Fulham and Putney from the Surrey Shore
Map, Richmond to Chelsea,1842
Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth and youth and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
"Give me", said Sterne, "a companion of my way, were it only to inform
me how the shadows lengthen as the sun declines.
So say we - let us have a companion, though he were a finger-post; though his faculties extended no farther than with outstretched arm to point out to us places of superior interest, and to remind us of their names: to say, for example,
"In that house lived St.
John ; there Fox and Canning died, and beneath that stone repose the mortal remains of Hogarth.
We want a companion who shall be to us as a catalogue in a gallery of pictures - less a companion than an indicator; we can criticise for ourselves.
So we can, in making these our excursions, reflect for ourselves; and there appears somewhat of assumption in a topographer teaching his readers to think.
His duty is, to furnish them with materials for thinking ; his task is, to inform them of their near approach to places enriched with classical associations-the recollections called up by those associations arise spon taneously in the minds, and form the highest enjoyment of those qualified by mental constitution to indulge them.
The tourist of a less imaginative class, however indifferent he may feel with respect to the associations of places on his route, is yet anxious to be informed of their names: they who are incurious of reflection, are yet curious of inquiry.
The topographer is expected to do two things, incongruous and incompatible: he must think for such as are incapable of thinking for themselves; those who have ideas of their own, and want not his, desire facts, abundance of facts.
If he write for the former, he is flowery, excursive, superficial, and impertinent; if for the latter, he must needs be hard, arithmetical, dry, and dull.
If he attempt to combine both styles, he is as successful as if he were to sprinkle broad-cloth with spangles, or trim robes of frieze with copper lace.
We take it, therefore, that we are only doing justice to those who may invite us of their company, in concluding that they are able to think for themselves; and in this belief, we will endeavour to refrain from vain "bibble babble", and merely fulfil our humble but useful office of conductor; raising our arm here and there, at intervals, like the telegraph on One Tree Hill, whenever we would signal the tourist that there is something in view upon which he may "chew the cud of sweet and bitter fancies".
We hope to find our readers in good humour this fine May morning, when the yearning after the country, and rural sights and sounds, comes upon us like a home sickness; and the glittering sun looks joyously down upon our stony streets and our dull brick walls, as if he were laughing at us, while we look up wistfully at his bright face, wishing ourselves lying at full length on some velvet sward, fifty miles from town, our hat over our eyes, kicking our heels for very wantonness, and carolling aloud in the hilarity of our hearts!
Pleasant it is to reflect that in devoting a day to nature and her charms,
we are guilty of a dissipation leaving behind it no unpleasant reminiscences;
that what we lose in time and money, we will be more than repaid in rude
ness of health and buoyancy of spirit, without which what are time and
money? Without these, blessings as they are, not of man's giving, time but
marks the continuity of pain, and money is but the means to purchase that
which cannot longer be enjoyed.
While those sources of enjoyment which enervate the mind and enfeeble the frame are expensive as they are hurtful, pleasant it is to reflect that our enjoyments, our excursions, are of little cost: that those delights which raise the mind above low pursuits and sordid considerations, lie open to us without trouble or difficulty, and that our most inexpensive pleasures are at once the most elevating and the most innocent.
While the pursuit of wealth is attended with doubt, uncertainty, and care -while the paradise of fashion is delicious only as it is exclusive-while the workings of ambition are dashed with perpetual fear of fall, communion with Nature is free from every unpleasant feeling, every jarring sensation.
From the troubles of working-day life (and every man finds his troubles, if he does not make them), from the heartlessness and sordid ways of our fellow men, or it may be of ourselves; from the hand-to-hand struggles of human competition, we turn to Nature, as the tired infant turns to the mother's breast.
And oh! is it not good that the God of nature thus spreads a feast for us in the desert?
Though we neglect the country of His making for the town which is of our own; though we refuse the invitation that comes to us in our city homes, borne on every breath of spring ; though the lark and nightingale sing, and the primrose and violet bloom for us in vain, while all goes well with us, and certainty, like her shadow, waits on hope, whatever we may pursue in the business of life: yet, let a change come over our fortunes - let sickness blanch the cheek - let the worse than sickness come upon us, when the cankered mind eats into itself, and all that the saddened eye looks upon is distasteful - whither then do we turn?
Then to thee, Nature, we return.
The heart leaps up at thy approach, and the face of sick ness looks smilingly: the weary mind is refreshed, the broken spirit finds balm for its wounds with thee, fair minister of quiet pleasures, and not unpleasing cares!
Yet - even yet, there is more to say for the country, and a reason of more moment why it is good to commune with her.
There is an upward tendency of thought, a purification of spirit, an alienation of mind from the world and worldly things, that are more to the immortal part of our nature than the song of birds, the budding flowers, or the bubbling of waters.
The spirit of peace descends upon us, the heart grows and swells with a sober ecstacy, and is lifted up in grateful homage to the Giver of this good, eloquent though speechless.
Whatever of good town may have left in the recesses of
man's heart, the country brings to the surface.
The poetry of the country is a poetry of devotion; for is not the country a huge temple, wondrous in its azure roof fretted with "patines of bright gold;" its verdant carpet over spread with thousand divers hues and shapes of beauty; its pillars, aisles, chapels, in trees, groves, glens; the pure soft air of May, is it not incense, and are there not choristers on every bough.
Verily, in this temple, with lowly heart, will we this day worship.
On such a soft, sunny, balmy morning as this, the eye and the mind are athirst for a green field: desire of the country asserts its supremacy like an instinct, and we cannot, do what we will, expel it from our thoughts: we are restless, unsatisfied, and melancholy, like men in love, and so we are - in love with Nature; and it is the memory of her sweet face, and the pleasures we have erewhile enjoyed in her society, that now haunt us like a vision of delight.
We cannot get on with our work within doors; and without, how tantalising the clear blue sky, transfixed by thousand staring chimney-pots, and the balmy breeze wafting along city odours and city dust!
The sunbeams gilding puddles that the watering-carts have left, mock our town imprisonment with their glancing : we feel as prisoners in a dungeon, when noontide lets a downward ray of sun-light into their miserable cell: we are mewed up, and while flowers are springing from the grassy turf, the birds singing on every spray, and the little flies swarming in the sunny beam, we are here impounded between double files of ugly brick houses, hard flags under our feet, a Babel of discordant sounds around us, and nothing of quiet, beautiful nature visible but the narrow strip of heaven's azure overhead.
All this we must know, and feel, and suffer; for the cares and necessities of the world are too many for us, and though Nature invite us as she will, still we are slaves of the lamp and of the town: let it go - resume our pen.
Hardly have we lifted it, when a sparrow on the overhanging spout exults in song, as it were a very nightingale: - provoking little wretch, it is too much; we can stand it no longer.
Seizing our hat, stick, and sandwich-box, we rush distractedly to Hungerford or Queenhithe, and with out a moment's consideration, enter for the day on board a Richmond steamer.
Ah! this will do; the river alone is worth the time and money; and looking towards Westminster and its bridge, we cannot but recal to memory the sonnet of Wordsworth, composed upon that very bridge in the calm of a summer's, perhaps a May, morning.
Westminster Bridge [1747-1857 shown under repair]
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples, lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright, and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill,
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will ;
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still.
While our little vessel is getting her steam up, or awaiting the completion
of her living cargo, we may as well amuse ourselves with the historical
associations of Lambeth, over the way; especially as we have nothing of
picturesque description to employ our pen in that densely populated locality.
Yet few of the circumjacent towns of the city of London have historical recollections of greater interest than Lambeth.
Hardicanute, whose memory is preserved in one of the famous ballads collected by Bishop Percy, died here suddenly, during an entertainment with which he was celebrating the marriage-feast of a noble Dane.
The palace, whose lofty twin towers of massive brick by the river-side attract our notice when we pass beneath Westminster Bridge, is a large pile of building exhibiting the architecture of various ages.
Nor have its vicissitudes been without a moral.
Alternately a palace, a prison, a barrack, and a place of public entertainment, we are reminded of the strange and uncongenial uses to which even the high places of the church may be applied in times of civil war or popular commotion.
The worn, crumbling tower, east of the gateway, is the Lollards' Tower.
Within the prison-room, which is boarded over, resembling much the cabin of a ship, being about thirteen feet by twelve, and about eight feet high, are eight rings, to which the chains of the unhappy prisoners, whose only crime was the fidelity with which they clung to their belief, were attached.
The old dilapidated tower stands a monument at once of the cruelty and folly of coercion, in matters of faith and conscience.
The portion of the palace occupied by the present archbishop is from designs by Mr.
Blore, and is justly considered a work of great architectural taste and merit.
The Great Hall, also, is a conspicuous object from the river: this magnificent room is supposed to have been erected by Archbishop Boniface, and was rebuilt by Archbishop Juxon after the Restoration.
This spacious room, adorned with a lofty and beautiful painted window, contains portraits of Archbishop Chichely, the founder of that part of the palace containing the Lollards' Tower; of Philip and Mary; and of Archbishop Juxon.
The roof of this hall is of oak, elaborately carved, and of exquisite construction.
The library of the archbishop now occupies this venerable hall: during the civil war the books were all seized by the Parliament, and afterwards given to Sion College; but at the suggestion of Selden, both houses of parliament concurred in an ordinance for removing the library to Cambridge.
At the Restoration it was demanded of the university by Archbishop Juxon, and restored to his successor.
The Guard-Chamber of Lambeth Palace is one of the most nobly proportioned apartments anywhere to be seen; but its grand attraction consists in the portraits of successive Archbishops of Canterbury, wherewith it is adorned.
Here is that of Arundel, the earliest compurgator of heresy by fire; Chichely, another bigot of the same class; Cranmer, Grindall, Whitgift, Abbot, and subsequent archbishops, from Laud to the late Archbishop Sutton, inclusive.
The gardens and park, containing about thirteen acres, are laid out with great taste.
The celebrated fig-trees, of the white Marseilles sort, planted by Cardinal Pole, and noted in their day for producing abundance of delicious fruit, no longer exist, unless we consider the small shoots growing between the buttresses of the Great Hall to appertain thereto; the whole east end of the former building was overshadowed by one of these fig-trees, whose trunk was twenty-eight inches in circumference.
The prospects from the windows of the palace are magnificent.
Queen Elizabeth was several times an honoured guest at Lambeth Palace.
An account of one of her visits is given in Archbishop Parker's Antiquities:-
"The queen, removing from Hampton Court to Greenwich, visited the archbishop at Lambeth, where she staid all night.
Here, on Tuesday, the archbishop invited a large party of the inferior courtiers.
In the same room, on the Wednesday, he made a great dinner; at his own table sat down nine earls and seven barons; at the other table, the comptroller of the queen's household, her secretary, and many other knights and esquires; besides the usual table for the great officers of state, where sate the lord treasurer, lord admiral, the chamberlain, and others.
The whole of the charge was borne by the archbishop.
At four of the clock on the Wednesday afternoon, the queen and the court removed to Greenwich.
During the commotions that preceded the civil war, Lambeth felt the first effects of the popular fury.
Archbishop Laud was attacked in his palace with great fury, by "the apprentices", instigated, it is said, by John Lilburne: soon after, the unhappy prelate was committed to the Tower.
Lambeth was famous for astrologers: Moore, the almanac-maker, Simon
Forman, and many others of that once popular profession, resided here.
It is a curious fact, and one worthy of record, as an illustration of the tenacity with which certain classes adhere to certain neighbourhoods, that to this day Lambeth forms the winter quarters of the greater part of that wandering population which in the summer migrates from fair to fair, with shows and catch-pennies of every description.
Here, in plots of waste ground, you may see their vans, caravans, and waggons, laid up like so many privateers in ordinary, until the return of summer puts them into commission, and enables them to cruise about, levying contributions upon credulous rustics.
We are not to suppose, however, that there are no astrologers in our own day; ignorance and credulity appear to belong to no century, and knaves find dupes in all ages.
There are two or three individuals in London, moving in apparently respectable situations in life, who are known at this day to earn large sums, calculating nativities and practising astrology and palmistry, at the expense of the upper classes.
These persons, of course, have some ostensible pursuit, but the main source of their incomes is understood to be astrology.
Lambeth Church is conspicuous from the river, the tower being at no
great distance from the gate of the archbishop's palace.
Beneath the walls of this church Mary D'Este, queen of James II.
, took refuge on the night of the 6th of December, 1688, with her infant son, awaiting a means of conveyance from the country that no longer owned her husband's sway.
It is said that she was altogether unattended, being conveyed in a wherry by an ordinary waterman from Whitehall.
Moore, the author of the "Gamester", and editor of a periodical called "The World", in which he was assisted by Horace Walpole, Richard Owen Cambridge, and other literary characters, died and was buried here.
Perne, Dean of Ely, and Master of Peterhouse College, Cambridge, who was accused of having changed his religion four times in twelve years, was buried here.
Perne was much given to jesting, of which the follow ing instance is told among others:-
One day he happened to call a clergyman a fool, who was not wholly undeserving of the title; and on his threatening to complain to his diocesan, the Bishop of Ely -
"Do," says the doctor, "and he will confirm you.
"The doctor was at court one day", says Fuller, "with Archbishop Whitgift, who had been his pupil; the afternoon was rainy, yet the queen was resolved to ride abroad, contrary to the inclination of the ladies of the court, who were to attend her on horseback.
They employed Clod, the queen's jester, to dissuade Her Majesty from so inconvenient a journey.
Clod readily undertook the task, and addressed Her Majesty thus:-
Heaven dissuades you, it is cold and wet; earth dissuades you, it is moist and dirty; heaven dissuades you, this heavenly minded man, Archbishop Whitgift; and earth dissuades you, your fool Clod, such a lump of clay as myself: but if neither will prevail, here is one also, who is neither heaven nor earth, but hangs between both, Dr.
Perne, and he also dissuades you.
"Here at", says the chronicler, "the queen and the courtiers laughed heartily, whilst the doctor looked sadly, and going over with His Grace to Lambeth, soon died!"
The archbishops of Canterbury, who
died at Lambeth, are Wittlesey, Kemp, Dean, Parker, Whitgift, Bancroft,
Juxon, Sheldon, Tillotson, Tenison, Wake, Potter, Cardinal Pole, Secker,
Cornwallis, Moore, and Sutton ; of these the three first were buried in the
cathedral of Canterbury; Whitgift, Wake, and Sheldon, at Croydon; Juxon
John's chapel, Oxford; Tillotson in the church of St.
Lawrence, Jewry; the rest in Lambeth.
In the Churchyard is the tomb of the Tradescants, father and son, founders of the Ashmolean Museum, at Oxford.
Of the Tradescants and their Museum, Izaak Walton speaks in his "Complete Angler:"-
"There be so many strange creatures to be now seen, many collected by John Tradescant, and others added by my friend, Elias Ashmole, Esq.
, who now keeps them carefully and methodically at his house, near to Lambeth, near London, as you may get some belief of some of the other wonders I mentioned.
You may there see the Hogfish, the Dogfish, the Dolphin, the Coney-fish, the Parrot-fish, the Shark, the Poison-fish, Sword-fish, and not only other incredible fish, but you may there see the Salamander, several sorts of barnacles, of Solan Geese, the Bird of Paradise: such sorts of snakes, and such birds' nests, and of so various forms, and so wonderfully made, as may beget wonder and amusement in any beholder; and so many hundred of other varieties in that collection as will make the other wonders I spake of the less incredible.
Cooke, the translator of Hesiod, author of a Life of Andrew Marvell, translations of Terence and Cicero, an edition of Virgil, and for some years editor of a paper called The Craftsman, resided at South Lambeth; and, true to the destiny of literary men, died there in a state of extreme poverty.
He was buried by subscription, the surplus being handed over to his wife, who survived him but a few months, his daughter dying in Lambeth workhouse the year after.
The massive and clumsy St.
John's Church, Westminster, the fertile subject of many ludicrous similes, as a four-post bedstead, an elephant with his legs in the air, and the like, nearly opposite to Lambeth Palace, is too conspicuous.
The towers and roof of Westminster Abbey form a background to the buildings lying between that sacred edifice and the river: these last are unworthy adjuncts to the noble stream, consisting of a chaotic mass of rubbishy, tumble-down, tiled edifices, huddled upon one another.
The long-delayed project of embanking the Thames, so important in every utilitarian point of view, would remove the reproach of meanness from the immediate neighbourhood of the river.
A few more turns of the paddle-wheel and we are opposite the Milbank
Penitentiary, a polygonal building with circular turrets at the angles, happily
situate in a swamp, below the tide level of the river, as it would seem, for the
express, though not avowed, purpose of superadding the horrors of bad air,
bad water, and malaria to the customary rigours of prison discipline.
It has been stated that, upon the projection of this establishment, a site not necessarily fatal to health and life was offered for a less sum than that paid for this morass.
Wonder has been expressed that another site, with some semblance of fitness for its purpose, was not adopted; but wonder now is equally absurd and vain.
The erection of this pest-house, upon its present plan, was a carrying out of the panopticonic views of the celebrated philanthropist Jeremy Bentham.
Eighteen acres of swamp are included within the walls; the interior buildings are intended to immure four hundred male and a like number of female prisoners sentenced to transportation, and commuted for a greater or less term of imprisonment, which here may be considered almost equivalent to sentence of death without the public exposure.
Vauxhall, and its iron bridge of nine arches, erected at an expense of
£150,000, we have leisure to look at for a moment.
Vauxhall, one of the six precincts of Lambeth, has not much remarkable; it is admitted that meetings of the Gunpowder-plot conspirators were held here, in a private house, which was burned down by accident in 1635.
Ambrose Phillips, author of the "Distrest Mother", "Pastorals", and some other works, but better remembered by his quarrel with Pope, whom he threatened with personal chastisement for having ridiculed his Pastorals in a paper in the "Guardian", died of a paralytic seizure, at Vauxhall, June 18th, 1749.
The Gardens, to which Vauxhall is indebted for so much celebrity, have passed into other hands, - no more of them remains than the ground whereon stood the various buildings that adorned them.
The buildings have been levelled with the ground; the interior decorations, some from the pencil of Hogarth, the day and might scenes, artificial cascades, statues, grottoes, walks, arcades, booths, pavilions, rotundas, and temples of Concord, have been sold by public auction ; the trees cut down, the walks cut up, and the ground advertised to be let for "building".
The memory of the place, with its concerts, balls, rope-dancing, juggling, aeronauts, gooseberry wine, and ham shavings, with all its gaiety and frolic, will soon have passed away, or, surviving at all, will live only in the classic papers of Addison, and the humorous essays of Goldsmith.
Yet it is worth while recollecting that such a place existed, were it only to recall the exquisite scene of Beau Tibbs, the widow, and the man in black in the "Citizen of the World", or the no less admirable account of the visit of Sir Roger De Coverley to Vauxhall in the company of the Spectator.
Thus only will Vauxhall be remembered; not by its fine gentlemen or finer ladies, not by its rope-dancers, opera-singers, conjurors, or balloons: touched by the hand of genius, and fixed by the magic of association, it will be present to our memories long after all traces of its whereabout shall be forgotten.
To the left we observe the Red House, a noted place of resort for those who find entertainment in pigeon shooting, and a favourite haunt of Sunday citizens.
Beyond is a level plain of considerable extent, called Battersea Fields, where duels were frequently fought.
Battersea Red House
CHELSEA is now visible, the Hospital forming a point of direction to the sight.
This noble rival to Greenwich Hospital, intended for invalids in the land service, was begun by Charles II.
, and completed by William III.
It was built by Sir Christopher Wren, on the site of an old college which had escheated to the crown, at an expense of £150,000.
The principal building consists of a large quadrangle, open at the south side; in the centre is a bronze statue of Charles II.
in a Roman habit.
The apartments for the pensioners are on the east and west sides, in buildings each 365 feet in length.
The governor's house, a plain structure, is at the extremity of the former.
The chapel is adorned with an altar-piece, by Sebastian Ricci.
The hall wherein the pensioners dine is situated on the opposite side of the vestibule; it is of the same dimensions as the chapel, 110 feet in length, and at the upper end is a picture of Charles II.
on horseback, a gift of the Earl of Ranelagh.
To the north of the College is an inclosure of thirteen acres, planted with avenues of limes and horse-chesnuts; towards the south are extensive and well-kept gardens.
The celebrated Eleanor Gwynne, mistress of Charles II.
, is vulgarly supposed to have originated the idea of this asylum for those brave men who have worn out their strength in the service of their country.
There is no shadow of foundation for this supposition; nor is it at all likely that the interests of worn out soldiers would attract the attention of the minion of a profligate court.
Sir Stephen Fox, grandfather of the Right Hon.
Charles James Fox, is said, with more probability, to have taken an active part in the establishment of the hospital.
"He could not bear", he said, "to see the common soldiers, who had spent their strength in our service, reduced to beg"; and contributed to the establishment of the institution, upwards of thirteen thousand pounds.
Cheselden, the celebrated surgeon, many years connected with the hospital, is interred in the burial-ground attached to the institution.
William Young, a clergyman, and the original of the immortal "Parson Adams" of Fielding, is also interred here: the eccentric Dr.
Monsey was for a considerable time physician to the hospital; and Philip Francis, translator of Horace and Demosthenes, one of the chaplains.
Any pensioner will be happy to conduct the stranger over such parts of the establishment as are publicly shown, for a small gratuity.
THE Royal Military Asylum, for the maintenance and education of
the children of soldiers, is at no great distance from the hospital; and is a
handsome spacious edifice, well adapted to its intended purpose.
The number of boys here, according to the original intention, was not to exceed seven hundred, and that of girls three hundred, who remain until of a proper age, when they are disposed of as apprentices and servants: the boys are at liberty, if they please, to make choice of the army.
Parliament gave a sum of money towards the erection, and each regiment contributes one day's pay towards its support.
In the selection of children for admission, preference is given first to the orphans of soldiers: second, to those whose fathers have been killed: third, to those whose fathers are on foreign service.
The establishment is conducted according to a strict system of military discipline, and the utmost order and decorum pervade the whole.
The boys form a regiment in miniature; their uniform, band, colours and appointments, arms, of course, only excepted, resembling those of troops of the line: on stated days, they are reviewed by the commandant, and at such times, this Lilliputian regiment attracts numbers of spectators; and their mimic evolutions, and miniature representations of "the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war"[!], form a really curious and interesting spectacle.
Chelsea from the River
Cheyne Walk, where the tourist may disembark, contains some fine houses, once the residence of persons of distinction, now, by the caprice of fashion, comparatively deserted.
In this handsome promenade, at the upper end, stood the palace of the Bishops of Winchester, and still remains a once noted place of entertainment, called Don Saltero's Coffeehouse, from one Salter, a barber, who attracted many visitors to his house by a collection of rarities, to which Sir Hans Sloane contributed largely from the superfluities of his collection.
The Tatler more than once notices this eccentric character, whose museum was disposed of at the close of the last century.
Pennant, in his history of Holywell and Downing, says that his father used to visit him, when a boy, at Chelsea, and that he was frequently taken by him to the coffeehouse, which he supposes with much reason to have been Don Saltero's, and that there he used to see poor Richard Cromwell, "a little and very neat old man, with a placid countenance".
