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Title: The History of Gambling in England
Author: Ashton, John
Language: English
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                         THE HISTORY OF
                           GAMBLING IN
                             ENGLAND



                      _All Rights Reserved_



                      THE HISTORY
                           OF GAMBLING
                                IN ENGLAND

                               BY

                           JOHN ASHTON

       AUTHOR OF “SOCIAL LIFE IN THE REIGN OF QUEEN ANNE,”
             “A HISTORY OF ENGLISH LOTTERIES,” ETC.

[Illustration: LOGO]

                             LONDON
                         DUCKWORTH & CO.
             3 HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN, W.C.
                              1898



CONTENTS


PAGE

INTRODUCTORY

Difference between Gaming and Gambling—Universality and
Antiquity of Gambling—Isis and Osiris—Games and Dice of the
Egyptians—China and India—The Jews—Among the Greeks and
Romans—Among Mahometans—Early Dicing—Dicing in England in
the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries—In the Seventeenth
Century—Celebrated Gamblers—Bourchier—Swiss Anecdote—Dicing
in the Eighteenth Century                                              1


CHAPTER I

Latimer and Cards—Discourse between a Preacher and a
Professor—The Perpetual Almanack, or Soldier’s Prayer
Book—Origin of Playing Cards—Earliest Notice—Royal Card
Playing                                                               28


CHAPTER II

Legislation as to Cards—Boy and sheep—Names of old games
at Cards—Gambling _temp._ Charles II.—Description of a
gaming-house, 1669—Play at Christmas—The Groom Porter—Royal
gambling discontinued by George III.—Gambling in church              40


CHAPTER III

Gambling early Eighteenth Century—Mrs Centlivre—E.
Ward—Steele—Pope—Details of a gaming-house—Grub Street
Journal on Gambling—Legislation on gambling—Peeresses as
gaming-house keepers—A child played for at cards—Raids on
gaming-houses—Fielding                                               51


CHAPTER IV

Gambling at Bath—Beau Nash—Anecdotes of him—A lady
gambler—Horace Walpole’s gossip about gambling—Awful story
about Richard Parsons—Gambling anecdotes—C. J. Fox                  64


CHAPTER V

The Gambling ladies—Ladies Archer, Buckinghamshire, Mrs
Concannon, &c.—Private Faro Banks—Card-money—Gaming House
end of Eighteenth Century—Anecdotes—The profits of Gaming
Houses—C. J. Fox and Sir John Lade—Col. Hanger on gambling          76


CHAPTER VI

The Gambling Clubs—White’s, Cocoa Tree, Almack’s—A few
gamblers described—Stories of high play—White’s and its
frequenters—Brookes’ and its players—Captain Gronow and his
reminiscences of gambling—Gambling by the English at Paris—The
Duke of Wellington—Ball Hughes—Scrope Davies—Raggett of
White’s                                                               90


CHAPTER VII

Hanging, the penalty for losing—Suicide—Officer
cashiered—Reminiscences of an exiled gambler—Description of the
principal gaming-houses at the West End in 1817                      103


CHAPTER VIII

Crockford’s Club—His Life—His new Club-house—Epigrams
thereon—Ude and the Magistrate—Description of
Club-house—Anecdotes of Crockford’s                                 118


CHAPTER IX

Hells in the Quadrant, 1833—Smith _v._ Bond—Police
powers—“Confessions of a Croupier”                                  133


CHAPTER X

Select Committee on Gaming, 1844—Evidence                           147


CHAPTER XI

Wagers and Betting—Samson—Greek and Roman betting—In the
Seventeenth Century—“Lusty Packington”—The rise of betting
in the Eighteenth Century—Walpole’s story of White’s—Betting
in the House of Commons—Story by Voltaire—Anecdotes of
betting—Law suit concerning the Chevalier d’Eon                     150


CHAPTER XII

Gluttonous Wager—Walk to Constantinople and back—Sir John Lade
and Lord Cholmondeley—Other Wagers—Betting on Napoleon—Bet
on a Coat—Lord Brougham—Brunel and Stephenson—Captain
Barclay—Story by Mr Ross—The Earl of March’s Coach—Selby’s
drive to Brighton—White’s betting book                              163


CHAPTER XIII

Horse Racing—Early mention—Thirteenth Century—Racing for
bells—Racing in Hyde Park—Newmarket—Oliver Cromwell and
Running horses—Charles II.—James II.—Anne—Her fondness for
racing—Sporting in her reign—Epsom—Tregonwell Frampton—The
three Georges—A duel—Turf anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century      173


CHAPTER XIV

Match between Mrs Thornton and Mr Flint—Its sequel—Daniel
Dawson poisons horses—Origin of Bookmaking—Turf frauds—The
“Ludlow” scandal—The “Plenipo” fraud—Reports of Select
Committee on Gaming, 1844                                            185


CHAPTER XV

Gambling on Race Courses—E.O. tables—Description of Race
Courses—Evidence before the Committee—Description of the
betting-rooms at Doncaster in 1846—Beginning of tipsters and
betting-rooms                                                        199


CHAPTER XVI

Betting Houses—Their suppression in 1853—Bookmakers and their
Clients—Defaulters—Dwyer’s swindle—Value of Stakes                211


CHAPTER XVII

The Lottery—Its etymology and origin—The first in
England—Succeeding ones—Prince Rupert’s jewels—Penny
lottery—Suppression and revival—Rage for them in Queen Anne’s
reign—Lotteries for public purposes—Leheup’s fraud                 222


CHAPTER XVIII

Blue coat boys tampered with—The two trials—Insuring
tickets—Curious Lotteries—Lever Museum and Pigot diamond
Lotteries—Little goes—Stories of winning numbers—Decline of
Lotteries—The last—Its epitaph—Modern lotteries                   231


CHAPTER XIX

Promotors and Projectors—Government loans—Commencement of Bank
of England—Character of a Stock Jobber—Jonathan’s—Hoax _temp._
Anne—South Sea Bubble—Poems thereon                                242


CHAPTER XX

First mention of the Stock Exchange—Attempt at hoax—Daniel’s
fraud—Berenger’s fraud—Bubbles of 1825—The Railway Mania—30th
Nov. 1845 at the Board of Trade—The fever at its height—The
Marquis of Clanricarde pricks the bubble                             254


CHAPTER XXI

The Comic side of the Railway Mania—“Jeames’s Diary,”
&c.—Universal Speculation, as shown by Parliamentary
Return—Rise of Discount—Collapse—Shareholders not
forthcoming—Widespread Ruin—George Hudson                          266


CHAPTER XXII

Permissible gambling—Early Marine Assurance—Oldest and
old Policies—Lloyd’s—Curious Insurances—Marine Assurance
Companies—Fire Insurance—Its origin and early Companies—Life
Insurance—Early Companies—Curious story of Life Insurance          275



INTRODUCTORY

 Difference between Gaming and Gambling—Universality and Antiquity of
 Gambling—Isis and Osiris—Games and Dice of the Egyptians—China and
 India—The Jews—Among the Greeks and Romans—Among Mahometans—Early
 Dicing—Dicing in England in the 13th and 14th Centuries—In the 17th
 Century—Celebrated Gamblers—Bourchier—Swiss Anecdote—Dicing in the
 18th Century.


Gaming is derived from the Saxon word _Gamen_, meaning _joy_,
_pleasure_, _sports_, or _gaming_—and is so interpreted by Bailey,
in his Dictionary of 1736; whilst Johnson gives Gamble—_to play
extravagantly for money_, and this distinction is to be borne in mind
in the perusal of this book; although the older term was in use until
the invention of the later—as we see in Cotton’s _Compleat Gamester_
(1674), in which he gives the following excellent definition of the
word:—“_Gaming_ is an enchanting _witchery_, gotten between _Idleness_
and _Avarice_: an itching disease, that makes some scratch the head,
whilst others, as if they were bitten by a _Tarantula_, are laughing
themselves to death; or, lastly, it is a paralytical distemper, which,
seizing the arm, the man cannot chuse but shake his elbow. It hath this
ill property above all other Vices, that it renders a man incapable of
prosecuting any serious action, and makes him always unsatisfied with
his own condition; he is either lifted up to the top of mad joy with
success, or plung’d to the bottom of despair by misfortune, always in
extreams, always in a storm; this minute the Gamester’s countenance
is so serene and calm, that one would think nothing could disturb
it, and the next minute, so stormy and tempestuous that it threatens
destruction to itself and others; and, as he is transported with
joy when he wins, so, losing, is he tost upon the billows of a high
swelling passion, till he hath lost sight, both of sense and reason.”

_Gambling_, as distinguished from _Gaming_, or playing, I take to mean
an indulgence in those games, or exercises, in which _chance_ assumes
a more important character; and my object is to draw attention to the
fact, that the _money motive_ increases, as chance predominates over
skill. It is taken up as a quicker road to wealth than by pursuing
honest industry, and everyone engaged in it, be it dabbling on the
Stock Exchange, Betting on Horse Racing, or otherwise, hopes to win,
for it is clear that if he knew he should lose, no fool would embark
in it. The direct appropriation of other people’s property to one’s
own use, is, undoubtedly, the more simple, but it has the disadvantage
of being both vulgar and dangerous; so we either appropriate our
neighbour’s goods, or he does ours, by gambling with him, for it
is certain that if one gains, the other loses. The winner is not
reverenced, and the loser is not pitied. But it is a disease that is
most contagious, and if a man is known to have made a lucky _coup_,
say, on the Stock Exchange, hundreds rush in to follow his example,
as they would were a successful gold field discovered—the warning of
those that perish by the way is unheeded.

Of the universality of gambling there is no doubt, and it seems to be
inherent in human nature. We can understand its being introduced from
one nation to another—but, unless it developed naturally, how can
we account for aboriginals, like the natives of New England, who had
never had intercourse with foreign folk, but whom Governor Winslow[1]
describes as being advanced gamblers. “It happened that two of their
men fell out, as they were in game (for they use gaming as much as
anywhere; and will play away all, even the skin from their backs;
yea, and for their wives’ skins also, although they may be many miles
distant from them, as myself have seen), and, growing to great heat,
the one killed the other.”[2]

The antiquity of gambling is incontestable, and can be authentically
proved, both by Egyptian paintings, and by finding the materials in
tombs of undoubted genuineness; and it is even attributed to the gods
themselves, as we read in Plutarch’s Ἰσιδος και Ὀσιριδος “Now the
story of Isis and Osiris, its most insignificant and superfluous parts
omitted, is thus briefly narrated:—Rhea, they say, having accompanied
with Saturn by stealth, was discovered by the Sun, who, hereupon,
denounced a curse upon her, _that she should not be delivered in any
month or year_. Mercury, however, being likewise in love with the same
goddess, in recompense for the favours which he had received from her,
_plays at tables_ with the Moon, and wins from her the seventieth
part of each of her illuminations; these several parts, making, in
the whole, five new days, he afterwards joined together, and added to
the three hundred and sixty, of which the year formerly consisted:
which days are even yet called by the Egyptians, the _Epact_, or
_Superadded_, and observed by them as the birth days of their Gods.”

But to descend from the sublimity of mythology to prosaic fact,
we know that the Egyptians played at the game of _Tau_, or Game of
Robbers, afterwards the _Ludus Latrunculorum_ of the Romans, at that of
_Hab em hau_, or _The Game of the Bowl_, and at _Senat_, or _Draughts_.
Of this latter game we have ocular demonstration in the upper Egyptian
gallery of the British Museum, where, in a case containing the throne,
&c., of Queen Hatasu (B.C. 1600) are her draught board, and twenty
pieces, ten of light-coloured wood, nine of dark wood, and one of
ivory—all having a lion’s head. These were all, probably, games of
skill; but in the same case is an ivory Astragal, the earliest known
form of dice, which could have been of no use except for gambling.
The Astragal, which is familiarly known to us as a “knuckle bone,”
or “huckle bone,” is still used by anatomists, as the name of a bone
in the hind leg of cloven footed animals which articulates with the
tibia, and helps to form the ankle joint. The bones used in gambling
were, generally, those of sheep; but the Astragals of the antelope
were much prized on account of their superior elegance. They also had
regular dice, numbered like ours, which have been found at Thebes and
elsewhere; and, although there are none in our national museum, there
are some in that of Berlin; but these are not considered to be of great
antiquity. The Egyptians also played at the game of _Atep_, which is
exactly like the favourite Italian game of Mora, or guessing at the
number of fingers extended. Over a picture of two Egyptians playing at
this gambling game is written, “Let it be said”: or, as we might say,
“Guess,” or “How Many?” Sometimes they played the game back to back,
and then a third person had to act as referee.

The Chinese and Indian games of skill, such as Chess, are of great
antiquity; but, perhaps, the oldest game is that of _Enclosing_, called
_Wei-ki_ in Chinese, and _Go_ in Japanese. It is said to have been
invented by the Emperor Yao, 2300 B.C., but the earliest record of the
game is in 300 B.C. It is a game like _Krieg spiel_, a game of war.
There are not only typical representatives of the various arms, but the
armies themselves, some 200 men on each side; they form encampments,
and furnish them with defences; and they slay, not merely a single man,
as in other games, but, frequently, hosts of men. There is no record
of its being a gambling game, but the modern Chinese is an inveterate
gambler.

As far as we know, the ancient Jews did not gamble except by drawing,
or casting lots; and as we find no word against it in the inspired
writings, and, as even one of the apostles was chosen by lot (Acts
i. 26), it must be assumed that this form of gambling meets with the
Divine approval. We are not told how the lots were _drawn_; but the
_casting_ of lots pre-supposes the use of dice, and this seems to
have been practised from very early times, for we find in Lev. xvi.
8, that “Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the
Lord, and the other lot for the scape goat.” And the promised land was
expressly and divinely ordained to be divided by an appeal to chance.
Num. xxvi. 52 and 55, 56, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying....
Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the
names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit. According to
the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few.”
The reader can find very many more references to the use of the “lot”
in any Concordance of the Bible. But in their later days, as at the
present time, the Jews did gamble, as Disney[3] tells us when writing
on Gaming amongst the Jews.

“Though they had no written law for it, Gamesters were _excluded
from the Magistracy_, incapable of being chosen into the greater or
lesser Sanhedrim; nor could they be admitted as _Witnesses_ in any
Court of Justice, till they were perfectly reformed. Some of their
reasons for excluding such from the Magistracy were, that their gaming
gave sufficient presumption of their _Avarice_, and, besides, was an
employment _no way conducing to the public good_: a covetous man, and
one who is not wise and public spirited, being very unfit for offices
of so much trust and power, as well as dignity. The presumption of
_Avarice_ was the cause, also (and a very good one), of not admitting
_the evidence_ of such a man. And that other notion they had, that the
gain arising from play was a _sort of Rapine_, is as just a ground for
the _Infamy_ which stained his character, and subjected him to these
incapacities.

“This last consideration, that money won by gaming was looked upon as
got by _Theft_, makes it reasonable to conclude that such money was
to be _restored_, and that the winning gamester was _punished_ as for
_Theft_: which was not, by their law, a capital crime; but answered
for, in smaller cases (and, probably, in this, among the rest), by
_double Restitution_: Exod. xxii. 9.

“But the partiality of that people is evident, in extending the notion
of Theft, only to _Gaming amongst themselves_; _i.e._, native Jews
and proselytes of righteousness; for, if a Jew played, and won of a
Gentile, it was no Theft in him: but it was forbidden to him on another
account, as Gaming is an application of mind entirely useless to human
society. For, say the Talmudists, ‘Tho’ he that games with a Gentile
does not offend against the prohibition of Theft, he violates that
_de rebus inanibus non incumbendo_: it does not become a man, at any
time of his life, to make anything his business which does not relate
to the study of wisdom or the public good.’ Now, as this was only a
prohibition of their doctors, perhaps the law, or usage in such cases
might take place, that the offender was to be scourged.”

Among the Greeks and Romans the first gambling implement was the
ἀστραγαλος, or (Lat.) _Talus_, before spoken of. In the course of time
the sides were numbered, and, afterwards, they were made of ivory,
onyx, &c., specimens of which may be seen in the Etruscan Saloon of the
British Museum, Case N. In the Terra Cotta room is a charming group
of two girls playing with Astragals, and in the Third Vase room, on
Stand I., is a vase, or drinking vessel, in the shape of an Astragal
(E. 804). Subsequently the Tessera, or cubical die, similar to that
now used, came into vogue (samples of which may be seen in Case N. in
the Etruscan Saloon), and they were made of ivory, bone, porcelain,
and stone. Loaded dice have been found in Pompeii. They also had other
games among the Romans, such as _Par et Impar_ (odd or even), in which
almonds, beans, or anything else, were held in the hand, and guessed
at—and the modern Italian game of Mora was also in vogue.

But gambling was looked down upon in Rome, and the term _aleator_,
or gambler, was one of reproach—and many were the edicts against it:
utterly useless, of course, but it was allowed during the Saturnalia.
Money lost at play could not be legally recovered by the winner, and
money paid by the loser might by him be recovered from the person who
had won and received the same.

The excavations at Pompeii and other places in modern times have
revealed things not known in writings; and, treating of the subject
of gambling, we are much indebted to Sig. Rodolfo Lanciani, Professor
of Archæology in the University of Rome. Among other things, he
tells us how, in the spring of 1876, during the construction of
the Via Volturno, near the Prætorian Camp, a Roman tavern was
discovered, containing besides many hundred amphoræ, the “sign” of the
establishment engraved on a marble slab.

  ABEMVS      INCENA
  PVLLVM      PISCEM
  PERNAM      PAONEM
      BENA TORES

The meaning of this sign is double: it tells the customers that a good
supper was always ready within, and that the gaming tables were always
open to gamblers. The sign, in fact, is a _tabula lusoria_ in itself,
as shown by the characteristic arrangement of the thirty-six letters in
three lines, and six groups of six letters each. Orthography has been
freely sacrificed to this arrangement (_abemus_ standing for _habemus_,
_cena_ for _cenam_). The last word of the fourth line shows that the
men who patronised the establishment were the _Venatores immunes_, a
special troop of Prætorians, into whose custody the _vivarium_ of wild
beasts and the _amphitheatrum castrense_ were given.

He also tells us that so intense was the love of the Roman for games of
hazard, that wherever he had excavated the pavement of a portico, of a
basilica, of a bath, or any flat surface accessible to the public, he
always found gaming tables engraved or scratched on the marble or stone
slabs for the amusement of idle men, always ready to cheat each other
out of their money.

The evidence of this fact is to be found in the Forum, in the Basilica
Julia, in the corridors of the Coliseum, on the steps of the temple of
Venus at Rome, in the square of the front of the portico of the Twelve
Gods, and even in the House of the Vestals, after its secularisation
in 393. Gaming tables are especially abundant in barracks, such as
those of the seventh battalion of _vigiles_, near by St Critogono, and
of the police at Ostia and Porto, and of the Roman encampment near
Guise, in the Department of the Aisne. Sometimes when the camp was
moved from place to place, or else from Italy to the frontiers of the
empire, the men would not hesitate to carry the heavy tables with their
luggage. Two, of pure Roman make, have been discovered at Rusicade, in
Numidia, and at Ain-Kebira, in Mauritania. Naturally enough they could
not be wanting in the Prætorian camp and in the taverns patronised
by its turbulent garrison, where the time was spent in revelling and
gambling, and in riots ending in fights and bloodshed. To these scenes
of violence the wording of the tables often refers; such as

  LEVATE      LVDERE
  NESCIS      DALVSO
  RILOCV      RECEDE

“Get up! You know nothing about the game; make room for better
players!” Two paintings were discovered, in Nov. 1876, in a tavern at
Pompeii, in one of which are seen two players seated on stools opposite
each other, and holding on their knees the gaming table, upon which are
arranged, in various lines, several _latrunculi_[4] of various colours,
yellow, black and white. The man on the left shakes a yellow dice box,
and exclaims, “_Exsi_” (I am out). The other points to the dice, and
says, “_Non tria, duas est_” (Not three points, but two). In the next
picture the same individuals have sprung to their feet, and show fight.
The younger says, “Not two, but three; I have the game!” Whereupon,
the other man, after flinging at him the grossest insult, repeats his
assertion, “Ego fui.” The altercation ends with the appearance of the
tavernkeeper, who pushes both men into the street, and exclaims, “Itis
foris rix satis” (Go out of my shop if you want to fight).

During Sig. Lanciani’s lifetime, a hundred, or more, tables have been
found in Rome, and they belong to six different games of hazard; in
some of them the mere chance of dice-throwing was coupled with a
certain amount of skill in moving the men. Their outline is always
the same: there are three horizontal lines at an equal distance, each
line containing twelve signs—thirty-six in all. The signs vary in
almost every table; there are circles, squares, vertical bars, leaves,
letters, monograms, crosses, crescents and immodest symbols: the
majority of these tables (sixty-five) contain words arranged so as
to make a full sentence with the thirty-six letters. These sentences
speak of the fortune, and good, or bad, luck of the game, of the skill
and pluck of the players, of the favour, or hostility, of bystanders
and betting men. Sometimes they invite you to try the seduction of
gambling, sometimes they warn of the risks incurred.

Children were initiated into the seductions of gambling by playing
“nuts,” a pastime cherished also by elder people. In the spring of
1878 a life-size statuette of a boy playing at nuts was discovered in
the cemetery of the Agro Verano, near St Lorenzo fuori le mura. The
statuette, cut in Pentelic marble, represents the young gambler leaning
forward, as if he had thrown, or was about to throw, the nut; and his
countenance shows anxiety and uncertainty as to the success of his
trial.

The game could be played in several ways. One, still popular among
Italian boys, was to make a pyramidal “castle” with four nuts, three
at the base and one on the top, and then to try and knock it down
with the fifth nut thrown from a certain distance. Another way was to
design a triangle on the floor with chalk, subdividing it into several
compartments by means of lines parallel to the base; the winnings
were regulated according to the compartment in which the nut fell
and remained. Italian boys are still very fond of this game, which
they call _Campana_, because the figure drawn on the floor is in the
shape of a bell: it is played with coppers. There was a third game at
nuts, in which the players placed their stakes in a vase with a large
opening. The one who succeeded first in throwing his missile inside the
jar would gain its contents.

They also tossed “head or tail,” betting on which side a piece of
money, thrown up in the air, would come down. The Greeks used for this
game a shell, black on one side, white on the other, and called it
“Night or day.” The Romans used a copper “_as_” with the head of Janus
on one side, and the prow of a galley on the other, and they called
their game _Capita aut navim_ (head or ship).

Mahomet discountenanced gambling, as we find in the Koran (Sale’s
translation, Lon. 1734), p. 25. “They will ask thee concerning wine and
lots. Answer: In both there is great sin, and also some things of use
unto men; but their sinfulness is greater than their use.” Sale has
explanatory footnotes. He says “Lots. The original word, _al Meiser_,
properly signifies a particular game performed with arrows, and much
in use with the pagan Arabs. But by Lots we are here to understand
all games whatsoever, which are subject to chance or hazard, as dice,
cards, &c.” And, again, on p. 94. “O true believers, surely wine, and
lots, and images, and divining arrows are an abomination of the work of
Satan; therefore avoid them, that ye may prosper.”

_À propos_ of this denunciation of gambling in the Koran, is the
following highly interesting letter of Emmanuel Deutsch, in the
_Athenæum_ of Sep. 28, 1867:—

“It may interest the writer of the note on κυβεια (Eph. iv. 14), (the
only word for ‘gambling’ used in the Bible) in your recent ‘Weekly
Gossip,’ to learn that this word was in very common use among Paul’s
kith and kin for ‘cube,’ ‘dice,’ ‘dicery,’ and occurs frequently in the
Talmud and Midrash. As Aristotle couples a dice player (κυβευτης) with
a ‘bath robber’ (λωποδυτης), and with a ‘thief’ (ληστης—a word no less
frequently used in the Talmud); so the Mishnah declares unfit either as
judge or witness ‘a κυβεια-player, a usurer, a pigeon-flyer (betting
man), a vender of illegal (seventh year) produce, and a slave.’ A
mitigating clause—proposed by one of the weightiest legal authorities,
to the effect that the gambler and his kin should only be disqualified
‘if they have but that one profession’—is distinctly negatived by the
majority, and the rule remains absolute. The classical word for the
gambler, or dice player, appears aramaized in the same sources into
something like _kubiustis_, as the following curious instances may
show. When the Angel, after having wrestled with Jacob all night, asks
him to let him go, ‘for the dawn hath risen,’ Jacob is made to reply
to him, ‘Art thou a thief, or a _kubiustis_, that thou art afraid of
the day?’ To which the Angel replies, ‘No, I am not; but it is my turn
to-day, and for the first time, to sing the Angelic Hymn of Praise in
Heaven: let me go.’”

In another Talmudical passage, an early Biblical critic is discussing
certain arithmetical difficulties in the Pentateuch. Thus, he finds
the number of the Levites (in Numbers) to differ, when summed up from
the single items, from that given in the total. Worse than that, he
finds that all the gold and silver contributed to the sanctuary is not
accounted for; and, clinching his argument, he cries, “Is then your
Master, Moses, a thief or a _kubiustis_?” The critic is then informed
of a certain difference between “sacred” and other coins, and he
further gets a lesson in the matter of Levites and First-born, which
silences him. Again, the Talmud decides that if a man have bought a
slave who turns out to be a thief or a _kubiustis_—which has been
erroneously explained to mean a “man-stealer”—he has no redress. He
must keep him, as he bought him, or send him away, for he bought him
with all his vices.

No wonder dice-playing was tantamount to a crime in those declining
days. There was, notwithstanding the severe laws against it, hardly
a more common and more ruinous pastime—a pastime in which Cicero
himself, who places a gambler on a par with an adulterer, did not
disdain to indulge in his old days, claiming it as a privilege
of “Age.” Augustus was a passionate dice-player. Nero played the
points—for they also played it by points—at 400,000 sesterces.
Caligula, after a long spell of ill-luck, in which he had lost all his
money, rushed into the streets, had two innocent Roman knights seized,
and ordered their goods to be confiscated. Whereupon he returned to
his game, remarking that this had been the luckiest throw he had
had for a long time. Claudius had his carriages arranged for dicing
convenience, and wrote a work on the subject. Nor was it all fair play
with those ancients. Aristotle already knows of a way by which the dice
can be made to fall as the player wishes them; and even the cunningly
constructed, turret-shaped dice cup did not prevent occasional
“mendings” of luck. The Berlin Museum contains one “charged” die, and
another with a double four. The great affection for this game is seen,
among other things, by the common proverbs taken from it, and the no
less than sixty-four names given to the different throws, taken from
kings, heroes, gods, hetairæ, animals, and the rest. But the word was
also used in a mathematical sense. In a cosmogonical discussion of the
Midrash, the earth is likened to a “cubus.”

The use of dice in England is of great antiquity, dating from the
advent of the Saxons and the Danes and Romans; indeed, all the northern
nations were passionately addicted to gambling. Tacitus (_de Moribus
Germ._) tells us that the ancient Germans would not only hazard all
their wealth, but even stake their liberty upon the throw of the dice;
“and he who loses submits to servitude, though younger and stronger
than his antagonist, and patiently permits himself to be bound, and
sold in the market; and this _madness_ they dignify by the name of
_honour_.”

In early English times we get occasional glimpses of gambling with
dice. Ordericus Vitalis (1075-1143) tells us that “the clergymen and
bishops are fond of dice-playing”—and John of Salisbury (1110-1182)
calls it “the damnable art of dice-playing.” In 1190 a curious edict
was promulgated, which shows how generally gambling prevailed even
among the lower classes at that period. This edict was established for
the regulation of the Christian army under the command of Richard the
First of England and Philip of France during the Crusade. It prohibits
any person in the army, beneath the degree of knight, from playing at
any sort of game for money: knights and clergymen might play for money,
but none of them were permitted to lose more than twenty shillings in
one whole day and night, under a penalty of one hundred shillings,
to be paid to the archbishops in the army. The two monarchs had the
privilege of playing for what they pleased, but their attendants were
restricted to the sum of twenty shillings, and, if they exceeded, they
were to be whipped naked through the army for three days. The decrees
established by the Council held at Worcester in the twenty-fourth year
of Henry III. prohibited the clergy from playing at _dice_ or _chess_,
but neither the one nor the other of these games are mentioned in
the succeeding statutes before the twelfth year of Richard II., when
_diceing_ is particularised and expressly forbidden.

The letter books of the Corporation of the City of London, during
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, give us several examples of
diceing. “4 Ed. II., A.D. 1311. Elmer de Multone was attached, for that
he was indicted in the Ward of Chepe for being a common night walker;
and, in the day, is wont to entice strangers and persons unknown, to a
tavern, and there deceive them by using false dice. And, also, for that
he was indicted in Tower Ward, for being a bruiser and night walker,
against the peace; as, also, for being a common _rorere_.[5] And, also,
for that he was indicted in the Ward of Crepelgate for playing at dice,
and for that he is wont to entice men into a tavern, and to make them
play at dice there against their will. He appeared, and, being asked
how he would acquit himself thereof, he said that he was not guilty,
and put himself upon the country as to the same. And the jury came, by
Adam Trugge and others, on the panel; and they said, upon their oath,
that he is guilty of all the trespasses aforesaid. Therefore he was
committed to prison,” &c.

The next is from a Proclamation made for the safe keeping of the
City. 8 Ed., III. A.D. 1334. “Also, we do forbid, on the same pain of
imprisonment, that any man shall go about, at this Feast of Christmas,
with companions disguised with false faces,[6] or in any other manner,
to the houses of the good folks of the City, for playing at dice there;
but let each one keep himself quiet and at his ease within his own
house.”

“50 Ed. III., A.D. 1376. Nicholas Prestone, tailor, and John Outlawe,
were attached to make answer to John atte Hille, and William, his
brother, in a plea of deceit and falsehood; for that the same John
Outlawe, at divers times between the Feast of Our Lord’s Nativity, in
the 49th year, &c., and the First Sunday in Lent, then next ensuing,
came to the said John atte Hille and William, and asked if they wished
to gain some money at tables or at chequers, commonly called ‘_quek_’;
to which they said ‘Yes’; whereupon the same John Outlawe said they
must follow him, and he would show them the place, and a man there,
from whom they could easily win; and further said that he would be
partner with them, to win or to lose.

“And they followed him to the house of the said Nicholas in Friday
Street, and there they found the said Nicholas with a pair of tables,
on the outside of which was painted a chequer board, that is called a
‘_quek_.’ And the said Nicholas asked them if they would play at tables
for money; whereupon the said complainants, knowing of no deceit,
or ill-intent, being urged and encouraged thereto by the same John
Outlawe, played with him at tables and lost a sum of money, owing to
false dice.

“And the said John then left them to play alone; and, after that, they
still continued to lose. The said tables were then turned, and the
complainants played with the defendant Nicholas at ‘_quek_’ until they
had lost at the games of tables and _quek_ 39s. 2d. After which the
complainants, wondering at their continued losing, examined the board
at which they had been playing and found it to be false and deceptive;
seeing that in three quarters of the board all the black points were so
depressed that all the white points in the same quarters were higher
than the black points in the same; and, on the fourth quarter of the
board, all the white points were so depressed that all the black points
in that quarter were higher than the white. They inspected and examined
also the dice with which they had first played at tables, and found
them to be false and defective. And, because they would play no longer,
the said Nicholas and John Outlawe stripped John atte Hille of of a
cloak, 16 shillings in value, which they still retained.”

They were found guilty and sentenced to return the money lost and the
cloak, or its value, and “Afterwards, on the prosecution of Ralph
Strode, Common Serjeant of the said City, by another jury, they were
found guilty of the fraud and deception so imputed to them. Therefore
it was awarded that they should have the punishment of the pillory, to
stand thereon for one hour in the day, and that the said false chequer
board should be burnt beneath them, the Sheriff causing the reason for
their punishment to be proclaimed. And, after that, they were to be
taken back to the Prison of Newgate, there to remain until the Mayor
and Aldermen should give orders for their release.”

And so dicing went on, unimpaired in popularity, in spite of legal
fulminations, until Elizabeth’s time, when we probably hear more of it,
owing to the greater dissemination of literature in that reign. In 1551
there was a famous murder, in which Mr Arden of Feversham was killed
whilst playing a game of tables with one Mosbie, the paramour of his
wife, who had made Mosbie a present of a pair of _silver dice_ to
reconcile a disagreement that had subsisted between them. Shakespeare
mentions dice and dicing thirteen times in seven plays, and in Jonson,
and the early dramatists, there are many allusions to this species of
gambling.

In the British Museum is a little MS. book[7] called “New Passages
and Jests,” which were collected by Sir Nicholas L’Estrange of
Hunstanton, Bart., who died in 1669, and in one of the anecdotes we
get an insight into cheating at dice. “Sir William Herbert, playing
at dice with another gentleman, there arose some questions about a
cast. Sir William’s antagonist declared it was a four and a five; he
as positively insisted that it was a five and a six: the other then
swore with a bitter imprecation that it was as he said. Sir William
then replied, ‘Thou art a perjured knave; for, give me a sixpence, and
if there be a four upon the dice, I will return you a thousand pounds’;
at which the other was presently abashed, for, indeed, the dice were
false, and of a _high cut_, without a four.”

Charles Cotton, in his _Compleat Gamester_, gives us a vivid account of
dicing, as it then was, at an ordinary, after dark.

“The day being shut in, you may properly compare this place to those
Countries which lye far in the North, where it is as clear at midnight
as at noonday.... This is the time (when ravenous beasts usually seek
their prey) when in comes shoals of _Huffs_, _Hectors_, _Setters_,
_Gilts_, _Pads_, _Biters_, _Divers_, _Lifters_, _Filers_, _Budgies_,
_Droppers_, _Crossbyters_, &c., and these may all pass under the
general and common appellation of _Rooks_.... Some of these _Rooks_
will be very importunate to borrow money of you without any intention
to pay you; or to go with you seven to twelve, half a crown, or more,
whereby, without a very great chance (ten to one, or more), he is sure
to win. If you are sensible hereof, and refuse his proposition, they
will take it so ill, that, if you have not an especiall care, they will
pick your pocket, nim your gold or silver buttons off your Cloak or
Coat, or, it may be, draw your silver-hilted sword out of your belt,
without discovery, especially if you are eager upon your Cast, which
is done thus: the silver buttons are strung, or run upon Cats guts
fastened at the upper and nether ends; now, by ripping both ends very
ingeniously, give it the gentle pull, and so rub off with the buttons;
and, if your Cloak be loose, ‘tis ten to one they have it.

“But that which will provoke (in my opinion) any man’s rage to a just
satisfaction, is their throwing many times at a good Sum with a _dry
fist_; (as they call it) that is, if they nick you, ‘tis theirs; if
they lose, they owe you so much, with many other quillets: some I have
known so abominably impudent, that they would snatch up the Stakes,
and, thereupon, instantly draw, saying, if you will have your money,
you must fight for it; for he is a Gentleman, and will not want:
however, if you will be patient, he will pay you another time; if you
are so tame as to take this, go no more to the Ordinary; for then the
whole Gang will be ever and anon watching an opportunity to make a
_Mouth_ of you in the like nature. If you nick them, ‘tis odds, if
they wait not your coming out at night and beat you: I could produce
you an hundred examples of this kind, but they will rarely adventure
on the attempt, unless they are backt with some _Bully-Huffs_ and
_Bully-Rocks_, with others, whose fortunes are as desperate as their
own. We need no other testimony to confirm the danger of associating
with these Anthropophagi, or Man-Eaters, than Lincolns Inn Fields,
whilst _Speering’s_ Ordinary was kept in Bell Yard, and that you do not
want a pair of Witnesses for the proof thereof, take in, also, Covent
Garden.

“Neither is it the House itself to be exempted; every night, almost,
some one or other, who, either heated with Wine, or made cholerick with
the loss of his Money, raises a quarrel, swords are drawn, box and
candlesticks thrown at one another’s heads. Tables overthrown, and all
the House in such a Garboyl, that it is the perfect type of Hell. Happy
is the man now that can make the frame of a Table or Chimney corner his
Sanctuary; and, if any are so fortunate as to get to the Stair head,
they will rather hazard the breaking of their own necks, than have
their souls pushed out of their bodies in the dark by they know not
whom.

“I once observed one of the _Desperadoes_ of the Town, (being
half drunk) to press a Gentleman very much to lend him a crown:
the Gentleman refus’d him several times, yet, still, the Borrower
persisted; and, holding his head too near the _Caster’s_ elbow, it
chanced to hit his nose: the other, thinking it to be affront enough
to be denied the loan of Money, without this slight touch of the nose,
drew, and, stepping back, (unawares to the Gentleman) made a full pass
at him, intending to have run him through the body; but his drunkenness
misguided his hand, so that he ran him only through the arm: this
put the house into so great a confusion and fright, that some fled,
thinking the Gentleman slain. This wicked Miscreant thought not this
sufficient; but, tripping up his heels, pinn’d him, as he thought to
the floor: and after this, takes the Gentleman’s silver sword, leaving
his in the wound, and, with a _Grand Jury_ of _Dammees_, bid all stand
off, if they lov’d their lives, and, so, went clear off with sword and
liberty, but was, notwithstanding, (the Gentleman recovering) compel’d
to make what satisfaction he was capable of making, beside a long
imprisonment; and was not long abroad, before he was apprehended for
Burglary committed, condemned, and justly executed.

“But, to proceed on as to play: late at night, when the company grows
thin, and your eyes dim with watching, false Dice are frequently
put upon the ignorant, or they are otherwise cheated by _Topping_,
_Slurring_, _Stabbing_, &c., and, if you be not vigilant and careful,
the box-keeper shall score you up double, or treble Boxes; and, though
you have lost your money, dun you as severely for it, as if it were the
justest debt in the world.

“The more subtile and genteeler sort of _Rooks_, you shall not
distinguish, by their outward demeanour, from persons of condition;
these will sit by, a whole evening, and observe who wins; if the winner
be _bubbleable_, they will insinuate themselves into his company, by
applauding his success, advising him to leave off while he is well:
and, lastly, by civilly inviting him to drink a glass of wine, where,
having well warm’d themselves to make him more than half drunk, they
wheadle him in to play: to which, if he condescend, he shall quickly
have no money left him in his pocket, unless, perchance, a Crown the
Rooking winner lent him, in courtesie, to bear his charges homewards.

“This they do by false Dice, as _High Fullams_, 4. 5. 6. _Low Fullams_,
1. 2. 3. By _Bristle_ Dice, which are fitted for their purpose by
sticking a Hog’s bristle, so in the corners, or otherwise in the Dice,
that they shall run high, or low, as they please. This bristle must be
strong and short, by which means, the bristle bending, it will not lie
on that side, but will be tript over; and this is the newest way of
making a high, or low _Fullam_. The old ways are by drilling them, and
loading them with quicksilver; but that cheat may be easily discovered
by their weight, or holding two corners between your forefinger and
thumb; if, holding them so, gently between your fingers, they turn, you
may conclude them false: or, you may try their falsehood otherwise,
by breaking, or splitting them. Others have made them by filing and
rounding; but all these ways fall short of the Art of those who make
them; some whereof are so admirably skilful in making a Bale of Dice to
run what you would have them, that your Gamesters think they can never
give enough for their purchase, if they prove right. They are sold in
many places about the Town; price current, (by the help of a friend)
eight shillings; whereas an ordinary Bale is sold for sixpence: for my
part, I shall tell you plainly, I would have those Bales of false Dice
to be sold at the price of the ears of such destructive knaves that
made them.

“Another way the Rook hath to cheat, is first by _Palming_, that is,
he puts one Dye into the Box, and keeps the other in the hollow of his
little finger; which, noting what is uppermost when he takes him up,
the same shall be when he throws the other Dye, which runs doubtfully,
any cast. Observe this—that the bottom and top of all Dice are
_Seven_, so that if it be four above, it must be a 3 at bottom; so 5
and 2, 6 and 1. Secondly, by _Topping_, and that is when they take up
both Dice, and seem to put them in the Box; and, shaking the Box, you
would think them both there, by reason of the rattling occasioned with
the screwing of the Box; whereas, one of them is at the top of the box,
between his two forefingers, or secur’d by thrusting a forefinger into
the Box. Thirdly, by _Slurring_: that is, by taking up your Dice as you
will have them advantageously lie in your hand, placing the one a top
the other, not caring if the uppermost run a Millstone, (as they used
to say) if the undermost run without turning, and, therefore, a smooth
table is altogether requisite for this purpose: on a rugged rough
board, it is a hard matter to be done, whereas, on a smooth table (the
best are rub’d over with Bee’s Wax to fill up all chinks and crevices)
it is usual for some to slur a Dye two yards, or more, without turning.
Fourthly—by _Knapping_: that is, when you strike a Dye dead, that it
shall not stir. This is best done within the Tables; where, note, there
is no securing but of one Dye, although there are some, who boast of
securing both. I have seen some so dexterous at Knapping, that they
have done it through the handle of a quart-pot, or, over a Candle and
Candlestick: but that which I most admired, was throwing the same, less
than Ames Ace, with two Dice, upon a Groat held in the left hand, on
the one side of the handle, a foot distance, and the Dice thrown with
the right hand on the other.

“Lastly—by _Stabbing_—that is, having a Smooth Box, and small in the
bottom, you drop in both your Dice in such manner as you would have
them sticking therein, by reason of its narrowness, the Dice lying
upon one another; so that, turning up the Box, the Dice never tumble;
if a smooth Box, if true, but little; by which means you have bottoms
according to the tops you put in; for example—if you put in your Dice
so that two fives or two fours lie a top, you have, in the bottom,
turned up two twos, or two treys; so, if Six and Ace a top, a Six and
an Ace at bottom.”

At this time were played several games requiring tables and dice,
such as _Irish_; _Backgammon_; _Tick-tack_; _Doublets_; _Sice-Ace_
and _Catch-Dolt_; whilst the games requiring no special tables were
_In and In_; _Passage_ and _Hazard_, which latter was the game most
usually played, and of which Cotton remarks “Certainly, Hazard is the
most bewitching game that is played on the Dice; for when a man begins
to play, he knows not when to leave off; and, having once accustomed
himself to play at Hazard, he hardly, ever after, minds anything else.”

Ned Ward[8] (1663-1714), of course, mentions gamblers and gambling,
but his experiences are of low Coffee Houses and Alsatia: and,
presumably most of the Gambling Houses were of that type, for Thomas
Brown[9] (1663-1704) speaks of them as follows. “In some places they
call Gaming Houses _Academies_; but I know not why they should inherit
that honourable name, since there is nothing to be learn’d there,
unless it be _Sleight of Hand_, which is sometimes at the Expence of
all our Money, to get that of other Men’s by Fraud and Cunning. The
Persons that meet are generally Men of an _Infamous_ character, and
are in various Shapes, Habits, and Employments. Sometimes they are
Squires of the _Pad_, and now and then borrow a little Money upon the
_King’s High Way_, to recruit their losses at the _Gaming House_; and,
when a Hue and Cry is out to apprehend them, they are as safe in one
of these Houses as a _Priest_ at the _Altar_, and practise the old
trade of _Cross-biting Cullies_, assisting the frail _Square Die_ with
high and low _Fullams_, and other napping tricks, in comparison of
whom the common Bulkers and Pickpockets, are a very honest society.
How unaccountable is this way to _Beggary_, that when a man has but
a little money, or knows not where in the world to compass any more,
unless by hazarding his neck for’t, will try an experiment to leave
himself none at all: or, he that has money of his own should play the
fool, and try whether it shall not be another man’s. Was ever anything
so nonsensically pleasant?

“One idle day I ventured into one of these _Gaming Houses_, where
I found an _Oglio of Rakes_ of several Humours and Conditions met
together. Some of them had never a Penny left them to bless their Heads
with. One that had play’d away even his Shirt and Cravat, and all his
Clothes but his Breeches, stood shivering in a Corner of the Room,
and another comforting him, and saying, _Damme_ Jack, whoever thought
to see thee in a State of Innocency: cheer up, Nakedness is the best
Receipt in the World against a Fever; and then fell a Ranting as if
Hell had broke loose that very Moment.... I told my friend, instead of
_Academies_ these places should be called _Cheating Houses_: Whereupon
a Bully of the _Blade_ came strutting up to my very Nose, in such a
Fury, that I would willingly have given half the Teeth in my Head for a
Composition, crying out, Split my Wind Pipe, Sir, you are a Fool, and
don’t understand _Trap_, the whole World’s a Cheat.”

In the reigns of Charles II., James II., William III., and Queen
Anne were many notorious gamblers, such as Count Konigsmarck, St
Evremont, Beau Fielding, Col. Macartney, who was Lord Mohun’s second
in his celebrated duel with the Duke of Hamilton, and the Marquis de
Guiscard, who stabbed Harley, Earl of Oxford. There is a little book
by Theophilus Lucas,[10] which gives a more or less accurate life of
notorious gamblers of those days; amongst them there is a notice of
Col. Panton, of whom Lucas says: “There was no Game but what he was
an absolute Artist at, either upon the Square, or foul Play: as at
_English Ruff and Honours_, _Whist_, _French Ruff_, _Gleek_, _L’Ombre_,
_Lanterloo_, _Bankafalet_, _Beast_, _Basset_, _Brag_, _Piquet_: he was
very dextrous also at _Verquere_, _Tick-tack_, _Grand Trick-track_,
_Irish_ and _Back-Gammon_; which are all Games play’d within Tables;
and he was not Ignorant of _Inn and Inn_, _Passage_ and _Draughts_,
which are Games play’d without the Tables. Moreover, he had great
skill at _Billiards_ and _Chess_; but, above all, his chief game was
at _Hazard_, at which he got the most Money; for, in one Night, at
this Play, he won as many thousand pounds as purchased him an Estate
of above £1500 _per Annum_, insomuch as he built a whole Street near
_Leicester-fields_, which, after his own name, he called _Panton
Street_. After this good Fortune, he had such an Aversion against all
manner of Games, that he would never handle Cards nor Dice again, but
liv’d very handsomely on his Winnings to his dying Day, which was in
the year 1681.”

Perhaps the most amusing of Lucas’s _Lives_ is that of Richard
Bourchier—about whom I extract the following anecdotes. “Fortune not
favouring Mr _Bourchier_ always alike, he was reduced to such a very
low Ebb, that, before he was Four-and-twenty, he was obliged to be
a Footman to the Right Honourable the Earl of _Mulgrave_, now Duke
of _Buckingham_; in this Nobleman’s Service he wore a Livery above a
year and a half, when, by his genteel Carriage and Mien, marrying one
Mrs _Elizabeth_ Gossinn, a Lace Woman’s Grand Daughter, in _Exeter
Change_ in the _Strand_, with whom he had about 150 Pounds; it being
then the solemn Festival of _Christmas_, in the Twelve Days whereof,
great Raffling was then wont to be kept in the _Temple_, he carried his
Wife’s Portion thither to improve it, but was so unsuccessful as to
lose every Farthing. This ill Luck made Mr _Bourchier_ Stark Mad; but,
borrowing 20 Pounds of a Friend, he went to the _Temple_ again, but had
first bought a Twopenny Cord to hang himself, in case he lost that too:
but the Dice turning on his side, and having won his own Money back
again, and as much more to it, of one particular Gentleman who was now
fretting and fuming in as bad manner as _Bourchier_ was before, he very
courteously pull’d the cord out of his pocket, and giving it to the
Loser, said, _Having now, Sir, no occasion for this Implement myself,
it is at your Service with all my Heart_: Which bantering expression
made the Gentleman look very sour upon the Winner, who carried off his
booty whilst he was well.”

He grew prosperous, and got into high society, as bookmakers and others
now do at Horse Races; for we find that “being at the _Groom Porter’s_,
he flung one Main with the Earl of _Mulgrave_ for £500, which he won;
and his Honour, looking wistly at him, quoth he: _I believe I should
know you. Yes_, (replied the winner), _your Lordship must have some
knowledge of me, for my Name is_ Dick Bourchier, _who was once your
Footman_. Whereupon, his Lordship, supposing that he was not in a
Capacity of paying 500 pounds in case he had lost, cry’d out, _A Bite,
A Bite_. But the _Groom Porter_ assuring his Honour that Mr _Bourchier_
was able to have paid 1000 pounds, provided his Lordship had won such a
sum, he paid him what he plaid for, without any farther Scruple.”

But he was not content to gamble with mere Earls, he flew at higher
game. “By the favour of some of his own Nation, he was soon admitted
to the presence of _Lewis le grand_, as a Gamster: he not only won
15,000 Pistoles of the King, but the Nobility also tasted of the same
Fortune; for he won 10,000 Pistoles of the Duke of _Orleans_; almost
as much of the Duke _D’Espernon_, besides many of his jewels, and a
prodigious large piece of Ambergreese, valued at 20,000 crowns, as
being the greatest piece that ever was seen in _Europe_, and which was
afterwards laid up by the Republick of _Venice_ in their treasury, to
whom it was sold for a great Rarity.... Once, Mr _Bourchier_ going over
to _Flanders_, with a great Train of Servants, set off in such a fine
Equipage, that they drew the Eyes of all upon them wherever they went,
to admire the Splendor and Gaiety of their Master, whom they took for
no less than a Nobleman of the first Rank. In this Pomp, making his
Tour at King _William’s_ Tent, he happened into Play with that great
Monarch, and won of him above £2500. The Duke of _Bavaria_ being also
there, he then took up the cudgels, and losing £15,000, the Loss put
him into a great Chafe, and doubting some foul Play was put upon him,
because Luck went so much against him, quoth Mr _Bourchier_—_Sir, if
you have any suspicion of any sinister trick put upon your Highness, if
you please, I’ll give you a Chance for all your Money at once, tossing
up at Cross and Pile,[11] and you shall have the advantage of throwing
up the Guinea yourself_. The Elector admir’d at his bold Challenge,
which, nevertheless, accepting, he tost up for £15,000, and lost the
Money upon Reputation, with which _Bourchier_ was very well satisfied,
as not doubting in the least; and so, taking his leave of the King and
those Noblemen that were with him, he departed. Then the Elector of
_Bavaria_, enquiring of his Majesty, who that Person was, that could
run the Hazard of playing for so much Money at a Time, he told him it
was a subject of his in _England_, that though he had no real estate
of his own, yet was he able to play with any Sovereign Prince in
_Germany_. Shortly after, _Bourchier_ returning into England, he bought
a most rich Coach and curious Sett of six Horses to it, which cost him
above £3000, for a present to the Elector of _Bavaria_, who had not
yet paid him anything of the £30,000 which he had won of him. Notice
hereof being sent to his Highness, the generous action incited him to
send over his Gentleman of Horse, into _England_, to take care of this
present, which he received kindly at _Bourchier’s_ Hands, to whom he
return’d Bills of Exchange also, drawn upon several eminent merchants
in _London_, for paying what money he had lost with him at play.”

Bourchier became very rich by gambling, and purchased an estate near
Pershore in Worcestershire, where he was buried—but he died in London
in 1702, aged 45.

Lucas tells a story about gamblers, which, although it has no
reference to England, is too good to leave out.

“But, for a farther unquestionable Testimony of the Mischiefs that
often arise from Gaming, this is a very remarkable, but dreadful
Passage, which I am now going to recite. Near _Bellizona_, in
_Switzerland_, Three Men were playing at Dice on the _Sabbath Day_; and
one of ‘em, call’d _Ulrick Schrœteus_, having lost his Money, and, at
last, expecting a good Cast, broke out into a most blasphemous Speech,
threatening, _That, if Fortune deceiv’d him then, he would thrust
his Dagger into the very body of God, as far as he could_. The cast
miscarrying, the Villain drew his Dagger, and threw it against Heaven
with all his Strength; when, behold, the Dagger vanish’d, and several
Drops of Blood fell upon the table in the midst of them: and the Devil
immediately came and carry’d away the blasphemous Wretch, with such a
Noise and Stink, that the whole City was amaz’d at it. The others, half
distracted with Fear, strove to wipe out the Drops of Blood that were
upon the Table, but the more they rubb’d ‘em, the more plainly they
appear’d. The Rumour hereof flying to the City, multitudes of People
flock’d to the Place, where they found the Gamesters washing the Board;
whom they bound in Chains, and carried towards the Prison; but, as they
were upon the way, one of ‘em was suddenly struck dead, with such a
Number of Lice crawling out of him, as was wonderful and loathsome to
behold: And the Third was immediately put to Death by the Citizens,
to avert the Divine Indignation and Vengence, which seem’d to hang
over their heads. The Table was preserv’d in the Place, and kept as a
Monument of the Judgments of God on Blasphemers and Sabbath-breakers;
and to show the mischiefs and inconveniences that often attend Gaming.”

Loaded Dice continued to be used—for on 18th April 1740 were
committed to Newgate, on the oaths of seven gentlemen of distinction,
Thomas Lyell, Lawrence Sydney, and John Roberts, for cheating and
defrauding with false and loaded dice, those particular gentlemen,
at the Masquerade, to the value of about £400, and other gentlemen
not present at the examination of about £4000 more; and out of about
nine pairs of dice which were cut asunder, only one single dice was
found unloaded. For this, Lyell and Sidney stood in the Pillory, near
the Opera House, on 2nd June 1742, two years after the offence was
committed.

And two days afterwards, a cause was tried in the Court of King’s
Bench, on an indictment against a gentleman for winning the sum of £500
at hazard about seven years before; and, after a long trial, the jury
found him guilty, the penalty being £2500.

To show the prevalence of dicing, it may be mentioned that when
the floors of the Middle Temple Hall were taken up somewhere about
1764, among other things were found nearly one hundred pairs of dice
which had fallen through the chinks of the flooring. They were about
one-third smaller than those now in use. And Malcolm[12] says: “However
unpleasant the yells of barrow women with their commodities are at
present, no other mischief arises from them than the obstruction of
the ways. It was far otherwise before 1716 when they generally carried
Dice with them, and children were enticed to throw for fruit and
nuts, or, indeed, any persons of a more advanced age. However, in the
year just mentioned, the Lord Mayor issued an order to apprehend all
retailers so offending, which speedily put an end to street gaming;
though I am sorry to observe that some miscreants now (1808) carry
little wheels marked with numbers, which, being turned, govern the
chance by the figure a hand in the centre points to when stopped.”
When I was young the itinerent vendors of sweets had a “dolly,” which
was a rude representation of a man, hollowed spirally; a marble was
dropped in at its head, and coming out at its toes, spun round a board
until it finally subsided into one of the numerous numbered hollows it
contained. When that was made illegal, a numbered teetotum was used,
and now childhood is beguiled with the promise of a threepenny piece,
or other prize, to be found in packets of sweets.



CHAPTER I

 Latimer and Cards—Discourse between a Preacher and a Professor—The
 Perpetual Almanack, or Soldier’s Prayer Book—Origin of Playing
 Cards—Earliest Notice—Royal Card Playing.


Before going into the history, &c., of playing cards, it may be as well
to note the serious application that was made of them by some persons:
and first, we will glance at the two sermons of Latimer’s on cards,
which he delivered in St Edward’s Church, Cambridge, on the Sunday
before Christmas Day 1529. In these sermons he used the card playing
of the season for illustrations of spiritual truth. By having recourse
to a series of similes, drawn from the rules of Primero and Trump, he
illustrated his subject in a manner that for some weeks after caused
his pithy sentences to be recalled at well nigh every social gathering;
and his Card Sermons became the talk both of Town and University. The
novelty of his method of treatment made it a complete success; and it
was felt throughout the University that his shafts had told with more
than ordinary effect. But, of course, these sermons being preached
in pre-Reformation days, were considered somewhat heretical, and
Buckenham, the Prior of the Dominicans at Cambridge, tried to answer
Latimer in the same view. As Latimer derived his illustrations from
Cards, so did Buckenham from Dice, and he instructed his hearers how
they might confound Lutheranism by throwing quatre and cinque: the
quatre being the “four doctors” of the Church, and the cinque being
five passages from the New Testament selected by the preacher.

Says Latimer in the first of these sermons: “Now then, what is
Christ’s rule? Christ’s rule consisteth in many things, as in the
Commandments, and the Works of Mercy and so forth. And for because I
cannot declare Christ’s rule unto you at one time, as it ought to be
done, I will apply myself according to your custom at this time of
Christmas. I will, as I said, declare unto you Christ’s rule, but that
shall be in Christ’s Cards. And, whereas you are wont to celebrate
Christmas by playing at Cards, I intend, by God’s grace to deal unto
you Christ’s Cards, wherein you shall perceive Christ’s rule. The game
that we will play at shall be called The Triumph, which, if it be well
played at, he that dealeth shall win; the players shall likewise win;
and the standers and lookers on shall do the same; insomuch that no
man that is willing to play at this Triumph with these Cards, but they
shall be all winners, and no losers.”

Next, is a curious little Black Letter tract, by James Balmford
published in 1593.[13] It is a dialogue between a Professor and a
Preacher.

“_Professor._ Sir, howsoever I am perswaded by that which I reade in
the common places of _Peter Martyr, par. 2, pag. 525, b._ that Dice
condemned both by the Civill lawes (and by the Fathers), are therefore
unlawfull, because they depend upon chance; yet not satisfied with that
which he writeth of Table playing, _pag. 516, b._ I would crave your
opinion concerning playing at Tables and Cards.

_Preacher._ Saving the judgement of so excellent a Divine, so Farre
as I can learne out of God’s word, Cardes and Tables seeme to mee no
more lawfull, (though less offensive) than Dice. For Table playing
is no whit the more lawfull, because _Plato_ compares the life of
man thereunto, than a theefe is the more justifiable, because Christ
compareth his second coming to burglarie in the night (Mat. xxiv. 43,
44). Againe, if Dice be wholly evill, because they wholly depend upon
chance, then Tables and Cardes must needes be somewhat evill, because
they somewhat depend upon chance. Therefore, consider well this reason,
which condemneth the one as well as the other: Lots are not to be used
in sport; but games consisting in chance, as Dice, Cardes, Tables, are
Lots; therefore not to be used in sport.

_Professor._ For my better instruction, prove that Lots are not to be
used in sport.

_Preacher._ Consider with regard these three things: First, that we
reade not in the Scriptures that Lots were used, but only in serious
matters, both by the Jewes and Gentiles. Secondly, that a Lot, in the
nature thereof doth as necessarily suppose the special providence and
determining presence of God, as an oth in the nature thereof doth
suppose the testifying presence of God. Yea, so that, as in an oth, so
in a lot, prayer is expressed, or to bee understoode (I Sam. xiv. 41).
Thirdly, that the proper end of a Lot, as of an oth (Heb. vi. 16) is
to end a controversie: and, therefore, for your better instruction,
examine these reasons. Whatsoever directly, or of itselfe, or in a
speciall manner, tendeth to the advancing of the name of God, is to
be used religiously, and not to be used in sport, as we are not to
pray or sweare in sport: but the use of Lots, directly of itselfe, and
in a speciall manner, tendeth to the advancing of the name of God,
in attributing to His speciall Providence in the whole and immediate
disposing of the Lot, and expecting the event (Pro. xvi. 33; Acts i.
24, 26). Therefore the use of Lots is not to be in sport. Againe, we
are not to tempte the Almightie by a vaine desire of manifestation of
his power and speciall providence (Psal. lxxviii. 18, 19; Esa. vii. 12;
Matth. iv. 6, 7). But, by using Lots in sport, we tempt the Almighty,
vainly desiring the manifestation of his speciall providence in his
immediate disposing. Lastly, whatsoever God hath sanctified to a proper
end, is not to be perverted to a worse (Matth. xxi. 12, 13). But God
hath sanctified Lots to a proper end, namely to end controversies (Num.
xxvi. 55; Pro. xviii. 18), therefore man is not to pervert them to
a worse, namely to play, and, by playing, to get away another man’s
money, which, without controversie, is his owne. For the common saying
is, _Sine lucro friget lusus_, no gaining, cold gaming.

_Professor._ God hath sanctified Psalmes to the praise of his name,
and bread and wine to represent the bodie and bloud of our crucified
Saviour, which be holie ends; and the children of God may sing Psalmes
to make themselves merie in the Lord, and feede upon bread and wine,
not only from necessitie, but to cheere themselves; why, then, may not
God’s children recreate themselves by lotterie, notwithstanding God
hath sanctified the same to end a controversie?

_Preacher._ Because we finde not in the Scriptures any dispensation
for recreation by lotterie, as we do for godlie mirth by singing (Jam.
v. 13), and for religious and sober cheering ourselves by eating
and drinking (Deut. viii. 9, 10). And, therefore, (it being withall
considered that the ends you speake of, be not proper, though holy)
it followeth, that God who only disposeth the Lot touching the event,
and is, therefore, a principall actor, is not to bee set on worke by
lotterie in any case, but when hee dispenseth with us, or gives us
leave so to doe. But dispensation for recreation by lotterie cannot be
shewed.

_Professor._ Lots may be used for profit in a matter of right (Num.
xxvi. 55), why not, for pleasure?

_Preacher._ Then othes may be used for pleasure, for they may for
profit, in a matter of truth (Exod. xxii. 8, 11). But, indeede, lots,
(as othes) are not to be used for profit or pleasure, but only to end a
controversie.

_Professor._ The wit is exercised by Tables and Cards, therefore they
be no lots.

_Preacher._ Yet Lotterie is used by casting Dice, and by shufling and
cutting, before the wit is exercised. But how doth this follow? Because
Cards and Tables bee not naked Lots, consisting only in chance (as
Dice) they are, therefore, no lots at all. Although (being used without
cogging, or packing) they consist principally in chance, from whence
they are to receive denomination. In which respect, a Lot is called in
Latin, _Sors_, that is, chance or hazard. And _Lyra_ upon Pro. xvi.
saith, To use Lots, is, by a variable event of some sensible thing,
to determine some doubtfull or uncertaine matter, as to draw cuts,
or to cast Dice. But, whether you will call Cards and Tables, Lots,
or no, you play with chance, or use Lotterie. Then, consider whether
exercise of wit doth sanctifie playing with lotterie, or playing with
lotterie make such exercising of wit a sinne (Hag. ii. 13, 14). For as
calling God to witness by vaine swearing, is a sinne, (2 Cor. i. 13) so
making God an umpire, by playing with lotterie, must needs be a sinne;
yea, such a sin as maketh the offender (in some respects) more blame
worthie. For there bee moe occasions of swearing than of lotterie.
Secondly, vaine othes most commonly slip out unawares, whereas lots
cannot be used but with deliberation. Thirdly, swearing is to satisfie
other, whereas this kind of lotterie is altogether to fulfil our own
lusts. Therefore, take heede, that you be not guiltie of perverting
the ordinance of the Lord, of taking the name of God in vaine, and of
tempting the Almightie, by a gamesome putting off things to hazard, and
making play of lotterie, except you thinke that God hath no government
in vaine actions, or hath dispensed with such lewd games.

_Professor._ In shooting, there is a chance, by a sudden blast, yet
shooting is no lotterie.

_Preacher._ It is true; for chance commeth by accident, and not of the
nature of the game, to be used.

