Born: Henry Fielding, dramatist and novelist, 1707; Immanuel Kant, German philosopher, 1724, Königsberg; James Grahame, poet, 1765, Glasgow.
Died: King Henry VII of England, 1509, Richmond; Antoine de Jussieu, eminent French botanist, 1758; Chretien Gillaume de Malsherbes, advocate, beheaded, 1794, Paris; Thomas Haynes Bailey, lyrical poet, 1839, Cheltenham.
Feast Day: Saints Epipodius and Alexander, martyrs at Lyons, 2nd century. Saints Soter and Caius, Popes, martyrs, 2nd and 3rd centuries. St. Leonides, father of Origen, 202. Saints Azades, Tharba, and others, martyrs in Persia, 341. St. Rufus, or Rufin, anchoret at Glendalough, near Dublin. St. Theodorus of Siceon, Bishop and Confessor, 613. St. Opportuna, Abbess of Montreuil, 770.
THE WANDERING JEW
The story of the Jew who had witnessed the Crucifixion, and had been condemned to live and wander over the earth until the time of Christ's second coming, while it is one of the most curious of the mediaeval legends, has a peculiar interest for us, because, so far as we can distinctly trace its history, it is first heard of with any circumstantial details in our island. The chronicler of the abbey of St. Albans, whose book was copied and continued by Matthew Paris, has recorded how, in the year 1228, 'a certain archbishop of Armenia Major came on a pilgrimage to England to see the relics of the saints, and visit the sacred places in this kingdom, as he had done in others; he also produced letters of recommendation from his Holiness the Pope to the religious men and prelates of the churches, in which they were enjoined to receive and entertain him with due reverence and honour. On his arrival, he came to St. Albans, where he was received with all respect by the abbot and monks; and at this place, being fatigued with his journey, he remained some days to rest himself and his followers, and a conversation took place between him and the inhabitants of the convent, by means of their interpreters, during which he made many inquiries relating to the religion and religious observances of this country, and told many strange things concerning the countries of the East.
In the course of conversation he was asked whether he had ever seen or heard anything of Joseph, a man of whom there was much talk in the world, who, when our Lord suffered, was present and spoke to him, and who is still alive, in evidence of the Christian faith; in reply to which a knight in his retinue, who was his interpreter, replied, speaking in French:
My Lord well knows that man, and a little before he took his way to the western countries, the said Joseph ate at the table of my lord the archbishop in Armenia, and he has often seen and held converse with him.' He was then asked about what had passed between Christ and the said Joseph, to which he replied, 'At the time of the suffering of Jesus Christ, he was seized by the Jews and led into the hall of judgment before Pilate, the governor, that he might be judged by him on the accusation of the Jews; and Pilate finding no cause for adjudging him to death, said to them, 'Take him and judge him according to your law;' the shouts of the Jews, however, increasing, he, at their request, released unto them Barabbas, and delivered Jesus to them to be crucified. When therefore the Jews were dragging Jesus forth, and had reached the door, Cartaphilus, a porter of the hall, in Pilate's service, as Jesus was going out of the door, impiously struck him on the back with his hand, and said in mockery, 'Go quicker, Jesus, go quicker; why do you loiter and Jesus, looking back on him with a severe countenance, said to him, 'I am going, and you will wait till I return.' And, according as our Lord said, this Cartaphilus is still awaiting his return.
At the time of our Lord's suffering he was thirty years old, and, when he attains the age of a hundred years, he always returns to the same age as he was when our Lord suffered. After Christ's death, when the Catholic faith gained ground, this Cartaphilus was baptized by Ananias (who also baptized the apostle Paul), and was called Joseph. He dwells in one or other division of Armenia, and in divers Eastern countries, passing his time amongst the bishops and other prelates of the church; he is a man of holy conversation, and religious; a man of few words, and circumspect in his behaviour, for he does not speak at all unless when questioned by the bishops and religious men, and then he tells of the events of old times, and of those which occurred at the suffering and resurrection of our Lord, and of the witnesses of the resurrection, namely, those who rose with Christ, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto men.
