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Title: Carriages & Coaches - Their History & Their Evolution
Author: Straus, Ralph
Language: English
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  CARRIAGES & COACHES

[Illustration]


  BY THE SAME AUTHOR


  BIOGRAPHICAL

  ROBERT DODSLEY: POET, PUBLISHER AND PLAYWRIGHT
  JOHN BASKERVILLE: A MEMOIR [with R. K. Dent]


  NOVELS

  THE PRISON WITHOUT A WALL
  THE SCANDALOUS MR. WALDO
  THE LITTLE GOD’S DRUM
  THE MAN APART


  PAMPHLETS

  THE DUST WHICH IS GOD
  5000 A.D.



  CARRIAGES
  & COACHES

  THEIR HISTORY &
  THEIR EVOLUTION

  _By Ralph Straus_

  FULLY ILLUSTRATED WITH REPRODUCTIONS
  FROM OLD PRINTS, CONTEMPORARY
  DRAWINGS & PHOTOGRAPHS


  LONDON: _Published by_ MARTIN
  SECKER _at Number Five
  John Street_ ADELPHI _mcmxii_


  PRINTED BY
  WILLIAM BRENDON AND SON, LTD.
  PLYMOUTH


[Illustration: _The State Coach of Great Britain_]


To
B. S. S.



_Contents_


    CHAPTER                                 PAGE

     I. THE PRIMITIVE VEHICLE                 17

    II. THE AGE OF LITTERS                    42

   III. THE INTRODUCTION OF THE COACH         56

    IV. INTERLUDE OF THE CHAIR                85

     V. SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY INNOVATIONS      109

    VI. EARLY GEORGIAN CARRIAGES             147

   VII. THE WAR OF THE WHEELS                176

  VIII. THE AGE OF TRANSITION                204

    IX. INVENTIONS GALORE                    227

     X. MODERN CARRIAGES                     255

        INDEX                                287


_List of Illustrations_


  THE STATE COACH OF GREAT BRITAIN                     _Frontispiece_

  TYPES OF PRIMITIVE CARTS                         _facing page_    20

  ASSYRIAN CHARIOT                                     ”     ”      22

  CISIUM                                               ”     ”      30

  CARPENTUM                                            ”     ”      30

  PILENTUM                                             ”     ”      32

  BENNA                                                ”     ”      32

  _Fourteenth Century English Carriage_                ”     ”      46

  FOURTEENTH CENTURY REAPER’S CART                     ”     ”      46

  ELIZABETHAN CARRIAGES                                ”     ”      70

  NEAPOLITAN SEDAN-CHAIR                               ”     ”     100

  THE “SOCIAL PINCH”                                   ”     ”     104

  SEDANS                                               ”     ”     104

  COACH IN THE TIME OF CHARLES I                       ”     ”     112

  COACH IN THE TIME OF CHARLES II                      ”     ”     112

  EARLY FRENCH GIG                                     ”     ”     136

  EARLY ITALIAN GIG                                    ”     ”     142

  THE STATE CARRIAGE OF BAVARIA                        ”     ”     148

  THE DARNLEY CHARIOT                                  ”     ”     152

  QUEEN ANNE’S PROCESSION TO THE CATHEDRAL OF S. PAUL  ”     ”     158

  “THE CARRIAGE MATCH”                                 ”     ”     190

  “PHAETONA, OR MODERN FEMALE TASTE”                   ”     ”     196

  “SIR GREGORY GIGG”                                   ”     ”     196

  GEORGE III’S POSTING CHARIOT                         ”     ”     206

  THE LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND’S COACH               ”     ”     208

  “ENGLISH TRAVELLING, OR THE FIRST STAGE FROM DOVER”  ”     ”     216

  “FRENCH TRAVELLING, OR THE FIRST STAGE FROM CALAIS”  ”     ”     218

  EARLY AMERICAN SHAY                                  ”     ”     220

  ENGLISH POSTING CHARIOT                              ”     ”     220

  BAROUCHE                                             ”     ”     232

  LANDAULET                                            ”     ”     232

  STANHOPE                                             ”     ”     234

  TILBURY                                              ”     ”     234

  CABRIOLET                                            ”     ”     234

  “THE COFFIN-CAB”                                     ”     ”     246

  LONDON CAB OF 1823                                   ”     ”     246

  DIOROPHA                                             ”     ”     252

  BROUGHAM IN 1859                                     ”     ”     252

  EDWARD VII’S CORONATION LANDAU                       ”     ”     258

  DRESS COACH, 1860                                    ”     ”     260

  ENGLISH STATE CARRIAGE, 1911                         ”     ”     260

  “PRINCESS VICTORIA IN HER PONY PHAETON”              ”     ”     266

  CANOE-SHAPED LANDAU                                  ”     ”     268

  DRAG                                                 ”     ”     268

  MODERN AMERICAN STATION WAGON                        ”     ”     274

  MODERN AMERICAN BUGGY                                ”     ”     274



_Preface_


I am not a coachbuilder. Though such a pronouncement will seem entirely
superfluous to any coachbuilder who reads the following pages, it
is not perhaps a wholly unnecessary remark. For, with one or two
exceptions, such books upon the evolution or structure of vehicles as
have been written have been the work of industrious coachbuilders.
And I have not the least doubt that they are eminently the fit and
proper folk to carry out any such task. It is a melancholy fact,
however, that useful though these books may be to coachbuilders, they
lack, again with one or two exceptions, any general interest to the
layman. The language in which they are written is, to say the least,
peculiar, and the authors have obviously had small training in the art
of book-making. On the other hand, there is a whole library of books
dealing with the old stage and mail coaches, with all the romance and
adventure of the roads, packed with delightful anecdotes and personal
reminiscences. But such books hardly touch upon the structure of the
coaches themselves, and, so far as I know, there is no book entirely
devoted to a non-technical description of carriages in general, based
upon a chronological arrangement.

The nearest approach to such a book is Mr. G. A. Thrupp’s _The History
of Coaches_, published in 1877, a meritorious undertaking from which
I have freely quoted. Here, however, there are numerous gaps which I
have endeavoured to fill, and the various lectures from which it was
composed do not fit together so aptly as might be. As a whole, it is
diffuse. Sir Walter Gilbey’s two books, _Early Carriages and Roads_ and
_Modern Carriages_, have also been of great assistance, but here, too,
the ground covered is not so large as in the following pages. Other
pamphlets and small books have appeared in this country, but seemingly
owe a great deal of their information to Mr. Thrupp’s work. Indeed, I
notice that some of the authors have been almost criminally forgetful
of their inverted commas. For purely technical details there are, of
course, many books and trade papers to consult; but with these I have
not been concerned.

In the present book there are, indeed, large gaps, and it is not to be
taken either as a manual of the art of coach-building or as a history
of locomotion. It is merely a book about carriages, in which particular
regard has been paid to chronological sequence, and particular
attention to such individual carriages as have at all withstood the
test of social history. And it is written by a layman who, until he
enquired into the subject, had never looked at a carriage with any
particular emotion. The result of his labours, therefore, is not meant
for the expert, but for the general reader, who may have pondered over
the various vehicles he has seen, and idly wondered how they may have
been evolved.

Where possible, I have endeavoured to quote from contemporary authors
and documents. Most of such quotations are now included in a carriage
book for the first time.

I wish to thank the various publishers and authors who have given me
permission to reprint illustrations of carriages in books published
or written by them. Also I am obliged to Messrs. Maggs Bros., the
well-known booksellers, for permission to photograph a rare print
entitled _The Carriage Match_, in their possession.


  RALPH STRAUS.


BADMINTON CLUB, _August, 1912_.



_Chapter the First_

_THE PRIMITIVE VEHICLE_


    “This is a traveller, sir, knows men and
    Manners, and has plough’d up sea so far,
    Till both the poles have knock’d; has seen the sun
    Take coach, and can distinguish the colour
    Of his horses, and their kinds.”

    _Beaumont and Fletcher._


It has been suggested that although in a generality of cases nature
has forestalled the ingenious mechanician, man for his wheel has had
to evolve an apparatus which has no counterpart in his primitive
environment—in other words, that there is nothing in nature which
corresponds to the _wheel_. Yet even the most superficial inquiry
into the nature of the earliest vehicles must do much to refute such
a suggestion. Primitive wheels were simply thick logs cut from a
tree-trunk, probably for firewood. At some time or another these logs
must have rolled of their own accord from a higher to a lower piece of
ground, and from man’s observation of this simple phenomenon must have
come the first idea of a wheel. If a round object could roll of its own
accord, it could also be made to roll.

Yet it is to be noticed that the earliest methods of locomotion, other
than those purely muscular, such as walking and riding, knew nothing of
wheels. Such methods depended primarily upon the enormously significant
discovery that a man could drag a heavier weight than he could carry,
and what applied to a man also applied to a beast. Possibly such
discovery followed on the mere observation of objects being carried
down the stream of some river, and perhaps a rudely constructed raft
should be considered to be the earliest form of vehicle. From the raft
proper to a raft to be used upon land was but a step, and the first
land vehicle, whenever or wherever it was made, assuredly took a form
which to this day is in common use in some countries. This was the
sledge. On a sledge heavy loads could be dragged over the ground, and
experience sooner or later must have shown what was the best form of
apparatus for such work. As so often happens, moreover, in mechanical
contrivances, the earliest sledge of which there is record—a
sculptured representation in an Egyptian temple—bears a remarkable
resemblance to those in use at the present time.[1] Then, as now, men
used two long runners with upturned ends in front and cross-pieces to
unite them and bear the load. Such sledges were largely used to convey
the huge stones with which the Egyptians raised their solemn masses
of masonry and, incidentally, also as a hearse. In time, however, it
was found that better results were obtained by the use of another and
rather more complicated apparatus which had for its chief component—a
wheel. This second discovery that to roll a burden proved an easier
task than to drag it was fraught with such tremendous consequences as
altered the entire history of the world.

It remained to find a better fulcrum than that afforded by the rough
turf over which such logs, when burdened, were rolled. What probably
followed is well described by Bridges Adams.[2] “The next process,”
he thinks, “would naturally be that of cutting a hole through the
roller in which to insert the lever. The convenience of several holes
in the circumference of the roller would then become apparent, and
there would be formed an embryo wheel nave. It could not fail to be
remarked also, that the larger the roller, the greater the facility
for turning it, and consequently the greater the load that could be
borne upon it.” Owing to the difficulty of using such large logs, he
goes on to suggest, a time would come when it was found that a roller
need not bear upon the ground throughout its length, but only at its
extremities. So from the single roller would be evolved two rough
wheels joined by a beam, square at first though afterwards rounded,
upon which could be fixed a frame for the load.

Such axle and wheels would revolve together and keep the required
position by means of pieces of wood which may be compared with the
thole-pins of a boat. And it is a remarkable fact that until last
century such primitive carts were in use in Portugal and parts of South
America. The chief drawback to a vehicle of this kind is its inability
to turn in a small space, and the pioneers, whoever they were, finally
discovered the principle of the fixed axle-tree, the wheels revolving
upon their own centre. So, “instead of fixing the cross-beam or axle
in a square hole,” these pioneers “would contrive it to play easily
in a round one of a conical form, that being the easiest form of
adjustment.” Such a car as this, with solid wheels and a rude frame,
was used by the Romans, and is still to be seen in parts of Chili. The
next process in the evolution of the wheel doubtless followed upon the
necessity of economising with large sections of wood, and there was
finally invented a wheel made of three portions—a central pierced
part, the nave, an outside circular piece, the rim or felloe, and two
or more cross-pieces, joining the two, the spokes. Of these the felloes
would tend to wear soonest, and a double set would be applied to the
spokes, as was the case until recently in the ox-carts of the Pampas,
or _barcos de tierra_, as they were called by the natives.

And indeed, the first carriages of which we have particular
information, the chariots of the Egyptians and their neighbours,
differ essentially from such primitive carts only in the delicacy and
ornamentation of the carriage body.

[Illustration: _Types of Primitive Carts_]

Various vehicles are mentioned in the Bible, though one must be chary
of differentiating between them merely because the translators have
given them different names. Both waggons and chariots are mentioned in
Genesis. Jacob’s family were sent to him in a waggon. Joseph rode
in the second chariot of Pharaoh as a particular mark of favour. At
the time of the Exodus, war-chariots formed an important part of the
Egyptian army, and indeed, right through the various dynasties, there
is an almost continuous mention of their use.[3] “The deft craftsmen of
Egypt,” says Breasted,[4] “soon mastered the art of chariot-making, and
the stables of the Pharaoh contained thousands of the best horses to be
had in Asia.” About 1500 B.C. Thutmose III went forth to battle in “a
glittering chariot of electrum.” He slew the enemy’s leader, and took
captive their princes and “their chariots, wrought with gold, bound to
their horses.” These barbarians also had “chariots of silver,” though
this probably means that they were built of wood and strengthened or
decorated with silver. At the dissolution of the Empire the Hittites
had increased wonderfully in power, and it is told of them that they
excelled all other nations in the art of chariotry. The Hittite chariot
was larger and more heavily built than that of the Egyptians, as it
bore three men, driver, bowman, and shield-bearer, while the Egyptian
was satisfied with two. The enormous number of chariots used in warfare
is shown by the fact that in the fourteenth century before Christ, when
the Egyptians defeated the Syrians at Megiddo, nearly a thousand were
captured, and against Ramses II the Hittites put no less than 2500 into
the field.

    “The Egyptian chariots,” says H. A. White,[5] “were of
    light and simple construction, the material employed being
    wood, as is proved by sculptures representing the manufacture
    of chariots. The axle was set far back, and the bottom of
    the car, which rested on this and on the pole, was sometimes
    formed of a frame interlaced with a network of thongs or
    ropes. The chariot was entirely open behind and for the
    greater part of the sides, which were formed by a curved rail
    rising from each side of the back of the base, and resting
    on a wooden upright above the pole in front. From this rail,
    which was strengthened by leather thongs, a bow-case of
    leather, often richly ornamented, hung on the right-hand side,
    slanting forwards; while the quiver and spear cases inclined
    in the opposite direction. The wheels, which were fastened on
    the axle by a linch-pin secured with a short thong, had six
    spokes in the case of war chariots, but in private vehicles
    sometimes only four.[6] The pole sloped upwards, and to the
    end of it a curved yoke was attached. A small saddle at each
    end of the yoke rested on the withers of the horses, and was
    secured in its place by breast-band and girth. No traces are
    to be seen. The bridle was often ornamented; a bearing-rein
    was fastened to the saddle, and the other reins passed through
    a ring at the side of this. The number of horses to a chariot
    seems always to have been two; and in the car, which contained
    no seat, only rarely are more than two persons depicted,
    except in triumphal processions.

[Illustration: _Assyrian Chariot_

(_From Smith’s “Concise History of English Carriages”_)]

    “Assyrian chariots did not differ in any essential points
    from the Egyptian.[7] They were, however, completely
    panelled at the sides, and a shield was sometimes hung at
    the back. The wheels had six, or, at a later period, eight
    spokes; the felloes were broad, and seem to have been formed
    of three distinct circles of wood, sometimes surrounded by a
    metal tyre. While only two horses were attached to the yokes,
    in the older monuments a third horse is generally to be seen,
    which was probably used as a reserve. The later chariots
    are square in front, not rounded; the car itself is larger
    and higher; the cases for the weapons are placed in front,
    not at the side; and only two horses are used. The harness
    differs somewhat from the Egyptian. A broad collar passes
    round the neck, from which hangs a breast ornament, the whole
    being secured by a triple strap under the belly of the horse.
    As in Egypt there are no traces visible; two driving-reins
    are attached to each horse, but the bearing-rein seems to
    be unknown. In addition to the warrior and the charioteer,
    we often see a third man who bears a shield; and a fourth
    occupant of the chariot sometimes appears.

    “The Hittite chariots, as represented on Egyptian monuments,
    regularly contain three warriors. In construction they are
    plainer and more solid than the Egyptian, and the sides are
    not open. The chariots on Persian sculptures closely resemble
    the Assyrian.”

There is still preserved in the Archæological Museum at Florence an
Egyptian chariot, a light, simple, two-wheeled affair with a single
shaft and four spokes to the wheels. From the number of spokes it may
be supposed that this particular chariot was not used in war. In New
York, too, there is preserved the wheel of an Egyptian chariot found
at Dashour. The particulars of this bear out Mr. White’s description.
The wheel itself is three feet high, with a long axle arm, six spokes,
tapering towards the felloe, and a double rim. “The six inner felloes
do not meet as in modern wheels,” says Thrupp,[8] “but are spliced one
over the other, with an overlap of three inches.”

Artificial roads seem to have existed at an early period in Palestine,
but the country was hardly suitable for vehicles, and one first hears
of waggons in the flatter wastes of Egypt and the level plains of
Philistia. Agricultural carts these were, though no doubt early used
for passenger traffic. Some of these carts were most probably covered,
though no coverings seem to have been fixed to the chariots. The
Assyrians, however, occasionally took into their private chariots an
attendant, who was provided with a covering shaped somewhat like a
modern umbrella. This covering was held over the owner’s head, and was
sometimes provided with a curtain which hung down at the back.

Details of the private carriages in use during these Biblical times
filter through the chronicles. In Syria the merchants despatched by
Solomon to buy chariots had to pay 600 shekels each for them. Solomon
in his quest for luxury seems to have been the first man to build a
more elaborate car than satisfied his contemporaries. One to be used
on state occasions was built of cedar wood and had “pillars of gold.”
Probably it was some form of litter. The number of private cars was
increasing enormously in all these Eastern cities. The prophet Nahum
in lamenting the future woes of Nineveh speaks of “the noise of the
whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the prancing
horses, and of the jumping chariots,” which will no longer bear witness
to the city’s prosperity. The absence of wide roads, however, militated
against great changes of form in the carriages, which maintained their
simple shape until many centuries later.


The war-chariot (ἄρμα or δίφρος) of the early Greeks was curved in
front, and loftier than that of the Egyptians. The entrance was at the
back. It was never covered, but frequently bore a curious basket-like
arrangement, the πείρινς, upon or in which two people could sit. The
ἄντυξ, or rim, in most cases ran round the three sides of the body, but
occasionally there was only a curved barrier in front. The body itself
was often strengthened by a trellis-work of strips of light wood or
metal. The barrier was of varying height; in some chariots it did not
reach above the driver’s knee; in others it came up to his waist, but
in war-chariots never higher than that. The axle was of oak, ash, elm,
or even of iron, and precious metals, according to the legend, were
used for the chariots of the gods. So of Juno’s car we read:—

    “The whirling wheels are to the chariot hung.
     On the bright axle turns the bidden wheel
     Of sounding brass: the polish’d axle steel.
     Eight brazen spokes in radiant order flame;
     The circles gold, of uncorrupted frame,
     Such as the heavens produce; and round the gold
     Two brazen rings of work divine were roll’d.
     The bossy naves of solid silver shone;
     Braces of gold suspend the moving throne.”

The last line suggests an innovation which was certainly not followed
for some considerable time.

The chariot in general was about seven feet long, and could be lifted
by a strong man like Diomed. Indeed, it could be driven over the bodies
of dead warriors. The pole sloped sharply upwards, and sometimes ended
in the head of a bird or animal. It emerged either from the floor of
the car or from the axle. Towards its end the yoke for the horses was
fastened about a pin fixed into it. Though the Lydians used chariots
with two or even three poles, the Greeks never had more than one; and
as with the Egyptians, there were no traces. If the pole broke, the
horses must have dashed away with part of it, leaving the chariot at a
standstill. Occasionally, too, a third horse was used, upon which sat a
postilion.

At a later period several Grecian carriages were in common use,
though not in warfare. Representations of such cars are to be found
on the Elgin Marbles. And, as was the case a dozen or more centuries
afterwards, the carriage became the outward sign of luxury. It
invariably appeared in the state processions, and was made the
receptacle for the most gorgeous ornamentation. Gold, ebony, copper,
ivory, and white lead were all used for this purpose, while the
interiors of the cars were made comfortable with soft cushions and fine
tapestries. They appeared, too, in great numbers at the famous chariot
races, at which four or more horses were driven abreast. Often the same
man was rich enough to possess more than one carriage. So we read of
Xerxes changing from his ἄρμα to his ἁρμάμαξα, or state-carriage, at
the end of a march. Besides these, there were also the ἀπήνη, a kind of
family sociable, the ἅμαξα, a waggon, the κάναθρον, and the φορεῖον, or
litter.

The ἁρμάμαξα was a large four-wheeled waggon, enclosed by curtains and
provided with a καμάρα or roof. Four or more horses were required to
draw it. It was so large that a person could lie in it at full length,
and, indeed, on many occasions it acted the part of a hearse. By far
the most extraordinary hearse ever built was a ἁρμάμαξα used to convey
the body of Alexander the Great—himself the possessor of numerous
carriages—from Babylon to Alexandria.

    “It was prepared,” says Thrupp, “during two years, and was
    designed by the celebrated architect and engineer Hieronymus.
    It was 18 feet long and 12 feet wide, on four massive wheels,
    and drawn by sixty-four mules, eight abreast. The car was
    composed of a platform with a lofty roof supported by eighteen
    columns, and was profusely adorned with drapery and gold and
    jewels; round the edge of the roof was a row of golden bells;
    in the centre was a throne, and before it the coffin; around
    were placed the weapons of war and the arms that Alexander had
    used.”

The ἁρμάμαξα was also largely used by the ladies of Greece, who when
they drove forth were careful to see that the curtains completely
enclosed them. The ἅμαξα, also a four-wheeled waggon, was probably
similar to the ἁρμάμαξα, though built upon a less imposing scale. The
ἀπήνη was a still lighter carriage. It is described by Herodotus, and
seems to have been a covered vehicle surrounded by silken curtains
which could be pulled back when required. Its interior was generally
furnished with cushions of goat leather. Two wheels were more frequent,
but four were sometimes found. It was said that Timoleon, an old blind
man, drove upon one occasion into the senate house and delivered a
speech from his ἀπήνη. In some cases a two-wheeled carriage of this
kind was not furnished with curtains, but enclosed in an oval-shaped
covering of basket-work. Hesiod objected to such a conveyance because
of its inability to keep out the dust. Little is known of the κάναθρον,
but it was a Laconian car made of wood, with an arched, plaited
covering, used chiefly by women. Doubtless it was little different from
the ἀπήνη.

Coming to the Romans, we find a far greater variety of vehicles, though
the descriptions that have come down are meagre and not particularly
distinctive. That the Romans early realised the enormous importance,
both military and otherwise, of carriages, is shown by their amazing
roads. Such roads had never before been constructed. They were, says
Gibbon, “accurately divided by milestones, and ran in a direct line
from one city to another, with very little respect for the obstacles,
either of nature or private property. Mountains were perforated, and
bold arches thrown over the broadest and most rapid streams. The
middle part of the road was raised into a terrace, which commanded the
adjacent country, consisted of several layers of sand, gravel, and
cement, and was paved with large stones, or, in some places near the
capital, with granite.” Probably the most famous of these roads was the
Appian Way, connecting Rome with Capua. It was wide enough, according
to Procopius, who marched along it in the sixth century, for two
chariots to pass one another without inconvenience or delay, a matter
certainly not possible, for instance, in most of the Eastern cities
at that time. And so, with the finest engineers the world had seen
linking up various cities, cross-country travelling in a carriage, from
being well-nigh impossible, became comparatively easy. Gibbon mentions
in this connection the surprising feat of one Cæsarius, who journeyed
from Antioch to Constantinople, a distance of 665 miles, in six days.

The Roman war-chariot, or _currus_, was practically the same as the
Greek ἄρμα, though certain modifications were introduced. More than two
horses were driven, and from their number came several words, such as
_sejugis_, _octojugis_, and _decemjugis_, which sufficiently explain
themselves. It appears, moreover, that the _currus_ was occasionally
driven by four horses without either pole or yoke, and it has been
suggested that in such a case the driver probably stopped the car by
bearing all his weight on to the back of the body, so that its floor
would touch the ground, thus forming a primitive brake. Besides the
_currus_, and even before their marvellous roads had been laid down,
the Romans possessed other cars. The earliest of these seems to have
been a long, covered, four-wheeled waggon, called _arcera_, which was
mainly used to carry infirm or very old people. In this the driver sat
on a seat in front of the body, and drove two horses abreast. Though
the most ancient of the Roman carriages, the _arcera_, as seen on
monuments, has a very modern appearance. In more luxurious times the
_lectica_, a large litter, seems to have led to its gradual extinction.

The _essedum_, at one time very popular in Italy, was brought in the
first place to Rome by Julius Cæsar. It was the war-chariot of the
Britons, and was entirely unlike the Roman or Egyptian cars. The wheels
were much larger, the entrance was in front and not at the back,
there was a seat, and the pole, instead of running up to the horses’
necks, remained horizontal, and was so wide that the driver could step
along it. The British charioteers could drive their cars at a very
great rate, and were exceedingly agile on the flat pole, from the
extremity of which they threw their missiles. The cars were purposely
made as noisy as possible to strike dismay into the enemy’s lines. At
times the wheels were furnished with scythes, which projected from the
axle-tree ends, and helped to maim those unfortunate enough to be run
down.[9] Cicero, hearing good opinions of it, besought a friend to
bring him a good pattern from Britain, and took occasion to add that
the chariot was the only pleasing thing which that benighted country
produced. The _essedum_ speedily became popular in Rome, though not as
an engine of war. Decorated and constructed of fine materials, it was
the fashionable pleasure carriage. Curiously enough, however, the seat
which had been so conspicuous a feature of the chariot in its native
place was not used in Rome. The owner drove the _essedum_ himself, and
yoked two horses to the pole. There was some opposition to its use on
the grounds of undue luxury, and a tribune who rode abroad in one was
on that account considered effeminate. Seneca put the _esseda deaurata_
amongst things _quæ matronarum usibus necessaria sint_. Emperors
and generals used them as travelling carriages, and they were to be
hired at regular posting-stations. A somewhat similar carriage, the
_covinus_, was also in use in various countries at this date. This was
covered in except in front; like the _essedum_, it had no seat for
the driver, and in times of war it seems to have had scythes attached
to the axle in the British fashion. Little, however, is known of it,
and it may be dismissed here with a mere mention of its existence.

[Illustration: _Cisium_

_The Primitive Gig_

(_From a Roman Inscription_)]

[Illustration: _Agrippina’s Carpentum_

(_From a Roman Coin_)]

The _essedum_ is of particular importance insomuch as it may be
considered to be the prototype of all the vehicles of the curricle
or gig type. The first of these in use amongst the Romans was the
_cisium_, whose form is well shown on a monumental column near Treves.
It was surprisingly like the ordinary gig of modern times. The body
at first was fixed to the frames, but afterwards seems to have been
suspended by rough traces or straps. The entrance was in front, there
was a seat for two, and underneath this a large box or case. Mules were
generally used to draw it, one, a pair, or, according to Ausonius,
three—in which case a postilion sat on the third horse. They were
built primarily for speed, and were in common use throughout Italy and
Gaul, though the ladies, unwilling to be seen in an uncovered carriage,
drove in other conveyances. The _cisium_ on the whole must have been
comfortable and light. Seneca admits that you could write a letter
easily while driving in one. And in due course the new carriage became
so popular that it could be hired, and the _cisiarii_, or hackney
coachmen, could be penalised for careless driving. Indeed, so very
modern were the Roman ideas upon the question of travel, that there
were certain places at which the _cisium_ was always to be found—a
kind of primitive cab-rank.

Coming to the larger waggons and carriages, there were the _sarracum_,
the _plaustrum_, the _carpentum_, the _pilentum_, the _benna_, the
_reda_, the _carruca_, the _pegma_—a huge wheeled apparatus used for
raising great weights, particularly in theatrical displays—and a
mule-drawn litter, the _basterna_. Of these the _sarracum_ was a common
cart used by the country folk for conveying produce. It had either two
or four wheels, and was occasionally used by passengers, though, as
Cicero observed, as a conveyance the _sarracum_ was very vulgar. It was
not confined to Italy, but was common enough amongst those barbaric
tribes against whom Rome was so often victorious. It was in _sarraca_,
moreover, that the bodies were removed from Rome in times of plague.
Rather lighter than this carriage, though heavy enough to our modern
ideas, was the _plaustrum_,[10] an ancient two or four-wheeled waggon
of rude construction. This was, in its primitive form, just a bare
platform with a large pole projecting from the axle; there were no
supporting ribs at all, and the load was simply placed on the platform.
Upright boards, or openwork rails, however, were used to make sides,
and at a later period a large basket was fastened on to the platform
by stout thongs. The wheels of the _plaustrum_ were ordinarily solid,
of a kind called _tympana_, or drums, and were nearly a foot thick.
Such a cart was but a slow vehicle, and could turn only with great
difficulty. It was drawn by oxen or mules, and like the _sarracum_ was
also used to carry passengers.[11]

[Illustration: _Pilentum_

_The State Carriage of the Romans_]

[Illustration: _Benna_]

The _carpentum_, though two-wheeled, bore resemblance to the Greek
ἁρμάμαξα. It had an arched covering. It was in use during very early
times at Rome, though only distinguished citizens were privileged to
ride in it. The _currus arcuatus_, given by Numa to the Flamines,
was no doubt a form of _carpentum_, which was also the travelling
carriage of the elder Tarquin. It seems to have been evolved from
the _plaustrum_, being originally little more than a covered cart;
but in the days of the Empire it became most luxurious, and was not
only furnished with curtains of the richest silk, but seems to have
had solid panellings and sculptures attached to the body. Agrippina’s
_carpentum_, for instance, had fine paintings on its panels, and its
roof was supported by figures at the four corners. Like the ἁρμάμαξα,
it was also used as a hearse. Two mules were required to draw it.
The _pilentum_ was a carriage of a more official character. It may be
called the state coach of the Romans—a four-wheeled becushioned car
with a roof supported by pillars, but, unlike the _carpentum_, open
at the sides. It was always considered to be the most comfortable of
the Roman carriages, and may indeed have been hung upon “swing-poles”
between the wheels. The social difference between the _pilentum_ and
the _carpentum_ may be deduced from one of the many carriage laws
passed by the Senate. The Roman matrons were allowed to drive in the
_carpentum_ on all occasions, but might use the _pilentum_ only at the
games or public festivals. Such “sumptuary laws” were constantly being
passed, and a special vote was even required to enable the mother of
Nero to drive in her carriage in the city itself. It was not until the
fourth century A.D. that all such restrictions were banished.

Pliny mentions another carriage of imperial Rome—the _carruca_, which
had four wheels and was used equally in the city and for long journeys.
Nero travelled with great numbers of them—on one occasion with no
less than three thousand. In Rome itself the fashionable citizen drove
forth in a _carruca_ that was covered with plates of bronze, silver, or
even gold. Enormous sums were spent upon their decoration. Painters,
sculptors, and embroiderers were employed. Martial speaks of an _aurea
carruca_ costing as much as a large farm. The _carruca_, indeed, may
be said to correspond with the phaeton, which was so fashionable in
England towards the end of the eighteenth century. As with the phaeton,
so with the _carruca_—the higher it was built the better pleased
was its owner. Various kinds of _carruca_ existed. The _carrucæ
argentatæ_ were those granted by Alexander Severus to the senators.
There is also mention of a _carruca domestoria_. Unfortunately,
however, no contemporary representation of a carriage can definitely
be said to be a _carruca_. Little enough, moreover, is known of the
two other waggons, the _reda_ and the _benna_. The _reda_ was a large
four-wheeled waggon used mainly to convey agricultural produce. It
seems to have been brought into Italy from Wallachia. The _benna_ was a
cart whose body was formed entirely of basket-work. There is a drawing
of it on the column of Antoninus at Rome. A similar vehicle persists to
this day in Italy, South Germany, and Belgium, and bears a similar name.

Under the Empire, then, carriage-building flourished, particularly
after Alexander Severus had put an end to all the older restrictions.
Various forms of carriages were to be seen on the roads, and there was,
as I have hinted, even an attempt at a spring. One of the carriages
of this period is definitely described as “borne on long poles, fixed
to the axles.” “Now a certain amount of spring,” says Thrupp, “can be
obtained from the centre of a long, light pole. The Neapolitan Calesse,
the Norwegian Carriole, and the Yarmouth Cart were all made with a
view to obtaining ease by suspension on poles between bearings placed
far apart. In these the seat is placed midway between the two wheels
and the horse, on very long shafts, which are there made into wooden
springs.” And in the old Roman carriages, he goes on to say, “the
weight was carried between the front and hind axles, on long poles or
wooden springs. The undercarriage of the later four-wheeled vehicles
used by the Romans was, in all probability, the same as is in use at
the present day, both in this country and on the Continent, and indeed
in America, for the under-carriages of agricultural waggons.” Even with
such splendid roads as the Romans possessed, however, the streets of
their towns do not seem to have been very wide, and this must be one of
the reasons for the early appearance of another kind of conveyance, the
litter, which, during the dark ages, was practically the only carriage
to be used.

These litters came from the East. The Babylonians in particular
preferred to be carried about in a chair or couch rather than to be
jolted in a carriage. Ericthonius, a lame man, is supposed to have
introduced them into Athens, where they were known as φορεῖα or
σκιμπόδια. Speedily they became popular, especially with the women.
Magnificently decorated, the φορεῖον was constantly carried along
the narrow streets, and on being brought over to Rome proved no less
agreeable to the Romans. The _lectica_, or, as it was called at a later
period, the _sella_, may in the first instance have been used to carry
the sick, but in a short time became a common form of conveyance. This
palanquin had an arched roof of leather stretched over four posts.
The sides were covered by curtains, though at a later period it would
seem that crude windows of talc were used. The interior was furnished
with pillows, and when standing the litter rested upon four feet. Two
slaves bore it by means of long poles loosely attached. In Martial’s
time these _lecticarii_ wore red liveries, and were sometimes preceded
by a third slave to make way. Julius Cæsar restricted their numbers,
and in the reign of Claudius permission to use them was granted only
as a particular mark of the royal favour. Several varieties of litter
appeared. The _sella portatoria_ or _gestatoria_ was a small sedan
chair. Some, however, were constructed to hold two. The _cathedra_,
which was probably identical with the _sella muliebris_ mentioned by
Suetonius, was mostly used by women. The _basterna_ was a much larger
litter, also used by women under the Empire, which was carried by two
mules. In this carriage the sides might be opened or closed, and the
whole body was frequently gilded.


A few other primitive carriages here call for mention. The Dacians, who
inhabited parts of what is now Hungary, used square vehicles with four
wheels, in which the six spokes widened towards the rims. The Scythians
used a peculiar two-wheeled cart consisting of a platform on which was
placed a conical covering, resembling in shape a beehive, and made of a
basket-work of hazelwood, over which were stretched the skins of beasts
or a thatching of reeds. When camping out these people would lift this
covering bodily from the cart and use it as a tent. Much the same
custom was followed by the wandering Tartars. “Their huts or tents,”
says Marco Polo, “are formed of rods covered with felt, and being
exactly round and nicely put together, they can gather them into one
bundle, and make them up as packages, which they carry along with them
in their migrations, upon a sort of car with four wheels.” “Besides
these cars,” he continues, “they have a superior kind of vehicle upon
two wheels, covered likewise with black felt, and so effectually as to
protect those within it from wet during a whole day of rain. These
are drawn by oxen and camels, and serve to convey their wives and
children, their utensils, and such provisions as they require.” The
same traveller described the carriages of Southern China. Speaking of
Kin-sai, then the capital, he says, “The main street of the city ...
is paved with stone and brick to the width of ten paces on each side,
the intermediate part being filled up with small gravel, and provided
with arched drains for carrying off the rain-water that falls into the
neighbouring canals, so that it remains always dry. On this gravel it
is that the carriages are continually passing and re-passing. They are
of a long shape, covered at top, having curtains and cushions of silk,
and are capable of holding six persons. Both men and women who feel
disposed to take their pleasure are in the daily practice of hiring
them for that purpose, and accordingly at every hour you may see vast
numbers of them driven along the middle part of the street.” To this
day such carriages as are here described can be had for hire in China,
though in general they are of a smaller size. In some respects they
resembled what is called in this country a tilted cart.

The Persians used large chariots in which was built a kind of turret
from whose interior the warriors could at once throw their spears and
obtain protection. One, taken from an ancient coin, is thus described
by Sir Robert Ker Porter in his _Travels in Georgia, Persia, and
Ancient Babylon_ (1821):—

    ” ... a large chariot, which is drawn by a magnificent pair of
    horses; one of the men, in ampler garments than his compeers,
    and bareheaded, holds the bridle of the horses ... [which]
    are without trappings, but the details of their bits and the
    manner of reining them are executed with the utmost care. The
    pole of the car is seen passing behind the horses, projecting
    from the centre of the carriage, which is in a cylindrical
    shape, elevated rather above the line of the animals’ heads.
    The wheel of the car is extremely light and tastefully put
    together.”

Here, too, it is to be noticed that the driver is shown with his
arms over the backs of the animals. In another chariot, which most
probably was Persian, the body seems to be made of a “light wood, as of
interlaced canes. Similar chariots are seen in the Assyrian bas-reliefs
and others, somewhat resembling this, on Etruscan and Grecian painted
vases. A chariot thus constituted must have been of extreme rapidity
and of scarcely any weight.”[12]

The Persians also had an idol-car, which was a kind of moving platform,
and their chariots were at one period armed with scythes. These
scythes, generally considered to be the invention of Cyrus, do not seem
to have hung from the axle-ends, as was the case in Britain, but from
the body itself, “in order,” thinks Ginzrot, who wrote on these early
carriages, “to allow the wheels to turn unobstructed. In this way,”
he says, “the scythes had a firm hold, and could inflict more damage
than if they had been applied to the wheels or felloes and revolved
with them. Nearly all writers treating on this subject are of this
opinion, and Curtius says: _Alias deinde falces summis rotarum orbibus
hærebant_ [thence curving downwards]. The scythes could easily have
been attached to the body ... and, notwithstanding, it might be said
they extended over the felloe, for Curtius said, not that the scythes
revolved with the wheels, but _hærebant_.”[13]

Early Indian carriages were probably not very different from some of
those now in use amongst the natives. The common _gharry_ is certainly
built after a primitive model. In this there are two wheels, “a high
axle-tree bed, and a long platform, frequently made of two bamboos,
which join in front and form the pole, to which two oxen are yoked.” In
Arabia there was the _araba_, a primitive latticed carriage for women,
which possessed “wing-guards”—pieces of wood shaped to the top of the
wheels and projecting over them—a feature also to be found in the
early Persian cars.

Taking these early carriages as a whole one may be inclined to feel
surprise at the varieties displayed, yet there were not after all
very great differences between them. They were two-or four-wheeled
contrivances with a long pole in front, and it is only in mere size and
decoration that discrimination can properly be made. “The Egyptians,”
says Thrupp, “with all their learning and skill, appear to have made
no change during the centuries of experience; as at the beginning, so
at the end, the kings stand by the side of their charioteers, or hold
the reins themselves. The Persians and Hindoos introduced luxurious
improvements, and in lofty vehicles elevated the nobles above the
heads of the people, and secluded their women in curtained carriages.
The Greeks introduced no new vehicles, but perfected so successfully
the useful waggon, that their model is still seen throughout Europe,
without change of principle or structure. The Romans, on the other
hand, in their career of conquest, gathered from every nation what was
good, and, wherever possible, improved upon it.” After the fall of the
Roman Empire, however, there was little further progress for several
centuries. In the general retrogression, which, rightly or wrongly, one
associates with those dark ages, the wheeled carriage, in common with a
multitude of other adjuncts to civilisation, was to suffer.



_Chapter the Second_

_THE AGE OF LITTERS_


    “There is a litter; lay him in ’t and
       drive toward Dover, friend!”

    _King Lear._


As roadmakers, the Romans, if they can be said to have had successors
at all, were succeeded by the monks. On the assumption that travellers
were unfortunate people, as indeed they were, needing help, religious
Orders were founded whose chief work was that of building bridges and
repairing the roads. Other Orders likewise performed such tasks, though
possibly for more selfish reasons, being as they were large owners
of cattle, and immersed as much in agricultural as in theological
occupations. So in many parts of Europe the _Pontife_ Brothers, or
bridge-makers, were to be found. There were also Gilds formed to
repair the roads, such as the Gild of the Holy Cross in Birmingham,
founded in the reign of Richard II, which “mainteigned ... and kept
in good reparaciouns the greate stone bridges, and divers foule and
dangerous high wayes, the charge whereof the towne of hitsellfe ys not
hable to mainteigne.” In _Piers the Plowman_, too, the rich merchants
are exhorted to repair the “wikked wayes” and see that the “brygges
to-broke by the heye weyes” may be mended “in som manere wise.” The
maintenance of the roads in England, says M. Jusserand,[14] “greatly
depended upon arbitrary chance, upon opportunity, or on the goodwill
or the devotion of those to whom the adjoining land belonged. In the
case of the roads, as of bridges, we find petitions of private persons
who pray that a tax be levied upon those who pass along, towards
the repair of the road.” So in 1289, Walter Godelak of Walingford
is praying for “the establishment of a custom to be collected from
every cart of merchandize traversing the road between Jowemarsh and
Newenham, on account of the depth, and for the repair, of the said
way.” Unfortunately for him—and doubtless he was no exception to the
rule—the reply came: “The King will do nothing therein.”

Indeed the roads were in a truly abominable condition. As often as
not, deep ruts marred what surface there had ever been, and here
and there brooks and pools rendered easy passage an impossibility.
There is a patent of Edward III (Nov. 20, 1353) which ordered “the
paving of the high road, _alta via_, running from Temple Bar”—then
the western limit of London—“to Westminster.” “This road,” says M.
Jusserand, “had been paved, but the King explains that it is ‘so full
of holes and bogs ... and that the pavement is so damaged and broken’
that the traffic has become very dangerous for men and carriages. In
consequence, he orders each proprietor on both sides of the road to
remake, at his own expense, a footway of seven feet up to the ditch,
_usque canellum_,” and see to it that the middle of the road is well
paved. In France matters were just as bad. “Outside the town of
Paris,” runs one fourteenth-century ordinance, “in several parts of the
suburbs ... there are many notable and ancient high-roads, bridges,
lanes, and roads, which are much injured, damaged or decayed and
otherwise hindered by ravines of water and great stones, by hedges,
brambles, and many other trees which have grown there, and by many
other hindrances which have happened there, because they have not been
maintained and provided for in time past; and they are in such a bad
state that they cannot be securely traversed on foot or horseback, nor
by vehicles, without great perils and inconveniences; and some of them
are abandoned at all parts because men cannot resort there.” Wherefore
it was proposed that the inhabitants should be compelled, by force if
necessary, to attend to the matter.

While, however, the wretched state into which the roads were being
allowed to fall had a great deal to do with the almost total, though
indeed temporary, extinction of the wheeled pleasure carriage in
western Europe, there is another fact which must be taken into
consideration in any endeavour to account for it. As will appear
in a little, the renaissance of carriage-building in the sixteenth
century was for a time retarded in various places by a widespread
feeling of distrust against anything that could be thought to lead to
an accusation of effeminacy. Laws were passed—as was the case, for
instance, in 1294, under Philip the Fair of France—forbidding people
to ride in coaches, and sharp comparisons were drawn by the satirists
between the hardy horsemen of old and the modern comfort-loving
individuals who lolled, or were supposed to loll—though how they
could have done so in those springless monstrosities is past
comprehension—in their gaudily decorated carriages. I would not insist
upon the point, but it may be that in the reaction against such undue
luxuries as had helped to bring ruin to the Roman Empire, carriages for
that reason became unpopular. From which, of course, it would follow
that the disappearance of the carriage led, in part at any rate, to the
neglect of the roads, and such new roads as were made would be laid
down primarily for the convenience only of the horsemen. The same thing
applied also to the litters, though their popularity naturally followed
merely upon the state of the roads.

Before attempting to deal with these litters, it will be well to see
what is known—it is not very much—of such wheeled carriages as
there were at this time, and at the outset it is necessary to bear in
mind that the old chroniclers used the word _carriage_ in anything
but its modern significance. To them a carriage was no more than an
agricultural or baggage cart. Time and again you have accounts of this
or that great man making his way, peaceably or otherwise, through
some country, accompanied by numbers of carriages. These were simply
his luggage carts, and although, as in earlier times, the cart, gaily
ornamented, could very easily be converted into a pleasure carriage,
it is important to remember the real meaning of the word. Such
carts, in point of fact, were extremely common. In England they were
generally square boxes made of planks borne on two wheels. Others,
of a lighter pattern, were built of “slatts latticed with a willow
trellis.” Their chief peculiarity was to be found in their wheels,
which were furnished with extraordinarily large nails with prominent
heads. Contemporary manuscripts give rough pictures of such carts.
One of these is shown drawn by three dogs. One man squats inside, a
second helps to push it from behind. A most interesting illustration
in the Louterell Psalter—a fourteenth-century manuscript—shows a
reaper’s cart going uphill. Here the two huge, six-spoked wheels with
their projecting nails are clearly shown. The platform of the cart is
strengthened by upright stakes with a cross-rail connecting them at the
sides. The driver, standing over the wheels on the poles, is holding a
long whip which is flicking the leader of three horses. Three other men
are helping at the rear, and the stacks of wheat are held in position
by ropes.

The earliest Anglo-Saxon carriage of which there is record belongs to
the twelfth century. Strutt refers to a drawing in one of the Cottonian
manuscripts, which represents a peculiar four-wheeled contrivance with
two upright poles rising from the axle-trees, from which poles is slung
a hammock. Such a chariot or _chaer_ was apparently used by the more
distinguished Anglo-Saxons when setting out upon long journeys. The
drawing shows the figure of Joseph on his way to meet Jacob in Egypt,
but is no doubt a correct representation of a travelling carriage in
the artist’s lifetime. This hammock is interesting as being a primitive
form of suspension, which may or may not have led to the later
experiments in that direction.

[Illustration: _Fourteenth Century English Carriage_

(_From the Louterell Psalter_)]

[Illustration: _Fourteenth Century Reaper’s Cart_

(_From the Louterell Psalter_)]

A most luxurious English carriage of the fourteenth century is shown in
the Louterell Psalter. This was obviously evolved from a four-wheeled
waggon. Five horses, harnessed at length, drew it, a postilion with
a short whip riding on the second, and another with a long whip on the
wheeler. The tunnel-like body was highly ornamented, and its front
decorated with carved birds and men’s heads. The frame of the body was
continued in front as two poles, and underneath, hanging by a ring and
looking rather ludicrous, is shown a small trunk. Women only appear in
this carriage, the men riding behind it.

    “Nothing,” remarks M. Jusserand, “gives a better idea of the
    encumbering, awkward luxury which formed the splendour of
    civil life during this century than the structure of these
    heavy machines. The best had four wheels; three or four horses
    drew them, harnessed in a row, the postilion being mounted on
    one, armed with a short-handled whip of many thongs; solid
    beams rested on the axles, and above this framework rose an
    archway rounded like a tunnel; as a whole, ungraceful enough.
    But the details,” he goes on to say, speaking of the carriage
    shown in the Louterell Psalter, “were extremely elegant, the
    wheels were carved and their spokes expanded near the hoop
    into ribs forming pointed arches; the beams were painted and
    gilt, the inside was hung with those dazzling tapestries, the
    glory of the age; the seats were furnished with embroidered
    cushions; a lady might stretch out there, half sitting, half
    lying; pillows were disposed in the corners as if to invite
    sleep, square windows pierced the sides and were hung with
    curtains. Thus travelled,” he continues with a touch of
    picturesqueness, “the noble lady, slim in form, tightly clad
    in a dress which outlined every curve of the body, her long,
    slender hands caressing the favourite dog or bird. The knight,
    equally tightened in his _cote-hardie_, regarded her with
    a complacent eye, and, if he knew good manners, opened his
    heart to his dreamy companion in long phrases like those in
    the romances. The broad forehead of the lady, who has perhaps
    coquettishly plucked off her eyebrows and stray hairs, a
    process about which satirists were indignant, brightens up at
    moments, and her smile is like a ray of sunshine. Meanwhile
    the axles groan, the horse-shoes—also heavily nailed—crunch
    the ground, the machine advances by fits and starts, descends
    into the hollows, bounds altogether at the ditches, and falls
    violently back with a dull noise.”

Other gaily decorated carriages, surprisingly like our modern vans,
though on two wheels, are shown in _Le Roman du Roy Meliadus_, another
fourteenth-century manuscript preserved in the British Museum, but only
the richest and most powerful of the nobles could afford to keep them.

    “They were bequeathed,” says M. Jusserand, “by will from one
    another, and the gift was valuable. On September 25, 1355,
    Elizabeth de Burgh, Lady Clare, wrote her last will and
    endowed her eldest daughter with ‘her great carriage with
    the coverture, carpets, and cushions.’ In the twentieth year
    of Richard II, Roger Rouland received £400 sterling for a
    carriage destined for Queen Isabella; and John le Charer,
    in the sixth [year] of Edward III, received £1000 for the
    carriage of Lady Eleanor—the King’s sister.”

These were fabulous sums, when it is remembered that an ox cost about
thirteen shillings and a sheep but one shilling and five pence.

Now it may be that such a “great carriage” as is shown in the Louterell
Psalter was identical with the _whirlicote_ in which, according to
Stowe, Richard II and his mother took refuge on the occasion of Wat
Tyler’s rebellion.

    “Of old time,” says this honest tailor, who himself witnessed
    the introduction of coaches into England, “coaches were not
    known in this island, but chariots or whirlicotes, then so
    called, and they only used of princes or great estates, such
    as had their footmen about them; and for example to note, I
    read that Richard II, being threatened by the rebels of Kent,
    rode from the Tower of London to the Mile’s End, and with him
    his mother, because she was sick and weak, in a whirlicote,
    the Earl of Buckingham ... knights and Esquires attending on
    horseback. But in the next year [1381] the said King Richard
    took to wife Anne, daughter to the King of Bohemia, that
    first brought hither the riding upon side saddles; and so was
    the riding in whirlicotes and chariots forsaken, except at
    coronations and such like spectacles.”

From this it would appear that the _whirlicote_ (which may, as Bridges
Adams suggests, have been derived from “whirling” or moving “cot” or
house) was identical with the _chariot_ or _chaer_. Unfortunately
the translators of Froissart, who mentions the incident of Richard’s
ride from the Tower, cannot agree upon the correct word to render
the original _charette_. _Charette_, _chariette_, _chare_, _chaer_
(Wicliffe), and _char_ (Chaucer) all occur in the early chronicles, and
there seems no means, if, indeed, there is any need, of differentiating
between them. All were probably waggons modified for the conveyance
of such passengers as could afford to pay highly for the privilege.
One fact, however, suggests that there were at any rate two different
kinds of carriages in England at this time, for we read that the body
of Richard II was borne to its last resting-place “upon a chariette
or sort of litter on wheels, such as is used by citizens’ wives who
are not able or not allowed to keep ordinary litters.” With this in
mind, it is difficult to agree with Sir Walter Gilbey when he says[15]
that the _chare_ was a horse litter, though it is fair to add that he
acknowledges an opposite view.

The _charette_ is obviously the French form of _caretta_, which was
the carriage in which Beatrice, the wife of Charles of Anjou, entered
Naples in 1267.[16] This vehicle is described as being covered both
inside and without with sky-blue velvet powdered with golden lilies.
Pope Gregory X entered Milan in 1273 in a similar carriage. The
_caretta_ was probably an open car “shaded simply by a canopy.” In the
next century, the _Anciennes Chroniques de Flandres_, a manuscript
belonging to 1347, shows an illustration of Ermengarde, the wife of
Salvard, Lord of Rousillon, travelling in a four-wheeled conveyance
remarkably like the ordinary country waggon of to-day.

    “The lady,” says Sir Walter Gilbey, “is seated on the
    floor-boards of a springless four-wheeled cart or waggon,
    covered in with a tilt that could be raised or drawn aside;
    the body of the vehicle is of carved wood and the outer edges
    of the wheels are painted grey to represent iron tyres. The
    conveyance is drawn by two horses driven by a postilion
    who bestrides that on the near [left] side. The traces are
    apparently of rope, and the outer trace of the postilion’s
    horse is represented as passing under the saddle-girth, a
    length of leather (?) being let in for the purpose; the
    traces are attached to swingle-bars carried on the end of a
    cross-piece secured to the base of the pole where it meets the
    body.

    “Carriages of some kind,” he continues, “appear also to have
    been used by men of rank when travelling on the Continent.
    _The Expeditions to Prussia and the Holy Land of Henry,
    Earl of Derby, in_ 1390 _and_ 1392-3 (Camden Society’s
    Publications, 1894) indicate that the Earl, afterwards King
    Henry IV of England, travelled on wheels at least part of the
    way through Austria.

    “The accounts kept by his Treasurer during the journey contain
    several entries relative to carriages; thus on November 14,
    1392, payment is made for the expenses of two equerries named
    Hethcote and Mansel, who were left for one night at St.
    Michael, between Leoban and Kniltefeld, with thirteen carriage
    horses. On the following day the route lay over such rugged
    and mountainous country that the carriage wheels were broken
    despite the liberal use of grease; and at last the narrowness
    of the way obliged the Earl to exchange his own carriage for
    two smaller ones better suited to the paths of the district.

    “The Treasurer also records the sale of an old carriage at
    Friola for three florins. The exchange of the Earl’s ‘own
    carriage’ is the significant entry: it seems very unlikely
    that a noble of his rank would have travelled so lightly that
    a single cart would contain his own luggage and that of his
    personal retinue; and it is also unlikely that he used one
    luggage cart of his own. The record points directly to the
    conclusion that the carriages were passenger vehicles used by
    the Earl himself.”

It is to be noted that the carriage of the Lady Ermengarde was a
Flemish vehicle. Flanders, indeed, seems to have shared with Hungary
the honour of playing pioneer in carriage-building throughout the ages,
and long after the general adoption of coaches in Europe, Flemish
models, and also Flemish mares, were freely imported into the various
countries.

Another carriage of this time is described in a pre-Chaucerian poem
called _The Squyr of Low Degree_, in which the father of a Hungarian
princess is made to say:—

    “Tomorrow ye shall on hunting fare,
     And ride my daughter in a _chare_.
     It shall be covered with velvet red,
     And cloths of fine gold all about your head;
     With damask white, and azure blue,
     Well diapered with lilies new;
     Your pomelles shal be ended with gold,
     Your chains enammelled many a fold.”

The pomelles no doubt were “the handles to the rods affixed to the
roof, and were for the purpose of holding on by, when deep ruts or
obstacles in the road caused an unusual jerk in the vehicle.” One
notices that lilies were apparently a common form of decoration on
these early carriages, but it is to be regretted that the accounts in
general are so scanty.


We come to the litters.

Of these the commonest, both in England and on the Continent, seem to
have been modifications of the Roman _basterna_. Generally they were
covered with a sort of vault with various openings. Two horses, one
at either end, carried them. The great majority held only one person.
Thrupp describes them in some detail.

