« PreviousContinue »
On Sunday, July 1, 1838, in conjunction with Joseph Last and Charles Pitcher, a man of fortune and a sporting character, he started the Crown, a weekly paper supporting the beer-sellers, which with No. 42, on April 14, 1839, came to an untimely end.
his sisters, who kept a seminary near St. John's Street Road. He was educated under Henry Butter, the well-known author of the 'Etymological Spelling-Book,' which went to a two hundred and thirty-eighth edition in 1860. At the age of twelve he was apprenticed for three years to a pawnbroker in High Street, Shadwell, and from On June 13, 1839, he took a benefit at the that period till 1830 was employed in various Queen's Theatre, Tottenham Street (afterwards pawnbrokering establishments. About March, 1830, known as the Prince of Wales's), when an extravahe started in business as a jeweller at 99, Quad-ganza called 'The Town,' and a farce entitled 'The rant, Regent Street; but on Dec. 1, 1831, he Licensed Victualler,' both pieces written by the became an insolvent, and paid the first of his bénéficiaire, were produced, and the net proceeds many visits to the King's Bench Prison. Quickly were upwards of 400l. following on this event he was incarcerated in Whitecross Street Prison, on emerging from which he was in such an absolute state of poverty that for several nights he slept on the doorstep of the Bishop of London's house in St. James's Square. He was next connected with "brown money" gambling rooms, and then with billiard rooms, while in the summer months he went speeling, an amusement on a racecourse, consisting of playing roulette in a tent. About 1836 he married, and took a cigar shop in Warwick Street, Regent Street, which had a room behind it where the customers gambled and were supplied with strong drinks. He is next found as a wine merchant in Leicester Place, Leicester Square; but this establishment did not last long, as on April 22, 1836, he was made a bankrupt.
In conjunction with Thomas Bartlett Simpson, in 1841, he opened the Garrick's Head and Town Hotel, 27, Bow Street, Covent Garden, and in a large room in this house, on Monday, March 8, 1841, established the well-known Judge and Jury Society, where he himself soon after commenced presiding under the title of "The Lord Chief Baron." On the first occasion of wearing his ermine robes he had among his audience John Adolphus, the father of the English bar. bers of both houses of Parliament, statesmen, poets, actors, and others visited the Garrick's Head, and it was not an uncommon occurrence to see the jury composed of noble lords and members of the lower house of the legislature. The trials were humorous, yet gave occasion for serious eloquence, glowing repartee, and fluent satire. He was now fortunate enough to make the ac- Truth compels me to say that too frequently the quaintance of Joseph Last, printer, Edward Street, cases taken related to seduction or crim. con., Hampstead Road, who employed him to edit and when men dressed in female attire were crossbring out the Town, a weekly paper, the first examined, and the judge, counsel, plaintiffs, and number of which appeared on Saturday, June 3, defendants all indulged in double entente and 1837. This paper, a kind of society journal deal- other language of an immoral nature. The attening with the phenomena of flash life, was a success tion of the public was kept directed to this mimic from the first, and although some of its contents court of law by advertisements containing amusing were not of a highly moral nature, it contained a sham law reports, by poetical broadsides, and by great deal of information and exposed many the exhibition of an immense painting at the swindling companies. The Town contained some corner of Wellington Street, Strand. This picture, illustrations for which "Gillray the younger a work of artistic merit, by Archibald Henning, made the sketches on wood, and Ebenezer Landells cost nearly 2001. It contained portraits of many engraved them. In the earlier numbers Nicholson of the celebrities of the day, and continued as an wrote the greater part of the paper; after that ornament of the thoroughfare for a great number he had as contributors, among others, Mr. Ander- of years. The most popular of the counsel was son, late editor of the Marylebone Journal; John Henry Pellatt, always known as Henry Brougham, Dalrymple, the writer of burlesques in which while John George Canning was equally good as Mrs. Honey appeared (in 1839 when on his a prisoner, a witness, or a suitor. Nicholson's death-bed, he was taken out of his house and shut position as a mock judge was one of the sternest up in Newgate on a false charge of forgery, and realities of eccentric history. Attorneys when died the following morning); Henry Pellatt, after-suing him said, "Well, my lord"; sheriffs' officers wards known as the double of Lord Brougham; John George Canning, who wrote under the signature of Theophilus Pole, and died in 1847; Dr. William Maginn, dramatic writer, who died Jan. 19, 1842, aged forty-nine; and Edward Leman Blanchard, who deceased so recently as Sept. 4, 1889. No. 156, Saturday, May 23, 1840, appears to have been the last issue of the Town.
