Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/87

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INTRODUCTION OF GAS.

Introduction of GasGas, which now promises to be superseded in its turn by electricity, was introduced into Boulton & Watts' foundry, at Birmingham, as early as the year 1798, and the Lyceum Theatre was lit with gas (by way of experiment) in 1803; it met however with much opposition from persons interested in the conservation of the oil trade, and made no real progress in London until 1807, when it was introduced into Golden Lane on the 16th of August. Pall Mall, however, was not lighted with gas until 1809, and it was really not finally and generally introduced into London until the year 1820. We meet with an excellent satire published by S. W. Fores, in 1807, wherein a harlequin is depicted sitting on a rope suspended between a couple of lamp posts. The lamps and the hat of the figure are garnished with lighted burners; the neighbours in the windows of the adjoining houses, the people on the pavement below, the fowls, the dogs, the cats on the roofs, are suffocated with the noxious vapour. The figure holds in his hand a paper, whereon we read, "This is the speculation to make money, £10,000 per cent, profit all in Air-light air. 'Tis there, 'tis here, and 'tis gone for ever." This caricature bears the title of The Good Effects of Carbonic Gas. A caricature of Woodward, engraved by Rowlandson, and published by Ackermann on the 23rd of December, 1809, gives us A Peep at the Gas Lights in Pall Mall, the interest of which chiefly centres in the eccentric form of the early street lamps. Among the groups looking on are a wondering "country cousin" and a "serious" companion. "Ay, friend," says the latter, anxious of course, in season and out of season, to turn the occasion to profitable account, "verily it is all vanity! What is this to the inward light?" Some more disreputable members of the community are expressing their fears that the new light will interfere with their own peculiar modes of livelihood.

A clever and somewhat remarkable woman succeeded in achieving an unenviable notoriety in 1809. The daughter of a printer residing in Bowl and Pin Alley, near White's Alley, Chancery Lane, the remarkably intelligent girl had early attracted the notice of friends, one of whom placed her at a boarding school, where she