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Title: The Dawn of the XIXth Century in England - A social sketch of the times
Author: Ashton, John
Language: English
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                               THE DAWN


                           THE XIXTH CENTURY



                     A Social Sketch of the Times


                              JOHN ASHTON

                               AUTHOR OF

  _“Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne,” “English Caricature and
               Satire on Napoleon I.,” “Old Times,” &c_


                       THIRD AND POPULAR EDITION


                            T. FISHER UNWIN

                          PATERNOSTER SQUARE




THAT Sir Walter Scott, when he called his novel “Waverley; or,
’Tis Sixty Years Since,” thought that the time had come, when the
generation, then living, should be presented with a page of history,
which would bring to their remembrance the manners and customs of their
grandfathers, must be my excuse for this book.

For, never, in the world’s history, has there been such a change in
things social, as since the commencement of the Nineteenth Century; it
has been a quiet revolution—a good exemplar of which may be found in
the Frontispiece, which is a type of things past, never to be recalled.
The Watchman has long since given place to the Police; the climbing
boy, to chimney-sweeping on a more scientific plan; and no more is
“Saloop” vended at street corners; even the drummer-boys are things of
the past, only fit for a Museum—and it is of these things that this
book treats.

The times, compared with our own, were so very different; Arts,
Manufactures, Science, Social Manners, Police, and all that goes to
make up the sum of life, were then so widely divergent, as almost
to make one disbelieve, whilst reading of them, that such a state of
things could exist in this Nineteenth Century of ours. In the first
decade, of which I write, Steam was in its very babyhood; locomotives,
and steamships, were only just beginning to be heard of; Gas was a
novelty, and regarded more as an experiment, than the useful agent we
have since found it; whilst Electricity was but a scientific toy, whose
principal use was to give galvanic shocks, and cause the limbs of a
corpse to move, when applied to its muscles.

Commerce was but just developing, being hampered by a long and cruel
war, which, however, was borne with exemplary patience and fortitude by
the nation—England, although mistress of the seas, having to hold her
own against all Europe in arms. The Manners, Dress, and Food, were all
so different to those of our day, that to read of them, especially when
the description is taken from undoubtedly contemporary sources, is not
only amusing, but instructive.

The Newspapers of the day are veritable mines of information; and,
although the work of minutely perusing them is somewhat laborious and
irksome, the information exhumed well repays the search. Rich sources,
too, to furnish illustrations, are open, and I have availed myself
largely of the privilege; and I have endeavoured, as far as in my power
lay, to give a faithful record of the Dawn of the Nineteenth Century in
England, taken absolutely from original, and authentic, sources.






  Retrospect of Eighteenth Century—Napoleon’s letter to George
  III.—Lord Grenville’s reply—French prisoners of war in
  England—Scarcity of provisions—Gloomy financial outlook—Loan
  from the Bank of England—Settlement of the Union with Ireland        1


  Accident at a Review—The King shot at, at Drury Lane
  Theatre—Behaviour of the Royal Family—Biography of
  Hadfield—His trial and acquittal—Grand Review of Volunteers
  on the King’s birthday—The bad weather, and behaviour of the
  crowd                                                                8


  High price of gold—Scarcity of food—Difference in cost of
  living 1773-1800—Forestalling and Regrating—Food riots in the
  country—Riot in London at the Corn Market—Forestalling in
  meat                                                                16


  Continuation of food riots in London—Inefficiency of
  Police—Riots still continue—Attempts to negotiate a
  Peace—A political meeting on Kennington Common—Scarcity of
  Corn—Proclamation to restrict its consumption—Census of the
  people                                                              23


  The Union with Ireland—Proclamations thereon—Alteration of
  Great Seal—Irish Member called to order (footnote)—Discovery
  of the Planet Ceres—Proclamation of General Fast—High price
  of meat, and prosperity of the farmers—Suffering of the French
  prisoners—Political dissatisfaction—John Horne Tooke—Feeding
  the French prisoners—Negotiations for Peace—Signing
  preliminaries—Illuminations—Methods of making the news
  known—Ratification of preliminaries—Treatment of General
  Lauriston by the mob—More Illuminations—Manifestation of joy
  at Falmouth—Lord Mayor’s banquet                                    32


  Disarmament and retrenchment—Cheaper provisions—King applied
  to Parliament to pay his debts—The Prince of Wales claimed
  the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall—Parliament pays the
  King’s debts—Abolition of the Income Tax—Signature of the
  Treaty of Amiens—Conditions of the Treaty—Rush of the English
  to France—Visit of C. J. Fox to Napoleon—Liberation of the
  French prisoners of war                                             45


  Proclamation of Peace—Manner of the procession,
  &c.—Illuminations—Day of General Thanksgiving—General
  Election—A dishonoured Government bill—Cloth riots in
  Wiltshire—Plot to assassinate the King—Arrest of Colonel
  Despard—Trial and sentence of the conspirators—Their fate           55


  Strained relations with France—Prosecution and trial of Jean
  Peltier for libel against Napoleon—Rumours of war—King’s
  proclamation—Napoleon’s rudeness to Lord Whitworth—Hoax on
  the Lord Mayor—Rupture with France—Return of Lord Whitworth,
  and departure of the French Ambassador                              65


  Declaration of War against France—Napoleon makes all the
  English in France prisoners of war—Patriotic Fund—Squibs on
  the threatened invasion—“The New Moses”—Handbill signed “A
  Shopkeeper”—“Britain’s War-song”—“Who is Bonaparte?”—“Shall
  Frenchmen rule over us?”—“An Invasion Sketch”                       74


  Invasion Squibs continued—“The Freeman’s Oath”—“John
  Bull and Bonaparte”—“The Eve of Invasion”—“A Biography
  of Napoleon”—“Britons, strike home”—Enrolment of
  400,000 Volunteers—Napoleon at Calais—Apprehension of
  vagrants, and compulsorily recruiting the Army and Navy
  with them—Patriotism of the nation—Preparations in case
  of reverse—Beacons—Spies—The French prisoners—Emmett’s
  rebellion in Ireland—Its prompt suppression—General
  Fast—Relief of the Roman Catholics                                  89


  Caricatures of the Flotilla—Scarcity of money—Stamping
  Spanish dollars—Illness of the King—His recovery—General
  Fast—Fall of the Addington Ministry—Debate on the Abolition
  of the Slave Trade—Beacons—Transport—Election for
  Middlesex—Reconciliation between the King and the Prince of
  Wales                                                              104


  Doings of Napoleon—His letter to George III.—Lord Mulgrave’s
  reply—War declared against Spain—General Fast—Men voted
  for Army and Navy—The Salt Duty—Withdrawal of “The Army of
  England”—Battle of Trafalgar and death of Nelson—General
  Thanksgiving                                                       112


  Nelson’s funeral—Epigrams—Death of Pitt—His funeral—General
  Fast—Large coinage of copper—Impeachment of Lord
  Melville—The Abolition of the Slave Trade passes the House
  of Commons—Death and funeral of Fox—His warning Napoleon of
  a plot against him—Negotiations for peace—Napoleon declares
  England blockaded                                                  120


  Passing of the Slave Trade Bill—Downfall of the
  “Ministry of all the Talents”—General Fast—Election for
  Westminster—Death of Cardinal York—Arrival in England of
  Louis XVIII.—Copenhagen bombarded, and the Danish Fleet
  captured—Napoleon again proclaimed England as blockaded            132


  Gloomy prospects of 1808—King’s Speech—Droits of the
  Admiralty—Regulation of Cotton Spinners’ wages—Riots in the
  Cotton districts—Battle of Vimiera—Convention of Cintra—Its
  unpopularity—Articles of the Convention                            136


  General Fast—The Jubilee—Costume—Former Jubilees—Release
  of poor prisoners for debt—Jubilee Song—Jubilee
  literature—Poetry—King pardons deserters from Army and Navy        146


  Common Council decide to relieve Small Debtors—Festivities at
  Windsor—Ox roasted whole—How it was done—The Queen and Royal
  Family present—Division of the ox, &c.—A bull baited—Fête at
  Frogmore—Illuminations—Return of the Scheldt Expedition            153


  The Scheldt Expedition—The Earl of Chatham and Sir Richard
  Strachan—The citizens of London and the King—General
  Fast—Financial disorganization—Issue of stamped dollars—How
  they were smuggled out of the country—John Gale Jones and
  John Dean before the House of Commons—Sir Francis Burdett
  interferes—Publishes libel in _Cobbett’s Weekly Political
  Register_—Debate in the House—Sir Francis Burdett committed
  to the Tower                                                       159


  Warrant served on Sir Francis Burdett—He agrees to
  go to prison—Subsequently he declares the warrant
  illegal—His arrest—His journey to the Tower—The mob—His
  incarceration—The mob attack the military—Collision—Killed
  and wounded—Sir Francis’s letter to the Speaker—His
  release—Conduct of the mob                                         168


  Good harvest—Thanksgiving for same—List of poor
  Livings—Another Jubilee—Illness and death of the Princess
  Amelia—Effect on the King—Prayers for his restoration to
  health—Funeral of the Princess—Curious position of the Houses
  of Parliament—Proposition for a Regency—Close of the first
  decade of the XIXth Century                                        177


  The roads—Modern traffic compared with old—The stage
  coach—Stage waggons—Their speed—Price of posting—The
  hackney coach—Sedan chairs—Horse riding—Improvement in
  carriages                                                          182


  Amateur driving—“The Whip Club”—Their dress—“The Four
  in Hand Club”—Their dress—Other driving clubs—“Tommy
  Onslow”—Rotten Row                                                 189


  “The Silent Highway”—Watermen—Their fares—Margate hoys—A
  religious hoy—The bridges over the Thames—The Pool—Water
  pageants—Necessity for Docks, and their building—Tunnel at
  Gravesend—Steamboat on the Thames—Canals                           195


  Condition of the streets of London—Old oil lamps—Improvement
  in lamps—Gas—Its introduction by Murdoch—Its adoption in
  London by Winsor—Opposition to it—Lyceum and other places lit
  with it—Its gradual adoption—The old tinder box—Improvements
  thereon                                                            201


  Great fires in London—Number of Insurance Companies—Rates of
  insurance—Fire-engines and firemen—Scarcity of water—Supply
  of water to London—The streets—Their traffic—Shops—Watering
  the roads                                                          210


  Daily life of the streets—The Chimney Sweep—Mrs.
  Montagu—Instances of the hard life of a “climbing
  boy”—The Milkmaid—Supply of milk to the Metropolis—“Hot
  loaves”—“Water cresses”—whence they came—Other cries               216


  The Postman—His dress—The Post Office—Changes of site—Sir
  Robert Vyner—Rates of postage and deliveries—Mail
  coaches—Places of starting and routes—Number of houses in
  London—Description of them—Their furniture                         228


  Food—Statistics as to quantity of meat consumed—Scarcity
  of fish and game—Supply of latter to London—Venison—A
  brewer’s dinner—Beer—Quantity brewed—Wine—Its price—Supply
  of vegetables—Sardines and Harvey’s Sauce—Scarcity of
  wheat—Forestalling—Rice from India—Bounties given for its
  shipment                                                           235


  Parliamentary Committee on the high price of provisions—Bounty
  on imported corn, and on rice from India and America—The
  “Brown Bread Bill”—Prosecution of bakers for light
  weight—Punishment of a butcher for having bad meat—Price of
  beef, mutton, and poultry—Cattle shows—Supply of food from
  France—Great fall in prices here—Hotels, &c.—A clerical
  dessert                                                            243


  Men’s dress—The “Jean de Bry” coat—Short coats fashionable at
  watering-places—“All Bond Street trembled as he strode”—Rules
  for the behaviour of a “Bond Street Lounger”                       250


  “The three Mr. Wiggins’s”—The “Crops”—Hair-powdering—The
  powdering closet—Cost of clothes—Economy in hats—Taxing
  hats—Eye-glasses—“The Green Man” at Brighton—Eccentricities
  in dress                                                           256


  Ladies’ dress—French costume—Madame Recamier—The classical
  style—“Progress of the toilet”—False hair—Hair-dresser’s
  advertisement—The Royal Family and dress—Curiosities of
  costume                                                            263


  Diversions of people of fashion—Daily life of the
  King—Children—Education—Girls’ education—Matrimonial
  advertisements—Gretna Green marriages—Story of a wedding
  ring—Wife selling—“A woman to let”                                 275


  Gambling—Downfall of Lady Archer, &c.—Card playing in
  the Royal Circle—Card money—High play—Play at the
  Clubs—Lotteries—The method of drawing them—Horse
  racing—Turf and horses better than now—Curious names of
  race horses—Ladies Lade and Thornton—Lady Thornton’s
  races—Tattersall and Aldridge                                      285


  Cock-fighting—Its illegality—Public recognition
  of it—Description of company at a cock-fight—High
  stakes—Bull-baiting—Debate thereon in the House of
  Commons—Prize-fighting—Famous pugilists—George IV. as a
  patron of the Ring—Attempts to put down prize-fighting—Female
  physical education—Cudgel-playing, and other sports                295


  Hunting then, and now—Hunting near the Metropolis—The Epping
  Hunt—Fishing—Shooting then, and now—Guns—Methods of proving
  gun barrels—Big charges—Introduction of the Percussion
  Cap—Size of bags—Colonel Thornton’s bet                            305


  A Cockney’s account of the First of September—Pigeon
  shooting—Out-door games—Cricket—High stakes—Lord’s cricket
  ground—Trap and ball—Billiards—Life of Andrews the billiard
  player                                                             313


  The Theatre—Number of theatres in London—Famous actors and
  actresses—Disturbances at a theatre—Master Betty, “The Infant
  Roscius”—His country experience—Puffs preliminary—His first
  appearance in London—Crowds to see him—Presented to the King
  and the Prince of Wales—Acts at Drury Lane—His subsequent
  career                                                             322


  Betty’s imitators—Miss Mudie, “The Young Roscia”—Her
  first appearance in London—Reception by the audience—Her
  fate—Ireland’s forgery of “Vortigern and Rowena”—Fires among
  the theatres—Destruction of Covent Garden and Drury Lane           333


  The O. P. Riots—Causes of—Madame Catalani—Kemble’s
  refutation of charges—Opening of the theatre, and
  commencement of the riots—O. P. medals, &c.—“The house that
  Jack built”—A committee of examination—Their report—A
  reconciliation dinner—Acceptation of a compromise—“We are
  satisfied”—Theatre re-opens—Re-commencement of riots—The
  proprietors yield, and the riots end                               339


  “The Pic-nic Club”—Its supporters—Its entertainment—Its
  short life—Automata and wool pictures—Almack’s—Pidcock’s
  Menagerie—“The Invisible Girl”—Vauxhall—Sir Roger de
  Coverley—Price of admission, &c.—Ranelagh Gardens                  354


  Music—Composers of the time—Mrs. Billington—Her
  salaries—Mdlle. Mara—Mrs. Crouch—Incledon—Braham—Chamber
  music—Musical societies—Commemoration of Dr.
  Arne—Competition of pipers—Dancing—The Valse                       361


  Painting—“The Royal Academy of Art”—The principal
  private Picture Galleries—Benjamin West—James
  Barry—Fuseli—Opie—Minor artists—Turner—Sir
  Thomas Laurence—Morland—Sale of his
  pictures—Sculptors—Engravers—Boydell—“The Exhibition of
  Paintings in Water Colours”—Its members—“The Associated
  Artists in Water Colours”—Literature—List of literary persons
  of the decade—Five-volume novels—Decyphering papyri—Major
  Ouseley’s Oriental Library—The Pope and the Lord’s Prayer—The
  Alfred Club                                                        369


  The Press—_Morning Post_ and _Times_—Duty on newspapers—Rise
  in price—The publication of circulation to procure
  advertisements—Paper warfare between the _Times_ and the
  _Morning Post_—The British Museum—Its collection, and bad
  arrangement—Obstacles to visitors—Rules relaxed—The Lever
  Museum—Its sale by lottery—Anatomical Museums of the two
  Hunters                                                            379


  Medical—The Doctor of the old School—The rising lights—Dr.
  Jenner—His discovery of vaccination for smallpox—Opposition
  thereto—Perkins’s Metallic Tractors—The “Perkinean
  Institution”—His cures—Electricity and Galvanism—Galvanizing
  a dead criminal—Lunatic Asylums—Treatment of the insane—The
  Hospitals                                                          385


  The Royal Society and the Royal Institution—Scientific
  men of the time—Society of Arts—Other learned
  and the paper-making machine—Coals—Their price—Committee of
  the House of Commons on coal—Price of coals                        394


  The Navy—Sailor’s carelessness—“The Sailor’s Journal”—The
  sailor and “a dilly”—Dress of the sailors—Rough life both for
  officers and men—Number of ships in Commission—Pressing—A
  man killed by a press-gang—Mutinies—That of the
  _Danäe_—Mutiny on board the _Hermione_, and cold-blooded
  slaughter of the officers—Mutiny in Bantry Bay—Pay of the
  officers—French prisoners of war                                   402


  The Army—Number of
  men—Dress—Hair-powder—Militia—Commissions easily
  obtained—Price of substitutes—The Volunteers—Dress of
  the Honourable and Ancient Artillery Company—Bloomsbury
  Volunteers, and Rifle Volunteers—Review at Hatfield—Grand
  rising of Volunteers in 1803                                       412


  Volunteer Regulations—The Brunswick Rifle—“Brown
  Bess”—Volunteer shooting—Amount subscribed to Patriotic
  Fund—Mr. Miller’s patriotic offer                                  419


  The Clarke Scandal—Biography of Mrs. Clarke—Her levées—Her
  scale of prices for preferments—Commission of the House of
  Commons—Exculpation of the Duke of York—His resignation—Open
  sale of places—Caution thereon—Duels—That between Colonel
  Montgomery and Captain Macnamara                                   427


  Police—Dr. Colquhoun’s book—The old Watchmen—Their
  inadequacy admitted—Description of them—Constables—“First
  new mode of robbing in 1800”—Robbery in the House
  of Lords—Whipping—Severe sentence—The Stocks—The
  Pillory—Severe punishment—Another instance                         435


  Smuggling—An exciting smuggling adventure—The Brighton
  fishermen and the Excise—“Body-snatching”—“Benefit
  of Clergy”—Tyburn tickets—Death the penalty for many
  crimes—“Last dying Speech”—The “condemned pew” at
  Newgate—Horrible execution at Jersey—The new drop—An
  impenitent criminal                                                444


  Execution for treason—Burying a suicide at the junction
  of a cross-road—Supposed last such burial in London—The
  Prisons—List, and description of them—Bow Street Police
  Office—Expense of the Police and Magistracy—Number
  of watchmen, &c., in 1804—The poor, and provision for
  them—Educational establishments                                    451

  INDEX                                                              461




  A STREET SCENE                                          _Frontispiece_

      1800                                                            11

      THE FOURTH OF JUNE, 1800                                        14

      PRICE OF GRAIN                                                  18



      AT HIS CRIPPLED VISITOR                                         51


  “DESPAIR”                                                           61

  THE FREEMAN’S OATH                                                  90

  BILLY IN THE SALT-BOX                                              116

  DEATH OF NELSON                                                    118

  NELSON’S FUNERAL CAR                                               123

  EXTRAORDINARY NEWS                                                 143

  A STAGE COACH—1804                                                 183

  THE STAGE WAGGON                                                   184

  TUNBRIDGE ORIGINAL WAGGON                                          185

  “TOMMY ONSLOW”                                                     192

  HOW TO BREAK IN MY OWN HORSE                                       193

  ROTTEN ROW—1803                                                    194

  ONE OF THE MISERIES OF LONDON                                      197

  LAMPLIGHTER—1805                                                   202

  LAMPLIGHTER—1805                                                   203

  THE GOOD EFFECTS OF CARBONIC GAS!                                  205

  A PEEP AT THE GAS LIGHTS IN PALL MALL                              207

  A FIRE ENGINE                                                      211

  A FIREMAN—1805                                                     212

  DRINKING WATER SUPPLY—1802                                         213

  “WATER CRESSES! COME BUY MY WATER CRESSES!”                        219

  “HOT CROSS BUNS! TWO A PENNY BUNS!”                                220

  “DO YOU WANT ANY BRICK-DUST?”                                      221

  “BUY A TRAP! A RAT TRAP! BUY MY TRAP!”                             222

  “BUY MY GOOSE! MY FAT GOOSE!”                                      225

      GARDENS!”                                                      226

  A POSTMAN                                                          228

  TALES OF WONDER                                                    233

  A JEAN DE BRY                                                      251

  ALL BOND STREET TREMBLED AS HE STRODE                              252

  THE THREE MR. WIGGINS’S                                            257

  ORIGINALS. A HINT TO THE BON TON                                   260

  ORIGINALS. A HINT TO THE BON TON                                   261

  PARIS FASHIONS FOR WINTER DRESS—1800                               264

  FASHIONS, EARLY 1800                                               265

      OF FASHION, IN THE YEAR 1801                                   266

      1802                                                           267

  PREPARING FOR A BALL—1803                                          268

  PROGRESS OF THE TOILET. NO. 1.                                     269

  PROGRESS OF THE TOILET. NO. 3.                                     269

  PROGRESS OF THE TOILET. NO. 2.                                     270

  GRACE, FASHION, AND MANNERS, FROM THE LIFE—1810                    273

  WALKING DRESSES—1810                                               273

  “LES INVISIBLES,” 1810                                             274

  GROUP OF CHILDREN—1808                                             278

  FILIAL AFFECTION; OR, A TRIP TO GRETNA GREEN                       279

  A TRIP TO GRETNA GREEN (ROWLANDSON)                                281

  GREAT SUBSCRIPTION ROOM AT BROOKES’S                               289

  LIFE GUARDS ESCORTING A LOTTERY WHEEL                              291

  DRAWING THE LOTTERY AT COOPER’S HALL                               292

  CUDGEL PLAYING—1800                                                303

  FOX-HUNTING BREAKFAST                                              306

  PERCH-FISHING—1804                                                 307

  AFTER A DAY’S SHOOTING—1809                                        308

  COCK-SHOOTING WITH SPANIELS—1804                                   309

  BILLIARDS—1801                                                     319


  THEATRICAL LEAP-FROG                                               328

  VAIN ATTEMPT TO SEE YOUNG ROSCIUS                                  329

  THE INTRODUCTION                                                   331

  MADAME CATALANI                                                    340

  CATALANI                                                           341

  ISAAC CRUIKSHANK’S CARICATURE                                  347-349

  THE PIC-NIC ORCHESTRA                                              356

  VAUXHALL GARDENS—1808-9                                            359

  MRS. BILLINGTON, AS CLARA, SINGING A BRAVURA (1802)                362


  PLAYING IN PARTS                                                   364

  HARMONY BEFORE MATRIMONY—1805                                      366

  WALTZER AU MOUCHOIR—1800                                           368

  LA VALSE—1810                                                      368

  DRAWING FROM LIFE AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY—1808                        370


  A DOCTOR OF THE OLD SCHOOL—1803                                    386

  INOCULATION!                                                       388

  METALLIC TRACTORS—1802                                             389

  WOMEN’S WARD, ST. LUKE’S—1808                                      392

  AN IRON FOUNDRY—1802                                               397

  A COLLIERY—1802                                                    398

  BRITISH SAILOR—1805                                                404

  BRITISH SOLDIER—1805                                               414

  SOLDIERS—1806                                                      414

  DRESSING PIG-TAILS IN THE OPEN AIR—1801                            414

  HON. ARTILLERY COMPANY—1803                                        415

  VOLUNTEER RIFLE CORPS—1803                                         415

  BLOOMSBURY AND INNS OF COURT VOLUNTEER—1803                        416

  MRS. CLARKE                                                        428

  MRS. CLARKE’S LEVÉE                                                429


  THE PRODIGAL SON’S RESIGNATION                                     431

  WATCHMEN GOING ON DUTY—1808                                        436

  WATCH-HOUSE. MARYLEBONE—1808                                       437

  CONSTABLES—1805                                                    438

  PILLORY. CHARING CROSS                                             441

  THE PILLORY                                                        442

  THE CONDEMNED SERMON. NEWGATE                                      447

  THE LAST DYING SPEECH AND CONFESSION                               448

  INTERIOR OF FLEET PRISON                                           454

  HOUSE OF CORRECTION. COLD BATH FIELDS                              456

  BOW STREET POLICE OFFICE                                           458







 Retrospect of Eighteenth Century—Napoleon’s letter to George
 III.—Lord Grenville’s reply—French prisoners of war in
 England—Scarcity of provisions—Gloomy financial outlook—Loan from
 the Bank of England—Settlement of the Union with Ireland.

THE old Eighteenth Century lay a-dying, after a comparatively calm and
prosperous life.

In its infancy, William of Orange brought peace to the land, besides
delivering it from popery, brass money, and wooden shoes; and, under
the Georges, civil war was annihilated, and the prosperity, which we
have afterwards enjoyed, was laid down on a broad, and solid basis.

But in its last years, it fell upon comparatively evil days, and,
although it was saved from the flood of revolution which swept over
France, yet, out of that revolution came a war which embittered its
closing days, and was left as a legacy to the young Nineteenth Century,
which, as we know, has grappled with and overcome all difficulties, and
has shone pre-eminent over all its predecessors.

The poor old century had lost us America, whose chief son, General
George Washington, died in 1799. In 1799 we were at war with France
truly, but England itself had not been menaced—the war was being
fought in Egypt. Napoleon had suddenly deserted his army there, and
had returned to France post-haste, for affairs were happening in Paris
which needed his presence, if his ambitious schemes were ever to ripen
and bear fruit. He arrived, dissolved the Council of Five Hundred,
and the Triumvirate consisting of himself, Cambacérès, and Le Brun
was formed. Then, whether in sober earnest, or as a bit of political
by-play, he wrote on Christmas day, 1799, the following message of
goodwill and peace:

  “_Bonaparte, First Consul of the Republic, to His Majesty
  the King of Great Britain and Ireland._

  “Paris, 5 Nivôse, year VIII. of the Republic.

 “Called by the wishes of the French nation to occupy the first
 magistracy of the French Republic, I deem it desirable, in entering on
 its functions, to make a direct communication to your Majesty.

 “Must the war, which for four years has ravaged every part of the
 world, be eternal? Are there no means of coming to an understanding?

 “How can the two most enlightened nations of Europe, more powerful
 and stronger than is necessary for their safety and independence,
 sacrifice to the idea of a vain grandeur, the benefits of commerce, of
 internal prosperity, and domestic happiness? How is it they do not
 feel that peace is as glorious as necessary?

 “These sentiments cannot be strangers to the heart of your Majesty,
 who rules over a free nation, with no other view than to render them

 “Your Majesty will only see in this overture, my sincere desire to
 effectually contribute to a general pacification, by a prompt step,
 free and untrammelled by those forms which, necessary perhaps to
 disguise the apprehensions of feeble states, only prove, in the case
 of strong ones, the mutual desire to deceive.

 “France and England, by abusing their strength, may, for a long time
 yet, to the misery of all other nations, defer the moment of their
 absolute exhaustion; but I will venture to say, that the fate of all
 civilized nations depends on the end of a war which envelopes the
 whole world.

  “(_Signed_) BONAPARTE.”

Fair as this looks to the eye, British statesmen could not even then,
in those early days, implicitly trust Napoleon, without some material
guarantee. True, all was not _couleur de rose_ with the French army and
navy. The battle of the Nile, and Acre, still were in sore remembrance.
Italy had emancipated itself, and Suwarrow had materially crippled the
French army. There were 140,000 Austrians hovering on the Rhine border,
and the national purse was somewhat flaccid. No doubt it would have
been convenient to Napoleon to have patched up a temporary peace in
order to recruit—but that would not suit England.

On Jan. 4, 1800, Lord Grenville replied to Talleyrand, then Minister
for Foreign Affairs, in a long letter, in which he pointed out that
England had not been the aggressor, and would always be glad of peace
if it could be secured on a sure and solid basis. He showed how France
had behaved on the Continent, cited the United Provinces, the Swiss
Cantons, and the Netherlands; how Germany had been ravaged, and how
Italy, though then free, “had been made the scene of unbounded anarchy
and rapine;” and he wound up thus:

“His Majesty looks only to the security of his own dominions and those
of his Allies, and to the general safety of Europe. Whenever he shall
judge that such security can in any manner be attained, as resulting
either from the internal situation of that country from whose internal
situation the danger has arisen, or from such other circumstances of
whatever nature as may produce the same end, His Majesty will eagerly
embrace the opportunity to concert with his Allies the means of
immediate and general pacification.

“Unhappily no such security hitherto exists: no sufficient evidence
of the principle by which the new Government will be directed; no
reasonable ground by which to judge of its stability. In this situation
it can for the present only remain for His Majesty to pursue, in
conjunction with other Powers, those exertions of just and defensive
war, which his regard to the happiness of his subjects will never
permit him either to continue beyond the necessity in which they
originated, or to terminate on any other grounds than such as may
best contribute to the secure enjoyment of their tranquillity, their
constitution, and their independence.”[1]

So the war was to go on, that ever memorable struggle which cost both
nations so much in treasure, and in men. France has never recovered
the loss of those hecatombs driven to slaughter. Nor were they always
killed. We kept a few of them in durance. On Dec. 21, 1799, the French
Government refused to provide any longer for their compatriots,
prisoners in our hands, and, from a report then taken, we had in
keeping, in different places, as follows, some 25,000 men.[2]

  Plymouth                            7,477
  Portsmouth                         10,128
  Liverpool                           2,298
  Stapleton                             693
  Chatham                             1,754
  Yarmouth                               50
  Edinburgh                             208
  Norman Cross                        3,038

There is no doubt but these poor fellows fared hard, yet their
ingenuity enabled them to supplement their short commons, and I have
seen some very pretty baskets made in coloured straw, and little
implements carved out of the bones of the meat which was served out to
them as rations.

Their captors, however, were in somewhat evil case for food, and gaunt
famine began to stare them in the face. There never was a famine, but
there was a decided scarcity of provisions, which got worse as time
went on. The Government recognized it, and faced the difficulty. In
February, 1800, a Bill passed into law which enacted “That it shall not
be lawful for any baker, or other person or persons, residing within
the cities of London and Westminster, and the Bills of Mortality, and
within ten miles of the Royal Exchange, after the 26th day of February,
1800, or residing in any part of Great Britain, after the 4th day of
March, 1800, to sell, or offer to expose for sale, any bread, until the
same shall have been baked twenty-four hours at the least; and every
baker, or other person or persons, who shall act contrary hereto, or
offend herein, shall, for every offence, forfeit and pay the sum of £5
for every loaf of bread so sold, offered, or exposed to sale.” By a
previous Bill, however, new bread might be lawfully sold to soldiers on
the march. Hunger, however, although staring the people in the face,
had not yet absolutely touched them, as it did later in the year.

The year, too, at its opening, was gloomy financially. The Civil List
was five quarters in arrear; and the King’s servants were in such
straits for money, that the grooms and helpers in the mews were obliged
to present a petition to the King, praying the payment of their wages.
Some portion, undoubtedly, was paid them, but, for several years
afterwards, the Civil List was always three or six months in arrears.

The Bank of England came forward, and on the 9th of January agreed to
lend the Government three millions without interest, but liable to
be called in if the Three per Cent. Consols should get up to eighty,
on condition that the Bank Charter be renewed for a further term of
twenty-one years, to be computed from the 1st of August, 1812.

The question of the Union between Great Britain and Ireland had been
discussed for some time, and on the 11th of February it was carried by
a great majority in the Irish House of Lords. On the 2nd of April the
King sent the following message to Parliament:

“GEORGE R.—It is with most sincere satisfaction that his Majesty
finds himself enabled to communicate to this House the joint Address
of his Lords and Commons of Ireland, laying before his Majesty certain
resolutions, which contain the terms proposed by them for an entire
union between the two kingdoms. His Majesty is persuaded that this
House will participate in the pleasure with which his Majesty observes
the conformity of sentiment manifested in the proceedings of his two
parliaments, after long and careful deliberation on this most important
subject; and he earnestly recommends to this House, to take all such
further steps as may best tend to the speedy and complete execution
of a work so happily begun, and so interesting to the security and
happiness of his Majesty’s subjects, and to the general strength and
prosperity of the British Empire.

  “G. R.”[3]

Lord Grenville presented this message in the Lords, and Mr. Pitt in the
Commons. The resolutions mentioned are “Resolutions of the two Houses
of Parliament of Ireland, respecting a Union of the Kingdoms of Great
Britain and Ireland; and their Address thereon to His Majesty. _Die
Mercurii, 26 Martii, 1800._” They are somewhat voluminous, and settled
the basis on which the Union was to take place.

On the 21st of April, both Lords and Commons began to debate on the
Union. The Commons continued it on the 22nd, 25th, 28th, 29th, and
30th of April, and May 1st and 2nd—on which date, the question being
put “That the said Resolutions be now read a second time,” the House
divided. Yeas, 208; Noes, 26. An address was afterwards drawn up, and
communicated to the Lords at a Conference.

The Lords began their deliberations also on the 21st of April, and
continued them on the 25th, 28th, and 30th, May 7th and 8th, when
the House divided. Contents, 55; Proxies, 20; Not Contents, 7. The
dissentients were the Earls of Hillsborough, Fitzwilliam, Carnarvon,
and Buckinghamshire, and Lords Dundas, Holland, and King—the two
latter entering a formal written protest.

The Lords and Commons agreed to an address which they presented to the
King on the 12th of May, and, on the 2nd of July, the King went in
state to the House of Lords, and gave his Royal Assent to the Bill,
which thus became law, and was to take effect on the 1st of January,
1801. The Royal Assent was a very commonplace affair—there were but
about thirty Peers present, and it was shuffled in with two other
Bills—the Pigott Diamond Bill and the Duke of Richmond Bill. There was
no enthusiasm in England, at all events, over the Union, no rejoicings,
no illuminations, hardly even a caricature. How it has worked, we of
these later days of the century know full well.



 Accident at a Review—The King shot at, at Drury Lane
 Theatre—Behaviour of the Royal Family—Biography of Hadfield—His
 trial and acquittal—Grand Review of Volunteers on the King’s
 birthday—The bad weather, and behaviour of the crowd.

ON THE 15th of May, the King, who, while his health was good, was
always most active in fulfilling the onerous duties which devolved
upon him, attended the field exercises of the Grenadier battalion of
the Guards, in Hyde Park, when a gentleman named Ongley, a clerk in
the Navy Office, was shot by a musket ball, during the volley firing,
whilst standing but twenty-three feet from the King. The wound was not
dangerous—through the fleshy part of the thigh—and it was immediately
dressed; and it might have passed off as an accident, but for an event
which occurred later in the day. The cartouch-boxes of the soldiers
were examined, but none but blank cartridges were found. So little
indeed was thought of it, that the King, who said it was an accident,
stopped on the ground for half an hour afterwards, and four more
volleys were fired by the same company before he left.

The King was a great patron of the Drama, and on that evening he
visited Drury Lane Theatre, where, “by command of their Majesties,”
were to be performed “She would, and she would not,”[4] and “The
Humourist;”[5] but scarcely had he entered the box, before he had
taken his seat, and whilst he was bowing to the audience, than a man,
who had previously taken up a position in the pit close to the royal
box, took a good and steady aim with a horse-pistol, with which he was
armed, at His Majesty, and fired: luckily missing the King, who with
the utmost calmness, and without betraying any emotion, turned round to
one of his attendants, and after saying a few words to him, took his
seat in apparent tranquillity, and sat out the whole entertainment. He
had, however, a narrow escape, for one of the two slugs with which the
pistol was loaded, was found but a foot to the left of the royal chair.

Needless to say, the would-be assassin was seized at once—as is
so graphically depicted in the illustration—and, by the combined
exertions of both pit and orchestra, was pulled over the spikes and
hurried across the stage, where he was at once secured and carried
before Sir William Addington, who examined him in an adjoining
apartment. The audience was furious, and with difficulty could be
calmed by the assurance that the villain was in safe custody. Then,
to avert attention, the curtain drew up, and the stage was crowded by
the whole strength of the house—scene-shifters, carpenters, and all;
and “God save the King” was given with all the heartiness the occasion

Then, when that was done, and the royal party was seated, came the
reaction. The Princesses Augusta, Sophia, and Mary fainted away, the
latter twice. The Princess Elizabeth alone was brave, and administered
smelling salts and cold water to her less courageous sisters. The
Queen bore it well—she was very pale, but collected—and during the
performance kept nodding to the princesses, as if to tell them to keep
up their spirits.

The name of the man who fired the shot was James Hadfield. He
was originally a working silversmith; afterwards he enlisted in
the 15th Light Dragoons, and his commanding officer gave him the
highest character as a soldier. He deposed that Hadfield, “while
in the regiment, was distinguished for his loyalty, courage, and
irreproachable conduct. On all occasions of danger he was first to
volunteer. On the memorable affair at Villers en Couche, on the 24th
of April, 1794, which procured the 15th Regiment so much honour, and
the officers the Order of Merit from his Imperial Majesty, Hadfield
behaved with the most heroic bravery. On the 18th of May following,
when the Duke of York retreated in consequence of the attack of
Pichegru on his rear, Hadfield, in the action at Roubaix, fought with
desperation. He volunteered on a skirmishing party, withstood the shock
of numbers alone, was often surrounded by the enemy, and called off by
his officers, but would not come. At last he fell, having his skull
fractured, his cheek separated from his face, his arm broken, and he
was otherwise so shockingly mangled, that the British troops, after
seeing him, concluded he was dead: and he was returned among the killed
in the _Gazette_. The French having obtained possession of the field,
Hadfield fell into their hands, and recovered. He remained upwards of a
year a prisoner, his regiment all the time supposing him dead; but in
August, 1795, he joined it at Croydon, to the great astonishment and
joy of his comrades, who esteemed him much. It soon became manifest,
however, that his wounds had deranged his intellect. Whenever he drank
strong liquors he became insane; and this illness increased so much
that it was found necessary to confine him in a straight-waistcoat. In
April, 1796, he was discharged for being a lunatic.” His officers gave
him the highest character, particularly for his loyalty; adding that
they would have expected him to lose his life in defending, rather than
attacking, his King, for whom he had always expressed great attachment.


After his discharge he worked at his old trade; but even his shopmates
gave testimony before the Privy Council as to his insanity. He was
tried on June 26th by Lord Kenyon, in the Court of King’s Bench, and
the evidences of his insanity were so overwhelming, that the Judge
stopped the case, and the verdict of acquittal, on the ground that he
was mad, was recorded. He was then removed to Newgate. He seems to have
escaped from confinement more than once—for the _Annual Register_ of
August 1, 1802, mentions his having escaped from his keepers, and been
retaken at Deal; whilst the _Morning Herald_ of August 31st of the same
year chronicles his escape from Bedlam, and also on the 4th of October,
1802, details his removal to Newgate again.[6]

To pass to a pleasanter subject. The next event in the year of social
importance is the Grand Review of Volunteers in Hyde Park, on the
occasion of the King’s 63rd birthday.

The Volunteer movement was not a novelty. The Yeomanry were enrolled
in 1761, and volunteers had mustered strongly in 1778, on account of
the American War. But the fear of France caused the patriotic breast to
beat high, and the volunteer rising of 1793 and 1794 may be taken as
the first grand gathering of a civic army.

On this day the largest number ever brigaded together, some 12,000 men,
were to be reviewed by the King in Hyde Park. The whole city was roused
to enthusiasm, and the _Morning Post_ of the 5th of June speaks of it
thus: “A finer body of men, or of more martial appearance, no country
could produce. While they rivalled, in discipline, troops of the line;
by the fineness of their clothing, and the great variety of uniform
and the richness of appointments, they far exceeded them in splendour.
The great number of beautiful standards and colours—the patriotic
gifts of the most exalted and distinguished females—and the numerous
music, also contributed much to the brilliancy and diversity of the
scene. It was with mixed emotions of pride and gratitude that every
mind contemplated the martial scene. Viewing such a body of citizen
soldiers, forsaking their business and their pleasures, ready and
capable to meet all danger in defence of their country—considering,
too, that the same spirit pervades it from end to end, the most
timid heart is filled with confidence. We look back with contempt
on the denunciations of the enemy, ‘which, sown in serpents’ teeth,
have arisen for us in armed men,’ and we look with gratitude to our
new-created host, which retorted the insult, and changed the invader
into the invaded.”

But, alack and well-a-day! to think that all this beautiful writing
should be turned in bathos by the context; and that this review should
be for ever memorable to those who witnessed it, not on account of
the martial ardour which prompted it, but for the pouring rain which
accompanied it! No language but that of an eye-witness could properly
portray the scene and give us a graphic social picture of the event.

“So early as four o’clock the drums beat to arms in every quarter, and
various other music summoned the reviewers and the reviewed to the
field. Even then the clouds were surcharged with rain, which soon began
to fall; but no unfavourableness of weather could damp the ardour of
even the most delicate of the fair. So early as six o’clock, all the
avenues were crowded with elegantly dressed women escorted by their
beaux; and the assemblage was so great, that when the King entered
the Park, it was thought advisable to shut several of the gates to
avoid too much pressure. The circumstance of the weather, which, from
the personal inconvenience it produced, might be considered the most
inauspicious of the day, proved in fact the most favourable for a
display of beauty, for a variety of scene, and number of incidents.
From the constant rain and the constant motion, the whole Park could
be compared only to a newly ploughed field. The gates being locked,
there was no possibility of retreating, and there was no shelter but
an old tree or an umbrella. In this situation you might behold an
elegant woman with a neat yellow slipper, delicate ankle, and white
silk stocking, stepping up to her garter in the mire with as little
dissatisfaction as she would into her coach—there another making the
first _faux pas_ perhaps she ever did and seated reluctantly on the
moistened clay.


“Here is a whole group assembled under the hospitable roof of an
umbrella, whilst the exterior circle, for the advantage of having
one shoulder dry, is content to receive its dripping contents on the
other. The antiquated virgin laments the hour in which, more fearful
of a speckle than a wetting, she preferred the dwarfish parasol to the
capacious umbrella. The lover regrets there is no shady bower to which
he might lead his mistress, ‘nothing loath.’ Happy she who, following
fast, finds in the crowd a pretence for closer pressure. Alas! were
there but a few grottos, a few caverns, how many Didos—how many
Æneas’? Such was the state of the spectators. That of the troops was
still worse—to lay exposed to a pelting rain; their arms had changed
their mirror-like brilliancy[7] to a dirty brown; their new clothes
lost all their gloss, the smoke of a whole campaign could not have more
discoloured them. Where the ground was hard they slipped; where soft,
they sunk up to the knee. The water ran out at their cuffs as from a
spout, and, filling their half-boots, a squash at every step proclaimed
that the Austrian buckets could contain no more.”




 High price of gold—Scarcity of food—Difference in cost of living
 1773-1800—Forestalling and Regrating—Food riots in the country—Riot
 in London at the Corn Market—Forestalling in meat.

THE PEOPLE were uneasy. Gold was scarce—so scarce, indeed, that
instead of being the normal £3 17s. 6d. per oz., it had risen to £4
5s., at which price it was a temptation, almost overpowering, to melt
guineas. Food, too, was scarce and dear; and, as very few people starve
in silence, riots were the natural consequence. The Acts against
“Forestalling and Regrating”—or, in other words, anticipating the
market, or purchasing before others, in order to raise the price—were
put in force. Acts were also passed giving bounties on the importation
of oats and rye, and also permitting beer to be made from sugar. The
House of Commons had a Committee on the subject of bread, corn, &c.,
and they reported on the scarcity of corn, but of course could not
point out any practical method of remedying the grievance. The cost
of living, too, had much increased, as will appear from the following
table of expenses of house-keeping between 1773 and 1800, by an
inhabitant of Bury St. Edmunds:[8]

                            │  1773.  │   1793.  │   1799.   │   1800.
                            │         │          │           │
                            │ £ s. d. │  £ s. d. │  £ s. d.  │  £ s. d.
  Comb of Malt[9]           │ 0 12  0 │  1  3  0 │  1  3  0  │  2  0  0
  Chaldron of Coals         │ 1 11  6 │  2  0  6 │  2  6  0  │  2 11  0
  Comb of Oats              │ 0  5  0 │  0 13  0 │  0 16  0  │  1  1  0
  Load of Hay               │ 2  2  0 │  4 10  0 │  5  5  0  │  7  0  0
  Meat                      │ 0  0  4 │  0  0  5 │  0  0  7  │  0  0  9
  Butter                    │ 0  0  6 │  0  0 11 │  0  0 11  │  0  1  4
  Sugar (loaf)              │ 0  0  8 │  0  1  0 │  0  1  3  │  0  1  4
  Soap                      │ 0  0  6 │  0  0  8 │  0  0  9½ │  0  0 10
  Window lights, 30 windows │ 3 10  0 │  7 10  0 │ 12 12  0  │ 12 12  0
  Candles                   │ 0  0  6 │  0  0  8 │  0  0  9½ │  0  0 10½
  Poor’s Rates, per quarter │ 0  1  0 │  0  2  6 │  0  3  0  │  0  5  0
  Income Tax on £200        │   ...   │    ...   │ 20  0  0  │ 20  0  0
                            │ 8  4  0 │ 16  2  8 │ 42  9  4  │ 45  14 1½

With everything advancing at this amazing rate of progression, it is
not to be wondered at that the price of the staff of life was watched
very narrowly, and that if there were any law by which any one who
enhanced it, artificially, could be punished, he would get full benefit
of it, both from judge and jury. Of this there is an instance given in
the _Annual Register_, July 4, 1800:

“This day one Mr. Rusby was tried, in the Court of King’s Bench, on an
indictment against him, as an eminent cornfactor, for having purchased,
by sample, on the 8th of November last, in the Corn Market, Mark Lane,
ninety quarters of oats at 41s. per quarter, and sold thirty of them
again in the same market, on the same day, at 44s. The most material
testimony on the part of the Crown was given by Thomas Smith, a partner
of the defendant’s. After the evidence had been gone through, Lord
Kenyon made an address to the jury, who, almost instantly, found the
defendant guilty. Lord Kenyon—‘You have conferred, by your verdict,
almost the greatest benefit on your country that was ever conferred by
any jury.’ Another indictment against the defendant, for engrossing,
stands over.

“Several other indictments for the same alleged crimes were tried
during this year, which we fear tended to aggravate the evils of
scarcity they were meant to obviate, and no doubt contributed to excite
popular tumults, by rendering a very useful body of men odious in the
eyes of the mob.”


As will be seen by the accompanying illustration by Isaac Cruikshank,
the mob did occasionally take the punishment of forestallers into their
own hands. (A case at Bishop’s Clyst, Devon, August, 1800.)

A forestaller is being dragged along by the willing arms of a crowd of
country people; the surrounding mob cheer, and an old woman follows,
kicking him, and beating him with the tongs. Some sacks of corn are
marked 25s. The mob inquire, “How much now, farmer?” “How much now, you
rogue in grain?” The poor wretch, half-strangled, calls out piteously,
“Oh, pray let me go, and I’ll let you have it at a guinea. Oh, eighteen
shillings! Oh, I’ll let you have it at fourteen shillings!”

In August and September several riots, on account of the scarcity of
corn, and the high price of provisions, took place in Birmingham,
Oxford, Nottingham, Coventry, Norwich, Stamford, Portsmouth, Sheffield,
Worcester, and many other places. The markets were interrupted, and the
populace compelled the farmers, &c., to sell their provisions, &c., at
a low price.

At last these riots extended to London, beginning in a small way. Late
at night on Saturday, September 13th, or early on Sunday, September
14th, two large written placards were pasted on the Monument, the text
of which was:

  “Bread will be sixpence the Quartern if the People will
  assemble at the Corn Market on Monday.


 How long will ye quietly and cowardly suffer yourselves to be imposed
 upon, and half starved by a set of mercenary slaves and Government
 hirelings? Can you still suffer them to proceed in their extensive
 monopolies, while your children are crying for bread? No! let them
 exist not a day longer. We are the sovereignty; rise then from your
 lethargy. Be at the Corn Market on Monday.”

Small printed handbills to the same effect were stuck about poor
neighbourhoods, and the chance of a cheap loaf, or the love of
mischief, caused a mob of over a thousand to assemble in Mark Lane
by nine in the morning. An hour later, and their number was doubled,
and then they began hissing the mealmen, and cornfactors, who were
going into the market. This, however, was too tame, and so they fell
to hustling, and pelting them with mud. Whenever a Quaker appeared,
he was specially selected for outrage, and rolled in the mud; and,
filling up the time with window breaking, the riot became somewhat
serious—so much so, that the Lord Mayor went to Mark Lane about 11
a.m. with some of his suite. In vain he assured the maddened crowd that
their behaviour could in no way affect the market. They only yelled at
him, “Cheap bread! Birmingham and Nottingham for ever! Three loaves for
eighteenpence,” &c. They even hissed the Lord Mayor, and smashed the
windows close by him. This proved more than his lordship could bear, so
he ordered the Riot Act to be read. The constables charged the mob, who
of course fled, and the Lord Mayor returned to the Mansion House.

No sooner had he gone, than the riots began again, and he had to
return; but, during the daytime, the mob was fairly quiet. It was when
the evening fell, that these unruly spirits again broke out; they
routed the constables, broke the windows of several bakers’ shops,
and, from one of them, procured a quantity of faggots. Here the civic
authorities considered that the riot ought to stop, for, if once the
fire fiend was awoke, there was no telling where the mischief might end.

So the Lord Mayor invoked the aid of the Tower Ward Volunteers—who
had been in readiness all day long, lying _perdu_ in Fishmongers’
Hall—the East India House Volunteers, and part of the London Militia.
The volunteers then blocked both ends of Mark Lane, Fenchurch Street,
and Billiter Lane (as it was then called). In vain did the mob hoot and
yell at them; they stood firm until orders were given them, and then
the mob were charged and dispersed—part down Lombard Street, part down
Fish Street Hill, over London Bridge, into the Borough. Then peace was
once more restored, and the volunteers went unto their own homes.

True, the City was quiet; but the mob, driven into the Borough, had
not yet slaked their thirst for mischief. They broke the windows, not
only of a cheesemonger’s in the Borough, but of a warehouse near the
church. They then went to the house of Mr. Rusby (6, Temple Place,
Blackfriars Road)—a gentleman of whom we have heard before, as having
been tried, and convicted, for forestalling and regrating—clamouring
for him, but he had prudently escaped by the back way into a
neighbour’s house. However, they burst into his house and entered the
room where Mrs. Rusby was. She begged they would spare her children,
and do as they pleased with the house and furniture. They assured her
they would not hurt the children, but they searched the house from
cellar to garret in hopes of getting the speculative Mr. Rusby, with
the kindly intention of hanging him in case he was found. They then
broke open some drawers, took out, and tore some papers, and took away
some money, but did not injure the furniture much. In vain they tried
to find out the address of Mrs. Rusby’s partner, and then, having no
_raison d’être_ for more mischief, they dispersed; after which a party
of Light Horse, and some of the London Militia, came up, only to find a
profound quiet. The next day the riotous population were in a ferment,
but were kept in check by the militia and volunteers.

Whether by reason of fear of the rioters, or from the fact that the
grain markets were really easier, wheat did fall on that eventful
Monday ten and fifteen shillings a quarter; and, if the following
resolutions of the Court of Aldermen are worth anything, it ought to
have fallen still lower:


 “A Court of Lord Mayor and Aldermen held at the Guildhall of the City
 of London, on Tuesday, the 16th of September, 1800.

“Resolved unanimously—That it is the opinion of this Court, from the
best information it has been able to procure, that, had not the access
to the Corn Market been, yesterday, impeded, and the transactions
therein interrupted, a fall in the price of Wheat and Flour, much more
considerable than that which actually took place, would have ensued;
and this Court is further of opinion, that no means can so effectually
lead to reduce the present excessive prices of the principal articles
of food, as the holding out full security and indemnification to
such lawful Dealers as shall bring their Corn or other commodities
to market. And this Court does therefore express a determination to
suppress, at once, and by force, if it shall unhappily be necessary,
every attempt to impede, by acts of violence, the regular business of
the markets of the Metropolis.


A butcher was tried and convicted at the Clerkenwell Sessions,
September 16th, for “forestalling the market of Smithfield on the 6th
of March last, by purchasing of Mr. Eldsworth, a salesman, two cows
and an ox, on their way to the market.” His brother was also similarly
convicted. The chairman postponed passing sentence, and stated that “he
believed there were many persons who did not consider, that, by such a
practice, they were offending against the law; but, on the contrary,
imagined that, when an alteration in the law was made, by the repeal
of the old statutes against forestalling, there was an end of the
offence altogether. It had required the authority of a very high legal
character, to declare to the public that the law was not repealed,
though the statutes were.” He also intimated that whenever sentence was
passed, it would be the lightest possible. Still the populace would
insist on pressing these antiquated prosecutions, and an association
was formed to supply funds for that purpose.



 Continuation of food riots in London—Inefficiency of Police—Riots
 still continue—Attempts to negotiate a Peace—A political meeting
 on Kennington Common—Scarcity of corn—Proclamation to restrict its
 consumption—Census of the people.

THE Lord Mayor in vain promulgated a pacific Proclamation; the Riots
still went on.


  “_Mansion House, Sept. 17, 1800._

 “Whereas the peace of this City has been, within these few days, very
 much disturbed by numerous and tumultuous assemblies of riotous and
 disorderly people, the magistrates, determined to preserve the King’s
 peace, and the persons and property of their fellow-citizens, by every
 means which the law has intrusted to their hands, particularly request
 the peaceable and well-disposed inhabitants of this City, upon the
 appearance of the military, to keep themselves away from the windows;
 to keep all the individuals of their families, and servants, within
 doors; and, where such opportunities can be taken, to remain in the
 back rooms of their houses.

  “By order of his Lordship.

  “W. J. NEWMAN, _Clerk_.”

In reading of these Riots we must not forget that the civil
authorities for keeping the peace were, and had been, for more than
a century previous, utterly inefficient for their purpose, and the
laughing-stock of every one; added to which, there was a spirit of
lawlessness abroad, among the populace, which could hardly exist
nowadays. The male portion of the Royal Family were fearlessly
lampooned and caricatured, and good-natured jokes were made even on
such august personages as the King and Queen—the plain, homely manner
of the one, and the avaricious, and somewhat shrewish temper of the
other, were good-humouredly made fun of. The people gave of their
lives, and their substance, to save their country from the foot of
the invader; but they also showed a sturdy independence of character,
undeniably good in itself, but which was sometimes apt to overpass the
bounds of discretion, and degenerate into license.

So was it with these food riots. The mob had got an idea in their heads
that there was a class who bought food cheap, and held it until they
could sell it dear; and nothing could disabuse their minds of this, as
the following will show.

On the morning of the 18th of September, not having the fear of the
Lord Mayor before their eyes, the mob assembled in Chiswell Street,
opposite the house of a Mr. Jones, whose windows they had demolished
the previous night, and directed their attentions to a house opposite,
at the corner of Grub Street, which was occupied by a Mr. Pizey, a
shoemaker, a friend of the said Jones, to accommodate whom, he had
allowed his cellars to be filled with barrels of salt pork. These
casks were seen by the mob, and they were immediately magnified into
an immense magazine of butter and cheese, forestalled from the market,
locked up from use, and putrefying in the hands of unfeeling avarice.
Groaning and cursing, the mob began to mutter that “it would be a d—d
good thing to throw some stuff in and blow up the place.” Poor Pizey,
alarmed, sent messengers to the Mansion House, and Worship Street
office: a force of constables was sent, and the mob retired.

At night, however, the same riot began afresh. Meeting in Bishopsgate
Street, they went on their victorious career up Sun Street, through
Finsbury Square, overthrowing the constables opposed to them, down
Barbican into Smithfield, Saffron Hill, Holborn, and Snow Hills, at
the latter of which they broke two cheesemongers’ windows. Then they
visited Fleet Market, breaking and tossing about everything moveable,
smashed the windows of another cheesemonger, and then turned up Ludgate
Hill, when they began breaking every lamp; thence into Cheapside, back
into Newgate Street, St. Martin’s-le-Grand, and Barbican to Old Street,
where they dispersed for the night. From Ludgate Hill to Barbican, only
one lamp was left burning, and of that the glass was broken. Somehow,
in this night’s escapade the military were ever on their track, but
never near them.

On the 18th of September the King arose in his Majesty, and issued
a proclamation, with a very long preamble, “strictly commanding and
requiring all the Lieutenants of our Counties, and all our Justices
of the Peace, Sheriffs, and Under-Sheriffs, and all civil officers
whatsoever, that they do take the most effectual means for suppressing
all riots and tumults, and to that end do effectually put in execution
an Act of Parliament made in the first year of the reign of our late
royal ancestor, of glorious memory, King George the First, entituled
‘An Act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more
speedy and effectual punishing the rioters,’” &c.

Still, in spite of this terrible fulmination, the rioters again
“made night hideous” on the 19th of September; but they were not so
formidable, nor did they do as much mischief, as on former occasions.
On the 20th they made Clare Market their _rendezvous_, marched
about somewhat, had one or two brushes with the St. Clement Danes
Association, and, finally, retired on the advent of the Horse Guards.
Another mob met in Monmouth Street, the famous old-clothes repository
in St. Giles’s, but the Westminster Volunteers, and cavalry, dispersed
them; and, the shops shutting very early—much to the discomfiture
of the respectable poor, as regarded their Saturday night’s
marketings—peace once more reigned. London was once more quiet, and
only the rioters who had been captured, were left to be dealt with by
the law. But the people in the country were not so quickly satisfied;
their wages were smaller than those of their London brethren, and they
proportionately felt the pinch more acutely. In some instances they
were put down by force, in others the price of bread was lowered; but
it is impossible at this time to take up a newspaper, and not find some
notice of, or allusion to, a food riot.

The century would die at peace with all men if it could, and there
was a means of communication open with France, in the person of a M.
Otto, resident in this country as a kind of unofficial agent. The
first glimpse we get of these negotiations, from the papers which were
published on the subject, is in August, 1800; and between that time,
and when the _pourparlers_ came to an end, on the 9th of November,
many were the letters which passed between Lord Grenville and M.
Otto. Peace, however, was not to be as yet. Napoleon was personally
distrusted, and the French Revolution had been so recent, that the
stability of the French Government was more than doubted.

A demonstration (it never attained the dimensions of a riot)—this time
political and not born of an empty stomach—took place at Kennington
on Sunday, the 9th of November. So-called “inflammatory” handbills had
been very generally distributed about town a day or two beforehand,
calling a meeting of mechanics, on Kennington Common, to petition His
Majesty on a redress of grievances.

This actually caused a meeting of the Privy Council, and orders were
sent to all the police offices, and the different volunteer corps, to
hold themselves in readiness in case of emergency. The precautions
taken, show that the Government evidently over-estimated the magnitude
of the demonstration. First of all the Bow Street patrol were sent,
early in the morning, to take up a position at “The Horns,” Kennington,
there to wait until the mob began to assemble, when they were directed
to give immediate notice to the military in the environs of London, who
were under arms at nine o’clock. Parties of Bow Street officers were
stationed at different public-houses, all within easy call.

By and by, about 9 a.m., the conspirators began to make their
appearance on the Common, in scattered groups of six or seven each,
until their number reached _a hundred_. Then the police sent round
their fiery-cross to summon aid; and before that could reach them, they
actually tried the venturesome expedient of dispersing the meeting
themselves—with success. But later—or lazier—politicians continued
to arrive, and the valiant Bow Street officers, thinking discretion the
better part of valour, retired. When, however, they were reinforced
by the Surrey Yeomanry, they plucked up heart of grace, and again set
out upon their mission of dispersing the meeting—and again were they
successful. In another hour, by 10 a.m., these gallant fellows could
breathe again, for there arrived to their aid the Southwark Volunteers,
and the whole police force from seven offices, together with the river

Then appeared on the scene, ministerial authority in the shape of one
Mr. Ford, from the Treasury, who came modestly in a hackney coach;
and when he arrived, the constables felt the time was come for them
to distinguish themselves, and two persons, “one much intoxicated,”
were taken into custody, and duly lodged in gaol—and this glorious
intelligence was at once forwarded to the Duke of Portland, who then
filled the post of Secretary to the Home Department.

The greatest number of people present at any time was about five
hundred; and the troops, after having a good dinner at “The Horns,”
left for their homes—except a party of horse which paraded the
streets of Lambeth. A terrible storm of rain terminated this political
campaign, in a manner satisfactory to all; and for this _ridiculus
mus_ the Guards, the Horse Guards, and all the military, regulars or
volunteers, were under arms or in readiness all the forenoon!

I have here given what, perhaps, some may consider undue prominence to
a trifling episode; but it is in these things that the contrast lies
as to the feeling of the people, and government, in the dawn of the
nineteenth century, and in these latter days of ours. The meeting of
a few, to discuss grievances, and to petition for redress, in the one
case is met with stern, vigorous repression: in our times a blatant
mob is allowed, nay encouraged, to perambulate the streets, yelling,
they know not what, against the House of Lords, and the railings of the
park are removed, by authority, to facilitate the progress of these Her
Majesty’s lieges, and firm supporters of constitutional liberty.

The scarcity of corn still continued down to the end of the year. It
had been a bad harvest generally throughout the Continent, and, in
spite of the bounty held out for its importation, but little arrived.
The markets of the world had not then been opened—and among the
marvels of our times, is the large quantity of wheat we import from
India, and Australia. So great was this scarcity, that the King, in his
paternal wisdom, issued a proclamation (December 3rd) exhorting all
persons who had the means of procuring other food than corn, to use
the strictest economy in the use of every kind of grain, abstaining
from pastry, reducing the consumption of bread in their respective
families at least one-third, and upon no account to allow it “to exceed
one quartern loaf for each person in each week;” and also all persons
keeping horses, especially those for pleasure, to restrict their
consumption of grain, as far as circumstances would admit.

If this proclamation had been honestly acted up to, doubtless it would
have effected some relief; which was sorely needed, when we see that
the average prices of corn and bread throughout the country were—

  Wheat per qr.    Barley per qr.    Oats per qr.    Quartern loaf.
      113s.             60s.              41s.           1s. 9d.

And, looking at the difference in value of money then, and now, we must
add at least 50 per cent., which would make the average price of the
quartern loaf 2s. 7½d.!—and, really, at the end of the year, wheat was
133s. per quarter, bread 1s. 10½d. per quartern.

Three per Cent. Consols were quoted, on January 1, 1800, at 60; on
January 1, 1801, they stood at 54.

A fitting close to the century was found in a Census of the people.
On the 19th of November Mr. Abbot brought a Bill into Parliament “to
ascertain the population of Great Britain.” He pointed out the extreme
ignorance which prevailed on this subject, and stated “that the best
opinions of modern times, and each of them highly respectable, estimate
our present numbers, according to one statement, at 8,000,000; and
according to other statements—formed on more extensive investigation
and, as it appears to me, a more correct train of reasoning, showing an
increase of one-third in the last forty years—the total number cannot
be less than 11,000,000.”

This, the first real census ever taken of the United Kingdom, was
not, of course, as exhaustive and trustworthy, as those decennial
visitations we now experience. Mr. Abbot’s plan was crude, and the
results must of necessity have been merely approximate. He said, “All
that will be necessary will be to pass a short Act, requiring the
resident clergy and parish officers, in every parish and township,
to answer some few plain questions, perhaps four or five, easy to be
understood, and easy to be executed, which should be specified in a
schedule to the Act, and to return their answers to the clerk of the
Parliament, for the inspection of both Houses of Parliament. From such
materials it will be easy (following the precedent of 1787) to form an
abstract exhibiting the result of the whole.”

When the numbers, crudely gathered as they were, were published, they
showed how fallacious was the prediction as to figures.

  England and Wales                   8,892,536
  Scotland                            1,608,420
  Ireland                             5,216,331
                       Total         15,717,287[10]

One thing more was necessary before the dying giant expired, and that
was to rectify the chronology of the century.[11] “From the 1st day
of March last there has been a difference of twelve days between the
old and new style, instead of eleven as formerly, in consequence of
the regulations of the Act passed in 1752, according to which the
year 1800 was only to be accounted a common year, and not a leap year;
therefore old Lady-day was the 6th of April, old May-day 13th May, old
Midsummer-day 6th July, old Lammas 13th August, old Michaelmas-day 11th
October, &c., and so to continue for one hundred years.”





 The Union with Ireland—Proclamations thereon—Alteration of
 Great Seal—Irish Member called to order (footnote)—Discovery
 of the Planet Ceres—Proclamation of General Fast—High price
 of meat, and prosperity of the farmers—Suffering of the French
 prisoners—Political dissatisfaction—John Horne Tooke—Feeding
 the French prisoners—Negotiations for Peace—Signing
 preliminaries—Illuminations—Methods of making the news
 known—Ratification of preliminaries—Treatment of General Lauriston
 by the mob—More Illuminations—Manifestation of joy at Falmouth—Lord
 Mayor’s banquet.

“LE ROI EST mort. Vive le Roi.” Ring the bells to welcome the baby
Nineteenth Century, who is destined to utterly eclipse in renown all
his ancestors.

Was it for good, or was it for evil, that its first act should be that
of the Union with Ireland? It was compulsory, for it was a legacy
bequeathed it. There were no national rejoicings. The new Standard was
hoisted at the Tower, and at St. James’s, the new “Union” being flown
from St. Martin’s steeple, and the Horse Guards; and, after the King
and Privy Council had concluded the official recognition of the fact,
both the Park and Tower guns fired a salute. The ceremonial had the
merit, at least, of simplicity.

A long Royal Proclamation was issued, the principal points of which
were: “We appoint and declare that our Royal Stile and Titles shall
henceforth be accepted, taken, and used, as the same are set forth in
manner and form following; that is to say, the same shall be expressed
in the Latin tongue by these words, ‘_GEORGIUS TERTIUS, Dei Gratiâ,
Britanniarum Rex, Fidei Defensor_.’ And in the English tongue by
these words, ‘GEORGE the THIRD, by the Grace of God, of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith.’
And that the Arms or ensigns armorial of the said United Kingdom shall
be quarterly—first and fourth, England; second, Scotland; third,
Ireland; and it is our will and pleasure, that there shall be borne
therewith, on an escocheon of pretence, the Arms of our dominions in
Germany, ensigned with the Electoral bonnet. And it is our will and
pleasure that the Standard of the said United Kingdom shall be the same
quartering as are herein before declared to be the arms or ensigns
armorial of the said United Kingdom, with the escocheon of pretence
thereon, herein before described: and that the Union flag shall be
azure, the Crosses-saltires of St. Andrew and St. Patrick quarterly per
saltire countercharged argent and gules; the latter fimbriated of the
second; surmounted by the Cross of St. George of the third, fimbriated
as the saltire.” There is a curious memorial of these arms to be seen
in a stained-glass window in the church of St. Edmund, King and Martyr,
Lombard Street, which window was put up as a memento of the Union. In
the above arms it is to be noticed that the _fleur de lys_, so long
used as being typical of our former rule in France, is omitted. A new
Great Seal was also made—the old one being defaced.[12] On January 1,
1801, the King issued a proclamation for holding the first Parliament
under the Union, declaring that it should “on the said twenty-second
day of January, one thousand, eight hundred and one, be holden, and sit
for the dispatch of divers weighty and important affairs.”

On the 1st of January, also, was a proclamation issued, altering the
Prayer-book to suit the change, and, as some readers would like to know
these alterations, I give them.

“In the Book of Common Prayer, Title Page, instead of ‘The Church of
England,’ put ‘of the United Church of England and Ireland.’

“Prayer for the High Court of Parliament, instead of Our Sovereign, and
his Kingdoms,’ read ‘and his Dominions.’

“The first Prayer to be used at sea, instead of ‘His Kingdoms,’ read
‘His Dominions.’

“In the form and manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating of
Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, instead of the order ‘of the Church of
England,’ read ‘of the United Church of England and Ireland.’

“In the preface of the said form, in two places, instead of ‘Church of
England,’ read ‘in the United Church of England and Ireland.’

“In the first question in the Ordination of Priests, instead of ‘Church
of England,’ read ‘of this United Church of England and Ireland.’

“In the Occasional Offices, 25th of October, the King’s accession,
instead of ‘these realms,’ read ‘this realm.’

“In the Collect, before the Epistle, instead of ‘these Kingdoms,’ read
‘this United Kingdom.’

“For the Preachers, instead of ‘King of Great Britain, France, and
Ireland,’ say, ‘King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and

The Union gave seats in the Imperial Parliament to one hundred
commoners, twenty-eight temporal peers, who were elected for life,
and four bishops representing the clergy, taking their places in

The heavens marked the advent of the New Century by the discovery,
by the Italian astronomer Piazzi, of the Planet Ceres on the 1st
of January; and, to begin the year in a proper and pious manner, a
proclamation was issued that a general fast was to be observed in
England and Ireland, on the 13th, and in Scotland, on the 12th of

The cry of scarcity of food still continued; wheat was mounting higher
and higher in price. In January it was 137s. a quarter, and it rose
still higher. The farmers must have had a good time of it, as the Earl
of Warwick declared in Parliament (November 14, 1800), they were making
200 per cent. profit. “Those who demanded upwards of 20s. a bushel
for their corn, candidly owned that they would be contented with 10s.
provided other farmers would bring down their prices to that standard.”
And again (17th of November) he said: “He should still contend that the
gains of the farmer were enormous, and must repeat his wish, that some
measure might be adopted to compel him to bring his corn to market,
and to be contented with a moderate profit. He wondered not at the
extravagant style of living of some of the farmers, who could afford
to play guinea whist, and were not contented with drinking wine only,
but even mixed brandy with it; on farms from which they derived so much
profit, they could afford to leave one-third of the lands they rented
wholly uncultivated, the other two-thirds yielding them sufficient gain
to support all their lavish expenditure.”

Still the prosperity of the farmer must have been poor consolation to
those who were paying at the rate of our half-crown for a quartern
loaf, so that it is no wonder that the authorities were obliged to step
in, and decree that from January 31, 1801, the sale of fine wheaten
bread should be forbidden, and none used but that which contained the
bran, or, as we should term it, brown, or whole meal, bread.

The poor French prisoners, of course, suffered, and were in a most
deplorable condition, more especially because the French Government
refused to supply them with clothes. They had not even the excuse that
they clothed their English prisoners, for our Government looked well
after them in that matter, however much they may have suffered in other

On the 18th of February Pitt opened his budget, and as an increase was
needed of over a million and three quarters, owing to the war, and
interest of loan, new taxes were proposed as follows:

  Ten per cent. on all Teas over 2s. 6d. per
                              lb., which would probably produce   30,000
  Doubling the tax on Paper except
                Paper-hangings and glazed Paper      ”           130,000
  Drawback on the export of Calicoes to be
      taken off, and extra duty of one penny
                                        imposed      ”           155,000
  Increase of one-third on the tax on Timber,
                              Staves, and Deals      ”            95,000
  Sixpence per lb. export duty, and threepence
      per lb. on home consumption to be levied
                                      on Pepper      ”           119,000
  Twenty pence per cwt. extra on Sugar               ”           166,000
  A duty on Raisins                                  ”            10,000
    do.  on Lead                                     ”           120,000
  Ten shillings per pleasure Horse if only one
      were kept, and an additional ten for each
                                  horse so kept      ”           170,000
  Horses used in agriculture 4s. each                ”           136,000
  Increase of stamp duty on Bills and Notes          ”           112,000
  Double stamp on Marine Insurance Policies          ”           145,000
  An additional duty on deeds of Conveyance          ”            93,000
  Modified Postal arrangements                       ”            80,000
  The Penny Post to be Twopence                      ”            17,000
  Other modifications of the Post-office             ”            53,000

There had been political dissatisfactions for some time past, which was
dignified with the name of sedition, but the malcontents were lightly
dealt with. On the 2nd of March those who had been confined in the
Tower and Tothill Fields were liberated on their own recognizances
except four—Colonel Despard, Le Maitre, Galloway, and Hodgson, who,
being refused an unconditional discharge, preferred to pose as martyrs,
and were committed to Tothill Fields. Of Colonel Despard we shall have
more to say further on. Vinegar Hill had not been forgotten in Ireland,
and sedition, although smothered, was still alight, so that an Act had
to be introduced, prolonging the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in
that kingdom.

In this year, too, was brought in a Bill which became law, preventing
clergymen in holy orders from sitting in the House of Commons. This was
brought about by the election (this sessions) of the Rev. John Horne
Tooke for Old Sarum, a rotten borough, which in 1832 was disfranchised,
as it returned two members, and did not have very many more voters.
Tooke had been a partizan of Wilkes, and belonged, as we should now
term it, to the Radical party, a fact which may probably have had
something to do with the introduction of the Bill, as there undoubtedly
existed an undercurrent of dissatisfaction, which was called sedition.
Doubtless societies of the disaffected existed, and a secret
commission, which sat for the purpose of exposing them, reported, on
the 27th of April, that an association for seditious purposes had been
formed under the title of United Britons, the members whereof were to
be admitted by a test.

The question of feeding the French prisoners of war again turned
up, and as it was not well understood, the _Morning Post_, 1st
of September, 1801, thus explains matters: “Much abuse is thrown
out against the French Government for not providing for the French
prisoners in this country. We do not mean to justify its conduct;
but the public should be informed how the question really stands. It
is the practice of all civilized nations to feed the prisoners they
take. Of course the French prisoners were kept at the expense of the
English Government till, a few years ago, reports were circulated of
their being starved and ill-treated. The French Government, in hopes
of stigmatizing the English Ministry as guilty of such an enormous
offence, offered to feed the French prisoners here at its own expense;
a proposal,which was readily accepted, as it saved much money to this
country; but the French Government has since discontinued its supplies,
and thus paid a compliment to our humanity at the expense of our purse.
In doing this, however, France has only reverted to the established
practice of war, and all the abuse of the Treasury journals for
withholding the supplies to the French prisoners, only betrays a gross
ignorance of the subject.”

Of their number, the _Morning Post_, 16th of October, 1801, says,
“The French prisoners in this country at present amount to upwards
of 20,000, and they are all effective men, the sick having been sent
home from time to time as they fell ill. Of these 20,000 men, nine out
of ten are able-bodied seamen; they are the best sailors of France,
the most daring and enterprising, who have been mostly employed in
privateers and small cruisers.” Some of them had been confined at
Portsmouth for eight years!

M. Otto, in spite of the rebuff he had experienced, the former
negotiations for peace having been broken off, was still in London,
where he acted as Commissary for exchange of prisoners. Napoleon was
making treaties of peace all round, and, if it were to be gained in
an honourable manner, it would be good also for England. So Lord
Hawkesbury, who was then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,
entered into communication with M. Otto, on the 21st of March,
signifying the King’s desire to enter into negotiations for peace,
and they went on all the summer. Of course all did not go smoothly,
especially with regard to the liberty of the English press, which
Napoleon cordially hated, and wished to see repressed and fettered; but
this, Lord Hawkesbury either would not, or dared not, agree to. The
public pulse was kept in a flutter by the exchange of couriers between
England and France, and many were the false rumours which caused the
Stocks to fluctuate. Even a few days before the Preliminaries were
signed, a most authentic report was afloat that all negotiations were
broken off; so we may imagine the universal joy when it was proclaimed
as an authentic fact.

It fairly took the Ministry by surprise when, on Wednesday, the 30th
of September, an answer was received from Napoleon, accepting the
English proposals. Previously, the situation had been very graphically,
if not very politely, described in a caricature by Roberts, called
“Negotiation See-saw,” where Napoleon and John Bull were represented
as playing at that game, seated on a plank labelled, “Peace or War.”
Napoleon expatiates on the fortunes of the game: “There, Johnny, now
I’m down, and you are up; then I go up, and you go down, Johnny; so we
go on.” John Bull’s appreciation of the humour of the sport is not so
keen; he growls, “I wish you would settle it one way or other, for if
you keep bumping me up and down in this manner, I shall be ruined in
Diachilem Plaster.”

But when the notification of acceptance did arrive, very little time
was lost in clinching the agreement. A Cabinet Council was held, and an
express sent off to the King, whose sanction returned next afternoon.
The silver box, which had never been used since the signature of
peace with America, was sent to the Lord Chancellor at 5 p.m. for the
Great Seal, and his signature; and, the consent of the other Cabinet
Ministers being obtained, at 7 p.m. Lord Hawkesbury and M. Otto signed
the Preliminaries of Peace in Downing Street, and his lordship at once
despatched the following letter, which must have gladdened the hearts
of the citizens, to the Lord Mayor.


  “_Downing Street, Oct. 1, 1801, at night._


 “I have great satisfaction in informing your Lordship that
 Preliminaries of Peace between Great Britain and France have been
 signed this evening by myself, on the part of His Majesty, and by M.
 Otto, on the part of the French Government. I request your Lordship
 will have the goodness to make this intelligence immediately public in
 the City.

  “I have the honour to be, &c.,
  “(_Signed_) HAWKESBURY.”

The Lord Mayor was not at the Mansion House, and the messenger had
to proceed to his private house at Clapham. His lordship returned to
town, and by nine o’clock the good news was known all over London.
The Lord Mayor read the letter at the Stock Exchange, and also at
Lloyd’s Coffee House, at the bar of which it was afterwards posted; for
Lloyd’s was then a great power in the City, from which all public acts,
subscriptions, &c., emanated, as was indeed but right, as it was the
assembly which embraced all the rich and influential merchants.

Among this class all was joy, and smiles, and shaking of hands. The
Three per Cents., which only the previous day were at 59½ rose to 66,
and Omnium, which had been at 8, rose to 18.

The news came so suddenly, that the illuminations on the night of
the 2nd of October were but very partial. We, who are accustomed
to brilliant devices in gas, with coruscating crystal stars, and
transparencies, would smile at the illuminations of those days. They
generally took the shape of a wooden triangle in each window-pane, on
which were stuck tallow candles, perpetually requiring snuffing, and
guttering with every draught; or, otherwise, a black-painted board with
a few coloured oil-lamps arranged in the form of a crown, with G. R. on
either side.

As is observed in the _Morning Post_ of the 3rd October, 1884: “The
sensation produced yesterday among the populace was nothing equal to
what might have been expected. The capture of half a dozen men-of-war,
or the conquest of a colony, would have been marked with a stronger
demonstration of joy. The illumination, so far from being general, was
principally confined to a few streets—the Strand, the Haymarket, Pall
Mall, and Fleet Street. In the last the Globe Tavern was lighted up at
an early hour, with the word _Peace_ in coloured lamps. This attracted
a considerable mob, which filled the street before the door. It was
apprehended that they would immediately set out on their tour through
the whole town, and enforce an universal illumination. This induced a
few of the bye-streets to follow the example, but nothing more. There
were several groups of people, but no crowd, in the neighbourhood of
Temple Bar. The other streets, even those that were illuminated, were
not more frequented than usual. St. James’s Street, Bond Street, and
the west part of the town; east of St. Paul’s, together with Holborn,
and the north part, did not illuminate. Several flags were hoisted
in the course of the day, and the bells of all the churches were set

To us, who are accustomed to have our news reeled out on paper tapes
hot and hot from the telegraph, or to converse with each other,
by means of the telephone, many miles apart, the method used to
disseminate the news of the peace throughout the country, seems to be
very primitive, and yet no better, nor quicker mode, could have been
devised in those days. The mail coaches were placarded PEACE WITH
FRANCE in large capitals, and the drivers all wore a sprig of laurel,
as an emblem of peace, in their hats.

The Preliminaries of Peace were ratified in Paris on the 5th of
October, but General Lauriston, who was to be the bearer of this
important document, did not set out from Paris until the evening of
the 7th, having been kept waiting until a magnificent gold box, as a
fitting shrine for so precious a relic, was finished; and he did not
land at Dover until Friday evening, the 9th of October, about 9 p.m.
He stayed a brief time at the City of London Inn, Dover, to rest and
refresh himself, sending forward a courier, magnificently attired in
scarlet and gold, to order horses on the road, and to apprise M. Otto
of his arrival. He soon followed in a carriage, with the horses and
driver bedecked with blue ribands, on which was the word PEACE. Of
course the mob surrounded him, and cheered and yelled as if mad—indeed
they must have been, for they actually shouted “Long live Bonaparte!”
At M. Otto’s house, the general was joined by that gentleman, who was
to accompany him to Reddish’s Hotel, in Bond Street. In Oxford Street,
however, the mob took the horses out of his carriage, and drew him
to the hotel, rending the air with shouts of joy; some amongst them
even mounting a tricoloured cockade. From the hotel window General
Lauriston scattered a handful of guineas among his friends, the mob,
who afterwards, when he went to Lord Hawkesbury’s office, once more
took out the horses, and dragged him from St. James’s Square to Downing

At half-past two the Park guns boomed forth the welcome news, and at
three the Tower guns proclaimed the fact to the dwellers in the City,
and the East end of London.

It was in vain that the general’s carriage was taken round to a back
entrance; the populace were not to be baulked of their amusement, and,
on his coming out, the horses were once more detached, men took their
places, and he was dragged as far as the Admiralty. Here he remained
some time, and was escorted to his carriage by Earl St. Vincent.
Said he to the mob, “Gentlemen! gentlemen!” (three huzzas for Earl
St. Vincent) “I request of you to be careful, and not overturn the
carriage.” The populace assured his lordship they would be careful
of, and respectful to, the strangers; and away they dragged the
carriage, with shouts, through St. James’s Park, round the Palace, by
the Stable-yard, making the old place ring with their yells, finally
landing the general uninjured at his hotel.

At night the illuminations were very fine, and there were many
transparencies, one or two of which were, to say the least, peculiar.
One in Pall Mall had a flying Cupid holding a miniature of Napoleon,
with a scroll underneath, “Peace and Happiness to Great Britain.”
Another opposite M. Otto’s house, in Hereford Street, Oxford Street,
had a transparency of Bonaparte, with the legend, “Saviour of the
Universe.” Guildhall displayed in front, a crown and G. R., with a
small transparency representing a dove, surrounded with olive. The Post
Office had over 6,000 lamps. The India House was brilliant with some
1,700 lamps, besides G. R. and a large PEACE. The Mansion House looked
very gloomy. G. R. was in the centre, but one half of the R was broken.
The pillars were wreathed with lamps. The Bank only had a double row of
candles in front.

Squibs, rockets, and pistols were let off in the streets, and the
noise would probably have continued all night, had not a terrible
thunder-storm cleared the streets about 11 p.m.

On the 12th, the illuminations were repeated with even more brilliancy,
and all went off well. One effect of the peace, which could not fail to
be gratifying to all, was the fact, that wheat fell, next marketday,
some 10s. to 14s. per quarter.

The popular demonstrations of joy occasionally took odd forms, for
it is recorded that at Falmouth, not only the horses, but the cows,
calves, and asses were decorated with ribands, in celebration of the
peace; and a publican at Lambeth, who had made a vow that whenever
peace was made, he would give away all the beer in his cellar, actually
did so on the 13th of October.