when executing a writ apologized for the disagreeable duty they were compelled to perform "on the court"; and even the highest judges of the land recognized him and his office while acting judicially in their own courts. In a case in the Common Pleas, Bickley, an attorney, v. Tasker, a wine merchant, the newspapers of the day reported a very amusing conversation between
Nicholson, a witness, and Sir John Jervis, the Lord Chief Justice.
In the Ingoldsby Legend of 'The Ghost,' Barham says of the judge and jury:—
It more resembled one of later date
And tenfold talents, as I'm told, in Bow Street, Where kindlier-natured souls do congregate; And though there are who deem the same a low street, Yet I'm assured, for frolicsome debate
And genuine humour it's surpassed by no street, When the "Chief Baron" enters and assumes To "rule" o er mimic "Thesigers" and "Broughams." In 1844 the Judge and Jury Society was removed to the Coal Hole, Fountain Court, 103, Strand, and the entertainment was varied by the introduction of mock elections and mock parliamentary debates. At various times Nicholson "went circuit," and held his court at Southampton, Canterbury, Manchester, Glasgow, and in many other large towns. During the summer months he attended Epsom, Ascot, Hampton, and other races, with a very large tent, in which he dispensed refreshments, and was, as he says himself, the first judge who ever sold beef on a racecourse, and perhaps the only poet ever engaged in such a novel commercial undertaking. He was also a caterer at Camberwell and other fairs, where he had dancing-booths.
On July 31 and Aug. 1 and 2, 1843, he gave a three days' fête at Cremorne Gardens. It was called the Thousand Guinea Fête, and, by means of ingenious advertisements, large crowds were attracted to the gardens. At Easter in the following year he gave a similar fête, and then opened the grounds on Sunday afternoons for promenade and refreshments. In October, 1844, he was again in the Queen's Bench, and Cremorne Gardens fell to T. B. Simpson, who, being favoured with a series of fine summers, made 100,000l. in ten years. He died June 22, 1872, aged sixty-six.
In 1846 Nicholson was again back at the Garrick's Head, where he added to his usual attractions poses plastiques and tableaux vivants in connexion with a musical entertainment, in which he delivered a lecture on poetry and song. In the same year he brought out a troupe of female serenaders at the St. James's Rooms (formerly Crockford's), St. James's Street. His wife died at Boulogne, on Sept. 15, 1849, and shortly after this date he is found located at the Justice Tavern, in Bow Street. By this time he was again in poverty, and was glad to receive an annual salary to preside at the Garrick's Head, where, in company with Farquharson Smith, the vocalist, he managed the entertainments till July, 1851. At this period he quarrelled with Simpson, and Edward Tyrrel Smith advanced him the money to take the Coal Hole Tavern, where he held his court three times a night. As fast as it was emptied it was crowded again. When E. T. Smith took Drury Lane Theatre in 1852, Nicholson became poet laureate
to the establishment, and wrote poetical and prose puffs of the theatre. Smith, who died Nov. 26, 1877, aged seventy-three, immortalized himself by refusing to permit several members of his company to perform before Her Majesty at Windsor.
The Lord Chief Baron made his last removenamely, from the Coal Hole to the Cider Cellar, 20, Maiden Lane-on Jan. 16, 1858, and opened his court and his exhibition of poses plastiques on Jan. 22. Here, in March, taking advantage of a discussion in the newspapers on the social evil, he produced a case on that vexed question, and was rewarded with crowded audiences. The address of his leading counsel, Richard Hart, was printed, and many thousand copies of it were circulated.
The chequered and extraordinary career of the Baron came to an end by his death from dropsy and heart disease, at the house of his daughter, Miss Eliza Nicholson, proprietress of the Gordon Tavern, 3, Piazza, Covent Garden, on May 18, 1861, aged only fifty-two; and he was buried in Brompton Cemetery on May 22. He left two daughters, who had for some time helped him in his hotel business. The elder was afterwards the manager of E. T. Smith's Cremorne Restaurant, at the corner of Wardour Street, Leicester Square. Nicholson was the author of 1. Cockney Adventures. 1838. 2. Nicholson's Noctes; or, Nights and Sights in London. No. XI., Saturday, May 14, 1842, is the last number that I have seen of this periodical.