If it were for nothing else than to muse upon the various fate of sublunary things, it were worth while to take a turn in the coffee house where an ex-Protector of an extinct Commonwealth was accustomed to resort: to see, or recal by imagination, the man who had wielded supreme power settling a tavern score; or, instead of deciding upon the destinies of nations, criticising the beer, or approving the tobacco.
We can imagine how many curious spirits must have thronged Don Saltero's to catch a glimpse of the placid son of a fearful father; the fool and coward who stole away from his palace with "the lives and fortunes of the people of England" in his pocket: or, if you will, the truly wise man, who was content to be obscurely happy, rather than miserably great.
Richard may have been wise, but he could not have been great.
The tastes of the man who was Protector of England must have indeed been of a low kind, to have carried him into the vulgar mediocrity of tavern companionship; respect for the pre-eminent position he once held should have restrained him from becoming the lion of a pot-house, if he had not been withheld by respect for himself.
The truth is, Richard Cromwell was a placid, and, to an unmanly extreme, a timid man : he was probably ashamed, even while Protector, of the memory of his father, and of the elevation procured for him by that ferocious and blood thirsty fanatic, who used to call man's murder by the name of God's mercy.
When danger threatened he became afraid; the king's son returned to his kingdom, and the brewer's son to his beer.
In the hamlet of Little Chelsea, resided Lord Shaftesbury, author of
"The Characteristics"; Sir Bulstrode Whitelock, Commissioner of the Great
Seal during the Usurpation; the profligate and witty Duke of Buckingham,
author of "The Rehearsal"; Pym, the celebrated member of the House of
Commons; the Duchess of Mazarin, one of the many favourites of Charles
; Bishop Fowler, Sir Robert Walpole, Sir Richard Steele, Dr.
Mead, Addison, the celebrated John Locke, and Dr.
Smollett, have resided in Chelsea.
The quarrel between Lord Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton, which ended in a duel in Hyde Park, proving fatal to both parties, commenced about an estate here.
The celebrated Dr.
Atterbury resided at Chelsea several years; there he commenced an intimacy with Dr.
Jonathan Swift, who in the year 1711 accidentally took lodgings opposite his house.
"I lodge", says Swift in his Journal to Stella, "just over against Dr.
Atterbury, and perhaps I shall not like the place better for that"; an acquaintance nevertheless commenced, and soon improved to intimacy.
Arbuthnot also resided for a time at Chelsea.
But the most illustrious name associated with this place is that of Sir
Thomas More, who resided in a mansion afterwards called Beaufort House,
situated at the north end of Beaufort Row, extending westward to the distance
of about a hundred yards from the water-side, and which, after having stood
empty for some years, was purchased by Sir Hans Sloane, and taken down
Here this truly great man lived happy in the converse of ingenious men, and in the society of his family: Holbein was patronised by him, residing in his house for three years, where he executed many of his works.
Erasmus visited Sir Thomas here, and a description of his manner of living with his family, from the pen of that learned man, is highly characteristic - "There he converses", says Erasmus, "with his wife, his son, his daughter in-law, his three daughters and their husbands, with eleven grand-children.
There is not any man living so affectionate to his children as he, and he loveth his old wife as well as if she was a young maid.
Such is the excellence of his temper, that whatsoever happeneth that could not be helped, he loveth it as if nothing could have happened more happily.
You would say there was in that place Plato's Academy, but I do his house an injury in comparing it to Plato's Academy, where there were only disputations of numbers and geometrical figures, and sometimes of moral virtues.
I should rather call his house a school or university of Christian religion; for though there is none therein but readeth or studieth the liberal sciences, their special care is piety and virtue: there is no quarrelling or intemperate words heard; none seem idle; that worthy gentleman doth not govern with proud and lofty words, but with well-timed and courteous benevolence; everybody performeth his duty, yet there is always alacrity; neither is sober mirth anything wanting.
Sir Thomas was a great benefactor to the church of Chelsea, constantly attending divine service, and frequently assisting at its celebration.
Among other instances of his benevolent disposition, we are told that he hired a house at Chelsea, for the reception of aged people, who were supported by his bounty, and that it was the province of his amiable daughter, Margaret, to see that all their wants were duly relieved.
A few years before his death, Sir Thomas caused a vault to be made in the south side of Chelsea church, to which he removed the bones of his wife, designing it for the place of his own interment.
The inscription upon the monument of the great man, serving as well
for a biographical memoir as for an epitaph, and being from his own pen,
I give at length, translated from the original Latin:
"Thomas More, of the city of London, was descended from an honourable, though not distinguished family, and possessed considerable literary acquirements.
After having for some years, during early manhood, practised at the bar, and served the office of sheriff for his native city, he was, by that invincible monarch Henry VIII.
(who received the distinguished honour unattained by any other sovereign, of being justly called the Defender of the Faith, which he had supported alike by sword and pen), summoned to the palace, and constituted a member of the Privy Council.
He was then created a knight and vice-treasurer, and through the royal favour was appointed chancellor, first of the duchy of Lancaster, and afterwards of England.
Meanwhile, he had been returned to serve in parliament, and was frequently appointed ambassador by His Majesty.
The last time he filled this high office was at Cambray, where he had for his colleague, as chief of legation, Tunstall, Bishop of London, shortly afterwards of Durham, a man hardly surpassed by any of his contemporaries in erudition, prudence, and moral worth; at this place he was present at the assembly of the mightiest monarchs of Christendom, and beheld with pleasure ancient treaties renewed, and a long wished-for peace restored to the world.
Wouchsafe, ye gods, this peace to make eternal!
"While attaining these high honours, pursuing his official career, he conciliated the esteem of the best of princes, of the nobility and the people, and proved himself a stern foe to thieves and murderers.
At length his father, Sir John More, was nominated by the king a member of the Privy Council.
He was a man of a mild, harmless, and gentle disposition, imbued with a strong sense of justice, and remarkable for the purity of his life; he was now advanced in years, but in the enjoyment of remarkably good health.
After he had seen his son chancellor of England, he considered that his life had been sufficiently extended, and cheerfully left this world for a better.
"At his death, his son, who during his father's life-time was looked upon both by himself and others as a young man, now deeply lamenting the loss of his father, and seeing around him four sons and eleven grand-children, began to feel the hand of time press heavily upon him.
This feeling was increased by a delicacy of the chest, which shortly after afflicted him, and which he looked upon as a sure signal of rapidly approaching old age.
Wearied accordingly with sublunary enjoyments, he obtained permission from the best of princes to resign his dignities, in order to spend the latter years of his life free from care, his desire from his earliest youth, and that, estranging his mind from worldly affairs, he might devote himself solely to the contemplation of hereafter.
To put him in mind of the inevitable approach of death, he caused this vault to be constructed, whither he has removed the remains of his first wife.
That he may not have built it in vain; that he may feel no terror at the approach of death, but on the contrary may meet it with cheerfulness through love of Christ; that he may find death not death eternal, but the gate of a happier life; I beseech thee, good reader, favour him with thy prayers, both living and dead.
This biographical epitaph is concluded by the following example of elegant Latin, not excelled by any epitaph in that or any other language, and which it would be an impertinence in any (save a poet) to render into English:-
Chara Thomæ jacet hic Joanna uxorcula Mori
Qui tumulum Alicia: hunc destino, quique mihi.
Una mihi dedit hoc conjuncta virentibus annis
Me vocet ut puer, et trina puella patrem.
Altera privignis (quæ gloria rara novercæ est)
Tam pia, quam gnatis, vix fuit ulla suis.
Altera sic mecum vixit, sic altera vivit,
Charior incertum est, quae sit an illa fuit.
O simul, O juncti poteramus vivere nostros,
Quam bene, si fatum religioque sinant.
At societ tumulus, societ nos, obsecro, cœlum!
Sic mors, non potuit quod dare vita, dabit.
Sir Thomas More's Monument
Lest we should be led into the fallacy of supposing that the author of the
above touching and beautiful composition was more than man, we must not
neglect to observe that the application of the term "best of princes", to Henry VIII.
, was not quite apposite, or that the term "heretiques", which originally occupied a blank space in the epitaph, immediately following the words "thieves and murderers", and the expression of his unmitigable hostility towards the last of the three classes, thus so unceremoniously united, does the memory of this great man little credit.
A letter is said to be extant, in which Sir Thomas boasts of having expressed his enmity to heretics upon his epitaph.
Such is the poisonous nature of religious bigotry, that it impresses its venom upon the very tombs of the otherwise wise and great, damning their memories, until some friendly hand, as in this case, charitably erases the disgraceful record of the unworthy rancour of the dead!
His monument appears to have been erected in his life-time, in the year 1532.
This great man was beheaded in 1535 for refusing to take the oath which acknowledged the king's supremacy.
After the attainder of Sir Thomas, Henry VIII.
seized upon all his possessions, without any regard to his widow and family, whom he left so poor that his great-grandson says they had not money wherewith to buy him a winding-sheet.
In this church is also a monument to
the memory of Lady Jane Cheyne, of the
Newhaven family, within a spacious niche,
supported by columns of veined marble,
of the Corinthian order; upon a black
sarcophagus lies the effigy of the deceased, as large as life.
This monument is the work of the celebrated Bernini.
At the east end of Sir Thomas More's Chapel, against the south wall, is the monument of the Duchess of Northumberland.
This lady, says the Rev.
Lysons, was a singular instance of the vicissitudes of fortune.
Having been the wife of one of the greatest men of that age, she lived to see her husband lose his head upon the scaffold; to see one son share his father's fate; another escape it only by dying in prison, and the rest of her children living but by permission.
Amidst this distress, which was heightened by the confiscation of her property, she displayed great firmness of mind, though left destitute of fortune and of friends, till the arrival of some of the nobility from the Spanish court, who interested themselves so warmly in her favour, that they prevailed upon the queen to restore her some of her former possessions; and she conducted herself with such wisdom and prudence, as enabled her to restore her overthrown house even in a reign of cruelty and tyranny.
Her surviving progeny were no less remarkable for their prosperity, than their brethren for their misfortunes.
Ambrose was restored to the title of Earl of Warwick, and enjoyed many other honours and preferments.
Robert was created Earl of Leicester, and became one of Queen Elizabeth's prime ministers; and her daughter Mary was the mother of Sir Philip Sidney.
The will of this duchess is a testamentary curiosity; one sentence especially is worthy of observation, perhaps of imitation.
"My will is earnestly and effectually, that little solemnitie be made for me, for I had ever have a thousand-foldes my debts to be paid, and the poor to be given unto, than any pomp to be shewed upon my wretched carkes: therefore to the worms will I go, as I have before written in all points, as you will answer it before God.
And if you breke any one jot of it, your wills hereafter may chance to be as well broken.
After I am departed from this worlde, let me be wonde up in a sheet, and put into a coffin of woode, and so layde in the ground with such funeralls as parteyneth to the burial of a corse.
I will at my years mynde have such divyne service as myne executors thinke fit, with the whole arms of father and mother upon the stone graven: nor, in no wise to let me be opened after I am dead.
I have not lived to be very bold afore women, much more wolde I be lothe to come into the hands of any lyving man, be he physician or surgeon.
Cheyne Walk is the promenade of Chelsea, and a delightful promenade it
is; remaining somewhat in the fashion of the olden time, its stately old piles
of building, a row as it were, of goodly manor-houses; its elms, planted at
regular intervals, recal to us the days of hoops, brocade, and powdered
periwigs; a vivid imagination may readily picture that silver-headed collegian,
as the pensioners delight to call themselves, in his lappelled waistcoat,
long-tailed coat, knee buckles, and cocked hat, an antiquated beau of the
But the grand attraction of Cheyne Walk is, that it is one of those few places about town where a sight of the silvery Thames, and a stroll along the river's brink, is not a breach of privilege.
Thames is treated at Chelsea with respect.
Cheyne Walk approaches him in a proper manner; and instead of condemning him to grope his way through stores, warehouses, soap manufactories, timber-yards, vinegar works, or the filthy and squalid hovels of eel fishers and flounder catchers, invites him to linger by Chelsea, and to let the natives have a look at him.
Chelsea deserves our humble tribute of respect, for affording us what we look for in vain, save in one or two other places, an opportunity of enjoying the freshness of the breeze, the unwonted openness of prospect, and the animated scene upon the bosom of the waters.
Let any one show us a minister desirous of immortality, and we will
point out to him a mode by which his name will be remembered with
respect and gratitude for ever.
Let him borrow from the Thames as much of his bed as will make a Cheyne Walk from Chelsea to London Bridge: let him plant it with rows of fair elms: let him make a broad carriage-way in the midst, and by the water-side a causeway for pedestrians.
Noble mansions, spacious warehouses, and structures of all kinds worthy such a river, will grow up, as if by enchantment, upon its margin.
The huddled sheds and tumble-down tenements that now shut us from a sight of it would vanish, and be no more seen; and only think, what a beautiful sight a Cheyne Walk or a Temple Garden, miles in length, opening an avenue of fresh air, and a new element of health to the entire population of our vast metropolis - as much a blessing as a beauty!
Imagine how much longer we should live, how much more healthy, and therefore how much more happy, we should be, if, when wearied with confinement, enfeebled by sickness, or oppressed by toil, we could enjoy in its plenitude the health and pleasure dwelling by the river-side.
Now, if one would stroll by the river, he must explore Billingsgate, the Temple, or the fishy lanes of Lambeth, ere he can have a turn on the Custom House wharf, the Bishop's Walk, or the Temple Gardens; and even these neighbours of the river are hemmed in on the land side by lofty buildings, intercepting sun and air.
Our Parks might well tremble for their supremacy, if a promenade extended along the shore of Thames.
What a solid practical good such a work would be, and how much honour would attach to those who might be engaged upon it!
Nor, in a utilitarian point of view, could anything be lost; while in that, and every other way of viewing the matter, the gain would be incalculable.
You take from the river what the river can so well afford - a strip of muddy bank, and you convert it into a noble quay; you set the mirror of Thames in an appropriate and costly frame; you bestow upon the river-side proprietary a broad expanse of wharfage; you facilitate communication to and from either end of the town; you let in a succession of interesting objects, beautiful points of view; you give the entire world of London a new, innocent, and exhaustless source of health and recreation.
Surely, the embankment of Thames is an undertaking worthy the greatest minister - the greatest sovereign.
Against the north wall of the churchyard is a monument to the memory of Admiral Munden;
near the south wall stands that of Sir Hans Sloane,
This eminent physician, a native of Kilileagh, in the north of Ireland, but of Scottish extraction, is a striking example of the force of talent, industry, and uniform good conduct, in raising men from comparatively obscure conditions to opulence and respect.
At an early age his love of nature predominated; and, in due time, determined his choice of the profession of physic, as the one most congenial with the tastes and pursuits of the naturalist.
Pursuing his studies with diligence at Paris and Montpelier, where he took medical degrees, he returned to London, and engaged in the active duties of his profession.
Having been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, he soon after went out to Jamaica as physician to Christopher, Duke of Albemarle, Governor of that island.
The death of that nobleman, shortly after his arrival at the seat of his government, occasioned the return of Dr.
Sloane to England, after an absence of about fifteen months; which period he had most sedulously employed in collecting, from Jamaica and some of the Caribbee Islands, plants and other objects of natural history, serving as the foundation of a splendid work soon after published.
His reputation and practice increasing, honours and profit flowed fast upon him.
He became a graduate in medicine of Oxford, an associate of the Academy of Science at Paris, Physician to Christ's Hospital, and Secretary.
to the Royal Society.
He attended Queen Anne in her last illness, and was created a baronet by George I.
, being the first medical man upon whom that honour had been conferred.
He succeeded, in 1719, to the Presidency of the College of Physicians; and had the still greater honour of succeeding Newton in the chair of the Royal Society.
Sloane was a man of great information, an active and inquiring mind, and great energy of character; but he enjoys the more valuable reputation of having been a benevolent, humane, and liberal citizen.
Sir Han Sloane's Monument
Few charities were unassisted by him; he originated the dispensary
system for the relief of the sick poor, and was a governor and benefactor to
most of the metropolitan hospitals.
The collection of books, medals, manuscripts, objects of natural history, amassed by Sir Hans Sloane, and much augmented by donations and bequests from other professional and scientific men, among others the Museum of William Curten, the traveller - was bequeathed by Sir Hans to the nation, on condition that the sum of £20,000 should be paid to his executors, being little more than the intrinsic value of the medals, metallic ores, and gems, comprised in his collection.
After his death, Parliament fulfilled the intentions of the legacy by passing an act "for the purchase of the Museum or Collection of Sir Hans Sloane, Bart.
, and of the Harleian Collection of MSS.
, and for procuring one general repository for the better reception and more convenient use of the said collection, and of the Cottonian library, and additions thereto.
Sir Hans retired in the year 1742 to Chelsea, whither he removed his library and collection of natural curiosities.
"He did not, however, pass into that kind of solitude which excludes men from society.
He received at Chelsea, as he had done at London, the visits of persons of distinction, of learned foreigners, of the royal family; and, what was still more to his praise, he never refused admittance or advice to rich or poor, who came to consult him concerning their health.
During his residence at Chelsea this eminent man was so infirm as to be wholly confined to his house, except occasionally taking the air in his garden in a wheeled chair.
Edwards the naturalist used to visit him every Saturday, and inform him what was passing among his old acquaintance in the literary world.
Sir Hans purchased the manor of Chelsea, and his name is still perpetuated in many of the streets and squares, as Hans-town, Sloane Street, &c.
The late Lord Cadogan inherited a moiety of the manor through his father's marriage with a daughter of Sir Hans.
Chelsea now gives a title to the eldest son of Earl Cadogan.
Among other eminent persons buried at Chelsea, we may enumerate
Thomas Shadwell, poet laureate, whose misfortune it was to have engaged in
an unequal contest with Dryden, who held him up to ridicule under the name
of Mac Flecknoe, in one of the severest satires ever penned; Dr.
Martyn, translator of the Bucolics and Georgics of Virgil; Mossop, the actor; Dr.
Kenrick, the annotator of Shakspeare, and dramatist; Sir John Fielding, brother of the well-known Henry, and his successor as magistrate at Bow Street; Cipriani, the painter, many of whose works were engraved by Bartolozzi; Boyer, author of the Dictionary of the French Language bearing his name, and translator of Racine.
Boyer was a native of France, leaving his country through religious persecution, and became tutor of Mr.
Bathurst's son, the future Lord Bathurst.
Boyer engaged in various literary adventures; had the management of a newspaper called the Postboy; published a work entitled The Political State of Britain, and wrote a Life of Queen Anne in folio.
Woodfall, the printer, and editor of the General Advertiser for thirty three years, during which time his paper was enriched by the pens of Junius, Garrick, Colman, Goldsmith, Smollett, Hawkesworth, and other wits of the day, with whom he lived on terms of intimacy; Philip Miller, the botanist, and others, are interred here.
In a cemetery, adjoining the King's Road, given to the parish by Sir Hans Sloane, was buried Mr.
Andrew Millar, the eminent bookseller, founder of the long-celebrated house of Cadell and Co.
in the Strand.
The Physic Garden, belonging to the Apothecaries' Company, is a conspicuous object from the river.
Two cedars of large growth and singular form, overhanging the river, were planted one hundred and sixty years ago, being then about three feet high.
The centre of the garden is occupied by a statue in marble, by Rysbrack, of Sir Hans Sloane, who presented the Company with the freehold of the premises.
Admission to these gardens may be obtained by tickets, procurable at the hall of the Apothecaries' Company, or of Dr.
Lindley, Professor of Botany.
Eastward of the Royal Hospital, once stood the famous Ranelagh, so
called from an earl of that title, who had here a house and extensive pleasure
grounds; the estate was, after his lordship's death, disposed of to an association,
for the purpose of opening to the public an entertainment, of a kind
till then unattempted in this country.
The Rotunda, in which concerts were performed, and which answered the purpose to which some of our theatres have been of late years applied, that of promenade concerts, was a spacious building, tastefully decorated, lit up with coloured lamps, and furnished with numerous boxes where the company took refreshment.
The concerts commenced about seven o'clock, and were ended about ten; morning concerts were also given, consisting chiefly of selections from oratorios.
Masquerades were also attempted; but this amusement, unsuitable alike to the genius, taste, and feeling of the English, was not attended with any lasting success.
The principal amusement of the frequenters of this place, next to hearing the music, would appear to have consisted in walking round and round the circle, conversing and animadverting upon the appearance of each other.
There was a fashion in Ranelagh, as in everything else; and, while it lasts, fashion is pleasure.
The amusements of fashionable life are not pursued for enjoyment, but for fashion's sake; it is not what there is to be there, but who is to be there, that determines the popularity of such places: if a certain amount of exclusiveness be attained, the pleasure, that is, the fashion, is complete.
Ranelagh, however, has long since been deserted by the capricious goddess, and no trace of its former splendour remains.
Having satisfied his curiosity with the "memorials and things of note" in Chelsea, the tourist re-embarks;
and passing under BATTERSEA Bridge,
built in 1772 at an expense of £20,000, is directed to the village of that
name on the left bank of the river.
Battersea Church, a conspicuous object, abutting upon the Thames, is a clumsy but commodious structure, rebuilt about twenty years ago.
In the east end is a window, in which are three portraits.
The first, that of Margaret Beauchamp, ancestress (by her first husband, Sir Oliver St.
John,) of the St.
Johns, and by her second husband, John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, grandmother to Henry VIII.
; the second a portrait of that monarch; the third that of Queen Elizabeth, placed here by her grandfather Thomas Boleyne, Earl of Wiltshire, father of Queen Anne Boleyne, being great-grandfather of Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Leighton, and wife of Sir John St.
John, the first baronet of the family.
Monument of Bolingbroke
The village of Battersea will always be remembered in connexion with the
name of Henry St.
John, Viscount Bolingbroke, the friend of Swift, Pope, and Gay, author of many political and metaphysical works, and Secretary of State in the reign of Queen Anne; he was born here, and here died in 1751, aged 79.
His history may be read in his epitaph, which is as follows:-
"Here lies HENRY ST.
John, in the reign of Queen Anne, Secretary of War, Secretary of State, and Viscount Bolingbroke; in the days of King George I.
and King George II.
something more and better.
His attachment to Queen Anne exposed him to a long and severe persecution; he bore it with firmness of mind.
He passed the latter part of his life at home, the enemy of no national party, the friend of no faction; distinguished under the cloud of proscription, which had not been entirely taken off, by zeal to maintain the liberty, and to restore the ancient prosperity of Great Britain.
"In this manner", says Dr.
Goldsmith, in his elegant Life of this distinguished person, "lived and died Lord Bolingbroke; ever active, never depressed, ever pursuing Fortune, and as constantly disappointed by her.
In whatever light we view his character, we shall find him an object rather more proper for our wonder than our imitation; more to be feared than esteemed, and gaining our admiration without our love.
His ambition ever aimed at the summit of power, and nothing seemed capable of satisfying his immoderate desires, but the liberty of governing all things without a rival.
Of Lord Bolingbroke's genius as a philosopher, the same author observes,
that "his aims were equally great and extensive.
Unwilling to submit to any authority, he entered the fields of science with a thorough contempt of all that had been established before him, and seemed willing to think everything wrong, that he might show his faculty in the reformation.
