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[Diagram show the deaths from cholera in 1849]
Page 12.- The opulent and the great, we are told, hastened from town.
The Court during the grievous sickness of 1665 resided at
Oxford. Defoe says:- "The Court removed early in the month
of June and went to Oxford, where it pleased God to preserve them, and the
distemper did not, as I heard of, so much as touch them; the Inns of Court were
all shut up, nor were any of the lawyers in the Temple, or Lincoln's Inn, or
Gray's Inn, to be seen there. Whole rows of houses in some places were shut up
close, the inhabitants all fled, and only a watchman or two left. The very
Court, which was then gay and luxurious, put on a face of just concern for the
public danger. All the plays and interludes which, after the manner of the
French Court, had been set up and began to increase among us, were forbid to
act; the gaming tables, public dancing rooms, and music houses, which multiplied
and began to debauch the manners of the people, were shut up and suppressed; and
the jack puddings, merry andrews, puppet shows, rope dancers, and such like
doings; which had bewitched the poor common people, shut up their shops, finding
indeed no trade."
[-286-] Among the provisions made to prevent the spreading of the infection are the following, which might be usefully applied, should the Cholera again afflict us:- "That special care be taken that no stinking fish, or unwholesome or musty corn, or other corrupt fruits, of what sort soever, be suffered to be sold about the city, or any part of the same; that the brewers and tippling houses be looked into for musty and unwholesome casks; that no hogs, dogs or cats, or tame pigeons or conies, be suffered to be kept within any part of the city; or any swine to be, or stray in the streets or lanes, but that such swine be impounded by the beadle or any other officer, and the owner punished according to act of common council; and that the dogs be killed by the dog killers appointed for that purpose." Men of substance generally left town. A singular anecdote is told of a nobleman who was about to quit London; the hall was strewed with packages, and the master of the house was executing some business in a room adjoining, when he heard his black servant asking why the family were about to leave town, and on being informed that the plague was the cause of their departure, he said, "I have been told that the white man's God lived everywhere; now I find that can't he true; master's God does not live in London, or he would not be in such a hurry to be gone:" the nobleman was so struck by this speech, that he countermanded the preparations for his journey, and remained in London till the cessation of the plague. In one week, we learn from Defoe, there died twelve thousand people and, in a particular night, an eminent physician tells us, four thousand people died!
Page 12.- "We justly reckon our Coal Beds as a great source of national wealth."
was formerly thought to contribute much to the preservation of the healthy and
good air of the city, that nothing was burnt in it but wood and charcoal, even
in trades that used great quantities of firing; but about the latter end of the
reign of Edward I., brewers, dyers, and other artificers, beginning to use sea
coal, in or near the city, several prelates, nobles, commoners, and others,
inhabitants of the villages of Southwark, Wapping, and East Smithfield,
complained thereof, as a public nuisance, to the King, who prohibited burning
sea coal by proclamation, which being disobeyed by many for their private lucre,
upon a second complaint he issued out a commission of Oyer and Terminer to
enquire of all such as burned sea coal against his proclamation within the city
or ports adjacent, and to punish them for the first offence by large fines; and
for the second by demolishing their furnaces, kilns, &c. wherein they burnt
the said coals. For this end also provision was formally made against stinks and
annoying smells arising from killing beasts in the city, which was once
thought to have occasioned a grievous plague in the reign of Edward the
Third, who sent his command to the authorities to suffer no butcher to kill his
cattle nearer the city than Stratford or Knightsbridge" - Seymour.
Query.-Could this command be put in force against the present conservators of Smithfield?
Page 22.- Seven Dials, even then the resort of questionable characters.
Strvpe, writing in 1720, thus speaks of this neighbourhood: "And on the west side there was a place with a building, called Cock and Pye Fields, which was made use of for a Laystall for the soil of the streets; but of late built into several handsome streets, and so neatly contrived that every street in a straight line fronts the Dyall placed in the midst, which is raised on a high pedestal or pillar. These streets are thus named Earls Street, Queen Street, White Lion Street," &c.
