LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Passages of a Working Life during Half a Century
Chapter XI

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
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THE material and social aspects of London, in its wondrous growth during the reign of the present Queen, are constantly changing, presenting new combinations of form and colour, like the fragments of the kaleidoscope shaken together into new figures. At the London of 1844 I gave a few rapid glances (Vol. II. Chapter 13). There were remarkable opportunities for observing the London of 1862, and of deriving from the observations of strangers from our own country districts, and of foreigners of every nation, those impressions which familiarity is too apt to veil from our notice. That was the year of the Second Great Industrial Exhibition, when the Metropolis was alive not only with unwonted gatherings of our own population from the most distant parts of the three kingdoms; with dwellers in every region of our Colonial Empire; but with men of commerce from all lands, who came to compare our industrial labours with their own. Foreign workmen were with us in unusual numbers, and to those, especially, from France, our Prime Minister desired that it might be said that there ought to be emulation, but no jealousy, between the productive industries of both countries. But there was a class of foreign visitors, who, if they were less numerous than the foreign capitalists and operatives, had far more influence in forming the judgment of the world
upon what they saw in England. The Men of Letters came here to criticise and to teach. The French Journalists, whose mission was to describe the Exhibition of 1862, have left some curious and not uninstructive observations upon our outer life, of which they might correctly note the salient points, and of our inner life, of which they could really know little or nothing. Let me endeavour to note something of the general characteristics of the various classes of visitors who were filling our streets and our public places, from the 1st of May till the 1st of November, in the year when
Queen Victoria completed a quarter of a century of her reign. It was a remarkable year. A year of mourning and a year of banquets. A year in which Europe was at peace, whilst America was drunk with the excitement of Civil War. A year in which the wonders of International Industry were spread forth for universal admiration, whilst the machines of the greatest industrial district of the world were lying idle, and the workmen of the now silent factories were starving for lack of the material upon which to work.

In the “Transactions of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science” for 1862, it is stated that at the Metropolitan Meeting held in the Guildhall of the City a larger number of members was present than on any previous occasion, and that the attendance of foreigners was numerous. These Transactions record that on Saturday, June 7th, a Soirée of the Members of the Association and their friends was held in the Palace at Westminster, when “Westminster Hall, St. Stephen’s Hall, the Central Hall, the Houses of Lords and Commons, and the corridors were thrown open, and a spectacle was pre-
sented, more especially in the great Hall, illuminated for the occasion, which will probably never be forgotten by any who witnessed it.” Certainly the spectacle was one which I cannot readily forget. The sober record of the Transactions of the Association may justify the higher colouring with which I described it a few months afterwards. “To see Westminster Hall lighted up more brilliantly than at the Coronation of
George the Fourth—to be able to trace, as clearly as if it were in the glory of a noonday sun, every carving of that matchless roof—to move amidst hundreds of fair women without impediment from train or crinoline—to hear some blooming student of her country’s history ask, Is this the place where King Charles was tried? Was Richard the Second here deposed? Then to wander through the gorgeous corridors of Parliament—to touch the Speaker’s chair in the House of Commons—to gaze upon the throne in the House of Lords—this spectacle was a surprise to many a visitor, and not without its lessons to all. The genius of the Constitution was here enshrined; and Public Opinion, all powerful though irresponsible, held high festival in the seats where the spirit of Feudality once reigned absolute, to be succeeded by the more unclean spirit of Party—both finally to be vanquished when the popular voice could be fairly heard, and the welfare of the many should triumph over the interests of the few.”