As was but natural, the Lord Mayor’s installation, on the 9th of
November, had a peculiar significance. The Show was not out of the way,
at least nothing singular about it is recorded, except the appearance
of a knight in armour with his page at the corner of Bride Lane, Bridge
Street, had anything to do with it; probably he was only an amateur, as
he does not seem to have joined the procession. In the Guildhall was a
transparency of Peace surrounded by four figures, typical of the four
quarters of the globe returning their acknowledgments for the blessings
showered upon them. There were other emblematic transparencies, but
the contemporary art critic does not speak very favourably of them. M.
Otto and his wife, an American born at Philadelphia, were _the_ guests
of the evening, even more than the Lord Chancellor, and the usual
ministerial following.

Bread varied in this year from 1s. 9¼d. on the 1st of January to 1s.
10½d. on the 5th of March, 10¼d. on the 12th of November, and 1s.
0¼d. on the 31st of December. Anent the scarcity of wheat at the
commencement of the year, there is a singular item to be found in the
“Account of Moneys advanced for Public Services from the Civil List
(not being part of the ordinary expenditure of the Civil List),” of a
“grant of £500 to Thomas Toden, Esq., towards enabling him to prosecute
a discovery made by him, of a paste as a substitute for wheat flour.”

Wheat was on January 1st, 137s. per quarter; it reached 153s. in March;
and left off on the 31st of December at 68s.

The Three per Cents. varied from 54 on the 1st of January, to 68 on the
31st of December.




 Disarmament and retrenchment—Cheaper provisions—King applied to
 Parliament to pay his debts—The Prince of Wales claimed the revenues
 of the Duchy of Cornwall—Parliament pays the King’s debts—Abolition
 of the Income Tax—Signature of the Treaty of Amiens—Conditions of
 the Treaty—Rush of the English to France—Visit of C. J. Fox to
 Napoleon—Liberation of the French prisoners of war.

THE year 1802 opened somewhat dully, or, rather, with a want of
sensational news. Disarmament, and retrenchment, were being carried
out with a swiftness that seemed somewhat incautious, and premature.
But the people had been sorely taxed, and it was but fitting that the
burden should be removed at the earliest opportunity.

Provisions fell to something like a normal price, directly the
Preliminaries of Peace were signed, and a large trade in all sorts of
eatables was soon organized with France, where prices ruled much lower
than at home. All kinds of poultry and pigs, although neither were in
prime condition, could be imported at a much lower rate than they could
be obtained from the country.

Woodward gives an amusing sketch of John Bull enjoying the good things
of this life, on a scale, and at a cost, to which he had long been a


On the 10th of February the Right Hon. Charles Abbot, afterwards Lord
Colchester, was elected Speaker to the House of Commons, in the room
of the Right Hon. John Nutford, who had accepted the position of
Chancellor of Ireland; and, on the 15th of February, Mr. Chancellor
Addington presented the following message from the King:


 “His Majesty feels great concern in acquainting the House of Commons
 that the provision made by Parliament for defraying the expenses
 of his household, and civil government, has been found inadequate
 to their support. A considerable debt has, in consequence, been
 unavoidably incurred, an account of which he has ordered to be laid
 before this House. His Majesty relies with confidence on the zeal
 and affection of his faithful Commons, that they will take the same
 into their early consideration, and adopt such measures as the
 circumstances may appear to them to require.

  “G. R.”

This message was referred to a Committee of Supply, and, at the same
time, the Prince of Wales, not to be behind his father, made a claim
for the amount of the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall received during
his minority, and applied to the use of the Civil List. The King had
“overrun the constable” at an alarming rate. He only wanted about a
million sterling, and this state of indebtedness was attributed to many
causes. The dearness of provisions, &c., during the last three years;
the extra expenses caused by the younger princes and princesses growing
up, which ran the Queen into debt; the marriage of the Prince of Wales,
the support of the Princess Charlotte, pensions to late ministers to
foreign courts, &c. In the long run John Bull put his hands in his
pockets, and paid the bill, £990,053—all which had been contracted
since the passing of Burke’s Bill on the subject, and exclusive of the
sums paid in 1784 and 1786. The Prince of Wales was not so lucky with
his application at this time. The Chancellor of the Exchequer could not
stand two heavy pulls upon his purse.

Well, as a sop, John got rid of the Income Tax. Like the “Old Man of
the Sea,” which we have to carry on our shoulders, it was originally
proposed as a war tax; but, unlike ours, faith was kept with the
people, and, with the cessation of the war, the tax died. A very
amusing satirical print, given here, is by Woodward, and shows the
departure of the Income Tax, who is flying away, saying, “Farewell,
Johnny—remember me!” John Bull, relieved of his presence, growls out:
“Yes, d—n thee; I have reason to remember thee; but good-bye. So
thou’rt off; I don’t care; go where thou wilt, thou’lt be a plague in
the land thou lightest on.”


The negotiations for peace hung fire for a long time. Preliminaries
were ratified, as we have seen, in October, but the old year died, and
the new year was born, and still no sign to the public that the peace
was a real fact; they could only see that a large French armament had
been sent to the West Indies; nor was it until the 29th of March, that
the citizens of London heard the joyful news, from the following letter
to the Lord Mayor:

  “_Downing Street, March 29, 1802._


 “Mr. Moore, assistant secretary to Marquis Cornwallis, has just
 arrived with the definite treaty of peace, which was signed at
 Amiens, on the 27th of this month, by His Majesty’s plenipotentiary,
 and the plenipotentiaries of France, Spain, and the Batavian

  “I have the honour, &c.,

It must have been a great relief to the public mind, as the armistice
was a somewhat expensive arrangement, costing, it is said, a million
sterling per week! One of the causes, said to be the principal, of
the delay in coming to an understanding, was the question respecting
the payment of the expenses, incurred by our Government, for the
maintenance of the French prisoners of war. They amounted to upwards of
two millions sterling, and a proposal was made by England, but rejected
on the part of the French, to accept the island of Tobago as an
equivalent. It was afterwards left to be paid as quickly as convenient.
There were no regular illuminations on the arrival of this news, but of
course many patriotic individuals vented their feelings in oil lamps,
candles, and transparencies.

But what were the conditions of this Peace? The English restored
“to the French Republic and its Allies, viz., His Catholic Majesty,
and the Batavian Republic, all the possessions, and colonies, which
respectively belonged to them, and which have been either occupied,
or conquered, by the British forces during the course of the present
war, with the exception of the island of Trinidad, and of the Dutch
possessions in the island of Ceylon.”

“The Port of the Cape of Good Hope remains to the Batavian Republic in
full sovereignty, in the same manner as it did previous to the war.
The ships of every kind belonging to the other contracting parties,
shall be allowed to enter the said port, and there to purchase what
provisions they may stand in need of, as heretofore, without being
liable to pay any other imports than such as the Batavian Republic
compels the ships of its own nation to pay.”

A portion of Portuguese Guiana was ceded to the French in order to
rectify the boundaries; the territories, possessions, and rights of the
Sublime Porte were to be maintained as formerly.

The islands of Malta, Goza, and Comino were to be restored to the Order
of St. John of Jerusalem, and the forces of His Britannic Majesty
were to evacuate Malta, and its dependencies, within three months of
the exchange of the ratifications, or sooner, if possible. Half the
garrison should be Maltese, and the other half (2,000 men) should
be furnished, for a time, by the King of Naples; and France, Great
Britain, Austria, Spain, Russia, and Prussia were the guarantors of its

The French troops were to evacuate the kingdom of Naples, and the Roman
States, and the English troops were to evacuate Porto Ferrajo, and all
the ports, and islands they occupied in the Mediterranean, and the

The Prince of Orange was to have adequate compensation for the losses
suffered by him in Holland, in consequence of the revolution; and
persons accused of murder, forgery, or fraudulent bankruptcy, were to
be given up to their respective Powers, on demand, accompanied by proof.

This, then, was the Treaty of Amiens, in which France certainly came
best off; and so the popular voice seemed to think, although thankful
for any cessation of the constant drain of men and treasure, combined
with privations at home, and loss of trade.

A satirical print by Ansell, clearly shows this feeling.

Peace greets John Bull with—“Here I am, Johnny, arrived at last! Like
to have been lost at sea; poles of the chaise broke at Dover, springs
of the next chaise gave way at Canterbury, and one of the horses fell,
and overturned the other chaise at Dartford. Ah, Johnny! I wonder we
have ever arrived at all.” John Bull replies, “Odds niggins!!! Why, is
that you? have I been waiting all this time to be blessed with such
a poor ugly crippled _piece_? and all you have with you is a quid of
tobacco and some allspice.” Mrs. Bull asks her husband, “Why, John, be
this she you have been talking so much about?”


There was a wild rush of English over to France, and the French
returned the compliment, but not in the same ratio; the Continental
stomach having then, the same antipathy to the passage of the Channel,
as now. Still there was an attempt at an _entente cordiale_, which
was well exemplified by a contemporary artist (unknown), in a picture
called “A Peaceable Pipe, or a Consular Visit to John Bull.” Napoleon
is having a pleasant chat with his old foe, smoking, and drinking
beer with him. John Bull toasts his guest. “Here’s to you, Master
Boney Party. Come, take another whiff, my hearty.” Napoleon accepts
the invitation with, “Je vous remercie, John Bull; I think I’ll take
another pull.” Whilst the gentlemen are thus pleasantly engaged, Mrs.
Bull works hard mending John’s too well-worn breeches; and as she
works, she says, “Now we are at peace, if my husband does take a drop
extraordinary, I don’t much mind; but when he was at war, he was always
grumbling. Bless me, how tiresome these old breeches are to mend; no
wonder he wore them out, for he had always his hands in his pockets for
something or other.”

Among the other Englishmen who took advantage of the peace to go over
to France, was Charles James Fox, who, immediately after his election
for Westminster, on July 15, 1802, started off for Paris, professedly
to search the archives there, for material for his introductory
chapter to “A History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the
Second.” A history of this trip was afterwards written by his private
secretary, Mr. Trotter.[15] He and Mrs. Fox, who was now first publicly
acknowledged as his wife, were introduced to Napoleon; a subject most
humorously treated by Gillray, in his “Introduction of Citizen Volpone
and his Suite at Paris.” Napoleon, in full Court costume, and wearing
an enormous cocked hat and feathers, is seated on a chair, which is
emblematical of his sovereignty of the world, and is surrounded by a
Mameluke guard. Fox and his wife, both enormously fat, yet bowing and
curtseying respectively, with infinite grace, are being introduced by
O’Connor, who had, aforetime, been in treaty with the French Government
for the invasion of Ireland. Erskine, in full forensic costume,
bows, with his hand on his heart; and Lord and Lady Holland help to
fill the picture. But the real account of his reception was very
different (_teste_ Mr. Trotter). “We reached the interior apartment,
where Bonaparte, First Consul, surrounded by his generals, ministers,
senators, and officers, stood between the second and third Consuls,
Le Brun and Cambacérès, in the centre of a semicircle, at the head of
the room! The numerous assemblage from the _Salle des Ambassadeurs_,
formed into another semicircle, joined themselves to that, at the head
of which stood the First Consul.... The moment the circle was formed,
Bonaparte began with the Spanish Ambassador, then went to the American,
with whom he spoke some time, and so on, performing his part with ease,
and very agreeably, until he came to the English Ambassador, who,
after the presentation of some English noblemen, announced to him Mr.
Fox. He was a great deal flurried, and, after indicating considerable
emotion, very rapidly said, ‘Ah, Mr. Fox! I have heard with pleasure of
your arrival, I have desired much to see you; I have long admired in
you the orator and friend of his country, who, in constantly raising
his voice for peace, consulted that country’s best interests, those of
Europe, and of the human race. The two great nations of Europe require
peace; they have nothing to fear; they ought to understand and value
one another. In you, Mr. Fox, I see, with much satisfaction, that great
statesman who recommended peace, because there was no just object of
war; who saw Europe desolated to no purpose, and who struggled for
its relief.’ Mr. Fox said little, or rather nothing, in reply—to a
complimentary address to himself, he always found invincible repugnance
to answer—nor did he bestow one word of admiration or applause upon
the extraordinary and elevated character who addressed him. A few
questions and answers relative to Mr. Fox’s tour, terminated the

According to Article II. of the Treaty of Amiens, “All the prisoners
made on one side and the other, as well by land as by sea, and the
hostages carried off, or delivered up, during the war, and up to the
present day, shall be restored, without ransom, in six weeks at the
latest, to be reckoned from the day on which the ratifications of the
present treaty are exchanged, and on paying the debts which they shall
have contracted during their captivity.”

The invaluable M. Otto wrote the _detenus_ a letter, in which, whilst
congratulating them, he exhorted them to subdue all spirit of party,
if, indeed, it had not already been effected by their years of
suffering, and captivity, and cautioned them as to their behaviour on
their return, telling them of the change for the better which they
would not fail to observe. Glad, indeed, must these poor captives have
been at the prospect of once more setting foot on _La belle France_;
and that the English Government made no unnecessary delay in helping
them to the consummation of their wishes, is evident, for, on the
10th of April, upwards of 1,000 of them were liberated from the depôt
at Norman Cross, preparatory to their being conveyed to Dunkirk. The
others—at least, all those who were willing and able to go—soon left

“Several of the French prisoners who embarked at Plymouth on Thursday,
on board the coasters and trawl boats, having liberty to come on shore
until morning, thought the indulgence so sweet, that they stayed up
the whole night. This morning, at three o’clock, they sung in very
good style through the different streets, the ‘Marseillais Hymn,’
the ‘Austrian Retreat,’ with several other popular French songs, and
concluded with the popular British song of ‘God save the King,’ in very
good English.”—_Morning Herald_, April 19, 1802.




 Proclamation of Peace—Manner of the procession,
 &c.—Illuminations—Day of General Thanksgiving—General Election—A
 dishonoured Government bill—Cloth riots in Wiltshire—Plot to
 assassinate the King—Arrest of Colonel Despard—Trial and sentence of
 the conspirators—Their fate.

ON THE 21st of April, a proclamation was issued, ordering a public
thanksgiving for Peace, to be solemnized on 1st of June. On the 26th of
April, the King proclaimed Peace, in the following terms:

  “By the KING. A Proclamation.

 “G. R.,

 “Whereas a definitive treaty of peace, and friendship, between us,
 the French Republic, His Catholic Majesty, and the Batavian Republic,
 hath been concluded at Amiens on the 27th day of March last, and
 the ratifications thereof have been duly exchanged; in conformity
 thereunto, We have thought fit, hereby, to command that the same be
 published throughout all our dominions; and we do declare to all our
 loving subjects our will and pleasure, that the said treaty of peace,
 and friendship, be observed inviolably, as well by sea as by land,
 and in all places whatsoever; strictly charging, and commanding, all
 our loving subjects to take notice hereof, and to conform themselves
 thereunto, accordingly.

  “Given at our Court at Windsor, the 26th day of April,
  1802, in the forty-second year of our reign.
  “God save the King.”

On the 29th of April, a public proclamation of the same was made, and
it must have been a far more imposing spectacle than the very shabby
scene displayed in 1856. All mustered in the Stable-yard, St. James’s.
The Heralds and Pursuivants were in their proper habits, and, preceded
by the Sergeant Trumpeter with his trumpets, the Drum Major with his
drums, and escorted on either side by Horse Guards, they sallied forth,
and read aloud the Proclamation in front of the Palace. We can picture
the roar of shouting, and the waving of hats, after the Deputy Garter’s
sonorous “God save the King!” A procession was then formed, and moved
solemnly towards Charing Cross, where another halt was made, and the
Proclamation was read, the Herald looking towards Whitehall. The
following is the order of the procession:

  Two Dragoons.
  Two Pioneers, with axes in their hands.
  Two Trumpeters.
  Horse Guards, six abreast.
  Beadles of Westminster, two and two, with staves.
  Constables of Westminster.
  High Constable, with his staff, on horseback.
  Officers of the High Bailiff of Westminster, with white wands,
      on horseback.
  Clerk of the High Bailiff.
  High Bailiff and Deputy Steward.
  Horse Guards.
  Knight Marshal’s men, two and two.
  Knight Marshal.
  Drum Major.
  Sergeant Trumpeters.
  Sergeants-at-Arms. { Heralds.      } Sergeants-at-Arms.
                     { King-at-Arms. }
  Horse Guards.

  Horse Guards flanked the Procession.

  Horse Guards flanked the Procession.

Thence to Temple Bar, which, according to precedent, was shut—with the
Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and civic officials on the other side. The minor
Officer of Arms stepped out of the procession between two trumpeters,
and, preceded by two Horse Guards, rode up to the gates, and after the
trumpeters had sounded thrice, he knocked thereat with a cane. From the
other side the City Marshal asked, “Who comes there?” and the Herald
replied: “The Officers of Arms, who demand entrance into the City, to
publish His Majesty’s Proclamation of Peace.” The gates being opened,
he was admitted alone, and the gates were shut behind him. The City
Marshal, preceded by his officers, conducted him to the Lord Mayor,
to whom he showed His Majesty’s Warrant, which his lordship having
read, returned, and gave directions to the City Marshal to open the
gates, who duly performed his mission, and notified the same to the
Herald in the words—“Sir, the gates are opened.” The Herald returned
to his place, the procession entered the Bar, and, having halted, the
Proclamation was again read.

The Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, &c., then joined the procession in the
following order:

  The Volunteer Corps of the City.
  The King’s Procession, as before stated.
  Four Constables together.
  Six Marshal’s men, three and three, on foot.
  Six Trumpeters, three and three.
  Band of Music.
  Sheriff’s   { Two Marshals on horseback.   }  Sheriff’s
  Officers    { Two Sheriffs on horseback.   }  Officers
  on foot.    { Sword and Mace on horseback. }  on foot.
  Porter in a black   { LORD MAYOR, mounted on a }  Beadle.
  gown and staff.     { beautiful bay horse.              }
  Household on foot.
  Six Footmen in rich liveries, three and three.
  State Coach with six horses, with ribands, &c.
  Aldermen in seniority, in their coaches.
  Carriages of the two Sheriffs.
  Officers of the City, in carriages, in seniority.
  Horse Guards.

The line of procession was kept by different Volunteer Corps.

The Proclamation having been read a fourth time, at Wood Street, they
went on to the Exchange, read it there, and yet once again, at Aldgate
pump, after which they returned, and, halting at the Mansion House,
broke up, the Heralds going to their College, at Doctor’s Commons,
the various troops to their proper destinations; and so ended a very
beautiful sight, which was witnessed by crowds of people, both in the
streets, and in the houses, along the route.

The illuminations, at night, eclipsed all previous occasions, Smirk,
the Royal Academician, painting a transparency for the Bank of England,
very large, and very allegorical. M. Otto’s house, in Portman Square,
was particularly beautiful, and kept the square full of gazers all the
night through. There were several accidents during the day, one of
which was somewhat singular. One of the outside ornaments of St. Mary
le Strand, then called the New Church, fell down, killing one man on
the spot, and seriously damaging three others.

The day of General Thanksgiving was very sober, comparatively. Both
Houses of Parliament attended Divine service, as did the Lord Mayor and
Sheriffs, who went in state to St. Paul’s. Most of the churches were
well filled, and flags flew, and bells rung, all day.

In July came a General Election, which evoked a lawless saturnalia
throughout the length and breadth of the land. An election in our own
times—before the ballot brought peace—was bad enough, but then the
duration of the polling was nothing like it was in the days of which I
write. The County polling lasted fourteen days; Boroughs, seven days.

The _Morning Herald_, July 14, 1802, thus speaks of the Middlesex
election: “During the business of polling, the populace amused
themselves in varieties of whimsicalities, one of which was the
exhibition of a man on the shoulders of another, handcuffed and
heavily ironed, while a third was employed in flogging him with a
tremendous cat-o’-nine-tails, and the man who received the punishment,
by his contortions of countenance, seemed to experience all the misery
which such a mode of punishment inflicts. The shops were all shut in
Brentford, and the road leading to London was lined on each side with
crowds of idle spectators. It is impossible for any but those who have
witnessed a Middlesex election to conceive the picture it exhibits; it
is one continual scene of riot, disorder, and tumult.”

And, whilst on the subject of Politics, although they have no proper
place in this history, as it deals more especially with the social
aspect of this portion of the Century, yet it is interesting to be
acquainted with the living aspect of some of the politicians of the
time, and, thanks to Gillray, they are forthcoming in two of his
pictures I have here given.

This is founded on a serio-comic incident which occurred in a debate on
Supply, on March 4, 1802.[16] “The report of the Committee of Supply,
to whom the Army estimates were referred, being brought up, Mr. Robson
proceeded to point out various heads of expenditure, which, he said,
were highly improper, such as the barracks, the expenses of corn and
hay for the horses of the cavalry, the coals and candles for the men,
the expenses of which he contended to be enormous. The sum charged for
beer to the troops at the Isle of Wight, he said, was also beyond his
comprehension. He maintained that this mode of voting expenditure, by
months, was dangerous; the sum, coming thus by driblets, did not strike
the imagination in the same manner as they would do, if the whole
service of the year came before the public at once, and that the more
particularly, as money was raised by Exchequer bills, to be hereafter
provided for, instead of bringing out at once the budget of taxes for
the year. He alleged that those things were most alarming, and the
country was beginning to feel the effects of them. Gentlemen might
fence themselves round with majorities; but the time would come when
there must be an account given of the public money. The finances of the
country were in so desperate a situation, that Government was unable
to discharge its bills; for a fact had come within his knowledge, of
a bill, accepted by Government, having been dishonoured. (A general
exclamation of hear! hear!)


“Mr. Robson, however, stuck to it as a fact, saying that ‘it was
true that a banker, a member of that House, did take an acceptance to
a public office—the sum was small. The answer at that public office
was “that they had not money to pay it.“‘ On being pressed to name the
office, he said it was the Sick and Hurt Office.

[Illustration: “DESPAIR.”]

“Later on in the evening Addington said, ‘I find that the amount of the
bill accepted by Government, and non-payment of which was to denote the
insolvency of Government, is—£19 7s. Whether or not the bill was paid,
remains to be proved; but my information comes from the same source as
the hon. member derives his accusation. At all events, the instance of
the hon. member of the insolvency of the Government is a bill of £19

“Mr. Robson said that was so much the worse, as the bill was in the
hands of a poor man who wanted the money.”

In August some riots occurred in Wiltshire, caused by the introduction
of machinery into cloth-working. What Hargreaves, Arkwright, and
Crompton, had done for the cotton trade, was bound, sooner or later,
to be followed by other textile industries. In this case a shearing
machine had been introduced into a large factory, some three years
back, and, like the silversmiths at Ephesus, the cloth-workers thought
that “thus our craft is in danger of being set at nought;” and they
did what most poor ignorant men have done under like circumstances,
they thought they could retard the march of intellect, by breaking
the objectionable machines. Not only so, but, in their senseless
folly, they cut, and destroyed, much valuable property in the
cloth-racks—altogether the damage done was computed at over £100,000.
For this, one man was tried at Gloucester Assizes, and hanged—a fate
which seems to have acted as a warning to his brother craftsmen, for
there was no repetition of the outrage. In this case, the machinery,
being very expensive, could only be introduced into large mills,
the owners of which did not discharge a man on its account, and
the smaller masters were left to plod on in the old way, in which
their soul delighted, and to go quietly to decay, whilst their more
go-ahead neighbours were laying the foundation of a business which,
in time, supplied the markets of the world. But there was the same
opposition to the _Spinning Jenny_, and we have seen, in our time, the
stolid resistance offered by agricultural labourers to every kind of
novel machine used in farming, so that we can more pity, than blame,
these deluded, and ignorant, cloth-workers, because they were not so
far-seeing as the manufacturers.

It was mysteriously whispered about on the evening of the 18th of
November, that a plot had been discovered, having for its object the
assassination of the King; and next day the news was confirmed—Colonel
Despard, of whom I have before spoken (see p. 37), was at the head of
this plot. He was an Irishman, and had seen military service in the
West Indies, on the Spanish Main, and in the Bay of Honduras, where
he acted as Superintendent of the English Colony; but, owing to their
complaints, he was recalled, and an inquiry into his conduct was
refused. This, no doubt, soured him, and made him disaffected, causing
him to espouse the doctrines of the French Revolution. On account of
his seditious behaviour, he was arrested under the “Suspension of the
Habeas Corpus” Act (1794), and passed some years in prison; and, as we
have seen, preferred continuing there, to having a conditional pardon.
On his liberation, this misguided man could not keep quiet, but must
needs plot, in a most insane manner, not for any good to be done to his
country, to redress no grievances, but simply to assassinate the King,
forgetting that another was ready to take the place of the slaughtered

Of course, among a concourse of petty rogues, one was traitor,
a discharged sergeant of the Guards; and, in consequence of his
revelations to Sir Richard Ford, the chief magistrate at Bow Street,
a raid, at night, was made upon the Oakley Arms, Oakley Street,
Lambeth (still in existence at No. 72), and there they found Colonel
Despard and thirty-two labouring men and soldiers—English, Irish, and
Scotch—all of whom they took into custody, and, after being examined
for eight hours, the Colonel was committed to the County Gaol, twelve
of his companions (six being soldiers) to Tothill Fields Bridewell, and
twenty others to the New Prison, Clerkenwell.

Next day he was brought up, heavily ironed, before the Privy Council,
and committed to Newgate for trial, the charge against him being,
that he administered a secret oath to divers persons, binding them to
an active cooperation in the performance of certain treasonable, and
murderous, practices. As a matter of history, his fate belongs to the
next year, but 1803 was so full of incident that it is better to finish
off this pitiful rogue (for he was no patriot) at once.

On the 20th of January, 1803, the Grand Jury brought in a true bill
against him and twelve others, on the charge of high treason; and on
the 5th of February their trial, by Special Commission, commenced,
at the Sessions House, Clerkenwell, before four judges. They were
tried on eight counts, the fifth and sixth of which charged them
with “intending to lie in wait, and attack the King, and treating
of the time, means, and place, for effecting the same;” also “with a
conspiracy to attack and seize upon the Bank, Tower, &c., to possess
themselves of arms, in order to kill and destroy the soldiers and
others, His Majesty’s liege subjects,” &c. The trial lasted until 8
a.m. on the 10th of February, when Despard, who was found guilty on
the 8th, and nine others, were sentenced to be hanged, disembowelled,
beheaded, and quartered. But the day before they were executed, it
was “thought fit to remit part of the sentence, viz., taking out and
burning their bowels before their faces, and dividing the bodies into
four parts.” They were to be hanged, and afterwards beheaded; and this
sentence was fully carried out on Despard, and six of his accomplices,
on the 21st of February, 1803.

And so the year came to an end, but not quietly; clouds were distinctly
visible in the horizon to those who watched the political weather.
England hesitated to fulfil her portion of the treaty, with regard
to the evacuation of Malta; and the relations of Lord Whitworth, our
Ambassador, and the French Court, became somewhat strained.

Still the Three per Cents. kept up—in January 68, July 70, December
69; and bread stuffs were decidedly cheaper than in the preceding
year—wheat averaging 68s. per. quarter, barley 33s., oats 20s., whilst
the average quartern loaf was 1s.





 Strained relations with France—Prosecution and trial of Jean
 Peltier for libel against Napoleon—Rumours of war—King’s
 proclamation—Napoleon’s rudeness to Lord Whitworth—Hoax on the Lord
 Mayor—Rupture with France—Return of Lord Whitworth, and departure of
 the French Ambassador.

POLITICAL Caricatures, or, as they should rather be called, Satirical
Prints, form very good indications as to the feeling of the country;
and, on the commencement of 1803, they evidently pointed to a rupture
with France, owing to the ambition of Napoleon. Lord Whitworth found
him anything but pleasant to deal with. He was always harping on
the license of the British press, and showed his ignorance of our
laws and constitution by demanding its suppression. Hence sprung the
prosecution, in our Law Courts, of one Jean Peltier, who conducted a
journal in the French language—called _L’Ambigu_.

Napoleon’s grumbling at the license of our press, was somewhat amusing,
for the French press was constantly publishing libels against England,
and, as Lord Hawkesbury remarked, the whole period, since the signing
of the treaty, had been “one continued series of aggression, violence,
and insult, on the part of the French Government.” Still, to show
every desire to act most impartially towards Napoleon, although the
relations with his government were most strained, Jean Peltier was
indicted; and his trial was commenced in the Court of King’s Bench, on
the 21st of February, 1803, before Lord Ellenborough and a special jury.

The information was filed by the Attorney General, and set forth: “That
peace existed between Napoleon Bonaparte and our Lord the King; but
that M. Peltier, intending to destroy the friendship so existing, and
to despoil said Napoleon of his consular dignity, did devise, print,
and publish, in the French language, to the tenor following”—what
was undoubtedly calculated to stir up the French against their ruler.
The Attorney General, in his speech, details the libels, and gives
the following description of the paper. “The publication is called
_The Ambigu, or atrocious and amusing Varieties_. It has on its
frontispiece a sphinx, with a great variety of Egyptian emblematical
figures, the meaning of which may not be very easy to discover, or
material to inquire after. But there is a circumstance which marks this
publication, namely, the head of the sphinx, with a crown on it. It
is a head, which I cannot pretend to say, never having seen Bonaparte
himself, but only from the different pictures of him, one cannot fail,
at the first blush, to suppose it was intended as the portrait of the
First Consul,” &c.

It is very questionable, nowadays, whether such a press prosecution
would have been inaugurated, or, if so, whether it would have been
successful, yet there was some pretty hard hitting. “And now this
tiger, who dares to call himself the founder, or the regenerator, of
France, enjoys the fruit of your labours, as spoil taken from the
enemy. This man, sole master in the midst of those who surround him,
has ordained lists of proscription, and put in execution, banishment
without sentence, by means of which there are punishments for the
French who have not yet seen the light. Proscribed families give
birth to children, oppressed before they are born; their misery has
commenced before their life. His wickedness increases every day.”
The Attorney General gave many similar passages, which it would be
too tedious to reproduce, winding up with the following quotation:
“‘Kings are at his feet, begging his favour. He is desired to secure
the supreme authority in his hands. The French, nay, Kings themselves,
hasten to congratulate him, and would take the oath to him like
subjects. He is proclaimed Chief Consul for life. As for me, far from
envying his lot, let him name, I consent to it, his worthy successor.
Carried on the shield, let him be elected Emperor! Finally (and Romulus
recalls the thing to mind), I wish, on the morrow, he may have his
apotheosis. Amen.’ Now, gentlemen, he says, Romulus suggests that idea.
The fate that is ascribed to him is well known to all of us—according
to ancient history, he was assassinated.”

Peltier’s counsel, a Mr. Mackintosh, defended him very ably, asking
pertinently: “When Robespierre presided over the Committee of Public
Safety, was not an Englishman to canvass his measures? Supposing we
had then been at peace with France, would the Attorney General have
filed an information against any one who had expressed due abhorrence
of the furies of that sanguinary monster? When Marat demanded 250,000
heads in the Convention, must we have contemplated that request without
speaking of it in the terms it provoked? When Carrier placed five
hundred children in a square at Lyons, to fall by the musketry of the
soldiery, and from their size the balls passed over them, the little
innocents flew to the knees of the soldiery for protection, when
they were butchered by the bayonet! In relating this event, must man
restrain his just indignation, and stifle the expression of indignant
horror such a dreadful massacre must excite? Would the Attorney General
in his information state, that when Maximilian Robespierre was first
magistrate of France, as President of the Committee of Public Safety,
that those who spoke of him as his crimes deserved, did it with a
wicked and malignant intention to defame and vilify him....

“In the days of Cromwell, he twice sent a satirist upon his government
to be tried by a jury, who sat where this jury now sit. The scaffold
on which the blood of the monarch was shed was still in their view.
The clashing of the bayonets which turned out the Parliament was still
within their hearing; yet they maintained their integrity, and twice
did they send his Attorney General out of court, with disgrace and

However, all the eloquence, and ingenuity, of his counsel failed to
prevent a conviction. Peltier was found guilty and, time being taken to
consider judgment, he was bound over to appear, and receive judgment
when called upon. That time never came, for war broke out between
France and England, and Peltier was either forgotten, or his offence
was looked upon in a totally different light.

The English Government looked with great distrust upon Napoleon, and
the increasing armament on the Continent, and temporized as to the
evacuation of Malta, to the First Consul’s intense disgust. But the
Ministry of that day were watchful, and jealous of England’s honour,
and as early as the 8th of March, the King sent the following message
to Parliament:


“His Majesty thinks it necessary to acquaint the House of Commons,
that, as very considerable military preparations are carrying on in
the ports of France and Holland, he has judged it expedient to adopt
additional measures of precaution for the security of his dominions;
though the preparations to which His Majesty refers are avowedly
directed to Colonial service, yet, as discussions of great importance
are now subsisting between His Majesty and the French Government,
the result of which must, at present, be uncertain, His Majesty is
induced to make this communication to his faithful Commons, in the
full persuasion that, whilst they partake of His Majesty’s earnest
and unvarying solicitude for the continuance of peace, he may rely
with perfect confidence on their public spirit, and liberality, to
enable His Majesty to adopt such measures as circumstances may appear
to require, for supporting the honour of his Crown, and the essential
interests of his people.

  “G. R.”

An address in accordance with the message was agreed to by both Houses,
and, on the 10th, the King sent Parliament another message, to the
effect he intended to draw out, and embody, the Militia. On the 11th of
March the Commons voted the following resolution, “That an additional
number of 10,000 men be employed for the sea service, for eleven lunar
months, to commence from the 26th of February, 1803, including 3400

Events were marching quickly. On the 13th of March Napoleon behaved
very rudely to Lord Whitworth; in fact it was almost a parallel case
with the King of Prussia’s rudeness to M. Benedetti on the 13th of
July, 1870. But let our Ambassador tell his own story:

 “_Despatch from Lord Whitworth to Lord Hawkesbury dated Paris the 14th
 of March, 1803_.


“The messenger, Mason, went on Saturday with my despatches of that
date, and, until yesterday, Sunday, I saw no one likely to give me any
further information, such as I could depend upon, as to the effect
which His Majesty’s Message had produced upon the First Consul.

“At the Court which was held at the Tuileries upon that day, he
accosted me, evidently under very considerable agitation. He began
by asking me if I had any news from England. I told him that I had
received letters from your lordship two days ago. He immediately
said, ‘And so you are determined to go to war.’ ‘No!’ I replied,
‘we are too sensible of the advantages of peace.’ ‘Nous avons,’ said
he, ‘déjà fait la guerre pendant quinze ans.’ As he seemed to wait
for an answer, I observed only, ‘C’en est déjà trop.’ ‘Mais,’ said
he, ‘vous voulez la faire encore quinze années, et vous m’y forcez.’
I told him that was very far from His Majesty’s intentions. He then
proceeded to Count Marcow, and the Chevalier Azara, who were standing
together, at a little distance from me, and said to them, ‘Les Anglais
veulent la guerre, mais s’ils sont les premiers à tirer l’epée, je
serai le dernier à la remettre. Ils ne respectent pas les traités. Il
faut dorénavant les couvrir de crêpe noir.’ He then went his round.
In a few minutes he came back to me, and resumed the conversation,
if such it can be called, by saying something civil to me. He began
again: ‘Pourquoi des armémens? Contre qui des mesures de précaution?
Je n’ai pas un seul vaisseau de ligne dans les ports de France; mais,
si vous voulez armer, j’armerai aussi; si vous voulez vous battre,
je me battrai aussi. Vous pourrez peut-être tuer la France, mais
jamais l’intimider.’ ‘On ne voudrait,’ said I ‘ni l’un, ni l’autre.
On voudrait vivre en bonne intelligence avec elle.’ ‘Il faut donc
respecter les traités,’ replied he; ‘malheur à ceux qui ne respectent
pas les traités; ils en serait responsible à toute l’Europe.’ He
was too much agitated to make it advisable for me to prolong the
conversation; I therefore made no answer, and he retired to his
apartment, repeating the last phrase.

“It is to be remarked, that all this passed loud enough to be overheard
by two hundred people who were present, and I am persuaded that there
was not a single person, who did not feel the extreme impropriety of
his conduct, and the total want of dignity as well as of decency, on
the occasion.

“I propose taking the first opportunity of speaking to M. Talleyrand on
this subject.

  “I have the honour to be, &c.

  “(_Signed_) WHITWORTH.”

He did call on Talleyrand, who assured him that it was very far from
the First Consul’s intention to distress him, but that he had felt
himself personally insulted by the charges which were brought against
him by the English Government; _and that it was incumbent upon him to
take the first opportunity of exculpating himself, in the presence
of the ministers of the different Powers of Europe_: and Talleyrand
assured Lord Whitworth that nothing similar would again occur.

And so things went on, the French wishing to gain time, the English
temporizing also, well knowing that the peace would soon be broken.

We are not so virtuous ourselves, in the matter of false news, as to be
able to speak of the following Stock Exchange _ruse_ in terms of proper
indignation. It was boldly conceived, and well carried out.

On the 5th of May, 1803, at half-past eight in the morning, a man,
booted and spurred, and having all the appearance of just 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 informed that he was not within,
he said he should leave the letter, and told the servant particularly
to place it where the Lord Mayor should get it the moment of his
return. Of course the thing was well carried out; the letter bore Lord
Hawkesbury’s official seal, and purported to be from him. It ran thus:

  “_Downing Street_, 8 a.m.


“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.”

His lordship made inquiries as to the messenger, and, as the whole
thing seemed to be genuine, he wrote one copy, which was straightway
stuck up outside the Mansion House, and sent another to Lloyd’s, going
himself to the Stock Exchange with the original, and, about 10 a.m.,
wrote to Lord Hawkesbury expressing his satisfaction. Before a reply
could be obtained, and the whole fraud exposed, Mr. Goldsmid called
at the Mansion House, saw the letter, and pronounced it a forgery.
Meanwhile, the excitement on the Stock Exchange had been terrible.
Consols opened at 69, and rose, before noon, to over 70, only to sink,
when the truth came out, to 63. If the bargains had been upheld, it
would have been hopeless ruin to many; so a committee of the Stock
Exchange decided that all transactions on that day, whether for
money or time, were null and void. The perpetrators of this fraud,
consequently, did not reap any benefit; nor were they ever found out,
although the Lord Mayor offered a reward of £500.

The Caricaturists were, at this time, very busy with their satirical
pictures, some of which are very good, especially one by Gillray (May
18, 1803) called “Armed Heroes.” Addington, in military costume, with
huge cocked hat and sword, bestrides a fine sirloin of the “Roast Beef
of Old England,” and is vapouring at little Bonaparte, who, on the
other side of the Channel, is drawing his sword, and hungrily eyeing
the beef. Says he:

  “Ah, ha! sacrè dieu! vat do I see yonder?
  Dat look so invitingly Red and de Vite?
  Oh, by Gar! I see ’tis de Roast Beef of Londres,
  Vich I vill chop up, at von letel bite!”

Addington alternately blusters and cringes, “Who’s afraid? damme! _O
Lord, O Lord, what a Fiery Fellow he is!_ Who’s afraid? damme! _O dear!
what will become of ye Roast Beef?_ Damme! who’s afraid? _O dear! O
dear!_” Other figures are introduced, but they are immaterial.

But the crisis was rapidly approaching. On the 12th of May Lord
Whitworth wrote Lord Hawkesbury: “The remainder of this day passed
without receiving any communication from M. de Talleyrand. Upon this,
I determined to demand my passports, by an official note, which I sent
this morning by Mr. Mandeville, in order that I might leave Paris in
the evening. At two I renewed my demand of passports, and was told
I should have them immediately. They arrived at five o’clock, and I
propose setting out as soon as the carriages are ready.” He did not,
however, land at Dover until a quarter to twelve on the night of the
17th of May, where he found the French Ambassador, General Andreossi,
almost ready to embark. This he did early in the morning of the 19th of
May, being accompanied to the water side by Lord Whitworth.




 Declaration of War against France—Napoleon makes all the English in
 France prisoners of war—Patriotic Fund—Squibs on the threatened
 invasion—“The New Moses”—Handbill signed “A Shopkeeper”—“Britain’s
 War-song”—“Who is Bonaparte?”—“Shall Frenchmen rule over us?”—“An
 Invasion Sketch.”

ON THE 16th of May the King sent a message to Parliament announcing
his rupture with the French Government, and the recall of his
ambassador, and laying before them the papers relating to the previous
negotiations; and on the 18th of May, His Majesty’s Declaration of
War against France (a somewhat lengthy document) was laid before
Parliament. No time was lost, for, on the 20th of May, Lord Nelson
sailed from Portsmouth in the _Victory_, accompanied by the _Amphion_,
to take the command in the Mediterranean; and prizes were being brought
in daily.

Whether it was in reprisal for this, or not, there are no means of
telling, but Napoleon, on the 22nd of May, took the most unjustifiable
step of making prisoners of war of all the English in France, and
Holland, where, also, an embargo was laid on all English vessels. This
detention of harmless visitors was unprecedented, and aroused universal
reprobation. They were not well treated, and, besides, were harassed by
being moved from place to place.

In the _Annual Register_, vol. xlv. p. 399, we read: “In consequence
of orders from the Government, the English, confined at Rouen, have
been conducted to Dourlens, six miles from Amiens. The English that
were at Calais when Bonaparte visited that place, have all been sent to
Lisle. The English prisoners at Brussels have been ordered to repair to
Valenciennes. The great Consul, like a politic shepherd, continually
removes the pen of his bleating English flock from spot to spot, well
knowing that the soil will everywhere be enriched by their temporary
residence. How their wool will look when they return from their summer
pasture is of little consequence!”

It is not my province to write on the progress of the war, except
incidentally, and as it affected England socially. The old Volunteer
Corps, which had been so hastily disbanded, again came to the fore,
in augmented strength, and better organization; but of them I shall
treat in another place. As both men, and money, constitute the sinews
of war, the volunteers found one, the merchants helped with the other.
On the 20th of July the merchants, underwriters, and subscribers of
Lloyd’s, held a meeting for the purpose of “setting on foot a general
subscription, on an extended scale, for the encouragement and relief of
those who may be engaged in the defence of their country, and who may
suffer in the common cause; and of those who may signalize themselves
during this present most important contest.” The Society of Lloyd’s
gave £20,000 Stock in the Three per Cent. Consols, and over £12,000
was subscribed at once, five subscriptions each of £1000 coming from
such well-known City names as Sir F. Baring, John J. Angerstein, B.
and A. Goldsmid, John Thomson, and Thomson Bonar. Other loyal meetings
took place, and everything was done that could be done, to arouse the
enthusiasm of the people, and the spirit of patriotism.

One method was by distributing heart-stirring handbills, serious or
humorous, but all having the strongest patriotic basis. Of these very
many hundreds are preserved in the British Museum,[17] and very
curious they are. That they answered their purpose no one could doubt,
for, although the threatened invasion of England was a patent fact,
to which no one could shut their eyes, nor doubt its gravity, these
handbills kept alive an enthusiasm that was worth anything at the
time, and it was an enthusiasm, that although in its style somewhat
bombastic, and with some insular prejudice, was deep-seated and real;
and, had the invasion ever taken place, there can be little doubt but
that, humanly speaking, it would have resulted in a disastrous defeat
for Napoleon, or, had it been otherwise, it would not have been the
fault of the defenders, for, like Cromwell’s Ironsides, “Every man had
a heart in him.”

In these handbills, Bonaparte was accused of many things—that he
became Mohammedan, poisoned his sick at Jaffa, with many other things
which do not come within the scope of this work, and have been fully
treated in my “English Caricature and Satire on Napoleon I.,” and which
I do not wish to reproduce; only, naturally, Napoleon’s name can hardly
be kept out, and, as I took the best for that book, this must not
suffer therefrom. They are of all dates, as can be seen from internal
evidence, but very few are dated, so that they may be taken nearly
haphazard. The following, from its mention of Lord Whitworth, and his
recall, is evidently an early one:

  “Translated from a French Manuscript

“And when the great man came from Egypt, he used cunning and force to
subject the people. The good as well as the wicked of the land trembled
before him, because he had won the hearts of all the fighting men; and
after he had succeeded in many of his schemes, his heart swelled with
pride, and he sought how to ensnare the people more and more, to be the
greatest man under the sun.

“The multitude of the people were of four kinds: some resembled blind
men, that cannot see; some were fearful, who trembled before him;
others courageous, and for the good of the people, but too weak in
number; and others yet, who were as wicked as the great man himself.
And when he was at the head of the deluded nation, he gave strict laws
and the following commandments, which were read before a multitude of
people, and in a full congregation of all his priests—

“1. Ye Frenchmen, ye shall have no other commander above me; for I,
Bonaparte, am the supreme head of the nation, and will make all nations
about you bow to you, and obey me as your Lord and Commander.

“2. Ye shall not have any graven images upon your Coin, in marble,
wood, or metal, which might represent any person above me; nor shall ye
acknowledge any person to excel me, whether he be among the living, or
the dead, whether he be in the happy land of the enlightened French, or
in the cursed island of the dull English; for I, the Chief Consul of
France, am a jealous hero, and visit disobedience of an individual upon
a whole nation, and of a father upon the children, and upon the third
and fourth generation of them that hate me; and show mercy unto them
that love me, and humble themselves.

“3. Ye shall not trifle with my name, nor take it in vain; nor shall
you suffer that any other nation, treat it disrespectfully; for I will
be the sole commander of the earth, and make you triumph over your

“4. Remember that ye keep the days of prayers, and pray for me as the
head of the nation, and the future conqueror of the base English. Ye
shall pray fervently with your faces cast upon the ground, and not look
at the priest when he pronounces my name; for I am a jealous hero, and
delight in my priests because they are humble, and I have regarded the
lowliness of their hearts, and forgiven them all their past iniquities.
And, ye priests, remember the power of him who made you his creatures,
and do your duty.

“5. Respect and honour all French heroes, that ye may find mercy in
mine eyes for all your iniquities, and that ye may live in the land in
which I, the Lord your Commander, lives.

“6. Ye shall not murder each other, save it be by my own commands, for
purposes that may be known to me alone; but of your enemies, and all
those nations that will not acknowledge your, and my greatness, ye may
kill an infinite number; for that is a pleasing sight in the eyes of
your supreme Commander.

“7. Ye shall not commit adultery at home, whatever ye may do in the
land of the infidels, and the stiff-necked people; for they are an
abomination to the Lord your Commander.

“8. Ye shall not steal at home, but suppress your covetousness and
insatiable desire for plunder until ye may arrive in the land of your
enemies. Ye shall neither steal from them with indiscretion, but seem
to give with the left hand, when the right taketh.

“9. Ye shall not bear false witness against your neighbour, if he
should distinguish himself in the land of the enemies.

“10. Ye shall not covet anything of your neighbour, but everything of
your enemies—his jewels, his gold, his silver, his horse or ass, his
maid, his daughter, his wife, or anything in which your hearts find
delight; and ye may take it, but still with cunning; for the Lord your
Commander loveth mildness more than strength, to please the people
when he plunders. Use the sword in battle, cunning after it; look for
plunder, but subject the people to me. Herein lie all my Commandments,
and those who keep them shall be protected by my power, and prosper in
all their undertakings.

“When the reading of these Commandments were over, the multitude gazed
with amazement. There were present the gentiles, and ambassadors of
various nations, and many looked at each other as if they were looking
for the sense of what they had heard. The Chief Priest, however, more
cunning than all the rest, thus broke silence:

 “_Bishop._ Our mouths shall glorify thee for ever; for thou hast
 regarded the lowliness of our hearts, and hast raised thy servants
 from the dust.

 “_Pope._ And I will support your holy endeavours; for without him I
 would not sit upon the holy seat of Peter.

 “_All_ (Priests and many of the Multitude). Praise be to him, for he
 has mercy on those that are humble, and fear him—throughout all the
 world, and all nations but the English, who are an abomination in his

 “_Bishop of Amiens._ Bow to him, for he commands ye.

 “_An Italian to a Swiss._ I bow to him, for I fear and dread him.

 “_A Dutchman_ (to the two former). Ay, ay! I must bow, at present,
 with you; but I would rather make him bow before me and my nation.

 “_French Gentleman._ Dat be very right to you! Vy vere ye sush fools,
 and bigger fools yet, as we French, to submit to him, and even to
 court his tyranny?

 “_Bonaparte_ (in one corner of the hall, and not hearing part of the
 preceding discourse, to one of his slaves). Do you observe that proud

 “_1st Slave._ He neither bows, nor does he seem to approve of the
 homage paid to thee by the worshippers.

 “_2nd Slave._ Ay, he is one of the stiff-necked Englishmen.

 “_Bonaparte._ And so are all of his breed, except some of the meanest

 “_Lord Whitworth_ (to himself). I shall bow to thee with all my heart
 and soul, as soon as I may have the pleasure of being recalled.

 “_Bonaparte._ This is an insult which shall be revenged on the whole

There is not much “go” in the above, but it is mild, as being one of
the first; they soon developed.


“Bonaparte threatens to invade us; he promises to enrich his soldiers
with our property, to glut their lust with our Wives and Daughters.
To incite his Hell Hounds to execute his vengeance, he has _sworn_ to
permit everything. Shall we Merit by our Cowardice the titles of sordid
Shopkeepers, Cowardly Scum, and Dastardly Wretches, which in every
proclamation he gives us? No! we will loudly give him _the lie_: Let
us make ourselves ready to shut our Shops, and march to give him the
reception his malicious calumnies deserve. Let every brave young fellow
instantly join the _Army_ or _Navy_; and those among us who, from being
married, or so occupied in business, cannot, let us join some Volunteer
Corps, where we may learn the use of arms, and yet attend our business.
Let us encourage recruiting in our neighbourhood, and loudly silence
the tongues of those whom Ignorance or Defection (if any such there
be) lead them to doubt of the attempt to invade or inveigh against the
measures taken to resist it. By doing this, and feeling confidence in
ourselves, we shall probably prevent the attempt; or, if favoured by
a dark night, the enemy should reach our shores, our Unanimity and
Strength will paralyze his efforts, and render him an easy prey to our
brave _Army_. Let _us_, in families and neighbourhood, thus contribute
to so desirable an event, and the _blood-stained banners of the
Vaunted Conquerors of Europe will soon be hung up in our Churches, the
honourable Trophies of our brave Army_—an Army ever Victorious when
not doubled in numbers, and the only Army who can stand the charge of
Bayonets. What _Army_ ever withstood THEIRS!!! Let the welfare of our
Country animate all, and ‘come the World in Arms against us, and we’ll
shock ‘em!’


“Prave ‘orts,” but they answered their purpose. It was an article of
faith that an Englishman was certainly a match for two ordinary foes,
perhaps three, and this, no doubt, was to a certain extent true. The
history of that time shows victories, both by land and sea, gained
against fearful odds. What then might not have been done under such
stimulant as


  “BRITONS rouse; with Speed advance;
  Seize the Musket, grasp the Lance;
  See the Hell-born Sons of France!

  Now Murder, Lust, and Rapine reign
  Hark! the Shriek o’er Infants slain!
  See the desolated Plain!

  Now’s the Day, and now’s the Hour,
  See the Front of Battle lower!
  See curs’d Buonaparte’s Power!

  Who will be a Traitor Knave?
  Who can fill a Coward’s Grave?
  Who so base as live a Slave?

  Rush indignant on the Foe!
  Lay the Fiend Invaders low!
  Vengeance is on every Blow!

  Forward! lo, the Dastards flee;
  Drive them headlong to the Sea;
  Britons ever will be free!
            Huzza, Huzza, Huzza!”


“WHO IS HE? Why an obscure Corsican, that began his Murderous
Career with turning his Artillery upon the Citizens of Paris—who
boasted in his Public Letters from Pavia, of _having shot the whole
Municipality_—who put the _helpless_, _innocent_, and _unoffending_
Inhabitants of Alexandria, _Man_, _Woman_, and _Child_, to the SWORD,
till _Slaughter_ was tired of its work—who, against all the Laws
of War, put near 4000 Turks to death, in cold blood, after their
Surrender—who destroyed his own Comrades by _Poison_, when lying sick
and wounded in Hospitals, because they were unable to further the plan
of Pillage which carried him to St. Jean d’Acre—who, having thus
stained the profession of Arms, and solemnly and publicly renounced
the religious Faith of Christendom, and embraced Mohametanism, again
pretended to embrace the Christian Religion—who, on his return to
France, destroyed the Representative System—who, after seducing the
Polish Legion into the Service of his pretended Republic, treacherously
transferred it to St. Domingo, where it has perished to a Man, either
by Disease or the Sword—and who, finally, as it were to fill the
Measure of his Arrogance, has _Dared_ to attack what is most dear
and useful to civilized Society, the FREEDOM of the PRESS and the
FREEDOM of SPEECH, by proposing to restrict the _British Press_ and
the Deliberations of the _British Senate_. Such is the _Tyrant_ we are
called upon to oppose; and such is the Fate which awaits ENGLAND should
WE suffer him and his degraded Slaves to pollute OUR Soil.”

  “SHALL, FRENCHMEN RULE O’ER US? King Edward said, No!
  And No! said King Harry, and Queen Bess she said, No!
  And No! said Old England, and No! she says still;
  They never shall rule Us; let them try if they will.
        Hearts of Oak we are all, both our Ships and our Men;
                  Then steady, Boys, steady,
                  Let’s always be ready;
        We have trimmed them before, let us trim them again.

  SHALL FRENCHMEN RULE O’ER US? King George he says No!
  And No! say our Lords, and our Commons they say No!
  And No! say All Britons of every degree;
  They shall never rule Britons, UNITED AND FREE.
                                          Hearts of Oak, &c.

  SHALL FRENCHMEN RULE US, the Free Sons of the Waves?
  Shall England be ruled by a Nation of Slaves?
  Shall the CORSICAN TYRANT, who bound on their Chains,
  Govern Us, in the room of OUR GOOD KING who reigns?
                                          Hearts of Oak, &c.

  Though HE’D fain stop our Press, yet we’ll publish his shame;
  We’ll proclaim to the World his detestable Fame;
  How the Traitor RENOUNCED HIS REDEEMER, and then
  How he murder’d his Pris’ners and Poison’d his Men.
                                          Hearts of Oak, &c.

  Let us stand by our FREEDOM, our KING, and our GOD!
  Let us stand by our CHILDREN, our WIVES, and our HOMES!
  Then WOE to the Tyrant WHENEVER HE COMES!
                                          Hearts of Oak, &c.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The following is particularly good, as it gives a very vivid
description of what might have occurred, had Napoleon’s threatened
invasion been successful, and it will favourably contrast with its
congener of modern times, “The Battle of Dorking.”


“If there be one Person so lost to all Love for his Country, and the
British Constitution, as to suppose that his Person or his Property,
his Rights and his Freedom, would be respected under a Foreign Yoke,
let him contemplate the following Picture—not Overcharged, but drawn
from Scenes afforded by every Country: Italy, Holland, Switzerland,
Germany, Spain, Hanover, which has been exposed to the Miseries of a
French Invasion.

  “LONDON, _10 Thermidor Year_ ————.

General BONAPARTE made his public entrance into the Capital, over
London Bridge, upon a charger from his BRITANNIC MAJESTY’S Stables at
Hanover, preceded by a detachment of Mamelukes. He stopped upon the
bridge for a few seconds, to survey the number of ships in the river;
and, beckoning to one of his Aide-de-camps, ordered the French flags
to be hoisted above the English—the English sailors on board, who
attempted to resist the execution of this order, were bayonetted, and
thrown overboard.

“When he came to the Bank, he smiled with Complaisance upon a
detachment of French Grenadiers, who had been sent to load all the
bullion in waggons, which had previously been put in requisition by the
Prefect of London, Citizen MENGAUD, for the purpose of being conveyed
to France. The Directors of the Bank were placed under a strong guard
of French soldiers, in the Bank parlour.

“From the Bank, the FIRST CONSUL proceeded, in grand procession, along
Cheapside, St. Paul’s, Ludgate Hill, Fleet Street, and the Strand, to
St. James’s Palace. He there held a grand Circle, which was attended by
all his officers, whose congratulations he received upon his entrance
into the Capital of these once proud Islanders. BONAPARTE, previous
to his arrival, appointed two Prefects, one for London, and one for
Westminster. Citizen MENGAUD, late Commissary at Calais, is the Prefect
of London, and Citizen RAPP, of Westminster. He also nominated Citizen
FOUCHÉ to the office of Minister of Police. The Mansion-house has been
selected for the residence of the Prefect of London, and Northumberland
House,[18] for the residence of the Prefect of Westminster. As it has
been deemed necessary to have the Minister of Police always near the
person of the FIRST CONSUL, Marlborough House has been given to Citizen
Fouché. Lodgings have been prepared elsewhere, for the late owners of
that splendid palace.

“London was ordered to be illuminated, and detachments of French
Dragoons paraded the principal streets, and squares, all night.

  “_11 Thermidor._

“BONAPARTE, at five o’clock in the morning, reviewed the French troops
on the Esplanade at the Horse Guards. A Council was afterwards held,
at which the following Proclamations were drawn up, and ordered to be
posted in every part of the City:


        “‘_St. James’s Palace._

“‘Inhabitants of London, be tranquil. The Hero, the Pacificator, is
come among you. His moderation, and his mercy, are too well known to
you. He delights in restoring peace and liberty to all mankind. Banish
all alarms. Pursue your usual occupations. Put on the habit of joy and

“‘The FIRST CONSUL orders,

“‘That all the Inhabitants of London and Westminster remain in their
own houses for three days.

“‘That no molestation shall be offered to the measures which the French
Soldiers will be required to execute.

“‘All persons disobeying these Orders, will be immediately carried
before the Minister of Police.

  “‘(_Signed_) BONAPARTE.
  “‘The Minister of Police, FOUCHÉ.’

  “‘_To the French Soldiers._

“‘Soldiers! BONAPARTE has led you to the Shores, and the Capital of
this proud island. He promised to reward his brave companions in arms.
He promised to give up the Capital of the British Empire to pillage.
Brave Comrades, take your reward. London, the second Carthage, is
given up to pillage for three days.

  “‘(_Signed_) BONAPARTE.
  “‘The Minister of War, par interim, ANGEREAU.’

       *       *       *       *       *

“The acclamations of the French Soldiery—_Vive Bonaparte_—_le
Héros_—_le Pacificateur_—_le Magnanime_—resound through every street.

 “12th, 13th, 14th _Thermidor_.

“LONDON PILLAGED! The doors of private houses forced. Bands of drunken
soldiers dragging wives, and daughters, from the hands of husbands and
fathers. Many husbands, who had the _temerity_ to resist, butchered
in the presence of their Children. Flames seen in a hundred different
places, bursting from houses which had been set fire to, by the
_vivacity_ of the troops. Churches broken open, and the Church plate
plundered—the pews and altars converted into Stabling. Four Bishops
murdered, who had taken refuge in Westminster Abbey—the screams of
women and of children mix with the cries of the Soldiers—_Vive la
Republique! Vive Bonaparte!_

“St. Martin’s Church converted into a _depôt_ for the property acquired
by the pillage of the Soldiery.

 “_15 Thermidor_.

“A proclamation published by the FIRST CONSUL, promising _protection_
to the inhabitants.

“The houses of the principal Nobility and Gentry appropriated to the
use of the French Generals. Every house is required to furnish so many
rations of bread and meat for the troops.

“At a Council of State, presided over by BONAPARTE, the two Houses of
Parliament are solemnly abolished, and ordered to be replaced by a
Senate, and a Council of State. General MASSENA appointed Provisional
President of the former, and General DESSOLLES of the latter. The
Courts of Law are directed to discontinue their sittings, and are
replaced by Military Tribunals.

 “_16 Thermidor_.

“A contribution of twenty millions ordered to be levied upon London.
A deputation was sent to BONAPARTE to represent the impossibility
of complying with the demand, the Bank and the Capital having been
pillaged. After waiting in the ante-chamber of the Consul for four
hours, the deputation are informed by a Mameluke guard, that BONAPARTE
will not see them. Two hundred of the principal Citizens ordered to be
imprisoned till the Contribution is paid.

 “_17 Thermidor_.

“A plot discovered by FOUCHÉ against the FIRST CONSUL, and three
hundred, supposed to be implicated in it, sent to the Tower.

“Insurrections in different parts of the Capital, on account of the
excesses of the Soldiers, and the contribution of twenty millions.
Cannon planted at all the principal avenues, and a heavy fire of grape
shot kept up against the insurgents.

SHERIDAN, GREY, twenty Peers and Commons, among the latter is Sir
SIDNEY SMITH, tried by the Military Tribunals for having been concerned
in the _insurrection_ against France, and sentenced to be shot.
Sentence was immediately carried into execution in Hyde Park.

 “_18 Thermidor_.

“The Dock-yards ordered to send all the timber, hemp, anchors, masts,
&c., to France. The relations of the British sailors at sea, sent to
prison till the ships are brought into port, and placed at the disposal
of the French. Detachments dispatched to the different Counties to
disarm the people.

“The Island ordered to be divided into departments, and military
divisions—the name of London to be changed for _Bonapart-opolis_—and
the appellation of the Country to be altered from Great Britain,
to that of _La France insulaire_.—Edinburgh to take the name of
_Lucien-ville_—Dublin, that of _Massen-opolis_.

“BRITONS! can this be endured? shall we suffer ourselves thus to be
parcelled off? I hear you one and all say, No! No! No! To your Tents, O




 Invasion Squibs continued—“The Freeman’s Oath”—“John
 Bull and Bonaparte”—“The Eve of Invasion”—“A Biography
 of Napoleon”—“Britons, strike home”—Enrolment of 400,000
 Volunteers—Napoleon at Calais—Apprehension of vagrants, and
 compulsorily recruiting the Army and Navy with them—Patriotism of
 the nation—Preparations in case of reverse—Beacons—Spies—The
 French prisoners—Emmett’s rebellion in Ireland—Its prompt
 suppression—General Fast—Relief of the Roman Catholics.

SEE yet another:

“The Consequences of Buonaparte’s succeeding in his designs against
this Country:—Universal Pillage, Men of all parties slaughtered, Women
of all Ranks violated, Children Murdered, Trade Ruined, the Labouring
Classes thrown out of Employment, Famine with all its Horrors,
Despotism Triumphant. The remaining Inhabitants Carried away by Ship
Loads to Foreign Lands. _Britons look before you._”

There were sham playbills such as—“THEATRE ROYAL, ENGLAND. In
Rehearsal, and meant to be speedily attempted, A FARCE in one Act,
called THE INVASION OF ENGLAND. Principal Buffo, Mr. BUONAPARTE; being
his FIRST (and most likely his last) Appearance on the Stage,” &c.
“In Rehearsal, THEATRE ROYAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOMS. Some dark, foggy
night, about November next, will be ATTEMPTED, by a Strolling Company
of French Vagrants, an Old Pantomimic Farce, called HARLEQUIN’S
OCEAN. In preparation, A _magnificent_ NAVAL _and_ MILITARY SPECTACLE,
superior to anything of the kind ever witnessed; consisting of an
immense display of Flat-bottomed Boats Burning, Sinking, &c., to be
called BUONAPARTE; or The FREE-BOOTER running away; the Triumph of the
British Flag,” &c.

[Illustration: THE FREEMAN’S OATH.]


  “Our bosoms we’ll bare for the glorious strife,
  And our oath is recorded on high;
  To prevail in the cause that is dearer than life,
  Or, crush’d in its ruins, to die.
  Then rise, fellow freemen, and stretch the right hand,
  And swear to prevail in your dear native land.

  ’Tis the home we hold sacred is laid to our trust,
  God bless the green isle of the brave,
  Should a conqueror tread on our forefathers’ dust,
  It would rouse the old dead from their grave.
  Then rise, fellow freemen, and stretch the right hand,
  And swear to prevail in your dear native land.

  In a Briton’s sweet home shall the spoiler abide,
  Prophaning its loves and its charms?
  Shall a Frenchman insult the lov’d fair at our side?
  To arms! Oh, my country, to arms!
  Then rise, fellow freemen, and stretch the right hand,
  And swear to prevail in your dear native land.

  Shall Tyrants enslave us, my Countrymen? No!
  Their heads to the sword shall be given:
  Let a deathbed repentance be taught the proud foe,
  And his blood be an offering to Heaven.
  Then rise, fellow freemen, and stretch the right hand,
  And swear to prevail in your dear native land.”

Turning from the sublimity of this patriotic effusion, we shall find a
change in “JOHN BULL and BONAPARTE!! to the tune of the BLUE BELLS OF

  “When and O when does this little Boney come?
  Perhaps he’ll come in August! perhaps he’ll stay at home;
    But it’s O in my heart, how I’ll hide him should he come.

  Where and O where does this little Boney dwell?
  His birth place is in Corsica—but France he likes so well,
    That it’s O the poor French, how they crouch beneath his spell.

  What cloathes and what cloathes does this little Boney wear?
  He wears a large cock’d hat for to make the people stare;
    But it’s O my oak stick! I’d advise him to take care!

  What shall be done, should this little Boney die?
  Nine cats shall squall his dirge, in sweet melodious cry,
    And it’s O in my heart, if a tear shall dim my eye!

  Yet still he boldly brags, with consequence full cramm’d
  On England’s happy island, his legions he will land;
    But it’s O in my heart, if he does may I be d————d.”

I will give but one more example, not that the stock is exhausted by
some hundreds, but that I fear to be wearisome, and this one shows
that if occasionally the matter of invasion was treated with a light
heart, there were many, nay, the large majority, who looked upon its
possibility _au grand serieux_.


  “The hour of battle now draws nigh,
  We swear to conquer, or to die;
  Haste quick away, thou slow pac’d Night,
  To-morrow’s dawn begins the fight.


    Brothers, draw th’ avenging sword,
    Death or Freedom be the word.


  Did ye not leave, when forc’d to part,
  Some treasure precious to the heart?
  And feel ye not your bosoms swell,
  Whene’er ye think of that farewell?


  My Lucy said, no longer stay,
  Thy country calls thee hence away,
  Adieu! may angels round thee hover,
  But no slave shall be my lover.


  My Grandsire cried, I cannot go,
  But thou, my Son, shall meet the foe;
  I need not say, dear Boy, be brave,
  No Briton sure would live a slave.


  My Wife, whose glowing looks exprest,
  What patriot ardour warm’d her breast,
  Said, ‘In the Battle think of me;
  These helpless Babes, they shall be free.’


  Shades of Heroes gone, inspire us,
  Children, Wives, and Country fire us.
  Freedom loves this hallow’d ground—
  Hark! Freedom bids the trumpet sound.


  Brothers, draw th’ avenging sword,
  Death or Freedom be the word.”

If the foregoing examples of the Patriotic Handbills of 1803 are not
choice specimens of refined literature, they are at least fairly
representative. I have omitted all the vilification of Napoleon, which
permeates all the series in a greater or less degree, because I have
already given it in another work. It was gravely stated that his great
grandfather was the keeper of a wine-shop, who, being convicted of
robbery and murder, was condemned to the galleys, where he died in
1724. His wife, Napoleon’s great grandmother, was said to have died in
the House of Correction at Genoa. “His grandfather was a butcher of
Ajaccio, and his grandmother daughter of a journeyman tanner at Bastia.
His father was a low pettyfogging lawyer, who served and betrayed
his country by turns, during the Civil Wars. After France conquered
Corsica, he was a spy to the French Government, and his mother their
trull.” General Marbœuf was said to have been Napoleon’s father. He
was accused of seducing his sisters, and his brothers were supposed to
be a very bad lot. He massacred the people at Alexandria and Jaffa,
besides poisoning his own sick soldiers there. There was nothing bad
enough for the _Corsican Ogre_; they even found that he was the real,
original, and veritable Apocalyptic BEAST, whose number is 666. It is
but fair to say that the majority of these accusations came originally
from French sources, but they were eagerly adopted here; and, although
they might be, and probably were, taken at their proper valuation by
the educated classes, there is no doubt but the lower classes regarded
him as a ruffianly murderer. “Boney will come to you,” was quite enough
to quiet and overawe any refractory youngster, who, however, must have
had some consolation, and satisfaction, in crunching, in sweetstuff,
_Bonaparte’s Ribs_. It was all very well to sing—

  “Come, BONAPARTE, if you dare;
  John Bull invites you; bring your Host,
  Your slaves with Free men to compare;
  Your Frogs shall croak along the Coast.

  When slain, thou vilest of thy Tribe,
  Wrapped in a sack your Bones shall be,
  That the Elements may ne’er imbibe
  The venom of a Toad like thee”—

but there was the flat-bottomed Flotilla, on the opposite shore,
which we were unable to destroy, or even to appreciably damage, and
the “Army of England,” inactive certainly, was still there, and a
standing menace. The Volunteers were fêted, and praised to the top of
their bent. An old air of Henry Purcell’s (1695), which accompanied
some words interpolated in Beaumont and Fletcher’s play of “Bonduca”
or “Boadicæa,” became extremely popular; and the chorus, “Britons,
strike home,” was married to several sets of words, and duly shouted
by loyal Volunteers. The Pictorial Satirist delineates the Volunteer
as performing fabulous deeds of daring. Gillray gives us his idea of
the fate of “Buonaparte forty-eight hours after Landing!” where a burly
rustic Volunteer holds the bleeding head of Napoleon upon a pitchfork,
to the delight of his comrades, and he thus apostrophises the head:
“Ha, my little Boney! what do’st think of Johnny Bull, now? Plunder
Old England! hay? make French slaves of us all! hay? ravish all our
Wives and Daughters! hay? O Lord, help that silly Head! To think that
Johnny Bull would ever suffer those lanthorn Jaws to become King of Old
England Roast Beef and Plum Pudding!”

Ansell, too, treats Bonaparte’s probable fate, should he land, in a
somewhat similar manner. His etching is called “After the Invasion. The
Levée en Masse, or, Britons, strike home.” The French have landed, but
have been thoroughly routed, of course, by a mere handful of English,
who drive them into the sea. Our women plunder the French dead, but
are disgusted with their meagre booty—garlic, onions, and pill-boxes.
A rural Volunteer is, of course, the hero of the day, and raises
Napoleon’s head aloft on a pitchfork, whilst he thus addresses two of
his comrades. “Here he is exalted, my Lads, 24 Hours after Landing.”
One of his comrades says, “Why, Harkee, d’ye zee, I never liked
soldiering afore, but, somehow or other, when I thought of our Sal, the
bearns, the poor Cows, and the Geese, why I could have killed the whole
Army, my own self.” The other rustic remarks, “Dang my Buttons if that
beant the head of that Rogue Boney. I told our Squire this morning,
‘What! do you think,’ says I, ‘the lads of our Village can’t cut up a
Regiment of them French Mounseers? and as soon as the lasses had given
us a kiss for good luck, I could have sworn we should do it, and so we

Well! it is hard to look at these things in cold blood, at a great
distance of time, and without a shadow of a shade of the fear of
invasion before our eyes, so we ought to be mercifully critical of the
bombast of our forefathers. It certainly has done us no harm, and if it
kept up and nourished the flame of patriotism within their breasts, we
are the gainers thereby, as there is no doubt but that the bold front
shown by the English people, and the unwearying vigilance of our fleet,
saved England from an attempted, if not successful, invasion. Upwards
of 400,000 men voluntarily rising up in arms to defend their country,
must have astonished not only Bonaparte, but all Europe; and by being
spontaneous, it prevented any forced measures, such as a _levée en
masse_. The Prince of Wales, in vain, applied for active service;
but, it is needless to say, it was refused, not to the colonel of
the regiment, but to the heir to the throne. The refusal was tempered
by the intimation that, should the enemy effect a landing, the Prince
should have an opportunity of showing his courage, a quality which has
always been conspicuous in our Royal Family.

But before we leave the subject of the threatened Invasion, it would
be as well to read some jottings respecting it, which have no regular
sequence, and yet should on no account be missed, as they give us, most
vividly, the state of the public mind thereon.

Napoleon was at Boulogne, at the latter end of June, making a tour of
the ports likely to be attacked by the British, and, as an example
of how well his movements were known, see the following cutting from
the _Times_ of 4th of July: “The Chief Consul reached Calais at five
o’clock on Friday afternoon (the 1st of July). His entry, as might be
expected, was in a grand style of parade: he rode on a small iron grey
horse of great beauty. He was preceded by about three hundred Infantry,
and about thirty Mamelukes formed a kind of semicircle about him....
In a short time after his arrival he dined at _Quillac & Co’s._ (late
_Dessin’s_) hotel. The time he allowed himself at dinner was shorter
than usual; he did not exceed ten minutes or a quarter of an hour.
Immediately after dinner he went, attended by M. Francy, Commissary of
Marine, Mengaud, Commissary of Police, and other municipal officers,
through the Calais gates, to visit the different batteries erected
there. As soon as he and his attendants had passed through the gates,
he ordered them to be shut, to prevent their being incommoded by the
populace. The execution of this order very much damped the ardour of
the Corsican’s admirers, who remained entirely silent, although the
moment before, the whole place resounded with _Vive Buonaparte!_ The
same evening the General went on board the _Josephine_ packet, Captain
Lambert, and, after examining everything there minutely, he took a
short trip upon the water in a boat as far as the pier-head to the
Battery at the entrance of the harbour, where he himself fired one of
the guns; afterwards, he visited all the different Forts, and at night
slept at Quillac’s Hotel.”

They had a rough-and-ready method, in those days, of recruiting for
the services, apprehending all vagrants, and men who could not give
a satisfactory account of themselves, and giving them the option of
serving His Majesty or going to prison. There is a curious instance
of this in the following police report, containing as it does an
amusing anecdote of “diamond cut diamond.” _Times_, the 7th July, 1803:
“PUBLIC OFFICE, BOW STREET. Yesterday upwards of forty persons were
taken into custody, under authority of privy search warrants, at two
houses of ill fame; the one in Tottenham Court Road, and the other
near Leicester Square. They were brought before N. Bond, Esq., and Sir
W. Parsons, for examination; when several of them, not being able to
give a satisfactory account of themselves, and being able-bodied men,
were sent on board a tender lying off the Tower. Two very notorious
fellows among them were arrested in the office for pretended debts,
as it appeared, for the purpose of preventing their being sent to
sea, the writs having been just taken out, at the suit of persons as
notorious as themselves. The magistrates, however, could not prevent
the execution of the civil process, as there was no criminal charge
against them, which would justify their commitment.” Take also a short
paragraph in the next day’s _Times_: “Several young men, brought before
the Lord Mayor yesterday, charged with petty offences, were sent on
board the tender.”

But, perhaps, this was the best use to put them to, as idle hands
were not wanted at such a juncture. Men came forward in crowds as
volunteers. Lloyd’s, and the City generally, subscribed most liberally
to the Patriotic Fund, and even in minor things, such as transport, the
large carriers came forward well—as, for instance, the well-known
firm of Pickford and Co. offered for the service of the Government,
four hundred horses, fifty waggons, and twenty-eight boats.[19] County
meetings were held all over England to organize defence, and to find
means of transport for cannon, men, and ammunition in case of invasion.
The people came forward nobly; as the _Times_ remarked in a leader (6th
of August, 1803): “ELEVEN WEEKS are barely passed since the Declaration
of War, and we defy any man living, to mention a period when _half so
much_ was ever effected, in the same space of time, for the defence
of the country. 1st. A naval force such as Great Britain never had
before, has been completely equipped, manned, and in readiness to meet
the enemy. 2nd. The regular military force of the kingdom has been
put on the most respectable footing. 3rd. The militia has been called
forth, and _encamped_ with the regular forces. 4th. The supplementary
militia has also been embodied, and even encamped. 5th. An army of
reserve of 50,000 men has been already added to this force, and is now
in great forwardness. 6th. A measure has been adopted for calling out
and arming the whole mass of the people, in case of emergency; and
we are confident that our information is correct, when we say, that
at _this moment_ there are nearly 300,000 men enrolled in different
Volunteer, Yeomanry, and Cavalry Corps, of whom at least a _third_ may
be considered as already disciplined, and accoutred.”

But, naturally, and sensibly, the feeling obtained of what might
occur in case the French did actually land, and, among other matters,
the safety of the King and the Royal Family was not forgotten. It
was settled that the King should not go far, at least at first, from
London, and both Chelmsford, and Dartford, as emergency might direct,
were settled on as places of refuge for His Majesty: the Queen, the
Royal Family, and the treasure were to go to Worcester the faithful,
_Civitas in bello, et in pace fidelis_. The artillery and stores at
Woolwich were to be sent into the Midland districts by means of the
Grand Junction Canal. Beacons were to be affixed to some of the seaside
churches, such as Lowestoft and Woodbridge, and these were of very
simple construction—only a tar barrel!

But, by and by, a better, and more organized, system of communication
by beacon was adopted, and the beacons themselves were more calculated
to effect their object. They were to be made of a large stack, or pile,
of furze, or faggots, with some cord-wood—in all, at least, eight
waggon loads, with three or four tar barrels, sufficient to yield a
light unmistakable at a distance of two or three miles. These were to
be used by night; by day, a large quantity of straw was to be wetted,
in order to produce a smoke.

When the orders for these first came out, invasion was only expected
on the Kent and Sussex coasts, and the beacon stations were
proportionately few; afterwards, they became general throughout the
country. The first lot (17th of November) were

  1. Shorncliffe.         5. Egerton.
  1. Canterbury.          5. Tenderden.
  2. Barham.              6. Coxheath.
  2. Shollenden.          6. Highgate near Hawkehurst.
  2. Lynne Heights.       7. Boxley Hill.
  3. Isle of Thanet.      7. Goodhurst.
  3. Postling Down.       8. Chatham Lines.
  4. Charlmagna.          8. Wrotham Hill.

 _N.B._ Stations marked with the same figures, communicate directly
 with each other.

Of course, naturally, there was the Spy craze, and it sometimes led
to mistakes, as the following will show: _Times_, the 29th of August,
“A respectable person in town a short time ago, went on a party of
pleasure to the Isle of Wight, and, being anxious to see all the
beauties of the place, he rose early one day to indulge himself with
a long morning’s walk. In his way he took a great pleasure in viewing
with his glass, the vessels at sea. In the midst of his observations
he was interrupted by an officer, who, after a few questions, took
him into custody upon suspicion of being a spy. After a proper
investigation of his character, he was liberated.”

In more than one case, however, the charge of _espionage_ seems to have
rested on a far more solid basis; but, of course, the “Intelligence
Department” of every nation will have its agents, in the enemy’s camp,
if possible. Two persons, one named Nield, the other Garrick (nephew
to the famous actor), were actually arrested as being Bonaparte! I do
not know how Mr. Nield fared, but Mr. Garrick was enabled to prosecute
his journey under the protection of the following certificate from the
Mayor of Haverfordwest:

 “This is to certify whom it may concern, that the bearer, Mr. George
 Garrick, is known to me; who is on a tour through the country, and
 intends returning to England, by the way of Tenby.

  “RICHARD LLOYD, _Mayor_.”

We cannot wonder at the rumour of spies being in their midst, when
we think of the number of French prisoners of war there were in our
keeping, one prison alone (Mill Prison, Plymouth) having 2,500.

Many were out on parole, which I regret to say all did not respect,
many broke prison and got away; in fact, they did not know where to put
them, nor what to do with them, so that it was once seriously proposed
that, in an hour of danger, should such ever arrive, they should be
shut up in the numerous spent mines throughout England. When on parole,
the following were the regulations—they were allowed to walk on the
turnpike road within the distance of one mile from the extremity of
the town in which they resided, but they must not go into any field or
cross road, nor be absent from their lodgings after five o’clock in
the afternoon, during the months of November, December, and January;
after seven o’clock in the months of February, March, April, August,
September, and October; or, after eight o’clock in the months of May,
June, and July; nor quit their lodgings in the morning until the bell
rang at six o’clock.

If they did not keep to these regulations, they were liable to be taken
up and sent to prison, a reward of one guinea being offered for their
recapture. Should they not behave peaceably, they would also have to
return to durance.

There were also very many refugees here who were not prisoners of war,
and, in order to keep them under supervision, a Royal Proclamation was
issued on the 12th of October, citing an Act passed the last session of
Parliament, respecting the Registration of Aliens, and proclaiming that
all aliens must, within eighteen days from date, register themselves
and their place of abode—if in London, before the Lord Mayor, or some
magistrate at one of the police offices; if in any other part of Great
Britain, before some neighbouring magistrate.

However, enemies nearer home were plaguing John Bull. “Mannikin
Traitors” verily, but still annoying. Then, as now, England’s
difficulty was Ireland’s opportunity; and of course, the chance was
too tempting to be resisted. The Union (curious phrase!) was but in
the third year of its existence, and Ireland was once more in open
rebellion. Chief of the spurious patriots was one Robert Emmett, whose
picture in green and gold uniform coat, white tights and Hessian boots,
waving an immense sword, appears periodically, in some shop windows,
whenever Irish sedition is peculiarly rampant, only to disappear when
the inevitable petty rogue, the approver, has done his work, and the
windbag plot is pricked.

Emmett was the son of one of the State physicians in Dublin, and
brother to that Thomas Eddis Emmett, who was prominent in the
rebellion of 1798. Robert had so compromised himself, by his speech and
behaviour, that he deemed it wise to live abroad during the suspension
of the Habeas Corpus Act, but he returned when his father died, having
become possessed of about £2,000, which he must needs spend, in
“regenerating” Ireland.

Silly boy! (he was only twenty-four) with such a sum, and about one
hundred followers, he thought it could be done. His crazy brain
imagined his down-trodden compatriots hastening to his side, to fight
for the deliverance of their beloved country from the yoke of the
hated Saxon despot. There were meetings _sub rosâ_—assemblages on the
quiet—as there always will be in Ireland when the pot is seething; and
at last the curtain was to be drawn up, for the playing of this farce,
on the 23rd of July, when towards evening, large bodies of men began
to assemble in some of the streets of Dublin—but vaguely, and without

At last a small cannon was fired, and a single rocket went upwards to
the sky; and the deliverer, Emmett, sallied out, waving that big sword.
A shot from a blunderbuss killed Colonel Browne; and the Lord Chief
Justice of Ireland, Lord Kilwarden, and his nephew, Rev. Richard Wolfe,
were dragged from their carriage, and brutally murdered.

A little more bluster, and then, some three hours after its rising,
this scum was put down by about one hundred and twenty soldiers. The
ringleaders were caught and executed. Emmett, tried on the 19th of
September, was hanged next day.

To show how slowly news travelled in those days, the _Times_ has no
notice of this riot on the 23rd till the 28th of July, and then not
a full account. The Government, however, seems to have estimated the
situation quite at its full gravity, for there was a message from the
King to his faithful Parliament on the subject; the Habeas Corpus Act
was once more suspended, and martial law proclaimed.

