Dragonfly

POH Transcripts - 1856

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PARIS, JANUARY 1856

 

Tuesday Jan 1 1856

And so comes in the new one, ditto ditto.

Ice and snow in the Baltic and in the Crimea, having put a period to the campaign of last year, our imaginations are now amused with perpetual discussions on the subject of a possible re-establishment of peace.  All the nations of Europe are interchanging messengers, couriers, letters, despatches, offers, propositions, professions, negotiations, and so on.  Some persons have even been sanguine on the probability of an approaching accommodation.  Stuff!  Russia has been disposed to make concessions, it is said, in order to promote this end.  Stuff again!  We know Russia too well!  We have only to refer to the political will of Peter the Great.  (I had seen the English version of this in England, but I have just procured the French version here).  There her policy, past, present, and to come, is clearly laid down.  “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.”  With all these negotiations for peace, all Europe, as well as England and France, is arming for whatever contingency may arrive.

Fri Jan 11

The nine-days’ feast of St. Geneviève ends to-day.  Went this evening to witness the closing celebration at the church of the Panthéon.  This building is on the plan of St. Paul’s at London, but more ornamented in its details.  The cross on the summit was lighted up with gas, producing a peculiar effect, as nothing could be seen of the building, owing to the darkness.  The scene in the interior was very brilliant, when all the hundreds of lamps and candles were lighted; and before the clouds of incense obscured the view.  The music and singing were especially good; and two organs, with their singers, one at the east end, beyond the altar, the other at the west end over the entrance (very badly placed) answered each other.  The choir and transepts were hung with blue cloth, bordered with gold; and rich canopies, of similar materials, were suspended over the pulpit and altars.  The columns were covered with the same, for two-thirds of their height.  High Mass was performed with more than usual acting and genuflection.  The bishop gave his benediction, as he accompanied a long procession through the church, of monks, nuns in white veils, clergy, and sinners carrying candles, in the old attitude as it may be seen sculptured on medieval tombs, seals, and the like – to wit, with the two forefingers of his right hand.  [Illustration].  Some Puseyite parsons tried to introduce this into England a few years ago, until reprimanded.  A relic of some saint (I believe of St. Geneviève) was also carried through the church.  It looked to me, from the glimpse I got, like a bone, or part of a bone, enclosed in a glass case; which case was in a shrine of gold or brass, in the form of a house with a sloping roof, a door in the side opened to see the relic – which relic no doubt was genuine.  Altogether, the scene of the evening was very gorgeous; but really, there was very little religious feeling manifested.  Curiosity and excitement made people stand up on their chairs, as if they had been at a theatre, or some such spectacle.

Sun Jan 13 1856

Went to the curious old Byzantine church of St. Etienne-du-Mont, near the Panthéon.  The architecture if certainly peculiar.  There are good specimens of old coloured glass.  The celebrated tomb of St. Geneviève who died in 511 is here.  It is an “altar tomb” of antique-looking stone.  Paid a visit to Notre Dame returning.  Paris deserves a handsomer Cathedral for a metropolitan.

Wed Jan 16

Went with two French lady friends (My! how they did chatter!) to see the Imperial establishment of the Gobelin tapistry (sic).  The productions are beautiful and wonderful – like oil paintings, but almost more soft and pleasing to look at.  The admittance is by ticket, on the Wednesdays and Saturdays from one to three.  We saw the process of the work, as well as the works finished.  What struck me most curious was, the workman sitting at the back of his work, with the light of the window in his eyes.  The arrangement is strange.  First, there is the window: then the fabric, stretched from the floor to the ceiling: then, behind it, the workman, working at the back, or wrong side, with the light in his eyes: then, behind him, an oil painting, from which he copies.  For two francs, I got a catalogue and historic account of the Gobelin tapistry (sic) in France.

Th Jan 17

To-day Paris was electrified by the prospect of a sudden termination of the war.  The “four points” offered by Austria, have been unconditionally accepted by Russia, to wit,

  1. The relinquishment of the protectorate over Moldavia, Walachia, and Serbia.
  2. The free navigation of the Danube to all nations.
  3. Neutralization of the Black Sea, (too long, a “Russian Lake”).
  4. Relinquishment of protection over the Christian population in the Ottoman Empire.

The difficulties of the third point were one cause of the present war.  The assentment of Russia now, may give rise to suspicion.  A grand conference of plenipotentiaries will soon deliberate on the new aspect of affairs.  But these four points are by no means all.  My notion is, that it will all end in smoke – and cannon balls.

Tu Jan 22

For the last few days Europe has been occupied with a busy interchange of despatches and negotiations.  Where the congress is to be held, which is to take the present state of affairs into consideration is not decided.  Some say Paris, some say one of the neutral states of Germany.  An armistice however, is to be immediately proclaimed.  Myself, I am still skeptical (sic).  I cannot foresee that Russia will consent to the other points to be brought forward; among which several suggest themselves, as that, she must consent never to rebuild the fortifications of Bomarsund, nor those of Sebastopol: that she must allow consuls to be sent to her several ports in the Black Sea: that she must pay to all the allies the expenses of the war, into which she has forced them, etc etc.  This last will be the most difficult of all.  In two months the spring campagne (sic) ought to begin.  These grave questions must be decided on, for or against, before that time.  It will be the policy of Russia to prolong the discussions; but if the plenipotentiaries are men of acuteness and of firmness, they will force Russia to an immediate decision, without any shilly-shallying.

I am sorry to hear that a serious misunderstanding has just taken place between the English Envoy to Persia, and the Persian government.  He has even quitted Persia in consequence.  A war with that Country seems inevitable.  Russian influence is said to have been the cause.

What a change in the temperature of the air!  A fortnight ago we were bound up in ice and snow: now, Farenheit’s thermometer marks “Temperate”, or 56 out of doors.

Mon Jan 28

Wrote to Fanny, in Australia.

Wed Jan 30

A letter from Bingham, from Australia, No. 22.

Th Jan 31

Answered it.  Got £20 through the Banks from England.  The exchange is at 25.30 the sovereign, equal to 506 francs for the £20.  Deduct 2.50 f. commission, and 50c. postage, leaving 503 francs net.

The sculptor Clésinger has just made a bronze equestrian statue of Francis the First.  A full-size plaster model of this, done over to imitate bronze, has for some weeks been in the centre of the Court of the Louvre, where it was put for the purpose of judging of the effect.  The horse is rearing up.  The hind feet are too far forward under the body, so that he appears as if likely to fall backwards.  Minor faults might be overlooked; but the group has been severely criticised.  Report now goes, that the government has refused the bronze statue, and that Clésinger, in a state of vexation, contemplates retiring to England.  If the work is not perfect, it does not merit so severe a sentence.