It might have been better for his quiet as a man, if he had been content to act a subordinate character in the state; and it had certainly been better for his memory as a writer, if he had aimed at doing less than he attempted.
As a moralist, therefore, Lord Bolingbroke, by having endeavoured at too much, seems to have done nothing; but, as a political writer few can equal, and none can exceed him.
Lord Chesterfield confesses, that until he read Bolingbroke's letters on Patriotism, and his idea of a Patriot King, he "did not know all the extent and powers of the English language.
Whatever subject", continues his lordship, "Lord Bolingbroke speaks or writes upon, he adorns with the most splendid eloquence; not a studied or laboured eloquence, but such a flowing happiness of diction, which (from care perhaps at first) is become so familiar to him, that even his most familiar conversations, if taken down in writing, would bear the press, without the least correction either as to method or style.
Tindal the historian confesses St.
John to have been, occasionally, perhaps the best political writer that ever appeared in England.
Unfortunately for him, all that he gained by his talent, or we might say genius, he lost by want of fixed principles of action.
Alternately rejected by the advisers of King George I.
and of the Pretender, his support seemed dangerous to all parties, and all parties concluded him an unsafe man to meddle with ; nor is there perhaps a more lamentable position in which a man of high intellect and spirit can find himself, than when thus neglected, not because of his want of talent, but because of possessing too much.
When deprived of power, and persecuted unrelentingly by Walpole, who pursued him with the petty vindictiveness of a little mind, he flattered himself with the hope of finding that pleasure in retirement which ambition could not give; and retired to Dawley, near Uxbridge, where Pope, in a well-known letter to Swift, playfully describes his mode of passing away his time.
Whenever men fly from business in disgust, and take refuge in a solitude ill adapted to their ideas, habits, and modes of life, we may always conclude a defect in the judgment or the will.
A good and wise man, when he finds the paths of ambition closed against him, will content himself with the discharge of his duties in an humbler sphere; spoiled children only refuse food altogether, because they may have once suffered from a surfeit.
The monument to the memory of Lord Bolingbroke in Battersea Church, is from the chisel of Roubilliac.
The manor of Battersea belonged to King Harold, and being exchanged
by him with the monks of Westminster for Windsor, came into possession
of the St.
Johns in the reign of James I.
, and is now the property of Earl Spencer.
By custom of this manor, lands descend to the youngest son, and in default of sons, are divided among the daughters equally.
At Battersea was a palace, called York House, of the Archbishops of York.
This has been confounded with York House, Whitehall, where Cardinal Wolsey entertained Queen Anne Boleyne.
The greater part of Bolingbroke House was pulled down in 1775; but a few of the rooms remained, one wainscotted with cedar, said to have been Lord Bolingbroke's favourite apartment, which were incorporated into the dwelling of a maltster, who built mills upon the site of the ancient dwelling-house.
Williams the actor, Astle the antiquary, and Curtis the botanist, were buried in the church-yard.
The northern extremity of Clapham Common is called Battersea-Rise, and is a favourite site for suburban villas.
Wandsworth, at some distance from the brink of the river, on the left,
so called from its situation on the banks of the river Wandal or Wandle,
immortalised by Pope, who calls it
"The blue, transparent Vandalis",
next demands our attention.
Many French refugees, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, settled in Wandsworth; where, as in other places, they pursued manufactures with spirit and success.
The first Presbyterian congregation in England was established at Wandsworth.
Garrat is a hamlet close to Wandsworth, where took place a mock election after the meeting of every new parliament, when some well-known characters of low life appeared as candidates, and much merriment was the result.
This burlesque is still revived in Foote's popular farce of the Mayor of Garrat, but in practice has been long discontinued.
Putney is now at hand; and as there is much to interest us, the
traveller will have the goodness to disembark, while we consider what are
the chief objects of note in this place, and in its opposite neighbour, Fulham.
And first, of Putney.
This pleasant village, from its situation a place of considerable intercourse, and from its agreeable air, and proximity to the river, a favourite place of resort for the citizens, has had the honour of producing two eminent statesmen: West, Bishop of Ely, a favourite ambassador of Henry VIII.
, an eminent scholar, and magnificent in his way of living, keeping in his house a hundred servants; to fifty of whom he gave four marks wages, to the other fifty forty shillings, allowing every one four yards of cloth for his winter livery, and three yards and a half for his summer livery.
Bishop West was buried in Ely Cathedral.
Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, was the son of a blacksmith of Putney.
The place of his birth is yet pointed out by a tradition, which is in some measure confirmed by a survey of Wimbledon manor taken in 1617, describing the spot as "an ancient cottage, called the smith's shop, lying west of the highway leading from Putney to the Upper Gate, and on the south side of the way from Richmond to Wandsworth, being the sign of the Anchor.
It is remarkable, that among the numerous possessions which this eminent statesman acquired during his prosperity, may be reckoned the manor of the place where he was born.
The striking features of his history, his introduction at court by Wolsey, his sudden rise, the active part he took in the Reformation, and his subsequent disgrace and fall, are well known.
His master Wolsey, to whose power he succeeded, was going up Putney Hill, on his road to Esher, when he was overtaken by Norris, who there presented him with a ring, as a token of the continuance of his Majesty's favour.
Stowe declares that "when the Cardinal had heard Master Norris report these good and comfortable words of the king, he quickly lighted from his mule all alone, as though he had been the youngest of his men, and incontinently kneeled down in the dirt upon both his knees, holding up his hands for joy of the king's most comfortable message.
Master Norris lighted also, espying him so soon upon his knees, and kneeled by him, and took him up in his arms and asked him how he did, calling upon him to credit his message.
'Master Norris', quoth the Cardinal, 'when I consider the joyful news that you have brought to me, I could do no less than greatly rejoice.
Every word pierces so my heart, that the sudden joy surmounted my memory, having no regard or respect to the place; but I thought it my duty, that in the same place where I received this comfort, to laud and praise God upon my knees, and most humbly to render unto my sovereign lord my most hearty thanks for the same.
Queen Elizabeth frequently visited the house of a Mr.
Lacy, citizen and cloth-worker, at Putney, staying sometimes two or three nights.
The courtesy shown by this great queen to eminent citizens of London appears to have been very great, and was equally wise and politic.
During the civil war, in 1647, Cromwell established his head-quarters here, for the double purpose of overaweing the king, then at Hampton, and the parliament.
Fairfax, Ireton, Fleetwood, and Colonel Rich, had quarters in the town.
These worthies held their councils in the church, sitting with their hats on round the communion-table, here entertaining fanatic preachers, native and foreign, and dividing their time between plotting treason and singing psalms.
The church is a handsome structure, with a stone tower; to the east of the south aisle is a little chapel, built by Bishop West, the roof adorned with rich Gothic tracery, interspersed with the bishop's arms and the initials of his name.
Toland the deistical writer, author of the Pantheisticon and other works, had lodgings at a carpenter's in Putney; and dying here, was decently interred in the churchyard.
Robert Wood, a native of Meath, in Ireland, Under Secretary of State during the administration of the Earl of Chatham, and well known as author of "The Ruins of Balbec and Palmyra," was buried here in 1771.
The great historian, Edward Gibbon, was born, and spent his earliest years, at Putney.
Bowling Green House
At the Bowling green House, on Putney Heath, the Right Hon.
William Pitt breathed his last on the 23rd of January, 1806.
Pitt, the great son of a great father, was born May 28th, 1759.
He was the second son of the great Earl of Chatham, a man of whom it was said that his character was "stained by no vice, nor sullied by any meanness".
Under the eye, and beneath the roof of his father, William, his second son, acquired his early education; but at the age of fourteen, quitting the paternal home, was entered of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge.
On leaving the university he visited France, studying at Rheims; and on his return entered himself a student of Lincoln's Inn, a society numbering among its members more of the aristocracy of talent and genius, than any other in the land.
In due time, being then of age, he was called to the bar, making choice of the western circuit, which he attended once or twice, but relinquished when introduced to Parliament by Sir James Lowther, as representative for the nomination borough of Appleby.
Like many other young men, Mr.
Pitt began life as a reformer.
His maiden speech was delivered in support of Mr.
Burke's financial reform bill.
His energetic support of reform, and his having been chosen and having acted as a delegate in one of the popular assemblies held at Westminster for the promotion of that measure, was long after thrown in his teeth by political adversaries.
In the short-lived administration called the Rockingham, he took no share; but upon its dissolution, became, at the early age of twenty-three, Chancellor of the Exchequer under the ministry of the Earl of Shelburne.
On his retirement from office, during the ill-assorted coalition of Fox and Lord North, Pitt resumed his efforts in favour of a reform in Parliament, supported by Fox, but without success.
The failure of the memorable India
Bill, and the dismissal of the Coalition ministry, raised Mr.
Pitt, though at this time only in the twenty-fourth year of his age, to the lofty station of Premier Minister of England, and to the unlimited support and confidence of his sovereign, who stood by him, though in opposition to a large majority in the House of Commons; which, before he had done with them, he converted by degrees into a large minority.
We now hear no more of the patriot or the reformer.
Gaining, at so early a period of life, supreme power, his efforts were chiefly directed to the security and consolidation of the power he had gained.
His first measure, when a large majority in his favour, in the election after the memorable dissolution in 1786, assured him of his strength, was passing the India Bill to which we are indebted for the establishment of the Board of Control.
The establishment of the ingenious, but as to its consequences delusive, scheme of a sinking fund, was his next great measure, supported and advocated as a master-stroke of financial policy and wisdom.
Notwithstanding the miracles of liquidation it was intended and expected to perform, the working of the scheme in practice has not justified the national expectation.
In 1787, he ratified a commercial treaty with France, and began to exhibit that jealousy of Russian aggrandisement, which, but for the manifest unpopularity of hostilities which shook his resolution, might have involved the two countries in war.
A quarrel with Spain was approximated, respecting the right of free trade at Nootka Sound, an object for which war might be considered just, but could hardly be esteemed necessary.
But in 1788, on the memorable Regency Question, Pitt displayed his
wisdom, firmness, and, we may add, power, by resisting the too liberal
doctrines of the Opposition that, during the king's indisposition, the regency
devolved by right upon the Prince of Wales.
The minister, on the contrary, maintained the constitutional right of the two remaining branches of the legislature to fill up the office as they should think proper, admitting, at the same time, the propriety of appointing the heir-apparent, with restricted powers.
The storm which had been so long gathering in France, now burst upon the astonished world in all the horrors of the French revolution, and an immediate change in the state of parties in this country was the necessary consequence.
The inevitable result of violence and outrage was the betrayal of both our political factions into great, but natural and pardonable errors and excesses.
Reformers, elated by what they imagined the triumph of their principles in another country, became violent and even outrageous; while with the conservative party of that day, reform became synonymous with revolution, and all abuses at home found their apology in the violence attending the abrogation of abuses abroad.
It seemed that there was nothing for it but to resist all concession, lest concession should leave nothing worth resistance.
A war against French principles was declared on the one side;
while on the other the friends of temperate reform, and rational liberty, found
themselves unavoidably confounded with a mass of unreasoning enthusiasm,
espousing not only the wildest and most visionary notions of the French
revolutionists, but going so far as to give a dangerous approval to the means
they took to accomplish their purposes - means that after deluging first France,
then Europe, with blood, wasting millions of money, and retarding all the truly
glorious and useful arts, have left that too brave nation almost where they
It was at this time that the genius of Pitt began to show itself; and that admiration on the one hand, and hatred on the other, began to confess his talent for command.
There can be no doubt that at the commencement of the revolutionary war, Pitt had the voice of the nation strongly with his measures and his policy; but as these became more and more developed by the urgencies and necessities of the times, that enthusiasm which rushed into foreign warfare without staying to calculate consequences, cooled amazingly; while the power of withdrawing from the contest was denied, if not to prudence, at least to national honour.
While Great Britain triumphed upon her native ocean, the revolutionary armies of France were on the Continent almost uniformly successful; while at home distress and discontent, the suspension of cash payments, stagnation of trade and productive industry, and state prosecutions, taught us a lesson we shall not soon forget - how little, namely, is to be gained by interference, unless when we are driven to it, with even the wildest political extravagances of foreign nations.
Pitt's inability to bring this war to a satisfactory termination, induced him to retire; unless
we are to take it for granted that his secession from power was occasioned by
the opposition he encountered, in the highest quarter, to all further concessions
to the great mass of the people of Ireland, in religious and political matters, to
which he had solemnly pledged himself when carrying the Act of Union with
The ministry of Lord Sidmouth, who had concluded the peace of Amiens, Pitt supported for a season; but, joining the opposition, was found once again on the side of his old antagonist, and less successful rival, Charles James Fox.
Once more, in 1804, we find Pitt in his position for the second time as war minister, exerting all the energy of his character to destroy Napoleon; but again without success, the coalition he succeeded in effecting between Russia and Austria having been dissolved by the battle of Austerlitz.
Now it was that the hitherto unexampled energy and self-sustainment of this great man began to fail; or rather, failing health, and a constitution broken by hereditary gout, and injured by a too liberal use of wine, yielded to the joint attacks of disease, bodily and mental.
The impeachment of his colleague and friend, Lord Melville, is thought to have weighed heavily upon him, and to have completed his mental depression.
To form a correct estimate of the character of William Pitt belongs to the
calm and impartial historian, who, far removed from the prejudices of contending factions,
can weigh at leisure the value of the evidence for and against
him, and determine whether posterity has or has not done him sufficient
As a minister, however, it is pretty generally conceded that his genius was better adapted to the regulative process of peaceable and domestic government, than for the arrangement and conduct of that warlike exertion which, with its consequences, his policy entailed upon the country.
At the same time, it must be confessed, that he had to encounter the career, not then to be repressed, of gigantic and overwhelming energies, the result of a crisis of unprecedented political and social magnitude.
Had it not been for his committal to a policy founded upon the extinction of revolutionary tendencies in Europe, instead of an enormous debt and questionable advantages, we should have found the great son of the great Chatham pursuing the career of his father; - reducing into practice constitutional and political improvements, and persisting in the advocacy of those great principles of temperate and rational reform, with the profession whereof he set out in his career of political life.
His early accession to power was injurious to him as a statesman; a longer career of opposition would have produced better fruit for the country, and for his own reputation.
The man who has never known adversity, or who only knows it at the decline of life, can hardly be truly great.
True greatness, taught by suffering, has a moderation, a stability, and a modesty, Pitt had not the opportunity to learn till too late.
He has had praise for his indifference to the opportunities his position
gave him of amassing wealth for himself; he deserves none.
Negligence did for him the duty of extravagance; and it would have been more creditable to him to have paid his debts, by carefully husbanding his resources, than to leave the nation a legacy of his private as well as of his public incumbrances.
In person and physiognomy Mr.
Pitt possessed no surpassing advantages.
A loftiness, approaching to arrogance, the result, probably, of his position, was his habitual expression in public: in private, he has been described by an intimate friend as peculiarly complacent and urbane.
His eloquence, if not more elevated or profound, was, upon the whole, more perfect than that of any other orator of his time, being remarkably correct, well-arranged, and copious.
Although neither illuminated by the flashes of genius which characterised his father's oratory, or by the imagination which distinguished the eloquence of Burke, it was more uniformly just and impressive than that of either; while the indignant severity and keenness of his sarcasm were unequalled.
On the whole, Mr.
Pitt was a statesman of commanding powers, and still loftier pretensions; and, however painful the pecuniary burdens to which he left the nation inheritor, it is certain that he paved the way for that final overthrow of a power which, beginning by the assertion of principles of liberty and equality, ended in aiming at universal empire - at universal despotism.
In estimating the characters of public, as of private men, circumstances must ever be taken as the first principle of modification of the character, whether it be for evil or for good.
To circumstances Pitt was a slave: originally a temperate reformer, he was compelled during a long life of power to antagonise intemperate reforms; originally a patriot, his early assumption of the reins of government, the confidence of his king, and the support of a perhaps too compliant House of Commons, gave him too much of the arrogance of the secure placeman.
Much must be allowed for the great crisis of his time; his warlike administration was the result of circumstances, his pacific measures were his own.
Upon Putney Heath, not far from the Bowling-green House, a Mr.
Hartley erected a building, for the purpose of proving the efficacy of iron plates to preserve houses from fire.
An obelisk, built at the expense of the city of London, records the success of the experiments; but it does not appear that the invention was ever generally applied to practical purposes.
One of the signal-posts, or telegraphs, communicating between the Admiralty and Portsmouth, stands near the above-mentioned obelisk.
Putney Heath, owing to its salubrity, elevated situation, beauty of prospect, and proximity to town, is a favourite site for aristocratic villas, as is also Roehampton, pleasantly situate at the western extremity of the heath.
At Roehampton dwelt Christina, Countess of Devonshire, daughter of John Earl Spencer, a woman of considerable celebrity and very singular character.
Although extolled for her devotion, she retained Hobbes, the free-thinker, as tutor to her son; and although remarkable for hospitality, so judicious was her economy that, having procured the wardship of her son, she managed his affairs so skilfully as to extricate his estates from a vast debt, and thirty law-suits; having ingratiated herself so far with the judges of the law, that Charles II.
said jestingly to her - "Madam, you have all my judges at your disposal.
Her Grace deserves more particularly to be remembered as the associate of the wits of her age.
Waller frequently read his verses to her, and Lord Pembroke wrote a volume of poems in her praise, afterwards published and dedicated to her by Donne.
She was herself a poetess of no mean merit, leaving a pleasing monument of her taste and genius in a poem on the Passage of Mount St.
Gothard, which has been translated into French by Delille.
General Monk corresponded with her, and is said, at a time when his conduct was most mysterious, to have made known to her by a private signal his intention of restoring the king.
Talent seems to rejoice in commingling, both by birth and alliance, with the blood of the noble house of Devonshire.
Roehampton is a favourite abode of the fashionable and wealthy, and justifies their choice.
Its proximity to Richmond Park, to the river, to Putney, its pleasant and secluded situation, make it every way desirable : nor is there, perhaps, anywhere within the same distance from the metropolis, a situation combining so many and various advantages.
Return we to Putney, and crossing the bridge,
devote a few minutes to Fulham, in Middlesex, a manor belonging to the see of London a considerable time before the Conquest.
The earliest historical association connected with Fulham is an encampment of the Danes in the year 879.
The manor-house, or palace, of Fulham has been, from a very early period, the principal summer residence of the Bishops of London.
The present structure is of brick, and of the modern domestic class of mansions, occupying a low site, in tastefully disposed grounds of thirty-seven acres, surrounded by a moat, over which are two bridges.
The Gothic gate, and picturesque lodge, forming the principal entrance to the palace, are worthy observation; nor should an avenue of noble lime-trees be forgotten.
From the palace gate a pleasant secluded foot-path conducts the pedestrian to Hammersmith.
The grounds of Fulham Palace have been remarkable since the time of Bishop Grindall, who was one of the earliest encouragers of botany, for the variety and rarity of their trees and shrubs; of which some, the parent stocks of their kind in the kingdom, yet remain.
In the hall of the palace are preserved portraits of the Bishops of London; among which we may enumerate those of Laud, King, Juxon, Sheldon, Compton, Sherlock, and Lowth; of Bishop Bonner, whose intolerance and cruelty to those who conscientiously differed from him in religious matters are well known, and of whom little that is worthy of a Christian is remembered.
During the civil war, the excellent Bishop Juxon was suffered to remain undisturbed at Fulham, where he was visited by persons of all parties, and respected, though he walked steadily in his old paths of loyalty and devotion.
At Parson's, or Parsonage Green, a hamlet appurtenant to Fulham,
dwelt the celebrated Earl of Peterborough, not more distinguished for his
skill in arms, than as the associate of Locke, Swift, and other distinguished
Swift, in one of his letters, speaks of Lord Peterborough's gardens as the finest he had ever seen about London.
Peterborough House is now in the occupation of --- Sampayo, Esq.
Indeed, the neighbourhood of Fulham is highly botanical, the example set by Bishop Grindall having smitten the proprietors of the neighbouring estates with the love of botanical and arboretic knowledge, the fruits whereof are yet visible in this richly cultivated vicinity.
At Parson's Green lived the celebrated Samuel Richardson, author of Clarissa Harlowe, which, with some other of his works, he composed here, during the intervals of his professional avocations.
Richardson delighted in the society of ladies, from whose criticism he was never known to appeal.
He was said to have been a vain man; but nothing could exceed his modesty, piety, moral worth, and general benevolence.
It is to be regretted that his masterly conceptions, and delicate delineations of character, should have been diluted by a tedious and verbose style.
Had he written less, he had written more.
Thomas Edwards, author of the Canons of Criticism, then on a visit to
Richardson, died here.
Sir Francis Child, a wealthy citizen and alderman of London, lived at Parson's Green; as did also Admiral Sir Charles Wager.
Sir Thomas Bodley, founder of the Library at Oxford bearing his name, resided here; as did the great Lord Bacon for a time, at the house of his friend Lord Chief Justice Waughan, founder of the noble house of Lisburne.
Fulham has ever been a favourite retreat of persons engaged in literary and scientific pursuits.
Among others, Florio, the translator of Montaigne; Catesby, the naturalist; Jacob Tonson, and Bernard Lintot, the eminent booksellers; Samuel Foote, the comedian and dramatist; the Margravine of Anspach; and the late admired humourist, Theodore Hook.
The church, an ancient stone building, with a conspicuous tower, contains a
monument to the memory of Sir William Butts, physician to Henry VIII.
, introduced in one of Shakspeare's plays; another of Dr.
Barrow, physician and judge-advocate to Charles II.
, the work of the celebrated Grinlins Gibbons; a third, with a statue of Lord Wiscount Mordaunt, and some others.
In the churchyard are monuments to the memories of several Bishops of London; to Dr.
Joseph Johnson, the bookseller, and publisher of Cowper's Poems; Sir Arthur Aston, Governor of Drogheda when that place was taken by Cromwell, who with the garrison and inhabitants was butchered by that fanatic with his accustomed ferocity; Dr.
Zouch, the civilian; and the well-known physician, Dr.
Reach in the River between Fulham and Hammersmith
Returning, we proceed once more up the river, nothing of interest occur ring to detain us, except the groves of Barnes Elms to the left, which we shall consider hereafter,
until our arrival at Hammersmith, whose light and elegant suspension bridge, from a design
Tierney Clarke, forms a beautiful object seen from the river.
Hammersmith, together with Brook Green, Stanbrook Green, and Shepherd's Bush, are hamlets appurtenant to Fulham.
Here Sindercount contemplated the assassination of the usurper Cromwell.
He hired a house by the side of the road, where it was very narrow and rough, so that carriages were obliged to go slowly, a circumstance favourable to his shooting the usurper in his coach as he passed from Hampton Court to Whitehall.
The poet Thomson resided here for some time, and was said to have composed part of his "Seasons" in the Dove Coffeehouse, a little, yellow, tiled place of entertainment, still existing, which the tourist will not fail to notice in passing Hammersmith Suspension Bridge.
Close to this tavern, His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex has a little box, where he was accustomed to steal an hour from state and ceremony, and indulge in that humble seclusion which princes must find the greatest possible luxury.
A mansion here, lately called Brandenburgh House, now pulled down,
is remarkable as the former residence of several distinguished persons.
