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St. John's Wood, on the first of May, instead of suffering them to collect money as heretofore; the public are therefore cautioned against encouraging in any way such collections, as they are too frequently obtained by persons of the worst descriptions, or for
the sinister purposes of their employers.
N. B. The procession will start from the Bedford Arms, Charlotte-street, Bedford-square, at
On Monday, the first of May, 1826, (pursuant to the above notice) the first anniversary dinner of the “United Society of Master Chimney Sweepers,” took K. at the Eyre tavern, St. John's-wood, sarylebone. About eleven o'clock, two hundred of their apprentices proceeded in great regu: larity through the principal streets and squares at the west end of the town, accompanied by an excellent band of music. The clean and wholesome appearance of the lads, certainly, reflected much credit on their masters, and attracted crowds of persons to the above tavern, where the boys were regaled with a substantial repast of roast beef and plum-pudding; after which the masters themselves sat down to a very excellent dinner provided for the occasion. On the cloth being removed, and the usual routine of loyal toasts drank, the chairman addressed his brother tradesmen, congratulating them on the formation of a society that was calculated to do such essential service to the trade in general. It would be the means of promoting the welfare of their apprentices, which was a feeling he was convinced every one of them had at heart, who, instead of being permitted to loiter and dance about the streets on the first of May, dressed up in tawdry o: and soliciting money, should in future be regaled with substantial fare on each forthcoming day of the anniversary of the society, in order to put an end to the degrading practice which had for such a length of time stigmatized the trade. (Ago) “Success to the United Society of Chimney Sweepers,” having been drank with thunders of applause, Mr. BENNETT, of Welbeck-street, addressed the company on the subject of cleansing chimnies with the machine, the introduction of which he was confident would never answer the intended purposes. He urged the absolute necessity of employing climbing boys in their. trade; and instanced several cases in which the machines were rendered perfectly useless: most of the chimnies in the great houses at the west end of the
town were constructed in such a manner that it was utterly impossible to clear them of soot, unless a human being was sent up for that purpose. He admitted that some houses had chimnies which were built perpendicular; but even in those were frequently to be met with what the trade called “cores,” which were large pieces of mortar that projected out from the brick-work, and that collected vast quantities of soot on their surface, so that no machine could get over the difficulty. When the subject of the climbing boys was before the house of lords, he (Mr. Bennett) was sent for by the earl of Hardwicke, who was desirous of personally ascertaining whether the practice of allowing boys to ascend chimnies could be dispensed with entirely. He (Mr. Bennett) had attended at his lordship's residence with the machine, which was tried in most of the chimnies in the huose, but the experiment failed; one of his or. having been ultimately obliged to ascend for the purpose of extricating the machine from impediments which were only to be surmounted by the activity of elimbing boys. The result was, that his lordship subsequently expressed his opinion that the machines could never answer the purposes for which they were originally intended, and therefore had his chimnies swept by the old method. Mr. Bennett concluded by making some observations on the harsh manner in which the trade had been aspersed. He said it had been insinuated that their apprentices, in consequence of being permitted to ascend chimnies, were often rendered objects for the remainder of their lives. There were, he ad...litted, a few solitary instances of accidents happening in their trade as well as in every other. He now only wished that their opponents might have an opportunity of witnessing the healthy and cheerful state in which their apprentices were. A master chimney-sweeper, with great vehemence of action and manner, said, “I am convinced, Mr. Chairman, that it is a thing impossible to do away with our climbing boys. For instance, look at the duke of York's fifty-one new chimnies.
Let me ask any one of you in company, is it possible a machine could be poked up any one of them I say, no; and for this reason—that most of them run in a horizontal line, and then abruptly turn up, so that you see a machine would be of no more use than if you were to thrust up an old broomstick; and I mean to stick to it, that our opponents may as well try to put down chimney-sweepers in the old way, as the Equitable Loan Bank Company endeavoured to cut up the business of the pawnbrokers. (Applause.) When I look round the table, (said the speaker,) and see such respectable gentlemen on my right and on my left, and in front of me, who dares to say that the United Society of Master Chimney Sweepers are not as respectable a body of tradesmen as any in London? and although, if I may be excused the expression, there is not a gentleman now present that has not made his way in the ‘profession,' by o | chimnies. (There was a universal no of assent at this allusion.) Therefore, continued the speaker, the more praise is due to us, and F. conclude by wishing every success to our new society.” The above animated address was received with the loudest plaudits.
Several other master chimney-sweepers addressed the company, after which the ladies were introduced into the room, and dancing commenced, which was kept up to a late hour.”