_Professor._ Lots are secret, and the whole disposing of them is of God
(Pro. xvi. 33); but it is otherwise in tables and Cards.

_Preacher._ Lots are cast into the lap by man, and that openly, lest
conveiance should be suspected; but the disposing of the chance is
secret, that it may be chance indeed, and wholly of God, who directeth
all things (Prov. xvi. 13, 9, 33). So in Tables, man by faire casting
Dice truly made, and in Cards, by shuffling and cutting, doth openly
dispose the Dice and Cards so, as whereby a variable event may follow;
but it is only and immediately of God that the Dice bee so cast, and
the Cards so shuffled and cut, as that this or that game followeth,
except there be cogging and packing. So that, in faire play, man’s wit
is not exercised in disposing the chance, but in making the best of it,
being past.

_Professor._ The end of our play is recreation, and not to make God an
umpire; but recreation (no doubt) is lawfull.

_Preacher._ It may be the souldiers had no such end when they cast
lots for Christ his coate (Mat. xxvii. 25), but this should be your
end when you use lotterie, as the end of an oth should be, to call God
to witnesse. Therefore, as swearing, so lotterie, without due respect,
is sinne. Againe, howsoever recreation be your pretended end, yet,
remember that wee must not doe evill that good may come of it (Rom.
iii. 8). And that therefore we are to recreate ourselves by lawfull
recreations. Then see how Cardes and Tables be lawfull.

_Professor._ If they be not abused by swearing or brawling, playing for
too long time, or too much money.

_Preacher._ Though I am perswaded that it is not lawfull to play for
any money, considering that thankes cannot be given in faith for that
which is so gotten (Deut. xxiii. 18, Esa. lxi. 8) Gamesters worke not
with their hands the thing that is good, to be free from stealing
(Ephe. iv. 28), and the loser hath not answerable benefit for his money
so lost (Gen. xxix. 15) contrary to that equitie which Aristotle, by
the light of nature hath taught long since; yet I grant, if Cards
and Tables, so used as you speak, be lesse sinfull, but how they bee
lawfull I see not yet.

_Professor._ Good men, and well learned, use them.

_Preacher._ We must live by precept, not by examples, except they be
undoubtedly good. Therefore, examine whether they bee good and well
learned in doing so, or no. For every man may erre (Ro. iii. 4).

_Professor._ It is not good to be too just, or too wise (Eccl. vii. 18).

_Preacher._ It is not good to be too wise, or too foolish, in
despising the word of God (Prov. i. 22) and not regarding the weaknesse
of other (Rom. xiv. 21). Let us therefore beware that we love not
pleasure more than godlinesse (2 Tim. iii. 4).”

The following broadside, which was bought in the streets, about 1850,
is a copy of one which appeared in the newspapers about the year 1744,
when it was entitled “Cards Spiritualized.” The name of the soldier is
there stated to be one Richard Middleton, who attended divine service,
at a church in Glasgow, with the rest of the regiment.


“THE PERPETUAL ALMANACK, or SOLDIER’S PRAYER BOOK.

giving an Account of Richard Lane, a Private belonging to the 47th
Regiment of Foot, who was taken before the Mayor of the Town for
Playing at Cards during Divine Service.

The Sergeant commanded the Soldiers at Church, and when the Parson
had read the prayers, he took his text. Those who had a Bible, took it
out, but the Soldier had neither Bible nor Common Prayer Book, but,
pulling out a Pack of Cards he spread them before him. He, first,
looked at one card, and then at another: the Sergeant of the Company
saw him, and said, ‘Richard, put up the Cards, this is not the place
for them.’ ‘Never mind that,’ said Richard. When the service was
over, the Constable took Richard prisoner, and brought him before the
Mayor. ‘Well,’ says the Mayor, ‘what have you brought that Soldier
here for?’ ‘For playing Cards in church.’ ‘Well, Soldier, what have
you to say for yourself?’ ‘Much, I hope, Sir.’ ‘Very good; if not, I
will punish you more than ever man was punished.’ ‘I have been,’ said
the Soldier, ‘about six weeks on the march. I have had but little to
subsist on. I have neither Bible, nor Prayer Book—I have nothing but
a Pack of Cards, and I hope to satisfy your Worship of the purity of
my intentions.’ ‘Very good,’ said the Mayor. Then, spreading the cards
before the Mayor, he began with the Ace.

‘When I see the Ace, it reminds me that there is only one God.

When I see the Deuce, it reminds me of the Father and the Son.

When I see the Tray, it reminds me of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

When I see the Four, it reminds me of the four Evangelists that
preached, viz., Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

When I see the Five, it reminds me of the Five Wise Virgins that
trimmed their lamps. There were ten, but five were wise, and five
foolish, who were shut out.

When I see the Six, it reminds me that in Six days the Lord made Heaven
and Earth.

When I see the Seven, it reminds me that on the seventh day God rested
from the works which he had made, and hallowed it.

When I see the Eight, it reminds me of the eight righteous persons that
were saved when God drowned the world, viz., Noah and his wife, his
three sons and their wives.

When I see the Nine, it reminds me of the nine lepers that were
cleansed by our Saviour. There were ten, but nine never returned God
thanks.

When I see the Ten, it reminds me of the Ten Commandments, which God
handed down to Moses, on a table of stone.

When I see the King, it reminds me of the Great King of Heaven, which
is God Almighty.

When I see the Queen, it reminds me of the Queen of Sheba, who went
to hear the wisdom of Solomon; for she was as wise a woman as he was a
man. She brought with her fifty boys and fifty girls, all dressed in
boy’s apparel for King Solomon to tell which were boys, and which were
girls. King Solomon sent for water for them to wash themselves; the
girls washed to the elbows, and the boys only to the wrist, so King
Solomon told by that.’

‘Well,’ said the Mayor, ‘you have given a description of all the Cards
in the pack, except one.’ ‘Which is that?’ said the Soldier. ‘The
Knave,’ said the Mayor. ‘I will give your honour a description of
that, too, if you will not be angry.’ ‘I will not,’ said the Mayor,
‘if you will not term me to be the Knave.’ ‘Well,’ said the Soldier,
‘the greatest knave I know, is the constable that brought me here.’ ‘I
do not know,’ said the Mayor, ‘whether he is the greatest knave, but I
know he is the greatest fool.’

‘When I count how many spots there are in a pack of cards, I find 365,
as many days as there are in a year.[14]

When I count the number of cards in a pack, I find there are 52, as
many weeks as there are in a year.

When I count the tricks at Cards, I find 13, as many months as there
are in a year. So you see, Sir, the Pack of Cards serves for a Bible,
Almanack, and Common Prayer Book to me.’

The Mayor called for some bread and beef for the Soldier, gave him some
money, and told him to go about his business, saying that he was the
cleverest man he ever heard in his life.”

The origin of Playing Cards is involved in mystery, although the
Chinese claim to have invented them, saying that the Tien-Tsze, pae,
or dotted cards, now in use, were invented in the reign of Leun-ho,
A.D. 1120, for the amusement of his wives; and that they were in common
use in the reign of Kaow-Tsung, who ascended the throne A.D. 1131. The
generally received opinion is that they are of Oriental extraction, and
that they were brought into Europe by the gipsies, and were first used
in Spain. How, or when they were introduced into England, is not known.
In Anstis’s _History of the Order of the Garter_, vol. i., p. 307, is
to be found the earliest mention of Cards, if, indeed, the Four Kings
there mentioned are connected with Cards. The date would be 1278.

“This Enquiry touching the Title of Kings, calls to remembrance the
Plays forbidden the Clergy, denominated _Ludos de Rege et Regina_,
which might be _Cards_, _Chesse_, or the Game since used even to this
Age at _Christmas_, called _Questions and Commands_, and also that
Edward I. plaid _ad quatuor Reges_ (Wardrobe Rolls, 6 Ed. I, _Waltero
Storton ad opus Regis ad ludendum ad Quatuor Reges_ viii. s. v. d.)
which the Collector guesses might be the Game of Cards, wherein are
Kings of the four Suits; for he conceives this Play of some Antiquity,
because the term _Knave_, representing a Youth, is given to the next
Card in Consequence to the King and Queen, and is as it were the Son of
them, for, in this Sense this Word, Knave, was heretofore used; thus
_Chaucer_ saith, That _Alla_, King of _Northumberland_ begot a Knave
Child.”

The Hon. Daines Barrington, in a paper read by him to the Society of
Antiquaries, Feb. 23, 1786, after quoting Anstis, went on to say that
“Edward the First (when Prince of Wales) served nearly five years in
Syria, and, therefore, whilst military operations were suspended, must,
naturally, have wished for some sedentary amusements. Now the Asiatics
scarcely ever change their customs; and, as they play at Cards (though,
in many respects, different from ours), it is not improbable that
Edward might have been taught the game, _ad quatuor reges_, whilst he
continued so long in this part of the globe.

“If, however, this article in the Wardrobe account is not allowed to
allude to _playing cards_, the next writer who mentions the more early
introduction of them is P. Menestrier, who, from such another article
in the Privy purse expences of the Kings of France, says they were
provided for Charles VI. by his limner, after that King was deprived
of his senses in 1392. The entry is the following: ‘Donné a Jacquemin
Gringonneur, Peintre, pour _trois jeux_ de Cartes, a or et a diverses
couleurs, de plusieurs devises, pour porter vers le dit Seigneur Roi
pour son abatement, cinquante six sols Parisis.’”

Still supposing the game of “Four Kings” to have been a game at cards,
it seems strange that Chaucer, who was born fifty years afterwards,
should not have made some mention of Cards as a pastime, for, in his
_Franklin’s Tale_, he only mentions that “They dancen; and they play
at ches and tables.” The first authentic date we have of playing Cards
in England, shows that they had long been in use in 1463, and were
manufactured here, for, by an Act of Parliament (3 Edward IV. cap. 4),
the _importation_ of playing cards was forbidden.

We get an early notice of cards _temp_ Richard III. in the Paston
letters[15] from Margery Paston to John Paston, 24 Dec. 1484.

  “_To my ryght worschipful husband John Paston._

Ryght worschipful husbond, I recomaund me onto you. Plese it you to
wete that I sent your eldest sunne to my Lady Morlee to have Knolage
wat sports wer husyd in her hows in Kyrstemesse next folloyng after
the decysse of my lord, her husbond; and sche seyd that ther wer non
dysgysyngs, ner harpyng, ner syngyn, ner non lowd dysports, but playing
at the tabyllys and schesse and cards. Sweche dysports sche gave her
folkys leve to play and non odyr.”

Royalty was occasionally given to gambling, and we find among the
private disbursements of Edward the Second such entries as:

“Item. paid to the King himself, to play at cross and pile, by the
hands of Richard de Meremoth, the receiver of the Treasury, Twelve
pence.

Item. paid there to Henry, the King’s barber, for money which he lent
to the King, to play at cross and pile, Five shillings.

Item. paid there to Peres Barnard, usher of the King’s chamber, money
which he lent to the King, and which he lost at cross and pile, to
Monsieur Robert Wattewylle, Eight pence.

Item. paid to the King himself, to play at cross and pile, by Peres
Barnard, two shillings, which the said Peres won of him.”

Also Royalty was fond of playing at cards, which, indeed, were popular
from the highest to the lowest; and we find that James IV. of Scotland
surprised his future bride, Margaret, sister to Henry VIII., when he
paid her his first visit, playing at cards.[16] “The Kynge came privily
to the said castell (of Newbattle) and entred within the chammer with
a small company, where he founde the quene playing at the cardes.”
And in the Privy purse expenses of Elizabeth of York, queen to Henry
VII., we find, under date of 1502: “Item. to the Quenes grace upon the
Feest of St Stephen for hure disporte at cardes this Christmas C.s.
(100 shillings).” Whilst to show their popularity in this reign, it
was enacted in 1494 (11 Hen. VII. c. 2), that no artificer labourer,
or servant, shall play at any unlawful game (cards included) but in
Christmas.

Shakespeare makes Henry VIII. play at Cards, for in his play of that
name (Act v. sc. i.) there occurs, “And left him at Primero with the
Duke of Suffolk”; whilst, in the _Merry Wives of Windsor_ (Act iv.
sc. 5), Falstaff says, “I never prosper’d since I forswore myself at
Primero.” Stow tells us how, in Elizabeth’s time, “from All Hallows
eve to the following Candlemas day, there was, among other sports,
playing at Cards for counters, nails, and points, in every house, more
for pastime than for gain.” When Mary was Princess, in her Privy Purse
expenses there are numerous entries of money given her wherewith to
play at cards.



CHAPTER II

  Legislation as to Cards—Boy and sheep—Names of old games at Cards—
  Gambling _temp._ Charles II.—Description of a gaming-house, 1669—Play
  at Christmas—The Groom Porter—Royal gambling discontinued by George
  III.—Gambling in church.


Legislation about Cards was thought necessary in Henry VIII.’s time,
for we see in 33 Hen. VIII., cap. 9, sec. xvi.: “Be it also enacted by
the authority aforesaid. That no manner of artificer, or craftsman of
any handicraft or occupation, husbandman, apprentice, labourer, servant
at husbandry, journeyman, or servant of artificer, mariners, fishermen,
watermen, or any serving man, shall from the said feast of the Nativity
of _St John Baptist_, play at the tables, tennis, dice, cards, bowls,
clash, coyting, logating, or any unlawful game, out of _Christmas_,
under the pain of xx s. to be forfeit for every time,” &c.—an edict
which was somewhat modified by sec. xxii., which provided “In what
cases servants may play at dice, cards, tables, bowls, or tennis.”

This interference with the amusements of the people did not lead to
good results, as Holinshed tells us (1526): “In the moneth of Maie
was a proclamation made against all unlawfull games, according to the
statute made in this behalfe, and commissions awarded to every shire
for the execution of the same; so that, in all places, tables, dice,
cards, and bouls were taken and burnt. Wherfore the people murmured
against the cardinall, saieing: that he grudged at everie man’s
plesure, saving his owne. But this proclamation small time indured.
For, when yong men were forbidden bouls and such other games, some fell
to drinking, some to feretting of other men’s conies, some to stealing
of deere in parks and other unthriftinesse.”

With the exception of the grumbles of the Elizabethan puritans, such
as Stubbes and others, we hear very little of card playing. Taylor,
the “Water Poet,” in his _Wit and Mirth_ gives a little story anent
it, and mentions a game now forgotten. “An unhappy boy that kept his
father’s sheepe in the country, did use to carry a paire[17] of Cards
in his pocket, and, meeting with boyes as good as himselfe, would fall
to cards at the Cambrian game of whip-her-ginny, or English One and
Thirty; at which sport, hee would some dayes lose a sheepe or two: for
which, if his father corrected him, hee (in revenge), would drive the
sheepe home at night over a narrow bridge, where some of them falling
besides the bridge, were drowned in the swift brooke. The old man,
being wearied with his ungracious dealing, complained to a Justice,
thinking to affright him from doing any more the like. In briefe,
before the Justice the youth was brought, where, (using small reverence
and lesse manners), the Justice said to him: Sirrah, you are a notable
villaine, you play at Cards, and lose your father’s sheepe at One and
Thirty. The Boy replied that it was a lye. A lye, quoth the Justice,
you saucy knave, dost thou give me the lye? No, qd the boy, I gave
thee not the lye, but you told me the lye, for I never lost sheepe
at One and Thirty; for, when my game was one and thirty, I alwayes
woune. Indeed, said the Justice, thou saist true, but I have another
accusation against thee, which is, that you drive your father’s sheepe
over a narrow bridge where some of them are oftentimes drowned. That’s
a lye, too, quoth the boy, for those that go over the bridge are well
enough, it is only those that fall beside which are drowned: Whereto
the Justice said to the boy’s father, Old man, why hast thou brought in
two false accusations against thy soune, for he never lost sheepe at
one and thirty, nor were there any drowned that went over the bridge.”

In _Taylor’s Motto_ the same author names many other games at cards
which were then in vogue:—

  “The Prodigall’s estate, like to a flux,
  The Mercer, Draper, and the Silk-man sucks;
  The Taylor, Millainer, Dogs, Drabs and Dice,
  They trip, or Passage, or the Most at thrice;
  At Irish, Tick tacke, Doublets, Draughts, or Chesse
  He flings his money free with carelessnesse:
  At Novum, Mumchance, mischance (chuse ye which),
  At One and Thirty, or at Poore and Rich,
  Ruffe, Flam, Trump, Noddy, Whisk, Hole, Sant, New Cut,
  Unto the keeping of foure Knaves, he’l put
  His whole estate at Loadum, or at Gleeke,
  At Tickle me quickly, he’s a merry Greeke,
  At Primefisto, Post and Payre, Primero,
  Maw, Whip-her-ginny, he’s a lib’rall Hero:
  At My sow pigg’d; and (Reader, never doubt ye,
  He’s skill’d in all games except), Looke about ye.
  Bowles, Shove groate, Tennis, no game comes amiss,
  His purse a purse for anybody is.”

Naturally, under the Puritans, card playing was anathema, and we hear
nothing about it, if we except the political satire by Henry Nevile,
which was published in 1659, the year after Cromwell’s death. It is
entitled “Shuffling, Cutting, and Dealing in a Game at Picquet: Being
acted from the Year 1653 to 1658 by O. P. [Oliver, Protector] and
others, with great applause. _Tempora mutantur et nos._” It is well
worth reading, but it is too long for reproduction here.

But, as soon as the King enjoyed his own again, dicing and card
playing were rampant, as Pepys tells us. “_7 Feb. 1661._ Among others
Mr Creed and Captain Ferrers tell me the stories of my Lord Duke of
Buckingham’s and my Lord’s falling out at Havre de Grace, at Cards;
they two and my Lord St Albans playing. The Duke did, to my Lord’s
dishonour, often say that he did, in his conscience, know the contrary
to what he then said, about the difference at Cards; and so did take
up the money that he should have lost to my Lord, which, my Lord
resenting, said nothing then, but that he doubted not but there were
ways enough to get his money of him. So they parted that night; and
my Lord sent Sir R. Stayner, the next morning, to the Duke, to know
whether he did remember what he said last night, and whether he would
owne it with his sword and a second; which he said he would, and so
both sides agreed. But my Lord St Albans, and the Queen, and Ambassador
Montagu did waylay them at their lodgings till the difference was made
up, to my Lord’s honour; who hath got great reputation thereby.”

“_17 Feb. 1667._ This evening, going to the Queene’s side,[18] to see
the ladies, I did find the Queene, the Duchesse of York, and another or
two, at cards, with a room full of great ladies and men, which I was
amazed at to see on a Sunday, having not believed it; but, contrarily,
flatly denied the same, a little while since, to my cousin Roger Pepys.”

“_1 Jan. 1668._ By and by I met with Mr Brisband; and having it in
my mind this Christmas to do what I never can remember that I did,
go to see the gaming at the Groome-Porter’s, I, having, in my coming
from the playhouse, stepped into the two Temple halls, and there saw
the dirty prentices and idle people playing, wherein I was mistaken in
thinking to have seen gentlemen of quality playing there, as I think it
was when I was a little child, that one of my father’s servants, John
Bassum, I think, carried me in his arms thither, where, after staying
an hour, they began to play at about eight at night; where, to see
how differently one man took his losing from another, one cursing and
swearing, and another only muttering and grumbling to himself, a third
without any apparent discontent at all: to see how the dice will run
good luck in one hand for half an hour together, and on another have
no good luck at all: to see how easily here, where they play nothing
but guinnys, a £100 is won or lost: to see two or three gentlemen come
in there drunk, and, putting their stock of gold together, one 22
pieces, the second 4, and the third 5 pieces; and these two play one
with another, and forget how much each of them brought, but he that
brought the 22 thinks that he brought no more than the rest: to see
the different humours of gamesters to change their luck, when it is
bad, to shift their places, to alter their manner of throwing, and that
with great industry, as if there was anything in it: to see how some
old gamesters, that have no money now to spend as formerly, do come
and sit and look on, and, among others, Sir Lewes Dives,[19] who was
here, and hath been a great gamester in his time: to hear their cursing
and damning to no purpose, as one man being to throw a seven, if he
could; and, failing to do it after a great many throws, cried he would
be damned if ever he flung seven more while he lived, his despair of
throwing it being so great, while others did it, as their luck served,
almost every throw: to see how persons of the best quality do here
sit down, and play with people of any, though meaner; and to see how
people in ordinary clothes shall come hither and play away 100, or 2,
or 300 guinnys, without any kind of difficulty; and, lastly, to see
the formality of the groome-porter, who is their judge of all disputes
in play, and all quarrels that may arise therein, and how his under
officers are there to observe true play at each table and to give new
dice, is a consideration I never could have thought had been in the
world had I not seen it. And mighty glad I am that I did see it, and,
it may be, will find another evening before Christmas be over, to see
it again, when I may stay later, for their heat of play begins not
till about eleven or twelve o’clock; which did give me another pretty
observation of a man that did win mighty fast when I was there. I think
he won £100 at single pieces in a little time. While all the rest
envied him his good fortune, he cursed it, saying, it come so early
upon me, for this fortune, two hours hence, would be worth something
to me, but then I shall have no such luck. This kind of prophane, mad
entertainment they give themselves. And so, I, having enough for once,
refusing to venture, though Brisband pressed me hard, and tempted me
with saying that no man was ever known to lose the first time, the
devil being too cunning to discourage a gamester, and he offered, also,
to lend me 10 pieces to venture; but I did refuse, and so went away.”

We get a good account of the Gaming-house of this period in “The Nicker
Nicked; or, the Cheats of Gaming Discovered” (1669), but as it closely
resembles Cotton’s account of an Ordinary, I only give a portion of it.

“If what has been said, will not make you detest this abominable kind
of life; will the almost certain loss of your money do it? I will
undertake to demonstrate that it is ten to one you shall be a loser at
the year’s end, with constant play upon the square. If, then, twenty
persons bring two hundred pounds a piece, which makes four thousand
pounds, and resolve to play, for example, three or four hours a day for
a year; I will wager the box shall have fifteen hundred pounds of the
money, and that eighteen out of the twenty persons shall be losers.

“I have seen (in a lower instance) three persons sit down at
Twelvepenny In and In, and each draw forty shillings a piece; and, in
little more than two hours, the box has had three pounds of the money;
and all the three gamesters have been losers, and laughed at for their
indiscretion.

“At an Ordinary, you shall scarce have a night pass without a quarrel,
and you must either tamely put up with an affront, or else be engaged
in a duel next morning, upon some trifling insignificant occasion,
pretended to be a point of honour.

“Most gamesters begin at small game; and, by degrees, if their money,
or estates, hold out, they rise to great sums; some have played, first
of all, their money, then their rings, coach and horses, even their
wearing clothes and perukes; and then, such a farm; and, at last,
perhaps, a lordship. You may read, in our histories,[20] how Sir Miles
Partridge played at Dice with King Henry the Eighth for Jesus Bells,
so called, which were the greatest in England, and hung in a tower of
St Paul’s Church; and won them; whereby he brought them to ring in his
pocket; but the ropes, afterwards, catched about his neck, for, in
Edward the Sixth’s days, he was hanged for some criminal offences.[21]

“Consider how many people have been ruined by play. Sir Arthur
Smithouse is yet fresh in memory: he had a fair estate, which in a few
years he so lost at play that he died in great want and penury. Since
that Mr Ba——, who was a Clerk in the Six Clerks Office, and well
cliented, fell to play, and won, by extraordinary fortune, two thousand
pieces in ready gold: was not content with that; played on; lost all he
had won, and almost all his own estate; sold his place in the office;
and, at last marched off to a foreign plantation to begin a new world
with the sweat of his brow. For that is commonly the destiny of a
decayed gamester, either to go to some foreign plantation, or to be
preferred to the dignity of a box-keeper.

“It is not denied, but most gamesters have, at one time or other, a
considerable run of winning, but, (such is the infatuation of play) I
could never hear of a man that gave over, a winner, (I mean to give
over so as never to play again;) I am sure it is a _rara avis_: for if
you once ‘break bulk,’ as they phrase it, you are in again for all.
Sir Humphrey Foster had lost the greatest part of his estate, and then
(playing, it is said, for a dead horse,) did, by happy fortune, recover
it again, then gave over, and wisely too.

“If a man has a competent estate of his own, and plays whether himself
or another man shall have it, it is extreme folly; if his estate be
small, then to hazard the loss even of that and reduce himself to
absolute beggary is direct madness. Besides, it has been generally
observed, that the loss of one hundred pounds shall do you more
prejudice in disquieting your mind than the gain of two hundred pounds
shall do you good, were you sure to keep it.”

The “Groom Porter” has been more than once mentioned in these pages.
He was formerly an officer of the Lord Steward’s department of the
Royal Household. When the office was first appointed is unknown, but
Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, Lord Chamberlain to Henry VIII. from
1526 to 1530, compiled a book containing the duties of the officers,
in which is set forth “the roome and service belonging to a groome
porter to do.” His business was to see the King’s lodgings furnished
with tables, chairs, stools, firing, rushes for strewing the floors,
to provide cards, dice, &c., and to decide disputes arising at dice,
cards, bowling, &c. The Groom Porter’s is referred to as a place of
excessive play in the seventeenth year of the reign of Henry VIII.
(1526), when it was directed that the privy chamber shall be “kept
honestly,” and that it “be not used by frequent and intemperate play,
as the Groom Porter’s house.”

Play at Court was lawful, and encouraged, from Christmas to Epiphany,
and this was the Groom Porter’s legitimate time. When the King felt
disposed, and it was his pleasure to play, it was the etiquette and
custom to announce to the company, that “His Majesty was out”; on which
intimation all Court ceremony and restraint were set aside, and the
sport commenced; and when the Royal Gamester had either lost, or won,
to his heart’s content, notice of the Royal pleasure to discontinue
the game was, with like formality, announced by intimation that
“His Majesty was at home,” whereupon play forthwith ceased, and the
etiquette and ceremony of the palace was resumed.

The fact of the Christmas gambling is noted in Jonson’s _Alchemist_—

                            “He will win you,
  By irresistible luck, within this fortnight
  Enough to buy a barony. This will set him
  Upmost at the Groom Porter’s all the Christmas.”

We saw that Pepys visited the Groom Porter’s at Christmas, so also did
Evelyn.

“_6 Jan. 1662._ This evening, according to custom, his Majesty opened
the revels of that night, by throwing the dice himself in the privy
chamber, where was a table set on purpose, and lost his £100. (The
year before he won £1500.) The ladies, also, played very deep. I came
away when the Duke of Ormond had won about £1000, and left them still
at passage, cards, &c. At other tables, both there and at the Groom
Porter’s, observing the wicked folly and monstrous excess of passion
amongst some losers: sorry am I that such a wretched custom as play to
that excess should be countenanced in a Court, which ought to be an
example of virtue to the rest of the kingdom.”

“_8 Jan. 1668._ I saw deep and prodigious gaming at the Groom Porter’s,
vast heaps of gold squandered away in a vain and profuse manner. This I
looked on as a horrid vice, and unsuitable to a Christian Court.”

In the reign of James II. the Groom Porter’s was still an institution,
and so it was in William III.’s time, for we read in _The Flying Post_,
No. 573, Jan. 10-13, 1699. “Friday last, being Twelf-day, the King,
according to custom, plaid at the Groom Porter’s; where, we hear,
Esqre. Frampton[22] was the greatest gainer.”

In Queen Anne’s time he was still in evidence, as we find in the
_London Gazette_, December 6-10, 1705. “Whereas Her Majesty, by her
Letters Patent to Thomas Archer, Esqre., constituting him Her Groom
Porter, hath given full power to him and such Deputies as he shall
appoint to supervise, regulate and authorize (by and under the Rules,
Conditions, and Restrictions by the Law prescribed,) all manner of
Gaming within this Kingdom. And, whereas, several of Her Majesty’s
Subjects, keeping Plays or Games in their Houses, have been lately
abused, and had Moneys extorted from them by several ill disposed
Persons, contrary to Law. These are, therefore, to give Notice, That
no Person whatsoever, not producing his Authority from the said Groom
Porter, under Seal of his Office, hath any Power to act anything under
the said Patent. And, to the end that all such Persons offending
as aforesaid, may be proceeded against according to Law, it is
hereby desired, that Notice be given of all such Abuses to the said
Groom Porter, or his Deputies, at his Office, at Mr Stephenson’s, a
Scrivener’s House, over against Old Man’s Coffee House, near Whitehall.”

We get a glimpse of the Groom Porters of this reign in Mrs Centlivre’s
play of _The Busy Body_:

“_Sir Geo. Airy._ Oh, I honour Men of the Sword; and I presume this
Gentleman is lately come from Spain or Portugal—by his Scars.

“_Marplot._ No, really, Sir George, mine sprung from civil Fury:
Happening last night into the Groom porter’s—I had a strong
inclination to go ten Guineas with a sort of a—sort of a—kind of a
Milk Sop, as I thought: a Pox of the Dice, he flung out, and my Pockets
being empty, as Charles knows they sometimes are, he prov’d a Surly
North Briton, and broke my face for my deficiency.”

Both George I. and George the Second played at the Groom Porter’s at
Christmas. In the first number of the _Gentleman’s Magazine_, we read
how George II. and his Queen spent their Epiphany. “Wednesday, Jan. 5,
1731. This being Twelfth Day ... their Majesties, the Prince of Wales,
and the three eldest Princesses, preceded by the Heralds, &c., went to
the Chapel Royal, and heard divine Service. The King and Prince made
the Offerings at the Altar, of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, according
to Custom. At night, their Majesties &c. play’d at _Hazard_, for the
benefit of the Groom Porter, and ‘twas said the King won 600 Guineas,
and the Queen 360, Princess Amelia 20, Princess Caroline 10, the Earl
of Portmore and the Duke of Grafton, several thousands.” And we have
a similar record in _the Grub Street Journal_ under date of 7 Jan.,
1736. The Office of Groom Porter was abolished during the reign of
George III. probably in 1772, for in the _Annual Register_ for that
year, under date 6 Jan., it says: “Their Majesties not being accustomed
to play at Hazard, ordered a handsome gratuity to the Groom Porter;
and orders were given, that, for the future, there be no card playing
amongst the servants.”

Card playing was justifiable, and legal, at Christmas. An ordinance
for governing the household of the Duke of Clarence, in the reign of
Edward IV., forbade all games at dice, cards, or other hazard for
money _except during the twelve days at Christmas_. And, again, in the
reign of Henry VII., an Act was passed against unlawful games, which
expressly forbids artificers, labourers, servants, or apprentices to
play at any such, _except at Christmas_: and, at some of the Colleges,
Cards are introduced into the Combination Rooms, during the twelve days
of Christmas, but never appear there during the remainder of the year.

Kirchmayer[23] gives a curious custom of gambling in church on
Christmas day:

  “Then comes the day wherein the Lorde
    did bring his birth to passe;
  Whereas at midnight up they rise,
    and every man to Masse.
  The time so holy counted is,
    that divers earnestly
  Do think the waters all to wine
    are changed sodainly;
  In that same house that Christ himselfe
    was borne, and came to light,
  And unto water streight againe
    transformde and altred quight.
  There are beside that mindfully
    the money still do watch
  That first to aultar commes, which then
    they privily do snatch.
  The priestes, least others should it have,
    take oft the same away,
  Whereby they thinke, throughout the yeare
    to have good luck in play,
  And not to lose: then straight at game
    till daylight they do strive,
  To make some pleasant proofe how well
    their hallowed pence will thrive.
  Three Masses every priest doth sing
    upon that solemne day,
  With offerings unto every one,
    that so the more may play.”



CHAPTER III

 Gambling, early 18th Century—Mrs Centlivre—E.
 Ward—Steele—Pope—Details of a gaming-house—Grub St. Journal
 on Gambling—Legislation on gambling—Peeresses as gaming-house
 keepers—A child played for at cards—Raids on gaming-houses—Fielding.


But to return to the Chronology of Gambling. From the Restoration of
Charles II. to the time of Anne, gambling was common; but in the reign
of this latter monarch, it either reached a much higher pitch, or else,
in that Augustan Age of Literature, we hear more about it. Any way, we
only know what we read about it. In the epilogue to Mrs Centlivre’s
play of _the Gamester_, published in 1705, the audience is thus
addressed:

  “You Roaring Boys, who know the Midnight Cares
  Of Rattling Tatts,[24] ye Sons of Hopes and Fears;
  Who Labour hard to bring your Ruin on,
  And diligently toil to be undone;
  You’re Fortune’s sporting Footballs at the best,
  Few are his Joys, and small the Gamester’s Rest:
  Suppose then, Fortune only rules the Dice,
  And on the Square you Play; yet, who that’s Wise
  Wou’d to the Credit of a Faithless Main
  Trust his good Dad’s hard-gotten hoarded Gain?
  But, then, such Vultures round a Table wait,
  And, hovering, watch the Bubble’s sickly State;
  The young fond Gambler, covetous of more,
  Like _Esop’s_ Dog, loses his certain Store.
  Then the Spung squeez’d by all, grows dry,—And, now,
  Compleatly Wretched, turns a Sharper too;
  These Fools, for want of Bubbles, too, play Fair,
  And lose to one another on the Square.

         *       *       *       *       *

  This Itch for Play, has, likewise, fatal been,
  And more than _Cupid_, drawn the Ladies in,
  A Thousand Guineas for _Basset_ prevails,
  A Bait when Cash runs low, that seldom fails;
  And, when the Fair One can’t the Debt defray,
  In Sterling Coin, does Sterling Beauty pay.”

Ward, in a Satire called _Adam and Eve stript of their furbelows_,
published in 1705, has an Article on the Gambling lady of the period,
entitled, _Bad Luck to him that has her; Or, The Gaming Lady_, of which
the following is a portion:

“When an unfortunate Night has happen’d to empty her Cabinet ... her
Jewels are carry’d privately into _Lumbard Street_, and Fortune is
to be tempted the next Night with another Sum borrow’d of my Lady’s
Goldsmith at the Extortion of a Pawnbroker; and, if that fails, then
she sells off her Wardrobe, to the great Grief of her Maids; stretches
her Credit amongst those she deals with, pawns her Honour to her
Intimates, or makes her Waiting-Woman dive into the Bottom of her
Trunk, and lug out her green Net Purse, full of old _Jacobus’s_, which
she has got in her Time by her Servitude, in Hopes to recover her
Losses by a Turn of Fortune, that she may conceal her bad Luck from the
Knowledge of her Husband: But she is generally such a Bubble to some
Smock fac’d Gamester, who can win her Money first, carry off the Loser
in a Hackney Coach, and kiss her into a good humour before he parts
with her, that she is generally driven to the last Extremity, and then
forc’d to confess all to her forgiving Spouse, who, either thro’ his
fond Affection, natural Generosity, or Danger of Scandal, supplies her
with Money to redeem her Moveables, buy her new Apparel, and to pay her
Debts upon Honour, that her Ladyship may be _in Statu quo_; in which
Condition she never long continues, but repeats the same Game over and
over, to the End of the Chapter: For she is so strangely infatuated
with the Itch of Card Playing, that she makes the Devil’s Books her
very _Practice of Piety_; and, were she at her Parish Church, in the
Height of her Devotion, should any Body, in the Interim, but stand at
the Church Door, and hold up the _Knave of Clubs_, she would take it
to be a Challenge at _Lanctre Loo_; and, starting from her Prayers,
would follow her beloved _Pam_, as a deluded Traveller does an _Ignis
fatuus_.”

No. 120 of _the Guardian_ (July 29, 1713), by Steele, is devoted to
female Gambling as it was in the time of Queen Anne, and the following
is a portion of it:

“Their _Passions_ suffer no less by this Practice than their
Understandings and Imaginations. What Hope and Fear, Joy and Anger,
Sorrow and Discontent break out all at once in a fair Assembly upon
So noble an Occasion as that of turning up a Card? Who can consider
without a Secret Indignation that all those Affections of the Mind
which should be consecrated to their Children, Husbands and Parents,
are thus vilely prostituted and thrown away upon a Hand at Loo. For my
own part, I cannot but be grieved when I see a fine Woman fretting and
bleeding inwardly from such trivial Motives; when I behold the Face of
an Angel agitated and discomposed by the Heart of a Fury.

“Our Minds are of such a Make, that they, naturally, give themselves
up to every Diversion to which they are much accustomed, and we always
find that Play, when followed with Assiduity, engrosses the whole
Woman, She quickly grows uneasie in her own Family, takes but little
Pleasure in all the domestick, innocent, Endearments of Life, and grows
more fond of _Pamm_ than of her Husband. My friend _Theophrastus_, the
best of Husbands and of Fathers, has often complained to me, with Tears
in his Eyes, of the late Hours he is forced to keep, if he would enjoy
his Wife’s Conversation. When she returns to me with Joy in her Face,
it does not arise, says he, from the Sight of her Husband, but from
the good Luck she has had at Cards. On the contrary, says he, if she
has been a Loser, I am doubly a Sufferer by it. She comes home out of
humour, is angry with every Body, displeased with all I can do, or say,
and, in Reality, for no other Reason but because she has been throwing
away my Estate. What charming Bedfellows and Companions for Life, are
Men likely to meet with, that chuse their Wives out of such Women of
Vogue and Fashion? What a Race of Worthies, what Patriots, what Heroes,
must we expect from Mothers of this Make?

“I come, in the next Place, to consider all the ill Consequences which
Gaming has on the _Bodies_ of our Female Adventurers. It is so ordered
that almost everything which corrupts the Soul, decays the Body. The
Beauties of the Face and Mind are generally destroyed by the same
means. This Consideration should have a particular Weight with the
Female World, who were designed to please the Eye, and attract the
Regards of the other half of the Species. Now, there is nothing that
wears out a fine Face like the Vigils of the Card Table, and those
cutting Passions which naturally attend them. Hollow Eyes, haggard
Looks, and pale Complexions, are the natural Indications of a Female
Gamester. Her Morning Sleeps are not able to repair her Midnight
Watchings. I have known a Woman carried off half dead from _Bassette_,
and have, many a time grieved to see a Person of Quality gliding by me,
in her Chair, at two a Clock in the Morning, and looking like a Spectre
amidst a flare of Flambeaux. In short, I never knew a thorough paced
Female Gamester hold her Beauty two Winters together.

“But there is still another Case in which the Body is more endangered
than in the former. All Play Debts must be paid in Specie, or by an
Equivalent. The Man who plays beyond his Income, pawns his Estate; the
Woman must find out something else to Mortgage when her Pin Money is
gone. The Husband has his Lands to dispose of, the Wife, her Person.”

Almost all writers of the time note and deplore the gambling
propensity of Ladies: and Pope, in his _Rape of the Lock_ (Canto III.),
gives us a picture of a gambling lady, and a graphic description of the
game of _Ombre_, which was played in the afternoon:—

  “Meanwhile declining from the Noon of Day,
  The Sun obliquely shoots his burning Ray;
  The hungry Judges soon the Sentence sign,
  And Wretches hang, that Jury-men may Dine;
  The Merchant from th’ _Exchange_ returns in Peace,
  And the long Labours of the _Toilette_ cease—
      _Belinda_ now, whom Thirst of Fame invites,
  Burns to encounter two adventrous Knights,
  At _Ombre_ singly to decide their Doom;
  And swells her Breast with Conquests yet to come.
  Strait the three Bands prepare in Arms to join,
  Each Band the number of the Sacred Nine.
  Soon as she spreads her Hand, th’ Aerial Guard
  Descend, and sit on each important Card:
  First, _Ariel_ perch’d upon a _Matadore_,
  Then each, according to the Rank they bore;
  For _Sylphs_, yet mindful of their ancient Race,
  Are, as when Women, wondrous fond of Place.
      Behold, four _Kings_ in Majesty rever’d,
  With hoary Whiskers and a forky Beard;
  And four fair _Queens_ whose hands sustain a Flow’r,
  Th’ expressive Emblem of their softer Pow’r;
  Four _Knaves_ in Garbs succinct, a trusty Band,
  Caps on their heads, and Halberds in their hand;
  And Particolour’d Troops, a shining Train,
  Draw forth to Combat on the Velvet Plain.
      The skilful Nymph reviews her Force with Care,
  _Let Spades be Trumps_, she said, and Trumps they were.
  Now move to War her Sable _Matadores_,
  In Show, like Leaders of the swarthy _Moors_.
  _Spadillo_ first, unconquerable Lord!
  Led off two captive Trumps, and swept the Board.
  As many more _Manillio_ forc’d to yield,
  And march’d a Victor from the verdant Field.
  Him _Basto_ follow’d, but his Fate, more hard,
  Gain’d but one Trump and one Plebeian Card.
  With his broad Sabre, next, a Chief in Years,
  The hoary Majesty of _Spades_ appears;
  Puts forth one manly Leg, to sight reveal’d;
  The rest, his many-colour’d Robe conceal’d.
  The Rebel-_Knave_, that dares his Prince engage,
  Proves the just Victim of his Royal Rage.
  Ev’n mighty _Pam_, that Kings and Queens o’erthrew,
  And mow’d down Armies in the Fights of _Loo_,
  Sad Chance of War! now, destitute of Aid,
  Falls undistinguish’d by the Victor Spade!
      Thus far, both Armies to _Belinda_ yield;
  Now, to the _Baron_ Fate inclines the Field.
  His warlike _Amazon_ her Host invades,
  Th’ Imperial Consort of the Crown of _Spades_.
  The _Club’s_ black Tyrant first her Victim dy’d,
  Spite of his haughty Mien, and barb’rous Pride:
  What boots the Regal Circle on his Head,
  His Giant Limbs in State unwieldy spread?
  That, long behind, he trails his pompous Robe,
  And, of all Monarchs, only grasps the Globe.
      The _Baron_, now his _Diamonds_ pours apace;
  Th’ embroider’d _King_ who shows but half his Face,
  And his refulgent _Queen_, with Pow’rs combin’d,
  Of broken Troops an easie Conquest find.
  _Clubs_, _Diamonds_, _Hearts_, in wild Disorder seen,
  With Throngs promiscuous strow the level Green.
  Thus, when dispers’d, a routed Army runs,
  Of _Asia’s_ Troops, and _Africk’s_ Sable Sons;
  With like Confusion different Nations fly,
  In various Habits, and of various Dye,
  The pierc’d Battalions dis-united fall
  In Heaps on Heaps; one Fate o’erwhelms them all.
    The _Knave_ of _Diamonds_ now exerts his Arts,
  And wins (oh, shameful Chance!) the _Queen_ of _Hearts_.
  At this, the Blood the Virgin’s Cheek forsook,
  A livid Paleness spreads o’er all her Look;
  She sees, and trembles at th’ approaching Ill,
  Just in the Jaws of Ruin, and _Codille_.
  And now, (as oft in some distemper’d State)
  On one nice _Trick_ depends the gen’ral Fate,
  An _Ace_ of _Hearts_ steps forth; The _King_, unseen,
  Lurk’d in her Hand, and mourn’d his captive _Queen_.
  He springs to Vengeance with an eager Pace,
  And falls like Thunder on the prostrate _Ace_.
  The Nymph exulting, fills with Shouts the Sky,
  The Walls, the Woods, and long Canals reply.”

Things did not improve in the next reign, for Malcolm tells us, that
gaming was dreadfully prevalent in 1718, which might be demonstrated
by the effect of one night’s search by the Leet Jury of Westminster,
who presented no less than thirty-five houses to the Justices for
prosecution. And in the reign of George II. we have numerous notices of
gambling: and the first number of the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ in 1731
gives for the information of its readers the following list of officers
established in the most notorious gaming houses:—

“1. A _Commissioner_, always a Proprietor, who looks in of a Night,
and the Week’s Accompt is audited by him, and two others of the
Proprietors.—2. A _Director_, who superintends the Room.—3. An
_Operator_, who deals the Cards at a cheating Game, called _Faro_.—4.
Two _Crowpees_,[25] who watch the Cards, and gather the Money for
the Bank.—5. Two _Puffs_, who have Money given them to decoy others
to play.—6. A _Clerk_, who is a Check upon the Puffs, to see that
they sink none of the Money that is given them to play with.—7. A
_Squib_, is a Puff of a lower Rank, who serves at half Salary, while
he is learning to deal.—8. A _Flasher_, to swear how often the Bank
has been stript.—9. A _Dunner_, who goes about to recover Money lost
at Play.—10. A _Waiter_, to fill out Wine, snuff Candles, and attend
in the Gaming Room.—11. An _Attorney_, a _Newgate_ Solicitor.—12.
A _Captain_, who is to fight a Gentleman that is peevish at losing
his money.—13. An _Usher_, who lights Gentlemen up and down Stairs,
and gives the Word to the Porter.—14. A _Porter_, who is, generally,
a Soldier of the Foot Guards.—15. An _Orderly Man_, who walks up
and down the outside of the Door, to give Notice to the Porter, and
alarm the House, at the Approach of the Constables.—16. A _Runner_,
who is to get Intelligence of the Justices meeting.—17. _Linkboys_,
_Coachmen_, _Chairmen_, _Drawers_, _or others_, who bring the first
Intelligence of the Justices Meetings, or, of the Constables being out,
at Half a Guinea Reward.—18. _Common Bail Affidavit Men_, _Ruffians_,
_Bravoes_, _Assassins_, cum multis aliis.”

We have read before (p. 49) of the King’s gambling at the Groom
Porter’s on 5 Jan. 1731, but, to show the fairness and equality of
the law, I will give the very next paragraph: “At Night (5 Jan.) Mr
_Sharpless_, High Constable of _Holborn_ Division, with several of his
petty Constables, searched a notorious Gaming House behind _Gray’s Inn
Walks_, by Vertue of a Warrant from the Right Hon. Lord _Delawar_, and
eleven other of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the County of
_Middlesex_; but the Gamesters, having previous Notice, they all fled,
except the Master of the House, who was apprehended, and bound in a
Recognizance of £200 penalty, pursuant to the old Statute of 33 Hen.
VIII.”

The _Grub Street Journal_ of 28 Dec. 1733, gives a practical hint how
to utilise Gambling: “Dear _Bavy_.—As Gaming is becoming fashionable,
and the Increase of the Poor a general Complaint, I propose to have a
Poor’s Box fix’d up in some convenient Place in every House, which may
contain all Money that shall be won at Cards, or any other Games; and
that a proper Person be appointed in every Parish to keep the Key, and
to collect Weekly from each House what has been dropt into the Box,
in order to distribute it among the poor, every _Sunday_. A Friend of
mine, being obliged to play pretty high in a Family, where he visited,
had, generally, Luck on his Side. In some time, the Master of the
Family became extreamly embarrass’d in the World. My Friend, being
acquainted with it, and touch’d with so moving a Circumstance, went
home, and, opening a Drawer where he had deposited the Winnings brought
from his House, repaid him; thereby, he retrieved his Credit, and
whereby the whole Family was saved from Ruin.—Yours &c., JEREMY HINT.”

Another letter in the same Journal, 2 Sept. 1736, shows how the canker
of gambling was surely eating into the very heart of the nation. It
is _à propos_ of private Gaming Houses. “I beg leave, through your
Means, to make a few Remarks upon the great Encrease of a Vice, which,
if not timely prevented, will end in the Ruin of the young and unwary
of both Sexes; I mean, Play in private Houses, and more particularly
that artful and cheating _Game_ of _Quadrille_. It is the constant
business of the _Puffs_ who belong to the Gaming Societies, to make
a general Acquaintance, and, by a Volubility of Tongue, to commend
Company and Conversation: to advise young People, or those who have
but lately come to Town, to improve themselves in the _Beau Monde_.
The young and unwary, thro’ their Inexperience, greedily swallow this
Advice, and deliver themselves up to the Conduct of these Harpies who
swarm in every Corner, where Visiting is in Fashion: by whom they are
introduced into these polite Families, and taught to lose their Money
and Reputation in a genteel Manner. These Societies consist mostly of
two or three insignificant old Maids, the same number of gay Widows; a
batter’d old Beau or two, who, in King William’s time, were the Pink
of the Mode: The Master of the House, some decay’d Person of a good
Family, made use of merely as a Cypher to carry on the Business, by
having the Honour to be marry’d to the Lady, who, to oblige her Friends
and People of good Fashion only, suffers her House to be made use of
for these Purposes. In these places it is that young Ladies of moderate
Fortunes are drawn in, to the infallible Ruin of their Reputations; and
when, by false Cards, Slipping, Signs, and Crimp, they are stript of
their last Guinea, their wretched companions will not know them. Any
one acquainted with the West End of the Town cannot but have observed
all this with Regret, if they have Honour and Compassion in them. Nor
need I mention the West End only. I believe all Points of the Compass
are infected, and it were to be wished a Remedy could be found out to
prevent it.”

An attempt to remedy this state of things was made, in 1739, by
passing “an Act for the more efficient preventing of excessive and
deceitful gaming” (12 Geo. II. c. 28), which provided that the Person
that keeps a house, or other place, to game in, forfeits £200, half to
the prosecutor, and half to the poor of the parish, except at Bath,
where the half goes to poor in the Hospital. Lotteries, Sales, Shares
in Houses to be determined by Lottery, Raffle, &c., are under this Act,
the Lands, Houses, &c. forfeited. All persons gaming in the places
aforesaid, or adventurers in Lotteries, on conviction forfeit £50. The
games forbidden are Ace of Hearts, Faro, Basset and Hazard, except in
Royal Palaces. Justices of Peace refusing to act and convict on this
Act forfeit £10.

But this Act did not go far enough, and it was amended by the 18 Geo.
II. c. 34. The Journals of the House of Lords have a curious story to
tell about this Act.

“_Dies Lunæ_, _29 Aprilis 1745_. The House (according to Order) was
adjourned during Pleasure, and put into Committee upon the Bill
intituled ‘An Act to amend, explain, and make more effectual, the Laws
in being, to prevent excessive and deceitful Gaming: and to restrain
and prevent the excessive Increase of Horse Races.’

After some time the House was resumed.

And the Earl of Warwick reported from the said Committee that they had
gone through the Bill, and made some Amendments thereto; which he would
be ready to report, when the House will please to receive the same.

Ordered. That the Report be received to-morrow.

The House being informed ‘That Mr Burdus, Chairman of the Quarter
Sessions for the City and Liberty of Westminster, Sir Thomas de Veil,
and Mr Lane, Chairman of the Quarter Sessions for the County of
Middlesex, were at the door.’

They were called in, and, at the Bar, severally gave an account that
claims of privilege of Peerage were made, and insisted on, by the
Ladies Mordington and Casselis, in order to intimidate the peace
officers from doing their duty in suppressing the public gaming houses
kept by the said Ladies.

And the said Burdus thereupon delivered in an instrument in writing,
under the hand of the said Lady Mordington, containing the claim she
made of privilege for her officers and servants employed by her in the
said gaming house.

And then they were directed to withdraw.

And the said Instrument was read, as follows:—

‘I, Dame Mary, Baroness of Mordington, do hold a house in the Great
Piazza, Covent Garden, for and as an Assembly, where all persons of
credit are at liberty to frequent and play at such diversions as are
used at other Assemblys. And I have hired Joseph Dewberry, William
Horsely, Ham Cropper, and George Sanders, as my servants, or managers,
(under me) thereof. I have given them orders to direct the management
of the other inferior servants, (namely) John Bright, Richard Davis,
John Hill, John Vandenvoren, as box-keepers. Gilbert Richardson,
housekeeper, John Chaplain, regulator, William Stanley and Henry
Huggins, servants that wait on the Company at the said Assembly,
William Penny and Joseph Penny, as porters thereof. And all the above
mentioned persons I claim as my domestick servants, and demand all
those privileges that belong to me, as a Peeress of Great Britain,
appertaining to my said Assembly. M. MORDINGTON. Dated 8 Jan. 1745.’

Resolved and declared that no Person is entitled to Privilege of
Peerage against any prosecution, or proceeding, for keeping any public
or common gaming house, or any house, room, or place for playing at any
game, or games prohibited by any law now in force.”

These ladies had already been presented by the Grand Jury for the
County of Middlesex on 10 May 1744, together with the proprietors of
the avenues leading to and from the several Playhouses in Covent Garden
and Drury Lane, the proprietors of Sadler’s Wells, and the proprietors
of New Wells in Goodman’s Fields, The London Spaw, Clerkenwell, and
Halden’s New Theatre, in May Fair.

One of the most curious anecdotes of gambling, about this date, is the
following[26]:—“1735. Oct. A child of James and Elizabeth Leesh of
Chester le street, was played for at cards, at the sign of the Salmon,
one game, four shillings against the child, by Henry and John Trotter,
Robert Thomson and Thomas Ellison, which was won by the latter, and
delivered to them accordingly.”

The law was occasionally put in motion, as we find. “_Gent. Mag._, Oct.
31, 1750. About 9 o’clock at night, a party of soldiers and constables,
with proper warrants, enter’d a notorious gaming house, behind the
_Hoop_ tavern in the _Strand_, and seiz’d 36 gamblers, and carry’d them
to the vestry room at _St Martin’s_, where the justices were sitting
for that purpose; 21 of them, next morning, for want of bail, were
committed to the _Gatehouse_, and the others bound in a recognizance of
£80, to answer at the next Sessions; the fine gaming tables, which cost
£200, were chopt to pieces, and a great part burnt.”

“Feb. 1, 1751. Justice _Fielding_ having received information of a
rendezvous of gamesters in the _Strand_, procured a strong party of
guards, who seized 45 at the table, which they broke to pieces, and
carry’d the gamesters before the justice, who committed 39 of them to
the _Gatehouse_ and admitted the other 6 to bail. There were three
tables broken to pieces, which cost near £60 apiece; under each of them
were observed two iron rollers, and two private springs, which those
who were in the secret could touch, and stop the turning whenever they
had any youngsters to deal with, and, so, cheated them of their money.”

“Ap. 17, 1751. _Thomas Lediard_, Esq., attended by a constable and
a party of guards, went this night to the Long Room, in James St.,
Westminster, where there was a Masquerade, in order to suppress the
notorious practice of gaming, for which such assemblies are calculated.
The whole was conducted without opposition, or mischief. Seventeen
were committed to the gatehouse, some were discharged, and others gave
sufficient bail, never to play at any unlawful game, or resort to any
gaming house. Numbers escaped over the Park wall, and other places,
notwithstanding the vigilance of the magistrate and his assistants. The
gaming tables were broke to pieces.”

We have many instances of the industry and vigilance of the London
magistrates, especially Fielding, who, in 1756, wrote a warning to the
public,[27] entitled “The artifices and stratagems of the profligate
and wicked part of the inhabitants of this great metropolis, in order
to defraud and impose upon the weak and unwary, being multiplied to
an incredible degree, _Mr Fielding_ has taken the pains to lay before
the public a detail of such of them as have fallen under his own
immediate observation as a Magistrate: in the recital of which he has
mark’d the progress of deceit from the lowest pickpocket to the most
accomplish’d gambler. That none may be in ignorance of the snares that
are continually laid for them, this history of Gambling is inserted.”
And in _Ferdinand Count Fathom_, by Smollett, Fielding’s contemporary
and brother novelist, we have a full description of a professional
gambler’s life.



CHAPTER IV

 Gambling at Bath—Beau Nash—Anecdotes of him—A lady gambler—Horace
 Walpole’s gossip about gambling—Awful story about Richard
 Parsons—Gambling anecdotes—C. J. Fox.


Nor was it only in London that this gambling fever existed: it equally
polluted the quieter resorts of men, and at fashionable watering
places, like Bath, it was rampant, as Oliver Goldsmith writes in his
life of Beau Nash, of whom he tells several anecdotes connected with
play. “When he first figured at _Bath_, there were few laws against
this destructive amusement. The gaming table was the constant resource
of despair and indigence, and the frequent ruin of opulent fortunes.
Wherever people of fashion came, needy adventurers were generally found
in waiting. With such Bath swarmed, and, among this class, Mr Nash was
certainly to be numbered in the beginning; only, with this difference,
that he wanted the corrupt heart, too commonly attending a life of
expedients; for he was generous, humane, and honourable, even though,
by profession, a gambler.”

A thousand instances might be given of his integrity, even in this
infamous profession, where his generosity often impelled him to act in
contradiction to his interest. Wherever he found a novice in the hands
of a sharper, he generally forewarned him of the danger; whenever he
found any inclined to play, yet ignorant of the game, he would offer
his services, and play for them. I remember an instance to this effect,
though too nearly concerned in the affair to publish the gentleman’s
name of whom it is related.

In the year 1725, there came to Bath a giddy youth, who had just
resigned his fellowship at Oxford. He brought his whole fortune with
him there; it was but a trifle, however, he was resolved to venture it
all. Good fortune seemed kinder than could be expected. Without the
smallest skill in play, he won a sum sufficient to make any unambitious
man happy. His desire of gain increasing with his gains, in the October
following he was _at all_, and added four thousand pounds to his
former capital. Mr Nash, one night, after losing a considerable sum
to this undeserving son of fortune, invited him to supper. Sir, cried
this honest, though veteran gamester, perhaps you may imagine I have
invited you, in order to have my revenge at home; but, sir, I scorn
such an inhospitable action. I desired the favour of your company to
give you some advice, which, you will pardon me, sir, you seem to
stand in need of. You are now high in spirits, and drawn away by a
torrent of success. But, there will come a time, when you will repent
having left the calm of a college life for the turbulent profession of
a gamester. Ill runs will come, as certain as day and night succeed
each other. Be therefore advised; remain content with your present
gains; for, be persuaded that, had you the Bank of England, with your
present ignorance of gaming, it would vanish like a fairy dream. You
are a stranger to me; but, to convince you of the part I take in your
welfare, I’ll give you fifty guineas, to forfeit twenty, every time you
lose two hundred at one sitting. The young gentleman refused his offer,
and was at last undone!

“The late Duke of B. being chagrined at losing a considerable sum,
pressed Mr Nash to tie him up for the future from playing deep.
Accordingly, the beau gave his grace an hundred guineas, to forfeit
ten thousand, whenever he lost a sum, to the same amount, at play at
one sitting. The duke loved play to distraction; and, soon after, at
hazard, lost eight thousand guineas, and was going to throw for three
thousand more, when Nash, catching hold of the dice box, entreated his
grace to reflect upon the penalty if he lost. The duke, for that time,
desisted; but so strong was the furor of play upon him that, soon after
losing a considerable sum at Newmarket, he was contented to pay the
penalty.

“When the late Earl of T—— d was a youth, he was passionately
fond of play, and never better pleased than with having Mr Nash for
his antagonist. Nash saw, with concern, his lordship’s foible, and
undertook to cure him, though by a very disagreeable remedy. Conscious
of his own superior skill, he determined to engage him in single play
for a very considerable sum. His lordship, in proportion as he lost his
game, lost his temper, too; and, as he approached the gulph, seemed
still more eager for ruin. He lost his estate; some writings were put
into the winner’s possession: his very equipage deposited as a last
stake, and he lost that also. But, when our generous gamester had found
his lordship sufficiently punished for his temerity, he returned all,
only stipulating that he should be paid five thousand pounds whenever
he should think proper to make the demand. However, he never made
any such demand during his lordship’s life; but, some time after his
decease, Mr Nash’s affairs being in the wane, he demanded the money of
his lordship’s heirs, who honourably paid it without any hesitation.”

There is a sad story told of a lady gambler at Bath, which must
have occurred about this time, say 1750 or thereabouts. Miss Frances
Braddock, daughter of a distinguished officer, Maj.-Gen. Braddock,
was the admiration of the circle in which she moved. Her person was
elegant, her face beautiful, and her mind accomplished. Unhappily
for her, she spent a season at Bath, where she was courted by the
fashionables there present, for her taste was admirable and her wit
brilliant. Her father, at his death, bequeathed twelve thousand pounds
between her and her sister (a large amount in those days), besides a
considerable sum to her brother, Maj.-Gen. Braddock, who was, in the
American War, surrounded by Indians, and mortally wounded, dying 13th
July 1755. Four years after her father’s death, her sister died, by
which her fortune was doubled—but, alas! in the course of one short
month, she lost the whole; gambled away at cards.

It soon became known that she was penniless, and her sensitive spirit
being unable to brook the real and fictitious condolences, she robed
herself in maiden white, and, tying a gold and silver girdle together,
she hanged herself therewith, dying at the early age of twenty-three
years.

Gossiping Horace Walpole gives us many anecdotes of gambling in his
time, scattered among his letters to Sir Horace Mann, &c. In one of
them (Dec. 26, 1748), he tells a story of Sir William Burdett, of
whom he says; “in short, to give you his character at once, there is
a wager entered in the bet book at White’s (a MS. of which I may, one
day or other, give you an account), that the first baronet that will be
hanged, is this Sir William Burdett.”

The Baronet casually met Lord Castledurrow (afterwards Viscount
Ashbrook), and Captain (afterwards Lord) Rodney, “a young seaman, who
has made a fortune by very gallant behaviour during the war,” and he
asked them to dinner.

“When they came, he presented them to a lady, dressed foreign, as a
princess of the house of Brandenburg: she had a toad eater, and there
was another man, who gave himself for a count. After dinner, Sir
William looked at his watch, and said ‘J—— s! it is not so late as
I thought, by an hour; Princess, will your Highness say how we shall
divert ourselves till it is time to go to the play! ‘Oh!’ said she,
‘for my part, you know I abominate everything but Pharaoh.’ ‘I am very
sorry, Madam,’ replied he, very gravely, ‘but I don’t know whom your
Highness will get to tally to you; you know I am ruined by dealing.’
‘Oh!’ says she, ‘the Count will deal to us.’ ‘I would, with all my
soul,’ said the Count, ‘but I protest I have no money about me.’ She
insisted: at last the Count said, ‘Since your Highness commands us
peremptorily, I believe Sir William has four or five hundred pounds of
mine, that I am to pay away in the city to-morrow; if he will be so
good as to step to his bureau for that sum, I will make a bank of it.’
Mr Rodney owns he was a little astonished at seeing the Count shuffle
with the faces of the cards upwards; but, concluding that Sir William
Burdett, at whose house he was, was a relation, or particular friend of
Lord Castledurrow, he was unwilling to affront my lord. In short, my
lord and he lost about a hundred and fifty apiece, and it was settled
that they should meet for payment, the next morning, at Ranelagh. In
the meantime, Lord C. had the curiosity to inquire a little into the
character of his new friend, the Baronet; and being _au fait_, he went
up to him at Ranelagh, and apostrophised him; ‘Sir William, here is
the sum I think I lost last night; since that, I have heard that you
are a professed pickpocket, and, therefore, desire to have no farther
acquaintance with you.’ Sir William bowed, took the money and no
notice; but, as they were going away, he followed Lord Castledurrow,
and said, ‘Good God! my lord, my equipage is not come; will you be so
good as to set me down at Buckingham Gate?’ and, without waiting for
an answer, whipped into the chariot, and came to town with him. If you
don’t admire the coolness of this impudence, I shall wonder.”