Sir Nicholas Crispe, the inventor of brick-making as now practised, built the mansion with his favourite material, at a cost of £23,000.
Fairfax resided in it when his army lay in the vicinage.
Prince Rupert acquired the mansion by purchase, and gave it to his mistress named Hughes, an actress of some celebrity.
George Bubb Doddington, Lord Melcombe, popularly known in his day as Silly-bubb, modernised the house, calling it La Trappe, and filling it, to repletion, with statuary and mosaics.
Lord Melcombe erected in the grounds of La Trappe a monumental obelisk to his lady.
This having been removed, now stands in the park of Lord Ailesbury, at Tottenham, in Wiltshire, commemorative of the recovery of his late Majesty George III.
; affording a useful hint of the various purposes to which obelisks may be applied when purchased at second-hand.
Lord Melcombe was the son of an apothecary in Dorsetshire, named Bubb, which name he changed for Doddington, out of compliment to a relative, one of the lords of the Admiralty, whose large fortune he inherited.
A Diary from the pen of his lordship testifies his weakness, puerility, and conceit.
He had a paltry affectation of patronising literary men, which Thomson and Young the poets, to their lasting discredit, recognised by servile dedications.
The Margravine of Anspach was the next distinguished occupant of Brandenburgh House, as it now was called.
Here her highness, who appears to have been a woman of varied accomplishments, frequently entertained her friends with dramatic exhibitions, exerting her talents both as a writer and performer, for their amusement.
Queen Katharine, dowager of Charles II.
, resided for some years at Hammersmith in a house by the water-side.
Radcliffe, the Abernethy of his day, resided here several years before his final removal to Carshalton.
It was his intention to have founded an hospital upon his estate here, and the buildings were in a forward state, but left unfinished at his death.
In Hammersmith Chapel is a monument to the memory of Sir Nicholas Crispe, a distinguished adherent of Charles I.
, and an eminent sufferer in his cause.
He entered into business as a trader to Guinea with a larger fortune than most people retire with, and pursued it with unusual success, after losing an immense fortune in the royal service, and materially assisting the cause by his bravery in the field, and diplomacy.
Crispe submitting to a robbery, called a commutation, under the Commonwealth, retrieved his losses by trade; and having lived to see the son of his friend restored to his crown and kingdom, was rewarded by being created a baronet the year before his death, leaving a large fortune to his descendants.
Arthur Murphy the dramatist, author of "All in the Wrong", "Know your own Mind", and "The Way to Keep Him", translator of Tacitus, editor of the works of Fielding and Johnson, an accomplished gentleman and scholar, lived for several years on Hammersmith Terrace, and was buried in the Chapel, near his mother, whom he tenderly loved.
Sir Samuel Moreland, the lessee of Vauxhall, and noted hydraulic engineer, resided at Hammersmith, where he sunk a well for the use of the public, adjoining his own house, recorded by the following inscription :-
"Sir Samuel Moreland's Well, the use of which he freely gives to all persons; hoping that none who shall come after him will adventure to incur God's displeasure by refusing a cup of cold water provided at another's cost, and not their own, to either neighbour, stranger, passenger, or poor thirsty beggar.
A short way above Hammersmith is Chiswick, with which is intimately
connected Turnham Green, where a sharp action was fought between
Prince Rupert and the Earl of Essex with doubtful success, eight hundred
of the Cavaliers being found dead on the field.
The chief attractions of Chiswick are the Gardens of the Horticultural Society, and the mansion of the Duke of Devonshire.
The last Earl of Burlington, whose skill and taste as an architect are well known, erected this small but beautiful villa from a design of Palladio.
The Right Hon.
Charles James Fox breathed his last at Chiswick House, whither he was removed for change of air during his last illness, on the 13th of September, 1806.
The Right Hon.
George Canning, first lord of the Treasury, and Premier minister, died also here.
There is a painful interest in contemplating the spot where Fox and Canning breathed their last.
The abodes "Where lonely want retires to die" are the source of no disquieting reflections: death comes there rather as a friend than enemy.
He removes the wretched from neglected disease, unpitied want, and unrelieved distress; he robs of life the unfortunate who have nothing of life's portion but its toil, misery, and neglect.
But when Death knocks at the palatial gates of Chiswick, dunning for the life of men who, like Fox, have wantoned in every enjoyment from their cradles; or like Canning, have stepped, after a life of ambitious dreams, upon the giddy height of power, there is something appalling in his approach.
No more gaiety and dissipation for the one, no more indulgence of the insolence of power for the other.
On that bed those mighty men were laid, helpless as children, looking up for hope of life in the face of the physician, or drawing faint consolation from the matter-of-course aspirations of the nurse.
Admiration, adulation, fled; wit, eloquence, intellect, forgotten: rising leaders take their places in the tribune, and usurp their fame; the senate, where they shone, already rings with acclamations in which they have no share; and no prospect fills those eyes, already dimmed by approaching death, than that of a tablet of brass in an abbey, or a statue of bronze in a square.
Of Chiswick House, Horace Walpole, whose judgment in the fine arts is
well known, observes that it is "a model of taste, though not without faults,
some of which are occasioned by too strict adherence to rules and symmetry.
Such are too many corresponding doors in spaces so contracted, chimneys between windows, and what is worse, windows between chimneys, and vestibules, however beautiful, yet little secured from the damps of the climate.
The trusses that support the ceiling of the corner drawing-room are beyond measure massive; and the ground apartment is rather a diminutive catacomb than a library in a northern latitude.
Yet these blemishes, and Lord Hervey's wit, who said the house was 'too small to inhabit and too large to hang to one's watch', cannot depreciate the taste that reigns throughout the whole.
The larger court dignified by picturesque cedars, and the classic scenery of the small court that unites the old and new house, are better worth seeing than many fragments of ancient grandeur which our travellers visit under all the dangers attendant on long voyages.
"The garden is in the Italian style, but divested of conceit, and far preferable to every style that reigned till our late improvements.
The buildings are heavy, and not equal to the purity of the house.
The lavish quantity of urns and sculptures behind the garden front, should be retrenched.
The ascent to the house is by a double flight of steps, on one side of which is the statue of Palladio, on the other that of Inigo Jones.
The portico is supported by six fine fluted columns, of the Corinthian order, with a very elegant pediment; the cornice, frieze, and architraves, being as rich as possible.
The octagonal saloon, which finishes at top in a dome, through which it is enlightened, is truly elegant.
The inside of the structure is finished with the utmost elegance; the ceilings and mouldings are richly gilt, upon a white ground, giving a chaste air to the whole interior.
The principal rooms are embellished with books, splendidly bound, and so arranged as to appear not an incumbrance but ornament.
The tops of the book-cases are covered with white marble, edged with gilt borders.
The gardens are laid out in the first taste, the vistas terminated by a temple, obelisk, or some similar ornament, so as to produce the most agree able effect.
Garden Scene Chiswick House
At the end opposite the house are two wolves by Scheemaker;
the other exhibits a large lioness and a goat.
This view is terminated by three fine antique statues, dug up in Adrian's garden at Rome, with stone seats between them.
Along the ornamental waters we are led to an inclosure, where are a Roman temple and an obelisk; and on its banks stands an exact model of the portico of St.
Paul's Covent Garden, the work of Inigo Jones.
The arched gate, formerly of Beaufort House at Chelsea, also the work of Inigo Jones, and the gift of Sir Hans Sloane to the Earl of Burlington, was removed here.
The pleasure-grounds and park include about ninety acres, together with an orangery, conservatory, and range of forcing-houses, three hundred feet in length.
Horace Walpole, being a connoisseur, must needs find fault with some thing.
He desires that the lavish quantity of urns and statues behind the garden front should be retrenched; and this might be desirable if these urns and statues were not exquisite gems of art, and individually of great beauty and value, demanding a more undivided attention than would be given them, if considered merely as ornamental appendages to the grounds.
The bronze statues of the Gladiator, Hercules with his club, the Faun, are worthy a place in any gallery.
Three colossal statues, removed hither from Rome, although mutilated, are very fine, as are also the profusion of minor marbles scattered throughout the grounds.
Nothing can be more exquisite than the taste that presides over this Versailles in little.
The lofty walls of clipped yew, inclosing alleys terminated by rustic temples; the formal flower-garden, with walks converging towards a common centre, where a marble copy of the Medicean Venus woos you from the summit of a graceful Doric column; the labyrinthic involution of the walks, artfully avoiding the limits of the demesne, and deceiving you as to its real extent; the artificial water, with its light and elegant bridge, gaily painted barges, and wild-fowl preening themselves upon its glassy surface; the magnificent cedars feathered to the ground, kissing with pendent boughs their mother earth; the temples and obelisks, happily situate on the banks of the river, or embowered in wildernesses of wood; the breaks of landscape, where no object is admitted but such as the eye delights to dwell upon ; the moving panorama of the Thames, removed to that happy distance where the objects on its surface glide along like shadows; the absolute seclusion of the scene, almost within the hum of a great city, make this seat of the Duke of Devon shire a little earthly paradise.
The house, notwithstanding Lord Hervey's sarcasm, is a perfect gem, and a worthy monument of the genius and taste of the noble architect.
Nowhere in the vicinity of London have wealth and judgment been so happily united; nowhere in the neighbourhood of the metropolis have we so complete an example of the capabilities of the Italian or classic style of landscape gardening.
The Horticultural Gardens were established at Chiswick in the years
1818 and 1819, and are held under His Grace the Duke of Devonshire.
The objects of the society may be best understood from the Report of the proceedings lately published, from which we quote as follows:-
- THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW, USEFUL, AND ORNAMENTAL PLANTS.
- THE ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF A COMPLETE COLLECTION OF AUTHENTIC SPECIMENS OF USEFUL OR ORNAMENTAL TREES, SHRUBS, AND PLANTS.
- THE PROSECUTION OF EXPERIMENTS TO ASCERTAIN THE MERITS OF ANY NEW PROCESS OR METHODS OF CUILTIVATION CONNECTED WITH HORTICULTURE.
- THE DETERMINATION OF THE COMPARATIVE VALUE OF SPECIES OR VARIETIES, EITHER NEWLY INTRODUCED OR ALREADY IN CULTIVATION.
- PUBLICATION OF HORTICULTURAL PAPERS AND REPORTS, EITHER THE RESULT OF EXPERIMENTs AND OBSERVATIONS MADE BY THE SOCIETY, OR CoMMUNICATIONs RECEIVED FROM FELLOWS AND OTHERS.
Horticultural Gardens, Chiswick
The Gardens, approached by a handsome broad avenue leading from the
high road at Turnham Green to Chiswick House, contain thirty-four acres,
the surface rather flat, and not boasting any particular natural attractions,
but laid out with considerable taste and judgment.
There are three distinct departments of horticulture.
- THE ARBORETUM.
--THE ORCHARD, FORCING-HOUSES, AND KITCHEN-GARDEN.
- CONSERVATORY, HOTHOUSES, AND PLANT-HOUSES.
The conservatory, as yet incomplete, is the chief ornament of the Gardens.
This frail but beautiful structure is one hundred and eighty-four feet long, five-and-twenty feet high, and about thirty feet wide.
It is intended merely as one wing of a grand vitreous mansion, to consist of a lofty dome, and another wing of the same extent as that already completed.
When finished, this will be the most splendid structure of the kind near the metropolis.
In addition to the conservatory, the plant-houses are worthy of notice.
One is devoted entirely to plants from Australia, another contains the natives of the tropics, a third defends the orchideous tribes; there are also numerous forcing-houses, heated by the most approved contrivances.
One gardener, three superintendants, and twenty-one assistant gardeners, are permanently employed; there are occasional supernumeraries.
Visitors are admitted by tickets from Fellows of the society.
Three annual exhibitions take place.
For the present year  they are fixed for
The intermediate exhibition, should the weather prove favourable, is generally considered the most attractive.
Bands of music are in attendance, the gardens are crowded with the best company; and even to those not particularly attached to horticultural pursuits, a visit upon one of these gala days cannot fail to be productive of much gratification.
Tickets for the exhibition days are purchased by Fellows at the cost of three-and-sixpence each, if purchased before the fifth of April; after that date, at five shillings each.
All tickets issued at the garden on the days of exhibition, are at the advanced price of ten shillings each.
In the churchyard is a monument to the great painter of human character and life, -
Hogarth, whose remains, with those of
his wife, and her mother Judith, wife of Sir William Thornhill, lie in a vaulted grave
We need not look here, however, for the monument of Hogarth; wherever his works are to be found, there will be found his monument.
To dwell upon the merits, or repeat the excellences, of this admirable satirist, humourist, and historian of ordinary life, would be a gross impertinence.
That he was a great painter; that he originated a line of art at once novel, exciting, and instructive; that he was original, having no master; unrivalled, none equal coming after him, we may say, if there is any necessity for repeating that which everybody knows and feels.
Of Hogarth Charles Lamb has eloquently said:-
"The quantity of thought which Hogarth crowds into every picture would alone unvulgarise every subject which he might choose.
The faces of Hogarth have not a mere momentary interest, as in caricatures, or those grotesque physiognomies which we sometimes catch a glance of in the street, and, struck with their whimsicality, wish for a pencil and the power to sketch them down, and forget them again as rapidly; but they are permanent, abiding ideas.
Not the sports of nature, but her necessary eternal classes.
We feel that we cannot part with any of them, lest a link should be broken.
Hogarth's mind was eminently reflective; and, as it has been well observed of Shakspeare that he has transfused his own poetical character into the persons of his drama, Hogarth has impressed a thinking character upon the persons of his canvas.
This reflexion of the artist's own intellect from the faces of his
characters is one reason why the works of Hogarth, so much more than those
of any other artist, are objects of meditation.
Our intellectual natures love the mirror that gives them back their own likenesses.
The mental eye will not bend long with delight upon vacancy.
Coleridge, with truth, observes,
"Another line of eternal separation between Hogarth and the common painters of droll or burlesque subjects, with whom he is often confounded, is the sense of beauty which, in the most unpromising subjects, seems never wholly to have deserted him; - Hogarth, in whom the satirist never extinguished that love of beauty which belonged to him as a poet.
While the testimonies of such men as Lamb and Coleridge, to the excellences of a kindred spirit, exist, we trust the reader will see the propriety of our abstinence from criticism of the works of such a man as Hogarth.
Fielding pays a very just and happy tribute to the genius of Hogarth, saying: -
"He who would call the ingenuous Hogarth a burlesque painter, would, in my opinion, do him very little honour: for sure it is much easier, much less the subject of admiration, to paint a man with a nose, or any other feature, of a preposterous size, or to expose him in some absurd or monstrous attitude, than to express the affections of men on canvas.
It hath been thought a vast commendation of a painter to say his figures seem to breathe; but surely it is a much greater and nobler applause that they appear to think.
When his health, about the sixty-fifth year of his age, began to decline,
Hogarth purchased a small house at Chiswick, to which he retired during
the summer, amusing himself with making slight sketches, and re-touching
"This house stood till lately on a very pretty spot; but the demon of building," says Cunningham, "came into the neighbourhood, choked up the garden, and destroyed the secluded beauty of Hogarth's cottage.
The garden, well stored with walnut, mulberry, and apple trees, contained a small study, with a head-stone placed over a favourite bulfinch, on which the artist had etched the bird's head, and written an epitaph.
The cottage contained many snug rooms, and was but yesterday the residence of a man of learning and genius, Mr.
Cary, the translator of Dante.
The inscription upon the tomb is from the pen of the equally celebrated David Garrick: -
Farewell, great painter of mankind,
Who reached the noblest point of art ;
Whose pictured morals charm the mind,
And through the eye correct the heart.
If genius fire thee, reader, stay ;
If nature move thee, drop a tear;
If neither touch thee, turn away !
For Hogarth's honoured dust lies here.
The Earl of Macartney, well known as the ambassador to China, was buried
in the churchyard; as also Loutherbourg, the painter, of whose character as a
painter Fuseli says that -
"As an artist Mr.
De Loutherbourg exhibits an uncommon example of the possession of faculties directly opposed to each other.
In his landscapes, and indeed his performances in general, he is not less remarkable for the most admirable dexterity of hand, and the most captivating facility of pencil, than for a seductive, though meretricious, gaudiness in his colouring, which is too frequently in opposition to the chaste and sober tinting of nature.
The readiness with which he composed and executed his pictures could scarcely fail of betraying him into the foibles of a mannerist.
Individual parts of his pictures are frequently uncommonly fine; but either from inattention to, or an ignorance of, the first principles of chiaro-scuro, there is often a want of generality in the effect, which is frequently scattered and fluttering; and we look in vain for that tempered harmony in the whole, which distinguishes the most admirable productions of the art.
Griffiths, the first editor of, and Dr.
Rose, translator of Sallust and a distinguished contributor to, the Monthly Review; Dr.
Duck, an eminent civilian; Mary, Countess Falconberg, daughter of Oliver Cromwell; Ralph, the historian and political writer, ridiculed in the Dunciad -
"Silence, ye wolves, while Ralph to Cynthia howls,
Making night hideous; answer him, ye owls! - "
the Duchess of Cleveland, a well-known beauty in the court of Charles II.
and one of his most distinguished favourites, were buried at Chiswick.
Kent, the gardener, painter, and architect, lies interred in the church, in the vault of his patron, Lord Burlington.
Holland, the actor, and friend of Garrick, was interred here.
Among the illustrious inhabitants of Chiswick we must by no means overlook Joseph, popularly called Joe Miller, of facetious memory.
Miller was a comic actor of considerable merit, who resided many years at Strand-on-the-Green, near Chiswick, and died there in August 1738, the putative father of a thousand jokes and comicalities not his own.
Chiswick churchyard is rich in epitaphs, there being no less than three from the pen of David Garrick, two from that of Arthur Murphy, and many others.
Barness, on the Surrey side, now claims its share of our attention.
The great Sir Francis Walsingham, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, resided at Barn-Elms, so called from its mystic trees, now no more; having chosen it as a place of retirement from the fatigues of state.
The queen frequently honoured that great and good statesman with visits.
The daughter and heiress of Sir Francis (who died so poor that he was obliged to be buried late at night, in the most private manner) was wife successively to three of the most distinguished men of his age, Sir Philip Sidney, the unfortunate Earl of Essex, and the Earl of Clanrickarde.
The mansion came into possession of the Hoare family, who modernised it, but it has long since disappeared.
Adjoining the mansion was a house belonging to Jacob Tonson the bookseller, at the time he was secretary to the Kit-Cat Club.
Here he built a room for their reception, in which they held their meetings.
This apartment, which existed in a miserably neglected state, being converted into an apple store in 1805, was ornamented with portraits of the members by Sir Godfrey Kneller, but has been pulled down, no trace of it remaining.
Barn Elms House
Barn-Elms was the temporary residence of Cowley the poet, who, swan
like, appears to have migrated from place to place along the banks of the
"Out of haste," says Spratt, in his Life of Cowley, "to be gone out of the tumult and noise of the city, he had not prepared so healthful a situation as he might have done, if he had made a more leisurable choice.
Of this he soon began to feel the inconvenience at Barn-Elms, where he was afflicted by a dangerous and lingering fever.
He afterwards removed to Chertsey, where he died.
In the grounds of Barn-Elms is a rustic temple to the memory of this exquisite poet and amiable man.
Henry Fielding the novelist, and Handel the composer, resided at Barnes for a time.
Beale, well known in connexion with the fate of the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, with the warrant for whose execution he was despatched to Fotheringay, where he read the fatal instrument upon the scaffold, was buried at Barnes.
"He was a man," says Camden, "of a most impetuous and morose disposition", and probably the fittest man who could be found to go upon so infamous an errand.
The Right Hon.
Sir Lancelot Shadwell, Vice-Chancellor of England, is the present occupant of Barn-Elms.
Mortlake, a little higher, also upon the Surrey side, next obtrudes
upon the view, demanding a brief notice.
The manor of Mortlake belonged to Westminster Abbey before the Conquest, confirmed by a charter of Edward the Confessor.
A considerable part of the parish is enclosed in Richmond Great Park.
The Archbishops of Canterbury had a palace and occasionally resided here, until the alienation of the manor to Henry VIII.
by Archbishop Cranmer.
Sir John, father of the celebrated Sir William Temple, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, was buried at Mortlake.
Sir Francis Crane, under the patronage of James I.
, and encouraged by Charles, Prince of Wales, established a manufactory of tapestry on an extensive scale at Mortlake, about 1619.
There is extant a letter from Crane, addressed to King James, complaining of non-payment of debts owing to him by the King and Buckingham, and making mention of £300 expended by him for certain drawings as designs for tapestry, made originally for Pope Leo X.
by Raphael d'Urbino, the subject being the Twelve Months of the year.
In the first year of Charles's reign, Crane received a pension of £1000 a year.
Rubens has the merit of having mentioned the existence of the Cartoons now at Hampton Court to Charles I.
, and having advised him to purchase them for the use of his tapestry weavers at Mortlake.
John Barber, printer, Alderman and Lord Mayor of London, known in
connexion with Lord Bolingbroke, Pope, and more especially Swift, was
buried here, where is the following inscription to his memory: -
"Under this stone are laid the remains of John Barber, Esq.
, Alderman of London, a constant benefactor to the poor, true to his principles in church and state.
He preserved his integrity and discharged the duty of an upright magistrate in the most corrupt times.
Zealous for the rights of his fellow-citizens, he opposed all attempts against them; and being Lord Mayor in the year 1733, was greatly instrumental in defeating a scheme of a general excise, which, had it succeeded, would have put an end to the liberties of his country.
It is a melancholy, and to the nation rather degrading circumstance, that the immortal author of Hudibras should have been indebted for a memorial to the munificence of Barber the printer; and that the place where repose the remains of the great John Milton should have been unmarked with a stone until rescued from the herd of vulgar graves by the brewer Whitbread.
At Mortlake is also buried the patriotic Sir John Barnard, immortalised by Pope in the same couplet with the Man of Ross.
It is mentioned, as an instance of his modesty, that he never could be induced to enter the Royal Exchange after his statue was placed there.
Partridge, the astrologer, quack, almanack-maker, and physician to Charles II.
and William and Mary, who, in spite of all his asseverations to the contrary, was put to death so mercilessly by Swift in the Tatler, and whose unceasing exertions to convince the public that he was yet alive even now amuse every reader, was at last, in point of fact, buried at Mortlake, where he rests from his labours, and his works have followed him.
The extraordinary conjuror
and supposed magician, Dr.
Dee, a man of considerable learning, varied abilities, and no ordinary talents, although tainted with the scientific empiricism of the age in which he lived, resided and died here.
Dee was a great favourite of Queen Elizabeth, who often went to his house to consult him, and have peeps at futurity.
When he was sick, the queen ordered her own physicians to attend him, "sent him divers rarities to eat, and the Honourable Lady Sidney to attend on him and comfort him with divers speeches from her majesty, pithy and gracious.
" In concert with two other knaves, Dee pretended to carry on conversations with spirits by means of a show-stone, which he averred was given him by an angel.
One, who acted as seer, reported what spirits he saw, and what they said; whilst Dee, who sat at a table, reported the spiritual intelligence.
A folio volume of their notes was published by Casaubon; and many more, containing the most unintelligible jargon, remain in MS.
in the British Museum, together with the consecrated cakes of wax, marked with mathematical figures and hieroglyphics, used in these mummeries.
