The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 576
Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Gregory Margo and PG Distributed
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
Vol. 20 No. 576.] SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1832. [PRICE 2d.
This interesting structure is referred to by a clever writer as one
of the richest specimens extant of the highly-ornamented embattled
mansions of the time of Henry VII. and VIII., the period of transition
from the castle to the palace, and undoubtedly the best aera of
English architecture. This judgment will be found confirmed in the
writings of distinguished antiquarians; and the reader's attention to
the descriptive details of this building will be important in
connexion with several notices, in our recent pages, of old English
 See the paper in part quoted in our pages from the
_Quarterly Review_, No. 90.
The manor of Wingfield, or Winfield, is situated four or five miles to
the eastward of the centre of Derbyshire. The early lords had two
parks, which, according to a survey made in 1655, contained nearly
1,100 acres. These parks are now divided into farms: on the border of
one of them are a moat and other remains of an ancient mansion,
traditionally said to have been called Bakewell Hall; by some, this is
supposed to have been the original mansion, which is said by others to
have been near the Peacock Inn, on the road between Derby and
Chesterfield. The present Manor-House, (as represented in the
Engraving,) according to Camden, was built about the year 1440, by
Ralph, Lord Cromwell, in the time of Henry VI. This Lord Cromwell was
treasurer of England; and the testimony of Camden that he was the
founder, is strongly corroborated by the bags or purses of stones,
(alluding to the office of treasurer which he filled,) carved over the
gateway leading into the quadrangle. Bags or purses are mentioned to
have been carved on the manor-house of Coly Weston, in Northamptonshire,
augmented by this Lord Cromwell; and there were also similar ornaments
carved in wood, removed about a century ago from Wingfield Manor.
The Manor-House originally consisted of two square courts, one of
which, to the north, has been built on all sides, and the south side
of it forms the north side of the south court, which has also ranges
of buildings on the east and west sides, and on part of the south. The
latter court seems principally to have consisted of offices. The first
entrance is under an arched gateway on the east side of the south
court. The arch of this gateway being a semicircle, was probably
erected subsequently to the rest of the building: hence the
communication with the inner court is under an arched gateway in the
middle of the north side of the south court. One half of this range of
building seems originally to have been used as a hall, which was
lighted by a beautiful octagon window, and through a range of Gothic
windows to the south, now broken away, and a correspondent range to
the north. This part of the house was afterwards divided and
subdivided into several apartments: these have suffered the same fate
as the noble hall, the magnificence of which their erection destroyed.
In the other part of this range are the portal, the remains of the
chapel, and of the great state apartment, lighted by another rich
Gothic window. Little or no part of the east side of the building
remains; and only the outer wall and some broken turrets were a few
years since, standing on the west side of the north court.
In the thirty-third year of the reign of Henry VIII. it appears that
Wingfield Manor was in the possession of the Earl of Shrewsbury; and
in the time of Queen Elizabeth, the Earl of Shrewsbury held in his
custody here the unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scotland. Her suit of
apartments, tradition informs us, was on the west side of the north
court. This, in the memory of persons living but a few years since,
was the most beautiful part of the building: it communicated with the
great tower, whence it is said the ill-starred captive had sometimes
an opportunity of seeing the friends approach with whom she held a
secret correspondence; and "this tradition appears to have been
founded upon good authority." It is inferred that her captivity at
Wingfield commenced in 1569, in which year an attempt was made by
Leonard Dacre to rescue her; after which, Elizabeth, becoming
suspicious of the Earl of Shrewsbury, under pretence of his lordship's
being in ill health, directed the Earl of Huntingdon to take care of
the Queen of Scots in Shrewsbury's house; and her train was reduced to
thirty persons. This event happened the year after Mary was removed
from Bolton Castle, in Yorkshire, to Tutbury Castle, in Staffordshire,
and placed under the care of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Her captivity at
Wingfield is stated to have extended to nine years; but it is
improbable that so large a proportion of the time she was in the
custody of this nobleman, should be spent here: for it is well known,
that from 1568 to 1584, she was at Buxton, Sheffield, Coventry,
Tutbury, and other places, and, if her confinement here continued so
long, it must have been with many intervals of absence.
 Antiquarian and Topographical Cabinet, vol. i.
The Manor-House continued to be the occasional residence of the
Shrewsburys till the death of Earl Gilbert, in the year 1616, who
dying without male issue, the whole of his estates in this part of the
kingdom descended to his three daughters and co-heirs by marriage, and
their descendants, till one of the latter, the Hon. Henry Howard,
becoming Duke of Norfolk, sold his portion to different tenants; and
in the year 1666, we find Mr. Emanuel Halton resident at the
Manor-House. He was a man of considerable literary and scientific
attainments, as well as of good family, his father being sheriff of
Cumberland in 1652. Being employed as auditor to Henry, Duke of
Norfolk, he was, through that connexion, introduced into Derbyshire,
and spent the latter part of his life, which was devoted to music and
mathematics, at Wingfield. In the Appendix to Foster's _Mathematical
Miscellanies_ are some of his pieces. In the year 1676 he observed an
eclipse of the sun at Wingfield, which was published in the
_Philosophical Transactions_ for that year. The Manor was, in 1817, in
the possession of Wingfield Halton, Esq., great grandson of the
aforesaid Emanuel; but it was not then inhabited. The last of the
Halton family who resided at the Manor-House became its spoiler; for,
desiring to build himself a house at the foot of the high hill upon
which the mansion stands, he pulled down and unroofed part of the fine
old structure--so that the hall, with its proud emblazonry of the
Shrewsbury arms and quarterings, became exposed to the decaying
influences of the elements. The mansion had been, however,
previously much injured during the civil wars, in the reign of Charles
I.; and there are a few singular incidents in its fate. The house
being possessed by the royal party, was besieged and taken by Lord
Grey, of Groby, and Sir John Gall, of Hopton--brave officers in the
service of the parliament, who, according to Whitelock, voted them a
letter of thanks for this and other services. The assault was begun on
the east side, with cannon planted on Pentridge Common, and a
half-moon battery raised for its defence in this quarter was soon
carried; but a breach being found impracticable, the cannon were
removed to a wood on the opposite side. They soon opened a
considerable breach in the wall, and captured the place. Colonel
Dalby, who was the governor, was killed during the siege. He had
disguised himself in the dress of a common soldier, but being seen and
known by a deserter, he was shot by him in the face as he walked in
one of the stables. The hole through which the assailant introduced
his murderous musket might lately be seen, near the porter's lodge.
 The strange taste, or rather Vandalism, which despoiled
the Manor House, had well nigh led the Halton family to
consider the valuable MSS. and correspondence of their
philosophical ancestor as so much waste paper.
* * * * *
POSTS FOR THE CONVEYANCE OF LETTERS.
Posts of some kind or other appear to have been in extensive use, and
to have been held in high importance, by all civilized nations, from
an early period of history to the times we live in. Attempts were at
first made to carry on correspondence by the means of pigeons and
other birds, and though the attempt did not altogether fail, yet it
was never carried into extensive practice, and in the progress of time
was totally disused. The first establishment of Posts can be traced to
the times of the ancient Persians. The honour of their invention is
ascribed to Cyrus. It appears that on his conception of his Scythian
expedition, he caused certain Post-houses to be erected on all the
principal roads. These houses were a day's journey from each other;
and Cyrus employed horsemen to convey the intelligence from the army
to the first Post-house, and so to the second and third, till the end
of the Post-houses, which was at Susa. The news of his victories was
thus conveyed to his people in an almost incredible space of time. The
Greeks were also in the possession of regular posts, but we have no
data from which we can judge of the manner in which they were
conducted, who founded them, or where they were first established.
At Rome, Posts and Post-houses were established, and designated
_statores_ and _stationes_; they were founded by the senate at a very
early period of the Republic. They were at first very ill managed, the
delivery of the post being extremely irregular, and confined to the
great roads; but Augustus extended them throughout all parts of his
mighty empire, and issued commands which appointed certain days for
the delivery of the posts. At their first establishment the Posts were
carried by young men on foot, who were met by others at the appointed
post stations, but horses and chariots were substituted in their stead
The earliest institution of Posts in modern times was about the year
807. Charlemagne after he had subjugated to his power Germany, Italy,
and a large part of Spain, seeing the inconvenience which the
Government suffered from the non-delivery of important despatches from
the governors of these distant parts of his dominion, caused Posts to
be established at the expense of the people; but like the majority of
the wise institutions of this warrior-statesman, shortly after his
decease, they were discontinued, and till a long period after no
traces are to be found of similar establishments. It is highly
probable that they were re-instituted in the year 1484, by Louis XI.
who employed in this department 230 couriers and messengers.
