Imagens das páginas

Pr. is. Where may be obtained Mr. Hutchison's Answer to Mr. Crookshank's Seasonable Remarks.

In the Daily Couranl of April 4 is also the following, which shows the immense amount of the stock possessed by private individuals. The reward offered for the recovery of the warrant seems ridiculously small, let its value be what it might to the finder:—

Tost or mislaid, a South Sea Dividend Warrant No. 1343 dated the

'25th of February last, made out to John Powell Esq. for 630/ being for his Half Years Dividend on 21,000/ stock due the 25th of December last. If offered in Payment or otherwise please to stop it and give Notice to Mr Robert Harris at the South Sea House, and you shall receive 10s Reward, it not being endorsed by the said John Powell Esq. is of no use but to the Owner, Payment being Stopt.

The only official notification in reference to the Bubble is found in the London Gazette, "published by authority," of April 5-9, 1720. It is the commencement of a list of Acts passed by the King, and runs thus :—

IS Majesty came this Day to the House of Peers, and being in

his Royal Robes seated on the Throne with the usual Solemnity, Sir William Saunderson, Gentleman-Usher of the Black

Rod, was sent with a Message from His Majesty to the House of Commons, commanding their Attendance in the House of Peers; the Commons being come thither accordingly, His Majesty was pleased to give the Royal Assent to

An Act for enabling the South Sea Company to increase their present Capital Stock and Fund, by redeeming such publick Debts and Incumbrances as are therein mentioned, and for raising Money for lessening several of the publick Debts and Incumbrances, and for calling in the present Exchequer Bills remaining uncancelled, and for making forth new Bills in lieu thereof to be circulated and exchanged upon Demand at or near the Excliequer.

The advertisement then goes on to state what other Acts received the royal assent, but with none of them have we anything to do. In the Post Boy of June 25-28 there is a notice of a contract being lost, which runs thus:—


Westminster, April 7.


"XlTHereas a Contract for the Delivery of South Sea Stock made * * between William Byard Grey, Esq. and Mr. William Ferrour is mislaid or dropt: If the Person who is possess'd of it will bring it to the Wheat-Sheaf in Warwick-Lane, he shall have Ten Guineas Reward, and no Questions ask'!.

And in the issue of the same paper for June 30-July 1 we find this, which refers to the Company on which all the South Sea directors' orders were made payable :—

"pOund at the South Sea House Saturday the 17th of June a SwordBlade Company's Note. If the Person that lost it will apply to Mr. Colston's, a Toy Shop at the Flower de-Luce against the Exchange in Cornhill, and describe the said Note shall have it return'd, paying the Charge of the Advertisement

These are, however, only incidental advertisements, which might have occurred had the Company been anything but that which it was; and so we have only to remark on the peculiar quietness with which all rigging operations were managed in those days. One of the paragraphs quoted in a note a short distance back will, however, account for the fact that advertisements were not found in the usual places.

The growth of the disgusting system which permitted of public combats between women is exhibited in several advertisements of 1722, the most noticeable among them being one in which a challenge and reply are published as inducements to the public to disburse their cash and witness a spectacle which must have made many a strong man sick:—

CHALLENGE.—I, Elizabeth Wilkinson, of Clerkenwell, having had some words with Hannah Hyfield, and requiring satisfaction, do invite her to meet me upon the stage, and box me for three guineas; each woman holding half a crown in each hand, and the first woman that drops the money to lose the battle.

Answer.—I, Hannah Hyfield, of Newgate Market, hearing of the resoluteness of Elizabeth Wilkinson, will not fail, God vrillifig, to give her more blows than words, desiring home blows, and from her no favour; she may expect a good thumping!