 

PARIS, FEBRUARY 1856

 

Tu Feb 5

“Mardi Gras”, the end of the Carnival.  The day before yesterday, yesterday, and to-day, the “Boeuf Gras”, or fat ox, paraded through Paris.  The Parisians could not very clearly tell me the origin or history of this custom – some said it was of ancient Egyptian descent, the Egyptians holding the bovine race in high respect, and worshipping the cow; and others that it comes of more recent date, having been made famous by the company of butchers during the middle ages, when they had large establishments in the neighbourhood of the old town of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie.  Formerly it was the custom to have but one ox, which was led through the streets on foot.  But Paris now has either more mouths, or else, each mouth can dispose of more than heretofore.  Be that as it may, this year there were six oxen.  Three of them, named Alma, Tracktir, and Sebastopol, great fat fellows, with their horns gilt, were mounted on cars; for it was feared that three days walking, and making a course of several miles each day, would injure the beef – destined soon to be eaten.  The third day, however, the other three walked.  The procession was formed, first of all by a squadron of cavalry; then a number of drummers in sky-blue uniforms; then a band of music; then a number of horsemen, two & two, all the costumes resembling those of the time of Charles the Second of England, or Louis the Fourteenth of France; then the cars carrying the oxen, all decorated and duely (sic) attended; and after some horsemen, a large car carrying “Old Time” and a lot of “Goddesses” – rummy looking goddesses at a close view.  The whole was closed by cavalry.  The procession was warmly greeted everywhere.

Th Feb 14

Valentine’s Day.  The custom of sending “Valentines” or love letters, so universal in England, does not seem in vogue here.  I have asked two or three young ladies, (who ought to be best informed on the subject) and they cannot give me any information on it.

Moved in my abode from No. 5 to No. 11.

The equestrian statue of Francis the First in the Court of the Louvre, (see Jan. 31.) is being boarded round to protect it from the weather during the process of making a mould of it, for the purpose of taking casts, as I am informed.  The bronze statue (this being only a model in plaster) at first proposed for this spot, then rejected by the government, as the current report disclosed, is now said to be destined for the new Court of Napoleon III, nearly completed.

Mon Feb 25

The Conferences, for the settlement of the affairs of Europe and the war with Russia, open to-day at Paris.  Lord Clarendon, the plenipotentiary sent by England is lodged at the great Hotel du Louvre opposite me.  I have still little confidence in the prospect of an amicable arrangement, unless, indeed, Russia is by poverty, exhaustion, or other cause, sincere in her desire for peace, - or intends to collect her forces for another war in a few years.

Tu Feb 26

A letter to Bingham, Beaudesart, Hindmarsh Valley.

 

PARIS, MARCH 1856

 

Mon March 3

The French Chambers, or session of Parliament, open to-day.  The Emperor does not (as the King of France, I believe, used to do, and as the Queen of England does now) go to the Chambers in state to open them: the ceremony of opening the session takes place at the Tuileries.

Th March 13 1856

After nearly eight months residence in France, I left to-day for England.  I could willingly have taken over many pretty things, either for my own use, or as presents to my friends.  I only selected a few – a half dozen of the thick and heavy coffee cups and saucers, such as are used in the restaurants, so different from our own – a plateau or tray of glass gilt, with two flacons, or decanters, and a dozen glasses – two dozen iron four-prong forks for the kitchen, etc. etc.

I took the rail at 8 this morning, and passed Amiens, Abbeville, Etaple, and so on to Boulogne, where the train arrived at half past one.  After Abbeville, the rail follows the Somme and the coast; and between the high hills of sand, we got glimpses of the sea.  Where these hills of sand are not naturally overgrown with grass or rushes, they are purposely planted in this way, as we saw.

The passage across to Folkestone was very disagreeable.  Cold, for it blew hard against us from the north-east, and rough, and wet, that is, wet with sea water, for the waves drenched us.  Everybody was ill.  It lasted two hours and a half.  At Folkestone I got some hot coffee.  About half past five we took the rail, and arrived at London Bridge by half past nine.  I took a carriage and proceeded to my former quarters on the other side of the city, near the Great Western Rail.  By some mistake my luggage was left behind in Paris.

 

LONDON, MARCH 1856

Fri Mar 14

Went to Lincolns Inn and reported myself to my lawyer.  Authorised him to sell out £1000 Consuls, if he could get 92.  Owing to the prospects of peace, the funds have been rising ever since the Emperor of Russia accepted the “Five Points”, as offered by Austria.  Am anxious to settle all the family affairs for self, Bingham, and Fanny.  Received letters from them, Binghams being No. 22.  Fanny wants me to send her two side saddles.

Th Mar 20

Went to Hanburys & Co. 60 Lombard Street, and asked them for £8.  Went on to the eastern extremity of Leadenhall Street, to examine some iron pavement, recently laid down as an experiment.  One would suppose that it is hard enough to be durable.  Walked all the way back through Cheapside, Holborn, and Oxford Street.

London is certainly dirtier and smokier than Paris.  The smoke from coal is blacker and heavier.  Paris, even in winter, has an infinitely clearer atmosphere than London, for the smoke from wood is lighter and more transparent.  I have seen some thick fogs in Paris; but the London fogs are worse, because, when they get well mixed up with the coal smoke, they beat everything Paris can produce, and, in fact, you may almost cut them like a piece of cheese.

No sooner had I turned my back than the Empress Eugénie presents Napoléon with a son.  This event took place at the Tuileries at a quarter past three last Sunday morning the 16th Instant.

I now begin to think that treaties of peace will really be signed, in spite of my tenacious mistrust.  But my mistrust of Russia does not diminish.  The ready acquiescence with which she submits to a very humiliating termination of the war, makes it plain there is a motive in reserve.  It is said that the allies would have been overwhelmed and beaten out of the Crimea if she had possessed railroads.  It now appears that she is patching up a peace, only for the sake of developing some internal resources, wherein she found herself deficient, and that, as soon as these are put in a state of efficiency, a new cause for quarrel will be discovered.  Perhaps it is strange if the plenipotentiaries consent to a peace on such insecure grounds, after their declamations about no peace but an honourable, secure, and permanent one.

The following is said to be the strength in ships and guns of England, etc.

 

Ships

Guns

England

591

17291

France

407

11773

Austria

72

2130

Denmark

109

889

 

The fleet now assembling at Spithead, with its 250 new gunboats, and which the Queen will review on the 16th of April (report says) is the largest the world ever saw.

Wed Mar 26

Went to see the contents of Marlborough House, Piccadilly.  Several of the paintings which I see here, I think I remarked in the exhibition of the Palais des Beaux Arts at Paris.  Many of our best artists sent over their paintings last summer, when the Palais de l’Industrie drew so many visitors to Paris.  Several also are there, that I recollect ten years ago in the National Galery (sic).  The “Vernon” Collection is likewise here – late the property of Mr. Vernon.  In a shed in the court is the late Duke of Wellington’s funeral car.  This is a massive, bold, and really handsome car.  It is solid, genuine, and devoid of all tawdry display.  Some I saw on the Continent possessed too much this last defect.

Mrs Lemprière Collingwood (daughter of Capt. Ed. Collingwood, who was brother of my grandmother, the first Lady Parker (of Harburn)) died January 10.  My aunt, Mrs Bingham, widow of Admiral Bingham, and my late mother’s last surviving sister, died the 17th Instant.

