The million-peopled city

Garwood, John

1853

How the Disabled and Aged Soldier was previously supported in this Country.

It may be interesting to the reader that we should briefly glance at the mode in which the heavy payment now imposed upon us was dispensed with before had its foundation. We quote from a volume entitled, " and its Traditions," [1] by the , a former chaplain of the Hospital, but now Chaplain General of the Forces:-

" In ancient times the recompense of military merit was everywhere the same,-namely, donations of money or land, or both, proportionate in extent and value to the rank and services of the meritorious warrior. Under free Govern- ments, or such as had once been free, soldiers of every class partook in the State's bounty. The Athenians, besides maintaining out of the public fund all disabled and wounded soldiers, took care of the parents and children of such as fell in battle; while the Romans settled their discharged legion- aries in villages, called colonies, where each man occupied a farm on a sort of military tenure, perfectly independent of all the world besides. In like manner, the followers of those barbarous chiefs before whose might the colossal power of gave way, received, as the recompense of their valour, glebes or fields, which they cultivated for their own use, and

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bequeathed to their children, subject only to such conditions as a regard to the welfare of the community might impose. But the Northern barbarians came, as the Romans had done before them, into lands where equal rights were unknown, and practices, often loosely attributed to the feudal system, prevailed ... There grew up everywhere arrange- ments in social life, which in due time cut off the common soldier from all participation in the rewards which had heretofore been bestowed equally upon him and upon his leader.

" Under the feudal system, as it showed itself in the days of , the possession of land continued to be the great object of ambition; and was very liberal in his grants of lordships and manors to the chiefs who aided him in his contest with . It was on knights and barons, however, and on them alone, that these rich prizes were bestowed; for of the private soldiers no heed was taken, except, indeed, that each baron, attaching a certain portion of these to his own fortunes, carried them down to his estate, and used them there, as soon as the army broke up, as instruments for oppressing and plundering his neighbours. In like manner, during the unsettled and turbulent reigns of many of the succeeding monarchs, though estates continually changed their owners, they passed only from one great chief to another; for the spirit of feudalism was entirely opposed to the subdivision of land; and in that species of spoil, as it came day by day to be disposed of, the leaders of armies or the heads of factions alone took part. Yet were the followers of these rapacious barons far from suffering neglect. The supreme govern- ment, indeed, knew them not,-for the supreme government dealt only with persons who were in a condition to bring certain proportions of horse and foot into the field; but the baron himself was induced, both by honour and self-interest,

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to provide for the old age of such as had served him faith- fully. Many common soldiers became, therefore, hangers-on about the castle, - foresters, dog-feeders, hawk-trainers, seneschals, &c.; while others fell back into the station of serfs, and, cultivating the soil for their lord's benefit, received out of its produce the sort of sustenance to which in early life they had been accustomed. ... In exact proportion to the decay of the feeling of mutual pro- tection and allegiance which originally bound the lord to his tenant and the tenant to his lord, was the worn-out soldier cut off from the sources of established support which had been accessible to his ancestors. It is true that the convent door still stood open, and there, especially if he had served against the Infidels, an alms was freely given. But casual charity, however frequent, could furnish no compensation for the loss of a maintenance which every change in the manners of society rendered more and more insecure; for not only the effects of a growing commerce, which diffused wealth more and more equally through the different classes, but the spirit of chivalry itself, strange as the assertion may sound, was all against the private soldier. .

"Of any systematic plan for the relief of wounded or discharged soldiers, from the downfall of the feudal system up to reign, I cannot discover a trace. Occa- sional instances of Royal bounty are indeed recorded; as, for example, in the reign of ., when grants were made to private soldiers,-one to , being an annuity of four marks as a compensation for the loss of his hand at the battle of ,-the other to , a pension of ten pounds, by letters patent under the great seal, till he should obtain some permanent office. The latter, which, considering the value of money at the time, was a very handsome provision, is stated in the patent as having been bestowed ' for the good and agreeable service

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which he did unto us in berying and holdyng our standard of the black bull at the battle of .' But such occurrences were probably rare; at all events, chroniclers take no notice of them.

