LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Passages of a Working Life during Half a Century
Chapter V

Contents Vol. I
Prelude 1
Prelude 2
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Contents Vol. II
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
‣ Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Note to Chapter XV
Contents Vol. III
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Note to Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Note to Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Note to Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Index of Persons
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH

AT York, I accomplished very little of the work upon which I was intent. The commercial atmosphere was better adapted for the diffusion of secular knowledge than the ecclesiastical. I had received a hint from headquarters to be cautious in my movements—“to be careful not to frighten people by the appearance of great ramifications of the Society, and so fill their heads with horrors of Corresponding Societies, Carbonari, Tugendbund, Jesuits, and other frightful images.” So I had two days of rest and enjoyment. I saw the glorious Minster only a year before the middle aisle of the choir was destroyed by fire. I heard the grand old organ, which was destroyed in the same conflagration of 1829. I could climb upon the city walls, but I could not walk far upon them, for they were then in a ruinous state. I had a most interesting visit to “the Retreat”—that one Lunatic Asylum in the whole kingdom where the most grievous of maladies was not rendered hopeless of cure by stripes and the dark cell. The Society of Friends, in this their noble experiment, gave an impulse to the labours of such true philanthropists as Dr. Conolly, the kind and enlightened physician who was working as one of our Committee in 1828. The Retreat at York was visited by me at the period when Parliament was discussing the details of a Bill
for the Care and Treatment of Insane Persons, which became law in that Session.

I proceed on my journey, turning my face southward, and halt a little at Sheffield. My principal letter of introduction is to Mr. J. H. Abraham. This gentleman, seven years before my visit to him, had sent to the Society of Arts a model of a mouth-guard, to be used by dry-grinders and needle-pointers. The dry-grinders of Sheffield were constantly under the view of Mr. Abraham. He saw hundreds suffering from the “grinders’ asthma,” which invariably attacked those who had been regularly employed at this work when they had reached their twenty-fifth or twenty-seventh year, and entailed upon them a miserable existence for a very few years longer. The most ample testimony was given that the invention was completely successful. The mouth-piece effectively arrested the particles that, without it, produced this constant suffering and premature decay. Mr. Abraham sought no reward for his ingenuity but the pleasure of doing good. One and all, dry-grinders and needle-pointers, refused to adopt the invention. They believed that their high wages would be lowered, if the work were rendered less injurious. I saw the kind-hearted inventor, depressed by the disappointment of his desire to benefit his fellow-creatures. He probably took a gloomy view of the possibility of lifting his humbler townsmen out of the depths of their ignorance. He formed even a less sanguine estimate of the zeal of the more influential in attempts to dispel this darkness, when he said to me, “I fear this is a hopeless task in which you are engaged. You will have all sorts of prejudices to overcome. There is a general appre-
hension here of the education of the people. You will form no Committee here, but you may have my name to do what you please with. There is a general feeling that you have dark objects in view—that a desire to overthrow Church and State is at the bottom.” I went my way; though I could scarcely believe that there would be a want of enlightenment amongst the wealthier classes in the town of
James Montgomery, Samuel Bailey, and Ebenezer Elliott. Nor could I indulge such a dreary belief of the dogged ignorance of Sheffield workmen as this rejection of the means of health and life by the dry-grinders suggested, when I recollected that not a year had passed since I had learnt much in the society of a self-taught engineer, who was once a humble workman in Sheffield. In the Inaugural Lecture of the Sheffield Athenæum, which I delivered in 1847, I thus described this valued friend, who died in 1827: “for a few years I enjoyed the conversation of a very extraordinary man—rich in all scientific knowledge—inquiring in all subjects of mental philosophy—honoured, not by high titles but by universal respect—who once worked at the forge in this very town. That man—always full of the most ingenious mechanical contrivances, which he more particularly applied, in connection with his higher science, to the great objects of warming and ventilating our dwellings and our public buildings—invented, when he was a workman here, little machines to facilitate his handicraft labour, that he might have a greater share of leisure—not a higher amount of wages, but time to spare—for the purpose of a more intense devotion to the studies which eventually made him what he was. That
man was one of your Hallamshire worthies—
Charles Sylvester.” And yet, at that period, Mr. Abraham did not exaggerate the supineness of the payers of wages in the promotion of intelligence amongst the artisan class, nor the obstinacy of that class in refusing to accept the benefits which science offered them. Mr. M. D. Hill, in the September of 1828, visited Scotland for the purpose of seeing what progress was being made by our Society. From one of several interesting letters written by him during that journey I extract the following illustration of the difficulties of dealing with old habits and prejudices:—“In general, workmen are averse to all innovations, and their indisposition to change their plans thwarts an enterprising employer more than can be readily imagined. I myself had a relation who was a West Indian planter, and who tried to ease the labour of his negroes by changing the baskets with which they removed soil (carrying them on their heads) for wheelbarrows. The poor wretches clamoured for their baskets, and when they found they must use the wheelbarrows, they absolutely refused to wheel them along, but carried them on their heads. It is a great thing to change this negative quantity of intellect for the positive power of originating improvements. And yet such is the infatuation of some masters, that the wish to educate the lower orders is by no means universal among the employers of labour—not even among those who have themselves risen from the ranks.”

