Brett Volume 5: Chapter LII - Hastings 1854

From Historical Hastings

Transcriber’s note

Volume 5 - Chapter LII - Hastings 1854

[ - ] Contents :(See also general index) Town Council meetings (pg. 56) to (pg. 70)
police tippling, (pg. 56)
Removal of boats, (pg. 56)
District rates,(pg. 56)
Advertising, (pg. 56)
Groynes, (pg. 56)
Parade seats (pg. 56)
General drainage plans exhibited (pg. 56)
Plan approved (pg. 58)
Finance condition,(pg. 57)
"No hurry" (pg. 58)
"No delay", (pg. 59)
"Intermediate action", (pg. 59)
Braithwaite's high charges,(pg. 60)
Memorial to proceed (pg. 62)
More objections, (pg. 62)
Putland disapproves, (pg. 63)
Another claim (pg. 61)
Petition for delay (pg. 61)
Rating the poor, (pg. 64)
New road at Wallinger's Walk proposed, (pg. 65)
Water supply, (pg. 65)
Cinque Ports' jurisdiction, (pg. 66)
No educational help, (pg. 66)
Numbering of houses,(pg. 67)
New Fishmarket, (pg. 67)
Ironstone (pg. 67)
Defensive works, (pg. 68)
Market room, (pg. 68)
Viscount Chewton (pg. 69)
East parade (pg. 69)
Pierwardens, (pg. 69)
Choosing Mayor (pg. 69)
Curious potato (pg. 71)
Escape from gaol, (pg. 70)
burglaries and robberies, (pg. 71)
Distressed poor, (pg. 71), (pg. 73)
Relief fund, (pg. 72)
Vestry meetings, (pg. 72), (pg. 73)
Herrings, (pg. 73)
Coal famine, (pg. 73), (pg. 74)
The fishery, (pg. 73), (pg. 74)
Maritime casualties, (pg. 74)
Deaths of "Blind Tom", Henry Went Tree, Joseph Simmons, Musgrave Brisco, Mrs. Lloyd Shoesmith, Samuel Phillips, John Banks, "Old Humphrey” & Mrs Simmonds (pg. 75) to (pg. 77)
Vital statistics, (pg. 74), (pg. 77)
Census tables (pg. 77)
Accidents, (pg. 77),(pg. 78)
Dinners (pg. 77),(pg. 78)
Welcome home to Capt. McClure, 79,80,85
Welcome home to Jeremiah Smith, 86, 88
Balls, concerts and entertainments, 88
An outlaw's dividend, 89
New magistrates, 89
Coastguards' exodus, 89
Volunteers at a premium, 89
A daring feat, 90
Removal of baths, 90
The Infirmary, 90
Gas company's new Bill, 90
Chalybeate spring, 90 – Anti Church-rate movement. 91
Annual Lamb Fair, 91
The right of way, 91
Schools, 95,
Guy Fawkes scrimmage, 91
An Irish wake 91
Early closing, 98
Mechanics' Institution, 95, 96
96, Literary Institution, 97
Hastings Regatta, 139
Church matters, 92
Proposed cemetery, 93
Board of Guardians, 94, Ellsworth's Charity, 98 Postal contention, 99,100,101,102
The Russian War; Letters from Hastings men serving thereat, Local articles, poems, etc., together with pictorial representations (26 engravings), and other special information, compiled
from the "Hastings News" and the “St. Leonards Penny Press” 102 to 139. [ 56 ]

Town Council Meetings

Tippling. At the Council meeting of Jan. 6th, the Mayor (C. Clift, Esq.) having requested the presence of the police force, cautioned them, as he said, from the highest to the lowest against the practice of tipling(sic) at public houses; also warning them that if they continued the practice they would be discharged [See page 70 ]

Removal of Boats. In reference to the application of James Landell? and others, the Stone-beach Committee recommended that the request be complied with as far as practicable, and that the owners of boats then lying in front of Breeds Place be requested to allow the council to remove the said boats for the winter season, and replace them after that period. In reply to a question by Coun. Hickes, the Clerk said he thought the Council had no power to remove the boats without the consent of the owners.

A District Rate at 5d. was agreed upon, instead of 7d, in consequence of the dearness of provisions and the distress among the poor and the severity of the weather, during which latter’s continuance, 3d per day was ordered to be added to the wages of the Local Board labourers.

Advertising. It was resolved that the Municipal and Local Board advertisements be extended to the Sussex Advertiser and Sussex Express, two papers printed at Lewes, and those papers to be placed on the same footing as the Hastings News.

Jurisdiction of Groynes. In reply to enquiries, The Pierwarden stated that he had jurisdiction only over the groynes between Rock-a-Nore and the Chalk ​road​. On the motion of Mr. Ross, it was agreed that his services in that capacity should extend to the St. Leonards Archway, with an additional £10 to his salary.

Parade Seats. Notices having been sent to five owners of seats on the Eversfield parade to remove them at once or to apply for permission to continue them, Mr. John Thorpe, of Grand parade applied for his seat to remain, it having been there for five years. Mr. Nelson Andrews, who had two seats opposite Verulam place, also wished them to remain. It was resolved to enforce the demand on those who had not applied, it being argued by Coun. Ross and others that if let alone, in course of time the ground on which the seats were placed might be claimed as freehold.

General Drainage. At an adjourned meeting of the Local Board in the Market Hall, Mr. Gant’s plans were laid out for inspection. The drawings and sections altogether were 44 yards in length, and embraced three outfalls – one at Rock-a-Nore, one at the Priory, and one at Warrior Square. At another adjourned meeting, on March 17th, a list of questions having been sent to 21 towns where the Public Health Act had been adopted, asking for information about their drainage operations, only eight had replied, and the replies were so various as not to be of much service, except that most of them had employed special engineers. After much discussion, it was resolved, on the motion of Ald. Scrivens “That this meeting, impressed with the importance of the duties which devolve upon them, resolve that an engineer be engaged to view the area of the town, examine the plans drawn, [ 57 ]test the accuracy of the levels, and report whether the scheme as proposed by Mr. Gant, the local Surveyor, can be amended or not; and to advise the Council as to the best mode of carrying the plans into execution” Coun. Williams regretted the long delay. They had been three years in office next August, and they had done nothing in draining the town. Coun. Ginner considered the Board had erred by putting too much upon their Surveyor, while at the same time a prejudice had arisen against Mr. Gant, which had been fostered by some members of the Council. They ought to be careful not to affect Mr. Gant’s reputation. Ald. Rock said that when Mr. Putland was their surveyor, he (Ald, R) expressed an opinion that too much had also been put upon him, by expecting him to plan and superintend the drainage, while engaged in the general work of the borough. [He might have said the enormous additional work of the borough] The Mayor (Ald. Clift) put in a disclaimer respecting Coun. Ginner’s remarks about a prejudice against Mr. Gant. Persons, however, who had witnessed previous discussions were convinced that the Mayor had a prejudice against Mr. Gant.

Town Council Meetings - The Drainage Question

Finance, Water and Drainage. Ald. Scrivens explained the financial condition of the Local Board, and hoped their embarrassment would act as a warning not to order expensive works without first considering where the money was to come from. This advice or suggestion by a Liberal Alderman was precisely that of Conservative Councillor (H. N. Williams) who at a previous meeting declaimed against what he believed a useless expense in the several propositions to engage engineers to examine and report on Mr. Gant’s drainage plans after they had been passed by the General [ 58 ]Board of Health. Some sort of communication had passed between the Local Board and supposed competent persons at a distance, and it appeared to him that before the matter was settled the Council would be saddled with enormous expenses arising from the claims of two or three engineers at once. At the present meeting, Mr. Williams’s fears appeared to be on the eve of being realised. Mr. Milne, who had already been engaged to examine and report on the Waterworks, after treating the Council with contemptuous delay, sent in at last a long and unsatisfactory report. Then, Mr. Rammell, after some delay, came to test the drainage plans of Mr. Gant’s, on the evening of the 27th of April, walked over the district on the following morning, and left for Devonshire in the afternoon. In the meantime he called on the Town Clerk and gave him to understand that he expected to take the whole of the drainage into his own hands. On being told that the Council would not consent to that, Mr. Rammell said he was willing to examine Mr. Gant’s plans, and if they required no alteration his charge would be 100 guineas and traveling(sic) expenses; but if the plans for drainage and water supply required him to recommend modifications or additions, his charge would be 2½% upon the entire outlay. Then referring to Mr. Rammell’s prospective charge, Mr. Williams calculated that it would be “ a four hundred guineas job”. Coun. Beck said, as Mr. Rammell was connected with the General Board of Health it appeared strange to him to call in an official of that Board to give an opinion on plans already approved by the said Board. A discussion followed, which ended in Mr. Rammell’s services being declined.

Approval of Plans. At a later meeting, Mr. Braithwaite’s report on Mr. Gant’s drainage plans was received and full details of his examination were given, together with explicit answers to all questions put to him by the Board. He said he thought it was due to the surveyor selected by the Board to state that every care had evidently been taken by him in the prepara(sic) of the plans. They were so ably laid down that little remained for him to say or do but to approve generally of Mr. Gant’s system. [Hear, hear!] That gentleman showed a degree of efficiency not often met with in a provincial surveyor. He really had great pleasure in speaking of Mr. Gant’s plans. It was seldom that he had seen work so carefully laid out, and drawing plans so admirably executed. He had tested many of the sections, and considered the result reflected great credit on the Surveyor. The Clerk then read Mr. Braithwaite’s report, after which all the great points discussed at previous meetings were successively elucidated, much to the satisfaction of all the members of the Board. At the conclusion, Ald. Scrivens said that the Council were much indebted to Mr. Braithwaite for helping them out of their difficulty. Those who had heard him thought that not only was he distinguished for ability, but also for sound common sense. He (Ald. S) had been much pleased with Mr. Braithwaite’s explanations, and he thought the popular opinion out of doors would be that the Council had done right in obtaining the services of that gentleman. He moved that a vote of thanks should be presented to him for his very able report. Mr. Braithwaite felt much indebted to Mr. Scrivens for the handsome terms in which he had proposed so great an honour, and to the Council for the manner in which they had received the proposition. He felt deeply interested in the town of Hastings; and in any way in which he could contribute to its interests they might rely on his services being at their command. He was exceedingly delighted at the business-like manner in which he had been met. The questions were very different to those which he mostly met with, and were all to the point. He had never been at a more business-like meeting in his life. The meeting broke up, after passing a resolution to advertise the report in the three papers possessing a local circulation.

No hurry. At the Council meeting on July 25th, Coun. Picknell said he had made enquiries since their adjourned meeting, and he had not found one man but what said “Do pray let the drainage stand over for the present.” At least 18 out of 20 did not think there was any need to be in a hurry. Taxes were heavy enough now, but nothing to what they would be if the general drainage were carried out. The estimate was £17,000, but, no doubt the cost would be £25,000. Estimates always went like that. In Battle town, [ 59 ]under the Public Health Act, the whole of the local taxes, including poor-rates, had risen to 13s. in the £, of which 5/3 was on the Public Health Act a/c. Coun. Bromley was also an advocate for delay. He did not know how much displeasure he might incur by advising delay, but he was satisfied that nine-tenths of the inhabitants would say the Board was quite right in letting the drainage stand over till the town could better bear the expense. He would therefore move that the drainage be taken into consideration at the meeting in August, 1855.

No delay. The Mayor laid before the meeting a copy of a memorial, which had recently been sent up to the General Board by the physicians, surgeons, and principal inhabitants residing between the Crown lands and the St. Leonards Archway, complaining that the Local Board did not seem disposed to carry out the drainage. He was also instructed by their Town Clerk to say that if the work was put off till August, 1855, all the expense of a consulting engineer would be entirely lost and they would have to call in an engineer afresh. Ald. Scrivens, in a lengthy and telling speech, said the question had been repeatedly postponed, and they must now decide, one way or another. If posponed(sic) till Aug. 1855, not an atom of work would be done till 1856. Let them remember that after the cholera in 1848, they petitioned the General Board, and sanitary reform became the popular request. Let them look back to the battle that was fought to get the Public Health Act. When that was obtained, they had plans prepared which had been approved by the General Board and by a special engineer, and now, when they had come to the very point of action, delay was again advised. He considered the need for drainage out-weighed the question of expense. He was afraid that, with all due deference to themselves, they had not much choice in the matter; for, if memorials were sent to the General Board, the Local Board would be pressed into action. He moved, as an amendment, that the general drainage be commenced in February next. Coun. Deudney seconded, and remarked that as a member of the Local Board, although he opposed the Act being applied to that part of St. Leonards west of the Archway, he would do his best, individually, to carry out the Act. The amendment was carried by nine to three.

The Press Supports immediate Action. The Hastings News came to the support of the medical practitioners and other residents of St. Mary Magdalen who memoralized(sic) the General Board of Health to prevent further delay in carrying out the general drainage, the principal object for which they assisted Hastings in obtaining the Health of Towns Act. The following are a few extracts from an article in that journal “The Local Board has exceeded our most sanguine expectations. The local drainage is not to be delayed to the time of the Greek Kalends[a], and we are not to be taxed to an [ 60 ]unaccountable pitch by a crotchety and unequal bit-by-bit drainage. There seems good reason to believe that 6d in the pound for a limited number of years will be abundant for that purpose , and we would confidently ask whether the schemes of Mr. Picknell would not at once lay a tax upon us of that amount, and that, too, without effecting any permanent improvements. The present time of depression will not be perpetual, nor will the general drainage affect our pockets at all this year. But in order to commence the actual construction on the 1st of next February, not an hour must be lost; seven hundred square feet of drawings are not to be done by magic, nor will a contractor be prepared in the course of a few days”

Mr. Braithwaite’s Charges. Mr. Braithwaite was highly eulogised at a previous meeting, but now that his “bill of costs” came in, there was less a profusion of compliments than complaints. The Finance Committee having recommended the payment of £126 to Mr. Braithwaite on account (his total claim being £226 at the rate of 7 guineas a day for 31 days), Coun. Williams said when it was first stated that Mr. Braithwaite might want 10 guineas a day, he (Mr. W.) expressed his fears that the expense would be very great and was laughed at, and was told that five or six days would be enough time. Now they found the bill was £250, and that was not all. If at that expense they could be assured that the plans had been thoroughly gone through, and if they found that the drainage preliminaries had been carried out thoroughly and effectually, then it might be considered a source of satisfaction, but the case was not so; for, if his memory did not deceive him, there was a resolution in the books that before the plans were put into force, everything was to go back to Mr. Braithwaite for his inspection. And if this second inspection occupied as much time as the first, there was no knowing where the expense would end? They had borrowed £1500 of their Treasurer, and had now voted bills to the extent of £2,000, and that money must be raised from the ratepayers. Coun. Ginner could not understand what Mr. Braithwaite could take 31 days about. This engineers last report was then read. It was of considerable length, and like the previous report, full of commendations of the general accuracy of Mr. Gant’s plans; yet, as a matter of caution, reserving to himself the right of not only testing the levels, but also of offering suggestions upon details. The levels (continued the report) had been effected with the assistance of a thoroughly competent engineer, and no variation was found. Such a result was unprecedented, and thus it was shewn that he (Mr. Braithwaite) was not mistaken in his previous impression as to the “evident care and attention given to the whole of the details by Mr. Gant.” In reply to the question was it necessary to send the specification to Mr. Braithwaite, the Surveyor said it rested with themselves, he did not like to answer yes or no. Ald. Clements remarked that if it went, as shown by the minutes it should do, they did not know if it might not cost another £50 or £100, and they could not afford to [ 61 ]fool money away like that. Coun. Pickmell(sic) believed the drainage scheme would ruin the town. Coun. Ross thought that after Mr. Braithwaite had spoken of Mr. Gant’s levels as being unprecedented for correctness, and had given Mr. Gant such a high character as to make him almost equal to himself, they ought not to go to Mr. Braithwaite any more. Ald. Scrivens said, if they employed a professional man they must pay him. Mr. Braithwaite had talked of ten guineas a day and he had charged only seven. [But if he took 31 days to do what it was said could have been done in six, his sevenguinea charge of £226 was £166 more than that at ten guineas would have been]. The truth was (said Ald. Scrivens) they had not sufficient confidence in themselves, nor their surveyor, but after spending something like 250 guineas, perhaps they would have a higher opinion of their Surveyor. There was such a thing as having their drainage done properly or only half done; and he believed that though the charge seemed heavy, the town would not be dissatisfied if the drainage turned out well. It was agreed that the bill be paid.

Another Claim. The Surveyor’s long deferred claim of £60 was again debated. The Surveyor repeated that the £60 was money paid out of his own pocket for assistance in preparing the drainage plans, without which assistance he could not possibly have found time for the ordinary duties of his office as Surveyor. He could not have been drawing plans all day long and attending to his surveyorship work at the same time. Coun. Ross would vote against the claim, as it was for work which the Surveyor ought to have done himself. Ald Rock reiterated an opinion that the preparation of the drainage plans was not necessarily a part of the Surveyor’s duties, and that he should receive some recompense other than his salary. Ald. Scrivens said if they paid £230 to a consulting man, they surely ought to pay £60 to a working man. He therefore moved that the money be paid. Ald Clement seconded; but quibbles continued to be advanced by Ross and Picknell, the latter indignantly declaring that to pay the money would be illegal, as it was not on the agenda. Ald Scrivens withdrew his motion, but Coun. Bromley, after suggesting that Picknell should be called to order, said it appeared to him that Mr. Gant was entitled to the money, and to settle the matter at once he would move that he be paid. Coun. Hickes seconded, and the motion was carried by 8 to 4.

Petition for Delay. At the meeting on Nov. 3rd, a petition, signed by 450 ratepayers, was received by the Local Board, praying that the general drainage be postponed for two years, on account of the depression in trade and the high price of provisions. In a discussion which followed, the question was raised whether the Local Board having gone so far as they had, could relinquish the drainage, or whether the General Board had the power to compel [ 62 ]them to proceed. The Surveyor said the latter could not be unless there happened to be a certain number of deaths within a given period.

The Memorial Again. This petition was again read at the quarterly meeting on the 9th of November, followed by a discussion in which it was urged that the drainage plans had been first approved then tested, and that on carrying them out depended the health and salvation of the town. Coun. H. N Williams, in an elaborate address, showed, by an appeal to figures, that the rate-payers would be even financially benefitted by the general drainage of the borough, and moved “That while paying every attention to the memorial for postponement, the Local Board see no reason to alter their decision”.

Putland's Objections to Drainage Plans

More Objections. At the same meeting on Nov. 9th, Councillor Ginner was elected to the Mayoralty, and Mr. Putland had again become a member of the Council. The apparently interminable drainage question was still to the front even after three years consideration by the Local Board of Health. Discussion had been followed by actions and reactions, progressions and checks, petitions for, and petitions against, until the promoters were almost driven to despair. Even at this stage some members of the ruling body would have the work posponed(sic) for two years, and if they gave a reluctant assent it would be on an insistence that their own suggestions should be carried into effect. From the first movement objections were made and as soon as one objector had been overruled, another started up, and when the latter had been disposed of there came others in succession. A good deal of personal feeling was also evinced, together with a general distrust in the ability of those whose duty it was to prepare the scheme. The plans as produced by Mr. Gant, the new surveyor – after Mr. Putland had been driven to resign – were examined and thoroughly tested by Government officials. They had also been publicly exhibited to the rate-payers, and a verdict more or less favourable pronounced. Still, there were individual crochets, both within and without the Council chamber, which clogged the wheels of progress. Criticism still poured in on the plans of the Local Board Surveyor, and the assistance of Mr. Braithwaite, as a consulting engineer was invoked. This gentleman not only approved the plans, but also passed a high compliment on the ability of Mr. Gant. But Mr. Braithwaite’s fee of seven guineas a day for 31 days took the Council by surprise and created alarm in the minds of the rate-payers. Then, while the controversy was being carried on, money and materials rose in value, war with Russia was draining the resources of the country, national taxation had increased, and food had become dearer. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, it was at last decided that the drainage works should be commenced in the spring of 1855; but at this stage, another check obtruded itself. Mr. Putland, who had resigned his seat to take the office of Surveyor and was so catechised and worried in the performance of his multifarious duties as to tender his resignation, had now been [ 63 ]re-elected to the Council, and it was possible that he entertained a little spirit of retaliation – or to express oneself more charitably – it might be only a desire to convince the Board of Health and the burgesses that there were local surveyors with ingenuity other than the one who during his own absence had been eulogistically patronized. Mr. Putland desired to modify the drainage plans in several particulars, and had placed on the agenda four separate notices to that effect. But, after all the details of the scheme had been so thrashed out in debate, it required that Mr. Putland’s modifications should have some very strong points to get them adopted. These, when compared with Mr. Gant’s plans, after approval by the General Board and additional recommendation by another competent authority, did not appear to have those requisite strong points. After much pro and con the meeting was adjourned for further discussion, which turned out to be an extremely lengthy one, during which, among other questions put to Mr. Putland, were had he taken any levels, and had he any drawings or sections in support of his suggested alterations? The answer was “No!” and here, then, was one weak point in his contention. In addressing the Council at an adjourned meeting, Coun. Putland said he could not sit and vote for an expenditure on works which he did not approve. His object was to simplify the work in the eyes of the public. The drainage had assumed an aspect which did not belong to it. It was a simple matter in itself, but by calling in a consulting engineer who had spent thirty days over the plans the drainage was made to have a fictitious appearance. He wanted to show the town that thousands of pounds might be saved in the mode of carrying it out. He had no popularity to gain, and if he had any private interest to serve, he should have stayed out of the Council that he might tender for the work. A number of questions being put by Mr. Gant to Coun. Putland, the latter’s replies did not appear at all convincing, and after a lengthy discussion, Coun. H. N. Williams moved as an amendment that after the consideration which had been given to the subject, the Board saw no reason to make any alterations in the plans. Coun. Jas. Beck, in seconding, said Mr. Putland must present a very strong case in throwing those plans overboard. He (Coun. Beck) put the Surveyor and Mr. Braithwaite in one scale, and Mr. Putland in another, and found Mr. Putland too light [Laughter]. The amendment was carried, and Coun. Putland’s propositions were consequently rejected. His principal objection to the drainage plans was, as he contended, that the main sewer at the east end was too low, but it was shewn that at a less depth, about 20 houses, with basements, could not be drained, and would be obliged to have receptacles such as would be directly contrary to the Act. At the second adjourned meeting (Dec 15th) Coun. Putland was again very persistent in fault-finding, and not a little snappish when contradicted. He said that certain streets which required draining were not so entered on the plans, [ 64 ]whilst in other places drains were projected which did not require them. He referred to Winding street, but was told that such street was already on the plans. Then, said Mr. Putland, no drains were laid down for Robertson street or Claremont. This was also denied by the Surveyor, who admitted that they were on the plans at first, but for certain reasons, which Mr. Putland ought to state were removed. The Clerk reminded Coun. Putland that he had an opportunity of examining the plans months ago when they were laid open to the inspection of the ratepayers. Mr. Putland protested against his conduct being criticized by an officer of the Board. The Mayor remarked that the Surveyor had said he felt not to be in a position to reply to Mr. Putland, but he (the Mayor) assured him that he had the fullest liberty of replying to anyone when the drainage plans were called to question. Then, said the Surveyor, it was sometimes difficult to give an off-hand reply to unexpected questions, but he found that the depths of the main sewer in the eastern division as given by Mr. Putland, last week, were from 6 inches to 2 feet wrong. Mr. Putland admitted that they might be a few inches in error; an error which anyone else might make, for the scale was the very awkward one of 11 feet. He was reminded that it was the scale of the General Board and the Ordnance Board. Mr. T. B. Williams thought that if the plans were so imperfect, they had better put off the drainage for two years. The Surveyor said he cared very little what Mr. Putland and Mr. Williams said. Those plans had been inspected by men of greater ability than any man in that room. The Mayor was sorry that either the Surveyor or Mr. Williams should use strong language, as it provoked a rejoinder. This was the last Council meeting of the year.

Town Council Meetings - Soldier's Families &c.

Rating the Poor. This was a subject discussed at the March meeting, it being known that an enormous number of summonses had been issued, and at a time when everything was dear, and poor people almost without the means to purchase food. Ald. Scrivens advocated the levying of small rates not on the poor, but on the landlords. Vestries, he said, had the power to do so. The Mayor said a hard case came before him that morning, the rate being 1/5 and the summons 3/6.

Soldiers Families. At an adjourned meeting in March, it was resolved by the Town Council to petition the Secretary of War and the House of Commons for some provision to be made by the State for the wives and children of soldiers on foreign service, and particularly in the case of the expedition to the East; also to provide for the widows and families of those who might fall in the service.

Why Called Special? At the Council meeting on the 7th of April, Ald. Scrivens wished to know why the monthly meetings were always called ‘Special’ and was told by the Clerk, because they were held in addition to the regular quarterly meetings [The same rule applied to the meetings of the St. Leonards Commissioners]

[ 65 ]New Road at Wallinger’s Walk. At the Council Meeting on April 7th, Coun. Hickes called attention to the advantages of the proposed new ​road​ on the west side of St. Mary’s burial ground to the top of St. Mary’s Terrace, which was estimated to cost £385, and towards which Mr. Macmurdo [the recent purchaser of Castledown House had offered £300, and other persons would subscribe the remainder, if Wallinger’s Walk were stopped up. The Roads committee reported that Lady Waldegrave positively refused permission for the old ​road​ by the Eft Pond [at the foot of the Lady’s Parlour mound] to remain open if the proposed new ​road​ were made; most of the Council also objected to the closing of the old ​road​, as well as to the stopping up of Wallinger’s Walk. Mr Hickes’s proposal, therefore fell to the ground. More than forty years later, however, after much agitation, two new ​road​s, commencing at the exact spot, were opened out to the West hill, but that was when an immense amount of new property rendered greater facility of approach absolutely necessary. Also, at the time this is written, Castledown House has changed hands, the grounds are being built upon, a new outlet effected, and Wallinger’s Walk widened.

The Water Supply - Cinque Ports Jurisdiction

The Water Supply. Also at the April meeting of the Council, a long discussion ensued on the question of the Water supply. Coun. Ginner, who was at all times the champion for a good supply of water, stated that the supply was getting into an alarming condition. Mr, Milne, who had been engaged to report upon such supply, was causing delay and treating the Board in an unsatisfactory manner. Mr. Rowe, if engaged, would not leave his home, and he (Coun. Ginner) would therefore propose that they engage Mr. Penny to examine and report thereon. Coun. H. N. Williams reminded the meeting that those who were in favour of the Ecclesbourne scheme declared that when the reservoir was finished the town would never again be short of water; but now, soon after its completion, they were told that the supply was in a desperate state. Things were altered since the Commissioners’ days. They could no longer spend money without consent of the General Board, and he failed to see the utility of having parties down at a great expense unless they could see their way clear what afterwards to do. At the quarterly meeting on the 5th of May, it was resolved on the motion of Mr Ginner (who had been 20 years on the Water Committee, succesively(sic) as a Commissioner and a Councillor) that the Local Board approve of Mr Penny’s plan for increasing the water supply; - that he make the necessary specifications for carrying out the work; and that immediate steps be taken to purchase from the Countess Waldegrave and others such land as would be necessary for the engine-house and cottage near the Gasworks, [ 66 ]and for the small tank on the West hill. The reports, both of Mr. Mylne’s(sic) and Mr. Penny’s having got to be known by Messrs. Martin and Sons, millwrights and engineers they stated through the medium of the Hastings News, that such reports and plans would involve an expense of from £4,000 to £5,000, and that they (Messrs. M. & sons) would engage to raise the water without steam power for half that sum. At the Council meeting on July 11th, Mr. Clark’s offer to supply Hastings with water from his Eversfield works from 6 to 12 a.m., at £3 per week was accepted, and an order was given for the purchase of about £100 worth of 6-inch pipe for connecting such water with that at York ​building​s. The water question was again discussed at great length at a meeting on July 25th; for notwithstanding the additional supply from Mr. Clark’s works, it was stated that whilst the town required a daily supply of 100,000 gallons, it was only getting 48,000 gallons. The two largest reservoirs were completely dry, and one of the others had only three feet of water. Coun. Ginner remarked that if the present heat continued [owing to the visible comet[b] some persons declared], it would be a great mercy if some great calamity did not befall the town. [The scarcity which was felt in Hastings was that which was more or less experienced throughout the nation.] In this dilemma a request was made that people would not wash their pavement with fresh water. The sanction of the General Board of Health had been given to borrow the £100 for the purchase of water pipes to connect the eastern and western waterworks, previous to which loan it was stated that the total of all the loans granted to the Local Board by the General Board was £20,210.

The Cinque Ports Jurisdiction. At the Council meeting of July 25th, the Committee appointed to consider the provisions of a Parliamentary Bill affecting the jurisdiction of the Cinque Ports, reported that they did not see anything objectionable in it. By this Bill the jurisdiction of the Lord Warden would be replaced by the County Sheriff through his usual officers in all matters relating to debts and civil processes; but the rights of the Lord Warden would be preserved as they stood in respect to flotsam, jetsam and lagam(sic)[c][goods floating in the sea, cast upon the shore or attached to a wreck]

No Educational Help. At the Council meeting on July 11th, the members of the St. Leonards Mechanics Institution having applied to the Local Board to put down a pavement in front of No. 40 Norman ​road​, in consideration of the ​building​ being a public one. Councillor Bromley moved that the application be rejected. It was not right he said, to pay towards that from which they received no benefit, even if they had hats full of money [conveniently forgetting, apparently that the Institution [ 67 ]paid poor-rates and district rates] Coun. Williams in seconding the rejection said the Institution belonged to St. Leonards, and therefore the St. Leonards Commissioners should be asked to pave the front. Coun. Ross would admit that they could not spend money on a more commendable object; still, he should vote against it. Ald. Rock enquired on what principle the pavement was laid down by the Board in front of the Infirmary? An institution like the one in question, ought, he contended, to be assisted, and the more so, as such educational and otherwise useful societies were not often well provided with funds. The application was negatived by 8 to 5.

Numbering of Houses. At the same meeting, in response to an application, it was resolved to number the Long Fields houses consecutively from top to bottom as St. Mary’s terrace; also Stonefield ​road​ in a similar manner.

Further Numbering and Alterations. At a later meeting (Nov 3rd) a previous order to call York Buildings York street was rescinded in compliance with a memorial to keep to the original name. On the opposite side one part was called York place, and one part Wellington place. The inhabitants on that side desired it to be called by the latter name. The Town Clerk had stated that the Board had no power to give any locality the name of “place”. If any alteration were made it must be to that of street. The north side has thus continued as York Buildings, and the south side as Wellington Place.

Warrior Square. At the meeting also of Nov 3rd, a previous order for numbering Warrior square consecutively from the SW. corner round to the SE. corner was rescinded, it being impossible to know how many additional houses would be built. It was now proposed to number the houses on one side as 1, 3, 5, &c. and on the other as 2,4,6, &c. Couns. Putland objected to such an arrangement, and moved as an amendment that one side be called Warrior Square-West, and the other, Warrior Square East. The original motion was carried by 9 to 5; hence the present odd numbers on one side and even numbers on the other.

A New Fishmarket. At the November Council meeting, it was resolved on the motion of Coun. Bromley, to erect a ​building​ for a fish market, at an estimate cost of £700, the same to contain 14 stalls, which if let at 1/6 per week, would yield an annual revenue of £54.

Iron Stone. At the quarterly meeting on the 5th of May, sanction was given to Mr. Chas. Sharpe, to take one or two hundred tons of iron stone, at 6d. per ton, to be sent off for smelting purposes as an experiment.

To Widen the ​road​. At the May meeting of the Council the Clerk stated that no reply had been received from the S. E. Railway Company to the question on what terms they would part with a piece of ground to allow of widening the [ 68 ]the(sic) ​road​ at the west end of York Buildings. At a later date, however, the said Company, with commendable liberality, gave up to the Local Board, without compensation, a portion of the required ground, so as to admit of the ​road​ being made considerably wider along the front of Meadow Cottages, from York Buildings to the Castle Mews (now from the General Post Office to the Gaiety Theatre). At a later date the S. E. Railway Company gave the Local Board permission to take water from their spring at the Priory, for which the Council passed a vote of thanks.

Defensive Works. As other places were being fortified, the Council, at their May meeting resolved, on the motion of the Mayor, that an application be made to Government for Hastings and to be put in some sort of defence.

The Market Room. The lease of the Market Room having expired at Michaelmas, Mr West of the Anchor inn, stated his willingness to have the lease renewed for three years at the same rent of £65. The Local Board at their meeting in September, had a long discussion upon it, during which an opinion was expressed by Ald. Ticehurst and Couns Ross that £65 a year for what cost £1400 to build was a ridiculously low rent. It was therefore decided to advertise for tenders. At an adjourned meeting an offer of only £60 was received from the lessee of the Market to hire the room over, and £65 was tendered by Mr. Harvey. An offer was also made by Mr. Wm. Payne, of the Cutter, inn, of £90, if a good entrance could be made from the S.W. corner, in West street, and an additional £10 if the Local Board would furnish the room with chairs, stalls &c. All these offers were declined, and Coun. Ross moved to keep the room in their own hands to be managed by a committee. Coun. Williams moved an amendment, that the highest tender be accepted, remarking that their own management of it would be attended with much expense and trouble, whilst the want of an adjoining room would make it very awkward for public meetings. Coun. Deudney, in seconding Williams’s amendment, hoped that in any case, the room on market days, would be managed as before. As against taking it in their own hands, Coun. Deudney stated that the Lewes Market room was originally built by shareholders, who, after a time, were very glad to let it off their hands. The original motion was eventually carried by 8 to 3. It may be here remarked that the said room, whilst being the largest as well as the newest in that part of the town, but with many inconveniences, was frequently hired by the committees of the Atheneum and Mechanics’ Institution for entertainments; but at this time both societies were in financial difficulties, and were likely to cease engaging the room. Also, that the advocates for the room being managed by the Board, were the very men who, by their agitation, had caused the Post Office to be removed from its near situation of the Market Room to half a mile westward. But after taking the room into their own management, the Councillors, in their combined wisdom, discovered that Mr. West was entitled to six months notice to quit the premises, which had not been given him. [ 69 ]Viscount Chewton. [d]At the Council meeting on Nov. 3rd, Ald Scrivens asked to be allowed to make a motion that was not on the agenda. He was desirous that an address of condolence be presented to Earl Waldegrave on the loss of his son, Viscount Chewton. They might remember that at the dinner given to the Lord Mayor at Hastings, the Viscount referred to the laurels which his respected father had won, and expressed an ambition to win like honours for himself. That praiseworthy desire had now been gratified, but only with his death. The terms of the address was then read and passed.

The East Parade. At the same meeting was accepted Mr. Grisbrook’s tender of £99 for ​building​ the additional sea- wall at the east end of East parade, at that time usually called the Marine Parade, which it more properly was.

Change of Pier-wardens. It was further resolved that as Mr. Chatfield, the Pier-warden, was old and infirm, Mr. Charles Picknell be appointed, on condition that as promised, he give Mr. Chatfield 7/6 per week during the remainder of his life, and that the Council also give Chatfield a pension of 7/6 per week.

Choosing Mayor. At the quarterly and annual meeting of the Council on the 9th of November, the first business was to elect a new Mayor, and for that purpose, Ald. Scrivens said he would propose one of the oldest in point of office among all the members of the Council. That gentleman had long lived in the town, occupied a rising? position, was a man of unblemished character, and well known as a good tempered man. He had been a member of the Council for 18 years, and that man was Mr. Ginner. Coun, Williams had nothing to say against Mr. Ginner, but argued that according to the spirit of the law a mayor should be selected from among the aldermen or from those who held a high position in society. He would therefore propose Ald. Ticehurst. Coun. Amoore could not second it, as he understood that Ald. Ticehurst would rather pay the fine than serve the office. Coun. Ginner was elected with only two votes against him.