Page 67.- "Whole streets, once residences, are now warehouses, counting houses, and places solely for business."
Let the antiquarian, if he wish to put this to the test, take a walk down to Mark Lane, and inspect some of the houses in that street, especially 32 and 33, (and No. 50, the house of Messrs. Arbouin, wine merchants,) not merely the outside, but the court into which he will enter through a beautiful doorway, and then let him walk up the stairs of the house, now converted into sets of chambers : from the windows he will have a view of the neighbouring court-yards, in some of which are fountains; in one especially, a little more to the north, a fountain of very chaste design. He will then see that our ancestors displayed infinitely more taste in adorning their houses, both within and without, than we their descendants. There is also a fine old front to a house in Aldersgate Street, [-289-] which report says was once tenanted by the Duke of Buckingham, the famous Villiers of Charles the Second's time. The reader may not be aware that, in the beginning of the last century, fountains were much more general than at present: there were two in Lincoln's Inn, one with the effigies of a mermaid; one in King now Soho Square, four river gods spouting water; one in the Privy Gardens near Richmond Terrace; one in the Temple, the remains of which are still visible; one in front of old Somerset House ; and several behind the City Halls and the old houses in that quarter. Montague House, since converted into the British Museum, was also celebrated for the jets d'eau and fountains of its gardens. The fine old mansion in Lincoln's Inn Fields, now tenanted by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, belonged to the Duke of Newcastle, of the reign of George II.
Page 40.- "The inmates suffer much, too, from want of water . . . though the companies have a plentiful supply at command. "
In the second report of the Health of Towns Commissioners, we
have the following interesting information, which shows how much more careful
our ancestors were than ourselves:-
"It is however apparent, on a review of the course of legislation on this subject, that the most serious attention was given to works of drainage from the earliest period of our constitutional history. The earliest fundamental provisions have been based on the footing that such works, as well as measures for the maintenance of the free flow of running [-290-] waters, were of general, public, and national, rather than of exclusively local consideration. It is held by the first legal authorities to be one of the prerogatives of the Crown to issue commissions for the protection of the population by the enforcement of proper works of drainage; and this prerogative appears to have been exercised by the issue of special commissions, as well after as before the passing of statutory provisions on the subject."
Dr. Buckland has entered the lists on this occasion, but has been ably met by Messrs. Easton and Amos, whose answer we subjoin.
To the Editor of the "Daily News.
WE have perused with regret the reports of the remarks made by the Very Rev, the Dean of Westminster at the Hanover Square Rooms, and at the Institute of British Architects, upon the wells supplying the Trafalgar Square fountains and the public offices with water; and our regret arises from the reflection that these reports should attach his respectable name to a series of mistakes, which a trifling degree of inquiry would have prevented.
The Very Rev. Dean, after giving a definition of an artesian well, and affirming that although many wells in London are so called, not a single real artesian well exists within three miles of St. Paul's, goes on to observe, that, so far from the wells in Trafalgar Square being artesian wells, the water does not rise within forty feet of the surface; that it is pumped up by means of a steam-engine; that the requisite supply of water could have been obtained at a much less cost from the [-291-] Chelsea Waterworks; and, finally, that the same water is pumped up over and over again.
Now, we are certainly unable to contradict the statement that the wells are not artesian wells; this may or may not be the case, as we are perfectly indifferent to the etymology of the word "artesian;" but in this instance the Dean is made to fight a shadow, for neither the Commissioners of Woods, nor ourselves, have ever called these wells "artesian" wells, by whatever name the public may have chosen to designate them.
There is consequently no attempt at deception of any kind in the case, as the language of the Very Rev. Dean would seem to imply.
We turn to the comparative cheapness of the mode adopted and that proffered by the Chelsea Company; in this case a plain statement is all that is required.
When the question of the supply of water to these fountains first came before the Government, the Chelsea Water- works Company (which was at that time receiving a large rental for the supply of the public offices) was applied to for the purpose, and we believe their demand was higher for supplying two one-inch jets, than our charges have been for supplying two two-inch jets (carrying, be it observed, four times as much water), and as many of the public offices as used to pay the company about £.1000 per year.