On the 19th of October the religious panacea of a general fast was
tried, and “was observed with the utmost decorum” in the Metropolis.
The Volunteers, especially, won the encomia of the _Times_ for their
goodness in going to church, and the _Annual Register_ also warms up
into unusual fervour on the occasion: “Such a number of corps attended
this day, that it is impossible to enumerate them. Every principal
church was crowded with the ardent patriots who fill the voluntary
associations; and there can be no doubt that, in the present temper of
the people of this country, not only every other great city and town,
but even the smallest village or hamlet throughout the island, evinced
a proportionate degree of fervour and animation in the holy cause. The
corps who had not before taken the oath of allegiance, did so this day,
either on their drill grounds, or in their respective churches.”

Of the latter part of the year, other than the Invasion Scare, there
is little to say. Among the Acts passed this year, however, was one of
hopeful import, as showing a glimmer of a better time to come in the
era of religious toleration. It was to relieve the Roman Catholics of
some pains and disabilities to which they were subject, on subscribing
the declaration and oath contained in the Act 31 George III.

Three per Cent. Consols opened this year at 69; dropped in July to 50,
and left off the 31st of December at 55.

Bread stuffs were cheaper, the average price of wheat being 77s. per
quarter, and the quartern loaf, 9d.




 Caricatures of the Flotilla—Scarcity of money—Stamping Spanish
 dollars—Illness of the King—His recovery—General Fast—Fall
 of the Addington Ministry—Debate on the Abolition of the Slave
 Trade—Beacons—Transport—Election for Middlesex—Reconciliation
 between the King and the Prince of Wales.

THE YEAR 1804 opens with Britain still in arms, watching that flotilla
which dare not put out, and cannot be destroyed; but somehow, whether
familiarity had bred contempt, or whether it had come to be looked
upon as a “bugaboo”—terrible to the sight, but not so very bad when
you knew it—the patriotic handbills first cooled down, and then
disappeared, and the satirical artist imparted a lighter tone to his
pictures. Take one of Gillray’s (February 10, 1804): “The KING of
BROBDINGNAG and GULLIVER” (Plate 2). Scene—“Gulliver manœuvring with
his little boat in the cistern,” _vide Swift’s Gulliver_: “I often
used to row for my own diversion, as well as that of the Queen and
her ladies, who thought themselves well entertained with my skill and
agility. Sometimes I would put up my sail and show my art by steering
starboard and larboard. However, my attempts produced nothing else
besides a loud laughter, which all the respect due to His Majesty from
those about him, could not make them contain. This made me reflect how
vain an attempt it is for a man to endeavour to do himself honour among
those who are out of all degree of equality or comparison with him!!!”
The King and Queen look on with amusement at the pigmy’s vessel,
for the better sailing of which, the young princes are blowing; and
creating quite a gale.

Take another by West (March, 1804), which shows equally, that terror
is turning to derision. It is called “A French Alarmist, or, John Bull
looking out for the Grand Flotilla!” John Bull is guarding his coast,
sword on thigh, and attended by his faithful dog. Through his telescope
he scans the horizon, and is thus addressed by a Frenchman who is
behind him. “Ah, ah! Monsieur Bull, dere you see our Grande Flotilla,
de grande gon boats, ma foi—dere you see ‘em sailing for de grand
attack on your nation—dere you see de Bombs and de Cannons—dere you
see de Grande Consul himself at de head of his Legions? Dere you see—“
But John Bull, mindful of the old saying, anent the Spanish Armada,
replies, “Monsieur, all this I cannot see, because ’tis not in sight.”

Money was scarce in this year; and in spite of the all-but million
given the King not so long since to pay his debts, we find (_Morning
Herald_, April 26, 1804), “The Civil List is now paying up to the
Lady-day quarter, 1803.”

So scarce was money—_i.e._, bullion—that a means had to be found to
supplement the currency; and it so happened that a large quantity of
Spanish dollars were opportunely taken in prizes. In 1803 the idea of
utilizing these as current English coins was first mooted, and some
were stamped with the King’s head, the size of the ordinary goldsmith’s
mark; but in 1804 a much larger issue of them was made, and they were
stamped with a profile likeness of the King, in an octagon of about a
quarter of an inch square. They were made to pass for five shillings
each, which was about threepence-halfpenny over their value as bullion;
and this extra, and fictitious, value was imposed upon them in order
that they should not be melted down. They were also to be taken back
for a time at that price, and on the 12th of January, 1804, every
banking house received £1,000 worth of them from the Bank of England,
against the Bank’s paper. But, as currency, they did not last long,
the Bank refusing, as early as April the same year, to receive them
back again, on “various frivolous and ill-founded pretensions.” For
some reason, probably forgery, they were recalled, and on the 22nd of
May there was a notice in the _Gazette_ to the effect that a new issue
of them would be made, which would be stamped by the famous firm of
Boulton, Soho Mint, at Birmingham, whose series of tradesmen’s tokens
of George the Third’s reign is familiar to every numismatist. They
varied from those stamped at the Tower, by having on the obverse,
“Georgius III., Dei Gratiâ Rex,” and on the reverse, the figure of
Britannia, with the words—“Five shillings dollar, Bank of England,
1804,” but even these were soon forged.

On the 14th of February the King was taken ill so seriously that
bulletins had to be issued. His malady was stated to be “an _Hydrops
Pectoris_, or a water in the chest of the body;” to counteract which
they scarified his legs.[20] The probability is, that this treatment
was not the proper one, for I observe that the next day’s bulletin
is signed by four, instead of two doctors, who, however, on the
succeeding day, certify that their patient _could walk_. On the 26th,
which was Sunday, prayers were offered up in all churches and chapels
of the Metropolis, and a week later throughout England, for His
Majesty’s recovery. On the 27th of February, there was a long debate
in Parliament on the subject of His Majesty’s health; some members
holding that, looking at the gravity of our relations with France, the
people were not kept sufficiently informed as to the King’s illness.
Addington, then Prime Minister, contended that more information than
was made public would be injudicious, and prejudicial to the public
good; and after a long discussion, in which Pitt, Fox, Windham, and
Grenville took part, the subject dropped. Towards the end of March,
the King became quite convalescent, a fact which is thus quaintly
announced in the _Morning Herald_ of the 28th of March: “We have the
sincerest pleasure in stating that a certain personage is now perfectly
restored to all his domestic comforts. He saw the Queen for the first
time on Saturday (March 24th) afternoon. The interview, as may well be
conceived, was peculiarly affecting.”

Yet another Fast Day; this time on the 25th of May, and its cause—“for
humbling ourselves before Almighty God, in order to obtain pardon of
our sins, and in the most solemn manner to send up our prayers and
supplications to the Divine Majesty, for averting those heavy judgments
which our manifold provocations have most justly deserved; and for
imploring His blessing and assistance on our arms, for the restoration
of peace and prosperity to these dominions.” A contemporary account
tells how it was kept: “Yesterday, being the day appointed for the
observance of a solemn Fast, was duly observed in the Metropolis, at
least as far as outward show and decorum can go. Every shop was shut;
for those who on similar occasions, kept their windows open, have
probably learnt that, to offend against public example and decency, is
not the way to ensure either favour or credit. Most of the Volunteer
Corps attended at their several churches, where sermons suitable to the
day were preached.”

The Addington Ministry was on its last legs, and died on or about the
11th of May; and a very strong government was formed by Pitt, which
included the Duke of Portland, Lord Eldon, Lord Melville, the Earl of
Chatham, Dundas, Canning, Huskisson, and Spencer Perceval.

They were not very long in power before they stretched forth their long
arm after the notorious William Cobbett for the publication of certain
libels with intent to traduce His Majesty’s Government in Ireland, and
the persons employed in the administration thereof, particularly Lord
Hardwicke, Lord Redesdale, Mr. Marsden, and the Hon. Charles Osborne,
contained in certain letters signed Juverna. He was tried on the 24th
of May, and found guilty. On the 26th he had another action brought
against him for slandering Mr. Plunket, in his official capacity as
Solicitor-General for Ireland, and was cast in a verdict for £500.

On the 27th of June the Abolition of the Slave Trade was read a third
time in the Commons, and some curious facts came out in debate. One
member called attention to the fact that there were 7,000 French
prisoners on the Island of Barbadoes, besides a great number in
prison-ships, and feared they would foment discontent among the
negroes, who did not distinguish between the abolition of the slave
trade and immediate emancipation. He also pointed out that the Moravian
missionaries on the island were teaching, most forcibly, the fact that
all men were alike God’s creatures, and that the last should be first
and the first last.

An honourable member immediately replied in vindication of the
missionaries, and said that no fewer than 10,000 negroes had been
converted in the Island of Antigua, _and that their tempers and
dispositions had been, thereby, rendered so much better, that they were
entitled to an increased value of £10_.

Next day the Bill was taken up to the Lords and read for the
first time, during which debate the Duke of Clarence said: “Since
a very early period of his life, when he was in another line of
profession—which he knew not why he had no longer employment in—he
had ocular demonstration of the state of slavery, as it was called, in
the West Indies, and all that he had seen convinced him that it not
only was not deserving of the imputations that had been cast upon it,
but that the abolition of it would be productive of extreme danger and

Before the second reading he also presented two petitions against it,
and when the second reading did come on, on the 3rd of July, Lord
Hawkesbury moved that such reading should be on that day three months,
and this motion was carried without a division, so that the Bill was
lost for that year.

The Invasion Scare, although dying out, in this year was far from dead;
but, though people did not talk so much about it, the Government was
vigilant and watchful, as was shown by many little matters—notably the
signals. In the eastern district of England were 32,000 troops ready to
move at a moment’s notice; whilst the hoisting of a red flag at any of
the following stations would ensure the lighting of all the beacons,
wherever established:

  Colchester.               Mum’s Hedge.
  Brightlingsea.            White Notley.
  Earls Colne.              Ongar Park.
  Gosfield.                 Messing.
  Sewers End.               Rettenden.
  Littlebury.               Danbury.
  Thaxted.                  Langdon Hill.
  Hatfield Broad Oak.       Corne Green.

Transport seems to have been the weakest spot in the military
organizations, and a Committee sat both at the Mansion House, and
Thatched House Tavern, to stimulate the patriotic ardour of owners of
horses and carriages, in order that they might offer them for the use
of the Government. A large number of job-masters, too, offered to lend
their horses, provided their customers would send their coachmen and
two days’ forage with them.

There was in this year a very close election for Middlesex, between Sir
Francis Burdett and Mr. Mainwaring. The election lasted, as usual, a
fortnight, and Sir Francis claimed a majority of one. This so elated
his supporters that they formed a triumphal procession from Brentford,
the county town, to Piccadilly, composed as under:

  A Banner, on orange ground, inscribed
  Horsemen, two and two.
  Flags borne by Horsemen.
  Persons on foot in files of six, singing “Rule, Britannia.”
  Handbell Ringers.
  Body of foot, as before.
  Car with Band of Music.
  Large Body of Horsemen.
  In his Chariot, accompanied by his Brother, and another
  Gentleman covered with Laurels and drawn by
  the Populace, with an allegorical painting of
  Liberty _and_ Independence,
  and surrounded with lighted flambeaux.
  A second Car, with a Musical Band.
  A Body of Horsemen.
  Gentlemen’s and other Carriages in a long Cavalcade,
  which closed the Procession.

Was it not a pity, after all this excitement, that on a scrutiny,
the famous majority of one was found to be fallacious, and that Mr.
Mainwaring had _a majority of five_? a fact of which he duly availed
himself, sitting for Middlesex at the next meeting of Parliament.

The close of the year is not particularly remarkable for any events
other than the arrival in England, on the 1st of November, of the
brother of Louis XVIII. (afterwards Charles X.), and the reconciliation
which took place between the Prince of Wales, and his royal father,
on the 12th of November, which was made the subject of a scathing
satirical print by Gillray (November 20th). It is called “THE
RECONCILIATION.” “And he arose and came to his Father, and his Father
saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his Neck and kissed
him.” The old King is in full Court costume, with brocaded Coat and
Ribbon of the Garter, and presents a striking contrast to the tattered
prodigal, whose rags show him to be in pitiable case, and who is
faintly murmuring, “_Against Heaven and before thee_.” The Queen, with
open arms, stands on the doorstep to welcome the lost one, whilst Pitt
and Lord Moira, as confidential advisers, respectively of the King and
the Prince, look on with a curious and puzzled air.

Consols were, January 56⅞; December 58⅝; having fallen as low as 54½ in
February. The quartern loaf began the year at 9½d. and left off at 1s.
4½d. Average price of wheat 74s.





 Doings of Napoleon—His letter to George III.—Lord Mulgrave’s
 reply—War declared against Spain—General Fast—Men voted for Army
 and Navy—The Salt Duty—Withdrawal of “The Army of England”—Battle
 of Trafalgar and death of Nelson—General Thanksgiving.

THE YEAR 1805 was uneventful for many reasons, the chief of which was
that Bonaparte was principally engaged in consolidating his power after
his Coronation. He was elected Emperor on the 20th of May, 1804, but
was not crowned until December of the same year. In March, 1805, he was
invited by the Italian Republic to be their monarch, and, in April, he
and Josephine left Paris for Milan, and in May he crowned himself King
of Italy.

He was determined, if only nominally, to hold out the olive branch of
peace to England, and on the 2nd of January, 1805, he addressed the
following letter to George the Third.

 “SIR AND BROTHER,—Called to the throne of France by Providence,
 and by the suffrages of the senate, the people, and the army, my
 first sentiment is a wish for peace. France and England abuse their
 prosperity. They may contend for ages; but do their governments well
 fulfil the most sacred of their duties, and will not so much blood,
 shed uselessly, and without a view to any end, condemn them in their
 own consciences? I consider it as no disgrace to make the first step.
 I have, I hope, sufficiently proved to the world that I fear none of
 the chances of war; it, besides, presents nothing that I need to fear:
 peace is the wish of my heart, but war has never been inconsistent
 with my glory. I conjure your Majesty not to deny yourself the
 happiness of giving peace to the world, nor to leave that sweet
 satisfaction to your children; for certainly there never was a more
 fortunate opportunity, nor a moment more favourable, to silence all
 the passions and listen only to the sentiments of humanity and reason.
 This moment once lost, what end can be assigned to a war which all my
 efforts will not be able to terminate? Your Majesty has gained more
 within the last ten years both in territory and riches than the whole
 extent of Europe. Your nation is at the highest point of prosperity:
 to what can it hope from war? To form a coalition with some Powers of
 the Continent! The Continent will remain tranquil—a coalition can
 only increase the preponderance and continental greatness of France.
 To renew intestine troubles? The times are no longer the same. To
 destroy our finances? Finances founded on flourishing agriculture can
 never be destroyed. To take from France her colonies? The Colonies are
 to France only a secondary object; and does not your Majesty already
 possess more than you know how to preserve? If your Majesty would but
 reflect, you must perceive that the war is without an object, without
 any presumable result to yourself. Alas! what a melancholy prospect
 to cause two nations to fight merely for the sake of fighting. The
 world is sufficiently large for our two nations to live in it, and
 reason is sufficiently powerful to discover means of reconciling
 everything, when the wish for reconciliation exists on both sides. I
 have, however, fulfilled a sacred duty, and one which is precious to
 my heart. I trust your Majesty will believe in the sincerity of my
 sentiments, and my wish to give you every proof of it.


When the King opened Parliament on the 15th of January, 1805, he
referred to this letter thus: “I have recently received a communication
from the French Government, containing professions of a pacific
disposition. I have, in consequence, expressed my earnest desire to
embrace the first opportunity of restoring the blessings of peace
on such grounds as may be consistent with the permanent safety and
interests of my dominions; but I am confident you will agree with me
that those objects are closely connected with the general security of

The reply of Lord Mulgrave (who had succeeded Lord Harrowby as
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) was both courteous and politic.
It was dated the 14th of January, and was addressed to M. Talleyrand.

“His Britannic Majesty has received the letter which has been addressed
to him by the head of the French Government, dated the 2nd of the
present month. There is no object which His Majesty has more at heart,
than to avail himself of the first opportunity to procure again for his
subjects the advantages of a peace, founded on bases which may not be
incompatible with the permanent security and essential interests of his
dominions. His Majesty is persuaded that this end can only be attained
by arrangements which may, at the same time, provide for the future
safety and tranquillity of Europe, and prevent the recurrence of the
dangers and calamities in which it is involved. Conformably to this
sentiment, His Majesty feels it is impossible for him to answer more
particularly to the overture that has been made him, till he has had
time to communicate with the Powers on the Continent, with whom he is
engaged with confidential connexions and relations, and particularly
the Emperor of Russia, who has given the strongest proofs of the wisdom
and elevation of the sentiments with which he is animated, and the
lively interest which he takes in the safety and independence of the


       *       *       *       *       *

Very shortly after this, England declared war against Spain, and
the Declaration was laid before Parliament on January 24th. A long
discussion ensued thereon; but the Government had a majority on their
side of 313 against 106.

Probably, His Majesty’s Government had some inkling of what was coming,
for on the 2nd of January was issued a proclamation for another general
Fast, which was to take place on the 20th of February, “for the success
of His Majesty’s arms.” History records that the Volunteers went
dutifully to church; and also that “a very elegant and fashionable
display of equestrians and charioteers graced the public ride about
three o’clock. The Countesses of Cholmondeley and Harcourt were noticed
for the first time this season, each of whom sported a very elegant
landau. Mr. Buxton sported his four bays in his new phaeton, in a
great style, and Mr. Chartres his fine set of blacks.” Thus showing
that different people have different views of National Fasting and

That the arm of the flesh was also relied on, is shown by the fact that
Parliament in January voted His Majesty 120,000 men, including marines,
for his Navy; and in February 312,048 men for his Army, with suitable
sums for their maintenance and efficiency.

Of course this could not be done without extra taxation, and the
Budget of the 18th of February proposed—an extra tax of 1d., 2d.,
and 3d. respectively on single, double, and treble letters (as they
were called) passing through the post; extra tax of 6d. per bushel on
salt, extra taxes on horses, and on legacies. All these were taken
without much demur, with one exception, and that was the Salt Duty
Bill. Fierce were the squabbles over this tax, and much good eloquence
was expended, both in its behalf and against it, and it had to be
materially altered before it was passed; one of the chief arguments
against it being that it would injuriously affect the fisheries, as
large quantities were used in curing. But a heavy tax on salt would
also hamper bacon and ham curing, &c., and Mrs. Bull had an objection
to see Pitt as

[Illustration: BILLY IN THE SALT-BOX.[21]]

The Flotilla could not sail, and “the Army of England” was inactive,
when circumstances arose that rendered the withdrawal of the latter
imperative: consequently the Flotilla was practically useless, for
it had no troops to transport. Austria had gone to war with France
without the formality of a Declaration, and the forces of the Allies
were computed at 250,000. The French troops were reckoned at 275,000
men, but “the Army of England” comprised 180,000 of these, and they
must needs be diverted to the point of danger.

We can imagine the great wave of relief that spread over the length and
breadth of this land at this good news. The papers were, of course,
most jubilant, and the whole nation must have felt relieved of a great
strain. Even the Volunteers must have got somewhat sick of airing and
parading their patriotism, with the foe within tangible proximity, and
must have greatly preferred its absence.

The _Times_ is especially bitter on the subject:

“1. The _scene_ that now opens upon the soldiers of France, by being
obliged to leave the coast, and march eastwards, is sadly different
from that _Land of Promise_ which, for two years, has been held out
to them, in all sorts of gay delusions. After all the efforts of the
_Imperial Boat Builder_, instead of sailing over the Channel, they have
to cross the _Rhine_. The bleak _forests_ of Suabia will make but a
sorry exchange for the promised spoils of our _Docks_ and _Warehouses_.
They will not find any equivalent for the _plunder of the Bank_, in
another bloody passage through ‘the _Valley of Hell_;’ but they seem to
have forgotten the magnificent promise of the _Milliard_.”[22]

The _Times_ (September 13th) quoting from a French paper, shows that
they endeavoured to put a totally different construction on the
withdrawal of their troops, or rather to make light of it. “Whilst
the German papers, with much noise, make more troops march than all
the Powers together possess, France, which needs not to augment her
forces, in order to display them in an imposing manner, detaches a few
thousand troops from the Army of England, to cover her frontiers, which
are menaced by the imprudent conduct of Austria. England is preparing
fresh victories for us, and for herself fresh motives for decrying
her ambition. After all, those movements are not yet a certain sign of
war,” &c.

The greatest loss the English Nation sustained this year, was the death
of Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, which was fought on
the 21st of October, 1805.

[Illustration: DEATH OF NELSON.]

On the 6th of November the glorious news of the Victory was published,
and there was but one opinion—that it was purchased too dearly.
That evening London was but partially illuminated. On the 7th these
symptoms of rejoicing were general, but throughout them there was a
sombre air—a mingling of the cypress with the laurel, and men went
about gloomily, thinking of the dead hero: at least most did—some did
not; even of those who might have worn a decent semblance of woe—old
sailors—some of whom, according to the _Times_, behaved in a somewhat
unseemly manner. “A squadron of shattered _tars_ were drawn up in
_line of battle_, opposite the Treasury, at anchor, with their lights
_aloft_, all _well stowed with grog_, flourishing their mutilated
stumps, cheering all hands, and making the best of their position, in
collecting _prize money_.”

A General Thanksgiving for the Victory was proclaimed to take place on
the 5th of December. The good Volunteers were duly marched to church,
and one member of the Royal Family—the Duke of Cambridge—actually
attended Divine Worship on the occasion. At Drury Lane Theatre, “the
Interlude of _The Victory and Death of Lord Nelson_ seemed to affect
the audience exceedingly; but the tear of sensibility was wiped away by
the merry eccentricities of _The Weathercock_”—the moral to be learned
from which seems to be, that the good folks of the early century seemed
to think that God should not be thanked, nor heroes mourned, too much.
This must close this year, for Nelson’s funeral belongs to the next.

After the Battle of Trafalgar, the Patriotic Fund was again revived,
and over £50,000 subscribed by the end of the year.

Consols were remarkably even during this year, varying very little even
at the news of Trafalgar: January, 61⅞; December, 65.

The quartern loaf varied from January 1s. 4¼d., to December 1s. 0¼d.

Wheat varied from 95s. to 90s. per quarter.





 Nelson’s funeral—Epigrams—Death of Pitt—His funeral—General
 Fast—Large coinage of copper—Impeachment of Lord Melville—The
 Abolition of the Slave Trade passes the House of Commons—Death
 and funeral of Fox—His warning Napoleon of a plot against
 him—Negotiations for peace—Napoleon declares England blockaded.

THE YEAR opens with the Funeral of Nelson, whose Victory at Trafalgar
had made England Mistress of the Ocean. He was laid to his rest in St
Paul’s on January 9th, much to the profit of the four vergers of that
Cathedral, who are said to have made more than £1000, by the daily
admission of the throngs desirous of witnessing the preparations for
the funeral. The _Annual Register_ says, “The door money is taken as at
a puppet show, and amounted for several days to more than forty pounds
a day.” Seats to view the procession, from the windows of the houses on
the route, commanded any price, from One Guinea each; and as much as
Five Hundred Guineas is said to have been paid for a house on Ludgate

Enthusiasm was at its height, as it was in later times, within the
memory of many of us, when the Duke of Wellington came to rest under
the same roof as the Gallant Nelson. His famous signal—which, even
now, thrills the heart of every Englishman—was prostituted to serve
trade Advertisements, _vide_ the following: “ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY
that great National Event, which is the pride of every Englishman to
hand down to the latest posterity, as well as to contribute towards
alleviating the sufferings of our brave wounded Tars, &c., H. WEBB,
Confectioner, Little Newport Street, will, on that day, Cut for SALE,
the LARGEST RICH TWELFTH CAKE ever made, weighing near 600 lbs., part
of the profits of which H. W. intends applying to the Patriotic Fund at

His body lay in State at Greenwich in the “Painted Hall” (then called
the “Painted Chamber”) from Sunday the 5th of January until the 8th.
Owing to Divine Service not being finished, a written notice was posted
up, that the public could not be admitted until 11. a.m.; by which time
many thousands of people were assembled. Punctually at that hour, the
doors were thrown open, and, though express orders had been given that
only a limited number should be admitted at once, yet the mob was so
great as to bear down everything in its way. Nothing could be heard
but shrieks and groans, as several persons were trodden under foot and
greatly hurt. One man had his right eye literally torn out, by coming
into contact with one of the gate-posts. Vast numbers of ladies and
gentlemen lost their shoes, hats, shawls, &c., and the ladies fainted
in every direction.

The Hall was hung with black cloth, and lit up with twenty-eight Silver
Sconces, with two wax candles in each—a light which, in that large
Hall, must have only served to make darkness visible. High above the
Coffin hung a canopy of black velvet festooned with gold, and by the
coffin was the Hero’s Coronet. Shields of Arms were around, and, at
back, was a trophy, which was surmounted by a gold shield, encircled by
a wreath having upon it “Trafalgar” in black letters.

The bringing of the body from Greenwich to Whitehall by water, must
have been a most impressive sight—and one not likely to be seen again,
owing to the absence of rowing barges. That which headed the procession
bore the Royal Standard, and carried a Captain and two Lieutenants in
full uniform, with black waistcoats, breeches, and stockings, and crape
round their hats and arms.

In the second barge were the Officers of Arms, bearing the Shield,
Sword, Helm, and Crest, of the deceased, and the great banner was borne
by Captain Moorsom, supported by two lieutenants.

The third barge bore the body, and was rowed by forty-six men from
Nelson’s flag-ship the _Victory_. This barge was covered with black
velvet, and black plumes, and Clarencieux King-at-Arms sat at the
head of the coffin, bearing a Viscount’s Coronet, upon a black velvet

In the fourth barge came the Chief Mourner, Admiral Sir Peter Parker,
with many assistant Mourners and Naval grandees.

Then followed His Majesty’s barge, that of the Lords Commissioners of
the Admiralty, the Lord Mayor’s barge, and many others; and they all
passed slowly up the silent highway, to the accompaniment of minute
guns, the shores being lined with thousands of spectators, every man
with uncovered head. All traffic on the river was suspended, and the
deck, yards, masts, and rigging of every vessel were crowded with men.

The big guns of the Tower boomed forth, and similar salutes accompanied
the mournful train to Whitehall, from whence the body was taken, with
much solemnity, to the Admiralty, there to lie till the morrow.

[Illustration: NELSON’S FUNERAL CAR.]

His resting-place was not fated to be that of his choice. “Victory, or
Westminster Abbey,” he cried, forgetful that the Nation had apportioned
the Abbey to be the Pantheon of Genius, and St. Paul’s to be the
Valhalla of Heroes—and to the latter he was duly borne.

I refrain from giving the programme of the procession, because of its
length, which may be judged by the fact, that the first part left the
Admiralty at 11 a.m., and the last of the mourning coaches a little
before three. The Procession may be divided into three parts: the
Military, the funeral Pageant proper, and the Mourners. There were
nearly 10,000 regular soldiers, chiefly composed of those who had
fought in Egypt, and knew of Nelson; and this was a large body to get
together, when the means of transport were very defective—a great
number of troops in Ireland, and a big European War in progress,
causing a heavy drain upon the Army. The Pageant was as brave as
could be made, with pursuivants and heralds, standards and trumpets,
together with every sort of official procurable, and all the nobility,
from the younger sons of barons, to George Prince of Wales, who was
accompanied by the Dukes of Clarence and Kent. The Dukes of York and
Cambridge headed the Procession, and the Duke of Sussex made himself
generally useful by first commanding his regiment of Loyal North
Britons, and then riding to St. Paul’s on his chestnut Arabian. The
Mourners, besides the relatives of the deceased, consisted of Naval
Officers, according to their rank—the Seniors nearest the body;
and, to give some idea of the number of those who followed Nelson to
the grave, there were one hundred and eighty-four Mourning Coaches,
which came after the Body, which was carried on a triumphal car,
fashioned somewhat after his flag-ship the _Victory_—the accompanying
illustration of which I have taken from the best contemporary engraving
I could find.

The whole of the Volunteer Corps of the Metropolis, and its vicinity,
were on duty all day, to keep the line of procession.

At twenty-three and a half minutes past five the coffin containing
Nelson’s mortal remains was lowered into its vault. Garter King-at-Arms
had pronounced his style and duly broken his staff, and then the huge
procession, which had taken so much trouble and length of time to
prepare, melted, and each man went his way; the car being taken to the
King’s Mews, where it remained for a day or two, until it was removed
to the grand hall at Greenwich—and the Hero, or rather his grave, was
converted into a sight for which money was taken.



  Brave NELSON was doubtless a lion in war,
    With terror his enemies filling;
  But now he is dead, they are safe from his paw,
    And the LION is _shewn_ for a _shilling_.”[25]


  Lo! where the relics of brave NELSON lie!
    And, lo! each heart with saddest sorrow weeping!
  Come then, ye throng, and gaze with anxious eye—
    But, ah! remember, you must—_pay_ for _peeping_.”[26]

The cost of this funeral figures, in the expenses of the year, at
£14,698 11s. 6d.

Yet another death: the great Statesman, WILLIAM PITT, who had been
sinking for some time, paid the debt of Nature on the 23rd of January.
Parliament voted him, by a majority of 258 to 89, a public funeral, and
sepulture in Westminster Abbey; and also a sum not exceeding £40,000
was voted, without opposition, to pay his debts.

He lay in state, in the Painted Chamber of the Palace of Westminster,
on the 20th and 21st of February, and people flocked to the
sight—19,800 persons passing through in the six hours the doors were
kept open; or, in other words, they entered and went out at the rate
of fifty-five a minute. This average was exceeded next day, when the
number of visitors rose to 27,000, or seventy-five a minute.

Of course the accessories of this funeral, which took place on the 22nd
of February, were nothing like so gorgeous as at that of Nelson; but
there was a vast amount of State, and the Dukes of York, Cumberland,
and Cambridge, were among the long line of the Nobility who paid their
last respects to William Pitt. The cost of the funeral was £6,045 2s.

It would be without precedent to allow the year to pass without a Fast,
so one was ordered for the 26th of February. The Houses of Lords and
Commons attended Church, so did the Volunteers. Also “The Lord Mayor,
Sheriffs, &c., attended Divine Service at St. Paul’s, from whence they
returned to the Mansion House—_where they dined_.”

The Copper Coinage having, during the King’s long reign, become
somewhat deteriorated, a proclamation of His Majesty’s appeared in
the _Gazette_ of the 10th of May, for a New Coinage of 150 tons of
penny pieces, 427½ tons of halfpenny pieces, and twenty-two and a half
tons of farthings. The penny pieces were to be in the proportion of
twenty-four to the pound, avoirdupois, of copper, and so on with the
others. It was provided that no one should be obliged to take more of
such penny pieces, in one payment, than shall be of the value of one
shilling, or more of such halfpence and farthings than shall be of the
value of sixpence.

This year witnessed the singular sight of a Parliamentary Impeachment.
Lord Melville was accused on ten different counts, and his trial
commenced on the 29th of April; Westminster Hall being fitted up for
the occasion. The three principal charges against him were—“First,
that before January 10, 1786, he had applied to his private use and
profit, various sums of public money entrusted to him, as Treasurer
of the Navy. Secondly, that in violation of the Act of Parliament, for
better regulating that office, he had permitted Trotter, his paymaster,
illegally to take from the Bank of England, large sums of the money
issued on account of the Treasurer of the Navy, and to place those
sums in the hands of his private banker, in his own name, and subject
to his sole control and disposition. Thirdly, that he had fraudulently
and corruptly permitted Trotter to apply the said money to purposes of
private use and emolument, and had, himself, fraudulently and corruptly
derived profit therefrom.”

Of course Lord Melville pleaded “not guilty,” and this was the verdict
of his peers.

On the 10th of June, the Abolition of the Slave Trade again passed
the House of Commons, by a majority of ninety-nine. On the 24th
of June the Lords debated on the same subject, and they carried,
without a division, an address to His Majesty, “praying that he
would be graciously pleased to consult with other Powers towards the
accomplishment of the same end,” which would afford another opportunity
to those who were anxious again to divide upon this question.

On the 13th of September of this year died Pitt’s great rival, Charles
James Fox, a man who, had he lived in these times, would have been a
giant Statesman. For him, however, no public funeral, no payment by
the nation of his debts—this latter probably because in the accounts
for the year figure two items of expenditure: “For secret services
for 1806, £175,000,” and “For the seamen who served in the Battle
of Trafalgar, £300,000.” He was buried on the 10th of October in
Westminster Abbey, and the funeral, under the direction of his friend,
Sheridan, was a very pompous affair—though, of course, it lacked the
glitter of a State ceremonial. Still there were the King’s Trumpeters
and Soldiers, whilst the Horse and Foot Guards and Volunteers lined the
way. So he was carried to his grave in the Abbey—which, curiously,
was dug within eighteen inches of his old opponent, Pitt. The relation
between the two is well summed up by a contemporary writer. “We may
pronounce of them, that, as rivals for power and for fame, their equals
have not been known in this country, and perhaps in none were there two
such Statesman, in so regular and equal a contention for pre-eminence.
In the advantages of birth and fortune they were equal; in eloquence,
dissimilar in their manner, but superior to all their contemporaries;
in influence upon the minds of their hearers equal; in talents and
reputation, dividing the nation into two parties of nearly equal
strength; in probity, above all suspicion; in patriotism rivals, as in
all things else.”[27]

It must not be thought that the year passed by without attempts
being made to stop the war. They were begun by a charming act of
international courtesy and friendship on the part of Fox, which
cannot be better told than in his own words, contained in a letter to

  “_Downing Street, February 20, 1806._

 “SIR,—I think it my duty, as an honest man, to communicate to you,
 as soon as possible, a very extraordinary circumstance which is come
 to my knowledge. The shortest way will be to relate to you the fact
 simply as it happened.

 “A few days ago a person informed me that he was just arrived at
 Gravesend without a passport, requesting me at the same time to send
 him one, as he had lately left Paris, and had something to communicate
 to me which would give me satisfaction. I sent for him; he came to
 my house the following day. I received him alone in my closet; when,
 after some unimportant conversation, this villain had the audacity to
 tell me, that it was necessary for the tranquillity of all crowned
 heads, to put to death the Ruler of France; and that, for this
 purpose, a house had been hired at Passy, from which this detestable
 project could be carried into effect with certainty, and without
 risk. I did not perfectly understand if it was to be done by a common
 musket, or by fire-arms upon a new principle.

 “I am not ashamed to tell you, Sir, _who know me_, that my confusion
 was extreme, in thus finding myself _led into_ a conversation with an
 avowed assassin. I instantly ordered him to leave me, giving, at the
 same time, orders to the police officer who accompanied him, to send
 him out of the kingdom as soon as possible.

 “It is probable that all this is unfounded, and that the wretch had
 nothing more in view than to make himself of consequence, by promising
 what, according to his ideas, would afford me satisfaction.

 “At all events, I thought it right to acquaint you with what had
 happened, before I sent him away. Our laws do not permit us to detain
 him long; but he shall not be sent away till after you shall have had
 full time to take precautions against his attempts, supposing him
 still to entertain bad designs; and, when he goes, I shall take care
 to have him landed at a seaport as remote as possible from France.

 “He calls himself here, Guillet de la Gevrilliere, but I think it is a
 false name which he has assumed.

 “At his first entrance I did him the honour to believe him to be a spy.

 “I have the honour to be, with the most perfect attachment,


  “Your most obedient servant,

  “C. J. FOX.”

I have given this letter _in extenso_, to show how a _Gentleman_ of
the grand Old School could act towards an enemy—feeling himself
dishonoured by even conversing with a murderous traitor. It was
chivalrous and manly, and well merited Napoleon’s remarks, contained
in Talleyrand’s reply: “I recognize here the principles of honour and
of virtue, by which Mr. Fox has ever been actuated. Thank him on my

This episode is the most agreeable one in the whole of the papers in
connection with the negotiations for peace at that time. The King
fully entered into the reasons why these proposals did not come to a
successful issue, in a Declaration, dated October 21st, which, with
many other papers, was laid before Parliament on December 22nd.

If “Rien n’est sacré pour un Sapeur,” it is the same with the
Caricaturist. Here were men presumably doing their honest best to
promote peace, and do away with a war that was exhausting all Europe;
yet the satirist takes it jauntily. Take only one, the Caricature
by Ansell (August, 1806). “The Pleasing and Instructive Game of
_Messengers_; or, Summer Amusement for John Bull.” Balls, in the shape
of Messengers, are being sent and returned, in lively succession,
across the Channel; their errands are of a most extraordinary
character. “Peace—Hope—Despair. No Peace—Passports—Peace to a
certainty—No Peace—Credentials—Despatches, &c.” Napoleon and
Talleyrand like the game. “Begar, Talley, dis be ver amusant. Keep it
up as long as you can, so that we may have time for our project.” John
Bull merely looks on, leaving Fox, Sheridan, and the Ministry, to play
the game on his behalf; and, in reply to a query by Fox, “Is it not a
pretty game, Johnny?” the old man replies, with a somewhat puzzled air,
“Pretty enough as to that—they do fly about monstrous quick, to be
sure; but you don’t get any more money out of my pocket for all that!”

The failure of these pacific negotiations with France, brought a
rejoinder from the French Emperor, which, to use a familiar expression
made John Bull “set his back up.” It was no less than a proclamation of
Napoleon’s, dated _Berlin_, November 21, 1806, in which, he attempted,
on paper, to blockade England. The principal articles in this famous
proclamation are as follow:—

1. The British Isles are declared to be in a state of blockade.

2. All trade and communication with Great Britain is strictly

3. All letters going to, or coming from England, are not to be
forwarded, and all those written in English are to be suppressed.

4. Every individual, who is a subject of Great Britain, is to be made a
prisoner of war, wherever he may be found.

5. All goods belonging to Englishmen are to be confiscated, and the
amount paid to those who have suffered through the detention of ships
by the English.

6. No ships coming from Great Britain, or having been in a port of that
country, are to be admitted.

7. All trade in English Goods is rigorously prohibited.

Besides these startling facts, the time allowed for the delivery of
all English property was limited to the space of twenty-four hours
after the issue of the Proclamation; and if, after that time, any
persons were discovered to have secreted, or withheld, British goods,
or articles, of any description, they were to be subjected to military
execution. The British subjects who were arrested in Hamburgh, and had
not escaped, were ordered to Verdun, or the interior of France, as
Prisoners of War.

This was enough to close all hopes of reconciliation, and, although
the English Newspapers took a courageous view of the blockade, and
attempted to laugh at its ever being practicable to carry out, yet
it undoubtedly created great uneasiness, and intensified the bitter
feeling between the belligerents.

This, then, was the position of affairs at the end of 1806. Consols,
during the year, varied from 61 in January to 59 in December, having in
July reached 66½.

The quartern loaf was fairly firm all the year, beginning at 11¾d. and
ending at 1s. 1d. Average price of wheat 52s.




 Passing of the Slave Trade Bill—Downfall of the “Ministry of all the
 Talents”—General Fast—Election for Westminster—Death of Cardinal
 York—Arrival in England of Louis XVIII.—Copenhagen bombarded, and
 the Danish Fleet captured—Napoleon again proclaimed England as

THE YEAR 1807 began, socially, with the Abolition of the Slave Trade,
the debate on which was opened, in the Lords, on January 2nd, and many
were the nights spent in its discussion. On February 10th, it was read
a third time in the Upper House, and sent down to the Commons, who, on
March 15th, read it a third time, and passed it without a division.
On the 18th, it was sent again to the Lords, with some amendments. It
was printed, and these amendments were taken into consideration on the
23rd, and the alterations agreed to on the same date; and exactly at
noon on March 25th, the bill received the Royal Assent by Commission,
and became LAW. This Act, be it remembered, did not abolish Slavery,
but only prohibited the Traffic in Slaves; so that no ship should clear
out from any port within the British dominions after May 1, 1807, with
slaves on board, and that no slave should be landed in the Colonies
after March 1, 1808.

This Act was somewhat hurried through, owing to the downfall of
the Coalition Ministry, which will ever be known in the political
history of England as the “Ministry of all the talents,” or the
“Broad-bottomed” Cabinet. While this Ministry was in existence, it
afforded the Caricaturists plenty of food for their pencils. One of
the last of them is by Gillray (April 18, 1807), and it is called “The
Pigs Possessed, or, The Broad-bottomed Litter rushing headlong in the
Sea of Perdition.” Though the subject is hackneyed, the treatment is
excellent. “Farmer George,” as the King was familiarly termed, has
knocked down a portion of his fence, which stands on the edge of a
cliff, and, with brandished dung-fork, and ready heel, he speeds the
swine to their destruction, thus apostrophizing them: “O, you cursed
ungrateful Grunters! what! after devouring more in a twelve month,
than the good old Litters did in twelve years, you turn round to
kick and bite your old Master? but, if the Devil or the Pope has got
possession of you all—pray get out of my Farm Yard! out with you all;
no hanger-behind! you’re all of a cursed bad breed; so out with you all

Of course there was the Annual Fast, which was fixed, for February
25th. This time “the shops were all shut, and the utmost solemnity
prevailed throughout the day.” Their repetition, evidently, was
educating the people as to their implied meaning.

Sir Francis Burdett wished to retrieve his former defeat, and we
consequently find him, at the General Election in this year, putting
up for Westminster. Paull, who had contested the seat with Sheridan,
was one candidate, Lord Cochrane, and Elliott the brewer, at Pimlico,
were the others. This election is chiefly remarkable in illustrating
the manners of the times, by a duel which took place between two of the
candidates, Paull and Burdett, the latter of whom had squabbled over
his name having been advertised as intending to appear at a meeting,
without his consent having been first obtained. They met at Combe Wood
near Wimbledon, and both were wounded. Sir Francis was successful,
and a short account of his “chairing”—a custom long since consigned
to _limbo_—may not be uninteresting. Originally, as the name implies,
the successful candidate was seated in a chair, and carried about on
the shoulders of his enthusiastic supporters, as the winner of the
Queen’s prize at Wimbledon is now honoured. But Sir Francis’s admirers
had improved upon this. The procession and triumphal car started from
Covent Garden, and worked its way to the baronet’s house in Piccadilly,
where he mounted the car. How he did so, the contemporary account does
not state, but it does say that “the car was as high as the one pair of
stairs windows,” and “the seat upon which the Baronet was placed, stood
upon a lofty Corinthian pillar.” On this uncomfortable elevation, he
rode from Piccadilly, down the Haymarket, up St. Martin’s Lane, and so
into Covent Garden, where a dinner was provided.

On the 31st of August died, at Rome, Henry Benedict Maria Clement
Stuart, Cardinal York—the last of the Stuarts. The feeble little
attempt he made to assert his right to the throne of England, would be
amusing if it had been serious; the coining of one medal, in which he
styled himself Henry IX., was his sole affectation of royalty. With
him died all hope, if any such existed, of disturbing the Hanoverian
Succession. Curiously enough, events made him a pensioner on George the
Third’s bounty, and the annuity was granted by the one, and received by
the other, not as an act of charity, but as of brotherly friendship;
and this annuity of £4,000 he duly received for seven years before he

In this year, too, England gave shelter to another unfortunate scion of
royalty—Louis XVIII.—who came from Sweden in the Swedish Frigate the
_Freya_. He travelled under the name of the Comte de Lille, and landed
at Yarmouth. He rather ungraciously declined the Palace of Holyrood,
which was placed at his disposal, on the ground that he had not come
to England as an asylum, or for safety, but on political business as
King of France. Wisely, he was allowed to have his own way, and he
settled down at Hartwell, in Buckinghamshire, a seat of the Marquis
of Buckingham, and here he abode until the fall of Napoleon, when, of
course, he went to Paris.

The year ends stormily. After having bombarded Copenhagen and captured
all the Danish fleet, war was proclaimed against Denmark on the 4th of
November. On the 8th of the month, Portugal was compelled by Napoleon
to confiscate British property, and shut her ports against England.

Nor was he content with this. Probably he thought the effect of
his former proclamation of blockading England, was wearing out, so
he fulminated a fresh one on the 11th of November from Hamburgh,
and another from Milan on the 27th of December; in both of which
he reiterated his intention of prohibiting intercourse between all
subjects under his control, and contumacious England, and that this
should be properly carried out he appointed commercial residents, at
different ports, to attend strictly to the matter.

This, of course, was met promptly by an Order in Council, allowing
neutral Powers to trade with the enemies of Great Britain, provided
they touched at British ports, and paid custom dues to the British

Consols this year began at 61⅜, and left off 62⅞.

Wheat varied during the year, from 84s. to 73s., the highest price
being 90s.; and the quartern loaf varied in proportion from 1s. 1¼d. to




 Gloomy prospects of 1808—King’s Speech—Droits of the
 Admiralty—Regulation of Cotton Spinners’ wages—Riots in the
 Cotton districts—Battle of Vimiera—Convention of Cintra—Its
 unpopularity—Articles of the Convention.

THE YEAR 1808 opened very gloomily. Parliament met on the 21st of
January, and was opened by Commission. The “King’s Speech,” on this
occasion sketches the political situation better than any pen of a
modern historian can do. I therefore take some portions of it, not
sufficient to weary the reader, but to give him the clearest idea of
the state of Europe at this period.

The King informed Parliament,[28] “that, no sooner had the result of
the Negotiations at Tilsit,[29] confirmed the influence, and control,
of France over the Powers of the Continent, than His Majesty was
apprized of the intention of the enemy to combine those Powers in one
general confederacy, to be directed either to the entire subjugation
of this kingdom, or to the imposing upon His Majesty, an insecure and
ignominious peace. That for this purpose, it was determined to force
into hostility against His Majesty, States which had hitherto been
allowed by France to maintain, or to purchase, their neutrality, and
to bring to bear against different points of His Majesty’s dominions,
the whole of the Naval Force of Europe, and specifically the Fleets of
Portugal and Denmark. To place these fleets out of the power of such a
confederacy became, therefore, the indispensable duty of His Majesty.

“In the execution of this duty, so far as related to the Danish Fleet,
his Majesty has commanded us to assure you, that it was with the
deepest reluctance that His Majesty found himself compelled, after his
earnest endeavours to open a Negotiation with the Danish Government
had failed, to authorize his commanders to resort to the extremity of
force; but that he has the greatest satisfaction in congratulating you
upon the successful execution of this painful but necessary service.

“We are commanded further to acquaint you, that the course which His
Majesty had to pursue with respect to Portugal, was, happily, of a
nature more congenial to His Majesty’s feelings: That the timely and
unreserved communication, by the Court of Lisbon, of the demands, and
designs of France, while it confirmed to His Majesty the authenticity
of the advices which he had received from other quarters, entitled that
Court to His Majesty’s confidence in the sincerity of the assurances
by which that communication was accompanied. The fleet of Portugal was
destined by France to be employed as an instrument of vengeance against
Great Britain; that fleet has been secured from the grasp of France,
and is now employed in conveying to its American dominions[30] the
hopes, and fortunes, of the Portuguese monarchy. His Majesty implores
the protection of Divine Providence upon that enterprize, rejoicing
in the preservation of a Power so long the friend, and ally, of Great
Britain, and, in the prospect of its establishment in the New World,
with augmented strength and splendour.

“We have it in command from His Majesty to inform you, that the
determination of the enemy to excite hostilities between His Majesty,
and his late Allies, the Emperors of Russia and Austria, and the
King of Prussia, has been but too successful, and that the ministers
from those Powers have demanded, and received, their passports. This
measure, on the part of Russia, has been attempted to be justified by
a statement of wrongs, and grievances, which have no real foundation.
The Emperor of Russia had, indeed, proffered his mediation between
His Majesty and France: His Majesty did not refuse that mediation;
but he is confident you will feel the propriety of its not having
been accepted, until His Majesty should have been able to ascertain
that Russia was in a condition to mediate impartially, and, until the
principles, and the basis, on which France was ready to negotiate,
were made known to His Majesty. No pretence of justification has been
alleged for the hostile conduct of the Emperor of Austria, or for that
of his Prussian Majesty. His Majesty has not given the slightest ground
of complaint to either of those sovereigns, nor even at the moment when
they have respectively withdrawn their ministers, have they assigned to
His Majesty any distinct cause for that proceeding.”

On the other hand, the King congratulates his people on still retaining
the friendship of the Porte, and the King of Sweden; and that he had
concluded a “Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation” with the United
States of America: but these were hardly fair offsets against the
powerful European Confederation. Virtually, England was single-handed
to fight the world; but there was no flinching—and history records our

War takes money, and taxation makes every one feel the burden,
directly, or indirectly, so that it must have been with a sigh of
relief that the nation read that portion of the King’s Speech which
related to finance. “Gentlemen of the House of Commons, His Majesty
has directed the Estimates for the year to be laid before you.... His
Majesty has great satisfaction in informing you, that, notwithstanding
the difficulties which the enemy has endeavoured to impose upon the
commerce of his subjects, and upon their intercourse with other
nations, the resources of the country have continued, in the last
year, to be so abundant, as to have produced both from the permanent,
and temporary, revenue, a receipt considerably larger than that of
the preceding year. The satisfaction which His Majesty feels assured
you will derive, in common with His Majesty, from this proof of the
solidity of these resources, cannot be greatly increased, if, as His
Majesty confidently hopes, it shall be found possible to raise the
necessary supplies for the present year without material additions to
the public burdens.”

This, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was enabled to do, by taking half
a million of money from unclaimed Dividends, and by other means, shown
by the following resolutions of the Court of Directors of the Bank of

“January 14, 1808. Resolved, That the proposal of Chancellor of the
Exchequer, to take £500,000, from the unclaimed Dividends, in addition
to the former sum of £376,397, be acceded to by this Court....

“Resolved, That the Court of Directors do accede to the proposal of
the Chancellor of the Exchequer to lend, for the use of government,
£3,000,000, on Exchequer bills, without interest, during the war,
provided it is stipulated to be returned within six months after
the ratification of a treaty of peace, and under the complete
understanding, that all transactions between the public, and the Bank,
shall be continued in the accustomed manner, even though the amount of
public balances should exceed the sum of ten millions.”

On the 9th of February, Sir Francis Burdett asked a very pertinent
question in the House, anent the presentation of £20,000 by His Majesty
to the Duke of York, out of _Droits of Admiralty_. He said that “it
had been stated in the public prints that His Majesty had granted
large sums out of the proceeds of property belonging to nations not at
war with this country, to several branches of the Royal Family, and
particularly to the Duke of York. What he wished to know was, whether
this statement was correct; and, if so, upon what ground it was that
His Majesty could seize the property of nations not at war with this

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Right Hon. Spencer Perceval) was
willing to give the hon. baronet every information he required
on the subject. But first, he must apprize the hon. baronet of a
misapprehension which he seemed to labour under, with respect to the
principle upon which His Majesty’s right to the property in question
was founded. It was true that the property had been seized previous
to His Majesty’s formal declaration of war, but war had since been
declared, and the question respecting the property had been referred
to the competent tribunal, and condemned. The right of His Majesty,
therefore, grounded upon such a decision, was incontrovertible. It was
true that His Majesty had granted a certain sum out of the proceeds of
such property to each of the junior male branches of the Royal Family,
and to the Duke of York amongst the rest.

These _Droits of the Admiralty_ formed a very convenient fund upon
which the King drew, as occasion required, when it was impolitic to
ask Parliament for an increase of the Civil List; but Sir Francis did
good service in calling attention to it, and, after its being mentioned
on more than one occasion, it was settled that an account should be
laid before the House, of the net proceeds paid into the Registry of
the Court of Admiralty, or to the Receiver-General of Droits, of all
property condemned to His Majesty as Droits, either in right of his
Crown, or in right of the office of Lord High Admiral, since the 1st of
January, 1793, and of the balance in hand.

The Cotton trade at Manchester was very dull, owing to the limited
trade with the Continent, and some distress prevailed among the
operatives. On the 19th of May, Mr. Rose asked leave of the House
of Commons to bring in a bill to fix a minimum of wages, which the
workpeople should receive. He said they were now suffering peculiar
hardships, and, at the same time, supporting them with a patience and
resolution, which did them credit. A short debate took place on this
proposition, which, afterwards, was withdrawn. One member opined that
the distress arose, not from the wages being too low, but through their
having been, at one time, too high, which had caused a great influx of
labour, thus overstocking the market. Sir Robert Peel said that the
great cause of the distress was, not the oppression of the masters, but
the shutting-up of the foreign markets; and the fact was, that masters
were now suffering from this cause still more than the men. And then,
as far as Parliament went, the matter dropped.

But not so at Manchester. The demands of the men were absurd, and
preposterous; they wanted an advance of 6s. 8d. in the pound, or 33⅓
per cent. Of course, with failing trade, and a bad market, the masters
could not grant this extraordinary rise; but, after a meeting among
themselves they offered an immediate advance of 10 per cent. on all
kinds of cotton goods weaving, to take effect that day (June 1st), and
a further rise of 10 per cent. on the 1st of August. The men refused to
take this offer, and would be satisfied with nothing less than their
original demand, and some 60,000 looms lay idle, whilst the operatives
perambulated the streets or rushed into house, cellar, or garret, where
any shuttle was going, and deprived that man of his means of living.

On the 30th of May there had been some disturbance among the weavers
at Rochdale, and some were apprehended, and put in prison; but the
mob forced the gaol, released the prisoners, and set fire to the New
Prison. Thus it will be seen that it was necessary for the law to step
in, and vindicate its majesty, and, consequently, cavalry was freely
employed in and about Manchester, Bolton, Rochdale, and Bury; and, on
the 6th of June, a raid was made upon a house in Manchester, which
resulted in the lodging of about twenty men in the New Bayley.

Still they went on with disorderly meetings, and destruction of
industrious men’s looms, and work, compelling the troops to be always
on the alert. Of course they burnt the manufacturers in effigy, the
women amongst them, relying on their sex, being the most turbulent
and mischievous, acting not quite as _petroleuses_, but getting as
near that type as opportunity afforded, for vitriol, or aquafortis,
was squirted on to the looms, through broken panes in the windows, or
dropped upon the bags containing pieces which the industrious, and
well-disposed, weaver had worked hard at, for himself, and employer. It
is satisfactory to know that they did not obtain their demands, and,
after much simmering, and frothing, the scum subsided, and honest, and
hard-working, men were once more enabled to pursue their avocation in

On the 22nd of August was fought the famous battle of Vimiera, which
thoroughly crippled Napoleon’s power in Portugal, completely defeated
Junot’s fine army, and led to the Convention of Cintra, which so
disgusted the English people, and called down on the head of Sir
Hugh Dalrymple a formal declaration of His Majesty’s displeasure.
A commission sat at Chelsea, to report upon his conduct, and they
exonerated him. Still, the general public were indignant. The Park
and Tower guns were fired at night on the 15th of September, and,
next day, came out an _Extraordinary Gazette_, with the text of the
Convention. The accompanying illustration, by Ansell, brings to our
mind far more vividly than is possible to do by any verbal description,
the astonishment, and disgust, with which the news was received in the
City. The scene is outside Lloyd’s Coffee House, in Lombard Street, and
it shows us this commercial institution as it was in its youth, with
its modest premises, and two bow windows with red moreen dwarf blinds.


The print, itself, is in two parts, one called “The Tower Guns.
Surprize the First.” Here, John Bull and his wife are in their happy
home; J. B. smoking his pipe, and enjoying his tankard. A servant
enters with “Law, sir, if there isn’t the big guns at the Tower going
off!” John kicks up his heels, waves his nightcap, and pipe, crying
out, “The Tower Guns at this time of Night! _Extraordinary_ News
arrived! By Jupiter, we’ve sent Juno to the Devil, and taken the
Russian Fleet! Illuminate the House! Call up the Children, and tap the
Gooseberry Wine, Mrs. Bull; we’ll drink to our noble Commanders in

The companion to this is the illustration given, and it is called “The
Gazette. Surprize the Second.” Here, opposite Lloyd’s, an old merchant
is reading to his _confrères_ an _Extraordinary Gazette_. “Art. IV. The
French Army shall carry with it all its artillery of French calibre,
with the horses belonging to it, and the tumbrils supplied with sixty
rounds per gun. All oth....” Universal indignation prevails, and one
calls out, “What! carry away Sixty Pounds a man, that ought to have
been in the pockets of our brave fellows. D—n me if I ever believe the
Tower Guns again.”

The Articles in this Convention which excited popular indignation were—

 II. The French Troops shall evacuate Portugal with their arms and
 baggage; they shall not be considered as prisoners of war, and, on
 their arrival in France, they shall be at liberty to serve.

 III. The English Government shall furnish the means of conveyance for
 the French Army, which shall be disembarked in any of the ports of
 France between Rochefort, and l’Orient, inclusively.

 IV. The French Army shall carry with it, all its artillery of French
 calibre, with the horses belonging to it, and the tumbrils supplied
 with sixty rounds per gun. All other artillery, arms, and ammunition,
 as also the Military and Naval Arsenals, shall be given up to the
 British army and navy, in the state in which they may be, at the
 period of the ratification of the Convention.

 V. The French Army shall carry with it all its equipments, and all
 that is comprehended under the name of property of the army; that
 is to say, its military chest, and carriages attached to the Field
 Commissariat, and Field Hospitals, or shall be allowed to dispose of
 such part of the same, on its account, as the Commander-in-chief may
 judge it unnecessary to embark. In like manner, all individuals of
 the army shall be at liberty to dispose of their private property, of
 every description, with full security, hereafter, for the purchasers.”

On the 29th of August of this year, the Queen of France joined her
husband here; where they continued, living in privacy, until their

Consols began at 64⅜, and left off at 66⅛, having reached 70⅜ in June
and July.

Wheat ranged from 69s. per quarter in January, to 81s. in July, and
91s. in December. The quartern loaf varied from 11d. to 1s. 2d.





 General Fast—The Jubilee—Costume—Former Jubilees—Release of poor
 prisoners for debt—Jubilee Song—Jubilee literature—Poetry—King
 pardons deserters from Army and Navy.

EARLY in the year 1809 (on February 8th) was a day of Fasting, and
prayer, for the success of His Majesty’s arms.

Also, in January, began the celebrated Clarke Scandal, which ended in
the Duke of York resigning his position as Commander-in-chief; but this
will be fully treated of in another place, as will the celebrated O. P.
Riots, which occurred in this year.

Socially, the only other important event which occurred in this year
was “THE JUBILEE,” or the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of
the accession of George III., he having succeeded to the throne on
the 25th of October, 1760; and this Jubilee created quite a craze.
A Jubilee Medal was struck by Bisset, of Birmingham, having, on the
Obverse, a bust of the King, with the following legend: “KING GEORGE
THE THIRD ascended the Throne of the Imperial Realms of Great Britain
and Ireland, October 25, A.D. 1760. Grand National Jubilee, celebrated
October 25, 1809.” On the Reverse, was the Guardian Genius of England,
represented as Fame, seated in the clouds, and triumphing over
Mortality; she displayed a centenary circle, one half of which showed
the duration of the King’s reign up to that time, whilst rays from
heaven illuminate a throne.

Not content with this, it was suggested that there should be a special
costume worn on the occasion, and that gentlemen should dress in the
“Windsor uniform,” _i.e._, blue frock coats, with scarlet collars, and
the ladies’ dresses were to be of garter blue velvet, or satin, with
head-dresses containing devices emblematical of the occasion.

It is no wonder that people went somewhat crazy over this Jubilee,
for it was an event of very rare occurrence, only three monarchs of
England having kept jubilees—Henry III., Edward III., and George III.
Let us, however, hope that this generation may add yet another to the
list in Queen Victoria. Edward III. celebrated the jubilee of his birth
in a good and kindly manner in 1363, as we may learn from Guthrie:
“Edward was now in the fiftieth year of his age, and he laid hold of
that æra as the occasion of his performing many other popular acts of
government. For he declared, in his parliament, by Sir Henry Green,
that he was resolved to keep it as a jubilee; and that he had given
orders to issue out general and special pardons, without paying any
fees, for recalling all exiles, and setting at liberty all debtors to
the Crown, and all prisoners for criminal matters. He further created
his third son, Lionel, Duke of Clarence, and his fifth son, Edmund,
Earl of Cambridge. The Parliament, on their parts, not to be wanting in
gratitude, having obtained their petitions, on the day of their rising,
presented the King with a duty of twenty-six shillings and eight pence
upon every sack of wool, for three years, besides continuing the former
duty upon wools, fells, and skins. This year being declared a year of
jubilee, the reader is to expect little business, as it was spent in
hunting throughout the great forests of England, and other magnificent
diversions, in which the King laid out an immense sum. But we are not
to close the transactions of this year before we inform the reader
that it was from the jubilee then instituted, that the famous custom
took its rise of our Kings washing, feeding, and clothing, on Maunday
Thursday, as many poor people, as they are years old.”[31]

The whole of the country was determined to celebrate this occasion in
a way worthy of it, and, of course, everyone had his own theory, and
aired it; some were for a general illumination and feasting everybody,
others to relieve poor debtors, and rejoice the hearts of the poor;
others mingled the two. “Sir, benevolence is no less amiable for being
attended with gaiety; without a general illumination the day would be
like a public mourning, or fast; the shops shut, the bells tolling, the
churches open, a cloudy night, a howling wind, a Jubilee!!! But no such
dull Jubilee for JOHN BULL.”

Perhaps one of the most popular ways for people to spend their
money, in order to show their gratitude for the beneficent sway of
the sovereign who had ruled them for fifty years, and who was much
beloved of his subjects, was the release of prisoners for small
debts. Their case was cruelly harsh, and it must have been felt as
one of the hardest, and most pressing, of social evils. Take the
following advertisement from the _Morning Post_, October 23, 1809:
“JUBILEE. PRISONERS for DEBT in the Prison of the Marshalsea of His
Majesty’s Household. There are now confined in the above prison in
the Borough, seventy-two persons (from the age of twenty-three to
seventy-four, leaving fifty-three wives, and two hundred and three
children) for various debts from seven guineas, up to £140. The total
amount of the whole sum is £2092, many of whom (_sic_) are in great
distress, and objects of charity, every way worthy the notice of a
generous and feeling public, who are interesting themselves in the
cause of suffering humanity against the approaching Jubilee. It is,
therefore in contemplation to raise a sufficient sum, for the purpose
of endeavouring to effect their release, by offering compositions to
their respective creditors in the following proportions, _viz._, 10s.
in the pound for every debt not exceeding £20; above that sum, and
not exceeding £50, the sum of 7s. 6d.; and above £50, the sum of 5s.
in the pound, in full for debt and costs. Subscriptions ... will be
received by ... with whom are left lists containing the names of the
unfortunate Persons immured within the Prison, and other particulars
respecting them, for the inspection of such Persons as may be desirous
of promoting so benevolent an undertaking.”

And that large sums were so raised, we have evidence in many instances.
Take one case:

“At a meeting of MERCHANTS and BANKERS appointed to conduct the
ENTERTAINMENT to be given at Merchant Taylors’ Hall on the 25th inst.,
held this day—

  “BEESTON LONG, Esq., in the Chair.

“Resolved, That since the advertisement published by this Committee
on the 5th day of September last, various communications having been
made to this Committee which lead them to imagine that a general
Illumination will not be so acceptable to the Public as was at first
supposed, and, wishing that the day may pass with perfect unanimity of
proceeding, on so happy an Occasion, this Committee no longer think it
expedient to recommend a general Illumination.

“Resolved, That it appears to this Committee that, instead of such
general Illumination, it will be more desirable to open a SUBSCRIPTION
for the Relief of Persons confined for Small Debts, and that the sums
collected be paid over to the Treasurer of the Society established for
that purpose.”

To show how warmly this idea of releasing the debtor was taken up, in
this instance alone, considerably more than £2,000 was collected.


“For WEDNESDAY, 25th OCTOBER, 1809.


  “BRITONS! your Voices raise,
  Join cheerful Songs of praise,
      With grateful lay;
  May all our Island ring,
  Her Sons’ Orisons sing
  For their Beloved King
      On this bright day.

  May he the vale of life
  Close free from ev’ry strife;
      His subjects see.
  Bless’d with a lasting Peace,
  May War for ever cease,
  Pris’ners each Pow’r release,
      And all be free.

  King George’s Fiftieth Year
  Of Sceptred greatness cheer
      Each loyal Heart;
  May the stain’d Sword be sheath’d;
  Amity once more breath’d;
  Commerce, with Plenty wreath’d,
      Sweet Joy impart.

  Thus may our Children find
  Cause which will e’er remind
      Them to agree,
  That we with Justice sing.
  God bless our good old King,
  For him, our Noble King,
      _This Jubilee_.”

This is not the sole attempt at a Jubilee literature. There was a
satirical pamphlet called “The Jubilee; or, John Bull in his Dotage.
A Grand National Pantomime. As it was to have been acted by His
Majesty’s subjects on the 25th of October, 1809.” Another pamphlet,
by Dr. Joseph Kemp, was entitled “The Patriotic Entertainment,
called the Jubilee.” And yet another book of 203 pages printed in
Birmingham, which had for title, “An Account of the Celebration of the
Jubilee of 1809 in various parts of the Kingdom.” This was arranged
in alphabetical order, and gave an account of the doings, on this
occasion, in the various cities, towns, and villages of England. It was
published by subscription, and the profits were to go to the “Society
for the Relief of Prisoners for Small Debts.”

There was a poem, too, which is too long to be reproduced in its
entirety, but which contains some pretty lines, such as would go home
to a people who really loved their king—who had suffered when God had
afflicted him, and yearned for his recovery, and who were then spending
both blood, and treasure, to preserve his throne and their own country.

  “_Seculo festas referente luces,
  Reddidi carmen._”—HORACE.

  “OFT (ah! how oft) has the revolving Sun
  Smiled on Britannia’s joy at battles won?
  How oft our bosoms felt the conscious glow
  For brilliant triumph o’er the stubborn foe?
  If, then, our patriot hearts could proudly feel
  Such zealous transports at our Country’s weal,
  Shall not the Bard his cheerful efforts lend
  To praise that Country’s first and truest friend?
  For such is GEORGE, the pride of England’s Throne,
  True to his people’s rights as to his own.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Mild is the Prince, and glorious were the arts,
  That gave him sov’reign empire o’er our hearts.
  Our love for him is such as ever flows
  Spontaneous, warm, and strength’ning as it glows;
  Unlike the smiles, and flattery of Courts,
  Which int’rest prompts, and tyranny extorts;
  A Monarch so belov’d has nought to fear
  From mad ambition’s turbulent career;
  For subjects ne’er from their allegiance swerve,
  Who love his person they are bound to serve.

         *       *       *       *       *

  History shall tell how deep was every groan
  When ‘erst black sickness struck at England’s throne:
  For her lov’d KING was heard the Nation’s sigh,
  While public horror star’d in ev’ry eye;
  But, when restor’d, to many a daily pray’r,
  What heartfelt joy succeeded to despair.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Then oh! Thou KING of KINGS, extend thy arm
  To shield thine own anointed George from harm;
  Grant, if it so comport with thy behest,
  For thy decrees must ever be the best;
  Grant that he long may live, and long may stand
  ‘A tow’r of strength’ to guard our native land.”

The King, on the 18th of October, issued a proclamation pardoning all
deserters from the Navy and Marines, but not allowing them any arrears
of pay or prize-money; and he also pardoned all deserters from the
Army, who should give themselves up within two months from the 25th of
October, but then they must rejoin the Army. Not particularly inviting
terms when they come to be analyzed, for the sailors would certainly be
marked, and, eventually, pressed, and the soldiers were simply asked to
exchange their present liberty, for their old slavery. But he really
did a graceful, and, at the same time, a kindly action in sending
through Mr. Perceval, to the Society for the Relief of Persons confined
for Small Debts, £2,000 from his privy purse.



 Common Council decide to relieve Small Debtors—Festivities at
 Windsor—Ox roasted whole—How it was done—The Queen and Royal
 Family present—Division of the ox, &c.—A bull baited—Fête at
 Frogmore—Illuminations—Return of the Scheldt Expedition.

IN THE Court of Common Council this feeling of helping the poor
debtor was prevalent, and a Mr. Jacks, at a Court held on October
5th, proposed, if the Corporation wished to appropriate a sum for the
celebration of the Jubilee, that they should follow the example of the
Jewish Law, and liberate the prisoner, and captive, which, he said,
would be a much better method of applying their money than for eating
and drinking, and the following resolution was carried:

“That it will be more acceptable to Almighty God, and more congenial
to the paternal feelings of our beloved Monarch, if the Court would
proceed to the liberation of the prisoners and captives, on the joyful
Jubilee about to be celebrated, than in spending sums of money in
feasting and illuminations. We therefore resolve, that the sum of
£1,000 be applied to the relief of persons confined for small debts,
and for the relief of persons confined within the gaols of the City,
especially freemen of London.”

It would be impossible within the limits of this work, even to
_sketch_ a tithe part of the ways in which the Jubilee was celebrated
throughout the country; but a notice, in some detail, is necessary,
as illustrating the social habits of this portion of the Century.
Take, for instance, the ox and sheep roasting at Windsor. Roasting
beasts whole, is a relic of barbarism all but exploded in England, a
type of that rude, and plentiful, hospitality which might be expected
from a semi-civilized nation. As it is not probable that the custom
will survive, and as the details may be useful for some antiquarian
reproduction, I give the _modus operandi_ in full, premising, that from
all I have heard from those who have feasted upon an animal so treated,
that it is very far from being a gastronomic treat, some parts being
charred to a cinder, others being quite raw. This, then, is how it was

“At two yesterday morning the fire was lighted, and the ox began to
turn on the spit, to the delight of the spectators, a considerable
number of whom were assembled, even at that hour, to witness so
extraordinary a sight. A few of the Royal Blues attended to guard it;
a little rain fell a short time previous to the kindling of the fire,
but, by the time the ox began to turn, all was fair again.

“At nine o’clock the sheep were put to the fire, on each side of the
ox, in Bachelors’ Acre. The apparatus made use of on this occasion,
consisted of two ranges set in brickwork, and so contrived that a fire
should be made on each side of the ox, and on the outer side of each
fire was the necessary machinery for roasting the sheep. A sort of
scaffolding had been erected, consisting of six poles, three of which,
at each extremity, fixed in the earth, and united at the top, bore a
seventh, from which descended the pulley by means of which the ox was
placed between the ranges when put down, and raised again when roasted.
Over the animal a long tin dish was placed, into which large quantities
of fat were thrown, which, melting, the beef was basted with it, a
ladle at the end of a long pole being used for the purpose. An immense
spit was passed through the body of the animal, the extremity of which
worked in a groove at each end. A bushel and a half of potatoes were
placed in his belly, and roasted with him.

“At one, the ox and sheep being considered to be sufficiently done,
they were taken up. The Bachelors had previously caused boards to be
laid from the scene of action to a box, which had been prepared for
Her Majesty, and the Royal Family, to survey it from. They graciously
accepted the invitation of the Bachelors, to view it close. Their path
was railed off and lined by Bachelors, acting as constables, to keep
off the crowd. They appeared much gratified by the spectacle, walked
round the apparatus and returned to their box. Her Majesty walked
with the Duke of York. The Royal party were followed by the Mayor and
Corporation. The animals were now placed on dishes to be carved, and
several persons, attending for that purpose, immediately set to work.
The Bachelors still remained at their posts to keep the crowd off, and
a party of them offered the first slice to their illustrious visitors,
which was accepted. Shortly after the carving had commenced, and the
pudding had began to be distributed, the efforts of the Bachelors
to keep off the crowd became useless; some of the Royal Blues, on
horseback, assisted in endeavouring to repel them, but without effect.
The pudding was now thrown to those who remained at a distance, and now
a hundred scrambles were seen in the same instant. The bread was next
distributed in a similar way, and, lastly, the meat; a considerable
quantity of it was thrown to a butcher, who, elevated above the crowd,
catching large pieces in one hand, and holding a knife in the other,
cut smaller pieces off, letting them fall into the hands of those
beneath who were on the alert to catch them. The pudding,[32] meat, and
bread, being thus distributed, the crowd were finally regaled with what
was denominated a ‘_sop in the pan_;’ that is, with having the mashed
potatoes, gravy, &c., thrown over them.”

Later in the day, Bachelors’ Acre was the scene of renewed festivity,
no less than a bull bait. “A fine sturdy animal, kept for the purpose,
given to the Bachelors for their amusement, by the same gentleman who
gave the ox, was baited; and, in the opinion of the _amateurs_ of bull
baiting, furnished fine sport; but, at length, his skin was cut by the
rope so much that he bled profusely, and, as it was thought he could
not recover, he was led off to be slaughtered.”

At Frogmore, the King gave a fête, and a display of fireworks at night.
Everything went off very well, except a portion of the water pageant,
which was not a success. “Two cars, or chariots, drawn by seahorses,
in one of whom (_sic_) was a figure of _Britannia_, in the other a
representation of _Neptune_, appeared majestically moving on the
bosom of the lake, followed by four boats filled with persons dressed
to represent tritons, &c. These last were to have been composed of
choristers, we understand, who were to have sung ‘God save the King,’
on the water, but, unfortunately, the crowd assembled was so immense,
that those who were to have sung could not gain entrance. The high
treat this could not but have afforded, was, in consequence, lost to
the company.”

The Jews celebrated the Jubilee with much enthusiasm, and, in the
Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, after hearing a sermon preached on a
text from Levit. xxv. 13: “In the year of this Jubilee ye shall return
every man unto his possession,” we are told “the whole of the 21st
Psalm was sung in most expressive style, to the tune of ‘_God save the

In spite of the want of unanimity as to the expediency of a general
illumination, there were plenty of transparencies, and even letters of
cut-glass. I give descriptions of two of the most important.

“STUBBS’S in Piccadilly, exhibited three transparencies of various
dimensions. In the centre was a portrait of His Majesty, in his robes,
seated in his coronation chair; the figure was nine feet in height,
and the canvas occupied 20 square feet. On the right hand of the King
was placed the crown, on a crimson velvet cushion, supported by a
table, ornamented with embroidery. Over His Majesty’s head appeared
_Fame_, with her attributes; in her left hand a wreath of laurel
leaves; her right pointing to a glory. At the feet of the Sovereign
was a group of boys representing _Bacchanalians_, with _cornucopia_.
Underneath appeared a _tablet_ with the words ‘Anno Regni 50. Oct. 25,
1809.’ On the right and left of the above transparency, were placed
representations of the two most celebrated oak-trees in England, and
two landscapes—the one of Windsor, and the other of Kew.”

“Messrs. RUNDELL and BRIDGE’S, Ludgate Hill. In the centre His Majesty
is sitting on his throne, dressed in his coronation robes; on his
right, Wisdom, represented by Minerva, with her helmet, ægis, and
spear; Justice with her scales and sword; on his left, Fortitude
holding a pillar, and Piety with her Bible. Next to Wisdom, Victory is
decorating two wreathed columns with oak garlands and gold medallions
bearing the names of several successful engagements on land—as
Alexandria, Talavera, Vimiera, Assaye, &c. Behind the figure of
Fortitude, a female figure is placing garlands and medallions on two
other wreathed columns, bearing the names of naval victories—as the
First of June, St. Vincent’s, Trafalgar, &c. The base of the throne
is guarded by Mars sitting, and Neptune rising, holding his trident,
and declaring the triumphs obtained in his dominions; on the base
between Mars and Neptune, are boys representing the liberal arts, in
basso-relievo. The figures are the size of life.”

The disastrous end of the campaign known as the Walcheren Expedition,
brings the year to a somewhat melancholy conclusion, for on Christmas
Day, Admiral Otway’s squadron, with all the transports, arrived in the
Downs, from Walcheren.

Consols began at 67⅛, and ended at 70, with remarkably little
fluctuation. The top price of wheat in January was 90s. 10d., and at
the end of December 102s. 10d. It did reach 109s. 6d. in the middle
of October—a price we are never likely to see. The quartern loaf, of
course, varied in like proportion—January 1s. 2¾d., December 1s. 4¼d.,
reaching in October 1s. 5d.





 The Scheldt Expedition—The Earl of Chatham and Sir Richard
 Strachan—The citizens of London and the King—General Fast—Financial
 disorganization—Issue of stamped dollars—How they were smuggled out
 of the country—John Gale Jones and John Dean before the House of
 Commons—Sir Francis Burdett interferes—Publishes libel in _Cobbett’s
 Weekly Political Register_—Debate in the House—Sir Francis Burdett
 committed to the Tower.

ALTHOUGH the Walcheren Expedition was undertaken, and failed, in 1809,
it was criticized by the country, both in and out of Parliament, in
this year.

It started in all its pride, and glory, on the 28th of July, 1809, a
beautiful fleet of thirty-nine sail of the line, thirty-six frigates,
besides accompanying gunboats and transports. These were under the
command of Sir Richard Strachan, Admiral Otway, and Lord Gardner;
whilst the land force of forty thousand men was under the chief command
of the Earl of Chatham, who was somewhat notorious for his indolence
and inefficiency.

At first, the destination of the fleet was kept a profound secret,
but it soon leaked out that Vlissing, or Flushing, in the Island of
Walcheren, which lies at the mouth of the Scheldt, was the point aimed
at. Middleburgh surrendered to the English on the 2nd of August,
and on the 15th after a fearful bombardment, the town of Flushing
surrendered. General Monnet, the commander, and over five thousand men
were taken prisoners of war.

Nothing was done to take advantage of this success, and, on the 27th of
August, when Sir Richard Strachan waited upon the Earl of Chatham to
learn the steps he intended to take, he found, to his great disgust,
that the latter had come to the conclusion not to advance.

About the middle of September, the Earl, finding that a large army was
collecting at Antwerp, thought it would be more prudent to leave with a
portion of his army for England, and accordingly did so. He resolved to
keep Flushing, and the Island of Walcheren, to guard the mouth of the
Scheldt, and keep it open for British commerce; but it was a swampy,
pestilential place, and the men sickened, and died of fever, until, at
last, the wretched remnant of this fine army was obliged to return,
and, on the 23rd of December, 1809, Flushing was evacuated.

Popular indignation was very fierce with regard to the Earl of Chatham,
and a scathing epigram was made on him, of which there are scarce two
versions alike.

  “Lord Chatham, with his sword undrawn,
  Stood, waiting for Sir Richard Strachan;
  Sir Richard, longing to be at ‘em,
  Stood waiting for the Earl of Chatham.”[33]

The Caricaturists, of course, could not leave such a subject alone, and
Rowlandson drew two (September 14, 1809). “A design for a Monument to
be erected in commemoration of the glorious and never to be forgotten
Grand Expedition, so ably planned and executed in the year 1809.” There
is nothing particularly witty about this print. Amongst other things it
has a shield on which is William, the great Earl of Chatham, obscured
by clouds; and the supporters are on one side a “British seaman in the
dumps,” and on the other “John Bull, somewhat gloomy, but for what, it
is difficult to guess after so glorious an achievement.” The motto is—

  “Great Chatham, with one hundred thousand men,
  To Flushing sailed, and then sailed back again.”

And ten days later—on the 24th of September—he published “General
Chatham’s marvellous return from his Exhibition of Fireworks.”

The citizens of London were highly indignant at the incapacity
displayed by the Earl of Chatham, and in December, they, through the
Lord Mayor, memorialized the King, begging him to cause inquiry to
be made as to the cause of the failure of the expedition; but George
the Third did not brook interference, and he gave them a right royal
snubbing. His answer was as follows:

 “I thank you for your expressions of duty and attachment to me and to
 my family.

 The recent Expedition to the Scheldt was directed to several objects
 of great importance to the interest of my Allies, and to the security
 of my dominions.

 I regret that, of these objects, a part, only, has been accomplished.
 I have not judged it necessary to direct any Military Inquiry into the
 conduct of my Commanders by Sea or Land, in this conjoint service.

 It will be for my Parliament, in their wisdom, to ask for such
 information, or to take such measures upon this subject as they shall
 judge most conducive to the public good.”

But the citizens, who bore their share of the war right nobly, would
not stand this, and they held a Common Hall on the 9th of January,
1810, and instructed their representatives to move, or support, an
Address to His Majesty, praying for an inquiry into the failures of
the late expeditions to Spain, Portugal, and Holland. They drew up
a similar address, and asserted a right to deliver such address, or
petition, to the King upon his throne.

Nothing, however, came of it, and when Parliament was opened, by
Commission, on the 23rd of January, 1810, that part of His Majesty’s
speech relating to the Walcheren Expedition was extremely brief and
unsatisfactory: “These considerations determined His Majesty to employ
his forces on an expedition to the Scheldt. Although the principal
ends of this expedition had not been attained, His Majesty confidently
hopes that advantages, materially affecting the security of His
Majesty’s dominions in the further prosecution of the war, will be
found to result from the demolition of the docks, and arsenals, at
Flushing. This important object His Majesty was enabled to accomplish,
in consequence of the reduction of the Island of Walcheren by the
valour of his fleets and armies. His Majesty has given directions that
such documents and papers should be laid before you, as he trusts will
afford satisfactory information upon the subject of this expedition.”

And Parliament had those papers, and fought over them many nights;
held, also, a Select Committee on the Scheldt Expedition, and examined
many officers thereon; and, finally, on the 30th of March, they divided
on what was virtually a vote of censure on the Government, if not
carried—a motion declaratory of the approbation of the House in the
retention of Walcheren until its evacuation; when the numbers were—

  Ayes                                255
  Noes                                232
        Majority for the Ministry      23

John, Earl of Chatham, had, however, to bow to the storm, and resign
his post of Master General of the Ordnance; but his Court favour soon
befriended him again. Three years afterwards, he was made full General,
and on the death of the Duke of York he was appointed Governor of

The 28th of February was set apart for the Annual Day of Fasting and
Humiliation, and in its routine it resembled all others. The Lords went
to Westminster Abbey, the Commons to St. Margaret’s Church, and the
Volunteers had Church Parades.

On the 1st of February, Mr. Francis Horner, M.P. for Wendover, moved
for a variety of accounts, and returns, respecting the present state of
the circulating medium, and the bullion trade. The price of gold was
abnormally high, and paper proportionately depreciated. His conjecture
to account for this—and it seems a highly probable one—was that the
high price of gold might be produced partly by a larger circulation
of Bank of England paper than was necessary, and partly by the new
circumstances in which the foreign trade of this country was placed,
by which a continual demand for bullion was produced, not merely to
discharge the balance of trade, as in the ordinary state of things, but
for the purpose of carrying on some of the most important branches of
our commerce; such as the purchase of naval stores from the Baltic, and
grain from countries under the control and dominion of the enemy.

Recourse was had to an issue of Dollars in order to relieve the
monetary pressure; and we read in the _Morning Post_ of February 22nd,
“A large boat full of dollars is now on its way by the canal, from
Birmingham. The dollars have all been re-stamped at Messrs. Bolton and
Watts, and will be issued on their arrival at the Bank.” These must not
be confounded with the old Spanish dollars which were stamped earlier
in the century, and about which there was such an outcry as to the
Bank refusing to retake them; but from the same handsome die as those
struck in 1804 to guard against forgery—having on the Obverse, the
King’s head, with the legend, “GEORGIUS III. DEI GRATIA”; and on the
Reverse, the Royal Arms, within the garter, crowned, and the legend,

But these were snapped up, and smuggled out of the country, as we see
by a paragraph in the same paper (March 9th): “Thirty thousand of the
re-stamped dollars were seized on board a Dutch Schuyt in the river, a
few days since. The public are, perhaps, little aware that the Dutch
fishermen, who bring us plaice and eels, will receive nothing in return
but gold and silver.” This doubtless was so, but no cargo of fish could
have been worth 30,000 dollars.

