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CURIOUS TRIALS CONNECTED WITH THE ARISTOCRACY.
However, he was very moderate in the use of this indulgence, seldom shooting but with a view to gratify a friend with a present, hardly ever for his own emolument. He had a singular attachment to fishing; and a river in Lord Eglinton's estate affording the finest fish in the country, he would willingly have angled there; but his lordship was as strict with regard to his fish as his game.
Being one day in search of smugglers, and carrying his gun, he was crossing part of Lord Eglinton's estate, when a hare starting up, he shot her. His lordship hearing the report of a gun, and being informed that Campbell had fired it, sent a servant to command him to come to the house. Campbell obeyed, and was treated very unkindly by his lordship, who even descended to call him by names of contempt. The other apologized for his conduct, which he said arose from the sudden starting of the hare, and declared that he had no design of giving offence. A man named Bartleymore was among the servants of Lord Eglington, and was a favourite of his lordship; this man had dealt largely in contraband goods. Mr. Campbell, passing along the sea-shore, met Bartleymore with a cart, containing eighty gallons of rum, which he seized as contraband, and the rum was condemned, but the cart restored, as being the property of Lord Eglinton. Bartleymore was now so incensed against Campbell, that he contrived many tales to his disadvantage, and at length engaged his lordship's passion so far, that he conceived a more unfavourable opinion of him than he had hitherto done; while Campbell, conscious that he had only discharged his duty, paid little or no attention to the reports of his lordship's enmity. About ten in the morning of the 24th of October, 1769, Campbell took his gun, and went out with another officer with a view to detect smugglers. The former took with him a license for shooting, which had been given him by Dr. Hunter, though they had no particular design of killing game. They now passed a small part of Lord Eglinton's estate, to reach the sea-shore, where they intended to walk. When they arrived at this spot it was near noon; and Lord Eglinton came up in his coach, attended by Mr. Wilson, a carpenter, who was working for him, and followed by four servants on horseback. On approaching the coast, his lordship met Bartleymore, who told him that there were some poachers at a distance. Mr. Wilson endeavoured to draw off his lordship's notice from such a business, but Bartleymore saying that Campbell was among the poachers, Lord Eglinton quitted his coach, and, mounting a led horse, rode to the spot, where he saw Campbell and the other officer, whose name was Brown. His lordship said, "Mr. Campbell, I did not expect to have found you so soon again on my grounds, after your promise, when you shot the hare." He then demanded Campbell's gun, which the latter declared he would not part with. Lord Eglinton now rode towards him, while Campbell retreated with his gun presented, desiring him to keep at a distance. Still, however, his lordship advanced, smiling, and said, "Are you going to shoot me?" Campbell replied, "I will, if you do not keep off."
Lord Eglinton now called to his servants to bring him a gun, which one of them took from the coach, and delivered it to another, to carry to their master. In the interim, Lord Eglinton, leading his horse, approached Mr. Campbell, whose gun he demanded; but the latter would not deliver it. The peer then quitted his horse's bridle, and continued advancing, while Campbell still retired, though in an irregular
direction, and pointed his gun towards his pursuer. At length, Lord Eglinton came so near him, that Campbell said, "I beg your pardon, my lord, but I will not deliver my gun to any man living, therefore keep off, or I will certainly shoot you." At this instant, Bartleymore advancing, begged Campbell to deliver his gun to Lord Eglinton; but the latter answered, he would not, for he had a right to carry a gun. His lordship did not dispute his general right, but said, that he could not have any to carry it on his estate, without his permission. Campbell again begged pardon, and still continued retreating, but with his gun in his hand, and preparing to fire in his own defence. While he was thus walking backwards, his heel struck against a stone, and he fell, when he was about the distance of three yards from his pursuer. Lord Eglinton observing him fall on his back, stepped forward as if he would have passed by Campbell's feet, which the latter observing, reared himself on his elbow, and lodged the contents of his piece in the left side of his lordship's body. At this critical juncture the servant above-mentioned brought the gun from the coach, and Campbell would have wrested it from his hands, but that Bartleymore came up just at the very moment; and at this moment Lord Eglinton, putting his hand to his wound, said, "I am killed."
