Caroline Fox.

Memories of old friends : being extracts from the journals of Caroline Fox of Penjerrick, Cornwall from 1835 to 1871 (Volume 2) online

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pain than a pleasure ? I doubt it ; for even in
its deepest sorrows there is a joy which makes
ordinary 'pleasure^ a very poor meaningless affair.
No, no ; we need never be scared from the very
depths of Friendship by its possible consequences.
The very fact of loving another more than your-
self is in itself such a blessing, that it seems scarcely
to require any other, and puts you in a comfort-
able position of independence." . . .

January 29. — Barclay is at the Manchester Peace
Conference, which is going on capitally; it is in
a practical tone, though held in a very financial
atmosphere. lie followed Cobden unexpectedly



.«TAT. 34. yOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 201

in a speech, and got through it well, describing the
origin of the Peace Society, and telling the story
of a French Privateer letting a captured ship loose
on finding that its owner was a Friend.

Fehriiary 7. — Kisting (from the Sailors' Home)
is staying with us. He talked of Humboldt, and
how, during the uproar of '48, the mob rushed
from house to house taking possession, at last came
to Humboldt's ; he opened wide the door and
answered, "Oh yes, come in and take what you
can find. I have always been glad to do what I
can for you ; I am Humboldt." It acted like
magic to see the simply clad, white-haired old man,
standing there with his kind arms extended ; and
when they heard the name they loved so well,
they felt only as children who saw their father
before them.

February 20. — Received letters about the sad
attempt at insurrection at Milan. Mazzini left
England with little hope, but the affair was hurried
on by the Milanese declaring that if he would
not direct them they must direct themselves. It
was discovered forty -eight hours before it was
designed to explode, on which Mazzini sent ex-
presses to stop the movement in other towns ;



202 JOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 1853.

those in Milan chose to die fighting rather than
on the scaffold. Mazzini and Saffi, though not
apprehended^ must yet be in great danger in those
parts^ and Mrs. Carlyle says he took leave of her
as one who never expected to see her again ; he
kissed her and said, " Be strong and good until I
return/' and he seemed to go from a sense of duty
rather than of hope. It is a most grievous error.

March 10. — As we turned the corner of a lane
during our walk, a man and a bull came in sight ;
the former crying out, " Ladies, save yourselves
as you can ! " the latter scudding onwards slowly
but furiously. I jumped aside on a little hedge,
but thought the depth below rather too great —
about nine or ten feet ; but the man cried
"Jump!" and I jumped. To the horror of all,
the bull jumped after me. My fall stunned me,
so that I knew nothing of my terrible neighbour,
whose deep autograph may be now seen quite
close to my little one. He thought me dead, and
only gazed without any attempt at touching me,
though pacing round, pawing and snorting, and
thus we were for about twenty minutes. The
man, a kind soul but no hero, stood on the hedge
above, charging me from time to time not to move.



vETAT. 34. yOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 203

Indeed, ray first recollection is of his friendly
voice. And so I lay still, wondering how much
was reality and how much dream ; and when I
tried to think of my situation, I pronounced it too
dreadful to be true, and certainly a dream. Then
I contemplated a drop of blood and a lump of mud,
which looked very real indeed, and I thought it
very imprudent in any man to make me lie in a
pool — it would surely give me rheumatism. I
longed to peep at the bull, but was afraid to ven-
ture on such a movement. Then I thought, I
shall probably be killed in a few minutes, how is
it that I am not taking it more solemnly ? I tried
to do so, seeking rather for preparation for death
than restoration to life. Then I checked myself
with the thought, It's only a dream, so it's really
quite profane to treat it in this way ; and so I
went on oscillating. There was, however, a rest
in the dear will of God which I love to remember ;
also a sense of the simplicity of my condition —
nothing to do to involve others in suffering, only
to endure what was laid upon me. To me the
time did not seem nearly so long as they say it
was: at length the drover, having found some
bullocks, drove them into the field, and my bull.



204 JOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 1853.

after a good deal of hesitation, went off to his own
species. Then they have a laugh at me that I
stayed to pick up some oranges I had dropped
before taking the man's hand and being pulled up
the hedge ; but in all this I acted as a somnam-
bulist, with only fitful gleams of consciousness
and memory.

