Gossip in the First Decade of Victoria's Reign
by John Ashton
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Figure 3.—With the same step you waltz round the room—in other words, you perform the Galop waltz, substituting the Polka step as described.

Figure 4.—This is also a waltz with the second step, which we will now describe as "the Heel and Toe step." At the one, make a little hop on your right leg, dropping your left heel close to your right foot; at the two, another little hop on the right leg, pointing your left toe (not forward, but as close to your right foot as possible); at the tree, another little hop on the right leg, advancing one step forward with the left foot; at the four, bring up the right foot, turning at the same instant, and passing your partner over to your left arm from your right arm; in your next measure, return your lady to your left arm, and so on.

[Picture: The Drawing-room Polka.—Figure 5]

Figure 5.—This is termed the back waltz. The step adopted in it by yourself and partner, is the back step described in figure two, and you turn in this waltz exactly the contrary way to that in which you turn in all other waltzes—hence its name.

In La Polka, before commencing the figures we have just described, there is a short introduction (of which we give a sketch), consisting of four measures, danced thus; leading your partner from her seat, and giving her her place in the circle, and placing themselves vis-a-vis, you take her left hand in your right, and make the first step four times—first forward, then backward, forward again, and then backward, taking care to gain ground in the forward steps; you then start with the first figure.

[Picture: The Drawing-room Polka.—Introduction]

There was a furore about the Polka; not only in dancing it, but there was an absolute mania for naming articles of dress after it. Ladies wore Polka hats, Polka jackets and Polka boots, and men had Polka ties. Jullien published a new Polka about every fortnight, and the whole people were Polka mad. Here is a street ballad on the subject:


Oh! sure the world is all run mad, The lean, the fat, the gay, the sad— All swear such pleasure they never had, Till they did learn the Polka.


First cock up your right leg—so, Balance on your left great toe, Stamp your heels, and off you go To the Original Polka. Oh!

There's Mrs. Tibbs, the tailor's wife, With Mother Briggs is sore at strife, As if the first and last of life Was but to learn the Polka.

Quadrilles and waltzes all give way, For Jullien's Polkas bear the sway, The chimney sweeps, on first of May, Do, in London, dance the Polka.

If a pretty girl you chance to meet, With sparkling eyes and rosy cheek, She'll say, young man, we'll have a treat, If you can dance the Polka.

A lady who lives in this town, Went and bought a Polka gown, And for the same she gave five pound, All for to dance the Polka.

But, going to the Ball one night, On the way she got a dreadful fright, She tumbled down and ruined quite The gown to dance the Polka.

A Frenchman has arrived from France, To teach the English how to dance, And fill his pocket—"what a chance"— By gammoning the Polka.

Professors swarm in every street, 'Tis ground on barrel organs sweet; And every friend you chance to meet Asks, if you dance the Polka.

Then over Fanny Ellsler came, Brilliant with trans-Atlantic fame; Says she, I'm German by my name, So best I know the Polka.

And the row de dow she danced, And in short clothes and red heels pranced, And, as she skipped, her red heels glanced In the Bohemian Polka.

But, now, my song is near its close, A secret, now, I will disclose, Don't tell, for it's beneath the rose, A humbug is the Polka.

Then heigh for humbug France or Spain, Who brings back our old steps again, Which John Bull will applaud amain, Just as he does the Polka."


An English dinner—Consols at par—The "Running Rein" case—Other frauds—Royal visitors—Opening letters by Government—Duke of Wellington's Statue—Barry on the Thames—Visit of Louis Philippe—Guano—Queen opens Royal Exchange—Lord Mayor hissed.

As the length of time between this date, and the present writing is great, and our social habits have somewhat changed, it may be interesting to some of my readers to hear a Frenchman's account of an upper-class dinner. It is taken from the Constitutionel, the organ of M. Thiers:

"Madeira wine has been out of fashion, in England, for some time. Sherry and Port (to which are occasionally added Bordeaux and Champagne, Rhenish wines and Hermitage) are, now, the only wines to be seen on the tables of the rich. As for beer (the national drink), it only makes its appearance at a banquet, for remembrance sake, and in very small quantity. Port wine is held in especial favour by the English, because, while it is more impregnated with alcohol than any other, it is, at the same time the least irritating, and facilitates, more than all the rest, the important operations of the digestive organs. In order, however, to be possessed of all the requisite qualities, it must not only be of the finest growth, or have been eight or nine years in the cellar, but the regular connoisseurs insist that it must cross the line several times, in order to be first-rate. Five or six servants, with powdered wigs, in silk stockings and knee breeches, hover about the table. The covers are always changed at every successive course, and there is no fear of eating off the dirty plate of one's neighbour, or using his knife or fork, the sideboard being laden with piles of plates and conveniences of every description. After fish, which always constitutes the first course, the host invites one of his guests to drink a glass of wine with him, desiring him to help himself to that which he likes best. You take that which is offered you. Your host then pours out a glass for himself, and sends you the bottle by a servant. You fill your glass, you raise it to your lips with a half bow, and drink as much of it as you feel inclined. The same ceremony is repeated among the other guests. It should be mentioned that, if you ask a lady to take wine, you always fill her glass before your own; but, if you invite a gentleman so to do, you never fail to help yourself first. This custom was, formerly, very inconvenient to strangers, it being, then, absolutely necessary to empty one's glass; at present, you need only drink a portion, and ladies may satisfy the rules of etiquette by merely moistening their lips. After fish, come roast meats, boiled vegetables, and various delicate sauces, with which you make your cuisine upon your own plate; puddings and game of all sorts follow, amongst which there is, always, to begin with, one dish, especially appropriate to the season. It is to the former article of diet (puddings), that English children are indebted, it is said, for their excellent health, and their magnificent rosy complexions. The cloth is at length removed, and the mahogany table shines forth in all its splendour. Dessert follows, consisting of a few sweetmeats, or confitures, but abounding in fruits from all five parts of the world, and the produce of all the four seasons, and including superb pineapples, Portugal grapes, almonds, red nuts of a delicious flavour, dates, figs, rich juicy oranges, etc., etc. The wine is brought on in glass decanters, ticketed and placed in silver stands. These stands glide along the shining table, which is as smooth as ice, in the midst of silver, or crystal vases filled with fruit, etc. The host, after helping himself to wine, pushes about the whole 'battery' of decanters, which, going the round of the table, soon regain their original situation. A quarter of an hour elapses, when the mistress of the house rises and retires, followed by all the ladies. It is then that the seance de vin begins. The subject of conversation soon changes, and political questions are discussed. The conversation, without getting stormy, acquires that degree of warmth and animation, which a good dinner, when one is blessed with a strong head and a good digestion, generally inspires. Hard drinking has, generally speaking, fallen into desuetude. It is only foxhunters and country gentlemen who remain faithful, nowadays, to that ignoble custom. A gentleman who has any self-respect, never so far forgets himself as to get tipsy, for he would certainly be looked upon with an evil eye, by the company, if he were to enter the drawing-room with an indistinct articulation, or with trembling legs. Dinner is over about half-past nine. The gentlemen then rejoin the ladies to take tea and coffee, and the conversation turns, as before, upon the news of the day."

On 8 April, Consols rose to par, or 100 pounds for 100 pounds stock, for the first time for nearly a century. The last time they were at 100 pounds was in 1749, the year after the peace of Aix la Chapelle; at which period the public debt was rather more than 78,000,000 pounds. The highest price the Three per Cents, ever rose to, previously, was in June, 1737, and again, in May, 1739, when they attained the high price of 107 pounds. In September, 1797, they fell to 47.375, which is the lowest price to which they have ever fallen.

On 23 May, the Derby was won by a horse called Running Rein, which was the occasion of an Action in the Court of Exchequer, on 1 July, before Baron Alderson. It was alleged that the horse had not been truly described, that he was not of the age which qualified him to run for the Derby, and that he ought not, therefore, to be deemed the winner of the race. Colonel Peel, the owner of Orlando, the second horse, claimed the stakes, on the ground that Running Rein was not the horse represented; and Mr. Wood, the owner of Running Rein, brought this action against the Colonel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Punch, in commenting upon Mr. Baron Alderson's remarks, says: "They" (the gentlemen) "go among these knaves and swindlers, these low-bred ruffians, reeking of gin and the stables, to make money of them. They associate with boors and grooms, Jew gambling-house keepers, boxers and bullies, for money's sake to be sure. What other motive could bring such dandies into communication with such scoundrels, any more than he would willingly incur an infection, unless he had some end in view. And the noble patrons of the Turf have a great end in view—that of money."

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

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

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

On June 1, two Royal visitors arrived here, the Emperor of Russia and the King of Saxony. They had to pay the usual penalty of hard labour for a week.

In the House of Commons, on 14 June, Mr. T. Duncombe presented a petition from W. J. Linton, Joseph Mazzini, and two others, complaining of their letters being opened before delivery, and praying that "The House would be pleased to grant, without delay, a Committee to inquire and give immediate redress to the petitioners, and prevent the recurrence of so unconstitutional and infamous a practice." Sir James Graham (Home Secretary) replied that "the House must be aware that from as early a period as the reign of Queen Anne, power existed in the hands of the Principal Secretary of State, to detain and open letters passing through the Post Office; and the House would also be aware that this power had come under the review of Parliament, at so late a period as the year 1837, and by the Act of 1 Vic., this power of issuing warrants to open and detain letters, continued still vested in the Secretaries of State. He must, for fear of creating misapprehension by his answer, state that the circumstances mentioned in the petition were, to a great extent, untrue. As to three of the petitioners, he doubted if their letters had ever been detained, and no warrant as to them had been issued; but, as to one of the petitioners, he had to state, that, on his responsibility, a warrant had been issued as to the correspondence of that person, which warrant was no longer in force."