Sun Mar 30

The cold easterly wind still continues.  The gutters in the streets are frozen hard every morning.

Went to church and forgot my prayer book.  I was pleased with the ingenuous frankness of a young servant girl, who was next me, by her offering me half her book to share it along with her – which I did.

This evening at ten o’clock all London was put in commotion by the booming of guns.  I could not count them, though I believe there were 101.  Whence did this favourite, but strange number, originate.  The interval was about five seconds, although the regularity was broken.  They went on nine or ten minutes.  This was the announcement that the treaty of peace had really been signed at Paris.  Well I am surprised.  It is the most curious business that ever I witnessed.  Russia is either dead-beat, and is obliged to give in, or else she is only smothering her pride, or her shame, or her wrath, till the next opportunity.  No one seems to think this peace can be very permanent.  The war has lasted two years and two days.  England is only now getting her blood up – only beginning to warm herself for the fight in good earnest, and only beginning to develope (sic) her real strength.  The firing took place at the Horse Guards, where guns had been brought for the purpose, and at the Tower.  The treaty was signed at one o’clock to-day, and the electric telegraph has made it known this afternoon.

 

LONDON, APRIL 1856

 

Tu April 1

The wind has at last changed to the south, and the air has become genial.  Called on Mrs Oldham and Mrs Watson, whom I knew at Sidmouth.  Took a drive with them in Hyde Park.  There were a great number of carriages in the Park, the weather was so fine.

Wed April 2

Received from Fanny, her Powers of Attorney from Australia.  Hope now, to push on and settle the affairs.  Bingham’s have not arrived.  Sent off a letter for her to-day.

Took a walk down the Strand, and back by Holborne (sic) and Oxford Street.  A moderate number of flags were displayed from the fronts of the houses – English, French, Sardinian, and Turkish.  England however, has not received the news with very good grace.  Peace has come too soon, and Russia is not sufficiently subdued.  The war has necessarily augmented our revenue.  Instead of about 52 millions sterling, as it was before it commenced, accounts show that it has now increased to £88,428,345:  The expenses of the war for the last twelvemonth only come to £34,000,000: and we are assured that the war from the beginning, only little more than two years, will cost £100,000,000, taking all things into account.

Mon Ap 7

Went to the Record office in Carlton Ride to continue my researches on the subject of Sidmouth.

Fri Ap 11

Went down to Chelsea Hospital.  Entered the Court where the Crimean investigation is going on.  Lord Lucan was there rebutting imputations which have been brought against him, for neglecting his cavalry horses, when in command before Sebastopol, and for other things.  The public are manifesting great interest in these investigations.

Sat Ap 12

Bingham’s powers of attorney are at last come, so I hope to go on now, and soon finish everything.

Sat Ap 19

Made up a packet for Bingham, containing a First of Exchange for £39.15.4 (in his wife’s name) a deed of Release, on unstamped paper, according to this request, for transferring the trust of his wife’s money from Mr. Down and me to other trustees in Australia, and a letter of Down’s, besides one from me.  Posted it April 20.

Mon Ap 21

A new Pretender to the Throne of England has started up!  A person in America, calling himself an “American gentleman”, who styles himself in a recent address “William the Third”, and who, I presume, bears the name of William Stuart, makes out that he is the legitimate descendant of James II.  He will not allow that any acts of parliament passed since the time of James II are valid, because they have not been ratified by monarchs of the legitimate race.  As for William III the Prince of Orange, he ignores him of course.  He wishes to collect 480,000 warriors who will assist him in his enterprise, and when he has conquered England, he promises to abolish the National Debt, and have triennial parliaments!  The joke is, he withholds till he has conquered England, a full explanation of his claims.  When he has accomplished that victory, he will generously put the Crown to arbitration.  I really had understood from history and elsewhere, that there existed no descendants of James II.  Some of the papers style this new Pretender “Silly Billy”.  So much for him.

To-day a great hoax was played upon London.  As I was walking through Oxford Street, the immense crowds of people congregated in different parts, especially in the Regent Circus and at the Marble Arch, Hyde Park, made me enquire the cause.  I was told that a Herald in his full costume, was going to ride through the streets, and read a proclamation of peace; and certain placards were pointed out to me, as the authority for the assertion.  It was not easy to get near the placards for the crowd; but they nevertheless stated that such was the fact.  It was strange, however, that these papers were without a printer’s name, and without any signature.  Though this created a suspicion that it was nothing but a ruse of the swell (?) mob, who desired to collect large crowds of people, in order that they might pick pockets, still, people would not disperse.  However, during the afternoon a man dressed in a gay Herald’s tabard, and a plumed cap, rode on horseback through the streets.  But it was soon seen that he was only a sham herald.  The mob first joked him, then abused him, then jossled (sic) him.  This led to a shuffle.  The police interfered, and the Herald was led before a magistrate.  It then came out that a tradesman in Oxford Street, had adopted this novel plan of advertising his wares.  He had dressed up this man, and sent him about to distribute certain papers puffing his commodities.  The magistrate scolded the sham herald, but did not punish him.  He told him to take off his absurd dress, and then he let him go.  People say that such an extensive hoax has not been practised in London for 50 years past.

Wed Ap 23

To-day the great naval review of the whole fleet recently destined for Russia, took place at Spit Head.  I did not go down, though I was three-quarters inclined to.  Had I had a friend at Portsmouth, to whose house I could have gone, it would have been different.  Many stories are current about the difficulties and disasters suffered by Lords, Ministers, and bishops, owing to the crowding, crushing, stoppage of trains, and all sorts of impossibilities of procuring accommodation.  Foreseeing this, I thought I should have no chance – so I did not go.  There were above 240 vessels of all sizes – ships, frigates, corvettes, floating batteries, mortar vessels, gun-boats, etc.  The weather was fine; The Queen passed amongst them all in her yacht: the yards were manned, and salutes were fired.  The world never saw such a naval review before.  Well may England be called the Mistress of the Seas.

Tu Ap 29

So peace is really established.  The ratifications have been exchanged at Paris, and the Treaty, together with some protocols, is printed to-day in the London papers.

Proclamation of peace was made to-day, not by the false herald of yesterday week, but by the legitimate Heralds from the Heralds’ College, in full costume, and duely (sic) attended.  As the ceremony had not been generally made known (for fear perhaps of collecting too many people) I was not aware of what was going to take place, and consequently did not witness the ceremony.

 

LONDON, MAY 1856

 

Su May 4

To-day a prayer of thanksgiving (made for the occasion) was read in all the churches, on the happy termination of the war.

This afternoon, I went into Kensington Gardens to hear the band play.  The wind was north-east, and the weather continues as cold as March.  Much opposition has been made by some persons to the band playing on Sundays.  Hitherto it has played during the summer on the Wednesdays and Fridays.  I don’t know whether the French alliance has brought about the change.  Last Sunday it rained; but the Sunday before the papers tell us that there were upwards of 70,000 persons in the Gardens.  The crowd was immense to-day.

