Brett Volume 3: Chapter XXIV - Hastings 1840
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Chapter XXIV - Hastings 1840
Great fire in Breed's yard (pg. 232)
Rocklands cottage burnt down (pg. 232)
Rocklands, the abode of Canning, (with memoirs and statue of that statesman) (pg. 232)
Election of Planta; his residence at Fairlight (pg. 238)
Louis Napoleon at Hastings (pg. 232)
Political trial (Harman v. Planta) (pg. 233)
Harman re Morley (pg. 233)
Wingfield re Harman (pg. 233)
"Dover Chronicle” errant James Troup (libelous and scurrilous criticisms) (pg. 234)
Apology demanded and granted (pg. 235)
Municipal elections (pg. 235)
Shipbuilding and launching of vessels (pg. 236)
More, with heavy losses and fines (pg. 236)
The Condemned Hole as an ornamental enclosure (pg. 236)
The Commissioners and the Turnpike Trusts (pg. 236)
Burying ground at the Swan Lane(pg. 237)
Criticism on the Rev. F. Hazlewood, in connection with an organ fund (pg. 237)
Mr. Ross's life and death (pg. 232)
Mr. Bayley's bankruptcy
Reminiscences of the Town Halls of 1700 and 1824.
Fire in Breeds Yard - Fire at Rocklands Cannings Residence
As stated in chapter XXIII, some of the cargo saved from the wreck of the French schooner August was deposited in Breed's warehouse, and in connection therewith, was one of the greatest fires that had occurred for many years The goods so deposited consisted of brandy and wine, and for the purpose of getting some of this, it was believed that a Hastings map, who shall be nameless, tapped a cask, and by accident set it or some other portion of the stores, in a blaze. This occurred on the night of the 10th of March, and such was the illumination afforded by the conflagration that in a short time hundreds of people were attracted to the spot. I happened to be with some friends that night at a house near the East hill, and seeing the lurid glare which lighted up the air at about half an hour before midnight, I proceeded, with a rush of people, to ascertain the cause. On arriving by a short cut at the scene, I found the St. Clement's fire-engine preparing to play upon the burning mass, While, at imminent risk of their lives, four men (Page, Hermitage, Craig and Miller) had already rescued three or four casks of wine from the flames. The first engine was soon followed by another from the belfry of St. Clement’s church, and water being obtainable from the Bourne stream and other sources, no time was lost in getting both engines into action. Such, however, was the inflammable nature of the material which fed the fire that the latter defied all the efforts which were made to subdue it, and at about two hours after midnight the roof of the large building fell in with a terrific crash. An effort was then made to prevent the flames spreading to the adjoining buildings, and this being successful, the fire was finally subdued at about four o’clock. The building was what was called the London warehouse, and consisted of several floors. On the ground floor were the wine and brandy from the wreck - nine puncheons of the former and six casks of the latter - all of which were consumed except the two or three casks which were first removed as stated. On the upper floors were 41 quarters of wheat belonging to Mr. F. Barry, of Rye, all destroyed; 10 bales of bacon, very much damaged, belonging to Mr. Stubberfield, of St. Leonards; 10 sacks of flour, 5 of which were saved, belonging to Mr. Crisford, of Fairlight; twenty qrs. of oats, all destroyed; much canvas and rope; stores of cheese, butter, soap, raisins, brimstone and saltpetre, all consumed; and a plaquantity of furniture, books, jewelry, &c.. the property of the Misses Fitton, late of the Croft, and nearly all lost. The building was insured, but the contents were not.
Except the wholesale burnings and sackings by the French in the fourteenth century, it does not appear that Hastings had ever had a special notoriety for great fires; and when one reflects that even within the present century the greater portion of the house and other property of Hastings was constructed of wood — not a little of which is still existent — the wonder is that the fires were so few and so unimportant. The year 1840 was, however, somewhat exceptional for its alarms of fire although, fortunately for the owners of the property, the results bore no such serious aspect as that which was presented at Breeds’s Yard. On the 4th of September, a cottage on Mr. Milward’s estate called Rocklands caught fire, and before any assistance could be rendered from the town the cottage was burnt to the ground. It may be mentioned in passing that before "The Rocklands" — or more properly Rockland’s Farm — got into possession of the Milwards it was the property of a yeoman of the name of Cleaver. an ancestor of the writer. It may be further stated that the cottage at Rocklands, which was pleasantly situated and had a magnificent view of the sea, was a favourite retreat of the Right Hon. George Canning in the early part of the present century. This celebrated statesman having died in 1827 — the very year in which he became Premier, and just as he had reached the summit of his ambition. Had Royalty itself departed, the bulk of the Hastings people could not have displayed a more genuine feeling of sympathy. On the 16th of August, flags were hoisted half-mast high, and most of the shops had each a shutter up in token of respect to the departed statesman. He succeeded in forming a Liberal Administration during the preceding month of April, and was enthusiastically supported by a majority of the House of Commons, but in the House of Lords he had to struggle against a determined majority, among which were his former colleagues, Wellington Peel, Eldon, and others. This, it was said, had a perceptible effect on Canning’s sensitive temperament, and being attacked by an inflammatory disease he quickly succumbed to the malady, and died on the 8th of August, at the age of 58 years.
In 1832, on the 2nd of May, a colossal bronze statue of the statesman was erected in Palace Yard, Westminster, which (the style of dress excepted) is said to be an excellent likeness. It is placed on a granite pedestal bearing the name as here represented.
It was in the same month that Canning assumed the reins of Government that Mr. Joseph Planta — an opponent of the Canning Administration — took the seat of Mr. Lushington as a Representative of Hastings.
He arrived in company with Mr. Orme, jun., at the Swan Hotel on the 19th of April, and after taking some refreshment with the Mayor (F. North, Esq.), and other members of the Corporation, proceeded with them to the Town Hall, where he was at once nominated an elected. J. G. Shorter was his proposer and Walter Crouch was his seconder. Mr. Planta on that occasion acknowledged his obligations to the Jurats and Freemen in a short speech, saying how much he was attached to our glorious Constitution, and explaining how he had been employed in the Public Service since he was 16 years of age. He had been, he said, an occasional resident at Fairlight Place for six years past.
And now, as Fairlight Place is a little beyond the Rocklands, which was the occasional residence of Canning, and which has led me to this digression, I will go forward again to the year 1840, and to the subject of fires, on which I was dilating. It is somewhat coincidental that the next alarm of fire was at the residence of one of our Parliamentary Representatives for that year. Mr. and Mrs. Hollond arrived at their residence, Allegria, St. Leonards, on the 10th of August, and at two o’clock on the 22nd of October, following, when Mr. Hollond was returning from a party, to his amazement, he discovered the interior of his house on fire. An alarm was given, the policemen sprang their rattles, people awoke from their slumbers, and the engines were got out; but before they were put into action, the servants and others, with the abundance of water on the premises, succeeded in quenching the flames ere they had got a fierce hold of the building. The cause was afterwards ascertained to be a too close proximity of over heated flues to the drawing-room.
The next case of fire was of a personal nature, and is worthy of being recorded as showing how a probable fatal result was averted by judicious action prompted by what is called presence of mind. On the 18th of December, Mr. Smith, landlord of the King’s Head, was alarmed while sitting at tea by the screams of a servant, who he saw was running out of doors enveloped in flames. He immediately threw her down and covered her over with the large doormat, which had the effect of smothering the flames. Her clothes had ignited while taking off a pot of boiling fat which ran over and caused a great blaze. The poor girl recovered in a short time without any serious injury, although but for the promptitude of her master she would probably have been burnt to death.
As a kindred topic to the loyalty to the British throne as it manifested itself in Hastings daring the year 1840, when the Queen was married, it may be mentioned that he who was, destined to be the head of French Imperialism resided during a portion of that same year in a humble dwelling at Hastings. Prince Louis. Napoleon, (afterwards Napoleon III.) under the assumed name of Col. Elliott, occupied Pelham Cottage from the 18th to the 31st of March. This cottage was the property of Mr. Thomas Ross (father of Alderman Ross), and was more familiarly known as "Ross’s Cottage," he having built the same, while holding the position of master-gunner, on a site leased from the Ordnance Board, between Government House and Pelham place. At the time Prince Louis was sojourning as an exile in Mr. Ross’s house, his temporary domicile was confronted by Mr. Barry's "Old Warm Baths," which only made way for improvements thirteen years later, and whose wheel-pump, with its daily "clackety-clack" might have been regarded by the "Man of Destiny" as symbolical of that turn of the wheel which was to transform a Col. Elliott into an Emperor of the French. It was the cruel irony or the curious coincidence of events which, many years later, brought the Empress and her son as exiles back to the spot where the husband and father had been an exile previous to his advancement to the gorgeous sceptre of an empire. True, it was not the identical house, but it was at the Marine Hotel, separated only by a partition wall from Mr. Ross’s house, now known as Pelham Cottage.
I have said that the cottage in question was built by the father of Alderman Ross, and I may also say, in passing, that the latter gentleman commenced his public life at the period of which I am writing. It was on the 17th of August, 1840, that Mr. Thos. Ross was elected a Town Councillor of Hastings in the room of Mr. Bayley, and after that time Mr, Ross has had the distinguished honour of being Mayor five times for the chief of the so-called Five Ports, whose claims and charters; both as an official and an archaeologist, he persistently upheld. Mr. Ross was an energetic Liberal; and in juxtaposition with his election may be put the election of Mr. Alderman Smith, as a Conservative Mayor, against the Liberal candidate, Mr. F. North; the votes being respectively 12 and 6. Another item of political significance is that Howard Elphinstone, who succeeded to the baronetage of his father, six years later, and who represented Hastings from 1835 to 1837, and Lewes from 1841 to 1847, was called to the Bar in Lincoln’s Inn, some time in the month of May, 1840.