On 2 July, a Committee of Secrecy was appointed "to inquire into the state of the Law in respect to the detaining and opening of Letters at the General Post Office, and into the mode under which the authority given for such detaining and opening has been exercised, and to report their opinion and observations thereupon to the House." The Committee met, took evidence, and duly reported, when it being shewn that the privilege was not often exercised (the total number of warrants issued between 1799 and 1844 being only 372), and that, of late years, the average of warrants had decreased, the public were satisfied, and the subject dropped.

Chantrey's equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington, which stands in front of the Royal Exchange, was uncovered, amidst much cheering. It cost 9,000 pounds besides the metal.

[Picture: Barry, the Clown, on the Thames]

On 23 Sept. Barry, a clown at Astley's, fulfilled his promise of sailing in a washing-tub drawn by geese, from Vauxhall to Westminster. He successfully accomplished his voyage, and repeated it on Oct. 11, from the Red House, Battersea (where now is Battersea Park), to Vauxhall.

On 8 Oct. Louis Philippe, the King of the French, landed at Portsmouth on a visit to the Queen. He was made a Knight of the Garter, and generally feted, and should have returned to France, from Portsmouth on the 12th, but the sea was too rough, and he had to cross from Dover, instead; but even this trip was delayed by a great conflagration at New Cross Station, so that he really did not depart until the 13th.

I meet with the first mention of that eminent fertiliser, Guano, in a commercial point of view, in the Times of the 18 Oct., where it says that on 16th were put up for sale, at Liverpool, in lots of 10 tons each, 180 tons of the best African guano. But one lot of five tons was sold, and that fetched 5 pounds 12s. 6d. The next lot was not sold, in consequence of the price offered being under that, and the whole of the remaining lots were withdrawn, there being no probability of the reserved price being realised. It was then being fetched from Ichaboe, an island off the south-west coast of Africa—but it was afterwards procured in large quantities from the Chincha Islands, off the coast of Peru.

On 28 Oct. the Queen opened the New Royal Exchange, with great State, and the Lord Mayor (W. Magnay, Esq.) was made a baronet; the reading-room at Lloyd's was made into a Throne room for the occasion, and a sumptuous dejeuner was served in the Underwriters' room. It was a very imposing pageant and pretty sight; but, although the Exchange was formally opened, no merchants assembled within its quadrangle until the first of the following January.

Whilst on matters civic I must mention the very rare fact of Sir William Magnay's successor in the office of Lord Mayor (Mr. Alderman Gibbs), being hooted and yelled at, on 9 Nov., whilst going to Westminster, and returning thence. He had been churchwarden of St. Stephen's, Walbrook, and the popular mind was imbued with the idea that something was wrong with his accounts, so they virtuously insulted him. He had a hard enough time of it both by land and water, when going, what his returning was, is best told by a contemporary:

"The ceremony within the Court of Exchequer having terminated, similar uproarious shouts to those which had hailed the arrival of the new Lord Mayor, now marked his embarcation for the city; and, in his passage down the Thames, with but here and there a solitary exception, the civic barge was the target of repeated vollies of yells and groans, levelled by no unskilful, or ineffective voices at it, from the banks and bridges of the river. The landing at Blackfriars was attended with a more concentrated attack of 'public execration,' for, there, an immense multitude was wedged together, anxious to be spectators of the scene, though not inactive ones. On the procession passed amid the continued manifestations of public disapprobation of the present, and respect for the retiring Lord Mayor. Many interrogations of a searching nature were repeatedly bawled forth, not that they could reach the right honourable ear, but they were exercises in that peculiar art, styled 'talking at folks.' The same description must apply to Ludgate Hill, St. Paul's Churchyard, and Cheapside, in which place some merriment was created by a party chanting in appropriate style:

'Oh, Alderman Gibbs, Pray dub up the dibbs!'

"It was somewhat after 4 o'clock, when the cortege arrived at the bottom of King Street, where, immediately before Guildhall Yard, about 2,000 persons had collected, and others pressing out of the several streets, caused a dense mass to be formed. This was the place where a parting salutation was to be presented to the new Lord Mayor, by his pitiless persecutors, and a very good view of the scene was attainable from an upper window at the western angle of Gresham Street. Hearty and continued cheering announced the progress of Sir William Magnay; but, as soon as the State coach with the new Lord Mayor arrived, the yells and groans which broke forth, were perfectly stunning. Never was the manner in which the two Lord Mayors had been received throughout the day, marked with stronger contrast. The accumulation of carriages in Guildhall Yard, caused the detention of the State coach for some minutes, during which a real tempest of execration was poured forth upon the unfortunate gentleman; and many persons did not hesitate to testify their dislike to him in a manner to be condemned, by spitting at the carriage, their distance from which, however, defeated their intention. In truth, Mr. Gibbs had to endure a perpetual and pitiless storm of hisses, yells, groans, gibes, sneers and jeers; and at every stoppage where the crowd was in close proximity to his carriage, unusually furious bursts of indignation broke forth; yet no missile was thrown during any portion of the day."


Murder by Tawell—Curious story—King William IV.'s Statue—Visits by the Queen—Testimonial to Rowland Hill—Breaking the Portland Vase—Sad end of William Austin—Sale of Van Amburgh's stud—Hungerford Suspension bridge—Accident at Yarmouth—An Excise case—Beginning of the Railway Mania—Sailing of Sir J. Franklin.

This year begins badly—with a murder—which I should not chronicle, were it not that it was the first case in which the electric telegraph lent its services for the detection of a crime. A man named John Tawell, a member of the Society of Friends, and who occupied a decent position in life, poisoned a poor woman at Salt Hill. A Quaker who seemed much confused had been met close by her house, and he went by train from Slough to Paddington. Suspicion being aroused, a message was sent from Slough, giving a description of him, and asking that he should be shadowed on his arrival. This was done, and, next day, he was arrested. He was tried, found guilty, and duly executed. The case, at the time, created an immense sensation, mainly because the villain was a member of the Society of Friends. Apropos of this, the Observer of 23 March is responsible for the following:

"THE MURDERER TAWELL.—The following strange statement has been made by a person, who is a Quaker, living near Berkhampstead, and who is acquainted with Tawell: About a year ago, the stillness and decorum of the Quakers' meeting at Berkhampstead, at which Tawell attended, was disturbed by one of the male members, who suddenly rose from his seat and exclaimed, with frantic earnestness, that there was then present, a person who was, at that very moment, meditating a most fearful crime. His conviction was so strong, that he passionately besought this individual, whoever, he might be, to reflect upon the wickedness of his intention, and to implore his Maker's pardon for his murderous thoughts. As may be imagined, the Friends were thrown into great consternation by this strange and impetuous appeal, and the meeting broke up in alarm and confusion. Tawell was present at the time."

Early in January the statue of King William IV., by Samuel Nixon, was placed on its pedestal, fronting London Bridge; but, as far as I know, there was no public ceremony at its inauguration, for the Times of 1 Feb. says: "That workmen are now actively employed in cleansing down the colossal figure of King William IV., preparatory to the hoarding being removed, and the statue thrown open to the view of the public. The base will present a very novel and pleasing appearance, it being ornamented with numerous naval trophies. The four cross footpaths leading to the figure will be lighted by four gas lamps, on massive granite pillars. In a few days the whole work will be completed, when it will be inspected by Her Majesty, the Queen Dowager, and His Royal Highness Prince Albert, those illustrious personages having intimated their desire to view it when finished."@

On 15 January the Queen paid a visit to the Duke of Buckingham, at Stowe, and the magnificence of her reception had much to do with the financial collapse of the too generous Duke. On leaving Stowe she went to Strathfieldsaye to stay with the Duke of Wellington. It was on this occasion that the old Duke gave a lesson to the gentlemen of the Press, which the interviewers of our times might well take to heart: "Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington presents his compliments to Mr. —-, and begs to say he does not see what his house at Strathfieldsaye has to do with the public press."

On 21 Jan. a National Testimonial was presented to Rowland Hill for his labours in connection with the introduction of the Penny Post, and Mr. Larpent, the Chairman of the City of London Mercantile Committee on Postage, handed him a cheque for 10,000 pounds, which handsome sum had been raised by a public subscription, which was not confined to the mercantile community alone, persons of every rank, and of both sexes, contributing amounts varying from large sums to a few pence.

Just before the closing of the British Museum at 4 p.m. on 7 Feb., a crash was heard, and the famous Barberini, or Portland Vase, was found in pieces on the floor. A man, named Lloyd, in a fit of delirium produced by drink, had smashed it out of pure wantonness. The vase was valued at 1,000 pounds by the Museum authorities, but, of course, that sum was purely nominal, as the vase was unique. It was deposited in the British Museum in the year 1810 by the Duke of Portland, and was considered as his property; hence the name of the "Portland Vase." It was found about the middle of the 16th century, about two and a half miles from Rome, on the road leading from Frascati. At the time of its discovery it was enclosed in a marble sarcophagus, within a sepulchral chamber, under the mount called Monte di Grano. The material of which it is made is glass, the body being of a beautiful transparent dark blue, enriched with figures in relief, of opaque white glass. For more than two centuries it was the principal object of admiration in the Barberini Palace. It came into the possession of Sir William Hamilton, from whom it was purchased by the Duchess of Portland.