Gold was scarce, as will be seen by the following note: (April 3rd):
“Several ships were last week paid at Plymouth all in new gold coin;
and, on Saturday last, the artificers belonging to the Dockyard, were
paid their wages in new half-guineas. It was pleasing to see the smiles
on the men’s countenances at the sight of these strangers. The Jews and
slop merchants are busily employed in purchasing this desirable coin,
and substituting provincial and other bank paper in its room.”

That a large, and profitable, trade was done in smuggling the gold
coinage out of the country is evident. _Morning Post_, 28th of July:
“Two fresh seizures have lately been made of guineas, which have for
some time been so scarce that it is difficult to conceive whence
the supply can have been drawn. A deposit of 9,000 guineas, was on
Thursday discovered in a _snug_ recess, at the head of the mast of
a small vessel in the Thames, which had just discharged a cargo of
French wheat; another seizure of 4,500 guineas was made at Deal on the
preceding day.”

_Morning Post_, December 10, 1810: “The tide surveyor at Harwich
seized, a few days since, on board a vessel at that port, twenty-two
bars of gold, weighing 2,870 ounces. He found the gold concealed
between the timbers of the vessel, under about thirty tons of shingle

In writing the social history of this year, it would be impossible to
keep silence as to the episode of Sir Francis Burdett’s behaviour, and
subsequent treatment.

Curiously enough, it arose out of the Scheldt Expedition. On the 19th
of February the Right Hon. Charles Yorke, M.P. for Cambridgeshire,
rose, and complained of a breach of privilege in a placard printed
by a certain John Dean—which was as follows: “WINDHAM AND YORKE,
1810. Question:—Which was the greater outrage upon the public feeling,
Mr. Yorke’s enforcement of the standing order to exclude strangers
from the House of Commons, or Mr. Windham’s recent attack upon the
liberty of the press? The great anxiety manifested by the public at
this critical period to become acquainted with the proceedings of the
House of Commons, and to ascertain who were the authors and promoters
of the late calamitous expedition to the Scheldt, together with the
violent attacks made by Mr. Windham on the newspaper reporters (whom he
described as ‘bankrupts, lottery office keepers, footmen, and decayed
tradesmen’) have stirred up the public feeling, and excited universal
attention. The present question is therefore brought forward as a
comparative inquiry, and may be justly expected to furnish a contested
and interesting debate. Printed by J. Dean, 57, Wardour Street.” It was
ordered that the said John Dean do attend at the bar of the house the
next day.

He did so, and pleaded that he was employed to print the placard by
John Gale Jones—and the interview ended with John Dean being committed
to the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms—and John Gale Jones, was
ordered to attend the House next day.

When he appeared at the bar, he acknowledged that he was the author
of the placard, and regretted that the printer should have been
inconvenienced. That he had always considered it the privilege of every
Englishman to animadvert on public measures, and the conduct of public
men; but that, on looking over the paper again, he found he had erred,
and, begging to express his contrition, he threw himself on the mercy
of the House.

John Dean, meanwhile, had presented a petition, acknowledging printing
the bill, but that it was done by his workmen without his personal
attention. He was ordered to be brought to the bar, reprimanded, and
discharged—all which came to pass. Gale, however, was committed to
Newgate, where he remained until the 21st of June, when Parliament
rose, in spite of a motion of Sir Samuel Romilly (April 16th) that he
be discharged from his confinement; the House divided—Ayes 112; Noes
160; majority for his further imprisonment, 48.

On a previous occasion (March 12th), Sir Francis Burdett had moved
his discharge, but, on a division, fourteen only were for it, and
153 against it. In his speech he denied the legal right of the House
to commit any one to prison for such an offence—and he published in
_Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register_ of Saturday, March 24, 1810, a
It is too long to reproduce, but its tone may be judged of, by the
following extract: “At this moment, it is true, we see but one man
actually in jail for having displeased those Gentlemen; but the fate
of this one man (as is the effect of punishments) will deter others
from expressing their opinions of the conduct of those who have had
the power, to punish him. And, moreover, it is in the nature of all
power, and especially of assumed and undefined power, to increase as
it advances in age; and, as Magna Charta and the law of the land have
not been sufficient to protect Mr. Jones; as we have seen him sent to
jail for having described the conduct of one of the members, as _an
outrage upon public feeling_, what security have we, unless this power
of imprisonment be given up, that we shall not see other men sent to
jail for stating their opinion respecting Rotten Boroughs, respecting
Placemen, and Pensioners, sitting in the House; or, in short, for
making any declaration, giving any opinion, stating any fact, betraying
any feeling, whether by writing, by word of mouth, or by gesture,
which may displease any of the Gentlemen assembled in St. Stephen’s
Chapel?” This was supplemented by a most elaborate “Argument,” and on
the 27th of March the attention of Parliament was called thereto by Mr.
Lethbridge, M.P. for Somerset.

The alleged breach of privilege was read by a clerk, and Sir Francis
was called upon to say whatever he could, in answer to the charge
preferred against him. He admitted the authorship both of the Address
and Argument and would stand the issue of them. Mr. Lethbridge then
moved the following resolutions: “1st. Resolved that the Letter signed
Francis Burdett, and the further Argument, which was published in the
paper called _Cobbett’s Weekly Register_, on the 24th of this instant,
is a libellous and scandalous paper, reflecting upon the just rights
and privileges of this House. 2nd. Resolved, That Sir Francis Burdett,
who suffered the above articles to be printed with his name, and by his
authority, has been guilty of a violation of the privileges of this

The debate was the fiercest of the session. It was adjourned to the
28th, and the 5th of April, when Mr. Lethbridge’s resolutions were
agreed to without a division, and Sir Robert Salusbury, M.P. for
Brecon, moved that Sir Francis Burdett be committed to the Tower. An
amendment was proposed that he be reprimanded in his place; but, on
being put, it was lost by 190 to 152—38, and at seven o’clock in the
morning of the 6th of April, Sir Francis’s doom was decreed.



 Warrant served on Sir Francis Burdett—He agrees to go to
 prison—Subsequently he declares the warrant illegal—His arrest—His
 journey to the Tower—The mob—His incarceration—The mob attack the
 military—Collision—Killed and wounded—Sir Francis’s letter to the
 Speaker—His release—Conduct of the mob.

UP TO this time the proceedings had been grave and dignified, but Sir
Francis imported a ludicrous element into his capture.

Never was any arrest attempted in so gentlemanlike, and obliging a
manner.[35] At half-past seven o’clock in the morning, as soon as
the division in the House of Commons was known, Mr. Jones Burdett,
accompanied by Mr. O’Connor, who had remained all night at the House
of Commons, set off in a post chaise to Wimbledon, and informed Sir
Francis Burdett of the result. Sir Francis immediately mounted his
horse, and rode to town. He found a letter on his table from Mr.
Colman, the Serjeant-at-Arms, acquainting him that he had received a
warrant, signed by the Speaker, to arrest and convey him to the Tower,
and he begged to know when he might wait on him; that it was his wish
to show him the utmost respect, and, therefore, if he preferred to take
his horse, and ride to the Tower, he would meet him there.

To this very courteous and considerate letter, Sir Francis replied
that he should be happy to receive him at noon next day. However,
before this letter could reach the Serjeant-at-Arms, he called on Sir
Francis, and verbally informed him that he had a warrant against him.
Sir Francis told him he should be ready for him at twelve next day, and
Mr. Colman bowed, and retired. Indeed it was so evidently the intention
of the baronet to go to his place of durance quietly, that, in the
evening, he sent a friend to the Tower to see if preparations had been
made to receive him, and it was found that every consideration for his
comfort had been taken.

But the urbane Serjeant-at-Arms, when he made his report to the
Speaker, was mightily scolded by him for not executing his warrant,
and at 8 p.m. he called, with a messenger, on Sir Francis, and told
him that he had received a severe reprimand from the Speaker for not
executing his warrant in the morning, and remaining with his prisoner.

Sir Francis replied that he should not have allowed him to have
remained, and that he would not yield a voluntary assent to the
warrant, but would only give in, in presence of an overwhelming force.
The Serjeant-at-Arms then withdrew, having refused to be the bearer
of a letter to the Speaker, which was afterwards conveyed to that
dignitary by private hands. In this letter he asserted he would only
submit to superior force, and insultingly said, “Your warrant, sir, I
believe you know to be illegal. I know it to be so.”

On the morning of the 7th of April another attempt was made by a
messenger of the House to serve him with the warrant and arrest him;
but, although Sir Francis read it and put it in his pocket, he told the
messenger that he might return and inform the Speaker that he would not
obey it. The poor man said his orders were to remain there; but he was
commanded to retire, and had to go.

Later in the day, between twelve and one, came a troop of Life Guards,
who pranced up and down the road and pavement and dispersed the people,
who heartily hissed them. A magistrate read the Riot Act; the troops
cleared the road, and formed two lines across Piccadilly, where Sir
Francis lived; and so strictly was this cordon kept, that they refused
to allow his brother to pass to his dinner, until he was accompanied by
a constable. Sir Francis wrote to the Sheriffs complaining of his house
being beset by a military force.

No further attempt to execute the warrant was made that day, nor on the
following day, which was Sunday.

But the majesty of Parliament would brook no further trifling, and on
the Monday morning (April 9th), after breakfast, when “Sir Francis was
employed in hearing his son (who had just come from Eton school) read
and translate Magna Charta,” a man’s head was observed looking in at
the window, the same man advertising his advent by smashing a pane or
two of glass. Great credit was taken that no one threw this man off his
ladder, but, probably, the sight of the troops in front of the house,
acted as a deterrent. The civil authorities, however, had effected an
entrance by the basement, and entered the drawing-room, where a pretty
little farce was acted.

“The _Serjeant-at-Arms_ said: ‘Sir Francis, you are my prisoner.’

“_Sir Francis._ By what authority do you act, Mr. Serjeant? By what
power, sir, have you broken into my house, in violation of the laws of
the land?

“_Serjeant._ Sir Francis, I am authorized by the warrant of the Speaker
of the House of Commons.

“_Sir Francis._ I contest the authority of such a warrant. Exhibit to
me the legal warrant by which you have dared to violate my house. Where
is the Sheriff? Where is the Magistrate?

“At this time there was no magistrate, but he soon afterwards appeared.

“_Serjeant._ Sir Francis, my authority is in my hand: I will read it to
you: it is the warrant of the Right Honourable the Speaker of the House
of Commons.

“And here Mr. Colman attempted to read the warrant, but which he did
with great trepidation.

“_Sir Francis._ I repeat to you, that it is no sufficient warrant.
No—not to arrest my person in the open street, much less to break
open my house in violation of all law. If you have a warrant from His
Majesty, or from a proper officer of the King, I will pay instant
obedience to it; but I will not yield to an illegal order.

“_Serjeant._ Sir Francis, I demand you to yield in the name of the
Commons House of Parliament, and I trust you will not compel me to use
force. I entreat you to believe that I wish to show you every respect.

“_Sir Francis._ I tell you distinctly that I will not voluntarily
submit to an unlawful order; and I demand, in the King’s name, and in
the name of the law, that you forthwith retire from my house.

“_Serjeant._ Then, sir, I must call in assistance, and force you to

“Upon which the constables laid hold of Sir Francis. Mr. Jones Burdett
and Mr. O’Connor immediately stepped up, and each took him under an
arm. The constables closed in on all three, and drew them downstairs.

“_Sir Francis_ then said: ‘I protest in the King’s name against this
violation of my person and my house. It is superior force only that
hurries me out of it, and you do it at your peril.’”

A coach was ready, surrounded by Cavalry, and Sir Francis and his
friends entered it. The possibility of a popular demonstration, or
attempt at rescue, was evidently feared, for the escort consisted of
two squadrons of the 15th Light Dragoons, two troops of Life Guards,
with a magistrate at their head; then came the coach, followed by two
more troops of Life Guards, another troop of the 15th Light Dragoons,
two battalions of Foot Guards, the rear being formed by another party
of the 15th Light Dragoons. After escorting through Piccadilly, the
Foot Guards left, and marched straight through the City, to await the
prisoner at the Tower.

His escort went a very circuitous route, ending in Moorfields, the
result of an arrangement between the authorities and the Lord Mayor, by
which, if the one did not go through Temple Bar and the heart of the
City, the Lord Mayor would exert all his authority within his bounds,
as indeed he did, meeting, and heading, the cavalcade.

During his ride, Sir Francis, as might have been expected, posed,
sitting well forward so that he might be well seen. It could hardly be
from apathy, for the lower orders considered him as their champion;
but, either from the body of accompanying troops, or the curious route
taken, the journey to the Tower passed off almost without incident,
except a little crying out, until the Minories was reached, when the
East End—and it was a hundred times rougher than now—poured forth
its lambs to welcome their shepherd. The over-awing force on Tower
Hill prevented any absolute outbreak. There were shouts of “Burdett
for ever!” and a few of the mob got tumbled into the shallow water
of the Tower ditch, whence they emerged, probably all the better for
the unwonted wash. No attempt at rescue seems to have been made,
and the Tower gates were safely reached. The coach drew up; the
Serjeant-at-Arms entered the little wicket to confer with the military
authorities; the great gates swung open; the cannon boomed forth their
welcome to the prisoner, and Sir Francis was safely caged.

Up to this time the roughs had had no fun; it had been tame work, and,
if the military got away unharmed, it would have been a day lost; so
brickbats, stones, and sticks were thrown at them without mercy. The
soldiers’ tempers had been sorely tried; orders were given to fire,
and some of the mob fell. The riot was kept up until the troops had
left Fenchurch Street, and then the cost thereof was counted in the
shape of one killed and eight wounded. A contemporary account says:
“The confusion was dreadful, but the effect was the almost immediate
dispersion of the mob in every direction. A great part of them seemed
in a very advanced state of intoxication and otherwise infuriated to
madness, for some time braving danger in every shape. In all the route
of the military the streets were crowded beyond all possibility of
description; all the shops were shut up, and the most dreadful alarm
for some time prevailed.”

There were fears of another riot taking place when night fell, but
preparations were made. The Coldstream Guards were under orders, and
each man was furnished with thirty rounds of ball cartridge. Several
military parties paraded the streets till a late hour, and the cannon
in St. James’s Park were loaded with ball. Happily, however, all was
quiet, and these precautions, although not unnecessary, were un-needed.

Next day the Metropolis was quiet, showing that the sympathy with the
frothy hero of the hour, however loud it might be, was not deep. Even
at the Tower, which contained all that there was of the origin of this
mischief, the extra Guards were withdrawn, and ingress and egress to
the fortress were as ordinarily—the prisoner’s friends being allowed
to visit him freely. This episode may be closed with the consolatory
feeling that the one man who was killed had been exceedingly active
in attacking the military, and, at the moment when the shot was
fired which deprived him of existence, he was in the act of throwing
a brickbat at the soldiers. History does not record whether he was
accompanied to his grave by weeping brother bricklayers.

We have seen that Sir Francis Burdett proffered a letter, addressed to
the Speaker to the Serjeant-at-Arms, which the latter very properly
refused to deliver, and, on the 9th of April, this letter formed the
subject of a debate in the House of Commons. The Serjeant-at-Arms
was examined by the House as to the particulars of the recalcitrant
baronet’s arrest, and the Speaker added his testimony to the fact of
his reproving the Serjeant for not obeying orders. The debate was
adjourned until the next day, and it ended, according to Hansard, thus:

“It appearing to be the general sentiment that the Letter should not
be inserted on the Journals, the Speaker said he would give directions
accordingly. It being also understood that the Amendments moved should
not appear on the Journals, the Speaker said he would give directions
accordingly, and the question was put as an original motion, ‘That
it is the opinion of this House, that the said Letter is a high and
flagrant breach of the privileges of the House; but it appearing from
the report of the Serjeant-at-Arms attending this House, that the
warrant of the Speaker for the commitment of Sir Francis Burdett to the
Tower has been executed, this House will not, at this time, proceed
further on the said letter.’ Agreed _nem con._”

Then followed a scene that has its parallel in our days, with another
demagogue. Sir Francis Burdett commenced actions against the Speaker,
the Serjeant-at-Arms, and the Earl of Moira, who was then Governor of
the Tower. We know how easily petitions are got up, and this case was
no exception; but Sir Francis was kept in well-merited incarceration,
until the Prorogation of Parliament on the 21st of June, which set him
free. The scene on his liberation is very graphically described by a

“The crowd for some time continued but slowly to increase, but towards
three o’clock, their numbers were rapidly augmented; and, shortly after
three, as fitting a rabble as ever were ‘raked together’ appeared on
Tower Hill. The bands in the neighbourhood frequently struck up a tune;
and the assembled rabble as frequently huzzaed (_they knew not why_),
and thus between them, for an hour or two, they kept up a scene of
continual jollity and uproar.

“The _Moorfields Cavalry_[36] had by this time arrived at the scene of
action. Everything was prepared to carry Sir Francis (like the effigy
of Guy Fawkes on the 5th of November) through the City. The air was
rent by repeated shouts of ‘Burdett for ever!’ ‘Magna Charta!’ and
‘Trial by Jury!’ The blessings of the last, many of these patriots had
doubtless experienced, and were, therefore, justified in expressing
themselves with warmth. While these shouts burst spontaneously from
the elated rabble, and every eye was turned towards the Tower, with
the eagerness of hope, and the anxiety of expectation—on a sudden,
intelligence was received that they had all been made fools of by Sir
Francis, who, ashamed, probably, of being escorted through the City by
such a band of ‘ragged rumped’ vagabonds, had left the Tower, crossed
the water, and proceeded to Wimbledon.

“To describe the scene which followed—the vexation of the Westminster
electors, the mortification of the _Moorfields Cavalry_, and the
despair of ‘_The Hope_,’ in adequate colours, is impossible. Petrified
by the news, for some time they remained on the spot undetermined
how to act, and affecting to disbelieve the report. Unwilling,
however, to be disappointed of their fondest hope—that of showing
_themselves_—they determined on going through the streets in
procession, though they could not accompany Sir Francis. The pageant
accordingly commenced, the _empty_ vehicle intended for Sir Francis
took that part in the procession which he was to have taken, and the
rational part of the mob consoled themselves by reflecting that, as
they had originally set out to accompany _emptiness_ they were not
altogether disappointed.

“It was now proposed by some of the mob, that as they could not have
the honour of escorting Sir Francis Burdett from the Tower, they should
conclude the day by conducting MR. GALE JONES from Newgate, and he,
shortly after, fell into the procession in a hackney coach.

“On the arrival of the procession in Piccadilly, it went off to the
northward, and the vehicles returned by a different route from that
which they went. The whole of the streets and windows were crowded,
from Tower Hill, to Piccadilly.

“About one o’clock a party of Burdettites from Soho, with blue cockades
and colours flying, proceeded down Catherine Street, and the Strand,
for the City. They marched two and two. At Catherine Street they were
met by the 12th Light Dragoons on their way to Hyde Park Corner. The
music of the former was playing _St. Patrick’s Day_. The Band of the
Dragoons immediately struck up _God save the King_. The 14th Light
Dragoons followed the 12th; both regiments mustering very strong. All
the Volunteers were under orders; and the Firemen belonging to the
several Insurance Offices paraded the streets, with music, acting as




 Good harvest—Thanksgiving for same—List of poor Livings—Another
 Jubilee—Illness and death of the Princess Amelia—Effect on
 the King—Prayers for his restoration to health—Funeral of the
 Princess—Curious position of the Houses of Parliament—Proposition
 for a Regency—Close of the first decade of the XIXth Century.

IT GIVES great pleasure to record that the Harvest this year was
plentiful, so bountiful, indeed, as to stir up feelings of gratitude in
the national breast, and induce the manufacture of a “Form of prayer
and thanksgiving to Almighty God, for His mercy in having vouchsafed to
bestow on this Nation an abundant crop, and favourable harvest.” The
farmers and laics benefited thereby, but the position of the Clergy at
that time was far from being very high, at least with regard to worldly
remuneration—_vide_ the following:

_Account of Livings in England and Wales under £150 a year._

  Not exceeding £10      a year          12
  From  £10 to  £20     inclusive        72
  From  £20 to  £30         ”           191
  From  £30 to  £40         ”           353
  From  £40 to  £50         ”           433
  From  £50 to  £60         ”           407
  From  £60 to  £70         ”           376
  From  £70 to  £80         ”           319
  From  £80 to  £90         ”           309
  From  £90 to £100         ”           315
  From £100 to £110         ”           283
  From £110 to £120         ”           307
  From £120 to £130         ”           246
  From £130 to £140         ”           205
  From £140 to £150         ”           170
                          Total        3998

“Of these very small livings three are in the diocese of Lichfield and
Coventry, three in that of Norwich, two in that of St. David’s, one in
that of Llandaff, one in that of London, one in that of Peterborough,
and one in that of Winchester.”

This does not show a very flourishing state of things, although money
could be spent freely in support of foreign clergy as we see by the
accounts for this year: “Emigrant clergy and laity of France, £161,542

One would think that two Jubilees in one twelvemonth was almost too
much of a good thing, but our great-grandfathers thought differently.
There had already been one, to celebrate the fact of the King entering
on the fiftieth year of his reign, they must now have one to chronicle
its close. But, although there was somewhat of the “poor debtor”
element introduced, it was by no means as enthusiastically received as
it had been twelve months previously.

This time we hear more of festive meetings: a Jubilee Ball at the
Argyle Rooms—then very decorous and proper—another at the New Rooms,
Kennington, and a grand dinner at Montpelier House, whilst Camberwell,
Vauxhall, Kennington, and Lambeth all furnished materials for
festivity. Needless to say, there were new Jubilee medals.

But the poor old King was getting ill, and troubled about his daughter,
the Princess Amelia, who lay a-dying. Poor girl! she knew she had not
long to live, and she wished to give the King some personal souvenir.
She had a very valuable and choice stone, which she wished to have
made into a ring for him. As her great thought and most earnest wish
was to give this to her father before her death, a jeweller was sent
for express from London, and it was soon made, and she had her desire
gratified. On His Majesty going to the bedside of the Princess, as was
his daily wont, she put the ring upon his finger without saying a word.
The ring told its own tale: it bore as an inscription her name, and
“_Remember me when I am gone_.” A lock of her hair was also worked into
the ring.

The mental anguish caused by this event, and by the knowledge that
death was soon to claim the Princess, was too much for the King to
bear. Almost blind, and with enfeebled intellect, he had not strength
to bear up against the terrible blow.

At first the papers said he had a slight cold, but the next day it was
found to be of no use concealing his illness. The _Morning Post_ of the
31st of October says: “It is with hearfelt sorrow we announce that His
Majesty’s indisposition still continues. It commenced with the effect
produced upon his tender parental feelings on receiving the ring from
the hand of his afflicted, beloved daughter, the affecting inscription
upon which caused him, blessed and most amiable of men, to burst
into tears, with the most heart-touching lamentations on the present
state, and approaching dissolution, of the afflicted, and interesting
Princess. His Majesty is attended by Drs. Halford, Heberden, and
Baillie, who issue daily bulletins of the state of the virtuous and
revered monarch, for whose speedy recovery the prayers of all good men
will not fail to be offered up.” And there was public prayer made “for
the restoration of His Majesty’s health.”

The Princess Amelia died on the 2nd of November, and was buried with
due state. In her coffin were “8,000 nails—6000 small and 2,000 large;
eight large plates and handles resembling the Tuscan Order; a crown at
the top, of the same description as issued from the Heralds’ Office;
two palm branches in a cross saltier, under the crown, with P. A. (the
initials of her Royal Highness). They are very massy, and have the
grandest effect, being executed in the most highly-finished style,
and neat manner possible. Forty-eight plates, with a crown, two palm
branches in cross saltier, with the Princess Royal’s coronet at top;
eight bevil double corner plates, with the same ornaments inscribed,
and one at each corner of the cover.”

The King’s illness placed Parliament in a very awkward position. It
stood prorogued till the 1st of November, on which day both Houses met,
but sorely puzzled how to proceed, because there was no commission, nor
was the King in a fit state to sign one. The Speaker took his seat,
and said, “The House is now met, this being the last day to which
Parliament was prorogued; but I am informed, that notwithstanding His
Majesty’s proclamation upon the subject of a farther prorogation, no
message is to be expected from His Majesty’s commissioners upon that
subject, no commission for prorogation being made out. Under such
circumstances I feel it my duty to take the chair, in order that the
House may be able to adjourn itself.” And both Houses were left to
their own devices. The head was there, but utterly incompetent to

So they kept on, doing no public work, but examining the
King’s physicians as to his state. They held out hopes of his
recovery—perhaps in five or six months, perhaps in twelve or
eighteen; but, in the meantime, really energetic steps must be taken
to meet the emergency. On the 20th of November the Chancellor of the
Exchequer moved three resolutions embodying the facts that His Majesty
was incapacitated by illness from attending to business, and that
the personal exercise of the royal authority is thereby suspended,
therefore Parliament must supply the defect. It was then that the
Regency of the Prince of Wales was proposed, and in January, 1811, an
Act was passed, entitled, “An Act to provide for the Administration of
the Royal Authority, and for the Care of the Royal Person during the
Continuance of His Majesty’s illness, and for the Resumption of the
Exercise of the Royal Authority.” The Prince of Wales was to exercise
kingly powers, which, however, were much shorn in the matters of
granting peerages, and granting offices and pensions; whilst the Queen,
assisted by a Council, was to have the care of His Majesty’s person,
and the direction of his household.

As a proof of the sympathy evinced by the people with the King in his
illness, all pageantry was omitted on the 9th of November, when the
Lord Mayor went to Westminster to be sworn in.

At the close of 1810 the National Debt amounted to the grand total of
£811,898,083 12s. 3¾d. Three per Cent. Consols began at 70¾, touched
in July 71½, and left off in December 66¼. Wheat averaged 95s. per
quarter, and the quartern loaf was, in January, 1s. 4¼d.; June, 1s.
5d.; December, 1s. 3d.

Here ends the chronicle of the First Decade of the Nineteenth Century.




 The roads—Modern traffic compared with old—The stage coach—Stage
 waggons—Their speed—Price of posting—The hackney coach—Sedan
 chairs—Horse riding—Improvement in carriages.

PERHAPS as good a test as any, of the civilization of a nation, is its
roads. From the mere foot-tracks of the savage, to the broader paths
necessarily used when he had brought the horse into subjugation, mark a
distinct advance. When the wheeled carriage was invented, a causeway,
artificially strengthened, must be made, or the wheels would sink into
the soft earth, and make ruts, which would need extra power in order
to extricate the vehicle; besides the great chance there was of that
vehicle coming to utter grief. Settlers in Africa and Australia can yet
tell tales of the inconveniences of a land without roads.

[Illustration: A STAGE COACH—1804.]

To the Romans, as for much else of our civilization, we are indebted
for our knowledge of road making—nay, even for some of our roads still
existing—but these latter were the main arteries of the kingdom,
the veins had yet to be developed. That roads mean civilization
is apparent, because without them there could be little or no
intercommunication between communities, and no opportunity for traffic
and barter with each other. We, in our day, have been spoilt, by,
almost suddenly, having had a road traffic thrown open to us, which
renders every village in our Isles, of comparatively easy access, so
that we are apt to look with disfavour on the old times. Seated, or
lying, in the luxurious ease of a Pullman car—going at sixty miles an
hour—it is hard to realize a tedious journey by waggon, or even an
outside journey by the swifter, yet slow, mail or stage coach, with
its many stoppages, and its not altogether pleasant adventures. For,
considering the relative numbers of persons travelling, there were far
more accidents, and of a serious kind, than in these days of railways.
It was all very well, on the introduction of steam to say, “If you
are upset off a coach, why there you are! but if you are in a railway
accident, where are you?” The coach might break down, as it often did,
a wheel come off, or an axle, or a pole break—or the coach might be,
as it ofttimes was, overloaded, and then in a rut—why, over all went.
The horses, too, were apt to cast shoes, slip down, get their legs over
the traces, or take to kicking, besides which the harness would snap,
either the traces, or the breeching, or the reins, and these terrors
were amplified by the probability of encountering highwaymen, who were
naturally attracted to attack the stage coaches, not only on account
of the money and valuables which the passengers carried with them, but
because parcels of great price were entrusted to the coachman, such as
gold, or notes and securities, for country banks, remittances between
commercial firms, &c.

[Illustration: THE STAGE WAGGON.]

In the illustration showing a stage coach, it will be seen that there
is a supplementary portion attached, made of wicker-work, and called
“the basket.” This was for the reception of parcels. The mail coaches,
which took long, direct routes, will be spoken of under the heading of
Post Office.

Inconvenient to a degree, as were these stage coaches, with exposure to
all changes of weather, if outside—or else cooped up in a very stuffy
inside, with possibly disagreeable, or invalid, companions—they were
the only means of communication between those places unvisited by the
mail coach, and also for those which required a more frequent service.
They were very numerous, so much so that, although I began to count
them, I gave up the task, as not being “worth the candle.”

But it was not every one who could afford to travel by stage coach, and
for them was the stage waggon, or caravan, huge and cumbrous machines,
with immensely broad wheels, so as to take a good grip of the road,
and make light of the ruts. These machines, and the few canals then in
existence, did the inland goods carriage of the whole of England. Slow
and laborious was their work, but they poked a few passengers among
the goods, and carried them very cheaply. They were a remnant of the
previous century, and, in the pages of Smollett, and other writers, we
hear a great deal of these waggons.

To give some idea of them, their route, and the time they used to take
on their journey, I must make one example suffice, taken haphazard from
a quantity. (1802.)


 “_Tunbridge Wells, and Tunbridge Original Waggon._ To the Queen’s Head
 Inn, Borough.

  “By J. Hunt.

 “Late Chesseman and Morphew. Under an establishment of more than sixty
 years. Sets out from the New Inn, Tunbridge Wells, every Monday and
 Thursday morning, and arrives at the above Inn, every Tuesday and
 Friday morning, from whence it returns the same days at noon, and
 arrives at Tunbridge Wells every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon, and
 from September 1st to December 25th a Waggon sets out from Tunbridge
 Wells every Wednesday and Saturday morning, and arrives at the above
 Inn every Monday and Thursday morning, from whence it returns the
 same days at noon, and arrives at Tunbridge Wells every Tuesday and
 Friday afternoon, carrying goods and parcels to and from—

  Tunbridge Wells.      Mayfield.
  Tunbridge.            Wadhurst.
  Groombridge.          Ticehurst.
  Langton.              Mark Cross.
  Spaldhurst.           Frant.
  Ashurst.              Eridge.
  Rotherfield.          Southboro, &c.

 “No Money, Plate, Jewels, Writings, Watches, Rings, Lace, Glass, nor
 any Parcel above Five Pounds Value, will be accounted for, unless
 properly entered, and paid for as such.

 “Waggons or Carts from Tunbridge Wells to Brighton, Eastbourne, &c.,

Now Tunbridge is only thirty-six miles from London, and yet it took
over twenty-four hours to reach.

Of course, those who had carriages of their own, or hired them, could
go “post,” _i.e._, have fresh horses at certain recognized stations,
leaving the tired ones behind them. This was of course travelling
luxuriously, and people had to pay for it. In the latter part of
the eighteenth century, there had been, well, not a famine, but a
great scarcity of corn, and oats naturally rose, so much so that the
postmasters had to raise their price, generally to 1s. 2d. per horse
per mile, a price which seems to have obtained until the latter part of
1801, when among the advertisements of the _Morning Post_, September
23rd, I find, “Four Swans, Waltham Cross. Dean Wostenholme begs leave
most respectfully to return thanks to the Noblemen and Gentlemen who
have done him the honour to use his house, and to inform them that he
has lowered the price of Posting to One Shilling per mile,” &c.

And there was, of course, the convenient hackney coach, which was
generally the cast-off and used up carriage of some gentleman, whose
arms, even, adorned the panels, a practice (the bearing of arms) which
still obtains in our cabs. The fares were not extravagant, except in
view of the different values of money. Every distance not exceeding one
mile 1s., not exceeding one mile and a half, 1s. 6d., not exceeding two
miles 2s., and so on. There were many other clauses, as to payment,
waiting, radius, &c., but they are uninteresting.

A little book[37] says: “The hackney coaches in London were formerly
limited to 1,000; but, by an Act of Parliament, the number is
increased. Hackney coachmen are, in general, depraved characters, and
several of them have been convicted as receivers of stolen goods,” and
it goes on to suggest their being licensed.

The old sedan chair was not obsolete, but was extensively used to take
ladies to evening parties; and, as perhaps we may never again meet with
a table of the chairmen’s charges, I had better take it:


                                              _s._   _d._
  For the first hour, if paid by an hour       1      6
  For every hour afterwards                    0      6
  For any distance not exceeding one mile      1      0
  For one mile to one mile and a half          1      6
  For every half mile afterwards               0      6

In fact, their fares were almost identical with those of the hackney
coachmen, and offending chairmen were subject to the same penalties.

The roads were kept up by means of turnpikes, exemption from payment
of which was very rare; royalty, the mails, military officers, &c., on
duty, and a few more, were all.

The main roads were good, and well kept; the bye, and occupation roads
were bad. But on the main roads there was plenty of traffic to pay for
repairs. It was essentially a horsey age—by which I do not mean to
infer that our grand and great-grandfathers, copied their grooms either
in their dress or manners, as the youth of this generation aspire to
do; but the only means of locomotion for any distance was necessarily
on horseback, or by means of horse-flesh. Every man could ride, and
all wore boots and breeches when out of doors, a style of equine dress
unsurpassed to this day.

The carriages were improving in build; no longer being low, and
suspended by leather straps, they went to the other extreme, and were
perched a-top of high C springs. The _Times_, January 17, 1803, says:
“Many alterations have lately taken place in the building of carriages.
The roofs are not so round, nor are the bodies hung so low, as they
have been for the last two years. The circular springs have given place
to whip springs; the reason is, the first are much more expensive, and
are not so light in weight as the others. No boots are now used, but
plain coach boxes, with open fore ends. Barouche boxes are now the
_ton_. During the last summer ladies were much oftener seen travelling
seated on the box than in the carriage. Hammer-cloths, except on state
occasions, are quite out of date, and the dickey box is following their
example. To show the difference between the carriages of the present
day, and those built ten years ago, it is only necessary to add that
in the year 1793 the weight of a fashionable carriage was about 1,900
pounds; a modern one weighs from 1,400 to 1,500.”



 Amateur driving—“The Whip Club”—Their dress—“The Four in Hand
 Club”—Their dress—Other driving clubs—“Tommy Onslow”—Rotten Row.

CERTAIN of the _jeunesse dorée_ took to driving, probably arising from
the fact of riding outside the stage coaches, and being occasionally
indulged with “handling the ribbons” and “tooling” the horses for
a short distance—of course for a consideration, by means of which
“the jarvey”[39] made no mean addition to his income, which, by the
by, was not a bad one, as every traveller gave him something, and
all his refreshment at the various inns at which the coach stopped
was furnished free. These young men started a “Whip Club,” and the
following is a description of a “meet”:

“The WHIP CLUB met on Monday morning in Park Lane, and proceeded from
thence to dine at Harrow-on-the-Hill. There were fifteen barouche
landaus with four horses to each; the drivers were all men of known
skill in the science of charioteering. Lord Hawke, Mr. Buxton, and the
Hon. Lincoln Stanhope were among the leaders.

“The following was the style of the set out: Yellow-bodied carriages,
with whip springs and dickey boxes; cattle of a bright bay colour,
with plain silver ornaments on the harness, and rosettes to the ears.
Costume of the drivers: A light drab colour cloth coat made full,
single breast, with three tiers of pockets, the skirts reaching to
the ankles; a mother of pearl button of the size of a crown piece.
Waistcoat, blue and yellow stripe, each stripe an inch in depth. Small
cloths corded with silk plush, made to button over the calf of the leg,
with sixteen strings and rosettes to each knee. The boots very short,
and finished with very broad straps, which hung over the tops and down
to the ankle. A hat three inches and a half deep in the crown only, and
the same depth in the brim exactly. Each wore a large bouquet at the
breast, thus resembling the coachmen of our nobility, who, on the natal
day of our beloved sovereign, appear, in that respect, so peculiarly
distinguished. The party moved along the road at a smart trot; the
first whip gave some specimens of superiority at the outset by ‘cutting
a fly off a leader’s ear.’”[40]


  “Two varying races are in Briton born,
  One courts a nation’s praises, one her scorn;
  Those pant her sons o’er tented fields to guide,
  Or steer her thunders thro’ the foaming tide;
  Whilst these, disgraceful born in luckless hour,
  Burn but to guide with skill a coach and four.
  To guess their sires each a sure clue affords,
  These are the coachmen’s sons, and those my Lord’s.
  Both follow Fame, pursuing different courses;
  Those, Britain, scourge thy foes—and these thy horses;
  Give them their due, nor let occasion slip;
  On those thy laurels lay—on these thy whip!”[41]

According to the _Morning Post_, April 3, 1809, the title of the “Whip
Club” was changed then to the “Four in Hand Club,” and their first
meet is announced for the 28th of April. “So fine a cavalcade has not
been witnessed in this country, at any period, as these gentlemen will
exhibit on that day, in respect to elegantly tasteful new carriages and
beautiful horses; the latter will be all high bred cattle, and their
estimated value will exceed three hundred guineas each. All superfluous
ornaments will be omitted on the harness; gilt, instead of plated

The meet took place, as advised, in Cavendish Square, the costume of
the drivers being as follows: A blue (single breast) coat, with a long
waist, and brass buttons, on which were engraved the words “Four in
Hand Club”; waistcoat of Kerseymere, ornamented with alternate stripes
of blue and yellow; small clothes of white corduroy, made moderately
high, and very long over the knee, buttoning in front over the shin
bone. Boots very short, with long tops, only one outside strap to each,
and one to the back; the latter were employed to keep the breeches in
their proper longitudinal shape. Hat with a conical crown, and the
_Allen_ brim (whatever that was); box, or driving coat, of white drab
cloth, with fifteen capes, two tiers of pockets, and an inside one for
the Belcher handkerchief; cravat of white muslin spotted with black.
Bouquets of myrtle, pink, and yellow geraniums were worn. In May of the
same year, the club button had already gone out of fashion, and “Lord
Hawke sported yesterday, _as buttons_, Queene Anne’s shillings; Mr.
Ashurst displayed crown pieces.”

Fancy driving was not confined to one club; besides the “Four in Hand,”
there were “The Barouche Club,” “The Defiance Club,” and “The Tandem

One of the most showy of these charioteers was a gentleman, who was
irreverently termed “Tommy Onslow” (afterwards Lord Cranley), whose
portrait is given here. So far did he imitate the regular _Jehu_ that
he had his legs swathed in hay-bands. Of him was written, under the
picture of which the accompanying is only a portion—

  “What can little T. O. do?
  Why, drive a Phaeton and Two!!
  Can little T. O. do no more?
  Yes, drive a Phaeton and Four!!!!”

[Illustration: “TOMMY ONSLOW.”]

One of his driving feats may be chronicled (_Morning Herald_, June
26, 1802): “A curious bet was made last week, that Lord Cranley could
drive a phaeton and four into a certain specified narrow passage,
turn about, and return out of it, without accident to man, horse, or
carriage. Whether it was Cranbourn, or Sidney’s Alley, or Russell
Court, or the Ride of a Livery Stable, we cannot tell; but, without
being able to state the particulars, we understand that the phaetonic
feat was performed with dexterity and success, and that his Lordship
was completely triumphant.”

In London, of course, the Park was the place for showing off both
beautiful horses, and men’s riding, and the accompanying illustration
portrays Lord Dillon, an accomplished rider, showing people


The costume here is specially noteworthy, as it shows a very advanced
type of dandy.

That this was not the ordinary costume for riding in “the Row,”
is shown in the accompanying illustration, where it is far more
business-like, and fitted for the purpose.

[Illustration: ROTTEN ROW—1803.]

As we see, from every contemporary print and painting, the horses were
of a good serviceable type, as dissimilar as possible from our racer,
but closely resembling a well-bred hunter. They had plenty of bottom,
which was needful, for they were often called upon to perform what
now would be considered as miracles of endurance. Take the following
from the _Annual Register_, March 24, 1802, and bearing in mind the
sea passage, without steam, and in a little tub of a boat, and it is
marvellous: “Mr. Hunter performed his journey from Paris to London in
twenty-two hours, the shortest space of time that journey has ever been
made in.”




 “The Silent Highway”—Watermen—Their fares—Margate hoys—A religious
 hoy—The bridges over the Thames—The Pool—Water pageants—Necessity
 for Docks, and their building—Tunnel at Gravesend—Steamboat on the

THERE was, however, another highway, well called “the silent.” The
river Thames was then really used for traffic, and numerous boats plied
for hire from every “stair,” as the steps leading down to the river
were called. The watermen were licensed by their Company, and had not
yet left off wearing the coat and badge, now alas! obsolete—even
the so-called “Doggett’s coat and badge” being now commuted for a
money payment. These watermen were not overpaid, and had to work hard
for their living. By their code of honour they ought to take a fare
in strict rotation, as is done in our present cab ranks—but they
were rather a rough lot, and sometimes used to squabble for a fare.
Rowlandson gives us such a scene and places it at Wapping Old Stairs.

In 1803 they had, for their better regulation, to wear badges in their
hats, and, according to the _Times_ of July the 7th, the Lord Mayor
fined several the full penalty of 40s. for disobeying this order, “but
promised, if they brought him a certificate of wearing the badge, and
other good behaviour, for one month, he would remit the fine.”

Their fares were not exorbitant, and they were generally given a little
more—they could be hired, too, by the day, or half day, but this
was a matter of agreement, generally from 7s. to 10s. 6d. per diem;
and, in case of misbehaviour the number of his boat could be taken,
and punishment fell swiftly upon the offender. Taking London Bridge
as a centre, the longest journey _up_ the river was to Windsor, and
the fare was 14s. for the whole boat, or 2s. each person. _Down_ the
river Gravesend was the farthest, the fare for the whole boat being
6s. or 1s. each. These were afterwards increased to 21s. and 15s.
respectively. Just to cross the water was cheap enough—1d. below,
and 2d. above the bridge, for each person. It would seem, however, as
if some did not altogether abide by the legal fares, for “A Citizen”
rushed into print in the _Morning Post_, September 6, 1810, with the
following pitiful tale: “The other night, about nine o’clook, I took
a boat (_sculls_[42]) at Westminster Bridge to Vauxhall, and offered
the waterman, on landing, _two shillings_ (_four times his fare_) in
consideration of having three friends with me; he not only refused to
take my money, but, with the greatest insolence, insisted upon having
three shillings, to which extortion I was obliged to yield before he
would suffer us to leave the shore, and he was aided in his robbery, by
his fellows, who came mobbing round us.”

Gravesend was, as a rule, the “Ultima Thule” of the Cockney, although
Margate was sometimes reached; but Margate and Ramsgate, to say
nothing of Brighton, were considered too aristocratic for tradespeople
to frequent, although some did go to Margate. For these long and
venturesome voyages, boats called “Hoys” were used—one-masted boats,
sometimes with a boom to the mainsail, and sometimes without; rigged
very much like a cutter. They are said to have taken their name from
being hailed (“_Ahoy_”) to stop to take in passengers.


 Entering upon any of the Bridges of London, or any of the passages
 leading to the Thames, being assailed by a group of Watermen, holding
 up their hands, and bawling out, “Sculls, Sculls! Oars, Oars!”]

People, evidently, thought a voyage on one of these “hoys” a desperate
undertaking; for we read in a little tract, of the fearsomeness of the
adventure. The gentleman who braves this voyage, is a clergyman, and
is bound for Ramsgate. “Many of us who went on board, had left our
dearer comforts behind us. ‘Ah!’ said I, ‘so must it be, my soul, when
the “Master comes and calleth for thee.” My tender wife! my tender
babes! my cordial friends!’.... Our vessel, though it set sail with a
fair wind, and gently fell down the river towards her destined port,
yet once, or twice, was nearly striking against other vessels in the
river.” And he winds up with, “About ten o’clock on Friday night we
were brought safely into the harbour of Margate.... How great are the
advantages of navigation! By the skill and care of three men and a
boy, a number of persons were in safety conveyed from one part, to
another, of the kingdom!”

Sydney Smith in an article (1808) in the _Edinburgh Review_ on
“Methodism” quotes a letter in the _Evangelical Magazine_. “A Religious
Hoy sets off every week for Margate. Religious passengers accommodated.
To the Editor. Sir,—It afforded me considerable pleasure to see upon
the Cover of your Magazine for the present month, an advertisement
announcing the establishment of a packet, to sail weekly between
London and Margate, during the season; which appears to have been set
on foot for the accommodation of religious characters; and in which
‘no profane conversation is to be allowed.’ ... Totally unconnected
with the concern, and, personally, a stranger to the worthy owner,
I take the liberty of recommending this vessel to the notice of my
fellow Christians; persuaded that they will think themselves bound to
patronize and encourage an undertaking that has the honour of our dear
Redeemer for its professed object.”

There were but three bridges over the Thames—London, Blackfriars,
and Westminster. London Bridge was doomed to come down. It was out
of repair, and shaky; a good many arches blocked up, and those which
were open had such a fall, as to be dangerous to shoot. Most of us can
remember Blackfriars Bridge, and a good many Old Westminster Bridge,
which was described in a London guidebook of 1802, as one of the most
beautiful in the world. The same book says, “The banks of the Thames,
contiguous to the bridges, and for a considerable extent, are lined
with manufactories and warehouses; such as iron founders, dyers, soap
and oil-makers, glass-makers, shot-makers, boat builders, &c. &c. To
explore these will repay curiosity: in a variety of them, that powerful
agent _steam_ performs the work, and steam engines are daily erecting
in others. They may be viewed by applying a day or two previous to the
resident proprietors, and a small fee will satisfy the man who shows
the works.”

The “Pool,” as that portion of the river Thames below London Bridge was
called, was a forest of masts. Docks were few, and most of the ships
had to anchor in the stream. Loading, and unloading, was performed in
a quiet, and leisurely manner, quite foreign to the rush, and hurry of
steam. Consequently, the ships lay longer at anchor, and, discharging
in mid stream, necessitated a fleet of lighters and barges, which
materially added to the crowded state of the river. Add to this the
numerous rowing boats employed, either for business, or pleasure, and
the river must have presented a far more animated appearance than it
does now, with its few mercantile, and pleasure, steamers, and its
steam tugs, and launches. Gay, too, were the water pageants, the City
Companies barges, for the Lord Mayor’s Show, the Swan Upping, the
Conservation of the Thames, and Civic junkettings generally; and then
there were the Government barges, both belonging to the Admiralty,
and Trinity House, as brave as gold and colour could make them; the
latter making its annual pilgrimage to visit the Trinity almshouses
at Deptford Strond—all the Brethren in uniform, with magnificent
bouquets, and each thoughtfully provided with a huge bag of fancy cakes
and biscuits, which they gave away to the rising generation. I can well
remember being honoured with a cake, and a kindly pat on the head, from
the great Duke of Wellington.

The pressure of the shipping was so great, extending as it did, in
unbroken sequence, from London Bridge to Greenwich, that more dock
accommodation was needed: the small ones, such as Hermitage and
Shadwell Docks, being far too small to relieve the congested state of
the river. In 1799 several plans were put forward for new Docks, and
some were actually put in progress. The Bill for the West India Docks
was passed in 1799. The first stone was laid on the 12th of July, 1800,
and the docks were partly opened in the summer of 1802. The first
stone of the London Docks was laid on the 26th of June, 1802, and the
docks opened on the 30th of January, 1805; and, on the 4th of March of
the same year, the foundation of the East India Docks was laid, and
they were opened in 1806.

Early in 1801, a shaft was sunk at Gravesend, to tunnel under the
Thames, which, although it ultimately came to nothing, showed the
nascent power of civil engineering—then just budding—which has in
later times borne such fruit as to make it the marvel of the century,
in the great works undertaken and accomplished. Even in 1801, there was
a steamboat on the Thames (_Annual Register_, July 1st): “An experiment
took place on the river Thames, for the purpose of working a barge,
or any other heavy craft, against tide, by means of a steam engine on
a very simple construction. The moment the engine was set to work the
barge was brought about, answering her helm quickly, and she made way
against a strong current, at the rate of two miles and a half an hour.”

Commerce was developing, and the roads, with the heavy and cumbrous
waggons, were insufficient for the growing trade. Railways, of course,
were not yet, so their precursors, and present rivals, the canals,
were made, in order to afford a cheap, and expeditious, means of
intercommunication. In July, 1800, the Grand Junction Canal was opened
from the Thames at Brentford, to Fenny Stratford in Buckinghamshire. A
year afterwards, on the 10th of July, 1801, the Paddington Canal was
opened for trade, with a grand aquatic procession, and some idea may
be formed of the capital employed on these undertakings, when we find
that even in January, 1804, the Grand Junction Canal had a paid-up
capital of £1,350,000, and this, too, with land selling at a cheaper
proportional rate than now.



 Condition of the streets of London—Old oil lamps—Improvement in
 lamps—Gas—Its introduction by Murdoch—Its adoption in London by
 Winsor—Opposition to it—Lyceum and other places lit with it—Its
 gradual adoption—The old tinder box—Improvements thereon.

[Illustration: LAMPLIGHTER—1805.]

LONDON was considered the best paved city in the world, and most likely
it was; but it would hardly commend itself to our fastidious tastes.
The main thoroughfares were flagged, and had kerbs; sewers under them,
and gratings for the water to run from the gutters into them—but turn
aside into a side street, and then you would find a narrow _trottoir_
of “kidney” stones on end, provocative of corns, and ruinous to boots;
no sewers to carry off the rain, which swelled the surcharged kennels
until it met in one sheet of water across the road. Cellar flaps of
wood, closed, or unclosed, and, if closed, often rotten, made pitfalls
for all except the excessively wary. Insufficient scavenging and
watering, and narrow, and often tortuous, streets, did not improve
matters, and when once smallpox, or fever, got hold in these back
streets, death held high carnival. Wretchedly lit, too, at night, by
poor, miserable, twinkling oil lamps, flickering with every gust, and
going out altogether with anything like a wind, always wanting the
wicks trimming, and fresh oil, as is shown in the following graphic

[Illustration: LAMPLIGHTER—1805.]

In this, we see a lamp of a most primitive description, and that, too,
used at a time when gas was a recognized source of light although not
publicly employed. Of course there were improved oil lamps—notably
those with the burners of the celebrated M. Argand—and science had
already added the reflector, by means of which the amount of light
could be increased, or concentrated. In the _Times_ of May 23, 1803,
is a description of a new street lamp: “A satisfactory experiment
was first made on Friday evening last at the upper end of New Bond
Street, to dissipate the great darkness which has too long prevailed
in the streets of this metropolis. It consisted in the adaptation of
twelve newly invented lamps with reflectors, in place of more than
double that number of common ones; and notwithstanding the wetness
of the evening, and other unfavourable circumstances, we were both
pleased, and surprised to find that part of the street illuminated
with at least twice the quantity of light usually seen, and that light
uniformly spread, not merely on the footways, but even to the middle
of the street, so that the faces of persons walking, the carriages
passing, &c., could be distinctly seen; while the lamps and reflectors
themselves, presented no disagreeable glare to the eye on looking at
them, a fault which has been complained of in lamps furnished with
refracting lenses.”

Here, then, we have a perfectly independent testimony of the
inefficiency of the then method of lighting; and, when once complaint
begins, the remedy soon follows.

Gas was known, and was steadily fighting its way. Murdoch, who was
a metal founder at Redruth, had been experimenting upon gas made
from different materials, and in 1792 he lit up with it, his house
and offices. Nay, more, he nearly earned the fame, and consequent
punishment, of being a wizard; for he not only had a steam carriage,
but in this uncanny conveyance he would take bladders of this new
inflammable air, and actually burn a light without a wick. From
a scientific curiosity, he naturally wished to develop it into a
commercial undertaking, by which he might reap a substantial reward
for his ingenuity; and in 1795 he proposed to James Watt to take out
a patent for gas, instead of oil, as an illuminating medium. In 1797
he lit up Watt’s new foundry at Old Cumnock in Ayrshire; and in 1798
Boulton and Watt’s premises at Soho, Birmingham, were lit with this new
light; and they, on the peace of Amiens, in 1802, gave the townsfolk of
Birmingham something to stare at, and talk about, for they illuminated
the whole front of their house with gas. Murdoch, in 1806, received the
gold (Rumford) medal of the Royal Society for a communication detailing
how he had successfully applied gas to illuminate the house and factory
of Messrs. Phillips and Lee at Manchester.

In London we are chiefly indebted to a German, named Frederic Albert
Winzer (or, as he afterwards Anglicised his name, Winsor) for
introducing gas, and we have to thank his indomitable perseverance
for its ultimate adoption. In 1804, he took out a patent for the
manufacture of both gas and coke, and attempted to start a society
called “The National Light and Heat Company.” He wrote several works
not much larger than pamphlets, notably one on “The superiority of the
new Patent Coke over the use of coals” (1804); and “To be sanctioned
by an Act of Parliament. A National Light and Heat Company, for
providing our streets and houses with light and heat, where is proved
that the destruction of smoke would open unto the Empire of Great
Britain new sources of inexhaustible wealth.”


Of course it met with ridicule everywhere. People would be asphyxiated.
The place would be blown up. Even scientific men were not agreed as
to its value, and Sir Humphrey Davy openly laughed at it. But Winsor,
in 1803 and 1804, demonstrated the possibility of lighting houses,
&c., by means of the new light at the Lyceum Theatre, which was not
then used for dramatic purposes, but more for lectures; and as there
could be no possibility of confuting his facts, he necessarily gained
proselytes, and money was forthcoming in support of his schemes. The
first experiment in street lighting was in August, 1807, when Golden
Lane Brewery, and a portion of Beech, and Whitecross Streets were lit.
This is shown in the illustration, and, by its means, we see the shape
and arrangement, of the first street gas lamps. That the gas then in
use was very impure, and offensive to the smell, there can be no doubt;
but that it ever produced the effects so comically, and graphically
depicted, cannot be believed.

It is generally thought that Ackerman’s Fine Art Repository, in the
Strand, was the first shop in London lit with gas, in 1810; but there
is an earlier notice of its being so used (_Morning Post_, June
15, 1805): “The shop of Lardner and Co., the corner of the Albany,
Piccadilly, is illuminated every evening with the Carbonated Hydrogen
Gas, obtained from the decomposition of Coals. It produces a much more
brilliant light than either oil or tallow, and proves, in a striking
manner, the advantages to be derived from so valuable an application.”
There is a story, for which I cannot find any authority, that at
Ackerman’s a titled lady was so pleased with the light, that she wanted
to take it home with her in the carriage.

The Light and Heat Company died a natural death, but the indefatigable
Winsor started the Gaslight and Coke Company, and attempted, in 1809,
to obtain a Charter for the same; but it was refused by Parliament,
which gave rise to the following _jeu d’esprit_: “Gaslight Company. The
shareholders in this _most promising_ concern are somewhat disconcerted
at the decision of the House of Commons. Some think that it will prove
‘_a bottle of smoke_’, while others are of opinion that it will at last
‘_end in air_.’”

The Gaslight and Coke Company had offices in Pall Mall, and in the
street, in front, lamps for public use were once more exhibited,
this time for the benefit of the West-end loungers. In the engraving
a gentleman explains to his fair companion thus: “The coals being
steamed, produces tar or paint for the outside of houses, the smoke
passing thro’ water is depriv’d of substance, and burns, as you see.”
On hearing this peculiarly elementary scientific explanation, an
Irishman exclaimed, “Arrah, honey, if this man brings fire thro’ water,
we shall soon have the Thames and the Liffey burnt down, and all the
pretty little herrings and whales burnt to cinders.”


In 1810 the Gaslight and Coke Company got their Charter, and
thenceforward the use of gas sprang into life, and although it may be
on its last legs, as an illuminating power, there is plenty of vitality
in it yet.

Winsor was buried at Kensal Green, and on his tombstone was cut the
text from the Gospel of St. John, chap. i. ver. 9: “_That_ was the true
Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

To light this gas or, indeed, to initiate any illuminating or heating
power, recourse was only to be had to the old, original tinder-box
and matches; now things utterly of the past, possibly to be found in
museums, as in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, labelled “Method of
procuring light in the Nineteenth Century.” This primitive arrangement
consisted of a flat round box of iron or brass, resembling closely a
pocket tobacco-box, which contained tinder. This tinder was made of
charred rag, _i.e._, linen or cotton rags burnt, but smothered so as
not to smoulder out in “the parson and clerk” of our childhood, and the
means of obtaining light therefrom was as follows:

The lid of the tinder-box being taken off, a piece of flint or agate,
and another of hard steel, were forcibly struck together, so as to
produce sparks. When one of these fell upon the tinder, it had to be
carefully tended, and blown, until it became a patch of incandescence,
sufficient to light a thin splint of wood some six inches long, having
either end pointed, and tipped with sulphur. You might be successful
at first trial, or, if the tinder was not well burnt, your temper
might be considerably tried. This was the ordinary mode, but there was
another—made with a pistol lock, having, in lieu of the priming-pan, a
reservoir of tinder. These two were combined with a small candlestick
which bore a wax-taper, and are frequently to be met with in
_bric-à-brac_ shops. Sometimes, also, in lieu of tinder, _amadou_ or
German tinder, made from a fungus, was used, or else thick and bibulous
paper was soaked in a strong solution of nitrate of potash, and both
were ignited by a spark from the flint and steel.

The first attempt to improve upon this machine, which was nearly as
primitive as an aboriginal “fire stick,” came from France, where, in
1805, M. Chancel invented a very pretty apparatus for producing light.
It consisted of a bottle containing asbestos, which was saturated
with strong sulphuric acid, and flame was produced by bringing this
into contact with matches of the ordinary type as to shape or very
slightly modified, coated at the ends with sulphur, and tipped with
a mixture of chlorate of potash and sugar. The phosphorous match,
too, was just beginning to be known. The following advertisement
probably refers to M. Chancel’s invention or some cognate method of
producing fire—_Morning Post_, December 27, 1808: “The success of
the Instantaneous Light and Fire Machines daily increases, and the
Manufactory in Frith Street, Soho, has become now the daily resort
of persons of the first fashion and consequence in town, who express
themselves highly gratified with the utility and ingenuity of these
philosophical curiosities.”




 Great fires in London—Number of Insurance Companies—Rates of
 insurance—Fire-engines and firemen—Scarcity of water—Supply of
 water to London—The streets—Their traffic—Shops—Watering the roads.

THE transition from Matches to Fires is natural, and easy, and, during
the time of which I have treated in this book, there were several bad
ones. In 1800 on the 11th of February, three West India Warehouses,
near the Custom House, were burnt down, with an estimated loss of
£300,000; and on the 6th of October of the same year, thirty houses
were destroyed by fire. On September 27, 1802, an immense amount of
property was destroyed in Store Street, Tottenham Court Road. The great
tower over the choir in Westminster Abbey perished by flames July 9,
1803. The Theatres seem absolutely to have courted cremation. Astley’s,
which had been burnt down on September 17, 1794, was again made a ruin
on September 1, 1803, and forty houses shared its fate at the same
time. Then followed the Surrey, on August 12, 1805; Covent Garden on
September 20, 1808; and Drury Lane on February 24, 1809. These were
only the principal conflagrations during the decade; there were, of
course, as many minor ones as ever. Take one instance—the list of
fires within the Bills of Mortality for 1807. In the twelve months
there were 375 fires and 356 chimney alarms.

None could complain of want of Insurance Companies, for, in 1810, there
existed sixteen Fire Insurance Companies, _viz._, The Sun, Phœnix,
Royal Exchange, Hand in Hand, Westminster, London, Union, British,
Imperial, Globe, County, Hope, Atlas, Pelican, Albion, and Eagle. The
rates at which they assured were low, looking at the duty they paid
to Government—the Sun so paying, in 1806, no less a sum than £95,269
8s. 8d. Common Insurances were charged a premium of 2s. per cent.,
Hazardous Insurances 3s. per cent., and Doubly Hazardous 5s. per cent.,
or very much the present rate. And we must remember that money was
dearer, many buildings were of timber, and nearly all were faultily
constructed, there being no District Surveyor in these days—added
to which, the engines were but poor manuals; steam, of course, being

[Illustration: A FIRE ENGINE.]

Each Fire Insurance Company had its badge, or cognizance, which was
stamped out in sheet lead, painted and gilt, and then nailed on to the
house insured—probably as an advertisement of the Company. There was
no Fire Brigade, properly so called—that did not come till 1832; but
each Company kept a staff of firemen and engines. We have seen that
these men acted as constables when Sir Francis Burdett was released
from prison. Although the dress was of somewhat similar pattern, its
colour, &c., was left to the individual fancy of each Company—the
illustration I have given, being the uniform of the Sun Fire Insurance
Company. The coat, waistcoat, and breeches, were of dark blue cloth
with brass buttons, whilst a brass badge adorned both his left arm, and
his helmet. This latter was made of horse hide, strengthened by cross
bars of metal; its inside was of leather, quilted and stuffed with
wool, to protect the head from falling bricks or spars. The engines
were manuals, and carried with them spare men to relieve those pumping,
when they were tired. The most powerful engine of that time could only
throw a ton of water per minute through a ½ inch branch, or nozzle,
and, as we see, the fire-plug was simply pulled up, and the water very
wastefully supplied.

[Illustration: A FIREMAN—1805.]

Water, by the by, was somewhat scarce, and certainly not good. Drinking
water was mainly supplied from pumps, both public and private, and when
we see the arrangement of pumps, in the country, nowadays, how, in
order to be near the house, they are, generally, thoughtlessly placed
in close approximation to the cesspool—we can imagine, in some degree,
what the supply of drinking water must have been like in crowded
London, with its defective drainage, and its festering graveyards.
There was a supply, to certain districts, of New River water. Some yet
flowed from the heights of Hampstead, and there were also the Water
Works at London Bridge, which were inaugurated by the “Dutchman,” Peter
Moritz, in 1582, and which continued to pump up the muddy, sewaged
water, until the new bridge was built. They are thus described in
a contemporary work (1802): “The _Water Works_, on the north-west
side of the Bridge, supply a considerable part of _London_ with water
for domestic purposes, in the same manner as is effected by the _New
River_. But as _London Bridge_ lies very low, the water requires to be
forced up to a bason on the top of a tower, 120 feet in height. From
this bason, it again descends into the main pipes, and is conveyed in
all directions through the town. The water is raised by the action of
four great wheels, which are turned by the stream, and every turn of
the four wheels causes 114 strokes of the piston rods—by this means 40
to 50,000 hogsheads of water are raised every 24 hours.”

There was yet another water supply, which was obtained from pumps and
springs, and which afforded a livelihood to many hard-working, and
industrious, men. Perhaps, one of the last places in the vicinity of
London thus supplied, was Hampstead—a neighbourhood noted for springs,
where the water used to be thus fetched from the “Conduit Meads” and
other places, and retailed at 1d. or 2d. per bucket, according to
distance. This only ceased when the Midland Railway ran a tunnel
underneath the spring, and destroyed it.

[Illustration: DRINKING WATER SUPPLY—1802.]

The water supply from the Thames, and New River, it must be remembered,
was only turned on three times a week.

The Streets of London in 1804 are thus contemporaneously described:
“It may well excite our admiration to go from Charing Cross to the
Exchange, and pass a double row of carriages, one coming, another
going, with scarcely an intermission. Yet, when we recollect the
numerous causes that put so many things, and persons, in motion, we
may admire, but must own it was to be expected. Not only are the
streets filled with carriages, but with foot passengers; so that the
great thoroughfares of London appear like a moving multitude, or a
daily fair. To this deception the endless shops lend their aid; it is,
indeed, the remark of strangers in general, that London is a continual
fair. The display made by the traders, the numerous wares they have to
sell, and the continual crowd that is passing and re-passing, forcibly
contribute to the delusion.”

Yet the streets were narrow, or at least we think them so, for we have
always to widen them for the perpetually increasing traffic; and the
shops could in no ways at all compare with ours. Small panes of glass,
and small windows were not calculated to show off the traders’ wares
to advantage. Even the contemporary guide-books, can give no shops of
particular excellence—except those which sold keramic ware. In this,
that particular portion of the century was pre-eminent, and one longs
to have had a stroll, looking in first at Wedgwood’s warehouse in
St. James’s Square, then at the Worcester China Warehouse, Coventry
Street; from thence to the show rooms of Derby china, in Henrietta
Street, Covent Garden; and finishing up with Spode’s exposition of
Staffordshire ware, in Portugal Street.

The streets were not over well scavenged, and, as I have before
said, sewers did not obtain much more than in the main thoroughfares.
These, too, were watered in the summer, by means of a wooden tank hung
below the axle-tree of a pair of wheels, delivering the water from
a perforated wooden box at its back. “The Watering Cart is usually
drawn by one horse, but on some roads two horses are applied, when
the leader is rode by a boy, and the driver sits on the seat upon the
cart. In districts contiguous to ponds, the carts are driven into the
water, and are filled very expeditiously; but where they have not this
convenience, they are obliged to supply them with water from the pump,
which is hard labour for two men.”




 Daily life of the streets—The Chimney Sweep—Mrs. Montagu—Instances
 of the hard life of a “climbing boy”—The Milkmaid—Supply of milk to
 the Metropolis—“Hot loaves”—“Water cresses”—whence they came—Other

LET US GO to authentic sources, and, in our imaginations, people
the streets as they then were, following the example which Gay has
so worthily given in his “Trivia.” Leaving aside the roysterers,
and nightly bad characters, together with the watchmen, the first
industrial perambulator, would probably be the Sweep. In the
frontispiece to this volume, the “climbing boy,” as he was called, is
faithfully depicted, drinking his early cup of saloop, the utensils
of his trade, his brush, shovel, and scraper, lying by his side; in
his cap is a brass plate containing his master’s name and address.
Poor little fellows! their lives were harsh! With hard taskmasters,
badly constructed chimneys, and flues to sweep, and laborious work,
climbing with back and knees; with a foul atmosphere, and lungs choked
with soot, their young days _must_ have been joyless. Of course we
cannot blame the people then living, because they had not sufficient
mechanical knowledge to abolish the climbing boy’s _raison d’être_.
It is pleasing to register within the decade I write of, one good
and kind friend of these little fellows—a Mrs. Montagu, who died in
March, 1800. She was a lady of good family, and an authoress (founder
of the Blue Stocking Club), who even attempted so high a flight as an
“Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespeare.” In her practical
benevolence, her heart felt for these little _pariahs_, and she
annually regaled them on May-day, with roast beef and plum pudding.
This conduct was so contrary to the general spirit of the age—which
could see nothing more in a “climbing boy,” than a boy being utilized
for his own good, and for that of the community, that her conduct was
scarcely understood—so much so, that a web of romance had to be woven
around her, in order to account for it. It was rumoured, and credibly
believed, that she had lost a son, and found him again as a “climbing
boy”; and, to mark her sense of gratitude for his restoration, she
feasted all the boys in London on the sweep’s holiday—May-day. Of
course, there is not an atom of foundation for such a story, but
practical philanthropy was then so unusual, that a reason had to be
found for its observance. After her death the following verses were

  “And is all pity for the poor sweeps fled
  Since Montagu is numbered with the dead?
  She who did once the many sorrows weep,
  That met the wanderings of the woe-worn sweep!
  Who, once a year, bade all his griefs depart,
  On May’s sweet morn would doubly cheer his heart!
  Washed was his little form, his shirt was clean,
  On that _one_ day, his real face was seen.
  His shoeless feet, _now_ boasted pumps, and new.
  The brush, and shovel, gaily held to view!
  The table spread, his every sense was charmed,
  And every savoury smell his bosom warmed;
  His light heart joyed to see such goodly cheer.
  And much he longed to taste the mantling beer:
  His hunger o’er—the scene was little heaven—
  If riches thus can bless, what blessings might be given
  But she is gone! none left to soothe their grief,
  Or, once a year, bestow their meed of beef!”

One instance, only, of the hard life of these little ones, will I give,
and then pass on to pleasanter themes.

_Morning Herald_, October 1, 1802: “GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
Wednesday, an interesting examination took place at this office,
relative to a male child, about eight years old, charged to have
been kidnapped by the foreman of Mrs. Bridges, a chimney-sweeper, in
Swallow Street. It was stated by Mrs. Wilson, of No. 5 in the same
street, that, on Saturday last, she was dreadfully alarmed by the cry
of murder, and the screams of the child at Mrs. B.’s, which induced
her to run into the house, where she found the child stripped, and the
prisoner unmercifully beating him with two switches, or small sticks.
She remonstrated with him, and demanded by what authority he so cruelly
treated the child, as it was well known it had been inveigled from
the street, and unlawfully detained by them. The prisoner threatened
to strike the witness, who, nevertheless, persisted in taking away
the child, and did actually take it to the workhouse, informing the
committee there of the particulars, and the prisoner, in consequence,
was indicted.


“The child, itself, told a very artless and moving tale of its own
sufferings. The prisoner, it appears, used to strip him naked, and
flog him in the dust cellar, to make him go up the chimney, to which,
it seems, he had an utter aversion. When in the chimney, he was urged
to proceed by the prisoner having a stick, at the top of which was
fastened a pin, with which he goaded the poor infant; at other times he
would make the poor child descend into vaults, and used other cruelties
too shocking for recital. On inquiry at the workhouse, the child
discovered that his father is a smith by trade, a poor man, with six
children, living near Sloane Street. Its parents had used every means
to discover their child, and, at length found him in the workhouse. The
prisoner was committed to Tothill Fields Bridewell; and we suppose that
Mrs. Bridges, as soon as she can safely leave her bed, will also be
brought up to answer this charge.”

In 1803, if not before, there was in existence an “Association for
Improving the Situation of Infant Chimney Sweepers,” of which John
Julius Angerstein, Esq. (whose collection of pictures founded the
National Gallery), was the chairman.

May-day was also sacred to another class of early morning workers—the
Milkmaids. Curiously enough, the carriage and delivery of milk—by no
means a light task, whether looked at from the distance walked, or the
load carried—was entirely in the hands of women, strapping country
wenches, principally recruited from Wales. The cows were kept in hovels
in, and near, London, and a “milkmaid’s” daily life began at from 4 to
6 a.m. when the cows had to be milked; they then delivered the milk at
the various houses until near ten. Then there were the dairy vessels to
wash, and at noon, the cows again to be milked.


The delivery of milk again occupied them till nearly 6 p.m., when they
had to wash up all cans, &c., for the morning. In 1808 it was reckoned
that about 8,500 cows were kept in London and its vicinity; one
cowkeeper at Islington owning between 800 and 900 cows. It is sad to
read, however, in 1804, that “Milk is sold at fourpence per quart, or
fivepence for a better sort; yet the advance of price does not insure
its purity, for it is generally mixed in a great proportion with water,
by the retailers before they leave the milk houses. The adulteration
of the milk, added to the wholesale cost, leaves an average profit of
cent. per cent., to the vendors of this useful article. Few retail
trades are exercised with equal gains.”

[Illustration: “DO YOU WANT ANY BRICK-DUST?”]

Following the milkwoman, would come the early Baker calling out “Hot
loaves!” and ringing a bell: he would appear on the scene between 8 and
9 a.m., selling his rolls at one, or two, a penny—in winter he added,
or substituted, muffins and crumpets.

Then, too, for breakfast, would be heard, either from male, or female,
lips, the cry of “Water cresses!” which were sold in small bunches
a penny each, or three for twopence. In those days, they were to be
found growing wild in the ditches near London, and many a weary tramp
of seven or eight miles, before breakfast, of a morning, did the
sellers have, in order to get them fresh. There was generally a supply
at Covent Garden Market—grown for sale; but these were considered
inferior in flavour to the wild ones.

[Illustration: “BUY A TRAP! A RAT TRAP! BUY MY TRAP!”]

From breakfast time, the cries of the miscellaneous dealers in small
wares became general, and hardly any can claim pre-eminence, unless
it be on a Good Friday—when the old pagan crossed cakes were vended,
and evidently as much relished by the young folks as now. “Baking, or
boiling apples” were sold by women, a charcoal stove accompanying their
barrow, so that their customers might have them hot, and luscious.
Then, too, might be seen a man with band-boxes, carried on either end
of a pole, which rested on his shoulder. From 6d. to 3s. was their
price; whilst boxes of slight deal, with a lock and key, might be
purchased from 3s. 6d. to 6s. 6d. These boxes were of home manufacture,
and gave employment to many industrious families.

Brickdust was carried about on donkey back, in small sacks, and
retailed at the price of one penny per quart. A contemporary remarks,
“As brickdust is scarcely used in London for any other purpose than
that of knife cleaning, the criers are not numerous; but they are
remarkable for their fondness, and their training, of bull dogs.
This predilection they have in common with the lamplighters of the

The accompanying sketch of a Rat-trap Dealer is graphic and good;
and it shows one glimpse of the past, in the old cobbler (?) at his
_hutch_, or low open door. This, or a cellar, always went as an
accompaniment to this branch of the shoe-making trade.

To future antiquarians, it may be useful to know that, at the
commencement of this century, our domestic animals had their “purveyors
of food;” that cat’s, and dog’s meat, consisting of horse flesh,
bullock’s livers, and tripe cuttings, were distributed by means of men,
or preferably, women, all over London. The horse flesh, and bullock’s
liver, was sold by weight at 2d. per lb.; the tripe, in bundles, at 1d.

“Baskets” were hawked about—not as we know them (rarer and rarer, year
by year) in the gipsy caravans, but slung around the sellers—of good
handy size, and durable make. One article of domestic economy has all
but died out—the Bellows—and _old_ specimens are almost worth their
weight in silver; but the cry of “Bellows to mend!” was then heard
commonly. The mender carried his tools in a bag on his back, and, like
the chair-mender, plied his calling in front of his patron’s house, or
at any convenient street corner.

“Chairs to mend!” might be met with anywhere. Nursery and common
chairs, if not having seats of wood, were of rushes, cane being a
later introduction. These rushes were, and are now, cut in our rivers,
preferably in the early autumn, before they begin to rot, and sold by
a peculiar measure—a _bolt_—which is as much as a man can clasp of
rushes, when dried, within his arms. The repairs were executed before
the house, and the charge for reseating a chair was very moderate—from
1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d.

“Door mats” were hawked about, as they are sometimes now, but Prisons
and Industrial Schools had not then interfered in this trade, so that
a poor man had a chance of getting rid of his handiwork, and the price
for rush, and rope, mats, varied from 6d. to 4s. each.

If we can believe a contemporary account, the Dustmen of those days
were the very pink of propriety. “Dust carts ply the streets through
the morning in every part of the metropolis; two men go with each
cart, ringing a large bell, and calling DUST O! These men, daily, if
necessary, empty the dust bins of all the refuse that is thrown into
them. They receive no gratuity from the inhabitants of the houses, the
owner of the cart pays them, like other labourers, weekly wages; and
the dust is carried to yards in the outskirts of the town, where a
number of women and girls are employed in sifting it, and separating
the cinders and bones from the ashes, and other refuse.” I much fear
that this picture is as _couleur de rose_ as the engraving which
accompanies it, wherein the model dustman, with very clean face, is
attired in a yellow jacket, green waistcoat, crimson knee-breeches,
blue ribbed stockings, and brown gaiters.

The sale of “Turnery” was also a street occupation, and brooms,
brushes, sieves, bowls, clothes horses and lines were thus vended.
Some, the Aristos of their trade, had a cart; but the perambulating
sellers could get a good living, as their wares yielded a good profit.

The Knife-grinder, immortalized by Canning, plied his trade in the
sight of the people, and his charges for grinding, and setting,
scissors, were a penny or twopence each; penknives, a penny a blade;
table knives, 1s. 6d. or 2s. per dozen, according to the polish

“Lavender” was a cry redolent of the country, yet grown near London, at
Mitcham. This was generally used in linen-presses, to counteract the
abominably rank smell of the soap of those days. It was a favourite
scent; as Isaac Walton says, “I’ll now lead you to an honest ale
house, where we shall find a cleanly room, lavender in the windows, and
twenty ballads stuck against the wall.”

Among the street cries, was that of “Mackerel”; and the sellers thereof
might even expose them for sale, and cry them, on Sundays—a proud
privilege which no other fish possessed. There never was a glut of them
in the market, because they could only be brought to Billingsgate by
smacks, so that they were never sold at the very cheap rates they now
are, but were, as we should think, extremely dear. At first coming in
they were sold for 1s. 6d. each, and they gradually dropped to 10d.,
8d., 6d. each, or, if there was a great haul, three might be sold for a

[Illustration: “BUY MY GOOSE! MY FAT GOOSE!”]

might probably bring to remembrance the quotation “_Caveat emptor_,”
but these two purchasers seem quite able to take care of themselves.

It was but a month, or six weeks since, that I saw a sight I had not
seen for some years—a man selling Rabbits slung on a pole, which he
carried on his shoulder; yet this used to be the usual method of
exposing them for sale, and these small dealers were called _higglers_.
The price of Rabbits, thus sold, at the time of which I write, were
“from ninepence to eighteenpence each, which is cheaper than they can
be bought in the poulterers’ shops.”


shows the universal yearning of the dwellers in town, to make as good
a _rus in urbe_ of their surroundings, as possible. The atmosphere of
London was then, undoubtedly purer than now, and flowers might then be
grown in the open air, where, now, it would be an impossibility.

As an “Old Clothes” man the Jew was then paramount, the Irishman not
having, as yet, entered into competition with him. _Rosemary Lane_
(only sweet smelling in its name) was a thoroughfare now called _Royal
Mint Street_ leading from Tower Hill; and here was held a Mart, not
only in shops, but all over the pavement and road, of old clothes,
boots, &c., and it fully merited its name of _Rag Fair_. A market was
built for the buyers and sellers, in which to transact their business;
but old habits proved too strong, they would _not_ use it, and “nothing
less than military force constantly exercised would prevail over the
obstinacy of habit.” The “high” market was from twelve to three.

It was a curious custom then, of course not in good houses, but in
those of poor men, such as might be on the outskirts, and in the
suburbs of the Metropolis, to strew the floor, say of the kitchen, and
sometimes of the parlour, with silver sand. This kept the soles of
dirty boots from actual contact with the newly scrubbed boards—and
saved the housewife much exercise of temper. Sand, too, was plentifully
used in scouring kitchen utensils, and it was sold, the red sand, at
2½d., and the white at 1¼d., per peck.

Fruit, in its season, was cried; and at night, among other employments,
by which to earn an honest penny, there were the playbill sellers,
and the link boys. The former were almost invariably women, who also
sold oranges; and, if a purchaser could be found to go to the extent
of buying six, a “Bill of the play” was given. Awful things were those
playbills—none of your dainty, lace-edged, Rimmel-scented ones—but
long strips of flimsy tissue paper, yet wet from the printers, smearing
the hands with ink from the large capital letters employed. No time had
they to dry them; there was usually a fresh play every night, and the
playbills had to be fresh also.



 The Postman—His dress—The Post Office—Changes of site—Sir Robert
 Vyner—Rates of postage and deliveries—Mail coaches—Places of
 starting and routes—Number of houses in London—Description of
 them—Their furniture.

ONE PARTICULAR feature of the Streets, was, and still is, one of our
most trusted servants, the POSTMAN. In those days he was a _somebody_,
who held personal relations with his clients. None of your rat-tats,
and “Look in the letter box”; he generally had something to collect,
for there were no postage stamps in those days, and that being the
fact, people very often left the postage to be collected at the other
end. The officials mounted a hat with a cockade, scarlet coat (the
Royal livery), blue breeches, and, of course, white stockings. They
used, as in my young days, to collect the letters, nay, in many country
districts they do it now.

[Illustration: A POSTMAN.]

The location of the Post Office has been changed many times. We are apt
to associate it with St. Martin’s-le-Grand, but it was not always so.
It was originally in Cloak Lane, near Dowgate, whence it was removed
to the Black Swan, in Bishopsgate Street; and, at the time of which we
write, it occupied the site of Sir Robert Vyner’s mansion, in Lombard
Street: that Sir Robert Vyner, who is historical, if only for his
treatment of his king, Charles II.—a story which is well told in No.
462 of the _Spectator_: “Sir Robert was a very loyal man, and, if you
will allow me the expression, very fond of his sovereign; out, what
with the joy he felt at heart for the honour done him by his prince,
and through the warmth he was in with the continual toasting healths
to the Royal Family, his lordship grew a little fond of His Majesty,
and entered into a familiarity not altogether so graceful in a public
place. The King understood very well how to extricate himself in
all kinds of difficulties, and, with a hint to the company to avoid
ceremony, stole off and made towards his coach, which stood ready for
him in Guildhall Yard. But the Mayor liked his company so well, and was
grown so intimate, that he pursued him hastily, and, catching him fast
by the hand, cried out with a vehement oath and accent, ‘Sir, you shall
stay and take t’other bottle.’ The airy monarch looked kindly at him
over his shoulder, and, with a smile, and graceful air, for I saw him
at the time, and do now, repeated this line of the old song:

  ‘_He that’s drunk is as great as a king_,’

and immediately returned back, and complied with his landlord.”

Then, as now, the Lombard Street Post Office was wasted. “It is
a national reproach when edifices of this kind, which, from our
great mercantile concerns, afford occasion for a display of public
architecture, and ornament to the Metropolis, are lost to those
purposes.” This was the comment of a contemporary, and the site of the
present Post Office in St. Martin’s-le-Grand was not fixed upon or,
rather, the first stone was not laid, till May, 1824. As now, the Post
Office was always changing its rules and rates—to meet emergencies
and keep abreast of the times—so that it would expand this notice to
too great a length, were I to chronicle all its changes. Perhaps a
short relation of its doings in 1804—which would be the mean of the
decade—will give as good an idea as any other.

“Houses, or boxes, for receiving letters before four o’clock, at
the West end of the town, and five o’clock in the City, are open in
every part of the Metropolis; after that hour bell-men collect the
letters during another hour, receiving a fee of _one penny_ for each
letter; but, at the General Post Office, in Lombard Street, letters
are received till seven o’clock; after that, till half an hour after
seven, a fee of _sixpence_ must be paid; and from half after seven till
a quarter before eight, the postage must be paid, as well as the fee
of _sixpence_. Persons, till lately, were, if well known, permitted to
have back any letter put in, if required; but, by an order of June,
1802, the masters of receiving houses are not allowed to return letters
on any pretence whatever.