Mon May 5

Went to the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, to look at several pictures there, some recently bought, which are said to be spurious.  These cost large sums of money, under the idea that they were genuine; and Sir Charles Eastlake, the Keeper, and some others, who had the choosing of them, have been spoken of somewhat severely by the papers.  Persons, however, who take Sir Charles’s part, declare that no one can sware (sic) they are not genuine.  Who shall decide?  The principal of these disputed pictures are, a portrait of Rembrandt, painted by himself, which cost £430..10.  This is, however, a beautiful work of art.  The expression is pleasing, and the colouring rich.  Susannah and the Elders, ascribed to Guido, cost £1260.  This is always a disagreeable subject.  The old sinners are disgustingly old – old enough to know better.  The adoration of the Magi, given to Paul Veronese, cost £1977.  The adoration of the Shepherds, declared to be by Velasquez.  It cost £2050.  Decidedly not worth the money, even if it was done by Velasquez.  Madonna and Child, ascribed to Pacchiarotto, cost £92..8.  She is squeezing the milk out of her left breast, with the fingers of her right hand: - a very matronly, or nursery-like scene.  The tribute-money, given to Titian.  It cost £2604.  (I would sooner have the money.)  Bust portrait of a Senator, said by Albert Durer, and cost £174.  The youthful Saviour embracing St. John, declared to be by Guido, and £410..10.  Portrait ascribed to Holbein, but now is confessed by the government to be decidedly spurious.  It cost £630.  All this is anything but satisfactory.  There is now a serious talk of removing these paintings to a building of nobler design, and of erecting a large hotel on this spot.  The present National Gallery was always abused.

Sat May 10

Went to look again at the Sydenham Crystal Palace.  The whole affair is better than it was last year when I last went, but, nevertheless, will be still better next year.  The Queen went yesterday, to look at the Baron Marochetti’s model of his great statue of “Peace”, designed to be erected at Scutari, in commemoration of the termination of the Russian war.  It is a colossal female figure, holding a wreath of laurel.  The flesh is gilt: the robe is silver: and an upper robe or scarf, is also one mass of gilt.  I infer that the statue will be the same.  It stands on a high pedastal (sic).  I walked through the Alhambra, and other Courts, with unabated delight.  A profusion of flowers, and all the other decorations left since yesterday, set of (sic) the building to-day.  Some good bands of music were there also.  At three the “waters played” in the grounds; but I was rather disappointed.  The French beat us in fountains.   It is unmeaning to have the jets of water rising merely out of pipes, whose ends are just above the surface of the ponds.  What is wanted, are great bronze figures of mermaids, dolphins, and tritons with conch shells.  The grounds are certainly very beautiful.  Since last year there has (sic) been several additions to the pre-adamite animals; also a limestone cavern – very well imitated.

Sun May 11

Went this morning to Hanover District Chapel, Regent Street, and received the sacrament.

This afternoon the crowd of persons in Kensington Gardens, in the Regent’s Park, and in Victoria Park to hear the bands was more numerous than last Sunday.  There were above 25,000 in the three Parks.

Wed May 14

Walked over from the Great Western Hotel to Cumberland Terrace, to pass the afternoon with some friends.  Heard the lions roaring in the Zoological Gardens, as I crossed the Regent’s Park.

Th May 15

Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister, has forbidden the bands to play in the Parks.  People are surprised, as he had acquiesced in the arrangement.  It is said that the Scotch Members of Parliament threatened to withdraw their support from him in the House of Commons if he continued to permit this desecration of the sabbath.

Sun May 18

A disturbance was expected in the Parks to-day; but the weather was so boisterous and rainy, that it prevented the mob assembling.  Some hundreds collected, however, and amused themselves by hooting, blowing tin trumpets, and dancing.  Many of the trees in Hyde Park are mutilated and blown down by the high winds of the last few days.  It is not like May.

Mon May 19

Went to Doctors Commons for the Tyacke’s to read Mr Richard Tyacke’s will.  He died in 1826.

Went to Messrs Law, Hussey, & Hulbert to arrange some family affairs.  Sent Bingham a First of Exchange for £1110..2..10, through the South Australian Banking Company; a letter; and his wife a Second of Exchange for £39..15..4. (See April 19.) all under one envelope, by post.  Sent Fanny a First ditto for £1160..3..11; and a letter; in one envelope, and posted it.

Sun May 25

After church at the Hanover District Chapel, Regent Street, took a turn in Hyde Park.  There was a large concourse of people, and a disturbance was expected.  As the government had withdrawn the military band, another band had been hired by some persons, hostile to the government decision, to play there instead.  These musicians did play there: and between the pieces of music (not so well performed as by the other band) the Concourse of persons made a great noise.

The preparations for the fireworks on the 29th seem nearly completed.  There is a large square enclosure of several acres, just eastward of the square area encircled with trees, boarded up six feet high.  Inside this, at its west side, is a large wooden shed where the fireworks are being deposited.  On looking through the crevices of the boarding, I saw large quantities of immense Catherine wheels, of from 6 to 12 feet in diameter, bejewelled with squibs and rockets, besides bundles of rockets on sticks, and heaps of combustibles for which I have no name.  In the area are two pagoda-like towers of open wooden framework for letting them off on, and many other works I could not comprehend.  The inhabitants of Park Lane and of other places near, are erecting stages with seats on the roofs of many of their houses.  I hope it won’t rain on that evening.

Th May 29

The Queen’s birthday kept to-day, thought the 24th was really the day.  The illuminations and the fireworks in the Parks, to celebrate the establishment of peace (and in honour of the Queen’s birthday) have been eagerly looked forward to.  I have seen illuminations often in London before; but never on so brilliant a scale as to-day.  As to the fireworks too, they beat anything I had ever witnessed any where before.  I was in Hyde Park, nearly opposite the middle of Park Lane.  The wind was north-east, and the weather cold; but fortunately there was no rain.  The wheels of a number of different sorts, sizes, and varieties, erected on posts and frames, were beautiful and most brilliant in their effects: but the aerial fireworks were perhaps the most striking.  Many of these, to me, were more or less new; but what struck me the most forceably (sic) was, the abundance, the profusion, with which the air was filled at one and the same time.  Rockets were sent up by hundreds at a time, ay, by thousands at a time, for the last grand display, was of ten thousand rockets.  They were not all sent up at once together; but a constant and thick succession was kept up for some ten minutes or more; so that the whole firmament was filled with brilliant stars of different colours: and whilst these were descending, the sky was scored with long lines of fire of succeeding rockets ascending, thus prolonging the effect in the most profuse manner.  After a short cessation, something equally brilliant, but varied, succeeded.  The display began as soon as it was dark enough (soon after nine) and ended between eleven and twelve.  Similar displays, were exhibited in the Green Park, Victoria Park, and on Primrose Hill.  I may say similar, for the programme was precisely and simultaneously alike in all.  The only difference was, that on Primrose Hill, from its elevated and favourable situation, many “parachute shells” were set off.  I could see them, as well as the other fireworks, from Hyde Park; and over the houses, the shells, stars, and rockets in the Green Park.  The concourse of persons was immense.  But a London mob is always a blackguard mob.  I have seen large crowds of people in France, but I never saw the same acts of violence and misrule as in London.  Before it was dark, and whilst we were all waiting for our evening’s amusement, a lot of “roughs”, as they are termed, began pelting respectable people with turfs and clods of earth.  Some persons got their clothes much damaged.  One muddy turf hit me in the hat, and was about to be followed by others: but I immediately turned ends with a stout walking stick I held in my hand, and going up to the scoundrel who had thrown it, I said to him, “Did you throw that turf at me?”  “No Sir,” he faltered out, directly: and it was well for him, for as my blood was up, I believe I should have felled him like an ox.  I kept my eye upon about twenty others who had turfs in their hands, and retired backwars (sic), until I was able again to mingle with the crowd and hide myself.  If I had turned my back, I felt that all the missiles would be launched at me.