On 11 Feb. the delinquent was brought before Mr. Jardine, at Bow Street, and the Museum authorities electing to prosecute him for the minor offence of breaking the glass case which held the vase, and which was under the value of 5 pounds, he was convicted of that offence, and sentenced to pay 3 pounds, or two months' hard labour in the House of Correction. He could not pay, and was committed to prison, in default, but on 13 Feb., someone paid the money, and the man was released.

An employe of the British Museum, named Doubleday, undertook, and effected, the restoration of the Vase, and it may now be seen in the Gold Room of the British Museum, but, alas! "all the King's horses, and all the King's men," can never make it as it was. Wedgwood feebly reproduced it in ceramic ware, copies of which are now worth 200 pounds each, and one copy, if not more, was made in silver.

I come across a curious paragraph in the Morning Post of March 13: "WILLIAM AUSTIN.—This person, whose name must be familiar to all who have had any acquaintance with the history of the Parliamentary proceedings in the case of the late Queen Caroline, or the eventful life of that unhappy Princess, arrived in London, last week, from Milan, where he has been residing for several years, for the most part, in a state of fatuity, the inmate of a lunatic asylum. We understand that he has been removed to this country through the intervention of the British Government, under an authority from the Lord Chancellor, in whose care, his person, and some considerable property, left to him by the late Queen, have been placed by certain proceedings on the part of his relations. He was conveyed hither from Milan under the charge of a medical and two other attendants; and immediately on his arrival, was visited by two London physicians, who, after an interview with him of some duration, at the hotel where he stopped, signed the necessary certificate for his detention in a private asylum, where he now remains. Austin is a very good-looking man, apparently about 40 years of age; and though, beyond doubt, mentally enfeebled, has no betrayal of such imbecility in the expression of his face. He has been in his present unfortunate condition since the year 1830; and, for a great part of that time, he has maintained an immovable taciturnity. No ingenuity has been able to extract a syllable from him. He answers no questions, nor asks any—enters into no conversation—and, even during the whole journey from Milan to London, he never spoke a word to his attendants, or any one else. Neither could the medical gentlemen who waited upon him here induce him to reply to any of their inquiries; and no doubt, this fact, of itself, formed no inconsiderable ingredient in the judgment at which they arrived. The unhappy man is extremely docile, has no disposition to violence, and readily understands and obeys any signs made to him."

Van Amburgh's stud, lions, etc., were sold at Manchester on 17 March, and fetched high prices; a fine black maned lion, 350 pounds; another, 6 years old, 310 pounds; two lion cubs, eight months old, male and female, sold, the one for 12 pounds 10/-, the other for 35 pounds. An elephant realised 750 pounds, and a giraffe 400 pounds.

Hungerford Suspension Bridge, the first of its kind over the Thames, was opened on 1 May, and, although a toll was demanded, it was calculated that, before dusk, some 25,000 persons had crossed from one side of the Thames to the other. It was taken down in July, 1862, to make room for the Charing Cross Railway Bridge. It was transferred to Clifton, and there opened, on 8 Dec., 1864, and it now spans the Avon.

On the next day (2 May) a terrible accident occurred at the Suspension bridge at Great Yarmouth. A clown was to emulate Barry's folly, and cross the river in a washing-tub drawn by geese; and thousands of people assembled to see him, of whom a great number (accounts vary from 300 to 600), containing very many children, were on the bridge. Some of the suspension rods snapped, and the crowd fell into the water. Every assistance was rendered, but the number of recovered dead bodies, nearly all children, or young persons, was 77, and many are supposed to have been swept away by the current.

On the 2nd of May, the famous Excise trial at Bar, i.e., before twelve judges, the Attorney General v. Smith, came to an end, after lasting eight days. Mr. George Smith was a distiller, in a large way of business, at Whitechapel, and the premises of his brother James, who was a rectifier, adjoined his. The law forbids the junction of the businesses of distilling and rectifying, or any communication between premises carrying on such businesses; and, in this case, it was presumed that all spirit would be conveyed from one to the other by means of the highway. But the contention of the prosecution was, that the Excise officers, finding a great deficiency in the spirits ostensibly produced, as compared with the "wash," had detected holes in a large receiver, and found, moreover, that they could themselves convey spirits from the distillery to the rectifying house, through pipes under ground, which were mixed up with those which supplied water, and so escaped detection. This the defendants denied, and brought forward evidence that the pipes were obsolete and disused. In the end, the verdict of the jury was, "We find for the Crown; but we are anxious to express our opinion that there has not been any evidence adduced before us which shows that the pipe has been fraudently used by the defendant." The amount of damages claimed by the Crown was 150,000 pounds; but, by agreement, this was reduced to 76,000 pounds; and, finally, after an appeal from Mr. Smith, the Government were content with a cheque for 10,000 pounds.

About this time commenced what is well termed "The Railway Mania," or, rather, public attention was particularly called to it, as it was becoming a crying scandal. So much so, that it attracted the notice of the legislature; and, if we look at a "Return to the Order of the Honourable the House of Commons, dated 8th April, 1845, for an alphabetical list of the Names, Description, and Places of Abode, of all Persons subscribing to the Amount of 2,000 pounds and upwards to any Railway Subscription Contract deposited in the Private Bill Office during the present Session of Parliament," we shall see that amongst the names will be found many of the leading nobility, large manufacturing firms, names well known in commerce and literature, mingled together in a most heterogeneous manner. The same column shows a combination of peers and printers, vicars and vice-admirals, spinsters and half-pay officers, Members of Parliament and special pleaders, professors and cotton spinners, gentlemen's cooks and KC.'s, attorneys' clerks and college scouts, waiters at Lloyd's, relieving officers and excisemen, editors and engineers, barristers and butchers, Catholic priests and coachmen, dairymen and dyers, braziers, bankers, beer sellers and butlers, domestic servants, footmen and mail guards, and almost every calling under the sun.

And these, it must be remembered, were subscribers for 2,000 pounds and upwards; those who put down their names for less were supposed to be holders of 21,386 pounds 6s. 4d. in Stock.

Of course, Punch could not overlook this mania for speculation, and we find the following in the number for 31 May:

"The night was stormy and dark. The town was shut up in sleep; Only those were abroad who were out on a lark, Or those, who'd no beds to keep.

[Picture: "How many hundred shares have you wrote for?" Railroad Speculators]

"I pass'd through the lonely street, The wind did sing and blow; I could hear the policeman's feet Clapping to and fro.

"There stood a potato-man In the midst of all the wet; He stood with his 'tato can In the lonely Haymarket.

"Two gents of dismal mien, And dank and greasy rags. Came out of a shop for gin, Swaggering over the flags:

"Swaggering over the stones, Those shabby bucks did walk; And I went and followed those needy ones, And listened to their talk.

"Was I sober, or awake? Could I believe my ears? Those dismal beggars spake Of nothing but railroad shares.

"I wondered more and more; Says one, 'Good friend of mine, How many shares have you wrote for In the Diddlesex Junction Line?'

"'I wrote for twenty,' says Jim, 'But they wouldn't give me one'; His comrade straight rebuked him For the folly he had done:

"'Oh, Jim, you are unawares Of the ways of this bad town; I always write for five hundred shares, And then, they put me down.'

"'And yet you got no shares,' says Jim, 'for all your boast'; 'I would have wrote,' says Jack, 'but where Was the penny to pay the post?'

"'I lost, for I couldn't pay That first instalment up; But, here's taters smoking hot, I say Let's stop, my boy, and sup.'

"And at this simple feast, The while they did regale, I drew each ragged capitalist Down on my left thumb nail.

"Their talk did me perplex, All night I tumbled and tossed, And I thought of railroad specs, And how money was won and lost.

"'Bless railroads everywhere,' I said, 'and the world's advance; Bless every railroad share In Italy, Ireland, France; For never a beggar need now despair, And every rogue has a chance.'"

And yet another extract. Who does not remember Thackeray's Diary of C. Jeames de la Pluche, Esqre.? but few know how the idea was started. It was by W. M. T. himself in Punch of Aug. 2:


Considerable sensation has been excited in the upper and lower circles in the West End, by a startling piece of good fortune which has befallen JAMES PLUSH ESQ., lately footman in a respected family in Berkeley Square.

One day, last week, MR. JAMES waited upon his master, who is a banker in the City; and, after a little blushing and hesitation, said he had saved a little money in service, and was anxious to retire, and invest his savings to advantage.

His master (we believe we may mention, without offending delicacy, the well-known name of SIR GEORGE FLIMSY, of the firm of FLIMSY, DIDDLER AND FLASH) smilingly asked MR. JAMES what was the amount of his savings, wondering considerably how—out of an income of thirty guineas, the main part of which he spent in bouquets, silk stockings and perfumery—MR. PLUSH could have managed to lay by anything.

MR. PLUSH, with some hesitation, said he had been speculating in railroads, and stated his winnings to have been thirty thousand pounds. He had commenced his speculations with twenty, borrowed from a fellow-servant. He had dated his letters from the house in Berkeley Square, and humbly begged pardon of his master, for not having instructed the railway secretaries, who answered the applications, to apply at the area bell.