“Letters from (? for) the East Indies must be delivered at the India
House, where a letter-box is provided for their reception.

“Those for the coast of Africa, or at single settlements in particular
parts of the world, may be sent either through the ship letter office,
or by the bags which await the sailing of ships, and which are kept at
the respective coffee houses near the Royal Exchange.”

We should consider these arrangements somewhat primitive; but then,
telegrams and frequent mails have spoilt us. The twopenny post was
mainly local, there being six deliveries and collections of letters in
town daily, and many country places had two deliveries and collections.

The letters were distributed throughout the length and breadth of the
country by means of _Mail Coaches_, which carried passengers at an
average rate of sixpence per mile. This system was inaugurated, and
organized, at the latter end of the Eighteenth Century, by a Mr. John
Palmer, of Bath, who not only suggested the routes, but to prevent
robbery, which, previously, was rife, had every coach accompanied by a
well-armed _guard_, and these coaches accomplished their journeys at a
uniform rate, including stoppages, of eight miles an hour. They did not
start from the Post Office, but from various inns, and the following is
a list of the coaches, and places of starting:

  Dover                }
  Portsmouth           } Angel, St. Clements.

  Bristol              }
  Bath                 }
  Exeter               }
  Liverpool            }
  Manchester           } Swan with Two Necks, Lad Lane.
  Norwich              }
  Taunton              }
  Yarmouth             }
  Ipswich              }

  Poole                  Bell and Crown, Holborn.

  Chester and Holyhead }
  Worcester            } Golden Cross, Charing Cross.

  Gloucester           { Golden Cross, Charing Cross; and the
                       {     Angel, St. Clements, Strand.

  York and Edinburgh   }
  Glasgow              } Bull and Mouth, Bull and Mouth Street
  Shrewsbury           }
  Leeds                }

  Harwich                Spread Eagle, Gracechurch Street.

  Chichester           }
  Cambridge            } Unknown.
  Rye                  }
  Brighton             }

The letters were first of all sorted; then they were weighed, and their
proper amount of postage marked on them; they were counted, packed in
boxes for the different towns, and an account kept of their number;
they were then put in bags, which were sealed, and given in charge of
the mail guard. Postage was heavy in those days. Take the charges for

  From any Post Office in England or Wales to any place not
      exceeding 15 miles from such Office                              4
  For any distance above  15 miles, and not exceeding  30 miles        5
             ”            30   ”                ”      50   ”          6
             ”            50   ”                ”      80   ”          7
             ”            80   ”                ”     120   ”          8
             ”           120   ”                ”     170   ”          9
             ”           170   ”                ”     230   ”         10
             ”           230   ”                ”     300   ”         11
             ”           300   ”                ”     400   ”         12
  And so on in proportion, 1_d._ for every additional 100 miles.

London, at this time, was not beautiful. Apart from the public
buildings, its 160,000 houses (the number estimated in 1804) were not
lovely to look upon. Utilitarian they were, to a degree—long rows
of brick-built tenements, with oblong holes for windows. There was
no attempt at architecture: that had gone out with the first George;
and, during the first half of this century, domestic architecture in
this country was at its lowest possible ebb. Just fancy! in the first
decade, Baker Street was considered “perhaps the handsomest street in
London.” Can condemnation go further? All the houses were the same
pattern, varied only by the height of the rooms, and the number of
stories, which were mostly three, and very rarely exceeded four. There
was the front parlour, and the back parlour, a wretched narrow passage,
or hall, with a flight of stairs leading to the drawing-rooms. In the
basement were the kitchen and scullery.

[Illustration: TALES OF WONDER.]

The inside, even, was not redeemed by beautiful furniture. The rich,
of course, furnished sumptuously, after their lights—which, at that
time, represented anything of classical Greek, or Roman, shape—no
matter whether suitable to the purpose for which it was employed, or
not. Of course, as now, those lower in the social scale, aped, as far
as they could, the tastes of the upper classes; and, as they could not
afford the sumptuous gilding, and carving, of the rich, the ordinary
furniture of that time was heavy, dull, and dispiriting. Take, for
example, the accompanying picture, where, from the style of dress of
the ladies, we can but draw one inference—that they were in a good
social position. The furniture is dull, and heavy; stiff, high-backed
chairs; a table, which would now only be allowed in the nursery; but
one candle, and that with a cotton wick, needing snuffing! A tall,
narrow, and tasteless mantelpiece frames a poor, starved stove of
semi-circular shape, with flat front; the fire-irons stand against the
mantelpiece, and a bowed fender, of perforated sheet brass, enclosed
the hearth; a small hearth-rug with a fringe, and a bell cord with
a plain brass ring, complete the furniture of the room, as far as
Gillray depicted it. Not quite our idea of luxurious comfort, yet it
was comfort then; tastes were simpler, huge fortunes had not yet been
made in manufactures, railway contracting, speculations on the Stock
Exchange, or promoting companies—people were more localized (in fact,
they could not move), and the intercourse with abroad was very little;
and, if it had existed, the hatred of anything foreign, or, especially,
French, would have, at once, condemned any innovation.



 Food—Statistics as to quantity of meat consumed—Scarcity
 of fish and game—Supply of latter to London—Venison—A
 brewer’s dinner—Beer—Quantity brewed—Wine—Its price—Supply
 of vegetables—Sardines and Harvey’s Sauce—Scarcity of
 wheat—Forestalling—Rice from India—Bounties given for its shipment.

PEOPLE, then, were conservative with regard to food. For the ordinary
Englishman was no appetizing _plat_, no refinement of cookery—anything
out of the usual ruck would be promptly denounced, and fiercely
spurned, as French _kickshaws_. Plain roast and boiled meats were
universal, from the highest to the lowest; the quantity of animal food
consumed throughout the country was enormous; and, what was more, it
was all of home production. No frozen meat, no tinned provisions;
the only known way of preserving then, was the time-honoured one of
salting. In London alone, according to the very meagre statistics of
the day, the number of bullocks slaughtered yearly was 110,000; of
sheep and lambs 776,000; calves 210,000; hogs 210,000; sucking pigs,
60,000; besides an unknown quantity of animals of other kinds. This
may be an approximate estimate of the number, based, probably, on the
quantity sold at the various markets to the butchers, but can give us
no idea of the weight, and consequent average consumption per head.

Fish was scarce, and dear; the war, naturally, prevented the fishermen
from going far from the coast, and their numbers, moreover, were
thinned by impressment. No railways to bring this very perishable
commodity quickly to market, no ice to preserve it on its journey;
the smack must go to port to unload her cargo, and, being entirely
dependent on her sails, was at the mercy of the winds.

Inland, they never knew the taste of salt-water fish, unless some
kind friend sent a cod, or turbot, packed in straw, in a basket, as a
present by the mail, or stage, coach. Nor could the Londoner, then, get
the abundant supply of our salmon rivers, which he now, in common with
the whole of England, enjoys.

Game was very scarce, and dear. A country gentleman would not have
dared to brave the public opinion of his county, by selling his game,
and battues were unknown. The poachers did, undoubtedly, a good trade;
and about Christmas time the mail, and stage, coaches came up, loaded
with hares, &c.—a fact amusingly chronicled in the _Morning Post_ of
the 26th of December, 1807: “The first of the Norwich and Yarmouth
coaches arrived at a late hour on Thursday, when, strange to relate,
every one of the passengers, inside and outside, were found _dead_! Not
less than four hundred brace of _dead game_ being unloaded from it, for
the banqueting of the _living Londoners_ at this luxurious season.” If,
however, a story told in the _Times_ of the 20th of January, 1803, is
true, it was not always safe to buy game from the coaches: “Saturday
night last, an epicure from Fish Street Hill, anxiously watched for
the arrival of a Kentish coach, at the King’s Head, in the Borough,
in order to purchase a _Hare_ from the coachman, for his Sunday’s
dinner; an outside passenger, having learned his errand, brought him
under the gateway, and sold him a very large one, as he thought, for
nine shillings, which, however, upon his return home, proved to be a

Poultry was seldom seen except at the tables of the very well to
do. The supply was deficient, and they had not the resources we
have of railway carriage, and especially of the Continental markets;
consequently prices were exorbitant. Venison was considered _the_ dish
for an epicure, and was sold—chiefly by pastry cooks—at a reasonable
rate: in fact, there were coffee houses where a venison dinner could
be obtained for 2s. 6d. Probably the following advertisement indicates
a somewhat better style of entertainment—_Morning Herald_, July 18,
1804: “VENISON in perfection. At the Worcester Coffee House, corner
of Swallow Street, Oxford Street, Gentlemen may depend on having
prime Venison. A Haunch and Neck dressed every day, ready precisely
at five o’clock, at the reasonable charge for dinner of 3s. 6d. Wines
and Liquors of the finest flavour; best old Port 4s. 6d. per bottle.
Venison ready dressed, and pasties sent out. N.B. Fifty brace of good
Bucks wanted.”

It was an age of eating and drinking—_i.e._, men ate and drank in
larger quantities than now; but we must not take the following as a
typical feast of the time; it was simply a brewer’s dinner, cooked
after a brewer’s fashion—yet it was also typical, for then the cult
of beefsteak and porter was at its culminating point, and people bowed
down, and reverenced them exceedingly. The _Morning Post_, May 30,
1806: “Alderman Combe’s Annual Dinner. Yesterday, Mr. Combe gave his
annual dinner at his brewery, near Long Acre. The party consisted
of the Prince of Wales, Duke of Norfolk, Lord Chancellor, Earl of
Lauderdale, Lord Robert Spencer, Lord Howick, Sir Gilbert Heathcote,
Lord John Townshend, Mr. R. B. Sheridan, Mr. Tierney, Mr. Harvey Combe,
and Mr. Alderman Combe. At half an hour past six, the company sat down
to dinner. The entertainment consisted of beefsteaks and porter. It was
served up in the same style as it was last year. An oaken table, of an
oblong form, was set out in the long room of the brewhouse. This table
was covered with a large hempen sack, and covers, consisting of wooden
trenchers, were laid for each of the guests. The other paraphernalia
of the table, namely, the spoons, salt-cellars, salad bowls, &c., were
composed of the same material as the plates. The Steaks were cooked by
_the Stoker_, a man so called from his being always employed to keep
the fires. This Stoker dressed the Steaks upon a large plate of iron,
which was placed in the Copper-hole. When done, the Cook took them out
with a pair of tongs, conveyed them into a wooden dish, and, in that
style, they were served up. At the expiration of half an hour, the
Prince, and the company, retired to Mr. Combe’s house, in Great Russell
Street, Bloomsbury, where they partook of a second course, consisting
of every delicacy of the season, together with a dessert of fruits, the
most rare and abundant we have ever seen. The Madeira, Port, and Claret
were the objects of every one’s panegyric.”

Beer was the national beverage, and it was brewed from good malt and
hops; not out of sugar, and chemical bedevilments, as at present: and
the quantity drunk in London, alone, seems to be enormous. _Vide_ the
_Annual Register_ for 1810:

“The Quantity of strong beer brewed by the first twelve houses in the
London Porter Brewery, from the 5th of July, 1809, to the 5th of July,


  Barclay, Perkins and Co.               235,053
  Meux, Read and Co.                     211,009
  Truman, Hanbury and Co.                144,990
  Felix, Calvert and Co.                 133,491
  Whitbread and Co.                      110,939
  Henry Meux and Co.                      93,660
  Combe and Co.                           85,150
  Brown and Parry                         84,475
  Goodwin, Skinner and Co.                74,223
  Elliott and Co.                         57,251
  Taylor                                  44,510
  Clowes and Co.                          41,594

Wines, of course, were drunk by the higher classes, but French wines
were comparatively dear, owing to the closing of the trade with France;
still there was a very fair quantity captured in the prizes taken at
sea, and there was a great deal more smuggled.

Frontignac in 1800 might be bought for 19s. 6d. per doz., and Muscatel
at 24s. In 1804, the following are the prices from a respectable wine
merchant’s list.

  Superior Old Port                       38s. per dozen.
  Prime Old Sherry                        42s.    ”
    ”   Madeira                           63s.    ”
  Bucellas                                40s.    ”
  Mountain, Lisbon, and Calcavella        38s.    ”
  Superior Claret                         70s.    ”
  Cognac Brandy                           20s. per gallon.
  Old Jamaica Rum                         15s.    ”
  Holland’s Geneva                        10s.    ”

In 1806, Vin de Grave was 66s. per dozen.

For the supply of vegetables, and fruit, large tracts of land were
utilized for the supply of London alone. It was reckoned that this
city swallowed the produce of 10,000 acres of vegetables, and about
4,000 acres of fruit trees. The market gardens have been gradually
disappearing, but they used to be situated principally at Camberwell,
Deptford, Fulham, Battersea, Mortlake, Barnes, and Chiswick. This
produce found its way to Covent Garden, where the market days were the
same as now—Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

During the latter part of the first decade of the century, provisions
were not so dear:

  Beef averaged from                  6d.   to  9½d.   per lb.
  Mutton     ”                        6d.   to 10d.      ”
  Pork       ”                        6d.   to 1s.       ”
  Lamb at first coming in            10d.   to 1s. 2d.   ”
    ”     Mid Season                   6½d. to 8d.       ”
  Sugar was about                     5d.   to 5½d.      ”
  Salt     ”                         20s.   per bushel.
  Store Candles about                 1s. 3d. per lb.

Whilst on the subject of food, I cannot help chronicling the first
notices I have ever met with, of two articles familiar to us—Sardines,
and Harvey’s Sauce. The first occurs in an advertisement in the
_Morning Post_, August 10, 1801: “SARDINIAS, a Fish cured in a peculiar
manner, are highly esteemed as a Sandwich, and deemed of superior
flavour to the Anchovy. Sold,” &c. The second is in the _Morning
Herald_, February 9, 1804: “HARVEY’S Sauce for Fish, &c. Black Dog,
Bedford. Mr. Harvey respectfully informs the Nobility and Gentry, he
has appointed Mrs. Elizabeth Lazenby to prepare and sell the above
sauce, at her Oil Warehouse, No. 6, Edward’s Street, Portman Square,
and that she, alone, is in possession of the original receipt—signed
Peter Harvey.”

If, however, the times were somewhat gross feeding, yet, early in the
century, they also knew the pinch, if not of absolute hunger, yet of
that which comes nigh akin to it—scarcity. As we have seen in the
History of the decade, bread stuffs were, through bad harvests, very
dear; and the strictest attention to economy in their use, even when
mixed with inferior substitutes, practised. The unreasoning public laid
the whole of the rise in price on the shoulders of the middle-men,
or factors; and they were branded with the then opprobrious, but now
obsolete, term of “Forestallers and Regraters.” Take one plaintive
wail, which appeared in the _Morning Post_ of March 7, 1800: “We are
told that one cause of the high price of Corn is, the consequence of
the practice of selling by sample, instead of the Corn being fairly
brought to market. The middle-man buys the Corn, but desires the
farmer to keep it for him, until he wants it; or, in other words,
until he finds the price suits his expectations.” This rage against
“forestalling” was, of course, very senseless; but it had the advantage
of being applied indiscriminately, and to every description of food.
Two women at Bristol were imprisoned for “forestalling” a cart load of
mackerel; whilst the trial of Waddington for “forestalling” _hops_
is almost a _cause célèbre_. Now, hops could hardly be construed into
food; and, after having carefully read his trial, I can but come to
the conclusion that he was a very hardly-used man, and was imprisoned
for nothing at all.[43] I merely mention his case as a proof of
the senseless irritation which the price of food caused upon the
unreasoning public.

Food had to be looked for anywhere. The Continent was no field for
speculation; a bad harvest had been universal; and, besides, we
were at war. Then, for the first time, was India drawn upon for our
food supply, and the East India Company—that greatest marvel of
all trade—offered every facility towards the export of rice. Their
instructions were as follow: “That every ship, which takes on board
three quarters of her registered tonnage in rice, shall have liberty
to fill up with such goods as have been usually imported by country
ships. That ships embarking in this adventure shall be allowed to carry
out exports from this country. That they shall be excused the payment
of the Company’s duty of 3 per cent., on the rice so imported. That,
after the ship shall have been approved by the Company’s surveyors, the
risk of the rice which she brings, shall be on account of Government,
which will save the owners the expense of insurance. That, in case
the price of rice shall, on the ships’ arrival, be under from 32s. to
29s. the hundredweight, the difference between what it may sell for,
and the above rates shall be made good to the owners, on the following
conditions—That the ship which departs from her port of lading, within
one month from the promulgation of these orders, shall be guaranteed
32s. the hundredweight; if in two months, 31s.; if in three months,
30s.; and if in four months, 29s. But, that dependence may be safely
placed on the rice being of superior quality, that is, equal, at
least, to the best cargo of rice, it shall be purchased by an agent
appointed by Government. Coppered ships to be preferred, and, although
Convoy[44] will, if possible, be obtained for them, they must not be
detained for Convoy.”




 Parliamentary Committee on the high price of provisions—Bounty on
 imported corn, and on rice from India and America—The “Brown Bread
 Bill”—Prosecution of bakers for light weight—Punishment of a butcher
 for having bad meat—Price of beef, mutton, and poultry—Cattle
 shows—Supply of food from France—Great fall in prices here—Hotels,
 &c.—A clerical dessert.

PARLIAMENT bestirred itself in the matter of food supply, not only in
appointing “a Committee to consider the high price of provisions,” who
made their first report on the 24th of November, 1800; but Mr. Dudley
Ryder (afterwards Earl of Harrowby) moved, on the 12th of November, in
the same year, the following resolutions, which were agreed to:—

“1. That the average price at which foreign corn shall be sold in
London, should be ascertained, and published, in the _London Gazette_.

“2. That there be given on every quarter of wheat, weighing 424 lbs.,
which shall be imported into the port of London, or into any of the
principal ports of each district of Great Britain, before the 1st of
October, 1801, a bounty equal to the sum by which the said average
price in London, published in the _Gazette_, in the third week after
the importation of such wheat, shall be less than 100s. per quarter.

“3. That there shall be given on every quarter of barley, weighing
352 lbs., which shall be imported into the port of London, or any of
the principal ports of each district of Great Britain before the 1st
of October, 1801, a bounty equal to the sum by which the said average
price in London, published in the _Gazette_ in the third week after the
importation of such barley, shall be less than 45s. per quarter.

“4. That there be given on every quarter of rye, weighing 408 lbs.,
which shall be imported into the port of London, or into any of the
principal ports of each district of Great Britain, before the 1st of
October, 1801, a bounty equal to the sum by which the said average
price in London, published in the _Gazette_ of the third week after the
importation of such rye, shall be less than 65s. per quarter.

“5. That there be given on every quarter of oats, weighing 280 lbs.,
which shall be imported into the port of London, or into any of the
principal ports of each district of Great Britain, before the 1st of
October, 1801, a bounty equal to the sum by which the average price
in London, published in the _Gazette_ in the third week after the
importation of such oats, shall be less than 30s. per quarter.

“6. That there be given on every barrel of superfine wheaten flour, of
196 lbs. weight, which shall be imported into such ports before the 1st
of October, 1801, and sold by public sale by auction, within two months
after importation, a bounty equal to the sum by which the actual price
of each barrel of such flour so sold, shall be less than 70s.

“7. That there be given on every barrel of fine wheaten flour, of 196
lbs. weight, which shall be imported into such ports before the 1st of
October, 1801, and sold by public sale, by auction, within two months
after importation, a bounty equal to the sum by which the actual price
of each barrel of such flour so sold shall be less than 68s.

“8. That there be given on every cwt. of rice which shall be imported
into such ports in any ship which shall have cleared out from any port
in the East Indies before the 1st of September, 1801, and which shall
be sold by public sale, a bounty equal to the sum by which the actual
price of each cwt. of rice so sold shall be less than 32s.

“9. That there be given on every cwt. of rice, from America, which
shall be imported into such ports, before the 1st of October, 1801, and
sold by public sale by auction, within two months after importation, a
bounty equal to the sum by which the actual price of each cwt. of such
rice so sold, shall be less than 35s.”

Thus we see that the paternal government of that day did all they could
to find food for the hungry; and it is somewhat curious to note the
commencement of a trade for food, with two countries like India and
the United States of America. Still more did the Government attempt
to alleviate the distress by passing an Act (41 Geo. III. c. 16),
forbidding the manufacture of fine bread, and enacting that all bread
should contain the whole meal—_i.e._, all the bran, &c.—and be what
we term “brown bread.” Indeed the Act was called, popularly, “The Brown
Bread Bill.” It came into force on the 16th of January, 1801, a date
which was afterwards extended to the 31st of January, but did not last
long; its repeal receiving the Royal Assent on the 26th of February of
the same year.

So also the authorities did good service in prosecuting bakers for
light weight; and the law punished them heavily. I will only make
one quotation—_Morning Post_, February 5, 1801. “PUBLIC OFFICE, BOW
STREET. LIGHT BREAD. Several complaints having been made against a
baker in the neighbourhood of Bloomsbury, for selling bread short of
weight, he was, yesterday, summoned on two informations; the one for
selling a quartern loaf deficient of its proper weight eight ounces,
and the other for a quartern loaf wanting four ounces. A warrant was
also issued to weigh all the bread in his shop, when 29 quartern loaves
were seized, which wanted, together, 58 ounces, of their proper weight;
the light bread was brought to the office, and the defendant appeared
to answer the charges. The parties were sworn as to the purchase of
the first two loaves, which being proved, and the loaves being weighed
in the presence of the Magistrates, the defendant was convicted in the
full penalty of five shillings per ounce for the twelve ounces they
were deficient; and, Mr. Ford observing that as the parties complaining
were entitled to one moiety of the penalty, he could not with justice
remit any part of it.

“Respecting the other 29 loaves, as it was the report of the officers
who executed the warrant, that there were a considerable number more
found in his shop that were of full weight, it was the opinion of
him, and the other Magistrates then present, that the fine should be
mitigated to 2s. per ounce, amounting to £5 16s., which the defendant
was, accordingly, obliged to pay, and the 29 loaves, which, of course,
were forfeited, Mr. Ford ordered to be distributed to the poor.

“A search warrant was also executed at the shop of a baker near Drury
Lane, against whom an information had also been laid for selling light
bread; but, it being near three o’clock in the afternoon when the
officers went to the shop, very little bread remained, out of which,
however, they found eight quarterns, three half quarterns, and four
twopenny loaves, short of weight 28 ounces, and on which the baker was
adjudged to pay 2s. per ounce, and the bread was disposed of in the
same manner as the other.”

As we have seen, the price of bread in London was regulated by
the civic authorities, according to the price of flour—and it is
gratifying to find that they fearlessly exercised their functions.
September 1, 1801: “A number of Bakers were summoned to produce their
bills of parcels of flour purchased by them during the last two weeks,
according to the returns. Many of them were very irregular which they
said was owing to the mealmen not giving in their bills of parcels with
the price at the time of delivering the flour. They were ordered to
attend on a future day, when the mealmen will be summoned to answer
that complaint.”

Nor were the bakers, alone, subject to this vigilance, the butchers
were well looked after, and, if evil doers, were punished in a way
worthy of the times of the “Liber Albus.” _Vide_ the _Morning Post_,
April 16, 1800: “Yesterday, the carcase of a calf which was condemned
by the Lord Mayor, as being unwholesome, was burnt before the butcher’s
door, in Whitechapel. His Lordship commended the Inquest of Portsoken
Ward very much for their exertions in this business, and hoped it would
be an example to others, that when warm weather comes on they may have
an eye to stalls covered with meat almost putrified, and very injurious
to the health of their fellow citizens.”

Just at that time meat was extraordinarily high in price—in May, only
a few weeks after the above quotation, beef was 1s. 6d. and mutton 1s.
3d. per lb., whilst fowls were 6s. 6d. each, and every other article
of food at proportionally high rates. Yet, as was only natural, every
means were taken to increase the food supply. Cattle shows were
inaugurated, and great interest was taken in them by the neighbouring
gentry. As an example we will take one held in September, 1801, where
Mr. Tatton Sykes was judge, and there were such well-known county
gentlemen present as Mr. Denison, Major Osbaldeston, Major Topham,
&c., &c. The prizes were not high; but, then, as now, in agricultural
contests, honour went before the money value of the prize.

                                                      £  _s._  _d._
  Best shearling tup from any part of England        10  10  0
  Best     do        bred in the East Riding         10  10  0
  Best year old bull          do                      8   8  0
  Second best    do           do                      6   6  0
  Third best     do           do                      5   5  0
  Fourth best    do           do                      4   4  0
  Fifth best     do           do                      2   2  0
  Best two year old heifer bred in the East Riding    3  3  0
  Second best    do           do                      3  3  0
  Third best     do           do                      2  2  0
  Best boar                   do                      3  3  0

But, with the treaty of peace with France came comparative plenty. The
French were keen enough to, at once, take advantage of the resumption
of friendly relations; and, knowing that an era of cheaper food was
to be inaugurated, prices fell rapidly here. For instance, no sooner
did the news of peace reach Ireland, than the price of pork fell, in
some markets from 63s. to 30s. per cwt.; and beef dropped to 33s. 6d.
or 30s. 6d. per cwt. Butter, and other farm produce had proportionable
reductions. In London, one shopkeeper somewhat whimsically notified
the change. At the time of illumination for the peace, he displayed a
transparency, on one side of which was a quartern loaf, under which
were the words, “_I am coming down_,” and by its side appeared a pot of
porter, which rejoined, “_So am I_.”

When the pioneer boat, loaded with provisions from France, arrived at
Portsmouth, the authorities were at a loss as to what to do with her;
so she was detained until an order could be received permitting her to
trade and depart within 24 hours. Her cargo was sold out at once, and
no wonder, for she sold pigs at 16s. each, turkeys 2s. 6d. each, and
fowls 2s. a couple, whilst eggs were going at 1s. 6d. a score.

Whilst on this subject, mention may be made of the kind of provision
made for the men’s feeding, otherwise than at home. The Hotel proper,
as we know it, was but in its infancy; and, as far as I can gather,
there were but some fifteen hotels in London. This does not, of course,
include the large coaching inns, which made up beds, because they
catered for a fleeting population; nor does it take cognizance of the
coffee houses, many of which made up beds, especially for visitors from
various counties, where they might possibly meet with friends, or hear
the last news about them, and see the county newspaper; whilst all,
without exception, and most of the taverns, supplied their customers
with dinners, and other food—in fact, they acted as _victuallers_, and
not as the keepers of _drinkeries_, as now. There were, besides, many
of the cheaper class of eating houses, called _cook shops_, scattered
over every part of the town, at which a plentiful dinner might be
obtained at, from a shilling, to eighteenpence. In addition, there were
very many _à la mode_ beef houses, and soup shops, so that every taste,
and purse, was consulted.

Before closing these notes on feeding, early in the century, I must
chronicle a “little dinner.” _Morning Post_, July 26, 1800: “At a
village in Cheshire, last year, three clergymen, after dinner, ate
fourteen quarts of nuts, and, during their sitting, drank six bottles
of port wine, and NO other liquor!”




 Men’s dress—the “Jean de Bry” coat—Short coats fashionable at
 watering-places—“All Bond Street trembled as he strode”—Rules for
 the behaviour of a “Bond Street Lounger.”

OF DRESS, either of men, or women, there is little to chronicle during
this ten years. The mutations during a similar period, at the close
of the previous century, had been so numerous, and radical, as to be
sufficient to satisfy any ordinary being; so that, with the exception
of the ordinary changes of fashion, which tailors, and milliners will
impose upon their victims, there is little to record.

At the commencement of the year 1800, men wore what were then called
“Jean de Bry” coats, so named from a French statesman, who was somewhat
prominent during the French Revolution—born 1760, died 1834. The
accompanying illustration is somewhat exaggerated, not so much as
regards the padding on the shoulders, as to the Hessian boots, which
latter might, almost, have passed a critical examination, had it not
have been that they are furnished with bells, instead of tassels.
The coat was padded at the shoulders, to give breadth, and buttoned
tight to show the slimness of the waist; yet, as this, under ordinary
circumstances, would have hidden the waistcoat—the coat had to be made

[Illustration: A JEAN DE BRY.]

Then, the same year, only towards its close, came a craze for short
coats, or jackets, resembling the Spencers, but they did not last long,
being only fashionable at Brighton, Cheltenham, &c. There seems to have
been very little change until 1802, when a modification of the Jean de
Bry coat was worn, with the collar increasing very much in height, and
boots were discarded in walking.

The portrait of Colonel Duff, afterwards Lord Fyfe, on the next page,
is only introduced as an exemplar of costume, and not as a “Bond
Street Lounger,” of whom we hear so much, and, as not only may many
of my readers like to know something about him, but his character is
so amusingly sketched by a contemporary, and the account gives such a
vivid picture of the manners of the times, that I transcribe it. It
is from the _Morning Post_ of the 6th of February, 1800; and, after
premising that the Lounger is comfortably settled at an hotel, the
following instructions are given him, as being necessary to establish
his character as a young man of fashion. “In short, find fault with
every _single_ article, without exception, d———— n the _waiter_ at
almost regular intervals, and never let him stand _one moment still_,
but ‘keep him _eternally_ moving;’ having it in remembrance that he
is only an _unfortunate_, and _wretched_ subordinate, of course, a
_stranger_ to feelings which are an ornament to Human Nature; with
this recollection on your part that the more illiberal the abuse he
has from _you_, the greater will be his admiration of your _superior_
abilities, and _Gentleman_-like qualifications.


Confirm him in the opinion he has so justly imbibed, by _swearing_
the _fish_ is not _warm_ through; the poultry is _old_, and ‘tough as
your _Grandmother_’; the pastry is made with butter, _rank Irish_;
the cheese, which they call _Stilton_, is nothing but _pale Suffolk_;
the malt liquor _damnable_, a mere infusion of _malt_, _tobacco_, and
_cocculus Indicus_; the port _musty_; the sherry _sour_; and the whole
of the dinner and dessert were ‘infernally infamous,’ and, of course,
not fit for the entertainment of a _Gentleman_; conclude the lecture
with an oblique hint, that without _better_ accommodations, and more
ready _attention_, you shall be under the necessity of leaving the
house for a more _comfortable_ situation. This _spirited_ declaration
at _starting_ will answer a variety of purposes, but none so essential
as an _anticipated_ objection to the payment of _your bill_ whenever
it may be presented. With no small degree of personal ostentation, give
the waiter your name ‘because you have ordered your letters _there_,
and, as they will be of importance, beg they may be taken care of,
particularly those written in _a female hand_, of which description,
many may be expected.

“Having thus introduced you to, and fixed you, recruit-like, in _good
quarters_, I consider it almost unnecessary to say, however _bad_ you
may _imagine_ the wine, I doubt not your own _prudence_ will point out
the characteristic necessity for drinking enough, not only to afford
you the credit of reeling to bed by the aid of the banister, but the
collateral comfort of calling yourself ‘damned queer’ in the morning,
owing entirely to the villainous adulteration of the wine, for, when
_mild_ and _genuine_, you can take off _three_ bottles ‘without winking
or blinking.’ When rousing from your last somniferous reverie in the
morning, ring the bell with no small degree of energy, which will serve
to convince the whole family you are awake; upon the entrance of either
_chamberlain_ or _chambermaid_, vociferate half a dozen questions in
succession, without waiting for a single reply. As, What morning is it?
does it hail, rain, or shine? Is it a frost? Is my breakfast ready? Has
anybody enquired for me? Is my groom here? &c., &c. And here it becomes
directly in point to observe, that a _groom_ is become so evidently
necessary to the _ton_ of the present day (particularly in the
neighbourhood of Bond Street) that a great number of _Gentlemen_ keep
a _groom_, who cannot (except upon _credit_) keep a _horse_; but then,
they are always upon ‘the look out for horses;’ and, till they are
obtained, the employment of _the groom_ is the embellishment of _both
ends_ of his master, by first dressing his head, and then polishing his
boots and shoes.

“The trifling ceremonies of the morning gone through, you will sally
forth in search of adventures, taking that great Mart of _every_
virtue, ‘BOND STREET,’ in your way. Here it will be impossible for
you (between the hours of _twelve_ and _four_) to remain, even a few
minutes, without falling in with various ‘feathers of your wing,’ so
true it is, in the language of Rowe, ‘you herd together,’ that you
cannot fear being long alone. So soon as three of you are met, adopt
a Knight of the Bath’s motto, and become literally ‘Tria juncta in
uno,’ or, in other words, link your arms so as to engross the whole
breadth of the pavement; the _fun_ of driving fine women, and old
dons, into the _gutter_, is exquisite, and, of course, constitutes _a
laugh_ of the most _humane_ sensibility. Never make these excursions
without _spurs_, it will afford not only _presumptive_ proof of your
_really_ keeping a horse, but the lucky opportunity of _hooking_ a
fine girl by the gown, apron, or petticoat; and, while she is under
the distressing mortification of disentangling herself, you and your
companions can add to her dilemma by some indelicate _innuendo_, and,
in the moment of extrication, walk off with an exulting exclamation of
having ‘cracked the muslin.’ Let it be a fixed rule never to be seen in
the LOUNGE without a _stick_, or _cane_; this, dangling in a string,
may accidentally get between the feet of any female in passing; if she
falls, in consequence, that can be no fault of _yours_, but the effect
of her indiscretion.

“By way of relief to the sameness of the scene, throw yourself
loungingly into a chair at Owen’s,[45] cut up a _pine_ with the
greatest _sang froid_, amuse yourself with a jelly or two, and, after
viewing with a happy _indifference_ whatever may present itself, throw
down a _guinea_ (without condescending to ask a question) and walk off;
this will not only be politically inculcating an idea of your _seeming_
liberality upon the present; but paving the way to _credit_ upon a
_future_ occasion. I had hitherto omitted to mention the necessity
for previously providing yourself with _a glass_ (suspended from your
button-hole by a string) the want of which will inevitably brand you
with _vulgarity_, if not with indigence; for the true (and, formerly,
‘unsophisticated’) breed of _Old John Bull_ is so very much altered
by _bad crosses_, and a deficiency in constitutional stamina, equally
affecting the _optic nerves_, that there are very few men of fashion
can see _clear_ beyond the _tip_ of the _nose_.

“At the breaking up of the parade, stroll, as it were, accidentally
into the Prince of Wales’s Coffee house, in Conduit Street, walk up
with the greatest ease, and consummate confidence to every box, in
rotation; look at everybody with an inexplicable _hauteur_, bordering
upon contempt; for, although it is most likely you will know _little_
or _nothing_ of _them_, the great object is, that they should have a
_perfect knowledge_ of _you_. Having repeatedly, and vociferously,
called the waiter when he is most _engaged_, and, at each time asked
him various questions equally frivolous and insignificant, seem to
skim the surface of the _Morning Post_ (if disengaged), humming the
_March_ in _Blue Beard_,[46] to show the _versatility_ of your genius;
when, finding you have made yourself sufficiently _conspicuous_, and
an object of general attention (or rather attraction), suddenly leave
the room, but not without such an _emphatical_ mode of _shutting_ the
_door_, as may afford to the various companies, and individuals, a most
striking proof of your departure.”




 “The three Mr. Wiggins’s”—The “Crops”—Hair-powdering—The
 powdering closet—Cost of clothes—Economy in hats—Taxing
 hats—Eye-glasses—“The Green Man” at Brighton—Eccentricities in

“THE THREE Mr. Wiggins’s” are _real_ “Bond Street Loungers,” and are
portraits of Lord Llandaff and his brothers, the Hon. Montagu, and
George, Matthews. They were dandies of the purest water, with their
white waistcoats and white satin knee-ribbons. The title is taken from
a farce by Allingham, called “Mrs. Wiggins,” played at the Haymarket,
May 27, 1803. It is very laughable, and turns upon the adventures of an
old man named Wiggins, and three Mrs. Wiggins’s. It was very popular,
and gave the title to another caricature of Gillray’s.

[Illustration: THE THREE MR. WIGGINS’S.]

As will be seen, they wore powder, but this curious fashion was on its
last legs—the _Crops_, or advanced Whigs, having given it its death
blow; still, it struggled on for some years yet. There is a little
story told in the _Morning Herald_ of the 20th of June, 1804, which
will bear reproduction: “The following conversation occurred on Monday
last, in the Gallery of the House of Commons. A gentleman, very much
powdered, happened to sit before another who did not wear any. During
the course of the debate the son of _powder_ in front, frequently
annoyed, by his nodding, or rather his _noddle_, his neighbour in the
rear, for which he apologized, as often as any notice was taken of
it. At last, the influence of Morpheus became so powerful, that the
rear rank man found his arm perfectly painted with _powder_, in such
a manner as to produce some _ignition_ in his temper, and repel his
annoyer with a little more _spunk_[47] than he showed on any of the
former occasions. This being resented, the other presented his arm,
and said, ‘Sir, you should not be angry; for, if I wished for such an
ornament as this, I should, this morning, have left that office to
my hair-dresser. I am a man of such independence that I would not,
willingly, be indebted to you for a single _meal_, and here you have
forced on me a bushel. If I had been your greatest enemy, you could do
nothing more severe, than to _pulverize_ me; and, as I have given you
no intentional offence, I must beg of you, in future, not to _dust my
jacket_.’ This sally had all the effect for which it was intended, and,
instead of exchanging cards, the affair ended, like some senatorial
speeches, in a _laugh_.”

As all the members of the family, including the domestics had to be
powdered, most houses of any pretension had a small room set apart for
the performance, called “the powdering room,” or closet, where the
person to be operated upon went behind two curtains, and, by putting
the head between the two, the body was screened from the powder, and
the head received its due quantity, without injury to the clothes.

Still, all the world was not rich, and, therefore, with some, economy
in clothing was a necessity. As is usual, when a want appears,
it is met; and in this case it certainly was, in a (to us) novel
manner—_Morning Post_ January 12, 1805: “INTERESTING to the PUBLIC.
W Welsford, Tailor, No. 142, Bishopsgate Street, respectfully informs
the Public, that he continues to pursue the plan, originally adopted by
him, six years since, of SUPPLYING CLOTHES, on the following terms:—

  Four Suits of Superfine Clothes, the old
      Suits to be returned, in one year         £16  0  0
  Five Suits                                     18 18  0
  Six Suits                                      21 10  0

“Those Gentlemen who should not prefer the above Contract, may be
supplied at the undermentioned reduced price:

  A Coat of the best Superfine Cloth, complete  £2  12  0
  A Fine Fancy Waistcoat                         0  14  0
  Superfine double-milled Cassimere Breeches     1   4  0
  Superfine Pantaloons                           1   0  0.”

Nor was this the only practical economy in dress in that age. Hats,
which were then, as a rule, made of Beaver, were somewhat expensive
articles; and, in looking diligently over the newspapers of the times,
I found that here, again, a want arose, and was met. These Beaver hats
got shabby, and could be repaired; a firm advertising that “after
several years’ practice they have brought the Art of Rebeavering Old
Hats to greater perfection than it is possible to conceive; indeed,
they are the only persons that have brought it to perfection; for, by
their method, they can make a gentleman’s old hat (apparently not worth
a shilling) as good as it was when new.... Gentlemen who prefer Silk
hats, may have them silked, and made waterproof.”

Hats were rendered dearer than they would, otherwise, have been, by
their having to pay a tax—the only portion of personal clothing
which did so. This tax, of course, was evaded; so we find, in the
_Morning Post_, May 20, 1810, the following “CAUTION TO HATTERS. A
Custom prevailing among hatters, of pasting the stamp upon the lining,
by which the same stamp may frequently be sold with different hats
successively, they are required by the Commissioners of the Stamp
Duties, to conform, in selling hats, to the provisions of the Act of
the 36th of George III., cap. 125, secs. 3, 4, 7, 9, which directs
that the lining, or inside covering of every hat shall, itself, be
stamped; and it is the intention of the Commissioners to prosecute for
the penalties of that Act, inflicted on all persons guilty of violating
its regulations. Persons purchasing hats are requested to be careful
in seeing that they are duly stamped upon the lining itself, and not
by a separate piece of linen affixed to it; and reminded that the
Act above-mentioned (sec. 10) inflicts a penalty of £10 upon persons
buying, or wearing, hats not legally stamped.”


We have seen it recommended to the Bond Street Lounger that it was
absolutely necessary for him to have an eye-glass suspended from his
button-hole; and the same fashion is mentioned in the _Morning Post_,
August 28, 1806: “The town has been long amused with the _quizzing
glasses_ of our modern fops, happily ridiculed by a door-key in
O’Keefe’s whimsical farce of _The Farmer_. A Buck has lately made his
appearance in Bond Street, daily, between two and four o’clock, with
_a Telescope_, which he occasionally applies to his eye, as he has a
glimpse of some object passing on the other side of the street, worth
_peeping_ at. At the present season, we cannot but recommend this
practice to our fashionable readers, who remain in the Metropolis. It
indicates friendship, as it shows a disposition to _regard_ those who
are at a _distance_.”


There have been, in all ages of fashion, some who outvied the common
herd in eccentricity of costume; and the early nineteenth century was
no exception to the rule. It is true that it had not, in the time of
which I write, arisen to the dignity of a “pea-green Haines;” but
still, it could show its “Green Man.” “BRIGHTON, September 25, 1806.
Among the personages attracting, here, public notice, is an original,
or _would-be_ original, generally known by the appellation of ‘the
Green Man.’ He is dressed in green pantaloons, green waistcoat,
green frock, green cravat; and his ears, whiskers, eyebrows, and
chin, are better powdered than his head, which is, however, covered
with flour. He eats nothing but green fruits and vegetables; has his
rooms painted green, and furnished with a green sofa, green chairs,
green tables, green bed, and green curtains. His gig, his livery, his
portmanteau, his gloves, and his whip, are all green. With a green
silk handkerchief in his hand and a large watch chain, with green seals
fastened to the green buttons of his green waistcoat, he parades every
day on the Steyne, and in the libraries, erect like a statue, walking,
or, rather, moving to music, smiling and singing, as well contented
with his own dear self, as well as all those round him, who are not
few.” That he had money was evident, for his green food, including,
as it did, choice fruit, would sometimes cost him a guinea a day;
besides which, he was seen at every place of amusement, and spent his
money lavishly. Eventually, he turned out to be a lunatic, and, after
throwing himself out of windows, and off a cliff, he was taken care of.

The two preceding illustrations are manifest exaggerations of costume;
but the germ of truth which supplies the satire is there; and, with
them, the men’s dress of this period is closed.




 Ladies’ dress—French costume—Madame Recamier—The classical
 style—“Progress of the toilet”—False hair—Hair-dresser’s
 advertisement—The Royal Family and dress—Curiosities of costume.

IN LADIES’ dress more allowance must be made for the caprices of
fashion; it always has been their prescriptive right to exercise their
ingenuity, and fancy, in adorning their persons; and, save that the
head-dress is somewhat caricatured, the next illustration gives a very
good idea of the style of dress adopted by ladies at the commencement
of 1800, some phases of which we are familiar with, owing to their
recent reproduction—such as the _décolletée_ dress, and clinging, and
diaphonous skirt, as well as the long gloves.


However, the eccentricities of English costume, at this period,
were as nothing compared with their French sisters. The Countess of
Brownlow,[48] speaking, as an eye-witness, says: “The Peace of 1802
brought, I suppose, many French to England; but I only remember one,
the celebrated Madame Recamier, who created a sensation, partly by
her beauty, but still more by her dress, which was vastly unlike the
unsophisticated style, and _poke_ bonnets, of the English women. She
appeared in Kensington Gardens, _à l’antique_, a muslin dress clinging
to her form like the folds of the drapery on a statue; her hair in
a plait at the back, and falling in small ringlets round her face,
and greasy with _huile antique_; a large veil thrown over the head,
completed her attire, that not unnaturally caused her to be followed
and stared at.”

[Illustration: FASHIONS, EARLY 1800.]

The French Revolution and early Consulate were eminently classical,
as regards ladies’ dress; and, as a matter of course, the mode was
followed in England, but never to the extent that it was in France. No
one can doubt the beauty of this style of dress; but it was one totally
unfitted for out-door use, and even for evening dress. It was very
slight, and then only fitted for the young and graceful, certainly not
for the middle-aged and rotund.



[Illustration: PREPARING FOR A BALL—1803.]

There was a ladies’ magazine, which began in 1806, called _La belle
Assemblée_; and a very good magazine it is. In it, of course, are
numerous fashion plates; but I take it that they were then, much as
now, intended to be looked at as indications of the fashion, more than
the fashion itself. Certainly, in the contemporaneous prints, I have
never met with any costume like them, and I much prefer for accuracy
of detail, to go to the pictorial satirist, who, if he did somewhat
exaggerate, did so on a given basis, an actual costume; and, moreover,
threw some life and expression into his groups, which render them
better worth looking at, than the meaningless lay-figures, which serve
as pegs, on which to hang the clothes of the fashion-monger.

The next three illustrations, which, although designed by an amateur,
are etched by Gillray, give us a glimpse of the mysteries of the toilet
such as might be sought for in vain elsewhere; they are particularly
valuable, as they are in no way exaggerated, and supply details
otherwise unprocurable.

[Illustration: PROGRESS OF THE TOILET. NO. 1.]

[Illustration: PROGRESS OF THE TOILET. NO. 3.]

After these revelations, no one will be surprised to find that ladies
wore false hair. It has been done in all ages: when done, it is no
secret, even from casual observers. It was thoroughly understood that
it was worn, for was there not always standing witness in the windows
of Ross in Bishopsgate Street, and especially in the two bow windows of
Cryer, 68, Cornhill—one of which had twenty blocks of gentleman’s, and
the other twenty-one of lady’s perukes. One West-end _coiffeur_ thus
advertises—_Morning Post_, March 18, 1800:



 “T. Bowman’s House and Shop being now repaired, is re-opened with
 every conveniency and accommodation. His new Stock consists of:

 [Illustration: PROGRESS OF THE TOILET. NO. 2.]

 “I. FULL DRESS HEAD-DRESSES, made of long hair, judiciously matched,
 and made to correspond with Nature in every part; the colours genuine;
 they will dress in any style the best head of hair is capable of; and,
 in beauty, are far superior. Price 4, 5, 6½, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 20

 “II. REAL NATURAL CURL HEAD-DRESSES. These cannot be described; they
 must be seen. Price 5 guineas.

 “III. FORCED NATURAL CURL HEAD-DRESSES are made of such of the Natural
 Curled Hairs, as have not a sufficient curl; therefore it is assisted
 by Art: with fine points, of a soft and silky texture, very beautiful.
 Price 4 guineas.

 “IV. PLAIN CURLED HEAD-DRESSES are made of Hair, originally straight,
 but curled by baking, boiled, &c. Price 3 guineas.

 “V. The TRESSE À LA GRECQUE, when put over the short head-dress, is
 a complete full dress. Price half-a-guinea, 1, 1½, 2, 3, 4, and 5

 “In order to account for the apparent high prices of the above, it is
 necessary to observe, that there are as many qualities of Hair as of
 Silk, Fur, or Wool (the guinea, and the guinea and a half Wigs, as
 they are called, can only be made of the refuse, or of Hair procured
 in this Country); all that Bowman uses is collected at Fairs, from
 the French Peasants, on the Continent, which (from the present[49]
 convulsed state) is now very dear; as, notwithstanding the artful and
 false insinuations of interested persons, the importation of last year
 is not more than one-fifth of former years, and no part of it Men’s

 “[hand]One thing T. B. intreats Ladies to observe, that he does not
 expose, or dress his best articles on Heads, Poupées, or Dolls, for
 Show, the common trick at the Cheap Shops, to hide Defects, as many
 Ladies know to their cost. His Head-dresses are, until they are sold,
 the same as a Head of Hair that wants cutting; they are then cut and
 trimmed to suit the Countenance, or fancy, of the wearer. No article
 is sold that is not in every respect perfect in fitting; and the most
 disinterested advice given as to what is fashionable, proper, and
 becoming. Ladies’ Hair dressed at 3s. 6d., 5s., and 7s. 6d.—No. 102,
 New Bond Street.”

A few days later on, the same paper (March 21, 1800) relates a fearful
story. “Yesterday a bald-pated lady lost her wig on Westminster Bridge;
and, to complete her mortification, a near-sighted gentleman, who was
passing at the time, addressed the back of her head, in mistake for her
face, with a speech of condolence.”

In June of the same year, the same paper takes the ladies to task for
their _décolletée_ dresses. “The ladies continue to uncover their
necks _behind_, and well they may; for, since they are covering them
_before_, they cannot be so much afraid of _back-biting_.”

The Queen and the Princesses set practical lessons in social economy to
the ladies of England. The latter were not ashamed to embroider their
own dresses for a drawing-room, and the Queen, in order to encourage
home manufactures, used Spitalfields silk, or stuffs made in this
country; and “stuff balls,” like our “calico” ditto, were not uncommon.

At the end of the first decade of the century costumes became even more
bizarre; although, of course, _Les Invisibles_ is an exaggeration. The
ordinary out-door dress of ladies of this year is shown in the two
following illustrations.



[Illustration: WALKING DRESS—1810.]

[Illustration: “LES INVISIBLES,” 1810.]



 Diversions of people of fashion—Daily life of the
 King—Children—Education—Girls’ education—Matrimonial
 advertisements—Gretna Green marriages—Story of a wedding ring—Wife
 selling—“A woman to let.”

THE ESSAYISTS of Anne’s time did good work, and left precious material
for Social History behind them, when they good-humouredly made fun of
the little follies of the day; and two satirical prints of Rowlandson’s
follow so well in their footprints that I must needs transcribe them.
“May 1, 1802. _A Man of Fashion’s Journal._ ‘Queer dreams, owing to Sir
Richard’s claret, always drink too much of it—rose at one—dressed
by half-past three—took an hour’s ride—a good horse, my last
purchase, remember to sell him again—nothing like variety—dined at
six with Sir Richard—said several good things—forgot ‘em all—in
high spirits—quizzed a parson—drank three bottles, and loung’d to
the theatre—not quite clear about the play—comedy or tragedy—forget
which—saw the last act—Kemble toll loll—not quite certain whether
it was Kemble or not—Mrs. Siddons monstrous fine—got into a
hack—set down in St. James’s Street—dipp’d a little with the boys at
hazards—confounded bad luck—lost all my money.’”

“May 1, 1802. _A Woman of Fashion’s Journal._ ‘Dreamt of the
Captain—certainly a fine man—counted my card money—lost
considerably—never play again with the Dowager—breakfasted at _two_,
... dined at seven at Lady Rackett’s—the Captain there—more than
usually agreeable—went to the Opera—the Captain in the party—house
prodigiously crowded—my _ci devant_ husband in the opposite
box—rather _mal à propos_—but no matter—_telles choses sont_—looked
into Lady Squander’s _roût_—positively a mob—sat down to cards—in
great luck—won a cool hundred of my Lord Lackwit, and fifty of the
Baron—returned home at five in the morning—indulged in half an hour’s
reflection—resolved on reformation, and erased my name from the
Picn-ic Society.’”

This style of life was taken more from the Prince of Wales than the
King, whose way of living was very simple; and, although this book is
intended more to show the daily life of the middle classes, than that
of Royalty, still a sketch of the third George’s private daily life
cannot be otherwise than interesting. It was this quiet, unassuming
daily life of the King, together with his affliction, which won him the
hearts of his people.

_Morning Post_, November 7, 1806: “When the King rises, which is
generally about half-past seven o’clock, he proceeds immediately to
the Queen’s saloon, where His Majesty is met by one of the Princesses;
generally either Augusta, Sophia, or Amelia; for each, in turn,
attend their revered Parents. From thence the Sovereign and his
Daughter, attended by the Lady in Waiting, proceed to the Chapel,
in the Castle, wherein Divine Service is performed by the Dean, or
Sub-Dean: the ceremony occupies about an hour. Thus the time passes
until nine o’clock, when the King, instead of proceeding to his own
apartment, and breakfasting alone, now takes that meal with the
Queen, and the five Princesses. The table is always set out in the
Queen’s noble breakfasting-room, which has been recently decorated
with very excellent modern hangings, and, since the late improvements
by Mr. Wyatt, commands a most delightful and extensive prospect of
the Little Park. The breakfast does not occupy more than half an
hour. The King and Queen sit at the head of the table, according to
seniority. Etiquette, in every other respect is strictly adhered to.
On entering the room the usual forms are observed, according to rank.
After breakfast, the King generally rides out on horseback, attended
by his Equerries; three of the Princesses, namely, Augusta, Sophia,
and Amelia, are usually of the party. Instead of only walking his
horse, His Majesty now proceeds at a good round trot. When the weather
is unfavourable, the King retires to his favourite sitting-room, and
sends for Generals Fitzroy, or Manners, to play at chess with him.
His Majesty, who knows the game well, is highly pleased when he beats
the former—that gentleman being an excellent player. The King dines
regularly at two o’clock; the Queen and Princesses at four. His Majesty
visits, and takes a glass of wine with them, at five. After this
period, public business is frequently transacted by the King in his own
study, wherein he is attended by his Private Secretary, Colonel Taylor.
The evening is, as usual, passed at cards, in the Queen’s Drawing-room,
where three tables are set out. To these parties many of the principal
nobility, &c., residing in the neighbourhood, are invited. When the
Castle clock strikes ten, the visitors retire. The supper is then set
out, but that is merely a matter of form, and of which none of the
Family partake. These illustrious personages retire at eleven o’clock
to rest for the night, and sleep in undisturbed repose until they rise
in the morning. The journal of one day is the history of the whole

[Illustration: GROUP OF CHILDREN, 1808.]

Children were, in those days, “seen and not heard;” and were very
different to the precocious little prigs of the present time. The
nursery was their place, and not the unlimited society of, and
association with, their elders, as now. When the time for school came,
the boys were taught a principally classical education, which was
considered, as now, an absolute necessity for a gentleman. Modern
languages, with the exception of French and Italian, were not taught.
German and the Northern languages were unknown, and Spanish only
came to be known during, and after, the Peninsular War. There was no
necessity for learning them. As a rule, people did not travel, and, if
they did, their _courier_ did all the conversation for them; and there
was no foreign literature to speak of which would induce a man to take
the trouble to learn languages. The physical sciences were in their
infancy, and chemistry, with its wonderful outcome of electricity, was
in its veriest babyhood: so that boys were not cumbered with too much

As to young ladies’ education, they had, as they must devoutly have
blessed, had they the gift of prescience, no Girton, nor Newnham, nor
St. Margaret’s, nor Somerville Halls. Their brains were not addled
by exams, or Oxford degrees. Here is their curriculum of study, with
its value, in the year 1800. “Terms:—The Young Ladies are boarded,
and taught the English and French languages, with grammatical purity
and correctness, history and needle-works, for twenty-five guineas
per annum, washing included; parlour boarders, forty guineas a year;
day boarders, three guineas per quarter; day scholars, a guinea and a
half. No entrance money expected, either from boarders or day scholars.
Writing, arithmetic, music, dancing, Italian, geography, the use
of the globes, and astronomy, taught by professors of eminence and
established merit.—Wanted a young lady of a docile disposition, and
genteel address, as an apprentice, or half-boarder; she will enjoy many
advantages which are not to be met with in the generality of schools.
Terms thirty guineas for two years.”


A few years of school, and then, how to get a husband—the same then,
as it is now, and ever will be. Matrimonial advertisements were very
common, and bear the stamp of authenticity; but the following beats
all I have yet seen: “MATRIMONY—To Noblemen, Ladies, or Gentlemen.
Any Nobleman, Lady, or Gentleman, having a female friend who has been
unfortunate, whom they would like to see comfortably settled, and
treated with delicacy and kindness, and that might, notwithstanding
errors, have an opportunity of moving in superior life, by an Union
with a Gentleman holding rank in His Majesty’s service, who has been
long in possession of a regular and handsome establishment, and whose
age, manners, and person, are such (as well as Connections) as, it
is to be presumed, will not be objected to, may, by addressing a
few lines, post paid, to B. Price, Esqre., to be left at the Bar of
the Cambridge Coffee House, Newman Street, form a most desirable
Matrimonial union for their friend. The Advertiser is serious, and
therefore hopes no one will answer this from idle motives, as much
care has been taken to prevent persons from gaining any information,
to gratify idle curiosity. The most inviolable honour and secrecy may
be relied on, and is expected to be observed throughout the treaty.
If the Lady is not naturally vicious, and candour is resorted to, the
Gentleman will study, by every means in his power, to promote domestic

Marriage at _Gretna Green_ was then in full force, and many were the
Couples who went post on that Northern road, and were married by the
blacksmith—as we see in Rowlandson’s picture. These Marriages, which
were, according to the law of Scotland, perfectly legal and binding,
provided the contracting parties avowed themselves to be man and wife
before witnesses, were only made illegal by Act of Parliament in 1856,
and now it is necessary for one of the parties married, to have resided
in Scotland for twenty-one days.


A curious story about a wedding ring is told in the _Morning Post_ of
the 3rd of December, 1800, under the heading “Clerkenwell Sessions”:

“The Prosecutor, a young man, lately out of his apprenticeship, and in
very confined circumstances, applied, about a month ago, to the Parish
of Shoreditch, and stated, that, it having been his wish to marry a
young woman in the same street where he worked, but not having money
sufficient to buy the wedding ring, and, his intended spouse being as
poor as himself, he hoped their Worships would advance him a small
sum to accomplish the purchase; and then added, that they had already
been three times asked in Church, and the morrow (Sunday) was the day
appointed for the ceremony.

“The Vestry taking into consideration the good character of the
applicant, ordered five shillings to be paid him, and the defendant,
who is overseer of that parish, was requested to furnish him with a
ring, which he did, the same night about ten o’clock, and charged for
it 7s. 6d. Before leaving the shop the purchaser said he hoped it was
worth the money, when the overseer replied it was good gold, and added,
you may pledge it at any pawnbroker’s in the town for 7s. The witness
was then satisfied and departed.

“On the Monday following, the affairs of the newly married couple
not having assumed the most flourishing aspect, the bridegroom was
necessitated to resort to a neighbouring pawnbroker’s shop, when, to
the surprise of the party, the ring was declared to be worth nothing,
it being a metal composition gilt. Upon this discovery he made
application to a Magistrate; the affair went before the Grand Jury, who
found a true bill against the jeweller, and the matter was yesterday
brought into Court, but in consequence of the absence of material
witnesses, the further investigation of this business stands over to a
future day.” I regret to say there is no further record of this case.

On this class, the marriage tie lay lightly, and a rough, and summary,
method was sometimes used to dissolve it. In a book of mine[50] I have
already mentioned the practice of wife-selling, as being in vogue at
this time. What I then said, can be further confirmed by examples which
come within the range of this book.

_Morning Herald_, March 11, 1802: “On the 11th of last month, a person
sold, at the market cross, in Chapel en le Frith, a wife, a child, and
as much furniture as would set up a beggar, for eleven shillings!”

_Morning Herald_, April 16, 1802: “A Butcher sold his wife by auction
the last market day at Hereford. The lot brought £1 4s. and a bowl of

_Annual Register_, February 14, 1806: “A man named John Gorsthorpe
exposed his wife for sale in the market, at Hull, about one o’clock;
but, owing to the crowd which such an extraordinary occurrence had
gathered together, he was obliged to defer the sale, and take her away.
About four o’clock, however, he again brought her out, and she was sold
for 20 guineas, and delivered, in a halter, to a person named Houseman,
who had lodged with them four or five years.”

_Morning Post_, October 10, 1807: “One of those disgraceful scenes,
which have, of late, become too common, took place on Friday se’nnight
at Knaresborough. Owing to some jealousy, or other family difference,
a man brought his wife, equipped in _the usual style_, and sold her at
the market cross for 6d. and a quid of tobacco!”

In the _Doncaster Gazette_ of March 25, 1803, a sale is thus described:
“A fellow sold his wife, as a cow, in Sheffield market-place a few days
ago. The lady was put into the hands of a butcher, who held her by a
halter fastened round her waist. ‘What do you ask for your cow?’ said
a bystander. ‘A guinea,’ replied the husband. ‘Done!’ cried the other,
and immediately led away his bargain. We understand that the purchaser
and his ‘cow’ live very happily together.”

Enough examples have been given to show that the French idea of wives
being sold in Smithfield, and elsewhere, is founded on fact; indeed,
there is no reason to disbelieve the writer of “Six mois à Londres in
1816,” when he describes a wife sale he saw at Smithfield—at which
the lady was offered at the price of 15s., and, at that price, was
eventually purchased, after due examination, “Comme il avait examiné
quelques instans auparavant, une jument que je l’avais vu marchander.”

We must not throw stones at our grandfathers because this custom was in
their midst. I could quote numerous instances of it, from time to time,
down to our own days. _Vide_ the _South Wales Daily News_, May 2, 1882,
where, at Alfreton, a woman was sold by her husband, in a public-house
for a glass of ale; and, again, in the _Pall Mall Gazette_, October 20,
1882, where it is recorded, that, at Belfast, a certain George Drennan
sold his wife to one O’Neill, for one penny and a dinner.

But, before dismissing the social status of women of this class, at
that time, I cannot help chronicling a singular custom, which, however,
appears to be peculiarly local.

_Annual Register_, March 22, 1806: “A WOMAN TO LET! There is a custom,
which, most likely, is peculiar to a small district in the western part
of Cumberland. A few days ago, a gentleman from the neighbourhood of
Whitehaven, calling upon a person, at his house in Ulpha, was informed
that he was not at home; he was gone to church; there was ‘_a woman to
let_!’ On enquiry as to the meaning of this singular expression, it was
thus explained:—When any single woman, belonging to the parish, had
the misfortune to prove with child, a meeting of the parishioners is
called, for the purpose of providing her a maintenance in some family,
at so much a week, from that time to a limited time after delivery;
and, this meeting (to give it the greater sanction), is uniformly
holden in the church, where the _lowest_ bidder has the _bargain_! And
on such occasions, previous notice is given, that on such a day, there
will be a ‘woman to let.’”




 Gambling—Downfall of Lady Archer, &c.—Card playing in the Royal
 Circle—Card money—High play—Play at the Clubs—Lotteries—The
 method of drawing them—Horse racing—Turf and horses better than
 now—Curious names of race horses—Ladies Lade and Thornton—Lady
 Thornton’s races—Tattersall and Aldridge.

ONE VICE the women of that age had, in common with the men, and that
was Gambling—which, perhaps, was not so bad among the former, as
during the last years of the preceding century, when Ladies Archer,
and Buckinghamshire, and Mrs. Concannon were pilloried, and scourged
metaphorically by the Satirists, as they were promised to be treated,
physically, by Lord Kenyon. Their race was run—as expressed in the
_Morning Post_, January 15, 1800: “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

Mrs. Concannon still kept on, but not in London, as is seen by the
following paragraph. _Morning Herald_, December 18, 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.”

Still, we find even in the Royal circle, where the utmost gravity of
demeanour, and purity of manner, were to be found, the card table was
_the_ evening’s amusement. “The evening is, as usual, passed at cards,
in the Queen’s Drawing Room, where three tables are set out.” And cards
were still the staple entertainment both for men and women, at night.
Naturally, the latter did not play for such high stakes as the men
did; but they contrived to make, or lose, a sufficient sum, either to
elate, or to depress them, and experience, as far as in them lay, all
the fierce feelings of the gambler. Nay, some made a pitiful profit out
of their friends—in the shape of “card money”—which meant that the
players put so much, every game, into a pool (generally the snuffer
tray) to pay for the cards, and something for the servants.

It was a practice in its death throes, having been mortally wounded, by
public opinion, at the end of the last century; but the little meanness
still obtained—_vide_ the _Morning Herald_, December 15, 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.”

But they sometimes played as high as did the opposite sex—the climax,
perhaps, coming in the following, from the _Morning Post_, April 5,
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.”

The men lost and gained large sums of a night; and, for that age,
gaming had reached its climax. Little birds whisper[51] that it is
not much better now; but, at all events, it is not so open. From the
highest to the lowest—from the Heir Apparent, and the two great
leaders of party, Fox and Pitt, down to the man who could only afford
to punt his shilling, or half-crown, at a “silver hell”—all were
bitten, more or less, by this mania of gaming. The magistrates lashed
the petty rogues when they were caught, but winked discreetly at the
West-end Clubs, and ordered no raids upon them. There they might win or
lose their thousands, secure that the law would not stretch out its arm
to molest them. There the nobility, legislators, country gentlemen, and
officers of the army, met together on a common footing, to worship the
Demon of Play.

There were three principal Clubs—White’s, Brookes’, and Boodles’.
White’s was originally a “Chocolate House” in William the Third’s time,
but became a private club early in the eighteenth century, and was used
by the Tories. It was a club always noted for high play and betting,
and very curious some of their bets were, the old wager book being
still preserved. Brookes’ was the Whig Club, and was then conducted by

      “liberal Brookes, whose speculative skill
  Is hasty credit and a distant bill;
  Who, nurs’d in Clubs, disdains a vulgar trade,
  Exults to trust, and blushes to be paid.”

Among the members of this club were the Prince of Wales, and, of
course, his _fidus Achates_, Sheridan, besides the great Charles James
Fox, who here played deeply, and whose name is oft recorded in the
wager book, which, however, is of older date, and was kept when the
club was held at Almack’s.

“Lord Northington bets Mr. C. Fox, June 4, 1774, that he (Mr. C. F.) is
not called to the bar before this day four years.”

“March 11, 1775. Lord Bolinbroke gives a guinea to Mr. Charles Fox and
is to receive a thousand from him whenever the debt of this country
amounts to 171 millions. Mr. Fox is not to pay the £1,000 till he is
one of His Majesty’s Cabinet.”

“April 7, 1792. Mr. Sheridan bets Lord Lauderdale and Lord Thanet,
twenty-five guineas each, that Parliament will not consent to any more
lotteries after the present one voted to be drawn in February next.”


At all the clubs, gaming was practised more or less. _Morning Herald_,
June 16, 1804: “A noble Lord, lately high in office, and who manifests
a strong inclination to be reinstated in his political power, lost at
the UNION, a night or two back 4,000 guineas before twelve o’clock;
but, continuing to play, his luck took a turn, and he rose a winner of
a thousand before five the next morning.”

Again, to show the large sums then won and lost at gambling, take the
following newspaper cuttings.

_Morning Post_, June 30, 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

_Morning Post_, July 8, 1806: “A certain noble Marquis, who has been so
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_!”

_Morning Post_, July 15, 1806: “The noble Marquis, who has been so
great a gainer, this season, at _hazard_, never plays with any one,
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

But, although the magistrates shut their eyes to the sins of the great,
and punished the small, when brought before them, the Government
systematically demoralized the people by means of lotteries. True,
it was a great temptation, for it yielded a revenue to the State of
about £350,000, besides the licenses of the brokers, £50 each. Very
jealous was the Government to protect its children from the pernicious
effects of private lotteries; they were _anathema_, and, besides, they
would absorb some of the profit, which otherwise would have gone into
the pockets of a paternal rule. In this decade, there were but two
private lotteries, and, for both of them, a special act of Parliament
was required, viz., that of the Pigot diamond in 1800, and Boydell’s
pictures in 1805.

This illustration is by Pyne, and, like all his drawing, is extremely
graphic. It represents the Life Guards, who then had to perform many of
the duties of our police, conveying the Lottery wheels, from Somerset
House (or Somerset Place, as it was then called) to Cooper’s Hall, in
Basinghall Street, where the Lottery was then drawn. There were four
sledges employed for the purpose, two carrying the wheels containing
the tickets, with their blanks, or prizes, and the other two bore the
cases for the wheels. They were drawn by three horses each.


For many years the Lottery had been drawn at Guildhall, but it was
afterwards removed to Cooper’s Hall. At both places the tickets were
drawn out of the wheels by two scholars of Christ’s Hospital, or
Bluecoat boys—who were thus selected for this office because their
youth, and supposed integrity,[52] rendered them less liable than
other boys, to be tampered with. The accompanying illustration gives a
very life-like presentment of the scene.

The last public Lottery, in England, was drawn in October, 1826.


Needless to say that Gambling, either in the form of card playing,
dicing, or lotteries, was not the only way that fools and rogues could
throw away their money. Still there were two resources left—the Turf,
and Cock-fighting. The Turf was undoubtedly purer then than now,
when it has reached such a pitch of refinement in blackguardism, and
scoundrelism, that it must soon either be swept away, or violently
reformed. Racing then was more for encouraging a breed of horses,
swift, yet of such staying powers as to be able to run a four-mile heat
without breaking down: not like our “exaggerated greyhounds,” who can
barely stagger over a course of six furlongs, or three quarters of a

The stakes were not so high, and although there was much betting on
a race, yet it was among the upper class, or men who could afford to
lose to each other, and in the society of their equals; and not as at
present, when a lord is on familiar terms with a ruffian, so long as
he will give the odds required, and may possibly be able to pay if he
loses; nor, then, did shop boys make books on races, or talk learnedly
of double events, &c., and such scenes as can now be witnessed any race
day in Fleet Street, were utterly unknown, and undreamt of. A King’s
plate of £100 was then considered worth running for, and noblemen, and
gentlemen, matched their horses one against the other, in a proper
spirit of emulation.

There was a fair amount of racing literature—“Baily’s Racing
Register,” “Pick’s Racing Calendar,” “The Turf Register,” “The Racing
Calendar,” and “The Sporting Magazine,” and I know, and care not,
whether this is an exhaustive list. From some of them we get some
curious names of race horses, for their owners then, seem to have run
riot in the nomenclature of their animals. What should we say nowadays
to such names as “Kiss in a Corner,” “Jack, come tickle me,” “Jenny,
come tye me,” “I am little, pity my condition,” “Jack’s my favourite,”
“Britons, strike home,” “Why do you slight me?” “Turn about, Tommy,”
“Sweeter when clothed,” “Watch them and Catch them,” “First time of
Asking,” “Fear not, Victorious,” “Hop, step, and jump,” &c., &c.

As a curious incident of manners in the early century, I may mention
that two ladies, Lady Lade and Mrs. Thornton (wife of Col. Thornton),
both rode matches in public. Mrs. Thornton’s brother-in-law, Mr. Flint,
was stopping at the Colonel’s seat of Thornville, and riding with the
lady in its grounds. They had a gallop, and Mrs. Thornton’s old horse,
aided by her good riding, beat her antagonist, which so nettled him,
that he challenged her to a further trial, which took place publicly,
on the last day of the York August Meeting, 1804. Mrs. Thornton’s horse
broke down, and she lost; but she did not omit to wail publicly over
the matter, asserting that otherwise she would have won, and that her
opponent took unfair advantage of her.

This exhibition of herself seems to have fired her ambition, for we
read in the _Morning Post_, August 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
2,000 guineas h. ft.; and Mrs. T. bets Mr. B. 700 gs. to 600 gs. p.p.;
the 2,000 gs. h. ft. provided it is declared to the Stewards four days
before starting. Mrs. T. to have her 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.”

When it came to the pinch, Mr. Bromford declined the race, paid his
forfeit, and the lady walked over. Later in the day, however, she raced
Buckle, a jockey, mounted on Allegro—carrying 13 st. 6 lb., whilst
Mrs. Thornton scaled 9 st. 6 lb.—and she beat the professional by half
a neck. This match does not seem to have been for any money, but merely
for the honour of the thing.

Before quitting the subject of horses, I cannot help mentioning
that both Tattersall, and Aldridge, were in existence, as equine
auctioneers, a position which, their thorough integrity has
consolidated, and preserved to the present day.




 Cock-fighting—Its illegality—Public recognition of it—Description
 of company at a cock-fight—High stakes—Bull-baiting—Debate thereon
 in the House of Commons—Prize-fighting—Famous pugilists—George IV.
 as a patron of the Ring—Attempts to put down prize-fighting—Female
 physical education—Cudgel-playing, and other sports.

COCK-FIGHTING was another way of gambling—a barbarous pastime, yet of
great antiquity, and, changing the name of the combatants to quails,
or partridges, extending all over the world, especially in the East.
The Greeks had their Cock-fights, the Romans fought both cocks and
quails. Of its introduction into England there is no certain date,
but Fitz-Stephen, who died in 1191, mentions schoolboys as fighting
their cocks on Shrove Tuesday. Edward III., Henry VIII., Elizabeth,
and Cromwell, all prohibited Cock-fighting; yet, so popular was it,
that no prohibition was of any avail, and the Royal fulminations passed
unheeded, and fell into desuetude almost as soon as uttered.

In the time of which I write, Cocking was a recognized sport, publicly
advertised. _Morning Post_, January 5, 1805: “Cocking, to be Fought
on Monday, January 7, 1805, and continue all the week, at the Cock
Pit Royal, South side of St. James’s Park, the Gentlemen of Suffolk,
and the Gentlemen of Hampshire’s MAIN OF COCKS, for Five Guineas the
battle, and One Hundred Guineas the odd. To begin fighting each day
precisely at Half-past Five o’clock.” Indeed, “Cock-fighting, Shooting,
and Military Carriages” were advertised.

The Cock Pit Royal was in Bird Cage Walk, St. James’s Park, and was a
great institution, until the expiration of its lease in 1816, when the
landlord refused to renew. Of a sketch of its interior (by Rowlandson,
and Pugin, in their “Microcosm of London”) the following description is
given, which will better help to illustrate the _sport_ than any words
of mine, as the account is contemporary:

“This print may, without undue partiality, be acknowledged to excel
that of Hogarth, upon the same subject. It is different in one
particular: here the satire is general, not personal; a collection
of peers and pickpockets, grooms and gentlemen, _bons-vivants_ and
bullies; in short, a scene which produces a medley of characters, from
the highest to the lowest, has seldom been painted with an adherence
to nature so strict and so interesting. The principal figure in the
front row seems to anticipate the loss of the battle; his neighbour
to the right appears to have some _eggs in the same basket_; whilst a
stupid sort of despair in the countenance of the next figure proclaims
that all hope is lost; the smiling gentleman on his left seems to be
the winner. The clenched fists and earnest features of the personage
in the same row, between two sedate contemplaters of the fight, make
one feel that sort of interest which arises from a belief that victory
depends upon only a little assistance being given at that particular
moment to the bird upon whose side he has betted. In the centre, and on
the highest row behind, are two figures, apparently intended as hurling
defiance to the whole company; they are certainly offering odds, which
no one is disposed to take. A little to the left, and just above the
smart officer with a cocked hat, is a group inimitably portrayed.
A parcel of _knowing ones_, who have betted pretty high, finding
themselves in the _wrong box_, appear very desirous of _edging off_,
and are attacking all together a personage who has been too much for
them; his attitude is expressive, and, with his fingers thrust into his
ears, seems to indicate that he will take no more bets; whilst the two
figures (one in a cocked hat) to the left appear to enjoy the humorous
expedient.... On the right we discover a pugilistic exhibition, and
at a little distance horsewhips and sticks brandished in the air; all
these are the natural accompaniments of the scene. Upon the whole,
this picture has great merit, and conveys a more perfect idea of the
confusion and bustle of a Cockpit than any description.” This was
written in 1808-9.

Sometimes very large sums depended upon these combats—_vide_ _Morning
Post_, April 28, 1800: “A _main of cocks_ is to be fought this week at
Newmarket, as interesting to the sporting world as that, last summer,
at York. The match is _ostensibly_ made between Mr. Cussans, and Mr.
Germain; but Sir Harry Vane Tempest, and others we could name, are
supposed to be the real principals. It is for 1,000 guineas a side, and
forty guineas each battle. Great sums are depending, and much money
will be sported.”

The last Act against Cock-fighting was 12 and 13 Vic., cap. 92 (August
1, 1849); but if any one imagines that, therefore, this _amusement_ is
extinct, he is very much mistaken.

Another cruel, yet intensely national sport, was Bull-baiting. Hardly
a country town of note but had its “Bull-ring”; and, although the bull
had but a circumscribed range, being tied by a rope to a stake, yet the
dogs did not always get the best of the combat, and many a tyke met
his death, or went a limping cripple for the remainder of his days. I
have already noted one bull-baiting in the account of the _Jubilee_
rejoicings at Windsor in October, 1709, and that must suffice.

A few years previously it had been made the subject of a debate in
the House of Commons, where much special pleading in its favour was
exhibited. On May 24, 1802,[53] Mr. John Dent, M.P. for Lancaster,
moved that the Bill to prevent Bull-baiting and Bull-running be read a
second time. Sir Richard Hill pleaded the cause of the poor bulls, not
very eloquently, but as earnestly as he could. He pointed out that an
Act had been passed for the abolition of Bull-baiting in Ireland, and
he called upon the Irish members to support this Bill.

Then up rose the Right Hon. W. Windham, M.P. for Norwich, and he
contended that the cruelty was no greater than that comprised in the
sports of hunting, shooting, and fishing. “If the effects of one were
to be viewed through the medium of a microscope, why were not the
consequences of the other to be scrutinized with equal severity?” In
the course of a long speech he warmed to his view of the subject,
until, at last, in the fervour of his eloquence, he burst into the
following: “He believed that the bull felt a satisfaction in the
contest, not less so than the hound did when he heard the sound of the
horn which summoned him to the chase. True it was, that young bulls,
or those that were never baited before, showed reluctance to be tied
to the stake; but those bulls, which, according to the language of the
sport, were called _game_ bulls, who were used to baiting, approached
the stake and stood there, while preparing for the contest, with the
utmost composure. If the bull felt no pleasure, and was cruelly dealt
with, surely the dogs had also some claim to compassion; but the fact
was, that both seemed equally arduous in the conflict; and the bull,
like every other animal, while it had the better side, did not appear
to feel unpleasantly; it would be ridiculous to say he felt no pain;
yet, when on such occasions he exhibited no sign of terror, it was a
demonstrable proof that he felt some pleasure.”

Mr. Courtenay rose to a much greater height. Said he: “What a glorious
sight to see a dog attack a bull! It animates a British heart—

  ‘To see him growl, and snap, and snarl, and bite,
  Pin the bull’s nose, and prove instinctive might.’

Besides, if bull-baiting was given up, the characteristic of our
British dogs, so classically celebrated in the Augustan age of
literature, would be totally lost. Claudian says: ‘Magnaque taurorum
fracturæ colla Britannæ.’ Symmachus mentions seven Irish bull-dogs:
‘Septem Scottici canes,’ as then first produced in the circus at Rome,
to the great admiration of the people.’”

General Gascoyne considered it an amusement which the lower orders were
entitled to; and it was “with regret he observed a disposition in many
of the members to deprive the poor of their recreations, and force them
to pass their time in chaunting at conventicles.”

Then the gentle William Wilberforce rose, and rebuked the former
speakers, telling them that he thought the subject had been treated
with too much levity. “The evidence against the practice was derived
from respectable magistrates. From such evidence he had derived a
variety of facts, which were too horrid to detail to the House.
A bull—that honest, harmless, useful animal—was forcibly tied
to a stake, and a number of bull-dogs set upon him. If he was not
sufficiently roused by the pain of their attacks, the most barbarous
expedients were hit upon to awake in him that fury which was necessary
to the amusement of the inhuman spectators. One instance of the latter
kind he would state. A bull had been bought for the sole purpose of
being baited; but, upon being fixed to the stake, he was found of so
mild a nature that all the attacks of the dogs were insufficient to
excite him to the requisite degree of fury; upon which those who bought
him refused to pay the price to the original owner, unless he could be
made to serve their purposes: the owner, after numberless expedients,
at last sawed off his horns, and poured into them a poignant sort of
liquid, that quickly excited the animal to the wished-for degree of
fury. When bulls were bought merely for the purpose of being baited,
the people who bought them wished to have as much diversion (if
diversion, such cruelty could be called) as possible, for their money.
The consequence was that every art, even fire, had been employed to
rouse the exhausted animal to fresh exertions, and there were instances
where he had expired in protracted agonies amidst the flames. It had
been said, that it would be wrong to deprive the lower orders of their
amusements, of the only cordial drop of life which supported them under
their complicated burthens. Wretched, indeed, must be the condition of
the common people of England, if their whole happiness consisted in the
practice of such barbarity!”

Sheridan joined Wilberforce; but the Bill was thrown out by 64 to 51;
and the practice of Bull-baiting was only declared illegal in 1835,
when it was included in the Act against Cruelty to Animals, 5th and 6th
William IV., cap. 59.

There was yet another brutal sport, not wholly unconnected with money
and betting, which was then at its apogee, and that was Prize-fighting.
This decade was at its Augustan period, when the ruffians, who mauled
each other for lucre’s sake, were petted and fêted as much as ever
were the gladiators in the time of Rome’s decline—the names of the
pugilists then living being those of the greatest renown in the history
of the prize ring. Even people who are not tainted with a love of the
“Noble Art of Self-defence” must have heard of Jem Belcher, John Gully,
page to George IV., and M.P. for Pontefract; Dutch Sam, Tom Crib, and
his black adversary Thomas Molineaux; these names are as familiar to
every schoolboy as those of the Homeric heroes. It was an age of
muscle, not of brains; and the use of the fists was encouraged as the
arbiter in disputes which nothing but a little blood-letting could
appease, in preference to the duels, or to that utter abhorrence of all
Englishmen—the knife.

Doubtless, boxing is commendable in many ways, and should form part
of every man’s physical education, not only to the great advantage of
his muscular system, and consequent good health, but, should occasion
ever require the use of his fists, he is armed at once with weapons in
whose use he is well trained; but that is very different from two men,
possibly very good friends, spending long months in getting themselves
in the best possible physical condition for pounding each other into
a mass of bruised jelly, in order to put some money in their pockets,
and afford sport and amusement to a parcel of debased brutes, whatever
their social position might be.

The Prince of Wales in his younger days was, to a small extent, a
“Patron of the Ring,” _i.e._, he once went to a meeting which took
place at Smitham Bottom, near Croydon, on June 9, 1788, where he saw
three fights, one between the celebrated John Jackson—whose beautiful
tomb is in Brompton Cemetery—and Fewterel, of Birmingham; and, on
Jackson’s winning, he sent him, by the hand of his friend, Colonel
Hanger, a bank-note. The next fight was between Stephen Oliver,
nicknamed “Death,” with a Jew, named Elisha Crabbe, which ended in
“Death’s” defeat; and the third encounter was between two outsiders.

Again he was present at three fights which took place on the Brighton
race-course, on August 6, 1788. In the third—which was between
Tom Tyne, “the Tailor,” and Earl—Tyne hit his opponent a sharp,
left-handed blow on the side of the head, which drove him against
the rail of the stage. He fell insensible, and expired very shortly
afterwards. The Prince of Wales openly expressed his determination to
never again witness a prize-fight—and this he kept—also to settle
an annuity on Earl’s widow and children; but history is silent as to
whether this was ever carried out.