Fri May 30 1856

Went to Messrs Law, Hussey, & Hulbert’s offices, 10 Lincolns Inn New Square, and signed some documents, as well for Bingham and Fanny, as for myself.  I signed the deed of Release, a deed of three or four skins of parchment, by which the trustees (latterly Mr. George Law, Mr. McAdam, and Admiral Sir William Carroll) appointed under the will of my maternal grandfather Sir William Parker, are discharged from the trust.  I signed it for myself: then I signed for my brother Young Bingham Hutchinson, “as his attorney duly authorised,”(authorised by his power of attorney): and thirdly, I signed for my sister, Frances Harriet Rumley, “as her attorney duly authorised,” – by her power of attorney.  Messrs Law & Co. have the custody of this deed.  They have also the custody of the two powers of attorney.  And also of the parchment deed referring to the loan (now paid off) between Bingham and the Messrs Russell: and further, of the similar deed referring to the loan (now paid off) between the Rumleys and the Russells.

 

LONDON, JUNE 1856

 

Mon June 2

Posted a long letter to Bingham, detailing all the details of the settlement of our affairs.  Enclosed a second of Exchange for £1110..2..10.  Also a letter to Fanny, detailing similar particulars; in which I enclosed a second of Exchange for £1160..3..11, and some engravings of the details of a pump, on a sheet of paper – she contemplating ordering such an article from England.

Spent the afternoon in the British Museum, where I have not been for some time.  This collection is more extensive than any one collection I have seen in France.  I think the French exceed us in picture galleries, and amount of modern sculpture.

Wed June 4

Renewed my card at the Library of the British Museum.  Going through Bloomsbury Square, called at 31. on the Messrs Henderson, the lawyers who are winding up Mrs Lempriere Collingwood’s affairs.  I had corresponded with them on the subject from Paris.  They want to find all the next of kin; but only Mrs Bingham, of all Sir William Parker’s children, survived her, and can share in what is to be distributed.  The M.S. book of Pedigrees, handsomely emblazoned, executed under the directions of Mrs Lempriere Collingwood, and of which I have frequently heard mentioned, was shown to me to-day.  I was told that Larkins will have it.

Sun June 8

At church morning at Hanover Square District chapel: in the afternoon at All Saints Chapel, Paddington, adjoining Norfolk Square, not yet built.  Weather very warm all at once, and many people sleepy.

Mon June 9

Took the rail and went down to Gravesend to see Mr. Dobson, (son of the late Sir R. Dobson) who has a section of land on the Hindmarsh River, adjoining Binghams, and of whom Bingham would buy a portion.  Saw Mrs D. who told me her husband was in London!  Pleasant!  She thinks, however, that he will be in town again to-morrow, when I can see him there.  By mistake I got out at Erith on the way down, misled by a fellow passenger, and had to wait two hours, until the next train took me on.  However, this gave me an opportunity of seeing a new place.  The chief trade in this miserable place seems to be to supply ballast to empty vessels leaving the Thames.  It is marvellous to see the excavations that have been made, in digging sand and gravel hills for this purpose.  A large level field, where cricket matches are held, and the members of a Rifle club hold their meetings and practise, is the bottom of the great excavation, the sides all round being a cliff, 80 high in the highest part.  Here the excavations are still going on, a double line of tram-way having been made from them to the river side.  I was told that a man who had worked here 45 years, recollects the commencement of this excavation.  This system of sending away ships only “in ballast” is a very unprofitable proceeding.  There ought always to be “back carriage” if possible.  I have heard that the coal vessels returning to Shields and Sunderland have cast out such immense hills of earth and stones, which they had brought back only as ballast, that the evil in those neighbourhoods is becoming one of serious consideration.  These increasing hills are encumbering the land.

Gravesend I found to be reeking in pitch, tar, and stinking fish.  Up towards Windmill Hill it is better.

Th June 12

Busy copying papers and lawyers’ bills to send to Bingham and Fanny in Australia.

Fr June 13

Spent most of the day transcribing lawyers’ bills.  My late mother’s affairs I am happy to say, are now nearly all settled for Bingham, Fanny, and myself.

Sat June 14

Went to Lincolns Inn New Square.  Received of Messrs Law, Hussey, & Hulbert, the Balance £263..10..9 of my money remaining in their hands.  Besides this they have £27 of Fanny’s.  Deposited £250 with the London and Westminster Bank, their rate of interest on sums below £500 now being £3 per cent.; and retained the £13..10..9 for present uses.  Then went to Thompson & Downings, 25 Birchin Lane, to see about the case containing two saddles, some shovels, flails, and bridles, just come up from Sidmouth, for Australia.  Opened it, and put in some writing paper, envelopes, and sealing wax for Fanny; also two woollen waistcoats, half a dozen pair of socks, and there ought to have been put in at Sidmouth, two hair gloves, and a strap, for giving friction to the skin; but I could not take everything out, to see if they were there.  Fastened the case down, and had a new rope put around it.  It will start for Port Adelaide by the “Orion” in a few days.  Walked back to Paddington, via Newgate Street, Oxford Street, and Edgware Road.

Tu June 17

Went to the Botanic Gardens, Regent’s Park.  The grand attraction there at present consisted in the Rhododendrons.

Spent the evening at Mrs Green’s.  Accompanied Eleanor in some songs.

Wed June 18

Went to Law, Hussey, and Hulbert’s.  Received the £27. and 5.  Deducted 15 guineas, paid for Fanny.  Sent £15 to my Banker in Exeter, through Hanburys & Co.  Procured a bill of Exchange, in triplicate for £10..7 on the South Australian Banking Company, 54 Old Broad Street, to Fanny’s credit.

Th June 19

Wrote to my brother, Bingham, telling him I had now completed settling all out (sic) late mother’s affairs.  Enclosed a Third of Exchange for £1110..2..10, and an old promissory note for £50 from him to my mother, long useless.  Wrote also by the Australian mail of to-morrow to Fanny, enclosing a Third of Exchange for £1160..3..11, and a First for £10..7.  Went to Westminster.  Called on Mr. J G. Nichols, the publisher.  Afterwards on Mr. Gravatt, who had had Mr. Charles Babbage, and Dr. Scheutz with him all the morning, talking over calculating machines.  He gave me a pamphlet on this subject of Mr. Babbage’s.  We made an arrangement to go soon to Wandsworth Common, to look at the “Craig Telescope”, Mr Gravatt having erected it.  Then took a look at the new Houses of Parliament.  Walked back to Paddington.

