Brett Volume 3: Chapter XXXIX - St. Leonards 1848

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Transcriber’s note[edit]

Chapter XXXIX - St. Leonards 1848[edit]

 Pg.305 
Commissioners meetings (pg. 305)
Sea Wall again damaged (pg. 305)
Costly repairs and underpinning (pg. 395)
Tenders for a new groyne (pg. 305)
High tide and amusing incident (pg. 305)
Hastings endeavouring to force St. Leonards under the Health of Town's Act (pg. 305)
Names of fly-proprietors licenced under the new bylaws (pg. 306)
The Magdalen parish officers and their transactions (pg. 306)
Election of medical officer by the Board of Guardians, and a retrospect of the magnificent pay of parish surgeons in 1757, 1784 and 1834 (pg. 306)
A Fever Ward built for £350 (pg. 306)
Acrimonious rivalry of Cox, the crier, and Lettine the bill-sticker (pg. 306)
Accidents and incidents (including serious hurt to "” the present writer) (pg. 306)
Three days Flower show, in consequence of wet weather (pg. 306)
Founding of Mechanics Institution (pg. 306)
The Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows (pg. 308)
Over £40 and £51 after sermons by C.D. Bell and G. D. St. Quintin (pg. 309)
Mr. Councillor Murton leaves St.Leonards and his business taken by Mr. (afterwards Councillor) Maggs (pg. 309)
Mr. Hempstead (Mr. Murton's assistant) established a prosperous business at 14 Grand Parade (pg. 309)
Mirage, meteors and other phenomena (pg. 309)
Discovery of a mineral spring (pg. 309)
French coast seen from Fairlight (pg. 309)
view of Fairlight Mill (pg. 309)
Description of objects seen by General Roy at Fairlight; namely, 67 churches, 5 castles, 1 abbey 2 promontories, 3 harbours, 3 bays, 2 towers, 13 market towns, 1 lighthouse, 16 barracks or camps, 6 signal stations and 3 military beacons (pg. 309)
Additional towers and other objects since Gen. Roy's observations in 1787 (pg. 309)
Curious coincidences and fulfilled predictions
A remarkable storm (pg. 310)
Meteorological musings (pg. 310)
Extracts from a local diary (including "Invitations to Early rising", "Arithmetical Riddles" "The Mariners Grave", "On the death of two children", "Better days", "English Christmas Home" "Long Credit", “Ode to Music", etc.) (pg. 313)
Heat and drought (pg. 315)
Numerous deaths (pg. 315)
The murder of a cook (pg. 315)
The Hastings News on Poetry (pg. 316)
Municipal elections (pg. 316)
Mr. Ransom on Mechanics Institution (pg. 316).

St. Leonards Commissioners[edit]

Chapter CXXXVII 1 Time 1848
In resuming my historical narrative, I commence the important and exceptionally eventful year 1848, as I have heretofore commenced its predecessors, with the transactions of the St. Leonards Commissioners, whose first quarterly meeting, on the 25th of March, was held.as usual at the Victoria Hotel. At that meeting the following comparatively few members of the board were present:— Alfred Burton (chairman), Decimus Burton, Capt. Davies, C, H. Southall, Samuel Chester and James Mann; all of whom have long since joined the great multitude of departed spirits. A committee’s report was received and adopted, in which it was stated that the violence of the wind on the 26th of February had caused the sea to commit great havoc in the parade wall, notwithstanding that the moon was a week past its full. From opposite to Victoria House [so named in consequence of our present Queen having resided there] to a distance of 180 feet westward, the wall had been undermined, and immediate action had to be taken to stop up the gaps with fagots and to employ Messrs. Hughes and Hunter to underpin the superstructure to varying depths of three to four feet. The additional labour of opening the beach thrown up by succeeding tides had so protracted the work that it had only just been completed, the expense of which was £102 1s. 5d. The shingle now appeared in considerable abundance, but the committee were still apprehensive of further injury being done. They therefore applied to Mr. Major Vidler, who had had some experience of the action of the sea upon the foreshore, and his report was now presented. The committee had also examined the groynes with a view to their greater efficiency, and they recommended that the easternmost groyne be lowered nearest to the wall and raised toward the foot, in addition to being generally repaired, Also that the larger groyne be lengthened and raised from about the centre to the south end. They further recommended that the raddle (hop-pole) groyne be lowered 18 inches at the upper end and lengthened by an additional fifty feet; the whole of the work to be completed as quickly as possible.

A somewhat amusing incident occurred in connection with one of the high tides that caused destruction of the parade wall, and I think it must have been the one just referred to. A lady residing at the West Marina had in her service a black boy as page, and as his dormitory was on the ground floor, he was so startled by the inrush of water from the sea, that he ran out of the house in no other garment than his night-shirt, shouting ” murder.” Wading through the flood, some persons who had heard the alarm commenced a search for both the victim and perpetrator of the murder, but nowhere else could they be found bat in the imagination of the affrighted Ethiopian.

But, to return to the doings of the Commissioners, their clerk called attention to the endeavour of the Hastings authorities to include St. Leonards in the adoption of the Health of Towns Act, and pointed out the injurious effect such a scheme would have on the rights of bondholders as well as on the owners and occupiers of property within the area of the Commissioners’ Improvement Act. It was therefore resolved to draw up a statement and submit the same to Lord Morpeth. At the next meeting on the 24th of June, the clerk reported that the Public Health Act had passed the Commons, and that as then framed it could only apply to a city, borough, town or place in which a local Act was in force, and on petition of not fewer than one-tenth of the ratepayers, and by a provisional order of the General Board of Health confirmed by Act of Parliament. The Commissioners present at this last-named meeting were Messrs. Greenough (chairman) A. and D. Burton, R. Deudney, Adams, Chester, Mann and Southall. The other business transacted at the two meetings included the passing of resolutions to affix Bye-laws boards at the Archway and steps leading to East Ascent; to pay £150 interest to bondholders and the remainder that was due as soon as sufficient money had been collected, for which defaulting ratepayers were to be summoned; to have the footway from 1 to 12 East Ascent repaved, with York stone by Hughes and Hunter at a cost,of £48 13s. 6d., as soon as the promised subscriptions had been received, namely, £2 each from W. F. Burton, Miss Morley and Mr, A. Burton; £4 each from Messrs. Beck; Carey, Mann and Chester; £1 from Miss Johnson, and 30/- from Mr. Chamberlin; to appoint Mr. B. Tree as an additional coal meter; and to order Mr. Streeter to desist from keeping pigs on his premises at 20 East Ascent.

At their meeting on the 14th of September, the Commissioners received the committee's report to the effect that the groynes opposite to Victoria house (once the residence of her present Majesty) and at the east end of the Colonnade, as recommended by Mr Vidler, had not been constructed, in consequence of the want of funds, but that owing to the boisterous condition of the weather in the preceding August, the sea-wall had again been injured, and the process of underpinning as far as the Reading-room had been rendered necessary. Tenders for the two new groynes had, however, been advertised for in the Hastings News and the Sussex Express, with the following results:— Wm, Winter, for both groynes, £237 6s.; John Carey, £286; Richard Selden, jun., (with oak piles) £248; and James Hutchinson and Co., £248 19s, Mr. Winter’s tender was accepted, he having consented to use oak piles, for an additional £10, and to take a bond for £100 in part payment. Mr. Murton had also offered to lend £140 on bond. These two oak groynes were soon constructed, and at their December meeting, the Commissioners expressed their satisfaction at finding that a large quantity of beach had already accumulated between the Library and the church. The committee regretted, however, that continual repairs to the raddle (hop-pole and faggot) groyne had put the town to considerable expense, and they recommended its replacement with an oak groyne, which Mr. Winter would construct at the same price and on the same conditions as those previously contracted for. Supporting this recommendation was a letter from Mr. Major Vidler, dated Nov. 2 1848. in which the Pevensey 119 St  Pg.306 suryeyor (formerly of Hastings, and originally of Battle) expressed his fears that if the pole-groyne, already going to decay, was suffered to go down entirely, the wall at the west end would be in danger of serious injury. He knew from his own experience that it was an endless expense to keep such groynes in repair, and had found it both better and cheaper to flank them with thin planks, adding a few stronger piles here-and-there. The committee’s recommendation was, however, adopted, Mr. Winter accepting a bond of £100 in part payment, and Mr. Adams also lending £100 on bond to assist the project. But, as will be shown further on, the Commissioners. were not even then relieved, of their money difficulties — their burrowing powers, being limited — nor of their anxieties in respect to the sea defences. They had paid during the quarter £44 to Hughes and Hunter for repairs of wall, had contracted for other repairs and defences to the extent of £489, and now proposed to spend £134 for a new groyne, to be designated No. 5.

At the same December meeting the first batch of fly-proprietors were licensed under the provisions of the new bye-laws. These were John Broadhurst (father of the present fly-proprietors of that name), Stephen Goodwin (who still plies his honest calling on the St. Leonards stand), Charles Gain (who still follows his ??? occupation) James Goodsell (who died some years ago), Stephen Eldridge (ditt), Thomas Burgess (a builder and a Wesleyan, who stood by while a “brother” accused a tradesman of breaking the fourth commandment by sweeping the front of his house,on a Sunday morning, and then went straight to his stables to execute any orders that might have come in for his flys), William Chamberlin (the respected lessee of the Royal Victoria Hotel, who, at the age of 84, died in Brighton, October 2nd, 1868), William Smith (the man who excavated, and during many years lived in, the St. Leonards’ Caves), Edward Pierce (the first linen draper in St. Leonards, and afterwards a lodging house keeper, fly-proprietor and money-lender, and who died on February 6th, 1855, at the age of 64), and James, Emary (the son of James Emary, sen., who was Mayor of Hastings in 1840-51). As here shown, all of the above persons, excepting-Goodwin and Gain, have long since passed over to the silent majority. It has been stated that a flyman whose name is not included in the above enumeration came to what is now St. Leonards in the autumn of 1827, when there was a considerable quantity of snow on the ground, and as there is a fall of snow whilst I am writing, on the present 17th of March, it reminds me that I was appealed to a few days ago to corroborate or deny the accuracy of the said flyman’s reminiscence. The following extract from my diary will serve me for a reply.— ”October 13th [1827]. Very snowy at Hastings, and along the south coast generally.”

Parochial Officers - Poor Law Guardians - Rival Bill Stickers[edit]

In pursuance of the heretofore practice, I turn from the transactions of the St. Leonards Commissioners to the doings of the St. Leonards and St. Mary Magdalen parochial officials. The former held their first vestry at the Railway Terminus Inn on the 27th of March, and passed a resolution that in consequence of the roads on the front line being in such an unsatisfactory condition with the use of beach, the surveyors for the ensuing year were to repair only with broken stone. They also gave instructions to the vestry-clerk to enter an appeal at the next quarter-sessions against the assessment of the borough rate; also that in all future assessments for the several rates, twenty per cent. and insurances were to be deducted for houses, and ten per cent. for lands. What was the decision in the appeal against the borough rate I have no record to show, but in accounts presented at the meeting there were items of £18 4s. and. £23 9s. 11d. paid to Shorter and Philips as law expenses.

The parochial officers of St. Mary Magdalen convened no fewer than eight vestry meetings during 1848, and those meetings were attended, collectively, by as many as 111 parishioners. These meetings were separately held at the Saxon Hotel, the Warrior’s Gate Inn and the Horse and Groom, and were generally of an animated character. The officials for that year were James Beck and Nelson Andrews, overseers; Charles Neve and George Voysey, surveyors; William Noon and Newton Parks, assessors; and James Everett, collector. The officials nominated for the ensuing year were John Painter, Charles M. Thorpe, John Peerless, Richard Lamb and William Chamberlin, as overseers; Edward Farncomb and Richard Lamb as surveyors; John Phillips, vestry-clerk; William Noon and Newton Parks, inbound assessors; and Messrs. Farncomb and Lamb, outbound assessors. At the second vestry, held at the same place on the 12th of October, the only business transacted was that of passing a borough-rate of 34d in the £, and a highway-rate at 3d. Of the officials then present “not one is left to tell the tale,“ and the same may be said of those who attended the meeting as unofficial parishioners, namely, W. M. Eldridge, Henry Went Tree and others. As another instance of the inroads which death makes in a local community during a period of forty years, it may be stated that of the persons who made up the 111 attendances, only five in 1881 are now known to the writer as being still in the flesh. These are Newton Parks, George Voysey, Frederick Tree, James Beck and T. B. Brett. The rates figured for that year were two for the poor (6d, and 5d.), two for the highways at 3d., and one for the borough at 8d. Among the more special business was a resolution for an application to be made to the Poor-law Board to appoint at the next election a second guardian for the parish, in consequence of the increase of population. Another special feature was the appointment of committee, consisting of Walter Inskipp, Stephen Putland, Nelson Andrews and the surveyors, to superintend the formation and repairs proposed to be done by Mr. Eversfield in the whole of the roads, preparatory to dedication.

I now touch on a few matters in connection with the Board of Guardians and the Union Workhouse. At one of their April meetings, surgeon Fry, of St. Leonards, with exellent(sic) testimonials. was elected as Medical Officer for the the(sic) western district at a salary of £15 — a somewhat more liberal stipend than the five pounds given by the St. Leonards overseers to Mr. Ticehurst in 1834, the same to include medicine as well as attendance. Even this would be a liberal salary for young St. Leonards to give in 1834 when compared with what old Hastings gave in 1757. It was in the latter named year that Mr. Samuel Munn, surgeon and apothecary, contracted with the overseers of All Saints to supply the poor of the parish with medicine and attendance at three guineas per annum. But small as was this pittance, it appears that Mr. Munn did not starve upon it; or if he did it took him 27 years to do it, seeing that his death was not announced until the last week in July, 1784. Albeit the £14 offered to Mr. Fry in 1848 was a goodly advance on the three guineas to Mr. Munn in 1757 and the five pounds to Mr, Ticehurst in 1834. And if my readers are at all solicitous to know the names of the Guardians who were so liberal on the last occasion, they were T. Arkcoll (chairman), A. Harvey, jun., M. Kelland, Hi. Polhill, I. Arkcoll, J. Smith, R. Deudney, Earl Waldegrave, H. Beck, T. Ross, S. Putland and H. Foster. There were imbeciles in those days as there are now — not the Guardians, please! but the lunatics — and these pitiable creatures were confined in the Asylum at Bethnal Green. As the Guardians too often sat with closed doors it was not always possible to know what were their transactions. We got to know, however, a good many of them, and if we did not guess the rest with mathematical precision the fault was not ours. But on “'“ will devolve the task of giving either originally or by reproduction such accounts only as are reliable. It was known that on the 11th of May Mr. John Peerless took his seat as the newly elected Guardian for St. Leonards, and that plans for a new fever ward were to be sent to the Poor-Law Board. Two months later — the Government officials having in the meantime travelled the circle of red-tape — a letter was received authorising the borrowing of £390 for the erection of the proposed fever ward, and with that permission a resolution was passed for Mr. Walter Inskipp to prepare specifications. This being done, and contracts taken by Mr. George Winter for masonry and Mr. Richard Cramp for bricklaying, the Guardians complained at their first meeting in October that the work was progressing very slowly. They, however, on the representation of the architect, drew cheques for £20 and £50 to the two builders respectively.

To the demented persons already chargeable to the Union was added an idiot named Beny, who on Sunday the 28th of May, had attempted to destroy himself. He was living in a cottage at Rocklands with his relatives who, in time to save his life, discovered him hanging by his neck. He was afterwards removed to the Workhouse.

Some little amusement was afforded the poor-law Guardians at their sitting on Sept. 7th, notwithstanding that they affected to be as demure as any grave and reverend seniors, Mr. Lettine complained that Mr. Cox had torn down the notices which he (Mr. Lettine) had posted by instructions of Mr. Inskipp, Clerk to the Guardians, Mr. Lettine had no hesitation in saying that Mr. Cox was a very greedy character, and they all knew that a coveteous man was never satisfied. He hoped that the Guardians would administer to Cox a gentle reproof. Whether the Guardians complied with Mr. Lettine’s request I do not now remember, but L know that Cox jealously guarded what he considered to be his exclusive right as a public crier and bill-sticker. His appointment to the former avocation was of course a settled matter, but to his monopoly of the latter employment there were frequent challenges and disputations. The sympathy of the public was mostly on behalf of Lettine, who was a quiet inoffensive man, one of the “lightweights“ of humanity, and of respectable exterior.

He was also the parish-clerk of All Saints, His rival,James Cox, was parish-clerk of St. Clement's, and besides being a crier and bill-poster he followed the trade of a cooper, and was the owner of property. Poor Johnny Lettine, as he was sympathetically called, seemed therefore to have good grounds fer describing his rival “as a greedy character.” Cox continued in existence 13 years after Lettine’s appeal, and at his death his body was placed side that of his wife at Halton. When Lettine terminated his earthly career I have at present no ready means of knowing. I turn me now from the rival claims of Cox and Lettine to other personal matters of a less contentious character.

# In the month of January, Mr, Sutton, to the regret of the St. Leonards people, was removed from the Bopeep (now West Marina) railway station to be station-master at Portsmouth. His place was taken by Mr. Cane, whose wife was a daughter of Mr. F. Emary.

On the 10th of March Lord John Russell left St. Leonards for London, to return next day, with Lady Russell and two children, to the Victoria Hotel.