And now, having drifted once more into politics, it may be opportune to bring some other characters upon the political chess-board. There was probably no event of the year which caused greater excitement than the trial at the Sussex Spring Assizes of Harman versus Planta. This took place at Lewes on the 18th of March, 1840, and was very fully reported at the time in most of the county journals. To give even a comprehensive resumé of this trial would occupy a great deal of space, but I will endeavour to give as much perspicuity as possible in the following summarized account.
Mr. Serjeant Shee and Mr. James were for the plaintiff, and Mr. Serjeant Channell, Mr. Petersdorff, and Mr. Peacock for the defendant.
In opening the case, Mr. Serjt. Shee stated that the plaintiff was a publican at Hastings[Notes 1], and the defendant was a gentleman of fortune, a Privy-Councillor, and a Member of Parliament, residing at Fairlight place. The action was to recover £24 6s. 6d. laid out during an election. Mr. Planta represented Hastings before the passing of the Reform Bill, and having opposed that measure, as a Tory, he failed to obtain a renewal of his constituents' confidence when he presented himself to them in 1832; but at the approach of the General Election of 1837, Mr. Planta,who had still a large party in the borough devoted to their King and Church, felt a renewed anxiety to represent Hastings.
During the previous contest, Mr. Harman — who it would be proved was well versed in electioneering tactics — took as decided a part in Reform principles as Mr. Planta did in opposing them, Mr. Planta knew that he had but little chance of obtaining the object of his ambition unless Harman could be induced to think better of Conservative principles than he had previously done. Accordingly, before Mr. Planta ventured to offer himself again, measures (which he Serjt. Shee could not lay before the jury) had been taken to ascertain upon what conditions the assistance of Mr. Harman could be obtained. On the 16th of February, 1837, Mr. Planta arrived in Hastings and took up his quarters at the Marine Hotel, Mr. Harman at the time being a resident of St. Leonards. Planta’s first object was to seek for Harman, and before daylight on the next morning, Mr. Amoore was on his way to St. Leonards to arrange an interview between Harman and Planta. The latter received the former with open arms. He (Serjt. Shee) would not say that the one embraced the other, but no visit had ever given Mr. Planta so great a pleasure. Before entering into any arrangement, Harman told Planta that he could only support him on the promise that he would make no attempt to alter the provisions of the Reform Bill. So desirous was Planta of conciliating his, new-found friend Harman that "The Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill" was at once admitted into Planta’s Conservative politics. There was also to be no parson on Mr. Planta’s committee; and the jury would therefore judge of the value set upon Harman’s assistance when they were told that the Church was also to be thrown overboard.
As to the Reform Bill, said the Rt. Hon. candidate, it has been sanctioned by the King and the country, and I shall do nothing to disturb it; and, then, as to other points, I know I am in good hands, and you will do with me what you like. Harman then received instructions to commence preliminaries for the approaching election, and when he (Serjt. Shee) told the jury that this action was brought for the sum of £24 6s, 6d. — not as remuneration, but for moneys actually paid out of pocket in consequence of that retainer, they would say it was the smallest bill ever sent into either a successful or unsuccessful candidate. Day and night, from Feb. to July, 1837, Harman was constantly engaged in furthering Mr. Planta’s object. Of the value of Harman’s assistance they would be able to judge from the correspondence, some of which he (Serjt. Shee) would submit for their edification and amazement.
Serjt. Shee then read the following letter: —
Dear Mr. Harman,—Forgive this intrusion, and particularly on this day. Can you send by bearer two, or one poll-book? Yours very faithfully,— J. Planta,
Sunday, Feb. 19, 1837.”
Then said the advocate - If Planta could be found writing to Harman in those familiar terms, could there be any doubt that the books had been bought for Planta? The first item in the account was for 45 register books. It might not be possible to prove Planta’s authority for the purchase of every one of these, but was it decent for the successful candidate of a respectable borough to put his agent to the proof of a paltry item of £5 10s? He (Serjt. Shee) would show the increasing intimacy between the Liberal elector and the high Tory candidate by reading another letter. -
Edlin’s Hotel Tuesday evening. —
Dear Mr, Harman,
—Pray just consider this case which has occurred to me since I saw you. Suppose that Mr. Elphinstone, instead of a general dissolution, which he announced to us, means an individual acceptance of the Chiltern Hundreds, and a single vacancy, How shall we stand then, and where will our numerous pink votes be? And if we lose Pg.233 them have we others to supply their place? I should be glad if you will turn this over in your mind, and let me know what you, think of it,— Yours gratefully,
Lawsuit, Harman v Planta (much excitement) "Stick to Party"
Could there (argued the Serjt.) be anything more friendly? Could there be a more perfect identification of interests between the Radical and the Tory The letter did not say What am I to do, but what are we to do? They must infer from letters written in this tone that the management of Planta’s election had.been entrusted to Harman. The next letter was
"4 Mount street, London, April 8. 1887
Dear Mr, Harman,
- If you will send our friend, Felix Jarratt early some morning to Mr Manser, at Winchelsea, he will see him and talk to him fully on affairs. I wish you would send me up at any time the list of the committee I gave you after you have taken a copy of it, There is no news here; things are in STATU QUO.— Yours thankfully, Joseph Planta"
It was for the expense of preparing the lists (resumed the advocate) that Harman sought to recover £2 14s; a reasonable sum enough, he having five clerks doing nothing else for three days. Next for letter No, 3. -
"April 25, 1837.
—Dear Mr. _Harman,—
I feel much obliged to you for your two letters about Lewes and the success of Mr, Fitzroy, which I took down to our friends at Pall Mall, The termination of that contest will be a precedent for us, though I trust we shall have longer numbers, I am glad you saw so much of Mr, Fitzroy, Mr. Darby, and the committee; and especially as my name served you in good stead— Yours gratefully, Joseph Planta"
Now (said Sérjt. Shee), how could Mr, Planta’s letter stand Harman in good stead if Planta had not authorised him to use it; and what had the Right Hon. Privy Councillor to do with the humble tailor of Hastings except to further his own election! The letter continued: —
Our good friend Amoore seems to have some idea of a single-banded contest, after all, through Mr Elphinstone being invited to Liverpool I do not see how this invitation can produce a vacancy now, for there is really no present vacancy, and all that Mr. E.’s Friends can do is to invite him at a general election. However, I shall be fully on the alert, and I think Mr, E. shall not steal a march upon us; in this matter. . . . We are sure to return to Fairlight, please God. on Saturday next, and shall hope soon afterwards to see you.— Yours faithfully, Joseph Planta."
Here is another letter:—
"Fairlight Place, May 2, 1837.
—Dear Mr. Harman,—
We got down here last night, as Roper will have told you, and I am obliged to you for postponing our committee until tomorrow evening for that gives me time to look over my papers, and put things a little to rights before I go into Hastings. Let me ask it as a favour that you attend the committee, in order that I may find you altogether as I left you, and that we may carry on our good work in the same spirit in which we began it. Is Col. Gant now at St. Leonards? I hope he is, and that he will attend to-morrow evening, for who better for the chair in the absence of our excellent friend, Mr. Graeme? In the earnest hope of shaking hands with you to-morrow evening.— I am, dear Mr. Harman, yours gratefully,
J. Planta "
He (the learned Serjt.) thought it was_a reasonable expectation for Planta’s fidelity and gratitude to have lasted beyond the period of his successful return for Hastings. The jury had already been told that down to the day of such election, Mr. Harman had the sole management of Mr. Planta’s cause, no professional agent having been employed. Mr. Harman had therefore saved Mr. Planta much expense, It was not till almost the day before the election that Mr. Fuller appeared, and then he set all the committee by the ears. Harman and others were so disgusted that for a time they withdrew. It was now Harman’s bounden duty to bring this action, to teach Mr Planta that parsimony was not always economy. - Serjt. Shee then examined his witnesses, and elicited the following statements:—
William Amoore was out of business, but lived in Hastings, he believed the Conservative party was broken up. [Laughter]. He voted for Planta; recollected him coming to Hastings on Feb. 17th; saw him next morning. Harman came into the room; no others were present; the committee was named, and Harman put the names down [Mr. Platt, “Was that charged for?”] They were together for two hours; heard no stipulation about Reform Bill; he himself proposed to have no clergymen on committee. The canvass commenced on Feb. 18, and continued till July. North and Elphinstone were then Members; North was not declared to be a Conservative; he was rather a Whig; The Pinks were supporters of Elphinstone. Planta’s committee were anxious to get Pink votes as well as others. Met once a week on an average, and had no paid secretary. Harman brought some canvassing books to the Hastings Arms, but used them pretty much for himself. He (Amoore) was at the meeting in the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms; the writ had been issued; Planta was there; plenty of punch on the table, and those gentlemen who did not like it had what they chose instead. It was an agreement at the outset that Planta was to be put to no expense for public-house drinking, and at every meeting he (Amoore) attended every man paid for what he drank. He himself supplied a bowl of punch. There might have been 100 persons present. He had seen Harman canvassing, but he knew nothing of his going either to Pevensey or to Lewes. At the Swan meeting Harman was present, when it was agreed that as far as public-house treating went Planta was to be put to no expense. He (Amoore) had not sent in a bill for his bowl of punch ; never dreamt of such a thing; nor had he sent in any account for canvassing. He gave all the time he could, and Harman did no more than any other committeeman. Witness had heard that Harman went to Lewes, but had not heard that he walked back and dined on eggs. Harman was a tailor then, but now he was a publican. Did not know he was called "Jim Crow Harman." There was a jollification in Planta’s house and grounds after the election. Witness was there did not remember any song about "Bobby Peel" and "Jump Jim Crow."