The precaution taken with the half-crowns to keep the hands clenched and so prevent scratching, shows that even these degraded creatures had not quite forgotten the peculiarities of the sex. And that there is piety in pugilism— even of this kind—is proved by the admittance that the Deity had to give his consent to' "the ladies' battle." But Mesdames Wilkinson and Hyfield sink into insignificance when compared with the heroines of the following, which is cut from the Daily Post of July 17, 1728 :—

AT Mr. Stokes Amphitheatre in Islington Road, this present Monday, **■ being the 7 of October, will be a complete Boxing Match by the two following Championesses :—Whereas I, Ann Field, of Stoke Newington, ass-driver, well known for my abilities in boxing in my own defence wherever it happened in my way, having been affronted by Mrs. Stokes, styled the European Championess, do fairly invite her to a trial of the best skill in boxing for 10 pounds, fair rise and fall; and question not but to give her such proofs of my judgment that shall oblige her to acknowledge me Championess of the Stage, to the entire satisfaction of all my friends. .

I, Elizabeth Stokes, of the City of London, have not fought in this way since I fought the famous boxing woman of Billingsgate 29 minutes and gained a complete victory (which is six years ago); but as the famous Stoke Newington ass-woman dares me to fight her for the 10 pounds, I do assure her I will not fail meeting her for the said sum, and doubt not that the blows which I shall present her with will be more difficult for her to digest, than any she ever gave her asses. Note. —A man known by the name of Rugged and Tuff, challenges the best man of Stoke Newington to fight him for one guinea to what sum they please to venture. N.B.—Attendance will be given at one, and the encounter to begin at four precisely. There will be the diversion of cudgel-playing as usual.

Pugilism was evidently a much valued accomplishment amonS the tower-class ladies in 1728, and there is no doubt

e f M St0kes and Mrs Field were considered very es lmable persons as well as great athletes in their respecabour^fh There is> moreover, a suspicion of humour In th if reference to the asses in the reply of Mrs Stokes. nappily_named Rugged and Tuff we see the forerunner of that line of champions of the ring which, commencing with Figg and Broughton, ran unbroken up to comparatively modern days. Other advertisements about this period relate to cock-matches and mains, sometimes specified to "last the week," to bull-baiting in its ordinary and sometimes in its more cruel form of dressing up the beasts with fireworks, so as to excite both them and the savage dogs to their utmost. Perhaps brutality was never so rampant, or affected so many phases of society as it did in the first half of the eighteenth century. Slavery was considered a heaven-born institution, not alone as regards coloured races, for expeditions to the Plantations went on merrily and afforded excellent opportunities for the disposal of any one who happened to make himself objectionable by word or deed, or even by his very existence. The wicked uncle with an eye on the family property had a very good time then, and the rightful heir was often doomed to a slavery almost worse than death. Apropos of slavery, we may as well quote a very short advertisement which shows how the home trade flourished in 1728. It is from the Daily Journal of September 28 :—

TO be sold, a Negro boy, aged eleven years. Enquire of the Virginia Coffee-house in Threadneedle street, behind the Royal Exchange.

Negroes had in 1728 become quite common here, and had pushed out their predecessors, the Moors and Asiatics, who formerly held submissive servitude. This was probably owing to the nefarious traffic commenced in 1680 by Hawkins, which in little more than a hundred years caused the departure from their African homes and the transplanting in Jamaica alone of 910,000 negroes, to say nothing of those who died on the voyage, or who found their way to England and other countries.



HE further we advance into the years which mark the

JL Hanoverian succession, the more profligate, reckless, and cruel do the people seem to become. Public exhibitions of the most disgusting character are every day advertised; ruffians and swashbucklers abound, and are ready to do anything for a consideration; animals are tortured at set periods for the delectation of the multitude; and we see verified, by means of the notices in the papers, the peculiarities which Hogarth seized and made immortal, and which so many squeamish people consider to be overdrawn nowadays. Assignations of the most immoral character are openly advertised, and men of the time may well have attempted to ignore the existence of female virtue. A recent writer, commenting on this state of affairs, says, in reference to the latter class of shameless advertisements: "We are far from saying that such matters are not managed now through the medium of advertisements, for they are, but in how much more carefully concealed a manner? The perfect contempt of public opinion, or rather the public acquiescence in such infringements of the moral law which it exhibits, proves the general state of morality more than the infringements themselves, which obtain more or less at all times. Two of the causes which led to this low tone of manners with respect to women were doubtless the detestable profligacy of the courts of the two first Georges, and the very defective condition of the existing marriage law.

« AnteriorContinuar »