On the 5th of May was announced the death, at Battle, of Edward Crowhurst, more familiarly known as ”Old Ned.” He was formerly a gamekeeper to Sir Godfrey Webster’s estate, and during many later years he was porter at Battle Abbey. Some elderly Hastings people may remember the aged man who, with his silvery locks seemed to be a part of that ancient building. I do not know his age, but he was certainly not so old as Isaac Ingall, who died at the age of 120, and was more than 90 years in the service of the Websters at Battle Abbey. Several of Crowhurst’s relatives were buried at Bexhill, and a descendent named Jesse Crowhurst has since (May or June, 1888), died at Battle, aged 76. A Richard de Croherste was one of those in the 13th century who feoffed the estate to the Abbey. Coeval with the death of Jesse Crowhurst in 1858 was that of Mrs. Taylor, late of Telham Farm, Battle, who at the age of 90 could read and sew without spectacles, and who had always lived in Battle parish.

On his 32nd birthday anniversary May 30th, T. B. Brett went with his band to Rye to play at the anniversary celebration of the Prince of Wales Independent Order of Oddfellows, who marched in procession to church, where a sermon was preached by the Rev. H. Cooper, and afterwards to their club-room to dinner. The scene was again visited by this one of the two surviving bandsmen on the 9th of Jan., 1889, after a period of 40½ years, and at the end of a 20 miles’ walk.

On Friday, June 9th, Mr. Joseph Avery, one of Mr. Carey’s workmen, had his right hand frightfully crushed while assisting to drive for a groyne on the beach near the South Colonnade, St. Leonards. He was taken to a surgery in the Marina where Messrs, Gilbert and Fry amputated three fingers, leaving him with only his thumb and fourth finger, thus making it doubtful if he would ever to able to again work at his trade as a carpenter. A subscription list, headed by a donation from the Rev. G. D. St. Quintin, was started on his behalf, and being a member of the Adelaide Lodge of Odd fellows, he and his wife were kept from want during his incapacity. He was, however, a man of strong constitution, and lost no unnecessary time in getting to work at his trade, which he followed to within year or two of his death, which October, 1883, at the age of 86.

At mid-day on the 23rd of July a lady named Robertson was preparing to ride out with her husband and sister from 6 Verulam place (now the Grand Hotel) when the horse on which she was mounted started off suddenly towards St. Leonards. When near the Archway a waggoner attempted to stop the animal with his whip, which caused the horse to swerve and throw the lady to the ground. She was taken up with a severe injury to her head and conveyed to a surgery on the Marina, thus making the fifth serious accident there attended to during the portion of the year to that date, But there were others yet to come for which the skill of Mr. Fry was again to be put to the test. On the 8th of October, the day being Sunday, Mr. Painter, a well known resident of St. Leonards, fell to the ground on leaving church and fractured one of his kneecaps. On the same day a boy named Friend fell from a pile-driving machine, to the top of which he had climbed, near the Victoria Library, and sustained severe injuries. The latter was taken to Mr. Fry’s surgery, and the former was attended by Dr. Cumming. With these casualties, together with his duties as surgeon for the western parishes, medical officer of the Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows, and surgeon to the South-Eastern Railway — at which last named the accidents were very numerous - Mr. Fry had enough to do; yet his promptitude and surgical skill appeared to be equal to each exigency. Even I, who had been pressed into service on one or two occasions of accidents at the railway works, to assist Mr. Fry, could not altogether escape from the remedial sanctum of his surgery. I had been writing business letters of some importance, and fearing that I had only the chance afforded by a sharp run to the post-office to get my letters off by that night’s mail, I set out at my greatest speed down the East Ascent to reach the letter-box, then at the Victoria Library. From the iron railing which divides the parade from the road a bar had been taken out for the convenience of Bath-chairs, and for the removal of pianofortes to and from the Library. This bar had been lying on the ground for several years, and the wide opening was thus always freely accessible; but, unknown to the public, the Commissioners had given instructions (in consequence, It was thought, of a drove of oxen getting on to the parade) for the said bar to be put up immediately after every necessity for its removal. ‘This having been done on the night in question, I ran, in the darkness, with great force against it, mv letters being scattered and my body being thrown back into the road. Stunned by the violent concussion, I was for a few moments quite unconscious, but soon found myself being picked up by a coachman, who, seeing what had happened, stopped his horses and got down from his box to my assistance. Mr. Shaw, the old Letter-carrier (who was also postclerk), hearing inside the office that something was wrong, and perhaps anticipating an accident as the result of the Commissioners’ recent mandate, hastened out and picked up my letters, while I was being led by two kind friends to Mr. Fry’s surgery. On examination it was found that no bones were broken; yet, although as Mr. Fry assured me, I had been struck on the strongest part of my chest, it was marvellous even to him that my ribs were not fractured. The blow was so terrific that the breath seemed to be knocked out of me, and consciousness temporally suspended. It was indeed a case in which

St. Leonardensis lost his senses,
Nor knew where to find them,
Till they came home, no more to roam,
With ill-effects behind them.

Yes! the violent conflict between flesh and iron, although less serious in its results than might have been expected, did not leave the weaker antagonist entirely unscathed, there having been occasional reminders of the event throughout the subsequent period of forty years.

The year was unusually fruitful in accidents and personal maladventures, and to these I will further apply my narrative of events before I treat of the more special matters and broader issues.

On the 29th of May, an afternoon train while proceeding from Lewes to Hastings ran over two horses which had strayed on to the line at Pevensey and cut them to pieces, whilst the train itself experienced only a slight shock.

On the 17th of June, a man named Timothy Chapman, while engaged in some excavations near the Fountain Inn, St. Leonards, was suddenly buried an a quantity of loose earth which fell upon him. Another man, who was working with him, narrowly escaped a similar fate. An hour and a half elapsed before the luckless man could be got out, and when extricated he was found to be greatly exhausted, very cold and nearly suffocated. Messrs. Gilbert and Fry were quickly in attendance, and under their treatment, the sufferer — who had no bones broken — quickly recovered.

On the 28th of September, the autumn Horticultural Exhibition was held in the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms, and continued for three days in consequence of wet weather, As “it’s an ill wind that blows no one good,” so on this occasion Brett's St. Leonards Band enjoyed the triplicy of play and pay.

Founding of the Mechanics' Institution[edit]

On the 3rd of October a numerously attended meeting was held for the purpose of founding a St. Leonards Mechanics Institution. The Pg.307 subject had been previously discussed by Messrs. Brett and Hook in a private manner by Messrs. Brett and Hook at a time when the latter was receiving music lessons from the former. Each had been a member of the Hastings Institution, then in High street, but had not sufficient leisure to walk three or four miles (to and from) to attend the meetings. Mr. W. Chamberlin, of the Victoria hotel, who was a valuable member of the Hastings Institute, being spoken to on the matter, promised his influence and membership if some two or three few persons could be got together to take the initiative. A private meeting was quickly held at Mr. How's residence which was attended by Mr. Messrs. C. J. How, T. B. Brett, Philip Hook and Frederick Gausden. The use of the new National Schoolroom was granted by the for a public meeting, which was convened by circular, and on the 3rd of October, as above stated, a large attendance was the result. Mr. Chamberlin was voted to the chair, and in his opening remarks, said observed that knowledge was the greatest safeguard of property (doubtless, having in his mind the revolutionary tendencies of the period), for, whilst it was the wisdom of the poor man to get knowledge, it was the interest of the wealthy to facilitate the work in all possible ways. Mr. J. J. Ryall, in proposing the first resolution, remarked that the great distance of the Hastings Institution operated as a serious drawback to the enrolment of young men in that very useful society. He would therefore move that a kindred society be formed, to be called "The St. Leonards Co-operative Institution for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge among the Working Classes," which classes he affirmed, included not only those day labourers, so-called, but also such as depended on their hands or their head for the means of subsistence. Mr. T. B. Brett, in response seconding the resolution, held himself to be a working-man, under Mr. Ryall's description and felt a deep interest in the movement, but being no orator, claimed the indulgence of the company while he read to them an address which he had prepared for the occasion. (This address will be found in the separate "History of the Mechanics' Institution").

A lengthy discussion followed on the name proposed by Mr. Ryall, Messrs. Smith, Putland, Nicholas and others advocating the propriety of calling it a "Mechanics' Institution" that there might not be any ambiguity. Mr. Ryall consented to alter his proposition accordingly, and it was then carried without dissent. Mr. W. Walter congratulated the assembly on its unaminity, and remarked that it was 21 years since Mr. Burton laid the foundation-stone of the town, whilst for 15 years nothing had been done for the people's intellectual improvement. He proposed that a committee of twelve be formed to carry out the views of the meeting. This being was seconded by Mr. Gausden, and carried unanimously, the appointed committee were Messrs. Chamberlin, Putland, Brett, Gausden, Ryall, Smith, Neve, Walter, How, Hook, Mann and Carey. Mr. H. Sinden presented "Turnbull on Education" as a first volume for the library. On the proposition of Mr. Pg.308 Brett, a vote of thanks was passed to the Rev. J. D. St. Quintin for kindly granting the use of the excellent room.About 60 persons gave in their names for membership.The next meeting was held in the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms.

Mechanics' Institution - Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows[edit]

But very little time was lost by the provisional committee in getting to work, it being deemed to be the wisest course to strike the iron while it was hot. In the following week, therefore, those who had promised to become members together with others, met the committtee in the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms, when it was reported that the only building that could be hired for the Institution was part of the old school rooms at Mercatoria, which Mr. Carey?[Notes 1] was using as a furniture warehouse, and which he consented to give up for £10 per year until more eligible premises could be obtained. It was decided to accept this liberal offer, and on Nov. 3rd, the first general meeting took place, when 90 members were enrolled, some two or three persons with seemingly undue, but perhaps pardonable haste, striving to be No. 1 on the list. Among the company thus got together were some who had been mere loungers in the street, and

'Twas thus in a measure
Already a pleasure
To know the good work was begun;
Where nothing was dreary
But prospect most cheery,
On all that had yet to be done


Advancing to the table, Mr. Austen said he had much pleasure in presenting the new institution with the guinea which his opponents had talked so much about during the Council election. The money was received with applause, but that sort of demonstration was increased when Mr. Chamberlain laid on the table a ten-pound note as the united gift of himself and his father. In electing the officers, the presidency was left open, but was afterwards filled by Mr. Alfred Burton. The Vice-presidents were Mr. Hollond, Mr. D. Burton, Capt. Hall, W. Chamberlain, J. Putland and J. Austin. The treasurer was J. Carey and the secretaries were C. T. How and W. Walter. The first committee of 18 were T. B. Brett, J. J. Ryall, R. Coleman, A. and H. Parks, H & J. Beck, F. R. Gausden, W. Orton, S. Chester jun., S. Putland, jun., G. Voysey, S. Stubberfield, G. Carey, C. Neve, A. Sellman, C. Lane and J. Smith.

Although grim death has made havoc in the ranks of that first committee, nearly a third of them were in existence in 1897 (50 years later), namely H. and A Parks, A. Sellman, T. B. Brett, and (probably) R. Coleman. As the said institution when this History is being revised has reached its jubilee year whilst many others of its class have died out, the foregoing particulars should not be out of place.

The present writer, at the time of moving for the founding of the said institution, was filling the office of Permanent Secretary to the Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows, which held its sittings at the Warrior’s Gate Inn; and it so happened that the secretarial work of the one association and the promotion of the other had to be carried on, as it were, conjointly. Eight days antecedently to Mr. Banks’s lecture the members of the Adelaide Lodge celebrated their ninth anniversary with a dinner at the Warrior's Gate Inn, which was then kept by Mr, (afterwards Councillor) George Cuthbert. On that occasion Mr. Peter Pagden, of the White-rock Brewery (now the Palace Hotel) was chairman, and Mr. (afterwards Councillor) John Austin was the vices chairman, Mr. Pagden was ”a man of infinite jest,” and by his conduct as chairman added greatly to the enjoyment of the large company present. As the said lodge of Oddfellows has recently attained to its jubilee existence, and as there are but a very few of the members now alive who belonged to the association forty-two years ago, it may be of interest to the present members, if to no one else, to reproduce so much of the report of the anniversary dinner of 1848 as will show the condition of the lodge at that period. In describing the post-prandial proceedings, the newspaper report made it known that

“Mr, Clitheroe proposed the health of Secretary T.B, Brett, and thanks for his assiduous attentions, his application of time, and the clear and precise account which he is ever ready to lay before the lodge in the most intelligent manner.” (Applause).

Mr. Brett, in returning thanks, said it was on such occasions that he seized the opportunity of submitting his annual report; and it was his happiness to say that at no previous anniversary since the formation of the lodge had the society been in a more prosperous and promising condition. It had gone on from year to year amidst many changes, but each anniversary had found it in a better state, although not quite so satisfactory as was now the case. The members had been pleased to compliment him for some reforms that had been wrought mainly through his instrumentality, and it was, of course, gratifying to him to find that his calculations had been realised, The amount of funds in 1845 was £150, and at the present moment, after paying a sum of £89 for the relief of sick members, they had a balance of £300, [Applause], That, he thought, was a subject for congratulation, inasmuch as the sum had not been got together by any increase in the scale of individual payments, but by a system of retrenchment in the general expenses. It should be borne in mind that very considerable sums had been paid to sick and distressed members, averaging something like £80 or £90 a year, and that up to the year 1844, the lodge could boast of a fund of only £48, Thus, in four succeeding years, the fund had realised a sixfold increase, and without the levying of an additional impost, He felt a pleasure in stating that it was in contemplation to reduce the scale of charges for the initiation of members, He knew not to what extent nor in what way, but if he had been rightly informed the proposal had emanated from some members of the Victoria Lodge. If adopted, as he confidently felt it would be, the members generally would be benefited, and young men who might be the more induced to join the Order would of course share in the benefit.

On previous occasions, he had invited public attention to the great utility of benefit societies in general and of the Order of Oddfellows in particular. He had endeavoured to explain its benevolent principles, its most salient merits, its moral and social obligations, its tendency to relieve parochial burthens, and its claims upon society at large. It would be sufficient on that occasion to state that the Manchester Unity was established nearly forty years ago [about 1810], and that the number of lodges had increased to about 3,800, with a total of 330,000 members. The money distributed among the sick and distressed in one year was £300,000. The Unity’s ranks had been joined by 130 Members of Parliament and 600 ministers of various denominations, The entire unity could also boast of 9,000 honorary members, He need only add that in those statistics alone were volumes of material for calm reflection. In conclusion, he would express a hope that Oddfellowship would be more and more appreciated, and that the world would rally round its standard, [Prolonged applause].”

At the conclusion of the Secretary’s remarks Mr. Elford, who had presided at the pianoforte, was obliged to leave to fulfil another engagement, and Mr. Brett, with his guitar, took the place of the accompanyist. He also sang one of his original songs, specially written for those anniversaries, and afterwards published in the Universal Melodist, The Pg.309 words of the particular song referred to were

“All hail happy meeting, right weicome art thou!
All hail to the pleasure that beams on us now
All hail to the FRIENDSHIP, the TRUTH and the LOVE,
Those emblems of happiness drawn from above.

“'Tis here that we find, free from turmoil and strife,
The balm for our care and the comfort of life;
'Tis here that within us a feeling doth glow,
Which binds us in harmony; banishing woe.

“Tis well thus to spend a few bright, sunny hours
Where laurels of peace and goodwill deck the bowers;
'Tis well thus to dwell where such scenes do attend,
And quaff cups of joy with a good and true friend.

“Then let us he merry and let us be wise;
The poor and distressed may we never dispise(sic);
But really and truly rejoice with each other,
And then shall we merit the title of brother.

“All hail happy meeting, right welcome art thou !
All hail to the pleasure that beams on us now !
All hail to the FRIENDSHIP, the TRUTH and the LOVE,
Those emblems of happiness drawn from above! ”

General Roy and his Fairlight Observatory[edit]

On the occasion of the Jubilee of the Church Missionary Society in 1848, the Rey.C.D. Bell preached a sermon in the St. Leonards church, which realised an offertory of £40 4s,

Towards the close of the year an excellent townsman, in the person of Mr. G. A. Murton, took his departure from St. Leonards to some other locality. By such a removal a Council seat became vacant, he having represented the West Ward as a Town Councillor. He carried with him the good wishes of all who knew him, and which he had secured by his manly bearing, his courteous demeanour, and his honourable dealings as a tradesman. He had been 17 years established at 36 Marina as a chemist and druggist, and during a portion of the time he generously supplied the Infirmary with medicines at a great reduction in price. He was succeeded in the business by Mr, Maggs, an equally courteous and worthy member of society, who also at one time was a representative of the West Ward or. the Council Board. Long may Mr. Maggs live to enjoy the esteem of his fellow townsmen! He died suddenly of the stoppage of the heart, in 1902. On Sunday the 9th of July the Rey. C. H. Smith preached two farewell sermons in St. Leonards parish church, where he had held a curacy for a considerable time, and which he was then relinquishing for an appointment at All Saints, Hastings. Those who have read the memoirs of the Rev. W. W. Hume, ???????? will remember that Mr. Smith was one of the talented lecturers in 1851 on the occasion of the so-called Papal Aggression.

Also on the 8th of October, sermons were preached in the St. Leonards Church by the Revs. G. D. St. Quintin and A. F. Pettigrew. The offertory on that occasion was for the St. Leonards National Schools, and the amount collected was £51 8s. 7d.

Another townsman who came to the front in 1848 was M. Emile Groslobb, who, as my readers may suppose, was a naturalised German. He, with his wife, resided in a small house adjoining the Quadrangle Chapel on the West Hill at St. Leonards, the said house being then better known as “The Bird Cage,” but afterwards as ”Eden Villa,” Mr.Groslobb was a man of genial temperament, and one with whom a person might at any time have a pleasant gossip. Mrs. Groslobb was generally believed to be considerably her husband’s senior in age, but very much his junior in affability. I mention this latter disparity because it was one of my achievements in commercial dealings and visits to secure more courtesy than Mrs. Groslobb’s pecularity would permit her to bestow on other tradespeople. But to my narrative, howsoever brief! Noticing a peculiar taste in the water from which he obtained his supply, Mr. Groslobb made some excavations in the rear of his house where he suspected there was some sort of leakage, when he was surprised to find that he had tapped a mineral spring. He immediately conveyed some of the water to Mr. Murton, the respected chemist who, as before shown, was about to leave St. Leonards, after 17 years’ residence. The water was analysed by that gentleman, and a bottle of the same was taken to London by Dr. Burton for a similar purpose. The analysis proved to be in all respects satisfactory, and Mr. Groslobb was advised to erect a room in his garden for a Chalybeate spa. This was effected in the following year, as will be shown farther on.

