James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Special Envoy

var addthis_config = {“data_track_addressbar”:true};

 

James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Special Envoy

We left Labuan at the end of February, and after calling in at Sarawak, proceeded to Singapore, where a budget of news awaited us. The English Governor had appointed Sir James as Special Envoy to proceed to Siam and Cochin China to form treaties with those states; at the same time we heard of the renewal of virulent attacks on the Rajah’s policy by certain journals and Members of Parliament. After a pleasant stay of a fortnight, we proceeded to Penang in the hope that we should all shake off the fever and ague contracted during our exhausting expeditions.

No man loved nature more than did the Rajah, and he enjoyed his stay on this lofty hill. He could ride, or wander among the lovely flowers and plants of the Governor’s garden, or he could gaze on the beautiful scenery which unfolded itself around us. Those six weeks were indeed delightful, and we often looked back on our quiet sojourn there and its refreshing rest. We busied ourselves also in preparing for our missions to Siam and Annam, to which I had been appointed secretary.

As the ship of war which was to have taken us to Siam was soon expected, we would not wait for the mail steamer, but left Penang in a sailing vessel, and took seventeen days to reach Singapore, a distance of only four hundred miles; in our case it was the greater haste the less speed.

On our arrival in Singapore we found that there was no vessel ready for us, and we had to wait weary months there before one was placed at our disposal. At first we were to have had the Hastings battleship; then, from some personal reason, it was decided by Admiral Austen, brother to Jane Austen, no doubt the ‘William’ of Mansfield Park that we were to have H.M.’s steamer Sphynx to show Captain Shadwell. It was quite useless ourselves in Siam without a commanding force, if we wished to secure a favourable treaty. It was known that the King of Siam had become hostile to Europeans, and nothing but fear would work on his prejudiced mind. Had we appeared off the Menam River with a strong squadron, our mission would have been respected.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

London – Markets – Milk & Cheese

This is the third and final part of our three part series on the early provision consumption of London – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

London – Markets – Milk & Cheese

The annual consumption of butter in London amounts to about 11,000, and that of cheese to 13,000 tons. The money paid annually for milk is supposed to amount to £1,250,000. although the number of cows kept in the neighbourhood of the metropolis does not exceed 10,000. One grazier at Islington keeps between six and seven hundred cows, and another between four and five hundred.

The wretched quality of the London milk is proverbial; and although the cow-keepers do not water it themselves, they not only permit the milkmen to do it openly, but have pumps convenient for the purpose.

The quantity of poultry annually consumed in London is supposed to cost between seventy and eighty thousand pounds; that of game depends on the fruitfulness of the season and the kindness of country friends. There is nothing, however, more surprising than the sale of rabbits. One salesman in Leadenhall market, during a considerable portion of the year, is said to sell 14,000 rabbits weekly. The way in which he disposes of them is, by employing between 150 and 200 men and women, who hawk them through the streets.

As the buildings and population of London increase, new markets are opened in different parts of the town; they are, however, all open marts of trade, and can never be subject to the abuses which have prevailed in those of the city, where the markets were farmed to collectors, so extortionate, that in 1696, on a petition of the market people, a Committee of the Common Council was appointed to investigate the charges.  The report was favourable to the complainants, and actions were commenced against the farmers to Leadenhall Stocks, Honey Lane, and Newgate markets, who were guilty of arbitrary and extravagant proceedings, whereby they had extorted an annual rent of £10,896. 9s. 10d. for stalls, and fines amounting to £2194 1s 6d. The farmers were compelled to refund the several sums thus unjustly levied.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

 

London – Markets – Fruit & Veg

 

var addthis_config = {“data_track_addressbar”:true};

 

 

This is the second part of our article on the early provision consumption of London – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

Read other posts in the London series

London – Markets – Fruit & Veg

The fruits and vegetables consumed in the metropolis are principally produced in the environs; and it is calculated that there are upwards of 6000 acres of ground cultivated as gardens within twelve miles of the metropolis, giving employment to 30,000 persons in winter, and three times that number in summer. It is the opinion of the intelligent author of the Pomarium Britannicum, that gardening has conferred a great blessing on the metropolis, in the prevention of pestilential diseases, by making cleanliness a matter of profit, and giving a ready sale and liberal price for the soil, which might otherwise be suffered to accumulate.