On the first of May, 1807, the slave trade in the West Indies was proscribed by the British parliament, and we see by the proceedings at the Eyre tavern, St. John's-wood, that on the first of May, 1826, an effort was made to continue the more cruel black slavery of white infants. Some remarks reported to have been made by these gentlemen in behalf of their “black art,” require a word or two.
We are told that after the usual routine of loyal toasts, the chairman congratulated his “brother tradesmen" on the formation of a society that was calculated to do “essential service to the trade in general.” There can be no doubt that “the king” was the first name on their list of toasts, yet it happens that his majesty is at the head of an association for abolishing their “trade.” The first names on the roll of “The Society for suspending Climbing
* The Times, May 3, 1826.
Boys by the use of the Scandiscope,” are those of the “patron,” and the president, vice-presidents, committee, and treasurer. These are chiefly prelates, peers, and members of the house of commons; but the “patron” of the society is “the king,” in opposition to whom, in the capacity of “patron,” Mr. Bennett, the master-sweep, of Welbeck-street, urges the “absolute necessity” of employing climbing boys. One of his reasons is, that in some chimnies the bricklayers have “cores” of mortar whereon the soot accumulates so that no machine can get over the difficulty; but this only shows the “absolute necessity” of causing the “cores” to be removed from chimnies already so deformed, and of making surveyors of future houses responsible for the expenses of alteration, if they suffer them to be so improperly constructed. Mr. Bennett says, that lord Hardwicke was convinced “the machines could never answer the purposes for which they were originally intended, and therefore had his chimnies swept by the old method.” If his lordship did express that opinion, it is in opposition to the opinion of the king, as “patron,” the late bisho of Durham, the present bishop of Oxford, the duke of Bedford, the lords Grosvenor, Morley, Harrowby, Gwydir, Auckland, and other distinguished individuals, who as president .." vice-presidents of the society, had better opportunities of determining correctly, than Mr. Bennett probably afforded to earl Hardwicke. Another “master chimney-sweeper” is reported to have said, “ look at the duke of York’s fifty-one new chimnies:—most of them run in a horizontal line, and then abruptly turn up, so that, you see, a machine would be of no more use than if you were to thrust up an old broomstick:” and then he asks, “who dares to say that the United Society of Master Chimney Sweepers are not as respectable a body of tradesmen as any in London 7" and triumphantly adds, that “there is not a gentleman now present that has not made his way in the profession by climbing up chimnies.” To this “there was a universal nod of assent.” But a universal admission by all “the gentlemen present” that they had climbed to respectability by climbing up chimnies, is of very little weight with those who observe and know that willing slaves become the greatest and most effective oppressors; and as to the duke of York's new chimnies, it is not credible his royal highness can be informed that the present
construction of his chimnies necessarily dooms unborn infants to the certain fate of having the flesh torn from their joints before they can sweep such chimnies. The scandalous default of a surveyor has subjected the duke of York to the odium of being quoted as an authority in opposition to a society for abolishing a cruel and useless trade, wherein servitude is misery, and independence cannot be attained but by the continual infliction of blows and torture on helpless children. Yet as an act of parliament abated the frequency of conflagrations, by empowering district surveyors to cause the erection of party walls, so a few clauses added to the building act would authorize the surveyors to enforce the building of future chimnies without “cores," and of a form to be swept by the “Scandiscope.” Master chimney-sweepers would have no reason to complain of such enactment, inasmuch as they would continue to find employment, till the old chimnies and the prejudices in favour of cruelty to children, disappeared by effluxion of time.
The engraving at the head of this article is altered from a lithographic print representing a “Scandiscope.” Perhaps the machine may be better understood from the annexed diagram. It simply consists of a whalebone brush, and wooden cylinders strung on rope, and put into action by the method described beneath the larger engraving.
Mr. George Smart obtained two gold medals from the Society of Arts for this invention. The names of the machine chimney-sweepers in different parts of
London may be obtained from Mr. Wilt, secretary of the “Society for superseding Climbing Boys,” No. 125, Leadenhallstreet; the treasurer of the institution is W. Tooke, esq., F.R.S. Any person may become a member, and acquaint himself with the easy methods by which the machine is adopted to almost any chimney. As the climbing chimney-sweepers, are combining to oppose it, all humane individuals will feel it a duty to inquire whether they should continue willing , instruments in the hands of the “profession" for the extension of the present cruel practice.
The late Mrs. Montagu gave an annual dinner to the poor climbing boys which ceased with her death.
And is all pity for the poor sweeps fled,
Since Montagu is num
red with the dead 2
She who did once the many sorrows weep,
But, she is gone! none left to soothe their grief,
It is the interest of the “United Society of Master Chimney Sweepers" to appear liberal to the wretched beings who are the creatures of their mercy; of the variation and degrees of that mercy, there is evidence before the committee of the house of commons. Sympathy for the oppressed in the breast of their oppressors is reasonably to be suspected. On the minutes of the “Society for superseding Climbing Boys,” there are cases that make humanity shudder; against their recurrence there is no security but the general adoption of machines in chimnies—instead of children.