I had delivered my credentials at Derby; had enjoyed the hospitality of the two eminent brothers, William and Joseph Strutt, and had arranged with them for a further consultation. I wanted a little
relief from my engrossing occupation, and I started to spend a couple of days at Matlock and Dovedale. I had the company at Matlock of
John Sylvester, the son of the remarkable self-taught engineer, who began life as a common smith, and so improved his few hours of leisure as to become a writer of some of the best scientific articles in “Rees’s Cyclopedia.” I enjoyed for some years the friendship of the younger man, who succeeded his father in his professional pursuits, and obtained as high a reputation. The scenery of Matlock has been so often described, and has now become so well known by the agency of Railways, that I need not here linger. Parting with my companion, I hired a light carriage, and drove through a somewhat wild country to Dovedale. I well remember how astonished I was to witness a funeral procession amongst those hills—a long file of mourners on horseback, men and women, following a corpse to its last resting-place. On a bright evening of June I reached the prettiest of inns—the “Isaak Walton”—built by Mr. Watts Russell, the proprietor of the domain of Dovedale and the adjoining mansion of Ilam. The left bank of the Dove was free to all such wanderers as myself; for there the privileges of ownership did not extend. The gates on the right bank were locked. It mattered little to me that I could not pursue my walk in that solitary place, wandering as the river wandered “at its own sweet will.” But I was indignant at the painted boards, meeting the eye at every turn, setting forth the legal punishment that awaited the trespasser. A month afterwards, my feelings welled out in a remonstrance against the purchased privileges of the rich man who had thus destroyed some of the poetry
of this exquisite scenery:—“Why have you profaned by your hateful proclamations this vale of peace, where nature has heaped up the rocks and crags in the most solemn forms, as if to call the heart to worship ‘in a temple not made by hands’?—why have you profaned this glorious retreat, shut out as it were from a world over which man has the petty mastery, to lift up the soul to the Eternal Spirit of all created things, by exhibiting the impress of his power in the unchangeable masses of gigantic stones, that have stood upon this river’s brink since the hills were torn asunder by some terrific convulsion, and the sparkling stream first rushed through the mighty chasm;—why have you profaned this monument of the grand workings of the God of Nature, and deformed a scene amidst which man ought only to move with reverence and peacefulness? Why this unnecessary parade of the rights of property? Take down your boards; place them in the gardens and shrubberies of Ilam as thick as you please, but allow us to look up the long vista of rocks and woods, and abandon our hearts to the tranquillizing influence of this most perfect solitude, without having a thought of the gamekeeper and the attorney; let us hear the chorus of a thousand thrushes, pouring out the full note of harmony from the overflowings of their happiness, without recollecting that the world is full of beings in whom the spirit of enjoyment is dead, and who burrow their way amongst their riches, while the sun shines, and the breeze blows, in vain for them;—let us believe, while the wild rose sends forth its most honied perfume through every nook of this wild and solemn valley, that the whole earth is not yet under the dominion of a false refinement,
and that we may flee to the mountains, and to the secluded rivers, with the intention to commune with our own hearts, and to be still, without the voice of the proud one scaring us from our vision of peace.”* As I strolled the next day through the village of Mapleton, I thought of the two poetical anglers who had walked here in loving companionship. In that ancient inn surely
Cotton and Walton had cooked a trout. Did Cotton write those lines upon the sign of “The Gate” which proclaim the ancient alehouse as one that had afforded entertainment to others than Derbyshire hinds?—
“This Gate hangs well,
And hinders none;
Refresh thyself,
And travel on.”
I take the advice, and am again in Derby.