“_10 Jan. 1750._ To make up for my long silence, and to make up a
long letter, I will string another story, which I have just heard,
to this. General Wade was at a low gaming house, and had a very fine
snuff-box, which, on a sudden, he missed. Everybody denied having taken
it: he insisted on searching the company. He did: there remained only
one man, who had stood behind him, but refused to be searched, unless
the General would go into another room, alone, with him. There the
man told him, that he was born a gentleman, was reduced, and lived by
what little bets he could pick up there, and by fragments which the
waiters sometimes gave him. ‘At this moment I have half a fowl in my
pocket; I was afraid of being exposed; here it is! Now, Sir, you may
search me.’ Wade was so struck, that he gave the man a hundred pounds;
and, immediately, the genius of generosity, whose province is almost a
sinecure, was very glad of the opportunity of making him find his own
snuff-box, or another very like it, in his own pocket again.”

“_19 Dec. 1750._ Poor Lord Lempster is more Cerberus[28] than ever;
(you remember his _bon mot_ that proved such a blunder;) he has lost
twelve thousand pounds at hazard, to an ensign of the guards.”

“_23 Feb. 1755._ The great event is the catastrophe of Sir John Bland,
who has _flirted_ away his whole fortune at hazard. He, t’other night,
exceeded what was lost by the late Duke of Bedford, having, at one
period of the night, (though he recovered the greatest part of it)
lost two and thirty thousand pounds. The citizens put on their double
channeled pumps, and trudge to St James’s Street, in expectation of
seeing judgments executed on White’s—angels with flaming swords,
and devils flying away with dice boxes, like the prints in Sadeler’s
Hermits.[29] Sir John lost this immense sum to a Captain Scott,[30]
who, at present, has nothing but a few debts and his commission.”

“_20 Ap. 1756._ I shall send you, soon, the fruits of my last party
to Strawberry; Dick Edgecumbe, George Selwyn, and Williams were with
me; we composed a coat of arms for the two clubs at White’s, which is
actually engraving from a very pretty painting of Edgecumbe,[31] whom
Mr Chute, as Strawberry King at Arms, has appointed our chief herald
painter; here is the blazon:—

Vert (for card table), between three parolis proper, on a chevron table
(for hazard table), two rouleaus in saltire, between two dice proper;
in a canton, sable, a white ball (for election), argent.

Supporters, An old Knave of _Clubs_ on the dexter, a young Knave on
the sinister side; both accoutred proper.

Crest, Issuing out of an earl’s coronet (Lord Darlington) an arm
shaking a dice box, all proper.

Motto (alluding to the crest), _Cogit amor nummi_. The arms encircled
by a claret bottle ticket, by way of Order.”

“_14 May 1761._ Jemmy Lumley, last week, had a party of whist at his
own house; the combatants, Lucy Southwell, that curtseys like a bear,
Mrs Prijeau, and a Mrs Mackenzie. They played from six in the evening
till twelve the next day; Jemmy never winning one rubber, and rising a
loser of two thousand pounds. How it happened, I know not, nor why his
suspicions arrived so late, but he fancied himself cheated, and refused
to pay. However, _the bear_ had no share in his evil surmises: on the
contrary, a day or two afterwards, he promised a dinner at Hampstead to
Lucy and her virtuous sister. As he went to the rendezvous, his chaise
was stopped by somebody, who advised him not to proceed. Yet, no whit
daunted, he advanced. In the garden, he found the gentle conqueress,
Mrs Mackenzie, who accosted him in the most friendly manner. After a
few compliments, she asked him if he did not intend to pay her. ‘No,
indeed I shan’t, I shan’t; your servant, your servant.’ ‘Shan’t you,’
said the fair virago; and, taking a horsewhip from beneath her hoop,
she fell upon him with as much vehemence as the Empress Queen would
upon the King of Prussia, if she could catch him alone in the garden
at Hampstead. Jemmy cried out Murder; his servants rushed in, rescued
him from the jaws of the lioness, and carried him off in his chaise to
town. The Southwells, who were already arrived, and descended, on the
noise of the fray, finding nobody to pay for the dinner, and fearing
they must, set out for London without it.”

“_3 Dec. 1761._ If you are acquainted with my Lady Barrymore, pray
tell her that, in less than two hours, t’other night, the Duke of
Cumberland lost four hundred and fifty pounds at Loo; Miss Pelham won
three hundred, and I, the rest. However, in general, Loo is extremely
gone to decay: I am to play at Princess Emily’s to-morrow, for the
first time this winter; and it is with difficulty that she has made a
party.”

“_2 Feb. 1770._ The gaming at Almack’s, which has taken the _pas_ of
White’s, is worthy of the decline of our Empire, or Commonwealth, which
you please. The young men of the age lose five, ten, fifteen thousands
pounds in an evening there. Lord Stavordale, not one and twenty, lost
eleven thousand there, last Tuesday, but recovered it by one great hand
at hazard: he swore a great oath,—‘Now, if I had been playing _deep_,
I might have won millions.’ His cousin, Charles Fox, shines equally
there, and in the House of Commons.”

“_18 Aug. 1776._ To-day I have heard the shocking news of Mr Damer’s
death, who shot himself yesterday, at three o’clock in the morning,
at a tavern in Covent Garden. My first alarm was for Mr Conway; not
knowing what effect such a horrid surprise would have on him, scarce
recovered from an attack himself; happily, it proves his nerves were
not affected, for I have had a very calm letter from him on the
occasion. Mr Charles Fox, with infinite good nature, met Mrs Damer
coming to town, and stopped her to prepare her for the dismal event.
It is almost impossible to refrain from bursting into commonplace
reflections on this occasion; but, can the walls of Almack’s help
moralizing, when £5000 a year, in present, and £22,000 in reversion,
are not sufficient for happiness, and cannot check a pistol!”

“_19 Jan. 1777._ Lord Dillon told me this morning that Lord Besborough
and he, playing at quinze t’other night with Miss Pelham, and,
happening to laugh, she flew in a passion and said, ‘It was terrible to
play with _boys_!’ And our two ages together, said Lord Dillon, make up
above a hundred and forty.”

“_6 Feb. 1780._ Within this week there has been a cast at hazard at
the Cocoa Tree, the difference of which amounted to a hundred and
four score thousand pounds. Mr O’Birne, an Irish gamester, had won
one hundred thousand pounds of a young Mr Harvey, of Chigwell, just
started from a midshipman[32] into an estate, by his elder brother’s
death. O’Birne said, ‘You never can pay me.’ ‘I can,’ said the youth;
my estate will sell for the debt.’ ‘No,’ said O., ‘I will win ten
thousand—you shall throw for the odd ninety.’ They did, and Harvey
won.”

“_29 Jan. 1791._ Pray delight in the following story: Caroline Vernon,
_fille d’honneur_, lost, t’other night, two hundred pounds at faro, and
bade Martindale mark it up. He said he would rather have a draft on her
banker. ‘Oh! willingly’; and she gave him one. Next morning, he hurried
to Drummond’s, lest all her money should be drawn out. ‘Sir,’ said
the clerk, ‘would you receive the contents immediately?’ ‘Assuredly.’
‘Why, sir, have you read the note?’ Martindale took it; it was, ‘Pay
the bearer two hundred blows, well applied.’ The nymph tells the story
herself; and, yet, I think, the clerk had the more humour of the two.”

There can be no doubt but that in the last half of the eighteenth
century, gambling for large sums was very rife. We have evidence of it
on all hands.

“_Ann. Reg._, _8 Feb. 1766_. We are informed that a lady, at the West
end of the town, lost, one night, at a sitting, 3000 guineas at Loo.”

_Par parenthèse_, the same volume has (p. 191) the following horrible
story: “_A circumstantial and authentic account of the miserable case
of Richard Parsons, as transmitted in a letter from William Dallaway,
Esq., High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, to his friend in London_.

“On the 20th of February last, Richard Parsons, and three more men
met at a private house at Chalford, in order to play at cards, about
six o’clock in the evening. They played at loo till about eleven or
twelve that night, when they changed their game to whist: after a few
deals, a dispute arose about the state of the game. Parsons affirmed,
with oaths, that they were six, which the others denied, upon which he
wished ‘that he might never enter the kingdom of heaven, that his flesh
might rot upon his bones, if they were not six in the game.’ These
wishes were several times repeated, both then and afterwards. Upon
this, the candle was put out by one James Young, a stander by, who says
he was shocked with the oaths and expressions he heard; and that he put
out the candle with a design to put an end to the game.

“Presently, upon this, they adjourned to another house, and there
began a fresh game, when Parsons and his partner had great success.
Then they played at loo again till four in the morning. During this
second playing, Parson complained to one Rolles, his partner, of a
bad pain in his leg, which, from that time, increased. There was an
appearance of a swelling, and, afterwards, the colour changing to that
of a mortified state. On the following Sunday, he rode to Minchin
Hampton, to get the advice of Mr Pegler, the surgeon in that town,
who attended him from the Thursday after February 27. Notwithstanding
all the applications that were made, the mortification increased, and
showed itself in different parts of the body. On Monday, March 3, at
the request of some of his female relations, the clergyman of Bisley
attended him, and administered the sacrament, without any knowledge of
what had happened before, and which he continued a stranger to, till
he saw the account in the _Gloucester Journal_. Parsons appeared to be
extremely ignorant of religion, having been accustomed to swear, to
drink (though he was not in liquor when he uttered the above execrable
wish), to game, and to profane the Sabbath, though he was only in his
nineteenth year. After he had received the Sacrament, he appeared to
have some sense of the ordinance; for he said, ‘Now I must never sin
again; he hoped God would forgive him, having been wicked not above six
years, and that, whatsoever should happen, he would not play at cards
again.’

“After this, he was in great agony, chiefly delirious, spoke of his
companions by name, and seemed as if his imagination was engaged
at cards. He started, had distracted looks and gestures, and, in a
dreadful fit of shaking and trembling, died on Tuesday morning, the
4th of March last: and was buried the next day at the parish church of
Bisley. His eyes were open when he died, and could not be closed by
the common methods; so that they remained open when he was put into
the coffin. From this circumstance arose a report, that he _wished
his eyes might never close_; but this was a mistake; for, from the
most creditable witnesses, I am fully convinced that no such wish was
uttered; and the fact is, that he did close his eyes after he was taken
with the mortification, and either dozed or slept several times.

“When the body came to be laid out, it appeared all over discoloured,
or spotted; and it might be said, in the most literal sense, that his
flesh rotted on his bones before he died.”

But this is a digression. Among the deaths recorded in the _Gents’
Magazine_ for 1776, is “Ap. 30. William G——, Esq.: who, having been
left £18,000, a few months before, by his father, lost it all by
gaming, in less than a month; in the Rules of the King’s Bench.”

“_Oct. 25, 1777._ At the Sessions for the County of Norfolk, a
tradesman of Norwich, for cheating at cards, was fined £20, and
sentenced to suffer six months’ imprisonment in the castle, without
bail or main prize; and, in case the said fine was not paid at the
expiration of the term, then to stand on the pillory, one hour, with
his ears nailed to the same.”

The gamblers of those days were giants in their way, there were George
Selwyn, Lord Carlisle, Stephen Fox, who, on one occasion was fleeced
most unmercifully at a West-end gambling house. He went into it with
£13,000, and left without a farthing. His younger brother, Charles
James, was a notorious gambler, and, if the following anecdote is
true, not over honourable. He ranked among the admirers of Mrs Crewe.
A gentleman lost a considerable sum to this lady at play, and, being
obliged to leave town suddenly, gave Mr Fox the money to pay her,
begging him to apologise to the lady for his not having paid the debt
of honour in person. Fox, unfortunately, lost every shilling of it
before morning. Mrs Crewe often met the supposed debtor afterwards,
and, surprised that he never noticed the circumstance, at length,
delicately hinted the matter to him. “Bless me,” said he, “I paid the
money to Mr Fox three months ago.” “Oh! did you, Sir?” said Mrs Crewe,
good-naturedly, “then probably he paid me, and I forgot it.”

Steinmetz[33] (vol. i., p. 323) says: “Fox’s best friends are said
to have been half-ruined in annuities given by them as securities for
him to the Jews. £500,000 a year of such annuities of Fox and his
‘society’ were advertised to be sold at one time. Walpole wondered
what Fox would do when he had sold the estates of his friends. Walpole
further notes that, in the debate on the Thirty-nine Articles, Feb. 6,
1772, Fox did not shine; nor could it be wondered at. He had sat up
playing at hazard, at Almack’s, from Tuesday evening, the 4th, till
five in the afternoon of Wednesday, the 5th. An hour before, he had
recovered £12,000 that he had lost; and by dinner, which was at five
o’clock, he had ended, losing £11,000! On the Thursday, he spoke in
the above debate; went to dinner at half-past eleven, at night; from
thence to White’s, where he drank till seven the next morning; thence
to Almack’s, where he won £6000; and, between three and four in the
afternoon, he set out for Newmarket. His brother Stephen lost £11,000
two nights after, and Charles £10,000 more on the 13th, so that in
three nights the two brothers—the eldest not _twenty-five_ years of
age—lost £32,000!”



CHAPTER V

 The Gambling ladies—Ladies Archer, Buckinghamshire, Mrs Concannon,
 &c.—Private Faro Banks—Card-money—Gaming House end of Eighteenth
 Century—Anecdotes—The profits of Gaming Houses—C. J. Fox and Sir
 John Lade—Col. Hanger on gambling.


We have previously read how ladies of position kept gambling houses,
and pleaded their privilege to do so; they, however, had to bow to the
law. In the latter part of the eighteenth century many ladies opened
their houses, the best known, probably, being Lady Buckinghamshire
and Lady Archer. The former is said to have slept with a blunderbuss
and a pair of pistols by her bedside, to protect her Faro bank; and
the latter was notorious for her “make up,” as we may see by the two
following notices in the _Morning Post_.

“_Jan. 5, 1789._ The Lady Archer, whose death was announced in this
paper of Saturday, is not the celebrated character whose _cosmetic
powers_ have long been held in public estimation.”

“_Jan. 8, 1789._ It is said that the dealers in _Carmine and dead
white_, as well as the _perfumers_ in general, have it in contemplation
to present an Address to Lady Archer, in gratitude for her not having
DIED according to a late alarming report.”

We get portraits of these two ladies in a satirical print by Gillray
(31st March 1792), which is entitled “Modern Hospitality, or a Friendly
Party in High Life,” where they are shewn keeping a Faro bank; and
as these fair ones were then somewhat _passées_, the picture has the
following:—“To those earthly Divinities who charmed twenty years
ago, this Honourable method of banishing mortifying reflections is
dedicated. O, Woman! Woman! everlasting is your power over us, for in
youth you charm away our hearts, and, in your after years, you charm
away our purses!” The players are easily recognised. Lady Archer,
who sits on the extreme left, has won largely; rouleaux of gold and
bank notes are before her, and, on her right hand, are two heaps of
loose gold: and the painted old gambler smiles as she shows her cards,
saying, “The Knave wins all!” Her next-door neighbour, the Prince of
Wales, who has staked and lost his last piece, lifts his hands and
eyes in astonishment at the luck. Lady Buckinghamshire has doubled her
stake, playing on two cards, and is, evidently, annoyed at her loss,
while poor, black-muzzled Fox laments the loss of his last three pieces.

Gillray portrayed these two ladies on several occasions. There are two
pictures of St James’s and St Giles’s, and in “Dividing the Spoil, St
James’s, 1796,” we see Lady Archer and Lady Buckinghamshire quarrelling
over gold, bank notes, a sword, and an order. One other lady, probably
Lady Mount Edgecumbe, is scrutinising a bill, whilst a fourth, with a
pile of gold and notes before her, looks on smilingly.

Another print (16th May 1796) is called “Faro’s Daughters, or the
Kenyonian Blow Up to Gamblers.” Here we see Lady Archer and Mrs
Concannon placed together in the pillory, where they are mutually
upbraiding each other. The _motif_ for this picture was a speech
of Lord Kenyon’s, who, at a trial to recover £15, won at gaming on
Sunday, at a public-house, commented very severely on the hold the
vice of gaming had on all classes of society, from the highest to the
lowest. The former, he said, set the example to the latter, and, he
added, “They think they are too great for the law; I wish they could
be punished”—and then continued, “If any prosecutions of this kind
are fairly brought before me, and the parties are justly convicted,
whatever be their rank or station in the country, though they be the
first ladies in the land, they shall certainly exhibit themselves in
the pillory.”

They were getting somewhat too notorious. In spite of Lady
Buckinghamshire’s precautions of blunderbuss and pistols, her croupier,
Martindale, announced, on 30th Jan. 1797, that the box containing the
cash of the Faro bank had unaccountably disappeared. All eyes were
turned towards her ladyship. Mrs Concannon said she once lost a gold
snuff-box from the table when she went to speak to Lord C. Another
lady said she lost her purse there the previous winter, and a story
was told that a certain lady had taken _by mistake_ a cloak which did
not belong to her at a rout given by the late Countess of Guildford.
Unfortunately, a discovery was made, and when the servant knocked
at the door to demand it, some very valuable lace with which it was
trimmed had been taken off. Some surmised that the lady who stole the
cloak might also have stolen the Faro bank.

Townsend and his meddlesome police would poke their noses into the
business, and, although they did not recover the Faro bank, something
did come out of their interference, as we read in the _Times_ of 13th
March 1797. “PUBLIC OFFICE, MARLBOROUGH STREET.—FARO BANKS.—On
Saturday came on to be heard informations against Lady Buckinghamshire,
Lady Elizabeth Luttrell, Mrs Sturt, and Mr Concannon, for having,
on the night of the 30th of last January, played at _Faro_, at Lady
Buckinghamshire’s house, in St James’s Square, and Mr Martindale was
charged with being the proprietor of the table.

“The evidence went to prove that the defendants had gaming parties at
their different houses in rotation; and, that when they met at Lady
B.’s, the witnesses used to wait upon them in the gambling room, and
that they played at _E. O._, _Rouge et Noir_, &c., from about eleven or
twelve till three or four o’clock in the morning. After hearing counsel
the Magistrates convicted _Henry Martindale_ in the penalty of £200,
and _each of the ladies_ in £50. The information against Mr Concannon
was quashed, on account of his being summoned by a wrong Christian
name.”

Gillray improved this occasion, giving us “Discipline à la Kenyon,” and
drew Lady Buckinghamshire tied to the tail of a cart, on which is a
placard, “FARO’S DAUGHTERS BEWARE”: the Lord Chief Justice is depicted
as administering a sound flogging both with birch and cat-o’-nine-tails
to the delinquent lady, whilst Lady Luttrell and Mrs Sturt stand in the
pillory guarded by a stalwart constable.

These ladies do not seem to have survived the century, for the _Morning
Post_ of Jan. 12, 1800, says: “Society has reason to rejoice in the
complete downfall of the Faro Dames, who were so long the disgrace
of human nature. Their _die_ is cast, and their _odd tricks_ avail
no longer. The _game_ is up, and very few of them have _cut_ with
_honours_.” Mrs Concannon still kept on, but not in London, as is
seen by the following paragraph. _Morning Herald_, 18th Dec. 1802:
“The visitors to Mrs Concannon’s _petits soupers_ at _Paris_, are
not attracted by _billets_ previously circulated, but by _cards_,
afterwards _dealt out_ in an elegant and scientific manner; not to
mince the matter, they are the rendezvous of _deep play_: and the only
questionable point about the matter is, whether the _Irish_ or the
_French_ will prove victors at the close of so desperate a winter’s
campaign.”

The following extracts from _The Times_ tell us much about the
fashionable professional lady gamblers:—

“_Feb. 5, 1793._ Mrs Sturt’s house in St James Square was opened
yesterday evening, for the first time this season, for public play. The
visitors were numerous.”

“_Feb. 6, 1793._ Some of the _Faro ladies_ have opened their
play-houses, and announced the _Road to Ruin_ until further notice. The
_Gamesters_ was publicly rehearsed in St James Square on Monday night.”

“_Feb. 10, 1793._ The profits of FARO are become so considerably
reduced that most of the Banks now lose almost every evening, after
defraying the expenses of the house, which are very considerable. Those
_public spirited_ Ladies who give such frequent routs, do so at a
certain gain: for the sum of TWENTY-FIVE guineas is regularly advanced
by the bank holders towards the night’s expenses. The _punters_ at Mrs
HOBART’S and Mrs STURT’S Faro banks have dropped off considerably; and
those who continue are got so _knowing_ that heavy complaints are made
that they bring no grist to the mill. There have not been above eight
punters at Mrs STURT’S bank any night this season. The _pigeons_ are
all flown, and the punters are nothing better than hawks.”

“_14 Mar. 1793._ The BANKING _Ladies_ in St James Square do not see
themselves much obliged to the _Abbé de St Farre_, and his brother, for
introducing so many noble Emigrants to their houses. These people come
with their crown pieces and half guineas, and absolutely form a circle
round the Faro tables, to the total exclusion of our English Lords and
Ladies, who can scarcely get one _punt_ during the whole evening.”

“_2 May 1793._ A _Banking_ Lady, in St James Square, is about to
commence a prosecution, because it is said, that there was much
_filching_ at her FARO table. The house was quite in an uproar, on
Tuesday night, in consequence of a paragraph that appeared in a Morning
Paper of the preceding day. The Lady _vows_ she will call in the aid
of an _Attorney_ to _support her reputation_: and observes, that the
_credit_ of her house will suffer, if such reports are permitted to
go unpunished. The _Faro Ladies_ are, in the sporting phrase, almost
_done up_. Jewels, trinkets, watches, laces, &c., are often at the
pawnbrokers, and scarcely anything is left to raise money upon except
their _pads_.[34] If justice is to be _hoodwinked_, and _gambling_ and
_sharking_ permitted, why not make it an article of revenue, as in
foreign countries, and lay a heavy tax on it.”

“_2 Apr. 1794._ Lord HAMPDEN’S _Faro Bank_ is broken up for the
present season. Lady Buckinghamshire, Mrs Sturt and Mrs Concannon
alternately divide the _Beau monde_ at their respective houses. Instead
of having two different hot suppers at _one_ and _three_ in the
morning, the _Faro Banks_ will now scarcely afford bread and cheese
and porter.

“One of the Faro Banks in St James Square lost £7000 last year by bad
debts. A young son of Levi is a considerable debtor to one of them; but
not finding it convenient to pay what is not recoverable by law, he no
longer appears in those fashionable circles.”

“_4 Ap. 1794._ It is impossible to conceive a more complete system of
fraud and dishonour than is practised every night at the _Faro banks_.
Though every table has four croupiers, yet the Bank holders find that
double that number are necessary to watch all the little tricks and
artifices of some of the _fashionable punters_. But Mrs G—— beats all
her associates in the art of doubling, or cocking a card.”

“_25 June 1794._ The Faro Banks being no longer a profitable game,
certain Ladies in St James Square have substituted another instead of
it, called _Roulet_: but it is, in fact, only the old game of E.O.
under a different title.”

“_30 Dec. 1795._ It is to the credit of the rising generation of
females, that they have unanimously quitted those infamous meetings,
called Private Pharoes, where some of their shameless Mammas, and the
faded reputations of the present age, still expose their vices, and
cheat the boys who have not been long enough in the army to wear out
their first cockades.”

“_17 Dec. 1794._ It is said to be the intention of some of the
leading circles in the fashionable world, to abolish the tax of
_Card money_,[35] as an imposition upon hospitality. This would
prove the return of good sense, inasmuch as it tends to substantiate
the truth—that when one person invites another to partake of the
conviviality of his house, he should not lay an impost upon him, even
more exorbitant than that which he would pay, were he to attend a
Tavern Club. When a friend is invited, it is an insult to friendship,
to make him pay for his entertainment.”

“_22 March 1796._ The _tabbies_ at Bath are in a state of insurrection,
in consequence of an example set by Lady Elcho, who neither visits,
nor receives Company that _pay for_ Cards: the laudable reformation is
adopted so generally, that many of the _Dowagers_, who have so long fed
upon _Card money_, are turning their thoughts to some more creditable
means of earning their livelihood.”

“_24 March 1796._ We hope the Ladies in London, who stand upon a nice
point of honour, will follow the example of the Bath Ladies, and
exclude the odious, and pitiful, custom of taking card money at their
houses. It is a meanness, which no persons who pretend to the honour of
keeping good company, ought to allow. We are afraid that many a party
is formed, rather to derive benefit from the card tables, than for the
sake of hospitality.”

This custom died hard, for I find in the _Morning Herald_, 15th Dec.
1802: “In a pleasant village near the Metropolis, noted for its
constant ‘tea and turn-out’ parties, the extortion of _Card Money_ had,
lately, risen to such a pitch, that it was no unusual thing for the
_Lady_ of the House, upon the breaking up of a table, to immediately
examine the sub. cargo of the candlestick, and, previous to the
departure of her guests, proclaim aloud the lamentable defalcation
of a pitiful shilling, which they might, perchance, have forgot to
_contribute_. We are happy to find that some of the most respectable
people in the place have resolved to discountenance and abolish this
_shabby genteel_ custom, which has too long prevailed; a shameful
degradation of everything like English hospitality.”

“_Times_, _2 Nov. 1797_. At some of our first Boarding Schools, the
fair pupils are now taught to play whist and casino. Amongst their
_winning_ ways, this may not be the least agreeable to Papa and Mamma.

“It is calculated that a clever child, by its Cards, and its novels,
may pay for its own education.

“At a boarding school in the neighbourhood of Moorfields, the mistress
complains that she is unable to teach her scholars either Whist, or
Pharo.”

“_22 Dec. 1797._ So completely has gambling got the better of dancing,
that at a private Ball, last week, a gentleman asking a young lady,
from Bath, to dance the next two dances, she very ingenuously replied,
‘Yes, if you will play two rubbers at Casino.’”

Enough has been written to give us a good insight into female gambling.
I will now continue with that of the men, and first let us have a
description of a gaming house from the _Times_ of 14th Feb. 1793.

“The number of new gaming houses, established at the West-end of the
town, is, indeed, a mattter of very serious evil: but they are not
likely to decrease while examples of the same nature are held forth
in the higher circles of life. It is needless to point out any one
of these houses in particular: it is sufficient for us to expose the
tricks that are practised at many of them to swindle the unsuspecting
young men of fortune, who are entrapped into these whirlpools of
destruction. The first thing necessary is, to give the guests a good
dinner and plenty of wine, which most of these houses do, gratis.
When they are sufficiently intoxicated, and having lost all the
money about them, their acceptance is obtained to Bills of Exchange
to a considerable amount, which are frequently paid, to avoid the
disagreeable circumstance of a public exposition in a Court of Justice,
which is always threatened, though the gamesters well know that no such
measure durst be adopted by them.

“Should any reluctance, or hesitation, be shewn by the injured party,
to accept these Bills, he is shewn into a long room, with a target at
the end of it, and several pistols lying about, where he is given to
understand that these sharpers practice a considerable time of the
day in shooting at a mark, and have arrived at such perfection in
this exercise, that they can shoot a pistol ball, within an inch of
the mark, from the common distance taken by duellists. A hint is then
dropped, that further hesitation will render the use of the pistols
necessary, and will again be the case, should he ever divulge what he
has seen, and heard.

“If further particulars, or proofs, are wanting, they may be known, on
application to certain _Military characters_, who have already made
some noise in the world.”

Nor was it only public play—gambling was universal. Michael Kelly, the
vocalist, does not seem to think it anything very extraordinary, when
he tells the following story:—

“While at Margate, Mr and Mrs Crouch, and myself, were staying at
the Hotel, kept by a man whose manners were as free and easy as any
I have ever met with. He was proverbial for his _nonchalance_, and a
perfect master of the art of making out a bill. One day, Johnstone
dined with us, and we drank our usual quantum of wine. In the course
of the evening, our bashful host, who, amongst other good qualities,
was a notorious gambler, forced upon us some Pink Champagne, which he
wished us to give our opinions of. My friend Jack Johnstone, who never
was an enemy to the juice of the grape, took such copious draughts
of the sparkling beverage, that his eyes began to twinkle, and his
speech became somewhat of the thickest: my honest host, on perceiving
this, thinking, I suppose, to amuse him, entered our room with a
backgammon table and dice, and asked Johnstone if he would like to play
a game. Johnstone, at that time, was considered fond of play, of which
circumstance mine host was perfectly aware. Mrs Crouch and I earnestly
entreated Jack to go to bed, but we could not prevail upon him to do
so; he whispered me, saying, ‘You shall see how I will serve the fellow
for his impudence’ and to it they went. The end of the business was,
that before they parted, Johnstone won nearly two hundred pounds, and I
retired to bed, delighted to see the biter bit.”

Of another Kelly, or rather O’Kelly (the Colonel who was owner of the
famous race horse, Eclipse), Harcourt[36] tells some stories, and,
indeed the book is a mine of anecdotes, some of which I reproduce:—

“Dennis O’Kelly was much attached to Ascot, where his horses occupied
him by day, and the hazard table by night.

“Here it was, that repeatedly turning over a QUIRE OF BANK NOTES, a
gentleman asked him ‘what he was in want of?’ when he replied, ‘he was
looking for _a little one_.’ The enquirer said ‘he could accommodate
him, and desired to know for what sum?’ When he answered ‘A FIFTY, or
something of _that sort_, just to set the _Caster_.’ At this time it
was supposed he had seven or eight thousand pounds in notes in his
hand, but no one for less than a _hundred_. He always threw with great
success; and, when he held the box, was seldom known to refuse throwing
for _any sum_ that the company chose to set him; and, when ‘out,’ was
always as liberal in _setting the Caster_, and preventing stagnation of
_trade at the table_, which, from the great property always about him,
it was his good fortune very often to deprive of the last _floating
guinea_, when the _box_, of course, became _dormant_ for want of a
single adventurer.

“It was his usual custom to carry a great number of _bank notes_ in his
waistcoat pocket, twisted up together with the greatest indifference.
When, in his attendance upon a hazard table at Windsor, during the
races, being a _standing better_, and every chair full, a person’s
hand was observed, by those on the opposite side of the table, just in
the act of drawing two notes out of his pocket. The alarm was given,
and the hand, from the person behind, was _instantaneously_ withdrawn,
and the notes left more than half out of the pocket. The company
became clamorous for the offender being taken before a magistrate,
and many attempted to secure him for the purpose; the Captain very
_philosophically_ seizing him by the collar, kicked him down stairs,
and exultingly exclaimed, ‘’twas a _sufficient punishment_ to be
deprived of the pleasure of keeping company with _jontlemon_.’

“A bet for a large sum was once proposed to Col. O’Kelly, at a race,
and accepted. The proposer asked the Colonel where lay his estates
to answer for the amount if he lost? ‘My estates! by _Jasus_.’ cried
O’Kelly. ‘Oh, if that’s what you _mane_, I’ve a map of them here.’
Then, opening his pocket book, he exhibited bank notes to ten times the
sum in question, and, ultimately, added the enquirer’s contribution to
them.”

“_An advertisement copied from the Courier, 5 Mar. 1794._ As Faro is
the most fashionable circular game in the _haut ton_, in exclusion
of melancholy Whist, and to prevent a company being cantoned into
separate parties, a gentleman, of unexceptionable character, will,
on invitation, do himself the honour to attend the rout of any lady,
nobleman, or gentleman, with a Faro Bank and Fund, adequate to the
style of play, from 500 to 2000 guineas. Address G. A. by letter, to be
left at Mr Harding’s, Piccadilly, nearly opposite Bond Street.—_N.B._
This advertisement will not appear again.”

“On _Sunday_ night, towards the end of December 1795. Gen. Tarleton
lost £800 at Mrs Concannon’s; Mr Hankey, £300. The Prince was to have
been there, but sent a late excuse. Mr Boone of the Guards; Mr Derby,
son of the late Admiral, and Mr Dashwood, frequently rise winners or
losers of £5000 nightly. Lord Cholmondeley, Thompson & Co. were Faro
Bankers at Brookes’s, till which there was no Faro Bank of _male_
celebrity, except at the Cocoa Tree.”

“Henry Weston, who was hanged for forgery, was nephew to the late
Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser.

“Having an unlimited control of the whole large property of his
employer, Mr Cowan, during his absence from town he was tempted, first
to gamble in the funds, where, being unfortunate, he went next to a
Gaming House in Pall Mall, and lost a very large sum, and, at length,
gamed away nearly all his master’s property. This, he hoped to patch up
by forgery of Gen. Tonyn’s name, by which he obtained from the Bank of
England above £10,000. Even this only lasted two nights; and, procuring
a woman to personate the General’s sister, he obtained another large
supply, and went off. He was soon taken, and cut his throat on his
return; but not effectually. He was convicted at the Old Bailey on the
18th March 1796, and suffered on the 6th July, aged only twenty-three
years.

“He sent Lord Kenyon a list of a number of professional gamblers, and,
among them, was a person of very high rank. Weston, at different times,
lost above £46,000 at play; and, at a house in Pall Mall, where he lost
a considerable part of it, three young officers also lost no less than
£35,000.

“It was stated, some time since, in the Court of King’s Bench, that the
dinners given by gambling houses in and about Oxendon Street, amounted
to £15,000 per annum!”

“The following facts were disclosed on a motion in the Court of King’s
Bench, 24 Nov. 1797. Joseph Atkinson and Mary, his wife, had, for many
years, kept a Gaming House, No. 15, under the Piazza, Covent Garden.
They, daily, gave magnificent play dinners; cards of invitation for
which were sent to the clerks of merchants, bankers and brokers in the
city. Atkinson used to say he liked citizens, whom he called _flats_,
better than any one else, for, when they had dined, they played freely;
and, after they had lost all their money, they had credit to borrow
more. When he had _cleaned them out_, when _the Pigeons were completely
plucked_, they were sent to some of their solvent friends. After
dinner, play was introduced, and, till dinner time the next day, the
different games at cards, dice and E.O. were continually going on.

“Theophilus Bellasis had long been an infamous character, well known
at Bow Street, where he had been charged with breaking into the
counting-house of Sir James Sanderson, Bart. Bellasis was sometimes
clerk, and sometimes client, to John Shepherd, an attorney of that
Court; and at other times, Shepherd was the prosecutor of those who
kept Gaming Houses, and Bellasis attorney. Sir William Addington was
so well aware that these two men commenced prosecutions solely for the
purpose of _hush money_ that he refused to act. Atkinson at one time
gave them £100, at another £80; and, in this way, they had amassed an
immense sum, and undertook, for a specific amount, to defend keepers of
Gaming Houses against all prosecutions!

“Mr Garrow, on a former occasion, charged Atkinson with using
_dispatches_, that is, _loaded dice_, which in, five minutes, would
dispatch £500 out of the pocket of any young man when intoxicated with
champagne.”

“_Jan. 26, 1798._ A notice came on in the King’s Bench, Cornet William
Moore, 3rd Dragoon Guards, _v._ Captain Hankey. The former had won off
the latter, at play, £14,000, for which Hankey had given his bond; but
a Court of Inquiry having declared that Moore had cheated him out of
it, he made his application to set aside the bond.”

It will be remembered that in that famous prosecution, in 1797, of
Lady Buckinghamshire and her friends, their manager, Henry Martindale,
was fined £200. Next year he was bankrupt, and we read that “The debts
proved under Mr Martindale’s commission amounted to £328,000, besides
Debts of Honour, which were struck off to the amount of £150,000.”

“His failure is said to be owing to misplaced confidence in a
subordinate, who robbed him of thousands. The first suspicion was
occasioned by his purchasing an estate of £500 a year, but other
purchases followed to a considerable extent, and it was soon discovered
that the Faro Bank had been robbed, sometimes of two thousand guineas a
week!

“On the 14th of April 1798, other arrears to a large amount were
submitted to and rejected by the Commissioners, who declared a first
dividend of one shilling and fivepence in the pound.”

“The Right Honourable Charles James Fox had an old gambling debt to
pay to Sir John Lade. Finding himself in cash after a lucky run at
Faro, he sent a complimentary card to the knight, desiring to discharge
the claim. Sir John no sooner saw the money than he called for pen and
ink, and began to figure. ‘What now,’ cried Fox. ‘Only calculating the
interest,’ replied the other. ‘Are you so,’ coolly rejoined Charles,
and pocketed the cash.’ I thought it was a debt of honour. As you seem
to consider it a trading debt, and as I make it an invariable rule
to pay my Jew creditors last, you must wait a little longer for your
money.’”

Before leaving the eighteenth century, let us hear what Col. Hanger[37]
(4th Lord Coleraine) says of private gambling in his time, and
undoubtedly he mixed in the very highest society. “If a gentleman in
these days has but a few guineas in his purse, and will walk directly
up to the Faro table, he will be the most welcome guest in the house;
it is not necessary for him to speak, or even bow, to a single lady
in the room, unless some unfortunate woman at the gaming-table ask
him politely for the loan of a few guineas; then his answer need be
but short—‘No, Dolly, no; can’t’; for this ever will be received as
wit, though the unfortunate lady’s bosom may be heaving, not from the
tenderer passions, but with grief and despair at having lost the last
farthing.

“When I first came into the world (1751?) there was no such thing as
a Faro table admitted into the house of a woman of fashion; in those
days they had too much pride to receive tribute[38] from the proprietor
of such a machine. In former times there was no such thing as gaming
at a private house, although there was more deep play at the clubs at
that time than ever was before, or has been since. It is lamentable to
see lovely woman destroying her health and beauty at six o’clock in the
morning at a gaming-table. Can any woman expect to give to her husband
a vigorous and healthy offspring, whose mind, night after night, is
thus distracted, and whose body is relaxed by anxiety and the fatigue
of late hours? It is impossible.”



CHAPTER VI

 The Gambling Clubs—White’s, Cocoa Tree, Almack’s—A few gamblers
 described—Stories of high play—White’s and its frequenters—Brookes’
 and its players—Captain Gronow and his reminiscences of
 gambling—Gambling by the English at Paris—The Duke of
 Wellington—Ball Hughes—Scrope Davies—Raggett of White’s.


Hanger speaks of gambling at the clubs, but in his time there were
very few of them, and the oldest of all was “White’s” in St James
Street. Originally a Chocolate House, established in 1698, it was the
rendezvous for the Tories in London. It was destroyed by fire on 28th
April, 1733, a fact which is immortalised by Hogarth in his sixth
picture of the _Rake’s Progress_. The earliest record of it, as a Club,
that remains, is a book of rules and list of members of the old Club
at White’s, dated 30th October 1736. In 1755 it removed to the east
side of St James Street to No. 38, and there it still remains. In 1797,
according to the rules of the Club, “Every Member who plays at Chess,
Draughts, or Backgammon, do pay One Shilling each time of playing by
daylight, and half-a-crown each by candlelight.” We have had many
references to the gambling that took place at White’s, and when betting
is discussed, the Club’s famous betting-book will be duly noticed. It
is now one of the most aristocratic clubs in London.

The Cocoa Tree Club, which was, probably, made into a Club before 1746,
and was somewhat lower down St James Street than White’s, was the Whig
Club, but it does not seem to have been so much used for gambling as
its elder _confrère_.

Almack’s Club was essentially for gambling, and was founded in 1764 by
twenty-seven noblemen and gentlemen. Among its original rules are the
following:—

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

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

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

Here is an extract from the Club books which shows the style of play.
“Mr Thynne having won only 12,000 guineas during the last two months,
retired in disgust. March 21, 1772.”

The Club subsequently became Goosetree’s, and after him was taken by a
wine merchant and money lender named Brookes, and Brookes’s it is to
this day, at 60 St James Street, to which locality it moved from Pall
Mall in October 1778.

These, with Arthur’s, were all the clubs for the nobility and gentry,
until the Regency, when clubs multiplied. There were any amount of
gambling houses, but they were public—but, of course, a club was
strictly confined to its members.

So gambling went on merrily among all classes, as we may see by the
following notices from the _Morning Post_:

“_5 July 1797._ Is Mr Ogden (now called the Newmarket Oracle), the same
person who, five-and-twenty years since, was an annual pedestrian to
Ascot, covered with dust, amusing himself with _pricking in the belt_,
_hustling in the hat_, &c., amongst the lowest class of rustics, at the
inferior booths of the fair?

“Is D—k—y B—— w, who has now his snug farm, the same person who,
some years since, _drove post chaise_ for T—— y of Bagshot, could
neither read nor write, and was introduced to _the family_ only by his
pre-eminence at cribbage?

“Is Mr Twycross (with his phaeton), the same person who, some years
since, became a bankrupt in Tavistock Street, immediately commenced the
Man of Fashion at Bath, kept running horses, &c., _secundum artem_?

“Is Mr Phillips (who has now his town and country house, in the most
fashionable style,) the same who was, originally, a linen draper and
bankrupt at Salisbury, and who made his first _family entré_ in the
metropolis, by his superiority at _Billiards_ (with Capt. Wallace,
Orrell, &c.) at Cropley’s in Bow Street?

“Was poor carbuncled P—— e (so many years the favourite decoy duck
of _the family_) the very barber of Oxford who, in the midst of the
operation upon a gentleman’s face, laid down his razor, swearing that
he would never shave another man so long as he lived, and immediately
became the hero of the Card Table, _the bones_, _the box_, and the
_cock-pit_?”

“_5 April 1805._ The sum lately lost at play by a lady of high rank is
variously stated. Some say it does not amount to more than £200,000,
while others assert that it is little short of £700,000. Her Lord is
very unhappy on the occasion, and is still undecided with respect to
the best mode to be adopted in the unfortunate predicament.”

“_30 June 1806._ The Marquis of H—— d is said to have been so
successful at play, this season, as to have cleared £60,000. The Earl
of B—— e has won upwards of £50,000, clear of all deductions. A
Right Reverend is stated to be amongst those who are _minus_ on this
occasion.”

“_8 July 1806._ A certain Noble Marquis, who has been very fortunate,
this season, in his gaming speculations, had a run of ill-luck last
week. At one sitting his Lordship was _minus_ no less a sum than
_thirteen thousand pounds_!”

“_15 July 1806._ The noble Marquis, who has been so great a gainer
this season, at _hazard_, never plays with anyone, from a PRINCE, to a
_Commoner_, without having the stakes _first_ laid on the table. His
lordship was always considered as a _sure card_, but, now, his fame is
established, from the circumstance of his having cleared £35,000, after
deducting all his losses for the last six months.”

“_Morning Herald, 16 June 1804._ A noble Lord, lately high in office,
and who manifests a strong inclination to be re-instated in his
political power, lost, at the UNION, a night or two back, 4000 guineas
before twelve o’clock; but, continuing to play, his luck took a turn,
and he rose a winner of a 1000 before five the next morning.”

I have, also, two newspaper cuttings, but know not whence they came.
“_Mar. 28, 1811._ The brother of a Noble Marquis is said to have lately
won, at _hazard_, upwards of £30,000, all in one night!” “_April 3,
1811._ A young gentleman of family and fortune lost £7000, on Sunday
Morning, at a gaming house in the neighbourhood of Pall Mall.”

This brings us to the time when, owing to the mental affliction of
George III., the Prince of Wales became Regent, and during his reign,
both as Regent and King, gambling throve; and I propose to quote
somewhat from Captain Gronow, whose chatty Reminiscences are about the
best of those times. But before doing so I must tell the following
anecdote which relates to that General Scott whom Gronow mentions.

Lord C—— had a most unfortunate propensity to gamble; and, in one
night, he lost £33,000 to General Scott. Mortified at his ill-fortune
he paid the money and wished to keep the circumstance secret; it was,
however, whispered about. His lordship, to divert his chagrin, went,
a few nights afterwards, to a Masquerade at Carlisle House, Soho, and
he found all the company running after three Irish young ladies of the
name of G—— e, in the character of the three witches in _Macbeth_.
These ladies were so well acquainted with everything that was going
on in the great world that they kept the room in a continual roar of
laughter by the brilliancy of their wit, and the happiness of its
application to some people of rank who were present. They knew Lord
C—— and they knew of his loss, though he did not know them. He walked
up to them, and, in a solemn tone of voice, thus addressed them:—

    “Ye black and midnight hags,—what do ye do?
  Live ye? or are ye aught that man may question?
  Quickly unclasp to me the book of fate,
  And tell if good, or ill, my steps await.”

  _First Witch._ “All hail, C——e! all hail to thee!
  Once annual lord of thousands thirty-three!”

  _Second Witch._ “All hail, C——e! all hail to thee!
  All hail! though poor thou soon shalt be!”

  _Hecate._ “C——e, all hail! thy evil star
  Sheds baleful influence—Oh, beware!
  Beware that Thane! Beware that Scott!
  Or, poverty shall be thy lot!
  He’ll drain thy youth as dry as hay—
  Hither, Sisters, haste away!”

At the concluding words, whirling a watchman’s rattle, which she held
in her hand, the dome echoed with the sound; the astonished peer shrunk
into himself with terror—retired—vowed never to lose more than a
hundred pounds at a sitting; abided by the determination, and retrieved
his fortune. [39] “The politics of White’s Club were, then, decidedly
Tory. It was here that play was carried on to an extent which made many
ravages in large fortunes, the traces of which have not disappeared at
the present day. General Scott, the father-in-law of George Canning
and the Duke of Portland, was known to have won, at White’s, £200,000;
thanks to his notorious sobriety and knowledge of the game of whist.
The General possessed a great advantage over his companions by avoiding
those indulgences at the table, which used to muddle other men’s
brains. He confined himself to dining off something like a boiled
chicken, with toast and water; by such a regimen he came to the whist
table with a clear head, and possessing, as he did, a remarkable
memory, with great coolness and judgment, he was able, honestly, to win
the enormous sum of £200,000.

“At Brooke’s, for nearly half a century, the play was of a more
gambling character than at White’s. Faro and Macao were indulged in
to an extent which enabled a man to win, or to lose, a considerable
fortune in one night. It was here that Charles James Fox, Selwyn, Lord
Carlisle, Lord Robert Spencer, General Fitzpatrick, and other great
Whigs, won, and lost, hundreds of thousands; frequently remaining at
the table for many hours without rising.

“On one occasion, Lord Robert Spencer contrived to lose the last
shilling of his considerable fortune, given to him by his brother,
the Duke of Marlborough: General Fitzpatrick, being much in the same
condition, they agreed to raise a sum of money, in order that they
might keep a Faro bank. The members of the club made no objection, and,
ere long, they carried out their design. As is generally the case, the
bank was a winner, and Lord Robert bagged, as his share of the profits,
£100,000. He retired, strange to say, from the fœtid atmosphere of
play, with the money in his pocket, and never again gambled. George
Harley Drummond, of the famous banking house, Charing Cross, only
played once, in his whole life, at White’s Club, at whist, on which
occasion he lost £20,000 to Brummell. This event caused him to retire
from the banking house, of which he was a partner.

“Lord Carlisle was one of the most remarkable victims amongst the
players at Brooke’s, and Charles Fox, his friend, was not more
fortunate, being, subsequently, always in pecuniary difficulties. Many
a time, after a long night of hard play, the loser found himself at the
Israelitish establishment of Howard and Gibbs, then the fashionable
and patronized money-lenders. These gentlemen never failed to make
hard terms with the borrower, although ample security was, invariably,
demanded.

“The Guard’s Club was established for the three regiments of Foot
Guards, and was conducted upon a military system. Billiards and low
whist were the only games indulged in. The dinner was, perhaps, better
than at most clubs, and considerably cheaper. Arthur’s and Graham’s
were less aristocratic than those I have mentioned; it was, at the
latter, that a most painful circumstance took place. A nobleman, of the
highest position and influence in society, was detected in cheating at
cards, and, after a trial, which did not terminate in his favour, he
died of a broken heart.

“Upon one occasion, some gentlemen, of both White’s and Brooke’s,
had the honour to dine with the Prince Regent, and, during the
conversation, the Prince inquired what sort of dinners they got at
their clubs; upon which, Sir Thomas Stepney, one of the guests,
observed that their dinners were always the same, ‘the eternal joints,
or beefsteaks, the boiled fowl with oyster sauce, and an apple
tart—this is what we have, sir, and very monotonous fare it is.’ The
Prince, without further remark, rang the bell for his cook, Wattier,
and, in the presence of those who dined at the Royal table, asked him
whether he would take a house and organize a dinner club. Wattier
assented, and named Madison, the Prince’s page, manager, and Labourie,
from the Royal kitchen, as the cook. The club flourished only a few
years, owing to the high play that was carried on there. The Duke of
York patronized it, and was a member. The dinners were exquisite;
the best Parisian cooks could not beat Labourie. The favourite game
played there was Macao. Upon one occasion Jack Bouverie, brother of
Lady Heytesbury, was losing large sums, and became very irritable;
Raikes, with bad taste, laughed at Bouverie, and attempted to amuse us
with some of his stale jokes; upon which Bouverie threw his play bowl,
with the few counters it contained, at Raikes’ head: unfortunately,
it struck him, and made the City dandy angry, but no serious results
followed this open insult.”

Captain Gronow gives a personal story of his own gambling. After
Napoleon’s escape from Elba, he had the offer of an appointment on the
staff of General Picton, but his funds were somewhat low. “So I set
about thinking how I should manage to get my outfit, in order to appear
at Brussels in a manner worthy of the _aide-de-camp_ of the great
general. As my funds were at a low ebb, I went to Cox and Greenwood’s,
those staunch friends of the hard up soldier. Sailors may talk of the
‘little cherub that sits up aloft,’ but commend me for liberality,
kindness, and generosity to my old friends in Craig’s Court. I there
obtained £200, which I took with me to a gambling house in St James’
Square, where I managed, by some wonderful accident, to win £600; and,
having thus obtained the sinews of war, I made numerous purchases,
amongst others, two first-rate horses at Tattersall’s for a high
figure.”

He gives several instances of the English love for gambling, as
exemplified at Paris, after its occupation by the Allies.

“Fox, the secretary of the embassy, was an excellent man, but odd,
indolent, and careless in the extreme; he was seldom seen in the
daytime, unless it was either at the embassy, in a state of _negligée_,
or in bed. At night, he used to go to the Salon des Etrangers; and, if
he possessed a Napoleon, it was sure to be thrown away at hazard, or
_rouge et noir_. On one occasion, however, fortune favoured him in a
most extraordinary manner. The late Henry Baring having recommended him
to take the dice box, Fox replied, ‘I will do so for the last time, for
all my money is thrown away upon this infernal table.’ Fox staked all
he had in his pockets; he threw in _eleven_ times, breaking the bank,
and taking home for his share 60,000 francs. After this, several days
passed without any tidings being heard of him; but, upon calling at the
embassy to get my passport _viséd_, I went into his room, and saw it
filled with Cashmere shawls, silk, Chantilly veils, bonnets, gloves,
shoes, and other articles of ladies’ dress. On my asking the purpose of
all this millinery, Fox replied, ‘Why, my dear Gronow, it was the only
means to prevent those rascals at the Salon winning back my money.’

“The play which took place in these saloons was, frequently, of the
most reckless character; large fortunes were often lost, the losers
disappearing, never more to be heard of. Amongst the English _habitués_
were the Hon. George T——, the late Henry Baring, Lord Thanet, Tom
Sowerby, Cuthbert, Mr Steer, Henry Broadwood, and Bob Arnold.

“The late Henry Baring was more fortunate at hazard than his
countrymen, but his love of gambling was the cause of his being
excluded from the banking establishment. Col. Sowerby, of the Guards,
was one of the most inveterate players in Paris: and, as is frequently
the case with a fair player, a considerable loser. But, perhaps, the
most incurable gamester amongst the English, was Lord Thanet, whose
income was not less than £50,000 a year, every farthing of which he
lost at play. Cuthbert dissipated the whole of his fortune in the like
manner. In fact, I do not remember any instance where those who spent
their time in this den did not lose all they possessed....

“Amongst others who visited the Salon des Etrangers were Sir Francis
Vincent, Gooch, Green, Ball Hughes, and many others whose names I no
longer remember. As at Crockford’s, a magnificent supper was provided
every night, for all who thought proper to avail themselves of it. The
games principally played were _rouge et noir_ and hazard; the former
producing an immense profit; for, not only were the whole of the
expenses of this costly establishment defrayed by the winnings of the
bank, but a very large sum was paid annually to the municipality of
Paris. I recollect a young Irishman, Mr Gough, losing a large fortune
at this _tapis vert_. After returning home about two A.M. he sat down
and wrote a letter, giving reasons why he was about to commit suicide:
these, it is needless to say, were simply his gambling reverses. A
pistol shot through the brain terminated his existence. Sir Francis
Vincent—a man of old family and considerable fortune—was another
victim of this French hell, who contrived to get rid of his magnificent
property, and then disappeared from society.”

“Soon after Lord Granville’s appointment [as British Ambassador] a
strange occurrence took place at one of the public gambling houses.
A colonel, on half-pay, in the British service, having lost every
farthing he possessed, determined to destroy himself, together with all
who were instrumental to his ruin. Accordingly, he placed a canister
full of fulminating powder under the table, and set it on fire: it
blew up, but, fortunately, no one was hurt. The police arrested the
colonel, and placed him in prison; he was, however, through the humane
interposition of our ambassador, sent out of France as a madman.”

The Duke of Wellington[40] had, in his early career, lost a
considerable sum of money at play, and had been on the point of selling
his commission in Dublin, with the view of relieving himself from some
debts of honour which he had incurred.

“At a dinner party at Mr Greenwood’s, of that excellent firm, Cox
& Greenwood, I met Sir Harry Calvert, then Adjutant-General, who
accompanied the Duke of York, as one of his staff, in his disastrous
campaign in Holland; and he told us the following anecdote:—Lord
Camden, the Viceroy, had been applied to by Lord Mornington, the
brother of Captain Wesley (so the name was then spelt), for a
Commissionership of Customs, or anything else in the gift of the Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland, as it was the intention of the Captain to sell
his commission to pay his debts. Lord Camden, in an interview with
Captain Wesley, inquired whether he left the army in disgust, or
what motive induced him to relinquish a service in which he was well
qualified to distinguish himself. Captain Wesley explained everything
that had occurred, upon which the Lord Lieutenant expressed a wish to
be of service to him. ‘What can I do for you? Point out any plan by
which you can be extricated from your present difficulties.’ The answer
was, ‘I have no alternative but to sell my commission; for I am poor,
and unable to pay off my debts of honour.’ ‘Remain in the army,’ said
Lord Camden, ‘and I will assist you in paying off your liabilities.’
‘I should like to study my profession at Angers,’ replied the young
soldier, ‘for the French are the great masters of the art of war.’ Lord
Camden assented to the proposition, supplied him with the means of
living in France, and paid his debts....

“The lesson the Duke of Wellington had learnt at the gambling table,
as a young man, was deeply impressed upon him; he, afterwards, never
touched a card; and so firmly did he set his face against gambling,
that, in Paris, none of his staff, from Lord Fitzroy Somerset down to
Freemantle, was ever to be seen either at Frascati’s, or the Salon des
Etrangers.”

Ball Hughes was a dandy of the Regency, and from his fortune he was
nick-named “the golden Ball”; of him Gronow says: “His fortune had
dwindled down to a fourth of its original amount, for he was, perhaps,
the greatest gambler of his day. His love of play was such, that, at
one period of his life, he would rather play at pitch and toss than be
without his favourite excitement. He told me that, at one time, he had
lost considerable sums at battledore and shuttlecock. On one occasion,
immediately after dinner, he and the eccentric Lord Petersham commenced
playing with these toys, and continued hard at work during the whole of
the night; next morning, he was found by his valet lying on the ground
fast asleep, but ready for any other species of speculation.”

Of another dandy, Scrope Davies, he says: “As was the case with many
of the foremost men of that day, the greater number of his hours
were passed at the gambling table, where, for a length of time, he
was eminently successful; for he was a first-rate calculator. He
seldom played against individuals; he preferred going to the regular
establishments. But, on one occasion, he had, by a remarkable run of
good luck, completely ruined a young man, who had just reached his
majority, and come into the possession of a considerable fortune. The
poor youth sank down upon a sofa, in abject misery, when he reflected
that he was a beggar; for he was on the point of marriage. Scrope
Davies, touched by his despair, entered into conversation with him, and
ended by giving him back the whole of his losses, upon a solemn promise
that he would never play again. The only thing that Scrope retained
of his winnings was one of the little carriages of that day, called a
_dormeuse_ from its being fitted up with a bed, for he said, ‘When I
travel in it, I shall sleep the better for having acted rightly.’ The
youth kept his promise; but when his benefactor wanted money, he forgot
that he owed all he possessed to Scrope’s generosity, and refused to
assist him.

“For a long time Scrope Davies was a lucky player; but the time arrived
when Fortune deserted her old favourite; and, shortly after the Dandy
dynasty was overthrown, he found himself unable to mingle with the
rich, the giddy, and the gay. With the wreck of his fortune, and,
indeed, with little to live upon beyond the amount of his own Cambridge
fellowship, he sought repose in Paris, and there, indulging in literary
leisure, bade the world farewell.”

“Raggett,[41] the well known club proprietor of White’s, and the
Roxburgh club in St James’s Square, was a notable character in his
way. He began life as a poor man, and died extremely rich. It was
his custom to wait upon the members of these clubs whenever play was
going on. Upon one occasion, at the Roxburgh, the following gentlemen,
Hervey Combe, Tippoo Smith, Ward (the member for London), and Sir
John Malcolm, played for high stakes at whist; they sat during that
night, viz., Monday, the following day and night, and only separated
on Wednesday morning at eleven o’clock; indeed, the party only broke
up then, owing to Hervey Combe being obliged to attend the funeral
of one of his partners who was buried on that day. Hervey Combe, on
looking over his card, found that he was a winner of thirty thousand
pounds from Sir John Malcolm, and he jocularly said, ‘Well, Sir John,
you shall have your revenge whenever you like.’ Sir John replied,
‘Thank you; another sitting of the kind will oblige me to return again
to India.’ Hervey Combe, on settling with Raggett, pulled out of his
pocket, a handful of counters, which amounted to several hundred
pounds, over and above the thirty thousand he had won of the baronet,
and he gave them to Raggett, saying, ‘I give them to you for sitting
so long with us, and providing us with all required.’ Raggett was
overjoyed, and, in mentioning what had occurred to one of his friends,
a few days afterwards, he added, ‘I make it a rule never to allow any
of my servants to be present when gentlemen play at my clubs, for it is
my invariable custom to sweep the carpet after the gambling is over,
and I, generally, find on the floor a few counters, which pays me for
the trouble of sitting up. By this means I have made a decent fortune.’”



CHAPTER VII

 Hanging, the penalty for losing—Suicide—Officer
 cashiered—Reminiscences of an exiled gambler—Description of the
 principal gaming-houses at the West End in 1817.


The _Annual Register_ about this time supplies us with several
gambling anecdotes, the following being almost incredible:—_15th April
1812._—“On Wednesday evening an extraordinary investigation took place
at Bow Street. Croker, the officer, was passing along the Hampstead
road, when he observed, at a short distance before him, two men on a
wall, and, directly after, saw the tallest of them, a stout man, about
six feet high, hanging by his neck, from a lamp post attached to the
wall, being that instant tied up and turned off by the short man. This
unexpected and extraordinary sight astonished the officer; he made up
to the spot with all speed; and, just after he arrived there, the tall
man, who had been hanged, fell to the ground, the handkerchief, with
which he had been suspended, having given way. Croker produced his
staff, said he was an officer, and demanded to know of the other man
the cause of such conduct. In the meantime, the man who had been hanged
recovered, got up, and, on Croker’s interfering, gave him a violent
blow on the nose, which nearly knocked him backwards. The short man was
endeavouring to make off; however, the officer procured assistance, and
both were brought to the office, when the account they gave was that
they worked on canals. They had been together on Wednesday afternoon,
tossed up for money, and afterwards for their clothes; the tall man,
who was hanged, won the other’s jacket, trousers, and shoes; they then
tossed up which should hang the other, and the short one won the toss.
They got upon the wall, the one to submit, and the other to hang him on
the lamp iron. They both agreed in this statement. The tall one, who
had been hanged, said, if he had won the toss, he would have hanged the
other. He said he then felt the effects of his hanging in his neck,
and his eyes were so much swelled that he saw double. The magistrates
expressed their horror and disgust, and ordered the man who had been
hanged to find bail for the violent and unjustifiable assault on the
officer, and the short one for hanging the other. Not having bail, they
were committed to Bridewell for trial.”

_7th Feb. 1816._—“Yesterday, a gentleman, the head in a firm of
a first-rate concern in the City, put a period to his existence by
blowing out his brains. He had gone to the masquerade at the Argyll
Rooms a few nights since, and accompanied a female home in a coach with
two men, friends of the woman. When they got to her residence, the
two men proposed to the gentleman to play for a dozen of champagne to
treat the lady with, which the gentleman declined. They, however, after
a great deal of persuasion, prevailed on him to play for small sums,
and, according to the usual tricks of gamblers, allowed him to win at
first, till they began to play for double, when, there is no doubt, the
fellows produced loaded dice, and the gentleman lost to the amount of
£1800, which brought him to his reflection and senses. He then invented
an excuse for not paying that sum, by saying he was under an agreement
with his partner not to draw for a larger amount than £300 for his
private account, and gave them a draft for that amount, promising the
remainder at a future day. This promise, however, he did not attend to,
not feeling himself bound by such a villainous transaction. But the
robbers found out who he was, and his residence, and had the audacity
to go yesterday morning, armed with bludgeons, and attack him publicly
on his own premises, in the presence of those employed there, demanding
payment of their nefarious debt of _honour_, and threatening him, if
he did not pay, that he should fight. This exposure had such an effect
upon his feelings, that he made an excuse to retire, when he destroyed
himself by blowing out his brains with a pistol. This rash act is
additionally to be lamented, as it prevents the bringing to condign
punishment the plundering villains who were the cause of it, there
being no evidence to convict them.”

“_Horse Guards, 18th Nov. 1816._—At a general Court-martial held
at Cambray, in France, on the 23rd September 1816, and continued by
adjournments to the 26th of the same month, Lieutenant the Honourable
Augustus Stanhope, of the 12th regiment of Light Dragoons, was
arraigned on the undermentioned charge, viz.:—

“For behaving in a scandalous, infamous manner, such as is unbecoming
the character of an officer and a gentleman, in conspiring, with a
certain other person, to draw in and seduce Lord Beauchamp to game
and play with them, for the purposes of gain and advantage; and that,
in pursuance of such conspiracy, he, Lieutenant Stanhope (having
engaged Lord Beauchamp to come to his quarters in Paris, on Sunday,
the 17th day of March 1816, upon an invitation to dine with him), did,
in company and concert of such other person, draw in, seduce, and
prevail upon Lord Beauchamp to play with them at a certain game of
chance with cards, for very high stakes, whereby, on an account kept by
them, Lieut. Stanhope, and the said other person, or one of them, of
the losses and gains in the course of the play, he, Lieut. Stanhope,
claimed to have won from Lord Beauchamp the sum of £8000 and upwards,
and the said other person claimed to have won off Lord Beauchamp the
further sum of £7000 and upwards.