Sat June 21

Went to see my cousins the Olivers, at Chapmore End, whom I have not met for nearly 20 years.  Took a ticket at the Shoreditch station for Ware in Hertfordshire, which county everybody calls Harfordshire.  The scenery along the Eastern Counties line is flat and unpicturesque.  There are, however, two or three points of interest – as Tottenham, Waltham, the Rye House, and so on.  The New River head is near Hertford – which I must pronounce Harford.  The Rev. Wm. Oliver met me at the Ware station with his carriage, and drove me two miles to his residence.  Found Rachel, and their daughter Elizabeth, whom however, by a similar species of fancy, I must call Bessy.

Sun June 22

Went to church twice, William taking the duty.

 

CHAPMORE END, HERTFORDSHIRE, 1856

Mon June 23

Took a walk with William to Sacombe Park (Mr. Abel Smith’s) and then to Sacombe church.  Called at the Vicar’s for the keys.  Went in and saw Mr. & Mrs Hill.  The church has recently been restored.  The outside work is black flint, with Bath stone coins.  In the chancel there is a wooden altar, instead of a communion table.  As we were returning, we saw, crawling across the road, a snail which attracted my attention.  I brought from France the shell of a snail, of the species eaten by the French: indeed, I begged it of a waiter at a restaurant in Paris.  The snail in the road to-day struck me as similar in size and appearance – the size, larger than our common English snail, and the colour of the shell a light brown, or buff colour.  My cousin, who has now lived in this neighbourhood several years, told me something of which I was not aware, in reference to this foreign species of snail.  He said they were common enough in the county of Hertford, and explained to me how they are said to have come there.  It is said that Queen Elizabeth imported large quantities of these snails from the Continent for culinary purposes; and that at a place called Queen Hoo, many of them were carried and preserved.  Queen Hoo lies some miles west of Hertford.  It is further said, that owing to want of propert (sic) attention on the part of their keepers, or from the fact of the Queen changing her place of residence, the snails escaped, and by degrees have spread themselves over the whole county, and surrounding district.  This is the story in the neighbourhood.

Tu June 24

Left Chapmore End and returned to London.  William and myself first walked three miles to Hertford – looked at the church; and I admired the avenues of horse chestnut trees on each side of the walks in the churchyard; and then we went to the station, where I took my ticket and wished him good-bye.

Wed June 25

The weather has suddenly become very hot.  To-night at 10 o’clock, the thermometer (Far.) was above 70° outside my bedroom window.

Th June 26

The thermometer at 5 this afternoon, outside my window in the shade, with a north-west aspect, was 88°.  In the same place at 10 this evening, it was 77°.

Fri June 27

At 2 this afternoon the thermometer in the same place, reached 90°.  But although this was outside the window in the shade, there was probably a considerable amount of radiation of heat from the neighbouring buildings.  Most likely the thermometer would not have been so high in the middle of Hyde Park.  I remember some years ago seeing the thermometer in London up to 90°.

Mon June 30

Went to the Library of the British Museum.  In the MS. Department saw Edward Levien (who used to live at Sidmouth) and made arrangements for a search to-morrow.

 

LONDON, JULY 1856

 

Tu July 1

Traced off and copied part of a map of the coast of Devon made in 1588, including Sidmouth, on to Torbay.  The map exhibits a plan for fortifying the Coast of Devonshire and Cornwall, at the time Queen Elizabeth apprehended attack from foreign enemies.  Having done this, went to Messrs Henderson, at 31 Bloomsbury Square (who are settling the late Mrs L Collingwood’s affairs) and made an affidavit (before Ford & Lloyd) to the effect that I had known most of the children of my grandfather, the first Sir William Parker, that “to the best of my knowledge and belief” they had married the persons imputed to them: that only Mrs Bingham outlived Mrs Collingwood: and several other things.  In default of obtaining full legal proof of these points, my affidavit was taken as sufficient.  I only did it to assist them in the settlement of the affairs, having no interest in the business, not coming under the denomination “next of kin”, my mother having died before Mrs Collingwood.

Wed July 2

Spent the evening at Mrs. Oldham’s, 10 Cumberland Terrace.  Miss Watson was there as usual.  Was introduced to Mrs. William Oldham, widow of the unfortunate Captain Oldham who, a few years ago, was killed by the Kaffers (sic).

Sat July 5

Spent the evening again at Mrs. Oldham’s.  Made a small drawing of the Oldham crest (an owl in an ivy bush) on the fly leaf of Mrs. W. Oldhham’s bible.

Sun July 6

At church in the morning in Regent Street.  Walked home with Eleanor Green.  In the afternoon I went to the fashionable church at the southern part of Westborne Terrace.  The neighbourhood here is rich: but though the ladies’ dresses were very smart, it appeared to me that the wearers were not thorough bred.  There was a great deal of gawdy vulgarity.  Most of the residents here, are more connected with the city than the court.

Wed July 9

To-day the Guards, just returned from the Crimea, entered London, and were received very warmly.  Indeed, I am happy to say that, though the English are commonly branded as a cold people, they gave these troops as hearty a reception as the lively French gave their soldiers who returned from the war, and entered Paris on the 29th of last December.  The soldiers came up by rail from Aldershot camp to the Nine Elms Station; and then marched, preceded by their various bands, through Parliament Street, Charing Cross, Pall Mall, into St. James’s Park by the Palace, to Buckingham Palace, where the Queen greeted them from the balcony: thence up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park, where the Queen, Prince Albert, and many of the children, in several carriages followed them.  A review then took place; but without firing away any gunpowder.  The whole body of troops, I understood, amounted to 5500.  Though everything went off very well, and the reception was very enthusiastic, still, the spectacle, in its accessories, was not so picturesquely got up as it was in France, on the similar occasion.

Th July 10

Called on Mrs. Green in Upper Wimpole Street, and tried over some songs with Eleanor, for voice, piano, and flute.

Fri July 11

Several hours in the Library of the British Museum, in the Manuscript department.

Sat July 12

Again at the Museum.

Tu July 15

Went to the Bank of England and received the dividend on Consols.  Being in London, I thought I would go to the Bank myself, never having done so.  Having passed the rotunda, and found the right department, and having placed myself under letter H in this department, I said I had come for my dividend.  They required no other identification, or proof that I was the person I represented myself to be, except to say correctly the amount of the stock and of the dividend, and to sign my name once or twice.  I then went to the Rotunda, where I received the money.

In the evening, dropped in to a debating society, where I have sometimes been before.  The subject for the evening was – “Will the Appellate Jurisdiction Bill be an infringement of the Queen’s prerogative?”.  Spoke on it for 15 or 20 minutes, though I have not been in the habit of addressing the House, as they say in another place.

