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Price of Provisions duriny Elections. burlesque will be laid before the reader
During the election at Sudbury, four presently. cabbages sold for 10l., and a plate of gooseberries fetched 25l. ; the sellers,
As a preliminary, it may be remarked where these articles were so dear, being that in the election for Garrett, there voters. At Great Marlow, on the con- was a whimsical assumption of office, trary, things were cheap, and an elector and an arbitrary creation of officers and during the election bought a sow and characters unknown in the elections of nine young pigs for a penny.*
other boroughs. In particular, there
was a “ Master of the Horse.” The ELECTION POR GARRETT.
person so dignified at its latter elections The “ County History” says, that the was pointed out as the oldest individual Hamlet of Garrett is in the road from in Wandsworth, who had figured in the Wandsworth to Tooting. About two “solemn mockery," and as, therefore, centuries ago it appears to have been a most likely to furnish information, from single house called the Garvelt. In it "reminiscences" of his "ancient digwas the mansion-house of the Brodrick nity." He was described as “Old Jack family, pulled down about fifty years Jones the sawyer;" and it was added, ago; the ground is let to a market gar. “You'll find him by the water side ; dener; part of the garden wall remains. turn down by the church; he is lame Garrett now contains about fifty houses, and walks with a crutch; any body 'll amongst which are some considerable tell you of him; he lives in a cottage by manufactures. This used to be for many the bridge; if you don't find him at years the scene of a mock election, and home, he is most likely at the Plume of much indecency on the meeting of every Feathers, or just in the neighbourhood; new parliament, when several charac- you'll be sure to know him if you meet ters in low life appeared as candidates, him-he is a thorough oddity, and can being furnished with fine clothes and tell all about the Garrett Election." gay equipages by the publicans, who The“ Plume" was resorted to, and “old made a good harvest. The last of these, Jack Jones” obligingly sought by Mr. known by the name of Sir Harry Dims- Attree the landlord, who for that purdale, was a deformed dwarf, little better pose peregrinated the town; and the than an idiot, who used to cry muffins “ Master of the Horse" made his entry in the streets about St. Anu's, Soho, into the parlour with as much alacrity and died about 1809. It has been as his wooden assistants helped him to. dropped at the two last general elec- It was “the accustomed place," wherein tions; but the memory of it will be he had told his story "many a time and preserved by Foote’s diverting farce of oft;" and having heard, “ up town" that “ The Mayor of Garrett.”—There are there was “somebody quite curious three prints displaying the proceedings about the Garrett Election," he was on occasion of this election.*
dragging his “slow length along," when
“miue host of the Feathers " met him Since the preceding statement, which
on the way. is almost in the words of Lysons, Gar. John Jones may be described as rett has been increased, and may be of the has beens." In his day he was said, in 1826, to contain double the tall of stature, stout of body, and bad number of houses. Lysons and Bray done as much work as any man of his call it a “hamlet;" and this denomina. time when he was at it. But, then, he tion, if taken to mean “ a small village," had overstrained himself, and for some is applicable to this place.
years past had not been able to do a For particulars concerning the “Mock stroke of work; and he had seen Election," with a view to insertion in deal of “ran-dan," and a racketty life the Every Day-Book, Garrett itself has had racketted his frame, and been visited, and persons seen there, and in the neighbourhood, who took part in Had written strange defeatures on his brow." the proceedings, and well remember them. Their statements of this public had deposited his crutch and stick by
After the first civilities, and after he The Times, June 20, 1826.