One more personal reminiscence which I desire not to pass over is that of the late Mr. Robert Hempsted. This gentleman, I believe, first came to St. Leonards as an assistant to Mr. Murton, who has been mentioned as the worthy chemist who left the town in 1848. It was then that Mr. Hempsted hired the Saxon House — now 14 Grand parade — and commenced business on his own account as a chemist and druggist. This house was built for the architect, Mr. Walter Inskipp, and afterwards became successively the property of W. P, Beecham, Benj. Tree, Henry Went Tree, and Robert Hempsted. It was variously employed asa furniture warehouse by John Mitchell, a Berlin-wool shop by Mrs.Soane, and a chemist’s shop by Robert Hempsted. A letter from the last-named gentleman is lying before me dated “ Rose Cottage, Somersham, Hunts., 13th January, 1879,” and reads as follows :—

“ My dear Sir. — If you will kindly call on Mr. Mann, he will pay you the advanced subscription for the Gazette up to Dec. 1879. I am sure I deeply sympathise with you in your domestic affliction. I knew your deceased son Arthur as a boy long ago, I continue to read your Jubilee History of St. Leonards with great interest. You are probably aware that in 1848 I hired of Old Ben Tree, as he was familiarly called, Saxon House, where there had been a Berlin wool shop, to reach which a flight of six steps had to be ascended. I altered it and put in a plate glass window — the first one in St. Leonards — and insured the same in the office of which T. B, Brett is agent. I left the business in 1864, Again sympathising with you in your sorrow, and wishing you happiness and prosperity for the future, I remain . yours very truly, ROBERT HEMPSTED.”

If it be not censurably egotistic, I may say that Mr. Hempsted advertised some of his specialities successively in Brett's Penny Press and Brett's Gazette for ten years; and, like the late Mr. J.D. Kennard, admitted that for his success in business , he owed much to the means thus adopted. The following copy of one of Mr. Hempsted’s advertisements will show that our tradesmen of a quarter of a century back were not unequal to the occasion.

A Cross Trick (Acrostic).”
Crowned with sweet garlands, clad in lightsome vest,
Lo! blushing summer cometh from the west!
Arise ye youths, your varied sports to chase;
Research the woods, or run the merry race.
Keep strokes as glide ye o’er the moonlit main,
Sweet youths and maidens, summer comes again,

Comes with her fragrance and her varied hues,
O’er the wide earth, so bounteous to diffuse;
Rolls her bright chariot on the zephyr’s air,
Nourishing, strengthening, making all things fair.

Some in the works of art perhaps delight;
Of these each man may have a pleasing sight.
Let them the Exhibition visit then,
Vast are its wonders—all the works of men;
Each could employ the ready writer’s pen.
Now, if you’d pluck such blossoms free from thorns,
Try first CLARK’s SOLVENT, which will cure your corns

Mr. Hempsted, I regret to say, died in_retirement some years ago, at his residence in Huntingdonshire.

Having alluded to Mr. Hempsted as the founder of the business at 14 Grand parade, and quoted a rhymed advertisement of his in Brett's Gazette which helped him on to fortune, it should not be out of place to say that a period of some years,dating from the year 1848, was one that may be regarded as quite a rhyming age among the Hastings and St. Leonards tradespeople, If also it be said that some of the metrical ditties of that period were the productions of the’ present writer it will be only to state an historical fact. Were it possible to call up as witnesses the late Mr Hempsted, Messrs, Robinson and Oliver, and some other departed spirits, they would be able to attest the authorship of the business announcements issued from their establishments in rhymical guise. It is my purpose to reproduce a few specimens of these later on, but ere that be done much space will be required for the further narratives of the eventful year still under treatment. The meteorological conditions of the said year were a good deal in keeping with the political and physical turbulence of that epoch, and have been briefly described in the Farncomb memoirs, but there were several atmospheric and other kindred occurrences which, as being observed at Hastings rather than at Icklesham, are more appropriately placed under the present heading, and may be classed as

THE YEARS ATMOSPHERIC PHENOMENA[edit]

It was on the 5th of May, 1848 that the first number of of the Hastings News — a journal still existing as the oldest in the borough — was sent forth to the world, and, as though to herald this new literary light, a magnificent meteor shot across the heavens on the early morning of the preceding day. it was observed by a party of musicians as they were homeward bound from an engagement, and its appearance was described in a letter to the Editor of the new journal and inserted in the second number of the News as follows: —

“Sir,
—For the information of your readers. I beg leave to say that at two o’clock this morning, a meteor of unusual brilliance was observed darting forth from the south west and taking an easterly direction, Sweeping across the heavens, it intersected, as it were, the milky way, and descended nearly to the horizon, Its first appearance was that of an ordinary meteor, leaving in its wake a faint streak of light; but, suddenly, there issued from its nucleus a fan-shaped comet-like tail, which increased in luminosity and dimensions. In fact, after nearly a minute’s duration, it presented the appearance of a blazing comet, except that its brilliancy was even more intense. Ultimately, the nucleus or fire-ball disapeared(sic) as by explosion, and the tail if I may so call it descended towards the earth similarly to what is described as golden rain after the discharge of a rocket. The night was clear, and many meteors were observed, but the one here described was certainly the most beautiful object I ever remember to have seen. I was scanning the starry vault at the time in company with a few friends, and remarking on the positions of certain planets, when, lo! the meteor burst upon my sight, and I had a full view of the phenomenon from first to last.”

— “ St, Leonards, May 4th 1848.”
“T, B, BRETT.”

If the meteor above described ws as uncommon as it was beautiful, so was the mirage which was seen by a great number of persons on the 6th day of July. The phenomenon was visible at several parts of the south and south-east coasts, and as viewed from an upper window of my elevated dwelling in Norman road, its appearance was such as to occupy a durable place in a generally retentive memory. The weather was beautifully fine and calm, and the temperature of that day ranged from a minimum of 63 to a maximum of 83 degrees. At about 6 p.m. the outlines of the French coast were distinctly visible, and the atmospheric refraction from that time until dusk was of a rare and curious character. Above the natural horison(sic) was a secondary one, the combined effect of which was to exhibit all or nearly all the maritime objects in the Channel both in their natural and inverted positions, The spectacle was rendered the more singular by the appearance of vessels nearer the shore having their masts, sails and rigging carried upwards to an enormous length.

Another phenomenon was observed on the 24th of August, while a heavy thunderstorm was in progress. At between one and two o’clock in the afternoon, a ball of blue fire descended near Halloway place,and when just over the houses, it appeared to burst into atoms with a sharp detonation. The surrounding neighbourhood was immediately involved in the glare of a livid flame, accompanied by a strong sulphuric odour. It greatly startled all who saw and heard it, but no living thing was harmed except a poor Starling, which fell lifeless to the ground.

A less phenomenal, yet not a common occurrence was that of a fall of snow on the 18th of October, by which in the vicinity of High street, Hastings, a pear tree in bloom and a laburnum tree in full flower were covered by the fleecy deposit. The temperature of the air was very low for the time of year, the maximum in two days having fallen from 58 to 40, and the minimum being 20 degrees below that of the corresponding day in the preceding year. Two days later (Oct. 20th), during a sharp squall, a conical heap of water passed down the Channel from east to west at about half a mile from the shore, and rapidly increasing in height, apparently from 12 to 20 feet. A fishing-boat, which had just got under weigh, narrowly escaped contact therewith. In the electrical, nautical, and atmospheric phenomena of 1848, recently described, I stated that during one of these rare occurrences, the coast of France was visible to the unassisted vision from St. Leonards. This, however, was not quite so exceptional an occurrence as might be imagined.

There have been more than one other occasion during the writer’s career, when from the high land at Fairlight, the refraction of the atmosphere or visibility of the air has been such as to enable persons to see the French coast, even when there has been no so called mirage. The knowledge of this fact, together with other considerations, probably induced General Roy, in 1787, there to establish an observatory for his trignometrical survey. Although that was sixty years prior to the date now under notice there appears to me no incongruity in presenting my readers with some of the results of the General’s observations. The observatory was near the wind-mill then belonging to the elder Mr. E. Milward, but which having been burnt down many years after the death of himself and his son, was not permitted to be rebuilt by the son’s widow, but who complied with the request of her nephew to erect a large public seat on the site, and which remains to this day, with the words "Frederick North, his seat" written thereon nephew's daugher, Miss. Marianne North to erect a large public seat to the memory of her father, and which remains to this day, with the words "Frederick North, his seat" written thereon

Old Fairlight Mill

From this elevated spot — 599 feet above sea level — General Roy was enabled to obtain a view of 67 churches, 6 castles, 1 abbey, 3 harbours, 2 promontories, 3 bays, 2 towers, 13 market towns, 1 lighthouse, 16 barracks or camps, 6 signal stations, and 3 military beacons, together with a long sweep of the English Channel, 30 miles of the French coast, the Kentish hills, the South Downs, and the wealds of Kent and Sussex.

The 67 churches were All Saints and St. Clement’s (Hastings), Ashford, Brede, Battle, Brookland, Bexhill, Burwash, Benzett, Benenden, Burmarsh, Catstield, Chiddingly, Dymchurck, Ewhurst, Fanfield, Folkington, Folkestone, Frant, Fairlight, Guildford, Goudhurst, Guestling, Hawkhurst, Hurstpierpoint, Hythe, Hailsham, Hooe, Heathfield, Iden, Icklesham, Ivychurch, Lydd, Mountfield, Mersham, Mayfield, Ninfield, Newcharch, Northiam Ore, Pevensey, Peasmarsh, Pett, Playden, Pluckley, Rye, Romney (New), Romney (Old), Rucking, Shave, Sandhurst, Snargate, Sediescomb, Tenterden, Ticehurst, Udimore, Winchelsea, Wittersham, Woodchurch, Westfield, Wadhurst, Wareham, Willingdon, Watlington, Warting, Westham and Wye.

The castles were Winchelsea (Camber), Lynn, Sandgate, Pevensey and Hastings.

The visible harbours were Rye, Boulogne and Dover.

The abbey was that of Battle.

The promontories were Beachy Head on the west, and Dover cliff on the east.

The bays were Pevensey, Rye and Hythe.

The market-towns were Ashford, Battle, Eastbourne,

Goudhurst, Hastings, Hailsham, Hythe, Lydd, Pevensey Rye, Romney, Tenterden and Winchelsea.

The towers were Heathfield in Sussex, and Napoleon's at Boulogne.

Other towers, to be seen 19 years later (1805-6), were those along the coast known as the Martello Towers. These were 70 in number, 35 of which were in Pevensey Bay, 9 in Rye Bay and 30 in Hythe Bay. Some of these at the time of writing have been put out of existence.

The Military Canal, which can also be seen from that elevated spot, but which did not exist in General Roy’s time, was opened on the 10th of August[Notes 2].

Curious Coincidences and Fulfilled Predictions[edit]

 Pg.310 Although led somewhat discursively from the remarkable phenomena of 1848 to the results of General Roy's observations at Fairlight in 1787, there are a few other phenomena of the former period yet to be noticed. Notwithstanding the generally unseasonable weather of the year, and the large fall of undesirable rain, the first week of May was one of phenominal(sic) heat. Phenominal(sic) also was the production or non-production of the sea, especially in its relation to the catches of fish, the mackerel season having proved itself the worst that had been experienced for twenty years. A heavy fall of snow on Sunday, the 9th of April, and another snowstorm on October 18th, were also unusual occurrences for those periods of the year.

Having in the next chapter (XL) alluded to and commented on the French Revolution and the flight of Louis Phillipe (who was afterwards domiciled for a considerable time at St. Leonards), it may not be amiss to transfer from my diary some curious predictions bearing on the fate of that monarch and two of his predecessors. The said predictions, under the head of ”Politicai Prophecies,” together with remarks thereon, were copied into my diary on June 3rd, 1848, from the London Pioneer, and were as follows :—

“We live in a sceptical age, that rejects all belief in prophecies — nobody, indeed, has ridiculed them more than myself — yet do we hear of things so passing strange that we are almost shaken in our proud contempt of the astrologer’s art, All verbal predictions are subject to the objection of being invented after the events they pretend to have foreseen; but what can we say to printed prophecies bearing a remote date, and that have come to pass under our own eyes? These ideas have been awakened by a little pamphlet, published ia December, 1837, which was thought nothing of at the time, but has now been bought up with such avidity that not a copy is left in the market, The publishers of the pamphlet took every pains to prove the genuineness of its genealogy They relate that in the year 92 and 793 the libraries of our royal palaces were nearly all committed to the flames, after a brief examination of their contents, Some few were saved, more by the caprice of the examiners than on any substantial grounds. One day in the month of June, 1793, after turning over a lot of books on theology, history and astronomy, the examiners came to a number of duodecimo, quarto and octavo volumes, all bound in parchment, and marked with a peculiar sign, supposed to belong either to the Benedictines or to the Canons of St. Jenevieve. These were treatises on the occult sciences, one of which was entitled The Book of Prophecies, by Philip Noël Olivarious, doctor of medicine and astrologer. The date it bore was 1542, Francois de Metz, secretary to the Commune of Paris, into whose hands this book happened to fall, read it (as he afterwards confessed) without understanding it. Yet it seemed so singular that he copied it. His copy bears the date of 1793. In it we find the whole career of Napoleon shadowed forth in quaint old language—his birth in la Gaule Itale, his wars in Italy, his conquest over kings, &c, Some of the most curious of these predictions are the following :—‘ He will bear in his hands an eagle, ....’ ‘He will go to war in a country where the lines of latitude and longitude cross each other during 55 months, There his enemies will burn a large town, and he and his troops will enter it, and come out amongst ruins and ashes, and he and his will want for bread and water amidst intense cold, and two thirds of his army will perish,’ &c. Then it goes on to say that he would remain in exile for eleven moons, when he would return to Celte Gauloise from which he would be expelled after three moons and a third. It seems that this strange prophecy was shewn to Napoleon and was printed in 1815. Nor is this the only one of the kind, Another Olivarius treated of the same subject, and with an accuracy equally startling. These prophecies foretold the death of Louis XVI.; and when that unfortunate monarch had perished on the scaffold these predictions were remembered, and people were struck with their fatal accomplishment. In this second prophecy,which likewise foretels(sic) the events of Napoleon’s career, marking the return of Louis XVIII. during the hundred days, &c., we find at paragraph 21 this distinct intimation of Louis Phillipe’s accession;—* Woe to the Celtic Gaul! The cock will set aside the white flower and a-high personage will style himself King of The People. There will be a great commotion in the minds of many persons because the crown will be placed on his head by the hands of workmen who will have warred in the great town.' What can be more explicit? And even were we disposed to be so sceptical and to doubt the authenticity of Olivarius, yet must we bear in mind that the book was preprinted in December, 1839, and contained in paragraph 23 the following prophecy, which last February saw fulfilled :-‘ The King of the People, when seated on his throne, will wax very weak, yet will he oppose many disaffected spirits, But he was not firmly seated, and behold! God has cast him down.’”

As touching the flight of Louis Phillipe, the following is a curious coincidence. In the ancient Roman Calendar the 24th of February is called Regifugium (the flight of the King), because on that day Tarquin the Proud fled from Rome. The 24th of February was also the day on which Louis Phillipe fled from France.

