London, Volume 1

Knight, Charles


St. James's Park.


In this we include the , a good quiet soul with a separate name, but without separate adventures or history. There are also some neighbouring patches of ground now detached which must be included in an account of , ancient and modern.

It is impossible to saunter about without being struck by its beauties. If, however, any person wishes to enjoy them like a true epicure-to take as much of the beautiful and exclude as much of the commonplace as possible--to heighten the pleasure of each succeeding morsel by a judicious regard to harmony in the order in which they succeed each other,--it will be advisable to enter through the by the gate recently opened opposite , at the west end of . Lounging (quick, business-like walking is only for those unamiable localities wishes to get out of) onwards by the walk that descends close behind the Ranger's lodge, the eye passes along a vista between trees, at this moment covered with the delicate verdure of spring, to rest upon a beautiful line of wood in the middle distance, out of which rise the towers of . Looking to the right as we advance, the royal standard of England--the most chastely gorgeous banner in the world--is floating at the foot of . Immediately afterwards a massive corner of the Palace is seen between the trees nearer at hand. The walk here parts into --that on the left hand descending into what has all the appearance from this point of a woody dell; the other carrying us into an open space, where we have a view of the white marble arch in front of the Palace, surmounted by the standard on side, the unobtrusively wealthy mansions of on the other, and the more decorated line of buildings which form the eastern boundary of the in front. The pictures on every hand are at this point perfect in regard to composition: the arrangement of trees, lawn, and architecture is simply elegant. Turning to the right hand, at the mansion of the Duke of Sutherland we come into , and crossing the mall enter the ornamented enclosure in front of the Palace. Once here, it is a matter of perfect indifference what way the loiterer turns-only, if it be possible, he ought to get upon the grass as soon as he can. From the side at which we have supposed him to enter, he catches through the trees as he moves along such partial glances of the Palace, or of the Government offices at the opposite end of the Park, as make pretty pictures out of very questionable architecture. Opposite him he has the majestic receptacle of the dead royalty of old England. If he prefer the opposite side of the central sheet of water, the most eligible point of view is on the rising near the angle at , affording a fine view, closed by the dome of . To return to our metaphor: after he has discussed these he may fill up the interstices of his appetite by discussing, as , the pretty vignettes of wood and water which present themselves to a saunterer round the canal.



This is the still life, but in the

enjoyment of prospects

the shifting of the human and other figures is the most material source of pleasure to the spectator. Along the track which we have been pursuing in imagination, there is rich variety: from the glance and dash of equipages along to the pedestrians of the ; thence to the stately, noiseless, sweep of the privileged vehicles of the nobility along the mall, enlivened by the occasional passage of a horseman, who rides as if the fate of empires depended on his keeping the appointment to which he is bound; and thence again into the ornamented enclosure, where, in the absence of other company, we are sure of the birds. There are worse companions than birds. We remember once hearing the most sparkling writer in the

Northern Review

complain that he had not been able to sleep the whole of the preceding night.

What did you do, then?

asked a gentleman at his elbow, in a tone of intense sympathy.

I got up,

said the invalid, with an air of languid pleasure,

went into the dressing-room, and talked with the parrot.

And many an hour of pleasant intercourse may be spent with the water-fowl in , whether they be showing the ease with which habit has taught them to mingle in crowded society; or with their heads under their wings sleeping on the smooth water at o'clock in the morning--for like other inhabitants of the pleasure-seeking world of London, they have acquired bad habits of late rising; or in the intoxication of returning spring, wheeling in pursuit of each other in long circles over-head, then rushing down into their native elements, and ploughing long furrows in it on St. Valentine's Day.

, with its exquisite finish, surrounded on all sides by buildings, scarcely disturbed by vehicles or horsemen, always wears in our eyes a drawingroom character: it is a sort of in-doors rurality, and such it has been ever since we have records of it as a public haunt.

Its history falls naturally into epochs :--from the enclosure of the Park by Henry VIII. to its reformation under the auspices of Le Notre, under Charles II.; from the time of the merry monarch till the abolition of the old formal canal by George IV. and Nash; and the era in which we have the pleasure to exist.

The history of the of these periods ought to be written by an author like Niebuhr, who feels himself put out by facts and contemporary narratives, and builds up a story more true than truth out of hints in old fragments of laws, treaties, and charters. At least the materials are too scanty to admit of treating it in any other fashion.

During the reigns of Elizabeth and the Stuarts, can only be considered as a nursery for deer and an appendage to the tilt-yard. The frequent allusions to it as a place of rendezvous by the dramatists of the age of Charles II. are sought for in vain in Shakspere and his contemporaries, with whom occupies its place. It could not well be otherwise. A visit to the Palace at was then going out of London, and to have gone out of the Palace into the Park would have been in the way of pleasure-hunting a work of supererogation-gilding refined gold. A passage occurs in Pepys's


which enables us to form an idea of the comparative seclusion of the Park in these days. The date of the entry is not much earlier than that of the notice of the alterations made by Charles II., which ushered in the period of the Park's





July 22nd

. Went to walk in the

inward park

, but could not get in;


man was basted by the keeper for carrying some people over on his back through the water.