Succeeding kings instituted officers expressly to superintend the
Posts, as great abuses had crept in from time to time, but the
multiplicity of the new made officers, and the frequent changes in the
organization of the Post Office, kept the public from putting any
faith in it, and it had almost ceased to exist when some spirited
official men by organizing a new plan, and by giving a certainty to
the public of the delivery of their letters, saved it from
From France the institution gradually spread over the other countries
of Europe. In Germany, which country was one of the first to adopt the
system of the French Posts were established through the influence and
at the expense of Count Taxis, who was denominated "the Patriot." The
wishes of the people caught the heart of the Emperor Matthias, who to
reward Taxis for his public spirit, gave him the office of
Post-master, and assigned it to his descendants for ever.
In England Posts appear to have been established as early as the reign
of Edward III.; but the records of them handed down to us are obscure
and uncertain. In the reign of Edward VI. they were however in full
vigour: an Act of Parliament passed in 1548, which we have now before
us, fixes the rate of postage at one penny per mile. The Posts here
referred to were only used on important occasions. James I. erected a
Post Office, which he placed under the control of Matthew de Questor;
the office was claimed by Lord Stanhope, whose claim, however, was
disallowed; but owing to the detection of de Questor in some
mal-practices, the office was given and confirmed to W. Frizee and
Thos. Witherings. In the year 1635, Charles I. erected a letter-office
for England and Scotland, which he placed under the direction of the
before-mentioned Thomas Witherings, who conducted it honourably, but
was afterwards superseded for _supposed_ abuses--a charge which was
never proved. The rate paid about that time was "twopence for a
letter, from 30 to 140 miles." The Posts then established were shortly
after extended to the principal roads of England, and were from time
to time increased, till they were spread over the kingdom, to the
great benefit of a commercial people.
The Post Office forms one of the chief branches of the revenue, and
the total received for the conveyance of letters during the last
quarter amounted to 33,000_l_.
The present arrangements of the Post Office, at least as far as they
are known, the certainty of the transmission of letters, the economy
with which it is conducted, are the theme of admiration by the nation
at large, and more particularly by foreigners.
* * * * *
ETHELBERT AND ELFRIDA.
AN HISTORICAL TALE.
Night wanes apace!--The crowd are gone;
The lamps have ceased to glow;
And Cynthia's beams reflect upon
The placid lake below.
The song of mirth is heard no more;
No guests the goblet fill;
The banquet's revelry is o'er,
All--all is hush'd and still.
No more, amid the stately pile,
The dance afford's delight;
Nor tale, nor jocund sports beguile
The silent hours of night.
All seek the downy couch of sleep--
The host, and worthy guest;
The drowsy guards on duty keep,
And envy them their rest.
No minstrels strike th' enliv'ning string--
None blow the twanging horn;
The nightingale has ceas'd to sing,
And slowly breaks the morn.
The portals of the dappled East
Assume their bright array;
The Sun, in new-born splendour drest,
Drives sable clouds away.
Thick vapours from the earth arise,
And pass away unseen,
Till night again shall veil the skies,
Now lucid and serene.
Above proud Offa's gate the gold
Embroider'd banners hung--
And 'scutcheon'd shields emblazon'd told
From whence his race had sprung!
The glitt'ring lance and crested plume
Adorn the sculptur'd wall,
And deep'ning shadows cast a gloom
Around his spacious hall!
On "South Town's" "heav'n directed" fanes
Sol sheds his glowing ray;
And Peace, and Joy, through Mercia's plains
Their gladsome sceptre sway.
How diff'rent far the scene will be
When night appears again;--
O'er all _now_ reigns festivity,
But lamentation _then_!
A richly silver-braided vest
The virgin train prepare--
A scarf, to wrap the snow-white breast,
And gems to deck the hair.
Elfrida, at her lattice high,
Sits with the bridal throng--
She looks and looks--then heaves a sigh--
"Why tarries he so long?"
He comes!--'tis he!--and by his side
Attend a noble band--
He comes to claim his royal bride--
His lov'd Elfrida's hand.
The wish'd-for hour is gone and past;--
Slow chimes the marriage-bell;
May Heav'n forbid it prove his last--
The bridegroom's fun'ral knell!
The priest before the altar stands--
The bride bends on her knee,
And lifts to God her heart and hands
In pious fervency!
But where is _he_, who should have knelt
Before his Maker, low?
And where are _they_, who might have felt
What none but parents know!
In vain she waits, and looks around,
Still vainer are her cries;
With shrieks the sacred aisles resound;--
Save echo, naught replies:
Fell grief her throbbing heart enthrals,--
Her lips grow ghastly pale;
She weeps--she faints--and senseless falls
Before the altar-rail!
But where is he, by whom the vows
Of love were pledg'd so late?
Demand of Offa's artful spouse,
Whose fiat seal'd his fate?
The blush of guilt upon her cheek
Spreads forth its purple hues,--
And agitation seems to speak
What conscience dares refuse!
To Him who gives life's fleeting breath
His soul has ta'en its flight!--
He sleeps the last long sleep of death
Upon his bridal night.
His guards were gone;--no friends were near
To bless him ere he died!
None, none to dry the falling tear,
Or bid his pains subside.
Oh! where is she whom fate hath made
Dejected and forlorn?
She goes to Croyland's hallow'd shade,
To live--alas!--to mourn!
Weep, Anglia, weep!--thy monarch's dead!
To heav'n his spirit's flown;
And he whose hands his blood have shed
Will mount thy vacant throne.
He reigns!--but mark! how self-reproach
Pervades his inmost breast;--
And pangs of sad remorse encroach
Upon his fever'd rest.
He lives--but life has little left,
If aught, his love to claim;
Of all, save grief, 'tis now bereft;
To him 'tis but a name!
The event which the foregoing stanzas have attempted to describe laid
the foundation of the future importance and prosperity of the
Cathedral church of Hereford.
"The restless ambition of Offa prompted him to attack the neighbouring
kingdom of the East Angles, with a view of adding it to his dominions;
but in this attempt he was defeated by the successful valour of
Ethelbert. Peace being subsequently concluded, Offa acceded to
proposals of marriage between Ethelbert and his daughter Elfrida;--and
the young and unsuspecting prince attended, invited, at the palace of
Offa (at South Town, now Sutton, near Hereford), with a splendid
retinue, to treat of the intended spousals. The queen of Offa,
Quendreda, is recorded to have prevailed upon her husband to violate
the ties of hospitality and humanity; and Ethelbert was treacherously
murdered, A.D. 793. His guards and retinue were dispersed; his
kingdom, taken by surprise, was annexed to the state of Mercia. The
faithful Elfrida retired to Croyland Abbey; and Offa, seized with
remorse, sought to appease his wounded conscience by actions which, at
that time, were thought to atone for the deepest delinquency. He
caused the body of Ethelbert to be removed from Marden, where it had
been previously interred, to the cathedral of St. Mary, at Hereford,
erecting over him a magnificent tomb, and endowing the church with
valuable gifts, chiefly situated in the immediate vicinity of his own
palace. The known virtues of the murdered prince caused his shrine to
be visited as that of a martyr; and such was the fame of his miracles,
that the city and cathedral attained a degree of opulence from the
pious contributions of devoted pilgrims."
_Wright's History of Hereford._
It is not asserted that Ethelbert was murdered on the day appointed
for his marriage; but poetical license will, it is hoped, be pardoned
for the variation, whilst the principal facts are strictly adhered to.
* * * * *
* * * * *
(_Concluded from_ vol. xvii.)
In 833, a parliament was held at London, in the presence of King
Egbert, with his son Ethelwolf, and Withlaf, the tributary King of
Mercia, and most of the prelates and great men of the realm, to
deliberate on the best means they could adopt to prevent the Danes
from invading England.
In 1210, King John summoned a parliament to meet him at his palace in
St. Bride's parish, London; where he exacted of the clergy and
religious persons the sum of 100,000_l._, and 40,000_l._ in particular
from the white monks. The present hospital of Bridewell stands on a
part of that palace.