I now proceed to add from the same source some equally curious — not to say extraordinary — coincidences in connection with the French Revolutions of 1830 and 1848. These parallel occurrences are diaried as follows :—

June 21st, Longest Day. A Frenchman who signs himself Alphonse Langlois, Commis Libraire, has compiled an historical parallel so curiously exact as — to repeat his own expression — to be worthy of a place in the national annals of France. The said parallel is not less instructive than curious; for it reads a lesson to all, but particularly to the men who are entrusted with the moral and physical interest of that unhappy land. The compilation has been printed in France and is here translated :—

1 The Duke de Berry, son of Charles X. 1 The Duke d’Orleans, son of Louis Phillipe.
2 Marries a foreign princess (Sicilian) 2 Marries a foreign princess (Mecklenberg).
3 Of this marriage is born an heir to the crown, the Duke of Bordeaux. 3 Of this marriage is born an heir to the crown, the Count of Paris.
4 His father, the Duke of Berry, dies by assassination. 4 His father, the Duke of Orleans, dies by an accident.
5 The 13th Feb., 1820 5 The 13th July, 1842
6 In the year preceding the fall of Charles X, (1829) bread rises to an exorbitant price, 1f. 5c. 6 In the year preceding the fall of Louis Phillipe (1847) bread rises to an extraordinary price, 1f. 24c.
7 The Seine frozen over (1829-30). 7 The Seine frozen over (1847-48); the first time since 1830.
8 The retrograde movement of the Government, after magnificent promises, induces the true Royalists to tender it their advice on the approaching crisis 8 The retrograde movement of the Government, after magnificent promises, induces the true Conservatives to tender it their advice on the approaching crisis
9 This advice is disregarded by the authorities 9 This advice is disregarded by the authorities
10 The speech from the throne is offensive to the Opposition (session 1830) 10 The speech from the throne is offensive to the Opposition (session 1848)
11 Leads to a protest by 221 deputies. 11 Leads to a protest by a great number of deputies
12 Taking of Algiers and the Dey. 12 Taking of Ab-dele Kader.
13 Ordonnances of the 25th July, abolishing the liberty of the Press. 13 Ordonnance of the 21st February, opposing the Reform Banquet.
14 These ordonnances lead to tumultuous assemblages on Monday evening as a preface to next day’s revolution. 14 This ordonnance lead to tumultuous assemblages on Monday evening as a preface to next day’s revolution
15 The people revolt against the ordonnances, and the power falls into the hands of the insurgents. 15 The people revolt against the ordonnance, and the power falls into the hands of the insurgents.
16 The combat lasts three days — 27, 28 and 29 July, 1830. 16 The combat lasts three days - 22, 23 and 24 February, 1848,
17 Commencing on Tuesday and finishing on Thursday. 17 Commencing on Tuesday and finishing on Thursday.
18 The people gain a victory over the Royal troops. 18 The people gain a victory over the troops.
19 The gendarmerie first take part in the conflict, and yield. 19 The Municipal Guard first take part in the conflict, and yield.
20 They are disbanded. 20 They are disbanded.
21 The inviolability of the sovereign, proclaimed in the charter of 1814, is treated with derision. 21 The inviolability of the sovereign, proclaimed in the charter of 1830, is treated with derision.
22 Charles X. falls from the throne at 74 years of age. 22 Louis Phillipe falls from the throne at 74 years of age,
23 In July, the month of the death of the Duke of Orleans. 23 In February, the month of the death of the Duke of Berry,
24 He abdicates in favor(sic) of his grandson, the Duke of Bordeaux, aged 10 years. 24 He abdicates in favor(sic) of his grandson, the Count of Paris, aged 10 years.
25 he Duke of Bordeaux is presented as King. 25 The Count of Paris is presented as King.
26 He is refused, the people declaring that it is too late. 26 He is refused, the people declaring that it is too late.
27 A provisional government is established, after the Revolution 27 A provisional government is established, after the Revolution,
28 The Royal Family are obliged to quit the soil of France. 28 The Royal Family are obliged to quit the soil of France,
29 Which they do by short stages, &c. 29 Which they do precipitately and without the necessaries of life, &c.
30 They adopt England as their place of exile 30 They adopt England as their place of exile
31 Charles X., when reaching that country, shed tears of joy. 31 Louis Phillipe said, “Thank God, I am on English ground.“
32 The temperature of the atmosphere very high for the season. 32 The temperature of the atmosphere considerably above the average.
33 Some days afterwards a frightful storm occurred, accompanied by thunder and lightning. 33 On the 26th Feb., at 2 p.m,, a tremendous hurricane commenced, accompanied by thunder and lightning.
34 Impeachment of the ministers of Charles X. 34 Impeachment of the ministers of Louis Phillipe
35 The head of the family dies in a foreign land. 35 The head of the family dies in a foreign land,

I bethink me to follow up the strangely coincident ~ features of the French Revolution of 1830 and ’48, and the equally curious foreshadowing of those events, together with the career of Napoleon, by Olivarius, with further extracts from my diary, thereby adding to some already published realised predictions of the almanac-makers of that period. Those professors of star logic, I have reason to believe, have all passed the border-land of Time and Eternity, and have left the Horatios to discover that there are more things in the heavens and the earth than are dreamt of in man’s philosophy.

The Astrologers’ Almanac told its readers that about the third of January intelligence would be received of a melancholy loss at sea, involving much sacrifice of life and property; and the London Times of the 6th of January proved the ower true tale as follows :—“ The steam packet Pacha has arrived, bringing the melancholy intelligence of the loss of H. M. steam frigate Avenger. The crew of 276 persons have all perished, with the exception of a seaman and 8 officers, who have reached the African coast in a boat.”

The Astrologer predicted that in the second week of January the Italian States would be in a condition of fearful excitement; and the Times again proved the accuracy of the forecast when it said :— ”Nine steamers left Naples on the 14th instant, Palermo and Messina are barricaded, and are full of insurrection. Sixteen persons wounded at the conflict of Milan have died.”

Zadkiel, in his “Voice of the Stars” for January, said:— About the 4th day the new Parliament appears to enact some valuable laws, but the planet Uranus is still in Aries, and will continue to trouble old England, giving vexations to the people.” It was generally admitted at the time that Parliamentary business was never commenced with greater zeal, and never had to withstand much greater onslaughts from the Opposition. There were strong debates on the West Indian Interest; petitions from all parts of the Kingdom pro et con the Jewish Disabilities Bill; Motion to Improve the Law of Landlord and Tenant; new sanitary measures; Commercial Relations with China; proposed alteration of Game Laws, Navigation Laws, &c.

Mr. Simmonite, lecturer and master of the Classical and Mathematical School, Sheffield, announced to the world that at that time Ireland would “be afflicted and pressed down with many sorrows, brought about by her idle sons.” Too truly was this realised, the public journals having to report the murders, trials, convictions, sentences of transportation, and the executions which were almost daily taking place in that land of ire. Zadkiel also said :—" In Taurus we find the violent Mars, who afflicts old Ireland, where angry passions rage, and blood is poured forth, especially about the third week.”

Simmonite, however, had an encouraging word for housekeepers when he said, “Potatoes will sell well, with rather less disease than in 1847, and bread will also sell at a moderate price.” The average price of the former was 7d. and of the latter 11d. per gallon.

The violent gales, appalling shipwrecks, and lamentable loss of life during the winter of 1847-8 could hardly fail to impress the readers of Zadkiel’s Almanac with the accuracy of the following calculation:- ”Saturn, the ruler of the figure, is ascending in Pisces, whence I foresee many storms and tempests at sea, many shipwrecks, and much loss of life this winter.” It should be remembered that these secular prophets make their astral deductions several months in advance of the date of publication, and that their almanacs for any one year are generally to be had on the 1st of the preceding October. I have myself been permitted to see some of the proof-sheets as early as the last week in May.

Still going on with the curious coincidences of which I have record in my diary, I extract the following:—“Saturday, Jan. 15. Have this day read in the Dispatch an account of a singular circumstance, as here quoted: At an inquest held on Friday by Mr. Mills, he said that he had witnessed the fulfilment of a fatal wish. During dinner the deceased had expressed a wish that he might die suddenly, as Mrs. Gibson, a friend of his, had done. After dinner all the company except the deceased had retired from the dining room, and on their return they found their friend leaning on the table and lifeless.”

Another coincidence is that of the death of King Christian of Denmark on the 19th of January, thus realising that which appeared under the heading of January in The Astrologer as follows: “About the middle of the present month one of the Earth’s potentates will no longer wield the sceptre in his grasp.”

For the same month the almanac by Simmonite, the Classical schoolmaster, had the following comforting (?) notice: ”Eggs, bacon, pigs and poultry will be dear.” When we find that eggs are 2s. a dozen, bacon 10d. per lb., and pigs and poultry are considerably above their average price, it might be wished that Simmonite could have truthfully told us something less to our cost.

Among the coincidences of February were the following fulfilled predictions. The Astrologer warned that “about the 10th a casualty in one of the coal-pits is indicated.” and the newspapers informed us that soon after 7 o’clock on the morning of the 9th, a frightful accident occurred in the pit at West Bromwich. when four men were killed and twelve others fearfully mutilated, several horses being also killed. Simmonite expressed an opinion that “An old statesman departs this earthly career,” and the death on the 11th of February of the venerable Lord Primate Archbishop of Canterbury proved him to be right. From the same source may be quoted, “Bishops are now engaged in some Parliamentary proceedings,” a verification of which is somewhat unique. At that time an active and spirited warfare of a clerical nature was being carried on against the Queen and Government, the bishops being determined to resist, by every means in their power, the election of Dr. Hampden. For many years such a contention between the Crown and the bishops had not occurred; yet in spite of their protests, Dr. Hampden was elected a Pg.311 bishop. Two other notifications were equally realistic: one being “About the 10th day a steamboat near home witnesses a derangement of its machinery. which leads to serious results” and the other, ”The public health, I am afraid, will suffer this month.” The coincidence of the first was the bursting of a steamboat’s boiler, by which seven persons were killed, and that of the second, a weekly mortality in London 371 above the average.

A coincidence of a different nature in the month of March was revealed by the Sunday Times, which announced the death of Mr. George Brett, of Rye — a cousin of the present writer — by falling overboard from the Rotterdam packet, of which he was captain. He was the last of five brothers who had found a watery grave, but not the last of the family who was destined to meet a similar death.

Curiously Fulfilled Predictions - A Remarkable Storm[edit]

124 StStill pursuing the coincidences of prophetic ventures and their realisations, we notice that the Zadkiel of the day (Capt. J. Morrison) in his almanac, while judging from the conjunction of the sun, moon and Saturn on the 5th of March, in exact square to the moon’s place at the birth of Louis Phillipe, foretels(sic) that the fugitive monarch will certainly suffer about this time, and bend his frame towards the earth” It so happened at that time that the ex-King and Queen of the French arrived at the Croydon station from Newhaven, they having travelled by special train. The meeting between them and other branches of the royal fugitives was described as one of the most painfully affecting character, After affectionately embracing the Duke de Nemours, while the big tears of sorrow chased each other down his venerable cheeks, Louis Phillipe was seen to rejoin the Queen, and leaning on her for support, he thus did ”bend his frame towards the earth,” as the whole party prepared to leave the station for Claremont.

Among Simmonite’s astrological deductions for the same month of March, was that “during the present month there will be much bickering and ill-feeling among newspaper editors.” Surely enough there was. The Irish journals for the most part were teeming with rage, abusing the English press, and giving vent to feelings of a most lawless and treasonable character against the Government. On the other hand, the English newspapers were calling the Irish journalists to account and urging upon the Government the necessity of a prosecution. Mr, Mitchell, the principal editor of the United Irishman, after indulging in the most flagrant abuse, dared to defy the Government to “Railways are not doing well this month,” was another forecast which was too truly realised for the comfort of shareholders, there being at the time denoted an unusual stagnation in railway traffic.

“ The revenue falls off this month,” had its accuracy clearly demonstrated by the deficiency shewn in the production of the budget, and the attempt to meet it by an augmentation of the Income-tax.

“The House of Commons unpopular; our national enemies gain upon us, but will be frustrated,” said Simmonite. The various tumultuous proceedings in London, Glasgow, Dublin and other places; the Chartist, meetings, and particular. demonstrations in favour of French republicanism, some of which might have been attended by fatal consequences had not precautionary measures been adopted by Government, brought the astrologer’s warning into prominence. “ The Leicester, Nottingham and Manchester trades are low,” was also a calculation the truth of which was verified by facts.

In the Astrologer for the same month we were assured that “ the south of England will be visited by maritime disasters,” coincident with which was the return to land of the Hastings and Brighton fishing-boats, reporting the almost entire loss of their nets and gear, as well as the further report of one or more vessels being lost during a violent storm.

To be added to the many curious coincidences that have occurred while this history is being written, is the death of Mr. Thomas Cooper, a leading Chartist of 1848, and the author of “The Purgatory of Suicides“ The death of this noted man, at 79 years of age, took place at Lincoln on the 15th of this present July. It is told in his autobiography how, while plying the awl, he entered upon the study of Latin, Greek and mathematics; how he became a schoolmaster, political secretary to Bulwer Lytton and a Chartist. The circumstance is fresh in my own memory how, for political speeches in the Potteries, he was adjudged guilty of sedition and suffered imprisonment for two or more years. During that period he wrote “Captain Cobbler,” and compiled a Hebrew grammar. He afterwards employed himself as a journalist and lecturer, and ultimately espoused the cause of Christianity, enforcing its doctrines from the pulpit with much earnest eloquence. He prided himself on his English proclivities, and his sympathy with the oppressed of all countries. He was, however, regarded as one of the misguided men of 1848 by a local journalist, who, in the Hastings News of June 9th, wrote :—

“These poor creatures are doing everything in their power to retard the progress of reform by their short-sighted violence. On Sunday they made a large demonstration in the metropolis, and have continued ever since to afford abundant employment to both magistrates and police. The injury to trade by these outbreaks is immense.”

That same writer, who also exclaimed with marked emphasis against the rebellious attitude of the Irish people when there were great wrongs to be redressed. would now, when all these wrongs have been righted and Ireland has been placed in a far more advantageous position than the rest of the United Queendom; when, under the firm but ameliorative policy of a Liberal-Conservatiye and Unionist Government, agrarian crime has become a thing of the past; when Ireland has become more peaceable, more contented, more prosperous and more law-abiding than she has been for fifty years, that writer, I say, would again put Ireland into a condition of turmoil and disruption by forcing upon the British Constitution a so called scheme of Home Rule at the dictation of a political autocrat. For myself, I assert with the utmost freedom that for sympathy with the weak or oppressed I place myself in the first rank, but when I find a Government ready and willing to remove all legitimate grievances, and to bestow on a people all that can reasonably be asked for as a fair apportionment of their rights and privileges, I instinctively support that Government to the best of my feeble ability. Thomas Cooper, the now deceased Chartist leader, could go no farther than myself in this one great question of union versus separation. I have it on record that on one occasion, when he was lecturing at Belfast on a non-political topic, he incidentally remarked that Irishmen and his own countrymen were alike in their love of freedom. This remark was met by a shout from one who had imbibed the teaching of the convict Mitchell, “We don’t want to be like the English! We want Nationality!” And if you had what you call Nationality, responded Cooper — that is, entire separation from England - to-day, to-morrow you would have intestine war and bloodshed — fierce war between Protestant and Catholic, You would be no more happy in the end, and would soon desire to unite with us again. Mr. Cooper was a firm and consistent believer in what he stated, even to the end of his nearly fourscore years. In 1886, when Mr. Gladstone’s scheme of Home Rule was introduced, Mr. Cooper reiterated his conviction in a letter to the Lincoln Liberal Unionist Society. To say that I share this conviction of the veteran Chartist is only to affirm what my readers must already know, whilst to corroborate what I believe to be a seriously mistaken course now being pursued by Mr. Gladstone and his supporters, I append an article from the Echo of July 22nd, which says :—

“A great, and as far as it went, beneficent experiment has been interrupted. It cannot be denied that Ireland, after passing through a troublous period, was gradually settling down and becoming more pacified and prosperous day by day, This fact stands out firm and indestructible in our national history. It is the greatest domestic fact of the last decade. For the first time in the memory of the ‘ oldest inhabitant Ireland during the last three years put on something like a contented appearance, and became law-abiding. With the exception of conflicts between different sections of the National party, the Irish people for some time up to the General Election were unusually orderly, unusually industrious, and unusually satisfied. This was a great gain to the United Kingdom, and indicated a coming conquest of civilisation. We who are in the presence of this luminous fact do not measure its importance. But that which we are not for the moment enabled to do future years will accomplish, The men and women of the future will contrast the agonising years 1880 and 1886 and the years of comparative tranquillity between 1886 and 1892, The contrast is striking, and will be memorable, Whatever may be done in the future, whether for weal or for woe, no man or combination of men can blot out the chapters of our history which recall the facts that the first portion of the period we have specified was characterised in Ireland with disturbance, lawlessness, imprisonment without trial, and passionate disaffection; and that most of the latter part of that period was characterised by order re-established, the foundations of Society strengthened, and general peace and prosperity manifesting themselves, Party orators and party wire pullers, and the smaller fry that follow in their wake, may make exaggerated statements to secure temporary advantage, but they cannot extinguish facts. And the facts are that Ireland has passed through years of perturbation and pain, and that she has entered on years of social calm and industrial development. This policy is now about to be interrupted. The experiment which we saw day by day succeeding is about to be suspended. The nation is asked to take a step from the known to the unknown, from a certain present to an uncertain future, That future may be bright or it may not We may have a coatinuance(sic) of prosperity, or we may not, But we owe gratitude to the men who have so far steered the ship of State through a troublous time, and demonstrated by a firm administration of law, and the application of ameliorative legislation, and a promise for more, that Ireland had entered on an era of pacification and progress. The responsibility resting on those who have interfered with the working out of this social experiment is immense, and history, with impartial eyes and inexorable pen, will pass judgment on their condute”

In this and the following chapter it has been conclusively shown that the year 1848 was in its political, physical, meteorological, and even local aspects a truly memorable one; and it has been further shown that the principal events of that remarkable year were coincidently with astrological forecasts; but when, as a means of testing their accuracy more than for any other purpose, these predictions and their fulfilments were recorded in the private diary of the present writer, the diarist had no conception that in the remote future of 44 years he would be writing history in which extracts from the said diary might be regarded as not altogether out of place, But so it is; and assuming that if only as “ curiosities of literature,” the said coincidences are here admissible, no apology is tendered for the following additions :—In his ”Voice of the Stars” for March, Zadkiel says, “The King of the Netherlands is now under very evil influence; sickness, losses, &c.” The prediction was realised by the death of Prince Alexander of the Netherlands, the event being noticed in the Times of March 20th in the following words :- “His Royal Highness Prince Alexander is dead, which occurrence has plunged the Royal Family of William the Second into the most profound grief. The Prince had been staying at Madeira for the benefit of his health, and the first intimation received by. his family was that the Court of Portugal would go into mourning for 8 days on account of the death of this Prince.”

For Monday, March 20th the diarist writes “An eclipse of the moon was visible last evening, and a very interesting spectacle it was There was also a brilliant display of northern lights.” Touching this phenomenon The Astrologer says:— ”On the 19th of March as the moon sails refulgently into the midheaven, her disc becomes obscured, and a total eclipse, visible in these realms, reaches its greatest extent at 9h. 11m. p.m. The next day the suns ingress into Aries will furnish further data for astrological deductions. Remarkable indeed are the events thus prefigured, Great political excitements, popular demonstrations, and even riots in the manufacturing districts. This index—the radix of the year, will exert an influence over Great Britain for six months to come,” The diarist then asks, Who can read the foregoing prediction and compare it with the Chartist and other political demonstrations that have followed without feeling the force of that so-called logic of the stars from which the realised prognostications are deduced ?