Wed July 16

Hearing that my tenant at Sidmouth intends to leave the house on the 20th (the year’s end) I go home.  But I have also received a summons to appear at the Castle of Exeter at 10 o’clock on Wednesday the 23rd on a special jury case at the assizes – the first time I have been summoned.  Here are two reasons for going down.  Went and said good by (sic) to the Gravatts.  Then to Thursfield; of whom I bought two curious Burmese figures – Household dieties.

 

LONDON & EXETER

Th July 17

Paid some P.P.C. visits.

Mon July 21

Took five packages to the parcels office of the Great Western Rail, Paddington, to be sent to Sidmouth; whilst I left for the same destination, via Southampton (where I wished to see a friend) and along the south coast.

Had a pleasant journey from the Waterloo Station to Southampton; but was disappointed at not finding my friend – he was in Wales.  Determined to push on that night for Dorchester; but first took a look at the paintings (they are only paintings) of Sir Bevois, and his companion at the old gate of the town: as also, the Debtors’ Ward, formerly a castle at one angle of the walls, near the water.  Took the rail, and arrived at Dorchester between 9 and 10.

Tues July 22

After breakfast went out and examined the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre.  It stands on a tract of land belonging, I was told, to the Prince of Wales.  The interior, and the field in which it stands, now bear a crop of wheat.  Walked round on the top of the ridge: it was about 340 paces.  The principal entrance is at the north.  It is a highly interesting work.

Saw and passed Poundbury, but regretted I had not time to examine it.  It is a rectangular work, of Roman origin.  Is it not likely to have been the ancient Durnovaria, of the Itinerary of Antoninus?

From the Amphitheatre I spied at Maiden Castle, distant about two miles, but had not time to go to it.  This is a wonderful work of ancient British origin.

Got on the mail for Exeter; a most hilly, but delightful drive.

Wed July 23

After breakfast went to the Castle.  In due time my name was called, and I went into the jury box with the other special jurymen.  The case was one of Breach of promise of marriage – a curious beginning for me.  The plaintiff was a young woman of Plymouth: the Defendant, a Commander of a merchant vessel.  He had been playing a double game, and making love to two ladies at the same time.  One he had long known, and to whom he had become regularly engaged: the other he had more recently become acquainted with, and she was richer.  Love on one side, and money on the other, kept him for some time wavering.  At last he turned off his first love in a very heartless and insulting way.  In the end we jury men could not agree to a verdict, so we were locked up for about an hour and a half.  One thought the £60 (already paid into Court) enough; others said he deserved £500 damages: but at last all parties agreed to £200.  Before we left the Court we were paid one guinea each.

Left for Sidmouth, and got home to Coburg Terrace to tea.  My cat “Louis” knew me after a year’s absence.  We had tea together and he held out his right paw to have it buttered – an accomplishment I taught him before I left, and which he had not forgotten.

 

SIDMOUTH, AUGUST 1856

 

Aug 1 1856

The tenants just gone out were very good tenants.  They paid their rent, and took care of the furniture.  I have now got masons, gardeners, blacksmiths, carpenters and painters on the premises, and am going to put myself in order.

Sun Aug 31

During the month I have been settling down – seeing my friends – been out to Sidbury, and perceive that old Court Hall has  been half pulled down and rebuilt during my absence: and on going in and seeing the Hunts, I was told that it had become so rickety, that it was necessary to rebuild the southern part.  Spent the evening at the vicarage, with Mr Fellows’s family.

I have just been elected one of the Committee of the Choral Society – a Society embodied a few months ago by some musical people here; the intention being, to cultivate music generally, and for singing glees, madrigals, and the performance of more difficult pieces.  As many of the town’s people who have joined, and who sing very well, but who were in a great degree ignorant of the theory and practical part of music, I have volunteered to teach any who choose to come to the room, their notes; the rests; the counting of time; the knowledge of the common chord, and chord of the seventh; flats, sharps, and the different keys; - and so on: just enough, in fact, to enable them to sing from note, and have a general idea of what music is.

 

SIDMOUTH, SEPTEMBER 1856

Sep 1 1856

Cavete, o perdices! [Illustration].

Mon Sep 8

This day last year the allies took Sebastopol.  Hoisted my flag for the first time on the new staff.  Hitherto I have made use of the elm tree for a flag staff; but the foliage generally prevented it blowing out well.

Wed Sep 10

Gave 10 or 12 of the members of the Choral Society and hour at their notes and time this evening, before the singing began.  Then we had our practise.

Th Sep 11

Dined at 7 at Peak House with Mr. and Mrs. Lousada, and a party of twelve.  Sat between Miss Lousada, and Miss Floyd, eldest daughter of Sir Henry Floyd, of Powys, Bart.

Mon Sep 15

Walked to Ladram Bay along the beach, to make a new geological examination of the cliffs.  Noted only infiltrations under High Peak Hill, some of which I must go and dig out.  Remarked that the cliffs are somewhat changed by falling away, since I was there last.  Being now full moon and spring tides, and so calculating the time as to get to Ladram Bay by noon, I had no difficulty in getting through the natural arch.  Two other new arches, nearer Sidmouth, have been excavated in the cliff since my recollection.  Whilst I was near the arch, Mr Cornish, of Salcombe Hill, and some of his relations, came walking that way.  He was as much surprised to see me, as I to see him.  I returned over High Peak, and examined the earthworks again.  In the hedges I feasted upon blackberries, and I found so many sloes, that I filled my pockets, and brought them home, to see what sort of a pie they would make.

Ran the gun down to the Preventive House on the beach (the limber not being yet finished) and had some firing at a target.  The distance was about 100 yards, and I put two balls within a few inches of the bull’s eye.  The balls are lead, and weigh heavier than iron ones of the same size.  I found the gun though uniformly a little to the right hand.

Tu Sep 23

At a party at Dr. and Mrs. Miller’s.

Wed Sep 24

Went to Robert Tyacke’s funeral.  In the evening dined at Miss Kensington’s, at Sea View.  We were 14 or 16 at dinner – Lord and Lady Hobart, the Earl of Buckingham’s son and daughter-in-law, the Lady Louisa Hobart, one of his daughters, Sir John and Lady Claridge, Vyvyan and his wife, some Cornishes, etc.

Sat Sep 27

Strong gale of wind last night from the south, and much damage done.  Feared for my new flag staff, put up a short time ago, and not finally secured yet.  Went out after dark two or three times to examine it, and lash it firmer.  Being 44 feet high, I found that the violent gusts of wind had considerable effect on it.  However, it stood out the storm.

Lunched today at Lime Park, and walked to Sidbury with the Rev. Frederick Tyacke, and back.

Sun Sep 28

Had to conform to that disagreeable Devonshire custom, which requires that, the first Sunday after a funeral, one should appear at church in one’s hatband and scarf.  Sat in the same pew with Frederick Tyacke and the medical man Dr. Miller, who were similarly attired.

Mon Sep 29

Michaelmas Day.  Fine warm sun, but showery weather.  Attended a meeting to-day, at the Market House, to listen to statements brought forward by a Captain Moorsom, with a view to consider whether or not a rail could be made from the trunk line from Exeter, Honiton, Yeovil etc, now in course of preparation, by means of a branch from Fair-Mile or Fenny Bridges to Sidmouth.  Captain Moorsom’s arguments were not quite satisfactory to me, and therefore, not altogether encouraging.  A committee, however, was appointed (of which I am one) and this committee will examine the case and report accordingly.

