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Fleet Street.)

BURNING THE JACK-BOOT.

35

put up at that humble hostelry the “White Horse," which Mr. Boehm hastened to the Court, and in Fetter Lane, he describes coming home from arrived just in time with the important document. Drury Lane with his brother in a sedan. Turning The treason trials of 1794 brought more noise out of Fleet Street into Fetter Lane, some rough and trouble to Fleet Street. Hardy, the secretary fellows pushed against the chair at the corner and to the London Corresponding Society, was a shoeupset it, in their eagerness to pass first. Dr. maker at No. 161; and during the trial of this Johnson's curious nervous habit of touching every approver of the French Revolution, Mr. John Scott street-post he passed was cured in 1766, by the (afterwards Lord Eldon) was in great danger from laying down of side-pavements. On that occasion a Fleet Street crowd. “ The mob,” he says, it is said two English paviours in Fleet Street bet“ kept thickening round me till I came to Fleet that they would pave more in a day than four Street, one of the worst parts that I had to pass Scotchmen could. By three o'clock the English-through, and the cries began to be rather threatmen had got so much ahead that they went into a ening. “Down with him !' 'Now is the time, lads; public-house for refreshment, and, afterwards return-do for him!' and various others, horrible enough; ing to their work, won the wager.

but I stood up, and spoke as loud as I could : In the Wilkes' riot of 1763, the mob burnt a 'You may do for me, if you like; but, remember, large jack-boot in the centre of Fleet Street, in there will be another Attorney-General before eight ridicule of Lord Bute ; but a more serious affray o'clock to-morrow morning, and the king will not took place in this street in 1769, when the noisy allow the trials to be stopped. Upon this one Wilkites closed the Bar, to stop a procession man shouted out, “Say you so ? you are right to of 600 loyal citizens en route for St. James's, to tell us. Let us give him three cheers, my lads !' present an address denouncing all attempts to So they actually cheered me, and I got safe to spread sedition and uproot the constitution. The my own door.” carriages were pelted with stones, and the City There was great consternation in Fleet Street in marshal, who tried to open the gates, was bedaubed November, 1820, when Queen Caroline, attended by with mud. Mr. Boehm and other loyalists took 700 persons on horseback, passed publicly through shelter in “Nando's Coffee House.” About 150 of it to return thanks at St. Paul's. Many persons in the frightened citizens, passing up Chancery Lane, alarm barricaded their doors and windows. Still got to the palace by a devious way, a hearse with greater was the alarm in August, 1821, when the two white horses and two black following them to queen's funeral procession went by, after the deplorSt. James's Palace. Even there the Riot Act had to able fight with the Horse Guards at Cumberland be read and the Guards sent for. When Mr. Boehm Gate, when two of the rioters were killed. fled into “Nando's,” in his alarm, he sent home his With this rapid sketch of a few of the events in carriage containing the address. The mob searched the history of Fleet Street, we begin our patient the vehicle, but could not find the paper, upon peregrination from house to house.

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CHAPTER IV.

FLEET STREET (continued). Dr. Johnson in Ambuscade at Temple Bar-The First Child-Dryden and Black Will–Rupert's Jewels,Telson's Bank-The Apollo Club at

the “Devil"-"Old Sir Simon the King"-"Mull Sack"-Dr. Johnson's Supper to Mrs. Lennox-Will Waterproof at the “Cock"- The Duel at "Dick's Coffee House"-Lintot's Shop-Pope and Warburton-Lamb and the Albion-The Palace of Cardinal Wolsey-Mrs. Salmon's Waxwork—Isaak Walton-Praed's Bank-Murray and Byron-St. Dunstan's Fleet Street Printers-Hoare's Bank and the

“Golden Bottle”—The Real and Spurious “Mitre" —Hone's Trial-Cobbett's Shop—"Peele's Coffee House." THERE is, in an almost unknown essay by Dr. “when I am in want of amusement, to place myJohnson, a delightful passage that connects himself for an hour at Temple Bar, or any other narrow indissolubly with the neighbourhood of 'Temple pass much frequented, and examine one by one Bar. The essay, written in 1756 for the Universal the looks of the passengers, and I have commonly Visitor, is entitled “A Project for the Employ- found that between the hours of eleven and four ment of Authors,” and is full of humour, which, every sixth man is an author. They are seldom indeed, those who knew him best considered the to be seen very early in the morning or late in the chief feature of Johnson's genius. We rather pride evening, but about dinner-time they are all in ourselves on the discovery of this pleasant bit of motion, and have one uniform eagerness in their a'itobiography :-" It is my practice," says Johnson, faces, which gives little opportunity of discerning their hopes or fears, their pleasures or their pains. No. 1--formerly a quiet, grave-looking house, But in the afternoon, when they have all dined, or next to Temple Bar, but now being replaced by composed themselves to pass the day without a a building more worthy of the site is the oldest dinner, their passions have full play, and I can banking-house in London except one.

