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Barn Elms, formerly the residence of Jacob Tonson the elder, bookseller, who was secretary to the Kit-Kat Club. The servants in charge of the house knew nothing of the olden fame of the place ; but in reply to Sir Richard's inquiries, one servant exclaimed, “I should not wonder if the gentleman means the philosophers' room." “ Aye,” rejoined his comrade, “I remember somebody coming once before to see something of this sort, and my master sent him there." Sir Richard proceeds to relate:

“I requested then to be shown to this room; when I was conducted across a detached garden, and brought to a handsome structure in the architectural style of the early part of the last century-evidently the establishment of the KitKat Club.

“A walk covered with docks, thistles, nettles, and high grass, led from the remains of a gateway in the garden wall, to the door which opened into the building. Ah! thought I, along this desolate avenue the finest geniuses in England gaily proceeded to meet their friends ;-yet within a century, how changed-how deserted—how revolting! A cold chill seized me as the man unfastened the decayed door of the building, and as I beheld the once elegant hall filled with cobwebs, a fallen ceiling, and accumulating rubbish. On the right, the present proprietor had erected a copper, and converted one of the parlours into a wash-house! The door on the left led to a spacious and once superb staircase, now in ruins, filled with dense cobwebs, which hung from the lofty ceiling, and seemed to be deserted, even by the spiders! The entire building, for want of ventilation, having become food for the fungus called dry-rot, the timber had lost its cohesive powers. I ascended the staircase, therefore, with a feeling of danger, to which the man would not expose himself;—but I was well requited for my pains. Here I found the Kit-Kat Clubroom,—nearly as it existed in the days of its glory. It is eighteen feet high, and forty feet long, by twenty wide. The mouldings and ornaments were in the most superb fashion of its age; but the whole was falling to pieces, from the effects of the dry-rot.

My attention was chiefly attracted by the faded cloth hangings of the room, whose red colour once set off the famous portraits of the Club that hung around the room. Their marks and size were still visible, and the numbers and names remain, written in chalk, for the guidance of the

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hanger! Thus was I, as it were, by these still legible names, brought into personal contact with Addison, and Steele, and Congreve, and Garth, and Dryden, and with many hereditary nobles, remembered only because they were patrons of those natural nobles. I read their names aloud ?-I invoked their departed spirits !-I was appalled by the echo of my own voice! The holes in the floor, the forests of cobwebs in the windows, and a swallow's nest in the corner of the ceiling, proclaimed that I was viewing a vision of the dreamers of a past age ;-that I saw realized before me the speaking vanities of the anxious career of man !

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“On rejoining the man in the hall below, and expressing my grief that so interesting a building should be suffered to go to decay for want of attention, he told me that his master intended to pull it down, and unite it to an adjoining barn, so as to form of the two a riding-house; and I learn that this design has since been executed !

“ The Kit-Kat pictures were painted early in the eighteenth century, and about the year 1710 were brought to this spot; but the room I have been describing was not built till ten or fifteen years afterwards. The pictures were forty-two in number, and were presented by the members to the elder Tonson, who died 1736. He left them to his great-nephew, also an eminent bookseller, who died in 1767. They were then removed from this building to the house of his brother, at Water Oakley, near Windsor : and on his death to the house of Mr. Baker, of Bayfordbury, where I lately saw them splendidly lodged, and in fine preservation. It may be proper to observe that Barn Elms was not the house of Mr. Tonson, which stood nearer to the Kit-Kat Club-room, and was a few years since taken down.”

Brayley's History of Surrey, 1850, gives but a meagre account of the place as follows: “ Near Barn Elms was a house which belonged to Jacob Tonson the elder, bookseller, who was secretary to a society of noblemen and gentlemen, called the Kit-Kat Club. The meetings were at one period held in an apartment here, (now a laundry,) which Mr. Tonson had erected for their accommodation ; and which, a few years after, was ornamented with portraits of all the members, painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller.”

