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April 10th

Born: Hugo Grotius, historical and theological writer, 1583, Delft; Sir John Pringle, P.R.S., medical writer, 1707, Satchel, Roxburghshire; William Hazlitt, miscellaneous writer, 1778, Maidstone. Michael Hillman, Equestrian, New London, Ct. 1956

Died: Louis II, King of France, 'Le Beque,' 879; William, Earl of Pembroke, 1630; Jean Lebeuf, French antiquarian writer, 1760; Prince Eugene of Savoy, 1736, Vienna; William Cheselden, anatomist, 1752; Admiral John Byron, 1786; La-grange, French mathematician, 1813, Paris; Paul Courier, French novelist, 1825; Cardinal Weld, 1837, Rome; Alexander Nasmyth, painter, 1840, Edinburgh.

Feast Day: St. Bademus, abbot, martyr, 376. B. Mechtildes, virgin and abbess, 14th century.


The only incident of religious history connected with the 10th of April that is noticed in a French work resembling the present, is the introduction by King Pepin, of France, of an organ into the Church of St. Corneille at Compiegne, in the year 787�rather a minute fact to be so signalised; suggesting, however, the very considerable antiquity of the instrument in association with devotion. It may be remarked that the bagpipe is believed by the historians of music to be the basis of the organ: the organ is, in its primitive form, a bagpipe put into a more mechanical form, and furnished with a key-board. And this, again, suggests how odd it is that Scotland, which still preserves the bagpipe as a national instrument, should have all along, in her religious history, treated its descendant, the organ, with such contumely.

When the Scots invaded the northern parts in 1640, a sergeant-major was billeted in one Mr. Calvert's house, who was musically disposed, and had a portative organ for his pleasure in one of his chambers. The Scotchman, being of the preciser strain, and seeing the instrument open, "Art thou a kirkman?" says he. "No, sir," says he (Mr. Calvert). "Then, what the de'il, man," returns the Scot, " dost thou with this same great box o' whistles here?" '�Thoms's Anecdotes and Traditions.


The name of this day is almost the only one applied in England, in the manner of our French neighbours, as a denomination for an event. And yet the event was, after all, one of slight ultimate importance. It was an apparent danger to the peace of the country, and one which was easily turned aside and neutralised.

The Parisian Revolution of February, 1818, had, as usual, stirred up and brought into violent action all the discontents of Europe. Even in happy England there was a discontent, one involving certain sections of the working classes, and referring rather to certain speculative political claims than to any practical grievance. The Chartists, as they were called, deemed this a good opportunity for pressing their claims, and they resolved to do so with a demonstration of their numbers, thus hinting at the physical force which they possessed, but probably without any serious designs against the peace of their fellow-citizens.

It was arranged that a monster petition should be presented to parliament on the 10th of April, after being paraded through London by a procession. The Government, fearing that an outbreak of violence might take place, as had happened already at Manchester, Glasgow, and other large towns, assembled large bodies of troops, planted cannon in the neighbourhood of Westminster Bridge, and garrisoned the public offices; at the same time a vast number of the citizens were sworn in as special constables to patrol the streets.

The Chartists met on Kennington Common, under the presidency of Mr. Feargus O'Connor, M.P., but their sense of the preparations made for the preservation of the peace, and a hint that they would not be allowed to cross the bridges in force, took away all hope of their intended demonstration. Their petition was quietly taken `in three cabs' along Vauxhall Bridge, and presented to the House of Commons; the multitude dispersed; by four o'clock in the afternoon London had resumed its ordinary appearances, and the Tenth of April remained only a memory of an apprehended danger judiciously met and averted.


The custom of hoarding or burying money belongs either to a rude or a disturbed state of society. Where matters are more systematic and peaceful, spare cash can always be made to yield interest. Sometimes, in past years, the hiding of treasure arose from a sort of diseased activity of the money-loving propensity. A singular case of this kind occurred in 1843. On the 10th of April, eight labourers were employed in grubbing up trees at Tufnell Park, near High-gate, and during their labours they lighted upon two jars containing nearly four hundred sovereigns in gold. They divided the money, and one of them spent his share; but soon afterwards Mr. Tufnell, lord of the manor, claimed the whole of it as treasure-trove.

There is a complex law, partly statute and partly civil, relating to the recovery of treasure for which the original owner does not apply; and according to the circumstances of the finding, the property belongs to the Crown, to the lord of the manor, or to the finder, or to two out of these three. While the eight labourers were anxiously puzzling over Mr. Tufnell's claim, the real owner stepped forward, and told a singular tale. He was a brass-founder living in Clerkenwell; and being about nine months before under a temporary mental delusion, he one night took out two jars of sovereigns with him, and buried them in the field at Tufnell Park. Being able to prove these facts, his claim to the money was admitted. In other cases, the burying of treasure results not from any delusion, but from the ignorance of the owner as to any better mode of securing it. In 1820, some labouring men, on clearing out a ditch at Bristol, found a number of guineas and half-guineas, and a silver snuff-box. Some time afterwards a sailor was seen to be disconsolately grubbing at that spot; and on inquiry, it appeared that, before starting on his last voyage, he had hidden behind the ditch his few worldly treasures, and had cut a notch in a tree to denote the spot.