In 1294, Edward I., in order to raise funds for the invasion of
Scotland, addressed writs to the sheriffs, directing them to send
"representatives for every city and borough in their bailiwicks." Many
of the boroughs at this time, on account of the expense of paying
their representatives, declined to send members; but the King took
care for his own purposes that the Royal and other boroughs where his
influence extended, should send members: hence in Cornwall and the
other counties on the same coast, where the King's power and property
chiefly lay, on account of the mines and tallages, almost every
village sent representatives.
In 1414, the fifth year of the reign of Henry IV., the Commons
proceeded in their design of regulating the King's household, with
whom the Lords accorded; and they required that four persons should be
removed out of the King's house,--namely, the Abbot of Dore, the
King's confessor, with Durham and Crosbie, gentlemen of his chamber.
On February 9, 1414, the confessor, Durham and Crosbie, came into the
parliament before the King and the Lords, when his Majesty took
occasion to excuse those officers himself, saying, that he knew no
cause why they should be removed, but only because they were hated by
the people: yet he charged them to depart from his house, according to
the desire of his Commons, and would have proceeded in the same manner
against the Abbot of Dore, had he been present. The printed roll of
Parliamentary proceedings adds these remarkable expressions:--"And our
Lord the King moreover said that he would see that the Same measures
were taken with regard to any one about his Royal person, who might
incur the hatred or indignation of his people." A proceeding similar
to this took place in 1451, when Henry VI., at the request of the
House of Commons, removed from his court and presence several
individuals of either sex, against whom there was universal noise and
On November 27, 1621, the House of Lords sentenced John Blount to
pillory, imprisonment, and labour for life, for counterfeiting a
Lord's protection. This was the first case of imprisonment beyond the
session, by the House of Lords. The first precedent for their
infliction of fines appears about two years afterwards, when they
sentenced one Morley to pay 1,000_l._, and condemned him to the
pillory for a libel on the Lord Keeper.
The number of Bishops having seats in the House of Lords is thirty;
namely, the two English archbishops, twenty-four English bishops, and
four Irish bishops; and they all sit in the house, not as churchmen,
or peers representing the clergy, in their various grades, (for these
are all represented with the commonalty in the lower House,) but as
soldiers, that is, as barons holding certain land by military
tenure--tenants _in capite per baroniam_; and therefore compelled,
under the feudal system, by which they were created, to furnish their
quota of knights, or men-at-arms, and do other military service to the
The following account of the manner of speaking and voting by the
Lords and Commons, is given in _A Key to both Houses of Parliament_:
"In the House of Lords, the Peers give their votes or suffrages, by
beginning with the lowest baron; and so on with the rest, _seriatim_,
until all have expressed their opinions; each one answering apart,
'Content,' or 'Not Content.' If the affirmatives and negatives should
happen to be equal in number, the question is invariably presumed to
be in the negative, (semper praesumitur pro negante,) and the Not
Contents have the effect of an absolute majority. In the House of
Commons, the members vote by _Ayes_ and _Noes_, altogether: but if it
be doubtful which is the greater number, the House _divides_. If the
question be whether any bill, petition, &c. is to be brought into the
House, then the _Ayes_, or approvers of the same, go out; but, if it
be upon anything which the House is once possessed of, the _Noes_ go
out. Upon all questions where the House divides, the Speaker appoints
four _tellers_--two of each opinion; who, after they have told or
numbered those within, place themselves in the passage between the Bar
and the door, in order to tell those who went out; who, till then, are
not permitted to re-enter the House. This being done, the two tellers
who have the majority take the _right_ hand, and all four placing
themselves within the bar, make three reverences as they advance
towards the table, where they deliver the written numbers, saying,
'the _Ayes_ that went out are so many: the _Noes_ who remain are so
many:' and _vice versa_ as it may happen. This the Speaker repeats,
declaring the majority.
"In a committee of the whole House, the way of dividing is by changing
sides, the _Ayes_ taking the _right_, and the _Noes_ taking the _left_
hand of the Speaker's chair. On such occasions there are but two
"In each House the act of the majority binds the whole. This majority
is openly declared, and the votes, with the names of their authors
attached, are generally published in the newspapers; so that the
people at large are well enabled to judge of the conduct of their
legislators and representatives. This notoriety doubtless produces a
very beneficial effect in preserving the integrity of the members of
both houses. It is true that when the House of Commons is about to
_divide_, the speaker orders the gallery to be cleared, and all
_strangers_ are compelled to withdraw, that the members may be free
from popular influence in giving their votes. But, as tellers are
appointed to count the votes on each side, there can be no collusion
or deception in the decision of any question; at the same time, this
method is attended with sufficient publicity for every constitutional
purpose. Indeed, it has ever been held the law, rule, and usage of the
House of Commons, that all strangers are there only by sufferance,
consequently, whenever a member gives notice to the Speaker that he
perceives a stranger or strangers, it is the invariable custom of the
latter to order them to withdraw; otherwise the sergeant-at-arms will
take them into custody, and so enforce the Standing Orders of the
House for their exclusion. The publication of the speeches and votes
delivered in Parliament is a modern practice, and certainly a breach
of the privileges of the members; consequently it may at any time be
prohibited by the enforcement of the Standing Orders of either House.
"In the House of Commons, the Speaker never speaks to any question,
except the House be in a committee; nor does he even vote, unless the
number of votes on both sides of the House be equal; when his casting
vote decides the majority. In the Lords, if the Chancellor be desirous
of giving his opinion, he must leave the woolsack, and go to his place
among that rank of nobility to which he belongs. If he be not a peer,
he may neither speak to the question, nor vote upon it; but if a peer,
he has a vote on every question. The Speaker of the Commons is
prohibited by the rules of that House from persuading or dissuading
the members in the passing of any bill: his duty is merely to make a
plain and short narrative of its objects. When any member of the
Commons is desirous of speaking on a bill before the House, he stands
up in his place; uncovered, and directs his speech to the Speaker. In
the House of Peers, on the contrary, the orator addresses himself to
the Lords generally, only. In either case he may remain on his legs
for an indefinite length of time: using whatever arguments, and
entering into as many details, as he pleases; but, having once sat
down, he is not permitted, unless personally reflected on, to speak
again on the same day, to the same matter; or on the same reading of
the same bill, even although his arguments be confuted by another
member: but, if the whole house should be turned into a committee on
any business, then any member may reply as often as he pleases, or as
the chairman of the said committee may judge expedient. If it happen
that any member of either House should utter words offensive to the
King's majesty, or to the House itself, he is immediately called to
the bar: in the House of Commons he sometimes, on his knees, receives
a reprimand from the Speaker, and is obliged to apologize: if the
offence be great, he may, by the Speaker's warrant, be sent to the
Tower, or even to Newgate. When a member, during the heat of debate,
happens to be betrayed into intemperate language towards another
member he is merely called to 'Order' by the Speaker, and this call
has generally the desired effect of quelling all animosity between the
parties; but if, as sometimes has happened, anything should be uttered
amounting to a challenge to settle the dispute 'out of doors,' the
Speaker invariably insists upon a pledge from both, 'upon their
honour,' that there shall be no fight, and generally succeeds in
making them shake hands; otherwise, he has it in his power to commit
the would-be combatants to the safe-keeping of the sergeant-at-arms,
and to bind the mover to keep the peace. If any member,
notwithstanding the call to 'Order,' persist in being disorderly, it
is customary for the Speaker to name him; by which indication he is
sure to incur the displeasure or censure of the House."
* * * * *
Before the Reformation there were no Poor Rates; the charitable dole
given at the Religious Houses, and church-ale in every parish did the
business. In every parish there was a church house, to which belonged
spits, pots, crocks, &c. for dressing provision. Here the housekeepers
met and were merry, and gave their charity. The young people met there
too, and had dancing and bowling, shooting at butts, &c. A. Wood says
there were few or no alms-houses before Henry VIII. In every church
and large inn was a poor man's box.--_From Aubrey's MSS. Collections._
It should be recollected that the present mode of assessment for the
relief of the poor in England, was not adopted till every other mode
had been tried. Before the dissolution of the religious houses, temp.
Henry VIII., paupers were licensed to beg within certain limits (22nd.