SIR GEORGE, who was at breakfast, instantly arose, and shook Mr. P. by the hand; LADY FLIMSY begged him to be seated, and partake of the breakfast which he had laid on the table; and has, subsequently, invited him to her grand dejeuner at Richmond, where it was observed that MISS EMILY FLIMSY, her beautiful and accomplished seventh daughter, paid the lucky gentleman marked attention.

We hear it stated that Mr. P. is of very ancient family (HUGO DE LA PLUCHE came over with the Conqueror); and the new Brougham which he has started, bears the ancient coat of his race.

He has taken apartments at the Albany, and is a director of thirty-three railroads. He purposes to stand for Parliament at the next general election, on decidedly conservative principles, which have always been the politics of his family.

Report says that, even in his humble capacity, MISS EMILY FLIMSY had remarked his high demeanour. Well, "none but the brave," say we, "deserve the fair."

This we may call the commencement of the mania; in their proper places will be noticed its culmination and collapse.

On 18 May sailed from Greenhithe the two Arctic discovery ships, the Erebus and Terror, under the command of Sir John Franklin, whose instructions were "to push to the westward, without loss of time, in the latitude of about 74.25 degrees, till you have reached the longitude of that portion of land on which Cape Walker is situated, or about 98 degrees west. From that point we desire that every effort be used to endeavour to penetrate to the southward and westward, in a course as direct towards Behring's Straits as the position and strength of the ice, or the existence of land, at present unknown, may admit. We direct you to this particular part of the Polar Sea, as affording the best prospect of accomplishing the passage to the Pacific."

They were provisioned for three years, but when, in 1850, Captain Ommanney discovered, on Beechey Island, traces of the expedition having spent their first winter there, he found large stacks of preserved meat canisters, which, there is little doubt, contained putrid filth, and had been condemned by survey.

As nothing was heard of the expedition, another was organised, in 1847, to start, for search and relief, from Hudson's Bay; and, indeed, no one can say that the two exploring vessels were forgotten; for, from that date, till 1857, thirty-nine different expeditions were sent to look after them. The first to find traces of them was that of Capt. Ommanney, in 1850; then, in April, 1854, Dr. Rae heard, from the natives, of a party of white men having been seen, four winters previously, and that their bodies had afterwards been seen. From these Eskimo, Rae obtained some silver spoons and other small articles which left no doubt but that they had belonged to the ill-fated expedition. But it was the Fox yacht, which was fitted out by Lady Franklin, and commanded by Capt. McClintock, which settled the question of their fate. Early in 1859, a boat, a few skeletons, chronometers, clothing, instruments, watches, plate, books, etc., were discovered; and, towards the end of May, a written paper was found, which gave news of them up to 25 Apl., 1848, and told that "Sir John Franklin died on 11 June, 1847, and the total losses by deaths in the expedition has been, to this date, nine officers and 15 men; we start on, to-morrow, 26th, for Back's Fish River." From the Eskimo was learned how one of the ships sunk in deep water, and the other was wrecked, after which they all perished miserably, some "falling down and dying as they walked," as an old woman told Capt. McClintock.


The Queen's Costume Ball—Copper Coinage of William IV.—New Oxford Street opened—Sale of Napoleon's relics—Story of Nelson's coat—Visit of King of the Netherlands—Railway speculation—Hire of newspapers—Reverse of fortune—Prince Albert and his taxes—Waghorn's overland route.

The Queen gave a Costume Ball, at Buckingham Palace, on 6th June, which was a magnificent affair, and gave plenty of food for conversation. Every guest had to appear in a costume appropriate to the period of English history between 1740 and 1750; but, with the exception of the minuet, the dances were modern.

I have only space for the dresses of the Queen and Prince Albert. Her Majesty's dress was composed of gold tissue, brocaded in coloured flowers, green leaves and silver, trimmed round the top, bottom and sides (the upper dress being open in front) with point lace over red ribbon; the dress looped up with red satin ribbons, and two large bows, in each of which was a diamond bow and tassel. The stomacher was composed of two large diamond bows, and a diamond point; the sleeves, which were tight, finished with point lace ruffles, and trimmed with red ribbon; on the left arm, the Garter in diamonds, and, on the right, a diamond rosette. She wore the blue ribbon and diamond George as usual. The under petticoat was of white and silver tissue, trimmed with a deep flounce of rich point lace (which had belonged to Queen Charlotte), headed by a quilling of red satin ribbon and bows; above, a narrower flounce of point lace, trimmed like the other; in each ribbon bow, a diamond rosette.

Prince Albert wore a suit of the richest crimson velvet (of Spitalfields manufacture); the coat lined with white satin, edged throughout with gold; and the buttons were of gold. On his left breast His Royal Highness wore a most splendid star of the order of the Garter, composed of diamonds, with the exception of the cross, which was formed of rubies. The badge of the Order was confined at the shoulder by an epaulette composed of large brilliants, and a most splendid George was suspended from the ribbon, wholly formed of brilliants. The Prince also wore the insignia of the Golden Fleece, formed of opals and diamonds. The Garter was set in brilliants, and the hilt of His Royal Highness's sword was covered with diamonds. The waistcoat was of white satin, richly and elegantly embroidered with gold, the buttons being of gold. Shoe buckles of diamonds. Hat, three cornered, edged with gold lace, with handsome diamond ornament in the cockade in front.

The Earl of Cardigan could not masquerade as Bayard, but "he excited no little attention. He wore the uniform of the 11th Dragoons at Culloden; and, with the costume, which became him extremely, he contrived to assume the portentous bearing, and the true jack-boot stride and swagger."

The Morning Chronicle is answerable for the following: "For some time past the copper coinage of William IV. has been eagerly purchased by persons who are stated to be Jews, and a report has, in consequence, gained ground that gold is contained in it. What reason there may be for this it is impossible to say; but it is a well-known fact, that agents have been at work for the last two months buying up those particular coins in Westminster, and they now fetch double the price of their legal issue. The mania has extended eastward, and twopence for a penny piece, and a penny for a halfpenny, etc., are now asked for the 'precious issue.'"

On 9 June, the new street connecting Holborn with Oxford Street, and now called New Oxford Street, was thrown open for carriages.

Messrs. Christie and Manson sold, at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, on 23 June, the first portion of the "Napoleon Museum," collected by Mrs. Sainsbury, and which had long been on exhibition. The prices fetched were ridiculously low, as the following examples will show. Among the bronzes, an infantine bust of the King of Rome, formerly in the possession of Josephine, at Malmaison, cost 20 guineas, sold for 1 pound 10s. A drawing in sepia, by Debret, of Napoleon visiting the wounded on the field, after the battle of Eylau, 5 pounds 5s. The pictures illustrative of the principal events in the life of Napoleon, were almost given away; the highest price obtained, being 12 pounds for one by the great French painter David, of Napoleon, with the crown raised in both his hands, to place on the head of Josephine, at the Coronation in Notre Dame. Twenty beautiful enamels by Lienard, of Napoleon, Ney, Berthier, Junot, Joseph, Lucien, Louis and Jerome Bonaparte, Murat, Caroline, the youngest sister of Napoleon, Cardinal Fesch, Marie Louise, etc., fetched but 76 pounds, and, on the other days' sales, the lots went for far under their value.

My readers may possibly remember how, on 8 Dec., 1900, a number of Nelson relics in the Painted Hall, at Greenwich Hospital, were stolen, during the night, by a burglar, who escaped; and may like to know the story of Nelson's coat. The Times of 9 July, copies the following from the Spectator:

"An interesting relic of Nelson has been discovered; and some interest also attaches to the manner in which it has been secured to the nation. Sir Harris Nicolas, in his laborious researches for editing the hero's Despatches, had satisfied himself that the coat and waistcoat which Nelson wore when he fell at Trafalgar, were carefully preserved. In pursuance of the Admiral's directions, they were given, with several other things, by Sir Thomas Hardy, his captain, to Lady Hamilton; by her, they were transferred, under peculiar circumstances, to a late alderman of London, and they remained in the possession of the alderman's widow. The lady is not rich, and she asked 150 pounds for the relic. This sum being beyond his own means, Sir Harris determined to raise it by subscription, in order that the coat and waistcoat might be deposited, like the coat which Nelson wore at the battle of the Nile, in Greenwich Hospital. With that view, he put the proposition in writing, and had it printed as a circular. Before issuing this circular, however, he sent a copy to Prince Albert, who immediately desired that the purchase might be made for himself, as he should feel 'pride and pleasure' in presenting the precious memorials to Greenwich Hospital. Sir Harris Nicolas took them to the Royal purchaser on Wednesday; and we understand that the Prince manifested a very fine feeling on the occasion. There is kind and generous wisdom in this act; for nothing could so help to identify the Queen's husband with the British people, as such little tributes to their maritime pride. The coat is thus described in Sir Harris Nicolas's circular, and it will be seen that it has an historic value: 'The coat is the undress uniform of a vice-admiral, lined with white silk, with lace on the cuffs, and epaulettes. Four stars—of the Order of the Bath, St. Ferdinand and Merit, the Crescent, and St. Joachin—are sewn on the left breast, as Nelson habitually wore them; which disproves the story that he purposely adorned himself with his decorations on going into battle! The course of the fatal ball is shewn by a hole over the left shoulder, and part of the epaulette is torn away; which agrees with Dr. Sir William Beattie's account of Lord Nelson's death, and with the fact, that pieces of the bullion and pad of the epaulette adhered to the ball, which is now in Her Majesty's possession. The coat and waistcoat are stained in several places with the hero's blood."