"With the reign of we open out, as it were, a new era in the history of this country. In the first place, England then began to play a more conspicuous part in the game of European politics than she had yet done since the days of her Edwards; and her armaments, both by sea and land, were consequently on a larger scale. In the next place, the work of the Reformation being completed, amid the unsparing plunder of the property of the , some evils were felt to accompany the benefits thence arising. The suppression of the monasteries, and the transference of a large portion of the tithes to lay impropriators, placed the clergy and the great body of the people in a new relation one towards another. The former were no longer in a condition to bestow those abundant alms, on which the latter had, doubtless, too much depended; and the latter, unable either to find employment or to subsist without it, suffered severe privations. For great changes had for some time been carried forward in the system of culture and general management of the soil, which consolidating occupa- tions and enclosing commons, had reduced multitudes of the peasantry to a state of absolute pauperism. These being cut off from their last resource, the priests' bounty, became desperate; insomuch that Parliament found it necessary to institute a system of compulsory relief, out of which, however humanely it might have been intended, enormous evils unquestionably arose. With the country in such a state, it would have been both impolitic and cruel to exclude the discharged soldier from the same kind of assistance which was awarded to the destitute peasant. Accordingly, by statute 43 of this reign, 'the majority of the justices of .

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the peace in their Easter sessions had power to charge every parish towards a weekly relief of maimed soldiers and mariners, so that no parish should pay weekly above ten- pence, or below twopence; nor any county which consisted of above fifty parishes to pay more than sixpence, one parish with another; which sums so taxed were to be assessed in every parish by the parishioners,-or, in default, by the churchwardens and constables,-or, in their default, by the next justice or justices of peace.' . . .[2]  Such is the substance of the Act of which first gave to the wounded and war-worn soldier a legal claim upon the bounty of his countrymen. It will be seen, however, that the footing on which it placed him was not of a nature to raise him in his own estimation, or in that of the people generally. He was treated as a pauper-not as one who had served his king, or shed his blood in defence of the land which doled out its unwilling alms to keep him from starving. Yet were the provisions thus made very imperfectly applied. With Elizabeth, indeed, expired for a time the martial feeling both of the court and the people; and old soldiers, like things out of date, were cast aside and forgotten.

" The reign of was a peaceable one, and its dura- tion-two-and-twenty years-sufficed to thin the numbers, at all times inconsiderable, of decayed soldiers in England. With the accession of , a different prospect opened. First, his foreign wars,-if indeed such expeditions as those to and deserve the name,-and latterly, the terrible struggle in which he engaged with his Parliament, put arms into the hands of a large portion of the male population throughout the kingdom. Yet the Royal exchequer was from the beginning to the end of the contest so thoroughly impoverished, that not only was the king unable to provide for his wounded and disabled adherents,

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but the means of paying the troops actually in the field were generally wanting. It was not so with the Parliament. Wielding a large share of the authority, and having com- plete command over the resources of the nation, that body was enabled to act in a more liberal spirit. Accordingly, on the , an Act was passed for the relief of maimed soldiers, as well as of the widows and orphans of men slain in battle, by imposing upon the parishes from which such soldiers might have enlisted a tax or assessment adequate to the necessity of each case. Such tax was to be levied by the same process and under the same authority as a poor-rate; and care was of course to be taken that none should derive benefit from it except those who, in their own persons, or by their husbands or fathers, had served the cause of the people against the Sovereign.

" Whatever might be the situation of the Parliamentary invalids, found, on reascending the throne of his ancestors, that the men who had followed his father's fortunes and suffered wounds in his cause were everywhere turned loose to beg their bread. Careless, but not wholly destitute of heart, the King early adopted measures with a view of bettering their condition as far as his limited means would allow, and passed, in the twelfth year of his reign, an Act which secured to discharged soldiers certain immunities. Such of them as had been apprentices were permitted to exercise the trades to which they were bound, even if they had failed to serve out their time; while others were authorized to follow, in any town or place within their native counties, any occupations for which they might be fitted. But to give a starving man leave to follow a regular calling, without at the same time furnishing him with means to begin business, is to con- tribute in a very slender degree to the amelioration of his Fortunes. In spite of this well-intended law, and of the old

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statute of, which still continued in force, both town and country swarmed with mendicants, almost all of whom, many doubtless unfairly, represented themselves as decayed loyalists. It was at this juncture that the circum- stance is said to have befallen, [which led to the formation of ]."