If the reader will consult of the earlier maps of London, he will find a long, narrow, -cornered piece of water introduced behind the tilt-yard, extending nearly from side to side of the Park, at right angles to the direction of the canal constructed in the time of Charles II. This apparently is the piece of water across which the crowd attempted to get themselves smuggled on the occasion referred to by Pepys into

the inward park.


So long as the tilt-yard maintained its interest, the space beyond it would have few attractions for the gazing public. On either side of the park there was a place of resort preferred by the loungers of the times anterior to the Restoration- Spring Garden and the Mulberry Garden.

The period at which Spring Garden was enclosed and laid out is uncertain. The clump of houses which still bears the name, indicates its limits with tolerable exactness. A servant of the Court was allowed in the time of Charles I. to keep an ordinary and bowling-green in it. An idea of the aspect of the garden at that time may be gathered from a letter of Mr. Garrard to the Earl of Stafford in :--

The bowling-green in the

Spring Gardens

was put down


day by the King's command; but by the intercession of the Queen it was reprieved for this year; but hereafter it shall be no common bowling place. There was kept an ordinary of

six shillings

a meal (where the King's proclamation allows but


elsewhere), continual bibbing and drinking wine under all trees;




quarrels every week. It was grown scandalous and insufferable; besides, my Lord Digby being reprehended for striking in the King's Garden, he said he took It for a

common bowling place.

The King carried his point, for in a subsequent letter Mr. Garrard says -

Since the Spring Garden was put down, we have, by a servant of the Lord Chamberlain's, a new Spring Garden erected in the fields behind the Meuse, where is built a fair house and


bowling-greens, made to entertain gamesters and bowlers to an excessive rate; for I believe it has cost him


; a dear undertaking for a gentleman barber.

must, however, have been re-opened at a later period, for Evelyn has this entry in his diary, :--

Dined with Sir John Owen: and afterwards I treated divers ladies of my relations in

Spring Gardens


They were again shut up under Oliver Cromwell, as we learn from the same source:--

13th June, 1649

. Lady Gerrard treated us at Mulberry Garden, now the only place of refreshment about the town for persons of the best quality to be exceedingly cheated at; Cromwell and his partisans having shut up and seized on

Spring Gardens

, which till now had been the usual rendezvous for ladies and gallants at this season.

The Restoration again gave them to the public, in evidence of which a passage from a writer of the century[n.192.1]  may be cited, which bears more properly upon a later period of Park history, but being introduced here will prevent the necessity of recurring to this branch of the subject:--

The inclosure (

Spring Gardens

) is not disagreeable, for the solemness of the grove, the warbling of the birds, and as it opens into the spacious walk at St. James's; but the company walk in at such a rate, you would think all the ladies were so many Atalantas contending with their wooers; but as they run, they stay so long as if they wanted time to finish the race: for it is usual to find some of the young company, here till midnight.

The Mulberry Garden was planted by order of James I., who attempted in to produce silk in England, and to that end imported many mulberry-trees from France, some of which were planted under his own inspection, and the rest dispersed through all the counties with circular letters directing the planting of the trees, and giving instructions for the breeding and feeding of silk-worms. In a grant was made to Walter, Lord Aston, &c., of

the custody of the garden, mulberry-trees, and silk-worms, near St. James's, in the county of Middlesex.

How soon after this the silk-worms disappeared, and the gardens were opened to the gay world in the manner indicated by the above-quotation from Evelyn, does not appear. He does not speak of the opening of the Mulberry Gardens as any thing new. A passage in Pepys's


not long after the Restoration, mentions a visit to these gardens, but speaks rather disparagingly of their attractions. Buckingham House, which stood where the central part of the palace now stands, was erected by John Duke of Buckingham in , and the Mulberry Garden attached to the house as private property. Previously Arlington House, and a building to which the name of Tart-hall is given in some old plans, occupied the same site. These buildings seem to indicate the period at which the Mulberry Gardens ceased to be a place of public resort.

Some indications exist of St. James's having become to a certain extent a favourite lounge during or immediately previous to the civil war. Dr. King observes,--

The fate of things lies always in the dark:

What cavalier would know St. James's Park?

For Locket's stands where gardens once did spring,

And wild ducks quack where grasshoppers did sing;

A princely palace on that space does rise

Where Sudley's noble muse found mulberries.

After had become more and more connected by lines of buildings with the City, and private dwelling-houses had multiplied along sides of the Park by Pall-Mall and , and the streets behind , and when tournaments fell into disuse, the temptation to penetrate into the recesses of the Park would increase; and the lines just quoted seem to point at a tradition that it was a favourite haunt of the Cavaliers. The privilege, if it at all existed, would seem, however, from the scene described by Pepys at the piece of water behind the tilt-yard, to have been enjoyed on a rather precarious tenure. The mention which occasionally occurs in the records of Cromwell's time, of

the Lord Protector taking the air in

St. James's Park

in a sedan,

makes neither for nor against its accessibility to the public; but is worthy of being noticed in passing on account of the ludicrous association between the rough conqueror at Worcester and a conveyance identified, in our notions, with the less robust wits of a later generation. The admission of the public in all probability scarcely extended beyond what Pepys, by implication, calls the outward Park. In the time of Charles I. a sort of royal menagerie had begun to take the place of the deer with which the

inward Park

was stocked in the days of Henry and Elizabeth.

