the plan. Architecture was
assigned to Mr. Revett; and the choice of a proper person for taking
views and copying the bas-reliefs, fell upon Mr. Pars, a young painter
of promise. Each person was strictly enjoined to keep a regular
journal, and hold a constant correspondence with the Society.

The party embarked on June 9, 1764, in the _Anglicana_, bound for
Constantinople, and were just at the Dardanelles on the 25th of
August. Having visited the Sigæan Promontory, the ruins of Troas, with
the islands of Tenedos and Scio, they arrived at the Smyrna on the
11th of September. From that city, as their head-quarters, they made
several excursions. On the 20th of August, 1765, they sailed from
Smyrna, and arrived at Athens on the 30th of the same month, having
touched at Sunium and Ægina on their way. They staid at Athens till
June 11, 1766, visiting Marathon, Eleusis, Salamis, Megara, and other
places in the neighbourhood. Leaving Athens, they proceeded by the
little island of Calauria to Trezene, Epidaurus, Argos, and Corinth.
From this they visited Delphi, Patræ, Elis, and Zante, whence they
sailed on the 31st of August, and arrived in England on the 2nd of
November following, bringing with them an immense number of drawings,
etc., the result of which was the publication, at the expense of the
Society, of two magnificent volumes of _Ionian Antiquities_. The
results of the expedition were also the two popular works, Chandler's
Travels in Asia Minor, 1775; and his _Travels in Greece_, in the
following year; also, the volume of Greek Inscriptions, 1774,
containing the Sigæan inscription, the marble of which has been since
brought to England by Lord Elgin; and the celebrated documents
containing the reconstruction of the Temple of Minerva Polias, which
Professor Wilkins illustrated in his _Prolusiones Architectonicæ_,

Walpole, in 1791, has this odd passage upon the _Ionian Antiquities_:
"They who are industrious and correct, and wish to forget nothing,
should go to Greece, where there is nothing left to be seen, but that
ugly pigeon-house, the Temple of the Winds, that fly-cage,
Demosthenes's Lantern, and one or two fragments of a portico, or a
piece of a column crushed into a mud wall; and with such a morsel, and
many quotations, a true classic antiquary can compose a whole folio,
and call it _Ionian Antiquities_."

But, it may be asked, how came the Society to associate so freely
pleasure with graver pursuits? To this it may be replied, that when
the Dilettanti first met they avowed friendly and social intercourse
the first object they had in view, although they soon showed that they
would combine with it a serious plan for the promotion of the Arts in
this country. For these persons were not scholars, nor even men of
letters; they were some of the wealthiest noblemen and most
fashionable men of the day, who would naturally sup with the Regent as
he went through Paris, and find themselves quite at home in the
Carnival of Venice. These, too, were times of what would now be
considered very licentious merriment and very unscrupulous fun,--times
when men of independent means and high rank addicted themselves to
pleasure, and gave vent to their full animal spirits with a frankness
that would now be deemed not only vulgar but indecorous, while they
evinced an earnestness about objects now thought frivolous which it is
very easy to represent as absurd. In assuming, however, the name of
"Dilettanti" they evidently attached to it no light and superficial
notion. The use of that word as one of disparagement or ridicule is
quite recent. The same may be said of "Virtù," which, in the artistic
sense, does not seem to be strictly academical, but that of "Virtuoso"
is so, undoubtedly, and it means the "capable" man,--the man who has a
right to judge on matters requiring a particular faculty: Dryden says:
"Virtuoso the Italians call a man 'who loves the noble arts, and is a
critic in them,' or, as old Glanville says,' 'who dwells in a higher
region than other mortals.'

"Thus, when the Dilettanti mention 'the cause of virtue' as a high
object which they will never abandon, they express their belief that
the union into which they had entered had a more important purpose
than any personal satisfaction could give it, and that they did engage
themselves thereby in some degree to promote the advantage of their
country and of mankind.

"Of all the merry meetings these gay gentlemen had together, small
records remain. We, looking back out of a graver time, can only judge
from the uninterrupted course of their festive gatherings, from the
names of the statesmen, the wits, the scholars, the artists, the
amateurs, that fill the catalogue, from the strange mixture of
dignities and accessions to wealth for which, by the rules of the
Society, fines were paid,--and above all, by the pictures which they
possess,--how much of the pleasantry and the hearty enjoyment must
have been mixed up with the more solid pursuits of the Members. Cast
your eye over the list of those who met together at the table of the
Dilettanti any time between 1770 and 1790."[20] Here occur the names
of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Earl Fitzwilliam, Charles James Fox, Hon.
Stephen Fox (Lord Holland), Hon. Mr. Fitzpatrick, Charles Howard (Duke
of Norfolk), Lord Robert Spencer, George Selwyn, Colonel Fitzgerald,
Hon. H. Conway, Joseph Banks, Duke of Dorset, Sir William Hamilton,
David Garrick, George Colman, Joseph Windham, R. Payne Knight, Sir
George Beaumont, Towneley, and others of less posthumous fame, but
probably of not less agreeable companionship.

The funds must have largely benefited by the payment of fines, some of
which were very strange. Those paid "on increase of income, by
inheritance, legacy, marriage, or preferment," are very odd; as, five
guineas by Lord Grosvenor, on his marriage with Miss Leveson Gower;
eleven guineas by the Duke of Bedford, on being appointed First Lord
of the Admiralty; ten guineas compounded for by Bubb Dodington, as
Treasurer of the Navy; two guineas by the Duke of Kingston for a
Colonelcy of Horse (then valued at 400_l._ per annum); twenty-one
pounds by Lord Sandwich on going out as Ambassador to the Congress at
Aix-la-Chapelle; and twopence three-farthings by the same nobleman, on
becoming Recorder of Huntingdon; thirteen shillings and fourpence by
the Duke of Bedford, on getting the Garter; and sixteen shillings and
eightpence (Scotch) by the Duke of Buccleuch, on getting the Thistle;
twenty-one pounds by the Earl of Holdernesse, as Secretary of State;
and nine pounds, nineteen shillings and sixpence, by Charles James
Fox, as a Lord of the Admiralty.

In 1814, another expedition was undertaken by the Society, when Sir
William Gell, with Messrs. Gandy and Bedford, professional architects,
proceeded to the Levant. Smyrna was again appointed the head-quarters
of the mission, and fifty pounds per month was assigned to Gell, and
two hundred pounds per annum to each of the architects. An additional
outlay was required; and by this means the classical and antique
literature of England was enriched with the fullest and most accurate
descriptions of important remains of ancient art hitherto given to the

The contributions of the Society to the æsthetic studies of the time
also deserve notice. The excellent design to publish _Select Specimens
of Antient Sculpture preserved in the several Collections of Great
Britain_ was carried into effect by Messrs. Payne Knight and Mr.
Towneley, 2 vols. folio, 1809-1835. Then followed Mr. Penrose's
_Investigations into the Principles of Athenian Architecture_, printed
in 1851.

About the year 1820, those admirable monuments of Grecian art, called
the Bronzes of Siris, were discovered on the banks of that river, and
were brought to this country by the Chevalier Brondsted. The
Dilettanti Society immediately organized a subscription of 800_l._,
and the Trustees of the British Museum completed the purchase by the
additional sum of 200_l._

It was mainly through the influence and patronage of the Dilettanti
Society that the Royal Academy obtained a Charter. In 1774, the
interest of 4000_l._ three per cents. was appropriated by the former
for the purpose of sending two students, recommended by the Royal
Academy, to study in Italy or Greece for three years.

In 1835 appeared a Second Volume on Ancient Sculpture. The Society at
this time included, among a list of sixty-four names of the noble and
learned, those of Sir William Gell, Mr. Towneley, Richard Westmacott,
Henry Hallam, the Duke of Bedford, Sir M. A. Shee, P.R.A., Henry T.
Hope; and Lord Prudhoe, afterwards Duke of Northumberland.

That a Society possessing so much wealth and social importance as the
Dilettanti should not have built for themselves a mansion is
surprising. In 1747 they obtained a plot of ground in Cavendish
Square, for this purpose; but in 1760, they disposed of the property.
Between 1761 and 1764 the project of an edifice in Piccadilly, on the
model of the Temple of Pola, was agitated by the Committee; two sites
were proposed, one between Devonshire and Bath Houses, the other on
the west side of Cambridge House. This scheme was also abandoned.

Meanwhile the Society were accustomed to meet at the Thatched House
Tavern, the large room of which was hung with portraits of the
Dilettanti. Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was a member, painted for the
Society three capital pictures:--1. A group in the manner of Paul
Veronese, containing the portraits of the Duke of Leeds, Lord Dundas,
Constantine Lord Mulgrave, Lord Seaforth, the Hon. Charles Greville,
Charles Crowle, Esq., and Sir Joseph Banks. 2. A group in the manner
of the same master, containing portraits of Sir William Hamilton, Sir
Watkin W. Wynne, Richard Thomson, Esq., Sir John Taylor, Payne Galway,
Esq., John Smythe, Esq., and Spencer S. Stanhope, Esq. 3. Head of Sir
Joshua, dressed in a loose robe, and in his own hair. The earlier
portraits are by Hudson, Reynolds's master.

Some of these portraits are in the costume familiar to us through
Hogarth; others are in Turkish or Roman dresses. There is a mixture of
the convivial in all these pictures: many are using wine-glasses of no
small size: Lord Sandwich, for instance, in a Turkish costume, casts a
most unorthodox glance upon a brimming goblet in his left hand, while
his right holds a flask of great capacity. Sir Bouchier Wray is seated
in the cabin of a ship, mixing punch, and eagerly embracing the bowl,
of which a lurch of the sea would seem about to deprive him: the
inscription is _Dulce est desipere in loco_. Here is a curious old
portrait of the Earl of Holdernesse, in a red cap, as a gondolier,
with the Rialto and Venice in the background; there is Charles
Sackville, Duke of Dorset, as a Roman senator, dated 1738; Lord
Galloway, in the dress of a cardinal; and a very singular likeness of
one of the earliest of the Dilettanti, Lord Le Despencer, as a monk at
his devotions: his Lordship is clasping a brimming goblet for his
rosary, and his eyes are not very piously fixed on a statue of the
Venus de' Medici. It must be conceded that some of these pictures
remind one of the Medmenham orgies, with which some of the Dilettanti
were not unfamiliar. The ceiling of the large room was painted to
represent sky, and crossed by gold cords interlacing each other, and
from their knots were hung three large glass chandeliers.

The Thatched House has disappeared, but the pictures have been well
cared for. The Dilettanti have removed to another tavern, and dine
together on the first Sunday in every month, from February to July.
The late Lord Aberdeen, the Marquises of Northampton and Lansdowne,
and Colonel Leake, and Mr. Broderip, were members; as was also the
late Lord Northwick, whose large collection of pictures at
Thirlestane, Cheltenham, was dispersed by sale in 1859.


[20] Edinburgh Review, No. 214, p. 500.


About the year 1674, according to a document in the possession of Mr.
Fitch of Norwich, a Naval Club was started "for the improvement of a
mutuall Society, and an encrease of Love and Kindness amongst them;"
and that consummate seaman, Admiral Sir John Kempthorne, was declared
Steward of the institution. This was the precursor of the Royal Naval
Club of 1765, which, whether considered for its amenities or its
extensive charities, may be justly cited as a model establishment.
(_Admiral Smyth's Rise and Progress of the Royal Society Club_, p. 9.)
The members of this Club annually distribute a considerable sum among
the distressed widows and orphans of those who have spent their days
in the naval service of their country. The Club was accustomed to dine
together at the Thatched House Tavern, on the anniversary of the
Battle of the Nile.

"Founded on the model of the old tavern or convivial Clubs, but
confined exclusively to members of the Naval Service, the Royal Naval
Club numbered among its members men from the days of Boscawen, Rodney,
and 'the first of June' downwards. It was a favourite retreat for
William IV. when Duke of Clarence; and his comrade, Sir Philip Durham,
the survivor of Nelson, and almost the last of the 'old school,'
frequented it. Sir Philip, however, was by no means one of the
Trunnion class. Coarseness and profane language, on the contrary, he
especially avoided; but in 'spinning a yarn' there has been none like
him since the days of Smollett. The loss of the Royal George, from
which he was one of the few, if, indeed, not only officer, who
escaped, was a favourite theme; and the Admiral, not content with
having made his escape, was wont to maintain that he swam ashore with
his midshipman's dirk in his teeth. Yet Sir Philip would allow no one
to trench on his manor. One day, when a celebrated naval captain, with
the view of quizzing him, was relating the loss of a merchantman on
the coast of South America, laden with Spitalfields products, and
asserting that silk was so plentiful, and the cargo so scattered, that
the porpoises were for some hours enmeshed in its folds: 'Ay, ay,'
replied Sir Philip, 'I believe you; for I was once cruising on that
coast myself, in search of a privateer, and having lost our
fore-topsail one morning in a gale of wind, we next day found it tied
round a whale's neck by way of a cravat.' Sir Philip was considered to
have the best of it, and the novelist was mute."[21]


[21] London Clubs, 1853.


This Club, which partakes of the character of Arthur's and Boodle's,
was founded by Lord Nugent, its object being, as stated in Rule 1, "to
secure a convenient and agreeable place of meeting for a society of
gentlemen, all connected with each other by a common bond of literary
or personal acquaintance."

The Club, No. 11, St. James's-square, is named from the mansion having
been the residence of William Wyndham, who has been described, and the
description has been generally adopted as appropriate, as a model of
the true English gentleman; and the fitness of the Club designation is
equally characteristic. He was an accomplished scholar and
mathematician. Dr. Johnson, writing of a visit which Wyndham paid him,
says: "Such conversation I shall not have again till I come back to
the regions of literature, and there Wyndham is 'inter stellas luna

In the mansion also lived the accomplished John, Duke of Roxburghe;
and here the Roxburghe Library was sold in 1812, the sale extending to
forty-one days. Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough lived here in 1814;
and subsequently, the Earl of Blessington, who possessed a fine
collection of pictures.


This famous Club was originated shortly after the Peace of 1814, by
the Marquis of Londonderry (then Lord Castlereagh), with a view to a
resort for gentlemen who had resided or travelled abroad, as well as
with a view to the accommodation of foreigners, who, when properly
recommended, receive an invitation for the period of their stay. One
of the Rules directs "That no person be considered eligible to the
Travellers' Club who shall not have travelled out of the British
Islands to a distance of at least 500 miles from London in a direct
line." Another Rule directs "That no dice and no game of hazard be
allowed in the rooms of the Club, nor any higher stake than guinea
points, and that no cards be introduced before dinner."

Prince Talleyrand, during his residence in London, generally joined
the muster of whist-players at the Travellers'; probably, here was the
scene of this felicitous rejoinder. The Prince was enjoying his
rubber, when the conversation turned on the recent union of an elderly
lady of respectable rank. "How ever could Madame de S---- make such a
match?--a person of her birth to marry a _valet-de-chambre_!" "Ah,"
replied Talleyrand, "it was late in the game: at nine we don't reckon

The present Travellers' Club-house, which adjoins the Athenæum in
Pall-Mall, was designed by Barry, R.A., and built in 1832. It is one
of the architect's most admired works. Yet, we have seen it thus
treated, with more smartness than judgment, by a critic who is
annoyed at its disadvantageous comparison with its more gigantic

"The Travellers' is worse, and looks very like a sandwich at the
Swindon station--a small stumpy piece of beef between two huge pieces
of bread, _i.e._ the Athenæum and the Reform Clubs, which look as if
they were urging their migratory neighbour to resume the
peregrinations for which its members are remarkable. Yet people have
their names down ten years at the Travellers' previous to their coming
up for ballot. An election reasonably extended would supply funds for
a more advantageous and extended position."

The architecture is the nobler Italian, resembling a Roman palace: the
plan is a quadrangle, with an open area in the middle, so that all the
rooms are well lighted. The Pall-Mall front has a bold and rich
cornice, and the windows are decorated with Corinthian pilasters: the
garden front varies in the windows, but the Italian taste is preserved
throughout, with the most careful finish: the roof is Italian tiles.
To be more minute, the consent of all competent judges has assigned a
very high rank to this building as a piece of architectural design;
for if, in point of mere _quantity_, it fall greatly short of many
contemporary structures, it surpasses nearly every one of them in
_quality_, and in the artist-like treatment. In fact, it makes an
epoch in our metropolitan architecture; for before, we had hardly a
specimen of that nobler Italian style, which, instead of the flutter
and flippery, and the littleness of manner, which pervade most of the
productions of the Palladian school, is characterized by breath and
that refined simplicity arising from unity of idea and execution, and
from every part being consistently worked up, yet kept subservient to
one predominating effect. Unfortunately, the south front, which is by
far the more striking and graceful composition, is comparatively
little seen, being that facing Carlton Gardens, and not to be
approached so as to be studied as it deserves; but when examined, it
certainly must be allowed to merit all the admiration it has obtained.
Though perfect, quiet, and sober in effect, and unostentatious in
character, this building of Barry's is remarkable for the careful
finish bestowed on every part of it. It is this quality, together with
the taste displayed in the design generally, that renders it an
architectural bijou. Almost any one must be sensible of this, if he
will but be at the pains to compare it with the United Service Club,
eastward of which, as far as mere quantity goes, there is much more.

Another critic remarks: "The Travellers' fairly makes an epoch in the
architectural history of Club-houses, as being almost the first, if
not the very first, attempt, to introduce into this country that
species of rich _astylar_ composition which has obtained the name of
the Italian palazzo mode, by way of contradistinction from
Palladianism and its orders. This production of Barry's has given a
fresh impulse to architectural design, and one in a more artistic
direction; and the style adopted by the architect has been applied to
various other buildings in the provinces as well as in the metropolis;
and its influence has manifested itself in the taste of our recent
street architecture."