 
 
Footnotes:

[1] Pp. 8-18.

[2] Grose's Military Antiquities.

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 Title Page
 Preface
Chapter I: Criminal and Destitute London Juveniles, or the Ragged School Class
Criminal and Destitute London Juveniles, or the Ragged School Class
A distinct Class from Adult Thieves
Their extreme Youth, and sometimes Childhood
Great Severity of British, as compared with French, Law on Juvenile Offenders
Their especial Claim, when resident in London
Their supposed Numbers
The Classes from which they are drawn
The Training for Crime which they receive
Their Gradations in Proficiency
Importance of Missionary Operations among this Class
The Ragged School Movement
The Connexion of the Ragged schools with the Operations of the London City Mission
Ragged Schools in an especial manner free from the Difficulties of Difference of Creed and Interference with the Duties of Parents
Early Approaches to the Ragged School System
The first Ragged School in Lonon, as established in 'the Old Stable' at Westminster
The Report of this School, as printed by Order of the House of Commons
Mr. Charles Dicken's Account of the Plot of Ground on which this School stood, called 'The Devil's Acre'
Letter of the Children of this School to the City Missionary
New Pye-street Girls' School, April 10, 1843
Dickens's narrative of Emigrants from this School
The Field-lane ragged School described, as a second Illustration of these Institutions
Description of the adjacent notorious 'Thieves' Houses'
Formation of the School
Dickens's Narrative of different Visits to this School, and of the Improvements effected in the interim
Narrative of a Visit to this School, from 'Chambers's Edinburgh Journal'
This School first interested Lord Shaftesbury in the 'Movement'
Erection of a New Schoolroom with a large Dormitory
Review of the subsequent Progress of London Ragged Schools to the present Time
Industrial Schools
Refuges
Emigration
Sergeant Adams's Eulogy of the Efforts of Ragged School Teachers
Three Cases of Usefulness from the Ragged School Union Magazine
Case of Usefulness reported to the Author by a Clergyman
Two other Cases of Usefulness from the 'London City Mission Magazine'
The Shoe-blacks a most remarkable Illustration of the Success of the Efforts made to benefit this Class
Broomers, and how they might be made to cleanse London
Messengers
Steppers and Ragged Nursery
Comparison of the Expenses of Schools and Prisons
The especial Claims of Girls
Voluntary Effort, and that by the Masses, rather than Government Aid, to be especially rested on
Appointment of a Missionary by the London City Mission
Importance of Increased Exertions, in order to bring the whole of this Class under Ragged School Instrution
Concluding Remarks
Chapter II: Greenwich and Chelsea Pensioners
Greenwich and Chelsea Pensioners
Greenwich and Chelsea Hospitals fit Adornments to the two Shores of England's Metropolis
Greenwich Hospital
The Pensioners
Their Ages
Their Present Number
The Yearly Deaths
The Infirmary for the Sick and Dying
Religious and moral Character of the Pensioners, and Providsion made for their Instruction
The Pensioners not allowed to marry, and the bad Effects of this Rule
The Royal Hospital Schools
Law Agency in a peculiar manner important with these Men
The London City Mission, the only Agency of this Character in the Hospital
Need of a Second Paid Lay Visitor
Description of the Meeting of Pensioners held daily by the Missionary
Striking Cases of Usefulness among the Pensioners by this Agency
In A.D. 1851
In A.D. 1852
In A.D. 1853
Case of Usefulness among Out-pensioners, from the Scripture Readers' Association 'Occasional paper'
Chelsea Hospital
Its Origin
Nell Gwynne's Grant of the Building
Number of In-pensioners admitted
Their Character
Out-pensioners
The Pensioners' Opinions of the late Duke of Wellington, and of Lying-in-State
The Crowds of the Public who assembled to see the Spectacle
Number of Out-pensioners in different Years, according to the Prevalence of Peace or War
The immense Cost of the Pensioners to the nation, even at the Present Day
The Hotel des Invalides in Paris, established before Chelsea Hospital in London, and a Standing Army established in France before its Establishment in Enbland
How the Disabled and Aged Soldier was previously supported in this Country
The College was not completed till the Revolution
The Interest of William the Third and Fourth in the College