The show-stone, which is a round piece of volcanic glass finely polished, was in the far-famed collection formed by the late Earl of Orford at Strawberry Hill.
The mob, who had been always prejudiced against him as a magician, broke into his house, destroy ing his chemical apparatus, a fine quadrant, and a magnet, which he valued at large sums before commissioners appointed by the queen to hear his grievances.
Upon this report, the queen "willed the Lady Howard to write some words of comfort to his wife, and send some friendly tokens besides.
" He was at length made Chancellor of St.
Paul's and Warden of Manchester; whence, having quarrelled with the Fellows, he returned to Mortlake.
As illustrations of the ignorance and superstition of the age, we may observe, that Dee was employed to determine, according to the opinion of the ancient astrologers, what day would be most fortunate for Queen Elizabeth's coronation.
Some time afterwards he was sent for by the lords of the council to counteract the ill effects which it was apprehended would befal the queen from a waxen image of her majesty, stuck full of pins, which was picked up in Lincoln's Inn Fields.
This, we are told, he performed "in a godly and artificial manner," in the presence of the Earl of Leicester and Mr.
After all his tricks and conjurations, Dee died, as may be supposed, in miserable circumstances, having been so poor in the latter part of his life as to be obliged to sell his library piecemeal for subsistence.
Kew, from a remote period a royal residence, is the next point of interest
as we proceed in our voyage up the river.
The scenery about Kew has had the advantage of an elegant compliment from the pen of Goldsmith, in an ode upon the death of the Princess Dowager of Wales, mother of George III.
Fast by that shore where Thames' translucent stream
Reflects new glories on his breast;
Where splendid as the youthful poet's dream,
He forms a scene beyond Elysium blest;
Where sculptured elegance and native grace
Unite to stamp the beauties of the place:
While sweetly blending, still are seen
The wavy lawn, the sloping green;
While novelty, with cautious cunning,
Through every maze of fancy running,
From China borrows aid to deck the scene.
Kew House or Palace, for many years the occasional residence of his late
Majesty George III.
, formerly belonged to the Capel family; and even in their day the gardens were celebrated for the rarity of their shrubs and fruits.
Molyneux the astronomer was for a time the possessor of Kew, in right of his wife, the Lady Elizabeth Capel.
Bradley's discovery of the parallax of the fixed stars is said to have been made with an instrument of Molyneux's construction.
The pleasure-grounds, notwithstanding the disadvantage of a flat surface, are laid out with much taste, and exhibit a considerable variety of prospect.
They are ornamented with a ridiculous profusion of temples, grottoes, artificial ruins, imitative mosques and pagodas, by Sir William Chambers, in the very worst taste.
The architect published a tedious account of his expensive trumpery.
A Chinese pagoda, forty-nine feet in diameter at the base, and one hundred and sixty-three feet in height, is a conspicuous object.
The greenhouse is of large dimensions.
The Exotic, or, as it is called, Botanic Garden, was established in 1760 by the Princess Dowager of Wales.
A catalogue of the plants contained therein has been published by the gardener, Mr.
William Aiton, under the title of Hortus Kewensis.
In the year 1803 the gardens of Richmond were united with those of Kew.
The Botanical Garden and Arboretum are open to the public daily, from one to three, all the year, Sundays excepted.
The pleasure-grounds are open from Midsummer till the beginning of October, on Sundays and Thursdays, from noon till sunset.
In the chapel at Kew is a monument to the memory of Meyer, a native of Germany, a famous painter in enamel and miniatures.
In the Church
yard, near the schoolhouse door, lies Gainsborough the painter, one of
the most original and successful masters of the British school, whose merit
Sir Joshua Reynolds has worthily recorded in his immortal "Discourses".
Gainsborough was born at Sudbury, in Suffolk, in 1727, and had the good fortune to take Nature for his mistress in art, and her to follow through life.
Respecting Gainsborough, memory is still strong in his native place.
A beautiful wood of four miles' extent is shown, whose ancient trees, winding glades and sunny nooks, inspired him, while yet a schoolboy, with the love of art.
Scenes are pointed out where he used to sit and fill his copy-books with pencillings of flowers and trees, and whatever pleased his fancy.
No fine clump of trees, no picturesque stream nor romantic glade, no cattle grazing nor flocks reposing, nor peasants pursuing their work, nor pastoral occupations, escaped his diligent pencil.
With these tastes, and this education, it is not wonderful that Gainsborough should have succeeded in the profession which he loved.
He received some instruction from Gravelot, and from Hayman, the friend of Hogarth.
Having married, he settled in Ipswich ; but in the thirty-first year of his age removed to Bath, where he was appreciated as he deserved, and was enabled by his pencil to live respectably.
But a man like Gainsborough is not long in discovering that provincial places are not the places for him ; and, as was said by one of his friends, his remove from Bath to London proved as good a move as it was from Ipswich to Bath.
In London he added the lucrative branch of portrait
painting to his favourite pursuit of landscape.
The permanent splendour of his colours, and the natural and living air which he communicated to whatever he touched, made him at this time, in the estimation of many, a dangerous rival of Sir Joshua himself.
Gainsborough was quite a child of nature, and everything that came from his easel smacked strongly of that raciness, freshness, and originality, the study of nature alone can give.
"The Woodman and his Dog in the Storm" was one of his favourite compositions, and most deservedly so; yet while he lived, he could find no purchaser at the paltry sum of one hundred guineas.
After his death, five hundred guineas were paid for it by Lord Gainsborough, in whose house it was subsequently burnt.
"The Shepherd's Boy in the Shower", and his "Cottage Girl with her Dog and Pitcher", were also his prime favourites.
Although having the good taste to express no contempt for the society of literary or fashionable men, Gainsborough, unlike the courtly Sir Joshua, cared little for their company.
Music was his passion - or rather, next to his profession, the business of his life.
Smith, in his Life of Nollekens, relates that he once found Colonel Hamilton playing so exquisitely to Gainsborough on the violin, that the artist exclaimed, "Go on, and I will give you the picture of the Boy at the Stile, which you have so often wished to purchase of me.
The colonel proceeded, and the painter stood in speechless admiration, with the tears of rapture on his cheek.
Hamilton then called a coach and carried away the picture.
Gainsborough seems to have passed a tolerably happy life, steering clear
of those quarrels and irritations that embittered the lives of Hogarth,
Barry, and many other great names in his profession.
Between him and Sir Joshua "there was no love lost"; but this was to have been expected from men moving so nearly in the same orbit.
He was a welcome guest at the table of the elegant and accomplished Sir George Beaumont, and lived on terms of great affection with the talented and versatile Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
The chief misery of his life, next to a cancer, which brought him to his grave, was the unrelenting and cruel patronage of a vain fool, called Thicknesse, some time governor of Landguard Fort; who having in the artist's early day ordered of him a thirty-guinea picture, in consequence of this exertion of liberality, employed the remainder of his life in publishing to the world the ingratitude of the artist, whom he had rescued from obscurity, and chaperoned into fame.
It is much to the credit of Gainsborough, that through a long and creditable life, he never forgot the independence of the position he had acquired by his industry, good conduct, and talent.
He painted his pictures, took his money, thanking his head and right hand that enabled him to earn it, and laughed at the would-be patronage of Thicknesse, who had the bad taste to inform the public that "he dragged him (Gainsborough) from the obscurity of a country town at a time when all his neighbours were as ignorant of his great talents as he was himself.
Such is the modesty of patronage, and such the methods by which patrons pay themselves!
When assured that the progress of his fatal malady precluded all hopes of
life, he desired to be buried in Kew Churchyard, and that his name only
should be cut on his grave-stone.
He sent for Sir Joshua, and was reconciled to him; then exclaiming,
"We are all going to heaven, and Vandyke is of the company!"
immediately expired, in the sixty-first year of his age.
Sheridan and Sir Joshua followed him to the grave.
Of his works, Walpole exclaims,
"What frankness and nature in Gainsborough's landscapes, which entitle them to rank in the noblest collections!"
Allan Cunningham remarks:
"The chief works of Gainsborough are not what is usually called landscape, for he had no wish to create gardens of paradise, and leave them to the sole enjoyment of the sun and breeze.
The wildest nooks of his woods have their living tenants, and in all his glades and his valleys we see the sons and daughters of men.
A deep human sympathy unites us with his pencil, and this is not lessened because all its works are stamped with the image of Old England.
His paintings have a national look; he belongs to no school; he is not reflected from the glass of man, but from that of nature.
He has not steeped his landscape in the atmosphere of Italy, like Wilson, nor borrowed the postures of his portraits from the old masters, like Reynolds.
No academy schooled down into uniformity and imitation the truly English and intrepid spirit of Gainsborough.
There is a charm about the children running wild in the landscapes of Gainsborough, which is more deeply felt by comparing them with those of Reynolds.
There is a rustic grace, an untamed wildness about the children of Gainsborough, which speak of the country and of neglected toilets.
They are the offspring of nature, running free amongst woods as wild as themselves.
Of the works of Gainsborough, every visitor to the National Gallery is familiar with "The Market Cart", "The Blue Boy", and the yet more celebrated "Cottage Door", are in the collection of the Marquis of Westminster.
As one of the founders, and a chief ornament, of the truly British school of painting, Gainsborough is entitled to somewhat more than the ordinary space we can afford to bestow upon biographical notices of those who are identified in life or death with the Environs of London.
For dirty streets and white-legged chickens known",
appears on the right, or Middlesex side of the river, soon after passing beneath Kew Bridge.
Edmund Ironside defeated the Danes with great slaughter at this ford in 1016; and, six hundred and twenty years later, a memorable battle was fought here between the troops of King Charles and some regiments belonging to the Parliament, with success variously related by historians of the antagonist parties.
It appears, however, that in the assault the Cavaliers had the upper hand, but without any lasting advantage, having retreated next day, on the approach of a strong force of Roundheads, to Hampton Court.
Among the prisoners taken in this battle was the famous John Lilburne.
An interesting narrative of this struggle has been transmitted to us from one of the Cavaliers engaged in the action; who says -
"On Saturday, very early, we marched from Ashford, and at Hounslow Heath all the king's foot met, expecting a battle; but none offered.
On still we went to Hounslow town; thence to Brentford, where unexpectedly we were encountered by two or three regiments of theirs, who had made some small barricadoes at the end of the first town, called New Brentford.
The van of our army, being about a thousand musqueteers, answered their shot so bitterly, that within an hour or less they forsook their work in that place, and fled up to another which they had raised betwixt the two towns ; from whence, and a brick house by, with two small ordnance they gave us a hot and long shower of bullets.
My colonel's (Sir Edward Fitton's) regiment was the sixth that was brought to assault, after five others had all discharged, whose happy honour it was (assisted by God and a new piece of cannon newly come up) to drive them from that work too, where it was a heart-breaking object to hear and see the miserable deaths of many goodly men.
But what was most pitiful, was to see how many poor men ended and lost their lives striving to save them; for they ran into the Thames, and about two hundred of them, as we might judge, were there drowned by themselves, and so were guilty of their own deaths; for had they staid and yielded themselves, the king's mercy is so gracious that he had spared them all.
We took there six or eight colours, also their two pieces of ordnance, and all this with a very small loss, God be praised for, believe me, I cannot understand that we lost sixteen men.
Then we, thinking all had been done for that night, two of our regiments passed up through the old town to make good the entrance; but they were again encountered with a fresh onset, which, scattered like the rest after a short conflict, fled away towards Hammersmith, and we were left masters of the towns.
That night most lay in the cold fields.
At the chapel here officiated for a time the well-known John Horne Tooke, author of the Diversions of Purley.
Noy, the attorney-general of Charles I.
, with whom the unlucky exaction of ship-money had its origin, or at least revival, was interred at Brentford.
He was an able and learned lawyer, but morose and unpopular.
The writ for the obnoxious tax, for which, it is said, he had discovered a precedent among the records of the Tower, and which he brought forward in the House, was drawn and prepared by his own hand.
Before his appointment to the attorney-general's office, Noy was a most strenuous opposer of the king's prerogative; but was much less dangerous to His Majesty as an enemy than as a friend.
At Brentford the freeholders of Middlesex are accustomed to hold elections of their representatives in Parliament.
The bridge over the little river Brent is of great antiquity, and in the time of Edward I.
was toll-free, Jews and Jewesses only excepted.
Before the railways diminished so materially intercourse by road, Brentford was one of the greatest thoroughfares in England.
Sion House, one of the seats of His Grace the Duke of Northumberland,
between Brentford and Isleworth, is a beautiful object, beautifully situated.
This noble mansion, in the form of a quadrangle, with square embattled turrets at the angles, was fitted up at great expense by the late Duke.
The Great Hall, paved with black and white marble, is sixty-six feet by thirty one, and thirty-four feet in height.
It contains some antique statues, and a cast of the Dying Gladiator.
The great attraction of this magnificent mansion is the vestibule, adorned with twelve pillars of the Ionic order, and sixteen pilasters of that rare and valuable material, the verd antique, being probably a greater quantity of that marble than can be found in any other mansion in Europe.
The Library, extending through the east side of the quadrangle, is one hundred and thirty feet by fourteen.
The book-cases are formed in recesses in the wall, and receive the books so as to make them part of the general finishing of the room.
Below the ceiling, which is richly adorned with paintings and ornaments, runs a series of large medallion paintings, exhibiting the portraits of all the Earls of Northum berland in succession, and other principal persons of the houses of Percy and Seymour, taken from original paintings in the possession of the families.
The Drawing-room has a carved ceiling, divided into two small compartments, richly gilt, and representing designs of many of the antique paintings that have been found in Europe, executed by the Italian masters.
The sides are hung with a rich silk damask, the finest of the kind ever executed in England.
The tables are two noble pieces of antique mosaic, found in the baths of Titus at Rome.
The Dining-room is ornamented with statues in marble, and paintings in
chiaro-scuro after the antique.
From the east end of the Library are the private apartments, along which we return again to the Great Hall.
Among the portraits that adorn the walls of this truly palatial edifice are those of Henry Percy, implicated in the Gunpowder Plot, for which he suffered a long imprisonment in the Tower; Lucy, Countess of Carlisle, daughter of His Grace, and one of the most admired beauties of her time; Algernon Percy, tenth Earl of Northumberland; Charles I.
, and one of his sons, probably the Duke of Gloucester, by Sir Peter Lely; Charles I, and Queen Henrietta Maria, by Vandyke; the Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Charles I.
; and others.
The entrance to the mansion from the high road is through a noble gateway, having on each side an open colonnade, and on the top a lion passant, the crest of the noble house of Northumberland.
The gardens, although not boasting much diversity of surface, are very beautiful, rich in curious trees and shrubs, and adorned with a handsome piece of water; a gentle mound crowned with evergreens, and visible from the river, here winding round a verdant peninsula, whereon cattle and sheep browse tranquilly; the gardens of Kew on the opposite bank of the stream, the stately mansion, and the dense foliage, forming a back-ground to the whole, make altogether a coup-d'-aeil of no ordinary pastoral beauty.
The attractions of a retirement, at once so near, and by its seclusion so distant from, the busy hum of men, as Sion House, must be complete.
If there is any one charm wanting to the country, it is easy access to and from the town.
There is a superadded pleasure in rambling through secluded glades, and over velvet lawns, with the hum of the neighbouring city in your ear, and the power of plunging into the vortex whenever meditation tends to melancholy, or solitude to satiety.
There is another pleasurable idea the
possessor of such a place as Sion must gratify himself with - the idea of
Power cannot be shown in a more imposing shape than by inclosing within the immediate vicinity of a great city, where land is worth such enormous sums, a large tract, as a mere pleasaunce, without a view to any other interest for the money than that derivable from the enjoyment of absolute seclusion, where such seclusion is the most difficult of attainment, and purchased at what, to men of meaner fortunes, would be enormous pecuniary sacrifices.
As far as purchase-money is concerned, a small demesne near London is a considerable estate at a distance from town: not only is there no return in rental, but there is a tremendous outlay, where labour is most expensive, in the preservation of the place and its adornment.
Nothing can convey a better idea of the vast resources of our great aristocracy than the magnificence, beauty, and expensive establishments of their suburban retreats.
In contemplating - which is all we are permitted to do - the outward glories of Sion House, it is pleasant to be able to console ourselves with all philosophers have said, and poets sung, of peace avoiding palaces to take up her abode in cottages, and the like.
This cant of philosophy and poesy makes the consolation of the poor, but is contrary at once to probability and fact.
We take it that the great, enjoying these little Edens about town, far removed from the wear and tear of working-day life, able to shut out at will every prospect, mental or physical, offensive to the eye or to the mind - to let in at pleasure all that unlimited resources can command of luxury, physical and intellectual; in close proximity at once to the companionship of nature and of man; wrapped up in comfort, the happiness of the body; and enjoying - for without that all the rest is nothing - a tolerable constitution, and a conscience as times go, must, all other things being equal, be the happiest of mortals.
If to contemplate, without entering their terrestrial paradises, be to us of the vulgar a pleasure; if to perambulate them, by earnest solicitation, and fees conferred upon the under-gardener or his deputy, be a privilege granted to the favoured few; if to behold the mirrored and tapestried glories of the interior be the result of humble application, and half-a-sovereign addressed to the housekeeper when his Lordship or his Grace is from home - who must not envy his Lordship, or his Grace, who calls these charming places, which we are glad to be permitted to be smuggled in only to look at, his own?
The wretchedness of the great, and the comparative happiness of the little, are pleasing paradoxes, invented to cheat men of humble life into a belief in their practical equality with their superiors: we know that the great not only enjoy life more than we do, but that they live longer; and, taking an equal number of peers and artisans, you will find that the former lead long and merry lives, the latter live short and comparatively miserable.
But, to conclude, if there need be any other proof that this popular fallacy of the misery that inhabits palaces be an affectation of philosophers and poets, who is there among them who would not jump at an exchange of the garret in the city for the palace at the end of the town; or the cracked tea-pot with the cowslip-root in it for the conservatory, redolent with the transplanted fruits and flowers of either Ind?
Men fall into the error of attributing an undue share of misery to the great, because of the vulgar trick of not applying the leading principles of human nature to great as to little men.
Nature, abhorring the vacuity of idleness, fastens unhappiness upon him who is born into the world only to be idle; conscience, in like manner, makes miserable the man who perverts the purposes of his being: but the nearest approach to the imperfect happiness this world has to bestow is made by him who, with station, leisure, and independence of the world, in a pecuniary point of view, finds or makes employment, by which he may connect his being with purposes of utility, and turn that to life, which otherwise would be but existence.
The historical associations connected with Sion House are worthy of a few
At Twickenham, further up the river, King Henry V.
founded a convent of Bridgetine nuns; and his successor, eighteen years after the foundation, permitted their removal to a more spacious house, which they had built upon their demesnes in the parish of Isleworth, called Sion.
The convent of Sion was dedicated to Our Saviour, the Virgin Mary, and St.
Bridget, and consisted, according to the rules of the foundress, of sixty nuns including the abbess, thirteen priests, four deacons, and eight lay brethren; making in the whole the number of the apostles, and seventy-two disciples of Christ.
It must be observed that it was only in convents of Bridgetines and Gilbertines that monks and nuns were permitted to live under one roof.
King Henry's charter incorporated the convent under the name of the Abbess and Convent of St.
Saviour and St.
Bridget, of the order of St.
Augustine, whose rules St.
Bridget observed, with some of her own institution.
A munificent endowment was provided for this convent, and in the mean while King Henry granted for its sustentation a thousand marks out of the revenues of the Exchequer, until other revenues should be provided.
At the dissolution of monasteries, the revenues of Sion amounted to the then considerable sum of £1731 per annum.
After the Dissolution, Sir John Gates was appointed keeper of the conventual house for the king, in whose hands it continued during the remainder of his reign.
Katharine Howard, one of the unfortunate wives of the brutal Henry, was imprisoned here from November till the February following, being kept very strict, but attended as queen.
Boat House, Sion House
The corpse of King Henry VIII.
, whose funeral procession is said to have exceeded in magnificence any ever seen in England before or since, rested a night at Sion on its way to Windsor.
The Protector Somerset had a grant of Sion from King Edward VI.
From hence the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey was called to that dangerous eminence costing her life.
Queen Mary re-established the convent, and it was finally suppressed by Queen Elizabeth.
The successors of the nuns of Sion found an asylum at Lisbon so late as the year 1808, when, on the approach of the French, they were compelled to quit the convent, the greater part seeking shelter in England, where they were finally dispersed.
In 1604, Sion House and the manor of Isleworth were granted to Henry, Duke of Northumberland, who was imprisoned in the Tower and fined £30,000 for a supposed participation in the Gunpowder Plot.
The children of Charles I.
were in custody at Sion House, where the king was permitted to visit them, through the intercession of the Earl of Northumberland with the Parliament.
Queen Anne, when Princess of Denmark, resided here for some time.
Isleworth, with its handsome church and tower, is an attractive object
from the river.
Lord Baltimore, the original grantee of Maryland, resided at Isleworth.
Sion Hill, a seat of the Duke of Marlborough, is in this parish.
The Duchess of Kendal, mistress of George I.
, resided here.
After her death, the grounds were opened as a place of public amusement.
The Duke of Shrewsbury, a conspicuous character in the reigns of King William and Queen Anne, and who was at one and the same time Lord Chamberlain of the Household, Lord High Treasurer of England, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, three offices never before united in the same person, resided at Isleworth, and there died.
Dorothy, daughter of Sir Robert Sidney and Lady Dorothy his wife, of the noble house of Penshurst, better known as the Sacharissa of Waller, was born at Isleworth.
George Keate, author of an "Account of the Government Laws and History of Geneva", a "Journey to Margate" in imitation of Sterne, two volumes of Poems, the subject of one being that upon which there can be no lack of inspiration, namely, the "Distressed Poet", but better known as the author, or rather compiler, of Captain Wilson's memorable Voyage to the Pelew Islands, was born and buried at Isleworth.
A sudden turn of the stream at Isleworth brings us within sight of the proposed termination of our little voyage.
Rest and refreshment demand
the attention of the reader, and the animal must needs usurp the intellectual
for the present.
While dinner is getting ready, we may bestow a word or two upon the picturesque of the Thames from London to Richmond, and its pretensions thus far to merely natural beauty.
From our place of embarkation to Chelsea we may consider ourselves traversing a watery way, or high street; of which the sides, studded with a variety of buildings, few picturesque, some ugly, and very many mean, offer little upon which the eye curious of rural scenes, or spots of greenery, rests with gratification.
From beneath Battersea Bridge we catch a glimpse of country, and may now begin to "babble of green fields"; but we have little to boast until Putney and Fulham come into view.
Thence all the way, except where at Hammersmith we become rather townish for a short distance, we have at every turn some thing to admire.
But when we pass the bridge, we feel that we are approaching the spot where the silver Thames first rural grows; we get among the swans; swan-like, pleasurable sensations of escape from the long-drawn and apparently interminable town, come freshly over the buoyant spirit; we breathe more freely, the brow becomes unclouded, and the mind participates in the calm and sunshine of external nature.
The Thames, at all times beautiful, like other beauties, has days of good and better looks, days of vapours and spleen, days of full dress, and days of dishabille.