He also tells of the creed of the apostles, and of their separation and preaching. And all this he relates without smiling or levity of conversation, as one who is well practised in sorrow and the fear of God, always looking forward with fear to the coming of Jesus Christ, lest at the last judgment he should find him in anger, whom, when on his way to death, he had provoked to just vengeance. Numbers come to him from different parts of the world, enjoying his society and conversation; and to them, if they are men of authority, he explains all doubts on the matters on which he is questioned. He refuses all gifts that are offered to him, being content with slight food and clothing.
Such is the account of the Wandering Jew left us by a chronicler who was contemporary with what he relates, and we cannot doubt that there was such a person as the Armenian in question, and that some impostor had assumed the character of the Jew who was supposed to be still wandering about the world, until in the middle of the sixteenth century he made his appearance in Germany. He had now changed his name to Ahasuerus, and somewhat modified his story:
It was again a bishop who had seen him, when he attended a sermon at Hamburg, where a stranger appeared in the winter of 1542, who made himself remarkable by the great devotion with which he listened. When questioned, he said that he was by nation a Jew, that his original occupation had been that of a shoemaker, that he had been present at the passion of Jesus Christ, and that since that time he had wandered through many countries. He said that he was one of the Jews who dragged Christ before Pilate and were clamorous for his death, and on the way to the place of crucifixion, when Jesus stopped to rest, he pushed him forward, and told him rudely to go on. The Saviour looked at him, and said, 'I shall stop and repose, but thou shalt go on;' upon which the Jew was seized with an irresistible desire to wander, and had left his wife and children, whom he had never seen since, and had continued to travel from one country to another, until he now came to Germany.
The bishop described him as a tall man, apparently of about fifty years of age, with long hair, which hung down to his shoulders, who went barefooted, and wore a strange costume, consisting of sailor's trousers which reached to the feet, a petticoat which descended to the knees, and a mantle which also reached to the feet. He was always taciturn, was never seen to laugh, ate and drank little, and, if anybody offered him money, he never took more than two or three pence, which he afterwards gave away in charity, declaring that God contributed to all his wants. He related various events which he had seen in different countries and at different times, to people's great astonishment.
All these details, and many more, are told in a letter, dated the 29th of June 1564, which was printed in German and in French. On this occasion the Jew spoke good German, in the dialect of Saxony; but when he, or another person under the same character, appeared in the Netherlands in 1575, he spoke Spanish. A few years later the Wandering Jew arrived in Strasburg, and, presenting himself before the magistrates, informed them that he had visited their city just two hundred years before, 'which was proved to be true by a reference to the registers of the town.'
The Wandering Jew proceeded next to the West Indies, and returned thence to France, where he made his appearance in 1604, and appears to have caused a very considerable sensation. As during the time he was there the country was visited by destructive hurricanes, it was believed that these visitations accompanied the Jew in his wanderings, and this belief became so general that at the present day, in Brittany and Picardy, when a violent hurricane comes on, the peasantry are in the habit of making the sign of the cross, and exclaiming, 'C'est le Juif-errant qui passe!' Various accounts of the appearance of the Wandering Jew in differents parts of France at this time were printed, and he became the subject of more than one popular ballad, one of which is well known as still popular in France, and is sold commonly by the hawkers of books, the first lines of which are,-
Est-il rien sur la terre
Qui soit plus surprenant
Que la grande misere
Du pauvre Juif-errant?
Que son sort malheureux
Parait triste et facheux!
There is a well-known English ballad on the Wandering Jew, which is perhaps as old as the time of Elizabeth, and has been reprinted in Percy's Reliques, and in most English collections of old ballads. It relates to the Jew's appearance in Germany and Flanders in the sixteenth century. The first stanza of the English ballad is,
When as in fair Jerusalem
Our Saviour Christ did live,
And for the sins of all the world
His own dear life did give;
The wicked Jews with scoffs and scorn
Did dailye him molest,
That never till he left his life
Our Saviour could not rest.