Of course, then as now, the better-thinking portion of the nation
discountenanced these blackguard exhibitions, which were mainly
supported by the “fast” set of that day—the JERRY HAWTHORNS and
CORINTHIAN TOMS of the next decade. It is refreshing to read such
paragraphs as the following:

_Morning Post_, January 11, 1808: “PRIZE FIGHTING. We are happy to hear
that there is some prospect of this most disgraceful and mischievous
practice being put an end to by the interference of the Legislature.
The consequences resulting from it become every day more and more
serious, and, without a vigorous effort to terminate the evil, we may
shortly expect to find numerous families reduced to the extremes of
poverty and wretchedness, in consequence of those who have hitherto
supported them by their industry having given themselves up to idleness
and blackguardism, by entering the foul ranks, and becoming the
constant associates of prize-fighting vagabonds.”

_Ibid._: “The magistrates are _beginning_ to do their duty; they, last
week, dissolved a meeting of Boxers who were sparring for money. His
Majesty’s Navy wants able-bodied men, and those lovers of fighting
could hardly complain, if they were compelled to box with _French_
instead of _English_ men.”

_Morning Post_, February 3, 1808: “PRIZE FIGHTING. We are rejoiced to
find that we have not in vain called attention to the growing evil
of this disgraceful, mischievous, and baleful practice. Mr. Justice
GROSE, in his Charge to the Grand Jury, yesterday, particularly noticed
its pernicious effects, and forcibly urged the necessity of a speedy
remedy; and we may, therefore, hope, ere long, to see the progress of
this species of blackguardism and vice effectually arrested. We shall
take an early opportunity of offering some further reflections upon the

But nothing came of it. It is now illegal, but we know well enough,
that fights frequently take place. The police are half-hearted over
it, knowing it to be a thankless task even to effect a capture; for no
magistrate ever inflicts more than a very nominal punishment, either on
principals or accessories.

[Illustration: CUDGEL PLAYING—1800.]

That the physical education of the fair sex was attended to, long
before these days of female gymnastic exercises, is evidenced by the
following advertisement in the _Morning Post_, February 20, 1810:
“PATENT GRAND EXERCISE FRAMES particularly intended for Young Ladies,
the use of which will not only remove deformities, but will infallibly
produce health, strength, symmetry, beauty, and superior elegance of
deportment,” &c.

The lower classes in the Metropolis were naturally debarred from
manly sports, by want of room; so that almost their sole muscular
exercise was Skittles. But, in the country, a wholesome rivalry was
engendered among the rustic youth, by means of foot-racing, wrestling,
and Cudgel-playing. The latter still survives in Berkshire, where many
a crown has been cracked at the Scouring of the White Horse (of late
years fallen into desuetude), and many an old “gamester” still lingers,
who can tell long yarns of the hats he has won. At fairs, too, and
holidays, the young lasses used to race for smocks, and many sports
were in vogue that are now never practised, save when resuscitated at
some Harvest Home, or some country school feast.




 Hunting then, and now—Hunting near the Metropolis—The Epping
 Hunt—Fishing—Shooting then, and now—Guns—Methods of proving gun
 barrels—Big charges—Introduction of the Percussion Cap—Size of
 bags—Colonel Thornton’s bet.

OF COURSE there was Hunting, both Fox and Stag, but it was not
carried out on the same principles then as now. A man, then, kept a
pack of hounds for his own amusement, that of his friends, and the
neighbourhood generally. A meet, then, was a great social gathering of
neighbours, at which, for the time, all were on a courteous equality,
engendered by similarity of taste, and cemented by means of the Master,
who, at some great expense, kept the pack for others’ use. Now, “the
old order changes, yielding place to new;” the probability is that it
is a subscription pack—with the subscriptions not too well paid, and
the Master frequently changing, owing to his quarrels with his masters,
the subscribers, who carp at his doings, and try to dictate their
own views. The railway brings down the “London Contingent”—sporting
stockbrokers, solicitors, tailors, and publicans—in fact, all who can
scrape together the necessary money to hire the “hunter,” and pay its
fare to the nearest station to the meet. These people have no sympathy
with the farmers, no relations with the county, spend no money,
because they return to London at night, care nought for the damage
they do, which, probably, is done in ignorance; and it is no wonder
that, nowadays, hunting is not so popular among tenant farmers as it
might be—and it is pretty safe to prophesy, that in many districts,
before many more years, it will be reckoned as a thing of the past.


Then, however, there was never heard a whisper of the scarcity of
foxes. A fox found poisoned, or shot, would have been considered as
an indelible disgrace to the district. The word _vulpecide_ was not
coined, because the crime had not been committed. No farmer ever sent
in a claim to the Hunt, and only old women, cottagers, ever wanted
compensation for the gander, or the two or three hens that they had
lost; as to warning off land, it had never been dreamt of, much less

In other ways, too, hunting was different—both horses, and hounds
were heavier, and slower then; it was not the pace of the run that was
discussed at night, but its length, and the behaviour of both hounds,
and horses. Fox hunting began much earlier in the morning than it does
now; and a good solid meal of cold meat, washed down with a tankard of
home brewed, was vastly superior to a modern “lawn meet” breakfast,
with its wines and liqueurs, to “steady the nerves,” to say nothing
of the flask of “jumping powder.” Sport, too, was found much nearer
the Metropolis then than now. _Morning Post_, August 14, 1805: “TO
SPORTSMEN and others.—A Deputation to be granted of the very extensive
Manors of _Hornsey_ and _Finchley_, in the County of Middlesex, with
the liberty of Hunting and Shooting over, and upon, the said Manors,
abounding with game,” &c.

[Illustration: PERCH-FISHING—1804.]

The Epping Hunt, too, where the citizens[54] annually met on Easter
Monday, to vindicate their right to hunt in the Forest, was not
the farce it afterwards became. Most men, then, were accustomed to
horseback, and could manage to stick on somehow.

Fishing and shooting were, of course, as popular as now. Of the
former we have had little to learn since Isaac Walton’s time, and the
illustration shows us that the “Contemplative Man,” in the early part
of this century, knew how to combine his “Recreation” with the charms
of female society.

[Illustration: AFTER A DAY’S SHOOTING—1809.]

Shooting, like hunting, was a totally different thing, in the first
ten years of the century, to what it is now. There were no battues, no
hot, and elaborate, luncheons, no being posted in “warm corners,” no
army of beaters, no breech-loaders, and two attendants to load for you,
and, at the end of a day’s sport, no waggon-loads of slain to be sent
off to market to help pay, in some part, the expenses of breeding, and
keeping, such a head of game. Then, a man went out, preferably with
a friend or two, soon after an early breakfast, accompanied by Don
and Ponto, who were his constant companions in his walks, and whose
education he had personally superintended; to watch their intelligent
movements was in itself one of the pleasures of the day. When a covey
rose, not a shot was wasted, if possible, for, by the time the gun was
reloaded, the birds would be far off. A bit of bread and cheese, as
luncheon, at the nearest farmhouse, or the village pub.; if the former,
a brace of birds, or a hare left, with a kindly message. Enough game
to carry home, without being tired, plenty for the larder, and some
for friends; then dinner, some punch—and Betty would come with the
chamber candle and warming-pan, to find the party asleep and quite
ready for bed.

The Guns, with which our grandfathers shot, were vastly inferior to our
modern breechloader; the workmanship was good, but the flint-lock, with
its tardy firing, and the very weak powder then in use, did not render
the “birding gun” a very efficient weapon.


Thornhill, who wrote the _Shooting Directory_ in 1804, is as great an
authority on the subject of guns as any of his contemporaries; and he
had quite sense enough to see that the old-fashioned long barrel of
four feet, or more, carried no further than one of three feet, and he
counselled the musket length of two feet ten inches, as the standard
length for fowling-piece barrels, and preferred one that carried its
shot close, to one that scattered. The method of proving “that a barrel
will not burst, was to get a ball to fit the exact bore, and put the
exact weight of the ball in powder, with which load, and fire it off by
a train; if it does not burst, you need be under no apprehension. This
is called _Tower-proof_; or put in double the quantity of powder and

He recommends as a proper charge for a fowling-piece of ordinary
calibre, a drachm and a quarter, or a drachm and a half, of good
powder, and an ounce, or an ounce and a quarter, of shot; and, when
treating on the subject of recoil, he gives one or two anecdotes
of overloading. “The overloading of the piece is the reason of the
recoil; respecting sportsmen who are in the habit of overloading with
shot, such are properly ridiculed in a treatise published some time
since, entitled, ‘Cautions to Young Sportsmen,’ in which we find an
advertisement levelled at some persons who were going to a Pigeon
Shooting Match at _Ballingbear-Warren House_. It was as follows: ‘Take
notice, that no person will be allowed to load with more than four
ounces of shot.’ A gamekeeper to whom this author mentioned the story,
told him he thought it a pretty fair allowance, and, on being told what
charge and weight of shot he generally used, replied, he divided a
pound into five charges.... A friend of the gentleman who relates this
story, seeing his keeper equipped for a pigeon match, had the curiosity
to examine his charge, and, after trying it with his rammer, expressed
his surprise at finding it rather less than usual. ‘Oh, sir,’ replied
the keeper, ‘I have only put in the powder yet;’ and, on putting in
the shot, the charge, altogether, was _eleven_ fingers. The reason he
assigned was ‘that he always liked to give his piece a belly full.’”

The Percussion Cap, which was destined to make such a revolution in
small arms, was patented April 11, 1807, by the inventor, the Rev. A.
J. Forsyth, of Belhelvie, Aberdeenshire. It soon came into use, for
we find an advertisement in the _Morning Post_, December 23, 1808:
“To SPORTSMEN. The PATENT GUN-LOCK invented by Mr. Forsyth is to
be had at No. 10, Piccadilly, near the Haymarket. Those who may be
unacquainted with the excellence of this Invention are informed that
the inflammation is produced without the assistance of flint, and is
much more rapid than in the common way. The Lock is so constructed as
to render it completely impervious to water, or damp of any kind, and
may, in fact, be fired under water.”

Grouse, partridge, and other shooting, commenced on the same dates as
now, and game certificates were as necessary then, as at the present
time. Heavy bags were not the rule. Thornhill supplies us with his
ideal of a luxurious sportsman of his time, with every appliance for
slaughter, and game _ad libitum_. Compare his butcher’s bill with that
of a modern _battue_. “A man of fortune, surrounded with gamekeepers
(let us suppose the scene for the present in Norfolk), pointers,
setters, &c., without number, _Manton_[55] Guns, and all in compleat
retinue, going out at, perhaps, twelve o’clock (the hour of indolent,
and _feather bed_ gunners), into the highest preserved covers in that
County, where the game is so very tame, that twenty birds may be
killed in a few hours; their servants with clean guns ready, and, if
necessary, loaded by them; and probably, if the dog of one of these
_elegant_ sportsmen is admired, or gains credit, if his master is asked
his name, he makes for answer ‘he really cannot tell you, but will ask
his gamekeeper.’”

A large bag is spoken of by Daniel, in his _Field Sports_, where he
says that in 1796, on Mr. Colquhoun’s manor at Wretham, in Norfolk, the
Duke of Bedford, and six other gentlemen, killed eighty cock pheasants,
and forty hares, besides some partridges, in one day.

Mr. Coke, of Holkham, kept up a wonderful head of game, so that his
performances ought not to be looked upon in the light of phenomenal
sportsmanship, because his victims were so plentifully to hand. As an
instance, on October 7, 1797, upon his manor at Warham, and within a
mile’s circumference, he bagged forty brace of partridges, in eight
hours, at ninety-three shots; and, on the previous day, over the same
ground, he killed twenty-two brace and a half, in three hours. In 1801,
he killed, in five days, _seven hundred and twenty-six partridges_.

In January, 1803, Mr. Coke, Sir John Shelley, and Tom Sheridan went to
Lord Cholmondeley’s place at Houghton, in Norfolk, and killed there, in
one day, to their three guns only, fourteen and a half brace of hares,
sixteen couples of rabbits, twenty-four brace of pheasants, thirteen
brace of partridges, and sixteen couples of woodcock.

In the _Morning Post_ of the 21st of January, 1801, we find: “Col.
Thornton some time ago made a bet that he would kill 400 head of game
at 400 shots, the result was, that, in the year 1800, he bagged 417
head of game (consisting of partridges, pheasants, hares, snipe, and
woodcock) at 411 shots. Enumerated amongst these are a black wild duck,
and a white pheasant cock, and at the last point he killed a brace of
cock pheasants, one with each barrel; on the leg of the one last killed
(an amazing fine bird) was found a ring, proving that he had been taken
by Colonel Thornton when hawking, and turned out again in the year




 A Cockney’s account of the First of September—Pigeon
 shooting—Out-door games—Cricket—High stakes—Lord’s cricket
 ground—Trap and ball—Billiards—Life of Andrews the billiard player.

PASSING from recounting the feats of legitimate sportsmen, let
us unbend, and indulge in a contemporary account of his cockney
congener—_Times_, September 2, 1803:


“Having sat up all night to be ready and fresh in the morning, four
of us met at the Obelisk, in St. George’s Fields, from whence we
proceeded with our dogs, arms, and ammunition, to Lambeth Marsh,
where we expected to have great sport, but found nothing except a
cat, which we all fired at; but being only four in number, and a cat
having nine lives, we missed killing her, though, as we believe, she
was severely wounded. In this discharge we broke a bell glass in a
gardener’s ground, so, fearing that we might, on that account, be taken
up for poachers, we made the best of our way to Tothill Fields; here
we reloaded our pieces, and gave our dogs a piece of bread each, but
the fox dog would not eat his. We then proceeded to look about for
sport, when two Westminster boys claimed the place as their manor, and
drove us out of it. We now beat all about Jenny’s Whim, and seeing
something swimming across the water, which a waterman’s boy told us was
a dab-chick, we all fired, but without success, but the terrier caught
it, as it ran up the bank and it proved to be the largest rat we had
ever seen.

“As we passed through the five Fields, Chelsea, we saw several pigeons,
but they flew so fast that none of us could take aim.

“On the other side of Battersea Bridge, met two men driving _geese_.
Offered them eighteenpence, which they accepted, for a shot at the
flock, at twenty yards. Drew lots who should fire first; it fell to
_Billy Candlewick’s_ chance, who, from his father belonging many years
ago to one of the regiments of City Militia, knew something of taking

“The goose driver stepped the ground, and Billy took aim for above ten
minutes, when, shutting both his eyes lest the pan might flash in his
sight, he snapped, and missed fire. He took aim a second time, snapped
and missed again. Borrowed _Bob Tape’s_ scissars, and hammered the
flint—snapped, and missed fire a third time—thought the Devil had got
hold of the gun, examined her, found she was neither loaded nor primed.
The goose driver refused to let Billy try again, so we gave him another
sixpence, and he sold us a lame gander, which we placed at about six
yards, and, taking a shot apiece at him, killed him, and put him in
_Ned Thimble’s_ cabbage net.

“Passed over Clapham Common, where we saw several parties, but would
not interfere with their sport.

“In our way to Stockwell, _Ned Simple_ fired at a pigeon, which was
perched on the top of a tree, and shot a man’s hat and wig off, who
stood underneath it. As we thought he might be killed, we set off as
hard as we could run, but were pursued and overtaken by two gardeners,
who insisted upon being paid two shillings for destroying a scarecrow.
We paid the money very readily, and kept our counsel.

“When we came in sight of the Swan, at Stockwell, we all ran as hard as
we could to see who should get in first as we had settled to breakfast
there. Unfortunately, our gun being cock’d, I made a stumble, and the
trigger being touched by something, off went the piece, and lodged the
contents in the body of a _sucking pig_ that was crossing the road.
The squeaking of the poor little animal roused the maternal affections
of the sow, and set the fox dog, the terrier, the Newfoundland bitch,
and the mastiff, a barking. The noise of the sow, the pig, and the
dog, with the report of the gun, brought the people of the house, and,
indeed, of the neighbourhood; and, being threatened by one, and laughed
at by another, we thought it best to buy the pig at four shillings,
which we did, and put it into _Bob Tape’s_ game bag, which, by the bye,
was nothing but half a bolster tick.

“We now beat every bush with the muzzle of our guns, set the dogs on
the pigs, and found but one chaffinch, which was rather wild, not
letting us come within eight yards, so that we could not make sure of
our bird. We hunted him from spray to spray for above an hour, without
being able to get in a parallel line, so as to take sure aim when, at
last, he was killed by a little boy, who knocked him down with a stone.
Bought him, and put him into the net with the goose.

“Hunted a weazle for above an hour, and lost him. The terrier was
remarkably staunch.

“Crossing a field near Camberwell, we thought we saw a covey of
partridges at the side of a ditch; so we all made up to them with our
guns cock’d, tying the dogs to our legs, that they might not run in,
and spring the game.

“What we thought to be a covey of partridges, proved to be a gang of
gypsies, who were squatted under the hedge, peeling turnips and paring
potatoes for dinner. It was the mercy of God we did not fire on them,
as all our pieces were up to our shoulders, and we had but one eye
open, apiece, when that, which we took to be the _old cock_, rose up,
and said in a loud voice, ‘What the devil are ye about?’

“After much difficulties, and but little sport, got, by the direction
of the gypsies, into the Greenwich road, where, being rather fatigued,
we stopped at the Halfway house, until a coach came by, when, mounting
the roof, and the box, we were conveyed near Blackheath, to our
unspeakable joy.

“Never saw the Heath before—amazed at the number of furze bushes,
and the wide extent there is for game. Had an excellent chase after a
jackass, when the mastiff tore his leg. Kept close together for fear of
losing each other.

“Got down near a large round house, shot at a flock of sparrows, and
killed one, which we think is a cock, his head being rather black.

“Saw several brother sportsmen out, who had killed nothing but a hedge
hog and a tame jack daw, which belonged to the public house at New
Cross Turnpike.

“Got up to the main road, fired at a yellow hammer, and frightened the
horses in the Dover stage. The guard threatened to shoot us, and we
took to our heels.

“Saw some black game flying very high. They looked for all the world
like crows.

“The terrier came to a point at a thick bunch of fern. We were now sure
this must be a covey of partridges, and we prepared accordingly. The
mastiff ran in, and brought out one of the young ones. It proved to be
a nest of grass mice: took every one, and put them into the bolster.
Grass mice were better than nothing.

“Much fatigued, and agreed to shoot all the way home, fired off
our guns at the foot of Greenwich Hill, and were laughed at by the
inhabitants—loaded them again, and fired at a sheet of paper for half
an hour without putting a grain in it.

“We went into a cow-house, near Bermondsey Spa, to get some milk for
the dogs, and, laying down upon a heap of straw, we all fell fast
asleep. We were awakened by the entrance of a cow and her calf, when we
found we had been robbed of our dogs and our guns.

“We went into a public house to console ourselves for our loss, where
we stayed till it was dark, that we might not be seen returning in such
an unsportsmanlike manner.

“Agreed on the way what stories we should tell about the day’s
amusement and success: parted at the Monument, and went to our
respective homes.”

There was evidently the same tender-hearted sentiment then, as now,
with regard to the “tournament of doves”—see the _Morning Post_,
November 19, 1810: “The expert marksmen in _pidgeon killing matches_
are very properly denominated _slaughtermen_; four of these _humane_
gentlemen shot no less than _thirty-six_, for mere amusement, the other
day on Finchley Common.”

Perhaps the principal out-door game (for football, as a game, was not
yet organized, and hockey and golf had but local fame and habitations)
was Cricket; and even this friendly sport, and generous rivalry, as we
know it, was then contaminated by being played for money. Two or three
examples, in one year, will be sufficient to show the motive of the

_Morning Herald_, July 1, 1802: “CRICKET. Tuesday was played a grand
match of Cricket on Hampstead Heath, between eleven Gentlemen of the
Mary le bone Club, and nine Gentlemen of Hampstead and Highgate, with
two men given, for 500 guineas, which was won by the latter, by 112

_Ibid._, July 15, 1802: “CRICKET. Tuesday was played a grand match of
Cricket, at Chigwell, Essex, between eleven Gentlemen of Chigwell and
eleven Gentlemen of the Mile End Club, for 500 guineas, which was won
by the latter by 23 runs. Even betting at starting.

“Yesterday a grand match of Cricket was played at Camberwell, between
eleven Gentlemen of Camberwell and Peckham, and eleven Gentlemen of
Clapham, for 500 guineas, which was won by the former by three wickets.”

_Ibid._, September 3, 1802: “CRICKET. Monday last, and two following
days, was played a grand match of Cricket, on Ripley Green, Surrey,
between eleven Gentlemen of All England, and twenty-two Gentlemen of
Surrey, for 1,000 guineas, which was won by the former in one in (?
innings), and twenty-five runs.”

Lord, whose Cricket-ground was afterwards bought by the M.C.C., and
which still goes by his name, then had the ground now covered by
Harewood and Dorset Squares: the date of removal thence to the present
ground is noted in an advertisement in the _Morning Post_, April 21,
1809: “CRICKET GROUND. LORD begs to inform the Noblemen and Gentlemen,
lovers of Cricket, that he has enclosed and levelled a large piece
of Ground, at the top of Lisson Grove, a short distance from his old
Ground, which, for size and beauty of situation cannot be excelled,
which will be ready for playing on by the beginning of May, to be known
by the name of Lord’s Saint John’s Wood Cricket Ground.”

Then also was played a game, now practically defunct in this country,
but vigorous enough in America, where it is known as Base-ball.
_Morning Herald_, September 22, 1802: “On Monday last was finished, at
Haverstock Hill, near Hampstead, a grand Match of _Trap_ and _Ball_,
between twenty-five Gentlemen of the _Law_, and five of the _Gospel_,
which was won by the former.”

Billiards was an old indoor game, which had somewhat fallen into
abeyance, but was reviving, for we read, in the _Morning Post_,
September 28, 1809: “Billiards are becoming very fashionable; it is an
amusement of a gentlemanly cast—giving at once activity to the limbs,
and grace to the person. A match was played yesterday at Kidman’s.”

From this illustration, which is taken from a little book entitled,
“New Instructions for Playing in all its Varieties, the Game of
Billiards,” &c., 1801, there seems to have been but little difference
either in the play, or in the furniture of the room, between the past
and the present times. They must have played a somewhat heavy, and dead
game, though, for neither india-rubber cushions, nor slate tables, were
known. The rules for the game are similar to our own.

This little book gives a curious biography, which I am tempted, as it
is short, to copy.

[Illustration: BILLIARDS—1801.]

“_Account of MR. ANDREWS, the celebrated Billiard Player._

“Mr. Andrews was born to an easy independent fortune, but, commencing
life at a time that he was incapable of judging of the world, or of
himself, was led away by a single passion; for he was not actuated
by any other. He devoted himself entirely to the blind goddess, and
worshipped her incessantly, under the form of two ivory balls. He was
remarkably thin, not very tall, though above the middle size: his
face was a perfect vacuum with respect to every possible idea except
Billiards. So infatuated was he in pursuing this game, to attain the
summit of excellence at it, that he sacrificed days, nights, weeks,
months, and years to it.

“At length he arrived at such a degree of perfection, as well in the
theoretical, as in the practical part of the game, that there was no
player in Europe could equal him, except one, who was the celebrated
Abraham Carter, who kept the tables at the corner of the Piazzas,
Russel Street, Covent Garden. Mr. Andrews was the most devoted adept
of this game that ever nature produced; he seemed but to vegetate in a
Billiard Room, and, indeed, he did little more in any other place. He
was a perfect Billiard Valetudinarian, in the most rigid significance
of the expression. He ate, drank, slept, walked, nay, talked but to
promote the system of the balls. His regimen was tea, and toast and
butter, for breakfast, for dinner, and for supper.

“It might reasonably be imagined, that so regular a professor would
obtain all the advantages that could result from the science. He won
considerable sums, but knew not the value of money; and when playing
for only five or ten pounds, he took no pains, but seemed perfectly
indifferent about winning or losing. There was a latent finesse in
this, but it did not operate to his advantage: he was laying by for
bets, but as they were seldom offered, the strength of his play
being very well known, he often lost by repeated small sums, very
considerable ones.

“It is generally believed, however, that he has played for more money
at billiards than any other person ever did. The following is a
remarkable circumstance: he, one night, won of Col. W———— e upwards
of £1,000, and the Colonel appointed to meet him the next day to go
with him to the City, to transfer Stock to him for the amount of the
sum lost. Being in a hackney coach, they tossed up who should pay for
it. Andrews lost, and upon this small beginning he was excited to
continue, till he had lost the whole sum he had won the night before
at billiards. When the coachman stopped to get down, he was ordered to
get up again, and drive them back, as they had no occasion to get out.

“By these pursuits he lost very large sums which he had won at
billiards; and, in a few years, hazard, and other games of chance,
stripped him of every shilling he could command. He had still left
a small annuity which he endeavoured to dispose of, but it was so
securely settled upon himself that he could not sell it; otherwise it
is probable that it would soon have been transferred at the gaming
table. He very lately lived in a retired manner in Kent, where he
declared to an intimate old acquaintance that he never knew contentment
when he was rolling in money; but, since he was obliged to live upon
a scanty pittance, he thought himself one of the happiest men in the




 The Theatre—Number of theatres in London—Famous actors and
 actresses—Disturbances at a theatre—Master Betty, “The Infant
 Roscius”—His country experience—Puffs preliminary—His first
 appearance in London—Crowds to see him—Presented to the King and the
 Prince of Wales—Acts at Drury Lane—His subsequent career.

IN THE Dawn of the Nineteenth Century, the theatre was a favourite
amusement for the good folks, probably because there were no other
public forms of amusement, if we except an occasional concert or
masquerade. The stage supplied this want, and the people took due
advantage of it. The audience, through much frequenting, were
critically educated, and demanded good acting. This, as a rule, they
obtained, partially, as I think, because there were fewer actors, and,
consequently, not so many mediocre performers as now, and partly owing
to the constant change of performance—there being no “long runs,”
as we know them, where an actor mechanically goes through the same
part for hundreds of nights, until, like Sothern, he absolutely, and
unconsciously, adopts his own mannerisms, and spoils himself for a
fresh part.

The richer, and titled classes, were not content with witnessing
professional skill, but strove to emulate and surpass the performers at
their own amateur entertainments, and the most notable of these private
societies was the Pic Nic Society.

There were eight Theatres in London, _i.e._, when one or other was not
burnt down—namely, The King’s, Haymarket; Covent Garden; Drury Lane;
Theatre Royal, Haymarket; The Royalty, in Goodman’s Fields; Sadlers
Wells; Astley’s; and the Royal Circus, now the Surrey, on the other
side the river.

Of course, as would be only natural, the best actors were at the
West-end Theatres, and to show their calibre, one has only to mention
such names as John Philip Kemble, Munden, Bannister, Dowton, Elliston,
Liston, Mrs. Siddons, Fawcett, Mrs. Jordan, Kelly, Johnstone, Young,
Cooke, &c. No wonder, that with such actors, the stage was popular.
Their names are still a tradition of excellence to the profession, and
the performances, with one notable exception, in the O. P. Riots, were
listened to with great decorum, and there was a vast improvement upon
the rougher manners of the previous century.

I can only find the mention of one _fracas_ in the whole ten years,
and the report of that, in the _Annual Register_, December 26, 1801,
shows how very far the audience were from sympathizing with the
offender. “At Covent Garden Theatre the holiday folks were inclined
to be mischievous. As soon as the curtain drew up to commence the
play of ‘Richard the Third,’ a wine glass was thrown on the stage by
way of prologue, but without exciting much observation; a few minutes
after, determined to attract notice, a quart bottle was thrown from the
two-shilling gallery on the stage; it grazed the hat of Mr. Betterton,
who was playing Tressel to Murray’s Henry VI., knocked out some of the
jewels, and, falling on the stage, rolled down to the lamps unbroken.
The audience were thunderstruck, the play stood still, and, for a few
seconds, every one gazed with amazement. Satisfied of what had been
done, a general burst of indignation broke out over the house, and
‘throw him over!’ ‘turn him out!’ were vociferated from all quarters.
The villain was pointed out by his neighbours, sitting in the front
row of the two-shilling gallery. He was seized, the people in the pit,
and the boxes, rising up, and considerable agitation prevailed. The
fellow, who was drunk, held by the iron railing, and refused to retire.
This provoked the resentment against him still more, and the cries of
vengeance were loud and general. Three or four laid hold of him, and
seemed as if they would drag rail and all away; at last, they succeeded
in taking him out of the theatre.”

In this decade appeared a theatrical phenomenon—the like of which
has never been seen since; in the shape of a boy, who was endowed
with a truly marvellous gift of acting—one Master William Henry West
Betty, surnamed “The Infant Roscius,” who was born at Shrewsbury,
September 13, 1791. His parents were extremely respectable, and in
easy circumstances—so that it was not from need, but from pure
inclination, that he adopted the stage as a profession. Whilst yet
a child, he was fond of declamation with action, and, before he was
twelve, he acted the part of Osman in Voltaire’s tragedy of Zara, at
the Theatre, Belfast. He was, at that time, residing in Ireland, and
the theatres, having been closed for some time previously, owing to
the disturbed state of the country, were glad of any attraction when
they did open—so Betty took an engagement at the above theatre, for
four nights, on the understanding that he was to share the house, after
deducting twelve pounds, for the expenses of the house. His first
performance was on the 19th of August, 1803, when he was not yet twelve
years old. Next day he was the talk of Belfast, and on the other three
nights he played Norval, Rolla, and Romeo.

Then he went to Dublin, Cork, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Birmingham, at
which latter place he was heard by Mr. Justice Graham, one of the Board
of Management of Drury Lane Theatre. He reported about the infant
genius, and proposals were made, which were too low to be acceptable.
He was afterwards engaged to play at Covent Garden, and, owing to
an informality in the agreement, Drury Lane got hold of him on the
intervening nights, at the same salary.


Whoever was his _entrepreneur_, he did his work well, and the puff
preliminary was very delicately administered. The first notice of this
kind that I can find, is in the _Morning Herald_, August 6, 1804. “A
very extraordinary phenomenon has lately burst upon the _theatrical_
world. A boy of the name of Beatie, not exceeding twelve years of age,
reads and enacts all the principal of Shakespeare’s characters, in a
stile of superiority that astonishes the most experienced Actors. He
has performed in Ireland, and is now exciting general astonishment at
Edinburgh. Off the stage his manners are puerile, as he is often seen
playing at marbles in a morning, and Richard the Third in the evening.
He is rather short of his age, slight made, but has great expression of
countenance. The moment he begins to converse upon stage business, he
appears an inspired being. He has a pleasant turn for repartee, which
makes his company much sought for. The Edinburgh Manager expressed his
fears, at first rehearsal, that his voice would not fill the house. ‘My
dear Sir,’ replied the little hero of the buskin, ‘I beg you will be
under no apprehensions upon that score, for, if my voice does not fill
your house, probably my playing will!’”

Here is an anecdote of him, probably got up to suit the public.
_Morning Herald_, November 16, 1804: “The _Young Roscius_, who is in
all respects _play ful_, lately hesitated in going on the stage when
he was to perform _Richard_. Young, the chief Liverpool actor, told
him the stage was waiting, and urged him to appear. The boy declared,
that, unless Young would bend his back, that he might have _one jump
at leap-frog_, he would not appear. After some demur at this whimsical
request, and some useless remonstrance, Young was obliged to submit;
and the little fellow then went upon the stage, and performed his part
with admirable spirit.”

Kept always before the public, in this manner, no wonder curiosity
was stimulated to the highest pitch, and that when he did appear, he
received an ovation. The mildest contemporary account of his _début_ in
London, is in the _Morning Herald_, of the 3rd of December, 1804, and
I extract a portion. “On Saturday evening (December 1st) this prodigy
of early excellence, whose merits have been as much extolled in the
provinces, as they have been sceptically regarded in the Metropolis,
met the _fiery ordeal_ of a London audience. There has not been, within
our recollection, any manifestation of public anxiety which can be
quoted, as equalling that displayed on this occasion. At one o’clock
the doors of the Pit and Gallery were besieged with expectants. At
five, the outer doors of the box passages were forced open, and the
boxes were occupied by an immense crowd, who forcibly ejected the
persons stationed to keep places. The numbers still poured in with such
rapidity, and pressure, that some hundreds leaped from the Boxes into
the Pit, which was so crowded by this accession, that numbers must
have perished, but for the humane attentions of some Ladies in the
Boxes, who assisted in raising them, and passing them to the lobbies.
The number outside the House and in the passages still continued to
increase, though every effort was made to assure them that their
exertions must be unavailing. We have not heard of any fatal accident,
but the faintings, bruises, and minor contingencies are beyond all

The play was “Barbarossa” (by Dr. Browne), and Master Betty took the
part of _Selim_. In the second scene—“Where he sounds the feelings of
_Othman_, he showed exquisite judgment and sensibility. In the close of
the scene when he says:

  ‘Oh! thou hast rous’d a thought on which revenge
  Mounts with redoubled fire!’

his fine blue eyes lighted up a countenance full of expression—his
attitudes were graceful and appropriate, and the strong emotion seemed
to pervade every fibre of his frame. The applauses which greeted his
entrée were redoubled, and loud _huzzas_ and _bravos_ resounded through
the Theatre. In the third act, with his mother, his _pathos_ and his
judgment were both transcendent. When to the caution of _Othman_ he
replies, ... the energy of his delivery was such as to leave all
description at a distance: but the closing soliloquy was the very
climax of excellence....

“In passing from particulars to generals, we feel ourselves at a loss
how to proceed. We cannot try him as a _boy_, who comes forward with
such superior pretensions. We cannot rate him as a _man_, when so
many means of future excellence are as yet unripened and undisclosed.
When we mention that his step is firm and manly—his gesticulation
free and unembarrassed—and his delivery and emphasis in general most
correct, we speak of things which might, possibly, through tuition be
acquired. But the intelligence of manner—the eloquence of the eye when
speech was denied—the rapid yet judicious transitions from prostrate
affliction to dignified resentment—are qualities which a GARRICK might
display, but which he never could transfuse. We do not mean to hold
forth this youth as a model of perfection, but that, at his age, and
with so few opportunities, he should approach so nearly to perfection,
is the wonder which it is our province to record.”


The great JOHN KEMBLE was said to have been much put out at the amount
of attention this child received, and Rowlandson caricatured the young
Roscius leaping over “Black Jack’s” head.

The crowding to see him still continued, and there is an amusing
caricature by Ansell of the difficulties to be encountered, in order to
obtain a glimpse of the precocious boy. The scene is vividly depicted.
“Has any lady lost a flannel dickey?” “Who owns a shoe?” “That Dickey
belongs to me, young man,” exclaims a lady whose dress bears palpable
tokens of the fray. A plaintive voice is heard bewailing, “I’m a bran
new hat out of pocket;” whilst a cripple inquires, “Has any of the good
people found a Crutch?”


All sorts of _ruses_ were attempted, in order to see Master Betty
without inconvenience. Here is one of them—_Morning Herald_, December
14, 1804: “A curious trick was last night discovered at Drury Lane
Theatre. Some of the Performers in the Orchestra had been induced to
yield their places to as many _sprigs_ of fashion, who entered with
their violins under their arms, and with _greased bows_, that they
might not interrupt the harmony to which they could not contribute.
The fraud was discovered in time, and the _falsetto_ fashionables were
civilly ushered back to the _outer door_!”

He was presented to the Prince of Wales at Carlton House; and, on
the 5th of December, 1804, when he was acting at Covent Garden, the
King and the Royal Family went to Drury Lane to see the “School for
Scandal,” and the King having expressed a wish to see the marvellous
boy, Sheridan had him fetched, and hence the illustration of “The
Introduction,” by J. B. Sheridan introduces him to the King as “The
Wonder of the Theatrical World—A Diamond amongst Pebbles—A Snowdrop
in a Mud-pool—The Golden Fleece of the _Morning Chronicle_! The Idol
of the _Sun_! The Mirror of the _Times_! The Glory of the _Morning
Post_! The Pride of the _Herald_! and the finest Cordial of the
Publican’s _Advertiser_.” The young Roscius thus presented, makes his
bow to the Royal Couple, saying, “Never till this hour stood I in such
a presence, yet there is something in my breast which makes me bold to
say that Norval ne’er will shame thy favour.”

He also visited the Duke of Clarence, and Charles James Fox; and, when
he had an illness, probably induced by over excitement, and petting, so
numerous were the inquiries after his precious health, that bulletins
had to be issued.

At Drury Lane his first appearance was as enthusiastically received,
as at Covent Garden; and, if possible, more riotously, for the mob
broke all the windows within their reach, on the Vinegar Yard side of
the Theatre, and, when the passages were thrown open, the balustrades,
on both sides of the staircase which led to the boxes, were entirely

[Illustration: THE INTRODUCTION.]

From 1805 to 1808, he principally played at the provincial theatres,
and in the latter year, being seventeen years of age, he was entered
as a gentleman Commoner of Christ’s College, Cambridge, and also was
gazetted as Cornet in the North Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry. His father
died in 1811, and he then left Cambridge, residing on an estate his
father had purchased, near Shrewsbury. Here he stayed till he was
twenty years old, when his passion for the stage revived; and he acted,
with occasional intermissions, until he was thirty-two years old, when
he retired from the stage, and lived a quiet life until his death,
which took place on the 24th of August, 1874.




 Betty’s imitators—Miss Mudie, “The Young Roscia”—Her
 first appearance in London—Reception by the audience—Her
 fate—Ireland’s forgery of “Vortigern and Rowena”—Fires among the
 theatres—Destruction of Covent Garden and Drury Lane.

BETTY’S success raised up, of necessity, some imitators—there were
other Roscii, who soon disappeared; and, as ladies deny the sterner
sex the sole enjoyment of all the good things of this world, a Roscia
sprang into existence—a Miss Mudie, who entered on her theatrical
career, even earlier than Master Betty. _Morning Post_, July 29, 1805:
“The Young Roscia of the Dublin Stage (only seven years old), who is
called the _Phenomenon_, closed her engagement there on Monday last, in
the part of _Peggy_, in the _Country Girl_, which she is stated to have
pourtrayed with ‘wonderful archness, vivacity, and discrimination.’”

Children, such as this, however precocious, are, of course simply
ridiculous, and we are not astonished to find fun being made of them.
Says the _Morning Post_, October 21, 1805: “A young Lady was the other
day presented by her nurse and mamma to one of our managers for an
engagement. She came recommended by the testimony of an _amateur_, that
she was a capital representative of the _Widow Belmour_. The manager,
after looking at her from head to foot, exclaimed, ‘But how old is
Miss?’ ‘Seven years old, sir, next Lammas,’ answered the nurse, ‘bless
her pretty face.’ ‘Oh! Mrs. Nurse,’ replies the manager, gravely,
‘_too old, too old_; nothing above _five years_ will now do for _Widow

Old playgoers had not quite lost all their wits, although they had
been somewhat crazy on the subject of young Roscius; but he was then
fourteen, whilst this baby was only seven. However, the _Phenomenon_
appeared, and duly collapsed, the story of which I should spoil did
I not give it in the original. Here it is, as a warning to ambitious
_débutantes_—_Morning Post_, November 25, 1805:

“COVENT GARDEN. The play of the _Country Girl_ was announced at this
house, on Saturday evening, for the purpose of introducing to a London
audience, a very young lady, a Miss MUDIE, in the character of Miss
_Peggy_. Miss Mudie has played, as it has been reported, but we doubt
the truth of the report, with great success at Dublin, Liverpool,
Birmingham, &c., where she has been applauded and followed nearly as
much as Master BETTY. The people of London seem to have been aware
that these reports were unfounded, for no great degree of curiosity
prevailed to see her on Saturday.

“The audience received this child very favourably on her entrance.
She is said to be ten years of age, but in size she does not look
to be more than five. She is extremely diminutive, and has not the
plump, comely countenance of an infant: her nose is very short; her
eyes not well placed; she either wants several teeth, or is, perhaps,
shedding them; and she speaks very inarticulately. It was difficult to
understand what she said. When she attempts expression of countenance,
her features contract about the nose, and eyes, in a way that gives
reason to suppose she is older than her person denotes. She seems to
have a young body with an old head.

“In the first passages of her part, she appeared to give some
satisfaction, and was loudly applauded; an indulgent audience wishing,
no doubt, to encourage her to display her full powers; but when she was
talked of as a wife, as a mistress, and an object of love, the scene
became so ridiculous that hissing and horse laughing ensued. She made
her _début_ before Miss BRUNTON, a tall, elegant, beautiful woman, and
looked in size just as if Miss BRUNTON’S fan had been walking in before
her; Miss MUDIE the married woman, and Miss BRUNTON the maiden! When
she was with her husband, Mr. MURRAY, no very tall man, she did not
reach higher than his knee, and he was obliged to stoop even to lay his
hand upon her head, and bend himself down double to kiss her; when she
had to lay hold of his neckcloth to coax him, and pat his cheeck, he
was obliged to stoop down all fours that she might reach him! The whole
effect was so out of nature, so ludicrous, that the audience very soon
decided against Miss Mudie. At first they did not hiss when she was on
the stage, from delicacy; but, in her absence, hissed the performance,
to stop the play, if possible. But as she persevered confidently they
hissed her, and at last called vehemently, _Off! off!_ Miss Mudie was
not, however, without a strong party to support her; but the noise
increased to that degree in the latter scenes that not a word could be
heard, on which Miss Mudie walked to the front of the stage with great
confidence and composure, not without some signs of indignation, and


“‘I know nothing I have done to offend you, and has set (_sic_) those
who are sent here to hiss me; I will be very much obliged to you to
turn them out.’

“This speech, which, no doubt had been very imprudently put into the
infant’s mouth, astonished the audience; some roared out with laughter,
some hissed, others called _Off! off!_ and many applauded. Miss Mudie
did not appear to be in the slightest degree chagrined or embarrassed,
and she went through the scene with as much glee as if she had been
completely successful. At the end of it the uproar was considerable,
and a loud cry arising of _Manager! Manager!_ Mr. KEMBLE came forward.
In substance he said:


“‘Miss Mudie having performed at various provincial theatres with great
success, her friends thought themselves authorised in presenting her
before you. It is the duty, and the wish, of the proprietors of this
House to please you; and to fulfil both, was their aim in bringing
forward Miss Mudie. ‘The Drama’s laws, the Drama’s patrons give’—Miss
Mudie intends to withdraw herself from the stage; but I entreat you to
hear her through the remainder of her part.’”

She came on the stage again, but the audience would not listen to
her, and Miss Searle had to finish her part. What became of this
self-possessed child I know not; according to the _Morning Post_, April
5, 1806, she joined a children’s troupe in Leicester Place, where,
“though deservedly discountenanced at a great theatre, she will, no
doubt, prove an acquisition to the infant establishment.”

Late in the last century, the literary and theatrical world had been
thrown into a state of high excitement, by the announcement of the
discovery of an original play by Shakespeare, called “Vortigern and
Rowena,” which was acted at Drury Lane, and condemned, as spurious,
the first night; but belief in it lasted for some time, and the
question was of such importance, that the _Morning Post_, in 1802, took
the suffrages of the fashionable world, as to its authenticity. The
question was set at rest in 1805 by the forger himself, one William
Henry Ireland, who had the audacity to publish a book[56] in which
he unblushingly details all his forgeries, and his method of doing
them. It is an amusing volume, and has recently been utilized by a
novelist.[57] The absolute forgeries are still in existence, including
the pseudo-lock of Shakespeare’s hair; and they changed owners some few
years since, when they were sold by auction at very low prices.

There was a great fatality among theatres; there were but few of them,
and they were continually being burnt down. The Opera House in 1789;
The Pantheon 1792; Astley’s Amphitheatre, September 17, 1794. This
theatre was unlucky. It again fell a victim to the flames, September
1, 1803; and Astley, on this occasion, seems to have met with an
accident—_Times_, September 7, 1803: “Fortunately for Mr. Astley,
almost the whole of his plate was at Lower Esher, from which place he
reached the Amphitheatre in one hour and a quarter. It was not till
he came to Vauxhall that his horse fell; the same presentiment which
foreran the former conflagration of his property, the moment he heard
the gate bell ring, he exclaimed to Mrs. Astley, ‘They come to tell me
that the Theatre is on fire.’”

The Surrey Theatre, or, as it was then called, the Royal Circus, was
destroyed by fire August 12, 1805; and Covent Garden was burnt down
September 20, 1808—the fire being supposed to have been caused by a
piece of wadding from a gun fired during the performance of Pizarro. It
was, of course, a tremendous conflagration, and unfortunately resulted
in loss of life, besides the loss of many original scores of Handel,
Arne, and other eminent composers, together with Handel’s organ.

Plans for a new theatre were soon got out, and Mr. Smirke (afterwards
Sir Robert, to whom we owe the beautiful British Museum, and the
General Post Office) was the architect. The first stone was laid, with
much Masonic pomp, on the 31st of December, 1808, by the Prince of
Wales, the Duke of Sussex, and a distinguished circle of guests, being
present. The weather was unpropitious, but immense crowds of people
were present; and it is curious to learn, as showing the defective
police of the time, that “The Horse Guards patrolled the streets, and
several of the Volunteer Corps did duty on the occasion.”

Within two months from the above date, Drury Lane Theatre was totally
destroyed by fire. On the 24th of February, about 11 p.m., it was
discovered, and it did not take long before the whole was in a blaze;
not for want of precautions, for it seems they had adopted the best
accepted preventitives of a great theatrical conflagration known to
modern architects, viz., an iron curtain, and a huge reservoir of
water on the top of the building—the latter being described as “a
mere bucket full to the volume of fire on which it fell, and had no
visible effect in damping it,” which may be comforting for modern
playgoers to remember. Nor was it long in burning; by 5 a.m. “the
flames were completely subdued”—that is, there was nothing left to
burn. Very little was saved, only a bureau and some looking-glasses,
from Mrs. Jordan’s dressing-room, and the “Treasury” books and some
papers. Sheridan took his loss, outwardly, with great _sang froid_,
one anecdote affirming that, on a remark being made to him that it was
a wonder he could bear to witness the destruction of his property, he
replied, “Why! where can a man warm himself better than at his own
fire-side?” However, by his energy, he soon found temporary premises
for his company, and, having obtained a special license from the Lord
Chamberlain, he took the Lyceum and opened it on the 25th of September,
or, within a week of the fire.



 The O. P. Riots—Causes of—Madame Catalani—Kemble’s refutation of
 charges—Opening of the theatre, and commencement of the riots—O.
 P. medals, &c.—“The house that Jack built”—A committee of
 examination—Their report—A reconciliation dinner—Acceptation of a
 compromise—“We are satisfied”—Theatre re-opens—Re-commencement of
 riots—The proprietors yield, and the riots end.

WE NOW come to the celebrated O. P. Riots, which find no parallel in
our theatrical history, and which would require at least two thick
volumes to exhaust. Never was there anything so senseless; never could
people have been more persistently foolish; they would listen to no
reason; they denied, or pooh-poohed, every fact.

O. P. represents “Old Prices,” and, as the management of the new
theatre had raised the price of their entertainment, as they had a
perfect right to do, these people demanded that only the old prices
should be charged for admission. It was in vain that it was pointed out
that very early notice was given of the intended rise, as indeed it
was, directly after the destruction of the fire—_vide_ _Morning Post_,
September 24, 1808: “The Managers, we understand, intend to raise the
price of admission, when they open at the Opera to 7s. for the boxes,
and to 4s. for the pit. The admission for the galleries to remain as
before. Much clamour has already been excited against this innovation,
but we think unjustly.”

[Illustration: MADAME CATALANI.]

Had this been the only grumble, probably no more would have been heard
of it, but all sorts of rumours got about—That the proprietors, of
whom Kemble was one (and, except on the stage, he was not popular),
would make a handsome profit out of the insurance, and sale of old
materials; that the increased number of private boxes, with their
ante-rooms, were built for the special purpose of serving as places of
assignation for a debauched aristocracy; and, therefore, a virtuous
public ought to rise in its wrath against them. And last, but not
least, they tried to enlist patriotic feelings into the question, and
appealed to the passions of the mob—(remember we were at war with the
French, and the ignorant public could not discriminate much between
the nationality of foreigners) as to whether it was fair to pay such
enormous nightly sums to a foreigner—which sums were partly the cause
of the rise in price—when native talent was going unappreciated.

This foreigner was Madame Angelica Catalani, a lady who was born at
Sinigaglia, in 1779. At the early age of twelve, when at the convent
of St. Lucia, at Gubbio, her beautiful voice was remarkable, and when
she left the convent, at the age of fifteen, she was compelled to get a
living on the stage, owing to her father’s ruin.

At sixteen, she made her _début_ at Venice, in an opera by Nasolini;
and she afterwards sang at Florence, at La Scala in Milan, at Trieste,
Rome, and Naples. Her fame got her an engagement at Lisbon, where she
married M. Valabrègue, a French officer attached to the Portuguese
Embassy; but she still kept to her name of Catalani—at all events,
on the stage. From Lisbon she went to Madrid, thence to Paris, where
she only sang at concerts; and, finally, in October, 1806, she came to
London, where she speedily became the rage. According to one biographer
(Fétis), she gained immense sums here; but I much doubt his accuracy.
He says: “In a single theatrical season which did not last more than
four months, she gained about 180,000 francs (£7,200), which included
her benefit. Besides that, she gained, in the same time, about 60,000
francs (£2,400) by _soirées_ and private concerts. They gave her as
much as 200 guineas for singing at Drury Lane, or Covent Garden—‘God
save the King,’ and ‘Rule, Britannia,’ and £2,000 sterling were paid
her for a single musical fête.”

[Illustration: CATALANI.]

This, according to the scale paid her at Covent Garden, said by her
opponents to be £75 per night, must be excessive; but the mob had
neither sense, nor reason, in the matter; she was a foreigner, and
native talent was neglected. Her name suggested a subject to the
caricaturist, of which he speedily availed himself.

These were the principal indictments against Kemble (for he, as
manager, had to bear the brunt of the riot) and the proprietors replied
to them categorically—_vide_ _Morning Post_, September 18, 1809:

  “It is stated that the old        For £25,000, read £1,000.
  materials of the Theatre          The bricks were of so little
  were estimated at £25,000         value, that not one old brick
                                    was used in the building,
                                    and the greater part now
                                    lie buried near Hart Street.

  It is stated that instead         For 22 read 12 additional
  of twelve private boxes,          private boxes. In fact, the
  they have now thirty-four,        Proprietors contend that
  being an addition of twenty-two   they have no private boxes,
  private boxes.                    as all of them are let annually
                                    to the Public. They
                                    are taken by the higher
                                    classes of society, and, by
                                    that means, the first and
                                    second circles of boxes are
                                    left free for the public at
                                    large. What the Proprietors
                                    gain by them annually,
                                    they lose nightly.

  It is stated that £50,000         For £50,000, read £42,000.
  was received from the Insurance   ’Tis true that £3 or 4,000
  of the Theatre.                   was received from the insurance
                                    of houses, now included
                                    in the Theatre; but
                                    it was forgotten that the Proprietors
                                    paid near £28,000
                                    for those houses, to insulate
                                    the Theatre, and render the
                                    avenues safe and commodious.
                                    The increased ground
                                    rent of which will be a heavy
                                    and lasting incumbrance on
                                    the Theatre.

  It is asserted that Madame        The Proprietors have already
  Catalani is the cause of the      given their reasons
  advance on the prices.            to the Public, which existed
                                    long before Madame Catalani’s
                                    engagement. As well
                                    might it be said that the
                                    increased prices were caused
                                    by Mrs. Siddons, whose engagement
                                    is fifty guineas a
                                    night and a clear benefit;
                                    or by the other eminent
                                    English Performers of the
                                    Theatre, whose salaries amount
                                    to £32,000.”

There was good sound sense in this refutation, yet something is wanting
to explain more fully the riot which was to come, and which, at all
events, was popularly supposed to relate to the structure of the
building, and to the rise in prices. The following is much condensed
from a contemporary account of the theatre:

 “The Pit of this Theatre is very spacious.... The two Galleries are
 comparatively small, there _not being accommodation in the upper, for
 more than 150 or 200 persons_! The Upper Gallery is divided into five
 compartments, and may thus be considered a tier of five boxes, with a
 separate door at the back of each. These doors open into a spacious
 lobby, one side of which is the back of the gallery, and the other the
 exterior wall of the Theatre, with the windows into the street. The
 lobby to the middle gallery beneath is similarly situated. Under the
 gallery is a row of _private boxes_, constituting the whole third tier!
 They consist of 26 in number, with a private room behind each. The
 Carpeting was laid down in these boxes on Saturday last; but the
 furniture of each, and also of the adjoining room, will be according to
 the taste of the several occupants, among whom are some of the Royal

And now I have to chronicle one of the most senseless phases of public
opinion that ever made a page, or a paragraph, of history. The Theatre
opened on September 18, 1809, with “Macbeth” and “The Quaker,” but not
one word that was delivered on the stage could be heard by the audience.

When the curtain drew up, Kemble delivered an address, which was
extremely classical—all about Æschylus, Thespis, and Sophocles,
of which the people present knew nothing, until they saw the next
morning’s papers. Instead of listening, they sang “God save the King”
with all the power of their lungs, and in good order; but that once
over, then, with one consent, they began to yell “NO KEMBLES—no
theatrical tyrants—no domineering Napoleons!—What! will you fight,
will you faint, will you die, for a Shilling?—No imposition!—no
extortion!—English charity.—Charity begins at home.—No
foreigners—No CATALANIS.”

Somebody in the boxes addressed the frantic mob, but nothing was heard
of his speech, and a magistrate named Read, attended by several Bow
Street officers, came on the stage, and produced the Riot Act; it was
no good—he could not be heard, and yet, among the audience, were many
men of position, and even some of the Royal Dukes.

The second night the row was as bad, and it now was becoming organized.
People brought placards, which began mildly with “The Old Prices,”
and afterwards developed into all sorts of curious things. One was
displayed in the first circle of the boxes, and “TOWNSEND,[58] heading
a posse of constables, rushed into the pit to seize this standard of
sedition, together with the standard bearers. A contest ensued of the
hottest kind, staffs and sticks were brandished in all directions; and,
after repeated onsets and retreats, Townsend bore away a few of the
standards, but failed in capturing the standard bearers. He retired
with these imperfect trophies. But, as the oppositionists kept the
field of battle, they claimed the victory, which they announced to
the boxes and galleries with three cheers. The standard bearers in
the boxes were not equally successful. They were but few in number,
and not formed into a compact body, and had, besides, their rear and
flanks open to the attack of the enemy. Some of them we saw seized from
behind, and dragged most rudely out of the boxes, and treated, in every
respect, with a rigour certainly _beyond_ the _law_. One of them, who
had all the appearance of a gentleman, was accompanied by a lady, who
screamed at seeing the rudeness he suffered, and then flew out of the
box to follow him. This vigorous activity on the part of the constables
made the placards disappear for a time; but they were soon after
hoisted again in the pit, and hailed with acclamations every time they
were observed.”

On the third night the uproar was as great, many of the lights had been
blown out, and the place was a perfect _pandemonium_; when Kemble,
in dress suit of black, and _chapeau bras_, appeared, and obtained
a momentary hearing. “Ladies and gentlemen,” said he, “permit me to
assure you that the proprietors are most desirous to consult your
wishes (loud and continued applause). I stand here, to know what you
want.” If the noise and uproar could have been greater than before,
it was after this brusque, and unfortunate, speech. “_You know what
we want—the question is insulting—Off! off! off!_” For five minutes
did the great man face his foes, and then he retired. Then some
one in the boxes addressed the audience in a speech calculated to
inflame, and augment, the riot; and Kemble once more came forward with
a most sensible exposition as to the sum spent on the theatre, its
appointments, and company. He might as well have spoken to the wind.

Night after night this scene of riot continued, varied only by the
different noises—of bugle and tin horns, rattles, clubs, yelling,
&c.—and the manifold placards, which differed each night, and were now
not disturbed. There were O. P. medals struck—how many I know not—but
there are three of them in the British Museum. One, which is struck
both in white metal and bronze, has _obv._ John Bull riding an Ass
(Kemble), and flogging him with two whips—Old and New Prices. _Leg._
FROM _N_ TO _O_ JACK YOU MUST GO; _in exergue_—


_Rev._ a P within an O, surrounded by laurel, and musical emblems.
REMAIN UNCHANGED. Another has _obv._ Kemble’s head with asses’ ears;
and the third, which was struck when Mr. Clifford was being prosecuted
for riot, has _obv._ Kemble’s head with a fool’s cap on; _leg._ OH! MY

Then, too, the Caricaturists took up the tale and worked their wicked
will upon the theme. I only reproduce one—by Isaac Cruikshank (father
to George) which was published 28th September, 1809.

[Illustration: This is the house that _Jack_[59] built.]


  These are the BOXES painted so neat, with snug room and sofa all
  complete,  Where assignations are made by the _Great_ that visit
  the House that Jack built.]

  These are the Pigeon Holes over the Boxes, painted so neat, &c.]

  This is the CAT engaged to squall, to the poor in the Pigeon Holes,

  This is John Bull with his _Bugle Horn_
  Who hissed the CAT engaged to squall, &c.]

  This is the Thieftaker[60] shaven and shorn
  That took up John Bull with his _Bugle Horn_, &c.]

  This is the Manager, full of scorn, who _Raised the Price_ to the
  People forlorn. And directed the Thieftaker shaven and shorn to take
  up John Bull, &c.]

On the 22nd of September Kemble came forward and said, _inter alia_,
that the proprietors, anxious that their conduct should be fully looked
into, were desirous of submitting their books, and their accounts, to a
committee of gentlemen of unimpeachable integrity and honour, by whose
decision they would abide. Meanwhile the theatre would be closed, and
Madame Catalani, cancelling her engagement, went to Ireland.


  “When _Grimalkin_[61] the Spy, took a peep at the house,
      And saw such confusion and strife,
  He stole to the Green-room as soft as a Mouse,
      And thus he address’d his dear wife:
  ‘MON DIEU! don’t sit purring, as if all was right,
      Our measure of meanness is full,
  We cannot stay here to be bark’d at all night,
      I’d rather be toss’d by a _Bull._’”

The committee of gentlemen (of whom the well-known John Julius
Angerstein was one), published their report, and balance sheet, which
was publicly advertised on the 4th of October, and they agreed that
the profit to the shareholders on the capital, employed during the six
years, was 6⅜ per cent. per annum, and that during that time they had
paid £307,912. This, of course, would not satisfy the mob, and on the
re-opening of the theatre on the 4th of October there was the same
riot with its concomitant din of cat calls, rattles, horns, trumpets,
bells, &c. For a few days the riot was not so bad, although it still
continued; but, on the 9th of October, it broke out again, and the
proprietors were compelled to take proceedings at Bow Street against
some of the worst offenders. This had the effect, for a time, of
stopping the horns, rattles, bells, bugles, &c., but the rioters only
exchanged one noise for another, for now they imitated all the savage
howlings of wild beasts, and it seemed as if Pidcock’s Menagerie had
been turned into the theatre.

This soon got too tame, and on the 20th of October they began
fighting among themselves, and stripping the baize off the seats.
On the 24th, the proprietors issued a very proper address to the
people, showing that they were not getting exorbitant profits, and,
consequently, the prices were not too high; but it had no effect until
the Grand Jury found true bills against some of the rioters, when
there was a lull for a time, which might have been permanent, had not
Brandon, the boxkeeper, charged a Mr. Clifford with having created a
commotion in the pit. After examination, however, at Bow Street, he
was released—and then the mob had another grievance. Brandon must be
dismissed; nor only so—on the 5th of November a mob went to Bloomsbury
Square, and broke the windows in Kemble’s house, after which, there was
another lull; then on the 25th the turbulent spirits broke out again,
because it was the fiftieth night, or _jubilee_, of the riots. A few of
them were charged at Bow Street, but that did not stop the riot till
nearly the middle of December, when there was another lull in the storm.

Both sides were getting weary of the strife; and, on the 14th of
December, a dinner was held at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, Covent
Garden, at which Kemble met the Opposition, and a compromise was
entered into, and agreed upon, that the boxes were to remain the
same price—7s.—the pit was to revert to the old price of 3s. 6d.;
and the galleries to remain as they were; the private boxes, at the
end of the season, were to be again restored, and appropriated to
the accommodation of the public. The rioters wanted Brandon to be
discharged, and at night, when he had to appear before his sweet
masters, they saluted him with volleys of oranges, and walking-sticks;
and, the next night, it was announced that Brandon had been sacrificed
to public opinion, and had been dismissed.[62] One or two more
apologies for small _lâches_, and King Mob produced a placard, “WE ARE

But they were not; they wanted the boxes reduced to 6s.; and, having so
long had license, the ferment was not subdued at once. Take the 19th
of December, for instance; Kemble was hissed, on his appearance on the
stage, and when he spoke the lines—

  “The times are out of joint—Oh, cursed spite!
  That ever I was born to _set them right_!”—

there was an universal shout of derision.

For the remainder of that season there was peace; but, when the new
season opened, on September 10, 1810, with “The Beggar’s Opera,” and
“Raising the Wind,” it was found that part of the treaty had not been
carried out; as, although the centre portion of the first tier, had
been converted into public boxes; yet, on either side, were still the
objectionable private boxes, which, last year, had so excited the
prudishly virtuous indignation of a howling mob. “No foreign sofas! No
Italian private boxes.” In vain did Kemble point out that, since the
conclusion of the treaty, an Act of Parliament had been passed for the
rebuilding of Drury Lane Theatre, which allowed the proprietors to have
as many private boxes as they might find convenient; and, consequently,
would place Covent Garden at a decided disadvantage; therefore, his
proprietary had hoped the public would condone the fact of their still
retaining a few private boxes. Oh, no! The O. P. dance and the O. P.
song, were immediately revived in all their glory, and the remainder
of the evening was spent in the old manner, minus the accompaniment of
horns, rattles, or placards; but a quart bottle was thrown from the
gallery into the pit, and the management offered a reward of fifty
guineas for the conviction of the offender.

Next night there were two placards exposed: “O. P. We have been
imposed on!” “O. P. The Treaty is broken; open War!” The night after,
the row got worse. On the 14th of September it was as bad as last
year—watchmen’s rattles were freely used, and mewing, barking,
groaning, braying, and whistling, made a hideous chorus. The O. P.
dance was changed to the “Contract” dance, but still was danced to the
tune of the O. P. hornpipe.

The proprietors, after their bitter experience of the previous year,
felt that, however right they might be, they could not contend against
the _force majeure_ of the mob; and, on the 16th of September, they
pledged themselves “that next season (when they will again have
returned into their possession) the eight annual boxes shall be given
up, and let to the public, at large, as nightly boxes.” It was no use;
that night the row was as bad as ever; and, after that performance, the
theatre was closed to make the alterations in the boxes, which were
thrown open to the public. The theatre was re-opened on the 24th of
September, and the performances passed off without interruption. And so
ended the eventful O. P. Riots.




 “The Pic-nic Club”—Its supporters—Its entertainment—Its short
 life—Automata and wool pictures—Almack’s—Pidcock’s Menagerie—“The
 Invisible Girl”—Vauxhall—Sir Roger de Coverley—Price of admission,
 &c.—Ranelagh Gardens.

THE THEATRE, although the main source of amusement, was not the only
one. There were masquerades at the Pantheon, and a private theatrical
club, called the “Pic-nic Club,” of which a Captain Caulfield was the
manager. Lady Buckinghamshire—foremost in this, as in gaming—was one
of its chief supporters; and it took its name from every one drawing
lots, as to what should be his, or her, share of the entertainment.
This club consisted of the leaders of fashion—the Prince of Wales,
Lords Cholmondeley, Valletort, Carlisle, Spooner, Kirkcudbright, and
Derby; and, of course, “old Q,” the Duke of Queensberry. Sir Lumley
Skeffington, also, was an ornament to the society; whilst the lady
members besides Lady Albina Buckinghamshire, numbered in their ranks,
Lady Salisbury, Lady Jersey, and Mrs. Fitzherbert. It was _crême de la
crême_, and I find them chronicled in the _Morning Herald_ of March
16, 1802, thus: “The _Pic-nic_ Club met last night for the first time,
in the Tottenham Street Rooms.[63] The Entertainment commenced with a
Prologue by Colonel Greville, which was followed by a French Proverb.
An Act of the _Bedlamites_, a piece translated from the French, for
the occasion, was then performed. A French Proverb, and an Epilogue,
succeeded; and the whole succeeded with a _Pic-nic_ Supper, provided
from a tavern.[64] The company was not numerous, though 300 cards
of invitation were issued. Madame Parisot,[65] disapproving of the
_dilettanti_ project, refused to take any part in the performance. It
being apprehended that the public peace might be disturbed by this
irregular assemblage, the Bow Street officers held themselves in
readiness to act, during the whole of the evening, but happily there
was no occasion for their services.”

The society afterwards moved to the Argyle Rooms, then most highly
proper, and fashionable. There were several caricatures of this society
from Gillray’s pencil, one of which (the next illustration) I reproduce.

Here Gillray has given, as a contrast, Lord Valletort “the neatest of
little beaux,” and the smallest man in the Club, and Lord Cholmondeley,
who was very tall and stout. Lady Buckinghamshire, whose _embonpoint_
Gillray never spared, plays the piano, and Lady Salisbury, who from
her love of hunting, was frequently satirized under the name of Diana,
performs on a hunting horn. The fashionable papers of the day were,
during the season, seldom without a paragraph of this society, but it
did not last long, and its death is recorded in the _Times_, February
28, 1803: “The Pic-nic Society is at an end. Many of its members, at
a late meeting, wished to continue the Theatrical amusements, but no
person would undertake the management of them.”

[Illustration: THE PIC-NIC ORCHESTRA.]

In 1801, there were to be seen in Spring Gardens, Maillardet’s
Automata, where a wooden lady performed on the piano; also Miss
Linwood’s Exhibition of Needlework, first at the Hanover Square
Rooms, and afterwards at Saville House, Leicester Square, where
were exhibited marvels of crewel work. There are one or two of her
pictures in the South Kensington Museum; but her “Salvator Mundi,”
after Carlo Dolci, for which she refused 3,000 guineas, she bequeathed
to the Queen. She had a rival, whose name, however, has not been so
well perpetuated—_vide_ the _Morning Post_, June 4, 1800: “The wool
pictures, so much talked of among the connoisseurs, are certainly
executed with very great taste. Miss Thompson has brought her art to
very great perfection,” &c. These were shown in Old Bond Street.

Then, for the extremely select, during the season, was Almack’s[66]
which, then, was not quite so exclusive as afterwards. _Morning
Herald_, April 27, 1802: “Almack’s, King Street, St. James’ Square.
James and William Willis most respectfully inform the Nobility and
Gentry, the first SUBSCRIPTION BALL will be on Thursday, the 29th
instant, under the patronage of her Grace the Duchess of Devonshire,
the Marchioness of Townshend, and the Countess of Westmoreland. Tickets
One Guinea each.” The same newspaper has also an advertisement of a
new Panorama of Paris. This was by a M. de Maria; and there was also
another, “Barker’s Panorama,” in Leicester Square.

Those who liked such exhibitions could see the Phantasmagoria, at
the Lyceum Theatre, where the Magic Lantern was exhibited with novel
effects, such as moving eyes and limbs, but they had not yet attained
the height of “dissolving views.” Pidcock’s Menagerie[67] was the only
substitute they then had for our “Zoo,” and was situate in Exeter
‘Change. It is thus described in a guide to London, 1802: “A collection
of divers beasts and birds, only exceeded in rarity by those of the
Royal Menagerie, in the Tower.”

The “Invisible Girl” was exhibited in Leicester Square, and was “a
globe of glass suspended by a ribbon, under which four tubes are
adapted, but they do not communicate therewith, and are likewise
insulated; by these, conversation is carried on with an invisible lady,
who answers every question, breathes on you, and tells every visitor
whatever they hold in their hands, in an instant. This exhibition is
open from ten o’clock until six. Price of admittance, _two shillings
and sixpence_.”

There were two famous out-door places of amusement, now no more,
namely, Vauxhall, and Ranelagh. Vauxhall, was formerly called Foxhall,
or Spring Garden, and is thus described in No. 383 of the _Spectator_:
“We were now arrived at Spring Garden, which is excellently pleasant
at this time of the year. When I considered the fragrancy of the walks
and bowers, with the choir of birds that sung upon the trees, and the
loose tribe of people that walked under their shades, I could not but
look upon the place as a kind of Mahometan paradise. Sir Roger told me
it put him in mind of a little coppice by his house in the country,
which his chaplain used to call an aviary of nightingales. ‘You must
understand,’ says the knight, ‘that there is nothing in the world that
pleases a man in love, so much as your nightingale. Ah, Mr. Spectator,
the many moonlight nights that I have walked by myself, and thought
on the widow by the music of the nightingale!’ He, here, fetched a
deep sigh, and was falling into a fit of musing, when a mask, who came
behind him, gave him a gentle tap upon the shoulder, and asked him if
he would drink a bottle of mead with her? But the knight being startled
at so unexpected a familiarity, and displeased to be interrupted in
his thoughts of the widow, told her, ‘she was a wanton baggage;’ and
bid her go about her business.”

[Illustration: VAUXHALL GARDENS—1808-9.]

These gardens opened about the middle of May, and closed about the end
of August; they were only open three days a week—Monday, Wednesday,
and Friday; and the price of admission was 3s. 6d., the concert
commencing at eight, the attendance averaging from 5,000 to 15,000.
At the end of the first part of the concert, about 10 p.m., a curtain
was drawn up, and disclosed “a view of a bridge, a water mill, and
a cascade; while coaches, waggons, soldiers, and other figures were
exhibited as crossing that bridge.” The orchestra, which I reproduce,
was a blaze of light, and, altogether, in the gardens, at that time,
were 37,000 lamps. Occasionally, a display of fireworks took place;
whilst, to add to the attractions of the gardens, there were recesses,
and alcoves, provided, where suppers, and refreshment, could be

Ranelagh Gardens were in Chelsea, about where the Barracks now stand.
The amusements provided were almost identical with Vauxhall, but,
although considered a place of summer resort, its season commenced in
February, and closed at the end of May, or the middle of June. The
general price of admission was half a crown; but, on a masquerade
night, it rose to 10s. 6d. or £1 1s., but that included supper and
wine. There were particular fête nights, notably of the Pic-nic
Society, when the price of admission varied from 5s. to 7s. 6d.




 Music—Composers of the time—Mrs. Billington—Her salaries—Mdlle.
 Mara—Mrs. Crouch—Incledon—Braham—Chamber music—Musical
 societies—Commemoration of Dr. Arne—Competition of
 pipers—Dancing—The Valse.

THESE open-air concerts showed that there was a natural taste for music
in the English character, and when we look at the composers who then
flourished, and at the singers who expounded their works, we must own
that the dawn of the century could fairly hold its own with its latter
days. Dr. Arnold, Dr. Callcott (whose glees are still sung in many a
home), Shield, Stevens, and Clementi, were among the composers; and,
for singers—was there not Mrs. Billington, with her extraordinarily
sweet voice, her forcible expression, and flexible execution?

Gillray here has kept an excellent likeness of our _prima donna_,
and, probably, did not much exaggerate her proportions. She was paid
remarkably well, as most _divas_ are, and, if the satirical prints, and
newspaper reports of the time, do not belie her, she was as voracious
after “Refreshers” as a modern Queen’s Counsel, or she could not appear.

Here we see Mrs. Billington utterly prostrate, until revived by golden
pills, of which Sheridan is bringing a good supply. We can see what she
earned from a newspaper cutting, or two.


_Morning Post_, June 12, 1800: “Mrs. Billington is engaged for the
King’s Theatre next season, and she is to have two thousand guineas.”


_Morning Post_, July 15, 1801: “Mrs. Billington after _humming_ all the
Theatres, has, at last, fixed on the _hive_ in Covent Garden, where
she will, no doubt, make much _buzz_ and _honey_ next season. Articles
were signed between her and Mr. Harris yesterday. This we can state as
a _positive fact_. It is with much pleasure we find she has resolved
to return to the English stage; she will revive our Operas, of late
fallen into disrepute, and bring music again into fashion. The terms
are very liberal, but not more so than we expected so extraordinary, so
charming a singer, to obtain. She is to have three thousand guineas,
and a free benefit, besides fifty guineas per night at the oratorios;
this altogether will amount to upwards of four thousand pounds for the
season, and this season is not to extend beyond half a year.”

[Illustration: PLAYING IN PARTS.
  [_Gillray, 15th May, 1801._]

_Morning Herald_, April 2, 1802: “Mrs. Billington will net this single
season, by her professional abilities, no less than _eleven thousand

Mdlle. Mara, too, whose rich, sweet voice was so often heard in
oratorio, got her fifty guineas a night at Drury Lane, in the year
1800, so that we see that in those old days “singing women” were well
paid. Mrs. Crouch, that sweet songstress, and rival of the Billington,
although she had quitted the stage through an unfortunate accident,
which injured her voice, died in this decade, on the 2nd of October,
1805. There were many more of respectable calibre, but none with the
exception of Storace, to compare with the three named.

Among male voices Incledon, and Braham, were pre-eminent. Incledon
had a beautifully rich voice, the successful cultivation of which was
doubtless owing to his early training, under the celebrated William
Jackson, at Exeter Cathedral.

Many of us now living can remember having heard John Braham sing,
although, of course, only in his decadence. His was a wonderfully
successful musical career, not only here, but on the Continent; but
then he had a most rare voice, and one of such extensive range, that he
could sing airs written for Mdlle. Mara.

No other male singers of this period are worthy of note, nor do we find
many good, or lasting, names among the instrumentalists. Wesley on the
organ, Clementi and Cramer on the pianoforte, F. Cramer on the violin,
about exhaust the list. But the people were musical at heart and there
is no greater fallacy than to think the English were ever otherwise.
Small and select parties would meet of an evening, and perform
concerted chamber music. The illustration by Gillray is slightly
caricatured, but it gives a very fair view of such a domestic scene.

Or, we might take another drawing-room scene, in which only two are
actors, and are executing a duet to a harp accompaniment.

That good, and what we term severe, music was then appreciated, we have
evidence in the existence of the “Academy of Ancient Music,” which was
held at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, Covent Garden—an institution
which began in Queen Anne’s reign, under the conduct of the celebrated
musician, Dr. John Christopher Pepsuch; and, till 1737, no ladies were
admitted in the audience. In another twenty years it assumed more of
the form of a public concert; and, in 1786, the society migrated to
Freemason’s Hall, where, in 1788, it was resolved to admit ladies as
subscribers. The subscription, which, at its commencement, was only
half a guinea, rose, by degrees, to five guineas, and then settled down
to four, which covered a season of six, or eight, concerts.

[Illustration: HARMONY BEFORE MATRIMONY—1805.]

There was a split in the musical camp, and a branch of the parent
society seceded, and established themselves at the Opera House, in
the Haymarket, under the title of “The Concert of Ancient Music,” or
“King’s Concerts.” They afterwards moved to the Hanover Square Rooms.
The concerts commenced in February, and continued till the end of May.
Six directors, chosen from the nobility, selected, in turn, the pieces
for each concert—at which all modern music was utterly excluded, and
nothing could be played unless twenty-five years old. So strictly
was this carried out, that if the director for the night introduced
anything more modern, he was (and it was done more than once) fined in
a very considerable sum. There were also popular concerts held at the
Hanover Square rooms, during the season, to which the admission was
generally half a guinea.

And yet, with all this reverence for old music, it was found impossible
to make a success of a “Commemoration of Dr. Arne,” which took place
at Ranelagh on June 10, 1802; the expenses being £100, and the actual
receipts for the night only £26! Well may the newspaper editor end the
paragraph with “Poor Thomas Arne!”

In contradistinction to this, a Competition of Pipers, which was
annual, seems to have been a great success. The Highland Society
of London gave the prizes, three in number: 1st, a handsome set of
pipes with a silver plate, and forty merks Scots; 2nd and 3rd, thirty
merks, and it was decided at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, before an
enthusiastic audience.

The principal dance of this period was the country dance; but the valse
had already been introduced, and rapidly came into favour, although it
was held to be fast, and rather indecent, and was danced in a somewhat
different style to what it is nowadays.

[Illustration: WALTZER AU MOUCHOIR—1800.]

[Illustration: LA VALSE—1810.]



 Painting—“The Royal Academy of Art”—The principal private
 Picture Galleries—Benjamin West—James Barry—Fuseli—Opie—Minor
 artists—Turner—Sir Thomas Laurence—Morland—Sale of his
 pictures—Sculptors—Engravers—Boydell—“The Exhibition of
 Paintings in Water Colours”—Its members-”The Associated Artists
 in Water Colours”—Literature—List of literary persons of the
 decade—Five-volume novels—Decyphering papyri—Major Ouseley’s
 Oriental Library—The Pope and the Lord’s Prayer—The Alfred Club.

PAINTING was not at its highest at this time, and yet there were many
buyers, even for the pictures then painted. The Royal Academy of Art
(founded in 1765, when it received its Charter, on the 26th of January,
as the Incorporated Society of British Artists, a name afterwards
changed in 1768) was then located at Somerset House, where life classes
were held, and instruction given, as shown in the illustration on the
next page.

But, as yet, there was no National Gallery of Paintings, that was
reserved till a latter period, when Government bought the collection
of John Julius Angerstein, Esq., in 1824. This formed the nucleus of
our magnificent collection. His gallery, at his house in Pall Mall, had
long held high rank among the private picture collectors, he having two
Murillos, for which he paid 3,500 guineas. The Duke of Bridgewater’s,
the Marquis of Lansdowne’s, the two, or rather three, Hopes’, Lord
Radstock’s, the Duke of Northumberland’s, the Duke of Devonshire’s, and
the Miniatures at Strawberry Hill, were all magnificent collections;
whilst Mr. Charles Townley, at his residence in Park Lane, had the
finest collection of antique statues and busts, &c., in the world.
These are now in the British Museum.


The principal painters of this decade, although numerous, do not
represent a school likely to be perpetuated, although, as we read them,
they are well known; many are respectable, two or three are famous.
First must come Benjamin West, President of the Royal Academy, who then
lived in Newman Street: and, indeed, if we look at the addresses of
these old painters, we find them very humble compared with the palatial
habitations of some of our modern painters. As a _Master_, West will
never live, he was a respectable painter, but even in his own time, was
not over belauded.

There was James Barry, who was once professor of painting to the
Academy, but was deposed, _en plein cours_, because he could, or would,
not confine his lectures to their proper subjects, besides being coarse
and libellous. This made him hypochondriac, and he, besides, became
poor—a position somewhat alleviated by an annuity which was subscribed
for him. He died in 1806. His dwelling was in Castle Street, Oxford

Henry Fuseli lived in Queen Anne Street, East. His pictures were
noted for the extravagance of their conception, and their anatomy; he
delighted in painting the horrible, and supernatural, and was, perhaps,
seen at his best in his Milton Gallery, which was opened in 1798, and
closed July 19, 1800.

John Opie made a name, which still lives among collectors, but he
never will rank as an Art Master. He owed much of his celebrity to Dr.
Wolcott (Peter Pindar), who, an artist himself, tried to bring his
_protégé_ into notoriety. He lived in Berner’s Street, Oxford Street,
and died in 1807.

De Loutherbourg and his imitator, Sir Francis Bourgeois, are hardly
worthy of a notice. The latter, certainly, left a collection of
pictures to Dulwich Gallery, with £10,000 to keep them in preservation;
£2,000 for the repair of the gallery, and a complimentary bequest of
£1,000 to the Masters and Fellows of Dulwich College.

The genius of the age was, undoubtedly, Joseph Mallord William Turner,
who ranks as one of our greatest landscape painters. Like all other
artists, he had his periods of excellence; but, when at his best, he
was unapproachable. Thoroughly appreciated in this decade, he died not
so long ago, December 19, 1851.

From Turner to James Northcote is a long step, but they were on the
same footing as Royal Academicians. He tried to be, as some of our
modern R.A.’s do, an universal genius; but the verdict of posterity has
not endorsed his pretensions. He lived then in Argyll Street, and did
not die until July 13, 1831.

Another Academician, Thomas Stothard, deserves notice, and will be most
remembered for his “Canterbury Pilgrims;” but his style was mannered,
and did he paint now, he, probably, would not get a living.

Sir Thomas Lawrence did not then occupy the position he afterwards
filled, of President of the Royal Academy; but he had the rare honour
of being made a “Supplemental Associate;” a rank conferred, because
his youth would not entitle him to ask for the ordinary Associateship.
He was then living modestly in Greek Street, Soho, and did not charge
much for his pictures. In 1802 he only got thirty guineas for a
three-quarter size, and sixty guineas for a half-length portrait. In
1806, he obtained fifty guineas for three-quarter, and whole length,
two hundred guineas. 1808 saw his prices still go higher, similar
sizes eighty and three hundred guineas; and in 1810, he charged one
hundred guineas for a head, and four hundred guineas for a full length.
Handsome prices, yet poor pay compared to what our pet artists now get.

Robert Smirke, R.A., then living in Charlotte Street, was a painter
of English _genre_ pictures, and was very fond of painting scenes
from Don Quixote. Sir David Wilkie, however, painted _genre_ subjects
inimitably, and stood pre-eminent in this branch of art, at the period
of which I write.

Sir William Beechey was a respectable portrait painter, and filled that
office to Her Majesty Queen Charlotte, but he was not a Sir Joshua.
He then lived at Great George Street, Hanover Square; but he died at
Hampstead, in 1839, at a good old age of over eighty. John Hoppner,
R.A., was another portrait painter of the time, as was also Sir Martin
Archer Shee, President R.A., then living in Cavendish Square.

Westall, as being an Academician, deserves a passing notice, and
Reinagle, too; but neither have made a name that will live. One minor
painter deserves to be mentioned, Henry Bone, the enamel painter, whose
collection of his own works (valued at £10,000) was offered to the
nation for £4,000, refused, and sold under the hammer for £2,000. John
Singleton Copley was still alive, as was also Angelica Kauffman, nor
must the name of Sir George Howland Beaumont be omitted; but he was
more of an amateur than professional artist.


That erratic genius, George Morland, died in 1806, at the early age
of forty-two. Fecund in producing pictures as he was, he never could
have painted a tithe part of the genuine Morlands that have been before
the public, and the secret of these forgeries probably lies in the
fact, that his pictures, painted from such familiar models, as sheep
and pigs, were so easily imitated. After his death a collection of his
pictures was exhibited, and Gillray gave a very graphic sketch of it.
The connoisseurs were well known. The old gentleman in the foreground
looking through his reversed spectacles is Captain Baillie. Behind
him, and using a spy glass, is Caleb Whiteford, a friend of Garrick.
The tall stout man, nearest the wall, is said to be a Mr. Mitchell, a
banker; but although I have carefully examined the ten years’ lists of
bankers, I cannot find his name mentioned as a partner in any firm.
And, I believe, the figure without a hat, is generally considered to be
Christie the Auctioneer.

The foregoing is a tolerably correct list of the most eminent artists
of the commencement of the century, many names of minor note, being of
necessity, left out.