3. Dombey and Daughter: a Moral Picture.
4. The Lord Chief Baron Nicholson: an Autobiography. 1860.
The Judge and Jury did not die with its founder, for Mr. H. G. Brooks, who had for some time acted as deputy baron, succeeded to the ermine, and continued to hold the court at the Cider Cellar till 1864. It was afterwards removed to a house on the eastern side of Leicester Square, which is now known as M. Phillippe's Cavour Hostel and Restaurant. It was advertised at night by men having on their heads square boxes with canvas sides and lights in the interior, thus enabling the lettering on the canvas to be seen in the dark. About 1878 the Judge and Jury Society came to an end, and it does not seem probable that such an exhibition will again be permitted. Views of the interior of the court will be found in 'The Bachelor's Guide to Life in London,' p. 8, and in the Illustrated Sporting News, May 21, 1864, pp. 129 and 133. GEORGE C. BOASE. 36, James Street, Buckingham Gate, S.W.
SHAKSPEARE IN OXFORD.-The biographers of Sir William Davenant give no reason, nor even suggestion, why Shakespeare, in his journey from
London to Stratford and back, chose the "Crown Inn," at Oxford, for his resting-place. I think I have found out the reason. The Avenants, or Davenants, were an old and numerous family in Warwickshire, and the lines quoted in the Dictionary of National Biography' from Gondibert have reference to Avenants deriving their name from the Avon, or Aven, as the river was always formerly called. As the name Davenant does not occur among the former generations of Oxford tradesmen, the Avenants must have migrated from Warwickshire very little, if at all, earlier than Queen Elizabeth's reign, and Shakespeare may not only have been an old acquaintance, but an actual connexion of the Oxford Davenants. I can show several writs relating to the Avenants of county Warwick, tempp. Hen. VI. and Edward IV. EDWARD SCOTT.
"THE ZOO."-The tendency among English people to clip long words into short ones, or even into monosyllables, is notorious. Thus, "cabriolet" has become cab, "omnibus" bus, and so on. But the change of "zoological" into zoo is, to any one who knows the origin of the word, the most exasperating of all; and yet we now meet with "zoo" in well-written journals like the Saturday Review; and I see the word is being advertised as the title of a book. There is another variation, which comes simply from bad pronunciation, as when a cockney holiday-maker tells you he has been to the "slogical." If "zoological" is to undergo a shortening, like that which has befallen "omnibus" and "cabriolet," let it at least become
This would be correct so far as it went, and would not be so excruciating as the detestable zoo. J. DIXON.
THE HAYMARKET THEATRE, PAST AND PRESENT.-Foote was the first lessee of the old house. In 1747 he made his first appearance in a piece called 'The Diversions of the Morning'; he afterwards presented An Auction of Pictures.' From 1752 to 1761 his success continued uninterrupted. He died at Dover in 1777. He wrote some twenty pieces.
George Colman followed him at the Haymarket, and continued the management of that house till the time of his death. Born at Florence, 1733, died at Paddington, 1794.
George Colman the Younger (1762-1836) in 1784 produced his first play at the Haymarket, and in 1789 took the whole management upon himself. In 1824 he was appointed Examiner of Plays, and retained that office till his death in 1836.
The present house was opened July 4, 1821. In 1830 the lessees were Morris and Winston. They were followed by Benjamin Webster, who carried on the house successfully for some years, producing many of Sheridan Knowles's plays.
Buckstone succeeded him, and conducted the house with great spirit. His staple trade was the legitimate drama, and the plays of Shakspere, Sheridan, Talfourd, and others were the standing dish. Lord Lytton's 'Money' was first produced here, with Macready, Wrench, David Rees, B. Webster, J. Webster, H. Howe, Miss Faucit, Mrs. Fitzwilliam, and Miss P. Horton filling the principal characters. W. WRIGHT.
10, Little College Street, Westminster, S.W.