On this occasion, I was conversing in the Hall with Mr. Thoms—known to Peers as their Deputy Librarian, and to Men of Letters as the learned and ingenious Editor of “Notes and Queries”—when I heard a well-known voice behind me, and almost
immediately felt a friendly hand upon my shoulder. It was
Lord Brougham. Though his face was furrowed, there was something like the old lustre in his eyes, and the smile that has so often told of the kindliness that was as natural as the power of sarcasm still lingered about his mouth. After a little talk he went on. Either Mr. Thoms or I exclaimed, “What changes that man has witnessed!” There was no change more remarkable than that which was connected with his appearance in this Hall as President of an Association for the Promotion of Social Science. For what were the departments of the so-called Social Science over which he had been that day watching? Two of the most important were that of Jurisprudence, and that of Punishment and Reformation. There were discussions going forward on a Minister of Justice, and on Statute Law Consolidation; on Magisterial Procedure; on the Law of Master and Servant. There were discussions on the Convict System; on Prison Discipline; on the Reformatory Movement; on the Non-Imprisonment of Children. When Henry Brougham first paced Westminster Hall in 1808, Eldon was Chancellor. The mere mention of that name is sufficient to show the differences that half a century had produced. To have talked about a sweeping reform of the Criminal Law would have been utterly vain, when the all-powerful Chancellor was shedding prophetic tears over the fallen Constitution, because the Legislature thought that a man ought not to be hanged for stealing in a dwelling-house to the value of five shillings. Then to have talked about the Convict System as any other than a very easy mode of dispensing with any nice distinctions about secondary
punishments, would have been as fruitless as to have argued that free settlers in a Colony might probably thrive better if they were not surrounded with a legion of miscreants. To speak of the Reformatory System would have been met by the common answer, “What’s bred in tha bone will never come out of the flesh.” Ragged Schools for street vagabonds would have been thought even a more Utopian dream than that all the people should be taught to read and write. The amazement of the old race of legislators, amongst whom Henry Brougham uttered his Maiden Speech in 1810, would have merged in ridicule, had he then dreamed that the time would come when a self-elected pseudo-Parliament would meet in London, after five previous years of peregrination to Birmingham, Liverpool, Bradford, Glasgow, and Dublin, to project and to discuss how to make the world better than they found it. More startling would have been the prediction that, to learn and to instruct, there would come from a country where the State was perpetually interfering with Charitable and Philanthropic Institutions, eminent men to form part of the “Congrès International de Bienfaisance,” in which the condition of the City-Arab of London and the gamin of Paris would have been set forth by competent observers, and discussed with the object how to best clean away the slough of these social wounds.

Macaulay, nearly forty years before the time we are describing, wrote in the Quarterly Magazine, “This is the age of Societies. There is scarcely one Englishman in ten who has not belonged to some Association for distributing books, or for prosecuting them; for sending invalids to the hospital, or beggars to the treadmill; for giving plate to the rich, or
blankets to the poor.” In 1823 the age had made a very small advance in manifesting the power of the principle of Association, compared with 1862. In the May of every year the Metropolis is crowded with religions and moral philanthropists, who may be seen struggling day by day at the entrances of Exeter Hall, eager to obtain seats near the platform. The additional attraction of the Great Exhibition doubled these usual crowds. When the foreigner had sufficient knowledge of our language to understand the placards on the walls, and the advertisements in the newspapers, he might conceive that England was intent upon exhibiting herself in her most amiable aspect, for the wonder or edification of those who came from other lands to look upon her. Surely he might think, all this agitation for benevolent purposes—for the relief of distress, for education, for religious instruction—cannot always be going on. Once a year the people were to be stimulated into philanthropy; at other times the wretched would have no advocates for their relief, the ignorant no pleaders for their better teaching. A closer acquaintance with the every-day working of English Society, in town or in country, would show him that this aspect of London was not exceptional. He would, perhaps, believe in time—even if he had gone to sleep under the drowsy voice of Exeter Hall, or had felt no stirring of his spirit at its boisterous harangues—even if he had been taken to one of those festive but not hilarious Meetings for charitable purposes, which are perhaps more vapid than the noonday speechifications—that all these exhibitions grew out of that social condition in which public opinion was all-paramount. In looking upon these institutions, he might learn
that nothing would be successful which ran counter to the feelings of any class sufficiently prominent to be appealed to; and that for any large object connected with the real work of social improvement, all classes generally agreed to compromise the prejudices of station or habit.