On the 22nd of April 1774, the Wandering Jew, or some individual who had personated him, appeared in Brussels, where he told his story to the bourgeois, but he had changed his name, and now called himself Isaac Laquedem. The wanderer has not since been heard of, but is supposed to be travelling in some of the unknown parts of the globe. The Histoire admirable du Juif-errant, still printed and circulated in France, forms one of the class of books which our antiquaries call chap-books, and is full of fabulous stories which the Jew is made to tell with his own mouth.
THE TRIUMPH TAVERN - LONDON INNS, THEIR SIGNS AND TOKENS
April 22, 1661, Charles II made a formal procession from the Tower to Westminster, as a preliminary to his coronation, which was effected next day. The arches raised on this occasion were allowed to remain for a year, and the whole affair was commemorated by a new tavern at Charing-cross, taking to itself the name of the Pageant Tavern-alternately the Triumph Tavern -and on whose token money a specimen of the arches was given, as appears from the accompanying representation of one of the pieces. Pepys notes a visit he made to the Triumph Tavern in May 1662, in company with Captain Ferrars, to have a sly peep at the Portuguese maids of honour who had accompanied the queen, Catherine of Braganza, to England, and who do not seem to have pleased the worthy diarist, as he styles them 'sufficiently unagreeable.'
These trivial particulars may serve as a fit starting-point for a few notes regarding London taverns and hostelries of past ages, and the token money which they issued. The tavern life of old London opens a large field for the study of national manners, for they were not only places of convenient sojourn, or pleasant sociality, but the rendezvous of politicians and traders. In days when newspapers were scarce, and business was conducted more privately than at present, the nearest tavern took the place with the ordinary shopkeeper that the Royal Exchange occupied with the merchant. They lined the main thoroughfares of London, particularly the great leading one from High-street, Southwark, to the northern extremity of Bishopsgate; and that still more important 'main artery' which followed the course of the river from London-bridge by way of Cheapside, Fleet-street, and the Strand, to Westminster.
We will follow this latter roadway, noting the chief hostelries on our way, as they are among the most celebrated which London possessed, and are enough to indicate the associations of the whole class.
On the Southwark side of London-bridge stood a tavern known as 'The Bear at the Bridge-foot,' which retained a celebrity for some centuries. It was the house to which travellers resorted who wished to pass by water to Gravesend in the 'tilt-boats' which, in about two days, conveyed them to that-then-far-off locality. Of such convenience was this house to voyagers, that in 1633, when others were closed, this was exempted, 'for the convenience of passengers to Greenwich.' Pepys in his Diary more than once mentions this tavern; and, among other things, notes that the Duke of Richmond arranged that the king's cousin, the fair Frances Stewart, should leave the court privily, and join him 'at The Beare at the Bridge-foot,' where a coach was ready, and they are stole away into Kent, without the king's leave.' The antiquity of the house is noted in a poem of 1691, entitled 'The Last Search after Claret in Southwark:'
We came to the Bear, which we soon understood,
Was the first house in Southwark built after the flood.
It took its sign, doubtless, from the popular sport of bear-baiting, which was indulged in by the Londoners in the Southwark bear gardens, and the 'token' issued by one of the owners of this hostelry exhibits a chained and muzzled bear, as may be seen in our cut issued from the original in the British Museum. Cornelius Cook, who issued this coin, was connected with the parish of St. Olave's as early as 1630; he was a captain in the civic trainband, and afterwards a colonel in Cromwell's army; but at the Restoration he subsided into private life as mine host of the Bear, and took to the mintage of his own coin, like other innkeepers and traders.
We must now say a few words of this generally usurped privilege of coinage so universal in the middle of the seventeenth century. The want of an authorized money as small change had been felt long, and complained of. Farthings, half-pence, and pence, were all struck by the Government in silver, the farthings necessarily so small and thin as to be losses rather than gain to the trader: hence an authorized currency was established, and larger copper coins, known as 'Abbey-pieces,' and 'Nuremberg counters,' were issued by the great monastic establishments, and by traders, who exchanged each other's 'tokens,' they being, in fact, small accommodation bills payable at sight. The Abbey-pieces were large, about the size of a florin, and generally had a religious inscription in Latin around them; the 'Nuremberg counters' have sometimes a counting-table on one side and an emblematic device on the other. They originated at Nuremberg, and were imported in large quantities; the name of one maker, 'Hans Krauwinkel,' is of most frequent occurrence.