ARCHBISHOP WHATELY: "PRISONER."-The
following note will be found at p. 20 of the instructive little work by Archbishop Whately entitled English Synonims':
ing one who receives a confession] and one other-i. e., "It is curious that this word ["confessor" when mean'prisoner'-present almost the only exceptions to the general rule in our language, that the terminations 'or' and 'er' indicate an agent, and not a passive recipient."
Though somewhat of a helluo librorum, the archbishop seems not to have been aware that long ago prisoner meant jailor, and not, as now, "jail-bird." That this is so, however, is clearly seen in the following excerpt from The Story of Genesis and Exodus, an Early English Song,' written about the end of the thirteenth century:
Potifar trewith hise wife's tale,
And him the chwartrell haveth bitagt With the prisunes** to liven in hagt.tt Those who wish for further information on the matter should betake themselves to a study of the 'Song' as edited for the Early English Text Society by Mr. R. Morris, 1865.
Besides "" prisoner," as used in modern times, are not "pensioner " and "exhibitioner " additional examples of persons with passive functions?
THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM.-An American astronomer, Mr. J. N. Stock well, of Cleveland, Ohio, has recently been attempting to revive the theory that the celestial appearance commonly called "the Star of the Magi" was in fact caused by a conjunction of planets. This theory, it will be remembered, was first started by Kepler, and the planets supposed to be Jupiter and Saturn. Mr. Stockwell, however, finds that a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus (closer than that of Jupiter and Saturn in B.C. 7) took place in B. C. 6 on May 8, when those planets were visible in the morning about two hours before sunrise, Jupiter only 32'
(or about the apparent diameter of the sun or moon) to the northward of Venus. It is obvious that there is the same fundamental objection to the acceptance of this theory as in the case of the other conjunction, to which I referred in ́N. & Q.,' 6th S. vii. 4. How could a conjunction of planets, or any star in the astronomical sense of the word, appear to stand over a particular house, as seen by those who were near it? Nor is it any confirmation of this view (as might seem to be at first sight) that Jupiter and Venus were visible in the eastern heavens about the time of their conjunction. For by seeing the ", 'star in the East," the Magi probably meant that they saw it when they left their home in the East. It is impossible to place the nativity of Christ so early as B.C. 6, consistently with Luke iii. 23; and I must remain of opinion that it occurred in the late autumn of W. T. LYNN.
KILMESTON MANOR HOUSE.-I seek information concerning the old manor house of Kilmeston, Hants, seven miles east of Winchester, four miles south of Alresford, not far from Tichborne, and the battle-field of Cheriton. This was lately the property of Mr. Walter Long, of Preshore, and previously was in the hands of a family called Ridge. The house is apparently Jacobean. Who were the original owners; and what is its history? TAUPE.
STORMY PETREL.-Among the great numbers of sea-gulls which were flying in Chelsea reach during the present frost, there was at least one bing up and down over and on the little waves stormy petrel, which, curiously enough, was bobcaused by the easterly wind in the very place where the two whales appeared who came up the Thames at the time of the Naval Exhibition. Is the petrel a frequent visitor to the metropolis?
A VIEW OF LIFE.-I found the following graffito on a pavement in the Roman city of Thamugas (mod. Timegad), Algeria, lately exhumed by the French Government:" Uenari lauari Ivdere ridere occ est uiuere." I wonder what would-be viveur can have written it. One who was old enough and rich enough to have such experience of high life would scarcely have sat down on the steps of the Forum to give this vent to his enthusiasm with hammer and chisel. Was it a schoolboy emulous of the prowess of big brothers; or some Tittlebat Titmouse out for a holiday, and dreaming himself the possessor of 10,000l. a year? One scarcely dares to suggest that the h-less occ may smack of the City apprentice. Possibly the words are a quotation. Does any one know?
C. B. MOUNT.
GROTTO AT MARGATE. Could any correspondent give me information about the socalled grotto at Margate? Were not shell grottoes rather a fashionable fancy at the time of Horace Walpole; and were they as claborate as this specimen? D. TOWNSHEND.
