Notes by the Way/Chapter 1

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Notes by the Way by John Collins Francis
Chapter I.
My Father and Mother - George Bentley



1865, Feb. 4,
The first of my gleanings from 'N. & Q.' (to use the form by which Notes and Queries is familiarly known) is a short note by my father:


John Rippon,
The oratorio of 'The Crucifixion ' was not composed by the late Rev. John Rippon, D.D., but by his nephew John Rippon.

John Francis.

His record
of Bunhill
John Rippon, D.D., was pastor of the Baptist Church meeting at Carter Lane Chapel. The chapel was pulled down in 1830 in order to improve the approaches to London Bridge, and a fresh building erected in New Park Street, Southwark. During the sixty-three years Rippon was pastor he had no assistant until within a few months of his death, when the Rev. Charles Room, who had married Rippon's grand-niece, Eliza Scott, became assistant minister. Previous to this, when the Doctor was unable to preach and some young minister was occupying the pulpit, he would sit in his pew and make remarks on the sermon, which were frequently more quaint than complimentary. Rippon died on the 17th of December, 1836, and on Christmas Eve was buried at Bunhill Fields, my father being among the mourners who followed in the long procession from New Park Street Chapel. It was fitting that of he should be interred in Bunhill Fields, as he had for many years been preparing a record of the worthies there buried, though the work was never published. Mr. Daniel Hipwell printed in 'N. & Q.' on September 22nd, 1894, from a MS. in his possession, a petition Dr. Rippon presented to the Court of Common Council on the 11th of October, 1827, for permission to dedicate the work to the Corporation. It was in six large quarto manuscript volumes in alphabetical order. On the 24th of November Mr. Hipwell stated that "Dr. Rippon's MS. collections in eleven volumes, relating to the Dissenters' burial-ground at Bunhill Fields, are preserved in the British Museum and form Add. MSS. 28,513- 28,523 ; while his transcript, in six volumes, of the register of interments therein, 1713-1826, finds a resting-place in the College of Arms."

His Hymn
Tune Book. 
Dr. Rippon is also remembered for his Tune Book. In 'N. & Q.' for the 27th of November, 1897, Mr. Alfred Payne, in referring to the work, mentions the accuracy with which the names of the various authors are given. Although the Tune Book has fallen into disuse, Rippon's selection of hymns is still used in some Baptist Churches. I have a beautiful copy, presented to my father by Rippon, as well as the Tune Book. The Doctor was his own publisher; to purchasers of six copies he gave a seventh gratis. My father was a member of his church, superintendent of the Sunday School, and a trustee of the Rippon Almshouses.

In The Sword and Trowel of December, 1888, Spurgeon wrote: "The close connexion of Mr. Francis with the ancient Baptist Church in Southwark ceased before the advent of the present pastor, but he remained a trustee of Dr. Rippon's Almshouses, and hence when anything had to be done in reference to that institution he received the usual legal summons. To this he attended promptly, and in all business matters he showed a wisdom and common sense which made us feel that it was a distinct gain to have such a man united to us even by the slender filament of a trusteeship." This feeling was mutual, for my father often said he never met a man of greater business ability than Spurgeon.

His brother
Rippon's brother Thomas was chief cashier of the Bank of England (1761-1835). He succeeded Abraham Newland, and during fifty years of service took but one holiday, which he abridged to three days. The 'Dictionary of National Biography' states that Thomas accumulated a fortune of 60,000l.

Pilgrims to the grave of Charles and Mary Lamb in Edmonton Churchyard will notice next to it a monument of the Rippon family: that of Gideon, the son of the cashier of the Bank of England. The two graves are side by side. A simple head and foot stone marks the place where dear Charles and Mary rest. In Scribner's Magazine for March and April, 1890, appear articles 'In the Footsteps of Charles Lamb,' by Benjamin Ellis Martin. Among the beautiful illustrations is one showing the two monuments.

His grand-nephew
Charles Room. 
The Rev. Charles Room, Dr. Rippon's grand-nephew by marriage, gave up the pastorate of New Park Street on Rippon's death and went to Portsea. After a very successful ministry there he retired, but preached occasionally for Dr. Brock of Bloomsbury and for Caleb Morris, who for many years had a chapel in Fetter Lane, but removed to Eccleston Chapel. Most of Room's time, however, was devoted to literature, and he was fond from early years of putting his musings into poetry. One of his volumes he sent to Walter Scott, and years afterwards on visiting Abbotsford he found the book in the library there, with some appreciative remarks in it written by the Wizard of the North.