    “They were,” he says, “long and narrow—long enough for a
    person to recline in—and no wider than could be carried
    between the poles which were placed on either side of the
    horses. They were about four to five feet long, and two
    feet six inches wide, with low sides and higher ends. The
    entrance was in the middle, on both sides, the doors being
    formed sometimes by a sliding panel and sometimes simply by a
    cross-bar. The steps were of leather or iron loops, the latter
    being hinged to turn up when the litter was placed on the
    ground. The upper part was formed by a few broad wooden hoops,
    united along the top by four or five slats, and over the whole
    a canopy was placed, which opened in the middle, at the sides,
    and ends, for air and light.”

Isolated references to these horse-litters are scattered throughout
the old chronicles, but afford meagre information. William of
Malmesbury states that the body of William Rufus was placed on a _reda
caballaria_, a horse-litter, the name of which suggests its origin.
According to Matthew of Westminster, King John, during his illness
in 1216, was removed from Swinstead Abbey to Newark in a similar
vehicle, the _lectica equestre_. Generally, however, the horse-litter
was reserved exclusively for women, men being unwilling to risk an
accusation of effeminacy. So, in recording the death of Earl Ferrers
in 1254, from injuries received in an accident to his conveyance, the
historian is careful to explain that his Lordship suffered from the
gout, which was why he happened to be in a litter at all.

As time passed, the litter rather than the wheeled carriage became the
state vehicle. Froissart, writing of the second wife of Richard II,
describes “la june Royne d’Angleterre” as travelling “en une litere
moult riche qui etoit ordondée pour elle.” Margaret, the daughter of
Henry VII, journeyed to Scotland, it is true, on the back of a “faire
palfrey,” but she was followed by “one vary riche litere, borne by
two faire coursers vary nobly drest; in wich litere the sayd queene
was borne in the intryng of the good townes, or otherwise to her good
playsher.” But on the Continent new improvements were being made in
wheeled carriages, and when in 1432 Henry VI wrote to the Archbishop
of Canterbury and other high dignitaries of the Church, with regard to
the widow of Henry of Navarre, he ordered them to place two _chares_ at
her disposal, rather than the litter to which one might have thought
she would be entitled. Sir Walter Gilbey translates the word to mean a
horse-litter, but Markland, in his paper on the _Early Use of Carriages
in England_ (_Archæologia_, Vol. XX), differentiates between the two,
ascribing a more ceremonial use to the litter, and this seems to me
to be nearer the truth. Both vehicles, for instance, are mentioned by
Holinshed in his description of the coronation ceremony of Catherine
of Aragon in 1509. The Queen herself rode in a litter of “white clothe
of golde, not covered nor bailed, which was led by two palfreys clad
in white damask doone to the ground, head and all, led by her footman.
Over her was borne a canopie of cloth of gold, with four gilt staves,
and four silver bells. For the bearing of which canopie were appointed
sixteen knights, foure to beare it one space on foot, and other foure
another space.” But the Queen’s ladies followed her in _chariots_
decorated in red, and the same thing is true of Anne Boleyn, who in
1533 rode to her coronation in a litter, but was followed by four
chariots, three decorated with red, and one with white. Such chariots
probably resembled those to be described in the next chapter; the point
to notice here is that they were being used now, and although the
litters still continued until the time of Charles II—Mary de Medicis,
the Queen-Mother of France, entered London in 1638 in a litter, though
she had travelled from Harwich in a coach, and as late as 1680 “an
accident happened to General Shippon, who came in a horse-litter
wounded to London; when he paused by the brewhouse in St. John Street
a mastiff attacked the horses, and he was tossed like a dog in a
blanket”—the wheeled carriage once again became the vehicle of honour,
and at the coronation of Mary in 1553 a chariot[17] and not a litter
was used by the Queen. This had six horses, and was covered with a
“cloth of tissue.” Whatever its discomforts may have been, it cannot
have been less dignified than the litter which it had, now for all
time, supplanted.



_Chapter the Third_

_INTRODUCTION OF THE COACH_ (1450-1600)


    “Go—call a Coach; and let a Coach be called:
     Let him that calls the Coach, be called the Caller!
     And in his calling, let him no thing call,
             But Coach! COACH!! COACH!!!”

    _Chrononhotonthologos._


Both horse-litters and early wheeled carriages seem to have had some
pretensions towards comfort. They afforded protection against the
inclemency of the weather; there had been certain rude attempts at
suspension, and the soft cushions helped to minimise the unpleasant
joltings to which every carriage was liable. When, however, the
renaissance of carriage-building occurred, people seem to have been
but little more progressive than they had been centuries before. There
were, as I have already hinted, still two factors which militated
against a speedy adoption of such vehicles, more comfortable though
they undoubtedly were, as now began to be made—the state of the roads,
and the dislike of anything bordering upon the effeminate.

The roads had become no better. Even those most eager to welcome the
new carriages must have been dismayed at the state of the country, not
only in England, but in every European country. As one writer of the
sixteenth century complains, the roads, “by reason of straitness and
disrepair, breed a loathsome weariness to the passenger.” Nor is this
writer a solitary grumbler: there are numerous complaints. In 1537
Richard Bellasis, one of the monastery-wreckers, was unable to proceed
with his work: “lead from the roofs,” he reports, “cannot be conveyed
away till next summer, for the ways in that countrie are so foule and
deepe that no carriage [cart] can pass in winter.” Indeed, no one seems
to have looked after the roads with any care, either in the fifteenth
or the sixteenth century. Yet there were, in this country, repeated
bequests for their preservation. Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland,
a sufferer himself, left one hundred marks to be bestowed on the
highways in Craven, and the same sum on those of Westmorland. John
Lyon, the founder of Harrow School, gave certain rents for the repair
of the roads from Harrow and Edgware to London. This was in 1592, and
Lyon’s example was speedily followed by Sutton, the founder of the
Charterhouse. There was, indeed, legislation of a kind, but in general
the roads were in a terrible condition, and for a long time, so far as
men were concerned, the saddle remained triumphant.

And for an even longer time continued that prejudice against carriages
which led to the framing of actual prohibitive laws. Even women
were occasionally forbidden the use of coaches, and there is the
story of the luxurious duchess who in 1546 found great difficulty in
obtaining from the Elector of Saxony permission to be driven in a
covered carriage to the baths—such leave being granted only on the
understanding that none of her attendants were to be allowed the same
privilege. So, too, in 1564, Pope Pius IV was exhorting his cardinals
and bishops to leave the new-fangled machines to women, and twenty-four
years later Julius, Duke of Brunswick, found it necessary to issue an
edict—it makes quaint reading now—ordering his “vassals, servants,
and kinsmen, without distinction, young and old,” who “have dared to
give themselves up to indolence and to riding in coaches ... to take
notice that when We order them to assemble, either altogether or in
part, in Times of Turbulence, or to receive their Fiefs, or when on
other occasions they visit Our Court, they shall not travel or appear
in Coaches, but on their riding Horses.” More stringent is the edict,
preserved amongst the archives of the German county of Mark, in which
the nobility was forbidden the use of coaches “under penalty of
incurring the punishment of felony.” So, also, we have the case of René
de Laval, Lord of Bois-Dauphin, an extremely obese nobleman living in
Paris, whose only excuse for possessing a coach was his inability to
be set upon a horse, or to keep in that position if the horse chanced
to move. This was in 1550. In England there was a similar feeling of
opposition. In 1584 John Lyly, in his play _Alexander and Campaspe_,
makes one of his characters complain of the new luxury. In the old
days, he says, those who used to enter the battlefield on hard-trotting
horses, now ride in coaches and think of nothing but the pleasures
of the flesh. The once famous Bishop Hall speaks bitterly of the
“sin-guilty” coach:—

     “Is’t not a shame to see each homely groome
      Sit perched in an idle chariot roome
      That were not meete some pannel to bestride
      Sursingled to a galled hackney’s hide?
      Nor can it nought our gallant’s praises reap,
      Unless it be done in staring cheap
      In a sin-guilty coach, not closely pent,
      Jogging along the harder pavement.”

Possibly the same idea is to be found in the framing of a Parliamentary
Bill of 1601 “to restrain the excessive use of coaches,” which,
however, was thrown out. So again in 1623, the delightful though sadly
biased water-poet, John Taylor, is lamenting the decadence of England,
due, according to him, to the growing custom of driving in coaches.

    “For whereas,” he says, “within our memories, our Nobility and
    Gentry would ride well mounted (and sometimes walke on foote)
    gallantly attended with three or four, score brave fellowes in
    blue coates, which was a glory to our Nation; and gave more
    content to the beholders, then [_sic_] forty of your Leather
    tumbrels: Then men preserv’d their bodies strong and able by
    walking, riding, and other manly exercises: Then saddlers
    was a good Trade, and the name of a Coach was Heathen Greek.
    Who ever saw (but upon extraordinary occasions),” he goes
    on to ask, “Sir _Philip Sidney_, Sir _Francis Drake_, Sir
    _John Norris_, Sir _William Winter_, Sir _Roger Williams_,
    or (whom I should have nam’d first) the famous Lord _Gray_
    and _Willoughby_, when the renowned _George_ Earle of
    _Cumberland_, or _Robert_ Earle of _Essex_? These sonnes
    of _Mars_, who in their time were the glorious Brooches of
    our Nation, and admirable terrour to our Enemies: these, I
    say, did make small use of Coaches, and there were two mayne
    reasons for it, the one was, that there were but few Coaches
    in most of their times: and the second is, they were deadly
    foes to all sloth and effeminacy.”

To Taylor, indeed, and probably to every one of his fellow-watermen,
a coach was always a “hell-cart” designed on purpose to put an end
to his own most worthy calling. But less biased poets than outspoken
Taylor gave tongue to an opposition which continued for nearly two
centuries. Gay, for instance, looked on the vastly improved vehicle of
his day as no more than an excuse for extravagant display:—

    “O happy streets, to rumbling wheels unknown,
     No carts, no coaches shake the floating town!
     Thus was of old _Britannia’s_ city bless’d,
     Ere pride and luxury her sons profess’d.”

And again:—

    “Now gaudy pride corrupts the lavish age,
     And the streets flame with glaring equipage;
     The tricking gamester insolently rides,
     With _Loves_ and _Graces_ on his chariot’s sides;
     In saucy state the griping broker sits,
     And laughs at honesty, and trudging wits.”

Perhaps he is thinking of some personal inconvenience, rather than of
mere unnecessary luxury, when he asks:—

    “What walker shall his mean ambition fix
     On the false lustre of a coach and six?”

And so late as 1770, the eccentric Lord Monboddo, who still maintained
the superiority of a savage life, refused to “sit in a box drawn by
brutes.” It is, of course, easy to magnify such opposition to coaches
as followed on the grounds of mere luxury and display, but in the
earlier history of the coach, to which we are now come, it is a factor
which must by no means be neglected. The coach, like every other
novelty, had to fight its way, and if one is inclined to believe, after
reading such accusations as there are of the earliest coaches with
their magnificent adornments and numerous attendants, that the owners
altogether deserved the reproaches of their more Spartan fellows, it
may be well to recall Macaulay’s words. In his sketch of the state of
England in 1685, when coaches were still lavishly adorned, he says of
them: “We attribute to magnificence what was really the effect of a
very disagreeable necessity. People in the time of Charles the Second
travelled with six horses, because with a smaller number there was
great danger of sticking fast in the mire.” And what is true of 1685 is
certainly true of 1585.

Buckingham is supposed to have been the first man to use a coach and
six in this country, though this is by no means certain. Of him a
well-known story apropos of this question of undue luxury is told.
“The stout old Earl of _Northumberland_,” it runs, “when he got loose,
hearing that the great Favourite _Buckingham_ was drawn about with a
Coach and six horses (which was wondered at then as a _novelty_, and
imputed to him as a _mastring pride_) thought if _Buckingham_ had
six he might very well have eight in his Coach, with which he rode
through the City of _London_ to the _Bath_, to the vulgar talk and
admiration.... Nor did this addition of two horses by _Buckingham_
grow higher than a little _murmur_. For in the late Queen’s time there
were no coaches, and the first [had] but two Horses; the rest crept in
by _Degrees_ as men at first venture to _sea_.”[18] Yet what may have
been true of Buckingham, whose love of luxury was notorious, need not
have been true of those other owners of coaches, who were constantly
travelling about the country.

Finally there is the other side of the question to be remembered,
and, as M. Ramde quaintly points out in his _History of Locomotion_,
the very luxury which people so disliked had a beneficent effect; for
“after the development of the use of carriages, and their frequent
employment by the court and nobility, the liberty to throw everything
out of the window became intolerable! Thus the carriage of luxury has
been the cause of cleanliness in the streets.”

Now it must be understood that the coach proper differs from all
earlier vehicles in being not only a covered, but also a suspended
carriage. The canopy has given place to the roof, a roof, that is to
say, which forms part of the framing of the body; and the body itself
is swung in some fashion, however primitive, from posts or other
supports. Further, it seems reasonable to suppose, on the analogy of
the _berlin_ and the _landau_—two later carriages which took their
names from the towns in which they were first made—that the first
coaches were built in a small Hungarian town then called Kotzee. Yet
it is to be observed that Spain, Italy, and France, in the persons of
various enthusiasts, have claimed the invention—their claims being
mainly based on such similarities as may be observed between the real
coach and the earlier cars and charettes.[19] Bridges Adams, indeed,
not to be outdone, hazards the suggestion that England might also be
included in such a list by reason of her invention of the whirlicote,
though he is obliged to admit that nobody knows _exactly_ what a
whirlicote was like. It is probably due to these patriotic gentlemen
that several rather ludicrous suggestions have been made to explain the
derivation of the word _coach_, which has a similar sound in nearly
all European languages. Menange rashly suggests a corruption of the
Latin _vehiculum_. Another writer puts forward the Greek verb ὀχέω,
to carry. Wachten, a German, finds in _kutten_, to cover, a suitable
explanation, and Lye produces the Flemish _koetsen_, to lie along. This
last, perhaps, is the most reasonable suggestion of those unwilling to
give the palm to Hungary, for not only were the Flemish vehicles well
known before the introduction of the new carriage, but there is also
some confusion, at any rate, in this country, between the two words
_coach_ and _couch_, both being found in the old account books. Even
in the sixteenth century the word seems to have bothered people. There
is an amusing reference to this point in an early seventeenth-century
tract called _Coach and Sedan Pleasantly Disputing_, of which I shall
have more to say in the next chapter.

    “Their first invention,” says a character in this dialogue,
    “and use was in the Kingdome of _Hungarie_, about the time
    when _Frier George_, compelled the Queen and her young sonne
    the King, to seeke to _Soliman_ the Turkish Emperour, for aid
    against the Frier, and some of the Nobilitie, to the utter
    ruine of that most rich and flourishing Kingdome, where they
    were first called _Kottcze_, and in the _Slavonian_ tongue
    _Cottri_, not of _Coucher_ the French to lie-downe, nor of
    _Cuchey_, the Cambridge Carrier, as some body made Master
    _Minshaw_, when hee (rather wee) perfected his Etymologicall
    dictionarie, whence we call them to this day _Coaches_.”

It is also to be noted that the first English coaches, so called,
were probably not suspended at all, but merely upholstered carts for
reclining—in fact nothing more than the old chariots. In the second
half of the sixteenth century, practically every pleasure carriage
in England, though not on the Continent, was called a _coach_ or
a _carroche_. Consequently it is difficult to give a date for the
importation of the first real coach into this country. Indeed, it is
impossible to say with any degree of certainty precisely when carriages
of the suspended type were first made. Such early accounts as exist
are at once fragmentary and obscure, and the few illustrations little
better than caricatures with a perspective reminiscent of that in
Hogarth’s famous example of false drawing. It can only be repeated that
the hammock slung from the four posts of a waggon, such as we have
seen existed amongst the Anglo-Saxons and possibly was also in use in
parts of Europe, may have provided the idea of permanent suspension as
a means to comfort, and that such scanty evidence as there is goes to
prove that the carriages exported from Hungary towards the end of the
fifteenth century seem to have been the first _coaches_ to be built.

So early as 1457 there is mention of such a carriage, given by
Ladislaus, King of Hungary, to the French King, Charles VII. The
Parisians who saw it described it as “branlant et moulte riche.” What
this “trembling” carriage was like there is no means of discovering,
but it certainly suggests an attempt at suspension, and may perhaps be
taken for the earliest coach to be recorded by history. This obviously
was Hungarian, and Hungary is again mentioned in the same connection
by Stephanus Broderithus, who relates that in 1526, “when the
archbishop received intelligence that the Turks had entered Hungary,
not content with informing the King of this event, he speedily got
into one of those light carriages which from the name of the place
we call kotcze, and hastened to His Majesty.” And apparently these
light carriages were actually used for military purposes, Taylor
avowing that “they carried soldiers on each side with cross-bowes,”
this being the best purpose to which he considered the coach had ever
been put or was likely to be put in the future. All this is clear
enough, but Beckmann, in his _History of Inventions_, mentions another
circumstance which strengthens the evidence: “Siegmund, Baron de
Herberstein, ambassador from Louis II, to the King of Hungary, says in
his _Commentarie de rebus Moscoviticis_, where he occasionally mentions
some travelling-stages in Hungary: ‘The fourth stage for stopping to
give the horses breath is six miles below Taurinum, in the village of
Cotzi, from which both drivers and carriages take their name, and are
generally called cotzi.’”[20]

Very probably these new Hungarian carriages were seen in most European
countries before 1530. “At tournaments,” says Bridges Adams, “they
were made objects for display; they are spoken of as being gilded all
over, and the hangings were of crimson satin. Electresses and duchesses
were seldom without them; and there was as much rivalry in their days
of public exhibition as there is now [1837] amongst the aspirants of
fashion in their well-appointed equipages at a queen’s drawing-room.”

What did these early coaches look like? Shorn of their hangings, they
must have resembled nothing so much as the hearse of to-day. The first
illustrations show no signs of suspension, and portray what appear to
be gaudily decorated waggons, and that in effect is what they were. The
first coach makers of Hungary, like their predecessors, were certainly
content to take for their model the common agricultural waggon of
Germany. Indeed, Hungary seems to have played pioneer in this respect
at a very early date. Von Ginzrot, in his work on early vehicles, gives
an illustration of a closed passenger carriage which bears more than a
superficial resemblance to the later coaches. “The body,” says Thrupp,
“is a disguised waggon; the tilt-top has two leather flaps to fall over
the doorway, and the panels are of wicker-work.” It would have been
quite easy, he continues, to use such waggons, as had been the case
long before, for passenger traffic, “by placing the planks across the
sides, or suspending seats by straps from the sides”; and he further
mentions an oil painting at Nuremberg, of two waggons “with carved and
gilt standard posts both in front and behind the body”—an interesting
stage in the transformation from rude cart to private coach. There is
a detailed and technical description of these waggons in Thrupp’s own
book, but it will be enough here to notice that they were generally
narrower at the bottom than at the top, as were the first coaches, and
that the four wheels were nearly of the same size. Working from such a
model, the Hungarian artificers produced a comparatively light, though
large, four-wheeled carriage with some pretensions to grace of line,
a roofed body, broad seats, and a side entrance. The body, however,
was not completely enclosed by solid panels, which only took the place
of the curtains at a later date. Carvings and other ornamentation
followed on the owner’s rank and taste. And towards the end of the
sixteenth century, if not before, the actual body was suspended on
straps or braces. There are preserved at Coburg and Verona one or two
coach-bodies which show signs of the iron hoops by which they were
hung. The earliest of these was built for Duke Frederick of Saxony in
1527, and Count Gozzadini, in a slim folio which he privately printed
some sixty years ago, describes a coach-body built in 1549 which still
shows traces of its heraldic ornamentation on the framework.

    “This coach,” says Thrupp, acting as the Count’s translator,
    “was built under the direction of an Italian at Brussels,
    for the ceremony of the marriage of Alexander, the son of
    Octavius Farnese, Duke of Parma, with a Portuguese princess.
    The wedding took place in 1565 at Brussels. There were four
    carriages Flanders fashion [? charettes] and four coaches
    after the Italian fashion, swinging on leather braces. The
    chief, or state, coach is described as being in the most
    beautiful manner, with four statues at the ends, the spokes of
    the wheels like fluted columns. There were seraphims’ heads
    at the end of the roof and over the doorway, and festoons of
    fruit in relief over the framing of the body. The coachman was
    supported by two carved figures of lions, two similar lions
    were at the hind wheel, and the leather braces that supported
    the body and the harness were embossed with heads of animals.
    The ends of the steps were serpents’ heads. The whole of the
    wood and ironwork was covered with gold relieved with white.
    The coach was drawn by four horses, with red and white plumes
    of feathers, and the covering of the body and of the horses
    was gold brocade with knotted red silk fringe. The cushions of
    gold-embroidered stuff were perfumed with amber and musk, that
    infused the soul of all who entered the coach with life, joy,
    and supreme pleasure.”

Truly a Southern notion!

What is apparently the oldest coach to be preserved practically
intact is to be seen at Coburg. This coach was built for a particular
occasion—the marriage of John, Elector of Saxony, in 1584. The body is
long and ornate, and is hung from four carved standard posts surmounted
by crowned lions. The wheels are large—four feet eight inches and five
feet—and the roof is at a slightly higher level than the lions’ heads.
Mounting steps must have existed, but have been lost.

Not unnaturally the advent of these coaches followed upon the
commercial prosperity of each country. Germany seems to have imported
a number of carriages from Hungary, and made others from Hungarian
models, but even more prosperous than Germany at this time was Holland,
which probably possessed more coaches than any other country in Europe.
Here there would have been native designs to follow and improve upon,
and, as I shall show in a moment, it was probably from the Netherlands
that the first coach was imported into England. Antwerp, for instance,
a superlatively rich city in the sixteenth century, is credited by
Macpherson with having no less than five hundred coaches —and so
five hundred scandals, according to the local philosophers—in 1560,
at which date London had but two, and Paris no more than three. Of the
French trio of _carosses_, as they were called, one was the Queen’s
property, a second belonged to the fashionable Diana of Poitiers, and
the third had been built for the use of that corpulent noble who has
already been mentioned. Some Italian towns possessed many, others none.
There is preserved at the Musée Cluny in Paris a Veronese _carriole_
built in the sixteenth century by Giovanna Batta Maretto, with panels
painted by a distinguished artist of the time. Verona, indeed, seems
to have had many coaches. But it was easily surpassed by Ferrara,
which so early as 1509 is credited with the possession of no less than
sixty coaches, the whole of these forming the Duke’s procession on the
occasion of a state visit from the Pope. And, as Thrupp points out,
these sixty carriages were not litters or cars, as might be supposed,
but coaches, for it is particularly mentioned by the historian that
“the Duchess of Ferrara rode in a _litter_, and her ladies followed her
in twenty-two _cars_.” Spain had apparently no coaches until 1546, and
here again there was considerable opposition to their use. Yet although
England, France, and Spain seem to have been behind other countries in
taking to the new carriages, all three possessed a flourishing, if not
very large, coach-building trade before 1600.

[Illustration: _From a Print by Hofnagel_, 1582]

Here, perhaps, we may consider the introduction of the coach into
England in rather greater detail. “It is a doubtful question,” remarks
Taylor in his ill-natured way,” whether the divell brought _Tobacco_
into England in a _Coach_, or else brought a _Coach_ in a fogge or
mist of _Tobacco_.” Apparently he had an equal dislike for both coach
and tobacco. But although we owe to the water-poet such contemporary
satirical writings on the subject as there are, he is not to be trusted
as an historian. Taylor, indeed, is a very bad historian, not so
much on account of his inability to see two sides of a question, as
because, like many another poet, he has made of exaggeration a fine
art, and allowed his memory to play second fiddle to his inclinations.
It is to the worthy Stowe that we must turn for the facts. Stowe liked
the coaches little better than did Taylor, but his training had made
him exact, and we may take it for granted that he is more or less
correct when he says that the first coach to be seen upon British
roads belonged to the year 1555. Curiously enough, this is the date
of the first General Highways Act. The preamble of this Bill stated
that certain roads were “now both very noisesome and tedious to travel
in and dangerous to all passengers and carriages [carts].” The local
authorities were empowered to compel parishioners to give four days’
work every year to the repairing of the roads, though how far such
orders were carried out it would be impossible to say. The merit of
actually introducing the coach is given by Stowe to Henry Manners,
second Earl of Rutland, who caused one Walter Rippon to build him a
carriage from some foreign, most probably Dutch, pattern. This Earl
of Rutland had borne the Spurs at the coronation of Edward VI, and in
1547 had been made Constable of Nottingham Castle. He had received
the French hostages in 1550 at the time of the treaty which followed
on the loss of Boulogne. It is to be regretted that neither in his
correspondence nor in the family account-books preserved at Belvoir
is there mention of either Rippon or his coach. There is, indeed, the
“Book of John Leek of riding charges carriages [carts] and forrene
paymentes” in 1550, and another book compiled by Leek’s successor,
George Pilkington, in the following year, but all travelling entries
concern only horses and the cartage of goods. In 1555 “George Lassells,
Esquyer” was “Comptroller to the householde” and paid “to Edward
Hopkynson for ij ryding roddes of bone for my Ladye and other thinges,
xxij_d_,” but there is no mention of any carriage for his Lordship’s
own use. What is more unfortunate is that there are no account-books
of the Manners family between 1559 and 1585, and it is not until
1587, when a fourth Earl of Rutland was head of his house, that this
significant entry occurs:—

    “Coach, a newe, bought in London, xxxviij_li_.xiij_s_.ij_d_.”

To go back to Rippon, it is not known who he was. He is supposed to
have built a coach for Queen Mary in 1556, and in 1564 the first
“hollow turning coach” with pillars and arches, for Queen Elizabeth,
though precisely what is meant by a “hollow turning” coach it is
difficult to conjecture. This same Rippon twenty-four years later
built another coach for the Queen, which is described as “a chariot
throne with foure pillars behind, to beare a crowne imperiale on
the toppe, and before two lower pillars, whereon stood a lion and a
dragon, the supporters of the armes of England.” It cannot have been
very comfortable, and Elizabeth seems to have preferred another coach
brought out of Holland by one William Boonen, who about 1560 was
made her coachman, a position he was still occupying at the end of
the century. This Boonen was a Dutchman, whose wife is said to have
introduced the art of starching into England, whence followed those
huge ruffs so conspicuous in all the Elizabethan portraits. Boonen’s
coach could be opened and closed at pleasure. On the occasion of the
Queen’s passing through the town of Warwick, she had “every part and
side of her coach to be opened, that all her subjects present might
behold her, which most gladly they desired.” This coach is described as
“on four wheels with seven spokes, which are apparently bound round with
a thick wooden rim secured by pegs. It is precisely such a vehicle,”
adds the anonymous historian in the _Carriage Builder’s and Harness
Maker’s Art Journal_, “as is now [1860] used by the brewers, with a
tilt over it, which opens in the centre on one side, and would contain
half a dozen persons.” On the other hand, one may safely assert that no
brewer’s cart was ever decorated in the same way, for the framing of
Elizabeth’s carriage was of wood carved in a shell pattern and gilded.
“The whole composition,” runs another account, “contains many beautiful
curves. The shell-work creeps up to the roof, which it supports, and
which is dome-shaped.... The roof is capped by five waving ostrich
feathers, one at each corner, and the fifth on the centre of the roof,
and springing from a kind of crown.” The driver’s seat was apparently
a kind of movable stool, and two horses were used. Even this coach,
however, of which there is a print by Hoefnagle, dated 1582, cannot
have been very comfortable, and in 1568, when the French ambassador
obtained an audience, Elizabeth was complaining of “aching pains” from
being knocked about in a coach driven too fast a few days before. “No
wonder,” comments one historian, “that the great queen used her coach
only when occasions of state demanded.” Whenever possible, indeed, she
used her horse. “When Queen Elizabeth came to Norwich, 1578,” wrote
Sir Thomas Browne a hundred years later, “she came on horseback from
Ipswich, by the high road to Norwich, in the summer time; but she had a
coach or two,” he added, “in her trayne.”

In the print just mentioned there is shown a second coach, which is
perhaps a better example of the carriage of the period. One sees again
its hearse-like appearance, though the top is broader than the bottom,
and the body is partially enclosed; but there is one peculiarity which
deserves particular mention. This was a small seat which projected on
either side, between the wheels. It was known as the boot. Here sat the
pages or grooms or the ladies in attendance. Taylor, of course, has
his fling against it. The booted coach, he says, is like a perpetual
cheater, wears “two Bootes and no Spurs, sometimes having two paire of
Legs and one boote; and oftentimes (against nature) most preposterously
it makes faire Ladies weare the boote; and if you note, they are
carrried backe to backe like people surpriz’d by Pyrats to be tyed in
that miserable manner, and throwne overboard into the Sea. Moreover,
it makes people imitate Sea-crabs, in being drawne Side-wayes, as they
are when they sit in the boote of the Coach.” The boot, however, was
already tending to disappear in Taylor’s day. How it originated is
not clear. It was always uncovered, whence followed much hardship,
particularly if the weather was unfavourable. Nor can one think that
it was very capacious. There is an early seventeenth-century pamphlet
entitled _My Journie_, in which a stout old lady is put into the boot
of a coach, and cannot move. When going uphill all the passengers
are supposed to get out and walk, but the old lady, once settled,
refuses to budge, and, indeed, cannot be extricated until the end of
the journey. There is further mention of the discomfort in a boot in
1663, when Edward Barker, writing to his father, a Lancashire squire,
complains of his troubles in the side seat. “I got to London,” he says,
“on Saturday last, my journey was noe ways pleasant, being forced to
ride in the boote all the waye, yͤ company yᵗ came up wᵗͪ mee were
persons of greate quality as knightes and ladyes. My journeys expence
was 30 _s._ This traval hath soe indisposed mee, yᵗ I am resolved
never to ride againe in yͤ coatch. I am extreamly hot and feverish.”
The monstrous width of these early coaches followed, of course, on
their projecting side seats, which only entirely disappeared when
the coach had come to be completely enclosed and provided with glass
windows.

It may be that the boot in process of time was metamorphosed into the
large, deep, four-sided basket which was strapped to the back of public
coaches in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and, indeed, this
basket seems to have been called the boot in eighteenth-century stage
coaches. It was probably in such a basket-boot as this that Mr. Pepys
put his great barrel of oysters, “as big as sixteen others,” which was
given him in 1664.

An interesting point in this connection is that those who travelled on
the seatless and presumably most uncomfortable roof of a coach plying
for hire, paid more for the privilege than did those who rode in the
boot.

However greatly the chroniclers may differ as to the date of the actual
introduction, and others besides Taylor disagree with Stowe, there
seems no doubt that by 1585 many of the nobility and some wealthy
commoners owned private coaches, and, indeed, certain enterprising
tradesmen, as will appear, let other coaches on hire at so much per day.

    “After a while,” says Stowe, “divers great ladies, with
    a great jealousy of the Queen’s displeasure, made them
    coaches and rid them up and down the countries, to the great
    admiration of all the beholders, but then little by little
    they grew usual amongst the nobilitie and others of sort, and
    within twenty years became a great trade of coach-making.”

Indeed, every one of any wealth was eager to possess them. A private
coach settled any doubts as to your quality. It was a new fashion, a
new excitement. “So a woman,” says Quicksilver, the rake, in _Eastward
Hoe_, “marry to ride in a coach, she cares not if she rides to her
ruin. ’Tis the great end of many of their marriages.” And again, in Ben
Jonson’s _Alchemist_ it is said of the Countess that she

    “... has her pages, ushers
     Her six mares—
     Nay, eight!
     To hurry her through London, to the Exchange,
     Bethlem, the china-houses—
     Yes, and have
     The citizens gape at her, and praise her tires.”

Even the plain country-folk seem to have been smitten with the new toy,
for toy it was to them. “Has he ne’er a little odd cart,” asks Waspe
in _Bartholomew Fair_, “for you to make a coach on, in the country,
with four pied hobby-horses?” Any shift for a coach, thought he, and no
doubt voiced public opinion.

The first owners of coaches appear to have been those who had
travelled abroad. So early as 1556, Sir Thomas Hoby, who had been our
ambassador to France, possessed a coach and offered to lend it to
the Lady Cecil. The account-book for 1573 of the Kytson family, of
Hengrave, in Suffolk, mentions another early coach. “For my mʳᵉˢ
[mistress’s] coche, with all the furniture thereto belonging except
horses—xxxiiij_li._xiiij_s._ For the painting of my mʳ and mʳᵉˢ
armes upon the coche—ij_s._vj_d._” In 1579 the Earl of Arundel is
said to have brought a coach into England from Germany, and this coach
is interesting from the fact that certain historians have credited it
with being the first coach in England. How such a tradition arose is
not clear, but it may be that this German coach had certain features
which more nearly approached those of the later Stuart, fully-enclosed,
coaches. Further details are to be found in the Manners notebooks,
and these afford a glimpse of the methods adopted by the coachmakers,
not yet a large body, of the day. In the notebooks of Thomas Screven,
1596-97, after an item for twenty-eight shillings for three-quarters
of “scarlet sleves and labelles for his L[ordship’s] parlyament robes”
comes another of six shillings “to my Lady Adeline’s coachman,” and
one, just below, of greater interest:—

    “Item paid to Wm. Wright, coachmaker, in parte of xl_li._ for
    a coache now made, xx_li._”

After that, in the 1598-99 book comes an item to “the Countess of
South[ampton’s] coachman that wayted on my Lord to Dertford, v_s._”
This suggests the growing popularity of the coach, more especially
as there is another disbursement in the same year to the Countess of
Essex’s coachman. Then follow from November 25th, 1598, details of the
expenses of the new coach for my Lord’s own use—which apparently took
considerable time to furnish.

    “Item for ij paire of new wheeles for the coache, tymber
    worke and iron work, and setting them on the axeltrees,
    iij_li._xiij_s._iiij_d._; payntinge them in oyle colour,
    vj_s._viij_d._; a new pole for the horses to drawe by,
    ij_s._vj_d._; a paire of springe trees, iij_s._iij_d._”

The provender bill for six horses is given, also an item “for setting
up the coach horses at dyvers times at Walsingham Howse, iiij_s._;
at Hatton Howse, xij_d._; at Baynardes Castle, ij_s._; dressing and
oyling the coach, ij_s._”; while the most necessary whip costs Mr.
Screven twelve pence. Other payments are six shillings for two new
bearing braces for the “double hanging” of the coach—here at any
rate is definite mention of suspension, a fact which might suggest
that, after all, either Rippon’s or Lord Arundel’s coach had been
of the suspended type—four shillings for a long spring brace, two
shillings and sixpence for a new “wynge,” and sixteen pence for two
“bearing raynes.” The new coach, however, is not ready in time for
his Lordship, who thereupon hires one with three horses to take him
“to the Court at Nonesuch, 23, 24, and 25 of September, at xvj_s.
per diem_.” Meanwhile payments for his own coach continue. For four
“skynnes of orange colour leather goate” he pays various sums; for the
timber work, for more painting, for a covering in “black lether,” and
for making the “curtaynes, and setting on the firinge, and making the
blew cloth cover” a sum of twenty-six pounds, nineteen shillings, is
expended. Nor is this all. My Lord was evidently determined to make his
coach as gorgeous as possible. Nine yards of “marygold coulour velvet
for the seat and bed in the coach” were required, and each yard cost
twenty-three shillings. The quilting for the bed cost forty shillings.
In addition, there was a lace of “crymosin silk” and no less than “v
elles of crymosin taffaty for curtaynes,” costing three pounds fifteen
shillings; also “9 yardes of blew clothe for a cover.” Then, of great
interest, comes the final entry:—

    “Item, paid to Ryly, embroderer, in full for embrodering
    iij sumpter clothes of crymosin with his L[ordship’s] armes
    thereon at large, and vij otheres embrodered onely with great
    peacocks, with carsey for the garding and tasselles and
    frynge, 14 July, lxiiij_li._”

Mr. Ryly was well paid for his work[21].

From such details it is possible to imagine what this and other coaches
of the time were like. You figure a huge, gaudy, curtained apparatus
with projecting sides and incomplete panels, large enough to contain
a fair-sized bed, hung roughly from four posts, and capable of being
dragged at little better than a snail’s pace—“four-wheeled Tortoyses”
Taylor calls them—along roads hardly worthy of the name. Twenty miles
a day was considered good going. Says Portia, in the _Merchant of
Venice_:—

    “... I’ll tell thee all my whole device
     When I am in my coach, which stays for us
     At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
     For we must measure twenty miles to-day.”

The coachman, as we learn from the water-poet, was “mounted (his
fellow-horses and himselfe being all in a finery) with as many
varieties of laces, facings, Clothes and Colours as are in the
Rainebowe.” Nor was he over-polite, particularly if the coach he drove
was hired. In Jonson’s _Staple of News_ one of the pieces of mock-news
to appear in the ideal paper concerns the fraternity:—

                        “and coachmen
    To mount their boxes reverently, and drive
    Like lapwings with a shell upon their heads
    Through the streets.”

They seem to have thought that their finery allowed them to treat the
pedestrians with but scant respect. And no wonder these “way-stopping
whirligigges,” as Taylor calls the coaches, surprised the inhabitants.
When one of them was seen for the first time, “some said it was a great
Crab-shell brought out of _China_, and some imagin’d it to be one of
the Pagan Temples in which the Cannibals adored the devill.” For some
time, indeed, the coaches must have given the common folk something
to think about. A coach rumbling along brought them to their windows,
just as the horseless carriage, centuries later, proved a similar
attraction. There is a scene in _Eastward Hoe_ which well illustrates
this point.

    _Enter a Coachman in haste in ’s frock, feeding._

    _Coach._ Here’s a stir when citizens ride out of town indeed,
    as if all the house were afire! ’Slight, they will not give a
    man leave to eat ’s breakfast afore he rises.

    _Enter Hamlet, a footman, in haste._

    _Ham._ What coachman? My lady’s coach, for shame! her
    ladyship’s ready to come down.

    _Enter Potkin, a tankard bearer._

    _Pot._ ’Sfoot, Hamlet, are you mad? whither run you now?...

    _Enter Mrs. Fond and Mrs. Gazer._

    _Fond._ Come, sweet mistress Gazer, let’s watch here, and see
    my Lady Flash take coach.

    _Gazer_. O’ my word, here’s a most fine place to stand in. Did
    you see the new ship launch’d last day, Mrs. Fond?

    _Fond._ O God, and we citizens should lose such a sight!

    _Gazer._ I warrant here will be double as many people to see
    her take coach, as there were to see it take water.

My lady’s point of view is put forward by Lady Eitherside in _The Devil
is an Ass_. Says she:—

    “If we once see it under the seals, wench, then,
     Have with them for the great caroch, six horses,
     And the two coachmen, with my Ambler bare,
     And my three women; we will live, i’ faith,
     The example of the town, and govern it.
     I’ll lead the fashion still.”

Contemporary references to coaches, however, are but scarce. The most
important of these is Taylor’s own _The World runnes on Wheeles:
or, Oddes betwixt Carts and Coaches_, an amusing pamphlet written
in prose and not in verse, because the author, as he says, was lame
at the time of its composition, and because beyond the three words,
broach, Roach, and encroach, he could find no suitable rhymes.
Encroach, however, he thinks might have done, for that word, as he
explains in his dedication to various companies likely to suffer from
the importation of the coach, “best befits it, for I think never such
an impudent, proud Intruder or Encroacher came into the world as a
Coach is; for it hath driven many honest Families out of their Houses,
many Knights to Beggers, Corporations to poverty, Almesdeedes to
all misdeedes, Hospitality to extortion, Plenty to famine, Humility
to pride, Compassion to oppression, and all Earthly goodnes to an
utter confusion.” To the cart he does not object, but for the “hyred
Hackney-hell-carts” he cannot find sufficient abuse. His arguments in
favour of carts as against coaches are certainly novel, if not entirely
convincing as coming from a waterman well used to live passengers
himself.

    “And as necessities and things,” he says, “whose commodious
    uses cannot be wanted, are to be respected before Toyes and
    trifles (whose beginning is Folly, continuance Pride, and
    whose End is Ruine) I say as necessity is to be preferred
    before superfluity, so is the _Cart_ before the _Coach_; For
    Stones, Timber, Corne, Wine, Beere, or any thing that wants
    life, there is a necessity they should be carried, because
    they are dead things and cannot go on foot, which necessity
    the honest _Cart_ doth supply: But the _Coach_, like a
    superfluous bable, or uncharitable Miser, doth seldom or
    never carry or help any dead or helplesse thing; but on the
    contrary, it helps those that can helpe themselves ... and
    carries men and women, who are able to goe or run; _Ergo_, the
    _Cart_ is necessary, and the _Coach_ superfluous.”

In fact, the coach, according to poor Taylor, is directly responsible
for every calamity from which the country has suffered since its
introduction. Leather has become dearer, the horses in their traces
are being prostituted, and there is a “universal decay of the best
ash-trees.”

    “A Wheele-wright,” he continues, “or a maker of Carts, is an
    ancient, a profitable and a Trade, which by no meanes can be
    wanted: yet so poore it is, that scarce the best amongst them
    can hardly ever attaine to better than a Calves skin fate, or
    a piece of beefe and Carret rootes to dinner on a Sunday; nor
    scarcely any of them is ever mounted to any Office above the
    degree of a Scavenger, or a Tything-man at the most. On the
    contrary, your Coachmakers trade is the most gaine-fullest
    about the Towne, they are apparelled in Sattens and Velvets,
    and Masters of their Parish, Vestry-men, who fare like the
    Emperors _Heliogabalus_ or _Sardanapalus_, seldome without
    their Mackroones, Parmisants, Jellies and Kickshawes, with
    baked Swannes, Pasties hot, or cold red Deere Pyes, which
    they have fro their Debtor Worships in the Country: neither
    are these Coaches onely thus cumbersome by their Rumbling and
    Rutting, as they are by their standing still, and damming up
    the streetes and lanes, as the Blacke Friers, and divers other
    places can witnes, and against Coachmakers doores the streets
    are so pestered and clogg’d with them, that neither man,
    horse or cart can passe for them; in so much as my Lord Maior
    is highly to bee commended for his care in their restraint,
    sending in February last, many of them to the Courtes for
    their carelessnesse herein.”

In another work of Taylor’s, _The Thiefe_, there is a passage of equal
interest:—

    “Carroaches, Coaches, Jades and Flanders Mares
     Do rob us of our shares, our wares, our Fares:
     Against the ground we stand and knock our heeles,
     Whilest all our profit runs away on wheeles;
     And whosoever but observes and notes,
     The great increase of Coaches and of Boats,
     Shall finde their number more than e’r they were
     By halfe and more within these thirty yeeres.
     Then watermen at Sea had service still,
     And those that staid at home had worke at will:
     Then upstart Helcart-Coaches were to seeke,
     A man could scarce see twenty in a weeke,
     But now I thinke a man may daily see,
     More than the Whirries on the _Thames_ can be.
     When Queen _Elizabeth_ came to the Crowne,
     A Coach in _England_, then was scarcely knowne,
     Then ’twas as rare to see one, as to spy
     A Tradesman that had never told a lye.”

It will be seen from the first of these lines, that a difference is
made between the coach and the caroche (carroch or carroache). On
this point there is a definite statement in the Elizabethan play _Tu
Quoque_:—

    “Prepare yourself to like this gentleman,
     Who can maintain thee in thy choice of gowns,
     Of tires, of servants, and of costly jewels;
     Nay, for a need, out of his easy nature,
     May’st draw him to the keeping of a coach
     For country, and carroch for London.”

This, too, is borne out by the speech of Lady Eitherside already
quoted. Many servants were needed for the carroch. Massinger speaks
of one being drawn by six Flanders mares, and having its coachman,
groom, postilion, and footman, to look after it. “These carroaches,”
says Croal[22] “were larger and clumsier” than the coaches, “but were
considered more stately.” Taylor speaks of the town Vehicle as “a
mere Engine of Pride,” and gives a rather ludicrous account of some
common women who had hired one of them to go to “the Greene-Goose faire
at _Stratford_ the _Bowe_.” The occupants of this carroch “were so
be-madam’d, be-mistrist, and Ladified by the beggers, that the foolish
Women began to swell with a proud Supposition or Imaginary greatnes,
and gave all their mony to the mendicanting Canters.”

Poor Taylor! He felt very deeply on the question of these new coaches
which were to put an end once and for all time to his trade. He must
have felt that Henry of Navarre’s assassination in 1610 would never
have taken place but for that monarch’s affection for his coach; yet
in spite of his deep hatred, he was once prevailed upon to ride inside
one of them. “It was but my chance” he records, “once to bee brought
from Whitehall to the Tower in my Master Sir William Waades Coach, and
before I had been drawn twenty yardes, such a Timpany of Pride puft me
up, that I was ready to burst with the winde chollicke of vaine-glory.
In what state I would leane over the boote, and looke, and pry if I saw
any of my acquaintance, and then I would stand up vailing my Bonnet.”

It almost looks as though he had enjoyed his ride!



_Chapter the Fourth_

_INTERLUDE OF THE CHAIR_


    “I love sedans, cause they do plod
       And amble everywhere,
     Which prancers are with leather shod,
       And ne’er disturb the eare.
     Heigh doune, derry derry doune,
       With the hackney Coaches doune,
           Their jumping make
           The pavements shake,
     Their noise doth mad the toune.”

    _Ancient Ballad._


Just as the horse-litter gave way before the coach, so the coach, not
long after its appearance, found a serious rival in the man-drawn
litter or Sedan chair. When or where this chair came from, or who
brought it into use once again, is not known. That Sedan itself was
the first place to adopt this chair may be true—the analogy already
mentioned holding good—but beyond a few half-serious words in a
curious seventeenth-century pamphlet to be quoted in a little, there
is no positive evidence whatever. Several writers, indeed, assert
that Sedan had nothing to do with the chair for ever associated with
its name, but in that tantalising manner which is unfortunately
characteristic of former times, omit to state their reason. It has
been suggested that _sedan_ was the name of the cloth with which the
chair was lined, but if this were so, the cloth most probably took its
name from the chair it adorned. But wherever it was first made it is
reasonable to suppose that the narrowness of the streets made a smaller
vehicle than either coach or horse-litter convenient.

The earliest chair, other than those ancient _lecticæ_ and φορεῖα
mentioned in the first chapter, appears to have belonged to the Emperor
Charles V, in the first half of the sixteenth century. This, indeed,
does bear some resemblance to the common conception of a _chair_, but
the first Sedans of some fifty years later resembled nothing so much
as a modern dog-kennel provided with two poles. A more unsociable
apparatus was surely never built, and yet its almost immediate
popularity is easily explained. With the urban streets not yet properly
paved and the eternal jolting of the coach, to the accompaniment of
such a clatter as must have made speech almost impossible, anything in
the nature of a conveyance that made at once for physical comfort and
comparative silence would have been favourably received.

There is mention of a chair being shown in England in 1581—just
at the time when the country was beginning to show an interest in
carriages—but it was not until after the death of Elizabeth that
such a novelty was seen in the streets of London. You are not wholly
surprised, moreover, to hear that the innovation was due to Buckingham,
that apostle of luxury, who probably first saw the chair on his visit
to Spain with Prince Charles. Indeed the Prince is supposed to have
brought back three of them with him.

At first, of course, there was opposition.

    “Every new thing the People disaffect,” wrote Arthur Wilson,
    the historian, “They stumble sometimes, at the _action_ for
    the _person_, which rises like a little _cloud_ but soon after
    vanishes. So after, when _Buckingham_ came to be carried upon
    Men’s shoulders the _clamour_ and the _noise_ of it was so
    extravagant that the People would rail on him in the Streets,
    loathing that Men should be brought to as servile a condition
    as Horses. So irksome is every little new impression that
    breaks an old _Custom_ and rubs and grates against the _public
    humour_. But when Time had made these Chairs common, every
    loose _Minion_ used them, so that that which got at first so
    much scandal was the means to convey those privately to such
    places where they might give much more. Just like _long hair_,
    at one time described as abominable, at another time approved
    as beautiful. So various are the _fancies_ of the _times_!”

It is to be noticed that Buckingham, according to this account, was
carried upon men’s shoulders. This was the case at first, but such a
mode was speedily changed for that of hand-poles—at once safer and
more comfortable for the occupant, and certainly more convenient for
the men.[23]

John Evelyn disagrees with Wilson and ascribes the introduction of the
chair into England to Sir Saunders Duncombe, a Gentleman-Pensioner
knighted by James I in Scotland in 1617, who enjoyed Buckingham’s
patronage. In his Diary for 1645, he writes of the Neapolitans: “They
greatly affect the Spanish gravity in their habit; delight in good
horses; the streets are full of gallants on horseback, in coaches
and sedans, from hence brought first into England by Sir Saunders
Duncombe.” Undoubtedly Duncombe was responsible for the great
popularity of the chair in England, and for a time held a monopoly in
such chairs as could be had for hire, but it may be that Buckingham
suggested this monopoly in the first place, after the temporary
opposition to their use had been overcome. Which rather suggests that
Spain was actually the first country where they were used, though this
is mere conjecture.

In the meantime much was happening to the coaches. They were
increasing enormously in number, not only those privately owned, but
also those hired out by the day. These latter soon became known as
hackney-coaches.[24] They seem to have been put on the streets as early
as 1605, but “remained in the owner’s yards until sent for.” In 1633
the Strand was chosen as the first regular stand for such coaches by a
Captain Bailey, one of the pioneers of the movement.

    “I cannot omit to mention,” writes Lord Stafford, “any new
    thing that comes up amongst us though ever so trivial. Here
    is one Captain Bailey, he hath been a sea captain, but now
    lives on land about this city where he tries experiments. He
    hath erected, according to his ability, some four hackney
    coaches, put his men in livery and appointed them to stand at
    the Maypole in the Strand, giving them instructions at what
    rate to carry men into several parts of the town where all
    day they may be had. Other hackney men veering this way, they
    flocked to the same place and performed their journeys at the
    same rate, so that sometimes there is twenty of them together,
    which dispose up and down, that they and others are to be
    had everywhere, as watermen are to be had at the waterside.
    Everybody is much pleased with it, for whereas before coaches
    could be had but at great rate”—one recalls the prices paid
    by Lord Rutland a few years before—“now a man may have one
    much cheaper.”

Most of these coaches that were put on to the streets seem to have
been old and disused carriages belonging to the quality. Many of
them still bore noble arms, and, indeed, it would seem that when the
hackneys were no longer disused noblemen’s carriages, the proprietors
found it advisable to pretend that they were. Nearly every hansom and
four-wheeled cab at the end of the nineteenth century bore some sort of
coronet on its panels.

The drivers of these first hackneys wore large coats with several
capes, one over the other, for warmth. London, however, seems to have
been the only town in which they were to be seen. “Coaches,” wrote
Fynes Morison in 1617, “are not to be hired anywhere but in London. For
a day’s journey a coach with two horses is let for about 10s. a day, or
15s. with three horses, the coachman finding the horses’ feed.” From
the same author it would appear that most travellers still doggedly
kept to their horses, and indeed, in some counties a horse could be
hired for threepence a day, an incredibly small sum. “Carriers,” he
also records, “have long covered waggons in which they carry passengers
too and fro; but this kind of journeying is very tedious; so that
none but women and people of inferior condition travel in this sort.”
These were the stage-waggons which in due course gave rise to the
stage-coaches, which in their turn were superseded by the mail-coaches.

A similar movement in France gave rise to the _fiacres_, so called
from the sign of St. Fiacre, which adorned one of the principal inns
in Paris, in front of which the public coaches stood. In Scotland,
too, one Henry Andersen, a native of Pomerania, had in 1610 been
granted a royal patent to provide public coaches in Scotland, and for
some years ran a service between Edinburgh and Leith. England had yet
to follow Andersen’s example, but the hackneys were increasing so
rapidly in London that in 1635 a proclamation was issued to suppress
them. And it is to be noticed that Taylor’s diatribes were directed
more particularly against these public conveyances than against the
privately owned carriages, which, after all, could hardly affect his
trade. The proclamation was as follows:—

    “That the great numbers of Hackney Coaches of late time seen
    and kept in London, Westminster, and their Suburbs, and the
    general and promiscuous use of Coaches there, were not only
    _a great disturbance to his Majesty, his dearest Consort the
    Queen, the Nobility, and others of place and degree, in their
    passage through the Streets_; but the Streets themselves
    were so pestered, and the pavements so broken up, that the
    common passage is thereby hindered and more dangerous; and the
    prices of hay and provender and other provisions of stable,
    thereby made exceeding dear: Wherefore We expressly command
    and forbid, That, from the feast of St. John the Baptist
    next coming, no Hackney or Hired Coach, be used or suffered
    in London, Westminster, or the Suburbs or Liberties thereof,
    excepting they be to travel at least three miles out of London
    or Westminster, or the Suburbs thereof. And also, that no
    person shall go in a Coach in the said Streets, except the
    owner of the Coach shall constantly keep up Four able Horses
    for our Service, when required.”

It is dated January 19th, 1635/6, and must have had a considerable, if
temporary, effect, for as Samuel Pegge points out in his unfinished
manuscript on the early use of coaches[25] it could not “operate much
in the King’s favour, as it would hardly be worth a Coach-master’s
while to be at so great a contingent charge as the keeping of four
horses to be furnished at a moment’s warning for His Majesty’s
occasional employment.”

It was then that Sir Saunders Duncombe obtained his monopoly, and,
of course, everything was in his favour. The actual patent granted
to him belongs to the previous year, but the two are approximately
contemporary. From a letter written in 1634 to Lord Stafford, it
appears that Duncombe had in that year forty or fifty chairs “making
ready for use.” Possibly the whole thing was worked up by Buckingham
and his satellites. Duncombe’s patent gave the enterprising knight the
right “to put forth and lett for hire” the new chairs for a term of
fourteen years. In his petition he had explained that “in many parts
beyond the seas, the people there are much carried in the Streets in
Chairs that are covered; by which means very few Coaches are used
amongst them.” And so Duncombe was allowed to “reap some fruit and
benefit of his industry,” and might “recompense himself of the costs,
charges, and expences” to which he had, or said he had, been put.

For two years these covered chairs held the advantage, and indeed seem
to have been exceedingly popular. There is a most amusing pamphlet,
which I have already mentioned, “printed by Robert Raworth, for John
Crooch,” in 1636, entitled _Coach and Sedan pleasantly disputing for
Place and Precedence, the Brewer’s Cart being Moderator_. It is signed
“Mis-amaxius,” and is dedicated “to the Valorous, and worthy all title
of Honor, Sʳ Elias Hicks.” “Light stuffe,” the author calls it, and
tells us that he is “no ordinary Pamphleteer ... onely in Mirth I tried
what I could doe upon a running subject, at the request of a friend in
the _Strand_: whose leggs, not so sound as his Judgement, enforce him
to keepe his Chamber, where hee can neither sleepe or studie for the
clattering of _Coaches_.” It is an interesting little production, both
for its own whimsicalities and for the sidelights it affords into the
town’s views on the subject of vehicles at the time. It starts with the
cuckoo warning the milkmaids of Islington to get back to _Finsburie_.
The writer, accompanied by a Frenchman and a tailor, walks back to
the city, and in a narrow street comes across a coach and a sedan
quarrelling about which of them is to “take the wall.”

