Lord Burghley had replaced three men, who had been paid to clean his water from weeds, with four swans who work free of charge.
“One of the communications of the Marquis of Exeter to the editor of a periodical publication, which we lately noticed, is a discovery that swans will keep water perfectly free from weeds. At his Lordship’s seat at Burghley, a piece of water, which used to employ three men for six months in a year to keep it tolerably clean, is now kept completely so by two pair of swans.”
Stamford Mercury, 11th November 1803.
A fortune could be made in a Lottery which was due to be drawn on St. Valentine’s Day, 1810. A ‘Sixteenth’ was the smallest stake available and cost £1-13-0 (equal to £1.65 today).
“Recipe to make a Fortune.-Take a Sixteenth and buy it;-when it produces (and why should it not?) a Share of a Capital Prize, lay the amount out in Whole Tickets. Having succeeded to your wish, in the event of these being fortunate, you have only to purchase a neat house in town for winter, and a snug summer retreat in the country; let these be embellished by the girl of your heart; let family be added, quantum suff* and if you do not think the Lottery has done you justice, try again.”
* as much as suffices.
Stamford Mercury, 26th January, 1810.
The Mercury committed a Grave error by misreading a note sent to it conveying the information of two deaths.
” We misread the note of a correspondent at Spilsby last week, and committed an error which carries with it an air of levity, for which we feel real concern. Instead of Mr. Thomas Raiderstone, of Halton Holegate, being married to Miss Jessop, of Burgh in the Marsh, we should have stated that both those parties are dead.”
Stamford Mercury, 9th September, 1807.
A woman who regularly ate some horse radish baffled doctors who thought she had worms. It was found to be horse radish sprouts.
” A NEW BED OF HORSE-RADISH.- The Boston Gazette of Tuesday has the following strange account:- ‘A young women, servant in a very respectable family in this town, has been, ever since the autumn of 1814, afflicted with a singular complaint, which baffled medical staff. According to report, she had for a length of time voided long strips of matter supposed to be worms, but which proved to be sprouts of horse-radish! Her health has late much improved, but her amendment is said to have been preceded by the extraordinary circumstance of two pieces of the ends of horse-radish, of the natural appearance, and about half an inch each in length, having come from her! The affair is accounted for by the young women’s confession that she has been in the practice, when she had horse-radish given her to scrape, or swallowing large pieces of it.’ ”
Stamford Mercury, 24th May, 1816.
A wealthy man, who owned a small estate, sent out a notice to any unmarried women containing the description of what would make this man’s perfect wife.
” Notice to UNMARRIED Women.
A man in Edinburghshire, who never was married, being near thirty years of age, has above 900l. with a small estate. In sincerity he wants a women to be his spouse that is truly pious, and has a taste for cleanliness. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a women that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.-Prov.xxxi.50. Any young women whom this may suit, will please address to A.B. to be left at the Printing-office, and the Advertiser will wait on her. O virtuous female, think no shame, To take the pen and write your name; I shall the subject secret handle, And keep you free from any scandal.”
Stamford Mercury, 13th January, 1809.
A severe ‘serjeant’ at Volunteer Corps shouted at a recruit after he grumbled during a drill and began to speak when he shouldn’t have.
” A serjeant drilling a Volunteer Corps a few days ago, was peculiarly severe on a gentleman, whom he did not fail to tax as amazingly stupid and aukward. The recruit grumbled, and was beginning to reply, when Kile stopped him by exclaiming, Hold your tongue, Sir; a soldier is only allowed to open his mouth twice in the ranks; once when his name is called, and again to bite off the end of his cartridge.”
Stamford Mercury, 16th September 1803
Man-mountain, Daniel Lambert had been been drafted to serve in the Leicestershire militia – how many men will he be worth?
” The celebrated Mr. Daniel Lambert has been balloted to serve in the militia for the county of Leicester! It is supposed this man-mountain will serve by substitute; but how many men in buckram should in fairness grow out of this one, who is in himself a host, is a matter that the Deputy-Lieutenants have not yet determined upon.”
Stamford Mercury, 6th November 1807.
During their time at Chatham, French prisoners used to gamble food and clothes away to their fellow comrades. Some had “naked luck” and some even starved.
” There is such an irresistible spirit of gambling existing among the French prisoners lately arrived at Chatham from Norman Cross, that many of them have been almost entirely naked during the late severe weather, having lost their clothes, not excepting even their shirts and small clothes, to some of their fellow prisoners; many of them are also reduced to the chance of starving by the same means, having lost seven or eight days’ provision to their fortunate comrades, who never fail to exact their winnings. The effervescence of mind that this diabolical pursuit gives rise to, is often exemplified in the conduct of these infatuated captives, rendering them remarkably turbulent and unruly. On Saturday a quarrel arose between two of them in course of play, when one of them, who lost his clothes and food, received a severe stab in the back with a large knife from his companion, whose anger had been kindled by the invectives which a run of ill luck had excited in his adversary. Every care was taken of the wounded man by surgeons.”
Stamford Mercury, 18th December 1807.
An overly-confident man crashed his horse drawn cart into a mud-cart, after attempting to show his skill with a whip. The end results were fast and filthy.
” Thursday a gentleman, desirous of exhibiting his skill in the science of the whip, ascended the box of his own landaulet, drawn by a pair of capital horses, and driving furiously down Fleet-street, came in contact with a mud-cart, which was stationary, and nearly full. The concussion was so great as to precipitate him completely into the filth collected therein, from which he emerged sufficiently soused, by the assistance of the scavengers, to the no small diversion of the surrounding throng.”
Stamford Mercury 6th November, 1807.
To lighten the air after reports of heavy parliamentary debates, this charming verse about marriage in Heaven appears at the end of the news from London.
“Cries Celia to a Reverend Dean,
What Reason can be given,
Since Marriage is a Holy Thing,
That there is none in Heaven.
There are no Women, he reply’d:
She quick returns the Jest;
Women there are, but I’m afraid,
They cannot find a Priest.”
Stamford Mercury 17th March, 1737.