Henry VIII., chap. 12.) and magistrates were authorized to receive and
support them, coming to the places of their birth, by voluntary and
charitable alms, and a method was prescribed for collecting those
alms. In the reign of Edward VI., laws were passed for _enforcing_
charitable _voluntary_ contributions (5th and 6th Edw. VI., chap. 2.)
Persons refusing to give according to their means were to be
admonished; first by the minister, and then by the bishop. These
provisions were found insufficient, and it was enacted early in the
reign of Elizabeth, that if the parties were insensible to the
clerical and episcopal admonitions, they should be bound over by the
minister or bishop to the quarter sessions; where they were again to
be admonished; and if they remained refractory, the justices and
churchwardens were to assess them according to their discretion. (5th
Eliz. chap. 3.) In the 14th year of her reign the act was passed and
provision made for regular assessments, and the appointment of
overseers provided for; which the subsequent acts of the 18th, 39th,
and 43rd of the same reign completed, and which has still remained.
* * * * *
* * * * *
ANIMAL INSTINCT: ANECDOTE OF A TAME SNAKE.
_(To the Editor.)_
The following remarkable circumstance clearly proves how foreign to
children, is the fear or even the idea of danger; and, at the same
time, it presents to the contemplative mind a striking instance of the
wisdom which the Almighty has displayed in the works of the creation!
In what a wonderful manner has he endowed all his creatures with
sensibility, regulated their habits, and provided for their wants; and
so ingeniously are the animal and vegetable kingdoms arranged, that
the former is, in a great measure, dependent on the latter for
nourishment and support.
From the study of Nature may be deduced a most valuable lesson:
namely, to think nothing that exists on the face of the globe unworthy
of our attention and notice: and were we to confine ourselves to the
practice of this excellent maxim, we should not rest satisfied, until
we had obtained a complete insight into the economy and habits of such
A labouring man residing near the White Cross, (about a mile westward
of the city of Hereford,) and occupying a cottage belonging to Thomas
Webb, Esq. of that place, in the month of May last, repeatedly
observed one of his children (a little girl not eighteen months old,)
reserving at meal-time a part of her allowance of food, and carrying
it invariably to one particular corner of the house. Curiosity induced
the father to watch more minutely the proceedings of the child, and
great was his astonishment, when on the girl as usual repairing to the
spot, and making a noise something similar to the chirping of a bird,
a snake appeared out of a hole in the wall, and fearlessly partook of
the repast provided for it by its infantine attendant.
Such a circumstance is very uncommon, though not unprecedented; for
that indefatigable naturalist, Gilbert White, mentions a tame snake in
his meritorious _Natural History of Selborne_. The greater degree of
surprise must be attributed to the case itself, that a child so young
should have the courage to approach an animal of the reptile order;
but it serves only to corroborate the statement previously
made:--children are destitute of fear, and consequently have no dread
In a former number (549) of _The Mirror_, appeared a paper headed "The
Habits of the Common Snake," purported to be extracted from the
_Magazine of Natural History_. The doctrine enforced by the writer of
this article, as regards the impracticability of domesticating a
snake, has been proved entirely erroneous by the fact recited; and
were there no positive instance adduced to the contrary, it does not
follow that, because his effort, were ineffectual, such a thing is
utterly impossible; indeed, I think, the failure of his project may be
dated from the means to which he resorted for its accomplishment. The
snake we know is naturally very timid, and shuns even the society of
its fellow-creatures; and consequently, must have a great dread of the
presence of human beings. Then why, in the name of sense, did he
suffer it to be handled by children; and what vessel could he have
found worse adapted to his purpose than one composed of glass, in
which the movements of its inmate were subjected to the continual gaze
of bystanders? He may, perhaps, consider his plan a good one, and
bring the case I have mentioned to support his argument, as the snake
was tamed by the same means he himself had partially adopted; but it
is totally different. Much more may be effected by the agency of one
little child, than by the assistance of a number of older and
consequently more unmanageable beings. One would suppose, by his
attempting to "charm it" with music, that he put unlimited belief in
the fables of old; but, alas! the poor creature had heard enough of
nursery strains to render it deaf to the beauties of softer melody.
The language with which he concludes his remarks is as unjust as it is
uncalled for, and such as none but an illiberal and narrow-minded
observer would, choose to apply to so beautiful a creature. Even
the cat (the most ravenous domestic animal we have,) has been
known, when confined, to permit mice to pass unmolested through the
cage in which it was imprisoned; then why should he expect that an
animal which (as he asserts) can live upwards of thirty days without
food, would put itself so far out of its way as to gratify an idle
spectator, by devouring in his presence, frogs, mice, and other such
"delicacies of the season," when neither inclination, nor the wants of
nature, stimulated it to the task.
 The passage to which our kindly Correspondent refers is as
follows: "The serpent, instead of being the emblem of
wisdom, should have been an emblem of stupidity."--See
_Mirror_, vol. xviii. p. 343.
 See _Mirror_, vol. xviii. p. 356.
* * * * *
The Bustard, huge Rasor, with gular pouch long,
With legs formed for running, and beak that is strong,
Whose presence this island regards now as rare.
This bird is of the same order as the Dodo (the gallinaceous, cock or
pheasant), figured and described at page 311. There are seventeen
species, which form the genus _Otis_ of Linnaeus. They are natives of
Europe, Asia, and Africa. Their characteristics are--bill strong, a
little incurvated; toes, three before, none behind; legs long, and
naked above the knees. The specimen here figured is the _Great
Bustard_, or Tarda, said to be the largest of British birds, sometimes
weighing as much as thirty pounds. It is found in some parts of this
country, and inhabits also the open plains of Europe, Asia, and
Africa. Its colour is wave-spotted with black, and rufous; beneath,
white; length, four feet; female not so large, weighing about twelve
pounds: she has also different shades of colour. The male has a long
pouch, (_see the Cut_), beginning under the tongue, and reaching to
the breast, capable of holding several quarts of water--supposed to be
for supplying the hen while sitting on the young. The cheek-feathers
are elongated, so as to form on each side a sort of mustachio. It
subsists on grains and herbs; it also feeds on worms and insects, and
according to late observations, on rats and field-mice; is
solitary, shy, and timid; flies heavily, but runs swiftly; is quick of
sight and hearing; lays two, pale, olive-brown eggs, with darker
spots, in a hole scraped in the ground. In autumn Bustards are
gregarious, when they leave the open downs for more sheltered
situations. The eggs are eagerly sought after, for the purpose of
hatching under hens: they have been reared thus in Wiltshire. As they
are very valuable birds, and eagerly sought after, they are scarce.
Mr. Jennings doubts whether they still exist in Wiltshire; but, from a
paper lately read before the Linnaean Society, by Messrs. Sheppard and
Whitear, it appears that Bustards now breed in the open parts of
Suffolk and Norfolk: they have, too, been domesticated by Mr. Hardy,
of Norwich. Mr. Jennings, in a note to the lines above quoted,
observes, "There were formerly great flocks of Bustards in this
country, upon the wastes and in woods, where they were hunted by
greyhounds, and easily taken. They have been latterly recommended to
be bred as domestic fowls; and, to those who desire novelty, the
Bustard seems to be peculiarly an object for propagation. The flesh is
delicious; and it is supposed that good feeding and domestication
might stimulate them to lay more eggs." We were aware that the Bustard
was formerly eaten, and remember their mention among the delicacies of
chivalric feasts, and in the bills of fare at civic banquets:
probably, they are on the Guildhall table at the moment we are
writing--on Lord Mayor's Day.
 Shaw's Zoolog. Lectures, vol. i. 1809.
 Ornithologia, p. 206.
[Illustration: _The Great Bustard._]
Among the other species of Bustards are the Little, or Field, and the
thick-kneed, Stone-curlew, or Norfolk Plover. There are also some fine
species in India, where they are generally in pairs, but sometimes in
families of four and five: as they do not fly high, they are sometimes
pursued on horseback, and fired at with pistols. A young hen makes a
particularly fine dish at table: the flesh of the breast is full of
triangular cavities. The Bustard accordingly bears a high price in
the Indian markets: in some districts it is called the florikan.
 Mag. Nat. Hist. vol. iii. p. 517.