The Travellers' narrowly escaped destruction on October 24, 1850, when
a fire did great damage to the billiard-rooms, which were, by the way,
an afterthought, and addition to the original building, but by no
means an improvement upon the first design, for they greatly impaired
the beauty of the garden-front.


One of the oldest of the modern Clubs, was instituted the year after
the Peace of 1815, when a few officers of influence in both branches
of the Service had built for them, by Sir R. Smirke, a Club-house at
the corner of Charles-street and Regent-street,--a frigid design,
somewhat relieved by sculpture on the entrance-front, of Britannia
distributing laurels to her brave sons by land and sea. Thence the
Club removed to a more spacious house, in Waterloo-place, facing the
Athenæum; the Club-house in Charles-street being entered on by the
Junior United Service Club; but Smirke's cold design has been
displaced by an edifice of much more ornate exterior and luxurious
internal appliances.

The United Service Club (Senior) was designed by Nash, and has a
well-planned interior, exhibiting the architect's well-known
excellence in this branch of his profession. The principal front
facing Pall Mall has a Roman-Doric portico; and above it a Corinthian
portico, with pediment. One of the patriarchal members of the Club was
Lord Lynedoch, the hero of the Peninsular War, who lived under five
sovereigns: he died in his 93rd year, leaving behind him a name to be
held in honoured remembrance, while loyalty is considered to be a real
virtue, or military renown a passport to fame. It is a curious fact
that the Duke of Wellington fought his last battle at an earlier
period of life than that in which Lord Lynedoch "fleshed his maiden
sword;" and though we were accustomed to regard the Duke himself as
preserving his vigour to a surprisingly advanced age, Lord Lynedoch
was at his death old enough to have been the father of his Grace. The
United Service was the favourite Club of the Duke, who might often be
seen dining here on a joint; and on one occasion, when he was charged
1_s._ 3_d._ instead of 1_s._ for it, he bestirred himself till the
threepence was struck off. The motive was obvious: he took the trouble
of objecting, so that he might sanction the principle.

Among the Club pictures is Jones's large painting of the Battle of
Waterloo; and the portrait of the Duke of Wellington, painted for the
Club by W. Robinson. Here also are Stanfield's fine picture of the
Battle of Trafalgar; and a copy, by Lane, painted in 1851, of a
contemporary portrait of Sir Francis Drake, our "Elizabethan
Sea-King." The Club-house has of late years been considerably


In the comparatively quiet Albemarle-street was instituted, in 1808,
the Alfred Club, which has, _ab initio_, been remarkable for the
number of travellers and men of letters, who form a considerable
proportion of its members. Science is handsomely housed at the Royal
Institution, on the east side of the street; and literature nobly
represented by the large publishing-house of Mr. Murray, on the west;
both circumstances tributary to the _otium_ enjoyed in a Club. Yet,
strangely enough, its position has been a frequent source of banter to
the Alfred. First it was known by its cockney appellation of
_Half-read_. Lord Byron was a member, and he tells us that "it was
pleasant, a little too sober and literary, and bored with Sotheby and
Francis D'Ivernois; but one met Rich, and Ward, and Valentia, and many
other pleasant or known people; and it was, in the whole, a decent
resource in a rainy day, in a dearth of parties, or Parliament, or in
an empty season."

Lord Dudley, writing to the Bishop of Llandaff, says: "I am glad you
mean to come into the Alfred this time. We are the most abused, and
most envied, and most canvassed, Society that I know of, and we
deserve neither the one nor the other distinction. The Club is not so
good a resource as many respectable persons would believe, nor are we
by any means such quizzes or such bores as the wags pretend. A duller
place than the Alfred there does not exist. I should not choose to be
quoted for saying so, but the bores prevail there to the exclusion of
every other interest. You hear nothing but idle reports and twaddling
opinions. They read the _Morning Post_ and the _British Critic_. It is
the asylum of doting Tories and drivelling quidnuncs. But they are
civil and quiet. You belong to a much better Club already. The
eagerness to get into it is prodigious."

Then, we have the _Quarterly Review_, with confirmation strong of the
two Lords:--"The Alfred received its _coup-de-grâce_ from a well-known
story, (rather an indication than a cause of its decline,) to the
effect that Mr. Canning, whilst in the zenith of his fame, dropped in
accidentally at a house dinner of twelve or fourteen, stayed out the
evening, and made himself remarkably agreeable, without any one of the
party suspecting who he was."

The dignified clergy, who, with the higher class of lawyers, have long
ago emigrated to the Athenæum and University Clubs, formerly mustered
in such great force at the Alfred, that Lord Alvanley, on being asked
in the bow-window at White's, whether he was still a member, somewhat
irreverently replied: "Not exactly: I stood it as long as I could, but
when the seventeenth bishop was proposed I gave in. I really could not
enter the place without being put in mind of my catechism."
"Sober-minded people," says the _Quarterly Review_, "may be apt to
think this formed the best possible reason for his lordship's
remaining where he was. It is hardly necessary to say that the
presence of the bishops and judges is universally regarded as an
unerring test of the high character of a Club."


Several years ago, the high dignitaries of the Church and Law kept the
Alfred to themselves; but this would not do: then they admitted a
large number of very respectable good young men, who were
unexceptionable, but not very amusing. This, again, would not do. So,
now the Alfred joined, 1855, the Oriental, in Hanover-square. And
curiously enough, the latter Club has been quizzed equally with the
Alfred. In the merry days of the _New Monthly Magazine_ of some thirty
years since, we read:--"The Oriental--or, as the hackney-coachmen
call it, the Horizontal Club--in Hanover-square, outdoes even Arthur's
for quietude. Placed at the corner of a _cul-de-sac_--at least as far
as carriages are concerned, and in a part of the Square to which
nobody not proceeding to one of four houses which occupy that
particular side ever thinks of going, its little windows, looking upon
nothing, give the idea of mingled dulness and inconvenience. From the
outside it looks like a prison;--enter it, it looks like an hospital,
in which a smell of curry-powder pervades the 'wards,'--wards filled
with venerable patients, dressed in nankeen shorts, yellow stockings,
and gaiters, and faces to match. _There_ may still be seen pigtails in
all their pristine perfection. It is the region of calico shirts,
returned writers, and guinea-pigs grown into bores. Such is the
_nabobery_, into which Harley-street, Wimpole-street, and
Glocester-place, daily empty their precious stores of bilious
humanity." Time has blunted the point of this satiric picture, the
individualities of which had passed away, even before the amalgamation
of the Oriental with the Alfred.

The Oriental Club was established in 1824, by Sir John Malcolm, the
traveller and brave soldier. The members were noblemen and gentlemen
associated with the administration of our Eastern empire, or who have
travelled or resided in Asia, at St. Helena, in Egypt, at the Cape of
Good Hope, the Mauritius, or at Constantinople.

The Oriental was erected in 1827-8, by B. and P. Wyatt, and has the
usual Club characteristic of only one tier of windows above the
ground-floor; the interior has since been redecorated and embellished
by Collman.


The Athenæum presents a good illustration of the present Club system,
of which it was one of the earliest instances. By reference to the
accounts of the Clubs existing about the commencement of the present
century, it will be seen how greatly they differed, both in
constitution and purpose, from the modern large subscription-houses,
called Clubs; and which are to be compared with their predecessors
only in so far as every member must be balloted for, or be chosen by
the consent of the rest. Prior to 1824, there was only one institution
in the metropolis particularly devoted to the association of Authors,
Literary Men, Members of Parliament, and promoters generally of the
Fine Arts. All other establishments were more or less exclusive,
comprising gentlemen who screened themselves in the windows of
White's, or Members for Counties who darkened the doors of Brookes's;
or they were dedicated to the Guards, or "men of wit and pleasure
about town." It is true that the Royal Society had its convivial
meetings, as we have already narrated; and small Clubs of members of
other learned Societies, were held; but with these exceptions, there
were no Clubs where individuals known for their scientific or literary
attainments, artists of eminence in any class of the Fine Arts, and
noblemen and gentlemen distinguished as patrons of science,
literature, and the arts, could unite in friendly and encouraging
intercourse; and professional men were compelled either to meet at
taverns, or to be confined exclusively to the Society of their
particular professions.

To remedy this, on the 17th of February, 1824, a preliminary
meeting,--comprising Sir Humphry Davy, the Right Hon. John Wilson
Croker, Sir Francis Chantrey, Richard Heber, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Dr.
Thomas Young, Lord Dover, Davie Gilbert, the Earl of Aberdeen, Sir
Henry Halford, Sir Walter Scott, Joseph Jekyll, Thomas Moore, and
Charles Hatchett,--was held in the apartments of the Royal Society, at
Somerset House; at this meeting Professor Faraday assisted as
secretary, and it was agreed to institute a Club to be called "The
Society," subsequently altered to "The Athenæum." "The Society" first
met in the Clarence Club-house; but, in 1830, the present mansion,
designed by Decimus Burton, was opened to the members.

The Athenæum Club-house is built upon a portion of the court-yard of
Carlton House. The architecture is Grecian, with a frieze exactly
copied from the Panathenaic procession in the frieze of the
Parthenon,--the flower and beauty of Athenian youth, gracefully seated
on the most exquisitely sculptured horses, which Flaxman regarded as
the most precious example of Grecian power in the sculpture of
animals. Over the Roman Doric entrance-portico is a colossal figure of
Minerva, by Baily, R.A.; and the interior has some fine casts of
_chefs-d'oeuvre_ of sculpture. Here the architecture is grand,
massive, and severe. The noble Hall, 35 feet broad by 57 feet long, is
divided by scagliola columns and pilasters, the capitals copied from
the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates. This is the Exchange, or Lounge,
where the members meet. The floor is the Marmorato Veneziano mosaic.
Over each of the two fire-places, in a niche, is a statue--the Diana
Robing and the Venus Victrix, selected by Sir Thomas Lawrence--a very
fine contrivance for sculptural display. The Library is the best Club
Library in London: it comprises the most rare and valuable works, and
a very considerable sum is annually expended upon the collection,
under the guidance of members most eminent in literature and science.
Above the mantelpiece is a portrait of George IV., painted by
Lawrence, upon which he was engaged but a few hours previous to his
decease; the last bit of colour this celebrated artist ever put upon
canvas being that of the hilt and sword-knot of the girdle; thus it
remains unfinished. The bookcases of the drawing-rooms are crowned
with busts of British worthies. Among the Club gossip it is told that
a member who held the Library faith of the promise of the Fathers, and
was anxious to consult their good works, one day asked, in a somewhat
familiar tone of acquaintance with these respectable theologians, "Is
Justin Martyr here?"--"I do not know," was the reply; "I will refer to
the list, but I do not think that gentleman is one of our members."

Mr. Walker, in his very pleasant work, _The Original_, was one of the
first to show how by the then new system of Clubs the facilities of
living were wonderfully increased, whilst the expense was greatly
diminished. For a few pounds a year, advantages are to be enjoyed
which no fortunes, except the most ample, can procure. The only Club
(he continues) I belong to is the Athenæum, which consists of twelve
hundred members, amongst whom are to be reckoned a large proportion of
the most eminent persons in the land, in every line,--civil, military,
and ecclesiastical,--peers spiritual and temporal (ninety-five
noblemen and twelve bishops), commoners, men of the learned
professions, those connected with science, the arts, and commerce, in
all its principal branches, as well as the distinguished who do not
belong to any particular class. Many of these are to be met with every
day, living with the same freedom as in their own houses, for 25
guineas entrance, and 6 guineas a year. Every member has the command
of an excellent library, with maps; of newspapers, English and
foreign; the principal periodicals; writing materials, and attendance.
The building is a sort of palace, and is kept with the same exactness
and comfort as a private dwelling. Every member is master, without any
of the trouble of a master: he can come when he pleases, and stay away
when he pleases, without anything going wrong; he has the command of
regular servants, without having to pay or manage them; he can have
whatever meal or refreshment he wants, at all hours, and served up as
in his own house. He orders just what he pleases, having no interest
to think of but his own. In short, it is impossible to suppose a
greater degree of liberty in living.

"Clubs, as far as my observation goes, are favourable to economy of
time. There is a fixed place to go to, everything is served with
comparative expedition, and it is not customary in general to remain
long at table. They are favourable to temperance. It seems that when
people can freely please themselves, and when they have an opportunity
of living simply, excess is seldom committed. From an account I have
of the expenses at the Athenæum in the year 1832, it appears that
17,323 dinners cost, on an average, 2_s._ 9¾_d._ each, and that the
average quantity of wine for each person was a small fraction more
than half-a-pint.

"The expense of building the Club-house was 35,000_l._, and 5,000_l._
for furnishing; the plate, linen, and glass cost 2,500_l._; library,
4,000_l._, and the stock of wine in cellar is usually worth about
4000_l._: yearly revenue about 9000_l._"

The economical management of the Club has not, however, been effected
without a few sallies of humour. In 1834, we read: "The mixture of
Whigs, Radicals, _savants_, foreigners, dandies, authors, soldiers,
sailors, lawyers, artists, doctors, and Members of both Houses of
Parliament, together with an exceedingly good average supply of
bishops, render the _mélange_ very agreeable, despite of some two or
three bores, who 'continually do dine;' and who, not satisfied with
getting a 6_s._ dinner for 3_s._ 6_d._, 'continually do complain.'"

Mr. Rogers, the poet, was one of the earliest members of the Athenæum,
and innumerable are the good things, though often barbed with
bitterness, which are recorded of him.

Some years ago, judges, bishops, and peers used to congregate at the
Athenæum; but a club of twelve hundred members cannot be select.
"Warned by the necessity of keeping up their number and their funds,
they foolishly set abroad a report that the finest thing in the world
was to belong to the Athenæum; and that an opportunity offered for
hobnobbing with archbishops, and hearing Theodore Hook's jokes.
Consequently all the little crawlers and parasites, and
gentility-hunters, from all corners of London, set out upon the creep;
and they crept in at the windows and they crept down the area steps,
and they crept in unseen at the doors, and they crept in under
bishops' sleeves, and they crept in in peers' pockets, and they were
blown in by the winds of chance. The consequence has been, that
ninety-nine hundredths of this Club are people who rather seek to
obtain a sort of standing by belonging to the Athenæum, than to give
it lustre by the talent of its members. Nine-tenths of the
intellectual writers of the age would be certainly black-balled by the
dunces. Notwithstanding all this, and partly on account of this, the
Athenæum is a capital Club: the library is certainly the best Club
library in London, and is a great advantage to a man who writes."[22]

Theodore Hook was one of the most clubbable men of his time. After a
late breakfast, he would force and strain himself at large arrears of
literary toil, and then drive rapidly from Fulham to town, and pay a
visit "first to one Club, where, the centre of an admiring circle, his
intellectual faculties were again upon the stretch, and again aroused
and sustained by artificial means: the same thing repeated at a
second--the same drain and the same supply--ballot or general meeting
at a third, the chair taken by Mr. Hook, who addresses the members,
produces the accounts, audits and passes them--gives a succinct
statement of the prospects and finances of the Society--parries an
awkward question--extinguishes a grumbler--confounds an
opponent--proposes a vote of thanks to himself, seconds, carries
it,--and returns thanks, with a vivacious rapidity that entirely
confounds the unorganized schemes of the minority--then a chop in the
committee-room, and just one tumbler of brandy-and-water, or _two_,
and we fear the catalogue would not always close there."

At the Athenæum, Hook was a great card; and in a note to the sketch of
him in the _Quarterly Review_, it is stated that the number of dinners
at this Club fell off by upwards of three hundred per annum after Hook
disappeared from his favourite corner, near the door of the
coffee-room. That is to say, there must have been some dozens of
gentlemen who chose to dine there once or twice every week of the
season, merely for the chance of Hook's being there, and permitting
them to draw their chairs to his little table in the course of the
evening. Of the extent to which he suffered from this sort of
invasion, there are several bitter oblique complaints in his novels.
The _corner_ alluded to will, we suppose, long retain the name which
it derived from him--_Temperance Corner_. Many grave and dignified
personages being frequent guests, it would hardly have been seemly to
be calling for repeated supplies of a certain description; but the
waiters well understood what the oracle of the corner meant by
"Another glass of toast and water," or, "A little more lemonade."


[22] New Quarterly Review.


In Suffolk-street, Pall Mall East, was instituted in 1824, and the
Club-house, designed by Deering and Wilkins, architects, was opened
in 1826. It is of the Grecian Doric and Ionic orders; and the staircase
walls have casts from the Parthenon frieze. The Club consists chiefly
of Members of Parliament who have received University education;
several of the judges, and a large number of beneficed clergymen. This
Club has the reputation of possessing the best stocked wine-cellar in
London, which is of no small importance to Members, clerical or lay.


Thirty years ago, Mr. Walker took some pains to disabuse the public
mind of a false notion that female society was much affected by the
multiplication of Clubs. He remarks that in those hours of the
evening, which are peculiarly dedicated to society, he could scarcely
count twenty members in the suite of rooms upstairs at the Athenæum
Club. If female society be neglected, he contended that it was not
owing to the institution of Clubs, but more probably to the long
sittings of the House of Commons, and to the want of easy access to
family circles. At the Athenæum he never heard it even hinted, that
married men frequented it to the prejudice of their domestic habits,
or that bachelors were kept from general society. Indeed, Mr. Walker
maintains, that Clubs are a preparation and not a substitute for
domestic life. Compared with the previous system of living, they
induce habits of economy, temperance, refinement, regularity, and good
order. Still, a Club only offers an imitation of the comforts of home,
but only an imitation, and one which will never supersede the reality.