We need hardly add, that the judicious will take care that their visit shall be so timed so as not to catch the naiad of the stream when she is not disposed to see company.
Those who, without due consideration, pay a first visit to the river on a chilly, gusty day, when the tide is low, and the bed of the stream partly exposed, may chance to be disappointed, and look wondering around for those charms poet after poet has delighted to sing.
It is on a clear, sunny May day, or we may say, a bright day throughout the summer months, when the tide is flowing, and near the flood, that the noble expanse and silvery surface of this classic river is seen to most advantage.
While other streams owe much of their reputation to their banks-as men
rise in the world by the interest of patrons - Father Thames owes everything
His banks are nowhere sublime, and although in the greater part of his career beautiful, yet it is a quiet beauty.
But it is the gently gliding character of the stream itself -
Though deep, yet clear, though gentle, yet not dull,
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full;
its transparent waters and silvery surface, its copiousness without profusion -
these make the pretensions of the Thames.
Then, how rich is it not in classic associations; and not merely in these, but in associations of national utility and glory!
These last, however, belong to another portion of our subject.
We are here at Richmond, metaphorically and literally, among the swans of Thames, and we must endeavour to catch somewhat of the inspiration of the place before inflicting more of our tediousness upon the indulgent reader who may have borne with us so long.
The reader will remember that in our last excursion, we had the pleasure
of accompanying him to Richmond by the river Thames: to-day, we propose
to conduct him thither by land, and to devote a long Midsummer's day to the
delightful neighbourhood of "resplendent Sheen:" thence to wander by the
river's brink to the classic shades of Twickenham; to bestow a few recollections upon the departed glories of Strawberry Hill, and to terminate our
day in that favourite haunt of the disciples of Izaak Walton, Teddington.
Kensington, at the distance of a mile and a half from Hyde Park
Corner, on the great western road, is a place of considerable interest.
Kensington Palace was the seat of Sir Heneage Finch, afterwards Earl of Nottingham and Lord Chancellor of England, by whose son it was sold to King William soon after his accession to the throne.
The palace is a large, irregular, and, as far as the tout ensemble is concerned, by no means royal residence, built at various times, each successive addition rivalling in bad taste its predecessor.
Within the walls expired King William and Queen Mary, Queen Anne, her consort Prince George of Denmark, and King George the Second.
After the decease of the last-mentioned monarch, Kensington Palace has been usually occupied by some of the members of the royal family.
Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, afterwards Queen Caroline, resided here; as also the Duke of Kent, father of Her present Majesty.
The Duke of Sussex now resides here, together with several favoured individuals who occupy apartments during the pleasure of the Crown.
Kensington Gardens, a favourite and delightful lounge in the season,
are well worthy the attention of the tourist.
Although disposed in the formal style introduced into this country by King William, and known to landscape gardeners as the Dutch taste, yet their formality is not offensive, as it uniformly is where space does not exist to give breadth and depth to the masses of foliage, or majesty to the walks and vistas.
Tickell has invoked the Muse to the celebration of these gardens in song:-
Where Kensington, high o'er the neighbouring lands,
Mid greens and sweets, a regal fabric stands;
And sees each spring, luxuriant in her bowers,
A snow of blossoms and a wild of flowers;
The dames of Britain oft in clouds repair
To gravel walks and unpolluted air.
Here, while the town in damps and darkness lies,
They breathe in sunshine, and see azure skies;
Each walk with robes of various dyes bespread,
Seems from afar a moving tulip bed.
Where rich brocades, and glossy damasks glow,
And chintzes, rivals of the showery bow.
These gardens consisted originally, as we are informed by Pennant, of
only twenty-six acres: Queen Anne added thirty acres, which were laid out
by her gardener Wise; but the principal additions were three hundred acres
taken from Hyde Park, and disposed by Bridgeman.
The gardens are now three miles and a half in circumference, including somewhere about three hundred and thirty-six acres, together with eight acres of water, forming a circular pond to the eastward of the palace.
At this time of the year, these delightful gardens look remarkably well, having an air more park-like, more secluded, than any other of the public walks around the metropolis, and affording a more unbroken shelter from the noonday heat.
The trees here are more numerous and lofty, casting a greater breadth of shade than in the parks; but regarded individually, are comparatively insignificant, having been planted too close, and from want of room to expand their lateral boughs, running up to poles.
The disposition of the trees in squares and battalions, is said to have been an attempt to display the position of the allied armies immediately before the battle of Blenheim.
Whether this be the case or not, the union of a judicious formality and natural arrangement has been happily accomplished here.
The long, unbroken, regular avenues of greensward, with the dense columnar masses of foliage between, give fine effect to the snatches of dusky town which terminate the view; while the absence of statues, hermitages, marble temples, spouting monsters, and sarcophagi relieves the scene from the constrained and artificial appearance of the vast majority of parks laid out in this style.
The view from the centre of the broad walk, exactly in front of the palace, is one of the finest anywhere around the metropolis.
This walk is a favourite promenade, being at once dry and sheltered.
During May, June, and July, the bands of the household troops assemble twice a week for practice in these gardens, near the bridge over the Serpentine, from four until six in the afternoon, when the concourse of fashionable people is immense, and the scene altogether one of great animation.
The Gardens of Kensington have been thought worthy of mention in the Pastoral Calendar and elsewhere.
The best passage in Tickell's poem upon this subject, which is also the first, we have given above.
We quote a few lines from another effusion descriptive of the character of the gardens, which, if they possess no other merit, have the advantage of sprightliness; and if not good, are at least not dull.
Far in the west, remote from citizens,
Where Hyde Park ends and Bayswater begins,
Imperial Kensington her groves extends,
And to the town her shade suburban lends ;
Th' excursive beau defending from the power
Of sultry noon, or sudden summer shower.
There elums umbrageous fling their arms around,
And waxen flowers of chesnut strew the ground;
There, half across the sun-illumined glade,
Funereal firs project a blackening shade ;
Borne on the breeze, there fragrant scents betray
The thorn prolific of the luscious may,
Laburnum pendulous, and lilac gray.
To staid pedestrians sacred is the shade
Whose ample walks no rumbling wheels invade ;
Here sprightly miss, here nurse and nursling rove;
And young-old gentlemen dream, too late, of love.
Here happy pairs beguile the tedious day,
And pairs, uncoupled, happier far than they.
Here, with no sense of coming ill endued,
To-morrow's mutton crops its grassy food;
Here, muttonless, the lonely poet stalks
And raves, and rhymes, and, hungering as he walks,
Envies the nibbling sheep-far happier they
Who, if they die to-morrow, dine to-day.
Kensington Church is situate in the centre of the village, or town as it
might more properly be termed, and is a plain structure, with a low embattled
tower of brick, surmounted by a wooden turret.
This parish boasted a "Vicar of Bray," in the person of one Thomas Hodges, collated to the living by Archbishop Juxon; he kept his preferment during the civil war and interregnum, by joining alternately with either party; although a frequent preacher before the Long Parliament, and one of the Assembly of Divines, he was made Dean of Hereford after the Restoration, but continued to his death Vicar of Kensington.
William Courten, the traveller and naturalist, who amassed in various countries a large collection of antiquities and natural curiosities, with which he fitted up a museum said to have occupied ten rooms in the Middle Temple, is buried here; and his name is worthy of record, from the fact that the bequest of his collection to Sir Hans Sloane was the nucleus of the British Museum.
The family of Rich, Earls of Warwick and Holland, and Barons of Ken sington, have monuments in this church.
There is also a monument to the memory of Francis Colman, British Minister at Florence, and father of George Colman the elder, who is interred here.
This witty and eccentric character was educated at Westminster School, and afterwards became a barrister of Lincoln's Inn; but relinquished the drudgery of the law for pursuits more congenial to his nature.
George Colman the elder is known to the world both as a classical scholar and dramatic writer.
He translated the plays of Terence, and the Art of Poetry of Horace; his dramatic reputation rests chiefly upon the "Jealous Wife," and the "Clandestine Marriage," in which last he was assisted by Garrick.
His theatrical manage ment began with Covent Garden theatre; but after a few years he became sole patentee of the Haymarket, and so continued until his death.
James Elphinstone, who translated Martial, better known as the friend of Dr.
Johnson, with whose concurrence he published an Edinburgh edition of "The Rambler," kept a school for many years, first at Brompton, and afterwards at Kensington.
Holland House, an ancient and noble mansion, erected by Sir Walter
Cope, father-in-law of the Earl of Holland, in the reign of James I.
, and affording a fine example of the architecture of that period, takes its name from one of the family of Rich, sometime Earls of Holland.
In this mansion is a celebrated chamber, called the Gilt-room, still remaining in its original state, presenting a very favourable example of the art of interior decoration in that day.
The wainscot is in compartments, ornamented with crosslets and fleurs-de-lis, with the arms of the families of Rich and Cope, and the punning motto, Ditior est qui se - "Who more rich than he?" The library is about one hundred and five feet in length, the collection of books extensive and valuable; the rooms are adorned with busts and pictures.
The grounds include about three hundred acres, of which sixty-three are disposed in pleasure-grounds.
Over a rural seat is inscribed the following couplet, from the pen of the late Lord Holland, whose literary tastes and acquirements are generally known :-
"Here Rogers sat; and here for ever dwell
With me those "Pleasures' that he sang so well.
A tribute so pleasing, so considerate, and so just to the memory of the social and conversational excellences of this amiable nobleman, has been paid by an intimate friend well calculated to do the memory of Lord Holland every justice, that we imagine, especially as it is an agreeable picture of manners in high literary life, that portion of it more particularly associated with Holland House may be acceptable to some of our readers.
Speaking of the mansion, the writer eloquently, and we fear prophetically,
Yet a few years, and the shades and structures may follow their illustrious masters.
The wonderful city which, ancient and gigantic as it is, still continues to grow as a young town of logwood by a water privilege in Michigan, may soon displace those turrets and gardens, which are associated with so much that is interesting and noble; with the courtly magnificence of Rich, with the loves of Ormond, with the counsels of Cromwell, with the death of Addison.
The time is coming when perhaps a few old men, the last survivors of our generation, will in vain seek, amid new streets, and squares, and railway stations, for the site of that dwelling, which in their youth was the favourite resort of wits and beauties, of painters and poets, of scholars, philosophers, and statesmen; they will then remember with strange tenderness many objects familiar to them - the avenue and terrace, the busts and the paintings, the carving, the grotesque gilding, and the enigmatical mottoes.
With peculiar tenderness they will recall that venerable chamber, in which all the antique gravity of a college library was so singularly blended with all that female grace and wit could devise to embellish a drawing-room.
They will recollect, not unmoved, those shelves loaded with the varied learning of many lands and many ages; those portraits, in which were preserved the features of the best and wisest Englishmen of two generations: they will recollect how many men, who have guided the politics of Europe, who have moved great assemblies by reason and eloquence, who have put life into bronze or canvas, or who have left to posterity things so written that it will not willingly let them die, were there mixed with all that is loveliest and gayest in the society of the most splendid of capitals.
They will remember the singular character which belonged to that circle, in which every talent and accomplishment, every art and science, had its place.
They will remember how the last debate was discussed in one corner, and the last comedy of Scribe in another; while Wilkie gazed with modest admiration on Reynolds' Baretti; while Mackintosh turned over Thomas Aquinas to verify a quotation; while Talleyrand related his conversations with Barras at the Luxembourg, or his ride with Lannes over the field of Austerlitz.
They will remember, above all, the grace, and the kindness far more admirable than grace, with which the princely hospitality of that ancient mansion was dispensed; they will remember the venerable and benignant countenance and the cordial voice of him who bade them welcome; they will remember that temper, which years of sickness, of lameness, of confinement, seemed only to make sweeter and sweeter; and that frank politeness, which at once relieved all the embarrassment of the youngest and most timid writer or artist, who found himself for the first time among ambassadors and earls.
They will remember that, in the last lines which he traced, he expressed his joy that he had done nothing unworthy of the friend of Fox and Grey; and they will have reason to feel similar joy, if, in looking back on many troubled years, they cannot accuse themselves of having done anything unworthy of men who were distinguished by the friendship of Lord Holland.
On the death of the last Lord Holland of the Rich family, this mansion
descended through the female line to William Edwardes, created Lord Ken
sington; and was sold by him to Henry Fox, whose family is now ennobled
by the title of Lord Holland.
Holland House is rich in historical and classical associations.
The cele brated Earl of Holland, who suffered death for his attachment to his Royal master Charles I.
, after having sided alternately with him and the Parliament, was imprisoned here in his own house, once by the king, and again by the House of Commons.
Addison became possessed of Holland House by his marriage with the Countess Dowager of Warwick and Holland.
Whatever prestige he might have acquired by this alliance, it does not seem much to have augmented his store of happiness.
It was remarked by the author of an Essay on Addison's life and writings, that "Holland House is a large mansion; but it cannot contain Mr.
Addison, the Countess of Warwick, and one guest, Peace.
" The poet died at Holland House.
He had formerly been tutor to the young Earl of Warwick, and tried anxiously, but in vain, to check the licentiousness of his pupil's manners.
As a last effort, he requested him to come into his room when he lay at the point of death, hoping that the solemnity of the scene might work upon his feelings.
When the young nobleman came to receive his commands, his expiring friend stretched out his hand, and told him that he had sent for him "to see how a Christian could die.
" Addison is buried in Westminster Abbey, near the entrance to the north aisle of Henry the Seventh's Chapel.
There is, we regret to say, no tablet, monument, or inscription, to his memory.
Tickell, the poet, never wrote to more advantage than when his muse, inspired by the memory of his friendship with Addison, thus elegantly apostrophised the former residence of his friend and benefactor:-
Thou hill, whose brow the antique structures grace,
Reared by bold chiefs of Warwick's noble race;
Why, once so loved, whene'er thy bower appears,
O'er my dim eye-balls glance the sudden tears?
How sweet were once thy prospects fresh and fair,
Thy sloping walks and unpolluted air ;
How sweet the glooms beneath thime aged trees,
Thy noontide shadow, and thine evening breeze
His image thy forsaken bowers restore;
Thy walks and airy prospects charm no more;
No more the summer in thy gloom 's allay'd,
Thine evening breezes, and thy noonday shade.
Of Addison, Dr.
Johnson says, "as a describer of life and manners he must be allowed to stand perhaps the first of the first rank.
His humour, which, as Steele observes, is peculiar to himself, is so happily diffused as to give the grace of novelty to domestic scenes and daily occurrences.
He never outsteps the modesty of nature, nor raises merriment, nor wounds by the violation of truth.
His figures neither divert by distortion, nor amaze by aggravation.
He copies life with so much fidelity, that he can be hardly said to invent: yet his exhibitions have an air so much original, that it is difficult to suppose them not merely the product of imagination.
"As a teacher of wisdom he may be confidently followed.
His religion has nothing in it enthusiastic or superstitious; he appears neither weakly credulous, nor wantonly sceptical; his morality is neither dangerously lax, nor impracticably rigid.
All the enchantment of fancy, and all the cogency of argument, are employed to recommend to the reader his real interest, the care of pleasing the Author of his being.
Truth is shown sometimes as the phantom of a vision; sometimes appears half veiled in an allegory; some times attracts regard in the robes of fancy; and sometimes steps forth in the confidence of reason.
"His prose is the model of the middle style; on grave subjects not formal, on light occasions not grovelling; pure without scrupulosity, and exact without apparent elaboration; always equable, and always easy, without glowing words or pointed sentences.
Addison never deviates from his track to snatch a grace; he seeks no ambitious ornaments, and tries no hazardous innovations.
His page is always luminous, but never blazes in unexpected splendour.
What he attempted, he performed; he is never feeble, and he did not wish to be energetic; he is never rapid, and he never stagnates.
His sentences have neither studied amplitude nor affected brevity; his periods, though not diligently rounded, are voluble and easy.
Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.
Perhaps it is not too much to say, that higher praise than this can be
bestowed upon the writings of no man.
Addison was doubly fortunate, in that his character was thought worthy almost of equal eulogy with his writings.
Who does not remember the exquisite couplet-
He taught us how to live ; and, oh! too high
A price for knowledge! taught us how to die
And, in another place, on the burial of Addison, hear the poet and the friend-
Ne'er to these chambers, where the mighty rest,
Since their foundation came a nobler guest,
Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss conveyed
A purer spirit or more welcome shade.
At Brompton, in this parish, Cromwell was said to have resided in an
ancient mansion, called Hale House; but there is no reason to suppose that
such was the fact: almost every parish around London has a Cromwell's
house, and this among the rest.
Henry Cromwell resided in this house before he was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland.
He married, at Kensington, a daughter of Sir Francis Russell, of Chippenham.
The garden of Curtis, the botanist, was at Brompton.
The most distinguished and memorable inhabitant of Brompton was the great John Hunter.
At Earl's Court, in this neighbourhood, he purchased a piece of ground, where he kept numbers of wild animals for the purposes of investigating their structure and functions, as well as for the facility of trying upon them such experiments as might, applied to the human subject, tend to the cure of disease or the alleviation of pain.
John Hunter was born July 14, 1728, at Long Calderwood in the county of Lanark.
His father dying when the youth was about ten years old, his education was neglected, and he was suffered to spend his time unprofitably in rural amusements.
One of his sisters having married a cabinet-maker, settled at Glasgow.
John became his apprentice, but the failure of his brother-in-law prevented his continuance in that situation.
It is not unlikely, however, that while in this humble employment he may have manufactured professors' chairs, utterly unconscious that he was himself one day to become the most distinguished occupant of that erudite furniture.
The reputation his elder brother enjoyed in London as a lecturer and teacher of anatomy about this time, inspired Hunter, now about twenty years of age, with a desire for more active employment; and having made a proposal to William to become his assistant, he was invited to take up his residence in the metropolis, where he was ere long destined to a bright career of fortune and fame.
It is probable that the habits of manual dexterity he acquired in his mechanical may have had their beneficial influence even upon his scientific pursuits; certain it is, that one of the earliest duties imposed upon him in the dissecting-room, that of preparing the muscles of an arm for his brother's demonstration in anatomy, was performed with such dexterity and skill, as to leave no doubt in the mind of Dr.
William Hunter that he had secured in his brother an effective assistant.
But in this humble condition, so disagreeable to an original mind, John Hunter was not long destined to continue.
In the summer of 1749 he attended Mr.
Cheselden, then surgeon to Chelsea Hospital, and laboured hard, under that excellent master, in the acquisition of the elementary principles and practice of his future profession.
In the subsequent winter he almost altogether devoted himself to the office of demonstrating in anatomy to his brother's numerous pupils; Dr.
William Hunter, at this time, finding so much of his leisure taken up with his professional avocations as to give to the brother an easy opportunity of perfecting himself as a lecturer.
John Hunter, continuing his attendance at Chelsea in the summer of 1750, in the winter of that year became pupil at St.
Bartholomew's, where he constantly attended the operations of surgery in that noble institution.
Conscious probably of some inferiority, real or imaginary, arising from the
want of a university education, Hunter entered as a gentleman commoner at
Mary Hall, but soon relinquished the idea of a regular academic course.
He still continued to labour with unremitting assiduity at his professional studies, becoming a pupil at St.
George's Hospital, where two years after wards he was appointed house-surgeon.
The management of anatomical preparations was at this period very little known; every preparation therefore, that was skilfully made, became an object of admiration.
Many were wanting for the use of his lectures, and Dr.
Hunter having himself an enthusiasm for the art, his brother had every advantage in the prosecution of that pursuit, towards which his own disposition pointed so strongly, and of which he left so noble a monument in his Museum of Comparative Anatomy.
John Hunter pursued the study of anatomy with an ardour and perseverance of which few examples can be found.
By this close application for ten years, he made himself master of all that was already known, and struck out some additions to that know ledge.
In comparative anatomy, which he cultivated with indefatigable industry, his grand object was examining various organisations formed for similar functions, to trace up as far as possible to the fountain-head the general principles of animal life.
By excessive attention to these pursuits, his health became so much impaired that he was threatened with consumptive symptoms, and being advised to go abroad, accepted the appointment of surgeon on the staff of the army, and accompanied the expedition to Belle Isle.
In this service he acquired his knowledge of the nature and treatment of gun-shot wounds, which he afterwards embodied in his admirable Treatise on the Blood.
On his return to London, to his emoluments for private practice, and his half pay, he added those arising from teaching practical anatomy and operative surgery; and it was at this stage of his carcer that he became an inhabitant of Brompton.
In February 1767, Mr.
Hunter was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society; and in order to make that situation as productive of knowledge as possible, he invited many persons to form a scientific meeting at a coffee house, for the purpose of philosophic discussion, and inquiry into discoveries and improvements.
Of this society, or club, Sir Joseph Banks and his friend Dr.
Maskelyne the astronomer, Dr.
Noothe the chymist, Sir George Schuck burgh, Sir Harry Englefield, Sir Charles Blagden, Mr.
Ramsden, and Mr.
Watt, were members.
In 1771 he married Miss Home, sister of Mr.
afterwards Sir Everard Home, an individual who acquired an unenviable notoriety from the destruc tion of the unpublished MSS.
of his friend, instructor, and relative.
As the family of Mr.
Hunter increased, his practice and character advanced in proportion; but the expense of his collection absorbed a very considerable part of the profits.
The best rooms in his house were filled with his pre parations; and his mornings, from sunrise to eight o'clock, were constantly employed in anatomical and philosophical pursuits.
The volumes of the Philosophical Transactions bear testimony to his success in comparative anatomy, which was his favourite, and may be almost said to be his principal pursuit.
Where he met with natural appearances which could not be preserved in actual preparations, he employed able draughtsmen to represent them on paper, and for several years kept one in his family expressly for this purpose.
In January 1776, he was appointed surgeon-extraordinary to his Majesty;
in 1781, was elected into the Royal Society of Sciences and Belles-Lettres of
Gottenburgh; and in 1783, into the Royal Society of Medicine, and the
Royal Academy of Surgery at Paris.
He was now at the height of his professional reputation as a surgeon, performing some operations with complete success which were thought by the profession to be beyond the reach of any surgical skill.
The energy of this man's mind, and his capacity for corporeal as well as mental fatigue, are truly astonishing: recollecting that at this time he was engaged in a very extensive practice, was surgeon to St.
George's Hospital, gave a long course of lectures in the winter, had a school of practical anatomy in his house, was continually engaged in experiments upon the animal economy, and was from time to time producing very important publications.
But it would appear that in Hunter's, as in many other instances, strength of mind was accompanied by strength of will, and that he could not only do great things well, but that he could do many great things in little time.
On the death of Mr.
Adair, the professional honours of John Hunter were completed, by his appointment to the office of surgeon-general of the army.
The death of Mr.
Hunter was sudden, the result of a spasmodic affection of the heart, to which he had now for several years been subject.
Irritation of mind has been found by experience to produce that complaint; and in October 1793, meeting with some vexatious interference at St.
George's Hospital, he constrained himself in giving expression to his feelings, and, choked with emotion, retired into another room ; there, in turning round to a physician who was present, he fell and expired without a groan.
His portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and familiar to us in the well-known engraving by Sharpe, gives an accurate idea of his countenance, which is highly expressive of energy and intellect.
His temper was warm and impatient; but his disposition was candid and free from reserve, even to a fault.