For two perceive one man wondering at the stupidity of the centuries gold has here been shovelled about, and public, by which his new book has been totally reams of bank-notes have been shuffled over by neglected ; another cursing the French, who fright practised thumbs. Private banks originated in the away literary curiosity by their threat of an invasion ; Istormy days before the Civil War, when wealthy

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DR. TITUS OATES.

another swearing at his bookseller, who will ad- citizens, afraid of what might happen, entrusted vance no money without copy; another perusing their money to their goldsmiths to take care of till as he walks his publisher's bill; another mur- the troubles had blown over. In the time of the muring at an unanswerable criticism; another Stuarts, Francis Child, an industrious apprentice determining to write no more to a generation of of the old school, married the daughter of his barbarians; and another wishing to try once again master, William Wheeler, a goldsmith, who lived whether he cannot awaken the drowsy world to a door west of Temple Bar, and in due time sense of his merit.” This extract seems to us to succeeded to his estate and business. In the first form an admirable companion picture to that in London Directory (1677), among the fifty-eight which we have already shown Goldsmith bantering goldsmiths, thirty-eight of whom lived in Lombard his brother Jacobite, Johnson, as they looked up Street, “ Blanchard & Child," at the “Marygold." together at the grim heads on Temple Bar. Fleet Street, figure conspicuously as “keeping

Fleet Street.)

BLACK WILL AND HIS CUDGEL.

37

running cashes.” The original Marygold (some the firm long preserved the dusty books of the untimes mistaken for a rising sun), with the motto, fortunate alderman, who fled to Holland. On the " Ainsi mon ame,” gilt upon a green ground, sallow leaves over which the poor alderman once elegantly designed in the French manner, is still to groaned, you can read the items of our sale of be seen in the bank "shop," and a marigold in full Dunkirk to the French, the dishonourable surrender bloom still blossoms on the bank cheques. In the of which drove the nation almost to madness, and year 1678 it was at Mr. Blanchard's, the gold hastened the downfall of Lord Clarendon, who was smith's, next door to Temple Bar, that Dryden the supposed to have built a magnificent house (on the poet, bruised and angry, deposited £50 as a re- site of Albemarle Street, Piccadilly) with some of ward for any one who would discover the bullies the very money. Charles II. himself banked here,

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of Lord Rochester who had beaten him in Rose | and drew his thousands with all the careless nonAlley for some scurrilous verses really written by chalance of his nature. Nell Gwynne, Pepys, of the Earl of Dorset. The advertisement promises, if the “Diary," and Prince Rupert also had accounts the discoverer be himself one of the actors, he shall at Child's, and some of these ledgers were hoarded still have the £50, without letting his name be over Temple Bar in that Venetian-looking room, known or receiving the least trouble by any prose-approached by strange prison-like passages, for cution. Black Will's cudgel was, after all, a clumsy which chamber Messrs. Child paid the City a rent way of making a repartee. In the course of the of £21 a year. eighteenth century, the firm was joined by the When Prince Rupert died at his house in the descendants of Alderman Backwell, who had been Barbican, the valuable jewels of the old cavalry nearly ruined by the iniquitous and arbitrary soldier, valued at £20,000, were disposed of in a closing of the Exchequer in 1672 by order of lottery, managed by Mr. Francis Child, the goldCharles II., that needy and unprincipled king; but smith; the king himself

, who took a half-businessthe worthy alderman lived to retrieve his position. like, half-boyish interest in the matter, counting the In a quaint oak-panelled room over Temple Bar tickets among all the lords and ladies at Whitehall.