The College is for Invalids also
Ages of the Pensioners
Number of Deaths annually
The Burial-ground of Chelsea Hospital, and its Remarkable Epitaphs
Burial Registers
The Funeral of a Pensioner described
Flags and Trophies recently removed from St. Paul's Cathedral to Chelsea Hospital
Specimens of Certificates of Service given to Pensioners on their Admission to the College by their Commanding Officers
The Clasps worn by Pensioners to denote the Number of Battles in which they have engaged
Guard kept at the College in Military Style
Foreigners and different Creeds among the Pensioners
The heavy Manner in which Time hangs on their Hands
Cards, &c. introduced by the Authorities of the College to remedy this
Library, and its Defects
Gardening introduced by Lord John Russell
These Gardens were the former famed Ranelagh
Great Abuses in the Management of Chelsea Hospital abolished by Lord John Russell
Regulations as to Marriage more favourable to Morals at Chelsea than at Greenwich
The Royal Military Asylum for Boys
The Wellington Fund now raising for the Children of Officers
Gratitude of the Pensioners for Religious Instruction, and their Visit to City Missionaries, when the latter had been ill
Their Interest in Religious Tracts
Their Desire of Further Instruction
Number of Out-pensioners resident in the Metropolis
Facilities for, and Importance of, Benefitting these Men
Extracts from the Reports of a Missionary of the London City Mission
The especial Claims which Pensioners present on the Christian Benevolence of the Nation, and not of the Inhabitants of London only
Thankfulness for Peace
Immense Cost of War as compared with the Insignificant Amount which would now add greatly to their Comfort, and promote their Best Interests
Danger of Delay with Men so Aged
Chapter III: The London Cab-Driver
The London Cab-Driver
The Introduction of Coaches into London in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth
The riding Horses in previous Use
Coaches when introduced only by the very Highest Class of Society, and regarded as an effeminacy
On other Classes beginning the use of Coaches, the higher Classes continued to add to the Number of the Horses by which their Coaches were drawn, in order to retain a Superiority
The Introduction of Hackney Coaches kept at Inns, in the Reign of James I
Hackney Coach-stands in the Public Streets established
These Prohibited by the Proclamations of succeeding Kings, but in vain
The Two Centuries of Hackney-coach continuance
The Last Days of London Hackney-coaches
The Cabriolets of Paris
Their subsequent Introduction in London
The immense Increase in their Number during the Twenty Years of their Existence
Their present Number
The Cab-driver
The extensive Use of London Cabs on Sundays, and its injurious Effects on the Drivers
The Extortion complained of in Cabmen
The unlicensed Driver, and the extreme Depravity of this Class
Cab-drivers as a Body exposed to unjust Odium
Recent Alteration in the System of Licensing, and its Effects
Great Difference in the Character of London Cab-stands
The Waterman
First Efforts for the Religious Welfare of Cabmen as a Body, as made by the London City Mission
A Missionary appointed by that Society to visit them, and his Great Success
A Second Missionary appointed, but soon discontinued, through want of Funds for his Support
Cases recorded of his Usefulness
The Emigration of the First Missionary, and the Appointment of his Successor, with Review of his Efforts and Success
Cases of Usefulness recorded by the Cab Missionary of the London City Mission, last Year
Chapter IV: The London Omnibus Man
The London Omnibus Man
The Introduction of Omnibuses into London, and their previous Establishment in Paris
The Enterprise of Mr. Shillibeer, in starting Omnibuses in the English Metropolis, the Difficulties he encountered, and his subsequent Ruin
The Paris and London Omnibuses of the present day compared
The constant Litigation between the Proprietors of London Omnibuses after Mr. Shillibeer's Failure, and the consequent Establishment of large Omnibus Companies for the sake of Mutual Protection
The Immense Amount of the Capital and Annual Expenditure of the London Omnibus Trade
The vast Sums of Money spent by the London Population in Omnibus Riding
The Large Amount of Revenue which London Omnibuses produce to the Government
The very small Number of Omnibuses in the remainder of England, as compared with the Number in London