M. Esquiros, a writer in the “Révue des Deux Mondes,” described with great animation, a very peculiar aspect of the principle of Association amongst the unfashionable orders of pleasure-seekers. In giving a picture of the route to the Exhibition, he says “The most curious amongst the vehicles are immense chars-à-banc—pleasure-vans. One or two amateurs, mounted on the coach-box, sound a horn, or blow, till they become blue, on other instruments of brass, to charm the hours of the journey; whilst all the party, men and women huddled together, express by a thousand shades of countenance the various emotions of joy and surprise at the sight of this theatre of streets, where the passers-by are at once spectators and actors.” Had he beheld on the 15th of August, a cavalcade of pleasure-vans and of every variety of humble vehicles, down to the donkey-cart, his curiosity might have been excited to learn something of the meaning of this extraordinary procession in another direction—to the Crystal Palace of Sydenham. It was the Fête day of “The Most Ancient Order of Foresters.” Eighty thousand persons, men, women, and children,—the members of this illustrious Order belonging to London and its neighbourhood, with their wives and children—displayed on that day an example of the spirit of Association in the English people altogether extraordinary. If he had been told that the Foresters
are one of many Secret Societies, he might have been carried back to thoughts of the Fehm Gericht, and other terrible fraternities of the Middle Ages: of the Illuminati, who spread such terror in Europe before the French Revolution. These Foresters are amongst the most harmless and honest fraternities, who have no object whatever but to relieve each other’s necessities, upon the principle of independence, asking no aid from the rich, no patronage from the great. One of the most curious and valuable contributions to the statistics of England and Wales is the Annual Report of
Mr. Tidd Pratt, the Registrar of Friendly Societies. This intelligent officer has the duty of examining and certifying the Rules of Friendly Societies, and also any alteration of their Rules, and further to digest into an abstract the names and addresses of the several Societies, the funds of each, and its number of members, according to the Returns which their officers submit to the proper authority. The aggregate amount of their funds may, without exaggeration, be called enormous. Mr. Tidd Pratt says, “The great antiquity of these funds for self-help is a proof that they meet the spirit of this people in every age. The changes that have of late years followed a more enlightened legislation evidence their desire to keep pace with the growing intelligence of the country.” Mr. Pratt explains that the first societies established under the Friendly Societies’ Acts were merely Benefit Clubs; that of late years some have been formed into Orders, or Societies to which only the initiated have admission, in imitation of the Freemasons. In my own boyhood, I remember people laughing at the follies of the free and easy drinking clubs, known as Lodges
of Druids and Odd Fellows; and I fancied that I should like to see the interior of those wonderful rooms, in which thriving shop-keepers wore grotesque robes, and the listeners outside could hear the mimic thunder with which the candidate for initiation was to be alarmed. Probably these absurdities are given up amongst the Secret Friendly Societies of sixty years later; for, whether called the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows, The Ancient Order of Foresters, The Ancient Order of Shepherds, The Ancient Order of Romans, The Ancient Order of Druids, or by half-a-dozen other queer titles, they have in their Lodges business to perform which requires prudent and vigilant administrators, and sober members, having an earnest purpose to accomplish. These, and all other Benefit Societies, are Associations whose first object is to shield each other from destitution during sickness. They also provide for the burial of their members. Amongst the “Orders” that are classed as Secret, each single Society comprises the Order, manages its own affairs, pays its own sick members, as well as funeral expenses, but is repaid by a levy made over the whole districts in which various Lodges of the same Order are included. By patient calculation many of the interesting details connected with these Orders might be obtained from the Registrar’s Report. They are digested into a
valuable article in the “Quarterly Review” for October, 1864, from which we learn that the Manchester Unity, established in nearly every part of the British dominions, contains 358,556 members, whose annual contributions are above 350,000l., and their reserved capital estimated at nearly two millions sterling. The Ancient Order of Foresters, which is next in im-
portance, comprises above 250,000 members. The Manchester Unity is strongest in Lancashire, the Foresters in Middlesex.