In North's "Life of Lord Keeper Guildford," the Francis Child, and his daughter married William courtier and lawyer of the reign of Charles II., Praed, the Truro banker, who early in the present there is an anecdote that pleasantly connects Child's century opened a bank at 189, Fleet Street. So, bank with the fees of the great lawyers who in that like three strands of a gold chain, the three bankevil reign ruled in Chancery Lane :

ing families were welded together. In 1689 Child's “The Lord Keeper Guildford's business in- bank seems to have for a moment tottered, but creased,” says his biographer, “even while he was was saved by the timely loan of £1,400 proffered solicitor, to be so much as to have overwhelmed by that overbearing woman, the Duchess of Marlone less dexterous; but when he was made Attorney- borough. Hogarth is said to have made an oil General, though his gains by his office were great, sketch of the scene, which was sold at Hodgson's they were much greater by his practice, for that sale-room in 1834, and has since disappeared. flowed in upon him like an orage, enough to In Pennant's time (1793) the original goldsmith's overset one that had not an extraordinary readi- shop seems to have still existed in Fleet Street, in ness in business. His skull-caps, which he wore connection with this bank. The principal of the when he had leisure to observe his constitution, firm was the celebrated Countess of Jersey, a former as I touched before, were now destined to lie in earl having assumed the name of Child on the a drawer, to receive the money that came in by countess inheriting the estates of her maternal fees. One had the gold, another the crowns and grandfather, Robert Child, Esq., of Osterly Park, half-crowns, and another the smaller money. When Middlesex. A small full-length portrait of this these vessels were full, they were committed to his great beauty of George IV.'s court, painted by friend (the Hon. Roger North), who was constantly Lawrence in his elegant but meretricious manner, near him, to tell out the cash and put it into the hung in the first-floor room of the old bank. The bags according to the contents; and so they went last Child died early in this century. In Chapter to his treasurers, Blanchard & Child, goldsmiths, 1., Book I., of his “ Tale of Two Cities," Dickens Temple Bar."

has sketched Child's bank with quite an Hogarthian Year by year Sir Francis Child grew in fame and force and colour. He has playfully exaggerated honour. He was alderman, sheriff, Lord Mayor, the smallness, darkness, and ugliness of the buildPresident of Christ's Hospital, and M.P. for the ing, of which he describes the partners as so City, and finally, dying in 1773, full of years, was proud ; but there is all his usual delightful humour buried under a grand black marble tomb in Fulham in the description, occasionally passing into caricachurchyard, and his account closed for ever. The ture :family went on living in the sunshine. Sir Robert,

“Thus it had come to pass that Telson's was the the son of the Sir Francis, was also alderman of his

triumphant perfection of inconvenience. After bursting open ward; and, on his death, his brother, Sir Francis, a door of idiotic' obstinacy with a weak rattle in its throat, succeeded to all his father's dignities, became an you fell into Telson's down two steps, and came to your East Indian director, and in 1725 received the senses in a miserable little shop with two little counters, special thanks of the citizens for promoting a where the oldest of men made your cheque shake as if the special act for regulating City elections. Another wind rustled it, while they examined the signature by the

dingiest of windows, which were always under a shower. member of this family (Sir Josiah Child) deserves bath of mud from Fleet Street, and which were made the special mention as one of the earliest writers dingier by their own iron bars and the heavy shadow of on political economy and a man much in ad-Temple Bar. If your business necessitated your seeing the vance of his time. He saw through the old House, you were put into a species of Condemned Hold at

the back, where you meditated on a mis-spent life, until the fallacy about the balance of trade, and ex. House came with its hands in its pockets

, and you could plained clearly the true causes of the commercial hardly blink at it in the dismal twilight.” prosperity of the Dutch. He also condemned the practice of each parish paying for its own poor, an In 1788 (George III.) the firm purchased the evil which all Poor-law reformers have endea- renowned “Devil Tavern,” next door eastward, voured to alter. Sir Josiah was at the head of the and upon the site erected a row of houses up a East India Company, already feeling its way to- dim court called Child's Place, under which, on wards the gold and diamonds of India. His its demolition in 1879, some twenty feet below brother was Governor of Bombay, and by the the level of the street, were found a series of stone marriage of his numerous daughters the rich arches, which had probably once formed part of merchant became allied to several peers and peer- an ancient chapel. esses of England. The grandson of Alderman The noisy “Devil Tavern" (No. 2, Fleet Street) Backwell married a daughter of the second Sir had stood next the quiet goldsmith's shop ever

Fleet Street.)

BEN JONSON IN THE CHAIR.