^pril 3. — Cobden is so delighted with Barclay's
tract, "My Friend Mr. B.," ^ that he requests it

1 MY FRIEND MR. B.

In the course of my rambles I fell in with a gentleman living
in an isolated part of the country, a man of much influence in his
district. He lived in comfortable style, farming his own estate and
deriving an additional income from some mills and water frontage
where his tenants carried on a thriving trade, supplying the wants
of the neighbourhood and their own likewise. He was a liberal
landlord, and was heartily beloved both by the tenantry and the
people of the village; whilst his unswerving integrity, a certain old-
fashioned simplicity, and the kindliness of his disposition, secured
him the respect of all who knew him.

I spent several days under his roof, and much enjoyed his hearty
hospitality. His opinions appeared to me sound and liberal ; his
religious convictions, though not often obtruded, were simple and
sincere, and his companionable qualities (when the ice was once
broken) suited my taste exactly. "What struck me, however, as a
strange inconsistency, irreconcilable with his good sense, was the
indulgence of a most expensive whim, which was for ever counter-
acting the generous impulses of his heart.

In addition to the servants who performed all the duties of the



^TAT. 34- yOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 205

may be printed on good paper and sent to every

house, it was his fancy to keep a large retinue in scarlet and blue
liveries with gold lace and topknots and other finery, who seemed
to me about as idle a set of fellows as you could meet with in a
summer's day. A part of them waited on him and his guests as a
sort of guard of honour ; two of them always stood before the front
door; — some were stationed about the park to strike terror into
poachers, others were housed at the outlying farms to guard the
poultry from depredation ; whilst a large number sat in the servants'
hall, drinking their master's beer and flirting with the maids.

I could not help observing how much the cost of this establish-
ment interfered with the promptings of his liberal nature. He was
applied to for a contribution towards a new schoolhouse in the vil-
lage, the old one not being able to contain half the children that
required teaching : the good old gentleman took a ;i^io note from
his pocket, saying he wished to see all the children taught to read
and write, but his eye fell on a memorandum of wages due, and he
gave /^^ instead. So it was with the Missionary box, and the Bible
Society, and the repairs of the church ; each collector seemed to
me to take his donation with a look which implied that more was
expected.

I regretted it much for his reputation's sake, and one day after
dinner, when he had taken his glass of claret, and had grown com-
municative, I led the conversation to the subject of income and
expenditure. By degrees he told me exactly how he stood, which
surprised me not a little. His total income, he said, arising from
land, quay dues, and turnpike tolls, amounted to about ;i^5000 a
year, but unfortunately his father having been extravagant, had
burdened the property with a mortgage of ;i^8o,ooo, the interest
of which amounted to ^^2,800, leaving him little more than ;^2,200
a year for all his expenses.

I asked him whether he had ever calculated the cost of his body-
guard and the rest of that retinue, independent of the servants who
did all the housework. He winced a little at the quesiion, but



2o6 yoURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 1853.

member of the two Houses, which is to be
clone.



added it up on his fingers,— wages, so much ; liveries, so much ;
blunderbusses, so much ; living, so much. Altogether it amounted
to about £iSOO a year, he said, looking, I thought, rather silly.

I could not help asking him whether he did not think the cost of
such a retinue somewhat out of proportion to his other expenses ?
and whether it did not make too heavy a pull on his income for
comfort ?

To the latter question he readily assented, but asked helplessly.
What cou/d he do ? His father had always kept it up, and to
reduce the old establishment would imply that he was going down
hill. Besides, most of the gentry in the neighbourhood did the
same. Indeed, a gentleman lately come into a fine property in the
next parish had a much larger retinue than himself. The former
owner and. his father had been on bad terms, and their servants
actually came to blows. As to the present man, he had no quarrel
with him, but he was constantly told that there would be one, and
that if he didn't keep up a strong force his house would surely be
broken into one of these dark nights; and really, though he himself
thought such a thing very unlikely, yet it had been so dinned into
his ears that he hardly knew what to believe.

I inquired whether he and his neiglibour were on visiting terms.

"Oh yes," he said, "we dine at each other's houses, and when
any of my people happen to go to his place they are sure to get
plenty to eat and drink, and are asked to see the gardens, and all
that sort of thing : and if any of his people come here, why of course
we do the best we can to make them comfortable."