However, the question became a subject for pleasant satire. Mrs. Gore,
in one of her clever novels, has these shrewd remarks:--"London Clubs,
after all, are not bad things for family men. They act as conductors
to the storms usually hovering in the air. The man forced to remain at
home and vent his crossness on his wife and children, is a much worse
animal to bear with, than the man who grumbles his way to Pall Mall,
and not daring to swear at the Club-servants, or knock about the
club-furniture, becomes socialized into decency. Nothing like the
subordination exercised in a community of equals for reducing a fiery

Mr. Hood, in his _Comic Annual_ for 1838, took up the topic in his
rich vein of comic humour, and here is the amusing result:--



     "Of all the modern schemes of Man
       That time has brought to bear,
     A plague upon the wicked plan
       That parts the wedded pair!
     My female friends they all agree
       They hardly know their hubs;
     And heart and voice unite with me,
       'We hate the name of Clubs!'

     "One selfish course the Wretches keep;
       They come at morning chimes;
     To snatch a few short hours of sleep--
       Rise--breakfast--read the Times--
     Then take their hats, and post away,
       Like Clerks or City scrubs,
     And no one sees them all the day,--
       They live, eat, drink, at Clubs!

     "With Rundell, Dr. K., or Glasse,
       And such Domestic books,
     They once put up, but now, alas!
       It's hey! for foreign cooks.
     'When _will_ you dine at home, my dove?'
       I say to Mr. Stubbs.
     'When Cook can make an omelette, love--
       An omelette like the Clubs!'

     "Time was, their hearts were only placed
       On snug domestic schemes,
     The book for two--united taste,--
       And such connubial dreams,--
     Friends, dropping in at close of day,
       To singles, doubles, rubs,--
     A little music,--then the tray,--
       And not a word of Clubs!

     "But former comforts they condemn;
       French kickshaws they discuss,
     And take their wine, the wine takes them,
       And then they favour us;--
     From some offence they can't digest,
       As cross as bears with cubs,
     Or sleepy, dull, and queer, at best--
       That's how they come from Clubs!

     "It's very fine to say, 'Subscribe
       To Andrews'--can't you read?
     When Wives, the poor neglected tribe,
       Complain how they proceed!
     They'd better recommend at once
       Philosophy and tubs,--
     A woman need not be a dunce,
       To feel the wrong of Clubs.

     "A set of savage Goths and Picts
       Would seek us now and then,--
     They're pretty pattern-Benedicts
       To guide our single men!
     Indeed, my daughters both declare
       'Their Beaux shall not be subs
     To White's, or Black's, or anywhere,--
       They've seen enough of Clubs!'

     "They say, without the marriage ties,
       They can devote their hours
     To catechize, or botanize--
       Shells, Sunday Schools, and flow'rs--
     Or teach a Pretty Poll new words,
       Tend Covent Garden shrubs,
     Nurse dogs and chirp to little birds--
       As Wives do since the Clubs.

     "Alas! for those departed days
       Of social wedded life,
     When married folks had married ways,
       And liv'd like Man and Wife!
     Oh! Wedlock then was pick'd by none--
       As safe a lock as Chubb's!
     But couples, that should be as one,
       Are now the Two of Clubs!

     "Of all the modern schemes of Man
       That time has brought to bear,
     A plague upon the wicked plan,
       That parts the wedded pair!
     My wedded friends they all allow
       They meet with slights and snubs,
     And say, 'They have no husbands now,--
       They're married to the Clubs!'"

The satire soon reached the stage. About five-and-twenty years since
there was produced at the old wooden Olympic Theatre, Mr. Mark Lemon's
farce, _The Ladies' Club_, which proved one of the most striking
pieces of the time. "Though in 1840 Clubs, in the modern sense of the
word, had been for some years established, they were not quite
recognized as social necessities, and the complaints of married ladies
and of dowagers with marriageable daughters, to the effect that these
institutions caused husbands to desert the domestic hearth and
encouraged bachelors to remain single, expressed something of a
general feeling. Public opinion was ostentatiously on the side of the
ladies and against the Clubs, and to this opinion Mr. Mark Lemon
responded when he wrote his most successful farce."[23]

Here are a few experiences of Club-life. "There are many British
lions in the coffee-room who have dined off a joint and beer, and have
drunk a pint of port-wine afterwards, and whose bill is but 4_s._
3_d._ One great luxury in a modern Club is that there is no temptation
to ostentatious expense. At an hotel there is an inclination in some
natures to be 'a good customer.' At a Club the best men are generally
the most frugal--they are afraid of being thought like that little
snob, Calicot, who is always surrounded by fine dishes and expensive
wines (even when alone), and is always in loud talk with the butler,
and in correspondence with the committee about the cook. Calicot is a
rich man, with a large bottle-nose, and people black-ball his friends.

"For a home, a man must have a large Club, where the members are
recruited from a large class, where the funds are in a good state,
where a large number every day breakfast and dine, and where a goodly
number think it necessary to be on the books and pay their
subscriptions, although they do not use the Club. Above all, your home
Club should be a large Club, because, even if a Club be ever so
select, the highest birth and most unexceptionable fashion do not
prevent a man from being a _bore_. Every Club must have its bores; but
in a large Club _you can get out of their way_."[24]

"It is a vulgar error to regard a Club as the rich man's public-house:
it bears no analogy to a public-house: it is as much the private
property of its members as any ordinary dwelling-house is the property
of the man who built it.

"Our Clubs are thoroughly characteristic of us. We are a _proud_
people,--it is of no use denying it,--and have a horror of
indiscriminate association; hence the exclusiveness of our Clubs.

"We are an _economical_ people, and love to obtain the greatest
possible amount of luxury at the least possible expense: hence, at our
Clubs we dine at prime cost, and drink the finest wines at a price
which we should have to pay for slow poison at a third-rate inn.

"We are a _domestic_ people, and hence our Clubs afford us all the
comforts of home, when we are away from home, or when we have none.
Finally, we are a _quarrelsome_ people, and the Clubs are eminently
adapted for the indulgence of that amiable taste. A book is kept
constantly open to receive the outpourings of our ill-humour against
all persons and things. The smokers quarrel with the non-smokers: the
billiard-players wage war against those who don't play; and, in fact,
an internecine war is constantly going on upon every conceivable
trifle; and when we retire exhausted from the fray, sofas and _chaises
longues_ are everywhere at hand, whereon to repose _in extenso_. The
London Clubs are certainly the abodes of earthly bliss, yet the ladies
won't think so."[25]


[23] _Times_ journal.

[24] New Quarterly Review.


This noble Club-house, at the south-west angle of Trafalgar-square,
was erected in 1824, from designs by Sir Robert Smirke, R.A. It is
much less ornate than the Club-houses of later date; but its
apartments are spacious and handsome, and it faces one of the finest
open spaces in the metropolis. As its name implies, it consists of
politicians, and professional and mercantile men, without reference
to party opinions; and, it has been added, is "a resort of wealthy
citizens, who just fetch Charing Cross to inhale the fresh air as it
is drawn from the Park through the funnel, by Berkeley House, out of
Spring Gardens, into their bay-window."

James Smith, one of the authors of the _Rejected Addresses_, was a
member of the Union, which he describes as chiefly composed of
merchants, lawyers, members of Parliament, and of "gentlemen at
large." He thus sketches a day's life here. "At three o'clock I walk
to the Union Club, read the journals, hear Lord John Russell deified
or diablerized, do the same with Sir Robert Peel or the Duke of
Wellington, and then join a knot of conversationists by the fire till
six o'clock. We then and there discuss the Three per Cent. Consols
(some of us preferring Dutch Two-and-a-half per Cents.), and speculate
upon the probable rise, shape, and cost of the New Exchange. If Lady
Harrington happen to drive past our window in her landau, we compare
her equipage to the Algerine Ambassador's; and when politics happen to
be discussed, rally Whigs, Radicals, and Conservatives alternately,
but never seriously, such subjects having a tendency to create
acrimony. At six, the room begins to be deserted; wherefore I adjourn
to the dining-room, and gravely looking over the bill of fare, exclaim
to the waiter, 'Haunch of mutton and apple-tart!' These viands
dispatched, with the accompanying liquids and water, I mount upward to
the library, take a book and my seat in the arm-chair, and read till
nine. Then call for a cup of coffee and a biscuit, resuming my book
till eleven; afterwards return home to bed." The smoking-room is a
very fine apartment.

One of the grumbling members of the Union was Sir James Aylott, a
two-bottle man; one day, observing Mr. James Smith furnished with
half-a-pint of sherry, Sir James eyed his cruet with contempt, and
exclaimed: "So, I see you have got one of those d--d life-preservers."

The Club has ever been famed for its _cuisine_, upon the strength of
which, we are told that next-door to the Club-house, in
Cockspur-street, was established the Union Hotel, which speedily
became renowned for its turtle; it was opened in 1823, and was one of
the best appointed hotels of its day; and Lord Panmure, a _gourmet_ of
the highest order, is said to have taken up his quarters in this
hotel, for several successive seasons, for the sake of the soup.[26]


[25] The Builder.

[26] London Clubs, 1853, p. 75.


Mr. Thackeray was a hearty lover of London, and has left us many
evidences of his sincerity. He greatly favoured Covent Garden, of
which he has painted this clever picture, sketched from "the Garden,"
where are annually paid for fruits and vegetables some three millions

"The two great national theatres on one side, a churchyard full of
mouldy but undying celebrities on the other; a fringe of houses
studded in every part with anecdote and history; an arcade, often more
gloomy and deserted than a cathedral aisle; a rich cluster of brown
old taverns--one of them filled with the counterfeit presentment of
many actors long since silent, who scowl or smile once more from the
canvas upon the grandsons of their dead admirers; a something in the
air which breathes of old books, old pictures, old painters, and old
authors; a place beyond all other places one would choose in which to
hear the chimes at midnight; a crystal palace--the representative of
the present--which peeps in timidly from a corner upon many things of
the past; a withered bank, that has been sucked dry by a felonious
clerk; a squat building, with a hundred columns and chapel-looking
fronts, which always stands knee-deep in baskets, flowers, and
scattered vegetables; a common centre into which Nature showers her
choicest gifts, and where the kindly fruits of the earth often nearly
choke the narrow thoroughfares; a population that never seems to
sleep, and that does all in its power to prevent others sleeping; a
place where the very latest suppers and the earliest breakfasts jostle
each other on the footways--such is Covent-Garden Market, with some of
its surrounding features."

About a century and a quarter ago, the parish of St. Paul was,
according to John Thomas Smith, the only fashionable part of the town,
and the residence of a great number of persons of rank and title, and
artists of the first eminence; and also from the concourse of wits,
literary characters, and other men of genius, who frequented the
numerous coffee-houses, wine and cider cellars, jelly-shops, etc.,
within its boundaries, the list of whom particularly includes the
eminent names of Butler, Addison, Sir Richard Steele, Otway, Dryden,
Pope, Warburton, Cibber, Fielding, Churchill, Bolingbroke, and Dr.
Samuel Johnson; Rich, Woodward, Booth, Wilkes, Garrick, and Macklin;
Kitty Clive, Peg Woffington, Mrs. Pritchard, the Duchess of Bolton,
Lady Derby, Lady Thurlow, and the Duchess of St. Alban's; Sir Peter
Lely, Sir Godfrey Kneller, and Sir James Thornhill; Vandevelde,
Zincke, Lambert, Hogarth, Hayman, Wilson, Dance, Meyer, etc. The name
of Samuel Foote should be added.

Although the high fashion of the old place has long since ebbed away,
its theatrical celebrity remains; and the locality is storied with the
dramatic associations of two centuries. The Sublime Society of Steaks
have met upon this hallowed ground through a century; and some thirty
years ago there was established in the street leading from the
north-west angle of Covent-Garden Market, a Club, bearing the name of
our greatest actor. Such was the Garrick Club, instituted in 1831, at
No. 35, King-street, "for the purpose of bringing together the
'patrons' of the drama and its professors, and also for offering
literary men a rendezvous; and the managers of the Club have kept
those general objects steadily in view. Nearly all the leading actors
are members, and there are few of the active literary men of the day
who are not upon the list. The large majority of the association is
composed of the representatives of all the best classes of society.
The number of the members is limited, and the character of the Club is
social, and therefore the electing committee is compelled to exercise
very vigilant care, for it is clear that it would be better that ten
unobjectionable men should be excluded than that one terrible bore
should be admitted. The prosperity of the Club, and the eagerness to
obtain admission to it, are the best proofs of its healthy management;
and few of the cases of grievance alleged against the direction will
bear looking into."

The house in King-street was, previous to its occupation by the
Garrick men, a family hotel: it was rendered tolerably commodious, but
in course of time it was found insufficient for the increased number
of members; and in 1864, the Club removed to a new house built for
them a little more westward than the old one. But of the old place,
inconvenient as it was, will long be preserved the interest of
association. The house has since been taken down; but its memories are
embalmed in a gracefully written paper, by Mr. Shirley Brooks, which
appeared in the _Illustrated London News_, immediately before the
removal of the Club to their new quarters; and is as follows:--

"From James Smith (of _Rejected Addresses_) to Thackeray, there is a
long series of names of distinguished men who have made the Garrick
their favourite haunt, and whose memories are connected with those
rooms. The visitor who has had the good fortune to be taken through
them, that he might examine the unequalled collection of theatrical
portraits, will also retain a pleasant remembrance of the place. He
will recollect that he went up one side of a double flight of stone
steps from the street and entered a rather gloomy hall, in which was a
fine bust of Shakspeare, by Roubiliac, and some busts of celebrated
actors; and he may have noticed in the hall a tablet recording the
obligation of the Club to Mr. Durrant, who bequeathed to it the
pictures collected by the late Charles Mathews. Conducted to the left,
the visitor found himself in the strangers' dining-room, which
occupied the whole of the ground-floor. This apartment, where,
perhaps, more pleasant dinners had been given than in any room in
London, was closely hung with pictures. The newest was Mr. O'Neil's
admirable likeness of Mr. Keeley, and it hung over the fireplace in
the front room, near Sir Edwin Landseer's portrait of Charles Young.
There were many very interesting pictures in this room, among them a
Peg Woffington; Lee (the author of the Bedlam Tragedy, in nineteen
acts); Mrs. Pritchard, and Mr. Garrick, an admirable illustration of

     'Pritchard's genteel, and Garrick six feet high;'

a most gentlemanly one of Pope the actor, Garrick again as Macbeth in
the court-dress, two charming little paintings of Miss Poole when a
child-performer, the late Frederick Yates, Mrs. Davison (of rare
beauty), Miss Lydia Kelly, and a rich store besides. The stranger
would probably be next conducted through a long passage until he
reached the smoking-room, which was not a cheerful apartment by
daylight, and empty; but which at night, and full, was thought the
most cheerful apartment in town. It was adorned with gifts from
artists who are members of the Club. Mr. Stanfield had given a
splendid seapiece, with a wash of waves that set one coveting an
excursion; and Mr. David Roberts had given a large and noble painting
of Baalbec, one of his finest works. These great pictures occupied two
sides of the room, and the other walls were similarly ornamented. Mrs.
Stirling's bright face looked down upon the smokers, and there was a
statuette of one who loved the room--the author of _Vanity Fair_.

"The visitor was then brought back to the hall, and taken upstairs to
the drawing-room floor. On the wall as he passed he would observe a
vast picture of Mr. Charles Kemble (long a member) as Macbeth, and a
Miss O'Neil as Juliet. He entered the coffee-room, as it was called,
which was the front room, looking into King-street, and behind which
was the morning-room, for newspapers and writing, and in which was the
small but excellent library, rich in dramatic works. The coffee-room
was devoted to the members' dinners; and the late Mr. Thackeray dined
for the last time away from home at a table in a niche in which hung
the scene from _The Clandestine Marriage_, where Lord Ogleby is
preparing to join the ladies. Over the fireplace was another scene
from the same play; and on the mantelpiece were Garrick's
candlesticks, Kean's ring, and some other relics of interest. The
paintings in this room were very valuable. There was Foote, by
Reynolds; a Sheridan; John Kemble; Charles Kemble as Charles II.
(under which picture he often sat in advanced life, when he in no
degree resembled the audacious, stalwart king in the painting); Mrs.
Charles Kemble, in male attire; Mrs. Fitzwilliam; Charles Mathews,
_père_; a fine, roystering Woodward, reminding one of the rattling
times of stage chivalry and 'victorious burgundy;' and in the
morning-room was a delightful Kitty Clive, another Garrick, and, near
the ceiling, a row of strong faces of by-gone days--Cooke the

"On the second floor were numerous small and very characteristic
portraits; and in a press full of large folios was one of the
completest and most valuable of collections of theatrical prints. In
the card-room, behind this, were also some very quaint and curious
likenesses, one of Mrs. Liston, as Dollalolla. There was a sweet face
of 'the Prince's' Perdita, which excuses his infatuation and
aggravates his treachery. When the visitor had seen these things and
a few busts, among them one of the late Justice Talfourd (an old
member), he was informed that he had seen the collection and he could
go away, unless he were lucky enough to have an invitation to dine in
the strangers' room.