With regard to the assertion that the water is pumped up, over and over again, we beg to say, that for the last three years we have been pumping from 3 to 400 gallons per minute from the well (the pumps originally fixed having been superseded by pumps capable of raising this quantity), not a drop of which has ever been returned to it; the only foundation existing for [-294-] such a statement is, that the water supplied to the fountains, after doing duty there, is allowed to run back into a catch well, or reservoir near the works, from whence it is again pumped up to be again used in playing them; a plan which is obviously very much cheaper than any by which the Chelsea or other Company could possibly supply them. We have now erected a large engine at those works, preparatory to supplying the palaces, public buildings, and barracks, round St. James's Park, the Serpentine, and the Hyde Park cavalry barracks; and it will be found, when this is done, that a saving will be effected in the annual expenditure for water equal to a large per centage on the capital laid out.
A considerable portion of the Dean's address is stated in the report to have consisted of remarks on what is designated the fact, that all the so-called artesian wells require incessant deepening, and that in a case where the water now stands sixty feet deep, it would be 120 feet deep in the year 1875, twenty-five years hence. Now, what are the facts in the Orange Street wells, which supply the fountains in Trafalgar Square? Why, that the water in the spring of every year rises higher than it did in 1844, when we first established the works. We lower it slightly in the summer, and towards autumn, but it has always returned to its original height in the following spring; indeed, in April 1847, it rose two feet higher. and should we have a wet winter with snow, we have no doubt that it will rise several feet higher in April next than it did in 1844.
We have, in fact, in our London Chalk Basin something better even than an artesian well, as described in the report, viz., an always-existing receiver for the rains of heaven, which cannot fail so long as these rains themselves do not fail; a fact [-293-] which the Dean as well as so many others have wholly overlooked.
We can safely affirm that the practical experience we have had during the last twenty-seven years in sinking wells and supplying towns from the chalk formation, had led us to results very different from the theory devised by the Rev. Dean, as regards the quantity of water obtainable from that stratum.
In 1844 we entered into a contract with Her Majesty's Commissioners of Woods, &c., for erecting the waterworks in Orange Street for a given sum, taking on ourselves all risks of supply, &c. We should be willing to enter into a similar contract to supply every house in London with forty gallons of water per day from similar wells for 10s. per year, and pay 5 per cent. on the capital expended.
In our opinion London will never be properly supplied until each house is furnished with spring water for beverage, - as well as with that less pure supply now afforded, which may be employed for sanitary purposes.
We are, SIR,
Your obedient Servants,
EASTON AND AMOS.
Grove, Southwark, Dec. 5,1849.
[-294-] The intervention of the Crown was often urgently sought, for the public protection against the injurious encroachments of private interests upon the great public water-courses, for mill power, or for fishing weirs. The 16th chapter of Magna Charta is a defence of the public rights against the growth of such encroachments. The fourth statute of 25 Edw. III. c. 4, provides for the putting down of mills, weirs, dams, and other obstructions; and commissions appear to have been issued from time to time, to see the execution of the laws provided therein. A commission was issued in the third year of Henry IV., for providing the means of conveying pure water to "the inhabitants of Kingston-upon-Hull, as well as for draining that town, and removing impure sea or marsh water."
Page 44.- "The notorious Saffron Hill."