The Mayor’s Banquet. The time-honoured banquet in commemoration of a new civic chief was held at the Swan hotel on the evening of the 9th of November, when the newly elected Mayor (W. Ginner) in replying to a toast, said he had not contemplated arriving at such a dignity until a very short time ago. He was proud of being elected Mayor for such a town as Hastings; for, when he considered all its advantages and its growing importance, he thought it might justly be called the Queen of the South Coast He believed that it would in time surpass any watering place in the south of England in its beauty and its healthiness. After a few more phrases he proposed the Health of the ex-Mayor. In responding to the compliment, Mr. Clift [ 70 ]said, in his past conduct it had not been his desire to offend anyone, nor had he gone out of his way to please anyone unless duty compelled him. He would claim no honour for what he had done in getting up the Relief Fund – one which had enabled the authorities to distribute 2,500 gallons of bread. Mr. Clift also said, when giving the toast for the “Army and Navy”, that he proposed it with the deepest feelings, in consequence of the extraordinary exertions now required of them in the East. Hastings, he was sure, would render them all the assistance possible. He was proud that during his office a triumphant sum of £1,032 (afterwards £1,150) was now lying at the Bank, and he thought there was no other town which had taken the matter up so early. [Mr. Clift’s efforts with those of the Rev. J. A. Hatchard’s and others’ in collecting money for the Patriotic and local relief funds, were regarded by many as redeeming features to his (Mr Clift’s) otherwise display of autocratic and partisan political spirit].

Discharge of Constables. At a meeting immediately preceding the quarterly meeting on the 9th of November, the Council acted on the recommendation of the Watch Committee to discharge Inspector Campbell, Sergt. Phillips, and private Waters. As stated on page 56, the police were warned that if the tippling at public houses continued, they would be dismmissed(sic). And now, in support of the Watch Committee’s recommendation, Coun. Deudney remarked that Hasting had the worse police force in England, and he hoped they would get a good Inspector, and weed out the best men to serve under him. [See page 56

Improved Conduct. Before the end of the year, under the regime of the new Mayor (Mr Ginner) and the new Inspector (Battersby) vigorous measures were taken to enforce public house regulations and to produce a more orderly and decorous conduct in the public thoroughfares.

Escape from Gaol. At the commencement of the Year, William Durrant, 26 years old and 5 feet high, but better known as “Elephant” or “Trunky” was awaiting trial for stealing stays from Spencer’s shop. His avocation was that of a seller of water-cresses and mushrooms. While in gaol, he got on to a w. c. where himself and others were washing, and with surprising agility, climbed the high wall and over the cheveaux-de-frize[e], and after dropping into the ​road​, ran off without being caught. On a previous occasion, when P. C. Adams laid hold of him, he slipped out of his shirt, and ran off, leaving the tattered garment in the hands of the constable. [ 71 ]

Methods of Thieving – Hard Times

Burglaries and Robberies. These were unusually numorous(sic) during the year 1854, and would seem to indicate a necessity of the change which in November was made in the Police force. The daring case of house-breaking and robbery at St. Leonards was described in the preceding chapter, and now it has to be recorded that in the night embraced by the old and new year, a burglarious entry was made into a portion of the Pelham Arcade, used by Mr. Moor as a working-jeweller’s shop, and several articles stolen.

Another burglary was effected at the premises of Mr. Morgan, a wholesale grocer at Claremont, through a window that was strongly barred and shuttered. The things that were missing were a package of choice tea and about 28/- in money.

A second attempt to break into the Pelham Arcade was frustrated by the barking of a dog.

Two burglars effected an entrance into the Girls’ schoolroom of the Castle parish, and though they rifled the donation box, they had to depart without being much richer.

A burglary was also effected during church time on Sunday evening, Nov. 5th, (the third time within a month) at 48 St. Mary’s terrace, but the would-be robbers appeared to have been disturbed, while consuming some of the contents of the larder. A reward of £2 was offered for information.

A Daring Theft was perpetrated in the last week of November by an unknown man, who entered the shop of Mr. Eldridge, a baker, at St. Michael’s-on-the-rock, and whilst Mrs Eldridge was giving him change for half-a-crown, snatched the bag of money out of her hand. At the same instant he picked up his own half-crown, and ran off with nearly £8 in gold and silver. The lonely character of the neighbourhood and the darkness of night favoured the escape of the daring thief.

Another Daring Robbery was effected on the night of the 22nd of December at a fruiterer’s shop near the bottom of All Saints’ street, kept by a man named Haste.

A Burglary was attempted in the earlier part of the year (Feb. 28th), when the would-be robbers cut a hole with a centre-bit in the shop door of Mr. Funnell’s grocery store, at 5 Robertson street. They got the bottom bolt drawn, but were baffled by the top one. [ 72 ]

The Relief fund for the Distressed Poor

The Distressed Poor. Although the actors in the above described robberies were supposed to be strangers, it is possible that some of them belonged to the town or its neighbourhood, and driven to dishonesty by the pinch of poverty. The greatly distressed condition of the poor and the severity of the weather in the early part of the year evoked general sympathy among those who had it in their power to mitigate the untoward influences and surroundings. The Rev. J. A. Hatchard, of St. Leonards, was successfully active in the parishes of St. Leonards and St. Mary Magdalen, in collecting subscriptions, whilst the congregation of St. Mary’s in the Castle arranged with the grocers to sell rice to the poor at 1d. per lb, they paying the difference of its ordinary price. For the poor of All Saints about £40 was available from Robert Holmes’s Charity, and £156 was the revenue of the Magdalen Charity, £60 of which was awarded to All Saints, and £96 to St. Clement’s. This divided total was distributed in sums of not less than £2 nor more than £3, to such aged poor as had never received parish relief. The inhabitants of All Saints were never known to have been in such indigent circumstances; many of the small shopkeepers were completely poverty stricken. There were 60 defaulting ratepayers in that parish alone, and the inmates of the Union Workhouse were twice the number of those in the preceding year. A relief fund was started, and 160 gallons of bread was at once distributed[f], the conditions not admitting of a day’s delay. By the 4th of February the Bread Fund had been donated by about £160, and 750 gallons of bread had been distributed during the week. On the 8th of February 200 gallons were distributed by the Committee, and on the 15th, 300 gallons more. A further distribution of 150 gallons was made on the 22nd, and a similar quantity the following week. On the 8th of March the distribution was 100 gallons and on the 15th, another 100 gallons exhausted the fund.

Vestry Meetings

At a St. Clement’s parish meeting the Magdalen Charity book was produced and the names of the recipients were read out. 48 persons received £2 each, and as far as practicable fresh recipients were chosen. The money was allotted at a meeting of churchwardens, the three guardians and the two overseers; and so carefully was the list drawn up that several meetings were held for that purpose. Mr Ginner now retired from the office of parish churchwarden, and Mr. J. R. Bromley was elected in his place. Mr. Ginner had served for seven years. Mr. J. Phillips was elected Vestry-clerk; £5 was voted to the organ blower, and £20 to the organist (T. Elliott, jun) in addition to the £15 contributed by Lady Waldegrave.

Vestry Meetings - The Distressed Parish

At an All Saints meeting Mr. Harvey read the notice from the Home Office, requiring all the churchyards to be closed after Jan. 1st, 1855, except the new piece of All Saints, and that, after Jany 1st, 1860. In the part left open, only one body was to be placed in one grave. The [ 73 ]Rector said the notice had quite surprised him; for, when Mr. Grainger was down, he merely spoke of closing the old part. Mr. Harvey considered that All Saints had abundance of burial space, the new part not being half full, and half an acre quite untouched. He therefore moved that a memorial be sent to Lord Palmerston, praying that All Saints be exempted from the operations of the Act of Vic. 16 & 17. Anthony Harvey was re-elected and George Jackson re-apointed(sic) churchwarden. T. Houghton and Walter Adams were re-elected overseers. George Meadows was re-elected Vestry Clerk at five guineas a year. Mr. Lettine was elected parish clerk at a salary of £20, and a gratuity of £2. Mr. Giles was re-appointed organist, and Benj. Tutt, organ-blower. Mrs. Chatfield was re-appointed pew-opener, and an annual gratuity of £5 was voted to the choir.

At a Castle parish meeting the outgoing overseers were Robinson Funnell and Alexander Paine. The former declined serving again, and the latter, though proposed, was rejected by a large majority, his activity to get the Hastings post-office removed and the St. Leonards post-office abolished being resented. The elected overseers were Chas. Amoore and C. W. Chandler.

At the St. Michael’s parish meeting John Smith and Charles Boulter were elected overseers.

An All Saints Vestry was held on the 17th of April, when a borough rate at 3d. was announced, and a poor rate at 1/2. Forty rate defaulters were ordered to be summonsed; and summonsed they were, but such a process, howsoever necessary, appeared to make matters worse, for it drove several persons to the Workhouse. One woman, as stated by the Mayor, owed 1/5 and was charged 3/6 for the summons. Under such conditions it could have been no surprise that the next poor-rate was even 5d more than the preceding one – namely 1/7 in the £. How the poor ratepayers were to meet it was a problem difficult to solve, the distress in the parish being quite embarrassing.

The Distressed Parish continued in its alarming condition, even when the year had advanced to the month of September. The rate-collector could not get the money in, and the small shopkeepers had given their needy customers credit to such an extent as to be on the verge of bankruptcy.

Herrings. For a few nights in November, herrings were plentifully caught, and sold at from £5 to £6 per last. Whitings were also caught in abundance, and were sold at from 9d to 1/3 per bushel. This afforded some temporary relief to the class of people who chiefly inhabited the All Saints parish.

A Famine of Coal - The Fishery - Maritime Casualties

A Coal Famine. As adding to the discomforts of the trying weather in the early part of the year a famine of coals was also experienced. For an [ 74 ]entire month no coals had been landed, and even before that period the supply was much below the demand, the vessels not having been able to get round from the north. At length, however, Mr. Breeds’s “Wanderer” and “Milward” discharged their cargoes, and the Messrs. Burfield got a supply by rail.

The Mortality. That the low temperature and other discomforts to which the parishioners of All Saints were subjected would increase the death rate was but natural, hence the burials in that parish were exactly twice the number of those in 1852, and seven more than in 1853.

The Fishery. Mention has been made of the good catches of fish for a few nights in November, to which may be added that in January, ten of the Hastings boats were fortunate enough in the western waters to net from two to three thousand mackerel, which they landed at Portsmouth and sold for about £12 per thousand. After that the fishing industry was the reverse of prosperous, until the 11th of March, when some of the Hastings boats off Plymouth, caught from 1,000 to 6,000 mackerel, and sold them at the rate of 25/ per hundred. A wonderful fish was caught on the night of July 14th, by William Evans, of the “Bee” lugger, while fishing for mackerel. This fish, known as the “albacore”[g] was nearly 4 feet long, and weighed 45lbs. Another of the same species was caught in the same manner two nights later, and weighed over 60lbs. These finny specimens of the tropical seas are quite strangers in these parts.

Maritime Casualties

George Bumstead, a Hastings fisherman, who had been mackerel catching at Portsmouth, was accidently drowned, and his body was brought home for burial. His age was 29, and he was buried on the 10th of January.

About the same date, the ”Rock Scorpion” schooner, belonging to Mr. How, of St. Leonards, was dismasted, and towed into Rye harbour for repairs.

The Mary and Theodosia sloop, laden with granite for Messrs. Hughes and Hunter, at Leonards, having sprung a leak, the crew, after many hours’ pumping, were obliged to run her ashore in a heavy sea at the western end of Eversfield place. The sea broke over her in grand style, but she stood the buffeting with so little damage that in two days she was floated to Hastings for repairs.

Particular Deaths

A wrecking of boats took place on the 28th of November in consequence of an unexpectedly abnormal neap tide. At a little before 5 o’ clock in the morning a S.W. gale veered to W.N.W and impelled the sea furiously over the parades and among the boats which lay on the shore. A galley belonging to the “Active” cutter was dashed to pieces, one of the heavy ferry boats was carried away to Ecclesbourne, the Milward sloop was damaged, and two skiffs belonging to a boatman [ 75 ]named Carpenter, were completely wrecked. The boatmen and fishermen were totally unprepared for so high a neap tide, even under the influence of a gale, but if they had known what has been so often pointed out in Brett’s Gazette, that the moon at or near its perigee always raises the tidal wave, and if accompanied by a storm, adds to the dangerous flow of the sea, they would have seen the necessity for pre-cautionary measures. Also if a perigeal new or full moon happen – especially in the winter months – with the moon in her northern declination, the imminence of storm and wreckage or inundation is still further increased. On this occasion “storms” for that particular day were forecasted, the astronomical conditions for which were the moon approaching her perigee, whilst the planet Mercury was in his so-called stationary position and in parallel declination with the Sun.

Reward for Heroism. As an incident in connection with the sea, it is here stated that Mr. John Betts, who had rescued no fewer than ten persons from drowing(sic), during the previous seven years, was the recipient of the Royal Humane Society’s silver medal, together with a resolution inscribed on vellum.

Thomas Bannister, better known as “Blind Tom”, was found dead in bed on Saturday, Feb. 4th, he having, according to evidence, at the inquest, died while sleeping. He was 73 years of age, and for many years he was acustomed(sic) to find his way about town by beating a stout stick against the pathway kerbs, and if interrupted he was likely to use his stick for curbing as well as for kerbing. He fancied that under his skin there were insects of some kind, and he would be seen going twice or thrice a week to Mr Stubbs, a chemist, in George street, for a lotion in wine bottles to counteract evil consequences of the supposed insects. The lotion, probably, was only water. The old man was otherwise eccentric and as I knew both him and his relatives, I could tell some amusing anecdotes; but their want of refinement forbids.

Mr. Henry Went Tree, aged 35 years, died on the 11th of February. He was in partnership with his father as an extensive builder, and was himself the father of the present ex-Mayor B. H. Went Tree. He was also at the time of his death a representative of the West ward in the Town Council. The interment of his remains in the family vault at the St. Mary’s cemetery, took place on the 17th of February, and was attended by the Mayor, Aldermen Scrivens, Ticehurst, Clement and Rook, and Councillors Ginner, Alfred [ 76 ]Amoore, H. N. Williams, T. Hicks, J. Emary, J. R. Bromley, T. Ross, T. B. Williams, J. Amoore, T. Mann and C. Neve. The vacancy in the Council was filled by Mr. John Austin.

Joseph Simmons, a fisherman, died suddenly while at sea on the 25th of March. He had complained for about a week of a severe pain in his neck, but had no medical advice.

Musgrave Brisco, Esq. late M.P. died on the 9th of May, at the age of 63 years. The funeral of this charitable and otherwise estimable man took place on the 19th at Ore church. At the south lodge of the Coghurst estate the funeral procession was joined by the Mayor and Corporation and over 40 professional gentlemen and tradesmen. The relatives and friends, as chief mourners, were conveyed in six mourning coaches, and in the cortege were Lady Webster, the Dowager Lady Ashburnham, P. F. Robertson, M.P., F. North, M.P. and W. D. Lucas Shadwell Esq. Numerous pages, with wands walked by the sides of the carriages, and in the procession were the deceased gentleman’s steward and bailiff; also 24 of his tenantry, with silk bands and scarfs, and 35 men and boys, as work-people, with black hatbands & gloves. After the interment the tenantry were provided with a substantial cold collation in the Coghurst-Hall dining-room, and the work-people at the bailiff’s house. Mr. Brisco’s generosity in life was almost boundless, and his name lived long in the memories of those by whom he was surrounded.

Mrs Lydia Shoesmith died suddenly at Brisco’s Cottages, Cuckoo Hill on Sunday, July 2nd, and at an inquest it was stated that she had been subjected to spasms, for which she took asafoetida[h]. After dinner she went to lie down, and when her daughter went to her she was found to have died. Dr Marks was sent for, who being also a surgeon, made a post mortem examination and found the cause of death to be an effusion of blood on the brain.

Mr. Samuel Phillips, who died on the 14th of October at Brighton, had long resided at Hastings, to many of whose inhabitants he had become endeared by his urbane manners and kindness of disposition. He was educated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and after traveling through many European Countries, he made literature his profession, and in which for freshness of thought and vigour of expression Mr. Phillips had but few equals. Further Memoirs will be found in Historico-Biographies.

Mr. John Banks – not the schoolmaster and lecturer John Banks, of Hastings, but the nonagenarian John Banks of Seaford – died in the latter town at the age of 99½ years, and his death here finds a record, because of his great age and because he had been well known by Seafordians who became residents at Hastings.

Mr. Mogridge, commonly known as “Old Humphrey” (after whom, at a later date, the Old Hastings House and grounds took the name of Humphry’s Avenue) died at Hastings on the 2nd of November; and was interred in [ 77 ]the All Saints ground on the 9th in the presence of a considerable number of persons. Memoirs of this good man may be found in Historico-Biographies.

Mrs Summers, 73 years of age, and a widow, resided at 21 Russell street, and on Sunday, Oct. 12th, she was discovered lying in the sea and nearly dead, but she sufficiently recovered to be taken home, where she remained in bed, sensible, until the following Friday. She knew not how she came into the water, but she had been mentally strange and excitable for a considerable time and had been medically attended for a diseased throat. She died on the Friday here named, and at an inquest the verdict was “Tried to drown herself while temporally(sic) insane.”

Vital Statistics - The Census Tables &c.

Vital Statistics

Notwithstanding the more than average number of deaths in the distressed parish of All Saints during 1854, the Registrar’s quarterly return issued in August, showed the Hastings district in a very favourable light, with regard to health, but less favourable in a commercial sense. The births were more numerous than in any corresponding quarter for the four preceding years, and the deaths in the entire district less numerous than in any such preceding quarter. But the marriages showed a remarkable falling off, thus indicating depression in the trade and labour.

Census Tables

From the census tables of 1851, published in 1854, there was in the Hastings district a population of 21,215, of whom there were 9,786 males and 11,429 females. The population under 20 years of age was 9,209 and over 20 – 12,006. Out of these there were 127 males and 118 females at 70 years and upwards; 68 males and 77 females at 75 and upwards; 35 males and 31 females at 80 and upwards; 12 males and 9 females at 85 and upwards; 2 males and 1 female at 90 and upwards; and 1 female at 100. There were also 1660 batchelors(sic) and 2396 spinsters; 3361 husbands and 3506 wives[i]; 310 widowers and 773 widows.


One of the octogenarians in the above census tables was Mrs. Wood (the widow of Samuel Wood) who at the commencement of the year, while passing from one room to another, fell and broke a knee-cap and thigh bone. She being nearly 90 years of age, amputation of the limb was too dangerous to be attempted.

Eardly Cox, son of John Cox, of Pembroke House, East parade, fell while at work in an unfinished house in Carlisle parade, and though no bones were broken, his life was despaired of for a considerable time. His age was 23, and the date of the accident was Jan. 10th. On the following day

George Broadbridge, aged 18, broke his left thigh by falling from a scaffold behind the Castle hotel. [ 78 ]Reuben May, the Chapel keeper at St. Mary’s, fractured an arm and bruised his body by falling from a ladder whilst lighting the gas in the portico.

Providential Escape. Instead of passing under the scaffold where a house, 22 George street was being erected, two ladies passed outside just as the scaffold broke down and precipitated two workmen to the ground, causing one of them a severe wound on the head. A similar providential escape once occurred to the present writer. It was his business every morning to go to the West Marina, when he invariably passed from the Victoria Hotel to the footpath at 47 Marina; but on one particular morning, for no conceivable reason, he turned outside the pillars that support the colonnade just at the instant when several hundred-weight of hard plaster detached itself and fell to the ground.

Mr.“Curly” (William) Taylor, late of the Rising Sun was, on the 20th of May, standing against Mr. Bourner’s? shop in George street, when a horse and cart were suddenly swung round by a mourning coach colliding with the cart, the shafts of which pinned the aged man to the wall and caused him serious internal injury.

Fatal Accidents at Sea. On the 17th of December, while Edward Ramson, aged 17, was reefing a sail on a Dover brig, he fell overboard and was drowned. He was a son of George Edward Ransom of 123 All Saints street. Three days later, Henry Brazier, of Bourne Walk, aged 27, was knocked over by the boom of the Harbinger schooner, and drowned.

A Curious Explosion. An accident , unattended by injury, but causing some amusement, occurred on the 2nd of June, when a puncheon of yeast suddenly burst, with a loud report in front of Government House.

A Monster Egg. Whether by accident or design must be left to conjecture, but on the 28th of December, a hen belonging to the Rev. Robert West, of Pett, produced an egg the size of which was 9 inches by 7¾. Perhaps she intended it for Christmas, but got too late. The hen, however, was not more notorious and eccentric than was afterwards her owner, for which see page 201.

Dinners (Private and Public)

The Mayor C. Clift, Esq.) gave a dinner on the 13th of January to the Recorder (W. W. Attree), and the Borough and County Magistrates.

The Swan Hotel Tradesmen’s dinner on the 13th of January was attended by about fifty persons engaged in commercial pursuits.

The “Royal Oak” Tradesmen’s dinner, by Mr. Yates, on the 16th of Feb. was well attended and the provender unexceptionable.

The Trade-protection dinner, on the 16th of March, was held, as usual, at the Kings Head, with G. Scrivens’s Esq in the chair and Mr. Womersley in the vice-chair.

The Whitsuntide festivities were celebrated with an apparent zest, greater than ever. About 2,000 persons were brought in by railways and the members of the several clubs paraded the town in large numbers. The “Old Friendly” [ 79 ](with Wood and Elford’s band) dined at the Swan, the “Victoria Lodge” (with Younger’s German band) dined at the Market Hall, The “Benevolent” (with Brett’s St. Leonards Band) dined at the King’s Head, and the “Adelaide Lodge” (with some other band) at the Warrior’s Gate.

A Sumptuous Banquet, on Oct. 17th was given by P. F. Robertson Esq. M.P., to the Recorder and Corporation at Halton House.

A Dinner to Capt. McClure, R.N. on Monday, Oct. 30th was given as a welcome home after his arduous and successful exploration of the Artic(sic) seas. The Mayor occupied the chair, supported by the gallant Captain in uniform, and also by several principal inhabitants. The company generally filled the large room and received the explorer with a hearty welcome. After the tables had been cleared and the loyal toasts had been given, the chairman proposed the health of the Bishop, coupling with it the names of the Rev. J. A. Hatchard and the Rev. J. Wallis. He had, he said, lived in Hastings ten or eleven years, but excepting when the Lord Mayor of London dined with them in that room this was the first time that he had seen clergymen dine with them. He felt that the society of these gentlemen was to the advantage of the company. The Rev. J. A. Hatchard rose to respond amidst great cheering, and said that though he could have wished to be exempted from the task of responding to the toast, it was from no desire that the toast should not have been given. The previous absence of clergymen from such meetings he felt sure was not from any want of sympathy with their lay brethren nor from a non-appreciation of their goodwill; for, without the co-operation of the laity the church could not be so prosperous nor so effective as it ought to be. He felt that he was not overstepping his duty in being present. They were met to welcome home a gentleman who he considered had been engaged on a mission of mercy while searching for his noble-hearted comrade Sir John Franklin. He, indeed, felt it his duty to welcome home a man who would risk his own life for the sake of another. He also felt a pleasure in knowing Capt. McClure to be a resident among them. That gentleman had, by his exploits, done great honour to the place in which he resided. He (the speaker) was a resident of St. Leonards, but he felt convinced that what reflected honour on Hastings did the same on St. Leonards, because their interests were identical. It was good that persons from sister towns should meet together to do honour to such noble men as the Captain. They gave honour to the army and navy, and should they not also give honour to those who hazarded their lives in the manner in which their guest had done. The Rev. gentleman here referred to the dangers and trying circumstances through which Capt. McClure had passed, and said that they were not met on a question that was merely provincial, [ 80 ]but they were, in a manner, the mouthpiece of the nation, and their language was “Thanks to you, sir, for your noble conduct in doing honour to your country.” After a few more remarks, Mr. Hatchard sat down amidst considerable applause.

Capt. McClure Welcomed Home

The Rev. J. Wallis also acknowledged the toast, and remarked that the reason for clergyman not attending meetings of that sort was the fact that they had not before had a Capt McClure to welcome back, and he thought another eleven years would pass before the Chairman or themselves would have to welcome such a man. The clergy were generally teachers, but in this instance they came as learners; for, they were to learn from the example of their guest the lessons of patient suffering, perseverance and self-denial. [Applause] The Chairman then rose to propose the toast of the evening. When they remembered the value and long sought discovery which Capt. McClure had made, they would not be surprised that he had been so well received in the town. Hastings could never be too proud of the honour which she received from the discovery of her townsman. He had heard the Captain say that so great were his privations that he was once obliged to pass 3½ years without tasting vegetable food. Remembering this, they might almost wonder at the resolve which the Captain intended to put into execution when he first landed in Ireland - namely, to pluck the first flower he saw, to taste the first fruit, and to kiss the first pretty girl [Laughter]. He felt it a great honour to have the discoverer of the north-west passage by his side.. He was sorry that that gentleman was then suffering from an affection of the throat, but he would ask them to fill a bumper and drink to the health of Captain McClure. The toast having been received with the greatest enthusiasm, the captain rose to return thanks, but was not able to speak much above a whisper; and the company were thus deprived of what could have been an interesting speech. He was understood to say that he intended to have given them a sketch of his adventures, but was compelled to be as brief as possible. Excepting the last few years that he had been at sea, he had resided in Hastings for five and twenty years; and whenever he had been brought into contact with other inhabitants they had always treated him with the utmost attention. He then began to refer to his arctic experiences, but could barely articulate loud enough to be heard, and then Dr. MacCabe interposed, saying that however pleasant it would be to listen to Capt. McClure, that gentleman was doing himself a serious injury in attempting to speak. He hoped he would instead at some time put his thoughts on paper, that they might have the pleasure of perusing them. [ 81 ]

Captain McClure's Welcome Home

In proposing the “Army and Navy” the Chairman said he had an honest pride in the fact that after 59 years had elapsed, a gentleman who had been one of the heroes of Trafalgar was sitting amongst them. He would couple with the toast the name of Capt. Drake, R.N., and Mr. O’Callaghan. Capt. Drake said he hoped it would not be out of order to lament the affliction which prevented one of higher rank than himself being there to respond to the toast. The patriotic spirit which was shewn at Trafalgar was as much shewn at the Alma, where a victory which was expected to occupy weeks, was gained in a few hours. [The absentee referred to was probably Earl Waldegrave, who was lamenting the loss of his valiant son]. He felt very proud in meeting Capt McClure. From the service which he, (the speaker) had seen, he could in some measure understand how much courage and perseverance was requisite to do what their guest had done. The lamented Franklin – with whom he had been acquainted, and by the loss of whom and his comrades he had been deprived of several dear friends – had said “No human being must accomplish the north-west passage but an Englishman”. He heartily congratulated Capt. McClure on his being that successful explorer. P. O. Callaghan, Esq., of St. Leonards, also responded to the toast, and in a racy speech, said Like my gallant naval friend, Capt. Drake, I regret that no military officer of higher rank or of more distinguished service is present on this occasion, and I should not have presumed to respond had I not been called upon. I trust, however, that I may be permitted to avail myself of this opportunity to express those emotions of pleasure and pride which I feel in having the honour of calling myself a countryman of our distinguished guest [Cheers]. His unhappy country and mine, I am sorry to say, has no naval history. We have been , as you all know, for centuries a conquered military province of England {No, no!]; for a considerable portion of that long time maintained in difficult and reluctant subjection. Thank God, that time is past, never to return. However, until of late years, we have not been permitted to possess even a mercantile, much less a military name. We cannot, therefore, like you, proudly point to a long line of naval heroes. We have no Howard, no Drake, no Raleigh, no Blake; nor can we boast, like your favoured town of a Cloudesley Shovell; and in more recent times we have had no Howe, no Jervis and no Rodney; and – greater than all – no Nelson. Even in the more peaceful but not more glorious pursuit of maritime discovery, we have had no Anson, no Byron and no Cooke; no Ross, no Parry, no Back; and alas no Franklin. But, at last, we have the good fortune to have the right man in the right place. We have had our McClure, who by his indommitable(sic) courage, perseverance and skill, successfully accomplished the vast project [ 82 ] of a north-west passage, and nobly solved the great geographical problem which has occupied the attention and excited the interest of the world for ages past. I fear I am now trespassing on forbidden ground, but I trust you will kindly excuse me as an Irishman in this incidentally alluding to the presence of my illustrious countryman. Your country, gentlemen, is the Queen of the Ocean. Britannia rules the waves, and when she is represented as proudly seated in her marine chariot, she holds in her hand the trident sceptre of the sea god. Long may she continue to grasp it! But let us hope to look upon it in future as a glorious emblem of a triple strength of the three nations – the “tria juncta in uno.” Long may that union continue! Long may your own Union Jack float triumphant on the sea! Long may it brave “the battle and the breeze”, and soon may it flutter in exultation over that hard bird of evil omen with gory talons, dripping beak and gorged crop which so truly represents the rapacity of a sanguinary despot who has bought upon the world all this misery, carnage and woe! If you have had your Nelson, we have had our Wellington; and Capt. McClure and myself have the melancholy satisfaction that out of a list of 1400 killed and wounded at the battle of the Alma, 750 were Irishman. It is not permitted to me to assume the personal protection of our Sovereign. We have no Fusilier Guards, nor is our harmless military pride gratified by permission to fight for you in a national uniform like our more favoured neighbours. We have no Irish “Highland Brigade” but I know my countrymen so well that I am convinced that if poor Paddy cannot make his way into the battle-field with a shilelah in his hand and a shamrock in his hat, he will try to do it with a rose on his buttons, a thistle in his bonnet or a leek in his cap. He will even take service under the mournful banner of our dismal friend “Davy Jones”. I am credibly assured that the Royal Welsh Fusiliers are Irish to a man [Cheers] and I find even in looking at the nominal returns of wounded of that most Scotch of all the Scotch regiments – the 42nd Highlanders, a wounded soldier of the name of Lynch. Now, there is only one other country besides my own whence that man could come - a country in which a certain summary proceeding goes by the name of Lynch-law. He may be a Yankee, but even our respected Member Mr. Robertson, cannot claim him as a Highlander. I have served upwards of a quarter of a century in the army – in the Infantry, on the Staff, in the Dragoon Guards, and for several years in Prince Albert’s Own Hussars, under one of the of the best and best abused Colonels in the service, the Earl of Cardigan. From this long and varied experience I ought to know something of the army, something specially of the medical department with which I have been intimately connected. On this account I cannot but look with anxiety upon the novel method of equipping a brigade of females to be employed on active military duty for the first time in the History of [ 83 ]warfare. I sincerely hope that no ludicrous misfortune may befall any portion of Miss Nightingale’s interesting brigade, and that they may return as cheerful and as happy as when they proceeded on their benevolent mission. [Applause]. Good as was Mr. O’Callaghan’s speech in response for the army, still better was one which followed by Dr. Blakiston (also of St. Leonards) as touching the objects of Capt. McClure’s expedition to the polar regions. In addressing the Chairman, Dr. Blakinson(sic) said - I am sure there is no one present who does not feel that this is a meeting of no ordinary character. We are assembled to do honour to our distinguished guest and to welcome him back from his glorious and perilous enterprise; yet not under a cloudless sky of joy and festivity. All of us feel that there is a dark cloud of sorrow over us, and therefore it is, sir, that I rise at your request to give expression to our deep feelings of emotion by proposing “The Memory of those who have perished in the Arctic Regions.” From the information which has been recently conveyed to us by a veteran Arctic traveller, I fear, sir, we shall find ourselves forced to conclude in our melancholy toast the illustrious Franklin and his brave companions, whatever diversity of opinion may exist as to the manner in which they met their deaths. Suspense is gone and sad reality supplies its place. That we may properly appreciate the labours of our countrymen in the Polar seas it is necessary for us to take a just view of the objects they proposed to themselves in undertaking them; because when a fearful risk to life is incurred for mere paltry or unworthy objects an act is stamped with the character of folly or madness, which if undertaken for the benefit of a fellow creature would be one of noble heroism. It has been erroneously supposed by many that the sole object proposed in the Arctic expedition was the discovery of a north-west passage for our shipping, which some have agreed if discovered could only be navigable for a short period of the year, and would therefore be comparatively useless. But this is taking by far too narrow a view of the matter. There was a large part of the Earth’s surface in these latitudes the geographical position of which was totally unknown to us, and there were various scientific observations to be there made which were required as data for the elimination of some of the most important truths which could occupy the mind of man. It was in consequence of this that Sir Edward Parry was accompanied in his expedition by my highly gifted friend, Col. Sabine. The geographical discoveries that were then made have long been matters of history. But it is very interesting to us on this occasion to recall to our recollection that they passed two seasons in sight of the very spot where the gallant McClure and his crew lay so long icebound, separated only by that frozen gulph which he subsequently crossed, and thereby established the north-west passage. The additions, too, that have been made to our geographical knowledge by the different parties who went out in search of Franklin have been [ 84 ] immense. They have shed a lustre on our age and country, and will cause the names of Collison, McKlintock, McClure, Kellet and Penny to be handed down with honour to the latest ages [Cheers]. I shall only direct your attention on this occasion to one branch of the scientific observations – that of terrestrial magnetism. For many years observations relating to it have been made in many parts of the world under the able superintendence of Col. Sabine; and not long since, one of the results of these observations appeared in the publication of a chart on which were marked the variations which the magnetic needle undergoes in every part of the navigable seas. The direct practical bearing of this on the preservation of ships must be obvious to all. But, more than this, I hold in my hand the proof sheet of a lecture delivered last month by Col. Sabine to the members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, assembled at Liverpool, in which other results are given, no less wonderful and important than unexpected. I have neither time nor ability to explain them to you in detail, but will merely mention that they go far to prove that magnetism is not so much a telluric as a cosmical phenomenon; in other words, that it depends not so much on the earth as the heavenly bodies. [Applause] But, great as these objects were, there was another of a still higher order which filled the hearts of those who undertook the expeditions subsequent of that of Sir John Franklin. They went on a holy errand of mercy, their one wish being to find, and if possible to save and bring home their long missing fellow-countrymen; and in carrying out the object they were assisted by others not of their own nation. Who can fail to call to mind the exertions of the high-souled and energetic Bellot – one whose sterling qualities endeared him to all those with whom he was thrown into, in a most marvelous manner. I believe the French were seldom more gratified than when they witnessed the deep sorrow and heartfelt sympathy which was shown by this country on hearing of the untimely end of this excellent young man; and I feel convinced that when some future historian shall carefully examine the chain of events which seems everyday to be binding closer to our French allies, he will find no link firmer than that which was rivetted on the tomb of Bellot. Nor has America been backward in the search. Indeed, the energy and wholeheartedness with which she has entered into it is worthy of admiration; and I believe that one of her ships is now engaged in exploring Smith’s sound or the neighbouring latitudes. There is [ 85 ]much that augurs future good in this; for friendships formed between nations, as between individuals, are not based so much on a similarity of those tastes and pursuits which lie near the surface as on agreement in the deep undercurrent of feeling such as has been shown to exist during the progress of these Artic(sic) explorations. As long as this agreement continues, we may rest assured that both nations will work together vigorously for the common good of mankind, in spite of any differences which may from time to time make their appearance on the surface of their political relations [Hear, hear]. Such, then, are the objects which these illustrious men proposed to themselves in their arduous undertakings – objects which have enabled them in life and embalmed their memories in death. We mourn for them who have fallen as heroes, but do we mourn for them as men without hope? Far from this. We feel assured that men actuated by such motives did not enter on their work without placing their humble dependence on Him whose eyes alone could see them and whose arm alone could help them in those dreary and inhospitable regions whither they were bound; and when they were driven from one extremity to another – when one by one chances of life were failing them, we can well imagine them joining in a prayer to Him who rebuked the waves and the sea. “Lord, save us, we perish”. Yes, we mourn for them deeply and sincerely, but we do not mourn for them as men without hope [Applause]. Several other toasts and responses followed, during which the chairman announced that he had received £25 each from the two Members, Messrs. Robertson and North, for the Patriotic Fund. Unlike many other complimentary dinners that are given, the one here described was an intellectual treat, and the notice of it is deemed to be worthy of permanent record.