So far our history has been based upon a very slender foundation. With the restoration of Charles II. begins the era of the Park's existence as a public haunt, and materials for its history become accessible.

The design according to which the Park was laid out has been generally attributed to Le Notre. Charles seems to have set to work with its adornment immediately on his return. The original disposition of the grounds under Henry VIII., it may easily be conceived, presented little that was striking, and neglect during the civil wars must have dilapidated that little. A taste for ornamental gardening seems to have grown upon the King during his residence on the Continent, which along with his fondness for walking would naturally make him desirous to have the grounds in the immediate vicinity of his residence made more sightly than he found them. At all events, he commenced his improvements very soon after his return. We can trace the progress of the operations in Pepys's

Diary :




Sept. 16


To the Park, where I saw how far they had proceeded in the Pall-Mall, and in making a river through the Park which I had never seen before since it was begun.

October 11

. To walk in

St. James's Park

, where we observed the several engines at work to draw up water, with which sight I was very much pleased. Above all the rest I liked that which Mr. Greatorex brought, which do carry up the water with a great deal of ease.



August 4


Walked into

St. James's Park

(where I had not been a great while), and there found great and very noble alterations.



July 27

. I went to walk in the Park, which is now every day more and more pleasant by the new works upon it.

All the future representations of the Park during the reign of Charles II. exhibit to us his long rows of young elm and lime-trees, fenced round with


palings to protect them from injury. We have such a row in front of the old Horse Guards, and another such following the line of the canals. These are occasionally relieved by some fine old trees, as in Tempest's view below.


We are able from various sources, plans, engravings, and incidental notices in books, to form a tolerably accurate notion of the aspect which the Park assumed in the course of these operations. At the end nearest was a line of buildings occupying nearly the site of the present range of Government offices. Wallingford House stood on the site of the Admiralty; the old Horse Guards, the Tennis-yard, Cock-pit, and other appendages of , on the sites of the present Horse Guards, Treasury, and offices of the Secretaries of State. The buildings then occupied by the Admiralty stood where the gate entering from now is. From Wallingford House towards Pall-Mall were the , opening as we have seen into the Park.

The south wall of the King's Garden extended in a line with the part of it which still remains behind the Palace of St. James's, at least as far as the west end of . Marlborough House was built on a part of the garden at a subsequent period. This wall, and its continuation at the back of , formed the north boundary of the Park between and the west end of . The Duke of Buckingham in a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury, in which he describes this part of the Park as serving the purpose of an avenue to his newly erected mansion, gives us a notion of its appearance in the beginning of the century :

The avenues to this house are along

St. James's Park

, through rows of goodly elms on


hand and gay flourishing limes on the other; that for coaches, this for walking, with

the Mall

lying betwixt them.

itself, a vista half a mile in length, received its name from a game at ball, for which was formed a hollow smooth walk, enclosed on each side by a border of wood, and having an iron hoop at extremity. The curiously inquiring Mr. Pepys records:--



May 15

. I walked in the Park, discoursing with the keeper of the Pall-Mall, who was sweeping of it; who told me that the earth is mixed that do floor

the Mall

, and that over all there is cockle-shells powdered and spread to keep it fast; which, however, in dry weather turns to dust and deads the ball.



The game was, however, played somewhat differently, even in the Park. In a drawing of the time of Charles II., engraved in Smith's

Antiquities of



we observe a high pole, with a hoop suspended from an arm at its top, and through this the ball was driven. A similar representation occurs in a picture engraved in Carter's




Immediately to the south of the east end of and in front of was the great parade. The rest of the Park was an enclosure of grassplots intersected by walks, planted, and having a broad canal running from the parade to the end next Buckingham House. On the south of this canal, near its east end, was the decoy, a triangular nexus of smaller canals, where water-fowl were kept. The ground contained within the channels of the decoy was called Duck Island; of which Sir John Flock and St. Evremond were in succession appointed governors (with a salary) by Charles II. Westward from the decoy, on the same side of the canal and connected with it by a sluice, was Rosamond's Pond. What fancy suggested this name it might be difficult to conjecture; but this serio-comic description, at the bottom of an engraving of it in Pennant's Collection, tempts to the remark that it was prophetic of the use which was afterwards to be made of it:--

The south-west corner of

St. James's Park

was enriched with this romantic scene. The irregularity of the trees, the rise of the ground, and the venerable Abbey, afforded great entertainment to the contemplative eye. This spot was often the receptacle of many unhappy persons, who in the stillness of an evening plunged themselves into eternity.