Strype tells us, in his edition of Stowe, brought down to 1720,- "Saffron Hill takes its beginning at Field Lane, and runs northward to Vine Street. It is a place of small account both as to buildings and inhabitants, and pestered with small and ordinary alleys and courts, taken up by the meaner sort of people, especially the east side unto the Town Ditch, which separates this parish from St. James's, Clerkenwell, and over this ditch most of the alleys have a small boarded bridge, as Castle Alley, Bell Alley, and Blue Ball Alley. Other places on this hill are Bull Head Alley, and Dobbins' Alley, both very small and ordinary. Strangways Street hath small houses, but something better than the ames, and hath a passage by the bridge, over the ditch; Lewis Yard, pretty, large, and airy, with gardens in the middle, and indifferent well inhabited-the entrance to it down steps. [-295-] Peter Street bath pretty good new brick buildings, especially the lower part by the ditch. Harp Alley, nasty, and inconsiderable. Paved Alley, but mean, hath a passage up steps to Hatton Garden, and the entrance into it is but ill. Lamb Alley, narrow and ordinary, bath a passage into Scroop's Court. But this part is not properly Saffron Hill, but part of Field Lane, which said lane is already spoken of. Hatton Court, small and ordinary, &c. &c. Ely Court, very handsome, large, with new brick houses, and a freestone pavement, and well inhabited: this court lieth between Leather Lane and Hatton Garden; as likewise Ely House, Scroop's Court, formerly Scroop's Inn, and belonged to John Lord Scroop, after whose death it was let out to some Serjeants-at-Law, and then called Serjeant's Inn, Holbourn. And, upon their removal, it was converted into tenements, with gardens unto them. Since which, being old, and the houses very much decayed, it is of late rebuilt with very good houses, and the place very much enlarged with the additional buildings, leaving yet a great deal of waste ground to be built on, which lieth behind Field Lane, which I doubt not, in a short time, will all be built into courts and allies."
Page 50.- "The famous Gordon riots broke out in June 1780."
Mr. Dickens has illustrated this period with his usual felicity. Lord George Gordon was a madman. Zealous as he was against Popery, he died, we believe, a proselyte to Judaism. His followers, at the time he did so much mischief, were the refuse of the metropolis, ever ready for anything which promises a [-296-] scramble. The Lord Mayor of the day was weak and indecisive. The riot seemed to take all the authorities by surprise, and to paralyse them. When the Cabinet Council was called, no one of the assembled ministers would sign the commission authorising the soldiers to act, alleging their scruples as to the legality of the act. George III. is reported to have seized a pen, and signed the warrant himself, as well as to have declared that he would head the troops which were sent to put down the rioters. In that very interesting book, "Beckford's Travels," he speaks of having just left this scene of riot and disturbance behind. "But a few days ago, thought I within myself, I was in the midst of all the tumult and uproar of London. This characteristic stillness was the more pleasing when I looked back upon those scenes of outcry and horror which filled London but a week or two ago, when danger was not confined to night only, and to the environs of the capital, but haunted our streets at mid-day. Here (Antwerp) I could wander over an entire city without beholding a sky red and portentous with the light of houses on fire, or hearing the confusion of shouts and groans mingled with the reports of artillery." Many old people recollect the scenes which took place. The dead bodies of the rioters, we were informed, were piled against the Bank; and five fires were seen at one time to blaze at different parts of the town. The greatest loss sustained was that of the famous Lord Mansfield's Library, many of the books containing manuscript notes of inestimable value. There is a most interesting account of the whole affair in a letter of Sir Samuel Romilly's, published in his memoirs, and dated from his chambers, 7, Gray's Inn Square. In the burial books of St. Bride's, Fleet Street, is the entry of two [-297-] deaths - two youths - one of them a sweep - who were killed when the mob attacked the Fleet Prison. Mr. Dickens uses the novelist's licence when he extends the ravages of the rioters to Essex. Lord Mansfield's house in Bloomsbury Square was burnt to the ground, - the Fleet Prison arid Newgate much damaged; the former, we believe, entirely consumed.
Page 53.- "Clerkenwell, in the neighbourhood, is famed for its Printing Houses."