Mr.Montgomery's “Chimney Sweeper's Friend, and Climbing Boys' Album,” is a volume of affecting appeal, dedicated to the king, “in honour of his majesty's condescending and exemplary concern for the effectual deliverance of the meanest, the poorest, and weakest of British born subiects, from unnatural, unnecessary, and unjustifiable personal slavery and moral degradation.” It contains a variety of beautiful compositions in prose and verse: one of them is—
The Chimney Sweeper.
Communicated by Mr. Charles Lamb, from a very rare and curious little work, Mr. Blake's “Songs of Innocence.”
When my mother died I was very young,
There's little Tom Toddy, who cried when his head,
And so Tom awoke, and we rose in the dark,
duke Humfrey, the good duke of Gloucester, who lyeth honourably buried at Saint Albans in Hartfordshire, twenty miles from London; in idle and frivolous opinion of whom, some men, of late times,
have made a solemne meeting at his.
tombe upon Saint Andrewe's day in the morning (before Christmasse) and concluded on a breakfast or dinner, as assuring themselves to be servants, and to hold diversity of offices under the good duke Humfrey.” Stow's continuator says, “Likewise, on May-day, tankard bearers, watermen, and some other of like quality beside, would use to come to the same tombe early in the morning, and, according as the other, deliver serviceable presentation at the same monument, by strewing herbes, and sprinkling faire water on it, as in the duty of servants, and according to their degrees and charges in office: but (as Master Stow hath discreetly advised such as are so merrily disposed, or simply profess themselves to serve duke Humfrey in Pauls) if punishment of losing their dinners daily, there, be not sufficient for them, they should be sent to St. Albans, to answer there for their disobedience, and long absence from their so highly well deserving lord and master, as in their merry disposition they please so to call him.” There can be no doubt that this mock solemnity on May-day, and the feast of St. Andrew, on pretence of attending a festival in Paul's, on the invitation of a dead nobleman in another place, gave rise to the saying concerning “dining with duke Humfrey.” It is still used respecting persons who inquire “where shall I dine !” or who have lost, or are afraid of “losing their dinners.”
PRINTERs' MAY FESTIval
The following particulars of a very curious celebration is remarkable, as being a description of the old mode of festivous enjoyment, “ according to order,” and the wearing of garlands by the stewards, with “whifflers” in the procession." It is extracted from Randle Holme's “Storehouse of Armory, 1688.”
Stationers' Hall May Feast.
The Printers, Journeymen, with the Founders and Ink-makers have every
* Whifflers, see vol. i. p. 1444, note, and 148s.
year a general Feast, which is kept in the Stationers Hall on or about May Day. It is made by 4 Stewards, 2 Masters, and 2 Journeymen; and with the Collection of half a Crown a piece of every Guest, the charges of the whole Feast is defrayed. About 10 of the Clock in the Morning on the Feast day, the Company invited meet at the place appointed, and from thence go to some Church thereabouts in this following Order. First, 4 Whifflers (as Servitures) by two and two, walking before with white Staves in their Hands, and red and blew Ribbons hung Beltwise upon their Shoulders: these make way for the Company. Then walks the Beadle of the Company of Stationers, with the Companies Staff in his Hand, and Ribbons as afore. Then the Minister, whom the Stewards have engaged to Preach the Sermon, and his Reader or Clerk. Then the Stewards walk, by two and two, with long white wands in their Hands, and all the rest of the Company follow in like order, till they enter the Church, &c. Service ended, and a Sermon suitable for the occasion finished, they all return to their Hall in the same order, where upon their entrance each Guest delivers his Ticket to a Person appointed, which gives him admittance; where every one Feasts himself with what he likes best, being delighted all the while with Musicks and Songs, &c. After Dinner the Ceremony of Electing new Stewards for the next Year begins: then the Stewards withdraw into another Room, and put Garlands of Laurel or Box on their Heads, and white wands in their Hands, and are Ushered out of the withdrawing Room thus;– First, the Companies Beadle with his Staff in his Hand, and Musick sounding before him; Then one of the Whifflers with a great Bowl of White wine and Sugar in his right Hand, and his Staff in the left: after him follows the eldest Steward. Then, another, Whiffler as aforesaid, before the second Steward; in like manner another Whiffler before the third; and another before the fourth Steward. And thus they walk, with Musick sounding before them, three times round the Hall; and, in the fourth round, the first Steward takes the Bowl from his Whiffler, and Drinks to one (whom before he resolved on) by the Title of Mr.