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terms, by which the very few guards that already check this popular resort, will be entirely removed,—the proprietors undertaking to employ none but deaf toll-keepers, and to throw every difficulty in the way of officious watermen, or mistaken philanthropists. The Company, in return for these unprecedented advantages, has engaged to present a hundred free shares to the original bond-holders of that highly successful enterprise for their own personal use and enjoyment.
Through the peculiar facilities afforded by the Thames Tunnel, and the liberality of its directors, the Company is enabled to offer a new method of self-destruction, with the becoming appearance of accidental death. When a sufficient number of subscribers shall have signified their desire of availing themselves of these new improvements, an irruption will take place of the most complete and decided character: as it is considered that the projectors of that great metropolitan improvement have a prior claim, they are earnestly invited to participate in the advantages thus held out.
The Government, with its ordinary solicitude for the welfare and recreation of the public, has kindly permitted the approaches to the Serpentine to be rendered much easier and more convenient, and the most dangerous parts (hitherto accessible to the public at large) to be exclusively appropriated to the shareholders of this Company, free from any possible molestation of the assistants of the Humane Society.
Remarkably snug and gloomy apartments, with extensive views of dead-walls mounted with chevaux-de-frise, commodiously fitted up with charcoal grates in the newest Parisian fashion), Dr. Arnott's, and Joyce's patent stoves, will be appropriated for those who have a preference to suffocation. A choice selection of modern French novels and dramas will be set apart for the exclusive use of the supporters of this section of the institution. Those ladies and gentlemen who wish to destroy themselves in the most romantic and sentimental manner, will thus find every facility afforded them at a moderate increase of the usual charges.
Those more matter-of-fact individuals who prefer the older and now nearly obsolete practices of hanging, shooting, or poisoning, will find their predilections have been attentively regarded. The provisional Board of management has already secured the eminent services of John Ketch, Esq., (who has been enabled to accept the appointment by the recent abridgement of his official duties), and who will instruct subseribers in forming the easiest, most efficacious, and at the same time fashionable tie. Some of the most cheerful rooms in her Majesty's new palace, (commanding excellent prospects of St. George's hospital and Tothill field's prison) have been appropriated for this method of going out of the world. The new proprietors of Vauxhall Gardens, willing to run a generous race of rivalry with the Company, have also offered their extensive pleasure-ground (with the use of the strongest branches of the trees) for the same benevolent purpose. The Company has also undertaken, at its own expense, to throw open a view of the Penitentiary at Millbank, which exhilarating prospect will most updoubtedly have a beneficial effect on the minds of such of the subscribers as may not be completely made up to the contemplated act.
The selections of Poisons has been confided to an eminent chemist, who has succeeded in forming a unique collection of the most deadly
Nov. 1840.-VOL. I. NO. VI.
and efficacious, with a proper regard to variety, both as regards taste, and the manner and time of operation. The directors proudly invite public investigation of their patent Prussic acid, which has been tried with invariable success at the infirmaries of several poor-law Unions. Many eminent brewers, distillers, and wine merchants, have also lent their valuable assistance to this part of the undertaking.
The patrons of the Trigger are politely informed that retired places in the Company's ground, (with a correct model of the interior of the King's Bench prison,) with an airy and commodious shooting gallery, embellished with views of Crockford's, the St. Leger betting-room, the Stock Exchange, and Westminster Hall, will be appropriated to their exclusive use. Hair-trigger pistols of the best makers will be provided also for the subscribers, under the immediate superintendance of a retired officer of artillery.
Every facility and encouragement will be afforded to such ladies and gentlemen who are desirous of availing themselves of the advantages of the institution, but have not completely made up their minds. The works of Paine, Volney, Gibbon, and Voltaire, and the most eminent of the deistical and atheistical writers, will be always ready for the edification of the supporters of the Company. Facilities will also be afforded for their admission into the most fashionable gambling clubs. Schemes for foreign loans, and prospectuses of all the joint-stock companies, will be regularly taken in and filed. A "gin palace” will be on the premises, as well as the accredited agent of a foreign lottery office. Lectures will also be given on Socialism, and the newly received opinions on conjugal infidelity, and freedom of discussion on religious topics.