He was superior to every kind of artifice, detested it in others, and in order to avoid it, expressed his exact sentiments sometimes too openly and abruptly.
His mind was uncommonly active; it was naturally formed for investigation, and so attached to truth and fact, that he despised all unfounded speculation, proceeding always with caution upon the solid ground of experiment.
At the same time, his acuteness in observing the result of these experi
ments, his ingenuity in contriving and his adroitness in conducting them,
enabled him to deduce from them advantages which others would not have
Unaccustomed in early life to that routine of education which employs youth in collecting and retaining the ideas of others, and in flooding the mind with error in the pursuit of knowledge, John Hunter, awed by no names, and careless of antiquity, came to the task of physio logical and surgical inquiry, and of comparative anatomy, with the determi nation of looking for truth, where he could alone be sure truth was to be found-in nature, and of testing all his hypotheses in the severest manner by experiment.
Unlike many others who have earned a spurious fame, Hunter was no systematist; he did not devote his life to any theory, and laughed at the empirical doctrines with which his predecessors in the sciences to which he devoted himself were wont to veil their ignorance of the laws of nature, or their indifference to her operations.
John Hunter read little, but observed much; in this way only do men become great.
Knowledge, with mean minds, is a stream of water descending from one generation to another, through successive strata, taking a tinge of mud from one, of dirt from another, as it may happen.
With a mind truly great, knowledge bubbles up, pure and undefiled, from its original fount, coming fresh from the heart of earth, and flung out upon the surface, without admixture, without adulteration.
After the decease of this great man, the premises he had occupied at Earl's Court were converted to the purposes of a gaming-house; or, as the newspapers of the day chose humorously to express it, for the dissection of pigeons, and preparation of flat-fish.
From Kensington our traveller makes his way, by a choice of routes (for which we refer him to the map in our preceding number), to the classic village, or rather town, of Richmond.
Map Richmond to Sunbury
Richmond received its present name by royal command in the reign of
, who was Earl of Richmond in Yorkshire.
In Domesday Book it is not mentioned.
A record of nearly the same antiquity calls it Syenes, the name was afterwards spelt Schene and Sheen: some writers, founding their conjectures upon the latter word, which signifies bright or splendid, have supposed it to be expressive of the magnificence of the ancient palace.
This classic spot, which is to London what Frascati may be supposed to have been in the palmy days of Imperial Rome, is one of those places of which we are in the habit of forming preconceived notions and ideal pictures; and we are therefore delighted or disappointed in proportion to the harmony of the real Richmond with the Richmond of our imagination.
Our preconceived idea of Richmond was that of a retired village, consisting of a few humble cottages nestling at the foot of a hill, or rather mountain, difficult of access, capped with barren rocks or purple heath, and commanding, as it were a time-worn fortress, the subjacent country.
Finding our village, as we had always heard it termed, a large modern well-built town, we were somewhat disappointed; but this feeling soon gave way to more pleasurable emotions, when we began to reflect upon the historical associations connected with this, the most richly-associated spot of English ground.
For the historical account subjoined, we are indebted to the painstaking and accurate Mr.
"It is not certain when the manor-house at Sheen first became a royal palace; a MS.
record in the British Museum mentions it as having been the house of Henry I.
, who granted it with the manor to the Belets.
From that time till towards the close of the reign of Edward I.
, it was the property of subjects.
are known to have resided there; Edward III.
closed a long and victorious reign at his palace at Sheen, June 21st, 1377.
Queen Anne, his successor's consort, died there in the year 1394.
The king was so much affected at her death, that he abandoned the palace, and suffered it to fall to ruin - or, as others assert, pulled it down.
Holinshed says, that "he caused it to be thrown down and defaced; whereas the former kings of this land being weary of the Citie, used customarily thither to resorte, as to a place of pleasure, and serving highly to their recreation.
restored the palace to its former magnificence.
held a grand tournament at his manor at Richmond, in 1492, when Sir James Parker, in a controversy with Hugh Vaughan for right of coat-armour, was killed at the first course.
In the year 1499, the king being then at his palace, it was set on fire by accident; most of the old buildings were consumed.
His Majesty immediately caused it to be rebuilt, and gave it the name of Richmond.
"The picture of Henry W.
and his family, the Marriage of Henry VI.
and that of Henry VII.
, in the Earl of Orford's collection at Strawberry Hill, are supposed to have been painted for this monarch, and intended for his palace here.
It had been finished but a short time when a second fire broke out, which did considerable damage.
The same year a new gallery fell down, in which the king, and the prince his son, had been walking only a few minutes before.
, king of Spain, having been driven upon the coast of England by a storm, was entertained in this palace with great magnificence, in the year 1506.
died there, April 21, 1509; his successor kept his Christmas at Richmond the year after he came to the throne.
A tournament was held there on the 12th January, when the king, for the first time, took a part in those exercises.
emperor of Germany, was lodged at Richmond, anno 1523.
When Cardinal Wolsey gave the lease of Hampton Court to the King, his Majesty permitted him to reside in Richmond Palace, a privilege of which he frequently availed himself.
Hall says, that "when the common people, and especially such as had been servants to Henry VII.
, saw the Cardinal keep house in the Manor Royal of Richmond, which that monarch so highly esteemed, it was a marvel to hear how they grudged, saying, So a butcher's dogge doth lie in the manor of Richmond.
' They were still more disgusted at the Cardinal's keeping his Christmas there openly, with great state, when the King himself observed that feast with the utmost privacy at Eltham, on account of the plague.
"Queen Elizabeth was a prisoner at Richmond for a short time, during the
reign of her sister Mary.
After she ascended the throne, this palace became one of her favourite places of residence.
In her reign Eric IV.
, king of Sweden, was lodged there.
Queen Elizabeth ended her days at Richmond Palace, on the 24th March, 1603.
"In the autumn of that year, the Court of Exchequer, the Court of Chancery, and other public courts, were removed to Richmond, on account of the plague.
The same precaution was taken in 1625.
Henry, prince of Wales, resided there in 1605.
It is probable that Charles I.
was frequently at this palace, where he formed a large collection of pictures.
In the year 1636, a masque was performed before the king and queen at Richmond, by Lord Buckhurst and Edward Sackville.
When the king was in Scotland in 1641, the Parliament ordered that the young prince should be sent to Richmond with his governor, probably Bishop Duppa, who is said to have educated Charles II.
at this place.
In the month of June 1647, Richmond was prepared by order of Parliament for the king's reception, but he refused to go thither.
A newspaper of the 29th August in that year mentions, that the Prince Elector was then at Richmond, and that the king, with the Duke of York and the lords, hunted in the New Park, and killed a stag and a buck; 'his Majesty was very cheerful, and afterwards dined with his children at Syon.
About a quarter of a mile to the north-west of the old palace, which was
described by Holinshed as "perspicuous to all the country round about",
endowed a convent of Carthusians.
Within the walls of this priory Perkin Warbeck sought an asylum, entreating the prior to beg his life of the king.
He was afterwards executed for attempting to break out of the Tower.
The body of the king of Scots, brought from Flodden Field by the victorious Earl of Surrey, was said to have been conveyed to the monastery at Sheen, where it lay for a considerable time unburied.
Stow says that he saw a body wrapped in lead, and thrown into a lumber room, which he was informed was the Scottish king.
Robert Dudley, son to the Earl of Leicester by Lady Douglas, who assumed the title of Duke of Northumberland, and is remarkable as having been the projector of the port of Leghorn, was born at East Sheen; the earl being then suitor to the Countess of Essex, concealed the birth of his son with great secrecy, and ever afterwards refused to acknowledge him.
The priory of East Sheen was granted by Charles I.
to James Duke of Lennox.
"Sir William Temple appears to have been an under-tenant of these premises before he obtained the lease from the crown.
In the year 1666, his lady appears to have been resident at Sheen, during his absence at Brussels.
Writing from that place to Lord Lisle the same year he says, that perhaps he may end his life in a corner at Sheen, but he knows his lordship will leave it for some of the great houses that await him.
Many of his letters express in the most lively terms, the pleasure which he took in this favourite retire ment: "My heart," says he, writing to Lord Lisle, August 1667, "is so set upon my little corner at Sheen, that while I keep that, no other disappoint ment will be very sensible to me; and because my wife tells me she is so bold as to enter into talk of enlarging our dominions there, I am contriving this summer how a succession of cherries may be compassed from May to Michaelmas, and how the riches of Sheen vines may be improved by half-adozen sorts which are not known there, and which I think much beyond any that are.
" In a letter to his father, November 22, 1670, he thanks him for a present of 500l.
towards his intended improvements at Sheen, and tells him, that as he had before resolved to lay out 1000l.
, his present will enable him to extend his improvements to ornament as well as convenience.
In the short intervals between his foreign negotiations, this was his constant retreat.
"I spend all the time I possibly can at Sheen," says he in one of his letters, 'and never saw anything pleasanter than my garden.
" Here, in 1672, he wrote his observations on the Netherlands.
In the year 1680, he began to reside wholly at Sheen, having retired from public business.
After a few years he gave up this house to his son, and went himself to Moor Park in Surrey.
Upon the arrival of the Prince of Orange in England, that place being thought unsafe as lying between the two armies, Sir William returned to Sheen.
It was about this time that Swift was taken into his family as an amanuensis.
King William, who had known Sir William Temple on the Continent, and had a great esteem for his talents and character, frequently visited him at this place, and pressed him to become his Secretary of State.
When his patron was lame with the gout, Swift usually attended his Majesty in his walks round the gardens.
The king is said on one of these occasions to have offered to make him a captain of horse, and to have taught him to cut asparagus in the Dutch manner.
Here Swift became acquainted with the beautiful and accomplished Stella, who was born at this place, and whose father was Sir William Temple's steward.
She is said by most writers to have been in her sixteenth year when she first went to Ireland, in 1699: but Deane Swift, the biographer of his relation, says she was eighteen.
As her name is not to be found in the parish register, which begins 1682, he probably is right.
Sir William Temple left Sheen finally in 1689, and returned to Moor Park.
" The village of Richmond contains nothing worthy of particular observation, if we except the multiplicity of inns for which this place is famous.
Perhaps we ought not to omit the only manufacture of consequence in this village, that of "maids of honour".
The tourist will not fail to observe a sign, with the inscription in large letters, "Original shop for maids of honour".
These are little round chubby cheesecakes, of a very delicate flavour; and are said to be prepared after a receipt communicated by one of the maids of honour, in those happy days when ladies of the court had a genius for confectionary; and, instead of cultivating barren accomplishments, such as music or painting, found distinction in the composition of a savoury pie, or employed their fair hands in amalgamating the exquisite ingredients of "maids of honour".
The church contains a monument with a whimsical epitaph, to the memory
of Robert Lawes, Esq.
, who, though a barrister, "was so great a lover of peace, that when a contention arose between Life and Death, he immediately yielded up the ghost to end the dispute.
This pacific gentleman would appear to have chosen the wrong profession.
In the new burying ground was interred Dr.
Moore, author of Zeluco, father of the brave and lamented General Sir John Moore.
The Lady Diana Beauclerc, wife of Topham Beauclerc, the friend of Dr.
Johnson, a talented and accomplished lady, lies buried here.
In Richmond Church, James Thomson, poet of the Seasons, was buried.
Few whose steps are hither led will fail to look upon his grave.
The particulars of the life of James Thomson are few and generally known : we need, therefore, only dwell upon them so far as to recall a few particulars concerning him, whose grave we are now contemplating, and whose fame is so widely spread, so permanent, and so well deserved.
James Thomson was the son of a minister of the Established Church of Scotland, and was born in September 1700, at Ednam in Roxburghshire, hard by that pastoral country and that classic river, which have been nursing mothers, as it were, of a long line of poets, from Thomas the Rhymer to Sir Walter Scott.
His early education he received at the town of Jedburgh, not far distant from his birthplace: hence he was removed to Edinburgh, being intended for the church.
"He lived at Edinburgh", says Johnson, "without distinction or expectation, till, at the usual time, he performed a probationary exercise by explaining a psalm.
His diction was so poetically splendid, that Mr.
Hamilton, the Professor of Divinity, reproved him for speaking language unintelligible to a popular audience.
He easily discovered that the only stage on which a poet could appear, with any hope of advantage, was London; a place too wide for the operation of petty competition and private malignity, where merit might soon become conspicuous, and would find friends as soon as it became reputable to befriend it.
At his arrival he found his way to a countryman, Mallet the poet, then tutor to the children of the Duke of Montrose.
"He had recommendations to several persons of consequence, which he had tied up carefully in his handkerchief; but as he passed along the street, with the gaping curiosity of a new-comer, his attention was upon everything rather than his pocket, and his magazine of credentials was stolen from him.
Such was the inauspicious entrance of the future eminent author of the "Seasons" into the great metropolis.
His first want was, it appears, the want of a pair of shoes, an unpoetical privation, to say the least.
To supply this and his other wants, his only resource was his poem of "Winter," which was sold to Millar at a low price.
As was his custom, which it will be only charitable to attribute to the man's necessity, and not to any inherent servility of nature, the poet prefixed an abject dedication to Spenser Compton, Earl of Wilmington, who, with proper feeling, took no notice of flattery, which he probably well knew himself to be unworthy, and most likely would never have troubled himself to inquire whether the author of those fulsome lines were living or dead, if Aaron Hill, a literary Maecenas of that day, had not acted as his lordship's "flapper," and gently hinted that the poet had not praised so great a man without the hope of getting something by it.
Thomson gave the following account of his reception by the great man:–
"I hinted to you in my last that on Saturday morning I was with Sir Spenser Compton.
A certain gentleman, without my desire, spoke to him concerning me: his answer was, that I had never come near him.
Then the gentleman put the question, if he desired that I should wait on him He returned, he did.
On this, the gentleman gave me an introductory letter to him.
He received me in what they commonly call a civil manner, asked me some commonplace questions, and made me a present of twenty guineas.
I am very ready to own that the present was larger than my performance deserved; and shall ascribe it to his generosity, or any other cause, rather than the merit of the address.
" The "Winter" made, it would appear, "glorious summer" of the fortunes of the bard: through the influence of one of his warm admirers, he procured a recommendation to the Lord Chancellor Talbot, with whose son he was sent to travel on the Continent.
His political principles, as evidenced in his poems of Britannia and Liberty, would appear to have been in opposition to the Court, and the minister of the day, Sir Robert Walpole.
The latter poem was dedicated to Frederic, Prince of Wales, with the lavish panegyric of which the poet was so profuse upon all occasions.
The patronage of Lord Chancellor Talbot, who conferred upon Thomson the post of Secretary of the Briefs, gave the poet a decent competence; but at his patron's death, the succeeding Chancellor, not having the consideration to continue unsolicited, the office to a man so deserving, and who had so over-paid in instruction and delight the value of his place, he relapsed once again into his former indigence.
Through the influence of Lord Lyttleton, he was now introduced to the Prince of Wales.
Having pleasantly told His Royal Highness, in answer to his inquiries as to his circumstances, that "they were in a more poetical posture than formerly," he had a pension allowed him on the Prince's establishment of a hundred pounds a year.
In conjunction with Mr.
Mallet, his early friend, he wrote the Masque of Alfred, acted before the Prince at Cliefden House, in which was introduced our national naval air, "Rule Britannia", since so universally popular.
Of his tragedies, Sophonisba and Agamemnon were barely endured on
their appearance, and are now forgotten; Tancred and Sigismunda was the
most successful, though seldom taking its turn upon the stage.
Johnson says, "It may be doubted whether he was, either by the bent of nature or habit of study, much qualified for tragedy.
It does not appear that he had much sense of the pathetic; and his diffusive and descriptive style produced declamation rather than dialogue.
His friend Mr.
Lyttleton conferred upon him the office of Surveyor-general of the Leeward Islands, a sinecure place, from which he derived three hundred pounds a year; and which, together with his pension, gave him the consolation of hoping to enjoy the evening of his days in that independence which all men desire, but which perhaps is more absolutely necessary to none than to him who has led the dreamy, unworldly, and unsolicitous life of a true poet.
"He was now at ease, but was not long to enjoy it; for by taking cold on the water between London and Kew, he caught a disorder, which, with some careless exasperation, ended in a fever, that put a period to his life in August 1748.
"Thomson was of a stature above the middle" of a size, and "more fat than bard beseems; dull countenance, and a gross, unanimated, uninviting appearance; silent in mingled company, but cheerful among select friends, and by his friends very tenderly and warmly be loved.
An exquisite proof of this tenderness among the friends of Thomson, has been bequeathed to us by one equally gifted but less fortunate - his brother poet Collins:-
In yonder grave a Druid lies,
Where slowly steals the winding wave;
The year's best sweets shall duteous rise
To deck its poet's sylvan grave!
In yon deep bed of whispering reeds
His airy harp shall now be laid;
That he, whose heart in sorrow bleeds,
May love through life the soothing shade.
Then maids and youths shall linger here;
And while its sounds at distance swell,
Shall sadly seem in pity's ear
To hear the woodland pilgrim's knell.
Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore
When Thames in summer wreaths is dressed,
And oft suspend the dashing oar
To bid his gentle spirit rest.
And, oft as Ease and Health retire
To breezy lawn or forest deep,
The friend shall view yon whitening spire,
And mid the varied landscape weep.
But thou, who own'st that earthly bed,
Ah! what will every dirge avail?
Or tears which love and pity shed,
That mourn beneath the gliding sail!
Yet lives there one whose heedless eye
Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimmering near?
With him, sweet bard, may fancy die,
And joy desert the blooming year.
But thou, lorn stream, whose sullen tide
No sedge-crowned sisters now attend;
Now waft me from the green hill's side,
Whose cold turf hides the buried friend.
And see, the fairy valleys fade;
Dim night has veiled the solemn view
Yet once again, dear parted shade,
Meek Nature's child, again adieu !
The genial meads, assigned to bless
Thy life, shall mourn thy early doom;
There, hinds and shepherd girls shall dress,
With simple hands, thy rural tomb.
Long, long, the stone and pointed clay
Shall melt the musing Briton's eyes;
Oh, vales and wild woods, shall he say,
In yonder grave your Druid lies.
The house in which Thomson resided at Richmond was purchased, after
his death, by George Ross, Esq.
, who, out of veneration to his memory, forbore to pull it down, but enlarged and improved it at the expense of £9000.
It then became the property of the Hon.
Boscawen, who repaired the poet's favourite seat in the garden, and placed in it the table on which he wrote his verses-
"Here Thomson sung the seasons and their change.
The inside is adorned with suitable quotations from authors who have paid due compliments to his talents, and in the centre appears the following inscription:-
"Within this pleasing retirement, allured by the music of the nightingale, which warbled in soft unison to the melody of his soul in unaffected cheerfulness, and genial though simple elegance, lived James Thomson.
Sensibly alive to all the beauties of nature, he painted their images as they rose in review, and poured the whole profusion of them into his inimitable Seasons; warmed with intense devotion to the sovereign of the universe, its flame glowed through all his compositions; animated with unbounded benevolence, with the tenderest social sensibility, he never gave one moment's pain to any of his fellow creatures, save only by his death, which happened at this place on the 27th of August, 1748.
This delightful retreat
is now the property
of Lady Shaftesbury.
Thomson was buried at the west end of the north aisle of Richmond Church.
There was nothing to point out the spot of his interment till a brass tablet, with the following inscription, was lately put up by the Earl of Buchan:-
"In the earth below this tablet are the remains of James Thomson, author of the beautiful poems entitled The Seasons, The Castle of Indolence, &c.
; who died at Richmond on the 27th of August, and was buried on the 29th, O.
The Earl of Buchan, unwilling that so good a man, and so sweet a poet, should be without a memorial, has denoted the place of his interment for the satisfaction of his admirers, in the year of our Lord 1792.
Collins resided at Richmond a considerable time, and is, with justice,
supposed to have at this place composed many of his poems.
He left Richmond after the death of his friend Thomson, whose loss he so eloquently and pathetically bewails in the lines we have quoted.
William Collins was the son of a hatter at Chichester, and was born there December 25th, 1720.
At the age of thirteen he was admitted scholar of Winchester College, and at nineteen was elected upon the foundation to New College, Oxford.
While pursuing the studies necessary to take his degree of bachelor of arts, he applied himself to poetry, producing the Persian or Oriental Eclogues, which, notwithstanding their merit, were not attended with any great success.
Of late years, more justice has been done to their merit.
Dr. Langhorne says of them, that “in simplicity of descrip tion and expression, in delicacy and softness of numbers, and in natural and unaffected tenderness, they are not to be equalled by anything of the pastoral kind in the English language."
Upon his coming to town a literary adventurer, with many projects in his
head, and little money in his pocket, he published proposals of a History of
the Revival of Learning; he planned several tragedies, and produced his
“Odes Descriptive and Allegorical”, which were so poorly received by the
public, that the poet returned the amount of copyright to his publisher,
indemnified him for the loss he had sustained, and destroyed the portion of
the impressions which remained unsold.
About this time Dr. Johnson became acquainted with our poet, and says of him “that his appearance was decent and manly, his views extensive, his conversation elegant, and his disposition cheerful."
“By degrees”, con tinues the Doctor, “I gained his confidence, and one day was admitted to him when he was immured by a bailiff that was prowling in the street.
On this occasion recourse was had to the booksellers, who, on the credit of a translation of Aristotle's Poetics, which he engaged to write with a large commentary, advanced as much money as enabled him to escape into the country.
He showed me the guineas safe in his hand.
“Soon afterwards his uncle, Mr. Martin, a lieutenant-colonel, left him about two thousand pounds, a sum which Collins could scarcely think exhaustible, and which he did not live to exhaust.
The guineas were then repaid, and the translation neglected.
But man is not born for happiness.
Collins, who, while he studied to live, felt no evil but poverty, no sooner lived to study, than his life was assailed by more dreadful calamities, disease and insanity.
“He languished some years under that depression of mind which enchains
the faculties without destroying them, and leaves reason the knowledge of
right, without the power of pursuing it.
These clouds which he perceived gathering in his intellect he endeavoured to disperse by travel, and passed into France, but found himself constrained to yield to his malady, and returned.
He was for some time confined in a house of lunatics, and after wards retired to the care of his sisters in Chichester, where death, in 1756, came to his relief.
“Such was the fate of Collins, with whom I once delighted to converse, and whom I yet remember with tenderness."
The tenderness with which Dr. Johnson remembered the author of the “Ode to the Passions", did not extend, it would appear, to his works.
In a strain of haughty, severe, and, as has been proved by one of the first, if not the first, of our living critics (Professor Wilson), unjust dogmatism, the great Cham of literature has animadverted upon the supposed defects of the poetry of Collins, with what injustice the event—popularity long continued, as it is well deserved, — has long since determined.
At Richmond resided the poet Savage for a time; hence he went to town
to search for lodgings, and while there was involved in that melancholy and
fatal broil which exercised such a lamentable influence upon the future
fortunes of that gifted, but unhappy man.
Before leaving the church, we will pause to contemplate the tablet to the memory of Edmund Kean, a memorial erected by his son.
Edmund Kean was one of the shuttlecocks of fortune.
He was born, some say, in 1787, others, in 1789, and was the son of Edmund Kean, then in the service of a Mr.