The “Peacocks” Dinner. The Chairman at the above dinner (C. Clift Esq.) being that year’s Mayor, was also chairman at the Castle Club dinner on the 1st of February, when that Radical club – facetiously called “The Peacocks” – was inaugurated.

Harvest-Home Dinner. It deserves to be recorded that instead of the 8th of October annual wedding-day festivals, which took place when Musgrave Brisco, Esq. was alive, his generous widow changed it to a harvest-home festival. Hence, on the 8th of September, the men of Mrs. Brisco’s estate, with their wives and children, partook of an excellent dinner, and spent the rest of the day in pleasure at the bailiffs, the Steward being also present at the farm . house. At the same time another party assembled at dinner with the domestics and friends, at the Hall. [ 86 ]

Public Dinner to Mr. Jeremiah Smith

A Dinner at Rye. The occasion for a grand banquet at Rye on the 9th of August was a singular one, and not only is it worthy of being described for its singularity, but also for the fact that a considerable number of Hastings people sympathised with the object and were present both as partakers and sight-seers. As in one sense the said dinner was a political demonstration, and in another an enthusiastic display of personal regard for one who had been the victim of adverse circumstances, it will be necessary to explain that Mr. Jeremiah Smith, a great hop-grower, whilst Mayor of Rye, was tried at the Central Criminal Court on the 9th of March on a charge of perjury alleged to have been committed before a Committee of the House of Commons in the matter of the election petition against the return of Mr. Mackinnon. The names of the parties who instituted the prosecution did not appear during the whole of the investigation. The defendant was attended by a large party of his friends from Rye, Hastings, Winchelsea, Tenterden and other places. He was pronounced guilty, and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment in Newgate. The prosecution was attributed to private revenge, and the trial evoked great excitement. And as Mr. Smith was greatly respected, much sympathy was shewn on his behalf, even among many of his townsmen who professed political views opposed to his own. Happily, however, for Mr. Smith, only a little more than a third of his sentence was carried out; for, on the 27th of July he was liberated by order of the Home Secretary. The return of Mr. Smith to his home after his incarceration, on the 9th of August was of such a nature as to be remembered for many years by those who witnessed it. The enthusiasm, not only of the inhabitants of Rye, but also of those who had entered the town from other places was most intense. At mid-day the entire space from the market-place to the railway station was lined with about 4000 persons. The station gateway was dressed with evergreens and on each side was an emblazoned shield, one with the City arms and the other with the arms of the port of Rye. The shipping in the harbour had a profusion of flags, and the whole town was decorated in various ways. A triumphal arch was erected at the approach to the station, and a handsome flag was stretched across the street opposite the Mayor’s residence, and decorations appeared on the Town Hall. To meet Mr. Smith, the Mayor, mace bearers and Corporation, headed by Brett’s Hastings and St. Leonard Brass Band, proceeded to the station, and took position on the platform, where also were Mr. Smith’s workmen, uniformly dressed in white round-frocks, with blue rosettes. When the train with a decorated engine arrived, Mr. Smith stepped from a carriage amidst deafening applause. He was accompanied by several friends, the whole party carrying bunches of hops, the principal insignia of Mr. Smith’s business. So enthusiastic were the people that in their [ 87 ]eagerness to shake hands they seemed almost ready to devour their old friend. He entered, with three other gentlemen, a carriage drawn by four horses. This was followed by his own carriage containing his wife and his wife’s sister. A procession was then formed, consisting of the Mayor and Corporation; the four-horse carriages with two silk flags; Mr. Smith’s own carriage, a number of other carriages; Mr. Smith’s workmen, and an immense following of other people. The band, which headed the procession struck up “Cheer Boys, Cheer,” in which all the people joined so heartily as to make the whole town resound with melody and harmony. The church bells also rang out a welcome peal, and flags, with congratulatory mottoes appeared in all directions, whilst here and there, Mr. Smith’s portrait, encircled with laurel, was hung outside of the houses. A huge banner was also exhibited, with a well-executed painting, representing Justice trampling on Envy and Hatred, who, with broken spears, rolled vanquished beneath her feet. This evoked a loud burst of cheering. On arriving at the George Hotel, Mr. Smith alighted and soon appeared on the balcony, where he addressed the crowd, and in the course of his remarks he said that although he had been judged and condemned, he did not complain; but he considered the best judges of his character were those with whom he had lived for fifty years. The reception they were giving him showed the estimate they had formed of his general character and conduct. Mr. Smith then returned to the carriage and the procession was resumed nest to wend? its way to the honoured man’s residence at about a mile distant and known as Springfield. Refreshments were there partaken of, and Mr. Smith was left at his home for a short time, and the procession returned. At 3.30 p.m. he was again at the George Hotel, where a public dinner was provided for 115 gentlemen. The chair was occupied by the Mayor, with Mr. Smith on his right, and Mr. McKinnon, M.P. on his left. While these gentlemen were in high festival at the George, a considerable number of the inhabitants kept up the day as one of pleasure in various games on the Salts, where the proceedings closed with a display of fireworks. The gentlemen from Hastings who took part in Mr. Smith’s enthusiastic reception, returned by the last train, accompanied by the Band, who played them to the Castle Hotel.

More Honours

That Mr. Jeremiah Smith’s incarceration should have resulted in a limited duration at the bidding of the Home Secretary, and that such release should have been the occasion for such a general manifestation as above described, must have been a lasting reminiscence, there can hardly be a doubt. Equally doubtless it is that their gratification would be enhanced by Mr. Smith’s further sucess(sic) being assured by his growth of hops, which that year, were more than usually abundant. His was the first pocket of hops that reached the [ 88 ]

London market, for which was obtained £28 per cwt. and which also gained for the grower a gold laced hat.

Another Honour. If it be an honour to receive substantial recognition of services rendered – and few there are who would dispute it – then it was an honour conferred on the Rev. C. D. Bell on the 25th of July, when he received a purse of £60 from the congregation of St. Mary-in-the-Castle for his valuable services as curate for nearly eight years. This gentleman’s first wife died at Hastings, and was buried at the St. Mary’s Cemetery on the 9th of March, 1851. Mr. Bell became rector of Cheltenham and honorary canon of Carlisle Cathedral, but he many times visited Hastings, for which he had a great liking, and expressed himself as such both in poetry and prose. It is a noteworthy coincidence that whilst I am writing this, the esteemed Cannon has died suddenly of heart disease in London on the 11th of Nov., 1898[j].

Entertainments, Concerts, Balls &c.

An Evening Entertainment was given to a numerous party of nobility and gentry on the 6th of January by Mr. and Mrs. Frederick North, Wood and Elford’s band being in attendance.

A Subscription Ball, similar to the one which up to 1898 had been annually held at St. Leonard for 68 years, took place at the Swan Assembly-rooms on January 13th, attended by over 100 persons.

A Grand Concert of Sacred Music took place in the George street Assembly Room on the 23rd of January to a crowded audience by an orchestra of 50 executants, Mr. B. Wood (violinist) being leader and Mr. Jacob, (organist) being conductor. The choruses were rendered by the St. Leonards Choral Society, assisted by the tenors from All Saint’s Choir and the bases(sic) from St. Clements’ Choir.

Soirées Dansantes. One of these was given by Mrs. Fletcher-Norton, at her residence, 4 Wellington Square, on the 1st of January, and another on the 25th. Both assemblies were, as usual, of a brilliant character, the company on each occasion numbering upwards of 100.

Soirée Musicale. Also upwards of 100 cards of invitation were sent out by Mr. & Mrs. Neale of Wellington square, for their soirée Musicale on the 30th of January.

A Sacred Concert was given in the All Saints-street National Schoolroom, on the 27th of December, under the patronage of the Earl and Countess of Waldegrave, for the benefit of the organist and choir. There was such a crowded audience that I, as the receiver of tickets at the door, had thrust into my hand a half-crown by a gentleman for what he called “a standing seat”. The soloists were Mrs. W. Giles (wife of the organist), Mr. J. Giles, jun., Mr. E. Moore, and Mr. S. Diprose. The instrumentalists were Mr. Giles (piano), Mr. Fuggle, (viola), Mr. French (viola/cello?), Mr. Goldsmith (double bass) and Mr. Guy (flute). There were eight choruses, all of which were well performed, and several of them loudly encored. [ 89 ]

Miscellaneous Items

Christmas Cheer. W. D. Lucas-Shadwell, Esq. observed the old custom of giving Christmas beef to his farm labourers, in proportion to their families. Each man had at least a stone of beef, a plum pudding and a bottle of beer.

Out from Home. On the 18th of September, 300 persons under the management of the Ore Burial Society made an annual excursion to the Swiss Gardens at Shoreham[k], with a band of music, where they enjoyed the holiday immensely.

Occurrences - Various.

An Outlaw’s Dividend. On the 24th of November, a dividend meeting and for the proof of debts took place in London re Henry Tindall, brewer, of White Rock (where now is the Palace Hotel). The trade assignees were Mr George Clement, draper, and Mr. Jas. Rock, coach builder. The bankruptcy occurred 18 years before, namely, February, 1836. The bankrupt did not surrender himself, and on the 28th of April was declared an outlaw. The amount of proved debts was £2,596, and the official assignee had collected sufficient assets for a dividend of 4/4/-. The balance in hand, was £250, to form a second dividend.

New Magistrates. The following gentlemen were appointed to the Magisterial Bench - Earl Waldegrave (who declined to serve, on account of his age) P. F. Robertson, Esq., C. Clift Esq., G. Jackson, Esq., Dr. Blakiston, T. Hickes, Esq. A. Burton, Esq, and A. Grenside, Esq.

Exodus of Coastguards. On the 9th of February about 90 Coastguards left by railway for Portsmouth to form the nucleus of new crews on the Neptune and Excellent, for service in the Baltic. About a week later, some more coastguards were ordered off from Hastings to join the Baltic fleet, and a cutter was on the watch for smugglers should such be tempted to take advantage of the coastguard exodus. The Queen’s birthday anniversary was commemorated by the flaunting of flags and the exercising of the new Coastguards on the East hill. This new force, hastily called together (many of them pensioners) to take the place of those who had gone with the Navy to the Baltic, were dressed in blue caps and jackets and white trousers, but without the uniform buttons.

Volunteers at a Premium. A notice soliciting volunteers having been posted a long time, without producing a single person, Earl Waldegrave issued a printed invitation for the fishermen to meet him on the 27th of January. This they did, but although they listened attentively to a statement of what the Cinque Ports men did in early times, they were not disposed to take the same steps as their forefathers. The offers of bounty money, the able-seamen’s allowances, the freedom from imprisonment, had no effect on them, and when Capt. Bingham also addressed them, they left the meeting with an apparent determination not to offer their services. They had probably read the letters published in the Hastings News and the St. Leonards Gazette from a number of Hastings men [letters which it is [ 90 ]intended to reproduce] recounting the terrible weather and other hardships at the seat of war; and, notwithstanding that at that period the privations of the fishermen and beach labourers were unusually great, they preferred to bear the ills they had than fly to those they knew not of.

The Fall of Sebastopol To the foregoing disinclination to volunteer for fighting purposes was the welcome news that Sebastopol had fallen. On Saturday night, October 30th, reports reached the borough that a great victory had been achieved by the allied armies, and on Sunday morning similar announcements came to hand. On Monday morning a telegram was received confirming the good news, and the church bells were immediately rung. The small cannons belonging to the town were taken to the parade and 61 rounds were fired therefrom. The exultation was general, yet the joy was mingled with regret for the thousands who had been slain, and for the distress of those who had been made widows and orphans. Unfortunately the news was too good to be true. Sebastopol withstood the siege for eleven months after.

A Daring Feat. On two or three days in the month of March, a man named Irvine, performed the dangerous feat of ascending and descending a rope stretched from the “Look Out” on the East cliff to the beach below, his only means of safeguard being a balancing pole. Irvine was thus in advance of Blondin - in time, at least.

Boat Building. At the same time and from the same district under the East Cliff, three gracefully built 4-oared rowing boats were sent off to Brighton by the veteran and skilful boat-builder, Mr. George Tutt.

Removal of Baths. So altered in appearance and so great was the improvement effected by the removal of the “Old Warm Baths” from the parade, and the widening of the pavement from George street to the east end of Castle street that it could only be realised by those who were acustommed(sic) to the previous appearance of that district. Equally great was the improvement of the Tackleway and path leading to the summit of the East hill.

Lacking Comfort. The Hastings and St. Leonards News, of March 10th, while complaining of the smothering clouds of dust in the district under the Local Board of Health between Hastings and the St. Leonards Archway, complimented the St. Leonards Commissioners on their better management in that particular.

The Infirmary. In the so-called dusty district was situated the Infirmary, a reminder that on the 19th of October, Dr. Greenhill was elected one of the physicians to that institution in the room of the late Dr Harwood, a greatly respected physician, of St. Leonards.

Protestantism. On this subject, Dr. Cummings addressed two meetings, at the Market Hall on the last day of February.

The Gas Bill of the Hastings and St. Leonards Gas Company, passed its third reading on the thirteenth of March.

The Chalibeate Water in Mr. F. North’s ground, offered by that gentleman to the public, was partaken of by visitors and others who professed to have been benefited(sic) thereby. [ 91 ]Anti-Church Rates. A petition from Hastings against church rates was presented in the House of Commons on Monday, June 19th.

Equestrianism. On the 10th and 11th of July, Hengler’s Equestrian Company performed in the Recreation Ground, previously proceeding as a grand cavalcade through the borough.

The Licensed Victuallers, to the number of nearly 2,000, visited Hastings on the 18th of July, being conveyed in two monster trains, one consisting of 40 carriages, and the other of 32.

A German Band, for the third year, was engaged to play on the Hastings parade during the season. There were, however, complaints, as there had been before, that they scarcely ever played popular English music.

Lamb Fair. The so-called annual lamb fair by Mr. Henry Thwaites, of Commercial ​road​, took place on July 21st, when 52 killed and dressed lambs were on show at his shop.

A Curious Potato was dug up by Joseph Deeprose in a garden near the ozier-beds. It was formed by the union of four tubers in one, and weighed 2¾lbs.

The Autumn Season gave promise of being a good one, it having commenced with a brisk inflow of visitors, and ‘apartments’ bills becoming fewer by degrees and beautifully less.

Cricket. A match was played by St. Leonards and East Sussex on Sept. 11th and 12th in the grounds of H. M. Curteis, Esq[l], at Windmill Hill. The latter gentlemen winning by an innings.

The Right of Way. On the 2nd of November, the tenants of Lady Waldegrave, Lady Elphinstone, Miss M. J. Sayer, Hy Warburton, Esq, the Rev. W. T. Turner, and W. J. Denne, Esq., with their teams, forcibly removed the chain and other obstructions placed by Mr. H. E. Wyatt across the tenantry ​road​ in front of his house leading from the Lane to Halton via Mount Pleasant.

Guy Fawkes Scrimmage. At this annual demonstration a collision took place near Government House, by which one Guy was capsized, and the bearers of another Guy displayed a contentious and ill feeling against a mob of sightseers. During the scrimmage, one person had a hand severely burnt, and another had a squib shot through his hat from a pistol – a wilful or a thoughtless act of danger.

Preferment. The Rev. Rose Fuller Whistler, M.A. of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, (grandson of the late Webster Whistler of Hastings), was instituted to the endowed Vicarage of Hollington, vacant by the death of the Rev. J. H. Rush.

An Irish Wake. On the 18th of September, Michael Cunningham, an Irishman known as “Old Jack” was buried at All Saints. He was 67 years of age, and had been for some time out of health. He was found dead in bed at the Crown Inn. He had paid £10 for a place [ 92 ]{{Hw| of interment at the All Soul’s Convent, but could not be buried there in consequence of a recent order from the Home Secretary for the closing of burying grounds, the newer portion of All Saints being excepted for a few years longer. Some of Cunningham’s co-religionists attended his funeral, and afterwards held a characteristic Irish Wake. They got themselves thoroughly inebriated, and almost set the neighbourhood in an uproar with their strange freaks.

Enormous Soles, a pair of which weighed 5lbs 6ozs, were exhibited by Messrs. Ball and Stace on the 18th of September.

Municipal Elections. East Ward – W. Ginner 341 votes; Jno. Duke, 263; Jno. Reeves, 262; H. N. Williams, 237. West Ward – S. Putland, 137; J. Beck, 123.

Church Matters; Sermons, Collections &c.

Church Matters

The Training College of the Church of England was benefited to the amount of £34 by a collection after service at St. Mary’s, on the 12th of January.

The New Church, erected for fishermen in Rock-a-Nore ​road​, was opened for service on Sunday, March 26th.

School-aid Sermons were preached on the 23rd of April, and realised £12 6s. at All Saint, £35 12s. at St. Clement’s, and £70 at St. Mary’s; thus shewing, as in all similar cases, the comparative wealth of the parishes.

Thanksgiving Sermons for the harvest were preached on the 1st of October and collections made as follows:- St. Clement’s, £28 (sent to London for sufferers by cholera); St, Mary’s £53 (for ​building​ a school classroom); St. Leonards, £65, (for relief of families of sailors and soldiers serving in the war); and St. Mary Magdalen £86 (for ​building​ church steeple).

A Sermon by the Bishop of Natal, at St. Mary Magdalen’s on Oct. 15th realised £52 on behalf of the heathen tribes in the district; and at St. Leonards church, £20 was collected for the same object.

A School-aid Sermon at St. Leonards Church, on the 26th of November obtained an offertory of £36.

Sermons for the Infirmary and Dispensary, on Dec. 10th, realised £43 at St. Mary-in-the-Castle; £21 at St. Clement’s, £11 at All Saints; and £3 at Halton.

A New Chapel for the Calvinists was contracted, some time in March, to be built in Cambridge ​road​, for the Rev. C. Pavey, who was then holding services in Mr. Banks’s schoolroom. The contractors were Mr. George Clark Jones and Mr. T. Pickering. The cost was to be £1200. The foundation stone was laid on the 18th of April, and the opening service was held on the 18th of October – exactly six months later. There were, indeed, three services during the day, between which were a cold collation in the afternoon and a tea in the evening. These were partaken of at the Royal Oak hotel. The contributions to the ​building​ fund amounted to about £50. [ 93 ]

The Proposed Cemetery

During the week which ended on the 11th of March, parish meetings were held to discuss the subject of a necessitous cemetery, and burial committees were formed. The resolutions passed at the All Saints, St. Clements and St. Mary-in-the -Castle meetings were all to one effect – namely “That the situation of the ground on the Priory Farm appears to be well calculated for a cemetery and is approved of by this vestry.” The first meeting of the Burial Board, composed of representatives of all the parishes, was on the 17th of March, and is described in chapter LI, as are also the meetings of the 24th of March, 12th of May, & 27th of June. At such meetings it was shewn that the chosen site on the Priory Farm could not be purchased and that another site on the Blacklands farm was not acceptable to the two westernmost parishes in consequence of its great distance and difficulty of approach. Then at meetings of the St. Clement’s, St. Mary’s, Holy Trinity and St. Michael’s parishes, resolutions were passed, approving of the Blackland’s site and the purchase of the same, even though the two western parishes withdrew.

On the 5th of October an opinion having been received that the parishes of St. Leonards and St. Mary Magdalen could not withdraw from the Burial Board without the consent of the other parishes, it was resolved that the bill of expenses, amounting to £119 be apportioned as follows:- St. Clement’s £22 19s.; Magdalen, £37 7s. 6d.; Castle £36 5s.; Trinity £9 8s. 6d.; St. Michael’s £2 3s.; St. Leonards, £10 6s. It was further resolved that the Board reconsider the question of purchasing the Horntye field. As, however, only 7¾ acres of that land could be purchased at the legally prescribed distance from inhabited houses, the Burial Board decided to apply to Mr. Eversfield for additional space.

The difficulty experienced in getting suitable ground induced the Burial Board to ask and obtain an extension of time for closing the several burying-grounds from January to May 1855.

The Search for a Cemetery Site - Board of Guardians

The hitherto unsuccessful search for a cemetery within a reasonable distance from the several parishes of the united Board was increased by the geographical position of those parishes. On one side the locality was open to the sea, whilst on the other side or sides there were obstacles that could not be surmounted. Lady Waldegrave was alway(sic) ready to help in good works, but having only a life interest in the land in her own keeping, was legally unable to dispose of it as she might wish. The Priory farm, as has been shewn, was first thought of, but matters could not be arranged conjointly with her ladyship and the trustees of Lord Cornwallis. Next, came the Blacklands farm, a portion of which was offered by the Misses Sayer at a moderate price, but an objection to that site by the western parishes prevented an acceptance of the offer. Then Mr. [ 94 ] C. G. Eversfield was appealed to, but that gentleman having a grand ​building​ scheme in view, naturally declined to sell his land for a cemetery. The next available land within easy reach was the Horntye field, but, as before shown, only 13½ acres could be purchased at a legal distance from the Bohemia houses. Mr. Frances Smith next offered 14 acres of his land at Silverhill at 100 guineas an acre, but on testing the nature of the soil, it was pronounced unfavourable, and the offer was therefore declined. Negotiations were afterwards entered into with the trustees of the Magdalen Charity for 15 acres that would have been suitably situate(sic) for all the parishes, but the high figure of £200 an acre was demanded for it. The Burial Board offered £150 an acre, and negotiations were carried on till the next year, when, on the 12th of January the Board resolved to purchase 15 acres of the “Great Field” of the Magdalen Charity estate at £200 an acre, the Board paying all expenses of conveyance of the land, and the investment and re-investment of the money. Also that the Secretary of State be applied to for his approval, and that trial shafts be sunk upon it before Mr. Grainger’s visit. [The further curious history of the Cemetery will be found among the items of the next two chapters.]

The Board of Guardians

The Press Prohibited. At a guardians’ meeting on the 25th of May, Mr. Anthony Harvey moved that the admission of the Press should only be discussed at meetings made special for the purpose. He also threatened to publish certain charges against Mr. North [charges which had been proved to be baseless]. The resolution was carried by a bare majority, and by the help of certain members who on other occasions were generally absent. Harvey next moved that a bye-law be made and submitted to the Poor Law Commissioners to prohibit the Press altogether, and thus make it altogether impossible for the question to be raised until such law be repealed. A debate then ensued which for bitterness and personal abuse was almost unequalled at Hastings meetings; and that is saying a good deal, after what has appeared in these pages of the conduct of some members of the Town Council. The minority made an emphatic protest against such proposed bye-law, during which Mr. Bromley declared that if Harvey had levelled such a charge against him as he had done against Mr. Smith, of St. Michael’s, he would have punched his head. After an hour’s wrangle, the latter motion was lost, it being considered too drastic and peremtory(sic) even by some of those who were opposed to the admission of the Press.

The Great Increase of Pauperism. At a Guardians’ meeting on June 15th it was shewn that there was the unusual number of 888 persons receiving relief, of whom 748 were out-door recipients, including 162 able bodied. [ 95 ]

Schools - Lectures


On the 1st of February the Boys British School received the Borough-​road​ Inspector of Normal Schools, who examined the boys in every branch of their studies, and expressed great satisfaction at their efficiency. F. North, Esq. presided, and finding that the Secretary’s a/cs showed a deficiency of £6, handed a cheque for the amount.

School Treat. On the 16th of June, 500 of the 600 children belonging to the St. Clement’s and All Saints’ parish schools partook of a good tea in the new schoolroom, after which they proceeded to the East hill, there to engage in games. Up to this year, 1854, for a period of over 30 years, to my own knowledge, successively, either as Mrs Milward or as Countess Waldegrave, that lady continued to take an active and charitable interest in the schools of those two parishes, and annually assisted at their gatherings for enjoyment.

The Boys’ National School on the East hill was opened on the 4th of December. It was built on the site of the former school, which was used for children of both sexes.

Hastings Mechanics Institution.

“Mechanics’ Institutions” was the title of a lecture delivered for this society on the 10th of April, by Mr. John Townshend.

“Nebular Astronomy” was the topic of a lecture for the same association delivered at the rooms on the 30th of January by Mr. D. Macintosh of Maidstone.

“The Philosophy of Dreams” in the form of a lecture, was ably treated of at the same rooms on the 6th of February, to an interested audience by J. L. Leveson, Esq. of Brighton.

“Words” was the text of two excellent lectures by the Rev. R. N. Young, the first of which was delivered to a delighted number of members on the thirteenth of February.

“The Electric Telegraph” was the title of a scientific lecture given in the rooms of the Institution by Mr. John Banks, on the 28th of February.

“History of Architecture” was ably treated in a second lecture, by Mr. W. J. Gant, on the 6th of March.

“Light” was the theme of a lecture which Mr. Joseph Pitter delivered to the gratification of his brother-members on the 13th of March.

“Newspapers” - chiefly historical - was the topic of an interesting lecture delivered by the Rev. John Stent, on the 20th of March.

Electricity was what Mr. J. Banks, not only described in his familiar way on the 28th, but with experiments also he electrified his audience in a “shocking” manner, at which they merely shook their hands and laughed.

“Comets” – those wandering bodies of the heavens that race about in all directions were lectured upon by Mr. Banks on the 17th of April, but with somewhat more dogmatism than later astronomers with more extended observations, would endorse. [ 96 ]

The Mechanic's Institution

The 21st Anniversary of the Mechanics’ Institution was celebrated on the 3rd of May by two grand meetings – one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. On both occasions the Market Hall was excessively crowded and the proceeding(sic) were of the most pleasurable and instructive character. Through the influence of Samuel Phillips, Esq., the celebrated explorer, A. H. Layard, Esq., M.P. had been induced to give an account of his highly interesting discoveries at Ninevah, and this he did to the gratification of all persons present. The President of the Institution (G. Scrivens, Esq.) occupied the chair, and with him on the platform were Sam’l Phillips, Esq., the Mayor (C. Clift, Esq), A. Burton, Esq. (president of the sister institution at St. Leonards), P. O. Callaghan, Esq. (vice-president of the same), H. Martin, Esq. (president of the Battle Institute), F. North, Esq. Rev. T. Vores, and other gentlemen. After the lecture – which was an unwritten one – the Mayor moved a vote of thanks to Mr. Layard, the same being seconded by the Rev. T. Vores, who remarked that Mr. Layard should be regarded as a benefactor to all mankind. In the interval of the two meetings, Mr. North entertained Mr. Layard and a large party to a sumptuous repast. The evening meeting was of a more varied character. The President reminded the company that the object of their meeting was to commemorate the 21st year of the society’s existence and to give the members and friends a stimulus to further exertions. The report of the Committee was then read, in which was described the origin, and to some extent, the progress of the Institution. Certain resolutions were moved and seconded which gave the opportunity for short addresses by Esquires P. F. Robertson, A. Burton, F. North, P. O. Callaghan, W. Crake and A. H. Layard. Also by Messrs. W. Chamberlin and M. Vidler.

Great Prosperity. At the November quarterly meeting, the Committee’s report stated that at no period of their history had the Committee so much cause for congratulation. The Institution was undoubtedly prosperous, a condition mainly attributable, if not entirely so, to the fact that it had uniformly adhered to the legitimate action of a Mechanics’ Institution. It had a net gain of 51 members, making the total 312. This gain of membership was clearly due to the breaking-up of the Atheneum, and the return of members to the Mechanics’ Institution who had previously left it to join the Atheneum. As regards the rigid adherence to “Legitimate action,” it will be seen in later chapters that such determination not to move one jot from what one might call first principles, instead of moving a little with changed conditions of advancing years, was the very cause of that and many other institutions of its like becoming defunct. The proceeds of Mr. Layard’s lecture were £43 10s. 6d.

The Literary Institution

The Atheneum.

A special meeting of this comparatively new association was held on the 30th of August, with Earl Waldegrave (president) in the chair. It was [ 97 ]shown that the peculiar features of refreshments, smoking and draughts, did not answer the original expectation; that the society was over £90 in debt, to meet which there was only the library and the furniture, which, perhaps, would only sell for £30. The expenses were £30 a quarter, and the income from 100 members was only £12 10s. Even with the £80 given them in the first year and with 200 members, they could not pay their way, and it was concluded that it would be best to close the society at the end of the quarter. It was, however, resolved that Messrs. Gabb, Harvey and Cole be a committee to investigate the affairs and report thereon.

A Benefit Fête for the Atheneum took place in the Halton-House grounds, by permission of P. F. Robertson Esq., M.P., on the 18th of September, the music for which was supplied by the town’s subscription band. I have no note of this fête, but whatever it may have been, it did not prevent the society breaking up. Hence, on the 31st of October its doors were closed after three rears existence, and subject to heavy debt.

Sold Out. The books, fittings and fixtures of the defunct Atheneum were disposed of by auction on the 19th of December, realising the amount of £47 10s. The London and County bank took the premises that had been occupied by the society, as well as the underneath shop that had been vacated by Mr. Ives.

The Literary Institution.

It being known that the Hastings Literary and Scientific Institution was also not in a flourishing condition, the committee of the Mechanics’ Institution made an offer to purchase the ​building​, although with a balance of only a few pounds in hand; where the purchasing money was to be obtained, was, probably, only known to themselves. The reply to that offer will be found in the decision of the Literary Institution at a special meeting held on the 11th of December. It was then “Resolved that the offer of the Hastings Mechanics’ Institution to purchase the ​building​ and fixtures for the sum of £1400, in order to use the same as a library, museum and lecture room, be not accepted.”

The Society’s Condition. – At a meeting held on the 29th of December, it was “Resolved that a committee be formed, consisting of the Rev. Thos. Vores, Wm. Scrivens, Rev. John Parkin, Dr. Greenhill and Michael Collin, to consider the condition of the society, and to report what alterations and improvements may be made in its condition and management.” Also “resolved that Wm. Scrivens, W. J. Gant & J. Crosbie be a committee to report on the condition of the Library generally, and the number of missing books.” The reports of the [ 98 ]committees thus formed were produced at the next general meeting on the 25th of January in the following year, and will be found in chapter LIV.

Early Closing- Ellsworth's Charity

Early Closing

A united early-closing meeting was held in Mr. Banks’s schoolroom on the evening of May the 31st, the said meeting being a crowded one and to a considerable extent made up of members of the two Mechanics’ Institutions, the Atheneum and the Christian Association. Letters of apology were read from several clergymen and other gentlemen, but all expressing sympathy with the object of the meeting. A letter from Mr. Alfred Burton, although one of the shortest, appeared to express the views of most of those who by various hindrances were unable to be present. It ran thus:- “St. Leonards, May 30th, 1854 – Sir, I should be very sorry that the meeting should take place tomorrow evening without availing myself of the opportunity of expressing, as president of the St. Leonards Mechanics Institution, my warm concurrence in the object for which the meeting is called. I cannot but think that upon the success of the Early-closing movement depends in a great measure the success of Mechanics’ Institutions. At all events, a considerable number of young men would be unable to avail themselves of the advantages of such institutions without the aid of early closing. I trust, therefore, that the efforts now being made to obtain this boon for the industrial classes of this borough, may be crowned with success. I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, Alfred Burton.” The several addresses delivered at the meeting displayed considerable ability, but the most important resolution was moved by the Rev. J. Stent, as follows:- “That it appearing that the Early Closing Movement in this borough is placed in jeopardy by the opposition of a few individuals, this meeting feels that the prosperity of the institutions is also placed in danger, and therefore urges upon the members to use all the means in their power to enlist public sympathy in favour of the principle of Early Closing.”

Ellsworth’s Charity.

On a motion of Mr. Ross, and contrary to the opinion of Mr. Ginner (an older townsman) as well as that of the Town Clerk (a lawyer) an enquiry was again set on foot respecting the above so-called charity, but like several other matters urged by that gentleman to a legal issue, the Corporation was put to trouble and expense without achieving their purpose. On the 22nd of July an “Information” was laid by the Attorney-General relative to certain property – one fourth of that known as Dissolved Priory of Hastings – left by Mr. Richard Ellsworth’s will in the year 1714 to trustees for the teaching of a certain number of poor children their catchism(sic) and to buy them Bibles &c. The trust had never been carried out, and the [ 99 ]property had passed first to the testator’s son, and afterwards by will and conveyance into others’ hands, and was now in the possession of Earl Waldegrave who had married the widow of Mr. Edward Milward. The Master of the Rolls, in giving judgement said that Mr. Ellsworth had no power to devise the property, and was mistaken as to his interest in the same; he, in fact, at the time of making the will, being merely as the representative of his father – a mortgagee and not absolutely owner of the property. The Information must therefore be dismissed, and, doubtless, would never have been filed if the Attorney-General had had before him the facts which had subsequently been laid before the court.

Postal Contention

The Post Office Question.

This matter, which has already been dealt with to some extent in the preceding chapter by St. Leonards people deeply interested therein, is continued in the present chapter as from a point on which certain persons of Hastings took their stand. On the 9th of January the juntos, commonly called “The Peacocks”[m], met at the Castle hotel, presided over by the Mayor (C. Clift, Esq.), when a small committee of four persons was appointed to represent to the Post-Master General, that there being two post-offices – one in St. Leonards and one in Hastings – was a cause of great inconvenience, particularly to Hastings. This movement did not go unchallenged; for, as shown in Chapter LI, the inhabitants of St. Leonards, both within and without the Archway, presented a counter-petition. The real object was to get the St. Leonards post-office abolished, but to aid the movement, it was ostensibly represented that there should be one office only, and that to be somewhere near the Castle hotel. Then, on the 27th of January, it became the duty of Mr. Clift, as Mayor, to preside at a crowded meeting at the Town Hall in consequence of the memorial sent to the Post Master General, signed by Mr. Ross, and the Mayor, also a reporter named Alexander Paine and some other persons, praying for the removal of the Hastings post-office to the Priory, and the extinction of the St. Leonards post-office. The said memorial was initiated at a private meeting, and sent round for signatures, whilst the requisition to the Mayor to convene a public meeting was signed by 68 other persons. This public meeting was largely composed of what in common parlance were called the “up-town” party, together with a number of persons from St. Leonards. The Mayor assured the meeting that there had been a desire for a postal change for two years past, and hoped the question would now be calmly discussed. The Clerk read a copy of the original memorial, to which the names of the memorialists were not appended. Mr. Burfield re[ 100 ]marked that in such case they ought to consider it as anonymous. The Clerk said the memorial had been formally acknowledged in a letter addressed to Alexander Payne, Esq., Wellington place. This announcement evoked a shout of derision. Mr. Langham declared that the getting-up of the said memorial was one of the most extraordinary things he had ever heard of. He admitted that as the town increased it should have every postal accommodation possible, but that there was no reason why the eastern part should suffer. At the present time the East and West wards each possessed a general post office, and was that not better than having only one post-office at some spot where both East and West would have long distances to go? He understood the memorialists wanted it in the parish of Holy Trinity, where, as a comparison, there were 44 electors and in the other western parishes, 390, making a total of 434 on the western side of the present post-office, as against 443 on the eastern side. Could anything be more fair than the present arrangement?