The Bustard is stated to have been known to descend suddenly from its
flight, and from some unknown caprice, to attack a horse and its rider
with great violence; and with such blind fury as to suffer itself to
be seized by the traveller rather than attempt an escape. Two
instances of this kind are recorded in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ of
about the year 1807.
* * * * *
* * * * *
In a recent Number (563) we adverted to the origin of these
interesting structures, and attributed their erection to pious
feelings, as well as for purposes of a commercial character. The
specimens before us appear to have belonged to the latter
appropriation--inasmuch as they are what are commonly termed _Market
Crosses_. The first is situate at _Leighton Buzzard_, or as the name
was anciently written, Leighton _beau-desert_, on the borders of
Buckinghamshire, and said to be the _Lygean-burgh_ of the Saxon
Chronicle, which was taken from the Britons by Cuthwulph, in the year
571. The principal of the antiquities of the town is the above Cross.
It is of a pentagonal form, and of beautiful pointed architecture: it
is stated to have been built upwards of five hundred years, but the
name of its founder is not known. The anxiety of the inhabitants of
Leighton-Buzzard to preserve this relic of olden time is entitled to
[Illustration: (_At Leighton Buzzard._)]
"In the year 1650, this cross was presented at the court-leet as being
in such a ruinous state, that it greatly endangered the lives of those
persons who were passing near it. Upon this occasion a rate of 4_d._
was levied upon every inhabitant to defray the charge of repairing it.
The height of the cross is twenty-seven feet two inches, from the top
of the stone-work to the basement story, which is seven feet four
inches from the ground, at the lowest side, and consists of five rows
of steps rising from the earth. The centre pillar, which supports the
arch, is eight feet two inches high, and one foot one inch and a
quarter wide, on the side fronting the largest angle. The upper story
is disposed into five niches, and there were formerly as many
pinnacles at the corners; but one of them has been destroyed: each
niche contained a statue. The first appears to have been intended to
represent a bishop, another seems like the Virgin and Jesus; a third
appears to be Saint John the Evangelist; the others are too much
mutilated to be known. Over each arch attached to the cornice,
surrounding the building, there were three grotesque heads. The entire
height of the cross, from the lowest base to the top of the vane, is
thirty-eight feet. It is constructed of stone, and is situated in an
open area, near the market-house."
[Illustration: (_At Holbeach._)]
The second Cross is at _Holbeach_, in the _Holland_ division of
Lincolnshire. The Cross is situate in the market-place of the town;
and it is supposed to have been raised about the year 1253; near which
period, Thomas de Malton, Lord Egremont, obtained for Holbeach the
grant of a weekly market and annual fair.
* * * * *
WINTER EXHIBITION OF PICTURES, AT THE SUFFOLK STREET GALLERY.
We attended the private view of this very attractive exhibition, and
were happy to find the galleries filled with distinguished Artists and
Patrons of Art. The collection is of a novel character, inasmuch as it
associates the works of deceased and living British Artists; though,
discouraging as may be the fact, the juxtaposition is not to the
advantage of the latter: alas! "that's true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis
'tis true." Nevertheless, the object of the British Artists' Society
in forming this collection, is laudable in every respect; since "it is
evident that an Exhibition of the works of celebrated deceased Masters
is calculated to benefit, in an essential degree, the race of living
Artists, who will here have an opportunity of carefully inspecting,
and deriving instruction from many of those pictorial efforts which
are the pride and honour of the British School:" so true is it, in the
case of painters, that the good which men do, lives after them. To the
public, we mean the sight-craving public, this Exhibition may be of
paramount interest: it may perchance modify their admiration of
faithless vanity-feeding portraits, and gaudy compositions of vulgar
life, full of coarse effect, and painted as less ingenious articles
are made, to catch a purchaser.
The Exhibition embraces specimens of the works of nearly seventy
deceased Artists, from various collections. Among them are Reynolds,
Hogarth, Gainsborough, Morland, Wilson, Fuseli, Zoffani, Blake, Opie,
De Loutherbourg, Northcote, Harlow, Jackson, Bonington, Lawrence, &c. &c.;
and, as many of the specimens are associated with pleasurable
recollections, we will endeavour to notice a few of them, in
succession with the works of the living Artists.
1. Alderman Boydell, painted by _Muller_, and the property of Messrs.
Moon, Boys, and Greaves, who, as the successors of the Alderman,
retain his portrait as a kind of heirloom in connexion with the best
days of British Art.
10. and 12. Duke and Duchess of Leinster. _Reynolds._ The drawing of
the latter is not quite worthy of the President's fame.
7. Farm Yard and Pigs. _Morland._ Painted, for aught we know, at the
artist's usual rate, when in confinement, "four-guineas per day with
8. Landscape. _Gainsborough._ Stamped, as Mr. Cunningham says, all
Gainsborough's works are, "with the image of old England."
9. Sir W. Curtis, Bart. _Lawrence._ A fine portrait of the City wit:
his face is lit up with good nature, such as proved in the Baronet's
career, a surprising foil to the madness of party.
11. Landscape and Cattle. The former by _Barrett_, the latter by
_Gilpin_. Cunningham calls Barrett "an indifferent dauber;" rather a
harsh term in connexion with this picture.
18. Rape of the Lock. A picture of merit, by _Henry Wyatt_.
21. Death of Oedipus. One of _Fuseli's_ most tragical creations.
31 and 33. Landscape and Figures. _Morland._
34. Diana and Calista. _Wilson._ A beautifully poetic composition: yet
the painter lived and died nearer to indigence than ease.
35. Alexander Pope and Martha Blount. _Jervas._ Of comparatively
little interest for its pictorial merit; though Pope has enshrined the
painter in elegant couplet. If poetry and painting be sister arts,
they are rarely twin.
41 and 227. Dead Game, &c. _Blake._ Among the finest compositions of
their class. It is worth while to compare these pictures, with what
Smith, in his Life of Nollekens, tells us of Blake's colouring: "his
modes of preparing his grounds, and laying them over his panels for
painting, mixing his colours, and manner of working, were those which
he considered to have been practised by the early fresco painters,
whose productions still remain in many instances vividly and
permanently fresh. His ground was a mixture of whiting and carpenters'
glue, which he passed over several times in the coatings; his colours
he ground himself and also united with them the same sort of glue, but
in a much weaker state; he would in the course of painting, pass a
very thin transparent wash of glue-water over the whole of the parts
he had worked upon and then proceed with his finishing."
43. The Captive, _Jackson._ One of the finest pictures in the room. In
colouring it approaches the olden school nearer than any recent
44. Carnarvon Castle, Moon-rising. _E. Childe._ A clever picture, and
altogether an interesting scene.
53. Portrait of the late Queen Caroline, and the Princess Charlotte.
_Lawrence._ One of the painter's early productions. The attitude of
the Queen beside a harp is majestic, and her figure is not of such
bulky proportion as she attained in after-life; the features are, too,
more intelligent than many beneath a crown: the figure of the darling
Princess in sportive mood, half clambering and reclining upon a chair,
is pretty. Indeed, the picture, as well from its characters as from
its merit and size, must command considerable interest in the
collection. It may have associations of melancholy tendency; for the
princesses and the painter have been numbered with the dead within a
score of years.
55. The Benevolent Squire. _Morland._ A small oval picture of touching
truth and nature. In the foreground is a widow, with two children,
seated beside a cottage door. They have just divided a small loaf with
hungry zest: in the distance is an old English 'squire on horseback,
who is instructing his groom with undrawn purse to relieve the wants
of the widow, while the good Samaritan casts an eye of true compassion
at the almost starving group.
58. Portrait of Opie. _Opie_: showing, as Mr. Cunningham observes, "a
noble forehead and an intellectual eye," with much of his country,
Cornish air. The picture is but of few inches dimension, in a homely,
broad, flat, oaken frame, somewhat resembling that of a miniature,
with the name "Opie," plainly cut in capitals. It is noticeable for
64. The adjourned Debate. _T. Clater._ A cobbler, despite the ancient
saw, _ne sutor ultra crepidam_, intently devouring the "folio of four
67. The Sisters. _John Wood._ One of the painter's most successful
productions, and deservedly so.
74. Diana and Actaeon. Another of _Wilson's_ classic compositions of
captivating loveliness, proving the painter, as Mr. Cunningham
observes, to have wrought under historical and poetic influence.