John Mac-Vicar, in his examination, spoke to the following effect: - In 1837 I worked for Harman, at Hastings, and on Feb. 18th, after a conversation between Amoore and my employer. I was sent to Mr. Sutherland Graeme, chairman of Planta’s committee. Next day I and others’ (Harman, schoolmaster Banks, and carpenter Edwards) were engaged in making out lists for the election. We worked all Saturday, part of Sunday and Monday, and at nights. Harman supplied us with grog and food, the expense of which would be covered by £2 or £3. I fetched one or two books from Southall’s by Harman's order. On the day of election there was a polling place at St. Leonards, where I was engaged all that day.
Frederick Waters.—I am a gunsmith, and recollect Harman coming to me on a Sunday, after church, and. setting me to work on some books. There were 3 or 4 registers, some small ledgers and some stationery. I did most of my work at home.
I was only at Harman’s six hours on the Sunday, during which I had two glasses of rum-and-water. Mr. Fuller paid me £5 for my services after the election. I canvassed, made out books, and called the committee together. I had promised to vote for Planta. I considered the management of the election lay between Harman and Wingfield. I went to the Sussex Tap with Planta’s footman, who delivered a message to Harman. The latter ordered some punch, and I saw it drunk by Planta’s voters. That was long before the election. There was a disagreement between Harman and the committee about March, and then he absented himself.
Edward Pierce being sworn, said - I am a book-keeper; remember being engaged by Harman to make out lists from the printed registers, which occupied me 1 ½ days and a night. If Planta had engaged me I should have charged 40s., but as it was Harman I took a pair of trousers, worth about 15s. The breeches were long enough, but as to pattern, they were like a highlander’s petticoats.
Mrs. Jemima French, landlady of Sussex Tap, recollected a meeting of Planta’s voters at her house in May, when Harman sat where a chairman ought to sit, spoke a great deal, paid 20s. for punch, and had his health drunk. Mr, Shepherd also paid £1 for punch. They nearly all talked at the same time, but they understood one another.
Joseph Binns Hart, professor of music, was present with about fifty others when Mr. Planta first came down, and on the next Monday morning saw Harman give Roper £1 to purchase registers with at the Town Clerk’s office. He brought nine, and we then went out canvassing. The election has cost Mr. Planta money, but it was agreed from the first that it should cost him nothing. I was present at the St. Leonards meeting, where there were about 200 persons. I spent £3 of my own money on punch, besides what was given me by other committeemen. Mr. Fuller paid for some ribbons ordered by the committee. The previous election cost Planta a large sum of money, and it was distinctly agreed, by Harman as well as the rest, that he should be put to no expense this time. Whenever I was with him he always said: "Mind, every man pays for his own."
I know of no expense that Harman was put to beyond what other committeemen had to bear. I found my own books for my own district, and others did the same. I charged Mr. Planta nothing, and I know of no other committeeman who did, except Mr. Harman. He has a large family, but I never heard he has 16 children. I do a great deal more fiddling than Harman does stitching. he does no work himself, but makes his men do it.
Chas. H. Southall was a librarian and stationer at St. Leonards, and found an entry of 8s. in his book against Harman, which amount had been paid, but by whom he did not knew.
Mr. Platt then addressed the jury for the defence. He was astonished, he said, at the magniloquent way in which the learned Serjeant eulogized the ancient politics of his client, and which that client, in February, 1837, put aside for the connection of a party more likely to succeed on that occasion than his own. He need not tell the jury how many people who were loud on the subject of politics would yet sacrifice a little consistency to be on the winning side; and he dared to say such was the case with Mr. Harman, the tailor, who, anticipating the return of a Conservative for Hastings, at once joined that party, although he had before opposed it. Perhaps it was his tailoring trade that qualified him for a turncoat. Anyhow, he changed his former habits, not to join the Whig, who was somewhat allied to the Radical, but to go over at once to the Tory. His learned friend told them that all this took place at a meeting where "the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill" was avowed by Mr. Planta to be his modified creed; but Mr. Amoore, as a witness, had heard not a word of this avowal. He further said that without any invitation from Mr. Planta or himself, in walked Mr. Harman where they were sitting, and agreed to coalesce with his former opponents. It was notorious that on a previous occasion Planta had been put to an unwarrantable cost, and as an inducement for him to again declare himself a candidate, it was decided that he should not be put to a shilling expense before the day of nomination. It was when Mr. Hart explained this that the learned Serjt. began to talk about fiddling to distract the attention of the jury. Certainly the tailor had fiddled, and to some purpose, if it were true that he had 16 children. [Laughter]. Referring to Harman’s claim, it was found that every item was long before the nomination day. The first item was a charge for 45 registers. Mr. Amoore thought there were 6 or 7, another witness saw only 3; but his learned friend said Roper was sent for 9, and did not get so many, Why was not Roper called to prove the number? Was it feared that Roper would bring a rope to hang the plaintiff? There was not a tittle of evidence that plaintiff had purchased 45 registers for Planta; no evidence, in fact, of his having had more than three. The next charge was £8 15s. for ledgers and stationery, but the first three items in that bill were had before Mr. Planta had even seen Mr. Harman, Then came "remuneration to clerks, £2," but that charge, on being sifted, ended in the party paid by Harman taking it out in 16s. worth of breeches. The next item was £1 for a journey to canvass electors at Pevensey, but where was the proof that he ever went to Pevensey? Then came a charge of £2 15s. for a journey to Lewes; upon what evidence did his friend rely to prove that journey? [Had Serjt. Shee known the fact that the writer of this history was one of the bandsmen at the Lewes election, he, the said bandsman, might have been asked to say something to that question] or if he did undertake the journey, what proof there that it as undertaken at the desire of Mr. Planta? Did not the jury think that Harman came to Lewes to take his chance in the way of eating and drinking at such a time of revelry? In a letter, Mr. Planta requested Mr. Harman, if he saw Mr, Amoore to be so good as to tell him go-and-so; but if Harman were the paid agent of Planta, would not the latter have told him to do it? One did not usually request a servant to obey one’s wishes as a favour. Then, again, what evidence was there that Harman had had Planta’s authority for incurring aa expense of £1 15s. for treating electors at the Sussex Tap? The landlady proved that Mr. Shepherd, as well as Mr. Harman, paid for some bowls of Punch, and he was just as much an agent as Harman was. Not was there any evidence that Planta had authorised Harman to spend 25 15s. on refreshments at the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms, or that be had even incurred such an expense. Mr. Hart proved that everything was paid by members of the committee out of their own pockets. It was for the jury to say whether, upon the evidence before them, they could come to the conclusion that the money now sought to be recovered by Mr. Harman was either wholly or in part paid by the authority of Mr. Planta, for unless they came to that conclusion it was impossible to find a verdict for the plaintiff.
In summing up the case the learned Judge said the jury would first satisfy themselves that there was authority from defendant to plaintiff to spend money on his account, and to do this they must take into account the general custom on such occasions. Supposing the case to be as stated by Mr. Hart there certainly was no authority given to plaintiff to spend money; but Mr. Amoore'’s evidence did not go so far. It was for the jury therefore to decide whether the limitation of expenditure applied only to treating, Plaintiff certainly seemed to have exerted himself more than anyone else; his circumstances were also perhaps not so good as those of many other committee-men, and consequently be could not afford to spend so much,
After a short consultation the jury found a verdict for plaintiff, but setting the damages at £15 instead of £24 68. 6d.
Thus ended the trial between the Rt. Hon. Joseph Planta and his pseudo-agent, who had once been his political opponent, and was now again his bitter antagonist. It was a trial that had long been a topic for political quidnuncs, and one, as may be supposed, upon which speculation was rife as to its results. It was not the only trial that Mr Harman's defection from the Liberal ranks had caused him to be engaged in. In chapter XX, time 1888, I have described his assault upon Mr. Morley, and the trial which ensued, the latter resulting in an apology and the payment of £15. In the same chapter is the copy of a long letter by Mr. George Wingfield, in answer to one by Mr. Harman, re. Mr. Planta’s expenses. Those who have not already read the account of the election and the great Conservative banquet preceding it, together with Mr. Sutherland Grame’s address, and the general political situation in 1837, will find them in chapter XVIII.