From the same lunar eclipse Zadkiel predicts “some serious troubles to the Queen about the end of March and few following weeks,” although he intimates that “Her Majesty will be popular and do justice to the people.” These vaticinations would appear contradictory, and the more so as he warns at the same time “much opposition and trouble to the ruling powers of Britain.” Paradoxical, however, as those political forecasts may seem to be, they have proved accurate to the very letter. The Queen gave birth to a princess on the 18th of March, and on the 8th of April — three weeks only after her accouchment - such was her alarm at the threatening attitude of the people in England as well as in Ireland, that she removed, with the Royal Family to the Isle of Wight. And yet, so popular was Queen Victoria that when the National Anthem was played or sung at the theatres it was several times encored. She was also made the recipient of congratulatory addresses from all the principal English towns, and thus while she was so seriously troubled, she was as greatly honoured.

A Remarkable Storm[edit]

Continuing from my diary the list of fulfilled predictions, to which I have applied the term coincidences, the next extract is as follows:— ”On the 31st of March the planet Venus formed a trine angulation with Jupiter and the moon a similar configuration with Mars, As judged from these positions the weather of that day was of a warm and brilliant character. On the following day, April 1st, the moon trined Jupiter and conjoined Venus; and, as forecasted, another fine day resulted. But on the 2nd of April,in consequence of the moon conjoining both Saturn and Mercury, and forming a quartile with Mars, the weather calculation for that day was ”electrical airs, with showers of hail or rain.” Now for the coincidence. News from Liverpool informs us that the weather continued cold, wet and disagreeable up to the 30th of March. The 31st was a better day, and the 1st of April was one of the finest days of all the season The air was warm and balmy, and on the following morning it was evident that the few hours of powerful sunshine had given a surprising impulse to vegetation. A slight shower had occurred in the morning, after which the day had all the brilliancy of summer until 5 o'clock. Peals of thunder were then heard in the distance. and heavy masses of clouds rolled forward which quickly changed the sunny brilliance to a lurid twilight. For a few minutes the air was still and oppressive, and the murmurings of the thunder seemed to have ceased, while the gloom was increasing. The low clouds, which at first floated forward in dusky masses, became stationary, and there appeared to be a pause in the elements. Shortly, however, a few flashes to the westward, followed at decreasing intervals by long peals of thunder, seemed to be the opening of the elemental war; for, there succeeded such a thunderstorm as had not been witnessed for many years. The lightning broke in streams from the rent masses of clouds in the west, in the east, in the south and in the north, like sudden gushes of lava, while peal answered peal from the four points of the compass like corresponding crashes of artillery. Each commenced with a series of stunning reports, and then mingling their reverberations, they rolled together in one continuous uproar. Still flash succeeded flash immediately over the town, and clap followed clap till the buildings and ground seemed to tremble with the tremendous explosions, This was followed by a heavy fall of rain and hail which continued at intervals during the night. The storm resulted in damage to the shipping and other property. Intelligence has also been received from Huddersfield to the effect that an awful thunderstorm occurred there on the same day, which had killed three young men, and a number of sheep, besides causing much damage to property.

Meteorological Musings[edit]

Appended to the above description are the following remarks by the diarist:—”I have often been surprised at the indifference evinced by scientific men to the study of meteorology, seeing how much of everyday life depends on the state of the weather. I mean the study of predictive meteorology, and not the mere casual or even habitual watching for signs and changes; for, everybody pretends to be a judge of the weather in that manner, It is known that the moon influences the tides, and it is at least suspected that in a similar way, though perhaps to a less extent, her influence is exerted on the atmosphere; and hence there may be aerial waves as well as oceanic waves, But the Moon is not the sole regulator of the atmosphere and its mutations. The Sun in passing through the zodiacal signs must certainly exert a powerful influence, according to his position, Next in importance are the planets, which my own observations and records teach me have a sensible effect in the production of meteorogical changes and phenomena. It is, in fact, by the relative positions of the sun, moon and planets in connection with the earth that the almost endless variety of changes are effected. Meteorology, as a science, is comparatively in its infancy, yet are there certain astrometeorological rules which, if applied, enable us in a general way to forecast the probable weather a long time in advance of its occurrence It must, however, be bourne in mind that in so changeable a climate as that of Great Britain (due in some measure to local causes) many difficulties occur to thwart the judgment; seeing also that the weather changes travelling mostly from west to east, would manifest themselves some hours, or even a day or two earlier in the former than in the latter, Yet, if the study of predictive meteorology Pg.312 125 St were more generally undertaken, most or tnese difficulties wouid ultimately be overcome by means of the practical observations that would be brought to bear upon it.”

Weather Forecasts - Extract from a Local Diary[edit]

The foregoing remarks were made, be it remembered, long before the system of weather forecasts and storm signals, initiated by Admiral Fitzroy, were adopted at the cost of the nation, and since which earlier time (1848) the writer has published more than sixteen eighteen thousand daily forecasts and upwards of one hundred meteorological articles. The concluding words of one of the latter - written some years before warnings of cyclonic storms were cabled from America to England—were ”It may not be in our own time, yet we feel convinced that the day is not far distant when it will be possible to telegraph storms due in England on such a day.” A vast amount of weather knowledge has been gained since 1848, and still more since even Admiral Fitzroy’s time. The present writer prides himself on the fact that he was one of those who memorialised the Government Board to re-establish the system of storm warnings and weather forecasts which was abandoned, as useless, after the originator's death. The system was again put into operation, with improved means, and has been adopted by all civilized nations, no one of which would now venture to discontinue it. It may be further remarked that the telegraphic system used by Government officials and the astronomic system practised by others are essentially different; yet, although the former is the more explicit and more capable of localization, the data for forecasting is extremely limited, whilst the latter affords factors of calculation for an almost indefinite time in advance.

One wants to avoid as much as possible the semblance of egotism, yet it is submitted that if could be seen in a collective form all that has been written concerning meteorology during the last half century by the hand which now wields the pen, my readers would not be surprised that when only a small portion of it was shown, two or three years ago, to a member of the literary staff of a London daily which has the ”largest circulation,” that gentleman made an unconditional surrender after claiming that his journal was the first to publish weather forecasts.

The next diarial record of coincidences is in these words:— ”April 9th: Simmonite predicts numerous fires in and about the metropolis during the present month It is sorrowful to find the prediction already fulfilled to a serious extent. One fire occurred at Mitcham on the 4th, involving a sacrifice of property to a very large amount, and another at 21 Gracechurch street, on the 7th instant, which consumed the whole of the building and did a vast amount of damage to contiguous property. April 10th, another fire in the metropolis, causing the loss of several thousand pounds. April 11th, another great fire in London, by which eight houses have been burnt down.” [Numerous other fires occurred in and about London during that month of April, and the destruction of property altogether was immense.] Noting the nativity of the Duke of Wellington, Zadkiel says — “Early in April he will have some new public honour conferred upon him, as Jupiter then comes to a sextile of the sun’s place” The diarist then remarks, (April 16th) “The old Warrior is receiving daily assurances of approbation and esteem for his having within three days directed such a defence of London that if the threatened attack of the chartists had been attempted, the city would have been capable of resisting a force of from two to three hundred thousand men.”

Tuesday, April 17 The following is copied into my diary from the Journal de l' Andronissment du Havre :— “In an old almanack of 1799 there appears under the head. Prophesies of Nostradamus, a prediction to this effect :— In the course of the approaching century, -great changes, prodigious revolutions and glorious victories will occur. At the approach of 1850, the throne of France after having been briefly occupied by an Englishman, will be overthrown. This will be the new epoch of the Republic” Now, without entering into the victories and defeats of Napoleon, the prodigious revolutions and other great changes of the present century, as fulfilling the prophesies of Nostradamus, it may be of some historical interest to point out, less as a fulfilment than as a coincidence, the way in which the throne of France was temporarily occupied by an English man in 1848 On the 24th of February, Col. Wells, an English officer who, with his family, had apartments in the Hotel Meurice, and who was recovering from an attack of brain fever, was fearfully excited by the shouts of the people and the noise of the musketry. His reason, not yet firmly re-established, was not proof against a commotion so violent; so taking advantage of the momentary absence of his attendant, he hastily arrayed himself in his scarlet uniform, and, with sword in hand, he descended the staircase and rushed into the street in the midst of the combatants. The attack on the Tuileries had already commenced, and this English Colonel — of commanding height and martial air — attracted general attention, He placed himself at the head of the advancing multitude, and with voice and gesture led them on, His enthusiasm, excited to delirium, as it were, by the smell of gunpowder, blinded him to all obstacles. Thus, he was one of the first who penetrated an entrance to the Palace, and, within a few hours after the flight of Louis Phillipe, this Col. Wells found himself in the throne room. His intense excitement was followed by prostration of the convalescent. A mortal paleness overspread his visage, his limbs grew feeble, his sword fell from his hand, and he was well nigh overcome with faintness when, by a final effort, he succeeded in reaching the throne. He mounted the steps with a tottering gait, and fell on the royal seat Like Charles X. and Louis Phillipe, Col. Wells (then the last occupant of the French throne) was compelled to seek repose in England. He was brought over in charge of an English physician who resided at Havre. It may be remarked that as the Zadkiel of the present day is not Capt. Morrison, the original Zadkiel (although a pupil of his), so the Nostradamus whose prediction has been quoted, was not the Nostradamus who died on the 2nd of July, 1566, and whose prognostications as a French astrologer caused much sensation in his day.

Continuing the curious coincidences of 1848. the diarist writes :—”May 1st By the arrival of India and China mails, there comes intelligence that Mehemit Ali[Notes 3] was dangerously ill at Alexandria and his death was hourly expected. It was apprehended that at his death serious disturbances would break out. There had already been a revolt at Cairo, the leaders of which were hanged, and the Bey, who had instigated the revolt, was decapitated.” The report at Alexandria was that a Republic had been announced in London, which report — whether true or false — had so seriously affected the commercial interests that business was quite at a standstill. In his judgment upon the effects of the total lunar eclipse, Zadkiel says, ”The position of Saturn and Mercury denote an end to the days of the Pasha, detriment to the commercial affairs of the nation, and religious war raging in those parts” In concluding the notice, the diarist remarks, “Let anyone compare these coincidences, and draw his own conclusions.”

Other coincidences are jotted down for May 6th as follows:— ”The newly established Reform League was foreshadowed by the Astrologer, in which it is stated that ‘during the present month a new association is formed, having for its object the amelioration of the condition of the people.' Some public meetings held about this time in the metropolis are noted for the assemblage of popular men, who take a conspicuous part in the proceedings.” The Astrologer further says:— ”Owing to the sextile position of the Sun and Jupiter on the 6th, a more fortunate state of trade is indicated.”

The correctness of this is shown by the Hastings & St. Leonards News of May 12th, which states ”The past week has exhibited a decided improvement in affairs monentary and commercial.”

For May 15th the diarist writes :—”In Zadkiel’s judgment for the spring of 1848, he predicts the fruits of the Ten Hours Bill will be shown to be good for all parties. The said Bill came into operation on the first instant, and on this very day, May 16th, an address has been presented to Her Majesty by the people of Lancashire and Yorkshire, in which is said, ‘We anticipate the improvements in ourselves and children, a great addition to our family comforts, better opportunities of filling our domestic duties, and the realization of those enjoyments which are associated with the idea of a happy English home.’”

Still quoting from the local diary, it is there noted under date of May 20th, “Simmonite in his predictions for May, states that ‘Spain will be heavily afflicted by martial strife.’ The fulfilment is found in the fact that the Spanish capital has again been the theatre of a desperate struggle against the tyranny of Narvaez. It appears that on the morning of the 7th inst., the sergeants of some of the Spanish regiments rose, awoke those soldiers on whom they could depend, mastered the sentries at the barracks, and succeeded in inducing two battalions to follow them. They were joined by about 200 of their friends from without, and marched away, shouting for freedom and a republic. Narvaez headed a strong force, and coming up with the insurgents, ordered a battery of artillery to be established, from which the slaughter was terrific. The fighting lasted two hours, and was sustained with desperate courage on the side of the insurgents. They were, however, compelled to yield by the murderous fire of the artillery. The victorious troops marched away with their prisoners, and 13 persons were immediately condemned to death. They were placed with their backs against a wall, and 52 soldiers fired upon them from a distance of only four paces, But, as many of the shots were ineffectual, they were killed by single discharges, the muskets being held close to their temples. Such a scene of savage butchery was worthy of the tyrant Narvaez who presided over it. The immediate cause of the outbreak was the arrest, the day before, of the Progressistas, who were greatly respected by the Liberal Party.

Again from the Diary. May 26th. Letters from Athens of the 30th ult., mention that serious insurrections had broken out in various parts of Greece, and that at Laima a Provisional Government nad been proclaimed by General Valenza. Thus is realised Zadkiel's prediction that “At the end of April and beginning of May Jupiter comes to a square of the great eclipse of last October, whence I foresee extensive mutations. The King of Greece is suffering some affliction. Much distress occurs in Greece.” The distress was heightened by the presence of cholera.

May 27th One of Zadkiel’s predictions for the month of May is ”Grief to the Royal Family.” The said grief is caused by the announcement, this day, of the death of the Princess Sophia of Gloucester. Her Royal Highness — a daughter of George III. and aunt of our present Queen — expired at her residence, Kensington, at 6.30 p.m. Having been born on the 29th of May, 1773, she was within two days of accomplishing her 75th year. I well remember the features of this fine looking woman, having seen her on many occasions during her two prolonged visits — first at Hastings, and next at St. Leonards. I was also present when she laid the first stone of St Leonards parish church, and a view is given in chapter 5 which represents her Royal Highness in a carriage and-four ascending Maze Hill to Gloucester Lodge, ere the Subscription Gardens were surrounded by houses.

Continuing the coincidences of astronomic positions and mundane events, the diarist notes on May 29th that the Univers French newspaper calls its readers attention to what it terms an extraordinary coincidence, and asks can it be purely fortuitous? The attack on the National Assembly was made on the 15th of May, and the insurrection at Naples was on the 15th of May. The London Times says the Univers might have added that a revolutionary movement at Berlin was also contemplated on the 15th of May. To these remarks the diarist adds “the so-called fiery Mars came to a conjunction at about a quarter to three in the afternoon of May 14th and in square aspect to the earth’s lunar attendant, the latter being also in sesquisquare position to the sun, and on the next day, the identical 15th of May, in direct opposition to Herschel. These two days were as remarkable for their meteorological as for their political disturbances, the former being developed in lightning, meteors, whirlwinds, hailstorms, &c.”

On May 31st the diarist writes :—”The Astrologer says, ‘During the latter part of May let those in connection with railways adopt extra measures for the safety of passengers, for a most ominous configuration is apparent.’ The many railway disasters that have occurred during the last week in May show the propriety of the precaution thus given. A driver, a stoker, and a guard have been killed on the Caledonian railway, a guard killed on the London and Epsom, several persons killed on the Great Western, two persons killed on the Brighton and Hastings, the fall of a railway bridge, and another railway bridge consumed by fire. These disasters are surely enough to verify the Astrologer’s prediction.

In the same publication and for the same month it is stated ‘Before the month goes out a startling revelation is made concerning a nobleman who gives, by his subsequent proceedings, & sad confirmation of the charges that will be brought against him.’ The fulfilment of this is instanced in the case of Viscount Arbuthnot, against whom a grand jury of the counties of Kincardine, Forfar and Aberdeen have found a true bill of indictment for forgery and uttering bills of exchange... He has since left the country.”

”June 1st. Simmonite commences his 'Mundane Predictions” for the month with a ‘fear that the crowned heads of Spain and Portugal will find themselves uneasy, and their nations suffering from internal feuds and insurrectional turmoil.’ Coincidentally with the fear thus expressed a Carlist war has broken out with undoubted earnestness, and Gavarre has been declared in a state of siege.”

Still quoting from the local diary, it is stated under date of June 6th, that ”The Astrologer predicts 'The police offices will furnish the papers during the first week in June with unusual features of interest.’ Coincidently with this pre-intimation is the fact that during the said week a number of captured Chartists were brought up at Bow street for examination, and a case of wholesale robbery at the Post-office created additional excitement, the delinquent being committed for trial. At Marlboro’ street 15 gentlemen were examined on a charge of gaming At Worship street, before the court was opened, the avenues were densely packed by crowds anxious to obtain a sight of and to hear the cases of a large number of Chartists and confederate rioters who had been apprehended for outrageous conduct at meetings which had been held on Sunday the 4th inst. in the neighbourhood of Bethnal Green. The magistrates were occupied on the bench from 10 in the morning until 7 in the evening, when the evidence was too clear to justify a discharge of the prisoners. A van-load was sent off, escorted by mounted police, which latter were hissed and hooted by the populace, while the prisoners were as enthusiastically cheered. Two more van-loads still remained to be removed.”

Under date of June 11th the local diarist has the following record :— ”In the second week of June,” says the Astrologer, ‘the Government of foreign States will be influenced by cabals and intrigues, and curious questions of policy will be discussed both at home and abroad.’ Coeval with the time to which this prediction points, an immense excitement exists in France, caused by a cry of Prince Louis Napoleon as Emperor. ‘Troops are pouring into the capital, where already 100,000 soldiers are collected, besides the National Guards and the Garde Robile. A deep-laid plot has also been discovered in Spain, which is said to have had its origin on foreign soil. It is further reported that the Emperor of Austria contemplates abdicating his throne, and that the King of Prussia is likely to act a similar part. At home some very important questions are being discussed anent the foreign policy of Lord Palmerston and the Spanish Government.