Numerous calculations have been made of the annual consumption of food in the metropolis, but this is not easily ascertained with any degree of accuracy, as, although we may know the number of cattle and sheep, yet we have no means of learning their weight, which, by the modern improvement in feeding, has been considerably increased. Of the quantity of cattle sold in Smithfield market, we have the most accurate returns, and find that in the year [1822], the numbers were 149,885 beasts, 24,609 calves, 1,507,096 sheep, and 20,020 pigs. This does not, however, by any means form the total consumed in London, as large quantities of meat in carcases, particularly pork, are almost daily brought from the counties around the metropolis. It would appear that the inhabitants of London have become more partial to mutton than formerly, for the quantity of cattle consumed has not increased in proportion to that of sheep; the quantity of cattle sold at Smithfield in the year 1701, being 88,304, or more than half the number sold in [1822], while the number of sheep was only 480,000, or less than a third sold in the latter year. The total value of the cattle sold in Smithfield is calculated at £8,500,000. It is supposed that a million a year is expended in fruit and vegetables; the consumption of wheat amounts to a million of quarters annually; of this, four-fifths are supposed to be made into bread, being a consumption of 64 millions of quartern loaves every year in the metropolis alone. Until within the last few years the price of bread was regulated by assize, and it may afford some idea of the vast amount of money paid for this ‘staff of life,’ when it is stated, that an advance of one farthing on the quartern loaf formed an aggregate increase in expense for this article alone, in London, of upwards of £13,000 a week.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

London – Markets – Provision Consumption

var addthis_config = {“data_track_addressbar”:true};

 

 This is the first part of our article on the early provision consumption of London – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

Read other posts in the London series

London – Markets – Provision Consumption

Great as the population of London is, there is no city “so drained and so supplied” with all the necessaries, comforts, and even luxuries of life. In Paris, where the population and the consequent consumption is much less, the supply of provisions is regulated by the government, and there are greniers de reserve for storing up grain, in order that bread may be kept at a moderate price: a rather necessary policy on the part of a government which has to pay a certain sum annually, in order to keep the price of bread lower in Paris than in the provinces. In London, freedom of trade and the spirit of competition render the interference of government as unnecessary as it would be considered unconstitutional, and without any regulation, the metropolis has a constant and an abundant supply.

Although there is scarcely a street, with the exception of those occupied by persons of fortune at the west end of the town, that is without a dealer in some article of provisions, yet there are large markets for the more general sale. Smithfield is the grand mart for the sale of live stock, which is held on Mondays and Fridays. Newgate and Leadenhall markets take the lead for butcher’s meat, poultry, etc. although there are several other markets in various parts of the metropolis, where the business is equally respectable though not so extensive. Covent Garden market is celebrated for the early and abundant supply of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The only fish market in London is that of Billingsgate, which is supposed to have derived its name from Belinus, the son of Dunwallo, who built a gate here, which he ordered to be surmounted with an urn containing his ashes, after his death. It has long been a matter of regret that the sale of fish should be confined to one market, as, owing to the monopoly thus established, the supply of that article is neither so abundant nor so reasonable as it would otherwise be. In the mackarel season, if that fish is very plentiful, the dealers will rather throw their cargo over-board, or sell it for manure, than, by bringing it to town, reduce the price.