The business of my mission had gone on smoothly during my brief absence. But the converts had been chiefly Unitarian Dissenters, of which body the Strutts were the acknowledged heads in Derby. I came back to their town at an exciting time. There was to be a public dinner to celebrate the Repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts. Lord John Russell’s first great labour in the cause of religious liberty had become law on the 9th of May. Lord John Russell was the Vice-Chairman of our Useful Knowledge Society, and his name was, therefore, a ready passport for me to a cordial welcome, when I attended as a guest at the public dinner. It was a curious spectacle. Many of those present were Dissenting min-

* “London Magazine,” August, 1828.

isters. Some had come from remote villages nestled in the hills—“mountains,” as
Cotton calls them. In their after-dinner oratory there was a rude strength, which indicated not only their zeal, but their inexperience. I see now the lank form, the haggard face, of one young man, who raved as if the days of martyrdom had only passed away during the previous fortnight, when “the necessity of receiving the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as a qualification for certain offices and employments” had ceased. The youthful enthusiast who lives in my memory moved his audience, as the “Macbriar” of Scott moved the Solemn League and Covenant men in the days of real persecution. “The fun”—dare I call it fun?—“grew fast and furious.” I sat by the side of the Chairman, Mr. Higginson, the very clever minister of Derby. He whispered to me that we had better make a move to go. “Some of these worthy men,” he said, “are not used to public dinners; I must keep them steady.” So he announced that Mr. William Strutt would be glad to see all the company to tea at his house. It was a real relief to have a quiet talk in his library with this sagacious and tolerant man—a great reader, a vigorous thinker, an encourager of all scientific talent, as his brother was a lover, and in some respects a patron of Art. A stroll in the beautiful gardens restored the orators of the Repeal dinner to their ordinary habit of discoursing upon matters sacred and secular. There was no “Arboretum” then to tempt us to wander on that summer evening in less secluded gardens. That noble addition to the attractions of Derby was the present of Joseph Strutt to his townsfolk. What a contrast to the spirit which partially shut up Dove-
dale are the words of this descendant of
Jedediah Strutt,—the partner with Arkwright in the “Derby-rib” stocking manufacture,—spoken in 1840 at the opening of the grounds which he had dedicated to public use. He might have said,—
“I give them you,
And to your heirs for ever; common pleasures,
To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.”
But poetry was unnecessary to enhance the value of the gift; and so he took occasion to utter words of wisdom which have not been without their use, in producing that better spirit in which the wealthy and the great have cast off the exclusiveness of a past generation:—“It has often been made a reproach to our country that, in England, collections of works of art, and exhibitions for instruction and amusement, cannot, without danger of injury, be thrown open to the public. If any ground for such a reproach still remains, I am convinced that it can be removed only by greater liberality in admitting the people to such establishments; by thus teaching them that they are themselves the parties most deeply interested in their preservation, and that it must be the interest of the public to protect that which is intended for the public advantage. If we wish to obtain the affections of others, we must manifest kindness and regard towards them; if we seek to wean them from debasing pursuits and brutalizing pleasures, we can only hope to do so by opening to them new sources of rational enjoyment.”