Was it right that these East Ward electors should go all the way down to Holy Trinity? He did not know the exact spot [Oh, Paine’s! and laughter]. The present Hastings post-office was near the Town Hall and Market, and adjacent to the fishery; and he might further remark that the whole of the legal profession had their offices eastward of the post-office. Mr. Langham concluded by moving a resolution “That the agitation for closing the post-office in George street was not justified by any public want.” A. Burton, Esq., seconded the motion, characterising the present arrangement as very effective, and deprecating the removal of any of the offices. He further remarked that a counter-memorial had already gone up from St. Leonards, the same being far more numerously signed than the Priory memorial [Cheers.] Mr. Hawkins said he did not want the office close to himself, but at present he could not post letters at the branch office in Castle street after 8 o’clock. Mr. Morley reminded Mr. Hawkins that he had the same facility as the eastern inhabitants would have were they to go all the way down to Robertson street. The Mayor explained that he signed the memorial because he thought it was his duty, it having been signed by 130 respectable persons. Mr. Burfield thought that if the chief office of the borough held it to be his duty to sign a memorial because it was signed by 130 persons, he would also hold it to be his duty to sign a contra memorial, with 260 signatures. [Cheers and laughter]. Mr. Langham said there would have been no occasion for him to reply had it not been for the extraordinary conduct of the Mayor in addressing them on the motion, which was very unusual. As to Hastings and St. Leonards – two towns in one borough – having two general post-[ 101 ]offices, they ought to be proud of the distinction.

Retrograde movement to have one post office instead of two

Other resolutions followed, one of which, was “That the Postmaster-General be respectfully urged to keep open the branch offices or some of them till 9 o’clock in the evening.” Mr. Putland also moved “That the Postmaster’s attention be called to the desirability of some improvement in the delivery of letters at Grand parade and Eversfield place.” Mr. Walter said he seldom got his letters at his office in Norman ​road​ before half-past nine. [But as Mr. Walter resided at the Undercliff, where the delivery was much earlier, it must have been his own fault in having his letters addressed to Norman ​road​. Mr. T. B. Brett said as he resided in Norman ​road​, he had much more reason to complain of the late delivery in that district; yet, as Norman ​road​ was said by some of the Hastings people not to be in St. Leonards, and by others – even by Mr. Langham himself – when discussing the question of railways, to have no locus standi at Hastings, the postal question could hardly affect him, seeing that by his living in Norman ​road​ his residence was nowhere [Laughter]. Mr. W. Reid in moving a vote of thanks to the Mayor, suggested a penny subscription to buy him a hammer, for he was sure the Mayor’s knuckles must be sore in thumping the desk to obtain silence [Renewed laughter]. Mr. Harvey would throw out a hint to his Worship that it was a very unusual thing for the chief magistrate of any borough to sign a memorial that was likely to come before him to be adjudicated upon. He was sorry the Mayor so far forgot himself but [sarcastically] he was sure it would not happen again. [Cheers and laughter]. As affording support to those who opposed the removal of the Hastings post-office, the letters posted there in one week were 6,714, whilst at the nine receiving offices the total was but 3,979.

Tumult against the removal of the Post-office

Another Meeting took place on the 2nd of June, this time by the Town Council and at the Town Hall, at which the public had been informally invited to hear a statement by Mr. Newman, one of the surveyors of the General post-office. It was to the effect that Mr. Woods, the Hastings postmaster, had applied to remove the post-office – firstly, because the premises were too small to enable him to make the alterations which the postal authorities required of him; and secondly, because the pitch of the house was so low as to be positively unhealthy. [For such work as that of a general post office the old house at 4 George street was a miserable hole, as my three years’ experience therein enables me to testify. It was also infested with rats, mice and beetles. See Brett’s Reminiscences. Mr. Wood had spoken of a house in Wellington place which he would like to occupy, and he (Mr. Newman) had come [ 102 ] down to inspect such house and he had found it in every way suitable. He had so reported, but before the postmaster general entertained the proposal he begged him (Mr. Newman) to ascertain the views of the Mayor and Town Council in the first instance, and also of the principal inhabitants. Then followed a long period of confusion and disorder at the meeting, the question being raised whether, as the subject was not on the agenda, and the principal inhabitants having been invited the meeting was a public one or one in which the Council only had the right of discussion. At length, after a sturdy opposition by Councillors Ginner, Williams, Burfield and others, Ald. Scrivens moved that the post-office from George street to Wellington place be approved of. This was carried by 12 votes to 6. The Mayor consented to call a public meeting at the Market Hall in the evening. This meeting commenced at 7 o’clock, and for two hours a most disorderly scene prevailed, in which personalities were abundantly applied to the various speakers. A motion was at length carried by a large majority “That a memorial be forthwith prepared and forwarded through Mr. Newman to the Postmaster General, urging that the removal of the post-office do not take place.”

There were other considerations, however, which weighed with the postal authorities than those which were referred to by Mr. Newman – namely the increasing population and growing trade in the western part of Hastings, and the shorter distance from the railway station. Hence, notwithstand(sic) the memorial against removal from George street to Wellington place, it was decided to do so, and the new premises were at once fitted up for the purpose.

Date of Removal. From No. 4 George street to No. 2 Wellington place the post-office took its journey on the 29th of July, and in place of the old office at the old house, a new receiving-house at a new house was effected.

The Russian War.

Locally, as well as nationally important was the lamentable war with the great European and Asiatic Power of the North, and among the local associations already noticed were the drafting of coastguards, the collecting of large parcels of linen and other necessities by Mr. Hatchard and others for the wounded at Scutaria[n], and the contributing of £1150 to the Patriotic fund. And here it may be added that a number of Hastings men were engaged in that war, some to die, some to come home in disabled condition, and some to return with rewards for bravery under difficult circumstances. Letters were sent home from these brave men which had an interest of their own [ 103 ]apart from the general details of special correspondents of the daily journals, and differing, it may be, in some few particulars from the messages of the “specials”, but in most cases corroborating the same. Another local feature was the publication of lengthy extracts from the letters of our local fighters, chiefly by the Hastings News and a diary as well as articles (with pictorial representations) in the St. Leonards Penny Press. These – or some of them – are here reproduced as a permanent means of reference.

Jan. 4 - English and French squadrons enter the Black Sea.
“ 6 - The battle of Citate by Turks and Russians. – See illustration on page 105
“ 12 - First division of Baltic fleet under Sir Chas. Napier, passes Hastings.
Mar. 24 - British fleet enters the Great Belt.
April 1 - The Miranda steam-ship returns from the Baltic forcing a passage through ice of 100 miles.
“ “ - War declared, according to ancient custom in front of the Royal Exchange.
Ap 2 - 4000 Danes visit the British fleet and wish it success.
“ 4 - Sir Charles Napier addresses the men in his fleet.
“ 5 - Seizure at Northfleet of two unfinished Russian steamers.
“ 7 - Sir Chas. Napier pays his respects to the King of Denmark.
“ 16 - Five Russian vessels taken to Denmark as English prizes.
“ “ - 250 bullocks presented to the fleet by the King of Denmark.
“ 19 - The prizes taken by the Baltic fleet augmented to 14.
“ 22 - Eight English and French ships, with six rocket-boats, destroy the military forts of Odessa, blow up the powder magazines, sink several Russian ships and damage the Imperial ​building​s.
“ 25 - The Anglo-French fleet before Sebastopol, having previously captured the Russian merchant vessels.
“ “ - Two more prizes taken into Portsmouth.
“ “ - The Russians evacuating Little Wallachia and burning the villages in their rear.
“ 27 - The Revenue cutter “Active” captures near Hastings a Russian barque of 400 tons.
“ “ - A French frigate captures a Russian galliot and tows her into Margate.
“ 29 - The Lion revenue cruiser enters Dover harbour with a prize.
May 3 - The French fleet sails from the Downs to join Sir Chas. Napier in the Baltic, thus increasing the force to 70 Ships and 30,000 men.
“ “ - The Turkish fleet of 22 ships sails for the Black Sea.
“ “ - Parliament votes an additional 4½ millions for war purposes; also an addition of 14799 men to the army; thus increasing
[ 104 ]
the land force to 142,000.
May 9 - A camp of 100,000 forming at Boulogne and 50,000 at Marseilles.
“ “ - The Duke of Cambridge and Marshal St. Arnaud arrive at Constantinople.
“ 12 - The English frigate Tiger gets stranded near Odessa, and the crew surrender to the Russians (See illustration, Page 112, for Russian barbarity)
“ 11 - Ishmael Pacha(sic) (see portrait and memoirs page 106) leaves leaves_Kalafat with a corps d’arinee, falls in with a body of Russians, kills 325, wounds, or takes as prisoners nearly 800, and captures 300 horses: this he does with a loss only of 30 of his own men, and some wounded. Up to this time, it is said, the Turks have beaten the Russians in every encounter

13 - The Russians lose 1,500 men before Silistria. The seaboard of Circassia having been evacuated by the Russians, the mountaineers come down to take possession of the principal posts.
15 - The Jasper.gun-boat blown up off Hastings, its crew, of 33 men all saved.
16. - A Sonambulist walks into the Serpentine, is discovered, and providentially saved.
16. - Ano her defeat of the Russians at Nicopolis, 1,800 slain.
17. - Eight fatal and distinct accidents occur at the east end of London on this day. A division of the 4th Light Dragoons arrives at Hastings, en route to Dorchester.
18. - About 40 of the Sussex Militia volunteer into regiments of the line. The British steamers, Amphion and Conflict, with their gun boats, enter Liban harbour, and bring out eight Russian merchant ships as prizes. Letitia Prescott, aged 77, imprisoned by the Insolvent Debtors Court for contracting a debt without reasonable expectancy of payment.
19. - Capt. Hall of the Hecla, in company with the Arrogant compels two Finnish Fishermen to pilot the vessels up a narrow river, evening comes on, and anchors east, whilst from a high sand-bank, and thick wood, the Russians open, fire upon the vessels. The ships beat to quarters, and pouring in a volley of shot and shell quickly dislodge the enemy, after which all is made snug for the night.
22. - At Manchester, Michael Cosgrove, aged 75, murders Margaret Moon, aged 66. Government obtains a majority of 104 for the issue of exchequer bonds. A majority of 67 obtained in favour of an abolition church rate bill.
23. - Aumiral Napier reported off Hango Roads, and about to attack the principal fort - the detached forts having been already destroyed by three steamers, with a loss of three killed and a few wounded.
May 22. - Sir Charles Napier, in Hango Roads, orders the “Dragon” to take up position and try range of guns against a granite battery; the fort replies, and an engagement is continued for 34 hours, during which the battery, sustains serious damage, whilst the Dragon comes off with, one man killed, and one wounded. Successful experiments are also made by three other steamers of the fleet.
May 24. - The first detachment of British troops leave Gallipoli for Varna. At Scutaria, a grand review takes place in honor of her Majesty’s birthday, at which, for the first time the men are permitted to doff the leather choker so long and so justly complained of.
May 25. - Lord John Russell’s "Oaths bill" rejected by a majority of four. King Otho accepts the Anglo-french propositions, and with fear and trembling declares strict neutrality.
May 26. - The garrison of Silistria have maintained, their position against four grand attacks, in which the Russian besiegers are said to have lost 8,000 men.
May 28. - A wedding celebrated in Yorkshire, in which the bride, bridegroom, bridesmaid and groomsman are all deaf and dumb In Ireland a church is entered by a ruffian, who burns the bible and prayer-book, cuts to pieces the carpets and commits other sacrilege. The French well-digger who was buried alive for 19 days, sinks under the exhaustion.
May 29. - Awful thunder-storm and loss of life in Derbyshire. At Hammersmith, Stephen Wigly dies from injuries inflicted by a horse, which having seized him by the head, dashed him to the ground, fell on him with its knees and bit him in a frightful manner.
May 30. - Violent thunder storm and loss of life in Dublin. Mr Francis Norton of her Majesty’s household commits suicide. A Coup-d’etat in Copenhagen. Three Hastings fishing-luggers seized by a Revenue Cutter for entering Boulogne harbor without a foreign licence.
May 31. - In America, three wagon load of gunpowder explodes, by which several persons are killed, and 80,000 dollars worth of property destroyed. To quell an anticipated outbreak, on the occasion of sending back to his master a Boston slave, the streets are lined with troops, and commanded by cannon. What a spectacle for a free republic ! The Europa transport ship is totally destroyed by fire, causing the melancholy death of two officers, four sergeants, and twelve men of the 6th dragoons; also one woman and two sailors.
June 1 - The King of Portugal arrives at Southampton. The mail-ship Washington arrives off the Isle of Wight, and reports that 6 French men-of-war had arrived at Havannah, and caused great excitement. At Halton, Hastings, a child dies from an overdose of medicine accidentally administered.
2 - The Sidon. and Inflexible tow into Balchik, six Russian vessels, valued at £12,000.
5 - A portion of the English fleet pays a second visit to Liban and carries off ten Russian vessels. At Bolton, a meeting is convened to consider the alarming deficiency of water.

At Hastings, nearly 2,000 excursionists arrive to join in the Whitsuntide festivities. At Sheffield, Kossuth addresses 12,900 persons in favour of the Hungarian and Polish nationalities. At Bury, a Mrs. Kay, who has always evinced great fondness for her children, attempts to destroy them and herself, having become desperate at being left without food and money by her brutish husband. At Oxford, a Mr Willement is thrown from his horse and killed. At Crowland, Lincolnshire, a Mrs. Hickling is brutally murdered by the son-in-law of her husband.

7. - The Marquis and Marchioness of Bredalbane give a grand Bal Costume to the Queen. Prince Albert, the King of Portugal, and nearly a thousand of the elite of society. At Newington, Henry Simmonds murders Rosina Murray, his landlady.

The boats of the Vulture and Odin, belonging to the English Baltic fleet, being manned for the purpose of landing in the town of Gamla Carleby, are fired upon by the Russians from a masked battery, and a serious loss of life ensures; out of the 230 Englishmen engaged, 54 are killed, wounded, or taken prisoners.

8. - Admiral Napier arrives at Porkald Bay, and descries ten or twelve Russian liners at anchor behind the battery of Sweaborg.
9. - The Duke of Newcastle is appointed to the new government office of Minister of War.
June 10. - The Crystal Palace opens under the most favourable auspices. The presence of royality, nobility, wealth and fashion, added to the combined effects of natural and artificial scenes and objects, and the powerful strains of 300 instrumentalists and 1150 vocalists, render this magnificent place such an exciting palatium of delight to the 30,000 who on this day make it their rendezvous as baffles all description.—— Up to this date, 72,000 French troops have embarked for Turkey.
11. - The Monarch steamer succeeds in raising the 16 miles of telegraphic cable which was lost twelve months ago.
12. - At Nottingham, Kossuth addresses large audiences on the present war and European freedom. At Liverpool, Mr. G. Forster is committed for stealing £1,000 Bank Post Bill——The Great Britain steamship sails for Port Phillip with 540 passengers and £39,000 gold specie, —— Arrival in London of several English engineers, lately employed in the Russian feet and dockyards.
19. - The Earl of Aberdeen endeavors to elucidate some imperfectly expressed ideas of his unfortunate speech of the previous Monday, and among other things alleges that Turkey is able to cope with Russia, single handed, and that France is stronger than Austria and Russia put together. But, the Marquis of Clanricarde accuses Lord Aberdeen of being the constant supporter of arbitrary power in every European nation——The Duke of Cambridge arrives between Varna and Shumla. The estimated English force is 20,000, and the French 40,000.
20. - Death or the gallant Captain Butler, at the age of 27, from a wound received 8 days previously whilst bravely and successfully defending Silistria against the Russians. — A violent storm destroys a pontoon bridge at Kalarasch, and 500 Russian artillerymen are swept away.
21. - At Baro-sound the Anglo-French fleet of 51 sail present a naval spectacle, the grandeur of which is beyond description.—The Russians abandon the seige of Silistria, after a fruitless attempt of more than 40 days duration, Up to this time they admit having lost 50,000 men by, war and disease.
23. - At Fairlight, Hastings, William Smith hangs himself, supposed to be under the influence of intellectual derangement.—In the Honse of Commons, a supplementary estimate of £20,000 for war prisoner’s expenses is agreed to.
26 - up to this date, the number of deaths from Cholera in Barbadoes is 2414. - A fire occurs at Olney, and consumes nearly 60 houses. - In latitude 41’ 50, and longitude 57 20, the three-deck ship, Trade Wind, and the Olympus come into violent collission)sic), both vessels sink, and 24 persons are drowned.
27. - At Hastings, an infant is found dead, having, it is supposed rolled over in its bed and suffocated itself. — A gentleman, while bathing at Hastings, is overpowered by the waves; his danger being seen, several persons run to his rescue, and among them, Mr. Thos. Ranger, who, after landing him safely on the beech, hobbles home with dripping clothes, and a dislocated ankle
28. - The Vulcan steamer leaves Spithead for Turkey, with 800 soldiers, and 60 tons of Minié rifle ammunition. - At Hastings, an examination of the boys of Parker’s free school takes place, the results of which are of the most satisfactory nature, and evince in a high degree, the very excellent system of training adopted by its indefatigable superintendent, Mr. Jno. Banks.
29. - The steamers Firebrand and Fury completely destroy the strong batteries at the Sulina mouth of the Danube.
30. - During the six months ending this day, there have been 100 persons killed, and 119 injured on the railways.
July 1. - The number of steam boat disasters in the United States from January, is upwards of 100, involving a loss of 2,000,000 dollars of property and 300 lives.
2. - The squadron commanded by Vice-admiral Bruat joins Vice-admiral Hamelin in Baltschick ​road​s, the former having conveyed 9,000 men to Varna and landed them in one day. - At Deptford a riot occurs between the Lancashire militia and some Irish laborers.
5. - The Turks gain possession of Mokan.
7. - A desperate battle of 10 hours duration is fought at Kama, near Rustchuk, by the Turks and Russians, which ends in a Turkish victory, and a loss of 5,009 Russian soldiers. Capt, Hyde Parker is shot through the heart in storming a stockade near the mouth of the Danube, and six of the crews of the Firebrand and Vesuvius are severely wounded.
10. - To this date 11,000 have died from cholera at the Mauritius.
11. - the Turks attack and defeat the Russian rearguard at Frateschti.
12. - Omer Pasha arrives at Rustchuk, 30 English pioneers are assisting at Giurgevo, and 30 English sailors take the direction of the Turkish flotilla.
13. - Abbas Pacha, viceroy of Egypt dies suddenly of apoplexy and is succeeded by said Pacha. - An American brig and a Portuguese vessel manned by Frenchmen, sail down the west coast of China in pursuit of 16 heavily armed pirate junks, but do not succeed in a capture.
14. - the Munich Industrial Exhibition opens with great pomp; the number of exhibitors iS 6588; - Mrs. Chisholm and her emigrant party land safely at Port Phillip.
15. - a steam-boiler explodes at Rochdale and 10 lives are lost. - The Incline plane, schooner, constructed upon Lipscombes new principle is launched this day, and it is expected that she will outsail every other boat.
17. - The Colombo leaves Liverpool with the 20th regiment for Varna.
18. - The Baltic fleet sails from Baro sound towards Aland.
19. - The Russians advance upon Guirgevo in three columns with the intention of driving the Turks across the Danube but are vigorously repulsed, and. two of their generals wounded.
22. - At Parma, Italy, the Austrian troops are fired upon from the roofs and windows of the houses. At Deal, the band of the 3rd regiment of French Infantry is entertained and a most enthusiastic fraternization between the English and French takes place. - The wholesale book-sellers in Paternoster Row, close at 5 o’clock instead of half past 7. - Mr. J. Hind discovers another new member of the group of minor planets. - The Chinese insurrection gains ground and Canton is being besieged by the rebels.
23. - Eight Anglo-French war-ships are at Honolulu in the Pacific.
25. - In the House of Commons £3,000,000 are voted for war purposes.
26. - A collission(sic) on the Birmingham railway, killing one man, injuring two others. - The Himalaya leaves Liverpool for Varna with 390 horses and 350 men of the 2nd Dragoons.
27. - admiral Corry leaves Copenhagen in the Dauntless.
28. - a French liner stranded in Kiel harbor.
Aug. 4. - The Bribery bill passes through committee of the Lords.
7. - a battle is fought near Kars, in which the Russians and Turks loose 5,000 men without either side gaining a victory.
26. - Bomarsund in the Baltic, completely destroyed by the English and French forces, and capture made of 2,800 prisoners and 132 pieces of artillery.
7. - the whole of the Turkish cavalry attack and defeat the Russian rear-guard depriving them of guns, baggage, and 3000 tents.
20. - the Bomarsund fortifications, which, are said to have been 25 years in construction, and to have cost, six millions of pounds have had their destruction completed, this day by the allied fleet.
21. - Fatal railway accident at Croydon, through which, James Simpson, a driver is afterwards committed for manslaughter.
22. - Omer Pacha makes a triumphal entry into Bucharest, - about this time, two terrible conflagration occur at St. Petersburg, destroying property worth 500,000 silver roubles; at Constantinople, 30 new gunboats arrive from Malta, and others are expected.
24. - Death of William sharp, the Essex giant, 24 years of age, who, when living, was 7 feet 6 inches high.
25. - the French siege train arrives at the Dardanelles.
26. - the Emperor of Russia issues an imperial ukase for the levy of about 110,000 recruits in the western half of his Empire.
27. - after a severe drought of many weeks duration, a terrible storm occurs at Louisville, United States, blowing down a church and killing 20 worshipers. — Hango is blown up by the Russians to prevent its being taken by the English and French. — a tornado at Louisville ; for account of which see another column.
28. - Queen Christina leaves Madrid for Portugal. - Mr, Henry Lewes, a consular agent and his wife, are murdered at Negropoint in Greece.
Sep. 1. - A destructive fire at Drew, Heyward & Co's druggist laboratory, London. - A venerable matron, of North Adams, assembles a tea party of four ladies and gentlemen whose ages are respectively, 86, 82, 80, 70, 80 and 73. Six of these persons hold farms on which they reside, all in one neighborhood of less than a mile square, and have been residents of the place over 50 years.
2 - A colliery explosion, near Manchester, by which two men are killed and four others severely burnt. - The weavers out on strike, at Kidderminster, annoyed by the employment of strangers, commence breaking the windows doors of the factories.
9 - The report of cannon fired at Boulogne is heard at Hastings. — The Russians retreat from all their positions between Galatz and the Sulina.
4 - At the Hastings County Court, the cause list contains 85 cases, more than half of which are by one plaintiff. - 6,000 persons have died at Naples from cholera. - Prince Albert embarks at Cowes for Boulogne.
5. - A brilliant reception is given by the Emperor of the French, to Prince Albert, at Boulogne, where a grand illumination takes place. - A bread riot occurs at Nottingham. - An extensive conflagration at Ashcombe, Devonshire, consuming a farm house, barns, 60 bushels of wheat, and 50 hogshead of cider. - The fine steamer Eclipse, gets upon a rock on the Scottish coast, and becomes a wreck; passengers and crew saved. Whilst bread is selling in many places, at 7d the 4lb. loaf, at Buckingham, a Mr. Gardiner brings in from Banbury 500 loaves of the same weight, and sells them for 5d. promising to continue his visits until the other bakers sell at a fair price.
6. - The Mauritius, with the 34th regiment arrives at Corfu. - A serious military affray occurs at Devizes, which results in one man being shot and a number of persons injured. The inhabitants, of Odessa are ordered to burn down the city, if the Anglo-French attempt to take it.
7. - Eight steamers of the French fleet appear off Odessa.
[ 105 ]
A scene from the Battle of Citate

Peace and War

The wise and good of all ages and countries have agreed in deprecating the practice of war; but though great efforts have been from time to time made to arrive at some plan whereby this scourge of humanity might be averted, nothing satisfactory or practicable has as yet been enunciated. Even Sully — whose character as an able, active, and intrepid warrior forbids the supposition that personal timidity impelled him to scheme the discontinuance of this moral pest—laboured hard to abate or even abolish it. Amidst all the glory he acquired as a leading spirit in the court of France, during a long carcer of eighty-two years, perhaps the brightest jewel in his coronet was his endeavour to bring the sovereigns of Europe into an accordance with his plan for the abandonment of war. But though our Queen Elizabeth listened cordially to his proposal, it was found impracticable; and at the present time, though the efforts of a well-known Society in England have been specially directed to this one object, we have to lament that scarcely a step has been made towards the consummation of their views.

Dr. Gregory remarks that if required to define war, he should say, “It is the wanton destruction, the cold-blooded slaughter of the human race; he would call it an accumulation of every sin that degrades and vilifies mankind ; he would mark it as a practice that diffuses misery and perpetuates vice; and would say that if there is a burlesque upon the boasted reason of man, it is this — when thousands meet to murder each other for a quarrel in which, in general, they have not individually the smallest interest, The poet who wrote

One murder makes a villain,
Millions a hero,——

may lift his head in the proudest assembly, and avow his principles in the face of the world.“

For nearly forty years England has enjoyed what is called Peace -she has not made a battle-field of any part of Europe.

Disputes may have arisen in India, and the strong arm resorted to to put down rebels; China may have been refractory, and, by the strong arm, reparation exacted; Bornese pirates may have been seized and exterminated; slavers captured, and Kafirs destroyed ; but still England has not been at war, in the sense in which the word is generally understood, and her “relations with foreign powers have continued to be most cordial and amicable.” But when we hear of the parting of the soldier and his wife in the garrison, the bristling bayonets and scarlet uniform on the troop-ship, we may then conclude that an enemy is ab​road​, and that England has determined to “take part in the fray.”

It is not our intention to enter into the origin of the Russian quarrel—whether it be traced to a contention as to the care of the Holy Places, or to the hypocritical pretext of protecting the Greek Church. These questions are of little consequence to the people of our own country, and may admit of argument or dispute. It may be lamentable inde that Britain should ever become involved in strife; but let us reflect whether the sacrifices which at times we are called upon to make be required or not. If by exertion and promptitude at any time, we avoid the enactment in our own country, at least, of scenes such as those which our war dispatches narrate, the sacrifices which we may be called upon to make will not be entirely thrown away. Take as a specimen, from the pen of a soldier, the account of the recent


“On Friday, the 6th of January, the Turkish troops, under the orders of Ismail Pasha and Ahmed Pasha, marched to attack the Russians, who had fortified themselves in the village of Citate, which is about five hours’ march from Kalafat.

The force of Ismail Pasha was composed of three regiments of regular cavalry and one regiment of Bashi-Bozouks, with six guns. Ahmed Pasha was stationed at some distance from the village, with some reserve troops, consisting of five battalions, and also six guns.

The Russian force in the village consisted of three battalions of infantry, commanded by Colonel Bonnegarde, three squadrons of hussars, and two squadrons of Cossacks, with six guns.

The Turkish troops were superior in number; but the position of the Russians, who were distributed in all the houses of the village, which is of great extent, and which is surrounded by a double ditch, rendered the attack extremely perilous, as the enemy, well sheltered, were enabled to direct a murderous fire upon the Turks, without the latter being able to reply to it. In spite of this disadvantage, Ismail Pasha gave orders for the attack, and threw himself into the village under a shower of balls fired from all the windows. At first the Turks received very serious injury; but, although this circumstance somewhat disorganized their attack, their impetuosity was not checked. After a desperate struggle, they attacked the houses, and fought hand to hand with sword and bayonet. The massacre was frightful. The Russians in vain begged for quarter. In the fever of the fight the Turks listened to nothing, and slaughtered all who fell into their hands. Gutters of blood ran down the streets from this wholesale human slaughter. To add to the horrors of the scene, it may be stated that a number of pigs which had been let loose were seen eating the dead bodies.

All who could escape the slaughter took refuge in a redoubt at the head of a village, and thence recommenced a murderous fire upon the Turks, who returned it vigorously, but not without receiving considerable injury from the Russian guns.

At last the enemy, incapable of any further struggle, decided upon abandoning the entrenchments. A number of Russian troops had already evacuated the place, when a colonel of Turkish cavalry conceived the unfortunate idea of endeavouring to oppose their passage. The Russians, finding themselves surrounded, and having no outlet for escape, and no resource but the terrible energy derived from despair, no other alternative but to conquer or die, recommenced the fight with desperation, and in a vigorous sortie they succeeded in capturing two guns.

While the battle was thus going on in the village, twelve battalions of infantry of the Russian army, and a squadron of cavalry, with sixteen pieees of cannon, were brought to the assistance of the besieged, and attempted to place the Turks between two fires. Information of this was given to Ahmed Pasha, who, by a skilful manoeuvre, directed his soldiers to the point, in order to prevent the junction with the beseiged troops. For this movement he made use of three of his reserved battalions.

The advantage of the position was now on the side of the Turks, who were on ground which sloped towards the Russians; but the latter were in three times greater number than the Turks. In spite of this inequality, however, the Russians were entirely beaten, and fled in the greatest disorder. The loss of the Russians amounted to nearly 4,000 men, among whom are included 50 superior officers. The Turks had about 300 killed and 396 wounded, who were sent to the hospitals of Widdin, and of whom it is hoped the greater part may be saved.

At the time of the attack upon the village, the Turkish soldiers committed the fault of stopping to pillage before being entirely assured of victory, and by this means, in despoiling the dead, obtained some trifling articles, much to the prejudice of the general interest.

Ismail Pasha fought like a lion. He had two horses killed under him. He was grazed with two balls—one on the shoulder and another on the wrist. A third ball struck the scabbard of his sword.

The Turks took from the field of battle, besides a number of horses, a great many muskets, sabres, schakos, epaulettes, and decorations, and also many wounded. The latter consoled themselves for their wounds by the sight of watches or handfuls of gold, gathered in the midst of danger, which they placed by their beds of pain as a solace to their sufferings.

The Russian officers, it is said, courageously did their duty, but were badly seconded by the soldiers, whom it was often necessary to prick with the point of the bayonet in order to prevent them from running away. Some of the Wallachian militia were incorporated among the Russian troops, but the former force were continually subjected to the jeers of the Russian officers. A Wallachian captain who refused to march against the Turks, consummated his refusal by blowing out his brains.

The Turkish soldier enjoys a reputation for honesty and good conduct. All the provisions which are necessary are paid for in ready money, and no burden is thrown on the inhabitants; but the Russians are charged with all sorts of odious acts.

About two or three weeks ago some Cossacks, at a small village near Plewna, cut off the heads of three Wallachians and ill-used fifteen women. When the Turks reached the village, with the view of assisting the unfortunate inhabitants, the culprits had escaped.”

Truly the horrors of war are to be dreaded, and every means tried to avoid it: but let us not by lethargy and indifference invite attack upon ourselves, lest we become unable to

——‘“ Defend our own door from the dog,
And our nation .
Lose the name of hardihood and policy.”

Three Month's Experience of a Beard

[A correspondent of the North British Daily Mail communicates the following on the subject of Beards. — We do not wish to identify ourselves with the movement, but insert his condensed remarks so that our readers may hear what is so well said on this subject. — Ed.]

Three months ago I read an article in Household Words, headed “Why shave?" I was at the time suffering from a severe attack of rheumatism in the jaws. This complaint, the writer asserted, would be almost entirely prevented by wearing the beard, “If so,” says I, ‘I will shave no more.” ‘This was the first time that the thought of wearing my beard had crossed my mind, and I at once came to the conclusion that to shave was absurd, and therefore resolved forthwith to abandon the razor. The question, ”What will people say?” had to me no terrors; for I could see at a glance a thousand arguments by which objectors to the hairy reform could be entirely demolished, So, without further thought, I walked out to business unshaved.

The first day my roughness was noticed ; the second it was thought I had been at the coast; the third the barbers’ rise of prices was spoken of; the fourth I boldly announced my resolution. I then found, to my surprise, that almost all thinking men approved of my determination, and only regretted that they had not courage to follow my example, which they said they certainly would do when beards became a little more fashionable, Not a few shavers whose beards had two or three days’ growth, thought my beard surely uncomfortable, as they felt theirs quite long enough.

To these gentlemen I replied, “Your beards are in the very worst stage ; in other three days that feeling of unshaven discomfort will give place to a cozey furry sensation, quite unknown to any save the few who have abandoned the razor.” This is really the case. My beard felt uncomforable for about four days, after which I felt an improvement every day; and now, in the very pleasant feeling of natural warmth over my entire face, I am reaping the reward of having in this matter returned to nature’s laws, Since my beard has been three days old I have never had one touch of rheumatism in my jaws—a disease to which I was becoming subject in cold weather, In a word, I feel the beard a great improvement, and now would as soon think of shaving my head as my face.

I need hardly say, then, that I recommend the general adoption of the beard. I can say nothing of how the beard affects the lungs. I have to thank God for a first- rate pair, and therefore am not very sensitive as to what affects these organs, but as I move about and breathe all sorts of air, I feel quite assured that many of the strange compounds that salute the nose, are none the worse for being riddled by the moustache before they pass into any man’s lungs.

The chief opponents of the beard, I have found, are very ignorant women, who are in no way loth to express their entire disgust at what they are pleased to call the abominable filthy fashion. Women of cultivation speak in quite a different tone; they do not quite approve, yet are ready to remember that all the worthies of antiquity from Adam to John Knox wore beards, and they do think a bearded man is more manly in appearance; but with a smile they ask, ”How will you ever manage to kiss your sweetheart?” If this question is answered by a smart practical illustration, almost any of them will admit that the beard is not so objectionable after all.

Although as a whole my beard has been popular, I could fill a volume with the queer things that have been said to me about it. One friend, whose cautiousness is extreme, asked me how my beard suited when I had bills to discount. To this I answered, I never in commercial matters go beyond my depth, so I can afford to look queer if I have a mind.” One old lady hoped I did not wear my beard to show that I had a contempt for the ministers of religion. She had heard that the wearing of beards was indicative of that contempt. I convinced the worthy woman that I was a regular attender of an orthodox church, and loved and respected my warm-hearted pastor. One old Quaker I met thought there was not a little vanity in wearing the excrescences on the face, and said he, “ Thou hast a handsome face, and I would think it more so if thou wouldest remove the hair.” I was about to reply, when a gentleman, quite a stranger to me, tookup my defence. ”Friend,” said the stranger, ”thou art wrong, and our young friend is right. God never gave the beard to be cut off every morning; it was no doubt meant to be worn, and I think our young friend deserves the thanks of us all for being amongst the first to introduce the very desirable fashion, I for one,” he added, ”am resolved to follow his example.” ”Do so, friend,” said the Quaker, “ but I will shave yet awhile.” I learned that my defender on this occasion was a medical gentleman in the service of the London Board of Health, I have pleasure in seeing, as I now move about, that I am in no way singular in the beard reform. All public mectings, I observe, have now a considerable sprinkling of beards, and I have no doubt we, who are now in the minority, will soon be able to add to our present stock of arguments, one that will be more powerful than all others, and which is contained in the brief sentence, " beards are fashionable.”

[ 106 ]

The War with Russia

Sept. 8 - Martha Harrison, the veteran harvester 91 years of age, is working at her old employment for Mr. John Scales, of Grange, near Burnley, and is said to brave the toil and heat of the day as stoutly as the younger work people.

At Bristol, three boys get to fighting, one of which is very soon felled to the ground, never more to rise ; this should be a caution to young pugilistic aspirants.