80. Portrait of the late James Perry, Esq. _Lawrence._ The likeness is
striking, and the colouring that of a master hand. The "head and
front" bear intellectuality in an eminent degree.
82. Henry III. of France. _Bonington._ One of the lamented artist's
most celebrated pictures. The personal elegance of the sovereign, and
the luxurious details of the scene are in fine keeping with the
minuteness of history in these matters.
89. The Trial Scene in the Merchant of Venice. _Zoffani._ With
That Shakspeare drew;
his daughter as Portia, in the habiliaments of "the learned lawyer;"
Clark, Bensley, &c.
100. Portrait of Bishop Hoadley. _Hogarth._
102. Banks of the Tiber. _Wilson._
118 and 187. Portraits of the Princesses Sophia and Mary, when
125. Battle of Cressy. _West._
137--138--151. Captain Macheath--the Grave-diggers--and the Ghost
Scene in Hamlet--all gems in their way, by _Liverseege_, of
Manchester; they are full of point, and so rich in promise of future
excellence as to add to our regret for the premature death of the
134. The First Study for the Niobe Landscape. _Wilson._ Peculiarly
interesting to artists.
_To be continued._
* * * * *
THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
EFFECTS OF FASHIONABLE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS UPON SERVANTS AND TRADESMEN.
[Much has been said of late years respecting the degeneracy of a very
useful and generally respectable class of persons, termed "gentlemen's
servants;" and the unjustifiable practices of tradesmen towards people
of fashion. As is usual in hasty judgments, the many have been
stigmatized with the vices of the few: the misconduct of reckless
servants has been held forth as bespeaking the habits of the whole
class, and the misdealing cupidity of a few purveyors of fashionable
luxuries has been set down as the almost uniform rule of conduct of
the worthiest classes in the empire. Such has been the exaggeration of
a certain description of evils and abuses, which appertain rather to
the manners and customs of fashionable life than to the sphere of the
useful or industrious classes; and in support of this position of
ours, we may be allowed to quote the following pertinent observations
from no less aristocratic authority than the _Quarterly Review_. They
occur in a notice of a few of the most recent novels of fashionable
life; in which the writer argues that there remains to be produced a
much more useful class of novels than has yet emanated from the
_silver fork school_. The immediate objects of the present remarks
are, however, to show that the artificial or even dissipated habits of
servants and the bareweight honesty of tradesmen, are brought about by
the corrupt manners of persons of fortune, who _believe themselves_ to
be the only sufferers by such evil courses.]
Society is so infinitely intersected and convolved,
"Cycle and epi-cycle, orb in orb,"
that observers who should be endowed with a sufficient portion of
perspicacity, might no doubt trace the consequences of the vices and
virtues prevailing in any section of it, through the entire social
chain. But, hitherto, those who have undertaken to describe the ways
of fashionable life, have not followed it even to its more direct and
contiguous relations with other classes of mankind. This is a defect
which it might be worth the while of any duly qualified writer to
supply. It might be well, for instance, if any such writer would so
far extend the sphere of his contemplations, as to observe and exhibit
_the effects of fashionable manners and customs upon the class of
servants, and the class of tradesmen_.
Under the former head, there may be found, perhaps, little to find
fault with on the score of mere manner and outward demeanour. To use
servants with harshness, or to be wanting in that species of
consideration for them which consists in a certain mildness and
amenity of manner, would ruffle and deform that smooth surface of
things which it is agreeable to the taste of people in high life to
see around them. Nor do they, perhaps, interfere with the comfort of
their dependents, by any undue or onerous exactions of service; for
their establishments, being for the most part calculated for show, are
more numerous than is required for use, and are therefore necessarily
underworked, except, perhaps, in the case of some poor drudges at the
bottom, who slink up and down the back stairs unseen, and whose
comfort, therefore, does not engage the attention of a family of this
class; and even these will not be oppressed with their labours, unless
when some impoverished people of fashion may find it necessary to dock
the tails of their establishments in order to keep the more prominent
portions entire. Nevertheless the exceptions which may be taken
against fashionable life, as affecting the class of servants, are of a
very grave description. Late hours and habits of dissipation in the
heads of a family make it almost impossible, especially in London, to
exercise that wholesome household discipline which is requisite to
secure the well-being of a servant. Luxury and ostentation require
that the servants of these people should be numerous; their number
unavoidably makes them idle; idleness makes them debauched; debauchery
renders them often necessitous; the affluence or the prodigality, the
indolence or indulgence; or indifference of their masters, affords
them every possible facility for being dishonest; and, beginning with
the more venial kinds of peculation, their conscience has an
opportunity of making an easy descent through the various gradations
of larceny, till the misdemeanant passes into the felon. In the
meantime, the master, taking no blame to himself, nor considering that
servants are for the most part what their masters make them, that they
are the creatures, at least, of those circumstances which their
masters throw around them, and _might_ be moulded in the generality of
cases, with almost certain effect, by the will and conduct of the
master--passes over, with an indolent and epicurean censure, the
lighter delinquencies which he may happen to detect, laughs perhaps at
his own laxity, and, when at length alarmed, discharges the culprit
without a character, and relieves himself, at the expense of he knows
not whom, by making of a corrupted menial a desperate outcast. If it
be said that a man cannot be expected to change his mode of life for
the sake of his servants, it might be answered, that any mode of life
by which each individual indulging in it hazards the perdition of
several of his fellow-creatures, _ought_ to be changed, and cannot be
persevered in without guilt. But even if no such sacrifice were
insisted upon, there remain means by which the evil might be
In the first place, the adherence to honesty on the part of the
masters might be exemplary; whereas their actual measure of honesty
would perhaps be indicated with sufficient indulgence, if they were
described (in the qualified language which Hamlet applies to himself)
to be "indifferent honest." There is a currency of untruth in daily
use amongst fashionable people for purposes of convenience, which
proceeds to a much bolder extent than the social euphemisms by which
those of the middle classes also, not perhaps without some occasional
violation of their more tender consciences, intimate a wish to be
excused from receiving a guest. Fashionable people, moreover, are the
most unscrupulous smugglers and buyers of smuggled goods, and have
less difficulty than others and less shame, in making various illicit
inroads upon the public property and revenue. It is not to be denied
that these practices are, in point of fact, a species of lying and
cheating; and the latter of them bears a close analogy to the sort of
depredation in which the dishonesty of a servant commonly commences.
To a servant it must seem quite as venial an offence to trench upon
the revenues of a duke, as to the duke it may seem to defraud the
revenues of a kingdom. Such proceedings, if not absolutely to be
branded as dishonest, are not at least altogether honourable; they are
such as may be more easily excused in a menial than in a gentleman.
Nor can it ever be otherwise than of evil example to make truth and
honesty matters of degree.
But there is a worse evil in the manners of this country in regard to
servants. It is rarely that they are considered in any other light
than as mechanical instruments. It unfortunately belongs very little
to our national character to feel what the common brotherhood of
humanity requires of us in a relation with our fellow-creatures, which
however unequal, is so close as that of master and servant. We are not
accustomed to be sensible that it is any part of our duty to enter
into their feelings, to understand their dispositions, to acquire
their confidence, to cultivate their sympathies and our own upon some
common ground which kindness might always discover, and to communicate
with them habitually and unreservedly upon the topics which touch upon
that ground. This deficiency would perhaps be more observable in the
middle classes than in the highest, who seem generally to treat their
inferiors with less reserve, but that in the latter the scale of
establishment often removes the greater part of a man's servants from
personal communication with him. Whether most prevalent in the
fashionable or in the unfashionable classes, it is an evil which, in
the growing disunion of the several grades of society is now more than
ever, and for more reasons than one, to be regretted.
(_To be concluded in our next._)
* * * * *
THE SCHOOLMASTER'S EXPERIENCE IN NEWGATE.
(_From Fraser's Magazine._)
Although in the present day, notwithstanding the severity of the laws,
the different modes of committing crime are almost endless, the
principal actors in criminality may be classed under the following
_Classification of Rogues._
Housebreakers _Vulgus_--Cracksmen, pannymen.
Highwaymen & } Grand-tobymen.
Footpads } Spicemen.
Utterers of base metal Smashers.
Pickpockets Buzzmen, clyfakers, conveyancers.
Stealers of goods and money from } Sneaks.
shops, areas, &c. &c. }
Snatchers of reticules, watches, } Grabbers.