A contest now ensued, during which Bartleymore repeatedly struck Campbell; which being observed by Lord Eglinton, he called out, “Do not use him ill." Campbell being secured was conducted to the wounded man, then lying on the ground, who said, "Mr. Campbell, I would not have shot you;" but Campbell made no answer. Lord Eglinton's seat was about three miles from the place where this fatal accident happened; and his servants put him into the carriage to convey him home. In the mean time Campbell's hands were tied behind, and he was conducted to the town of Saltcoats, the place of his former station as an exciseman. The persons who conducted him asked him several questions, the answers to which were afterwards very ungenerously adduced on his trial, as collateral evidence of his guilt. Among other things, he acknowledged that he would rather part with his life than his gun, and that sooner than have it taken from him, he would shoot any peer of the realm.
Lord Eglinton died, after languishing ten hours. Mr. Campbell was, on the following day, committed to the prison of Ayr, and the next month removed to Edinburgh, in preparation for his trial before the High Court of Justiciary; previous to which his case was discussed by counsel, and the following arguments were adduced in his favour:
"First, That the gun went off by accident, and therefore it could be no more than casual homicide.
"Secondly, That supposing it had been fired with an intention to kill, yet the act was altogether justifiable, because of the violent provocation he had received; and he was doing no more than defending his life and property.
Thirdly, It could not be murder, because it could not be supposed that Mr. Campbell had any malice against his Lordship, and the action itself was too sudden to admit of deliberation."
The counsel for the prosecution urged in answer—
"First, That malice was implied, in consequence of Campbell's presenting the gun to his Lordship, and telling him, that unless he kept off he would shoot him.
Secondly, That there was no provocation given by the Earl besides words, and words must not be construed a provocation in law.
"Thirdly, The Earl had a right to seize his gun, in virtue of several acts of Parliament, which are the established laws of the land, to which every subject is obliged to be obedient."
After repeated debates between the lawyers of Scotland, a day was at length appointed for the trial, which commenced on the 27th of February, 1770, before the High Court of Justiciary; and the jury having found Mr. Campbell guilty, he was sentenced to death.
The Lord Justice Clerk, before he pronounced the solemn sentence, addressed himself to the convict, advising him to make the most devout preparations for death, as all hopes of pardon would be precluded, from the nature of his offence. Through the whole course of the trial the prisoner's behaviour was remarkable for calmness and serenity; and when it was ended he bowed to the court with the utmost composure, but said not a single word in extenuation of his crime,
On his return to the prison he was visited by several of his friends, among whom he behaved with apparently decent cheerfulness. After they had drunk several bottles of wine they left him, and he retired to his apartment, begging the favour of another visit from them on the following day; but in the morning, February 28, 1770, he was found dead, hanging to the end of a form, which he had set upright, having fastened a silk handkerchief round his neck.
Mr. Galt makes the sad fate of Lord Eglinton form a portion of the story contained in his "Annals of the Parish."
THE CLUBS OF LONDON.*
THE club of ancient times, such as we have been describing it, exists no longer, or only amongst the middling or lower classes. The aristocratic combination of our days, which is so called, is a club in name only, if the word is to be interpreted by what it was used to signify in its origin, and through a long course of years up to a very recent period. Formerly, as we have just seen, it meant a social meeting of a select few, held at stated intervals, and at some public tavern, whereas now it has lost every one of these attributes. Some of these modern assemblages are exclusively confined to members of the army and navy, others to University men, others again to travellers, this to Conservatives, and that to Reformers; but in all, a certain degree of wealth, and a certain status in society, seem to be the indispensable conditions of admission. Then, too, each club has its own proper mansion built at its own cost, with every accommodation that luxury can demand, and invention, bribed to the utmost, can supply. Without, they present some of the best specimens of modern architecture; within, they are palaces for velvet-shod Sybarites.