9. - At Lybster, a herring is caught which meaeures 10 ½ inc. in circumference.— On the Great Northern railway, an axletree of one of the.goods trucks breaks and causes the wreck of five waggons which block up the ​road​ for some hours.—The king of Portugal leaves Cowes for Lisbon.
10. - The mayor of Windsor received £50 from the Duke of Cleveland towards Lieut. Perry’s defence fund.
11. - Mrs. Fitzwilliam, the actress is suddenly seized with illness and dies.
12. - At the seat of the Duke of Newcastle near Worksop, a fine fox walks leisurely into the court-yard, thence to the housekeeper’s room, runs up the wall of the room, bolt against the ceiling, falls on the carpet, and is captured by the usher of the servants hall.—a destructive fire in Finsbury.—at the anchorage, off Elsinore, 300 ships are collected, in consequence of a prevalence of northerly gales.
14. - all the infantry and part of the artillery of the Anglo-French troops land at Old fort,—20 miles from Eupatoria and 30 miles north of Sebastopol.—The Queen leaves London and arrives at Edinburgh.
15. - an attempt is made in Ireland to destroy a railway train containing 700 protestant excursionists of Derry, by placing a ton in weight upon the rails, but fortunately only one man is killed.—The Queen leaves Edinburgh and arrives at Balmoral.
17. - a tremendous conflagration at St. Luke’s, London, consuming many thousand pounds worth of property.
Sep, 22, - Messrs. Ball & Stace, of Hastings, exhibit a conger eel, 6ft. 4 in. in length, & 70 lbs. in weight,
23. - Mrs. Durnin, the female pedestrian, completes her task of walking 1,000 half-miles, in 1,000 succesive A ee Miranda, war steam-ship returns from the White Sea, after 3 months of unremitting work against the Russians, during which, she had anchored 48 times; boarded 376 vessels; captured 3 prizes; navigated difficult rivers; and, with shells and red hot shot completely erased the Russian town of Kolan from the list of capitols.—At the entrance of the harbour ot Sebastopol, the Russians submerge 7 of their ships of war.
24, - A Manchester cotton mill destroyed by fire, involving a loss of £5,000.-
25. - At Liverpool, the magnificent clipper-ship, Jame Baines arrives from Boston, in 12¼ days. At Boulogne, the theatre is consumed by fire.

The Anglo-French army march on Bulaklaya - a movement, described by military men, as the most daring, ever acheived in the face of a powerful enemy.

26. - A party of British “Blue-jackets” seize, and keep possession of the Russian lighthouse of Cape Cherson.
27. - Wreck of the steamer, Artic, through collission with a French steamer, by which, upwards of 300 persons perish.—A magnificent sham-fight, at Boulogne, in which 60,000 troops are engaged.
29. - Marshal St. Arnaud, the commander of, the French army in the Crimea, succumbs to the hand of death, at the age of 33, "after giving the command to General Canrobert.
30 - Up to this date, 9,707 persons have died in London, from cholera.
Oct. 2. - At West Kayton, a woman is convicted of throwing out of a railway carriage and causing its death, an infant of a month old.
3 - A tremendvus conflagration at Memel. - A bread-riot, in Devonshire.
4 - In their passage to the Crimea, 170 horses of the Royal, & Enniskillen dragoons perish by a storm.
6 - At Liverpool, is exhibited, a monster nugget of gold, valued at £1,400. - A dreadful contlagration occurs at Newcastle, by which, 40 persons lose their life, 200 seriously injured, and property to the extent of £1,000,000 destroyed.
7 - A whale, weighing 2 tons, caught in the Severn
18 - Mr. George Harmer, of Lewes, gets on the line of rails, and is cut to pieces by an engine. - Also, on the rails of the North Eastern railway is found, the lifeless body of Isabelia Law. This young woman, had taken a third class ticket on the preceding evening, and from the carriage in which she was travelling,a young man had been discovered to have clandestinely made his exit thereby incurring suspicions of the gravest kind.
19 - William Morris, a carter at Guestling, dies suddenly, from the effects of a strong libation of rum.
21 - Five cwt. of old linen is collected by the Rev. J. A. Hatchard, of St. Leonards, & the Mayor of Hastings for the English military hospital at Scutari
22 - Death of Sir Thomas Byam Martin, - Admiral of the British Fleet and Vice Admiral of the United Kingdom; aged, 82, - Dr. Rae, the arctic traveller returns to. England, bringing with him relics of Sir John Franklin & his companions which indicate the melancholy end of those brave men.
23 - The clipper ship, Lightning, arrives from Australia, in 63. days - being the quickest voyage on record.
25 - A destructive fire at Manchester, resulting in the loss of £17,000 worth of property.
26 - A calamitous fire at Liverpool, doing immense damage to the Bonding Warehouses.


Ishmail Mushir Pacha

Of the many Turkish officers whom the present war is bringing into notice, the names of Ismail Pacha and Omer Pacha stand most prominently forward. Conspicuous for courage and intelligence of a high order, the presence and exertions of both these men in the Turkish camp has, no doubt, toa great degree, contributed to the creditable manner in which the soldiers of the Porte have hitherto acquitted themselves in their uneven contest with the Russian hordes, In times of public difficulty, previous to the occurrence of the war, both Ismail and Omer Pacha had, on several occasions, rendered themselves eminently serviceable to the Sultan's government; and of all the Pachas—of whom there seem an endless number in the Ottoman dominions—it is probable there could not have been two more fitted for the posts of honour and danger.

As long as it appeared possible to reason the Czar into the injustice of his conduct, and convince him of the folly of his proceedings, Ismail Pacha never ceased advocating the wisdom and necessity. of negotiation; but when once the determination of the Emperor Nicholas was found to be immoveably bent on appropriating and despoiling the dominions of the Sultan, Ismail Pacha was foremost in urging the necessity of preparing for a struggle with the tyrant, who, under the plea of religion, seeks to oppress and enslave—

he who

“ Hath no friends, but who are friends from fear,
Who, in his dearest need, will fly from him.”

The sword of Ismail Pacha was not idle on the outbreak of war, and from the first skirmish with the enemy up to the present time, we have constant accounts of his services and gallantry. At the sanguinary battle of Citate he was particularly conspicuous. ”Ismail Pacha,” says the report of the battle, “fought like a lion. He had two horses killed under him. He was grazed with two balls—one on the shoulder and another on the wrist. A third ball struck the scabbard of his sword.”

Ismail Mushir Pacha is by birth a Circassian, and has gradually raised himself by repeated acts of bravery from the rank of.a private in the Turkish army to that which he now holds. And on the 12th of April last the Turkish title of "Mushir" was conferred upon him by the Sultan, in honour of the heroic services which he had rendered to the country. An Imperial firman, conferring the title, was brought from Constantinople to the camp at Schumla by an Imperial Chamberlain. No dignity could have been more meritoriously conferred.

Hastings & St. Leonards Penny Press.

Oct. 2. 1854,
Through the whole tenor of the war, its results have as yet been disastrous to the power of Russia, and certainly inglorious to her arms, although the great and decisive victories which have been so anxiously expected by the English public from the first setting out of the expeditions, cannot yet be announced. We have only to turn our attention to the aspect of affairs in the Black Sea, however, to be convinced that the campaign will not be closed without a blow worthy of the glorious flags under which the expedition sailed. ,

The wearying trail of negotiations and protocols may at last be said to have died of sheer inanition.

It is now plain that the Czar will not yield as long as a chance remains of repulsing the allies. He is probably led. to believe that Sebastopol is impregnable, or, at least, that he can dispose of sufficient forces to prevent the allies becoming masters of it within the present year. That the place is strong there is no doubt; and, though little faith can be placed in rumours, there is every reason to believe that the Russians will defend themselves with great stubbornness, and have made every preparation for doing so. The men have been worked nearly to death — soldiers, dock-yard laborers(sic), and seamen have been seen from our vessels digging, carrying earth, and constructing masonry, month after month, ever since the declaration of war. Of late the labour appears to have been incessant; but the mortality must have been incessant also. In the English army, it was found, that where the men were exposed to fatigue, the deaths were very numerous, and, as the cholera is known to have passed over the Crimea, it is thought that the garrison of Sebastopol must be fearfully diminished.

The aspect of affairs in the Baltic, and the tenor of Sir Charles Napier’s last despatches indicate the speedy termination of the present naval camaign in the north of Europe. It must be acknowledged that the results of these operations fall much below what was expected from the gigantic naval armament which sailed a few months ago from the Downs, but, when we consider the great difficulty our fleet has had to encounter during the summer in the navigation of a sea full of shoals and fords, where light-houses had been extinguished landmarks removed, and every possible object placed in the way of our ships, it is impossible to view even the partial successes which have occurred without satisfaction and thankfulness.

Up to the present moment there has been no point on which Russia has proved stronger, or England weaker than was anticipated, whereas we have more than once been surprised at our power and at the comparative impotance of our adversary.

But there is yet another circumstance to we may turn with unmixed satisfaction. It is worth a rupture of European peace, to bring France and England into real bonds of amity, and we heartily trust that before this time, the perils and glories of a common victory may have provided the most effectual means for the obliteration of traditional distrusts.

Now the epidemic with wich our country has been visited, is pronounced to have lessened in violence and extent, we may be allowed a few general reflections on the subject. It is not necessary for us to enter into any statistical account of the progress of the affliction, but seek rather to determine the chief causes of its now nearly annual ravages in this country.

In the “ good old times” it was the fashion to distinguish visitations of diseases of a general character, by “the title of plague,” and set down the entire calamity as an exhibition of divine wrath for the sins of the nation; but, the intelligence of the nineteenth century, which cannot accept this doctrine of fatalism, has discovered that the origin, or at least, the exciting cause of epidemics, must be looked for among the people themselves, and that, the same Power which has permitted the spread of cholera, has endowed man with the capabilities of ameliorating its effects, if he has the will, or even of preventing its occurrence altogether.

For a period of fifty years, there has not been a time when the failure of our harvest would have been attended by circumstances more critical to the country than the present. Hapily(sic), it has pleased the Almighty to bless us with such universal luxuriance, as has seldom occurred within these realms.

At any time, and under any circumstances of the country, all classes must alike share in a feeling of gratitude to providence for the blessings of an abundant harvest. The many sources of wealth and prosperity existing in this great country, which do not appear to be immediately dependent on divine will and pleasure for their success, may tend to render too prevalent a forgetfulness of that High source from which all benefits and chastisements alike spring; but in the result of the harvest whether good or bad, there is something associated which leads the mind to reflect on a Power, on whose daily will, the gradual growth and ripening of these millions of golden ears, entirely depend.

We trust that all those who lately heard the prayer to God, will not forget to regulate their conduct by the spirit which it inculcates.
[ 107 ]

The Siege of Silistra

Ease and Honour are Seldom Bedfellows
Signal Defeat of the Russians before Silestra

The great interest which, at the present time, naturally attaches itself to all that relates to the remote countries of Eastern Europe and Asia, render everything which can extend our acquaintance with those parts peculiarly interesting. Insignificant towns and villages on the Lower Danube and Black Sea, with little commerce, or whose maritime fame has long sank into decay, have during the last year risen into importance and notoriety. Nicopolis, Matschin, Rustchuck, Brailow, Rassova, Silistria, and a score of other places, hitherto scarcely ever heard of, have found a local habitation in the newspapers and publications of our time, and a name of interest among the the Western nations of Europe.

It is not that the cities of the East are more flourishing, or that a regenerated existence dawning upon the lands of the Mosque and the Crescent, has raised the towns of the Lower Danube into such sudden importance - it is that a fearful war, the issue of which must solve the great question of despotism or constitutional liberty, has here fixed the scene of her operations, and to these parts of the world the anxious solicitude of the Western nations is directed as the place from whence they must hear of the success of tho good cause, or the triumph of tyranny and oppression.

The area of the battle-field of nations must always possess matter of peculiar interest to the world; but none, perhaps, ever combined such important features as that which now attaches to the countries on the banks of the Lower Danube Heretofore, war has raged in those regions, as in the majority of cases in other portions of the earth, between princes who governed by the instrumentality of the sword—pachas, boyars, and chiefs whose sport was war - and thé result of which could only overthrow one absolute ruler to uprear another. But with the present contest effects far higher than those which the mere struggle for physical superiority and territorial power could produce, are associated. Civilization and social advancement will accompany the English standards and French eagles - as with the Romans of old - into lands sunk into semi-barbarism and degradation.

Of the many fortified cities which rear their massive bastions and turrets, their cupolas and minarets, along the banks of the Danube, perhaps Silistria, as the spot on which the operations of the war have concentrated, and from the gallant defence of the Turkish garrison against the overwhelming hordes of Nicholas, is the most important at the present time. “Silistria,” says Captain Spencer, who travelled in those parts in the year 1835 and again in 1851, “ may be termed, from the great extent and strength of its fortifications, the citadel of the Danube, forming as it does, with Rustchuck and Shuma, a connected triangle, which must be broken before any enemy attempt the passage of the Balkan in this direction with safety.

Silistria was taken in 1829 by the Russians,[1]after a protracted siege of nine months; and truly we cannot too highly appreciate the valour of the 12,000 gallant Turks that held it so long against an overwhelming force of 50,000 men, when we remember that at this time the fortifications merely consisted of long weak curtains, with a few miserable bastions badly planned and worse built. Since 1835 the town has been strongly fortified, and now, with its castle bristling with cannon, it offers a bold front against an invading army: it has spacious well-built barracks, and a population of about 20,000, and appears altogether to be one of the most prosperous and commercial places on the Danube, if we might judge from the neatness of the houses, the well-supplied markets, and the number of vessels loading and unloading their cargoes in the harbour.”

Whatever course of commercial prosperity was opening to the city of Silistria in 1851, however, it was soon doomed to be impeded and, at least for a time, extinguished by the scourge of war invoked by the Emperor of Russia - and the striving and opulent town was soon to become the theatre of fierce struggles, enduring all the miseries and ruthless destruction which ever accompanies a siege. The importance to the Russians of the surrender of Silistria as opening to them the passes and defiles of the Balkan, and the ​road​ to Constantinople, cannot be over estimated, and the greatest efforts have, during the present war, been made to effect its capture, The Russians, it seems, supposed it possible at first to take the place by storm, and accordingly for some days continued to send large detachments of their army across the river, to attempt this most difficult and perilous service. A galling and well-directed cannonade was kept up by the defenders of the city; ”but the battalions and squadrons,” says a correspondent from the seat of war, “ are driven into the fire by their officers as if their bodies were proof against lead and iron.” ‘two striking instances of this occurred during the progress of the siege :—

“A large body of Russians with artillery, were sent across the river during the night in a number of small boats to Murlan, a miserable village above Rassova. At the same time two battalions and a squadron of lancers advanced from Chernavoda, and a quantity of gunboats from Galatz against Rassova. A combined attack was to have been made on the little place, but the Turks received them with such a murderous fire from behind their breast-works, that the Russians could not send in one full discharge. The discomforted Russians advanced from Murlan towards Rassova, but when they attempted to retreat not a man could reach the Danube, as the irregulars either cut them down or drove them into the morass, where they perished miserably. The second case occurred on the 12th, at Tatoritza, which is just above Silistria, 600 of the Russians were landed, and advancing about two English miles into the interior, began to entrench themselves preparatory to a combined attack on the fortress. ”The Arnauts, however, who are most expert riflemen, attacked them on one side, and some artillery, from the south-western redoubt of Silistria on the other, so that half of them were killed in the endeavour to return to the river side.”

On the 13th May, a large body of the Turks in barges and gun-boats, put off in order to attack the enemy, who had been engaged in the construction of pontoons. The bridges were abandoned on the approach of the Turks, and the Russians began to make for the opposite bank of the river, keeping up a galling fire of musketry as they retreated. On reaching the east end of the island, the Turkish gun-boats opened a heavy fire against the bridge, and in less than an hour and a half the pontoons were separated and knocked to pieces. While this was going on at one end of the island, a Turkish detachment was landed at the other, A fierce engagement ensued, and the adventurous Turks drove their enemies at the point of the bayonet from the place. The object of destroying the bridges as well as inflicting severe castigation on the Russians was gallantly achieved by the Turks; but their progress had been marked by a long train of dead and wounded. The Russians sustained great loss—abandoning nearly 300 military waggons, and 700 or 800 wounded, which were soon afterwards sent to Oltenitza. A series of attacks were made by the Russians for several days afterwards, but in every case, though immense bodies of troops, well provided with artillery, were at last got to bear on the defences of the city, the enemy was forced to retire without producing any effect except that of thinning the ranks of his own army. It is impossible at present to ascertain the number of killed and wounded in these contests ; but the amount altogether is very great. Amongst those left on the field, was the son of Count Orloff, the minister of Nicholas. (See Illustration.)

After having fruitlessly bombarded Silistria during five weeks, Prince Paskiewitsch has convinced himself that the fortress cannot possibly be taken by storm without a sacrifice of 20,000 or 25,000 men. Could this number of troops be spared there is no doubt that the Russian commander would not hesitate to make the sacrifice; but the policy of such an act must be submitted to the Emperor, who will decide whether that number of men are to be slaughtered. In the meantime the besiegers are occupied in the work of undermining the fortress, with the intention, if possible, of destroying it by subterranean explosion.

Every contrivance to raise the enthusiasm of the Russian soldiers has been resorted to by the commanders during the seige. Innumerable priests of the Greek church, carrying the symbols of their religion, accompany the camp, and even move forward with the detachments to the very walls of the fortress. The Czar and his officers have used every expedient to propagate the idea among the troops, that they are fighting for the defence of their national religion, menaced by a powerful league against the orthodox faith. An instance of this unhallowed juggling with religion occurred before one of the last assaults on the city. Previous to moving forward to the attack, the Russian commander ordered the Greek priests to administer the sacrament to all the soldiers! Two non-commissioned officers, born in Poland, being catholics, begged to be excused from receiving the communion from the hands of the Greek priests, which they said they could not do without committing sacrilege. The officers of the Christian and orthodox Emperor becoming acquainted with these conscientious scruples, ordered the two men to be shot, which fearful sentence was immediately carried into effect.

No language can adequately describe the state of misery in which the inhabitants of the city are sunk in consequence of the siege. “At the very commencement of the firing” says an eye-witness, “numbers of the enemy’s shells fell and burst among the streets and houses of the town, and the whole place was soon a scene of painful excitement—scared women and children rushing wildly about seeking for shelter, the terrified inhabitants collecting their goods and hurrying to the subterraneous rooms which they had constructed in anticipation of the event. My friend and I were on horseback, and on our way down to the battery on the Schengal bastion, we found the whole of the streets silent and deserted.” Huddled together in the burrows which they had dug in the earth, the poor townspeople had now only to reflect on the sad alternatives of fate which awaited them. Death by starvation, pestilence, the sword of the enemy, or by the explosion of some secret mine beneath them, seemed inevitable.

Again and again before Silistria, a Turkish army of about 15,000 has proved victorious over hordes amounting probably to 100,000, In St. Petersburg these defeats will create consternation. The lesson which the Russians have received at the hands of the gallant defenders of the town, we trust will not be lost on the Czar. The heroism which has so long held the city with such unequal force, will not be likely to succumb to the enemy in the open field; and Nicholas must begin to feel convinced that even if the Turks were destitute of the sympathy and assistance of Europe, their subjugation would not be easily effected. [ 108 ]

A Scene at the Fortress of Sebastopol.png

[ 109 ]

Sebastopol and its Beseigers

Without Danger, Danger cannot be Surmounted.png

The important results which are connected with the struggle going on in the Crimea, may well serve to render any facts relating to the position of affairs in that quarter deeply interesting, Not to speak of the thousands who await with fearful expectation every scrap of fresh intelligence from the seat of war - and to whom the list of killed and wounded may be the sad record which darkens their future hopes - there are those who look breathlessly forward to the ”glorious victory” —those also who speculate on Change; and last not least, those who associate with the contest the higher principles of liberty and human progress.

Truly, there is something more than the mere contest of individual superiority - something more than the hollow plaudits which follow victory - confided to those bayonets; and it is gratifying to think that, though the destinies of men and of nations accompany the standards of England and France over the battle-field, the greatest confidence may be felt that they will not cease to wave in triumph and success.

In the engraving which we have presented above is depicted one of those terrible charges - many of which have taken place before Sebastopol - which show the impetuous and irresistible courage of the allied soldiers. The barrier-columns of the gaunt and powerful Muscovite are like so many pillars of sand before the spirit which urges on the attack. Marshal St. Arnaud well said that the men of Jena and of Friedland still followed the French eagles - we may truly boast that the banners of England still wave over the soldiers of Salamanca, Vittoria, and of Waterloo!

The relation of the dispositions and manoeuvres of a battle may be necessary to its explanation, but the nature of the contest is more vividly pictured to the minds of those ”who live at home at ease” by the narration of the individual episodes and incidents which occur, and we have collected a few of such - narrated by an eye-witness - connected with the deadly contest which has been waged around the walls of Sebastopol:—

“After the battle of the 25th,” (October) says the narrator, ”I saw Cornet Handley carried into headquarters. He had been stabbed in the side and arm, being at one time surrounded by four Cossacks, three of whom he shot with his revolver, and the fourth was cut down by his sergeant. I saw this gallant young fellow a few hours after, and he was, then getting ready, in spite of his wounds, to rejoin his regiment from the temporary hospital.”

”The deadly lance of the Cossack, though it wounded and staggered for a while, could not keep the hero from his post or his duty—and where danger and peril was greatest there was Cornet Handley again to be found. But this young officer is not alone in such devotion and courage—he only repréfents the general spirit which animates our troops:-

”Presently,” says the eye-witness before alluded to, ”I saw a man on horseback riding towards the temporary hospital. His face and clothes were so covered with blood and his head so bound up that we could not recognise him, Though severely wounded, he dismounted with the greatest sang froid, and lightly alluded to the ”scratch” he had received. On nearer observation we discovered that it was Lieutenant Elliott, of the 5th Dragoon Guards, whose regiment had suffered fearfully in executing a charge. He was soon under the care of Surgeon Kendall, formerly of Southampton. In the garden of this temporary hospital could be seen men with every description of wound, from the sabre cut to the grape and canister shot. One poor fellow's leg was taken off while we were there, nor can we easily forget the shocking scenes which we beheld. The surgeons and their assistants were working away with their sleeves turned up, arms bloody, faces the same, looking more like butchers than surgeons, so hard had they worked all day.”

There may be something revolting in the picture drawn, but it is real; and furnishes some idea of that part of the costs of a victory which can never be replaced, but which are in general too transiently remembered.

Two rival armies drawn up in position, and awaiting each other's attack, it may readily be imagined must present a grand and sublime spectacle, and it will be interesting to hear the description given of such a scene by one actually present :-

“I cannot conceive a more splendid sight than was witnessed on the afternoon of the 26th, the two armies (the Russians being enormously strong), waiting for one or the other to advance, with an occasional shell thrown by way of invitation or challenge. Poor Captain Maude, of the Horse Artillery, was severely wounded early in the day by one of these shells, which bursting near, hit him in three places. The loss of his services will be severely felt.” “One of the most wonderful things I think is to see the way in which our riflemen go about in small detached parties, crawling along on the ground up the side of a hill, till they appear to be within three hundred yards of the enemy, and thus they lie on their bellies till a chance offers, then crack goes a Minie, and down falls a Russian. I was informed most credibly that one of these brave fellows a few days since thinking he would go and do a little business on his own account, got away from his company, and crawled up close to a battery under shelter of a hill, lay on his back and loaded, and turned over and fired, when, after killing eleven men, a party rushed out, and he took to his heels, but, sad to say, a volley fired after him levelled him with the earth, and he was subsequently picked up with 82 balls in his body,”

Eleven bullets of our brave rifleman killed eleven men in succession. A sure aim, a steady aim, and a true weapon, are happily the characteristics which distinguish our rifle brigades, and which gives us the advantage in spite of our inferiority of numbers. The result of the temerity of the soldier was to be expected. The shock of that volley must have been terrible, though death must have been almost instantaneous.

Since the affair at Balaklava, when the Turks deserted their guns they have been exposed to reproach and ridicule—but these runaways are not to be confused with the veterans of Omer Pacha, whose courage has been everywhere so conspicuous. Before Sebastopol, however, the situation of the Turkish soldiers must henceforth be anything but agreeable, as the following will prove:-

“Whenever during the day,” continues the narrator before quoted, “you saw any of the Turkish soldiers, the people were hooting them and calling them cowards and poor runaways. I witnessed two Irishwomen actually driving four of these chivalrous gentry before them, probably to their own wounded husbands, and saying, ‘ Eh! ye cowardly divils, this is all you're fit for, to be our servants ; sure, you are afraid to fight; and on our return I saw a young middy drawn up before some fifty of them, abusing them most heartily for their having run away.”

The disastrous charge of the light brigade was attended with some interesting incidents, which will serve to give an idea of the perils of the battle-field. We know not whether it be the fortune of war, or the favour supposed to be shown to the brave, but certainly the careers of some soldiers would seem to suggest a charm against the death-shot:—

”Mr, Wombwell, of the 17th Lancers, had a most extraordinary escape. Two horses were shot under him, and he was taken prisoner, but seeing an opportunity, he mounted a Russian’s horse, and galloped back, rejoining his brigade who had reformed, and charged again without sword or pistol. Mr. Cook, of the 11th, also had a regular run for his life of a mile and a half, pursued by the Russian cavalry, to avoid whom he ran under range of the guns of one of their batteries, and finally escaped, Major Clerke, of the Grays, in addition to a bad cut in the neck, had his horse's tail almost cut off by a sabre cut. Lord Cardigan, (whose name, it will be recollected, has been before the public in this country in connection with some rather ridiculous affairs,) was attacked by two Cossacks, who with their lances gave him several pricks, and rather staggered him in his saddle; but his lordship being well mounted, and a good cross country rider, parried their thrusts, and escaped with the aforesaid lance pricks in his legs.

If, however, there is one feeling more satisfactory and admirable than another which is brought out by these contests, it is the continued unanimity and fraternity exhibited between the English and French divisions. Hitherto always accustomed to manoeuvre in opposition to each other, it might have been thought scarcely possible that they should support the English with such facility. Both armies act together with the most perfect ease, and there is that mutual respect between them which the brave feel for the brave, and which renders their fellow ship that of the stern and true companion-in-arms. In the retreat of the light cavalry, in the battle of the 25th October, the French rendered the most gallant assistance. The French General Bosquet, acting in a truly brotherly spirit—though he disapproved of the cavalry manoeuvre, and indeed could not understand it—ordered a regiment of horse to move forward and overthrow an advancing Russian force. The illustration given below furnishes some idea of the sanguinary nature of the contest. The success of the French charge, though they were exposed to a raking fire during its execution, was not doubtful from the first, and though at its close the ground was plentifully strewn with their own dead, the satisfaction was theirs of having saved a small force of their allies from total annihilation by superior numbers of the foe.

Desparate Charge of French Cavalry on the Russians before Sebastopol.png

[ 110 ]

Incidents at Alma

Nature Seldom Changes With the Climate “Life,” says Shakespeare, “is a mingled yarn of good and ill together,” and we never more experienced the force of this observation than in reading the account of the battle of the Alma, where striking incidents of the good and bad passions of our nature stand out in relief from the crowded horrors of that-never-to-be-forgotten day. Courage-affection-devotion-ingratitude-coolness-brutality-gratitude-selfishness-might here be found mingled side by side of each other. As an exemplification of what we say, we have collected a few of the most interesting examples that occurred to us.

Among the numerous instances of courage, coolness, and valour, displayed on all sides by our brave troops, it must have been an imposing scene to have witnessed our artillery dash into the waters of the Alma, -men, horses, and carriages, deep in-and there braving heavy discharge of the enemy’s cannon. The onslaught was great, the Russians holding such a formidable position, A cannon was disabled from action by a shot striking the wheel; but the damage was as coolly repaired by the artillerymen as if it had been in a workshop instead of in the midst of a stream, with the cannon balls of an infuriated enemy flying about them. Soon, however, they cleared the Russians from their position, and so made a free passage for some of our troops.

For an episode of courageous and signal daring, no incident of the battle will be more remembered than that displayed by two of our non-commissioned officers in their brave endeavours to plant a camp flag under the fire of the enemy, in order to mark the position to be taken by a division which was advancing. The soldier who first went with the flag had barely succeeded in obtaining the desired position, when one of the enemy left his ranks, killed him, and took the trophy-but only for a moment was it his!-and he paid with his life for the brief honour, for a second English officer, his blood roused by the death of his comrade and the colours flying in the hands of the enemy, hotly pursued the Russian-shot him-recovered the flag, and ran with haste to his ranks, on reaching which he expired, having received no less than seven balls in his body before he fell!

Ingratitude, the blackest of all sins, was strikingly exemplified-and makes one blush for human nature - in the following incident:-“ Just at the close of the action an officer of ours gave a wounded Russian some spirits from his flask to drink; the scoundrel in return shot him in the back as he turned to leave him. Need we relate the melancholy fate of the Russian after this?

As an instance of unexampled energy of which the human mind is capable, we know of none more extraordinary than that shown by the Hon. Captain Monk, of the 7th. It appears he was pierced by a ball, which he felt was fatal; and whilst expiring, he drove his sword through the heart of the first advancing foeman, and with a blow from his strong arm levelled another to the ground. Had he lived, what might not have been anticipated from such a lion-hearted soldier!


The English are at all times generally remarkable for their coolness under difficulties and dangers: these qualities were never more strikingly displayed than by the Light Division which led the English attack on the Russians. The subjoined account reads like a fiction emanating from the excited brain of a novel writer :-“' In their advance the troops had to pass through some vineyards, and “here,” says a spectator, “ the men gave one of those surprising examples of coolness and contempt of danger which forms one of our national characteristics. In the midst of the most tremendous fire which an army has ever encountered, with comrades falling around them, the men commenced seeking for and plucking the half-ripe grapes, which were hanging temptingly on the hewn vines!”

How gratifying it must be to the Emperor of the French to read of the behaviour in the battle of his august relative Prince Napoleon, whom Marshal St. Arnaud mentioned in a most distinguished manner in his first despatch. But at one period of the campaign it appears he had a most miraculous escape from a cannon ball, and had it not been for General Thomas, who perceived the direction of the ball, and cried out ”Take care, Monseigneur!” the Prince no doubt would have fallen. Immediately he was warned, he gave his horse the spur, and turned him aside in time to allow the ball to pass, which, missing the Prince, unfortunately broke the leg of Sub-Intendant Leblane, who was standing close behind him, —The Prince might have exclaimed “ Every bullet has its billet!”


And who cannot but feel for that faithful and devoted dog, who was found, says an eye-witness of the battle, sitting between the legs of a dying Russian officer, a position from which no persuasion could move him. What a confirmation of the faithfulness and affection which the dog has universal credit for! And the gratitude of his suffering master, too, was very striking; a cup of cold water in his dying moments was of far greater value than gold. It appears he had been mortally wounded, and presented his gold watch to a soldier who had kindly given him a draught of water—the most delicious, because the most needed, draught he had ever drank, and we can easily imagine how grateful it must have been to his fevered, fainting body.


And here is another touching sight! amongst the dead was found a soldier—a mere youth—with his hands clasped in the attitude of prayer, There was as much serenity and devotion mantling his youthful features as if he had expired in his ordinary bed, surrounded by parents and friends, for whose welfare, no doubt, his hands were clasped in prayerful supplication to the God of battles that he would protect them. Or probably he had left some fond heart behind him, to whom, after the battle, their engagement of courtship was to terminate in marriage—and it might be for her that he had breathed his dying prayer.

To peruse some of the valorous deeds executed by our men and officers on the 20th, is enough to make one conclude that they really must have presumed themselves invulnerable to all attacks, and that death had no power over them, The coolness and courage of the Hon. Major Macdonald, the Duke of Cambridge's aide-de-camp, actually led him from one of the Russian entrenchments, where the regiment had laid down to load and ”close up,” to ride forth and reconnoitre the enemy's position! But did he live to ride back again? Yes, miraculously he escaped the shower of balls and musket bullets that were directed against him the instant he showed himself. His charger was killed under him, and its rider was hurled to the ground. Some of his brother officers, who saw his imminent danger, rushed to his assistance and extricated him from his mangled steed, Another horse was found him, which the major mounted with the same coolness as if he was going to ride in the park, and rode back to the trench amid the bullets which whistled around him in all directions!


Ludicrous, in the extreme, was the position of the Russian general who, confident in the success of Menschikoff, called at his camp to congratulate him, when lo! instead of finding the Prince there, he found himself in the safe custody of Sergeant Notter, of the Coldstream Guards, who was on duty at one of the outposts!

Another of the Russian generals was captured through his gay coat, to which one of our artillerymen conceived a fancy. The general feigned to be dead, and stretched himself out beside his fallen horse, his object being to lie quietly there until the darkness of night, and then make off, But the English soldier taking him for the corpse he was representing, and naturally enough concluding that a good coat or a bad one was of more service to the living than the dead, tried to divest the general of the one he wore—when to the surprise of the artilleryman, the supposed corpse moved, and it was discovered that no harm had been done the general, and he was therefore captured—coat and all.

England will not be slow to forget the compliment paid its soldiers by the brave General Canrobert (who has now succeeded to the command of the French army through the decease of Marshal St. Arnaud). In a moment of enthusiasm he exclaimed to one of our generals, ”All I could ask of fortune now, is that I might command a corps of English troops for three short weeks, I could then die happy!” This eulogistic remark of the French general might be placed side by side with an observation of our own Raglan’s when he witnessed the brave Zouaves scaling the heights—”They are not men, but tigers and lions.”

Is not one almost provoked to laughter by reading the scramble of our Jack tars after the boots which the dead Russians wore? Fancy them positively sitting down on the ground to measure the soles of their shoes in opposition with the long boots of the dead! when, if the length corresponded, the Muscovite was speedily unbooted. The sublime and the ridiculous, how intimately are they here blended! This incident is related by a sailor himself, and he further adds:— ”The Turkish troops were very busy pillaging the dead; an occupation which most of us were employed in, more or less. I did not, however, come across any sables in my explorations. We, however, shall have grand ‘looting’ at Sebastopol, when my China experience may avail me.”

After Jack had pillaged the boots he begins to reflect — his better feelings being in the ascendant, and he checks his levity thus :—

“This is a horrible way to talk, and, no doubt, will shock you much; but it is one of the concomitants of grim war, and, perhaps, none of the most agreeable. We have found the peasantry very useful; and they willingly come forward with their waggons, which we hire for the transport of baggage, stores, &c. They are for the most part drawn by bullocks, but there are many drawn by dromedaries, The Russians burnt everything on our ​road​,”

Thank God, no such incident of cruelty has been recorded of the English soldiers, as that which Viscount Chewton, of the Scots Fusileer Guards, experienced at the hands of the Russians. While bravely leading on his regiment, he was shot in the leg and fell. When down, the Russians brutally fired upon him and beathim on the head with their muskets, and nothing could have prevented his brains being beaten out but the thickness of the cap he wore.

How awful were some of the attitudes in which many of the brave dead were found! One might be seen resting on his knee, with the brow compressed — the lip clinched — and the arms extended in the form of taking aim. Another was lying on his back with the same determined expression of countenance, the Minie-musket still grasped in his hands undischarged. A third lay in a still more extraordinary position — his body was bent to a perfect arch, his head resting on one part of the ground and his feet on another. Some, again, lay with a calm placid smile on the face, as though they were in some delicious dream.

Compliments are always pleasing to human nature, but when they come from an enemy, they are doubly grateful. With pride we have read elsewhere what the French commanders, St. Arnaud and General Canrobert, said of our courage — but it is quite overpowering to observe what the enemy remarked, spoken no doubt from painful experience. The Russian officers, who were taken prisoners by us, said, ”they always knew we were excellent soldiers, but had no idea we were such devils!”

How the dearest affections of our nature are lacerated by the pathetic statement of one of the prisoners. He was a very gentlemanly man, and said with tears, that he was separated — perhaps for ever! — from a fond young wife, and two babes — the eldest only two years old; and the dreadful fear he exhibited of falling into the hands of the Tartars was most painful. His father, he informed his captors, an old man of seventy-five, was, a few days since, shot in his bed by them, after they had robbed his house of all it contained.