 

SIDMOUTH, OCTOBER 1856

 

Wed Oct 1

The Prince of Wales is reported to be in Sidmouth.  A young man, passing under the name and title of some Lord Cavendish, and accompanied by two gentlemen and a valet, is staying at the York Hotel, on the beach.  The Prince has been visiting some of the manufacturing districts without disguise of late; and he seems to have extended his tour down here, in order, probably, to feed his curiosity, or satisfy it, by taking a look at the place where his grandfather died, and where his mother, as an infant, was nursed.  But he now travels incog.  He has come from Lyme, where, it is said, he was recognised, but hurried away quickly.  He went to look at Woolbrook Glen; and after some little hesitation on the part of the occupant (who did not know who it was that wished to see the house) the prince and his attendants were admitted.  As the suspicion that it was really the Prince of Wales, had been awakened, and the hour of departure known, a number of persons collected at the Hotel; but he baffled their curiosity by walking partly up Peak Hill, (on his road to Sidmouth) & there joining the carriage.  Had I really been certain that it was him (though even now we have no positive proof) I would have run my gun down on the Promenade, opposite the Hotel, and have given him a Royal Salute.

Sat Oct 4

Attended, at 2 this afternoon, the first meeting of the Committee for the proposed Railway, at the Market House.  It sat two hours; and a working Committee was appointed, to go round and canvass for shares.  I excused myself from this, not liking the office of going round to beg at peoples’ houses.  However, as a preliminary, several members of the Committee present, put their names down as share holders, the shares being £10 each.  Mr Lousada, of Peak, [named] 200 for himself, which amounts to £2000 in value: Sir Henry Floyd, I think 100 = £1000: Sir John Claridge 50 = £500: Major Brine, myself, and the bulk of the gentry 20 shares, representing £200.

Mon Oct 6

There is no doubt now that it really was the Prince of Wales who was here the other day.  This tour through the County is now in all the papers.

Wed Oct 8

Went to the Choral Society this evening; and before commencing the regular practise, gave a lesson in time and tune to about a score of the members.

Sat 11

Attended another Railway meeting at the Town Hall.  The shares are taken up very slowly.  Up to this time only 890 shares have been taken, which at £10 per share, represent only £8,900: whereas £24,000 are wanted.

Su Oct 12

At Church twice at the New, and once at the Old church.

Mon Oct 13

Attended another, and the final meeting on the subject of the Sidmouth railway, at the Town Hall.  The whole amount of shares taken reaches only 969, representing £9690.  The Chairman, (J. B. Lousada, Esquire, of Peak House) observed that as there appeared to be an undercurrent of opposition in the town, and as the inhabitants were not unanimous in their support, he considered it hopeless to proceed.  He therefore moved that the Committee do adjourn sine die.  As an amendment, I moved that the Committee be adjourned for a fortnight, in order to give time for getting further information from the Lord of the Manor, the South Western Company, to see what assistance they would yield, and to see what more shares would be taken by the town or neighbourhood.  My amendment was carried.  The chairman, however, remarked that the unfavourable communications already received from those sources, convinced him that the postponement was useless – so much so, that he expressed his determination to resign his chairmanship from that day.  Sir John Claridge, also, said he should now withdraw from the Working Committee, for the same reason.  Owing to these resignations, it at once became of no avail for me to persist with my motion for the adjournment – I, therefore, withdrew it, and the original one stood.  So there ended the Sidmouth Rail for the present, at all events.  During the proceedings to-day, as a last effort, I declared my readiness to double my amount of shares (raising the figure from 20 to 40) if all the other shareholders would do the same.  The Chairman laughed and shook his head.  With respect to himself he said that that would raise him from £2000 to £4000.  I replied that, perhaps £4000 were not more to him than £400 to me.  My proposition was not seconded by any body in the room.

Th Oct 16

The Revd Arthur Pardoe, who married the eldest of the late Vicar’s two daughters, was to-day inducted into the living of Sidmouth, and went through the usual ceremony of shutting himself into the church and tolling the bell.

Sun Oct 19

To-day I heard the new Vicar read the 39 Articles, this being his first Sunday.  They were read after the service, and before the psalm and sermon.  At the end he said – I, Arthur Pardoe, Clerk, believe all these articles of the Christian faith, and so on, making a declaration of his adherence to the tenets of his church.

Mon Oct 20

The box for Bingham, containing clothes and plate, leaves for London and Australia.

Th Oct 23

The new Limber for the gun, just sent home, I gave a first coat of paint.

Sat Oct 25

Gave the Limber and the gun carriage, each a coat of paint.

Tu Oct 28

At a party at Mrs Gibbes’s – the wife of the Incumbent of All Saints’.  Played a solo on the flute – a thing I never did in company before: - that is, a solo entirely unsupported by some instrument.

 

SIDMOUTH, NOVEMBER 1856

 

Mon Nov 3

Attended a Railway meeting at the Town Hall.  New arrangements were entered into.  Excused myself from being on the new Committee.

Tu Nov 4

Walked to Knowle, and called on the Wolcotts.  What a pretty place Knowle is! but how much prettier it might be, if the stream of water were stopped back and a lake made: and a few other things done.

Wed Nov 5

Had up my flag, and got all the other people who have flagstaffs and flags to hoist them on all the great days, as I do.  Wrote out several copies of the list of the days on which they should be hoisted.  The fireworks this evening were very meagre.

Tu Nov 18

Went to Budleigh Salterton with Mr Heineken.  On the way we alighted and went into Otterton Church.  At Budleigh Salterton Mr Heineken had portions of a wall thrown down where Wesley, his neighbour, had encroached upon his boundary.  Whilst this was doing, Mrs Wesley, in a considerable passion, came into her grass plat, (her husband being out of town) and demanded by what authority the wall was knocked down?  And added, that we had as much right to pull down her house.  To which I said – No: that the house was within her boundary; but that the wall was within Mr Heineken’s boundary.  “I baint so sure of that “, was her reply.  Barnes, the man who knocked down the wall, stood on Mr Heineken’s hedge, against and into which the wall had been built; and Mr Heineken told him not to throw into Wesley’s ground more stones or rubbish than the necessity of the case required.  Supped with Mr Heineken when we got back to Sidmouth.

 

SIDMOUTH, DECEMBER 1856

 

Mon Dec 1

Latterly I have been busy making some large coloured drawings to illustrate my Lecture on “Normandy and the Normans”, to be delivered about the middle of January in the great room of the London Inn.  Also, latterly, making several Norman caps, hats, or headdresses, which I must get some girls to wear at my lecture, to illustrate the costume of Normandy.

Th Dec 4

Attended a Lecture on “Church Architecture”, given this evening by a Mr Ashworth.  His drawings were numerous and good.

After a week’s sharp frost, and the thermometer down to [blank] now comes a thaw with rain.

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