&c. &c. from the person }
Horse and cattle stealers Prad-chervers.
Women and men who waylay }
inebriate persons for the } Ramps.
purpose of robbery }
Receivers of stolen goods Fences.
Swindlers of every description, } Macers, duffers, and ring-droppers.
among which are }
Stealing from carts and } Dragsmen.
carriages of all kinds }
To which may be added, all kinds } Light-horsemen, heavy-horsemen,
of plundering on the river and } game watermen, do. lightermen,
its banks, on board shipping, } scuffle-hunters, copemen, &c.
barges, &c. }
The whole of these are carried on by confederacies of small parties,
and at other times by gangs, when their operations become more
extensive. The forger and the highwayman are exceptions; the latter
offence is generally committed by one or more, in a fit of need and
state of desperation, without any system or plan for carrying on the
practice; and it may be affirmed, that, in almost every case of this
nature, the criminal never committed the like offence before. There
have been some few instances of five or six individuals associating
for the purposes of committing forgeries, but the cases are rare.
I can name several boys now in custody, who have been actors in some
of the most complicated schemes of burglary, and from whom much on
this head might be elicited. One in particular, who began his career
by robbing a gentleman in Mark Lane of plate to a considerable amount;
and as it shows one method of committing a robbery, I will relate how
it was accomplished. The boy was under sentence of death when I got
the history of his life from him, he having been nine years in the
successful commission of crime; and although nearly eighteen years of
age, his appearance gave him credit for only being fourteen. Whilst in
custody, his constant theme of regret was that he had left the parties
in whose services he had been so long and securely employed, to join
some of his own age, embarking in business for themselves; by which he
was "nicked" (taken up). He was an orphan, and had been brought up in
the poor-house, whence he was apprenticed to a sweep in the city. He
was a remarkably sharp boy, which no doubt was noticed by those who
are always on the lookout for agents to aid them in their schemes. He
was met one morning early, with the soot-bag on his back, by a man who
pretended to be his uncle, and who gave him a half-crown piece, making
another appointment for a meeting; the result of which was, before he
had served sixteen months of his time he had given information by
which fifteen robberies had been committed. He, of course, had been
paid for his services, which soon made him disgusted with the sooty
business; and he made an agreement with the man who drew him into
crime, to leave his master's service, and to commit with him a robbery
on their private account before he left. The house fixed on was the
one above alluded to in Mark Lane. The premises had before been
surveyed, and deemed impregnable; that is to say, was considered too
well guarded to be robbed without detection. They, however, got
possession of the plate in the following manner:--The boy was a
favourite with the cook of the house, and she would have no other to
sweep her kitchen-chimney; a matter of business which was performed
the last Saturday in every month. It was concerted between the man and
the boy, that the former should dress himself in the character of a
sweep, and accompany the latter as his over-looker, or assistant. The
real sweep-over-looker, of course, must be kept out of the way; and
here laid all their difficulty. It cost the boy (to use his own
expression) six months' longer punishment as a sweep, and the man six
appearances, at an early hour of the morning, in the same character,
before the object could be carried, namely, to get rid of the real
At length, one Saturday, by pretending to forget the job until all the
men were gone out about other work, the boy, affecting suddenly to
recollect it, persuaded the master to let him go alone, saying he
himself could perform the duty. It was five o'clock in the morning
when he and the disguised robber reached the house; the cook opened
the door, having nothing on save a blanket thrown over her shoulders.
The arch young rogue said, "It's only me and Harry; it's a very cold
morning; if you like to go to bed again, cookey, we will do it well,
and leave all clean, and shut the door fast after us." She went to
bed, and they went to the plate depository, which had been well noted
oft times before. They put the whole of its contents into the
soot-bag, and fearlessly walked through the streets with it on their
backs. The boy, a few hours afterwards, was so metamorphosed, being
dressed in the smartest manner, with cane in hand and fifty pounds in
his pocket, that he walked the streets in full confidence that not
even his master or his fellow-apprentices would know him.
The qualifications for a pickpocket are a light tread, a delicate
sense of touch, combined with firm nerves. These boys may be known by
their shoes in the street; they generally wear pumps, or shoes of a
very light make, having long quarters. There is about their
countenance an affected determination of purpose, and they walk
forward, as if bent on some object of business: it is a rule with them
never to stop in the street. When they want to confer for a moment
they drop into some by-court or alley, where they will fix on an
object of attack, as the people pass down a main street; when they
start off in the same manner, the boy going first, to do what they
call "stunning," that is to pick the pocket. The first rate hands
never, on any occasion, loiter in the streets, unless at a procession
or any exhibition, when there is an excuse for so doing. Many have a
notion that instruments are used in disencumbering the pockets: this
is a false idea; the only instrument they use is a good pair of small
scissors, and which will always be found on the person of a pickpocket
when searched; these they use to cut the pocket and all off, when they
cannot abstract its contents.
To these qualifications they unite a quick sight, and a tact of
observing when the attention is engaged, or of devising some means to
engage it themselves, until the act is done. They are most busy in
foggy weather. When in prison, they will be heard to say on such days,
"What a shame to lose such a fine day as this!" On great public days,
when the streets are expected to be crowded, and much business is
anticipated, several parties of them will unite for the day, under
special contract, either to divide all gains between them, or for each
one to retain what he gets, agreeing, under every circumstance, to
mutually assist each other in the bustle of the crowd. The wary and
superior pickpocket, however, seldom runs this risk, but steadily
pursues his course, surveying every day the objects around him, and
sending off his emissaries to fetch in the plunder, or, by detection,
to be handed off to prison. Pickpockets are the least faithful to each
other of all known rogues, and are the most difficult of all biped
animals to tame, or make any thing of in the way of improvement when
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE JUVENILE FORGET-ME-NOT FOR 1833.
(_Edited by Mrs. S.C. Hall._)
This is a delightful little book for the improvement of the mind and
heart, as well as for the amusement, of young persons. It is full of
prose and poetic story, pretty incident and anecdote--all which convey
some useful moral, and point to some really good end and purpose. It
is still a book for the play-room, notwithstanding it treats of botany
and zoology. Travelling on the Ice, by Dr. Walsh, explains "what put
it into Captain Parry's head to go to the North Pole;" the Poet's
Invitation, by Allan Cunningham, is sweet and simple; the Shamrock, by
L.E.L., consists of some clever lines, accompanying a portrait of two
fairy sisters and a little laughing brother--
The image of a happy child
Doth link itself with all
That natural loveliness, which least
Reminds us of our fall.
Somewhat of angel purity,
Somewhat of angel grace,
Ere longer years bring shade and toil.
Are on a childish face.
My Dog Quail contains some amusing anecdotes by the late Dr. Walsh;
and in the Settlers, a dialogue, by Miss Leslie, of Philadelphia, are
a few touching points of distinction between savage and civilized
life; the Indian Island, by L.E.L., is more of a story; a Walk in a
Flower Garden is from the accomplished pen of Mrs. Loudon, explaining
to two juvenile inquirers the origin of the names and properties of
certain plants; a Girl's Farewell to the River Lee, by Charles Swain,
is plaintively interesting; Seven and Seventeen, by Mrs. S.C. Hall, is
clever and lively, and full of home truth; the Sailor's Wife is a
pensive ballad-tale of the sea, by M. Howitt, and likely to linger on
the mind of childhood; the First Weavers, by the Rev. C. Williams, is
as ingenious in its way as Professor Rennie's Bird or Insect
Architecture: it enumerates many interesting processes of weaving by
insects and birds, who, unlike human artificers, pursue their tasks in
the untainted atmosphere of nature;--there are also two or three
pretty playful prose sketches, and some clever lines by Miss Leslie,
of Philadelphia, on C.R. Leslie's picture of Lady Jane Grey's
reluctance to accept the crown of England. We quote the concluding
lines, by L.E.L., to accompany the frontispiece:--
THE ROSE OF EDEN-DALE AND HER HOT-HOUSE FLOWERS.
They were so beautiful this morn--
The lily's graceful wand
Hung with small bells, as delicate
As from a fairy's hand.
The Indian rose, so softly red,
As if in coming here
It lost the radiance of the south,
And caught a shade of fear.
The white geranium vein'd with pink,
Like that within the shell
Where, on a bed of their own hues,
The pearls of ocean dwell.