Nottingham had for me some matters of more immediate interest than the gratification of antiquarian
curiosity. I looked, of course, rapidly at the spot where
Charles first opened
“The purple testament of bleeding war;”
Colonel Hutchinson had defended, his heroic wife ever at his side. The modern Castle was in 1828 a fit residence for a great noble. In 1830 it was a blackened ruin,—a monument of blind fury and popular ignorance at a season of political excitement. I wanted to learn something of the existing condition of the working population. Luddism had been quelled. There was no longer the terror of armed bands breaking into factories and destroying the lace-machines, which were, perhaps, the most beautiful of inventions for superseding manual labour. The patent of 1809, which could never be worked profitably by the inventor in the face of the combinations of workmen and the jealousy of manufacturers, expired in 1823; and then capitalists and mechanics became wild with the desire to possess some interest in the wondrous money-making power which appeared to belong to the bobbin-net machines. Artisans assisted as co-operators in the working of a lace-frame. Shareholders of all trades and professions became speculators in the lace-manufacture. The competition for the possession of a machine was so great that any price under a thousand pounds was considered moderate. The mania was subsiding when I was at Nottingham. I saw this wondrous machine in an imperfect state compared with its present capabilities; and I could easily understand how the poor lace-makers of Buckinghamshire, whose moving bobbins I had often noticed with admiration,
would be driven out by a machine which, worked by one person, could produce many thousand meshes in a minute. But it would then have been difficult to believe, as we learn upon the authority of
Mr. William Felkin,—a Nottingham manufacturer, whose intelligence is as remarkable as his energetic benevolence,—that the annual returns of the machine-made lace-trade would have reached five millions sterling in 1862. The active philanthropy of this gentleman has been chiefly displayed in his labours to alleviate the condition of the stockingers of the hosiery district; and it is consolatory to learn, that “the worn and anxious countenances, by which these men during the first half of the century were easily distinguishable, are only seen among the relics of the past generation of stocking-makers.”* The entire system of remuneration for labour, under which these stockingers lived, was a complicated system of slavery. They worked in their own miserable homes at a stocking-frame, for which they paid rent weekly. That rent was a fixed charge, levied by the manufacturer who gave out the yarn to the weaver. There were speculators in frames, who let them out also—“independent” frames, as they were called. If the hosiery trade were slack, those who hired the frames upon which the manufacturer obtained a profit from the rent could obtain no work. Still less could they obtain employ if, rare occurrence, they possessed frames of their own, like the hand-loom weavers of Yorkshire. In addition to all this there was the ever present tyranny and extortion of a “middleman.” No wonder that there were “worn and

* Jurors’ Reports of International Exhibition, 1862.

anxious countenances” at Nottingham when I visited that fine town. No wonder that I made little progress in my task of interesting masters and workmen in the Diffusion of Knowledge.

I was invited to Birmingham by a gentleman, whose friendship I am happy to have retained. Mr. Joseph Parkes had been apprised by Mr. Brougham that I was about to visit his town. He had rendered valuable assistance to the Law Reformer in the preparation of his speech of the 7th February, and his name was several times quoted in that speech. Mr. Parkes had written to me, “I shall be most glad to see you at my house for bed, board, and entertainment. I will also give you a private sitting-room in which to concert matters, and introduce you to those disciples most likely to aid us here.” I could not refuse such an invitation. Yet I had a most respected friend in Thomas Wright Hill, the father of my friend Matthew Davenport; the founder of that remarkable innovation upon the old routine of Middle-class Schools, which was called “The Hazelwood System.” That school near Birmingham was still conducted by the elder Hill, although his distinguished son, Rowland, with his brothers Edwin and Arthur, had established a school upon the same system at Bruce Castle, Tottenham. I had seen the workings of that system once before at Hazelwood, after I had published, in 1824, the volume on “Public Education,” which was attributed to the elder brother, who was then practising at the bar with great success. Mr. Parkes’s hospitable offer placed me more in the heart of the business which I had to conduct. I need not say that my sojourn with him was agreeable; for to his own qualities of
improving companionship were added those of his amiable wife, a grand-daughter of
Dr. Priestley. Mr. Parkes was at that time, as he long continued to be, an ardent politician. The Liberals of Birmingham were smarting under the issue of the East Retford Disfranchisement Bill of the 21st April, in which it was proposed that the franchise should be transferred to Birmingham, or some other large town. Sir James Macintosh, on that debate, had said, “I have nothing to do with the question as it respects Birmingham, except (comparing it with the section of a county to which it is proposed to transfer the franchise) to ask, whether the inhabitants of Birmingham, an unrepresented community, a population of one hundred and twenty thousand, abounding with men of property, character, and intelligence; or the comparatively small number of fifteen hundred freeholders of Nottinghamshire,—all of whom already possess the right of voting for Members of Parliament, should be selected as the successor of the delinquent Corporation of Retford.” The sting of the great political mistake of the Tories remained, and Birmingham had become radical to an extent which two years later had grown alarming. I had nothing to do with political animosities; but it was an unpropitious time for preaching the Diffusion of Knowledge without regard to political objects. An influential Local Association was, however, formed, which rendered good service to our objects.

As a matter of course, I saw some of the manufacturing processes of Birmingham—its Pins, its Buttons, and its Muskets. This experience was of use to me when I had to write “The Results of Machinery.” Some of the recent marvels of
Birmingham had not then been called into existence by the discoveries of Science. There was no manufacture of Electro-plate. The progress of education had not abolished the Quill-pen, and produced the extensive organization of the manufacture of the Steel-pen. The Birmingham School of Arts had taken the initiative of Art cultivation, with reference to works of Industry, long before the Government Schools of Design were established. It was founded in 1821. There was a Mechanics’ Institute, not very flourishing. The chief public buildings were erected after my visit—the Town-Hall, and the King Edward’s Grammar School. I spent nearly a week with my hospitable friends, and had seen many things in Birmingham that were more worth seeing than what
Burke saw when he called the busy town of his time, “The Toy-shop of Europe.”