Brayley adds in a note, referring to the Memoirs of the members, with 48 portraits, published in folio, in 1821,

that the Club, after removing from Shire-lane, met at Christopher Kat's other abode, the Fountain, in the Strand. (This is doubtful.) As Tonson's room at Barnes, where the Club often dined, and where the portraits were originally intended to be placed, (they were so placed,) was not lofty enough for what are called half-length pictures, a shorter canvas was used, (36 inches long, and 28 inches wide,) but sufficiently long to admit a hand. This occasioned the Kit-Kat size to become a technical term in painting for such pictures as were of similar dimensions and form.


THE MAYOR OF GARRETT.-(Page 216.) Sir Richard Phillips, in his Morning's Walk from London to Kew, 1817, gives the following interesting details of the Garrett Elections :

Wandsworth having been the once-famed scene of those humorous popular elections of a mayor or member for Garrett; and the subject serving to illustrate the manners of the times, and abounding in original features of character,— I collected among some of its older inhabitants a variety of amusing facts and documents, relative to the eccentric candidates and their elections.

Southward of Wandsworth, a road extends nearly two miles to the village of Lower Tooting; and nearly midway are a few houses, or a hamlet, by the side of a small common called Garrett, from which the road itself is called Garrett-lane. Various encroachments on this common led to an association of the neighbours about threescore years since, when they chose a president, or mayor, to protect their rights; and the time of their first election being the period of a new parliament, it was agreed that the mayor should be re-chosen after every general election. Some facetious members of the Club gave, in a few years, local notoriety to this election ; and when party-spirit ran high in the days of Wilkes and Liberty, it was easy to create an appetite for a burlesque election among the lower orders of the metropolis. The publicans at Wandsworth, Tooting, Battersea, Clapham, and Vauxhall made a purse to give it character; and Mr. Foote rendered its interest universal, by calling one of his inimitable farces the Mayor of Garrett. I have, indeed, been told that Foote, Garrick, and Wilkes wrote some of the candidates' addresses, for the purpose of instructing the people in the corruptions which attend elections to the legislature, and of producing those reforms by means of ridicule and shame, which are vainly expected from solemn appeals of argument and patriotism.

Not being able to find the members for Garrett in Beatson's Political Index, or in any of the Court Calendars, I am obliged to depend on tradition for information in regard to the early history of this famous borough. The first mayor of whom I could hear was called Sir John Harper. He filled the seat during two parliaments, and was, it appears, a man of wit ; for on a dead cat being thrown at hiin on the hustings,


and a bystander exclaiming that it stunk worse than a fox, Sir John vociferated, “That's no wonder, for you see it's a" This noted baronet was in the metropolis a retailer of brick-dust; and his Garrett honour being supposed to be a means of improving his trade and the condition of his ass, many characters in similar occupations were led to aspire to the same distinctions.

He was succeeded by Sir Jeffrey Dunstan, who was returned for three parliaments, and was the most popular candidate that ever appeared on the Garrett hustings. His occupation was that of buying old wigs, once an article of trade like that in old clothes, but become obsolete since the full-bottomed and full-dress wigs of both sexes went out of fashion. Sir Jeffrey usually carried his wig-bag over his shoulder, and to avoid the charge of vagrancy, vociferated, as he passed along the streets, “old wigs ;" but having a person like Æsop, and a countenance and manner marked by irresistible humour, he never appeared without a train of boys and curious persons, whom he entertained by his sallies of wit, shrewd sayings, and smart repartees ; and from whom, without begging, he collected sufficient to maintain his dignity of mayor and knight. He was no respecter of persons, and was so severe in his jokes on the corruptions and compromises of power, that under the iron régime of Pitt and Dundas, this political Punch, or street-jester, was prosecuted for using what were then called seditious expressions ; and as a caricature on the times, which ought never to be forgotten, he was, in 1793, tried, convicted, and imprisoned ! In consequence of this affair, and some charges of dishonesty, he lost his popularity, and at the general election for 1796, was ousted by Sir Harry Dinisdale, muffin-seller, a man as much deformed as himself. Sir Jeffrey could not long survive his fall, for in 1797 he died of suffocation from excessive drinking.