The French Artillery (that favourite arm of the mighty Napoleon, and on which he chiefly relied in his battles,) seems to have greatly distinguished itself, A French officer writes: —

“The battery of Commandant de la Boussionere was exceedingly fine, when, towards the end, we aided the English by taking the Russians in flank. It fired with marvellous aim, extinguished the Russian batteries, and permitted the English to dash forward. The battery of Toussaint charged and opened fire on the telegraph, within 400 metres of the Russian infantry, which fled at the aspect of its irresistible enthusiasm. General Bosquet, declares that the artillery system of the Emperor is henceforward placed at a very high rank.

One of the brightest bits of individual courage was that of a corporal of the 23rd who suddenly found himself alone in the enemy’s battery, We can easily imagine his surprise, but it would be difficult to a civilian to conceive his bravery. How his stout heroic heart must have heaved with courage to have enabled him to achieve what he did! He did not surrender
(though he was surrounded with many of the armed enemy) he did not pause in his danger — but, animated with something of the spirit of Wellington, when he exclaimed ”Up Guards and at ’em!” the valiant corporal set to work with his bayonet, and had actually killed three Russians before assistance came to him! Well did he merit the reward he got — he was at once promoted to be sergeant.

At break of day after the battle, a certain class of visitors came upon the scene — not to render succour to the dying, or to pay a due respect to the dead - but to pillage all they could. These inglorious men appear to scent booty afar off as the crow does carrion. How busy they were here and there, kneeling ty the dead while they rifled them of all they had — even stripping the gold lace from their uniforms. One, a Maltese, realized upwards of £150 in gold. And some might be seen skulking off with hats, coats, boots, and rifles. But not one was seen to assist in burying the body they had striped(sic) - they left that sacred duty to the chaplain of the expedition, and fled with their pillage,

Such were a few of the remarkable incidents of this memorable battle, and the want of space alone forbids us to give more. Volumes might be filled with the deeds of courage, — examples of valour, — and unequalled daring, which was developed on this immortalised day.
[ 111 ]

Viscount Chewton (from the Hastings News) - A Soldier's Appeal (from the St. Leonards Penny Press)


The late Viscount Chewton was born at Cardington, in Bedfordshire, June 29, 1816. His father, at that time the Hon. William Waldegrave, had married the eldest daughter of Samuel Whitbread, Esq., M.P., by the Lady Elizabeth Grey, sister to the second Earl Grey. William Frederick, their eldest son, early showed an inclination for active, stirring life; and when his father was appointed to the command of His Majesty’s frigate, the Seringapatam, he was removed from the school of the Rev. Dr. Mayo, of Cheam, where he and his brothers were educated, and entered the Royal Navy; and now commenced a career of adventure which has, perhaps, been seldom equalled. The Seringapatam was sent first of all to the South American station; and afterwards on a voyage of inquiry into the religious and moral state of the South Sea Islands, which, at that time, were emerging out of heathenism, after many years of indefatigable labour by the missionaries of the London Missionary Society. Easter Island was visited February 18, 1830; Pitcairn’s Island, March 7; the Marquesas, March 23; Nooaheevah, March 27; Otaheite, April 7; Huaheine, April 30, &c.; and on July 26, the ship anchored in Callao Roads. In the visits paid sometimes to savage and at other times to half civilised islands, the little midshipman shewed an aptitude for the language of signs, which procured for him many coveted articles in barter, which others found it impossible to obtain; and on one occasion, he was detained a whole night by the savage chief of Vavao, as a hostage for the good faith of the captain. His health, at this time, suffered so much from the climate and mosquitoes, that it was thought advisable that he should relinquish the profession on which he had entered, and he was sent home in the ill-fated Thetis, which was wrecked off Cape Frio; he escaped out of his hammock in his night-shirt—losing all his own things, and the curiosities which had been collected with much industry — the voyage of the Seringapatam. The crew of the Thetis had much to suffer from the hostility of the natives of that part of Brazil; but young Waldegrave, by his dexterity, often contrived to cater for himself and his suffering shipmates.

On his return to England, he endeavoured to settle himself down to a studious life, and even entered at Cambridge; but nature was too strong for resolution, and, with the consent of his parents, he sailed on the 20th of June, 1837, for Canada, intending to settle in that country. He purchased land, and proceeded to clear and stock it, when the Canadian Rebellion broke out, and he joined at once the Royal Beauharnais Volunteers.

This independent troop did such good service, that on a regular Regiment of Canadian Rifles being raised in the colonies, an Ensigncy dated July 18, 1841, without purchase, was given to the Troop-Lieutenant. The shanty was entirely abandoned, and after serving for two years, a Lieutenancy was obtained by purchase and exchange into the 3rd Buffs, August 25, 1843, and he returned to England with the charge of troops. After a few months’ residence with his family he was ordered to join his regiment in India, and appointed to convey troops and convicts to Van Diemen’s Land. After a run of 91 days, in the course of which he touched at the Cape of Good Hope, and went as far into the country as a two days anchorage there would admit, he landed his troops at Hobart Town, and then pursued his voyage to Calcutta.

He landed in India to find himself transferred to the 53rd Regiment, then beginning its term of service by relieving the 8rd Buffs. The 58rd was soon appointed to form part of the army of the Sutlej, and was in the division under the command of Sir John Grey. Lieutenant Waldegrave was ordered to bring up an ammunition train to the army, which occupied some time, and he arrived in time to see the battle of Aliwal won.

He took an active part in the battle of Sobraon, fought on the 10th of February, 1846, of which he wrote home the following account :—

"I should have been with the regiment at the glorious victory of Aliwal, but I was then commanding the escort bringing up ammunition, which I did safely, with the loss of only one man wounded (by his own gun). I found the 53rd encamped on the field of battle on the 1st, and I believe have got some kudos for my march with the ammunition. On the morning of the 10th, the 53rd marched, at four o’clock, along the front of the camp, till we came to a village which had been surprised by the 62nd about an hour before. Here we halted for some time, and then, resuming our former direction, we found ourselves, just at daylight, in a dry nullah, about half a mile from the extreme right of the Sikh camp, and on our own extreme left. Here we halted under cover, with the 59th Native Infantry next us, the 10th and 80th Queen’s with us also.

Here we breakfasted. At half-past nine the word was given, and we started straight for the batteries in very good order, but over very heavy sand; but now the nine-pounder battery began to crash through our ranks. A ball came close to me, and, knocking over a man, who fell on me, I went down, when another shot struck the ground close to my head and covered me with dirt; but before I could get up again I was seized by several of my company, who imagined I was shot, but they soon left me. We were now ordered to double, when still a long way from the batteries, and we ran till we were quite done up with the heat. I was perfectly exhausted, when the Serjeant-Major came up to me and gave me a drink out of his bottle, taking one himself also. This quite refreshed me, although still out of breath, and we had just got into range for their grape, and fearfully it told. Their cavalry came out of the trenches, and some one ordered us to form square. The Colonel tried to prevent it, and only one wing formed square; but this threw us into confusion, and we had to retire about 100 yards, when we deployed into line again, and this, giving us breathing time, we ran on again, and this time into the trenches; and then began a scene which I never shall forget ; but I was so excited that I hardly can clearly relate it. The Sikhs were retiring in large columns, about fifty yards from us, our musketry playing havoc into them, but they would not, when wounded, surrender, and, if passed, shot any of our poor fellows they saw near them, and this caused us to kill every man that we saw lying on the ground.

I tried to persuade a very fine man, who lay on the ground, to surrender; he refused, and I closed with him and got his sword out of his hand, and was just running him through, when one of my company shot him, and when we turned him over we found that he had a pistol behind him, and that he had been untouched, and was no doubt intending to shoot some one as soon as he could find an opportunity. Others would rush forward sword in hand to attack us, but few of them reached us alive. We had now driven them down to the ford, and as the artillery had destroyed their bridges this was the only passage left. and here was a fearful slaughter. We had nearly 15,000 muskets playing away on them, and the only idea you can form of it is to imagine the passage of the Borodino on the retreat from Moscow. Their men really retired beautifully. The Spanish engineer officer marched one battalion down to the ford with their arms crossed, and then carried arms and walked into the river as if on parade. He was shot soon after, and a very good thing for us, as he was a very talented man, and one of the few Europeans still in their army. I had a race for a gun with some of our Grenadiers, but some Sepoys got to it first, and thus ended the fiercest battle that had been ever fought in India with a disciplined enemy, but our loss has been very severe. We march to-morrow for Lahore in triumph, and hope to be at one of the hill stations in about three weeks.”

Viscount Chewton received two medals for this campaign. At the end of this year his father became the Earl of Waldegrave, without succeeding to any more substantial inheritance from his predecessor. Viscount Chewton again returned to his native country, and being anxious to advance in the army, he once more crossed the Atlantic, and served for a short time in a West Indian regiment at Surinam, when he purchased his company in the 6th Foot, on the 13th of August, 1847, and joined the depot in Ireland, at Fermoy, he himself being stationed principally at Dungarvan. Soon after he was gazetted to the Scots Fusilier Guards, and his family fondly hoped his wanderings had now ceased, and that the experience and information he had acquired in his long and diversified service in all parts of the world, would bear good fruit at home.

In 1850 he married Miss Bastard, the sister of Captain William B. Bastard, with whom he had served in the 53rd in India. Three short years of happiness followed, which were terminated by the war in the East, and on the 27th of June, 1854, Lord Chewton sailed in the screw steam troop-ship Vulcan, for Varna On his arrival there he had an attack of illness, but in a few days completely recovered, and enjoyed his usually robust health up to the fatal day of Alma.

We believe that our readers will thank us for giving a rather detailed account of the part the gallant nobleman took in that glorious battle, where he was noted for his “tremendous bravery;” and there is some danger that in the hurry of subsequent events, the fallen, who have as much won the victory as those who survive to wear the laurel, may be forgotten.

We have lately seen his soldier servant, who gives us the following account of the early part of the day. On their march across the plains, a small ball rolled along the ground, and the ranks of the Scots Fusiliers opened to let it pass, but one man close to Lord Chewton, thinking to stop it, put his foot upon it, it was a shell, and in an instant, he was blown high up into the air into atoms, in which none could recognize the remains of a human being! They proceeded, and Lord Chewton crossed the Alma where it proved to be deep, and a steep bank rose before them, but he would not turn, and by the assistance of his servant pushing him up, he contrived to scale it, his man then ran back, and by crossing the river, and recrossing it at a shallow place thirty yards higher up, and climbing the bank where the sappers and miners had made it easily accessible, rejoined his master, whom he found already wounded in the fleshy part of the right thigh. His Lordship tied a handkerchief round his leg, and took a drink of water from his man, who observed “You had better stay here a few minutes, my Lord.“ He replied “This is no time to wait, it will soon be over,“ and proceeded at the head of the company up the hill. The servant was almost immediately after struck down by a ball on the knee, and of course knows nothing more, but we believe that we are correct in stating the following as the order of events. The Guards were advancing up the hill to the support of the 23rd Foot, then engaged in a desperate struggle for the redoubt which defended the mountain pass to Sebastopol; they had already planted their colors there, but the contention was so fierce, that they were unable to retain possession, and were ordered to fall back to save the remains of the regiment. In doing this they shook, for a few minutes, the ranks of the Scots Fusilier Guards, and we believe it was as much Lord Chewton’s bravery as any other cause which at this critical moment gave the impetus that won the day. He took off his bearskin cap, and waving it on the point of his sword in the air cried out “Come on, my lads, we'll beat them and gain the battle.” The men rallied round him, and rushed on, and Lord Chewton fell within fifty yards of the redoubt, his left leg being broken by three minie balls just above the knee. Of his brother officers eleven out of thirteen had been marked down and wounded by the enemy’s rifles while maintaining their ground ; happily most of them escaped the horrors which followed from the unknown and unsuspected ferocity of the savage enemy, but Colonel Haygarth, who is recovering suffered severely from their brutality, while Lord Chewton’s powerful frame (which lay next him) became a target for the enemy's fire. We are told that he was seen engaged in a hand to hand encounter with three Russians at once—that one beat him so severely on the head with the butt end of his musket, that but for his bearskin he must have been killed before a Russian officer could interfere (as he did) to prevent it, that he was seen to hold out his watch to bribe a wounded Russian who was taking deliberate aim at him to leave him alone, but the wretch shook his head, and fired, and gave him his death wound in the groin - that after that, another (who met his due reward from the corporal who relates this anecdote in a private letter to his father) "put a shot thro’ his shoulder blade,“ which also mutilated his right hand.

Suffice it to say that when he was removed to the temporary hospital by the river side, he was found to be wounded by a gunshot or bayonet in every part of his body except the left hand and arm, and he suffered immediate amputation of the thumb of the right hand. The next day he was conveyed by Captain King to the ship that he was then commanding, the Leander, where he remained two days till a transport was ready to sail for Scutari. From the first moment he never deceived himself by false hopes about the issue ; but so great was his cheerfulness that he concealed from his brother officers sufferings which the surgeons characterise as dreadful, and led them to entertain confident expectations of his “getting over it.” But he was prepared to meet death, and as a Christian man should be, so that when informed by the chaplain, the Rev. J. E. Sabin, whose ministrations had been his greatest comfort, that he had but a few hours more to live, he received the information almost joyfully ; but, when he recollected his wife and child and his aged father, he was overcome, and the strong man wept. He sent for his brother officers, and assuring them he was not afraid to die, he took leave of them all with the same cheerful air he had always maintained, and particularly thanked his medical attendants for all their kindness to him.

He had already made all his worldly arrangements, and provided some recompense for his soldier servants; and now, having received the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper for the second time since he had done so with Lord Raglan and the rest of the officers at Varna, he fell into an untroubled sleep, and his spirit passed away so gently that the last breath was scarcely perceptible on the morning of the 8th of October, 1854, He was buried, by express desire, in the burying-ground at Scutari among the officers and men. By his marriage he had three children, two sons and a daughter. His eldest boy, William Frederick, now Viscount Chewton, was born on the 2nd of March, 1851; the second, Henry Noel was born six days after his father’s death, but before that event was known in England — the daughter lived only a few months.

It is gratifying to state that Her Majesty the Queen, in that true and heartfelt sympathy which she has always manifested for her brave soldiers, has had conveyed to the sorrowing father and family of the subject of our memoir, Her condolence, as well as that of His Royal Highness Prince Albert; on the heavy loss which they, and she, and Her army have sustained in the death of Viscount Chewton. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, our Ambassador at the Court of Constantinople, has also recently written to the Earl of Waldegrave, stating that the Sultan of Turkey had expressed his intention of conferring the high order of Nishin Medjidge on Viscount Chewton, had Providence been pleased to spare his lordsbip’s life. We need hardly say that the insignia diploma of this order are but rarely conferred upon Christians, and only in cases of most distinguished bravery and services.

- "Hastings News"

The Soldier's Appeal

Suggested by the Battle of Alma.

Behold a man in uniform appears,
Beneath whose brow, descends a flood of tears,
Whose pallid countenance now dull and sad,
Not long ago, was smiling, bright and glad.

Whose sterner feelings for awhile relax,
And soften into those of gentler sex:
See, now, his grief appears beyond controul!
What means this change,—why pours he out his soul ?

A summons bids him leave native land,
To join that noble Anglo-Gallic band
Now on its way to strike a mighty blow
’Gainst Russia’s despot—freedom's deadliest foe.

Dreads he to shed his blood,—exhaust his breath?
Fears he to meet the enemy, or death?
Go, ask the question, and he’ll answer “ No !’*
“That’s not the cause of my apparent woe.”

He loves his sea-girt isle with all his heart,
And, when stern duty bids him do his part,
He’ll not be wanting, but with sword in hand,
He'll e’en be ready at the first command.

But who, when he’s engaged in battle strife
Will deign to care for his poor hapless wife—
The friend of all on earth to him most dear?
Say, who will then her dreary prospects cheer.

There sits the once proud shearer of his joys,
Around her stand two little weeping boys;
While on her breast a lisping infant lies,
On which she gazes with her tear-wet eyes.

Deep sighs escape, and parting tears are shed,
With broken accent, last fond words are said;
From their embrace the soldier steals away,
When next they’ll meet, no tongue on earth can say.

On board a gallant barque, with hundreds more,
He takes a last long look of Britain’s shore ;
Till out of sight, their onward course they keep
Ploughing by day and night the briny deep.

Soon Russia’s coast,—the seat of war they reach,
All hands are piped; they spring upon the beach;
When, quick as thought this patriotic band
Their deadly weapons grasp with giant hand.

See, see, they march! the enemy’s in sight,
Onward they rush—all eager for the fight.
For gallant deeds our hero’s heart is steel’d,
No mean assailant on the battle field.

With dauntless courage, see, he meets the foe,
And Russians, one, two, three, are soon laid low,
Still onward! onward! is the battle cry,
While bullets whiz, and blazing rockets fly.

Anon, while in the thickest of the strife,
He, midst o’erpowering numbers risks his life;
With dext’rous skill he parries many a thrust
And in return makes many bite the dust.

But, see, the swift wing’d messenger of death
Our hero meets! he staggers,—gasps for breath ;
He swoons, he falls, and now behold him lie
Surrounded by a flood of crimson die.

The battle’s o’er, the victory is won,
Each valiant hand its share of work has done,
The vanquished foe retires with hasty tread,
And leaves behind, the dying and the dad.

Now, for a few brief moments, reason takes
Her wonted seat, our valiant ones awakes
To stern reality, and views with pain,
The hideous forms of those in conflict slain,

With wild despair his searching eye doth roam
For wife, and children,—dear ones left at home;
Tis vain! no wife, no child, no friend appears,
He sinks, exhausted, bathed in blood au: tears,

The sable night steals on, and frightful groans
Assail the ear, and yet with plaintive tones
In attitude of prayer our friend is found,
Though blood still oozes from hig mortal wound.

“Perchance a comrade still survives this strife,
May Heaven direct him to my anxious wife,
And tell her, though a victim here I fell,
And booming cannon sounded forth my knell,

Yet, while, a drop of blood did still remain,
Within my aching, poisoned, punctured vein,
I offered up to God a fervent prayer,
That He my children and my Wife would spare.

That He a widow’s sorrow would relieve,
And on each child, a parent’s blessing breathe,
And urge my country, for whose cause I die
To (in my stead,) my loved-ones’ wants supply.”

— R. M.

London Road, St. Leonards.

St. Leonards Penny Press
[The above lines were revised by the Editor, as requested by the author]

[ 112 ]

Life in the Camp

From Brett's Hastings & St. Leonards Penny Press 1854
Where Drums Beat, Laws are Silent
We might well be tempted to ask ourselves whether or not we live in an age of enlightenment, of civilization, and in a portion of the world which is Christianized, when we reflect that instead of ”peace and goodwill,” brotherhood and sympathy, evidences of rivalry and deadly hostility so commonly present themselves. The whole civilized world, as it is called, bristles with fortresses; and ramparts and grinning cannon mark the boundaries, not only of nations but even of the pettiest states.


One of the most potent combinations which active military life presents is the Council of War. This is the source from whence the great manoeuvres which are to decide the fate of nations proceed. Here the chiefs of the expedition meet to discuss the policy of any important step before it is undertaken, as well as to determine the manner of its execution; and on the conclusions arrived at by about half a score of officers, the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, depend. Experience and judgment are therefore requisite qualifications for officers who share in council; and it is seldom that the slightest contingency escapes its due share of reflection. Charts and maps are consulted, the nature of the country is considered, and the probabilities of success or failure are weighed by that intelligence which makes knowledge superior to physical power. The deliberations in these affairs are sometimes very protracted. Each member expresses his peculiar views on the question before it, and at times the arguments are carried on with no little vehemence.

The proceedings of Councils of War rarely become public; the details are known only to those actually present. Some anecdotes, however, of the manner of Bonaparte in council have been related, which may be fresh to our readers. The Emperor, it is said, usually at first took no part in the proceedings, but leaning back in his chair, hacked his pencil to pieces with a pen-knife, or amused himself by drawing grotesque figures upon the paper placed on his table. All of a sudden, however, Bonaparte would put an end to the wordy warfare, by rising and saying, ”Enough!” He would then give a clear and concise summary of the whole proceedings, and put the question at once to the vote. When the will of the majority was at variance with his own opinion, he would merely say — ”Well, I must endeavour to persuade myself that I am in the wrong.”

On one occasion, when General Gassendi was arguing the necessity of a retrograde movement on the part of the army, and fortifying his opinion with some abstruse reasonings, Bonaparte interrupted him by exclaiming :— ”My dear fellow, who made you so well acquainted with these subjects?” The general endeavoured to make the best of it by saying :—“Sire, it was from yourself that I learned them.” ”One thousand cannons!” exclaimed the Emperor, with animation, ”what nonsense you talk! Such principles from me! Come, my dear Gassendi - you have been sleeping at your post, and have dreamt all this.” ”Sleep, indeed!” replied Gassendi, passionately, ”sleep at my post! I defy a marmot to sleep where you are: the turmoil that you keep us in, would be sufficient to banish sleep from the eyes of Morpheus himself.” This reply excited a general laugh, in which the Emperor joined most heartily, whilst Gassendi’s views were abandoned by common consent.


Turning from the Council of War, let us proceed to another scene in Camp Life, which though it may be less important in its results than the Council, is a no less powerful tribunal — the Drum-head Court-martial, Courts-martial are appointed under the provisions of the Mutiny Act, and are of various kinds—such as General, Garrison, Regimental, &c.

The General court-martial has the power of trying all military crimes, and of awarding sentence of death; the Garrison court-martial is assembled for the trial of non-commissioned officers and soldiers for desertion, theft, drunkenness, insubordination, or general misconduct; and the Regimental court-martial, which has the power only to try minor offences, not requiring the investigation of a higher tribunal.

The Drum-head court-martial is a commission which is usually resorted to in time of war; it is assembled in the camp, and the convictions and punishments awarded are of a character summary and severe. The soldier who comes before this court must resign himself to the fate which is reserved for him; for the notions of military justice are so arbitrary that the allegations of reasons for the committing of any act is generally considered an aggravation of the offence; and the best chance the soldier has of a lenient sentence is to promise future good behaviour and to rely on the mercy of the court.

A few brief questions constitute the nature of the trial, and sentence is given, Whether this sentence be death, the lash, or any other punishment, it is immediately carried into effect. Fearful as death under such circumstances may be, corporal chastisement is often the most dreaded decision, Witnessed by his comrades, before whom he is tied up as an example of what will be awarded for misconduct, the degradation of the man is complete, and very often final: with spirits broken, he henceforward detests the service, and most commonly at the first opportunity deserts. Recently, at Sebastopol, two of our soldiers who had received corporal punishment, found means to desert to the Russians; the feelings which they must experience when forced in the contest to fire on their comrades cannot be envied.

Much has been said in favour of the abolition of corporal punishment in our army and navy, but though, happily, such fearful inflictions as five hundred lashes are abolished by act of parliament, (fifty being the highest number permitted,) the ”cat” is not yet banished from either service.

When we reflect that the rigid discipline to which the soldier is subjected is accompanied by all sorts of hardships and deprivations, we shall be ready to admit that the profession of arms is not the most desirable pursuit, and that however the ”pomp and circumstance” of military life may excite our admiration, there is a darker side to the picture. The correspondent of the Times, writing after the battle of Inkermann, makes the following apt remarks upon this subject :-—

“We have out here ‘ soldiering with the gilding off,’ and many a young gentleman would be for ever cured of his love of arms if he could but see one day’s fighting, and have one day’s parade of the men who do it, Many of our soldiers have no shoes or stockings, and a great number may be seen with tattered and patched uniforms, and the long boots of the Russian soldiers, which have been taken from the enemy’s slain. As to young ladies suffering from ‘scarlet fever’—the pupils of the L. E. L. school, who are for ever thinking of heroes and warriors, singing of champions, of ‘crowning conquerors’ brows with flowers,’ and wishing for ' Arab steeds and falchions bright,’ if they could but for one moment have stood beside me and gazed into one of the pits where some thirty ’clods of the valley,’ all covered with scarlet and blue cloth, with lace and broidery, and blood, were lying side by side and staring up at heaven


with their sightless orbs, as they were about to be consigned to the worm, they would feel the horrors of their hero-worship, and would join in prayer for the advent of that day—if come it ever may—when war shall be no more, and when the shedding of blood shall cease.”

There is another scene in Camp Life, which, however necessary it may be to the preservation of discipline, cannot but furnish matter of the deepest regret and sorrow to both soldier and civilian. It is the Military Execution. Desertion, Mutiny, or other high crimes are punishable by this death, which is effected by a volley of musketry from a detachment ordered for the execution. If the volley does not effectually extinguish life, it is the duty of an officer called the provost-marshal to place a pistol to the soldier's head and so put a period to his existence.

Another kind of execution not uncommonly occurs in the camp during active warfare — and this is the punishment usually accorded to the spy. Though it may require considerable courage or temerity to enter a hostile camp with a view of communicating with the opposing army, still there is something in such courage so nearly allied to the boldness of the snake, which crawls stealthily forward, and attacks in an unguarded moment, that an ignominious death seems the only fitting reward for those who are discovered. In such cases this punishment is invariably awarded — the spy is conducted to a hurriedly constructed gibbet, from which he is soon suspended; or should time be short, he is placed at the mouth of an hastily dug grave, a file of soldiers is called out, and the roll of the musketry tells that the fatal act has been consummated.

A melancholy instance of a military execution occurred during the American war, in the case of the unfortunate Major Andre. This lamented British officer, desirous of bringing his country with honour from an unequal and disastrous contest, offered his services in a secret expedition to negotiate terms of peace between General Arnold and General Sir Henry Clinton. On his return he was taken prisoner by the Americans within their lines, and owing to his disguise and the nature of his mission, was tried and condemned to be hung as a spy, (Oct. 2, 1780.) On going to the place of execution, he said, with concern, “ Must I die in this manner?” Being told it was unavoidable, he replied, ”I am reconciled to my fate, but not to the mode; it will, however, be but a momentary pang. You will witness to the world that I die like a brave man.” It is but just to the Americans to say that his death was viewed by a great portion of them as an unwarranted stretch of military authority; whilst the British nation evinced their remembrance of his fate by the erection of a monument to him in Westminster Abbey.


The advantage which is naturally given to a general by an early knowledge of the position, prospects, and intentions of the opposing army, has led most commanders to the employment of spies, and during the operations before Sebastopol, several have been taken on both sides. We have seen that in our own camps there is little compunction as to the fate of the spy, but if the Russians have distinguished themselves in nothing else, they have attained especial celebrity for their barbarities. The spies, and indeed prisoners in general, have been subjected to tortures as well as death ; and it is stated on reliable authority, that in some cases crucifixion has been inflicted!

When, however, we recal(sic) the atrocities of Suwarrow, during the close of the last century, we shall feel that the Russians are maintaining, rather than attaining their notoriety for excessive cruelty. The siege of Ismael, with which Suwarrow’s name is especially associated, occurred many years ago (1790); but as it is a memorable instance of what Russian ministers and generals are capable, we will give the facts of that terrible affair. The siege had been carried on for several months, and 20,000 Russians had been slain, when Prince Potemkin, the favourite of the infamous Catherine II., sent peremptory orders for its reduction within three days, at whatever cost. Suwarrow stormed the stronghold, and the Turkish garrison, consisting of 30,000 men were put to the sword - every man was butchered, and Suwarrow, not satisfied with this vengeance, delivered up Ismael to the pillage of his ferocious soldiery, and 6,000 women were murdered in cold blood.

The Potemkins and Suwarrows of Catherine have their representatives in the favourites of Nicholas. If Potemkin says “Ismael must be taken“ the Czar himself says “Silistria must be taken ;“ — though, in spite of his imperial command, it was not. If Suwarrow delivers a town to the butchery of his Cossacks, Menschikoff directs the slaying of the wounded French and English on the field of Inkermann.

But atrocities of an equally cruel character have occurred since those enacted by the Russians after the glorious battle of the 5th of November. Vessels stranded by the hurricane, and drowning sailors battling with the storm, have been fired upon from the cliffs by Cossacks and Russians. Defenceless, and in the distress of shipwreck, the barbarians murdered our brave fellows as they struggled with the waves, and ever brought down field-pieces to aid in their destruction. The details of the storm of the 13th of November, in the Black Sea, are terrible enough in themselves, as furnishing a list of disasters of the deep; but human nature revolts at the conduct of these savages. A correspondent of The Times thus describes the scene :—


“The Firebrand and many other vessels have stranded on the coast, and are being surrounded by the prowling detachments of Cossacks and Russians, Every poor fellow they caught, half drowned and unarmed as he was, they handcuffed and sent off. One French bark was full of soldiers, at which the enemy kept up a continual fire; the poor wretches, clinging to the bulwarks for safety, afforded an excellent mark for the Russians, who took advantage of it, And yet these savages call themselves Christians!

”About forty or fifty men belonging to the 95th regiment were rescued and taken on board the Queen. The Cossacks on the beach fired on the retreating boats and killed a seaman in one of them. The enemy closed the day by firing a smart volley upon a bark round whose yawning sites twenty or thirty men were desperately clinging.”

If we reflect on the subject of war, we may remark that though generations pass, times change, and circumstances alter, too much.of the passions and evil nature of man remains to mark any great revolutions, morally speaking, in a Life in the Camp. Divest victory of its false trappings of glory, and what a picture of human cruelty is presented!
[ 113 ]

War - Its Deadly Weapons

From Brett's Hastings & St. Leonards Penny Press1854
Human Blood is all of one Colour
Much as we may at first sight lament the invention of gunpowder, and all the numerous terrible projectiles which owe their origin to its adoption, we must recollect that they are in reality a means of the extinction of war in themselves. Greatly as Europe has been devastated by discord since the introduction of artillery, if we advert to the wars of the Romans, who for five centuries were engaged in incessant hostility, and to the desolation caused by the Scythians, Goths, Vandals, Tartars, and the destruction of about two millions of beings in the Crusades—it seems to be evident that wars were anciently, and before the general use of fire-arms and cannon, more frequent, protracted, destructive, and cruel than they now are. In no period previous to the invention of gunpowder, does it appear that Europe was at peace for nearly forty years, as it happily was, until the present war—caused by the aggression of the ruler of hordes bred in the same recesses as the Huns and Vandals of ancient days—broke out.

The time may be distant when the military art will die a natural death — when the “sword shall be beaten into the ploughshare;” and in the meanwhile we will go on with our review of the approved method adopted in the deadly art as now practised. In the illustration which we have given of the Mortar battery the operation of throwing shells from mortars is represented. Considerable practice and skill is requisite in the performance of this duty,that the shell may fall exactly on the spot intended, as, otherwise, their effects may be useless. The length and adjustment of the fusee, which it is scarcely necessary to remark is the means by, which the explosion of the shell is effected, is also of great importance - hence the necessity for accurately timing it, as, if the ignition take place a little before the required instant - in the air for instance — the result is perfectly harmless. At the battle of Waterloo great quantities of shells were thrown among the British, but as the fusees were not exactly timed the projectiles struck the ground before ignition, and the soil being wet, they sunk in the mud without exploding at all. Great excellence has, however, now been attained in the throwing of shells, and of course as almost any description of missile can be propelled from mortars, the mortar battery must be considered as a very formidable arrangement of ordnance.


A shell called a ”Carcass” is sometimes propelled from mortars, which we will briefly allude to. The powers of the “carcass” are not explosive but incendiary - there are several holes in it, and it is charged not only with gunpowder but with a mixture of gunpowder, pitch, and tallow. As soon as the carcass is discharged the horrible contents ignite, and streaming from each aperture, overwhelms with its fiery streams the ​building​ against which it may be directed.

Our readers may perhaps have some idea of the difficulties which must attend the moving of mortars and cannon up precipices, and over rugged ground if we remark respecting the weight of mortars that a 13 inch land-service brass mortar weighs 25 cwt., and an iron mortar, of the same calibre, 38 cwt.; that a 42-pounder brass gun weighs 61 cwt.; a light brass 24-pounder, 24 cwt.; and a 32-pounder iron gun, 55 cwt.

The exertion and perseverance which enabled our troops in the Crimea to overcome difficulties of this kind, must be considered as not the least important part of their victories,

Another description of battery which is very effective especially in a hilly country, is the Barbette Battery of which we give an illustration above. The cannon are ranged on hillocks of earth, artificial or natural, and are in close proximity to each other. The pieces admit of being turned in any required direction with the utmost despatch, and the storm of iron can be so concentrated, and sustained with such celerity, by means of these batteries that they present fearful obstacles to the progress of battalions, or to any combinations of the foe against whom their fire may be directed.

Many terms occur in describing military operations, especially sieges, which are ill-understood by the majority of general readers, and it will not be inopportune at this point to give some explanation of such. To some of our readers the terms fascines, gabions, san-cissons, &c., may be familiar; but they are not so with the great mass of the public, who take so deep an interest in all matters having reference in any way to the war in the East.

The batteries constructed for the siege of any place (as in the case of Sebastopol,) are made of fascines, sancissons, and not unfrequently, in the absence of hard rocky ground, with earth, They are also made with gabions or sand bags.

Fascines are composed of branches of trees, or brushwood, made up in the form of fagots, about six feet long, and eight or ten inches in diameter, tied together in two or three places. Sancissons, which are used for keeping up the earthwork of a battery, are also made of the same materials; but they are from eighteen to twenty feet in length, and are tied up in bundles of some fourteen or sixteen inches in diameter.

Gabions are cylindrical baskets, without a bottom, from three to four feet high, and the same in diameter, to be filled with earth, Sand bags, which are from ten to fifteen inches in diameter, and about two feet in length, are,also to contain earth. Not less than about 1,600 of these are required for the parapet, in the construction of a battery of only two pieces.


In batteries which are used in sieges to destroy the defences of a place, the guns are usually placed behind a mass of earth about seven feet high and twenty feet in thickness, Ricochet firing is when the guns, howitzers, or mortars are loaded with small charges, and elevated at an angle of from three to thirteen degrees, so as to throw the shot or shell with several grazes or bounds, either on land or water.

Hundreds of technicalities exist besides those given here, relating to engineering artillery, but these are the most common, and we shall proceed with the reader to the scene of the illustration given below, representing the spiking of the guns by the Turkish artillerymen, a scene lamentably too true. The recent abandonment of their guns by the Turks at Sebastopol, in consequence of a vigorous attack, by the Russians, exposed our troops to great loss, as well as the imminent risk of losing their position.

Many persons, when they read of cannon being ”spiked” to prevent them (when a place is compelled to be evacuated in too great haste to carry off the guns) from being of any service to an enemy, imagine that it is the mouth of the piece which is operated upon; but this is not so. The method most commonly adopted to render a piece of ordnance unfit for service is to drive a nail firmly into the vent, or touch-hole, and then to knock off the head, so that by no means could it be pulled out. This, even in a battery of one hundred guns, is but the work of a few seconds, the artillery being always provided with the necessary means to effect this purpose.


It is not in depreciation of the general bravery of the Turks that this allusion is made to the abandonment of their guns; because emergencies occur which render that operation compulsory at times, and, besides, the due need of praise must be given to the Turkish soldiers for the manner in which they have, for the most part, behaved when engaged with the enemy. It may be remarked, however, that with British troops spiking the guns is looked upon in no very favourable light, and in truth such an incident seldom occurs. It is difficult for a civilian, or indeed for any who have not participated in one or two campaigns, to imagine the affection which the veteran cannonier feels towards his death-dealing gun, He is sworn to guard it, and perhaps he has guarded it in many a hard-fought field. Taken by the enemy and again retaken, the sanguinary moment from its own inherent solemnity, but it is stil! more fertile of saddening reflection to the soldier. The hurried shake of the hand exchanged between old acquaintances or perhaps near relatives, the few words of good cheer, withal partaking of sadness, spoken by one soldier to another, or the shout of recognition between various regiments who have before shared the perils of the battle-field, are all interesting reminiscences which it is not easy afterwards to forget. Thoughts of home, too, of an aged mother, cherished sisters, or other relatives, come over the mind of the soldier, together with the knowledge that the next few hours may stretch him a mangled corse(sic) upon the field. The hissing and crashing of the shot, the noise and smoke of the firing, and the terrible duties of the soldier on the field of battle, dispel these reflections during actual contest, and the honour and glory supposed to devolve on the survivors of a victory take off a great deal of the horror and sadness which might reasonably follow so terrible a reality as the occurrence of a great battle: but it may be repeated that none but those who have actually experienced the sensations preceding and during a general action can adequately judge of their intensity.