Further confirmatory evidence is given in the Globe, copied into the Times of 22 July. "It will scarcely be believed that the coat of the great naval hero, together with his cocked hat, and an immense quantity of his property, was, as it were, mortgaged for the sum of 120 pounds, yet such was the fact. The late Alderman Jonathan Joshua Smith was executor of Lord Nelson with Lady Hamilton; and, prior to his death, goods sufficient to fill six crates (amongst which were the coat, hat, breeches, etc.), were placed in the Town Hall, Southwark, under the care of Mr. Kinsey, the chief officer, and who now attends the aldermen at the Central Criminal Court. Kinsey was Alderman Smith's confidential servant for a number of years, and to whom 120 pounds was owing at his master's death. Application was made to the Court of Aldermen, by some members of the Nelson family, for the restitution of the property; and, after a long discussion, Alderman Lucas consented to act as arbitrator between the family and Kinsey, and 30 pounds was paid to the latter, in satisfaction of his claim, upon which, the things were repacked, and sent to Mrs. Smith, at Heron Court, Richmond, in whose possession they remained, until the purchase of the coat was made by Prince Albert."

The King of the Netherlands paid the Queen a visit on 24 July, and the good man must have thought well of us, inasmuch as he was very much let do as he liked. In London he stopped at Mivart's Hotel, went to the Opera, paid a few visits, was a guest of the Duke of Richmond for Goodwood Races, was made a Field Marshal, held a review in Hyde Park, and went back again; a far lighter sentence than is usually passed on Royalty when visiting this country.

We now find the inflation of Railway speculation attracting attention; and, in the Times of Aug. 1 is a letter, a column in length, of which I give the following extract, referring to the inquiry into the Dublin and Galway Railway:

"The next case is that of letters addressed to 1, Park Place, Devonshire Street, Mile End Road. So great is the number of letters delivered here, that additional assistance has been given in the duty. Upwards of 1,000 letters have been delivered here within nine months; only last week 120 were taken in on one day, of which, at one time, no less than 16, and, at another, 30, letters were delivered. This No. 1, Park Place, is up an obscure court, consisting of three small houses, of about 5/6 rent per week. No. 1 is occupied by a man and woman, and the next door by their daughter. The proceedings of these persons have been closely watched. Directly a packet of letters has been received in the morning, off starts the old man and woman, and, sometimes, the daughter, to the places appointed to meet the receiver. On the first occasion, the old woman, who had received 16 letters, evidently wanted to deposit her treasure at Crosby Hall Chambers; for, opposite to them, she halted, carefully looking about her; but, unfortunately, she found she was watched; and, escaping through the Excise Office, hid herself somewhere, till her pursuer lost her. The next morning, another packet was received, with which the old man was intrusted; he started immediately, and, after a most circuitous route, to avoid detection as to where he deposited his treasure, he was seen to enter the King's Arms Tavern, Bishopsgate Churchyard, where he was seen to deliver his despatches to a smart, dapper Jew, well known, who, after a few moments' deliberation, left the house, and was speedily joined by several confederates at the top of the churchyard, who, after dividing the letters, dispersed as instantaneously as can be imagined. The next day, it became necessary to augment the detective force, for the old people became more wary; the old man went out before post time, and the daughter was selected as the messenger with despatches; she was fleet of foot, but she had been carefully identified, therefore that did not avail her much, as the detective force was divided, and stationed at such places as were likely to succeed. She took a most circuitous route, but, eventually, found herself opposite the Auction Mart, evidently looking out anxiously for someone; she saw she was watched, and away she started, and, after a long round, found shelter in Maidenhead Court, Aldersgate Street, in a little smith's shop—which turned out to belong to the identical party who resides at No. 1, Park Place, where the letters were first delivered. Here the pursuit was given up. No further attempt to trace the receiver was made, the inquiry before the select committee coming on; but sufficient is shown to exhibit the system existing to this hour. How, it may be asked, do they procure the signatures to the deed, one party holding so many letters of allotment? The system is this: one party signs the deed as often as disguise will shield him from discovery; then the practice is resorted to of procuring persons, from 15 years to 60, to accompany the holder of the banker's receipt to the Railway Office, to sign the deed in such name as he may direct; for which, when done, he receives remuneration, varying from one shilling to ten, according to the premium the scrip may bear in the market." There were several police cases as to writing and forging these bogus names, and prudent people were beginning to look shy at railway scrip.

Here is a case which we can hardly understand nowadays. As long as Newspapers were stamped, it was a misdemeanour to allow anyone to read them, unless they purchased them, as it was considered a fraud upon the Revenue. On 23 Aug., in the Court of Requests, Kingsgate Street, a case came before the Commissioners for adjudication, in which a newsvendor summoned a person for a small sum, for "reading" the various newspapers. The plaintiff, in stating the case, said the defendant had been in the habit of seeing the papers daily, for which a penny a day was charged, and the present proceedings were taken to recover a balance due on that account. The Commissioners said that he could not recover, as he had been guilty of a gross fraud upon the Stamp Office in letting newspapers out for hire. The plaintiff: But he was in the habit of coming to my shop, and seeing them. The Commissioner: That don't matter; it is a fraud upon the Stamp Office, and you render yourself liable to an information being laid against you for it.

* * * * *

Here is a little anecdote chronicled in the Annual Register (6 Sep.): "REVERSE OF FORTUNE.—Edward Riley, living with his family in Hadley Street, Burton Crescent, having been proved next of kin to Maj.-Gen. Riley, who recently died at Madras, leaving property to the amount of 50,000 pounds, to the whole of which he has become entitled, has greatly amused the neighbourhood by his conduct. From having been but a workman in the dust-yard in Maiden Lane, he has, now, become a man of independence. Some days after his sudden acquisition of wealth, he called, in his cab, on a tailor in Seymour Street, and, taking him to the dust yard, desired him to measure the whole of the men in the yard for a suit of clothes, which being accomplished, he ordered them to go to a bootmaker, where they were all served. On the following Sunday, he ordered a butcher to supply each of them with a joint of meat. Riley has taken a house in Argyle Square; and, upon entering it, purposes to give a dinner to all the dustmen in London, and illuminate the front of his house."

We have seen, in 1843, Punch's idea of Prince Albert as a farmer, and we next hear of him, in connection with this business, as refusing to pay parish rates for the Flemish Farm; so at a vestry meeting held at Windsor, on 18 Sep., the subject was brought forward. It appeared that the estimated rental of the property was 450 pounds, and that the last rate, at 8d. in the pound, amounting to 15 pounds, had not been paid. It was stated that the Prince had refused to pay the rates on two grounds, first, that he had no "beneficial occupation," and, secondly, that "the property belonged to the Queen." The reply to this was, that the Prince certainly had a beneficial occupation in the farm, for the two prize oxen sold by him, last year, at 70 and 80 pounds, were fatted on this farm, to say nothing of the crops and agricultural produce, from which His Royal Highness received great profits, and it was thought there was no reason why he should be let off, and the poorer farmers made to pay the rates. It was settled that the collector should make application for the arrears, amounting to over 200 pounds.

Punch drew a harrowing picture, of the brokers being put into Windsor Castle, and of a paragraph which might appear in the Court Circular: "Yesterday, Her Gracious Majesty visited Prince Albert at her own Bench." But matters did not go so far, for on 14 Jan. next following, the Prince vouchsafed an answer to the Vestry, in which he denied his liability in toto, acting on the advice of the Attorney and Solicitor General, and Sir Thomas Wilde; and, after crushing the poor vestry, the letter winds up thus: "And His Royal Highness feels himself at liberty to take the course which is most satisfactory to his own feelings, and to pay, as a voluntary contribution, a sum equal to the rate which would have been annually due, had the legal liability of His Royal Highness been established. It is also His Royal Highness's intention that the payment of the sum referred to should commence from the year 1841."

And so it has continued to the present day, if we may credit the authority quoted in the accompanying cutting from the Globe of 8 June, 1901: "HOW THE KING PAYS TAXES.—It is not generally known (says the Free Lance) that the King pays taxes under protest—that is to say, His Majesty, like Queen Victoria, claims to be exempt from impost, and yet is willing to contribute, without prejudice, to the rates. For instance, part of the Windsor farm land lies within the radius of the borough. The municipal authority issues demand notes for the rates. The Royal officials respond by paying a sum just under the amount requested, and the collector is satisfied. There is no question of going to law, for how can the King be summoned in his own Courts?"

On 31 Oct. Lieut. Waghorn practically demonstrated the feasibility of his "Overland Route" to India. The regular Mail and his Express arrived at Suez by the same steamer on 19 Oct. The Express was given to a man on a dromedary, who, stopping nowhere, entered Alexandria on the 20th. The Express was delivered to Mr. Waghorn, who started at 11 o'clock. He had been waiting on board an Austrian steamer, which had remained in quarantine, so that he arrived at Trieste in free pratique. He landed, however, at Divina, twelve miles nearer London than Trieste, and hurried through Austria, Prussia, Baden, and Bavaria, with a passport ready vised by the representatives of those countries. He reached Mannheim in 84 hours, proceeded by a steamer to Cologne, thence by special train to Ostend, by boat to Dover, to London by railway, and arrived at 4.30 in the morning of the 31st. The news from India thus brought, was published in all the London papers, which were in Paris before the Mail from Marseilles was on its way to London.

[Picture: Punch Illustration]


The Railway Mania—Deposit of plans.