“That, in further pursuance of the said concert and conspiracy, he,
Lord Beauchamp, at the same time and place, was required by Lieut.
Stanhope to write and sign two promissory notes, or engagements, to
pay at the expiration of three years the said several sums of money so
claimed to have been won off him, Lord Beauchamp, by Lieut. Stanhope
and the said other person respectively.

“That he, Lord Beauchamp, was, at that time, about sixteen years of
age, ignorant of, and unused to play, and affected by the wine he had
been prevailed upon to take by the parties.”

Lieut. Stanhope was found guilty and dismissed from the army.

The _Annual Register_ also gives numerous cases of duels arising from
gambling, but they are, comparatively, uninteresting, and are all of
the same type, paltry quarrels over the gaming-table.

We have a metrical description of gambling about this time supposed to
have been written by a gambler who had to retire to France, and I here
give a portion of it.[42]

  “Ah me! what sad pangs ev’ry fibre now feels,
  When I view the success of my exquisite _deals_,
  My _cutting_ and _shuffling_, perform’d with such ease:
  (And their talent is rare who can _cut_ when they please).
  Ev’ry bet at Macao was decidedly mine;
  For, faithful to me, was the snug winning Nine;
  And the dice-box, alike, against Squire or Lord,
  Brought whatever I pleased on the fortunate board.
  Yet exil’d, in spite of success, to this land;
  I have made of my gains but a very _bad hand_,
  For here, gallant Greeks! my sad fortune deplore,
  No _pigeon_ takes wing to the Gallican shore;
  And the nation, composed of sly slippery elves,
  Admits of no _plucking_, except by themselves;
  Whilst Bourbon the pious, to vermin-like rats,
  Grants Licences special, for _doing the flats_.

  Ye haunts of St James’s! ye Cyprian fair!
  How sweet your amusements! how _winning_ your air!
  Long, long have I served you, and valued you well,
  From the Regent’s proud palace, to Bennet Street _hell_,
  Where nobles and simples alike take their swing,
  With th’ intention of being _at all in the ring_.
  Their eyes are attracted with rouleaus of gold,
  Or with thousands in paper, so neat in the fold:
  Impatient they view them, and seize them elate,
  And, when pocketing most, they most swallow the bait.
  There’s N—g—nt’s proud lord, who, to angle for pelf,
  Will soon find the secret of diddling himself;
  There’s H—rb—rt, who, lately, as knowing ones tell,
  Won a tight seven hundred at house in Pall Mall;
  Captain D—v—s, who, now, is a chick of the game,
  But, although in _high feather_, the odds will soon tame;
  And the Marquis of Bl—ndf—rd, who _touch’d ‘em up rare_,
  For a thousand in Bennet Street (all on the square),
  Where a service of plate gives a _shine_ to the job,
  The whole made of crowns from young gentlemen’s fob.
  There’s Ll—yd and C—m—ck, who’d a martinette be;
  For none _drills_ a guinea more ably than he—
  So his adjutant told him (a pretty good wipe,
  Which the Colonel accepted and put in his pipe).
  There’s a certain rum baronet every one knows,
  Who, on Saturday nights to the _two sevens_ goes;
  With J—— and Cl——, Billy W—— and two more,
  So drunk that they keep merry hell in a roar;
  Long D—b—n, thin C—rt—r, a son of a gun,
  Bill B——, the Doctor, that figure of fun:
  They have all won a little, and now _are in force_,
  But they’ll find that it soon will return to its source:
  The knowing ones watch them, and give them their fill,
  And they’ll soon be reduced to discounting their bill.

         *       *       *       *       *

  In fine, ev’ry object of popular fame,
  Old hens, youthful chickens and cocks of the game,
  Though distant, I ever shall keep you in view;
  For all my enjoyments were centred in you.
  To A. B.’s and Bailiff’s I waft a sad tear;
  For I know they have found me a friend that was _dear_;
  And the Bill-doers, too, who have fleeced Johnny Raw,
  And, lastly, the Jem’men who _follow_ the law.
  To the tradesmen who tick, a remembrance most kind,
  I thus send, and assure them that Fortune is blind.
  This truth is a sad one; I’ve learn’d it too late;
  But ‘twill serve those, who now may take heed from my fate:
  For the purses of others, ‘tis pretty well known,
  I look’d too, but ne’er had an _eye_ to my own;
  For which my Annuitants sternly refuse
  My freedom, and, thereby have _narrowed my views_.

  Time was, when so splendid, so gay, debonair,
  I’ve had of these vermin a brace at my chair,
  The slaves of my chamber, the shades at my doors,
  Subservient, and bowing obedience by scores;
  For, _soit dit en passant_, when ruin’d’s a rake,
  The greater’s the plunder his liv’rymen make:
  Then, the produce of filching, to noble in need,
  Is lent out on annuity, mortgage, or deed:
  So, the Peer, or the Commoner going to rack,
  May sit with his Creditor stuck at his back,
  Unconscious, howe’er, of so monstrous a bore,
  The effects of a C—rp—w, a S—dl—y, or M—re,
  Who the _parties_ procure, ‘mongst such miscreant trash;
  For nothing’s degrading in touching the cash—
  A pound is the same, both in value and weight,
  Though it came from the basest, or first in the State.
  I grieve, whilst I think of the years which have flown,
  Of the thousands I’ve squandered, the pleasures I’ve known,
  Of the many occasions, which fortune has cast
  In my way to be rich, which I slighted as fast—
  How oft’, independent I might have retired
  With enough to live happy—nay, more than required:
  But Greeks are like Cyprians, and Fate has decreed
  That they both should spend fortunes, and perish in need;
  That their treasures, with dreams of enchantment, should pass,
  And leave them no solace, except from the—glass;
  That, at length, youth and beauty, good luck, and foul play,
  Should all thrive a season—then vanish away.”

This pamphlet, which has a companion called “The Pigeons,” gives a very
curious list of the most fashionable gaming houses in existence in 1817.

“Of _hells_ in general, it may be said that they are _infernally_
productive, since Mr T—l—r finds that the banking business is nothing
compared to these money mills, and since so many fortunes have been
made from them. Who would think that a man could _rise_ from one of
these _lower regions_ to a seat in Parliament? or that high military
rank could be purchased by ‘The Colour’s red’—‘Gentlemen, make your
game!’

Major-General R—— w, M.P., thus got his high promotion and his seat
in the British Senate; for his papa was _n’importe_; but, progressively
(and in a very odd way too), he got a little money, which, placing in
a hell of which he was proprietor, he soon purchased an estate, and
bought his son on in the army. Many other instances, too tedious to
mention, have occurred of fortune thus made.

By a house of fashionable resort being called a club-house, the
proprietors are enabled to exclude _wolves in sheep’s clothing_, _i.e._
spies and informers; for, by taking a mere trifle for a subscription,
you get a knowledge of the subscriber, whether a _good man and true,
or not_; and, being entered in a book—before he can _turn over a new
leaf_, he may be _turned to_ good account.

Where the houses are not really, or apparently, club-houses, large
sums are often paid to police officers, as well as to more imposing
informers, who contrive to introduce themselves. Bob Holloway pretty
well knew this, as he was, literally, in the pay of all of them, of
which more may be said in time and place. Hush money varies according
to the magnitude of the concern, from £250 to £1000 per annum.


NO. 77 ST JAMES’S STREET.

NICK-NAMED THE TWO SEVENS.

_Firm: Messrs T. C. C. T._

Here is a _rouge et noir_ table; the best possible treatment may be
depended upon, as well as great civility and great circumspection
in not lending money but to well-known people. The _firm_ attends
very constantly, and a certain lawyer watches most attentively the
transactions of the house. The bank won’t set you above £50; this
is the common plan; and it gives a decided advantage to the bank,
as the loser has less chance of bringing himself back than if play
was unlimited, as in France. Upon the whole, the French first-rate
gaming-houses beat our hells hollow, and they are carried on upon a
much more extensive, handsome, and attractive plan: but 77 has that

  ‘Within which far surpasseth show.’—_Hamlet._

They are scurvy about refreshments here, and very apt to grumble if
a customer have a run of luck. On the other hand, however, a Prussian
Officer, not very long ago, made a devil of a row about losing a very
large sum, but all in vain.

Cerberus, who waits at the door, has a particularly watchful eye and a
rare nose for a police officer. Mistakes, however, have occurred.

The produce of this bank (which Paddy B—— calls the Devil’s
Exchequer, whence you get neither principal nor interest), furnishes
carriages, town and country houses, and all the luxuries of life: and
may, perhaps, one day send a Member to Parliament or a General to the
field, like Mrs R—— w’s concern; no house can have a better chance,
as no house is better situated for the purpose. We would, however,
advise the dealer to be less slovenly and liable to mistake than he is.
The house is now shut up.

       *       *       *       *       *

Opposite this house is a hazard table, which never opens until
midnight, and is attended by the ultra royalists and officers of all
the regiments of guards, horse and foot, besides decided amateurs.


BENNET STREET, ST JAMES’S.

CORNER HOUSE—RED BAIZE DOOR—_called_ A CLUB HOUSE.

_Firm: Messrs Fielder, Miller and Carlos. Formerly Fielder, Roubel,
Miller and Co._

This is what is called a topping house, where high rank and title
resort. We mentioned in the poem the luck of a certain Duke’s son
there; and, of late, there has been a lucky run in favour of the
frequenters of the bank—but _lauda finem_. Its crisis has arrived.

The noble Marquess, on the night that he lost the money at No. 40
which was closed against him, went full charged with the Tuscan
grape, and attacked poor Fielder, _vi et pugnis_, and, at length, was
necessitated to leave this house also.

Here, all things are in a very high style, served on plate, et cetera.
It is supposed that the _customer’s specie_ is melted down to furnish
this luxury, which is reversing the ordinary plan: it is, commonly, the
family plate which is melted by the gamester into specie; but here it
is the current coin which is molten and shaped into salvers, waiters,
&c. This is, however, all in the way of business; for we have heard of
parson’s wives having silk gowns made out of burial scarves, and we
know a presbyterian minister who has converted mourning rings into a
splendid piece of plate. Therefore, why should not these conveyancers
of property, convey a portion into their wives and mistress’s pockets,
or _ridicules_, and transform guineas into gold snuff boxes; or crowns,
&c., into a service of plate?

The receipts of these houses are immense: We know the wife of a
proprietor of a hell, not an hundred miles from St James’s Palace, who
was so majestic in her deportment, and so magnificent in her attire,
that she gained the name of _Proserpine_.

The neighbourhood of Bennet Street is very convenient: if a pigeon be
refused admittance on the score of not being known, and receive the
_stale answer_—‘Sir, this house is only open to the gentlemen of the
Club,’ he has only to _go down_ St James’s Street into the Square or
to Pall Mall, and he will find accommodation all the way: the descent
is _easy_ even to the most intoxicated dandy or guardsman, who will
experience the truth of the ‘_facilis descensus Averni_.’


NO. 10 ST JAMES’S SQUARE.

A _low_ HOUSE, HUMOUROUSLY CALLED _the Pigeon hole_.

_Firm: Abbot Watson, Davies, Fearlove, Leach, and Holdsworth._

This snug little _trap_ is doing remarkably well. _Fama volat_, that
it has netted thirty thousand within twelve months. Whether the exact
sum, in so very small a time be true or not, we cannot pretend to say;
but we know that a great deal of work is done there, and it is said to
have divided twenty-seven thousand in the half-year ending Midsummer
1817.

A certain little doctor is a great friend (we do not say a decoy) to
the house, and, of course, a great favourite. There are many links to
this chain; and a good bill would be done there, or an I.O.U. taken
from _gem’men_ of respectability.

There is a _littleness_ about the concern, both outside and inside; and
your topping Greeks prefer a larger scale of establishment. The firm,
notwithstanding, goes on slow and sure; and there is no saying what
they may realise with time, brisk trade and good customers, although
great complaints are made of emigrations to France, the Insolvent
Act, the want of _honour_ in the young men of the present day, and,
_especially, of our disclosures of their mysteries_. The north country
dialect is here spoken in perfection.

One of the firm is _Abbot_, of a religious establishment of a somewhat
different kind. It is a _nunnery_, to which confessors are, of course,
admitted at the usual hours, on the terms, to use a sporting phrase, of
play, or pay. This Abbot is said to be worth nearly a hundred thousand
pounds. ‘Two strings to my bow’ is his suitable motto, for he has a
wife and family also.

He is more _parsimonious_ than abstemious, as befits the order of
which he is the worthy principal, and of which we shall furnish a
ludicrous instance. He once had particular occasion for a sovereign.
Now, how could he save his money? He was extricated by a most
delightful thought, and he, accordingly, sat down to play against his
own firm for _one pound_. Oh! what a slippery jade is Fortune! Luck
was against him, and he rose IN DEBT to the bank, little short of
£500. His junior partners, however, most liberally (it is said) took
the entire case into their serious consideration, and FORGAVE HIM
THE DEBT! What other house can produce an instance of such splendid
munificence?—Lieut. N—— g, R.N., has lately extracted from the
house above £2000. They would almost as soon see the devil as the
lieutenant, for Fortune has never deserted him hitherto:—but, even
this, like a fire to insurance offices, or a large prize in a lottery,
is not without its good effects! It is, after all, baiting with sprats
to catch salmon. We are happy to find that this officer has been so
prudent as to retire on his good luck!

To Mr Holdsworth, quitting a neighbouring hell under more respectable
circumstances, pocketing a trifle of what is so easily gained, can,
he thinks, be no very great harm. However, it now became absolutely
necessary that he should do business on his own account, when
circumstances utterly prevented his doing it on the account of others.
Papa Leach advanced the needful, and he is, as we see, one of this firm.

Perhaps Mr Watson may have some recollection, however imperfect, of
Messrs Crook and Co., of York Street, Covent Garden, his old masters.
We may, probably, at a future opportunity, assist the elucidation of
some occurrences in that quarter. We believe that Mr Crook never speaks
of him with any particular respect! It was here that Mr L—— p D—— s
lately won nearly £5000 of Crockford, Kelly, Lavisne, &c. It is a great
chance if they have not obtained their revenge ere this.

A singular escape was recently sustained here by Major A—— y. He
is not only a man of mettle, but of _metal_; in plain English, he has
money, and was allowed partial success, _pour encourager les autres_.
We only _suppose_ that arrangements were made for his next appearance.
All were silent and ready. The anxious moment arrived, St James’s clock
struck nine,—the customary signal to begin,—yet he had not arrived:
therefore, it was thought advisable to commence operations. The company
loudly expressed impatience and offence at waiting for anyone. The
house conceded, and lo! the cards were dealt—when, to the astonishment
and dismay of the company, there were _fifteen trente et un et après_,
in one deal! wonderful! mysterious chance! The Major entered at this
critical moment, and took out his well-stored pocket-book; but, when he
learnt what had happened, and saw his narrow escape, he coolly returned
it to his pocket, saying, as he retired, ‘I will never enter a house
where such a _chance_ has happened!!’ We need not be surprised at the
sum which THIS firm is said to have cleared.

They affect to carry their heads high, and to despise common menaces,
saying, that THEY have the countenance of the Hon. Messrs——, sons of
a high and most esteemed legal character.


MRS LEACH’S, NO. 6 KING STREET, ST JAMES’S.

Is a particularly snug and quiet shop, and the name of the proprietor
is singularly appropriate. This concern is suspended.


THE ELDER DAVIS, NO. 10 KING STREET, ST JAMES’S.

Is but a small affair, recently opened. It gets on swimmingly.


NO. 40 PALL MALL.

_Firm: Messrs Roubel, Fuller and Hewetson. Formerly Roubel, Fielder,
Miller and Co._

_Parlez moi de cela!_ a Frenchman would say directly on entering this
establishment. It is more _à la Française_, and, of course, more of
a gambling house than any of the others. The firm are good judges of
these matters, and _do things_ in very good form.

There is great variety; and the addresses of some lovely frail ones
may be had. This is an equal advantage to Greek and Pigeon—_Tros
Tyrius ve_. Besides the ‘sprightly dance they so dearly love,’ dull
Sunday don’t stand in their way as in other places. Here, also, they
have borrowed from the Continental manners.

This concern is a thriving one, although a prodigious hoax was
practised on them the year before last, when thieves, in the characters
of police officers, led on by an ‘alien’ disguised in the habiliments
of officers of the foot guards, introduced themselves, and carried
off all the cash, to the great discomfiture of the party, and to the
alarm of the respectable visitors there assembled. Colonel N—— g went
off like a shot; many forgot to _take their change_; and some young
bloods were thought to have taken more than their change: it was a most
delicious scamper. The Argus-eyed attendants have been more vigilant
ever since; and a dark-looking man in a greatcoat, or other suspicious
habit, is very much watched.

We felicitate the town on this establishment: it is the most attractive
to the Greeks, and the most expeditive to the pigeon who wishes to be
soon _done_; for what will not women, play, and good cheer effect?
Here, if a man escape one way, he must be sure to fall another; and,
it may be observed, that the adventurous youth may tell his tale in a
small compass—

  ‘Incidit in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim.’

We hear that something of a schism exists among the proprietors of
this house. It is too _good_ a thing, however, to break up. While on
this subject, we would ask Mr Miller, whether he and George Shade, the
printer, did not bamboozle—— and—— and—— and—— out of a round
sum, on the suppression of a certain pamphlet?

The Lisle Street, Panton Street, and Covent Garden _hells_ are _below_
notice, compared to those foregoing ones, so near the Court, and
enjoying such _deserved_ celebrity.


71 PALL MALL.

_Firm: Taylor, Phillips, Lowe and Fielder._

The ex-banker of Southwark, we apprehend, finds his connection with
Mr Phillips more lucrative than that with Sir M. B——. Much might
have been said on this establishment, but we have our reasons for not
entering into details at present. Mr Phillips has been abroad, and,
consequently, gives himself the airs of a travelled man, sets up for
an _homme d’esprit_, fancies himself clever, and thinks he may be
MIS_taken_ for a gentleman.

  ‘Oh! formose puer, nimium te crede colori!’

We have not done with you. We remember Sir John Lade. Of Captain Lowe,
we can only say, that he deserves a better fate.


SUNDAY HOUSES.

Our moral readers may start at the designation of this department;
yet common sense will tell them that, as the Sunday Houses are but
few, their profits must be the greater. Don’t tell me about religion,
morality, decorum, etc. Those who hear _gentlemen_ express themselves
in these sinks of corruption, will at once discover that they are men
of the world, who can adapt their conversation to their hearers. First
under this head is


77 JERMYN STREET.

_George Smith, George Pope and Co._

The scenes which nightly occur at this house, beggar all description.
It is a hazard table, where the chances are little in favour of
the uninitiated player. The first proprietor is low in stature as
in breeding, a corpulent, self-sufficient, strutting, coxcombical,
irreligious prig. Mr P. is a respectable, decent, modest personage
enough in his way. He is humble, and is forced to succumb to the other,
who is the monied partner. Many tradesmen, broken, breaking, or in the
_right way_, honour this house with their presence. This house, not
being large enough for its trade, the proprietors have opened another
in St James’s Street.


OLDFIELD, BENNET AND CO.,

_27 Bury Street._

Mr Oldfield is not a well-proportioned man. He has red hair, and soon
betrays his dunghill origin. He is a pragmatical, bloated, officious,
flippant coxcomb, with the _tout-ensemble_ of a waiter.

At the Sunday houses, Mr Kelly, proprietor of the public rooms at
Cheltenham, which are not sufficient for him, is a steady hand, and,
being a stout stentor of an Hibernian, keeps all his comrades in great
awe. He, like Lord Y——, frequently plays by deputy; but that is only
for small sums. However, like the bear in the boat of Gay—

  ‘—— He thought there might be picking
  Even in the breast bone of a chicken.’

Bennet of Jermyn Street is tall and robust, with black hair and eyes,
and a rather blue beard; and, as for Crockford, ‘Do you know me?
Excellent well! You’re a fishmonger.’”



CHAPTER VIII

 Crockford’s Club—His Life—His new Club-house—Epigrams thereon—Ude
 and the Magistrate—Description of Club-house—Anecdotes of
 Crockford’s.


_À propos_ of Crockford, or Crockey, as he was familiarly called, his
was perhaps the most celebrated gambling house in London, and deserves
especial mention. It was on the site now occupied by the Devonshire
Club, No. 50 St James’s Street.

William Crockford was born in 1775, his father being a fishmonger in
a small way of business, having a shop adjoining Temple Bar, which was
pulled down in 1846. His father dying when he was young, the business
was carried on, first by his mother, and afterwards by himself, but
he soon took to betting and gambling, became a proficient at cards,
and was more particularly skilled in the games of whist, piquet and
cribbage; he frequented the better kind of sporting houses in the
neighbourhood of St James’s market, where the latter game, more
especially, was much played, and for large sums, by opulent tradesmen
and others. He made some money at gambling, became connected with
a gaming house in King Street, St James’s, and then he turned his
attention to horse racing; frequenting Tattersalls as a bookmaker,
and becoming the owner of race horses. He had a splendid mansion and
grounds at Newmarket, where he trained his stud, and at one time owned
the celebrated horse Sultan, the sire of Bay Middleton, who won the
Derby in 1836. But the roguery at Newmarket was too much even for
him, and he sold his racing stud, and confined himself to his London
businesses. About this time he is metrically described in a little
pamphlet called “Leggiana,” which described the _Legs_ who used to
frequent The Sun tavern in Jermyn Street.

  “Seated within the box, to window nearest,
  See _Crocky_, richest, cunningest, and queerest
  Of all the motley group that here assemble
  To sport their blunt, chaff, blackguard and dissemble;
  Who live (as slang has termed it) on the mace,
  Tho’ _Crocky’s_ heavy pull is, now, _deuce ace_.
  His wine, or grog, as may be, placed before him,
  And looking stupid as his mother bore him,
  For _Crock_, tho’ skilful in his betting duty,
  Is not, ‘twill be allowed, the greatest beauty;
  Nor does his _mug_ (we mean no disrespect)
  Exhibit outward sign of intellect;
  In other words, old _Crocky’s_ chubby face
  Bespeaks not inward store of mental grace;
  Besides, each night, he’s drunk as any lord,
  And clips his mother English every word.
  His head, howe’er, tho’ thick to chance beholders,
  Is screw’d right well upon his brawny shoulders;
  He’s quick as thought, and ripe at calculation,
  Malgrè the drink’s most potent visitation.
  His pencil, list, and betting book on table,
  His wits at work, as hard as he is able,
  His odds matur’d, at scarce a moment’s pains,
  Out pops the offspring of his ready brains,
  In some enormous, captivating wager,
  ‘Gainst one horse winning _Derby_, _Oaks_ and _Leger_.
  The bait is tak’n by some astonished wight,
  Who chuckles, thinking it a glorious bite,
  Nor takes the pains the figures o’er to run,
  And see, by calculation, that _he’s done_;
  While _Crocky_ books it, cash, _for certain, won_.
  And why, forsooth, is _Crocky_ to be blamed
  More than those legs who’re _honourable_ named,
  Whose inclination is plain sense to jockey,
  But who lack brains to _work the pull_ like _Crocky_?
  Who, by the way, gives vast accommodation,
  Nor bothers any one by litigation.
  And, if a bet you’d have, you’ve nought to do,
  But give it _Crock_, and, with it, _sovereigns two_;
  You’ll quickly, if you win it, touch the treasure,
  For _Crock_ (unlike some legs) dubs up with pleasure.”

Crockford was indicted on several occasions, and by different persons,
for his share in the nuisance of the public gaming-house in King
Street; but his policy always led him to a settlement of the matter
with the prosecutor, in preference to the risk of imprisonment and the
treadmill.

On one occasion an indictment was preferred, and a true bill found
against him and others, for keeping the before-mentioned house; and it
was not without difficulty and delay, creative of direful alarm, that
the matter could be arranged so as to prevent the parties being brought
to trial.

The prosecutor was a person known as Baron d’A——, who formerly held
a commission in the German Legion. This gentleman had been desperate,
and, of course, unfortunate in his speculation at _rouge et noir_; and,
at last, lost not only his pay, but the proceeds of the sale of his
commission. Thus reduced, he became equally desperate in determination,
and occasionally made demands and levied contributions from the parties
who had won from him, but, compliance with such demands becoming less
frequent and less willing, he resorted to the process of indictment,
and made Crockford one of the objects of his attack. On the true bill
being found, Crockford put in the necessary bail; between the period
of which and the day appointed for trial, communication was opened
with the baron, with a view to amicable settlement and non-appearance
of the prosecutor on the day of trial; but in the negotiation
Crockford’s party relied too much on the poverty and distress of the
baron, believing that the griping hand of necessity would oblige him
to accept any offered sum to relieve his wants. Under such belief
an inconsiderable amount was tendered, but refused. The baron had,
fortunately for him, met with a shrewd adviser, who persuaded him to
hold out against any overtures short of a handsome consideration; and
he did so, notwithstanding the fact that a considerable advance had
been made on the original sum offered to him.

The eve of trial approached, and Crockford’s alarm was great. At
length came the eventful day of his appearance at Clerkenwell Sessions.
What was to be done? Incarceration and hard labour stared him in the
face, and with them all the evil consequences connected with his
absence from his newly established club.

In this dilemma he sought the advice and active service of Guy, his
principal acting man in St James’s Street. This man accompanied
Crockford to the scene of trial, and, discovering the baron in the
precinct of the Court, contrived to get into friendly conversation
with him, a scheme which led to some judicious hints on the impolicy
of his longer holding out against the liberal offer which he (Guy)
had now the authority to make from Crockford. Fortunately for the
latter the indictment was low down in the list of the day’s business,
and this gave opportunity to Guy to proceed more leisurely in his
designs. He prevailed on the baron to accompany him to a tavern in
the neighbourhood, and there, under the influence of copious draughts
of wine, an arrangement was ultimately effected. The proposal, once
entertained by the baron, was not left to the chance of change, nor was
the baron permitted to consult with his adviser in the matter; time was
precious, the cause was approaching its hearing, and at this crisis Guy
called a coach, took from his pocket a tempting sum, hurried the baron
into the vehicle, gave him the money, and never left him until he had
seen him on board a vessel bound for a foreign country.

At the commencement of the season 1821-22, luck went against
Crockford’s gaming establishment, and night after night their capital
decreased, so that, at last, it was with difficulty they could supply
the funds requisite for the night’s bank. One night, their last £5000
was scraped together, and they were all on wires; for an hour after
play had commenced £3000 had flown away. Crockford could stand it no
longer; he left the house, meditating whether he should hang or drown
himself: but scarcely was his back turned than the run of luck changed,
and, within two hours, the bank had not only recovered their night’s
loss, but a good round sum besides. For the remainder of the season
Fortune was in their favour, and, at its close, the proprietors had
netted over £200,000.

Crockford began building his new club house in St James’s Street in
1827, and workmen were engaged on it day and night. A huge ice house
was dug which so affected the Guard’s club house, which adjoined the
northern end of Crockford’s premises, that one entire side of it fell
with a crash, leaving the entire interior completely exposed to the
public gaze. There are two _bon mots_ on the subject, preserved.

  “‘What can the workmen be about?
  Do, Crockford, let the secret out,
    Why thus our houses fall.
  Quoth he, ‘Since folks are out of town,
  I find it better to pull down,
    Than have no _pull at all_.’”

  “See, passenger, at Crockford’s high behest,
  _Red coats_ by _black legs_ ousted from their nest;
  The arts of peace o’ermatching reckless war,
  And gallant _rouge_ outdone by wily _noir_.”

The Club was opened in the latter part of 1827 with a great flourish
of trumpets, and cards to view, which were eagerly sought after by the
_élite_. _The Times_ of 1st Jan. 1828 gives an account of the royal
displeasure at this Club, which comes extremely _à propos_ from the
unsullied lips of George IV. “CROCKFORD’S HELL. The establishment of
the Pandemonium in St James’s, under the entire superintendence of the
fishmonger and his unblushing patronizers, lately called forth the
opinion of the highest personage in the kingdom, who expressed himself
in a manner which reflected the utmost credit on his head and heart.
A Nobleman of some standing at Court, in answer to a question from
his royal master, denied, in the most unequivocal way, having become
a subscriber to this splendid temple of vice. The monarch evinced his
satisfaction at the intelligence, and, in his usual nervous style,
denounced such infamous receptacles for plunder, as not only a disgrace
to the country at large, but the age in which we live.”

The number of members belonging to the Club was from 1000 to 1200,
exclusive of the privilege, or right of entrée permitted to ambassadors
and foreigners of distinction during their diplomatic sojourn, or
temporary visit, to this country, and the Duke of Wellington, although
he did not gamble, was one of the earliest members. The annual
subscription was twenty-five pounds, and, for this, the members had
the most luxurious club of its time, with wines and viands at a very
low rate, although the latter were presided over by the celebrated
_chef_, Ude, to whom Crockford paid a salary of £1200! The _Annual
Register_, for 1834, tells a very amusing story of Ude in connection
with Crockford’s Club.

“On July 25 M. Eustache Ude, the celebrated French cook, appeared at
Bow Street on a summons at the suit of the Marquess of Queensberry, for
unlawfully disposing of certain birds called ‘red game,’ between the
19th of March and the 1st of August, contrary to the provisions of the
Game Laws.

“Sir Roger Griesley deposed that he was a member of Crockford’s Club
House, and one of the managing committee of that establishment. The
defendant was cook there, and, on the 19th of June, witness dined at
the Club house, and saw grouse served in the room, but did not partake
of it.

“_M. Ude_: Vell, my dear Sare Rojer, vat is all dis to me? Certainement
you must know dat I don’t know vat de devil goes up into de dining
room. How de devil can I tell veder black game, or vite game, or red
game go up to de dining room? Dere is plenty of game always go on in
de house, but dat is nothing to me. My only business is to cook for de
palates of dose who like de game.

_Sir Roger Griesley_: I really don’t know what, in common justice, M.
Ude can have to do in this matter. He is the cook of the establishment,
certainly, but he only prepares what is ordered. The Committee order
the things, and he provides according to that order.

“_M. Ude_: Tank you, my dear Sare Rojer. I knew you vould get me out
of de scrape vot de noble marquis has got me into dis time.

“_Charles, Marquess of Queensberry, sworn_: I was a member of the
Committee at Crockford’s, but am not now. I was at Crockford’s on the
19th, and dined, and grouse was served at the table.

“_M. Ude_: But, my noble friend (great laughter), as I said to my
friend Sare Rojer, I know noting at all about vot vent into de room. I
never sawed it at all. De orders are given to me. I send my people to
de butcher, and to de poulterer, and to de fishmonger, and de tings are
brought, and I command dem to be cooked, and dey are cooked, and dat is
all I know about it.

“_Sir F. Roe_: Whether you know it, or not, the Act of Parliament makes
you liable.

“_M. Ude_: Upon my honour dat is very hard. Ven I got de summons I
remonstrated vid my Lord Alvanley, and he say, ‘Oh, never mind, Ude,
say dey vere pigeons, instead of grouse.’ ‘Ah, my lord,’ say I, ‘I can
not do better dan dem pigeons, because dat bird is so common in dis
house.’ (Loud Laughter).

“_Sir F. Roe_, who appeared greatly to enjoy the scene, said he must,
upon the oaths of the noble marquess and Sir Roger Griesley, convict
the defendant; but he should, certainly, put the lowest penalty, namely
5s.

“_M. Ude_: Vel, I shall pay de money, but it is dam hard. Ve have
always game in our house, and de poor devil of a cook have to pay de
penalty for it. (Great laughter).”

The following is a contemporary description of this palatial
establishment.

“On entering from the street, a magnificent vestibule and staircase
break upon the view; to the right and left of the hall are reading and
dining rooms. The staircase is of a sinuous form, sustained in its
landing by four columns of the Doric order, above which are a series
of examples of the Ionic order, forming a quadrangle with apertures
to the chief apartments. Above the pillars is a covered ceiling,
perforated with luminous panels of stained glass, from which springs a
dome of surpassing beauty: from the dome depends a lantern containing a
magnificent chandelier.

“_The State Drawing Room_ next attracts attention, a most noble
apartment, baffling perfect description of its beauty, but decorated in
the most florid style of Louis Quatorze. The room presents a series of
panels containing subjects, in the style of Watteau, from the pencil
of Mr Martin, a relative of the celebrated historical painter of that
name: these panels are alternated with splendid mirrors. A chandelier
of exquisite workmanship hangs from the centre of the ceiling, and
three large tables, beautifully carved and gilded, and covered with
rich blue and crimson velvet, are placed in different parts of the
room. The upholstery and decorative adjuncts are imitative of the
gorgeous taste of George the Fourth. Royalty can scarcely be conceived
to vie with the style and consummate splendour of this magnificent
chamber.

“_The lofty and capacious Dining Room_, supported by marble pillars,
and furnished in the most substantial and aristocratic style of
comfort, is equal to any arrangement of the kind in the most lordly
mansions.

“_The Drawing Room_ is allowed to be one of the most elegant apartments
in the kingdom.

“_The Sanctum Sanctorum_, or _Play Room_, is comparatively small,
but handsomely furnished. In the centre of the apartment stands the
_all attractive Hazard Table_, innocent and unpretending enough in
its form and appearance, but fatally mischievous and destructive in
its conjunctive influence with box and dice. On this table, it may,
with truth, be asserted that the greater portion, if not the whole of
Crockford’s immense wealth was achieved; and for this piece of plain,
unassuming mahogany, he had, doubtless, a more profound veneration
than for the most costly piece of furniture that ever graced a palace.
This bench of business is large, and of oval shape, well stuffed, and
covered with fine green cloth, marked with yellow lines, denoting the
different departments of speculation. Round these compartments are
double lines, similarly marked, for the odds, or proportions, between
what is technically known as the _main_ and _chance_. In the centre, on
each side, are indented positions for the croupiers, or persons engaged
at the table in calling the main and chance, regulating the stakes, and
paying and receiving money, as the events decisive of gain and loss
occur. Over the table is suspended a three light lamp, conveniently
shaded, so as to show its full luminous power on the cloth, and, at the
same time, to protect the eyes of the croupiers from the light’s too
strong effect. At another part of the room is fixed a writing table,
or desk, where the Pluto of the place was wont to preside, to mete
out loans on draft or other security, and to answer all demands by
successful players. Chairs of easy make, dice boxes, bowls for holding
counters representing sums from £1 to £200, with small hand rakes used
by players to draw their counters from any inconvenient distance on the
table, may be said to complete the furniture, machinery, and implements
of this _great workshop_.”

It is said that during the first two seasons Crockford must have netted
about £300,000, but his expenses were heavy, the item of dice alone
(at about a guinea a pair) was £2000 per annum; three new pairs being
provided for the opening play each night, and very often as many more
called for by players, or put down by Crockford himself with a view to
change a player’s luck.

Crockford was bound by his agreement with his committee to put
down a bank, or capital, of £5000, nightly, _during the sitting of
Parliament_, and he was not permitted to terminate the play until a
stated hour, as long as any of that £5000 remained.

He died at his mansion in Carlton House Terrace, on 25 May 1844, aged
69. He died a very wealthy man, although he experienced very heavy
losses in sundry speculations. A contemporary says of him:

“The entire property amassed by Mr Crockford must have been immense,
regard being had to the fact that, exclusively of a sum of money,
amounting to nearly half a million sterling, bequeathed to his widow,
he is confidently reported to have distributed amongst his children,
about two years ago, a sum nearly equalling, if not exceeding that
amount: a circumstance not at all improbable in a man of foresight,
like Mr Crockford, and one which will fully account, as well for the
bequest of the whole bulk of his remaining fortune to his widow, as for
such bequest being absolute, and free from all condition. In estimating
the wealth acquired by Mr Crockford through the medium and success of
his French hazard bank (for this was the never-failing source of gain),
there must be taken into account the heavy and extravagant expenditure
of the establishment in St James’s Street; his own expensive, though
by no means foolishly extravagant, mode of living; the maintenance and
education of a very numerous family, the advances of money from time
to time, made to fit them out and further their prospects in life; the
expense of a racing stud; a considerable outlay in suppressing various
indictments preferred against him for his former proprietorship in
King Street, and the heavy losses more recently sustained by other
venture and speculation. It may be fairly calculated that the certain
profits of the hazard table must have embraced millions! and some idea
may be formed of the extent of evil to others consequent on such an
accumulation of capital extracted from their means.”

Captain Gronow[43] gives us a very graphic description of this club,
drawn from the life, for he was a member thereof.

“I have alluded, in my first volume, to the high play which took
place at White’s and Brookes’s in the olden time, and at Wattier’s in
the days of Brummel and the dandies. Charles Fox, George Selwyn, Lord
Carlisle, Fitzpatrick, Horace Walpole, the Duke of Queensberry, and
others, lost whole fortunes at faro, macao and hazard; almost the only
winners, indeed, of that generation were General Scott, father-in-law
of Canning, the Duke of Portland, and Lord Robert Spencer; Lord Robert,
indeed, bought the beautiful estate of Woolbidding, in Sussex, with the
proceeds of his gains by keeping the bank at Brookes’s.

“But in the reign of George IV. a new star rose upon the horizon in the
person of Mr William Crockford; and the old-fashioned game of faro,
macao and lansquenet gave place to the all-devouring thirst for the
game of hazard. Crockey, when still a young man, had relinquished the
peaceful trade of a fishmonger for a share in a “hell,” where, with his
partner Gye, he managed to win, after a sitting of twenty-four hours,
the enormous sum of one hundred thousand pounds from Lords Thanet and
Granville, Mr Ball Hughes, and two other gentlemen whose names I do not
now remember. With this capital added to his former gains, he built the
well known palace in St James’s Street, where a club was established,
and play organised, on a scale of magnificence and liberality hitherto
unknown in Europe.

“One may safely say, without exaggeration, that Crockford won the
whole of the ready money of the then existing generation. As is often
the case at Lord’s cricket ground, the great match of the gentlemen
of England against the professional players was won by the latter.
It was a very hollow thing, and in a very few years twelve hundred
thousand pounds were swept away by the fortunate fishmonger. He did
not, however, die worth more than a sixth part of this vast sum; the
difference being swallowed up in various unlucky speculations.

“No one can describe the splendour and excitement of the early days
of Crockey. A supper of the most exquisite kind, prepared by the
famous Ude, and accompanied by the best wines in the world, together
with every luxury of the season, was furnished gratis. The members
of the club included all the celebrities of England, from the Duke
of Wellington, to the youngest Ensign of the Guards; and, at the gay
and festive board, which was constantly replenished from midnight to
early dawn, the most brilliant sallies of wit, the most agreeable
conversation, the most interesting anecdotes, interspersed with grave
political discussions and acute logical reasoning on every conceivable
subject, proceeded from the soldiers, scholars, statesmen, poets and
men of pleasure, who, when the ‘house was up,’ and balls and parties
at an end, delighted to finish their evening with a little supper, and
a good deal of hazard at old Crockey’s. The tone of the club was most
excellent. A most gentlemanlike feeling prevailed, and none of the
rudeness, familiarity and ill breeding which disgrace some of the minor
clubs of the present day, would have been tolerated for a moment.

“Though not many years have elapsed since the time of which I write,
the supper table had a very different appearance from what it would
present, did the club now exist. Beards were completely unknown,
and the rare mustachios were only worn by officers of the Household
Brigade, or hussar regiments. Stiff white neckcloths, blue coats and
brass buttons, rather short waisted white waistcoats, and tremendously
embroidered shirt fronts, with gorgeous studs of great value, were
considered the right thing. A late deservedly popular Colonel in the
Guards used to give Storr & Mortimer £25 a year, to furnish him with a
new set of studs every Saturday night during the London season.

“The great foreign diplomatists, Prince Talleyrand, Count Pozzo di
Borgo, General Alava, the Duke of Palmella, Prince Esterhazy, the
French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Austrian ambassadors, and all
persons of distinction and eminence who arrived in England, belonged
to Crockford’s as a matter of course; but many rued the day when they
became members of that fascinating but dangerous _coterie_. The great
Duke himself, always rather a friend of the dandies, did not disdain to
appear now and then at this charming club; whilst the late Lord Raglan,
Lord Anglesey, Sir Hussey Vivian, and many more of our Peninsula and
Waterloo heroes, were constant visitors. The two great novelists of the
day, who have since become great statesmen, Disraeli and Bulwer Lytton,
displayed at that brilliant supper-table, the one his sable, the other
his auburn curls; there Horace Twiss made proof of an appetite, and
Edward Montague of a thirst, which astonished all beholders; whilst
the bitter jests of Sir Joseph Copley, Colonel Armstrong, and John
Wilson Croker, and the brilliant wit of Alvanley, were the delight of
all present, and their _bon mots_ were the next day retailed all over
England.

“In the play-room might be heard the clear ringing voice of that
agreeable reprobate, Tom Duncombe, as he cheerfully called ‘Seven,’ and
the powerful hand of the vigorous Sefton in throwing for a ten. There
might be noted the scientific dribbling of a four by ‘King’ Allen, the
tremendous backing of nines and fives by Ball Hughes and Auriol, the
enormous stakes played for by Lords Lichfield and Chesterfield, George
Payne, Sir St Vincent Cotton, D’Orsay, and George Anson, and, above
all, the gentlemanly bearing and calm and unmoved demeanour, under
losses or gains, of all the men of that generation.

“The old fishmonger himself, seated snug and sly at his desk in the
corner of the room, watchful as the dragon that guarded the golden
apples of the Hesperides, would only give credit to good and approved
signatures. Who that ever entered that dangerous little room can ever
forget the large green table, with the croupiers, Page, Darking, and
Bacon, with their suave manners, sleek appearance, stiff white neck
cloths, and the almost miraculous quickness and dexterity with which
they swept away the money of the unfortunate punters when the fatal
cry of ‘Deuce ace,’ ‘Aces,’ or ‘Sixes out,’ was heard in answer to the
caster’s bold cry of ‘Seven,’ or ‘Nine,’ or ‘Five’s the main.’

“_O noctes cœnæque deûm!_ but the brightest medal has its reverse,
and after all the wit and gaiety and excitement of the night, how
disagreeable the waking up, and how very unpleasant the sight of the
little card, with its numerous figures marked down on the debtor side
in the fine bold hand of Mr Page. Alas, poor Crockey’s! shorn of its
former glory, has become a sort of refuge for the destitute, a cheap
dining-house.[44] How are the mighty fallen! Irish buckeens, spring
captains, ‘welchers’ from Newmarket, and suspicious looking foreigners,
may be seen swaggering after dinner through the marble halls, and up
that gorgeous staircase where once the chivalry of England loved to
congregate; and those who remember Crockford’s in all its glory, cast,
as they pass, a look of unavailing regret at its dingy walls, with many
a sigh to the memory of the pleasant days they passed there, and the
gay companions and noble gentlemen who have long since gone to their
last home.”

One more story about Crockford’s, told by Sir George Chetwynd,[45]
and I have done with this subject. Speaking of Mr George Payne, he
says: “Many were the stories he told of his early life, of his hunting,
of the enormous sum he lost on the Leger before he came of age, of his
never seeing daylight for a whole week in one winter, owing to being
challenged by a friend to play a certain number of games at écarté,
which resulted in their playing every night for six days till seven
o’clock in the morning. Of course it was dark then at that season, and
he used not to get up till 3.30 to 4 o’clock. He was fond of describing
Crockford’s when the conversation turned on hazard or cards, and used
to speak of the lavish way in which the old fishmonger supplied his
guests (or victims) with the finest hot-house peaches, grapes, and
every conceivable delicacy that could be obtained for money, and all
this gratis. A number of men who did not care to play at hazard, used
purposely to lose a hundred or two a year at the tables, to have the
pleasure of dining and supping with their friends, who all flocked to
the magnificent rooms, which, at night, presented the appearance of a
luxurious club. Mr Payne used to narrate that, after dinner, he would
sometimes stroll round there early, and, finding hardly anyone there
except Crockford at his desk, used to sit down and play a game of
backgammon with him, both being fine players.”



CHAPTER IX

 Hells in the Quadrant, 1833—Smith _v._ Bond—Police
 powers—“Confessions of a Croupier.”


The West End of London literally swarmed with gambling houses, for the
most part of a very different description from Crockford’s, as may be
seen by the two following quotations from _The Times_, Jan. 24, 1833:—


“THE HELLS IN THE QUADRANT.

“Those seats of vice (the gaming-houses) which for some time past have
existed in the Quadrant, appear to be done up, as, since Saturday,
not one of them has been opened. Since the five persons have been
apprehended, the visitors have been extremely scarce; nor was their
confidence restored, even by the proprietors having the chain up at
the street door, coupled with a fellow’s being employed at each of the
hells, to patrol before the different establishments, for the purpose
of giving the requisite information as to who sought admission into
those dens of destruction. Although a very active search has been made
for the purpose of ascertaining what has become of Daly, the clerk
of the Athenæum Club-house, who left that establishment on the 8th
instant, no trace had been found of him—one of the many lamentable
cases of loss of character and ruin which overtake those who suffer
themselves to be lured into those houses. Daly, who enjoyed the
confidence of the whole of the members, was suddenly missed on the
above day. On looking over his papers, a diary was found, from which
it appeared that he had lost large sums of money at No. 60, and, as
it has since been ascertained he was there on the previous day, it is
supposed that he lost twenty-four £5 notes, at play, which belonged to
his employers. Upon this discovery being made, some gentlemen of the
Athenæum waited on the parish officers, to ascertain whether they could
not put a stop to the gaming-houses. It was, however, found that it
could not be done unless some person would come forward and identify
those at play; a relation of Daly accordingly went to the house and
supplied the necessary proof. It was at this establishment, a few
months since, the foreigners who had been fleeced made an attempt to
rob the bank; and, shortly after that, placards were posted on the
walls in the neighbourhood of the Quadrant, cautioning persons from
going into any of the hells, as drugged wine was invariably given to
those who were going to play.”

May 9th: “Three prisoners, out of six, answered to the indictment of
keeping and maintaining a common gaming-house, and pleaded guilty.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Clarkson, said that the house in question
was situate No. 4 Regent’s Circus, six doors from the house which was
lately prosecuted. He should have been able to prove that on February
the 7th, 9th, 12th, and 14th last, the games of _rouge et noir_ and
_roulette_ were played for sums varying from one sovereign to one
shilling. He should also have proved that on some one, or on all those
occasions, the defendants acted in the capacities of doorkeeper,
banker, and waiter. He (Mr Clarkson) was informed by the officers of
St James’s parish, that, at the last Sessions there were twenty-seven
houses of this description situate therein, and out of that number
only two had been closed in the interval, but three new ones had been
opened, so that the number had been increased rather than otherwise.

“Mr Phillips, for the defence, said that those houses had nothing to
do with the present case. He would advise the parish officers to go to
Crockford’s, not far distant from the house in question, where they
would find lords and peers of the realm at play.

“The bench sentenced two of the prisoners to three months’, and one to
fourteen days’ imprisonment, in the House of Correction, whilst the
bail of one who did not appear was estreated.”

Of the hells in London in 1833, we get a very fair notion in a long
article in _Fraser’s Magazine_ for August of that year, from which I
take the following small portion:—

“On an average, during the last twenty years, about thirty hells have
been regularly open in London for the accommodation of the lowest and
most vile set of hazard players. The game of hazard is the principal
one played at the low houses, and is, like the characters who play
it, the most desperate and ruinous of all games. The wretched men who
follow this play are partial to it, because it gives a chance, from
a run of good luck, to become speedily possessed of all the money
on the table: no man who plays hazard ever despairs of making his
fortune at some time. Such is the nature of this destructive game,
that I can now point out several men, whom you see daily, who were in
rags and wretchedness on Monday, and, before the termination of the
week, they ride in a newly-purchased Stanhope of their own, having
several thousand pounds in their possession. The few instances of such
successes which, unfortunately, occur, are generally well-known, and,
consequently, encourage the hopes of others, who nightly attend these
places, sacrificing all considerations of life to the carrying (if
it only be a few shillings) their all, every twenty-four hours, to
stake in this great lottery, under the delusive hope of catching Dame
Fortune, at some time, in a merry mood. Thousands annually fall, in
health, fame, and fortune, by this maddening infatuation, whilst not
one in a thousand finds an oasis in the desert.

“The inferior houses of play are always situated in obscure courts,
or other places of retirement, and, most frequently, are kept shut
up during the day as well as at night, as if unoccupied, or some
appearance of trade is carried on as a blind. A back room is selected
for all operations, if one can be procured sufficiently capacious for
the accommodation of forty or fifty persons at one time. In the centre
of the room is fixed a substantial circular table, immoveable to any
power of pressure against it by the company who go to play; a circle of
inlaid white holly wood is formed in the middle of the table of about
four feet diameter, and a lamp is suspended immediately over this ring.
A man, designated the Groom Porter, is mounted on a stool, with a stick
in his hand, having a transverse piece of wood affixed to its end,
which is used by him to rake in the dice after having been thrown out
of the box by the caster (the person who throws the dice).

“The avowed profits of keeping a table of this kind is the receipt
of a piece for each _box hand_,—that is, when a player wins three
times successively, he pays a certain sum to the table, and there
is an aperture in the table made to receive these contributions. At
the minor establishments, the price of a _box hand_ varies from a
shilling to half-a-crown, according to the terms on which the house
is known to have been originally opened. If there is much play, these
payments produce ample profits to the keeper of the house; but their
remuneration for running the risk of keeping an unlawful table of play,
is plunder.

“At all these houses, as at the higher ones, there is always a set of
men who are dependent on the keepers of the house, who hang about the
table like sharks for prey, waiting for those who stay late, or are
inebriated, and come in towards morning to play when there are but few
lookers on; unfair means are then resorted to with impunity, and all
share the plunder. About eleven o’clock, when all honest and regular
persons are preparing for rest, the play commences, the adventurers
being seated around the table: one takes the box and dice, putting
what he is disposed to play for into the ring marked on the table; as
soon as it is covered with a like sum, or set, as it is termed, by
another person, the player calls a main, and at the same moment throws
the dice; if the number called comes up, the caster wins; but if any
other main comes uppermost on the dice the thrower takes that chance
for his own, and his adversary has the one he called; the throwing then
continues, during which bets are made by others on the event until it
is decided. If the caster throws deuce ace, or aces, when he first
calls a main, it is said to be crabbed, and he loses; but if he throws
the number named he is said to have nicked it, and thereby wins it.
Also, if he should call six or eight, and throws the double sixes he
wins; or, if seven be the number called, and eleven is thrown, it is a
nick, because those chances are nicks to these mains; which regulation
is necessary to the equalisation of all the chances of this game when
calling a main. The odds against any number being thrown against
another varies from two to one to six to five, and, consequently, keeps
all the table engaged in betting. All bets are staked, and the noise
occasioned by proposing and accepting wagers is most uproarious and
deafening among the low players, each having one eye on the black spots
marked on the dice as they land from the box, and the other on the
stakes, ready to snatch it if successful. To prevent the noise being
heard in the streets, shutters, closely fitted to the window frames,
are affixed, which are padded and covered with green baize: there is,
invariably, an inner door placed in the passage, having an aperture in
it, through which all who enter the door from the street may be viewed;
this precaution answers two purposes, it deadens the sound of noisy
voices at the table and prevents surprise by the officers of justice.

“The generality of the minor gambling houses are kept by
prize-fighters and other desperate characters, who bully and hector
the more timid out of their money by deciding that bets have been
lost, when, in fact, they have been won. Bread, cheese and beer are
supplied to the players, and a glass of gin is handed, when called for,
gratis. To these places thieves resort, and such other loose characters
as are lost to every feeling of honesty and shame: a table of this
nature in full operation is a terrific sight; all the bad passions
appertaining to the vicious propensities of mankind are portrayed on
the countenances of the players.

“An assembly of the most horrible demons could not exhibit a more
appalling effect; recklessness and desperation overshadow every noble
trait which should enlighten the countenance of a human being. Many,
in their desperation, strip themselves, on the spot, of their clothes,
either to stake against money or to pledge to the table keeper for a
trifle to renew their play: and many instances occur of men going home
half naked, having lost their all.

“They assemble in parties of from forty to fifty persons, who probably
bring, on an average, each night, from one to twenty shillings to play
with. As the money is lost the players depart, if they cannot borrow or
beg more; and this goes on sometimes in the winter season, for fourteen
to sixteen hours in succession; so that from 100 to 140 persons may be
calculated to visit one gambling table in the course of a night; and
it not unfrequently happens that, ultimately, all the money brought
to the table gets into the hands of one or two of the most fortunate
adventurers, save that which is paid to the table for box hands; whilst
the losers separate only to devise plans by which a few more shillings
may be procured for the next night’s play. Every man so engaged is
destined either to become, by success, a more finished and mischievous
gambler, or to appear at the bar of the Old Bailey, where, indeed, most
of them may be said to have figured already.

“The successful players, by degrees, improve their external
appearance, and obtain admission into houses of higher play, where 2s.
6d. or 3s. 4d. is demanded for the box hands. At these places silver
counters are used, representing the aliquot parts of a pound; these are
called _pieces_, one of which is a box hand. If success attends them in
the first step of advancement, they next become initiated into Crown
houses, and associate with gamblers of respectable exterior; where, if
they show talents, they either become confederates in forming schemes
of plunder, and in aiding establishments to carry on their concerns
in defiance of the law, or fall back to their old station of playing
_chicken hazard_, as the small play is designated.”

And so things went on for ten years longer, until the scandal was too
grievous to be borne, and a Select Committee sat in Parliament, in
1844, on the subject of gaming. This was principally brought about
by the revelations in the case of _Smith_ v. _Bond_, which was tried
before Lord Abinger and a special jury at the Middlesex Sittings after
Michaelmas Term, 1842. It was a common gaming-house case brought
under the statute of Anne (9th, c. 14), which was enacted to repress
excessive gaming.

The parish of St George’s, Hanover Square, swarmed with hells, and the
efforts of the parish officers had hitherto been unable to put them
down. The play at such houses was notoriously unfair, and the keepers
had thriven in proportion to the number and wealth of the victims they
had been able to fleece. It was therefore resolved to bring an action
under this statute, which not only prohibits excessive gaming, but
enables the loser of above £10 at a sitting, to recover treble the
amount of his losses; or, if he does not choose to take this course
himself, any informer is enabled to sue for and obtain the penalty, one
half of which is to benefit the poor of the parish in which the offence
was committed, and the other half is to go to the person bringing the
action.

In the case tried before Lord Abinger, the gaming-house went by the
name of the Minor St James’s Club-house; but there was not the least
pretence for calling it a club; anybody went there to play with hardly
the formality of a first introduction. The keepers did a thriving
trade, at French Hazard chiefly, and it was proved by the plaintiff,
who had been one of the coterie who kept the table, that Mr Bredell had
lost £200, Mr Fitzroy Stanhope £50, the Marquis of Conyngham £500 on
each of two separate occasions, Lord Cantalupe £400, and other noblemen
and gentlemen various sums.

An ingenious plea was put in by counsel on behalf of Bond, the keeper
of the so-called club, that the sums in question were paid by cheques,
and as a cheque is not held to be a payment in law until cashed, and
as the banks at which the cheques were payable were not in the parish
of St George’s, Hanover Square, the offence was not completed in that
parish, and the plaintiff could not recover. The Chief Baron overruled
the objection, and under his direction the jury returned a verdict
for the plaintiff for £3508, being treble the amount actually proved
to have been lost, thus teaching a very useful lesson to the keepers
of gaming-houses generally. Had Lords Conyngham and Cantalupe and Mr
Stanhope come forward as witnesses, and certified to their losses on
the two occasions mentioned, additional penalties would have accrued to
the amount of £5820.

The Act of 1822 (3 Geo. IV., c. 114) was still in force, by which
a gaming-house keeper might be imprisoned with hard labour, and the
Police Act of 1839 (2 and 3 Vic., c. 47, § 48) provided that “it shall
be lawful for the Commissioners, by Order in Writing, to authorize the
Superintendent to enter any such House, or Room, with such Constables
as shall be directed by the Commissioners to accompany him, and, if
necessary, to use Force for the Purpose of effecting such Entry,
whether by breaking open Doors, or otherwise, and to take into Custody
all Persons who shall be found therein, and to seize and destroy all
Tables and Instruments of gaming found in such House, or Premises; and,
also, to seize all Monies and Securities for Money found therein, and
the Owner, or Keeper of the said Gaming-House, or other person having
the Care and Management thereof; and, also, every Banker, Croupier,
and other Person who shall act in any manner in conducting the said
Gaming-House, shall be liable to a Penalty of not more than One Hundred
Pounds; or, in the discretion of the Magistrate before whom he shall be
convicted of the Offence, may be committed to the House of Correction,
with or without hard Labour, for a Time not more than Six Calendar
Months; and, upon Conviction of any such Offender, all the Monies and
Securities for Monies, which shall have been seized, as aforesaid,
shall be paid to the said Receiver, to be, by him, applied towards
defraying the Charge of the Police of the Metropolis; and every Person
found in such Premises, without lawful Excuse, shall be liable to a
Penalty of not more than Five Pounds.”

But all this legislation was of no use; the gaming-tables continued to
flourish until after the Report of the Select Committee. What they were
like at that time may best be learnt by the following extract from an
article in _Bentley’s Magazine_ for June 1844, entitled “A Fashionable
Gaming-house, Confessions of a Croupier.”

“The—— gaming-house,—— Street, some years ago, was kept by three
well-known individuals. After passing through two lobbies you entered
the play-room, which formed a _coup d’œil_ of no ordinary attraction.
It was a large room, richly carpeted. Two rich and massive chandeliers,
suspended from the ceiling, showed the dazzling gilt and colour of the
empanelled walls; from which, at alternate distances, extended elegant
mirror branches with lights. The chimney piece was furnished with a
plate of glass, which reached the ceiling, the sides were concealed
by falling drapery of crimson and gold, and supported by two gilt
full-length figures bearing lights. At the opposite end were placed
two _beaufets_, furnished with costly plate, glass, etc. In the middle
was fixed the hazard table, of a long oval form, having an adumbrated
lamp hanging over the centre. On the right stood the _rouge et noir_
and _roulette_ tables, idly placed, ‘to make up a show.’ Not so that on
the left, for, there, stood the supper table. This was laid out with
viands worthy the contemplation of an epicure, on whitest damask, in
costly china, and in forms delicate and _recherché_. Everything which
might court the most fastidious taste was there spread in luxuriant
profusion; game, poultry, ham, tongue, not forgetting the substantial
sirloin; lobster salads, oysters, _en outre les petites misères_;
confectionery and preserves; creams, jellies, and pine apples. Silver
candelabra lighted each end of this long and well supplied table,
while the middle was reserved for the display of one of still greater
magnificence, said to have been designed and executed for his Royal
Highness, the late Duke of——. It was composed of a large figure of
Hercules contending with the Hydra with seven heads. This gorgeous
piece of plate supported seven wax lights. Iolaus (who assisted
Hercules) was, also, represented, bearing the lighted brand wherewith
to staunch the blood, lest another head should spring from the wound.”

This is much; but when to this is added—

  ‘Something, still, which prompts the eternal sigh!’

ONE THOUSAND SOVEREIGNS! a shining golden heap! and TEN THOUSAND POUNDS
in notes! the reader may imagine the scene which every evening met the
eye. Yes! every evening, into a silver vase, which stood on the hazard
table, were emptied ten bags, each containing one hundred sovereigns!

On some evenings, there would, perhaps, be no play, and insufferably
tedious would have been the hours from eleven till three but for the
relief offered by some tragi-comic incident. The London season was
about to open; the Newmarket Spring Meeting had just closed, and
Tattersall’s, consequently, exhibited a slight gathering. The members
of Crockford’s, as yet, presented a meagre attendance; the Opera Bills
announced attractive novelties, and the minor theatres promised their
many marvels. In fact, the busy, bustling hive of human interests was
on the move. The dormant began to stir, the watchful to speculate; the
beauty to take her promenade in the yet pale sunshine; the invalid to
snatch his walk at the meridian hour; the gambler to devise his means
of expense, and the banker-hell-keeper how to frustrate them.

It was one evening, about this period, that a party entered to try
the fortune of an hour. The result of the evening’s play was against
the bank. One of the visitors won five hundred pounds, which, for a
whim, he took away in gold. He tied the sovereigns up in a white pocket
handkerchief, threw them over his shoulder, and, in that manner, walked
up St James’s Street. From that night, the same party continued to
visit us; and, with occasional droppers in of ex-colonels, majors,
captains, etc., we, generally, made up a table. What! enter again,
after having won five hundred pounds! ‘Oh! infatuated man,’ I hear the
reader exclaim. Yes! for of all things unfathomable and absorbing,
there is nothing so unfathomably deep as the desires of the human
heart, when stimulated by the excitement of speculation.

For some weeks the play had been constant, and, as the season advanced,
the company increased, and the money began to return to the bank.
Sometimes play began late, perhaps not till after one.

Among our very constant visitors was a gallant captain. He came early,
and was good to lose a hundred pounds, and satisfied to win fifty. His
entrance was always met by a ready welcome.

‘Here comes the gallant captain! How are you, captain?’

‘Hearty, thank ye!’ he replied. ‘I say, how was it that my cheque was
not paid this morning?’

‘Not paid! you’re joking, captain!’

‘Joking!’ replied the captain. ‘No, I’ll be d—d if it is a joke.’

The captain, on the previous evening, having won, had put up his
counters and wished for a fifty pound note.

‘Certainly,’ said one of the triumvirs, looking into the box. ‘A fifty,
did you say, captain? I am sorry to say I have not got a fifty. Make
it a hundred, captain. You will soon do it if you put it down a little
spicy.’

‘No,’ rejoined the captain, ‘I don’t want to play any more, for I must
leave town early to-morrow morning.’

‘Well; but what is to be done?’ said the manager. Then, calling to his
partner, he inquired if he had a fifty pound note for Captain——.

‘No, I have not; but I will write a cheque for him; that will be all
the same.’

Away went the captain, as light hearted as a cricket, to sleep away the
few remaining hours that intervened before another day wakes us all to
our divers duties. Who has not noticed the punctuality of the banker’s
clerks wending their way to their daily toil. Not quite so early as
these, yet not much later, did the captain doff his night gear; then
made his appearance at the banker’s, nothing doubting. He presents ‘the
bit o’ writin’’ ‘Two twenties and ten in gold.’ The clerk puts forward
his attenuated fingers, examines it: a pause ensues. How can it be? The
date is right, and the autograph is genuine; but there is no order to
pay it.

‘No order to pay it?’ echoed the captain, much annoyed.

Between ourselves, the private mark was wanting: which was, perhaps, a
pin hole, or not a pin hole.

On the evening I have referred to, he received counters for this
cheque, and was, already, deep in the game, when the _chef_ made his
appearance. The above _ruse_ was frequently resorted to.