Salmon, which is often very plentiful and sold as cheap as at Berwick, or in Yorkshire, and Durham, whence it is supplied, is brought to London packed in ice. Turbot, though caught in great quantities on the Yorkshire coast, and sold there at about fourpence a lb., is always extravagantly dear in London;  so dear, indeed, as to render it a luxury attainable only to the wealthy.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

London – RETAIL TRADERS – Haberdashers

This is the second part of our article on the early retail trade of London – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

London – RETAIL TRADERS – Haberdashers

Of all the retail traders, the Haberdashers, though dealing in such small wares, seem to carry on business to the greatest extent. One single house in the city is known to take on an average, a million and a half sterling a year, or more than four thousand guineas a day; one half of this vast sum is received in cash for-goods sold at the counter, and the other, wholesale at a short credit. There are at least two other houses in the same business whose returns are £1000 a day.

The proprietor of one of these establishments, which is necessarily large on account of the business being almost wholly retail, always gives the  persons in his employment an extra allowance for supper when the receipts of the day amount to £1000: thus expressing his own gratitude, and rewarding and encouraging the exertions of those around him. Nor are haberdashers the only tradesmen who carry on extensive business, or amass large fortunes; there is Exeter Change, long celebrated for its cutlery and hardwares, etc. where the Prince of retail dealers, the eccentric Thomas Clark, amassed a million of money, and while he paid £7000 a year to government as income tax, spent only a shilling on his own dinner.

About ten or dozen years ago a number of establishments somewhat similar to Exeter Change, which is not confined to any one particular branch of trade, sprung up in London, to which the oriental term of Bazar was given, which literally means a market. Of these, only two remain; the Western Bazar, in Bond Street, and that of Mr. Trotter, in Soho-square. The latter is a very extensive and well regulated establishment. Several large rooms are fitted up with counters, drawer, shelves, etc. for the sale of almost every species of light articles, where between five and six hundred females attend and trade on their own account; in the various articles of domestic manufacture. The price paid is in proportion to the space occupied. The utmost care is taken that none but persons of the strictest moral character are admitted, and that they shall not be subject to any insult from the idle and dissolute loungers of the other sex.

Two other marts for retail trade have been formed, the Burlington Arcade, in Piccadilly, and the Royal Arcade, in Pall Mall; both are elegant architectural improvements but they are too recently established to enable us to speak decisively of their success.

The streets most celebrated for retail trade are Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, St. Paul’s church-yard, Cheapside, the Poultry, and Cornhill, in the city; in the Strand, King Street, and Henrietta Street, Covent Garden; Cockspup Street, Pall Mall, St. James’s Street, Piccadilly, Oxford Street, and Bond Street, at the west end of the town. The recent improvements, in opening a communication from Carlton House to the Regent’s Park, has created a new and spacious street for retail business, called Regent Street; and the Regent’s-quadrant, which has on each side a grand colonade.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

 

 

London – RETAIL TRADERS – Poverty to Fortune

var addthis_config = {“data_track_addressbar”:true};

 We had a ‘dig’ around in our library on the history of the retail trade of London and their origins and discovered this interesting article which we will publish in two parts – the second part which we will publish tomorrow – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

Read other posts in the London series

London – RETAIL TRADERS – Poverty to Fortune

A foreigner, in looking over a London Directory, and finding a list of between thirty and forty thousand trading firms, will be apt to consider the assertion of Bonaparte, “that we are a nation of shop-keepers,” true to the letter; and if he is informed that this list, numerous as it seems, does not contain more than one third of the shopkeepers in the metropolis, he will suspect that there are almost as many sellers as buyers. Stiil more would a stranger be astonished at learning how lucrative a business shop-keeping is in London; where a pastry-cook has been known to die worth a hundred thousand pounds, and a dealer in shell fish, who spent the best years of his life in selling oysters in public-houses, has left to his heirs a sum of 40,000. Yet, such is the case, nor are these solitary instances of success in life. Many a Lord Mayor in London has risen from the humble office of a porter;  others have worn a livery, or served as a drawer or errand boy at a tavern. Not to enumerate living characters, and yet to refer to those who are recollected by the living, it may be mentioned that Walker, the sugar-baker, who died worth a quarter of a million of money a few years ago, was originally porter to a wax chandler, with a salary of £16 a year; that Alderman Kennet, afterwards Lord Mayor, was once a waiter at the Hoop and Bunch of Grapes public house in Hatton Garden; that Alderman Bates kept a public house, as did the late amiable Alderman Thomas Smith, after living servant with a gentleman, and officiating as an exciseman; that Crosby, the spoon maker, who died worth £60,000, was a charcoal boy to Chawner; and that a living pavior, who has amassed a fortune of a quarter of a million, and who can neither read nor, write, was once a common labourer, who added to his daily earnings by officiating as a watchman in the night. The list, of individuals, who have risen from poverty and obscurity to high rank and splendid fortunes, would “stretch to the crack o’doom,” and it is unnecessary to quote more instances, nor are these named invidiously selected, but to show that in London, the road to preferment, honour and fortune is open to the humblest aspirant.