    “Wee perceived two lustie fellowes to justle for the wall,
    and almost readie to fall together by the eares, the one
    (the lesser of the two) was in a suite of greene after a
    strange manner, windowed before and behind with _Isen-glasse_,
    having two handsome fellowes in greene coats attending him,
    the one went before, the other came behind; their coats
    were lac’d down the back with a greene-lace sutable, so
    were their halfe sleeves, which perswaded me at first they
    were some cast suites of their Masters; their backs were
    harnessed with leather cingles, cut out of a hide, as broad as
    _Dutch_-collops of _Bacon_.

    “The other was a thick burly square sett fellow, in a doublet
    of Black-leather, Brasse-button’d down the brest, Backe,
    Sleeves, and winges, with monstrous wide bootes, fringed at
    the top, with a net fringe, and a round breech (after the old
    fashion) guilded, and on his back-side an Atcheivement of
    sundry Coats in their propper colors, quarterd with Crest,
    Helme and Mantle, besides here and there, on the sides of a
    single Escutchion or crest, with some Emblematicall _Word_
    or other; I supposed, they were made of some Pendants, or
    Banners, that had beene stollen, from over some Monument,
    where they had long hung in a Church.

    “Hee had onely one man before him, wrapt in a red cloake,
    with wide sleeves, turned up at the hands, and cudgell’d
    thick on the backe and shoulders with broad shining lace (not
    much unlike that which Mummers make of strawe hatts) and of
    each side of him, went a Lacquay, the one a French boy, the
    other Irish, all sutable alike: The _Frenchman_ (as I learned
    afterward) when his Master was in the Countrey, taught his
    lady and his daughter _French_: Ushers them abroad to publicke
    meetings, and assemblies, all saving the Church whither shee
    never came: The other went on errands, help’d the maide to
    beate Bucks, fetch in water, carried up meate, and waited at
    the Table.”

The writer attempts mediation, and his offer is favourably received.
The combatants explain who they are. The burly fellow speaks first:—

    “My name Sir (quoth hee) is _Coach_, who am a Gentleman of an
    anciente house, as you may perceive by my so many quarter’d
    coates, of _Dukes_, _Marquises_, _Earles_, _Viscounts_,
    _Barons_, Knights, and Gentlemen, there is never a Lord or
    Lady in the land but is of my acquaintance; my imployment
    is so great, that I am never at quiet, day or night; I am
    a Benefactor to all Meetings, Play-houses, Mercers shops,
    Taverns, and some other houses of recreation.... This other
    that offers me the wrong, they call him Mounsier _Sedan_, some
    Mr. _Chair_, a Greene-goose hatch’d but the other day ... and
    whereas hee is able with all the helpe and furtherance hee
    can make and devise, to goe not above a mile in an houre; as
    grosse as I am, I can runne three or foure in halfe an houre;
    yea, after dinner, when my belly is as full as it can hold
    (and I may say to you) of dainty bitts too.”

Whereupon the sedan chimes in:—

    “Sir, the occasion of our difference was this: Whether an
    emptie Coach, that has a Lords head painted Coate and Crest,
    as Lion, Bull, Elephant, &c. upon it without, might take
    the wall of a _Sedan_ that had a knighte alive within it.”
    I confess, he goes on to say, I am “a meere stranger, till
    of late in _England_; therefore, if the Law of Hospitalitie
    be observed (as _England_ hath beene accounted the most
    hospitable kingdome of the World,) I ought to be the better
    entertained, and used, (as I am sure I shall) and find as good
    friends, as Coach hath any, it is not his bigge lookes, nor
    his nimble tongue, that so runnes upon wheeles, shall scare
    mee; hee shall know that I am above him both in esteeme,
    and dignitie, and hereafter will know my place better....
    Neither, I hope, will any thinke the worse of mee, for that I
    am a Forreiner; hath not your Countrey Coach of England been
    extreemly enriched by strangers?”

Indeed, all your luxuries, he continues, are foreign, your perfumes are
Italian, and your perukes made in France.

For some time it seems that Sedan is getting the best of it. Whereas
the coach, he argues, has to wait out in the cold streets often for
hours at a time, he is many times admitted into the privacy of my
Lady’s chamber, where he is rubbed clean both within and without. “And
the plain troath is,” he concludes, “I will no longer bee made a foole
by you ... the kenell is your naturall walke.” At this moment a carman
appears and supports the sedan. Coaches, he says, keep the town awake,
endanger the lives of children, and, particularly in the suburbs,
“be-dash gentlemen’s gowns.” There then follows a curious piece of
dialogue between Sedan and Powel, a Welshman, one of his attendants:—

    “_Sedan._ We have our name from _Sedanum_, or _Sedan_, that
    famous Citie and Universitie, belonging to the Dukes of
    _Bevillon_, and where hee keepes his Court.”

    “_Powel._ Nay, doe you heare mee Master, it is from _Sedanny_,
    which in our British language, is a brave, faire, daintie
    well-favoured Ladie, or prettie sweete wench, and wee carrie
    such some time Master....”

Most of the morning is wasted by such desultory talk, and the street
becomes blocked. There comes on the scene a waterman, who, of course,
is equally antagonistic to both, and would throw coach and sedan
into the Thames if he were not afraid of blocking the stream, and so
bringing harm to himself. There follows him a country farmer, who
thinks the sedan the honester and humbler of the two, but really knows
very little about it. “I heare no great ill of you,” he is good enough
to say, but is bound to add, “I have had no acquaintance with your
cowcumber-cullor’d men.” Yet in the country he has in his way tried a
sedan-chair, which is a “plaine wheele-barrow,” just as his cart is his
coach “wherein now and then for my pleasure I ride, my maides going
along with me.” But if they both come to Lincolnshire, the sedan, he
thinks, will receive a warmer welcome than the coach.

After him comes a country vicar who has no hesitation in accusing the
coach of all sorts of robberies. Soon, he cries, you will be “turned
off.” You never cared for church, and indeed, during service, you
disturb everybody rumbling your loudest outside. Also you are so set up
that you will never give place “either to cart or carre.” A surveyor is
less personal than the vicar, but has little good to say of the coach,
although he agrees with most of the others that for a nobleman of high
rank, it is something of a necessity.

Finally the brewer appears and speedily puts an end to the wrangle.

    “With that, comes up unto us a lustie tall fellow, sitting
    betweene two mōstrous great wheeles, drawne by a great
    old jade blinde of an eie, in a leather pilch, two emptie
    beere-barrels upon a brewer’s slings besides him, and old
    blew-cap all bedaub’d, and stincking with yest.... My name is
    _Beere-cart_, quoth hee, I came into England in _Henry_ the
    Seventh’s time.”

And the decision of the cart is, of course, that both coach and sedan
shall give way to _him_. They are both to exercise great care, and the
sedan is to have the wall. And he adds, turning to the smaller vehicle,
a sentence which it is difficult to understand.

    “You shall never,” he says, “carrie Coachman againe, for the
    first you ever carried was a Coachman, for which you had like
    to have sufferd, had not your Master beene more mercifull.”

Such quarrels were very frequent, not only at this time, but right on
through the eighteenth century. Swift in one of his letters to Stella
mentions an accident due to the carelessness of a chairman. “The
chairman that carried me,” he says, “squeezed a great fellow against a
wall, who wisely turned his back, and broke one of the side glasses in
a thousand pieces. I fell a scolding, pretended I was like to be cut to
pieces, and made them set down the chair in the Park, while they picked
out the bits of glasses: and when I paid them, I quarrelled still, so
they dared not grumble, and I came off for my fare: but I was plaguily
afraid they would have said, God bless your honour, won’t you give us
something for our glass?”

Swift was the author of an amusing satire on the same subject, wherein
coach and sedan were no better friends than of old.


    A CONFERENCE BETWEEN SIR HARRY PIERCE’S
     CHARIOT AND MRS. D. STOPFORD’S CHAIR

    CHARIOT

    “My pretty dear Cuz, tho’ I’ve roved the town o’er,
     To dispatch in an hour some visits a score;
     Though, since first on the wheels, I’ve been everyday
     At the ’Change, at a raffling, at church, or a play;
     And the fops of the town are pleased with the notion
     Of calling your slave the perpetual motion;—
     Though oft at your door I have whined [out] my love
     As my knight does grin his at your Lady above;
     Yet, ne’er before this though I used all my care,
     I e’er was so happy to meet my dear Chair;
     And since we’re so near, like birds of a feather,
     Let’s e’en, as they say, set our horses together.


    CHAIR

    “By your awkward address, you’re that thing which should carry,
     With one footman behind, our lover Sir Harry.
     By your language, I judge, you think me a wench;
     He that makes love to me, must make it in French.
     Thou that’s drawn by two beasts, and carry’st a brute,
     Canst thou vainly e’er hope, I’ll answer thy suit?
     Though sometimes you pretend to appear with your six,
     No regard to their colour, their sexes you mix:
     Then on the grand-paw you’d look very great,
     With your new-fashion’d glasses, and nasty old seat.
     Thus a beau I have seen strut with a cock’d hat,
     And newly rigg’d out, with a dirty cravat.
     You may think that you make a figure most shining,
     But it’s plain that you have an old cloak for a lining.
     Are those double-gilt nails? Where’s the lustre of Kerry,
     To set off the Knight, and to finish the Jerry?
     If you hope I’ll be kind, you must tell me what’s due
     In George’s-lane for you, ere I’ll buckle to.


    CHARIOT

    “Why, how now, Doll Diamond, you’re very alert;
     Is it your French breeding has made you so pert?
     Because I was civil, here’s a stir with a pox:
     Who is it that values your —— or your fox?
     Sure ’tis to her honour, he ever should bed
     His bloody red hand to her bloody red head.
     You’re proud of your gilding; but I tell you each nail
     Is only just tinged with a rub at her tail;
     And although it may pass for gold on a ninny,
     Sure we know a Bath shilling soon from a guinea.
     Nay, her foretop’s a cheat; each morn she does black it,
     Yet, ere it be night, it’s the same with her placket.
     I’ll ne’er be run down any more with your cant;
     Your velvet was wore before in a mant,
     On the back of her mother; but now ’tis much duller,—
     The fire she carries hath changed its colour.
     Those creatures that draw me you never would mind,
     If you’d but look on your own Pharaoh’s lean kine;
     They’re taken for spectres, they’re so meagre and spare,
     Drawn damnably low by your sorrel mare.
     We know how your lady was on you befriended;
     You’re not to be paid for ’till the lawsuit is ended:
     But her bond it is good, he need not to doubt;
     She is two or three years above being out.
     Could my Knight be advised, he should ne’er spend his vigour
     On one he can’t hope of e’er making _bigger_.”

Gay seems to have shared the watermen’s disgust at both coach and sedan.

    “Boxed within the chair, contemn the street
     And trust their safety to another’s feet,”

he says of those willing to use the chair. In another place he is
comparing the two:—

    “The gilded chariots while they loll at ease
     And lazily insure a life’s disease;
     While softer chairs the tawdry load convey
     To court, to _White’s_, assemblies or the play.”

Elsewhere he exhorts the pedestrian to assert his rights:—

    “Let not the chairman, with assuming stride,
     Press near the wall, and rudely thrust thy side;
     The laws have set him bounds; his servile feet
     Should ne’er encroach where posts defend the street.”

By this time, however, many changes in the chairs had taken place. They
seem to have been introduced into Paris in 1617 by M. de Montbrun,
though unfortunately from whence this gentleman brought them we are
nowhere informed. They were called _chaises à porteurs_. Possibly
English and French chairs were at first quite similar to each other
in appearance—square boxes with a pent-house—but in the middle of
the century—in Paris, at any rate, they became far more elegant in
form, and began to be ornamented and richly upholstered. Some of them
resembled, in shape, the body of the modern hansom-cab. This was
particularly the case with a new carriage, introduced about 1668,
called the _brouette_ (wheelbarrow), _roulette_, or _vanaigrette_,
which was merely a sedan upon two wheels. It was drawn in the usual way
by a man, and was an early form of that vehicle which still survives in
the East as the jin-rick-shaw. The brouette held but one person, its
wheels were large, and its two poles projected some way in front. One
Dupin was apparently the only person to manufacture them, and after
his first experiments he applied “two elbow-springs beneath the front,
and attached them to the axle-tree by long shackles, the axle-tree
working up and down in a groove beneath the inside-seat.” This
improvement is of more than ordinary interest in so far as it is the
first mention of steel springs to carriages. In the ordinary coaches
these steel springs were first applied beneath the bottom of the body.
They were probably formed out of a single piece of metal.

In the case of the brouette there was the usual opposition—this time
from the proprietors of the ordinary sedans—but although a temporary
prohibition was made, the brouette triumphed, and in 1671 was a common
sight in the streets of Paris. It was not very suitable for decoration.
As one French writer remarks, it was enough if the machine were solidly
constructed. The brouette had windows at the sides and a small support
in front of the wheels to allow the carriage to maintain its proper
position when not held up by an attendant.

The brouette does not seem to have come immediately to England,
though in the eighteenth century there was a _sedan cart_, similar
in appearance to it, to be seen in London. On the other hand, the
ordinary sedans were rapidly gaining in popularity, and maintained that
popularity right through the reigns of the first three Georges.

[Illustration: _Neapolitan Sedan Chair_

_Early Sixteenth Century_

(_At South Kensington_)]

In appearance they became rather more graceful towards the middle of
the century, though less so in later days. The public chairs were
generally made of black or dark green leather, ornamented with gold
“beading,” the frame and roof, which had a double slope, being of
wood, as was also the small square window-frame. Private chairs,
however, could be as gorgeous as the owner pleased, though in this
respect continental chairs far surpassed our own. At Paris are shown
two magnificent chairs which belonged to Louis XV.

    “These,” says Croal, “have glass windows in side and front,
    through which the sumptuous lining of crimson velvet is
    discernible. The outside is beautifully painted and gilt, and
    though now somewhat faded, the splendour of the vehicles can
    be imagined, even in their decay. The gorgeously attired king
    within, or it might be the queen or some reigning favourite,
    would be attended by a gay escort of gentlemen of the court,
    with a crowd of bearers and lacqueys, not to speak of armed
    guards, whose liveries probably equalled in grandeur the
    courtly habits of the greater men who surrounded the royal
    chair.”

At South Kensington a private English chair of about 1760 is shown,
“rather handsomely ornamented in ormolu, the sides being divided into
four panels, but without windows. In form,” continues Croal, “the
chair may be described as ‘carriage-bodied,’ not being, as the later
chairs, square at the bottom. At the two front corners heavy tassels
are hung, and through the door in front it can be seen that the
interior lining is of figured damask. The bearing rings through which
the poles passed are of brass.” This, however, cannot compare with an
Italian nobleman’s large conveyance of the early eighteenth century
which shows a profusion of gold filigree work on the roof that calls
to mind nothing so strongly as a Buszard wedding-cake. It belonged to
a member of the Grand Ducal family of Tuscany, by whom it was used on
baptismal occasions. Here, besides the gilt work on the roof, there is
a medallion-painting of figures in antique costume over the door. The
walls are painted a pale French grey “with elaborately carved mouldings
round the panels, with groups of flowers painted in the middle. The
interior is lined with satin corresponding to the painting outside,
being in gold and colours upon a pale ground.”

The chairmen do not seem to have been a particularly agreeable lot of
fellows. In London they were generally Irish or Welsh. They were often
drunk, often careless, and nearly always uncivil. Says Gay:—

    “The drunken chairman in the kennel spurns,
     The glasses shatter, and his charge o’erturns.”

In Edinburgh, however, where there were ninety chairs in 1738, the
chairmen were Highlanders and rather more civil. “An inhabitant of
Edinburgh,” says Hugh Arnot in his history of that city (1789), “who
visits the metropolis can hardly suppress his laughter at seeing the
awkward hobble of a street chair in the city of London.” We learn from
Markland that in 1740 a chair in Edinburgh could be hired for four
shillings a day or twenty shillings a week.[26] In London, according to
George Selwyn, you could be carried three miles for a shilling.[27] In
Edinburgh, again, where chairs were used at a later date than anywhere
in England, rules were made for the public convenience in 1740, the
most interesting of these being one which forbade a soldier in the
service of the city guard to carry a chair at any time. By 1789 their
numbers had increased to 238, including fifty privately owned.

Scattered mention of them occurs amongst British authors. Steele, in
one of his _Tatler_ papers, proposes to levy a tax upon them, and
regrets that the sumptuary laws of the old Romans have never been
revived. The chairmen, or “slaves of the rich,” he says, “take up
the whole street, while we Peripatetics are very glad to watch an
opportunity to whisk across a passage, very thankful that we are not
run over for interrupting the machine, that carries in it a person
neither more handsome, wise, nor valiant, than the meanest of us.”

Matthew Bramble in _Humphrey Clinker_ is made to draw a wretched
picture of the chairs which abounded in Bath at the middle of the
century:—

    “The valetudinarian,” he writes, “is carried in a chair,
    betwixt the heels of a double row of horses, wincing under
    the curry-combs of grooms and postilions, over and above the
    hazard of being obstructed or overturned by the carriages
    which are continually making their exit or their entrance.
    I suppose, after some chairmen shall have been maimed, and
    a few lives lost by those accidents, the corporation will
    think in earnest about providing a more safe and commodious
    passage.... If, instead of the areas and iron rails, which
    seem to be of very little use, there had been a corridor with
    arcades all round, as in Covent Garden, the appearance of the
    whole would have been more magnificent and striking; those
    arcades would have afforded an agreeable covered walk, and
    sheltered the poor chairmen and their carriages from the rain,
    which is here almost perpetual. At present the chairs stand
    soaking in the open street from morning to night, till they
    become so many boxes of wet leather, for the benefit of the
    gouty and rheumatic, who are transported in them from place to
    place. Indeed, this is a shocking inconvenience, that extends
    over the whole city; and I am persuaded it produces infinite
    mischief to the delicate and infirm. Even the close chairs,
    contrived for the sick, by standing in the open air, have
    their fringe linings impregnated, like so many sponges, with
    the moisture of the atmosphere.”

It was to Bath that Princess Amelia was carried in a sedan by eight
chairmen from St. James’s, in April, 1728. This must easily have been
the longest, and, so far as the chairmen were concerned, the most
wearisome journey ever performed by a chair.

[Illustration: “_The Social Pinch_”

_By John Kay_]

[Illustration: _Sedans in “The Present Age”_

_By L. P. Boitard_ (1767)]

John Wilkes mentions in one of his letters to his daughter that he
ascended Mont Cenis in a chair “carried by two men and assisted by
four more.” “This,” he says, “was not a sedan chair, but a small
wicker chair with two long poles; there is no covering of any kind to
it.” Such open chairs seem to have been very uncommon, and were, I
imagine, unknown in England. Some, however, had more glass than others,
and their size fluctuated. Fashionable ladies must have found a
difficulty in getting into a public chair of the ordinary size at the
time of the large hoop petticoat, and there is a satiric print, dated
1733, which shows a lady thus attired, being hauled out through the
opened roof of one with ropes and pulleys. Similarly, when forty or
fifty years later the head-dress of the women became so enormous, a
ludicrous print appeared showing a patent arrangement whereby the roof
of a chair could be raised on rods to as great a height as was required.

In general the roof opened upwards, being hinged at the back. This
is clearly shown in a print published in 1768, called _The Female
Orators_, in which a clergyman is stepping out of his chair, and the
chairmen very obviously demanding their fare. Another print published
about 1786, called the _Social Pinch_, shows a very famous chairman,
Donald Kennedy, offering his “mull” to Donald Balack, a native of
Ross-shire, whom he had just set down. Here the structure of the public
chair in use at this date is clearly shown.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, however, the chair as a
mode of conveyance was on the wane. Fenimore Cooper in his _Sketches
of English Society_ (1837) was able to write: “Sedan chairs appear
to have finally disappeared from St. James’ Street. Even in 1826 I
saw a stand of them that has since vanished. The chairs may still
be used on particular occasions, but were Cecilia now in existence,
she would find it difficult to be set down in Mrs. Benfield’s entry
from a machine so lumbering.” Which suggests that the chair had not
only degenerated in numbers, but also in appearance. They had become
larger and uncouth in Cooper’s day. One is reminded of that chair in
_Pickwick_, which “having been originally built for a gouty gentleman
with funded property, would hold Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman at least
as comfortably as a modern post-chaise.” Yet so late as 1775 the
popularity of the chair had been at its highest. It was the old story.
With the new century were coming new ideas. The chair slowly and quite
naturally was dropping out of existence.

In Edinburgh, as I have said, it lingered on for rather a longer time.
In 1806 stringent regulations were still required. Those chairs which
maintained their stand at night had to have “a light fixed on the
fore part of one of the poles.” On the occasion of a fire or a mob
the chairmen had to hurry to the scene of excitement, and there await
the magistrate’s orders. They were not allowed to charge more than
ninepence a mile, seven-and-six a day, or a guinea and a half a week.
Such rates, too, continued to be set out in the _Edinburgh Almanac_
until 1830. After that comes an ominous silence. By that time only the
private chair was in use.

    “Lady Don,” says Lord Cockburn in his _Memorials_, “was about
    the last person (so far as I recollect) in Edinburgh, who
    kept a private sedan chair. Hers stood in the lobby and was
    as handsome and comfortable as silk, velvet, and gilding
    could make it. And when she wished to use it two well-known
    respectable chairmen, enveloped in her livery cloaks, were the
    envy of her [superannuated] brethren. She and Mrs. Rochead
    both sat in Tron Church; and well do I remember how I used to
    form one of the cluster that always took its station to see
    these beautiful relics emerge from coach and chair.”

The time, indeed, had come when the sight of a chair was as much a
public entertainment as it had been when Buckingham had been borne
through the streets “on men’s shoulders.”

Yet although they so rapidly disappeared off the face of Europe, in
Asia they lost little of their popularity, and in many places to-day
are the only methods of conveyance in common use. China, in particular,
had long been a land of sedans. John Barrow in his _Collection of
Authentic, Useful, and Entertaining Voyages and Discoveries_, 1765,
mentions the fact that at an early date the Chinese “small covered
carriages on two wheels, not unlike in appearance to our funeral
hearses, but only about half their length,” had been superseded by
chairs. To a European, he relates, this was hardly surprising, as the
carriage was anything but comfortable, and required you to sit on your
haunches at the bottom—“the most uneasy vehicle that can be imagined.”

    “‘The Chinese,’ records another eighteenth-century traveller,
    ‘occasionally travel on horseback, but their best land
    conveyance by far is the sedan, a vehicle which certainly
    exists among them in perfection. Whether viewed with regard to
    lightness, comfort, or any other quality associated with such
    mode of carriage, there is nothing so convenient elsewhere.
    Two bearers place upon their shoulders the poles, which are
    thin and elastic and in shape something like the shafts of a
    gig, connected near the ends, and in this manner they proceed
    forward with a measured step in an almost imperceptible
    motion, and sometimes with considerable speed. Instead of
    panels, the sides and back of the chair consist of woollen
    cloth for the sake of lightness with a covering of oilcloth
    against rain. The front is closed with a hanging blind of the
    same materials in lieu of a door, with a circular aperture of
    gauze to see through.... Private persons among the Chinese are
    restricted to two bearers, ordinary magistrates to four, and
    the viceroys to eight, while the Emperor alone is great enough
    to require sixteen.’”

There is further mention of these Chinese chairs in Oliphant’s much
later account of Lord Elgin’s mission. Lord Elgin himself travelled in
a chair of the kind usually reserved for mandarins of the highest rank,
which was larger than those in ordinary use and had a fine brass knob
on the top. Eight bearers carried it. In processions a _hwakeaou_ or
flowered chair was often used.

Japan, too, had early had sedans both for travelling and for more
purely ceremonial purposes. Light bamboo chairs, they were, called
_kangoes_ or _norimons_, which were borne by two or more persons. On
the introduction of the European coach, however, a kind of brouette, as
I have said, was substituted, and in a few years there were hundreds of
thousands of these _jin-rick-shaws_ on the streets, not only in Japan,
but throughout Asia. At first many of these were grotesquely adorned,
but their appearance is too well-known at the present day for need of a
lengthy description. Equipped with “every modern convenience” and very
well built indeed, they afford a European a delightful sensation on his
first ride, even though he may have visions of those earlier days of
his youth when he was carried about in a similar way (though at a less
speed) in the homely perambulator.



_Chapter the Fifth_

_SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY INNOVATIONS_


    “We took our coach, two coachmen and four horses,
     And merrily from London made our courses.
     We wheel’d the top of th’ heavy hill called Holborne
     (Up which hath been full many a sinful soule borne,)
     And so along we jolted past St. Gileses,
     Which place from Brainford six (or neare) seven miles is.”

    _Taylor._


The seventeenth century saw great changes in vehicular design. In 1660
the first _berlin_ was made. Steel springs, as we have seen, appeared
a few years later in the brouette. About this time, too, a hooded gig
or _calèche_ made its appearance in the streets of Paris, the first of
many carriages to be built upon entirely new lines. Glass windows and
complete doors were used in the coaches, both public and private, which
became smaller, more compact, and certainly more graceful. Improvements
were not confined to one country, but proceeded simultaneously not only
in various European countries, but also in South America. Roads, too,
were improved, and laws for the regulation of traffic framed with some
regularity and effect.

John Evelyn in his Diary gives interesting glimpses of such carriages
and other vehicles as he saw during his several European tours. In
Brussels (1641) he was allowed the use of Sir Henry de Vic’s coach and
six, and travelled luxuriously in it as far as Ghent. “On the way,” he
notes, “I met with divers little waggons, prettily contrived, and full
of peddling merchandize, drawn by mastiff dogs, harnessed completely
like so many coach-horses; in some four, in others six, as in Brussels
itself I had observed. In Antwerp I saw, as I remember, four dogs draw
five lusty children in a chariot.” When dogs were first used for the
purpose of traction does not appear, but they are still to be seen in
the Netherlands in a like capacity. A few days later, to continue with
Evelyn’s observations, he was going from Ostend to Dunkirk “by waggon
... the journey being made all on the sea sands.” On his return to
England, however, it is to be noticed that he rode post to Canterbury.
In 1643 he was again in Paris, mentioning “the multitude of coaches
passing every moment over the bridge,” this being, he says, to a new
spectator, “an agreeable diversion.” In the following year, while
standing in the garden of the Tuileries, he saw “so many coaches as
one would hardly think could be maintained in the whole city, going
late as it was, towards the course”—the fashionable rendezvous of the
day—“the circle being capable of containing a hundred coaches to turn
commodiously, and the larger of the plantations for five or six coaches
abreast.” The road from Paris to Orleans he describes as “excellent.”
Coming to Italy, he found Milan, in spite of the narrowness of its
streets, abounding in rich coaches. In Paris again, two or three
years afterwards, the design of a new coach so took his fancy that he
determined, like his friend Mr. Pepys, to possess one for himself.
And so on May 29th, 1652, “I went,” he writes, “to give orders about a
coach to be made against my wife’s coming, being my first coach, the
pattern whereof I brought out of Paris.” This was probably “booted,”
but differed from the earlier coaches in having a curved roof.

The commonest French coach of this time seems to have been the
_corbillard_, a flat-bottomed, half-open, half-close coach, furnished
with curtains of cloth or leather in the front part. These were merely
tied on to the supports, and would roll up when required. Doors there
were none, but there was a “movable rail, over which a leather screen
was hung” at the back portion of the carriage, which was about six
feet long, and here were the seats. There were also projecting movable
step-seats. Possibly Evelyn saw a newer model with a curved bottom and
door half-way up, panelled in the lower part, but curtained above. Such
a carriage was hung low, and would have swung from side to side, giving
such passengers as were “bad sailors” a fit of nausea.

The English-designed coaches of this time, though without glass
windows, were almost completely enclosed, and, compared with the new
_chariots_, which were just upon making their appearance, of a huge
size. In many of them three people could sit abreast, and seven or
eight find room for themselves. In 1641 when Charles I passed through
London on his return from Scotland, his was the only coach in the royal
procession, but seven people, including His Majesty, were driving,
apparently in comfort, within it.

The Commonwealth produced no new carriage, although isolated
experiments were already being made. Cromwell himself was wont to drive
his own coach and six “for recreation-sake” in Hyde Park, then as now a
fashionable resort.

    “When my Lord Protector’s coach,” wrote Misson, a Frenchman
    then on a visit to England, “came into the Park with Colonel
    Ingleby and my Lord’s three daughters, the coaches and horses
    flocked about them like some miracle. But they galloped (after
    the mode court-pace now) round and round the Park, and all
    that great multitude hunted them and caught them still at the
    turn like a hare, and then made a lane with all reverent haste
    for them, and so after them again, and I never saw the like in
    my life.”

Cromwell’s desire to play coachman once led to an accident which might
have been serious. The particulars are given in a letter from the Dutch
Ambassador to the States-General, dated October 16th, 1654:—

    “His Highness, only accompanied with secretary Thurloe and
    some few of his gentlemen and servants, went to take the
    air in Hyde Park, when he caused some dishes of meat to be
    brought, when he had his dinner; and afterwards had a mind to
    drive the coach himself. Having put only the secretary into
    it,” he whipped up “those six grey horses, which the Count of
    Oldenburgh had presented unto His Highness, who drove pretty
    handsomely for some time. But at last, provoking these horses
    too much with the whip, they grew unruly and ran so fast that
    the postillion could not hold them in, whereby His Highness
    was flung out of the coach upon the pole.... The secretary’s
    ankle was hurt leaping out, and he keeps his chamber.”

[Illustration: _Coach in the time of Charles I_

(_From “Coach and Sedan Pleasantly Disputing”_)]

[Illustration: _Coach in the time of Charles II_

(_From Thrupp’s “History of Coaches”_)]

“From this,” comments Sir Walter Gilbey, who quotes the letter, “it is
evident that when six horses were used a postillion rode one of the
leaders and controlled them; while the driver managed the wheelers and
middle pair. When four horses were driven,” he continues, “it was the
custom to have two outriders, one to ride at the leaders’ heads, and
one at the two wheelers’. In town this would be merely display, but on
a journey the outriders’ horses might replace those of the team in case
of accident, or, more frequently, be added to them to help drag the
coach over a stretch of bad road.”

It is just possible that this coach which was overturned by Cromwell’s
faulty driving is at present in existence, repaired, of course, and
redecorated, and, incidentally, painted by Cipriani, as Mr. Speaker’s
coach. This undoubtedly belongs to the period, and one writer actually
commits himself to the statement that the two are identical. A commoner
report assigns the Speaker’s coach in the first place to Lenthall,
Cromwell’s Speaker. Whatever be its history, the coach is a fine
example of Jacobean work. It is of carved oak, the body being hung
upon leather braces. The workmanship, Mr. Oakley Williams thinks,[28]
is Flemish. Cipriani’s work, added late in the eighteenth century, is
still in good preservation. Five people can comfortably sit inside.
“The Speaker,” says Mr. Williams, “presumably occupied the seat of
honour alone. Opposite him sat his Chaplain and the Sergeant-at-Arms.
For the accommodation of his other attendants ... a low bench is
arranged across the floor of the coach, with a semicircular space for
the legs of its occupants scooped out against either door”—relic,
of course, of the boot. “The coach,” he continues, after mentioning
that the Speaker always has his own arms painted on the side of the
body, and is allowed an escort of a single Lifeguardsman, “weighs two
tons one hundredweight and several pounds, yet for all its size it so
beautifully hung and balanced that an able-bodied man was able without
undue effort to draw it out for my inspection. Its coach-house is one
of the vaults in the inner courtyard of the House of Lords.” Both
origin and subsequent history of this coach, however, are wrapped in an
impenetrable mystery.

Cromwell’s mishap naturally gave the Royalist writers an opportunity
for satire. Cleveland wrote the following lines:—

    “The whip again; away! ’tis too absurd
     That thou should lash with whipcord now, but sword.
     I’m pleased to fancy how the glad compact
     Of Hackney coachmen sneer at the last act.
     Hark! how the scoffing concourse hence derives
     The proverb, ‘Needs must go when th’ devil drives.’
     Yonder a whisper cries, ‘’Tis a plain case
     He turned us out to put himself in place;
     But, God-a-mercy, horses once for aye
     Stood to ’t, and turned him out as well as we.’
     Another, not behind him with his mocks,
     Cries out, ‘Sir, faith, you were in the wrong box.’
     He did presume to rule because, forsooth,
     He’s been a horse-commander since his youth,
     But he must know there’s a difference in the reins
     Of horses fed with oats and fed with grains.
     I wonder at his frolic, for be sure
     Four hamper’d coach-horses can fling a brewer;
     But pride will have a fall; such the world’s course is.
     He [who] can rule three realms can’t guide four horses;
     See him that trampell’d thousands in their gore;
     Dismounted by a party but of four.
     But we have done with ’t, and we may call
     The driving Jehu, Phaeton in his fall.
     I wish to God, for these three kingdoms’ sake,
     His neck, and not the whip, had giv’n the crack.”

Evelyn met with a similar mishap, but fortunately escaped injury.
He, too, was accustomed to ride in Hyde Park, and on one occasion is
grumbling that “every coach” there “was made to pay a shilling, and a
horse sixpence, by a sordid fellow who had purchased it of the State,
as they called it.”

Such experiments as were being made in this country were in the
direction of a safer and swifter vehicle than those in general use.
So early as 1625, one Edward Knapp had been granted a patent for
“hanging the bodies of carriages on springs of steel.” Apparently
Knapp was wholly unsuccessful, but forty years later Colonel Blunt,
working upon similar lines, produced several carriages which, if not
entirely satisfactory in themselves, led the way towards a wider
appreciation of the problems in question. If, as seems probable, he
was identical with the Blunt or Blount of Wicklemarsh, near Blackheath
(afterwards Sir Harry Blount), who had travelled extensively in
Turkey and elsewhere, it may be that he had brought back with him
several continental curiosities. We hear, indeed, of a French chariot
in his possession. In 1657 the Colonel was making experiments with
a “way-wiser” or “adometer” which exactly “measured the miles ...
showing these by an index as we went on. It had three circles, one
pointing to the number of rods, another to the miles, by 10 to 1000,
with all the subdivisions of quarters; very pretty,” opines Evelyn,
“and useful.” This seems to have been the first instrument of the kind,
and is overlooked by Beckmann in his account of such contrivances. The
Colonel’s work was brought to the notice of the newly formed Royal
Society, and a committee was formed to investigate it. The first model
shown to this committee was of “a chariot with four springs, esteemed
by him very easy both to the rider and the horse, and at the same time
cheap.” The Committee also examined the designs of Dr. Robert Hooke,
a distinguished member of the Society, and Professor of Geometry at
Gresham College, who “produced the model of a chariot with two wheels
and short double springs to be driven by one horse; the chair of it
being so fixed upon two springs that the person sitting just over or
rather a little behind the axle-tree was, when the experiment was made
at Colonel Blunt’s house, carried with as much ease as one could be
in the French chariot without at all burthening the horse.”[29] Dr.
Hooke showed “two drafts of this model having this circumstantial
difference—one of these was contrived so that the boy sitting on a
seat made for him behind the chair and guiding the reins over the top
of it, drives the horse. The other by placing the chair behind and the
saddle on the horse’s back being to be borne up by the shafts, that the
boy riding on it and driving the horse should be little or no burden to
the horse.”

The Colonel continued experimenting both with the older coaches and a
new light chariot. In 1665 Mr. Pepys was taken to see an improvement of
his on a coach.

    “I met my Lord Brouncker, Sir Frederick Murrey, Dean Wilkins,
    and Mr. Hooke, going by coach to Colonel Blunt’s to dinner....
    No extraordinary dinner, nor any other entertainment good;
    but afterwards to the tryal of some experiments about making
    of coaches easy. And several we tried; but one did prove
    mighty easy, not here for me to describe, but the whole body
    of the coach lies upon one long spring, and we all, one after
    another, rid in it; and it is very fine and likely to take.”

A few months later Pepys saw the new chariot itself.

    “After dinner comes Colonel Blunt in his new chariot made with
    springs; as that was of wicker, where in a while since we rode
    at his house. And he hath rode, he says, now his journey, many
    miles in it with one horse, and out-drives any coach, and
    out-goes any horse, and so easy he says. So for curiosity, I
    went into it to try it, and up the hill [Shooter’s Hill] to
    the heath [Blackheath], and over the cart ruts, and found it
    pretty well, but not so easy as he pretends.”

The Colonel persevered. At the beginning of the next year the Royal
Society’s committee met again at his house to consider, says Pepys, “of
the business of chariots, and to try their new invention, which I saw
here my Lord Brouncker ride in: where the coachman sits astride upon a
pole over the horse, but do not touch the horse, which is a pretty odde
thing; but it seems it is most easy for the horse, and, as they say,
for the man also.”

Others were also at work upon carriage improvement, and in 1667 the
Royal Society “generally approved” of a chariot invented by a Dr.
Croune. “No particulars of the vehicle are given,” says Sir Walter
Gilbey, “we are only told that ‘some fence was proposed to be made for
the coachman against the kicking of the horse.’” In the same year, Sir
William Pen possessed a light chariot in which Pepys drove out one day.
This, he says, was “plain, but pretty and more fashionable in shape
than any coaches he hath, and yet do not cost him, harness and all,
above £32.”

All such experiments were undoubtedly in the direction of a light,
swift carriage, such as was built about 1660 in Germany by Philip de
Chiesa, a Piedmontese, in the service of the Duke of Prussia. Indeed,
it is quite possible that Colonel Blunt either possessed, or had seen,
one of de Chiesa’s carriages, which were none other than the famous and
popular _berlins_.[30]

So far Germany had been taking the lead. Her State coaches were the
most wonderful in the world, and her coachbuilders were designing
lesser coaches for the ordinary folk. But the _berlin_ was the first of
these lesser carriages to catch the public fancy, and enjoy more than
a local success. Now the _berlin_ differed in the first place from
previous carriages in having two perches instead of the single pole,
“and between these two perches, from the front transom to the hind
axle-bed, two strong leather braces were placed, with jacks or small
windlasses, to wind them up tighter if they stretched.” The bottom
of the coach was no longer flat, and these braces of leather allowed
the body to play up and down instead of swinging from side to side as
before. Here, then, you had an entirely new principle.

    “In the Imperial mews at Vienna,” says Thrupp, “are four
    coach berlins, which, I think, may belong to this period.
    They are said to have been built for the Emperor Leopold who
    reigned at Vienna from 1658 to 1700, and Kink describes this
    Emperor’s carriage as covered with red cloth and as having
    glass panels; he also says they were called the Imperial glass
    coaches. It is possible that the coaches have been a little
    altered from the time of their construction, but I consider
    that in these four we have the oldest coaches with solid doors
    and glasses all round that exist in Europe. Whether they
    are identical with the Emperor Leopold’s wedding-carriages
    matters much less than the influence the _berlin_ undoubtedly
    had upon the coach-building of that period. It was the means
    of introducing the double perch, which, although it is not
    now in fashion, was adopted for very many carriages both in
    England and abroad, up to 1810. Crane-necks to perches were
    suggested by the form of the _berlin_ perch; and as bodies
    swinging from standard posts suggested the position of the C
    spring, so bodies resting upon long leather braces suggested
    the horizontal and elbow springs to which we owe so much. The
    first _berlin_ was made as a small _vis-à-vis_ coach—small
    because it was to be used as a light travelling carriage, and
    narrow because it was to hang between the two perches, and
    was only needed to carry two persons inside. It was such an
    improvement in lightness and appearance upon the cumbersome
    coaches that carried eight persons, that it at once found
    favour, and was imitated in Paris and still more in London.”

These early _berlins_ were not nearly so gorgeous as the heavier
coaches which they gradually supplanted. Red cloth and black nails had
taken the place of the gilt ornamentation and crimson hangings of the
previous generation.[31] Only on festivals, we learn, the black harness
“was ornamented with silk fringe.” The coaches used by the Emperor
himself had leather traces, but the ladies of his suite had to be
content with carriages the traces of which were made of rope.

The glass windows which were such a conspicuous feature of the
_berlins_, were also used in the larger coaches, finally, as I have
said, eliminating the boot. Mr. Charles Harper thinks that the first
English coach to possess them belonged in 1661 to the Duke of York.
At first these windows seem to have caused trouble, and there is the
ludicrous incident mentioned by Pepys, of my Lady Peterborough who
“being in her glass-coach with the glass up and seeing a lady pass
by in a coach whom she would salute, the glass was so clear that she
thought it had been open, and so ran her head through the glass!” Lady
Ashly did not like the new invention, because, as she said, the windows
were for ever flying open while the coach was running over a bad piece
of road. Lady Peterborough’s misfortune was tribute indeed to the maker!

In this matter of the glass it would seem that Spain had taken the
lead, and it is quite possible that Spain invented the first two-seated
chariots. In 1631, thirty years before the first _berlin_ was made,
an Infanta of Spain is reported to have traversed Carinthia “in a
glass-carriage in which no more than two persons could sit.” What this
was like we do not know. It may have had rude springs, and been built
from the common coach models to a smaller measurement; it was certainly
bootless, and framed glass or mica took the place of curtains. In
France the first coaches to have glass windows, according to M. Roubo,
created something of a Court scandal in the time of Louis XIII. The
glass, he says, was first used in the upper panels of the doors, but
was soon extended to the whole of the upper half of the sides and front
of the body, so making of the carriage literally a glass-coach.

You may learn more of the English seventeenth-century carriages from
Pepys than from any other writer; nor is this a matter for wonder.
Pepys had a knack of knowing just exactly what posterity would desire
to know. From his Diary, we learn incidentally that the watermen
were still endeavouring to regain their lost prestige and custom,
but by this time coaches had enormously increased in number—in 1662
there were nearly 2500 hackneys in London alone—and thenceforth they
are hardly heard of. To be any one, moreover, you had to have your
private coach. Doctors, for instance, found it very well worth their
while to keep a coach, though, as Sir Thomas Browne told his son,
they were certainly “more for state than for businesse.” On the other
hand those who were well able to keep a private carriage occasionally
preferred the use of a hackney, and sometimes at times when they had
no business to do so. Mr. Pepys, with clear ideas upon the dignity and
responsibilities of rank, was indignant at any such foolery. He was
told, he recalls in one place, “of the ridiculous humour of our King
and Knights of the Garter the other day, who, whereas heretofore their
robes were only to be worn during their ceremonies and service, these,
as proud of their coats, did wear them all day till night, and then
rode into the Park with them on. Nay, and he tells us he did see my
Lord Oxford and Duke of Monmouth in a hackney-coach with two footmen in
the Park, with their robes on; which is a most scandalous thing, so as
all gravity may be said to be lost amongst us.”

The private coach, too, was the last luxury to be given up after
financial embarrassment. So we have Lady Flippant, in Wycherley’s _Love
in a Wood_, saying, “Ah, Mrs. Joyner, nothing grieves me like the
putting down my coach! For the fine clothes, the fine lodgings,—let
’em go; for a lodging is as unnecessary a thing to a widow that has a
coach, as a hat to a man that has a good peruke. For, as you see about
town, she is most probably at home in her coach:—she eats, and drinks,
and sleeps in her coach; and for her visits, she receives them in the
playhouse.” No lady’s virtue, according to this cynical dramatist, was
proof against a coach and six.

At the time of the introduction of the light, two-seated chariots,
ordinary private coaches were also changing in shape. In Charles I’s
reign they had been both very long and very wide; in his son’s time
they became much slenderer and less unwieldy. Alterations in this
direction were possibly suggested by the ubiquitous and most convenient
sedans, and, indeed, there is an allusion to this change of shape in
Sir William Davenant’s _First Day’s Entertainment at Rutland House_,
in which, during a dialogue between a Russian and a Londoner, the
foreigner says: “I have now left your houses, and am passing through
your streets; but not in a coach, for they are uneasily hung, and so
narrow that I took them for sedans upon wheels.”

Stage-coaches, however, remained just as huge and just as gorgeous
as ever. They were built, more particularly in Italy, in the old
fashion—unenclosed and curtained. Count Gozzadini describes a State
coach built in 1629 for the marriage of Duke Edward Farnese with
the Lady Margaret of Tuscany, and as we shall see in a moment, this
differed only in the details of its ornamentation from the State coach
in which Lord Castlemaine made his public entry into Rome sixty years
later.

The body of the Farnese coach, says Gozzadini, “was lined with crimson
velvet and gold thread, and the woodwork covered with silver plates,
chased and embossed and perforated, in half relief. It could carry
eight persons, four on the seats attached to the doors, and four in the
back and front. The roof was supported by eight silver columns, on the
roof were eight silver vases, and unicorns’ heads and lilies in full
relief projected from the roof and ends of the body here and there. The
roof was composed of twenty sticks, converging from the edge to the
centre, which was crowned with a great rose with silver leaves on the
outside, and inside by the armorial bearings of the Princes of Tuscany
and Farnese held up by cupids. The curtains of the sides and back
of the coach were of crimson velvet, embroidered with silver lilies
with gold leaves. At the back and front of the coach-carriage were
statues of unicorns, surrounded by cupids and wreathed with lilies,
grouped round the standards from which the body was suspended; on
the tops of the standards were silver vases, with festoons of fruit,
and wraught in silver. In the front were also statues of Justice and
Mercy, supporting the coachman’s seat. The braces suspending the body
were of leather, covered with crimson velvet; the wheels and pole were
plated with polished silver. The whole was drawn by six horses, with
harness and trappings covered with velvet, embroidered with gold and
silver thread, and with silver buckles. It is said that twenty-five
excellent silversmiths worked at this coach for two years, and used up
25,000 ounces of silver; and that the work was superintended by two
master coachbuilders, one from Parma and the other from Piacenza.” Lord
Castlemaine’s procession into Rome contained three hundred and thirty
coaches, of which thirteen were his own property; and of these two were
State coaches. These likewise were not properly enclosed, and had no
glass.

    “They were hung,” says Thrupp, “inside and out, with
    beautifully embroidered cloths, the one coach with crimson,
    the other with azure-blue velvet, and gold and silver work.
    The roofs were adorned with scroll work and vases gilt;
    under the roof were curtains of silver fringes, and the
    ambassador’s armorial bearings. The carriage of the principal
    coach was adorned in front with two large Tritons, of carved
    wood, gilt all over, that supported a cushion for the coachman
    between them, and from their shoulders the braces depended.
    The footboard was formed by a conch shell, between two
    dolphins. In the rear of the coach were two more Tritons,
    supporting not only the leather braces of the coach, but two
    other statues of Neptune and Cybele, who in turn held a royal
    crown. Below Neptune and Cybele, and projecting backwards,
    were a lion and a unicorn, and several cupids and wreaths of
    flowers. The wheels had moulded rims, and the spokes were
    hidden by curving foliage carving. The second coach had
    plainer wheels and fewer statues about it.”

They may have been magnificent, but they were certainly not very
beautiful. Much the same, too, might be said of those coaches in which
foreign ambassadors made their public entry into London. In 1660 Evelyn
saw the Prince de Ligne, Ambassador-Extraordinary from Spain, make a
splendid entry with seventeen coaches, and a month later Pepys was
watching “the Duke de Soissons go from his audience with a very great
deal of state: his own coach all red velvet covered with gold lace, and
drawn by six barbes, and attended by twenty pages very rich in cloths.”


In this year, 1660, there was a proclamation against the excessive
number of hackney-coaches, and two years later Commissioners were
appointed “for reforming the buildings, ways, streets and incumbrances,
and regulating the hackney-coaches in the city of London.” Of this body
Evelyn was sworn a member in May, 1662. Pepys, however, never found
any difficulty in obtaining one when he desired, and, indeed, of late
years, pressure of business had made a hackney-coach an almost daily
necessity. Finally, he found it cheaper to possess one of his own, and
the story of this coach is particularly interesting, and may be told in
some detail.

Long ago, Mr. Pepys had dreamt of owning a private coach. “Talking
long in bed with my wife,” he writes on March 2nd, 1661-2, “about our
frugal life for the time to come, proposing to her what I could and
would do, if I were worth £2000, that is, be a knight, and keep my
coach, which pleased her.” Times were bad, however, and although Pepys
enjoyed many a ride in a friend’s coach and witnessed Colonel Blunt’s
experiments, the great idea did not mature. But one of his particular
friends, Thomas Povey, M.P., who had been a colleague of his on the
Tangier committee, himself the owner of at least one coach, seems to
have kept Pepys’s ambitions astir. This was more especially the case in
1665, at which time Mr. Povey had purchased one of the new and already
fashionable chariots. This excited Pepys’s admiration. “Comes Mr.
Povey’s coach,” he records, “and so rode most nobly, in his most pretty
and best-contrived chariot in the world, with many new contrivances,
his never having till now, within a day or two, been yet finished.”
Povey was something of an inventor himself. Evelyn calls him a “nice
contriver of all elegancies, and most formal.” The necessary money
was apparently not forthcoming for a year or two, but in April, 1667,
Pepys had a mind “to buy enough ground to build a coach-house and
stable; for,” says he, “I have had it much in my thoughts lately that
it is not too much for me now, in degree or cost, to keep a coach,
but contrarily, that I am almost ashamed to be seen in a hackney.”
Accordingly, Mr. Commander, his lawyer, was bidden to look for a
suitable piece of ground. The idea had now taken definite shape, and
Pepys was committed. “I find it necessary,” he says, “for me, both in
respect of honour and the profit of it also, my expence in Hackney
coaches being now so great, to keep a coach, and therefore will do it.”
The next entry shows the first of his disappointments:—

    “Mr. Commander tells me, after all, that I cannot have a
    lease of the ground for my coach-house and stable, till a
    lawsuit be ended. I am a little sorry, because I am pretty
    full in my mind of keeping a coach; but yet,” he adds
    philosophically—the date was June 4th, 1667—“when I think of
    it again, the Dutch and French both at sea, and we poor, and
    still out of order, I know not yet what turns there may be.”

So the summer passed, and “most of our discourse,” he admits, “is about
our keeping a coach the next year, which pleases my wife mightily; and
if I continue as able as now, it will save me money.” At the beginning
of the new year Will Griffin was ordered to make fresh inquiries about
the most necessary coach-house, but nothing seems to have been done
until the autumn. Then Pepys, more or less it would seem on the spur of
the moment, chose a coach for himself, and immediately disliked it. No
one seems to have given him the same advice. Some ladies, for instance,
Mrs. Pepys amongst them, preferred the large old-fashioned coaches.
Others wanted the latest thing from Paris. Says Mrs. Flirt in _The
Gentleman Dancing-Master_: “But take notice, I will have no little,
dirty, second-hand chariot, new furnished, but a large, sociable,
well-painted coach; nor will I keep it till it be as well-known as
myself, and it comes to be called Flirt-coach.” Her friend, Monsieur
Paris, shrugs his shoulders. “’Tis very well,” says he, “you must
have your great, gilt, fine painted coach. I’m sure they are grown so
common already amongst you that ladies of quality begin to take up with
hackneys again.” It was felt, no doubt, that fashion in carriages as
in everything else would speedily change. Mr. Pepys must have found
considerable difficulty in making up his mind. The new chariots were
small, light and, so far as he knew, most fashionable; but possibly
they were not quite to his taste, and equally possibly they might not
be fashionable in ten years’ time. Also they perhaps lacked the solid
dignity of the older carriages, and were less likely to attract public
attention—two important considerations. In the end, however, he seems
to have chosen a large coach of the old style. Mr. Povey saw it, and
poor Pepys knew at once that a dreadful mistake had been made.

    “He and I ... talk of my coach,” runs the Diary for 30th
    October, “and I got him to go and see it, where he finds most
    infinite fault with it, both as to being out of fashion and
    heavy, with so good reason, that I am mightily glad of his
    having corrected me in it; and so I do resolve to have one of
    his build, and with his advice, both in coach and horses, he
    being the fittest man in the world for it.”

Accordingly on the following Sunday, “Mr. Povey sent his coach for
my wife and I to see, which we liked mightily, and will endeavour to
have him get us just such another.” Mr. Povey thought that his own
coachmaker had a replica for sale. Pepys thereupon went down into the
neighbourhood of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, found the man, but learnt to his
disgust that the coach had been sold that very morning. At the end of
the week, however, in company with his friend, he “spent the afternoon
going up and down the coachmakers in Cow Lane, and did see several, and
last did pitch upon a little chariott, whose body was framed, but not
covered, at the widow’s, that made Mr. Lowther’s fine coach; and we are
mightily pleased with it, it being light, and will be very genteel and
sober; to be covered with leather, but yet will hold four. Being much
satisfied with this, I carried him to White Hall. Home, where I give my
wife a good account of the day’s work.”

Having bought the coach, it was necessary to complete the arrangements
about a coach-house, and in the same week Pepys fared forth again for
the purpose.

    “This afternoon I did go out towards Sir D. Gauden’s, thinking
    to have bespoke a place for my coach and horses, when I
    have them, at the Victualling Office; but find the way so
    bad and long that I returned, and looked up and down for
    places elsewhere, in an inne, which I hope to get with more
    convenience than there.”

This not proving satisfactory, Sir Richard Ford was persuaded to lend
his own coach-yard. Then follow in quick succession the other entries:—

    “_28th November, 1668._—All the morning at the Office, where,
    while I was sitting, one comes and tells me that my coach is
    come. So I was forced to go out, and to Sir Richard Ford’s,
    where I spoke to him, and he is very willing to have it
    brought in, and stand there: and so I ordered it, to my great
    content, it being mighty pretty, only the horses do not please
    me, and, therefore, resolve to have better.”

    “_29th November._—This morning my coachman’s clothes come
    home and I like the livery mightily.... Sir W. Warren ...
    tells me, as soon as he saw my coach yesterday, he wished that
    the owner might not contract envy by it; but I told him it was
    now manifestly for my profit to keep a coach, and that, after
    employments like mine for eight years, it were hard if I could
    not be thought to be justly able to do that.”[32]

    “_30th November._—My wife after dinner, went abroad the
    first time in her coach, calling on Roger Pepys, and visiting
    Mrs. Creed, and my cozen Turner. Thus ended this month, with
    very good intent, but most expenseful to my purse on things
    of pleasure, having furnished my wife’s closet and the best
    chamber, and a coach and horses, that ever I knew in the
    world; and I am put into the greatest condition of outward
    state that ever I was in, or hoped ever to be, or desired; and
    this at a time when we do daily expect great changes in this
    office; and by all reports we must, all of us, turn out.”