From its claims for social improvement, and its adaptation to the national characteristics and prejudices, this project necessarily possesses strong claims to the capitalist and speculator. The patronage of the respective coroners, and the connexion of the various cemeteries, and the number of eminent undertakers who have already taken an interest in the project, are significant indications of its ultimate success.
The Company will commence business in November next (a month so proverbial for the exercise of this national pursuit), and confidently expect to be shortly in full operation.
Applications for shares (each admitting the holder to a free participation of the advantages above enumerated) to be made at the Secretary of the Company, John Mattocks, Esq., Church-yard Court, Temple.
[Some would-be critics, more nice than wise, may choose to enter their protest against the spirit of the preceding prospectus. To endeavour to extract a joke from gloomy materials is quite enough, we are aware, to put their morality in alarm, and to shock them from their
very sensible propriety. To these worthy persons we candidly admit, that if our object had been to amuse only, a more promising topic might easily have been found. If we had not considered the real aim obvious, we should have followed the good old plan so familiarly illustrated by Dodsley in our younger days, who after each of his delightful fables appended a moral," (which we can most conscientiously affirm we as invariably “skipped”); and to such of our readers as have read our
fable without discovering its application, we beg, for their especial edification, “next time they open Æsop," to insert the following
Many have been deterred from the commission of offences against themselves and society, less from an apprehension of the more serious consequences, than from the dread of appearing ridiculous ; whilst others have found more ethical improvement after a hearty cachinnation with
“ Rabelais in his easy chair," than they would after listening to the best written homily, aided by all the fervour of “ John Knox preaching."]
FIRST REPORT OF THE LONDON SUICIDE COMPANY.
The Chairman and Directors have great pleasure in laying before the Proprietors and the public their first report.
In establishing this Company, the views of the projectors, as to the profits which, under a successful management, might probably arise from it, were formed principally in anticipation of the great increase of suicides, which they might fairly calculate upon, in affording so many facilities for the certain and convenient gratification of that
great and national propensity. In admitting that they have been altogether deceived in their prognostications--that they are under the necessity of following the example of all other joint-stock Directors, whose first report is invariably a candid admission of their own gross blunders, or "mistaken estimates,"-in announcing the startling fact, that not a single death has been added to the bills of mortality through the agency of their Company, the Directors have still the satisfaction of informing the shareholders, that no loss will be incurred to them through the failure of the Company's anticipations in this respect. To solve this paradox, it is only necessary to state, that if the Directors' elaborate exertions for enabling their fellow-creatures to destroy themselves, by the most elegant, genteel, and scientific methods, have not been rewarded by an ungrateful public with the success they deserve,-yet, still, a new and profitable branch of business has proved more than a recompense. The proposals of the Company were originally addressed to such of her Majesty's subjects as really and bona fide wanted to die: the success of the Company is, however, attributable, mirabile dictu, to that very numerous class (the very last from which it might have reasonably expected support)—those ladies and gentlemen who do not want to die at all! In short, although the books of each branch of the estab. lishment were, within the first week of its opening, filled with the names of subscribers ; although the candidates for hanging, shooting, drowning, poisoning, suffocating, and precipitating themselves, were as numerous as the most sanguine wishes of the projectors had led them to expect; although no complaints were made of the inefficacy of the means provided by the Company for the accommodation of the public; yet no loss of life has resulted from these truly great and extensive plans for individual destruction. The profits of the establishment have, however, been the same as if in every case the catastrophe had actually occurred. No person connected with this valuable institution has
received, or can receive any disappointment, excepting the undertakers and cemetery directors; and even the loss of these estimable functionaries has been of a very partial character. Many of the subscribers to this Company, in enrolling their names in order to avail themselves of its advantages, have with much consistency bespoken their own funerals of the undertakers in connexion with it (a per-centage being in all cases allowed to the Directors),--selected their own feathers and coffin embellishments, sent the coroner (who has also opened an account with the Company) his fee, with an intimation as to the time his services will be required, in order to prevent the possibility of disappointment ;-selec. ted a plot of ground for their “snug lying ;" forwarded their compliments, with five guineas and a hat-band, to the clergyman, along with the heads for their funeral sermons ;-had their epitaphs composed by one of the Company's poets (the Directors having been obliged to engage three professional gentlemen for this branch of the business alone); letters written to their afflicted relatives, and announcements prepared for the respective newspapers, of their deaths; and after all these elaborate preparations, have very philosophically put an end- not to themselves—but to all intention of violence against themselves.