That such fortunes are amassed in London, is the more astonishing, when it is considered the great expense with which large establishments are maintained; that the rent and taxes of many a retail trader amount to more than a thousand a year, and that the smallest house, if in a great thoroughfare, will let at the most extravagant rate. A shop, not more than three yards square, with a room above it of the same dimensions, has been known to be let as a snuff shop at a rental of £80 a year, and several other houses equally dear.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

London – Manufactures

We discovered this interesting article on the history of London manufacturing – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery.

Read other posts in the London series

London Manufactures

The manufactures of London are in proportion to its commerce; and notwithstanding the advanced rate of living, and the high price of house-rent, coals, and every thing that can affect the artisan and mechanic, the manufactures of London are great and flourishing, surpassing in quality those of any other part of the country, so much, that any article warranted “town-made” is certain of obtaining an advanced price. In the silk trade alone 50,000 persons, or one-sixtieth of the whole population, are employed in London, and in most of the light manufactures the number is proportionably great. It is no disparagement to the rest of the country, that London excels in its manufactures, since where the best price is paid the best workmen will be attracted; and it is due to the country to say, that to it is London constantly indebted for a succession of artists and mechanics, by whose ingenuity she is not only rendered celebrated but enriched.

Many years ago Sheffield, justly celebrated for its cutlery, challenged London to a trial of skill, by sending a knife of a very curious construction to the Cutlers’ company, with an insertion on one of the blades, defying competition. The London cutlers, ambitious for the honour of their trade, made a penknife, containing one well-tempered blade, in which was introduced a piece of straw. On the blade were some lines, stating the fact; and the Sheffield cutlers, who might well feel incredulous, broke the blade, and found the straw entire and unsinged; a piece of ingenious art for which they acknowledged themselves unable to account; and yet Sheffield was celebrated for its cutlery so far back as the time of Chaucer, whose monk “a Sheffield whittle bore he in his hose.”

In the more scientific manufactures, such as machinery, optical and mathematical instruments, London has always been celebrated. It was in the metropolis that Mr. Penn made his celebrated burning glass, of such power, that iron, steel, flint, stone, and even the diamond itself yielded to its almost magic power; and here Dollond carried into effect, if he did not originate, that most important scientific discovery the achromatic glasses; and a Mudge, an Arnold, and a Brock bank, made chronometers, which seem to have approached perfection as far as it can possibly be attained.

It is highly honorable to the operative mechanics and artists of the metropolis, that amidst all the fluctuation of trade “such a thing as a journeyman, tradesman, or any of his family begging is almost unknown, and may with certainty be pronounced as one of the rarest of contingent events.”

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

Sholto and Reuben Percy

London Breweries – 1787 – Royal Visit

This is the second part in our two part series on the breweries of London – it covers a time when King George III visited Samuel Whitbreads brewery.  The article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in the London series

 

London Breweries – 1787 – Royal Visit

Some of the principal breweries are among the curiosities of London which every stranger is anxious to see. That known by the name of Whitbread’s brewery, in Chiswell Street, the plant of which was, a few years ago, sold for nearly a million of money, was deemed worthy of a royal visit at a time that its business was not so extensive, nor its arrangements so complete, as at present.