    “_2nd December._—Abroad with my wife, the first time that
    ever I rode in my own coach, which do make my heart rejoice,
    and praise God, and pray him to bless it to me and continue
    it.”

    “_3rd December._— ... and so home, it being mighty pleasure
    to go alone with my poor wife, in a coach of our own, to a
    play, and makes us appear mighty great, I think, in the world;
    at least, greater than ever I could, or my friends for me,
    have once expected; or, I think, than ever any of my family
    ever yet lived, in my memory, but my cozen Pepys in Salisbury
    Court.”

    “_4th December._—I carried my wife ... to Smithfield, where
    they sit in the coach, while Mr. Pickering, who meets me at
    Smithfield and I, and W. Hewer and a friend of his, a jockey
    did go about to see several pairs of horses, for my coach; but
    it was late, and we agreed on none, but left it to another
    time: but here I do see instances of a piece of craft and
    cunning that I never dreamed of, concerning the buying and
    choosing of horses.”

There were plenty of horses to be had, it seems, but either Mr. Pepys
did not like them or he was afraid of being cheated. “Up and down,”
he is recording a week or so later, “all the afternoon about horses,
and did see the knaveries and tricks of jockeys. At last, however, we
concluded upon giving £50 for a fine pair of black horses we saw this
day se’nnight; and so set Mr. Pickering down near his house, whom I am
much beholden to, for his care herein, and he hath admired skill, I
perceive, in this business, and so home.” So the horses were changed,
and for a while Mr. Pepys was obliged to revert to the despised
hackney, his “coachman being this day about breaking of my horses to
the coach, they having never yet drawn.” Towards the end of the month
the new horses were ready, and their master made his first ride behind
them on a visit to the Temple, though later in the day he was again
using the old pair, “not daring yet to use the others too much, but
only to enter them.” Then, before the new year, came the first mishap.

    “Up, and vexed a little to be forced to pay 40s. for a glass
    of my coach, which was broke the other day, nobody knows how,
    within the door, while it was down; but I do doubt that I did
    break it myself with my knees.”

At the beginning of February another misfortune is recorded:—

    “Just at Holborn Circuit the bolt broke, that holds the
    fore-wheels to the perch, and so the horses went away with
    them, and left the coachman and us; but being near our
    coachmaker’s and we staying in a little ironmonger’s shop, we
    were presently supplied with another.”

Accidents of this kind were continually happening. Glasses smashed,
bolts broke, and, what seems incredible, doors were lost! Even so late
as 1710, a reward of 30s. was offered for a lost door. “Lost,” runs
this remarkable advertisement, “the side door of a Chariot, painted
Coffee Colour, with a Round Cipher in the Pannel, Lin’d with White
Cloath embos’d with Red, having a Glass in one Frame, and White Canvas
in another, with Red Strings to the Frames.”

To return to Pepys. In a month or two another matter connected with
his coach was occupying his attention. There were some people who did
not think that a man in the comparatively humble position of Secretary
to the Admiralty had any right to possess a coach, even though, in its
owner’s estimation, it might be “genteel and sober.”

    “To the Park,” he is recording in April, “my wife and I; and
    here Sir W. Coventry did first see me and my wife in a coach
    of our own; and so did also this night the Duke of York, who
    did eye my wife mightily. But I begin to doubt that my being
    so much seen in my own coach at this time, may be observed to
    my prejudice, but I must venture it now.”

This was no idle fear, for in a while there was printed an ill-written
and scurrilous pamphlet called _Plane Truth_, _or Closet Discorse
betwixt Pepys and Hewer_, in which the following passage occurs:—

    “There is one thing more you must be mightily sorry for with
    all speed. Your presumption in your coach in which you daily
    ride as if you had been son and heir to the great Emperor
    Neptune, or as if you had been infallibly to have succeeded
    him in his government of the Ocean, all which was presumption
    in the highest degree. First, you had upon the fore-part of
    your chariot, tempestuous waves and wrecks of ships; on your
    left hand, forts and great guns, and ships a fighting; on your
    right hand was a fair harbour and galleys riding, with their
    flags and pennants spread, kindly saluting each other, just
    like P[epys] and H[ewer—his chief clerk].”

How far Pepys’s carriage was decorated is not known, though this
description does not tally in the least with Pepys’s own. In any case,
he took no notice of such attacks, and so far from making his coach
less conspicuous, arranged to have it newly painted and varnished.

    “_19th April, 1669._—After dinner out again, and, calling
    about my coach, which was at the coachmaker’s, and hath been
    there for these two or three days, to be new painted, and
    the window-frames gilt against next May-day, went on with my
    hackney to White Hall.”

A few days later he gave orders for some “new sort of varnish” to be
used on the standards at a cost of forty shillings, this being in his
view very cheap. Indeed, “the doing of the biggest coach all over,” he
learnt, “comes not above £6.” On his next visit to the coachmaker, he
was surprised to find several great ladies “sitting in the body of a
coach that must be ended tomorrow ... eating of bread and butter and
drinking ale.” His own coach had been silvered over, “but no varnish
yet laid on, so I put it in a way of doing.” A few hours later he
called back again,

    “and there vexed to see nothing yet done to my coach, at
    three in the afternoon; but I set it in doing, and stood by
    till eight at night, and saw the painter varnish it which is
    pretty to see how every doing it over do make it more and more
    yellow: and it dries as fast in the sun as it can be laid on
    almost; and most coaches are, now-a-days, done so, and it is
    very pretty when laid on well, and not too pale, as some are,
    even to show the silver. Here I did make the workmen drink,
    and saw my coach cleaned and oyled.”

And so eager was he to have it without delay that his coachman and
horses were sent to fetch it that very evening, and on the following
gala day, May 1st,

    “we went alone through the town with our new liveries of
    serge, and the horses’ manes and tails tied with red ribbons,
    and the standards gilt with varnish, and all clean, and green
    reines, the people did mightily look upon us; and, the truth
    is, I did not see any coach more pretty, though more gay, than
    ours all the day. But we set out, out of humour—I because
    Betty, whom I expected, was not come to go with us; and my
    wife that I would sit on the same seat with her, which she
    likes not, being so fine: and she then expected me to meet
    Sheres, which we did in Pell Mell, and against my will, I was
    forced to take him into the coach, but was sullen all day
    almost, and little complaisant; the day being unpleasing,
    though the Park full of coaches, but dusty and windy, and
    cold, and now and then a little dribbling of rain; and what
    made it worse, there were so many hackney-coaches as spoiled
    the sight of the gentlemen’s; and so we had little pleasure.”

Henceforth Mr. Pepys, in spite of sundry warnings from his friend Mr.
Povey and others, continued to use his coach, and although perhaps as
he grew older, his coach was less brilliantly adorned, there seems no
reason to suppose that he ever regretted its purchase.


Though it is not my intention to speak in any detail of public
conveyances, a word must be said here of the stage-coaches,[33] which
made their appearance on English roads in 1640. These were large
coaches, leather-curtained at first—glass does not seem to have been
used until 1680—and capable of seating six or eight passengers. Their
chief feature was the huge basket strapped to the back.

    “There is of late,” says Chamberlayne in his well-known
    _Present State of Great Britain_ (1649), “such an admirable
    commodiousness both for men and women, to travel from London
    to the principal towns in the country, that the like hath
    not been known in the world; and that is by stage-coaches,
    wherein one may be transported to any place sheltered from
    foul weather and foul ways, free from endangering of one’s
    health and one’s body by hard jogging or over-violent motion
    on horseback; and this not only at the low price of about a
    shilling for every five miles, but with such velocity and
    speed in an hour as the foreign post can make but in one day.”

Of course, there was opposition to these public coaches. In 1662, when
there was not a round dozen of them, one writer was already exhorting
their extinction on the ground that simple country gentlemen and their
simple country wives could now come to London without due occasion, and
there learn all the vice and luxury that were rampant. So in 1673, in
a singular production called _The Grand Concern of England_, amongst
the many proposals set forth for the country’s good, was one “that the
Multitude of Stage Coaches and Caravans be suppressed.” One or two
pamphlets of no particular interest appeared, both for and against
these coaches, but it may be sufficient here to observe that they
steadily increased in numbers and maintained their existence until the
mail-coaches finally superseded them.

[Illustration: _Early (?) French Gig at the South Kensington Museum_]

One other public carriage of this time also deserves mention. This was
the _carosse à cinq sous_, which appeared in the streets of Paris in
1662. The history of this primitive omnibus is well told by Mr. Henry
Charles Moore.[34]

    “The leading spirits in this enterprise were the Duc de
    Rouanès, Governor of Poitou, the Marquis de Sourches, Grand
    Prévôt, the Marquis de Crenan, Grand Cup-bearer, and Blaise
    Pascal, the author of _Lettres Provinciales_. The idea was
    Pascal’s, but not being sufficiently wealthy to carry it out
    unaided, he laid the matter before his friend the Duc de
    Rouanès, who suggested that a company should be formed to
    start the vehicles. Pascal consented to this being done, and
    the Duc set to work at once to prevail upon members of the
    aristocracy to take shares in the venture.” After obtaining a
    royal decree, “seven vehicles to carry eight passengers each,
    all inside, were built, and on March 18th, 1662, they began
    running. The first one was timed to start at seven o’clock
    in the morning, but an hour or two earlier a huge crowd had
    assembled to witness the inauguration ceremony, which
    was performed by two Commissaires of the Châtelet, attired
    in their official robes. Accompanying them were four guards
    of the Grand Prévôt, twenty men of the City Archers, and a
    troop of cavalry. The procession, on arriving at the line of
    route, divided into two parts, one Commissaire and half of
    the attendants proceeded to the Luxembourg, and the others
    to the Porte St. Antoine. At the latter place three of the
    twopenny-halfpenny coaches were stationed, the other four
    being at the Luxembourg. Each Commissaire then made a speech,
    in which he pointed out the boon that _carosses à cinq sous_
    would be to the public, and laid great stress on the fact
    that they would start punctually at certain times whether
    full or empty. Moreover, he warned the people that the king
    was determined to punish severely any person who interfered
    with the coaches, their drivers, conductors, or passengers.
    The public was also warned that any person starting similar
    vehicles without permission would be fined 3000 francs, and
    his horses and coaches confiscated.

    “At the conclusion of his address, the Commissaire commanded
    the coachmen to advance, and, after giving them a few words
    of advice and caution, presented each one with a long blue
    coat, with the City arms embroidered on the front in brilliant
    colours. Having donned their livery, the drivers returned to
    their vehicles and climbed up to their seats. Then the command
    to start was given, and the two vehicles drove off amidst
    a scene of tremendous enthusiasm. The first coach each way
    carried no passengers—a very unbusinesslike arrangement—the
    conductor sitting inside in solitary state. But the next two,
    which were sent off a quarter of an hour after the first,
    started work in earnest, and it need scarcely be said that
    there were no lack of passengers. The difficulty experienced
    was in preventing people from crowding in after the eight
    seats were occupied. At the beginning of every journey the
    struggle to get into the coach was repeated, and many charming
    costumes were ruined in the crush. Paris, in short, went mad
    over its _carosses à cinq sous_, and the excitement soon
    spread to the suburbs, sending their inhabitants flocking to
    the city to see the new vehicles. But very few of the visitors
    managed to obtain a ride, for day by day the rush for seats
    became greater. The king himself had a ride in one coach, and
    the aristocracy and wealthy classes hastened to follow his
    example, struggling with their poorer brethren to obtain a
    seat. Many persons who possessed private coaches daily drove
    to the starting-point, and yet failed to get a drive in one
    for a week or two.

    “Four other routes were opened in less than four months, but
    at last the fashionable craze came to an end, and as soon as
    the upper classes ceased to patronise the new coaches the
    middle and lower classes found that it was cheaper to walk
    than to ride. The result was that Pascal, who died only five
    months after the coaches began running, lived long enough to
    see the vehicles travelling to and fro, half, and sometimes
    quite, empty.

    “For many months after Pascal’s death the coaches lingered on,
    but every week found them less patronised, and eventually they
    were discontinued. They had never been of any real utility,
    and were regarded by the public much in the same light as we
    regard a switchback railway.”

And, indeed, it was a century and a half before the next omnibus was
tried.


So then, at the middle of the century, when heavy and slow
stage-coaches were making their appearance on the English country
roads, and the unsuccessful _carosse à cinq sous_ was being tried in
the streets of Paris, the success of the _berlin_, the _brouette_,
and other chariots, was in process of remodelling men’s ideas upon the
most feasible carriage for town use. The older coaches, as I have said,
were still retained for particular occasions, and, indeed, continued to
be built with more ornamentation than ever before. The very spokes of
the wheels were decorated, paintings appeared on the panels, and every
inch of the coach made as brilliant as possible. France in particular
possessed carriages of the most gorgeous possible description. These
were not only entirely gilded over, but in some cases actually
bejewelled. The richest stuffs lined their interiors, and masters
painted their panels. Immense sums were spent. There is preserved at
Toulouse a carriage of this date which shows most of these features.
The interior “is, or rather was, lined with white brocade embroidered
with a diaper of pink roses, the roof being lined with the same, while
its angles are hidden by little smiling cupids gilded from top to toe.
The surface of the panels is, or rather was, a piece of opaque white,
exceedingly well varnished, and edged with a thick moulding of pink
roses; the foliage, instead of being green, was highly gilded and
burnished.”

But the ever-increasing traffic rendered necessary a much smaller
vehicle than these monstrosities for general use, and this led,
somewhere about 1670, to the introduction of the _gig_. This was a
French invention, which, while no doubt the logical outcome of the
_brouette_, bore resemblance to the old Roman _cisium_, and led
ultimately to the cabriolets, once so popular both in France and
England. Certain experiments tending towards a gig had been made
earlier in the century with a chair fixed to a small cart. The first
successful gig was a slender, two-wheeled contrivance, “the body little
more than a shell,” says Thrupp, provided with a hood “composed of
three iron hoop-sticks joined in the middle to fall upwards.” It was
the prototype of the _calèche_ in France, the _carriole_ of Norway, the
_calesso_ of Naples, and the _volante_ of Cuba. Gozzadini describes
one of them as “an affair with a curved seat fixed on two long bending
shafts, placed in front on the back of the horse and behind upon the
two wheels.” They were introduced into Florence, he says, in 1672,
and “so increased in numbers that in a few years there were nearly a
thousand in the city.” An early gig of this kind is preserved at South
Kensington. It is a forlorn-looking vehicle. The body is curved, but
there is no hood. The seat is absurdly small and “beneath the shafts
are two long straps of leather and a windlass to tighten them—this
apparatus was, no doubt, to regulate the spring of the vehicle to the
road travelled over.”

The gig speedily underwent several minor changes of form. In France
it was known as _calèche_[35] or _chaise_, in England, as _calash_,
_calesh_, or _chaise_, in America as _shay_. Unfortunately there is
small mention of them in contemporary writings, and one is left to
suppose that for some time they did not, except in certain cities,
prove serious rivals to the _berlins_ and other four-wheeled chariots.
It may be that the _berlin_ itself was taken as a model from which
these lighter carriages were evolved. You had first the big double
_berlins_ for four people, then you had a _vis-à-vis_ for two or more
persons facing each other. Later the front part of the carriage would
be cut away for the sake of lightness. When not covered such a vehicle
as this seems to have been known as a _berlingot_. Two could travel in
these _berlingots_ sitting side by side, “while a third person might
travel uncomfortably in front on a kind of movable seat, which was not
much patronised; for it was not only dangerous, but what was much worse
in the eyes of the grand court gentlemen who used them—ridiculous.”
There was also evolved a smaller and narrower _berlin_ with the
front cut away and capable of holding only one passenger, called the
_désobligeante_. The bodies of the ordinary chaises, which seated
one or two people, seem to have differed from those of the older
_berlins_ in being placed partly below the frame. There were no side
doors, but one at the back which opened horizontally. When and where
all such changes were made, however, it is impossible to say. The
accounts, such as they are, are often contradictory, and the same
names used to describe what are obviously not identical carriages.
But the two-wheeled gig having appeared there was nothing to prevent
improvements of every conceivable sort or shape, and innumerable hybrid
carriages appeared, some of which are only known by name.

There is mention of a truly remarkable calash which was tried in
Dublin in 1685. Exactly who the inventor was is not known, but Sir
Richard Bulkeley interested himself in the experiments, and read a
paper on his carriage before the Royal Society. Evelyn was one of those
who were present on this occasion.

    “Sir Richard Bulkeley,” he says, “described to us a model
    of a chariot he had invented which it was not possible to
    overthrow in whatever uneven way it was drawn, giving us a
    wonderful relation of what it had performed in that kind, for
    ease, expedition, and safety; there were some inconveniences
    yet to be remedied—it would not contain more than one person;
    was ready to take fire every few miles; and being placed
    and playing on no fewer than ten rollers, it made a most
    prodigious noise, almost intolerable.”

It is to be deeply regretted that there is no print of this remarkable
carriage, but further details may be found in a letter, dated May 5th,
1685, from Sir Richard Bulkeley himself.

    “Sir William Petty,” he writes, “Mr. Molyneux, and I have
    spent this day in making experiments with a new invented
    calesh, along with the inventor thereof; ’tis he that was
    in London when I was there, but he never made any of these
    caleshes there, for his invention is much improv’d since he
    came from thence: it is in all points different from any
    machine I have ever seen: it goes on two wheels, carries one
    person, and is light enough. As for its performance, though it
    hangs not on braces, yet it is easier than the common coach,
    both in the highway, in ploughed fields, cross the ridges,
    directly and obliquely. A common coach will overturn, if one
    wheel go on a superficies a foot and a half higher than that
    of the other; but this will admit of the difference of three
    feet and a half in height of the superficies, without
    danger of overturning. We chose all the irregular banks, the
    sides of ditches to run over; and I have this day seen it, at
    five several times, turn over and over; that is, the wheels so
    overturned as that their spokes laid parallel to the horizon,
    so that one wheel laid flat over the head of him that rode in
    the Calesh, and the other wheel flat under him; so much I all
    but once overturned. But what I have mentioned was another
    turn more, so that the wheels were again _in statu quo_, and
    the horse not in the least disordered: if it should be unruly,
    with the help of one pin, you disengage him from the Calesh
    without any inconvenience. I myself was once overturned, and
    knew it not, till I looked up, and saw the wheel flat over my
    head; and, if a man went with his eyes shut, he would imagine
    himself in the most smooth way, though, at the same time,
    there were three feet difference in the heights of the ground
    of each wheel. In fine, we have made so many, and so various
    experiments, and are so well satisfied of the usefulness of
    the invention, that we each of us have bespoke one; they are
    not (plain) above six or eight pounds a-piece.”

[Illustration: _Early Italian Gig at the South Kensington Museum_]

Why the nobility, gentry, and worthy burgesses of England, Scotland,
and Ireland did not go and do likewise, history hides from us. There is
no further mention of Sir Richard’s truly remarkable carriage, and one
is left to imagine that some of the Irish roads were too bad even for
its freakish agility.

On the other hand, they were probably superior to the Scottish roads
of the time, even those in the more civilised southern districts.
“It is recorded,” says Croal, “that in 1678”—the year after the
founding of the Coach and Coach-Harness Makers’ Company in London—“the
difficulties in the way of rapid communication were such that an
agreement was made to run a coach between Edinburgh and Glasgow, a
distance of forty-four miles, which was to be drawn by six horses, and
to perform the journey to Glasgow and back in six days!”

Cross-country travelling, indeed, was very bad, and the rough tracks
over which the heavy stage-coaches rumbled along would have proved too
much for the lighter chariots and gigs which were so popular in town.
I may conclude this chapter by quoting an amusing description of such
cross-country travelling at the end of the century, taken from Sir John
Vanbrugh’s _Provoked Husband_. A family is going in its private coach
from Yorkshire to London:—

    _Lord Townley._ Mr. Moody, your servant; I am glad to see you
    in London. I hope all the family is well.

    _John Moody._ Thanks be praised, your honour, they are all in
    pretty good heart, thof’ we have had a power of crosses upo’
    the road.

    _Lady Grace._ I hope my Lady has no hurt, Mr. Moody.

    _John._ Noa, an’t please your ladyship, she was never in
    better humour: There’s money enough stirring now.

    _Manly._ What has been the matter, John?

    _John._ Why, we came up in such a hurry, you mun think that
    our tackle was not so tight as it should be.

    _Manly._ Come, tell us all: pray how do they travel?

    _John._ Why i’ the auld coach, Measter; and cause my Lady
    loves to do things handsome, to be sure, she would have a
    couple of cart horses clapt to th’ four old geldings, that
    neighbours might see she went up to London in her coach and
    six! And so Giles Joulter the ploughman rides postilion!


    _Lord Townley._ And when do you expect them here, John?

    _John._ Why, we were in hopes to ha’ come yesterday, an’ it
    had no’ been that th’ owld wheaze-belly horse tired; and then
    we were so cruelly loaden, that the two fore-wheels came crash
    down at once in Waggon-Rut Lane; and there we lost four hours
    ’fore we could set things to rights again.

    _Manly._ So they bring all their baggage with the coach then?

    _John._ Ay, ay, and good store on’t there is. Why, my Lady’s
    gear alone were as much as filled four portmantel trunks,
    besides the great deal box that heavy Ralph and the monkey sit
    on behind.

    _Lady Grace._ Well, Mr. Moody, and pray how many are there
    within the coach?

    _John._ Why, there’s my Lady and his Worship, and the young
    squoire, and Miss Jenny, and the fat lap-dog, and my lady’s
    maid Mrs. Handy, and Doll Tripe the cook; that’s all. Only
    Doll puked a little with riding backward, so they hoisted her
    into the coach-box, and then her stomach was easy.

    _Lady Grace._ Oh! I see ’em go by me. Ah! ha!

    _John._ Then, you mun think, Measter, there was some stowage
    for the belly, as well as th’ back too; such cargoes of plum
    cake, and baskets of tongues, and biscuits and cheese, and
    cold boiled beef, and then in case of sickness, bottles of
    cherry-brandy, plague-water, sack, tent, and strong beer, so
    plenty as made the owld coach crack again! Mercy upon ’em! and
    send ’em all well to town, I say.

    _Manly._ Ay! and well on’t again, John.

    _John._ Ods bud! Measter, you’re a wise mon; and for that
    matter, so am I. Whoam’s whoam, I say; I’m sure we got but
    little good e’er we turned our backs on’t. Nothing but
    mischief! Some devil’s trick or other plagued us, aw th’ day
    lung. Crack goes one thing: Bawnce goes another. Woa, says
    Roger. Then souse! we are all set fast in a sleugh. Whaw!
    cries Miss; scream go the maids; and bawl! just as thof’ they
    were struck! And so, mercy on us! this was the trade from
    morning to night.



_Chapter the Sixth_

_EARLY GEORGIAN CARRIAGES_


    “May the proud chariot never be my fate,
     If purchased at so mean, so dear a rate.
     Oh, rather give me sweet content on foot,
     Wrapt in my virtue and a good surtout.”

    GAY’s _Trivia_.


Few new private carriages seem to have been designed during the
earlier decades of the eighteenth century, although improvements and
small alterations were constantly being carried out. There is an
isolated reference to a _sociable_ built apparently in Germany, and
the _four-wheeled chaise_, or _chariot à l’Anglaise_, which was to be
so popular thirty or forty years later, put in an appearance about
this time. Of the sociable little enough can be said. The particular
carriage mentioned from its small size would appear to have been built
for the royal children. It was a low-hung, open carriage over a single
perch, and with seats facing each other. The four-wheeled chaise was a
small chariot with a wide window in front.

Gray, writing to his mother in 1739, speaks of the French chaise in
which he was making the grand tour with Horace Walpole.

    “The chaise,” he writes, “is a strange sort of conveyance,
    of much greater use than beauty; resembling an ill-shaped
    chariot, only with the door opening before instead of the
    side. Three horses draw it, one between the shafts, and the
    other two on each side, on one of which the postillion rides,
    and drives too: This vehicle will upon occasion, go fourscore
    miles a day, but Mr. Walpole, being in no hurry, chooses to
    make easy journies of it, and they are easy ones indeed; for
    the motion is much like that of a sedan, we go about six miles
    an hour, and commonly change horses at the end of it. It is
    true they are not very graceful steeds, but they go well, and
    through roads which they say are bad for France, but to me
    they seem gravel walks and bowling-greens; in short, it would
    be the finest travelling in the world, were it not for the
    inns.”

Such a chaise as Gray describes came to be known as a _diligence_,
while in England the one-horse chaise was more frequently spoken of as
a _one-horse chair_. Contemporary prints of carriages, however, are
scarce, and for the most part show only the larger coaches.

[Illustration: _The State Carriage of Bavaria. Early Eighteenth Century_

(_From Smith’s “Concise History of English Carriages”_)]

These coaches were of two distinct patterns. There were the large
square coaches of Charles II’s time, but there was also a new type of
coach or chariot which had a curious backward tilt to the body. From a
superficial examination of such a carriage, it would appear impossible
for the seats to have been horizontal, and, indeed, one wonders why
this form was adopted. The result of this backward tilt was to leave
a space between the coachman’s box and the carriage-body itself. Here
one of the grooms sat or sprawled as best he could. Four, five, or
even six other grooms stood uncomfortably huddled together on a seat
or slab at the back. These men must have added considerably to the
weight of the coach, and certainly did not make travelling any swifter;
but how necessary they were is shown by a letter of the period in
which one nobleman’s servant in London informs another in Essex that
my lord is resolved to set out. The Essex man is bidden to have “the
keepers and persons who know the holes and the sloughs” ready to meet
his lordship “with lanterns and long poles” to keep the coach on its
way. So many accidents happened even on the shortest journeys that five
or six men were necessary to put the coach aright. A road, such as we
think of one now, simply did not exist. You had often to drive across
fields in tracks which exceedingly heavy waggons had made. In 1703, to
take another instance, the King of Spain, then in this country, was
journeying from Portsmouth to Windsor. The difficulties he experienced
on that occasion were recorded by one of the attendants.

    “We set out at six in the morning to go to Petworth, and did
    not get out of the coaches (save only when we were overturned
    or stuck fast in the mire) till we arrived at our journey’s
    end. ’Twas hard service for the prince to sit fourteen hours
    in the coach that day without eating anything and passing
    through the worst ways that I ever saw in my life; we were
    thrown but once indeed in going, but both our coach, which
    was the leading, and his highnesse’s body-coach would have
    suffered very often if the nimble boors of Sussex had not
    frequently poised it or supported it with their shoulders from
    Goldalmin almost to Petworth; and the nearer we approached to
    the Duke’s house the more unaccessible it seemed to be. The
    last nine miles of the way cost us six hours’ time to conquer
    them, and indeed we had never done it if our good master had
    not several times lent us a pair of horses out of his own
    coach, whereby we were enabled to trace out the way for him.”

After reading such an account, it is difficult to understand why any
one preferred coach to horseback on a cross-country journey. No wonder
Gay was goaded to ask:—

    “Who can recount the coach’s various harms,
     The legs disjointed, and the broken arms?”

“In the wide gulph,” he says in another place,

                        “the shatter’d coach o’erthrown
    Sinks with the snorting steeds; the reins are broke,
    And from the crackling axle flies the spoke.”

Yet, according to Swift, Gay was not so averse to the coach in his
later years. Writing to him in 1731, the Dean says:—

    “If your ramble was on horseback, I am glad of it on account
    of your health; but I know your arts of patching up a journey
    between stage-coaches and friends’ coaches: for you are as
    arrant a cockney as any hosier in Cheapside.... You love
    twelve-penny coaches too well, without considering that the
    interest of a whole thousand pounds brings you but half a
    crown a day.”

“A coach and six horses,” he goes on to say in another letter, “is the
utmost exercise you can bear, and this only when you can fill it with
such company as is best suited to avoid your taste, and how glad would
you be if it could waft you in the air to avoid jolting.”

There is preserved a chariot of this period which is probably typical
of a nobleman’s carriage of the time. It was built for one of the Bligh
family, possibly the first Lord Darnley, about 1720. It is a small
carriage, curved curiously in a fashion which recalls some of the
French furniture of the period. The body is slung upon leather braces,
there is a single wide perch, and there are small elbow springs under
the body at the back. It is very elaborately ornamented, and still
keeps some of its pristine magnificence. A curious point about the
Darnley chariot, to which some people have wrongfully ascribed a much
earlier date, is the length of the door, which reaches nearly a foot
below the bottom of the body. A similar peculiarity is to be seen in
another coach of the period which was built in 1713 for the Spanish
representative at the time of the Peace of Utrecht. Here “the quarters
rake towards the roof considerably, the roof over the doorway is arched
upwards, the upper quarters are filled with large glasses of mirror
plate glass.... The wheels have carved spokes and felloes.... There is
a hammercloth cushion in front and a footboard supported by Tritons
blowing horns.” Another Spanish coach, with spiral spokes and similar
peculiarities, is preserved at Madrid. This elongated door seems
peculiar to the period and may have followed upon a desire to hide the
steps, though the lowness of the carriage made more than one or two of
these unnecessary. Many of the Spanish coaches of this time, by the
way, were without the coach-box, postilions only being employed—the
story being that a certain Duke of Olivarez found that his coachman had
heard and betrayed a State secret. There was, I believe, actually a law
passed in Spain forbidding coachmen altogether.

French coaches were very resplendent. “When I was in France,” writes
Addison in one of the earlier _Spectators_, “I used to gaze with great
Astonishment at the Splendid Equipages and Party-Coloured Habits, of
that Fantastick Nation. I was one Day in particular contemplating
a Lady, that sate in a Coach adorned with gilded Cupids, and finely
painted with the Loves of _Venus_ and _Adonis_. The Coach was drawn
by six milk-white Horses, and loaden behind with the same Number of
powder’d Footmen. Just before the Lady were a Couple of beautiful
Pages that were stuck among the Harness, and, by their gay Dresses and
smiling Features, looked like the elder Brothers of the little Boys
that were carved and painted in every corner of the Coach.” The boys
“stuck among the harness” obviously were resting in that space which
was made by the back-tilting of the body.

The Viennese coaches of this time seem to have had a very great deal of
glass about them, but the Turkish coaches had none. Writing home from
Adrianople in 1717, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu says:—

    “Designing to go [to Sophia] _incognita_, I hired a Turkish
    coach. These voitures are not at all like ours, but much more
    convenient for the country, the heat being so great that
    glasses would be very troublesome. They are made a good deal
    in the manner of the Dutch coaches, having wooden lattices
    painted and gilded; the inside being painted with baskets and
    nosegays of flowers, intermixed commonly with little poetical
    mottoes. They are covered all over with scarlet cloth, lined
    with silk, and very often richly embroidered and fringed. This
    covering entirely hides the persons in them, but may be thrown
    back at pleasure, and the ladies peep through the lattices.
    They hold four people very conveniently, seated on cushions,
    but not raised.”

[Illustration: _The Darnley Chariot. Early Eighteenth Century_

(_From Smith’s “Concise History of English Carriages”_)]

They were, it would seem, mere covered waggons, and, indeed, in another
place Lady Mary speaks of them as such. Turkey possessed also “open
gilded chariots,” but in these the women were not allowed to drive.

Russia, too, at this time possessed coaches, and we read that Peter
the Great in his trans-European journey travelled with “thirty-two
four-horse carriages and four six-horse waggons.” One or two
particulars are forthcoming of the royal coach-house. It contained
but two coaches, with four places in each, for the use of the Empress
and a smaller, low-hung carriage, painted red, for the Emperor. This
was replaced in winter by a small sledge. Peter, however, was not
fond of his carriage. “He never,” says Waliszewski,[36] “got into a
coach, unless he was called upon to do honour to some distinguished
guest, and then he always made use of Menshikof’s carriages. These
were magnificent. Even when the favourite went out alone, he drove
in a gilded fan-shaped coach, drawn by six horses, in crimson velvet
trappings, with gold and silver ornaments; his arms crowned with a
prince’s coronet, adorned the panels; lacqueys and running footmen in
rich liveries ran before it; pages and musicians, dressed in velvet,
and covered with gold embroideries, followed it. Six gentlemen attended
it at each door, and an escort of dragoons completed the procession.”

It is difficult to conceive the appearance of this fan-shaped coach,
but it must have been almost startlingly magnificent, just the kind of
carriage for the Russian Buckingham.

In the imperial collection at Petersburg are preserved one or two
Russian carriages of this period. “One,” says Bridges Adams, “is
close, made of deal, stained black, mounted on four wheels, the
windows of mica instead of glass, and the frames of common tin: the
other is open, with a small machine behind of the shipwright-emperor’s
invention—its purpose to determine the number of miles traversed on a
journey. In the same collection,” he adds, “is the litter of Charles
XII used at the battle of Pultowa.”

In England glass seems to have been reserved for the private coaches.
For the commoner hackneys a substitute had been found. “For want of
Glasses to our Coach,” wrote the inimitable Ned Ward in _The London
Spy_, a book whose outspokenness unfortunately must, I suppose, have
prevented its reprinting in modern days, “we drew up our Tin Sashes,
pink’d like the bottom of a Cullender, that the Air might pass thro’
the holes, and defend us from Stifling.”

If, however, contemporary plates are singularly scarce, and the
historians have little to say of the period, there is a new source
of information to be tapped, at any rate in this country, in the
advertisements which just now began to fill whole pages in the
periodicals. Of these I may quote one or two. One deals specifically
with the question of glass windows:—

    “These are to give notice to all Persons that have occasions
    for Coach Glasses, or Glasses for Sash Windows, that they may
    be furnished with all sorts, at half the prices they were
    formerly sold for.”

Twelve inches square cost half a crown, thirty-six inches two pounds
ten shillings.

Other advertisements concern the coaches themselves. In Anne’s day
calashes, chaizes, both two-and four-wheeled, as well as the larger
chariots—these often flamboyantly decorated—were constantly for sale.

    “A very fine CHAIZE,” we read, “very well Carved, gilded and
    painted, and lined with Blue Velvet, and a very good HORSE for
    it, are to be sold together, or apart.”

    “A curious 4-Wheel SHAZE, Crane Neck’d, little the worse for
    wearing, it is to be used with 1 or 2 Horses, and there is a
    fine Harness for one Horse, and a Reputable Sumpture Laopard
    Covering.”

Here then is mention of a four-wheeled chaise with a perch curved in
front after the German fashion. Other chaises for sale had only two
wheels:—

    “At the Greyhound in West Smithfield is to be sold a
    Two-Wheeled Chaize, with a pair of Horses well match’d: It has
    run over a Bank and a Ditch 5 Foot High; and likewise through
    a deep Pit within the Ring at Hide Park, in the presence of
    several persons of Quality; which are very satisfied it cannot
    be overturn’d with fair Driving. It is to be Lett for 7s. 6d.
    a Day, with some Abatement for a longer Time.”

One is reminded of Sir Richard Bulkeley’s wonderful calash. Here was
surely a rival. Calashes were now common, though precisely what the
difference was between them and the two-wheel chaises I am unable to
say. Indeed, there is some confusion also between the small chariots
and the four-wheel chaises, and the words seem to have become
interchangeable. Both came to resemble the coupé of a later day,
being like a modern coach with the front part removed. Sometimes the
coachman’s box was on a level with the roof, but often much lower, and
sometimes altogether absent, the horses being ridden by a postilion.
Probably the carriage was called a chariot when it possessed a
coachman’s box, such as was used in town, and a chaise when it was
absent.

It was a calash that Squire Morley of Halstead wished for, but did not
obtain, in Prior’s ballad of _Down-Hall_, 1715.

    “Then answer’d Squire Morley; Pray get a calash,
     That in summer may burn, and in winter may splash;
     I love dust and dirt; and ’tis always my pleasure,
     To take with me much of the soil that I measure.

    “But Matthew thought better: for Matthew thought right,
     And hired a chariot so trim and so tight,
     That extremes both of winter and summer might pass:
     For one window was canvas, the other was glass.”

Prior evidently liked the chaises of Holland.

    “While with labour assiduous due pleasure I mix,
     And in one day atone for the business of six,
     In a little Dutch chaise on a Saturday night,
     On my left hand my Horace, a nymph on my right:
     No Memoirs to compose, and no Post-boy to move,
     That on Sunday may hinder the softness of love;
     For her, neither visits, nor parties at tea,
     Nor the long-winded cant of a dull Refugee:
     This night and the next shall be hers, shall be mine,
     To good or ill-fortune the third we resign:
     Thus scorning the world and superior to fate,
     I drive on my car in processional state.”

Another advertisement tells of a gentleman who brought a one-horse
calash to an Inn near Hyde Park Corner, took away the horse ten days
later, but left his carriage “as a pawn for what was due for the same.”
In a while the inn-keeper was advertising the fact that unless the
owner claimed it within ten days he should sell the carriage for what
it would fetch. A more curious advertisement belonging to this period
may be quoted in full:—

    “Lost the 26th of February, about 9 a Clock at Night, between
    the Angel and Crown Tavern in Threadneedle Street, and the
    end of Bucklers Berry, the side door of a Chariot, Painted
    Coffee Colour, with a Round Cypher in the Pannel, Lin’d with
    White Cloath embos’d with Red, having a Glass in one Frame,
    and White Canvas in another, with Red Strings to both Frames.
    Whoever hath taken it up are desir’d to bring it to Mr.
    Jacob’s a Coachmaker at the corner of St. Mary Ax near London
    Wall, where they shall receive 30s. Reward if all be brought
    with it; or if offer’d to be Pawn’d or Sold, desire it may be
    stop’d and notice given, or if already Pawn’d or Sold, their
    money again.”

At this time, if not before, it became customary for wealthy people to
possess coaches used only when they were in mourning. So we have:—

    “At Mr. Harrison’s, Coach Maker, in the Broadway, Westminster,
    is a Mourning Coach and Harness, never used, with a whole Fore
    Glass, and Two Glasses and all other Materials (the Person
    being deceased); also a Mourning Chariot, being little used,
    with all Materials likewise, and a Leather Body Coach, being
    very fashionable with a Coafoay Lining and 4 Glasses, and
    several sorts of Shazesses, at very reasonable rates.”

What these reasonable rates were does not appear, but we learn from
an agreement made in 1718 between one Hodges, a job-master, and a
private gentleman, the cost of hiring a complete equipage. Hodges was
to maintain “a coach, chariot, and harness neat and clean, and in all
manner of repair at his own charge, not including the wheels, for a
consideration of five shillings and sixpence a day—this to include
a pair of well-matched horses and a good, sober, honest, creditable
coachman.” If extra horses were required for country work, they were to
be had for half a crown the pair per day. And if the coachman should
break the glass when the coach was empty, Hodges and not the private
gentleman should be responsible for the damage.

From another advertisement of about the same time comes the information
that the hammercloth of carriages was constantly being stolen.
Ashton[37] gives three such advertisements.

    “Lost off a Gentleman’s Coach Box a Crimson Coffoy Hammer
    Cloth, with 2 yellow Laces about it.”

    “Lost off a Gentleman’s Coach Box, a Blue Hammer Cloth,
    trimm’d with a Gold colour’d Lace that is almost turn’d
    yellow.”

    “Lost a Red Shag Hammock Cloth, with white Silk Lace round
    it, embroider’d with white and blue, and 3 Bulls Heads and a
    Squirrel for the Coat of Arms.”

The etymology of this hammercloth, which was simply a covering over
the coach-box, seems to have puzzled people considerably. Most
coachbuilders consider that the box beneath the seat used to contain
a hammer and other tools necessary in case of a breakdown, whence
the name. The anonymous author of the coach-building articles in the
_Carriage Builders’ and Harness-Makers’ Art Journal_ scouts this idea,
and suggests that it is merely a corruption of hamper-cloth—the box
or chest having originally contained a hamper of provisions. The last
advertisement quoted above gives hammock-cloth, which vaguely
suggests suspension of a kind. It is perhaps not a very important
question.

[Illustration: _Queen Anne’s Procession to the Cathedral of S. Paul_

(_From Pennant’s “London”_)]

Advertisements also mention a “_Curtin Coach for 6 People_,” and “a
_Chasse marée Coach_,”[38] which was some form of covered waggon; but,
unfortunately, I have not been able to discover any information about
them.

The State Coaches of this time were as handsome as ever. George I, Mrs.
Delaney has recorded, rode in a coach that was “covered with purple
cloth; the eight horses the beautifullest creatures of their kind were
cream colour”—the custom of using cream-coloured horses still obtains
in the State Coach of Great Britain—“the trapping purple silk, and
their manes and tails tied with purple riband.” Luttrell in his Diary
for May 20th, 1707, says of a foreign coach:—

    “Yesterday the Venetian Ambassadors made their public entry
    thro’ this citty to Somerset House in great state and
    splendour, their Coach of State embroidered with gold, and
    the richest that ever was seen in England: they had two with
    8 horses, and eight with 6 horses, trimm’d very fine with
    ribbons, 48 footmen in blew velvet cover’d with gold lace, 24
    gentlemen and pages on horseback, with feathers in their hats.”

The Venetians apparently prided themselves on a magnificent display,
and four years later Swift, in one of his letters to Stella, was
commenting upon their ambassador’s coach again—“the most monstrous,
huge, fine, gilt thing that ever I saw,” he says of it. Every possible
luxury was commandeered for these State vehicles. One of the Emperors
built a coach “studded with gold” for his bride. Another’s consort rode
in a carriage “covered with perfumed leather.” The wedding carriage
of the first wife of the Emperor Leopold had cost 38,000 florins. But
the Austrian State Imperial Coach, built in 1696, was perhaps the
most gorgeous of all. Immense sums too were being spent on coaches by
private individuals. Swift writes on February 6th, 1712: “Nothing has
made so great a noise as one Kelson’s chariot, that cost nine hundred
and thirty Pounds, the finest was ever seen. The rabble huzzaed him as
much as they did Prince Eugene.” Fashion decreed six horses. “I must
have Six Horses in my Coach,” says Mrs. Plotwell in the _Beau’s Duel_,
“four are fit for those that have a Charge of Children, you and I shall
never have any”; and in another of Mrs. Centlivre’s comedies, Lucinda
says to Sir Toby Doubtful: “You’ll at least keep Six Horses, Sir Toby,
for I wou’d not make a Tour in High Park with less for the World: for
me thinks a pair looks like a Hackney.” Abroad even more display was
made. “Two coaches,” wrote Lady Mary from Naples in 1740, “two running
footmen, four other footmen, a gentleman usher, and two pages, are as
necessary here as the attendance of a single servant is at London.”

Nor was carriage-driving confined to the gentry. Every retired
tradesman appeared abroad in his coach and aped the noble, a matter
which disturbed Sir Richard Steele, who in one of the _Tatlers_ drew
attention to the truly lamentable fact that you could not possibly
estimate the social position of the occupant of a coach by the
appearance of his equipage.

    “For the better understanding of things and persons,” he
    writes, “in this general confusion, I have given directions
    to all the coachmakers and coachpainters in town, to bring me
    in lists of their several customers; and doubt not, but with
    comparing the orders of each man, in the placing of his arms
    on the door of his chariot, as well as the words, devices
    and ciphers to be fixed upon them, to make a collection
    which shall let us into the nature, if not the history, of
    mankind, more usefully than the curiosities of any medallist
    in Europe. It is high time,” he continues, “that I call in
    such coaches as are in their embellishment improper for the
    character of their owners. But if I find I am not obeyed
    herein, and think I cannot pull down those equipages already
    erected, I shall take upon me to prevent the growth of this
    evil for the future, by inquiring into the pretensions of the
    persons, who shall hereafter attempt to make public entries
    with ornaments and decorations of their own appointment. If a
    man, who believed he had the handsomest leg in this kingdom,
    should take a fancy to adorn so deserving a limb with a blue
    garter, he would be justly punished for offending against the
    Most Noble Order; and, I think, the general prostitution of
    equipage and retinue is as destructive to all distinction, as
    the impertinences of one man, if permitted, would certainly be
    to that illustrious fraternity.”

The temptation for display must have been great. Nothing attracted the
public attention like a fine coach. In the north of Scotland, indeed,
any carriage caused the profoundest astonishment.

    “I was entertained,” says a contemporary writer, “with the
    Surprise and Amusement of the Common People when in the year
    1725 a Chariot with six monstrous great Horses arrived here
    by way of the Sea Coast. An Elephant publicly exhibited
    in the Streets of London could not have excited greater
    admiration. One asked what the Chariot was; another, who had
    seen the gentlemen alight, told the first with a Sneer at his
    Ignorance, it was a great cart to carry people in, and such
    like.”

And even in Johnson’s day, when there were few coaches to be found
in this part of the country, though a lighter vehicle called in old
account books a _cheas_ was sometimes used, public astonishment was
great. Yet it was in the north of Scotland that military roads were
constructed in 1726 and 1737—not particularly good roads, but very
necessary—and the first of their kind.

Swift in _Apollo, or a Problem Solved_, satirised the prevailing
luxury. Compared with Apollo, he says:—

    “No heir upon his first appearance,
     With twenty thousand pounds a year rents,
     E’er drove, before he sold his land,
     So fine a coach along the Strand:
     The spokes, we are by Ovid told,
     Were silver, and the axle gold:
     I own, ’twas but a coach-and-four,
     For Jupiter allows no more.”

But whether Jupiter allowed it or not, your fashionable dame had six
horses put into her coach, and the more grooms in attendance upon her,
the better for her reputation as a Person of Quality. There is a good
story, by the way, of Swift and a hackney coach. It is told by Leigh
Hunt in his essay on _Coaches_.

    “He was going,” says Hunt, “one dark evening, to dine with
    some great man, and was accompanied by some other clergymen,
    to whom he gave their clue. They were all in their canonicals.
    When they arrive at the house, the coachman opens the door,
    and lets down the steps. Down steps the Dean, very reverend in
    his black robes; after him comes another personage, equally
    black and dignified; then another; then a fourth. The
    coachman, who recollects taking up no greater number, is about
    to put up the steps, when another clergyman descends. After
    giving way to this other, he proceeds with great confidence
    to toss them up, when lo! another comes. Well, there cannot,
    he thinks, be more than six. He is mistaken. Down comes
    a seventh, then an eighth; then a ninth; all with decent
    intervals; the coach in the meantime rocking as if it were
    giving birth to so many daemons. The coachman can conclude no
    less. He cries out ‘The devil! the devil!’ and is preparing
    to run away, when they all burst into laughter. They had gone
    round as they descended, and got in at the other door.”

It may be that the private coaches and chariots were rather more
comfortable than the hackneys, but nothing, it seems, could equal the
tortures which were inflicted upon the unfortunate passengers who were
forced to ride in the public carriages.

    “When our _Stratford_ Tub,” writes Ned Ward, “by the
    Assistance of its Carrionly Tits of different colours,
    had outrun the Smoothness of the Road, and enter’d upon
    _London_-Stones, with as frightful a Rumbling as an empty
    _Hay-Cart_, our Leathern-Conveniency[39] being bound in
    the Braces to its good Behaviour, had no more Sway than a
    _Funeral Hearse_, or a _Country-Waggon_, that we were jumbled
    about like so many _Pease_ in a Childs-Rattle, running, at
    every Kennel-Jolt, a great hazard of a Dislocation: This
    we endured till we were brought within White-Chappel Bars,
    where we Lighted from our Stubborn Caravan, with our Elbows
    and Shoulders as Black and Blew as a _Rural Joan_, that had
    been under the Pinches of an Angry _Fairy_. Our weary Limbs
    being rather more Tir’d than Refresh’d, by the Thumps and
    Tosses of our ill-contriv’d Engine, as unfit to move upon a
    Rugged Pavement as a Gouty Sinner is to valt o’er _London
    Bridge_, with his Boots on. For my part, said I, if this be
    the Pleasure of Riding in a Coach thro’ _London-Streets_,
    may those that like it enjoy it, for it has loosen’d my
    Joynts in so short a Passage, that I shall scarce recover
    my former Strength this Fortnight; and, indeed, of the two,
    I would rather chuse to cry _Mouse-Traps_ for a Livelihood,
    than be oblig’d every day to be drag’d about Town under such
    uneasiness; and if the Qualities Coaches are as troublesome
    as this, I would not be bound to do their Pennance for their
    Estates. You must consider, says my Friend, you have not the
    right Knack of Humouring the Coaches Motion; for there is as
    much Art in Sitting in a coach finely, as there is in riding
    the Great Horse; and many a younger Brother has got a good
    Fortune by his Genteel Stepping in and out, when he pays a
    Visit to her Ladyship.”

In Fleet Street, it seems, things were very bad. “The Ratling of
Coaches,” says Ward, “loud as the _Cataracts_ of _Nile_ Rob’d me of my
Hearing, and put my Head into as much disorder as the untunable Hollows
of a Rural Mob at a Country _Bull-Baiting_.” More trouble followed
later in the day.

    “Now, says my Friend, I believe we are not tired with the
    Labours of the Day; let us therefore Dedicate the latter part
    purely to our Pleasure, take a Coach and go see _May-Fair_.
    Would you have me, said I, undergo the Punishment of a Coach
    again, when you know I was made so great a sufferer by the
    last, that it made my Bones rattle in my Skin, and has brought
    as many Pains about me, as if troubled with Rheumatism. That
    was a Country Coach, says he, and only fit for the Road; but
    _London_ Coaches are hung more loose to prevent your being
    Jolted by the Roughness of the Pavement. This Argument of my
    Friends prevail’d upon me, to venture my Carcase a second Time
    to be Rock’d in a _Hackney_ Cradle. So we took Leave of the
    _Temple_, turn’d up without _Temple-Bar_, and there took Coach
    for the General Rendezvous aforementioned.

    “By the help of a great many Slashes and Hey-ups, and after as
    many Jolts and Jumbles, we were dragg’d to the _Fair_, where
    our Charioteer had difficulty with his fare—the gay ladies
    refusing to pay, but one eventually pledging her scarf and
    taking his number.”

It is to be remembered that at this time, as in the last century, the
hackney coaches were used much in the manner of the modern omnibus.
You did not necessarily have one to yourself. The same held good with
regard to the post-chaises. Advertisements were constantly appearing
for a “partner.”

The uneasy motion which so disturbed Ned Ward was a matter which was
receiving the attention of carriage-builders, but little enough was
done. Yet in England, France and Spain, quite a number of strange
machines (including one which was supposed to go without horses) were
invented, and had their day, and disappeared into the lumber-room of
time. Two in particular, though in the main unsuccessful, deserve
mention.

One, properly belonging to the seventeenth century, concerned a new
steel spring, patented in 1691 by a Mr. John Green. It was thus
advertised:—

    “All the nobility and gentry may have the carriages of
    their coaches made new or the old ones altered, after this
    invention, at reasonable rates; and hackney and stage
    coachmen may have licences from the Patentees, Mr. _John
    Green_ and Mr. _William Dockwra_, his partner, at the rate
    of 12_d._ per week, to drive the roads and streets, some of
    which having this week began, and may be known from the common
    coaches by the words patent Coach being over both doors in
    carved letters. These coaches are so hung as to render them
    easier for the passenger and less labour for the horses, the
    gentleman’s coaches turning in narrow streets and lanes in as
    little or less room than any French carriage with crane neck,
    and not one third of the charge. The manner of the coachman’s
    sitting is more convenient, and the motion like that of a
    sedan, being free from the tossing and jolting to which other
    coaches are liable over rough and broken roads, pavements
    or kennels. These great Conveniences (besides others) are
    invitation sufficient for all persons that love their own
    ease and would save their horses draught, to use these sort
    of carriages and no other, since these carriages need no
    alteration.”

Here, in addition to the spring, there was some kind of turning head—a
question which occupied the attention of designers throughout the next
century, but nothing more of Mr. John Green or of his partner was heard
of, and his patent coaches found few if any purchasers.

The other contrivance was a primitive form of gear invented by one
James Rowe. In 1727 this Rowe wrote a book—not, however, published
until 1734—called _All Sorts of Wheel Carriage, Improved_. This was a
small tract “wherein is plainly made to appear, that a much less than
the usual Draught of Horses, etc., will be required, in Waggons, Carts,
Coaches, and all other Wheel Vehicles” by the application of small
“friction wheels and pulleys.” Rowe obtained a patent for his gear
and apparently applied his small wheels to the axle just within the
ordinary wheels, but his own coach was probably the only one ever to
be so fitted. It was felt no doubt that the whole question was one of
roads rather than of carriages. Improve your roads, and the discomforts
of travelling would disappear.

The British stage-coaches of this time were, according to Sir Walter
Scott,

    “constructed principally of a dull black leather, thickly
    studded, by way of ornament, with black-headed nails tracing
    out the panels; in the upper tier of which were four oval
    windows, with heavy red wooden frames, and green stuff or
    leathern curtains. Upon the doors, also, there appeared but
    little of that gay blazonry which shines upon the numerous
    quadrigae of the present time; but there were displayed in
    large characters the names of the places whence the coach
    started, and whither it went, stated in quaint and ancient
    language. The vehicles themselves varied in shape. Sometimes
    they were like a distiller’s vat; sometimes flattened, and
    hung equally balanced between the immense front and back
    springs; in other instances they resembled a violincello case,
    which was past all comparison the most fashionable form; and
    they hung in a more genteel posture, namely, inclining on
    to the back springs, and giving to those who sat within the
    appearance of a stiff Guy Faux, uneasily seated. The roofs
    of the coaches, in most cases, rose into a swelling curve,
    which was sometimes surrounded by a high iron guard.... The
    coachman, and the guard, who always held his carabine ready
    bent, or, as we now say, cocked upon his knee, then sat
    together; not as at present, upon a close, compact varnished
    seat, but over a very long and narrow boot, which passed under
    a large spreading hammer cloth, hanging down on all sides, and
    finished with a flowing and most luxurious fringe. Behind
    the coach was the immense basket stretching far and wide
    beyond the body, to which it was attached by long iron bars or
    supports passing beneath it; though even these seemed scarcely
    equal to the enormous weight with which they were frequently
    loaded. They were, however, never very great favourites,
    although their difference of price caused them frequently to
    be well filled, for, as an ancient Teague observed, ‘they
    got in so long after the coach, that they ought to set out a
    day sooner, to be there at the same time. Arrah!’ continued
    he, ‘can’t they give it the two hind wheels, and let it go
    first?’ The wheels of these old carriages were large, massive,
    ill-formed, and usually of a red colour; and the three horses
    that were affixed to the whole machine—the foremost of which
    was helped onward by carrying a huge long-legged elf of a
    postillion, dressed in a cocked hat, with a large green and
    gold riding coat—were all so far parted from it by the great
    length of their traces, that it was with no little difficulty
    that the poor animals dragged their unwieldy burthen along
    the road. It groaned, and creaked, and lumbered, at every
    fresh tug which they gave it, as a ship, rocking or beating
    up, through a heavy sea, strains all her timbers with a
    low-moaning sound, as she drives over the contending waves.”

No wonder, said Scott, that at this time people invariably made their
wills before setting out on a journey of any length. The dangers were
manifold and very real.