"Is there any question between you about boundary fences, or
waste land, or anything of that sort ?" said I.

" Oh no," replied he, " the canal lies between our estates, which
makes a first-rate boundary; there's no chance of any dispute about
that."



^TAT. 34. yOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 207

Interesting letter from Henry F. Barclay from

" Then do your interests clash in any way?" I asked.

" No," said he ; " on the contrary, I buy his flour for all my fancy
bread ; his mill grinds finer than mine does. That claret you are
drinking I bought of him — (I'll thank you to pass the decanter) —
It's quite certain he would gain nothing by picking a quarrel with
me, and I can hardly bring myself to believe that he thinks of such
a thing. "

Having gone so far, I felt justified in appealing to my friend's
good sense and right feeling. I tried to show him that it was not
reasonable to apprehend anything like outrage or unprovoked insult
from a neighbour who lived on friendly terms with him, one with
whom he had no dispute whatever, moreover whose interest as a
merchant would be seriously injured by any interruption of their
friendship. I represented that the mere suspicion of such a thing
almost amounted to an insult, as it classed him among brigands and
savages, who respected no law but their appetite for plunder, with-
out regard to consequences. In short, I urged the point so strongly
that he seemed more than half ashamed of having ever entertained
such a suspicion ; so we changed the subject.

I inquired what were the duties he expected from this retinue of
his, for as far as I could make out they seemed more designed for
show than for use.

He admitted that there was some truth in the observation, most
of the upper servants being literally paid for doing nothing ; but
then they spent a great deal of it in tobaeco, and he made his tenant
pay him pretty heavy quay-dues on that article, so it was not all
lost. Some of them, he said, had to help his gamekeepers occa-
sionally in affrays with poachers ; and some who were stationed on
an outlying farm had come to blosvs with a gang of gipsies who
persisted in occupying a piece of waste land much too near the
poultry-yard ; whether they were driven out of the neighbourhood
or not he was unable to say.

" But surely," said I, "if you must keep such a number of fine



2o8 JOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. ii;53.

Paris, with an account of the dinner at the Tuileries

young fellows, it is a sad injury to them to train them to a life of
idleness, whilst their labour might be of great value to the estate."

"Why, I have thought of that," said he, "and if the fellows
would only consent to it, I have work enough for them to do.
They could drain yonder great moor in six months, they migiit
double all my crops by spade-husbandry ; but bless you, it's no use
to think of such a thing ; they would strike every man of them
rather than come down to farm-work."

" I should not give them the cliance," said I ; " I should pay
them off first (some of them, I mean) and offer them work after-
wards; when once out of their smart liveries, they would be as glad
of steady work and wages as another."

The old gentleman rubbed his forehead, uncrossed and recrossed
his legs, gazed hopelessly at the ceiling, and ended with a long
sigh.

At length he said, " Between ourselves, there is no getting at the
truth of it. When I said something about a reduction years ago,
they persuaded me that I shouldn't be safe in my bed if I were to
attempt such a thing, and now they have grown so big that I hardly
know which is master, they or 1."

" I think," I continued, "that if you and your neighbour could
come to a friendly understanding to dismiss say ten per cent, each
of your retinues, that it would ease both your pockets to that extent,
and would meet that argument of theirs about the risk to be appre-
hended from each other's propensity to plunder and cut throats
which your respective servants have obviously strong motives for
propagating."

" Ah," said he, " that would do it, I know, but it's a much more
delicate operation than you fancy ; it would be worth trying, if I

were sure to succeed, but if not Why, the very same thing

was proposed once by a mutual friend of ours, but it somehow got
to my servants' ears, and you have no idea what an outcry it excited.
I hardly dared to look the fellows in the face for months after. On



/ETAT. 34. JOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 209

given to the Deputation from the Commercial
Community of London to the Emperor.^ It was

the whole I thought, for peace' sake, it was better to let them have
their own way."

"Come then," said I, " I have one other idea to suggest, and
then I've done. Suppose your neighbour and you were just to
agree not to hire any fresh hands, and leave the old ones to the
course of nature ; this would be a slower remedy, but you see your
present servants could not complain, and the cure would be gradual,
but certain. You mightn't benefit much by the saving yourself, but
it's clear your children would."