MORETON FAMILY.-I am desirous of filling up the gaps from William, Ann, and Sarah Moreton to the Visitation. William and Ann stated to my father that they were cousins to the first Lord Ducie, who died in 1735. On the back of an old letter I have a pen-and-ink sketch of the following
arms and crest:-On a bend three buckles, and in the left top corner of the shield a rose. Crest, a goat's head. William Moreton, of Upper Gower Street, and Southgate, Middlesex, a merchant of London, died Sept. 29, 1834, aged seventy-five, married Sophia - and had issue a son, William Coulson Moreton, Captain 2nd Life Guards, and 13th Light Dragoons, married at Hampton, Feb. 10, 1810, Elizabeth, daughter of W. Griffen hoofe; she died Oct. 27, 1865, aged seventy-five. Capt. Moreton died March 9, 1862, aged seventy-five, and left issue Charles, William, Henry, and Eliza beth, who are all dead. Ann, the sister of William, married about 1779, John Coulson, who died in 1780, aged thirty, and left issue a son and daughter. Mrs. Coulson married secondly Thomas Bettesworth, of Billingshurst, Sussex, a merchant of London, and who died in 1795, aged forty-five, Mrs. Bettesworth died in 1844, aged eighty-five. Another sister of William (Sarah ?), married Smith, of Sydenham, Kent, and left issue. These Moretons are all buried in a vault in Hornsey Churchyard. Any information relating to this family will be very acceptable. J. C.
51, Marlborough Hill, London, N.W.
Z. COZENS.-Can any of your readers give me information respecting Z. Cozens, who is mentioned in the 'Bibliotheca Cantiana' as the author of twelve contributions to the Gentleman's Magazine, chiefly on Kentish antiquarian matters, and also of A Tour through the Isle of Thanet, and some of the parts of East Kent,' pp. 507, 4to., Nicholls, London, 1793? Singular to say, there is no account of him in the new Dictionary of National Biography. Of his chief work I am told there are only fourteen copies extant, the rest having been burnt. C. S. F.
PORTRAIT MINIATURE-I have a very beautiful and perfect miniature by Oliver, of a gentleman, anno 1629, with fine lace collar, gold chain, strongly marked features, reddish brown hair, pointed close beard. On his right cheek is the scar of a great sword. cut. Is there any chance of identifying the person represented? J. C. J.
MAINWARING'S 'DISCOURSE OF PIRATES.'-I shall gladly learn if the MS. hereunder mentioned has been printed, and whether anything is known of the author or the circumstances which led to its composition. Folio MS. of twenty-four leaves (in contemporary handwriting) entitled
A Discourse written by Sr Henrie Mainwaringe knight and by him presented unto Kinge James An° D'ni 1618 wherein are discovered the beginninges and proceedinges of Pyrats, wth theire vsuall places of aboad at all tymes of the Yeare, together wth his advise and direction for surprisinge and suppressinge of them.
The pirates alluded to were Englishmen, many of whom hailed from the mouth of the Thames. But Mainwaring says that Ireland was the " 'nursery
and storehouse" of pirates. He gives many suggestions for destroying their traffic, and full particulars of their chief haunts, and deprecates clemency on the king's part when any were apprehended. H.
TITHE COMMUTATION AWARDS.-Can any reader of 'N. & Q.' tell me whether the evidences adduced during the course of commutation, as to prescription, exemption, &c., are still preserved anywhere; and whether they are consultable, on payment of a fee or otherwise? The documents would have, of course, only an historical interest, as having afforded the Commissioners the facts on which they based their definitive apportionment. W. C. W.
MEDIEVAL DIPTYCHS OF THE DECALOGUE.-IS
there any medieval diptych known to exist among the art treasures of Jewish synagogues or of Christian churches, upon which the Ten Commandments are inscribed, either in Hebrew or in the Greek or Latin version, to serve as a record of the two talbets given to Moses on Mount Sinai ?
"COMMENCED M.A."-What is the meaning of this phrase, which is often used in Cooper's wellknown Athenæ Cantabrigienses,' e. g., George M. commenced M.A. in 1542 ? " E. MASON.
BLOW FAMILY.-Would you kindly give me some information about the Blow family prior to the year 1694, at which time they came to Belfast to start the printing trade in that town? I believe they came from either Fife or Perthshire. There is a tradition that the name was changed from Johnstone to Blow after one of the old clan fights; if this is so, could you give me the date and place?
J. C. M. B.