Three millions of working men have spontaneously organized themselves into these Benefit Societies. They represent an aggregate of one-third of the entire population of these kingdoms. But they have never arrogated to themselves the exclusive title of The People. Did the French workmen, who came to England in 1862, believe that they were the sole representatives of The People of France? They have never wanted instructors in that belief. M. Texier, a French Journalist, could not see the English People as he looked around him:—“One would say, that the people do not exist in this immense city of London, and that it is exclusively inhabited by nobles and the middle class; the same uniformity of costume, habits, manners, visages . . . This, in my opinion, seems to be the true reason why London looks so sad in French eyes. When you walk through these streets, in the midst of omnibuses and carriages, among this population which encumbers the squares, the bridges, the public walks, you cannot at first explain why all that meets your eye—splendid equipages, glittering shops, buildings, and public—all look dull. It is only when you seek to solve the singular problem, you find out what makes London so monotonous, apart from its industrial and commercial sphere, is the absence of the people—of the people who are everywhere in Paris, who animate and make gay the streets and squares, the public gardens and the Boulevards, who are seated at our theatres, who mingle in all our ceremonies, and who hold a prominent place in all our public fêtes.” Wonder-
ful power of the blouse! Might not a better sort of equality be indicated by the fact, that the English workman, when he holds “a prominent place in all our public fêtes,” has no distinctive dress!

One of the correspondents of the French journals discovered that the English were much improved, not in reality, but in the art of concealing their sullenness, taciturnity, and selfishness. They answer civilly to questions put to them by strangers, and they complacently go out of their way to show the enquirer which way he should go. Another writer describes London as much changed since 1851, principally as regards manners and sentiments. When Frenchmen came to London in 1851, their long beards excited universal astonishment. London has adopted the French beards, so that the last Exhibition produced a revolution in English visages. Another says, the ladies have shaken off the old pride and the old toilet, for the wardrobe of England is renewed from top to toe. But there is something in our streets more remarkable to the reflective Frenchman than beards and crinolines, than the over crowded thoroughfares, or the general absence of architectural grandeur or regularity. He has come from a city where everything is regulated and regimented, and he is wonder-struck by the absence of authority in everything that occurs in London. Traversing the immense metropolis, there were not ten soldiers to be seen by an observer who saw and admired the one functionary who watched over his safety, saving him from annoyance and even danger—the benevolent policeman. At the raising of his hand the disasters were at once prevented which would have resulted from an agglomeration of car-
riages. “In this great city the citizen is king, but he is, above all, the servant of the law.” One of the French journalists, M. Sherer, is earnest upon this theme, in common with most of the higher intellects of France:—“Elsewhere, regulations are the rule; elsewhere liberty exists only where it is expressly stipulated; but in England it is liberty which is everywhere, and always supposed. Elsewhere civil life is encircled by a network, invisible but inextricable, of restrictions; but in England every man speaks, teaches, prints, meets, associates, builds, travels, exercises his calling in industry and commerce, fills the professions, carries out all his designs, without hindrance from anything whatever but the equal right of his neighbour. For the truth of what we say we fearlessly appeal to all who have crossed the channel. They may find England monotonous; its climate sombre, its towns ugly, its inhabitants stiff, its institutions Gothic; they may grumble and find fault as much as they please; but there is one thing they cannot deny, and that is, that it is in England the man who loves liberty can breathe most freely.” But it was not every French Journalist who looked so complacently upon the surface of society, beneath, which there is something that indicates the real character of the people. Some of these Newspaper Correspondents were equally dissatisfied whether they saw the Londoners serious or frolicsome. One gentleman, finding the shops, the theatres, and the casinos shut on Sundays, exclaims, “It is a country of savages!” Another goes to Epsom on the Derby-day. He cannot understand its wondrous excitement. He calls the return to London a perilous journey; its practical jokes savage
and brutal. The philosophical M. Bosquet writes, “I like England too much to join her flatterers. These see in such manners of other times the maintenance of the national character. I see in them the persistence of barbarism; the remnant of the ancient grossness of feudal, or simply of aristocratic, manners, when it was necessary to give the people, not examples, but amusements.”