In France the stage-coaches, or _diligences_, were very similar “with
large bodies, having three small windows on each side and hung by
leather braces on long perch carriages, with high hind wheels and low
front wheels, without any driving box and fitted with large baskets,
back and front for passengers or luggage; they were drawn by five
horses and driven by a postillion on the off wheeler instead of the
near wheeler as in England.” One, at any rate, of these diligences had
springs of a kind. Another public coach in France at this time was
the _gondola_, holding ten or twelve passengers inside, these sitting
sideways with one at each end, a second attempt at a kind of omnibus.
Still another public vehicle popular about this time in Paris was the
_coucou_. Of this weird machine Ramée says:—

    “Figure a box, yellow, green, brown, red, or sky blue, open
    in front, having two foul benches which had formerly been
    stuffed, on which were placed six unfortunate voyagers. In the
    sides it had, right and left, one or two square openings, to
    give air during the day or in summer. While the interior was
    sufficiently open to the world, there was built an apron in
    front, framed in woodwork and covered with sheet iron. Upon
    this apron was thrown a third bench, on which were seated the
    driver of the _coucou_ and two passengers who were termed
    _lapins_ (rabbits).”

The _coucou_ was regularly to be seen lumbering painfully along with
its ten or a dozen passengers, its snail’s pace giving it the ironical
name of _vigoureux_. The poorer people almost exclusively used the
_coucou_, although a smart woman with her pet dog, or a gentleman who
had been unable to find a place in the more aristocratic _gondola_,
were occasionally to be seen in its interior sandwiched in between two
peasants.

In Spain the _coucou_ found an equivalent in the _galera_, which was
provided with the ubiquitous basket—a low waggon it was, with its
sides formed of a number of wooden spokes at a considerable distance
from each other, and having no bottom save a strip of spartum on which
the trunks and packages were heaped. In Spain there were several
types of cart, two-or four-wheeled, which likewise plied for passenger
hire. One of these, called a _correo real_, seems to have travelled at
rather a greater pace, though with even less comfort to the unfortunate
passengers than the others. A century later this _correo real_ was
described by Théophile Gautier, who speaks of it as “an antediluvian
vehicle, of which the model could only be found in the fossil
remains of Spain, immense bell-shaped wheels, with very thin spokes,
considerably behind the frame, which had been painted red somewhere
about the time of Isabella the Catholic; an extravagant body full of
all sorts of crooked windows, and lined in the inside with small satin
cushions, which may at some period have been rose-coloured, and the
whole decorated with a kind of silk that was once probably of various
colours.”

In 1743 the system of travelling post, which so long before as 1664 had
been common in France, was introduced into England by one John Trull,
an artillery officer, who obtained a patent for letting carriages for
hire across country. These were the _post-chaises_, of which the first
were two-wheeled with the door in front—in this respect being similar
to the French _chaises de poste_, from which the idea was taken.
Trull’s scheme, however, though successful in itself does not seem to
have brought money to its inventor, who thirty years later died in
the King’s Bench. The door of these first post-chaises “was hinged at
the bottom and fell forward on to a small dasher like a gentleman’s
cabriolet,” and there was a window on either side. “It was hung upon
two very lofty wheels,” says Thrupp, “and long shafts for one horse,
and the body was rather in front of the wheels, so that the weight on
the horse’s back must have been considerable. It was suspended at first
upon leather braces only, but later upon two upright or whip springs
behind, and two elbow springs in front from the body to the cross-bar,
which joined the shafts and carried the step.” Soon, however, these
post-chaises were built with four wheels, and resembled the ordinary
private chariots of the day, though without their lavish ornamentation.
In less than ten years, however, a larger body was given to them,
so that they came to resemble the coach rather than the smaller and
slimmer chariots, while the coachman’s box was made very much higher.

The post-chaise became extraordinarily popular. The literature of
the mid-eighteenth century is full of references to it. All kinds of
adventures happened to people in post-chaises. They were seen in every
part of the country, they could be hired here, there, and everywhere.
Dr. Johnson was only one amongst thousands who loved them. “If I had no
duties,” he records, “and no reference to futurity, I would spend my
life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman.” “I have
tried almost every mode of travelling since I saw you,” wrote Wilkes
to his daughter, “in a coach, chaise, waggon, boat, _treckscuyt_,
_traineau_, sledge, etc. I know none so agreeable as my English
post-chaise.”

One thinks naturally of Laurence Sterne. Both in _Tristram Shandy_ and
in the _Sentimental Journey_ he has much to say of the post-chaises.
“Something is always wrong,” he is grumbling somewhere, “in a French
post-chaise, upon first setting out.... A French postillion has always
to alight before he has got three hundred yards out of town.” And
then, of course, there is that never-to-be-forgotten _désobligeante_
which he purchased from M. Dessein at Calais.[40]

    “There being no travelling in France and Italy,” he recounts,
    “without a chaise—and nature generally prompting us to the
    thing we are fittest for, I walk’d out into the coach-yard
    to buy or hire something of that kind to my purpose: an old
    _Désobligeante_, in the furthest corner of the court, hit my
    fancy at first sight, so I instantly got into it.”

And there it was in that queer little carriage which would hold but
one person, that Sterne wrote his famous Preface about Travellers,
“though it would have been better,” he observed, when interrupted, “in
a _Vis-à-Vis_.” The particular _désobligeante_ seems to have proved
satisfactory, but for the species Sterne could not find much praise.

    “In Monsieur Dessein’s coach-yard,” he says, “I saw another
    old tatter’d _désobligeante_; and notwithstanding it was the
    exact picture of that which had hit my fancy so much in the
    coach-yard but an hour before, the very sight of it stirr’d up
    a disagreeable sensation within me now; and I thought ’twas a
    churlish beast into whose heart the idea could first enter, to
    construct such a machine; nor had I much more charity for the
    man who could think of using it.”

It was certainly not a very sociable carriage, but then neither was the
sedan: both were very useful.


I may conclude this chapter by drawing attention to the tax upon
coaches which was levied at the beginning of 1747. From the fuss that
was made when such a bill was first introduced—it was temporarily
abandoned—you might imagine that one of the most treasured articles of
the Constitution was about to be swept away.

    “It is impossible to express,” wrote a country clergyman to
    his bishop in a letter which deserves quotation as affording
    an insight into the lesser equipages used in the country
    at this time, “the various impressions your lordship’s
    letter, relating to the tax upon coaches, made here; as
    people imagined it a jest, or serious: As most inclined to
    the former, it would be too tedious to trouble you with the
    witticisms and conundrums it occasioned. B. said the Church
    was in danger; C. observed it would be like the gospel-feast
    inverted, that the maimed and lame being the only guests
    admitted there, would be the only ones excluded here.... As we
    have now no reason to doubt such a tax being really intended,
    give me leave to represent to you our thoughts of it here.
    My living, your Lordship knows, is under £70 _per Ann._, yet
    out of this, some years since, I made a shift to lay out six
    pounds on an old chariot, which, with the help of my ploughman
    and a pair of cart-horses, has drawn my wife, etc., half a
    mile to church, who, for the future, must go in a cart, or
    stay at home. Repairs, etc., have cost me, _communibus annis_,
    for the eleven years I have had it, about 7s. so the interest
    of my money, at 5 _per cent_, on the £6 and 7s. in repairs,
    is 13s. _per Ann._, which with tax on this my pompous luxury,
    will be increased to £4 13s. _per Ann._, almost the prime
    cost of setting up my Equipage. I am afraid this is not my
    case singly, but will be found pretty nearly so, of most of
    the small clergy in England. Among the laity we have several
    gentlemen farmers, who manage, in some degree, with the same
    frugality, and who, for the same reasons, are prepared to part
    with, or continue them according to the fate of this bill;
    insomuch, that I can compute that in sixteen parishes I have
    in my eye three times that number of coaches will be disposed
    of, for we look on the same sum, which is but a trifling duty
    on grand equipages, to amount to a prohibition on ours, which
    resembles them no more than a ragged coat does an embroidered
    suit. I shall not dwell on the quantity of glass (not to
    mention leather, etc.), this will bring to market, nor the
    future consumption of these commodities it will prevent.... To
    me I own it looks a little like the son eating the father....
    How many single gentlemen,” he goes on to ask, after pointing
    out that it is the poorer married men who will suffer most,
    “from 2, 3, to 800_l._ a year, and more, have no coaches, yet
    keep a stable of hunters (the worst of which would purchase
    my equipage) and a pack of hounds, whom this duty will not
    affect?”

But the bill was passed, and so we must suppose that our clergyman and
his farmer friends were forced to walk to church.

Some verses printed in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ at this time may also
be quoted as reflecting the general opinion about the bill.

    “Before Bohemian _Anne_ was Queen,
     Astride their steeds were ladies seen;
     And good Queen _Bess_ to _Paul’s_, I wot,
     Full oft astride has jogg’d on trot:
     Beaus then could foot it thro’ all weather,
     And nothing fear’d but wear of leather.
     But now (so luxury decrees)
     The polish’d age rolls on at ease:
     Coach, chariot, chaise, berlin, landau[41]
     (Machines the ancients never saw)
     Indulge our gentle sons of war,
     Who ne’er will mount triumphant car.
     The carriage marks the peer’s degree,
     And almost tells the doctor’s fee;
     Bears ev’ry thriving child of art;
     Ev’n thieves to _Tyburn_ claim their cart.
         O cruel law! replete with pain,
     That makes us use our feet again;
     Or, half our pair oblig’d to lack,
     Bids us bestride the other’s back.
     A shilling stage would suit with many,
     Who cannot reach an eighteen penny.
     _Rock_ must enhance the price of pills,
     Or drive again—one pair of wheels.
     The graduate too will be to seek,
     Who mounts his chariot twice a week:
     For if the hackneymen should grumble,
     I fear our Phaeton[41] must tumble.
     O cruel law! to raise the fare
     Of Christmas turkey, chine, and hare;
     The vails or wages to retrench
     Of country serving-man or wench,
     Who twice a year ride up and down,
     Betwixt their native place and town.
         O cruel tax! who must not say,
     Which only those who will—need pay?”

From this bill, those who used the one-horse chaises certainly
suffered. _Rusticus_ thereupon offered the following advice to his
fellow-sufferers at the time of the next General Election:—

    “Ye who late loll’d in easy _chaise and one_,
     And now must walk, or ride _Old Grey_ or _Dun_,
     Enquire when wheels were tax’d (to mend your fate)
     What patriots, _spokesmen_ were in the debate.
     And get this act, a promise to revoke,
     Or _put_ into each _spokesman’s_ wheel a _spoke_.”



_Chapter the Seventh_

_THE WAR OF THE WHEELS: WITH SOME CURIOSITIES, REGAL AND OTHERWISE_


    “The morning came, the chaise was brought,
      But yet was not allowed
    To drive up to the door, lest all
      Should say that she was proud.

    “So three doors off the chaise was stayed,
      When they did all get in,
    Six precious souls, and all agog
      To dash through thick and thin.”

    _John Gilpin._


“In my journey to _London_,” wrote an indignant correspondent to the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_, early in 1747, “I travell’d from _Harborough_
to _Northampton_, and well was it that I was in a light Berlin, and six
good horses, or I might have overlaid in that turnpike road. But for
fear of life and limb, I walk’d several miles on foot, met 20 waggons
tearing their goods to pieces, and the drivers cursing and swearing
for being robb’d on the highway by a turnpike, screen’d under an Act
of Parliament.” These turnpikes, or toll-gates, had been but lately
established in England for the preservation of the roads. That they
did very much immediate good, however, may be doubted. A few years
afterwards an English traveller was grumbling at the superiority of the
French roads over our own. “Nothing piques me more,” he wrote in an
amusingly satirical passage, “than that a trumpery despotic Government,
like France, should have enchanting roads from the capital to each
remote part.” He seems to have taken trouble to find out the cause for
so lamentable a difference, and for this purpose consulted “the most
solemn looking waggoner on the road.”

    “This prov’d to be _Jack Whipcord_ of _Blandford_. Jack’s
    answer was ‘That roads had but one object, namely,
    waggon-driving. That he requir’d but five feet wedth in a line
    [which he resolved never to quit], and all the rest might go
    to the d—— l. That the gentry ought to stay at home and be
    d—— and not run gossiping up and down the country. But,
    added _Jack_, we will soon cure them, for my brethren since
    the late act have made a vow to run our wheels in the coach
    quarter. We tack on a sixth or seventh horse at pleasure.
    What a plague would they send us to the galleys for this, as
    papishes do in beyond-sea countries.’”

The Act to which Jack referred had been passed in 1745. It followed
upon the fact that while coaches, generally speaking, were in process
of becoming lighter, carts and waggons were becoming much heavier.
And so it had been proposed that no waggon should be drawn by more
than four horses, no matter whether these were “in length, pairs or
sideways,” and no cart should have more than three. Every horse above
these numbers could be forfeited together “with all geers, bridles,
halters, harness and accoutrements.” There were to be collectors of
tolls, and gentlemen’s private carriages and purely agricultural
waggons were to be exempt. Also certain roads, presumably those but
lately laid down according to the best ideas of the time, were to be
treated as outside the scope of the Act. And if the wheels of these
heavy waggons and carts possessed “wheels bound with streaks or tire
of the breadth of eight inches at least when worn and not set on with
rose-headed nails,” they might likewise be exempt.

This Bill gave rise to a curious wordy warfare, which was carried
on for some years, and may be said to have interested people in the
general questions of wheeled traffic right on until the time when
McAdam’s schemes altogether altered general opinion. This war, of
course, hardly touched private carriages, but was waged in so many
quarters and with such various weapons that it deserves some mention in
any account of carriages.

It was immediately “objected by multitudes” that the Bill of 1745
would “greatly enhance the price of carriage of goods,” but its
apologists argued that even if it did, better-designed carriages and
carts would be built, so that the roads would improve, and the price
of cartage ultimately go down. “It is urged,” they said, “that light
carts or waggons may be used, and the horses draw double, as in the
rabbet waggons of Norfolk, which improves the road and contributes to
expedition.”

At an early stage in this war two factions arose. On the one hand you
had coachbuilders and others filling the newspapers and publishing
tracts, some very serious, some extraordinarily mathematical, others
merely facetious, to prove that the roads could be preserved only by
using very broad wheels—some, indeed, advocated rollers, which, as we
shall see, were actually tried—and on the other hand you had people
filling more columns, and very dull columns some of them were, to show
that a low broad wheel was the one thing which no really satisfactory
vehicle could possibly possess. These were the apologists for the
lighter waggons with large but slender wheels. Decrease your weight,
said they, and never mind about the wheels; it is the great weight that
ruins the roads. How can you decrease the weight, asked the broad-wheel
faction, without increasing the cost of carriage? Increase the cost of
carriage for a while, was the reply, and see what happens to the roads.

For a time, however, the broad-wheel faction held the advantage, and
when further legislation was made in 1754, it was entirely in their
favour.

    “It is enacted that after next Michaelmas, no wheel carriage
    of burthen (except it be drawn by oxen only, or if by horses
    with less than five, if a four-wheeled carriage, with less
    than four) shall travel any turnpike road, unless the fellies
    of the wheels shall be nine inches from side to side under a
    penalty of £5, or the forfeiture of one of the horses, with
    all his accoutrements, to the sole use of the person who shall
    seize them.”

So soon as such proposals had become law, it was asked with some
pertinence: where were these huge wheels to come from? What of the
heavy expenses that would fall on the farmers? The parrot cry, “Your
wheels will cost you more,” was hinted at, if not expressed in so
modern a way. Arguments were put forward to show that the correct
height for wheels was anything between two and eight feet, and the
correct breadth from three to eighteen inches. And the disputes became
tinged with personalities. But the net result seems to have been that
most people fought shy of the very wide wheels, and were content to use
less horses.

The war dragged on, and particular inventions to cope with the
difficulty began to appear. A new tire was widely advertised. An
enthusiastic inventor occupied two or three pages of the _Gentleman’s
Magazine_ with details of his particular waggon, which had the
front and back wheels of very different sizes, but what exactly its
advantages might be were not very clear to any one but himself. Then
on the 14th of April, 1764, one Daniel Bourn of Leominster produced a
waggon on small rollers. Though it was unsuccessful, it led the way to
further experiments, and as will be seen from the contemporary account
immediately below, contained at any rate one novel feature which was
subsequently widely adopted not only in waggons and carts, but also in
four-wheeled carriages of every description.

    “Mr. Bourn’s new machine for travelling the roads was tried
    against a common broad-wheeled waggon, but did not answer,
    the common waggon going as well with four horses, as the new
    one with eight. The weight carried was five ton besides the
    carriage. The wheels of this waggon are 14 inches; the fore
    wheels go within the hind wheels, and are so shallow as to
    turn under the bed of the waggon. The _Leominster_ stage
    waggon has these wheels.”

The experiment took place “abreast between the new road just by Pancras
to within a small distance of Bog-house Bar.” Apparently the only
advantage which the new waggon possessed was its ability to turn in
a narrow road, but although Mr. Bourn not only continued to build
such waggons, but also answered his opponents in two tracts, we hear
little more of him. Such “rolling-carts,” however, were also made by
one James Sharpe, of Leadenhall Street. Sharpe was a pushful man.
He believed in his system, and apparently made those in authority
see its advantages. His rollers, you learn, were cylinders of cast
iron, two feet in diameter and sixteen inches broad. An iron spindle
was inserted through the centre of each. Several of Sharpe’s waggons
were on the roads, but although every facility was given them, they
never really took the popular fancy. And indeed, they must have been
uncouth monsters rattling along the roads something after the fashion
of the steam-roller of ten years ago. Just about this time, too, the
light-cart faction showed that it was not in the least moribund. It
indited learned and highly technical articles which the newspapers
found space to print with some regularity. A typical reply to such
articles was inserted in the _Public Advertiser_ early in 1767:—

    “There are people, I may say,” runs this most impolite retort,
    “a depraved Number, who write long letters upon this Subject
    in an ignorant Manner. Their Errors confirm Mankind of a
    sensible Turn what Measures ought to be taken for the Benefit
    of the trading Part of this Nation. The illiterate Scribblers
    he [the last correspondent] means to lash are those that
    insist upon the Necessity of Horses going at length instead
    of being placed abreast. The Power that draft Horses have in
    being placed abreast is so well known, that ’tis amazing any
    body is absurd enough to advance a Doctrine to the contrary.
    Then again, these deluded Idiots propagate, that the Loads
    drawn by eight Horses, having the Wheels placed nine Inches
    within nine, are destructive to the Roads, and that the Weight
    had better be divided into several narrow wheeled Carriages.
    Being thus destitute of Judgment upon the Subject, they do
    not reflect that the more Horses and Carriages the more the
    Expence increases, consequently that the internal Trade of
    this Kingdom would advance in this Article 100 per Cent. One
    Waggon with eight Horses in Pairs, drawing eight Ton upon the
    new Plan, don’t do near the Mischief that the same Weight
    would in two Waggons with narrow Wheels. Besides, four Horses
    at length cannot draw four Ton Weight. A late trifling Writer
    upon the Subject says, the Appearance of a broad Wheel Waggon
    was terrific. I think he may be pronounced a Cockney without
    Ceremony—a Cit that carries his Wife and Children four Miles
    out of Town in a Tim-Whisky, and, being most likely an aukward
    Driver, suffers the Squalls of his Horn-making Spouse to alarm
    his Dove-like Pusillanimity.”

Such a man, the article goes on to say, would surely be frightened
if he saw a three-master sailing the seas, and he and his kind had
better keep quiet upon a subject of which they appeared so entirely and
pitiably ignorant.

The contest began to embrace wider issues than the mere wheels of
waggons. It took in the whole question of wheeled carriages. It even
went so far as to include a denunciation of the general policy of the
Government, whose legislation, or lack of it, on this vexed question
was, so the light-cart faction maintained, leading directly to an
increase in the price of provisions. Nothing, apparently, was right. If
waggons were constructed on principles which were as bad as they could
be, so were the Stage-coaches, which also were using the public roads,
though some of the controversialists seemed to forget the fact.

    “We are desired,” runs a paragraph in the newspapers of this
    time, “to inform the Masters of Stage-Coaches, Machines, &c.,
    that their present Method of hanging their Carriages high with
    a low Fore-Wheel, and the body of the Coach hung forwards with
    the Stems of the Box leaning likewise forwards, is all upon a
    ridiculous wrong Principle,—the Effect of the Stupidity of
    Coachmen and Wheelwrights; that if they pursue the following
    Regulations, they will find the same Advantage that the
    Nobility and Gentry have already done by adopting this Plan:
    Let the fore Wheels be three Feet, six, eight, or ten Inches
    high, the Stems of the Box upright, and admit as little Weight
    forward as possible upon the low Wheel; the Body of the Coach
    to hang low for the Convenience of Passengers, as no Benefit
    arises from its Hanging high to the Horses, their Advantage
    laying intirely upon the Height of the Fore-Wheels.”

This in its turn was argued. Then came a proposal to tax private
carriages according to the number of horses used, and see whether
such revenue would not counterbalance in some way the increase in the
prices of provisions, which, of course, was following on this eternal
wrangle of the waggons. Also there was more legislation. Some of the
new regulations read curiously. “No tree or bush is to be allowed to
grow or stand within fifteen feet of the center of the highway, on
forfeiture of 10s. by the owner.” Cartways were to be at least twenty
feet wide, and horse causeways three feet wide. No waggon with more
than four horses might have wheels less than nine inches in width,
and some one on horseback or on foot had to go in front of it. More
criticism filled the newspapers, and more inventions appeared.

Meetings were held. One advertisement which appeared in 1767 has an
agreeable air of mystery about it.

    “All persons working Shod-wheel’d Carts, Waggons, Drays, &c.
    of all Breadths, are desired to meet at the Sun Tavern in St.
    Paul’s Churchyard, on Friday next, at four o’clock in the
    Afternoon. Enquire for No. 1.”

And more pamphlets appeared, but the roads failed to improve.

Then in 1770 another Act was passed giving privileges to the
roller-carts which were denied to the ordinary waggons. “All
carriages,” it ordered, “moving upon rollers the breadth of fifteen
inches, are allowed to be drawn with any number of horses, or other
cattle.” And, as a further inducement, such carts were to be toll-free
for a year. Mr. Sharpe, of Leadenhall Street, prospered, and wrote
to the papers to say so. The rollers, he maintained, were light and
strong, and there was considerably less friction when they were used.
And he challenged the world to disprove his statement. Whereupon an
anonymous writer belonging to the rival faction—possibly Joseph Jacob,
a coachbuilder who had already written against the system—entered the
field, and ventured to suggest that cast iron was exceedingly brittle
and not very light. Mr. Sharpe speedily replied. “The principle,” he
said, and his point is of interest, “upon which rolling carriages are
adopted is simply this, That, by the use of them the roads may be made
smooth and hard, and by that means, _become part of the mechanism_: for
thus the rollers are made to answer all the purposes of light wheels.”
The anonymous writer appears to have felt the point of this argument,
and was forced to retort, quite unworthily, that in any case Mr.
Sharpe’s rollers were not his own ideas. “No,” replied Sharpe, “they
were Mr. Daniel Bourn’s idea—a very sensible man and good mechanic,
and who was also the first contriver of nine-inch broad wheels, who so
long as ten or eleven years ago built a waggon on rollers at Leominster
where he then lived, and brought it to the Society of Arts and Sciences
in the Strand, by whom upon trial it was rejected.” The anonymous
writer left it at that, but the controversy raged fiercely. It became
so highly technical and apparently so interminable that somebody
suggested we should all use flying machines and leave the wretched
roads to look after themselves.

We may leave the war of the wheels here. The roller-carts were
discarded soon afterwards, and M’Adam and his successors rendered for
ever such wars unnecessary. But it must not be wholly neglected, and is
a tiny chapter by itself in the history of locomotion.


We come to the curiosities.

To this period belongs the present State Coach of Great Britain—that
famous “glass-coach” which Londoners had an opportunity of seeing
at King George’s Coronation. Who built it is not known. Sir William
Chambers, “an amateur,” as Thrupp is careful to point out, designed
it in 1761 for George III. “There is come forth,” wrote Walpole to
Horace Mann, “a new State Coach which has cost £8000. It is a beautiful
object, though crowded with improprieties. Its supports are Tritons,
not very well adapted to land carriage, and formed of palm trees, which
are as little aquatic as Tritons are terrestrial. The crowd to see it
on the opening of Parliament was greater than at the Coronation, and
much more damage done.”

The ornamentation of the coach, indeed, is a mass of contradictions,
but Sir William Chambers did no more than follow tradition. For over a
century the principal State Coaches had had Tritons and other queerly
inept figures, and Tritons there were in the new coach for King George.
Gorgeousness was aimed at, and gorgeousness obtained. There is a
detailed contemporary description of this coach which may be given with
an account of the expenditure, not quite £8000 as Walpole writes, which
it entailed.

    “The carriage is composed of four Tritons, who support the
    body by cables fastened to the roots of their fins: The two
    placed on the front of the carriage, bear the driver on their
    shoulders, and are represented in the action of sounding
    shells to announce the approach of the monarch of the sea; and
    those on the back part, carry the imperial fasces, topt with
    tridents instead of the ancient axes. The driver’s footboard
    is a large scollop shell, supported by a bunch of reeds,
    and other marine plants. The pole represents a bundle of
    lances, and the wheels are imitated from those of the ancient
    triumphal chariots. The body of the coach is composed of eight
    palm-trees, which, branching out at the top, sustain the roof.
    The four angular trees are loaded with trophies, allusive to
    the victories obtained by _Britain_ during the course of the
    present glorious war. On the center of the roof stand three
    boys, representing the Genii of _England_, _Scotland_, and
    _Ireland_, supporting on their heads the Imperial Crown, and
    holding in their hands the scepter, the sword of state, and
    ensigns of knighthood. Their bodies are adorned with festoons
    of laurel, which fall from thence towards the four corners of
    the roof. The intervals between the palm-trees which form the
    body of the coach, are filled in the upper parts with plates
    of glass, and below with pannels adorned with paintings.
    On the front pannel is represented BRITANNIA seated on a
    throne, holding in her hand, a staff of liberty, attended
    by _Religion_, _Justice_, _Wisdom_, _Valour_, _Fortitude_,
    and _Victory_, presenting her with a garland of laurels. On
    the back pannel, _Neptune_ issuing from his palace, drawn by
    sea-horses, and attended by the Winds, the Rivers, Tritons,
    Naids, &c., bringing the tribute of the world to the _British_
    shore. On one of the doors are represented _Mars_, _Minerva_,
    and _Mercury_, supporting the Imperial Crown of _Britain_; and
    on the other, _Industry_ and _Ingenuity_, giving a cornucopia
    to the Genius of _England_. The other four pannels represent
    the liberal _Arts_ and _Sciences_ protected; _History_ burning
    the implements of war. The inside of the coach is lined with
    Crimson Velvet richly embroidered with gold. All the wood work
    is triple gilt, and all the paintings highly varnished. The
    harness is of Crimson Velvet, adorned with buckles and other
    embelishments of silver gilt; and the saddle-cloths are of
    Blue Velvet, embroidered and fringed with gold.”

The account was as follows:—

                       £  s. d.
    Coachmaker       1673 15  0
    Carver           2500  0  0
    Gilder            933 14  0
    Painter           315  0  0
    Laceman           737 10  7
    Chaser            665  4  6
    Harnessmaker      385 15  0
    Mercer            202  5 10-1/2
    Bitt-maker         99  6  6
    Millener           31  3  4
    Sadler             10 16  6
    Woollen-draper      4  3  6
    Cover-maker         3  9  6
                    ———————————————
                    £7562  4  3-1/2

Hardly less resplendent was the Lord Mayor’s coach which had been
built at a cost of over a thousand pounds in 1757, and still performs
its duties at stated and regular intervals. It was in 1711 that a
Lord Mayor of London had ridden for the last time on horseback in his
State procession, this distinction falling to Sir Gilbert Heathcote.
Since that date he has been driven in his coach. The 1757 coach was
not at first the property of the corporation, but had been built by
subscription amongst the aldermen, to whom it belonged until 1778,
when the corporation bought it. In that year it had been repaired
and repainted—the panels possibly by Cipriani, the heraldic devices
by Catton, one of the original members of the Royal Academy and
“coach-painter to George III.” The Lord Mayor’s coach, like many
other State coaches of this date, is full of allegorical devices
of ornamentation, very plutocratic, very rich, very gorgeous, and
incidentally rather more comfortable to drive in than that in which the
British Sovereign drives to his Coronation.

Coming to lesser matters, we have mention of a carriage which performed
a remarkable feat in 1750.

    “On Wednesday 29,” runs a notice of this, “at seven in the
    morning was decided at _Newmarket_ a remarkable wager for 1000
    guineas, laid by _Theobald Taaff_, Esq., against the E. of
    _March_ and Lord _Eglington_, who were to provide a four-wheel
    carriage with a man in it to be drawn by four horses 19 miles
    in an hour; which was performed in 53 minutes and 27 seconds.
    The pole was small but lapp’d with fine wire; the perch had
    a plate underneath, two cords went on each side from the
    back carriage to the fore carriage, fastened to springs: the
    harness was of thin leather covered with silk; the seat, for
    the man to sit on, was of leather straps and covered with
    velvet; the axles of the wheel were brass, and had tins of
    oil to drop slowly for an hour. The breechens for the horses
    were whale-bone; the bars were small wood, straightened with
    steel-springs, as were most parts of the carriage, but all
    so light that a man could carry the whole with the harness.”
    Then followed the names of each of the four horses—all had
    riders—and “lord March’s groom sat in the carriage. Two or
    three other carriages had been made before, but disapproved;
    and several horses killed in trials—to the expence of 6 or
    700_l._”

Now such a carriage—there is a print of it by Bodger—was, of course,
little more than a freak. It was a mere skeleton, fragile and entirely
useless as a mode of conveyance over the ordinary roads. But the
knowledge of those nineteen miles covered easily within the hour must
have set people thinking. Such a speed was almost incredible to those
accustomed to five or six miles an hour. The carriage itself was the
work of Mr. J. Wright, a coachmaker in Longacre, already becoming
the home of his brother tradesmen, and it was doubtless exhibited
in London. It showed what could be done, and must have opened out
agreeable vistas. Twenty miles an hour was something to aim for, and
with the war with France concluded, people were able and willing to
give rather more attention to the peaceful arts. Amongst other things
they showed a desire for strange vehicles. I have mentioned the
rolling-carts; there were far queerer carriages, as we shall see, used
by the gentry.

The next curiosity I may speak of was seen in the streets of London
during the following year.

    “An odd machine, like an English waggon, drawn by 10 horses,
    after the _Danish_ manner, belonging to Baron Rosencrantz, the
    new _Danish_ envoy, came to his house in _Cleveland Row_, St.
    James’s, from _Harwich_; a coachman drove it and a postilion
    rode upon the 4th horse.”

It suggests rather a primitive type of coach, possibly innocent of
springs. What the Baron suffered during his journey through East Anglia
must be left to the imagination.

Eight years later, on August 30th, 1758, another strange carriage was
seen.

    “This day a remarkable carriage set out from
    _Aldersgate-street_ for Birmingham, from which it arrived on
    _Thursday_ last full of passengers and baggage, without using
    coomb, or any oily, unctuous, or other liquid matter whatever,
    to the wheels or axles, its construction being such as to
    render all such helps useless. The inventor has caused to be
    engraved on the boxes of the wheels, these words, FRICTION
    ANNIHILATED, and is very positive that the carriage will
    continue to go as long and as easy, if not longer and easier,
    without greasing, than any of the ordinary stage-carriages
    will do with it: This invention, if really answerable in
    practice, is perhaps the must useful improvement in mechanicks
    that this century has produced.”

[Illustration: “_The Carriage Match_”

(_From a Print by Bodger_)]

One would like to know who was the inventor of this coach, which,
however, did not prosper—I doubt if it performed another journey—for
it dropped out of history as suddenly as it had appeared. It would
seem that the inventor was a Birmingham man. Possibly he was helped in
his scheme by a very extraordinary character who lived and flourished
in that town at this time—John Baskerville, successively footman,
schoolmaster, graver, japanner, typefounder, and printer—a man
whose beautifully printed books have hardly been excelled to this
day. Baskerville had made a fortune japanning bread-baskets and the
like, and now drove about the country wonderfully dressed in a coach
apparently of his own design—he was a man who had to do everything
for himself, and being of somewhat eccentric disposition, never did
anything like anybody else—and his coach, like his house and his
printing and his religious opinions, was like nothing in the world.
He had a considerable idea of his own importance, and his coach was
a reflection of his character. With its wonderful arms—the real
Baskerville arms, to which the printer had no right whatever—it was
standing until quite recently in an old barn in a field at Manton. It
was thus described fifty years ago:—

    “The body hangs by double straps, from the coachman’s seat
    under the carriage, to which they are fastened, to the frame
    behind.... It could be either closed or open, and when open
    the leather top was rolled back upon crossed straps hung from
    the coachman’s seat, and hooks secured to the front part
    of the body. The whole framework of the carriage has been
    elaborately carved and gilt, and the panels painted with what
    appears to be a brownish green, with flowers and vases, rock
    and shell-work, among which were numerous figures of boys and
    emblems. In the centre panel on each side were the arms, on
    the side panel the crest....”

None of the panels were identical, but all had been decorated by his
workmen. “The pattern-cart of his trade,” Hutton, the Birmingham
historian, calls this curiosity, which was once familiar to every
village in the Midlands, and his daughter, Catherine Hutton, could
remember the printer, “in his gold-laced waistcoat, and his painted
chariot, each panel a picture, fresh from his own manufactory of
japanned tea-boards.”

A most extraordinary conveyance appeared in London in 1771—this being
“Mr. Moore’s new-invented Coal-carriage,” the wheels of which were no
less than fifteen feet high.[42] A great concourse of people followed
it through the streets, and no doubt applauded its ability to draw two
caldrons and two sacks of coal, using only two horses abreast, “with
more ease and expedition than the common carts do one caldron with
three horses at length.” Unfortunately I have not been able to discover
a print of this monstrous vehicle, which, like so many of the other
mid-century freaks, disappeared almost at once.


To this period also belongs that wondrous _phaeton_, which in a few
years threatened to become so lofty as to suggest to some ingenious
artist the possibility of applying to it some pantograph arrangement
whereby its seat could be raised or lowered at will. This print,
called The _New Fashioned Phaeton—Sic itur ad Astra_, was published
in 1776, a curious mezzotint showing a lady of fashion stepping out of
a first-floor window into the seat of a phaeton which has been raised
to the required height. The phaetons, indeed, seem to have been built
high since their invention, and the importance of this feature must
not be overlooked, when one remembers that almost every carriage, both
English and foreign, was hung enormously high in the last years of the
century, nine or ten steps being sometimes necessary to get inside.

Exactly when or where the phaeton was first made I cannot determine,
but, like the _landau_, which has generally, though incorrectly, been
considered to have been first built in 1757, it is mentioned so early
as 1747 in the poem quoted at the end of the last chapter. That it was
already popular with the fashionable people is shown by Tom Warton’s
poem, _The Phaeton and the One Horse Chair_, which was first published
in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for December, 1759. This is worth quoting
in its entirety:—

    “At _Blagrave’s_ once upon a time,
     There stood a phaeton sublime:
     Unsully’d by the dusty road
     Its wheels with recent crimson glow’d;
     Its sides display’d a dazzling hue,
     Its harness tight, its lining new:
     No scheme-enamoured youth, I ween,
     Survey’d the gaily deck’d machine,
     But fondly long’d to seize the reins,
     And whirl o’er _Campsfield’s_ tempting plains.
     Mean time it chanc’d, that hard at hand
     A one-horse chair had took its stand;
     When thus our vehicle begun
     To sneer the luckless chair and one.
         ‘How could my master place me here
     Within thy vulgar atmosphere?
     From classic ground pray shift thy station,
     Thou scorn of _Oxford_ education!
     Your homely make, believe me, man,
     Is quite upon the Gothic plan;
     And you, and all your clumsey kind,
     For lowest purposes design’d:
     Fit only with a one ey’d mare,
     To drag, for benefit of air,
     The country parson’s pregnant wife,
     Thou friend of dull domestic life,
     Or, with his maid and aunt, to school,
     To carry _Dicky_, on a stool.
     Or, haply to some christ’ning gay,
     A brace of godmothers convey.—
     Or, when blest _Saturday_ prepares
     For _London_ tradesmen rest from cares,
     ’Tis thine, o’er turnpikes newly made,
     When timely show’rs the dust have laid,
     To bear some alderman serene
     To _fragrant Hampstead’s sylvan_ scene.
     Nor higher scarce thy merit rises
     Among the polish’d dons of _Isis_.
     Hir’d for a solitary crown,
     Canst thou to _schemes_ invite the _Gown_?
     Go, tempt some prig, pretending taste,
     With hat new cock’d and newly lac’d,
     O’er mutton chops, and scanty wine,
     At humble _Dorchester_ to dine!
     Mean time remember, lifeless drone!
     I carry _Bucks_ and _Bloods_ alone.
     And oh! when ’er the weather’s friendly,
     What inn at _Wallingford_ or _Henley_,
     But still my vast importance feels,
     And gladly greets my entring wheels.
     And think, obedient to the throng,
     How yon gay streets we sneak along:
     While all with envious wonder view
     The corner turn’d so _quick_ and _true_.’
         To check an upstart’s empty pride,
     Thus sage the one horse chair reply’d.
         ‘Pray, when the consequence is weigh’d
     What’s all your spirit and parade?
     From mirth to grief what sad transitions,
     To broken bones—and impositions!
     Or if no bones are broke, what’s worse,
     Your _schemes_ make work for _Glass_ and _Nourse_.
     On us pray spare your keen reproaches,
     From one-horse chairs men rise to coaches;
     If calm discretion’s steadfast hand,
     With cautious skill the reins command,
     From me fain health’s fresh mountain springs,
     O’er me soft snugness spreads her wings:
     And innocence reflects her ray
     To gild my calm sequester’d way;
     E’en kings might quit their state to share
     Contentment and a one horse chair.—
     What though, o’er yonder echoing street,
     Your rapid wheels resound so sweet,
     Shall _Isis’_ sons thus vainly prize
     A rattle of a _larger size_?’
         _Blagrave_, who during the dispute,
     Stood in a corner, snug and mute,
     Surpriz’d no doubt, in lofty verse,
     To hear his carriages converse,
     With solemn care, o’er _Oxford_ ale,
     To me disclos’d this wondrous tale.


    MORAL

         “Things may be useful if obscure;
     The pace that’s slow is often sure;
     When empty pageantries we prize,
     We raise but dust to blind our eyes.
     The Golden Mean can best bestow
     _Safety_ for unsubstantial _Show_.”

From this poem it is possible to understand that this new-fangled
carriage was used rather as a toy than anything else. That it was
dangerous clearly appears, and it was this very danger which must
have contributed not a little to its popularity. It was driven at a
very great rate, and with a recklessness that excited the anger of
the commoner folk—unless, as was often the case, it excited their
admiration instead. The phaeton was the most sporting carriage you
could have. It lent itself to the idea of racing, and there was always
the chance that an accident might be fatal—an allurement in itself.
And so in a very few years there was hardly a fashionable young
gentleman in London who did not possess one of these carriages and
drive about, insolently staring down from his enormously high seat on
to the heads of the crowds below.

Experiments, too, were being made with them. The position of the body
was gradually brought forward until it was directly over the front
axle. In 1766 “the Hon. Sir Francis Blake Delavel, Knight of the Bath,”
was experimenting with a “new-invented phaeton the other side of
Westminster Bridge, where he put his horses in a full gallop, and in a
moment, by pulling a string, the horses galloped off and left him in
the carriage, which stood still.” Sir Francis was apparently working
at some contrivance to be used in case the horses chose to run away—a
common occurrence, no doubt, and apt to be far more dangerous to the
driver than would be the case with other carriages, for the body of
these early phaetons was slung high above the undercarriage by the most
delicate supports, which bent and creaked and were obviously unfitted
to bear any great strain. The body itself must have resembled that of
the curious chaises which were still to be seen at this time in France
and Italy—just a small chair varnished and sometimes painted, fixed to
four thin and often carved and curled posts, which as often as not rose
merely from the shafts, there being no springs of any kind. The shafts
were very long, and the common practice seems to have been to drive two
horses tandem, with, no doubt, a postilion on the leader. The phaeton
was probably slimmer than these equally curious vehicles, and much
higher, and their ability to turn corners with ease may be deduced from
the lines just quoted.

[Illustration: “_Phaetona, or Modern Female Taste_,” 1776]

[Illustration: “_Sir Gregory Gig_”

(_From a Print by Bunbury_, 1782)]

A phaeton built for a lady is shown in a print published in 1776,
called _Phaetona; or Modern Female Taste_. Here the carriage has a
very small body, hung very high on large wheels, the undercarriage
being abnormally long in consequence. The two horses which draw it are
very undersized—another peculiarity possibly demanded by contemporary
fashion.

Two years later the scandalous _Town and Country Magazine_ published a
short and probably true tale called _The Rival Phaetons_, which shows
to what lengths, or, rather, what heights the Bucks of the time would
go.

    “Lord M——,” it runs, “emulous of shining in the most
    elevated sphere, first drove a phaeton seven feet from the
    ground: Sir John L[ade] immediately made an addition of a
    supernumerary travelling case to his, and raised it six inches
    higher. Lord M—— applied immediately to his coachmaker in
    Liquor-pond-street for two travelling cases, with which he
    speedily drove about the streets for the entertainment of the
    public. Sir John L[ade] was stung to the quick; and Lord M——
    ’s round hat was now a mere pigmy to his. His Lordship, happy
    at rival inventions, immediately added two more horses to his
    triumphal car, and drove four for expedition, from Grosvenor
    Square to Gray’s-inn-lane. ‘Now, my Lad,’ said he, ‘I have
    you;’ but how vain are the boastings of mankind? The knight
    appeared the very next day with a phaeton and six in Holborn.
    ‘Zounds,’ said his lordship, ‘this is too much! what shall I
    do?—how can I match my four with two more? No credit at my
    banker’s—in arrears with my horse-dealer—I am at my wit’s
    end. John, I shall not take an airing in Smithfield to-day;
    I’ll give my horses some rest—they were hard worked over the
    stones yesterday.’ Here the contest now lies—its importance
    must be obvious to every beholder—his lordship has not slept
    these three nights, and it is imagined he will at length
    be obliged to take the hint from Colman’s prologue to the
    Suicide, and preposterous as it may appear, add a fifth wheel
    to his phaeton. Sir John is greatly elated, and may literally
    be said to be in very high spirits upon his temporary triumph.”

Writing to Mann in June, 1755, Walpole, after regretting the absence
of social news in England, mentions the latest Paris fashion. “All
the news from France,” he says, “is that a new madness reigns there,
as strong as that of Pantins was. This is _la fureur des cabriolets,
Anglicè_, one-horse chairs, a mode introduced by Mr. [Josiah]
Child; they not only universally go in them, but wear them; that
is, everything is to be _en cabriolet_; the men paint them on their
waistcoats and have them embroidered for clocks to their stockings;
and the women, who have gone all the winter without anything on their
heads, are now muffled up in great caps [calash hoods] with round
sides, in the form of, and scarce less than the wheels of chaises.”

“The cabriolet head-dress,” says Wright,[43] “was soon improved into
_post-chaises_, _chairs-and-chairmen_, and even _broad-waggons_.” So we
have _A Modern Morning_, published in 1757:—

    “Then Caelia to her toilet goes,
     Attended by some favourite beaux.

    ‘Nelly! why, where’s the creature fled?
     Put my post-chaise upon my head.’
    ‘Your _chair-and-chairman_, ma’am, is brought.’
    ‘Stupid! the creature has no thought!’
    ‘And, ma’am, the milliner is come,
     She’s brought the _broad-wheel’d waggon_ home.’”

In which structures Caelia sallies forth.

These cabriolets rivalled the phaetons as fashionable carriages, and
indeed as the _new gigs_ came to resemble them in every point save the
number of the wheels. There is a print by Colley, dated 1781, showing
one of these new gigs. The small chair, very high, holding two people,
is supported by long curved supports, which in themselves of course
acted as springs of a kind. Two horses are being driven tandem, with a
postilion driving the leader. Another print, by Bunbury, called _Sir
Gregory Gigg_, shows a young man driving a pair of horses abreast.
He is seated in a still smaller, and slightly lower, chair. This was
a _curricle_ rather than a cabriolet, and it was such a carriage
which the braggart sportsman, John Thorpe, describes to Catharine in
_Northanger Abbey_: “Curricle-hung, you see, seat, trunk, sword-case,
splashing board, lamps, silver-moulding, all, you see, complete; the
ironwork as good as new, or better. He [the first owner] asked fifty
guineas; I closed with him, threw the money down, and the carriage was
mine.” The shape of these curricles is well seen in Bunbury’s drawing.

A glance at the newspaper advertisements of the day will afford an
insight into the various carriages in use. So, for instance, in 1767 we
have:—

    An exceeding good Post chariot, the Box to take off.

    A neet genteel Single Horse Chaise, painted green, and hung
    upon Steel Springs.

    An exceeding fine black gelding that goes well in an Italian
    Chair, with a Tail.

    A very neat fashionable Chaise.

    A very good second-hand Phaeton Chaise, that goes either with
    one horse or two, with Shafts, Poles, and Harness suitable,
    Steel Springs, and Iron Axletrees. Also a good second-hand
    Landau, which alters occasionally into a Phaeton, steel
    springs and Iron Axletrees to the Carriage.

The landau, by the way, was a recent invention (though made, as we have
seen, before 1757) which may be dismissed with the observation that it
was a coach made to open when required.

And put up for auction together on one occasion were:—

    A green windsor chair,
    A good Post-Coach,
    A Post Landau,
    A very neat Italian Chair,
    3 old Chariots,
    4 Post-Chaises, and
    3 single Chaises.

So run these advertisements, with scraps of information interspersed
and little puffs of the advertiser on every other line. What the
windsor chair was I have not been able to discover; but it is to be
noticed both that Italian chairs (or chaises) were apparently popular,
and that the English-built carriages were being constructed on rather
a loftier scale. The curious reason for this will appear in the next
chapter.

Meanwhile I may conclude by drawing attention to two other
advertisements of a curious nature.

The first of these deals with a hackney coachman who had refused to
carry a fare. The second, which I do not think has been reprinted since
it originally appeared in 1767, shows the dangers to which travellers
were still liable.

From the time when the dramatist Congreve had been appointed a
Commissioner for Licensing Hackney Coaches (1695) there had been
frequent legislation with regard to these hackney coaches. At this
time there were stringent regulations, some of which are still in
force, with regard to the taking up of passengers. It was the refusal
of a coachman to drive a gentleman who had hailed him that led to the
following pitiful notice:—

    “Whereas I William Ford, late driver of an hackney coach,
    No. 694, did refuse to carry a gentleman, and did also
    grosly abuse him; for this I was fined thirty shillings by
    the Commissioners. I then most wickedly and falsely swore an
    assault against, and had the same gentleman carried before
    Sir John Fielding, who discharged the warrant. For this false
    imprisonment, I had a prosecution commenced against me, and
    though I made frequent application for pardon, I could not
    obtain it until the expence amounted to a sum which has almost
    ruined me, and which I have paid. I therefore voluntarily [?]
    insert this as a caution to other hackney coachmen, who well
    know that it is from the hope of forgiveness, which they too
    often meet, that they venture so daringly to abuse and insult
    their fare.

    “WILLIAM X FORD
    “His mark.”

It was this same Sir John Fielding, the blind magistrate, who inserted,
some little time afterwards, the following warning to travellers and
others:—

    “To the Stage Coachmen, Carriers, Book-keepers,
    “Tradesmen in general, and others.

    “Public Office, Bow Street, September 24, 1767.

    “A most necessary caution at this season of the year.

    “The remainder of that Gang of unhappy wretches, who live
    in Idleness and subsist on Plunder, and who make it their
    particular Business, from this Time to the End of Winter to
    cut off Trunks from behind Post Chaises, to steal Goods out of
    Waggons, from the Baskets of Stage-Coaches, Boots of Hackney
    Coaches, and out of Carts which carry Goods to and from Inns,
    &c. (though but few in Number) having already begun to wait in
    the Dusk of the Evenings, at the different Avenues leading to
    Town, and at several Inns, &c., for the above Purposes; ’tis
    hoped that an Attention to the following Observation, may be
    the Means of preserving much Property, which when once lost by
    these Means, is difficult to recover, or the Offenders to be
    detected.

    “1. Those who cannot conveniently fasten their Luggage before
    them in Post Chaises, should take care to secure it behind
    with a small Chain instead of a Rope or Strip, and to place
    the Padlock that fastens it out of Sight or Reach; and those
    who have Servants to attend them, should direct them to keep
    close to the Carriage as they come to London, for these
    Plunderers extend themselves for fifteen Miles out of Town
    to the very Inns themselves in London, and are ready in an
    amazing Manner to take Advantage of the least Neglect.

    “2. As it is common for Persons on their Arrival in Town to
    take a Hackney Coach when they come on the Stones, in the Boot
    of which they generally deposit their Luggage, they should be
    cautious never to send the Coachman from his Box, to make an
    Enquiry, &c. for if he be absent a Minute his Fare will be
    in great danger of losing his Property, by some of the above
    Offenders, who attend at the Inns at the Entrance of the Town,
    in order to follow Hackney Coaches to the Places where they
    set down or stop, to watch an Opportunity to plunder.

    “3. Nothing can secure the Goods in Waggons, or the Baskets of
    Stage Coaches, but the Care of the Drivers, who should have
    them watched both on and off the Stones, and the Proprietors
    of the several Road Waggons should have a Man at least on
    Purpose to guard them five or ten Miles out of Town, a step
    which is absolutely necessary.


    “J. FIELDING.”

Also, of course, there were the highwaymen.



_Chapter the Eighth_

_THE AGE OF TRANSITION_


    “So down thy hill, romantic Ashbourne, glides
    The Derby Dilly, carrying three insides.
    One in each corner sits and lolls at ease,
    With folded arms, propt back, and outstretched knees;
    While the press’d Bodkin, pinch’d and squeezed to death,
    Sweats in the mid-most place, and scolds, and pants for breath.”

    _Canning._


“In the year 1790,” wrote Mr. William Felton in an account of the
carriages of his day, “the art of Coach-building had been in a gradual
state of improvement for half a century past, and had now arrived at a
very high degree of perfection, with respect to the beauty, strength,
and elegance of our English carriages.” And the most cursory glance
at his carefully compiled, if technical book, is evidence enough of
the truth of his statement. At this time, indeed, the old flamboyant
ornamentation had all but disappeared from the carriages, which were in
process of taking on the appearance they largely retain to this day.
Most vehicles, it is true, were still hung far higher than those of the
nineteenth century—a fact due to the curious, though mistaken, belief,
“that a high and short load possessed some mysterious property which
made it easier to draw than a long one,” but new principles were being
adopted as the result of careful experiments. Prizes were offered by
learned societies, and won. Men like Dr. Lovell Edgeworth, who had
been experimenting so early as 1768, and had shown that springs—then
but little understood—were at least as advantageous to the horses as
to the passengers, were at work. But it was only in 1804, when Mr.
Obadiah Elliott produced his patent elliptic springs, which rendered
unnecessary the old heavy perch, that a definite period in the art of
coach-building was clearly marked. Thenceforth the older, cumbrous
machines disappeared from the roads and made way for the lighter and
more comfortable carriages which were to be seen at the time of Queen
Victoria’s accession.

The question of the roads, too, was receiving the attention of experts.
Anstice and Edgeworth published the results of their investigations,
but were both completely overshadowed by James M’Adam, who about
1810 started those metal roads which have proved so wonderfully
successful. Before his time gravel and the like had formed the basis
of road-material; M’Adam used granite and other allied substances,
and produced such a surface as had not been seen since the Romans had
constructed their vast highways hundreds of years before.

Methods of travelling, moreover, were altering. The stage-coaches,
useful though they were, disappeared before Palmer’s mail-coaches,
which held their supremacy until the era of steam revolutionised
locomotion. Post-chaises were still in favour, and less dangerous than
of old. Incidentally, the highwaymen were taking to less romantic
pursuits. And what is true of England was also in a great measure true
of Europe as a whole. North America, too, at this period was providing
herself with coachbuilders, who produced distinctive vehicles
peculiarly adapted to the conditions of that country.

It was, in fact, a transition period.

We may consider in the first place such types of carriages as already
existed. There is a whole catalogue of them, and only one of the older
carriages is conspicuously absent. This was the calash—“now almost
obsolete for any purpose,” comments Leigh Hunt, and indeed there is
hardly a reference to it. But the others still survived, and one
characteristic is immediately noticeable; the wheels of almost every
sort of carriage at this time were enormously large. Consequently
the carriages were generally very long. Crane-neck perches were
still used, and what was called an upright spring. A coach of this
period, belonging to the museum at South Kensington, is now exhibited
in Edinburgh. It was built for the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. It
has “a large body,” says Thrupp, describing it, “with deep panels,
flat-sided, longer on the roof than at the elbow, with windows in the
upper quarters; the carriage with two crane perches (easily seen in the
accompanying photograph), Berlin fashion, whip springs, and very high
wheels. There is no footboard, whilst a hammercloth for the footman is
raised upon scroll ironwork, very well made.” Napoleon’s state coach,
built at the time of his second marriage, and preserved at Vienna
along with a chariot and barouche, is of a somewhat similar pattern.
His travelling coach, with all its household contrivances, is now at
Madame Tussaud’s exhibition, and must be familiar to all Londoners. Two
Spanish coaches of the period are also to be seen at Madrid.

[Illustration: _George III’s Posting Chariot_

(_At South Kensington_)]

The Lord Chancellor’s coach was of course an exceptional carriage, and
Mr. Felton is careful to give details of such lesser coaches as were
being made. These he catalogues as a plain coach, a neat ornamental
town coach, a landau, a travelling coach, an elegant crane-neck coach,
and a vis-à-vis, which last, he says, “is seldom used by any other than
persons of high character and fashion.” And, indeed, this particular
carriage is to be seen in numerous plates and caricatures of the time.

Coming to the chariots and post-chaises, there is a good example of
an English carriage of the kind at South Kensington. This apparently
belonged to George III. The photograph gives but a poor idea of the
great size of the original. The wheels are taller than an average
man, and the length of the carriage is prodigious. The single window
on either side is small, the panels are deep, and there is a small
platform at the back of the body to carry luggage. A footboard still
remains with supports for the driver’s seat that has disappeared.

It was in such a chariot, though even larger than George III’s,
that the unhappy King and Queen of France attempted to escape from
Paris—that “miserable new Berline,” as Carlyle calls it, which was the
very last carriage to be used for such a purpose.