"The new Club-house is a little more westward than the old one, but
not much, the Garrick having resolved to cling to the classic region
around Covent-Garden. It is in Garrick-street from the west end of
King-street to Cranbourn-street. It has a frontage of ninety-six feet
to the street; but the rear was very difficult, from its shape, to
manage, and Mr. Marrable, the architect, has dealt very cleverly with
the quaint form over which he had to lay out his chambers. The house
is Italian, and is imposing, from having been judiciously and not
over-enriched. In the hall is a very beautiful Italian screen. The
noble staircase is of carved oak; at the top, a landing-place, from
which is entered the morning-room, the card-room, and the library. All
the apartments demanded by the habits of the day--some of them were
not thought necessary in the days of Garrick--are, of course provided.
The kitchens and all their arrangements are sumptuous, and the latest
culinary improvements are introduced. The system of sunlights appears
to be very complete, and devices for a perfect ventilation have not
been forgotten."

The pictures have been judiciously hung in the new rooms: they
include--Elliston as Octavian, by Singleton; Macklin (aged 93), by
Opie; Mrs. Pritchard, by Hayman; Peg Woffington, by R. Wilson; Nell
Gwynne, by Sir Peter Lely; Mrs. Abington; Samuel Foote, by Sir Joshua
Reynolds; Colley Cibber as Lord Foppington; Mrs. Bracegirdle; Kitty
Clive; Mrs. Robinson, after Reynolds; Garrick as Macbeth, and Mrs.
Pritchard, Lady Macbeth, by Zoffany; Garrick as Richard III., by
Morland, sen.; Young Roscius, by Opie; Quin, by Hogarth; Rich and his
family, by Hogarth; Charles Mathews, four characters, by Harlowe; Nat
Lee, painted in Bedlam; Anthony Leigh as the Spanish Friar, by
Kneller; John Liston, by Clint; Munden, by Opie; John Johnston, by
Shee; Lacy in three characters, by Wright; Scene from Charles II., by
Clint; Mrs. Siddons as Lady Macbeth, by Harlowe; J. P. Kemble as Cato,
by Lawrence; Macready as Henry IV., by Jackson; Edwin, by
Gainsborough; the twelve of the School of Garrick; Kean, Young,
Elliston, and Mrs. Inchbald, by Harlowe; Garrick as Richard III., by
Loutherbourg; Rich as Harlequin; Moody and Parsons in _The Committee_,
by Vandergucht; King as Touchstone, by Zoffany; Thomas Dogget;
Henderson, by Gainsborough; Elder Colman, by Reynolds; Mrs. Oldfield,
by Kneller; Mrs. Billington; Nancy Dawson; Screen Scene from _The
School for Scandal_, as originally cast; Scene from _Venice Preserved_
(Garrick and Mrs. Cibber), by Zoffany; Scene from _Macbeth_
(Henderson); Scene from _Love, Law, and Physic_ (Mathews, Liston,
Blanchard, and Emery), by Clint; Scene from _The Clandestine Marriage_
(King and Mr. and Mrs. Baddeley), by Zoffany; Weston as Billy Button,
by Zoffany.

The following have been presented to the Club:--Busts of Mrs. Siddons
and J. P. Kemble, by Mrs. Siddons; of Garrick, Captain Marryat, Dr.
Kitchiner, and Malibran; Garrick, by Roubiliac; Griffin and Johnson in
_The Alchemist_, by Von Bleeck; Miniatures of Mrs. Robinson and Peg
Woffington; Sketch of Kean by Lambert; Garrick Mulberry-tree
Snuff-box; Joseph Harris as Cardinal Wolsey, from the Strawberry Hill
Collection; Proof Print of the Trial of Queen Katherine, by Harlowe.

The Garrick men will, for the sake of justice, excuse the mention of a
short-coming: at the first dinner of the Club, from the list of toasts
was omitted "Shakspeare," who, it must be allowed, contributed to
Garrick's fame. David did not so forget the Bard, as is attested in
his statue by Roubiliac, which, after adorning the Garrick grounds at
Hampton, was bequeathed by the grateful actor to the British Museum.

The Club were entertained at a sumptuous dinner by their brother
member, Lord Mayor Moon, in the Egyptian Hall of the Mansion House, in

The Gin-punch made with iced soda-water, is a notable potation at the
Garrick; and the rightful patentee of the invention was Mr. Stephen
Price, an American gentleman, well known on the turf, and as the
lessee of Drury-lane Theatre. His title has been much disputed--

     "Grammatici certant et adhuc sub judice lis est;"

and many, misled by Mr. Theodore Hook's frequent and liberal
application of the discovery, were in the habit of ascribing it to
him. But, Mr. Thomas Hill, the celebrated "trecentenarian" of a
popular song, who was present at Mr. Hook's first introduction to the
beverage, has set the matter at rest by a brief narration of the
circumstances. One hot afternoon, in July, 1835, the inimitable author
of _Sayings and Doings_ (what a book might be made of his own!)
strolled into the Garrick in that equivocal state of thirstiness which
it requires something more than common to quench. On describing the
sensation, he was recommended to make a trial of the punch, and a jug
was compounded immediately under the personal inspection of Mr. Price.
A second followed--a third, with the accompaniment of some chops--a
fourth--a fifth--a sixth--at the expiration of which Mr. Hook went
away to keep a dinner engagement at Lord Canterbury's. He always ate
little, and on this occasion he ate less, and Mr. Horace Twiss
inquired in a fitting tone of anxiety if he was ill. "Not exactly,"
was the reply; "but my stomach won't bear trifling with, and I was
tempted to take a biscuit and a glass of sherry about three."

The receipt for the gin punch is as follows:--pour half a pint of gin
on the outer peel of a lemon, then a little lemon-juice, a glass of
maraschino, about a pint and a quarter of water, and two bottles of
iced soda-water; and the result will be three pints of the punch in

Another choice spirit of the Garrick was the aforesaid Hill, "Tom
Hill," as he was called by all who loved and knew him. He "happened to
know everything that was going forward in all circles--mercantile,
political, fashionable, literary, or theatrical; in addition to all
matters connected with military and naval affairs, agriculture,
finance, art, and science--everything came alike to him." He was born
in 1760, and was many years a drysalter at Queenhithe, but about 1810
he lost a large sum of money by a speculation in indigo; after which
he retired upon the remains of his property, to chambers in the
Adelphi. While at Queenhithe, he found leisure to make a fine
collection of old books, chiefly old poetry, which were valued at six
thousand pounds. He greatly assisted two friendless poets, Bloomfield
and Kirke White; he also established _The Monthly Mirror_, which
brought him much into connection with dramatic poets, actors, and
managers, when he collected theatrical curiosities and relics. Hill
was the Hull of Hook's clever novel, _Gilbert Gurney_, and the reputed
original of Paul Pry, though the latter is doubtful. The standard joke
about him was his age. He died in 1841, in his eighty-first year,
though Hook and all his friends always affected to consider him as
quite a Methuselah. James Smith once said that it was impossible to
discover his age, for the parish-register had been burnt in the fire
of London; but Hook capped this:--'_Pooh, pooh!_--(Tom's habitual
exclamation)--he's one of the Little Hills that are spoken of as
skipping in the Psalms.' As a mere octogenarian he was wonderful
enough. No human being would, from his appearance, gait, or habits,
have guessed him to be sixty. Till within three months of his death,
Hill rose at five usually, and brought the materials of his breakfast
home with him to the Adelphi from a walk to Billingsgate; and at
dinner he would eat and drink like an adjutant of five-and-twenty. One
secret was, that a 'banyan-day' uniformly followed a festivity. He
then nursed himself most carefully on tea and dry toast, tasted
neither meat nor wine, and went to bed by eight o'clock. But perhaps
the grand secret was, the easy, imperturbable serenity of his temper.
He had been kind and generous in the day of his wealth; and though his
evening was comparatively poor, his cheerful heart kept its even beat.

Hill was a patient collector throughout his long life. His old English
poetry, which Southey considered the rarest assemblage in existence,
was dispersed in 1810; and, after Hill's death, his literary rarities
and memorials occupied Evans, of Pall Mall, a clear week to sell by
auction: the autograph letters were very interesting, and among the
memorials were Garrick's Shakspeare Cup and a vase carved from the
Bard's mulberry-tree; and a block of wood from Pope's willow, at

Albert Smith was also of the Garrick, and usually dined here before
commencing his evening entertainment at the Egyptian Hall, in

Smith was very clubbable, and with benevolent aims: he was a leader of
the Fielding Club, in Maiden-lane, Covent Garden, which gave several
amateur theatrical representations, towards the establishment of "a
Fund for the immediate relief of emergencies in the Literary or
Theatrical world;" having already devoted a considerable sum to
charitable purposes. This plan of relieving the woes of others through
our own pleasures is a touch of nature which yields twofold


This political Club was established by Liberal Members of the two
Houses of Parliament, to aid the carrying of the Reform Bill,
1830-1832. It was temporarily located in Great George-street, and
Gwydyr House, Whitehall, until towards the close of 1837, when designs
for a new Club-house were submitted by the architects, Blore, Basevi,
Cockerell, Sydney Smirke, and Barry. The design of the latter was
preferred, and the site selected in Pall Mall, extending from the spot
formerly occupied by the temporary National Gallery (late the
residence of Sir Walter Stirling), on one side of the temporary Reform
Club-house, over the vacant plot of ground on the other side. The
instructions were to produce a Club-house which should surpass all
others in size and magnificence; one which should combine all the
attractions of other Clubs, such as baths, billiard-rooms,
smoking-rooms, with the ordinary accommodations; besides the
additional novelty of private chambers, or dormitories. The frontage
towards Pall Mall is about 135 feet, or nearly equal to the frontage
of the Athenæum (76 feet) and the Travellers' (74 feet). The style of
the Reform is pure Italian, the architect having taken some points
from the celebrated Farnese Palace at Rome, designed by Michael Angelo
Buonarroti, in 1545, and built by Antonio Sangallo. However, the
resemblance between the two edifices has been greatly over-stated, it
consisting only in both of them being astylar, with columnar-decorated
fenestration. The exterior is greatly admired; though it is objected,
and with reason, that the windows are too small. The Club-house
contains six floors and 134 apartments: the basement and mezzanine
below the street pavement, and the chambers in the roof are not seen.

The points most admired are extreme simplicity and unity of design,
combined with very unusual richness. The breadth of the piers between
the windows contributes not a little to that repose which is so
essential to simplicity, and hardly less so to stateliness. The
string-courses are particularly beautiful, while the cornicione (68
feet from the pavement) gives extraordinary majesty and grandeur to
the whole. The roof is covered with Italian tiles; the edifice is
faced throughout with Portland stone, and is a very fine specimen of
masonry. In building it a strong scaffolding was constructed, and on
the top was laid a railway, upon which was worked a traversing crane,
movable along the building either longitudinally or transversely; by
which means the stones were raised from the ground, and placed on the
wall with very little labour to the mason, who had only to adjust the
bed and lay the block.[27]

In the centre of the interior is a grand hall, 56 by 50, (the entire
height of the building,) resembling an Italian _cortile_, surrounded
by colonnades, below Ionic, and above Corinthian; the latter is a
picture-gallery, where, inserted in the scagliola walls, are
whole-length portraits of eminent political Reformers; while the upper
colonnade has rich floral mouldings, and frescoes of Music, Poetry,
Painting, and sculpture, by Parris. The floor of the hall is
tessellated; and the entire roof is strong diapered flint-glass,
executed by Pellatt, at the cost of 600_l._ The staircase, like that
of an Italian palace, leads to the upper gallery of the hall, opening
into the principal drawing-room, which is over the coffee-room in the
garden-front, both being the entire length of the building; adjoining
are a library, card-room, etc., over the library and dining-rooms.
Above are a billiard-room and lodging-rooms for members of the Club;
there being a separate entrance to the latter by a lodge adjoining the
Travellers' Club-house.

The basement comprises two-storied wine-cellars beneath the hall;
besides the kitchen department, planned by Alexis Soyer, originally
_chef-de-cuisine_ of the Club: it contains novel employments of steam
and gas, and mechanical applications of practical ingenuity; the
inspection of which was long one of the privileged sights of London.
The _cuisine_, under M. Soyer, enjoyed European fame. Soyer first came
to England on a visit to his brother, who was then cook to the Duke of
Cambridge; and at Cambridge House, Alexis cooked his first dinner in
England, for the then Prince George. Soyer afterwards entered the
service of various noblemen, amongst others of Lord Ailsa, Lord
Panmure, etc. He then entered into the service of the Reform Club, and
the breakfast given by that Club on the occasion of the Queen's
Coronation obtained him high commendation. His ingenuity gave a sort
of celebrity to the great political banquets given at the Reform. In
his O'Connell dinner, the _soufflés à la Clontarf_, were considered by
gastronomes to be a rich bit of satire. The banquet to Ibrahim Pacha,
July 3, 1846, was another of Soyer's great successes, when Merlans à
l'Égyptienne, la Crême d'Égypte and à l'Ibrahim Pacha, mingled with Le
Gâteau Britannique à l'Amiral (Napier). Another famous banquet was
that given to Sir C. Napier, March 3, 1854, as Commander of the Baltic
Fleet; and the banquet given July 20, 1850, to Viscount Palmerston,
who was a popular leader of the Reform, was, gastronomically as well
as politically, a brilliant triumph. It was upon this memorable
occasion that Mr. Bernal Osborne characterized the Palmerston policy
in this quotation:--

     "Warmed by the instincts of a knightly heart,
       That roused at once if insult touched the realm,
     He spurned each State-craft, each deceiving art,
       And met his foes no vizor to his helm.
     This proved his worth, hereafter be our boast--
       Who hated Britons, hated him the most."

Lord Palmerston was too true an Englishman to be insensible to "the
pleasures of the table," as attested by the hospitalities of
Cambridge House, during his administration. One of his Lordship's
political opponents, writing in 1836, says: "Lord Palmerston is
redeemed from the last extremity of political degradation by his
cook." A distinguished member of the diplomatic body was once
overheard remarking to an Austrian nobleman, upon the Minister's
shortcomings in some respects, adding, "mais on dîne fort bien chez

It is always interesting to read a foreigner's opinion of English
society. The following observations, by the Viscountess de Malleville,
appeared originally in the _Courrier de l'Europe_, and preceded an
account of the Reform. Commencing with Clubs, the writer remarks:

"It cannot be denied that these assemblages, wealthy and widely
extended in their ramifications, selfish in principle, but perfectly
adapted to the habits of the nation, offer valuable advantages to
those who have the good fortune to be enrolled in them.... The social
state and manners of the country gave the first idea of them. The
spirit of association which is so inherent in the British character,
did the rest. It is only within the precincts of these splendid
edifices, where all the requirements of opulent life, all the comforts
and luxuries of princely habitations are combined, that we can
adequately appreciate the advantages and the complicated results
produced by such a system of association. For an annual subscription,
comparatively of small amount, every member of a Club is admitted into
a circle, which is enlivened and renewed from time to time by the
accession of strangers of distinction. A well-selected and extensive
library, newspapers and pamphlets from all parts of the world, assist
him to pass the hours of leisure and digestion. According as his
tastes incline, a man may amuse himself in the saloons devoted to
play, to reading, or to conversation. In a word, the happy man, who
only goes to get his dinner, may drink the best wines out of the
finest cut-glass, and may eat the daintiest and best-cooked viands off
the most costly plate, at such moderate prices as no Parisian
restaurateur could afford. The advantages of a Club do not end here:
it becomes for each of its members a second domestic hearth, where the
cares of business and household annoyances cannot assail him. As a
retreat especially sacred against the visitations of idle
acquaintances and tiresome creditors--a sanctuary in which each member
feels himself in the society of those who act and sympathize with
him--the Club will ever remain a resort, tranquil, elegant, and
exclusive; interdicted to the humble and to the insignificant."

The writer then proceeds to illustrate the sumptuous character of our
new Club-houses by reference to the Reform. "Unlike in most English
buildings, the staircase is wide and commodious, and calls to mind
that of the Louvre. The quadrangular apartment which terminates it, is
surrounded by spacious galleries; the rich mosaic pavement, in which
the brilliancy of the colour is only surpassed by the variety of the
design--the cut-glass ceiling, supported by four rows of marble
pillars--all these things call to remembrance the most magnificent
apartments of Versailles in the days of the great king and his
splendours. This is the vestibule, which is the grand feature of the
mansion." The kitchen is then described--"spacious as a ball-room,
kept in the finest order, and white as a young bride. All-powerful
steam, the noise of which salutes your ear as you enter, here performs
a variety of offices: it diffuses a uniform heat to large rows of
dishes, warms the metal plates upon which are disposed the dishes that
have been called for, and that are in waiting to be sent above: it
turns the spits, draws the water, carries up the coal, and moves the
plate like an intelligent and indefatigable servant. Stay awhile
before this octagonal apparatus, which occupies the centre of the
place. Around you the water boils and the stew-pans bubble, and a
little further on is a moveable furnace, before which pieces of meat
are converted into savoury _rôtis_; here are sauces and gravies,
stews, broths, soups, etc. In the distance are Dutch ovens, marble
mortars, lighted stoves, iced plates of metal for fish; and various
compartments for vegetables, fruits, roots, and spices. After this
inadequate, though prodigious nomenclature, the reader may perhaps
picture to himself a state of general confusion, a disordered
assemblage, resembling that of a heap of oyster-shells. If so, he is
mistaken; for, in fact, you see very little, or scarcely anything of
all the objects above described. The order of their arrangement is so
perfect, their distribution as a whole, and in their relative bearings
to one another, all are so intelligently considered, that you require
the aid of a guide to direct you in exploring them, and a good deal of
time to classify in your mind all your discoveries.