There were large classes of strangers in London besides those who came to visit the International Exhibition. There was an Agricultural Show in Battersea Park—a show of unexampled magnitude and interest. Never before were got together such a vast collection of horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and machinery, sent from every district of the United Kingdom, and from neighbouring countries of Europe. The competition showed how England had gone ahead since Sir Robert Peel, on the memorable night of 1846 when he destroyed the principle of Protection for Agriculture, exclaimed to the House of Commons, “Choose your motto, Advance, or Recede.” At this Exhibition it would have been very difficult for the critic who attaches so much importance to the costume of the people, to distinguish the Peer from the Yeoman. He would observe two men of florid faces and stalwart limbs, pointing out to each other the beauty of that Shorthorn, or the novelty of that Drill. The one might be the lord of thousands of acres—the other the tenant who farms two hundred, but has learnt that he cannot keep pace with the richer capitalist unless he regards Agriculture as a science, and as a manufacture in which skill and profit must go hand-in-hand. There were often to be seen in the various public
places of London, young soldiers clothed in every shade of green or grey, but very few lighting up the sombre aspect of our out-of-door dress with the national scarlet. These were the Volunteers. They had come from all parts of the kingdom to the Wimbledon Prize Meeting. Our critics were inclined upon the whole to look complacently upon an institution which had sprung up at a very recent date, but which, in all likelihood, will continue to be a permanent means of self-defence. “We should be surprised,” writes one, “if the institution of Volunteers, after having, perhaps, suggested to the foreign spectator some of those jokes which our neighbours themselves do not spare their citizen soldiers—if, we repeat, this army, springing up, as if by enchantment, from the ranks of an industrious people, did not fill the hearts of our countrymen with, a feeling of respect and admiration.”

During this Exhibition year there were attractions for artists of all countries. The Gallery of the Fine Arts in the Exhibition, crowded as it was by persons of all ranks, had produced a change in the opinions of some of our foreign observers. One writer says “The French had thought too lightly that the people of London were indifferent to the beautiful.” For the musical artists there were opportunities of seeing that the English are not altogether deficient in musical taste. The French journalist, whose inquiries rarely extended beyond the purlieus of Leicester Square, going to the taverns where music, and that not of the lowest caste, is provided for the entertainment of the guests, says he is reminded of the cafes chantants. The musical artists might learn from our various concerts that we were establishing some claim
to be called a musical nation. Out of this progress had grown the Amateur Performances, which would show the foreigner how England could put her whole heart into a work which was worthy of enthusiastic devotion. On the 24th of June, four thousand vocal and instrumental performers were arranged in an Orchestra in the Crystal Palace for the performance of the “Messiah.” The vocalists, with a few exceptions of solo singers, were the choral bodies of our cathedrals, the members of the London Sacred Harmonic Society, and a host of other amateurs from our great manufacturing towns and marts of commerce. And these, who had daily labours to perform in their several vocations, executed on this day the well-known choruses in a way never before realized; and, on two subsequent days, exhibited such a mastery over the great composer’s less familiar works, as told for the first time to our generation what a mighty genius had come to England, a poor foreigner, at one time patronized and at another persecuted, till his matchless science had triumphed over both patronage and persecution, and he had become to us a glorious household name, like the names of
Shakspere and of Milton.