An attempt was made during the reign of Elizabeth to supersede this pseudo moneta by a legitimate copper currency; but her majesty had a magnificent contempt for any other than the precious metal to bear her authorized effigy, and never favoured the scheme. James the First granted a monopoly to Lord Harrington for the exclusive manufacture of copper tokens, but the whole affair was so discreditable to both parties, and dishonourable toward the public, that those issued privately by tradesmen were preferred, and rapidly increased during the reign of Charles I; and throughout the Commonwealth nearly every innkeeper and tradesman struck his own 'for necessarie chainge,' as they some-times inscribed upon them. Soon after the Restoration, the Government took the matter into their serious consideration; and in 1665, pattern farthings were struck in copper, having, for the first time, a figure of Britannia on the reverse; but it was not until 1671 that half-pence and farthings were generally issued, and it was not until 1674 that the traders' tokens were effectually prohibited by royal proclamation.
One of the most interesting of the tavern tokens is that issued by the host at the Boar's Head, in Eastcheap-the house immortalized by Shakspeare as the scene of Falstaff's jollities, and the resort of the bard and his dramatic brethren. It was destroyed in the Fire of London, after-wards rebuilt, and a stone-carved boar's head (as upon the token) placed over the door, with the date 1668 upon it, which 'sign' was removed to the Guildhall Library when the house was demolished to form the approaches to London-bridge.
Arrived at the Poultry (so called, says Stowe, because 'poulterers in the olden time dwelt and sold poultry at their stalls in the High-street '), the Rose Tavern first invites attention, as a house of ancient repute for good wines; here were also the 'Three Cranes,' and 'The Exchange Tavern,' all issuing tokens, the latter with a curious view of the building after which it was named.
Of the Cheapside taverns, the most renowned from its associations was the Mermaid, the resort of Ben Jonson and his literary friends, members of a club established by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1603, and numbering among them Shakspeare, Beaumont, Fletcher, Donne, Selden, and the noblest names in English authorship. Truly might Beaumont, in his poetical epistle to Jon-son, exclaim:
What things have seen
Done at the Mermaid; heard words that have been
So nimble, and so full of subtle flame,
As if that every one from whom they came
Had mean'd to put his whole wit in a jest!
This celebrated tavern stood behind the houses between Bread-street and Friday-street. The Mitre was close beside it, a house celebrated for its good cheer, and popularity with the bon-vivants of the days of Elizabeth and James the First. At the corner of Friday-street, nearly opposite, stood the famed 'Nag's Head,' a tavern the pretended scene of the consecration of the first Protestant archbishop-Parker of Canterbury-in the reign of Elizabeth (1559). His confirmation really took place at the church of St. Mary-le-Bow; but the party prejudices of the papistical writers induced them to transfer the locality to the Nag's Head tavern, where they frequently asserted the meeting and ordination took place; a fable fully refuted in Strype's Life of Parker.
At the north-west angle of St. Paul's there still remains one of the most whimsical of the old London signs - 'The Goose and Gridiron.' This tavern was in existence long before the Great Fire, up to which time it bore the graver designation of 'The Mitre.' It had become known through the concerts given here by the Society of Musicians, and their arms displaying the lyre of Apollo, surmounted by the crest of the swan, when the house was rebuilt, these figures, being adopted for the sign, were soon jocularly converted into the Goose and Gridiron; and now we have a veritable representation of the latter absurdity over the door. In the same way we have a giant's mouth with a bull in it to indicate the Bull and Mouth in Aldersgate-street, the sign originally being the mouth or harbour of Boulogne; and the 'Swan with Three Necks,' in Lad-lane, a bird represented with three heads on one body, though originally meant to indicate the three nicks or marks of ownership made on its bill. Well might Ben Jonson exclaim:
It even puts Apollo
To all his strength of art to follow
The flights, and to divine
What's meant by every sign.