The Bird-cage Walk, leading along the south side of the decoy and Rosamond's Pond, nearly in the same line as the road which still retains the name, was so named from the cages of an aviary disposed among the trees which bordered it.

A road entered the Park at the west end, near where now stands, crossing it between the Mulberry Garden and the termination of Bird-cage


Walk, the Canal and . On reaching the last-mentioned it turned off to the west, and wound up towards . Out of some fields which Charles is said to have added to the Park, arose in all probability the , enclosed between this road, , the houses west of St.

, and , or as it was then called to the west of , . The consisted and consists of the declivity of eminences between which the Ty-burn once flowed into the Mulberry Gardens, and thence to and the Thames. The Ranger's House was erected on the slope of the western eminence, immediately south of .

Both Charles and the Duke of York appear to have taken an interest in the animals with which the Park was stocked. Pepys remarks, on the , that while spending an hour or in the Park,

which is now very pleasant,


saw the King and Duke come to see their fowle play.

Evelyn has left a short account of the collection in his Diary, -, .

The elegance of the Park transformed into a garden, with the attractions of the rare animals for the curious and for the gamesters, rendered it immediately the favourite haunt of the court. Charles, whose walking propensities seem to have rendered him a sort of perpetual motion, spent much of his leisure--that is of his whole time-there. Cibber tells us that

his indolent amusement of playing with his dogs and feeding his ducks in

St. James's Park

(which I have seen him do) made the common people adore him.

It deserves to be mentioned that this taste for feeding the ducks once stood the peculators of in good stead. An inquiry having been instituted into the causes of the enormous waste of corn in the royal stables, the whole pilfering was laid on the shoulders of the King-he took it for his water-fowl. He was an early riser, which was sorely complained of by his attendants, who did not sleep off their debauches so lightly. Burnet complained that the King walked so fast, it was a trouble to keep up with him. When Prince George of Denmark complained on occasion that he was growing fat,

Walk with me,

said Charles,

and hunt with my brother, and you will not long be distressed with growing fat.

Dr, King, on the authority of Lord Cromarty, has enabled us to accompany the merry monarch in of his walks. The King, accompanied by the Duke of Leeds and Lord Cromarty, had taken or turns in , and after proceeding up , which was then quite in the country, he encountered the Duke of York returning from hunting as he was about to cross into . The Duke alighted to pay his respects, and expressed his uneasiness at seeing his brother with so small an attendance:

No kind of danger, James,

said Charles,

for I am sure no man in England would kill me to make you King.

Another of the merry monarch's strolls in the Park is characteristic, and rendered more piquant by the decorous character of the narrator, Evelyn, in whose company he was at the time:--



March 1


I thence walked with him (King Charles) through

St. James's Park

to the garden, where I both saw and heard a very familiar discourse between Mrs. Nellie, as they called an impudent comedian, she looking out of her garden on a terrace at the top of the wall, and


sic in orig

.) standing on the green walk under it. I was heartily sorry at this scene. Thence the King walked to the Duchess of Cleveland, another lady of pleasure and curse of our nation.

During this interview with

Mrs. Nellie

the King was standing in the royal garden already mentioned


as constituting the northern boundary of the Park--the same garden in which we find Master Pepys in his


stealing apples like a school-boy.

Mrs. Nellie

looked down upon him from the wall of a small garden behind her house (near , Pall Mall)-the scene presents a curious to the garden-scene in Romeo and Juliet. Nearly on the same spot was subsequently erected the stately mansion in which old Sarah of Marlborough indulged her spleen. All the associations which gather round this simple adventure are most grotesquely contrasted. Perhaps, however, a little incident related by Coke is even more characteristic of Charles, from its contrasting his loitering, gossiping habits with public and private suffering. Coke was day in attendance on the King, who, having finished feeding his favourites, was proceeding towards St. James's, and was overtaken at the further end of by Prince Rupert.

The King told the Prince how he had shot a duck, and such a dog fetched it; and so they walked on till the King came to St. James's House: and there the King said to the Prince,

Let's go and see Cambridge and Kendal,

the Duke of York's


, sons, who then lay a-dying. But upon his return to


he found all in an uproar, the Countess Castlemaine, as it was said, bewailing above all others that she should be the


torn in pieces.

The news of the arrival of the Dutch fleet in the river had just been received. Pepys gives in his


a fine picture of a court cavalcade in the Park, all flaunting with feathers, in which the same Castlemaine takes a prominent part, while the King appears between her and his lawful wife and Mrs. Stuart (with reverence be it spoken) not unlike Macheath

with his doxies around:




July 13


I met the Queen-mother walking in the

Pall Mall

led by my Lord St. Albans; and finding many coaches at the gate, I found upon inquiry that the Duchess is brought to bed of a boy; and hearing that the King and Queen are rode abroad with the ladies of honour to the Park, and seeing a great crowd of gallants staying here to see their return, I also staid, walking up and down. By and by the King and Queen, who looked in this dress (a white laced waistcoat and a crimson short petticoat, and her hair dressed a

la negligence

) mighty pretty; and the King rode hand in hand with her. Here was also my Lady Castlemaine rode among the rest of the ladies; but the King took no notice of her, nor when she light did anybody press (as she seemed to expect and staid for it) to take her down, but was taken down by her own gentlemen. She looked mighty out of humour, and had a yellow plume in her hat (which all took notice of), and yet is very handsome but very melancholy; nor did anybody speak to her, or she so much as smile or speak to anybody. I followed them up into


, and into the Queen's presence, where all the ladies walked, talking and fiddling with their hats and feathers, and changing and trying


another's heads and laughing. But it was the finest sight to see, considering their great beauties and dress, that ever I did see in all my life. But above all Mrs. Stuart in this dress with her hat cocked and a red plume, with her sweet eye, little Roman nose, and excellent


, is now the greatest beauty I ever saw, I think, in my life, and if ever woman do exceed my Lady Castlemaine, at least in this dress; nor do I wonder if the King changes, which I really believe is the reason of his coldness to my Lady Castlemaine.

It would have been in vain to rebuke Charles while alive, and would be still more vain now. We must take him as he was, a fine healthy animal, restless to the last degree, but without any purpose in his activity. His brother James


seems to have indulged more in the human propensity to load care on his shoulders--to attempt to do something, instead of letting things take their own way, like his wise brother. We know from Pepys that the Duke had a taste, and even a talent for business, and we know from history that he lost his crown because he would be meddling and altering the institutions of his kingdom. We never meet him idling in the park like Charles; he is always doing something. We have already seen him returning from hunting (contrasting with his lounging brother-like Industry and Idleness in Hogarth's prints), and heard Charles's allusion to his indefatigable pursuit of the chase. Pepys often encounters him in the park, but always actively engaged:--



April 2

. To

St. James's Park

, where I saw the Duke of York playing at pall-mall, the


time that ever I saw the sport.




Dec. 15

. To the Duke, and followed him into the park, where, though the ice was broken, he would go slide upon his skaits, which I did not like, but he slides very well.

This, by the way, is as good a place as any to mention that at the time of the entry just quoted skaiting was a novelty in England. A little earlier we read in Pepys :--



Dec. 1


Over the park, where I


in my life, it being a great frost, did see people sliding with their skaits, which is a very pretty art.

Evelyn was also present, for we find in his

Diary :




Dec. 1

. Having seen the strange and wonderful dexterity of the sliders on the new canal in

St. James's Park

performed before their Majesties by divers gentlemen and others with scheets, after the manner of the Hollanders, with what a swiftness they pause, how suddenly they stop in full career upon the ice, went home.

It is probable that some of the exiled Cavaliers had acquired the art, seeking to while away the tedium of a Dutch winter, and that but for the temporary overthrow of the monarchy we never should have had skaiting in England. At least Pepys speaks of it as something new, and Evelyn as Dutch; and we know of no other notices to form a link between this full-blown art of skaiting (the word


used by Evelyn is Dutch), and the rude beginnings of it recorded by Fitzstephen.[n.198.1]  What a source of additional interest to the winter landscape of our parks would have been lost but for the temporary ascendancy of the Long Parliament and Cromwell! Even so late as the days of Swift, skaiting seems to have been little known or practised out of London. In the Journal to Stella, he says ():--

Delicate walking weather, and the canal and Rosamond's Pond full of the rabble, sliding, and with skaits, if you know what that is.

Where such gay doings were going on on the canal in winter, and in all the year round, crowds were attracted by curiosity. The game itself attracted to the latter many who were fond of exercise, and many who liked to display their figures.


St. James's Park


wrote Pepys on the ,


I seeing many people play at pall-mall, where it pleased me mightily to hear a gallant, lately come from France, swear at


of his companions for suffering his man (a spruce blade) to be so saucy as strike a ball while his master was playing on

the Mall


But more contemplative personages enjoyed a walk in the park. The Diaries of Pepys and Evelyn bear witness how often they visited it. And in a letter addressed to Sir Christopher Wren ( of the earliest members of the Royal Society along with Pepys and Evelyn) in , Bishop Sprat says:--

You may recollect we went lately from Axe-yard to walk in

St. James's Park

, &c.

But for the gay flutterers of the park in

Charles's easy reign,

we must draw upon the poets who painted from life. Keeping in remembrance a passage formerly quoted, which tells us that opened upon , the Duke of Buckingham's description of , with its lindens and elms, and the way for foot passengers on side and that for carriages on the other, and that there was then as now an entry to the park from Pall-Mall at the west end of , the reader will find no difficulty in filling up the outlines of this sketch by Etherege :

Enter Sir Fopling Flutter and his equipage.

Sir Fop.Hey! bid the coachman send home four of his horses, and bring the coach to Whitehall; I'll walk over the park. Madam, the honour of kissing your fair hands is a happiness I missed this afternoon at my Lady Townly's.

LevYou were very obliging, Sir Fopling, the last time I saw you there.