But where is now the snowy white,
And where the tender red?
How heavy over each dry stalk
Droops every languid head!
They are not worth my keeping now--
She flung them on the ground--
Some strewed the earth, and some the wind
Went scattering idly round.
She then thought of those flowers no more,
But oft, in after years,
When the young cheek was somewhat pale,
And the eyes dim with tears--
Then she recalled the faded wreath
Of other happier hours,
And felt life's hope and joy had been
But only Hot-house Flowers!
The Engravings, ten in number, with an inscription plate and vignette,
are above the usual _calibre_ of the "juvenile" embellishments: they
are better than mere pictures for children, and the chosen subjects
harmonize with the benevolent tone and temper of the letter-press; all
of them will tend to cherish kindly feelings in the hearts of the
little readers. Among the best of the prints are Going to the Well,
from Gainsborough; and the Industrious Young Cottager--a contented
girl at work, with a bird in an opened cage beside her: the little
scene is one of happy un-imprisonment and cheerful task.
* * * * *
* * * * *
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
[In one of the recent prize essays of the Highland Society of
Scotland, the Ettrick Shepherd writes thus of his distinguished
contemporary. The general subject of the Essay is the statistics of
Selkirkshire: after referring to Sir Walter as sheriff of Ettrick
Forest for thirty years, Mr. Hogg observes:]
To speak of Sir Walter Scott as a literary man, would be the height of
absurdity in a statistical writer. In that light he is known and duly
appreciated over the whole world, wherever letters have found their
way. But I shall say, that those who know him only by the few hundreds
of volumes that he has published, know only the one half of the man,
and that not the best half neither. As a friend, he is steady, candid,
and sincere, expressing his sentiments freely, whether favourable or
the reverse. He is no man's enemy, though he may be to his principles;
and I believe that he never in his life tried to do an individual
hurt. His impartiality as a judge is so well known, that no man,
either rich or poor, ever attempts to move him from the right onward
path. If he have a feeling of partiality in his whole disposition, it
is for the poachers and fishers, at least I know that they all think
that he has a fellow-feeling with them,--that he has a little of the
old outlaw blood in him, and, if he had been able, would have been a
desperate poacher and black-fisher. Indeed, it has been reported that
when he was young he sometimes "leistered a kipper, and made a shift
to shoot a moorfowl i' the drift." He was uncommonly well made. I
never saw a limb, loins, and shoulders so framed for immoderate
strength. And, as Tom Purdie observed, "Faith, an he hadna' been
crippled he _wud_ ha'e been an unlucky chap."
* * * * *
*** "An Old Friend of the late Mr. Terry" has requested us to insert
the following correction: "In our notices respecting Sir Walter Scott,
(see _Mirror_, No. 571, p. 254,) we stated that Mrs. Terry had in her
possession a tragedy written by Sir Walter for her son W.S. Terry, and
intended by the author as a legacy for Walter's first appearance on
the stage. We have been since assured that it never was intended by
his parents, nor was it ever in the contemplation of his godfather,
that Walter Scott Terry should appear at all upon the stage. The youth
is in fact at this time a cadet at the Military College, Addiscombe,
to which establishment he obtained an appointment through the kind
exertions of Sir Walter, who has thus placed young Terry in a
situation to distinguish himself in a line of life perfectly according
with his own talents and inclinations."
* * * * *
_Islington Stages_--The stage-coaches to Islington, sixty years ago,
were drawn by three horses, on account of the badness of the roads.
The inside fare was at that time sixpence each person. H.B. ANDREWS.
_Dr. Ken and Nell Gwynne_.--When Charles II. went down to Winchester
with the Court, the house of Dr. Ken was destined to be the residence
of Nell Gwynne. The good little man declared that she should not be
under his roof: he was as steady as a rock; and the intelligence was
carried to the king, who said, "Well, then, Nell must take lodging in
the city." All the Court and divines were shocked at Dr. Ken's strange
conduct, saying that he had ruined his fortune, and would never rise
in the church. Sometime after, the bishopric of Bath and Wells became
vacant: the ministers recommended some learned and pious divines; to
whom the king answered, "No, none of them shall have it, I assure you.
What is the name of that little man at Winchester, that would not let
Nell Gwynne lodge at his house?"--"Dr. Ken, please your
majesty."--"Well, he shall have it then; I resolved that he should
have the first bishopric that fell, if it had been Canterbury."--Bishop
Ken every morning made a vow that he would not marry on that day. Mr.
Cherry used frequently, on entering the breakfast-room, to say, "Well,
my lord, is the resolution made this morning?"--"Oh, yes, sir, long
ago," was the constant reply. M.J.T.
_Accession of Territory without Bloodshed._--The Venetians, desirous
of possessing the island of Curzola, which belonged to the little
republic of Raguza, and was situate in their neighbourhood, made use
of a singular stratagem to render themselves masters of it. They
erected in one night, on a little rock, which belonged to them, very
near Raguza, a card-board fortress, painted of a brick-colour, and
armed with wooden cannons. The next day the Ragusans, alarmed at
seeing themselves so closely invested, entered into a negotiation with
the Venetian State, to which they ceded Curzola, in exchange for this
miserable rock, on which there was scarcely room for a moderately
sized dwelling. W.N.
_Excuses for not Marrying_.--Thales, who was ranked among the seven
wise men of Greece, declined involving himself by marriage in the
cares of a family, that he might devote his whole time and attention
to the study of philosophy,--alleging to his mother, who urged him to
marry, at an early age, "_it is too soon_," and at a more advanced
period, "_it is too late_." P.T.W.
* * * * *
_Epigram on Sir P----p F----n----s being bit by a cobracappo_:--
A serpent bit F---- ----s, that virulent knight;--
What then? 'twas the serpent that died of the bite.
Dente venenato stimulatur Zoilus Anguis,
Quid Tum? vivit adhuc Zoilus, Anguis obit.
* * * * *
_Botanical A.B.C._--The A.B.C. Daria is a name given to a plant of the
camomile species. The appellation is designed to express the use made
of this plant by the black schoolmasters at Amboyna, who cause their
young pupils to chew the flowers and roots, either alone or with
beetlenut, in order that they may more easily pronounce some of the
difficult Arabic letters. It is similar to the _Anthemis Pyrethrum_,
as stimulating the mouth, and is recommended in paralyses of the
_Smoking._--A standing order of the House of Commons, in 1693,
directs, "that no member of the house do presume to smoke tobacco in
the gallery, or at the tables of the house sitting at committees."
_A Turn-coat._--De Dominis, Archbishop of Spalato, was notorious for
his shiftings in religion. One of his friends ended a report of an
interview with him as follows:--"It is clear he is a _wily-beguily_,
rightly bred in the nest of the Jesuits."
* * * * *
_A Turtle Mayor_.--In the fourteenth century, one Roger Turtle was
Mayor of Bristol no less than seven times, 1326 to 1341--a
circumstance which elicited the following _jeu d'esprit_:--
If old _Roger Turtle_ was seven times mayor,
An honour which fell to no other man's share,
His descendant, a _Turtle_, in this modern day,
Bears, as _mayor-elect_, a perpetual sway.
* * * * *
_Auctions_.--In France, to this day, sales are announced with the
drum. In this country they were formerly accompanied by trumpet; for,
in a will of 1388, we find "that the tenements so bequeathed shall be
sold separately, by the sound of the trumpet, at the High Cross
(Bristol), without fraud or collusion."
_Charters_.--In one of the most valuable, but least known collections
in the British Museum, are about _ten thousand_ charters, which were
indexed by Ayscough.
_Cowley_, the poet, was the son of a grocer, who lived in
Fleet-street, near the end of Chancery-lane.
* * * * *
_Epitaph, formerly in a Churchyard at Bristol_.
Ye witty mortals! as you're passing by,
Remark, that near this monument doth lie,
Center'd in dust,
Two Husbands, two Wives,
Two Sisters, two Brothers,
Two Fathers, a Son,
Two Daughters, Two Mothers,
A Grandfather, a Grandmother, a Granddaughter,
An Uncle and an Aunt--their Niece follow'd after.
This catalogue of persons mentioned here
Was only five, and all from incest free.
* * * * *
_Printed and published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset
House) London; sold by G.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin,
Paris; CHARLES FUGEL, Francfort; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers._
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