Wilmot, the builder of the Royalty Theatre, by Anne Carey, an actress.
A brother of his father, Moses Kean, is said to have possessed considerable talents for mimicry, and to have imitated with success the matchless Garrick.
Miss Carey was the daughter of George Savill Carey, a person who, after acting without much success at Covent Garden, borrowed Stevens’ idea of the “Lecture on Heads” for a subsistence.
Her grandfather was author of forgotten interludes and operas.
Both by the paternal and maternal sides of the house, there fore, we find a predisposition, as it were, to theatricals; and necessity compelled the youthful Kean to tread the stage almost as soon as he was able to crawl.
At the tender age of two years, recommended by his beauty, which in childhood was always remarkable, he appeared in some opera as Cupid.
An amusing story is told of his mishap at Drury Lane, when on one occasion performing one of the band of little devils with which John Kemble enlivened one of the scenes in Macbeth, he, either by design, or accident, tripped up his brother goblins, who “fell like so many cards", disconcerting the “Thane of Cawdor", who was so enraged that he thumped the future tragedian, and dismissed him from the theatre.
Kean is reported to have excused himself by saying, “that he was not aware that he was engaged to play in tragedy!"
Mrs. Charles Kemble recollected hearing a clanking noise at the theatre
one night, and on inquiring as to the cause, was answered, “It is only little
Kean reciting Richard the Third in the green-room; he is acting after the
manner of Garrick.
Will you go and see him?
He is really very clever."
“And there he was", says Barry Cornwall, “really very clever, acting to a semicircle of gazers, and exhibiting the fierceness and probably some of the niceties of that character in which, fifteen years afterwards, he drew to the theatre thousands and thousands of spectators, and built up for himself a renown that will last, that must last as long as the actor's fame."
From this time lay before him a long career of wandering, privation, and adversity.
While at Windsor, in the strolling company of Richardson, he received two guineas for two hours' performance before King George III.
He used to recite at various places of public entertainment, being then called the infant prodigy, Master Carey.
Mr. Douglas Jerrold informs us: “Mr. Kean joined the Sheerness company on Easter Monday 1804.
He was then still in boy's costume.
His salary was fifteen shillings a week.
He then went under the name of Carey.
He continued to play the whole round of tragedy, comedy, opera, farce, interlude, and pantomime, until the close of the season.
His comedy was very successful.
In the song, “Unfortunate Miss Bailey", he made a great impression upon the tasteful critics of Sheerness.
It was about this time, as I have heard my father say, who had it from Kean himself, that Mr. Kean, being without money to pay the toll of a ferry, tied his wardrobe in his pocket handkerchief, and swam the river."
On a second visit to Sheerness, “the models for the tricks of the panto mime", we are informed by Mr. Jerrold, “were made by Kean, out of matches, pins, and paper."
While yet a stroller, he fell in love at Gloucester with Miss Chambers, an amateur performer, and after some time was married to her at Cheltenham.>
His consciousness of his own powers, and his self-assurance that he was
worthy to arrive at the top of his profession, never deserted him ; now and
then, in the midst of his drudgery, a part would be allotted to him which he
would top, as the phrase is, in such a manner, as to call forth enthusiastic
praises; on one of these happy occasions, Stephen Kemble said to him,
“You have played the character of Hotspur, sir, as well as Mr. John Kemble."
Notwithstanding this success — such is the fate of a man in the theatrical profession,who has not been tried in the ordeal of a London auditory; and so incapable is a provincial place of estimating fully, or liberally rewarding, true merit, that Kean, although praised by the Kembles, and by the few persons of taste who witnessed his performances, continued wandering here and there, with wife and child, upon salaries of a guinea and thirty shillings a week, pursuing an unprofitable, precarious, and, as it appeared at the time, hopeless career.
So extreme was his need, that he wished to enlist as a common soldier, and actually presented himself for that purpose to an officer attached to a regiment at York, who very goodnaturedly dissuaded him from his design.
The account of his first introduction to a London manager is graphic in
the extreme; it is a theatrical romance in miniature.
It is contained in the same work to which we are indebted for the short notice of the life of this great tragedian ; the Life by Barry Cornwall.
“‘When the curtain drew up', Kean began, ‘I saw a wretched house; a few people in the pit and gallery, and three persons in the boxes, showed the quantity of attraction that we possessed.
In the stage-box, however, there was a gentleman who appeared to understand acting — he was very attentive to the performance; seeing this, I was determined to play my best.
The strange man did not applaud, but his looks told me that he was pleased.
After the play I went to the dress-room (this was under the stage) to change my dress for the ‘Savage', so that I could hear every word that was said overhead.
I heard a gentleman, (who I supposed was the gentleman of the stage-box,) ask Lee the name of the performer who played the principal character.
‘Oh', answered Lee, ‘ his name is Kean — a wonderful clever fellow! a great little man.
He's going to London — he has got an engagement from Mr. Whitbread a great man sir!’ ‘Indeed!’ replied the gentleman, “I am glad to hear it, he is certainly very clever; but he is very small."
“His mind is large, no matter for his height", returned Lee to this.
By this time I was dressed for the ‘Savage', and I therefore mounted up to the stage.
The gentleman bowed to me, and complimented me slightly upon my play, observing, ‘Your manager says that you are engaged for London?’ ‘I am offered a trial', said I, ‘and if I succeed, I understand that I am to be engaged."
“Well", said the gentleman, “will you breakfast with me in the morning?
I am at the — Hotel.
I shall be glad to speak to you; my name is Arnold! I am the manager of Drury Lane Theatre.
'I staggered as if I had been shot, my acting in the ‘Savage’ was done for; however, I stumbled through the part, and here I am."
After finishing his story, he could think and talk of nothing but the approaching interview with the London manager.
Morning arrived, and Kean, after dressing himself as respectably as he could", says our information, “repaired to the hotel to breakfast.
He was received graciously; and after some conversation as to his experience on the stage, his cast of characters, &c., &c., (which occupied the intervals of the meal), he was finally engaged by Mr. Arnold, on behalf of Drury-lane Theatre, for a term of three years, at a salary of eight, nine, and ten pounds per week, for each successive year; and he was to have six ‘trial parts".
In two hours from the time of his leaving home, he returned to his wife with the above information; he seemed half out of his senses with delight — he had been well received and well entertained, and had now touched the summit of his ambition."
His triumphant career from this time until his death, is too fresh in the
memory of the play-going world, to need further mention in this place.
It will be sufficient to say, that after his triumphant appearance on the boards of Drury Lane in Shylock, the ball lay at his foot, and he had only to use good fortune with moderation.
This, it is to be regretted, he did not do; his prosperous career was wild, erratic, and uncontrollable; all that Garrick enjoyed, of admiration and respect, from the highest aristocracy of rank, wealth, and talent in the land, might have been Kean's; he spurned them all with hardly concealed contempt, and, in their turn, they retired from courting him with little less than disgust.
The contrast between Kean and Garrick in private life, is, indeed, sur prising, but explicable; the former struggling with want, insult, and obscurity, and compelled into the lowest company in early life, was soured with the world as soon as he began it; in his cup of life bitterness floated at the top, and when he came to drink of the sweets that lay below, his relish was gone.
Courtesy and proffered service came to him from the great when his fortune was made by the favour of the public, and when he did not want them; he had something, too, of that fierce, indomitable, and it is to be feared, offensive pride, characteristic of men of genius and acute sensibility.
He could not believe that the great, who now crowded his dressing-room, and thronged his drawing-room, had any other motive than the gratification of their curiosity, although a little reflection should have taught him that his genius led them to court his acquaintance, as much as his great success; it is certain, however, that Kean disliked to an extreme what is popularly called good society.
Kean died in May, 1833, aged only forty-eight years.
We have already delayed the impatient tourist too long, if, indeed, he has not anticipated us, and already gained the summit of the easy ascent of Richmond Hill.
“Say, shall we ascend Thy hill, delightful Sheen .
Here let us sweep The boundless landscape : now the raptured eye, Exulting, swift to huge Augusta send, Now to the sister hills that skirt her plain ; To lofty Harrow now, and now to where Imperial Windsor lifts her princely brow.
In lively contrast to this glorious view, Calmly magnificent, then will we turn To where the silver Thames first rural grows.
There let the feasted eye unwearied stray; Luxurious, there, rove through the pendent woods That nodding hang o'er Harrington's retreat ; And sloping thence to Ham's embowering glades; Here let us trace the matchless vale of Thames, Far winding up to where the Muses haunt, To Twickenham bowers; to Royal Hampton's pile, RICHMOND.
95 To Claremont's terraced heights and Esher's groves.
Enchanting vale' beyond whate'er the Muse Has of Achaia or Hesperia sung.
Oh, vale of bliss' oh, softly swelling hills On which the Power of Cultivation lies, And joys to see the wonders of his toil.
Heavens! what a goodly prospect spreads around, Of hills, and dales, and woods, and lawns, and spires, And glittering towns, and gilded streams, till all The stretching landscape into smoke decays 1” It is impossible to convey, by any combination of words, a more strictly accurate description of the view from Richmond Hill, than that we have just quoted from the pen of the poet of the Seasons; it is complete, filling the mind as the landscape now fills the eye.
VIEW From Richmond Hill.
If, however, the reader demands plain prose, we are happy in recollecting that one of the greatest masters of landscape painting with the pen, has favoured us with an outline : need we remind the reader that we allude to the Wizard of the North, in his exquisite tale “The Heart of Mid Lothian.
” “The carriage rolled rapidly onwards through fertile meadows, ornamented with splendid old oaks, and catching occasionally a glance of the majestic mirror of a broad and placid river.
After passing through a pleasant village, the equipage stopped on a commanding eminence, where the beauty of English 96 THE ENVIRONS OF LONDON.
landscape was displayed in its utmost lururiance.
Here the Duke alighted, and desired Jeanie to follow him.
They paused for a moment on the brow of a hill, to gaze on the unrivalled landscape which it presented.
A huge sea of verdure, with crossing and intersecting promontories of massive and tufted groves, was tenanted by numberless flocks and herds, which seemed to wander unrestrained and unbounded through the rich pastures.
The Thames, here turreted with villas, and there garlanded with forests, moved on slowly and placidly, like the mighty monarch of the scene, to whom all its other beauties were but accessories, and bore on his bosom a hundred barks and skiffs, whose white sails and gaily-fluttering pennons gave life to the whole.
The Duke of Argyle was of course familiar with this scene; but to a man of taste it must be always new.
Yet, as he paused and looked on this inimitable landscape, with the feeling of delight which it must give to the bosom of every admirer of nature, his thoughts naturally reverted to his own more grand, and scarce less beautiful, domain of Inverary.
” Turning with lingering steps and oft repeated “last looks” from this mount, our British Parnassus, and from the more than vale of Tempe which it overshadows, the eye not less delighted with the tranquil beauty of the scene, than the mind by the host of poetical, historical, and personal associ ations, called up by the objects we behold, we reluctantly tear ourselves away from the terrace, and direct our steps towards the entrance to the Great or New Park.
From the terrace in this noble inclosure, we can still enjoy, as we stroll leisurely along, delightful glimpses of the richly-verdant landscape lying at our feet.
The history of the inclosure of this park, and of the unpleasant circum stances attending it, we have obtained from Clarendon's History of the Rebellion.
“The king, who was excessively affected to hunting and the sports of the field, had a great desire to make a great park for red as well as for fallow deer, between Richmond and Hampton Court, where he had large wastes of his own, and great parcels of wood, which made it very fit for the use he designed it to ; but as some parishes had commons in those wastes, so many gentlemen and farmers had good houses and good farms intermingled with those wastes, of their own inheritance, or for their lives, or years; and, without taking of them into the park, it would not be of the largeness, or for the use RICHMONI).
His Majesty desired to purchase those lands, and was very willing to buy them upon higher terms than the people could sell them at to anybody else, if they had occasion to part with them; and thought it no unreasonable thing, upon those terms, to expect this from his subjects; and GATE, RICHMOND GREAT PARK.
so he employed his own surveyor, and other of his officers, to treat with the owners, many whereof were his own tenants, whose farms would at last expire.
The major part of the people were in a short time prevailed with, but many very obstinately refused; and a gentleman, who had the best estate, with a convenient house and gardens, would by no means part with it; and the king, being as earnest to compass it, it made a great noise, as if the king would take away men's estates at his own pleasure.
The Bishop of London, who was Treasurer, and the Lord Cottington, Chancellor of the Exchequer, were, from the first entering upon it, very averse from the design, not only for the murmur of the people, but because the purchase of the land, and the making a brick wall about so large a parcel of ground (for it is near ten miles about), would cost a greater sum of money than they could easily provide, or than they thought ought to be sacrificed to such an occasion; and the Lord Cottington (who was more solicited by the country people, and heard most of their murmurs,) took the business most to heart, and endeavoured by all the ways he could, and by frequent importunities, to divert His Majesty from pursuing it, and put all the delays he could well do in the bargains which were to be made; till the king grew very angry with him, and told him, “he was resolved to go through with it, and had already caused brick to be burned, and much of the wall to be built upon his o 98 THE ENVIRONS OF LONDON.
own land;’ upon which Cottington thought fit to acquiesce.
The building the wall before people consented to part with their land, or their common, looked to them as if by degrees they should be shut out from both, and increased the murmur and noise of the people who were not concerned, as well as of them who were; and it was too near London not to be the common discourse.
The archbishop (who desired exceedingly that the king should be possessed as much of the hearts of the people as was possible, at least that they should have no just cause to complain), meeting with it, resolved to speak with the king of it; which he did, and received such an answer from him, that he thought His Majesty rather not informed enough of the incon veniences and mischiefs of the thing, than positively resolved not to desist from it.
Whereupon one day he took the Lord Cottington aside (being informed that he disliked it, and, according to his natural custom, spake with great warmth against it), and told him, ‘he should do very well to give the king good counsel, and to withdraw him from a resolution, in which his honour and justice were so much called in question.
” Cottington answered him very gravely, “that the thing designed was very lawful, and he thought the king resolved very well, since the place lay so convenient for his winter exercise, and that he should by it not be compelled to make so long journeys as he used to do in that season of the year, for his sport; and that nobody ought to dissuade him from it.
’ The archbishop, instead of finding a concurrence from him, as he expected, seeing himself reproached upon the matter for his opinion, grew into much passion, telling him, “such men as he would ruin the king, and make him lose the affections of his subjects; that, for his own part, as he had begun, so he would go on, to dissuade the king from proceeding in so ill a counsel, and that he hoped it would appear who had been his counsellor.
’ Cottington, glad to see him so soon hot, and resolved to inflame him more, very calmly replied to him, ‘that he thought a man could not, with a good conscience, hinder the king from pursuing his resolutions; and that it could not but proceed from want of affection to his person; and he was not sure that it might not be high-treason.
” The other, upon the wildness of his discourse, in great anger asked him, ‘Why? from whence he had received that doctrine?” He said, with the same temper, “They, who did not wish the king's health, could not love him; and they, who went about to hinder his taking recreation, which preserved his health, might be thought, for aught he knew, guilty of the highest crimes.
” Upon RICHMOND GREAT PARK.
99 which the archbishop, in great rage, and with many reproaches, left him, and either presently or upon the next opportunity told the king, ‘that he now knew who was his great counsellor for making his park, and that he did not wonder that men durst not represent any arguments to the contrary, or let His Majesty know how much he suffered in it, when such principles in divinity and law were laid down to terrify them;’ and so recounted to him the conference he had with the Lord Cottington, bitterly inveighing against him and his doctrine, mentioning him with all the sharp reproaches imagin able, and beseeching His Majesty “that his counsel might not prevail with him", taking some pains to make his conclusions appear very false and ridiculous.
The king said no more, but, ‘My lord, you are deceived; Cottington is too hard for you, upon my word; he hath not only dissuaded me more, and given more reasons against this business, than all the men in England have done, but hath really obstructed the work, by not doing his duty as I commanded him; for which I have been very much displeased with him: you see how unjustly your passion hath transported you.
’ By which reprehension he found how much he had been abused, and resented it accordingly.
” The park was, however, enclosed, not without much clamour and dis content among the persons whose rights and interests were mainly affected by it, whose representations could not, any more than the wise counsel of Lord Cottington, prevail.
During the Usurpation, Richmond Great Park was given by the Parliament to the city of London, who surrendered it immediately after the Restoration, declaring that they had kept it with no other view than to preserve it for the use of His Majesty.
The subsequent occupation of this park by Sir R.
Walpole, is detailed in one of Horace Walpole's letters to his friend, Sir Horace Mann.
“Queen Anne had bestowed the rangership of Richmond New Park on her relations, the Hydes, for three lives, one of which was expired.
King George, fond of shooting, bought out the term of the last Earl of Clarendon, and of his son, Lord Cornbury; and frequently shot there, having appointed my eldest brother, Lord Walpole, ranger nominally, but my father in reality, who wished to hunt there once or twice a week.
The park had run to great decay under the Hydes, nor was there any mansion better than the common lodges of the keepers.
The king ordered a stone lodge, designed by Henry 100 THE ENVIRONS OF LONDON.
Earl of Pembroke, to be erected for himself; but merely as a banqueting house, with a large eating-room, kitchen, and necessary offices, where he might dine after his sport.
Sir Robert began another, of brick, for himself and the under-ranger, which by degrees he much enlarged, usually retiring thither from business, or rather, as he said himself, “to do more business than he could in town, on Saturdays and Sundays.
” On that edifice, on the thatched house, and other improvements, he laid out fourteen thousand pounds of his own money.
In the mean time, he hired a small house for himself, on the hill without the park; and in that small tenement the king did him the honour of dining with him more than once after shooting.
His Majesty, fond of private joviality, was pleased with punch after dinner, and indulged in it freely.
The duchess, alarmed at the advantage the minister might make of the openness of the king's heart in those convivial unguarded hours, and at a crisis when she was conscious Sir Robert was apprised of her inimical machinations in favour of Bolingbroke, enjoined the few Germans who accompanied the king at those dinners to prevent His Majesty from drinking too freely.
Her spies obeyed too punctually, and without any address.
The king was offended, and silenced the tools by the coarsest epithets in the German language.
He even, before his departure, ordered Sir Robert to have the stone lodge finished against his return;–no symptom of a falling minister, as has since been supposed Sir Robert then was, and that Lord Bolingbroke was to have replaced him, had the king lived to come back.
” Horace Walpole forgets to tell us that it was during the rangership of Sir Robert that the permission, or rather right, to a free passage through the park was first contested, and the ladder-gates taken away from the entrances.
The result of this rash and inconsiderate proceeding was an action at law against the Princess Amelia, which, after many delays, was tried at Kingston Assizes, before that upright judge, Sir Michael Foster.
Of this case, the following account was given by Lord Thurlow, then at the bar, in a letter to a nephew of the judge’s :— “DEAR SIR, “I write, at the hazard of your thinking me impertinent, to give you the pleasure of hearing that of your uncle, which in all probability you will not hear from him ; I mean the great honour and general esteem which he has gained, or rather accumulated, by his inflexible and spirited manner of trying the Richmond cause, which has been so long depending, and so differently treated by other RICHMOND GREAT PARK.
You have heard what a deficiency there was of the special jury, which was imputed to their backwardness to serve a prosecution against the princess.
He has fined all the absentees 20!, a piece.
They made him wait two hours, and at last resorted to a tales.
When the prosecutors had gone through part of the evidence, Sir Richard Lloyd, who went down on the part of the Crown, said that it was needless for them to go on upon the right, as the Crown was not prepared to try that, this being an indictment which could not possibly determine it, because the obstruction was charged to be in the parish of Wimbleton, whereas it was in truth in Mortlake, which was a distinct parish from Wimbleton.
They maintained their own poor, upheld their own church, and paid tithes to their own parson ; and Doomsday Book mentions Mortlake.
On the other side, it was said that Doomsday Book mentions it as a baron's fee, and not as a parish ; and that the survey in the time of Henry VIII.
mentions Wimbleton cum capellis suis anneris; and also that a grant of it in the time of Edward VI, makes a provision of tithes for the vicar to officiate in the chapel of Mortlake.
The judge turned to the jury, and said he thought they were come there to try a right, which the subject claimed, to a way through Richmond Park, and not to cavil about little, low objections, which have no relation to that right.
He said, it is proved to be in Wimbleton parish ; but it would have been enough if the place in which the obstruction was charged, had been only reported to be in Wimbleton, because the defendant and jury must have been as sensible of that reputation as the prosecutors; but had it not been so, he should have thought it below the honour of the Crown, after this business had been depending three assizes, to send one of their select counsel, not to try the right, but to hinge upon so small a point as this.
Upon which Sir Richard Lloyd made a speech, setting forth the gracious disposition of the king in suffering this cause to be tried, which he could have suppressed with a single breath, by ordering a nolle prosequi to be entered.
The judge said he was not of that opinion.
The subject is interested in such indictments as those for continuing nuisances, and can have no remedy but this, if their rights be encroached upon ; wherefore, he should think it a denial of justice to stop a prosecution for a nuisance, which his whole prerogative does not extend to pardon.
After which, the evidence was gone through ; and the judge summed up shortly, but clearly, for the prosecutors.
It gave me, who am a stranger to him, great pleasure to hear that we have one English judge, whom nothing can tempt or frighten, ready and able to uphold the laws of his country as a great shield of the rights of the people.
I presume that it will give you still greater pleasure to hear, that your friend and relation is that judge; and that is the only apology I have to make for troubling you with this.
“I am, dear Sir, “Your most humble Servant, “E.
” 102 THE ENVIRONS OF LONDON.
The result of this suit is well known: ladder gates were ordered to be put up at some of the entrances, which was done.
By a notice affixed to the public gates, “Passengers are required to take notice that the keepers in shooting deer can only take notice of the direction of the public footpaths;” an intimation looking very like a permission to shoot passengers who cannot read, or who may have the misfortune to lose their way.
The good taste, or judgment of a notice like this, affixed to a thorough fare, of which the public right has been solemnly established in a court of justice, may be questioned; it has the aspect, at least, of an indirect attempt to narrow a right whose assertion caused so much trouble and annoyance.
The sooner some less threatening notice be substituted, the better.
- º - ºº - --- --- ºsº RICH Monio Great pArth.
Richmond Great Park is eight miles in circumference, containing 2253 acres, magnificently timbered.
The park is of a gently undulated character, adorned by pieces of ornamental water.
The vast expanse of its plains, its venerable trees, and the solitude and seclusion, so near a great city, are its chief attractions.
On the west side of Richmond Green are the only remains of the old Palace of Sheen; consisting of an arched gateway, surmounted by an escutcheon nearly effaced, together with a wicket or lesser gate, both in a ruinous state.
Hard by this gate is the Theatre, a plain structure of brick.
10:3 The tourist will not fail, if time permit, to take a stroll along the Barge Walk, by the river side.
This is a delightful promenade, the moving panorama of the Thames on the one hand, and the rich pastoral meads of Richmond Old Park on the other.
This park is of a rather flat surface and very limited extent, compared with the New Park.
The grounds were laid out in the formal taste by Bridge man, but were altered by Browne.
The great Duke of Ormond had a lease of the lodge in this park, residing here until his impeachment, when he went to Paris.
The Observatory was built by Sir William Chambers in 1769.