He promised to think this over, and as the mode of reduction is
only negative, there may be some chance of his adopting it.

Some of my readers will doubtless have recognised an old friend
in the gentleman I have been describing ; and those who have en-
joyed, as I have, the friendship of Mr. John Bull, cannot fail to
regret that his means of usefulness should be so seriously cramped;
and they will be acting the part of true friends if they will use what
influence they possess to lessen his gratuitous burdens, and to eman-
cipate his judgment from so expensive a crotchet.

^ Louis Napoleon and the London Merchants. — On Easter
Monday, at half-past one o'clock, the Emperor of the French received
at the Tuileries the deputation of the merchants of London.

The Ministers of State, of Foreign Affairs, and of the Interior
were present.

The deputation was composed of Sir James Duke, Bart, M. P.,
Sir Edward N. Buxton, Bart., Mr. Samuel Gurney, Mr. W. Glad-
stone, Mr. J. D. Powles, Mr. Glyn, Mr. Dent, Mr. Barclay, and
Mr. Masterman.

Sir James Duke addressed the Emperor in the following terms : —

" Sire, We have the honour and the gratification to appear
before your Majesty for the purpose of presenting to your Majesty,
and to the French nation, a declaration from the commercial com-
VOL. II. O



JOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX.



a small party ; the Emperor and Empress, with
three ladies, joined them in the Empress's drawing-
room, and they were not at all prepared to see so

munity of the metropolis of the Britisli Empire, embodying the
sentiments of amity and respect by which they are animated towards
their brethren of France.

"The circumstances which have called forth this declaration being
fully stated in the declaration itself, bearing the signatures of upwards
of 4000 of the merchants, bankers, and traders of London, we have
only to add the expression of our conviction that this document
conveys at the same time a faithful representation of the feelings
of the people of England at large.

"In conclusion, Sire, we beg to express to your Imperial Majesty
our fervent hope that, under your reign, France and England may
be always united in a friendly and mutually beneficial intercourse,
and that from the friendship of these two great nations results may
ensue favourable to the peace of the world and the happiness of
mankind."

The hon. baronet then read the following, which he afterwards
presented to His Imperial Majesty : —

"Declaration of the Merchants, Bankers, Traders,
AND others of LONDON. — We, the undersigned merchants,
bankers, traders, and others of London, feel ourselves called upon
at this time publicly to express the concern with which we learn,
through various channels of information, that an impression exists
in the minds of the people of France that feelings of an unfriendly
character are entertained towards them by the people of England.

' ' We think it right emphatically to declare that we believe no
such feelings exist on the part of the English people towards the
people of France. We believe the welfare of both nations to be
closely interwoven, as well in a mutually advantageous and com-
mercial intercourse as in a common participation in all the improve-
ments of art and science.



^TAT. 34- yOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 211

lovely a creature. Their Majesties preceded them
in to dinner and sat side by side/ Lord and Lady
Cowley flanking them ; it was a real pleasure to see

"Rejoicing in tlie reflection that nearly forty years have passed
since the final cessation of hostilities between France and England,
we record our conviction that European wars should be remembered
only to be deplored, for the sacrifice of life and treasure with which
they were attended — the hindrances they interposed to all useful
enterprise and social advancement — the angry and unchristian feel-
ings which they evoked in their progress — and the heavy financial
burdens which they left behind them at their close, — considerations
which supply the most powerful motives to every individual in the
European community to avoid, and to oppose by every means in
his power, whatever may tend to cause the recurrence of such evils.

"We desire to remark, that if, in that expression of opinion on
public questions which the press of this country is accustomed to
exercise, it is found occasionally to speak with apparent harshness
of the Government or the institutions of other States, the same is
not to be understood in a spirit of national hostility, or as desiring
to give offence. We feel that with the internal policy or mode of
government which the French nation may think good to adopt for
itself it is not for British subjects to interfere, further than heartily
to desire that it may result in peace and happiness to all interested
therein.

" We conclude this declaration by proclaiming our earnest desire
for the long continuance of cordiality and goodwill between French-
men and Englishmen, our determination to do all in our power to
uphold the same, and our fervent hope that the inhabitants of both
nations may in future only vie with each other in cultivating the
arts of peace and in extending the sources of social improvement
for their common benefit."