    “On Monday night, the Twentieth of June, 1791,” runs Carlyle’s
    own wonderful account, “about eleven o’clock, there is many a
    hackney-coach and glass-coach (_carrosse de remise_), still
    rumbling, or at rest, on the streets of Paris.” Into one of
    these glass-coaches steps “a hooded Dame with two hooded
    Children, a thickset Individual, in round hat and peruke.”
    The coachman is Fersen himself.

    “Dust shall not stick to the hoofs of Fersen: crack! crack!
    the Glass-coach rattles, and every soul breathes lighter. But
    is Fersen on the right road? Northeastward, to the Barrier
    of Saint Martin and Metz Highway, thither were we bound;
    and lo, he drives right Northward! The royal Individual,
    in round hat and peruke, sits astonished; but right or
    wrong, there is no remedy. Crack, crack, we go incessant,
    through the slumbering City. Seldom, since Paris rose out
    of mud, or the Longhaired Kings went in Bullock-carts, was
    there such a drive. Mortals on each hand of you, close by,
    stretched out horizontal, dormant; and we alive and quaking!
    Crack, crack, through the Rue de la Chaussée d’Antin,—these
    windows, all silent, of Number 42, were Mirabeau’s. Towards
    the Barrier not of Saint-Martin, but of Clichy on the utmost
    North! Patience, ye royal Individuals; Fersen understands
    what he is about. Passing up the Rue de Clichy, he alights
    for one moment at Madame Sullivan’s: ‘Did Count Fersen’s
    Coachman get the Baroness de Korff’s new Berline?’—‘Gone
    with it an hour-and-half ago’ grumbles responsive but drowsy
    porter. ‘_C’est bien._’ Yes, it is well;—though had but
    such hour-and-half been lost, it were still better. Forth
    therefore, O Fersen, fast, by the Barrier de Clichy; then
    Eastward along the Outer Boulevard, what horses and whipcord
    can do!

[Illustration: _The Lord Chancellor of Ireland’s Coach_

(_Now in Edinburgh_)]

    “Thus Fersen drives, through the ambrosial night. Sleeping
    Paris is now all on the right-hand of him; silent except for
    some snoring hum: and now he is Eastward as far as the Barrier
    de Saint-Martin; looking earnestly for Baroness de Korff’s
    Berline. This Heaven’s Berline he at length does descry, drawn
    up with its six Horses, his own German Coachman waiting on the
    box.... The august Glass-Coach fare, six Insides, hastily
    packs itself into the new Berline; two Bodyguard Couriers
    behind. The Glass-coach itself is turned adrift, its head
    towards the City; to wander whither it lists,—and be found
    next morning in a ditch. But Fersen is on the new box, with
    its brave new hammer-cloths; flourishing his whip; he bolts
    forward towards Bondy. There a third and final Bodyguard
    Courier of ours ought surely to be, with post-horses already
    ordered. There likewise ought that purchased Chaise, with the
    two waiting-maids and their band-boxes, to be; whom also her
    Majesty could not travel without....

    “Once more by Heaven’s blessing, it is all well. Here is the
    sleeping Hamlet of Bondy; Chaise with Waiting-women; horse all
    ready, and postilions with their churn-boots, impatient in the
    dewy dawn. Brief harnessing done, the postilions with their
    churn-boots vault into the saddles; brandish circularly their
    little noisy whips....

    “But scouts, all this while, and aides-de-camp, have flown
    forth faster than the leathern Diligences....”

The grand new Berline has been seen in the Wood of Bondy.

“Miserable new Berline!” apostrophises Carlyle. “Why could not Royalty
go in some old Berline similar to that of other men? Flying for life,
one does not stickle about his vehicle. Monsieur, in a commonplace
travelling-carriage, is off Northwards; Madame, his Princess, in
another, with variation of route; they cross one another while changing
horses, without look of recognition; and reach Flanders, no man
questioning them....

“All runs along, unmolested, speedy, except only the new Berline. Huge
leathern vehicle:—huge Argosy, let us say, or Acapulco-ship; with its
heavy stern-boat of Chaise-and-pair; with its three yellow Pilot-boats
of mounted Bodyguard Couriers, rocking aimless round it and ahead of
it, to bewilder, not to guide! It lumbers along lurchingly with stress,
at a snail’s pace; noted of all the world.”

It has indeed been seen, and soldiers rush after it, and the huge
Berline is brought back to Paris in what was surely the most terrible
procession ever witnessed....


The Korff Berline was probably not built so high as some of the English
posting chariots of the time. The perch of these was often more than
four feet from the ground. According to Felton you could buy a plain
post-chaise for £93, or a neat town chariot for £91. Or you might have
a landaulet, a demi-landau, or a sulky, which at this time was “a
light carriage built exactly in the form of a post-chaise, chariot, or
demi-landau,” and like the vis-à-vis was “contracted on the seat, so
that only one person can sit thereon, and is called a sulky from the
proprietor’s desire of riding alone.” The landaulet was to the landau
as the chariot was to the coach. It was simply a chariot made to open.
The hood was of “greasy harness leather, disagreeable to the touch or
smell, and continually needing oil and blacking” rubbed into it to keep
it supple and black.

Then there was the phaeton, which had lost none of its popularity, and
was built as lofty as ever.

    “The handsomest mixture of danger with dignity,” wrote Leigh
    Hunt, “in the shape of a carriage, was the tall phaeton with
    its yellow wings. We remember looking up to it with respect
    in our childhood, partly for its loftiness, partly for its
    name, and partly for the show it makes in the prints to novels
    of the period. The most gallant figure which modern driving
    ever cut was in the person of a late Duke of Hamilton; of whom
    we have read or heard somewhere, that he used to dash round
    the streets of Rome, with his horses panting, and his hounds
    barking about his phaeton, to the equal fright and admiration
    of the Masters of the World, who were accustomed to witness
    nothing higher than a lumbering old coach, or a cardinal on a
    mule.”

But far more conspicuous a figure than this Duke of Hamilton was
Colonel (Tommy) Onslow, afterwards Lord Cranley, of whom there is a
caricature by Gillray, with the following once famous lines:—

    “What can little T. O. do?
     Why drive a phaeton and two.
     Can little T. O. do no more?
     Yes, drive a phaeton and four!”

The Colonel, however, was surpassed, as we have seen, by Sir John Lade,
who drove six greys. George IV, when Prince of Wales, was satisfied
with a pair, but his horses were “caparisoned with blue harness
stitched with red,” their manes “being plaited with scarlet ribbons,
while they wore plumes of feathers on their heads.”

The structure of these phaetons differed. Gillray’s picture shows the
body hung midway between the two axles, though he may not have troubled
to be exact in this respect. The commonest form was the _perch-high
phaeton_, in which the body was hung directly over the front axle,
the hind wheels being much larger than those in front, and the bottom
of the body being five feet from the ground. Others were less lofty.
In the _one-horse phaeton_ the body was hung over the back axle with
“grasshopper” springs, and “was joined to the forecarriage, which was
without springs, by wooden stays”—a very different carriage. This in
time led to the _pony phaeton_ used by George IV in 1824. Here all
idea of great height had been abandoned so as to allow His Majesty to
enter his carriage without the fatigue of climbing several steps. Queen
Victoria’s pony phaeton was a similar vehicle, and indeed it was from
such a carriage that the _victoria_ was evolved at a rather later date.

    “What connexion there could be,” wrote Bridges Adams some
    forty years later in a passage not altogether devoid of
    epithets, “between this vehicle and the fabled car of the
    Sun-God, to obtain for it such a title, it is difficult to
    conceive.... The vehicle looked like a mechanical illustration
    of the play of _Much Ado about Nothing_. It was a contrivance
    to make an enormously high and dangerous seat for two
    persons, inconvenient to drive from, and at the same time
    to consume as much material and mix as many unsightly and
    inharmonious lines as possible. The framework of the carriage
    was constructed with two iron perches, the outline of which
    was hideously ugly; but the camel-like hump had at least the
    mechanical advantage of permitting a higher fore wheel than
    could otherwise be used. The shape of the body was as though
    the rudest possible form capable of affording a seat had been
    put together. An ungraceful form of upright pillar or standard
    was first selected, into which was framed a horizontal ugly
    curve for a seat, connected at the top by an ungainly-looking
    elbow, and a formal serpentine curve behind, from which was
    projected like an excrescence an ugly leathern box called a
    sword-case. The front of the upright pillar was continued into
    a most formal curve, and from its point rose an ungraceful
    bracket, to support a footboard, on the extreme edge of which
    was coiled an ugly piece of leather called an apron. The
    construction of the body was such that it could not possibly
    hold together by the strength of its own framing; and to
    remedy this, a curved iron stay was introduced in the worst
    possible taste.... The fore springs rather resembled the
    flourishing strokes made by a schoolmaster, when heading a
    copy-book or Christmas piece, than any legitimate mechanical
    contrivance; and the motion must have been detestable,
    rendering the act of driving difficult, and lessening the
    power of the drivers over their horses. The servant’s seat
    behind”—not always present—“placed on curved blocks without
    any springs, completed this extraordinary-looking vehicle. To
    sit on such a seat, when the horses were going at much speed,
    would require as much skill as is evinced by a rope-dancer at
    the theatre.”

Which shows that in 1837, at any rate, people’s ideas had undergone a
considerable change with regard to a really fashionable equipage.

The only other four-wheeled vehicle I need mention here was the
_sociable_ which, according to Felton, was “merely a phaeton with a
double or treble body.” It was made with or without doors, and with or
without a driving seat. A good example of this carriage is shown in
Gillray’s print _The Middlesex Election of 1804_.

Coming to the two-wheeled vehicles, the chief of these were the
_curricle_, the _gig_ or _chaise_, and the _whiskey_. As a general
rule it may be taken that when a gig had two horses it was called
a curricle, and when there was only one, a chaise. In the Prince
Regent’s time the curricle was “the most stylish of all conveyances.”
In shape nearly all these gigs were identical, though one reads that
the notorious “Romeo” Coates drove in one whose body was shaped like
a shell.[44] They were of various heights, a particularly lofty one
being known in Ireland as the _suicide gig_. The _caned whiskey_ was
a gig whose body, “fixed upon the shafts—which again were connected
with the long horizontal springs by scroll irons,” had a movable hood.
The _Rib Chair_ was similar to the whiskey, but without springs. It
is really only possible to differentiate properly between these light
carriages and the other hybrids, so soon to appear, by means of prints
and photographs. To the non-technical mind they are almost identical
with each other.

    “The prettiest of these vehicles,” Leigh Hunt writes, after
    confessing that he has no ambition to drive tandem, as was
    so often done, or to run into danger with a phaeton, “is the
    curricle, which is also the safest. There is something worth
    looking at in a pair of horses, with that sparkling pole of
    steel laid across them. It is like a bar of music, comprising
    their harmonious course. But to us, even gigs are but a sort
    of unsuccessful gentility. The driver, to all intents and
    purposes, had better be on the horse.”

I need say very little of the public carriages. There is, however, one
point in connection with the later stage-coaches which bears upon the
question that was only solved by Obadiah Elliott in 1804. On September
20, 1770, according to the _Annual Register_, there was an accident to
one of them which was growing increasingly common.

    “It were greatly to be wished,” runs this account, “the stage
    coaches were put under some regulations as to the number of
    persons and quantity of baggage. Thirty-four persons were in
    and about the Hertford Coach this day when it broke down by
    one of the braces giving way.”

No wonder it broke down! It is interesting to note, however, that even
the more humane stage-coachmen, so far from objecting, as you might
imagine they would have done, to such overcrowding, actively encouraged
it and for a very odd reason. At this time springs of a kind were being
applied to the coaches, which consequently travelled with greater ease
than before, but the coaches themselves happened also to be built
very high, like all other vehicles, and nothing could convince the
silly coachmen that the easy running was not due to a heavy load being
applied to the top of a high carriage. It became necessary, therefore,
to pass legislation, which was accordingly done in 1785 and again in
1790, restricting the number of passengers allowed.

At this time, too, Mr. John Palmer’s first diligence, or mail-coach,
had appeared as a quick and cheap method of carrying letters, and
these mail-coaches very rapidly took the fancy of passengers. Palmer,
however, was a man with great powers of organisation, and before the
new century had dawned, had his coaches running upon every high road in
the country.[45]

    “The mail coaches,” wrote a French nobleman after visiting
    this country at the beginning of the new century, “afford
    means of travelling with great celerity into all parts of
    England. They are Berlins, firm and light, holding four
    persons; they carry only letters, and do not take charge of
    any luggage. They are drawn by four horses, and driven by one
    coachman; they travel never less than seven to eight miles an
    hour.”

One or two particular inventions may also be noted. This same nobleman,
continuing his account, says:—

    “Stage Coaches are very numerous, they are kept in every
    City, and even in small towns; all these carriages have small
    wheels, and hold six persons, without reckoning the outside
    passengers. About twenty years ago a carriage was invented
    in the form of a gondola; it is long, and will hold sixteen
    persons sitting face to face; the door is behind, and this
    plan ought to be generally adopted, as the only means of
    escaping a great danger when the horses run away. What adds to
    the singularity of these carriages is, that they have eight
    wheels; thus dividing equally the weight, they are less liable
    to be overturned, or cut up the roads; they are, besides, very
    low and easy.

    “When these long coaches first appeared at Southampton, a City
    much frequented in summer by rich inhabitants of London, who
    go there to enjoy sea bathing, they had (as every new thing
    has) a great run, so that it was nearly impossible to get a
    place in them.

    “One of the principal Innkeepers, jealous of this success,
    set up another, and, to obtain the preference, he reduced the
    fare to half-price, at that time a guinea. In order to defeat
    this manœuvre, the first proprietor made a still greater
    reduction, so that, at last, the receipts did not cover the
    expenses. But the two rivals did not stop here; for one of
    them announced that he would take nothing of gentlemen who
    might honour him by choosing his Coach, but he would beg them
    to accept a bottle of Port before their departure.”

[Illustration: “_English Travelling, or the First Stage from Dover_”

(_From a Drawing by Rowlandson, 1792_)]

But not even such a temptation seems to have made these long coaches a
success.

The other innovation, though properly belonging to a slightly later
date, was the patent coach invented by the Reverend William Milton. He
explained his coach in a letter to Sir John Sinclair.[46]

    “Permit me, Sir, to explain, in a few words, the nature of my
    invention.—In a stage-coach, an overturn is rendered much
    less likely to happen, by placing as much as possible of the
    heavy luggage of each journey, in a luggage-box below the body
    of the carriage; the body not being higher than usual. This
    brings down the centre of gravity of the total coach and load
    (a point which at present, at every inequality of the road and
    change of quarter, vacillates most dangerously), it brings it
    down to a place of great comparative safety.

    “To prevent the fatal and disastrous consequences of breaking
    down, there are placed, at the sides or corners of this
    luggage-box, small strong idle wheels, with their periphery
    below its floor; ready, in case of a wheel coming off or
    breaking, or an axle-tree failing, to catch the falling
    carriage, and instantly to continue its previous velocity;
    thereby preventing that sudden stop to rapid motion, which
    at present constantly attends the breaking down, and which
    has so frequently proved fatal to the coachman and outside
    passengers.—The bottom of this luggage-box is meant to be
    about twelve or thirteen inches from the ground, and the idle
    wheels seven, six, or five. If at a less distance still, no
    inconvenience will result; for when either of them takes over
    an obstacle in the road, it instantly, and during the need,
    discharges its respective active wheel from the ground, and
    works in its stead.”

Several coaches were built to Mr. Milton’s specifications, but like so
many other patent coaches they were speedily forgotten.

It is only necessary to add here that about 1800 “outside passengers
were first enabled to ride on the roofs of coaches without incurring
the imminent hazard of being thrown off whenever their vigilance and
their anxious grip relaxed.” For it was then, says Mr. Harper, “that
fore and hind boots, framed to the body of the coach, became general,
thus affording foothold to the outsides. Mail coaches were not the
cause of this change, for they originally carried no passengers on the
roof. We cannot fix the exact date of this improvement,” he adds, “and
may suppose that in common with every other innovation, it was gradual,
and only introduced when new coaches became necessary on the various
routes. The immediate result was to democratise coach-travelling.”

On the other hand, it became a common practice amongst the smart youths
of the day to drive the stage-coaches themselves. So we read in a paper
of this time:—

    “The education of our youth of fashion is _improving_ daily:
    several of them now drive Stage Coaches to town, and open
    the door of the Carriage for passengers, while the coachman
    remains on the box. They _farm_ the perquisites from the
    Coachman on the road, and generally pocket something into the
    bargain.”

Which was, according to the writer, “a fit subject for ridicule on any
stage.”

The post-chaises were as ubiquitous as ever. The French nobleman, from
whose book I have already quoted, entered one so soon as he landed at
Dover.

[Illustration: “_French Travelling, or the First Stage from Dover_”

(_From a Drawing by Rowlandson, 1785_)]

    “The Post,” he records, “is not, as on the Continent, an
    establishment dependent upon the Government; individuals
    undertake this business; most of the inns keep Post Chaises;
    they are good Carriages with four wheels, shut close, the same
    kind as we call in France _diligences de ville_. They hold
    three persons in the back with ease are narrow, extremely
    light; well hung, and appear the more easy, because the roads
    are not paved with stone. The postilions wear a jacket with
    sleeves, tight boots, and, altogether, their dress is light,
    and extremely neat; and they are not only civil, but even
    respectful. On your arrival at the Inn, you are shown into a
    good room, where a fire is kept in winter, and tea is ready
    every hour of the day. In five minutes at most, another Chaise
    is ready for your departure. If we compare these customs with
    those of Germany, or particularly in the North, where you must
    often wait whole hours to change horses, in a dirty room,
    heated by an iron stove, the smell of which is suffocating; or
    even those of France, where the most part of the post-houses,
    not being Inns, have no accommodation for travellers, it is
    evident that the advantage is not in favour of the Continent.”

Indeed, England at this time was superior to most European countries
so far as her posting-carriages and roads were concerned. Leigh Hunt,
in expressing his delight of them, was only following in the wake of
Johnson and the others who had always enjoyed their cross-country rides.

    “A post-chaise,” he says, “involves the idea of travelling
    which, in company of those we love, is home in motion. The
    smooth running along the road, the fresh air, the variety
    of scene, the leafy roads, the bursting prospects, the
    clatter through a town, the gaping gaze of a village, the
    hearty appetite, the leisure (your chaise waiting only
    upon your own movements), even the little contradictions to
    home-comfort, and the expedients upon which they set us, all
    put the animal spirits at work, and throw a novelty over the
    road of life. If anything could grind us young again, it
    would be the wheels of a post-chaise. The only monotonous
    sight is the perpetual up-and-down movement of the postilion,
    who, we wish exceedingly, could take a chair. His occasional
    retreat to the bar which occupies the place of a box, and his
    affecting to sit upon it, only remind us of its exquisite
    want of accommodation. But some have given the bar, lately, a
    surreptitious squeeze in the middle, and flattened it a little
    into something obliquely resembling an inconvenient seat.”

Prints of these post-chaises are common. Rowlandson, in particular,
loved to draw them. Gillray, too, shows the post-chaise in Scotland and
Ireland, where apparently things were not quite so easy as in England.
The Scottish post-chaise is shown breaking to pieces, and the Irish
chaise is little better than a wreck, with the body held together by a
piece of rope, with hardly a spoke left to the wheels, and a roof put
roughly together of thatched straw. The unfortunate lady inside has put
one foot through the panelling and another through the floor, which
reminds one that it was of an Irish post-chaise that the famous story
of the poor man who had to run with the carriage because the bottom had
fallen out was originally told.


It remains to consider a few particular eighteenth-century carriages of
other countries.

[Illustration: _Early American Shay_

(_From “Stage Coach and Tavern Days” [A. M. Earle]_)]

[Illustration: _English Posting Chariot—Early Nineteenth Century_

(_From a Photograph_)]

Mr. Stratton thinks that the Indians of North America had rude litters
at an early date. The Incas of Peru certainly possessed magnificently
decorated sedans or palanquins, in which they progressed through
their kingdom. It was not, however, until the seventeenth century
that wheeled carriages appeared in America. Sir Thomas Browne quotes
from an English traveller’s book, which states that by the middle of
this century there were at least twenty thousand coaches in Mexico,
and possibly this was true. But into North America carriages filtered
but slowly. There had been coaches in Boston so early as 1669, and in
Connecticut in 1685. William Penn, writing to Logan in 1700, bids his
servants have the coach ready. The calash was also known at that time,
but being “clumsy” was less popular than the French cabriolet or gig,
which had been brought over by the Huguenots, and rapidly transformed
into the well-known _one-horse shay_, which in its turn was supplanted
by the more comfortable and certainly more distinctive _buggy_.

Bennet, travelling in America in 1740, saw many carriages in Boston.

    “There are several families,” he records, “in Boston that keep
    a coach and a pair of horses, and some few drive with four
    horses; but for chaises and saddle-horses, considering the
    bulk of the place, they outdo London. They have some nimble,
    lively horses for the coach, but not any of that beautiful
    black breed so common in London.... The country carts and
    wagons are generally drawn by oxen, from two to six, according
    to the distance, or the burden they are laden with.”

A Boston advertisement of 1743 mentions “a very handsome chariot,
fit for town or country, lined with red coffy, handsomely carved and
painted, with a whole front glass, the seat-cloth embroidered with
silver, and a silk fringe round the seat.” This was offered for sale
by John Lucas, a local coachbuilder, and had most probably been built
by him.

At this time several stage-coaches were running, and the _shay_ was
being used by even the poorer folk. A Philadelphian advertisement of
1746 speaks of “two very handsome chairs, with very good geers,” and
at this time, too, the Italian chairs and curricles were also popular.
They were generally driven tandem.

Even more distinctive than the shay, however, was the _coachee_, which
is described by Isaac Weld in his travels (1795):—

    “The body of it is rather longer than a coach, but of the
    same shape. In the front it is left quite open down to the
    bottom, and the driver sits on a bench under the roof of the
    carriage. There are two seats in it for passengers, who sit
    in it with their faces to the horses. The roof is supported
    by small props, which are placed at the corners. On each
    side of the door, above the panels, it is quite open; and,
    to guard against bad weather, there are curtains which let
    down from the roof and fasten to buttons on the outside. The
    light wagons are in the same construction,” he adds, “and are
    calculated to hold from four to twelve people. The wagon has
    no doors, but the passengers scramble in the best way they can
    over the seat of the driver. The wagons are used universally
    for stage-coaches.”

The American stage-waggon is also described by another Englishman,
Thomas Twining, who visited the country in 1795.

    “The vehicle,” says he, “was a long car with four benches.
    Three of these in the interior held nine passengers. A tenth
    passenger was seated by the side of the driver on the front
    bench. A light roof was supported by eight slender pillars,
    four on each side. Three large leather curtains suspended to
    the roof, one at each side and the third behind, were rolled
    up or lowered at the pleasure of the passengers. There was
    no place nor space for luggage, each person being expected
    to stow his things as he could under his seat or legs. The
    entrance was in front over the driver’s bench. Of course, the
    three passengers on the back seat were obliged to crawl across
    all the other benches to get to their places. There were no
    backs to the benches to support and relieve us during a rough
    and fatiguing journey over a newly and ill-made road.”

The body of these public carriages was high, and the back wheels were
larger than those in front. A somewhat similar conveyance is still used
to-day in some of the northern districts of Australia.

The commonest vehicle in Russia at this time seems to have been the
_taranta_, which is described as “a travelling carriage whose body
resembles a flat-bottomed punt.” The natives apparently considered that
it was a very comfortable carriage, and it certainly could hold a great
quantity of luggage and wraps, but the foreigners using it did not
always express a similar opinion.

    “We travelled certainly with speed,” says Madame Pfeiffer of
    the _taranta_, in her _Journey round the World_, “but any
    one who had not a body of iron, or a well-cushioned spring
    carriage, would not find this very agreeable, and would
    certainly prefer to travel slower upon these uneven, bad
    roads. The post-carriage, for which ten kopecs a station is
    paid, is nothing more than a very short wooden open car,
    with four wheels. Instead of a seat some hay is laid in it,
    and there is just room enough for a small chest, upon which
    the driver sits. These cars naturally jolt very much. There
    is nothing to take hold of, and it requires some care to
    avoid being thrown out. The draught consists of three horses
    abreast; over the centre one a wooden arch is fixed, on
    which hang two or three bells, which continually made a most
    disagreeable noise. In addition to this, imagine the rattling
    of the carriage, and the shouting of the driver, who is always
    in great activity urging on the poor animals, and it may be
    easily understood that, as is often the case, the carriage
    arrives at the station without the travellers.”

Even less “genteel” than the _taranta_ was the _kibitka_, “a common
posting-waggon,” according to Stratton, “consisting of a huge frame
of unhewn sticks, fastened firmly upon two axles, the fore part of
it having underneath a solid block of hard wood, on which it rests,
elevating it so as to allow the wheels to play.”

Other Russian carriages were the _teleka_, the _telashka_, and
the better-known _droitzschka_, or, as it was known in England,
_drosky_—an improvement originally of the sledge by the mere addition
of springs and wheels. In Norway the _carriole_ was very similar to the
original French gig, and like the _char-à-cote_ of Switzerland, was
long and narrow and peculiarly adapted for mountainous countries. But
in nearly all the colder regions, wheel carriages were scarcely used at
all, the snow making some kind of sledge far more convenient. Captain
King, in his _Journey across Asia_, gives a detailed description of the
sledges then in use (1784) in Kamtschatka.

    “The body of the sledge,” he says, “is about four feet and a
    half long and a foot wide, made in the form of a crescent, of
    light, tough wood, strongly bound together with wicker-work;
    which in those belonging to the better sort of people is
    elegantly stained of a red and blue colour, and the seat
    covered with bear-skins, or other furs. It is supported by
    four legs, about two feet high, which rest on two long flat
    pieces of wood, extending a foot at each end beyond the body
    of the sledge. These are turned up before, in the manner of
    a skate, and shod with the bone of some sea animal. The fore
    part of the carriage is ornamented with thongs of leather and
    tassels of coloured cloth; and from the cross-bar, to which
    the harness is joined, are hung links of iron, or small bells,
    the jingling of which they conceive to be encouraging to the
    dogs. They are seldom used to carry more than one person at
    a time, who sits aside [? astride], resting his feet on the
    lower part of the sledge, and carrying his provisions and
    other necessaries, wrapped up in a bundle, behind him. The
    dogs are usually five in number, yoked two and two, with
    a leader. The reins not being fastened to the head of the
    dogs, but to the collar, have little power over them, and
    are therefore generally hung upon the sledge, whilst the
    driver depends entirely on their obedience to his voice for
    the direction of them.... The driver is also provided with
    a crooked stick, which answers the purpose both of whip
    and reins; as by striking it into the snow, he is enabled
    to moderate the speed of the dogs, or even to stop them
    entirely.... Our party consisted in all of ten sledges. That
    in which Captain Gore was carried, was made of two lashed
    together, and abundantly provided with furs and bear-skins; it
    had ten dogs, yoked four abreast, as had also some of those
    that were heavy laden with baggage.”

In Europe and North America these sledges were also used, and could
be highly ornamented. Two of this kind, narrow and low, may be seen
at South Kensington. They are mentioned by several travellers. Edward
Wright, visiting Amsterdam in 1719, had seen “several coach-bodies
drawn upon sledges,” and explained that the inhabitants did not use
wheels “to avoid shaking the foundations of the houses.” Holcroft,
too, at the end of the century, journeyed from Hamburg to Paris by way
of Holland, and did not hide his surprise at the appearance of these
sledges.

    “And pray, sir, what are you?” he asks in the Shandean manner.
    “We never saw so staring or so strange an animal before.”

    “’Tis a tropical bird, on a mast.”

    “Can it be? A coach without wheels? Yes: dragged on a sledge
    by a single horse, and a lady in it.”

Holcroft also noticed in Amsterdam what he called “a travelling
haberdasher’s shop with wheels, rolled through the streets by its
master.” This appears to have been some sort of light travelling booth.
In Paris itself, he records, “there is scarcely a street which is not
so narrow as to be extremely dangerous to foot passengers. They are
rendered more so at some times by the extreme carelessness, and at
others by the brutal insolence, of coachmen. There is no foot pavement;
and the only guard against carriages is formed by large stones placed
at certain distances, but close to the wall.” In Germany, too, he
found little to please him, and warns Englishmen against bringing
English-built carriages into that country, for of a surety they will be
“broken up.” England, indeed, about this time, seems to have been by
far the most progressive country as regards locomotion.



_Chapter the Ninth_

_INVENTIONS GALORE_


    “Prime of Life to ‘go it!’ where’s the place like London:
    Four-in-hand to-day, tomorrow you may be undone:
    Where the Duke and the ’prentice they dress much the same:
    You cannot tell the difference, excepting by the name!
    Then push along with four-in-hand, while others drive at random,
    In buggy, gig or dog-cart, in curricle or tandem.”

EGAN, _Life in London_.


If William Felton’s book shows the great improvements that had
taken place in English carriage-building during the latter half of
the eighteenth century, William Bridges Adams’s _English Pleasure
Carriages_, published in 1837, sufficiently shows the enormous
improvements which had followed upon Obadiah Elliott’s invention of the
elliptic springs.[47] In the first place you had a whole series of
light, perchless carriages being built, and in the second you had the
new macadamised roads upon which to run them.

In treating of all these various carriages, it is difficult to know
where to begin. A mere catalogue with a few lines of description cannot
be very satisfactory, and yet there seems no other method to adopt.
Bridges Adams, who was a coachbuilder himself and the inventor of
several novel carriages, is a good guide, but one could have wished
that his book had been illustrated by anything rather than those
fearsome diagrams which mean so little to any one but a coachbuilder
himself. From the beginning of the century, indeed, illustrations
of carriages began to take on that diagrammatic aspect which the
trade-papers still maintain; while at the same time the old prints and
caricatures began to disappear. It is a pity, but it cannot be helped.

“Though it would be difficult,” says Bridges Adams, “to describe every
particular variety of carriage now in use, it is comparatively easy to
set forth the leading features—the original models, as it were, of
each particular class. The distinguishing characteristics are to be
found in the form of the bodies and not in the mechanism of the springs
or framework. Thus a particular shaped body entitles the carriage to
the term Chariot, whether it be constructed with under springs or C
springs, or with both, or whether it be with or without a perch. This
rule obtains throughout the whole varieties of carriages; and in those
bodies which are formed by a combination”—as now began to be the
case—“it is customary to call them by a double name—as Cab-Phaeton,
Britzschka-Chariot, Britzschka-Phaeton, &c.” Accordingly, I shall
endeavour in a brief catalogue to point out such changes as were being
made in each broad class of vehicle.

The coach was still being made with a perch. It was not hung so high,
but in other respects it differed but little from its predecessors. The
Salisbury boot, which carried the coachman’s seat, and the hammercloth,
were still used, but for travelling long distances were removed, a
smaller platform being substituted in their place. In the _Driving
Coach_, a novelty which now became popular with gentlemen of means,
and at a later date came to be commonly known as the _four-in-hand_,
the wheels were rather nearer together, and the perch was short and
straight. This had the boots which, as we have seen, had been already
added to the mail-coaches for the convenience of outside passengers.
“The boots and body,” says Bridges Adams, “are framed together, and
suspended on springs before and behind—the connection with the
carriage being by means of curved blocks.”

Another variety of the coach was the _barouche_, which, though, I
suppose, not technically a coach at all, if one accepts Thrupp’s
definition—for it was roofless—is generally classed with this kind
of vehicle. There had been, I believe, a barouche in England so
early as 1767, but it was not popular until a much later date. The
barouche was simply a coach-body without its upper portion—an open
carriage, that is to say, with high driving seat, and a hood fixed to
the back if required—not indeed unlike an opened landau to look at.
It was purely a town carriage. Its driving seat, similar to that in a
landau, was built to hold both coachman and footman, “the hinder part
being unprovided with a standard, which would,” says Bridges Adams,
“be useless, as when the head is down there is little convenience
for the servant’s holders, and he would moreover be unpleasantly
placed, looking down on the sitters within, and listening to all the
conversation,” a matter of course which he would have been only too
pleased to do. The barouche would hold four or six persons, and in fine
weather was considered to be “the most delightful of all carriages.”
There was, too, a certain amount of state about it, and several noble
families continued to drive in them long after most other people had
given them up. When Ackermann, the publisher, invented his patent
movable axles about 1816, the barouche was one of the carriages to
which these axles were fitted. A print of this carriage is shown in
the accompanying illustration. A _barouchet_, corresponding to the
landaulet, was also built at this time, but was never popular. Bridges
Adams speaks of it as a graceless carriage for one horse.

The town chariot, or _coupé_, as it was called in France, and indeed,
at a later date in England, was being built lower than before, but
otherwise remained unaltered. The high driving seat was still removed
to transform the carriage into a post-chaise. Amusing instructions
for buying a chariot are given by John Jervis, an old coachman, in the
second volume of the _Horse and Carriage Oracle_, 1828. “The form of
Carriages,” he opines, “is as absurdly at the Mercy of Fashion, as the
Cut of a Coat is—however, if the Reader is willing to let the Builder
please himself with the form of the Exterior, he will not be quite so
polite as to submit the construction of the Interior entirely to the
caprice of his Coachmaker.” Don’t, he advises, have too much stuffing
inside: “_The present fashion of Stuffing_ is preposterous, it reduces
a Large Body to the size of a small One: however,” he adds obligingly,
“if you like to ride about for the benefit of public inspection, as
your friends, my _Lady Look-out_, the _Widow Will-be-seen_—and _Sir
Simon Stare_, do, pray, study Geoffrey Gambado on the Art of sitting
politely in Carriages, with the most becoming attitudes, &c., and
choose wide Door Lights and full Squabbing;—if you wish to go about
peaceably and quietly, like _Sir Solomon Snug_, and are contented with
seeing without being seen, adopt the contracted Lights, and common
Stuffing, which, among others, have this great advantage that when
you sit back, you may have the side Window down, and a thorough Air
passing through the Carriage, without it blowing directly in upon
you: this, to Invalids who easily catch Cold, is very important.” The
lining of the chariot, he recommends, should be “green, with Lace to
correspond, and the Green _silk Sun Shades_ of the same Colour,” green
being pleasant to the eye. Venetian blinds, he says, are very nice in
warm weather, and should be painted verdigris green on the inside and
on the outside a colour which matches with that of the coach-body.
Further instructions follow. You are advised never to permit officious
strangers to shut your carriage door—a piece of sound advice which
might well be followed to-day when seedy people expect a small tip for
having watched you get into a cab—and if your coachman sees any one
about to do so, he is to say “loudly and imperatively, ‘_Don’t meddle
with the Door!_’”

The chief maker of these chariots was the celebrated Samuel Hobson,
“who may be truly said to have improved and remodelled every sort
of carriage, which came under his notice, especially as regards the
artistic form and construction, both of body and carriage.” “Hobson’s
Chariots,” indeed, were in a class by themselves. “He lowered the
wheels of coaches and chariots,” says Thrupp, “to 3 ft. 3 in. in front
and 4 ft. 5 in. behind, and lengthened the carriage part once more to
such a true proportion to the whole vehicle as has approved itself as
correct to each succeeding generation of Coachbuilders and users of
carriages. He lowered the body, too, so that it could be entered by a
moderate double step instead of the three-fold ladder previously in
use.”

[Illustration: _Barouche_

_With Ackerman’s Patent Movable Axles_]

[Illustration: _Landaulet_

_With Patent Roof and Movable Axles_]

Mr. Jervis’s remarks about the coachmaker’s being allowed to choose
the exterior of his customer’s carriage no doubt followed on the
practice, mentioned by Bridges Adams, of building particular carriages
upon a general chariot basis. Of these hybrids, perhaps the most
popular was the _Briska-chariot_. The briska itself (more correctly
the _britzschka_) had been introduced into England from Austria about
1818 by Mr. T. G. Adams, though Bridges Adams thinks that it was
first brought here at a rather later date by the Earl of Clanwilliam,
“who liked it for its lightness; for which reason it probably obtained,
amongst coachmen and mechanics, the translated name _Brisker_ or
_Brisky_.” In England it was made in various sizes and with various
modifications. A small one for one horse was “a light open carriage,
fitted with a leathern top over the front inside seat; which top had
a glazed front and sides, or glazed front and Venetian blinds to the
sides.” Its chief characteristics were a small seat at the back of
the main body and a straight bottom line to the body itself—this
giving it “a ship-like and fast-going appearance.” Ten years after
its introduction it was so immensely popular as to threaten every
other carriage; nor was this altogether surprising, for in addition
to being liked for the sake of its own lightness, it lent itself so
well to every variety of purpose. And of these modified briskas, the
_briska-chariot_ was one of the most favoured. It was in particular
demand with those travelling abroad, inasmuch as its great length
enabled its passengers to lie at full length. Another variety, the
_droitzschka_ or _drosky_, was a modification of the Russian vehicle
of that name. This was built low, an open perch carriage with a hood,
used chiefly by “languid, aged, or nervous persons, and children.”
The drosky seems to have given the idea to Mr. David Davies for his
_pilentum_, which was very similar in appearance. This Mr. Davies is
also supposed to have been the inventor of the popular _cab-phaeton_,
a one-horse, low-hung carriage suspended on four elliptic springs.
On the Continent this carriage became known as a _milord_, once most
aristocratic, but by 1850 little better than a hack. It was somewhat
similar in appearance to the _victoria_.

The phaeton was still made, but was being superseded by the briska.
The main seat of the carriages, as in the old perch-high phaetons, was
still over the front axle, but the body was now hung low on elliptic
springs. Such a perchless carriage was called by Adams “the very
simplest form of wheeled vehicle in ordinary use. It is literally a
long box, with an arm-chair in front, and a bench behind.” And that is
a remarkably good description. Here, too, as with the chariots, there
were also various hybrids.

Landaulets were very popular in London, and were made in great
quantities by the firm with which Obadiah Elliott himself was
connected. A patent roof and Ackermann’s movable axles are shown in the
accompanying illustration of this carriage.

[Illustration: _Stanhope_]

[Illustration: _Tilbury_]

[Illustration: _Cabriolet_]

We come now to the two-wheeled carriages. Of these the most fashionable
was still the curricle, though Bridges Adams considered the shape of
the body “certainly unsightly.” It is interesting to notice in this
connection that the mode of attaching the two horses to the curricle
was “precisely that of the classic car, only more elegant.” It was in
a curricle that Charles Dickens rode about so soon as he was able to
afford the luxury of a private carriage. The _cabriolet_, somewhat
similar to it in form, was simply the old one-horse chaise brought
up to date. The body resembled a nautilus shell, thus differing from
the popular two-wheeled carriage called a _tilbury_. This had been
built first by a carriage-maker of the same name. It was constructed
without a boot (or hind seat) and was a very light carriage, with,
however, rather too much ironwork and too many springs—seven in
all—about it. Italy and Portugal seem to have taken to this particular
gig and numerous consignments were sent south by water. Another
vehicle, not very different, was the _stanhope_, also built by Tilbury
to the order of the Hon. Fitzroy Stanhope, a brother of Lord Petersham.
This was much like the old rib chair, but hung from four springs. The
only difference, so far as the shape of their bodies goes, between
the tilbury and the stanhope is to be found in the fact that in the
stanhope it is rather larger and more capacious. The _dennet_, invented
by a Mr. Bennett of Finsbury, had a body resembling that of a phaeton.
It had three springs, and Bridges Adams, without being certain upon the
point, thinks that it took its name from these three springs, which
were named after the three Misses Dennet, “whose elegant stage-dancing
was so much in vogue about the time the vehicle was first used.” The
lightest of all these carriages, however, was the common gig, such as
that arch-joker, Theodore Hook, was accustomed to drive in, which at
this time was “simply an open railed chair, fixed on the shafts, and
supported on two side springs, the harder ends of which were connected
to the loop irons by leathern braces—to give more freedom to the
motion.” Small alterations in the gig, such as the addition of a deep
boot and Venetian blinds to the lockers (to carry dogs) led to the
first _dog-cart_. Here the passengers sat back to back. _Tandem-carts_
were very similar, though here the driver’s seat was raised. The
dog-cart itself gave rise to numerous varieties, such as the _Newport_,
the _Malvern_, the _Whitechapel_, the _sliding body_, and the _Norwich_
carts.

In America the _buggy_, a light waggon, the _sulky_, the _fantail gig_,
the _tub-bodied gig_, the _chariotee_, and the _public sociable_ were
the chief carriages. The _rockaway_, made first in 1830, was a light
waggon with wooden springs on the outside of the body. The _volante_,
much used at this time by the Spanish ladies of South America and Cuba,
was a hooded gig upon two high wheels. But in America, as in Europe, no
entirely new bodies or methods of framing were needed, and such little
differences as there were are only of interest to the coachbuilder or
the expert.

Before passing, however, to the public conveyances, to which, it would
seem, most carriage-builders of an inventive turn were now giving their
attention, I may mention one or two particularly quaint or fanciful
carriages which do not readily fall into a recognised class.

About this time several people seem to have been at pains to produce a
three-wheeled carriage, “apparently designed,” says Croal, “to overcome
an element of danger in the ordinary two-wheeled gig, in which so much
of the business and pleasure of travelling took place.” In America, the
chief experiments in this direction were made by Dr. Nott, president
of Union College at Schenectady, who produced a three-wheeled chariot,
in which he drove about.[48] “The body of the vehicle was supported
by the near axle on two wheels, while a third wheel in front was in
close connection with the shafts, so that it revolved with them as
they turned. By this arrangement the body of the carriage could be hung
low, supported entirely by the wheels, while the third wheel in front,
revolving in a small circle with the shaft, enabled the occupants to
make a short and safe turn.” What became of this weird vehicle is not
known, but its inventor’s memory was enshrined in a song, one verse of
which runs as follows:—

    “Where, oh where, is the good old Doctor?
     Where, oh where, is the good old Doctor?
     He went up in the Three Wheel Chariot,
     Safe into the Promised Land!”

A six-wheeled carriage was also proposed by Sir Sidney Smith. Here,
as in Bridges Adams’s various equirotal carriages (never successful
and particularly ugly, so far as the pictures of them are concerned),
the wheels were all of equal size. Great things were promised of it,
but that was all. The question, however, of safety carriages was being
very widely considered. Accidents must have been all too frequent.
Runaway horses and high gigs between them were constantly bringing the
more reckless drivers to an untimely end. In 1825 a good proposal was
made for a safety gig, which was to have a contrivance fixed to the
shafts so that they should remain in a horizontal position, whether
the horse were between them or not. Experiments were also made with
some such contrivance as Sir Francis Delavel had first tried with his
eighteenth-century phaeton. And then came a time when almost every
coachbuilder had some “pet dodge” with which the dangers of travelling
were supposed to be reduced to a minimum.

In Ireland, where at a very early date a rough, flat-boarded waggon on
two solid wheels had been used for passenger-traffic—in which case
the passengers sat on the boards back to back with their legs dangling
over the sides—a peculiar vehicle called a _noddy_ was now popular. A
writer in _Blackwood’s Magazine_ for 1826 speaks of this carriage.

    “A chaise and pair, miserable in show and substance as both
    really were, was a species of luxurious conveyance to which
    the ambition of the middle class of travellers in Ireland
    before 1800 never ventured to aspire. Such as were content
    with a less dignified mode of travelling on wheels, the
    city of Dublin accommodated with a vehicle unparalleled, I
    believe, in any part of the world, and singular in name as
    well as construction. It was called a _Noddy_, drawn by one
    horse, and carrying two, or if not of overgrown dimensions,
    three passengers. The body of this ‘leathern convenience,’
    which bore some resemblance to an old-fashioned phaeton,
    ‘beetled o’er its base’ in front, the better to protect the
    inmates; and being slung from cross-bars by strong braces
    instead of springs, nodded formidably at every movement of the
    horse, hence deriving the appropriate appellation of Noddy.
    In case of rain blowing in, a curtain of the same material
    afforded its friendly shelter, wrapping the passengers in
    total darkness, though, as far as the prospect was concerned,
    the inconvenience was little; the only visible object when
    it was withdrawn being the broad back and shoulders of the
    brawny driver, who rested his legs upon the shaft, and his
    sitting part on a sort of stool a very little way removed
    from the knees of the person seated within. Simple, awkward,
    and uneasy as this contrivance was, it was not disdained even
    by senators at an earlier period than that of which I write;
    and a nobleman, some thirty years older than myself, too, of
    high rank and large estate, assured me that it was his usual
    conveyance to and from college accompanied by a trusty servant
    or private tutor.”

The ordinary _jaunting car_ and the larger _bian_—the invention
of Bianconi, a rich tradesman in Dublin, though for many years an
itinerant dealer—hardly differed in points of construction from
English carriages, though the passengers sat back to back on a seat
that ran parallel to the shafts.

In Wales the _market cart_ was even more primitive than the noddy of
Ireland. This was a low, two-wheeled, springless box of an affair, in
which you sat as best you could on the boards. There was no covering at
all. A rail at the back, extending some way along the sides, helped to
prevent you from falling out behind, if the horse gave a sudden lurch
forward.


Whilst European carriages were thus taking on a soberer aspect, Eastern
coaches were maintaining all their old magnificence. The Maharajah of
Mysore, to take one instance, travelled in a truly marvellous elephant
carriage in the early years of the nineteenth century.

    “Its interior was a double sofa for six persons, covered
    with dark green velvet and gold, surmounted by an awning of
    cloth of gold, in the shape of two small scalloped domes,
    meeting over the centre, and surrounded by a richly ornamented
    verandah, supported by light, elegant, fluted gilt pillars.
    The whole was capable of containing sixty persons, and was
    about twenty-two feet in height. It moved on four wheels, the
    hinder ones eight feet in diameter, with a breadth of twelve
    feet between them. It was drawn by six immense elephants,
    an exact match in size, with a driver on each, harnessed to
    the carriage by traces, as in England, and their huge heads
    covered with a sort of cap made of richly embroidered cloth.
    The pace at which the elephants moved was a slow trot, of
    about seven miles an hour—they were very steady, and the
    springs of the coach particularly easy. The shape of the
    body was that of an extremely elegant flat scallop-shell,
    painted dark green and gold. This magnificent carriage was
    the production of native workmen, assisted by a half-caste
    Frenchman.”

Even this vehicle, however, was eclipsed by the state carriage of a
ruling Burmese chief, captured by the British in 1824. “This carriage
presented one entire blaze of gold, silver, and precious stones; the
last-named amounting to many thousands, including diamonds, rubies,
blue and white sapphires, emeralds, amethysts, garnets, topazes,
crystals, and the curious and rare stones known as cat’s eyes. The
carriage stood nearly thirty feet in height,” and was drawn by
elephants. “In form and construction,” says Croal, “in its elaborate
and superior carving, and its grand and imposing effect, this coach
takes rank as one of the most splendid equipages in existence.”


Many changes, meanwhile, were taking place in the public carriages.

Of the mail-coaches I need say nothing at all. Numerous books exist
which retell all those romances of the road which even in these days of
motor-cars cannot be altogether forgotten. The Golden Age of coaching
was at hand, and no print-shop is complete without some score or more
of carefully coloured engravings of one or other of “the Mails.”
They bore particular names—there were Flying Machines and Telegraphs
and the like—and they were larger than in the days when Palmer had
inaugurated the system, but that was all.[49]

Coming to such public vehicles, however, as were in general confined to
the metropolis, we find many changes.

The old hackney-coaches still plied for hire. They had their particular
stands, and the fares were subject to strict, though sometimes
exceedingly quaint, regulations. The first section of the new _Orders_
issued in 1821 may be quoted as bearing upon the structure of the
hackneys.

    “It is ordered, constituted, and ordained, that, from and
    after the four-and-twentieth Day of _June_ next ensuing the
    Day of the Date of these Presents, the Perch of every Coach
    shall be Ten Feet long at the least; and such Coach [shall]
    have cross Leather Braces before, and not braced down, but
    shall hang upon a Level, and not higher behind than before,
    and to be decent, clean, strong, and warm, with Glass Windows
    on each Side, or Shutters with Glasses of Nine Inches in
    Length, and Six Inches in Breadth in each Shutter; and large
    enough to carry Four Persons conveniently; and the Horses to
    every such Coach shall be able and sufficient for the Business
    when such Coach and Horses come from Home, to Ply; on a
    Penalty not exceeding Ten Shillings, at the Discretion of the
    said Commissioners, to be paid by the Owner of the License,
    if the same be not rented out, and in Case the same shall be
    rented out, then upon a Renter thereof.”

Leigh Hunt could find little good to say of them. Says he, quoting from
a supposititious poetess:—

        “Thou inconvenience! thou hungry crop
        For all corn! thou small creeper to and fro
        Who while thou goest ever seem’st to stop,
        And fiddle-faddle standest while you go;
        I’the morning, freighted with a weight of woe,
        Unto some Lazar-house thou journiest,
        And in the evening tak’st a double row
        Of dowdies, for some dance or party drest,
  Besides the goods meanwhile thou movest east and west.

        “By thy ungallant bearing and sad mien,
        An inch appears the utmost thou couldst budge;
        Yet at the slightest nod, or hint, or sign,
        Round to the curb-stone patient dost thou trudge;
        School’d in a beckon, learned in a nudge;
        A dull-eyed Argus watching for a fare;
        Quiet and plodding, thou doest bear no grudge
        To whisking Tilburies, or Phaetons rare,
  Curricles, or Mail-coaches, swift beyond compare.”

Dickens was familiar with these hackneys, and in one of the _Sketches
by Boz_ draws a picture of them.

    “Take a regular, ponderous, rickety, London hackney-coach, of
    the old school, and let any man have the boldness to assert,
    if he can, that he ever beheld any object on the face of
    the earth which at all resembles it unless, indeed, it were
    another hackney-coach of the same date. We have recently
    observed on certain stands, and we say it with deep regret,
    rather dapper green chariots, and coaches of polished yellow,
    with four wheels of the same colour as the coach, whereas
    it is perfectly notorious to every one who has studied the
    subject, that every wheel ought to be of a different colour,
    and a different size. These are innovations, and, like other
    miscalled improvements, awful signs of the restlessness
    of the public mind, and the little respect paid to our
    time-honoured institutions. Why should hackney-coaches be
    clean? Our ancestors found them dirty, and left them so. Why
    should we, with a feverish wish to ‘keep moving,’ desire to
    roll along at the rate of six miles an hour, while they were
    content to rumble over the stones at four? These are solemn
    considerations. Hackney-coaches are part and parcel of the law
    of the land; they were settled by the Legislature; plated and
    numbered by the wisdom of Parliament.

    “Then why have they been swamped by cabs and omnibuses? Or
    why should people be allowed to ride quickly for eightpence a
    mile, after Parliament had come to the solemn decision that
    they should pay a shilling a mile for riding slowly? We pause
    for a reply—and, having no chance of getting one, begin a
    fresh paragraph....

    “There is a hackney-coach stand under the very window at
    which we are writing; there is only one coach on it now, but
    it is a fair specimen of the class of vehicles to which we
    have alluded—a great, lumbering, square concern, of a dingy
    yellow colour (like a bilious brunette), with very small
    glasses, but very huge frames; the panels are ornamented with
    a faded coat of arms, in shape something like a dissected
    bat, the axle-tree is red, and the majority of the wheels are
    green. The box is partially covered by an old great-coat,
    with a multiplicity of capes, and some extraordinary-looking
    clothes; and the straw, with which the canvas cushion is
    stuffed, is sticking up in several places, as if in rivalry of
    the hay, which is peeping through the chinks in the boot. The
    horses with drooping heads, and each with a mane and tail as
    scanty and straggling as those of a worn-out rocking-horse,
    are standing patiently on some damp straw, occasionally
    wincing, and rattling the harness; and now and then, one of
    them lifts his mouth to the ear of his companion, as if he
    were saying in a whisper, that he should like to assassinate
    the coachman. The coachman himself is in the watering-house;
    and the waterman, with his hands forced into his pockets as
    far as they can possibly go, is dancing the ‘double shuffle,’
    in front of the pump, to keep his feet warm....

    “Talk of cabs! Cabs are all very well in cases of expedition,
    when it’s a matter of neck or nothing, life or death, your
    temporary home or your long one. But, besides a cab’s lacking
    that gravity of deportment which so peculiarly distinguishes
    a hackney-coach, let it never be forgotten that a cab is a
    thing of yesterday, and that he never was anything better.
    A hackney-cab had always been a hackney-cab, from his first
    entry into life; whereas a hackney-coach is a remnant of past
    gentility, a victim to fashion, a hanger-on of an old English
    family, wearing their arms, and in days of yore, escorted by
    men wearing their livery, stripped of his finery, and thrown
    upon the world, like a once-smart footman when he is no longer
    sufficiently juvenile for his office, progressing lower and
    lower in the scale of four-wheeled degradation, until at last
    it comes to—a _stand_!”

These new cabs, indeed, were, as Dickens says, a thing of yesterday,
but they had had ancestors. Their immediate forefathers came from
Paris, where they had been known for some time under the name of
_cabriolets de place_. Light two-wheeled carriages, these were,
which had been evolved quite naturally from the original French gig
of the seventeenth century. The popularity of these cabriolets in
Paris naturally led certain enterprising people in London to attempt
their importation, but there was a difficulty to be surmounted. The
proprietors of the hackney-coaches had secured a monopoly for carrying
people in the streets of London. In 1805, however, licences were
obtained for nine cabriolets, which thereupon started to run. In these
two passengers could be carried, and the driver sat side by side with
his fares.

They were not a great success. In the first place they were not
allowed except in certain areas, and in the second passengers did not
apparently appreciate the close proximity of the driver. A number
of years passed before they either increased in numbers or caught
the public fancy. But in 1823, the Mr. Davies who had designed the
cab-phaeton built twelve new cabriolets, which were put on to the
streets for hire at the end of April.

    “‘Cabriolets,’ runs a newspaper account, ‘were, in honour
    of His Majesty’s birthday, introduced to the public this
    [April 23rd] morning. They are built to hold two persons
    inside besides the driver (who is partitioned off from his
    company), and are furnished with a book of fares for the use
    of the public, to prevent the possibility of imposition. These
    books will be found in a pocket hung inside the head of the
    cabriolet. The fares are one-third less than hackney-coaches.’”

These new cabs, painted yellow, had one novel feature which must have
astonished the inhabitants, for the driver’s seat was a rather comical
affair at the side—entirely _outside_ the hood. In this way privacy
was ensured, particularly if the curtains in front of the hood were
drawn together. “The hood,” says Mr. Moore,[50] “strongly resembled
a coffin standing on end, and earned for the vehicle the nickname of
‘coffin-cab.’” Cruikshank’s picture of one of these, to illustrate
a Sketch by Boz, shows the curious shape of the hood very well. In
a short while these cabriolets became popular—there were over one
hundred and fifty of them in 1830—particularly with the younger
generation. A verse of a then popular song mentions them:—

    “In days of old when folks got tired,
    A hackney-coach or a chariot was hired;
    But now along the streets they roll ye
    In a _shay_ with a cover called a _cabrioly_,”

which hints at a slightly incorrect pronunciation! But in a short while
the cockney found it easier to say _cab_, did so, and has done so ever
since.