the side of a chair, and himself in an | Manning and Bray's History of Surrey. adjoining one, and after the glow of
pleasure from seeing a fresh face had commencement he had “preferred a subsided, and been replaced by a sense little porter to any thing else in the of the importance which attaches to the world,” except, and afterwards accepted, possession of something coveted by “a drop of something by itself;" and, another, he talked of the “ famous by degrees, he became communicative doings," and “such sights as
of all he could recollect. In the course were seen before, vor never would be of the present article his information seen again;" and he dimmed the hope of will be embodied, with other memoparticular information, by “quips, and randa, towards a history of the elections quirks, and wanton wiles;" and prac. of the “borough of Garrett." tised the “art of ingeniously tor- Had an artist been present at the menting,” by declarations of unbounded conversation, he might have caught knowledge, and that “he could a tale the features of the “Ex-master of the unfold," but would not; because, as he Horse," when they were beightened by said, “ why should I make other people his subject to a humorous expression. as wise as I am ?" Yet there was a He was by no means unwilling to “have string which “discoursed most excellent his head taken off;" but he deemed the music”-it was of himself and of the “ execution" an affair of so much im. fame of his exploits. His “companions portance as to solemnize his features in arms" had been summoned to their from their wonted hilarity while speak. last abiding-place, and, alas,
ing, to the funereal appearance which “They left him alone in his glory!"
the writer has depicted, and the en. John Jones's topic was not a dry one,
graver perpetuated, in the following repor was John Jones dry, but in the presentation :
John Jones, of Wandsworth,
MASTER OF THE HORSE AT THE LAST ELECTIONS FOR
As a memorial of a remarkable living The following interesting account character, this portrait may be accept respecting Garrett is in “ A Morning's able ; he is the only persou alive at Walk to Kew". Wandsworth, of any distinction in the By Sir Richard Phillips. popular elections of its neighbourhood. Wandsworth having been the once
famed scene of those humorous popular elections of a mayor, or member for and, his Garrat honours being supposed GARRAT; and the subject serving to il. to be a means of improving his trade lustrate the manners of the times, and and the condition of his ass, many chiaabounding in original features of cha. racters in similar occupations were led racter, I collected among some of its to aspire to the same distinctions. elder inhabitants a variety of amusing He was succeeded by Sir Jeffery Dunfacts and documents, relative to the ec- stan, who was returned for three parliacentric candidates and their elections. ments, and was the most popular candi
Southward of Wandsworth, a road date that ever appeared on the Garrat extends nearly two miles to the village hustings. His occupation was that of of Lower Tooting, and nearly midway buying OLD WIGS, once an article of are a few houses, or hamlet, by the side trade like that in old clothes, but beof a small common, called Garrat, from come obsolete since the full-bottomed which the road itself is called Garrat and full-dressed wigs of both sexes went Lune. Various encroachments on this out of fashion. Sir Jeffery usually carcommon led to an association of the ried his wig-bag over his shoulder, and, neighbours about three-score years since, to avoid the charge of vagrancy, vociwhen they chose a president, or mayor, ferated, as he passed along the street, to protect their rights; and the time of “ old wigs;" but, having a person like their first election being the period of a Esop, and a countenance and manner new parliament, it was agreed that the marked by irresistible humour, he never mayor should be re-chosen after every appeared without a train of boys, and general election. Some facetious mem- curious persons, whom he entertained by bers of the club gave, in a few years, his sallies of wit, shrewd sayings, and local notoriety to this election ; and, smart repartees; and from whom, withwhen party spirit ran high in the days out begging, he collected sufficient to of Wilkes and Liberty, it was easy to
maintain his dignity of mayor and kniglit. create an appetite for a burlesque elec- He was no respecter of persoris, and was tion among the lower orders of the Me- so severe in his jokes on the corruptions tropolis. The publicans at Wandsworth, and compromises of power, that this Tooting, Battersea, Clapham, and Vaux- street-jester, was prosecuted for using hall, made a purse to give it character; what were then called seditious expresand Mr. Foote rendered its interest uni sions; and, as a caricature on the times, versal, by calling one of his inimitable which ought never to be forgotten, he farces," the Mayor of Garrat." I have was in 1793 tried, convicted, and imindeed been told, that Foote, Garrick, prisoned ! In consequence of this affair, and Wilkes, wrote some of the candi- and some charges of dishonesty, he lost dates' addresses, for the purpose of in- his popularity, and, at the general elecstructing the people in the corruptions tion for 1796, was ousted by Sir Harry which attend elections to the legislature, Dimsdale, muffin-seller, a man as much and of producing those reforms by means deformed as himself. Sir Jeffery could of ridicule and shame, which are vainly not long survive his fall; but, in death expected from solemın appeals of argu- as in life, he proved a satire on the vices ment and patriotism.