Let us inquire a little how this host of foreigners made their way to London, and how our own people, from the East, the West, and the North, were brought day by day to the metropolis of the South. The steam communication with France, Belgium, Holland, and the Baltic was far more certain and rapid than at any former period. In the United Kingdom there were about eleven thousand miles of railway open for traffic. The various Companies had about fifteen thousand carriages for the conveyance of passengers.
Excursion trains from town and village were organized throughout the country. It was a pleasant sight to see five hundred men and women, often with their children,—artisans and the higher orders of agricultural labourers,—turn out from the great metropolitan railway-stations, all dressed in their holiday suits. At the London-bridge station groups of foreigners might be observed gazing about them, little at their ease, before they plunged into the labyrinth that was before them. Most of the foreigners had also travelled in third-class carriages, for, whether French, German, or Dutch, they had been accustomed, upon payment of the lowest fare, to be decently accommodated. With the exception of one or two Companies, the third-class carriages of the English railways were then, as they continue to be, the disgrace of the country. And, yet, the third-class passengers have always formed no inconsiderable part of the millions who contribute to the dividends of railway shareholders. The total number of passengers of all classes in 1862 was a hundred and eighty millions. We may judge of the proportions of the various classes at that period by the later returns of the Board of Trade. Of two hundred and four millions of passengers, twenty-six millions were first class, fifty-seven millions second class, and one hundred and twenty-one millions third class. During 1863 the total receipts from first-class passengers was over three millions; from second-class over four millions; and from third-class very nearly five millions. One who has travelled a good deal in this country says, “Railway-directors and managers seem to hold it incumbent on them—a part of their traditional policy, on which not even a shadow of doubt is to be permitted for a moment to rest—to
discourage the third-class passenger traffic, as a regular part of the service. . . . . What they seem chiefly to dread is that persons who, according to their notions, ought to travel in the first or second class, would travel in the third, if the third were made convenient as to time, and endurable as to the vehicle.” And yet this policy does not always succeed. If open carriages are provided for the summer-travel, gentlemen will go in them, without a fear of coming in too close a contact with humble companions. They probably find as much entertainment and instruction in the frank manners of the majority of English working-people, as in the fastidious silence of the mournful first class, where no one presumes to speak to another, if there be no previous link of personal acquaintance. Men of sense are too glad to escape from this atmosphere of exclusiveness. The accurate observer whom I have quoted says, “The casual traveller in a third-class carriage seldom fails to notice the greater urbanity and gentleness of manner observable among what railway officials would regard as third-class travellers proper, as compared with the same class ten or twenty years ago. In a great measure this is, as we believe, the result of the more frequent association in their journeys with people of a somewhat higher grade; for, despite the directors, second and even first class people will travel third class, even now. And, as the result of our own experience, we must say, that we have witnessed quite as much courtesy and good feeling exercised towards the well-dressed of both sexes, and listened to as shrewd and intelligent conversation in a third class carriage, as in an average first or second class. Rude, coarse, and ill-bred fellows there are sometimes,
of necessity, but even the rudest or coarsest ‘rough’ is subdued, if he finds himself in a light, clean, and cheerful carriage, among well-behaved and intelligent people. In a close, dark and filthy pen he takes courage, and behaves as though he were at home.”*

When the stranger had arrived in London, comfortably or uncomfortably, he would, during his sojourn naturally desire to go about the great city in its public conveyances. The steam-boat on the river would be to him a constant delight. The cabs and omnibuses in the street a perpetual nuisance. There were five thousand cabs in London in 1862. In addition to the usual number of cabs, there were brought into use many of the shabbiest and dirtiest vehicles, drawn by the most wretched horses, and with drivers who seldom knew their way. The ordinary supply was not of the best order, and it would have been a very remarkable circumstance if any non-resident passenger had not been asked for double his proper fare. The policeman—the never-tiring benefactor of the stranger in London—is generally at hand to enforce something like moderation. Happy was the party of three or four who could obtain a decent cab, compared with the misery of riding in the narrow and altogether uncomfortable omnibus. In that social vehicle the foreigner would probably encounter some of the most unsocial people that London can produce, and from their demeanour on too many occasions—sitting as close as possible together, to prevent a stranger obtaining a seat;

* “Railways in their Social Relations.” Article by Mr. J. Thorne, in “Companion to Almanac,” 1865.

having the windows open or shut at the sole pleasure of an individual; with many other agreeable varieties of low-bred pretension,—he would perhaps be justified in coming to the conclusion that there was still a good deal of selfishness in England.