1871, Sept. 23.
There had been a discussion as to the age of samplers, and the following contribution from my mother appeared on the 23rd of September, 1871, Mr. Thoms being then the Editor :

"The accompanying sampler being of an older date than some of those you have noticed, I submit it for your inspection. You will probably deem the words worked thereon are of sufficient interest to appear in 'N. & Q.'

For Vertue's sake now in your prime
Be a good Huswife of your precious time.
I hear the whistling Ploughman all day long
Sweet'ning his labours with a cheerful song.
Delights and pleasures are but a golden dream.
True virtue always will command esteem.
Strive every day to mend your way,
Learn to be good while you are young;
Take constant heed to every deed,
Watch over heart, hands, feet, and tongue.
Covet not riches, strive for true content,
Life is a vapour and is quickly spent;
But think in time to come when you must give
Account to God how you upon earth did live.
If you desire to worship God aright,
First in the morning pray and last at night;
Crave for his Hessing on your labours all,
And in distress for his assistance call.

Mary May her samplar, finished the 24 September, 1729.

Charlotte Francis.

11, Burghley Road, Highgate Road, N.W.

The next few contributions are from my father's pen :


1872, Nov. 23.
The Unstamped
Taxes on
Permit a few words upon the unstamped press in relation to the taxes on knowledge. The compulsory stamp upon newspapers was imposed on the 19th of July, 1712, to take effect on the 1st of August following. It was a halfpenny stamp on every half sheet; and its imposition had the effect of immediately stopping the publication of many of the then existing journals ; amongst them may be mentioned Addison's Spectator.

During the "battle " of the unstamped, which commenced in the year 1830, most of the prosecutions that took place were police prosecutions, at the instance of the Stamp Office authorities; and the term of imprisonment upon convictions was fixed by the police magistrate. Henry Hetherington was frequently in prison for offences against the press laws. At length his friends determined The
Poor Man's
that the case of The Poor Man's Guardian, of which he was the proprietor, should be carried to a higher court; and the trial took place in the Court of Exchequer in the year 1835, before Lord Lyndhurst, who was then Chief Baron. The Attorney-General conducted the prosecution on the part of the Government, and Hetherington defended himself. After a favourable summing up by the Judge, the jury returned a verdict of acquittal.

Spring Rice.

The result of this trial mainly determined the modification upon the press laws then in force; and in the following year, 1836, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Spring Rice, introduced a Bill which reduced the advertisement duty from 3s. 6d. to 1s. 6d.; the compulsory stamp from 4d. to 1d., and the paper duty from 3d. to 1½d. per pound. These changes in the law proved most beneficial; the unstamped papers ceased to exist; the prisons were emptied of offenders; and the new laws remained almost unchallenged during a period of twelve years. In 1849 associations were formed to procure the entire freedom of the press. On the 4th of August, 1853, the advertisement duty was abolished, Mr. Gladstone being Chancellor of the Exchequer; and on the 15th of June, 1855, the compulsory stamp on newspapers was repealed, the measure for this purpose being introduced to Parliament by Mr. Gladstone; but some changes having taken place in the Ministry, the work was completed by Sir George Cornewall Lewis. A permissive stamp on newspapers, however, followed. This was in use until the year 1870, when Government stamps on newspapers were finally abolished. Mr. Gladstone carried through Parliament the repeal of the paper duty, which received Royal Assent on the 12th of June, 1861.

Leigh Hunt
The Examiner 
During Leigh Hunt's proprietorship of The Examiner newspaper its price was thus stated after the title :

Paper and Print   .. ..   ..   .. 3d. GullBrace.svg 7d.
Taxes on Knowledge ..   ..   .. 4d.
John Francis.

I have recently been able to secure a set of The Poor Man's Guardian. The first number was published October 2nd, 1830, and the paper was issued for the most part daily; the last number appeared on the 23rd of November, when the editor bids "farewell for a time," stating that "it is impossible to struggle against the illiberality (with one or two exceptions) with which our papers are received by the trade." Each number, in place of the ordinary impressed stamp, has a block on the front page of a hand press, on which is inscribed "Liberty of the Press," and round it the words "Knowledge is Power." Among the contents is an attack on flogging in the Army, and an account of a private soldier who had been found asleep on duty at the Tower. After three months' imprisonment he was brought into the Armoury Yard in St. James's Park to hear the sentence of the court martial "that he was to receive 500 lashes." He was immediately tied up, and after receiving 155 lashes fainted away, and it was found necessary to stop the punishment.