Not only did the trial of Harman versus, Planta create at the time a fruitful topic for gossip among political coteries, but, as may be imagined, it also led to not a little of newspaper correspondence. The long letter of Mr. Wingfield’s, already inserted as an extract from the Brighton Guardian, is a sufficient exposure of the so-called "Jim Crow" tactics of Mr. Harman, whilst, the following letter, quoted from the Dover Chronicle, will convey to the reader the views entertained on the other sides by a Liberal Elector. "Permit me," remarks the writer in his opening sentence— :
"Permit me, through the medium of your valuable columns to address a few words to the Liberal Electors of the Borough of Hastings. The Right Honourable Joseph Planta in one of his letters to dear Mr. Harman, puts a question to his dear hand-shaking friend, which now that we have got hold of it, lets a very pretty little cat out of the bag. Putting a certain case, he says, "How shall we stand then, and where will our numerous Pink Voters be? Here we have a secret known to our Sam Slicks long ago;— here we have a key to the Tory success in Hastings, -to what placed Sir Joseph Surface in the seat of Mr. North, a far better and more honest man in political and public life, and, at the least, no humbug in private life. "Where will our numerous Pink voters be?" Sir, it is a melancholy fact that, while in Hastings the Tories hold together, and you will find but few instances in the poll books of a Tory giving his second vote to the Liberal candidate.)[Notes 2]there are voters under the Pink garb who give one vote to the party to whose political principles they profess to attach themselves, while they keep the other to trade with; and that other is given to the Tory, to please customers on that side of the question. And now we learn the ungrateful truth that such cases are numerous, "our numerous Pink voters." In apology for this, I know I shall be told of Tory intimidation and coercion, and of the absence yet of that without which the Franchise to the poor man is worse than a dead letter - the protection of the Ballot. There is too much truth in this to be found in many parts of the country: for instance, it is but too true in Lewis: but I do not think we have arrived at that yet in Hastings, I think that they who would raise that plea here, will cry out rather before they are hurt, Perhaps it’s no use crying out after; but Englishmen should show a little pluck before they give in. The men of Lewes can give them instances of the ruin of whole families before they would succumb to the hated faction, But I am travelling thirty miles from home, ‘"Where will our numerous Pink voters be?" Never again, I sincerely hope, coquetting with the Tories, Mr. Planta’s doom is sealed after the present Parliament; but the Liberals must never lose sight of the fact, that the Tories, however desperate their chance, will be fully prepared with a candidate. On the Pg.234 other hand, I think I can venture to say, with something like certainty, that if the united Liberals choose to embrace this the best opportunity that ever offered itself to them, or that ever will, of returning a second Liberal at the next election, they will not have to look long in vain for "a good man and true." But to prevent again the return of a Tory, and to insure success to the Liberal party, a very different system from the old must be pursued... Neither candidate nor voters must have anything to do with Tories, They must take a lesson from their opponents, and never dream of giving a divided support to their own party, or any support at all to the Tory candidate; knowing as they do that Tory voters never think of giving any in return, Above all, they, must never have for a candidate one of those kind of Radicals who so far follow ministerial tactics, as, instead of standing by their own party, and trusting to them alone, fancy Tory Attorneys and such like are ever to be conciliated or severed from their principles or moderated in their Toryism by small family ties, whether of business or kind. To make assurance doubly sure, however, I would give the Liberals one other piece of advice ; and very glad should I be if they would follow. it, Their present Association I fear, if I speak the truth, is somewhat of a milk-and-water one. Why do not some of the bolder spirits of the party (and I know such there are to be found,) form themselves into a Bundle of Sticks Club, after the fashion of the one at Lewes? That began with some half a dozen of the poorer voters, and has grown to a considerable number, all of the same class, They will not touch the unclean beast, Toryism; and they havé been able to carry the elections and preserve the Liberal seat against immense Tory and Aristocratic influence. And, although now beaten for a time, (through others’ misconduct) they will yet be the means of redeeming them. They are then, indeed worthy of all imitation: and not the least among the many advantages their position gives them, is, that they are their own masters; the return is in their own hands; and they are independent of the caprices, wills, and pleasures, of the candidates. Electors of Hastings, follow the example of this Club, and you will crush Toryism.— AN ELECTOR.”
Influence of moderate politicians
If I may be allowed to comment on this letter, I shall say, without bias to either party, that the writer of it is a prototype of many later politicians who, after Tory successes at elections, have ascribed the defeat of Liberals to the influence of "shop," forgetting the fact that ever since the year 1835 more money has been spent in the borough by Liberal candidates than by Conservatives, much as may have been the latter on some few occasions. They seem to have entirely ignored the influence of the moderate men on both sides, as well as the Imperial questions for the time being (apart from all local considerations), which would cause the non-partizan_electors — the Moderate-Liberals and the Liberal-Conservatives — to so record their votes as to turn the scale, one way or the other, in a manner most congenial to. their own moderate and well-digested views. These will be. called "crotchet-mongers," "turn-coats," "political traders" and other hard names, by the extreme men of both parties, who fail to see that a majority of such men act as much upon a really pure principle as,if not more so than, their accusers; who, having always allied themselves to party, are obligingly blind to the defects which are occasionally to be) found in every party. It would be well if Tories and Radicals would look the fact in the face that, although there may be still a small number of electors who would sell their birthright for a mess of pottage, there is a larger number of independent and thoughtful men — howsoever poor in worldly requirements — who are proof against the wiles and wishes of mere party; and to these should be ascribed the power to turn the scale of an election on one side or the other. The determination of the Moderates to do what they conceive to be right has never yet, in my rather long experience of local politics, received that recognition to which I hold it to be honourably entitled; and, until this is done, the Ultras of both parties will continue to ascribe their unexpected defeats to the wrong, or to any number of wrong causes. "Mr. Planta’s doom is sealed after the present Parliament," says the writer of the foregoing letter, and yet it will be found that he was again triumphantly returned to the next Parliament, four years later. In 1847 another Tory took his place, followed by the return of two Tories in 1852. Five years later, one of these had to give way, and, the borough was then represented by one of each side.
Mr. Robertson, the Tory candidate, was again returned in 1855 and 1866; but from 1868 to 1874 the Moderate Libera!s, having no sufficient cause to separate themselves from the extreme section, and seeing that the Conservatives had no candidate to introduce of sufficiently moderate views and of sufficient preposessions, threw in their lot to return two Liberals until 1880, when, the political aspects and prospects had changed, and a Moderate Conservative was returned with the most moderate of the two Liberals.
In the report of the political trial I omitted to state that it was witnessed by a densely crowded court from beginning to end, and that before the case was called, the plaintiff's solicitor offered to leave the matter in the hands of the defendant's solicitor for an amicable arrangement. The latter, however, insisted upon the case being gone through, and after the verdict was given, expressed his regret that it was not for the full amount, as he would then have moved for a new trial.
Leaving for awhile the further consideration of political strife in its direct aspect, it occurs to me to reproduce its oblique bearings as beheld in the glimpses of newspaper rivalries. The resuscitation of the Cinque Ports Chronicle, in 1840, under a different proprietary, as well as with different political views called forth the following specimen of literary amenities in the Dover Chronicle, under the heading of Hastings and St. Leonards:—
The ‘beautiful Goat', we are concerned to state, since our last has been lying in a most precarious state, no hope being entertained of the pretty little chuck’s ultimate recovery. In addition to the anxious attention of Dr, Troup and Surgeon Moor, it has been thought advisable to obtain the assistance of Professor Diplock; but, alas! all, it is feared, will be useless, We caught a sight of its emaciated offspring on Wednesday; and really, poor thing! it was heart-breaking to look upon it. It had been hinted to us that if we were to destroy it at once, it would be a happy release; but we must be permitted, in this case at all events, to have our own way, All men have their hobbies and the Goat is ours; and we would really like to nourish the thing for some time to come. But it is a question with us whether we should not annihilate the doctors. Some folk say that we should do so at once, and of a heap; but we think it better to do the work by degrees, and consequently we shall take Surgeon Moor first."
In what manner Mr. Moor— "Our old friend Johnny Moor," as he was generally spoken of in my hearing — was so terribly castigated by the Dover Chronicle I have no means of showing, but that an attempt was made to demolish him was evident from what appeared in the same journal, dated Aug. 1st, 1840, the extract above being taken from the number dated July 18th. This second "castigation" professes to come "From our Hastings Reporter," and is as follows:— .
We have before said, and taken great pains to prove, that all Tories are respectable: ergo, Mr. Moor, 'our respectable agent' that is the respectable agent of the respectable James Troup Esq , of Cheapside Park; and, as our respectable friend Mr. Joseph Planta would say, without such respectable political characters as Mr. Moor, 'where would our pink voters be?' Ah! where? That’s the rub; for,as Mr Planta observed, 'if they lost them' — that is the black-A-Moors sailing under false colours — 'had they others to supply their places?' No! To the disgrace of that class of voters, it was by their votes only that Mr. Planta was placed at the head of the poll. So much for the respectability of Mr. Moor. That individual evidently writhes under the castigation we inflicted on him in our last.
We suspect that the Hastings supporters of the Dover Chronicle writhed quite as much under the defeat which they sustained at the election referred to, as did Mr. Moor under the castigation about which the Liberal journal is thus exultant. It was not so much because the Liberals had changed their politics as because they were ashamed of the treatment which the Conservative candidate received on the occasion of a previous contest. The more moderate men of the Liberal party knew Mr. Planta to be a perfect gentleman in his demeanour and social relations, and they conceived the idea that some compensation should be made to him in 1837 for the brutal usage to which he was subjected in 1835. There was also, doubtless, some amount of reaction setting in after the furore of excitement consequent upon the first three or four years’ enjoyment of the franchise as conferred by the Reform Bill. At any rate there was a softening down of former asperities among the calmer spirits of the Liberal party towards a political rival, as well as a disposition to credit him with having acted conscientiously, though mistakingly, in the past, and a similar disposition to trust him for the future. Reason impels one to the conclusion that to raise Mr. Planta’s voters from 88 to 403, during an interval of unly two years, 2 greater force was required than that which the Dover Chronicle would have its readers believe was the case; namely, the defection from the Radical ranks of a few "Jim Crows" and "black-a-Moors," for their own private benefit.