It is customary to lend money to parties on cheque, or otherwise,
if the applicants are considered safe. One of the visitors, who was
passionately addicted to play and the turf, having lost his ready
money, borrowed three hundred pounds in counters, and, having lost
these also, gave a cheque for the amount; but with this condition,
that it should not be sent in to his banker’s in the country for some
few days. No sooner, however, was his back turned than an _employé_
was instructed to start off very early the following morning to get
the cheque cashed; the date, which was left open, being first clapped
in. The cheque was paid; and two or three nights afterwards the
young gentleman came for an explanation of the circumstance, and to
remonstrate. The poor _employé_, as usual, was made the scapegoat, and
was roundly abused for his stupidity in not understanding that he was
particularly ordered not to present it till further notice.

It was the practice, also, to present post-dated cheques, which had
been refused payment, and even to sue on them. Sometimes, after an
evening’s play, a gentleman would find himself the winner of a couple
of hundred pounds, when, all but folding up the notes, and preparing
to go, he would find, to his mortification, a small account against
him, of, perhaps, seventy or eighty pounds. ‘Eighty pounds! impossible!
there must be some mistake.’ Expostulation was vain. ‘It is down in the
book. It is perfectly correct, you may rest assured. I pledge you my
honour of this.’

Sometimes it happened that a gentleman would borrow one hundred pounds,
of course in counters, on a cheque or a short bill. Perhaps he might
win thirty or forty pounds, in which case, the one hundred pounds in
counters would be taken from him and his cheque returned, and he would
be left to do his best with the small capital remaining to him, with
the privilege of renewing the transaction, should he lose it. Counters,
so borrowed, were not allowed to be lent to a friend.

Nevertheless, it may seem not a bad ‘hedge,’ technically speaking, to
have the opportunity of borrowing hundred after hundred, as some people
would do, till a hand came off. I have known persons to come in without
a penny, and declare the Caster, in or out, ten pounds, and losing
the bet, would ask for a hundred pounds, would receive it and lose
it, and receive in the same way to the amount of six or seven hundred
pounds, and then would declare that they would not pay one farthing
unless accommodated with another hundred. I have known a man of high
rank lose to the amount of fourteen hundred pounds, on account, which,
under the circumstances, his lordship had more sense than to pay. But,
for the bold style, I will quote a city wine merchant. Having lost
his cash, he requested a hundred pounds, which he received; he then
asked for another, which he also received. He demanded another! After
a few words, and a reference to a friend then at the table, this, too,
was given to him, and a cheque for £300 was received for the advance
made. It so happened that the third hundred was lost also. He, then,
peremptorily demanded more, and, upon being refused, he requested to
see the cheque, disputing the amount, which being handed to him, he
immediately tore it to pieces, and left the room.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may be thought that a gentleman who has lost above a thousand pounds
in a gaming-house may have the right of _entrée_ by prescription.
Nothing is more unlike the fact. From the height of his prosperity
to its declension, every occultation in his course is noted with the
nicest observation; for instance, playing for lower stakes, a more
febrile excitement when losing, occasionally borrowing of a friend, a
cheque not punctually paid; and, finally, a small sum borrowed of the
bank, to enable him to take up a bill under a very pressing emergency.
These are the little circumstances which lead to his ultimate
exclusion. On some fine evening during the ensuing season, he calls,
thinking to be admitted as heretofore; but he is stopped at the first
door with the ready excuse, that ‘there is nothing doing.’ On the next
call, he is told ‘there is no play going on.’

‘No play? So you said the last time I called; and I have since
understood from a friend that there was play. Let me in; I want to see
the manager.’

‘He is not in, sir.’

‘Oh, very well, I shall take some other opportunity of seeing him.’

When he does see the _chef_, the latter expresses most sincere regret
at the occurrence, and makes a most specious promise to have the
interdict removed. Thus assured, who is now to oppose his entrance? Not
the porter, surely! Yes; the very same person still insists that the
great man is not within; that he knows nothing about the explanation
given, and, therefore, cannot admit him. Thus repulsed, the applicant
murmurs a threat about not paying, and thus ends the matter.”



CHAPTER X

Select Committee on Gaming, 1844—Evidence.


Such, then, was gambling, when the Select Committee on gaming sat in
1844, and Mr (afterwards Sir) Richard Mayne, in his evidence, shows the
craftiness of the gaming-house keepers, and the difficulties of the
police in obtaining a conviction. He says:—

“Superintendent Baker was the Superintendent who entered all those
houses. With the permission of the Committee, I will read his report,
in which he states the difficulties he has met with: ‘I beg, most
respectfully, to lay before the Commissioners a few observations for
their consideration, being extremely anxious that something more
should be done respecting the gaming-houses, to put them down, which
are the cause of so many young men’s ruin, and, at the same time, show
to the Commissioners the difficulties I have to contend with, before
an entry can be effected; from the reluctance of the housekeepers to
make the required affidavits, from not wishing to have their names
brought forward in such matters; also, from the great difficulty in
gaining an entrance to a gaming-house, from their extreme caution and
watchfulness, besides the strength of their doors and fastenings,
which gives them ample time to remove any implement of gaming from the
premises: their vigilance is such that it is impossible to obtain an
entry for the purpose of seeing play, unless treachery is used with
some of the players, which is attended by danger and great expense. On
the slightest alarm, the cloths, which are thrown loose over a common
table, &c., are, in one moment, removed, and secreted about the persons
of the keepers, &c.; and, as the present law stands, the police are
not empowered to search them at all: there are no complaints from the
housekeepers respecting the gaming-houses, and, in every instance
of putting them down, the police have been obliged almost to compel
them to go to the police court to swear to the necessary affidavits;
such has been their reluctance. As the present law stands, before
I can enter a gaming-house with safety, I am obliged to go through
the following forms: 1st, to make such inquiry as to leave no doubt
that gaming is carried on in a house; 2nd, to make a report of the
circumstance to the Commissioners; 3rd, to show the said report to
the housekeepers residing in the parish and neighbourhood where the
house is situated, and the offence carried on, for them to make the
necessary affidavits; 4th, to prepare affidavits for the housekeepers
to sign, in the presence of the magistrates; 5th, to make a report
of the same to the Commissioners when sworn to; 6th, to make out the
Commissioners’ warrant for me and the police under my command to
enter; 7th, to endeavour, if possible, to get an officer in disguise
into the gaming-house to witness play being carried on, previous to
my entry, which is the most difficult task to encounter, as no one is
admitted unless brought there by a Bonnet or a play-man, as a pigeon
or freshman, commonly known as Punters or Flats. Since my entry into
No. 34 St James’s Street, kept by Isaiah Smart, whose son was killed
by a fall from the roof in endeavouring to escape from the police,
there is no doubt the gamblers have exercised the greatest ingenuity in
their power in order to entrap me into a false entry on their premises
by lighting up the rooms as if play was going on; employing persons
to watch, both outside and in, to give the alarm on the appearance of
any of the police passing; so that, if I was tempted to make an entry
without taking the precaution of having an officer inside to prove
gaming, there is not the least doubt but that they would instantly
catch at the opportunity of bringing an action against me for trespass,
&c., and thereby effect my ruin. I have received information that such
is the case in the event of my making one false step, and which I have
every reason to believe is true.’”

Crockford was examined, but the Committee got very little out of that
old fox, except the fact that he had given up all active connection
with the establishment in St James’s Street for over four years.

Mr Mayne was recalled on the 9th May 1844, and gave evidence that,
two nights previously, an entry was made into all houses, known to be
gaming-houses in town, seventeen in number, with the result of a fine
haul of men, money, and gaming implements.

The outcome of the Select Committees of both Houses of Parliament
was the passing, on 8th August 1845, of 8-9 Vic., c. 109, “An Act to
amend the Law against Games and Wagers”—and for many years afterwards
professional gaming-houses in London were a tradition of the past. Now,
however, they abound, thanks to the laxity of the law with regard to
so-called clubs.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here, then, ends the account of this phase of gambling, as it has been
thought inexpedient to give any modern instances of play at so-called
Clubs, or Card-sharping.



CHAPTER XI

 Wagers and Betting—Samson—Greek and Roman betting—In the 17th
 Century—“Lusty Packington”—The rise of betting in the 18th
 Century—Walpole’s story of White’s—Betting in the House of
 Commons—Story by Voltaire—Anecdotes of betting—Law suit concerning
 the Chevalier d’Eon.


Betting, or rather, that peculiar form of wager which consists in a
material pledge in corroboration of controverted assertions, is of very
ancient date, and we meet with it in one of the early books of the
Bible, see Judges xiv. where in vv. 12, 13, Samson makes a distinct
bet—owns he has lost in v. 18, and pays his bet, v. 19.

“12. And Samson said unto them, I will now put a riddle unto you: if
ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and
find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty changes of
garments.

“13. But, if ye cannot declare it me, then shall you give me thirty
sheets and thirty changes of garments. And they said unto him, put
forth thy riddle that we may hear it.

“14. And he said unto them, out of the eater came forth meat, and out
of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not, in three days,
expound the riddle.

“15. And it came to pass, on the seventh day, that they said unto
Samson’s wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the
riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father’s house with fire: have ye
called us to take that we have? is it not so?

“16. And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate
me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children
of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, I have not
told it my father, nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee?

“17. And she wept before him the seven days, while the feast lasted;
and it came to pass, on the seventh day, that he told her, because
she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her
people.

“18. And the men of the city said unto him, on the seventh day, before
the sun went down, what is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger
than a lion? And he said unto them, if ye had not plowed with my
heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.

“19. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to
Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave
changes of raiment unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger
was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.

“20. But Samson’s wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as
his friend.”

Now, in this very ancient story, we find embodied as much roguery and
crime as in any modern turf episode. Samson bet without any means of
paying, if he lost: he lost, and was a defaulter. But, to pay this
“debt of honour,” he had recourse to wholesale murder and robbery—to
satisfy men, who to his own knowledge, had (to use a modern expression)
“tampered with the stable.”

The early Greeks betted, as we find in Homer’s _Iliad_, b. xxiii. 485-7
where Idomeneus offers a bet to the lesser Ajax to back his own opinion:

  Δεῦρό νυν ή τρίποδος περιδώμεθον, ἠὲ λέβετος̓
  Ἳστορα δ̓  Ἀτρείδην Ἀγαμέμνονα θείομεν ὕμφω.
  Ὀππότεραι πρόθ̓  ἵπποἰ ἵνα γνοίης ὰποτίνων.

                          “Now, come on!
  A wager stake we, of tripod, or of caldron;
  And make we both Atreidès Agamemnon
  Judge, whether foremost are those mares: and so
  Learn shalt thou, to thy cost!”

In Homer’s _Odyssey_, xxiii. 78, Eurycleia wagers her life to Penelope
that Ulysses has returned: Aristophanes in his _Equites_, 791;
_Acharnes_, 772, 1115; and _Nebulæ_, 644, gives examples of wagers;
and, in the eighth idyll of Theocritus, Daphins proposes a bet to
Menalcas about a singing match.

Among the Romans, Virgil tells us of a wager in his third _Eclogue_ of
the _Bucolics_, 28-50, between Menalcas and Damœtas, which is virtually
the same as that of Theocritus, and Valerius Maximus tells us how a
triumph was awarded by the senate to Lutatius, the Consul, who had
defeated the Carthaginian fleet. The prætor Valerius, having also been
present in the action, asserted that the victory was his, and that a
triumph was due to him also. The question came before the judge; but
not until Valerius had first, in support of his assertion, deposited a
stake, against which Lutatius deposited another. But in classical time
they seem to have known little about odds.

The word wager is an English word—and was spelt in Middle English,
_Wageoure_, or _Wajour_, as in _The Babee’s Book_.

  “No _waiour_ non with hym thou lay,
  Ne at the dyce with hym to play.”

It was in early use, for we have the _Wager of Battel_, which was a
practical bet between two men as to the justice of their cause. This
ordeal was in force until 1819, when it was done away with by 59 Geo.
III., c. 46.

In Shakespeare’s time betting was common, and the practice of giving
and taking odds was well known, as we may see in _Hamlet_, Act v. s. 2,
where Osrick, speaking to Hamlet, says, “The King, sir, hath wagered
with him six Barbary horses; against which he hath imponed, as I take
it, six French Rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdles,
hangers and so.” In _Cymbeline_, Act i. s. 5, we have a bet, which is
so serious that it has to be recorded. Iachimo says, “I dare thereupon
pawn the moiety of my estate to your ring, which, in my opinion,
o’ervalues it something,” and, ultimately, ten thousand crowns are laid
against the ring, and Iachimo says, “I will fetch my gold, and have our
two wagers recorded.”

By the way, there was an epitaph on Combe, the usurer, which has been
attributed to Shakespeare, which intimates the laying of odds.

  “Ten in the hundred lies here ingraved;
  ‘Tis a hundred to ten, his soul is not sav’d.”

It is recorded of Sir John Packington, called “Lusty Packington” (Queen
Elizabeth called him “her Temperance”), that he entered into articles
to swim against three noblemen for £3000 from Westminster Bridge to
Greenwich; but the queen, by her special command, prevented the bet
being carried out.

Howell in his _Epistolæ Ho-Elianæ_ says: “If one would try a petty
conclusion how much smoke there is in a pound of Tobacco, the ashes
will tell him: for, let a pound be exactly weighed, and the ashes kept
charily and weighed afterwards, what wants of a pound weight in the
ashes, cannot be denied to have been smoke which evaporated into air. I
have been told that Sir Walter Rawleigh won a wager of Queen Elizabeth
upon this nicety.”

Men betted, but their wagers are not recorded until the eighteenth
century, and one of the earliest of these is told in _Malcolm’s
Anecdotes of the Manners and Customs of London during the eighteenth
century_. “Mrs Crackenthorpe, the Female Tatler of 1709, tells us ‘that
four worthy Senators lately threw their hats into a river, laid a crown
each whose hat should first swim to the mill, and ran hallooing after
them; and he that won the prize, was in a greater rapture than if he
had carried the most dangerous point in Parliament.’”

“There was an established Cock pit in Prescot Street, Goodman’s
Fields, 1712: there the Gentlemen of the East entertained themselves,
while the Nobles and others of the West were entertained by the
edifying exhibition of the agility of their running footmen. His
Grace of Grafton declared _his_ man was unrivalled in speed; and the
Lord Cholmondeley betted him that _his_ excelled even the unrivalled;
accordingly, the ground was prepared for a two mile heat, in Hyde Park;
the race was run, _and one of the parties was victor_, but _which_, my
informant does not say.”

“I have frequently observed, in the course of my researches, the
strange methods and customs peculiar to gaming, horse racing, dice and
wagers; the latter are generally governed by whim and extreme folly.
We have already noticed Noblemen running their Coaches and Footmen. In
1729, a Poulterer of Leadenhall Market betted £50, he would walk 202
times round the area of Upper Moorfields in 27 hours, and, accordingly,
proceeded at the rate of five miles an hour on the _amusing pursuit_,
to the infinite improvement of his business, and great edification of
hundreds of spectators. Wagers are now a favourite custom with too many
of the Londoners; they very frequently, however, originate over the
bottle, or the porter pot.”

“To characterise the follies of the day, it will be necessary to add
to the account of the _walking_ man, another, of a _hopping man_, who
engaged to hop 500 yards, in 50 hops, in St James’s Park, which he
performed in 46. This important event occurred in December 1731.”

In No. 145 of the _Spectator_ (16th Aug. 1711) is a letter about
the prevalence of laying wagers. “Among other things which your own
experience must suggest to you, it will be very obliging if you please
to take notice of wagerers.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Not long ago, I was relating that I had read such a passage in
Tacitus; up starts my young gentleman, in a full company, and,
pulling out his purse, offered to lay me ten guineas, to be staked,
immediately, in that gentleman’s hands, pointing to one smoking at
another table, that I was utterly mistaken. I was dumb for want of ten
guineas; he went on unmercifully to triumph over my ignorance how to
take him up, and told the whole room he had read Tacitus twenty times
over, and such a remarkable incident as that, could not escape him. He
has, at this time, three considerable wagers depending between him and
some of his companions, who are rich enough to hold an argument with
him. He has five guineas upon questions in geography, two that the
Isle of Wight is a peninsula, and three guineas to one, that the world
is round. We have a gentleman comes to our coffee house, who deals
mightily in antique scandal; my disputant has laid him twenty pieces
upon a point of history.”

It was in the early part of the eighteenth century that betting
was made a part of professional gambling, as we read in Smollett’s
_Adventures of Ferdinand, Count Fathom_. On his return to England “he
perceived that gaming was now managed in such a manner, as rendered
skill and dexterity of no advantage; for the spirit of play having
overspread the land, like a pestilence, raged to such a degree of
madness and desperation, that the unhappy people who were infected,
laid aside all thoughts of amusement, economy, or caution, and risqued
their fortunes upon issues equally extravagant, childish and absurd.

“The whole mystery of the art was reduced to the simple exercise of
tossing up a guinea, and the lust of laying wagers, which they indulged
to a surprising pitch of ridiculous intemperance. In one corner of the
room might be heard a pair of lordlings running their grandmothers
against each other, that is, betting sums on the longest liver;
in another, the success of the wager depended upon the sex of the
landlady’s next child: one of the waiters happening to drop down in an
apoplectic fit, a certain noble peer exclaimed, ‘Dead, for a thousand
pounds.’ The challenge was immediately accepted; and when the master of
the house sent for a surgeon to attempt the cure, the nobleman, who set
the price upon the patient’s head, insisted upon his being left to the
efforts of nature alone, otherwise the wager should be void: nay, when
the landlord harped upon the loss he should sustain by the death of a
trusty servant, his lordship obviated the objection, by desiring that
the fellow might be charged in the bill.”

Horace Walpole in a letter to Sir H. Mann (1 Sep. 1750) tells a
similar tale. “They have put in the papers a good story made on
White’s; a man dropped down dead at the door, was carried in; the club
immediately made bets whether he was dead or not, and when they were
going to bleed him, the wagerers for his death interposed, and said
it would affect the fairness of the bet.” But there is no such bet
mentioned in White’s betting book.

They even betted in the House of Commons. In the course of a debate Mr
Pulteney charged Sir Robert Walpole with misquoting Horace; the prime
minister replied by offering to bet that he had not done so, and the
wager was accepted. The clerk of the House was called upon to decide
the question, and declared Pulteney right; upon which Sir Robert threw
a guinea across the House, to be picked up by his opponent, with the
remark that it was the first public money he had touched for a long
time.

Brookes’ betting book has C. J. Fox’s name frequently. In 1744 he bet
Lord Northington that he would be called to the Bar within four years
time. In 1755, he received one guinea from Lord Bolingbroke, upon
condition of paying him a thousand pounds when the debts of the country
amounted to a hundred and seventy-one millions; an event Fox lived to
see come to pass.

In the _Connoisseur_ of 9th May 1754 is an article on the prevalence
of wagers. It says: “Tho’ most of our follies are imported from France,
this had its rise and progress entirely in England. In the last illness
of Louis XIV. Lord Stair laid a wager on his death; and we may guess
what the French thought of it, from the manner in which Voltaire
mentions it, in his _Siècle de Louis XIV_. ‘Le roi fut attaqué vers
le milieu du mois d’Août. Le Comte de Stair, ambassadeur d’Angleterre
_paria, selon le génie de sa nation_, que le roi ne passeroit pas le
mois de Septembre.’ ‘The King,’ says he, ‘was taken ill about the
middle of August; when Lord Stair, the Ambassador from England, _betted
according to the custom of his nation_, that the king would not live
beyond September.’

I am in some pain lest this custom should get among the ladies. They
are, at present, very deep in cards and dice; and while my lord is
gaining abroad, her ladyship has her rout at home. I am inclined
to suspect that our women of fashion will, also, learn to divert
themselves with this polite practice of laying wagers. A birthday suit,
the age of a beauty, who invented a particular fashion, or who were
supposed to be together at the last masquerade, would, frequently give
occasion for bets. This would, also, afford them a new method for the
ready propagation of scandal, as the truth of several stories which are
continually flitting about the town, would, naturally, be brought to
the same test. Should they proceed further, to stake the lives of their
acquaintances against each other, they would, doubtless, bet with the
same fearless spirit, as they are known to do at _brag_; one husband
would, perhaps, be pitted against another, or a woman of the town
against a maid of honour. In a word, if this once becomes fashionable
among the ladies, we shall soon see the time, when an allowance for bet
money will be stipulated in the marriage articles.

As the vices and follies of persons of distinction are very apt to
spread, I am much afraid lest this branch of gaming should descend to
the common people. Indeed, it seems already to have got among them.
We have frequent accounts of tradesmen riding, walking, eating and
drinking for a wager. The contested election in the City has occasioned
several extraordinary bets. I know a butcher in Leadenhall Market, who
laid an ox to a shin of beef on the success of Sir John Barnard against
the field; and have been told of a publican in Thames Street, who
ventured a hogshead of entire beer on the candidate who serves him with
beer.”

Walpole tells one or two stories about betting in the course of
his chatty letters. “Dec. 19, 1750. There has been a droll cause in
Westminster Hall: a man laid another a wager that he produced a person
who should weigh as much again as the Duke.[46] When they had betted,
they recollected not knowing how to desire the Duke to step into a
scale. They agreed to establish his weight at twenty stone, which,
however, is supposed to be two more than he weighs. One Bright,[47] was
then produced, who is since dead, and who, actually, weighed forty-two
stone and a half. As soon as he was dead, the person who had lost,
objected that he had been weighed in his clothes, and though it was
impossible that his clothes could weigh above two stone, they went to
law. There were the Duke’s twenty stone bawled over a thousand times;
but the righteous law decided against the man who had won!”

“10th July 1774. One of them has committed a murder, and intends
to repeat it. He betted £1500 that a man could live twelve hours
under water; hired a desperate fellow, sunk him in a ship, by way of
experiment, and both ship and man have not appeared since. Another man
and ship are to be tried for their lives, instead of Mr Blake, the
assassin.”

On 30 June 1765 a wager of 1000 guineas was decided between two
noblemen, one of whom had constructed a machine which was to work a
boat at the rate of 25 miles an hour: a canal was prepared near the
banks of the Thames, on which to try it, but the tackle breaking, the
bet was lost.

28 Feb. 1770. A bet was laid by a noble earl that he would procure
a man to ride to Edinburgh from London, and back, in less time than
another noble earl could make a million of scores, or distinct dots, in
the most expeditious manner that he could contrive.

On 12th June 1771 was tried before Lord Mansfield and a special jury,
in the Court of King’s Bench, a cause wherein Lord March was plaintiff,
and Mr Pigot, defendant. The action was brought to recover the sum
of 500 guineas for a wager which Lord March had laid with Mr Pigot,
whether Sir William Codrington or old Mr Pigot would die first. Mr
Pigot happened to die suddenly from gout in his head on the morning
previous to the laying of the wager, and the younger Mr Pigot thought,
from this circumstance, that it was no bet. The defendant’s counsel
said, that if you make a bet for two horses to run, and one of them
should die before the race came off, there could be no bet; and he
hoped that the jury would find for his client. After a short charge
from the judge, the jury brought in a verdict for the plaintiff of 500
guineas, and full costs of suit.

On 1st July 1777 a case came before the Lord Chief-Justice Mansfield,
which is one of the most extraordinary that ever was tried in a Court
of Justice, respecting the sex of the Chevalier d’Eon, formerly
ambassador to England from the Court of France.

The action was brought by Mr Hayes, surgeon, against one Jacques, a
broker and underwriter, for the recovery of £700, the said Jacques
having, about six years previously, received premiums of fifteen
guineas per cent., for every one of which he stood engaged to return
_one hundred guineas_, whenever it should be proved that the Chevalier
d’Eon was, actually, a woman.

Mr Buller opened the case as counsel for Mr Hayes. He stated the
fairness of the transaction, and the justifiable nature of the demand,
as Mr Hayes, the plaintiff, thought himself now to be in possession of
that proof which would determine the sex of the Chevalier d’Eon, and,
for ever, render the case indisputable.

In proof of the fact, M. de Goux, a surgeon, was the first witness
called, and gave his testimony to the following effect: That he had
been acquainted with the Chevalier d’Eon from the time when the Duc de
Nivernois resided in England in quality of ambassador from the Court of
France. That to his certain knowledge, the person called the Chevalier
d’Eon was a woman.

Being closely interrogated by the counsel for the defendant, as to the
mode of his acquiring such a degree of certainty relative to the sex
of the party, M. de Goux gave this account of the matter: That, about
five years ago, he was called in by the Chevalier d’Eon, to lend his
professional aid, as she, at that time, laboured under a disorder which
rendered an examination of the afflicted part absolutely necessary.
That this examination led, of course, to that discovery of the sex of
which M. de Goux was now enabled to give such testimony.

The second witness called on the part of the plaintiff was M. de
Morande. He swore that, so long ago as the 3rd of July 1774, the
Chevalier d’Eon made a free disclosure of her sex to the witness. That
she had even proceeded so far as to display her bosom on the occasion.
That, in consequence of this disclosure of sex, she, the Chevalier
d’Eon, had exhibited the contents of her female wardrobe, which
consisted of sacques, petticoats, and other habiliments calculated
for feminine use. That, on the said 3rd day of July 1774, the witness
paid a morning visit to the Chevalier d’Eon, and, finding her in bed,
accosted her in a style of gallantry respecting her sex. That, so far
from being offended with this freedom, the said Chevalier desired the
witness to approach nearer to her bed, and then permitted him to have
manual proof of her being, in very truth, a woman.

Mr Mansfield, on the part of the defendant, pleaded that this was one
of those gambling, indecent and unnecessary cases, that ought never
to be permitted to come into a Court of Justice; that, besides the
inutility and indecency of the case, the plaintiff had taken advantage
of his client, being in possession of intelligence that enabled him
to lay with greater certainty, although with such great odds on his
side; that the plaintiff, at the time of laying the wager, knew that
the Court of France treated with the Chevalier, as a woman, to grant
her a pension; and that the French Court must have had some strong
circumstances to imbibe that idea; therefore, he hoped the jury would
reprobate such wagers. The defendant’s counsel did not attempt to
contradict the plaintiff’s’ evidence, by proving the masculine gender.

Lord Mansfield expressed his abhorrence of the whole transaction, and
the more so, for their bringing it into a Court of Justice, when it
might have been settled elsewhere; wishing it had been in his power,
in concurrence with the jury, to have made both parties lose; but, as
the law had not expressly prohibited it, and the wager was laid, the
question before them was, who had won? His Lordship remarked that the
indecency of the proceeding arose more from the unnecessary questions
asked, than from the case itself; that the witnesses had declared
they perfectly knew the Chevalier d’Eon to be a woman; if she is not
a woman, they are certainly perjured: there was, therefore, no need
of inquiring how, or by what methods they knew it, which was all the
indecency.

As to the fraud suggested, of the plaintiff’s knowing more than the
defendant, he seemed to think there was no foundation for it. His
Lordship then recited a wager entered into by two gentlemen, in his own
presence, about the dimensions of the Venus de Medicis, for £100. One
of the gentlemen said, “I will not deceive you; I tell you fairly, I
have been there, and measured it myself.” “Well,” says the other, “and
do you think I should be such a fool, as to lay if I had not measured
it?... I will lay for all that.”

His Lordship then went on to state to the jury, that this Chevalier
had publicly appeared as a man, had been employed by the Court of
France, as a man, as a military man, in a civil office, and as a
Minister of State here, and in Russia; there was all the presumption
against the plaintiff, and the _onus probandi_ lay upon him, which
might never been come at; for it appeared, the only proposition of a
discovery of sex that had been made to the Chevalier, by some gentlemen
on an excursion, had been resented by d’Eon, who had instantly quitted
their company on that account: it might, therefore, never have been in
his power to have proved his wager, but for some accidental quarrels
between d’Eon and some of her countrymen. His Lordship was, therefore,
of opinion that the jury should find a verdict for the plaintiff.

The jury, without hesitation, gave a verdict for the plaintiff, £700,
and 40s. Yet, when d’Eon died, in London, in 1810, _it was proved,
without a shadow of a doubt, that he was a man_.



CHAPTER XII

 Gluttonous Wager—Walk to Constantinople and back—Sir John Lade
 and Lord Cholmondeley—Other Wagers—Betting on Napoleon—Bet on a
 Coat—Lord Brougham—Brunel and Stephenson—Captain Barclay—Story by
 Mr Ross—The Earl of March’s Coach—Selby’s drive to Brighton—White’s
 betting book.


A different kind of wager is recorded in _The World_, of 4th May
1787. “At the Wheel, at Hackington Fen, on Wednesday sen’night, a fen
farmer laid a wager he could eat _two dozen_ of penny mutton pies,
and drink a gallon of ale in half an hour, which he performed _with
ease_, in half the time, and said he had but a _scanty_ supper and
wished for something more; in less than half an hour after, he ate a
threepenny loaf and a pound of cheese, and still swore he was hungry.
The landlord, unwilling to starve his _delicate guest_, set before him
a leg of pork, which his voracious appetite gormandized with great
composure. He thanked the landlord for his civility, and said, ‘I hate
to go to bed with an empty stomach.’”

In the _Annual Register_ we read, September 1788. “A young Irish
gentleman, for a very considerable wager, set out on Monday the 22nd
instant, to walk to Constantinople and back again in one year. It is
said that the young gentleman has £20,000 depending on the performance
of this exploit. 1st June 1789, Mr Whaley arrived about this time in
Dublin from his journey to the Holy Land, considerably within the
limited time of twelve months. The above wager, however whimsical, is
not without a precedent. Some years ago, a baronet of some fortune, in
the north, laid a considerable wager that he would go to Lapland, bring
home two females of that country and two reindeer in a given time. He
performed his journey, and effected his purpose in every respect. The
Lapland women lived with him for about a year, but, having a wish to go
back to their own country, the baronet very generously furnished them
with means and money.”

In Trinity Term, 1790, was argued in the Court of King’s Bench,
whether all wagers, by the 14th George III., were not void, as gaming
contracts, and being contrary to the policy of the law? Lord Kenyon
and Justices Ashurst and Grose were of opinion, that the law had not
declared all wagers illegal, however desirable such a law might be.
Wagers that led to a breach of the peace, to immorality, the injury of
a third person, or that had a libellous tendency, were void; but some
wagers, between indifferent people, were, certainly legal, both by the
common law, and by statute. Mr Justice Buller differed from the rest of
the Court.

_Times_, October 2, 1795. “A curious circumstance occurred here
(Brighton) yesterday. Sir JOHN LADE, for a trifling wager, undertook
to carry Lord CHOLMONDELEY, on _his back_, from opposite the Pavilion,
twice round the Steine. Several ladies attended to be spectators of
this extraordinary feat of the dwarf carrying the giant. When his
Lordship declared himself ready, Sir John desired him to _strip_.
‘Strip!’ exclaimed the other, ‘why, surely, you promised to carry
me in my clothes!’ ‘By no means,’ replied the Baronet, I engaged to
carry _you_, but not an inch of clothes. So, therefore, my Lord, make
ready, and let us not _disappoint_ the ladies.’ After much laughable
altercation, it was, at length, decided that Sir JOHN had won his
wager, the Peer declining to exhibit _in puris naturalibus_.”

_Times_, September 11, 1797. “A _Mr Marston_, of the Borough, has laid
a bet of 2000 guineas, that he will, in the course of the ensuing week,
go into one of the great wheels of the water works at London Bridge,
while it is in its swiftest motion with an ebb tide, stay there five
minutes, and come out again with safety, though not without accident,
in a different part from that in which he went in: and, afterwards,
walk one mile within an hour, on condition that the lower bucket of the
wheel is two feet from the river bottom.”

A wager was made, in 1806, in the Castle Yard, York, between Thomas
Hodgson and Samuel Whitehead, as to which should succeed in assuming
the most singular character. Umpires were selected, whose duty it was
to decide upon the comparative absurdity of the costumes in which
the two men appeared. On the appointed day, Hodgson came before the
umpires, decorated with bank notes of various value on his coat and
waistcoat, a row of five guinea notes, and a long netted purse of gold
round his hat, whilst a piece of paper, bearing the words “John Bull,”
was attached to his back. Whitehead was dressed like a woman on one
side; one half of his face was painted, and he wore a silk stocking
and a slipper on one leg. The other half of his face was blacked, to
resemble a negro: on the corresponding side of his body he wore a
gaudy, long-tailed, linen coat; and his leg was cased in half a pair of
leather breeches, with a boot and spur. One would fancy that Whitehead
must have presented the most singular appearance, by far, but the
umpires thought differently, and awarded the stakes to Hodgson.

In the early part of this century sporting men were fond of betting on
the duration of the lives of celebrities. Napoleon I. was specially the
subject of these wagers. It is related that, at a dinner party in 1809,
Sir Mark Sykes offered to pay any one who would give him a hundred
guineas down, a guinea a day, so long as Napoleon lived. The offer was
taken by a clergyman present; and, for three years, Sir Mark Skyes paid
him three hundred and sixty-five guineas per annum. He, then, thought
he had thrown away enough money, and disputed further payment. The
recipient, who was not at all disposed to lose his comfortable annuity,
brought an action, which, after lengthy litigation, was decided in
favour of the baronet.

A gentleman made a bet of 1000 guineas that he would have a coat made
in the course of a single day, from the first process of shearing the
sheep to its completion by the tailor. The wager was decided at Newbury
on the 25th of June 1811, by Mr John Coxeter of Greenham Mills, near
that town. At five o’clock that morning, Sir John Throckmorton, Bart.,
presented two Southdown wether sheep to Mr Coxeter. Accordingly, the
sheep were shorn, the wool spun, the yarn spooled, warped, loomed
and wove, the cloth burred, milled, rowed, dyed, dried, sheared and
pressed, and put into the hands of the tailors by four o’clock that
afternoon; and, at twenty minutes past six, the coat entirely finished,
was presented by Mr Coxeter to Sir John Throckmorton, who appeared,
wearing it, before an assemblage of upwards of 5000 spectators, who
rent the air with their acclamations.

The religious impostor, Johanna Southcott, was the subject of at least
one wager, for, concerning that, an action was brought on a bet that
she would be delivered of a son, on or before 1st Nov. 1814. As she was
a single woman it was held that no action could be sustained, as the
wager involved the perpetration of an immorality.

I cannot give chapter and verse for the next two anecdotes, but they
are generally accepted as true. The first is about Lord Brougham, who,
in his college days, went one autumn to Dumfries in order to make one
at the Caledonian Hunt meeting. According to the then custom, everybody
dined at a _table d’hôte_, and, after dinner, betting set in. Brougham
offered to bet the whole company that none of them would write down
the manner in which he meant to go to the races next day. Those who
accepted his challenge wrote down their conjectures and Brougham wrote
down his intention of travelling in a sedan chair, a mode of conveyance
no one had hit upon. To the races he went, an immense crowd seeing
him safely chaired to the course. The bet was then renewed, as to the
manner of his return to Dumfries, the acceptors taxing their wits
to imagine the most improbable methods of travelling. Brougham had
calculated upon this, and won the double event by returning in a post
chaise and pair.

The other is a story of Brunel and Stephenson. They were travelling
together in a railway carriage, Stephenson being wrapped in a dark
plaid, on the exact disposition of the folds of which he rather plumed
himself. “You are looking at my plaid,” said he to Brunel; “I’ll bet
you ten pounds you cannot put it on, properly, the first time.” “I’ll
bet ten pounds against the plaid,” said Brunel. “If I put it on right
when we get out at the next station the plaid is mine; if I miss I pay
you ten pounds.” “Done,” said Stephenson. Brunel sat silent until the
train stopped; then, stepping on the platform, he asked for the plaid,
which was slowly unwound by its owner and handed over: not to be handed
back again, for Brunel wound it round his own shoulders as if he had
always worn it. He had never tried it before, but, when challenged, did
not like to be beaten, and, at once, set to work to study the folds of
the plaid. “I got the thing pretty clear in my head before we reached
the station, and when I saw him get out of it I knew I was right, so I
put it on at once.”

Wagers about walking and running are very numerous, still a few might
be mentioned, beginning with Foster Powell, who, on 29th Nov. 1773,
commenced a journey from London to York and back in six days. He walked
from London to Stamford, 88 miles, on the first day; to Doncaster,
72 miles, on the second; to York, 37 miles, and 22 miles back to
Ferrybridge on the third; to Grantham, 65 miles, on the fourth; to
Eaton, 54 miles, on the fifth; and the final spin of 56 miles on the
sixth—making a total of 394 miles between Monday morning and Saturday
night, and winning a wager of one hundred guineas.

Soon afterwards a reputed centenarian, and, admittedly, a _very_ aged
man, undertook to walk 10 miles on the Hammersmith Road in 2 hours and
30 minutes, for a wager of ten guineas, and he accomplished his task in
2 hours 23 minutes.

Captain Barclay, a famous pedestrian, in the early part of the present
century, began his exploits at the early age of fifteen by walking
six miles in an hour, fair toe and heel. His next feat was to walk
from Ury, in Kincardineshire, to Boroughbridge, in Yorkshire, about
300 miles, in five very hot days. He hazarded the large sum of 5000
guineas, that he would walk 90 miles in 20 hours 30 minutes, and he
accomplished this arduous task in 19 hours 22 minutes. But his greatest
pedestrian feat was performed in July 1809, and is thus described in
the _Annual Register_:

“July 13. _Captain Barclay._ This gentleman, on Wednesday, completed
his arduous pedestrian undertaking to walk a thousand miles in a
thousand successive hours, at the rate of a mile in each and every
hour. He had until four o’clock P.M. to finish his task, but he
performed his last mile in the quarter of an hour after three,
with perfect ease and great spirit, amidst an immense concourse of
spectators. For the last two days he appeared in higher spirits, and
performed his mile with more ease, and in shorter time, than he had
done for some days past. With the change of the weather he had thrown
off his loose greatcoat, which he wore during the rainy period, and,
on Wednesday, performed in a flannel jacket. He also put on shoes
remarkably thicker than any which he had used in any previous part of
his performance. When asked how he meant to act after he had finished
his feat, he said he should, that night, take a good sound sleep,
but that he must have himself awaked twice, or thrice, in the night
to avoid the danger of a too sudden transition from almost constant
exertion, to a state of long repose.

“One hundred to one, and, indeed, any odds, were offered on Wednesday
morning; but so strong was the confidence in his success that no bets
could be obtained. The multitude of people who resorted to the scene of
action, in the course of the concluding days, was unprecedented. Not a
bed could be procured, on Tuesday night, at Newmarket, Cambridge, or
any of the towns and villages in the vicinity, and every horse, and
every species of vehicle was engaged.

“Captain Barclay had £16,000 depending upon his undertaking. The
aggregate of the bets is supposed to amount to £100,000.”

In those days there were sportsmen like Osbaldeston and Ross, who were
ready for any wager. Let the latter tell a little story.

“A large party were assembled at Black Hall, in Kincardineshire, time,
the end of July, or beginning of August. We had all been shooting snipe
and flapper-ducks, in a large morass on the estate called Lumphannon.
We had been wading amongst bulrushes, up to our middles, for seven or
eight hours, and had had a capital dinner. After the ladies had gone to
the drawing room, I fell asleep; and, about nine o’clock, was awakened
by the late Sir Andrew Keith Hay, who said, ‘Ross, old fellow! I want
you to jump up, and go as my umpire with Lord Kennedy, to Inverness.
I have made a bet of twenty-five hundred pounds a side, that I get
there, on foot, before him!’ Nothing came amiss to the men of that day.
My answer was, ‘All right, I’m ready’; and off we started, there and
then, in morning costume, with thin shoes and silk stockings on our
feet. We went straight across the mountains, and it was a longish walk.
I called to my servant to follow with my walking shoes and worsted
stockings, and Lord Kennedy did the same. They overtook us after we
had gone seven or eight miles. Fancy my disgust! My idiot bought me,
certainly, worsted stockings, but, instead of shoes, a pair of tight
Wellington boots! The sole of one boot vanished twenty-five miles from
Inverness, and I had, now, to finish the walk barefooted. We walked all
night, next day, and the next night—raining in torrents all the way.
We crossed the Grampians, making a perfectly straight line, and got to
Inverness at one P.M. We never saw, or heard, anything of Sir A. L.
Hay, (he went by the coach road, viâ Huntly and Elgin, thirty-six miles
further than we, but a good road) who appeared at ten A.M. much cast
down at finding he had been beaten.”

There have been divers wagers about coaching, and also about horses,
which have nothing to do with horse racing, and a few may be chronicled
here.

On 29th August 1750, at seven in the morning, was decided, at
Newmarket, a remarkable wager for 1000 guineas, laid by Count Taaf
against the Earl of March and Lord Eglinton, who were to provide a four
wheeled carriage, with a man in it, to be drawn by four horses at a
speed of 19 miles an hour; which was performed in 53 min. 27 sec. It
was rather an imposing affair. A groom, dressed in crimson velvet, rode
before to clear the way: the boy who sat in the vehicle was dressed in
a white satin jacket, black velvet cap, and red silk stockings, whilst
the four postillions were clothed in blue satin waistcoats, buckskin
breeches, with white silk stockings, and black velvet caps. The
carriage is thus described: “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 boxes
of the wheels were brass, and had tins of oil to drop slowly for an
hour: the breechings for the horses were of whale bone; the bars were
small wood, strengthened with steel springs, as were most parts of the
carriage; but all so light that a man could carry the whole, with the
harness; being but 2 cwt. and a half.” Two or three other carriages had
been made previously, but had been disapproved of, and several horses
had been killed in trials—costing between £600 and £700.

In April and finishing on 3rd May 1758, at Newmarket, Miss Pond,
daughter of Mr Pond, the compiler and publisher of the _Racing
Calendar_, bearing his name, laid a wager of 200 guineas that she
could ride 1000 miles in a 1000 hours, and finished her match in a
little more than two-thirds of the time. At the conclusion, the country
people strewed flowers in her path. It has been said that this feat was
performed on _one horse_.

In the beginning of June 1800, a naval officer undertook, for a wager,
to ride a blind horse round Sheerness racecourse without guiding the
reins with his hands; this he performed to the no small amusement of
the spectators, by cutting the reins asunder, and fastening the several
parts to his feet in his stirrups.

Perhaps the best known match of modern times was one made at the Ascot
meeting of 1888, of £1000 to £500 that a coach could not be driven to
Brighton and back in eight hours. James Selby, a professional whip,
started from the White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly, punctually at 10 A.M.
on July 13, and arrived at Brighton, at the Old Ship, at 1.56 P.M. The
coach was turned round and the return journey instantly started; White
Horse Cellar being reached at 5.50 P.M.: thus winning the match by ten
minutes. Selby died at the end of the year.

The betting book of White’s Club, dates from the year 1743—the older
book and all the other records of the Club having been destroyed in the
fire of 1743. The following are some of the wagers therein recorded.
The early ones are principally pitting lives against one another.

_Feb. y^e 3, 1743/4._ Lord Montford betts Mr Wardour twenty Guineas on
each, that Mr Shephard outlives Sir Hans Sloan, the Dutchess Dowager of
Marlborough, and Duke of Somerset.—Voide.

Mr J^[no] Jeffreys betts Mr Stephen Jansen Fifty Guineas, that thirteen
Members of Parliament don’t Die from the first of Jan^y 1744/5 to the
first of Jan^y 1745/6 exclusive of what may be killed in battle.

Ld Leicester betts Lord Montfort One Hundred Guineas that Six or more
Peers of the British Parliament, including Catholics, Minors, Bishops,
and Sixteen Scotch Lords, shall Die between the 2 of Decem^r 1744, and
the First of Decem^r 1745 inclusive.

_16 July 1746._ Mr Heath wagers Mr Fanshawe five guineas that the
eldest son of the Pretender is dead, on, or before this day. To be
returned if the Pretender was dead.—pd. Nov^r 28.

_Oct^r 20th 1746._ Mr Heath gave Col. Perry Twenty Pounds, for which
Col. Perry is to pay Mr Heath one hundred pounds if ever he loses more
than one hundred pounds in any four and twenty hours.

_Nov^r y^e 14, 1746._ Mr Fox betts Mr John Jeffreys five guineas on
Number Two against Number One in the present Lottery.

Lord Montfort wagers S^r Wm. Stanhope 20 guineas that Lady Mary Coke
has a child beford Ly Kildare, and 20 guineas more that L^y Mary Coke
has a child before L^y Fawkener.

_January the 14th, 1747/8._ Mr Fanshawe wagers Lord Dalkeith one
guinea, that his peruke is better than his Lordship’s, to be judged of
by the majority of members the next time they both shall meet.

These are fair specimens, and, after this date, the bets begin to be
political and personal, and devoid of interest.



CHAPTER XIII

 Horse Racing—Early mention—Thirteenth Century—Racing for
 bells—Racing in Hyde Park—Newmarket—Oliver Cromwell and
 Running horses—Charles II.—James II.—Anne—Her fondness for
 racing—Sporting in her reign—Epsom—Tregonwell Frampton—The three
 Georges—A duel—Turf anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century.


But this style of betting is harmless compared to that curse of the
England of our time, betting upon horse racing, which can be compared
to nothing but a social cancer, eating into the very vitals of the
nation; and it is especially a pity that so noble an animal as the
horse should be made the unconscious medium of such a degrading
passion as gambling—still, the fact exists, and horse racing from its
commencement must be treated in a history of gambling in England.

Horses must have been introduced into this country at a very early
age, for, when Cæsar invaded Britain, he was opposed by vast numbers
of horsemen, and many centuries had not elapsed before there was
competition, as to speed, among the animals. William of Malmesbury
tells us that running horses were sent from France by Stugh, the
founder of the house of Capet, as a present to King Athelstan. We
never hear of any races being run, and Fitzstephen, who was secretary
to Sir Thomas à Becket, and lived in the reign of Henry II., scarcely
describes what we should term a horse race. Speaking of a certain
Smoothfield, outside London (Smithfield), he says:

“There, every Friday, unless it be one of the more solemn festivals,
is a noted show of well bred horses for sale. The earls, barons and
knights, who are, at the time resident in the City, as well as most of
the Citizens, flock thither, either to look on, or buy. It is pleasant
to see the nags, with their sleek and shining coats, smoothly ambling
along, raising and setting down, alternatively, as it were, their feet
on either side: in one part are horses better adapted to esquires;
these, whose pace is rougher, but yet expeditious, lift up and set
down, as it were, the two opposite fore and hind feet together: in
another, the young blood colts not yet accustomed to the bridle. In
a third, are the horses for burden, strong and stout limbed; and, in
a fourth, the more valuable chargers, of an elegant shape and noble
height, with nimbly moving ears, erect necks, and plump haunches. In
the movement of these, the purchasers observe, first, their easy pace,
and, then, their gallop, which is when their fore feet are raised from
the ground, and set down together, and the hind ones in like manner
alternately. When a race is to be run by such horses as these, and,
perhaps, by others, which, in like manner, according to their breed,
are strong for carriage and vigorous for the course, the people raise
a shout, and order the common horses to be withdrawn to another part
of the field. The jockeys, who are boys expert in the management of
horses, which they regulate by means of curb bridles, sometimes by
threes, and sometimes by twos, according as the match is made, prepare
themselves for the Contest. Their chief aim is to prevent a competitor
getting before them. The horses, too, after their manner, are eager for
the race; their limbs tremble, and, impatient of delay, they cannot
stand still; upon the signal being given, they stretch out their limbs,
hurry over the course, and are borne along with unremitting speed. The
riders, inspired with the love of praise, and the hope of victory,
clap spurs to their flying horses, lashing them with their whips, and
inciting them with their shouts.”

In a metrical romance of the thirteenth century, “Syr Beuys of
Hampton,” printed by W. Copland in 1550, there is mention of a race

  “In somer in whitsontyde
  whan knights most on horsbacke ride
  a cours let they make on a daye
  Stedes and palfraye for to assaye
  whiche horse that best may ren
  thre myles the cours was then
  who that might ryd should
  have £ LI. of redy golde.”

Edward III. bought some running horses at £13, 6s. 8d. each; and in the
ninth year of his reign the King of Navarre made him a present of two
running horses. Still, very little is heard of race horses until the
time of Elizabeth and James I. Bishop Hall, of Exeter and Norwich, in
one of his Satires, writes:

                            “Dost thou prize
  Thy brute beasts’ worth by their dam’s qualities?
  Say’st thou, this colt shall prove a swift-paced steed,
  Only because a jennet did him breed?
  Or say’st thou, this same horse shall win the prize,
  Because his dam was swiftest Trunchifice,[48]
  Or Runcevall his syre; himself a galloway?
  While, like a tireling jade, he lags half way.”

In 1599, private matches by gentlemen, who were their own riders,
were very common, and, in the reign of James I., public races were
established at various places, where the discipline and mode of
preparing the horses for running, etc., were much the same as they
are now. The most celebrated races of that time were called the “Bell
Courses,” the prize of the winner being a bell—hence the saying of “to
bear the bell”; and a tradition of it still remains in the couplet with
which children’s races are started.

  “Bell horses! Bell horses! what time of day?
  One o’clock, two o’clock, three, and away!”

Perhaps the oldest record that we have of these silver bells is those
of Paisley, which date from 1620, or 1608, as on that date there is
an entry in the town books showing the purchase of a silver bell. The
silver bells are now run for, but there are 100 guineas attached to
them. Silver bells were also run for in this reign, at Gatherly, in
Yorkshire, Croydon, Chester, and Theobalds, the King’s hunting lodge.
Mr J. C. Whyte, in his _History of the British Turf_, says that in
Harl. MS. 2150, fol. 235, is an account of a ceremony performed with
the race for a bell at Chester, in the presence of the Mayor, at the
Cross, in the Rodhi, or Roody, an open place near the City. I have
examined the MS. but cannot find the passage, so extract from his work
the following:

“A silver bell, valued at about three shillings and sixpence, placed on
the point of a lance, shall be given to him, who shall run the best and
furthest on horseback before them on Shrove Tuesday. These bells went
by the name of St George’s bells, and the younger Randel Holme tells us
that, in the last year of this reign (1624) John Brereton, innkeeper,
Mayor of Chester, first caused the horses entered for this race,
then called St George’s Race, to start from the point beyond the new
Tower, and appointed them to run five times round the Roody; and, he
continues, he, who won the last course, or trayne, received the bell,
of a good value, £8 or £10, and to have it for ever, which moneyes were
collected of the citizens for that purpose. By the use of the term,
for ever, it would appear that the bell had been used, formerly, as a
mark of temporary distinction only, by the successful horsemen, and,
afterwards, returned to the Corporation.”

On fol. 354 of this MS. we find “What y^e companys gave toward S.
George’s Rase for the contynuance of a bell or cup.” To this there is
no date, but it amounted to £36, 8s. 4d. The 3s. 6d. silver bell was
substituted for a wooden ball, which used to be raced for, as a prize,
in the 31st year of King Henry VIII.

We see how simple, and for what small prizes they ran in the early
days of horse racing in England—it is sad to record that betting,
almost immediately, attended the popularity of the sport. This we see
in Shirley’s play of _Hide Parke_, acted at Drury Lane in 1637.

“_Confused noyse of betting within, after that a shoute._

  _Mistress Caroll._ They are started.

_Enter Bonvile, Rider, Bonavent, Tryer, Fairefield._

  _Rider._ Twenty pounds to fifteene.

  _Lord Bonvile._ ‘Tis done we’e.

  _Fairefield._ Forty pounds to thirty.

  _Lord Bonvile._ Done, done. Ile take all oddes.

  _Tryer._ My Lord, I hold as much.

  _Lord Bonvile._ Not so.

  _Tryer._ Forty pounds to twenty.

  _Lord Bonvile._ Done, done.

  _Mistress Bonavent._ You ha lost all, my Lord, and it were a Million.

  _Lord Bonvile._ In your imagination, who can helpe it?

  _Mistress Bonavent._ _Venture_ hath the start and keepes it.

  _Lord Bonvile._ Gentlemen, you have a fine time to triumph,
  ‘Tis not your oddes that makes you win.

  _Within._ Venture! Venture!      [_Exeunt Men._

  _Julietta._ Shall we venture nothing o’ th’ horses?
  What oddes against my Lord?

  _Mistress Caroll._ Silke stockings.

  _Julietta._ To a paire of perfum’d gloves I take it.

  _Mistress Caroll._ Done!

  _Mistress Bonavent._ And I as much.

  _Julietta._ Done with you both.

  _Mistress Caroll._ Ile have ‘em Spanish sent.

  _Julietta._ The Stockings shal be Scarlet: if you choose
  Your sent, Ile choose my colour.

  _Mistress Caroll._ ‘Tis done; if _Venture_
  Knew but my lay, it would halfe breake his necke now,
  And crying a _Jockey_ hay.      [_A shoute within._

  _Julietta._ Is the wind in that coast? harke the noyse.
  Is _Jockey_ now?

  _Mistress Caroll._ ‘Tis but a paire of gloves.

  _Julietta._ Still it holds.      [_Enter my Lord._
  How ha you sped, my Lord?

  _Lord Bonvile._ Won! won! I knew by instinct,
  The mare would put some tricke upon him.

  _Mistress Bonavent._ Then we ha lost; but, good my Lord, the
  circumstance.

  _Lord Bonvile._ Great _John_ at all adventure, and grave _Jockey_
  Mounted their severall Mares, I sha’ not tell
  The story out for laughing, ha! ha! ha!
  But this in briefe, _Jockey_ was left behind,
  The pitty and the scorne of all the oddes,
  Plaid ‘bout my eares like Cannon, but lesse dangerous.
  I tooke all, still; the acclamation was
  For _Venture_, whose disdainefull Mare threw durt
  In my old _Jockey’s_ face, all hopes forsaking us;
  Two hundred pieces desperate, and two thousand
  Oathes sent after them; upon the suddaine,
  When we expected no such tricke, we saw
  My rider, that was domineering ripe,
  Vault ore his Mare into a tender slough.
  Where he was much beholding to one shoulder,
  For saving of his necke, his beast recovered,
  And he, by this time, somewhat mortified,
  Besides mortified, hath left the triumph
  To his Olympick Adversary, who shall
  Ride hither in full pompe on his _Bucephalus_,
  With his victorious bagpipe.”

Newmarket, hitherto, a royal hunting place, was made into a race course
in 1640, and we get a peep of what it was like in an old ballad (said
to be of about this time) called “Newmarket,” published by D’Urfey, in
his _Pills to purge Melancholy_.

  “Let cullies that lose at a race,
  Go venture at hazard to win,
  Or he, that is bubbl’d at dice,
  Recover at cocking again.
  Let jades that are foundered, be brought;
  Let jockeys play crimp to make sport;
  Another makes racing a trade,
  And dreams of his projects to come,
  And many a crimp match has made
  By bubbing[49] another man’s groom.”

Oliver Cromwell kept “running horses,” but there is no mention of
his having used them in racing: It is more probable that he bred from
them. With the Restoration, horse racing was revived, and was much
encouraged by Charles II. who appointed races for his own amusement at
Datchet Mead, when he resided at Windsor. Newmarket, however, became
the principal locality for this sport, and the round course was made in
1666. The King attended the races in person, established a house for
his own accommodation, and kept and entered horses in his own name.
Instead of bells, he gave a silver bowl or cup, value 100 guineas, on
which prize the exploits and pedigree of the successful horse were
generally engraved.

The times of James II. were too troubled for him to amuse himself with
horse racing, and William III. had no leisure for the sport, although
he added to the plates, and founded an academy for riding, but, under
Anne, the turf was again under royal patronage.

The Queen was fond of racing, and gave £100 gold cups to be raced for;
nay, more, she not only kept race horses, but ran them in her own
name. Her six year old grey gelding Pepper, ran for her gold cup, at
York (over Clifton and Rawcliffe Ing’s), on July 28, 1712. Over the
same course, and for the same stake, on Aug. 3, 1714, ran her grey
horse Mustard, which in 1714 was entered to run in Whitsun Week, at
Guildford, in Surrey, for the £50 plate; and, sad to tell, her brown
horse Star, ran at York, for a plate value £14, and won it, on July
30, 1714, the very day on which the Queen was struck with apoplexy,
expiring the next day.

She paid a visit to Newmarket, in April 1705, going to Cambridge once
or twice during her stay. Narcissus Luttrell tells us: “Aprill 26,
1705. The queen has ordered her house at Newmarket to be rebuilt, and
gave a thousand pounds towards paving the town; and bought a running
horse of Mr Holloway, which cost a 1000 guineas, and gave it to the
Prince.” Prince George of Denmark shared his royal consort’s love of
horse racing, and gave, at least, two gold plates to be raced for,
worth 100 guineas each. This seems to have been a very horsey year for
the Queen, for Luttrell tells us that “the queen has appointed horse
races to be at Datchet, after her return from Winchester to Windsor.”

A few racing mems of this time will illustrate to what an extent
the passion for the turf was carried. 1702: “They write from
Newmarket, That the Lord Godolphin’s and Mr Harvy’s Horses ran for
£3000. His Lordship won: As, also, the Earl of Argile, and the Duke
of Devonshire’s; the latter’s Horse won, by which Mr Pheasant got
a considerable sum.” 1703: “The great horse race at Newmarket, run
for 1000 guineas between the Lord Treasurer and the Duke of Argyle,
was won by the latter.” Perhaps the earliest Sporting Paper is “News
from _Newmarket_, or, An Account of the Horses Match’d to Run there
in _March_, _April_, and May, 1704. The Weight, Miles, Wagers and
Forfeits. Printed for _John Nutt_ near Stationer’s Hall, price 2d.”
1707: “Last Monday was a horse race at Newmarket, between Lord Granby’s
Grantham, and Mr Young’s Blundel, for £3000—the latter won.” On April
10, 1708, at Newmarket, the Duke of Bedford’s bay horse (9 stone) had
a match with Mr Minchall’s bay colt (8-1/2 stone) for 1000 guineas,
but there is no record of which won. These were the highest stakes
mentioned during the reign: they were, generally, for 200 or 300
guineas.

The first mention I can find of Epsom Races, is in this reign, and is
in the _London Gazette_, April and May 26/3, 1703, when three small
plates were to be run for, of £30, £10 and £5 value. On May 25, 1704,
there was only one to be competed for, and that for £20. They had very
early “Epsom Spring Meetings”; for, in the _Daily Courant_, Feb. 15,
1709, it says: “On Epsom Downes, in Surrey, on the first Monday after
the Frost, a plate of £20 will be run for,” &c. Races on these downs
have been held continuously since 1730.

The most famous sporting man of his time was Tregonwell Frampton,
Esq. of Moreton, Dorsetshire, “The Father of the Turf,” who was keeper
of her Majesty’s running horses at Newmarket—a post which he had
filled in the time of William III., and which he continued to hold
under Georges I. and II. He is described as being “the oldest, and
as they say, the cunningest jockey in England: one day he lost 1000
guineas, the next he won 2000, and so, alternately. He made as light of
throwing away £500 or £1000, at a time, as other men do of their pocket
money, and was perfectly calm, cheerful and unconcerned when he lost a
thousand pounds, as when he won it.”

George I. is said to have been at Newmarket in 1716, 1717, and 1718,
but neither he nor his successor cared for horse racing, although they
still kept “running horses.” George III. used to attend Ascot Races,
and his uncle the “butcher,” Duke of Cumberland, was a great patron
of the turf, and was the breeder of the celebrated horse Eclipse. As
Walpole says of him, 29th Dec. 1763: “The beginning of October, one is
certain that everybody will be at Newmarket, and the Duke of Cumberland
will lose, and Shafto[50] win, two or three thousand pounds.” It was
about this time that the betting ring started, and roguery was not
uncommon, as we may see by the following:

At the Kingston Lent Assizes, 1767, a case was tried between an unnamed
gentleman, as plaintiff, and Mr Wm. Courtney, defendant; the action
was upon a wager of 100 guineas, which was reduced to writing, that
plaintiff procured three horses that should go ninety miles in three
hours, which defendant laid he did not. The plaintiff proved his
case very well; but, it appearing to the court and jury that it was
an unfair bet, the jury gave a verdict for the defendant. It seems
that the way in which the plaintiff performed his undertaking, was by
starting all the three horses together, so that they had but thirty
miles apiece to run in the three hours, which, of course, was easily
done.

In chronological order comes a story of a duel in which the notorious
black leg, Dick England, was concerned.

“Mr Richard England was put to the Bar, at the Old Bailey (1796)
charged with the ‘wilful murder’ of Mr Rowlls, brewer, of Kingston, in
a duel at Crauford Bridge, June 18, 1784.

“Lord Derby, the first witness, gave evidence that he was present
at Ascot races. When in the stand upon the race course, he heard Mr
England cautioning the gentlemen present not to bet with the deceased,
as he neither paid what he lost, nor what he borrowed. On which Mr
Rowlls went up to him, called him rascal, or scoundrel, and offered to
strike him; when Mr England bid him stand off, or he would be obliged
to knock him down; saying, at the same time—‘We have interrupted the
company sufficiently here, and, if you have anything further to say to
me, you know where I am to be found.’ A further altercation ensued; but
his Lordship, being at the other end of the stand, did not distinctly
hear it, and, then, the parties retired.

“Lord Dartrey, afterwards Lord Cremorne, and his lady, with a
gentleman, were at the inn at the time when the duel was fought. They
went into the garden, and endeavoured to prevent the duel; Mr Rowlls
desired his Lordship and others not to interfere; and, on a second
attempt of his Lordship to make peace, Mr Rowlls said, if they did
not retire, he must, though reluctantly, call them impertinent. Mr
England, at the same time, stepped forward, and took off his hat; he
said—‘Gentlemen, I have been cruelly treated; I have been injured in
my honour and character; let reparation be made, and I am ready to have
done this moment.’ Lady Dartrey retired. His Lordship stood in the
bower of the garden until he saw Mr Rowlls fall. One, or two, witnesses
were called, who proved nothing material. A paper, containing the
prisoner’s defence, being read, _the Earl of Derby_, _the Marquis of
Hertford_, _Mr Whitbread, jun._, _Col. Bishopp, and other gentlemen_,
were called to his character. They all spoke of him as a man of
_decent, gentlemanly deportment_, who, instead of seeking quarrels,
was studious to avoid them. He had been friendly to Englishmen while
abroad, and had rendered some service to the military at the siege of
Newport.

“Mr Justice Rooke summed up the evidence; after which, the jury
retired for about three-quarters of an hour, when they returned a
verdict of _Manslaughter_.

“The prisoner, having fled from the laws of his country for twelve
years, the Court was disposed to show no lenity. He was, therefore,
sentenced to pay a fine of one shilling, and be imprisoned in Newgate
for twelve months.”

We have a terrible instance in a man, otherwise amiable in all
relations of life, of the infatuation for the Turf. Lord Foley, who
died July 2, 1793, entered upon the Turf with an estate of £18,000 a
year, and £100,000 ready money. He left it with a ruined constitution,
an incumbered estate, and not a shilling of ready money!

Here are three paragraphs from the _Times_ about this date relative to
racing:

_17th April 1794._ “Poor _Newmarket_ is completely done up! The Spring
meeting boasts so few bets in the calendar of gambling, that the
chance will not pay post chaise hire to the black legs. Thus falls the
destructive sport of the Turf—and, as that is the case, it would do
honour to his Majesty to change the _Kings Plates_ into rewards for the
_improvement of Agriculture_.” This suggestion has been carried out in
the present reign.

