Mercuriosities

A Marriage made in Heaven

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.

The Frock Discarded

The Frock Discarded

Society ladies cast off their dresses and start a new fashion trend. Sporting new outfits for events, they catch the eye of the local media.

“LADY CATHERINE WILLOUGHBY is now numbered among the members of the very smart young set in Mayfair who have adopted coloured shorts for tennis and at Lady Crossfield’s big garden party disported herself in a pair of pink pale crepe with a black belt.

Her equally energetic sister, Lady Priscilla, never misses an opportunity to play polo, and, and in spite of the great heat, was thoroughly enjoying herself at Hurlingham.

Lady Priscilla, by the way, like her sister-in-law, has been taking on quite a lot of public social work- opening fetes, bazaars, etc.-in Stamford district lately, but, if i remember aright, we have still to have the pleasure of seeing Lady Catherine in like role in the area.”

Stamford Mercury 27th July, 1934.

Most Splendid and Striking Exhibition

A never seen before Wax Exhibition, described as Most Splendid and Striking, has been advertised to be open by the creator Mrs. Silvester to the public.

“NEVER SEEN HERE BEFORE

On MONDAY NEXT will be OPENED,

The most splendid and striking EXHIBITION of

ILLUSTRIOUS PERSONAGES

IN WAX, EVER SEEN.

MRS. SILVESTER, from No. 341,

Strand, London, respectfully informs the Ladies, Gentleman, and  Public at large, that her celebrated CABINET of WAX-WORK is just arrived in this Town, and may be seen in commodious Rooms in the BULL-YARD.

The principal Characters are,the Royal Family of England- the unfortunate Royal Family of France-Dutch, Russian, Prussian, and Turkish Personages- the unfortunate Baron Trenk, loaded with 68lbs of Chains-John Wesley- Dr. Franklin- General Washington-General Bonaparte and Madame Bonaparte-with many other Figures, fifty in Number, and in full Size of Life.

Open from ten in the Morning until nine in the Evening.

Admittance is-Trades-people 6d-Servants 3d.

** The Particulars in the Hand-bills.”

Stamford Mercury 26th March 1802.

Not a Poultry Pie!

A poultry pie of huge proportions was served at a Christmas dinner hosted by the Earl Grosvenor which weighed a staggering 154lbs!

“At Earl Grosvenor’s second dinner at Chester, as Mayor of that city, on Friday the 1st instant, there was a large christmas pie, which contained three geese, three turkies, seven hares, twelve partridges, a ham, and a leg of veal: the whole, when baked, weighed 154 lbs.!”

Stamford Mercury 15th January, 1807.

 

Female Soldier Fighting in Germany!

In a battle against France an undiscovered German female soldier fought and picked up wounds forcing her true identity to be discovered.

“An interesting female presented on Wednesday for relief to the German Committee, at Baker’s Coffeehouse, in consequence of wounds she received in late battles fought in the cause of Europe against France. She gave undoubted proofs of her having fought in the ranks in the hard-contested actions in the vicinity of Leipsic, where she received several wounds. She was taken to the hospital at Leipsic, where her sex was discovered. This amazonian warrior is a German of about 25 years of age; she served five years in the army.”

Stamford Mercury 11th November, 1814.

Rogue Robber Wanted

Highwayman and once Rogue Robber, Dick Turpin had been caught by an unsuspecting servant, to Mr Thompson, stealing a Horse from the local neighbourhood.

“On Wednesday night last, a servant of Mr Thompson’s, one of the keepers of Epping Forest, (who lives at Fair-Maid Bottom) saw the famous Turpin on the Forest, and suspecting he was going to steal some particular Horse in that Neighbourhood, went to a House near King’s Oak and borrow’d a Gun, and charg’d it, and said he would go and take Turpin, who was not far off, and accordingly went with the Gun after him; but approaching him with his Gun too near, (apprehending, its suppos’d, he had only Pistols) Turpin saw him, and immediately discharg’d a Carbine at him, loaded with Slugs, and shot him into the Belly dead on the Spot, and he now lies at the Oak: Turpin rode away and quitted his Horse, which was last Night in the Pound at Waltham Abby. On Thursday all that part of the Country were up in Arms in pursuit of him, but its supposed he is gone Northward. In a Thicket there was found a Cavern wherein was a Bed of Hay, part of a Loaf, part of a Bottle of Wine, and three clean Shirts, which is suppos’d to be one of his Places of Concealment.

“We hear, that a Royal Proclamation, with a Reward of 200 l. will be issued for the apprehending and taking of the said famous Robber and Murderer.”