The accompanying illustration from Punch (18 Oct.) justly holds up to ridicule the Railway Mania, which might then be said to have been at its height. It is called "THE MARCH OF SPECULATION.—'This is the young Gent, as takes my Business, Mem. I'm agoin' into the Railway—Director Line myself.'"

As a proof of this Madness, see this paragraph: "Oct. 25. During the past week there were announced, in three newspapers, eighty-nine new schemes, with a capital of 84,055,000 pounds; during the month, there were 357 new schemes announced, with an aggregate capital of 332,000,000 pounds."

On 17 Nov. the Times published a table of all the railway companies registered up to the 31st October, numbering 1,428, and involving an outlay of 701,243,208 pounds. "Take away," it said, "140,000,000 pounds for railways completed, or in progress, exclude all the most extravagant schemes, and divide the remainder by ten, can we add, from our present resources, even a tenth of the vast remainder? Can we add 50,000,000 pounds to the railway speculations we are irretrievably embarked in? We cannot, without the most ruinous, universal and desperate confusion."

Here is a Parody on the situation, 1 Nov.:

"There was a sound, that ceased not day or night, Of speculation. London gathered then Unwonted crowds, and moved by promise bright, To Capel Court rushed women, boys and men, All seeking railway shares and scrip; and when The market rose, how many a lad could tell With joyous glance, and eyes that spake again, 'Twas e'en more lucrative than marrying well;— When, hark, that warning voice strikes like a rising knell.

Nay, it is nothing, empty as the wind, But a "bear" whisper down Throgmorton Street; Wild enterprise shall still be unconfined; No rest for us, when rising premiums greet The morn, to pour their treasures at our feet;— When, hark! that solemn sound is heard once more, The gathering bears its echoes yet repeat— 'Tis but too true, is now the general roar, The Bank has raised her rate, as she has done before.

And then, and there were hurryings to and fro, And anxious thoughts, and signs of sad distress, Faces all pale, that, but an hour ago Smiled at the thought of their own craftiness; And there were sudden partings, such as press The coins from hungry pockets, mutual sighs Of brokers and their clients. Who can guess How many a "stag" already panting flies, When upon times so bright, such awful panics rise?"

Mr. Francis, in his History of the English Railway, says: "The daily press was thoroughly deluged with advertisements; double sheets did not supply space enough for them; double doubles were resorted to, and, then, frequently, insertions were delayed. It has been estimated that the receipts of the leading journals averaged, at one period 12,000 and 14,000 pounds a week, from this source. The railway papers, on some occasions, contained advertisements that must have netted 700 to 800 pounds on each publication. The printer, the lithographer, and the stationer, with the preparation of prospectuses, the execution of maps, and the supply of other requisites, also made a considerable harvest.

"The leading engineers were, necessarily, at a great premium. Mr. Brunel was said to be connected with fourteen lines, Mr. Robert Stephenson with thirty-four, Mr. Locke with thirty-one, Mr. Rastrick with seventeen, and other engineers with one hundred and thirteen.

"The novelist has appropriated this peculiar portion of commercial history, and, describing it, says gravely and graphically: 'A colony of solicitors, engineers and seedy accountants, settled in the purlieus of Threadneedle Street. Every town and parish in the Kingdom blazed out in zinc plates over the doorways. From the cellar to the roof, every fragment of a room held its committee. The darkest cupboard on the stairs contained a secretary, or a clerk. Men, who were never seen east of Temple Bar before, or since, were, now, as familiar to the pavement of Moorgate Street, {279} as the stockbrokers; ladies of title, lords, Members of Parliament, and fashionable loungers thronged the noisy passages, and were jostled by adventurers, by gamblers, rogues and imposters.'

"The advantages of competition were pointed out, with the choicest phraseology. Lines which passed by barren districts, and by waste heaths, the termini of which were in uninhabitable places, reached a high premium. The shares of one company rose 2,400 per cent. Everything was to pay a large dividend; everything was to yield a large profit. One railway was to cross the entire Principality without a single curve.

"The shares of another were issued, the company formed, and the directors appointed, with only the terminal points surveyed. In the Ely railway, not one person connected with the country through which it was to pass, subscribed the title deed.

"The engineers who were examined in favour of particular lines, promised all and everything in their evidence. It was humourously said of them, 'they plunge through the bowels of mountains; they undertake to drain lakes; they bridge valleys with viaducts; their steepest gradients are gentle undulations; their curves are lines of beauty; they interrupt no traffic; they touch no prejudice.'

"Labour of all kinds increased in demand. The price of iron rose from sixty-eight shillings to one-hundred-and-twenty per ton. Money remained abundant. Promoters received their tens and twenties of thousands. Rumours of sudden fortunes were very plentiful. Estates were purchased by those who were content with their gains; and, to crown the whole, a grave report was circulated, that Northumberland House, with its princely reminiscences, and palatial grandeur, was to be bought by the South Western. Many of the railways attained prices which staggered reasonable men. The more worthless the article, the greater seemed the struggle to obtain it. Premiums of 5 and 6 pounds were matters of course, even where there were four or five competitors for the road. One company, which contained a clause to lease it at three-and-a-half per Cent., for 999 years, rose to twenty premium, so mad were the many to speculate.

"Every branch of commerce participated in the advantages of an increased circulation. The chief articles of trade met with large returns; profits were regular; and all luxuries which suited an affluent community, procured an augmented sale. Banking credit remained facile; interest still kept low; money, speaking as they of the City speak, could be had for next to nothing. It was advanced on everything which bore a value, whether readily convertible, or not. Bill brokers would only allow one-and-a-half per cent. for cash; and what is one-and-a-half to men who revelled in the thought of two hundred? The exchanges remained remarkably steady. The employment of the labourer on the new lines, of the operative in the factory, of the skilled artisan in the workshop, of the clerk at the desk, tended to add to the delusive feeling, and was one of the forms in which, for a time, the population was benefitted. But, when the strength of the Kingdom is wasted in gambling, temporary, indeed, is the good, compared with the cost. Many, whose money was safely invested, sold at any price, to enter the share market. Servants withdrew their hoards from the savings banks. The tradesman crippled his business. The legitimate love of money became a fierce lust. The peer came from his club to his brokers; the clergyman came from his pulpit to the mart; the country gentleman forsook the calmness of his rural domain for the feverish excitement of Threadneedle Street. Voluptuous tastes were indulged in by those who were previously starving. The new men vied with the old, in the luxurious adornments of their houses. Everyone smiled with contentment; every face wore a pleased expression. Some, who, by virtue of their unabashed impudence, became provisional committee-men, supported the dignity of their position in a style which raised the mirth of many, and moved the envy of more. Trustees, who had no money of their own, or who had lost it, used that which was confided to them; brothers speculated with the money of sisters; sons gambled with the money of their widowed mothers; children risked their patrimony; and it is no exaggeration to say, that the funds of hundreds were surreptitiously endangered by those in whose control they were placed."

But Railways had been projected, and, in order to carry them through, the plans must, by law, be deposited with the Board of Trade, before, or on 30 Nov.; and, on this occasion, there was a scene, which is very well told in the Annual Register:

"An extraordinary scene occurred at the office of the Railway Department of the Board of Trade on this day (Sunday, 30 Nov.), being the last day on which the plans of the new projects could be deposited with the Railway Board, in order to enable Bills to authorise them to be brought before Parliament, in compliance with the Standing Orders.

"Last year, the number of projects, in respect of which plans were lodged with the Board of Trade, was 248; the number, this year, is stated to be 815. The projectors of the Scotch lines were mostly in advance, and had their plans duly lodged on Saturday. The Irish projectors, too, and the old-established companies, seeking powers to construct branches, were among the more punctual. But upwards of 600 plans remained to be deposited. Towards the last, the utmost exertions were made to forward them. The efforts of the lithographic draughtsmen and printers in London were excessive; people remained at work, night after night, snatching a hasty repose for a couple of hours, on lockers, benches, or the floor. Some found it impossible to execute their contracts; others did their work imperfectly. One of the most eminent was compelled to bring over four hundred lithographers from Belgium, and failed, nevertheless, with this reinforcement, in completing some of his plans. Post horses and express trains, to bring to town plans prepared in the country, were sought in all parts. Horses were engaged days before, and kept, by persons specially appointed, under lock and key. Some railway companies exercised their power of refusing express trains for rival projects, and clerks were obliged to make sudden and embarrassing changes of route, in order to travel by less hostile ways. A large establishment of clerks were in attendance to register the deposits; and this arrangement went on very well, until eleven o'clock, when the delivery grew so rapid, that the clerks were quite unable to keep pace with the arrivals. The entrance hall soon became inconveniently crowded, considerable anxiety being expressed lest twelve o'clock should arrive 'ere the requisite formalities should have been gone through. This anxiety was allayed by the assurance that admission into the hall before that hour, would be sufficient to warrant the reception of the documents.

[Picture: Deposit of Railway Plans with the Board of Trade, 30 Nov., 1845. Ill. Lon. News, 6 Dec., 1845, p. 358]

"As the clock struck twelve, the doors of the office were about to be closed, when a gentleman with the plans of one of the Surrey railways arrived, and, with the greatest difficulty, succeeded in obtaining admission. A lull of a few minutes here occurred; but, just before the expiration of the first quarter of an hour, a post chaise, with reeking horses, drove up, in hot haste, to the entrance. In a moment, its occupants (three gentlemen) alighted, and rushed down the passage, towards the office door, each bearing a plan of Brobdingnagian dimensions. On reaching the door, and finding it closed, the countenances of all drooped; but one of them, more valorous than the rest, and prompted by the bystanders, gave a loud pull at the bell. It was answered by Inspector Otway, who informed the ringer it was now too late, and that his plans could not be received. The agents did not wait for the conclusion of the unpleasant communication, but took advantage of the door being opened, and threw in their papers, which broke the passage lamp in their fall. They were thrown back into the street. When the door was again opened, again went in the plans, only to meet a similar fate.