In still copying from the local diary of 1848, the following is met with under date of June 23rd. “ The dire events now taking place in France and Spain are again in exact agreement with astrological predictions, A civil war is raging in Paris, and several thousands of the worst disposed workmen are erecting barricades, The National Guards, seconded by troops of the line, have already opened a murderous fire upon the barricades, and it is reported that many lives are lost on both sides, Serious disturbances are also being carried on at Marseilles, where several lives have been sacrificed and many others endangered by wounds In the provinces numerous riots have occurred. At Gueret fifteen men have been killed and thirty arrested. At Toulon the operatives have struck work on the failure of their demands for higher wages. Blood has been shed in other places.”

“June 4th, The fighting in Paris has been resumed. As early as a quarter to three, people were awakened by the thundering of cannon in al! parts of the city It is really dreadful The Revolution itself was as nothing to this. Up to four o’clock this afternoon, there had been one incessant roar of artillery. Even now the barricades are said to be of gigantic strength and size, and as soon as one is destroyed another is built, the numerous dead bodies forming no inconsiderable part of the material. One of the barricades is about 14 feet in thickness, and about 20 feet high. Women handle the deadly weapons with all the enthusiasm of men,”

“June 25th. The slaughter in Paris has beer immense. It is reported that upwards of 10,000 have been slain or wounded. Also several attempts — though, at present, unsuccessful — have been made against the Government of Spain. How exactly these events were foreshadowed by the prophetic almanac makers may be seen in the following quotations:— Zadkiel, judging from the entrance of Mars into Leo, the alleged ruling sign of France, says, ‘It will excite to much violence the men of France and Italy, where tumults and insurrections take place.’ Simmonite corroborates Zadkiel’s judgment when he says ‘ Paris is full of turmoil; warlike indications are threatening, and politics seem wavering and eccentric. The Astrologer also predicts, ‘France is again torn by violent internal dissensions, and even the Mediterranean becomes a the scene of striking events.

Extracts From a Diary continued[edit]

“June 26th. The news from India is of an Pg.313 126 St alarming character. Some of the officials have been killed by the Sikhs, and an outbreak is daily expected. The whole of the troops in the Jullunder district have been warned to hold themselves in readiness to move at a moment's notice. Indications of this disturbance were given by Simmonite in his prognostications for June, in which he says—' India news appears not to be of a peaceable nature, not even satisfactory in a commercial point of view.’

“June 27th. Simmonite further predicts ‘numerous cases of poisoning’; and it is notorious that the newspaper press has rarely, if ever, been known: to teem with such wholesale cases of poisoning as in the present month.” Following up the coincidences of predictions and fulfilments of many events of this remarkable year, the next items to be quoted from the local diarist are as follow :— “June 30th. The Bury Post, in a paragraph relating to the small-pox among sheep, states that this alarming and extending visitation of our sheep-folds was the subject of much remark at Thetford wool fair. In his predictions for the month of May — a time that the disease began to show itself — Simmonite foretells ‘ A disease among sheep.’”

Under date of July 3rd is the following :—“Edinburgh has, this day, been the scene of an ecclesiastical riot. The city clergy are paid by a local impost known as the Annuity Tax, a burden that has always been unpopular. Two upholsterers resisted this tax, and were doomed to have their furniture sold by auction, Such a proceeding could, however only be effected by the aid of the police and two companies of dragoons. This occurrence is another fulfilment of an astrological forecast by Simmonite, who for the month of July says, ‘In Scotland there will be clerical squabbles of more than ordinary importance.’” “To the above may be pertinently added that no fewer than 162 petitions, signed by 22,000 persons, have been laid upon the table of the House of Lords, complaining of the refusal to grant sites for churches in connection with the Free church of Scotland.”

“July 7th. Mr. Hume’s new Reform Bill having been debated on this day, the Times newspaper remarks— ‘ There can be no doubt that there are in this country a great number of persons in every respect worthy of the franchise, but either altogether without it, or grouped in such masses that their votes are as mere drops in the ocean. Some call the new charter Mr. Hume’s, some Mr. Cobden’s, and some Mr. George Wilson’s. Mr. Cobden says that its growth is perfectly spontaneous, and that it sprang up in a summer’s night, nobody knows how. In whatever way it sprang up, there never was a movement which was more intelligible.’”

”Now, in Zadkiel’s prediction from the two events of the sun’s entrance into Aries, and the eclipse of the moon, which happened almost at the same time, he says ‘A sudden event will occur to the Ministry, in which will be infused a more popular and democratic principle,’ and in another part of his almanack(sic), wherein he judges of the effects of the great solar eclipse of last year, he says, ‘these effects will begin to take place in England in the month of April.’ Now, it is well known that on the 10th of that month such a demonstration was made on Kennington Common as to call forth. all the energies of the Government and the military resources of the country to defeat its object. It is equally well known that the new movement made by Mr. Hume and others dates its origin from that period.“

“July 8th. Total loss of the Finn McCoul, a Scotch steamer, with a cargo of Indian corn; also total wreck of the emigrant ship Commerce, with loss of life. Simmonite predicts at this time ‘Many shipwrecks,’ ”

Before proceeding to other matters recorded in the local diary, I will add one more to the many fulfilled predictions and curious coincidences already extracted from the said diary.

“Sept. 18. The Astrologer predicts that ‘In September Ireland will again be the scene of agrarian outrages, and the question of mutual relations between landlord and tenant again mooted,” A letter published in the Times of this date states that ‘seizures for rent have been. made during the past week. The poor peasants, finding their corn gone to their landlords, their potatoes melted into rottenness, and their wives and children almost without food, have told their tale of woe to their neighbours, and a purely agrarian meeting has taken place, from which has emanated the rising and rebel encampments. Thousands of men are at this time in open rebellion, and signal fires are blazing on the top of every mountain.’

Thus the fulfilled prediction. And now I will dilate somewhat on what seems to be the principal cause of this sad state of things. At page 129 of my diary, in writing my sentiments upon the convict Mitchell, I expressed pity for his fate, and it might be inferred by any person under whose eyes it should happen to fall that I have a leaning towards those principles for which he was tried and condemned, notwithstanding my added remark that his views were not my views. I feel, however, in some measure bound to acknowledge my conviction that Ireland has been sadly misgoverned. To the too overbearing assumption of Protestant ascendency may be attributed much of that misgovernment. Because they believe, it maybe, too much, whilst we, not unlikely, believe too little, we taunt them with being idolatrous and superstitious. We accuse them of being malicious, revengeful and bloodthirsty, but we forget the bloody tragedy of Rathcommon, where the military, headed by a Protestant clergyman, murdered the peasants for refusing to pay what they believed to be unjustly demanded tithes, We say they are ignorant and untutored, but is the Irish priesthood exclusively responsible for that condition? Even in England the Protestant bishops oppose every good plan that is brought forward for the education of the people. England is hardly any better off than Ireland in that respect, there being no truly national system of instruction. I have myself heard Protestant clergymen assert that for poor children to learn the Collects, repeat the Church Catechism, read the Bible and write their own names is as much as is required. Then the Romish church ~ is assailed on account of its confessional, yet do not we hear of class and other meetings among Protestant Dissenters where confessions are made, some of which are probably less sincere, if not less prudent, than the confessions to Catholic priests. We are told that the Romish bishops and priests extort money from the members of that persuasion under the plea of granting absolution and remission of sins—a practice which I for one hold to be wrong— yet what do we find as regards money getting among the Protestant bishops and clerical pluralists? The Bishop of London, it is said, receives £25,000 a year, and spends it mainly on his own family, whilst the late Romish Bishop of Paris received no more than £1,200 per year, and spent it chiefly to relieve the wants of his fellow-creatures. Again it is recorded that poor-rates and church-rates only made their appearance coeval with Protestant ascendency, and that prior to that event the Church maintained her poor out of her own revenues. Turning to another point, I might ask — Who has done so much for the Temperance cause as the noble minded and ever active Father Matthew? He it is who has converted thousands of drunkards into sober and rational beings. Who but the Catholic priests were they that when famine and fever stalked the land of Erin, and endangered every life that came in contact, went about, administering to the wants of the destitute, and imparted consolation to the afflicted. Who — I repeat the question — were they but the Catholic priests, who although themselves sinking by hundreds, never swerved from their spiritual duties? I might also ask — Who is he but the self-denying Pope that in the midst of his splendours, becomes abstemious that he may be able to relieve as much as possible the wants of the Italians? It is the same sovereign pontiff who emancipated the Jews, while the Protestant Lords of England put their veto to the “Jewish Disabilities Bill,’ and throw it out, after it has passed the Commons by a large majority. Who was it that entered the ranks of the insurgents at the last civil conflict in Paris, and there preached the Gospel of Peace to those misguided men? It was the venerable and beloved Bishop of Paris, who stood with glorious humanity amidst those fiends of blood. exhorting them to love one another, and lamentably fell in the execution of his philanthropic mission. I will not now put the matter further, having eased my mind in ???? my belief that England's misrule towards Ireland is much greater and her own inconsistencies much more. in evidence than is generally supposed that, in short, her power is arbitrary, and that the sons of unhappy Ireland have much cause for complaint.”

The foregoing sentiments were expressed, remembered, in the year 1848, since which time such changes have been effected and such concessions granted as to entirely reform more than all the abuses and evils pointed out by the diarist; and but for the unceasing propaganda of political agitators, Ireland, if not already, would soon be, in a more happy condition than that of England.

Having completed my extracts from the local diarist which pertain to the political events and curious coincidences of 1843, I will now quote from the same source the jottings on other matters, some of which may seem to partake of puerility, others as pourtraying(sic) the sentimental emotions of the said diarist, and others again as possessing originality even if not of novelty, It will be seen that the diarist was an early riser, and as such, the following extract will be appropriate.

“May 22nd. Composed the following Invitation to Early Rising:—

Attention, good folk, for a time!
I wish to convince you, ere long,
That this simple, out-spoken rhyme
Embodies a practical song.

’Tis Nature’s and Heaven's behest
Our time to be prudently used;
But often, it must be confessed,
By sluggards ‘tis sadly abused,

There’s Richard and more I could name,
In slumber waste much of their time;
I speak of it here to their shame,
They seldom get up before nine.

Their work or their studies, 'tis plain,
Neglected must frequently be;
Lost time they may try to regain,
But which they can never more see.

Permit me to warn you, my friends,
Against early hours thrown away;
For much, I assure you, depends
On early-time rising each day,

If health be your aim to promote,
At five or at six leave your couch;
To study those first hours devote,
And life will be pleasant, I vouch,

There's no other portion of day
So good tor all kinds of employment;
No other, I venture to say,
Affords such instructive enjoyment.

Let slumber your eyelids forsake,
No longer your prison house keep;
Dame Nature invokes to awake,
Then give up your sloth and your sleep !

Go with me to yonder green mead,
Where silvery-dew flow'rets blow !
There Nature's own book you may read,
And lessons of wisdom may know,

The next quotation is from under the date of June 8th, the heading of which is “A Morning Soliloquy, suggested by the Invitation to Early Rising, written on May 22nd.”

Hail, beaunteous morn ! I just awake,
Will soon myself attire;
To linger longer on my couch
Is not my soul’s desire,

The linnet sings its matin song,
The lark is soaring high;
Why should I then my sleep prolong ?
It's bonds to break I'll try,

The golden moments I will seize,
Ere daily toil’s begun,
And haste to sip the balmy breeze,
Or view the rising sun,

I'll hie me to the dewy mead,
‘Tis Nature’s fragrant bower;
And there, from cares perplexing freed,
Will pluck the op’ning flower,

Or if to study I'm inclined,
These morning hours are best;
When nought disturbs the willing mind,
The vision unoppressed,

While others pass their time away
In much unneeded sleep,
I'll henceforth early rise each day
Great benefits to reap,

Though four-score years I might attain,
Tis even then a span;
Yet many extra hours I gain
By this judicious plan.


(Extracts from a local diary, continued.) “Monday, Jan, 31. Rose at 5 a.m. Finished stock-taking, after three days fatigue. On reviewing the state of the weather for the month now closing, I find that although the temperature has been below the average, the cold, upon the whole has not been severe. The last week has been the most winterly. The wind, however, has at times been very boisterous.

“Tuesday, Feb. 1st. Rose at 7 o’clock—shamefully late! Had my usual morning walk, however, and thought out the following arithmetical problem :—

A friend in need is called a friend indeed,
Exclaimed a man who could not pay his rent,
When he was offered with unlooked-for speed,
A loan of fifty pounds, at three per cent.
To pay it back no anxious thought required
While compound interest was charged thereon;
But having cash when thirteen years expired,
Resolved to do so, ere 'twas elsewise gone.
With principal was paid the int’rest too,
And, I fain hope, with heartfelt thanks as well;
Now, as to what sum total then was due,
I'll leave for anyone, who likes, to tell.

“Wednesday, Feb. 2nd. Rose at the better time of 5.50, and before going to business set to music, as a song, the words by ‘ Constance’ entitled The Summer is Gone.

“Friday, Feb. 4th. Rose early, but forget the exact time. Finished arranging my Saxon Quadrilles for the band. Rehearsed them at the evening practice, and the playfully running part for the violoncello was much appreciated.

“Wednesday, Feb. 16th. Rose at 5.40. Revised the Song All Hail Happy Meeting, previously composed for an anniversary dinner of the Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows, and sent it for publication in the National Melodist. [May be found on page 201, vol. 1, of that work. ]

“Monday, Feb. 21st. Being able to sleep only a very short time in consequence of the noise by coal-carts during the night while unloading colliers at the Saxon slipway, I betake myself to reading, and afterwards write the following riddle and solution :—

Take first your pencil, then your slate,
And make a well-formed figure eight;
You next divide or add with one,
When it appears to equal none,

Riddle1.png

”Tuesday, Feb. 22nd, Rose at 6.20 a.m. While taking my morning walk to St. Leonards Green, thought-out and wrote in my pocket-book the following riddle and solution :—

Five things we make of equal height,
The first two crossed, the rest upright;
Detach we three, and then we find
Exactly ten are left behind.
Or if we cut the five in twain,
We find the top doth eight contain,”

Riddle2.png

“Wednesday, Feb. 23rd. Rose at 8.15, after three hours repose, haying been engaged to play at a ball. Gave lessons to two pupils, and employed the rest of the day in school-work and shop-keeping.

“Friday, Feb, 26th, In addition to ordinary employment, wrote the Saxon Waltz, as a duet for two flutes, and played the same at night with Philip Hook, a pupil.

“Monday, Feb, 28th. After a repose of 43 hours have risen to make myself acquainted, &c. [This refers to the revolt in Paris, particulars of which have been already extracted from the Diary] Have, this day found a pamphlet called “Castle ostume,” an advertising medium of E. Moses and Sons clothing establishment in the Minories. It was thrust into my hands while passing that establishment in the year 1839, There is one effusion in the pamphlet entitled ‘The Fractured Knee,’ which with the requisite alterations, I have adapted to an accident which befel the overtight trousers of a gentleman while dancing a quadrille at Mr. Elphinstone’s Election Ball in the Pelham Arcade. I witnessed the ‘catastrophe’ as well as the confusion of the gentleman, who, as quickly as he could, disappeared from the scene, and left his partner to retire to a seat, amidst the half-suppressed hilarity of the company. The adapted lines are intended for recital at convivial meetings.

“Wednesday, March 1st. On looking over some old MSS I find a little melody written by myself in 1839, which was suggested to me while on board of an American emigrant ship by the peculiarly plaintive, but musical voice of the mate during the operation of heaving the lead. Since composing that melody I have found some words written by Jessie Hammond to which I have applied the music of

The Mariner's Grave.

"I remember the night which was stormy and wet,
And dismally dash’d the dark wave,
While the rain and the sleet cold and heavily beat
On the mariner’s new-made grave.

“I remember ‘twas down in a darksome vale,
And near to a deep, gloomy cave,
Where the wild winds did wail round the wanderer, pale,
That I saw the poor mariner’s grave,

“I remember how slowly the bearers there trod,
And how sad was the look that they gave,
As they rested their load near its earthly abode,
And there gazed on the mariner's grave.

“I remember a tear that there silently slid
Down the cheek of a messmate, so brave;
117 St  Pg.314 As it fell on the lid, which was very soon hid
By the earth on the mariner’s grave.
Now o’er his lone bed the sweet briar doth twine,
And the wild flowers mournfully wave
And the willows incline, and the moon it doth shine,
On the mariner's cold, silent grave.”

More extracts from a local diary[edit]

The next extract from the private record of a local diarist is under date of March the 8th, and here the writer shows himself to be in a melancholy mood while meditating on the death of an only child. Naturally sensitive, his loss would be more keenly felt than would be a similar bereavement happening to those of a less pathetic mind, but his sorrow was intensified by the belief that if, instead of yielding to the imperious dictum of Dr. MacCabe, as against the expressed doubt of Surgeon Gilbert, he had followed the advice of Mrs. Button, an old and experienced nurse, the child’s life might have been saved. ”Water on the brain, decidedly,” said the physician, and the little sufferer was treated accordingly, but after death the seat of the disease was discovered to be at a different part of the body, for which the cure was thought to be anything but difficult. Yet, deplorable as the case was felt to be by the diarist, his outpouring of grief might have been more subdued could he have known at the time that still greater losses awaited him in after years by the deaths of three other children at the respective ages of 6, 19 and 26 years. The first of the three was attended by two M.D, surgeons, whilst her brother and sister recovered from the whilst her brother and sister recovered from the same complaint by means of more simple remedies applied by their father, and are still living as subjects by comparison for doubting the reliability of what is called medical science. But let there be a truce to further preamble while the diarist gives vent to his lamentation in prose and verse in the following extracts :—

“Twelve months ago, this day, I followed my dear little Clarence to the grave. Oh, what a day was that! Picture to yourselves ye loving parents who have never had your firstborn plucked from your bosoms, the anguish experienced by a fond mother and a doting father. The remembrance of that sad day, even at this distance of time, renews one’s affliction and reminds one how blighted were his hopes and how impossible of realisation were his fancied joys to come. Everyone appraises his own at the best, yet this partiality apart, it was the opinion of neighbours that the sun never shone on a more promising child. Albeit, it was only those who were with him night and day, who watched his every movement. and saw with rapture the rapid development of intelligence, that could realise the irreparable loss they had sustained. But why do I now dwell upon it — why recall the harrowing scenes of his interment — why still remember the mournful ejaculations of his mother, broken only by irrepressible sobs, ‘ Farewell, my darling boy !’ ’My son!’ ‘My Clarence !’ ’My only joy !’ Is it not because such scenes and such trials when coming upon us for the first time are more acutely felt than many persons suppose? Is it not because of the reluctance to resign a promising offspring to the dark vault of corruption? Is it not because of the sorrow of severing for ever the many ties of affection and tenderness? Or is it because a reminiscence of the melancholy event should teach us the uncertainty or brevity of all earthly joys, and the necessity of being prepared for Providential visitations? The following lines were penned at the time of bereavement :—

A solemn stillness now prevails,
All Nature for a time seems hushed;
Grim Death the feeble frame assails,
And, lo! its victim lieth crushed.