Perhaps, however, there are greater miseries still than those of the battlefield which follow in the train of war, over which there may be more silence, but to which we may allowed to refer. A country which is at war with any other nation is it may be said grievously afflicted, but how much more sad is the fate of the place in which the contest actually takes place — the seat of war, as it is called. Probably far removed from either of the nations at variance — the inhabitants commonly so uninterested in the quarrel as to know nothing of its causes — yet they are exposed to the greatest violence and injustice.

Perhaps their homes are converted into batteries, or perhaps they are levelled to the ground. The property of the occupants is sacrificed, or they levelled to the ground. The property of the occupants is sacrificed, or they are even deprived of their lives, and a region smiling in quietude and plenteousness is desolated by fire and sword.


In a besieged town still greater horrors accompany the scourge. Different regulations, it may be observed, are adopted by the authorities in cases of this kind. Sometimes such of the inhabitants as are unable to bear arms are ordered to quit the town; and these, taking with them such things as they can, proceed to leave their homes, and mostly their means of livelihood also, to go they know not whither — while the sad reflection accompanies them that they shall no more behold the son, or husband, or brother left behind. Where a certain number of inhabitants only are compelled to leave the place, or where even the whole of the townspeople remain, the miseries are augmented. If famine comes, there are more to feed; and if, as is usual, bombardment occurs, there is a greater feast for death, and the grief and mourning of survivors is greater too. The scenes which occur when at length the place is taken are too fearful to dwell upon. Sometimes the place is sacked, or property and inhabitants given over to the rude excesses of the soldiers; and where orders are even given to the contrary of this, the strictest discipline cannot prevent acts of the greatest cruelty and licentiousness — as some of the sieges under Wellington in the Peninsular will fully prove.

We have seen how shells, carcasses, and other instruments of death are propelled from the battery - let us follow them in their flight, as it were, and witness some of their effects. The streets of Sebastopol as described by some prisoners taken by the British and of which we have given a representation above, furnish an apt illustration of the general results of a siege. The dead and dying strewed in every direction, despair, hunger, and sickness on every countenance, and the ceaseless storm of shell and shot relentlessly striking down even the helper of the wounded and the sick — such is the picture presented!

Participation in war is at the present time forced upon us by a despot, whose obstinacy is only equalled by the arrogance of his pretensions. It can scarcely be hoped that the world will ever be freed of such men as the Czar — the tyrant of one age usually has his representative in the next; but from what we have seen of the military art it may be reasonably hoped that when science, especially chemistry, shall have reduced war to a matter of definite calculation and, of course, certain destruction to all engaged in it, the institution will die a natural death, The innate selfishness of mankind will immediately recognise the folly of engaging in a system of indiscriminate slaughter, which must result in the extirmination(sic) of their species, leaving the earth once more to the dominion of the swamp and the forest.

Meantime may our own land be spared from experiencing the fearful realities which ever follow in the train of war. [ 114 ]

Siege of Sebastopol

From Brett's Hastings & St. Leonards Penny Press1854
Rareness and Difficulty Render Things Estimable


After the heroic courage which has been displayed before Sebastopol, and the superhuman exertions that have been made to effect its destruction — the intelligence of its fall — the news that those frowning parapets had crumbled to ruins before the iron storm of the allies, might well form an absorbing topic of interest to the people of such nations as were engaged in the struggle. The joy and welcome with which such news would be received would be proportionably greater, from the excitement and anxiety which has been everywhere apparent.

Either from over estimating our own powers, or depreciating those of the enemy, public anticipation had long ago taken Sebastopol; but certainly the history of former sieges would not warrant us in looking forward to such results. Let us glance at a few of the most important sieges :—

1566—MALTA, besieged by the Turks for four months, and then abandoned, after the loss of 30,000 men.

1572— HAARLEM, besieged by the Spaniards. Commenced December 21, 1572; terminated August, 1573.

1683—VIENNA, besieged by the Turks, and after near three months’ operations, raised by the attack of Sobieski.

1779 —GIBRALTAR, besieged by the French and Spanish, who after making all the efforts which military genius an courage could effect, for a period of three years, were forced to abandon the enterprise, 1783.

1798—MALTA, besieged by the English, and taken from the French in 1800 — being some days over two years in besieging.

The two latter sieges are those by which that of Sebastopol will alone bear comparison ; in the one case, three years’ operations failed to take the place; in the other the British continued to invest the place for two years, and it was then only by dint of a close blockade, and the consequent starvation of the garrison, that the fortress surrendered. Even Wellington, whose sieges were certainly remarkable for expedition, took four months in besieging San Sebastian, a place insignificant enough when compared with the Crimean fortress.

Sufficient has been said to show that places like Gibraltar, Malta, Sebastopol, or Cronstadt, are not to be taken without the consumption of much time, as well as the expense of blood and treasure — if, indeed, they are to be taken with Such sacrifices ; and if for six months the allies have been before Sebastopol, the time has been long rather from anxiety and anticipation, than the period actually commensurate to the magnitude of the affair itself.

The most valorous efforts have been made to render the Crimean siege successful. Every week we have had fresh proofs of the courage of the besiegers, from whose resolution and endurance nothing but conquest could be augured. Scarcely a night passed but the Russian sortie was repulsed. Issuing from those ramparts and forts in overwhelming numbers, on some point which they had thought too weak to oppose them, their most desperate efforts have failed to occupy any part of the works of the allies.

But let us describe one of these sorties, (which the besieged so constantly make,) to convey to the reader some idea of the scene presented. On the night of the 22nd March, the Russians, with a force of fifteen battalions of 1,000 men each, moving in two columns, attacked the lines of the allies. The onset was made with fierce shouts and extreme fury; and General Canrobert states that the enemy were thrice driven back by the 3rd Zouaves. The Russians, however, succeeded at last in forcing a passage on the left parallel, which they turned ; they then passed along the parallel till they came to the British right, where it was connected with the French works. Detachments of the 77th and 97th regiments (British) occupied this position, and though taken for the moment both in flank and rear, the gallant fellows of the 97th repulsed the attack at the point of the bayonet, in which service Captain Vicars, who behaved with distinguished bravery, was killed. While this combat was going on upon the right, the enemy also succeeded in penetrating to our second parallel on the left, called the ”Green Hill attack,” and they likewise reached our mortar battery; but detachments of the 7th Fusiliers and the 34th, which had been at work hard by, having been promptly brought up, these troops advanced with so much steadiness and resolution, that the Russians were ejected, and fairly pitched over the parapet.

Even under the earth itself, the fierce combat has raged. At the head of our page we have illustrated an incident which recently occurred in connection with the siege operations, and the portrayal of which furnishes one of those terrible pictures so commonly occurring.

Outside Sebastopol

A mine which the French had been for some time busily constructing, in order to blow up some of the Russian fortifications, chanced to be intercepted by a countermine of the besieged, and a fierce combat ensued in this subterraneous passage. By the lurid glare of lanterns the work of death went on; and had it not been for the aid of a detachment of Zouaves — whose courage has shown so conspicuously in the Crimean campaign — the Russians might have held the mine, and that portion of the French works would have fallen into their hands. The brave Zouaves, however, soon forced the enemy to retreat, and leaving their dead and wounded strewed along the passage, the mine, and the position it led to, was abandoned.

From their apparently inexhaustible resources of men and stores of war, the Russians have been enabled to support these fearful losses in defending the batteries and outworks; but let us see how they have suffered

Inside Sebastopol

The unmistakeable air of a doomed city is everywhere apparent, for the bombardment and fire of the allies have scattered ruin in every part of the town. The houses and even the public ​building​s are blown to pieces by the bombs and shells of the besiegers, or fall a prey to the flames which are constantly being kindled by the thousand fiery explosives hurled from the batteries of the allies. A new war rocket used by the French is said to have committed fearful havoc in firing the city, long spires of flame rising in all directions after their employment. Words cannot adequately convey any idea of the picture which Sebastopol must present, or the misery and distress endured by the garrison and inhabitants, whose courage and obstinacy in resisting the besiegers was so little anticipated by the allies.

There is one peculiar feature in this siege which has tended to prolong it — the south side of the town only was invested, the north side being left open and free to communicate with the country facing it. This partial investment was said to be unavoidable, with a besieging army so inferior in numbers as those originally landed in the Crimea. Sir John Jones, in his History of Sieges, enforces, with the following excellent observations, "the necessity of investing a place on all sides, as, otherwise, a skilful governor may draw numberless resources from the territory open to him, to impede the attack. Sieges have frequently been undertaken without fully investing the place, and even with the side open by which supplies could be most readily received, and the result has been a very protracted or successful resistance. Ostend and Rochelle, in former times, are examples of defences prolonged for years, by means of succours received from the sea; and in the general war, at the beginning of the last century, two very strong instances of the fatal effects of leaving the communications of a besieged town open on one side can be pointed out. First, the siege of Verrua, by the Duc de Vendome, in 1704, which, being invested only on the right of the Po, and having its communication open with the army of the Duke of Savoy on the left bank, resisted till the besiegers had expended all the means they had provided for the siege. They were then obliged to invest it entirely, and trust to famine, which ultimately caused it to surrender. The second is that of the siege of the Citadel of Turin by the Duke de la Fueillade, in 1706, who, by committing a similar error to that of the Due de Vendome at Verrua, of only investing the work on the left of the Po, and leaving its communications open on the right bank, wasted from the 14th May to the 1st September in a most murderous siege, and then, being attacked in his lines, was beaten, and obliged to retire with the loss of all his artillery and stores.

“Whilst the communications of a fortress remain open with an army in the field, to attack the fortress is to attack that army by a single front of fortification; and perseverance in such an attack must almost inevitably lead to the destruction of the assailants.” General Monk somewhere remarks that ”the belly is the best ally of besiegers” who properly invest a place.


[ 115 ]

Letters from Hastings Men at the seat of War

The following extracts from letters of local men engaged in the war with Russia are mainly reproduced from the Hastings and St. Leonards News. James T Hart, whose parents resided may years in Hastings, was serving on board the Brittania flag-ship of Admiral Dundas. He wrote from Odessa, Black Sea, on April 28th, 1854, and stated –

“We arrived here, yesterday, from Kavarna, and are now at anchor, off the town about three miles. Some of our steamers, with the French, have taken about 14 Russian merchant ships. I shall now tell you all, as this may, perhaps, be the last letter that I shall write; but my trust is in Providence. The two admirals have sent in a letter with a flag of truce to the Governor, telling him that unless he gave up all English and French vessels, as well as neutrals, we shall bombard the ports and destroy the shipping. No answer being returned by sunset, the signal was made for the steamer to prepare for action, and to be prepared to weigh by daylight. I was sent for and ordered to take charge of one of the rocket boats, with 16 men. I was to leave the ship at daylight, and being towed in by the Tiger, some of my messmates envied me and wanted to go. We are to have six rocket-boats – two manned from the Britannia, one from the Agamemnon, one from the Sanspareil, and one from the “Highflier.”
Sunday evening, April 23rd. We left the ship yesterday, in tow by the Tiger. Five English steam frigates and three French formed the attacking squadron, under the command of Capt. Jones of the Sampson.
First Division Second Division
Sampson – Capt. Jones Retribution – Hon. Capt. Drummond
Tiger – Capt. Gifford Furious – Capt. Loring
Terrible – Capt. McCleverty
Mogador – (French)
The first division rounded the lump which they put out for a mask from the ports. The Sampson immediately opened fire on the forts, which was quickly returned. The first shot very nearly hit us in the boat, and the second struck the Sampson, knocking away her wheel, part of her quarter and her mizenmasts. We in the rocket boats pulled in towards the beach to keep clear of the shots from the forts. When about 400 yards from the shore, we opened fire upon the Russian ships at anchor inside the mole; also on the barracks which the merchant masters told us contained 600 soldiers. The third rocket set fire to the Government stores, which were soon in a blaze. We kept up a constant fire on the barracks and ships, which soon shared the same fate. At 11.50 the First Division steamed out, and the Second came in and opened fire, which was kept up with great spirit until 12.30, when the First Division came in again and commenced afresh. On the Sampson nearing us, we were ordered to board to get something to eat, not before having had anything that day, having left the ship so early. [ 116 ]
There being a strong breeze and a heavy sea, we were all wet and uncomfortable. The Sampson’s men behaved very well to us, giving each man a glass of grog and a biscuit. I fared remarkably well, knowing as I did, some of the officers. They gave me some of all they had – some salt horse, as Jack calls it, and a tumbler full of good port wine. We did not remain more than ten minutes, and then left the ship in better spirits to fire at the forts and shipping. We pulled in boldly to the shore to fire some ships that were being built. When about 400 yards distant, some horse artillery opened a very heavy fire on the rocket-boats with shell; shot, grape and canister. The first shot went over the boats, but the second (a shell) went close to us, breaking six oars and wounding a few men. Had we been ten yards nearer, I don’t think a man would have been left to tell the tale. One shell burst close to my boat, and a part of it nearly hit the coxswain and myself on the head. We immediately pulled sharp round to get under cover of the Sampson, which, seeing that we were assailed, opened fire on the horse artillery. Her first shell burst among them, and, no doubt, caused great loss of life. The rest retreated, and then we stood towards the mole and fired away at the fort and shipping. About a quarter before one p.m., the Imperial fort and mole blew up, killing, no doubt, some hundreds of the artillery. We gave three cheers, which were taken up by the steamers. The guns were of course, then silenced. The ships stood in closer, and commenced firing on another fort and the ships inside, which were soon totally destroyed. When the fort blew up it was a frightful sight, some of the pieces falling very nearly on board my boat; also a sponge belonging to the Russian guns. The Sampson received five shots in her hull, and one officer and four men were wounded. Her wheel, her mizenmast and two boats were damaged. The Terrible received 11 or 12 shots (some of them red hot) in her hull, one man being killed and several wounded. The Tiger received six shots and had four men wounded, and the Furious and Retribution about the same. The Russians fired remarkably well, but many of their shots fell short.

[The latter part of the letter concluded with a statement that the fleet were going the next day to Sebastopol.] Referring to the action described in Mr. Hart’s letter, the St. Leonards Penny Press added that on that occasion, eight English and French steamships, with six rocket-boats, destroyed the military forts of Odessa, blew up the powder magazine, sank several Russian ships and damaged sundry valuable ​building​s belonging to the Imperial Government. The gallant young seaman who distinguished himself in this rocket-service was afterwards severely ill, and on his recovery, Mr. Hart was promoted to the position of master’s-assistant on board of the Royal William.

A Visit to Bomarsund:- The following extract is from a letter to Mr. James Rock, jun. written by a Swede, formerly a resident at Hastings [ 117 ]and dated Stockholm, Aug. 8th, 1854 “On the 19th I went to Bomarsund in one of our steamers. We were 140 passengers and had beautiful weather all the time... We soon saw the masts of one division of the combined fleets stationed at Ledsund. We passed one after another of these giants and went quite close to the Duke of Wellington. We saw an elderly officer on board, but were not sure it was Sir Charles. We had this vessel on our right and one nearly on our left at the same time. We were also very near a very large one – I believe the Royal William, which had a very large number of men on board in grey clothes, which we learnt were Russian prisoners. They were all at midships in a heap on the deck. We were now in among the Aland Islands, and went on till we got the other division of the fleet in sight. Neither I nor my companions had ever witnessed such a sight before, and there was no want of hurraing(sic) for every vessel we passed, which was heartily responded to from the French as well as from the English. As an illustration of that, I may mention that I happened to come in company with two midshipmen at Bomarsund who had saluted us to such a degree that one – a Mr. Cartwright - lost the gold band round his cap in the waving. I recollected seeing them in a gig shortly before. The sight of Bomarsund was a melancholy one. The fortress did not seem so much damaged, but the chimneys were all that was left of the village. You know that the Russians set fire to it when they found that they were overcome. The tower that was blown up was still smouldering, but not more so than that we could get among the heaps and pick up balls and other relics. The French guarded the fortress, and I thought it singular that even the English officers were not permitted to enter. I spoke to several of them, but they all said they could not get in. We tried by sending a message to General Baraguay d’Hilliers by a countryman of ours who is in his service, but it was of no use; he could not make an exception. We were told by the French soldiers that about 25 died of the cholera every day. After we had got our steamer clear of English sailors and French soldiers, we left Bomarsund with our collections. Some had casques, others old pistols; some had brought off the Russian brown bread, that had been distributed from the fortress to the neighbouring poor; in fact, all of us had some souvenir from Bomarsund... I felt very well the rest of the day, but on the next morning I and others were unwell with diarrhea. We are hoping soon to get well again.”

The Taking of Bomarsund. Another correspondent wrote:-

“Aug. 16th 1854. By the time you get this, no doubt the English papers will have given you a vast deal more than I can of the affair in detail. I can only write of the part in which I have been engaged. Bomarsund is the only part that is fortified of all the Aland Islands and was said to be impregnable. [ 118 ]Beyond the great or central battery it has or had two tower batteries. One tower was taken two days ago by the French and English and was occupied by them. The Russians had dug a mine from the great battery to the one taken, and Sir Chas. Napier, from information or suspicion, telegraphed the troops. A few minutes after the whole tower was blown into atoms. I came into the bay too late to see it, but not too late to hear it. The second tower was taken by assault of the marines and blue-jackets last night, and the governor taken prisoner. Today was the ground attack on the centre battery. The firing from the ships commenced at ten in the morning, while the French and English troops were banging away on shore from the main forts. I watched the bewildering scene from the deck of the Cuckoo steamer until my eyes ached. Some of the shot and shell fell short of the battery and others went over it; many of them ploughed up the ground at its foot, while others dashed the roof into splinters. Some shells burst in the air, presenting a singular sight. The volume of smoke from them did not dissipate for several minutes, but looked like floating balloons. The roar of the guns was terrific. At last, at exactly half past tweve(sic), a white flag was seen flying from the roof of the ​building​. Sir Charles Napier’s ship, the Bulldog, and the French Admiral’s ship sent up theirs, and all was quiet – the fort had surrendered. Two boats were sent from the Admirals and not another gun fired. Two thousand Russians had surrendered as prisoners to the allied fleets. The French and English ships now poured down by thousands from the main forts towards the battery and boats from the ships in dozens, the boat from the Royal William schooner not far behind them. There was no resisting. The men pulled away, and there we went, where only a few minutes before it would have been certain death to have shown our noses. Lost in wonder and awe at the devastation before us, the scene was too much. The prisoners were being taken by boat-loads to the vessels for conveyance to England and France, many of them the poorest and most deplorable looking objects it is possible to conceive; others, again, looking as though they had just escaped from a tyrant, laughing and jolly as though they were at last set free. Many, however, were helplessly drunk and had to be driven along by the soldiers. Carts were bringing out the sick and wounded – a melancholy sight indeed. We did not enter far into the battery, it being dangerous from the number of loose powder bags lying about. The troops were engaged in searching for the Russian officers. Numbers of them had stowed themselves away and were insensibly drunk. None but those who have seen, as I have, the capabilities of the allied powers, can form any idea of their means. The walls of this place are nine feet thick of solid granite; the roof is of iron, and under that is sand six feet thick. Well have the French and English done their work! The place is in ruins, [ 119 ]the roof torn off, the solid granite blown to fragments, the ground around torn up with shot and shell. The ships which did this destructive work were 2,700 yards off; and, as far as I can hear, not one ship received the least injury. The French troops also did well with their rifles. They shot the men at the guns in the fort through the loopholes, the bullets (of which I have a pocket full) were as thick as hail at the foot of the ​building​.
“Aug.20. The view of the ruin from the upper tower is dilightful(sic) in the extreme, looking over small islands out of number, and all covered with shrubs and trees. The men of war, too, all decked out with gay flags, and the ships’ boats sailing about in all directions, while the small Swedish boats, navigated by women is a sight not to be forgotten. The sheep here are anybody’s; they are very nimble, and our middies shoot them. I did not venture near the French camp, as the cholera is raging there. Of course, with all this scene of gaiety, following so soon after the surrender of the great tower, there is the dark and gloomy picture. Although unseen by many, I could not shut my eyes to the sight and my ears to the sounds of woe from the poor Russian women – many with babies in their arms – whose husbands had either fallen or were now on their way as prisoners to England and France. The monster Nicholas had pressed these men, and they were actually locked in the fort to fight until they perished. The poor women are now without homes and means of any kind. They fear to approach the French, but cling to the English as protectors, and all the English here appear to be proud of the distinction. I saw some of our sturdy fellows dividing their rations with them, and sheltering them from the sun.”

Attack on Sebastopol. The following is extracted from a letter received in Hastings from a young midsipman(sic) on board of H.M.S. Albion, off Katcha, date Oct. 16. 1854. –

“I hope you have received the letters I wrote on the 7th and 13th of this month, and also the one with the attempted account of the battle of the Alma. They are going to attack the northern ports, and the French the southern ports of Sevastopol this week. We (I mean this ship) have a separate fort to take by ourselves, and then, after taking it we shall join the other ships against the big fort. This is a very difficult and nasty fort to take, as it is very high up, and they have very heavy and long guns in it. I think the Admiral has picked us out to do it on account of the good state of gunnery this ship’s company is in, and it is considered rather an honour to us. I suppose we shall take it the first day, and then go and join the other ships, and in three days after we commence, Sevastopol will be ours.” [ A much too sanguine prediction].

“Oct 18th. Yesterday we made a general attack on Sevastopol. We (this ship) were dreadfully cut up, and were not able to give three b​road​sides [ 120 ]as the ship caught fire in four places, and so, of course, we could not continue the action. We got too close to the shore, so that the guns in the battery on top of a high cliff, poured shot and shell on our decks for an hour and three quarters. It was really dreadful. Thank God, I was not hurt, although I was most of the time on the upper deck, running messages. We had ten killed and seventy wounded. One of the lieutenants (Chase) was killed, and the master-surgeon and purser were slightly wounded. The ship had about fifty big holes in her side, and a good many between wind and water; so we have to keep pumping all day. Our main and mizen masts are nearly shot away, and we shall most likely have to go into dock at Constantinople before coming home. I just write to tell you I am all right. I must say Good bye as I am now going on duty.”

Camp before Sebastopol. From this geographical position, the next letter is from the young Lieut. Harkness to his mother at Ivy House, Ore. It is dated Oct. 17th, 55th Regt. 2nd Division, and commences

“Dear Mamma, - Our batteries opened at 6.30 this morning, since when the cannonade on both sides has been increasing. The fleet are peppering the sea front in fine style. It is now 4.30 p.m. We have had nothing to do today but to look on. Some of the enemy’s batteries are silenced, including the round tower. It is a very strong place and must take several days to capture; but we are all in full confidence. We have now been since the 30th of September before the place. It has taken three weeks to get up the siege train and throw up our batteries, during all which time they [the Russians] have fired some hundreds of shot and shell at us every day, doing us, I am happy to say, very little damage, as our camps are at the end of their range, though several [missiles] go over our tents. Our brigade (Gen. Pennefather’s) is on the extreme right of our position, and we have a gorge to defend, and to furnish strong pickets every night, which is a disagreeable duty, as the Russians fire across the valley at the pickets with cannon and musketry nearly every night. Working in the trenches is much worse though, that work being still more dangerous. We pay not the slightest attention to cannon at night, but for musketry we turn out, as the enemy might be attacking us. We turn out under arms every morning an hour before daylight. For three whole weeks we slept in the open air, but on the 7th of October we got a few tents. We are now four or five officers in a tent, sleeping on the bare ground with our clothes on. The weather continues fine, but the nights are cold. It is a very hard life. Sometimes I could not wash for two days, nor have my boots and trousers off for a week. We have no clothes but what we landed in a month ago; the consequence of this is that – horrible as it may seem to good people at home – we are pestered by vermin. [ 121 ]Clothes are going to rags, diarrhoea is prevalent, and boils result from eating so much salt meat. Until yesterday, we had had no fresh meat for a fortnight. Boiled rice, mixed with rum and sugar! is the only accompaniment. We get tea, but no vegetables. No one who knows all these things could grudge an officer the few advantages, he, perhaps, possesses at home after the hardships of service. There is no rest for him here. I hope a few days more will settle Sebastopol, and allow us to go away to the Mediterranean or somewhere else for a little rest. Here, we have been knocking about, I may say, since the beginning of April. Poor Tyler was left sick at Varna and died there. Birch died last Sunday week of 15 hours cholera. We have lost in all seven officers in six months. I am quite well, and if it please God to protect me as He has hitherto done, I shall be none the worse for it all. It really seems a miracle to have had shot, shell and musketry flying around me on two or three occasions besides Alma, and still to remain untouched. The cannonade continues and will continue all night. Some of the enemy’s magazines have gone up, with a frightful explosion. All letters come quick and safely now. Of course you know all about the Alma, and also that any lieutenancy is without purchase. It is nearly dark, and there are no candles here. Good bye and God bless you, dear mamma! Your affectionate son, J. Granville Harkness.”
Oct. 22nd, 1854. We are not yet inside the place, and are just in the same position as when I last wrote on the 17th. This is the 6th day of incessant cannonading. At night, too, the firing is partially kept up. We have sharp-shooters out in front of the batteries, trying to pick off the enemy’s gunners, but he has sharp-shooters also, and they practise at each other all day. The result of yesterday was 24 Russians and one English killed. To-day an officer and two soldiers were brought in. These and several deserters say that our shells are doing awful damage, and that their batteries [See illustration, page 114.] are encumbered with the dead, whom they do not remove. Gunners are getting scarce among them, but they stick to their guns in a most obstinate manner. The works are a very thick parapet of earth, which are much more difficult to destroy than masonry, as the damage done by day can be repaired in a night. The night before last, the Russians made a sortie on the French, but were immediately driven back, leaving 21 men and five horses on the field. The fleet has done nothing since the first day. I believe it was found that the effect produced was scarcely equivalent to the damage sustained, but it is quite ready to renew the attack at the proper time. There is a considerable number of Russians in our rear, but we do not think it likely that they will venture to attack our position, which is a good one, and we [ 122 ]have thrown up works to defend all the approaches. We are very hard worked with outlying pickets and working parties every night. It is a tedious affair.”
“Today is Sunday. How different to England! We had our church parade at 11, the great guns roaring and the shots tearing through the air all the time. I received your letter from Paris, of the 7th of September on October 18th. It must have been stopped somewhere, as letters are got from London in fourteen and fifteen days; and this was forty days.... Capt. Thomas commands the troop of horse artillery here.”
“Monday, 23rd, seven a.m. The mail goes at eight. We have had a quiet night. The town is partly on fire, but we fear they will be able to put it out, as they did two days ago. There is a report that the Governor was killed by a round shot, yesterday. Prince Menschikoff keips(sic) with the army in our rear. Lord Dunnkellan(sic) of the Guards, is said to have been taken prisoner. He strayed from the trenches at night and lost his way. I have scarcely time to write. We are told at dusk the mail goes at 8 in the morning. I carry a little paper in the lining of my chaco?, and borrow a pen to address my letter with. The weather continues fine, but cold may come on very suddenly. We have seen in the London papers the first news of the battle of the Alma, and are very curious to see the despatches in the next batch of papers. J. Grandville Harkness.”

George Oliver’s letter, dated Thursday Oct. 19th, is the next from which extracts are made, and appears to corroborate the statement in Lieut Harkness’s epistle that the effect produced by the fleet in its first action upon the forts of Sebastopol was scarcely equivalent to the damage sustained. George Oliver, the writer of what follows was the son of John Oliver, the well-known Hastings boatman and his wife, the equally well known worker and vendor of ornamental shells as made into cushions and other articles. The son was serving in The Queen, and wrote as follows:-

“My dear father, - I now embrace the opportunity of writing these few lines, giving you an account of the action between the allied fleets and the Russians on Tuesday Oct. 17th. We commenced at about half-past one in the afternoon and came out at about six o’clock in the evening. The French commenced the attack, and we were the first English ship that went into it. We came to an anchor at the head of the French fleet, opposite a three tiered battery, mounting very heavy guns. A Turkish liner came to an anchor on our weather bow, and shut us out from the fort, which so enraged our men that they sent a few shots into her side by way of a caution. Our captain was also in a terrible way about it, and sent a boat to the flag-ship in the heat of the action for the Admiral’s orders. Then [ 123 ]we went inside of all the other ships, close under the Russian guns, from which the shots fell about us like hail. One shell burst within a few feet of where I was standing and killed the powder boy who stood next to me, and knocked the rest of the gun’s crew down. The captain of the gun, named Johns, belonging to Milbrook, was very much burnt. Two guns next to where I stood had all the men knocked away by two shells. The fire-bell rang, and we found that we were on fire. The steamer that was towing us sent her engines on board and the fire was put out. The Admiral made the signal ‘Well done Queen!’ We then hauled out and came to anchor at our old station. The Albion was totally disabled. She was riddled with shell, grape and canister, and her netting and rigging were nearly all cut away. Her masts were also very much damaged. The Sanspareil and Arethusa were also greatly injured. Today, the old captain called us on deck and told us what the Admiral had said, who gave us great praise for the courage and coolness displayed on the day of the action. You will have in the newspapers a fuller account of it than I can give you. The guns from the shore kept up a continual fire, while we engaged them from the sea. I suppose you have great talk at home of Sebastopol being taken; but we have a bone to pick before that is done, and it seems that we have made very little impression on the forts. I cannot give you any fuller account of it now. I saw a young chap of the name of Mitchell, and another named Jarvis, from Hastings, who are on board a ship called the Shooting Star. There was a shell burst on the quarter-deck which carried away the starboard binnacle and knocked a quarter-master’s leg clean off. It was the first I ever was in action. You must excuse the writing, for I was forced to get anything I could to write with. The worst of it is I very often have an empty belly, and know what it is to be hungry. If I get two meals a day I think myself well off....I have no more to say about the war. Give my best respects to Mrs. Kenyon and Mrs. Phillips, and to Tom, Jack, Maria, and Elizabeth, and to all enquiring friends. Remember me to William and Mary and also the little girl. Your affectionate son George Oliver.”

Thomas Brazier, also a member of a well-known Hastings family, wrote as follows:-

“Before Sebastopol, Oct 22nd, 1854.

“Dear father, mother, brothers and sisters, I write these few lines to you hoping they will find you well, as they leave me at present, thank God for it. I must inform you that we commenced storming this place 6 days ago. We had to go down every night to cut an entrenchment within 800 yards of the enemy’s batteries, they firing away at us all the time, but we were not to be driven away; so, at last we did what we wished in spite of their fire. But I can tell you it was not very pleasant going up and down 
[ 124 ]hills night and morning, the Russians firing at us, and we not able to fire a shot at them in return. Last Monday night we had completed our batteries and on Tuesday we opened fire. At that time the shot and shell flew about, and no mistake! We opened with 24 pounders and shells, also 56 pounders, which we have been firing ever since. This is the sixth day, and God knows it has been a dreadful week for us. We have had to run all along the entrenchment with boxes of powder for the gunners, which is very dangerous work, with shots and shells flying amongst us in countless numbers. We do not for a moment know but our heads may be blown off our shoulders. But I think God is protecting us, for we have lost very few men considering the dreadful fire they have had to withstand. All we have lost is about sixty or seventy men; but poor fellows! they met a hard fate. Some had their heads blown off, and others were cut clean in two. You must think, dear father, what a 56 pounder would do if it hit you. The enemy’s shells burst right over our heads, but God has saved most of us so far. I must tell you what happened to the poor fellow who was at work with me yesterday. We were carrying powder on a hand-barrow to the entrenchment when a 24 pounder came and hit him in the breast, and went right through him, leaving a hole that I could put my head through; and there was I, left to get the barrow along by myself, which I did, for I was determined not to leave it behind. We only wish they would come out on the plain to fight us, and then we would make short work of it, as we did at the Alma. The cowardly rascals know that, and so stop behind their stone walls; but we expect to be in with them shortly, and then let them look out for squalls! We hear from some of the enemy who have run away, and come to us, that the town is in a dreadful state, and that the streets are full of dead and wounded. Our enemy does not fire half so fast now that our brave fellows have begun... I conclude with my kindest love to you all, and may God bless you. Give my love to my dear old mother, and tell her my latest prayer shall be for her and you. Thomas Brazier 4th Regt., 3rd Company”

John Whyborn, another Hastings native dating his communication from the Rodney, off Sebastopol, Oct. 23rd, wrote –

“My dear father and mother, - By the help of the Lord, I am able to answer your kind and welcome letter dated the 3rd of this month; and was glad to hear you were all well, as, thank the Lord! this leaves me at present. You said you heard we had taken Sebastopol, but I must tell you we have not taken it yet, and I am afraid we shall have a very tough and long job before we do, though I have no doubt we shall take it. We [ 125 ]commenced attacking it on the 17th of the month, at daylight, and [onshore] they have been at it day and night ever since. About 12 o’clock on the 17th, the fleets were signalled to go in and engage the enemy’s forts. The French went in and took up their position to the south of the harbour, and we to the north. Our ship was nearly the last in action, but we were there nearly an hour after all the others were hauled off. We fired our first shot about 3 o’clock, and continued till half past four, when we drifted on shore close under fort Alexander. Our captain ordered us to cease firing and to get our hawsers out for the steamer to tow the ship off, but we would not leave our guns; for, if we had knocked off firing, we should have been blown up by the Russians. All the time we kept firing we drove them out of their batteries , and when they attempted to fire their guns, we fired shot and shell at them, and they could not stand it. At 6 o’clock the Admirals made signal to return to our anchorage, but we were on shore, and nobody knew it but ourselves and those on board of two steamers. Our captain at last gave orders to close the magazines, but the men grumbled and said they would not be fired at without returning it. However, we set to work and got the ship off, and then they gave us pepper; and I must say it was the most awful time that I ever saw in my life. I could see shell and red hot shot flying right into us. Our ship had several shots in her, and her rigging was cut all to pieces. One shell entered the foremast and burst in it, and one shot went right through the mainmast. One shell burst in the ship’s side, wounding two men, the only ones, I’m happy to say that were wounded, and none killed. In the English fleet altogether there were 45 killed and 275 wounded. We got news, yesterday, that there were 5,000 killed in Sebastopol and 15,000 wounded belonging to the Russians. We could take the place now, only Lord Raglan will bombard it a few days longer, because he wants to take it with as little loss of life as possible. We are now busy repairing our rigging. Your affectionate son, John Whyborn.”

[With the above description to meditate upon, it really seems marvelous that a stranded ship exposed to the discharge of heavy guns from the Russian batteries, should have escaped with only two men wounded. Howsoever wrong it might be to disobey orders, yet, in this case, the men’s salvation seems to have been mainly due to their disobedience to the captain’s command].