"In the whole, upwards of 600 plans were duly deposited."


Collapse of the Railway Mania—Sheriff's Officers—Hudson, the Railway King—First "Ethiopian Serenaders"—The Nigger Minstrel Craze—Commencement of Irish Famine—"The Battle of the Gauges"—Railway Surveyors—Suicide of Haydon, the painter.

Although the collapse of the Railway Mania really began in 1845, its effects were not fully felt until the commencement of this year, when 10 per cent. on Railway Capital had to be lodged with the Accountant General, within seven days from the assembling of Parliament, which in this case meant the 29th Jan. It really received its first serious wound when the Bank of England rose its rate of discount on 16 Oct., but it was only when the calls had to be paid, that it was found how rotten the whole concern was, as the Marquis of Clanricarde, in a speech, plainly exposed. Said he: "One of the names to the deed, to which he was anxious to direct their attention, was that of a gentleman, said to reside in Finsbury Square, who had subscribed to the amount of 25,000 pounds; he was informed no such person was known at that address. There was, also, in the Contract deed, the name of an individual who had figured in the Dublin and Galway Railway Case, who was down for 5,000 pounds, and who was understood to be a half-pay officer, in the receipt of 54 pounds a year, but who appeared as a subscriber in different railway schemes to the amount of 41,500 pounds. The address of another, whose name was down for 12,200 pounds, was stated to be in Watling Street, but it appeared he did not reside there. In the case of another individual down for 12,500 pounds, a false address was found to have been given. Another individual, whom he would not name, was a curate in the parish in Kent; he might be worth all the money for which he appeared responsible in various railway schemes, but his name appeared for 25,000 pounds in different projects, and stood for 10,000 pounds in this line. Another individual, who was down for 25,000 pounds, was represented to be in poor circumstances. A clerk in a public company was down for upwards of 50,000 pounds. There were several more cases of the same kind, but he trusted he had stated enough to establish the necessity of referring the matter to a Committee. There were, also, two brothers, sons of a charwoman, living in a garret, one of whom had signed for 12,500 pounds, and the other for 25,000 pounds; these two brothers, excellent persons, no doubt, but who were receiving about a guinea and a half between them, were down for 37,000 pounds."

The story of the collapse is so admirably told by Mr. Francis, that I prefer giving his version than writing of it myself:

"Money was scarce, the price of stock and scrip lowered; the confidence of the people was shaken, and a vision of a dark future on every face. Advertisements were suddenly withdrawn from the papers, men of note were seen no more as provisional committeemen; distrust followed the merchant to the mart and the jobber to the Exchange. The new schemes ceased to be regarded; applications ceased to be forwarded; premiums were either lowered, or ceased to exist. Bankers looked anxiously to the accounts of their customers; bill brokers scrutinised their securities; and every man was suspicious of his neighbour.

"But the distrust was not confined to projected lines. Established railways felt the shock, and were reduced in value. Consols fell one and a half per cent.; Exchequer bills declined in price, and other markets sympathised. The people had awoke from their dream, and trembled. It was a national alarm.

"Words are weak to express the fears and feelings which prevailed. There was no village too remote to escape the shock, and there was, probably, no house in town some occupant of which did not shrink from the morrow. The Statesman started to find his new Bank Charter so sadly and so suddenly tried; the peer, who had so thoughtlessly invested, saw ruin opening to his view. Men hurried with bated breath to their brokers; the allottee was uneasy and suspicious, the provisional committeeman grew pale at his fearful responsibility; directors ceased to boast their blushing honours, and promoters saw their expected profits evaporate. Shares which, the previous week, were a fortune, were, the next, a fatality, to their owners. The reputed shareholders were not found when they were wanted; provisional committeemen were not more easy of access.

"One Railway advertised the names and addresses of thirty—none of whom were to be heard of at the residences ascribed to them. Letters were returned to the Post Office day after day. Nor is this to be wondered at, when it is said that, on one projected line, only 60 pounds was received for deposits, which should have yielded 700,000 pounds.

"It was proved in the Committee of the House of Commons, that one subscription list was formed of 'lame ducks of the Alley'; and that, in another, several of the Directors, including the Chairman, had, also, altered their several subscriptions to the amount of 100,000 pounds, the very evening on which the list was deposited, and that five shillings a man was given to anyone who would sign for a certain number of shares.

"Nothing more decidedly marked the crisis which had arrived, than the fact that everyone hastened to disown railways. Gentlemen who had been buried in prospectuses, whose names and descriptions had been published under every variation that could fascinate the public, who had figured as Committeemen, and received the precious guineas for their attendance, were eager to assure the world that they were ignorant of this great transgression. Men who, a month before, had boasted of the large sums they had made by scrip, sent advertisements to papers denying their responsibility, or appealed to the Lord Mayor to protect their characters. Members of Parliament who had remained quiet under the infliction, while it was somewhat respectable, fell back upon their privileges, when they saw their purses in danger. There is no doubt that an unauthorised use of names was one feature of fraudulent companies, and that, amidst a list of common names, it was thought a distinguished one might pass unnoticed. The complaints, therefore, of those who were thus unceremoniously treated, were just; but the great mass of denials emanated from persons who, knowingly, encountered the risk, and, meanly, shrunk from the danger.

"It is the conviction of those who were best informed, that no other panic was ever so fatal to the middle class. It reached every hearth, it saddened every heart in the metropolis. Entire families were ruined. There was scarcely an important town in England but what beheld some wretched suicide. Daughters, delicately nurtured, went out to seek their bread; sons were recalled from academies; households were separated, homes were desecrated by the emissaries of the law. There was a disruption of every social tie. The debtors' jails were peopled with promoters; Whitecross Street was filled with speculators; and the Queen's Bench was full to overflowing. Men, who had lived comfortably and independently, found themselves suddenly responsible for sums they had no means of paying. In some cases, they yielded their all, and began the world anew; in others, they left the country for the continent, laughed at their creditors, and defied pursuit. One gentleman was served with four hundred writs; a peer, when similarly pressed, when offered to be relieved from all liabilities for 15,000 pounds, betook himself to his yacht, and forgot, in the beauties of the Mediterranean, the difficulties which had surrounded him. Another gentleman who, having nothing to lose, surrendered himself to his creditors, was a director of more than twenty lines. A third was Provisional Committeeman to fifteen. A fourth, who commenced life as a printer, who became insolvent in 1832 and a bankrupt in 1837, who had negotiated partnerships, who had arranged embarrassed affairs, who had collected debts, and turned his attention to anything, did not disdain, also, to be a Railway promoter, a Railway director, or to spell his name in a dozen different ways."

The Sheriff's Officers had a busy time of it, and Punch, in "GOING OUT ARRESTING," gives the following colloquy between two of the fraternity:

"'Vell, Aaron, my tear, have yer 'ad any sport?'

"'Pretty vell, I've bagged four Allottees, and two Provisionals!'"

[Picture: Picture of two men in carriages]

But a notice of the Railway Mania would be very incomplete without a mention of George Hudson, the Railway King. He was born at Howsham, a village near York, in March, 1800; was apprenticed to a draper in York; and, subsequently, became principal in the business; thus, early in life, becoming well off, besides having 30,000 pounds left him by a distant relative. In 1837, he was Lord Mayor of York; and, the same year, was made Chairman of the York and North Midland Railway, which was opened in 1839. In 1841, he was elected Chairman of the Great North of England Company; and, afterwards, held the same position in the Midland Railway Company. He speculated largely in railways, and, in the Parliamentary return, already alluded to, his subscriptions appear as 319,835 pounds.

He came to London, and inhabited the house at Albert Gate, Knightsbridge (now the French Embassy), where he entertained the Prince Consort, and the aristocracy generally. He was elected M.P. for Sunderland in Aug., 1845, and again served as Lord Mayor of York in 1846. The Railway smash came; and, year by year, things went worse with him, until, early in the year 1849, he had to resign the Chairmanship of the Eastern Central (now Great Eastern), Midland, York, Newcastle and Berwick, and the York and North Midland Railway Companies. He went abroad, where he lived for some time, and tried, unavailingly, to retrieve his fortune. In July, 1865, he was committed to York Castle for Contempt of the Court of Exchequer, in not paying a large debt, and was there incarcerated till the following October.

He fell so low, that, in 1868, some friends took pity on him, and raised a subscription for him, thus obtaining 4,800 pounds, with which an annuity was purchased. He died in London, 14 Dec., 1871.