It was on the 28th of May, 1787, that his late majesty, George III., accompanied by his illustrious consort and the three princesses, and attended by several lords and ladies in waiting, visited the brewery. They arrived at ten o’clock in the morning, and were received by Mr. Whitbread and his daughter, who conducted them over the brewery. In the stone cistern there were 3007 barrels of beer, but the vat excited the most surprise, and the queen and princesses determined to enter it, though the aperture was so small that it was with difficulty they could accomplish it. This cistern, which is of stone, will hold upwards of 4000 barrels of beer. After their Majesties had passed nearly four hours in investigating the brewery, they were conducted to the house, where a cold collation with every delicacy had been provided. There were wines of every sort, and a quantity of Whithread’s Entire, of which the royal visitors partook, and then retired highly gratified. The brewery of Messrs. Barclay is on an equally magnificent scale.

A singular and melancholy accident happened to one of the London porter breweries, that of Messrs. Henry Meux and Co., in Tottenham Court Road, on the 17th of October 1814, when one of the largest of their vats, filled with beer, burst, and the liquor, like a mighty torrent, swept away every thing before it. One side of the house, in which the vat was placed, was entirely thrown down, though twenty-five feet high, and part of the roof fell in. The back part of several houses in Great Russell Street and New Street were thrown down, and the whole neighbourhood was inundated. The height of the vat which burst was twenty-two feet, and contained 3555 barrels of porter. On this vat there were twenty-two hoops, the least of which weighed seven cwt, and the largest a ton. The  explosion was supposed to be owing to one of the hoops having burst. Several other vats were injured, and nearly 9000 barrels of beer wasted: the loss amounted to £25,000, and eight persons were killed by this fatal accident.

It has already been stated that great quantities of London porter are exported. It was, however, long before malt liquor could be kept in a tropical climate; and the inhabitants of the East and West Indies are indebted to the late Mr. Kenton, for being enabled to regale themselves with London porter. This gentleman, who died worth £300,000, fifty thousand of which he saved at the Crown and Magpie public house, Whitechapel, discovered, that by leaving the bottles uncorked for a few weeks, and shipping the beer as flat as possible, it might be conveyed to the East Indies, and that during the voyage it had so completely recovered its briskness as to possess all the virtues of London genuine porter. The ale and small beer breweries, and the distilleries in London, are on a great scale, though inferior to the potter breweries.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

The Whitbread Brewery on Wikipedia

Samuel Whitbread on Wikipedia

London Breweries – 1761 – Brewing of Porter






var addthis_config = {“data_track_addressbar”:true};

 

We had a ‘dig’ around in our library on the history of the breweries of London and their origins and discovered this interesting article which we will publish in two parts – the second part is on the Royal visit which we will publish tomorrow – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

Read other posts in the London series

 

London Breweries – 1761 – Brewing of Porter

In no article of general consumption does London maintain so great a monopoly and supremacy as in the brewing of porter, which is not only forwarded to the most remote parts of the kingdom, but exported to our colonies – to the United States of America, and to many of the Continental States. Without inquiring whether the cervisia of the Romans, or the ale of the Egyptians, was a fermented liquor made from malt and hops, of which we have much doubt, it is sufficient to know, that malt liquor has, from time immemorial, been a favourite beverage with the inhabitants of London.

So early as the reign of Elizabeth the consumption of beer must have been very considerable, for in 1580 Sir Thomas Gorges, in applying for the office of gauger, stated to Lord Treasurer Burleigh that “there was a deceit to the buyer of beer and ale, both in the assize of the vessels, and in the not filling them up; and that the buyers taken altogether were deceived hereby £30,000 a year.”