The force in question was, doubtless, the one I have suggested, and which in other words I explained when describing the election of 1857. I repeat here my desire to hold the balance fairly between political parties, but I cannot put away the fact—as attested by personal recollections, and by contemporaneous journals of the period, copies of which are before me — that for indiscreet assertions and violent diatribes the Tory papers were no match for their opponents. The foregoing quotation from the Dover Chronicle is perhaps one of the mildest specimens of its censorious ebullitions ; as it there only deals with those persons who had so far swerved from their allegiance to the Liberal cause as to become agents for the sale of a Tory paper. But in the same column is a more highly flavoured exordium, which I will also quote as an example of the style in which it was sought to flagellate a real Tory, and one, moreover, who had dared to become a rival journalist. It is headed James Troup, Esq. (From our Hastings reporter),” and is as follows :—
Come forth, then, James Troup; you have for a long season, warred against the world 'under the rose?' it shall be our diligent care, however, that you shall in future appear before the public in propria persons. Yes, however revolting the sight may be, you must be exhibited to your fellow men in your natural character; and however deformed, you must be seen hereafter in nature’s garb. No man upon earth, James Troup, can possibly stand forth as a public man in a more defenceless state than you;— no man upon earth, James Troup, is so little deserving the sympathy of mankind generally, as yourself and, fortunately for all, your race is nearly run. But it happens, unluckily for you, that the mind which dictates to the hand that writes this, fears thee not. He has wintered, he has summered thee; he has fairly placed you in the balance, and has to a fraction, proved your value. Nor will he keep secrets connected with you, that it concerns the world to know; and the result will decide, James Troup, whether you are a useful member to society, or on the other hand, whether you have not polluted every public matter you have touched. He gives you credit for possessing one qualification, James Troup, — that is, you are indefatigable. But in what? In creating mischief, and sowing the seed of discord. The mind and disposition of the man is depicted in his countenance; black suspicion sits mantled upon that lowering brow, and bitter malice is seen lurking in those small but piercing eyes. But it shall be our duty to make you. James Troup, harmless for the future. Well, then, in your attacks upon us, doubtless you consider yourself justified, as usual. You are always in the right — never in the wrong. Oh, no! certainly not - that is, in your own opinion; — but, unhappily for you, you stand in an isolated position ; for it is morally impossible to convince any one sensible being that what James Troup does is right. You stand in the midst of the human race as a singular instance of what is the result of a life devoted to the practice of duplicity. As we said before, you are at war with the world. Your every action every word that escapes your lips, is looked at, carefully conned o'er. What a hapless state this is to be in, James Troup; the more so to a man like yourself, possessing the means to do good, if you had but the inclination. Reflect upon what you are, and what you might have been, even in Hastings. Have you done any one thing to command the respect of your neighbours whether rich or poor? Or has not your whole career been marked by a reckless indifference to the interests of the public, and for your own aggrandisement?, This, James Troup, is the cause why you find yourself alone. The head and point of our offending you, and of your raising from its ashes a defunct Tory paper—a thing that had abused you much, but not more than you deserved, (that was impossible) — was because we shrunk from being the tool of such a man, We made many sacrifices; and how did you reward us? How? Why by imposing on us a wilful a daring misrepresentation. From your own lips you denounced the Directors of the Brighton Railroad and the Engineer thereof, as placing before the Shareholders a false report in reference to the opening of the Shoreham line. when, it was eventually proved that the Directors, as well as the Engineers, fulfilled to the very letter their pledge to the public. This, then, was the principal cause amongst others, that induced us to forego your very disintered favours. But remember, Sir, you have now plunged into a crusade that will cause you no little anxiety; and to the verge of that 'bourne from which no traveller returns,' will we watch your every step. We have nothing to fear from you; and being sufficiently acquainted with your every move, it will be as well our duty as it is our inclination, to protect all from falling into the same error as that we have so recently extricated ourselves from. It is no small gratification to us to know, that in dissolving the connection that existed between us and James Troup, we have gained many estimable friends, caused the return of the friendship and society of many who had withdrawn their confidence in consequence of that connection, while that part of the British Press, which we have the honour and the happiness to be connected with, has, beyond. all precedent, placed itself, by its own merits only, upon a pre-eminence above all others. So much for you this week. James Troup. Whether this will find you behind the counter at the General Repository in Tooley Street, we know not; but wherever you fall in with it, it will add much to your comfort, no doubt.
I have an idea that the above effusion is slightly more candid than courteous, and after a few more extracts have been given, it is probable that the reader will feel no surprise that an apology was demanded and ultimately acceded to.
The Dover Chronicle's castigation of Mr. Troup, as the new proprietor of the Cinque Ports Chronicle was of such an abusive character as is not often equalled in the annals of journalism. I now make an extract from the last-named paper, which being written in a, facetious strain, rather than one of malice, redounds, for the nonce, to the greater credit of the Tory print. The The[Notes 3] extract in question, whose ironical drift will be seen at a glance; is as follows :-
TO THE WORTHY AND LIBERAL ELECTORS OF HASTINGS AND ST. LEONARDS.
"Gentlemen,— With, the sincerest gratification and delight I address you, the worthy and liberal electors of the ancient borough of Hastings.
"Gentlemen,— I am an opponent of all tread-mill and other coercion, and an unflinching enemy to taxation of all kinds, I will vote that all public servants, including royalty, instead of being paid for performing their respective duties, shall pay the State for holding their several offices. In addition to these general principles. I am prepared to introduce the following bills into Parliament as soon as your kind suffrages have conferred upon me the distinguished honour of becoming your representative in the councils of the nation :—
"1st. A bill enacting that it may and shall be lawful for all servants, whether male or female, to rise from their beds at what time they please, provided it be not after noon; that after having served up breakfast, dinner, or tea, in the dining or drawing room, to sit down and enjoy. themselves mem con
"2dly. A bill providing that if any person take a fancy to a joint of meat in a butcher’s shop, he may help himself to it, without let or hindrance, and that instead of being liable to arrest on a charge of felonious taking, he or she shall be exonerated by giving his or her parole that payment shall be made when convenient.
"3dly. A bill enacting that every poor man shall have one cow apportioned to him; and if he be too idle to fetch the cow from his allotment, a person shall be employed by Government to perform the duty.
"These, gentlemen, are a few of the measures I am prepared to introduce, and which shall be introduced, provided you are true to your own cause, your children, and the State. 'England expects every man to do his duty'; and if you do yours by returning an enlightened representative to Parliament, who will strike, at the root of all abuses and monopolies, the country shall no longer be ridden over rough-shod by a parcel of people called Conservatives, but shall rise like a giant from his slumbers, obtain the blessings of free laws and institutions, and then become 'great, glorious. and free,' the wonder and envy of surrounding nations.
Believe me here to fight your cause,
And bid defiance to existing laws.
"I shall shortly address you again on the subject of the extensive measures of reform I will effect when your representative.
"In the meantime, believe me, gentlemen, your most devoted and humble servant. "R BARRY.
"Reform Lodge, Hastings, 4th Nov., 1840."
Rival Editors - Apology demanded and given
I shall however, have an opportunity of showing the foregoing mild retaliation is not to be taken as a proof that the Cinque Ports Chronicle was incapable of sitting its rival down to a dish of more highly seasoned food; for having been further goaded by its Dover tormentor, it at length kicked out viciously, but with the important difference that whereas the vituperations of the one were singularly personal, the scoldings of the other were collectively political. But wait until after the rejoinder of the Dover print to the above political skit, which declared that
"Our Hastings Reporter has to claim the indulgence of the readers of this journal till next week, when he flatters himself he shall be enabled to place before them a very curious correspondence touching the dispute between himself and the redoubtable James Troup, the very respectable proprietor of the 'Cinque Ports’ Chronicle.' We are credibly informed that 'Sancho’s' bantling is, once more, all but dead. Don’t be angry with us, James Troup, for calling your tool 'Sancho.' You gave him that title yourself, you know: we were satisfied with distinguishing him by the cognomen of the 'Goat.' The thing made its appearance rather late again this week, James Troup: how was that? And there was an awful large bundle of them returned to your friend Shackell through the Post Office on Satur- Pg.235 -day: how do you account for that, James Troup? we will tell you. When it became generally known, through us, that you were the 'Goat's' master, and that his paper was yours, the larger number who had promised it their support immediately withdrew their subscriptions. . . . Apropos, have you tried your hand at doggrel verse or conundrums lately? We fear you burnt your fingers at that game. It was too bad of you to taunt the Mayor about his cupboard: for report says that there is little chance for anyone in your own establishment obtaining the size of Daniel Lambert: much less was it kind of you to twit your only friend (if we except the Rushlight) the little doctor, for the irritability of his temper; for, after all, he condescends to do more than any other person would do for you, - he is to be seen walking with you in public. The Mayor says ‘that a man who is disliked by the whole of his neighbours. both rich and poor, must be a bad man.'
We cordially agree in opinion with the gallant gentleman. How say you, James Troup? As a finale this week, the July Report on the Brighton Railway has come out rather awkwardly for you again. From that it appears you are neither a prophet nor a judge, James Troup.