"Let all strangers who come to London for business, or pleasure, or
curiosity, or for whatever cause, not fail to visit the Reform Club.
In an age of utilitarianism, and of the search for the comfortable,
like ours, there is more to be learned here than in the ruins of the
Coliseum, of the Parthenon, or of Memphis."


[27] Civil Engineer and Architects' Journal, 1841.


The Carlton is purely a political Club, and was founded by the great
Duke of Wellington, and a few of his most intimate political friends.
It held its first meeting in Charles-street, St. James's, in the year
1831. In the following year it removed to larger premises, Lord
Kensington's, in Carlton Gardens. In 1836, an entirely new house was
built for the Club, in Pall-Mall, by Sir Robert Smirke, R.A.: it was
of small extent, and plain and inexpensive. As the Club grew in
numbers and importance, the building became inadequate to its wants.
In 1846, a very large addition was made to it by Mr. Sydney Smirke;
and in 1854, the whole of the original edifice was taken down, and
rebuilt by Mr. Smirke, upon a sumptuous scale; and it will be the
largest, though not the most costly Club-house, in the metropolis. It
is a copy of Sansovino's Library of St. Mark, at Venice: the
entablature of the Ionic, or upper order, is considerably more
ponderous than that of the Doric below, which is an unorthodox defect.
The façade is highly enriched, and exhibits a novelty in the shafts of
all the columns being of red Peterhead granite, highly polished,
which, in contrast with the dead stone, is objectionable: "cloth of
frieze and cloth of gold" do not wear well together. In the garden
front the pilasters, which take the place of columns in the entrance
front and flank, are of the same material as the latter, namely,
Peterhead granite, polished. Many predictions were at first ventured
upon as to the perishable nature of the lustre of the polished
granite shafts; but these predictions have been falsified by time;
nine years' exposure having produced no effect whatever on the
polished surface. Probably the polish itself is the protection of the
granite, by preventing moisture from hanging on the surface.

The Carlton contains Conservatives of every hue, from the good
old-fashioned Tory to the liberal progressist of the latest
movements,--men of high position in fortune and politics.

Some thirty years ago, a _Quarterly_ reviewer wrote: "The improvement
and multiplication of Clubs is the grand feature of metropolitan
progress. There are between twenty and thirty of these admirable
establishments, at which a man of moderate habits can dine more
comfortably for three or four shillings (including half a pint of
wine), than he could have dined for four or five times that amount at
the coffee-houses and hotels, which were the habitual resort of the
bachelor class in the corresponding rank of life during the first
quarter of the century. At some of the Clubs--the Travellers', the
Coventry, and the Carlton, for example--the most finished luxury may
be enjoyed at a very moderate cost. The best judges are agreed that it
is utterly impossible to dine better than at the Carlton, when the
cook has fair notice, and is not hurried, or confused by a multitude
of orders. But great allowances must be made when a simultaneous rush
occurs from both Houses of Parliament; and the caprices of individual
members of such institutions are sometimes extremely trying to the
temper and reputation of a _chef_."


This handsome Club-house, which occupies a portion of the site of the
old Thatched House Tavern, 74, St. James's-street, was designed by
Sydney Smirke and George Basevi, 1845. The upper portion is
Corinthian, with columns and pilasters, and a frieze sculptured with
the imperial crown and oak-wreaths; the lower order is Roman-Doric;
and the wings are slightly advanced, with an enriched entrance-porch
north, and a bay-window south. The interior was superbly decorated in
colour by Sang: the coved hall, with a gallery round it, and the domed
vestibule above it, is a fine specimen of German encaustic
embellishment, in the arches, soffites, spandrels, and ceilings; and
the hall-floor is tessellated, around a noble star of marqueterie. The
evening room, on the first floor, has an enriched coved ceiling, and a
beautiful frieze of the rose, shamrock, and thistle, supported by
scagliola Corinthian columns: the morning room, beneath, is of the
same dimensions, with Ionic pillars. The library, in the upper story
north, has columns and pilasters with bronzed capitals. Beneath is the
coffee-room. The kitchen is far more spacious than that of the Reform
Club. In the right wing is a large bay-window, which was introduced as
an essential to the morning room, affording the lounger a view of Pall
Mall and St. James's-street, and the Palace gateway; this introduction
reminding us, by the way, of Theodore Hook's oddly comparing the
bay-window of a coffee-house nearly on the same spot, to an obese old
gentleman in a white waistcoat. Hook lived for some time in
Cleveland-row: he used to describe the _real London_ as the space
between Pall Mall on the south, Piccadilly north, St. James's west,
and the Opera-house east.

This is the second Club of the Conservative party, and many of its
chiefs are honorary members, but rarely enter it: Sir Robert Peel is
said never to have entered this Club-house except to view the
interior. Other leaders have, however, availed themselves of the Club
influences to recruit their ranks from its working strength. This has
been political ground for a century and a half; for here, at the
Thatched House Tavern, Swift met his political Clubs, and dined with
Tory magnates; but with fewer appliances than in the present day; in
Swift's time "the wine being always brought by him that is


[28] The Palace clock has connected with it an odd anecdote, which we
received from Mr. Vulliamy, of Pall Mall, who, with his family, as
predecessors, had been the royal clockmakers since 1743. When the
Palace Gate-house was repaired, in 1831, the clock was removed, and
not put up again. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood, missing the
clock, memorialized William IV. for the replacement of the
time-keeper, when the King inquired why it was not restored; the reply
was that the roof was reported unsafe to carry the weight, which His
Majesty having ascertained, he shrewdly demanded how, if the roof were
not strong enough to carry the clock, it was safe for the number of
persons occasionally seen upon it to witness processions, and the
company on drawing-room days? There was no questioning the
calculation; the clock was forthwith replaced, and a minute-hand was
added, with new dials. (_Curiosities of London_, p. 571.)


The Oxford and Cambridge Club-house, 71, Pall Mall, for members of the
two Universities, was designed by Sir Robert Smirke, R.A., and his
brother, Mr. Sydney Smirke, 1835-8. The Pall Mall façade is 80 feet in
width by 75 in height, and the rear lies over against the court of
Marlborough House. The ornamental detail is very rich: as the
entrance-portico, with Corinthian columns; the balcony, with its
panels of metal foliage; and the ground-story frieze, and arms of
Oxford and Cambridge Universities over the portico columns. The upper
part of the building has a delicate Corinthian entablature and
balustrade; and above the principal windows are bas-reliefs in panels,
executed in cement by Nicholl, from designs by Sir R. Smirke, as
follows:--Centre panel: Minerva and Apollo presiding on Mount
Parnassus; and the River Helicon, surrounded by the Muses. Extreme
panels: Homer singing to a warrior, a female, and a youth; Virgil
singing his Georgics to a group of peasants. Other four panels: Milton
reciting to his daughter; Shakspeare attended by Tragedy and Comedy;
Newton explaining his system; Bacon, his philosophy. Beneath the
ground-floor is a basement of offices, and an entresol or mezzanine of
chambers. The principal apartments are tastefully decorated; the
drawing-room is panelled with _papier mâché_; and the libraries are
filled with book-cases of beautifully-marked Russian birchwood. From
the back library is a view of Marlborough House and its gardens.


Was formerly housed in St. James's-street, next Crockford's, north;
but, in 1850, they removed to Pall Mall, No. 70. The new Club-house
was designed for them by Henry Harrison, and remarkable for its
compactness and convenience, although its size and external appearance
indicate no more than a private house. The architect has adopted some
portion of a design of Sansovino's in the lower part or basement.


The Army and Navy Club-house, Pall Mall, corner of George-street,
designed by Parnell and Smith, was opened February 1851. The exterior
is a combination from Sansovino's Palazzo Cornaro, and Library of St.
Mark at Venice; but varying in the upper part, which has Corinthian
columns, with windows resembling arcades filling up the intercolumns;
and over their arched headings are groups of naval and military
symbols, weapons, and defensive armour--very picturesque. The frieze
has also effective groups symbolic of the Army and Navy; the cornice,
likewise very bold, is crowned by a massive balustrade. The basement,
from the Cornaro, is rusticated; the entrance being in the centre of
the east or George-street front, by three open arches, similar in
character to those in the Strand front of Somerset House. The whole is
extremely rich in ornamental detail. The hall is fine; the coffee-room
is panelled with scagliola, and has a ceiling enriched with flowers,
and pierced for ventilation by heated flues above; adjoining is a room
lighted by a glazed plafond; next is the house dining-room, decorated
in the Munich style; and more superb is the morning-room, with its
arched windows, and mirrors forming arcades and vistas innumerable. A
magnificent stone staircase leads to the library and reading rooms;
and in the third story are billiard and card rooms; and a
smoking-room, with a lofty dome elaborately decorated in traceried
Moresque. The apartments are adorned with an equestrian portrait of
Queen Victoria, painted by Grant, R.A.; a piece of Gobelin tapestry
(Sacrifice to Diana), presented to the Club in 1849 by Prince Louis
Napoleon; marble busts of William IV. and the Dukes of Kent and
Cambridge; and several life-size portraits of naval and military
heroes. The Club-house is provided with twenty lines of Whishaw's
Telekouphona, or Speaking Telegraph, which communicate from the
Secretary's room to the various apartments. The cost of this superb
edifice, exclusive of fittings, was 35,000_l._; the plot of ground on
which it stands cost the Club 52,000_l._

The Club system has added several noble specimens of ornate
architecture to the metropolis; to the south side of Pall Mall these
fine edifices have given a truly patrician air. But, it is remarkable
that while both parties political have contributed magnificent
edifices towards the metropolis and their opinions; while the
Conservatives can show with pride two splendid piles and the Liberals
at least one handsome one; while the Army and Navy have recently a
third palace--the most successful of the three they can boast; while
the Universities, the sciences, even our Indian empire, come forward,
the fashionable clubs, the aristocratic clubs do nothing for the
general aspect of London, and have made no move in a direction where
they ought to have been first. Can anything be more paltry than that
bay-window from which the members of White's contemplate the cabstand
and the Wellington Tavern? and yet a little management might make that
house worthy of its unparalleled situation; and if it were extended to
Piccadilly, it would be the finest thing of its kind in Europe.


At the corner of Charles-street and Regent-street, was erected in
1855-57, Nelson and James, architects, and has a most embellished
exterior, enriched with characteristic sculpture by John Thomas. The
design is described in the _Builder_ as in the Italian style of
architecture, the bay-window in Regent-street forming a prominent
feature in the composition, above which is a sculptured group
allegorical of the Army and Navy. The whole of the sculpture and
ornamental details throughout the building are characteristic of the
profession of the members of the Club. The exterior of the building is
surmounted by a richly-sculptured cornice, with modillion and dentils,
and beneath it an elaborate frieze, having medallions with trophies
and other suitable emblems, separated from each other by the rose,
shamrock, and thistle. The external walls of the building are of Bath
stone, and the balustrade round the area is of Portland stone; and
upon the angle-pieces of this are bronze lamps, supported by figures.
The staircase is lighted from the top by a handsome lantern, filled
with painted glass, with an elaborate coved and ornamented ceiling
around. On the landing of the half space are two pairs of caryatidal
figures, and single figures against the walls, supporting three
semicircular arches, and the whole is reflected by looking-glasses on
the landing. On the upper landing of the staircase, is the celebrated
picture, by Allan, of the Battle of Waterloo. Upon the first floor
fronting Regent-street, and over the morning-room, and of the same
dimensions, is the evening-room, which is also used as a
picture-gallery, 24 feet high, with a bay-window fronting
Regent-street. In the gallery are portraits of military and naval
commanders; Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the Emperor
Napoleon; and an allegorical group in silver, presented to the Club by
his Imperial Majesty.


This noted gaming Club-house, No. 50, on the west side of St.
James's-street, over against White's, was built for Mr. Crockford, in
1827; B. and P. Wyatt, architects.

Crockford started in life as a fishmonger, at the old bulk-shop
next-door to Temple Bar Without, which he quitted for play in St.
James's. "For several years deep play went on at all the
Clubs--fluctuating both as to locality and amount--till by degrees it
began to flag. It was at a low ebb when Mr. Crockford laid the
foundation of the most colossal fortune that was ever made by play. He
began by taking Watier's old Club-house, in partnership with a man
named Taylor. They set up a hazard-bank, and won a great deal of
money, but quarrelled and separated at the end of the first year.
Taylor continued where he was, had a bad year, and failed. Crockford
removed to St. James's-street, had a good year, and immediately set
about building the magnificent Club-house which bears his name. It
rose like a creation of Aladdin's lamp; and the genii themselves could
hardly have surpassed the beauty of the internal decorations, or
furnished a more accomplished _maître d'hôtel_ than Ude. To make the
company as select as possible, the establishment was regularly
organized as a Club, and the election of members vested in a
committee. 'Crockford's' became the rage, and the votaries of fashion,
whether they liked play or not, hastened to enrol themselves. The Duke
of Wellington was an original member, though (unlike Blücher, who
repeatedly lost everything he had at play) the great Captain was never
known to play deep at any game but war or politics. Card-tables were
regularly placed, and whist was played occasionally; but the aim, end,
and final cause of the whole was the hazard-bank, at which the
proprietor took his nightly stand, prepared for all comers. _Le
Wellington des Joueurs_ lost 23,000_l._ at a sitting, beginning at
twelve at night, and ending at seven the following evening. He and
three other noblemen could not have lost less, sooner or later, than
100,000_l._ apiece. Others lost in proportion (or out of proportion)
to their means; but we leave it to less occupied moralists, and
better calculators, to say how many ruined families went to make Mr.
Crockford a _millionnaire_--for a _millionnaire_ he was in the English
sense of the term, after making the largest possible allowance for bad
debts. A vast sum, perhaps half a million, was sometimes due to him;
but as he won, all his debtors were able to raise, and easy credit was
the most fatal of his lures. He retired in 1840, much as an Indian
chief retires from a hunting country when there is not game enough
left for his tribe, and the Club is now tottering to its fall."[29]

The Club-house consists of two wings and a centre, with four
Corinthian pilasters, and entablature, and a balustrade throughout;
the ground-floor has Venetian windows, and the upper story, large
French windows. The entrance-hall had a screen of Roman-Ionic
scagliola columns with gilt capitals, and a cupola of gilding and
stained glass. The library has Sienna columns and antæ of the Ionic
order, from the Temple of Minerva Polias; the staircase is panelled
with scagliola, and enriched with Corinthian columns. The grand
drawing-room is in the style of Louis Quatorze: azure ground, with
elaborate cove; ceiling enrichments bronze gilt; door-way paintings _à
la Watteau_; and panelling, masks, terminals, heavily gilt. Upon the
opening of the Club-house, it was described in the exaggerated style,
as "the New Pandemonium"; the drawing-rooms, or real Hell, consisting
of four chambers; the first an ante-room, opening to a saloon
embellished to a degree which baffles description; thence to a small,
curiously-formed cabinet, or boudoir, which opens to the supper room.
All these rooms are panelled in the most gorgeous manner, spaces
being left to be filled up with mirrors, silk or gold enrichments; the
ceilings being as superb as the walls. A billiard-room on the upper
floor completes the number of apartments professedly dedicated to the
use of the members. Whenever any secret manoeuvre is to be carried
on, there are smaller and more retired places, both under this roof
and the next, whose walls will tell no tales.

The _cuisine_ at Crockford's was of the highest class, and the members
were occasionally very _exigeant_, and trying to the patience of M.
Ude. At one period of his presidency, a ground of complaint, formally
addressed to the Committee, was that there was an admixture of onion
in the _soubise_. Colonel Damer, happening to enter Crockford's one
evening to dine early, found Ude walking up and down in a towering
passion, and naturally inquired what was the matter. "No matter,
Monsieur le Colonel! Did you see that man who has just gone out? Well,
he ordered a red mullet for his dinner. I made him a delicious little
sauce with my own hands. The price of the mullet marked on the _carte_
was 2_s._; I asked 6_d._ for the sauce. He refuses to pay the 6_d._
That _imbécille_ apparently believes that the red mullets come out of
the sea with my sauce in their pockets!" The _imbécille_ might have
retorted that they do come out of the sea with their appropriate sauce
in their pockets; but this forms no excuse for damaging the consummate
genius of a Ude.

The appetites of some Club members appear to entitle them to be called
_gourmands_ rather than _gourmets_. Of such a member of Crockford's
the following traits are related in the _Quarterly Review_, No.
110:--"The Lord-lieutenant of one of the western counties eats a covey
of partridges for breakfast every day during the season; and there is
a popular M.P. at present [1836] about town who would eat a covey of
partridges, as the Scotchman ate a dozen of becaficos, for a whet, and
feel himself astonished if his appetite was not accelerated by the
circumstance. Most people must have seen or heard of a caricature
representing a gentleman at dinner upon a round of beef, with the
landlord looking on. 'Capital beef, landlord!' says the gentleman; 'a
man may cut and come again here.' 'You may cut, Sir,' responds
Boniface; 'but I'm blow'd if you shall come again.' The person
represented is the M.P. in question; and the sketch is founded upon
fact. He had occasion to stay late in the City, and walked into the
celebrated Old Bailey beef-shop on his return, where, according to the
landlord's computation, he demolished about seven pounds and a half of
solid meat, with a proportionate allowance of greens. His exploits at
Crockford's have been such, that the founder of that singular
institution has more than once had serious thoughts of giving him a
guinea to sup elsewhere; and has only been prevented by the fear of
meeting with a rebuff similar to that mentioned in _Roderick Random_
as received by the master of an ordinary, who, on proposing to buy off
an ugly customer, was informed by him that he had already been bought
off by all the other ordinaries in town, and was consequently under
the absolute necessity of continuing to patronize the establishment."