The almost incredible Length of Distance traversed periodically by the London Omnibuses
The constant Increase in the Number of London Omnibuses
The Metropolitan Omnibus Traffic greater in the Number of Passengers than the Metropolitan Railway Traffic
The Condition of the London Omnibus Men, and their present Numbers
Their Sunday Occupation in the Metropolis of a professedly Christian Country scarcely less than on Week-days, and sometimes greater, while an Extreme Amount of Toil is imposed on them during the Week
Lord Shaftesbury's Testimony of the Success of an Omnibus Proprietor who Discontinued Sunday Work
Testimonies as to the Toil of Omnibus-men from the Early Closed Association
From an Occasional paper of the Church Pastoral-Aid Society
From the Rev. J. T. Baylee's 'Statistics and Facts in reference to the Lord's-day'
Extract from 'Silverpen' as to the Wives and Families of Omnibus Servants
Medical Testimony as to the Injury of Labour so hard on the Constitution of the Men
Testimonies given to Mr. Mayhew as to the Severity of the Labour, by a Driver, a Conductor, and a Time-keeper
Their Wages
Their Temptations to Drink
Their Temptations to Embezzlement
Urgent Appeal as to the Heathenism of so Large a Body of Men
Reference to the Efforts of the London City Mission, in a Pamphlet entitled 'The Omnibus Men of London'
Recent Efforts of Omnibus Servants themselves to Improve their Condition
The Grand Junction Omnibus Comopany
The Introduction of Omnibuses has brought more together the different Parts of London
Concluding Appeal
Chapter V: The Irish of London
The Irish of London
Their Numbers
Their Country and their Race
St. Patrick
Subsequent Wars
Conquest of Ireland by Henry II, and its subsequent Oppression by the English
The Reformation in Ireland
The Protestant Colony of Ulster Established
The Battle of the Boyne, and its Consequences
The Union
Remarkable Increase of Population in Ireland during the close of the 18th and the commencement of the 19th Centuries
The pleasing Peculiarities in the irish Character
Their Hospitality
Their strong Natural Affection
The Native irish Poor more virtuous than the English Poor
Even the Good Qualities of the Irish cause them especially to need Faithful and Judicious Counsel and Visitation
Their Claim as Immigrants into, to them, a Strange Land
The Excellences of the Irish Character are beheld in London in their rudest form
How Popery has Marred and Debased the Irish Character
The Irish have been made thereby Idle
They have no Proper Feeling of Independence
Their Disloyalty
Their Spirit of Persecution and Hatred to Protestants
The Irish of London require 100 Missionaries or Scripture-readers, in order that the Gospel may be brought to their Abodes
The same Agency, for the effecting the same Results, is what is especially required for the Irish of London
Cardinal Wiseman's recent Denunciation of this Agency in London
Soundness of Protestant Feeling among the English working-classes
'The testimony of no single missionary is materially different'
The Persecution which the recent London Converts have had to endure
General Expectations of Irish Romanists that Ireland will soon become a Protestant, and England a Popish Country
The Causes of the Extensive Immigration of Irish to London in Recent Years
The better Class of Poor emigrate from Ireland to America, and the worst Class to London
The Divisions of the Irish of London into Cockneys and Grecians
The Irish of London, as divided into Connaught and Munster Men
Immigration of Immoral Irish Women
The Numbers of the Irish of London who can read English and Irish respectively estimated
Irish Protestants possess more Scriptual Knowledge than English Protestants
Extreme Ignorance on Scriptural Subjects of Irish Romanists, illustrated by Examples
The Irish, on arriving in London, rapidly lose their previous Religious Habits
London considered by the Irish as an Infidel City, in which, without Loss of Character, they may live in the Neglect of all Religious Observances
The Prevalence of Drunkness among the Irish and English compared
The Rookeries are the Parts of London in which the Irish Chiefly dwell
The Occupations of the Irish of London
Especial Suitableness of Irish Scripture-readers and Misisonaries for Irish Districts and the more Especial Facilities with which they may be obtained
Future Hopes
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