In 1862 London was just beginning to put on the aspect of a city beleaguered by powerful armies, preparing for defence. Throughout long lines of thoroughfare the foreigner would meet with obstructive sheds, and behold tons of earth accumulating under their roofs as the clay and the gravel gradually rose to the surface. He would learn that mighty works of engineering were going forward, which, in a few years, would remove from the city that pollution of its noble river which had made it a common sewer of three millions of people. He would be told that other apertures were being made, to give light and air to an underground railway beneath the crowded streets—a work almost as remarkable, and certainly more useful, than the Thames Tunnel, which had so long excited the wonder of Frenchmen. But he would only witness the very small beginnings of that system which, in 1864, has reduced London to the condition of a city in a state of siege. It has been invaded on every side by railway directors, whose motto has not been “Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos” but to pull down the lowly, and if possible to spare the proud. To avoid heavy compensation, the lines of railway that are penetrating into the very heart of the town, are taken through the poorest districts. In one connecting line of the North London Railway nine hundred houses have been pulled down. There is no help, either for the workman or his employer,
when the great despot of our days asserts his prerogative. Ahab will not mourn that Naboth refuses his vineyard, for Ahab has a very powerful machinery for compelling obedience. Naboth is too weak to go to law, so Ahab gets the vineyard; and Naboth may die, not by assassination, but by the very act of being turned out of his old home. No doubt much of this is for the public good eventually, but the immediate suffering may be too intense to be mitigated by private or public benevolence; by the erection of “Dwellings for the Working-classes;” or by a Clause in Acts for the Extension of Railways within the Metropolis, that the Companies should run daily trains for labourers to stations just outside London at an extremely low rate. These incidents in the wholesale destruction of houses of commerce, and houses of humble poverty, constitute a large amount of what are really private wrongs. There are some who, like myself, may remember that there was a cottage abutting on the Pavilion at Brighton, the owner of which sturdily refused to part with it to the
Prince Regent at any price. No doubt he was a churlish proprietor, but he was an example of the mode in which, amidst a good deal of public oppression, private rights could be asserted on the old principle which Chatham glorified as the highest boast of an Englishman—the inviolability of Home:—“The poorest man in his cottage may bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter it; but the King of England cannot enter it!” The Railway King can. But in addition to private wrongs, let the Legislature take care that the new tyranny should inflict no
public wrongs. It must be allowed, I suppose, to make our thoroughfares hideous with its viaducts; to destroy all picturesqueness in our few models of noble architecture, by intercepting their view; but let it not be allowed to touch the unequalled open spaces of our metropolis—the parks, which, however foreigners might complain of the ugliness of our streets, they were compelled to acknowledge were in their beauty, as well as their utility, such possessions of the crown and the people as no other capital could show.

I have not attempted a description of the International Exhibition of 1862, and I have for similar reasons refrained from presenting any details of the former grand display of the Industry of all Nations. There was another English Exhibition in 1857, in one respect even more remarkable than either of these—the “Exhibition of the Art Treasures of the United Kingdom,” at Manchester. That a committee of mill-owners and merchants, in our greatest manufacturing city, should have conceived the bold design of asking for the loan of the master-pieces of the private collections of the country; that they should have raised a large guarantee fund in a few weeks, and have erected a handsome building,—were not in themselves very extraordinary circumstances. The wonder and the honour were, that the appeal was instantly answered, by the highest and noblest in the land—that such a collection of the Old Masters was got together as no gallery of Europe could show, nor indeed several galleries united. There was also a gallery of British Portraits, unequalled in its extent and importance, collected by Mr. Peter Cunningham. Foreigners wondered; and
began to see that the Fine Arts were appreciated amongst us. Englishmen gloried, in this manifest symptom that the long reign of exclusiveness was over—that the proprietors of these “treasures” held them as trustees for mankind. One of the pleasantest sights of this exhibition was the crowd of factory-workers, who were invited to come in after two o’clock on Saturdays at a very small price. To me this Art Exhibition afforded a pleasant holiday, for I had the advantage of the taste and knowledge of my friend
Mr. Thorne in viewing this unrivalled collection.