Theodore Hook was a frequent visitor at Crockford's, where play did
not begin till late. Mr. Barham describes him, after going the round
of the Clubs, proposing, with some gay companion, to finish with half
an hour at Crockford's: "The half-hour is quadrupled, and the
excitement of the preceding evening was nothing to that which now
ensued." He had a receipt of his own to prevent being exposed to the
night air. "I was very ill," he once said, "some months ago, and my
doctor gave me particular orders not to expose myself to it; so I come
up [from Fulham] every day to Crockford's, or some other place to
dinner, and I make it a rule on no account to go home again till about
four or five o'clock in the morning."

After Crockford's death, the Club-house was sold by his executors for
2,900_l._; held on lease, of which thirty-two years were unexpired,
subject to a yearly rent of 1,400_l._ It is said that the decorations
alone cost 94,000_l._ The interior was re-decorated in 1849, and
opened for the Military, Naval, and County Service Club, but was
closed again in 1851. It has been, for several years, a
dining-house--"the Wellington."

Crockford's old bulk-shop, west of Temple-bar, was taken down in 1846.
It is engraved in Archer's _Vestiges of London_, part i. A view in
1795, in the Crowle Pennant, presents one tall gable to the street;
but the pitch of the roof had been diminished by adding two imperfect
side gables. The heavy pents originally traversed over each of the
three courses of windows; it was a mere timber frame filled up with
lath and plaster, the beams being of deal with short oak joints: it
presented a capital example of the old London bulk-shop (sixteenth
century), with a heavy canopy projecting over the pathway, and turned
up at the rim to carry off the rain endwise. This shop had long been
held by a succession of fishmongers; and Crockford would not permit
the house-front to be altered in his lifetime. He was known in gaming
circles by the sobriquet of "the Fishmonger."


[29] Edinburgh Review.


In the old days when gaming was in fashion, at Watier's Club, princes
and nobles lost or gained fortunes between themselves. It was the same
at Brookes's, one member of which, Lord Robert Spencer, was wise
enough to apply what he had won to the purchase of the estate of
Woolbidding, Suffolk. Then came Crockford's hell, the proprietor of
which, a man who had begun life with a fish-basket, won the whole of
the ready money of the then existing generation of aristocratic
simpletons. Among the men who most suffered by play was Viscount
Allen, or 'King Allen,' as he was called. This effeminate dandy had
fought like a young lion in Spain; for the dandies, foolish as they
looked, never wanted pluck. The 'King' then lounged about town, grew
fat, lost his all, and withdrew to Dublin, where, in Merrion-square,
he slept behind a large brass plate with 'Viscount Allen' upon it,
which was as good to him as board wages, for it brought endless
invitations from people eager to feed a viscount at any hour of the
day or night, although King Allen had more ready ability in uttering
disagreeable than witty things.

Very rarely indeed did any of the ruined gamesters ever get on their
legs again. The Golden Ball, however, was an exception. Ball Hughes
fell from the very top of the gay pagoda into the mud, but even there,
as life was nothing to him without the old excitement, he played pitch
and toss for halfpence, and he won and lost small ventures at
battledore and shuttlecock, which innocent exercise he turned into a
gambling speculation. After he withdrew, in very reduced
circumstances, to France, his once mad purchase of Oatlands suddenly
assumed a profitable aspect. The estate was touched by a railway and
admired by building speculators, and between the two the Ball, in its
last days, had a very cheerful and glittering aspect indeed.

Far less lucky than Hughes was Scrope Davies, whose name was once so
familiar to every man and boy about town. There was good stuff about
this dandy. He one night won the whole fortune of an aspiring fast lad
who had come of age the week before, and who was so prostrated by his
loss that kindly-hearted Scrope gave back the fortune the other had
lost, on his giving his word of honour never to play again. Davies
stuck to the green baize till his own fortune had gone among a score
of less compassionate gentlemen. His distressed condition was made
known to the young fellow to whom he had formerly acted with so much
generosity, and that grateful heir refused to lend him even a guinea.
Scrope was not of the gentlemen-ruffians of the day who were addicted
to cruelly assaulting men weaker than themselves. He was well-bred and
a scholar; and he bore his reverses with a rare philosophy. His home
was on a bench in the Tuileries, where he received old acquaintances
who visited him in exile; but he admitted only very tried friends to
the little room where he read and slept. He was famed for his
readiness in quoting the classical poets, and for his admiration of
Moore, in whose favour those quotations were frequently made. They
were often most happy. For example, he translated 'Ubi _plura_ nitent
non ego _paucis_ offendar maculis,' by '_Moore shines so brightly that
I cannot find fault with Little's vagaries_!' He also rendered 'Ne
_plus_ ultra,' '_Nothing is better than Moore!_'[30]


Gentleman-coaching has scarcely been known in England seventy years.
The Anglo-Erichthonius, the Hon. Charles Finch, brother to the Earl of
Aylesford, used to drive his own coach-and-four, disguised in a livery
great-coat. Soon after his _début_, however, the celebrated "Tommy
Onslow," Sir John Lacy, and others, mounted the box in their own
characters. Sir John was esteemed a renowned judge of coach-horses and
carriages, and a coachman of the old school; but everything connected
with the coach-box has undergone such a change, that the Nestors of
the art are no longer to be quoted. Among the celebrities may be
mentioned the "B. C. D.," or Benson Driving Club, which held its
rendezvous at the "Black Dog," Bedfont, as one of the numerous driving
associations, whose processions used, some five-and-thirty years ago,
to be among the most imposing, as well as peculiar, spectacles in and
about the metropolis.

On the stage, the gentlemen drivers, of whom the members of the
Four-in-Hand Club were the exclusive _élite_, were illustrated rather
than caricatured in _Goldfinch_, in Holcroft's comedy _The Road to
Ruin_. Some of them who had not "drags" of their own, "tipped" a
weekly allowance to stage coachmen, to allow them to "finger the
ribbons," and "tool the team." Of course, they frequently "spilt" the
passengers. The closeness with which the professional coachmen were
imitated by the "bucks," is shown in the case of wealthy young Ackers,
who had one of his front teeth taken out, in order that he might
acquire the true coachman-like way of "spitting." There were men of
brains, nevertheless, in the Four-in-Hand, who knew how to ridicule
such fellow-members as Lord Onslow, whom they thus immortalized in an
epigram of that day:--

     "What can Tommy Onslow do?
     He can drive a coach and two!
     Can Tommy Onslow do no more?
     He can drive a coach and four."

It is a curious fact, that the fashion of amateur charioteering was
first set by the ladies. Dr. Young has strikingly sketched, in his
satires, the Delia who was as good a coachman as the man she paid for
being so:--

     "Graceful as John, she moderates the reins,
     And whistles sweet her diuretic strains."

The Four-in-Hand combined gastronomy with equestrianism and
charioteering. They always drove out of town to dinner, and the ghost
of Scrope Davies will pardon our suggesting that the club of drivers
and diners might well have taken for their motto, "Quadrigis, petimus
bene vivere!"[31]

There is another version of the epigram on Tom Onslow:--

     "Say, what can Tommy Onslow do?
     Can drive a curricle and two.
     Can Tommy Onslow do no more?
     Yes,--drive a curricle and four."

This is the version current, we are told, among Onslow's relations in
the neighbourhood of Guildford.

Lord Onslow's celebrity as _a whip_ long preceded the existence of the
Four-in-Hand Club (the palmy days of which belong to the times of
George the Fourth), and it was not a _coach_, but a _phaeton_, that he
drove. A correspondent of the _Athenæum_ writes: "I knew him
personally, in my own boyhood, in Surrey, in the first years of the
present century; and I remember then hearing the epigram now referred
to, not as new, but as well known, in the following form:--

     'What can little T. O. do?
     Drive a phaeton and two.
     Can little T. O. do no more?
     Yes,--drive a phaeton and four.'

"Tommy Onslow was a little man, full of life and oddities, one of
which was a fondness for driving into odd places; and I remember the
surprise of a pic-nic party, which he joined in a secluded spot,
driving up in his 'phaeton and four' through ways that were hardly
supposed passable by anything beyond a flock of sheep. An earlier
exploit of his had a less agreeable termination. He was once driving
through Thames-street, when the hook of a crane, dangling down in
front of one of the warehouses, caught the hood of the phaeton,
tilting him out, and the fall broke his collar-bone."

The vehicles of the Club which were formerly used are described as of
a hybrid class, quite as elegant as private carriages and lighter than
even the mails. They were horsed with the finest animals that money
could secure. In general, the whole four in each carriage were
admirably matched; grey and chestnut were the favourite colours, but
occasionally very black horses, or such as were freely flecked with
white, were preferred. The master generally drove the team, often a
nobleman of high rank, who commonly copied the dress of a mail
coachman. The company usually rode outside, but two footmen in rich
liveries were indispensable on the back seat, nor was it at all
uncommon to see some splendidly attired female on the box. A rule of
the Club was that all members should turn out three times a week; and
the start was made at mid-day, from the neighbourhood of Piccadilly,
through which they passed to the Windsor-road,--the attendants of each
carriage playing on their silver bugles. From twelve to twenty of
these handsome vehicles often left London together.

There remain a few handsome drags, superbly horsed. In a note to
Nimrod's life-like sketch, "The Road,"[32] it is stated that "only ten
years back, there were from thirty-four to forty four-in-hand
equipages to be seen constantly about town."

Nimrod has some anecdotical illustrations of the taste for the _whip_,
which has undoubtedly declined; and at one time, perhaps, it occupied
more attention among the higher classes of society than we ever wish
to see it do again. Yet, taken in moderation, we can perceive no
reason to condemn this branch of sport more than others. "If so great
a personage as Sophocles could think it fitting to display his science
in public, in the trifling game of ball, why may not an English
gentleman exercise his skill on a coach-box? If the Athenians, the
most polished nation of all antiquity, deemed it _an honour_ to be
considered skilful charioteers, why should Englishmen consider it a
disgrace? To be serious, our amateur or _gentlemen-coachmen_ have
done much good: the road would never have been what it now is, but for
the encouragement they gave, by their notice and support, to all
persons connected with it. Would the Holyhead road have been what it
is, had there been no such persons as the Hon. Thomas Kenyon, Sir
Henry Parnell, and Mr. Maddox? Would the Oxford coachmen have set so
good an example as they have done to their brethren of 'the bench,'
had there been no such men on their road as Sir Henry Peyton, Lord
Clonmel, the late Sir Thomas Mostyn; that Nestor of coachmen, Mr.
Annesley; and the late Mr. Harrison of Shelswell? Would not the
unhappy coachmen of five-and-twenty years back have gone on, wearing
out their breeches with the bumping of the old coach-box, and their
stomachs with brandy, had not Mr. Warde of Squerries, after many a
weary endeavour, persuaded the proprietors to place their boxes upon
springs--the plan for accomplishing which was suggested by Mr.
Roberts, nephew to then proprietor of the White Horse, Fetter Lane,
London, but now of the Royal Hotel, Calais? What would the Devonshire
road have been, but for the late Sir Charles Bamfylde, Sir John
Rogers, Colonel Prouse, Sir Lawrence Palk, and others? Have the advice
and the practice of such experienced men as Mr. Charles Buxton, Mr.
Henry Villebois, Mr. Okeover, Sir Bellingham Graham, Mr. John Walker,
Lord Sefton, Sir Felix Agar,[33] Mr. Ackers, Mr. Maxse, Hon. Fitzroy
Stanhope, Colonel Spicer, Colonel Sibthorpe, _cum multis aliis_, been
thrown away upon persons who have looked up to them as protectors?
Certainly not: neither would the improvement in carriages--stage-coaches
more especially--have arrived at its present height, but for the
attention and suggestions of such persons as we have been speaking

A commemoration of long service in the coaching department may be
related here. In the autumn of 1835, a handsome compliment was paid to
Mr. Charles Holmes, the driver and part proprietor of the Blenheim
coach (from Woodstock to London) to celebrate the completion of his
twentieth year on that well-appointed coach, a period that had elapsed
without a single accident to his coach, his passengers, or himself;
and during which time, with the exception of a very short absence from
indisposition, he had driven his sixty-five miles every day, making
somewhere about twenty-three thousand miles a year. The numerous
patrons of the coach entered into a subscription to present him with a
piece of plate; and accordingly a cup, bearing the shape of an antique
vase, the cover surmounted by a beautifully modelled horse, with a
coach and four horses on one side, and a suitable inscription on the
other, was presented to Mr. Holmes by that staunch patron of the road,
Sir Henry Peyton, Bart., in August, at a dinner at the Thatched House
Tavern, St. James's-street, to which between forty and fifty gentlemen
sat down. The list of subscribers amounted to upwards of two hundred
and fifty, including among others the Duke of Wellington.


[30] Athenæum review of Captain Gronow's Anecdotes.

[31] Athenæum, No. 1739.

[32] Written, it must be recollected, some thirty years since.
Reprinted in Murray's 'Reading for the Rail.'

[33] Perhaps one of the finest specimens of good coachmanship was
performed by Sir Felix Agar. He made a bet, which he won, that he
would drive his own four-horses-in-hand, up Grosvenor-place, down the
passage into Tattersall's Yard, around the pillar which stands in the
centre of it, and back again into Grosvenor-place, _without either of
his horses going at a slower pace than a trot_.


To Hoyle has been ascribed the invention of the game of Whist. This is
certainly a mistake, though there can be no doubt that it was indebted
to him for being first specially treated of and introduced to the
public in a scientific manner. He also wrote on piquet, quadrille, and
backgammon, but little is known of him more than he was born in 1672,
and died in Cavendish-square on 29th August, 1769, at the advanced age
of ninety-seven. He was a barrister by profession, and Registrar of
the Prerogative in Ireland, a post worth £600 a year. His treatise on
Whist, for which he received from the publisher the sum of £1000, ran
through five editions in one year, besides being extensively pirated.

     "Whist, Ombre, and Quadrille, at Court were used,
     And Bassett's power the City dames amused,
     Imperial Whist was yet but slight esteemed,
     And pastime fit for none but rustics deemed.
     How slow at first is still the growth of fame!
     And what obstructions wait each rising name!
     Our stupid fathers thus neglected, long,
     The glorious boast of Milton's epic song;
     But Milton's muse at last a critic found,
     Who spread his praise o'er all the world around;
     And Hoyle at length, for Whist performed the same,
     And proved its right to universal fame."

Whist first began to be popular in England about 1730, when it was
very closely studied by a party of gentlemen, who formed a sort of
Club, at the Crown Coffee-house in Bedford-row. Hoyle is said to have
given instructions in the game, for which his charge was a guinea a

The Laws of Whist have been variously given.[34] More than half a
century has elapsed since the supremacy of "long whist" was assailed
by a reformed, or rather revolutionized form of the game. The
champions of the ancient rules and methods did not at once submit to
the innovation. The conservatives were not without some good arguments
on their side; but "short whist" had attractions that proved
irresistible, and it has long since fully established itself as the
only game to be understood when whist is named. But hence, in the
course of time, has arisen an inconvenience. The old school of players
had, in the works of Hoyle and Cavendish, manuals and text-books of
which the rules, cases, and decisions were generally accepted. For
short whist no such "volume paramount" has hitherto existed. Hoyle
could not be safely trusted by a learner, so much contained in that
venerable having become obsolete. Thus, doubtful cases arising out of
the short game had to be referred to the best living players for
decision. But there was some confusion in the "whist world," and the
necessity of a code of the modern laws and rules of this "almost
perfect" game had become apparent, when a combined effort was made by
a committee of some of the most skilful to supply the deficiency.

The movement was commenced by Mr. J. Loraine Baldwin, who obtained the
assistance of a Committee, including members of several of the best
London Clubs well known as whist players. They were deputed to draw up
a code of rules for the game, which, if approved, was to be adopted by
the Arlington Club. They performed their task with the most decided
success. The rules they laid down as governing the best modern
practice have been accepted, not only by the Arlington, but the Army
and Navy, Arthur's, Boodle's, Brookes's, Carlton, Conservative,
Garrick, Guards, Junior Carlton, Portland, Oxford and Cambridge,
Reform, St. James's, White's, etc. To the great section of the whist
world that do not frequent Clubs, it may be satisfactory to know the
names of the gentlemen composing the Committee of Codification, whose
rules are to become law. They are Admiral Rous, chairman; Mr. G.
Bentinck, M.P.; Mr. J. Bushe; Mr. J. Clay, M.P.; Mr. C. Greville; Mr.
R. Knightley, M.P.; Mr. H. B. Mayne; Mr. G. Payne; and Colonel Pipon.
The _Laws of Short Whist_[35] were in 1865 published in a small
volume; and to this strictly legal portion of the book is appended _A
Treatise on the Game_, by Mr. J. Clay, M.P. for Hull. It may be read
with advantage by the commencing student of whist and the advanced
player, and with pleasure even by those who are totally ignorant of
it, and have no wish to learn it. There are several incidental
illustrations and anecdotes, that will interest those not gifted with
the faculties good whist requires. Mr. Clay is reported to be one of
the best, if not the very best, of modern players. The Dedication is
as follows: "To the Members of the Portland Club, admitted among whom,
as a boy, I have passed many of the pleasantest days of my life, I
have learned what little I know of Whist, and have formed many of my
oldest friendships, this Treatise on Short Whist is dedicated with
feelings of respect and regard, by their old playfellow, J. C."