Sir FopThe preference was due to your wit and beauty. Madam, your servant. There never was so sweet an evening.

Bellinda'T has drawn all the rabble of the town hither.

Sir Fop'Tis pity there's not an order made that none but the beau monde should walk here.

Lev'Twould add much to the beauty of the place. See what a set of nasty fellows are coming. Enter four ill-fashioned fellows, singing-'Tis not for kisses alone, &c.

LevFo! Their perriwigs are scented with tobacco so strong-

Sir FopIt overcomes my pulvilio,--Methinks I smell the coffee-house they come from.

1. ManDorimant's convenient, Madam Loveit

2. ManI like the Oylie-buttock that's with her.

3. ManWhat spruce prig is that?

1. ManA Caravan lately come from Paris.

2. ManPeace, they smoak--(sings)

There's something else to be done, &c.

After the death of Charles II., ceased to be the favourite haunt of the sovereign. The burning of , by occasioning the removal of the Court, may in part account for this--in part, the less gossiping turn of succeeding sovereigns. But the love of their subjects for this pleasing lounge was more lasting. Swift was a great frequenter of the Park. On the , he wrote to Stella--

I walked in the Park to-day, in spite of the weather, as I do every day when it does not actually rain ;

and on the


of the same month-

The days are now long enough to walk in the Park after dinner; and so I do whenever it is fair. This walking is a strange remedy: Mr. Prior walks to make himself fat; and I, to bring myself down; he has generally a cough, which he only calls a cold: we often walk round the Park together.

It was a family taste with Prior. Swift, expressing astonishment at so young a man standing so high in office, dilates upon the youthfulness of his father:--

His father is a man of pleasure, that walks

the Mall

, and frequents St. James's Coffee-house and the chocolate-houses, and the young son is Secretary of State.

The Dean, giving an account of his evening walks to his lodgings in , incidentally lets us know that the ladies too continued their patronage of the Park:--



May 15

. My way is this: I leave my best gown and periwig at Mrs. Vanhomrigh's, then walk up the

Pall Mall

, out at Buckingham House, and so to


, a little beyond the church. I set out about sunset and get there in something less than an hour: it is


good miles, and just



When I pass

the Mall

in the evening it is prodigious to see the number of ladies walking there; and I always cry shame at the ladies of Ireland, who never walk at all, as if their legs were of no use but to be laid aside.

His taste for evening walks experienced an interruption during the brief reign of the Mohocks: he had been frightened by some of his friends, who told him that these worthies had an especial malice against his person.-

March 9, 1712


I walked in the Park this evening, and came home early, to avoid the Mohocks.

Again, on the ,

Lord Winchelsea told me to-day at court that


of the Mohocks caught a maid of old Lady Winchelsea's, at the door of their house in the Park, with a candle, who had just lighted out somebody. They cut all her face and beat her, without any provocation.

Making allowance, however, for this brief ague fit, the years during which Swift was writing his

Journal to Stella

were probably the happiest of his life. The tone of the Journal is triumphant, sanguine of the future, dictatorial. In his imagination he is the arm that alone upholds the ministry, and he is wreaking old grudges against Whigs whom he disliked, and against Whigs (Steele and Addison) with whom he had no quarrel, except that they would not turn with him. He is petulant as a schoolboy, and quite as happy. The best of his playful hits of malice belong to this period. And yet, with the page of his after life now lying open before us, there is something painful in the intoxication of his gratified vanity. We are aware of its momentary duration, and of the long years of repining in a narrower sphere, wasting his strength in trifles through sheer horror of repose, paying a heavy penalty for his arrogance during his short exaltation, that are to ensue. Even the paralysis of his intellect which closed the fretful scene seems almost to be at work already in the giddiness of which he so often complains. Swift would not have felt much flattered by the remark, and yet it is true, that there is a strong analogy between him at this period of his life and the political upholsterer immortalised in the lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.-also a great haunter of the Park. The reader must consult the


for the

high argument

of this sage politician; and also for the profound dissertations of the




very odd fellows sitting together upon the bench at the upper end of

the Mall

--all of them

curiosities in their kind


politicians who used to sun themselves in that place every day about dinnertime.



Horace Walpole enjoyed and appreciated . It requires an indolent or a good-natured man to do the latter. Walpole, who was indolent, and Goldsmith (see the old philosopher leading his equally antiquated cousin along in his miscellaneous essays), who was good-natured, both appreciated it. Swift, who certainly was not good-natured, walked in it for his health; and Samuel Johnson, who was troubled with thick coming fancies in an incessantly working brain, sought to drown them in the roar of . To Horace Walpole's power of appreciating the Park we are indebted for a picture of a party of pleasure in , quite equal to Etherege's half a century before:--



June 23

. I had a card from Lady Caroline Petersham to go with her to


. I went accordingly to her house, and found her with the little Ashe, or the Pollard Ashe as they call her. They had just finished their last layer of red, and looked as handsome as crimson could make them.