William James Edwards, an artilleryman, serving before Sebastopol, wrote to his father, in Hastings, thus:-

“Camp, near Sebastopol, Oct. 29th, 1854. You must excuse my writing this with pencil, as [ 126 ]I can get no ink, nor pens nor paper. I hope this letter will find you at home in the same good health as it leaves me at present. Thank God for it. Not many who came out with me are like me in that respect. After we landed there were eight of us transferred to No. 3 Company, 11th battalion, and the rest to other companies. I have seen my old company twice since I have been leading driver of No 3 gun waggon here. I assure you we have had most fatiguing marches, night and day. I suppose you have heard of the battle of Alma. We began our march on the 19th of September, and had a skirmish the same evening. The battle of Alma was fought the next day, and a most formidable position the enemy had. No troops in the world ever had one such as the Russians had that day; yet victory crowned our efforts. The cheer which our brave fellows gave after it was over made me long to be at them again. It is not at the moment of action that you think anything about it; but it is in going over the battle-field the next day that it would grieve the stoutest heart to see the dead and wounded lying about. I cannot describe it, but the papers will tell you all. We had another engagement on the 25th of this month at Balaclava, where we completely routed the enemy, which was a reinforcement trying to get to Sebastopol. The Turks are no use at all, as they always run away. They had a colonel tried and shot the other day for deserting a post.... There are a great many prisoners taken. There was a spy taken yesterday, and papers found on him, one of which stated that if the reinforcement did not get in in three days they could hold out no longer. I hope it is true.... We have been cannonading Sebastopol 14 days now, and i cannot say how much longer we shall be; but something must soon be done, for it is getting very cold here. The winter will soon destroy more than the enemy. I have not had my clothes or my boots off since we have been here; and as for soap, we cannot get any, and have not seen any since we left the ship. If it please God to spare me to reach home I shall be a happy man. I hope the next time I write to you I shall be able to tell you Sebastopol is taken, and we about to embark for Old England. We have passed through some of the prettiest villages I ever saw. Grapes and fruit of all kinds are in great abundance. But the inhabitants have all fled into Sebastopol.... And now, dear father, accept my kindest love; and may God Almighty protect you all is the sincere prayer of your affectionate son, William James Edwards.”

[ 127 ]John Whyborn, in a second letter, wrote as follows:-

“H.M.S. Rodney, off St. Bastopol(sic) , Nov. 8th, 1854. Dear Father, I must tell you we have not taken Sebastopol yet, but I hope, please God, it will not be long before we do; for, to tell you the truth, we are all sick and tired of it. We have now been twenty three days bombarding it, day and night by land, but have only been in once with our shipping. The weather holds out very fine, and I hope it will continue so until the place is taken. We had another very hard engagement on the 5th of this month, with our land force against the Russians, close at the back of Sebastopol, which continued from daylight till dark. One division came out of Sebastopol in the night, and with a reinforcement from Odessa and Anapa, our men were attacked in four places, but were too wide awke(sic) for them. We don’t know how many we have had killed and wounded, but we are afraid they will amount to thousands. The Russians had 15 or 16,000 killed and wounded [The Russian losses on the 5th were confirmed as 15,000, five thousand of whom were buried by the allies]. It was another such battle as that of the Alma. The morning before this action our men found one of our riflemen – an out-picket – crucified with six bayonets sticking in him, but even then not dead. During the action one part of the Russians got surrounded by the English and French, and finding they could not get away, they threw down their arms and cried for quarter, but our men would not show them any, they having before cruelly crucified our own men. [The allied generals demanded an explanation from Prince Menschikoff as to the order issued to the Russians before the battle to give no quarter. They bayonetted or otherwise stabbed every English and French soldier within their reach – Viscount Chewton for example.] We totally defeated them, as we had done in every engagement since we had been in the Crimea. But it will be a most bloody war before it is finished. I told you in my last letter that it was fort Alexander we were under, but it was fort Constantine. We knocked all the tops of the forts off, and this fort is now propped up with great balks of timber. Our Admiral said that we and the Agemenon(sic) did more execution than all the rest put together, and gave us great praise for it.... We expect to storm the place every day now, and I hope by the next time I write I shall be able to tell you it is ours. It is an awful thing to see so many thousands of fine men slaughtered, and all for the sake of one man. Some have escaped from Sebastopol, and they say the Russians that are killed are lying in heaps by thousands and are being burnt to clear the streets. What an awful tale to tell!” John Whyborn” [ 128 ]Another Account. The following extracts are from a second letter to his father from Thomas Brazier, a private in the 4th Regiment, serving in the Crimea, and which in point of date should here have taken precedence of Whyborn’s, it having been written while the battle was in progress. The extracts are thus:-
“I write these few lines, hoping they will find you in good health, as I am myself at present, thank God for it, only that I hurt my leg last night in the trench by a stone that was struck by the enemy’s shot. It will soon be well as it is only a bruise. If it had not been for that I should not have had time to write to you; for, at this moment the regiment, and indeed, the whole army are engaged with the enemy within four hundred yards of where I am writing. We have the enemy in rear of us now as well as in front, there being a large army come from Odessa or somewhere else to the other’s assistance. But our army has received them manfully. Our own regiment is right under the walls of Sebastopol, where we have been fighting these twenty days. If you had been here this fifth of November you would have seen enough fireworks without squibs, for this has been the greatest day of all. The enemy came on the right division before daylight, and thought to surprise us, but it was no go. Our fellows were up and at them before they knew where they were. But, dear father, I must tell you with pain and sorrow that many a brave man who saw the sun rise this morning is now in death. Even while the sun is going down they are still fighting fiercely, and may God Almighty bless them! ... This is not so comfortable a place to be at as in a town at home, for it is dreadfully cold, and we have five nights out of six in the trench. We do not take off our belts, nor let our firelocks go out of our hands, for we never know when the enemy may come upon us. I must ask you to look at the newspaper, as they can tell you more than I can how things are going on. All I can say is that we have had three times as much fighting today as we had at the Alma, and we expect the same tommorow(sic).... Give my kindest love to mother, and may God ever bless her! Tell her that the fighting doesn’t frighten me, nor does it any soldier in the British army. All we wish the Russians to do is to come out from behind their stone walls and we will then soon settle them.... Thomas Brazier.

A Third Account. Copy of a second letter from W. J. Edwards, an artilleryman, to his father, a tradesman at St. Leonards.

“Camp, near Sebastopol, Nov. 6, 1854. My dear father, I take this favourable op[ 129 ]

portunity of writing these few lines to you. I hope you have received my last letter and that this one will find you all in good health, as it leaves me at present, except a touch of the ague, which is not a pleasant companion. ... We remained pretty quiet after the affair of the 25th ult., until the morning of the 5th of this month. It had been raining all the day before and all the night, and was dark and still raining heavily when we heard a bell in Sebastopol give three dull tones. It was then about four o’clock. The bell was immediately followed by heavy volleys of musketry and the loud booming of artillery. We then began to harness and soon marched to the scene of action, which was extended right and left as far as the eye could see. It was a reinforcement trying to get into Sebastopol; but we promptly replied and before nightfall routed them, although with a considerable loss on our own side. I have not heard the exact number of killed and wounded, but that you will learn from the papers..... We lost on that day General Strangways, who had a leg taken off by a shot just below the knee and died soon after. Gen. Cathcart was killed on the spot. Lieut. Col. Townshend was also killed, as well as nearly every officer belonging to the Rifles. Col. Simpson is severely wounded in the arm. Altogether our loss was very great, but I have since heard that the Russians loss(sic) ten men to our one. We took 1700 prisoners, the flags of a regiment and seven brass guns. We have been expecting another attack, but they have kept quiet as yet... We have now been twenty two days battering at the place, and there is no mistake that the town is in a most shattered condition. Yet, as fast as our fellows dismount the enemy’s guns they are replaced with others. I cannot tell how much longer they will hold out, but we expect every hour to receive the order to storm the town. We wish it would come now, for the troops are tired of waiting.... I have often thought of you all when I have been lying by our bivouac fire, and of the hours I have spent in that once happy home of childhood. O, my dear father, memory will often bring back those by-gone days that will never return; and many is the time when on our march we have lain down for an hour or so, with our horses bridles over our arms, our hat for a pillow and the sky above for a blanket. Then I have had sweet dreams of home. I have seen you all as in the days of old, and have felt happy. But, alas! how soon did it all melt away.”
[See over for illustration of “The Soldiers Dream” by the poet Campbell, probably written during the poet’s five years’ residence at St. Leonards].
[ 130 ]Brett's 'Hastings and St. Leonards Penny Press' May, 1854

To him that wills, the way is Seldom Wanting
National Ballads

[The beautiful and touching lines, by Campbell, entitled The Soldier's Dream - which have been so graphically illustrated for the present Number by W. R. Woods, Esq., a student in the Royal Academy, cannot but be acceptable to our readers. Few efforts of poetic genius have attained a higher or more enduring celebrity ; and seldom indeed has the heartfelt pathos which breathes in every line of the poem, been so truthfully conveyed to the mind. We doubt not but that the sentiments which pervade the effusion will find an echo in every British heart; and we trust that the sympathy of his country for the soldier, when encamped “in the tented field,” thousands of miles away from the home of “kith and kin,” will form a consoling reflection to him when the “ lowering night-cloud ” descends over his hardy couch.]


Our bugles sang truce—for the night-
cloud had low’r'd,
And the sentinel stars set their watch
in the sky;
And thousands had sunk on the ground
The weary to sleep, and the wounded
to die.

When reposing that night on my pallet
of straw,
By the wolf-scaring faggot that
guarded the slain ;
At the dead of the night a sweet vision
I saw,
And thrice ere the morning I dreamt
it again.

Soldier's Dream.png

Methought from the battle-field’s dread-
ful array,
Far, far I had roam’d on a desolate
'Twas autumn—and sunshine arose on
the way
To the home of my fathers, that
welcom’d me back.

I flew to the pleasant fields travers’d so
In life's ‘morning march, when my
bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain-goats bleat-
ing aloft,
And knew the sweet strain that the
corn-reapers sung.

Then pledg’d we the wine-cup, and
fondly I swore,
From my home and my weeping
friends never to part ;
My little ones kiss’d me a thousand
times o'er,
And my wife sobb’d aloud in her
fulness of heart.

Stay, stay with us—rest, thou art weary
and worn;
And fain was their war-broken sol-
dier to stay—
But sorrow return’d with the dawning
of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear
melted away.

[We are glad to perceive that the efforts of the press in drawing public attention to the subject of assisting the soldiers’ wives who have been left in a state of poverty, have not been without success, War is a sad necessity, and happy are we who live in a land hitherto free from its dire effects,—let us therefore evince our gratitude by assisting, as much as lies in our power, the wives and children of those who go forth to fight our battles.]

Edward Walter’s letter is the next in order of date but it does little more than reiterate some of the occurrences described in preceding letters. It is dated from H.M.S. Queen, off Sebastopol Nov.22, 1854. It says –

“We had a dreadful gale last Tuesday, and were riding with three anchors ahead. The Samson steamer carried away all her masts, and one Turkish line of battleship her foremast. Several merchant vessels ran ashore and we got their crews from them. There are several dead bodies washing ashore. We saw the battle of the Alma from a distance, and after the battle we had the work to bury the dead and carry the wounded to the ships – some without arms, others without legs, and some wounded in the head and body. On the 17th of October we attacked the batteries of Sebastopol. The shipping began about one o’clock and knocked off at six or seven. We gave it to them in great earnest, and they gave it so to us. We had four shells thrown into our middle deck and several shots in our hull. One man was killed and several were wounded. One quarter-master had his leg shot off while standing at the wheel. The Albion, Sanspareil and several others suffered severely. It is a very strongly fortified place both by sea and land. We have 190 seamen and all our marines on shore and working siege guns. Poor Sam Dine lost his leg there. All the rest of our townsmen are pretty well. We are expecting to go to Constantinople to have something done to our rudder, which was damaged in the gale. – Edward Walter.” [ 131 ]By the Same Mail and from another man on board the “Queen”, came the followin(sic) letter:-
“I am happy to say I am enjoying the best of health at present. We had a heavy gale on the 14th, which compelled us to let go three anchors one after another, which gave us a great deal of work. They were put up more for ornament than for convenience of letting go. We have also carried our rudder-head away where it was not sea-worthy. So we are going down to Constantinople and I don’t think we shall go back to the Black Sea again. The sea ran mountains high, and we expected having to cut our masts away. Thirteen vessels went on shore where we laid, and it is said that from Eupatoria to Balaclava there are fifty on shore. Lord Raglan is only waiting now for a reinforcement to keep the heights while he storms Sebastopol, which will be done before Christmas. There was a heavy engagement on the 5th and another on the 12th, and we could see there was something two days ago. R. H.”

More Disasters. Writing from H.M.S. Rodney, on the same date, John Whyborn said –

“Winter is now setting in, and last Tuesday we had a very heavy gale from S.W. Where we were lying, between Eupatoria and Balaclava twelve transport vessels were driven ashore, and the Sampson lost her masts; also a Turkish line of battle ship had to cut her masts away to save her from driving ashore. We had three anchors down and rode out the gale pretty well. At Balaclava there were twelve vessels lost, one of which was a steamer. She went down at her anchors and only five men were saved. At Eupatoria fifteen vessels were ashore, consisting of one French line of battle-ship, one Turkish ditto, three war steamers and ten others. What with sickness, war and storms our plight is awful. There have been a great many lives lost in those ships that were driven ashore. Now this is a specimen of the Black Sea weather in winter, and if I had my will, those people in England who grumbled because our admiral did not cruise the Black Sea all last winter, I would keep them in it the whole of this winter, and see what they would do. It’s all very well to say this and to say that, over their pipe and glass, comfortably by the fireside, but we who are up here know more about it. The allied fleets are going down to Constantinople to winter, with the exception of the steamers and two each English and French ships. The Vengeance and ourselves (the Rodney) are going to stay, and all except a hundred of our men are going ashore to man the batteries, and I expect to be one of them. So you must not be surprised at having no letters from me; for when we go ashore we only take two shifts of clothes – one off and one on; also one blanket, a monkey-jacket, and our arms and ammunition....John Whyborn.” [ 132 ]The Storm on Land. The following letter from Lieut. Harkness, of the 55th Regt., although written before three others which have here appeared was 27 days in reaching its destination, thus showing that the ship service was much the quickest. In the said letter to his mother, this gallant young officer said:-
“ Since I wrote to you on the 13th instant, we have had more extraordinary changes of weather. Three days ago it blew a hurricane from the S.W., with very heavy rain and snow all day. I was away with a party on fatigue at the siege train before daylight; the mud on the ​road​ over one’s ankles and the wind and rain increasing so that I was sent back by nine o’clock, as no work could be done. On arriving in our camp, I found all the officers’ tents and nearly all the men’s blown down. All our things were drenched, and there was no help for it but to let them be there, as the wind was too furious to attempt to raise a tent. We crouched into one that was left standing, and by four of us continually supporting the pole and a couple of men outside attending to ropes and pegs, we kept it up by main force, as well as having a second pole to support the other. We made a fire inside (at the expense of being nearly stifled by smoke) and cooked a stew and some tea for breakfast. We continued holding up the tent till about one o’clock, when the rain ceased and the wind a little abated. The aspect of the camp was miserable, nearly every tent lying flat on the ground, and the unfortunate fellows all wet. We managed during the afternoon to get most of the tents up again, but they were covered with mud, and all our things – eatables included – mixed with dirt and spoiled. The hospital marquees, with the sick, were blown down, too. We all felt wet and miserable the rest of the day and night. The succeeding days have been fortunately dry, and we have now recovered from the mishap, but it is not pleasant to think that it may happen again any-day at this time of year. Numbers of the men coming off picket next morning were obliged to go into hospital. If we stay in tents during the winter we shall lose half the men by sickness. The clothing is insufficient to enable us to bear the cold. Our regiment have only got the summer trousers they landed in, the black ones being still on board ship. But our misfortunes the other day were small compared to the loss among the shipping. Eight vessels went down, two of them with ammunition, some also with warm clothing for the troops, and some with rum and other stores. They were outside the harbour of Balaclava, the latter being too small to contain many vessels. The Retribution 18-gun war steamer lost her rudder, and was obliged to throw her guns overboard. It is also said that £250,000 in gold for the troops also went to the bottom....Such are the effects of our generals being driven against their own judg[ 133 ]

ement to commence a campaign against a place like Sebastopol at such a late season of the year. If we could have been here two months earlier the affair would have been settled long ago, and without much difficulty. The place was without fortifications on this side, and they had but few troops here....The weather cannot be depended on at this time of year. Today there is another change. I am on picket in a deep rocky ravine, seated on a ledge of rock on the sunny side, writing this on my shoulder-belt, which is stretched across my knees for the want of a better table. The spot is so sheltered and the sun shines down so hot that I have been in my shirt sleeves for some time. There are plenty of holes in the rocks for shelter when the weather is wet. The men have got a famous cave, and there are lots of brushwood for fires. We can see but in one direction right down the ravine to where there is a more advanced picket, so I have very little look-out to keep. This is the most comfortable post of any. There is a breastwork of stones across a narrow part of the ravine, and commanding it well for a thousand yards, which I think I could hold successfully with my forty men against 400. Another day or two, and I may be on picket on the top of Shell Hill, shivering night and day in a storm, as Jack Hume was two days ago. Since the battle of Inkerman we have been strengthening our position very much by throwing up redoubts and getting up some heavy guns. The 62nd have joined our division, which we are very glad of, we being so weak. They are freshly arrived from Malta, and look so neat and clean beside our tattered men. Poor fellows! they had a dismal reception, they having arrived the night before the storm, and must feel the great change from their warm barracks at Malta to take here the field in winter. A draft from our depôt and 160 men at Malta are on their way hither. They and the 50th draft mutinied aboard ship at not having a sufficiency of water, and it is said that the Captain was obliged to threaten them with loaded cannon pointed forward before they would give in. They are detained at Malta for trial. My excellent servant, Cooney, came back from Scutari a few days ago. He was wounded at the Alma in the head and leg, but has now recovered. I was afraid I should lose him, which I should be very sorry for; a thoroughly good servant is valuable, and Cooney is one... The mail goes this morning (18th) at 8, and I have nothing particular to add. I passed a quiet and comfortable night comparatively speaking, for you would scarcely call it comfortable to lie down in a blanket in a little cave with green lizards running over you; but I was protected from the night breeze and was warm. I was relieved at daylight by a young hand of the 30th who only came out two days ago. He came in the same ship with our [ 134 ]draft who were left at Malta. I must conclude now. I have not prepaid any of my letters, as though stamps may be got with a little trouble, I cannot keep them in a fit state to put on.” “J. Granville Harkness.”

More men and more fighting. In another letter dated 22nd of November, Lieut. Harkness wrote –}

“A draft of two subalterns and 160 men arrived today. One of the officers has been left at Balaclava, sick, but we hope he will join us in a few days, as duty is very heavy on us, we being so few. We expect another draft of 130 men soon, but without officers, I am afraid. We shall then be a strong regiment again, as far as men are concerned. Many other drafts have arrived; also the 71st, 97th, and 62nd regiments. The French say that they have an army of 20,000 landed at Alma or the Katcha on the north side of Sebastopol. This will probably enable us to cut off the enemy’s communication with the country which we could not do for want of a force on that side....The weather is very cold, and frequently rainy. I had a miserable picket two nights ago on Shell Hill, the whole day raining and the night extremely cold, and no shelter. The nights now are so very long and all dark from 4.30 p.m. till 6 a.m. During the night the Rifles attacked the Russian sharp-shooters who have all along been established in holes and behind little heaps of stones in front of their own batteries. Sharp musketry and some shelling continued for an hour or two, when all the Russians were drawn out. They returned, however, about three in the morning, and endeavoured, but unsuccessfully to regain possession. I am sorry to say the Rifles lost one officer – Lieut. Tryon – and seven men killed. You will be glad to hear that we have at last got our baggage. The Timandra came into Balaclava yesterday, and nearly all our things were taken up to camp. I have not opened mine tonight, as it came late; but tomorrow, if I have time, I shall have great pleasure in inspecting and arranging it. We shall still be obliged to sleep in our trousers and coats, as we are always liable to a sudden turn-out. I saw myself in a glass this evening and was startled at my appearance. I have not touched a razor for ten weeks. How I wish I had a pair of long leather gaiters here. Anything is permitted to be worn for warmth. Many of the men wear the legs of the Russians’ big boots over their trousers; having cut the feet off, they are capital against mud and cold.” “J. Granville Harkness”

[ The attack by the Rifles referred to by Lieut. Harkness is more fully described by the Correspondent of the Morning Post, thus:-

“Last night (Nov. 21st), we had a smart little skirmishing affair, in which some of the enemy’s riflemen were drawn from Sebastopol, with loss. For some days past some 300 or 400 sharp-shooters had been posted under cover of the loose stones which lie about the ground between our green-mound battery [ 135 ]

and the Redan wall. Though the battery was some 300 yards distant, such a watchful eye was kept upon it that hardly a man could show but at the risk of getting a bullet through his brain. As we now seldom fire from the trenches, it was not of great consequence, but from the way in which the enemy reinforced the riflemen before nightfall, an attack upon the Green-mound battery was anticipated. Accordingly, last night it was determined to dislodge these skirmishers, and two parties from the 1st brigade of Rifles and 68th Regt. making altogether a little over 400, were told off for this purpose. They remained in the Green-mound battery till after one o’clock, when, all being quiet, and the night sufficiently dark and rainy, the party creeped cautiously among the broken ground and loose stones, intending to take the enemy by surprise. The wind and rain – both of which are now every night extremely violent – favoured our design, so that we were enabled to approach the enemy within fifty yards without being discovered. At that distance unfortunately! one of our fellows made a slight stumble. The noise was slight but it was sufficient. Instantly eight or ten Russian sentries started up almost among our men, and, firing their pieces to alarm, ran in, of course. Concealment now was useless, and the attacking party with a loud cheer, dashed after the sentries. As they came up to the place where the enemy was posted among the stones, they received a tremendous volley from about 500 rifles. Had the shots been properly aimed , not a man of ours would have returned; but the surprise had been effected, and 90 per cent of the balls whistled over the heads of our men harmless. With a loud cheer the 68th and Rifles dashed in with the bayonet. In charging the enemy our officers in command showed consummate tact. Had they returned the Russian fire while their enemies still remained under cover, they would have disarmed themselves, pointed out their own position and have done no injury to the enemy. As it was, they cheered and rushed on with the bayonet. The enemy were dismayed, and, rising from their concealment, tried to form. The instant they showed our men halted, and within twenty yards, poured in a deadly volley which killed and wounded nearly 100. The Russians saw their fault and attempted to break up in skirmishing order, but the manoeuvre was too late, and before they could affect it our men were among them with the bayonet, and pursued them up to the very houses which are round the dockyard on the north of the harbour. In this affair we lost one officer (Capt. Tryon) and ten men killed and about 40 wounded. The captain thus killed had the reputation of being one of the best shots in the British army. It is said that no fewer than seven of the enemy were shot dead during the skirmish by Capt. Tryon. He was speaking to a brother officer, pointing out [ 136 ] a Russian rifleman who was firing with extreme rapidity. And Capt. Tryon knelt to take aim at him, but while in the act of pulling the trigger a bullet passed through his brain and killed him on the spot. It was found when our fellows closed with the enemy, that the latter were nearly 800 strong; yet though the ground was formidably strong, they never once rallied before our charge. They were taken by surprise, and even if it had not been so, when there is no great disparity of numbers, the Russians have no chance of success against us.”]

Death of a Shoeing Smith. Another Hastings man at the seat of war was Barnett Huggett, son of William a well-known blacksmith. He served as shoeing-smith in the Royal Artillery, but died of cholera in the Scutari hospital, at 25 years of age, in the month of November.

Prolonged Hardships. Writing again from before Sebastopol on the 3rd of December, Thomas Brazier said

I am sorry to tell you, dear father and mother, that there is death all around me. The wet season has set in, and our poor fellows have to stay in the trenches all night in the pitiless rain, with only their big coats which will not keep out the wet for an hour. They are so worn out with the hardships which they have to undergo that they lie down and in a few hours are taken with the cramp and die. As for myself, I have been wet through for three weeks, but I never lie down, nor will I till I fall. But, oh! dearest father, it is dreadful work to see our brave countrymen fall in this unhappy way – men who would fight like lions if the enemy would give them a chance instead of staying behind walls. But we all hope Lord Raglan will storm the place and let it be over one way or the other, for it could not be worse for us than it is. We are under the Russian fire every day, and why not make a bold stroke for it at once, and not let us lie here and die like dogs. We might be driven back, but I don’t think we should, and if we were, we would only lose some hundreds of men and that we are doing now. But I know – and so does every British soldier here – that we would either take the place or die, and what could men do more? Before this reaches you I expect the papers will tell you all about it [our wretched conditions], yet I thought I would tell you too, myself.”...”Yet we are getting closer to them every day, and when we get our great guns up, let them look out!” “Thomas Brazier, 3rd Compy. 4th Regt. [ 137 ]Merciless Cossacks. In another letter to his father, dated H.M.S Queen, Dec. 15th, 1854, Gorge Oliver wrote
“I am sorry that I have not written before, but I have been very ill. I am thankful to say I am now better and am going to Balaclava to fight at the [land] batteries. We have struck our topmasts and made all snug for the winter. Referring to the great gale of October, Oliver states – “We rode out the sea with three anchors down, and when the storm abated, we put our boats out and saved several [from the ships that were driven ashore]. There were two women among them, and when they were being rescued, the Cossacks shot at them, and a ball went through a woman’s bonnet and shot a man named Blake through the head. Of the ships we got one off; two others the Cossacks set on fire, and three we set on fire ourselves, because we could not get them off. But we saved all the ships’ companies and brought them on board our own ship. The shipping were in a dreadful state all that day and night. They were all volunteers who went in the boats to rescue the people, and our captain told us he was happy to think he had a company he could put his trust in.” “George Oliver”

Progressing under continued difficulties.

Lieut. Harkness, dating his letter Dec. 7th from the camp on the heights of Inkerman, wrote –

“It keeps raining hard every day and night. We are making batteries and approaches on the other side of Shell Hill for the purpose of pounding the ships in the harbour. A battery at Inkerman lighthouse and a steamer annoy us very much by shot and shell; they have killed and wounded several men, but we shall repay them when we get our guns in position, and we hope to oblige about a dozen ships and steamers to leave a snug corner they are in. Yesterday evening, about 4 o’clock, we all ran to the top of the hill to see two Russian steamers which had the audacity to come out of the harbour and begin firing into the rear of the French batteries. The first of our steamers up was a little one. She began firing with great pluck at the two Russians who advanced no further. Soon after two or three of ours came bowling up, and before they got well within range the Russians ran back at full speed into the harbour, they not having ventured beyond the protection of their own batteries. Our two large steamers drove the Russians right up to the head of the harbour and then hauled off. This was the first occasion of a Russian ship showing her nose out of the harbour. They took advantage of the approaching evening dusk and none of our steamers being near, the mouth of the harbour at the time. The Russian steamers are all heavily armed, and one of them is constantly throwing ten-inch shot and shell at us. They are very strong in artillery of all kinds, and can throw 42lb shot from the Round Tower right over our camp, which, ac[ 138 ]cording to the engineers plan is a distance of 4,000 yards, or over two miles. They have not thrown them into our camp very lately, as their fire is now attracted by the works in our front. They also send up 13 inch shells, but these cannot reach the camp. They are of immense size and make a hole in the ground where they fall as large as though a cartload of earth has been dug out... Lord Raglan rode through our camp, yesterday to look at the works on Shell Hill. He looked very well, and was dressed in a blue pilot coat and glazed forage-cap, and attended by only one officer and an orderly of the 11th Hussars. Gen. Canrobert always goes about with his staff and an escort of ten or twelve dragoons; and, of course, by such a display, draws fire upon himself and others whenever he rides out to reconoitre(sic). Last night, before the moon rose, a party of the enemy managed to surprise and carry off a small post of five men and a corporal who had been sent forward down a ravine in advance of our piquets close to the harbour on the Sebastopol ​road​. The officer’s party pushed forward to the rescue, but the enemy were off in a boat with the prisoners after one volley was fired and rowed down the harbour, playing a fife and drum in triumph. The corporal was a young fellow who had just come out.... About three this morning a sentry of the picquet saw some men on the move near him, and challenged. It was a party of the French and some of the 41st. The French answered the challenge, and the sentry not understanding their language, thought they were Russians, and immediately fired into them and gave the alarm. We turned out directly thinking it was an attack, but the mistake was soon discovered. It was an unpleasant one however, particularly for one man, who was wounded....”
“Dec. 12th, 1854. All goes on just as usual, the weather for the last three days has been very fine and mild, and the ground is dry again, but I am afraid it cannot last long; a change in the wind, and the cold can be cutting. The day after my last letter we had a hard frost. On trying to get out of my tent at daylight I found the flap of the door as stiff as a deal board and glazed with ice. A bowl of tea I had left to drink in the night I awoke and found thickly coated with ice. But today it is so warm that you would think we had gone back two months in the season.” “J. G. Harkness”

In the Black Sea. The following are extracts from a letter written by a Hastings native, serving in the Rodney, and dated “Twenty miles from Sebastopol, Sept. 17th. Although of an earlier date than several of the letters already dealt with, it contains information not previously given. It says –

“We have been lying here about four days. We were five days coming from Baljick and were towing all the way. When we arrived here we commenced landing our troops, and the Russians [ 139 ]

had not pluck enough to oppose us. As soon as our troops landed they captured about 100 wagon loads of flour, and a great quantity of provisions. We expect to finish landing all the gear tomorrow and I suppose we shall make the attack this day week!... We got the news yesterday that 15.000 Russians were marching to Sebastopol from Odessa to augment the forces there, but we have sent one division to cut them off. We have picked out several spies, and they are very useful. This morning one of our parties drove in four or five hundred cattle. All the water our troops drink is supplied from the ships, for the won’t drink any of that on shore as they fear it may have been poisoned; but our sappers and miners are sinking wells. I hope in another fortnight I shall be able to let you know it is all over. – The writer concluded by mentioning several Hastings young men who were serving in the fleet, and who at that time were all in good health.

The Cholera. In an earlier letter from John Whyborn, of the Rodney, than those of his already reproduced, and dated “Near Varna, August 23rd,” the writer said –

“The cholera has broken out among our fleet, and the Britannica has lost about 160 men, the Trafalgar, 50, and the Albion, 70, but I am happy to say we have only lost 7, and the Queen only 2 and not Hastings men. We have lost by sickness in the English fleet about 300 and in the French fleet between five and six hundred. I heard from George Oliver yesterday, who tells me they are all quite well in the Queen. The sickness is subsiding now. The London has only lost six men. The troops on land have been healthy, except the guards, some of whom have got fever and ague. When the cholera broke out in the fleet, they put to sea, and were cruising about for eight days.” “J. W. “

(Other letters from the seat of war are reserved for chap. LIV)

The Regatta.

This year’s regatta took place on the 11th of Sept., a day in every way favourable for aquatic sports. The crowds of sightseers were immense, the rowing course being between the Fishmarket and Warrior square. The sailing boats were 7 in number, and the four which obtained prizes were W. Bumstead’s Lion (£3), A. Taylor’s Queen (£2), The Corsair (£1), & H. Carpenter’s Henry (10s.).

Of the six 4-oared galleys which competed, Topsy' (rowed by J. Hutchinson, H. Phillips, T. Tutt, jun. & J. Curtis) obtained £12:- the Arrow (from Ramsgate), £7; and the Anne (from Brighton) £3.

In single Skiffs, H. Roberts gained £1; J. Hutchinson, 15/-; & J. Morton 10s.

The prizes for Amateur Fours were to A. T. Mills Anne, of Brighton, £5; C. Chandler’s Lelia, of Hastings, £3; C. Breeds’s Surprise, of Hastings, 30s.; and W. Picknell’s Arrow, 20s.

In Pair-oared Skiffs, D. Goldsmith’s Nautilus won £2; G. Wenham’s John Tutt, £1; J. Goldsmith’s Alarm 15/- & H. Carpenter’s Sylph, 10s.

In Second-class Sailers, J. Oliver’s Lively won 30s.; B. Hadden’s Victory, 20s.; G. Swaine’s George, 15s.; & W. Hadden’s Mary, 10s.

In Single Sculls, G. Goldsmith took 30s.; D. Goldsmith, 20s.; H. Curtis, 15s.; & G. Wenham, 10s.

In Amateur Pairs, Fennings’s Uncle Tom got 15s.; Morris’s Sylph, 10s.; Wormsley’s Alfred 7/6; & Nash’s Gauntlet, 5s.

Transcribed by Sally Morris


  1. Greek Kalends, unlike Roman Calends, do not exist, therefore mean a time that will never come. - Transcriber
  2. Given that it was April, the comet was almost certainly the Great Comet, called C/1854F1, visible from March 23rd until mid-April. - Transcriber
  3. should probably be lagan - Transcriber
  4. William Frederick Waldegrave, Viscount Chewton was born on 29 June 1816. He was the son of Vice-Admiral William Waldegrave, 8th Earl Waldegrave and Elizabeth Whitbread. He married Frances Bastard, daughter of Captain John Bastard and Frances Wade, on 2 July 1850. He died on 7 October 1854 at age 38 at Alma, Russia, from wounds received in action. (See P127) - Transcriber
  5. The cheval de frise (plural: chevaux de frise "Frisian horses") was a medieval defensive anti-cavalry measure consisting of a portable frame (sometimes just a simple log) covered with many projecting long iron or wooden spikes or spears. Reference: - Transcriber
  6. A gallon of bread A gallon(or half-peck) loaf was made with a gallon of flour or grain, not a gallon of water, and weighed 8 pounds and 11 ounces. It was considered that a gallon of bread (a little over a pound a day) was the basic ration for one adult for one week. - Transcriber
  7. Albacore - a tuna of warm seas, which travels in large schools and is of commercial importance as a food fish. - Transcriber
  8. Asafoetida, a fetid resinous gum obtained from the roots of a herbaceous plant, used in herbal medicine and Indian cooking. It has a bad smell and tastes bitter. It is sometimes called "devil's dung." - Transcriber
  9. It is interesting that there are 3361 husbands and 3506 wives! - Transcriber
  10. This gives an indication that Brett was writing this portion in November 1898 - Transcriber
  11. Information on the Swiss Gardens is at the following website:
  12. Curteis was born in Florence during 1823 and became Mayor of Rye - Transcriber
  13. A junto was political grouping or faction, especially in 17th- and 18th-century Britain. - Transcriber
  14. Scutaria should be Scutari, which was the site of the Crimea War Hospital which had dreadful conditions, eventually improved by Florence Nightingale and her staff.-Transcriber
  1. General Diebitsch in his bulletin to the Emperor Nicholas in 182: thus announces the surrender of Silistria in that year:— “On the 18th of June, a mine was sprung which had been opened near the curtain of the flank works, and the explosion of which produced a breach within the body of the fortress. On the following morning two more mines were prepared, which were carried under the same curtain and under the right flank of the bastion on the right of the polygon, against which the attack was directed. Finally, two mines formed in the very ditch of the fortress, and the experience which the enemy had had of the unwearied zeal and firmness of the besiegers, shook the obstinacy of the Pachas who commanded in Silistria, and at ten in the morning they sent a flag of truce to Lieutenant: General Krassovski, and, Major-General Prince Gortschakov. Licutenant-General Krassovski granted only some unimportant conditions, and to them I have given, my full consent. On the 19th of June at seven in the evening, five battalions, with eight pieces of light artillery, under the command of Major-General Frolov, marched in parade order, with flying colours, through two breaches, into the fortress, and took possession of the bastions, the gates, and the whole town. There are 1,000 wounded, and, as far as can be ascertained, the loss of the enemy in killed, during the siege, exceeds 5,000 men. Thus have our troops succeeded, notwithstanding the obstinate resistance of the besieged, in overcoming a numerous garrizon, driven to despair. During the whole of the siege we have lost only 1,200 men in killed and wounded; and more than one-half of the latter are in astate which promises a speedy convalescence. (Signed)
    AJjutant-Gen, Count Diebitseh. In the camp before Shumla, June 2,”