The number of the 16th of October contains an account of the alarming outrages in Kent: "The insurgents go about in bands of one hundred and fifty, and coolly demand the keys of the barns, to destroy the thrashing machines, and all idea of resistance is out of the question." Signals were given by sky-rockets, and fourteen stockyards were seen in flames simultaneously.

On the 18th of October there is a report of the dinner at Birmingham to commemorate the French Revolution : 3,700 sat down to it. Mr. Thomas Attwood, the chairman in proposing the toast of the King, said that in his opinion "the illustrious individual who fills the throne of these realms is more entitled to this honour than any king since the days of Edward III. In the short period he has reigned he has given many indubitable proofs of his great kindness and sincere affection towards his people, and I am convinced that he will do everything in his power to restore the liberty and increase the happiness of his faithful subjects." 'God save the King ' was sung, the whole company joining with enthusiasm.

On the 3rd of November appeared the King's Speech on the opening of Parliament, in which he announced the surrender of his interest in revenues which had in former settlements of the Civil List been reserved to the Crown.

The number of Saturday, November the 20th, contains a letter to Henry Hunt, proposing the establishment of a "National Convention" of the people, rich and poor alike, in order to collect from it "the real sense of the nation upon every subject" ; and in the number of the following Tuesday the report of the proceedings in the House of Commons on the previous Friday states that Lord Nugent brought in a Bill "for the better providing employment for the labouring poor, at fair and adequate wages." He said that during the severe winter 4s. 6d. was the weekly wages in the county in which he resided, and in many parishes the wages were only 3s. 6d., whilst a peck of flour, "the starving ratio, the minimum of human existence," cost 3s.

1873, Jan. 4.
A further note by my father on the Unstamped Press appeared in the New Year number:—

When I wrote to 'N. & Q.' previously I had before me Routledge's reprint of The Spectator, edited by Prof. Morley, and was therefore aware that that journal was published until the 6th of December. The imposition of the compulsory stamp, as I then stated, immediately put an end to a number of papers, and although The Spectator survived eighteen weeks, I still think that the imposition of the compulsory stamp was the immediate cause of its being ultimately given up, from lost circulation and impaired influence. Sir Richard Steele's words, quoted by your correspondent, I think confirm this impression. With regard to the designation "Addison's Spectator," I did not use the term in the sense of ownership, but simply employed the usual style by which it is now known. Addison wrote the first number, which appeared March 1, 1711; Sir Richard Steele the last, Dec. 6, 1712.


While I am writing let me mention a curious newspaper issued in London more than forty years ago. The proprietor of a projected evening paper, being desirous of making the public acquainted with its size and form and price, adopted, in order to avoid the cost of the fourpenny impressed stamp, the expedient of fining his specimen number with made-up leaders, made-up news, made-up intelligence and made-up occurrences. Of this dummy newspaper a considerable number of copies were issued. This fourpenny stamp did not of itself, at one period, afford postal privileges; it was necessary that every "cover" in which a newspaper was enclosed should be franked. The cover with which I am most familiar bore the frank "Earl Grey." This system of franking was discontinued about the year 1828. I do not know the date of its commencement. The permissive impressed stamp upon newspapers was abolished the 1st of October, 1870.

John Francis.


1873, April 5.
the perfumer. 
In the year 1712 advertisements for Addison and Steele's Spectator were taken in by "Charles Lillie, Perfumer, at the corner of Beauford Buildings in the Strand." Mr. Rimmel's predecessor, 160 years ago, therefore, took in advertisements; his modern successor, however, as is well known, sends them out.

John Francis.


1874, Feb. 21.

The change of day of publication in repeated instances, from the Sunday to the Saturday, of the then long-established Sunday papers, was made about fifty years ago, and was consequent upon the alteration of the day for the issue of The London Gazette, the Sunday papers giving the list of bankrupts from the Gazette. The change was made by Government, at the instance of the newsvendors, for the purpose of saving Sunday labour. The Observer, established in 1791, is the only paper published now exclusively on Sunday.

John Francis.

The Athenæum for February 6th gave the following :

1875, Feb. 20.
Mrs. Coxeter,
a centenarian. 
" For the information of Mr. Thoms, we may mention a case of a hundredth birthday being reached, which has been brought to our notice. Mrs. Coxeter, of Newbury, attained the age of one hundred on the first of this month. Her maiden name was Elizabeth Collier, and the day of her birth is given in the register of Witney Church, Oxfordshire, as Feb. 1, 1775. She is in full possession of her faculties, and repeated the 23rd Psalm from memory to the members of her family who came to congratulate her on the centenary of her birth."