of the proud, for in 1797 he died, like Not being able to find the members Alexander the Great, and many other for Garrat in Beatson's Political Index, heroes renowned in the historic page or in any of the Court Calendars, I am of suffocatiou from excessive drinking! obliged to depend on tradition for infor- Sir Harry Dimsdale dying also before mation in regard to the early history of the next general election, and no candithis famous borough. The first mayor date starting of sufficient originality of of whom I could hear was called Sir character, and, what was still more fatal, John Harper. He filled the seat during the victuallers having failed to raise a two parliaments, and was, it appears, a PUBLIC PURSE, which was as stimulating man of wit, for, on a dead cat being a bait to the independent candidates for thrown at him on the bustings, and à Garrat, as it is to the independent canbystander exclaiming that it stuuk didates for a certain assembly; the boworse than a fox, Sir John vociferated, rough of Garrat has since remained " that's no wonder, for you see it's a vacant, and the populace have been poll.cat.” This noted baronet was, in without a professed political buffoon. ike metropolis, a retailer of brick-dust; None but those who have seen a Lon
don mob on any great holiday can form others being made for the future. As a just idea of these elections. On seve- the members were most of them persons ral occasions, a hundred thousand per- in low circumstances, they agreed at sons, half of them in carts, in hackney- every meeting to contribute some small coaches, and on horse and ass-back, co- matter, in order to make up a purse for vered the various roads from London, the defence of their collective rights. and choked up all the approaches to When a sufficient sum of money was the place of election. At the two last subscribed, they applied to a very worelections, I was told, that the road within thy attorney in that neighbourhood, who a mile of Wandsworth was so blocked brought an action against the encroachup by vehicles, that none could move ers in the name of the president (or, as backward or forward during many they called him, the Mayor) of the club. hours; and that the candidates, dressed They gained their suit with costs; the like himney-sweepers on May-day, encroachments were destroyed; and ever or in the mock fashion of the period, after, the president, who lived many were brought to the hustings in the years, was called “The Mayor of carriages of peers, drawn by six horses, Garrat." the owners themselves condescending to This event happening at the time of become their drivers * !
a general election, the ceremony upon
every new parliament, of choosing outBefore relating certain amusing facts door members for the borough of Garrat, which have never before appeared in has been constantly kept up, and is still print, or giving further particulars re
continued, to the great emolument of all specting Sir Jeffery Dunstan and Sir the publicans at Wandsworth, who anHenry Dimsdale, it seems fitting to add nually subscribe to all incidental ex. from the “Gentleman's Magazine" of penses attending this mock election. 1781, as follows:
M G. Wedoesday June 25, the septennial mock election for Garrat was held this
The late eminent antiquary, Dr. day; and upwards of 50,000 people Ducarel, made inquiries respecting this were, on that ludicrous occasion, assem
custom of the late Mr. W. Massey of bled at Wandsworth,"
Wandsworth, who answered them in In the same volume there is an ar
the following letter:ticle which, as it is the only other notice
Wandsworth, June 25, 1754. in that useful miscellany concerning this
Dr. Ducarel.-I promised to give celebrated usage, and as there is not you an account of the mock election for any notice of it in other magazines of Garrat, a district within the compass of the time, is here annexed.
the parish of Wandsworth. I have been July, 25.
informed, that about 60 or 70 years ago, Mr. URBAN.—The learned antiquary some watermen, belonging to this town, finds a pleasure in tracing the origin of went to the Leather Bottle, a public ancient customs, even when time has
house at Garrat, to spend a merry day, so altered them as totally to obliterate which, being the time of a general electheir use. It may therefore not be un
tion for members of Parliament, in the pleasing to the generality of your read- midst of their frolick they took it into ers, while it is yet recent in memory,
their heads to chuse one of their comto record in your Magazine the laudable pany, a representative for that place; motive that gave rise to the farcical cus
and, having gone through the usual cetom of electing a Mayor of Garrat, remonies of an election, as well as the which is now become truly ridiculous.