After the personal tirade of the "Dover Chronicle" upon the proprietor of the "Cinque Ports’ Chronicle," repeated ad libitum et ad nauseum, one need not be surprised that the 'Goat,' as the latter was nicknamed, turned upon its tormentor with a Rowland for his Oliver. There was this difference however, as before stated, that whereas the Dover journal was personal, the Hastings paper was general. It selected the election of Town Councillors on the 1st of November, 1840, for its diatribe, from which, in common fairness to the disputants I make the following extracts, omitting, however, a few of the most objectionable words or sentences, as was the case for the other side. It ran thus:-
In the West Ward the Radical leaders have been run very hard, and we hope the eyes of well, disposed burgesses, hitherto misled by these worthies, will be opened to the evils which attend those who abuse their best friends; for in no part of the borough are the industrious poor more kindly treated than they are here, and by the Conservative portion of Society. As a proof of the fact, there is not at present a single pauper in the workhouse belonging to the parish of St. Mary Magdalen, which is the most populous parish of the West Ward. Yet, in the face of this, three or four traders in politics — wolves in sheep's clothing — are constantly endeavouring to work upon the feelings of the labouring classes, to take part against every respectable inhabitant who considers it his duty to interfere in the management of public business. This state of things must be altered, and the contest just decided may operate as a warning for the future. In bygone times, when most of the public offices were held by respectable men, the industrious classes were, generally contented, and those who possessed the means felt pleasure in finding employment for their poorer neighbours or in contributing to their wants; but that pleasure is now much diminished when a set of Radical leaders urge them to commit acts of ingratitude and insolence. To such an extent has this conduct operated, that thousands of respectable families have left the country to expend their incomes on the Continent; and it is a well known fact that cases of the kind have occurred in this borough. We know that the disgust created in the West Ward by, the conduct of the parties concerned in the recent contest has greatly retarded improvements, the want of which has been the ruin of many industrious and well-disposed tradesmen. In expressing ourselves thus, be it understood that we are not opposed to reform; for we contend that, as Conservatives, we are true reformers of abuses, while the Radicals do not reform them unless they can profit by it. In the borough of Hastings more infamous jobs have been practised by pretended Reformers than by any other class. We cannot conclude our remarks without again appealing to the good, sense of our townsmen not to submit themselves to the direction of the Radical leaders of a mis-called Liberal Society, formed for the purchase and sale of the elective franchise - a society that under such leaders cannot be anything but a disgrace to the town. If, instead of meeting to consult how they can best annoy the respectable classes, the members would consider what improvements they could effect in widening the streets, removing obstructions, abolishing nuisances, and improving footpaths, they would be worthy of esteem; but who has ever heard of one act which reflects a shade of credit on this self-styled Liberal Society. We are not in the secret of how much is allowed by the deluded Mr. Hollond to expend at meetings, but we hope the members are not silly enough to waste both time and money in the support of a few spouting Radicals without some return for it in meal or malt These remarks must not be applied to all, because we know many well-meaning men who have been induced to join the Society merely because their neighbours have done so; but experience will satisfy them that no good can result from such a combination. If any tradesman, mechanic or labourer doubts our opinions, let him look upon his receipts during the last month, and trace the source whence they came. If he received his pay or his income from a Radical, that Radical, in nine cases out of ten, received it first, directly or indirectly, from a Conservative. How can the poor man pay his taxes until he has received the money from richer people? To appearance only the amount comes out of the poor man’s pocket; and here we blame the Conservatives for, not insisting upon paying the taxes in the first instance as a property tax, instead of distributing the amount among their tradesmen, to be paid by the latter as an apparent tax upon their industry. In expressing our opinion thus freely on Radical proceedings, we feel conscious of having done our duty to a town for whose benefit this journal is established.
I have felt it necessary to slightly alter the phraseology of the above extract so as to put it into readable English, but I have in no way diverged from its meaning. I will leave it to my readers to pass judgment upon the writer as a political economist, by object being principally to show that political animosities were as rife fifty years ago as they are now, and that a cause was no more benefitted by personal abuse in 1840 than it would be likely to be in 1897[Notes 4].
After the Cinque Ports Chronicle had reviewed the Radical party of the borough in general, and of St. Mary Magdalen in particular, as a sort of off-set to the abuse of itself and its proprietor by the Dover Chronicle, the latter returned to its personality in the following strain :—
We find that the circulation of James Troup’s paper is completely done up at Rye. The Tories have refused any farther advance of cash, and the large number returned on Saturday last came from that town. Oh, dear! oh, dear! A change has also come over the land at Hastings. The few remaining subscribers are now supplied through the Post direct from London, where the whole of the thing is printed, while half a dozen are sent down to Surgeon Moor just to keep him in good temper. So much for a Hastings paper, as it is falsely styled. There is not a single provincial journal that comes into the borough but its press is nearer, and it is more a Hastings paper, than this spurious production. It is, from beginning to end, a gross imposition upon the public, and the latter are particularly cautioned of the fact that its unprincipled conductors are so regardless of the rules of common decency and rectitude, that it is their constant habit to have a placard posted everyday in the week, at the Arcade, as follows :— "Published this day," when the truth is notorious that the thing is printed in London on Tuesday, and reaches Hastings sometimes on Wednesday morning, at others on the evening of the same day, and very frequently not at all. It is also an absolute fact, that at times these sapient gentlemen, whether from design or ignorance we know not, forget even the day of the month on which it is said to be published; and all this to deceive the inhabitants and visitants, and to extract a few pence from their pockets.
I shall now be able to turn the tables upon the censorious scribe of the Dover Chronicle, not because I have any political sympathy with the nicknamed "Goat," but because I hold to the aphorism that "fair play is a jewel."
It may not be needful to enquire into the accuracy of the statement that "the circulation of James Troup’s paper is completely done up at Rye," but as false statements or insinuations are not calculated in the long run to benefit those who make them, it may be appropriate even here to disprove some of the other assertions of Mr. Troup’s censorious rival. With respect to the circulation of Mr Troup’s paper, as a whole, the following notice to its readers appears in the issue for November 4th, 1840.— "The Weekly Dispatch has favoured us with a notice relative to our circulation. The impudent falsehood it contains can be proved by the Stamp returns, which will show the average circulation of the Cinque Ports’ Chronicle to be equal to three out of four of the journals published in this part of the country." Thus much for the circulation. Now, for its implied insignificance. it was described by the Dover Chronicle as "a poor emaciated thing," and as a "spurious production" than which "there is not a single provincial journal that comes into the borough but its press is nearer, and it is more a Hastings paper." This description was so obviously inaccurate — to say nothing of its slip-shod diction — that had I not had later proofs of the downright falsehoods to which partizan journals could resort, I could barely have thought it probable that an editor could permit such reckless statements to appear. A copy of each paper is now before me, the eight-paged Cinque Ports Chronicle being more than twice the size of the four-paged Dover Chronicle, and the former "poor emaciated thing" containing 48 columns of letter-press as against the 20 columns of its would-be greater rival. "The whole thing is printed in London" says the Radical scribe; yet, strange as it may appear, the despised Tory paper devotes more than seven columns to local news, whilst its rival has only 1¼ columns, including the abusive article from which I have quoted. The despicable Tory "Goat" has also local advertisements covering a space of 35 inches in depth, whilst the Radical "great gun! has but 10½ inches similarly occupied. Putting aside politics, and comparing the two sheets as newspapers, there cannot be the least doubt of the vast superiority of the Cinque Ports Chronicle. Besides its editorial articles on "The Established Church," "Turnpike Trusts," "Election of Councillors," &c., it has lengthy and well-written reports of the Union Workhouse, Quarter Sessions, Commissioner's meeting, Flimwell and Hastings Road, and New Road from Cripps’s Corner. Add to the foregoing, its Fashionable Intelligence and local paragraphs -- leaving out of consideration its map of Sussex, Kent and Surrey, its 2½ columns of district news and 27 or, more columns of general information — and then Mr. Troup’s paper, so called, presents itself, not only as a disproof of the justification of its contemporary’s revilings, but also as a newspaper far in advance of any that the borough has usually been given the credit of producing at that period. Verily, I begin to think that notwithstanding that Mr. Troup’s hand was against every man’s, and every men's against his, that hand had not lost its cunning even if it was not always guided by wisdom.
While writing upon the events of 1840, I ought not, perhaps, to impose on my readers a forward leap of five-and-twenty years; but, as I have shown how, for the sake of serving a party, a Liberal paper could slander a Conservative, it occurs to me to be only fair that I should also show how, for a similar purpose, the same sinister designs could be directed by a Conservative newspaper against a Liberal one. In 1865 the Hastings Observer — when it was not in such able hands as it now is — was continually parading its coarse abuse of those rivals by way of compensation.
One day it made, for itself, an unlucky attack on the St. Leonards Gazette in consequence of a good-humoured article which told against the party whose cause the Observer professedly espoused. Editorial effusions and "office" letters appeared in the latter journal on several occasions, written in bad taste and equally bad grammar, with a view to depreciate the character and influence of the Gazette and at the same time to magnify the importance of the Observer. The St. Leonards paper was described by its libeller as "our little contemporary," notwithstanding that its regular issues were half as large again as those of its "greater" rival and twice as large when a two-page supplement was occasionally added. It was also said of it that "The paper in question being so little known, it is more than probable that the majority of our readers—who are increasing daily—may have never heard of it." The Gazette was really, if its contemporary was to be believed, "a very small paper, with a very small circulation," and yet its proprietor had the temerity to challenge the then proprietor of the Observer to a proof or disproof of the allegation, with an offer to pay a certain sum of money to the Infirmary in the event of the bona fide sale of the Gazette not being more than double that of the Observer; and stipulating that the latter journal’s proprietor should pay a like sum if he came out worsted in the contract. Some interesting details of this news paper controversy may be forthcoming at the proper time, but for the present it may be sufficient to say that the challenge again and again given, was never accepted, and for the simple reason of the false, though inflated, position which that journal had assumed. The present enterprising proprietor and Managers of the Observer must be well aware of the insignificant influence of the Observer when it was taken over to be incorporated with the Herald, previously to the two titles being merged into one, I will only here add, that as the Conservative had to doff his cap to the Liberal in 1865, so had the Liberal to take off his battered armour to the Conservative in the tournament of 1840. This latter I shall afford a proof of in my next instalment, and shall thus do something to establish the dictum more than once put forward by the journal for which this History was first written, that accusation and repudiation can be alike performed by Whig and Tory and that an indiscreet excess of zeal on either side may do more harm than good to the party intended to be served.