We have been so accustomed to have nigger minstrels with us that I suppose very few of us know when they began. Of course, I do not mean the solitary minstrel like Rice of "Jump Jim Crow" fame, who was the first, coming over here in 1836; but the first troupe. I find it in the Illustrated News of 24 Jan., 1846, whence also comes this illustration:

[Picture: The Ethiopian Serenaders]

"A party of American minstrels, under the above designation, commenced on Wednesday night (21 Jan.), at the Hanover Square Rooms, a series of concerts, for the avowed purpose of affording an accurate notion of Negro character and melody. These artists are remarkably clever, and admirably 'made up.' They are painted jet black, with ruddy lips, and large mouths; and, being capital actors, the deception created is so great, that wagers have been offered that they are really 'darkies.' They dress in dandy costume, a la Jullien—that is, white waistcoated and wristbanded, turned up in the most approved D'Orsay fashion. Of course, it is impossible to come to any right conclusion as to the authenticity of the African airs, especially as they have arranged the compositions of the great European masters in such a grotesque manner. The executants are five in number; one plays the tambourine, Mr. Germon, who is the leader; another the bone castanet; the third, the accordion; and the two others, the banjo, or African guitar. The castanet player does not sing; but his four colleagues have good voices, and, in glees, harmonize charmingly. In a quartet, the parody on the Phantom Chorus, from Bellini's 'Sonnambula'; and in a glee, 'You'll See Them on the Ohio,' nothing can be more effective than the skilful blending of the parts. It is, perhaps, the buffo exhibition which will create the greatest sensation, and in this quality they are inimitable. The tambourine performer affects a ludicrous air of pompous sentiment, while the castanet sable hero indulges in all kinds of buffoonery and antics. He is a wonderful player—no Spaniard can rival him in rapidity, delicacy and precision. A scene called a 'Railway Overture,' causes an explosion of laughter; they seem to be endowed with perpetual motion; and the scream of the whistle, at the same time as the noise of the engine, beggars all description. The entertainment is quite a novelty, and will, no doubt, be attractive. They have been provided with letters of recommendation from President Polk, and some leading persons in America, who must be better able to appreciate the accuracy of their African delineations than Europeans."

They were popular, with a vengeance—for every little street arab had beef bones for castanets, and every new song was roared out in the streets until it nauseated. Punch drew policemen and dustmen as Ethiopian Serenaders, and even suggested that Lablache, Mario and Tamburini should adopt the style.

[Picture: Picture of musicians]

The Queen opened Parliament on 19 Jan., and in her speech, whilst deprecating "the very frequent instances in which the crime of deliberate assassination has been, of late, committed in Ireland," she went on: "I have to lament that, in consequence of a failure of the potato crop in several parts of the United Kingdom, there will be a deficient supply of an article of food which forms the chief subsistence of great numbers of my people. The disease by which the plant has been affected, has prevailed to the utmost extent in Ireland. I have adopted all such precautions as it was in my power to adopt, for the purpose of alleviating the sufferings which may be caused by this calamity; and I shall confidently rely on your co-operation in devising such other means for effecting the same benevolent purpose, as may require the sanction of the Legislature."

On 13 March, Parliament talked somewhat about the matter, and Sir James Graham, the Home Secretary, confessed that distress "pervades the whole of Ireland. It is to be found in every province, in every county, in every union; nay, almost in every parish in Ireland. The course Her Majesty's Government has taken, has been this. We have, in particular parts of Ireland, established depots, where food can be bought at an easy price, at the very lowest price, and, thinking that eleemosynary relief ought to be avoided as much as possible, we propose to afford, to the utmost possible extent, either by means of public works to be undertaken, or by works already established, the means by which the people may be enabled to earn wages, and so to purchase food at the moderate cost at which it will be supplied."

But, in spite of all the Government could do, with the very best intentions, gaunt famine was stalking through the land, and the hungry folk could not be quiet, with the sight of food before them. They were not going to starve when they saw the bakers' shops full of bread, and the butchers', of meat. Human nature and a hungry belly could not stand it—so we can scarcely wonder at the famine riots which ensued. The shops were wrecked, the food was taken; they even laid their hands on a boat proceeding from Limerick to Clare with relief, and plundered it of its cargo of corn and maize flour. But, alas! this was only the commencement of the sad story.

There was an alternative, open to those who had the money—to emigrate—and this they did—see the following, from the Cork Reporter, copied into the Times of 18 April: "For the last fortnight our quays have been daily thronged with the fine and stalwart peasantry of this and the adjoining counties, preparing to emigrate to various parts of the trans-Atlantic world. Perhaps, upon no former occasion, even before the hope of railway employment was held out to the people, and when "Government grants" for their relief were never heard of, did the number of emigrants from this quarter exceed the proportion of this present year. Besides the various large and full-freighted vessels, which have left the quays of Cork, direct for America, several ships were despatched to the west of the county, and had no difficulty in obtaining their full complement of passengers. Two large ships went round to Berehaven, a few days ago, and have, since, left the shores of that bleak district, with over 200 passengers. Several other vessels have proceeded, or are about to proceed, for Baltimore and Berehaven, localities in which the destitution of the present year has been severely felt. Three hundred persons have been ready, for the last fortnight, to embark from Dingle; but, not being able to get a ship to visit them, sufficiently commodious for their accommodation, have been obliged to make the best of their way to Cork. Several vessels, now lying at Passage, will sail this day, these taking five hundred and fifty passengers . . . At a moderate computation, about 9,000 emigrants have, or, within the next month, will have, left this port for America. It is to be hoped their anticipations will be realised. There can be little fear, however, that their condition could be worse, or their prospects more disheartening than those which the 'potato famine' in this country, little mended by the promise of Indian corn, had occasioned. La faim chasse le loup hors du bois. To starve, or emigrate, are the only alternatives of the people."

The Waterford Chronicle thus comments: "There will have gone, after the season is over, upwards of 3,000 people, from this country, by this port alone. Not to talk of the rearing of these people—the trouble and expense of bringing up a healthy man, woman, or child, and, especially, leaving out the irreparable loss to society, in this country, of their affections, hopes, and family ties—all, now, sundered and destroyed—not to talk of the countless living deaths of wholesale emigration from a feeling and warm-hearted mother country—the amount of capital taken by these 3,000 is immense. Assuming that each individual spends 10 pounds in his passage, and before he settles, and that he has 10 pounds more to establish himself, here is direct taking away, in hard cash, of 60,000 pounds gone out of the bleeding pores of Ireland, to increase the misery which is left behind. We are in possession of facts which show that many cunning landlords are sending away their people yearly, but by degrees, and not in such a manner as to subject themselves to a 'clearance notice.' If this system be continued, we shall be tempted to give names. After these things, who will blame the people for outbreaks occasioned by famine? There is nothing plentiful in the land but ruin! Employment is scarce—money is scarce—the people are being thinned—farms are being consolidated—bullock land is progressing—

"Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, Where cows accumulate, and men decay."

For some long time there had been a conflict of opinion as to the merits of different sized gauges for railways. Brunel, the magnificent, advocated a width of seven feet, and practised it on the Great Western; others wished for something far more modest. Great was the wrangling over this "battle of the gauges," and a Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into the matter. They gave in their Report on 30 May, and the question was settled by "An Act for regulating the Gauge of Railways" (9 and 10 Vic., c. 57—passed 18 Aug., 1846) by which it was settled that, in future, all Railway lines in England were to be 4 feet 8.5 in. wide, and in Ireland, the width was to be 5 ft. 3 in.

By the way, Railway surveyors were paid well, and almost everyone that had ever dragged a chain posed as a surveyor. As a sample—on 23 Ap. is reported the case of White v. Koe and Maun—where a witness said "Levellers are always well paid. I have received, before this 10 pounds a mile, and I could level from seven to eight miles a day. These are not extraordinary terms. I had to find hands to help me. I had three men at 7s. a day each."

On 22 June poor Haydon, the painter, committed suicide. He was extremely egotistical, and nothing could persuade him that he was not the best painter of his time. His fixed idea was that he was without a peer—but no one else thought so. His diary is very sad reading. Here is an entry (Ap. 13) relative to the exhibition of his picture, "The Banishment of Aristides": "Receipts 1 pound 3s. 6d. An advertisement of a finer description could not have been written to catch the public; but not a shilling more was added to the receipts. They rush by thousands to see Tom Thumb. They push—they fight—they scream—they faint—they cry 'Help!' and 'Murder!' They see my bills and caravans, but do not read them; their eyes are on them, but their sense is gone. It is an insanity—a rabies furor—a dream—of which I would not have believed Englishmen could have been guilty." He even wrote to the Times about it: "GENERAL TOM THUMB, last week, received 12,000 people, who paid him 600 pounds; B. R. HAYDON, who has devoted 42 years to elevate their taste, was honoured by the visits of 133.5, producing 5 pounds 13s. 6d., being a reward for painting two of his finest works, 'Aristides and Nero.' HORACE VERNET, LA ROCHE, INGRES, CORNELIUS, HESS, SNORR, and SCHEFFER, hasten to this glorious country of fresco and patronage, and grand design, if you have a tender fancy to end your days in a Whig Union."


The last Post Office Bellman—The "Corn Law" Act—Sir Walter Scott's monument—The Irish famine—The Duke of Wellington's statue—Gun cotton—Introduction of ether—Model dwelling houses—Baths and Wash-houses—Smithfield Cattle market—"The Bull Fight of Smithfield"—The first submarine telegraph.

The Illustrated London News, of 27 June, gives us "THE LETTER CARRIER'S LAST KNELL.—We have just lost another of what poor Thomas Hood called, 'Those evening bells.' The Postmaster General having issued his fiat for the abolition of 'ringing bells' by the Letter Carriers, the last knell was rung out on the evening of Wednesday last; and, as a memorial of the departure of what appeared to most persons, a very useful practice, our artist has sketched a Letter Carrier, on his last evening call at our office; and another hand has appended the following lament:

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