_25th May 1795._ “The Duke of Queensberry was a principal loser at
Epsom Races. The noble Duke had his vis-a-vis, and six horses, driving
about the course, with two very pretty _emigrées_ in it. The Duke was
in his cabriolet. The Duke of Bedford, Lords Egremont and Derby were,
also, on the course. Several carriages were broken to pieces; and one
Lady had her arm broken.

“There was much private business done in the _swindling way_ at the
last Epsom Races. One black legged fellow cleared near a thousand
pounds by the old trick of an E.O. Table. Another had a _faro table_,
and was on the eve of _doing business_, when he was detected with
a _palmed card_: almost the whole of what may be justly styled the
‘vagabond gamblers’ of London were present.

“Mr Bowes, half brother of the Earl of Strathmore, was robbed of a
gold watch, and a purse containing 30 guineas, at Epsom races, on
Thursday last. Many other persons shared a similar fate, both on the
same evening, and Friday. Upwards of 30 carriages were robbed, coming
from the races.”

_8th Sep. 1797._ “Never, since _racing_ was patronised by the _Merry
Monarch_, has the Turf been so much on the decline as at this period.
His Grace of Bedford is the only person who retains a considerable
stud. Lord Grosvenor has disposed of nearly the whole of his, with the
reserve of two, or three, capital horses, and some few brood mares.”



CHAPTER XIV

 Match between Mrs Thornton and Mr Flint—Its sequel—Daniel Dawson
 poisons horses—Origin of Bookmaking—Turf frauds—The “Ludlow”
 scandal—The “Plenipo” fraud—Reports of Select Committee on Gaming,
 1844.


The singular contest which took place between Mrs Thornton[51] and Mr
Flint in 1804 was the talk of its time. An intimacy existed between the
families of Col. Thornton and Mr Flint, the two ladies being sisters.
In the course of one of their rides in Thornville Park, the lady of
Colonel Thornton and Mr Flint were conversing on the qualities of their
respective horses; the difference of opinion was great, and the horses
were occasionally put at full speed for the purpose of ascertaining the
point in question; old Vingarillo, on whom the lady rode, distancing
his antagonist every time. Which so discomforted Mr Flint, that he was
induced to challenge the lady to ride on a future day. The challenge
was readily accepted, and it was agreed that the race should take place
on the last day of the York August meeting 1804. This curious match was
announced in the following manner:—

“A match for 500 gs., and 1000 gs. bye—four miles—between
Colonel Thornton’s Vingarillo and Mr Flint’s br. h. Thornville by
Volunteer—Mrs Thornton to ride her weight against Mr Flint’s.”

On Sunday, August the 25th, this race took place, and the following
description of it appeared in the _York Herald_:—

“Never did we witness such an assemblage of people as were drawn
together on the above occasion—100,000, at least. Nearly ten times the
number appeared on Knavesmire than did on the day when Bay Malton ran,
or when Eclipse went over the course, leaving the two best horses of
the day a mile and a half behind. Indeed, expectation was raised to the
highest pitch, from the novelty of the match. Thousands from every part
of the surrounding country thronged to the ground. In order to keep the
course as clear as possible, several additional people were employed;
and, much to the credit of the 6th Light Dragoons, a party of them,
also, were on the ground on horseback, for the purpose, and which,
unquestionably, was the cause of many lives being saved.

“About four o’clock, Mrs Thornton appeared on the ground, full of
spirit, her horse led by Colonel Thornton, and followed by two
gentlemen; afterwards appeared Mr Flint. They started a little past
four o’clock. The lady took the lead for upwards of three miles, in
most capital style: her horse, however, had much the shorter stroke of
the two. When within a mile of being home, Mr Flint pushed forward, and
got the lead, which he kept. Mrs Thornton used every exertion; but,
finding it impossible to win the race, she drew up, in a sportsmanlike
style, when within about two distances.

“At the commencement of the running, bets were 5 and 6 to 4 on
the lady; in running the first three miles 7 to 4 and 2 to 1 in
her favour. Indeed, the oldest sportsman on the stand thought she
must have won. In running the last mile the odds were in favour of
Mr Flint. Never, surely, did a woman ride in better style. It was
difficult to say whether her horsemanship, her dress, or her beauty,
were most admired—the _tout ensemble_ was _unique_. Her dress was a
leopard-coloured body, with blue sleeves, the rest buff and blue cap.
Mr Flint rode in white. The race was run in nine minutes and fifty-nine
seconds.

“Thus ended the most interesting race ever ran upon Knavesmire. No
words could express the disappointment felt at the defeat of Mrs
Thornton. The spirit she displayed, and the good humour with which she
bore her loss, greatly diminished the joy, even of the winners.”

This exhibition of herself seems to have fired her ambition, for we
read in the _Morning Post_, Aug. 20, 1805:

“Mrs Thornton is to ride 9 st. against Mr Bromford, who is to ride 13
st. over the York Course, four miles; to run the last race on Saturday
in the next August meeting, for four hogsheads of Coti Roti p.p. and
2000 guineas h. ft.; and Mrs T. bets Mr B. 700 gs. to 600 gs. p.p.;
the 2000 gs. h. ft. provided it is declared to the Stewards four days
before starting, Mrs T. to have the choice of four horses.

“Mr B. to ride Allegro, sister to Allegranti.

“_N.B._, Colonel T., or any gentleman he may name, to be permitted to
follow the lady over the course, to assist her in case of any accident.”

But, on the eventful 24th Aug., for some reason or other, Mr Bromford
declined the race, paid forfeit, and the lady cantered over the course.
Later in the day she really had a race, which is thus described in the
_Annual Register_:

“Afterwards commenced a match, in which the above lady was to ride
two miles against Mr Buckle, the jockey, well known at Newmarket, and
other places of sport, as a rider of the first celebrity. Mrs Thornton
appeared dressed for the contest in a purple cap and waistcoat, nankeen
coloured skirts, purple shoes and embroidered stockings; she was in
high health and spirits, and seemed eager for the decision of the
match. Mr Buckle was dressed in a blue cap, with a blue bodied jacket,
and white sleeves. Mrs Thornton carried 9 st. 6 lb., Mr Buckle 13 st. 6
lbs. At half-past three they started. Mrs Thornton took the lead, which
she kept for some time; Mr Buckle then put in trial his jockeyship,
and passed the lady, which he kept for only a few lengths, when Mrs
Thornton, by the most excellent horsemanship, pushed forward, and came
in, in a style far superior to anything of the kind we ever witnessed,
gaining her race by half a neck; and, on her winning, she was hailed
with the most reiterated shouts of congratulation.

“A sad disturbance took place, in the stand, in the afternoon, in
consequence of a dispute between Mr Flint (who rode against Mrs
Thornton last year) and Colonel Thornton, respecting £1000. Mr Flint
had posted the Colonel on Thursday, and the Colonel recriminated on
Friday. This day, Mr Flint came to the stand with a new horse whip,
which he applied to the Colonel’s shoulders with great activity, in
the presence of a crowd of ladies. All the gentlemen in the place,
indignant at this gross and violent outrage, hissed and hooted him. He
was arrested by order of the Lord Mayor and several magistrates, who
were present, and given into custody of the City runners, until he can
find bail, himself in £1000, and two sureties in £500 each. Colonel
Thornton is also bound over to prosecute the party for the assault.”

The sequel to this story is told in the same Magazine, 5th Feb. 1806.
“In the Court of King’s Bench, an application was made on behalf of
Colonel Thornton, for leave to file a criminal information against Mr
Flint, for challenging him to fight a duel, and horse-whipping him
on the race ground at York last summer, &c. The quarrel arose out of
a bet of 1500 guineas which Mr Flint claims to have won of Colonel
Thornton by the race he rode against Mrs Thornton, whose bets were
adopted by her husband. Whereas Colonel Thornton maintains that,
of the bet alluded to, £1000 was a mere nominal thing, intended to
attract company to the race, and that nothing more than 500 guineas
were seriously intended by the parties. After a full hearing of the
whole case, Lord Ellenborough was of opinion, that the case before the
Court was one in which their Lordships ought not to interpose with
its extraordinary power. On the contrary, he conceived it would be
degrading its process to interfere in favour of such parties in such a
cause. Colonel Thornton had chosen to appeal to the Jockey Club, and
should have abided by their decision. He had, however, not found them
exactly fitting his notion of justice; and, therefore, for every thing
that had happened since, he must have recourse to the ordinary mode of
obtaining redress, namely, by preferring a Bill of Indictment at the
Sessions of the County. The other judges being of the same opinion,
the rule was discharged.” Flint afterwards became very poor, and was
manager at a horse bazaar at York, where he met with his end, according
to the Coroner’s jury’s verdict—“Died from taking too large a dose of
prussic acid as a medicine.”

We now come to a piece of rascality on the turf, which ended in a man
being hanged. The first heard about it is reported in the _Annual
Register_, 6th May 1811. “An occurrence has taken place at Newmarket,
which is the subject of general consternation and surprise among the
frequenters of the Turf. Several horses were entered for the Claret
Stakes, and, as usual, were taken out in the morning for exercise.
They all drank, as we understand, at one water trough. Some time after
they had been watered, six of them were observed to stagger, and then
to roll about in the greatest agony. One is since dead. On examining
the watering trough, it was found that the water had been poisoned.
The horses were the property of Mr Sitwell, Sir F. Standish, and Lord
Kinnaird. Suspicion has attached upon one of the jockies.”

_22nd July, 1812._ “Daniel Dawson was arraigned at the Cambridge
Assizes, on an indictment, with numerous counts, viz., for poisoning
a horse belonging to Mr Adams, of Royston, Herts, and a blood mare
belonging to Mr Northey, at Newmarket, in 1809; and, also, for
poisoning a horse belonging to Sir F. Standish, and another belonging
to Lord Foley in 1811, at the same place. He was tried and convicted on
the first case only.

“The principal witness was Cecil Bishop, an accomplice with the
prisoner. He had been, for some time, acquainted with Dawson, and
on application to him, had furnished him with corrosive sublimate
to sicken horses. He went on to prove that Dawson and he had become
progressively acquainted; and, that, on the prisoner complaining that
the stuff was not strong enough, he prepared him a solution of arsenic.
Witness described this as not offensive in smell; the prisoner having
informed him that the horses had thrown up their heads, and refused
to partake of the water into which the corrosive sublimate had been
infused. The prisoner complained that the stuff was not strong enough;
and, on being informed that if it was made strong it would kill the
horses, he replied that he did not mind that; the Newmarket frequenters
were rogues, and if he (meaning witness) had a fortune to lose they
would plunder him of it. The prisoner afterwards informed witness
he used the stuff, which was then strong enough, as it had killed a
hackney and two brood mares.

“Mrs Tillbrook, a housekeeper at Newmarket, where the prisoner lodged,
proved having found a bottle of liquid concealed under Dawson’s bed,
previous to the horses having been poisoned; and that Dawson was out
late on the Saturday and Sunday evenings previous to that event, which
took place on the Monday. After Dawson had left the house, she found
the bottle, which she identified as having contained the said liquid,
and which a chemist proved to have contained poison. Witness also
proved that Dawson had cautioned her that he had poison in the house
for some dogs, lest anyone should have the curiosity to taste it. Other
witnesses proved a chain of circumstances which left no doubt of the
prisoner’s guilt.

“Mr King, for the prisoner, took a legal objection that no criminal
offence had been committed, and that the subject was a matter of
trespass. He contended that the indictment must fail, as it was
necessary to prove that the prisoner had malice against the owner of
the horse, to impoverish him, and not against the animal. He also
contended that the object of the prisoner was to injure and not to
kill. The objections was overruled without reply, and the prisoner was
convicted.

“The judge pronounced sentence of death on the prisoner, and informed
him, in strong language, he could not expect mercy to be extended to
him:” and the man was duly hanged.

Another gruesome episode of the Turf was the suicide of Mr Roger
Brograve early in June 1813, owing to losses by betting. He was the
brother of Sir George Brograve, and had been a captain in the 2nd
Dragoons, and for some years had betted heavily. Originally, he had a
competent, if not a splendid fortune, but, at the previous Newmarket
meeting, he had lost heavily, and he was known to have lost £10,000 on
the Derby. This he could not meet, and he shot himself. Hundreds of
similar cases might be given, but this one must serve as an example.
That large sums were wagered and lost and won at this time we may learn
from the fact that in 1816 no less a sum than £300,000 is said to have
been paid and received at Tattersall’s in the betting settlement on
that year’s Epsom races.

Of the origin of bookmaking, Mr Dixon (The Druid) has written so well
in _The Post and the Paddock_, that I cannot do better than copy him
_verbatim_:

“Betting between one and the field was the fashion which Turf
speculation assumed in the days of powder and periwigs, and Ogden (the
only betting man who was ever admitted to the Club at Newmarket),
Davies, Holland, Deavden, Kettle, Bickham, and Watts, ruled on the
Turf ‘Change. With Jem Bland, Jerry Cloves, Myers (an ex-butler),
Richard (the Leicester Stockinger), Mat Milton, Tommy Swan of Bedale
(who never took or laid but one bet on a Sunday), Highton, Holliday,
Gully, Justice, Crockford, Briscoe, Crutch Robinson, Ridsdale, Frank
Richardson, and Bob Steward, etc., the art of bookmaking arose, and,
henceforward, what had been more of a pastime among owners, who would
back their horses for a rattler when the humour took them, and not
shrink from having £5000 to £6000 on a single match, degenerated into
a science. All the above, with the exception of two, have passed away,
like the Mastodons, never to return. Nature must have broken the mould
in which she formed the crafty Robinson, as he leant on his crutch,
with his back against the outer wall of the Newmarket Betting Rooms,
and, with his knowing, quiet leer, and one hand in his pocket, offered
to ‘lay agin Plenipo.’

“The two Blands, Joe and ‘Facetious Jemmy,’ were equally odd hands.
Epsom had fired up the latter’s desire to come on to the turf, and
he descended from his coachman’s box at Hedley for that purpose, and
sported his ‘noble lord’ hat, white cords, deep bass voice, and vulgar
dialect, on it, for the first time, about 1812. He did not trouble
it much after he had ‘dropped his sugar’ on Shillelah, though that
_contretemps_ did not completely knock him out of time. His acute
rough expressions, such as ‘_never coomed anigh_,’ and so on, as well
as his long nose, and white, flabby cheeks, made him a man of mark,
even before he got enough, by laying all round, to set up a mansion in
Piccadilly. Joe, his brother, had, originally, been a post boy, and
rose from thence to be a stable keeper in Great Wardour Street; but,
the great hit of his life was his successful farming of turnpike gates,
at which he was supposed to have made about £25,000. ‘Ludlow Bond’ was
not so coarse in his style as this _par nobile_, but ambitious and
vain to the last degree. It was the knowledge of this latter quality,
on the part of Ludlow’s real owners, ‘the Yorkshire Blacksmith & Co.,’
which induced them to put him forward as the ostensible owner of the
horse, as no one would back a horse which was known to be theirs. Bond
liked the notoriety which this nominal ownership conferred on him, and
was, no doubt, a mere puppet, without exactly knowing who pulled the
strings. Discreditable as the affair was, he always gloried in it; in
fact he was so determined not to let the memory of it die out, that he
christened a yearling which he bought from the Duke of Grafton, ‘Ludlow
Junior.’ At times he appeared on the heath on a grey hack, and went
by the nickname of ‘_Death on the Pale Horse_’ and, shortly after the
Doncaster outburst, he came on in a handsome travelling carriage, with
two servants in livery in the rumble.

“Mr Gully, although he did great execution at the Corner in Andover’s
year, may be styled a mere fancy bettor now, and, as a judge of racing
and the points of a horse combined, he has scarcely a peer among his
own, or the younger generation of turfites. His fame at the Corner was
at its zenith a quarter of a century ago, when he was a betting partner
with Ridsdale. Rumour averred that they won £35,000 on Margrave for the
St Leger (1832), and £50,000 on St Giles for the Derby; and it was in
consequence of a dispute as to the Margrave winnings, that the Siamese
link between them was so abruptly dissolved. Their joint books also
showed a balance of £80,000 if Red Rover could only have brought Priam
to grief for the Derby. There was a joke too, soon after this time,
that Mr Gully and his friend Justice descended on to Cheltenham, and
so completely cleaned out the local ring there, that the two did not
even think it worth while stopping for the second race day. One of the
lesser lights was found wandering moodily about the ring on that day,
and remarked to a sympathiser that he was ‘looking for the few half
crowns that Gully and Justice had condescended to leave.’”

In the second quarter of this century the Turf was getting in a
scandalous condition. A fair race was hardly known for the St Leger,
and, in 1827, Mameluke was got rid of by a series of false starts.
In 1832 was the Ludlow scandal, just alluded to. This horse was the
property of a man named Beardsworth, who was such a rogue that no one
would bet on or against his horse, so it was apparently purchased by
Ephraim Bond, the keeper of a gambling house, called the Athenæum
Club, in St James’s Street. In reality it was owned by four people,
Beardsworth, Bond and his brother, and a mysterious fourth party, whose
name was not divulged. Ludlow was beaten by Margrave, a horse owned by
Gully, the ex-prize fighter, who boldly accused Squire Osbaldistone of
being the unknown fourth owner of Ludlow. The consequence was a duel,
in which both combatants had very narrow escapes; Gully especially, for
his opponent’s bullet went through his hat and ploughed a furrow in his
hair.

In 1834 Plenipotentiary, or as it was called for brevity, Plenipo,
the favourite for the St Leger, was undoubtedly “nobbled,” either by
his owner, Batson, or his trainer, George Paine, either of which were
capable of any dishonourable conduct.

There were, afterwards, many minor Turf scandals, but they culminated
in the Derby of 1844 which is known as Running Rein’s Derby, which ran
as a three-year-old, being in reality four years. As this fraud was
the subject of an action, its story may be well told in the following
synopsis of the trial.


IN THE EXCHEQUER.

_July 1._

_Before Mr Baron Alderson._

WOOD _v._ PEEL.

This action, which excited the most lively interest in the _Sporting
World_, arose out of the late Derby race at Epsom, in which a horse
belonging to the plaintiff, called Running Rein, had come in first. It
was alleged, however, that this horse had not been truly described,
that he was not of the age which qualified him to run for the Derby,
and that he ought not, therefore, to be deemed the winner of the race.
Colonel Peel, the owner of Orlando, the second horse, had claimed the
stakes, on the ground that Running Rein was not the horse represented;
and Mr Wood, the owner of Running Rein, brought this action against the
Colonel.

Mr Cockburn, who conducted the plaintiff’s case, gave the pedigree of
Running Rein, and his whole history. Among other things, Mr Cockburn
mentioned that, in October 1843, Running Rein won a race at Newmarket;
that he was objected to on the score of age, but, eventually, the
stewards had decided in his favour. The horse was, originally, the
property of Mr Goodman; and, Mr Cockburn said, it was because suspicion
attached to some transactions of Goodman, and because certain parties
had betted heavily against Running Rein, that opposition was raised
against Mr Wood receiving the stakes. He made a severe attack on Lord
George Bentinck, who, he asserted, was the real party in the cause.
Witnesses for the plaintiff described the horse at various periods of
its career: it was of a bay colour, with black legs, and a little white
on the forehead; its heels were cracked, and in 1842 it broke the skin
on one leg, which left a scar. George Hitchcock, a breaker of colts,
employed to break Running Rein in October 1842, was cross-examined to
this effect:

“I know George Dockeray, the trainer. I never said to him, ‘Damn it,
this colt has been broken before; here is the mark of the pad on his
back.’ I showed him the mark, but I never said those words, or any
words to that effect. I don’t know why I showed him the mark. It was
not big enough for the mark of a pad, and it was not the place for the
saddle to make it. I told Lord George Bentinck the same. The mark of
the pad never wears out. I recollect being asked, in the presence of Mr
Smith, what had I there? and I recollect answering, a four years’ old.
I have not the slightest doubt of it. Mr Smith struck me for it. I did
not say afterwards that I had forgotten all about the horse whipping,
and that the marks of the pad had worn out. I never said, either, that
somebody had behaved very well to me.”

At an early period of the examination of witnesses, Mr Baron Alderson
expressed a wish that he and the jury should see the horse; and Mr
Cockburn said he had no objection. On the cross-examination of William
Smith, a training groom residing at Epsom, it came out that the horse
had been smuggled out of the way, that it might not be seen by the
defendant’s agents. The Judge, animadverting on this, and on the
evident perjury of the witness, said it would be better that the horse
should be seen by him and other parties. The Solicitor-General, who
appeared for the defendant, was anxious that the horse should be seen
by veterinary surgeons. To which the other side objected, maintaining
that the mark of mouth, by which alone these surgeons could judge of
the age of a horse, was a fallible criterion.

On the conclusion of the evidence for the plaintiff, the
Solicitor-General, in addressing the jury for the defence, denounced
the case as a gross and scandalous fraud on the part of the plaintiff.
The case of the defendant was, that the horse was not Running Rein at
all, but a colt by Gladiator, out of a dam belonging originally to
Sir Charles Ibbotson; and that it had the name Running Rein imposed
upon it, being originally called Maccabeus, and having been entered
for certain stakes under that designation. But his allegations were
against Goodman, not against Mr Wood: the former had entered into a
conspiracy with other persons to run horses above the proper age. The
Gladiator colt had been entered for races, under the name of Maccabeus,
before Goodman purchased him; and to run these races while the colt was
in training for the Derby, for which he was entered as Running Rein,
Goodman hired an Irish horse, which he disguised as Maccabeus, though
a year older than that horse. The Gladiator colt, the _soi distant_
Running Rein, when he ran for the Derby in 1844, was four years old,
the race being for three-year-old horses. After hearing some evidence
in support of these statements, the case was adjourned till the
following day.

The next day, when Mr Baron Alderson took his seat on the Bench, a
conversation ensued between Mr Cockburn and the Judge, respecting the
production of the horse. Mr Cockburn asserted that it had been taken
away without Mr Wood’s knowledge, and thus it was out of his power to
produce it; he felt it would be vain to strive against the effect which
must be produced by the non-production of the horse, after the remarks
of the learned judge on that point. After some more conversation,
however, the case proceeded, and two witnesses for the defence were
examined, whose evidence went to prove that Running Rein was, in fact,
the Gladiator colt. Mr George Odell, a horse dealer at Northampton,
said he could swear to that fact; the colt had two marks on one leg.

Mr Baron Alderson remarked—“Now, if we could see the horse, that
would prove the case. Who keeps him away? It is quite childish to act
in this manner.”

Mr Cockburn now stated that Mr Wood was convinced that he had been
deceived, and gave up the case.

Mr Baron Alderson then briefly addressed the jury with much warmth, and
in a most emphatic manner; directing them to find a verdict for the
defendant, observing:

“Since the opening of the case, a most atrocious fraud has been proved
to have been practised; and I have seen, with great regret, gentlemen
associating themselves with persons much below themselves in station.
If gentlemen would associate with gentlemen, and race with gentlemen,
we should have no such practises. But, if gentlemen will condescend to
race with blackguards, they must expect to be cheated.”

The jury found for the defendant, and the effect of their verdict was
that the Derby Stakes went to Orlando, and that Crenoline should be
considered the winner of the Two-Year-Old Plate at Newmarket, run the
previous year.

This ought to have been sufficient roguery, one would think, for one
race, but it was not. A horse named Ratan was so evidently “nobbled,”
that two men connected with it, Rogers and Braham, were warned off all
the Jockey Club’s premises.

And yet another case. A horse named Leander ran in this race, and so
injured its leg that it was shot. Shortly afterwards, it was suspected
that it was four instead of three years old, and on its being exhumed,
_the lower jaw was missing_. The resurrectionists, however, cut off the
head, and veterinary experts confirmed the previous suspicions. For
this, the owners, Messrs Lichtwald, were for ever disqualified from
racing. This case occupied much time before the Select Committee of the
House of Lords.

The Select Committee on Gaming in the Commons in 1844 report
that “Your Committee have some evidence to show that frauds are,
occasionally, committed in Horse racing, and in Betting on the Turf;
but they feel difficulty in suggesting any remedy for this evil, more
stringent, or more likely to be effectual, than those already in
existence.”

The House of Lords reported in similar terms, but they added: “The
Committee have inquired into certain transactions which have, lately,
been brought before the Courts of Law, arising from the fraudulent
practices of Individuals substituting other horses for those named in
stakes which are limited to horses of a certain age, and thus obtaining
the advantages arising from running, at even weights, Three-year-olds
against Two-year-olds, and Four-year-olds against Three-year-olds. The
success, however, which has attended the prosecutions instituted for
the Recovery of the Stakes thus unjustly won, and the rules which the
Committee are led to believe will be, hereafter, strictly attended to,
as to the examination, by competent persons, of all horses which may be
objected to, render it unnecessary for them to make any further comment
upon this part of their inquiry.”

But the Commons Committee reported on another subject, the
Gaming-houses in race towns, and the Gaming-booths on the courses.

“The suppression of Gaming-houses in race towns, and in other places
out of the Metropolitan Police District, is to be effected under the
common law, and under the enactment of Statutes different from the
Metropolitan Police Act. Much laxity and neglect have, hitherto,
prevailed in this respect; and your Committee think that the attention
of Magistrates might, usefully, be directed to this matter. But, if
it should be found that the powers given by the existing law are
insufficient, your Committee would recommend that additional powers
should be conferred.

“Your Committee have found that it is the practice on some race
courses to let out ground for the erection of Gaming-booths, during the
races, in order that the high rents paid by the keepers of these booths
may be added to the fund from whence prizes to be run for are to be
given; and some of the witnesses examined have stated that certain race
meetings, which they have named, could not be kept up, if this practice
were to be discontinued.”



CHAPTER XV

 Gambling on Race Courses—E.O. tables—Description of Race
 Courses—Evidence before the Committee—Description of the
 betting-rooms at Doncaster in 1846—Beginning of tipsters and
 betting-rooms.


This system of gambling on race courses began the previous century. In
Canto I. of _The Gambler’s, A Poem_, Lon. 1777, we read:

  “But, chief, we see a bricking, sharping sort,
  _Span farthing_, _Hustle Cap_, their joy and sport;
  The sport of infancy! ‘till riper age
  Mature the man, and call him to the stage.
  In each shoot forth the dawning seeds of vice,
  The growing Jockey, or the man of Dice.
  Some prick the Belt, self tutor’d, young in sin,
  Anxious to take their wond’ring fellows in.
  Here, a surrounding groupe of little Squires,
  As chink the brazen belts, Chuck farthing fires:
  While _Sçavoir-vivres_ early signs betray
  Of bold adventures, and the rage of play.
  These, haply shall some future bard engage,
  The hopeful _Kelly’s_[52] of the rising age.
  But, when maturer years confirm the sin,
  And opening minds suck the dear poison in,
  Adieu, _Span farthing_! _Hustle Cap_, farewell!
  With nobler passions, nobler views, they swell:
  Dice, tennis, Cards, inferior sports succeed,
  And the gay triumph of the High bred Steed.”

Complaints of racecourse gambling began early in the present century.
In the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1801 (p. 327) we read: “Mr Urban—As
the quarter sessions will take place in most parts of England in
the course of the present month, I wish, through the medium of your
extensively circulated Magazine, to submit to the serious consideration
of the County Magistrates, the absolute necessity for adopting some
vigorous measures, in order to check the career of those infamous
swindlers, who are in the constant habit of attending our fairs and
races with E.O. tables, &c. It is an alarming fact that there is
scarcely a fair, or a race, of the least celebrity, which is not
infested with these villains, many of whom clear £500 annually by
plundering the unsuspecting rustics, who attend such places, of their
property.”

Goldsmith, in his life of Beau Nash, tells us that E.O. was first set
up at Tunbridge, in the reign of George I., and was introduced into
Bath by Nash: and, as the game was a very popular one, I give the
following description of it, as found in Rice’s _History of the British
Turf_:

“The E.O. table was circular in form, and, though made in various
sizes, was, commonly, four feet in diameter. The outside edge formed
the counter, or _depôt_, on which the stakes were placed, and was
marked all round with the letters E.O. from which the game took its
name. The interior of the table consisted of a stationary gallery, in
which the ball rolled, and an independent round table, moving on an
axis, by means of handles. The ball was started in one direction, and
this rotary table turned in the other. This part was divided into forty
compartments of equal size, twenty of which were marked E. and twenty
O. The principle was pretty much as that of roulette without a zero;
but the ingenuity of the proprietors appears, at an early date in the
history of these tables, to have supplied this defect. At first the
game was played on the same terms as hazard then was, viz., whoever
won, or threw in three times successively, paid, when gold was played
for, half a guinea to the proprietors of the table. This, however,
as might have been expected, was too simple and unsophisticated a
method of procedure to last. The game was too fair; but, as it was
very popular, it must be made profitable to the man of business, who
could not be expected to travel from race meeting to race meeting
all over the country, for half guineas in cases of exceptional luck.
Accordingly, he became obliged to take all bets offered either for E.
or for O., and made two of his forty spaces into ‘bar holes.’ The name
sufficiently explains the utility of the device to the keeper of the
table. If the ball fell into either of these ‘bar holes,’ he won all
the bets on the opposite letter, and did not pay to that on which it
fell. Unfair tables, having the compartments of one letter larger than
another, abounded; but there seems to have been little necessity to
cheat at the game, as, with a proportion of two in forty, or five per
cent., in his favour, the keeper should have reaped a heavy harvest of
profit from his venture. The gentlemen who had played the game at the
time when the occasional half guinea was thought enough to remunerate
the proprietor, could hardly have liked the innovation, regarding the
five per cent. ‘pull’ against them as ‘a circumstance which, in the
long run, would infallibly exhaust the _Exchequer_’ much more than the
breeches pockets of the young squires.

The booths at Ascot Heath, and the taverns in Windsor, were, at
race time, great haunts for the keepers of the E.O. tables, some of
whom were respectable men in their calling, and might be trusted to
give twenty, or even more, shillings for a guinea; but the majority,
gambling for twopenny pieces and sixpences, were little, if anything,
better than the thimble-rig and prick-the-garter gentry of that, or
the three-card practitioners of our own, time. Ascot, indeed, was,
then, a race meeting of the first importance, and the week was a fair
of the most attractive character to the Berkshire landlords and their
tenantry. The Oatlands Stakes was transferred to Newmarket from Ascot,
after a memorable race, when a hundred thousand pounds changed hands;
and we read that the Turf was a barren and dreary prospect—for the
losers. ‘Horses are daily thrown out of training, jockeys are going
into mourning, grooms are becoming E.O. merchants, and strappers are
going on the highway.’”

In the _Quarterly Review_ for 1834, a description is given of gambling
at races, as it then was. “Doncaster, Epsom, Ascot, Warwick, and most
of our numerous race grounds and race towns are scenes of destructive
and universal gambling among the lower orders, which our absurdly
lax police never attempt to suppress; and yet, without the slightest
approach to an improperly harsh interference with the pleasures of the
people, the roulette and E.O. tables which plunder the peasantry at
these places, for the benefit of travelling sharpers (certainly equally
respectable with some bipeds of prey who drive coroneted cabs near St
James’s), might be put down by any watchful magistrate.”

The Commons Select Committee on Gaming in 1844 tells us a great deal
about the gambling at Doncaster, during race meetings. A Mr Richard
Baxter was the witness, and he said:

“The extent to which gambling has been carried on, both upon the
course, and in the town of Doncaster, has varied at different periods.
Twenty years ago, in 1824, was my first acquaintance with the matter: I
went, as a stranger, to live in Doncaster, and I found that there were
40 or 50 houses, and men stationed at the doors, and passing up and
down the streets, not only, by word, inviting the passers by to go into
those houses, but putting into their hands cards (one of which I have
here)—

  TO NOBLEMEN AND GENTLEMEN.

  ROULETTE.

  Bank. £1000.

  _At Mason’s (the Tailor), Scott Lane._

—explanatory of the game that was going on there, and, without any
secrecy, or reserve, stating the name of the party at whose house the
game was carried on.

“Being a stranger in the town, I went into almost all the houses, and
found them playing, in some with dice, and in some with balls, at the
different games, the names of all of which I do not know: but gambling
was going on to this extent, and no check to it, whatever, was put by
the local authorities. At the same time, upon the race course, the
thimble men were in hundreds, with their tables, as well as by the
roadsides on every approach to Doncaster, playing, and cheating the
people out of their money, as fast as they could induce them to play.
As I was a stranger in the place, I did not think it becoming in me,
at that time, to interfere; and, for two years following, I did no
more than speak upon the subject to the mayor and the magistrates, and
the gentlemen of the town, urging them to take some means to repress
this systematic gambling; but, in the year 1827, which was the third
year, finding that the authorities would take no notice of it, I laid
an information against one of the gambling houses, against Henry
Oldfield, who is a very noted character in gambling. I brought the
owner of the house, who is a very respectable tradesman in the town;
I brought the sister of the owner and his servants; I brought the man
who attended at the door, and invited people publicly, ‘Roulette and
Hazard going on upstairs’; I brought a gentleman, a respectable surgeon
of the town, who had been in the room, and played there. Those parties
I brought before the magistrates, they were examined upon oath. The
owner of the house denied all knowledge of the object for which the
room was let; the gentleman, who had been present, owned that he had
played, but denied his knowledge of the name of the game at which he
played; and, the result was, that the magistrates refused to convict.
No further step was taken in that year; but, in the following year,
without again speaking to the authorities, I represented the matter
to the neighbouring gentry, and the present Lord Fitzwilliam, Mr
Beckett Denison, one of the Members for the West Riding; Mr Childers,
the Member for Malton; and, perhaps, 20 or 30 other gentlemen, in the
neighbourhood, and in the town, joined in an association, professedly,
to repress gambling in the town. The rules of the association were,
that application should be made to the local authorities, and such
legal means taken, as could be made available to induce the authorities
to repress gambling. This was most respectably supported and published.
The consequence was, that we had an _émeute_ in the town: the
inhabitants assembled at a public meeting, a gentleman, who is, now,
one of the Borough Magistrates, was put into the chair, and a regular
set of speeches made against the Anti-Gambling Association, and all
parties concerned. I thought it my duty to go to the meeting; and, of
course, you may suppose, was very warmly received. I told them, very
candidly and freely, my mind upon the subject. They heard me for a
certain length of time; but, finding the chairman refused to let me go
on, I left the meeting, and had the honour of being pelted down the
street on my way home, as a recompense for the advice I had taken the
liberty of tendering them. The consequence of this _émeute_ was, that
our association fell to pieces. I am sorry to say, that the members who
composed it did not choose, in the face of the unpopularity which it
occasioned, to take any further step in it.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The extent of gambling in Doncaster for the last two or three years
has been from six to twelve of the lower gambling houses and three
of the higher gambling houses. The distinction between the one class
and the other consists in this: that the lower gambling houses are
kept by men who hire a little front shop, open to the street, for the
purpose of taking mere passers-by; the higher gambling houses, many of
them houses of their own, which they have built in Doncaster, for the
purpose of gaming; a third class hire rooms of respectable tradesmen
in the town, and occupy them; and the popular opinion is, that there
are clubs, and knots of gentlemen attached to each of those houses, who
regularly go and play there. Oldfield, against whom the information was
laid in 1827, was the keeper of one of the higher gambling houses, and
I need scarcely state to the Committee that, popular as gambling is in
the town, very strong remarks are made and a very strong feeling exists
in the place, that, if the lower gambling houses are suppressed, it is
unfair to the common people that the higher gambling houses should be
permitted to continue; and, when an information is laid against the
low gambling houses, it is always matter of crimination; ‘Why did you
not lay it against the gentlemen’s houses? you are laying it against
the houses of the poor people, but you will not lay it against the
houses of the gentlemen.’ Another circumstance connected with the races
I may mention as a great public nuisance is, that the betting room,
which is a building erected simply for the purpose of betting, is open
on a Sunday, to the public, as on any other day, and during the time
of Divine service in the evening more people, I am sorry to say, are
assembled at the betting rooms than at church; and there is a continual
crowd filling half the street in front of the betting rooms the whole
of the Sunday evening. A representation on the subject was made to
the Chief Magistrate at the time, and the only answer we got to the
representation to him was that he would communicate with the parties
and endeavour to have it closed: it was closed during the morning and
afternoon services, but it was open to the public, as before, during
the evening service, and hundreds of those who are called gentlemen
were assembled there betting, and all the affairs of the races going on
quite as publicly as on any other evening of the week.

“1024.—With regard to gambling on the race course, whether by
thimble-riggers, or by roulette, or any other kind of gambling, whether
in booths or not, are the Committee to understand that that has of late
years entirely ceased to exist?—That has been suppressed.

“1025.—By the interference of the police?—Yes.”

A Mr John Rushbridger, who had charge of the ground at Goodwood, on
which the races were held, was examined, and he deposed that there were
only two gambling booths on the course, which paid £125 each for the
privilege; whilst refreshment booths were only charged 10s. or 15s.
They endeavoured, as far as possible, to keep thimble-riggers off the
course.

The Clerk of the Course at Egham said there used to be eighteen
gambling booths on the course, but now there were only fourteen,
which produced a rental of £240; but a portion of the grand stand was
let for gambling purposes, and that brought in a further sum. The
thimble-rigmen were allowed on the course, as far as the distance-post,
and formerly used to pay for the permission.

A Timothy Barnard was examined, and said he speculated in race courses.
At Egham he paid the Lord of the Manor £300 for the race course, and
cleared £240 by the gambling booths. He gave £600 for Epsom course, but
could not give £300 if he were deprived of the privilege of letting
gaming booths, because they were the mainstay of the other booths, such
as the publicans’ booths; many having their liquors and wines of them,
and therefore the publicans would not give near as much for the ground,
except for those booths. They made the thimble-riggers pay 5s. or 10s.
to be allowed on the course; they were given a little ticket which they
were obliged to wear in their hats, or their tables would be taken from
them.

In _Bentley’s Magazine_ for 1846 we get a good account of the working
of the betting rooms at Doncaster. The subscription was a guinea, and
the number of subscribers was from 1000 to 1200. “The rent paid by the
proprietary for the premises is said to be £500 per an.; but this is
reduced in its amount by the circumstance of the rooms being let off
for trading, or warehouse purposes, during ten months of the year; and
taking this reduction at the reasonable sum of £150, it would leave
£350 as the rent from the estimated subscriptions of £1050, which would
give a clear surplus of £700 per an., which alone would be a large
return of profit. But other sources of income and annual return are
open to the proprietary, by the sale of wine, spirits, soda water, and
divers refreshments, which are in almost constant demand in the great
room throughout each evening, and partially so in the day. The prices
at which these articles are sold are by no means so moderate as they
might be, even to secure a fair and liberal compensation for their
outlay, and must, on the most moderate calculation, yield £100 clear at
least in the week.

“But the _El Dorado_ or grand source of income and wealth to the
proprietors arises from the prolific revenue of the play or gaming
tables, of which there are usually six in constant nightly operation
during the racing week. The proprietors of the Subscription Betting
Rooms are not ostensibly connected in the co-partnership of the banks,
or in the business of the tables, but they are nevertheless largely
interested in the successful issue of the week, as will be shown. In
the first instance it should be stated that the sum of £350 or £400 is
_paid down_ to them by the party contracting for the tables and for the
privilege of putting down the banks. This is all clear profit, paid in
advance and without any contingency; and in addition to this apparently
large sum, so paid for the mere privilege of finding capital, there is
a stipulation also on the part of the proprietors of the rooms that
they shall receive a considerable part or share of the whole clear
profits, or gains, of the week accruing from the tables, and this
without the risk of a single shilling by them under any unlooked-for
reverse of fortune.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The play tables at the Betting Rooms, are, as before noted, six,
or seven, in number, and of variety in the games played thereat. The
roulette tables attract the crowd, as well as for the reason that the
game opens to the player many modes of proportionate risk, as that it
affords him opportunity to play smaller sums on any one event, than he
can at hazard. At the former game, the lowest stake is half a crown;
at the latter, nothing less than the regal coin of a sovereign is
permitted. The pull, or percentage, of roulette against the player,
being, however, nearly five times that of hazard, the small stakes
played realise as large a result to the bankers. It requires all
the vigilance of a player to guard his interests at this game; for,
generally speaking, there is much confusion in the distribution of
money staked by the many adventurers, on the numbers, and other points
of speculation attaching to the game; and dispute, not infrequently,
arises between two or three different claimants for the produce of some
fortunate, or winning result. These contested claims often arise from
inattention in the player to the exact position of his money on the
board, but are, sometimes, occasioned by the attempt of some sharping
knave to possess himself of something which does not belong to him.
The officials at the table, too, are most dexterous in their practical
avocations,—more particularly so in the principle of drawing the money
from the losing points of the game, immediately the winning number,
&c., is called. The rapidity with which this operation is performed, is
most remarkable, and gives immense additional advantage to the bank;
for, it very often happens that, in the general sweep, the adroit
croupiers rake off much more than they are entitled to; while, on the
other hand, they can never, under any circumstances, be called upon to
pay more than the loss attaching to the event.”

Doncaster is now, I believe, very much purified, but Sir George
Chetwynd describes the gambling that went on there in 1869. “How
changed is Doncaster now, from what it was in those days! Then, after
dinner, you would go to the subscription rooms and back horses for
the Cesarewitch and Cambridgeshire at 100 to 1 to win large stakes,
and even small bookmakers thought nothing of starting £20,000 books.
After making their bets, people used to go into an inner room where
hazard was being played. Hour after hour the game continued in full
swing at a table crowded with punters, with green, black, red and white
ivory counters before them denoting £10, £5, £25, and £1. There was
an impressive stillness in the room, only broken by the voice of Mr
F. Hall, one of the croupiers, who, rake in hand, gave vent to such
utterances as, ‘The Castor is backing in at seven, gentlemen. I’ll take
on the nick.’ Then came the rattle of the dice, the bang on the table
of the box, the quick announcement of the point, and the raking in of
the counters on the losing columns, by the two croupiers, one of whom
looked like a respectable tradesman, or a magistrate’s clerk. Behind
the players stood the proprietor, a tall, handsome man, with carefully
trimmed white beard and moustache, more like a general than the keeper
of a hell; his countenance immovable, except when it relaxed, as he
replied courteously to any one who addressed him.

“He is dead, so is one of the croupiers, so are half the players, old
and young, whom I first saw at the table twenty years ago, when, for
the first time, I was initiated into the mysteries of hazard, how to
dash down a ten, or dribble a four, as if, really, there was skill
about a game which consists in rattling two dice in a box, and winning,
or losing by the points they declare when rolled out on the table.”

We have seen how disreputable the Turf had become in 1844. If anything,
it became worse. A class of men sprung up, called “tipsters,” men
who pretended to have exclusive and particular stable information
which they were willing to impart to their dupes, say (to quote the
advertisement of one of the fraternity), Single events, 3s. 6d. Derby
or Oaks, 5s. each: yearly subscription, 21s.; half yearly, 10s. 6d.
That these men made a profitable business of it, there can be no
doubt, for the sporting papers were full of their advertisements, some
of them of great length: and, then, also began that curse attending
horse racing, the betting shop—which afforded a fatal facility to
all classes, to gamble, and which led to crime, and its attendant
punishment.

In 1852, these houses had become such a crying scandal, that a
public meeting was held on 18th June, at the Literary and Scientific
Institution in Aldersgate Street, over which Sir Peter Laurie presided,
to adopt measures for the suppression of betting houses in the City of
London, and a resolution was moved, and carried unanimously, that a
petition be presented to Parliament for their suppression. In the same
year, at a meeting of the Aldermen at the Guildhall, the foreman of the
Inquest of Farringdon Ward Without, handed in a presentment, which he
said related to a subject of great importance in the City of London;
the gambling and betting houses in the Ward, by which great mischief
was done. Facilities were given at these houses, of which there were
a great number in the Ward, for betting, from sums of threepence, or
fourpence upwards; and by these means, many servants and boys, who
certainly had no money of their own to bet with, were induced to lay
wagers that too often led them into a career of crime.

_The Druid_ says: “The great list era, and all its attendant
Ripe-for-a-jails, as _Punch_ termed them, began with Messrs Drummond
and Greville, who ‘kept an account at the Westminster Bank’ in 1847.
Up to that time ‘sweeps,’ where every subscriber drew a horse for
his ticket, had been amply sufficient to satisfy the popular thirst
for speculation on a Derby, or St Leger eve; and, although, in one
instance, we ascertained that our ticket horse was a leader in a
Shrewsbury coach, instead of being ‘prepared,’ it was satisfactory to
know that there was, at least, fair play. Stimulated by the example of
D. and G., the licensed victuallers took it up—and a nice mess they
made of it—till the licensing magistrates stepped sternly in. From
1850 to the end of 1853, the listers were in their glory; and, at one
period, about four hundred betting houses were open in London alone, of
which, perhaps, ten were solvent.”



CHAPTER XVI

 Betting Houses—Their suppression in 1853—Bookmakers and their
 Clients—Defaulters—Dwyer’s swindle—Value of Stakes.


In _Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal_ of 24th July 1852, is an excellent
article on “BETTING HOUSES.” It says: “‘Betting Shop’ is vulgar, and we
dislike vulgarity. ‘Commission Office,’ ‘Racing Bank,’ ‘Mr Hopposite
Green’s Office,’ ‘Betting Office,’ are the styles of announcement
adopted by speculators, who open, what low people call, Betting Shops.
The chosen designation is, usually, painted in gold letters on a
chocolate coloured wire gauze blind, impervious to the view. A betting
office may display on its small show board, two bronzed plaster horses,
rampant, held by two Ethiopian figures, nude; or it may prefer making a
show of cigars. Many offices have risen out of simple cigar shops. When
this is the case, the tobacco business gives way, the slow trade and
fast profession not running well together. An official appearance is
always considered necessary. A partition, therefore, sufficiently high
not to be peered over, runs midway across the shop, surmounted with a
rail. By such means, visions are suggested to the intelligent mind, of
desks, and clerks. In the partition is an enlarged _pigeon_ hole—not
far off, may be supposed to lurk the hawk—through which are received
shillings, half crowns; in fact, any kind of coin or notes, no sum
appearing inadmissible. The office is papered with a warm crimson paper
to make it snug and comfortable, pleasant as a lounge, and casting a
genial glow upon the proceedings.

“But the betting lists are the attraction—these are the dice of the
betting men; a section of one of the side walls within the office
is devoted to them. They consist of long slips of paper—each race
having its own slip—on which are stated the odds against the horses.
Hasty and anxious are the glances which the speculator casts upon
betting lists; there he sees which are the favourites, whether those
he has backed are advancing, or retrograding, and he endeavours to
discover, by signs and testimonies, by all kinds of movements and
dodges, the knowing one’s opinion. He will drop fishing words to other
gazers, will try to overhear whispered remarks, will sidle towards any
jockey-legged, or ecurial-costumed individual, and aim more especially
at getting into the good graces of the betting office keeper, who,
when his business is slack, comes forth from behind the partition, and
from the duties of the pigeon hole, to stretch his legs, and hold turf
converse. The betting office keeper is the speculator’s divinity.

       *       *       *       *       *

“There are various kinds of betting offices. Some are speculative,
May-fly offices, open to-day, and shut to-morrow—offices that will
bet any way, and against anything—that will accommodate themselves to
any odds—receive any sum they can get, small or large; and, should a
misfortune occur, such as a wrong horse winning, forget to open next
day. These are but second rate offices. The money making, prosperous
betting office is quite a different thing. It is not advisable for
concerns which intend making thousands in a few years, to pay the
superintendents liberally, and to keep well clothed touters—to conduct
themselves, in short, like speculative offices. They must not depend
entirely upon chance. Chance is very well for betting men, but will
not do for the respectable betting office keepers, who are the stake
holders.

“The plan adopted is a very simple one, but ingenious in its
simplicity. The betting office takes a great dislike in its own mind
to a particular horse, the favourite of the betting men. It makes bets
against that horse, which amounts, in the aggregate, to a fortune; and
then it _buys_ the object of its frantic delight. This being effected,
the horse, of course, loses, and the office wins. How could it be
otherwise? Would you have a horse win against its owner’s interest?
The thing being settled, the office, in order to ascertain the amount
of its winnings, has only to deduct the price of the horse from its
aggregate bets, and arrange the remainder in a line of, perhaps, five
figures. Whereupon the betting men grow seedier and more seedy: some of
the more mercurial go off in a fit of apoplectic amazement; some betake
themselves to Waterloo stairs on a moonless night; some proceed to
the diggings, some to St Luke’s, and some to the dogs; some become so
unsteady, that they sign the wrong name to a draft, or enter the wrong
house at night, or are detected in a crowd with their hand in the wrong
man’s pocket. But, by degrees, everything comes right again. The insane
are shut up, the desperate transported, the dead buried, the deserted
families carted to the workhouse; and the betting-office goes on as
before.”

The scandal, however, grew too grave to be ignored, and the
Government took the matter up. On July 11, 1853, the Attorney-General
rose in his place in the House of Commons, and said, he would now beg
to move for leave to bring in a Bill for the suppression of betting
houses, and, in doing so, he considered it was not necessary for him to
make any lengthened statement on the subject, as the evils which had
arisen from the introduction of these establishments were perfectly
notorious, and acknowledged upon all hands. The difficulty, however,
which arose in legislating upon this subject, was the disinclination
which was felt against interfering with that description of betting
which had so long existed at Tattersall’s and elsewhere, in connection
with the great national sport of horse racing. But these establishments
assumed a totally different aspect—a new form of betting was
introduced, which had been productive of the greatest evils. The
course, now, is to open a house, and for the owner to hold himself
forth as ready to bet with all comers, contrary to the usage which had
prevailed at such places as Tattersall’s, where individuals betted with
each other, but no one there kept a gaming table, or, in other words,
held a bag against all comers. The object, then, of this Bill, was to
suppress these houses, without interfering with that legitimate species
of betting, to which he had referred. It would prohibit the opening of
houses, or shops or booths, for the purpose of betting; and, inasmuch
as it appeared that the mischief of the existing vicious system
seemed to arise from the advancing of money, in the first instance,
with the expectation of receiving a larger sum on the completion of a
certain event, it was proposed to prohibit the practice, by distinct
legislative enactment. The mischief arising from the existence of
these betting shops was perfectly notorious. Servants, apprentices,
and workmen, induced by the temptation of receiving a large sum for
a small one, took their few shillings to these places, and the first
effect of their losing, was to tempt them to go on spending their money
in the hope of retrieving their losses; and, for this purpose, it not
unfrequently happened that they were driven into robbing their masters
and employers. There was not a prison, nor a house of correction
in London, which did not every day furnish abundant and conclusive
testimony of the vast number of youths who were led into crime by the
temptation of these establishments of which there were from 100 to 150
in the metropolis alone, while there were a considerable number in the
large towns of the provinces. He believed this bill would have the
effect of suppressing most of them; or, at all events, of preventing
the spread of an evil which was admitted on all hands. It had been
suggested that the more effectual course would be the licensing
of these houses; but, for his own part, he believed that would be
discreditable to the Government, and would only tend to increase the
mischief instead of preventing it. He trusted and believed that the
Bill which he now sought to introduce would have the desired effect,
and he hoped the House would offer no objection to his bringing it in.

Leave was given, and the Bill was so in accord with the feeling of the
House, that it went through all its stages without debate, and received
the Royal Assent on 20th Aug. 1853, under the title of “An Act for
the suppression of Betting Houses,” 16 & 17 Victoria, cap. 119: it
became operative on 1st Dec. 1853. Its principal clause is Sec. iii.,
which deals with the penalty on owner or occupier of Betting House.
“Any Person who, being the Owner, or Occupier of any House, Office,
Room, or other Place, or a Person using the same, shall open, keep,
or use the same for the Purposes hereinbefore mentioned, or either
of them; and any Person, who, being the Owner, or Occupier, of any
House, Room, Office, or other Place, shall, knowingly, and wilfully,
permit the same to be opened, kept, or used by any other Person for
the purposes aforesaid, or either of them; and any Person having the
Care, or Management of, or in any Manner assisting in conducting the
business of any House, Office, Room, or Place opened, kept, or used
for the Purposes aforesaid, or either of them, shall, on summary
Conviction thereof, before any Two Justices of the Peace, be liable
to forfeit and pay such Penalty, not exceeding One Hundred Pounds, as
shall be adjudged by such Justices, and may be further adjudged by such
Justices, to pay such Costs attending such conviction, as to the said
Justices shall seem reasonable; and, on the Nonpayment of such Penalty
and Costs; or, in the first instance, if to the said Justices, it shall
seem fit, may be committed to the Common Gaol, or House of Correction,
with, or without, Hard Labour, for any Time not exceeding Six Calendar
Months.”

The effect of this Act was to shut up, for the time, the betting
houses, but nobody can deny that there is as much of this ready money
betting now as ever there was, and there is no difficulty in getting “a
little bit on,” if one wants to, without attending races and betting
with the professional bookmakers there to be found. Children can lay
their pennies and errand boys their sixpences, and, throughout the
length and breadth of the country, the curse of betting permeates every
rank, and, I am sorry to say, spares neither sex.

The police do something, in occasionally obtaining convictions, and
magistrates have strained the interpretation of the word “Place” which
occurs in the Act to its very limit—indeed it has only lately (July
1897) been settled that the betting ring at a race course is not a
“Place” within the meaning of the Act. A bookmaker, named Dunn, was
fined £1 for betting at Kempton Park race meeting. He appealed, and the
magistrate’s decision was reversed. The judges inquired into what was
the real intention of the Legislature. This is sufficiently apparent
from the preamble, which states that “a certain kind of gaming has, of
late, sprung up, by the opening of places called betting houses,” and
we are justified in assuming that it was this “kind of gaming,” and no
other, which Parliament intended to suppress. Furthermore, when once
this fact is appreciated, the use of the words “house, office, room, or
other place” is no longer misleading, because “place” means something
_ejusdem generis_, a “house, office, or room.” It was impossible to
maintain that an open race course, or an open enclosure upon a race
course, is a “place” of the same kind as a “house, office, or room,” or
that the people who use it for betting claim to hold it against all the
world, as they would in the case of their own offices.

As a rule, the higher class professional bookmakers are a very
respectable lot of men, and are scrupulously honest in their dealings,
which is more than can be said for some of their clients, even titled
ones. Such men as Davis, Steel, and Fry dealt in vast sums, and no
matter how hard hit, never once failed to meet their losses; and some
of them have died rich. Gully is said to have left about a quarter of a
million behind him, Davis’s fortune at his death is variously stated at
£50,000 or £150,000, and Swindells died worth £145,000.

As to these men’s clients let Sir George Chetwynd tell a tale. “I
should like Fry, Steel, Emerson, Baylis, and others, to publish their
list of bad debts during the last few years. People would be astonished
at the amount owed to these men, yet they rather condone the fact of
being owed money, by hardly ever applying the remedy of making the
loser a defaulter, and all sorts of people are going about to race
courses, now owing the Ring money, the creditors hoping, some day, to
recover a portion of it. The most disgraceful part of it is, that some
of these defaulters are owners of race horses, gentlemen riders, and so
forth. Personally, I have no pity for book makers who do not post a man
for owing them money, after they have given him a reasonable time for
payment. If this were done, a healthier tone would be given to betting;
there would not be so much reckless plunging as there is, and it would
be far better for backers and layers. I recollect once, on the day
the Two Thousand was run for, some years ago, I was standing talking
to Henry Steel, for whose judgment I have a great respect, and whom I
have always found most straightforward in all his dealings. By his side
was his trusty partner, Peech. All of a sudden, I saw the latter make
hurriedly off in a bee line through the scattered crowd that thronged
the bird cage, and, on asking Steel what was up, he laughed, and said,
‘Oh, nothing, Sir George, it’s only Bill after a bit of old’; meaning
that he had seen a man who had owed him money for some years, and had
gone to give him a gentle reminder of the fact.”

My readers may not be aware of the awful punishment that awaits
defaulters, and I cannot do better than give that knowledge in Mr
Rice’s words.

“What unfair play and loaded dice did at night, defaulting
bettors—‘welshers,’ as they are now called—practised by day. The best
legitimate Meetings, as well as the minor country side ventures, were
infested with the rogues. They dressed well, wore frilled shirts and
‘flash’ rings, and were, perhaps, better able to pay their way about
than honest men. The Chichester ‘extortioners,’ with their guinea bed
for a single night’s lodging, were unable to keep these gentry away
from the Ducal meeting; and the unmerciful dealings of mine hosts at
Doncaster, Windsor, Warwick, and Newmarket, who enjoyed, in those days,
an unenviable notoriety for the extravagance of their charges, were,
likewise, powerless to clear their coffee rooms from the welshing
community.

“Measures were taken to reduce the evil. To begin with, the Messrs
Tattersall issued a code of new rules and regulations, to be observed,
in future, by all subscribers to the betting room at the Corner. A
subscription of two guineas per annum was fixed. Gentlemen desirous
of subscribing were to give a week’s notice, in writing, to Messrs
Tattersall and Son, submitting references for their approval.
Non-subscribers might be admitted on payment of a guinea; and, the room
being under the sanction of the Jockey Club, all the members were to
be obedient to any suggestions made by the Senate of the Turf, from
time to time. Lastly, special attention was called to the forty-first
rule of the Jockey Club, which enacted that any bettor adjudged to be a
defaulter by the Stewards, should not be permitted to go on the Heath
at Newmarket, and they should be excluded from the betting rooms there,
and at Tattersall’s.

“This step in a right direction was followed, a few months later, by
the action of the Trustees of the Grand Stand at Ascot, who gave notice
that all defaulters in respect to stakes, forfeits, or bets on horse
racing, would be peremptorily excluded during any Meeting on the Heath
at Ascot; and, if any one in default, did gain admission, on being
pointed out to the Noble Master of Her Majesty’s Buckhounds, or to the
Clerk of the Course, he would, if necessary, be expelled by force,
unless he were able to show that he had discharged all his obligations.

“At Goodwood, a similar active policy was pursued; no person, being
notoriously a defaulter upon bets on horse racing, would be permitted
to ‘assist’ at the Meeting. A contumelious defaulter having obtained
admission to the Enclosure, he received peremptory orders to quit; and
the example set by the Stewards of Ascot and Goodwood was promptly
taken up by the better class of country Meetings; and notices were
posted, that if any person notoriously in default, as to either
forfeits, or bets, gained admittance, he should be peremptorily
expelled. At Doncaster, it was requested that all parties who had
claims for bets, would not fail to notify the same to Mr Butterfield,
Land Steward to the Corporation, prior to the races, at his office,
or at the Grand Stand. Lord Eglinton, who had taken a prominent part
in the endeavour to stamp out this evil, wrote to the Town Clerk: ‘It
gives me much pleasure to find that the Corporation of Doncaster have
passed the Resolutions. Defaulters have become so numerous, and so
audacious in their proceedings, that it is absolutely necessary that
the strongest measures should be adopted against them.’ The Corporation
of Doncaster, at their meeting, when his Lordship’s letter was read,
resolved, unanimously, that the Town Clerk be requested, immediately,
to confer with the proprietors of the Betting Rooms, and that Lord
Eglinton be permitted to purify those rooms, as well as the Stand and
Enclosure.

“But to the influence and exertions of Lord George Bentinck, the
‘legitimates’ owed the clearance of the Turf from the hordes of
welshers and other non-payers that infested it. This ‘pleasing reform
of the Turf’ was brought about by his active measures; and it was
admitted, that had he not persevered to the utmost, even his powerful
influence would have been blighted, and the host of rotten sheep left
to infect the sound constitution of the remaining flock. But such was
the effect of the sharp remedies employed, that, for some time after,
it was safe to make a bet with any man whom you might meet in the
Betting Ring at respectable Race Meetings, so effectually was the Turf
ridded of the pests that had infested it.”

Probably, the greatest defaulter of modern times was a man named
Dwyer, who kept a cigar shop in St Martin’s Lane. He, generally, gave a
point or two more than the current odds at Tattersall’s, and, in 1851,
he was doing, by far, the largest business of any “list man” in London.
Owing to the promptitude and regularity of his payments, he gained a
high reputation for solvency, and not only retained and increased his
_clientèle_ among the half-crown and shilling public, but had attracted
the custom even of men of good standing in the ring. His humble patrons
believed him to be every whit as safe as “Leviathan” Davis, and their
confidence was largely shared by racing men of a higher calibre.

All went well till the Chester Meeting of 1851, the Cup being, then,
the greatest betting handicap in the Calendar; so much so that, in that
year it was calculated that upwards of _a million sterling_ changed
hands over that one race. Dwyer laid very heavily against the winner
_Miss Nancy_. It had always been his custom to pay up on the day after
a great race; and, consequently, at an early hour on Friday, the first
of May, crowds of the lucky backers of Nancy made their way to the
familiar cigar shop in St Martin’s Lane, to receive their winnings
in exchange for the tickets they held. Conceive their consternation
when they found the shutters up, and the door closed, with other
unmistakable signs that the bank had suspended payment. The news spread
fast, and there was soon a mob of some thousands blocking up all the
approaches to the cigar shop.

By and by it oozed out that a notice had been fastened to the
shutters to the effect that Mr Dwyer would meet his friends and
creditors that evening at the White Swan, Chandos Street, in order
to make arrangements for discharging the claims against him. Of
course, that hostelry was immediately besieged by a clamorous crowd,
but the landlord assured them that he knew nothing of Dwyer or his
whereabouts—all he could tell them was that, late on the previous
evening, two gentlemen, who were perfect strangers to him, had called
and engaged his “long-room” for a meeting of Mr Dwyer and his friends
on the following day. Meanwhile, the cigar shop had been broken into,
and the worst fears of the unfortunate victims were confirmed when they
found that every scrap of furniture that was worth anything had been
removed from the house during the night. The excitement in London that
evening was tremendous—nothing else was talked of among sporting men
but Dwyer’s collapse, and it was afterwards found that he had bolted
with £25,000 of the public’s money. The rogue was never found.

The largest sum ever won by a horse was made by _Donovan_, who, in his
lifetime, carried off stakes to the value of £55,354, 13s.; but the
largest amount of “public money” ever won without betting by an owner
in a single season is £73,858, 10s., won by the Duke of Portland in
1889; whilst Lord Falmouth, who did not bet, won nearly £212,000 in
eleven years, from 1873 to 1883, and in 1884 he sold his whole stud for
at least £150,000. Count Lagrange also won in stakes in five years,
from 1876 to 1880, £73,000.

These sums, with the exception of the Duke of Portland’s winnings,
were made before the era of enormous stakes had begun; and, according
to a writer (_Rapier_) in the _Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News_
in 1892, 2559 horses ran flat races for £486,556, which sum was won by
947 competitors. These figures give us some insight into the enormous
interests involved in horse racing, entirely leaving out the millions
which must change hands in betting.