Thus the Bell Savage on Ludgate-hill, when emblazoned with a painting of a savage man standing beside a bell, destroyed the reminiscences of its origin, which lay in the name of the innkeeper, Savage, attached to his hostelry 'The Bell.' We shall look long at 'The Pig and Tinder-box' ere we find its prototype in 'The Elephant and Castle,' but that it undoubtedly is. The 'Devil and Bag o' nails' is a vulgar corruption of the Satyr and Bacchanals which. some art-loving landlord placed over his door. The faithful governor of Calais - 'Caton Fidele '-is trans-formed into 'The Cat and Fiddle; 'Sir Cloudesley Shovel, Queen Anne's brave admiral, into 'The Ship and Shovel;' and Mercury, the messenger of the gods, into 'The Goat in Boots.' A writer in the British Apollo, 1707, says:
I'm amused at the signs
As I pass through the town,
To see the odd mixture-
A Magpie and Crown,
The Whale and the Crow,
The Razor and Hen,
The Leg and Seven Stars,
The Scissors and Pen,
The Axe and the Bottle,
The Tun and the Lute,
The Eagle and Child,
The Shovel and Boot.
Such strange combinations are, however, easily comprehensible when we remember that it was the custom to combine a new sign with an old one, that apprentices placed their masters' with their own, and that others, like 'The Eagle and Child,' are the badges of old families. From the latter come our red lions, blue boars, antelopes, griffins, swans, and dragons. To have a large showy sign, brilliantly painted and gilt, was the chief desire of a tavern in the old time, and there were many artists who lived well by sign-painting. Chief among them was Isaac Fuller, whom Vertue notes as 'much employed to paint the great taverns in London,' the chief rooms being often adorned on walls and ceiling after the fashion of noble mansions. When the first exhibition of pictures by living English artists was opened in 1760, the sneerers at native talent announced by advertisements in the daily papers that preparations were making for a rival 'exhibition of curious signs by brokers and sign-painters.'
Fleet-street has been long celebrated for its taverns. Many of old foundation and with quaint signs still remain; others have passed away, leaving an undying celebrity. 'The Bolt-in-Tun' was the punning heraldic badge of Prior Bolton, the last of the ancient clerical rulers of St. Bartholomew's prior to the Reformation. Peele's coffee-house, at the corner of Fetter-lane, has been established more than 150 years; 'The Hole-in-the-Wall,' near it, is a characteristic house, behind the main line of building, approached by a passage or hole in the wall of the front house; this is the case with most of the old inns here, which. had originally ground in front of them, afterwards encroached on by building. The Rainbow ' was celebrated as the first coffee-house opened in London. The Mitre' was established here after the Great Fire had destroyed the original tavern in Cheapside.
The King's Head' stood at the corner of Chancery-lane, and was as old as the time of Edward VI. It was a picturesque pile, and is more familiar to modern men than any of the famed hostelries of the past, as it was the residence of Isaac Walton, and appears in all illustrated editions of his 'Angler,' which he advertises to be 'sold at his shop in Fleet-street, under the King's Head tavern,' the public rooms of the tavern being on the first floor. Nearly opposite, and again behind the houses, is 'Dick's Tavern,' which stands on the site of the printing office of Richard Tottel, law-stationer in the reign of Henry VIII. Facing this is another famed tavern, 'The Cock,' also approached by an alley; it was a favourite retreat of lawyers and law-students in the last century, and is renowned in modern lyrics by Alfred Tennyson in 'Will Waterproof's Monologue.' Its proprietor during the Great Plague closed it entirely, and advertised the fact 'to all persons who have any accompts with the master, or farthings belonging to the said house,' that they might be paid or exchanged for the proper currency. We engrave one of this honest man's farthings.
None of the Fleet-street taverns are surrounded with an interest equal to that known as 'The Devil,' situated within two doors of Temple Bar, on the south side of the street, where Child's-place is now situated. It was a favourite haunt of the wits and lawyers, and the latter placarded their chamber doors with the announcement gone to the 'Devil,' when they needed refreshment. The sign represented St. Dunstan seizing the devil by the nose when he came to tempt him during his labour at the goldsmith's forge, according to the old legend. As this tale was depicted on the sign, it is shewn in the 'token' of its landlord, here engraved, which was issued in the early part of the reign of Charles the Second. The fame of the saint was completely submerged in that of his sable opponent, and the tavern only known by the name of the latter from the days of Ben Jonson, who has given it endless fame. It was then kept by Simon Wadloe, and appears to have been in the hands of his descendants when this token was issued.