St. John's Gate is the only remaining among the many gates of
the city. Ludgate, Cripplegate, and others, have long since been pulled down. It
derives an interest from the fact that Cave, the original proprietor of the
"Gentleman's Magazine," lived there : there it was that he was sought by the
great lexicographer and man of letters, Johnson, - sought by the sage in his
poverty; and there is a touching story of the literary leviathan being regaled
by his patron at some public-house hard by, where he was introduced to some
penny-a-liner of those days, whom Cave represented as a very great man. Oliver
Cromwell long lived in a house still shown in this parish; and the registry of
his marriage is still preserved in the books of St. Giles's, Cripplegate; it is
spelt Crummell. In this churchyard John Milton was buried, and there is a small
tablet to his memory. "Clerkenwell was a noted place in old times. The famous
priory of St. John of Jerusalem stood here, founded by Inden Brissett, Baron,
and Mary his wife, about the year 1100, near unto Clerks-Well, besides
West Smithfield. Which Brissett, having founded the Priory of Nuns, at
[-298-] Clerks-Well, bought of them ten acres of land, giving them in
exchange ten acres of land in his lordship of Welling- Hall, in the county of
Kent. St. John's Church was dedicated by Heraclius, Patriarch of the Holy
Resurrection of Christ at Jerusalem, in the year 1185, and was the chief seat in
England of the Religious Knights of St. John of Jerusalem; whose profession was
(besides their daily service of God) to defend Christians against Pagans, and to
fight for the Church, using for their habit a black upper garment with a white
cross on the fore part thereof. And their good service was so highly esteemed,
that, when the Order of the Templars was dissolved, their lands and possessions
were, by Parliament, granted unto these, who, after the loss of Jerusalem,
recovered the Island of Rhodes; but after the loss thereof, 1523, removed to the
Isle of Malta, manfully opposing themselves against the Turkish invasions.
" This priory, church, and house of St. John was preserved from spoil or pulling down so long as Henry VIII. reigned, and was employed as a store house for the King's toils and tents for hunting and for the wars. But in the third of Edward VI. the church, for the most part, to wit, the body and side aisles, with the great Bell Tower (a most curious piece of workmanship, graven, and gilt, and inameled, to the great beautifying of the city, and passing all other that I have seen), was undermined and blown up with gunpowder, the stone thereof was employed in building of the Lord Protector's House in the Strand. That part of the Quire which remained, with some side chapels, was, by Cardinal Pole (in the reign of Queen Mary) closed up at the west end, and otherwise repaired; and Sir Thomas Tresham, [-299-] Knight. was then made Lord Prior there, with restitution of some lands, but the same was again suppressed in the first year of Queen Elizabeth." Strype's Edition of Stowe.
Page 72.- "Jacob's Island."
The line of the Thames which separates Jacob's Island from the river is bordered by capacious warehouses. The proprietors of these must often be rich capitalists ; but we regret to say, and experience bears us out, that the owners of such premises too often confine their charities and their sympathies to the districts where their dwellings, not their warehouses, are situated. Many large mansions within ten miles of London are tenanted by the principals of such establishments; there their benefactions enrich the surrounding neighbourhood, but surely districts like Jacob's Island deserve far more their care and attention. They can scarcely purchase an immunity from superintending the interests of the many labourers in their employ, or by giving, at stated times, large sums to be disbursed among the charitable institutions in their home parish, rid themselves of still nearer claims. The trade of wharfinger is profitable; men realise large sums by it; many the hands employed. Where do they live ?-where must they live? surely in the close vicinity to their work.
Page 113.- "Dorchester Labourers."
The amount of crime in Dorsetshire exceeds that of any portion of England of similar extent Wages are lower - [-300-] cottages more wretched - we might say, fever more wasting - than in any other agricultural district of Great Britain. The letters of S. G. O. in The Times, have made these things known. An attempt is being made to pull down cottages, and thus reduce at once the incumbrances of an ill-paid peasantry and the agricultural population. In one of the illustrated newspapers of the day is a series of prints, showing what the homes of the labourers are. A more formidable weapon to be used against the Protectionists can scarcely be imagined; for with all that a corn-tax gave the landlords, they either could not, or would not, support the men by whom their lands were tilled. The change which has since taken place, even should it be proved to he really injurious to the landowner, only injures a small class comparatively in Dorsetshire; the labourers, in this country at least, cannot be worse off than they have been, and, we regret to say, that the landlords who have been attacked for this state of things, have not come out of court as well as we could wish; they have substituted abuse for argument, and they failed to convince.
Page 175.- "As things now are, we have a large class of middle-men."