As 'N. & Q.' may like to place on record some further particulars of this venerable lady, permit me to state that she was married to Mr. John Coxeter, at Witney Church, on the 5th of December, 1792, and has been a widow fifty-nine years, her husband having died at the age of forty-three, on the 24th of August, 1816; he was buried at Witney. Her eldest son, had he been living, would now be eighty years of age. He was born Jan. 28, 1794, christened at Witney Church, and died May 10, 1851, in America. On the 1st inst. many friends residing in Newbury and its vicinity called at her residence to offer congratulations. One old gentleman, aged ninety, walked a distance from his home and back, nearly two miles, for the purpose mentioned.

Her husband
and a remark-
able coat 
Mrs. Coxeter relates with peculiar interest the following remarkable occurrence in her late husband's history. The event was occasioned by a discussion which took place between Mr. Coxeter and Sir John Throckmorton, Bart., as to means being taken to encourage the growth of British wool. Mr. Coxeter was at the time (1811) the proprietor of the Greenham Mills at Newbury, and a manufacturer of Witney blankets. The extraordinary performance for so on the eventful day June 25, 1811, it was designated was as follows. On that day, at five o'clock in the morning, Sir John Throckmorton presented two South Down sheep to Mr. Coxeter. The sheep were immediately shorn, the wool sorted and spun; the yarn spooled, warped, loomed, and wove; the cloth burred, milled, rowed, dyed, dried, sheared, and pressed. The cloth, having been thus made in eleven hours, was put into the hands of the tailors at four o'clock in the afternoon, who completed the coat at twenty minutes past six. Mr. Coxeter then presented the coat to Sir John Throckmorton, who appeared with it the same evening at the "Pelican" Inn, Speenhamland. The cloth was a hunting kersey, of the admired dark Wellington colour. The sheep were roasted whole, and distributed to the public, with 120 gallons of strong beer. It was supposed that upwards of 5,000 people were assembled to witness this singular and unprecedented performance, which was completed in the space of thirteen hours and twenty minutes. Sir John and about forty gentlemen sat down to a dinner, provided by Mr. Coxeter, and spent the evening with the utmost satisfaction at the success of their undertaking.

This coat was to be seen in the Great Exhibition, 1851, and is now in the possession of Sir Robert Throckmorton. A print representing a view of Mr. Coxeter's manufactory on Tuesday, the 25th of June, 1811, and the more distinguished persons present to witness the process, was subsequently published by subscription by Mr. Mitchell, of Bond Street. It was painted by Mr. Luke Clent of Newbury, and engraved by Mr. George Clent of London. The painting was also to be seen in the Exhibition of 1851.

By the kindness of Mr. James Coxeter, son of the above, I am able to submit a specimen of the cloth so manufactured to the Editor of 'N. & Q.'

John Francis.

The following editorial note was appended: "In Southey's ' Common-Place Book,' iv. 395, the coat is described as a 'complete damson-coloured coat' and the feat detailed by our correspondent is said to have been accomplished 'two and three-quarter hours within the time allotted, for a wager of 1,000 guineas."

An obituary notice of James Coxeter appeared in The Athenæum of the 15th of November, 1902:

Her son
"James Coxeter, who died on the 4th inst. at the age of ninety, rendered good service to surgery in his time by his skilful inventions of instruments. Coxeter's bullet extractor, at the time of the war in the Crimea, was found to be invaluable; and in 1869, in conjunction with his son Samuel, he founded the industry of storing nitrous oxide gas in a liquid state for surgical operations, first in iron, and later in steel cylinders. This nitrous oxide, owing to the influence of Dr. Evans, the dentist to the French Empress, was largely used during the war of 1870, and some of these cylinders were the last goods to pass the investing lines during the siege of Paris."

My own contributions to 'N. & Q.' begin with one on


1877, Aug. 4.
The crescent. 
It is interesting to note that the Koran contains a chapter (liv.) entitled 'The Moon revealed at Mecca,' which commences thus: "The hour of judgment approacheth, and the moon hath been split in sunder." Mr. Sale has a note to this as follows:—

"This passage is expounded two different ways. Some imagine the words refer to a famous miracle supposed to have been performed by Mohammed ; for it is said that, on the infidels demanding a sign of him, the moon appeared cloven in two, one part vanishing and the other remaining; and Ebn Masud affirmed that he saw Mount Hara interpose between the two sections. Others think that the preter tense is here used in the prophetic style, and that the passage should be rendered, The moon shall be split in sunder, for this they say is to happen at the Resurrection. The former opinion is supported by reading, according to some copies, 'wakad inshakka 'Ikamaro,' i.e., since the moon hath already been split in sunder; the splitting of the moon being reckoned by some to be one of the previous signs of the last day."