I returned to London with some valuable additions to my store of knowledge, and considerable enlargement of mind from my whole tour. As a partial acquaintance with London had removed many of the prejudices of my early provincial life, so a contemplation of other great towns had taught me that the energy, the intelligence, the wealth of England were not exclusively to be sought in the capital. Of the commercial aspects of London I had really seen very little. Her docks, her manufactories, were for the most part unknown to me. Of its vast extent I could only form a vague notion. In that summer the stranger in the metropolis, as well as its constant inhabitants, might acquire some precise ideas of the great arteries and minute veins, the streets and alleys, through which the vast flood of human life was daily circulating. The Colosseum in the Regent’s
Park was opened to private visitors, although its Panorama of London was not quite complete. The Ball and Cross of St. Paul’s having been under repair in the previous year,
Mr. Horner, a meritorious artist, had undertaken to make a series of panoramic sketches from that giddy height. He invariably commenced his labours immediately after sunrise, before the lighting of the innumerable fires, which pour out their dark and sullen clouds during the day, and spread a mantle over this wide congregation of the dwellings of men, which only midnight can remove. Did the winds pipe ever so loud, and rock him to and fro in his wicker-basket, there he sat in lordly security, intently delineating, what few have seen—the whole of the splendid city—its palaces and its hovels, its churches and its prisons—from one extremity to the other, spread like a map at his feet. Gradually the signs of life would be audible and visible from his solitary elevation. The one faint cry of the busy chapman swelling into a chorus of ardent competitors for public patronage—the distant roll of the solitary wain, echoed, minute after minute, by the accumulation of the same sound, till all individual noise was lost in the general din—the first distant smoke rising like a spiral column into the skies, till column after column sent up their tribute to the approaching gloom, and the one dense cloud of London was at last formed, and the labours of the painter were at an end;—these were the daily objects of him who, before the rook went forth for his morning flight, was gazing upon the most extensive and certainly the most wonderful city of the world, from the highest pinnacle of a temple which has only one rival for majesty and beauty. The situation
was altogether a solemn and an inspiriting one;—and might well suggest and prolong that enthusiasm which was necessary to the due performance of the extraordinary task which the painter had undertaken.

Upon the outer circle of the Colosseum was spread Mr. Horner’s panoramic view. I stand on an elevation which corresponds in size and situation with the external gallery which is round the top of the dome of St. Paul’s. I am looking down Ludgate Hill. How the streets are filled with the toil and turmoil of commerce! Turn to the right, the struggle is there going forward; turn to the left, it is there also. I look from the west to the east, and let the eye range along the dark and narrow streets that crowd the large space from Cheapside to the Thames—all are labouring to fill their warehouses with the choicest products of the earth, or to send our fabrics to the most distant abode of civilized or uncivilized man. I look beyond, at the river crowded with vessels—the docks, where the masts show like a forest: and when I have called to mind the riches which are here congregated—the incessant toil for the support of individual respectability and luxury—the struggles with false pride—the desperate energy of commercial adventure—the spirit of gambling which brings down the proud to sudden poverty, and raises the obscure to more dangerous riches—and above all, amidst this accumulation of wealth, when I consider how many are naked, and starving, and utterly forsaken of men, I may, perchance think that better social arrangements might exist, which would leave mankind more free to cultivate the higher attributes of their nature than the desire of gain; and, without destroying the ordinary excite-
ments to emulation, relieve society of some of its frightful inequalities.

At this period I was intimate with Robert Owen. I could not exactly assent to his opinion that in a year or two grass would be growing in Fleet Street and Cheapside, and the happier human race would be living in parallelograms upon co-operative principles. I look back now upon this benevolent visionary with deep respect, for he was no pretender to the character of Reformer. He was altogether an unselfish man. He had no mercenary views. He spent a large fortune upon his schemes. He made a great mistake at his outset in thinking that his principles of mundane happiness could not be accomplished except by the destruction of religious belief. But how successfully have many practical plans of Co-operation, for Consumption and for Production, been accomplished in later days! How many noble aspirations have been promulgated under the influence of what is called Christian Socialism!