His Majesty replied in English : —

"I am extremely touched by tliis manifestation. It confirms






212 yOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 1853.

the husband and wife quite flirting together, as
happy as birds. After dinner, when they all re-
turned to the drawing-room, the Emperor and
Empress separately went about conversing plea-
santly with all the different guests ; the Empress on
the Exhibition and the improvements around Paris,
and the Emperor and Samuel Gurney on the state
of the country, the good the Deputation had done,
the difficulty of understanding the state of things
around you until cleared up by inquiring of Minis-
ters, the mischief of the tone taken by some of
the English papers ; the difference between the
nature of the two countries. " In France," said the
Emperor, " revolutions are easy, but reforms slow,

me in the confidence with which the good sense of the English
nation has always inspired me. During the long stay I made in
England I admired the liberty she enjoys, — thanks to the perfection
of her institutions. Nevertheless, at one period last year I feared
that public opinion was misled with regard to the true state of
France and her sentiments towards Great Britain. But the good
faith of a great people cannot be long deceived, and the step which
you now take is a striking proof of this.

"Ever since I have held power my efforts constantly tend to
develop the prosperity of France. I know her interests ; they are
not different from those of all other civilised nations. Like you, I
desire peace ; and, to make it sure, I wish, like you, to draw closer
the bonds which unite our two countries."

The deputation then retired.



^TAT. 34. yOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 213

almost impossible; in England reforms are steady
and certain^ but revolutions can never be accom-
plished/'

London, May 4. — To the Bible Meeting. Dr.
Gumming was most felicitous in language and
illustration ; Hugh M'Neile very brilliant and amus-
ing on Tradition versus Scripture ; then an Ameri-
can Bishop and his friend spoke as a deputation.
Dr. Binney, in a clever, free-and-easy speech, sym-
pathised with them (on slavery being still an insti-
tution in their country) ; and Mrs. H. B. Stowe,
being present in a side gallery, gave great piquancy
to these remarks, and the room was in a tumult of
sympathy.

May 8. — Charles Gilpin took us to a presenta-
tion of Shakespeare, by 9000 working Englishmen,
to Kossuth.^ We were in a little orchestra with

^ "On the 17th of November 1852, Douglas Jerrold wrote to the
Editor of the Bai/jf N'ews the following letter : —

" ' Sir, — It is written in the brief history made known to us of
Kossuth, that in an Austrian prison he was taught English by the
words of the teacher Shakespeare. An Englishman's blood glows
with the thought that, from the quiver of the immortal Saxon,
Kossuth has furnished himself with those arrowy words that kindle
as they fly — words that are weapons, as Austria will know. Would
it not be a graceful tribute to the genius of the man who has stirred
our nation's heart to present to him a copy of Shakespeare ? To



214 JOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 1853.

Madame Kossuth, who is an anxious, care-worn, but
refined-looking woman, with very prominent eyes.
Her husband is a very manly-looking Saxon, with
clear blue eyes and much openness of expression ;
he was in his Hungarian dress, and the people were
in incontrollable excitement at his entrance. Lord
Dudley Stuart was in the chair, and contrived
cleverly to bespeak a loyal tone to the meeting,
which was certainly in a most democratic spirit.
Then old, rather crabbed-looking Douglas Jerrold
presented Shakespeare's house and works in a very
good, though, of course, intensely eulogistic, speech.

do this I would propose a penny subscription. The large amount
of money obtained by these means, the cost of the work itself being
small, might be expended on the binding of the volumes, and on a
casket to contain them. There are hundreds of thousands of English-
men who would rejoice thus to endeavour to manifest their gratitude
to Kossuth for the glorious words he has uttered among us — words
that have been as pulses to the nation. — Douglas Jerrold.'

"This idea was caught up at once, and the author of it went
enthusiastically through all the trouble of collecting the people's
pence. Months were spent, but the money came in. And the


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Online LibraryCaroline FoxMemories of old friends : being extracts from the journals of Caroline Fox of Penjerrick, Cornwall from 1835 to 1871 (Volume 2) → online text (page 11 of 19)