CHAPTER XVII

 The Lottery—Its etymology and origin—The first in
 England—Succeeding ones—Prince Rupert’s jewels—Penny
 Lottery. Suppression and revival—Rage for them in Queen Anne’s
 reign—Lotteries for public purposes—Leheup’s fraud.


I have written very fully on the Lottery in England,[53] but, in
this History of Gambling in this country, it is necessary to go over
the ground again, though, of course, at much less length. Some claim
that the Romans introduced the lottery, in their _Apophoreta_, but
these were simply presents given to guests at their departure after
a banquet, and sometimes they were so disposed as to create great
merriment. The fourteenth book of Martial consists of an introductory
epigram and 222 distiches, each describing and designed to accompany
one of these presents which range from nuts to works of art and slaves.

So we may dismiss its Roman origin and examine into the generally
accepted (because never questioned) theory of its Italian birth. That
the Venetian and Genoese merchants did sometimes use the _Lotto_ as a
means of getting rid of their wares, is true—but the very name shows
its northern derivation, for the Latin word for a lot is _Sors_. The
Anglo-Saxon for “to cast lots” is Hleot-au. In Dutch it is Lot-en,
Loot-en, and in Swedish, Lotta. Indeed, the first record I can find of
any lottery is that of the widow of Jan van Eyck, which took place at
Bruges on 24th February 1446, the town archives recording a payment to
her for her lottery.

The first _public_ English lottery was projected in 1566, but was not
drawn until 1569. Only one authentic record of this lottery is believed
to be in existence, and it is carefully preserved in the muniment room
at Losely House, Artington, Surrey.[54] It is printed in black letter,
and is five feet long by nineteen inches wide, so that I can only give
the preamble to it.

“A verie rich Lotterie Generall, without any blancks, contayning
a number of good prices, as wel of redy money as of plate, and
certaine sorts of marchaundizes, having been valued and priced by the
comaundement of the Queene’s most excellent majestie, by men expert and
skilfull; and the same Lotterie is erected by her majestie’s order,
to the intent that such commoditie as may chaunce to arise thereof,
after the charges borne, may be converted towardes the reparation of
the havens and strength of the Realme, and towardes such other publique
good workes. The number of lots shall be foure hundreth thousand, and
no more; and every lot shall be the summe of tenne shillings sterling
onely, and no more.”

And the bill, which was printed in 1567, winds up thus: “The shewe of
the prices and rewardes above mencioned shall be set up to be seene
in Cheapsyde in London, at the signe of the Queene’s Majesties’ Arms,
in the house of M. Dericke, goldsmith, servant to the Queene’s most
excellent Majestie.”

But people fought so shy of the scheme that the proclamation had to be
backed by the recommendation of the Lord Mayor, and, this proving of
no avail, the Queen issued another on 3rd January 1586, postponing the
drawing on account of the slack subscription, and, this not succeeding,
the Earl of Leicester and Sir William Cecil, as Lords of the Council,
on July 12, 1558, sent a circular to all the authorities in the
Counties of Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Southampton, and the Isle of Wight,
begging them to do all in their power to get subscribers.

By the terms of the lottery, the subscribers were to be anonymous,
their subscriptions being accompanied by a “devise or poesie.” Many of
these remain in a little black letter book at Losely, and I give two or
three from various shipping places.

          “Yermouth haven, God send thee spede,
           The Lord he knoweth thy great nede.”

  “In good hope, poor East Greenwiche, God send us to remain,
   And of some good lotte to have the gaine.”

            “Draw Brightemston[55] a good lot,
             Or else return them a turbot.”

          “From Hastings we come,
           God send us good speed;
           Never a poor fisher town in England,
           Of y^e great lot hath more need.”

At last, the Lottery was drawn, in 1569, as we learn from Holinshed.
“A great lotterie being holden at London, in Poules Church Yard, at
the west dore, was begun to be drawne the eleventh of Januarie, and
continued daie and night till the sixt of Maie, wherein the said
drawing was fullie ended.”

Stow, in his _Annales_, tells us of the next Lottery, 1585: “A lotterie
for marvellous rich and beautifull armor was begunne to be drawne at
London in _S. Paules_ Churchyard, at the great West gate (an house
of timber and boord being there erected for that purpose) on _S.
Peter’s_[56] day, in the morning, which lotterie continued in drawing
day and night, for the space of two or three dayes.”

As far as I can learn, the next public lottery was that of 1612,
and I quote once more from the _Annales_: “The King’s maiestie in
speciall favor for the present plantation of English Colonies in
_Virginia_, granted a liberall Lottery, in which was contained five
thousand pound in prizes certayne, besides rewardes of casualtie, and
began to be drawne in a new built house at the West end of _Paul’s_,
the 29th of June 1612. But, of which Lottery, for want of filling
uppe the number of lots, there were then taken out and throwne away
three score thousand blanckes, without abating of any one prize; and
by the twentith of July all was drawne and finished. This Lottery
was so plainely carryed, and honestly performed, that it gave full
satisfaction to all persons. _Thomas Sharpliffe_, a Taylor, of London,
had the chiefe prize, _viz._ foure thousand Crownes in fayre plate,
which was sent to his house in very stately manner: during the whole
tyme of the drawing of this lottery there were alwaies present diuers
worshipfull Knights and Esquiers, accompanied by sundry graue discreet
Cittizens.”

There were three lotteries granted for the supply of water to the
Metropolis, in 1627, 1631, and 1689, and a petition to hold a lottery
for the same purpose in 1637, but this, I think, was not granted. There
were many licences granted for various schemes, and there was one,
called the Royal Oak lottery, for granting assistance to old Royalists,
which seems to have been a swindle. Indeed, this may be said to have
been the case with a good many of the Lotteries in Charles II.’s time,
till, when Prince Rupert died, and his jewels were to be disposed of
by lottery, the public would not subscribe unless the King consented
to see that all was fair, as we see by the _London Gazette_, September
27—October 1, 1683:

“These are to give Notice, that the Jewels of his late Highness Prince
_Rupert_, have been particularly valued and appraised by Mr _Isaac
Legouch_, Mr _Christopher Rosse_, and Mr _Richard Beauvoir_, Jewellers,
the whole amounting to Twenty Thousand Pounds, and will be sold by
way of Lottery, each Lot to be Five Pounds. The biggest Prize will be
a great Pearl Necklace valued at £8000, and none less than £100. A
printed Particular of the said Appraisement, with their Division into
Lots, will be delivered _gratis_ by Mr _Francis Child_, Goldsmith,
at Temple Bar, _London_, into whose hands, such as are willing to be
Adventurers, are desired to pay their Money, on, or about, the first
day of _November_ next. As soon as the whole sum is paid in, a short
day will be appointed (which ‘tis hoped will be before _Christmas_) and
notified in the _Gazette_, for the drawing thereof, which will be done
in his Majesty’s Presence, who is pleased to declare, that he, himself,
will see all the Prizes put among the Blanks, and that the whole shall
be managed with all Equity and Fairness; nothing being intended but the
Sale of the said Jewels at a moderate Value.”

In another _London Gazette_ of Nov. 22/26, 1683, we are told how this
Lottery will be drawn, and, as it is rare to have an English sovereign
mixed up in such a speculation, I transcribe it:

“As soon as the Money is all come in, a day will be prefixed, and
published for the drawing thereof, as has been formerly notified. In
the morning of which day His Majesty will be pleased, publickly, in
the Banquetting House, to see the Blanks told over, that they may not
exceed their Number, and to read the Papers (which shall be exactly
the same size as the Blanks) on which the Prizes are to be written;
which, being rolled up in his presence, His Majesty will mix amongst
the Blanks, as may, also, any of the Adventurers there present that
shall desire it. This being done, a Child, appointed by His Majesty,
or the Adventurers, shall, out of the Mass of Lots so mixed, take out
the number that each Person adventures for, and put them into boxes
(which shall be provided for the purpose) on the covers whereof, each
Adventurer’s Name shall be written with the number of Lots He or She
adventures for; the Boxes to be filled in succession as the Money was
paid in. As soon as all the lots are thus distributed, they shall be
opened as fast as may be, and the prizes then and there delivered to
those that win them; all which, ‘tis hoped, will be done and finished
in one day.”

There was a Lottery, in which the subscription was a penny, and the
Capital prize was One Thousand Pounds, drawn on 19th Oct. 1698, at the
Dorset Garden Theatre, near Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, but when
William III. came to the throne, it was seen that the Lottery was a
very profitable thing, and the Government took it unto itself for its
own purposes. In 1694, £1,000,000 was raised by Lottery, and in 1697,
£1,400,000—but in 1699, by 10 and 11 Will. III., c. 17, lotteries were
suppressed, the preamble to the Act stating, “That all such Lotteries,
and all other Lotteries, are common and publick nuisances, and that
all grants, patents, and licences for such Lotteries, or any other
Lotteries, are void and against Law.”

It must have been about this time (for in 1698-9 three expeditions
sailed from Scotland to Darien) that Ward wrote in _The London Spy_ a
description of the Lottery fever in London:

“The _Gazette_ and _Post-Papers_ lay by Neglected, and nothing was
Pur’d over in the _Coffee Houses_, but the _Ticket-Catalogues_; No
talking of the _Jubilee_, the want of Current Trade with _France_,
or the _Scotch_ Settlement at _Darien_; Nothing Buz’d about by the
Purblind _Trumpeters_ of _State News_, but _Blank_ and _Benefit_. _My
Son had Five Pound in such a Lottery, but got nothing; my Daughter_,
says another, _had but Five Shillings, and got the Twenty Pound Prize_.
People running up and down the Streets in Crowds and Numbers, as if one
end of the Town was on Fire, and the other were running to help ‘em
off with their Goods. One Stream of _Coachmen_, _Footmen_, _Prentice
Boys_, and _Servant Wenches_ flowing one way, with wonderful hopes of
getting an estate for three pence. _Knights_, _Esquires_, _Gentlemen_
and _Traders_, _Marry’d Ladies_, _Virgin Madams_, _Jilts_, etc.; moving
on _Foot_, in _Sedans_, _Chariots_, and _Coaches_, another way; with a
pleasing Expectancy of getting Six Hundred a Year for a Crown.

“Thus were all the _Fools_ in Town so busily employed in running
up and down from one _Lottery_, or another, that it was as much as
_London_ could do to Conjure together such Numbers of _Knaves_ as might
Cheat ‘em fast enough of their _Money_. The Unfortunate crying out,
_A Cheat, a Cheat, a Confounded Cheat, nothing of Fairness in’t_. The
Fortunate, in opposition to the other, crying, _’Tis all Fair, all
Fair; the Fairest Adventure that ever was drawn_. And thus, every Body,
according to their Success, Expressing variously their Sentiments; tho’
the Losers, who may be said to be in the Wrong of it, to venture their
Money, yet, were they most Right in their Conjectures of the Project,
and the Gainers, who were in the Right of it, to hazard their Money,
because they won, were most Wrong in their opinion of the matter. For
I have much ado to forbear believing that _Luck in a Bag_ is almost
as Honest as _Fortune in a Wheel_, or any other of the like Projects.
Truly, says my Friend, I confess I cannot conceive any extraordinary
Opinion of the Fairness of any _Lottery_, for I am apt to believe that
whenever such a number of _Fools_ fall into a _Knave’s_ hand, he will
make the most of ‘em; and I think the _Parliament_ could not have given
the _Nation_ greater Assurances of their especial Regard to the Welfare
of the _Publick_, than by suppressing all _Lotteries_, which only serve
to Buoy up the mistaken Multitude with Dreams of Golden Showers, to
the Expence of that little Money, which, with hard Labour they have
Earn’d; and often to the Neglect of their Business, which doubles the
Inconveniency. The _Gentry_, indeed, might make it their Diversion, but
the _Common People_ make it a great part of their Care and Business,
hoping thereby to relieve a Necessitous Life; instead of which, they
plunge themselves further into an Ocean of Difficulties. What if one
Man in Ten Thousand gets Five Hundred Pounds, what Benefit is that to
the rest, who have struggled hard for _Fool_’s Pence to make up that
Sum, which, perhaps, falls to one who stood not in need of _Fortune_’s
Favours.”

But the State Lotteries began again in Queen Anne’s reign, for an Act
(8 Anne, c. 4) was passed in 1710 authorising a loan of £1,500,000 by
means of a lottery of 150,000 tickets at £10 each. The money was to be
sunk, and 9 per cent. was allowed on it for 32 years, and the prizes
were annuities from one of £1000 to 14s. a year, which latter was given
as a consolation to every holder of a blank.

Luttrell tells us how greedily they were taken up. “21st Jan. 1710.
Yesterday, books were opened at Mercer’s Chapel for receiving
subscriptions for the Lottery, and ‘tis said, above a Million is
already subscribed; so that, ‘tis believed, ‘twill be full by Monday
7 night.” And he also tells us that “Mr Barnaby, who lately belonged
to the 6 Clerk’s Office, has got the £1000 per ann. ticket in the
lottery.” This lottery was drawn by blue coat boys from Christ’s
Hospital, and from this time, until 1824 (except from 1814 to 1819),
there was no year without a State Lottery.

There were Lotteries for everything, and to show how numerous they were
take the advertisements in one paper, taken hap-hazard. _The Tatler_,
Sep. 14/16, 1710: “Mr Stockton’s Sale of Jewels, Plate, &c., will be
drawn on Michaelmas Day.—The Lottery in Colson’s Court will be drawn
on the 21st inst.—The Sale of Goods to be seen at Mrs Butler’s, &c.,
will certainly be drawn on Tuesday, the 19th inst.—Mrs Povy’s Sale of
Goods is put off to Saturday, 23rd inst.—Mrs Symond’s Sale of Goods
will begin on Wednesday, the 20th of this instant.—Mrs Guthridge’s
Sixpenny Sale of Goods, &c., continues to be drawn every Day.”

The prizes did not always fall to those who needed the money, as Swift
writes to Stella about a son of Lord Abercorn. Aug. 29, 1711: “His
second son has t’other day got a prize in the Lottery of Four Thousand
Pounds, besides two small ones of two hundred pounds each; nay, the
family was so fortunate, that my Lord bestowing one ticket, which is
a hundred pounds, to one of his servants, who had been his page, the
young fellow got a prize, which has made it another hundred.”

In 1721 private Lotteries were prescribed, by the 36th sec. of 8
Geo. I., c. 2, which imposed a penalty of £500 for carrying on such
lotteries, in addition to any penalties inflicted by any former Acts;
the offender being committed to prison for one year, and thenceforward
until such times as the £500 should be fully paid and satisfied.

The first Westminster bridge was partially built through the
instrumentality of a lottery, the drawing of which began on Dec. 8,
1740, at Stationers’ Hall; and by an Act of Parliament (26 Geo. II.,
c. 22) passed in 1753, the nation purchased for £20,000, the library
and collection of Sir Hans Sloane, and incorporated Sir Robert Cotton’s
library with it. Montague House was selected for their reception, and
a lottery to provide for its purchase was got up; the subscription to
which was £300,000 in tickets of £3 each. The Managers and Trustees of
this Lottery were The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor,
and the Speaker, each of whom was to have £100 for his trouble.

In connection with this lottery was a gross fraud, and on 19th April
1755, Peter Leheup, one of the receivers of the Lottery was tried at
the King’s bench and found guilty, 1st, of receiving subscriptions
before the day and hour advertised; 2nd, of permitting subscribers to
use different names to cover the maximum of 20 tickets allowed to each
holder; and 3rd, of disposing of the tickets which had been bespoke and
not claimed, or were double-charged, instead of returning them to the
managers. For these _laches_ he was, on the following 9th of May, fined
£1000, which he immediately paid into Court.

In a lottery of 1767 a lady residing in Holborn was presented with a
ticket by her husband, and so anxious was she for its success, that on
the Sunday previous to the drawing, the clergyman gave out that “the
prayers of the congregation are desired for the success of a person
engaged in a new undertaking.”



CHAPTER XVIII

 Blue coat boys tampered with—The two trials—Insuring
 tickets—Curious Lotteries—Lever Museum and Pigot diamond
 lotteries—Little goes—Stories of winning numbers—Decline of
 Lotteries—The last—Its epitaph—Modern lotteries.


Twice in the year 1775 were the blue coat boys, who drew the tickets
from the lottery wheels, tampered with; and the following accounts are
taken from the _Annual Register_ of that year:

“1 June. A man was carried before the Lord Mayor, for attempting to
bribe the two Blue Coat boys, who drew the Museum[57] lottery, to
conceal a ticket, and bring it to him, promising he would, next day,
let them have it again, when one of them was, it seems, to convey it
back privately to the wheel, but without letting go his hold of it,
and then produce it as if newly drawn; the man’s intention being to
insure it in all the offices against being drawn that day. But the boys
were honest, gave notice of the intended fraud, and pointed out the
delinquent, who, however, was discharged, as there is no law in being,
to punish the offence.”

“5 Dec. By virtue of a warrant from Sir Charles Asgill, was brought
before the magistrate, at Guildhall, the clerk of an eminent hop factor
in Goodman’s Fields, upon suspicion of being concerned with a person,
not yet apprehended, in defrauding a lottery office keeper, near the
‘Change, of a large sum of money. This matter being undertaken by the
Commissioners of the Lottery, the Solicitor of the Treasury appeared
against the prisoner, and for him attended, as Counsel, Mr Cox.

“The first witness examined was the lottery office keeper, he said,
that about a fortnight ago, the prisoner insured No. 21,481 six times
over for the subsequent day of drawing; that the conversation he had
with the prisoner at that time, and the seeming positiveness there
appeared in the latter, that the ticket would come up, caused him
to enquire at other lottery offices, when he found the same number
insured, in the prisoner’s name, at all the principal offices about
the ‘Change; that the ticket was drawn the first hour of drawing the
subsequent day. This, with his former suspicion, alarmed him, and he
immediately went to Christ’s Hospital, and saw the boy who drew the
ticket; that he interrogated him, whether he had clandestinely taken
that number out of the wheel, or whether he had been solicited to do
so, which the boy positively denied; that, observing that he answered
rather faintly, he importuned him to divulge the truth, which, after
some hesitation, produced an acknowledgment of the fact.

“The next witness was the Blue Coat boy. He said that, about three
weeks ago, the person who is not in custody, and whom he had known
before he went to the Hospital, took him to a Coffee House, where they
breakfasted together; that he wanted to know of the witness, whether
it was possible to get a ticket out of the wheel; to which the latter
answered, No. That being, afterwards, solicited for the same purpose,
by him, to secrete a ticket, he, at length, promised to do so; that,
accordingly, he took two at one time out of the wheel, gave one to the
person who called it over, and put the other in his pocket; that the
person who induced him to do it was then in the gallery, and nodded
his head to the witness to signify when was a proper time; that, after
the witness came out of the hall, he gave the ticket to the person who
sat in the gallery, and who was then waiting for the witness in the
Guildhall Yard; that the next time the witness drew the lottery, the
person before mentioned returned him the ticket, which the witness
put in the wheel, and drew out the same day; that he did this three
several times, and received from the person for whom he did it, several
half guineas; that he has heard the prisoner’s name mentioned by him,
but never heard the latter acknowledge any connection between them in
insurance; and, never before, saw the prisoner.

“The prisoner acknowledged he insured the ticket 79 times for one day.
The mother of the person who was not apprehended, was next examined;
she proved an acquaintance between her son and the prisoner; but denied
any remembrance of ever hearing the latter mention anything relating to
insurance. The prisoner was discharged.

“It is said that the person who absconded, got about £400 by the above
fraud; and would have got £3000, had he been paid in all the offices
where he insured.”

But, that such a fraud should not be perpetrated again, the Lords
of the Treasury, on 12th Dec. 1775, issued an Order, of which the
following is an extract:

“IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, for preventing the like wicked practices in
future, that every boy, before he is suffered to put his hand into
either wheel, be brought by the proclaimer to the managers on duty,
for them to see _that the bosoms and sleeves of his coat be closely
buttoned, his pockets sewed up, and his hands examined_; and that,
during the time of his being on duty, _he shall keep his left hand
in his girdle behind him, and his right hand open, with his fingers
extended_: and the proclaimer is not to suffer him, at any time, to
leave the wheel, without, first, being examined by the Manager nearest
him.”

They also “requested of the Treasurer of Christ’s Hospital, not to
make known who are the twelve boys nominated for drawing the lottery,
till the morning before the drawing begins; which said boys are all to
attend every day, and the two who are to go on duty at the wheels, are
to be taken promiscuously from amongst the whole number, by either of
the secretaries, without observing any regular course, or order; so
that no boy shall know when it will be his turn to go to either wheel.”

_À propos_ of insuring lottery tickets, Horace Walpole writes to the
Countess of Ossory, 17th Dec. 1780: “As folks in the country love to
hear of _London fashions_, know, Madam, that the reigning one amongst
the _quality_, is to go, after the opera, to the lottery offices, where
their Ladyships bet with the keepers. You choose any number you please;
if it does not come up next day, you pay five guineas; if it does,
receive forty, or in proportion to the age of the _tirage_. The Duchess
of Devonshire, in one day, won nine hundred pounds. General Smith, as
the luckiest of all mites, is of the most select parties, and chooses
the numeros.”

On Jan. 6, 1777, two Jews were brought before the Lord Mayor, charged
with counterfeiting a lottery ticket; but, as they brought plenty of
false witnesses, they were acquitted. But one, Daniel Denny, was not
so lucky on Feb. 24, the same year, for he was convicted of the same
crime. The _Annual Register_ for this year says:

“The following is a true state of the different methods of getting
money by lottery office keepers, and other ingenious persons, who have
struck out different plans of getting money by the State Lottery of
1777.

“First, His Majesty’s Royal Letters Patent for securing the Property of
the purchasers.

“Secondly, A few office keepers who advertise ‘By authority of
Parliament’ to secure your property in shares and chances.

“Thirdly, Several schemes for shares and chances, only entitling the
purchasers to all prizes above twenty pounds.

“Fourthly, A bait for those who can only afford to venture a shilling.

“Then come the ingenious sett of lottery merchants, viz. Lottery
magazine proprietors—Lottery tailors—Lottery stay makers—Lottery
glovers—Lottery hat makers—Lottery tea merchants—Lottery snuff and
tobacco merchants—Lottery handkerchiefs—Lottery bakers—Lottery
barbers (where a man, for being shaved, and paying threepence, may
stand a chance of getting ten pounds)—Lottery shoe blacks—Lottery
eating houses; one in Wych Street, Temple-bar, where, if you call for
six penny worth of roast, or boiled beef, you receive a note of hand,
with a number, which, should it turn out fortunate, may entitle the
eater of the beef to sixty guineas—Lottery oyster stalls, by which the
fortunate may get five guineas for three penny worth of oysters. And,
to complete this curious catalogue, an old woman, who keeps a sausage
stall in one of the little alleys leading to Smithfield, wrote up,
in chalk, _Lottery sausages_, or, five shillings to be gained for a
farthing relish.”

In 1782 an Act was passed, whereby lottery office keepers were to pay a
licence of £50, under a penalty of £100 if they did not do so.

Sir Ashton Lever disposed of his Museum by lottery in 1758 by Act of
Parliament, and another Act was procured to dispose of, by lottery,
a large diamond, the property of the deceased Lord Pigot, valued at
£30,000. This lottery was drawn on Jan. 2, 1801, and the winner of
the prize was a young man, name unknown. It was, afterwards, sold at
Christie’s on May 10, 1802, for 9500 guineas. It was again sold, and is
said to have passed into the possession of Messrs Rundell and Bridge,
the Court jewellers, who are reported to have sold it to an Egyptian
Pasha for £30,000.

But, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, a system of private
lotteries, called “little goes” had sprung up, and they are thus
described in the _Times_ of 22nd July 1795:

“Amongst the various species of Gaming that have ever been practised,
we think none exceeds the mischiefs, and calamities that arise from
the practice of private lotteries, which, at present, are carrying on,
in various parts of the town, to very alarming extents, much to the
discredit of those whose province it is to suppress such nefarious
practices, as they cannot be ignorant of such transactions. ‘The little
go,’ which is the technical term for a private lottery, is calculated
only for the meridian of those understandings, who are unused to
calculate and discriminate between right and wrong, and roguery and
fair dealing; and, in this particular case, it is those who compose the
lower order of society, whom it so seriously affects, and, on whom,
it is chiefly designed to operate. No man of common sense can suppose
that the lottery wheels are fair and honest, or that the proprietors
act upon principles anything like honour, or honesty; for, by the art,
and contrivance, of the wheels, they are so constructed, with secret
springs, and the application of gum, glue, &c., in the internal part of
them, that they can draw the numbers out, or keep them in, at pleasure,
just as it suits their purposes; so that the ensurer, robbed and
cajoled, by such unfair means, has not the most distant chance of ever
winning; the whole being a gross fraud, and imposition, in the extreme.
We understand the most notorious of these standards of imposition, are
situated in Carnaby Market, Oxford Road, in the Borough, Islington,
Clerkenwell, and various other places, most of which are under the very
nose of Magistracy, in seeming security, bidding defiance to law, and
preying upon the vitals of the poor and ignorant.

“We hope the Magistrates of each jurisdiction, and those who possess
the same power, will perform their duty on behalf of the poor, over
whom they preside, and put a stop to such a growing, and alarming
evil, of such pernicious and dangerous tendency; particularly as the
proprietors are well-known bad characters, consisting of needy beggars,
desperate swindlers, gamblers, sharpers, notorious thieves, and common
convicted felons; most of whose names stand recorded in the Newgate
Calendar for various offences of different descriptions.”

_11th Aug. 1795._ “On Friday night last, in consequence of searching
warrants from the parochial magistrates of St James’s Westminster,
upwards of 30 persons were apprehended at the house of one M’Call, No.
2 Francis Street, near Golden Square, and in the house of J. Knight,
King Street, where the most destructive practices _to the poor_ were
carrying on, that of _Private Lotteries_ (called Little Goes). Two
wheels, with the tickets, were seized on the premises. Upon examination
of those persons, who proved to be the poor deluded objects who had
been there plundered, they were reprimanded, and discharged.

“The wives of many industrious mechanics, by attending these nefarious
houses, have not only been duped out of their earnings (which ought to
have been applied to the providing bread for their families), but have
even pawned their beds, wedding rings, and almost every article they
were possessed of, for that purpose.”

Here are two anecdotes of the winners of the great prize, which was,
usually, £20,000, from the _Times_:

_27th Dec. 1797._ “Dr B., a physician at _Lime_ (Dorset), a few days
since, being under pecuniary embarrassment, and his house surrounded
by bailiffs, made his escape by a window, into a neighbour’s house,
from whence he fled to London. The furniture was seized, and the sale
actually commenced, when it was stopped by a letter, stating that the
Doctor, upon his arrival in London, found himself the proprietor of the
£20,000 prize. We guarantee the truth of this fact.”

_19th Mar. 1798._ “The £20,000 prize, drawn on Friday, is divided
amongst a number of poor persons: a female servant in Brook Street,
Holborn, had a sixteenth; a woman who keeps a fruit stall in Gray’s
Inn Lane, another; a third is possessed by a servant of the Duke of
Roxburghe; a fourth by a Chelsea carrier of vegetables to Covent
Garden; one-eighth belongs to a poor family in Rutlandshire, and the
remainder is similarly divided.”

In 1802, old Baron d’Aguilar, the Islington miser, was requested, by
a relation, to purchase a particular ticket, No. 14,068; but it had
been sold some few days previously. The baron died on the 16th of March
following, and the number was the first drawn ticket on the 24th, and,
as such, entitled to £20,000. The baron’s representatives, under these
circumstance, published an advertisement, offering a reward of £1000
to any person who might have found the said ticket, and would deliver
it up. Payment was stopped. A wholesale linen draper in Cornhill (who
had ordered his broker to buy him ten tickets, which he deposited in a
chest), on copying the numbers for the purpose of examining them, made
a mistake in one figure, and called it 14,168 instead of 14,068, which
was the £20,000 prize. The lottery being finished, he sent his tickets
to be examined and marked. To his utter astonishment, he then found
the error in the number copied on his paper. On his demanding payment
at the lottery office, a _caveat_ was entered by old d’Aguilar’s
executors; but, an explanation taking place, the £20,000 was paid to
the lucky linen draper.

Although these lotteries were a great source of revenue to Government,
and, consequently, relieved the taxpayer to the amount of their profit,
it began to dawn upon the public that this legalised gambling was
somewhat immoral; and, in 1808, a Committee of the House of Commons was
appointed, to inquire how far the evil attending lotteries had been
remedied by the laws passed respecting the same; and, in their Report,
they said that “the foundation of the lottery system is so radically
vicious, that your Committee feel convinced that under no system of
regulations, which can be devised, will it be possible for Parliament
to adopt it as an efficacious source of revenue, and, at the same time,
divest it of all the evils which it has, hitherto, proved so baneful a
source.”

Yet they continued to be held; but, when the Lottery Act of 1818 was
passing through the House of Commons, Mr Parnell protested against it,
and, in the course of his speech, suggested that the following epitaph
should be inscribed on the tomb of the Chancellor of the Exchequer:
“Here lies the Right Hon. Nicholas Vansittart, once Chancellor of the
Exchequer; the patron of Bible Societies, the builder of Churches, a
friend to the education of the poor, an encourager of Savings’ banks,
and—a supporter of Lotteries!”

And, in 1819, when the lottery for that year was being discussed, Mr
Lyttleton moved:

1. That by the establishment of State lotteries, a spirit of gambling,
injurious, in the highest degree, to the morals of the people, is
encouraged and provoked.

2. That such a habit, manifestly weakening the habits of industry, must
diminish the permanent sources of the public revenue.

3. That the said lotteries have given rise to other systems of
gambling, which have been but partially repressed by laws, whose
provisions are extremely arbitrary, and their enforcement liable to the
greatest abuse.

4. That this House, therefore, will no longer authorise the
establishment of State lotteries under any system of regulations
whatever.

Needless to say, these resolutions were not passed, but the Lottery was
on its last legs, for, in the Lottery Act of 1823, provision was made
for its discontinuance after the drawing of the lottery sanctioned in
that Act. Yet this was not adhered to, and a “last lottery” was decreed
to be drawn in 1826. Its date was originally fixed for the 18th of
July, but the public did not subscribe readily, and it was postponed
until the 18th of October, and, on that day it was drawn at Cooper’s
Hall, Basinghall Street. Here is an epitaph which was written on it:

  In Memory of
  THE STATE OF LOTTERY,
  the last of a long line
  whose origin in England commenced
  in the year 1569,
  which, after a series of tedious complaints,
  _Expired_
  on the
  18th day of October 1826.
  During a period of 257 years, the family
  flourished under the powerful protection
  of the
  British Parliament;
  the Minister of the day continuing to
  give them his support for the improvement
  of the revenue.
  As they increased, it was found that their
  continuance corrupted the morals,
  and encouraged a spirit
  of Speculation and Gambling among the lower
  classes of the people;
  thousands of whom fell victims to their
  insinuating and tempting allurements.
  Many philanthropic individuals
  in the Senate,
  at various times, for a series of years,
  pointed out their baneful influence,
  without effect;
  His Majesty’s Ministers
  still affording them their countenance
  and protection.
  The British Parliament
  being, at length, convinced of their
  mischievous tendency,
  His Majesty GEORGE IV.
  on the 9th of July 1823,
  pronounced sentence of condemnation
  on the whole race;
  from which time they were almost
  NEGLECTED BY THE BRITISH PUBLIC.
  Very great efforts were made by the
  Partisans and friends of the family to
  excite
  the public feeling in favour of the last
  of the race, in vain:
  It continued to linger out the few
  remaining
  moments of its existence without attention,
  or sympathy, and finally terminated
  its career unregretted by any
  virtuous mind.

In 1836 an Act was passed “to prevent the advertising of Foreign and
illegal lotteries,” but circulars still come from Hamburg and other
places. In 1844 an Act was passed “to indemnify persons connected
with Art Unions, and others, against certain penalties.” Still there
were minor lotteries and raffles, and the law was seldom set in force
against them, any more than it is now when applied to charitable
purposes; yet in 1860 one Louis Dethier, was haled up at Bow Street
for holding a lottery for £10,000 worth of Twelfth Cakes, and was only
let off on consenting to stop it at once, and nowadays the lottery is
practically dead, except when some petty rogue is taken up for deluding
children with prize sweets.



CHAPTER XIX

 Promoters and Projectors—Government loans—Commencement of Bank
 of England—Character of a Stock Jobber—Jonathan’s—Hoax _temp._
 Anne—South Sea Bubble—Poems thereon.


We are apt to think that company promoters and commercial speculation
are things of modern growth, but _Projectors_ and _Patentees_ (company
promoters and monopolists) were common in the early seventeenth
century; and we find an excellent exposition of their ways and
commodities in a poetical broadside by John Taylor, the Water poet,
published in 1641. It is entitled _The complaint of M. Tenter-hooke
the_ Proiector, _and Sir Thomas Dodger, the_ Patentee.
Under the title is a wood-cut, which represents a _Projector_, who
has a pig’s head and ass’s ears, screws for legs, and fish hooks for
fingers, bears a measure of coal, and a barrel of wine, on his legs
respectively, tobacco, pipes, dice, roll tobacco, playing cards, and a
bundle of hay slung to his body, papers of pins on his right arm, and
a measure for spirits on his left arm, a barrel and a dredger on the
skirts of his coat. With his fish hook fingers, he drags bags of money.
This is Tenter-hooke, who is saying to his friend Sir Thomas Dodger,
who is represented as a very well dressed gentleman of the period:

  “I have brought money to fill your chest,
  For which I am curst by most and least.”

To which Sir Thomas replies:

  “Our many yeares scraping is lost at a clap,
  All thou hast gotten by others’ mishap.”
  _If any aske, what things these_ Monsters _be
  ‘Tis a_ Projector _and a_ Patentee:
  _Such, as like Vermine o’re this Lande did crawle,
  And grew so rich, they gain’d the Devill and all._

  Loe, I, that lately was a _Man_ of Fashion,
  The _Bug-beare_ and the _Scarcrow_ of this Nation,
  Th’ admired mighty _Mounte-banke_ of _Fame_,
  The Juggling _Hocus Pocus_ of good name;
  The _Bull-begger_ who did affright and feare,
  And rake, and pull, teare, pill, pole, shave and sheare,
  Now _Time_ hath pluck’d the _Vizard_ from my face,
  I am the onely Image of disgrace.
  My ugly shape I hid so cunningly,
  (Close cover’d with the cloake of honesty),
  That from the _East_ to _West_, from _South_ to _North_,
  I was a man esteem’d of ex’lent worth.
  And (Sweet Sir _Thomas Dodger_,) for your sake,
  My studious time I spent, my sleepes I brake;
  My braines I tost with many a strange vagary.
  And, (like a Spaniell) did both fetch and carry
  To you, such _Projects_, as I could invent,
  Not thinking there would come a Parliament.
  I was the great _Projector_, and from me,
  Your Worship learn’d to be a _Patentee_;
  I had the Art to cheat the Common-weale,
  And you had tricks and slights to passe the Seale.
  I took the paines, I travell’d, search’d and sought,
  Which (by your power) were into Patents wrought.
  What was I but your Journey man, I pray,
  To bring youre worke to you, both night and day:
  I found _Stuffe_, and you brought it so about,
  You (like a skilfull _Taylor_) cut it out,
  And fashion’d it, but now (to our displeasure)
  You fail’d exceedingly in taking measure.
  My legs were Screws, to raise thee high or low,
  According as your power did _Ebbe_ or _Flow_;
  And at your will I was Screw’d up too high,
  That tott’ring, I have broke my necke thereby.
  For you, I made my _Fingers fish-hookes_ still
  To catch at all _Trades_, either good, or ill,
  I car’d not much who lost, so we might get,
  For all was _Fish_ that came into the Net.
  For you, (as in my Picture plaine appeares)
  I put a _Swine’s face_ on, an _Asses eares_,
  The one to listen unto all I heard,
  Wherein your Worship’s profit was prefer’d,
  The other to tast all things, good or bad,
  (As Hogs will doe) where profit may be had.
  _Soape_, _Starch_, _Tobacco_, _Pipes_, _Pens_, _Butter_, _Haye_,
  _Wine_, _Coales_, _Cards_, _Dice_, and all came in my way
  I brought your Worship, every day and houre,
  And hope to be defended by your power.

Sir _Thomas Dodgers’_ Answer.

  Alas good _Tenter-hooke_, I tell thee plaine,
  To seeke for helpe of me ‘tis but in vaine:
  My _Patent_, which I stood upon of late,
  Is like an _Almanacke_ that’s out of _Date_.
  ‘T had force and vertue once, strange things to doe,
  But, now, it wants both force and vertue too.
  This was the turne of whirling _Fortune’s_ wheele,
  When we least dream’d we should her changing feele.
  Then _Time_, and fortune, both with joynt consent,
  Brought us to ruine by a Parliament;
  I doe confesse thou broughtst me sweet conceits,
  Which, now, I find, were but alluring baits,
  And I, (too much an Asse) did lend mine eare
  To credit all thou saydst, as well as heare.
  Thou in the _Project_ of the _Soape_ didst toyle,
  But ‘twas so slippery, and too full of oyle,
  That people wondered how we held it fast
  But now it is quite slipp’d from us at last.
  The _Project_ for the _Starch_ thy wit found out,
  Was stiffe a while, now, limber as a Clout,
  The Pagan weed (_Tobacco_) was our hope,
  In _Leafe_, _Pricke_, _Role_, _Ball_, _Pudding_, _Pipe_, or _Rope_.
  _Brasseele_, _Varina_, _Meavis_, _Trinidado_,
  Saint _Christophers_, _Virginia_, or _Barvado_;
  _Bermudas_, _Providentia_, _Shallowcongo_,
  And the most part of all the rest (_Mundungo_[58])
  That Patent, with a whiffe, is spent and broke,
  And all our hopes (in fumo) turn’d to smoake,
  Thou framdst the _Butter_ Patent in thy braines,
  (A Rope and Butter take thee for thy paines).
  I had forgot _Tobacco Pipes_, which are
  Now like to thou and I, but brittle ware.
  _Dice_ run against us, we at _Cards_ are crost,
  We both are turn’d up _Noddies_,[59] and all’s lost.
  Thus from _Sice-sinke_, we’r sunke below _Dewce-ace_,
  And both of us are Impes of blacke disgrace.
  _Pins_ pricke us, and _Wine_ frets our very hearts,
  That we have rais’d the price of _Pints_ and _Quarts_.
  Thou (in mine eares) thy lyes and tales didst foyst,
  And mad’st me up the price of _Sea-coales_ hoyst.
  _Corne_, _Leather_, _Partrick_, _Pheasant_, _Rags_, _Gold-twist_,
  Thou brought’st all to my _Mill_; what was’t we mist?
  _Weights_, _Bon[60] lace_, _Mowstraps_, new, new, _Corporation_,
  _Rattles_, _Seadans_,[61] of rare invented fashion.
  _Silke_, _Tallow_, _Hobby-horses_, _Wood_, _Red herring_,
  _Law_, _Conscience_, _Justice_, _Swearing_, and _For-swearing_.
  All these thou broughtst to me, and still I thought
  That every thing was good that profit brought,
  But now all’s found to be ill gotten pelfe,
  I’le shift for one, doe thou shift for thyselfe.

The first loans to Government, in a regular form, took the form of
Tontines, so called from their inventor Lorenzo Tonti. A Tontine is a
loan raised on life annuities. A number of persons subscribe the loan,
and, in return, the Government pay an annuity to every subscriber. At
the death of any annuitant, his annuity was divided among the others,
until the sole survivor enjoyed the whole income, and at his death, the
annuity lapsed. As an example, a Mr Jennings, who died in 1798, aged
103—leaving behind him a fortune of over two millions—was an original
subscriber for £100 in a Tontine: he was the last survivor, and his
income derived for his £100 was £3000 per annum. Our National Debt
began in 1689—by that, I mean that debt that has never been repaid,
and dealings in which, virtually founded Stockbroking as a business.
The Bank of England started business on 1st Jan. 1695, and, from that
time, we may date the methodical dealing in Stocks and Shares. Of
course there were intermediaries between buyer and seller, and these
were termed “Stock brokers.” They first of all did business at the
Exchange, but as they increased in number their presence there was not
desirable, and they migrated to ‘Change Alley, close by. These gentry
are described in a little book, published in 1703, called, _Mirth and
Wisdom in a miscellany of different characters_.[62]


“_A Stock Jobber_

“Is a Rational Animal, with a sensitive Understanding. He rises and
falls like the ebbing and flowing of the Sea; and his paths are as
unsearchable as hers are. He is one of _Pharaoh’s_ lean kine in the
midst of plenty; and, to dream of him is, almost, an Indication of
approaching Famine. He is ten times more changeable than the Weather;
and the living Insect from which the Grasshopper on the Royal Bourse
was drawn, never leap’d from one Place to another, as he from one
Number to another; sometimes a Hundred and a half is too little for
him; sometimes Half a hundred is too much; and he falls seven times a
Day, but not like _David_, on his knees, to beg pardon for former Sins,
but to be made capable of sinning again. He came in with the _Dutch_,
and he had freed us from as great a Plague as they were, had he been so
kind as to have went out with them. He lives on the Exchange, but his
Dwelling cannot be said to be the Place of his _Abode_, for he _abides_
no where, he is so unconstant and uncertain. Ask him what Religion he
professes, he cries, _He’ll sell you as cheap as any Body_; and what
Value such an Article of Faith is of, his Answer is, _I’ll give you
as much for a Debenture, as the best Chapman thereabout shall_. He is
fam’d for Injustice, yet he is a Master of _Equity_ in one particular
to perfection, for he cheats every Body alike, and is _Equal_ in all
his Undertakings. The Den from which this Beast of Prey bolts out
is _Jonathan’s_ Coffee House, or _Garraway’s_; and a Man that goes
into either, ought to be as circumspect as if in an Enemy’s country.
A Dish of tea there, may be as dear to him as a good Purchase, and
a Man that is over reach’d in either, tho’ no Drunkard, may be said
to have drank away his Estate. He may be call’d a true Unbeliever,
and out of the Pale of the Church, for he has no Faith. Is a meer
_Tolandist_ in secular Concerns, at the very minute that he is ready
to take up any Goods upon Trust that shall belong to his Neighbour.
_St Paul’s_ Cathedral would be a Mansion-House fit for a Deity indeed,
in his Opinion, did but the Merchants meet there; and he can give you
no subtantialler a Reason for liking _Salter’s Hall_ better than the
Church, than because of its being a House of Traffick and Commerce, and
the Sale being often held there. He is the Child of God in one Sense
only, and that is by reason of his bearing His Image, but the Devil in
many, for he fights under his Standard. To make an end of a Subject
that is endless; he has the Figure of a Man, but the Nature of a Beast;
and either triumphs over his Fellow Adventurers, as he eats the Bread
of other People’s Carefulness, and drinks the Tears of Orphans or
Widows, or being made himself Food for others, grows, at last, constant
to one place, which is the _Compter_, and the fittest House for such an
unaccountable Fellow to make up his Accounts in.”

Jonathan’s was, especially, the Coffee House which stock jobbers
frequented. Addison, in the first number of the _Spectator_, says,
“I sometimes pass for a Jew in the assembly of Stock Jobbers at
Jonathan’s”; and Mrs Centlivre has laid one of the scenes in her _Bold
Stroke for a Wife_, at Jonathan’s: where, also, was subscribed the
first foreign loan, in 1706.

There was a Stock Exchange hoax in the reign of Queen Anne. A man
appeared, galloping from Kensington to the City, ordering the turnpikes
to be thrown open for him, and shouting loudly that he bore the news of
the Queen’s death. This sad message flew far and wide, and dire was its
effects in the City. The funds fell at once, but Manasseh Lopez and the
Jews bought all they could, and reaped the benefit when the fraud was
discovered. In 1715, too, a false report that the Pretender had been
taken, sent the Funds bounding up, to the great profit of those who
were in the secret of the hoax.

About this time the demon of gambling was rampant, every one wanted to
find a short road to wealth; naturally, there were plenty of rogues to
ease them of their money, but the most colossal stroke of gambling was
the South Sea Bubble, the only parallel to which, in modern times, is
the Railway Mania, in 1846.

The South Sea Company was started in 1711, to have the monopoly of
trade to the South Seas, or South Coast of America, a region which was,
even then, believed to be an _El Dorado_. As a trading company it was
not successful, but, having a large capital, it dealt with finance. On
22nd Jan. 1720, a proposal was laid before Parliament that the Company
should take upon themselves the National Debt, of £30,981,712, 6s.
6-1/2d. at 5 per cent. per annum, secured until 1727, when the whole
was to be redeemable, if Parliament so chose, and the interest to be
reduced to 4 per cent., and “That for the liberty of increasing their
Capital Stock, as aforesaid, the Company will give, and pay into his
Majesty’s Exchequer, for the purpose of the Public, and to be applied
for paying off the public debt provided for by Parliament, before
Christmas, 1716, the sum of three millions and a half, by four equal
quarterly payments, whereof the first payment to be at Lady Day 1721.”
On April 7, the South Sea Company’s Bill received the Royal Assent, the
£100 shares being then about £300.

On April 12, the directors opened their books for a subscription
of a Million, at the rate of £300 for every £100 Capital, which
was immediately taken up, twice over. It was to be repaid in five
instalments of £60. Up went the shares with a bound; yet, to raise
them still higher, the Midsummer dividend was to be declared at 10 per
cent., and all subscriptions were to be entitled to the same. This
plan answered so well, that another million was at once raised at 400
per cent.; and, in a few hours, a million and a half was subscribed at
that rate. The Stock went up higher and higher, until, on the 2nd of
June, it reached £890. Then, so many wanted to sell, that, on the same
afternoon, it dropped to £640. The Company set their Agents to work,
and, when evening came, the Stock had been driven up to £750, at about
which price it continued until the bank closed on the 22nd June.

Very soon, a third Subscription was started, at the rate of £1000 for
every £100, to be paid in ten equal payments, one in hand, the other
nine, quarterly. The lists were so full that the directors enlarged it
to four millions Stock, which, at that price amounted to £40,000,000.
These last subscriptions were, before the end of June, sold at about
£2000 premium; and, after the closing of the transfer books, the
original Stock rose to over £1000 per cent. At the same time, the first
subscriptions were at 560, and the second at 610 per cent. advance.

This set every one crazy, and innumerable “bubble,” or cheating,
companies were floated, or attempts made thereat. Speculation became so
rampant that, on June 11, the King published a Proclamation declaring
that all these unlawful projects should be deemed as common nuisances,
and prosecuted as such, with the penalty of £500 for any broker buying
or selling any shares in them. Among these companies was one “for
carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what
it is.” Another was “for a wheel for perpetual motion, one million”;
and another “for the transmutation of quick silver into a malleable
fine metal.” Society was, for a brief time, uprooted.

The apogee of the Company had been reached: from this time its
downfall was rapid. The Stock fell, and fell. The aid of the Bank of
England was invoked, but it came too late; goldsmiths and brokers
began to abscond. On December 12, the House of Commons ordered that
the Directors of the South Sea Company should, forthwith, lay before
the House an account of all their proceedings; and, on Jan. 4, 1721, a
Secret Committee of the House was ordered to report upon the Company.
Then Knight, the cashier of the Company, absconded; and a reward of
£2000 was offered for his apprehension. On Feb. 15, the Parliamentary
Committee made their first report—and a pretty one it was—bribery all
over the place, and especially among the members of the Government. The
bubble was pricked and thousands were ruined. Certainly, the fortunes
of those directors, who had any, were seized for the benefit of the
swindled, and only a small percentage of their wealth was allowed them
for their subsistence. Finally, it was settled that the £7,000,000
which the Company stood pledged to pay over to the Government, should
be remitted, and every Shareholder should receive £33, 6s. 8d. on £100
Stock: all else being irretrievably lost. Over the misery entailed on
the avaricious public who were gulled, it is best to draw a veil, and
use the episode as a warning.

Swift wrote a poem 60 verses long, on _The South Sea Project_, 1721,
from which I extract the following:

  “There is a gulf, where thousands fell,
    Here all the bold adventurers came,
  A narrow sound, though deep as Hell,—
    _’Change Alley_ is the dreadful name.

  Nine times a day it ebbs and flows,
    Yet he that on the surface lies,
  Without a pilot, seldom knows
    The time it falls, or when ‘twill rise.

  Subscribers, here, by thousands float,
    And jostle one another down;
  Each paddling in his leaky boat,
    And here they fish for gold, and drown.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Meantime, secure on Garraway cliffs,
    A savage race, by shipwrecks fed,
  Lie waiting for the foundered skiffs,
    And strip the bodies of the dead.”

There were street ballads, of course, such as _The Hubble Bubbles_, A
Ballad, by Mr D’Urfey, and one which I give _in extenso_. A _South-Sea_
Ballad: or, Merry Remarks upon _Exchange Alley_ Bubbles. To a new tune,
call’d _The Grand Elixir_: or _The Philosopher’s Stone discovered_:

  In _London_ stands a famous Pile,
    And near that Pile, an Alley,
  Where Merry Crowds for Riches toil,
    And Wisdom stoops to Folly:
  Here, Sad and Joyful, High and Low,
    Court Fortune for her Graces,
  And, as she Smiles, or Frowns, they show
    Their Gestures and Grimaces.

  Here Stars and Garters do appear,
    Among our Lords, the Rabble,
  To buy and sell, to see and hear,
    The _Jews_ and _Gentiles_ squabble.
  Here crafty Courtiers are too wise
    For those who trust to Fortune,
  They see the Cheat with clearer Eyes,
    Who peep behind the Curtain.

  Our greatest Ladies hither come,
    And ply in Chariots daily,
  Oft pawn their Jewels for a Sum,
    To venture’t in the Alley.
  Young Harlots, too, from _Drury Lane_,
    Approach the _’Change_ in coaches,
  To fool away the Gold they gain
    By their obscene Debauches.

  Long Heads may thrive by sober Rules,
    Because they think and drink not;
  But Headlongs are our thriving Fools,
    Who only drink and think not:
  The lucky Rogues, like Spaniel Dogs,
    Leap into _South Sea_ Water,
  And, there, they fish for golden Frogs,
    Not caring what comes a’ter.

  ‘Tis said that Alchimists of old,
    Could turn a brazen kettle,
  Or leaden Cistern into Gold,
    That noble, tempting Mettle:
  But, if it here may be allowed
    To bring in great with small things
  Our cunning _South Sea_, like a God,
    Turns nothing into all things.

  What need have we of _Indian_ Wealth,
    Or Commerce with our Neighbours,
  Our Constitution is in Health,
    And Riches crown our Labours:
  Our _South Sea_ Ships have golden Shrouds
    They bring us Wealth, ‘tis granted,
  But lodge their Treasure in the clouds,
    To hide it ‘till it’s wanted.

  O, _Britain_! bless thy present State,
    Thou only happy Nation,
  So oddly rich, so madly Great,
    Since Bubbles came in Fashion:
  Successful Rakes exert their Pride,
    And count their airy Millions;
  Whilst homely Drabs in Coaches ride,
    Brought up to Town on Pillions.

  Few Men, who follow Reason’s Rules,
    Grow Fat with _South Sea_ Diet;
  Young Rattles, and unthinking Fools,
    Are those that flourish by it.
  Old musty Jades, and pushing Blades,
    Who’ve least Consideration,
  Grow rich apace, whilst wiser Heads
    Are struck with Admiration.

  A Race of Men, who, t’other Day
    Lay crush’d beneath Disasters,
  Are now, by Stock brought into Play,
    And made our Lords and Masters:
  But should our _South Sea Babel_ fall,
    What Numbers would be frowning,
  The Losers, then, must ease their Gall
    By Hanging, or by Drowning.

  Five Hundred Millions, Notes and Bonds,
    Our Stocks are worth in Value,
  But neither lye in Goods, or Lands,
    Or Money, let me tell ye.
  Yet, tho’ our Foreign Trade is lost,
    Of mighty Wealth we vapour,
  When all the Riches that we boast,
    Consists in Scraps of Paper.



CHAPTER XX

 First mention of the Stock Exchange—Attempt at hoax—Daniel’s
 fraud—Berenger’s fraud—Bubbles of 1825—The Railway Mania—30th Nov.
 1845 at the Board of Trade—The fever at its height—The Marquis of
 Clanricarde pricks the bubble.


In 1734 an Act was passed (7 Geo. II., c. 8) entitled “An Act to
prevent the infamous practice of Stock jobbing,” which provided that
no loss in bargains for time should be recoverable in the Courts, and
placed such speculations outside the Law altogether. It was a dead
letter, but was in force till 1860, when it was repealed.

The first mention of the Stock Exchange as such, is in the _Daily
Advertiser_ of Thursday, July 15, 1773. “On Tuesday, the Brokers and
others at New Jonathan’s came to a Resolution that, instead of its
being called New Jonathan’s, it is to be named the Stock Exchange,
which is to be painted over the door.” And here they abode until, in
1801, the Stockbrokers laid the first stone of a building of their own:
having purchased Mendoza’s boxing room, the Debating Forum of Capel
Court, and buildings contiguous to that site.

On May 5, 1803, an attempt was made to hoax the Stock Exchange, which
was partially successful. On that day, at half-past eight in the
morning, a man, booted and spurred, and having every appearance of
having come off a long journey, rushed up to the Mansion House, and
inquired for the Lord Mayor, saying he was a messenger from the Foreign
Office, and had a letter for his lordship. When he was told he was not
within, he said he would leave the letter, and begged the servant to
place it where the Lord Mayor should get it the moment of his return;
which duly happened. The letter ran thus:

  “Downing Street, 8 A.M.

 “To the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor,—

 “Lord Hawkesbury presents his compliments to the Lord Mayor, and is
 happy to inform him that the negotiations between this country and the
 French Republic have been amicably adjusted.”

Thinking it genuine, the Lord Mayor published it, and wrote to Lord
Hawkesbury, congratulating him; but the forgery was soon exposed.

Meanwhile, Consols opened at 69, and, before noon, were over 70, only
to fall, when the truth came out, to 63. Of course, all transactions,
that day, were made null and void. Although £500 reward was offered,
nothing was ever heard of the perpetrators of this swindle.

Under date of Aug. 20, 1806, the _Annual Register_ says: “A most
atrocious fraud was committed on a number of gentlemen at the Stock
Exchange, it being the settling day, by a foreign Jew, of the name of
Joseph Elkin Daniels, who has, for a long time, been a conspicuous
character in the Alley. Finding that, in consequence of the great
fluctuation of Omnium, he was not able to pay for all he had purchased
at an advanced price, he hit upon a scheme to pocket an enormous sum
of money, and with which he has decamped; £31,000 Omnium was tendered
to him in the course of Thursday; in payment for which he gave drafts
on his bankers, amounting to £16,816, 5s., which were paid into the
respective bankers of those who had received them, to clear in the
afternoon. Having gained possession of the Omnium, he sold it through
the medium of a respectable broker, received drafts for it, which he
cleared immediately, and set off with the produce. On his drafts being
presented, payment was refused, he having no effects at his bankers.”

A hue and cry was raised after him, and he was soon discovered in
the Isle of Man, whence he could not be taken without the Governor’s
consent. This was obtained, but there were so many similar rascals
taking sanctuary in the Island, that it was not deemed prudent to
execute the warrant in the daytime, and Daniels was arrested at night.
Great was the uproar in the morning when the rogues found their
companion had gone, and an indignation meeting was held to protest
against the violation of their rights. He was brought before the Lord
Mayor on 16th Sept., but, owing to some technicalities, he was let go,
although he had to make his appearance at a Commission of Bankruptcy.

In 1814 there was an attempted fraud on the Stock Exchange, which
was the most daring ever perpetrated. It was executed by one Charles
Random de Berenger, a French refugee, and an officer in one of the
foreign regiments. It was alleged that, with him, were associated Lord
Cochrane, the Hon. Andrew Cochrane Johnstone, and several others. It
appears from the evidence on the trial, that, early in the morning of
the 21st of February, a gentleman, dressed in a grey greatcoat over
a scarlet uniform, on which was a star, knocked at the door of the
Ship Inn at Dover, and said that he was the bearer of very important
despatches from France. This gentleman, all the witnesses swore, was
Berenger.

He sent a letter, signed R. Du Bourg, Lieut.-Colonel, and Aide-de-Camp
to Lord Cathcart, to Admiral Foley, the Port Admiral at Dover, advising
him that he had just arrived from Calais with the news of a great
victory obtained by the Allies over Bonaparte, who was slain, in his
flight, by the Cossacks, and that the Allied Sovereigns were in Paris.
Berenger posted up to London, which he entered, having his horses
decked with laurels, in order to make a stir. It was felt on the Stock
Exchange. _Omnium_, which opened at 27-1/2 rose to 33; but, as the
day wore on, and no confirmation came of the news, they receded to
28-1/2. Business in that Stock was done, that day, to the tune of half
a million of money. Lord Cochrane and others had, previously, given
instructions to sell Omniums for them, on the 21st of February, to an
enormous amount. One deposed that, on that date, he sold—

  For Lord Cochrane          £139,000 Omnium
   ”  Cochrane Johnstone      120,000   do.
   ”        do.               100,000 Consols
   ”  Mr Butt                 124,000 Omnium
   ”    do.                   168,000 Consols

And he further deposed that he always considered that any business he
did for Mr Butt was to be placed to Lord Cochrane’s account.

Another stockbroker sold for the same three gentlemen £565,000 Omnium.
Another had sold £80,000 on their account, and yet another had had
instructions to sell a very large sum for the same parties, but had
refused.

In the end, Lord Cochrane and Mr Butt were condemned to pay to the King
a fine of a Thousand Pounds each, and J. P. Holloway Five Hundred;
and these three, together with De Berenger, Sandon, and Lyte, were
sentenced to imprisonment in the Marshalsea for twelve calendar months.
Further, Lord Cochrane, De Berenger, and Butt were to stand in the
pillory for one hour, before the Royal Exchange, once during their
imprisonment. This latter part of their punishment was, afterwards,
remitted. Lord Cochrane’s name was struck off the Navy List, he was
expelled from the House of Commons, his Arms were taken down from
his stall, as Knight of the Bath, his banner torn down, and kicked
ignominiously out of Henry VII.’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey.

By very many he was believed innocent, and, on his seat for
Westminster being declared vacant, he was enthusiastically re-elected.
He escaped from custody, was captured, and had to serve his time. On
June 20, 1815, he was told his imprisonment was at an end, if he would
pay the fine imposed upon him; and, on July 3rd, he reluctantly did
so, with a £1000 bank note, on the back of which he wrote:—“My health
having suffered by long and close confinement, and my oppressors having
resolved to deprive me of property, or life, I submit to robbery, to
protect myself from murder, in the hope that I shall live to bring the
delinquents to justice.”

On the very day he was released, he took his seat again in the House of
Commons; and, in 1832, he received a “free pardon,” was restored to the
Navy List, gazetted a rear-admiral, and presented at a Levée!

The year 1825 was remarkable for the number of bubble companies which
were floated or not, and for the dreadful commercial panic which
ensued, during which over seventy banks collapsed in London, or the
country. Over £11,000,000 were subscribed to foreign loans, and
£17,500,000 to different companies. In Parliament there were presented
439 private bills for companies, and Acts were passed for 288. Horace
Smith sings of them thus:

  “Early and late, where’er I rove,
  In park or square, suburb or grove,
      In civic lanes, or alleys,
  Riches are hawked, while rivals rush
  To pour into mine ear a gush
      Of money making sallies.

  ‘Haste instantly and buy,’ cries one,
  Real del Monte shares, for none
      Will yield a richer profit;
  Another cries—‘No mining plan
  Like ours, the Anglo-Mexican;
      As for Del Monte, scoff it.’

  This, grasps my button, and declares
  There’s nothing like Columbian shares,
      The capital a million;
  That, cries, ‘La Plata’s sure to pay,’
  Or bids me buy, without delay,
      Hibernian or Brazilian.

  ‘Scaped from the torments of the mine,
  Rivals in gas, an endless line,
      Arrest me as I travel;
  Each sure my suffrage to receive,
  If I will only give him leave
      His project to unravel.

  By fire and life insurers next,
  I’m intercepted, pestered, vexed,
      Almost beyond endurance;
  And, though the schemes appear unsound,
  Their advocates are seldom found
      Deficient in assurance.

  Last, I am worried Shares to buy,
  In the Canadian Company,
      The Milk Association;
  The laundry men who wash by steam,
  Railways, pearl fishing, or the scheme
      For inland navigation.”

In 1845 began the most wonderful era of gambling in modern times, the
Railway Mania, which rose to such a height that it was noticed on Oct.
25. “During the past week there were announced, in three newspapers,
eighty-nine new schemes, with a capital of £84,055,000; during the
month, there were 357 new schemes announced, with an aggregate capital
of £332,000,000.”

On 17th Nov. _The Times_ published a table of all the railway companies
registered up to the 31st October, numbering 1428, and involving
an outlay of £701,243,208. “Take away,” it said, “£140,000,000 for
railways completed, or in progress, exclude all the most extravagant
schemes, and divide the remainder by ten, can we add from our present
resources, even a tenth of the vast remainder? Can we add £50,000,000
to the railway speculations we are already irretrievably embarked in?
We cannot, without the most ruinous, universal and desperate confusion.”

The _Annual Register_ for 1845 gives a graphic account of an incident
in the Railway Mania. “An extraordinary scene occurred at the office
of the Railway Department of the Board of Trade, on this day (Sunday,
30th Nov.), being the last day on which the plans of the new projects
could be deposited with the Railway Board, in order to enable Bills to
authorise them, to be brought before Parliament, in compliance with the
Standing Orders.

“Last year, the number of projects in respect of which plans were
lodged with the Board of Trade, was 248: the number, this year, is
stated to be 815. The projectors of the Scotch lines were mostly
in advance, and had their plans duly lodged on Saturday. The Irish
projectors, too, and the old established Companies, seeking powers
to construct branches, were among the more punctual. But, upwards
of 600 plans remained to be deposited. Towards the last, the utmost
exertions were made to forward them. The efforts of the lithographic
draughtsmen and printers in London were excessive; people remained
at work night after night, snatching a hasty repose for a couple of
hours on lockers, benches, or the floor. Some found it impossible to
execute their contracts; others did their work imperfectly. One of the
most eminent was compelled to bring over four hundred lithographers
from Belgium, and failed, nevertheless, with this reinforcement, in
completing some of his plans. Post horses and express trains, to bring
to town plans prepared in the country, were sought in all parts. Horses
were engaged days before, and kept, by persons specially appointed,
under lock and key. Some railway companies exercised their power of
refusing express trains for rival projects, and clerks were obliged to
make sudden and embarrassing changes of route, in order to travel by
less hostile ways. A large establishment of clerks were in attendance
to register the deposits; and this arrangement went on very well until
eleven o’clock, when the delivery grew so rapid, that the clerks were
quite unable to keep pace with the arrivals. The entrance hall soon
became inconveniently crowded, considerable anxiety being expressed
lest twelve o’clock should arrive ere the requisite formalities should
have been gone through. This anxiety was allayed by the assurance that
admission into the hall before that hour would be sufficient to warrant
the reception of the documents. As the clock struck twelve, the doors
of the office were about to be closed, when a gentleman, with the
plans of one of the Surrey railways, arrived, and, with the greatest
difficulty, succeeded in obtaining admission. A lull of a few minutes
here occurred; but, just before the expiration of the first quarter of
an hour, a post chaise, with reeking horses, drove up to the entrance,
in hot haste. In a moment, its occupants (three gentlemen) alighted,
and rushed down the passage, towards the office door, each bearing a
plan of Brobdingnagian dimensions. On reaching the door, and finding it
closed, the countenances of all dropped; but one of them, more valorous
than the rest, and prompted by the bystanders, gave a loud pull at the
bell. It was answered by Inspector Otway, who informed the ringer it
was now too late, and that his plans could not be received. The agents
did not wait for the conclusion of the unpleasant communication, but
took advantage of the doors being opened, and threw in their papers,
which broke the passage lamp in their fall. They were thrown back into
the street; and when the door was again opened, again went in the
plans, only to meet a similar fate. In the whole, upwards of 600 plans
were duly deposited.”