We issued into

the Mall

to assemble our company, which was all the town, if we could get it; for just as many had been summoned, except Harry Vane, whom we met by chance. We mustered the Duke of Kingston, whom Lady Caroline says she has been trying for these


years; but alas! his beauty is at the fall of the leaf; Lord March, Mr. Whithead, a pretty Miss Beauclerc, and a very foolish Miss Sparre. These


damsels were trusted by their mothers for the


time to the matronly care of Lady Caroline. As we sailed up

the Mall

, with all our colours flying, Lord Petersham, with his hose and legs twisted to every point of crossness, strode by us at the outside, and re-passed again on the return. At the end of

the Mall

she called him: he would not answer; she gave a familiar spring, and between laugh and confusion ran up to him,

My lord, my lord, why you don't see us!

We advanced at a little distance, not a little awkward, in expectation how all this would end, for my lord never stirred his hat, or took the least notice of anybody; she said

Do you go with us, or are you going anywhere else?

I don't go with you-- am going somewhere else;

and away he stalked, as sulky as a ghost that nobody will speak to


. We got into the best order we could, and marched to our barge with a boat of French horns attending and little Ashe singing. We, paraded some time up the river, and at last debarked at



A remarkable feature in the Park, and the feelings of its habitual visitants, from the time of Pepys to that of Horace Walpole, is the nonchalance with which the gay world considered the other classes of society as something the presence of which ought in no way to interfere with their amusements. The beaux and belles looked upon the wearers of fustian jackets as a kind of dogs and parrots, who might be there without breaking in on the strict privacy of the place. The tobacco-scented periwigs which disturbed the equanimity of Loveit and Sir Fopling, were worn by the rude fellows of their own rank: the upholsterer and his fellows were silent and submissive. But this equanimity was not to last. Only years after the free and easy scene described by Horace Walpole, we ,find him writing-and by a curious coincidence on the same day of the same month-

My Lady Coventry and my niece Waldegrave have been mobbed in the Park: I am sorry the people of England take all their liberty out in insulting pretty women.

Additional light is thrown upon this passage by an anecdote inserted in the chronicle department of the

Annual Register

for :



20th June

. A person was taken into custody on Sunday evening by some gentlemen in

St. James's Park

, and delivered to the guard, for joining with and encouraging a mob to follow and grossly insult some ladies of fashion that were walking there, by which means they were put in great danger of their lives. He was yesterday brought before John Fielding and Theodore Sydenham, Esqrs., and this day the following submission appeared in the

Daily Advertiser.

(The apology, which is humble enough, is then given.) Insults of this kind have, notwithstanding this advertisement, been since repeated, and several persons have been apprehended for the like offence, who, it is to be hoped, will be punished with the utmost severity, in order to put a stop to such outrageous behaviour on the verge of the Royal Palace.

A paragraph in the volume of the same publication for shows how the toe of the peasant continued to gall the kibe of the courtier :--

June 24th

. Last Sunday some young gentlemen belonging to a merchant's counting-house, who were a little disgusted at the too frequent use of the bag-wig made by apprentices to the meanest mechanics, took the following method to burlesque that elegant piece of French furniture. Having a porter just come out of the country, they dressed him in a bag wig, laced ruffles, and Frenchified him up in the new mode, telling him that if he intended to make his fortune in town, he must dress himself like a gentleman on Sunday, go into

the Mall


St. James's Park

, and mix with people of the


rank. They went with him to the scene of action, and drove him in among his betters, where he behaved as he was directed, in a manner the most likely to render him conspicuous. All the company saw by the turning of his toes that the dancing-master had not done his duty; and by the swing of his arms, and his continually looking at his laced ruffles and silk stockings, they had reason to conclude it was the


time he had appeared in such a dress. The company gathered round him, which he at


took for applause, and held up his head a little higher than ordinary; but at last some gentlemen joining in conversation with him, by his dialect detected him and laughed him out of company. Several, however, seemed dissatisfied at the scoffs he received from a parcel of 'prentice boys, monkified in the same manner, who appeared like so many little curs round a mastiff, and snapped as he went along, without being sensible at the same time of their own weakness.

The disappearance of those distinctive marks in dress, which formerly told at once to what class an individual belonged, the gradual rise in refinement among all orders of society, and the restriction on the part of the aristocracy of what may be termed their undress amusements within the seclusion of their domestic privacy, at last put an end to these unseemly and unpleasant scenes. is more crowded now than ever with those who really have a taste for its beauties, or who enjoy finding themselves private in a crowd. All classes now mingle there, but in the progress of civil refinement they have all been toned down to an uniformity of appearance. This may be less picturesque, and less calculated to afford materials for scenic display than the old system, but it is on the whole much more comfortable--to use the exclusively English phrase. As the transition from the antediluvian state of Parkhood before the Restoration to the state of a stage for the gay world to flutter on, subsequent to that event, was marked by a change in the disposition of the grounds, so has the


comparatively recent euthanasia of the age of beaux and belles. Nash, under the auspices of George IV., effected another transformation in the appearance of . It was high time that something should be done. Rosamond's Pond had long passed away from this sublunary scene, having been filled up about ; the decoy had vanished; the tenants of the Bird-cage Walk were nowhere to be seen. The line of , and the formal length of the central canal, alone remained-formal and neglected in their formality. Enclosure of the central space, a judicious deviation from the straight line on the banks of the canal, and the planting of some new trees and shrubs, were all that was required to produce the present pleasing scene.


silent sister

(to borrow an epithet applied by Oxford and Cambridge to the Irish University) of the has only had the hand of judicious ornament extended to it within the present year. Its history is in a great measure like Viola's imaginary sister-

a blank.