occasion would permit, he was declared I have been told, that about thirty custom of swearing the electors upon a
duly elected. Whether the whimsical years ago, several persons who lived near that part of Wandsworth which brick-bat, quod rem cum aliqua muadjoins to Garrat Lane, had formed a
liere, intra limites istius pagi, habuiskind of club, not merely to eat and sent,' was then first established, or that drink, but to concert measures for re
it was a waygish after-thought, I cannot nuoving the encroachments made on that determine, but it has been regarded as part of the common, and to prevent any
the due qualification of the electors for
many elections last past. • Sir Ricbard Phillips' Walk to Kew,
This local usage, from that small be
ginnjog, has had a gradual increase; fur and odd usages, the causes and origin of no great account was made of it, that I which might otherwise be lost in a long can remember or hear of, before the two tract of time. elections preceding this last, which has been performed with uncommon pomp
Garrett Election, 1826. and magnificence, in the plebeian mode of pageantry, And, as it has been taken It seems to be the desire of certain notice of in our public newspapers, it admirers of certain popular customs to may probably have a run, through those get up another burlesque election for channels, to many parts of the kingdom, Garrett; the last was thirty years ago. and, in lime, become the inquiry of the
The following is a copy of a Notice, curious, when and why such a mock
now executing (June 28, 1826) at a signusage was commenced.
painters, on a board ten feet high, for I have herewith sent you copies of the purpose of being publicly exhibited. some of the hand-bills of the candidates, It need scarcely be observed that the that were printed and plentifully dis- commencing word of this very singupersed (in imitation of the grand monde) lar composition, which ought to be Oyez, before the election came on, by which is improperly spelt and divided, and you may judge of the humour in which "yes" is unaccountably placed between the other parts of it were conducted. three inverted commas; the transcript Their pseudo-titles, as you will observe, is verbatim, and is arranged in this are Lord Twaukum, Squire Blow-me- column as the original is on the signdown, and SquireGubbins. Lord Twan,
board. kum's right name is John Gardiner, and
O ". Yes" is grave-digger to this parish ; Blow-me.
NOTICE down is Willis, a watermau; and
That on THURSDAY
6th July, 1826 sigo of the Gubbins' Head, in Blackman.
In conformity of street, Southwark.
THE HIGH Some time bence, perhaps, also it
AUTHORITIES, may be a matter of inquiry what is meant by the Gubbins' Head. This
of the UNITED Simmonds formerly lived at Wands
KINGDOM worth, and went from hence to keep a
will assemble public-house in Blackman-street; he
THROUGHOUT being a droll companion in what is called low-life, several of his old acquaint
the EMPIRE ance of this town used to call at his
and particularly house, when they were in London, to
at the Pustings at drink a pot or two; and, as be generally
GARRAT, had some cold provisions (which by a cant name he usually called “ his gub
to whit, conformable bins"), he made them welcome to such
to the Crustom as he had, from whence he obtained
Of our ANCIENT that name; and putting up a man's head
LIBERTY. for the sigo, it was called the “Gubbins' Head.” A hundred years hence,
SIR JOHN perhaps, if some knowledge of the
PAUL PRY, occasion of the name of this sign
now offers himself should not be preserved in writing,
to a Generous our future antiquaries might puzzle
PUBLIC themselves to find out the meaning of it. I make no question, but that we have many elaborate dissertations upon
KING antique subjects, whose originals, being obscure or whimsy, like this, were never The last representative of Garrett was truly discovered. This leads me to the a “remarkable character" in the streets commendatiou of the utility of your of the metropolis for many years. His ordesign in recording singular accidents dinary costume was very different from
GOD SAVE TUE