The Dover Chronicle — whose second title I ought before this to have stated, was the Hastings and St. Leonards Advertiser — had another sledge-hammer article for the doomed head of its personal antagonist ere it found out the necessity for recantation through the looming of legal action. The following is an extract:—
Our Hastings Reporter begs to assure Mr. James Troup that he is thoroughly acquainted with the move the latter has now upon the board, Mr Troup dares not enter the controversial lists, but would fain assassinate in the dark, Next week "James Troup" may assuredly reckon on Visitation the Second. In the meantime, we would notice that the Trustees of the Charities meet on Monday next; and we call their attention to the fact that, "James Troup" has opened a door-way from his meadow to the Magdalen Charity. This move is only the prelude to another of far greater importance. This said Magdalen land will be to let next year; "James Troup," it is said, intends to give a higher price for it than any one else: hence the cause of the opening of the door in question. Let him have the ground without an especial covenant to the contrary, and he will secure a right of entry upon the Charity land at the expiration of the lease, The Trustees ought to cause the door to be forthwith blocked up. With such men as James Troup "no trust no mistrust," is our motto. We confide fully in the wisdom of Charity Trustees, They will do their duty, we know; and we will take care and do ours, and no mistake.
The foregoing insinuation appeared in the issue for August 8th, and on October 4th, of the same year, the following editorial apology was given:-
James Troup. Esq.
—In several numbers of our paper, particularly in that of the Ast of August last, prominent articles have appeared affecting the reputation and character of James Troup, Esq., of Warrior square, and which were inserted on the authority of our reporter, ou whom we placed more reliance than it appears we ought to have done; since which we have had occasion to inquire into the grounds for the several statements and imputations therein contained and find that they were fabricated from malicious motives and personal pique, and are totally devoid of truth. We, therefore, think it due to our character as a public Editor to take this earliest opportunity of apologizing to Mr. Troup for having allowed our columns to be polluted by such scandalous attacks affecting his personal character — a description of attack which it is ever our wish to avoid in the conduct of our paper.
Perhaps readers of the foregoing extracts will be able to draw their own conclusions as to the political animus which permitted so much laxity of editorial discretion in the supervision of a journal that could publish in its columns so much that was not only scurrilous, but also libellous, even though it were upon "the authority of our reporter."
For the credit of journalism in general it is well to know that the Brighton Guardian treated the obtrusiveness of Mr. Troup in quite a different style. In a paragraph it said:-
We have received a letter from Mr. Paine, our Hastings reporter, in reply to some very rude remarks made upon him by a choleric and changeable gentleman; but we think we shall consult the dignity of the Press by suppressing it and leaving the abuse to go for what it may be worth! The gentleman's censure or praise is, we believe, duly appreciated at Hastings.
Excepting the excitement over the trial of Harman and Planta, and the discourtesy between opposition journals, both of which matters I have amply dealt with, the political feeling of 1840 was not very strongly manifested. Even the election of Town Ceuncillors and that of the Mayor were comparatively quiet events. There was no contention for the East Ward representation, three of the outgoing Councillors (Duke, Emary and Yates) being re-elected, and Mr. Foster’s place being taken by Mr. J. Hart. In the West Ward there was a littlemore vivacity, Mr. Deudney being returned in the Conservative interest by 96 votes, and Mr. Putland, on the Liberal side by 72, whilst the losing candidates - Mr Southall polled 69 and Mr. Troup 1 only.
On the 9th of November, Mr. Alderman Smith, on retiring from the mayoralty, remarked that during his official year he had been the recipient of friendly sentiments, and had not observed any political feeling in the Council’s proceedings. The outgoing Mayor was then proposed for re-election by Mr. Harvey and seconded by Mr. Emary, two gentlemen who were generally opposed to each other in imperial politics. Mr. North was, however, proposed by Mr.J.Thwaites and seconded by Mr. Yates, the proposer contending that it was contrary to their practice to elect a Mayor a second time in the same person. The election fell upon Alderman Smith by a majority of 12 to 6; and he was therefore the first gentleman elected by the corporate body as it then existed to fill the civic chair two vears in succession.
New vessels launched - Storms and Floods - The Condemned Hole
Although ship-building operations were unmistakably on the decline, there were at least three vessels constructed during the year, the first of which was the "Torch" intended for the coal trade and was launched in the month of February. The launch of this collier reminds one of another Collier that was launched a few months later; the fair craft, as a sailor would term her, being a Miss Jane Collier, who, with a Mr. William Hugg, was launched on the sea of matrimony. The event gave inspiration to the following waggish rhyme :—
“The bridegroom surely can’t complain,
If thus through life he’s always paid ;
For she, one tender Hug to gain,
Him owner of a Collier made.”
The next launch was that of a schooner named Betsy. She was built by Messrs. Thwaites and Winter, and first took the water on the 23rd of July. Her skipper, Capt. Williams, gratified a large number ot the vessel’s admirers during the day with a pleasure trip on the water. Four months later, the same schooner encountered a terrific gale in the Bay of Biscay, when both her masts were carried away, and the vessel had a narrow escape from foundering. In the same month, namely November, a fine schooner of 100 tons named "Wanderer" was launched from the building yard at Messrs. Ransom and Ridley. She sailed away to the North, under the command of Capt. Minter, and it was surmised that she would outsail most of the coasters of that period.
Apropos of the November storm in the Bay of Biscay, the disturbance on the south of England was more of an electrical than of a cyclonic character, the centre of depression — as the term now is — having probably passed over our northern coasts and on to Norway. The thunder at East grinstead, Edenbridge and neighbourhood was most alarming, and some of the hail or conical ice which fell was said to measure over two inches trom end to end. The rain and hail fell heavily in our own immediate neighborhood, accompanied occasionally with lightning and thunder, for two or three days, and all the low grounds in the Priory Brooks, the Crowhurst Valley and Pevensey Levels were under water. This severe thunderstorm or series of electrical storms in the month of November may be regarded as being of a somewhat exceptional character, and equally so was the thermometric reading of 80 degrees on the 26th of April in the same year. The other atmospheric phenomena as pertaining to cyclonic gales, rough sea, high tides, damage to parade walls, and local shipping disasters, I believe I have already commented on; and now, as an associative subject with maritime affairs, it may be stated that on the 11th of March the Sylph, a Hastings pleasure-boat, was seized by the Rob Roy cutter, in consequence of being beyond her bounds. The suspicion was that she was on a expedition. Another seizure was made on Sunday, November 1st, the boat in this case being the smack Mary Ann, she having been beached with a cargo of cheeses from Holland, but having also on board a large quantity of tobbaco deemed to be contrahand. The crew were imprisoned, and on the following Wednesday were placed before the magistrates, Messrs. North and Mannington, to answer to the indictment. The charge against Skinner, Burfield and Peters (master, mate and boy of the vessel) was preferred by Daniel Gill, of Her Majesty’s Customs, and was to the effect that the accused, as subjects of her Majesty, were found on board a certain vessel liable to forfeiture, such vessel at the time being in the parish of St. Clement’s, not being driven there by stress of weather, and having on board 89 lbs. of tobacco in parcels of less weight than 300 lbs., whereby they had forfeited £100. Solomon Bevill (comptroller), and Richard (Gallop and George Picknell (Customs officers), deposed to finding a number of packages of tobacco and cigars in different parts of the vessel, and the captain and mate having pleaded guilty, but exonerating the boy from a guilty knowledge, the two men were each fined in the sum of £100.
After this decision of the magistrates, Mr. Bayley, of Hastings, and Mr. Stone, of Newhaven, to whom the cargo of cheeses belonged, pleaded for magisterial assistance in regaining possession of the vessel, as the cargo was perishing, Mr. North replied that of themselves they could do nothing but testify their belief, founded upon a thirty years’ acquaintance with Mr. Bayley’s character, that he was not cognisant of the attempted. Mr. Gill also said that both he and Mr. Bevill would bear the same testimony. The result was that the vessel and cargo were restored, and the £200 demanded. To many of the present generation it would be a matter for surprise that, against the chances of seizure, forfeiture and imprisonment men should continue such imminent risks, but the answer is found in the great profits that were likely to be made out of a successful "run." That such successes were frequent is beyond doubt, and because of their success the public knew but little of their frequency.
It was only when seizures were made or serious encounters took place that affairs got to be publicly known, Only a day before the seizure above detailed was made at Hastings, a far more valuable seizure was effected at the entrance of the Thames and Medway Canal. Mr. Renton, a Surveyor of Customs, there found a lug-boat with 937 gallons of spirits, the latter ready slung for landing on men’s shoulders. The value of the boat and contraband thus seized was estimated at £2,000. A week before that, namely, Oct. 24th, Lieut. Prowe, of the Southampton coastguard station, seized the smack Rose of that port, with a cargo of limestone, under which were concealed 272 casks of foreign spirits. There appears to haye been no conflict in this case, but on the preceding night, a desperate rencontre took place on the Southsea beach. Lieut. Scott and a party of five coastguards had seized a wherry, with 28 tubs, which had been swamped on the beach, and while in the act of clearing the boat, during the darkness of the night, were attacked by about 40 batsmen, In the conflict, Lieut. Scott recelved a contusion of the head, and two of his crew were much bruised. Their pistols and cutlasses, however, stood them in good stead against overwhelming numbers, and the smugglers dispersed, carrying off their wounded, as was ascertained next day by the traces of blood.