Sir Harry Dimsdale dying before the next general election, and no candidate starting of sufficient originality of character, and what was still more fatal, the victuallers having failed to raise a public purse, the borough of Garrett has since remained vacant, and the populace have been without a professed political buffoon. None but those who have seen a London mob on any great holiday can form any just idea of these elections. On several occasions, a hundred thousand persons, half of them in carts, in hackney-coaches, and on horse and ass-back, covered the various roads from London, and choked up all the approaches to the place of election. At the two last elections, I was told that the road within a mile of Wandsworth was so blocked up by vehicles, that none could move backward or forward during many hours; and that the candidates, dressed like chimney-sweepers on May-day, or in the mock fashion of the period, were brought to the hustings in the carriages of peers, drawn by six horses, the owners themselves condescending to become their drivers !

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The following delightful letter is printed in Mr. Forster's “ Notes and Corrections.” It is dated Edinburgh, Sept. 26, 1753; and is addressed to Robert Bryanton, at Ballymahon, Ireland :


How many good excuses (and you know was ever good at an excuse,) might I call up to vindicate my past shameful silence. I might tell you how I wrote a long letter on my first coming hither, and seem vastly angry at my not receiving an answer ; I might allege that business (with business, you know, I was always pestered) had never given me time to finger a pen. But I suppress those, and twenty more as plausible, and as easily invented, since they might be attended with a slight inconvenience of being known to be lies. Let me then speak truth. An hereditary indolence (I have it from the mother's side) has hitherto prevented my writing to you, and still prevents my writing at least twenty-five letters more due to my friends in Ireland. No turnspit-dog gets up into his wheel with more reluctance than I sit down to write ; yet no dog ever loved the roast meat he turns better than I do him I now address.

Yet what shall I say now I am entered ? Shall I tire with a description of this unfruitful country ; where I must lead you over the hills all brown with heath, or their valleys scarcely able to feed a rabbit ? Man alone seems to be the only creature who has arrived to the natural size in this poor soil. Every part of the country presents the same dismal landscape. No grove, nor brook, lend their music to cheer the stranger, or make the inhabitants forget their poverty. Yet, with all these disadvantages to call him down to humility, a Scotchman is one of the proudest things alive. The poor bave pride ever ready to relieve them. If mankind should happen to despise them, they are masters of their own ad. miration ; and that they can plentifully bestow upon themselves. From their pride and poverty, as I take it, results one advantage this country enjoys ; namely, the gentlemen here are much better bred than among

No such characters here as our fox-hunters; and they have expressed great surprise when I informed them, that some men in Ireland of one thousand pounds a-year, spend their whole lives in running after a hare, drinking to be drunk, and . ... Truly, if such a being, equipped in his hunting dress, came among a circle of Scotch gentry, they would behold bin with the same astonishment that a countryman does King George on horseback.

The men here have generally high cheek-bones, and are lean and swarthy, fond of action, dancing in particular. Now that I have mentioned dancing, let me say something of their balls, which are very fre

When a stranger enters the dancing hall, he sees one end of the room taken up by the ladies, who sit dismally in a group by themselves : in the other end stand their pensive partners that are to be: but no more intercourse between the sexes than there is between two countries at war. The ladies indeed may ogle, and the gentlemen sigh ; but an embargo is laid on any closer commerce. At length, to interrupt hostilities, the lady-directress, or intendant, or what you will, pitches upon a lady and gentleman to walk a minuet; which they perform with a formality approaching to despondence. After five or six couple have thus walked the gauntlet, all stand up to country dances ; each gentleman furnished with

a partner by the aforesaid lady-directress ; so they dance much, say nothing, and thus concludes our assembly. I told a Scotch gentleinan that such profound silence resembled the ancient procession of the Roman matrons in honour of Ceres ; and the

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quent here.

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