Dickens describes these cabs in his essay on the London streets:—

    “Cabs, with trunks and band-boxes between the drivers’ legs
    and outside the apron, rattle briskly up and down the streets
    on their way to the coach-offices or steam-packet wharfs; and
    the cab-drivers and hackney-coachmen who are on the stand
    polish up the ornamental part of their dingy vehicles—the
    former wondering how people can prefer ‘them wild beast
    cariwans of homnibuses, to a riglar cab with a fast trotter,’
    and the latter admiring how people can trust their necks into
    one of ‘them crazy cabs, when they can have a ’spectable
    ’ackney cotche with a pair of ’orses as von’t run away with
    no vun’; a consolation unquestionably founded on fact, seeing
    that a hackney-coach horse never was known to run at all,
    ‘except,’ as the smart cabman in front of the rank observes,
    ‘except one, and he run back’ards.’”

[Illustration: _The Coffin-Cab_

(_From a Drawing by Cruikshank_)]

[Illustration: _London Cab of 1823, with Curtains drawn_

(_From “Omnibuses and Cabs”_)]

There is another sketch of Dickens which merits quotation here. The
two-wheeled cabs were, of course, soon superseded by others of more
modern appearance, and Dickens speaks of the last of the cab-drivers
and his particular cab, with a few instructions upon riding in it.

    This cabriolet “was gorgeously painted—a bright red; and
    wherever we went, City or West End, Paddington or Holloway,
    North, East, West, or South, there was the red cab, bumping up
    against the posts at the street corners, and turning in and
    out, among hackney-coaches, and drays, and carts, and waggons,
    and omnibuses, and contriving by some strange means or other,
    to get out of places which no other vehicle but the red cab
    could ever by any possibility have contrived to get into at
    all. Our fondness for that red cab was unbounded. How we
    should have liked to have seen it in the circle at Astley’s!...

    “Some people object to the exertion of getting into cabs,
    and others object to the difficulty of getting out of them;
    we think both these are objections which take their rise
    in perverse and ill-conditioned minds. The getting into a
    cab is a very pretty and graceful process, which, when well
    performed, is essentially melodramatic. First, there is the
    expressive pantomime of every one of the eighteen cabmen on
    the stand, the moment you raise your eyes from the ground.
    Then there is your own pantomime in reply—quite a little
    ballet. Four cabs immediately leave the stand, for your
    especial accommodation; and the evolutions of the animals
    who draw them are beautiful in the extreme, as they grate
    the wheels of the cabs against the curb-stones, and sport
    playfully in the kennel. You single out a particular cab, and
    dart swiftly towards it. One bound, and you are on the first
    step; turn your body lightly round to the right, and you are
    on the second; bend gracefully beneath the reins, working
    round to the left at the same time, and you are in the cab.
    There is no difficulty in finding a seat: the apron knocks you
    comfortably into it at once, and off you go.

    “The getting out of a cab is, perhaps, rather more complicated
    in its theory, and a shade more difficult in its execution.
    We have studied the subject a good deal, and we think the
    best way is to throw yourself out, and trust to chance for
    alighting on your feet. If you make the driver alight first,
    and then throw yourself upon him, you will find that he breaks
    your fall materially. In the event of your contemplating an
    offer of eightpence, on no account make the tender, or show
    your money, until you are safely on the pavement. It is very
    bad policy attempting to save the fourpence. You are very much
    in the power of a cabman, and he considers it a kind of fee
    not to do you any wilful damage. Any instruction, however, in
    the art of getting out of a cab is wholly unnecessary if you
    are going any distance, because the probability is that you
    will be shot lightly out before you have completed the third
    mile.

    “We are not aware of any instance on record in which a
    cab-horse has performed three consecutive miles without
    going down once. What of that? It is all excitement. And
    in these days of derangement of the nervous system and
    universal lassitude, people are content to pay handsomely for
    excitement; where can it be procured at a cheaper rate?”

Thomas Hood also mentions both hackney-coaches and cabs in one of his
comic poems, _Conveyancing_.

    “O, London is the place for all
       In love with loco-motion!
     Still to and fro the people go
       Like billows of the ocean;
     Machine or man, or caravan,
       Can all be had for paying,
     When great estates, or heavy weights,
       Or bodies want conveying.

    “There’s always hacks about in packs,
       Wherein you may be shaken,
     And Jarvis is not always _drunk_,
       Tho’ always _overtaken_;
     In racing tricks he’ll never mix,
       His nags are in their last days,
     And slow to go, altho’ they show
       As if they had their _fast days_!

    “Then if you like a single horse,
       This age is quite a _cab-age_,
     A car not quite so small and light
       As those of our Queen _Mab_ age;
     The horses have been _broken well_,
       All danger is rescinded,
     For some have _broken both their knees_,
       And some are _broken-winded_.”

While these cabs were still running, several experiments were being
made with patent carriages. One of these, placed on the streets for
a short while, was the invention of Mr. William Boulnois. “It was a
two-wheeled closed vehicle,” says Mr. Moore, “constructed to carry
two passengers sitting face to face. The driver sat on a small and
particularly unsafe seat on the top of it, and the door was at the
back. It was, in fact, so much like the front of an omnibus that it was
well known as the _omnibus slice_. Its popular name was the _back-door
cab_. Superior people called it a _minibus_. This cab was quickly
followed by a very similar, although larger, vehicle invented by Mr.
Harvey. It was called a _duobus_.” These two cabs cannot have been
very comfortable; the shafts were too short, and the knowledge that a
possibly heavy coachman was sitting just above your head seems to have
militated against their success.

Another cab, not wholly successful in itself, led the way to the
widely popular _hansom_. This was a carriage invented in 1834 by Mr.
Aloysius Hansom, the architect of the Birmingham Town Hall. Here the
body was “almost square and hung in the centre of a square frame.” The
driver, as before, sat on the roof, but had a small seat fixed there
for his convenience. The doors were in front, on either side of the
driver’s seat. And the wheels were of a prodigious height—being seven
feet six inches. Mr. Hansom, who had obviously seen one of Francis
Moore’s patent carriages of 1790,[51] himself drove this carriage from
Hinckley in Leicestershire to London, and found financial support from
Mr. Boulnois. Further experiments were made—in one model you had to
enter the carriage actually _through_ the wheels, the door being in
this case at the sides—and it was found that the wheels could be made
considerably smaller without danger or inconvenience. Whereupon a
company was formed to purchase the invention for a sum of ten thousand
pounds. Hansom, however, obtained no more than three hundred, the
balance being used to perfect the far from satisfactory cabs which
had been placed on the streets. Such improvements as were carried out
were the work of Mr. John Chapman,[52] then secretary to the Safety
Cabriolet and Two-Wheel Carriage Company, who produced a much safer
vehicle, afterwards purchased by Hansom’s company. This new cab
was placed on the streets in 1836, and proved such a success that
it was imitated by numerous other companies. Legal proceedings were
instituted, but proved both expensive and not particularly successful,
and the “pirate” cabs were allowed to flourish as best they could.

Then, in 1836, was made the first of those four-wheeled cabs,[53] which
were not really cabs at all, but which will never be known by any other
name. The first of these was built by the ingenious Mr. Davies. It
bore superficial resemblance to the chariot. Two passengers could ride
inside, and a third on the box at the coachman’s side. At this date
the old two-wheeled cabs were “a source of acknowledged disgrace, of
many alarming accidents, and of lamentable loss of life,” and a company
was formed to provide “a cheap, expeditious, safe, and commodious mode
of conveyance in lieu of the present disgraceful and ill-conducted
cabriolets.” Two years later Lord Brougham was so pleased with the
appearance of these new cabs that he ordered one for his own use. So
was the first _brougham_ constructed—the earliest private four-wheeled
closed carriage to be drawn by a single horse.

    “The original brougham,” says Sir Walter Gilbey,[54] “differed
    in many particulars of design, proportion, construction, and
    finish from the modern carriage. The body ... was several
    inches wider in front than at the back, and though both larger
    and heavier, was neither so comfortable nor so convenient....
    [It] was held together by heavy, flat iron plates throughout,
    and the front boot was connected with the front pillars by
    strong outside iron stays, fixed with bolts. The wheels were
    at once smaller in diameter and much heavier. [The carriage]
    carried a large guard or ‘opera board’ at the back of the body
    to protect the occupants from risk of injury in a crush, when
    the pole of a carriage behind might otherwise break through
    the back panel—an accident now occasionally seen in our
    crowded streets. Like all other carriages of the time there
    was a sword case in the back panel for weapons. It was painted
    olive green, a very fashionable colour at that period.”

Another hansom, the _tribus_, may be noticed here, though it was not
invented until 1844. In this carriage the driver’s seat was at the back
on a level with the roof, and the door to his left at the back—the
reason of this being that the driver could open or close it without
leaving his seat. Another peculiarity was the presence of five windows,
two in front, one at either side, and a fifth at the back underneath
the driver’s seat. The _tribus_ was the invention of Mr. Harvey,
who also built a _curricle tribus_, for two horses, but neither was
successful. The _quartobus_ (1844) of Mr. Okey, a four-wheeled vehicle
to hold four inside passengers, was likewise withdrawn after a short
trial.

[Illustration: _Roch’s Patent Dioropha, 1851_]

[Illustration: _Brougham, 1859_]

A word may here be said of the _omnibus_, which had been introduced in
1819 into Paris, though not under that name, by M. Jacques Laffitte. It
was a modern outcome of the old _gondola_. Nine years later the modern
name was given to it by M. Baudry, a retired military officer. Laffitte
had rivals, and ultimately determined to triumph over them by building
a superior vehicle. At this time one of the most celebrated
coachbuilders in Paris was an Englishman, once in the Navy, named
George Shillibeer. To him came Laffitte, and Shillibeer, whilst at work
on the new conveyance, conceived the idea of starting a similar one
in London. Accordingly he shipped one over and ran it from Paddington
to the Bank. This first omnibus of his was a long, much be-windowed,
four-wheeled carriage with a door at the back, and not unlike a private
omnibus of to-day. A top-hatted coachman sat on a high seat in front
and drove three horses abreast. This was in 1819, and from that time,
in spite of the usual opposition, these new and rather unsightly
vehicles increased in numbers until there were forty or fifty routes in
London alone upon which they were to be hourly seen. A song sung with
great success at a time when Shillibeer was extending his operations,
particularly in the direction of Greenwich, whither it was proposed to
run one of the new railroads, may be quoted:—

    “By a Joint-Stock Company taken in hand,
     A railroad from London to Greenwich is plann’d,
     But they’re sure to be beat, ’tis most certainly clear,
     Their rival has got the start—George Shillibeer.

    “I will not for certainty vouch for the fact,
     But believe that he means to run over the Act
     Which Parliament pass’d at the end of last year,
     Now made null and void by the new Shillibeer.

    “His elegant _omnis_, which now throng the road,
     Up and down every hour most constantly load;
     Across all the three bridges how gaily appear
     The _Original Omnibus_—George Shillibeer.

    “These pleasure and comfort with safety combine,
     They will neither blow up nor explode like a mine;
     Those who ride on the railroad might half die with fear—
     You can come to no harm in the new Shillibeer.

    “How exceedingly elegant fitted, inside,
     With mahogany polished—soft cushions—beside
     Bright brass ventilators at each end appear,
     The latest improvements in the new Shillibeer.

    “Here no draughts of air cause a rick in the neck,
     Or huge bursting boilers blow all to a wreck,
     But as safe as at home you from all danger steer
     While you travel abroad in the gay Shillibeer.

    “Then of the exterior I safely may say
     There never was yet any carriage more gay,
     While the round-tire wheels make it plainly appear
     That there’s none run so light as the smart Shillibeer.

    “His conductors are famous for being polite,
     Obliging and civil, they always act right,
     For if just complaint only comes to his ear,
     They are not long conductors for George Shillibeer.

    “It was meant that they all should wear dresses alike,
     But bad luck has prompted the tailors to strike.
     When they go to their work, his men will appear
     _A la Française, Conducteur à Mons. Shillibeer_.

    “Unlike the conductors by tailors opprest,
     His horses have all in new harness been drest:
     The cattle are good, the men’s orders are clear,
     Not to gallop or race—so says Shillibeer.

    “That the beauties of Greenwich and Deptford may ride
     In his elegant omni is the height of his pride—
     So the plan for a railroad must soon disappear
     While the public approve of the new Shillibeer.”



_Chapter the Tenth_

_MODERN CARRIAGES_


    “Soon shall thy arm, unconquered steam, afar
     Drag the slow barge, or urge the rapid car;
     Or on wide waving wings expanded bear
     The flying chariot through the realms of air.”

    _Erasmus Darwin._


The year of Queen Victoria’s Coronation saw the successful opening
of the London and Birmingham Railway, and from that time all but a
few obstinate folk recognised the fact that the horse as a necessary
adjunct to cross-country travelling was doomed. For some time,
indeed, certain ingenious gentlemen had been carrying out a number
of experiments with self-propelled carriages. Fifteen years before,
several inventors had produced cumbrous machines which, without
requiring rails, were able to progress along the roads at speeds which
compared favourably with those attained by the ordinary coaches. Sir
Goldsmith Gurney—to mention, perhaps, the most prominent of these
men—had patented a steam-carriage in 1827 which, in spite of attacks
from an irate populace who feared machinery as they feared the devil,
was quite successful enough to lead the enterprising Mr. Hanning to
ask for, and obtain, permission to run similar machines on many of the
principal roads of England. Indeed, for a short while, there seems
to have been a regular service of these primitive automobiles. Many
people, it is true, fought shy of Gurney’s boilers, which in spite of
the fact that they had been “constructed upon philosophical principles”
occasionally exploded. It was after such an explosion at Glasgow that
Tom Hood seized the opportunity to write the following lines:—

    “Instead of _journeys_, people now
       May go upon a _Gurney_,
     With steam to do the horses’ work
       By power of attorney:

    “Tho’ with a load it may explode
       And you may all be undone;
     And find you’re going up to Heaven
       Instead of up to London.”

Similarly, many people declared their intention of never patronising
the railroads. Steam, however, had come to stay, and the days of
coaching were already numbered.

The net result of the new state of things, so far as private
carriages were concerned, seems to have been that the coachbuilders
set themselves to perfect the urban vehicles, which became lighter,
soberer, and more various. New and less conventional “models” were
constantly being exhibited, while for those who could not afford more
than a single carriage adaptable bodies were devised. So you might
order a vehicle which with small trouble could be entirely changed in
appearance. The older dignity, moreover, was giving place to a new
smartness. “Carriage people” still formed a class, but families which
before had been satisfied to use such public conveyances as there had
been, now drove forth in one or other of the cheaper private carriages
which were being constructed particularly for their convenience. The
dog-cart, for instance, had become common and was undergoing various
metamorphoses, and the brougham was rapidly becoming the most popular
of all town vehicles. In country lanes, too, appeared the waggonette
and its kind. Nothing, indeed, was quite so light as the American buggy
with its shallow dish of a body and its extraordinarily thin wheels,
but there was no longer that heaviness of line which gives to the older
carriages what is to modern eyes such an uncomfortable appearance.

So in 1860 a London coachbuilder could write to the American author of
_The World on Wheels_:—

    “Ten years have completed a total revolution in the carriage
    trade in England. Not only have the Court and the nobility
    adopted economical habits, and insisted on cheap carriages,
    but they carry no luggage, as was formerly the case when
    carriages had to sustain great weight, both of passengers
    and luggage. The cumbrous Court carriages of former times
    are being gradually abolished, and instead of the rich
    linings, laces, fringes, and elaborate heraldry usual to the
    carriages of the nobility, light vehicles, furnished only
    with a crest, are used. The changes in construction, and
    consequent depreciation of stock, were a heavy blow to the
    master coachbuilders; many of the large houses must have
    lost, in this manner, from ten to twenty thousand pounds. The
    trade, having recovered from this blow, is in a more healthy
    state. The favourite carriages in England at this time were
    waggonettes, sociables, Stanhope and mail phaetons, basket
    phaetons and landaus.”

    I may speak first of the state or “dress” carriages. “These
    vehicles,” says Thrupp, “had long passed the period in which
    beautiful carving and elegant painting had been used to
    disguise, as far as possible, the clumsy state carriages of
    the eighteenth century. Ever since the building of the Irish
    Lord Chancellor’s state coach by Hatchett or Baxter in 1790,
    coachbuilders had endeavoured to produce a graceful outline
    of body, of a fair size no larger than was necessary; the
    C-springs had been made of a perfect curve, the perch followed
    the sweeps of the body, the carving was reduced to a moderate
    amount, the ornamental painting was confined to the stripes
    upon the wheels, and the heraldic bearings of the owners of
    the carriages were beautifully emblazoned on the panels. For
    further ornament they relied on plated work in brass or silver
    round the body and on loops and wheel hoops. In every capital
    of Europe such carriages had superseded the old style, and
    London and Paris had supplied other countries with most of
    these state carriages.”

At the Queen’s Coronation in 1838, Londoners had a good opportunity
of seeing these dress carriages, a number of which early in the day
were lined up in Birdcage Walk. Most of these belonged to the various
ambassadors. The one which excited the widest admiration belonged to
Marshal Soult—a French-built carriage, originally built for one of the
Royal family. Thrupp describes it. “The body had four upper quarter
glasses, with a very elegant deep and pierced cornice of silver round
the roof; there were four lamps with large coronets on the tops,
and the coach bore a coronet on the roof also. The colouring of the
painting was a lovely blue, such as was then called Adelaide blue;[55]
this had been varnished with white spirit varnish, and seemed almost
transparent in lustre. The whole coach was ornamented with silver and
was finished in great taste.” Other particulars of these carriages are
to be found in the contemporary newspaper reports. We are told of the
enormous prices paid. Count Strogonoff purchased for £1600 the carriage
which had originally been built at a cost of £3000 by the Duke of
Devonshire for his state visit to St. Petersburg. Another ambassador,
finding that it was too late to buy a carriage, hired one from one of
the Sheriffs at a cost of £250 for the occasion, which strikes one as
an excessive price even for Coronation Day.

[Illustration: _Edward VII’s Coronation Landau_

(_From Sir Walter Gilbey’s “Modern Carriages”_)]

Modern state carriages retain all their former magnificence with little
if any of the old cumbersome and unnecessary ornament. One of the
finest examples of this kind of carriage is the state landau built for
King Edward and used by him in the Coronation procession.

    “This magnificent example of the coachbuilder’s art,” says
    Sir Walter Gilbey, “is over eighteen feet long. The body is
    hung upon C-springs by strong braces covered with ornamentally
    stitched morocco; each brace is joined with a massive gilt
    buckle with oak leaf and crown device. Between the hind
    springs is a rumble for two footmen; there is no driving seat,
    as the carriage is intended to be drawn only by horses ridden
    postilion. The panels are painted in purple lake considerably
    brighter than is usual in order to secure greater effect;
    marking the contours of the body and the outlines of the
    rumble are mouldings in wood carved and gilt, the design being
    one of overlapping oak leaves.

    “The door panels, back and front panels, bear the Royal Arms
    with crown, supporters, mantle, motto, helmet, and garter.
    On the lower quarter panel is the collar of the Order of the
    Garter, encircling its star and surmounted by the Tudor crown.
    Springing in a slow, graceful curve from the underpart of the
    body over the forecarriage is a ‘splasher’ of crimson patent
    leather. Ornamental brass lamps are carried in brackets at
    each of the four corners of the body.

    “As regards the interior of this beautiful carriage, it is
    upholstered in crimson satin and laces which were woven in
    Spitalfields; the hood is lined with silk, as better adapted
    than satin for folding. The rumble is covered with crimson
    leather. It is to be observed that with the exception of the
    pine and mahogany used for the panels, English-grown wood and
    English-made materials only have been used throughout.

    “While less ornate than the wonderful ‘gold coach’ designed
    by Sir William Chambers and Cipriani in 1761, the new state
    landau, in its build, proportions, and adornment, is probably
    the most graceful and regal vehicle ever built.”

[Illustration: _Dress Coach_]

[Illustration: _George V’s State Carriage_

(_From a Photograph_)]

Other English state carriages hardly less successfully designed have
been made for the Lord Mayor of London (1887), for Sir Marcus Samuel,
when holding that position in 1902-3, for the Sheriffs, and for
various Indian Princes.

Coming to less pretentious vehicles, we may briefly consider in
the first place the coach proper. At the time of Queen Victoria’s
Coronation, coaches of the old pattern were, of course, still being
constructed. There is in possession of Messrs. Holland and Holland a
mail-coach built by Waude, one of the best-known coachbuilders of that
time, which is typical of the period. This, says Mr. Charles Harper,

    “is substantially and in general lines as built in 1830.
    The wheels have been renewed, the hind boot has a door at
    the back, and the interior has been relined; but otherwise
    it is the coach that ran when William IV was King. It is a
    characteristic Waude coach, low-hung, and built with straight
    sides, instead of the bowed-out type common to the productions
    of Vidler’s factory. It wears, in consequence, a more elegant
    appearance than most coaches of that time; but it must be
    confessed that what it gained in the eyes of the passers-by
    it must have lost in the estimation of the insides, for the
    interior is not a little cramped by those straight sides. The
    guard’s seat on the ‘dickey’—or what in earlier times was
    more generally known as the ‘backgammon-board’—remains, but
    his sheepskin or tiger-skin covering, to protect his legs
    from the cold, is gone. The trap-door into the hind boot can
    be seen. Through this the mails were thrust and the guard sat
    throughout the journey with his feet on it. Immediately in
    front of him were the spare bars, while above, in the still
    remaining case, reposed the indispensable blunderbuss. The
    original lamps in their reversible cases remain. There were
    four of them—one on either forequarter, and one on either
    side of the fore boot, while a smaller one hung from beneath
    the footboard, just above the wheelers. The guard had a
    small hand lamp of his own to aid him in sorting his small
    parcels. The door panels have apparently been repainted since
    the old days, for although they still keep the maroon colour
    characteristic of the mail-coaches, the Royal Arms are gone,
    and in their stead appears the script monogram in gold, V.R.”

It is the coach which of all vehicles has least changed its appearance
in the last hundred years. The drag of to-day and the old coach
just described differ from one another only in a few minor details
of construction. The reason for this is not far to seek. “The brief
‘Golden Age,’” says Sir Walter Gilbey, “of fast coaching saw the
vehicle, of which such hard and continuous work was required, brought
as near perfection as human ingenuity and craftsmanship was capable of
bringing it. No effort was spared to make the mail or road-coach the
best possible conveyance of its kind, and in retaining the model of a
former age the modern coachbuilder confesses his inability to improve
upon the handiwork of his progenitors.”

It is curious to note, by the way, that for a short time such coaches
were hardly made at all, and the Report on the carriages shown at the
London Exhibition of 1862 speaks of the “revival of an almost obsolete
carriage, the four-in-hand coach, which had taken place within a
few years.” This was undoubtedly due to the founding in 1856 of the
Four-in-Hand Driving Club.

Nor was this revival confined to England. In the official _Reports
upon Carriages_ at the Paris Exhibition of 1878, Mr. G. F. Budd draws
attention to the fact that “the French have closely adhered to the
English styles in the general design and shape of the bodies of their
vehicles, especially in broughams ... landaus ... and drags. In the
latter description of carriage, which has become so popular during
the last few years, though it is peculiarly an English carriage, the
style has been closely followed, and with such considerable success,
that the French builders now appear as our formidable rivals in this
branch of the manufacture.” “A novelty,” he continues, “in the design
... consists in the roof being so constructed as to admit of being
opened in the centre ... a cover is placed on the top of the two
portions of the head thus opened, and so forms, to all appearance, an
ordinary luncheon-case with the ends open: it thus serves the purpose
of a table when required ... and affords an increase of ventilation to
those riding inside the vehicle.” Similarly in America drags began to
be built after the establishment of a driving club. These are identical
with the English models.

With regard to the other four-wheeled carriages, we have now arrived
at a period when it is almost impossible to speak at any length of
each particular kind.[56] For in the first place such a classification
as I have used to describe the older vehicles must to a large extent
break down, and in the second place, from the time when the great
exhibitions did so much to make the manufacturers of all nations
familiar with each other’s work, nearly every coachbuilder of standing
has produced one model, if not more, peculiar to itself. So, in the
middle of last century, you had carriages which approximated to the
barouche, yet which had been evolved indirectly from so different a
vehicle as the phaeton. You saw carriages, obviously dissimilar in
appearance, yet bearing, to the layman, the same name. You had new
combinations of perches and springs. And carriages were being exported
from one country to be improved upon the lines most suitable to the
roads and tastes of another.

Of all these carriages perhaps the two which deserve most mention are
the _landau_ and the _victoria_, both open carriages, which can be
closed at will.

The _landau_, as I have said, had originally been a coach made to open.
At the beginning of the century it had hardly been so popular as the
_landaulet_, but at this time it underwent several improvements at the
hands of Mr. Luke Hopkinson, a celebrated coachbuilder of Holborn. It
was Hopkinson who first built what was known as a _briska-landau_,
but he chiefly concerned himself not so much with the shape of the
carriage-body as with the hood. He built his new landaus in such a way
as to allow the hood to be folded, so that it lay horizontally at the
back of the seat. At the same time the floor and the seats were raised
so as to make the whole carriage a far more spacious and comfortable
vehicle than had been possible when the hood could not be completely
opened.[57] And with the hood entirely “down” you had practically
the landau of to-day, possibly the commonest carriage on the road.
Nearly every “fly” which so often is to be seen standing rather
forlornly outside the village station as your train thunders past is a
landau modelled on Hopkinson’s designs. He was not, however, the only
coachbuilder whose attention was being given to this useful carriage.
Of one of the new landaus built by other firms a trade journal of the
day observed with some truth that “its graceful outline and roominess”
made it “the very beau-ideal of vehicular luxury.” And as the years
passed the landau in its several varieties increased in popularity.
Improvements tended almost solely in the direction of lightness. The
Report on the carriages at the exhibition of 1862 pays particular
attention to the landau. “The demand for them,” it runs, “has ...
increased. They are well suited to the variable climate of the British
Isles, as they can readily be changed from an open to a closed carriage
and vice versa.” At a later exhibition—in 1885—the landau[58] had
become so popular that there was actually shown one, built for the Earl
of Sefton, suited to the capabilities of a single horse. This was an
important departure from tradition which seems to have shocked some
of the old-fashioned designers. “That an established house with an
aristocratic connection,” lamented one trade paper at the time, “should
exhibit a landau for one horse would have been considered incredible
twenty years ago.” No doubt this was true, but people persisted in
their desire for light carriages, and a one-horse landau was the
natural outcome. At a later date there was a tendency to alter the
shape of the body. Hitherto this had generally been angular; now the
lines became curving, the body, looked at from the side, forming the
arc of a huge circle. Such a carriage was known as the _canoe landau_.
To-day the canoe bodies, both in England and abroad, are made rather
deeper than at the time of their introduction, but the square shape
still persists. If there is one English vehicle which may be called the
favourite carriage it is surely the landau.

[Illustration: _Princess Victoria in her Pony Phaeton_

(_From a Drawing by Lowes Dickinson, 1835_)]

The earlier history of the _victoria_, the landau’s chief rival, is
rather obscure. As I have mentioned, the once popular _cab-phaeton_
was still to be seen in the ’forties in many continental cities as the
_milord_, which from a most aristocratic vehicle had descended into the
realms of hackdom. An English coachbuilder, however, Mr. J. C. Cooper,
saw possibilities in such a vehicle and prepared a series of designs.
His drawings were scornfully treated in England, but “found favour
in the eyes of his continental clients,” who about 1845 constructed
from them a four-wheeled cabriolet with seats for two. This small open
carriage was copied in more than one place, particularly, it would
seem, in Paris and Vienna. Whether these copies were still called
_milords_ I am not sure, but in 1856 they seem to have been described
as _victorias_. In the meantime the pony phaeton had become popular
in England, and in 1851 a new model designed for Her Majesty was,
according to Stratton, also called a victoria.

    “In the summer of 1851,” he writes, “a unique little pony
    phaeton was built by Mr. Andrews, of Southampton, for the
    Queen. The original announcement stated that when the carriage
    was delivered in front of the palace in the Isle of Wight,
    ‘the Queen and Prince expressed to Mr. Andrews their entire
    satisfaction with the style, elegance, and extraordinary
    lightness and construction of the carriage,’ which scarcely
    weighed three hundredweight. The height of the fore wheels
    is only eighteen inches, and of the hind ones thirty inches.
    The phaeton is cane-bodied, of George IV style, with movable
    head; the fore part is iron, but very light and elegant and
    beautifully painted. This carriage is known as the victoria,
    and has since been much improved in England and America.”

Mr. Stratton is probably right; but it was the French-built carriage
which the then Prince of Wales brought to England in 1869 to which the
name may be more correctly ascribed. It is to be noticed, however,
that the pony phaeton and the victoria proper differ from one another
only in size and in the presence or absence of a driver’s seat. The
Prince of Wales’s carriage was curved in shape and hooded, but about
the same time Baron Rothschild imported a victoria from Vienna of the
square shape. Both forms persist. At first, of course, the victoria was
looked on with suspicion, but the Princess of Wales speedily showed her
liking for it—it did indeed make an ideal lady’s carriage—and in a
short while the world followed suit. “Light, low, easy, fit for one
horse, and looking very well behind a pair of cobs,” remarks Thrupp,
“it is not surprising that the victoria meets with so much patronage.”
At first it would seem that the hood was not made to lie flat, a fact
amongst others which prompted a caustic critic in 1877 to grumble at
the conservatism of English manufacturers. “Even with so good a model
of this carriage as that presented to them in the victoria,” he wrote,
“the English builders do not see fit to maintain the same lines, and
for some inscrutable reason deem that the hood when down should rest at
an angle; whereas the ‘cachet’ of the Parisian equipages lies in the
absolute straight line it maintains with the horizon.” Only a few years
later, however, another critic was drawing attention to the superiority
of the English victoria over its French counterpart. “Their rattle,”
he wrote of the latter, “is enough to distinguish them. The French
victoria is a low-mounted and decidedly unsymmetrical machine. The
pole [is] a foot longer than it should be, the splinter bar and fore
carriage too low”—a criticism which holds good to-day with most of the
Italian carriages of this type.

Varieties of the victoria were constructed almost as soon as the
carriage had reached to any degree of popularity. A hinge-seat was
fitted into the front boot to face the ordinary seat, and this not
proving enough, a permanent seat for two was built in its place, this
innovation giving rise to the double victoria, which was built with
or without doors. I need not, perhaps, dwell further on the victoria,
except to observe that such changes as took place in the landau also
took place in its more delicate rival.

[Illustration: _Canoe-shaped Landau, 1860_]

[Illustration: _Drag, 1860_]

Another open carriage which remained popular until the introduction
of automobiles is the phaeton. Sir Walter Gilbey mentions several
varieties. Of these the largest seems to have been the mail phaeton.

    “It was a favourite carriage,” he writes, “seventy years ago
    or more, and was frequently used by gentlemen for long posting
    journeys in England and on the Continent. In these days this
    carriage was always built with a perch, the undercarriage
    resembling that of a coach, whence its name. For a time
    elliptical springs were adopted, but during the last ten
    years the fashionable mail phaeton has been a solid-looking
    square-bodied vehicle on its old undercarriage.”

In 1889, he also observes that a jointed perch was used, the object
being “to prevent the vehicle being twisted on bad roads, and also to
preserve its equilibrium under trying conditions of roads.” The _demi
mail phaeton_, to which Sir Walter gives the credit of having ousted
the ugly _perch high phaeton_ from public favour, “derives its names
from the peculiar arrangement of the springs in the construction of
the undercarriage.” Another variety, the _Beaufort phaeton_, is large
enough to carry six people, and was, in the first place, expressly
designed to carry people to the meet. Yet another modification, the
_Stanhope phaeton_, invented by the peer of that name, is smaller than
the last-mentioned, and has achieved a world-wide popularity. “The
head and apron render it suitable for winter work, and when the hood
is thrown back the stanhope is an admirable vehicle for summer use
whether in town or country.” The _T-cart_ is a smaller _stanhope_ “with
compassed rail and sticked body in front and a seat for the groom
behind.” Sir Walter records the fact that its greatest popularity was
about 1888, after which it was supplanted by the _spider phaeton_—a
“tilbury body on four wheels with a small seat for the groom supported
on branched irons behind.”

It would be possible to mention half a dozen other varieties of the
phaeton,[59] but such a list is best relegated to a coachbuilder’s
catalogue. There is only one innovation which should not be allowed to
pass unnoticed here. Many of the phaeton bodies during the ’sixties
were constructed of basket-work; indeed, Croydon, where lived the
inventor, received all the benefits which a new industry brings in its
trail, but the popularity of these basket-carriages waned as rapidly
as it had waxed—due, according to one writer, to the ridicule heaped
upon them by _Punch_. A revival was attempted in 1886, and “we have a
reminiscence of it in the imitation cane-work painted on the panels of
many carriages” at a still later date.[60]

We come to the closed carriages.

The _brougham_ was undergoing about as many changes and improvements as
fell to the lot of any other carriage, yet superficially it maintained
much the same appearance. The coupé brougham so popular to-day is the
relic of the old chariot.[61] Of its several varieties the best-known
is, or rather was—for it is rarely, if ever, seen now—the _clarence_.
“It was introduced,” says Sir Walter, “about the year 1842 by Messrs.
Laurie and Marner, of Oxford Street, and has fairly been described
as “midway between a brougham and a coach.” It had very curved and
rather fanciful lines, seated four persons inside, and was entered
by one step from the ground, carried the coachman and footman on a
low driving seat, and was used with a lighter pair of horses than
the family coach.” Certain models, however, show the driver’s seat
to have been high, on a level, that is to say, with the roof; and
not long after the first clarence was designed, Lytton Bulwer caused
to be built what was called a _Surrey clarence_, which possessed a
hammercloth. The attempt, however, to produce a miniature chariot did
not succeed. Another variety, named uncomfortably the _dioropha_, was
shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851.[62] Here the side windows would
slide up and down upon a new principle, and “the whole upper part of
the body from the elbow-line could be lifted from the lower, leaving
a barouche body.” You were shown models of this upper portion hanging
rather forlornly from the roof of a coach-house. But improvements in
the landau caused the extinction of the _dioropha_, which does not
seem to have been built after 1875. The _amempton_, invented by a Mr.
Kesterton, was a smaller form of this carriage. The one-horse “growler”
or “four-wheeler,” by the way, which still wanders up and down the
streets of London, is the lineal descendant of the _clarence_.

Of the more unconventional four-wheeled carriages, the waggonette
seems to have been introduced about 1845 by the Prince Consort after
a German model, though one writer gives the credit of the design to
the Prince himself. Here, as every one knows, the seats faced each
other at right-angles to the driver’s seat, the door being at the
back. At first they were built very large—to carry out the original
intention of providing a _family_ carriage which should really be
worthy of the name. Afterwards smaller models were produced, and
proved equally popular. “The principle of riding sideways,” remarks
Thrupp, “was not new. The Irish car, the four-wheeled Inside car of the
Westmorland district, the old Break, and the Omnibus all contributed
to the design of the modern vehicle.” A few particular varieties may
be mentioned. The now forgotten _perithron_, a Suffolk invention, was
a waggonette in which the driving seat was bisected down its centre,
so as to allow a passenger entering from the back to reach the front
seat. The _Portland waggonette_, built for the Duke of Portland in
1893, was a large carriage with a folding hood. Another carriage of
the kind with a folding leather hood was presented by Lord Lonsdale
to the King and Queen at the time of their wedding. This is known as
a _Lonsdale waggonette_. “Lord Lonsdale,” remarks Sir Walter Gilbey,
“allowed his name to be given to this device under the impression
that he was the first to originate a head of this description; but
his claim for invention of it was disputed at the time. Mr. Robertson
stated that he had built such a waggonette so far back as 1864; Mr.
Kinder had built one in 1865; and Messrs. Morgan stated that they
had turned out a similar vehicle before the year 1870.” A very large
waggonette, the _brake_, is a common enough object to-day, and is built
in various forms. Sometimes a second seat is placed directly behind
and parallel to the driver’s seat. In some models these seats stretch
back throughout the length of the carriage, in which case it is a
_char-à-banc_. Awnings, permanent or temporary, are generally provided.

In America the commonest four-wheeled carriage is the light _wagon_ or
_buggy_, a name given in England to a light two-wheeled, single-seated
cart (also called a sulky[63]) towards the end of the eighteenth
century. The _buggy_ has one seat fixed on to a long, shallow tray; the
_wagon_ is similar, but has two or more seats.

    “These American waggons,” says Thrupp, “were modelled from the
    old German waggon, but they have been so much improved as to
    be scarcely recognised. The distinctive feature of the German
    waggon was a light, shallow tray, suspended above a slight
    perch carriage on two grasshopper springs placed horizontally
    and parallel with and above the front and hind axle-tree; on
    the tray one or two seats were placed, the whole was light and
    inexpensive, and well adapted to a new, rough country without
    good roads. These waggons may still be found in Germany and
    Switzerland....

    “American ingenuity was lavished upon these waggons, and they
    have arrived at a marvel of perfection in lightness. The two
    grasshopper springs have been replaced with two elliptical
    springs. The perch, axle-trees, and carriage timbers have been
    reduced to thin sticks. The four wheels are made so slender
    as to resemble a spider’s web; in their construction of the
    wheels the principle of the patent rim used in England in 1790
    has been adopted. Instead of five, six, or seven felloes to
    each wheel, there are only two, of oak or hickory wood, bent
    to the shape by steam. The ironwork of the American buggy is
    very slender, yet composed of many pieces, and, in order to
    reduce the cost, these pieces of iron are mostly cast, not
    forged, of a sort of iron less brittle than our cast iron....
    The weight of the whole waggon is so small that one man can
    lift it upon its wheels again if accidentally upset, and
    two persons of ordinary strength can raise it easily from
    the ground. The four wheels are nearly of the same height,
    and the body is suspended centrally between them. There are
    no futchels; the pole or shafts are attached to the front
    axle-tree bed, and the front of the pole is carried by the
    horses just as they carry the shafts; the splinter-bar and
    whipple-trees are attached to the pole on swivels. Some are
    made without hoods and some with hoods. These are made so
    that the leather of the sides can be taken off and rolled up,
    and the back leather removed, rolled, or fixed at the bottom,
    a few inches away from the back, the roof remaining as a
    sunshade....

    “The perfection to which the American buggy or waggon has
    been carried, and every part likely to give way carefully
    strengthened, is marvellous. Those made by the best builders
    will last a long time without repair. The whole is so slender
    and elastic that it ‘gives’—to use a trade term—and recovers
    itself at any obstacle. The defect in English eyes of these
    carriages consists in the difficulty of getting in or out by
    reason of the height of the front wheel, and its proximity to
    the hind wheel—it is often necessary partly to lock round
    the wheel to allow of easy entrance. There is also a tremulous
    motion on a hard road which is not always agreeable. It is
    not surprising that, with the great advantages of extreme
    lightness, ease, and durability, and with lofty wheels, the
    American waggons travel with facility over very rough roads,
    and there is a great demand for them in our colonies. It must
    be remembered that the price is small, less than the price of
    our gigs and four-wheeled dog-carts.”

[Illustration: _Modern American Station Wagon_]

[Illustration: _Modern American Buggy_

_Both from Studebaker’s (Chicago) Catalogue_]

Indeed, the tourist in America will come away with the impression that
there is hardly a family in the continent which does not possess at
least one buggy or waggon. They can be driven, too, at a very great
pace. In this connection it is interesting to notice that it was a
buggy which Lord Lonsdale selected in order to carry out his great
driving feat in 1891, when “he undertook to drive four stages of five
miles within an hour, using for the first three stages one, a pair, a
team, and riding postilion in the fourth.”

There are, of course, many varieties, several invented after Thrupp
wrote the above account. Of these some are peculiar to a particular
State, while others seem to be in general use throughout the continent.
In Chicago, for instance, and other towns of the middle west, the
commonest buggy seems to be the _bike wagon_, of which a variety is the
_cut-under bike wagon_, where the tray is double—the seat forming a
bridge between its two parts.

Stanhopes and phaetons are also manufactured in America, though on a
much lighter scale than in England. Another popular American carriage
is the _surrey_, which has the two-seated arrangements of the larger
waggons, but is without the tray. The _station wagon_, very popular
in New England, resembles the old English chariot, and differs from
it only in its driving seat, which is on a level with the inside seat
and directly against the front lines of the carriage-body. This is one
of the most comfortable carriages in the country. The _buckboard_,
even slenderer than the buggy, is hardly more than the skeleton of a
carriage, but seems none the less popular on that account. The _barge_
is the name given in Massachusetts to a two-seated waggon, and the word
has a curious origin. It seems probable that it is a relic of the days
when in that part of the country the boat sleighs used in the winter
were put upon wheels in the summer. At a later date ordinary waggons
were used for summer traffic, but the old name stuck. And I dare say
there are a dozen or more local names of some peculiarity in other
parts of America which to-day are given to carriages not in the least
like those to which the name was originally applied.

Coming to the two-wheeled carriages, we find similar changes to those
described above showing themselves. The old curricle, for instance,
is now but rarely seen, its place being taken by one or other of the
dog-carts. What was probably the most fashionable of these carriages
during the early Victorian era is now practically extinct. This was the
_cabriolet_, rather different in appearance from the vehicles of that
name which had plied for hire but a few years before, yet built on the
same principles as the earliest French gigs.

    “They were greatly improved,” wrote Mr. G. N. Hooper in
    1899,[64] “about fifty years ago by the well-known Count
    D’Orsay and the late Mr. Charles B. Courtney, who greatly
    refined the outlines and proportions, making them lighter,
    more compact, and far more stylish. They became _par
    excellence_ the equipage of the _jeune noblesse_, and no more
    stylish two-wheel carriages for one horse were driven for many
    years while they were fashionable. A large, well-bred horse
    was a necessity, and this the cabriolet generally had.

    “The groom, or ‘tiger’ as he was then called, was a special
    London product: he was produced in no other city, British or
    foreign; all the genuine tigers hailed from London. His age
    varied from fifteen to twenty-five. Few there were that were
    not perfect masters of their horses, were they never so big.
    In shape and make he was a man in miniature, his proportions
    perfect, his figure erect and somewhat defiant: his coat
    fitted as if it had been moulded on him; his white buckskin
    breeches were spotless; his top-boots perfection; his hat,
    with its narrow binding of gold or silver lace, and brims
    looped up with gold or silver cord, brilliant with brushing,
    was worn jauntily. As he stood at his horse’s head, ready to
    receive his noble master, you might expect him to say, ‘My
    master is a duke, and I am responsible for his safety.’”

There is little enough to say of the gigs. The curricle, as I
have said, is now rarely seen, though Sir Walter Gilbey mentions
a particular one introduced about 1883 “which differed materially
from the vehicle formerly known by that name. It consisted of a
cabriolet, or whisky body, having an ‘ogee’ or chair back, the body
being suspended by braces from C or S springs upon the undercarriage.
Its peculiarity lay in the use of long lancewood shafts, set so far
apart that the pole could be placed between them; the saddle-bar being
used to support the pole, the shafts, it would seem, were somewhat
unnecessary.” The _Cape cart_ brought into England from South Africa is
a two-wheeled vehicle of this class with a pole in place of shafts, and
“the sides being framed so as to present three panels.”

    “At the back,” says Sir Walter, “was built in a large box
    for provisions, the full width and depth of the cart, the
    back seat forming the lid; the tail-board was used only as
    a foot-rest. An adjustable centre seat with backrest could
    be used so as to provide accommodation for six passengers. A
    white canvas tilt on wooden hoops with sunblinds at the sides,
    which could be strapped up when not wanted, covered the whole
    body of the cart.”

And similar to the Cape cart is the _Whitechapel cart_, which brings me
to a brief consideration of the _dog-carts_.

As originally designed, the dog-cart seems to have been built high,
and, as its name implies, for the purpose of carrying dogs. Such a
vehicle would seat four, a roomy, comfortable trap “with space under
the seats, where a brace of pointers or other dogs could lie at
ease.” As I have said in a preceding chapter, the sides of the cart
“were made with Venetian slats to provide ventilation.” Such a cart,
however, proved so agreeable that no long time elapsed before its
original purpose was lost sight of, and it became one of the commonest
of country carriages. Built on a small scale it was admirably suited
for pony or cob. Numerous varieties exist. In the _tandem cart_, as
generally constructed, the driver’s seat is high—the only cart,
indeed, of the kind to maintain any height at all. In the _Ralli cart_
two seats are placed back to back, the foot-rest to the latter closing
on the body when required. (Built somewhat on the lines of the ralli,
by the way, is the Indian _tonga_, “a rather low, hooded vehicle ...
furnished for draught by a pair of ponies on the curricle principle
with pole and bar.”) The _Battlesden_, _Bedford_, and _Malvern carts_
are other varieties. More popular, perhaps, than any of these is the
_governess cart_, which, while really in a class by itself, may be
mentioned here. This is a low and particularly safe carriage, in which
the seats are placed at the sides, as in the waggonette, and the door
is at the back. An improvement on the governess cart, though not nearly
so popular, is the _Princess car_, first designed in 1893. Here the
back door is dispensed with, the entrance being in front. “The driving
seat is arranged on a slide, whereby it can be moved forwards or
backwards to adjust the balance; and it also enables the driver to sit
facing the horse instead of sitting sideways as in the governess cart.”

In the last chapter I pointed out the chief varieties of public
carriages. Of these the hansom and the omnibus have undergone
considerable changes. The hansom was enormously improved by Mr.
Forde, a Wolverhampton coachbuilder, in 1873, when the Society of
Arts offered a prize for the best two-wheeled public conveyance. Mr.
Forde’s carriage was much lighter than the older hansoms, and “its
merits attracted the appreciative attention of foreigners, whereby an
export trade became established.” Four years later another vehicle, the
_two-wheeled brougham_, was introduced, but did not meet with success.
The _Floyd hansom_ of 1885 showed other improvements, and for the first
time the hansom became a private carriage. Here the “side windows were
made to open, as were two small windows at the back of the cab.” For
a short while, indeed, the private hansom was one of the smartest of
gentlemen’s carriages. Then in 1889 was shown another hansom with a
movable hood. This was wholly unsuccessful, but the _Arlington cab_,
a Dorchester invention of this time, may still be seen in provincial
towns to which the taximeter petrol cab has not yet reached. The chief
peculiarity about this hansom is its doors, which, instead of reaching
only half-way up and being constructed at a backward angle, reach from
door to roof and are upright—thus giving a more spacious interior.
These doors are “fitted with sliding glasses in the top part after
the manner of an ordinary brougham door.” A _brougham hansom_ was
introduced in 1887. “This afforded sitting-room inside for three or
four; it was entered at the back, and when the door was shut, a seat
across it was so arranged that there was no possibility of the door
opening till the occupants’ weight was off the seat. The driver’s seat
was in front, on the roof of the vehicle.” A _four-wheeled hansom_ was
also seen in London some twenty-five years ago. Here the driver’s seat
was behind the carriage on a level with the roof.

“Everybody knows,” remarks Sir Walter Gilbey, “that the hansom, by
reason of its steadiness, is an exceedingly comfortable conveyance;
there is no vehicle that runs more easily, particularly when the load
is truly balanced.” But in spite of such improvements as rubber tyres
and patent windows, the hansom seems doomed.

Shillibeer’s huge omnibuses were succeeded by smaller vehicles of
similar construction. For some years no passengers were carried upon
the roof except one or two beside the driver. Then in 1849 an “outside
seat down the centre of the roof was added,” to reach which you had to
climb an iron ladder. This continued until 1890, when the much more
convenient “garden-seats” were substituted, and a curved flight of
steps took the place of the rather dangerous ladder. Private omnibuses
were first constructed about 1867. They contained a rumble at the back
for the footman, but this was speedily dispensed with. As built to-day,
they are of various sizes.

One other carriage may be mentioned, and then I am done. This is the
_Irish car_. Here, as in the larger _bian_, the seats are arranged
back to back and sideways. “The wheels are very low and are concealed
as far as the axle-boxes, or farther, by the panel of the footboard,
which panel is hinged to the end of the _tray_, either side of which
forms the seat, to allow of its being turned up when not in use.”
Occasionally there is a well between the seats for small packages.
In private cars of this kind there is a small seat in front for the
driver, but this is rarely to be found in the public vehicles. The
width of the _Irish car_ is enormous, and occasionally leads the
neophyte into trouble. Outside Ireland, I believe, the car is not seen.

    “Walking in the pleasant environs of Paris,” wrote Mr. H. C.
    Marillier some seventeen years ago, in an article entitled
    _The Automobile: A Forecast_, “or even further afield, upon
    the broad _routes nationales_ of Charente and La Beauce, it
    is no uncommon thing to meet on a summer’s day a little open
    vehicle flitting along without apparent means of motion,
    upon noiseless rubber-shod wheels, or panting forth a gentle
    warning from a square-shaped box in front. Two, and sometimes
    three, persons are seated in it, one of whom drives by means
    of a handle. To stop or to start again requires the turn of a
    screw or the push of a pedal. Such, in its most accomplished
    and most graceful form, is the _automobile_. To see it pass
    at racing speed—some of these little machines can spurt at
    twenty miles an hour—takes one’s breath away at first. The
    apparition is uncanny.”

In another passage he speaks of these horseless carriages as playing
“a prominent part as the natural successors of the hansom cab and the
omnibus,” and draws what must then have been a fanciful picture of a
city upon whose roads there would be seen almost as many horseless as
horse-driven vehicles. To-day we know what has happened since these
words were written. The hansom is a rarity, except during a strike of
petrol-car drivers. The omnibus is a speedy machine with a powerful
engine. The growler persists, but only for the benefit of those with
much luggage or for those afraid of the internal combustion engine,
that extraordinary discovery which has revolutionised locomotion even
more than did steam eighty years ago. With such facts as these it
would be easy to prophesy a total extinction of horse-driven vehicles
except for purely ornamental purposes. Yet I believe that there may
be a reaction in favour of a more leisurely means of locomotion. As
yet it is impossible to be truly dignified in even the most gorgeously
appointed motor-car. “Carriage people” no longer form a class, and the
old coach-building firms which have not followed the times and shown
one or other make of automobile in their rooms are few in number. Mr.
Marillier, moreover, in the article just quoted, speaks of “that ideal
future when life shall consist of sitting in a chair and pressing
buttons”; but the horse is not yet extinct, and although it is not
probable that any horse-carriages of an entirely new type will be
constructed, I imagine that the older forms will persist, at any rate,
for the next century or two. Indeed, to my mind, there must always be
the man who will prefer the reins to the driving wheel. And who can
blame him for the choice?



FOOTNOTES

[1] “In Europe, sledge is the name applied to a low kind of cart,
but in America the word has been abbreviated to sled or changed to
sleigh, which in either case involves the idea that a _sliding_ vehicle
is meant. In the rural districts, the farmer employs a machine we
call a stone-sledge. This is commonly made from a plank, the flat
under surface of which is forced along the surface of the ground by
ox-power.” _The World on Wheels_. Ezra N. Stratton. New York, 1888.

[2] _English Pleasure Carriages._ By William Bridges Adams. London,
1837.

[3] “They also possessed baggage-carts shaped like the chariots. One of
these appears to have had a very high, six-spoked wheel and a curved
roof box. In front of the box is a low seat, from underneath which
projects a crooked drag-pole.” _Stratton._

[4] _A History of Egypt._ J. H. Breasted. New York. 1909.

[5] _Dictionary of the Bible._ 1906. Edited by J. Hastings. Art.
_Chariot._

[6] “We account for this difference by supposing that in battle,
when success depended in a great measure upon the stability of the
chariot, special care was taken to provide a strong wheel, while a
weaker one was considered good enough for a more peaceful employment,
a four-spoked wheel in those days being much cheaper and lighter.”
_Stratton._

[7] The Assyrians also possessed curious litters. “Two eunuchs,” says
Stratton, “are shown carrying a sort of arm-chair on their shoulders,
elegant in design, supplied with wheels, to be drawn by hand should
the king have occasion to visit mountainous regions inaccessible for
chariots.”

[8] _The History of Coaches._ G. A. Thrupp. London, 1877.

[9] See p. 39.

[10] Stratton treats of these Roman carriages and carts in considerable
detail, and mentions in addition to the _plostellum_, or small
_plaustrum_, the _carrus_, _monarchus_, and _birotum_. Of these the
_carrus_, or cart, differed from the _plaustrum_ in the following
particulars: “The box or form could not be removed, as in the former
case, but was fastened upon the axle-tree; it lacked the broad
flooring of planks or boards, which served as a receptacle for certain
commodities when the sides were removed; the wheels were higher [and]
... spoked, not solid like the _tympana_.” The _carrus clabularius_,
or stave-waggon, could be lengthened or shortened as required. The
_monarchus_ was a very light two-wheeled vehicle something like the
_cisium_. The _birotum_ was also a small two-wheeled vehicle, with
a leather-covered seat, used in the time of Constantine, an “early
post-chaise,” as Stratton puts it.

[11] The carts of north Italy in the eighteenth century had remained
practically unchanged. Edward Wright, who visited Italy in 1719, thus
describes them: “The carriages in Lombardy, and indeed throughout all
Italy, are for the most part drawn with oxen; which are of a whitish
colour: they have very low wheels. Some I saw without spokes, solid
like mill-stones; such as I have seen describ’d in some antique
basso-relievos and Mosaicks. The pole they draw by is sloped upwards
towards the end; which is rais’d considerably above their heads; from
whence a chain, or rope, is let down and fasten’d to their horns; which
keeps up their heads, and serves to back the carriage. In some parts
they use no yokes, but draw all by the horn, by a sort of a brace
brought about the roots of them: the backs of the oxen are generally
cover’d with a cloth. In the kingdom of Naples, and some other parts,
they use buffaloes in their carriages, &c. These do somewhat resemble
oxen: but are most sour, ill-looking animals, and very vicious; for the
better management of them they generally put rings in their noses.”

[12] _The World on Wheels._

[13] On the other hand, the scythes used by other nations may well have
been on the wheels. Livy describes those used by Antiochus (_currus
falcatus_): “Round the pole were sharp-pointed spears which extended
from the yoke of the two outside horses about fifteen feet; with these
they pierced everything in their way. On the end of the yoke were two
scythes, one being placed horizontally, the other towards the ground.
The first cut everything from the sides, the others catching those
prostrate on the ground or trying to crawl under. The long spears
(_cuspides_) were not on the yoke, as some say.”

[14] _English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages._ J. J. Jusserand.
London, 1888.