Mr Francis, in his “History of the English Railway,” says: “The daily
press was thoroughly deluged with advertisements; double sheets did not
supply space enough for them; double doubles were resorted to, and,
then, frequently, insertions were delayed. It has been estimated that
the receipts of the leading journals averaged, at one period, £12,000
and £14,000, a week, from this source. The railway papers, on some
occasions, contained advertisements that must have netted from £700
to £800 on each publication. The printer, the lithographer, and the
stationer, with the preparation of prospectuses, the execution of maps,
and the supply of other requisites, also made a considerable harvest.

“The leading engineers were, necessarily, at a great premium. Mr Brunel
was said to be connected with fourteen lines, Mr Robert Stephenson with
thirty-four, Mr Locke with thirty-one, Mr Rastrick with seventeen, and
other engineers with one hundred and thirteen.

“The novelist has appropriated this peculiar portion of commercial
history, and, describing it, says, gravely and graphically: ‘A Colony
of solicitors, engineers and seedy accountants, settled in the purlieus
of Threadneedle Street. Every town and parish in the kingdom blazed out
in zinc plates over the doorways. From the cellar to the roof, every
fragment of a room held its committee. The darkest cupboard on the
stairs contained a secretary or a clerk. Men who were never seen east
of Temple Bar before, or since, were, now, as familiar to the pavement
of Moorgate Street,[63] as the Stockbrokers: ladies of title, lords,
members of Parliament, and fashionable loungers thronged the noisy
passages, and were jostled by adventurers, by gamblers, rogues and
impostors.’

“The advantages of competition were pointed out, with the choicest
phraseology. Lines which passed by barren districts, and by waste
heaths, the termini of which were in uninhabitable places, reached a
high premium. The shares of one Company rose 2400 per cent. Everything
was to pay a large dividend; everything was to yield a large profit.
One railway was to cross the entire Principality without a single curve.

“The shares of another were issued; the company formed, and the
directors appointed, with only the terminal points surveyed. In the Ely
railway, not one person connected with the country through which it was
to pass, subscribed the title-deed.

“The engineers, who were examined in favour of particular lines,
promised all and everything, in their evidence. It was humorously said,
‘they plunge through the bowels of mountains; they undertake to drain
lakes; they bridge valleys with viaducts; their steepest gradients are
gentle undulations; their curves are lines of beauty; they interrupt no
traffic; they touch no prejudice.’

“Labour of all kinds increased in demand. The price of iron rose from
sixty-eight shillings to one hundred and twenty per ton. Money remained
abundant. Promoters received their tens and twenties of thousands.
Rumours of sudden fortunes were very plentiful. Estates were purchased
by those who were content with their gains; and, to crown the whole,
a grave report was circulated, that Northumberland House, with its
princely remembrances, and palatial grandeur, was to be bought by the
South Western. Many of the railways attained prices which staggered
reasonable men. The more worthless the article, the greater seemed the
struggle to obtain it. Premiums of £5 and £6 were matters of course,
even where there were four or five competitors for the road. One
Company, which contained a clause to lease it at three and a half per
cent., for 999 years, rose to twenty premium, so mad were the many to
speculate.

“Every branch of commerce participated in the advantages of an
increased circulation. The chief articles of trade met with large
returns; profits were regular; and all luxuries which suited an
affluent community, procured an augmented sale. Banking credit remained
facile; interest still kept low; money, speaking as they of the City
speak, could be had for next to nothing. It was advanced on everything
which bore a value, whether readily convertible, or not. Bill brokers
would only allow one and a half per cent. for cash; and what is one and
a half per cent. to men who revelled in the thought of two hundred? The
exchanges remained remarkably steady. The employment of the labourer
on the new lines, of the operative in the factory, of the skilled
artisan in the workshop, of the clerk at the desk, tended to add to
the delusive feeling, and was one of the forms in which, for a time,
the population was benefited. But, when the strength of the kingdom
is wasted in gambling, temporary, indeed, is the good compared with
the cost. Many, whose money was safely invested, sold at any price, to
enter the share market. Servants withdrew their hoards from the savings
banks. The tradesman crippled his business. The legitimate love of
money became a fierce lust. The peer came from his club to his brokers;
the clergyman came from his pulpit to the mart; the country gentleman
forsook the calmness of his rural domain for the feverish excitement
of Threadneedle Street. Voluptuous tastes were indulged in by those
who were previously starving. The new men vied with the old, in the
luxurious adornments of their houses. Everyone smiled with contentment;
every face wore a pleased expression. Some, who, by virtue of their
unabashed impudence, became provisional committee men, supported the
dignity of their position, in a style which raised the mirth of many,
and moved the envy of more. Trustees, who had no money of their own,
or, who had lost it, used that which was confided to them; brothers
speculated with the money of sisters; sons gambled with the money of
their widowed mothers; children risked their patrimony; and, it is no
exaggeration to say, that the funds of hundreds were surreptitiously
endangered by those in whose control they were placed.”

The Marquis of Clanricarde, in a speech, spoke very boldly as to the
status, social and financial, of some of the subscribers to Railway
Companies. Said he: “One of the names to the deed to which he was
anxious to direct their attention, was that of a gentleman, said to
reside in Finsbury Square, who had subscribed to the amount of £25,000:
he was informed no such person was known at that address. There was,
also, in the Contract deed, the name of an individual who had figured
in the Dublin and Galway Railway case, who was down for £5000, and who
was understood to be a half-pay officer, in the receipt of £54 a-year,
but, who appeared as a subscriber in different railway schemes, to the
amount of £41,500. The address of another, whose name was down for
£12,200, was stated to be in Watling Street, but it appeared he did
not reside there. In the case of another individual down for £12,500 a
false address was found to have been given. Another individual, whom he
would not name, was a curate in a parish in Kent; he might be worth all
the money for which he appeared responsible in various railway schemes,
but his name appeared for £25,000 in different projects, and stood for
£10,000 in this line. Another individual, who was down for £25,000, was
represented to be in poor circumstances. A clerk in a public company
was down for upwards of £50,000. There were several more cases of the
same kind, but he trusted that he had stated enough to establish the
necessity of referring the matter to a committee. There were, also,
two brothers, sons of a charwoman, living in a garret, one of whom had
signed for £12,500, and the other for £25,000; these two brothers,
excellent persons, no doubt, but who were receiving about a guinea and
a half between them, were down for £37,000.”



CHAPTER XXI

 The Comic side of the Railway Mania—“Jeames’s Diary,”
 &c.—Universal Speculation as shown by Parliamentary Return—Rise
 of Discount—Collapse—Shareholders not forthcoming—Widespread
 Ruin—George Hudson.


Not particularly exaggerated is “Railroad Speculator” in _Punch_ (Vol.
viii., p. 244):

 “The night was stormy and dark, the town was shut up in sleep: Only
 those were abroad who were out on the lark, Or those who’d no beds to
 keep.

 I passed through the lonely street, The wind did sing and blow; I
 could hear the policeman’s feet, Clapping to and fro.

 There stood a potato man, in the midst of all the wet; He stood with
 his ‘tato can, in the lonely Haymarket.

 Two gents of dismal mien, and dank and greasy rags; came out of a shop
 for gin, swaggering over the flags:

 Swaggering over the stones, these shabby bucks did walk; and I went
 and followed those seedy ones, and listened to their talk.

 Was I sober or awake? Could I believe my ears? Those dismal beggars
 spake of nothing but Railroad Shares.

 I wondered more and more: Says one, ‘Good friend of mine, how many
 shares did you write for? In the Diddlesex Junction line?’

 ‘I wrote for twenty,’ says Jim, ‘but they wouldn’t give me one’; His
 comrade straight rebuked him, for the folly he had done.

 ‘Oh Jim, you are unawares of the ways of this bad town: I always write
 for five hundred shares, and _then_ they put me down.’

 ‘And yet you got no shares,’ says Jim, ‘for all your boast’: ‘I
 _would_ have wrote,’ says Jack, ‘but where was the penny to pay the
 post?’

 ‘I lost, for I couldn’t pay that first instalment up; but here’s
 ‘taters smoking hot—I say, Let’s stop, my boy, and sup.’

 And, at this simple feast, the while they did regale, I drew each
 ragged capitalist, down on my left thumb nail.

 Their talk did me perplex, All night I tumbled and tost; and thought
 of railroad specs, and how money was won and lost.

 ‘Bless railroads everywhere,’ I said, ‘and the world’s advance; Bless
 every railroad share in Italy, Ireland, France; for never a beggar
 need now despair, and every rogue has a chance.’”

But, should anyone wish to watch the progress of the Railway Mania,
I would recommend a perusal of _Punch_, Vol. ix., in which appears,
_inter alia_, _Jeames’s Diary_, by Thackeray, afterwards published as
_The Diary of C. Jeames De la Pluche, Esq._ The idea was started on p.
59, under the heading of—


A LUCKY SPECULATOR.

 Considerable sensation has been excited in the upper and lower circles
 in the West End, by a startling piece of good fortune which has
 befallen JAMES PLUSH, Esq., lately footman in a respected family in
 Berkeley Square.

 One day, last week, Mr James waited upon his master, who is a banker
 in the city; and, after a little blushing and hesitation, said he had
 saved a little money in service, and was anxious to retire, and to
 invest his savings to advantage.

 His master (we believe we may mention, without offending delicacy,
 the well known name of Sir GEORGE FLIMSY of the firm of FLIMSY,
 DIDDLER, and FLASH,) smilingly asked Mr JAMES, what was the amount of
 his savings, wondering considerably how—out of an income of thirty
 guineas, the main part of which he spent in bouquets, silk stockings
 and perfumery—Mr PLUSH could have managed to lay by anything.

 Mr PLUSH, with some hesitation, said he had been _speculating in
 railroads_, and stated his winnings to have been thirty thousand
 pounds. He had commenced his speculations with twenty, borrowed from
 a fellow servant. He had dated his letters from the house in Berkeley
 Square, and humbly begged pardon of his master, for not having
 instructed the railway secretaries, who answered the applications, to
 apply at the area bell.

 Sir GEORGE, who was at breakfast, instantly rose, and shook Mr P. by
 the hand; LADY FLIMSY begged him to be seated, and partake of the
 breakfast which he had laid on the table; and has subsequently invited
 him to her grand _dejeuner_ at Richmond, where it was observed that
 Miss EMILY FLIMSY, her beautiful and accomplished seventh daughter,
 paid the lucky gentleman _marked attention_.

 We hear it stated that Mr P. is of very ancient family (HUGO DE LA
 PLUCHE came over with the Conqueror); and the new Brougham which he
 has started, bears the ancient coat of his race.

 He has taken apartments at the Albany, and is a director of
 thirty-three railroads. He purposes to stand for Parliament at the
 next general election, on decidedly conservative principles, which
 have always been the politics of his family.

 Report says, that, even in his humble capacity, Miss EMILY FLIMSY
 had remarked his high demeanour. Well, ‘none but the brave,’ say we,
 ‘deserve the fair.’—_Morning Paper._

This announcement will explain the following lines, which have been put
into our box, with a West End post mark. If, as we believe, they are
written by the young woman from whom the Millionaire borrowed the sum
on which he raised his fortune, what heart would not melt with sympathy
at her tale, and pity the sorrows which she expresses in such artless
language?

If it be not too late: if wealth have not rendered its possessor
callous: if poor MARYANNE _be still alive_, we trust Mr PLUSH will do
her justice.


JEAMES OF BUCKLEY SQUARE.

A HELIGY.

  Come, all ye gents vot cleans the plate,
    Come, all ye ladies maids so fair—
  Vile I a story vil relate
    Of cruel JEAMES of Buckley Square.
  A tighter lad, it is confest,
    Never valked vith powder in his air,
  Or vore a nosegay in his breast,
    Than andsum JEAMES of Buckley Square.

  O Evns! it vas the best of sights,
    Behind his Master’s coach and pair,
  To see our JEAMES in red plush tights,
    A driving hoff from Buckley Square.
  He vel became his hagwiletts,
    He cocked his at with _such_ an hair;
  His calves and viskers _vas_ siech pets,
    That hall loved _Jeames_ of Buckley Square.

  He pleased the hup stairs folks as vell,
    And o! I vithered vith despair,
  Misses _vould_ ring the parler bell,
    And call up JEAMES in Buckley Square.
  Both beer and sperrits he abhord,
    (Sperrits and beer I can’t a bear,)
  You would have thought he vas a lord,
    Down in our All in Buckley Square.

  Last year he visper’d, “Mary Hann,
    Ven I’ve an ‘under’d pound to spare,
  To take a public is my plan,
    And leave this hojous Buckley Square.”
  O how my gentle heart did bound,
    To think that I his name should bear.
  “Dear JEAMES,” says I, “I’ve twenty pound,”
    And gev him them in Buckley Square.

  Our master vas a City Gent,
    His name’s in railroads everywhere;
  And lord, vot lots of letters vent
    Betwigst his brokers, and Buckley Square.
  My JEAMES it was the letters took,
    And read ‘em all, (I think it’s fair),
  And took a leaf from Master’s book,
    As _hothers_ do in Buckley Square.

  Encouraged with my twenty pound,
    Of which poor _I_ was unaware,
  He wrote the Companies all round,
    And signed hisself from Buckley Square.
  And how JOHN PORTER used to grin,
    As day by day, share after share,
  Came railway letters pouring in,
    J. PLUSH, Esquire, in Buckley Square.

  Our servants’ All was in a rage—
    Scrip, stock, curves, gradients, bull and bear,
  With butler, coachman, groom and page,
    Vas all the talk in Buckley Square.
  But O! imagine vat I felt
    Last Vensdy veek as ever were;
  I gits a letter, which I spelt
    “Miss M. A. Hoggins, Buckley Square.”

  He sent me back my money true—
    He sent me back my lock of air,
  And said, “My dear, I bid ajew
    To Mary Hann and Buckley Square.
  Think not to marry, foolish HANN,
    With people who your betters are;
  JAMES PLUSH is now a gentleman,
    And you—a cook in Buckley Square.

  I’ve thirty thousand guineas won,
    In six short months, by genus rare;
  You little thought what JEAMES was on,
    Poor MARY HANN, in Buckley Square.
  I’ve thirty thousand guineas net,
    Powder and plush I scorn to vear;
  And so, Miss MARY HANN, forget
    For hever JEAMES, of Buckley Square.”

But, joking apart, there is no exaggeration in Jeames. Look at a
“Return to the Order of the Honourable the House of Commons, dated 8th
April 1845, for an Alphabetical list of the Names, Description, and
Place of Abode of all Persons subscribing to the Amount of £2000 and
upwards to any Railway Subscription Contract deposited in the Private
Bill Office during the present Session of Parliament,” and amongst the
names will be found many of the leading nobility, large manufacturing
firms, names well known in commerce and literature, mingled together
in a most heterogeneous manner. The same columns shew a combination of
peers and printers, vicars and vice-admirals, spinsters and half-pay
officers, M.P.’s and special pleaders, professors and cotton spinners,
gentlemen’s cooks and Q.C.’s, attorney’s clerks and college scouts,
waiters at Lloyd’s, relieving officers and excisemen, barristers
and butchers, Catholic priests and coachmen, editors and engineers,
dairymen and dyers, braziers, bankers, beer sellers and butlers,
domestic servants, footmen and mail guards, and almost every calling
under the sun.

These, it must be remembered, were subscribers for £2000 and upwards;
those who subscribed for less, were supposed to be holders of
£21,386,703, 6s. 4d. in Stock.

The first blow given to this frightful gambling was on Thursday, 16th
Oct. 1845, when the Bank of England raised its Discount, which had such
a disastrous effect, that by Saturday, people began to be alarmed, and,
as Mr Francis describes the situation, “Money was scarce, the price
of stock and scrip lowered; the confidence of the people was broken,
and a vision of a dark future on every face. Advertisements were
suddenly withdrawn from the papers; names of note were seen no more as
provisional committee men; distrust followed the merchant to the mart,
and the jobber to the Exchange. The new schemes ceased to be regarded;
applications ceased to be forwarded; premiums were either lowered, or
ceased to exist. Bankers looked anxiously to the accounts of their
customers; bill brokers scrutinised their securities; and every man was
suspicious of his neighbour.

“But the distrust was not confined to projected lines. Established
Railways felt the shock, and were reduced in value. Consols fell one
and a half per cent.; Exchequer Bills declined in price, and other
markets sympathised. The people had awoke from their dream, and
trembled. It was a national alarm.

“Words are weak to express the fears and feelings which prevailed.
There was no village too remote to escape the shock, and there was,
probably, no house in town, some occupant of which did not shrink
from the morrow. The Statesman started to find his new Bank Charter
so sadly, and so suddenly tried: the peer, who had so thoughtlessly
invested, saw ruin opening to his view. Men hurried with bated
breath to their brokers; the allottee was uneasy and suspicious: the
provisional committee man grew pale at his fearful responsibility:
directors ceased to boast their blushing honours, and promoters saw
their expected profits evaporate. Shares, which, the previous week,
were a fortune, were, the next, a fatality to their owners. The
reputed shareholders were not found when they were wanted: provisional
committee men were not more easy of access.

“One Railway advertised the names and addresses of thirty—none of
whom were to be heard of at the residences ascribed to them. Letters
were returned to the Post Office, day after day. Nor is this to be
wondered at, when it is said that, on one projected line, only £60 was
received for deposits which should have yielded £700,000.

“It was proved in the Committee of the House of Commons, that one
subscription list was formed of ‘lame ducks of the Alley’; and that, in
another, several of the Directors, including the Chairman, had, also,
altered their several subscriptions to the amount of £100,000, the very
evening on which the list was deposited, and that five shillings a man
was given to any one who would sign for a certain number of shares.

“Nothing more decidedly marked the crisis which had arrived, than the
fact that every one hastened to disown railways. Gentlemen who had been
buried in prospectuses, whose names and descriptions had been published
under every variation that could fascinate the public, who had
figured as committee men, and received the precious guineas for their
attendance, were eager to assure the world that they were ignorant of
this great transgression. Men, who, a month before, had boasted of
the large sums they had made by scrip, sent advertisements to papers
denying their responsibility, or appealed to the Lord Mayor to protect
their characters. Members of Parliament who had remained quiet under
the infliction, while it was somewhat respectable, fell back upon their
privileges when they saw their purses in danger. There is no doubt that
an unauthorised use of names was one feature of fraudulent Companies,
and that, amid a list of common names, it was thought a distinguished
one might pass unnoticed. The complaints, therefore, of those who were
thus unceremoniously treated were just; but the great mass of denials
emanated from persons who, knowingly, encountered the risk, and meanly
shrunk from the danger.

“It is the conviction of those who are best informed that no other
panic was ever so fatal to the middle class. It reached every hearth,
it saddened every heart in the metropolis. Entire families were ruined.
There was scarcely an important town in England, but what beheld
some wretched suicide. Daughters, delicately nurtured, went out to
seek their bread; sons were recalled from academies; households were
separated: homes were desecrated by the emissaries of the law. There
was a disruption of every social tie. The debtor’s jails were peopled
with promoters; Whitecross Street was filled with speculators; and the
Queen’s bench was full to overflowing. Men who had lived comfortably
and independently, found themselves suddenly responsible for sums they
had no means of paying. In some cases they yielded their all, and began
the world anew; in others, they left the country for the continent,
laughed at their creditors, and defied pursuit. One gentleman was
served with four hundred writs: a peer, similarly pressed, when offered
to be relieved from all liabilities for £15,000, betook himself to
his yacht, and forgot, in the beauties of the Mediterranean, the
difficulties which had surrounded him. Another gentleman, who, having
nothing to lose, surrendered himself to his creditors, was a director
of more than twenty lines. A third was Provisional Committee man
to fifteen. A fourth, who commenced life as a printer, who became
an insolvent in 1832, and a bankrupt in 1837, who had negotiated
partnerships, who had arranged embarrassed affairs, who had collected
debts, and turned his attention to anything, did not disdain, also, to
be a railway promoter, a railway director, or to spell his name in a
dozen different ways.”

But a notice of the Railway Mania would be very incomplete without
mention of George Hudson, the Railway King. He was born at Howsham, a
village near York, in March 1800, was apprenticed to a draper in York,
and subsequently became principal in the business; thus, early in
life, becoming well off, besides having £30,000 left him by a distant
relative. In 1837 he was Lord Mayor of York, and the same year was
made Chairman of the York and North Midland Railway, which was opened
in 1839. In 1841 he was elected Chairman of the Great North of England
Company, and, afterwards held the same position in the Midland Railway
Company. He speculated largely in Railways; and in the Parliamentary
return, already alluded to (p. 270) his subscriptions appear as
£319,835.

He came to London, and inhabited the house at Albert Gate,
Knightsbridge (now the French Embassy) where he entertained the Prince
Consort, and the aristocracy generally. He was elected M.P. for
Sunderland in Aug. 1845, and again served as Lord Mayor of York in
1846. The Railway smash came, and year by year things went worse with
him, until, early in the year 1849 he had to resign his chairmanship
of the Eastern Counties (now Great Eastern), Midland, York, Newcastle
and Berwick, and the York and North Midland Railway Companies. He went
abroad, where he lived for some time, and tried, unavailingly, to
retrieve his fortune. In July 1865 he was committed to York Castle for
Contempt of the Court of Exchequer, in not paying a large debt, and was
there incarcerated till the following October.

He fell so low, that in 1868 some friends took pity on him and raised a
subscription for him, thus obtaining £4800, with which an annuity was
purchased. He died in London, 14th Dec. 1871.

In conclusion, as a place for gambling, the Stock Exchange is of far
greater extent than the Turf. The time bargains and options, without
which the business of the Exchange would be very little, are gambling
pure and simple, whilst the numerous _bucket shops_, with their
advertisements and circulars, disseminate the unwholesome vice of
gambling throughout the length and breadth of the land, enabling people
to speculate without anyone being the wiser. It is needless to say,
that, as on the Turf, they are the losers.



CHAPTER XXII

 Permissible gambling—Early Marine Assurance—Oldest and
 old Policies—Lloyd’s—Curious Insurances—Marine Assurance
 Companies—Fire Insurance—Its origin and early Companies—Life
 Insurance—Early Companies—Curious story of Life Insurance.


But, paradoxical as it may appear, there is a class of gambling which
is not only considered harmless, but beneficial, and even necessary—I
mean Insurance. Theoretically, it is gambling proper. You bet 2s.
6d. to £100 with your Fire Insurance; you equally bet on a Marine
Insurance for the safe arrival of your ships or merchandise; and it is
also gambling when you insure your life. Yet a man would be considered
culpable, or at the very least, negligent and indiscreet did he not
insure.

Of the different kinds of Insurance or Assurance, as it is
indifferently called, Marine Assurance is the oldest, so old, that no
one knows when the custom began, as we see by the preamble of 43 Eliz.,
c. 12 (1601).

“AN ACTE CONCERNINGE MATTERS OF ASSURANCES, AMONGSTE MARCHANTES.
WHEREAS it ever hathe bene the Policie of this Realme by all good
meanes to comforte and encourage the Merchante, therebie to advance and
increase the generall wealthe of the Realme, her Majesties Customes
and the strengthe of Shippinge, which Consideration is now the more
requisite, because Trade and Traffique is not, at this presente,
soe open as at other tymes it hathe bene; and, _whereas it hathe
bene tyme out of mynde_ an usage amongste Merchantes, both of this
Realme and of forraine Nacyons, when they make any greate adventure
(speciallie into remote partes) to give some consideracion of Money
to other persons (which commonlie are in noe small number) to have
from them assurance made of their Goodes Merchandizes Ships and Things
adventured, or some parte thereof, at such rates and in such sorte as
the Parties assurers and the Parties assured can agree, whiche course
of dealinge is commonly termed a Policie of Assurance; by meanes of
whiche Policies of Assurance it comethe to passe, upon the losse or
perishinge of any Shippe there followethe not the undoinge of any Man,
but the losse lightethe rather easilie upon many, then heavilie upon
fewe, and rather upon them that adventure not, then those that doe
adventure, whereby all Merchantes, speciallie of the younger sorte,
are allured to venture more willinglie and more freelie: And whereas
heretofore suche Assurers have used to stand so justlie and preciselie
upon their credites, as fewe or no Controversies have risen there upon,
and if any have growen, the same have from tyme to tyme bene ended and
ordered by certaine grave and discreete Merchantes appointed by the
Lord Mayor of the Citie of London, as Men by reason of their experience
fitteste to understande, and speedilie to decide those Causes; untill
of late yeeres that divers persons have withdrawen themselves from that
arbitrarie course, and have soughte to drawe the parties assured to
seeke their moneys of everie severall Assurer, by Suites commenced in
her Majesties Courtes, to their great charges and delayes: FOR REMEDIE
_wher of be it enacted_,” &c.[64]

The Oldest Policy of Assurance I have been able to find is mentioned
in the 6th Report of the Royal Commission on Historical MSS., where
it is catalogued “1604. A Charter partie, An Assurance of fish from
Newfoundland.”[65]

Mr F. Martin, who wrote an exhaustive book on the _History of Lloyd’s
and Marine Insurance_, says: “The earliest English policy of marine
insurance, which we have been able to discover, bears date 1613,
and though not a document issued actually by underwriters, but, to
all appearances, a copy made for legal purposes, with some lawyer’s
notes attached, may be found historically interesting. The discovery
was—with others subsequently to be referred to—the result of long
and laborious researches among the, as yet, only partly known literary
treasures of the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The original is among
the Tanner manuscripts, numbered 74, fo. 32, and the manuscript is
endorsed, ‘Mr Morris Abbott’s pollesye of Assurance dated the 15 of
ffebruary 1613, 11 Jacobi.’”

A very old policy hangs, framed and glazed, on the wall of the
Committee Room at Lloyds, dated 20th Jan. 1680, and it is for
£1200—£200 on the ship and £1000 on the goods. The ship was the
_Golden Fleece_, the voyage from Lisbon to Venice, and the premium was
£4 per cent.!

Underwriting marine risks was in private hands, and although the
underwriters had, some of them, offices of their own, most of the
business seems to have been done at Coffee Houses, such as Hain’s,
Garraway’s, or Good’s; and there was also a central office at the Royal
Exchange, as is shown by several early advertisements, one of which is
the following, from the _City Mercury_, No. 255 (1680):

“Whereas Mr Daniel Parrot caused a Politie to be made Septemb. 28
last, on the _Charles of Plymouth_, from Newfoundland to Cadiz, which
is subscribed by several Insurers, and the Politie lost, and a new
Politie made: It is desired that all persons that have subscribed the
Politie would come into the Insurance Office, and subscribe the new
Politie, that it may be known who the Insurers are; and if any one has
found the old Politie, they are desired to bring it to Mr Tho. Astley,
at the Insurance Office on the Royal Exchange, and they shall be well
rewarded.”

The origin of the present Corporation of Lloyd’s was in the Coffee
House of Edward Lloyd, who, in 1688, lived in the very busy commercial
thoroughfare of Tower Street, as appears from an advertisement in the
_London Gazette_ of 18/21 Feb. 1688, relating to a robbery. In 1691 or
1692 he moved to a more central situation, at the Corner of Abchurch
Lane and Lombard Street, where, in the summer of 1696, he started the
famous _Lloyd’s News_, of which the Bodleian Library has a complete
set, with the exception of the first seven numbers. It only reached
seventy-six numbers, when it was discontinued for the reason given in
No. 138 of the _Protestant Mercury_, Feb. 24/26, 1696 (1697). “Whereas,
in _Lloyd’s News_ of the 23rd instant, it was inserted, That the House
of Lords Received a Petition from the Quakers, that they may be freed
from all Offices, which being groundless and a mistake, he was desired
to rectifie it in his next: But return’d for Answer, it was added by
the Printer, that he would Print no more at present.” And it remained
in abeyance till 1726, when it was resuscitated under the title of
_Lloyd’s List_, a name which it now bears.

Lloyd’s Coffee House served its purpose to the Underwriters for a time,
but they found it inconvenient, and wanted a place of their own, so
they took rooms in Pope’s Head Alley, which they called New Lloyd’s
Coffee House, whilst they were looking out for suitable permanent
premises. Here, towards the end of 1771, seventy-nine Underwriters met,
and each subscribed £100 towards building a “New Lloyd’s.” After a
considerable amount of house hunting, it was reported by the Committee,
on Nov. 24, 1773, “that after many fruitless researches to obtain a
Coffee House in Freeman’s Court and other places, they had succeeded
with the Mercer’s Company for a very roomy and convenient place over
the North West Side of the Royal Exchange, at the rent of £180 per
annum”: and this selection being approved of, they moved into their
new quarters on 5th March 1774. There they have abode ever since,
except for a brief period when the Exchange was re-building after its
destruction by fire in 1838.

The underwriters did not always confine themselves to marine risks.
Malcolm, writing in 1808, says: “The practice of betting is tolerably
prevalent at present, and by no means confined to any particular class
of the community. In fact, I am afraid it might be traced very far
back in the history of our Customs; but it will be sufficient, for the
information of the reader, that I present him with an article from the
_London Chronicle_ of 1768, which, I think, will remind him of some
recent transactions in the City.

“‘The introduction and amazing progress of illicit gaming at Lloyd’s
Coffee House is, among others, a powerful and very melancholy proof of
the degeneracy of the times. It is astonishing that this practice was
begun, and has been, hitherto, carried on, by the matchless effrontery
and impudence of one man. It is equally so, that he has met with so
much encouragement from many of the principal underwriters, who are, in
every other respect, useful members of society: and it is owing to the
lenity of our laws, and want of spirit in the present administration,
that this pernicious practice has not, hitherto, been suppressed.
Though gaming in any degree (except what is warranted by law) is
perverting the original and useful design of that Coffee House, it may,
in some measure, be excuseable to speculate on the following subjects:

Mr Wilkes being elected Member for London, which was done from 5 to 50
guineas per cent.

Ditto for Middlesex, from 20 to 70 guineas per cent.

Alderman B—— d’s life for one year, now doing at 7 per cent.

On Sir J—— H—— being turned out in one year, now doing at 20
guineas per cent.

On John Wilkes’s life for one year, now doing at 5 per cent.
N.B.—Warranted to remain in prison during that period.

On a declaration of war with France or Spain, in one year, 8 guineas
per cent.

And many other innocent things of that kind.

But, when policies come to be opened on two of the first Peers in
Britain losing their heads, within a year, at 10s. 6d. per cent.; and
on the dissolution of the present Parliament, within one year, at 5
guineas per cent., which are now actually doing, and underwrote chiefly
by Scotsmen, at the above Coffee House; it is surely high time for
administration to interfere; and, by exerting the rigours of the laws
against the authors and encouragers of such insurances (which must be
done for some bad purpose), effectually put a stop to it.’”

In the secretary’s room at Lloyd’s hangs the following policy:—“In
consideration of three guineas for one hundred pounds, and according to
that rate for every greater or less sum received of William Dorrington;
we, who have hereunto subscribed our names, do for ourselves, and
our respective heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, and
not one for the other or others of us; or for the heirs, executors,
administrators and assigns of the other or others of us, assume, engage
and promise that we respectively, or our several and respective heirs,
executors, administrators, and assigns, shall and will pay, or cause
to be paid, unto the said William Dorrington the sum and sums of money
which we have hereunto respectively subscribed without any abatement
whatever.

“_In case_ Napoleon Bonaparte shall cease to exist, or be taken
prisoner on, or before, the 21st day of June 1813, commencing from this
day. London 21 May 1813.”

Although originally intended for the Insurance of Marine risks only,
other policies can be taken out at Lloyd’s—such as Fire; against
Burglary—although this was also insured against during the South Sea
Mania, under the title of “Insurance from housebreakers”; against
any lady having twins. _À propos_ of this, there was an underwriter,
some years ago, at Lloyd’s, named Thornton—who was fond of writing
speculative risks, especially overdue ships, and who died very wealthy.
He had a bet with a fellow underwriter—that he should pay him £1000
for every child the Queen bore; but, if there should be twins, at
any time, then Mr Thornton was to be paid £20,000. Insuring that a
race horse shall run in a particular race; on interest under a will;
employer’s liability to workmen; accidents by tram-cars; solvency of
commercial firms; earthquakes; and during the six months preceding
the Queen’s Jubilee of 20th June 1897 a vast amount was underwritten,
guaranteeing the Queen’s life till that date—and also assuring that
she should pass through certain streets. But these policies are not
recognised by the Committee, and, should the underwriter fail, they do
not rank for dividend out of the caution money held by the Corporation.

Besides Lloyd’s Association, where each Member underwrites the amount
he chooses, there are Marine Insurance Companies, which are of great
utility for the large sums they underwrite. These are not all English,
there are many foreign Marine Insurance Companies having Offices in
London, as may be seen by the following list, which is very far from
being complete:—Baden Marine, Bavarian Lloyd Marine, Boston Marine,
Canton Marine, German Marine, Italia Marine of Genoa, Nippon Sea and
Land, North China, Rhenish Westphalian Lloyds, Switzerland Insurance,
Yangtze Insurance Association, &c., &c., &c. The first English Marine
Insurance Companies were the Royal Exchange and the London, both
established in 1720.

Insurance against Fire began the year following the Great Fire of
London (1666), and the first Company for Assurance against Fire was the
Phœnix, established about 1682, first at the Rainbow Coffee House, in
Fleet Street, and, afterwards, near the Royal Exchange. Their system
was to pay 30s. down, and insure £100 for seven years. The second was
The Friendly Society, in Palsgrave Court, without Temple Bar, which
was the first (in 1684) that insured by mutual contribution, where you
could insure £100 for seven years by paying 6s. 8d. down and an annual
subscription of 1s. 4d. And, thirdly, The Amicable Contributors, at
Tom’s Coffee House in St Martin’s Lane (commenced about 1695), where a
payment of 12s. would insure £100 for seven years, at the expiration of
which time 10s. would be returned to the assured. This Society seems
to have changed its name to the Hand in Hand Fire Office, who gave up
their two establishments, at Tom’s Coffee House, and the Crown Coffee
House, behind the Exchange, to more suitable premises in Angel Court,
Snow Hill, and notified the change in the _Gazette_ of 1st Jan. 1714.

This Insurance Company (The Amicable) is generally considered to be the
first institution for the Insurance of Lives, although Life Annuities
had been in practice for a long time, but a writer in _Chambers’
Encyclopædia_ (Vol. vi., p. 175, ed. 1895) says that it did not begin
life business until 1836. The same writer continues: “The earliest
known Life Assurance Company was established in 1699, and called
the ‘Society of Assurance for Widows and Orphans.’ This was what,
now, would be called an _Assessment_ Company. It did not guarantee a
definite sum assured, in consideration of a fixed periodical premium;
but, by its constitution it was to consist, when full, of 2000 members,
who were to contribute 5s. each towards every death that occurred
amongst the members.

“The earliest life assurance policy, of which particulars have been
preserved, was made on 15th June 1583, at the ‘Office of Insurance
within the Royal Exchange,’ in London. Full details of this Policy have
been preserved, because it gave rise to the first authentic disputed
claim. The policy was for £383, 6s. 8d., to be paid to Richard Martin,
in the event of William Gybbons dying within twelve months, and the
policy was underwritten by thirteen different persons who guaranteed
sums of from £25 to £50 each. The premium was at the rate of 8 per
cent. William Gybbons died on the 28th May 1584, and the underwriters
refused to pay because he had survived twelve months of twenty-eight
days each. The Commissioners appointed to determine such cases, held
that the twelve months mentioned in the policy meant one full year,
and they ordered the underwriters to pay. These appealed to the Court
of Admiralty, which had jurisdiction in such cases, and where, in
1587, two judges upheld the decision of the Commissioners, so that,
eventually, the underwriters had to pay.”

Mr Francis[66] tells us of the first known fraud in Life Assurance.
“About 1730, two persons resided in the then obscure suburbs of St
Giles’s, one of whom was a woman of about twenty, the other, a man,
whose age would have allowed him to be the woman’s father, and who was,
generally understood to bear that relation. Their position hovered on
the debatable ground between poverty and competence, or might even be
characterised by the modern term of shabby genteel. They interfered
with no one, and they encouraged no one to interfere with them. No
specific personal description is recorded of them, beyond the fact that
the man was tall and middle aged, bearing a semimilitary aspect, and
that the woman, though young and attractive in person, was, apparently,
haughty and frigid in her manner. On a sudden, at night time, the
latter was taken very ill. The man sought the wife of his nearest
neighbour for assistance, informing her that his daughter had been
seized with sudden and great pain at the heart. They returned together,
and found her in the utmost apparent agony, shrinking from the approach
of all, and dreading the slightest touch. The leech was sent for; but,
before he could arrive, she seemed insensible, and he only entered the
room in time to see her die. The father appeared in great distress, the
doctor felt her pulse, placed his hand on her heart, shook his head,
as he intimated all was over, and went his way. The searchers came,
for those birds of ill-omen were, then, the ordinary haunters of the
death-bed, and the coffin, with its contents, was committed to the
ground. Almost immediately after this, the bereaved father claimed from
the underwriters some money which was insured on his daughter’s life,
left the locality, and the story was forgotten.

“Not very long after, the neighbourhood of Queen Square, then
a fashionable place, shook its head at the somewhat unequivocal
connection that existed between one of the inmates of a house in
that locality, and a lady who resided with him. The gentleman wore
moustaches, and though not young, affected what was then known as the
Macaroni style. The Captain, for that was the almost indefinite title
he assumed, was a visitor to Ranelagh, was an _habitué_ of the Coffee
Houses; and, being an apparently wealthy person, riding good horses
and keeping an attractive mistress, he attained a certain position
among the _mauvais sujets_ of the day. Like many others at that period,
he was, or seemed to be, a dabbler in the funds; was frequently seen
at Lloyd’s and in the Alley; lounged occasionally at Garraway’s; but
appeared, more particularly, to affect the company of those who dealt
in life assurances.

“His house soon became a resort for the young and thoughtless, being
one of those pleasant places where the past and the future were alike
lost in the present: where cards were introduced with the wine, and
where, if the young bloods of the day lost their money, they were
repaid by a glance of more than ordinary warmth from the goddess of the
place; and to which, if they won, they returned with renewed zest. One
thing was noticed, they never won from the master of the house, and
there is no doubt, a large portion of the current expenses were met
by the money gambled away; but, whether it were fairly, or unfairly
gained, is, scarcely a doubtful question.

“A stop was soon put to these amusements. The place was too remote
from the former locality, the appearance of both characters was too
much changed to be identified; or, in these two might have been traced
the strangers of that obscure suburb, where, as daughter, the woman was
supposed to die; and, as father, the man had wept and raved over her
remains. And a similar scene was, once more, to be acted. The lady was
taken as suddenly ill as before; the same spasms at the heart seemed
to convulse her frame; and, again, the man hung over her in apparent
agony. Physicians were sent for in haste; only one arrived in time to
see her, once more, imitate the appearance of death; whilst the others,
satisfied that life had fled, took their fees, ‘shook solemnly their
powdered wigs,’ and departed. This mystery, for it is evident there was
some conspiracy, or collusion, is partially solved when it is said that
many thousands were claimed and received, by the gallant captain from
various underwriters, merchants and companies with whom he had assured
the life of the lady.

“But the hero of this tradition was a consummate actor; and, though
his career is unknown for a long period after this, yet it is highly
probable that he carried out his nefarious projects in schemes which
are difficult to trace. There is little doubt, however, that the
_soi-disant_ captain of Queen Square was one and the same person who,
as a merchant, a few years later, appeared daily on the commercial
walks of Liverpool; where, deep in the mysteries of corn and cotton, a
constant attendant at church, a subscriber to local charities, and a
giver of good dinners, he soon became much respected by those who dealt
with him in business, or visited him in social life. The hospitalities
of his house were gracefully dispensed by a lady who passed as his
niece; and, for a time, nothing seemed to disturb the tenour of his
way. At length it became whispered in the world of commerce, that his
speculations were not so successful as usual; and a long series of
misfortunes, as asserted by him, gave a sanction to the whisper. It
soon became advisable for him to borrow money, and this he could only
do on the security of property belonging to his niece. To do so, it was
necessary to insure their lives for about £2000. This was easy enough,
as Liverpool, no less than London, was ready to assure anything which
promised profit, and, as the affair was regular, no one hesitated. A
certain amount of secrecy was necessary for the sake of his credit;
and, availing himself of this, he assured on the life of the niece
£2000, with, at least, ten different merchants and underwriters in
London and elsewhere. The game was once more in his own hands, and the
same play was once more acted. The lady was taken ill, the doctor was
called in, and found her suffering from convulsions. He administered a
specific, and retired. In the night he was again hastily summoned, but
arrived too late. The patient was declared to be beyond his skill; and
the next morning it became known to all Liverpool that she had died
suddenly. A decorous grief was evinced by the chief mourner. There was
no haste made in forwarding the funeral; the lady lay almost in state,
so numerous were the friends who called to see the last of her they had
visited; the searchers did their hideous office gently, for they were,
perhaps, largely bribed: the physician certified that she had died of
a complaint he could scarcely name, and the grave received the Coffin.
The merchant retained his position in Liverpool, and bore himself with
a decent dignity; made no immediate application for the money; scarcely
even alluded to the assurances which were due, and, when they were
named, exhibited an appearance of almost indifference. He had, however,
selected his victims with skill. They were safe men, and, from them, he
duly received the money which was assured on the life of his niece.

“From this period he seemed to decline in health, expressed a loathing
for the place where he had once been so happy; change of air was
prescribed, and he left the men whom he had deceived, chuckling at the
success of his infamous scheme.”

Nowadays, everything insurable can be insured; you can be compensated
for accidents; if your plate glass windows are broken, if hail spoils
your crops, or if your cattle die; the fidelity of your servants can
be guaranteed: in fact, this field of permissible gambling is fully
covered—whilst betting on horse racing rears its head unchecked, stock
jobbers thrive, bucket shops multiply, and so do their victims.



                           PRINTED BY
                      TURNBULL AND SPEARS,
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  _Messrs Duckworth & Co.’s
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THE TATLER.

 Edited with Introduction and Notes by George A. Aitken, Author of
 “The Life of Richard Steele,” etc. Four volumes, small demy 8vo, with
 engraved frontispieces, bound in buckram, dull gold top, 7s. 6d. per
 vol., not sold separately.

(_See Special Prospectus._)

EXTRACT FROM THE EDITOR’S PREFACE.

“The original numbers of _The Tatler_ were re-issued in two forms in
1710-11; one edition, in octavo, being published by subscription,
while the other, in duodecimo, was for the general public. The present
edition has been printed from a copy of the latter issue, which, as
recorded on the title-page, was ‘revised and corrected by the Author’;
but I have had by my side, for constant reference, a complete set of
the folio sheets, containing the ‘Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff’ in
the form in which they were first presented to the world. Scrupulous
accuracy in the text has been aimed at, but the eccentricities of
spelling—which were the printer’s, not the author’s—have not been
preserved, and the punctuation has occasionally been corrected.

“The first and the most valuable of the annotated editions of _The
Tatler_ was published by John Nichols and others in 1786, with notes
by Bishop Percy, Dr John Calder, and Dr Pearce; and though these notes
are often irrelevant and out of date, they contain an immense amount of
information, and have been freely made use of by subsequent editors. I
have endeavoured to preserve what is of value in the older editions,
and to supplement it, as concisely as possible, by such further
information as appeared desirable. The eighteenth century diaries and
letters published of late years have in many cases enabled me to throw
light on passages which have hitherto been obscure, and sometimes
useful illustrations have been found in the contemporary newspapers and
periodicals.”


_HUTCHINSON, T._

 LYRICAL BALLADS BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH AND S. T. COLERIDGE, 1798.
 Edited with certain poems of 1798 and an Introduction and Notes by
 Thomas Hutchinson, of Trinity College, Dublin, Editor of the Clarendon
 Press “Wordsworth,” etc. Fcap. 8vo, art vellum, gilt top. 3s. 6d. net.

This edition reproduces the text, spelling, punctuation, etc., of 1798,
and gives in an Appendix Wordsworth’s _Peter Bell_ (original text, now
reprinted for the first time), and Coleridge’s _Lewti_, _The Three
Graves_, and _The Wanderings of Cain_. It also contains reproductions
in photogravure of the portraits of Wordsworth (by Hancock, 1798) and
of Coleridge (by Peter Vandyke, 1795), now in the National Portrait
Gallery.

The publishers have in preparation further carefully annotated editions
of books in English literature, to be produced in the same style as
their edition of the “Lyrical Ballads”—not too small for the shelf,
and not too large to be carried about—further announcements concerning
which will be made in due course. It is not intended to include in this
series, as a rule, the oft-reprinted “classics,” of which there are
already sufficiently desirable issues.

_Athenæum_ (4 col. review).—“Mr Hutchinson’s centenary edition of
the Lyrical Ballads is not a mere reprint, for it is enriched with
a preface and notes which make it a new book. The preface contains
much that is suggestive in explaining the history and elucidating
the meaning of this famous little volume. Mr Hutchinson’s notes are
especially deserving of praise.”

_St James’s Gazette._—“‘Lyrical Ballads’ was published September 1,
1798. By a happy thought this centenary is in anticipation very fitly
celebrated—without fuss or futilities—by the publication of an
admirable reprint of ‘Lyrical Ballads,’ with an adequate ‘apparatus
criticus’ by Mr T. Hutchinson, the well-known Wordsworthian scholar,
whose name makes recommendation superfluous. This is a book that no
library should be without—not the ‘gentleman’s library’ of Charles
Lamb’s sarcasm, but any library where literature is respected.”

_Notes and Queries._—“The book is indeed a precious boon. Mr
Hutchinson is in his line one of the foremost of scholars, and his
introduction is a commendable piece of work. No less excellent are his
notes, which are both readable and helpful. One cannot do otherwise
than rejoice in the possession of the original text, now faithfully
reproduced. A volume which is sure of a place in the library of every
lover of poetry.”

_Globe._—“It is delightful to have them in the charming form given
to them in the present volume, for which Mr Hutchinson has written not
only a very informing introduction, but also some very luminous and
useful notes. The book is one which every lover and student of poetry
must needs add to his collection.”


_STEPHEN, H. L._

 STATE TRIALS: POLITICAL AND SOCIAL. Selected and Edited by H. L.
 Stephen. 2 vols. Uniform with “Lyrical Ballads.”


ENGLISH PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

A new series of books upon the English Public Schools. No series of
such School Histories exists, and the publishers believe that many
boys, while at school and when leaving it, may like to possess an
authentic account of their school issued at a moderate price. The
series will, it is hoped, appeal also to old scholars, and to all
interested in the history of English education.

(_See Special Prospectus._)


_CUST, LIONEL._

 A HISTORY OF ETON COLLEGE, by Lionel Cust, Director of the National
 Portrait Gallery.


_LEACH, ARTHUR F._

 A HISTORY OF WINCHESTER COLLEGE, by Arthur F. Leach, formerly Fellow
 of All Souls’, Oxford, Assistant Charity Commissioner.


_ROUSE, W. H. D._

 A HISTORY OF RUGBY SCHOOL, by W. H. D. Rouse, of Rugby, and sometime
 Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge. Illustrated from photographs,
 contemporary prints, etc. Pott 4to. 5s. net.

(_To be followed by others._)


MODERN PLAYS.

Edited by R. Brimley Johnson and N. Erichsen.

It is the aim of this series to represent, as widely as possible, the
activity of the modern drama—not confined to stage performance—in
England and throughout the continent of Europe. It so happens that,
though translations seem to be more in demand every day, the greater
number of the Continental dramatists are at present little known in
this country. Among them will be found predecessors and followers of
Ibsen or Maeterlinck; as well as others who reflect more independently
the genius of their own country.

_Love’s Comedy_, which marks a transition from the early romantic to
the later social plays, is the only important work of Ibsen’s not yet
translated into English. The name of Strindberg, whose position in
Sweden may be compared to that of Ibsen in Norway, will be almost new
to the English public. Villiers’ _La Révolte_ is a striking forecast
of _The Doll’s House_. Verhaeren is already known here as one of the
foremost of Belgian writers, who, like Maeterlinck, uses the French
tongue; and Brieux is among the most attractive of the younger native
French dramatists. Ostrovsky’s _The Storm_, painting “The Dark World,”
is generally recognised as _the_ characteristic Russian drama. _The
Convert_, by Stepniak, will be specially interesting as its author’s
only dramatic attempt.

The work of translation has been entrusted to English writers specially
conversant with the literatures represented, who, in many cases, are
already associated in the public mind with the authors they are here
interpreting. Every play will be translated _in extenso_, and, if in
verse, as nearly as possible in the original metres. The volumes will
contain brief introductions, bibliographical and explanatory rather
than critical, and such annotations as may be necessary.

The volumes will be printed in pott quarto, and they will cost, as a
rule, 2s. 6d. net. or 3s. 6d. net. each.


EARLY VOLUMES.

  HENRIK IBSEN

  “Love’s Comedy” (_Kjærlighedens Komedie_).

  MAURICE MAETERLINCK

  “Intérieur.”—WILLIAM ARCHER.
  “La Mort de Tintagiles.”}
  “Alladine et Palomides.”}—ALFRED SUTRO.

  VILLIERS DE L’ISLE ADAM

  “La Révolte.”}
  “L’Evasion.” }—THERESA BARCLAY.

  SERGIUS STEPNIAK

  “The Convert.”—CONSTANCE GARNETT.

  EMILE VERHAEREN

  “Les Aubes.”—ARTHUR SYMONS.

  AUGUST STRINDBERG

  “The Father” (_Fadren_).—N. ERICHSEN.

  OSTROVSKY

  “The Storm.”—CONSTANCE GARNETT.

  BRIEUX

  “Les Bienfaiteurs.”—LUCAS MALET.

  HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ

  “On a Single Card.”—E. L. VOYNICH.

Arrangements are also in progress with representative dramatists
of Germany, Spain, Italy, and other countries. Further translations
have been promised by Dr GARNETT, Messrs WALTER LEAF, JUSTIN HUNTLY
MACCARTHY, G. A. GREENE, &c.


_KNAPP, ARTHUR MAY._

 FEUDAL AND MODERN JAPAN, by Arthur May Knapp. 2 vols., with
 24 photogravure illustrations of Japanese life, landscape and
 architecture. Small fcap. 8vo, ¼-bound, white cloth, blue sides,
 gilt top. 8s. net.

The work of one who has frequently visited, and for a long time resided
in Japan, thus enjoying peculiar advantages for observation and comment.

The scope of the book includes a study of the history, religion,
language, art, life, and habits of the Japanese.

Though written in a thoroughly appreciative spirit, it avoids the
indiscriminating praise which has characterised so many works on
Japan; and while covering ground which has become somewhat familiar,
it presents many fresh points of view, and furnishes much information
heretofore inaccessible to the ordinary reader.


_ROSSETTI, DANTE GABRIEL._

 THE BLESSED DAMOZEL, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. With an Introduction
 by Wm. Michael Rossetti, a reproduction in Photogravure of D.
 G. Rossetti’s crayon study for the head of the Blessed Damozel,
 and decorative designs and cover by W. B. Macdougall. Fcap. 4to,
 1/4-bound, art vellum, gilt top. 5s. net. (_See Special Prospectus._)

The poem given here is as it originally appeared in _The Germ_, and
consequently the version is one hitherto practically inaccessible.
Mr W. M. Rossetti’s Introduction deals fully with the history of its
composition and the changes through which it subsequently went.

_Illustrated London News._—“A fine bit of decorative art and an
excellent sample of modern format. The frontispiece is very beautiful.
Mr Macdougall’s designs are rich.”

_The Sketch._—“It is really beautifully illustrated. The book is a
veritable art treasure.”

_Speaker._—“This artistic and singularly interesting volume.”

_Birmingham Gazette._—“Every page contains a broad framework of
beautiful design, in which the artist manifests his power in glorious
sweeping lines and delicate tracery. A treasure to be appreciated. The
noble poem is nobly decked out in every respect.”

_Manchester Courier._—“The decorative designs are at once original,
harmonious and beautiful. A work which will be welcomed alike for its
high literary value, and for the high artistic standard to which it
attains.”


_HOUSMAN, CLEMENCE._

 THE UNKNOWN SEA. A Romance by Clemence Housman, Author of “The Were
 Wolf.” Crown 8vo, art vellum, gold top. 6s.

_Literature._—“On the conception of Christian the author may be
congratulated. He is ideal without sentimentality, and his sacrifice
and death have the poignancy of reality, symbol though he is of the
world’s greatest idea.”

_Guardian._—“Decidedly powerful and effective. Its author has
certainly a spell by which, like the ancient mariner, he can force
people to listen to and accept his tale.”

_Pall Mall Gazette._—“The story is a powerful one, stirring the
imagination with vague suggestions of mystery, and compelling interest
throughout. For those who can appreciate fine writing, moreover, the
style itself will prove an added attraction, and will not only sustain
the reputation which Miss Housman has already made, but will also
enhance the lustre of the talented family of which she is a member.”

_St James’s Gazette._—“The qualities that commend this book are its
fitting impression of the supernatural, its studied and generally
successful use of words, and its appreciation of the beauty of visible
things. It achieves an absolute effect of beauty, an effect of a kind
extremely rare in English that is not verse. The book has beauty and
sense—not, thank Heaven, common sense!—in it, and is quite remote
from the common trash of the book market.”

_Nottingham Daily Guardian._—“‘The Unknown Sea’ is not a popular
novel; there is too much really fine work in it for that, but hardly
a page fails to indicate the author’s delicate methods and robust
individuality.”


_SINJOHN, JOHN._

 JOCELYN. A Monte Carlo Story by John Sinjohn, Author of “From the Four
 Winds.” Crown 8vo, art canvas. 6s.

_Daily Mail._—“The love, as love, is shown with such intensity that it
sets the reader’s heart athrob, and the Riviera setting is aglow with
colour and life.”

_Outlook._—“He has set it against a charmingly painted background
of warm Southern atmosphere and Mediterranean scenery, and he has
drawn, in the persons of the delightfully commonplace Mrs Travis and
Nielson—the polished cosmopolitan and professional gambler, with an
unsuspected strain of tenderness beneath his impassive exterior—two of
the best comedy characters that we have encountered in recent fiction.”

_Manchester Courier._—“A powerfully written story. The analysis
of character is good, and the depiction of life in the Riviera is
excellent.” _BURROW, C. K._

 THE FIRE OF LIFE. A Novel by C. K. Burrow, Author of “Asteck’s
 Madonna,” “The Way of the Wind,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth. 6s.

_St James’s Gazette._—“A clever story. The smoothly-written little
tale with its rather ambitious title is a real pleasure to read,
because it has a wholesome, manly tone about it, and the characters do
not appear to be bookmade but of real flesh and blood.”

_Saturday Review._—“A good, careful, full-blooded novel of a kind that
is not common nowadays.”

_Outlook._—“It has a point of view, a delicate sensitiveness, artistic
restraint, subtlety of perception, and a true literary style. Mr Burrow
proves himself an artist with many sides to his perception.”

_Literary World._—“Had we passed it by unread ours would have been
the loss. A charming story based on somewhat conventional lines, but
told with such verve and freshness as render it really welcome. Mr
Burrow has admirably succeeded in writing a really interesting story,
and, which is more uncommon, he has well individualised the different
persons of his drama. ‘The Fire of Life’ should figure in the list of
novels to be read of all those who like a good story, and like that
good story well told.”

_Manchester Courier._—“The whole book is full of ‘fire,’ full of
‘life,’ and full of interest.”

_Nottingham Express._—“The author’s style is clear and crisp, with a
purity of diction it would be difficult to surpass.”


_PHILIPS, F. C._

 MEN, WOMEN AND THINGS, by F. C. Philips. Author of “As in a
 Looking-Glass,” etc. Crown 8vo, buckram cloth. 3s. 6d.

_Daily Mail._—“There is hardly one of them which is not enjoyable. Mr
Philips’s manner is suggestive of the manner of Gyp. He is a capital
chronicler of the surface things of life.”

_Manchester Courier._—“The author has deservedly secured favour as a
writer of smart stories. In the present volume of short sketches we
have the usual vivid delineation of character, clever dialogue, and at
times good use of incident. The volume is decidedly entertaining.”

_Country Life._—“Everything that is written by the author of ‘As in a
Looking-Glass’ is clever. There is ingenuity as well as pathos in these
stories.”


FOOTNOTES:

[1] _Good News from New England...._ _Written by_ E. W. _Lon._ 1624.

[2] See Longfellow’s _Hiawatha_, for Indian gambling.

[3] _A View of Ancient Laws against Immorality and Profaneness._ By
John Disney. Camb. 1729.

[4] Pieces used in playing the _ludus latrunculorum_, before alluded to.

[5] Riotous person.

[6] Masks.

[7] Harl. MSS., 6395.

[8] The London Spy.

[9] The Works of Mr Thomas Brown, edit. 1705.

[10] “Memoirs of the Lives, Intrigues, and Comical Adventures of the
most Famous Gamesters and Celebrated Sharpers in the Reigns of Charles
II., James II., William III., and Queen Anne,” by Theophilus Lucas,
Esq. London, 1714. 8vo.

[11] The same as our Heads and Tails.

[12] Anecdotes of the “Manners and Customs of London during the 18th
Century,” by J. P. Malcolm. Lon. 1808. 4to.

[13] A Short and Plaine Dialogue concerning the unlawfulnes of playing
at Cards, or Tables, or any other Game consisting in Chance.

[14] I fail to see how this is made out.—J. A.

[15] Edit. 1875 (Gairdner), vol. iii., p. 314.

[16] Leland’s _Collectanea_, vol. iii., Appendix, p. 284.

[17] Pack.

[18] Her Majesty’s apartments at Whitehall Palace.

[19] Of Bromham, Bedfordshire.

[20] Strype’s Stow’s Survey, ed. 1720, Book iii., p. 148.

[21] For complicity with the Duke of Somerset.

[22] Probably Tregonwell Frampton, Keeper of the King’s running horses
at Newmarket, a position he held under William III., Anne, and George
I. and II.

[23] The Popish Kingdome, or, Reigne of Antichrist, written in Latin
Verse by Thomas Naogeorgus, and Englished by Barnabe Googe, 1570.

[24] Cant term for false Dice.

[25] Croupiers.

[26] Local Records, &c., of Remarkable events. Compiled by John Sykes.
Newcastle, 1824, p. 79.

[27] _Gent.’s Mag._, V. xxvi. 564.

[28] When he was on his travels, and ran much in debt, his parents paid
his debts; some more came out afterwards; he wrote to his mother, that
he could only compare himself to Cerberus, who, when one head was cut
off, had another spring up in its room.

[29] Cannot be found in Solitudo, sive Vitæ Patrum Eremicolarum, &c.
Johann & Raphael Sadeler. 1594.

[30] Afterwards General Scott.

[31] This painting was bought at the Strawberry Hill Sale, by Arthur’s
Club House, for twenty-two shillings.

[32] Afterwards Admiral Sir Eliab Harvey, Knt., G.C.B., who fought at
Trafalgar.

[33] “The Gaming Table, &c.,” by A. Steinmetz. Lon. 1870.

[34] Ladies then wore their hair very high-combed over pads of horse
hair.

[35] The guests paid a small sum each into a pool (generally the
snuffer tray) for every new pack of cards used, and this was popularly
supposed to be a perquisite of the servants.

[36] “The Gaming Calendar,” by Seymour Harcourt: Lon. 1820.

[37] Life, Adventures, and Opinions of Col. George Hanger, written by
himself. London, 1801.

[38] In some houses in this age the lady of the house is paid fifty
guineas each night by the proprietor of the Faro table.—G. H.

[39] Reminiscences, 1st Ser.

[40] Reminiscences, 3rd Ser.

[41] Reminiscences, 4th Ser

[42] The Greeks—a poem, by Ελλην. Lon. 1817. 8vo.

[43] Reminiscences, 3 Ser.

[44] After Crockford’s death the club-house was sold. It was
re-decorated in 1849, and opened as “The Military, Naval, and County
Service Club,” but this only lasted till 1851, when it was turned into
a dining-house, called the “Wellington.”

[45] “Racing Reminiscences.” Lon. 1891.

[46] Cumberland.

[47] Edward Bright died at Malden in Essex, 10th Nov. 1750.

[48] Truncifer is a famous horse mentioned in the metrical romance of
Sir Bevis of Hampton.

[49] Bribing.

[50] Robert Shafto, Esq., of Whitworth, M.P. for Durham, well known on
the Turf.

[51] A Miss Alicia Meynell, daughter of a respectable watchmaker of
Norwich, aged 22—but not married to Col. Thornton.

[52] Capt. Kelly, owner of Eclipse.

[53] “A History of English Lotteries,” by John Ashton, London. 1893.
8vo.—_Leadenhall Press._

[54] A catalogue of the MSS. in this room has been published in the
Seventh Report of the Historical MS. Commission.

[55] Brighton.

[56] June 29.

[57] Cox’s Museum. A collection of Automata, &c.

[58] Trashy Tobacco—from the Spanish _Mondóngo_, paunch, tripes, black
pudding.

[59] Fools: but there was also a game at Cards called Noddy, supposed
to have been the same as Cribbage.

[60] Bone lace.

[61] Sedan Chairs; said to have been introduced into England in 1581,
and first used in London in 1623.

[62] Also published in 1708 as _Hicklety Picklety_.

[63] From Moorgate Street 83 prospectuses, demanding £90,175,000, were
sent out. Gresham Street issued 20, requiring £17,580,000.

[64] Commissioners were appointed to hear and determine such cases.

[65] In the collection of MSS. belonging to Lord Leconfield, at
Petworth House, Sussex.

[66] “Annals, Anecdotes, and Legends of Life Assurance.” John Francis.
1853: Lon.



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

—Superscript letters have been redered with a carat character: a^b.





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