Aubrey tells us that 'Ben Jonson, to be near the Devil Tavern, lived without Temple Bar, at a combmaker's shop.' Here he removed the wits from the Mermaid at Cheap-side, and founded the renowned Apollo club, writing his admirable 'sociable rules 'for its guidance, in his favourite Latin, which has been translated into English verse by Brome, one of his poetic 'sons,' for thus he termed the men admitted. Near the door was placed a gilded bust of Apollo, and a 'Welcome' in flowing hearty rhymes, by the great poet. When the famed old tavern gave place to other buildings, this bust and inscribed board found a resting-place in Child's bank, where they may still be seen; they have been re-gilt and re-painted from time to time, but the original lettering of Ben's era may be still detected under the more modern paint.
Palsgrave-place, a little beyond Temple Bar, marks the spot where once stood the 'Palsgrave's Head Tavern,' a sign adopted in the reign of James the First, in honour of Frederick, Pals-grave of the Rhine, who married the king's daughter, the Princess Elizabeth. Ship-yard, opposite, denotes the sign of the Ship, a house established in honour of Sir Francis Drake, and taking for its sign the bark in which he circumnavigated the world.
Such are a few of the interesting associations connected with London taverns and their money tokens. The subject of London tokens generally has been treated in an octavo volume by Mr. Alterman, the late Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries; also by Mr. J. H. Burn, whose excellent volume was published at the expense of the Corporation of London; since these were printed, a more extensive quarto volume, with an abundance of illustration, has been published by Mr. Boyne, and devoted to the description of all issued throughout the kingdom.
FAMOUS LONDON TAVERN KEEPERS
One of the most noted tavern keepers of the last century was Le Beck, whose portrait was painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, wearing a linen cap, and holding a glass. Le Beck distinguished himself by providing the best food, exquisitely cooked, and the most admirable wines; nor did he yield to any of his compeers in the extravagance of his charges. Perhaps Le Beck's temple was the best provided in London for the devotees of the Epicurean sect; and their high priest seems to have been a huge, powerful-looking man, fit for the ancient office of killing the largest victims offered at their altars. His mighty head became the sign of a noted tavern in the reign after Le Beck himself had disappeared.
Le Beck was not, however, without his rivals. In the Hind and Panther Transversed is mentioned, with Epicurean honour, Pontack's, a celebrated French eating-house, in Abchurch-lane, in the City, where the annual dinners of the Royal Society were held until 1746:
What wretch would nibble on a hanging shelf,
When at Pontack's he may regale himself?
Drawers must be trusted, through whose hands conveyed
You take the liquor, or you spoil the trade;
For sure those honest fellows have no knack
Of putting off stum'd claret for Pontack.
Evelyn describes Pontack as son to the famous and wise prime President of Bordeaux, whose head was painted for the tavern sign. Defoe, in 1722, describes the best French claret as named after him: 'here you may bespeak a dinner from four or five shillings a head to a guinea, or what sum you please;' and Swift describes the wine at seven shillings a flask, adding, 'Are not these pretty rates?'
Among its extravagances, in the bill of fare of 'a guinea ordinary figure,' we read 'a ragout of fatted snails,' and 'chickens not two hours out of the shell.'
The Castle, near Covent Garden, was memorable for its celebrated cook, Tom Pierce. Here a most gallant act was performed by some men of gaiety, who, taking off one of the shoes from a noted belle, filled it with wine, and drank her health, and then consigned it to Pierce to dress for them; when Tom produced it exquisitely ragooed for their supper. The wits of that day wrote against its luxuries, though they did not refuse to partake of them. Garth sings the happiness of the contented rural rector, who has good plain food nicely dressed; for, with him, No cook with art increased physicians' fees, Nor served up death in soups and fricassees.'