Leaving his instructions, like the rules of the committee, to a more
severe test than criticism, we extract from his first chapter a
description of the incident to which short whist owes its origin. It
will probably be quite new to thousands who are familiar with the

"Some eighty years back, Lord Peterborough, having one night lost a
large sum of money, the friends with whom he was playing proposed to
make the game five points instead of ten, in order to give the loser a
chance, at a quicker game, of recovering his loss. The new game was
found to be so lively, and money changed hands with such increased
rapidity, that these gentlemen and their friends, all of them leading
members of the Clubs of the day, continued to play it. It became
general in the Clubs, thence was introduced to private houses,
travelled into the country, went to Paris, and has long since so
entirely superseded the whist of Hoyle's day, that of short whist
alone I propose to treat. I shall thus spare the reader, the learning
much in the old works that it is not necessary for him to know, and
not a little which, if learned, should be at once forgotten."

Graham's, in St. James's-street, the greatest of Card Clubs, was
dissolved about five-and-twenty years back.


[34] Abridged from the _Times_ journal.

[35] _The Laws of Short Whist_, edited by J. L. Baldwin, and a
Treatise on the Game, by J. C. Harrison, 59, Pall Mall.


In the early history of the metropolis we find the Londoners warmly
attached to outdoor sports and pastimes; although time and the spread
of the great city have long obliterated the sites upon which these
popular amusements were enjoyed. Smithfield, we know, was the
town-green for centuries before it became the focus of its fanatic
fires; Maypoles stood in various parts of the City and suburbs, as
kept in remembrance by name to this day; football was played in the
main artery of the town--Fleet-street and the Strand, for instance;
_paille malle_ was played in St. James's Park, and the street which is
named after the game; and tennis and other games at ball were enjoyed
on open grounds long before they were played in covered courts; while
the bowling-greens in the environs were neither few nor far between,
almost to our time.

Tennis, we need scarcely state here, was originally played with the
hand, at first naked, then covered with a thick glove, to which
succeeded the bat or racquet, whence the present name of the game. A
few of our kings have been tennis-players. In the sixteenth century
tennis courts were common in England, being attached to country
mansions. Later, playing-courts were opened in the metropolis: for
example, to the houses of entertainment which formerly stood at the
opposite angles of Windmill-street and the Haymarket were attached
tennis-courts, which lasted to our time: one of these courts exists in
James-street, Haymarket, to this day. To stroll out from the heated
and crowded streets of the town to the village was a fashion of the
last century, as we read in the well-remembered line--

     "Some dukes at Marybone bowl time away."

Taking into account the vast growth of the metropolis, we are not
surprised at so luxurious a means of healthful enjoyment as a racquet
court presents being added to the establishments or institutions of
this very clubbable age. Hitherto Clubs had been mostly appropriated
to the purposes of refection; but why should not the social refinement
be extended to the enjoyment of so health-giving sport and manly a
pastime as racquet? The experiment was made, and with perfect success,
immediately upon the confines of one of the most recent settlements of
fashion--Belgravia. It is private property, and bears the name of
"Prince's Club Racquet Courts."

The Club, established in 1854, is built upon the Pavilion estate, in
the rear of the north side of Sloane-street, the principal entrance
being from Hans-place. The grounds are of considerable extent, and
were originally laid out by Capability Brown. They were almost
environed with lofty timber-trees; and the genius of landscape
gardening, fostered by wealth, rendered this glade in the Brompton
groves of old a sort of rural elysium.

The Pavilion estate was once the property of Holland, the well-known
architect, who planned Sloane-street and Hans-place, as a building
speculation; and, in the grounds nearly between them, built himself
what was then considered a handsome villa, the front of which was
originally designed by Holland as a model for the Prince of Wales's
Pavilion at Brighton; hence the name, the Pavilion estate. In the
grounds, among the remains of Brown's ornamental work, was an
icehouse, amidst the imitative ruins of a priory. Here, also, were the
Ionic columns (isolated) which were formerly in the screen of Carlton

The Club buildings comprise seven closed courts; a tennis court;
gallery and refreshment rooms; baths, and a Turkish bath.

Prince's Club is a subscription establishment; and its government is
vested in a committee. Gentlemen desirous of becoming members of the
Club must be proposed and seconded by two of its members. Two of the
rules enact--that members have the privilege of introducing two
friends, but that such visitors, if they play, be charged double the
rate charged to members; and that no hazard, dice, or game of chance
be allowed in this Club. Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales
and the Duke of Cambridge are members.


Professor Owen is accustomed to relate the following very amusing
incident, which occurred in a Club of some of the working scientific
men of London, who, with a few others, after their winter's work of
lecturing is over, occasionally sally forth to have a day's fishing.
"We have," says Professor Owen, "for that purpose taken a small river
in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, and near its banks there
stands a little public-house, where we dine soberly and sparingly, on
such food as old Izaak Walton loved. We have a rule that he who
catches the biggest fish of the day shall be our president for the
evening. In the course of one day, a member, not a scientific man, but
a high political man, caught a trout that weighed 3½ lb.; but earlier
in the day he had pulled out a barbel of half a pound weight. So while
we were on the way to our inn, what did this political gentleman do
but, with the butt-end of his rod, ram the barbel down the trout's
throat, in which state he handed his fish to be weighed. Thus he
scored four pounds, which being the greatest weight he took the

"As we were going away from home, a man of science,--it was the
President of the Royal Society,--said to the man of politics, 'If you
don't want that fine fish of yours, I should like to have it, for I
have some friends to dine with me to-morrow.' My Lord took it home,
and I heard no more until we met on the next week. Then, while we were
preparing our tackle, the President of the Royal Society said to our
high political friend, 'There were some very extraordinary
circumstances, do you know, about that fish you gave me. I had no idea
that the trout was so voracious; but that one had swallowed a
barbel.'--'I am astonished to hear your Lordship say so,' rejoined an
eminent naturalist; 'trout may be voracious enough to swallow
minnows--but a barbel, my Lord! There must be some mistake.'--'Not at
all,' replied his lordship, 'for the fact got to my family that the
cook, in cutting open the throat, had found a barbel inside; and as my
family knew I was fond of natural history, I was called into the
kitchen. There I saw the trout had swallowed a barbel, full half a
pound weight.'--'Out of the question, my Lord,' said the naturalist;
'it's altogether quite unscientific and unphilosophical.'--'I don't
know what may be philosophical in the matter--I only know I am telling
you a matter of fact,' said his Lordship; and the dispute having
lasted awhile, explanations were given, and the practical joke was
heartily enjoyed. And" (continued Professor Owen) "you will see that
both were right and both were wrong. My Lord was right in his
fact--the barbel was inside the trout; but he was quite wrong in his
hypothesis founded upon that fact, that the trout had therefore
swallowed the barbel,--the last was only matter of opinion."


In 1839, when the British Association met in Birmingham, several of
its younger members happened, accidentally, to dine at the Red Lion,
in Church-street. The dinner was pleasant, the guests well suited to
each other, and the meeting altogether proved so agreeable, that it
was resolved to continue it from year to year, wherever the
Association might happen to meet. By degrees the "Red Lions"--the name
was assumed from the accident of the first meeting-place--became a
very exclusive Club; and under the presidency of Professor Edward
Forbes, it acquired a celebrity which, in its way, almost rivalled
that of the Association itself. Forbes first drew around him the small
circle of jovial philosophers at the Red Lion. The names of Lankester,
Thomson, Bell, Mitchell, and Strickland are down in the old
muster-roll. Many were added afterwards, as the Club was kept up in
London, in meetings at Anderton's, in Fleet-street. The old cards of
invitation were very droll: they were stamped with the figure of a red
lion erect, with a pot of beer in one paw, and a long clay pipe in the
other, and the invitation commenced with "The carnivora will feed" at
such an hour. Forbes, who, as _pater omnipotens_, always took the
chair at the first chance meeting round the plain table of the inn,
gave a capital stock of humour to this feeding of the naturalists by
taking up his coat-tail and roaring whenever a good thing was said or
a good song sung; and, of course, all the other Red Lions did the
same. When roaring and tail-wagging became so characteristic an
institution among the members, Mr. Mitchell, then secretary of the
Zoological Society, presented a fine lion's skin to the Club; and ever
after the President sat with this skin spread over his chair, the paws
at the elbows, and the tail handy to be wagged. Alas! this tail no
longer wags at Birmingham, and after vibrating with languid emotion in
London, has now ceased to show any signs of life. The old Red Lion has
lost heart, and has slumbered since the death of Forbes.

At the Meeting of the British Association at Birmingham, in 1865, an
endeavour was made to revive the Red Lion dinner on something like its
former scale; the idea being probably suggested by the circumstance of
the Club having been originated in Birmingham. Lord Houghton, who is,
we believe, "an old Red," presided; but the idiosyncrasy of the real
Red Lion, and his intense love of plain roast and boiled, were missed:
some sixty guests sat down, _not_ at the Red Lion, but at a hotel
banquet. Not one of the celebrants on this occasion had passed through
his novitiate as a Red Lion cub: he was not asked whether he could
roar or sing a song, or had ever said a good thing, one of which
qualifications was a _sine quâ non_ in the old Club. There were,
however, some good songs: Professor Rankine sang "The Mathematician in
Love," a song of his own. Then, there are some choice spirits among
these philosophers. After the banquet a section adjourned to the B.
Club, members of which are chiefly chemical in their serious moments.
Indeed, all through the meeting there was a succession of jovial
parties in the identical room at the Red Lion.[36]


The Coventry, or Ambassadors' Club was instituted about twelve years
since, at No. 106, Piccadilly, facing the Green Park. The handsome
stone-fronted mansion occupies the site of the old Greyhound inn, and
was bought by the Earl of Coventry of Sir Hugh Hunlock, in 1764, for
£10,000, subject to the ground-rent of £75 per annum. The Club enjoyed
but a brief existence: it was closed in March, 1854.

The Erectheum Club, St. James's-square, corner of York-street, was
established by Sir John Dean Paul, Bart., and became celebrated for
its good dinners. The Club-house was formerly the town depôt of
Wedgwood's famous "ware;" and occupies the site of the mansion built
for the Earl of Romney, the handsome Sydney of De Grammont's Memoirs.

The Parthenon Club-house (late Mr. Edwards's), east side of
Regent-street, nearly facing St. Philip's Chapel, was designed by
Nash: the first floor is elegant Corinthian. The south division was
built by Mr. Nash for his own residence; it has a long gallery,
decorated from a _loggia_ of the Vatican at Rome: it is now the
_Gallery of Illustration_.

"The Coventry Club was a Club of most exclusive exquisites, and was
rich in diplomacy; but it blew up in admired confusion. Even so did
Lord Cardigan's Club, founded upon the site of Crockford's. The
Clarence, the Albion, and a dozen other small Clubs have all
dissolved, some of them with great loss to the members, and the
Erectheum and Parthenon thought it prudent to join their forces to
keep the wolf from the door."--_New Quarterly Review._


[36] Abridged from the _Daily News_.


We have already seen how the more convivially disposed members of
Learned Societies have, from time to time, formed themselves into
Clubs. The Royals have done so, _ab initio_. The Antiquaries appear to
have given up their Club and their Anniversary Dinner; but certain of
the Fellows, resolving not to remain _impransi_, many years since,
formed a Club, styled "Noviomagians," from the identification of the
Roman station of Noviomagus being just then discovered, or rather

     "Rife and celebrated in the mouths
     Of wisest men."

One of the Club-founders was Mr. A. J. Kempe; and Mr. Crofton Croker
was president more than twenty years. Lord Londesborough and Mr.
Corner, the Southwark antiquary, were also Noviomagians; and in the
present Club-list are Sir William Betham, Mr. Fairholt, Mr. Godwin,
Mr. S. C. Hall, Mr. Lemon, etc. The Club dine together once a month
during the season at the old tavern next the burial-place of Joe
Miller in Portugal Street. Here the Fellows meet for the promotion of
good fellowship and antiquarian pursuits. "Joking minutes are kept, in
which would be found many known names, either as visitors or
associates,--Theodore Hook, Sir Henry Ellis, Britton, Dickens,
Thackeray, John Bruce, Jerdan, Planché, Bell, Maclise, etc." The Club
and its visitors may have caught inspiration here; for in their
sallies _movere jocum_, they have imitated the wits at Strawberry
Hill, and found Arms for the Club, with a butter-boat rampant for the
crest, which is very significant.

In 1855, Lord Mayor Moon, F.S.A., entertained at the Mansion House the
Noviomagians, and the office-bearers of the Society of Antiquaries to
meet them. After dinner, some short papers were read, including one by
Mr. Lemon, of the State Paper Office, presenting some curious
illustrations of the state of society in London in the reign of James
I., showing the "Migration of Citizens Westward." (See _Romance of
London_, vol. iii. pp. 315-320.)


Late in the last century there met at a tavern kept by one Fulham, in
Chandos Street, Covent Garden, a convivial Club called "The
Eccentrics," which was an offshoot of "The Brilliants." They next
removed to Tom Rees's, in May's-buildings, St. Martin's-lane, and
here they were flourishing at all hours, some five-and-twenty years
since. Amongst the members were many celebrities of the literary and
political world; they were always treated with indulgence by the
authorities. An inaugural ceremony was performed upon the making of a
member, which terminated with a jubilation from the President. The
books of the Club up to the time of its removal from May's-buildings
are stated to have passed into the possession of Mr. Lloyd, the
hatter, of the Strand, who, by the way, was eccentric in his business,
and published a small work descriptive of the various fashions of hats
worn in his time, illustrated with characteristic engravings.

From its commencement the Eccentrics are said to have numbered upwards
of 40,000 members, many of them holding high social position: among
others, Fox, Sheridan, Lord Melbourne, and Lord Brougham. On the same
memorable night that Sheridan and Lord Petersham were admitted, Hook
was also enrolled; and through this Club membership, Theodore is
believed to have obtained some of his high connexions. In a novel,
published in numbers, some five-and-twenty years since, the author, F.
W. N. Bayley, sketched with graphic vigour the meetings of the
Eccentrics at the old tavern in May's-buildings.


One of the chapters in "_The Life and Remains of Douglas Jerrold_," by
his son, Blanchard Jerrold, discourses most pleasantly of the several
Clubs to which Mr. Jerrold became attached. He was of a clubbable
nature, and delighted in wit-combats and brilliant repartees, the
flash of which was perfectly electric.

In this very agreeable _précis_, we find that towards the end of the
year 1824, some young men at a humble tavern, the Wrekin, in the
genial neighbourhood of Covent Garden, with Shakspeare as their common
idol; and "it was a regulation of this Club that some paper, or poem,
or conceit, bearing upon Shakspeare, should be contributed by each
member." Hither came Douglas Jerrold, and he was soon joined by Laman
Blanchard. Upon Jerrold's suggestion, the Club was called the
Mulberries, and their contributions were entitled Mulberry Leaves. In
the Club were William Godwin; Kenny Meadows, the future illustrator of
Shakspeare; W. Elton, the Shakspearean actor; and Edward Chatfield,
the artist. Mr. Jerrold wrote, in the _Illuminated Magazine_, a
touching memoir of the Society--"that knot of wise and jocund men,
then unknown, but gaily struggling."

The Mulberry Club lived many years, and gathered a valuable crop of
leaves--contributions from its members. They fell into Mr. Elton's
hands, and are now in the possession of his family. They were to have
been published, but no one would undertake to see them through the
press--an office which, in most cases, is a very un-thankful one. The
Club did not, however, die easily: it was changed and grafted. "In
times nearer the present, when it was called the Shakspeare Club,
Charles Dickens, Mr. Justice Talfourd, Daniel Maclise, Mr. Macready,
Mr. Frank Stone, etc. belonged to it. Respectability killed it." But
some delightful results of these Mulberry Club meetings are embalmed
in Mr. Jerrold's _Cakes and Ale_, and their life reminds one of the
dancing motes in the latter. Then we hear of other clubs--the Gratis
and the Rationals, of which Jerrold was a member.

"But," says the gentle Memoir, "with clubs of more recent date, with
the Hooks and Eyes, and lastly, with Our Club, Douglas Jerrold's name
is most intimately associated. It may be justly said that he was the
life and soul of these three gatherings of men. His arrival was a
happy moment for members already present. His company was sought with
wondrous eagerness whenever a dinner or social evening was
contemplated; for, as a club associate said of him, 'he sparkled
whenever you touched him, like the sea at night.' A writer in the
_Quarterly Review_ well said of him: 'In the bright sallies of
conversational wit he has no surviving equal.'

"He was thus greatly acceptable in all social literary Clubs. In the
Museum Club, for instance, (an attempt made in 1847 to establish a
properly modest and _real_ literary Club,) he was unquestionably _the_
member; for he was the most clubbable of men." When members dropped
in, sharp shots were possibly exchanged: here are a few that were
actually fired within the precincts of the Museum Club--fired
carelessly, and forgotten:

Jerrold defined dogmatism as "puppyism come to maturity;" and a
flaming uxorious epitaph put up by a famous cook, on his wife's tomb,
as "mock turtle." A prosy old gentleman, meeting him as he was passing
at his usual quick pace along Regent Street, poised himself into an
attitude, and began: "Well, Jerrold, my dear boy, what is going
on?"--"I am," said the wit, instantly shooting off.

At a dinner of artists, a barrister present, having his health drunk
in connexion with the law, began an embarrassed answer by saying he
did not see how the law could be considered one of the arts, when
Jerrold jerked in the word _black_, and threw the company into

A bore remarking how charmed he was with a certain opera, and that
there was one particular song which always carried him quite
away--"Would that I could sing it!" ejaculated the wit.