In sculptors, this decade was rich. The veteran Nollekens still
worked, and continued to work, till his eighty-second year, and was
then living in Mortimer Street. In Newman Street lived Thomas Banks,
R.A., whose colossal statue of Achilles bewailing the loss of Briseis,
is now in the hall of the British Institution. Sir Francis Chantrey,
R.A., was then a young, and rising, sculptor, as yet but little known.
John Flaxman, R.A., was then in his zenith, being made professor of
sculpture to the Royal Academy in 1810. His successor, Sir Richard
Westmacott, was made A.R.A., in 1805; and these names alone form an era
of glyptic art unparalleled in English history.

Engravers, too, furnish a list of well-known names, among whom, for
delicacy of work, Francis Bartolozzi probably stands pre-eminent, his
engravings challenging competition at the present day. There were also
Thomas Holloway, and William Sharp; but, perhaps, the most popular
names—none of whom will ever rank as first-class engravers—are
Gillray, Rowlandson, and Isaac and George Cruikshank. Their names were
on every lip, and their works the theme of every tongue. Nor must we
forget John Boydell, who was Alderman and Lord Mayor of the City of
London. Not only an engraver by profession, he encouraged art, by
commissioning the first artists of the day to paint pictures, which
he afterwards had engraved, notably his magnificent Shakespeare, than
which there is no more sumptuous English edition. On this he spent no
less than £350,000, and by this expenditure of capital, and bad trade,
owing to the war with France, and the stoppage of commercial relations
with the Continent, he fell into debt, and was obliged to get an Act of
Parliament passed to enable him to get rid of the original pictures and
plates, of his Shakespeare Gallery, by a lottery, which was drawn in

Besides the Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall, and Alderman Boydell’s
Gallery in Cheapside, there were several dealers’ collections—the
chief of which was “The European Museum,” Charles Street, St. James’s
Square. Here pictures, some of them good, were on sale on commission,
and, to prevent its being merely a lounge, a shilling was charged for

Not to be forgotten are the two Water Colour Societies—“The Exhibition
of Paintings in Water Colours,” established in 1804, and located in
1808 in Bond Street. Reinagle was treasurer, and its members were
Messrs. G. Barrett, J. J. Chalon, J. Christall, W. S. Gilpin, W.
Havell, T. Heaphy, J. Holworthy, F. Nicholson, N. Pocock, W. H. Pyne,
S. Rigaud, S. Shelley, J. Smith, J. Varley, C. Varley, and W. F. Wells.
The associate members were Miss Byrne, and Messrs. J. A. Atkinson, W.
Delamotte, P. S. Munn, A. Pugin, F. Stevens, and W. Turner.

The other society was started in 1808 or 1809, under the title of
“The Associated Artists in Water Colours,” and their first exhibition
was held at 20, Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, where a picture
gallery already existed.

It is a thankless task to attempt to give a list of names of literary
note, of this epoch, because, as in the case of foregoing lists, it is
impossible to avoid giving some critic occasion to slay—an omitted
name, being a heinous sin, outweighing all the patient hard work of
research and reading, necessary for the writing of a book like this.
Still an attempt thereat is bound to be made:

  Austen, Jane.              Keats, John.
  Baillie, Joanna.           Lewis, M. G. (Monk).
  Barbauld, Mrs.             Lingard, John.
  Beckford, Peter.           Lamb, Charles.
  Beckford, William.         Landor, W. S.
  Bentham, Jeremy.           London, John.
  Bloomfield, Robert.        Lysons, Daniel.
  Brougham, Henry.           Maturin, Charles Robert.
  Byron, Lord.               Montgomery, James.
  Campbell, Thomas.          Malthus, Rev. T. R.
  Canning, George.           Mill, James.
  Chapone, Mrs.              Moore, Thomas.
  Coleridge, S. T.           More, Hannah.
  Crabbe, George.            Morgan, Lady.
  Cobbett, William.          Opie, Mrs.
  Cumberland, Richard.       Porter Miss A. M.
  Cunningham, Allan.         Porter, Miss Jane.
  D’Israeli, Isaac.          Rogers, Samuel.
  De Quincey, Thomas.        Roscoe, W.
  Dibdin, T. F., D.D.        Shelley, P. B.
  Edgeworth, Miss.           Scott, Sir W.
  Godwin, William.           Southey, Robert.
  Hazlitt, William.          Smith, Sydney.
  Heber, Bishop.             Tooke, John Horne.
  Hemans, Mrs.               Trimmer, Mrs.
  Hogg, James.               Turner, Sharon.
  Hook, Theodore.            Wilberforce, W.
  Holcroft, Thomas.          Wollstonecroft, Mary.
  Inchbald, Mrs.             Wordsworth, W.

This was an age of dear books, and not of literature for the million.
We are apt to think that three volumes for a novel is rather too
much—when it can be, and is, afterwards, published comfortably in
one; but, in those days, novels ran to four or five volumes, as may be
seen by only taking one advertisement. _Morning Post_, July 18, 1805:
“Family Annals; a Domestic Tale, in 5 Vols. 25s. by Mrs. Hunter of
Norwich. The Demon of Sicily; a Romance. 4 Vols., 20s. Friar Hildargo;
a Romance. 5 Vols., 25s.”

Mudie’s Library was not, but Hookham’s, and Colburn’s were in
existence, and Ebers’ started in 1809.

It was a great age for the collection of first editions, unique copies,
and large paper books; and, thanks to the industry, and good taste of
this era, priceless treasures have been preserved to us, which might
otherwise have been lost. It was a peculiarly classical age, the
excavations at Pompeii, and Herculaneum, and the systematic spoliation
of Etruscan tombs then going on, whetted men’s appetites, and even the
Prince of Wales helped to contribute towards the stock of classical
lore: “The business of unrolling the Herculaneum MSS. at Portici, under
the direction of M. Hayter, and at the expense of His Royal Highness
the Prince of Wales, proceeds with success and rapidity. One hundred
and thirty MSS. have already been opened, or are unfolding, and M.
Hayter hopes to be able to decypher the six hundred, which still
remains in the museum. Eleven young persons are constantly employed in
unrolling the MSS., and two more, in copying or drawing them. M. Hayter
expects to find a Menander entire, an Ennius, and a Polybius,” &c. I
give this extract merely to show the classical taste of the time.

Attention was also being aroused to Oriental literature, and the two
Ouseley’s gave a great impetus to its study. Major Ouseley brought over
from Bengal, in 1805, 15,000 volumes of Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit
MSS., besides a vast museum of Oriental curiosities. The Major had
peculiar facilities, and opportunities, for forming his collection, as
he was for some time _aide de camp_ to the Nawab of Oude. His brother,
Sir William, also possessed a choice library of some 800 Arabic,
Persian, and Turkish MSS.

Not only here, but on the Continent, philology was looking up, for we
find that the Pope, whilst in Paris, at the Coronation of Napoleon,
visited the National Printing Office, and, as he passed along the
galleries, 150 presses furnished him with a sheet each, upon which was
printed the Lord’s Prayer in a different language or dialect. Asia
furnished 46; Europe, 75; Africa, 12; America, 17.

In fact, literature was beginning to be aggressive, and, actually, to
ask for a club of its own; and in 1808 the _Alfred Club_ took premises
in Albemarle Street, and continued its existence till 1855, when it was
merged in the Oriental. It was extremely dull, and was christened by
the wicked wits, the _Half read_; and Lord Alvanley was a member until
the seventeenth Bishop saw proposed, and then he gave up.




 The Press—_Morning Post_ and _Times_—Duty on newspapers—Rise in
 price—The publication of circulation to procure advertisements—Paper
 warfare between the _Times_ and the _Morning Post_—The
 British Museum—Its collection, and bad arrangement—Obstacles
 to visitors—Rules relaxed—The Lever Museum—Its sale by
 lottery—Anatomical Museums of the two Hunters.

OF THE London Daily papers that were then existing, but two are now
alive—the _Morning Post_ (the _Doyen_ of the daily press) and the
_Times_. They were heavily taxed, in 1800, with a 3d. stamp per copy.
In July, 1804, this was made 3½d.; pamphlets, half-sheet, ½d.; whole
sheet, 1d.; an Almanac had to have a shilling stamp; and a perpetual
Calendar, one of 10s. And this oppressive stamp, with a comparatively
limited circulation, meant death to a newspaper. In 1809, the _Morning
Post_, and other papers, boldly went in for a halfpenny rise, and gave
its reasons—May 20: “Since the settlement with Government took place,
which fixed the price at sixpence, every article necessary for the
composition of a Newspaper, has increased in price to an unprecedented
extent. Paper has risen upwards of fifty per cent.; Types upwards of
eighty per cent.; Printing Ink thirty-five per cent.; Journeymen’s
wages ten per cent., and everything else in the same proportion. It
is therefore unnecessary for us to observe, that the advance of One
Halfpenny per Paper will go but a short way towards placing the
Proprietors in the same situation, in respect to profits allowed, in
which they were left by the settlement of 1797; and, under all these
considerations, the Public, we trust, will not deem us unreasonable
in availing ourselves of the parliamentary provision that has just
been made in favour of all Newspapers. The Bill will receive the Royal
Assent this day, and on Monday, the Price of the _MORNING POST_, _in
common with that of other Newspapers_, will be Sixpence Halfpenny.”

Then, as now, the backbone of a Newspaper was its advertisements, and
then also, did each Newspaper laud itself as being the best advertising
medium, owing to its superior circulation. We, who are accustomed
to see huge posters setting forth sworn affidavits that the daily
circulation of some London newspapers amounts to some quarter of a
million if not more, will feel some surprise when we learn that the
_Morning Post_, of June 10, 1800, the then leading paper, published
a sworn return (and exulted over their number and success) of 10,807
newspapers printed in the week June 2-7, or a daily average of 1,800

The _World_, at one time a rival, had published its circulation when
it reached 1,500 daily, and thus laid claim to be considered a good
advertising medium; and this was when newspapers were selling at 3d.
each. In 1800 they were 6d. each, and the extra tax had diminished
the circulation of the _Morning Post_ during the previous summer by
one-third, which fall they claim to have recovered, and to have raised
their circulation in five years from 400 to 1,800 daily. In June, 1796,
the _Times_ published its number; and again in 1798, when it confessed
to a fall of 1,400 in its daily sale.

In 1806 there was a very pretty little war as to the circulation of
rival newspapers.

The _Times_ opened the ball on the 15th of November by inserting a
paragraph, “Under the Clock”: “[hand]_We are under the necessity of
requesting our Correspondents and Advertisers not to be late in their
communications, if intended for the next day’s publication; as the
extraordinary Sale of THE TIMES, which is decidedly superior to that of
every other Morning Paper, compels us to go to press at a very early

The _Morning Post_, November 17th (which number is unfortunately
missing in the British Museum file), challenged the statement—to which
the _Times_ replied on the 18th: “_This declaration of our Sale, a
Morning Paper of yesterday has thought proper to contradict, and boldly
claims the superiority. We have only to say on the subject, that, if
the Paper will give an attested account of its daily Sale for the last
two Months, we will willingly publish it._”

And now the strife was waxing hot, for the _Morning Post_ on the 21st
of November wrote: “We admit the sale of his Paper may, _for the
present_, be many hundreds beyond any other, except the _MORNING POST_,
the decided superiority of which, we trust, he will no longer affect to
dispute.... We pledge ourselves to PROVE that the regular sale
of the _MORNING POST_ is little short of a thousand per day superior to
that of his paper.”

Of course the _Times_, of the 22nd of November, calls this a
preposterous boast, and wishes statistics for the last two months.

Thus goaded, the _Morning Post_, of the 24th of November, issued
affidavits from its printers and publisher, that its circulation,
even at that dead season, was upwards of 4,000 daily, and that during
the sitting of Parliament it reached, and exceeded 5,000, the editor
remarking: “What is meant by regular Sale, is the Number which is
daily served to SUBSCRIBERS.... If those who, by the Low Expedient of
selling their Papers by the noisy nuisance of Horn Boys, take into
their accounts the extra Papers so sold, it is not for us to follow
so unworthy an example; to such means the _MORNING POST_ never has

The _Times_, November 25th, has the last of this wordy warfare,
declaring that its circulation sometimes reached 7,000 or 8,000 a day:
and I should not have introduced this episode, had it not have given
such a perfect insight into the working of the press of that date,
which would have been unobtainable but for this quarrel.

The British Museum then stood where now it does, only Montague House,
in which its treasures were then enshrined, was totally unfitted for
their reception—for instance, a collection of Egyptian antiquities
were kept in two sheds in the courtyard. The whole of the antiquities,
and rarities, were in sad want of arrangement, and classification, and
as many impediments, as possible, were placed in the way of visitors.

Take what it was like in 1802: “Persons who are desirous of seeing the
Museum, must enter their name and address, and the time at which they
wish to see it, in a book kept by the porter, and, upon calling again
on a future day, they will be supplied with printed tickets, free of
expense, as all fees are positively prohibited. The tickets only serve
for the particular day and hour specified; and, if not called for the
day before, are forfeited.

“The Museum is kept open every day in the week, except Saturday, and
the weeks which follow Christmas day, Easter, and Whitsunday. The hours
are from nine till three, except on Monday and Friday, during the
months of May, June, July, and August, when the hours are only from
four till eight in the afternoon.

“The spectators are allowed three hours for viewing the whole—that is,
an hour for each of the three departments. One hour for the Manuscripts
and Medals; one for the natural and artificial productions, and one
for the printed books. Catalogues are deposited in each room, but no
book must be taken down except by the officer attending, who will also
restore it to its place. Children are not admitted.

“Literary characters, or any person who wishes to make use of the
Museum for purposes of study and reference, may obtain permission,
by applying to the trustees, or the standing committee. A room is
appointed for their accommodation, in which, during the regular hours,
they may have the use of any manuscript or printed book, subject to
certain regulations.”

On the 8th of June, 1804, the Trustees somewhat modified the
arrangements, and instead of visitors having to call twice about
their tickets, before their visit, they might be admitted the day
of application (Monday, Wednesday, or Friday only) subject to the
following rule:

“Five Companies, of not more than 15 persons each, may be admitted in
the course of the day; namely, one at each of the hours of 10, 11, 12,
1, and 2. At each of these hours the directing officer in waiting shall
examine the entries in the book; and if none of the persons inscribed
be exceptionable, he shall consign them to the attendant, whose turn it
will be to conduct the companies through the House.

“Should more than fifteen persons inscribe their names, for a given
hour, the supernumeraries will be desired to wait, or return at the
next hour, when they will be admitted preferably to other applicants.”

The Museum Gardens were a great attraction, and were much visited. So
much, indeed, were they thought of, that, in an advertisement of a
house to let, it is stated, as a great recommendation that it commands
“a view of the Museum Gardens, and a part of Hampstead Heath.”

There were other museums, notably the Leverian Museum, the collection
of Sir Ashton Lever, of Alkington, near Manchester, a _virtuoso_ of
the first water. He spent very large sums on this collection, which
consisted mainly of specimens of natural history (over 5,000 stuffed
birds), fossils, shells, corals, a few antiquities, and the usual
country museums’ quota of South Sea Island weapons, and dresses. There
was much rubbish, as we should term it—according to the _Gentleman’s
Magazine_ of May, 1773 (p. 200), like a double-headed calf, a pig with
eight legs, two tails, one backbone, and one head. Some pictures of
birds in straw very natural, a basket of paper flowers, a head of his
present Majesty, cut in Cannel Coal; a drawing of Indian ink of a head
of a late Duke of Bridgwater, &c., &c.

The collection had, of course, much increased, when in 1785, Sir
Ashton Lever, shortly before his death, disposed of it by lottery.
The winner, Mr. Parkinson, built “a very elegant and well-disposed
structure for its reception, about a hundred yards from the foot of
Blackfriars Bridge, on the Surrey side.”[68] The admission was one
shilling. Presumably it did not pay, for it was sold by auction in
1806. The sale lasted sixty-five days. The number of lots being 7,879,
and the catalogue occupying 410 octavo pages. Then there were the
museums of the two Hunters—that of Dr. William Hunter, F.S.A., &c. In
the period of which I treat, his anatomical specimens, coins, &c., were
exhibited at the Theatre of Anatomy, in Great Windmill Street, whence,
according to his will, they were after a certain time transferred to
the University of Glasgow, where they now are. His brother John, who
was also a F.R.S., had a grand collection of anatomical preparations,
which was purchased by the Government for £15,000, and deposited, _pro
bono publico_, in the College of Surgeons.




 Medical—The Doctor of the old School—The rising lights—Dr.
 Jenner—His discovery of vaccination for smallpox—Opposition
 thereto—Perkins’s Metallic Tractors—The “Perkinean Institution”—His
 cures—Electricity and Galvanism—Galvanizing a dead criminal—Lunatic
 Asylums—Treatment of the insane—The Hospitals.

A _PROPOS_ of Doctors—the medical and surgical branches of the
profession were emerging from empiricism, and science was beginning
to assert herself, and laying the foundation of the English School of
Medicine, the finest the world has yet seen. The doctor of the old
school (as given in the next page) was still extant, with his look
of portentous sagacity, his Burghley-like shake of the head, his bag
with instruments and medicaments, and the cane—always the gold-headed
cane—which came in so useful, and gave such a look of sapience when
applied to the side of the nose, affording time for consideration
before giving an opinion on a doubtful case—a relic of the time when,
in its gold top, was carried a febrifuge, such as aromatic vinegar, or
the such like. Similar types are also given in a political caricature
by Isaac Cruikshank.

[Illustration: A DOCTOR OF THE OLD SCHOOL—1803.]

But these old quacks were disappearing, and the progenitors of the
present hard-working, energetic, and scientific men, our medical
advisers, were arising, and I append a list, imperfect as it may
be, which contains names of world-wide reputation, and thoroughly
well known to every fairly educated Englishman. They are taken in no
sequence, chronological or otherwise. Sir Anthony Carlisle, F.R.S.,
President of the Royal College of Surgeons; Sir Charles Mansfield
Clarke, so famous for his treatment of the Diseases of Women and
Children; Sir Astley Paston Cooper; Sir Henry Halford; that rough
old bear John Abernethy; Dr. Matthews Baillie the brother of Joanna
Baillie; Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie—then a young man; Dr. Edward
Jenner, of whom more anon; Wm. Lawrence, F.R.S., Surgeon Extraordinary
to the Queen; Sir Charles Bell, another famous Surgeon, whose “System
of Anatomy,” is still a text book; Geo. James Guthrie, and many others;
but a sufficient number of well-known names have been given to warrant
the assertion that it was an exceptionally brilliant time of English
medicine and surgery.

Perhaps the medical man of this era, to whom the whole world is most
indebted, is Dr. Jenner, who thoroughly investigated the wonderfully
prophylactic powers of the cow pock. He had noticed that milkers of
cows could not, as a rule, be inoculated with the smallpox virus—a
means of prevention then believed in, as the patient generally suffered
but slightly from the inoculation, and it was then a creed, long since
exploded, that smallpox could not be taken twice. This fact of their
resistance to variolous inoculation set him thinking, and he came to
the conclusion that they had absorbed into their systems, a counter
poison in the shape of some infection taken from the cows. He made
many experiments, and found that this came from a disease called the
cow pock, and that the vaccine lymph could not only be taken direct
from the cow, but also by transmission from the patients who had been
inoculated with that lymph, and whence the present system of so-called
vaccination—the greatest blessing of modern times.

Jenner, of course, was opposed; fools do not even believe in
vaccination now, and great was the battle for, and against, in the
medical profession, and many were the books written _pro_ and _con_.
“Vaccination Vindicated,” Ed. Jones; “A Reply to the Anti-Vaccinists,”
Jas. Moore; “The Vaccine Contest,” Wm. Blair; “Cow Pock Vaccination,”
Rowland Hill; “Birch against Vaccination,” “Willan on Vaccination,”
&c., &c.

Gillray could not, of course, leave such a promising subject alone, and
he perpetrated the accompanying illustration. Here Dr. Jenner (a very
good likeness) is attending to his patients—vaccinating, rather too
vigorously, one lady—the lymph, in unlimited quantity, being borne
by a workhouse boy, and receiving his patients who are exhibiting the
different phases of their vaccination. As a rule, they seem to have
“taken” too well.


(_Vide the publications of y[e] Anti-Vaccine Society._)]

A quack, who flourished early in the century, far better deserved the
caricaturists’ pencil than Jenner, and he got it. The illustration on
this page represents an American quack, named Perkins, who pretended to
cure various diseases by means of his metallic tractors—operating on
John Bull. The paper on the table is the _True Briton_, and it reads
thus: “Theatre—dead alive—Grand Exhibition in Leicester Square. Just
arrived from America the Rod of Æsculapius. Perkinism in all its glory,
being a certain cure for all Disorders, Red Noses, Gouty Toes, Windy
Bowels, Broken Legs, Hump backs. Just discovered, Grand secret of the
Philosopher’s Stone, with the true way of turning all metals into Gold.”

[Illustration: METALLIC TRACTORS—1802.]

The truth is, that, at the end of the eighteenth century, Galvani and
Volta, Sir Joseph Banks, in connection with the Royal Society, and
all the scientific men of the day, were deeply interested in solving
the mysteries of electricity; and, as nobody, as yet, knew much about
it, the public were liable to be gulled by any empiric, and Benjamin
Douglas Perkins was the very man to do it. He, and others, wrote
several pamphlets on “The Influence of Metallic Tractors on the Human
Body, in removing various Inflammatory Diseases,” and such like, and
opened a _Perkinean Institution_ in London. He must have been fairly
successful, for his advertisements lasted some years. His published
cures were miraculous: “A Lady was afflicted with an Erysipelas in her
face.... In a few minutes she cheerfully acknowledged that she was
quite well.” “A man aged 37 had, for several years, been subject to the
Gout. I found him in bed, and very much distressed with the disease
in one of his feet. After I had operated upon it with the Tractors he
said the pain was entirely gone.” “A Lady burned her hand. I, happily,
called at the house immediately after the accident, and applied the
Tractors. In about ten minutes, the inflammation disappeared, the
vesication was prevented, and she said the pain was gone.” The price
of these “blessings to men” was five guineas a set; and he explains
them in the specification of the patent granted him on the 10th March,
1798, where, speaking of Galvanism, he says, “Among the metals that may
be thus characterised, I have found none more eminently efficacious in
removing diseases than the combinations of copper, zinc, and a small
proportion of gold: a precise quantity of each is not necessary: also
iron united to a very small proportion of silver and platina; an exact
proportion of these also not necessary. These are constructed with
points, and of such dimensions as convenience shall dictate. They may
be formed with one point, or pointed at each end, or with two or more
points. The point of the instrument thus formed I apply to those parts
of the body which are affected with diseases, and draw them off on
the skin, to a distance from the complaint, and usually towards the

Electricity was then a new toy, of which no one, as yet, knew the use,
and they amused themselves with it in various ways, one of which must
serve as an example. _Times_, January 22, 1803: “The body of _Forster_,
who was executed on Monday last for murder, was conveyed to a house
not far distant, where it was subjected to the _Galvanic process_ by
Professor ALDINI, under the inspection of Mr. KEATE, Mr. CARPUE, and
several other professional gentlemen. M. ALDINI, who is the nephew of
the discoverer of this most interesting science, showed the eminent and
superior powers of _Galvanism_ to be far beyond any other stimulant in
nature. On the first application of the process to the face, the jaw of
the deceased criminal began to quiver, and the adjoining muscles were
horribly contorted, and one eye was actually opened. In the subsequent
part of the process, the right hand was raised and clenched, and the
legs and thighs set in motion. It appeared to the uninformed part of
the bystanders as if the wretched man was on the eve of being restored
to life. This, however, was impossible, as several of his friends who
were under the scaffold had violently pulled his legs, in order to
put a more speedy termination to his sufferings. The experiment, in
fact, was of a better use, and tendency. Its object was to show the
excitability of the human frame, when this animal electricity is duly
applied. In cases of drowning or suffocation, it promises to be of
the utmost use, by reviving the action of the lungs, and, thereby,
rekindling the expiring spark of vitality. In cases of apoplexy, or
disorders of the head, it offers, also, most encouraging prospects for
the benefit of mankind. The professor, we understand, has made use of
_Galvanism_, also, in several cases of insanity, and with complete

This latter part—the cure of the insane by means of electricity—has
not been verified by practice. Their treatment was very inefficient,
although, even then, whips and chains were disappearing—especially in
the public madhouses, which were at that time Bethlehem, and St. Luke’s
Hospitals. Bethlehem Hospital was then situated in Moorfields, and
the major part of it had been built in 1675. Over the entrance gates
were two sculptured representations of Raving and Melancholy madness,
by Cibber; these are now in the hall of the present hospital. Patients
remained until they were cured, or for twelve months if not cured.
In the latter case if it was thought that a further sojourn might be
of use, they were re-admitted, and they also were permanently kept,
were they hopelessly incurable, and dangerous to society. There were
then about 260 patients who might be visited by their friends every
Monday and Wednesday, from 10 to 12 a.m. Visitors were only admitted
by an order from a governor—a vast improvement on the old plan, when
a visitor could always obtain admission by payment of a small fee. In
fact, in Queen Anne’s reign, and later, it formed, with the lions at
the Tower, and the wax figures at Westminster Abbey, one of the chief
sights in London, thus causing a scandal to the institution, and,
without doubt, injuring the patients.

[Illustration: WOMEN’S WARD, ST. LUKE’S—1808.]

St. Luke’s Hospital for the insane was in Old Street, City Road,
and was built because Bethlehem was inadequate to the relief of _all
indigent lunatics_; and their treatment was fairly rational, even those
who were obliged to wear straight jackets having their meals together,
so as to afford some little break in the monotony of their miserable
lives. Each patient had a separate sleeping apartment, and there were
two large gardens, one for men, the other for women, where pleasant
recreation could be taken in fine weather.

The other medical hospitals were—Bartholomew’s, St. Thomas’s, Guy’s,
St. George’s, the London, Middlesex, the Westminster Infirmary, and the
Lock Hospital, in Grosvenor Place. The majority of these had regular
medical schools, as now, but there were, also, many private lecturers
and demonstrators of anatomy, as also professors of natural and
experimental philosophy, and chemistry.




 The Royal Society and the Royal Institution—Scientific
 men of the time—Society of Arts—Other learned
 Societies—Ballooning—Steam—Steamboats—Locomotives—Fourdrinier and
 the paper-making machine—Coals—Their price—Committee of the House
 of Commons on coal—Price of coals.

THE ROYAL Institution had just been founded (incorporated 13th January,
1800), and the Gresham lectures were held. The Royal Institution was
patronized by its big elder brother, the Royal Society, for in the
minutes of the proceedings of the latter, on the 15th of April, 1802,
is the following:

“Resolved, that ... the Royal Society be requested to direct their
Secretaries to communicate from time to time to the Editor of the
Journals of the Royal Institution, such information respecting the
Papers read at the Meetings of the Society, as it may be thought proper
to allow to be published in these Journals.”

In the first ten years of this century, no great scientific discoveries
were made; the most prominent being the researches of that marvellous
scientist and Egyptologist, Dr. Thomas Young,[69] in connection with
physical optics, which led to his theory of undulatory light.[70] Yet
there were good men coming forward, the pioneers of this present age,
to whose labours we are much indebted; and any decade might be proud
of such names as Faraday, Banks, Rennie, Dr. Wollaston, Count Rumford,
Humphrey Davy, and Henry Cavendish, whose discovery of the gaseous
composition of water laid the foundation of the modern school of

The Society of Arts, too, was doing good work, and the Society of
Antiquaries, and the Linnæan Society, were also in existence; but the
Horticultural, and Geological Societies, alone, were born during this
ten years.

Ballooning was in the same position as now, _i.e._, bags of gas could,
as is only natural, rise in the air, and be carried whither the wind
listed; and, especially in the year 1802, ærostatics formed one of the
chief topics of conversation, as Garnerin and Barrett were causing
excitement by their ærial flights.

Man had enslaved steam, but had hardly begun to utilize it, and knew
but very little of the capabilities of its energetic servant. Then it
was but a poor hard-working drudge, who could but turn a wheel, or
pump water. Certainly a steamboat had been tried on the Thames, and
Fulton’s steamboat _Clermont_ was tried on the Seine in 1803, at New
York in 1806, and ran on the Hudson in 1807; but the locomotive was
being hatched. The use of iron rails to ease the draft was well known,
and several patents were granted for different patterns of rail, but
they were mainly used in mines, to save horse power. Under the date
of 24th March, 1802, is a “Specification of the Patents granted to
Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian, of the Parish of Camborne, in the
County of Cornwall. Engineers and Miners, for Methods for improving
the construction of Steam Engines, and the Application thereof for
driving Carriages, and for other purposes.” Here, then, we have the
germ of the locomotive, which has been one of the most powerful agents
of civilization the world ever saw. But it was not till 1811 that the
locomotive was used, and then only on a railway connected with a

It was not a mechanical age, or rather, applied mechanics was as
a young child, and babbled sillily. The only thing I regret, in
writing this book, is the time I have wasted in looking over Patent
Specifications, to find something worthy to illustrate the mechanical
genius of the time. The most useful invention I have found, is
the paper-making machine. This was originally the conception of a
Frenchman, Louis Robert, who sold his invention to Didot, the great
printer, who, bringing it to England, got Fourdrinier to join with him
in perfecting it. It did not, Minerva-like, spring ready armed from its
parent’s brain; but was the subject of several patents; but the one
which approaches nearest to, and is identical in all essential points
with, the present paper-making machine, is his “Specification, enrolled
pursuant to Act of Parliament of the 47th of George the Third, of the
Invention of Henry Fourdrinier and Sealy Fourdrinier, of Sherborne
Lane, London, and John Gamble, of Saint Neots, in the County of
Huntingdon, Paper Manufacturers; for making Paper by means of Machines,
for which several Letters Patent have been obtained at different
periods. Term extended to 15 years from 14th August, 1807.” This
extension had been obtained by means of an Act of Parliament passed the
previous session, and the machine was capable of making the endless web
of paper now in vogue.

The primitive state of our manufactures at this date may be, perhaps,
best understood by a typical illustration or two, taken by Pyne, a most
conscientious draughtsman, who drew all his studies from nature. The
first, on the next page, is an Iron Foundry, casting shot.

Coals were very dear, and that was owing to two things. First, that
only the Sunderland district coals were used in London, because
they only could, in any quantity, be shipped to London; the vast
Staffordshire, and other inland basins, being out of the question,
owing to lack of carriage, except where a canal was handy; and the
other reason for their high price was that there being no steam
vessels, a contrary wind would keep the coal-ships out of port, and,
consequently, denude the market.

[Illustration: AN IRON FOUNDRY—1802.]

The inland coals were cheap enough in their own localities—_vide_ the
_Morning Post_, August 6, 1800: “At Oldham, in Lancashire, the best
coals are only 6s. 9d. equal to a London chaldron.[71] At Barnsley, in
Yorkshire, the best coals are sold at the pit’s mouth for only 1½d. per
cwt. Surely, permission ought to be granted for coals to be brought to
London, if they can be conveyed by water. This might be done, as the
canals from Lancashire are now cut so as a barge with twenty-five tons
of coals would arrive in London in fourteen days. They cost at the pit
only 8s. 4d. per ton.”

But not only were they unattainable, but many of the coal-fields from
which we now draw our supplies were absolutely unknown. Here is an
instance—_Morning Post_, July 25, 1805: “A very fine _stratum_ of
coal, 15 feet deep, has been lately discovered on the Earl of Moira’s
estate at Donnington, and by which the Leicestershire Canal Shares have
been doubled in their value.”

[Illustration: A COLLIERY—1802.]

In looking at the following list of prices of coals, it must be borne
in mind that these are the market prices for coals _ex ship_; and it
was reckoned that 12s. per ton was a fair price to allow for metage,
carriage, and profit. Add this, and remember that a sovereign at
the commencement of the century had the purchasing power of, and,
consequently, worth, about 30s.; it will then be seen that coals were
excessively dear—such as would now practically extinguish every

Even in 1800, when coals were only about 48s. or 48s. 6d., the price
was considered so excessive, that a Committee of the House of Commons
sat upon the subject, and issued a report, imputing it to the following

 “1. The agreement among the Coal Owners in the North, called ‘The
 Limitation of Vends,’ by which each colliery on the Tyne is limited,
 so as not to exceed a certain quantity in each year. Those Coal Owners
 who are found to have shipped more than their stipulated quantities,
 being bound to make a certain allowance at the end of each year,
 to those who have shipped less, and to conform to certain other
 regulations adopted by the Coal Owners on the river Wear.

 “2. The detention of the ships at Newcastle, waiting for the best
 coals, sometimes a month or six weeks.

 “3. The want of a market in London which would admit of a competition,
 perfectly free, in the purchase of coals.

 “4. The circumstance of the coal-buyer being, in many instances,
 owners both of ship and cargo; which (as appears by the evidence)
 leads to considerable abuse.

 “5. The want of a sufficient number of Meters, and of craft, for
 unloading the ships on their arrival in the river, and the occasional
 delays in procuring ballast on their return voyage.

 “6. The practice of mixing the best coals with those of an inferior
 quality, and selling the whole so mixed as of the best kind; and

 “7. To frauds in the measurement, carriage, and delivery of coals.”

That there were great profits made by coals, there can be no doubt.
Mr. Walter, the proprietor of the _Times_, had been a coal-factor, and
had failed in business, before he started his newspaper—in which, in
its early days, he keenly scanned the state of the Coal Market for the
benefit of the public.

Here is a paragraph advertisement from the _Morning Herald_, June
2, 1802, which shows that our grandfathers could advertise in as
catching a style as the present generation: “On Saturday, the following
conversation occurred between two sailors opposite Somerset House: ‘Ah!
Sam, how are you?’ ‘Why, Jack, when I saw you, a few days ago, I _was
near a Gentleman_; but now, through my folly, am a _complete beggar_!’
‘Cheer up, Sam, for you are _near_ a Gentleman now. I have just
received all my prize money and wages; we have been partners in many a
hard battle; we will be partners now. I am going to the London Sea Coal
Company, in Southampton Street, Holborn, to buy a score of coals; and,
by retailing of which, I’ll prove to you, there’s a devilish deal more
satisfaction and pleasure than in throwing the gold dust away on bad
women or public-houses.’” This company were in September, 1804, selling
their coals at 58s. per chaldron.

October 8, 1804: “Pool[72] price of coals: Wallsend, 54s. 6d.; Hebburn
and Percy, 52s. 6d.; Wellington, 52s. 3d.; Temples, 51s. 8d.; Eighton,
48s. 3d. Eight ships at market, and all sold. The addition of 12s. to
the above will give the price at which the coals should be delivered in

That was in face of approaching winter. In summer time the price was
naturally lower—July 1, 1805: “Coals. Monday, 24 June, 20 cargoes sold
from 39s. 3d. to 49s. 6d. per chaldron. Wednesday, 26 do.; 10 ditto
42s. 9d. to 49s. Friday, 28: 15 ditto 43s. 9d. to 49s. 6d. in the Pool.”

In February, 1808, the retail price of coals was 64s.; and this did not
include metage and shooting. In October, 1809, they rose to 74s., and
in November of the same year they reached 84s.




 The Navy—Sailor’s carelessness—“The Sailor’s Journal”—The sailor
 and “a dilly”—Dress of the sailors—Rough life both for officers
 and men—Number of ships in Commission—Pressing—A man killed by
 a press-gang—Mutinies—That of the _Danäe_—Mutiny on board the
 _Hermione_, and cold-blooded slaughter of the officers—Mutiny in
 Bantry Bay—Pay of the officers—French prisoners of war.

IT WAS the fashion then, as it is now, to portray a sailor, as a
harum-scarum, jovial, rollicking, care-for-nought; and doubtless,
in the main, he was, at that time, as unlike as possible to the
blue-riband, savings-bank Jack that he very frequently is now. Prize
money was pretty plentiful; such things as a temperance captain and
ship, were unknown; and the constant active service in which they were
engaged, with its concomitant insecurity to life and limb, must have
made them somewhat reckless, and inclined to enjoy life, after their
fashion, whilst they still possessed that life. Rowlandson—May 30,
1802—drew two of them in a caricature, called “The Sailor’s Journal.”
They are dividing a bowl of punch, one is smoking, the other gives
his mate some extracts from his Journal: “Entered the port of London.
Steered to Nan’s lodgings, and unshipped my Cargo; Nan admired the
shiners—so did the landlord—gave ‘em a handful apiece; emptied a
bottle of the right sort with the landlord to the health of his honour
Lord Nelson. All three set sail for the play; got a berth in a cabin on
the larboard side—wanted to smoke a pipe, but the boatswain wouldn’t
let me; remember to rig out Nan like the fine folks in the cabin right
ahead. Saw Tom Junk aloft in the corner of the upper deck—hailed him;
the signal returned. Some of the land-lubbers in the cockpit began
to laugh—tipped them a little foremast lingo till they sheered off.
Emptied the grog bottle; fell fast asleep—dreamt of the battle of
Camperdown. My landlord told me the play was over—glad of it. Crowded
sail for a hackney coach. Squally weather—rather inclined to be
sea-sick. Gave the pilot a two pound-note, and told him not to mind
the change. In the morning, looked over my Rhino—a great deal of it,
to be sure; but I hope, with the help of a few friends, to spend every
shilling in a little time, to the honour and glory of old England.”

This was the ideal, and typical, sailor; the reality was sometimes as
foolish. _Morning Herald_, June 12, 1805: “One day last week a sailor
belonging to a man-of-war at Plymouth had leave to go on shore; but,
having staid much longer than the allowed time, he received a sharp
reprimand on his return. Jack’s reply was that he was very sorry, but
that he had taken a _dilly_ (a kind of chaise used about Plymouth) for
the purpose of making the utmost haste, but the coachman could not
give him change for half a guinea, and he, therefore, was obliged to
keep him driving _fore_ and _aft_ between Plymouth and the Dock, till
he had _drove_ the half-guinea out! Unfortunately for poor Jack, it so
happened, that when the half-guinea was _drove out_, he was set down at
the spot whence he started, and had just as far to walk, as though he
had not been drove at all.”

When in full uniform, a sailor in the Royal Navy was a sight to
see—with his pig-tail properly clubbed and tied with black silk. We
have already seen them in the picture of Nelson’s funeral car, and the
accompanying illustration is of the same epoch, and shows a British
sailor weeping over Lord Nelson’s death.

It was a rough school, both for officers and men. We may judge somewhat
of what the life of the former was like by Captain Marryat’s novels;
but, lest they should be highly coloured, let us take a few lines from
the first page of the “Memoir of Admiral Sir Edward Codrington”:[73]

[Illustration: BRITISH SAILOR—1805.]

“He spent nine years at sea as a midshipman; and I have repeatedly
heard him say, that during those nine years (so important for the
formation of character) he never was invited to open a book, nor
received a word of advice or instruction, except professional, from any
one. More than that, he was thrown among a set in the gun-room mess,
older than himself, whose amusement it was—a too customary amusement
in those days—to teach the lad to drink, and to lead him into their
own habitual practice in that respect.”

If this was the case with the officers, how did the men fare? Volunteer
recruits did not come from the pick of the labouring class, and the
pressed men soon fell into the ways of those surrounding them. No
doubt they were better off in the Royal Navy than in the Mercantile
Marine; but the ship’s stores of that day consisted but of salt pork,
and beef, the latter being indifferently called _junk_ or _old horse_.
The biscuits, too, were nothing like those now supplied on board Her
Majesty’s ships. Wheat was very dear, and these sailors did not
get the best of that. Inferior corn, bad package, and old age soon
generated weevils, and the biscuit, when these were knocked out, was
often but an empty shell. Bullied by their officers, and brutally
flogged and punished for trifling faults, Jack’s life could not have
been a pleasant one; and we can hardly wonder that he often deserted,
and sometimes mutinied. Yet, whenever a fight was imminent, or did
actually occur, all bad treatment was banished from his mind, and he
fought like a Briton.

And there were many ships to man. Not only were all our dockyards hard
at work building and repairing, but prizes were continually coming in;
and the French men-of-war were better designed than ours—in fact,
it may be said that we learned, at that time, our Naval Architecture
from the prizes we took. In October, 1804, there were in commission
103 ships of the line, 24 fifty-gun vessels, 135 frigates, and 398
sloops—total 660. In March, 1806, there were 721 ships in commission,
of which 128 were of the line. On January 1, 1808, there were 795 in
commission, 144 being ships of the line. Many of these were taken
from the French, as the following exultant paragraph from the _Annual
Register_, August 19, 1808, will show:

“It must be proudly gratifying to the minds of Britons, as it must be
degradingly mortifying to the spirit of Bonaparte, to know that we
have, at this moment, in the British Navy, 68 sail of the line, prizes
taken from the enemies of this country at different periods, besides
21 ships carrying from 40 to 50 guns each, 62 ships from 30 to 40 guns
each, 15 carrying from 20 to 30 guns each, and 66 from 10 to 20 guns
each; making a total of 232 ships.”

To man these ships, &c., some 100,000 men were needful, and as they
would not come of their own will, they must be taken _vi et armis_.
Impressing men for the King’s Naval Service had always been in use
since the fourteenth century, so that it was no novelty; but it must
have been hard indeed for a sailor coming from a long voyage (and they
had long voyages in those days—no rushing three times round the world
in a twelvemonth, and time to spare), full of hope to find his wife and
children well, to be bodily seized, without even so much as landing,
and sent on board a King’s ship, to serve for an indefinite period. A
few extracts from the newspapers will show what a press was like.

_Morning Post_, January 21, 1801: “The press for seamen on the river
and on shore is warmer than was ever known in any former war.”

_Times_, March 11, 1803: “The impress service, particularly in the
Metropolis, has proved uncommonly productive in the number of excellent
seamen. The returns at the Admiralty of the seamen impressed on Tuesday
night amounted to 1,080, of whom no less than two-thirds are considered
prime hands. At Portsmouth, Portsea, Gosport, and Cowes, a general
press took place the same night. Every merchant ship in the harbours
and at Spithead, was stripped of its hands, and all the watermen deemed
fit for His Majesty’s service were carried off. Upwards of six hundred
seamen were collected in consequence of the promptitude of the measures
adopted.... Government, we understand, relies upon increasing our
naval force with ten thousand seamen, either volunteers, or impressed
men, in less than a fortnight, in consequence of the exertions which
are making in all the principal ports. Those collected on the river,
and in London, will be instantly conveyed to Chatham, Sheerness, and
Portsmouth. Several frigates and gun brigs have sailed for the islands
of Jersey and Guernsey with impress warrants.”

_Times_, May 9, 1803: “On Sunday afternoon two gallies, each having
an officer and press-gang in it, in endeavouring to impress some
persons at Hungerford Stairs, were resisted by a party of coal-heavers
belonging to a wharf adjoining, who assailed them with coals and
glass-bottles; several of the gang were cut in a most shocking manner,
on their heads and legs, and a woman who happened to be in a wherry,
was wounded in so dreadful a manner, that it is feared she will not
survive.... The impress on Saturday, both above and below Bridge, was
the hottest that has been for some time; the boats belonging to the
ships at Deptford were particularly active, and it is supposed they
obtained upwards of two hundred men, who were regulated (_sic_) on
board the _Enterprize_ till late at night, and sent in the different
tenders to the Nore, to be put on board such ships whose crews are not
completed.... The impressed men, for whom there was not room on board
the _Enterprize_, on Saturday were put into the Tower, and the gates
shut, to prevent any of them effecting their escape.”

_Morning Herald_, December 11, 1804: “A very smart press took place
yesterday morning upon the river, and the west part of the town. A
great many useful hands were picked up.”

_Morning Post_, May 8, 1805: “The embargo to which we alluded in our
Paper of Monday has taken place. At two o’clock yesterday afternoon,
orders for that purpose were issued at the Custom House, and upwards of
a thousand able seamen are said to have been already procured for the
Navy, from on board the ships in the river.”

_Morning Post_, April 11, 1808: “On Saturday the hottest press ever
known took place on the Thames, when an unprecedented number of able
seamen were procured for His Majesty’s service. A flotilla of small
smacks was surrounded by one of the gangs, and the whole of the hands,
amounting to upwards of a hundred, were carried off.”

These raids on seamen were not always conducted on “rose-water”
principles, and the slightest resistance met with a cracked crown, or
worse. Witness a case tried at the Kingston Assizes, March 22, 1800,
where John Salmon, a midshipman in His Majesty’s navy, was indicted
for the wilful murder of William Jones. The facts of the case were
as follow. The prisoner was an officer on board His Majesty’s ship
_Dromedary_, lying in the Thames off Deptford. He and his lieutenant,
William Wright (who was charged with being present, and assisting),
went on shore on the night of the 19th of February, with nine of the
crew, on the impress service; Wright had a pistol, Salmon a dirk, one
of the sailors a hanger, and the rest were unarmed. After waiting some
time in search of prey, the deceased, and one Brown, accompanied by
two women, passed by; they were instantly seized upon, and carried
to a public-house, from whence they endeavoured to effect their
escape; a scuffle ensued, in the course of which the deceased called
out he had been pricked. At this time three men had hold of him—a
sufficient proof that he was overpowered—and whoever wounded him, most
probably did so with _malice prepense_. The poor fellow was taken,
in this state, to a boat, and thence on board a ship, where, for a
considerable time, he received no medical assistance. The women, who
were with him, accompanied him to the boat, and he told them that the
midshipman had wounded him, and that he was bleeding to death; that
every time he fetched his breath, he felt the air rushing in at the
wound. He was afterwards taken to the hospital, and there, in the face
of death, declared he had been murdered by the midshipman. The case
was thoroughly proved as to the facts, but the prisoner was acquitted
of the capital charge of murder, and I do not know whether he was ever
prosecuted for manslaughter.

Men thus obtained, could scarcely be expected to be contented with
their lot, and, therefore, we are not surprised to hear of more than
one mutiny—the marvel is there were so few. Of course, they are not
pleasant episodes in history, but they have to be written about.

The first in this decade (for the famous mutiny at the Nore occurred in
the previous century), was that on board the _Danäe_, 20 guns, Captain
Lord Proby. It is difficult to accurately ascertain the date, for it is
variously given in different accounts, as March 16th, 17th, and 27th,
1800; but, at all events, in that month the _Danäe_ was cruising off
the coast of France, with some thirty of her crew, and officers, absent
in prizes, and having on board some Frenchmen who had been captured
on board the privateer _Bordelais_, and had subsequently entered the
English service. On board was one Jackson (who had been secretary to
Parker, the ringleader of the Nore Mutiny in 1798), who had been tried
for participation in that mutiny and acquitted, since when, he had
borne a good character, refusing the rank of petty officer which had
been offered to him, giving as a reason, that being an impressed man,
he held himself at liberty to make his escape whenever he had a chance,
whereas, if he took rank, he should consider himself a volunteer.

With him as a ringleader, and a crew probably containing some fellow
sufferers, and the Frenchmen, who would certainly join, on board,
things were ripe for what followed. The ship was suddenly seized, and
the officers overpowered, Lord Proby and the master being seriously
wounded. The mutineers then set all sail, and steered for Brest
Harbour, and on reaching Camaret Bay, they were boarded by a lieutenant
of _La Colombe_, who asked Lord Proby to whom he surrendered. He
replied, to the French nation, but not to the mutineers. _La Colombe_
and the _Danäe_ then sailed for Brest, being chased by the _Anson_ and
_Boadicæa_, and would, in all probability, have been captured, had not
false signals been made by the _Danäe_ that she was in chase. Lord
Proby had previously thrown the private code of signals out of his
cabin window. They were all confined in Dinan prison.

The _Hermione_, also, was carried over to the enemy by a mutinous crew;
but in October, 1800, was cut out of Porto Cavello, after a gallant
resistance, by the boat’s crew of the _Surprise_, Captain Hamilton,
and brought in triumph to Port Royal, Jamaica. On this occasion
justice overtook two of the mutineers, who were hanged on the 14th of
August—one in Portsmouth Harbour, the other at Spithead. Another of
the mutineers, one David Forester, was afterwards caught and executed,
and, before he died, he confessed (_Annual Register_, April 19, 1802),
“That he went into the cabin, and forced Captain Pigot overboard,
through the port, while he was alive. He then got on the quarter deck,
and found the first lieutenant begging for his life, saying he had a
wife and three children depending on him for support; he took hold of
him, and assisted in heaving him overboard alive, and declared he did
not think he would have taken his life had he not first took hold of
him. A cry was then heard through the ship that Lieutenant Douglas
could not be found: he took a lantern and candle, and went into the
gun-room, and found the Lieutenant under the marine officer’s cabin. He
called in the rest of the people, when they dragged him on deck, and
threw him overboard. He next caught hold of Mr. Smith, a midshipman; a
scuffle ensued, and, finding him likely to get away, he struck him with
his tomahawk, and threw him overboard. The next cry was for putting all
the officers to death, that they might not appear as evidence against
them, and he seized on the Captain’s Clerk, who was immediately put to

I have to chronicle yet one more mutiny, happily not so tragical as the
last, but ending in fearful punishment to the mutineers. It occurred
principally on board the _Temeraire_ then in Bantry Bay, but pervaded
the squadron; and the culprits were tried early in January, 1802,
by a court martial at Portsmouth, for “using mutinous and seditious
words, and taking an active part in mutinous and seditious assemblies.”
Nineteen were found guilty, twelve sentenced to death, and ten,
certainly, hanged.

There seems to have been no grumble about their pay, or food, or
accommodation—a sea life was looked upon as a hard one, and accepted
as such. The officers, at all events, did not get paid too well, for we
read in the _Morning Post_, October 19, 1801: “We understand the Post
Captains in the Navy are to have eight shillings a day instead of six.
And it is supposed that Lieutenants will be advanced to four shillings
instead of three.” They occasionally got a haul in prize money—like
the _Lively_, which in August, 1805, was awarded the sum of £200,000
for the capture of some Spanish frigates.[74]

Spite of everything, the naval power of England reached the highest
point it has ever attained, and no matter whatever grievances they may
have been suffering from, the sailors, from the admiral to the powder
monkey, behaved nobly in action, and, between the Navy and Army, we
had rather more prisoners of war to take care of than was agreeable.
Speaking of an exchange of prisoners, the _Morning Post_, October
15, 1810, says: “There are in France, of all kinds of prisoners and
detained persons, about 12,000; in England there are about 50,000
prisoners,” and the disproportion was so great that terms could not be
come to.




 The Army—Number of men—Dress—Hair-powder—Militia—Commissions
 easily obtained—Price of substitutes—The Volunteers—Dress of the
 Honourable and Ancient Artillery Company—Bloomsbury Volunteers, and
 Rifle Volunteers—Review at Hatfield—Grand rising of Volunteers in

IN THE year 1800, our Army consisted of between 80,000 and 90,000 men,
besides the foreign legions, such as the Bavarians, in our pay. In
1810, there were 105,000, foreigners not included.

The British soldier of that day was, outwardly, largely compounded of
a tight coat and gaiters, many buttons and straps, finished off with
hog’s lard and flour; and an excellent representation of him, in the
midst of the decade, is taken from a memorial picture of the death
of Nelson, and also from his funeral; but these latter may have been
volunteers, as they were much utilized on that occasion. Be they what
they may, both had one thing in common—the pig-tail—which was duly
soaped, or larded and floured, until flour became so scarce that its
use was first modified, and then discontinued, about 1808. Otherwise
the variety of uniforms was infinite, as now.

Of the threatened Invasion I have already treated. Of the glorious
campaigns abroad I have nothing to say, except that all did their duty,
or more, with very few blunders, if we except the Expedition to the
Scheldt. From the highest to the lowest, there was a wish to be with
the colours. Fain would the Prince of Wales have joined any regiment
of which he was colonel, on active service, and, in fact, he made
application to be allowed to do so, but met with a refusal, at which he
chafed greatly. Should any one be curious to read the “Correspondence
between His Majesty, The Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, and Mr.
Addington, respecting the Offer of Military Service made by His Royal
Highness the Prince of Wales,” it can be found in the appendix to the
chronicle of the _Annual Register_ for 1803, pp. 564, &c.

The Army was fighting our battles _abroad_, so that for the purposes of
this book, we are left only to deal with the Militia and Volunteers.
The Militia were in a state of almost permanent embodiment, except
during the lull about 1802. March, 1803, saw them once more under arms;
the Yeomanry had not been disembodied. Commissions in the Militia
seem to have been easily procurable. _Morning Post_, December 3,
1800: “MILITIA ENSIGNCY. A young Gentleman of respectability can be
introduced to an Ensigncy in the Militia, direct,” &c. _Times_, July
2, 1803: “An Adjutancy of English Militia to be sold,” &c. Substitutes
could be bought, but at fluctuating prices, according to the chance of
active service being required. When first called out in 1803, one could
be got for £10; but the _Times_, September 15, 1803, in its Brighton
news, says: “The price of substitutes now is as high as forty guineas,
and this tempting boon, added to the stimulus of patriotism, has
changed the occupation of many a Sussex swain.” The _Annual Register_,
October 15, 1803, says: “Sixty pounds was last week paid at Plymouth
for a substitute for the Militia. One man went, on condition of
receiving 1s. per day during the war, and another sold himself for 7s.
3d. per lb.”

[Illustration: BRITISH SOLDIER—1805.]

[Illustration: SOLDIERS—1806.]


[Illustration: HON. ARTILLERY COMPANY—1803.]

[Illustration: VOLUNTEER RIFLE CORPS—1803.]


The Volunteer movement has been glanced at when treating of the
threatened Invasion of 1803. There had, in the previous century, been
a grand Volunteer force called into existence, but nothing like the
magnificent general uprising that took place in 1803. Their uniforms,
and accoutrements, nearly approached the regulars, as ours do now;
but there was much more scope for individual fancy. The Honourable
and Ancient Artillery Company wore a blue uniform, with scarlet and
gold facings, pipe-clayed belts, and black gaiters. The Bloomsbury,
and Inns of Court Volunteers dressed in scarlet, with yellow facings,
white waistcoat and breeches, and black gaiters, whilst the Rifles were
wholly clad in dark green.

The whole of the old Volunteers of 1798 did not disband; some old
corps still kept on. On June 18, 1800, the King, accompanied by his
family, the Ministers, &c., went to Hatfield, the seat of the Marquis
of Salisbury, and there reviewed the Volunteers and Militia, to the
number of 1,500, all of whom the Marquis most hospitably dined. Of this
dinner I give a contemporary account, as it gives us a good insight
into the fare of a public entertainment, especially one given by a
nobleman, in honour of his sovereign and country: “80 hams, and as many
rounds of beef; 100 joints of veal; 100 legs of lamb; 100 tongues; 100
meat pies; 25 rumps of beef roasted; 100 joints of mutton; 25 briskets;
25 edge bones of beef; 71 dishes of other roast beef; 100 gooseberry
pies: besides very sumptuous covers at the tables of the King, the
Cabinet Ministers, &c. For the country people, there were killed at
the Salisbury Arms, 3 bullocks, 16 sheep, and 25 lambs. The expense is
estimated at £3,000.”

There was a grand Volunteer Review on July 22, 1801, of nearly 5,000
men, by the Prince of Wales, supported by his two brothers, the Dukes
of York and Kent, some 30,000 people being present.

But the moment invasion was threatened, there sprang, from the ground,
armed men. A new levy of 50,000 regulars was raised, and the Volunteers
responded to the call for men in larger numbers than they did in
1859-60. In 1804, the “List of such Yeomanry and Volunteer Corps as
have been accepted and placed on the Establishment in Great Britain,”
gives a total of 379,943 officers and men (effective rank and file
341,687), whilst Ireland furnished, besides 82,241 officers and men,
a grand total of 462,184, against which we can but show some 214,000,
less about 5,000 non-efficients, with a much larger population.




 Volunteer Regulations—The Brunswick Rifle—“Brown Bess”—Volunteer
 shooting—Amount subscribed to Patriotic Fund—Mr. Miller’s patriotic

THE VOLUNTEERS were a useful body. They served as police, and were
duly drummed to church on the National Fast and Thanksgiving days, to
represent the national party; and, as I do not know whether the terms
under which they were called into being, are generally known, I venture
to transcribe them, even though they be at some length. _Times_,
September 30, 1803:

  for the
  accepted subsequently to August 3, 1803.

  _War Office_, September 3, 1803.

“A Regiment to consist of not more than 12 Companies, nor less than 8

“A Battallion to consist of not more than 7 Companies, nor less than 4

“A Corps to consist of not less than 3 Companies.

“Companies to consist of not less than 60, nor more than 120 Privates.

“To each Company 1 Captain, 1 Lieutenant, 1 Second Lieutenant or Ensign.

“_It is, however, to be understood that where the establishment of any
Companies has already been fixed at a lower number by Government, it is
to remain unaltered by the Regulation._

“Companies of 90 Privates and upwards to have 2 Lieutenants and 1
Second Lieutenant or Ensign; or 3 Lieutenants, if a Grenadier or Light
Infantry Company.

“Regiments consisting of 1,000 Privates to have 1 Lieut.-Col.
Commandant, 2 Lieut.-Colonels, and 2 Majors.

“No higher rank than that of Lieut.-Col. Commandant to be given, unless
where persons have, already, borne high rank in His Majesty’s forces.

“Regiments of not less than 800 Privates, to have 1 Lieut.-Col.
Commandant, 1 Lieut.-Colonel, and 2 Majors.

“Regiments of not more than 480 Privates to have 1 Lieut.-Col.
Commandant, 1 Lieut.-Colonel, and 1 Major.

“Battalions of less than 480 Privates to have 1 Lieut.-Colonel, and 1

“Corps consisting of 3 Companies, to have 1 Major Commandant, and no
other Field Officer.

“Every Regiment of 8 Companies, or more, may have 1 Company of
Grenadiers, and 1 Company of Light Infantry, each of which to have 2
Lieutenants instead of 1 Lieutenant, and 1 Second Lieutenant or Ensign.

“Every Battalion of 7 Companies, and not less than 4, may have 1
Company of Grenadiers, or 1 Company of Light Infantry, which Company
may have 2 Lieutenants instead of 1, and 1 Second Lieutenant or Ensign.

“One Serjeant and 1 Corporal to every 20 Privates.

“One Drummer to every Company, when not called out into actual service.

“Two Drummers when called out.


“An Adjutant, Surgeon, Quarter-Master, and Serjeant-Major, may be
allowed on the establishment of Corps of sufficient strength, as
directed by the Militia Laws; but neither the said Staff Officers,
nor any other Commissioned Officer, will have any pay or allowance
whatever, except in the following cases, viz.:

“If a Corps, or any part thereof, shall be called upon to act in cases
of riot or disturbance, the charge of constant pay may be made for such
services, for all the effective Officers and Men employed on such duty,
at the following rates, the same being supported by a Certificate from
His Majesty’s Lieutenant, or the Sheriff of the County; but, if called
out in case of actual invasion, the corps is to be paid and disciplined
in all respects, as the regular Infantry; the Artillery Companies
excepted, which are then to be paid as the Royal Artillery.

            _Per diem._                                  _s._  _d._

  Field Officer or Captain of a Company                 9   5
  Lieutenant                                            5   8
  Second Lieutenant or Ensign                           4   8
  Adjutant                                              8   0
  Quarter-Master                                        5   8
  Surgeon                                              10   0
  Serjeant-Major, and 2s. 6d. per week in addition      1   6
  Serjeant                                              1   6
  Corporal                                              1   2
  Drummer                                               1   0
  Private                                               1   0

“The only instances in which pay will be allowed, by Government, for
any individual of the Corps when not so called out, are those of an
Adjutant and Serjeant-Major, for whom pay will be granted at the rates
following: Adjutant 6s. a day, Serjeant-Major 1s. 6d. per diem, and 2s.
6d. per week—in addition, if authorized by His Majesty’s Secretary
of State, in consequence of a particular application from the Lord
Lieutenant of the County, founded upon the necessity of the case; but
this indulgence cannot be allowed under any circumstances unless the
Corps to which the Adjutant may belong, shall consist of not less than
500 effective rank and file, and he shall have served at least five
years as a Commissioned Officer in the Regulars, embodied Militia,
Fencibles, or East India Company’s Service; and, unless the Corps to
which the Serjeant-Major may belong, shall consist of not less than 200
effective rank and file, and he shall have served at least three years
in some of His Majesty’s forces.

“Drill Serjeants of Companies are to be paid by the Parishes to which
their respective Companies belong, as is provided in the 43rd Geo. III.
cap. 120. sec. 11, and no charge to be made for them in the accounts to
be transmitted to the War Office.

“Pay at the rate of one shilling per man per day for twenty
days’ exercise within the year to the effective Non-commissioned
Officers—(not being Drill Serjeants paid by the Parish) Drummers and
Privates of the Corps, agreeably to their terms of service. No pay can
be allowed for any man who shall not have attended for the complete
period of twenty days.

“When a charge of constant pay is made for an Adjutant, or
Serjeant-Major, his former services must be particularly stated in the
pay list wherein the first charge is made.

“The allowance for clothing is twenty shillings per man, once in three
years, to the effective non-commissioned officers, drummers, and
privates of the Corps.

“The necessary pay lists will be sent from the War Office, addressed
to the several Commandants, who will take care that the Certificates
be regularly signed whenever the twenty days’ exercise shall have
been completed, and the clothing actually furnished to the man. The
allowance for the twenty days’ exercise may be drawn for immediately,
and that for clothing, in one month from the receipt of such pay lists
at the War Office, by bills, signed by the several Commandants, at
thirty days’ sight, upon the general agent: unless any objection to the
latter charges shall be signified officially to the said Commandant in
the meantime.

“The whole to be clothed in red, with the exception of the Corps of
Artillery, which may have blue clothing, and Rifle Corps, which may
have green, with black belts.

“Serjeant-Major receiving constant pay and Drill Serjeants paid by the
parish, to be attested, and to be subject to military law, as under 43
Geo. III. cap. 121.

“All applications for arms and accoutrements should be made through the
Lord Lieutenant of the County, directly to the Board of Ordnance, and
all applications for ammunition, for exercise, or practice, should be
made through the inspecting Field Officers of Yeomanry and Volunteers
to the Board of Ordnance annually. Ammunition for service should be
drawn through the medium of the inspecting Field Officer, from the
depôt under the orders of the General Officer of the District.

“The arms furnished by the Board of Ordnance to Corps of Volunteer
Infantry are as follows: Musquets, complete with accoutrements;
drummer’s swords; drums with sticks; spears for serjeants.

“The articles furnished to Volunteer Artillery by the Board of
Ordnance, are pikes, drummer’s swords, and drums with sticks.

“Spears are allowed for Serjeants, and pikes to any extent for accepted
men not otherwise armed.

“The following allowances, in lieu of accoutrements, &c., when
required, may be obtained on application by the Commandant of the Corps
to the Board of Ordnance: 10s. 6d. per set in lieu of accoutrements;
3s. each drummer’s sword belt; 2s. each drum carriage.

“Such Corps as have offered to serve free of expense, and have been
accepted on those terms, can claim no allowance under these heads of

“Every Officer, Non-commissioned Officer, Corporal, Drummer, and
Private Man, to take the oath of allegiance and fidelity to His
Majesty, his heirs and successors.

“If the Commandant of a Corps should at any time desire an augmentation
in the establishment thereof, or alteration in the title of the Corps,
or the names, or dates of commissions of the officers, the same must be
transmitted through the Lord Lieutenant of the County, in order to the
amendment being submitted to His Majesty.

“All effective Members of Volunteer Corps and Companies accepted by
His Majesty, are entitled to the exemptions from ballot allowed by 42
Geo. III. cap. 66, and Geo. III. cap. 121, provided that such persons
are regularly returned in the muster rolls to be sent in to the Lord
Lieutenant, or Clerk of the General Meetings of his County, _at the
times_, _in the manner_, and certified upon honour by the Commandant,
_in the form_ prescribed by those Acts, and schedules thereto annexed.

“The Monthly Returns should be transmitted to the Inspecting Field
Officer appointed to superintend the District in which the Corps is
situated, and to the Secretary of State for the Home Department.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus, we see that the regulations for the Volunteers were very similar
to what they are now.

Of course the arms served out to them were, to our modern ideas,
beneath contempt. There were a few Rifle Corps, who were armed with
what was then called the Brunswick Rifle. It was short, because the
barrel was very thick and heavy. The rifling was poly-grooved, the
bullet spherical, and somewhat larger than the bore, so that when
wrapped in a greased linen patch (carried in a box, or trap, in the
butt of the gun) it required a mallet applied to the ramrod—to drive
the bullet home—and fill up the grooves of the rifling. Of course it
was a far superior weapon to the musket, or “Brown Bess”[75]—which
was not calculated even to “hit a haystack” at thirty yards. The
_Morning Post_, July 24, 1810, thus speaks of the shooting of a Corps:
“The Hampstead Volunteers fired at a target yesterday on the Heath.
Many excellent shots were fired, and some nearly entered ‘the Bull’s

They were always holding Volunteer reviews, and having Volunteer
dinners, and Volunteers, generally, were raised to the rank, at least,
of demigods—they were the saviours of their country. Never was there
such bravery as that of these fire-eaters: and, if _Boney_ dared
show his nose on English soil—why—every British Volunteer would,
individually, capture him! Volunteering even made them moral, and
religious—_teste_ the _Times_, September 3, 1803: “Since the formation
of Volunteer Corps, the very manners of many have taken a more moral
turn: public-houses are deserted for the drill, our churches are better
frequented, profane swearing is banished, every man looks to his
character, respects the Corps in which he is enrolled, and is cautious
in all he says or does, lest he should disgrace the name of a _British

There was a large Patriotic Fund got up, which on December 31, 1803,
amounted in _Consols_ to £21,000, and in _Money_, to £153,982 5s. 7d.,
and it must be remembered that the taxes were very heavy. But there
is an individual case of patriotism I cannot help chronicling, it is
so typical of the predominant feeling of that time, that a man, and
his goods, belonged to his country, and should be at his country’s
disposal. _Times_, September 6, 1803: “A Mr. Miller,[76] of Dalswinton,
in Scotland, has written a letter to the Deputy Lieutenants of the
County wherein he resides, in which he says: ‘I wish to insure my
property, my share in the British Constitution, my family, myself, and
my religion, against the French Invasion. As a premium, I offer to
clothe and arm with pikes one hundred Volunteers, to be raised in this,
or any of the neighbouring parishes, and to furnish them with three
light field pieces ready for service. This way of arming, I consider
superior with infantry, whether for attack or defence, to that now
in use; but as to this, Government must determine. I am too old and
infirm to march with these men, but I desire my eldest son to do so.
He was ten years a soldier in the Foot and Horse service. In case of
an invasion, I will be ready to furnish, when requested, 20 horses, 16
carts, and 16 drivers; and Government may command all my crops of hay,
straw, and grain, which I estimate at 16,700 stones of hay, 14 lbs.
to the stone, 14,000 bushels of pease, 5,000 bushels of oats, 3,080
bushels of barley.’”




 The Clarke Scandal—Biography of Mrs. Clarke—Her levées—Her
 scale of prices for preferments—Commission of the House of
 Commons—Exculpation of the Duke of York—His resignation—Open sale
 of places—Caution thereon—Duels—That between Colonel Montgomery and
 Captain Macnamara.

IT WOULD be utterly impossible, whilst writing of things military, of
this part of the century, to ignore the Clarke Scandal—it is a portion
of the history of the times.

Mrs. Mary Ann Clarke was of humble parentage, of a lively and
sprightly temperament, and of decidedly lax morality. She had married
a stonemason named Clarke, who became bankrupt; she, however, cleaved
to him and his altered fortunes, until his scandalous mode of living
induced her to separate from him, and seek a livelihood as best she
might. Her personal attractions, and lively disposition, soon attracted
men’s notice, and after some time she went upon the stage, where she
essayed the _rôle_ of Portia. There must have been some fascination
about her, for each of her various lovers rose higher in the social
scale, until, at last, she became the mistress of the Duke of York, and
was installed in a mansion in Gloucester Place. Here the establishment
consisted of upwards of twenty servants. The furniture is described as
having been most magnificent. The pier glasses cost from 400 to 500
pounds each, and her wine glasses, which cost upwards of two guineas
apiece, sold afterwards, by public auction, for a guinea each.

[Illustration: MRS. CLARKE.]

She kept two carriages, and from eight to ten horses, and had an
elegant mansion at Weybridge, the dimensions of which may be guessed,
by the fact that the oil cloth for the hall cost fifty pounds. The
furniture of the kitchen at Gloucester Place cost upwards of two
thousand pounds.

[Illustration: MRS. CLARKE’S LEVÉE.[77]]

These things swallowed up a great deal of money, and, although the
Duke had a fine income, yet he had the capacity for spending it; nor
only so—could contract debts with great facility, so that the money
which he nominally allowed Mrs. Clarke (for it was not always paid),
was insufficient to provide for such extravagance, and other means had
to be found. This was done by her using the influence she possessed
over the Duke, and getting him to grant commissions in the army, for
which the recipients paid Mrs. Clarke a lower price than the regulation
scale. The satirical prints relating to her are most numerous. I only
reproduce two. Her levée was supposed not only to be attended by
military men, but by the clergy; and it was alleged that applications
had been made through her both for a bishopric, and a deanery, and that
she had procured for Dr. O’Meara, the privilege of preaching before
Royalty. But it was chiefly in the sale of army commissions that she
dealt, thus causing young officers to be promoted “over the heads” of
veterans. Certainly her scale of prices, compared with those of the
regulation, were very tempting, resulting in a great saving to the
recipient of the commission.

                  MRS. CLARKE’S PRICE.      REGULATION PRICE.

  A Majority              £900               £2,600
  A Captaincy              700                1,500
  A Lieutenancy            400                  550
  An Ensigncy              200                  400


I have no wish to go into the minute details of this scandal, but on
January 27, 1809, G. Lloyd Wardell,[78] Esq., M.P. for Oakhampton,
began his indictment of the Duke of York, in this matter, before the
House of Commons; and he showed that every sale effected through Mrs.
Clarke’s means, was a robbery of the Half Pay Fund, and he asked for a
Parliamentary Committee to investigate the affair; this was granted,
and Mrs. Clarke, and very numerous witnesses were examined. The
lady was perfectly self-possessed, and able to take care of herself;
and the evidence, all through, was most damaging to the Duke. Mrs.
Clarke is thus described in the _Morning Post_ of Friday, February 3,
1809: “Mrs. Clarke, when she appeared before the House of Commons, on
Wednesday, was dressed as if she had been going to an evening party,
in a light blue silk gown and coat, edged with white fur, and a white
muff. On her head she wore a white cap, or veil, which at no time was
let down over her face. In size she is rather small, and does not
seem to be particularly well made. She has a fair, smooth skin, and
lively blue eyes, but her features are not handsome. Her nose is rather
short and turning up, and her teeth are very indifferent; yet she has
the appearance of great vivacity of manners, but is said not to be a
well-bred or accomplished woman. She appears to be about thirty-five
years of age.”


The Duke took the extraordinary course of writing a letter to the
Speaker of the House of Commons, whilst the matter was _sub judice_, in
which he asserted his innocence; and, foreseeing what was to follow,
gave out that for the future he meant to be a very good boy, and that
he would retrench in his expenditure, in order to attempt to liquidate
his debts.

The House eventually found that there was nothing in the evidence to
prove personal corruption, or criminal connivance on the part of His
Royal Highness; but, although thus partially whitewashed, the public
opinion against him was too strong, and he placed his resignation, as
Commander in Chief, in the King’s hands.

Places were openly bought and sold, although it was known to be
illegal, such advertisements as the following being common—_Morning
Post_, June 14, 1800:


 “A YOUNG MAN of good Connections, well educated in writing and
 accounts, and can find security, wishes for a Clerkship in any of the
 Public Offices. Any Lady or Gentleman having interest to procure such
 a situation, will be presented with the full value of the place. The
 greatest secrecy and honour will be observed.”

So common were they, that it was found necessary to issue notices on
the subject. Here is one:

  “_Custom House, London, December 7, 1802._

 “WHEREAS Advertisements have, at different times, appeared in the
 Newspapers, offering Sums of Money for the procuring of Places, or
 Situations, in the Customs, inserted either by persons not aware
 of the serious consequences which attach upon transactions of this
 nature, or by persons of a different description, with a view to
 delude the ignorant, and unwary: The Commissioners of His Majesty’s
 Customs think it necessary to have it generally made known that, in
 addition to the punishment which the Common Law would inflict upon
 the offence of bribing, or attempting to bribe, any person entrusted
 with the disposal of any Office, the Statute passed in the fifth and
 sixth year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth, inflicts the penalty
 of incapacity to hold such office in the person purchasing, and the
 forfeiture of office in the person selling; and that in case any
 such place or situation, either shall have been, or shall hereafter
 be procured, or obtained, by such Corrupt means, they are determined
 to enforce the penalties of the Law, and to prosecute the offenders
 with the utmost severity. And they do hereby promise a Reward of One
 Hundred Pounds, to any person or persons who will give information and
 satisfactory proof, of any place or situation in the Customs being
 so obtained, so that the parties concerned therein may be proceeded
 against accordingly.”

Duels were most frequent, so much so, as not to excite any interest
in the student of history of that time, for it is difficult to pick
up a newspaper and not find one recorded. The reasons are not always
given, but it did not take much to get up a duel; any excuse would
serve. As an example, let us take the duel between Colonel Montgomery,
and Captain Macnamara, at Chalk Farm (April, 1803) in which the former
was killed, and the latter wounded. Lord Burghersh, in giving evidence
before the coroner’s jury, said: “On coming out of St. James’s Park
on Wednesday afternoon, he saw a number of horsemen, and Colonel
Montgomery among them; he rode up to him; at that time, he was about
twenty yards from the railing next to Hyde Park Gate. On one side of
Colonel Montgomery was a gentleman on horseback, whom he believed was
Captain Macnamara. The first words he heard were uttered by Colonel
Montgomery, who said: ‘Well, Sir, and I will repeat what I said,
if your dog attacks mine, I will knock him down.’ To this, Captain
Macnamara replied, ‘Well, Sir, but I conceive the language you hold is
arrogant, and not to be pardoned.’ Colonel Montgomery said: ‘This is
not a proper place to argue the matter; if you feel yourself injured,
and wish for satisfaction, you know where to find me.’” And so these
two poor fools met, and one was killed—all because two dogs fought,
and their masters could not keep their temper!




 Police—Dr. Colquhoun’s book—The old Watchmen—Their inadequacy
 admitted—Description of them—Constables—“First new mode of
 robbing in 1800”—Robbery in the House of Lords—Whipping—Severe
 sentence—The Stocks—The Pillory—Severe punishment—Another instance.

THE POLICE authorities very seldom attempted to interfere with these
duels; indeed, practically there was no police. There were some men
attached to the different police courts, and there were the parochial
constables with their watchmen; but, according to our ideas, they were
the merest apology for a police. Indeed, our grandfathers thought so
themselves, and Dr. Colquhoun wrote a book upon the inefficiency of
the police, which made a great stir. It was felt that some better
protection was needed, as may be seen from two contemporary accounts:
“Two things in London that fill the mind of the intelligent observer
with the most delight, are the slight restraints of the police, and the
general good order. A few old men armed with a staff, a rattle, and
a lantern, called watchmen, are the only guard throughout the night
against depredation; and a few magistrates and police officers the only
persons whose employment it is to detect and punish depredators; yet
we venture to assert that no city, in proportion to its trade, luxury,
and population, is so free from danger, or from depredations, open or
concealed, on property.”

[Illustration: WATCHMEN GOING ON DUTY—1808.]

“The streets of London are better paved, and better lighted than those
of any metropolis in Europe; we have fewer street robberies, and
scarcely ever a midnight assassination. Yet it is singular, where the
police is so ably regulated, that the watchmen, our guardians of the
night, are, generally, old decrepit men, who have scarcely strength
to use the alarum which is their signal of distress in cases of

[Illustration: WATCH-HOUSE. MARYLEBONE—1808.]

Thus we see that even contemporaries were not enthusiastic over their
protectors; and a glance at the two accompanying illustrations fully
justify their opinion. “The Microcosm of London,” from which they are
taken, says: “The watch is a parochial establishment supported by a
parochial rate, and subject to the jurisdiction of the magistrates: it
is necessary to the peace and security of the Metropolis, and is of
considerable utility: but that it might be rendered much more useful,
cannot be denied. That the watch should consist of able-bodied men,
is, we presume, essential to the complete design of its institution,
as it forms a part of its legal description: but that the watchmen are
persons of this character, experience will not vouch; and why they
are so frequently chosen from among the aged, and incapable, must be
answered by those who make the choice. In the early part of the last
century, an halbert was their weapon; it was then changed into a long
staff; but the great coat and the lantern are now accompanied with more
advantageous implements of duty—a bludgeon, and a rattle. It is almost
superfluous to add, that the watch-house is a place where the appointed
watchmen assemble to be accoutred for their nocturnal rounds, under
the direction of a Constable, whose duty, being taken by rotation,
enjoys the title of Constable of the night. It is also the receptacle
for such unfortunate persons as are apprehended by the watch, and where
they remain in custody till they can be conducted to the tribunal of a
police office, for the examination of the magistrate.

[Illustration: CONSTABLES—1805.]

The following little anecdote further illustrates the inefficiency
of these guardians of the peace—_Morning Herald_, October 30, 1802:
“It is said that a man who presented himself for the office of
watchman to a parish at the West-end of the town, very much infested
by depredators, was lately turned away from the vestry with this
reprimand: ‘I am astonished at the impudence of such a great, _sturdy_,
_strong_ fellow as you, being so _idle_ as to apply for a _Watchman’s_
situation, when you are capable of labour!’”

Part of their duty was to go their rounds once every hour, calling out
the time, and the state of the weather, and this was done to insure
their watchfulness, but it must also have given warning to thieves.
This duty done, they retired to a somewhat roomy sentry box, where,
should they fall asleep, it was a favourite trick of the mad wags
of the town to overturn them face downwards. Being old and infirm,
they naturally became the butts and prey of the bucks, and bloods, in
their nocturnal rambles; but such injuries as they received, either to
their dignity, or persons were generally compounded for by a pecuniary

The Constable, was a superior being, he was the _Dogberry_, and was
armed with a long staff.

Crime then was very much what it is now; there is very little new under
the sun in wickedness—still, the _Morning Post_ of February 3, 1800,
has the


 in 1800.

 “A few days past, a man entered a little public-house, near Kingston,
 called for a pint of ale, drank it, and, whilst his host was away,
 put the pot in his pocket, and, without even paying for the beer,
 withdrew. The landlord, returning, two other men, who were in the
 room, asked him whether he knew the person who had just left the
 house? ‘No,’ he replied. ‘Did he pay for the ale?’ said they. ‘No,’
 answered the other. ‘Why, d—n him,’ cried one of the guests, ‘he put
 the pot in his pocket.’ ‘The devil, he did!’ exclaimed the host, ‘I
 will soon be after him.’

 “Saying this, he ran to the door, and the two men with him. ‘There,
 there, he’s going round the corner now!’ said one, pointing. Upon
 which the landlord immediately set off, and, cutting across a field,
 quickly came up to him. ‘Holloa! my friend,’ said he, ‘you forgot to
 pay for your beer.’ ‘Yes,’ replied the other, ‘I know that!’ ‘And,
 perhaps you know, too,’ added the host, ‘that you took away the pot?
 Come, come, I must have that back again, at any rate.’ ‘Well, well,’
 said the man, and put his hand into his pocket, as if about to return
 the pot; but, instead of that, he produced a pistol, and robbed the
 ale-house keeper of his watch and money.

 “This might seem calamity enough for the poor man; but, to fill up his
 cup of misfortune to the brim, he found, on reaching his home, that
 the two he had left behind, had, during his absence, plundered his
 till, stolen his silver spoons, and decamped.”

One of the most audacious robberies of those ten years, was one which
took place on September 21, 1801, when the House of Lords was robbed
of all the gold lace, and the ornaments of the throne, the King’s arms
excepted, were stripped, and carried away. Nor was the thief ever found.

For minor offences the punishments were, Whipping, the Stocks, and the
Pillory; for graver ones, Imprisonment, Transportation, and DEATH.

As a specimen of the offence for which Whipping was prescribed, and
the whipping itself, take the following—_Morning Post_, November 4,
1800: “This day, being hay-market day at Whitechapel, John Butler,
pursuant to his sentence at the last General Quarter Sessions, held at
Clerkenwell, is to be publicly whipped from Whitechapel Bars, to the
further end of Mile End, Town, the distance of two miles, for having
received several trusses of hay, knowing them to have been stolen, and
for which he gave an inferior price.”

The Stocks were only for pitiful rogues and vagabonds, and for very
minor offences; but the Pillory, when the criminals were well known,
and the crime an heinous one, must have been a very severe punishment;
for, setting aside the acute sense of shame which such publicity must
have awoke in any heart not absolutely callous, the physical pain, if
the mob was ill-tempered, must have been great. As a proof, I will give
two instances.

The first is from the _Morning Herald_, January 28, 1804: “The
enormity of Thomas Scott’s offence, in endeavouring to accuse Capt.
Kennah, a respectable officer, together with his servant, of robbery,
having attracted much public notice, his conviction, that followed
the attempt, could not but be gratifying to all lovers of justice.
Yesterday, the culprit underwent a part of his punishment; he was
placed in the pillory, at Charing Cross, for one hour. On his first
appearance, he was greeted by a large mob, with a discharge of _small
shot_, such as _rotten eggs_, _filth_, and _dirt_ from the streets,
which was followed up by dead cats, rats, &c., which had been collected
in the vicinity of the Metropolis by the boys in the morning. When he
was taken away to Cold Bath Fields, to which place he is sentenced for
twelve months, the mob broke the windows of the coach, _and would have
proceeded to violence_[79] had the Police Officers not been at hand.”


The other is taken from the _Annual Register_, September 27, 1810:
“Cooke, the publican of the Swan, in Vere Street, Clare Market, and
five others of the eleven miscreants convicted of detestable practices,
stood in the pillory in the Haymarket, opposite to Panton Street. Such
was the degree of popular indignation excited against these wretches,
and such the general eagerness to witness their punishment that by ten
in the morning, all the windows and even the roofs of the houses were
crowded with persons of both sexes; and every coach, waggon, hay-cart,
dray, and other vehicle which blocked up great part of the streets,
were crowded with spectators.

[Illustration: THE PILLORY.]

“The Sheriffs, attended by the two City marshals, with an immense
number of constables, accompanied the procession of the prisoners from
Newgate, whence they set out in the transport caravan, and proceeded
through Fleet Street and the Strand; and the prisoners were hooted
and pelted the whole way by the populace. At one o’clock, four of the
culprits were fixed in the pillory, erected for, and accommodated to,
the occasion, with two additional wings, one being allotted to each
criminal. Immediately a new torrent of popular vengeance poured upon
them from all sides; blood, garbage, and ordure from the slaughter
houses, diversified with dead cats, turnips, potatoes, addled eggs, and
other missiles to the last moment.