Alas! no more the beating pulse
Is felt, nor heard the panting breath
No pangs his little limbs convulse;
He sleeps, indeed, the sleep of death.

His fearful struggles now are o’er,
Noearthly sounds disturb his sleep
Ye call in vain; he'll wake no more
From slumbers so profoundly deep.

He struggled hard, his pains were great
Each hour he grew more weak and faint
Yet nought could human aid abate
The progress of that dire complaint,

But who can paint the mother’s grief—
What tongue can tell the father’s woe—
What friendly aid can give relief
Or stem the smarting tears that flow ?

What other joys can recompense
For loss so great, the parents, dear?
Scarce can the things of time and sense
Afford one spark or ray of cheer.

Those only who have felt the smart
Can tell what grief, what tortures wild,
What bitter pangs assail the heart
To lose a first and only child.

Yet, why, fond parents, will ye grieve—
Why, needlessly, prolong your pain—
Why will ye comfort not receive,
But wish your darling back again?

He's left a world of sin and death—
The scenes of misery and strife,
Where many a pestilential breath
Diseases and endangers life.

He’s left an earthly father’s care,
Forsa’en an earthly mother’s love,
His heavenly Father’s joy to share
In realms of happiness above.

There will he join, with pure delight
Those tuneful anthems angels raise;
There will he sing in regions bright
His great Redeemer’s songs of praise.

There, in that place where virtue reigns,
And every visage beams with joy;
There, rescued from a world of pains
For ever dwells your much-loved boy.

Then still your grief, dry up your tears,
And meekly view the chast’ning rod;
Dispel henceforth all doubts and fears;
Your little angel’s gone to God.

"Why thus the separation dread—
Why fret and grieve, and feel forlorn?
While parents cry “ Our child is dead! ”
Yon angels shout “ A child is born!”

“In the same week that my own child finished his earthly career; an esteemed friend and townsman was visited with a similar affliction, he, too, having lost a boy of about the same age; and, although in a Christian-like spirit he consigned his offspring to the tomb, his demeanour for a considerable time was such as to show that he had not completely rallied from the shock. The two little B’s — for that was the initial letter of their surnames, whilst each child had a draper for its father — were buried within 6 feet of each other in the Wesleyan. Chapel ground; and in a letter of condolence to the second bereaved parent, the first mourner concluded with the following lines :— :

”Behold, my friend, your heavy loss
Is to your child a greater gain,
He having left a crown of dross
For purely one without a stain.

”I, too, you know, have cause to mourn,
For him, of late, an only son;
But God has wisely from me torn
That idolized and cherished one.

“Tis well that He afflicts us thus,
For we believe He cannot err;
"Tis well, indeed, for both of us;
Then let us never more demur!

“But henceforth this good lesson learn—
To pray and praise in weal or woe;
For soon, perchance, ’twill be our turn
A like event to undergo.”

Under date of March 27th, the diarist writes:—

“Composed the following arithmetical problems during the past week for the use of pupils :—

“A celebrated London firm ten travellers sent round,
And these ten travellers, I learn, had sixpence in each pound
For all the goods which they might sell — now list to what I say !
The worth of twenty thousand pounds was sold on one fine day.
On such a sum, although I know what sum to each was due,
That sum correctly found I wish to ascertain from you.“

“Ten picture frames at two-pound-nine,
Ten prints at one pound-three,
With squares of glass — the goods not mine—
I sold to Mister Tree.
Commission I shall get on these,
Percentage one-and-half;
What money, tell me if you please,
Is gained on my behalf.”

“Employed a man to buy for me
Twelve railway shares at five pound three;
Commission gave nine-eighths per cent,
Pray tell the whole amount I spent.”

“At the time of the late revolution in Paris
Friend Jones came in haste, and said he,
'The aspects are bad, and I’m off, Mr. Harris !
My plate you must warehouse for me.
I’m willing to pay you whate’er is your charge
Which learn I is five-eighths per cent.
There’s nine-hundred pounds worth of small things and large,’
This, hastily said, off he went,
What country he fled to, I’m sure I can’t say,
Nor when he’ll return do I know,
Suffice it that you do oblige me to-day,
My claim of commission to show.”

The diarist then goes on to say “I have often thought how very useful would be a book got up in a convenient and portable form containing the mere outlines of general knowledge, without the ‘why and the wherefore.’ Such a book would be the means of conveying a mass of popular information by the arrangement of mere facts in a comparatively brief space, and would, I imagine, open up a vast field of enquiry, besides giving a stimulus to the prosecution of various studies that by many persons are at present entirely neglected in consequence of the formidable appearance of most works of an encyclopedic, and many even of an elementary description. I do not mean that such a book might be made to supersede any one of the many excellent works on science and other subjects with which the civilized world abounds, but to be a help to the acquisition of general knowledge, and to prevent the necessity of wading through ponderous tomes or otherwise cumbrous volumes in order to arrive at a simple fact. It has never been my good fortune to meet with such a book, and I purpose therefore, to commence the preparation of one this, very day—not for publication, but merely for the use of myself, my family, my pupils and my friends. My chief aim will be to chronicle events as they occur, and to copy from various authors things that are worth knowing, the same to be put in the fewest words possible, consistent with perspicuity. I begin thus:—

“Herschel's year is 84 of ours; Saturn’s is 30; Jupiter’s is 12;” &c.

“Pigeons and goats live on an average 8 years; cats and sheep, 10: rams and pulls, 15; dogs and oxen, 20; doves, partridges and swine, 25; eagles, geese and ravens, 100.” &c.

“In England and Wales on an average at the present time [1848] 80 persons die and 120 are born every hour.” &c.

“The full moon reflects on the earth only a three-thousandth part of the light of the sun. The natural day is 4 minutes all but 4 seconds short of 24 hours. While sound travels 12 miles in a minute, light travels 12 millions in the same time.” &c.

“The population of England and Wales is supposed to double itself in 60 years; that of Denmark in 503 that of Switzerland in 44; that of Prussia in 36; and that of America in 30.” &c.

“Shrimps contain from 3,000 to 7,000 eggs or spawn; herrings, from 20,000 to 40,000; lobsters, about 22,000; mackerel, about 455,000; a two ounce flounder, 133,000; a 15-ounce sole, 100,000; a cod, 3,000,000.” &c.

The above are extracted, merely as specimens of the diarist’s unpublished “Collection of Facts” commenced in 1848.

April 6th. Have had a restless night. Have taken a draught of medicine sent by the club doctor. but it does me no good.

April 7th. Have had very little sleep during the night, and feel quite inadequate to the work at this evening’s concert.

April 8th. Health improving; have thrown ”physic to the dogs,” have drunk no fluid for three days except a single glass of port wine at last evening’s concert, but have paid more than ordinary attention to diet. Have set to music a poem written by J. T. Algar, the words of which are as follow: —

”From helpless infancy to hoary age,
Amidst Life’s ever changing devious ways,
The hopes of things to come our minds engage,
And fancy brightly pictures better days.

”The toys of childhood when they're once possessed
Lose all their charms which first obtained our praise
And what we thought would make us truly blest,
Remains to be enjoyed in better days.

”The youthful lover glowing with delight,
To some fair maid his ardent homage pays,
When the bright vision fades before his sight,
And leave him nought to hope but better days.

“The anxious parent, toiling for the bread
Which in his craving infant hunger stays,
Labours the weary day, then rests his head, A
And dreams of sweet repose in better days.

”The tott’ring grandsire, hast’ning to the grave,
Reviews his life, and as he thinks, he prays,
Great God, be pleased my family to save,
To meet in happiness in better days.

“Thus from the first to last each pleasure flies,
Eludes our grasp, in sight a moment stays;
Man lives an instant, in an instant dies ,
And dying, prays and hopes for better days.”

(Extracts from a local diary, continued.)

April 9th. Am sorry to find that before the month is less than half through, Simmonite’s prediction of “numerous fires in and about the metropolis this month,” is being too truly verified. One at Mitcham on the 4th, involved a loss of property to a very serious extent. Another on the 7th at Mr. Gladwin’s premises, 21 Gracechurch street, consumed the whole of the building and did vast damage to adjoining properties - many thousand pounds. Another great fire in the metropolis on the 10th, and now on the 11th, eight houses have been destroyed in London by another disastrous fire. How many more may occur before the month is out, time only can reveal. Have written several arithmetical problems in verse.”

April 12th. An electric message has been forwarded to London from the Prince Consort, summoning Dr. Ferguson to Osborne House without delay in consequence of the sudden illness of the Hon. Mr. Anson, Her Majesty’s treasurer and His Royal Highness’s private secretary. This event tallies with Simmonite’s astrological calculation of “Sickness in the Royal Household.“ Have done nothing to-day out of the way of business.”

“April 14. Have found today the required intervals of time for setting to music a song in B flat entitled The Exile’s Return, intended for publication in the National Melodist. This reminds me that in the said work there have already appeared from my pen the songs All Hail Happy Meeting, Before and After Marriage, Have ye faith in One Another, My Meerschaum Bowl, Sing me the Songs of Other Days, §¢.

“April 15. Went, this day, by the 5 o'clock train to Polegate, thence to Milton street, for the purpose of serving & County-Court notice on a Mr. Richard Levett for a new trial between himself and a relation of mine. This trial had reference to an action brought by the said Richard Levett against my friend for certain moneys that had long since been paid to the plaintiff, but in consequence of the supposed clearness of the case and the honest conviction of the defendant that the plaintiff had no claim upon him, legal advice was not sought in aid of my friend’s cause, and the result was that the plaintiff obtained an unjust judgment by swearing to several misstatements against the defendant The circumstances of the case were, however, so well known to many persons, that at my suggestion a new trial was asked for and granted. I felt that I could not tolerate what I knew was an injustice, and I resolved at all hazards to render my relative so much assistance as lay in my power to obtain justice. I was to have gone as a witness only to the serving the notice, but wishing to return from Polegate by the next train, and finding that from long illness my companion was unable to travel the distance in the allotted time, I sent him back to an inn at Polegate whilst I pushed forward alone to execute the mission. The weather was enough to damp the courage of stouter hearts than mine, but with resolute effort on I went through wind, hail and rain, accomplishing the distance of nearly eight miles in 82 minutes. Thus, on my return to Polegate I had three quarters of an hour for rest and refreshment previous to the arrival of the train.”

“May 22. The second hearing of the case against my friend has taken place this day, the plaintiff being obliged to admit that he had no proper entry of his claim in his books, and that several of his previous statements were mistakes, whilst for the defendant several witnesses declared that they had seen the value of the goods paid in money to the plaintiff. The Judge, who had previously decided the case against my friend, now reversed the judgment, and after admonishing the plaintiff for his misstatements, mulcted him of the costs of both trials, and saved the defendant from having. to submit to an unjust demand The writer takes credit for having performed at least one good action in his life.“


June 7th. Wrote the music of “An English Christmas Home” to the words by Eliza Cook; also “The Song of St. Leonards,” to the words by R. Madden, Esq. I, carried on as usual my several employments of shop-keeper, schoolmaster and bandmaster, the working length of the day being from 5 in the morning till midnight.

More Extracts - Murder of a Cook[edit]

June 8th. Sent for publication, and which appeared next day in the Hastings News, the following Ode to Music, together with a prose introduction, which latter is here omitted:-

The man who does not music love
Has faint ideas of joys above
178 St  Pg.315 For there pure harmony prevails,
And sweetest music never fails.

O music! music! throw thy vest
Around each agitated breast;
Thy virtues to each soul unpart,
And tranquilize each gen’rous heart.

O music! music! haste thee near,
Thy blissful strains I long to hear;
Play me some peaceful, soothing strain,
To calm my fears,—to ease my pain.

Come crotchet, quaver, semibreve
Lend now thy aid—my mind relieve;
'Twill check my growing sinful pride
And root out many ills beside.

Ah! well-known melody how sweet
The oft’ner heard, the richer treat
That symphony may start a tear
Yet charms my faithful list’ning ear.

Yes! whether sacred song or glee,
'Tis all the same—I welcome thee;
Or instrumental, grave or bold—
With me thou never growest old.

Thy language known in every clime
Is most exalted, most sublime;
Thy tone of pure celestial sounds
On consecrated soil abounds.

By thee we can our thoughts express,
In humble garb or splendid dress;
The high, the low, the rich, the poor,
In thee may find exhaustless store.

Thou tellest what the poor man needs,
Thou spread’st the fame of valor’s deeds;
Thy tuneful, blythesome jocund lays,
We hail with pride on pleasure days.

Thou tell’st of merry laughing hearts—
Of plighted love—of cupid’s darts;
A nuptial-feast thou deign’st to tell
By welcome sounds of ding-dong. bell.

Thy gladsome strains of joy and mirth
We hail at every royal birth;
Or if perchance a mortal die
A solemn dirge thou dost supply.

Thou liv’st below, thou dwell'st above,
Thou reign'st where all is peace and love;
Then most unsocial must he be
Who does not gladly welcome thee.

To quote again from the local diarist, there is found on page 161, supposed to have been written on June 10th, as follows:— ”Whether, in a feeling of displeasure or one of a different nature, is not known, but certain it is that after repeated and fruitless applications in the ordinary way, the more novel application in doggerel rhyme proved to be immediately effective. It was thus :—

“Long credit you've had, sir,
’Tis really too bad, sir,
Your payments so long to evade;
So settle off-hand, sir,
The sum I demand, sir,
Ere county-court process be laid.”

Not only was the money immediately sent, but a polite apology for negligence accompanied it, and instead of the debtor being offended, he became afterwards a better customer. Perhaps, like some other persons who could be named, he chose to be needlessly eccentric in his commercial dealings.

On the next page of the diary is another specimen of eccentricity. It professes to be a ”Bill and Receipt,” as ordered by T. Musgrave, Esq., at 60, Marina, St. Leonards. It must have been, however, at a somewhat later date than 1848, and was probably copied from the original to fill up a blank page. It runs thus:—

“Squire Musgrave's in debt to one Thomas B Brett,
For copies a score of St. Leonards Gazette,
And wishing to pay before going away,
Demands his account without further delay.

'Tis one of this gentleman’s funny desires
To have in the shortest of time,
A proper account of indebted amount,
The same to be rendered in rhyme.

So then, to comply, on the 5th of July,
Was when this account did commence,
Hence clear may be seen, to November fifteen,
Was due shillings three, and four pence.

But surely ’tis funny, that double the money,
Is afterwards found in Brett's till;
Tis given by him who, with satisfied whim,
Gets rhyme and receipt with his bill.”

(Concluding extracts from a local diary.)

June 13. Commenced public practice with the St. Leonards Band on the parade for the summer season, June 30. “A disease among sheep” was predicted for last month by Simmonite in his Almanack published eight months previously, and the prediction is verified by the Bury Post which says ”The alarming visitation of small-pox among sheep which appears to be extending, was the subject of much remark at Thetford wool-fair on Thursday last.”

July 8. Simmonite foretells “ Many shipwrecks at this time,” and his forecast is too truly verified, among other casualties, by the total loss of the ”Finn McCoul” Scotch steamer and the emigrant ship “Commerce” with loss of life.

July 17. Zadkiel foretells that “ At St. Petersburg the people will suffer much by sickness and pestilence,” and the Times of to-day proves the accuracy of his judgment. It says ”At St. Petersburg from June 24th to July 3rd there had been 5,063 cases of cholera, of which 2,596 had proved fatal.”

July 19. Zadkiel further says “Jupiter transits the Sun’s place in the nativity of the Czar, and we hope that he will be mercifully inclined.” This hope of the astrologer is realised by the Emperor of Russia’s generosity in sending 50,000 roubles for the relief of the inhabitants of Orel who have been rendered homeless by the calamitous fire in that town Oct. 27. The Hastings News publishes under the heading of “ The St. Leonards of Poetrv,“ a poem from a correspondent written by R R. Madden, Esq., and previously printed in a Forget Me Not for 1834. This, which I have set to music, will be found among the unpublished portions of my musical compositions.

The words are, however, as follow :—

“The trav’ler may boast of the climes of the East,
He may rave about Naples and Rome;
He may rove thro’ the world like a child at a feast,
And forget all the pleasures of home;
Though sweet are the shores and ambrosial the gale
O’er the South, with its bright summer sea,
The glare of its beauty shall never prevail
O’er St. Leonards by moonlight with me.

“The poet may dream of Arcadian sprites,
And illumine his page with the glow
Of a summer in Greece when Apollo delights
On Olympus in vesture of snow;
I care not for Phoebus, I court not a beam
Of his beauty, however divine,
Of sunshine and splendour let Moore make a theme,
While St. Leonards by moonlight is mine.