A dinner is discussed. Douglas Jerrold listens quietly, possibly tired
of dinners, and declining pressing invitations to be present. In a few
minutes he will chime in, "If an earthquake were to engulf England
to-morrow, the English would manage to meet and dine somewhere among
the rubbish, just to celebrate the event."

A friend is anxious to awaken Mr. Jerrold's sympathies in behalf of a
mutual acquaintance who is in want of a round sum of money. But this
mutual friend has already sent his hat about among his literary
brethren on more than one occasion. Mr. ----'s hat is becoming an
institution, and friends were grieved at the indelicacy of the
proceeding. On the above occasion, the bearer of the hat was received
with evident dissatisfaction. "Well," said Douglas Jerrold, "how much
does ---- want this time?"--"Why, just a four and two noughts will, I
think, put him straight," the bearer of the hat replied.
_Jerrold_--"Well, put me down for one of the noughts."

"The Chain of Events," playing at the Lyceum Theatre, though
unsuccessful, is mentioned. "Humph!" said Douglas Jerrold, "I'm afraid
the manager will find it a door-chain strong enough to keep everybody
out of the house,"--and so it proved.

Douglas Jerrold is seriously disappointed with a certain book written
by one of his friends, and has expressed his disappointment.
_Friend_--"I have heard that you said ---- was the worst book I ever
wrote." _Jerrold_--"No, I didn't; I said it was the worst book anybody
ever wrote."

A supper of sheep's-heads is proposed, and presently served. One
gentleman present is particularly enthusiastic on the excellence of
the dish, and, as he throws down his knife and fork, exclaims, "Well,
sheep's-heads for ever, say I!" _Jerrold_--"There's egotism!"

During a stormy discussion, a gentleman rises to settle the matter in
dispute. Waving his hands majestically over the excited disputants, he
begins: "Gentlemen, all I want is common sense."--"Exactly," says
Douglas Jerrold, "that is precisely what you _do_ want."

But the Museum Club was broken up by troubled spirits. Then succeeded
the Hooks and Eyes; then the Club, a social weekly gathering, which
Jerrold attended only three weeks before his death. Hence some of his
best sayings went forth.

Jerrold ordered a bottle of old port; "not _elder_ port," he said.

Walking to his Club with a friend from the theatre, some intoxicated
young gentleman reeled up to the dramatist and said, "Can you tell me
the way to the Judge and Jury?"--"Keep on as you are, young
gentleman," was the reply; "you're sure to overtake them."

Asking about the talent of a young painter, his companion declared
that the youth was mediocre. "Oh!" was the reply, "the very worst
ochre an artist can set to work with."

"The laughing hours, when these poor gatherings," says Mr. Blanchard
Jerrold, "fell from the well-loaded branch, are remembered still in
the rooms of Our Club; and the hearty laugh still echoes there, and
will, it is my pride to believe, always live in the memory of that
genial and refined circle."

The Whittington Club originated in 1846, with Douglas Jerrold, who
became its first President. It was established at the Crown and Anchor
Tavern in the Strand; where, in the ball-room, hung a picture of
Whittington listening to Bow-bells, painted by Newenham, and presented
to the Club by the President. All the Club premises were destroyed by
fire in 1854; the picture was not saved, but fortunately it had been
cleverly engraved. The premises have been rebuilt, and the Club still


The Clubs in various parts of the Metropolis and the suburbs, where
Chess, and Chess only, forms the staple recreation of the members, are
numerous. We must, however, confine ourselves to the historical data
of the early Clubs, which record the introduction of the noble game in
the Metropolis.

In 1747, the principal if not the only Chess-Club in the Metropolis
met at Slaughter's Coffee-house, St. Martin's-lane. The leading
players of this Club were--Sir Abraham Janssen, Philip Stamma (from
Aleppo), Lord Godolphin, Lord Sunderland, and Lord Elibank;
Cunningham, the historian; Dr. Black and Dr. Cowper; and it was
through their invitation that the celebrated Philidor was induced to
visit England.

Another Club was shortly afterwards founded at the Salopian
Coffee-house, Charing Cross: and a few years later, a third, which met
next door to the Thatched House Tavern, in St. James's-street. It was
here that Philidor exhibited his wonderful faculty for playing
blindfold; some instances of which we find in the newspapers of the

"Yesterday, at the Chess-Club in St. James's-street, Monsieur Philidor
performed one of those wonderful exhibitions for which he is so much
celebrated. He played _three different games at once_ without seeing
either of the tables. His opponents were Count Bruhl and Mr. Bowdler
(the two best players in London), and Mr. Maseres. He defeated Count
Bruhl in one hour and twenty minutes, and Mr. Maseres in two hours;
Mr. Bowdler reduced his games to a drawn battle in one hour and
three-quarters. To those who understand Chess, this exertion of M.
Philidor's abilities must appear one of the greatest of which the
human memory is susceptible. He goes through it with astonishing
accuracy, and often corrects mistakes in those who have the board
before them."

In 1795, the veteran, then nearly seventy years of age, played three
blindfold matches in public. The last of these, which came off shortly
before his death, we find announced in the daily newspapers thus:--


"By particular desire, Mons. Philidor, positively for the last time,
will play on Saturday, the 20th of June, at two o'clock precisely,
three games at once against three good players; two of them without
seeing either of the boards, and the third looking over the table. He
most respectfully invites all the members of the Chess-Club to honour
him with their presence. Ladies and gentlemen not belonging to the
Club may be provided with tickets at the above-mentioned house, to see
the match, at five shillings each."

Upon the death of Philidor, the Chess-Clubs at the West-end seem to
have declined; and in 1807, the stronghold and rallying-point for the
lovers of the game was "The London Chess-Club," which was established
in the City, and for many years held its meetings at Tom's
Coffee-house, in Cornhill. To this Club we are indebted for many of
the finest chess-players of the age.

About the year 1833, a Club was founded by a few amateurs in
Bedford-street, Covent Garden. This establishment, which obtained
remarkable celebrity as the arena of the famous contests between La
Bourdonnais and M'Donnell, was dissolved in 1840; but shortly
afterwards, through the exertions of Mr. Staunton, was reformed under
the name of the "St. George's Club," in Cavendish-square.



(Page 86.)

Captain Gronow, writing in 1814, says: "At the present time, one can
hardly conceive the importance which was attached to getting admission
to Almack's, the seventh heaven of the fashionable world." Of the
three hundred officers of the Foot Guards, not more than half-a-dozen
were honoured with vouchers of admission to this exclusive temple of
the _beau monde_; the gates of which were guarded by lady patronesses,
whose smiles or frowns consigned men and women to happiness or
despair. These lady patronesses were the Ladies Castlereagh, Jersey,
Cowper, and Sefton; Mrs. Drummond Burrell, now Lady Willoughby; the
Princess Esterhazy, and the Countess Lieven.

"The most popular amongst these _grandes dames_ were unquestionably
Lady Cowper, now Lady Palmerston. Lady Jersey's bearing, on the
contrary, was that of a theatrical tragedy queen: and whilst
attempting the sublime, she frequently made herself simply ridiculous,
being inconceivably rude, and in her manner often ill-bred. Lady
Sefton was kind and amiable; Madame de Lieven haughty and exclusive;
Princess Esterhazy was a _bon enfant_; Lady Castlereagh and Miss
Burrell, _de très grandes dames_.

"Many diplomatic arts, much finesse, and a host of intrigues, were set
in motion to get an invitation to Almack's. Very often persons, whose
rank and fortunes entitled them to the _entrée_ anywhere, were
excluded by the cliqueism of the lady patronesses; for the female
government of Almack's was a pure despotism, and subject to all the
caprices of despotic rule: it is needless to add that, like every
other despotism, it was not innocent of abuses. The fair ladies who
ruled supreme over this little dancing and gossiping world, issued a
solemn proclamation, that no gentleman should appear at the assemblies
without being dressed in knee-breeches, white cravat, and _chapeau
bras_. On one occasion, the Duke of Wellington was about to ascend the
staircase of the ball-room, dressed in black trousers, when the
vigilant Mr. Willis, the guardian of the establishment, stepped
forward and said, 'Your Grace cannot be admitted in trousers;'
whereupon the Duke, who had a great respect for orders and
regulations, quietly walked away.

"In 1814, the dances at Almack's were Scotch reels, and the old
English country-dance; the orchestra, being from Edinburgh, was
conducted by the then celebrated Neil Gow. In 1815, Lady Jersey
introduced from Paris the favourite quadrille. The persons who formed
the very first quadrille that was ever danced at Almack's were Lady
Jersey, Lady Harriett Butler, Lady Susan Ryder, and Miss Montgomery;
the men being the Count St. Aldegonde, Mr. Montgomery, Mr. Montague,
and Charles Standish. The mazy waltz was also brought to us about
this time; but there were comparatively few who at first ventured to
whirl round the salons of Almack's; in course of time Lord Palmerston
might, however, have been seen describing an infinite number of
circles with Madame de Lieven. Baron de Neumann was frequently seen
perpetually turning with the Princess Esterhazy; and in course of
time, the waltzing mania, having turned the heads of society
generally, descended to their feet, and the waltz was practised in the
morning in certain noble mansions in London with unparalleled
assiduity."--_Abridged from the Reminiscences of Captain Gronow,


Mr. Willis took this tavern from Mr. Freere, about 1755; and, as a
relative of Mr. Almack, afterwards succeeded to the celebrated
assembly-rooms which bore his name. "If the old saw, that 'practice
makes perfect,'" writes Admiral Smyth, "be correct, the _cuisinerie_ of
the Thatched House ought to surpass that of all others; for besides
accidental parties and visitors, the Messrs Willis ably entertain the
following Societies and Clubs: [this was written in 1860.]

     Actuaries, Institute of.
     Catch Club.
     Club, Johnson's.
     Cornish Club.
     Dilettanti Society.
     Farmers' Club.
     Geographical Club.
     Geological Club.
     Linnæan Club.
     Literary Society.
     Navy Club.
     Philosophical Club.
     Physicians, College of, Club.
     Political Economy Club.
     Royal Academy Club.
     Royal Astronomical Club.
     Royal Institution Club.
     Royal London Yacht Club.
     Royal Naval Club, (1765).
     Royal Society Club.
     St. Albans Medical Club.
     St. Bartholomew's Contemporaries.
     Star Club.
     Statistical Club.
     Sussex Club.
     Union Society, St. James's.

And they moreover accommodate the following Masonic Lodges:--

     Prince of Wales's.
     Chapter of Friendship.
     Chapter of Prince of Wales's.
     Mount Mosiah Chapter.
     Castle Lodge of Harmony.
     The Knights Templars.
     Britannic Lodge.


(Page 62.)

Charles Dartiquenane, better known by the abbreviated name of
Dartineuf, was the intimate friend and associate of Swift, Steele, and
Addison, and a member of the Kit-Kat Club. He was not only famous as
an epicure, but as a punster. He is said to have been a contributor to
the _Tatler_, though his papers cannot now be ascertained. Pope, in
his _Epistles_, has:

     "Each mortal has his pleasure, none deny--
     Scarsdale his bottle, Darty his Ham Pie.
         .       .       .      .      .
     Hard task to suit the palate of such guests,
     When Oldfield loves what Dartineuf detests."

Lord Lyttelton has a Dialogue in the Shades between Dartineuf and
Apicius, on good eating, in which ham pie is stated to have been the
favourite dainty of the former. Darty died in 1737, and is stated to
have left the receipt for his favourite pie with an old lady, who
transferred it to Dr. Kitchiner. (See his _Housekeeper's Oracle_,
1829, p. 249.)


(Page 168.)

Captain Gronow also relates the following account of the origin of
this noted but short-lived Club:--

Upon one occasion, some gentlemen of both White's and Brookes's had
the honour to dine with the Prince Regent, and during the
conversation, the Prince inquired what sort of dinners they got at
their Clubs; upon which Sir Thomas Stepney, one of the guests,
observed "that their dinners were always the same, the eternal joints
or beef-steaks, the boiled fowl with oyster sauce, and an apple-tart;
this is what we have at our Clubs, and very monotonous fare it is."
The Prince, without further remark, rang the bell for his cook Watier,
and in the presence of those who dined at the Royal table, asked him
whether he would take a house, and organize a dinner-club. Watier
assented, and named Madison, the Prince's page, manager; and Labourie,
the cook, from the Royal kitchen. The Club flourished only a few
years, owing to the night-play that was carried on there. The Duke of
York patronized it, and was a member. The dinners were exquisite: the
best Parisian cooks could not beat Labourie. The favourite game played
there was Macao. Upon one occasion, Jack Bouverie, brother of Lord
Heytesbury, was losing large sums, and became very irritable. Raikes,
with bad taste, laughed at Bouverie, and attempted to amuse the
company with some of his stale jokes; upon which Bouverie threw his
play-bowl, with the few counters it contained, at Raikes's head;
unfortunately, it struck him, and made the City dandy angry, but no
serious results followed this open insult.

CLUBS OF 1814.

Captain Gronow, in his very entertaining _Anecdotes and
Reminiscences_, gives these details of the Clubs of the above

"The members of the Clubs in London, many years since, were persons,
almost without exception, belonging exclusively to the aristocratic
world. 'My tradesmen,' as King Allen used to call the bankers and the
merchants, had not then invaded White's, Boodle's, Brookes's; or
Watier's, in Bolton-street, Piccadilly; which, with the Guards,
Arthur's, and Graham's, were the only Clubs at the West End of the
town. White's was decidedly the most difficult of entry; its list of
members comprised nearly all the noble names of Great Britain.

"The politics of White's Club were then decidedly Tory. It was here
that play was carried on to such an extent that made many ravages in
large fortunes, the traces of which have not disappeared at the
present day. General Scott, the father-in-law of George Canning and
the Duke of Portland, was known to have won at White's 200,000_l._;
thanks to his notorious sobriety and knowledge of the game of whist.
The General possessed a great advantage over his companions by
avoiding those indulgences at the table which used to muddle other
men's brains. He confined himself to dining off something like a
boiled chicken, with toast-and-water: by such a regimen he came to the
whist-table with a clear head; and, possessing, as he did, a
remarkable memory, with great coolness and judgment, he was able
honestly to win the enormous sum of 200,000_l._

"At Brookes's, for nearly half a century, the play was of a more
gambling character than at White's.... On one occasion Lord Robert
Spencer contrived to lose the last shilling of his considerable
fortune given him by his brother, the Duke of Marlborough. General
Fitzpatrick being much in the same condition, they agreed to raise a
sum of money, in order that they might keep a faro-bank. The members
of the Club made no objection, and ere long they carried out their
design. As is generally the case, the bank was a winner, and Lord
Robert bagged, as his share of the proceeds, 100,000_l._ He retired,
strange to say, from the foetid atmosphere of play, with the money
in his pocket, and never again gambled. George Harley Drummond, of the
famous banking-house, Charing Cross, only played once in his whole
life at White's Club at whist, on which occasion he lost 20,000_l._ to
Brummell. This even caused him to retire from the banking-house, of
which he was a partner."

Arthur's and Graham's were less aristocratic than those Clubs I have
mentioned. It was at the latter place, in 1832, that a most painful
circumstance took place. A nobleman of the highest position and
influence in society, was detected in cheating at cards, and after a
trial, which did not terminate in his favour, he died of a broken


The following curious piece of evidence, probably an extract from the
Journals of the House of Lords, although there is no reference to the
subject in the published "Parliamentary Debates," was found not long
since by the Editor of the _Athenæum_ amongst a mass of contemporary

"Die Lunæ, 29° Aprilis, 1745.--Gaming.--A Bill for preventing the
excessive and deceitful use of it having been brought from the
Commons, and proceeded on so far as to be agreed to in a Committee of
the whole House with amendments,--information was given to the House
that Mr. Burdus, Chairman of the Quarter Session for the city and
liberty of Westminster, Sir Thomas de Veil, and Mr. Lane, Chairman of
the Quarter Sessions for the county of Middlesex, were at the door;
they were called in, and at the Bar severally gave an account that
claims of privilege of Peerage were made and insisted on by the Ladies
Mordington and Cassillis, in order to intimidate the peace officers
from doing their duty in suppressing the public gaming-houses kept by
the said ladies. And the said Burdus thereupon delivered in an
instrument in writing under the hand of the said Lady Mordington,
containing the claim she made of privilege for her officers and
servants employed by her in her said gaming-house.--And then they were
directed to withdraw.--And the said instrument was read as
follows:--'I, Dame Mary, Baroness of Mordington, do hold a house in
the Great Piazza, Covent Garden, for and as an Assembly, where all
persons of credit are at liberty to frequent and play at such
diversions as are used at other Assemblys. And I have hired Joseph
Dewberry, William Horsely, Ham Cropper, and George Sanders as my
servants or managers (under me) thereof. I have given them orders to
direct the management of the other inferior servants, (namely) John
Bright, Richard Davids, John Hill, John Vandenvoren, as
box-keepers,--Gilbert Richardson, housekeeper, John Chaplain,
regulator, William Stanley and Henry Huggins, servants that wait on
the company as the said Assembly, William Penny and Joseph Penny as
porters thereof--And all the above-mentioned persons I claim as my
domestick servants, and demand all those privileges that belong to me
as a peeress of Great Britain appertaining to my said Assembly.--M.
MORDINGTON.--Dated 8th Jan. 1744.'--Resolved and declared that no
person is entitled to privilege of Peerage against any prosecution or
proceeding for keeping any public or common gaming-house, or any
house, room, or place for playing at any game or games prohibited by
any law now in force."



*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Club Life of London, Vol. I (of 2) - With Anecdotes of the Clubs, Coffee-Houses and Taverns of - the Metropolis During the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries" ***

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