It was not fenced in by royal residences like , on the verge of which the monarchy of England has built its bower- at , then at St. James's, and now at Buckingham Palace--for years, unable to tear itself away. is, in some sort, an out-of-door vestibule or ante-chamber to the Palace-frequented at times, it must be confessed, by courtiers of sufficiently uncouth appearance. But the was, until a recent period, away from the abodes of royalty and out of town. Looking from to the west, south, and east, the eye rested upon fields and meadows interspersed with villages. was not the street of palaces it has since become-many mean buildings being to be found in it. The too (compared with its neighbours) was left bare of adornment, more resembling a village green than an appendage of royalty. During the last century it was occasionally a haunt for duellists, and at times the scene of outrages, such as Swift mentions being perpetrated at the door of Lord Winchelsea's house by the Mohocks.. About the middle of the century some labourers employed in. cutting a drain across it from , east of the Ranger's lodge, found a human skeleton, which did not appear to have been in the ground above or years, and which bore traces of violence on the skull. Under the auspices of the new police, the , retaining its homeliness, has hitherto been a place for hand-ball and such amusements. The adornments of its neighbour are now extending to this neglected corner: it_ too has been set apart for the

enjoying of prospects.

It only remains to be mentioned, before we turn our attention to , that St. James's, although the seat where amusement seems to have taken up its favourite abode, has witnessed incidents of a more exciting character, in the same manner as the quiet of a domestic residence is sometimes invaded by the tragic occurrences of the restless world without. We read in the annals of the reign of Charles II., that the Duchess of Cleveland, walking dark night across the Park from St. James's to , was accosted and followed by men in masks, who offered her no violence, but continued to denounce her as of the causes of the national misery, and to prophesy that she would yet die the death of Jane Shore. It was at the entry to from the Park that Margaret Nicholson attempted the life of George III. In the Park the same monarch received at time the almost idolatrous homage of his subjects, and


at another was with difficulty rescued from the violence of the assembled multitude. Charles I. walked across the Park, guarded by a regiment of foot armed with partizans, to his execution at . His son, James II., walked across the Park from St. James's, where he had slept, to , on the morning of his coronation. When the Dutch guards of the Prince of Orange were by his orders marching through the Park to relieve the English guards of James posted at , the stout old Lord Craven made show of resistance, but received his master's orders to withdraw, and marched off with sullen dignity. This was the nearest approach to the actual intrusion of war into the Park, except when Wyatt, in the reign of Mary, marched his troops along the outside of its northern wall, and the royal artillery playing upon them from the heights sent its balls into the Park. But the mimic show of war has often appeared there. George Colman the younger (who by the bye was a native of the Park-born in a house the property of the Crown, which stood near the south-east corner of Rosamond's Pond), referring to , wrote :--

Although all scenery, except the scenery of a playhouse, was at that time lost upon me, I have thought since of the picturesque view which

St. James's Park

then presented: the encampment which had been formed in consequence of the recent riots (Lord George Gordon's) was breaking up, but many tents remained; and seeming to be scattered, from the removal of others, out of the formal line which they originally exhibited, the effect they produced under the trees and near the canal was uncommonly gay and pleasing.

Such of the present generation as witnessed the tents of the artillery pitched in the Park the evening before the coronation of her present Majesty, can form a pretty accurate conception of the scene witnessed by Colman. To these reminiscences belong the childish splendour of the Temple of Concord, and fire-works in the , in ; and the Chinese Bridge and Pagoda, and fire-works in , in .


[n.192.1] Quoted, but not named, in Brayley's Middlesex.

[n.198.1] Others there are who are still more expert in their amusements on the ice: they place certain bones, the leg-bones of some animal, under the soles of their feet, by tying them round their ankles, and then, taking a pole shod with iron into their hands, they push themselves forward by striking it against the ice, and are carried along with a velocity equal to that of a bird, or a ball discharged from a cross-bow. Sometimes two of them thus furnished agree to stand opposite to one another, at a great distance; they meet-elevate their poles-attack and strike each other, when one or both of them fall, and not without some bodily hurt; and even after their fall they shall be carried a good distance from each other by the rapidity of the motion. A tournament on the ice, not unlike the water-quintain. In Holland the immense extent of frozen canals in winter led to the employment of skaits in that season, and consequently to the perfection of the implement: in England, where skaiting never can be anything but an amusement, the art seems to have remained in its primitive rudeness till the Dutch taught it to the Cavaliers.