In announcing this extraordinary and unlooked-for source of emolu. ment, the Directors have at the same time the gratification of claiming the approbation of the public, for the great moral advantages which have been secured to the community by the establishment of this Company. In order to make these results apparent, they have classified, under different heads, the principal candidates for self-destruction.
I. The imaginary unhappy. This comprises a very large number of individuals of both sexes, and of all ages, who fancy themselves to be labouring under severe disappointment or distress: who, while they have the possession of their bodily and mental faculties, believe themselves to be the most unfortunate and ill-used of created beings. This includes that very numerous class of young gentlemen, who follow “the nothing-to-do” profession: and those equally numerous young ladies, whose reading has been limited to sentimental novels and modern poetry, and who of course are, or (what is exactly the same thing) imagine themselves to be victims of the tender passion. These have been found to be amongst the most profitable of the Company's customers.
II. The really unhappy, and who have some cause for being so, either by deserved or undeserved calamity. [N.B. This class has been represented by such a very few individuals, as to be really undeserving of a separate division, could it have been conveniently placed under any other. 7
III. The undoubtedly profligate and depraved. These comprise by far the most numerous class of the Company's subscribers. Among them are to be found a very great number of those individuals who carry
into effect on others the injuries they threaten towards themselves. This division includes idle and abandoned young men, who, not having the disposition or inclination for exertion, have become burthens to their parents and friends, and whose constant and generally successful threat
-when refused the means of further indulgence in their debaucheriesis, to lay violent hands on themselves. It also includes members of the opposite sex, who having no fixed or well-regulated principles, have given way to the temptations of what is somewhat perversely called “a gay life;" who, finding they are no longer the same objects of attraction, and feeling they can no longer awaken tenderness, endeavour to rouse apprehension, and make the threat of self-destruction a safe and cheap speculation. Amongst those who have largely contributed to this very ample division, are confirmed drunkards, convicted swindlers, kicked black-legs, and pick-pockets that have been pumped upon.
IV. The large order of the mendicant tribe, who usually go under the appellation of “genteel beggars,” and whose professional pursuits have been so unpleasantly stopped by the operations of the Mendicity Society. Unfortunate individuals who have fired pistols (which they have previously ascertained are certain to flash in the pan) at their heads, in order to arouse the somewhat obtuse or too-often-tried sympathy of their neighbours. Young ladies, who choose the most public places of resort, and the shallowest parts of the river, to drown themselves. Maneuvering widows and disappointed housekeepers, who hang themselves with rotten garters ; peculating clerks, and embezzling shopassistants, that manage to let their masters know they have taken poison in time for the administration of an antidote ;-form the aggregate of this very extensive class.
V. Those very lamentable members of society, who are conscious that they are a disgrace to, as well as a burthen on it; and this involves, the Directors are justified in adding, all who neglect or violate the social duties: possessing, as they possibly may, some claims to our compassion, how much more are they deserving of our honest indignation ! Cowards, who dare not breast the storms of fate, would, with a strange inconsistency, dare the perilous gulphs that lie still deeper! Sons, who have, by their wilful folly or waywardness, disappointed the fair hopes of their parents, or perhaps brought their grey hairs with sorrow to their graves ! daughters, who have crimsoned a father's cheeks with shame, or wrung a mother's bosom with grief. Husbands, who have squandered in dissipation the means of their families' existence ;-faithless or extravagant wives, to whom the misery which they have brought on their partners or offspring, is a spectacle more harrowing than even the reproaches of a guilty conscience. Fraudulent bankrupts, and faithless friends, whose villainy has been exposed, and whose treachery has been detected. This class has highly contributed to the funds of the Company, and, as it is believed, with the real intention of the parties to avail themselves of its objects: but they have been frustrated, through the circumstances hereinafter detailed.
In respect to the causes which have led to a change so great and unexpected in the prospects of the Company, the Directors will exhibit them in reference to the classes already enumerated.
As to the first and third class-the imaginary unhappy, and the really profligate the purchase of a ticket of admission to one of the Company's establishments, and a careful examination of its merits or adaptation to the end proposed, has been generally found quite sufficient. In the first place, the subscriber has usually taken very good care that his visit should be known to such of his friends, on whose vigilance he thinks he may depend. If, however, they should be really so