During my absence from home my co-editor, Barry St. Leger, had exclusively attended to the conduct of the “London Magazine.” Our undertaking promised no great pecuniary advantage; for several years of bad management had reduced that Miscellany to a much lower level than that of the brilliant days of Charles Lamb, and Hazlitt, and Hood, and De Quincey. But it furnished us very agreeable employment from the spring of 1828 till the summer of 1829. My occupations, in connexion with the Useful Knowledge Society, had then become too engrossing and too important to allow of a continuance on my part of those pleasant excursions into the field of light periodical literature. What was a
more serious impediment, the health of my friend and associate had begun to fail. When I first became acquainted with St. Leger in May, 1824, I published for him one of the most charming volumes of fiction that had its little hour of fame, and was then forgotten. If any of my readers should find on a book-stall “
Some accounts of the Life of the late Gilbert Earle, Esq., written by himself,” let him cheerfully bestow a shilling upon the purchase, and read it as a relief from the extravagant incidents and flashy style of many of the later race of novelists. The book was ready for publication, waiting only for the Preface. A physician came to me to say that Mr. St. Leger was seriously ill; that mental exertion was impossible; and that he had intimated a wish that I would write the Preface. I did so—not in my own name, but in that, of the imaginary editor of this Fragment of Autobiography. My friend was sent out of town, and recovered after an absence of some months. But the malady was only arrested for a time.

I scarcely know how to speak in terms that should not be considered extravagant of my affectionate regard for this interesting young man. I have already alluded to our intercourse at the time of the “Quarterly Magazine” (Vol. I., p. 329). The “London Magazine” united us still more firmly in the closest friendship. Of a good family and of high connexions, he moved, when it so pleased him, in fashionable society; but his enjoyments were in the companionship of a few lawyers and men of letters in his Chambers. He was amongst the most welcome of “the old familiar faces” who would come unceremoniously to dine or to drink tea with my family. He
was fond of children; and my little girls clung around him to hear his merry anecdotes of Irish humour, or his touching stories of English poverty, or his picturesque relation of strange scenes that he had witnessed in India. For in India he had filled a high civil office at a very early age. About this part of his life there is some mystery; and there are passages in “
Gilbert Earle” which are evidently not absolute fiction. In the latter part of 1829, the disease of the brain, which had incapacitated him for hard continuous work in letters or in law, returned. After a little while his case appeared hopeless. I have before me a letter of De Quincey’s, dated February 19, 1830, in which he says, “Pray tell me something more circumstantial about poor St. Leger. As a man of talents, and a man of most amiable disposition, I always recollect him with great interest; and from your last letter I collected that some deplorable calamity had befallen him, of the nature of apoplexy or paralysis—but not exactly which, or when, or under what prospect of restoration.” Before this letter arrived I had followed him to his grave. He was to have been the godfather of my only son.

St. Leger left unfinished “Selections from the Old Chroniclers,” which posthumous work was published by Mr. Colburn. There are historical dissertations prefixed to some of the extracts, which are really valuable, exhibiting qualities which would have carried him onward to a richer field of literature than he had previously attempted to cultivate.

In the summer of 1828, so far were the Londoners from the belief that grass would be growing in their streets, that they were occupied with many schemes for easier and quicker communication between their
great city and its suburbs. The experiments which had been making for the improvement of the locomotive steam-engine upon railways—which
Telford described before a Committee of the House of Commons as indicating the possibility of accomplishing fifteen or even twenty miles an hour—had set invention to work to produce a steam-carriage for common roads. I went to see such a machine at the manufactory of Messrs. Bramah. This notion was ridiculed at a somewhat earlier epoch, when the visions of science were the favourite objects of literary satire. A very clever novel of this character was read by me in my boyish hours. It was called Flim flams, and was attributed to the elder D’Israeli. From a manuscript letter of Miss Cartwright, the daughter of the famous inventor of the Power Loom, I transcribe the following anecdote: “There is in D’Israeli’s Flim Flams, a curious and laughable description of an inventor coming down to see the hero of the book, in a carriage worked by steam, and arriving in such a state of perspiration, that he is represented as smoking like a boiled potato. I remember that my father was exceedingly amused with this description, which he told me originated in a conversation he had with D’Israeli on the subject of steam-carriages, and which, at the time, the latter good-humouredly quizzed, and I think threatened to introduce him and his carriage into print.”