There is also other evidence of the quantity of beer brewed in London, in a calculation made in the year 1585, by order of Lord Burleigh. It appears from this account, that there were at that time twenty-six brewers in the metropolis, of whom one half were stated to be foreigners. They generally brewed six times a week, and the whole quantity brewed in London, in one year, in small and strong beer, was 648,960 barrels. This is certainly a large quantity for so thin a population as London then contained, but it is to be considered that ale and beer were at this time, and long afterwards, the common beverage for breakfast, and that it was frequently exported in such quantities as to induce the queen to prohibit the exportation, lest it should enhance the price of corn.

It appears, from a writer of that period, that the brown jug with silver cover, so common in respectable houses in the country, was then a favourite in town. Speaking of the Londoners he says, they drink their ale “not out of glasses, but from earthen pots, with silver bandies and covers; and this even in houses of middling fortune, for as to the poor, the covers of their pots are only pewter.”

Before we quit the “olden time,” we may observe that the charge of adulteration, now so frequently made, was urged against the brewers of the sixteenth century, who are said to have put “darnel, rosin, lime, and chalk, into the ale or beer, which making the drinkers thirsty, they might drink the more;” and that when hops were dear, “they put into their drink broom, bay-berries, ivy-berries, and such-like things.” It is due, however, to the brewers to say, that these charges were never verified by the, surveyors.

Although the excise duties, and the general introduction of tea and coffee, as a substitute for malt liquor at breakfast, must have operated for some time as a draw-back on the consumption, yet it seems lately to have received a new impulse. In 1761 the quantity of porter made in London, by 52 brewers, was only 975,217 barrels, of 36 gallons each; now a single firm, that of Barclay and Co., brews upwards of 330,000 barrels in a year; and the quantity made by the twelve principal breweries has amounted, in one year, to the astonishing number of 1,500,000 barrels. What proportion of this quantity is consumed in London it would be difficult to ascertain.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

The Whitbread Brewery on Wikipedia 

Samuel Whitbread on Wikipedia

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – Panama

var addthis_config = {“data_track_addressbar”:true};

 

Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard HMS Clio.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – Panama

After touching at Acapulco, which was all heat and flies, we landed the Queen of the Sandwich Islands at Panama. Some years afterwards, I went to call upon her Majesty. In all my voyages, I carried with me a set of tandem harness; and on this occasion, I hired a light cart and a couple of ponies, and drove them tandem. Approaching the royal residence, I took a corner too sharply, the cart capsized, I was flung out, and found myself sitting on the ground in the Queen’s presence.

But before we quitted the Sandwich Islands, an event occurred (of which I was the humble and unwitting instrument) which nearly brought about what are called international complications. I should explain that feeling ran pretty high between the English and the Americans in the Sandwich Islands with regard to the American Civil War, which was then waging. It was none of our business, but we of the Clio chose to sympathise with the South. Now that these unhappy differences have been so long composed, there can be no harm in referring to them. But it was not resentment against the North which inspired my indiscretion. It was the natural desire to win a bet. A certain lady; her name does not matter; bet me that I would not ride down a steep pass in the hills, down which no horse had yet been ridden. I took the bet and I won it. Then the same fair lady bet me; it was at a ball; that I would not pull down the American flag. That emblem was painted on wood upon an escutcheon fixed over the entrance to the garden of the Consulate. I took that bet, too, and won it.

Having induced two other midshipmen to come with me, we went under cover of night to the Consulate. I climbed upon the backs of my accomplices, leaped up, caught hold of the escutcheon, and brought the whole thing down upon us. Then we carried the trophy on board in a shore-boat. Unfortunately the boatman recognised what it was, and basely told the American consul, who was naturally indignant, and who insisted that the flag should be nailed up again in its place. I had no intention of inflicting annoyance, and had never considered how serious might be the consequences of a boyish impulse. My captain very justly said that as I had pulled down the flag I must put it up again, and sent me with a couple of carpenters on shore. We replaced the insulted emblem of national honour, to the deep delight of an admiring crowd. The Clio put to sea. We heard afterwards that the American Government dispatched a couple of ships of war to capture me, but I do not think the report was true.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

HMS Clio