Upon entering the hall or lobby of the club-house, you find it tenanted by the hall-porter, who is seated at a desk, and an assistant servant, their business being to receive messages, answer inquiries, and take care that no unauthorized persons gain admission. It is their duty also to take in letters, and keep an account of the postage; and, for the farther dispatch of this part of the business, there is a letter-box, into which the various missives are dropped, and which is only opened upon the arrival of the carrier from the regular receiving-houses. In many of the clubs, two or three liveried lads are kept in waiting, chiefly for the purpose of conveying messages from visitors to any of the members. Should the stranger wish to see his friend, there is a reception-room close to the hall, where he may wait, provided his appearance should seem in the eyes of the attendants to justify so much respect but the old Roman proverb holds good here as well as elsewhere-" Non cuivis contingit adire Corinthum," or, according to the fashion of your garments are the chances of your gaining admission into the reception-room of a club-house. Stulz, Nugee, and Buckmaster, with their satellites, are the chief granters of passports into English society; their certificate being as indispensable in London as the ministerial passport is to the traveller upon the continent.
Various doors, opening from the vestibule, lead to the several apartments upon the ground-floor, each of which has its peculiar object and designation. The first to be noticed is the morning-room, where the members meet to write letters and read the journals, which, in most of the clubs, are taken in with very little choice or restriction, except where a strong party feeling may operate to the exclusion of any journal. The "Dispatch," for instance, would hardly find its way into the morningroom of the Conservative; but such exceptions are very rare, and, in general, this matter is conducted with the utmost liberality. Even stationery is supplied to the members without stint or limit; and we remember to have heard of a certain popular author, now deceased, that he was in the habit of writing his novels at his club.
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The coffee-room differs in nothing, but its superior elegance, from the same apartment in any fashionable tavern. Rows of small tables project from each side, leaving a wide open space up the middle, for the convenience of passing to and fro. These are laid for breakfasts and luncheons from a rather late hour in the morning till four o'clock, when, in stage phrase, the scene is struck, and the usual arrangements are made for dinner. Here the member, who may wish to dine, is duly supplied with a carte de jour, or, in plain English, with the daily bill of fare, from which he has the same privilege of selection that he would have at any tavern, and with the certainty that whatever he orders will be the best of its kind, and cooked in the first style of cookery. The attendants upon him are numerous and well-chosen. First, there is the butler, whose duty it is to provide him with wine; next there is the head-waiter, whose principal business is to take care that his assistants promptly attend to the wants of the feasters, and duly supply the required dishes, which are wound up from below by a sort of sideboard, called "a lift," very much after the fashion of that described by Sir Walter Scott in his "Peveril of the Peak," where Chiffinch gives the excellent supper to Julian and his companion. Whether the romance suggested the contrivance to the clubbists, or the clubbists taught it to the romancer, verily this deponent saith not, nor is it of much consequence. Lastly, there is a clerk to make out the bills and keep the various accounts, who, upon some occasions, had need to be quick both of hand and eye.
Such being the appliances, the member, who intends dining there, fills up a form of dinner-bill with the dishes that he has selected from the carte de jour. This is immediately forwarded by the head-waiter in attendance to the clerk of the kitchen, when the latter marks the established price to each dish, adding a charge of sixpence, or in some clubs, of a shilling, for table-money, the object of which is to defray the expenses contingent upon bread, butter, cheese, potatoes, table-ale, and other minor necessaries of the table. When the bill has been thus filled up, it is sent back to the coffee-room, and the butler adds to it his charge for whatever wine may have been drunk, after which it is handed over to the coffeeroom clerk, who sums it up, and receives the amount from the member. In this way an excellent dinner, exclusive of the wine, may be had for little more than half-a-crown-a very moderate outlay, if we consider that the meal is not only of the first kind in itself, but is served up with every luxurious accompaniment. In addition to this, the member dining at his club is infinitely more independent than he could be at any tavern; he has not to buy the civility of greedy waiters, nor has he to drink more than is agreeable to himself for the benefit of the house, as is for the most part expected by superior tavern-keepers Then, too, he may have company, or be alone, at his option-an advantage beyond all price, and which he cannot command in any public coffee-room. To carry out this arrangement, a dining-room is provided on the ground-floor, wherein from six to a dozen members may dine together, precisely as they would do at the private house of any one of them, and with every chance of having a much better dinner without the trouble or expense. The affair is thus managed :-printed forms are left in the coffee-room, to which those who choose to join the house-dinner, as it is called, subscribe their names; but in this case no allowance is made for the Aberdeen man's privilege of "taking his word again; " whoever once puts his name to this prandatory