When treating of some of the cases and the seizure of boats, I have had occasion to mention the "Condemned Hole," the name by which a piece of enclosed ground was known in the rear of Beach Cottages, and wherein was placed the captured boats until a general clearance by public sale or otherwise was effected. As the declining days of, as well as of ship-building, were already dawning upon us, it may not be amiss to take a glance at the Condemned Hole to learn the future that was apparently in store for it. At a quarterly meeting of the Town Council on the 4th of August (the members then present having at this time of writing all passed away) it was resolved that the Condemned Hole be let on lease as a pleasure garden for the term of 14 years to Messrs. Kirby, Smith, Kay, Shadwell and Gill at a rent of £25 per annum. These gentlemen, it should be said, were owners of property at Beach cottages, Pelham place and Pelham crescent, and it may be well conceived that to have the place enclosed with a neat railing as a kind of lawn or garden would be more pleasant to the eyes of themselves and their visitors than the old tarred fence and a number of dismantled boats and half boats standing on end or piled one upon another. This improvement was effected, but the site has now for a long time formed part of an open parade, which, if not more sightly, is certainly more convenient to the public.
Yet, while doing away with one eyesore, the Councillors at the same meeting were near upon acceding to a proposition that would have been conducive to another. A letter, accompanied by a plan, was received from Mr. George Thwaites, offering to remove his unsightly plank-boiler at the end of the Marine parade (where the Russian gun now stands) if permission were given him to build a shop on the same site. A favourable view of the proposition was taken, and a decision was almost arrived at to grant the permission. Fortunately, however, the perpetuation of an obstruction was ultimately avoided by the Council taking time to consider it. The subsequent removal of the plank boiler and the still later demolition of the Old Warm Baths were among the greatest improvements effected in that part of the borough. The Baths, built for Mr. Barry, the librarian, had become antiquated, and had been superseded by the modern and more elegant Baths at Pelham place, which only required the removal of Mr. Thwaites’s boiler to make them still more eligible. The Marine Parade, too, which was mainly constructed through the exertions of Mr. Barry in getting subscriptions towards the cost of erection, became more convenient for promenading by such removals, The said parade, however, being not over strongly built, was sadly in need of repairs after 28 years’ existence, the cost of which repairs was estimated at £110. At a meeting of the Commissioners in the same year, a committee’s report recommended the outlay, and a motion was made by Mr. Brown that the report be acted upon. An amendment was moved by Mr. Ginner that the further consideration of the matter be indefinitely postponed, for the want of funds. The amendment being put by the chairman in his own latinity of "sigh and die," it was carried; and consequently, as the death warrant of the Parade was already signed, it had only to die peacefully and to be buried decently. Strange to say the old servant, with a good deal of subsequent doctoring has lingered on another forty years, albeit, just as I am writing, it has suffered a considerable dislocation ot its structure in a conflict with Old Davy.
At a Commissioners' meeting, it was proposed to put down a permanent footpath by the wall near Mrs. St. Quintin's [Torfield] house, the spot being out of the Commissioners' limits, and under the control of the Hastings and Flimwell Turnpike Trusts. Mr. Breeds said they were not justified in spending so much money on other people's property, and proposed an amendment that only a common raised footpath should be made. Both, however, were negatived. A report was then read, setting forth the pecuniary embarrassments of the Hastings and Flimwell Turnpike Trust caused b the reduction of traffic over the old road, whereby the Trustees had been unable to meet their engagements and the gates had been seized by the creditors. The debt was over £30,000, the interest on which would not be met, unless reduced from 5 to 4 per cent. The Trustees called upon the several parishes to render temporary assistance to keep the road in repair. The expense to the parishes of St. Clement's and All Saints would be £37 10. per ann. at 5/- per yard for 156 yards. The clerk explained that the Commissioners were expressly precluded by a clause in the Local Act from expending any of the town's money on the repair of the road in question until the expiration of the Trust, which would expire in 1844. Mr. Breeds contended that if the road was allowed to get out of repair, the upper part of the town would be greatly injured, but Mr. Langham thought the matter required very careful consideration and on his motion, a committee was formed to investigate and report at the next meeting. To any person endowed with ordinary intelligence, the matter did not appear to require much consideration, the limits of the Commissioners' jurisdiction being clearly defined in the Local Act of 1832, thus - "The limits for all purposes of this Act comprise the whole of St. Clement's and All Saints, and that part of St. Mary in the Castle within the liberties of the town, except such part of the turnpike road comprised in an Act  entitled "An Act for more effectually repairing and improving the road from Flimwell, Kent to the town and port of Hastings!" The complained of decrease of traffic over the said turnpike (of which the Old London road formed a part) was due to the shorter route and greater facilities offered by the "Hastings and Hollington and St. Leonards and Sedlescomb new roads". This meeting of the Commissioners ended with a stormy discussion on the question of reducing the water-rate from 9d. to 6d., in which the supercilious manner of the chairman (Mr. Chas. Duke) was complained of, and an opinion expressed that it might be possible to get another so excellent a chairman as Mr. Rickman Forlee[Notes 5] had Pg.237 been.
"Dover Chronicle" and Rev. F. Hazlewood - Organ for St. Clement's Church
At a later meeting of the Commissioners, Mr [(illegible text)] was requested to take the chair, and the business began with a statement by Mr. Harvey that he could find nothing in the Act that warranted an adjournment, to which the Clerk responded that there was no such warrant. Next came the question of buying the ground adjoining the Swan Lane where Humphrey Wickham's old house had stood, so as to throw it open for a new approach to St. Clement's church. Mr. Williams had heard that a sum of £285 had been subscribed, and that the price of the ground was £400. On the proposition of Mr. Harvey, it was agreed to further consider the matter at the next meeting. The business closed with electing Mr. Henbry to be collector of coal tickets at the London road turnpike gate.
At this time the Rev. J. Hazlewood was officiating at Hastings as curate to the Rev. J. G. Foyster, and although, upon the whole, he might have been a worthy man, he was not held in very high esteem by the townspeople. He resided at 7 The Croft, and in the year still under review (1840), a subscription list was opened for the purchase of an organ for St. Clement's church, with the understanding the organist was to be a son of Mr. Joseph Hart, an admired organist at St. Mary's-in-the-Castle. It was said, however, that the curate was working unfairly to prevent it, and as he was not so generally popular, as might have been wished, it is possible that more was laid to his discredit than was quite his due. Hence the Dover Chronicle, which has been shown in the case of Troup, could be warmly censorious, had the following warning in its issue of Aug. 8th.
Many serious complaints have reached us from Hastings of the course pursued by the Rev. Mr. Hazlewood in the performance of his duties as Curate to the Rev. J. G. Foyster We shall not enter into detail on the points of complaint at present, farther than to hint to the Rev. Gentleman that we know Maidstone, and we believe that he does; but if he thinks to make of Hastings a second Maidstone, he reckons without his host. If we hear of any more "sayings and doings" of his, similar to those which our attention has been called to, he shalt not recline upon a "bed of roses." We have every respect for religion, but we detest priestcraft, and will expose its evil tendency under what guise soever it may appear. We would, in the meantime, recommend Mr, Hazlewood to follow the example of his employer, the Rev. Mr. Foyster, who, we are free to admit (Radicals as we are), attends to his own business, and that only, in a way that has gained for him the respect of the inhabitants generally.
In the succeeding week's issue the same journal under the heading of Hastings and St. Leonards had the following paragraph:-
The remarks which appeared in this paper have had the desired effect. The subscriptions in favour of the proposed organ to Saint. Clement’s Church have entirely been put a stop to; while a large portion of those who had put their names down for various sums have refused to make good the cash until a thorough investigation has taken place. and justice been done to Mr. Hart, Sen. and his much injured son. During the past week the "mischief has out." It appears that the former being a Poor-law Guardian, is opposed to a paid Chaplain at the house: hence the very disinterested opposition of the clergy to the just claims of his unoffending offspring. This is Priestcraft to the backbone: and it makes its appearance in one of its most hideous forms too. Much do we congratulate ourselves that we have been the cause, in some degree, of raising a well-merited sympathy on the part of the town generally, towards the Messrs. Hart. But our task is yet but half completed: we shall not be content until the finishing stroke is actually given, the young man’s appointment ratified, and himself secured from all needless interruption by the manoeuvring of a domineering and reckless priesthood.
The Hastings agent for the Dover Chronicle was Mr. Thomas Ross, at that time a stationer in Castle street. Like the Chronicle itself, its agent was a strong Liberal politician, it is a notworthy coincidence that he was elected for the first time to a seat on the Council board in the year now treated of.
Difficulties and disagreements of the Flimwell and Hastings Trust are described in chapter XXI.
- Taking Pigot's Directory 1840 as the source, Harman was the publican of the Hastings Arms in George Street - Editor
- There is no opening parenthesis to this in Brett's manuscript - Editor
- This duplication is in the original text - Editor
- This confirms that Brett compiled this portion of the manuscript in 1897, some fifty seven years post the events being described - Editor
- Brett's writing here is difficult to decipher, so surname may prove incorrect - Transcriber