A correspondent of The Athenceum writes :

1894, Aug. 18.
"In 'A List of Papists and Recusants in the Shires of England 1587,' there appears, in Cornwall, one 'Mr. Tennyson' (Lansdowne MSS., British Museum). In the parish register of Newington, Oxfordshire, on the same page, in the same year, 1758, appear the names of a 'Kingsley' and of a 'Dickens.' "


1894, Aug. 25.
This word was added to the nomenclature of political literature by Mr. George Jacob Holyoake, in a letter of his which appeared in The Daily News of the 13th of March, 1878, with the head-line "The Jingoes in the Park" (see 'Sixty Years of an Agitator's Life '), thus making use of the "By Jingo" in the music-hall ditty popular at the time.


1894, Sept. 15.
The following was in reply to a request made on the 18th of August by Mr. J. Lawrence-Hamilton, for references to the word "noyade," or killing by drowning as practised by Carrier during 1793 and 1794:-

The literature of Les Noyades would not be complete without reference to Swinburne's powerful poem 'Les Noyades,' in which occur the following lines:—

          In the wild fifth year of the change of things,
             When France was glorious and blood-red, fair
          With dust of battle and deaths of kings,
             A queen of men, with helmeted hair;
          Carrier came down to the Loire and slew,
             Till all the ways and the waves waxed red.

'Poems and Ballads,' John Camden Hotten, 1873.


1895, June 8.
With sorrow too deep for words we record the death of Mr. George Bentley. He had been in failing health for some time; but, having got through the severe winter, it was hoped that his life would have been prolonged; but on Wednesday, the 28th of May,

History of
his firm in
Le Livre.

His love of
and flowers. 
he was attacked with heart disease, and died at his residence at Upton after a few hours' illness. Mr. George Bentley entered the Burlington Street firm in 1870 being in that year taken into partnership by his father, Mr. Richard Bentley, who, as is well known, commenced business with Mr. Colburn in 1829, from whom he separated in 1832. In 1837 Mr. Bentley started Bentley's Miscellany. In 1866 this was incorporated with Temple Bar, of which Mr. George Bentley was editor at the time of his death. Many accounts of the founding of the firm of Richard Bentley & Son have appeared from time to time in the press, and an interesting account, by Mr. S. R. Townshend Mayer, of the first publisher of the name of Bentley, temp. Charles II., was given in 'N. & Q.' of April 12th, 1879; but the most complete history is to be found in Le Livre for October, 1885. This was reprinted, with additional notes, for private circulation, in July, 1886, the volume being illustrated with two most speaking portraits of Richard Bentley and his son. Mr. George Bentley became head of the firm on the death of his father in 1871, and in 1884 he took his only son Richard into partnership, upon whom for many years, owing to the delicate state of his father's health, the active management of the business has devolved. Mr. George Bentley was a frequent contributor to what he was pleased to call "that invaluable little paper Notes and Queries." A great lover of books and an admirer of nature, he considered the best two possessions that a man could have were a library and a good old-fashioned garden full of roses, of which he was a careful cultivator, and of sweet-smelling flowers. He delighted in the quiet aspect of life, and cared not for the "glare and glitter of modern society, with its crowded evening assemblies, and the other amusements of an age ravenous for gossip." He would modestly describe himself as "not a man of learning, but as a mere lover of books. I play about the honey collected by the learned bees, and sympathize with their wisdom and the consolation they got out of their learning." Mr. Bentley must have left a valuable collection of correspondence, for in his quiet retirement at Upton he held frequent communication with many of those best known in literature. On Wednesday, in the bright sunshine and with the singing of the birds, he was borne through his lovely garden to Upton churchyard, and there laid in a grave all beautiful with the roses he had loved so well. He will be gratefully remembered for his kindly advice to young authors, readily and cheerfully given, while to his friends his noble, unselfish character, his pure and blameless life, will ever be a bright example. We can well say of him what he once said of one of his friends: "He has passed away, and lies in peace—

In the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever—

leaving a memory sweet as June roses, and likely to endure until every friend he had has likewise passed away."