We doubt if we have Johnsonian authority for the use of this word. Perhaps the clients of old Rome, the men who stood between the patrons and the plebeians, are representatives of this class. They took the trouble of letting and leasing from the shoulders of their patrons, and indemnified themselves by oppressing those who really tilled the ground. In Ireland, the term middle-man seems to imply absenteeism; the landlord too often spending in Continental cities the sums [-301-] which are wrong from the children of the soil, and the middleman, one who manages affairs in his absence. Perhaps, in some instances, there is something like a lease from landlord to middle-man ; or the latter farms the rents ; at any rate, whilst he spares his principal trouble, be intercepts, not wittingly but in effect, the favours his master, if resident, would bestow on his tenant. An irresponsible person is set over them; to him they address complaints, he either will not hear or cannot redress ; and though much of the distress of Ireland be owing to the perfervidum ingenium of the people, this element of their misery should not be forgotten. The "Tales of the Munster Festivals" give us, perhaps, as great an insight into the Irish character as any book extant. Mr. Lever's works, especially the " O'Donoghue," describe the miseries of Ireland, and their causes. Whilst Great Britain has made an extraordinary progress, the state of Ireland does not seem to be much better than it was in the time of Cromwell; one difference there certainly is he sold those whom he took prisoners as slaves for the West Indies, we allow the surplus population to emigrate. Middle-manship, though under a somewhat different shape, is at work in the Rookery system. The landlords of Rookeries are often men who scarcely know where their property is situated, and these middle-men are the links between them and the real tenants. Thus these poor creatures are shut out of the charities which would acrue to them were there no intermediate agents between them and the landlord. There would be a really responsible person to whom application could be made when abuses were palpable; and the landlord would feel an interest in his tenant. We fear that the greater part of the poor dwellings in London are let out in this way; yet it seems obvious that you cannot [-302-] build model lodging-houses without putting a stop, or at least giving a check, to this system, whilst at the same time you lower the average of rents which the working classes now pay.
Page 219 .- "Where want, and scanty food, and confined cabins, foster disease."
The writer was sent for one Sunday morning to see a poor woman, attacked by Asiatic cholera. It was decidedly the worst, though not the only fatal case he witnessed in the same street. The woman and her husband, with their family, occupied two miserable rooms - rather closets - which smoked in winter, and were stifling in summer, These apartments were situated at the back of a public-house, a small wooden gallery in front, just beneath a sewer, was arrested in its course, and the odour diffused by it foetid in the extreme. She lingered scarcely twenty-four hours, and then died. In the house opposite lived an old man who soon sickened, as did his next door neighbour, with the same complaint. He, after a most severe struggle, recovered, only to die of weakness within two months of the seizure; and his neighbour is stall on a sick bed, suffering from the ill-health which cholera often bequeaths. In the same street, an old woman died after twenty-four hours' suffering, and several fell ill, though they afterwards recovered. The accuracy with which those acquainted with pauper districts can prophesy where fever or disease will settle, is remarkable. Certain portions of the parish are badly drained; these places are well known, and there almost invariably disease alights, as though beckoned to the spot. When the Irish fever was extend-[-303-]ing throughout London, the writer called the attention of the Commissioners of Pavements to a spot where the drainage was particularly bad. The complaint was promptly attended to, yet not before two children had died in the house opposite.
Page 238.- "In 1789, the year when the Revolution broke out."
The seeds of this great commotion had been planted by Louis XIV. He wished to break the power of the nobles, and to extinguish the remains of the feudal system. He drew the landlords, therefore, away from their chateaus, and centralised them, so to speak, in Paris. For this cause, the Metropolis was adorned with fine buildings. Versailles, the most extensive palatial building in Europe, perhaps in the world, was erected, with its statues, its fountains, its gardens, everything around it in a style of lavish magnificence and grandeur; but such a place entailed immense expense upon the nation, and created or fostered a love of show among the nobles. Expensive, and, towards the close of this reign, disastrous wars added their sum to the general distress. The profligacy which was veiled beneath the forms of the Court under Le Grand Monarque, was undisguised under the Regent Orleans, and Louis XV. seems to have set decency at defiance. When you pass along the splendid galleries of Versailles and wander through its gardens, you cease to wonder at the revolution. Money must have been poured out like water to create such a marvel; and courtiers would ape, at a distance, the splendour of their master. Meanwhile a passion for military glory took the place of interest in the useful arts. On the pediment of this gorgeous palace is sculptured the motto of the nation, [-304-] "A toutes les gloires de France." Feed them with these, and what will they not do ? Let a peaceful sovereign endeavour to reduce their burdens, and behold a revolution! Splendid as were the chateaus of the nobles, read Arthur Young, and you will find them ever in juxta-position with lands barely cultivated, and a starving peasantry.