Stamford Mercury 12th May, 1737.

Parliamentary Reform to Save the Poor

Sometimes, it took the power of an imagined exchange to get the message across to political animals keen on parliamentary reform, that there was genuine distress in the real world.  This letter is rather wordy, but the dialogue at the end says it all.

“Sir,

Our violent political Orators, it seems, have again recourse to the old worn-out subject of a Reform in Parliament, as the universal Medicine, the grand Panacea, for all the Disorders of the State.  In this they resemble their Brother Quacks in Medicine.  The Pill that is to cure all the diseases of the human body, and the Reform that is to remedy off the defects of the body politic may, from their resemblance, be fairly traced to one common origin.  These experimental Doctors tell us, that nothing is wanting to remedy all the distress of trade, manufactures, and agriculture, but a Reform of Parliament; yet there is no agreement amongst them as to any specific or tangible pain.  If it were true that such Reform would instantly set all the looms in Spital-fields to work, revive the manufactures of Birmingham, Manchester, &c, or supersede the necessity of poor-rates, every individual would then clamour for it, whether he understood it or not.  At the same time, however, that these disinterested Patriots recommend the adoption of a remedy, which from the slowness of its operation can have but little effect on the present existing distress, they seem to despise the mode of relief, now generally practised, by money, food, cloathing, and employment.  Indeed, why should they put down their names to a charitable subscription, when their own proposed remedy is so much cheaper, and may be administered gratis, as it costs them nothing?  Now, Sir, conceive the following appropriate and certainly very instructive dialogue taking place between one of these politico-patriotic Doctors and a poor broken-down Spital-fields weaver.

‘Doctor, I am almost famished – ‘  ‘My good friend, you want a reform in Parliament.’

‘I have had no work for a month past – ‘ ‘You must get rid of the rotten boroughs.’

‘My wife lies in her seventh child – ‘  ‘Annual Parliaments will soon cure that.’

‘My children are destitute of cloathes and food – ‘  ‘They are not sufficiently represented.’

‘A little supply for present food would be – ‘  ‘Fool!  you’ll only be as hungry to-morrow.’

‘These is little chance of my poor wife recovering – ‘  ‘All owing to the interference of Peers in elections.’

‘A good lady has offered to send us some soup – ‘  ‘Old Sarum sends two members.’

‘A very little money would relieve us – ‘  ‘All in vain, while we have such a House of Commons as the present.’

‘The smallest donation would be acceptable – ‘  ‘I have given my penny to Lord Cochrane’s subscription.’

Your’s, AN OLD CORRESPONDENT.”

Stamford Mercury Jan. 1st, 1817.

 

Long Life Lived to the Full

It was common in the middle of the eighteenth century for women to accompany their soldier husbands on campaigns.  This strong lady lived a full and long life and produced a large family.

“On Monday last, in her 99th year, Elizabeth Roberts, wife of the late Hugh Roberts, of Chester, who served many years in the Third Regiment of Foot. She was an eye witness to five different engagements her husband had been in. Her strength did not fail her to the last, for she was able to walk out on the Saturday before her death. She had 13 children, and has left behind her, now living, 2 children, 33 grand children, and 18 great grand children.”

Stamford Mercury 4th July 1806.

Poisoning – Wilful Murder by Husband

The sorry tale of a husband convicted of poisoning his new, young wife.

“On the 28th June an inquest was held before Sam. Smith, gent. Coroner, at Boddington, in Northamptonshire, upon view of the body of Mary Haynes, who died on the Tuesday preceding, from the effect of poison, as appeared in evidence upon the inquest; but owing to some very material investigations necessary to be make, to the illucidation of the case, the Court was adjourned until Friday last, when a verdict was returned of wilful murder against the husband, for administering the poison. – This couple had only been married about ten weeks, were both young, and placed in opulent circumstances.”

Stamford Mercury 19th July, 1805.

The Value of Money

A delightful regency episode observed at a society card game.  20 guineas was a large amount of money and its equivalent in gold would have weighed 166 g (about 6 oz.).

“At a fashionable whist party, a few evenings since, considerable merriment was excited by the following repartee:

“A lady, having won a rubber of 20 guineas, the gentleman who was her opponent pulled out his pocket-book and tendered 21l in bank notes.  The fair gamester observed, with a disdainful toss of her head, ‘in the great houses which I frequent, Sir, we always use gold.’ – ‘That may be, Madam,’ replied the gentleman, ‘but in the little houses which I frequent we always use paper.'”

Stamford Mercury 28th November, 1806.