[15] _Early Carriages and Roads._ Sir Walter Gilbey, Bart. London, 1903.

[16] This appears to have been similar to the _carroccio_, described
by Stratton as a very heavy four-wheeled car, surmounted by a tall
staff, painted a bright red. Stratton also mentions the _cochio_,
which he describes as a thirteenth-century carriage having a covering
of red matting, under which, in the fore-part of the body, the ladies
were seated, the gentlemen occupying the rear end. Both these _words_,
however, seem to belong to a much later date and may be translations of
an earlier original.

[17] “The XXX day of September the Queen’s Grace came from the
Tower through London, riding in a charrett gorgeously beseen, unto
Westminster.” MS. Cotton. Vitellius, F.v.

[18] _History of Great Britain._ Arthur Wilson. London, 1653.

[19] cf. Spenser, who uses three words which appear to be
interchangeable.

    “Tho’, up him taking in their tender hands
    They easily unto her charett beare;
    Her teme at her commandement quiet stands,
    Whiles they the corse unto her wagon reare.
    And strowe with flowers the lamentable beare;
    Then all the rest into their Coches climb.”

[20] It is probable that the closed carriage in which the Emperor
Frederick III paid a visit to Frankfort in 1474 was one of these cotzi.
Here the interesting point is that the Emperor’s attendants, apparently
for the first time, were relieved of the necessity of holding a canopy
over His Majesty’s head, except when he went to and returned from the
Council Chamber.

[21] Taylor mentions in one place that “for the mending of the
Harnesse, a Knights Coachman brought in a bill to his master of 25
pounds.” He also says that the owners of coaches liked to match their
horses if possible.

[22] _A Book about Travelling, Past and Present._ Thomas Croal. London,
1877.

[23] So Massinger in _The Bondman_ says:—

    “For their pomp and ease being borne
    In triumph on men’s shoulders.”

[24] The word hackney, possibly derived from the old French _Haquenée_,
was the natural word to be used for a public coach, it being merely a
synonym, used by Shakespeare and others, for _common_.

[25] _Curialia Miscellanea._ Samuel Pegge, F.S.A. London, 1818.

[26] Which was about the same sum that Defoe had to pay in London
earlier in the century. “We are carried to these places [the
coffee-houses],” he wrote in 1702, “in chairs which are here very
cheap—a guinea a week, or a shilling per hour; and your chairmen serve
you for porters, to run on errands, as your gondoliers do at Venice.”

[27] cf.

    “With chest begirt by leathern bands,
     The chairman at his corner stands;
     The poles stuck up against the wall
     Are ready at a moment’s call.
     For customers they’re always willing
     And ready aye to earn a shilling.”

    _Echoes of the Street_.

[28] In an article in the _Pall Mall Magazine_ for March, 1912.

[29] Birch’s _History of the Royal Society_.

[30] Some people have considered that the name was not derived from
the city of Berlin, but from an Italian word _berlina_, “a name given
by the Italians to a kind of stage on which criminals are exposed to
public ignominy.” This seems rather far-fetched. In England it was
always thought to have been built first in Berlin, and was a common
enough term for a coach early in the eighteenth century. Swift mentions
it in his _Answer to a Scandalous Poem_ (1733):—

    “And jealous Juno, ever snarling,
     Is drawn by peacocks in her berlin.”

“It should be noted,” says Croal, “that we find the word differently
applied in the earlier years of the century, and in such a way as to
cast doubts on the derivations quoted. In some of the last Acts passed
by the Scottish Parliaments before the Union, there are references to
a kind of _ship_ or boat, called a berline. The royal burghs on the
west coast of Scotland were in 1705 ordered to maintain two ‘berlines’
to prevent the importation of ‘victual’ from Ireland, this importation
being forbidden at the time, and two years later an Act was passed to
pay the expenses of the berlines.”

[31] A point of minor interest may here be noticed. When leather was
first used for the covering of the coach quarters, the heads of the
nails showed. But about 1660, “these nail-heads were covered with a
strip of metal made to imitate a row of beads; from this practice arose
the name of ‘beading’ which has been retained, although beading is now
made in a continuous, level piece, either rounded or angular.” _Thrupp._

[32] See below, p. 133.

[33] The reader is referred for the fullest information on the subject
of these stage-coaches to Mr. Charles G. Harper’s _Stage-Coach and Mail
in Days of Yore_. 2 vols. London, 1903.

[34] _Omnibuses and Cabs._ London, 1902.

[35] It was over a _calèche_ presented by the Chevalier de Grammont to
Charles II, that the famous quarrel took place between Lady Castlemaine
and Miss Stewart, afterwards the Duchess of Richmond. The ladies
had been complaining that coaches with glass windows, but lately
introduced, did not allow a sufficiently free display of their charms,
whence followed the gift of a French _calèche_ which cost two thousand
livres. When the queen drove out in it, both the ladies agreed with de
Grammont that it afforded far better opportunities than a coach for
showing off their figures, and both endeavoured to get the first loan
of it. In the fierce quarrel that followed Miss Stewart came off the
conqueror.

[36] _Peter the Great._ By K. Waliszewski. Translated by Lady Mary
Loyd. London, 1898.

[37] _Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne._ John Ashton. London,
1883.

[38] Originally, I understand, a fish-cart or lugger.

[39] This well-known expression for a carriage is generally thought to
have been used first by an American quaker later in the century. Ned
Ward, however, would seem to have been its real inventor.

[40] At this time M. Dessein used to advertise in the London papers.
In _The Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser_ for July 21, 1767, is the
following: “To be sold, at Calais, a Travelling _Vis-à-Vis_, built
at Paris about a year and a half ago; very fit also to use in the
towns on the Continent upon occasion; being varnished in the newest
taste, and covered with an oiled case to preserve it from the weather
in travelling, and requires nothing but a new set of wheels to be in
perfect repair to make the tour of Europe. Enquire of Mr. Dessein, at
the Hôtel D’Angleterre at Calais, with whom the lowest price is left.”

[41] See next chapter.

[42] This was the Mr. Francis Moore, of Cheapside, who in 1786 and 1790
obtained patents for two two-wheeled carriages. The second of these
bore considerable resemblance to the hansom-cab of a later date. It had
enormous wheels—higher, indeed, than the body of the carriage—and the
driver sat on a small box-seat in front and at a level with the top of
the roof. The door was at the back.

[43] _Caricature History of the Georges_, Thomas Wright. London, n.d.

[44] “The shape of the body,” says Bridges Adams, describing Coates’s
carriage, “was that of a classic sea-god’s car, and it was constructed
in copper. This vehicle was very beautiful in its outline, though
disfigured by the absurdity of its ornamental work.” When Coates had a
fall, Horace Smith, of _Rejected Addresses_ fame, seized the occasion
to write a mock condoling poem.

[45] For a detailed account of these mail-coaches the reader is
referred to Mr. Charles Harper’s book, _Stage Coach and Mail in the
Days of Yore_.

[46] _The Danger of Travelling in Stage-Coaches; and a Remedy Proposed
to the Consideration of the Public_, by the Rev. William Milton, A.M.,
Vicar of Heckfield, Hants. Reading, 1810.

[47] It may be well to add here a note on the simpler springs which
were in use at this time. These seem to have been of five distinct
varieties—the straight or elbow spring, the elliptic spring, the
regular-curved, and the reverse-curved springs, all these being either
single or double, and the spiral spring. The straight spring was used
in the stage-coaches, in the later phaetons, in the Tilbury, and in
most of the two-wheeled carriages. The elliptic spring, invented by
Elliott, was “used single in what are called under-spring carriages,
where the spring rests on the axle, and is connected with the framework
by means of a dumb or imitation spring so as to form a double or
complete ellipse. This is technically called an under spring.” Its
importance, of course, followed on its power of acting as a complete
support, no perch being required to hold the two parts of the
undercarriage together. Sometimes four of these springs were “hinged
together in pairs,” and used thus in the larger four-wheeled carriages.
When a regular-curved or C spring was used, “a leathern brace was
suspended from it to carry the body or weight.” The reverse-curved
spring was used in the older phaetons, and in the fore springs of the
Tilbury, and springs similar to this had been used as body springs
in place of suspension brackets or loops, or as upright springs,
to the earlier coaches and chariots, under the technical name of S
springs—“in which case leather braces were attached to them, and they
were supported by a bracket or buttress of iron called the spring stay.
The whip spring which succeeded them ... was used in the same way.” But
in addition to these springs, there were all kinds of combinations, and
the whole subject is too complicated for the lay mind to understand.
The chief point, however, to notice is the changes in structure which
were made possible by the elliptic spring of Elliott’s resting on the
axle.

[48] Which reminds me that at the present day there is a singular
three-wheeled cab to be hired in London, if only you know where to
look for it. It is the only one of its kind, and rarely, I believe,
appears until after nightfall. It is the kind of carriage which is to
be avoided by those who have drunk not wisely but too well.

[49] A good description is given of the appearance of these coaches by
Baron d’Haussez, an exiled Frenchman, in 1833.

“The appointments of an English coach are no less elegant than its
form. A portly, good-looking coachman seated on a very high coach-box,
well dressed, wearing white gloves, a nosegay in his button-hole, and
his chin enveloped in an enormous cravat, drives four horses perfectly
matched and harnessed, and as carefully groomed as when they excited
admiration in the carriages of Grosvenor and Berkeley Squares. Such
is the manner in which English horses are managed, such also is their
docility, the effect either of temperament or training, that you do
not remark the least restiveness in them. Four-horse coaches are to be
seen rapidly traversing the most populous streets of London, without
occasioning the least accident, without being at all inconvenienced in
the midst of the numerous carriages which hardly leave the necessary
space to pass. The swearing of ostlers is never heard at the relays any
more than the neighing of horses; nor are you interrupted on the road
by the voice of the coachman or the sound of his whip, which differs
only from a cabriolet whip in the length of the thong, and serves more
as a sort of appendage than a means of correction in the hand which
carries it.”

[50] _Omnibuses and Cabs._

[51] See note on p. 192.

[52] According to Mr. Moore, whose account of this matter seems
perfectly clear, the actual vehicle which proved so popular when
plying the streets contained very much more of Chapman’s work than
of Hansom’s, and, indeed, if full justice had been done, these light
carriages should have come down to posterity as _chapmans_ and not
_hansoms_ at all. On the other hand it is quite possible, that but for
Hansom’s work, Chapman would never have given such careful attention to
this class of vehicle.

[53] It seems, however, that so long as ten years before _one-horse
cars_ of this form had been plying for hire in Birmingham and Liverpool.

[54] _Modern Carriages._ Sir Walter Gilbey, Bart. London, 1905.

[55] Bridges Adams has an amusing passage on the question of colour.
He had his own ideas upon the best colours to use on a carriage body.
“For bright sunny days,” he thinks, “the straw or sulphur yellow is
very brilliant and beautiful; but for the autumnal haze, the rich deep
orange hue conveys the most agreeable sensations. The greens used
are of innumerable tints, commencing with the yellowish olive, and
gradually darkening till they are barely distinguishable from black.
Neither apple green, grass green, sea green, nor any green of a bluish
tint, can be used in carriage painting with good effect as a ground
colour; but in some species of light carriages a pleasing effect may be
produced for summer by the imitation of the variegated grasses.” Quite
a poetical idea! “Blues,” he continues, “were formerly principally used
as a ground colour for bodies, to contrast with a red carriage and
framework. Of late very dark blues have been used as a general ground
colour, and when new they are very rich, being a glazed or partially
transparent colour; but they very soon become worn and faded, the
least speck of dust disfiguring them. Blue is also a cold colour, and
while it is unfitted for summer by reason of its easy soiling, it is
unpleasant in winter, owing to its want of warmth.”

[56] For full and particular accounts of all such carriages as have
been constructed since the middle of last century, the reader is
referred to the various trade journals. Further information is to be
obtained from the Reports on carriages at the successive London and
Paris Exhibitions. Here the more important differences between English,
French, and Austrian carriages are clearly shown in a language which is
not too technical for the ordinary reader to understand.

[57] This was also the case in France.

[58] There is an interesting passage in the 1878 Report which may be
quoted here. “It is somewhat singular,” this runs, “that while the
attention of the English coachbuilders has, for the past few years,
been directed to perfect an arrangement to open and close landau heads
in a simple and effectual manner, the French builders have paid little
or no heed to the attainment of this desideratum, but have instead
adopted a plan which allows of the doors of a landau being opened when
the glass is up, being first introduced by M. Kellner ... in 1866....
The simplest method is to have two pieces of brass, about ten inches
long, in the form of a groove, for the glass frame to slide in, hinged
to the upper extremities of the door pillars, and to close down on the
fence rail when not required for use.”

[59] Here, I suppose, should be included the _Eridge cart_, invented by
Lord Abergavenny. It holds four persons on two parallel seats.

[60] The phaeton has found particular favour in France. At the Paris
Exhibition in 1878 was shown a phaeton built at Rouen, which, according
to the official Report, was “the finest small carriage exhibited in the
French department for ingenuity and fitness for work.”

[61] Sir Walter Gilbey had a _posting brougham_ built for his own use,
which to an even greater extent resembled the old chariot. In this case
postilions were used.

[62] “The Patent Dioropha, or two-headed carriage, combining in one
a clarence or pilentum coach, complete with all its appointments; a
barouche, with folding head and three-fold knee-flap; and an open
carriage. The heads can be removed or exchanged with facility by means
of a pulley attached to the ceiling of the coach-house, aided by a
counterpoise weight.” _Vide_ the Official Catalogue, which also gives
illustrations of several Indian carriages, such as the _Keron_, the
rath, a Mahratta carriage from Bengal, and a lady’s carriage from
Lahore—the last being a four-wheeled conveyance covered with scarlet
and crimson cloth, and shut in with thick curtains.

[63] The only sulky now to be seen in this country is the trotting
carriage used in races—a mere skeleton. See also p. 210.

[64] _Suspension of Road Carriages._ A Paper read before the Institute
of British Carriage Manufacturers at York. 1899.



INDEX


_Index_


  Abergavenny, Marquis of, 270 n.

  Ackermann, William, 230, 234

  Adams, T. G., 232

  Adams, William Bridges, 19, 49, 62, 65, 154, 212, 214 n., 227-230,
    232-236, 258 n.

  Addison, Joseph, 151

  adometer, 115

  Adrianople, 152

  Africa, South, 278

  Agrippina, 33

  _Alchemist, The_, 75

  Aldersgate Street, 190

  _Alexander and Campaspe_, 58

  Alexander of Parma, 67

  Alexander Severus, 35

  Alexander the Great, 27

  Alexandria, 27

  _All sorts of Wheel Carriage, Improved_, 166

  ἅμαξα, 26, 27

  Amelia, Princess, 104

  _amempton_, 272

  America, North, 36, 140, 205, 220, 221, 225, 236, 263

  America, South, 20, 189, 236

  Amsterdam, 225, 226

  Andersen, Henry, 90

  Andrews, coachbuilder, 267

  Anne, wife of Richard II, 49

  Anne, Queen, 154, 174

  _Anne, Social Life in the Reign of Queen_, 158 n.

  Anne Boleyn, 54

  _Annual Register_, 214

  Anstice, J., 205

  Antioch, 29

  Antiochus, 40 n.

  ἄντυξ, 25

  Antwerp, 68, 110

  ἀπήνη, 26-28

  _Apollo, or a Problem Solved_, 162

  Appian Way, 28

  _araba_, 40

  Arabia, 40

  _arcera_, 29

  _Arlington cab_, 280

  ἄρμα, 25, 26, 29

  ἁρμάμαξα, 26, 27, 29

  Arnot, Hugh, 102

  Arundel, Earl of, 76, 77

  Ashby, Lady, 120

  Ashton, John, 158

  Asia, 107, 108

  Assyrian chariot. See _chariot_

  Athens, 36

  Ausonius, 31

  Australia, 223

  Austria, 51, 232

  _automobile_, 256, 269, 282

  _Automobile: a Forecast, The_, 281

  axles, movable, 256, 269, 282


  Babylon, 27

  _back-door cab_, 249

  Bailey, Captain, 88

  Balack, Donald, 105

  _barcos de tierra_, 20

  _barge_, 276

  Barker, Edward, 74

  _barouche_, 206, 229, 230, 264, 271n.

  _barouchet_, 230

  Barrow, John, 107

  _Bartholomew Fair_, 75

  Baskerville, John, 191

  basket, the, 168, 169.
    See also under _boot_

  _basterna_, 32, 37, 52

  Bath, 61, 103, 104

  _Battlesden cart_, 279

  Baudry, M., 252

  Baxter, coachbuilder, 258

  Baynardes Castle, 77

  beading, 120n.

  Beatrice of Anjou, 50

  _Beau’s Ideal, The_, 160

  Beckmann, 65, 116

  _Bedford cart_, 279

  Belgium, 35

  Bellasis, Richard, 57

  Belvoir, 71

  _benna_, 32, 35

  Bennet, Mr., 221

  Bennett, coachbuilder, 235

  Berlin, 118 n.

  _berlin_, 62, 109, 118-121, 139, 141, 175, 176, 216;
    Korff berline, 207 _et seq._

  _berlina_, 118 n.

  _berline_. See _berlin_

  _berlingot_, 141

  _bian_, 239, 281

  Bianconi, 239

  _Bible, Dictionary of the_, 22 n.

  _bike wagon_, 275;
    _cut-under bike wagon_, 275

  Birch, Thomas, 116 n.

  Bird-Cage Walk, 258

  Birmingham, 42, 190, 191, 250, 251 n., 255

  _birotum_, 32 n.

  Blackfriars, 82

  Blackheath, 115-117

  _Blackwood’s Magazine_, 238

  Bligh family. See Darnley

  Blount. See Blunt

  Blunt, Colonel [Sir Harry, of Wicklemarsh], 115, 117, 118, 126

  Bodger, 189

  _Bondman, The_, 87 n.

  Boonen, William, 71, 72

  _boot_, first mention of, 73;
    metamorphosed into basket, 74, 84, 111, 114, 168, 218, 229, 234, 235

  Boston, U.S.A., 221

  Boulnois, William, 249, 250

  Boulogne, 70

  Bourn, Daniel, 180, 181, 185

  _brake_, 273

  Breasted, J. H., 21

  brewer’s cart, 96

  Britain, 30, 39

  British Museum, 48

  _britzschka_ (_briska_, _brisker_, _brisky_), 232-234;
    _briska-chariot_, 229, 232, 233;
    _briska-phaeton_, 229;
    _briska-landau_, 264

  _broad-waggons_, 198

  Broderithus, Stephanus, 65

  _brouette_ (wheelbarrow), 99, 100, 108, 139

  Brougham, Lord, 251

  _brougham_, 251, 252, 257, 262, 271;
    _posting-brougham_, 270 n.;
    _two-wheeled brougham_, 279;
    _brougham-hansom_, 280

  Brouncker, Lord, 117

  Browne, Sir Thomas, 73, 121, 221

  Brussels, 67, 110

  _buckboard_, 276

  Buckingham, Duke of, 61, 86-88, 91, 107, 153

  Buckingham, Earl of, 49

  Budd, G. F., 262

  _buggy_, 221, 236, 257, 273-275

  Bulkeley, Sir Richard, 142, 143, 155

  Bulwer Lytton, 271

  Bunbury, H., 199

  Burgh, Elizabeth de, Lady Clare, 48


  _cab_, _hackney_. See _cabriolet_

  _cab-phaeton_, 229, 233, 245, 266

  _cabriolet_, 139, 170, 198, 199, 221, 234, 244 _et seq._, 266, 276;
    _cabriolet de place_, 244

  Cæsar, Julius, 29, 36

  Cæsarius, 29

  Calais, 172

  _calash_ (_calesh_, _calèche_), 109, 140 _et seq._, 154, 155, 206, 221

  _calesse_ (_calesso_), 35, 140

  _caned whiskey_, 214

  Canterbury, 110

  _Cape cart_, 278

  Capua, 28

  _Caricature History of the Georges_, 198 n.

  Carinthia, 121

  Carlyle, Thomas, 207, 209

  _carpentum_, 31, 33, 34

  _carretta_, 50

  carriage, early use of the word, 45;
    early English carriage described, 47;
    Chinese, 38, 107;
    Dacian, 37

  _Carriage Builder’s and Harness Maker’s Art Journal_, 72, 158

  carriage-match, 188

  _carriole_, 35, 69, 140, 224

  _carroccio_, 50 n.

  _carroch_ (_caroch_, _carroach_, _carroche_), 64, 80, 83

  _carrosse_, 69;
    _carosse à cinq sous_, 136 _et seq._

  _carruca_, 32, 34;
    _carruca argentata_, 35;
    _carruca domestoria_, 35

  _carrus_, 32 n.;
    _carrus stabularius_, 32 n.

  cart, 24, 81, 82, 247;
    early English cart described, 45

  Castlemaine, Earl of, 123, 124;
    Countess of, 140 n.

  _cathedra_, 37

  Catherine of Aragon, 54

  Catton, coach-painter, 188

  Cecil, Lady, 76

  Cenis, Mont, 104

  Centlivre, Mrs., 160

  _chaer._ See _chare_

  _chair, sedan_, 85 _et seq._;
    introduced into England, 87;
    hackney chairs established, 87, 91;
    characteristics of chairmen, 96, 102;
    appearance, 99-101;
    at Bath, 104;
    persist at Edinburgh, 106;
    regulations, 106;
    Eastern chairs, 107;
    mentioned, 123, 148, 166, 173, 221, 222

  _chair, one-horse._ See _chaise_

  _chairs-and-chairmen_, 198

  _chaise_, 140, 141, 147, 148, 155, 156, 170, 171, 175, 196;
    French chaise described, 147, 148;
    _chaise à porteur_, 99;
    _chaise de poste_, 170

  Chamberlayne, William, 135

  Chambers, Sir William, 185, 186, 260

  Chapman, John, 250

  _char._ See _chare_

  _char-à-banc_, 273

  _char-à-cote_, 224

  _chare (car)_, 46, 49, 50, 52, 54, 69

  _charette (chariette)_, 49, 50, 62, 67

  _chariot_, Hittite, 21, 23;
    Egyptian, 20, 22;
    Assyrian, 22, 24, 39;
    Persian, 23, 38-40;
    Grecian, 24 _et seq._;
    Lydian, 26;
    British, 29, 30;
    mentioned, 49, 54, 55, 97, 111, 120 _et seq._, 141, 144;
    Col. Blunt’s chariots, 115 _et seq._;
    Spanish, 121;
    Mr. Povey’s, 126;
    Sir Richard Bulkeley’s, 142;
    _chariot à L’anglaise_, 147;
    the Darnley chariot, 150 _et seq._;
    advertisements of, 157;
    George IV’s, 207;
    cost of, 210;
    Hobson’s chariots, 232;
    also mentioned, 148, 150, 153, 161, 171, 175, 200, 206, 210, 221, 229,
      234, 251, 270, 271, 276

  _chariotee_, 236

  Charles of Anjou, 50
  —— I, 86, 90, 91, 111, 123
  —— II, 55, 61, 140 n., 148
  —— V, 86
  —— VII, of France, 64
  —— XII, 154

  _chasse marée_, 159

  Chaucer, Geoffrey, 49

  Cheapside, 150, 192 n.

  _cheas_, 162

  Chicago, 275

  Chiesa, Philip de, 118

  Child, Josiah, 198

  Chili, 20

  China, 38, 79, 107

  Cicero, 30, 32

  Cipriani, 113, 188, 260

  _cisium_, 31, 32 n., 139;
    _cisiarii_, 31

  Clanwilliam, Earl of, 233

  _clarence_, 271, 272;
    _Surrey clarence_, 271

  Claudius, the Emperor, 36

  Cleveland, John, 114

  _Clinker, Humphrey_, 103

  _coach_, introduction of, 56 _et seq._;
     women forbidden their use, 57;
     Taylor’s opinion of, 59;
     first coach-and-six, 61;
     definition of, 62;
     where first made, 62;
     derivation of the word, 63;
     similar to _couch_, 63;
     first English coaches only carts, 64;
     appearance of early coaches, 66;
     how evolved from the waggon, 66;
     a sixteenth-century coach described, 67;
     oldest coach in existence, 68;
     introduction into England, 69;
     first “hollow, turning coach” for Queen Elizabeth, 71;
     her Dutch coach, 72;
     Earl of Rutland’s coach, 77, 78;
     coach compared with cart, 81;
     Taylor’s ride in, 84;
     hackney coaches, 88, 165, 201, 241 _et seq._;
     proclamations concerning, 90, 125;
     early French coach, 111;
     size of English coaches, 111;
     oldest coaches with solid doors, 119;
     Roman coaches, 123;
     overturning of, 142;
     early Georgian coaches, 148;
     Turkish, 152;
     Russian, 153, 154;
     Venetian, 159;
     patent coaches, 166, 217, 218;
     Spanish, 170;
     “frictionless” coach, 190;
     Baskerville’s, 191;
     Lord Chancellor’s Irish coach, 206, 207, 258;
     reasons for overcrowding, 215;
     nineteenth-century coach, 229;
     Victorian, 261

  Coach and Coach Harness Makers’ Company, 143

  _Coach and Sedan pleasantly disputing_, 63, 92 _et seq._

  _coachee_, 222

  _Coaches, The History of_, 24 n.

  coal-carriage, 192

  Coates, “Romeo,” 213

  Coburg, 67, 68

  Cockburn, Lord, 106

  _cochio_, 50 n.

  Colley, 199

  Colman, J., 198

  Commander, Mr., 127

  _Conference between ... chariot ... and ... chair, A_, 97

  Congreve, William, 201

  Connecticut, 221

  Consort, Prince, 272

  Constantine, 32 n.

  Constantinople, 29

  _Conveyancing_, 248

  Cooper, Fenimore, 105

  Cooper, J. C., coach-designer, 266

  _corbillard_, 111

  _correo real_, 170

  _cottri_, 63

  Cotzi. See Kotzee

  _couch_. See _coach_

  _coucou_, 169

  _coupé_, 155, 230, 270

  Courtney, C. B., 277

  Covent Garden, 104

  Coventry, Sir William, 132

  _covinus_, 30

  Cow Lane, 129

  crane-neck perches, 119

  Craven, 57

  Creed, Mrs., 130

  Crenan, Marquis de, 136

  Croal, Thomas, 84, 101, 118 n., 143, 236, 240

  Cromwell, Oliver, 112-114

  Crooch, John, 92

  Croune, Dr., 117

  Croydon, 270

  Cruikshank, George, 246

  C-spring, 119

  Cuba, 140, 236

  Cuchey, Cambridge carrier, 63

  Cumberland, George, Earl of, 59;
    Henry Clifford, Earl of, 57

  _Curialia Miscellanea_, 91 n.

  _curricle_, 199, 213, 214, 222, 234, 242, 276, 277;
    _curricle tribus_, 252

  _currus_, 29;
    _currus arcuatus_, 33;
    _currus falcatus_, 40 n.

  _curtin coach_, 159

  Curtius, 39, 40

  Cyprus, 39


  Darnley, Lord, 150

  Dashour, 24

  Davenant, Sir William, 123

  Davies, David, 233, 245, 251

  decoration of carriages, 139

  Defoe, Daniel, 102 n.

  Delaney, Mrs., 159

  Delavel, Sir Francis, 196, 237

  _demi-landau_, 210

  _dennet_, 235;
    the Misses, 235

  Dertford, 77

  _désobligeante_, 141, 172

  Dessein, M., 172

  _Devil is an Ass, The_, 80

  Devonshire, Duke of, 259

  Diana of Poitiers, 69

  Dickens, Charles, 234, 242, 244, 246, 247

  _diligence_, 148, 168;
    _diligence de ville_, 219.
    See also _mail-coach_

  Diomed, 26

  _dioropha_, 271

  δίφρος. See ἅρμα

  Dockwra, William, 166

  _dog-cart_, 235, 257, 275, 276, 278

  dogs used as beasts of burden, 110

  Don, Lady, 106

  Dorchester, 280

  Dover, 218

  _Down-Hall_, 156

  _drag_, 262, 263

  Drake, Sir Francis, 59

  _driving-coach_, 229

  _droitzschka_ (_drosky_), 224, 233

  Dublin, 142, 238, 239

  Duncombe, Sir Saunders, 87, 91

  Dunkirk, 110

  _duobus_, 249

  Dupin, 99


  _Early Carriages and Roads_, 50 n.

  _Early Use of Carriages in England_, 54

  _Eastward Hoe_, 75, 79

  Echoes of the Streets, 103 n.

  Edgeworth, Dr. Lovell, 205

  Edgware, 57

  Edinburgh, 90, 102, 103, 106, 144, 206

  _Edinburgh Almanac, The_, 106

  Edward III, 43, 48

  Edward VI, 70

  Edward VII, 259

  effeminacy and carriages, 44, 56 _et seq._

  Eglinton, Earl of, 188

  Egypt, 23, 24, 46

  _Egypt, A History of_, 21 n.

  Eleanor, the Lady, 48

  elephant carriage, 239, 240

  Elgin, Earl of, 108;
    Elgin marbles, 26

  Elizabeth, Queen, 71-73, 83, 86, 174

  Elliott, Obadiah, 205, 214, 227, 228 n., 234

  elliptic springs, 205

  _English Pleasure Carriages_, 19 n., 227

  _English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages_, 43 n.

  _Entertainment at Rutland House, First Day’s_, 123

  equirotal carriages, 237

  Erichthonius, 36

  _Eridge cart_, 270 n.

  Ermengarde, the Lady, 51

  _essedum_, 29-31;
    _essedum deauratum_, 30

  Essex, Robert, Earl of, 59;
    Countess of, 77

  Eugene, Prince, 160

  Evelyn, John, 87, 109, 111, 115, 116, 125, 126, 142

  _Expeditions to Prussia and the Holy Land, of Henry, Earl of Derby_, 51


  _Fantail gig_, 236

  Farnese, Duke Edward, 123

  Felton, William, 204, 207, 210, 213, 227

  Ferrara, 69;
    Duchess of, 69

  Ferrers, Earl, 53

  Fersen, Count, 208, 209

  _fiacre_, 90

  Fielding, Sir John, 201, 203

  Finsbury, 92, 235

  Flanders, 51, 209;
    Flemish mares and carriages, 52, 63, 83

  _Flandres, Anciennes Chroniques de_, 50

  Fleet Street, 164

  Florence, 23, 140

  _fly_, 265

  Ford, Sir Richard, 129

  Ford, William, 201

  Forde, coachbuilder, 279

  _four-in-hand_, 229, 262

  Four-in-Hand Driving Club, 262

  “four-wheeler,” 89

  France, 43, 62, 76, 90, 94, 121, 139, 140, 148, 151, 165, 168, 171, 172,
    177, 189, 196, 198, 219, 230

  Frankfort, 65

  Frederick, Duke of Saxony, 67

  Frederick III, the Emperor, 65 n.

  Friola, 51

  Froissart, Sir John, 49, 53


  _galera_, 169

  Gauden, Sir D., 129

  Gaul, 31

  Gautier, Théophile, 170

  Gay, John, 60, 98, 102, 150

  _Gazetteer, The_, 172 n.

  General Highways Act, the first, 70

  _Gentleman Dancing Master, The_, 127

  _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 174, 176, 180, 193

  George I, 159

  George III, 185, 186, 188, 207

  George IV, 211, 212, 267

  George V, 185

  Germany, 35, 66, 68, 76, 118, 147, 219, 226, 273

  _gharry_, 40

  Ghent, 110

  Gibbon, Edward, 28, 29

  _gig_, 107, 139-141, 144, 199, 213, 214, 221, 224, 235-237, 245,
      275-277;
    primitive form of, 31

  _Gigg, Sir Gregory_, 199

  Gilbey, Sir Walter, Bart., 50, 54, 113, 117, 251, 259, 262, 269-272,
    277, 278, 280

  Gild of the Holy Cross, 42

  Gillray, James, 211, 213, 220

  Ginzrot, von, 39, 66

  Glasgow, 144, 256

  glass for coaches and chairs, 104, 109, 111, 120, 121, 131, 135, 154

  glass-coach, 119, 121, 185, 207

  Godalming, 149

  Godelak, Walter, 43

  _gondola_, 169, 216, 252

  _governess cart_, 279

  Gozzadini, Count, 67, 123, 140

  Grammont, Chevalier de, 140 n.

  _Grand Concern of England, The_, 136

  Gray, Thomas, 147, 148

  Gray’s-inn-lane, 197

  Green, John, 165, 166

  Greenwich, 253, 254

  Gregory X, Pope, 50

  Gresham College, 116

  Griffin, Will, 127

  Grosvenor Square, 197, 241 n.

  Gurney, Sir Goldsmith, 255, 256


  _Hackney_, 88, 121, 127;
    derivation of the word, 88 n.

  Hamburg, 226

  Hamilton, Duke of, 211

  hammercloth, 158, 206, 229, 271

  Hanning, Mr., 255

  Hansom, Aloysius, 250, 251

  _hansom-cab_, 89, 99, 192 n., 250 _et seq._, 279, 280, 282;
    _Floyd hansom_, 279;
    _four-wheeled hansom_, 280

  Harborough, 176

  Harper, Charles, 120, 135 n., 215 n., 218, 261

  Harrow, 57;
    Harrow School, 57

  Harvey, Mr., 249, 252

  Harwich, 55, 190

  Hastings, J., 22 n.

  Hatchett, coachbuilder, 258

  Hatton House, 77

  Haussez, Baron D’, 241 n.

  Heathcote, Sir Gilbert, 188

  Heliogabalus, 82

  “hell-cart,” 81

  Hengrave, 76

  Henry IV, 51

  Henry VI, 54

  Henry VII, 96

  Henry of Navarre, 84;
    his widow, 54

  Herodotus, 27

  Hesiod, 28

  Hewer, Will, 131, 133

  Hicks, Sir Elias, 92

  Hieronymus, 27

  Hinckley, 250

  _History of Great Britain_, 61 n.

  _History of Inventions_, 65

  _History of Locomotion_, 62

  Hobson, Samuel, 232

  Hoby, Sir Thomas, 76

  Hodges, coachmaster, 157, 158

  Hoefnagle, 72

  Hogarth, 64

  Holborn, 132, 197, 264

  Holcroft, Thomas, 226

  Holinshed, 54

  Holland, 68, 71, 156, 226

  Holland & Holland, 261

  Holloway, 247

  Hood, Thomas, 248, 256

  Hook, Theodore, 235

  Hooke, Dr. Robert, 116, 117

  Hooper, G. N., 276

  Hopkinson, Luke, 264, 265

  Hopkynson, Edward, 71

  _Horse and Carriage Oracle, The_, 231

  Hungary, 37, 51, 63-66, 68

  Hunt, Leigh, 162, 206, 210, 214, 219, 242

  Hutton, Catherine, 192

  Hutton, William, 191

  Hyde Park, 112, 115, 122, 155, 156

  _hwakeaou_, 108


  _idol-car_, Persian, 39

  Indian carriages, early, 40

  Ingleby, Colonel, 112

  Ipswich, 73

  Ireland, 143, 206, 214, 220, 238, 239, 281

  _Irish car_, 281

  Isabella of Spain, 170

  isinglass, or talc, used for windows, 92

  Islington, 92

  Italy, 31, 32, 33 n., 35, 62, 110, 123, 172, 196, 235


  Jacob, 21, 46

  Jacobs, Joseph, coachbuilder, 157, 184

  James I, 87

  Japan, 108

  _jaunting car_, Irish, 239

  Jervis, John, coachman, 239

  _jin-rick-shaw_, 99, 108

  John, Elector of Saxony, 68

  John, King, 53

  Johnson, Samuel, 162, 171, 219

  Jonson, Ben, 75, 79

  Joseph, 21, 46

  _Journey across Asia_, King’s, 224

  _Journey round the World_, Pfeiffer’s, 223

  Jowermarsh, 43

  Julius, Duke of Brunswick, 58

  Juno, 25, 118 n.

  Jupiter, 162

  Jusserand, J. J., 43, 47, 48


  καμάρα, 27

  Kamtschatka, 224

  κάναθρον, 26, 28

  _kangoe_, 108

  Kellner, M., 265 n.

  Kelson, Mr., 160

  Kennedy, Donald, 150

  _keron_, 271 n.

  Kesterton, Mr., 272

  _kibitka_, 224

  Kinder, coachbuilder, 273

  King, Captain, 224

  Kink, 199

  Kin-sai, 38

  Knapp, Edward, 115

  Korff, Baroness de, 208

  Kottcze (Kotcze), 63, 65

  Kotzee (Kotzi), 62, 65

  Kytson family, 76


  Lade, Sir John, 197, 211

  Ladislaus, King of Hungary, 64

  Lafitte, Jacques, 252, 253

  _landau_, 62, 175, 193, 200, 207, 210, 230, 257, 263-266, 268, 271;
    _state landau_, 259, 260;
    _canoe landau_, 266

  _landaulet_, 210, 230, 234, 264

  Lassells, George, 71

  Laurie & Marner, 271

  Laval, René de, 58

  Leadenhall Street, 181, 184

  “leathern-conveniency,” 163, 238

  _lectica_, 29, 36, 86;
    _lecticarii_, 36

  Leek, John, 71

  Leith, 90

  Lenthall, Speaker, 113

  Leominster, 180, 185

  Leopold, the Emperor, 119, 160

  Ligne, Prince de, 125

  lilies, a common form of decoration, 52

  Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 129

  Lincolnshire, 95

  _litter_, Grecian, 26;
    Roman, 29;
    Babylonian, 36;
    mentioned, 36, 45, 52 _et seq._, 69;
    on wheels, 49

  Liverpool, 251 n.

  Livy, 40 n.

  Lombardy, 33 n.

  London, 43, 57, 61, 69, 74, 86, 89, 90, 100, 102, 111, 120, 135, 136,
    143-145, 149, 160, 176, 189, 192, 196, 216, 221, 236 n., 241 n., 242,
    245, 246, 248, 250, 253, 255, 258, 262, 277, 280

  _London Spy, The_, 154

  Longacre, 189

  Lonsdale, Earl of, 272, 275

  Lords, House of, 114

  Louis II, of Hungary, 65

  Louis XIII, 121

  Louis XV, 101

  Louterell Psalter, 46, 48

  _Love in a Wood_, 122

  Lowther, Mr., 129

  Loyd, Lady Mary, 153 n.

  Lucas, John, coachbuilder, 222

  Luttrell, Mr., 159

  Lye, 63

  Lyly, John, 58

  Lyon, John, 57


  Macaulay, Lord, 61

  Macpherson, 68

  M’Adam, James, 178, 185, 205

  Madrid, 151, 206

  _mail-coach_, 89, 136, 205, 215, 218, 240, 242, 246

  _Malvern cart_, 235, 279

  Mann, Sir Horace, 185, 198

  Manners, Henry, 2nd Earl of Rutland, 70;
    4th Earl of Rutland, 71, 89

  Manton, 191

  March, Earl of, 188, 189

  Marco Polo, 37

  Maretto, Giovanna Batta, 69

  Margaret, daughter of Henry VII, 53

  Marillier, H. C., 281, 283

  _market cart_, Welsh, 239

  Markland, J. H., 54, 102

  Martial, 36

  Mary, Queen, 55, 71

  Mary de Medicis, 55

  Massachusetts, 276

  Massinger, Philip, 83, 87 n.

  Matthew of Westminster, 53

  “Maypole,” The, 88

  Megiddo, battle of, 21

  _Meliadus, le Roman du Roy_, 48

  Menange, 63

  Menshikof, 153

  _Merchant of Venice_, 79

  metal roads, 205

  Mexico, 221

  _Middlesex Election, The_, 213

  Milan, 50, 110

  Mile End, 49

  _milord_, 233, 266

  Milton, Rev. William, 217, 218

  _minibus_, 249

  Mirabeau, G. H., 208

  Misson, M., 112

  _Modern Carriages_, 251 n.

  _Modern Morning, A_, 198

  Molyneux, Mr., 142

  _monarchus_, 32 n.

  Monboddo, Lord, 60

  monks as roadmakers, 42

  Monmouth, Duke of, 120

  Montagu, Lady M. W., 152, 160

  Montbrun, M. de, 99

  Moore, Francis, 192, 250

  Moore, Henry Charles, 136, 246, 249, 250 n.

  Morgan, Messrs., coachbuilders, 273

  Morison, Fynes, 89

  mourning chariot, 157

  _Much Ado about Nothing_, 212

  Murrey, Sir Frederick, 117

  Musée Cluny, 69

  _My Journie_, 74

  Mysore, Maharajah of, 239


  Nahum, 24

  Naples, 33 n., 50, 140, 160;
    Neapolitans, the, 87

  Napoleon, 206

  Nero, 34

  Newark, 53

  Newenham, 43

  Newmarket, 188

  _Newport cart_, 235

  New York, 23

  Nineveh, 24

  _noddy_, 238, 239

  Nonesuch, 77

  Norfolk, 178

  _norimon_, 108

  Norris, Sir John, 59

  Northampton, 176

  _Northanger Abbey_, 199

  Northumberland, Earl of, 61

  Norway, 140, 224

  Norwich, 73

  _Norwich cart_, 235

  Nott, Dr., 236

  Numa, 33

  Nuremberg, 66


  Okey, Mr., 252

  Oldenburgh, Count of, 112

  Olivarez, Duke of, 151

  _omnibus_, 138, 165, 169, 247, 252 _et seq._, 272, 279-282;
    _omnibus slice_, 249

  _Omnibuses and Cabs_, 136n., 246n.

  _one-horse cars_, 251n.

  Onslow, Colonel Tommy (Lord Cranley), 211

  _Orators, The Female_, 105

  Orleans, 110

  Orsay, Count D’, 277

  Ostend, 110

  Oxford, Lord, 122


  Paddington, 247, 253

  Palestine, 24

  Pall Mall, 133

  Palmer, John, 205, 215, 241

  Paris, 44, 58, 69, 90, 99-101, 109-111, 120, 127, 136, 138, 169, 172n.,
    198, 207, 208, 226, 244, 245, 252, 253, 258, 262, 266, 281

  Parma, 124

  Pascal, Blaise, 136, 138

  Pegge, Samuel, 91

  _pegma_, 32

  πείρινς, 25

  Pen, Sir William, 118

  Penn, William, 221

  Pepys, Samuel, 74, 111, 116, 117, 118, 120, 121, 122, 125;
    his coach, 126 _et seq._;
    Mrs. Pepys, 127;
    Roger Pepys, 130

  perambulator, 108

  perch, 119

  _perithron_, 272

  Peru, 220

  Peter the Great, 153

  _Peter the Great_, 153n.

  Peterborough, Lady, 120, 121

  Petersburg, 153, 259

  Petersham, Lord, 235

  Petty, Sir William, 142

  Petworth, 149

  Pfeiffer, Madame, 223

  _phaeton_, 34, 175, 192, 193, 195-198, 200, 210, 212, 214, 227 n.,
       228 n., 234, 237, 238, 242, 262, 269, 275;
    _perch-high phaeton_, 211, 234, 269;
    _one-horse phaeton_, 212;
    _pony phaeton_, 212, 267;
    _spider phaeton_, 270;
    _phaeton chaise_, 199;
    _mail-phaeton_, 257, 269;
    _basket phaeton_, 257, 270;
    _demi-mail phaeton_, 269;
    _Beaufort phaeton_, 269.
    See also _cab-phaeton_

  _Phaeton, The New Fashioned_, 192

  _Phaeton, and the One Horse Chair, The_, 193

  _Phaetona, or Modern Female Taste_, 197

  Philip the Fair, 44

  Philistia, 24

  φορεῖον, 26, 36, 86

  Piacenza, 124

  Pickering, Mr., 131

  _Pickwick_, 105

  Pierce, Sir Harry, 97

  _Piers the Plowman_, 42

  _pilentum_, 32, 34, 233, 271 n.

  Pilkington, George, 71

  _Pinch, the Social_, 105

  Pius IV, Pope, 58

  _Plane Truth_, 132

  _plaustrum_, 31, 32, 33

  Pliny, 34

  plostellum, 32 n.

  Pomerania, 90

  Pontife Brothers, 42

  Portland, Duke of, 272

  Portsmouth, 149

  Portugal, 20, 235

  _post-chaise_, 32 n., 165, 170 _et seq._, 198, 200, 205, 210, 219, 220,
      231;
    cost of, 210;
    _post-coach_, 200;
    _post-landau_, 200

  postilion, 26, 31, 47, 50, 83, 113, 156, 168, 171, 190, 196, 199, 220,
    260, 270 n., 275

  Povey, Thomas, 126, 128, 129, 135

  _Princess car_, 279

  Prior, Matthew, 156

  Procopius, 28

  _Provoked Husband, The_, 144

  Prussia, Duke of, 118

  _Public Advertiser_, 181

  Pultowa, 254

  _Punch_, 270


  _quar obus_, 252


  raft, primitive, 18

  _Ralli car_, 278

  Ramée, M., 61, 169

  Ramses II, 11, 21

  _rath_, 271 n.

  Raworth, Robert, 92

  _reda_, 32, 35;
    _reda caballaria_, 53

  _Rejected Addresses_, 214 n.

  _Reports on Carriages_, 262

  _rib chair_, 214, 235

  Richard II, 42, 48, 49, 53

  Richmond, Duchess of (Arabella Stewart), 140 n.

  Rippon, Walter, 70, 71, 77

  roads, 28, 43, 56

  Robertson, coachbuilder, 273

  Rochead, Mrs., 106

  _rockaway_, 236

  rolling-carts, 181, 189;
    rollers used, 179, 180, 181, 184, 185

  Rome, 28, 29, 32-36, 123, 124, 211

  Rosencrantz, Baron, 190

  Ross-shire, 105

  Rothschild, Baron, 267

  Rouanès, Duc de, 136

  Roubo, M., 121

  Rouen, 270 n.

  Rouland, Roger, 48

  _roulette_. See _brouette_.

  Rowe, James, 166

  Royal Society, 116, 117, 142

  Russia, 153, 223

  Rutland, Earl of. See Manners

  Ryly, “embroderer,” 78


  Saint James’s, 104, 105 190

  Salisbury Court, 130

  Salvard, Lord of Rousillon, 50

  Samuel, Sir Marcus, 260

  Sardanapalus, 82

  _sarracum_, 31-33

  Saxony, Elector of, 57

  Schenectady, 236

  Scotland, 87, 90, 110, 143, 161, 162, 220

  Scott, Sir Walter, 167, 168

  Screven, Thomas, 76, 77

  Scythes used for chariots, 30, 39, 40 n.

  Scythian cart, 37

  Sedan, 85, 95

  _Sedan cart_, 100

  _Sedan chair_. See _chair_

  _Sedanny_, 95

  Sefton, Earl of, 265

  _sella_, 36;
    _sella portatoria_, 37;
    _sella muliebris_, 37

  Selwyn, George, 102

  Seneca, 30, 31

  _Sentimental Journey_, 171

  Shakespeare, William, 88 n.

  Sharpe, James, 181, 184, 185

  _shay_, 140, 221, 222, 246

  _shaze_. See _chaise_

  Shillibeer, George, 253, 254, 280

  Shippon, General, 55

  Shooter’s Hill, 117

  Sidney, Sir Philip, 59

  Siegmund, Baron de Herberstein, 65

  Sinclair, Sir John, 217

  six-wheeled carriage, 237

  _Sketches by Boz_, 242

  _Sketches of English Society_, 105

  σκιμπόδιον. See φορεῖον

  _sled_, 18 n.

  _sledge_, 18, 171, 224, 225

  _sleigh_, 18 n., 276

  _sliding body_, 235

  Smith, Horace, 214 n.

  Smith, Sir Sidney, 237

  Smithfield, 131, 198

  _sociable_, 26, 147, 213, 257;
    _public sociable_, 236

  Society of Arts and Sciences, 185

  Soissons, Duc de, 125

  Soliman, Emperor of Turkey, 63

  Solomon, 24

  Somerset House, 159

  Sophia, 152

  Soult, Marshal, 258

  Sourches, Marquis de, 136

  Southampton, 216, 267

  Southampton, Countess of, 76

  South Kensington, 140, 206, 207, 225

  Spain, 62, 69, 86, 88, 121, 125, 151, 165, 169, 170;
    King of, 169

  Speaker, Mr., 113;
    his coach and privileges, 113, 114

  _Spectator, The_, 151

  Spenser, Edmund, 62 n.

  springs, steel, first applied to _brouette_, 100;
    Knapp’s patent, 115, 205, 227 n., 228 n.

  _Squyr of Low Degree, The_, 52

  Stafford, Lord, 88, 91

  _stage-coach_, 89, 123, 135, 136, 144, 167, 182, 183, 205, 214-218,
    222, 227 n.

  _Stage-Coach and Mail in Days of Yore_, 135 n., 215 n.

  _Stage-Coaches, The Dangers of Travelling in_, 217 n.

  stage-waggon, 89, 222

  Stanhope, Hon. Philip, 235

  _stanhope_, 235, 275;
    _stanhope phaeton_, 257, 269

  _Staple of News_, 79

  state coach, 123-125, 159, 186, 188, 257;
    of Great Britain, 185 _et seq._;
    Lord Mayor’s, 188

  _station wagon_, 275

  steam-carriage, 255

  Steele, Sir Richard, 103, 160

  Sterne, Lawrence, 171, 172

  Stopford, Mrs. Diana, 97

  Stowe, John, 48, 70, 75

  Strand, the, 88, 92, 185

  Stratford-le-bowe, 84

  Stratton, Ezra N., 18 n., 21 n., 22 n., 23 n., 32 n., 50 n., 220, 224,
    267

  Strogonoff, Count, 259

  Strutt, 46

  Suetonius, 37

  _suicide gig_, 214

  _sulky_, 210, 236, 273

  _surrey_, 275

  suspension, early attempts at, 35, 46, 64;
    new ideas on, 67, 77

  _Suspension of Road Carriages_, 276 n.

  Sutton, founder of the Charterhouse, 57

  swing-poles, 34

  Swinstead Abbey, 53

  Switzerland, 224, 273

  Syria, 24


  Taaff, Theobald, 188

  talc used for windows, 36, 121, 154

  _tandem cart_, 235, 278

  _taranta_, 223, 224

  Tarquin, 33

  Tartar carriage, 37

  _Tatler, The_, 103, 160

  Taurinum, 65

  tax on coaches, 173, 174

  Taylor, John, 59, 60, 65, 69, 70, 73, 75, 78-80, 82-84, 90

  T-cart, 269

  _telashka_, 224

  _teleka_, 224

  Temple, The, 131;
    Temple Bar, 165

  _Thiefe, The_, 83

  Thorpe, John, 199

  three-wheeled carriage, 236;
    — cab, 236 n.

  Thrupp, G. A., 24, 27, 35, 40, 52, 66, 67, 69, 119, 120 n., 124, 140,
    170, 185, 206, 229, 232, 257, 258, 268, 272, 273, 275

  Thurloe, Mr. Secretary, 112

  Thutmose III, 21

  “tiger,” the, 277

  Tilbury, coachbuilder, 234, 235

  _tilbury_, 227 n., 228 n., 234, 235, 242

  Timoleon, 27

  _tim-whisky_, 182

  _tonga_, 279

  Toulouse, 139

  Tower of London, 49, 55 n., 84

  _Town & Country Magazine_, 197

  _traineau_, 171

  _Travelling, Past and Present, A Book about_, 84 n.

  _treckscuyt_, 171

  Treves, 31

  _tribus_, 252

  _Tristram Shandy_, 171

  Tron Church, 106

  Trull, John, 170

  _tub-bodied gig_, 236

  Tuileries, The, 110

  _Tu Quoque_, 83

  Turkey, 115, 152

  Turner, Mr., 130

  turnpikes, 179

  Tuscany, Grand Duke of, 102;
    Lady Margaret of, 123

  Tussaud’s exhibition, 206

  Twining, Thomas, 222

  Tyler, Wat, 48

  _tympanum_, 32


  Utrecht, Peace of, 151


  _Vanaigrette_. See _brouette_

  Vanbrugh, Sir John, 144

  Venice, 102 n.

  Verona, 67, 69

  Vic, Sir Henry de, 110

  Victoria, Queen, 205, 212, 255, 258, 261, 267

  _victoria_, 212, 234, 264, 266-268

  Vidler, coachbuilder, 261

  Vienna, 119, 206, 266, 267

  _vigoureux_, 169

  _vis-à-vis_, 119, 141, 172, 207, 210

  _volante_, 140, 236

  _Voyages and Discoveries, Collection of_, 107


  Waade, Sir William, 84

  Wachten, 63

  _waggon_, primitive, 20;
    Roman, 32, 180;
    _wagon_, American, 273
    _waggonette_, 257, 272, 273, 279;
    _Portland waggonette_, 272;
    _Lonsdale waggonette_, 272

  Wales, 239

  Wales, Princess of (Queen Alexandra), 267

  Waliszewski, K., 53

  Wallachia, 35

  Walpole, Horace, 147, 148, 185, 186, 198

  Walsingham House, 77

  Ward, Ned, 154, 163-165

  Warren, Sir William, 130

  Warton, Thomas, 193

  Warwick, 72

  Waude, coachbuilder, 261

  Weld, Isaac, 222

  Westminster, 43, 55 n., 90;
    Westminster Bridge, 196

  Westmorland, 57, 272

  wheel, primitive, 17, 19;
    how made, 20;
    Egyptian, 24;
    war of the wheels, 176 _et seq._

  _whirlicote_, 48, 49, 62, 63

  _whiskey_, 213, 214

  White, H. A., 22, 24

  _Whitechapel cart_, 235, 278

  Whitehall, 84, 129, 133

  Wicliffe, 49

  Wilkes, John, 104, 171

  Wilkins, Dean, 117

  William Rufus, 53

  William IV, 261

  William of Malmesbury, 53

  Williams, Oakley, 113

  Williams, Sir Roger, 59

  Willoughby, Lord Grey and, 59

  Wilson, Arthur, 61 n., 86, 87

  Windsor, 149

  _windsor chair_, 200

  Wolverhampton, 279

  _World on Wheels, The_, 18 n., 39 n., 257

  _World runnes on Wheels; or Oddes Betwixt Carts and Coaches, The_, 81

  Wright, Edward, 33 n., 225

  Wright, John, 189

  Wright, William, 76


  Xerxes, 26


  _Yarmouth cart_, 35

  York, Duke of, 120, 132

  Yorkshire, 144


  PRINTED BY
  WILLIAM BRENDON AND SON, LTD.
  PLYMOUTH

       *       *       *       *       *

  GRAHAME OF CLAVERHOUSE

  VISCOUNT DUNDEE

_By Michael Barrington_

With many Portraits reproduced in Photogravure, Military Maps of the
Campaigns, a Pedigree, Facsimile Letter, and copious Bibliography.

_In one volume, Imperial Octavo (11 in. × 7-1/2 in.) Price Thirty
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