Page 242.- "And laws, some of which from their severity would seem to have been rather the fictions of the romancer than the records of history."
Carlyle, in his quaint style thus describes the supposed, though of course
obsolete law to which we allude - See his French Revolution, p. 16, Vol. I.
"For the rest, their privileges every way are much curtailed. That law,
authorising a Seigneur, as he returned from hunting, to kill not more than two
serfs, and refresh his feet in their warm blood and bowels, has fallen into
disuetude, and even into incredibility, for if Deputy Lapoule can believe it,
and call for the abrogation of it, so cannot we."
It seems incredible, and certainly we should like to have the proofs before us, very much doubting the whole story; yet during the reign of Louis the XV., within a hundred years of the present time, Damien, who attempted the Sovereign's life, was put to death by torture. Goldsmith alludes, we may recollect, to "Damien's Bed of Steel."
Page 261.- "An appeal for the Needle-women of England."
Emigration is preached up at present as our great national
safety-valve, and this is to be the resource of distressed needle-women it is
assumed that the country cannot support its [-305-] present population ; and New Zealand, the most fertile colony
we possess, and the finest climate we have yet discovered, is to be the basis of
the rising generation. On the other hand, the Chartist Committees are telling
the people that there is sufficient land, if properly cultivated, to maintain a
hundred and fifty millions of people. What shall we say to statements so
different? Has the last assertion even a show of truth in its favour?
Emigration, no doubt, has much in its favour. The colonies want, we are glutted
with, labour; the strength of the colonies hereafter must be, not English
armies, but a native population, and to retain at least the English name and
language among them, we must feed them more with English labourers and artisans.
Europe, we are told, is worn out; if it be so, we are wise, before the house
tumbles, to look out for the best situation in which to build a new one; but
suppose we take a less gloomy and truer view of the case. The colonies are
likely to be more profitable and not so expensive as workhouses, and there seems
no reason why we should not, but rather every encouragement to urge us to apply
a portion of the rates to promote emigration. In our workhouses, it is well
known, a man soon loses self-respect; independence of action is necessarily
checked, and the man soon degenerates, despite the increased care taken to
improve the inmates. Workhouses are schools of vice - the old women are often
known to corrupt the young; and it is scarce likely that youths will learn
prudence and self-control from those, many of whom are doomed for life to
inhabit the workhouse from want of both. With much we could wish otherwise, we
may still be very proud of our offspring - the United States. In the struggles of
future ages, they will rub off much of the rust which still adheres to them, and
the present is full of hope. With respect [-306-] to the assumption of land societies, it seems scarcely
possible, under the most favourable circumstances, that the country should feed
even its present amount of population. Agricultural science, like every other
science, is progressive; men cannot anticipate. Some agricultural Newton may
arise, and treble the produce of our national granary, but as yet there are no
signs of his coming. The population is likely to run faster than the progress of
science, for science here wants capital, and there is a tendency to withdraw
capital from agriculture, to lay down corn land to grass, to make large farms,-
farms, in fact, too large for any but a man of property to undertake, and then
this landlord farmer will not superintend minutely every portion of his farm.
That he may avoid this, he will like to have pasture instead of arable lands,
for they are less troublesome; so that the country, if it ever became wedded to
such a system, would produce less rather than more than it does at present.