39

since the time of James I. Shakespeare himself The later rules forbid the discussion of serious and must, day after day, have looked up at the old sacred subjects. No itinerant fiddlers (who then, sign of St. Dunstan tweaking the Devil by the nose, as now, frequented taverns, were to be allowed to that flaunted in the wind near the Bar. Perhaps obtrude themselves. The feasts were to be celethe sign was originally a compliment to the gold- brated with laughing, leaping, dancing, jests, and smith's men who frequented it, for St. Dunstan was, songs, and the jests were to be without reflection.” like St. Eloy, a patron saint of goldsmiths, and him- No man (and this smacks of Ben's arrogance) was self worked at the forge as an amateur artificer of to recite "insipid” poems, and no person was to be church plate. It may, however, have only been a pressed to write verse. There were to be in this mark of respect to the saint, whose church stood little Elysium of an evening no vain disputes, and hard by, to the east of Chancery Lane. At the no lovers were to mope about unsocially in corners. "Devil" the Apollo Club, almost the first institution No fighting or brawling was to be tolerated, and no of the kind in London, held its merry meetings, glasses or windows broken, nor was tapestry to be presided over by that grim yet jovial despot, Ben torn down in wantonness. The rooms were to be Jonson.

The bust of Apollo, skilfully modelled kept warm; and, above all, any one who betrayed from the head of the Apollo Belvidere, that once what the club chose to do or say was to be, nolens kept watch over the door, and heard in its time volens, banished. Over the clock in the kitchen millions of witty things and scores of fond recollec- some wit had inscribed in neat Latin the merry tions of Shakespeare by those who personally knew motto, “ If the wine of last night hurts you, drink and loved him, is still preserved at Child's bank. more to-day, and it will cure you”—a happy version They also show there among their heirlooms "The of the dangerous axiom of “Take a hair of the dog Welcome,” probably written by immortal Ben him- that bit you.” self, which is full of a jovial inspiration that speaks At these club feasts the old poet with “the well for the canary at the “Devil.” It used to stand mountain belly and the rocky face,” as he has over the chimney-piece, written in gilt letters on a painted himself, presided, ready to enter the ring black board, and some of the wittiest and wisest against all comers. By degrees the stern man with men of the reigns of James and Charles must have the worn features, darkened by prison cell and hard. read it over their cups. The verses run,

ened by battle-fields, had mellowed into a Falstaff.

Long struggles with poverty had made Ben arrogant, Welcome all who lead or follow

for he had worked as a bricklayer in early life and To the oracle of Apollo," &c.

had served in Flanders as a common soldier ; he Beneath these verses some enthusiastic disciple of had killed a rival actor in a duel, and had been in the author has added the brief epitaph inscribed danger of having his nose slit in the pillory for a by an admirer on the crabbed old poet's tomb- libel against King James's Scotch courtiers. stone in Westminster Abbey,

lectually, too, Ben had reason to claim a sort of O, rare Ben Jonson.”

sovereignty over the minor poets. His Every

Man in his Humour had been a great success; The rules of the club (said to have been originally Shakespeare had helped him forward, and been cut on a slab of black marble) were placed above the his bosom friend. Parts of his Sejanus, such as the fireplace. They were devised by Ben Jonson, in imitation of the rules of the Roman entertainments,

speech of Envy, beginning,-collected by the learned Lipsius; and, as Leigh Light, I salute thee, but with wounded nerves, Hunt says, they display the author's usual style of Wishing thy golden splendour pitchy darkness," elaborate and compiled learning, not without a

are as sublime as his songs, such as taste of that dictatorial self-sufficiency that made him so many enemies. They were translated by

“Drink to me only with thine eyes," Alexander Brome, a poetical attorney of the day, who was one of Ben Jonson's twelve adopted poeti. are graceful

, serious, and lyrical. The great comcal sons. We have room only for the first few, to pass of his power and the command he had of the show the poetical character of the club :

lyre no one could deny; his learning Donne and

Camden could vouch for. He had written the most “Let none but guests or clubbers hither come; beautiful of court masques ; his Bobadil some men Let dunces, fools, and sordid men keep home;

preferred to Falstaff. Alas! no Pepys or Boswell Let learned, civil, merry men b’invited,

has noted the talk of those evenings. And modest, too; nor be choice liquor slighted. Let nothing in the treat offend the guest:

A few glimpses of the meetings we have, and More for delight than cost prepare the feast.”.

but a few. One night at the “Devil” a country

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