“Two wings of the pillory were then taken off to place Cooke and
Amos in, who, although they came in only for the second course, had
no reason to complain of short allowance. The vengeance of the crowd
pursued them back to Newgate, and the caravan was filled with mud and

“No interference from the Sheriffs and police officers could restrain
the popular rage; but, notwithstanding the immensity of the multitude,
no accident of any note occurred.”




 Smuggling—An exciting smuggling adventure—The Brighton fishermen
 and the Excise—“Body-snatching”—“Benefit of Clergy”—Tyburn
 tickets—Death the penalty for many crimes—“Last dying Speech”—The
 “condemned pew” at Newgate—Horrible execution at Jersey—The new
 drop—An impenitent criminal.

THE OFFENCE of Smuggling, now all but died out, was common enough,
and people in very good positions in life thought it no harm to, at
least, indirectly participate in it. The feats of smugglers were of
such every-day occurrence, that they were seldom recorded in the
papers, unless there were some peculiar circumstances about them, such
as shooting an excise man, or the like. In one paper, however, the
_Morning Post_, September 3, 1801, there are two cases, one only of
which I shall transcribe. “A singular circumstance occurred on Tuesday
last, at King Harry Passage, Cornwall. A smuggler, with two ankers of
brandy on the horse under him, was discovered by an exciseman, also on
horseback, on the road leading to the Passage. The smuggler immediately
rode off at full speed, pursued by the officer, who pressed so close
upon him, that, after rushing down the steep hill to the Passage,
with the greatest rapidity, he plunged his horse into the water, and
attempted to gain the opposite shore. The horse had not swam half way
over, before, exhausted with fatigue, and the load on his back, he was
on the point of sinking, when the intrepid rider slid from his back,
and, with his knife, cut the slings of the ankers, and swam alongside
his horse, exerting himself to keep his head above water, but all to no
purpose; the horse was drowned, and the man, with difficulty, reached
the shore. The less mettlesome exciseman had halted on the shore, where
he surveyed the ineffectual struggle, and, afterwards, with the help of
the ferryman, got possession of the ankers.”

Sometimes it was done wholesale, see the _Morning Herald_, February
17, 1802: “Last Thursday morning, the Brighton fishermen picked up at
sea, and brought to shore, at that place, upwards of five hundred casks
of Contraband spirits, of which the Revenue officers soon got scent,
and proceeded, very actively, to unburden the fishermen. This landing
and seizing continued, with little intermission, from six to ten, to
the great amusement of upwards of two thousand people, who had became
spectators of the scene. When the officers had loaded themselves with
as many tubs as they could carry, the fishermen, in spite of their
assiduity, found means to convey away as many more, and by that means
seemed to make a pretty equal division. The above spirits, it appeared,
had been thrown overboard by the crew of a smuggling vessel, when
closely chased by a Revenue Cutter.”

We may claim that one detestable offence, then rife, is now extinct. I
allude to “Body-snatching.” It is true that anatomists had, legally, no
way of procuring subjects to practise on, other than those criminals
who had been executed, and their bodies not claimed by their friends;
but, although the instances on record are, unfortunately numerous,
I have already written of them in another book, and once is quite

Of one or two legal curiosities now extinct, I may mention “Benefit of
Clergy,” an institution established in our early history, in order to
screen a clerk, or learned man, from the consequences of his crime.
In case of felony, one had but to plead ability to read, and prove it,
and the sentence was commuted to branding the hand with a hot iron. It
was a privilege much abused, but it lingered on until 1827, when it was
abolished by the Act, 7 and 8 Geo. IV. cap. 28.

Another curious custom, now also done away with, we meet with, in
an advertisement in the _Morning Herald_, March 17, 1802: “WANTED,
one or two Tyburn Tickets, for the Parish of St. George’s, Hanover
Square. Any person or persons having the same to dispose of, may hear
of a purchaser,” &c. These tickets were granted to a prosecutor who
succeeded in getting a felon convicted, and they carried with them
the privilege of immunity from serving all parochial offices. They
were transferable by sale (but only once), and the purchaser enjoyed
its privileges. They were abolished in 1818. They had a considerable
pecuniary value, and in the year of their abolition, one was sold for

“Tyburn” reminds us of the fearful numbers sentenced to death at that
time. The law sadly wanted reformation in this respect; besides murder,
coining, forgery, &c., many minor offences were punishable with death,
although all convicted and sentenced were not executed; some being
reprieved, and punished with transportation. George III. had a great
dislike to capital punishment, and remitted the sentence to as many as
he could. Take as an example of the awful severity of the law, only one
sessions at the Old Bailey, ending September 24, 1801: “Sentence of
death was then passed upon _Thomas Fitzroy_, alias _Peter Fitzwater_,
for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of James Harris, in the
daytime, and stealing a cotton counterpane. _Wm. Cooper_ for stealing a
linen cloth, the property of George Singleton, in his dwelling-house.
_J. Davies_ for a burglary. _Richard Emms_ for breaking into the
dwelling-house of Mary Humphreys, in the daytime, and stealing a pair
of stockings. _Richard Forster_ for a burglary. _Magnus Kerner_ for a
burglary, and stealing six silver spoons. _Robert Pearce_ for returning
from transportation. _Richard Alcorn_ for stealing a horse. _John
Nowland_ and _Rd. Freke_ for burglary and stealing four tea spoons, a
gold snuff-box, &c. _John Goldfried_ for stealing a blue coat. _Joseph
Huff_, for stealing a lamb, and _John Pass_ for stealing two lambs.”


In fact, the “Tyburn tree” was kept well employed, and yet, apparently,
the punishment of death hardly acted as a deterrent. A sad, very sad
street cry, yet one I have often heard, was of these poor wretches;
true, it had been made specially to order, in Catnach’s factory for
these articles, in Monmouth Court, Seven Dials; but still it was the
announcement of another fellow-creature having been done to death.

The executions which would arise from the batch of sentences I have
just recorded, would take place at Newgate. The last person hanged at
Tyburn, having suffered, November 7, 1783, and the above illustration
shows in a peculiarly graphic manner, the _condemned sermon_, which
was preached to those about to die on the morrow. To make the service
thoroughly intelligible to them, and to impress them with the reality
of their impending fate, a coffin was set in the midst of the
“condemned pew.”


Crowds witnessed the executions, which took place in the front of
Newgate, and on one occasion, on the 23rd of February, 1807, an
accident occurred, by the breaking of the axle of a cart, whereon many
people were standing; they were not only hurt, but the crowd surged
over them, and it ended in the death of twenty-eight people, besides
injuries to many more.

We have seen, in February, 1885, a murderer reprieved, because the
drop would not act; but in the following instance, the criminal did
suffer, at all events, actual pain. It happened at Jersey, on the 11th
of May, 1807, and is thus chronicled in the _Annual Register_ for that
year: “After hanging for about a minute and a half, the executioner
suspended himself to his body; by whose additional weight the rope
extended in such a manner that the feet of the criminal touched the
ground. The executioner then pulled him sideways, in order to strangle
him; and being unable to effect this, got upon his shoulders; when, to
the no small surprise of the spectators, the criminal rose straight
upon his feet, with the hangman upon his shoulders, and loosened the
rope from his throat with his fingers. The Sheriff ordered another rope
to be prepared; but the spectators interfered, and, at length, it was
agreed to defer the execution till the will of the magistrates should
be known. It was subsequently determined that the whole case should
be transmitted to His Majesty, and the execution of the sentence was
deferred till His Majesty’s pleasure should be known.”

A platform which suddenly disappeared from under the criminal seems
to have been invented in 1807, for we read under 27th of July of that
year, that John Robinson was executed at York “on the new drop,” but
something of the same kind had certainly been used in 1805.

As a rule, the poor creatures died creditably; but there is one case
to the contrary, which is mentioned in the _European Magazine_, vol.
xlvii. pp. 232-40. A man named Hayward was to be hanged for cutting and
maiming another. The scene at the execution is thus described: “When
the time for quitting the courtyard arrived, Hayward was called to a
friend to deliver him a bundle, out of which he took an old jacket, and
a pair of old shoes, and put them on. ‘Thus,’ said he, ‘will I defeat
the prophecies of my enemies; they have often said I should die in my
_coat_ and _shoes_, and I am determined to die in neither.’ Being told
it was time to be conducted to the scaffold, he cheerfully attended the
summons, having first ate some bread and cheese, and drank a quantity
of coffee. Before he departed, however, he called out, in a loud voice,
to the prisoners who were looking through the upper windows at him,
‘Farewell, my lads, I am just a going off; God bless you!’ ‘We are
sorry for you,’ replied the prisoners. ‘I want no more of your pity,’
rejoined Hayward; ‘keep your snivelling till it be your own turn.’
Immediately on his arrival upon the scaffold, he gave the mob three
cheers, introducing each with a ‘Hip, ho!’ While the cord was preparing
he continued hallooing to the mob.

“It was found necessary, before the usual time, to put the cap over
his eyes, besides a silk handkerchief, by way of bandage, that his
attention might be entirely abstracted from the spectators.... He then
gave another halloa, and kicked off his shoes among the spectators,
many of whom were deeply affected at the obduracy of his conduct.”




 Execution for treason—Burying a suicide at the junction of a
 cross-road—Supposed last such burial in London—The Prisons—List,
 and description of them—Bow Street Police Office—Expense of the
 Police and Magistracy—Number of watchmen, &c., in 1804—The poor, and
 provision for them—Educational establishments.

BUT OF ALL brutal sentences, that for the crime of high treason, was
the worst. When Colonel Despard was sentenced to death for conspiracy,
on the 9th of February, 1802, the words used by the Judge, were as

“The only thing now remaining for me, is the painful task of
pronouncing against you, and each of you, the awful sentence which the
law denounces against your crime, which is, that you, and each of you
(here his lordship named the prisoners severally), be taken to the
place from whence you came, and from thence you are to be drawn on
hurdles to the place of Execution, where you are to be hanged by the
neck, but not until you are dead; for while you are still living, your
bodies are to be taken down, your bowels torn out, and burnt before
your faces! your heads are to be then cut off, and your bodies divided
each into four quarters, and your heads and quarters to be then at the
King’s disposal; and may the Almighty God have mercy on your Souls.”

In this case the disembowelling and dismemberment were remitted, but
they were dragged to the place of execution on a _hurdle_, which, in
this instance, was the body of a small cart, on which two trusses of
clean straw were laid. They were hanged, and after hanging for about
twenty-five minutes, “_till they were quite dead_,” they were cut down.
“Colonel[80] Despard was first cut down, his body placed upon saw dust,
and his head on a block. After his coat had been taken off, his head
was severed from his body. The executioner then took the head by the
hair, and carrying it to the edge of the parapet on the right hand,
held it up to the view of the populace, and exclaimed, “This is the
head of a traitor—EDWARD MARCUS DESPARD!... The bodies were then put
into their different shells, and are to be delivered to their friends
for interment.”

Another relic of barbarism was the driving a stake through the body of
a suicide, and burying him at the junction of a cross road—_Morning
Post_, April 27, 1810: “The Officers appointed to execute the ceremony
of driving a stake through the dead body of _James Cowling_, a
deserter from the London Militia, who deprived himself of existence,
by cutting his throat, at a public-house in Gilbert Street, Clare
Market, in consequence of which, the Coroner’s Jury found a verdict of
Self-murder, very properly delayed the business until twelve o’clock on
Wednesday night, when the deceased was buried in the cross roads at the
end of Blackmoor Street, Clare Market.”

The motive for this practice was, that by fastening the body to the
ground, by means of a stake, it rendered it “of the earth, earthy,”
and thus prevented its perturbed spirit from wandering about. It is
believed that the last burial of a suicide in London, at a cross road,
was in June, 1823, when a man, named Griffiths, was buried about
half-past one a.m., at the junction of Eaton Street, Grosvenor Place,
and the King’s Road, but no stake was driven through the body.

The Prisons in London were fairly numerous, but several of them were
for debtors, whose case was very evil. There they languished, many
in the most abject poverty, for years, trusting to the charity of
individuals, or to funds either bequeathed, or set aside, for bettering
their condition. In 1804, an Act was passed (44 Geo. III. cap. 108,
afterwards repealed by the Stat. Law. Rev. Act, 1872) for the Relief of
Insolvent Debtors, and they were not slow in taking advantage of it.
Not only had they poverty, and loss of liberty, to contend with, but
gaol fever, which carried them off at times, and cleared the prisons.
So contagious was it, that in February, 1805, almost all the cadets at
Woolwich suffered from it, and several died. It was imported into the
school, by one of the cadets, who had been to visit some prison.

The prisons were as follow, in 1805:—

1. King’s Bench Prison, for debtors on process or execution, and for
persons under sentence for misdemeanour, &c. This was in St. George’s
Fields, Southwark, and was considered more wholesome than the London
prisons. There were districts surrounding the prison both here, and
at the Fleet, where prisoners could dwell, without going inside, by
payment of fees. The prisoners inside the King’s Bench, could but
obtain leave to go out once every term, or four times a year. There
were 300 rooms in the prison, but it was always full, and decent
accommodation was even more expensive to obtain, than at the Fleet.

2. The Fleet Prison was one belonging to the Courts of Common Pleas,
and Chancery, to which debtors might remove themselves from any other
prison, at the expense of six or seven pounds. A contemporary account

“It contains 125 rooms, besides a common kitchen, coffee and tap rooms,
but the number of prisoners is generally so great, that two, or even
three, persons are obliged to submit to the shocking inconvenience of
living in one small room!! Those who can afford it, pay their companion
to _chum_ off, and thus have a room to themselves. Each person so paid
off, receives four shillings a week. The prisoner pays one shilling and
threepence a week for his room without furniture, and an additional
sevenpence for furniture. Matters are sometimes so managed, that a room
costs the needy and distressed prisoner from ten to thirteen shillings
a week.


“Those who have trades that can be carried on in a room, generally
work, and some gain more than they would out of doors, after they
become acquainted with the ways of the place. During the quarterly
terms,[81] when the court sits, prisoners, on paying five shillings a
day, and on giving security, are allowed to go out when they please,
and there is a certain space round the prison, called the _rules_, in
which prisoners may live, on furnishing two good securities to the
warden for their debt, and on paying about 3 per cent. on the amount of
their debts to the warden. The rules extend only from Fleet Market to
the London Coffee House, and from Ludgate Hill to Fleet Lane, so that
lodgings are bad, and very dear. Within the walls there is a yard for
walking in, and a good racquet ground.”

3. Ludgate Prison, or Giltspur Street Compter, for debtors who were
freemen of the City of London.

4. Poultry Compter—a dark, small, ill-aired dungeon—used as a House
of Detention.

5. Newgate—which was the gaol both for Criminals, and Debtors, for
the County of Middlesex. On the debtors’ side, the overcrowding was
something terrible. The felons’, or State side, as it was called, was
far more comfortable, and the criminals better accommodated. The prison
might, then, be visited on payment of two or three shillings to the
turnkeys, and giving away a few more to the most distressed debtors.

6. The New Prison, Clerkenwell, was also a gaol for the County of
Middlesex, and was built in 1775. The fare here was very meagre—only a
pound of bread a day.

7. Prison for the liberty of the Tower of London, Wellclose Square.

8. Whitechapel Prison, for debtors in actions in the Five Pounds
Courts, or the Court of the Manor of Stepney.

9. The Savoy Prison, used as a Military prison, principally for

10. Horsemonger Lane Gaol, the County prison for Surrey.

11. The Clink, a small debtors prison in Southwark.

12. The Marshalsea Gaol, in Southwark, for pirates.

13. The House of Correction, Cold Bath Fields, which was built
according to a plan of Howard, the philanthropist, on the basis of
solitary confinement. At this time it was dreaded as a place of
punishment, and went by the name of the Bastille. (Its slang name now
is _the Steel_.)


The prisoners were not too well fed. A pound of bread, and twopenny
worth of meat a day, and a very fair amount of work to do—was not
calculated to make it popular among the criminal classes.

It was the only prison in which the inmates wore uniform. That of the
men was blue jacket and trousers, with yellow stockings, whilst the
women had a blue jacket and blue petticoat. They had clean linen every
week; so that, probably, it was a healthy prison. One good thing about
it was, that a portion of the prisoners’ earnings was reserved, and
given to them when they quitted prison.

14. City Bridewell, Blackfriars, was a house of Correction for the City.

15. Tothill Fields, Bridewell, was a similar institution for

16. New Bridewell, Southwark, for Surrey.

Besides these public prisons, were several private establishments
used as provisional prisons—kept by the Sheriffs Officers, called
_lock-up_, or, _sponging houses_, where for twelve, or fourteen
shillings a day, a debtor might remain, either until he found the means
to repay the debt, or it was necessary to go to a public prison, when
the writ against him became returnable. They were nests of extortion
and robbery.

The Police Offices in London were:

  The Mansion House.         Lambeth Street, Whitechapel.
  Guildhall.                 High Street, Shadwell.
  Bow Street.                Union Street, Southwark.
  Hatton Garden.             Queen’s Square, Westminster.
  Worship Street.            Great Marlborough Street.

Wapping New Stairs, for offences committed on the Thames. Of those
_extra_ the City, Bow Street was the chief, and the head magistrate
there, was called the Chief Magistrate, and received a stipend of
£1,000 per annum; a large sum in those days. He was assisted by two
others, at a salary of £500 each.

Dr. Patrick Colquhoun called so much attention to the inefficiency of
the police, that a Committee of the House of Commons, in the session of
1798, sifted the matter, and from the report of this Committee, only,
can we gather the criminal statistics of the kingdom (at least with
regard to its expense).

[Illustration: BOW STREET POLICE OFFICE—1808.]

The amount of the general expense of the criminal police of the
kingdom, is stated by the Committee as follows:

  1st. The annual average of the total expense
  of the seven public offices in the Metropolis
  from their institution in 1792, to
  the end of the year 1797                          £18,281  18   6

  2nd. Total expenses of the office in Bow
  Street in the year 1797, including remuneration
  to the magistrates in lieu of
  fees, perquisites, &c., and the expense
  of a patrol of sixty-eight persons                  7,901   7   7
          Total for the Metropolis                  £26,183   6   1

  The other expenses for the prosecution
  and conviction of felons, the maintenance,
  clothing, employment, and transportation
  of convicts, to which may be
  added the farther sums annually charged
  on the county rates, amounted in 1797 to         £215,869  13  10½

In 1804, it was estimated that there were 2,044 beadles and watchmen,
and 38 patrols, on nightly duty in, and around the Metropolis. Of
these, the City proper, with its 25 wards, contributed 765 watchmen,
and 38 patrols.

The poor were pretty well taken care of. Besides the parochial
workhouses, there were 107 endowed almshouses, and many other like
institutions; the City Companies, it was computed, giving upwards of
£75,000, yearly, away in charity. There were very many institutions for
charitable, and humane purposes—mostly founded during the previous
century—for the relief of widows and orphans, deaf and dumb persons,
lunatics, relief of small debtors, the blind, the industrious poor,
&c. And there were 1,600 Friendly Societies in the Metropolis, and its
vicinity, enrolled under the Act, 33 George III. cap. 54. These had
80,000 members, and their average payments were £1 each per annum.

For education in London, there were:

     16 Inns of Court and Chancery, for education in the law.
      5 Colleges, viz., Zion College, Gresham, Physicians, Doctors
        Commons, and Herald’s College.
     62 Schools or public Seminaries, such as Westminster, the Blue
        Coat, St. Paul’s, Merchant Taylors, Charterhouse, &c., educating
        some 5,000 children.
    237 Schools, belonging to the different parishes, educating some
  3,730 Private Schools.
  4,050 Total Seminaries of Education.

This does not include nearly twenty educational establishments such as
the Orphan Working School, the Marine Society, Freemasons School, &c.

And there were about the same number of Religious and Moral Societies,
such as the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the Society
for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, Religious Tract
Society, Missionary Societies, &c.; besides a number of Sunday
Schools—so that we see education, and philanthropy, were hard at work



  Abbot, Rt. Hon. Chas., elected Speaker, 47.

  Abbot’s, Mr., M. P., plan for census, 29.

  Abolition of Slave Trade, 132.

  ———— Debates on, 108, 127.

  “Academy of Ancient Music”, 366.

  Accident at Review in Hyde Park, 8.

  Account of Walcheren Expedition, 159-160.

  Acre, Battle of, 3.

  Act against cockfighting, 297.

  ———— to relieve Roman Catholics, 103.

  Actors, Child, 333.

  ———— Famous, 323.

  Addington Ministry on its last legs, 107.

  ———— Mr. Chancellor, presents message to George III., 46.

  Address of Sir Francis Burdett, 166.

  Admiralty Droits, 140.

  Age of dear books, 376.

  Agricultural Shows, 247.

  Aldridge’s and Tattersalls, 294.

  Alfred Club, The, 378.

  Almack’s, 357.

  Almshouses, Endowed, 459.

  Alteration of Great Seal, 33.

  ————       ”  Prayer-book, 34.

  Amateur driving, 189.

  Amelia, Princess, Death of, 179.

  American War, The, 12.

  Amiens, Treaty of, 50, 53.

  Andrews, billiard player, 319.

  Androssi, General, Departure of, 319-321.

  Antecedents of Napoleon, 73.

  Antiquated Prosecutions, 93.

  Antiquity of Cock-fighting, 22.

  Appointments bought and sold, 295.

  Argyle Rooms, Jubilee ball at, 432.

  Armistice, Cost of, 49.

  Army Estimates, Enormous expenditure, 59.

  ———— 50,000 men added to, 98.

  “Army of England”, Withdrawal of the, 117.

  ———— 312,048 men voted for, 115.

  Arrest of Sir F. Burdett, 170.

  Arrival of brother of Louis XVIII., 110.

  ———— of Queen of France, 145.

  Artists, 369-374.

  Associated Artists in Water Colours, 375.

  Attempt to assassinate George III., 9.

  Attempts to stop war with France, 128.

  Australia, Wheat imported from, 28.

  Austria at war with France, 116.

  Austrians on the Rhine, 3.

  Authors, List of celebrated, 376.

  Automaton Piano-player, 355.

  Bad Harvest throughout Europe, 28.

  Bag of Game, Large, 311.

  Bakers fined for light weight, 245, 246.

  Ballooning, 395.

  Bank of England, Loans from, 6, 139.

  Banks, Thomas, R.A., sculptor, 374.

  Bantry Bay, Mutiny in, 410.

  Barbadoes, Moravian missionaries in, 108.

  Barouche Club, 191.

  Barry, James, Professor of Painting, 370.

  Bartolozzi, Francis, 374.

  Base-ball match, 318.

  Battle of Trafalgar, 118.

  ————   ”  Vimiera, 142.

  Beacons, Sea-side, affixed to churches, 99.

  Beaumont, Sir Geo. H., Artist, 373.

  Beaver Hats, 259.

  Bedlam, 12, 391.

  Beechey, Sir Wm., Portrait Painter, 372.

  Beer made from sugar, 16.

  ———— Quantity brewed, 238.

  ———— the National beverage, 238.

  “Benefit of Clergy”, 445.

  Bets at Clubs, 288-289.

  ———— Curious, 192, 312.

  Betty, W. H. W., Anecdotes of, 325, 326.

  ———— Career of, 332.

  ———— Crowds to see, 329.

  ———— Death of, 332.

  ———— First appearance in London, 326.

  ———— presented to Royal Family, 330.

  ———— Puff preliminary of, 325.

  Billiards, 318-319.

  ———— Large sums lost at, 320.

  Billington, Mrs., Salaries of, 361-363.

  Bills, Increase of Stamp duty on, 36.

  Blockade of England, Attempting to, 130, 131, 135.

  Body-snatching, 445.

  Bond Street lounger, Rules for, 251-255.

  ————   ”    loungers, Three celebrated, 256.

  Bone, Henry, enamel painter, 372.

  Books, Age of dear, 376.

  ———— collection of first editions, 377.

  Boulogne, Napoleon at, 96.

  Bourgeois, Sir Francis, Artist, 371.

  Bow Street Officers, 27.

  Boydell’s Gallery in Cheapside, 375.

  ———— Shakespeare, 375.

  Boys, Education of, 277, 278.

  Braham, John, Vocalist, 375.

  Bread, Consumption of, reduced, 28.

  ———— New, Sale of forbidden, 5.

  ———— Variation in price of, 26, 36, 44, 240.

  Bridges, Thames, 198.

  Britain’s War-Song, 81.

  British Museum Gardens, 383.

  ————      ”    Regulations of, 382.

  ———— Property, Confiscation of, 135.

  “Broad-bottomed” Cabinet, 133.

  “Brown Bread Bill”, 245.

  Browne, Colonel, Death of, 102.

  Bull-baiting, 156, 297.

  ———— Debate on, 298-300.

  Bullion, Scarcity of, 105.

  Burdett and Paull, Duel between, 133.

  ———— Sir Francis, Address of, 166.

  ————  ”     ”     Arrest of, 170.

  ————  ”     ”     Committal of, 167.

  ————  ”     ”     Imprisoned in the Tower, 172.

  ————  ”     ”     Release of, 174.

  ————  ”     ”     Riot after arrest of, 172, 173.

  Burial, Last, at cross roads, 452.

  Butchers, Prosecution of, 22, 247.

  Calais, Inspection of by Napoleon, 96.

  Calicoes, Duty on, 36.

  Cannon, Transport Inefficient for, 98.

  Card money, 286, 287.

  Cardinal York, Death of, 134.

  ———— A pensioner of George III., 134.

  Caricaturing the Royal Family, 24.

  Carriages, Improvements in, 188.

  ———— Weights of, 188.

  Catalani, Appearance in London, 341.

  ———— _Début_ of, 340.

  ———— Pay of, 341.

  Catnach Press, The, 447.

  Caution to Hatters, 259.

  Census, The first, 30.

  Ceres (Planet), discovery of, 35.

  Certificate of identity of Mr. G. Garrick, 100.

  Chantry, Sir Francis, R.A., Sculptor, 374.

  Chatham, Earl of, Indignation against, 160.

  ———— Appointed Governor of Gibraltar, 163.

  Child actors, 333.

  Children “seen and not heard”, 277.

  Chimney sweeps, 216-219.

  Christie the Auctioneer, 274.

  Chronology of last Century, Rectification of, 30.

  Cintra, Convention of, 142-145.

  City subscribe liberally to Patriotic Fund, 97.

  Civil List five quarters in arrear, 6.

  Claim by Prince of Wales, 47.

  ———— for Revenues of Duchy of Cornwall, 47.

  Clarke, Mrs., before House of Commons, 431.

  ———— Biography of, 427.

  ———— Her Levees, 429.

  ———— Mistress of Duke of York, 427.

  Clarke, Mrs., mansion described, 427, 428.

  ———— prices for preferment, 430.

  Clergymen prevented from sitting in House of Commons, 37.

  Clerical dinner, A, 249.

  ———— livings, 178.

  “Climbing boys”, 216.

  Clothes, Mens’, Prices for, 258, 259.

  Cloth-working machines, Introduction of, 61.

  ———— Men hanged for destroying, 62.

  Clubs, Bets at, 288, 289.

  ———— Gambling at, 290.

  Coalition Ministry, Downfall of, 132.

  Coals, Parliamentary Committee on, 399.

  ———— Price of, 396-401.

  Coaches, Hackney, 187.

  ———— Mail, List of, 231.

  ————  ”    Rates of, 232.

  ———— Stage, 184.

  Cobbett, W., tried and found guilty, 108.

  Cock Pitt, Royal Description of, 295.

  Cock-fighting, Act against, 297.

  ———— Antiquity of, 295.

  Cockney’s Account of September first, 313-317.

  Codrington, Sir Edw., Early life of, 404.

  Coinage, copper, Deterioration of, 126.

  ———— New, 126.

  Colonies, to France, a secondary object, 113.

  Commerce, Development of, 200.

  Committal of Sir F. Burdett, 167.

  Common Council, Relief of debtors by, 152.

  Compensation of Prince of Orange, 50.

  Competition of Pipers, 367.

  “Concert of ancient music”, 366.

  Concerts, Open-air, 361.

  Condemned Pew, The, 447.

  ———— Sermon, The, 447.

  Condition of London Streets, 201.

  Conditions of Peace, 49.

  Confiscation of British Property, 135.

  Conspirators, Meeting of, 27.

  ———— dispersed   ”    ”   28.

  ———— Raid on, 63.

  Constitutional liberty, Supporters of, 28.

  Consumption of Bread reduced, 28.

  Convention of Cintra, 142.

  Conveyance, deeds of, Duty on, 37.

  Cooper’s Hall, Lotteries drawn at, 291.

  Copley, John Singleton, Artist, 373.

  Copper coinage, Deterioration of, 126.

  Corn Riots, 19.

  ———— Scarcity of, 16.

  Cornwallis, Marquis, Treaty of peace signed by, 48.

  Cost of Armistice, 49.

  ———— ”  Living, 16.

  Costume, Eccentricity of, 261, 262.

  Cotton spinners, Distress among, 141.

  ———— Wages, Regulation of, 141.

  Council of Five Hundred, 2.

  ————    ”  Nice, 30.

  Country, Feeling of the, 65.

  ———— Sports, 303.

  Courage conspicuous in Royal Family, 96.

  Covent Garden Theatre, Burning of, 337.

  ———— Description of, 343, 344.

  ———— _Fracas_ at, 323.

  Covent Garden Theatre, Foundation Stone laid by Prince of Wales, 337.

  Crewel work, Marvels of, 357.

  Cricket Ground, Lord’s, 318.

  ———— Matches, 317, 318.

  Cries, Street, 219-227.

  Criminal, An impenitent, 450.

  ———— Dead, Galvanizing a, 391.

  Criminals, Fugitive, restored to respective powers, 50.

  Cross Roads, Last burial at, 452.

  Crouch. Mrs., Prima donna, 365.

  Curious bets, 192, 312.

  ———— Dinner, A, 237.

  Daily life of George III., 276, 277.

  ————   ”   Royal Family, 276, 277.

  Dancing, 367.

  Dead Criminal, Galvanizing a, 391.

  Death and burial of Fox, 127.

  ————   ”  Funeral of Pitt, 126.

  ———— at a prize fight, 301.

  ———— of Cardinal York, 134.

  ———— ”  George Morland, 373.

  ———— ”    ”    Washington, 2.

  ———— ”  Nelson, 118.

  ———— ”  Princess Amelia, 179.

  Debate on Bull-Baiting, 293.

  ————   ”  war with Spain, 115.

  ————   ”  Abolition of Slave Trade, 108.

  ————   ”  the Union, 7.

  Debtors, poor, Release of, 148.

  ———— Prisons, 453-457.

  ———— Relief of, by Common Council, 153.

  ———— Scheme for pay creditors of poor, 148, 149.

  Deciphering papyri, 377.

  Declaration of war with France, 74.

  Deeds of Conveyance, Duty on, 37.

  Defeat of Junot’s Army, 142.

  Defiance Club, 191.

  De Loutherbourg, Artist, 371.

  Demonstration at Kennington, 26, 27.

  Departure of Nelson in the _Victory_, 75.

  Description of a gun, 309.

  ———— of London houses, 232, 234.

  Deserters pardoned, 152.

  Despard, Colonel, Arrest of, 63.

  ———— Committal of, 37.

  ———— before Privy Council, 63.

  ———— Execution of, 64, 152.

  ———— Trial of, 63.

  Destroying cloth-working machines, 62.

  Detention of visitors in France, 74.

  Difference in value of money, 29.

  Dinner, A clerical, 249.

  ————    ” curious, 237.

  Disarmament and Retrenchment, 45.

  Discovery of Planet Ceres, 35.

  Distress among cotton-spinners, 141.

  Diversions of people of fashion, 275, 276.

  Doctor Jenner, 387.

  Doctors, List of famous, 386.

  ———— Old school, 385.

  “Doggett’s Coat and Badge”, 195.

  Dollars, Re-stamping of, 163.

  Driving, Amateurs, 189.

  Droits of the Admiralty, 140.

  Drury Lane Theatre, Burning of, 338.

  ———— George III. at, 9.

  ———— “Lord Nelson” played at, 119.

  Duchy of Cornwall, Claim for Revenues, 47.

  Duel between Montgomery and Macnamara, 433.

  ———— between Pauli and Burdett, 133.

  ———— Cause of, between Montgomery and Macnamara, 433.

  Duke of Richmond Bill, 7.

  Eccentricity of costume, 261.

  Economy in use of grain, 28.

  Education of boys, 277.

  ————      ”  girls, 278.

  ————      ”  Physical, of women, 303.

  Educational Establishments, 460.

  Egypt, War in, 2.

  Election, Middlesex, 58, 109.

  Elections, General, 58, 133.

  Electricity and Galvanism, 389-391.

  Emmett, Robert, Antecedents of, 101.

  ———— Execution of, 102.

  End of Walcheren Expedition, 157.

  England and Wales, First census, 29.

  Engravers, 374.

  Enormous expenditure on Army, 59.

  Entertainment by the “Pic-nic Club”, 354.

  Enthusiasm of the people, 78-88.

  Estimates, Army, 59.

  “European Museum”, The, 375.

  Evacuation of Naples by French troops, 50.

  Excitement on Stock Exchange, 72.

  Execution, Accident at an, 449.

  ———— for treason, 452.

  ———— Horrible, at Jersey, 449.

  ———— of Colonel Despard, 64, 452.

  ———— of ringleaders of Irish Rebellion, 102.

  ———— of Robert Emmett, 102.

  Exhibition of Needlework, 357.

  ————       ”  Paintings in Water, Colours, 375.

  Expenditure on Army, 59.

  Extravagance of Farmers, 35.

  Eye-glasses, 260.

  Fall of Napoleon, 135.

  False hair, 268-272.

  ———— rumours, Fluctuation of Stocks, through, 39.

  Famous actors, 323.

  Farmers, Extravagance of, 35.

  ———— Prosperity of, 35.

  Fashion, People of, Diversions of, 275, 276.

  Fasts, General, 103, 107, 115, 126, 133, 146, 163.

  Fearful odds, Victories gained against, 81.

  Feeling of the country, 65.

  Fête at Frogmore, 156.

  ———— ”  Windsor, 154-156.

  Fifty thousand men added to Army, 98.

  Fire among theatres, 337.

  ———— engines, Manual, 211.

  Firemen, London, 212.

  Fires, Great, in London, 210.

  First census, 30.

  ———— of September, Account of, 311-317.

  ———— street gas lamps, 205.

  Fish, Scarcity of, 235.

  Fishing, 307.

  Fishmongers’ Hall, 20.

  Five Hundred, Council of, 2.

  Five-volume novels, 376.

  Flaxman, John, R.A., Sculptor, 374.

  Fleet of Portugal against England, 137.

  Flotilla practically useless, 116.

  Flour, Paste a substitute for, 44.

  Food, Plainness of, 235.

  ———— Riots, 19-26.

  ———— Scarcity of, 5, 16.

  ———— Supply of, from France, 248.

  “Forestallers and Regraters”, 240.

  “Forestalling and Regrating”, Act against, 16.

  ———— in meat, 22.

  Forgery of “Vortigern and Rowena”, 336.

  Four-in-hand Club, 191.

  Fox, Courtesy of, 128.

  ———— and his wife introduced to Napoleon, 52.

  ———— Death and burial of, 127.

  ———— Elected for Westminster, 52.

  ———— Letter to Talleyrand, 128, 129.

  ———— Napoleon’s admiration for, 53.

  ———— Visit of, to Paris, 52.

  ———— Mrs., publicly acknowledged as Fox’s wife, 52.

  _Fracas_ at Covent Garden Theatre, 323, 324.

  France, Austria at war with, 116.

  ———— Colonies to, a secondary object, 113.

  ———— Declaration of war with, 74.

  ———— Failure of peace negotiations with, 130.

  ———— Greatness of, 113.

  ———— Queen of, Arrival of, 145.

  ———— Rupture with, 65.

  ———— Supply of Food from, 248.

  ———— Trade with, 45.

  ———— Wild rush of English over, 51.

  Fraud at a lottery, 291.

  Freedom of Speech, 82.

  Freedom of the Press, 82.

  Freeman’s oath, The, 90-91.

  French Ambassador, Departure of, 73.

  ———— Army crippled, 3.

  ———— Government, O’Connor in treaty with, 52.

  ———— more than doubted, 26.

  ———— Press, England libelled by, 65.

  ———— Prisoners break parole, 100.

  ————     ”     fed at expense of English Government, 38.

  ————     ”     Ingenuity of, 5.

  ————     ”     Liberation of, 54.

  ————     ”     Maintenance of, 49.

  ————     ”     Number of, 5, 38, 417.

  ————     ”     Offer to feed, by French Government, 38.

  ————     ”     Proposed disposal of, 100.

  ————     ”     Question of feeding, 37, 38.

  ————     ”     Refusal of French Government to provide for, 4.

  ————     ”     Some, confined for eight years, 38.

  ————     ”     Stoppage of supplies to, by French Government, 38.

  ————     ”     Sufferings of, 36.

  ———— Refugees, 101.

  ———— Refusal of, to supply clothes to compatriots, 36.

  ———— Republic, 2.

  ———— Revolution, 26.

  ———— Troops, Evacuation of Naples by, 50.

  Friendly Societies, 459.

  Frogmore fête, 156.

  Fugitive criminals restored to respective powers, 50.

  Funeral of Nelson, Prices given to view, 120.

  Furniture, Style of, 234.

  Fuseli, Henry, Artist, 371.

  Galloway, Committal of, 37.

  Galvanism and Electricity, 390, 391.

  ———— Cure of insane by, 391.

  Galvanizing dead criminal, 391.

  Gambling in the Royal circle, 286.

  ———— Universal, 285-287.

  ———— Vice of women, 285.

  Game, Bags of, large, 311.

  ———— Quantity of, 311.

  ———— Scarcity of, 236.

  ———— Supply of, 236.

  Gaol Fever, Woolwich Cadets ill with, 453.

  Garrick, George, Certificate of identity of, 100.

  Gas introduced by Murdoch, 204.

  ————    ”      into London, 204.

  ———— lamps, First Street, 205.

  ———— ridiculed, 205.

  General elections, 58, 133.

  ———— Fasts, 103, 107, 115, 126, 133, 146, 163.

  Geological Society, 395.

  George III. and Royal Family, 98.

  ———— and Walcheren Expedition, 161.

  ———— Attempt to assassinate, 9.

  ———— Cardinal York, a pensioner of, 134.

  ———— convalescent, 107.

  ———— Daily life of, 276, 277.

  ———— Expenses of household of, 47.

  ———— greatly in debt, 47.

  ———— Illness of, 179.

  ———— Jubilee of, 146-152.

  ———— Messages to House of Commons, 46, 66.

  ———— pardons deserters, 152.

  ———— Parliament opened by, 114.

  ———— Proclamation of peace by, 55.

  ———— Reference to Napoleon’s letter, 114.

  ———— Reconciliation between Prince of Wales and, 110.

  ———— Review of Volunteers by, 417.

  ———— Sanction of peace by, 39.

  George III. seriously ill, 106.

  ———— W. H. W. Betty presented to, 330.

  George III.’s Jubilee, Medal struck to commemorate, 146.

  ———— servants, petition for wages, 6.

  ———— sixty-third birthday, 12.

  George Washington, Death of, 2.

  Germany ravaged, 4.

  Girls, Education of, 278-280.

  Gold coinage, Smuggling of, 164.

  ———— High price of, 163.

  ———— Scarcity of, 16.

  Government bill dishonoured, 60, 61.

  ———— formed by Pitt, 107.

  ———— Insolvency of, 61.

  ———— Lotteries, 290, 291.

  ———— vigilant and watchful, 109.

  Grain, Consumption of, restricted, 29.

  Grand Junction Canal, Opening of, 208.

  Great Britain and Ireland, Union between, 6.

  ———— fall in wheat, 43.

  ———— fires in London, 211.

  ———— seal, Alteration of, 33.

  Greatness of France, 113.

  Gregory XIII., 30.

  Grenville’s, Lord, letters to M. Otto, 26.

  ———— Reply to Napoleon, 3, 4.

  Gretna Green Marriages, 280, 281.

  Grouse shooting, 311.

  Guildhall, Lotteries at, 291.

  Guineas, Temptation to melt, 16.

  Gun, Description of a, 309.

  ———— How to load a, 310.

  Gymnastic exercises, 303.

  Habeas Corpus Act, Suspension, 37, 102.

  Hadfield, James, Acquitted, 12.

  ———— Biography of, 10.

  ———— Escape and capture of, 12.

  ———— Would-be assassin of George III., 9.

  Hackney coaches, 187.

  Hair-dresser’s Advertisement, 270, 272.

  ———— False, 268, 272.

  ———— powdering, 256, 257.

  Handbills, Inflammatory, 26.

  ———— Patriotic, 89-93.

  Hanging, 446-450.

  Harvest, Bad, throughout Europe, 28.

  ———— Good and plentiful, 177.

  Harvey’s Sauce, Advertisement of, 240.

  Hatfield, Review at, 417.

  Hats, Beaver, 259.

  ———— Tax on, 259.

  Hatters, Caution to, 259.

  Hawkesbury, Lord, Letter to Lord Mayor, 40.

  Hawkesbury, Lord, Peace preliminaries signed by, 40.

  Head-dresses, 268-272.

  Hesitation to evacuate Malta, 64.

  Highland Society of London, 367.

  Highwaymen, 184.

  Hoax on the Lord Mayor, 71.

  Home, Privations at, 50.

  Honourable Artillery Company, Uniform of, 417.

  Hoppner, John, R.A., 372.

  Horse Guards, New standard hoisted at, 32.

  ———— Riding, 193, 194.

  Horses, Quality of, 193.

  ———— Taxes on, 36, 115.

  Horticultural Society, The, 395.

  Hospitals, Medical, 393.

  Hostility of Austria and Prussia, 138.

  Hotels, &c., 248, 249.

  House of Lords, Robbery from, 440.

  House-keeping, Cost of, 16.

  Houses in London, Description of, 232.

  ———— in London, Number of, 232.

  ———— Pattern of the, 232.

  “Hoys”, Margate, 196.

  Hunters’ Museums, The, 384.

  Hunting Breakfast, A, 306.

  ———— then and now, 305.

  Hyde Park, Review in, accident at, 8.

  Illness of George III., 106, 180, 181.

  Illuminations, Jubilee, 156, 157.

  ———— Accident at, 58.

  ———— Peace, 40, 41, 43.

  Impeachment of Lord Melville, 126, 127.

  Improvements in Carriages, 188.

  Improvements on old tinder-box, 208.

  Incledon, vocalist, 265.

  Income Tax on £200, 17.

  ————    ”  Repeal of, 47.

  Increase of stamp duty, 36.

  India, Rice from, 241.

  ———— Wheat from, 28.

  Inefficiency of Police, 24.

  “Infant Roscius”, The, 324.

  Inflammatory handbills, 26.

  Insane, Cure of, by galvanism, 391.

  Insolvency of Government, 61.

  Insolvent Debtors’ Act, 453.

  Insurance Companies, List of, 211.

  Intellect, Retarding march of, 62.

  Introduction of the Percussion Cap, 310.

  Invasion expected on Kent and Sussex coasts, 99.

  ———— Possibility of, treated lightly, 92.

  ———— scare dying out, 109.

  ———— signals, 99.

  ———— squibs, 78-88.

  ———— Threatened, of England, 76, 96.

  Invisible lady, The, 358.

  Ireland, First Census of, 30.

  ———— Union with, 6, 32.

  Ireland’s forgery of “Vortigern and Rowena”, 336.

  Irish Rebellion, 101.

  ————      ”      Execution of ringleaders of, 102.

  “Jean de Bry” coats, 250.

  Jersey, Horrible execution in, 449.

  Jews, Jubilee celebrated by, 156.

  Jockeys, Lady, 293, 294.

  Jubilee Ball at Argyle Rooms, 178.

  ———— celebrated by Jews, 156.

  ———— George III.’s, 146-152.

  ———— illuminations, 156, 157.

  ———— Pamphlets on, 150, 151.

  ———— Poem on, 151.

  ———— Song, 150.

  Julian Calendar, The, 30.

  Junot’s Army, Defeat of, 142.

  Kauffman, Angelica, Artist, 173.

  Kennington, Demonstration at, 26, 27.

  Kent Coast, Invasion expected on, 99.

  Kilwarden, Lord, Murder of, 102.

  King of Prussia’s rudeness, 69.

  “King’s concerts”, 367.

  ———— servants petition for wages, 6.

  Ladies’ costumes, Eccentricity of, 261.

  ———— out-door dress, 272.

  Lady jockeys, 293, 294.

  Lamps, Street, 203.

  Large Bags of Game, 311.

  Lawrence, Sir Thomas, Artist, 372.

  Lauriston, General, Arrival of, 42.

  ————-         ”     Treatment of by mob, 42.

  Law to prevent sale of new bread, 5.

  Lead, Tax on, 36.

  Legacies, Duty on, 115.

  Letters, Postage of, 232.

  ———— Tax on, 115.

  Leverean Museum, 38.

  Liberation of French Prisoners, 54.

  Liberty of English Press, 39.

  License of the Press, 65.

  Linnæan Society, 395.

  List of celebrated Authors, 376.

  ———— of famous doctors, 386.

  Living, Cost of, 16.

  Livings, Clerical, 178.

  Lloyd’s Coffee House a great power, 40.

  Lloyd’s, Meeting at, 75.

  Loaf, Quartern, Price of, 29.

  Loans from Bank of England, 6, 139.

  Locomotives, 395.

  London Docks, Laying of first stone, 200.

  ———— Firemen, 212.

  ———— Great fires in, 211.

  ———— not beautiful, 232.

  ———— streets, Condition of, 201.

  ————    ”     Description of, 214.

  ———— water supply, 212-214.

  Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Murder of, 102.

  ———— Mayor Combe, Proclamation by, 23.

  ———— Mayor hoaxed, 71.

  ———— Mayor’s show, 44.

  Lord’s Cricket ground, 318.

  Loss of Trade, 50.

  Lotteries, Government, 290, 291.

  Lottery, Fraud at a, 291.

  ———— Last public, 292.

  Louis XVIII., Arrival of brother of, 110.

  Lunatics, Treatment of, 391-393.

  Luxurious travelling, 186.

  Lyceum Theatre, 357.

  Lying in state of Nelson, 121, 122.

  Machinery, Introduction of into cloth-working, 61.

  Madhouses, Public, 391.

  Mail Coaches, List of, 231.

  ————    ”     Routes of, 231.

  Malcontents, Political, lightly dealt with, 37.

  Malta, Evacuation of, 50.

  ———— Hesitation of England to evacuate, 64.

  Mara, Mdlle., Salary of, 365.

  March of intellect, Retarding, 62.

  Margate “Hoys”, 196.

  Marriage of Prince of Wales, 47.

  Marshalsea, Prison of the, 148, 456.

  Martin, Mr., M.P., called to order, 35.

  Mary-le-bone Cricket Club, 318.

  Matrimonial Advertisements, 280.

  Maunday Thursday, 148.

  Meat, Forestalling in, 22.

  ———— Quantity consumed, 235.

  Medical Hospitals, 393.

  Meeting at Lloyd’s, 75.

  Meetings held all over the country, 98.

  ———— met with vigorous repression, 28.

  Melville, Lord, Impeachment of, 126, 127.

  Middlesex Elections, 58-109.

  Militia almost permanently embodied, 413.

  ———— reviewed at Hatfield, 417.

  Milk, Prices of, 220.

  Miller, Patrick, Esq., Offer of, 426.

  Ministry jealous of England’s honour, 68.

  Mobbing Quakers, 19.

  Modified Postal arrangements, 37.

  Montagu, Mrs., friend of “climbing boys”, 216.

  Money, Difference in value of, 29.

  ———— Scarcity of, 105.

  ———— thrown to the mob, 42.

  Moravian missionaries in Barbadoes, 108.

  Morland, George, Death of, 373.

  _Morning Post_ and _Times_, 380-382.

  ———— Number printed, 380.

  ———— Rise in price of, 380.

  Mudie, Miss, Description of, 334.

  ————    ”    Fate of, 336.

  ———— First appearance in London, 334.

  ———— Reception of, 335.

  Mulgrave’s, Lord, Reply to Napoleon, 114.

  Murder of Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, 102.

  ———— of Lord Kilwarden, 102.

  ———— ”  Rev. Richard Wolfe, 102.

  Murdoch, Gas introduced by, 204.

  Mutinies on board ship, 408-410.

  Mutiny in Bantry Bay, 410.

  ———— on board _Hermione_, 408.

  Names of race-horses, 293.

  Naples, Evacuation of, by French Troops, 50.

  Napoleon, Ambition of, 65.

  ———— at Boulogne, 96.

  ———— Caricature on, 72.

  ———— cordially hated, 39.

  ———— Coronation of, the Pope at, 377.

  ———— crowned King of Italy, 112.

  ———— distrusted, 3, 26, 68.

  ———— elected Emperor, 112.

  ———— English proposal accepted by, 39.

  ———— Fall of, 135.

  ———— Fox introduced to, 52.

  ———— Letters from, 2, 3, 112, 114.

  ———— Lord Mulgrave’s Reply to, 114, 115.

  ———— Plot to assassinate, 128, 129.

  ———— Treaty of Peace signed by, 49.

  ———— Unjust conduct of, 74.

  ———— unpleasant to deal with, 65.

  Napoleon’s admiration for Fox, 53.

  ———— antecedents, 93.

  ———— ignorance of our laws, 65.

  ———— inspection of Calais, 96.

  ———— insult to Lord Whitworth, 69.

  ———— movements well known, 96.

  ———— power crippled in Portugal, 142.

  ———— threatened invasion, 82.

  National Beverage, Beer the, 238.

  ———— Debt, Total of, 181.

  Naval force completely equipped, 98.

  Navy a rough school, 404.

  ———— 120,000 men voted for, 115.

  ———— Officers, Increase of pay of, 417.

  ———— State of, 402.

  Needlework, Exhibition of, 357.

  Negotiation See-saw, 39.

  Negotiations at Tilsit, 136.

  ———— Peace, Failure of, 130.

  Nelson, cost of funeral of, 126.

  ———— Death of, 118.

  ———— Departure in the _Victory_, 74.

  Nelson, Funeral of, 120-124.

  ———— lying in state, 121.

  Nelson’s Signal serves trade advertisements, 121.

  New Bread, Sale of, forbidden, 5.

  ———— Coinage, 126.

  ———— Drop, the first used, 449.

  ———— Standard hoisted at Horse Guards, 32.

  ———— Standard hoisted at the Tower, 32.

  Newspapers and Advertisements, 380.

  ———— Heavily taxed, 379.

  Nice, Council of, 30.

  Nile, Battle of the, 3.

  Nollekens, Sculptor, 374.

  Northcote, James, R.A., 371.

  Notes, Increase of Duty on, 36.

  Novels, Five-volume, 376.

  Number of houses in London, 232.

  ———— of Theatres, 323.

  Oath, The Freeman’s, 301.

  Offer by Patrick Miller, 426.

  ———— of Messrs. Pickford & Co., 98.

  Officers, Navy, Increase of pay of, 417.

  Old Sarum, a rotten borough, 37.

  ———— tinder-box, description of, 208.

  One quartern loaf a week, 28.

  Open-air concerts, 361.

  Opening of Parliament by George III., 114.

  Opie, John, Artist, 371.

  O. P. Riots, 146, 339-353.

  Orange, Prince of, compensated, 50.

  Otto, M., and his wife, guests of Lord Mayor, 44.

  ———— An unofficial agent, 26.

  ———— Commissary for exchange of prisoners, 38.

  ———— Peace preliminaries signed by, 40.

  Otto’s, M., house illuminated, 58.

  ———— letter to French prisoners, 58.

  Ouseley’s, Major, Library, 377.

  Out-door dress, Ladies’, 272.

  Ox roasted at Windsor, 154.

  Paddington Canal, opening of, 200.

  Painters, 370-373.

  Pall Mall, First gas-lamps in, 205.

  Paper, Tax on, 36.

  ———— making machine, 396.

  Papyri, Deciphering, 377.

  Paris Fashions, 265.

  ———— Fox’s visit to, 52.

  ———— to London, rapid journey, 194.

  Parisot, Mdme., Famous ballet-dancer, 355.

  Parliament, Message from George III. to, 6.

  ———— on price of provisions, 243.

  ———— Printers before, 165.

  Parliamentary Impeachment, 126.

  Parliaments opened by George III., 35, 152.

  Parole Regulations, 100.

  Partridge Shooting, 311.

  Paste a substitute for bread, 44.

  Patriotic Fund, The, 119, 425.

  ———— Fund, City subscribes to, 97.

  ———— Handbills, 89-93.

  Paull and Burdett, Duel between, 133.

  Peace, Conditions of, 49.

  ———— Definite treaty of, 48.

  ———— Negotiations, Failure of, 130.

  ———— Preliminaries signed, 40.

  ———— procession, 55-57.

  ————      ”      in the City, 57.

  ———— Proclamation of, 56.

  ————      ”       Reading of, 56-58.

  Peace, Public thanksgiving for, 55, 58.

  ———— rejoicings, 41-43.

  ———— Treaties of, 39.

  Peltier, Jean, Editor of _L’Ambigu_, 65.

  ———— Found guilty, 68.

  ———— Trial of, 65-68.

  Penny post to be twopence, 37.

  Pensions to late Ministers, 47.

  People, Arming the, 98.

  People of Fashion, Diversions of, 275, 276.

  Pepper, Tax on, 36.

  Pepusch, Dr. John Christopher, musician, 365.

  Percussion Cap, Introduction of, 310.

  Perkinean Institution, 390.

  Perkins’s Metallic Tractors, 389.

  Phantasmagoria at the Lyceum Theatre, 357.

  Phenomenon, A theatrical, 324.

  Philanthropic Societies, 460.

  Physical education of women, 303.

  Piano, Automaton, player on, 355.

  Piazzi, Italian Astronomer, 35.

  Pickford and Co., Offer of, 98.

  “Pic-nic Club”, Entertainment by, 354.

  ———— Club, Supporters of the, 355.

  Picture Galleries, Private, 369.

  Pidcock’s Menagerie, Sale of, 357.

  Pigeon Shooting, 310.

  Pigott Diamond Bill, 7.

  Pillory, Treatment of prisoners in, 440-443.

  Pitt, Cost of funeral of, 125.

  ———— Death of, 125.

  ———— Government formed by, 107.

  Pitt’s Budget, 36.

  Plainness of food, 235.

  Plot to assassinate George III., 62.

  ———— to assassinate Napoleon, 128.

  Police authorities, 435.

  ———— Criminal, expense of, 459.

  ———— Inefficiency of, 24.

  ———— officers, List of, 457.

  Political Caricatures, 65.

  ———— dissatisfaction, 37.

  ———— malcontents lightly dealt with, 37.

  Poor’s Rates, 17.

  Portugal, Fleet of, against England, 137.

  Portugal, Napoleon’s power crippled in, 142.

  Possibility of invasion treated lightly, 92.

  Post Office, Chief, in Cloak Lane, 229.

  Post Office, General, First stone laid, 230.

  ———— Office, Rules of, 230.

  Postage of letters, 232.

  Postal Arrangements, 37.

  Postmen, Uniform of, 228.

  Poultry, supply of, 236.

  Prayer-book, Alteration of, 34.

  Preliminaries of peace signed, 40.

  Press, Freedom of the, 82.

  ———— French, England libelled by, 65.

  ———— Liberty of, 39.

  ———— License of the, 65.

  ———— Gang, man killed by a, 408.

  ———— Gangs, 406-408.

  Price, High, of Gold, 163.

  ———— of Bread, 36, 44, 240.

  ———— of Corn, 29.

  ———— of Milk, 220.

  Prices of Wheat, 21, 35, 43.

  Primitive state of Manufactures, 396.

  Prince of Orange compensated, 50.

  ———— of Wales, First stone of Covent Garden Theatre laid by, 337.

  ———— of Wales, Claim by, 47.

  ————     ”     Regency of, 180.

  ————     ”     Marriage of, 47.

  Princess Amelia, death of, 179.

  Printers before Parliament, 165.

  Prints, Satirical, 65, 72.

  Prisoners of war, Release of, 53.

  ———— Treatment of, in pillory, 440-443.

  Prisons, list and descriptions of, 453-457.

  Privations at home, 50.

  Privy Council, Colonel Despard before, 63.

  Prize-fight, death at a, 301.

  Prize-fighting discountenanced, 302.

  Prize-fights, Prince of Wales at, 301.

  Proclamation of Peace, 56.

  Proclamations of George III., 28, 32.

  Progression, Rate of, 17.

  Proposals accepted by Napoleon, 39.

  Prosecutions, Antiquated, 22.

  Provisions, Prices of, 45, 239-243.

  Public Madhouses, 391.

  ———— Roads, State of, 182, 183.

  ———— thanksgiving for Peace, 55, 58.

  ———— whipping, 440.

  Quakers mobbed, 19.

  Quartern loaf, Price of, 29.

  Queen of France, arrival of, 145.

  Race-horses, names of, 293.

  Raid on Conspirators, 63.

  Raisins, Tax on, 36.

  Ranelagh Gardens, Description of, 360.

  Rapid journey from Paris to London, 194.

  Rate of Progression, 17.

  Rates, Poor’s, 17.

  Reconciliation between George III. and Prince of Wales, 110.

  Recruiting, Rough and ready method of, 97.

  Rectification of Chronology, 30.

  Refusal of Bank of England to take back Spanish dollars, 106.

  Regency of Prince of Wales, 180.

  Regulations, Volunteer, 419-424.

  Reinagle, Artist, 372.

  Release of debtors, 148.

  ————    ”  prisoners of war, 53.

  ————    ”  Sir F. Burdett, 174.

  Relief of debtors by Common Council, 152.

  Repeal of Income Tax, 47.

  Re-stamping dollars, 163.

  Retarding march of intellect, 62.

  Retrenchment, 44.

  Review at Hatfield, 417.

  ———— by Prince of Wales, 417.

  ———— in Hyde Park, 8.

  ———— of Volunteers, 12-15, 417.

  Rice from India, 241.

  Riot Act read by Lord Mayor, 20.

  Riot after arrest of Sir F. Burdett, 172.

  Riots, Corn, 19.

  ———— Food; Attempt to wreck a house, 24.

  ———— Food, Termination of, 26.

  ———— in Cotton districts, 142.

  ———— in Wiltshire, 61.

  ———— O. P., 146.

  ————   ”    Caricatures on, 347-349.

  ————   ”    Committee on, 350.

  ————   ”    Compromise agreed on, 351.

  ———— O.P., Defence of Proprietors, 342, 343.

  ————  ”    End of, 353.

  ————  ”    Kemble’s appearance at, 345.

  ————  ”    Kemble’s windows broken, 357.

  ————  ”    Medals struck, 346.

  ————  ”    Revived, 352.

  ————  ”    Riot Act read at, 344.

  Roads, Public, State of, 182, 183.

  Robbery, Impudent, 439.

  Roman Catholics, Act to relieve, 103.

  Rotten Row, Horses in, 193.

  Rough and ready method of Recruiting, 97.

  Royal Academy of Art, 369.

  ———— Assent given to the Union, 7.

  ———— Circle, Gambling in the, 286.

  ———— Family and dress, 272.

  ————   ”    caricatured, 24.

  ————   ”    Courage conspicuous in, 96.

  ————   ”    Daily life of the, 276, 277.

  ————   ”    W. H. W. Betty presented to, 330.

  ———— Institution, The, 394.

  ———— Society, The, 394.

  Rupture with France, 65.

  Rusby, Trial of, 17.

  Rusby’s house sacked, 21.

  Rush of English over France, 51.

  Russia, Emperor of, Strong proofs of wisdom of, 115.

  Safety of George III. and Royal Family, 98.

  Sailor, Typical, 403.

  Sailors’ Food, 404.

  Sailors, Full uniform of, 403.

  St. Clement Danes Association, 25.

  St. James’s, New Standard hoisted at, 32.

  Salt Duty Bill, Fierce debate on, 116.

  Scarcity of Bullion, 105.

  ————     ”  Corn, 16, 28.

  ————     ”  Fish, 235.

  ————     ”  Food, 5, 16.

  ————     ”  Game, 236.

  ————     ”  Gold, 16.

  Scheldt Expedition, 412.

  ————         ”      select committee on, 162.

  Scheme for payment of prisoners’ debts, 148, 149.

  Scientific men of the time, 394, 395.

  Scotland, First Census of, 30.

  Sculptors, 374.

  Seal, Great, Alteration of, 33.

  Sedan Chairs, Rates of hire, 187.

  Shakespeare Gallery Lottery, 375.

  Shee, Sir Martin A., P.R.A., 372.

  Sheep roasted at Windsor, 154-155.

  Sheridan, Anecdote of, 338.

  Ships, Number in commission, 405.

  Shooting, A day’s, 308.

  ———— Pigeon, 310.

  Shows, Agricultural, 247.

  Sick and Hurt Office, 61.

  “Silent Highway”, The, 195.

  Sinews of War, The, 75.

  Skittles, 304.

  Slave Trade, Debates on Abolition, 108-127.

  ———— Trade prohibited, 132.

  Smirke, Thos., R.A., 58, 372.

  Smuggling Adventure, 444.

  ———— of Gold coinage, 164.

  ———— Wholesale, 445.

  Societies, Philanthropic, 460.

  Society of Antiquaries, The, 395.

  ————    ”  Arts, 395.

  Soldiers, Uniform of, 412.

  Spain, War against, Debate on, 115.

  ———— War declared against, 115.

  Spanish dollars called in, 106.

  Speech, Freedom of, 82.

  “Spinning-Jenny”, 62.

  Sponging-houses, 457.

  Sports, Country, 303.

  Sportsmen, Cockney, 313-317.

  Spy craze, 99.

  Squibs, Invasion, 78-88.

  Stage coaches, 184.

  ———— waggons, 185.

  ————    ”     Speed of, 186.

  Stamp duty, Increase of, 36.

  Stamping Spanish dollars, 163.

  Standard, New, hoisted at Horse Guards, 32.

  ———— New, hoisted at Tower, 32.

  Steam, 395, 396.

  Stock Exchange, Excitement on, 72.

  ———— Exchange _ruse_, 71.

  Stocks, Fluctuation through false rumours, 39.

  ———— used for minor offences, 440.

  Storace, _prima donna_, 365.

  Stothard, Thos., R.A., 371.

  Street cries, 219-227.

  ———— lamps, 203.

  Streets, London, Description of, 214.

  ———— London, Superiority of, 236.

  ———— vendors, 219-226.

  ———— watering, 215.

  Sugar, Beer made from, 16.

  ———— Tax on, 36.

  Suicides, Burial of, 452.

  Superiority of London Streets, 236.

  Supply of Game, 236.

  ————   ”  Poultry, 236.

  Suspension of Habeas Corpus Act, 37, 102.

  Sussex Coast, Invasion expected on, 99.

  Tandem Club, The, 191.

  Tattersall’s and Aldridge’s, 294.

  Tax, Extra, on letters, 115.

  ————   ”    ”  salt, 115.

  ———— Income, on £200, 17.

  ————    ”    Repeal of, 47.

  ———— on hats, 259.

  ———— ”  horses, 36, 115.

  ———— ”  lead, 36.

  ———— ”  paper, 36.

  ———— ”  pepper, 36.

  ———— ”  raisins, 36.

  ———— ”  sugar, 36.

  ———— ”  tea, 36.

  ———— ”  timber, 36.

  Tea, Tax on, 36.

  Thames, Appearance of, 199.

  ———— as a means of traffic, 195.

  ———— Bridges, 198.

  ———— dock accommodation needed, 199.

  ———— Early steamboat on, 200.

  ———— watermen, 195.

  ————     ”     Fares of, 196.

  Thanksgiving, Public, for peace, 55-58.

  “The Horns”, Kennington, 26.

  Theatres burnt, 337, 338.

  ———— Number of, 323.

  Theatrical Phenomenon, A, 324.

  Thornton, Colonel, Bet of, 312.

  Threatened Invasion, 76, 96.

  Three Mr. Wiggins’s, The, 356.

  Tilsit, Negotiations at, 136.

  Timber, Tax on, 36.

  _Times_ and _Morning Post_, 380-382.

  Tinder-box, Old, Description of, 208.

  ———— Old, Improvements on, 208.

  “Tommy Onslow”, 191.

  Tooke, Rev. J. H., partizan of Wilkes, 37.

  Total of National Debt, 181.

  Tower, New Standard hoisted at, 32.

  Townsend, Bow Street runner, 345.

  Trade, Loss of, 50.

  ———— with France, 45.

  Trafalgar, Battle of, 118.

  Trafalgar, Battle of, London illuminated in honour of, 118.

  ———— Thanksgiving for victory of, 119.

  Traffic in slaves prohibited, 132.

  ———— Thames as a means of, 195.

  Transport defective, 98, 109.

  Travelling, Luxurious, 186.

  ———— Old and new styles compared, 183.

  Treason, Execution for, 452.

  Treaties of Peace, 39.

  Treaty of Amiens, 50, 53.

  ———— with United States, 138.

  Trinidad, Island of, 49.

  Turf purer than now, 292.

  Turner, Joseph Mallord Wm., 371.

  Tyburn, Last person hanged at, 447.

  “Tyburn Tickets”, 446.

  Union between Great Britain and Ireland carried in Irish House of
        Lords, 6.

  ———— Debate on the, 7.

  ———— Royal assent given to, 7.

  “United Britons”, The, 37.

  United States, Treaty with, 138.

  Unlawful to sell new bread, 5.

  Vaccination, 387.

  ———— Pamphlets, 387.

  Valse, The, 367.

  Value of money, Difference in, 29.

  Variation in price of bread, 26, 36, 44, 240.

  Vauxhall Gardens, 358, 359.

  Vegetables, Supply of, 239.

  Vendors, Street, 219-226.

  Venison an epicurean dish, 237.

  Vernal Equinox, 30.

  Victories gained against fearful odds, 81.

  _Victory_, Departure of Nelson in, 74.

  Vimiera, Battle of, 142.

  Visitors, Detention of, in France, 74.

  Volunteer movement, 12, 417.

  ———— regulations, 419-424.

  Volunteer reviews, 12-15, 417.

  Volunteers, Arms of, 424.

  ———— Dinner to, 417.

  ———— in plenty, 97.

  ———— Pay of, 421.

  ———— serve as police, 419.

  “Vortigern and Rowena”, Forgery of, 336.

  Vyner, Sir Robert, Anecdote of, 229.

  Wages, George III.’s servants petition for, 6.

  Waggons, Stage, 185.

  ————       ”    Speed of, 186.

  Wales, Prince of, Claim by, 47.

  ———— First stone of Covent Garden Theatre laid by, 337.

  ———— Marriage of, 47.

  ———— Regency of, 180.

  ———— Review by, 417.

  Walcheren Expedition, Account of, 159, 160.

  ———— Citizens of London and, 161.

  ———— End of, 157.

  ———— George III. and, 161.

  Walter, Mr., Proprietor of the _Times_, 400.

  War, Attempts to stop the, 128.

  ———— declared against Spain, 115.

  ———— France and Austria at, 116.

  ———— in Egypt, 2.

  ———— song, 81.

  ———— with France, Declaration of, 74.

  Washington, George, Death of, 2.

  Watch-house, The, 437.

  Watchmen, Old London, 435.

  ———— Practical jokes on, 438.

  Water Colours, Associated artists in, 375.

  Water Colours, Exhibition of paintings in, 375.

  ———— supply, London, 212, 214.

  Watering streets, 215.

  Wedding-ring, Story of a, 281.

  Weights of carriages, 188.

  West, Benj., P.R.A., 370.

  West India Docks Bill passed, 199.

  Westell, Artist, 372.

  Westmacott, Sir Richard, R.A., 474.

  Wheat, Importation of, 28.

  ———— Prices of, 21, 35, 43.

  Whip Club, Description of the, 189-191.

  Whipping, Public, 440.

  Whitworth, Lord, and his recall, 76.

  ———— Despatches from, 69-73.

  ———— insulted by Napoleon, 69.

  ———— Return of, 73.

  Wife-selling, 282, 283.

  Wilkes, Rev. J. H. Tooke a partizan, 37.

  Wiltshire, Riots in, 61.

  Windsor, Bull baited at, 156.

  ———— Fête at, 154-156.

  ———— Ox and sheep roasted at, 155.

  Wines, Prices of, 239.

  Wolfe, Rev. Richard, Murder of, 102.

  “Women to let”, 284.

  Workhouses, Parochial, 459.

  York, Cardinal, A Pensioner of George III., 134.

  ———— Death of, 134.

  ———— Duke of, Exculpation of, 430.

  ———— Resignation of, 432.

  York’s, Duke of, letter to Speaker, 431.



[1] _Morning Post_, Jan. 7, 1800.

[2] _Annual Register_, Jan. 25, 1800.

[3] “Parliamentary History,” vol. xxxv. pp. 25, 26

[4] By Colley Cibber.

[5] By James Cobb.

[6] Silver medals in commemoration of the King’s escape were struck by
order of Sheridan. The Obverse represents Providence protecting the
King from the attempt upon his life, figuratively displayed by a shield
and shivered arrows, portraying the Sovereign’s safety; and encircled
are the words “GOD SAVE THE KING.” On the Reverse is the British
Crown in the centre of a wreath of laurel, the radiant beams of glory
spreading their influence over it, with the words, “_Preserved from
Assassination, May 15, 1800_;” and on the knot of the wreath, “_Give
God Praise_.” Hadfield died in Bedlam.

[7] The barrels and locks of the muskets of that date were bright and
burnished. Browning the gun-barrels for the army was not introduced
till 1808.

[8] _Annual Register_, vol. xlii. p. 94.

[9] A comb is four bushels, or half a quarter.

[10] G. Fr. Kolb, “The Condition of Nations,” &c.

[11] W. Toone, “The Chronological Historian.”—[When the Julian
Calendar was introduced, the Vernal Equinox fell on the 25th of March.
At the time of the Council of Nice, A.D. 325, it had retrograded to
the 21st of March; and when the reformation was made in 1582, to
the 11th of March. Pope Gregory XIII., to restore it to its place,
directed ten days to be suppressed in the calendar; and as the use of
the Julian intercalation was found to be three days in 400 years, he
ordered the intercalation to be omitted in all the centenary years
except those which were multiples of 400. According to Gregorian rule,
therefore, every year of which the number is divisible by four, without
a remainder, is a leap year, excepting the centenary years, which are
only leap years when divisible by four, on suppressing the units and
tens. Thus—

16(00) is a leap year. 17(00), 18(00), 19(00), are not leap years.
20(00) is a leap year.

The shifting of days caused great disturbance in festivals dependent
on Easter. Pope Gregory, in 1582, ordered the 5th of October to be
called 15th of October; the Low Countries made 15th of December 25th of
December. Spain, Portugal, and part of Italy, accepted the Gregorian
change, but the Protestant countries and communities resisted up to
1700. In England the ten days’ difference had increased to eleven
days, and the Act of 24 Geo. II. was passed to equalize the style in
Great Britain and Ireland to the method now in use in all Christian
countries, except Russia. In England, Wednesday, September 2, 1752, was
followed by Thursday the 14th of September, and the New Style date of
Easter-day came into use in 1753.—_Note by John Westby Gibson, Esq.,

[12] The Great Seal in use in 1800, was the fifth made during the reign
of George III. Its Obverse was the King, in Roman costume, with flying
mantle, on horseback, facing left hand. In his right hand he holds a
marshal’s baton. Legend—both Obv. and Rev. “Georgius III. D.G. BRIT.
Reverse has the King royally robed and crowned, seated on a throne, on
the back of which is emblazoned the Royal arms. He holds the sceptre in
his right, the orb in his left hand. He is surrounded by allegorical
figures. On his right (heraldically) stand Hercules, typical of Power,
Minerva, of Wisdom, and Justice with sword and scales; on his left
are Britannia with spear, shield, and palm branch, and a female,
figurative of piety, carrying the model of a church. The Seal of 1801
is identical, except that BRITANNIANUM is substituted for BRIT., and
FR. is left out. Also in the Royal arms on the throne, the French
_fleur de lys_ is omitted, and the harp of Ireland is introduced. It is
worthy of note, that the medallist has omitted the Cross of St. Patrick
in Britannia’s shield, although proclaimed.

[13] There is verily “nothing new under the sun.” On January 22nd,
the first Parliament of the United Kingdom met. Addington was chosen
Speaker, and members were sworn in. On the 2nd of February the King
opened the Session with a speech, and on the very next day, 3rd of
February, _an Irish member was twice called to order by the Speaker_.
He was a Mr. Martin of Galway, a gentleman who afterwards complained
of his speech being reported in italics, and plaintively asked, “Mr.
Speaker, did I speak in italics?”

[14] Signed by the Marquis Cornwallis for England, Joseph Bonaparte for
France, Azara for Spain, and Schimmelpenninck for Holland.

[15] “Memoirs of the Later Years of the Right Hon. Charles James Fox.”
By John Bernard Trotter, Esq., late private secretary to Mr. Fox.
London. 1811.

[16] “Parliamentary History,” vol. xxxvi. p. 346, &c.

                            806. k. 1.
[17] Notably the following, —————————— Squibs on Bonaparte’s
threatened Invasion; 1890 e. Miss Banks’ Collection, Threatened
Invasion; and 554 f. 25 Squibs on the Threatened French Invasion.

[18] On the site of which The Grand Hotel, Charing Cross, now stands.

[19] In two advertisements only of voluntary offers of horses and
carriages, in August, we find they amount to 2,370 horses and 510

[20] _Morning Herald_, February 18, 1804.

[21] Pitt says, as he looks from the Salt-box, “How do you do, cookey?”
She exclaims, “Curse the fellow, how he has frightened me. I think in
my heart he is getting in everywhere! Who the deuce would have thought
of finding him in the Salt-box!!!”

[22] September 11, 1805.

[23] _Morning Post_, January 8, 1806.

[24] _Morning Post_, January 3, 1806.

[25] _Morning Post_, January 26, 1806

[26] Ibid., January 21, 1806.

[27] _Annual Register_, vol. xlviii. p. 916.

[28] “Parliamentary Debates,” vol. x.

[29] Napoleon met the Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia at
Tilsit. His historical meeting with the former took place on the 25th
of June, 1807, on a barge, or raft, sumptuously appointed, moored in
the middle of the river Niemen.

[30] The King of Portugal, and his family, fled to the Brazils,
protected by a British squadron, November 29, 1807.

[31] “A General History of England from the Landing of Julius Cæsar to
the Revolution of 1688,” by William Guthrie, London, 1744 1751, vol.
ii. p. 213.

[32] The Bachelors had provided about twenty bushels of plum pudding.

[33] This version is taken from “The Life of the Right Hon. George
Canning,” by Robert Bell, London, 1846. The first line, however, is
generally rendered, “The Earl of Chatham, with his sword drawn.”

[34] The number of dollars issued by the Bank of England to February 8,
1810, inclusive, was:

Dollars stamped in 1797 and issued 2,325,099 ” ” 1804 ” 1,419,484 ” ”
1809 and 1810 ” 1,073,051 ————- Total 4,817,634

[35] The account of Sir F. Burdett’s arrest, &c., is mainly taken from
the _Annual Register_, vol. lii.

[36] A number of persons on horseback, who met at Moorfields.

[37] “A View of London; or, The Stranger’s Guide, 1803-4.”

[38] “The Picture of London for 1802.”

[39] The generic name for coachman.

[40] _Morning Post_, June 9, 1808.

[41] _Annual Register_, vol. lix. p. 883.

[42] Sculls, as being lighter, were always cheaper than the heavy oars.

[43] _Par parenthèse._ This Mr. Waddington, whilst in the King’s Bench
Prison, gave away a ton of potatoes a day, about Christmas time. They
were first of all sold at one halfpenny a pound, and the produce in
money was put in the poor’s box, for the benefit of the poor prisoners.

[44] Owing to the war, it was found safer for many merchant vessels to
sail in company, and these fleets usually had two or three men-of-war
in attendance to act as guards, and to protect them; they were called
“the Convoy.”

[45] This probably was the shop of _Owen and Bradley_ whose names first
appear in the _London Directory_ of 1812, as fruiterers, 77, New Bond

[46] “The grand Dramatic Romance of Blue Beard; or, Female Curiosity.”
The Words by George Colman the younger—the Music composed and selected
by M. K. (Michael Kelly). London, 1798.

[47] This word has two meanings, which are here played upon. One is
_spirit_ or _pluck_; the other is the name indifferently for match
splints, or dry, rotten wood.

[48] “Slight Reminiscences of a Septuagenarian,” by Emma Sophia,
Countess of Brownlow, p. 2. London, 1867.

[49] _Sic in orig._

[50] “Old Times.” London: Nimmo, 1885.

[51] From the _Globe_, January 26, 1885:



SIR,—Can it be true—as rumour has it—that in an old-established
gambling club, not 100 miles from St. James’s Street, enormous sums are
nightly staked, and that fortunes rapidly change hands? I hear that
three men sat down a few nights ago to play écarté in this said club,
and that one of their number was at a certain period of the evening a
loser of the enormous sum of £100,000. That when this very impossible
figure was reduced to limits within which the winners considered the
loser could pay, play ceased and the party broke up. The next day—so
runs the story—one of the winners called with bills to the amount
of £26,000, drawn on stamped paper, for the loser to accept. This
gentleman, however, though he freely admits having played, states that,
having dined not wisely but too well, he has no sort of recollection of
losing any specific sum, but merely a hazy idea that fabulously large
amounts were recklessly staked all round, and no accounts kept. In
other words, he repudiates, and finally, after a lengthened discussion,
has consented to place himself in the hands of a friend to decide what
he is to pay. If this is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, I can
only stigmatize the whole affair as a public scandal, and the police
should promptly interfere and shut up a club where such disgraceful
things occur. When Jenks’s baccarat ‘hell’ was closed, and Mr. J.
Campbell Wilkinson and his six associates were each fined £500 (hence
the very excellent _bon mot_ which appeared in the _Sporting Times_
that ‘Jenks’ babies’ had become ‘Jenks’ monkeys’), the public were
justified in believing that, at last, there was not to be one law for
the rich and another for the poor, and that in future men who broke the
law by gambling for thousands, would have the same justice meted out to
them as those who did so by tossing for coppers. However, it appears
such hopes were premature, and before this happy state of things is
arrived at, further attention must be drawn to the matter, hence this
letter, for which I sincerely trust you will be able to find space.—I
am, Sir, yours, &c.,


“January 24th.”

[52] In May, 1775, a Bluecoat boy confessed that he had been tampered
with, and had concealed a ticket, which was afterwards drawn. A man
was arrested as the accomplice, but was discharged; but the Lottery
Committee, in order to prevent a similar fraud, moved the following
resolution (December 12, 1775), which was afterwards always adhered to:
“That it be 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 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.”

[53] “Parliamentary History,” vol. xxxvi.

[54] There is a story told of a Lord Mayor in times long past, who
went a-hunting in Epping Forest. Some one riding past him saluted him
with, “My Lord! the Hare comes this way.” His lordship bravely drew his
trusty sword, and, flourishing it, exclaimed, “Let him come! let him
come! I thank my God, I fear him not.”

[55] Joseph Manton was at that time _the_ great gun maker.

[56] “The Confessions of William Henry Ireland, containing the
Particulars of his Fabrication of the Shakespeare Manuscripts.” London,

[57] “Talk of the Town,” by James Payn.

[58] A famous _Bow Street Runner_, and one in great favour with, and
attendance on, Royalty.

[59] _John_ Kemble.

[60] Townsend—a very good likeness.

[61] Supposed to be Madame Catalani’s husband. She died at Paris, of
cholera, 12th of June, 1849.

[62] He was afterwards reinstated.

[63] Used also for the concerts of Ancient Music.

[64] This marks, as much as anything, the manners of the times. Fancy
the _upper ten_, nowadays, ordering their supper from a tavern!

[65] The famous ballet-dancer of that time.

[66] Otherwise Willis’s Rooms.

[67] This Collection was sold in March, 1810—_vide_ _Morning Post_,
March 22, 1810: “The sale at Pidcock’s, Exeter ’Change, has been well
attended. The skeleton of the famous elephant was put up at 20 guineas,
and knocked down at 55. The skeleton of the spermaceti whale, sixty-six
feet long, which formerly appeared in Rackstraw’s Museum, sold for nine
guineas. Many scarce and beautiful birds sold at low prices, and the
whole collection, consisting of 205 lots, produced about £140.”

[68] Afterwards known as “The Rotunda.”

[69] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society—the “guinea stamp”
of a scientific man, _at the age of_ 21.

[70] See “A Course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy and the Mechanic
Arts” by Dr. Thomas Young. 2 vols. 1807.

[71] Thirty-six bushels, similar to the sealed measure kept at the
Guildhall, heaped up; average weight, 28½ cwt. The Newcastle chaldron
weighed 53 cwt.

[72] That part of the Thames from the east side of London Bridge is
called “The Pool.”

[73] Edited by his daughter, Lady Bourchier. London, 1872.

[74] Lord St. Vincent had a lawsuit which was decided in March, 1801,
for an eighth share of two Spanish ships captured in 1799. Its value
was £9,674, and he won his case.

[75] So called from the brown barrel. At one time all gun barrels were
not only bright, but burnished—the date of the abolition of which, is
fixed by the following—_Morning Post_, October 3, 1808: “The system of
cropping the hair of the soldiers is on the point of being followed up
by the adoption of a plan which will, no doubt, give equal satisfaction
to the whole army: we mean the abolition of that absurd practice of
polishing the arms, which, in some regiments, has been carried to such
an excess as materially to injure the piece, and render it totally
unfit for use in half the time estimated for fair wear in usual
service. Fire-locks upon a new principle, with brown locks and barrels,
have been already issued to the light companies of several regiments,
and the Board of Ordnance have received orders to complete the issue
to the remainder of the army, with all the expedition possible; in
consequence of which, a requisition has been made of the gunsmiths in
the several regiments to repair, without loss of time, to the Royal
Manufactory of Arms at Lewisham.”

[76] Dalswinton is in county Dumfries, and the estate was about
5,000 acres, formerly belonging to the Comyns, but it came into the
possession of Patrick Miller, Esq., who built a fine mansion on the
site of the old castle. He was a man well up to his time, for here, in
1788, he launched, on a lake, the first steamboat ever attempted.

[77] Mrs. Clarke is saying:

“Ye Captains and ye Colonels, ye parsons wanting place, Advice I’ll
give you gratis, and think upon your case, If there’s any possibility,
for you I’ll raise the dust, But then you must excuse me, if I serve
myself the first.”

[78] Commonly known as Colonel Wardell, or Wardle. His real military
rank was Major, in which capacity he served in Sir W. W. Wynne’s
regiment during the rebellion in Ireland.

[79] The italics are mine.—J. A.

[80] The _Times_, February 22, 1805.

[81] These days amounted to 80 or 90 in the year.

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