Still, there is a shadow of truth in the assertion of these land societies. Some
thousand acres in England are uncultivated-not the commons in the neighbourhood
of towns, which ought ever to be preserved for the people's relaxation-not the
pasture meadows where rich and poor have the privilege of turning their cattle
out during great part of the year - but large tracts of land, such as in
Derbyshire, seem only valuable as grouse preserves. Such as in Scotland are
parcelled out in deer forests, and the like. When the population is so
superabundant, these things should not be ; it savours too much of feudal times,
and in the neighbourhood of these hunting grounds, game laws are rigidly
enforced - not trespass laws, which very properly would prevent men from breaking
down fences, and making paths where there are none-but laws which fine men,
because they kill the hare which runs [-307-] across their garden, or shoot the stray pheasant which has
broken bounds. I do not mean to say that, under a better system, we should
fulfil the prophecies, or disarm the rancour of the Chartist school; yet to the
right thinking man, it is some satisfaction that he has removed just cause of
offence, and that if called on to defend his privileges, they are not such as he
would blush to own.
In the pamphlet to which we have alluded, are some sad details, take the following:- "I stitch," says one woman, "the legs of trousers when there are any, but for these five weeks I have'n't earned more than 1s. 4d., for the party who gives them to me has'n't had any work himself to do. He gives me a penny a-pair, and finds me the thread; four pair is as much as I can do in the day, from six in the morning to six at night. I can't see by candle-light. It would not pay me to have a candle for such work. The most I ever earned was 2s. the week, and that my girl helped me to a good bit. Twenty-four pair is more than one hand can do. That's more than twelve months ago since I did as much as that. About one shilling a-week some weeks, and some weeks 9d., and some weeks 6d., and this week it will be 3d."
Another states- "It is not a farthing more than 3s. a-week that I earn, take it all the year round, and out of that there's thread, candle, and firing to be taken away, and that comes to 1s. a-week for coal, candle, and wood, and 6d. for thread, leaving about 1s. 6d. for my clear earnings after working the whole week through. But that's better than nothing. My husband has lately been in the hospital."
[-308-] Page 267.- "The Palace of Bridewell, the residence of Henry VIII."
kings of this realm," says Strype, "have been there lodged, and their courts
of law have been kept there of old time. And, till the 9th of Henry III., the
courts were kept in the King's House wheresoever he was lodged, as may appear by
ancient records. King Henry VIII. builded there a stately and beautiful house of
new, for receipt of the Emperor Charles V., who, in the year 1522, was lodged
himself at the Black Friers, but his nobles in this new builded Bridewell, a
gallery being made over the water, and through the wall of the city, into the
Emperor's lodging at the Black Friers. King Henry himself oftentimes lodged
there also, as, namely, in the year 1525, a parliament being then holden in the
Black Friers. It was converted to its present purpose, as a House of Correction,
in the reign of Edward VI."
The Annalist speaks of a picture hanging near the pulpit in the Chapel of Bridewell, with these lines on it:-
This Edward of fair memory the Sixt,
In whom with greatness goodness was commixt,
Gave this Bridewell, a palace in old times,
For a chastising House of vagrant crimes.
Page 282.- "Gates, which fortified the City's Rebellion."
"Gates in the wall of this city," says the Annalist, "in old time were four; to wit, Aldgate for the East, Aldersgate for North, Ludgate for the West, and Bridge gate, over the river Thames, for the South; but of later times, for the ease [-309-] of citizens and passengers, divers other gates and posterns have been made. In the reign of Henry II. (saith Fitstephen) there were seven double gates in the wall of this city, but he nameth them not. It may, therefore, be supposed he meant for the first the gate next the Tower of London, (which then served as a postern, and now so commonly called) for passengers out of the East. From thence through Tower Street, Eastcheap, and Candlewick Street, to London-stone, the middle point of the highway; then through Budge Row, Watling Street, and leaving St. Paul's Church on the right hand, to Ludgate on the West; the next to he Aldgate, Bishopgate, Crepelgate, Aldersgate, Ludgate; and the seventh, the Bridgegate over the Thames. The posterns of these gates were frequently fitted up, and used as prisons: they were taken down, with the exception of St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell, and Temple Bar, about the year 1760, having been found very inconvenient, and blocking up the Causeway."