Times of trouble, as we have said, led to frequent buryings of treasure. In 1820, the foundations of some old houses were being removed at Exeter, and during the operations the workmen came upon a large collection of silver coins. They made merry and got drunk on the occasion, which attracted the attention of their employer; he caused more careful examination to be made, which resulted in the discovery of a second heap of coins, in a hole covered with a flat stone. The coins were of all dates, from Henry the Eighth to Charles the First or the Commonwealth; and it is not improbable that the disturbed state of affairs in the middle of the seventeenth century led to this mode of securing treasure.

The French Revolution was fruitful in such proceedings, some of which came to light in our own country. In January 1836, at Great Stanmore, the rector's coachman and gardener found in a field on the side of a ditch, a heap of more than three hundred and sixty foreign gold coins, comprising louis d'ors, Napoleons, doubloons, and other kinds, worth on an average more than a guinea a-piece. The wife of one of the men told the rector's wife; and then came an inquiry�to whom did or should the treasure belong?

As soon as the news became noised abroad, excited villagers rushed to the spot, and found stores far more rich than that which had set the place in commotion, amounting to nearly four thousand pounds in value. The finders naturally claimed it; then the rector claimed it, because it had been found on glebe-land; and then the Crown appointed a regular coroner's inquest (in accordance with an ancient usage) to investigate the whole matter. During the inquiry, some singular evidence came out.

About twenty years earlier, when the downfall of Napoleon had led to the resuscitation of the Bourbons, a foreigner came to reside at Stanmore; he used to walk about the fields in an abstracted manner, and was naturally regarded by the villagers as a singular character. He suddenly left the place, and never reappeared. Two years after the stranger's departure, another person came, searched about the fields, and made minute inquiries concerning some hidden wealth. He stated that the foreigner who had formerly lived at Stanmore was dead; that on his deathbed he had revealed the fact of having hidden considerable treasure; and that he had sketched a ground-plan of the field where the hoard lay.

On comparing notes it appeared that, during the long intervening period, two ash-trees had been removed from the side of the ditch; that this change had prevented the foreigner's agent or heir from identifying the spot; and that a change in the watercourse had gradually washed away the earth and left the coins exposed. As a question of probability, we may conjecture that the troubled state of France had something to do with this burying of the foreigner's treasure; as a question of law, the amount reverted to the Crown as treasure-trove.


Bell MenIn London, and probably other English cities, in the seventeenth century, the Bellman was the recognised term for what we would now call a night watchman, being derived from the hand-bell which the man carried in order to give alarm in case of fire. In the Luttrell Collection of Broadsides (Brit. Mus.) is one dated 1683-4, entitled 'A Copy of Verses presented by Isaac Ragg, Bellman, to his Masters and Mistresses of Holbourn Division, in the parish of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields.' It is headed by a wood-cut representing Isaac in professional accoutrements, a pointed pole in the left hand, and in the right a bell, while his lantern hangs from his jacket in front. Below is a series of verses, on St. Andrew's Day, King Charles the First's Birthday, St. Thomas's Day, Christmas Day, St. John's Day, Childermas Day, New Year's Day, on the thirtieth of January, &c., all of them very proper and very insufferable; the `prologue' is, indeed, the only specimen worth giving here, being the expression of Mr. Ragg's official duty; it is as follows:

'Time, Master, calls your bellman to his task,
To see your doors and windows are all fast,
And that no villany or foul crime be done
To you or yours in absence of the sun.
If any base lurker I do meet,
In private alley or in open street,
You shall have warning by my timely call,
And so God bless you and give rest to all.'

In a similar, but unadorned broadside, dated 1666, Thomas Law, bellman, greets his masters of St. Giles, Cripplegate, within the Freedom,' in twenty-three dull stanzas, of which the last may be subjoined:

'No sooner hath St. Andrew crowned November,
But Boreas from the North brings cold December,
And I have often heard a many say,
He brings the winter month Newcastle way;
For comfort here of poor distressed souls,
Would he had with him brought a fleet of coals!'

It seems to have been customary for the bell-man to go about at a certain season of the year, probably Christmas, amongst the householders of his district, giving each a copy of his broadside�firing a broadside at each, as it were�and expecting from each in return some small gratuity, as an addition to his ordinary salary. The execrable character of his poetry is indicated by the contempt with which the wits speak of bellman's verses.'

Robert Herrick has a, little poem giving his friends a blessing in the form of the nightly addresses of


From noise of scare fires rest ye free,
From murders benedicitie;
From all mischances that may fright
Your pleasing slumbers in the night;
Mercie secure ye all, and keep
The goblin from ye, while ye sleep.
Past one o'clock, and almost two,
My masters all, 'good day to you.'

April 11th