“Let Byron awaken the heart-strnng(sic) lyre,
And the beauty impassioned proclaim
Of Haides and Helens whose features inspire
Each breast at a glance with a flame;

The beam unabashed of the dark, rolling eye
I seek not, and never will pine
For beauties Circassian, nor breathe e’en a sigh
While the maid of St. Leonards is mine.”

As the summer of 1893, just passed, has been noted for a long period of heat and drought, it may be of some interest to know that in the month of May, 1848, there was a lengthened period of extreme heat, which was said at the time to have caused a considerable number of visitors to leave Hastings for a cooler region. Those persons who attributed the departure of visitors to the cause of unusual heat appeared to forget that it was a part of year when a similar movement always takes place; yet it must be admitted that even at the present time the boast of having so much sunshine causes visitors to say that the drawback to a Hastings sojourn is its great amount of sunshine which causes the air to be relaxing. Statisticians know that the local temperature, take the year round, is more equable than at most other places, but the published records of sunshine give visitors an impression which it is not easy to remove. Turning again to the unusual heat and dry weather of May 1848, it may be well conceived how troublesome were the clouds of dust when the wind blew strongly over the then large open space which has since been covered with buildings from Carlisle Parade and Robertson terrace clean away to the railway station in one direction and to the Alexandra Park and West hill slopes in another. As a means for remedying the condition of dust alluded to, a letter appeared in the Hastings News of May 12th, 1848, signed by “ J. R.” (presumably James Rock, who was afterwards twice a Hastings Mayor) an extract of which is as follows :—

“Sir,
Why is not the road across the Priory Ground (alias the Desert) watered? This question is asked by almost everyone whose lot it is to cross that desert land at this dry and dusty season. You could not better employ your editorial pen than by directing the attention of our fellow-townsmen to these subjects; and if the only result be to get the Priory road watered either by the Commissions of both towns or by subscription, you will have achieved a public benefit. . . I will take this opportunity of mentioning a curious fact in connection with the Priory desert illustrative of the durability of the fertilizing action of manure. About half-way across the [beachy and bricky] ground, and but a few yards from the slope of the parade wall there is a little oasis which remains green and flourishing in the driest seasons, even when all around is dry and bare, This oasis marks the spot upon which stood the manure heap of the Pelham mews, which many of your readers will remember as occupying a part of the Priory ground before it became a 'despoblado’ under the William. Rufus-like doings of Her Majesty’s Commissioners of Woods and Forests and Land Revenues. Although 13 years have elapsed since the mews was pulled down, and the soil consists of little else than gravel or beach, the effects of the manure are still visible. There is another, but smaller green spot on the same ground which derives its fertility from a similar source.”

I have somewhere stated in my treatment of the events of 1848 that on the 4th of May Mr. John Banks — who, like myself, was the son of a blacksmith — was unanimously elected as schoolmaster to Parker's Charity at a salary of £155, in the place of Mr. George Rubie, then deceased. I now add that the death of Mr. W. Bevins having caused also a vacancy in the less remunerative mastership of Saunders’ Charity, a successor was advertised for and notice given that the election would take place at the Town Hall on the 6th of July. The regulations required the master to be of the Established Church, and to be competent to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, mathematics, navigation and Latin. The number of boys on the foundation was not to exceed 70, and the master was to be allowed to receive 10 private pupils. The salary, arising from land-rents at Wittersham, yielded about £85. The master elected for this charity was Mr. F Foster. What would schoolmasters now think of such conditions, with the salaries of assistant teachers to be paid by themselves?

The numerous sudden deaths and coroners inquests during the year have already been noticed, and among those of a more looked-for nature was the demise of the venerable Mrs Gill, widow of the banker William Gill. Her death occurred on the 28th of June, in the 97th year of her age, and her remains were interred in the burial-ground of All Saints on the 5th of July, when most of the shops were closed as a tribute of respect to the departed lady. Her husband’s death, at the age of 82, had preceded hers on the 16th of Nov., 1831. Notwithstanding that Mr. and Mrs. Gill attained to such venerable ages there were only two of their seven children who reached the age of fourscore. Ann, the eldest. who was born in 1776 and became the wife of William Scrivens, one of her father’s partners in the bank, died in 1863 at the age of 87. William, who was born in 1779, died in 1788, Charlotte was born in 1781, and George first saw the light in 1784, the latter dying at the age of 23. Thomas was born in 1786, and though I am not conversant with his life, I have a notion that it was he or a son of his, who, in 1848 delivered an interesting lecture at the Battle Mechanics’ Institute on ”The Connection of History with Common Life.” John came into the world in 1790 and went out of it at the age of 32. James, the youngest son, born in 1794, went to Sydney, New South Wales, where he died at the age of 80 years, after surviving his wife ten years, who died in 1864 at the age of 70.

Another of the Hastings deaths worthy of notice in 1848 was that of Charles Lutwidge, Esq. It occurred on the 7th of September at his residence, 2 Wellington square. The deceased, who had passed his 80th year, came to Hastings a few years before, was a gentleman greatly esteemed both in private and public life. He was the eldest son of Henry Lutwidge, Esq., of Cumberland, and had accompanied his uncle, Admiral Lutwidge, to the siege of Toulon in the Terrible, of 74 guns and was afterwards an officer in the Lancashire Militia, with which he served in Ireland during the rebellion of 1798. After that, he was the commanding officer, at Dungeness under Sir John Moore. He was next appointed Collector of Customs at the port of Hull, which office, after 35 years service, he gave up when he came to Hastings. He was regarded as a true Christian.

Having referred to the death of the venerable Mrs. Gill, widow of William Gill, the Hastings banker, as having taken place in 1848, it occurs to me to notice the death in the same year of Mr. Richard Smith, brother of Francis Smith, a late partner in the same Hastings Bank. Francis Smith came to Hastings in or about the year 1824; and, as he once told me, was carried over the Priory Bridge on the back of a big man (James Brazier) in that same year, When many of the Rope- Walk houses were washed down, and all the thoroughfares between Pelham place and the White-rock hill were inundated by the highest tide of the present century. But it was 24 years later, when there were no Rope. Walk houses existing to be demolished, and no Priory bridge to be passed, when Francis Smith’s brother Richard came to an untimely death. His residence was at Vinehall, and on the 7th of December, 1848, he attended the Cattle-Show dinner at Hailsham and on his return journey it is supposed, was thrown from his horse. He was afterwards found in a ditch beside one of the ill-formed marsh roads to the east of Hailsham.

Another death in 1848 was a still more deplorable one, inasmuch as it was not natural, not accidental and not self-inflicted; it was, indeed a murderous one, and I would gladly draw a veil over the melancholy affair, but as an impartial historian, it behoves me not to pass it by. On the forenoon of Sunday, Nov. 12th, the cook at Catherine Villa, West Hill, St Leonards, was brutally murdered while the greater part of the family, consisting of Miss Moore, Dr. Moore, (her brother) the coachman and footman were all at Hastings, attending service at the Baptist Chapel. The housemaid and cook were left at home, the former, whose name was Jane Cannon, proceeding afterwards to St. Leonards Church. The cook, whose name was Mary Ann Newman, and whose age was 56, had held the situation 26 years. On the return of the family, the footman, not being able to effect an entrance in the ordinary way, got in through Miss Moore's bed-room window, and found the room disarranged with jewel-cases and opened trunks, The cook was discovered in the lower passage, still breathing, with three severe wounds at the back of her head, Watches, jewellery and other portable valuables had been stolen, but no trace of the robber and murderer was at first possible. A man named 'Turf' Hyland, who had committed petty thefts and had been recently concerned in a sacreligious(sic) entry of the St, Leonards Church, was at first apprehended, but quickly discharged. Remembering that a young man named Pearson had previously lived at the house as coachman and that he had frequently quarrelled with the cook, whom tradesmen and others Judged to be of an unamiable temper, he was taken on suspicion at 11 o’clock the same night. The terribly injured woman lingered on until the following Tuesday, when she expired, as it was believed she would necessarily do. On the following day an inquest was held, to which I was summoned as a juryman, and it was then shewn that the wounds had been inflicted with a spade that had stood near the passage. The private opinion of some of the jurymen was that the murder was not premeditated, but that the assailant having been detected in the act of carrying off stolen property, and confronted by the cook, the impulse of the moment was to use as a weapon the spade which was near to hang. The murdered woman was short and corpulent, and apparently ill-calculated to offer resistance to any violent attack. She was a native of Tor in Devonshire, but of her early life very little could be gleaned. Her parents died when she was young and she was brought up by an aunt and two male cousins, the only relatives she had living. She entered Miss Moore’s service in 1821 at the age of 29 years. She possessed some peculiarities of character which may be described as failings, but as ”the good that men do is buried with them,” it would be wrong to say aught that makes the “evil live after them” One remarkable circumstance is that a short time before her death she related a dream to her mistress to the effect that Pearson would one day be her murderer. The stolen property was valued at £250. Pearson was apprehended at the Hastings Arms inn after he had been to St. Clement’s Church, and it is another curious circumstance that on that particular evening the gas suddenly went out and the church was left in darkness. Candles were procured and one was given to Pearson, which it was said he held with a steady hand, and even conversed about the murder. He was afterwards committed for trial by Mr. Alfred Burton, who was the first Hastings mayor elected from St. Leonards, if we omit Mr. John Brett, of 129 St  Pg.316 the “ Maudlin ” parish (now a part of St. Leonards town), he having held the office in 1626, and his predecessor, Thomas Brett, the office of bailiff in 1656.

The Fish Pond Murder - Articles on Poetry and Rhyme[edit]

Pearson was tried at the Sussex Spring Assizes, but that belongs to the history of the following year, when the Guestling poisoning case will also be noticed. Suffice it here to say that nearly a century had passed since any similar scene had presented itself at Hastings, and there were few persons, if any, even among the oldest by whom the “ Murder at Fairlight ” could be remembered except as a tradition. Some details of this have been recently given in connection with the “True Story of the Lover's Seat,” but a brief recapitulation is here presented. The perpetrator of that deed was Lawrence Halliday (not, perhaps a native, although married at Hastings). He was a barber in the Fishmarket, and among his customers was an elderly gentleman who lived in a lonely home near the Fish Ponds, and on whom it was customary for Halliday to wait at stated intervals, On one occasion he was tempted perhaps by the reputed wealth of his customer and the loneliness of the situation to cut the old gentleman’s throat. and rob the house, Some time elapsed before the murder was discovered but Halliday was eventually taken, tried, condemned, and hung on a gibbet near Fairlight Mill.

Under the heading of “Cultivation of Poetry,“ the Hastings News, which was established in that year, remarked :—“ One suggestion thrown out by Mr. Scrivens deserves more attention than we dare prophesy the members will give it, We allude to his advice to give the cultivation of a love of poetry & place among the many other good things encouraged by the committee of the Mechanics’ Institution. Æsthetical pursuits may be more advantageously made a study than matter-of-fact Englishmen generally conceive. Next to direct religious tuition the refinement of sentiment fostered (if not created) by such a study we hold to be foremost of popular auxiliaries to the moral improvement of society. A degree of poetic feeling is indispensible(sic) also to success in all branches of trade where taste is required. A dull, unimaginative soul can never be more than a plodder in his craft — will never make anything like an artist, nor even become in the true sense of the term a skilful artizan(sic). Neither for its sentiment nor its trade utility is poetry to be lightly esteemed with impunity. He who despises poetry is either too morally bad or too intellectually obtuse to appreciate the richness of its worth.”

He who now makes this extract was at that time engaged in writing rhymed advertisements for different tradesmen, among whom were Messrs. Robinson and Oliver, two young men who had left George Bennett’s drapery establishment at 41 High street (previously the Cossums for a hundred years or more) and had set up business for themselves at 60 George street. The writer of those metrical announcements was assured of their effectiveness in helping the new drapers into fame; and who will say that the encouraging words of the News were not a further incentive to continue to practically nurse the poetic feeling which it avowed was indispensible{sic} to success in all branches of trade? Anyhow, while thus advised on the one hand to cultivate poetry, and adjured on the other to “ eschew poetry,” the would be rhymster pursued the even tenour of his way, steering a middle course between the ornamental and the useful, and ultimately grasping in measured periods a mass of historical facts relating to the town of his nativity never before attempted. Apart from this later feature — not yet completed—there may have been a few compositions bearing the impress of poetry, but, as a rule, the object has been to relate facts, or to give useful advice in correct tone and measure rather than to revel in flights of poetic fancy.

I will now advance to its close my review of 1848 with a few topics of a more cheering character than the one with which the immediately a preceding instalment terminated; and, firstly, as the municipal elections have just taken place, it may be interesting to read the results of the similar elections of 45 years ago. The borough was then divided into two wards only, and the number of Councillors to be elected were four for the east ward and two for the west. The numbers polled on that occasion were for the east ward - Clement (L) 496, Amoore (C) 490, Stubbs (L) 447, Hickes (C) 108, Langham (C) 363, Thwaites (L) 264, and Duke (L) 56. For the west ward - Mann (C) 115, Beck (C) 81, and Austin (L) 76. Here it may be noticed that as compared with the elections of the present year, 1893, although the votes recorded for the opposing candidates were individually less divergent, the total Conservative majority of 1848 was not very dissimilar to that of 1893. In each case the number of candidates was ten, whilst the Conservative majority of the earlier period was to the latter, roughly as 1:5 to 1:9.

And now that Mr. W. Ransom, the originator of the Hastings News, has been a worthy candidate for municipal duties, it will be apropos to refer to what that continuous worker for the town’s good had to say so long ago as 1848. In a long article of eloquent diction on the Hastings Mechanics’ Institution a portion of which has before been quoted — the Editor of the News remarked ”There are yet some of our townsmen who do not fully appreciate the excellence of this institution. Hence our motive in bringing its claims before the public. We cannot condemn too strongly that short sighted policy of some employers who forbid the connection of their apprentices and work-people with a society like this, under the idea that their time and thoughts would be rendered less available for business by it.” In commenting on this article, a certain diarist wrote that “No one appreciated the force of those last remarks more than did he who seconded the proposal to form a similar institution at St. Leonards, and who, with Mr. Philip Hook, was the means of getting the townspeople together to consider the matter, In 1835 and ’36 he was a member of the Hastings Institution, which was then located in Waterloo place. Knowing this, his employer used to say in his presence he would never have in his service anyone who was mad after education and music. Such people (he continued) generally got to be lazy and not worth their salt. Look, said he, at So-and-So and So-and-So, — meaning two well educated persons, as we thought at the time he had cause to do, — they are fit for nothing. Such words were, however, thrown away on him for whom they were intended as a warning; for notwithstanding that the latter could only get to the institution from a quarter to half an hour before closing time, it served as an impetus for extending the limited general knowledge already acquired under unusual difficulties. His employer, with tact and industry, grew more wealthy and secured more public influence than the better educated persons he had denounced, and he might then have repeated his remarks with even more telling effect. But he discovered that his own advancement might have been further enhanced by the educational training he had at one time condemned. He had seen, too, in years that had passed, that in the energetic and faithful discharge of his duties his assistant by his striving after knowledge (including even music) under hardships and privations, had not made the servant of less value to his master. And to his credit, be it said, the possessor of wealth and influence practically recanted his earlier impressions by recommending his former assistant as private tutor to several families.

(Omitted from its proper place)

CHAPTER TIME 1848.

(Extracts from a local diary, continued.)

Again copying from the diarist’s bock, I find, under the date of May 8th, as follows :— ”Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, and this fact appears to be an illustration. An elderly woman, apparently from the country, seeing some hosiery ticketed at a draper’s door-way, simply and unaffectedly asked, while she pointed to one of the tickets, ”What may be the price of that? Really I'm so deaf that I don’t know what it means.” Soon after the old lady's remark my risible organs were again excited on hearing that a person had cut his hand with a trug-basket, and threatened that in future he would leave edge-tools alone.

May 9, Wrote the following song as

AN ANSWER TO JEANNETTE AND JEANNOT.

Yes, I'm going far away, far away from my Jeannette,
Yet, ‘midst the scenes that meet my view [ will not thee forget.
To thee my heart will still beat true wherever I may go,
No change of fortune or of place shall change thy fond Jeannot.
It might be wished that war should cease, but that can never be
So long as tyranny exists and slaves are still unfree;
There must be soldiers brave and true to guard a nation’s laws,
There must be gallant warriors to fight in Freedom’s cause,
Should Fortune smile on me, Jeannette, and lead me on to fame,
Your own Jeannôt will still be found in word and deed the same;
And not a lady in the land, e’en though she be a queen,
Shall ever win my love from one who has so faithful been.
So, when I’ve worn the jacket red, and beautiful cockade,
You'll find at last I’ve not forgot the promises I made;
My gun I'll leave behind me, and my sword I'll lay aside,
And come to thee, my own Jeannette, to claim thee as my bride.

May 10. Wrote the following jeu d'esprit

Many a Slip 'Twixt The Cup and the Lip.

A couple to the altar hied,
That they in wedlock might be tied,
The clergyman had not arrived,
The maiden asked the time,
”What's that to you” the bridegroom said;
“Thank you!” quoth she, ”we're not yet wed,”
Then shouted as from church she fled,
“ Some other may be thine !”’

The Reason Why.

 “ Why place your coffee, Mr. Meek,
Down there, may I request?”
“Why, madam, ’tis so very weak,
I thought I’d let it rest.”

References[edit]

  1. This name is not quite decipherable - Transcriber
  2. Construction of the approximately 28 mile long canal which effectively turned the Romney Marshes into an island commenced on the 30th of October, 1804 and the final lock was in place by September 1808, but according to the Royal Military Canal website, the canal actually opened in April 1809, so Brett's dating here is suspect - Transcriber
  3. Mehemit Ali or Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Aga was the Albanian Ottoman governor and defacto ruler of Egypt - Transcriber